Revenue Board Consisting of the Whole Council, 2nd November-24th December, 1773

About this text

Introductory notes

The early records preserved in the West Bengal State Archive pertains to the administration of the land revenue system by the East India Company. The Company attained the revenue rights of the Province through the Grant of Diwani in 1765. The records in the repositories of the Archive date back to the Select Committee Records in 1768. Between 1769 and 1786 the revenue administration was managed by various intermediate agencies like the Resident at the Durbar, Provincial Council of Revenue, the Calcutta Committee of Revenue. In the early the revenue administration was managed by various intermediary agencies, these committees reflect the early experiments and confusion of the East India Company over revenue collection.

On May 1772, the Court of Directors decided to hand the revenue administration to a board, consisting of the President and four other members, while the title of the supervisor was changed to that of the Collector. The whole council that was constituted, to sit two days in the week, or if necessary more; the members of the council were appointed to act as auditors of accounts, each a week in rotation, The Revenue Board in the Whole Council continued to operate till 1774.

Selection details

On May 1772, the Court of Directors decided to hand the revenue administration to a board, consisting of the President and four other members, while the title of the supervisor was changed to that of the Collector. The whole council that was constituted, to sit two days in the week, or if necessary more; the members of the council were appointed to act as auditors of accounts, each a week in rotation, The Revenue Board in the Whole Council continued to operate till 1774.


[Page 120]

1.1. Copy of a translation of an Arzee from Nourul Hussain Khan, Renter of Sunot Con 16th September

The Buddary Harvest having already been entirely destroyed I deferred demanding the Kists from the Ryots on the hope of being repaid by the [...] Cultivation & exhorted them to exert themselves in the Tillage there of which they did but the late deluge has been so excessive that for seven days no one has been able to transplant Rice, or indeed to apply to the other business of the Cultivation. In the night of these rains on the 3rd Instant the Mountain Rivers overflowed to such a degree in half a nights time that the Thickary Fort was entirely surrounded with water which extended many miles in Circumference The Fort itself is not possible from the East to the Western position nor have I for these three days past been able to get the smallest intelligence of the situation of the country or what damage has been sustained by the Deluge- I can only describe the state of the Country surrounding the Fort of Thickary [Page 121] Nawob Gunge which lays near the Eastern gate is entirely under water & the grain with the other Merchandizes belonging to the Inhabitants utterly destroyed. Near the said Gange lays the grove where Mr Vansittart pitched his tents last year in which the water is near 6 foot Deep- Off the western gate lay [...] & [...] Gunges in which the walls of some houses have hitherto stood but the rest are covered with water and many other Villages in sight of the Fort are in the same predicament and are only to be distinguished by the tops of the houses. But how shall I describe the Loss sustained in the Harvests! The BuddavyRice is entirely [...] together with the rice which had been transported and that which was preparing for it- The [...] of other Grains which were cultivated are quite demolished. From the entire loss of both these Harvests which are the sole support of this Country.

I am almost distracted and place my only hope in your Clemency and justice. In a few days I hope to furnish you with a more exact account of the state of every particular place.

Sherman Bird R. Griffith
[Page 122]

1.2. Copy of a Translation of an Arzee from Nourul Hussain Khan, Renter of Sunnout Cons. 21st Oct

I take the liberty to repeat the representation I formerly made of the Losses I have sustained by the [...] Torrents that rushed down from the Southern Hills sweeping away every thing they met with in their Course, In some places whole Villages were destroyed, in other numerous herds of cattle and in most parts the damage done to the grain was very considerable. My lands lying directly in the way of this destructive flood, have suffered extremely in so much that I am quite incapacitated to fulfill my engagements with Government this year but if I shall be so fortunate as to have some indulgence granted me this time I hope I shall in future be able to answer all just demands.

A True Copy
Sherman Bird
[Page 133]

1.3. Read the following Letter from the Collector of Rungpore

To the Hon'ble Warren Hastings Esq President & Council of Revenue
Hon'ble Sir & Sirs,

Enclosed I have the Honor to transmit the aumeens Report of the Damage done by the encroachment of the River in the Pergunnahs of Bharbung & Biterbund in the Course of the last year; as also the Report of the Aumeens who were deputed to estimate the same in the Bodah district.

I also transmit you by order of the Superintendent of the Kalsa the State of the Collection to the present [...] altho the demand for the month of Aswin has been due sometime, yet, there remaining Rents to the amount of the Eighty Six Thousand Rupees unpaid of the last Kist, but which I flatter myself will be in days realized.

[Page 134]

There used every precaution to prevent the desertion of the Riots which is the Chief cause of Complaint from the Farmers, who represents that they are not able to Collect their rents from the crops remaining unsold in the hands of Labourers & who immediately on being pressed for their Revenues move to the neighbouring districts.

Under these Circumstances the great scarcity of Circulation from diverse causes, no remedy I fear but time can afford relief tho I must here observe that the amount of Ready money collected is equal to what has been realized in former year to the same period.

I am & C
Herb Harris Collector
Ordered that the Aumeens report be interred in the appendix.
[Page 134]

1.4. Agreed we write him the following answer

[Page 135]
Mr Herbert Harris Collector of Rungpore

We have received your letter of the 6th Instant with the several papers enclosed.

The reports of the Aumeens sent to Examine into the claims of the Kudde Shust do not satisfy us when the damage was done to the lands from the Encroachments of the River. This is a point necessary to be ascertained as if the damage happened previous to the last settlement the former will not be entitled to any deduction for it indeed the Settlement of Baharbund was altogether so easy to the Farmer, that we then In the claims he prefers on this account is rather unreasonable.

Notwithstanding your Togee account exhibits your Collections only Twenty five Thousand Rupees [...] to the Close of Bhadun we are sorry to [Page 136] perceive from your letter that Eighty Six Thousand Rupees of [...] that months Kists are still unrealized & the Kists of Assin wholly uncollected. We should apprehend however the Cause you assign can no longer operate in [...] the Collection as from the late unseasonable long drought which we have had, the Crops of the Ryotts remaining unsold are like to come to a very favorable market.

We are & C

[Page 165]

1.5. Agreed that the following Letter be accordingly written to the Collector of Rungpore

To Mr Herbert Harris Collector of Rungpore

By a representation from the Collector of Cooch Byhar We learn that many of the Ryotts of that District have deserted to yours. We desire therefore you will either cause them to be sent back or oblige the Zemindars or [...] [Page 166] who have received the to pay their full arrears.

We have directed the Collector of Cooch Byhar to correspond with you on this subject.

We are & ca

[Page 166]

1.6. Agreed that the following Directions be also sent to the Collector of Rungpore, Dinagepore& Purnea

To Mr Herbert Harris Collector of Rungpore

Should the Collector of Cooch Byhar advise you of his determination to farm the lands of that on behalf of the Rajah We desire you will publish in your Collectorship the advertisement which he may send you and give my Encouragement which may be in your power to responsible people to become Renters.

The same to Collector of Dinagepore & Purnea.

[Page 357]

1.7. Read the following letter from the Chief & Council at Patna with their Enclosure

To the Hon'ble Warren Hastings Esq [Page 358] President & Council of Revenue
Hon'ble Sir & Sirs
Fort William

We have been favored with your Letter of the 15th and tow of the 19th Ultimo the rest of the Gunges shall arguably to your Order be struck off on the Jumma of this province , [...] shall take the liberty of making Compromises with such Renters as have suffered by losses in the late inundations where it can be done with advantage to the revenue, We believe this Method in most cases will be attended with better effects than the finding of Ameens. We have also obeyed your Directions with respect to the Changes in [...] Monghyr & Ramgur & c.

We are & ca
Thomas Lane George Hurst E Stephenson E Law


[Page 516]
To the Hon'ble The President & Council of Revenue
Hon'ble Sir & Sirs

Under cover herewith I have to honor to transmit you the treasury account of the Collectorship for the Months of Cahrtick & Aghrain 1180. Bengall State. Also the accounts of Disbursement in the Months of [...] English State & Aghrain Bengal State, and for the twelve days between these Periods. [Page 517] The disbursement made monthly from the Burdwan treasury having constantly, taken place according to the Bengal state, notwithstanding ,, their account have been formed agreeable to the English Dates. The whole of the Charges Zemindaree, with great [...] of the Charges Collections were Consequently twelve days in advance and it required only, a payment of Rupees 1884,,10,,6 to accommodate each article of expence Correspondent to the Bengall monthly Periods This change forms the detached account above mentioned, for the first, twelve days in November and it amounts being also inserted under its respective heads in the treasury accounts for October. Wherein likewise is consulted included the Collections made within that term, that account, is thereby, Completed, to the end of Cahritick. The Aghrain accounts as you observe, follow agreeable to the Bengall state and the Proceeding accounts of the current year need only have their monthly titles corrected when joined to these, they present your Honor with the monthly disbursements of the Burdwan collectorship Complete from the 8th of Bysack to the 30th Aghrain 1180.

Accompanying the aforementioned accounts I have the pleasure to forward you the [Page 518] the under mentioned papers. Which have been modeled in pursuance of your commands under date the 16th & 19th Ultimo.

N 1 Price Current of grain the 1st to the 20th of Aghrain 1180

N 2 Account of grain in store of at sundry districts in the Burdwan province from the produce of former Harvests. To which is subjoined an estimate account of grain expected to be Collected in each District from the Aghrain Harvest of the present year.

N.3 A Statement [...] is formed, the above mentioned estimate of grain expected from the Produce of the Aghain harvest of 1189 in the Province of Burdwan.

The latter paper is here transmitted that your Honor may be acquainted, on what Principles are grounded the Estimate which is now Conveyed to you and which I am apprehensive may be deemed fallacious mode of ascertaining the Expectations of Produce from the Crop now Collected, Yet the authority of the Dewans, Karsroon & other officers supported by the opinions of some intelligent Farmers, in behalf of this , their accustomed methods of Calculation, leads me to believe that a supposition [Page 519] of experience on their parts herein will give it some degree of authenticity with you. [...], at any rate the most [...] account which can be formed immediately and is conjectured rather to under rate than exaggerate the quantity of Grain which is expected from the Harvest now gathering.

I have remaining to inform you that all apprehensions of scarcity in this year are so entirely removed that the Farmers are earnestly waiting your orders for withdrawing the restriction laid on the exportation of grain, that by a [...] circulation in the state thereof throughout the Country Government.

I am & c
John Bathoe
[Page 518]

1.9. Agreed that the several accounts regarding grain be entered in the appendix and agreed we write the Collctor of Burdwan as follows

To Mr John Bathoe Collector of Burdwan

We have received your letters of the 16th & 18th

[Page 519]

Instant with the remittance and accounts mentioned to accompany them.

The Embargo on the exportation of grains has been taken off by the Board in the their general Departments.

This is a selection from the original text


aumeen, flood, grain, zamindar

Source text

Title: Revenue Board Consisting of the Whole Council, 2nd November-24th December, 1773, Revenue Board Consisting of the Whole Council

Original date(s) covered: 1773

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from manuscripts at the West Bengal State Archives. Original date(s) covered: 1773 West Bengal State Archive

Digital edition

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 120 to 121
  • 2 ) page 122
  • 3 ) pages 133 to 136
  • 4 ) pages 165 to 166
  • 5 ) pages 357 to 358
  • 6 ) pages 516 to 519


Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

Encoding checking by: Hannah Petrie, Gary Stringer, Charlotte Tupman

Genre: India > official correspondence > state archives > West Bengal

For more information about the project, contact Dr Ayesha Mukherjee at the University of Exeter.