Proceedings of the Committee of Circuit, 2nd January-26th January, 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. These committees reflect the early experiments and confusion of the East India Company over revenue collection.

The Committee of Circuit was founded on 14th May 1772 and it continued to operate till February 1773. On August, 1771, the Directors of the Company, instructed the Company to take upon itself the entire care and management of the revenue. There upon, Warren Hastings, formed a Committee of the Board,, consisting of himself and four members to settle the land revenue in the various districts on the spot.

Selection details

The Committee of Circuit was founded on 14th May 1772 and it continued to operate till February 1773. On August, 1771, the Directors of the Company, instructed the Company to take upon itself the entire care and management of the revenue. There upon, Warren Hastings, formed a Committee of the Board,, consisting of himself and four members to settle the land revenue in the various districts on the spot.



[Page 5]

Mr Graham rejoins the Committee and resumes his [...].

Mr Graham begs leave to acquaint the Committee that on his arrival at this place the 27th Ult He received advice from Mr Ducart that several bodies of Sannyasis had entered the province from the Westward that they were scattered among the Villages of his District plundering them and exacting contributions from the inhabitants and that he Mr Ducarel concluded they would pursue their route according to the annual custom thro Dinagepore and Rungpore. To the Burrampootor that Mr Staples at the same time communicated to them of one Body of the Sannyasis being arrived in one of the purgannas of Dinagrepore about 12 or 14 Coss Distant. In this situation Mr Graham esteemed it his duty to continue at this Station until the Committee should arrive to attend incase of Necessity to [...] security of the Company’s Treasury and prevent as much as possible prejudice from ensuing to Collections.

He further acquaints Committee that upon hearing the News of the Defeat of Capt Thomas’ party on the 31 Ulti. He thought proper to give Mr Staples directions to remit the Money in the treasury to Moorshedabad.

[Page 7]

The President further acquaints the Committee that he has not since addressed the Governor as mentioned at the close of the above letter, as no material Intelligence was received of the motions of the sannyasis whilst the Committee remained at Rungpore which place they left the 31st at 10 in the morning, that from the general information of the Inhabitants He now understands the Sannyasis have pursued their usual Route across the country to the eastward.

[Page 7]

1.2. Agreed We now address the following Letter to the Hon'ble President and Council of Revenue

To the Hon'ble the President And the other Gentlemen of the Council of Revenue At Fort William Hon'ble Sir &

In our letter of the 30th Ultimo from Rungpore We advised you of our having directed the collector as that place to march a Party of Seapoys against the Sannyasis This Detachment was rendered as strong as the weakened state of the Committee’s escort from the reinforcement sent to Capt Jone and the party ordered with Mr Graham [Page 8] to Purnea would possibly admit, reserving no more than an absolutely necessary guard for the protection of Rungpore Treasury but this with much concern we are to acquaint you that instead of proving successful against the enemy. They sustained a total defeat owing to the Seapoys having fallen into disorder and imprudently expended the whole of their ammunition, Our President here already advised the Hon'ble The Governor of this event and that Capt. Thomas the officer who commanded with greatest part of the seapoys were killed from the last information we have been able to obtain since the sannyasis have pursued their usual route across the country to the eastward. The plunder they have committed and the contributions they have exacted we are afraid may considerably affect the collections but the Chief purpose of this address is to represent to you the urgent necessity there is for taking effectual measures to prevent the annual incursions of those ravagers who under the pretended monk of a religious pilgrimage to perform ablutions in the Berampoore and worship at the Island of Sagur make it an uniform practice to oppress and plunder a country which they will now be more encouraged from the trifling success they have met with in defeating inconsiderably as the force in those parts has admitted of sending against them such small parties of our seapoys who have been unable to cope with their numbers. For this purpose we submit it to your consideration, whether they should not be effectually opposed at their entry [Page 9] of the provinces by a respectable Detachment formed from the Brigade stationed in Bahar or ___ it may not be adopted as an eligible expedient when they rendezvous at Sagur. Their ultimate place of resort to cope them up in that Island and prevent their Retreat.

We are with respect

[Page 29]

1.3. Extract of a Letter from the Collector of Purnea to Philip Milner Dacres Esq President of the Committee of Circuit dated Purnea 4th January, 1773

I have informed you of the arrival of several bodies of Sannyasi Faquiers and their March Eastward from the best Intelligence I could obtain, their Numbers altogether might be between three of four thousand Lieut Sinclair who was sent in search of them with a Party nearly equal to two Companies of Sepoys has returned without falling in with any of them.

There have been report from the western Borders of this District of 3 or 4000 Sannyasis more being expected I propose by Mr Graham’s Directions to station people to receive the earliest intelligence of their motions which I will advice you of as I receive it. The strength now in this District consists of 2 officers with a Company of Sepoys and 2 small Field [...] mounted here near two Companies and half at present on Command [Page 30] but orders are gone to recall as many as can be spared on the Intelligence of Capt Thomas’ Misfortune I also immediately wrote off to Mr Harwood at Bogglepore and Capt Ironside at Rajemehal for the assistance of such sepoys as they could spare so that I hope shortly to be able to get together 3 or 4 entire companies of sepoys at this place, but it is proper to remark that amongst the sepoys now here there is a Company sent from the City to relieve another line which I have thought it necessary to detain for the present occasion.


[Page 40]
To Mr Philip Milner Dacres Esq, President & Gentlemen of Committee of Circuit At Dinagepore

The Sannyais when I acquainted you of in a former letter date the 6th instant arrived here this day in number about two thousand , one hundred horse and eighty Bullocks laden with ammunition. As the riots received them in their houses I thought it the most expedient method to send a Vakeel on the part of Government accompanied with two Chowdries Naibs t o know their intentions on which they sent word they must have a sum of money otherwise they should remain in the Pergunnah until they had taken a sufficiency to pay their charges and as they compounded for twelve hundred rupees the Chowdries agreed to pay The sum I advanced out of the treasury on receipt of which they passed quietly through this Pergunnah to Sibgunge, where I having near 13000 in treasury and [...] expecting the rents from Attealogmary & Chowgang I hope the method I have taken which they gave no time to deliberate upon will with your approbation.

I am &c
J M Hatch


[Page 44]
To John Graham esq. At Purnea

We have you letter of the 11th instant for the reasons therein urged We have though proper to appoint Lalla Achintroy Diwan of Purnea and have directed him to proceed without loss of time. He being recommended to us a Man of good character and qualified for the station a being well versed in the Revenue Business. We trust you will meet with every assistance from these testimonies of his abilities.

We now transmit you his letter of Instruction which you will please to deliver him when you invest such officers in Cutcherry arrangement as you may deem necessary for expecting and better conducting the public business.

[Page 45]

Agreed that following paragraph added to your letter to Mr Graham

In consequence of Resolution the Committee took at the city to defer the examination into the complaints preferred against Davy Sing till we should arrive at Purnea & we flatter ourselves that you will soon have such progress in the settlement at to enable you to attend to this Business. We request you will call upon the complaints to be ready to make good the in charge and as we are of opinion that Davy Sing ought to be confronted his accusers. We do also desire you will send for him provided your sentiments herein coincide with ours.

We are &ca


[Page 46]
To Philip Milner Dacres Esq And the other members of the Committee of Circuit

Having recd intimation of the incursions of the Sannyasis Facquiers and of the ravages and acts of violence which they have committed in the provinces of Rungpore and Denagpore. Have deputed Captain Timothy Edwards with two Companies of Seapoys under his command to proceed against them immediately requiring him to consult with the Collectors of those Districts as to the measurers which may seem best calculated to effect the total expulsions of dangerous a Banditti and punctually to obey all such orders and instructions as you may think proper to give him.

I am & c
Samuel. Middleton
[Page 46]

1.7. Agreed we write to him the following answer

To Samuel Middleton Esq President at the Durbar
[Page 47]

We have recd your favour of 8th Instant informing us of your having detached Capt Edwards with two companies of Sepoys to this place with Directions to obey such orders as we might deem necessary to give him that officer arrived here the 13th Instant when we strengthened his party as great a Reinforcement as could possibly be spared from this place and directed him to continue his pursuit against the Sannyasis.

[Page 61]

1.8. Read the following letter from Capt Edwards

Camp near Chilmurry Jan 20th 1773

I reached Oliapore with my Detachment on 17th Instant and on following Day continued my march to this Place where I was informed that on Tuesday the 12th a small party of the Sannyasis entered this Village carried off the zamadar, with two of the principal Inhabitants to the main body about A Coss from where they extorted from them thirteen hundred rupees and dismissed them. That the sannyasis arrived the next day at Diwangunge on the fourteenth proceeded to Bosnah Jore and were untraced to Moydapore Juckery on the 15th. That they lay off all these villages under contribution I have not been able to learn where they went to afterwards but I have dispatched [...] & Pikes to different quarters for information. I shall proceed [Page 62] to Dewangunge tomorrow and then direct my Motions accordingly to the Intelligence I pick up.

I am &ca
Timothy Edwards


[Page 62]
To Captain Steward Commanding officer of the 19th Battalion of Sepoys

The Governor having informed me that he had given you orders to march to Dinagepore for the protection of that & the Rungpore Districts from the Ravages of the Sannyasis and having likewise directed me to communicate my sentiments for your proceeding, I therefore inform you that the very body of Sannyasis who cut off Capt Thomas & his Party and whose Numbers are [Page 63] increased to 300 have taken possession of a Fort at Tantosgunge within the district of Beyhar, the common Name of which is Rohwin Gunge, A the governor expresses a strong inclination to retrieve our Military reputation as well as to punish as effectually as possible any set of armed men, entering our district in so [...] a manner I am of opinion that you should not march directly to this Fort but that you proceed on the west side of the Teesta, until you arrive at a place Tolpiuree which is on the skirts of the Byounthpore District I mean by this that you should endeavour by every means to stop their retreat to the westward. They having come in from the Morung Hills you must inform yourself of all their motions for this purpose. Tho my intelligences say that you have no enemy whatever to cope with, but these sannyasis who are actually in the bay of the Bycuntpore Rajah against whom an expedition s now on foot after the Reduction of Beyhar. I won't recommend your being constantly on your guard against a surprise The Sannyasis having great confidence in their Numbers and having for some time past given it out that they were coming to this Place.

I shall be obliged to you if you will give me constant information by Hircarrahs across the Country of both of your own and the Sannyasis motions. That in case you stocking up their retreat to the westward should [Page 64] oblige them to go towards the Burrampooter Capt Jones may be able to act against them from there.

Wishing you every success in your operation I remain
Charles Purling
This is a selection from the original text


banditti, ravage, sannyasi

Source text

Title: Proceedings of the Committee of Circuit, 2nd January-26th January, 1773, Proceedings of the Committee of Circuit

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 5 to 7
  • 2 ) pages 7 to 9
  • 3 ) pages 29 to 30
  • 4 ) page 40
  • 5 ) pages 44 to 45
  • 6 ) pages 46 to 47
  • 7 ) pages 61 to 64


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

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