Famine and Dearth

Proceedings of the Board of Revenue-Grain, 4th January-21st June, 1799

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. 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.

The Court of Directors decided to reconsider the revenue administration in 1785. On this line the Court wrote in their General Letter, dated 21st September, 1785, that, there would be a Board of Revenue comprising of one of Junior Member of Council, and four other senior servants of the Company. The department would manage the whole administration of settlement, collection and receipt of every branch of the Revenue department together. The Board of Revenue at the Fort William operated from 1786 to 1822. The proceedings relating to Grain was kept distinct from the main series. Oct 1794 to Oct 1803.

Selection details

The Court of Directors decided to reconsider the revenue administration in 1785. On this line the Court wrote in their General Letter, dated 21st September, 1785, that, there would be a Board of Revenue comprising of one of Junior Member of Council, and four other senior servants of the Company. The department would manage the whole administration of settlement, collection and receipt of every branch of the Revenue department together. The Board of Revenue at the Fort William operated from 1786 to 1822. The proceedings relating to Grain was kept distinct from the main series. Oct 1794 to Oct 1803.

1.

[Page 208]

1.1. Extract of a letter received from the Collector of Bhagulpore dated 30th January, 1799

The same assessment of Paddy which in my price current for November [Page 209] was stated at 2,36,9 ad in that of December at 2,35,10,, now sells at 2,32,10 per Rupee and is rising in value daily whether this fact is to be imputed solely to the very large advances made by the Patna grain merchants or partly to the failure of the Rain which usually falls during the last week in December. I will not presume to say perhaps the Markets have been influenced by both causes certain however it is that the Patna Dealers have made very extensive purchases equally so that the price of Grain has within the last month been greatly inhanced.

With respect to the average purchases made in my [Page 210] District in 1795. I have to observe that the Grains were not only cheaper than it is now but that the Golahs were nearer to the places where the Purchases were made than those lately erected are to the Rice Pergunnahs a fact which rendered the changes Transportation less than they must now inavoidably amount to. I must further inform you that part of that grain bought in 1795 was procured and delivered by contract to the great loss in one instance, to the contractor and that in the account rendered no charges of transportation appeared the amount having been deducted from the quantity as follows.

The [Page 211] average Purchase was 2mnds 36,,9 seers per rupee The average cost of transportation 6,2,, per rupee Leaving 2,,30,, per rupee

The Gomastahs allowances. [...] farming a separate charge not heavier to enter upon unnecessary points or intrude to on the Boards time, I shall without further preamble that I cannot estimate the cost and charges of 50000 Maunds of Paddy at less than Sicca Rs 21,5000 not that ___ that it will Amount to that sum it may be two or three hundred less and it may be an hundred more, but as nothing is so grating as to be suspected of carelessness or want of economy after a transaction has been concluded I must entreat either that my estimate [Page 212] may be admitted or that I may be directed to discontinue the provision the amount already advanced is Sicca Rupees 6000 a Sum which in consequence of my having advanced 3000 early in this month I expect will pay the purchase and transportation of 15000 Maunds tho’ not the other charges, If the expence at which I have estimated the total provision is deemed too great and Government are nevertheless desirous of having the quantity stored the best plan in my humble opinion would be to direct the Collector of Purneah to purchase and dispatch to my Golahs 35000 Maunds, Purneah is a District [Page 213] if I am rightly informed here where Paddy may be purchased infinitely cheaper than it can here and I shall be most happy to be excused so unpleasant a price of Duty, According to my estimate the original cost of the grain in this district will be above 18,650 ,, ,, ,, ,, charges Transportation………….2,250,, ,, ,, ,, Other charges…………………..600,, ,, ,, ,, Sicca Rs 21,500 ,, ,, ,, ,,

The favor of an early will answer will be obliged

J.T.Sargent
A true extract.
This is a selection from the original text

Keywords

grain, paddy, rain

Source text

Title: Proceedings of the Board of Revenue-Grain, 4th January-21st June, 1799

Original date(s) covered: 1799

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from manuscripts at the West Bengal State Archives. Original date(s) covered: 1799

Digital edition

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 208 to 213

Responsibility:

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.

Acknowledgements