Letters from Roger Drake



[Page 629]
Honble Sir & Sirs

In the State of the Revenues Paragraph 36th I mentioned the Gross amount of the Export Duty on Grain for the six preceeding years to be Cks. 18949. „ „ the particulars of which I now lay before you Agreable to your Orders of Thursday last

Your Honour &c. as design of relieving the Poor in the Article of Grain I admit to be highly Laudable but as the means proposed on the Face of the last Consultation of Abolishing the Gunge Dutys and raising the Export Duty appear to me ineffectual to answer such your good Intentions as well as liable to many other Objections not sufficiently attended to, it is more particularly my Duty to submit the same to your Consideration before you determine on a Step that I foresee will be attended with so considerable an Annual Loss to our Honble Employers without answering the End proposed.

The taking off the Import Duty's of the Gunge will I conceive be attended with no larger Importation, as it appears probable to me, the price of Grain and Exactions at Baaker Gunge will be enhanced /in proportion/ on Notice if the Dutys here being taken off but should it be otherwise the Merchants who know the People must Eat, will try every method to appropriate the Advantage to themselves and not to the Poor.

The taking off the Gunge Dutys will not relieve the poor unless it is also taken of the other Marketts and Buzars, or unless we suppose /which is highly probable/ all grain will in consequence of the Exemption at the Gunge be Imported there from the Country Round us, and none carryd to the Markets and Bazars in either of which Cases, the Company will in a manner be sufferers to the whole amount of the Farms, which may as well at Once be relinquished; for, I will venture to pronounce the produce of them will not be worth the trouble of putting them up to Sale, the Duty collected on the Grain in the several Bazars and Marketts being in it self very considerable [Page 630] and what chiefly enhances their value to the Farms.

The Equivalent proposed of raising the Export Duty, I conceive defective for the following Reasons the present Export Duty is the nearest 3„12 PCt. may at a medium have produced something above 3000 Rupees P Annum if a heavy Duty is laid on the Export none will be Exported, for we have seen hardly any profit made lately on this Article even with the Low Duty hither to laid on it, and if a heavy Duty is not laid on it, where, the equivalent to the Company, for a Loss of at least 40 to 50000 Rupees arising on the Gunge and the other Farms—as it is not without Reason, that I imagine the Gunge will rather produce more this year than ot did the last; and if such a Duty is only laid on the Exports as to encourage an Exportation where is the relieve to the Poor.

Shaw Gunge must be greatly affected in its Customs, by an Importation of Grains to this Settlement free of the Dutys, the Farmer of that Gunge pays according to my Information 96000 Rs. P Annum and receives a Duty of 12 to 12½ PCt. on the Imports of Grain. The Consequence appears to me Extremely Obvious, the Farmer of that Gunge will suffer largely by a reduction of his Customs, and will most probably seek to redress by a representation that the English have taken off the Dutys on the Importation of Grains that they may obtain a larger quantity to Export on their Shipping, and that thereby He will be rendered unable to pay the amount of his Farm, so that instead of a larger supply for the relieve of the Poor, I am apprehensive such a representation to the Nabob, will Occassion an absolute prohibition of Rice being imported to us and that we shall not have any at all without a rupture with the Government which in our our present situation I think We should Guard against by every means in our Power.

In times of greater Scarcity, when grain was much dearer than at present, or than it is likely to be, so extraordinary a step, has not [Page 631] been attempted and that We should Project a scheme without any evident Utility whereby our Honourable Employers will be such material sufferers, at a Juncture when an Expensive defence to their Settlement is in Agitation, and a likelyhood of their being liable to an unavoidable Large Demurage, is what I can by no means concur in—but on the contrary am humbly of Opinion that an absolute prohibition of the Exporting the common Doolea Grain under in for 1„10, P Rupees be substituted in place of the means proposed as tending more Naturally and surely to answer every Intention of Relieving the Poor without much Injury to the Honble Company's Revenues.

I am Honble Sir & Sirs Your most Obedt: Humle: Servt:
J Z Holwell
[Page 667]

1.2. Fort William the 19th Novr. 1753

Monday 19th Novr.
At a Consultation present
  • The Honble Roger Drake Esqr. President
  • The Worshll. Edwd. Holden Cruttenden Esqr.
  • Messrs: Manningham
  • Becker
  • Frankland
  • Collet
  • Mackett
  • Eyre
  • Holwell

The Book of Standing Orders laying on the Table The Consultation of the 12th Instant being wrote fair was now Read approved and Signed.

Mayors Court accountantMr William Parker Register of the Mayors Courthand in a particular Account of the Honble Company's Duty of 9 Annaes on all Lan proceedings in that Court from the 30th April to the 1st Instant, as Likewise an account Current the ballance where of being Cks 768 „ „ 6 due from the Company.

Accos. sale of damag'd storesAgreed the President do pay the same out of the Cash and that the Accot. Current be entered after this Consultation. The Storekr. Delivers in an account of stores damag'd sold at Outcry the amount to Cks:

Agreed the said Account do pass Errors Excepted and be entered after this Consultation

The Super Intendant of the Marine delivers in a Report Survey of the Belvidera Sloop

Report survey of [...] BelvideraOrdered him to sell her at Outcry, and that the Report be Entered after this Consultation

Java sugar not to be hadThe Buxey informs the Board that upon sending to the Owner of the Java Sugar to weigh off the Quantity We had ordered him to purchase, he found it had been all sold at 16 Rs P Bagg, which we were endeavouring to [Page 668] Reduce the price

Fool Sugar 3000 Baggs purchasedUpon We agreed to purchase 3000 Baggs of Fool Sugar offered us at 15„4 AK. P Bagg and Ordered the Buxey to weigh off and lade them on board the Winchelsea and Montford 1500 Bagg on each ship

Justices Allowance paidThe Justices send in their Bill for Allowances due to them and their Peons for Cotton thus amo: to Ck. 691„10„ , Agreed the President do pay the same out of the Cash

Int Notes Cancelled and ReceivedCancelled and Renewed an Interest Note to Ramchum dated the 26th Octr. 1752 for Rs 1844„ 3„ 9
Int 1 rf .. .. .. 165„15„ 6
2010„ 3„ 3

Duty on Rice settledThe very great scarcity and dearness of Grain for some seasons past having reduced our Inhabitants to the severest distress and misery occassioned our Resolution some few Days since not to sell the Rice Farm or Gunge at Publick Outcry but reserve it in the Company's Hands, and attempt some method of Relieving the Necessity of the Poor and Collecting this branch of the Revenues for the ensueing season.

On account to the Consultations We find on a scacity of Grain in 1732 and 1734 The farm of the Gunge being then in the Company's Hands. The President & Council granted an Import of Grain free of all Duty during the time of scarcity, collecting the Duty again as Grain grew more plenty. But as this indulgence may be perniciously perverted by the Dealers in Rice and in the end no way relieve the Consumer.

Agreed that in future all Grain be landed solely at the Gunge imported from Bakergunge and Doolea and that a Duty of 4 PCent be Collected on the Imports and 8 PCent on Exports prohibiting any Exportation unless the Current price of Rice at the Gunge be 1 Maund for a Rupee.

The quantity of the Rice brought to the Gunge annually is estimated at 400,000 Maunds Wherefore We [Page 669] hope the Import now laid will not only relieve the necessities of our Inhabitation but also prevent any material dimunition in the Revenues from what the Gunge has on a Medium sold for; tho' should a Loss ensue, the regulation now made may be either altered or amended as Circumstances present. And we presume over the Honble Masters (who have repeatedly and strenously directed our relieving the poor Inhabitants to the utmost of our power; treating them with lenity and Justice) will rather approve our Conduct in this Instance than enhance their Revenues by the misery and distress of the most useful parts of our Inhabitants the Industrious Poor. The Nabob We are informed on Account of the scarcity of Grain has taken off the Dutys for importing the same to Muxadavad as well as prohibited the Chokeys collecting any from Boats Round thither.

Mr Holwell begs leave to observe, that the Rice for common Consumption is now something above 35 Sk. P Rupee which added to the Reasons set forth in his Letter to the Board the 29 Octr. he humbly hopes will vindicate his Dissenting against any Reduction or Innovation made in the Dutys in Grain commonly Leveyed at the Gunge as a useless injury done to the Honble Company's Revenues.

Mr Eyre likewise begs leave to dissent from the resolutions of the Board in reducing the Dutys of Grain at the present Juncture as the price of Grain is now such as cannot be called a scarcity and therefore make the Innovation now agreed in his Opinion very useless.

Int notes granted by transfersCancelled an Interest Note to the Messrs: Eyles and Orme account the Estate of Andrew Glin dated the 26th of Octr. 1752 Rs 16300„ 14„ 9
Int 1 Y .. .. .. 1467„ 1„ 3
17768 „ „ „ „ [Page 670] and Granted the following Int. Notes for that sum

To Messrs: Manningham & Frankland dated the 26th October 1753 ….….….….…. 1467„ 1„ 3

To Messrs: Eyles and Orme … Do … 16300„14„ 9
17768. „ „ .

DoGranted an Int. Note to Mr Thomas Cooke Account the Estate of Mrs. Grace Craddock dated the 2nd Novr. 1753 for Rs 21849. 15. 3 a note to Mi Geo: Gray Executor of Capt. West Account the Estate of Grace Craddock being cancelled to make Good that sum dated the 8 Novr. 1752 Rs 20045„ 13„ 3
Int 1 Y ….….…. 1804. 2
21849. 15. 3

Goods clear'd by transferOrdered the WHKr. to clear Goods bought at Outcry to the amount of Cks. 18603„ 3„ 3 the following Accos. being Debited for the Amount Vizt.

Raddadutt … … … … .. 1783. 9. 6
Petumbersead … … … . 1674. 6. 6
Radachurnmetre … … .. 1345. 3. 6
Bindalundseat … … 13800. „. „
18603. 3. 3

The EWHKr. lays before the Board sundry Letters recd from the Aurungs which being read and Considerd Agreed he made the following Replys

To Santipore. That they must not be wanting in their Endeavours to provide good Cloth. That the midling Mulmulls they have purchased proves a bad sortment, for which reason they must avoid providing such bad Cloth for the future and that they must be very vililant in all their affairs.

To Burron. That they must make what dispatch they can with the Cloth that is ready, and use their utmost diligence to provide the whole of their Indent, for which purpose We now send 20000 Mks. That We took Notice of the quarrels between the Gomastah and his Deputy, and of the frauds alledged against the Latter be sufficiently proved, we shall make him pay very dear for it; and if the head Gomastah is very certain of it, We direct him to discharge the Writer and put another in his Place.

[Page 671]

To Doonecolly. That they must make what dispatch they can with their Cloth. That We have looked over the 9 ps. new Masters and approve of the Charconnah Romals and [...] Dooreas which two sortments they must provide what they can of. That as our Gomastah as Harry all will not be able to provide the Amount of our Orders must desire them to use their Industry towards providing the following sortments of Cloth vizt. Dooreas, Shaw doparty Romals, Ballasory Romals, [...]

Roger Drake [...]
W Cruttenden
C Manningham
Rich. Becker
W F Frankland.
M. Collet.
W. Mackwett
Edward Eyre.
J L Holwell
This is a selection from the original text


bazar, grain, market, relief, scarcity

Source text

Title: Letters from Roger Drake

Author: Roger Drake

Original date(s) covered: 1753

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from manuscripts at the National Archives of India. Original date(s) covered: 1753

Digital edition

Original author(s): Roger Drake

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 629 to 631
  • 2 ) pages 667 to 671


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 > national archives

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