FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT:
RUNGPORE / RANGPUR, 1770
|D.N. Banerjee, "Early Land Revenue System in Bengal and Bihar" (vol. 1, 1936)|
|p75 (letter from the Select Committee in Calcutta to Richard Becher, Resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 10 Dec 1769, approving his plan for the initial deployment of Revenue Supravisors. Details for each district are listed, including): "Rungpore- Edrakpore, Baharbund, Rangamatty, etc.- Mr. Grose [current revenue] Rs. 923052-5-2-3|
Jehanguirpoor and Dinagepoor- Mr. Vansittart [current revenue] Rs. 2038900-13-15-2"
[There was one point which would later prove problematic: Becher asked that the new Supravisors should, at first, act merely as observers, rather than attempting to exert any power. The Select Committee accepted this stipulation, but seemingly omitted to mention it to the appointed Supravisors. In practice, as we shall see, power was essential even to make observation possible.]
|Walter K. Firminger (ed.) "Bengal District Records: Rangpur" (vol. i, 1914)|
|[Firminger provides a substantial selection from the correspondence of John Grose, born 28 Dec 1744, Revenue Supravisor in Rangpore district from April 1770 to April 1771. Grose came out to India in 1763 (on arrival, he was surprised to be issued with a military uniform, including a 'Brown Bess' musket, as he reported on 17 October in a letter to his family), and made the standard journey through the Company ranks in Bengal.]|
[The Famine and Dearth website (not always online) has a further selection of letters from and to Company Supravisors around Bengal, including John Grose.]
[Large numbers are presented in Indian style as Crores and Laaks, rather than Millions and Thousands.]
[The Famine and Dearth web-page has a transcript of a letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, dated 24 Apr 1770, apparently the first he wrote after arriving at Rungpore. In it he reports that the town is home to a number of Pykes, who are not paid by any authority, but obtain what they need from the local population. Also, he has been informed that some locals are hoarding large quantities of grain, which may cause serious problems if rain does not fall very soon. Finally, it has been reported from Dinagepore that hundreds of Sannyasis and Fakirs are in the area.
- also Grose's letter to Becher dated 24 May, forwarding information from Lieut. Charles Nairn about "general confusion" he has found at Rangamatty]
p2 (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 1 Jun 1770): "... By the tenor of the instructions, which you furnished me with, I was led to imagine that the business of the collections was to have been under my control, and I flatter myself that you will order it so after the commencement of the ensuing season. My being invested with such authority would, I am persuaded, be a means of preventing many abuses, and without it I should be much embarrassed even in the cognizance of judicial matters, as most of the complaints, which are made, have a connection with the revenue, sufficient to involve me in disputse with the Aumil, if he is thus to be independent of me.
Enclosed I have the pleasure to transmit you the following accounts of the collections of this Province [omitted from printed transcript] ...
As the Aumil is now at the City [Murshidabad], he will be able to answer to such parts as you may think necessary to question him concerning. I should have sooner sent you down these accounts, had I not met with the greatest difficulty in procuring them from the people here, who had not a single account prepared on my arrival, and who, owing to their want of regularity in keeping them, gave me great trouble before I could get them properly digested.
Having received another letter from Lieutenant Nairn at Rangamatty, giving an account of the situation of affairs there, you will also receive it enclosed."
pp3-4 (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 15 Jun 1770): "... Agreeable to your orders I have directed Lieutenant Nairn by no means to make use of violent measures in his endeavours to settle the commotion at Rangamatty ...
In consequence of the representations which have been made to me, by my people at Govingunge of the state of affairs at that place, and being [words omitted from printed transcript] collect and remit him large sums of money, I thought it most expedient to send Mr. Robertson to make a full enquiry into these matters, and by being on the spot, to prevent, further abuses and oppressions, I should have gone there myself, but found my presence more necessary here ...
Accompanying you will receive an account bundabust and account collections of Baharbund for the year 1776 [recte 1176, Bengal calendar], the account collections Rs. 1,71,335-11-9-3, you will perceive far exceeds the rate at which it is formed Rs. 1,19,702: Ram kant, the original farmer, let it to Davy Charan at Rs. 10,000 advance, who sent his brother Durga Charan to make the collections. This man has ransacked the country in such a manner, that the poor ryotts were forced to sell even their ploughs and bullocks to answer his exorbitant demands, and many have nothing left to assist them in tilling their grounds at this time, when they would be glad to take the advantage of the season. No less than 1,000 of the ryotts have come to complain of the great severities they have met with, and it was with no small difficulty I could prevent their going at this season of the year, and their being absent so long from their home, would be the means of preventing those who are able, from embracing so favourable an opportunity for cultivation. I at last persuaded them to return, but with promises, that I would acquaint you with the particulars of their grievances.
At the time that Baharbund was farmed by Ram Kant, I do not imagine that it was intended he would be allowed to sell it to another, at an advanced rate, as the purchaser, must of course raise the rents on the poor ryots in order to allow himself a profit, and which he has done at a time, when lenity ought to have been shewn them on account of the unfavourableness of the season, instead of which, he seemed to have nothing else in view, but the making his fortune as the expense of the Government, the country and the poor ryots, which very plainly appears by the extortions he was guilty of by the accounts already received; more I doubt not would be made appear upon a strict scrutiny. Ram Kant, I should imagine, has forfeited all title to the remaining two years of the farm, by such behaviour, which he seems conscious of himself, and is not very desirous of continuing it, having frequently offered to deliver it up: upon hearing the many complaints that were made against him should it be thought proper to continue it in his hands, I am much afraid it will be a great injury to the country, as all the ryots to a man declare, they will run away, sooner than be again subjected to such hardships as they have already undergone. ..."
pp iv-vi (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 20 Jun 1770 [probably; the month is mistakenly given as April in the printed transcript, but this seems to be a revision of a letter he wrote on 19 June, seen on the Famine and Dearth site]): "... The Bundebust I informed you was 9,17,250 [Narrainy Rupees] of which only 6,32,797 were remitted to the City, [Footnote: "i.e. Murshidabad."] so that a Ballance remained of 2,84,453 sunk under the heads of Charges and Deductions Accot. Drought which I at the same time observed was very considerable, and informed you that as the Zemindars had petitioned me to settle a Bundebust I doubt not but I could add 1 Laak Rupees to the next revenues, without interfering in the least with the preceding years. A certain it is, that so great an addition to 6,00,000 carries with it a very flattering prospect, more especially as it was meant to be saved by preventing abuses and curtailing many heavy and unnecessary charges, and I flatter myself that you will allow by the foregoing account, my hopes were not ill-grounded, as you may be assured I should be very cautious how I made such an assertion, before I saw a probability of making it good; for after that addition you will observe there will be 1,84,453 left for Charges, which will be more than sufficient for that purpose especially if the aumil was to be allowed a certain monthly salary in lieu of Commission and Seabundy which I then proposed, and even were these to be continued, I should not despair of being able to fulfill the promise, tho' last year these articles amounted to no less than 5,20,000.
That 10,10,000 were collected in the Moffussul last season is certain, but this sum was never received into the Sudder Cutchery: if it had, it must have been brought to account. However the poor Ryots who are the people who should receive every encouragement, especially in such hard times, benefited nothing by the allowance, made account the Drought; on the contrary, it was of prejudice to them, as the Zemindars and Farmers who were first excused the sum of 1,49,000 collected that amount from them as well as 92,000 which Mahomed Hussein put on under the head of Mahtoot account that deduction, not that I believe he, the aumil received any part of this, only the Zemindars and creatures of Government employed in the collections, I can imagine to have been concerned. The account of what was forgiven, as well as the Mahtoot, is fully particularized in the statement I transmitted you. Tho' this sum was last year collected from the Ryotts, I am of opinion, it is more than they at present can well afford to have excluded in the stipulation of this year, and that the Bundebust they petitioned me to settle is the most equitable.
... The aumil of this place has as yet given me no particular cause of complaint and tho' I am apt to imagine Mahsook may probably take this opportunity, in my not being able to reside on the spot, to continue his former malpractices. The Ryotts there have already suffered such oppressions, that owing to the numbers that have absconded and dyed, very few are now left to cultivate the grounds, and these greatly discontented: no less than one hundred arrived here two nights ago with a very heavy complaint against Gour Mohun the Aumil's Dewan for exactions. I have got them to go back, but with much difficulty, tho' I promised their complaints should be fully enquired into, when the height of the collections was over. I have wrote the Aumil on the subject desiring him to take the necessary measures to prevent a repetition of such arts ...
When Deby Chund, the late renter of Bahirbund, arrives your orders regarding him shall be put in execution, as far as the season will admit of: as the person who is to be intrusted with the collection of that district this year, will receive such a warning from you, I hope it will be the means of preventing the like oppressions.
Tho' such precautions have been taken for preventing Zemindars from harbouring Dekoits, they are yet extremely troublesome, not confining themselves to theft alone, but commit numberless murders. Owing to the great depredations they daily make in every part, what few seapoys are allowed for this District are employed against them, except a very small party that is kept for a guard here. Having received information two days ago of the route taking by Rehmat and Doulut, two of the most noted Dekoits in the country, we were for want of Seapoys forced to send Pykes under the Command of a Serdar. When these people approached, the Dekoits surrounded them, cut the Serdar and two of the Pykes to pieces, and committed other acts of cruelty, when they run off into that part of Radshai adjoining to this District, which I find is a great receptacle for those people and that they receive the same encouragement as they do here, and by flying from one District to another when they cannot be followed with a particular Perwannah they make their escape. While the Zemindars find it their interest to encourage these people, Muchalkas [bonds for good behaviour], I am afraid, you have taken will not prevent their continuing these hurtful practices. However they may prove of some service, if you think proper to charge me with them, as I may very soon have occasion to all on some of them on this score. If a proper number of Seapoys could be posted in every pergunnah, I doubt not of our being able to take or extirpate these lawless plunders from the face of the country. To effect this desirable end, an addition of two or three companies is absolutely necessary. Could such a number be sent, I should hope not long to have cause to make such complaints. Another advantage that would attend having an additional force, is that as this province being a frontier, we should be ready to receive the Sinasses [i.e. Sannyasis] or any other vagabond plunderers, that may make an inroad into this country- which is not improbable considering the success the Sinasses met with last year, which gives many people here reason to imagine, they will make another effort of this kind. ..."
pp6-7 (letter from George Robertson, assistant Supravisor, at Govingunge, to John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, 19 Jun 1770): "On my arrival at this place, finding it in vain to attempt getting the accounts from the people left here, and, having no other alternative, I resolved to procure some of the Putwaries' papers, and as complaint was made to me by the Raja's people that the taluk of Rampore, which was a kind of settlement made many years ago for the support of the Raja's wife, had been taken by the Aumil, and a writing forced from the Raja, making the same over to him, I judge this the most proper place to begin procuring these acounts from; the more particularly, as information was at the same time lodged, importing that little more than one-third of the real amount collected was brought to account, I have only been able to procure the accounts of one village ... my intentions have been frustrated by the abilities and foresight of the Aumil and Ram Sankar, the Raja's Dewan, their scheme to prevent your attaining any knowledge of the country, or the real value thereof, was so deeply laid, that even the very Mundals of the villages who transacted the business of the former year have been dismissed from their employments, their papers taken from them, and either secreted or destroyed, and they themselves to prevent our receiving any verbal information sent out of the way. Enclosed I transmit you an account of several sums of money, etc., said to have been extorted by the Aumil and his Dewan Gour Mohan, there is likewise a balance due account his taluk, which the Raja's Naib informs me he refused paying, it amounts to Rs. 3,263-12-3-3, you will likewise herewith receive the jumma kharutch [Footnote: "Jama kharch"] for 1769, which in consequence of the measures I had taken, has been delivered me, you will find it not only false, but foolish, as they have at the same time agreed to furnish me with a Hustabood for a far more considerable amount than is there noticed ...
Sitaram, the Raja's Naib, informs me that in ten days he will have ten thousand rupees ready to forward to the City, there is no bundabust yet made and it is no small hardship on the poor ryots to begin and continue paying when he is utterly unacquainted with the demands he is liable to have made upon him."
pp5-6 (letter from John Grose, Supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 23 Jun 1770): [referring to Robertson's letter of 19 Jun, a copy of which he enclosed]"... As the Putwaries' or Mundals' papers are the only true accounts extant in the country, and as by procuring these, every knowledge not only of the real value of the country, but even of the most minute oppressions the poor ryots have for a series of years laboured under, will be attained, and as in these are contained, not only the true sums collected from the country, but an exact measurement of all lands, I therefore think them truly requisite, and useful, and must request, as I find every means used, and every art tried, to secret them, that directions be issued to the different districts under me for the immediate delivery of those papers for the year 1176 [Bengal calendar]. My obtaining these accounts, which are now settled and put by, cannot be attended with any detriment to the collections of the present year. It will indeed be disgusting to the Aumils, and other persons, who have for a series of years cheated the Government and preyed on the poor ryots ...
There are numbers of taluks and jaghirs in the districts of Govingunge, many of which are improperly obtained; and as the whole have, as is said, greatly exceeded their original grants, these I think, ought to be called for, and if upon enquiry, it appears that a resumption must ensue, this will not only greatly increase the revenues, but be of much service to the country in general. It will then, not be in the power of the holders of these to entice the ryots from other parts, which has hitherto been an universal and pernicious custom, and in consequence thereof, there are now very large tracts of lands entirely depopulated and run into jungles.
One Hussain Reza Cawn, who formerly received an allowance of Rs. 3,300 from Govingunge, obtained a jaghir named Lolbarry for that amount from the Raja, which he has now exceeded about Rs. 6,000. Upon complaint being made by Sitaram, the Raja's Naib, Mr. Robertson sent for him to answer thereto. Hussain Reza Cawn, being at Muxadabad, his agent on the spot refused to obey the summons, alleging, that he was answerable to none, but Mahomed Reza Cawn, as I think this a great insult on my authority, I have thought proper to send for him to reprehend him for such behaviour and to prove Hussain Reza Cawn's right to the Jaghir he now holds. ...
P.S.- The above Lolbarry is, I am informed, a nuisance to the country, being a respectable for thieves in so much, that people have been forced to take another road though that was formerly the proper one, for fear of being murdered or robbed."
[The Famine and Dearth web-page has a transcript of Grose's letter to Becher dated 7 Jul, reporting that he has sent 10,000 Rupees collected in Govindgunge directly to Murshidabad, with a guard of sepoys, minus the amount required to pay three months' arrears to the sepoys at Rangamatty]
pp7-9 (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 14 Jul 1770): "I have received your comands of the 30th ultimo by which I am extremely concerned to find the districts lately put under my inspection, now left to the entire management of men, who can have no other motive to regulate their conduct but self-interest, and that I am not allowed the least shadow of influence, but in a manner obliged to suffer these people to continue their former malpractices, without daring to restrain them. ... I was led to imagine that the intention of my appointment was to prevent these abuses which have been so long, and loudly complained of, many of which I have pointed out to you in my several letters from hence, but I have reason to believe from what Mr. Vansittart informs me, concerning my letters not having gone by the way Dinagepore, that my correspondence is intercepted by the intrigues, and chicaneries of some persons, yet unknown ...
But what effects me most is my being entirely debarred of rendering that service to my Hon'ble Employers, intended by my appointment, which I had much at heart; I now doubt much of being able to screen those, who have through promises of protection aforded me the little insight, I have acquired of those districts, which I was once deemed worthy of inspecting, but the disgrace will not fall on me alone, though it will be particularly grievous to me on the spot, as it must appear that my intentions were good, and that it is not want of will but want of the means that prevents my giving them the countenance, I think, they merit. You desire that I will permit the Aumils to carry on their business without interruption, or giving them cause to complain, by which, I imagine that some complaints have already been preferred against me, which I should be glad to have an opportunity of answering to publicly. Am I then, Sir, to shut my eyes at their squandering, and sequestering the Company's money? Am I quietly to stand by and see them commit the vilest acts of oppression, without being able to render the aggrieved redress- a hard case indeed on the poor ryots, who must not look to me with hopes of having their cause enquired into, till such time as the Aumils, zemindars and other creatures of Government have enriched themselves at the expense, nay even their ruin ...
You mention that Bengal of late years has suffered much by the oppressive measures of English gomastahs. It is true there has been too great cause of complaint against them; however, Sir, that is not what has hurt the country so much, as the oppressions committed by the several persons employed in the collections. These are the people who have done such manifest injury and who have always made a plea of the ill-behaviour of the English gomastah, by way of cloak to cover their own infamous practices ...
Modongopal was sent up, in character of Aumil the beginning of last year and made use of such violent and oppressive measures that his stay was but short, and Mahomed Hussain, the present Aumil appointed in his room who has often declared to me, that at the time of his receiving such appointment, he was ignorant of the nature of making the collections here, which is sufficiently proved by his conduct since his taking upon him the charge. It will, I hope, be needless to say anything regarding Masook, the late Aumil at Govingunge, as in former letters I have set forth his thefts and oppressive measures, sufficiently, to prove his worthlessness with regard to the trust reposed in him, yet I make no doubt of his being able to settle matters with the country government, and I should not be surprised at seeing him come back in his former station, notwithstanding what has, and what is, daily coming out against him. ...
You give as a reason for not entrusting me with a controlling power in making this year's collections, the little opportunity I have had of acquiring knowledge of that branch: at the same time you deprive me of every means of obtaining any ... The late calamity of drought, is also urged as an argument. You cannot have recollected, Sir, that I informed you this district has not laboured under the same hardships as the other parts of Bengal, for soon after my arrival, I acquainted you of its being in a flourishing state, and that the zemindars had petitioned me to settle a bundabust with them the same as last year, being Rs. 9,17,250. At the same time I observed to you that Rs. 1,49,292 were put down as allowed for deficiencies on account of drought, and only Rs. 6,32,797 were remitted to the City, so that Rs. 2,84,453 were entirely sunk under the heads of charges and deductions. I now acquaint you, Sir, that not only the sum of Rs. 1,49,292 was collected in the mofussil, but an additional sum of Rs. 92,752 under the head of Mahtoot, [Footnote: "Mathaut, an occasional cess imposed upon the cultivators for some special purpose."] so that last year no less than Rs. 10,10,003 were collected from the ryots, by which means there still remains a balance of Rs. 2,42,065 as yet unaccounted for, the charges amounting to no more than Rs. 1,35,141, which makes up the sum of Rs. 3,77,206, and very plainly appears, after deducting the amount remitted to the City from the sum collected here. ...
P.S.- Accompanying you will receive duplicates of such letters as I imagine have not reached you ..."
[The despairing fury of this letter makes it, I think, one of the key documents in understanding the relationship between Britain and India.]
pp10-11 (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 21 Jul 1770): "Since writing to you under date the 14th, I have been favoured with your letter of the 4th, by which I am extremely happy to find my proceedings have proved so much to your satisfaction. ...
I shall comply with your directions in regard to the Aumils, though from the natural genius of the people, and the great power they art invested with, little atention can be excepted [sic in printed transcript] will be paid to measure the most salutary, which I may think it incumbent on me to recommend, where they are, as must always be tha case, incompatible with their own immediate advantage, particularly from Masook, who, at a time when I was invested with power, put me at defiance, laughed at my attempts to get a knowledge of the country, and even took such steps as rendered my measures for a long time ineffectual, and I am not without apprehension, as heavy complaints have already been made against him, that people will be affraid to remain under his jurisdiction, great numbers during his late administration having left the country, in so much that there are large tacts of land totally deserted, which must consequently run into jungle.
In consequence of your formal orders not to send into the mofussil for the necessary papers, I only demanded of the Zemindars a list, with the rates of the ezarees in their several purgannahs, as I knew they were so easily to be obtained, and without interfering the least with the collections, to which they all readily complied, except the zemindars of Boda and Bycuntopore, who in manner deny our authority, alledging they are answerable to the Cooch Behar Raja for their proceedings, another reason they give for not complying with my orders, is that, it has never been heretofore customary, which is true as they have always been able to buy themselves off with the several Aumils who have been sent ...
I informed you in a former letter of Boolchand Buru being arrived at Rungpore, he shall be sent down to the City under charge of Lieutenant Nairn, as soon as that gentleman is sufficiently recovered, so as to be able to proceed. ... This man asserts, that when he went up last, masook sent up a company of sepoys with him, and told him there were two hundred barkandazes already there, and gave him particular directions to raise three hundred more for the security of the country, as they pretended, though from Boolchand's proceesings, a quite contrary plan appears to have been adopted as they have done considerable damage throughout the whole country thereabouts, by their plundering, which they were forced to do for their own support, as they were not allowed any pay. In regard to his firing on Lieutenant Nairn's party he can give no other answer, but that it was his fault.
I find there are laying at Rangamatty some hundred pieces of brass cannon of different sizes. I should imagine that in that remote part of the country they can be of no use, and in case of troubles may be of dis-service. I apprehend that sending them to the Presidency would be very proper, I shall therefore wait your orders on that head.
Hearing there are four Frenchmen settled at Goorigong, a village beonging to Baharbund, Ram Kant's ezara, I think it my duty to acquaint you particularly, as they are purchasing quantities of grain which if not put a stop to, may be the means of distressing that province again.
As you have only acknowledged the receipt of my letters of 1st and 23rd ultimo, I find that those I wrote you under dates 15th and 18th have miscarried, which gives me the greatest reason to imagine Ram Kant, the late Dewan, here to be concerned in the making away with, or retarding them at that critical juncture, as it was just before the time of his departure from hence, and he will know, that I had been preparing accounts concerning the voilent [sic in printed transcript] oppressions committed at Baharbund, by the person to whom he had farmed it, and as Mr. Vansittart informs me, that none of those letters which you have lately received went by way of Dinagepore, though positive orders were given for that purpose, I am confirmed in my suspicion, as there are no less than three successive daks now missing, which not only contained letters of very material consequence to you, concerning the present state of this province, but many private letters of moment, which I find have not been received in Calcutta. I must therefore beg the favour of your assistance to find out those who may have been concerned in this act.
[The Famine and Dearth web-page has a transcript of Grose's letter to Becher dated 7 Aug, advising that heavy rain has spoiled the paddy crop which was almost ready for harvest, causing serious price rises, of which the merchants are taking advantage, while some French, Armenian and other dealers have been buying up rice from Cooch Behar, traditionally Rungpore's source of secondary supplies.]
p viii (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 20 Aug 1770): "Under charge of Sergeant Major Koller, I now send you Batchand Buswa and Collan Sing Subadar, who commanded his troops and was a very active man in the engagement against Lieut. Nairne. Agreeable to your desire I should have sent these people sooner, but waited for the departure of Lieut. Nairne, who I was in hopes would have been able long ere this to have sett off for City, which he has been prevented from by a very severe fit of illness ever since his arrival from Rangamatty. He is at present in a very indifferent state. However as change of air was recommended as most necessary for his recovery, he set off yesterday for Dinagepore in his way down. Should you want to receive any further information concerning the behaviour of Batchand, that gentleman is best able to furnish you with it, as he was witness to many of his bad actions."
pp vi-vii (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 30 Aug 1770): "I have been favor'd with your letter of the 13th inst. ordering me to withdraw my people from Edrakpore and to desist from taking any accounts, in consequence of the Aumil's representation that it prevents him from making the collections. As the Accts, at the Sudder Cutchery are annually settled and laid by and only referred to at times for a guide to those who may have charges of the District, I could not think my people taking copies of these papers for my instruction, could be the means of obstructing the collections in the Moffussul. I therefore hope, that the falsity of the above assertion will appear obvious to you. This man has, ever since my arrival here, endeavor'd to thwart me in all my measures, and his complaint is now, not so much founded on a desire of forwarding the collections, as with a view of preventing me from gaining that knowledge which is so absolutely necessary I should have of that District, as well as every other under my charge. ... When you consider the repeated representations I have been found to make against this man, for the oppression he has been guilty of, and for the slighting manner, in which he has treated me throughout, the removal of my people will I think be attended with bad consequences, for when he finds there is no kind of check upon his actions, he will probably continue his old course, and take an opportunity of making a severe example of those who have dared to complain against them- these people finding so little dependance is to be placed in our words must sufer the like oppressions as they have hitherto done. For these reasons I have postponed calling my people from thence, in hopes of your permission for them to continue on the footing they now are."
pp vii-viii (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 1 Sep 1770): "Having received information that a party of Seapoys were committing great outrages in the Govind Gunge District, orders were sent to a havildar belonging to Capt. Mackenzie's Battalion stationed at that place to apprenehd and bring them here, which he accordingly did, but with much difficulty. Upon enquiry I find these people have long infested the country, and some time ago entered into the private service of Mansook the aumil, who was going to despatch them as they say to Rangamatty. As by your orders all Seapoys in these Districts are under the command of Capt. Mackenzie, I cannot help thinking but this man has some private view in entertaining these people in his service, without either acquainting that gentleman or me, as I should imagine was his duty, and his wanting to send them to Rangamatty only seems to confirm me in this opinion.
It is well known that this aumil has before entertained a large force at that place, the people who composed which receiving no pay, were forced to pillage the country for their maintenance, to which may be attributed the chief cause of the late disturbances there- besides Seapoys who are allowed to range the country in their manner under no country or regulation, embibe a false notion that the Coat and Muskit which they carry are a perwannah for committing such acts of violence as best suit their purpose, and consequently they omit no opportunity of plundering the poor people, and are in fact much worse than the Dekoits, who are now so great a pest to this country.
The party apprehended is composed of two Subbadars, two Jemardars, one of which stiles himself an adjutant, one havildar, one nasik and 4 Seapoys. I have thought proper to despatch them to you, that you may enquire further of them concerning their late behaviour. We made some enquiry here during which they equivocated to a great degree. However at last they were brought to confess the truth that they were employed by Maisook [sic] on his own private account. The person who attends them is the Havildar who apprehended them, and can give you some account of their ill behaviour, as well as of Maisook's, who threw every obstacle in his way to prevent their being apprehended."
p ix (letter from John Grose, supravisor in Rungpore, to Richard Becher, resident at the Durbar in Murshidabad, 13 Sep 1770): "... Having rec'd information that some straggling seapoys are commiting great outrages at Chilmary in the Baharbund District, Capt. Mackenzie's commandant was sent with four seapoys, who were all we had in the Mofussul of the two companies station'd here, to apprehend them. They were only able to secure a subudar and eight seapoys with 3 tom-toms, the others having made their escape. Upon enquiry of the Soubahdar what was their business at Chilmary, he inform'd me they were in quest of service, that they formerly belonged to the Nabob but had been discharged. As there are the people who do so much mischief to the country, I have sent them down under charge of Pulwan Sing Havildar with the other seapoys mentioned in my letter of the 1st instant. ...
As repeated complaints have been preferr'd against Mahrook and others employed in the collections of Gory Gaut, for exactions, and as at this season of the year a great stop would be put to the cultivation as well as to the collections by such large bodies of ryots continually coming over to complain, I think my presence there necessary. I shall therefore, set off to-morrow, when I shall use every means to ascertain the truth of these acusations and shall take such measures as may be necessary to prevent the total desertion of the inhabitants, which is much to be feared if a speedy stop is not put to the present proceedings at that place."
|W.W. Hunter, "Annals Of Rural Bengal" (vol. 1, 6th ed., 1883)|
|p410 (summary of letter from the Supravisor of Rungpore to the Provincial Council at Moorshidabad, 26 Sep 1770): "The distress of the poor continues very great. A number of miserable objects daily apply for relief. Five rupees' worth of rice are daily distributed amongst the most needy. Ten rupees' worth had been previously distributed.|
[Response:] The Provincial Council sanctions this expenditure."
|Walter K. Firminger (ed.) "Bengal District Records: Rangpur" (vol. i, 1914)|
|p i (letter from H. Cottrell at Dinagepore to Samuel Middleton, Council of Revenue, 16 May 1771): "The sickness and death of my friend and neighbour, Mr. Grose, at Rungpore, has induced me to trouble you with a request that you will be so good as to use your interest with the Honourable President and Council that a Surgeon may be appointed to this station ..."|
|N.K. Sinha, "The Economic History of Bengal" (vol. 1, 1956)|
|pp101-2 (the evolution of the function of banians in the 18th century): "The young writer landed in Bengal without money but eager to acquire a fortune as quickly as possible. The banian took possession of him, got from him the ticket of an Englishman's name, the power which it conferred and in return supplied him the money he needed. In the case of Radhakisore Roy vs. Executors of John Grose deceased, supervisor at Rangpur in 1772, we find that the banian had made an advance upwards of 50,000 rupees for which there was no bond. ..."|