FAMINES IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT, 1500 to 1767
|1743 [continued from 1742 scarcity b]: east Tamil Nadu|
|Documented causes: drought + Maratha activity|
|Documented effects: collapse of cotton trade|
|1743: Fort St. George "Diary and Consultation Book, 1743" (1931)|
|p82 (consultation of 25 Apr 1743): [summary of letter from Fort St. David, 19 Apr] "... urging the frequent Motions of the Army as an Impediment to their Investment, and the Cause that Grain begins to grow scarce about them …" [the Army would apparently be that of Nizam ul-Mulk, then probably the most powerful man in India, who was at that time camped near Trichinopoly (modern Tiruchirappalli) about 150km south-west of Fort St. David]|
p98 (consultation of 19 May 1743): [petition of farmers of Betel and Tobacco duties for a rent reduction on their cowle (lease)] "... what had most sensibly affected them was the high Rates they have been obliged to pay for Beetle and Tobacco since they have had the Farm, owing partly to a long drought, but principally to the Rents being raised in the Country [i.e. beyond the Company's estate], which consequently affects the Produce and falls ultimately upon the Consumer; Adding that we knew very well they were limitted in the prices and obliged to supply the Town at certain Rates, but which they could no longer comply with under the difficulties they laboured at present.
The Farmers being ordered to withdraw the Board consider'd the difficulty we had in engaging them to take the Cowle, that is to say at the present Rate; That though there is a Power to revoke the Cowle, there is no Clause that obliges them to keep it to the full end of Five Years, it being always as we suppose intended they should gain a profit answerable for their trouble, which would be a sufficient obligation on their part to keep it. Upon the whole the Board were of opinion that if we could agree with them to hold on the Cowle to the end of the Term, in consideration of some abatement, it would be more for the Company's Interest than to have it flung upon our Hands, as we dispair in the present Circumstances of the Country of being able to get any Others who will give the present Rent for it."
p119 (consultation of 27 Jun 1743): [on receipt of a payment toward arrears of rent on gardens leased from the Company] "The President added, that on observing the Renters to be so many Payments behind, he had pressed them so much for the Money that in order to raise it, they had been obliged to sell their Houses, and therefore when they brought him the Money, they brought him at the same time tbe Cowle, protesting they could not hold it any longer without going into Goal for the next year's Rent; owing as they said to the great drought there has been for some years, and that the Wells in the Garden are turned salt. As the Renters are ruined the Board beleived it would be to little purpose to insist upon their keeping the Garden, to the end of the Term, and therefore Ordered that Notice be given at the Sea Gate for the sale of a new Term of Five years at Out Cry."
|1743: H.Dodwell (ed.) "A Calendar Of The Madras Records 1740-1744" (1917)|
|p358 (summary of report from Madras to the Company in London, 27 Jan 1743): "The unsettled state of the country is a great damp to trade; but broadcloth is selling better. ... cotton is very dear, famine imminent and the Government unsettled, but the French are short of money. Have rejected much bad cloth."|
p393 (summary of report from Madras to the Company in London, 19 Sep 1743): "... dearness of cotton, famine and troubles caused by the presence of Nizam-ul-Mulk's army of 300,000 men have been great obstacles. ... After 5 months' siege, Nizam took Trichinopoly. His large army 'sets heavy on these parts.' "
p416 (summary of report from Madras to the Company in London, 16 Jan 1744): "Tax gatherers 'set heavy on the people.' Trade is low and there is little credit. Famine was averted by imports by sea, and there have since been good rains."
|1744: Fort St. George "Diary and Consultation Book, 1744" (1931)|
|p174 (consultation of 12 Sep 1744): "The Head Washers attending pursuant to order of last Consultation, and the Board demanding the reasons of their Slowness in Curing the Hon'ble Company's Cloths, they delivered in a Petition ... urging in their excuse the great increase in the prices of several of the Materials necessary to their business and that without some Addition to the prices at present Allow'd them, they cannot support their Families by their labour & pay a sufficient Number of Cooleys for carrying on their Work, praying therefore an increase of Ten fanams Pr. Corge on the Ordinary & Middling Long Cloths & in proportion on the Salampores. To the said Petition they also Annexed a state of prices at present allowed them on the several Sorts of Goods they Wash for the Company with a Computation of the difference between the Actual Cost of Washing a Corge of Ord'ry Long Cloth formerly and at present by which last it appears that they are really Sufferers by washing the Ordinary Long Cloths.|
The Board having considered the matter of the Washers petition & being convinced of the truth of what they alledge about the encrease in the prices of their Materials: Considering also of what consequence it is at this juncture to get as much Cloth as possible cured for the Ships expected from the Bay in December and that if the remains of these People are not enabled to Support themselves by their labour at this business they must betake themselves to Tillage or some other employ, as many of them have already done; It was at length agreed not to make any Alteration in the present rates for the Finer Sorts of Goods; But to allow them One Pagoda twenty seven fanams Pr. Corge, for the Ordinary and Middling Long Cloths and thirty fanams Pr. Corge for the Ordinary & Middling Salampores …"
p175 (same consultation): "Pandaram &c. Managers of Chindadree Pettah Attending pursuant to Order of last Consultation and the reasons being demanded why they had not brought in any Goods for the September Dispatch, They represent to the Board that the Sums which have been Advanced them, and for which they now stand Indebted to the Honourable Company have been at times paid into the Hands of the Weavers, from whom they have endeavour'd to recover all that was possible: But that several of those Manufacturers had left the place in the last Three or Four Years having sought relief in the Petta during the time of Scarcity and returned to their Habitations when that ceased; that some were dead and many others in such Circumstances as to be unable to lessen any part of their Debts at present which in the whole are Pags. 9705. 2. 50, and that they the Managers being by the Death of Audiapa Narrain deprived of the Assistance and Support he gave to this Undertaking are incapable of carrying on the Cloth Manufactory, without a further Advance of Money …"
[Company Board's response:] "... were there any advances to be made them, there are small expectations of their being duely accounted for: unless some Substantial Person would undertake the Employment of the Weavers there, in such case some of the sorts of Cloth might be made there as before, and as the Juncans & carriage would be saved they might do it on reasonable terms, & in case of Troubles in the Country the having these People near us might be of service; But 'till such a person can be found, we think it best to hold our Hands, as we can now be supplied with these Sorts of Goods from the Country & are under no necessity of running any extraordinary Risque for the procuring of them: That 'till such offers are made Us, the Weavers may find Work from the Town Merchants, who may have opportunities of looking more narrowly after them than it's possible for us to do: However that we do grant the Managers any other Assistance in our Power that this design [i.e. the creation of Chindadree Pettah] may not, if possible to be prevented, fail of the end first proposed: since in Case of any disturbances in the Country the Pettah would not want for Manufacturers and might thereby become useful to the Company in their Investment, when other means might fail. …"