Referred to from p. 482 and p. 490.

(CO P Y.)

27th May 1782.

LETTER from the Committee of assigned Revenue, to

the President and Select Committee, dated 27th May 1782; with comparative statement, and minute thereon.

To the Right Honourable Lord MACARTNEY, K.B. President,

and Governor, &c. Select Committee of Fort St. George.

My Lord, and Gentlemen,

LTHOUGH we have, in obedience to your commands

of the 5th January, regularly laid before you our proceedings at large, and have occasionally addressed you upon such points as required your refolutions or orders for our guidance, we still think it necessary to collect and digest, in a summary report, those transactions in the management of the assigned revenue, which have principally engaged our attention, and which, upon the proceeding, are too much intermixed with ordinary occurrences to be readily traced and understood.

Such a report may be formed with the greater propriety at this time, when your lordship, &c. have been pleased to conclude your arrangements for the rent of several of the nabob's districts. Our aim in it is briefly to explain the state of the Carnatic at the period of the nabob's assignment; the particular causes which existed, to the prejudice of that assignment, after it was made; and the measures which your lordship, &c. have, upon our recommendation, adopted for removing those causes, and introducing a more regular and beneficial system of management in the country.


Hyder Ally having entered the Carnatic with his whole force, about the middle of July 1780, and employed fire and sword in its destruction for near eighteen months before the nabob's assignment took place, it will not be difficult to conceive the state of the country at that period. In thofe provinces which were fully exposed to the ravages of horse, fcarce a vestige remained either of population or agriculture: such of the miserable inhabitants as escaped the fury of the sword were either carried into the Myfore country, or left to struggle under the horrors of famine. The Arcot and Trichinopoly districts began early to feel the effects of this desolating war. Tinnevelly, Madura, and Ramnada porum, though little infested with Hyder's troops, became a prey to the incursions of the Polygars, who stript them of the greatest part of the revenues; Ongole, Nellore, and Palnaud, the only remaining districts, had suffered but in a small degree.

The misfortunes of war, however, were not the only evils which the Carnatic experienced. The nabob's aumildars, and other servants, appear to have taken advantage of the general confusion to enrich themselves. A very small part of the revenue was accounted for; and so high were the ordinary expences of every district, that double the apparent produce of the whole country would not have satisfied them.

In this state, which we believe is no way exaggerated, the company took charge of the assigned countries. Their profpect of relief from the heavy burthens of the war, was indeed but little advanced by the nabob's concession; and the revenues of the Carnatic seemed in danger of being irreco


We pro

verably lost, unless a speedy and entire change of system could be adopted.

On our minutes of the 21st January, we treated the fubject of the assignment at some length, and pointed out the mischiefs which, in addition to the effects of the war, had arisen from what we conceived to be wrong and oppressive management.-We used the freedom to suggest an entire alteration in the mode of realizing the revenues. posed a confiderable and immediate reduction of expences, and a total change of the principal aumildars who had been employed under the nabob.

Our ideas had the good fortune to receive your approbation; but the removal of the nabob's servants being thought improper at that particular period of the collections, we employed our attention chiefly in preserving what revenue was left the country, and acquiring such materials as might lead to a more perfect knowledge of its former and present state.

These pursuits, as we apprehended, met with great ob-. structions from the conduct of the nabob's servants. The orders they received were evaded under various pretexts;. no attention was paid to the strong and repeated applications made to them for the accounts of their management ;, and their attachment to the company's interest appeared, in every instance, fo feeble, that we faw no prospect whatever of success, but in the appointment of renters under the company's sole authority.

Upon this principle we judged it expedient to recommend, that such of the nabob's districts as were in a state to be farmed out, might be immediately let by a public advertise. ment, issued in the company's name, and circulated through every province of the Carnatic; and with the view of encouraging bidders, we proposed, that the countries might

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be advertised for the whole period of the nabob's affignment, and the security of the company's protection promised, in the fullest manner, to such persons as might become renters.

This plan had the desired effect; and the attempts which were secretly made to counteract it, afforded an unequivocal proof of its necessity : but the advantages resulting from it were more pleasingly evinced, by the number of proposals that were delivered, and by the terms which were in general offered for the districts intended to be farmed


Having so far attained the purposes of the assignment, our attention was next turned to the heavy expences entailed upon the different provinces; and here, we confess, our astonishment was raised to the highest pitch. In the Trichinopoly country, the standing disbursements appeared, by the nabob's own accounts, to be one lack of rupees more than the receipts. In other districts, the charges were not in so high a proportion, but still rated on a most extravagant scale ; and we saw, by every account that was brought before us, the absolute necessity of retrenching considerably in all the articles of

expence. Our own reason, aided by such enquiries as we were able to make, suggested the alterations we have recommended to your lordship, &c. under this head. You will observe, that we have not acted sparingly; but we chose rather, in cases of doubt, to incur the hazard of retrenching too much, than too little; because it would be easier, after any stated allowance for expences, to add what might be necessary, than to diminish. We hope, however, there will be no material increase in the articles as they now stand.

One considerable charge upon the nabob's country was for extraordinary sibbendies, sepoys, and horsemen, who ap6



peared to us to be a very unnecessary incumbrance on the re

Your lordship, &c. have determined to receive such of these people as will enlist into the company's service, and discharge the rest. This measure will not only relieve the country of a heavy burthen, but tend greatly to fix in the company that kind of authority, which is requisite for the due collection of the revenues.

In consequence of your determination respecting the nabob's sepoys, &c. every charge under that head has been ftruck out of our account of expences. If the whole number of these people be enlisted by the company, there will probably be no more than sufficient to complete their ordinary military establishment. But should the present reduction of the nabob's artillery render it expedient, after the war, to make any addition to the company's establishment, for the purposes of the assigned countries; the expence of such addition, whatever it be, must be deducted from the present account of savings.

In considering the charges of the several districts, in order to establish better regulations, we were careful to discriminate those incurred for troops kept, or supposed to be kept up for the defence of the country, from those of the fibbendy, servants, &c. for the cultivation of the lands, and the collection of the revenues, as well as to pay attention to such of the established customs of the country, ancient privileges of the inhabitants, and public charities, as were necessarily allowed, and appeared proper to be continued; but which, under the nabob's government, were not only rated much higher, but had been blended under one confused and almost unintelligible title of, Expences of the districts; so joined, perhaps, to afford pleas and means of secreting and appropriating great part of the revenues to other purposes than fairly appeared; and certainly betraying the utmost neglect Vol. II.

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