صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

possible hereafter to conceive that any doubt should exist as to the decision, and the real position of the boundary. One cannot but regret that the agents employed in these operations should often have been false and corrupt; but there can be no doubt ; that any attempt now to revise these proceedings, or any failure of decision in supporting the demarcation now made, would be attended with the greatest possible evil, and throw the whole district into confusion.

119th. The only authority competent in any way to alter the decisions already given, is the Civil Court in a regular decision. The Courts will now have each case clearly before them, and every possible light will be thrown on its merits. The sound rule to lay down is, that every decision must be confirmed, unless it can be proved that it was unjust, and the right to another boundary established. If this rule be strictly followed, no evil will result.

120th. One great advantage of the system is, that the district is twice visited by the revenue authorities, once before survey, to settle the boundaries, and again after survey to fix the Government demand. The latter is a valuable opportunity to inquire into any cases of alleged hardship or injustice, which occurred in the former operations. This has been always done. The officer who came on the second occasion to form the settlement, was generally of superior experience to the officers employed on the former occasion, and the opportunity seized to examine the former decisions. I can confidently say that no cases have been left, where the correction of apparent partiality would not have violated some important principle, which could not, according to the spirit of the law, or the dictates of sound policy, be shaken without very injurious results.

121st. The adjustment of the right of co-parceners and of the rates payable to them by non-proprietary cultivators, has also been a work of great labor. It has been much increased by the expression of a general wish on the part of the people, subsequently to the settlement, to have their shares in the estate separated, both in the cultivated and culturable parts. This has been very generally done at their own expense, towards which they readily contributed. In such an event, the village has been remeasured; the holding of each person distinguished by a peculiar colour; and new Khusreh Khuteonee and Terij formed accordingly. Nothing, I believe, has given more satisfaction in the district, or tended more to the security of property, than the way in which this operation has generally been performed.

122nd. The incidental advantages arising out of the present settle. ment, and the other operations which have been conducted to a close during its progress, may be thus enumerated :

123rd. The formation of an accurate map of the whole district has enabled the local authorities to fix a regular boundary with the neighbouring districts, and to determine the limits of the several Pergun.nahs, Tuhsildaries and Thannah jurisdictions. The greatest possible efficiency has thus been given to the several establishments, and the comfort of the people greatly consulted. The statements inserted after paragraph 5 present a complete view of the organization of the Jofussil establishments of Revenue and Police, which has been thus effected.

124th. The accounts of each village with the Government were adjusted at the time of settlement. Arrangements were made for the liquidation of any outstanding balance of land revenue, or tuccanee, or the remission of the demand determined. The items in deposit regarding the village were examined, and either refunded, carried to the account of Government, or otherwise disposed of, as was necessary. The several items standing under the head of law charges, and arising out of previous litigation between the Government officers and the different villages were adjusted. The confusion into which the accounts had fallen, rendered the careful execution of a work like this, at such a period, important in its financial results, and a great accommodation to the people. At the same time it tended to bring more completely before the settlement officers several considerations which were essential to the formation of a right estimate of the capabilities of each village.

125th. The arrangement of villages at the time of settlement, made after the limits of the district and its several subdivisions had been fixed, as shewn in the general statements furnished with the report on each Pergunnah, has also been the basis of a system of registry and record for the whole district. The Pergunnah number attached to each village in the general statement, is the same that is borne by the bundle in the Record Office, which contains all the proceedings that have reference to that village. The lists attached to these bundles are, in fact, registers of all the transactions that have affected each village.

126th. Having thus sketched the general operations pursued in the district, it will be of some practical use to notice the particular degree or method in which they were carried into execution in each Pergunnah. I will endeavour to do this faithfully and impartially, with all the light which subsequent experience has thrown on the earlier operations in the district.

127th. Pergunnah Nizamabad is the largest and most important in the district. It was first selected for settlement soon after the passing of Reg. vii, 1822, and was the field where every young officer

[ocr errors]

first attempted to make settlements, and obtained his experience. The results, as might be expected, were very incongruous. In 1833-4-5 all these operations were recast on the model adopted on Reg. ix, 1833. The professional survey was conducted by Capt. Simmonds, whilst the field measurement, where it had not been already completed, was conducted by the revenue authorities. One great evil of this was, that the revenue survey, especially on its first commencement in 1833-4, was far from correct. The interior survey, especially, was often considerably in excess of the truth, as is always likely to be the case, when it is not checked by the native field measurements. The culturable land was also given considerably in excess, from an opinion held by the surveyor, that all the land which would produce any thing whatever should be classed under this head.

128th. In estimating the settlement, advertence must always be had to the mode in which the “general statement in acres” was from necessity drawn out, and the averages there exhibited.

129th. The cultivated area was always taken from the measurement on which the settlement was formed. This was frequently many years previous to the professional survey, and exhibited a much smaller cultivated area than was found to exist at the time the settlement was prolonged for the extended period from 1241 to 1262. The prolongation of the settlement was partly thus determined on considerations, which, although they may have influenced the first settlement, were not the foundation of it. The total of the cultivated area there exhibited in the general statement is considerably less than the survey gives, and also below the fact. This of course makes the average rate of assessment higher than it would otherwise have been. The total area was necessarily taken from the survey returns, which were undoubtedly under this head correct.

130th. The diversity of plan and of persons who had conducted the operations in this Pergunnah, produced its natural effect in great inequality of assessment. In the remarks I have made on the errors of inexperienced officers, I by no means except myself from the number. On first joining the district in 1833, with no previous revenue experience, I found the Pergunnah distracted, and almost ruined by the mal-administration of the preceding ten years. Large balances accrued annually, not from over-assessment, but from unadjusted rights and disputed claims. Affrays frequently occurred, from ill-defined boundaries. There were numerous unadjusted claims, and every thing pointed out a state of considerable disorganization. It became an object of great importance to terminate this state of things as soon as possible. At the close of the year the revenue survey commenced, and did

not terminate its operations in the Pergunnah till the end of the next season. It thus happened that this was the first part of the district prepared for settlement, and in addition to the other causes which urged a speedy termination of the settlement, it became necessary at once to enter on the revision and completion of the operations here, or to remain unoccupied. The settlement was completed and reported in the middle of 1835. Two years' experience since then has convinced me that some of the assessments are higher than they ought to have been. Some of the errors were those of my predecessors, which I left uncorrected; some my own, into which I was betrayed either by erroneous surveys, or by the partial assumption and application of averages. I think, however, that these cases are few. During the two years above alluded to, a Jumma of nearly three lacs has been collected, with a real balance of only one or two hundred rupees at the close of the year. Even this has been realized soon after ; and in addition, large sums have been collected in each year, the balance of former years. In one instance, a small village was sold for its arrear and fetched a good price, and in another a farming arrangement was made for the share of a defaulter. Both these cases were peculiar, and with exception to them, the whole has been collected by the ordinary methods. Imprisonment of the person, and distress of personal property, have been very rarely resorted to. It is probable that so long as the present high prices of Sugar are maintained, and the demand for Indigo and Opium remain what they are now, little difficulty will be experienced in collecting the revenue during ordinary seasons. Any failure, however, of these sources of profit, or adverse seasons, will probably throw some of the villages, for a time at least, on the hands of Government. It was for some time a question in my own mind, whether I should propose a reduction of the Jumma on a few estates. The remission of 2 or 3,000 rupees on ten or eleven villages would have been all that was required. But after consulting with the most intelligent natives in the district, it seemed best to avoid shaking the confidence of the people in their settlement, or to check the efforts they were rapidly making to improve their estates by extending the cultivation, or increasing the means of irrigation. If the opinion had once prevailed, that default and reluctance to pay might produce a reduction of assessment, these industrious habits would have been checked, and many estates have been injured at a small advantage to a few. The operation too of this principle would have probably been felt in other Pergunnahs where no such inequality existed.

131st. The confusion in this Pergunnah was not confined to the assessment. The demarcation of boundaries was also attended here with far more difficulty than elsewhere; it had previously been the custom to measure the village before the boundaries were fixed. This pernicious practice had given rise to endless intrigues and chicanery on the part of the native Ameens. The lands of one village had sometimes been measured, or rather the measurement inserted in the papers of another village, and the settlement formed on this measurement. It hence became often necessary before the demarcation of a boundary, to examine many previous proceedings, and refer to voluminous documents. This, and the habit of intrigue andl itigation, which it had fostered amongst the people, rendered the work very tedious and difficult. I fear that in some cases knavery and corruption obtained their ends, and I know not how this could have been avoided. But in every case, a clear decision has been given, a good demarcation on the ground has been made, and a record of the boundary has been formed. The value of this can only be known to those who were aequainted with the previous state of things. It has already in many cases of itself altered the face of the country, and saved many persons from ruin.


132nd. The imperfections of the boundary work in some degree affect the value of the survey, at least in the eastern and southern portions of the Pergunnah, which were surveyed in the first season. The professional survey cannot be there taken as an infallible indication of the boundary, but references must also be had to other documents put up with the proceedings in each case. In the western and northern parts, which were surveyed in the second season, there is little or no fear of error.

133rd. The same imperfections which adhered to the other parts of this settlement, exist also in the record of the fractional shares of proprietors, and in the adjustment of the rent rates. In the previous settlements it had been usual to express the hereditary rights of the proprietors in fractions of a rupee, without ascertaining whether their actual interests in the State did, or ought to correspond with them. Arbitrary rates were also frequently fixed, which never could be paid. Great progress was made by myself in correcting these irregularities, and amending the records. Mr. Montgomery has since been actively employed in the same way, and I trust that all material defects have already been remedied, or will be soon.

134th. The circumstances of Cheriakote and Keriat Mittoo are so similar, that they may be considered together. These were surveyed by Captain Simmonds, and settled by Mr. Montgomery in the season of 1834-5. The culturable area has been often overstated. There is no reason, however, to think that the defects of this survey have produced any evil consequences.

« السابقةمتابعة »