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in their legislation for Hindostan, not only as regards the petty question of excise revenue, but in others intinitely more momentous. We ask, should this feeling be still permitted to influence them;—if this feeling it is, and if it is not, then are we at a loss to conceive what it can be.
It now only remains to be seen, whether the introduction of this system would involve such an increase of expense as would counterbalance any benefits it might be found to possess, if it was given a fair trial. Of course we must put aside all expectation of being able to introduce it successfully, with the establishments at present allowed for the superintendence of the Abkari department. The districts under the last new system, that is those under the controul of the late Commissioners of the Calcutta and Dacca divisions, have now, in immediate subordination to the Collector of the district, a Deputy Collector in charge of the Abkari Mehal, a Sudder Establishment of Amlah, and a Mofussil one, consisting of three or four Darogahs located in the three or four most convenient parts of the Zillah, assisted by a Mohurir, and from eight to twelve Burkundazes. The duties of the mofussil establishment are to receive the daily tax of the venders every ten or fifteen days, and remit the same to the Superintendent. The Darogah or Mohurir may also receive and act upon any information given regarding illegal sale, or possession, or manufacture; and in fact, they take cognizance of any act done in contravention of the Abkari laws. These laws embrace so many details of supervision over the pattalar, that, as we before remarked, few of these will attempt to act counter to the wishes of the Darogah ; and those few consist of the men rich enough to pay up their revenue on demand, and who do not care much whether they take out an Abkari license or not. This power of interference would in the first place be our great bar to any success in the new line, for the vender would have to include nuzzurs to the officers of the department in his estimate of expenses ; so that cheap prices, which is one of the objects to be attained in the change, would not be possible. A free trade too, requires a free current, it must not be impeded with dams, and breakwaters ; moreover that centralization in a small way, practised in all departments in India, would be another obstruction. Under the present system a Superintendent, subordinate to a Collector, and both residing at the Sudder, is all very well; but would never do under altered circumstances. The laws too for the guidance of a Superintendent are so vague, that we are not at all astonished when we hear one of them has been out of bounds. We have often asked if there is a Superintendent in the two divisions, who did absolutely know his own powers and
the extent of them ; we almost doubt it. He is, or rather was, a
h Collector in his natural duties; but having to grant licenses and punish for breaches of the Abkari laws, he became a Magistrate; then having cognizance of debts between pattadar and their under-venders, he became a civil law judge. He could summon witnesses, or those suspected of an infraction of the laws, short of open sale or manufacture, as a Collector, but he was to try and punish as a Magistrate. A“Construction ” told him one thing, and a “Circular Order” another. While one Commissioner, according to the best of his belief and judgment, gave one signification to the law, his successor under the same guidance gave quite another. Under such circumstances, who can wonder that our zealous young guardians of private morals and public revenue did sometimes, as we have heard, make a mess of it,* especially in their praiseworthy desire to make an increase, --not of private morality,—but of the daily tax. It may be consolatory to them, however, to know that they were not singular in their tangled course; the amalgamation of all sorts of powers in all sorts of offices, is the unfortunate bane of the services and the country. It has been the Nemæan skin handed down by the late wearer, the Mogul dynasty, one of those heir-looms, hanging like a mill-stone on advancement, which were taken up and cherished by the Government, more we suppose from their expediency than from any virtue or value, which may have been thought to be inherent in them.
But to return to our subject, the centralized mode of supervision would never do, nor could any dependence be placed on the mere executive officers, the Darogah, to look after the interests of the department. If they were to receive a percentage on collections as fees, it might stimulate them to keep up the jumma, but their interference would still act to prevent respectable and well-to-do men from joining it, and we should thus retain the present bad lot infinitely multiplied. If we had a Magistrate or a Deputy Magistrate at each thannah, then indeed the reform would soon be a paying one; the greatest distance then from any shop to its place of controul, would not be more than, say, three hours' walk, and a pattadar could scarcely consider it a hardship to walk that distance once a month to renew his license; he might do it through his mooktyar or his servant. The chances of a detection of any infringement of the Abkari laws would be greatly increased; for, saying that the Magistrate would have the power to try and punish summarily to a small
• We write more in sorrow than in anger ; we have heard much of the Abkari, and in many districts, and though we do not credit one half of what is alleged against it, still enough remains behind to make us think that any change would be for the better.
extent such cases, we can very well conceive that licensed venders would, for the sake of their own interests, keep a sharp look out for unlicensed intruders. Informers too would be less backward in coming forward ; that they do not do so now, we can scarcely be surprised at. Can any one fancy that a man, from
love of the law, and an indistinct hope of reward, would come forward to give such information now, when he knows he would be dragged away a distance of some days' journey ;, that he would have to produce his witnesses, who would require more than lip persuasion to go all that long way, and who, having perhaps an
itching palm” would for a “consideration" deny all knowledge of any illegal act; that he would further have to wait till the accused produced his; and all that time knocking about the courts to the detriment of his legitimate business and labour ? Can we under these circumstances imagine or expect a man will come forward as informer? It is out of the question. Happily there are but few cases-genuine ones—of illegal sale or manufacture, we understand. There are many probably of breaches of the laws enacted for the protection of the Abkari revenue, and the greater part of these are settled quietly between detector and detectee and the executives of the department; and perhaps it is just as well that they are, for most of them occur more from a desire to escape paying the fees consequent on some vexatious power of interference resting with the Darogah than from a malicious intent to defraud the revenue. Informers now-a-days in the Mofussil are either the Burkundazes of the Abkari or the servants of the pattadars, and in many cases are actuated by some private pique of their own or their employers.
Nothing will do so well as Magistrates, and why then should we not have them set aside the Abkari ? Is it that the state of the country does not require them? Is it that there are too many of them? Is it that they are a class of officers not useful ? No-no! no! We have an emphatic denial for each proposition. Unhappily the state of the country does require them—still and again unhappily there are not enough of them and as for usefulness we say that there is not a branch of the legislation that shall
prove its utility more than the Magistracy. We are speaking of the office, and not of the individuals composing it, for we would not laud one at the expense of the other; where perhaps all are equal. Give us Magistrates, not with cumbrous and complicated powers which the young men composing the body at present, cannot fathom or unravel, notwithstanding that, as we believe, they bring to their work honest hearts, and fair intentions to do justice to all. Cut and clip any branch of the tree of judi. cial legislation, that is as far as is compatible with remaining utility, and the saving shall be returned in doubled benefits, if.
laid out in increased criminal supervision. Then peace and happiness shall develope the riches and resources of the country. The poor and the rich shall lie down to rest in conscious safety. The injured shall say to the injurer with patient triumph, Laws shall punish thee.” Then shall the weak pointing to the tribunal of justice say: "Behold here we shall obtain our rights, and our strong oppresser shall receive retribution,” and a blessing shall follow this hallowed aspiration. We can only add : So be it.
Art. III.-Life and Correspondence of Major General Sir John
Malcolm, G. C. B., late Envoy to Persia, and Governor of Bombay. From unpublished
letters and journals. By JOHN WILLIAM KAYE, &c., &c. 2 vols. London, 1856.
[SECOND NOTICE.] E left Brigadier-General Malcolm at Madras, ready to set
out on his second, or more properly his third, mission to Persia. On the 10th of January, 1810, he embarked on board the Psyche, with the resolution that in the course of the voyage he should complete his Political History of India ; and this resolution, unlike too many of those that relate to work to be done on board ship, was fully carried out. On the 26th, he was off Muscat, where he left Mr. Hankey Smith to transact some necessary business with the Imaum, and after a tedious voyage, he landed at Bushire on the 13th of February. Here his reception was all that he could desire :
“ Our cavalcade was very numerous,' he wrote in his journal, and the uncommon attention paid to me appeared as if that joy at my return which was written on all their faces was heartfelt and sincere. When we were at tbe Governor's old Hadjee Ismael, a respectable merchant of eighty-two years of age, took the lead in the conversation. He expressed, in the name of all, their joy at my revisiting Persia. The King, he said, had given a proof of true greatness in anxiously requiring the presence of a man who had told him the honest truth with a bluntness which kings were not in the habit of hearing.'
“All through the months of February and March, and up to the middle of April, Malcolm and his suite remained encamped at Bushire. He had despatched the letter to the King of which he was the bearer, and was waiting his Majesty's order to advance. He appears to have spent his time between literature and the chase. He was working hard at the completion of his Political History ; but he was delighted to find himself on horseback again, and he knew that, in Persia, the equestrian exercises, in which he excelled, were not matters only of private delight.* On the 6th of March, he was able to write in his journal, 'I have written the word Finis to my Sketch, and am as joyful as I can be in absence. I will write
* “ The Persians hold good horsemanship in such estimation, that they would have thought little of an ambassador who was not at home in the saddle. A curious illustration of this occurred when Malcolm was at Bushire. The purser of one of the ships, Mr. W- went on shore to see Mr. Smith, and was put on the back of a capering Arab, only to be thrown about very uncomfortably in the saddle. The bad horsemanship of the sailor provoked some merriment on shore; but on the following day a Persian trader, who knew a little English, happening to go on board the ship, said to Mr. W-G, when the subject was referred to, 'You need not be under any uneasiness. I told the people that you ride very well, but that you were very drunk.'"