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nent perils under native Governments were violence from plun. dering marauders, and usurpation from foreign intruders. Under the British Government, its besetting dangers are the fraud and mal-practices of unprincipled speculators. The spirit and patriotism, with which the first were encountered, is a matter of history. The combination and firmness, with which the latter are warded off, is a matter of every-day experience. We have heard of its having been remarked by natives, that in former days the stronger used to devour the weaker like a lion ; but that now the strong man must do his work by subtle and regular means, and must nibble at the weaker like a rat. The meaning of the metaphor is, that what was formerly done by open violence, must now be done by the chicanery and skill, which can manage to convert just laws into engines of mischief. Both these destructive influences have been at work upon the village communities; but their dismemberment has never been effected; and they still remain in their pristine integrity. Now, these communities may be kept up completely, or incompletely. They were kept up incompletely from the year 1803 to 1822, during which period the Government merely recognised the principal men of the village, entirely omitting to respect or record the rights of the subordinate shareholders. They have been kept up completely since the late settlement (commenced in 1833), when the various sub-divisions of the community have been clearly defined, the relative positions of the members accurately determined, and the rights, holdings, and responsibilities of each sharer minutely registered. It will be borne in mind that these communities have been, from the beginning, resident and cultivating; and that now each man is absolute owner of his small freehold, his paternal acres, which he cultivates himself, and for which he pays his fixed quota of revenue to Government. The ties, which bind him to the guild in which he was born, by the general laws of village clanship, will be adverted to hereafter. There are of course many exceptions to the general rule here laid down. Many states are held under different tenures from this, in which the proprietor and the cultivator are distinct persons. But in this latter class of villages or states, one beneficent result of the late settlement is observable. The rights of the cultivator have been ascertained and secured. A ryot loves the soil which he tills. The son loves to hold the ground, which his father cultivated before him. This occupancy becomes hereditary, and a prescriptive right of cultivating is created. This state of things is also conducive to the landlord's interest. He is glad to fix and even abate the rates of rent for such cultivators, in consideration of the increased certainty and regularity of collection. At the last settlement, all the rights of these tenants were made the subject of investigation, and a distinction was drawn between hereditary and non-hereditary cultivators. And now the hereditary cultivator feels, that he is no tenant-at-will; that, as long as he continues to pay his fixed rent, he has a right to hold his land; and that no eviction can be executed on him for any reason, except default.
All this seems, when simply stated, to be a very moderate achievement for a civilized and enlightened Government of the nineteenth century. At first sight it might not appear any very great thing, that the actual condition of landed property should be discovered; that the rights of individual proprietors should be ascertained and secured; that the relations between landlord and cultivator should be understood and defined; and that one of the most useful, notorious, and time-honored institutions of the country should be preserved. But the magnitude and value of an achievement must generally be estimated by the number of failures which have been made, and the amount of difficulty which has been experienced, in previously attempting it. Property in land, as now established in these Provinces, is described in the institutes of one of the earliest legislators, and was acknowledged by the greatest of the foreign emperors.t Proprietors, such as those now recognised by our revenue system, are represented in the Shastrasf by the proprietary bodies, of which the Gràm Adikàrs are the head. The class, of which these Gràm Adikàrs are the type, may be found in every kingdom, which professed the religion of Brahm, and which derived its language from the great Sanskrit root. We recognise them in the Bhumias of Rajputana ;Ş the Jèth Ryot and Muhto of the Bengal Presidency; the Padhàn of Orissa; the Potèl of Mèwar, Malwa, and Guzerat; the Junna Kirshan of Malwa; the Talkarry of the Mahratta country; the Reddy of the Northern Sircars ; || the Namburies of Malabar ; the Nayrs and Hullers of Canara; the Vellalers of the Southern Peninsula ; tbe Vidan of the kindred institutions of Ceylon; and latterly in the
* Vide Menù's Code, Chapters VII., VIII., and X. Sir Wm. Jones's Translation.
+ Gladwin's Ayin Akbary, Vol. I., pp. 303 and 312; and Briggs's “ Land-tax of the Mahomedans,” passim.
Vide Briggs's abstract of those portions of the Vigmanèshwara Shastra and others, which bear upon this subject.
§ Tod's Rajasthàn, Vol. I. 1 Malcolm's Malwa.
1 Copious illustrations of all the tenures here alluded are to be found in Briggs's excellent work on the land-tax of India.
Muquddum of Akbar's time, the Mirassidars of the Carnatic, and the Mirassidars and the Wutturis of the Deccan.*
Yet with all these examples already existing in the country, and with the best intentions, it is well known that the British Government has introduced systems, which have subverted the principles of real property current among the natives, without substituting any new institutions more beneficial than the old. Political revolutions and state necessities had raised up various classes of influential middlemen between the sovereign and the landlord. The existence of such a class seems to have been contemplated in the ancient books of Hindu legislation under the names of Dès Adikàr and Dès Lèkuk.t The rise and progress of feudal institutions in many parts of the Peninsula, especially in Rajputana, added much to the importance of this class. The Grassia Thàkurs and other feudal chiefs of Rajasthan,I the Mangloe and Pandia of Malwa, the Khand Adipatis of Orissa, the Naidus, Poligars and Mòtàhdars of Madras, f the Dèsaye and Mozumdar of Guzerat, the Dès Mukhs of the Mahratta country, the feudal Nayrs of Canara, and the famous Zemindars and Talukdars of the Mussulman Governments-all appear to have occupied an intermediate position between the landholder and the state. || The interposition of this class, which had acquired certain rights and interests in the soil, in many cases misled the judgment and obstructed the vision of British statesmen. Exaggerated notions prevailed also during the early times of our rule regarding the rights of the crown. And further, many years elapsed before adequate local information was collected. Be the causes what they may, there can be little doubt that several of our most extensive financial measures have crushed the original proprietors of land in this country. Having made one or two disastrous experiments-having made settlements with the officers of former Governments, with usurpers, with ryots, with all manner of people—the British Government, twenty eight years ago, determined to make a settlement in these provinces with the real owners of the land ; and thus, for the first time, on a large scale, was realized, under our Government, the ancient Hindu idea of village townships cultivated by a body of proprietors. This system has now attained its mature development; and to the class,
Elphinstone's Report, cited by Briggs. t Vide Briggs's abstract of the Shastras, above quoted.
Tod's Rajasthàn, passim. f Sir T. Mupro's Life and Letters, passim. || Full accounts of these secondary tenures also are given in Briggs's work.
which it has created, or rather upheld in the possession of their ancestral rights, may be applied the term (so well known in Europe) of Peasant Proprietors.
It is almost superfluous to state that, since the French Revolution, a minute sub-division of the old feudal estates, the creation of the peasant-proprietor class, the facilitation of transfer and conveyance, the prevention of intricate and prospective devises of real property, and the public registration of titles to land, have been effected in France, Germany, Prussia, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Northern Italy, Norway, and Denmark. It is equally notorious that throughout all, or most of these countries (and in one or two countries besides, where despotic feudalism still prevails, such as Austria), the state has put forth all its energies in the cause of popular education; that enormous sums of money have been disbursed by the Governments ; that a no less vast local taxation has been imposed; that the most active supervision has been exer: cised by the officers of Government over the schools; and that exertion on the part of the parents has been rendered compulsory by law-all in fulfilment of what is there considered the first duty of the state, namely, the mental and social elevation of its people. Here then we have models on a grand scale of the sub-division of the land among small proprietors, and of the education of the people-one of which objects has been accomplished in the North Western Provinces, and the other is on the eve of commencement. Mr. Kay has treated very humorously the present condition of the peasant proprietors of Europe, their characteristics, habits, and feelings, and their aptitude for education.
In order that we may apprehend with greater intelligence the development of this class in North Western India, and foresee more clearly what standard of social culture they may eventually reach, it may not be amiss to consider the points noted in Mr. Kay's volumes regarding them. Several striking comparisons are drawn of the condition of the peasantry, before and after the subdivision of the land. The authority of Arthur Young is quoted to show what the condition of the French and German peasantry was prior to the Revolution ; what was the indigence of their condition, the lowness of their habits, the coarsness of their food, the discomfort of their dwellings—in fact their truly Irish misery. Then, as to Ireland, that living embodiment of wretchedness—take the Irishman from his own country, where he is rack-rented, oppressed, and evicted by sub-lessees and underagents, and set him down as an emigrant in some free Eng. lish colony, where he may cultivate a piece of land, which he can call his own, and the nature of the man is changed : recklessness is changed to frugality, listlessness to industry, rebel. liousness to conservatism, discontent to cheerfulness, viciousness to morality. Only get the Irishman away from the influence of the cottier rents, put him into the army, work him on a railroad, but above all give him a Lancashire freeholdand see what he becomes. Mr. Kay has made some elaborate references to the best authorities for the purpose of proving that the Irishman always makes an excellent colonist, and distinguishes himself in the capacity of a peasant proprietor. We believe it may be considered an established fact, that such is the case.
Switzerland furnishes some remarkable instances to the same effect. Mr. Kay himself bears witness to the social difference between the peasantry of the Romanist and Protestant cantons. Both peasantries are of the same race, speak the same language, and are in constant communication with each other.
The one is poor and debased; the other is prosperous and elevated. The one possesses the instructions adverted to above; the other does not. Herein lies the cause of the difference.
On the other hand, beautiful as they are, these large properties of the nobility, which sometimes entirely exclude the small proprietors, produce a melancholy impression. “When I have been walking in one of those beautiful English parks,” says D'Aubigné, “I occasionally felt an indescribable sadness : -Oh, who can restore me,' thought I,' those smiling habitations, the delightful hamlets, the lively villages of my own Switzerland.' This is still more striking in Scotland. You may travel for miles through the Highlands without meeting other inhabitants, than thousands of sheep feeding in solitude. • Were I in Switzerland,' said I to myself, these hill sides would be divided among small owners; here would be a farm; there a chalet; and every where the animation of a free people.'”—D'Aubigné's Travelling Recollections, page 76.
Thus much it seems sub-division of land and education can do; but it appears that Swizerland can yet offer one proof of a still more cogent and conclusive nature. The old tenant-atwill-and-no-education system has engrafted such radically bad habits upon those who came within the sphere of its operation, that, when they become subject to a more liberal and enlightened policy, the vis inertie still weighs them down--the old Adam still clings to them with fatal tenacity. “As might have been anticipated,” says Mr. Kay, “the difference between the peasants, who are more than fifty years of age, and those peasants, who have not yet attained the age of thirty-five years, is still more singularly apparent."-" Those, who have attained the