« PreviousContinue »
their best energies and intelligence to advancing the culture of the soil, India alone-with a civilization cotemporary with the annals of mankind, with an intelligent people, with varied richness and fecundity, governed successively by dynasties sprung from widely distant climes, and able therefrom to introduce a vast diversity of products, if the people would but accept them-should have remained to serve as a land-mark, whereby other countries might measure their progress. Mention has been preserved of fifty Greek writers on agriculture, whose works were known to the Romans. The writings of the most eminent among them were translated by order of the Senate; and some of the most illustrious among their statesmen and poets employed their gifted pens on the same subject. The Emperor Charlemagne forced his subjects to experimentalize on seventy-three kinds of trees and plants, and opened a correspondence with Harún-al-Rashid to obtain specimens of the Caliphate's choicest productions. The magistrates of the Dutch republic officially patronized the introduction of new plants. In our own country, with how many great names is this subject associated; with how many societies, colleges, professorships, periodicals! On the continent, splendid agricultural institutions have been reared, and vast political changes have been wrought, to accomplish this very object. The colonizing nations of Europe have been most sedulous in supplying their colonies with extraneous products. For many plants and fruits the West Indies and South America are indebted to Spain. The French also imported numerous seeds and plants into their colonies, and gave their name to the Bourbon cotton. Our old and present colonies in North America teem with foreign vegetables, sown there by British enterprize; and American cotton, which India in vain endeavours to rival, is of imported origin.† The same spirit has animated the Government of British India. Similar efforts have been perpetually made, but have been too often attended with different results. The cultivation of some of the most important staples has not progressed, in spite of model farms, botanical gardens, foreign deputations, and scientific apparatus. Notwithstanding the many societies, lectures, and publications, and the presence of European farmers on the spot, Indian agriculture will not advance one step. The same system, which met the gaze of the Macedonian Alexander, the Ghuznivide Mahomed, the Tartar Baber, and the early European settlers, still puzzles the modern virtuoso with its immutable sameness. "Facio," says
• Vide Jones, on Rent, Book i. sec. iii.
+ See the body of facts regarding the progress of scientific culture, collected by Dr. Royle, in his work on the Productive Resources of India.
the ryot, "come faceva la buon anima di mio padre; è cio basta." (I do, as did my father before me; and that is quite sufficient).
The staples of Cawnpore are cotton, indigo, grain, sugar, sugar-cane, and opium. The cultivation of the two first has much fallen off in late years. The depression of the indigo cultivation, dated from the failure of the great houses in 1820 and of the agencies in 1830. Mr. Montgomery attributes the diminution in the cotton cultivation to the low prices which have prevailed of late years, and to the limited demand for the article in the European market. In 1839, the Court of Directors, being desirous of attempting a more effectual experiment than had yet been essayed, deputed Captain Bayles to America, with a view to obtaining information, seeds, and machinery, for the growing and cleaning of cotton. Captain Bayles returned in due course of time, with seeds, apparatus, and ten experienced planters, willing to proceed to India. Two of these American planters were stationed, in 1841, at Cawnpore. The villages selected were on the banks of the Jumna, declared by a competent authority to be a most favourable locality.f After three years, the experiment was abandoned. Various causes have been assigned for the failure, such as, the unpropitiousness of the season, the short duration of the enterprize, and the dullness of the natives. We believe that the fault lay with the planters themselves, who had not the spirit to persevere. As to the unteachableness of the people, we cannot help fancying, that the teachers did not thoroughly do their duty. "The Hindu cultivator," says an eminent authority,‡ "must be taught by example, rather than by precept: and those, who teach, must endeavour to fortify their precepts, as well as their practice, by taking care that both are conformable to principle." The same writer has, in many passages, enforced the necessity of experimentalists adapting their principles and practice to diversity of soil and climate, and to the influence of physical agents on vegetation. These axioms were probably disregarded in the present instance. The site was a good one, and the district is favourable to such purposes. Mr. Montgomery considers that the cotton cultivation might easily be doubled. In the district of Cawnpore, generally, there prevail alternations of husbandry and rotation of crops. lands give two fields of different kinds in the year. Good wheat lands yield twenty maunds (equivalent to 1,646 lbs.) per acre, and fetch about five rupees per bigah, or 20s. per
+ Ibid. p. 831.
acre, as rent; barley and indigo lands, about 16s. The rich alluvial lands, growing vegetables combined with other crops, (market gardens in fact), rent sometimes as high as twelve rupees per bigah, or £4 16s. per acre. The cattle are fed on chaff or stalks. Jungle pasturage is scarce, and artificial herbage is almost unknown. The plough is a wretched instrument, and has nothing but hoary antiquity to recommend it. Its inefficiency is shown by the fact, that wheat and sugar-cane lands have to be ploughed from ten to fifteen times, barley land from seven to twelve times, and so on.
Success, very different from that of the cotton experiment, attended the cultivation of the poppy. This was commenced in 1836. The first two or three seasons were signal failures; but the experiment was resuscitated by the efforts of Mr. E. A. Reade, then deputy collector. Shortly afterwards, a subordinate opium agency was established at Cawnpore. For several years the prosperity of the season mainly depended on the personal exertions of the superintendant. After that, the ryots found out that the cultivation of the poppy was a profitable investment for their labour and capital; and about 1,800 acres are now under cultivation. The average produce per bigah has been raised from 1 seer 12 chuttacks in 1833, to 6 seers 6 chuttacks in 1847. The examiner at Benares, and the agent at Ghazipur, have repeatedly testified to the superior quality of the Cawnpore opium.
We must here conclude our selections from the long category of subjects discussed in the Statistical Report. At the same time, we cannot but feel that imperfect justice has been done to the care and ability, with which the Report has evidently been compiled. It would be no easy task to produce a work of this stamp in a country, where the preparation of statistics formed a regular branch of the executive administration, where countless official returns were to be found, and where a class of men existed, who had been trained up to such employment. But who shall estimate the labour of such a work in a country, where statistical science is as yet in its infancy; where information has to be extracted, gathered, and, as it were, reaped, winnowed and sifted with the most searching scrutiny; where agents and coadjutors have to be drilled, watched, and trained with the most laborious patience? Among the tables, included in the body of the publication in question, some would, we presume, have been obtained from official records; others would have been prepared by the Sudder and Mofussil (station and district) officers; and others,
See Dr. Royle's Remarks on the pasture Grasses of India, ib. pp. 155–161.
by consultation and conference with the most experienced and intelligent native residents. The first set do not need comTo ment, as they could be obtained with comparative ease. the second kind, namely, those prepared by the Government officials, would belong the registry of traffic, the returns of district produce, the statement of tenures, of mutations of property, of average holdings, of caste divisions, and of the eighteen maps embodied in the Report. A most cursory inspection of any one of these statements would convince any one of the labour, which all of them, collectively and individually, must have cost. And all this was accomplished in addition to the current duties of a large district. "Nil mortalibus arduum." Who would believe, till they actually see it, the amount of work, which may be got through with resolution and perseverance? To the third class, namely, those prepared with the assistance of private individuals, would belong the statement of average prices of imports and exports, and of the expences attending cultivation. These too must have involved very great toil. The influence of such a publication will be widely extended. It is a start in the right direction; it facilitates future investigations by affording a model for them; it helps in rearing up a class of native officers fitted for statistical research. This work is the first of its kind; that many similar ones may follow it, is to be hoped; that many will surpass it, may be doubted.
Such, at the end of fifty years under the English sway, is the first chapter in the history of Cawnpore. What will the next be? If a second Statistical Report should be written fifty years hence, what will there be to record? Undiscernible as the coming time must always be, yet certain objects do seem to loom forth from the mist and haze of the future. We have visions of the rail passing through Cawnpore, of the Ganges canal fertilizing the district, of inland navigation, of re-distribution of the taxes, of scientific agriculture, of the introduction of new staples and new produce, of the diffusion of European professional knowledge on practical subjects, of improved transit, of an invigorated administration in all departments, and of an extended national education.
But whether these speculations be groundless and air-built, or not, at all events it may be affirmed, that, if as much ground is gained during the next half century as there has been during the last, some progress will have indeed been made towards the attainment of (what must ever be the object of the British rule) the prosperity, happiness, and morality of the people.
ART. IV.-1. The Government Gazette. 1849.-Proposed Jury Act.
2. The Englishman and Military Chronicle. 1849.
THE Black Acts, it has been said, though suspended for the present, are likely some day to pass. When a code has been revised and adopted as law, and the way thus cleared for their enactment-when their deficiencies have been supplied, and the cases, not foreseen in drawing them up, have been provided forthey are likely to become, in a shape perhaps somewhat different from their original one, the law of the land. In what form the Jury Act will re-appear-whether rendering imperative, or optional to the prisoner, the presence of a Jury—or imperative for the trial of a British prisoner, and optional for that of a native-whether confined to the higher courts, or prescribed also for the lower--what amount in short of the Jury principle will be introduced into the judicial system as it now stands, is uncertain: and, while it is uncertain, it is not too late to consider what it is that is implied in the use of the trial by Jury, and to view it, not solely as a part of the machinery employed for arriving at a correct judgment, but in all its bearings. For other bearings it undoubtedly has, whether they are considered as effects of the institution, or collateral circumstances inseparable from its existence.
The introduction of trial by Jury into a judicial system has consequences analogous to the introduction of a chemical substance into a collection of other substances, each of whose composition it modifies. On comparing the system of decision by a single Judge, with that where the fact is submitted to the final decision of a Jury-in other words, the plan in use here, and the English method-it will be found that each of the parties concerned, the Judge, the Police, the witnesses, the criminal, and the public, is subjected to influences in the latter case, which have no existence in the former. We shall briefly indicate some of the ways in which it affects each of these parties.
The Judge, sitting alone, may, with all his skill in the law, be affected in some cases by an undue bias, and, to use the words of Mr. Cameron's Minute, "there is danger of his falling into a 'hasty and slovenly mode of transacting business, which has