Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 2

Book V: Slavery, Excerpt from "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India"
by James Peggs
p. 279-311

-- India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India, by James Peggs

-- Slavery in India: The Present State of East India Slavery; Chiefly Extracted From the Parliamentary Papers on the Subject, Printed March, 1828, August 1832, August 1838, by James Peggs, Third Edition, 1840

-- Slavery and the Slave Trade in British India; With Notices of the Existence of These Evils in the Islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, Drawn from Official Documents, by Thomas Ward and Col, And to Be Had At the Office of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1841

-- Slavery in the Bengal Presidency Under East India Company Rule, 1772-1843, by Amal Kumar Cattopadhyay, Thesis presented at the University of London for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1963

CHAP. I. Introductory remarks — origin, nature, and evils of Slavery in India.

A LATE highly respected writer on India, has stated, relative to slavery in the East, — "Though no slavery legally exists in the British territories at this moment, yet the terms and gestures used by servants to their superiors, all imply that such a distinction was at no distant date very common. 'I am thy slave;' 'Thy slave hath no knowledge,' are continually used as expressions of submission and ignorance." From this extract, and others of a similar kind which might be made; from different writers, it is evident that the nature and extent of slavery in India are imperfectly understood.* [ See an article on East Indian Slavery, in the Friend of India, (Quar. Sor.) Dec. 1823.] A voluminous collection of Papers on this subject, containing nearly 1,000 folio pages, was 'ordered by the Hon. House of Commons to be printed, March 12th, 1828;' and it is important that their contents should be generally known. Of these papers it has been remarked, 'An attempt to digest such a mass of documents into a narrative, or to reduce them into any symmetrical shape, is hopeless;' the Author has not been thus discouraged in his investigation of them; but, being convinced that slavery in India is a subject of considerable interest, he has devoted much time to the perusal of these Papers, and hopes his labours may be beneficial to the interests of suffering humanity in India. While so many works are extant on West India Slavery, the Author is acquainted with but one on Slavery in India,†[East India Slavery by Saintsbury, 1829. See also East and West India Sugar, 1823. Hatchard.] and that a small pamphlet recently published. To bring the real state of India before the British public must be beneficial; and, under this conviction, the Author submits his humble labours to the candid attention of his readers.

J. Richardson, Esq., Judge and Magistrate of Zillah Bundlecund, in his valuable communication to the British Government in India, on the subject of slavery, in March 1808, very justly remarks, — "The humane abolition of the slave trade in England has added lustre to the enlightened wisdom of the British senate; and enrolled, to the latest posterity, the name of Wilberforce amongst the benefactors of mankind. That slavery should ever have been authorized, in any civilized community, is as astonishing to the mind, as disgraceful to human nature. The great Author of creation made all men equally free. By what act then can that freedom be forfeited or given up? Surely liberty can be forfeited by no act that does not militate against the general security and well-being of society. Nor has man more right to sell or give up the natural freedom of his person, than he has to lay down his natural life at pleasure; much less can he have any title to dispose of the liberty of another, even of his child. That slavery is an infringement of the law of nature cannot be disputed. The most respectable authority proves that, it is in its own nature invalid. Blackstone, speaking of the law of nature, says, 'this law of nature, coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding all over the globe, in all countries, and at all times; no human laws are of any validity if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid, derive all their force and authority mediately or immediately from this original.' The most strenuous defenders, of this imposition of the powerful on the weaker part of mankind, pretend not to maintain its propriety but on ideas of political utility. Impartial and minute inquiry into its effects would at once remove this specious veil, by which the principle is sometimes hidden; and the system, decorated in the eye of sensible and virtuous men under mistaken notions of human expediency, proves the uniform tendency of slavery to be depressive of every emanation of the mind, and highly destructive to our species."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, 1828, p. 299. There is much truth in the observation — "He who loses his liberty, loses half his virtue."]

The origin of slavery in India, as it exists among the Hindoos, is involved in considerable obscurity. Its rise among the Mahomedans is evidently to be traced to the triumph of their arms. The following extracts, from the Parliamentary Papers on slavery in India, afford some information upon a subject interesting to every humane mind. These Papers commence with the following Regulation for punishing decoits or robbers, and shew one source of slavery in the East. — "That whereas the peace of this country hath for some years past been greatly disturbed by bands of decoits, who not only infest the high roads, but often plunder whole villages, burning the houses and murdering the inhabitants: And whereas these abandoned outlaws have hitherto found means to elude every attempt which the vigilance of government hath put in force, for detecting and bringing such atrocious criminals to justice, by the secrecy of their haunts, and the wild state of the districts which are most subject to their incursions; it becomes the indispensable duty of government to try the most rigorous means, since experience has proved every lenient and ordinary remedy to be ineffectual: that it be therefore resolved, That every such criminal, on conviction, shall be carried to the village to which he belongs, and be there executed for a terror and example to others; and, for the further prevention of such abominable practices, that the village, of which he is an inhabitant, shall be fined according to the enormity of the crime, and each inhabitant according to his substance; and that, the family of the criminal shall become the slaves of the State, and be disposed of for the general benefit and convenience of the people, according to the discretion of the government. Aug. 1772."* [Par. Papers, p. 2.]

"If we may judge (says the Editor of the Asiatic Journal, in a review of the contents of the Papers on East India Slavery,) from a subsequent minute and regulation of the Bengal Government (1774), this proposal was not listened to; for therein, not only is the stealing of children or selling any Hindoo as a slave (without a regular deed) forbidden, but it is proposed to abolish slavery altogether, after the first generation then living, owing to 'the great increase of late years of this savage commerce, and in order to prevent hasty strides towards depopulation.' Further inquiry however seems to have convinced the Bengal Government, that there were districts where slavery was in general usage, and the abolition of which might impede cultivation. The Government observes, that the opinions, of the most creditable Mussulman and Hindoo inhabitants, condemn the usage of selling slaves, as repugnant to the particular precepts both of the Koran and the Shaster."* [Asi. Journ., Nov. 1828, p. 559.]

The Provincial Council of Patna, in Aug. 1771, address the Governor, Warren Hastings, Esq., on this subject as follows: — "We find that there are two kinds of slaves in this province, Mussulman and Hindoo; the former are properly called Mualazadeh, and the latter Kahaar. Slaves of either denomination are considered in the same light as any other property, and are transferrable by the owner, or descend at his demise to his heirs. They date the rise of the custom of Kahaar slavery from the first incursions of the Mahomedans when the captives were distributed by the general among the officers of his army, to whose posterity they remained. All other slaves have become so by occasional purchase, as in cases of famine, &c. The Kaboleh must be signed by the mother or grandmother, and not by the father. Children also born of slaves are the property of the owner of the woman, though married to a slave of a different family."† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 5.]

The Collector at Trichinopoly, in the Madras Presidency, in reply to the inquiries of the Government, addressed to a number of Collectors on the subject of slavery in their respective districts, describes the origin of pullers or agricultural slavery as follows: — "It is, I apprehend, indisputable, that in the earliest ages of Hindoo government, agricultural and domestic slavery existed to an indefinite extent. The practice was sanctioned by prescription, and upheld by law: but it will be found that the terms of bondage, and the nature of the services required from the slaves, differed essentially in almost every district. No distinct information can be obtained at what period agricultural slavery commenced. It is now impossible to trace, whether this establishment took its rise from the voluntary submission of the indigent to the wealthy, or whether the pullers were originally captives taken in war. But, as this species of bondage is generally the concomitant of barbarous governments, it must of necessity have been a very ancient institution of the Hindoos. Under their arbitrary government, the distinctions of cast were scrupulously maintained; and, adverting to the circumstance of the meerassidars in Trichinopoly being Brahmuns, it scarcely excites surprise that agricultural slavery should exist here unchanged and undiminished." ‡ [ Par. Papers, p. 892.]

The late Sir Stamford Raffles, Lieut. Governor of the Island of Java, in 1812, gives the following information, respecting the origin of slavery in the Eastern Isles: —

" Macassar and its neighbourhood may be considered as a principal source from which slaves have been exported; and without entering into any discussion of the origin and causes of this state of society, which, in a general point of view, must be referred to backwardness of civilization and prevalence of native authority, it must be observed that, in consequence of its being the favourite source of revenue among those chieftains, it will require much caution in attempting any measures to restrain, where argument could be of no avail, and force would be inconvenient. In my instructions to Captain Phillips, on his proceeding to Macassar, I directed his attention in a particular manner to this interesting subject; but I regret to find from his report, that at present there is little prospect of his favourable interference. In short, he seems decidedly of opinion that, 'as men-stealers are very common over the country, if he prohibited their selling their stolen property at Macassar, they would still carry on the trade in the Boui territory;' where, though so immediately under the eye of the Resident, the Rajah would no doubt maintain his right, equally with that which he exercises at pleasure, of life and death.

"The native laws, usages, and habits, regarding slavery, are in many instances so various and contradictory, and it is so difficult to trace them to any authentic source, that is universally admitted, that I am fearful very little light will be obtained from them. Prisoners of war are in many cases considered as the property of the conqueror, and consequently sold as slaves. The families of criminals, who may be executed for particular crimes become likewise a droit of the chief; and in many cases criminals are pardoned on condition of being sold into slavery. Throughout the whole of the Eastern Islands, debtors become responsible in their services to their creditors, and it does not appear, that there is any generally acknowledged law among them, to prevent the chief of a family selling his wife and children into slavery. The desperate manner in which the Bugguese prows are known to defend themselves at sea, is accounted for by the numerous crew, who are all separate adventurers on a borrowed capital, having left their families hypothecated for the debt, who become slaves to the creditor, in the event of the debtor parting with the property under any circumstances without his life.

"The Dutch law being blended with the Roman, and the colonial law founded on both, slavery has been fully recognised as legal by the European government; while the universal prevalence of Mahomedanism renders it legal with every native administration, and as such it appears, without any occasional difference of opinion, to have been always viewed. Slavery on the island of Java, is exclusively confined to domestic purposes, and may be considered rather as a regulated domestic servitude, than that detestable system which the legislature of Great Britain have, to the credit of humanity, so vigorously suppressed in the West Indies. Slavery, however, under any shape, or if it bears only the name, is so repugnant to every principle of enlightened administration, and so inconsistent with your Lordship's* [Lord Minto.] benevolent plans, that I fear I should not stand excused, in my defence of such a system, under any modifications or circumstances whatever."† [Par. Papers, p. 154-156. For an account of the Slave Trade at the Island of Nias, near Sumatra, see an interesting article from the Singapore Chronicle, in the Imp. Mag. Jan. 1830, pp. 18-51.]

The rise of slavery in Penang, or Prince of Wales' Island, is thus described in a letter from the Judge and Magistrate in Jan. 1802, to the Marquis of Wellesley, then Governor General of India: —

"My Lord Marquis: — In a case which lately came judicially before me a question arose, 'Whether civil slavery, that is, a right of one man over the person and fortune of another, was to be considered as established at Prince of Wales' Island.' I was not ignorant that slavery, limited and unlimited, had been tolerated. I know that emigrants, both from the Malay Peninsula and from the Eastern Island, who had become inhabitants of Prince of Wales' Island, have been permitted to retain in slavery, those whom they had brought as slaves to this place. Some of these, indeed, are in utter slavery, while others are only in limited servitude. The latter is the condition of those who are styled slave debtors, and these are people that voluntarily become slaves to their creditors till their debts are paid. But all this passed, sub silentio; for, after a careful search, I have not found any regulation of the local government, or any order from the Governor General in council, authorizing the establishment of slavery, limited or unlimited, at Prince of Wales' Island. This right, if any such in fact exists, rests therefore simply on a usage of fourteen years. Thus circumstanced, having no authority to guide my judgment, my delicacy increased in proportion to the interests on which I was called to determine; and, in this case, subordinate to the question of civil slavery, arose two other questions. The first a question of fact, 'Whether the father of A. ever had been a slave at Quiddah?' The second a question of law, 'What was to be the condition of A. now resident at Prince of Wales' Island, whether born of one parent who was free, and of another, who was enslaved, or born of parents who were both slaves, and now resident at Prince of Wales' Island.

"I was desirous of avoiding the determination of this case, and remitted it to the Lieutenant Governor; but, in deference to his particular request, I gave my opinion, that the evidence did not prove that the father ever had been a slave, but that it inclined to shew that the mother had been a slave at Quiddah, and I thought the son should follow the condition of his father. I was led to this opinion, from a consideration that it is the old law of villanage in England, and, although I know it was contrary to the maxim of the civilians, partes sequitur ventrem, yet the latter authority had no weight with me; first, because slavery had not yet been established by authority; next, because 1 could not see any local circumstance requiring its establishment; and, lastly, because a state of slavery is, in its own nature, bad, neither useful to the master nor to the slave, nor to the state under which they live. The Lieutenant Governor, on the contrary, was of opinion that the evidence proved both parents of A. were slaves, and under the regulations for the administration of justice on this island, ultimately decreed, that A., resident in this island, should be delivered up as a slave to Hakim Sullee, Captain Malay, resident also on this island.

"By this decree slavery is now recognised and established by the local government of this island; and therefore, in addition to the observations which I have had the honour of submitting to the consideration of your Excellency in council, I feel the necessity of representing that regulations are now requisite, in which the right that a master is to possess over the person and fortune of his slave, at Prince of Wales' Island, should be explicitly defined; and I hope that your Excellency in council will take into consideration the case of the offspring of slaves, and particularly of those, who are born of one parent who is free, while the other is a slave. Nothing can be presumed on the moderation or justice of Mahomedans who possess slaves. By their usages the virtue or honour of female slaves is at the mercy of their master! I could hope that the right of the master was by law expressly limited to the bounds of humanity. I have no other apology to offer, than my conviction, that the subject matter of my letter is of the first importance, to the interests and prosperity of this rising colony."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 429, 430.]

The nature of slavery in India will appear from the following extracts. The Governor General, in 1775, transmitted to the Hon. Court of Directors, extracts from a translation of the Hindoo Laws, by N. B. Halhed, Esq. From this code it appears that slaves are divided into fifteen classes, viz. —

"1. Whoever is born of a female slave, and is called Gerhejat.

2. Whoever is purchased for a price, and is called Keereeut.

3. Whoever is found any where by chance and is called Lubdehee.

4. Whoever is a slave by descent from his ancestors, and his called Dayavanpakut.

5. Whoever hath been fed, and hath had his life preserved by another during a famine, and is called Enakal Behrut.

6. Whoever hath been delivered up as a pledge for money borrowed, and is called Abut.

7. Whoever, to free himself from the debt of one creditor, hath borrowed money from another person, and, having discharged the old debt gives himself up as a servant to the person with whom the present debt is contracted; or whoever, by way of terminating the importunities of a creditor, delivers himself up for a servant to that creditor, and is call Mookhud.

8. Whoever hath been enslaved by the fortune of battle, and is called Joodih Peeraput.

9. Whoever becomes a slave by a loss on the chances of dice, or other games, and is called Punjeet; according to the ordinations of Perkashkar and Pareejaut, and according to the ordination of Chendeesur, it is thus, that by whatever chance he is conquered, and becomes a slave, he is called Punjeet — approved.

10. Whoever of his own desire says to another,"I am become your slave," and is called Opookut.

11. When a Chebteree, or Bice, having become Sinassee, apostates from that way of life, the magistrate shall make him a slave, and is called Perberjabesheet.

12. Whoever voluntarily gives himself as a slave to another for a stipulated time, and is called Gheerut.

13. Whoever performs servitude for his subsistence, and is called Bheekut.

14. Whoever, from the desire of possessing a slave girl, becomes a slave, and is called Berbakrut.

15. Whoever of his own accord sells his liberty, and becomes a slave, and is called Bekreet."† [Par. Papers, pp. 7, 306.]

Sir R. Chambers, on the trial of the commander of a Danish trading vessel, for procuring native children, and exporting them as slaves, in 1789, stated the only cases in which slavery was lawful under the Mahomedan Government. — "Infidels, taken prisoners in war, fighting against Mussulmans, were considered the slaves of the captors; and the slavery extended to their children. In cases of famine, publicly declared, it was lawful for farmers to sell their children; and persons of more than fifteen years of age, might sell themselves to obtain a subsistence. But that in these four cases, (the only existing ones under the Mahomedan Government,) the condition of slavery was put under many legal restrictions, and that it was unlawful for a Mussulman to sell his slave. That the exportation of subjects of a Mussulman government to be sold to a state of slavery was unknown; and, he believed, that it was the first time such an offence had been committed under the British flag, and he trusted it would be the last. He wished it to be understood that, if a similar offence should ever unhappily be again tried before the court, the punishment would be more severe."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 21.]

The nature of slavery, Hindoo and Mussulman, will appear by the following extract, from the valuable communications to the Bengal Government, of the Magistrate of Bundlecund. This gentleman observes, — "Previously to my submission of the draught of the Regulation directed to be submitted to the court of Nizamut Adawlut, I deem it of essential importance to the elucidation of the subject, to offer a few remarks, on the laws of slavery as they now exist in that part of Hindostan, which it has pleased God to allot to the government of the British nation. For the sake of perspicuity, I shall transcribe the questions put to the Mahomedan and Hindoo law officers officially, for the purpose of procuring a declaration of law on the subject of slavery, according to their respective codes, — insert their answers, and, — offer such remarks as present themselves to my judgment, or as seem applicable to the subject.

Questions put to the Muftee by the Nizamut Adawlut.

First Ques. "What description of slaves are authorized by the Mahomedan law?"

Ans. "All men are by nature free and independent, and no man can he a subject of property, except an infidel inhabiting a country not under the power and control of the faithful. This right of possession which the Moslems have over Hurbus (infidels fighting against the faith) is acquired by Isteela, which means, the entire subduement of any subject of property by force of arms. The original right of property, which one man may possess over another, is to be acquired solely by Isteela, and cannot be obtained in the first instance by purchase, donation, or heritage. When, therefore, an Imaum subdues, by force of arms, any one of the cities inhabited by infidels, such of them as may be taken prisoners become his rightful property, and he has the power of putting them to death or making them slaves, and distributing them as such among the ghazees (victorious soldiers), particularly when fighting against infidels; or he may set them at liberty in a Mussulman country, and levy the capitation tax; should he make them slaves, they become legal subjects of property, and are transferrable by sale, gift, or inheritance. But if, after captivity, they should become converts to the faith (Islam), the power of death over them is thereby barred, though they would continue slaves; for, slavery being the necessary consequence of original infidelity, the subsequent conversion to Islam does not affect the prior state of bondage to which the individual has been regularly rendered liable by Isteela, provided this be clearly established. From this it is evident that the same rules are applicable to the slaves of both sexes. If slaves are afterwards sold, or given away, by the Imaum, or by the ghazees, who shared at the distribution, or if they should become the property of another by inheritance, they then become slaves under the three different classes of purchase, donation, and inheritance.

"If a female should bear offspring, by any other than by her legal lord and master, whether the father be a freeman or a slave, and whether the slave of the said master, or of any other person, in any one of these cases, such offspring is subject to slavery, and these are called khanazad (born in the family); but, if the children be the acknowledged offspring of the right owner, they are then free, and the mother of them (being the parent of a child by her master) becomes, at his decease, free also; and this rule is applicable to all their descendants to the latest posterity. The practice among free men and women of selling their own offspring, during the time of famine, is exceedingly improper and unjustifiable, being in direct opposition to the principle above stated, viz. that no man can be a subject of property, except an infidel taken in the act of hostilities against the faith. In no case can a person, legally free, become a subject of property; and, children not being the property of their parents, all sales or purchases of them, as any other articles of illegal property, are consequently invalid. It is also illegal for any free man to sell his own person, either in time of famine or though he be oppressed by a debt which he is unable to discharge. For in the first of these cases a famished man may feed upon a dead body! or may rob another; and a distressed debtor is not liable to any fine or punishment.

"We are not acquainted with the principal or detailed circumstances, which led to the custom prevailing in most Mussulman countries of purchasing and selling the inhabitants of Zanguibar, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other Negroes: but the ostensible causes are, either that the Negroes sell their own offspring, or that Mussulman or other tribes of people take them prisoners by fraud, or seize them by stealth from the sea shores. In such cases, they are not legally slaves, and the sale and purchase of them are consequently invalid. But if a Mussulman army, by order of an Imaum, should invade their country, and make them prisoners of war by force of arms, they are then legal slaves; provided that such Negroes are inhabitants of a country under the government of Infidels, and in which a Mussulman is not entitled to receive the full benefit and protection of his own laws. With regard to the custom, prevailing in this country, of hiring children from their parents, for a very considerable period, such as for seventy or eighty years, and under this pretext making them slaves, as well as their produce also, under the denomination of kharazad (domestic slaves), the following laws are applicable; — It is lawful and proper for parents to hire out their children on service, but this contract of hire becomes null and void when the child arrives at the years of discretion, as the right of parentage then ceases. A free man, who has reached the years of discretion, may enter into a contract to serve another, but not for any great length of time, such as for seventy years; as this also is a mere pretext, and has the same object of slavery in view, whereas the said free man has the option of dissolving any contract of hire under either of the following circumstances:  — It is the custom, in contracts of this nature, for a person hired on service to receive a compensation in money, clothes, and food, as the price of hire; any day therefore that a servant receives such a compensation, he is in duty bound to serve for that day, but not otherwise. The condition of contract of hire requires that the return of profit be equal to the price of hire, and this cannot be ascertained but by degrees, and in course of time. The contract of hire, therefore, becomes complete, or fulfilled according to the services or benefit actually rendered in return for the price of hire received, and the person hired has consequently the option of dissolving the contract at any moment of the period originally agreed for.

"It is unavoidable and actually necessary in contracts of a different nature, such as in rent of land, &c., that the lessee should not have this power; but reverting to contracts of hire for service for a long period, the nefarious practices of subjecting free men to a state of bondage, under this pretence, it appears expedient to provide against such abuses; and with this view to restrict the period for service in all contracts of hired freemen to a month, one year, or the utmost to three years, as in cases of Ijanawugh, a form of endowment. It is customary also among the Zanane Towaf, (women who keep sets of dancing girls,) to purchase female free children from their parents, or by engagements directly with the children themselves; exclusively of the illegality of such purchases, there is a further evil resulting from this practice, which is, the children are taught dancing and singing for others, and are also made prostitutes, which are extremely improper, and expressly forbidden by the law."

Remarks. — "From the reply it is evident that, by the Mussulman law, no man can have the right of property over another human being except a Mussulman, and even he can acquire that right over an infidel only, inhabiting a country not under the power and control of the faithful; and that this right, which Mussulmans have over infidels fighting against the faith, is acquirable by Isteela, which means the entire subduement of any subject of property by force of arms; the right of property, therefore, which one man may possess over another, is to be acquired, in the first instance, by Isteela. It follows that all persons in a state of bondage, over whom the right of property has not been obtained by Isteela, or the offspring of parents over whom the above right was not acquired, are, by the Mussulman law, free; and that it is the duty of the Hakim, respecting persons claiming their freedom, over whom the right of property derived from Isteela cannot be legally established or traced, to declare such persons of either sex free by a legal recorded decision, which shall secure to them the future enjoyment of that freedom.

"Slaves sold or given away by the Imaum, or the ghazee (conquerors or victorious troops) who shared at the distribution, or if afterwards they become the property of another by inheritance, continue slaves under the different rights of purchase, donation, and heirship. It appears by the Mussulman law that the offspring of a female slave, whether by a free man or slave of any description, except by her master, such offsprings are slaves, and are called khanazad (born in the family). If, however, the offspring shall be acknowledged by the master, they shall be free, and the mother also, at the death of her owner, becomes free; and this also emancipates their descendants to the latest posterity. It may be inferred from the provision here noticed, &c., that, to entitle the child to freedom, and the mother to emancipation, on the death of her lord, his acknowledgement, and that he is the father, the offspring of the slave is necessary to give the law force. Here the principles pursued by European legislation are reversed, and there are many obvious motives that may induce the owner to deny his being the father of the child.

"It is declared by the Mussulman law, as here developed, that a free man cannot sell his own person. The law officer here states his unacquaintance with the circumstances which led to the prevalence of the custom in most Mussulman countries, of purchasing and selling the inhabitants of Zanguibar, Ethiopia, Nubia, and other Negroes: they are evidently not legally slaves by the Mussulman law.

"A free man arrived at the years of discretion, may contract to serve for a reasonable, not a great length of time, such as seventy years; but it is here stated, that the said free man, so contracting, is to receive a compensation, and is compelled to serve for that day for which he has received compensation, but not otherwise; the person hired has consequently the option of dissolving the contract at any moment of the period originally agreed for. It is observable, that this is contrary to the nature of all contracts, which are, or ought to be, specific and mutual; but the Mussulman law assigns reasons, in the subsequent paragraph of the answer on which I am remarking, explanatory of the causes which render this contract different from others, such as rents, &c., where the lessee has not this power, and those reasons are more enlightened, and shew a greater anxiety for the personal liberty of the individual, than is commonly to be found among the laws of Mahomed.

"Here is stated a custom existing amongst the Zanane Towaf, (women who keep sets of dancing girls,) of purchasing female free born children from their parents or others, or making engagements with the children themselves, to be taught the practice of dancing and singing for others, and also for the purpose of being made prostitutes, which are allowed to be extremely improper and expressly forbidden by the law. The extent of the above evil would be best ascertained by a few appropriate queries put to the several magistrates, but more especially to those of the large cities; the result would at once open the eyes of government to an evil which loudly calls for the interference of the Legislature, on every principle of humanity, morals, and policy."

Second Ques. "What legal powers are the owners of slaves allowed to exercise upon the persons of their slaves, and particularly of their female slaves?"

Ans. "The rightful proprietor of male and female slaves has a claim to the services of such slaves to the extent of their ability. He may employ them in baking, cooking, in making, dyeing, and washing clothes; as agents in mercantile transactions; in attending cattle, in tillage, or cultivation; as carpenters, ironmongers, and goldsmiths; in transcribing; as weavers, and in manufacturing woollen cloths; as shoemakers, boatmen, twisters of silk, water drawers; in shaving; in performing surgical operations, such as cupping, &c.; as farriers, bricklayers, and the like; and he may hire them out on service in any of the above capacities; he may also employ them himself, or for the use of his family in other duties of a domestic nature, such as in fetching water for washing on evazoo (religious purification), or anointing his body with oil, rubbing his feet, or attending his person while dressing, and in guarding the door of his house, &c. He may also have connexion with his legal female slave, provided she is arrived at the years of maturity, and the master or proprietor has not previously given her in marriage to another."

"There is nothing objectionable in the duties here stated to be lawfully demandable from slaves of both sexes. The obvious immorality, and the great impolicy and inhumanity of the licentious authority stated in this answer, requires no comment. The law officer, although he has stated in part the truth, has not embraced the whole truth: the Islamite has the power, by the Mussulman law, of exercising, with his female slaves, licentious intercourse, at the mention of which modesty recedes with blushes and humanity shrinks with horror!"

Third Ques. "What offences upon the persons of slaves, and particularly of female slaves, committed by their owners or by others, are legally punishable, and in what manner?"

Ans. "If a master oppress his slave by employing him on any duty beyond his ability, such as insisting upon his carrying a load which he is incapable of bearing, or climbing a tree which he cannot, the Hakim or ruling power may chastise him. It is also improper for a master to order his slave to do that which is forbidden by the law, such as putting an innocent person to death, setting fire to a house, tearing the clothes off another, or prostituting himself by adultery and fornication; to steal or drink spirits, or to slander and abuse the chaste and virtuous; and, if a master be guilty of such like oppressions, the Hakim may inflict exemplary punishment by Fazir and Ucqubut Shukool Allah, literally, the right of God, and meaning on principles of public justice.

"It is further unlawful for a master to punish his male or female slave for disrespectful conduct, and such like offences, further than by sadeeb (slight correction), as the power of passing sentence of tazeer and gizes is solely vested in the Hakim. If, therefore, the master should exceed the limits of his power of chastisement, above stated, he is liable to tazeer. If a master should have connexion with his female slave, before she has arrived at the years of maturity, and, if the female slave should in consequence be seriously injured, or should die, the ruling power may punish him by tazeer and Uqubut Hagool Jillah, as before defined."

"It will be allowed, that the spirit which enumerates and limits the employments which a master is hereby forbidden to extort from his slaves, under the penalty of being liable to exemplary punishment by the Hakim, on principles of public justice, is humane and proper, and might be sufficient for the purpose of good order and government, were it possible that the spirit of the law could be carried into effect. To any man acquainted with the manners and customs of the natives, no argument is necessary to prove that the reverse is the case. It is hardly necessary to remark on the degree of suffering that an illiterate, wretched, and desponding slave will submit to from his lord, whom, from infancy perhaps, be has been accustomed to look upon, with trembling anxiety, as the sole arbiter of his fate, upon whose pleasure all the little happiness, or rather the absence of misery, which he hopes to experience, entirely depends. Is it likely that a slave under such circumstances should dare to apply to the ruling power for redress?

"If a master, excited by lust, unrestrained by shame, or by habit, shall have connexion with a female slave before she has arrived at the years of maturity, if the female slave should in consequence be severely injured or die, what is the consequence? The ruling power may punish him as before defined. Shall a British government sanction so horrid a law?"

Fourth Ques. "Are slaves entitled to emancipation upon any and what maltreatment, and may the courts of justice adjudge their emancipation upon the proof of such maltreatment? In particular, may such judgment be passed upon proof that a female slave has, during her minority, been prostituted by her master or mistress, or that any attempt of violence has been made by her owner?"

Ans. "If the master of male or female slaves should tyrannize over them by treating them unjustly, stinting them in food, or imposing upon them duties of an oppressive nature; or if a master should have connexion with his slave girl before she has arrived at the years of maturity, or should give her in marriage to another, with permission to cohabit with her in this state, such master sins against the divine laws, and the ruling power may punish him; but, the commission of such crimes by the master does not authorize the manumission of the slave, nor has the Hakim any right or authority to grant emancipation. Adverting to the principle upon which the legality of slavery is originally established, viz. that the subject of property must be an infidel, and taken in the act of hostilities against the faith; and also to the several branches of legal slavery arising from this principle, as by purchase, donation, inheritance, and khanazadee; whenever a case of possession of an unlawful male or female slave should be referred to the Hakim for investigation, it is the duty of the Hakim to pass an order, according to the original right of freedom of such individual, to deprive the unjust proprietor of possession, and to grant immediate emancipation to the slave.

(Signed and sealed)

Soorajoddeen Ullee
Mahomed Rashed"

"The purport of this question is, whether on any and what maltreatment a slave is entitled to emancipation on proof, and whether the courts of justice are entitled to pass such judgment, particularly on females prostituted by their master or mistress during their minority, or on any attempt of violence being made. From the reply to this question, it appears that acts of oppression, and even violation of the person of a female slave, before she is at the years of maturity, by the master, or the crime of giving her at that age in marriage, are declared, as they truly are, crimes against the divine laws, and the ruling power may punish by stripes; but it is to be observed that, by the Mussulman law, the commission of these crimes by the owner does not entitle the wretched slave to manumission, nor has the ruling power a right to grant her emancipation!!

"Humanity, which is shocked at the idea of its being a question whether or not British legislation shall sanction so diabolic a law, under the impressions of horror which every humane mind must feel at the depravity of such inhuman laws, is relieved by the perusal of the next sentence. Adverting to the principle upon which the legality of slavery is originally established, viz. the subject of property must be an infidel, taken in the act of hostilities against the faith; and also to the several branches of legal slavery which shoot from this root or principle, — purchase, donation, inheritance, and khanazeed; whenever a case of possession of an unlawful male or female slave, that is to say, who is not himself or herself under the original description of an infidel taken in the act of hostilities against the faithful under an Imaum, or descended from a person of the above description, over whom the right of property has not been obtained by one of the modes described, shall come before the ruling power, to pass an order according to the original right of freedom of such individual, and to deprive the unjust proprietor of possession, and to grant an immediate emancipation."

Similar questions put to the Hindoo Pundit by the Nizamut Adawlut.

First Ques. Ans. "There are fifteen different sorts of male and female slaves." See p. 285, in this Volume.

Remarks. — "Of the injustice and unreasonableness of the whole of the description of slaves sanctioned by the Hindoo law on the acknowledged principles of natural freedom, or on principles of expediency and humanity, few I conceive will doubt; and to enter into argument to prove this self-evident perversion of the laws of nature and of God, written in the hearts of all enlightened men, would be a waste of intellect. I am confident such wide-spread degradation of the human race can never be authorized by an enlightened British Government."

Second Ques. Ans. "The owner of a male or female slave may require of such slave the performance of impure work, such as plastering and sweeping the house, cleaning the door, gateway, and necessary; rubbing his master's naked body, bunudome nehanu, with oil, and clothing him; removing fragments of victuals left at his master's table, and eating them; removing urine and human ordure; rubbing his master's feet and other limbs, &c. In cases of disobedience or fault committed by the slave, the master has power to beat his slave with a thin stick, or to bind him with a rope: and, if he should consider the slave deserving of severe punishment, he may pull his hair or expose him upon an ass; but, if the master should exceed this extent of his authority, and inflict punishment upon his slave of a severer nature than above stated, he is liable to pay a fine to the Hakim or ruling power, of a thousand puns of khar mahozrens, eight thousand cowries. This is declared by Menu, according to Patnakar Behbad, Chinta, Munnie, and other authorities."

"The facility and impunity with which power can tyrannize over a wretch in a state of bondage and absolute dependence is evident; and what is the punishment if, against all chance or hope, the tyrant is brought to trial, and even to conviction? A pecuniary fine!

Third Ques. Ans. "A master has no right to command his male or female slave to perform any other duties besides those specified in the answer to the second question, or authority to punish his slave further than in the manner before stated; and if he should exceed this discretionary power, in either case, he is liable to the same penalty, viz. one thousand puns of cowries. This is declared by Menu and Beshie."

Fourth Ques. Ans. "The commission of offences, of the above nature by the master, does not affect the state of the slave; and the ruling power has not the right of granting his manumission; but if it should be established in evidence, before the Hakim, that any person having stolen or inveigled away, a child or slave, had afterwards sold him to another, or that any person had compelled another into a state of slavery by violence, the ruling power may then order the emancipation of such child or slave; and if a master, or any other person by permission of the master, should cohabit with a slave girl before she has arrived at the years of maturity, and this fact be proved, the ruling power may sentence such offender to pay a fine of fifty puns of cowries, but cannot emancipate the slave girl!

"Whenever a slave girl has borne a child by her master, such slave, together with the child, becomes free, and the ruling power should sanction their emancipation.

"This is the law declared by Jak Bulk Mannoo and Kutoobun, according to Mittuchora and other authorities.

(Signed) Chattoor Bhooj Necarutun
Chiterput Oapadhea"

"It does not appear that the commission of any, or all of the offences supposed in the fourth question, affect the state of bondage in the sufferings of the wretched slave, nor by the Hindoo law has the ruling power the authority of emancipating the injured bondsman, even under all the above maltreatment; but a treacherous inveigling away of a child and selling it as a slave, or subjecting to slavery by violence, are declared illegal, and the ruling power may emancipate such child or slave. Should however a master, or any other by permission of the owner, cohabit with a slave girl before she has arrived at the years of maturity, and the fact be proved, the ruling power may sentence the offender to fifty puns of cowries. Here a crime, most monstrous, by which the laws of nature are outraged, is punishable by a pecuniary fine! I suppose for the benefit of the ruling power."

"The foregoing being the Mussulman law, as expounded by the law officers, and the Mussulman law being that by which we govern in cases of life and limb, surely it ought to be extended to personal freedom; for from personal freedom alone can life or limb, the first gifts of nature, acquire their due value. The foregoing, I think, will be admitted, and investigation will render it evident, that at the present moment, of the many thousands male and female slaves held in bondage in the Company's dominions, and subject to the grossest usage, prostitution, and every other depravity, under the pretence of slavery being sanctioned by the Mussulman law, not a single man or woman exists, to whom the right of property, on the principle laid down by that law, can possibly be established! The mode, therefore, of remedying the gross evils that exist, is as easy as it is obvious. Enforce the spirit and letter of the Mussulman law as it applies to slaves, and as far as that portion of the inhabitants of our Indian possessions are concerned, you remedy the evil, and give the blessing of liberty to thousands, without infringing a particle of the Mahomedan religion; on the contrary, so far as this regulation is connected with the Mussulman religion, you only check a licentious deviation from the principles of law and religion on the point in question."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 309-317.]

The practice of kidnapping children, for the purpose of selling them as slaves, appears to have been very prevalent in various parts of India. Respecting a case of this kind at Midnapore, on the borders of Orissa, in 1794, the Magistrate. R. Bathurst, Esq., thus expressed his indignation of the crime. — "To that part of the futwa which respects Shazaddee, equity and humanity alike prompt me to object in the strongest terms. Her crime is of a nature to break asunder the tenderest ties, and to consign its innocent victims, either rudely torn, or cruelly seduced front their parents' home, to hopeless slavery, to experience in the course of it, too probably, no wages but stripes, no relief but death. Such is the complexion of her guilt. What says the futwa, which, regulated by Mussulman justice, weighs, it would seem, in the same scale of moral turpitude, the stealing of a cur dog and the kidnapping of a child? Thirty-five strokes with a rattan and four months confinement, which if changed to hard labour and imprisonment for life, although still disproportioned to the extent of her offence, might, perhaps, operate to deter others from the practice of similar enormities."* [Par. Papers, p. 52. Sec also pp. 242, 243.]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 2 of 2

The nature of slavery in Canara, under the Madras Presidency, is thus described by J. G. Ravenshaw, Esq., Collector, in 1801: —

"There are three distinctions of the Daerds or slaves, — the Moondaul, Mogare or Magor, and Mavey Daerd: the former two differ from the latter in the way of food; — neither of them will eat the flesh of a cow or bullock; or go near the place where one has died or been killed, till the carcase is removed; the Mavey Daerd, though he will not kill the animal, will eat its flesh after it is dead. If one dies at the house of a Moondaul or Magor, a Mavey is sent for to remove the carcase. In the Moondaul and Mayer sects, property descends from uncle to nephew; a father gives up his children to their uncle. In the Mogare sects, property descends from father to son. A Mogare and a Moondaul will eat together, though it is not common; if, however, they do, the form of taking away the dishes or pans they eat out of, washing and returning them clean to the party who gives the repast, is invariably observed. They never intermarry by consent; but if a Moondaul runs away with a Mogare, the latter sect assemble, call on the Moondaul, and, after reprimanding him for the crime he has committed, make him pay a fine for the offence, and give a repast to the whole party; when they have eaten, the Mogare is considered as having relinquished her cast, and being made over to the Moondaul. Neither of these sects associate with the Mavey Daerd.

"If a Moondaul goes to a landlord, or other person, and says he wants to marry through his interests; if the person consents, he gives him from three to four pagodas to pay the expense of the ceremony; the Daerd, as soon as married, brings his wife to his landlord's house, and both are bound to serve him and his heirs as long as the husband lives. The landlord is considered as bound to give the man, per annum, two cloths, each five cubits in length; and the woman two, each of eight cubits length, one to cover the lower and one the upper part of their frame, the estimated expense of which is one and a half rupees; the man is to receive one and a half, and the woman one hami of rice per diem, besides one mora of rice per annum between them; this allowance is called 'mogu.' This couple have no claim over any children they may have born: they are the exclusive property of their uncle. If he agrees to their remaining with their father till they are grown up, and their father consents to keep them, this may be done; and if, when grown up, their father's owner gives the males money to marry, they are bound to serve him and his heirs as long as they live. If, however, their uncle does not agree to their remaining with their father when young, he takes them, and his master pays them according to the work they do. As to the daughters, if their uncle agree, they may remain with their father, till some person comes with their uncle's consent to ask them in marriage; they are then given up and bound to serve their husband's owner. In the event of the husband's death, his master has no right whatever over the mother and children, who become the property of, or for whom the children's uncle is bound to provide, and they are bound to serve his master if he has work for them. If a man wants to marry a second time, his master supplies him with money; in consideration of this extra expense, he stops the 'mogu,' or allowance of one mora of rice per annum. A man receives no daily allowance for himself and family during his master's harvest, but, in lieu thereof, he gets an eleventh part of as much grain as is cut, thrashed, and stacked by the whole of them; when this work is done, they receive their daily subsistence as usual. The sect may be called a life property on the male side; they are never sold, though they sometimes mortgage themselves, and their owners may also mortgage them.

"The Mogare are bought and sold, and hence they and their male heirs are bound to serve their master and his heirs for ever. Females remain with their fathers till married, after which their owners have no claim on them; they become the property of their husband's master. The average price of a man and his wife, if purchased together, is from four to five pagodas. These Mogairs receive the same daily allowance of rice and cloth as the Moondauls, but they get no annual allowance, the piece of land and the two trees they get are supposed more than to equal this; and in addition to it, if their master can afford it, he frequently gives them a bullock. The owner pays only as many of the family as work for him. This sect are sometimes mortgaged, as well as sold.

"If a person purchases a man and woman of the Mauray sect, and marries them, they and their male heirs are bound to serve him and his heirs for ever; the purchaser pays the expense of the marriage. If the man dies, and the woman marries again, the children she may have by her new husband are all the property of her owner, by reason of his having purchased the woman; but he has no claim whatever on the new husband. When these people are not purchased, but merely bind themselves to the service, on account of some person having paid the expense of their marriages, as the Moondauls do, the same rules are observed as with them; but there are many of these sects, who belonging, or being, as it were, an appurtenant to an estate, are bought and sold therewith; they enjoy the same privileges and allowances as those of the same sect who are purchased without an estate. The landlord can neither sell nor mortgage them, nor can they, without the landlord's consent, mortgage themselves or children.

"In many of the foregoing cases, an owner is bound to give daily subsistence to as many only of the family of his Daerds as he employs; if he has more than he requires, he may lend them out to other people, who pay him the mogu, or annual allowance of one mora of rice, as a sort of acknowledgment that the Daerd he employs belongs to him. Daerds cannot go to work for another person without their owners' consent, and they are bound to return whenever he may have work for them. This is the result of an inquiry I was induced to make into the customs of the people, in consequence of many complaints having come before me of Daerds being ill-treated by their masters. The little labour has been amply repaid, from a consciousness of my having done justice to many of them, which I should not have considered myself competent of doing without a knowledge of their manners and services."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 548-550.]

"The utmost to which the sale of slaves is tolerated in Malabar," says J. H. Baber, Esq., Judge and Magistrate in the North Zillah in 1812, "is domestic slavery, and this exclusively confined to those born in a state of bondage. Formerly this degraded race of men were the exclusive property of the Hindoos of Malabar, but in course of time, from necessity and other causes, they were transferred and sold to the Mopillas, but it was never bargained that they were to be made proselytes. A Pooliar sold or transferred could not be removed out of the district, his place of nativity; in consequence the social tie amongst them was still preserved; even the women, though sold, are never separated from their husbands, whom they still follow, however often they may change their masters; the owner of the female, however, still maintaining his claim to her and to her offspring, whose right is thus perpetuated from generation to generation. In some districts, the offspring are divided between the owners of the father and the mother, but they are never separated from their parents until adults."* [p. 567. See p. 897. This state of society is prevalent in the Indian Archipelago. See a description of Malay Slavery by the Acting President of Fort Marlborough in 1813. Par. Papers, pp. 203-205.]

The evils of slavery are innumerable. "To remedy the evil," says one of the Judges in India, "it appeared to me highly necessary that it should be ascertained and acknowledged, and its extent fully understood."† [Par. Papers, p. 308.] The propriety of this appears from the want of information respecting slavery in India. The following extracts from the valuable Papers on this subject, it is hoped will rouse the attention of Britain, to the state of slavery in her eastern dominions.

"No progress in arts or science can be expected," says the worthy Judge of Bundlecund, "from unhappy beings whose daily reflections press their forlorn condition upon their thoughts. The rudest cultivation of the earth is performed with reluctancy, by wretches whose miseries know no end, but in the moments of repose. Perhaps exposed to the burning heat of a vertical sun, immerged to the knees in water, stagnate and unwholesome, respiring a vapour inimical to existence; perhaps buried alive in mines replete with noxious minerals and baneful air, which slowly consumes the human frame. Or if (which is the summit of a slave's good fortune) they meet with a more lenient lord, still their comforts are embittered by the dread of a change. The stroke of death, or the pressure of misfortune, may transfer them with their former master's cattle or his lands, to a less tender lord; devoid of any established mode of providing for, or bringing up a family, and fearful of entering into the marriage state, having no protection or security that their dearest and most tender connexions will not be set at nought by the capricious lust of pampered power, population suffers.

"In Hindostan slaves are kept for show, or employed in the meanest and most laborious offices of servitude. In ancient times slaves were bred to trades; to cultivate the sciences and other philosophic studies, and some of this class distinguished themselves by their abilities, and contributed to enlighten mankind. But how much more speedily has general improvement increased, since the establishment of freedom through the principal parts of Europe. The freest nations have ever been the first to dispel the clouds of error, and brighten the dawnings of knowledge into the meridian splendour of truth. If any thing can add to the horror which the idea of slavery raises in every human breast, it is the reflection that, by the Mussulman law respecting female slaves, the master is not only legal lord of their persons for purposes of laborious services, but for sensual gratification; even such as his unnatural passions may impel his brutality to indulge. It is not less shocking to reflect that women, who have spent their youth and worn out their persons in the grossest debauchery, when their faded beauty no longer produces their wonted luxuries, and even their former paramours in guilt turn from them with disgust, purchase female children for the avowed purpose of the most licentious life. These females, were such injurious practices prevented by the abolition of all slavery, would become useful members of the community, and add to the prosperity of the state, by the increase of their species.

"Under systematic slavery the minds of mankind are inevitably debased. Children being educated amongst, and attended by these wretches, imbibe their dispositions, and, having the examples of their parents always before their eyes, learn to consider those under them as a distinct race, unworthy of the rights of humanity. The first efforts of imitative cruelty are viewed by the parents without reprehension, their own minds having undergone the same perversion by the same tuition, and the practice of maturity having deadened their feelings; so that I fear, not unfrequently this early discovery of vicious inclination is considered by the fond, but mistaken parent, as a sure presage of spirit and future greatness. View the manners of those nations who tolerate slavery, and say whether this reasoning is not warranted by reality."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 298-300.]

Sir William Jones, in a charge to the grand jury at Calcutta, in 1785, described the miseries of slavery existing at that period, even in the metropolis of British India. "I am assured, from evidence which, though not all judicially taken, has the strongest hold on my belief, that the condition of slaves within our jurisdiction is, beyond imagination, deplorable; and that cruelties are daily practised on them, chiefly on those of the tenderest age and the weaker sex, which, if it would not give me pain to repeat, and you to hear, yet, for the honour of human nature, I should forbear to particularize. If I except the English from this censure, it is not through partial affection to my own countrymen, but because my information relates chiefly to people of other nations, who likewise call themselves Christians. Hardly a man or a woman exists in a corner of this populous town, who hath not at least one slave child, either purchased at a trifling price, or saved, perhaps, from a death that might have been fortunate, for a life that seldom fails of being miserable. Many of you, I presume, have seen large boats filled with such children, coming down the river for open sale at Calcutta; nor can you be ignorant that most of them were stolen from their parents, or bought, perhaps, for a measure of rice in a time of scarcity; and that the sale itself is a defiance of this government, by violating one of its positive orders, which was made some years ago, after a consultation of the most reputable Hindoos in Calcutta, who condemned such a traffic as repugnant to their shastra. The number of small houses, in which these victims are pent, makes it indeed very difficult for the settlement at large to be apprized of their condition; and, if the sufferers knew where or how to complain, their very complaints may expose them to still harsher treatment — to be tortured, if remanded, or if set at liberty, to starve. Be not discouraged by the difficulty of your inquiries; your vigilance cannot but surmount it; and one great example of a just punishment, not capital, will conduce more to the prevention of similar cruelties, than the strongest admonition or the severest verbal reproof. Should the slave-holders, through hardness of heart, or confidence in their places of concealment, persist in their crimes, you will convince them, that their punishment will certainly follow their offence, and the most hardened of them will, no doubt, discontinue the contest."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 10. For an affecting account of a slave girl seized at Serampore, see pp. 48-50.]
When Ziegenbalg baptized the five slaves on May 12, 1707, the first Protestant church in Tranquebar, purely meant for the South Indian Christians, began to take shape. [Germann, 1883, 529 f.: The three male slaves received their baptismal names as "Friedrich, Christian and Conrad." They were the servants of Johann Sigismund Hassius (1704-1716), the Danish Governor in Tranquebar. One woman was Sophia. She was a slave belonging to the tax collector Diedrich in Tranquebar. The fifth baptized person was Hetwiga, a slave girl belonging to Eidzil Abigael Bergs, the widow of the Danish pastor living in Tranquebar. Thus the first members of the Protestant church were slaves of Europeans [slaves of the Dutch!].

-- Genealogy of the South Indian Deities: An English translation of Bartholomaus Ziegenbalg's original German manuscript with a textual analysis and glossary [Christian Propaganda], by Daniel Jeyaraj

Slavery existed in Portuguese India after the 16th century. "Most of the Portuguese," says Albert. D. Mandelslo, a German itinerant writer, "have many slaves of both sexes, whom they employ not only on and about their persons, but also upon the business they are capable of, for what they get comes with the master."

The Dutch, too, largely dealt in slaves. They were mainly Abyssian, known in India as Habshis or Sheedes. The curious mixed race in Kanara on the West coast has traces of these slaves.

The Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade was primarily mediated by the Dutch East India Company, drawing captive labour from three commercially closely linked regions: the western, or Southeast Africa, Madagascar, and the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius and Reunion); the middle, or Indian subcontinent (Malabar, Coromandel, and the Bengal/Arakan coast); and the eastern, or Malaysia, Indonesia, New Guinea (Irian Jaya), and the southern Philippines.

The Dutch traded slaves from fragmented or weak small states and stateless societies in the East beyond the sphere of Islamic influence, to the company's Asian headquarters, the "Chinese colonial city" of Batavia (Jakarta), and its regional centre in coastal Sri Lanka. Other destinations included the important markets of Malacca (Melaka) and Makassar (Ujungpandang), along with the plantation economies of eastern Indonesia (Maluku, Ambon, and Banda Islands), and the agricultural estates of the southwestern Cape Colony (South Africa).

On the Indian subcontinent, Arakan/Bengal, Malabar, and Coromandel remained the most important source of forced labour until the 1660s. Between 1626 and 1662, the Dutch exported on an average 150–400 slaves annually from the Arakan-Bengal coast. During the first thirty years of Batavia's existence, Indian and Arakanese slaves provided the main labour force of the company's Asian headquarters. Of the 211 manumitted slaves in Batavia between 1646 and 1649, 126 (59.71%) came from South Asia, including 86 (40.76%) from Bengal....

In contrast with other areas of the Indian subcontinent, Coromandel remained the centre of a sporadic slave trade throughout the seventeenth century. In various short-lived expansions accompanying natural and human-induced calamities, the Dutch exported thousands of slaves from the east coast of India. A prolonged period of drought followed by famine conditions in 1618–20 saw the first large-scale export of slaves from the Coromandel coast in the seventeenth century. Between 1622 and 1623, 1,900 slaves were shipped from central Coromandel ports, like Pulicat and Devanampattinam. Company officials on the coast declared that 2,000 more could have been bought if only they had the funds....

The volume of the total Dutch Indian Ocean slave trade has been estimated to be about 15–30% of the Atlantic slave trade, slightly smaller than the trans-Saharan slave trade, and one-and-a-half to three times the size of the Swahili and Red Sea coast and the Dutch West India Company slave trades.

-- Slavery in India, by Wikipedia

In 1810 a claim was preferred before the court of Sudder Dewanny Adawlut, for the restoration of some slaves who had escaped from Nepaul, and sought an asylum in the British territory. Nine slaves were stated to have been purchased for 226 rupees. This sum was given by the British Government, and the slaves liberated. The depositions of two or three of them shew the cruel nature of slavery in Nepaul.

"Jeewee acknowledged that he was a slave, but alleged that, being employed in cultivating, and receiving nothing from the prosecutor, he had run away. He represented that if he should now return to the hills, the prosecutor would cut off his ears as a punishment for his offence.

"Dhunsree acknowledged that she was the slave of the prosecutor, saying, that she having killed her own child, was brought by the prosecutor before Meer Singh Tuppa, who gave her to him to keep as his slave, that this was the usual punishment for murder in the hilly country: she added, that, having received nothing from the prosecutor to eat, she had run off.

"Joonhee and Lamee also acknowledged that they were slaves, and alleged the same reason for having run away from the prosecutor.

"Oodhree, witness, deposed that Meer Singh Tuppa had given Nathee and Dhunsree to the prosecutor's son as payment of his monthly allowance; that Nathee had formerly been the slave of Shoobur Suen, and that Dhunsree, having killed her own child, had been given by Meer Singh Tuppa to the prosecutor, whose slave she had now been for three years. With respect to the other four persons, the prosecutor not having given them any present, they had therefore run off. He further stated, that it was the custom of the hilly country that, if any woman put to death her new-born infant, she was reduced to slavery by the ruler; but, if she be able to give her value to her master, he may free her; and, in case of a dispute regarding the amount of the purchase money, it is to be settled on the oath of the master." It is added, "that if the slaves were delivered to the prosecutor, he would certainly put them to death, on getting them to their own country."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 119, 120. See pp. 243, 244.]

The misery of arbitrary servitude is depicted in a very affecting manner, in the Par. Papers relative to thirty-five natives of Bengal, who, in 1813, were found in the service of Mr. W. Browne, at Sydney, New South Wales; they were discharged by the colonial magistrates, and restored to their native country, at the expense of the British Government in India.† [See pp. 267-296.] A few of their depositions before the magistrate are given.
"Chotee Lutchman, servant of Mr. Browne — I complain of want of food; I sometimes got rice, sometimes ottar and wheat, and dhal and corn, the same as the rest; I have been ill-treated while I was employed in the store. Mr. O'Brien tied a rope to me to awake me in case of alarm; I did not like it, and objected to it; Mr. O'Brien persisted in it, and then he gave me a rope's-ending. I used to do all sorts of work for him; I got a thrashing for throwing some straw out, which offended Mr. O'Brien, in consequence of which I went up to the farm; Mr. Browne ordered me back to Sydney, but as it rained he allowed me to remain till next day. I got drunk, for which Mr. P. Browne put me for three days on short allowance. I ran away in the bush; I was not flogged for it. I have worked on Sunday's for myself; if the others go home, I want to go also, but if they stop I will not. I had two bottles of rum charged to me; it was watered. I have lost my cast for eating victuals of Europeans, because I could get nothing else.

"Keereim, a table waiter of Mr. Browne's, sworn on the Koran, saith — I have to complain of bad and insufficient food. Mrs. Browne agreed I should be her table waiter, but, since I have been here, I have been put to the work of a groom and chamber-maid, and cooking the dog's victuals. I have often received a thump on the face, and a box on the ear, on frivolous occasions. I was once sent for by Lieutenant M'Quarie to prepare his hookah for him. I was told by the ladies to go in my cap; Mr. Browne asked me why I did so, and gave me five or six blows with his fist; I ran behind a cask, where I was so severely beaten that two men came and lifted me up, gave me water, took me in the kitchen, and nursed me. I was so beaten that I lay behind the cask for an hour; Mrs. Browne called out of the window, 'Give the rascal two or three more kicks.' Mr. Browne once gave me fifteen strokes with a horse-whip, because I did not get his breakfast ready in time; I still bear the marks. Both Mr. Brownes were up at the farm, and I was ordered by Mrs. B. to remove their chamber-pot; I refused to do so, and she made me do it, by which I have lost my cast. I applied for my provisions to the man who gives them out; he kicked me for asking for them. I came to Sydney to complain to Mr. Browne, and I was sent to the watch-house, brought before Mr. Wentworth, and by him discharged. Mr. Browne said he would investigate it; he came up, and gave the men a club to beat me with. I agreed for twenty seers of food per month; I have never received that quantity while I was in Sydney; I have received rice and ottar, but at the farm I had nothing but damaged corn; Mrs. Browne said, 'Shall I feed these boys upon rice?' Sometimes we had buttermilk, but always three parts of water; Mrs. Browne once said, 'You hog, you give me all the little potatoes, and keep all the large ones yourself.' I once received some good flour, but generally bad; I gave it to the dogs, and complained to Mrs. Browne, when she gave me some rather better. I want to go home, but, if I had been well-treated, I would have remained twenty years.

"The memorial of Chamine Dongrine, and of Charon Munny, respect fully sheweth: —
"That both memorialists engaged with Mrs. Browne of Calcutta, to serve her in New South Wales, and have both been employed on Mrs. Browne's farm; but, by reason of cruelty and ill-usage on their mistress's part, they pray humbly, but earnestly, to be released from such agreement. The former memorialist has to complain, that she was employed at field labour, such as commonly is done by men in this colony; and, having been put to bed of a male infant, she was ordered to return to work by Mrs. Browne, on the fifth day after the child was born! Upon remonstrating that she was not sufficiently strong, Mrs. Browne withheld her victuals; thereby compelling her to go reaping wheat, the infant lying on the ground of the store room locked up, which occasioned its death at twenty-one days old, for want of milk!

"Your memorialist, Charon Munny, has to represent, amongst a continued length of ill-treatment, that, having been forced to carry a large brazen vessel of great weight, she then being heavy with child, miscarried; the next day Mrs. Browne ordered her to work, such as carrying large logs, and other loads. Relying fully on the justice and humanity which distinguish every court under British administration, your petitioners submit their hardships to your consideration, should the same appear to require such redress as they ask."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 274-276, 281.]

Of the state of slavery in Malwa, in 1821, Sir John Malcolm observes, — "Male slaves are few in Malwa, and are generally treated more like adopted children than menials. The case is very different with females, who in almost every instance are sold to prostitution; some, it is true, rise to be favourite mistresses of their master, and enjoy both power and luxury, while others are raised by the success in life of their sons; but these are exceptions. The dancing women, who are all slaves, are condemned to a life of toil and vice, for the profit of others, and some of the first Rajpoot chiefs and zemindars in Malwa, who have from 50 to 200 female slaves in their family; after employing them in all the menial labours of their house during the day, send them at night to their own dwellings, where they are at liberty to form such connexions as they please; but a large share of the profits of that promiscuous intercourse, into which they fall, is annually exacted by their masters, who adds any children they have to his list of slaves. The female slaves in this condition, as well as those of the dancing sets, are not permitted to marry, and are often very harshly treated; so that the latter, from this cause and the connexions they form, are constantly in the habit of running away. If discovered, they are always given up, provided the deed of purchase can be produced; which with them, above all others, must be registered at the cutwall's chabootre at the period the slave is bought.

"It is not the habit of the native governments of Malwa, to take any cognizance of the punishment which masters inflict upon slaves, except such extend to their life, when they are responsible; they are in some cases cruelly treated, but this is not general; it is indeed against the interest of the master to do so, when there are so many opportunities of escaping from his authority. The state of Malwa for the last thirty years has been favourable to the species of slavery described, and that province is filled with the mixed progeny of these unfortunate women. This traffic must however now decrease, as the Gwarriahs and others who carried it on, can no longer steal or conceal children with that confidence of impunity which they had long done. A few years ago, no man dare leave his own district to inquire after his wife and daughter; the whole country can now be traversed in safety. From this cause, and the discoveries of guilt which have recently been made, the stealers of women and children have taken alarm; while the restitution to their relatives of slaves, bought by them at high prices, must deter future purchasers."* [Par. Papers, pp. 415, 416.]

The Committee appointed by the Government of Prince of Wales' Island, in 1808, to report on the propriety of the abolition of slavery, advert to one of the many evils of this state of society in the following terms: — "Allowing that the abolition of slavery might have the effect to retard the increase of the population, by partially preventing the arrival of settlers, it would benefit the island in another respect more essentially — by effectually putting a stop to the infamous practice (still existing, notwithstanding every effort and regulation of Government) of purchasing females for the purpose of hiring them, and compelling them to ply as public prostitutes, and enable many industrious Chinese and others to obtain wives, whom this infamous practice has hitherto prevented (the great gain resulting from it, enabling the bawds to purchase these females at most extravagant prices); and consequently by connecting these Chinese and others more permanently, through the medium of families, with the settlement, will not only much improve the character of the community, but tend ultimately to afford a more certain source of increase of population than from casual residents."* [Par. Papers, p. 441.]

The evils of slavery in the Island of Nias, near Sumatra, are forcibly depicted in an article from the Singapore Chronicle; —

"The circumstances that attend the traffic of slaves are no less revolting to humanity, than those which marked it on the coast of Africa. The unhappy victims torn by violence from their friends and country, and delivered, pinioned hand and foot, to the dealers in human flesh, are kept bound during the whole course of the voyage — a precaution which is found necessary to the safety of the crew. Instances have occurred, where the captives have seized a moment of liberty, to snatch up the first weapon within their reach, stab all whom they encountered, and complete the scene by leaping overboard, and voluntarily seeking a watery death! The sudden change of diet to which they are subjected on board a ship, added to the confinement and dejection of mind, prove fatal to many. Of a cargo of thirty slaves, twenty have been known to perish before the conclusion of the voyage; and on a moderate calculation it may be estimated, that, of the total number purchased, one-fourth never reach their destination.

"On the scenes of violence that take place in the country itself, in the search of victims, it is needless to dwell; they can be better imagined than described. We shall relate one well authenticated instance, given by an eye-witness. A plan had been laid to attack a single insulated house, inhabited by a man, his wife, and children, and to seize the whole family. At the appointed hour the house was surrounded; the man no sooner discovered his situation, and saw that there was no escape, than he locked himself in the inner apartment, drew his kris, killed first his wife and children, and then plunged it into his own breast, preferring death to a life of slavery!

"Independently of the habits of cruelty and rapine, which the slave trade tends to infuse, the exorbitant profits it holds out, create an aversion to the slower advantages of legitimate commerce and agricultural labour. In order to convey their produce to the sea-ports, the inhabitants of the interior are obliged to unite in parties of several hundreds, all completely armed, and, with their loads of rice on their backs, descend in order of battle to the shores to dispose of it; such is the general insecurity and distrust, that the husbandman goes armed to his labour in the fields, they select the most difficult situations for their villages, and construct their houses with every precaution against surprises."† [See Imp. Mag., Jan. 1830.— For an account of the misery of slavery in the Isle of France, see Memoir of Mrs. Judson, p. 81, respecting a Burmese female slave; see also p. 306.]

Slavery in Cape Colony, is thus described by a modern writer: — "The timid silent step with which the young slave girl enters the room — the subdued tone in which the message is delivered — her looks of apathy, where all the warm stirring blood of youth seems tamed down; — and when I have gazed upon dark lustreless eyes that were born to flash, and upon the listless form that was born to bound, I could not but feel, that the being before me was bowed down — that all the energies which liberty would have called forth, were crushed beneath the severity of her lot. In travelling, when stopping at a Boor's house, I remember thanking a slave girl for some trifling service, when she turned to her companion, with a look of more than surprise, and they both burst into uncontrollable laughter — laughter, that to my ear, "had no mirth in it;" for it told of a state in which blows might follow the non-performance of any command; but to which thanks were an unknown sound. All this is characteristic of slavery, and strikes an Englishman from its strong contrast with the respectful, yet cheerful manners of the servants of this country."

Many pages of the Par. Documents on East India Slavery are occupied in detailing the state of the slaves in Malabar; especially in the investigation of the conduct of a Mr. Browne, of Anjarakandy, towards his slaves (see pp. 560-790). A few extracts only can be given of the examinations of these slaves, taken by the Magistrate of Zillah North Malabar.

"I was with five children who were tending cattle, and while at play two mopillas seized me and took me that very night to Aloppi, where they gave me to Assen Ally, who sent me in a moonchoo to Mahe; thence I was sent to Anjarakandy, where they made me eat Pooliars' food; before, if I should be defiled by Pooliars, I must wash myself. I am not willing to return to Anjarakandy, if I can be admitted again to my cast; I wish to go to my country. My house name is Tekkadati.

"My tambooran is Panakada Canden; I was asleep at night when Panaparambil Pamikaree seized and brought me away, and gave me to Ayecagata Shuk Moidun, who gave me to a Sahib at Cochin; thence I was put in a moonchoo and landed at Chetwa; whence Coony Pareay and Bappen brought me by land to the Sahib, at the Bangsaul of Anjarakandy, twelve other poliars who were also brought with me, are now here.

"I was at work, when, without the knowledge of my tambooran and poolian (husband), myself and two of my children, Dampan and Kanda, were seized by Eddacatta Vudeen, mopla and some others, and brought to Cochin, detained there eleven days, and then given to Walladara who brought us in a manchoo and landed us at Chitwa. Besides myself there were eleven others, whence two moplas of Mahe, named Coony Parray and Bappen, brought us to Anjarakandy, and made us stay with a Sahib; those eleven that were brought with me are present here."* [Par. Papers, pp. 605, 609, 613.]

"Nothing can be more abject and wretched (says T.H. Baber, Esq., Magistrate in Malabar, in 1813,) than the condition of that degraded race of mortals, the slaves of Malabar, 'whose huts (to us the words of Mr. Francis Buchanan in his tour through Malabar) are little better than mere baskets, and whose diminutive stature, and squalid appearance, evidently shew a want of adequate nourishment.'"* [Par Papers, pp. 760, 761.]

"The slave alone (says Mr. Graeme in his Report of Malabar, 1822) has his sieve of a hut in the centre of the rice lands; but on the coast at least, he is an industrious, and not an unintelligent being, in good condition, and nothing deficient in bodily frame. In the interior, he is a wretched, half-starved, diminutive creature, stinted in his food, and exposed to the inclemencies of the weather, whose state demands that commiseration and amelioration which may confidently be expected from the humanity of the British Government, provided it can be shewn, that a change for the better can be effected without hazarding an evil of any formidable magnitude; without incurring the risk of general discontent, or exciting a worse feeling towards the objects themselves, by an unsuccessful endeavour to mitigate their ill treatment. The slaves of Malabar, known generally by the name of chermurs, are entirely praedial, or rustic, being engaged only in the cultivation of rice lands and plantations. I except, of course, the Mussulmans, who may be domestic slaves, and live in the houses of their masters, and partake of all the privileges of their religion. This kind of slavery is a social fraternity, and is a step to the best comforts, and the highest honours of life among Mussulmans. It is totally dissimilar, in every essential point, to the servitude of the chermur, which is the most prevalent designation of the slaves of Malabar."† [P. 914.]

"In the Calicut district, there is an anomaly in the general system among the Paliur, the Kulladee, and the Kunnakur, which are the only three casts of slaves residing there. There is a mixture of the two customs of mukkatayum and murroo mukkatayum, that is, the one or the other does not obtain separately in different families in the district, but in all the families throughout the district the inheritance partakes of the two modes; and, half of the children are considered to go with the mother, and consequently to belong to her proprietor, and half to be attached to the father, and therefore to be the property of his master. Where the number may not admit of an equal division, the odd number is reckoned to be the mother's! The wife of a Palium, and of all the casts who observe the murroo mukkatayum, may be sold separately, and may therefore belong to a different master from the master of her husband, but she cannot be separated from her husband; she must be allowed to remain with him; she is purchased separately in consideration of her future offspring, which, by the custom of murroo mukkatayum, would become the property of her purchaser. In the other casts, the females are not separately saleable, neither the wife nor her female children. The daughters become the temporary property of the masters of their husbands; but this right of property ceases upon the death of the husband, and the wife returns to the house of her father. The rules of Malabar prescribe that a slave of the cast of Poleyan, Waloovan, and Brayen, shall remain seventy-two paces from a Bramin and from a Nair, and forty-eight from a Tean! A slave of the Kunakur cast sixty-four paces from a Bramin and Nair, and forty from a Tean; and the other casts generally forty-eight paces from a Bramin and Nair, twenty-four from a Tean! In the northern division these rules are deviated from in practice, in favour of the slaves; whilst in the southern division, they are thought to be exceeded in strictness."* [Par. Papers, p. 920.]

One of the Malabar Magistrates, in 1823, suggested that, on account of "certain instances of cruelty practised on slaves by their masters, the forfeiture of the right of property over slaves should be made the penalty for ill usage." — Slaves appear occasionally to have their noses cut off by their cruel masters. "Adverting (says one of the Judges) to the facts elicited during the foregoing trial, it will no longer be denied that cruelties are practised upon the slaves of Malabar; and that our courts and cutcherries are no restraints upon their owners or employers. Whatever doubts may exist with regard to the exact period of the death of the Cherooman Koorry Noryady, or to the immediate cause of his death, there can be none as to the fact, of his nose having been amputated, as well as those of three other slaves belonging to the same owner; and that, although the case had come before the Magistrate, no steps have been taken to bring the perpetrators of such horrid barbarities to justice. Upon the latter head it maybe argued that the slaves themselves preferred no complaint: but, if it is to depend upon the slaves themselves, to seek for the protection of the laws, their situation must be hopeless indeed; for, having no means of subsistence, independent of their owners or employers, their repairing to and attending upon a public cutcherry is a thing physically impossible; and even though those provisions of the regulations, that require all complaints to be preferred in writing, were dispensed with in favour of slaves, and they were exempted from the payment of tolls at the numerous ferries they would have to pass, and though an allowance were made to them by government during their detention at the cutcherries and courts, unless forfeiture of the right of property over slaves was the penalty for ill usage, their situation would only become more intolerable than it was before they complained."* [Par. Papers on Slavery, p. 928.]

The last page but one of the Par. Papers contain the following remarks respecting the misery of slavery in British India. "The second Judge makes mention of two cases tried in Canara, wherein the accused were charged with causing the death of their slaves by severe chastisement, which, he states, induced him to make inquiry at Mangalore, regarding the prevailing custom in instances where the slave of one master marries the slave of another; and particularly whether their respective owners can prevent them from living together. The second Judge remarks that the frequent absence from his 'master's work, which occasioned the deceased's chastisement in one of the above cases, was owing to visits to his wife, who resided at a distance on her master's estate, who would not allow her to live with her husband.'' He was told that it is usual for the female slave to reside with her husband, and, if his residence be at such a distance as to prevent her from coming to work daily at her master's house, the master of the husband must indemnify her owner by the payment, annually, of half a moorah of rice; but, if the master should employ the female at his own house, he must employ also her husband, whose owner he must indemnify by the payment annually of one moorah of rice. The Judge offers his opinion that the Magistrate should correctly inform himself on this point, and be required under the authority of Government, after due notice given, to enforce the obligation on the part of the owners, to allow their married slaves to live together. The court of Foujdaree Adawlut are of opinion that the interference here proposed to be exercised by the Magistrate, could not be put in practice without the enactment of a Regulation for that purpose; and they are not prepared to suggest provisions with this view which would be free from objection; should, however, the Honourable the Governor in council deem it fit to give effect to the humane recommendation of the Judge, it may be in the power of the provincial court, in communication with the Magistrates in the provinces of Malabar and Canara, to devise a mode to prevent the separation of married slaves, without any violation of rights, which the established usages in this respect confer."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 935, 936.]

This chapter may be closed, by contrasting "the effects of slavery, with those of voluntary servitude, under a system of liberty," as described by the Judge of Bundlecund.


"1. It is the constant object of the master, to get the greatest quantity of labour at the cheapest rate; consequently he stints the slave in food and raiment. It may be urged, by clothing and feeding well, the slave would be strong, and better able to endure fatigue, but it is the constant practice of avarice, by short-sighted policy, to counteract its own wishes: a trifling immediate advantage being generally preferred to much more essential objects, if more remote.

2. It is the uniform endeavour of the slave to mitigate the hardship of his lot by evading toil, which brings him no advantage.

3. The slave, finding himself subject to capricious treatment and change of masters, will seldom add the cares of providing for a family of children to his other woes, and consequently avoids marriage.

4. In their old age, it is the master's interest to get rid of the feeble, who eat but cannot labour; consequently the worn down slave is neglected, and perishes for want of care, having no family or children to ease the pains of sickness, or prop the weakness of decline, by the soothing attention of filial duty.

5. In times of scarcity and famine, the master must starve his slaves, send them to plunder, or emancipate them. The latter, his avarice will never permit.

6. When slaves can sell themselves or their children, numbers are induced to flock to great towns and cities, where many die from disappointed expectation, who would otherwise pick up a scanty subsistence in scattered villages.

7. It would appear to be the advantage of masters, to promote the rearing of their slaves. This, like many other theoretic ideas, is found to be fallacious, and contradicted by fact. The expense of rearing, and the loss incurred by the indispensable attendance of the parents on their offspring, has always made proprietors prefer recruiting casual diminutions of their slaves by purchase; even in Rome, where slavery was universal. How much more will masters avoid such trouble and expense in India, where I have seen, in a time of local scarcity only, a stout lad of fourteen or fifteen years old, sold for the trifling consideration of two rupees, scarcely a month's wages for the meanest servant.

8. Women of bad fame purchase females for the most public prostitution, which are thereby lost to the community.

9. Children are sometimes sold into bondage by the villany of others, in the case of death or absence of parents, instances of which are not uncommon.

10. The sanction of slavery, not many years ago, gave birth to an infamous traffic, and as injurious to our government as disgraceful to those concerned, diminishing our resources, by depriving us of subjects."


1. The same object actuates the master here also, but the servant being free to stipulate, his interest counteracts that of the other, and the contest reduces and establishes the price of labour to its just rate; that is, it allows the servant to provide for himself and family, and leaves the master a competent profit.

2. It is the general wish of servants to satisfy their masters, that they may not lose their employment; or, if their services are no longer requisite, to entitle them to a recommendation.

3. The servant knowing he can dispose of his earnings as he pleases, and being provided with a fund for the provision of a wife, &c., will marry; thus the slate reaps benefit by the increase of population.

4. Under voluntary servitude, by the time old age approaches, many have saved a little from the rewards of their services, to assist in softening the hardships of sickness and debility, &c.; and almost all, having married and added to the general stock of industry and riches, have some children to soothe the evening of life. Though this may have little weight in the scale of political reasoning, it ought to have some in that of humanity.

5. In scarcity, a servant is not harder to subsist than a slave; he will not eat more, and, having his wages, he is better enabled to evade the effects of famine, by making timely provision for its approach.

6. Were slavery abolished, this evil could not happen: knowing they could not sell themselves or children, they would not be tempted to cities in such numbers; having only a precarious charity to rely on, they would substitute many modes of supplying a mere sustenance, from berries, herbs, &c.

7. Were voluntary servitude substituted for slavery, avarice, real or mistaken, could not affect population.

8. Abolish the unnatural law of slavery, and the evil could not occur.

9. Nor this.

10. Nor this.

"The effects of slavery are as plainly injurious, as the benefits of freedom are obvious and undoubted."* [Par. Papers, pp. 301-303.]  
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Cont'd.: Book V: Slavery, Excerpt from "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India"
by James Peggs
p. 312-328

-- India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India, by James Peggs

-- Slavery in India: The Present State of East India Slavery; Chiefly Extracted From the Parliamentary Papers on the Subject, Printed March, 1828, August 1832, August 1838, by James Peggs, Third Edition, 1840

-- Slavery and the Slave Trade in British India; With Notices of the Existence of These Evils in the Islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, Drawn from Official Documents, by Thomas Ward and Col, And to Be Had At the Office of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1841

-- Slavery in the Bengal Presidency Under East India Company Rule, 1772-1843, by Amal Kumar Cattopadhyay, Thesis presented at the University of London for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1963

CHAP. II. Nature and success of efforts for the abolition of the Slave Trade in India — melioration of Slavery by the Hindoos, Mussulmans, French, Dutch, and British.

The abolition of the Slave Trade, by the British nation, was attended with very salutary effects in British India. It is pleasing to trace the influence of just and humane principles in the abolition of the Slave Trade in our Eastern dominions; and the nature of the efforts, though partial, to meliorate the existing state of slavery in those extensive territories.

Lord Cornwallis, Governor General of India, in a letter to the Court of Directors in 1789, states his detestation of slavery, and his purpose to suppress it as far as he was able. — "An infamous traffic has, it seems, long been carried on in this country by the low Portuguese, and even by several foreign European seafaring people and traders, in purchasing and collecting native children in a clandestine manner, and exporting them for sale to the French islands, and other parts of India. I have, at different times, taken steps to prevent the continuance of practices which are so shocking to humanity, and so pernicious to your interests. And, in order to deter all persons under the authority of this government, from being concerned in that species of trade, I lately directed that a commander of a country vessel, who carried off some children last winter, should be prosecuted criminally before the Supreme Court; and I have likewise published a proclamation, to give notice that any person living under the Company's protection, or in any shape under the authority of this government, who shall be convicted of carrying on, or aiding, or abetting the barbarous traffic that I have mentioned, will be certain of meeting with the most exemplary punishment.

"There are many obstacles in the way against abolishing slavery entirely in the Company's dominions, as the number of slaves is considerable, and the practice is sanctioned both by the Mahomedan and Hindoo laws. I have, however, a plan* ["No further notice of the plan, here adverted to by his Lordship, has been traced upon the records of the Bengal Government."] under consideration, which I hope to be able to execute without doing much injury to the private interests, or offering great violence to the feelings of the natives, and which has for its object the abolition of the practice under certain limitations, and the establishing some regulations to alleviate, as much as may be possible, the misery of those unfortunate people during the time that they may be retained in that wretched situation."* [Par. Papers, p. 13.]

A Proclamation was made in the same year, and was "published in the English and country languages." Referring to the period at which it was issued, this document must be read with considerable interest. See the Proclamation at the foot of the page.

"PROCLAMATION. — Whereas information, the truth of which cannot be doubted, has been received by the Governor General in Council, that many Natives, and some Europeans, in opposition to the laws and ordinances of this country, and the dictates of humanity, have been for a long time in the practice of purchasing or collecting Natives of both sexes, children as well as adults, for the purpose of exporting them as slaves in different parts of India, or elsewhere: and whereas the Governor General in Council is determined to exert to the utmost extent the power vested in him, in order to prevent such practice in future, and to deter, by the most exemplary punishment, those persons who are not to be otherwise restrained from committing the offence: his Lordship hereby declares, that all and every person or persons, subject to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, or in any respect to the authority of this government, who shall in future be concerned directly or indirectly in the above mentioned inhuman and detestable traffic, shall be prosecuted with the utmost rigour, in the Supreme Court, at the expense of the Company, and, if British born subjects, shall be forthwith ordered to Europe; or, if such person or persons be not subject to the Court's jurisdiction, he or they, upon information being given to the Magistrate of the place or district in which the offence shall have been committed, shall be apprehended by him and kept in confinement, to be dealt with according to the laws of the country.

"And also, that no one may plead ignorance hereof, the Superintendents of the police for the town of Calcutta, and the magistrates of Adawluts, in the several parts of the country, are hereby required to give immediate notice of this proclamation in such manner as shall render the knowledge of it universal to persons of all description, and to repeat the same on the first day of January in every year; they are further directed to pay the strictest attention to the Regulations contained in it, and to take the most active steps in their power to enforce them.

"And that all persons offending against this proclamation may be brought to punishment for the same, and the unhappy sufferers rescued from misery, a reward of one hundred sicca rupees is hereby offered for the discovery of every offender, to be paid on his conviction before the Supreme Court of Judicature, or before the Magistrate of the District, and of fifty rupees for such person of either sex, who shall be delivered from slavery, or illegal confinement in consequence of such discovery. The money will be paid to the informer or informers on his or their application to the Secretary of government, and presenting to him a certificate of the conviction of the person or persons committing the offence, of which such informer or informers made discovery.

"The Governor General in Council further recommends to British commercial houses, and private merchants, to assist, as far as depends upon them, in carrying these regulations into effect, by taking the most effectual means in their power to prevent the commanders of their ships or vessels, or of ships or vessels consigned to them, or otherwise placed under their directions, from carrying away natives of this country in order to sell them for slaves.

"The master attendant of this port is hereby forbidden to grant in future an English pilot to any ship or vessel, the commander of which shall not have previously declared upon oath, that there are not then on board, and he will not, during his continuance in the river, consent to receive on board, any natives to be exported as slaves, with an intent to dispose of them at some foreign place, or whom he has any reason to imagine will be disposed of as such after they leave this country.

"And the master attendant is hereby directed to give notice to all the native pilots, that if they should pilot out any vessel, having on board natives of this description, knowing or believing them to be such, the privilege of piloting will be taken from them for ever, and their names and offence registered. And, that no one may plead ignorance of this order, it is hereby directed that it be placed constantly in view at the Banksaul, in the English and country languages.

Proclaimed at Fort William, in Bengal, this 22nd day of July, 1789.

By order of the Governor General in Council,

(Signed) E. HAY, Secretary to the Government.† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 22.]

It is pleasing at this period to see the French authorities in India co-operating with the British, in suppressing this trade in human beings. "We understand," says the Calcutta Gazette in Sep. 1789, "Monsieur Montigny, Governor of Chandernagore, has lately issued a proclamation prohibiting all persons within the jurisdiction of the French Government, from purchasing or transporting any of the Natives of these provinces as slaves; and, in order more effectually to prevent this infamous practice, a reward of forty rupees is offered to any person who shall give information of the offender, besides the sum of ten rupees to be given to each slave who shall be released in consequence. Both sums to be paid by the offender. The master attendant of Chandernagore is also directed to see that no Native be embarked, without an order signed by the Governor; and all captains of vessels trading to the port of Chandernagore are strictly prohibited from receiving any Natives on board. Nothing can reflect greater honour on the humanity of Monsieur Montigny, and the liberal policy of the French Government, than the above order; and we have no doubt this co-operation with the measures already taken by our own government, will put an effectual stop to this odious traffic."* [Par. Papers, pp. 18, 19. See also in 1791, pp. 34, 487, 493, 520.]

Some free Natives of Bengal having been taken to St. Helena, and sold as slaves, the practice was prohibited by authority. The Hon. Court of Directors, in a Letter to the Governor General in 1793, observe — "It having been stated in the letter to you from the Governor and Council of St. Helena, in July, 1791, that they have heard of other complaints of the Natives of Bengal, who were free, having been unjustly sold on that Island, we direct that you cause an advertisement to be issued for the discovery thereof, and that you take the most effectual means for liberating such as may be under this unfortunate predicament; and for putting a stop to a practice so disgraceful to humanity, reporting your proceedings for our information."* [Par. Papers, p. 45. By a recent Regulation all persons born on the Island are free.] To secure the return of Native servants, proceeding from Bengal to Europe, it was determined by the Government that a bond of 1000 rupees should be given for each individual. "The humane purpose of this bond," says the Hon. Court, in 1796, "is sufficient to ensure our approbation of the measure."

The murder of a slave, under the Bengal Government, is made a capital offence. In 1799 was issued "A Regulation for certain Modifications of the Mahomedan Law in cases of Murder." It enjoins — "In every case of wilful murder, wherein the crime may appear to the court of Nizamut Adawlut to have been fully established against the prisoner, but the futwa of the law officers of that court shall declare the prisoner not liable under the Mahomedan law to suffer death by kissans, (or retaliation), solely on the ground of the prisoner's being father or mother, grandfather or grandmother, or other ancestor of the slain; or of the heirs of the slain, or one of the heirs of the slain, being the child, or grandchild, or other descendant of the prisoner; or of the slain having been the slave of the prisoner or of any other person, or a slave appropriated for the service of the public; or on any similar ground of personal distinction and exception from the general rules of equal justice; the court of Nizamut Adawlut, provided they see no circumstances in the case which may render the prisoner a proper object of mercy, shall sentence him to suffer death, as if the futwa of their law officers had declared him liable to kissans, or to suffer death by seazut, as authorized by the Mahomedan law in all cases of wilful murder, under the discretion vested in the Magistrate, with regard to this principle of punishment, for the ends of public justice."† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 76.]  

In 1796 a communication was addressed to the Governor of Bombay, from the Sultan and Chiefs of the island of Johanna, praying for assistance against the incursions of the French and the Madagascar people, who destroyed and enslaved the inhabitants. They offer to "give these islands to the Company," and that "whatever shall be produced in this country, half shall be for you and the other half for us." In consideration of the friendly treatment which ships invariably received, at Johanna, some assistance was given to these islanders.* [See the letters, which are very interesting documents, pp. 82-84.] In 1813 an application was made to Bombay, by the Sultan of Johanna, respecting some persons who had been carried from the island to the Mauritius by the French, and there reduced to slavery. The Hon. Court of Directors very humanely remark, upon the proceedings of the Indian Government, — "With respect to the circumstance alleged by the King of Johanna, of certain persons, his subjects, having been carried by the French to Mauritius, and there made slaves, we entirely approve of your suggestion to the Governor of the Mauritius, for the purchase of such individuals, if in a state of slavery; and likewise of your further application to the Governor of Mauritius, respecting several natives of our Indian provinces of both sexes, being in a state of slavery on that island, and requesting his assistance in obtaining their release, or in purchasing their freedom, and charging the expense to your Government."† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 224.] 

In 1811 an important "Regulation for preventing the importation of slaves from foreign countries, and the sale of slaves in the Territories immediately dependent on the Presidency of Fort William" was passed by the Vice President in Council. Copies of the regulation were ordered to be circulated among the officers of the Bengal Government, and also forwarded to those of Fort St. George, and Bombay. It was also resolved, that this "Regulation be sent to the political department, in order that a communication may be made to any of the Native States, which it may be deemed proper to apprize of the purport of the Regulation.''‡ [See p. 99.]

The Resident at Delhi, in 1812, C. T. Metcalfe, Esq., actively prosecuted the humane measures of the Government. He wrote to the Chief Secretary as follows: — "The slave trade, which has been prohibited for a considerable time in the other provinces in the British dominions in India, continued to exist in the district of Delhi subsequently to its abolition in other places, no local orders having been issued for its discontinuance; and, in consequence, the resort of slave merchants to this quarter was becoming more frequent than ever. Being convinced, that it was not the intention of Government; that this iniquitous traffic should be encouraged in any part of its territories; satisfied rather that it was, and is, its earnest desire to abolish so abominable a commerce; I consider myself to be only fulfilling the manifest intentions of the Right Honourable the Governor General in Council, in putting a stop to the sale of human beings in the town and country of Delhi. I have accordingly proclaimed the orders of Government for the abolition of the slave trade."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 101.]

The officers of the "Nepaul administration, in 1811 requested the co-operation of the British Government, in their measures towards an amelioration of the situation of the inhabitants of the mountains." The co-operation requested was cheerfully granted.† [Par. Papers, p. 115.]

The proceedings in India, are particularly worthy of notice, as it respects the bearing of the Act of Parliament, passed in the fifty-first year of his Majesty George III, commonly called the Slave Felony Act, or "An Act for rendering more effectual an Act made in the forty-seventh year of his Majesty's reign, intituled, 'An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.'" Two hundred copies of this important act were printed in Calcutta, and duly circulated. A Letter to the Chief Secretary at Fort St. George, and a similar one to Bombay, shew the sense taken of this act in India. See this important communication at the foot of the page.

"The exact nature of the traffic in slaves, mentioned by you to be carried on from Travancore, not being stated in your letter, the Governor General in Council is of course precluded from forming a judgment, whether that traffic falls within the purview of the Act of the 51 Geo. III. c. 23, intituled, "An Act for rendering more effectual an Act made in the forty-seventh year of his Majesty's reign, intituled, 'An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.'" With respect to that particular point, his Lordship in Council can only observe, that he does not consider the provisions of the Act in question, applicable to the importation or removal of slaves by land. It having been deemed proper, however, to consider maturely the measures which should be pursued by the local governments of this country, with respect to the above mentioned statute, the following is the purport of the resolutions adopted by the Governor General in Council on that subject.

"The provisions of the Act being highly penal in their operation, and its object highly important, the Governor General in Council has considered it proper to order a copy of it to be published in the Calcutta Gazette, for general information. In like manner, his Lordship in Council has directed copies of the Act to be forwarded to the local governments of Bombay, Java, of Prince of Wales' Island, of Mauritius, of Ceylon, and the Residents at the Moluccas, and at Fort Maryborough. On the same principle, copies of the statute will be forwarded to the magistrates of Chittagong and Cuttack (the only sea ports, excepting Calcutta, in Bengal), in order that in their capacity of justices of the peace, under the law of England, they may aid in enforcing the provisions of the statute.

"The Governor in Council, at Fort St. George, is aware that a Regulation was some time ago passed at this Presidency, for preventing the importation of slaves from foreign countries. Inquiries will be made, with the view of ascertaining whether the provisions of that Regulation have been effectual in preventing that species of traffic; if not, a further Regulation will be passed without loss of time, establishing severer penalties for the infringement of the prohibition now existing under the Regulation above noticed, of the importation of slaves from foreign countries, in conformity to the spirit of the statute, to which the foregoing remarks allude. In like manner, the Governor General in Council begs leave to recommend that a Regulation be passed, at Fort St. George, for preventing the importation of slaves by land into the territories subject to that Presidency, under such penalties as the Governor in Council may deem fully adequate to the prevention of that traffic.

"The foregoing remarks, it is presumed, will inform the Governor in Council sufficiently of the construction annexed by the Governor General in Council to the Act of the 51 Geo. III c. 23, and of the measures which it has been judged necessary to adopt at this Presidency. It is scarcely necessary to add, that his Lordship in Council is of opinion that similar measures should be adopted by the government of Fort St. George, with such modifications as local circumstances may suggest, without of course departing from the principle on which the measures above detailed are founded. I have, &c.

G. Dowdeswell, Sec. to Government Judicial Department.
Fort William, Sept. 26th, 1812.† [p. 137.]

The Bombay Government, in 1813, issued a "Regulation for preventing the importation of slaves from foreign countries, and the sale of such slaves, in the territories immediately dependent on the Presidency of Bombay."* [Par. Papers, p. 216.] A difference of opinion upon the application of this act to India has been entertained; that of the Advocate General of Bombay, H. G. Macklin, Esq., is expressed in the following terms, in a letter to the Secretary to Government: —

"With great deference to the opinion of the Right Honourable the Governor General in Council, I think the Act extends to importation by land as well as sea. In the preamble it is recited, that it is fit such measures should be extended, to the effectual abolition of the slave trade wheresoever it may be attempted to practise the same; and, in the enacting part immediately following, — 'If any person residing or being in any of the Islands, &c., or Territories under the government of the United Company of Merchants trading to the East Indies, shall, &c., carry away or remove, &c., as a slave or slaves, &c., any person or persons whatsoever from any part of Africa, or from any other country, territory, or place whatsoever; or shall import or bring, &c., into any island, colony, country, territory, or place whatsoever, any such persons as aforesaid, for the purpose aforesaid; then in every such case, &c., the persons so offending, &c., are declared to be felons.'

"This enactment is taken verbatim from the statute, and appears to me, to comprehend every possible case of the importation (that is, the introduction) of slaves into British Territories. The act is highly penal, and I have great satisfaction in observing that his Lordship in Council is resolved to lay before the Hon. Court the difficulties which attend carrying the penal part of the statute into execution in India, where slavery is of a much milder feature than in the western hemisphere. The manumission of the slave will be sufficiently provided for by the regulation, and the King's Courts may act upon the statute in cases of aggravation or enormity."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 216, 217.] It is unnecessary to enlarge upon the importance of this view of the subject. It is evident, that the abolition of the slave trade, both in the West and the East Indies, is not the abolition of slavery. It prevents the increase of slaves, but leaves those already in slavery nearly in the same state that they were.

A Proclamation against the slave trade was issued by the Government in Madras, in March 1790, similar to the one issued by the Marquis Cornwallis, in 1789.† [See Par. Papers as above, pp. 469, 470.]

It is grateful to see the Dutch authorities in India, at this period, co-operating with the British, in suppressing the detestable traffic in human beings. The following letter was addressed to the Governor of Madras, in 1793: — "Favoured with your Honour's letter, we cannot indeed emphatically enough express our indignation and aversion, with regard to so horrible an event, as the exportation of 180 natives from Bimlipatam, as slaves, in a French brigantine bound to the French islands; which, however, according to the declaration that came enclosed, was surprised and taken at Pedir by the Malays, who killed all those that were on board of her, and did not escape out of their hands.

"To shew how much the exportation of the unhappy creatures merits our disgrace, we shall renew, in the strongest manner, our orders to our northern factories, to oppose such inhuman practice; not only in our subjects, but also with all possible diligence in strangers, in case they should think our territory a safe place for it; with a charge to deliver the unhappy creatures out of the hands of those who will not desist, but are refractory, either by good or forcible means, and to send them to one of your agents there, for the protection of their liberty, and the benefit of their support. We feel the propriety of your Honour's resolution, that such kidnapping may be prevented, to check it with exemplary punishment; and, in case any of our subjects transgress the orders instituted against it, they shall be seized and delivered over to justice, to be punished according to the exigency of the case."* [Par. Papers, pp. 537, 538.]

These extracts shew the efforts of the European authorities in India, with the occasional co-operation of the Natives, to abolish the Slave trade. The success experienced in these humane efforts should have encouraged them to attempt more than has yet been done; — not merely to meliorate, but to abolish slavery in the East. In consequence of the active measures described, many slaves were liberated, and their importation into India, by sea, in a great degree prohibited.

It is interesting to trace the melioration of slavery in the East. From the following extract of a translation of the Hindoo Laws, transmitted by the Bengal Government to the Hon. Court of Directors in 1774, it appears that the Hindoos admit various modes of enfranchising slaves. —

"Whoever is born of a female slave; whoever hath been purchased for a price; whoever hath been found by chance any where, and whoever is a slave by descent from his ancestors, these four species of slaves, until they are freed by the voluntary consent of their master, cannot have their liberty; if their master, from a principle of beneficence, gives them liberty, they become free.

"Whoever, having received his victuals from a person during the time of a famine, hath become his slave, upon giving to his provider whatever he received from him during the time of famine, and also two head of cattle, may become free from his servitude; according to the ordinations of Pachesputtee Misr, approved. Chendeesur, upon this head, speaks thus: That he who has received victuals during a famine, and hath, by those means, become a slave, on giving two head of cattle to his provider, may become free.

"Whoever, having been given up as a pledge for money lent, performs service to the creditor, recovers his liberty whenever the debtor discharges the debt; if the debtor neglects to pay the creditor his money, and takes no thought of the person whom he left as a pledge, that person becomes the purchased slave of the creditor.

"Whoever being unable to pay his creditor a debt, hath borrowed a sum of money from another person, and paid his former creditor therewith, and hath thus become a slave to the second creditor; or who, to silence the importunities of his creditor's demands, hath yielded himself a slave to that creditor, such kind of slaves shall not be released from servitude until payment of the debts.

"Whoever, by the loss of chance in any game, and whoever by the fortune of war is enslaved, these two persons, upon giving two others in exchange, are released from their servitude!

"If the slave of one person goes to another, and of his own desire consents to be the slave of that person, in this case he must still be the property of the person to whom he was first a slave. The mode of release for every kind of slave shall take place according to the ordination laid down for each.  

"A Chehtree and Bice, who, after having been Sinasses (religious mendicants) apostate from that way of life, and are become the slaves of the magistrate, can never be released.

"If a Brahmin hath committed this crime, the magistrate shall not make him a slave; but, having branded him in the forehead with the print of a dog's foot, shall banish him the kingdom.

"Whoever hath yielded himself a slave for a stipulated time, upon the completion of that term, shall recover his freedom.

"Whoever performs a servitude for his subsistence, shall recover his freedom upon renouncing that subsistence.

"Whoever, for the sake of a slave girl, becomes a slave to any person, he shall recover his freedom upon renouncing the slave girl.

"Whoever hath become a slave, by selling himself to any person, he shall not be free until the master, of his own accord, gives him his freedom.

"If the master, from a principle of beneficence, give him his liberty, he becomes free.

"If a thief, having stolen the child of any person, sells it to another, or a man, by absolute violence, forces another to be a slave, the magistrate shall restore such person to his freedom.

"If the master of a slave should be in imminent danger of his life, and at that time this slave, by his own efforts and presence of mind, is able to save the life of his master, the slave shall be freed from his servitude, and be held as a son. If he choose, he may stay with his former master, or, if he choose, shall quit that place, and go where he will at liberty.

"Whoever is without a legitimate child, and hath a child from the womb of a slave girl, that girl, together with her son, becomes free.

"When any person, from a principle of beneficence, would release his slave, the mode of it is this: the slave shall fill a pitcher with water, and put therein berenge-a-rook (rice that has been cleansed without boiling), and flowers and doub (a kind of small salad), and, taking the pitcher upon his shoulder, shall stand near his master; and the master, putting the pitcher upon the slave's head, shall break the pitcher, so that the water, rice, flowers, and doub, that were in the pitcher, may fall upon the slave's body; after that, the master shall three times pronounce the words, 'I have made you free:' upon this speech, the slave shall take some steps towards the cast, whereupon he shall be free.

"Whoever hath become a slave to any person, the master is proprietor of any property which that slave may acquire, exclusive of the price of his own slavery, and exclusive also of any thingy which may be given to him as a present."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 7, 8. ]

"I make no scruple," says Sir W. Jones, in his charge to the Grand Jury at Calcutta, in 1785, "to declare my own opinion, that absolute unconditional slavery, by which one human creature becomes the property of another, like a horse or an ox, is happily unknown to the laws of England, and that no human law could give it a just sanction; yet, though I hate the word, the continuance of it, properly explained, can produce little mischief. I consider slaves as servants under a contract, expressed or implied, and made either by themselves or by such persons as are authorized by nature or law to contract for them, until they attain a due age to cancel or confirm any compact that may be disadvantageous to them. I have slaves whom I rescued from death or misery, but consider them as other servants, and shall certainly tell them so, when they are old enough to comprehend the difference of the terms."* [Par. Papers, pp. 9, 10, and 710.]

In the province of Dacca many children were kidnapped, given away, or sold by their parents into slavery; a number of these were recovered, and restored to their parents or relations. The Collector of Dacca, in 1787, addressed the Superintendents of Police at Calcutta — "I have the pleasure to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, accompanying twelve boys and twenty-one girls belonging to this district, under charge of Churrecmeulah and three other peons, and which, in obedience to the wish of the Right Honourable the Governor General, shall be restored to their parents or relations, in the same manner as those transmitted to me two years since."† [p. 12.]

It appears to be a received opinion among the Mahomedans, that murder may be atoned for by money, or by giving a slave. In 1790 two persons, named Mungaly Khan, and Assud Khan, were convicted of the murder of Nowaz Khan, and were ordered to make a pecuniary compensation to the plaintiffs, viz. Peranow the widow, and the brothers of the deceased. In conformity with the Nawaub's orders, they were called upon to pay "the price of blood." The widow stated, "Mungaly Khan being unable to pay a pecuniary compensation, has given to me his son, to be my servant for life. Assud Khan has given me, in satisfaction of the murder, his share of the village of Caympoor." The other plaintiffs declaring, "In consequence of the poverty and distress of Mungaly Khan and Assud Khan, they remitted their claim to a compensation." The Governor General, Earl Cornwallis, and his council, disapproved of the proceeding, agreeing that — "The Naib Nazim be recommended not to admit of Mungaly Khan's making over his son as a slave for life to Peranow, and that he be requested to levy the amount of the compensation, which it may be determined to exact from Mungaly Khan, by the customary mode of process." ‡ [p. 27.]

Ceylon has been a market of slaves from Bengal. In 1789, a "Captain Horrebow took on board at Fultah, 150 children, whom, previously to his departure, he purchased in Bengal: he transported them, under English colours, to Columbo, where they were sold as slaves. The Dutch Governor, Mynbeer Van De Grave, in terms most honourable to himself, refused to permit their being landed; but Captain Horrebow found means to elude the vigilance of the Governor, and availed himself of an excellent market for his wares."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 14.] He "was sentenced to be imprisoned for three months, to pay a fine of 500 rupees, and to give security for his future good behaviour for three years; himself in a bond of 10,000 rupees, and two sureties in 5,000 rupees each."† [p. 21.]  

The state of slavery in Ceylon, anterior to its subjugation by the British, and the mitigation of it proposed by the conquering power, are ably stated in a communication to the Marquis Wellesley, Governor General of India, in 1800. A short extract only can be given: —  

"The scandalous manner in which the unhappy persons, whom it is the principal object of the proposed regulations to protect, are treated in general by their masters and mistresses of every nation, cast, and religion, within these settlements, render it a positive duty of Government, to delay, as little as possible, the adoption of strong measures for their relief. Those which I propose are taken chiefly from the statutes of Batavia, particularly from one published in the year 1770, and which was in force at the time of our occupation of this Island (though never observed in practice). I have also recurred, in some instances to the civil law, on which the jurisprudence of Holland is founded; and, as the principal class of the proprietors of slaves are of the Mahometan religion, I have adopted, and made general some of the admirable regulations by which the Khoran, and its commentators have softened the rigours of slavery, at the same time that they established its lawfulness.

"The principal point on which all codes, which have allowed domestic slavery, have universally insisted, the clear and unequivocal definition of the slave, and of the means by which he or she may have been acquired, was neglected in Ceylon, with the most barbarous indifference. Of more than a hundred cases that have been brought before me, the masters or mistresses of the beings claiming liberty, have not, in more than six or seven instances, produced slave bonds properly authenticated, or such as a Dutch tribunal, acting according to the Dutch laws, would have received. In many cases no papers are existing; in others simple testamentary devices, proving the opinion of the defunct as to his power over the slave bequeathed, have been insisted on, not as a collateral, but as a positive proof of the slavery of the person claimed under it; and, in the province of Baticalva, the assertion that a child was sold by his parents in a famine, was urged before me, as the right on which the greater part of the slaves in that province have been held for some time past, as well as their posterity. The practice of kidnapping at Cochin, was, for many years, notorious, but the reception of slaves from that place was subject to scarcely any restrictions on this Island; and those restrictions, I am afraid, were but ill observed. In short, that, institution, reprobated as it is by good policy, morality, and religion, exists here with all the aggravated horrors of uncertainty in its application, and cruelty in its exercise."‡ [pp. 84-92.]

The abolition of slavery in Ceylon is thus described by Sir A. Johnstone, in a letter to W. W. Wynn, Esq. —

"As the right of every proprietor of slaves to continue to hold slaves in Ceylon was guaranteed to him, by the capitulation under which the Dutch possession had been surrendered to the British arms, in 1794, the British Government of Ceylon conceived that, however desirable the measure might be, they had not a right to abolish slavery in Ceylon by any legislative act. A proposition was made on the part of Government by me, to the proprietors of the slaves in 1806, before trial by jury was introduced, urging them to adopt some plan of their own accord for the gradual abolition of slavery; this proposition, at that time, they unanimously rejected. The right of sitting upon juries was granted to the inhabitants of Ceylon in 1811. From that period I availed myself of the opportunities which were afforded to me, when I delivered my charge at the commencement of each session to the jury men — most of whom were considerable proprietors of slaves, — of informing them what was doing in England upon the subject of the abolition of slavery, and of pointing out to them the difficulties, which they themselves must frequently experience, in executing, with impartiality, their duties as jury men, in all cases in which slaves were concerned. A change of opinion upon the subject of slavery was gradually perceptible among them; and, in the year 1816, the proprietors of slaves, of all casts and religious persuasions in Ceylon, sent me their unanimous resolutions, to be publicly recorded in Court, declaring free all children born of their slaves from the 12th of August 1816. This, in the course of a few years, must put an end to the state of slavery, which had existed in Ceylon for more than three centuries."* [Ori. Her., vol. xvi. p. 136. "At a levee of Cingalese Chiefs, held at Kandy, Jan. 1832, the Governor, Sir. W. Horton, declared it to be the intention of Government gradually to abolish slavery throughout the Island, and called upon the Chiefs to afford their assistance in this benevolent work."— E. I. Mag., Sep. 1832, p. 291.]

The valuable co-operation of the Rajah of Kotah with the Resident at Delhi, in 1808, in the suppression of the sale of children into slavery, shews how much Europeans in India may accomplish for the interests of humanity.† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 99, 100.]

While the Island of Java continued in the possession of the British, the abolition of the slave trade, and the improvement of the condition of the slaves, was considered an object of importance. The importation of slaves into the Island, after the commencement of 1813, was prohibited by Proclamation; and instructions on the subject were sent to "the Islands depending on the Government."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 185. See also pp. 168, 169.] Previously to the transfer of Java to the Dutch, the slaves were emancipated. Upon which the Hon. Court of Directors declared, — "We entirely approve of your proceedings, in emancipating the slaves at Java, previously to the transfer of that place to the Dutch, as we do of the option you gave to all the slaves, of being conveyed at the public charge to their native country."† [p. 265.]

The slave trade appears to have been very effectually suppressed under the Bengal Government, by the humane and vigorous efforts above described. The magistrates of the Bareilly Court, in 1812, state — "We have now the honour to submit attested copies of the answers received from eight out of the nine magistrates under our authority; from which it will be evident to Government that, since the promulgation of the Regulation above specified, the traffic in slaves imported from foreign countries is almost, if not entirely, suppressed in the districts of Bareilly, Moradabad, Cawnpoor, Furruckabad, Etawah, Agra, Alligurh, and Seharunpore South."‡ [p. 140.] "But, it should be understood, the slaveowners still disposed of those who were actually slaves, as part of their real property." § [p. 111.]

The British Government in India has abolished the duty levied on the sale of slaves, by the former Government of Kumaon, and suppressed the traffic in slaves in those countries bordering on Nepaul, which were brought under its authority by treaty in 1815. This duty or tax was for every male and female slave two rupees eight annas. "We cannot touch on this subject," said the late Marquis of Hastings, "without adverting to a consequence of our having wrested the hill country from the Ghorkas, in which your Hon. Court will feel the most lively satisfaction. A slave trade of great extent has been totally extinguished; and the hapless families, from whom the Ghorkas used to tear away the children for sale, have now to look with joyful confidence on the security bestowed towards their offspring by the British Government."|| [p. 266. See Heber's Jour., vol. i. p. 192.]

In this part of India, an extraordinary practice existed, of selling wives and widows, which has been abolished.
¶ ["The people of Laos are in great dread of the Burmese, and the cruel system of border warfare and man-catching, to which our occupation of the Tenasserim provinces has put an end to the southward, still continues in force to the north, between Laos and Ara. It would appear that, as in Burmah, women are bought and sold at Laos. The price of one is ten head of cattle, or twenty-five rupees." — Asi. Jour., Nov. 1830, p. 256.] The Governor General, in 1826, wrote to the Court of Directors —

"We took measures to furnish the Commissioner, without delay, with the form of proclamation approved by us, prohibiting the sale of wives and widows by their husbands or late husband's family. We need not repeat the expression of our determination to put down so barbarous and hateful a custom."* [Par. Papers, p. 416.]

The Calcutta Journal, in March 1824, contained an article entitled, the "Slave Trade in British India" An extract or two only are given: —

"Our readers are of course aware, that the nefarious traffic in human beings is equally forbidden by the letter and the spirit of British law in every portion of the British dominions, be their geographical position what it may, whether in the frozen regions of the north, or the scorching climate of the torrid zone; wherever the British flag waves, the disgraceful commerce is made criminal by British law; what then, will the humane and enlightened community of this magnificent capital of our Eastern possessions say, when they are told, that with all its glittering spires of the temples of a pure religion; all its splendid palaces, bespeaking the taste, the refinement, and the riches of their inhabitants; with all its colleges, and schools, and societies, to promote the propagation of knowledge, civil and religious; what will they say, when they learn that, amidst all these signs of veneration for Christianity[???], the philanthropy, the greatness, and the refinement of Britons and British subjects, in a British capital, it is disgraced by witnessing the lowest degradation of the human species? — that this great capital is, in short, at once the depot of the commerce and riches of the East, and the mart in which the manacled African is sold, like the beast of the field, to the highest bidder. It is known, too, that the Arab ships are in the habit of carrying away many of the natives of this country, principally females, and disposing of them in Arabia, in barter for African slaves for the Calcutta market! Can it be possible that such degrading, such wicked scenes are passing around us, and that the actors are suffered to escape unnoticed and unpunished? We fear the fact is too true; but we hope that the publicity thus given to it will lead to the prevention of such gross violations of law and humanity in future. We can conceive the difficulty of detection in these cases; but let all those who are aware of the illicit practices of these followers of Mahomed, remember that they are imperiously called on as Christians, and as British subjects in particular, to bring to punishment these violators of law and humanity. Nature shudders at the thought of the barbarities practised by these abusers of God's noblest creatures, who are led by an accursed thirst of gold to brutalize the human species."† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 378.]

In 1823, Landford Arnot created a sensation by publishing an article entitled, "Slave Trade in British India" in the Calcutta Journal for 23 November. In his article Arnot alleged that "150 eunuchs have been landed from the Arab ships this session, to be sold as slaves in the Capital of British India. It is known too that these ships are in the habit of carrying away the natives of the Country, principally females, and disposing of them in Arabia in barter for African slaves for the Calcutta market."1 [Magistrates of Calcutta to W. B. Bayley, Judl. Secy, dated 24 Nov. 1823, B.C.J.C., No. 28 of 25th March, 1824.] Arnot further alleged that a large number of young boys of tender age were brought by these dealers, and mutilated so as to grow up as suitable servants for the harems of rich lords. 'Only one fact shall suffice to show the savage and murderous barbarity resorted to by the wretches engaged in a traffic so revolting to humanity. A gentleman has informed us that of 200 African boys, emasculated in India.2 [Ibid.] only ten survived the cruel operation".

Arnot's article raised a furore even in Government circles, and the magistrates of Calcutta were called upon to investigate into the matter.3 [W. Bayley to the Magistrates of Calcutta, dated 27 Nov., 1823, B.C.J.C No. 29, of 25th March, 1824.] They declared that the charges were grossly exaggerated.4 [Ibid.] Nonetheless, they strongly recommended the Government to take some positive actions to check the traffic.1 [W. Bayley to the Magistrates of Calcutta, dated 25th March, 1824. B.C.J.C. No. 32 of 25th March, 1824.]

But the importation of slaves from foreign lands was not completely suppressed even after this incident. Thus for example, the Bengal Harkaru of December 3, 1830, alleged that "A Mughul merchant had supplied his Majesty (the King of Oudh) with three Abyssinian women, seven Abyssinian men and two native girls, for which supply he was paid Rs.20,000.2 [The Bengal Harkaru, December 3, 1830.] The Indian Gazette of December 4, 1830 remarked that the attention of the Government and the public had been repeatedly called to the various circumstances which tended to establish that a trade in slaves was carried on throughout the Company's territories, and that, if they did not establish the fact, circumstances were sufficient to excite strong suspicion for an enquiry.3 [The Indian Gazette, December 4, 1830.] But in spite of this warning given in 1830, a similar transaction took place three years later, when the resident at Lucknow complained that two batches of African slaves numbering in all twenty-two females and twelve males had been imported via Bombay by Mughul merchants. One of these batches had been sold to the King of Oudh and the Padshah-Begum. "The rank of the purchasers", said the Resident, ’"illustrates the difficulty of checking this traffic."1 [Fortnightly Review, New Series, March, 1883, p. 361.]

-- Slavery in the Bengal Presidency Under East India Company Rule, 1772-1843, by Amal Kumar Cattopadhyay, Thesis presented at the University of London for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1963

The Magistrates of Calcutta immediately addressed the Government upon the subject, acknowledging, — "Under the provision of Reg. X., 1811, a bond is taken from the commanders of a certain class of ships, previously to their being allowed to land their cargoes; and they are also required to give in a list of their crews and passengers. We must confess, however, that these are very inadequate restrictions to prevent the introduction of slaves into the town; the penalty could only be enforced by the detection of the offence, which is attended with much difficulty."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 377.] Translations in the Persian and Arabic languages were made of an extract of the 51 Geo. III. c. 23,† [Par. Papers, p. 380. By a more recent Act of Parliament, I Geo. IV. c. 27, the traffic in slaves has been declared to be an act of piracy, and all British subjects who may be concerned in it, are liable to be dealt with accordingly.] for circulation among the merchants; which measure was certainly of a decisive character.

Slaves appear still to be clandestinely imported into India. A Calcutta Paper, in June 1830, contains the following extract from a native paper: — '"Jewellery, and other articles, to the value of four lacks of rupees, had been offered by a European jeweller for purchase by the king (of Oude), who took other merchandise in the shape of a batch of newly-imported Abyssinians, which had been offered for sale, and bought by his Majesty.' This demands, and we hope will receive investigation, and if it is properly conducted, and all the obstacles to the prosecution of the offenders are removed, we venture to predict that it will be found that the importation of slaves continues to be earned on, to an extent utterly disgraceful."‡ [India Gaz., June 1830. Asi. Jour., Dec. 1830, p. 191. See Asi. Jour,, March 1831, p. 123.]

In 1821, the opinion of the Recorder of Prince of Wales Island was taken — "as to the legality of apprehending and sending back to Malacca a runaway slave." This important question was answered in a Letter to the Secretary of Government. "I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of yours, with a copy of a dispatch from the Governor of Malacca. I am not acquainted with the Dutch language, and therefore if there should be any circumstance in that part of the dispatch which varies the question submitted to me, from the Governor of Malacca's letter in French, I should wish to have a translation of it; but, as it is not probable, I do not delay my request, that you will communicate to the Honourable the Governor in Council, that in the absence of any treaty, I am of opinion, that the slave in question cannot be legally secured and sent back to Malacca."§ [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 162; see also p. 456.]

A number of slaves, procured in the neighbourhood of Juggernaut's Temple in Orissa, in 1790, were liberated and the captain of the vessel severely reprimanded, and threatened that, "on committing a second offence, he should be punished to the utmost rigour of the law and sent by the first conveyance to England."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 476.] Some slaves from Ganjam were also set at liberty, and the slave trader directed to be "fined, the sum of 200 rupees (to be distributed amongst the natives liberated from the vessel under his command), imprisoned for three months, until he pays the fine, and that he be then publicly expelled the District."† [p. 491.]

The sale of slaves, under the Madras Government, for the arrears of the State was not discontinued till 1819. The Secretary writes to the Collector of Malabar: — "The Board's proceedings on the general subject of slavery have been laid before the Government, whose final orders will hereafter be communicated to you; but, in the mean time, I am directed to desire, that the practice of selling slaves, for arrears of revenue, may be immediately discontinued."‡ [p. 873.]

These extracts display the humane and vigorous efforts of the British functionaries in India to abolish the slave trade, and mitigate the evils of slavery. The state of slavery at the present period next demands attention. The following chapter will shew that much remains to be done, before every British subject in India is free.
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Part 1 of 2

Cont'd.: Book V: Slavery, Excerpt from "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India"
by James Peggs
p. 328-360

-- India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India, by James Peggs

-- Slavery in India: The Present State of East India Slavery; Chiefly Extracted From the Parliamentary Papers on the Subject, Printed March, 1828, August 1832, August 1838, by James Peggs, Third Edition, 1840

-- Slavery and the Slave Trade in British India; With Notices of the Existence of These Evils in the Islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, Drawn from Official Documents, by Thomas Ward and Col, And to Be Had At the Office of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1841

-- Slavery in the Bengal Presidency Under East India Company Rule, 1772-1843, by Amal Kumar Cattopadhyay, Thesis presented at the University of London for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1963

-- Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Description of Hindostan, and the Adjacent Countries. In Two Volumes. By Walter Hamilton, Esq., Vol. I, 1820

-- Geographical, Statistical, and Historical Description of Hindostan, and the Adjacent Countries. In Two Volumes. By Walter Hamilton, Esq., Vol. 2, 1820

-- The Life of Sir Stamford Raffles, by Demetrius Charles Boulger, With Portraits, Maps and Illustrations, 1897


CHAP. III. The present state and extent of Slavery in Hindustan.

The nature and extent of slavery in the British territories in India, is a subject that cannot but be deeply interesting to every liberal and humane mind. The following extracts, from the valuable Papers on East India Slavery, will throw some light on a subject, upon which little information is possessed.

The Resident at Delhi, in 1812, C.T. Metcalfe, Esq., issued a proclamation prohibiting the sale of slaves. On this subject, the Governor General addressed the Court of Directors, in 1813:— "We observed, that the proclamation not only prohibited the importation of slaves for sale into the assigned territories, but the sale of slaves actually within those territories previously to its promulgation; a measure which we were not prepared to sanction. Odious and abominable as such a traffic is, although it must be admitted that the system of slavery in this country is infinitely mitigated, when compared with that against which the enactments of the legislature in England have been directed. The laws, which have hitherto been enacted to restrain it, have been confined in their object, to THE TRADE IN SLAVES BY IMPORTATION OR EXPORTATION; but they have not been extended to the emancipation of persons already in a state of slavery, nor to the prohibition of their transfer by sale, to other masters within the country which they inhabit.

"We informed the Resident that for these reasons, and from other considerations of much apparent weight, our views were limited to the prohibition of the further importation of slaves for sale into the territories of the Hon. Company; and we accordingly directed that the terms of the proclamation might be modified, so as to correspond with the enactment contained in Regulation X. of 1811. The consultation of the annexed date contains the Resident's reply to the instructions. He stated that a general opinion prevailed, among the natives, that the total abolition of the Slave Trade had taken effect in the ceded and conquered Provinces; that he had not found the prohibition of the sale of slaves had occasioned any surprise at Delhi; and that the people were not aware, that by the proclamation which he had issued, greater restrictions were in force in the assigned territory than in any other part of the country; and that should it be published, that slaves of a certain description might continue to be sold, it would give a more formal sanction to the sale of slaves, than that traffic was ever believed to possess. The effect of this erroneous belief, on the part of the natives, appeared to the Resident to be attended with salutary consequences; and he submitted, that it was not desirable the delusion should be removed, by the publication of a formal sanction for the sale of any description of slaves. We signified to the Resident, our concurrence in the grounds on which he had suspended the execution of our instructions, and, that the proclamation issued, should continue in full force and effect."* [Par Papers, pp. 101, 102. See also p. 134.]

But, though the sale of slaves was thus prohibited in the Province of Delhi, slavery is still continued. This is evident from the Resident's communication to Government: — "In issuing a proclamation for the abolition of the future importation and sale of slaves, I had no idea of infringing on the rights of the actual proprietors of slaves. The proprietors of slaves in this territory, notwithstanding that proclamation, retain all their rights over their slaves, except that of selling them or making them the property of another. This is perfectly understood, in consequence of the decisions given in the court of judicature in trials between owners and slaves. I have more than once embraced the opportunity afforded by such trials, to explain publicly, that slaves are still the property  of their owners, though not disposable property."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p 104.]

The Magistrate of Bareilly in 1812, referring to the efficacy of the provisions of Regulation X. 1811, for preventing the importation of slaves from foreign countries, remarks; "This traffic, I believe, has suffered a very material check since the promulgation of the Regulation, inasmuch as children are no longer brought down from the hills, and publicly exposed for sale, as formerly, within this district; but, children are still sold within the Company's provinces, by subjects of the British government, nor does the Regulation contain any prohibition of such sale. Parents, prevented by poverty from rearing a large family, will dispose of their children to an advantage, when offered, rather than allow them to starve; the feelings of nature will confine this traffic to cases of necessity only, and will act more forcibly than any legal prohibition in preventing abuses; it may be much doubted, indeed, whether the condition of children imported from the hills was not, in most cases, much ameliorated by such importation."† [p. 141.]

A Mr. Browne, the proprietor of an estate at Anjarakandy, in Malabar, claimed the right of a master over some slaves, as a part of the Mahomedan law, under which he considered the Provinces of the Madras Presidency to be governed. "I cannot (says the Chief Secretary of the Government in 1813) agree to the proposition, that these Provinces are, so far as relates to British subjects, governed by the Mahomedan law. In questions of civil right, they are governed by the laws of the different nations to whom justice is to be dispensed. In criminal prosecutions, the Mahomeden law is, for what reason I do not know, established over all the natives in the Provinces, but not over the British. They retain the rights of their birth, and ought also to retain all the relations connected with the British character, to which it is equally abhorrent to be the master of slaves, as to endure slavery. It is expressly provided, in the several statutes, that our law shall not interfere with the authority exercised by the heads of families amongst the natives; who, from local residence at the Presidencies, are made subject in general to the British laws, but no such provision is made for British subjects as the masters of slaves!" The Advocate General expressed the same opinion; and this important position, that a Briton in India cannot be a slave-holder, was thus definitely determined by a letter from the Chief Secretary to the Government, Fort William, in 1813, to the Secretary of the Madras Government: — "The Advocate General, having stated it as his opinion that it is quite impracticable, as the law at present stands, for any British subject, to support a claim to the person or services of any one residing within the limits of the British territories as a slave; and that opinion corresponding entirely with the sentiments entertained by the Right Honourable the Governor General in Council on the subject, his Lordship in Council thinks that every case of that nature, which may be brought before the Governor in Council of Fort St. George, should be regarded as an illegal and unauthorized assumption of power; and that legal measures should be resorted to, should circumstances appear to require it, against any British subject so acting in violation of the law."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 148.] The difference between the state of public opinion, feeling, and, we may add, law, in the East and in the West Indies, cannot fail to strike the attention of every reader. It is very justly observed, "the habitual exercise of the authority of a master over slaves, is peculiarly destructive to the national honour and character."† [p. 147.] When shall these just sentiments pervade the breast of every British subject!

Of Slavery in Dacca the Magistrate, in 1810, observes: — "I have to state in reply, for the information of the Court of Circuit, that I have found in this court several prosecutions for inveigling away children and other persons with various intents, and they are generally females: such cases, however, in this city and district, are not very numerous. The unfortunate persons who are sold for slaves, are generally little children (females), or grown up girls that are enticed away from their parents or other relations in the Mofussil. Persons already in a state of slavery are seldom, as far as I can discover from the records of the court, or from other information, inveigled away with a view of being sold; but female slaves are often enticed away for other purposes, sometimes by men, and sometimes by women keeping houses of ill-fame. Both descriptions of offence are, I believe, very prevalent, especially the former, though few of them comparatively come officially to the knowledge of the magistrate."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 248.]

The registration of slaves was proposed by the Bengal Government to the Nizamut Adawlut in 1816, which intimates that the prevalence of slavery is considerable. "In preparing the draft of the proposed regulation regarding slavery, the Governor General in Council requests that the court will take into their consideration, the expediency of requiring, that the future purchase or transfer of slaves shall be regularly registered, and that any breach of the rules which may be framed for that purpose shall entitle the slave to demand and obtain his freedom."† [p. 249.]

Inquiry was made from Bombay, of the Supreme Government in Calcutta, in 1817, respecting the application of the 51st Geo. III. c. 23, relative to "the abolition of the slave trade, to domestic slaves, and the property of individuals in them; such slavery being known and legalized under the laws of both the Hindoos and Mussulmans, according to whose codes the courts are bound to administer justice." To which it was replied; —

"On this point the Vice President in council observes, that none of the provisions of the Acts of Parliament passed for the abolition of the slave trade in any manner affect, or profess to affect, the relation between master and slave, wherever that relation may exist by law. Whatever therefore was the law, according to the Mahometan and Hindoo codes (for those over whom they extend), on the subject of domestic slavery, before the passing of the Act of the 51st Geo. III. c. 23, continues to be the law still; more especially as those codes have been distinctly recognised and ordered to be observed by Parliament. At the same time it is not credible, that any intention existed to abrogate those codes, without reference to the established laws and usages of this country, and without repealing the Acts of Parliament, by which the observance of them is guaranteed to the natives. The native subjects of the British Government, residing in the territories subordinate to the several Presidencies have, in fact, the same authority over their slaves, and the same property in them, that they would have had if the Act in question had never been passed; and the several zillah and provincial courts are bound to receive and determine all cases of that nature, which are respectively cognizable by them, under the existing regulations.

"The other points adverted to, in the documents now under consideration, relate to the conduct which should be observed, on the occasion of applications being made by the subjects or governments of neighbouring states, with whom we are in amity, for the restoration of slaves who have taken refuge within the Company's territories. On this point it may be remarked, that the construction which has been uniformly given by the Supreme Government to the Act of the 51st Geo. III. c. 23, viz. that it was only intended to apply to the importation or removal of slaves by sea, would not involve any alteration in the course of proceedings hitherto adopted in similar cases. A slave, by entering the Company's territories, does not become free; nor can he, who was lawfully a slave, emancipate himself by running away from one country where slavery is lawful, to another where it is equally lawful. The property in the slave still continues in the master; and the master has the same right to have it restored to him that any native subjects of our territories could have, supposing that right to be established in the mode prescribed by the local laws and regulations."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 333, 334.]

The permission of the sale of slaves in the Deccan, appears from a letter in 1819, addressed by the Political Agent in Candeish, to M. Elphinstone, Esq., the Commissioner.

"Application having been lately made to me for permission to purchase some slaves, I took the opportunity of investigating the circumstances, which I have the honour to report for your information. It appears that the slaves were young women and girls, in the possession of some Mahratta Wunjarries, who, upon being questioned, state that they purchased them in Berar, from the Tandas of the Rajpoot Brimjarrias, who said they had got them during a late scarcity, which took place in the Nirmut district. Upon further investigation, I understand that the practice of carrying off children from one part of the country, to sell in another part, is not unusual with these people. The women appear unwilling to be sold, though they complain of their scanty food, and of the treatment they experience from their present masters. Although your letter, in answer to a former application on this subject, informed me that no variation whatever was to be made in the existing laws regarding slaves, yet it appears to me possible, that may be intended to be applied merely to the proprietary right over slaves in actual possession, and of recovering such as may desert; I request to be informed, if the practice of carrying slaves about for sale, of which several instances have lately been brought to my notice, is still to be permitted. In the mean time I have prohibited the sale of the young women in question, till I hear from you."

To which it was replied by the Commissioner: — "

The sale of slaves, as described in the above mentioned letter, is to be permitted; but all attempts to carry off young people by force, will be punished in the severest manner." [!!!]† [p. 339.]  

"The mitigated kind of domestic slavery which prevails in the Deccan," says W. Chaplin, Esq., "and has prevailed from time immemorial in most parts of India, appears to be of a description entirely different from the foreign trade in slaves, which is proscribed by recent Acts of Parliament, passed since the abolition of this traffic; and, although it may perhaps, at a future period, be necessary to introduce some regulations to prevent the stealing or kidnapping of children, I conceive that any restrictive measure, that should at once put a stop to the sale of slaves, would be an innovation, which would trench materially, not only on long established customs, but on the rights of private properly. Whether this species of servitude, or rather of mild bondage, is eventually to be continued under certain modifications, or to be abolished entirely, is a question which is probably now under consideration; but as the importation of slaves from the Nizam's frontier, in consequence of the scarcity which prevails there, has of late greatly increased, the subject of your letter will be referred for the decision of the Honourable the Governor in Council. Whatever evil may result from the continuance of the traffic, it is certainly, I think, the means at the present moment of much actual good, inasmuch as it has the effect of preserving the lives of numbers of parents and children, who would otherwise perish from famine."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 341, 342.] — Poona, Dec. 1819.

The difference of opinion and procedure of some of the Indian Magistrates, manifests the difficulty of legislation where slavery exists. This appears by some slave cases, stated by W. Leycester, Esq., Second Judge of the Bareilly Court of Circuit in 1815. —

"In one case, Enayt Khaun is taken up by the police darogah, of Bhudyke, and sent as a prisoner to the magistrate of Cawnpore, for importing two female slaves, and the magistrate discharges him, and gives him the slaves.

"In a second case, Ooda is taken up for importing a woman named Mauncooer, by a police sowar, and delivered over to the police darogah of Bindrabun. Ooda says he bought her for twenty-one rupees in the Ranna's country, and she admits it, and adds, she understands he means to resell her. The acting magistrate liberates the woman.

"In a third case, Sabet Khawn is taken up by a jemmedar, and delivered over to the darogah of Koria Gunje. It would seem he had been sent by Assud Alee Cauzee of Jelaneh, to purchase a slave in the vicinity of Cassepore and Roderpoore (the market for slaves imported from the hills); but on coming to Bareilly he falls in with Besharut Khan, a slave-dealer, who from his stock in hand sells to him a woman named Zuhorun, twenty years of age; but the Cauzee, thinking her too old, leaves her on Sabet Khaun's hands. The assistant magistrate liberates the woman.

"In a fourth case, Nurotum is taken up by the darogah of Nudjeebabad. It would seem that he had purchased a woman named Anundee, for twenty rupees, of an inhabitant of the hills. The assistant magistrate does not liberate the woman, but takes a recognizance from Nurotum to produce her, if any other claimant should appear.

"In a fifth case, Choonee, the head of a set of dancing girls, prosecutes Hyatt Alee Cutwaul of Amrooa, for detaining forcibly Munnuvur Jaun, one of her female slaves. Munnuvur Jaun says, she is not satisfied to remain with Choonee, and the magistrate liberates her. Choonee appeals, and produces a deed of sale for the slave, executed by Shumshere, an inhabitant of the hills. The opinion of the law officer of the Court of Circuit is taken, who declares, 'the sale of a resident of this country illegal;' and the order of the magistrate was confirmed.

"The first case was submitted by me to the Nizamut Adawlut, with a recommendation that the said Enayt Khaun should be punished, and the slaves discharged, or sent back, as required by the 10th Regulation of 1811; and the court in reply adjudge that, under the construction given to the provisions of the 10th Regulation, 1811, the case in question does not fall 1ithin the operation of that Regulation; and, having referred to the court's orders, it would seem, that on a representation from Mr. Blunt, the court had decided that the regulation in question was 'applicable only to the importation of slaves for the purpose of being sold, given away, or otherwise disposed of.'"* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 342, 343.]

It appears, that when slaves have been imported, their owners have endeavoured to evade the law against the Slave Trade, by not immediately disposing of them; on which it is very justly remarked, — "Is not keeping a person imported as a slave, to be a slave, a disposal of him? and what is to be said to the notorious fact of females, so imported as slaves, being let out in retail for the purposes of prostitution, and any offspring they may have being sold, agreeably to the daily practice regarding the indigenous slaves of the country, for the benefit of the slave master? This surely is a disposal of them and of their issue."† [p. 344.] Is not this species of slavery equal in atrocity to the slavery of the West Indies?

"Slavery in Malwa," says Sir John Malcolm, "is chiefly limited to females; but there is perhaps no province in India where there are so many slaves of this sex. The dancing girls are all purchased when young by the nakins, or heads of the different sects, who often lay out large sums in these purchases; female children and grown up young women, are bought by all ranks. Among the Rajpoot chiefs these slaves are very numerous, as also in the houses of the principal Brahmuns; the usage descends to the lowest ranks, and few merchants or cultivators with any property are without mistresses or servants of this description. Male slaves are rare, and never seen but with men of some rank and property, with whom they are usually the confidential servants. There are a variety of ways in which slaves are procured in Malwa; — numbers date their condition from a famine or scarcity, when men sold their children to those who were able to support them. A great number of the slaves of Malwa are from Rajpootana, where the excesses of the Mahrattas drove the inhabitants to exile, and to such distress as to be compelled to part with their children. But, besides these sources of slavery, there are others of a more criminal nature. There are many instances of Rajpoots, and men of other tribes, particularly Soandees, selling the children whom they have by their slaves, and who are deemed to be born in a state of bondage. This takes place when the father is in distress, or when he is tempted by a large price. The sale of the offspring of these women by other fathers than their masters is more common. These slaves are not numerous; but the further demand is supplied by the Binjarries, who import females into and from Guzerat and other countries, whom they usually pretend to have bought; and by the tribe of Gwarriah, professed stealers of female children. When these slaves are bought, an inquiry is made as to their tribe, and the general answer (particularly from the Gwarriahs) is, that they are Rajpoots. The children are taught to make pretensions to high birth, and daily instances occur of whole families losing cast in consequence of their being too hastily credited. Females in Malwa, except in times of scarcity or general distress from any cause, are sold from 40 to 50, to 100 and 150 rupees; the price is accordant with their appearance. They have been, at times, an article of considerable commerce, many being annually sent to the southward, particularly to the Poonah territories, where they sold high. This trade, which has of late years decreased, was principally carried on by the Mahratta Brahmuns, some of whom amassed great sums by this shameless traffic."* [Par. Papers as above, Report on Malwa, 1821, pp. 414, 415.]

The Par. Papers contain more minute information, respecting the state of slavery under the Madras Presidency, than of the other Presidencies in India. — "In Malabar and Canara, where the land is very generally divided, and occupied as separate and distinct properties, the labourer is the personal slave of the proprietor, and is sold and mortgaged by him, independently of his lands. In the Tamil country, where land is of less value, and belongs more frequently to a community than to an individual, the labourer is understood to be the slave rather of the soil than of its owner, and is seldom sold or mortgaged, except along with the land to which he is attached; but in Telingana, where it is difficult now to trace the remains of private property in the land, this class of people is considered free. It has been stated by very competent authority, Mr. F. W. Ellis, the Collector of Madras, that in the Tamil country, the parriyars and pullers, most of whom are slaves attached to the lands of the rallader, as well as the pulli, who are generally serfs on the lands of the Brahmun meerassidars, sometimes claim meras, or hereditary private property, in the 'incidents of their villainage;' and that 'it is generally allowed to them and their descendants, on proving their former residence in the village, however long they may have been absent from it.' On the other hand, the late Magistrate in Malabar, in addressing Government respecting the sale of men, women, and children of the Pollar, Cherumakul, Panian, Kanakan, Kallady, Yocallan, and Nacady tribes, submits that, 'if the general question of slavery, as recognised by the local usages of Malabar, or by the Hindoo and Mahomedan law, is not affected by the laws made to abolish the Slave Trade — adverting to the wretchedness and diminutive appearance of this description of natives — it still appears to be a subject well worthy the humane consideration of the Right Hon. the Governor in Council, to enact such legislative provisions as will tend to ameliorate their condition, and prevent their being sold out of the talook, or, indeed, of the estate, the place of their nativity; and above all, from being exposed to sale; by public auction, in execution of decrees, or in satisfaction of revenue demands."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 817.]

It appears to have been common, to dispose of the slaves on an estate as a part of the real property. — "The Hindoo law (says the Collector of Malabar), on the subject of transfers of property, speaks of 'land and slaves employed in the cultivation of it,' and evidently contemplates those two species of property as one and the same, and as not properly separable from each other; and we find that not only in this, but in other countries, it has been usual to transfer the slaves who were a 'descripti glebae' with the land itself. Indeed the attachment of the Hindoos to the lands which they have always occupied, and to the village where they have always resided, is proverbial; and to separate them from their native soil, might, under such circumstances, be considered an additional act of cruelty. A certain portion of the produce of the soil which they cultivate, is, in the Tamil country, allowed by the master for the maintenance of his slaves, whose duty it is to till the ground; and, unless they were transferred with the land, the new proprietor, when he obtained possession, might experience difficulty in carrying on the cultivation, and the former master might be deprived of the means of enabling him to afford subsistence to his slaves. The probability of being transferred with the land, gives them on this coast a sort of property in their huts and little spots of ground, which they can thus occupy without any great fear of being turned out, or transferred, contrary to their interests, feeling, and comfort. It must, however, be observed, that on the other coast universally, and even generally on this coast, slaves are not necessarily sold with the land, although the convenience of all parts seems to have rendered the practice common."

The apathy manifested by the Collector of Calicut in 1819, respecting the sale of slaves for default of revenue, shews the influence of the slave system upon the most respectable of the European functionaries of Government. "In attempting to ameliorate the condition of these slaves, care must be taken that we do not increase them. The partial measure, of declaring them not liable to be sold for arrears of revenue, will be a drop of water in the ocean; though, why Government should give up a right, which every proprietor enjoys, is a question worthy of consideration."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 846. See p. 435.]

An extract of one of the Rejected Police Regulations, refused Registration by the Supreme Court of Bombay, in 1826, affords some idea of the state of slavery in that part of India, at the period referred to.

Of the Slave Trade and Slavery.

"All importation of slaves into this Island for sale is prohibited.

"The petty sessions shall in such cases emancipate the slave and send him or her back to the family, or to the place to which he or she was brought at the expense of the importer. When the slave is desirous of remaining, the importer shall pay him the money which would otherwise have been employed in defraying the expense of his return. The petty sessions may inflict further punishments in aggravated cases, not exceeding the fine of 500 rupees, and imprisonment for six months in default of payment.

"All children born of parents in a state of slavery in this Island, after the first day of January 1812, shall be free.

"The said court of petty sessions shall have power of summary conviction in all cases of persons enticing or conveying away any married females, or unmarried females under the age of thirteen years, out of the protection and against the will of the husband or father, or other person having the lawful protection and governance of any such female; for the purpose of her prostitution in any way, or for her disposal in marriage against the will of the person having such lawful protection or government as aforesaid; such offenders to be punishable by fine not exceeding 500 rupees; or in lieu thereof, as the case may seem to require, or in default of payment, imprisonment, with or without hard labour, as the case may seem to require, for any time not exceeding six months."† [See Ori. Herald, vol. xiv. pp. 515-533.]

The following copious extracts from the reports of eleven Collectors, to whom the Madras Government had addressed queries respecting the state of slavery in their respective districts, appear peculiarly interesting. The whole letter, from the Secretary of Government in the revenue department, contains fourteen folio pages, and bears date, April, 1819.

"In SALEM slavery does not appear to exist. The Collector observes, 'I can safely state that, in the manner referred to in these communications, there is no vestige whatever of slavery in this collectorate, nor has any such practice obtained from the time the country came into possession of the Honourable Company. During the Mussulman government, there were a few slaves belonging to certain Nunjah lands in the vicinity of the Cauvery, and there are now some descendants of these people; but they are as free as any other inhabitants. I have heard of one or two instances of a child being sold for the purpose of domestic slavery; but this is uncommonly rare, and such a circumstance as a person being sold as a slave has never transpired.'

"In MADURA and DINDIGUL slavery existed during the Mahomedan government. The slaves were sold at the pleasure of their masters, but they were not 'adscripti glebae;' not necessarily sold whenever the land was sold.

The Collector's words are, 'When a puller or parriah was unable to gain a livelihood, he was accustomed to offer himself or his relatives as slaves to the cultivating inhabitants, for a sum of money, varying from one to ten cully chuckrums, when a bond of slavery was drawn out and signed. If they married, their children were considered the property of the owners; they were employed in the cultivation of land, and were maintained by the owners, who frequently, for their services, would grant them a soluntrum, or allowance in grain, in addition to other allowances. If the proprietor of land was obliged to dispose of the whole of his lands, he still retained possession of his slaves, and disposed of them as he pleased, as they were not considered attached to the land thus sold. If an owner was unable to maintain his slave, he could let him out to others, by which means he frequently derived a maintenance both for himself and his slave; but the slave was obliged to return to his master whenever he required him, who could mortgage or sell him at pleasure. Since the assumption of the country, some slaves continued with their masters; others have left them, and have even enlisted as sepoys. I cannot discover that any puller has sold himself as a slave of late years. Indeed, slavery seems gradually disappearing; which may be attributed to the knowledge, that it is not encouraged in the different courts of justice. Some pullers cultivate their own lands, and have their own puttiams. Those who cultivate the lands of others, and who are not slaves, receive a regulated hire.'

"In COIMBATORE slavery is reported to exist, 'but in a very few villages.' The Collector observes, 'From all that I can learn, it appears certain that, the owner has a right to sell his slave without the land; but that it is a right very seldom, if ever, exercised. The highest price for a good slave is fifty rupees; the price, however, is seldom so high. The children of slaves are born slaves. On the birth of a child, the master presents the parents with cloths, and one or two rupees. The master is supposed to be vested with despotic authority over their slaves, and with power to punish them. An apprehension, however, that the exercise of such authority is not permitted by the British government appears generally prevalent, and rather operates to prevent the merchandise of slaves, as they are considered to be less valuable, when free from the fear of punishment. There appears reason for thinking that the slaves are, on the whole, better treated by their masters than the common class of free labourers. The master possesses a power, not only over the person, but over the property of his slave; and he may make use of the cattle reared by the slave for agricultural purposes! The slaves are sold with the land; but, if they should object to serve another master, they are not forced to do so. This I take to be an indulgence of the master, not a right of the slave. The slaves have a share of the produce allotted for their subsistence, about AN EIGHTH. In some instances, land has been made over to the pullers, which they cultivate for their support. In many places, where slavery does not exist, a species of bondage is introduced, by the ryots undertaking to bear the expense of their puller's marriage, upon condition of the latter binding themselves to serve the ryots exclusively for life. Slavery may almost be considered as extinct in Coimbatore.'

"In TANJORE slavery exists; but, as in Madura and Dindigul, it is founded, in the first instance, upon voluntary contract. 'The slaves are never seized or sold for arrears of revenue. The slaves here are of two casts only, the Puller and Pariah; the origin of their bondage arises in a voluntary agreement, on their part, to become the slave of some other man more powerful than themselves, upon whom they thus impose a more strict obligation to protect and maintain them and their families, than if merely serving them as labouring servants. The Brahmuns, in consideration of their cast, do not receive bonds of slavery directly in their own name, but have them generally drawn out in that of some of their soodra dependents. When a bond of slavery has been given, it ceases not with the life of the party, but is binding upon the descendants of the original giver, who continue bound by the conditions of it. In return, the owner is obliged to find subsistence at all times, and under all circumstances, for the family of his bondsman; whom he can employ in any manner he pleases, although it is generally as a labourer in the fields. The bondsman does not reside in his master's house, nor form any part of his family, but has a house provided for him along with the others of his cast, to which a back yard of eighty goontahs rent-free is attached, the same as other labourers. The master has the power of selling the slave, but he cannot sell him to any one who will carry him to a distant part of the country, without his own consent. If the master, through poverty or other cause, fails or becomes unable to subsist his bondsman and his family, he is at liberty to seek employment as a free labourer, but is liable to be reclaimed at any time by his master, when he may be in a condition to fulfil his part of the agreement. When lands are sold, in any way, it is always independent of the bondsmen, if any, upon it. If they are likewise to be sold, separate deeds of transfer are passed. If not, they continue attached to their former masters. No persons of this description have ever yet been considered as seizable property, or sold for an arrear of revenue; nor do I believe ever by a judicial decree in any civil cause; nor have I ever known this species of property recognised by the officers of government, although it is by the natives themselves, in their transactions with each other.

'On the part of the bondsman, his rights are subsistence and protection for himself and family from his master, with liberty to seek it elsewhere, as a free agent, if not found him; and the right of not being removed by sale to a distant country from the place of his birth. With regard to himself, personally, his treatment from his master is the same as that of his other labourers, which is, in general, of a mild nature; but he is not more liable to personal punishment than others, in consequence of his state of bondage; and any cruelty or abuse of authority on the part of the master, towards his bondsman, would be complained against, and punished with equal strictness, as if committed upon a free man. The Board will perceive that the condition of these people differs very little from that of the common labourers. The disadvantage to the bondsman is, the power of being sold or transferred to other masters; and this is not very frequent, as it is the last property, generally, which is disposed of by a person in distressed circumstances. The advantages are, the more effectually securing subsistence and protection to themselves and families, particularly in times of trouble or difficulty, than it is binding on masters in general to bestow upon common labourers; and this without rendering their condition in any degree intolerable, towards the amelioration of which, the equity and mildness of the British Government have greatly operated, in respect to rendering the conduct of masters to their servants indulgent. I do not find that the system of slaves attached to the soil, and transferrable by purchase as appendages to the land, obtains here.'

"TINNEVELLY. 'From all the information I have been able to collect, I understand, it is usual, in this district, for slaves to be sold or mortgaged either with the land or separately, as the proprietor pleases, or his wants require; and that there is no particular rule, or general custom, by which the conduct between the master and slave, and between slave and master, is governed, further than that the master has, at all times, the command of his slave's labour, and that the slave cannot work for any other person without the permission of his master.

'In regard to the treatment of masters towards their slaves, it does not appear to be incumbent on them to afford a subsistence except when employed in their business; and then it is on the lowest scale of allowance, being generally no more than two measures of paddy per day. At other times their slaves are obliged to seek a livelihood at the hands of others, being bound only to return to their masters when the season of cultivation commences. Besides this allowance, which the slaves receive from their masters on working days, they are entitled, when the crops are reaped, to a small deduction from the gross produce, called here, ' Paroo,' which varies in different villages, but amounts generally to about 23-8 percent. It is usual, when deaths occur among them, for their masters to assist them in the necessary funeral expenses; and on marriages, births, and festival days, to grant them presents, according as their circumstances will admit; but these acts are quite voluntary on the part of the masters, and the slave can claim nothing more than a bare subsistence while he works, and his soluntrum, as above described, at the time of harvest.

'All punishment of the slave by the master, if this power ever existed, and was recognised in former times, seems to be at an end; and there is no instance, within my experience in this district, of a slave complaining of ill-treatment from his master. The fact, indeed, appears to be, that the slave is so necessary to the cultivation, and labourers are so scarce, that the proprietors find it their interest to treat them well; and the slaves, in time, become so attached to the village in which they are settled, that they seem not to consider their situation, nor shew any desire to be free. In calling upon the tehsildars for an account of a person's property, to know whether he is a fit security for another, it is usual, if he possess slaves, to include them, a male slave being estimated in value from 3 to 15 C. Chuckrums (R 6-93/256 to 31-209/256), and a female from 3 to 5 C. Chuckrums (6-93/256 to 10-155/256), but I have always rejected them in the account as unavailable property by the Sircar, and none have ever been sold in this district for an arrear of revenue.'* ["The jemn value of a good Perier, as well as a good Addian (slave), is thirty rupees; Otty, twenty-seven and a half rupees; Kanom, fifteen rupees; and the jemn value of a less able one of either tribe, is twenty rupees; Otty, seventeen and a half rupees; Kanom, ten rupees; and Paneyain, eight rupees. The jemn value of children (male) of those sects is twelve rupees. The jemn value of a female slave, of any of the two tribes above mentioned, as well as of their female children, is three rupees and eighty reas. The pattom of a good cherman of any of the two sects above mentioned, is three paddies of paddy; that of a less able one, two paddies; that of a boy, one paddy; and that of a female of those sects is also one paddy. The jemn value of a good slave of the Moopan and Naiken tribe, is sixty-four silver fanams; Otty, fifty-two; Kanom, thirty; and Verroom Pattan, four silver fanams, but the females of those tribes are not given on Pattom or by sale. The jemn value of a good Poolean slave is twelve rupees; Otty, ten rupees; and Kanom, six rupees; and the jemn value of a less able one, eight rupees; Otty, six rupees; Kanom, four rupees; and Verrom Pattom, one paddy of paddy. The value of a good Panian or Addian (slave), might be said to have increased, by five rupees, above the old price, but that of the Naiken, Moorpan, and Poliar, continues still the same." (Par. Papers, pp. 852, 853.)]

"SOUTH ARCOT. The slaves in this collectorate are mostly of the Pully and Pariar casts, and the majority of them are chiefly devoted to the pursuit of agriculture. The number of slaves in this district, of both sexes, including children, amounts to upwards of 17,000; and they appear to have been generally born in a state of servitude, through some contract of their forefathers. The Hindoo code of laws, religious and civil, seems to declare that the Soodra tribes are naturally born in a state of servitude; and, although some of the superiors of the sub-divisions of that tribe in modern days, have emancipated themselves from this degrading thraldom, yet the lower casts are always looked upon as natural slaves, the property of any person, who contributes to defray their marriage expenses, which is the ordinary way, at present, of constituting hereditary slavery. Previously to the assumption of the Carnatic, the owners of slaves were empowered to punish them, either by castigation or confinement, at their discretion; but that power, subsequently to the British administration, has ceased to be exercised. The possessions and acquisitions of slaves, are generally considered the property of their masters, who, however, usually relinquish them to the family of the slave. Slaves cannot enter into any matrimonial connexion without the consent of their owners, who, as they defray the expenses of the marriage, virtually revive the contract of hereditary bondage; for the offspring of slaves are always regarded as the property of their father's owner.

'It is stated that the slaves of this district can be sold by their owners to any person, and to an alien village, and that no slaves are attached to any particular soil or village; but I am induced to believe that such a practice is at variance with the rights annexed to the state of real bondage; for in some Meerassi villages it is known that the Meerassidars have advanced pretensions to possess an equal proportion of the slaves with their share of the villages, and I also believe that such a practice is hardly ever resorted to. The price of a male slave and family, when sold by their owner to another person, varies considerably, and ranges from ten to fifty pagodas. The owners of slaves are required to provide them with food and clothing, to defray their wedding expenses, and to assist them on the births of children, and in their funeral charges. The food differs according to the opulence of the owner, but is always sufficient for subsistence, or the owner permits the slave to serve elsewhere during his poverty. The clothing is very scanty, except when the slaves are chiefly employed for domestic purposes; and I cannot discover that the apparel is designedly calculated to portray the class of the wearers. The duties of slaves are to attend the cattle and agriculture, and to assist in domestic services, connected with the house or person of their owners.

'It does not appear that enfranchisement of slaves ever takes place; yet as some owners have been reduced to indigence, and are unable to employ or subsist their hereditary slaves, those persons are ostensibly free, and labour for any person who will employ them. Cases of emancipation occur in the extinction of the owners' families; and from this description of Soodras, who still sacrifice their liberties, modern slaves are constituted; for they are mostly very needy, and consent to perpetual and hereditary bondage for about twenty or thirty pagodas, which the cultivator advances for the celebration of the marriage ceremony. In no instance, I believe, do engagements exist, where a labourer discharges such a loan by his manual labour.'

"CHINGLEPUT. 'The slaves employed in the cultivation of the lands, and to which this report principally refers, have, for the most part, their allowances regularly rendered; so much grain being granted to each labourer, and a proportionate subsistence to each of his children or others of the family. They are housed and clothed; and, during the principal festivals, certain allowances are made them both in money and articles required for their ceremonies. Their marriages are also performed at the charge of their masters; and, when reduced by infirmity, they are also supported by their proprietors. The condition of this description of people, composing the chief part of the Pariahs of the district, has, of late years, considerably changed. This may, in a great measure, arise from the vicinity of their situation to Madras, where this system is known to be abrogated. Many of them there obtain employment, and their proprietors would find it difficult to reclaim them; and the regulations have so far circumscribed the authority formerly exercised by the proprietors, that they cannot keep them under control, — when the power was vested in them of inflicting on them very severe corporeal punishment, or confining them for the neglect of the duties assigned them: in former times the discipline exercised by the proprietors over their slaves was of a very severe description. The proprietors finding themselves very incapable of employing their services, or rather controlling them as arbitrarily as before, complain less of the loss of this description of property. The slaves are also possessed by many of the Vellairs, &c., who have long since established themselves in the cultivation of particular villages; but their situation, in such cases, is similar to those in the service of other soodras. The sale of adami (slaves) has been, I believe, of late years, discontinued, or of very rare occurrence; and in these parts no attachment of such property has ever been made on account of the dues of government.'

"TRICHINOPOLY. — 'In the wet districts of Trichinopoly, the number of pullers may be stated at 10,000, including those employed for the purpose of watching and feeding the cattle. In the dry districts, there are about 600; but pullers are only to be found in those villages where there is paddy cultivation. The pullers of the dry districts appear to be liable to the same rules, and to possess the same rights, as those of the wet districts. The services they perform are chiefly confined to the irrigation of the land in its several stages of cultivation; but their services are also occasionally required by their masters, in the menial offices of their household establishment. If a wall or pundall is required, the pullers are obliged to erect it, without any further recompense than their established emoluments. The pullers are usually sold with the land; but there are many cases in which they may be purchased independent of it. The price of a puller varies from five to ten pagodas, according to his age and qualifications. Their services are also occasionally mortgaged; a pullee, or female slave, is never sold; while it would appear that, in Malabar, men, women, and children, are sold indiscriminately.

'The pullers are supposed to be entirely supported by their masters, in sickness and in health. Their marriages are made at the expense of the meerassidars, as well as the expense of their funerals. They enjoy some little gratuity at every birth, and receive a certain established sum at the principal Hindoo festivals. I have noted a list of the yearly emoluments a puller is properly entitled to receive; and these emoluments, though small, I have every reason to believe, are scarcely ever withheld.*

[FN: The extent of cultivation to be made by a puller and by a pullee, is 150 cullums of paddy.

Annual Emoluments. / ru. / an.

Warum of a puller culs / 8 / 5-3/8
Do. of a pullee / 6 / 6-3/4
TOTAL / 15 / 0-1/8

Batta at the commencement of each fusly for ploughing / 2 / 4
Soluntrums for sowing / 0 / 6
Reaping share a' 5 per cent / 7 / 6
Thrashing do/ 1 / 0
Pongal feast / 1 / 0
Duparaly do / 0 / 0-1/8
Gramadava do / 0 / 1-1/2
Total annual / 26 / 1-1/8 / 5-5/8 fs.
Proposed addition of warum a' 2 per cent / 3 / 0 / 0
TOTAL / 29 / 1-1/8 / 5-5/8 fs.
Contingencies estimated:
For a marriage / 4 / 0 rs. / 8
For a birth / 0 / 2 fs. / 2
For a death / 0 / 2 fs. / 2
TOTAL / 4 / 4 rs. / 8 / 4
Total / 33 / 5-5/8 rs. / 9 fs. / 1-1/8"]

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'I have examined the pullers themselves, on the subject of their being well or ill treated, and asked them what course they would pursue if ill used. They replied, they would seek other masters at a distance, that would treat them more kindly. In corroboration of this fact I have never received a complaint, either in my fiscal or magisterial capacity, since my appointment to this district, from a puller against his master. The right of the puller is so distinctly defined by custom, and the interest of the meerassidar so substantially affected by the good conduct and health of the puller, — that it is hardly possible to suppose the meerassidars would be so blind to their own interest as to cause their pullers to abscond, or by harsh treatment reduce them to sickness. From what has been already stated, it will be found, that agricultural slavery has existed in this district from time immemorial.'

"CANARA. — 'The origin of slavery in Canara is to be traced from extracts in an ancient book, called Sheehadry Pooranum, but by no means an authentic record. This treatise is stated to contain a fabulous narrative, which, when divested of its oriental imagery and metaphors, will be found to attribute the origin of slavery in Canara to the right of conquest.

The right of sale was, and is still, the master's exclusive privilege, either with or without the land. The price varies, and is settled amongst the purchasers and sellers. The usual rates are as follow: —

'For a strong young man, from twelve to twenty-six rupees.

'Do. a strong young woman, twelve to twenty-four rupees.

'Do. a child, never under four rupees.

'It is customary to pass a bill of sale, on a bargain being made, or a mortgage bond. The transfer, by purchase or gift, (in charity, or to the pagoda), is attended with a short ceremony, between the seller or giver, and receiver, and the slave. The slave drinks some water from his brass basin, and calls out, 'I am now your slave for ever.' The zillah court, has guaranteed this right by decrees, both on transfer of landed property, and on sale in execution of decrees. The master can lend his slaves out on hire. He can sell the husband to one person, and the wife to another! This is not often done, because neither of the purchasers can be sure of keeping his purchase. Care is always taken in purchasing not to carry the slave to any distant estate. The master can sell the children; but this is seldom done from the foregoing cause, the fear of desertion. The master, according to his means, feeds and clothes his slaves. He never pays them wages in money, but presents them on their marriages, or particular ceremonies, with a small sum. The quantity of food and clothing to a slave varies in every talook. It does not seem to be regulated by any rule, although it would appear that some original quantum obtained. The average may be thus estimated: —


A man / 1/2 Canara seer coarse rice, two rupees weight salt, a little beetel nut and leaf. / Two pieces of eanthey, six cubits. In some talooks, a combly and roomal given

A woman / 1 seer / 1 do. seven cubits long.

A child / 3/4 do. / 1 do. four do.

'The salt, beetel, &c., is optional. It is also customary to give them conjee from the master's house. I cannot learn that any want or cruelty is experienced by the slaves, the master being well aware that, on any ill-treatment, they will desert him; and that the trouble and expense attending their recovery would perhaps amount to the value of the deserters. Slavery seems to be inconsistent with rights and privileges. On these points I can only generally state, that the dhers of Canara possess none. The number of slaves of all descriptions, in Canara, has never been correctly ascertained; they may be estimated at 82,000.'

"MALABAR. — In Malabar (exclusive of Wynaud* ["The landed proprietors of Wynaud are torpid to a degree; all the field work is done by slaves called Paniers, who are held in higher estimation than the slaves of the lower districts. They are admitted to the threshold of their masters' houses, and they are even employed in grinding rice for the use of the temples!" (Par. Papers, p. 924.) Hamilton thus describes the ceremonies of respect in Malabar: "A nair, (soldier) may approach, but not touch a Brahmun. A tair, (cultivator) remains 36 yards off. A puliar, (slave) 96 steps off. A tair is to remain 12 steps from a nair; a meliar 3 or 4 steps farther, a poliar 96 steps. A meliar may approach, but not touch a tair. A polier is not to come near a malear or other cast. If he wish to speak to a Brahmun or other, he must stand at the above prescribed distances and cry aloud. Formerly a nair was expected instantly to cut down a tair, or musna, (fisherman) who defiled him by touching him; and the same fate awaited the poliar or pariar who did not turn out of the road for the nair." (Ham. Hind., vol. ii. pp. 278, 280.)]) the number of slaves is estimated by the Collector at 100,000. 'They are,' says the Collector, 'slaves of the soil, and are generally attached to the land of the proprietors of the ground on which they were born; but this is by no means considered an essential point, being frequently transferred by sale, mortgage, or hire. In Malabar, as in the West Indies, a man's wealth is as much appreciated by the number of his slaves, as by any other property he may possess! In one sect they observe what is termed makkatye; in another they observe the marra makkatye; the former, being the common laws of kindred, the latter similar to the customs among the Nairs, in which inheritance goes to the sister's son, and this constitutes the value of a female of one cast over that of the male, and vice versa, a male being more valuable where the progeny goes with him. The marriage contract is made entirely among the parents of the parties, without any interference on the part of the proprietor; to whom, however, it is necessary to make the proposed connexion.

'No valuable consideration is given to the owner by the male for the possession of the female. The contract may be dissolved at the pleasure of the parties connected; in which event the husband takes off the marriage necklace (commonly composed of shells or brass ornaments), which makes the dissolution complete, and each is at liberty to form new connexions; but whilst the contract lasts I have had opportunities in my magisterial capacity, when an assistant in the courts, of observing a wonderful degree of jealousy and tenaciousness of family honour, when contrasted with the general appearance, habits, and apparently brutish stupidity of these casts. The measure of subsistence to be given by the proprietor is fixed, and he is bound by the prescribed customs of the country to see it served daily. A frequent failure on the part of the master to perform this duty, is sure to be attended with desertion to another, from whom they expect kinder usage; and, when this takes place, the recovery of them is attended with difficulties that are not easily overcome; for, independent of being obliged to have recourse to courts of justice, months and years perhaps elapse before they can discover to what place the slave has absconded. The proprietor feels it his interest to see them well treated, through apprehensions of the consequence of an opposite conduct.

'I do not recollect any instance of a churma having appealed to a court of justice for protection from the ill usage of his master; but instances are not wanting of persons having been brought to justice and to a severe account for the murder or wounding of a slave; and as it is universally known throughout Malabar that British justice considers the life of the lowest individual as valuable as the highest character in the country, and that as severe a retribution would fall on the head of the murderer of a slave as of a rajah, we may consider them as well protected by the laws as any other race of beings. In some respects, churmas may be considered in more comfortable circumstances than any of the lower and poorer class of Natives. An instance of a churma being a beggar is unheard of: they and their families are sure of having the means of subsistence, for if the owner should be unable to afford this, he will sell, mortgage, or hire his churma to another, on whom would devolve the duty, as well as interest, of affording him such subsistence, as to enable him to go through the labours of the day."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 887-896.] † ["The churmas in Malabar are absolute property; they are part of the livestock on an estate. In selling and buying land it is not necessary that they should follow the soil; both kinds of property are equally disposable, and may fall into different hands. The churmas may be sold, leased, and mortgaged, like the land itself, or like any cattle or thing. The feumokar may hire them for pattom or rent independently of the land, or he may sell them altogether with his estate. The pattom on a churma is four fanams a year; if they are disposed of on otty, their price is thirty two fanams; if on the attipit ola or jenmon, forty-eight fanams. The jenmokar, by the ancient laws of Malabar, is accountable, to no person for the life of his own churma, but is the legal judge of his offences, and may punish them by death, if they should appear to deserve it. The kolloonaven can neither put to death a churma nor sell him, but he may chastise him. In the same manner as the soil the possession of churmas was originally confined to a particular class. They were then employed entirely in the labours of agriculture; but, although they were the first and sole cultivators in Malabar, it is not to be imagined that this is the case at present, since there are many kuddians of all casts, who cultivate their own lands."— (Walker's Rep. on Malabar. Par. Papers, p. 866.)]
To the above may be added the Report of the Collector of the NORTHERN DIVISION OF ARCOT. — "The slaves in the district are not numerous; exhibiting a total of 688, inclusive of men, women, and children. The practice of keeping them may be said to be confined to the five talooks of Arcot, Trevultoor, Cauvareeput, Poloor, and Suttawaid; for in Sholungar and Wondawash (the two other talooks in which, according to the statement, slavery prevails) their numbers are very small indeed. They are ostensibly employed in agriculture, and the pasturing of cattle, although they may occasionally do house work; and the persons in whose service they are principally engaged, are the Rajah, Brahmun, and Vellumwar casts. Children, born when their parents are in a state of slavery, become slaves also. It does not appear to be accurately settled to whom the child of a slave belongs; in one talook, it was said to the master of the male, in another to the master of the female slave; the question, perhaps, has never been agitated; for the people who keep slaves, most likely find it cheaper to buy than to rear them! and the offspring, when left to their parents' charge, who have barely sufficient to support themselves, die of absolute want! They have not any particular marks whereby they may be distinguished, except it is their wretched appearance; they are fed and clothed and subsisted entirely by their masters; their food consists of raggy, the coarsest kind of grain, and their clothing is a common cumly. I cannot discover, though I was very particular in my inquiries on the point, that they have any rights or privileges, and they are not possessed of any property, neither can they inherit any."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 873, 874.]

The latter part of the Par. Papers refers to the practice of stealing children, which appears "very prevalent at Madras." "I beg (says the Magistrate at Tinnevelly in Dec. 1825) to bring officially to notice a custom which is, I believe, more or less prevalent throughout the Madras territories, and, as far as my observation has gone, is very frequent in the district of Tinnevelly. The practice I allude to, is the sale and purchase of female children by dancing women, for the avowed purpose of bringing them up to a life of immorality. The custom is so notorious, and its tendency so evident, that no comment can be necessary; but I am apprehensive that, unless it be specially excepted from those purchases of children which are now (under some circumstances) legal, an opinion may be entertained that such dealings are countenanced by law. A prohibition of such transactions could not be complained of as an infringement of any acknowledged rights; it would serve as a check upon child-stealing, which is occasionally practised under the pretence of purchase, and the public expression of the will of the Government could not but have a beneficial tendency to promote morality."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 934, 935.]

The reply to this communication, by the Secretary of Government at Madras, it is presumed, cannot be read without feelings of strong disapprobation. "It is understood, from your letter, that in the opinion of the judges of the Foujdaree Adawlut, no new enactment is required upon this subject, because the selling or purchasing of children, for the avowed purpose of prostitution, may be punished under the law as it at present stands. The Governor in Council entirely concurs with the judges in deeming any enactment unnecessary; and is further of opinion, adverting to the nature of the institution of dancing women, and to its connexion with the ceremonies and observances, both religious and civil, of the great bulk of the people, that if it is at all expedient for the officers of Government to interfere, for the purpose of preventing parents or guardians from assigning children in the customary modes to be brought up to this profession, the interference requires to be conducted with the greatest caution. The remarks, to which reference is made, relate to the practice of selling children to be made slaves, and generally to the usages of the country with respect to slavery; and, it was observed, that that subject was one of much difficulty and delicacy. The subject now under consideration is of no less delicacy, and it seems to afford less inducement to interfere; for it is to be considered, that loss of personal freedom is not among the consequences of being brought up to be a dancing woman, and that the species of immorality which the interference would propose to redress prevails, is generally tolerated, in the most enlightened and most highly civilized nations of Europe, and is much more closely connected with general depravity and with misery in England than it is in India."† [p. 935. See also pp. 901-903.]

The present state of the melioration of slavery — for the abolition of it is not attempted — appears in an extract of a letter from the Hon. Court of Directors to the Governor of Madras, in April, 1824. "In the districts subject to your Presidency the rights and obligations of master and slave appear to be very indistinctly defined: and this obscurity of the law we apprehend to be favourable to the slaves; for whatever the legal power of masters may be, their actual control over the liberties of those persons who are nominally their slaves appears to be but small. We desire that you will be extremely cautions, in making any regulation for defining the relations of master and slave. It is our wish to improve the condition of the latter to the utmost extent, and we fear that, in defining the power of masters, acts of compulsion might be legalized, which by custom are not now tolerated, and the slaves might be placed in a worse condition than before. We shall defer making any further remarks on the subject, till we receive a further communication from you."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 901.]

To this, nearly two years after, the Governor in Council refers with approbation. "The opinions and views stated in these paragraphs coincide with those entertained by us."† [p. 901.] (Feb. 1826.) Thus the state of slavery in India, which at one time is represented as mild and scarcely needing attention, at another is considered of such a nature, that the Government is afraid to touch the subject — even to "define the relations of master and slave." Is this the way to eradicate one of the greatest evils incident to mortal man? "Surely," says the late Bishop Heber, "we are, in matters of religion, the most lukewarm and cowardly people on the face of the earth;"‡ [Jour., vol. ii. p. 465.] and is it not equally true, as it respects the interests of humanity in India?

The extent of slavery in India, at the present period, it is presumed, cannot be ascertained by the Parliamentary Documents now before the public. No census or general registration of the slaves appears to have been taken; it is only, therefore, from occasional remarks by the Magistrates, or the more regular statements of some of the Collectors under the Madras Presidency, that any probable estimate can be taken of the extent of slavery in the British dominions in the East. By the publication of this first volume of Parliamentary Papers on Slavery in India, sufficient information is given to urge the full development of the nature and extent of this system, and to excite the friends of humanity to increased exertion, till Britain, in all her dominions, regards the divine injunction, "Let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke."  

The second Judge of Dacca, in 1812, remarks, respecting that district, — "Inveigling away and selling slaves, has long been a prevailing offence, I believe peculiar to this district, and numerous prosecutions are consequently preferred for recovering them."* [Par. Papers, p. 242.]

The same Gentleman observes respecting Sylhet, — "The odious practice of trafficing in slaves has long subsisted in that zillah, and doubtless many and various abuses have been committed under the cloak of an authorized commerce, or, at least, of such mercantile transactions not specially prohibited. The trade is carried on to a considerable extent, as is universally acknowledged; and, from the best information on the subject, it is computed, that the number of slaves in the district amounts to about ONE-SIXTH of the whole population; and this number progressively increases, as their offspring are also born slaves. It is impossible to form a correct calculation of the number of slaves annually exported from the district, but it is believed to be much less considerable now than formerly."† [p. 244.]

Of Sylhet, and the zillah Backergunge, the Magistrate, J. W. Sage, Esq., in 1816, observes,

"During the ten months I was at Sylhet, I often heard that some persons gained a livelihood by enticing boys and girls (whose parents were free) from their houses in the district, and from the adjoining territories of Kackar and Jynteah, disposing of some to wealthy natives in the district, and carrying some for sale to other places. It is a common practice amongst the lower class of native women, on the loss of their husbands, or at the time of a scarcity of grain, both in Sylhet and this district (Backergunge) to sell their children; by which the mothers gain a livelihood, and the children are better taken care of by their new masters. Some mothers sell their female children to prostitutes; sales of that description are always made known to the police darogahs, whose duty it is to convey the parties instantly to the Magistrate, that they may be punished for so nefarious a transaction. There are some, whose families have been in a state of slavery for the last hundred years, and who, when a sale of an estate takes place, are included in the purchase; as however many suits are instituted in the Sylhet district for slaves, and appeals are admitted by the court of appeal, I do not suppose Sir R. K. Dick had it in contemplation to draw the attention of Government to that class of people. It might, in some measure, prevent illicit transactions, if every one, purchasing a child, was, under pain of a heavy fine and imprisonment,  ordered to register such sale, and enter into an agreement at the court, at the time of registering, binding himself to produce at the court the boy or girl he may buy, whenever the Magistrate should call upon him."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 217.]  

"There are (says the philanthropic Judge of Bundlecund, in 1808, J. Richardson, Esq.) districts under the Company's dominions, (particularly Ramghur,) wherein, to my own knowledge, the greatest part of the cultivators and labourers are slaves. I have no scruple to avow, I deem this one great cause of the wild and uncultivated condition of the country, and the barbarous state of its inhabitants; for what human being will labour with good will, or a desire of improvement, when another enjoys the sole produce?"† [p. 300.] This Gentleman further observes, —

"By an enforcement of the spirit and principles of the Mussulman law, a total stop would be put to the horrid practice of slavery, which, almost incredible to state, exists contrary to law and reason, throughout our dominions in India, to a degree scarcely to be believed; not a Mussulman family, of even mediocrity, that has not numbers both of male and female slaves. The people about their persons, and the female attendants on their women, are almost all slaves; and, to my certain knowledge, they have slaves for the purpose of cultivation and field labour."‡ [p. 317.]

"In Nepaul" says Hamilton, "most of the domestic servants are slaves; and there are some Brahmuns who are slaves to Rajpoots, and, in high families, are employed as cooks (an office of great dignity), or in the service of public chapels. All other ranks are sold for common slaves, and persons of the best family have been degraded by the Raja, and given to damais, or tailors; by which they not only lose their liberty, but also their cast, which, to a Hindoo, is of much more importance, as in general among the higher classes, the cast of a slave is respected. It is reckoned very disgraceful to sell their children to any person of impure birth, or to an infidel, yet in cases of exigence it is frequently done, and the parents do not lose cast, which however they inevitably would, if they afterwards received their child into their house, even were he liberated by his master. All the female slaves, or Keties, not excepting those belonging to the Queen, are prostitutes, although the latter are allowed some privileges, and have considerable influence at court. In the day time they attend the Queen, and when she goes out, some of them, armed with swords, follow her on horseback, and form her body guard; on which occasions they are dressed and ride on horseback like men."* [Hamilton's Hind., vol. ii. p. 680.] ‡ ["Domestic Slavery, which is very common in India, however mild, surely demands the reprehension of every individual who has a proper idea of the dignity of human nature. In some parts of India, children are as much an article of sale, as goats or poultry." — Ward's View of the Hindoos, 1820, vol iii. p. 281.]

Hamilton, in his Description of Hindostan, thus speaks of slavery. — "Domestic slavery is very generally prevalent in Bengal, among both Hindoos and Mahomedans. More trusty than hired servants, slaves are almost exclusively employed in the house, for attendance on the members of the family, and in all the most confidential services. Every opulent person, every one raised above the condition of the simplest mediocrity, is provided with household slaves, and from this class chiefly, are taken the concubines of Mahomedans and Hindoos
. In the lower provinces, under the Bengal Presidency, the employment of slaves in the labours of husbandry is almost unknown. In the upper provinces, beginning from Western Behar and Benares, the petty landlords, who are themselves cultivators, are aided in their husbandry by slaves, whom they very commonly employ as herds and ploughmen; landlords of a higher class have in a few instances the pretensions of masters over a part of their tenants long settled on their estates, and reputed to be descended from persons who were the acknowledged slaves of their ancestors. Their claims to the services of these hereditary serfs, who are scarcely to be distinguished from the rest of the peasantry, are nearly obsolete and scarcely attended with any practical consequences; but those employed in husbandry by the inferior classes of landlords are decidedly slaves. The employment of slaves in handicraft work is more rare, but not entirely unknown. It would be difficult to form a computation of the number of slaves throughout the country, and any steps towards the preparation of an accurate estimate would involve inquiries which cannot fail of exciting great alarm. Slaves are neither so few as to be of no consideration, nor so numerous, as to constitute a notable proportion of the population. The slave is more usually a favourite and confidential servant than an abject drudge; and he is held superior to the hireling both in his master's estimation and his own."† [vol. i. p. 105-107.]

"A portion of the population of the district of Tiperah are slaves, and the custom of disposing of persons already in a state of slavery is common throughout the district. On these occasions regular deeds of sale are executed, some of which are registered in the court of justice; and when an estate, to which slaves are attached, is sold privately, the slaves are commonly sold at the same time, although a separate deed of sale is always executed."* [Hamilton's Hind., 1821, vol. i. p. 182. Of Sylhet, see p. 196.]

"Among the domestics in Rungpore are both male and female slaves, especially towards Assam, and everywhere along the northern frontier. The people of Assam sell many slaves, and those of Cooch Bahar are not unwilling to carry on the same trade."† [p. 207.]

"Slaves in Dinagepore are very few, and were mostly purchased during the great famine in 1769, and the scarcity of 1787, to keep them from starving; but they turned out so idle and careless, that their labour was found much more expensive than that of hired labourers."‡ [p. 223.]

"In the district of Purneah are various classes of slaves; of which one class costs from £1 15s. to £2 5s.; in another class a youth costs from £1 8s. to £2 5s., and a girl of eight years from 11s. to £1 15s. They are allowed to marry, and their children become slaves, but the family are seldom sold separately."§ [p. 234.]

"Real slaves of the male sex, in Boglipore, are called Nufur, and their women Laundies. They may be sold in whatever manner the master chooses, but they are not often brought to market. The slaves here are in general industrious, seldom run away, and are rarely beaten."|| [p. 248.]

In Behar "slaves of the description of Nufur and Laundi, are very numerous, often liberated, seldom sold, and frequently, owing to the poverty of their owners, left to find a subsistence for themselves. In Gya, and some other places, slaves are occasionally sold, and formerly fetched a rupee for each year of their age, until they reached twenty, when they attained their highest value; but in general the price has recently greatly risen !"¶ [p. 258.]

"Theft is common throughout Ramghar, but murder more prevalent among a particular class, which are the slaves possessed by persons inhabiting the mountainous and inaccessible interior, and of savage and ferocious habits. When petty disputes occur, these slaves are compelled by their masters to perpetrate any enormity, and are more especially employed for the purposes of assassination. Any hesitation or repugnance on the part of the slave, is attended with immediate death, which is equally his fate should he fail in the attempt. On the other hand, if he succeed, he is sought out by the officers of Government, and executed as a murderer. The usual police have hitherto been unable to seize the cowardly instigator, and if recourse be had to a military force, he retires into the jungles. On the occurrence of such an event, the whole country is thrown into confusion and rebellion, during which many unoffending persons lose their lives; and the troops, after many ineffectual efforts to execute the Magistrate's orders, return to their stations, worn out with fatigue, and their numbers thinned by the pestilential atmosphere of the jungles. Neither do the slaves attach the slightest idea of guilt to the murders they are thus delegated to commit; on the contrary, when seized, they always confess, and appear to expect applause for having done their duty."* [p. 284. See an account of Goomsur, in the Northern Circars, vol. ii. p. 70.]  

"Slaves are common in Afghanistan, mostly home-born, the rest imported. Abyssinians and Negroes are sometimes brought from Arabia through the ports of Sinde; the Baloochees sell Persians, and other prisoners; and many Caffrees are purchased or made prisoners. The Caffree captives are generally females, and much sought after on account of their beauty.† [p. 543.]

"Slaves are much employed in agriculture at Malari in Kumaon, and used to be purchased here by the Gorkhas."‡ [p. 661.]

Respecting Assam, contiguous to Bengal, Hamilton states, — "Capital punishments extend to the whole family of a rebel — parents, sisters, wife, and children; and it is probable, from these sources that the rafts are supplied, which are frequently seen floating down the Brahmaputra, past Goalpara, covered with human heads. All the domestics are slaves, and they are numerous; every man of rank having several, mostly procured among the necessitous, who mortgage themselves. Some are exported, and about 100, of pure cast, are annually sold in Bengal. The girls chiefly are bought by professional prostitutes, and cost from twelve to fifteen rupees. A Cooch boy costs twenty-five rupees; a Kolita fifty; slaves of impure tribes are sold to the Garrows."[/size]§ [Ham. Hind., vol. ii. p. 744.]

"The tract, at present occupied by the Independent Garrows, cannot be estimated at more than 130 miles in length, by thirty in breadth. Rungta, one of the principal Garrow Chiefs, died many years ago, and was succeeded by his son Agund, who is still alive, and is said to possess great wealth in slaves, brass pots, and human sculls [skulls]! This chief attended the marriage of the Zemindar of Currybarry's son, when a palanquin was presented to him; which, having first deprived of the poles as useless, he entered, and was borne away over the hills, on the heads of his slaves. On the death of a highland chief, of common rank, the head of one of his slaves should be burned with him; but if he be a chief of great dignity, a large body of his slaves sally out from the hills, and seize a Hindoo, whose head they cut off, and burn along with the body of their chieftain."* [Ham. Hind., vol. ii. p. 762.]

The Governor of Penang, or Prince of Wales Island, in 1807, very justly observes, — "Although domestic slavery, as practised by the Malays, meliorates, in a great degree, the situation of the slave, as permitted on this Island, when compared with that of the same class of people in other quarters of the globe — still, slavery in its mildest form is degrading in the minds of Britons; and hitherto only tolerated as a means of drawing population to an infant colony, which, from the now flourishing state of this Island, is no longer necessary, therefore derogatory to our national character, and should, in my opinion, cease to exist: at the same time every reasonable consideration is due towards their proprietors, so as to remunerate the one, without injustice to the other, or too suddenly interfering with ancient and authorized usages. This subject has, it appears, engaged the attention of the Hon. the Court of Directors, and they have more than once urged their Government here to adopt the necessary measures for effecting so humane and honourable an object, as the personal freedom of a considerable proportion of their subjects. I have consequently felt interested in the cause, and made such inquiries as enable me to state that there cannot be fewer than three thousand men, women, and children, in a state of bondage on this Island."† [Par. Papers on Slavery, p. 436; see also p. 454.]
The state of the slave trade in Pulo Nias, in 1821, is described in "The Life of Sir S. Raffles."

"The number of slaves taken from Nias, in each year, exceed 1,500. The circumstances attending this inhuman traffic, were of the most appalling nature. Sir Stamford Raffles, then Governor of Bencoolen, in the immediate neighbourhood, was anxious to do the utmost possible good for such a people. He warmly advocated the receiving this Island under the protection of the British flag, and the immediate suppression of the slave trade, and hoped so great a benefit, so easily obtained, would be met with approbation by all the wise and good. But the Court of Directors of the East India Company, 'had no hesitation in declaring, that his proceedings, with regard to Pulo Nias, were deserving of their decided reprehension;' and, 'they were inclined to visit him with some severe mark of their displeasure for the steps he had taken,' and threatened to remove him from his government. After the transfer of Sumatra to the Dutch, the slave trade was resumed with greater vigour than ever, and numbers of these poor people have since been carried away to Batavia, and to the French Island of Bourbon."* [World Paper, Oct. 3, 1831.]

We have seen that the Suttee exists in the Island of Bali, or little Java, and it is painful to state, that slavery also is found, and a slavery encouraged by European governments. —

"Slavery may be said to exist on Bali, as all malefactors among the men, and all unfortunates among the women, become immediately the slaves of the king. Some of these he employs in working for him, and some he sends out to trade, on condition of their bringing him a certain portion of the profits; some, when old and useless, or flagrant offenders, are creesed [killed] out of the way; and some of better promise are sold to the Chinese, who dispose of them to the Dutch, or to French vessels, visiting the different sea-ports. Prisoners taken in war may be dealt with in the same way; and poor unprotected persons, who have no relatives to befriend them, are in danger of sharing the same fate. At Bali Badong, a person was established, on behalf of the Netherlands Government, to buy up these people and transport them to Java, to be employed as soldiers in the Dutch service. The contract was, it appears, for 1,000 fighting men, at twenty dollars a head; about one half of this number has been supplied during the last two years, who have cost the Government, including agency and transport, about 20,000 dollars. No persons are chosen for this purpose but young able-bodied men, the old, infirm, and deformed being rejected; and as soon as a sufficient number are collected together, the colonial cruizers come to take them away. Last year, two French ships came from the Mauritius, one to Badong, and the other to Penang Cove, to buy slaves. These preferred women, and valued them according to their youthful and plump appearance; for young women they gave generally 150 rupees, eighty for the middle aged, and rejected the old ones. Boys were also bought by them; but they seldom took grown-up men, as they might prove too stiff and stubborn for their management. These vessels took away about 500 slaves between them, and talked of coming again; the time of their arrival is generally in the beginning of the year, and of their return in March. With respect to the traffic of these French vessels, there can be no demur in denouncing it as a regular slave trade, deserving to be reprobated and punished as such. The Netherlands Government and their agent may, perhaps, designate the transactions in which they are engaged by some other name; they may, perhaps, call it redeeming these poor people out of slavery, or rescuing them from a still worse doom; but to the impartial observer, it would appear very nearly allied to it."* [Singapore Chronicle, June 3, 1830.]

P. 119-122

Unhealthy garrison stations, unnecessary hardships and privations produced extraordinary casualties in the Dutch native army, which had to be constantly recruited by conscription. “The conscripts raised in the provinces were usually sent to the metropolis by water; and though the distance be but short between any two points of the island, a mortality, similar to that of a slave-ship in the middle passage, took place on board these receptacles of reluctant recruits. They were generally confined in the stocks till their arrival at Batavia, and it is calculated that for every man that entered the army and performed the duties of a soldier, several lives were lost. Besides the supply of the army, one-half of the male population of the country was constantly held in readiness for other public services; and thus a great portion of the effective hands were taken from their families, and detained at a distance from home, in labours which broke their spirit and exhausted their strength.”

The forced services hitherto mentioned were more or less legalised injustice: but treatment, if it be possible, yet more cruel and lawless remains behind.

“The coasting vessels belonging to Chinese, Arabs, and others, navigate throughout the whole extent of the Archipelago, to Malacca and Acheen on one side, and to the Moluccas and New Guinea on the other. The class of common sailors on board these ships is almost exclusively composed of the natives of Java, who are known in the East under the general denomination of Malays. According to the maritime customs of the Malay peoples, all persons on board, from the captain downwards, including the petty officers, have an interest, however small, in the cargo, while the common sailors, Javans, are protected by these petty officers, their own countrymen.” As the native traders “do not possess the authority to obtain crews by force, it is only by a character for good treatment, by attention to the usages, prejudices, and comfort of the crews, that they can insure an adequate supply of hands.” As a consequence, “among themselves, the maritime population is distinguished for good faith and attachment,” “ and no instances occur of the crews rising either upon the Arab or Chinese commander: they are, on the contrary, found to be faithful, hardworking, and extremely docile.” On the other hand, when so-called “Malays” are employed in vessels belonging to Europeans, they frequently mutiny, and massacre their officers. The reasons for this difference are given in the following passages from Raffles’s paper on the “Maritime Institutions of the Malays”: —

“The Javans are originally not a seafaring people; they have an aversion for distant voyages, and require the strongest inducements to quit the land, even for a coasting expedition in the smooth seas of their own Archipelago, beyond which, if they ever engage themselves on board a colonial vessel, they make an express agreement not to be carried. European vessels in want of hands for more distant voyages to Europe, India, and China, have been compelled therefore to resort to force or fraud, as the means of obtaining crews.

“The Dutch Government were in the habit of employing people as kidnappers, who prowled about at night, pounced upon the unwary peasant who might be passing alone, and hurried him on ship-board. When the direct influence of Government was not used, the native regents or chiefs were employed to obtain people for the crews of vessels: this they did sometimes in the same manner, though more frequently condemning to sea as many as were required, by an indiscriminate draft on the neighbouring population. The native chiefs were perhaps paid a certain head-money, on what may have been considered by the European commanders as nothing more than crimpage. The people who were seized were seldom of a seafaring class, but almost entirely landsmen, in many instances, perhaps, opium-smokers, or persons obtained from the lowest and most worthless part of the community. Once embarked, their fate was sealed for ever, and due care was taken that they never landed again on Java, as long as their services as sailors were required.

"In general, neither their language nor customs are in the least understood by their new master, for though most of the commanders in the eastern trade may speak the Malayan language and be accustomed to the Malayan character, they know nothing of the Javan language, and but little of the manners, habits, and prejudices of the Javan people.”

On the subject of slavery in the island Raffles wrote as follows in one of his Reports to Lord Minto:—

"The Dutch had introduced slavery into Java on the ground that there did not exist in the island a class of people sufficiently adroit and docile for household service, and that they had therefore to create a class of domestic servants by rearing in their families children brought from other countries. But 'the Javans, during the residence of the British in Java’ were 'found perfectly trustworthy, faithful, and industrious; and the demand was alone wanting in this, as in most cases, to create a sufficient supply of competent domestics.’ The native Javans were never reduced to slavery,’ and the slave merchants drew their supplies in consequence from the neighbouring islands, particularly from Bali and Celebes. From returns obtained in 1814, it appeared that there were about 30,000 slaves in Java, of whom 27,142 were concentrated about the centres of Dutch life; the Samarang and Surabaya divisions containing 8170, while no less than 18,972 were crowded into either the Dutch capital, Batavia, or its environs. A few of these slaves worked for their masters at some handicraft or trade, or on their estates; but the majority were domestic servants.

“‘These slaves are the property of the Europeans and Chinese alone; the native chiefs (i.e . on Java itself) ‘never require the services of slaves, or engage in the traffic of slavery.’

‘Although they (the Dutch) adopted principles that admitted of the most cruel and wanton treatment of slaves, I would not be understood to say that they carried these principles into common practice. The contrary was almost universally the case.’

“‘The regulations and colonial statutes respecting slavery seem to have been framed on the principles of humanity, and with attention to the genius of the Christian religion;' but the Dutch carried with them into their Eastern empire the Roman law regarding slavery in all its extent and rigour. A slave was considered as a real property, incapable of personal rights, from which consideration the ill-treatment of a master towards his slave was not so much estimated on the principle of personal injury, as that of a proprietor abusing his own property; and although a slave, under such a system, might obtain a portion of property for himself with the consent of his master, his possession was always precarious, and depended on the discretion of his proprietor (in the same manner as a peculium adventitium with the Romans), becoming only the unlimited property of the slave, if the master allowed him to keep it after his emancipation.’”

-- The Life of Sir Stamford Raffles, by Demetrius Charles Boulger, With Portraits, Maps and Illustrations, 1897

Slavery exists in "its most hideous shape" in the Island of New Zealand; and the author of a recent work, relative to this Island, very justly remarks; — "'That slavery should be the custom of savage nations and cannibals, is not a cause of wonder; they are the only class of human beings it ought to remain with."† [Earle's Residence in New Zealand. Eclec. Rev., Sep. 1832.] Let the advocates of slavery consider with whom they are thus unceremoniously, but how justly, classed.

Of the Daerds, in Canara, under the Madras Presidency, the Collector of the Southern Division in 1801, states, — "By far the greatest part of the slaves employed in agriculture are the Daerds, of whom there are various descriptions; no order was ever given for their being included in the registers; the whole number of them, by the population statement, is 52,022, men, women, and children; of which number there are, in the Baincoor talook, 5,894: the number belonging to every landlord shall hereafter, as desired, be entered in the registers."‡ [Par. Papers, p. 548.] "Exclusive of the Daerds, there were another sect of slaves in Canara, though, I believe, many of them are now free. Under the Biddenore Government, all illegitimate children, save those by dancing girls, were considered the property of the Sircar, which took possession of, and sold them as slaves, to any person who would purchase them; the number of this sort now is about 722; there are also many slaves imported from Arabia."§ [p. 550.]

Some of the Daerds having enlisted in the Company's army, the Collector of Mangalore requested the Madras Government that they might be interdicted the service. The minute of Government acknowledges the existence of slavery in this and other parts of India. —

"The circumstances stated, by the Collector of the southern division of Canara, require, in the Board's opinion, particular consideration. He has represented, that serious injury will be sustained by the landholders of Canara, if their slaves are permitted to enter the sepoy corps, and desert the lands which they and their progenitors had cultivated for many generations. It is observed, by Mr. Ravenshaw, that, where these people enlist, they seldom continue in the service, but almost invariably desert; in this point of view it appears ineligible that they should be allowed to enter the corps; but as it may be considered beyond the province of the Board, to discuss the propriety of this measure in a military point of view, or the policy of emancipating this class of people, they will only observe, that encouraging these slaves thus to desert their masters would be disturbing a property sanctioned to them by the usages of the country, and the ordinances of their law; and, whilst it would be of no advantage to the army, it would be of considerable detriment to the revenue; for not only in Canara, but in several parts of India, it is this class of people who cultivate the soil, and on whose industry the landholder depends for the payment of the dues of the Sircar (government), and for the means of his own support."* [Par. Papers on Slavery, p. 552.]

The Board of Revenue for the Madras Government in 1818, in a very judicious minute on slavery, candidly acknowledges its extensive prevalence; —

"The provinces now subject to this government, appear originally to have constituted several distinct Hindoo states, which are still to be traced by the difference of language, manners, and customs, that so strongly distinguish the inhabitants of one part of the country from the other. The five northern sircars of Ganjam, Vizagapatam, Rajahmundry, Masulipatam, and Guntoor, together with the districts of Bellary, Cuddaph, Paluand, and Nellore, or wherever the Telinga is the language of the people, may be considered one of these; the second may be said to include the district of Chingleput, the two divisions of the Arcot Soobah, Salem, Baramahl, Coimbatore, Madura, Dindigul, Trichinopoly, Tanjore, and Tinnevelly, or wherever the Tamil language is spoken; and the third comprises the provinces of Malabar and Canara, on the other coast of the Peninsula, where the Malayalam and Toolavo are the vernacular dialects of the country. In all these districts, the labourer, who holds the plouyh, and performs the inferior offices of husbandry, is of the lowest, poorest, most ignorant, yet most numerous order in society; in general an outcast, or, at least, often of the degraded class of Hindoos, and therefore usually resident in the outskirts of his village; everywhere without any property in the land which he can transfer by gift, sale, or bequest; and receiving from his employer, the ryot, little more than food, with a scanty supply of raiment! It is almost superfluous to remark that, with this description of persons, the government officers have seldom had any direct communications; yet this may possibly be the cause that their situation has not yet received that consideration which it appears to merit; for it is not, perhaps, sufficiently known, that throughout the Tamul country, as well as in Malabar and Canard,— far the greater part of the labouring classes of the people have, from time immemorial, been in a state of acknowledged bondage, in which they continue to the present time. It is, certainly, a curious circumstance, that in those provinces where the severe and arbitrary system of the Mussulman government was established at the most early and for the longest period, where consequently the public assessment on the land is the highest, and private property in the soil the most rare and least valuable, the labourer should also be the most free; while his condition is the most abject, in those countries where the ancient institutions of the Hindoos have been the least disturbed, where the public demand on the soil is the lightest, and private property in the land is universal and of the highest value. It seems probable, that slavery may have been as prevalent in the northern as it now is in the southern and western provinces; and the same circumstances, that reduced the landlord of Telingana to the situation of a landholder, may have tended gradually to weaken the power he possessed over his slaves, until they finally became emancipated from his authority."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 816, 817.]

As has been stated, no correct idea can be formed from the Par. Papers, of the actual number of slaves in British India. The slaves in Batavia in 1812, before its surrender to the Dutch, exclusive of those belonging to Government (which did not exceed 281), were as follows; —

"At Batavia and its environs, &c. / 18,972
In the Samarang division / 4,188
In the Sourabaya division / 3,682
Total / 27,142"† [p. 157.]

The following are the only official number of slaves observed (with the exception of those in Amboyna, amounting to 1,613, now ceded to the Dutch) in a careful investigation of the Papers; —

"Penang / 3,000
Arcot, S. Division / 17,000
- N. Division / 688
Trichinopoly / 10,600
Canara / 82,000
Malabar / 100,000

Total / 213,288"‡ [pp. 436, 887-890.]

These few items, producing more than 200,000 slaves, would lead to the supposition, that their number in British India may equal and even exceed that of the West Indies. — And should not this fact be known, and efforts made to meliorate the state of these degraded people, and to elevate them to their proper place in society? When shall every subject of Britain be free as the air he breathes? How tardy, though encouraged by success, are our proceedings in this work of justice and mercy. But this will more clearly appear in the following chapter.  
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Part 1 of 3

Book V: Slavery, Excerpt from "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India"
by James Peggs
p. 360-386

-- India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India, by James Peggs

-- Slavery in India: The Present State of East India Slavery; Chiefly Extracted From the Parliamentary Papers on the Subject, Printed March, 1828, August 1832, August 1838, by James Peggs, Third Edition, 1840

-- Slavery and the Slave Trade in British India; With Notices of the Existence of These Evils in the Islands of Ceylon, Malacca, and Penang, Drawn from Official Documents, by Thomas Ward and Col, And to Be Had At the Office of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, 1841

-- Slavery in the Bengal Presidency Under East India Company Rule, 1772-1843, by Amal Kumar Cattopadhyay, Thesis presented at the University of London for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, 1963

-- The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register, Volume 21, January to June, 1826

-- The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register, Volume 22, July to December, 1826

p. 360-386


CHAP. IV. Methods proposed for the melioration and abolition of Slavery in India — answers to objections to its abolition arising from the supposed kind treatment of slaves — the preservation of children and adults in famine by selling themselves for support — the indifference of the slaves to emancipation, — decreasing the population of an Island or District — Mahomedan prejudices prohibiting any others than slaves attending on their women, and that they cannot dispense with slaves, — and the interest of the slave owners and the Government — concluding remarks.

It is interesting to trace the various steps proposed or adopted for the melioration and abolition of slavery in India. The Madras Board of Revenue, in 1819, thus close their interesting letter, from which copious extracts have been given:—

"The Board are decidedly of opinion that slaves should not be sold for arrears of revenue; and prohibitory orders to this effect will be issued to Malabar, where alone it has occurred. In Malabar and Canara, alone, the number of slaves is calculated at 180,000; and the Board have now under consideration certain propositions from Mr. Graeme, the Commissioner in Malabar, for the melioration of their condition, and the gradual emancipation of slaves in that country. In the Tamil provinces the number of slaves is comparatively few; their condition is better, and any immediate emancipation of them would be attended by inconvenience, difficulty, and perhaps distress. This might, therefore, be at present deferred, until the practical remedy for the gradual abolition of slavery on the other coast shall have been fully considered and decided on. But, whatever may be the future decision respecting those who are already slaves, the Board think that a Regulation ought to be published, to prevent the further extension of slavery, and to meliorate, in some degree, by a few general enactments, the condition of those who are already slaves. The further purchase of free persons, as slaves, should be declared invalid and illegal; and all children hereafter born slaves should be declared free. But any person should be at liberty to contract, for a given sum, to labour for a term of years, or for life. Such contracts, however, should be in writing, and only binding upon the individual who executes it, not upon his wife or children.

"Slaves should be declared competent to possess and dispose of their own property, to the exclusion of any interference therewith on the part of their master. The Board further submit, whether it would not be proper to annex some penalty to the purchase of female children, for the purpose of being brought up as prostitutes. It might also be provided that the proprietors are to provide wholesome food and clothing for their slaves; that in sickness, age, or infirmity, they shall not neglect them; that they shall not have the power of corporeal punishment; that slaves, on being ill-treated by their masters, shall be allowed to claim the privilege of being sold to another; and that in breach of these laws, or refusal to comply with them, on the part of the master, the slave shall receive his liberty. It might further be provided, that slaves shall have the power to purchase their liberty at the price for which it was forfeited; and that slaves attached to lands or estates, which may escheat to Government, shall be liberated. Many of these provisions will be found to contravene those of the Hindoo law, which, with respect to Hindoos, is declared by the regulations to be in force; and the necessity, therefore, of a formal enactment of them in the code will be sufficiently apparent.

"The Collector in Trichinopoly has submitted a proposition for meliorating the condition of the pullers in the district, by adding two per cent, to their warum, which is at present only ten per cent. By this, he observes, 'the situation of the pullers would be greatly benefited, and the expense to Government would be not more than 2,000 pagodas per annum. This sum would materially tend to the comfort of 10,000 people, by whose industry the country is cultivated, and who, in point of fact, are the creators of revenue.' The Board are not aware of any objection to this measure, and it is accordingly resolved to recommend the adoption of it to Government. The Collector will report the result of it, and the effects it may have on the condition of the people. Resolved, also, That the Collectors in the other Tamil Districts be desired to report whether a similar measure could not be adopted with advantage in their Districts; and, if so, the extent of remission proposed. The Board would remark that the subject discussed, appears to them of great importance; that the suggestions which they have submitted should be well weighed before they are adopted; and that any legislative enactment, that may be deemed requisite, be framed with great caution. It may also be for the consideration of Government, whether the subject may not, as a general one, be referred, in the first instance to the Supreme Government, in order to ascertain the state of slavery in the Bengal territories, and whether any restrictions are imposed on it there."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 900.]

The propriety of improving the condition of slaves in India, has been urged by different functionaries of the British Government. Mr. Graeme, in his Report on Malabar in 1822, made the following judicious remarks: —

"Upon occasion of the condition of the slaves of Malabar being brought into notice, it was lately suggested that slavery should be subjected to the rule of the Mahomedan law. This, if carried completely into effect, would indeed mitigate the severity of slavery, and render slaves in Malabar a very different race of mortals; but, strictly speaking, slavery is not permitted by the Mahomedan law to be practised by any but Mussulmans, and even by them, only as regards the inhabitants of countries not agreeing to become converts to Mahomedanism, and at the same time refusing to pay the tax imposed by Mahomed upon infidels, or to permit the free exercise of the Mahomedan religion. Slaves made so by stealth, and not in open war, or an authorized occasion, are not recognised by the Koran; and the acquisition of slaves by purchase, as practised by the Moplar Mahomedans in Malabar, is equally irreconcilable to the Mahomedan law. Ill-treatment of slaves is, with them, punishable by the slave being emancipated, or being sold to another master, on conviction before the quazee.

"Though it may be allowed that slavery in Malabar is not intolerable, and not exercised to an excessive degree of active cruelty, the diminutive and squalid appearance, and the wretched hovels of a race of beings in the province, who, by a census taken of the population in Fusly 1216 (A. D. 1809) were reckoned to amount to 94,786, sufficiently indicate, that they do not enjoy that comfortable state of existence which every person should have it in his power to acquire by his labour. There are no doubt many free men in the different ranks of society who are equally indigent with the slave. The slave is scarcely ever exposed to the extremity of actual starvation; and it has been stated by respectable public authority, and I understand with correctness, that a beggar of this cast is seldom or never found. But among free men there are many, who are too proud, idle, and dishonest to work, and they have recourse to charity and fraudulent means to gain their subsistence; but it matters not, that many worthless characters are in worse circumstances, the question is, — whether slaves are as comfortable as they ought to be, and whether they acquire as much by their own industry in servitude, as they would in a free state."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 922.]

The Bengal consultations as early as 1774, in a letter to the Council of Dacca, contain the following judicious and humane observations, respecting the annihilation of slavery; —

"In those districts where slavery is in general usage, or any way connected with, or is likely to have any influence on the cultivation or revenue, which we are informed is the case at Sylhet, and may be so in the other (especially the frontier) parts of your division, we must desire you particularly to advise us what is the usage and every circumstance connected with it, and we shall then give such directions as we may judge to be necessary; but considering your reference, in the meantime, in the light of a general proposition, we are of opinion, that the right of masters to the children of the slaves, already their property, cannot legally be taken from them in the FIRST GENERATION, but we think that this right cannot and ought not to extend further, and direct that you do make publication accordingly." [p. 4.]

It is to be deeply regretted that this excellent suggestion does not appear to have been acted upon. The second judge of the Bareilly Court of Circuit, in 1817, W. Leycester, Esq., proposed the same rational and effective method of gradually annihilating slavery.

"Many estates in the country are cultivated by indigenous slaves, but it is very desirable, it should no longer be possible to transfer the African slave trade from the West to the East Indies, with only one proviso against it, that the slaves may not be resold; and it is also most desirable, that the present importation of females, for the purpose of breeding an hereditary race of slaves, should be put a stop to. Nothing, perhaps, is so recoiling as the idea of hereditary slavery — of a man's inheriting, at his birth, nothing but the misfortunes of his parents, without hopes of emancipation, without the possibility of rising in life, through exertion or talent, and liable every moment to be taken to the market and sold, and transferred to the possession of another. I can hardly conceive that there could be any objection to modifying the present system of slavery, by an act declaring the children of slaves to be free; that, if men will have slaves, they should also have to pay for them, and not to rear and inherit them like the produce, of a farm yard."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 345.]

The reply of the Court of Nizamut Adawlut to this humane judge was as follows; —

"The Court will only add, at present, that they participate in the sentiments expressed by Mr. Leycester, in abhorrence of hereditary slavery, and earnestly wish it could be discontinued, with regard to all children born under the British protection; but whilst it is allowed to remain, with respect to the progeny of existing slaves, born under the British Government in the West Indies and South Africa, the abolition of it, on general principles of justice and humanity, could not, the Court apprehend, be consistently proposed for India, where it has, from time immemorial, been sanctioned by the laws and usages of the country, and where the state of slavery is not so injurious to the objects of it, as in other countries where it is still maintained."† [p. 346.]

The measures proposed by Sir Stamford Raffles, Governor of Java, in 1812, for the melioration of slavery in that island, were cordially approved by the Governor General, Lord Minto, and his Council. For an account of them, see Par. Papers, pp. 155-161.‡ [Relative to the melioration of slavery in Prince of Wales Island, see p. 453.]

The Madras Board of Revenue in 1818, express their conviction of the necessity and propriety of improving the civil condition of the slave. —

"The right which the slaves in the Tamil country possess to continue attached to the soil where they are born, which, though not universal, is pretty general among them; their dependence rather on a community than on an individual; and perhaps the vicinity of some of them to the Presidency, where a general knowledge prevails that the spirit of our government is inimical to bondage, seem all, more or less, to have contributed to render their condition in some degree superior to that of their brethren on the other coast. It is by no means, however, to be understood that this is universally the case. Their treatment necessarily depends principally on the individual character of their owners; and when we reflect on those evils that are inseparable from even the mildest state of slavery, and consider how large a portion of our most industrious subjects are at present totally deprived of a free market for their labour, restricted by inheritance to a mere subsistence, and sold and transferred with the land which they till, — policy, no less than humanity would appear to dictate the propriety of gradually relieving them from those restrictions, which have reduced them, and must continue to confine them, to a condition scarcely superior to that of the cattle which they follow at the plough!

"While such ought to be the policy pursued, with regard to this class of people, it would be obviously unjust to interfere with the private property, which there can be no doubt the ryots at present possess in their slaves; and it might be dangerous too suddenly to disturb the long established relations in society subsisting between these two orders. For the present, it would seem sufficient, with the view to prevent oppression or abuse of authority, to define, by legislative enactments, the power which may be lawfully exercised by a ryot over his slaves; but, as the revenue records do not afford information sufficiently minute and satisfactory for this purpose, it is resolved to call the particular attention of the collectors in Canara, Malabar, and the Tamil country to this subject, and to desire that they will take an early opportunity to communicate fully their sentiments for the consideration of the Board."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 818. See also, pp. 869-871.]

The Collector of the southern division of Arcot very judiciously remarks, upon these paragraphs,

"I take the liberty of suggesting that every labourer who is now free, shall be declared exempt from all possibility of slavery; denouncing penalties against every person who may attempt to enslave any subject under our government. Rules calculated to abolish the general abuse of slavery, to provide for slaves in sickness and old age, to confine the transfer of slaves to the village of their nativity, and to interdict all corporeal punishment or imprisonment, would prove an alleviation of the miseries inseparable from bondage. As the continuation, or the revival of slavery, is dependent upon the assistance owners contribute to the propagation of slaves, by advancing money for the expenses of marriages, perhaps a rule might be enacted prohibiting the enslaving of unborn children, by such a convention between the owners and their existing slaves."† [p. 872.]

These extracts shew some of the methods, for the gradual melioration or abolition of slavery, contemplated by those whose opinions are given in the Parliamentary Documents. The Philanthropist, who sighs, oh that all mankind were free! will rejoice to see a few proposals of more immediate measures for the emancipation of slaves. Upon "the practice of stealing children from their parents, and selling them for slaves," it is very justly remarked in a Minute of the Governor General, in 1774, —

"There appears no probable way of remedying this calamitous evil, but that of striking at the root of it, and abolishing the right of slavery, excepting such cases to which the authority of Government cannot reach; such, for example, as laws in being have allowed, and where slaves have become a just property by purchase, antecedent to the proposed prohibition. The opinions of the most creditable of the Mussulman and Hindoo inhabitants have been taken upon this subject, and they condemn the authorized usage of selling slaves, as repugnant to the particular precepts both of the Koran and Shastar, oppressive to the people, and injurious to the general welfare of the country."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 3.]

The Magistrates of Patna, in 1774, stated to the Governor General, Warren Hastings, Esq., — "Whole families of slaves were formerly sold together, but we do not find that the custom, though of old standing, and still in force, is now attended to, except in the Mofussil, where sometimes the survivor of an old family, retired on his altermga, cultivates his lands by the hands of these slaves, who also perform the menial offices of the house. To a person thus situated, the keeping of slaves may answer; the grain produced by their labour serving for their support. It seems that, on the sale of a slave who separately procures his own subsistence, only one-half of the price is received by the owner, the other half going to the parents of the slave. In the city, few people choose these Kahaar slaves, being indifferent to their business, and equally expensive with other servants. [b]The female slaves, are of more use in families, none being without them. It is urged, that a condition of this kind is consistent with the manners of a country where women are kept in continual retirement, and such privacy observed in regard to them as would be much affected by a frequent change of servants. On the whole, we do not imagine that alterations, in the usage of slaves, will be attended with any consequences of moment to the cultivation or revenue of this province."† [p. 5.]

In 1808 a Committee was appointed, by the Government of Prince of Wales Island, to report upon the state of slavery, and the propriety of its abolition. Three of the four European members expressed themselves as follows: —

"After mature deliberation, the undersigned are of opinion, that the views of humanity, and of the British Legislature, signified in the late Acts respecting the abolition of slavery in the British West India Islands, may be extended and adopted here, consistently with due attention to the political circumstances of this settlement. And, with all deference, they beg leave to recommend to the Honourable Board, — the immediate and positive emancipation of slaves, in preference to relying on the accomplishment of it by the establishment of an annual tax, which, while the richer masters would be able to meet it, might have the effect only, to induce the poorer to insist with rigour and inhumanity, on greater exertions of service from their slaves, in order to enable them also to pay it. Independent of the calls of humanity, and of the distinguished example afforded to the world by the British Legislature, the undersigned must allow, that these considerations have also had much weight in inducing them to recommend, the immediate and positive emancipation of slaves; though they at the same time are aware of the propriety and necessity of regarding as far as is consistent with humanity, the property of the owner, and the prejudice of the natives of higher rank; but these they are hopeful may be nearly assimilated and combined, by adopting, as the basis of emancipation, a custom which has been immemorially  sanctioned and prevalent in the Malay countries, and on this island since the formation of the settlement, of mortgaging labour in consideration of a sum advanced, for which the person or persons become debtor."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 440, 441.]

The late Governor Farquhar's plan for "annulling slavery in the shortest period in which that desirable object can be effected, without prejudice to individuals, or injury to the public interests in the settlement," was as follows: —

"I recommend slavery being abolished at Prince of Wales Island. It is the greatest of all evils, and the attempt to regulate such an evil is in itself almost absurd. There was some excuse for using slaves in the West Indies, on account of the want of people, and Africa offered the readiest supply. But there is no excuse for continuing the practice in India, — a country fully peopled, and where cultivation and commerce can be carried on by free men! But, as slavery has in some degree been sanctioned by the government of Prince of Wales Island, it would be unjust, without an equivalent to the proprietors, to declare slaves free. Suppose that a committee were appointed, and authorized to affix to each slave on the island, a value at which his master should be obliged to liberate him, on tender of the amount. Such as could not procure funds from their relations or friends, equal to the valuation, to become debtors, and serve the creditors, as now practised, under the following simple regulations: — The lender to find the borrower, in lieu of his services, meat, clothes, and lodging, good and sufficient. If in chastising a borrower for any fault (without the authority of the police) the lender bring blood, the debt to be cancelled. If the lender cohabit with any of the female borrowers, the debt to be cancelled. No idleness in the borrowers is to add to the debt; but, if dissatisfied, the lender may demand his money. Should the emancipated slave be unable to procure the money, the master may apply to the police, where the necessary inquiries will be made, and correction given accordingly. The foregoing regulations would ameliorate the condition of those now slaves, and in time liberate the whole from debt, and give us from 4 to 5000 good subjects in place of useless sufferers. This is an object worthy of government's attention in every point of view."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 434, 435.]

"My own ideas are," says W. E. Phillips, Esq., the successor of Governor Farquhar in 1807, "that a Committee should place a value on each slave, as also a value on his annual labour, after deducting his maintenance; and, that the slave should continue in bondage till the estimated value of his labour has reimbursed the master for his original cost. Should the slave deem himself ill-treated, he may at any time sell the labour due to that master to one more mild, and who may be disposed to advance that sum to the original master. As the value of labour here is very high, and that of the slaves the reverse, I do not think I am sanguine in estimating, that the greater part of these poor creatures would be free in TWO YEARS, from the date of their valuation.† [p. 436.] ‡ ["This judicious plan was adopted at Singapore by Sir Stamford Raffles. — "Slavery was abolished within the settlement, with the reservation of what were called slave debtors, — persons who had engaged their services  in payment of debt duly incurred. These were protected by having all their civil privileges preserved to them, excepting only the freedom of service; they were not allowed to be transferred to other masters, without their own consent; if their creditors died solvent they were discharged forthwith; if insolvent they were allowed to choose a master, and the value of their labour was carried to the bankrupt estate; but in no case could they be thus pledged, or kept for a longer period, in all, five years, nor for a less sum than twenty dollars yearly." — Mem. of Sir. S. Raffles. Ori. Qua. Rev., April 1830, p. 188.]
In these sentiments the Hon. Court of Directors in 1807, concurred. "As the toleration of slavery cannot be necessary at Prince of Wales Island, where the population is extensive and daily increasing, we consider it a subject deserving your serious notice, and direct that every means be resorted to for effecting its immediate abolition, provided the public interests of the settlement are not materially injured; but, even in that case, we conceive an early period may be determined for the entire emancipation of slavery at your Presidency, from the date of which it ought by no means to be tolerated."* [Par. Papers, p. 435.] It is deeply to be regretted that these humane and judicious measures were not adopted. If they had been so, slavery might now have been unknown in this Island.

It may be presumed, that various objections to the extensive melioration, and particularly the abolition of slavery, exist among the advocates of the slave system in India. It will now be our object, from the Documents already adverted to, to notice the principal of these objections, and to obviate them — not with our own arguments or language, but that of gentlemen in India, intimately acquainted with the subject upon which they have written. The official nature of these replies must add considerably to their value.

One of the most common objections to the discontinuance of the present system of slavery, in British India, is — the supposed kind treatment of the slaves. The comparatively mild nature of East Indian slavery, is often used as a reason for its continuance, and its abolition denounced as an evil. To this argument for slavery the following extract affords a very appropriate reply.

"The Madras Board of Revenue proceed to the consideration of that part of the letter from Government, which desires them to state their opinion 'whether the practice which actually prevails,' with respect to the sale of slaves, 'should be permitted to continue as at present, or whether it ought either to be laid under such resections as would render it less objectionable, or altogether abolished, as productive of evils for which no adequate remedy can be devised.' Where 'in some respects churmas may be considered in more comfortable circumstances than any of the lower and poorer classes of natives.' Where 'no want or cruelty is experienced by the slaves.' Where the 'abolition of the puller system would be attended with the most serious consequences.' Where they seem not to consider their situation, nor to shew any 'desire to be free and independent.' Where the treatment of slaves by their masters 'is the same as that of the other labourers, which is in general of a mild nature.' Where 'the slaves are, on the whole, better treated by their masters than the common class of free labourers.' Where, finally, humanity on the part of the masters is encouraged by a sense of their own interest, and a disposition to personal cruelty is restrained by the establishment of the courts of justice, it does not appear to the Board that any immediate interference on the part of the government is particularly called for, or that any alteration in the existing state of slavery should be made, except by degrees, and after mature consideration has been given to the subject.

"But, because no immediate measures are urgently called for, it does not follow, that — the most useful, the most laborious, and one of the most numerous classes of our subjects in these territories, should, from generation to generation, continue the hereditary bondsmen of their masters, incapable of inheriting property of their own, deprived of that stimulus to industry which possession of property ever inspires; and, because they are fed, clothed, and reconciled to the present condition, it does not follow that the Government should confirm institutions which doom those who have thus fallen into this condition, incapable of ever recovering their liberty, or of rising to a level with their fellow men! Independently of those principles, hostile to any restraint on liberty, which are innate in every British Government, and which, as contained in our judicial code, without any express enactment on the subject, have operated to check abuses of masters towards their slaves; and independently also of those feelings, among free men, which naturally prompt them to extend to every one under their Government the blessings which freedom confers, it appears to the Board, on the mere calculating principle of self interest and policy, to be desirable that no one should be deprived of the means of acquiring property, or of diffusing those benefits among society which proceed from an increase of capital and wealth."* [Par Papers on Slavery in India, p. 809.]

A second reason urged for the perpetuation of slavery, and consequently an objection to its abolition, is the preservation of children and adults in famine, by selling themselves for support. On this view of the subject, which it must be confessed is one of considerable delicacy and importance, several Indian Magistrates have given their opinion. The Magistrate of Zillah Tiperah, under the Bengal Presidency, in 1816, writes —

"Report states that, in the Mogul Government, slavery existed in the district of Sylet to such a degree, that persons would sell themselves as slaves to satisfy demands of rent; while others would, from similar necessity, dispose of their own slaves. Even at the present day it may be ascertained that some individuals, in order to supply the immediate wants of nature, voluntarily submit to a state of slavery, and dispose of their persons for determinate services, so long as they may be capable of performing them. Documents to this effect are executed in the customary manner with other written engagements; and the court may easily obtain them from the Magistrate of Sylhet. Since necessity alone would compel any person to submit to a state of slavery, it may, I presume, be inferred, that the slavery herein noticed originates in the extreme poverty of the lower orders of society, and to tolerate it, under certain restrictions, would be preferable to exposing the poorer classes of the community to the risk of perishing for want, by depriving them of the only ostensible resource left to enable them to support existence."† [p. 246.]

Relative to this state of things, it is judiciously observed, by W. Leycester, Esq., the Second Judge of Bareilly,

"I know it is argued, that slaves in India are treated kindly; that they are comfortable; that in times of scarcity many must starve and die, if people who have the means of feeding them are not allowed to purchase them as slaves. Many, I believe, are treated kindly; but that all are so, that there is not a great deal of ill treatment, nobody will, I believe, assert; and there is not a crime committed among mankind that has not, at one time or other, produced an incidental good, and it would be strange indeed if slavery were the only exception. But, it might be considered an adequate inducement to deeds of charity, to compensate them by the labours of the object of it, during one generation, instead of aggravating the sorrows of accidental necessity by slavery through all generations."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 345. See also pp. 300, 325, 484.]

The Second Judge of Moorshedabad in 1814, and the Magistrate of Tanjore in 1825, recommend that in seasons of great distress from famine, it should be allowed to sell children for a limited period. The latter gentleman says —

"In seasons of great scarcity and distress it would perhaps be driving parents to great extremities, and more abhorrent to human nature, were any penalty attached to the sale of children by their own parents, or to the purchase of them direct from their parents; but the traffic should, in my opinion, be most strictly prohibited from extending any further, and a person, purchasing a child from its parents, should on no account have the power of disposing of it to another." † [p. 930. See also p. 325.]

A third objection to the suppression of slavery in India is the supposed indifference of the slaves to their emancipation. The Collector of the Southern Division of Canara, in 1801, in describing the condition of the Daerds, advocates this sentiment: —

"Slavery has been defined, 'an obligation to labour for the benefit of the master, without the contract or consent of the servant, the master at the same time having the right to dispose of him by sale, or in any other way to make him the property of a third person.' The sect of the Daerds who are bought and sold, and who come nearest to the description of slaves, differ from them in the following respects: first, their service is conditional; a master, at the time of purchase, agrees to give them the usual allowance of rice, cloth, &c.; if he fails, and refuses to do this, the Daerds are no longer bound to serve him, and can recover the balance of allowance due to them and their children. If the purchaser agrees to give the established allowances, the Daerds cannot refuse to enter his service; but if, from any real cause, they have a dread of their man, the old master will generally, on being asked, keep them until he can get another purchaser. A master cannot make a traffic of them; that is, he cannot put them up to public sale, or transport them, either by sea or land, to any place where there are not people of their own cast, which is confined to Canara; they can never be sent out of the province; they can even refuse to he sold out of the manganny in which they are born. This sect of Daerds, and their children, may be called 'conditional servants for ever.' Those of the Maurey Daerds, who are attached to estates, have the same privilege as those just mentioned, except that, in case of their landlord omitting to give them their regular allowance of rice, &c., they cannot quit his lands; but, on making a complaint, they can recover their right, with damages. All other descriptions of Daerds are 'conditional servants on the male side for life;' and in no case have they, so long as their master feeds and clothes them according to usage, a right to leave his service. Slavery is objected to, as being contrary to the fundamental principles of morality, because both men and women in that state, it is said, are tempted to commit and excite others to crimes they would not do in a free state. Supposing even that the service of the Daerds could be construed slavery, which in my opinion it cannot, the same objection does not apply to it, because, with them, it is merely the custom of their cast; and they are in general more attached to their wives and families, who live with them, than most other sects. So far, from conceiving there can be any radical objection to this kind of service, I am of opinion it is productive of very important political as well as moral good, and especially so, because it is one or the soundest and most necessary props, to the support and even existence of that meritorious spirit of industry and agriculture, with which the natives of Canara are so peculiarly possessed."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 550-554.

The interest of the slave proprietors, and not that of the slaves, is the great question in these remarks. But who can doubt whether slavery be better than freedom? The records of slavery, whether Eastern or Western, afford abundant proof of the dissatisfaction, the poverty, the misery attendant upon slavery, and, consequently, the desire of the slave to be free. The following extract from the Par. Documents may suffice:

"It is a question," says M. Elphinstone, Esq., Resident of Poona, in 1817, "how we are to treat slaves, subjects of his Highness the Paishwa, who fly from their masters, also subjects of his Highness, and take refuge in our camps. It is so obvious, that we cannot open an asylum for fugitive slaves within the Paishwa's territories, that I have hitherto directed persons in these circumstances to be refused leave to reside in our camps; but I shall be happy to be informed what is the proper course in such cases, and generally what is the law relative to the traffic in slaves, as far as is applicable to our forces in the territories of allied princes."† [p. 332.]

 — That slaves generally are indifferent to freedom — to the acquisition of property — to elevation in society — will rarely be received be those at all acquainted with that system, which, to use the words of Karl Minto, "must be viewed as a violation of one of the first principles on which society is constituted."‡ [p. 172.]  

Another objection to the abolition of slavery occurs in the Papers relative to Prince of Wales Island, viz. decreasing the population.* [Par. Papers, p. 440.] There might be some appearance of propriety in this remark, as it respected the resort to the Island of Malays, Mahomedans, Chinese, and other nations who are favourable to slavery; but few of the advocates of slavery can be insensible that this system is inimical to the increase of population, and that its gains are "the price of blood." -- "The great advantage to population (says the Judge of Bundlecund in 1808), derived from the emancipation of slaves, cannot be better illustrated than by quoting an example adduced by Mr. Coxe, in his tour through the northern countries of Europe. Speaking of the slavery of the Polish peasantry, he has the following remarkable instance of the benefit accruing from their manumission. A few nobles, of benevolent hearts, 'and enlightened understandings, ventured upon the expediency of giving liberty to their vassals. The event has shewn this project to be no less judicious than humane; no less friendly to their own interests than to the happiness of their peasants. For it appears that, in the districts in which the new arrangement has been introduced, the population of the villages has been considerably increased, and the revenues of their estates augmented in a triple proportion.' The first nobleman who granted freedom to his peasants was Zamoiske, formerly great Chancellor, who, in 1760, enfranchised six villages in the palatinate of Moravia. These villages were, in 1777, visited by the author of The Patriotic Letters. On inspecting the parish registers of births from 1750 to 1760, during the last ten years of slavery immediately preceding their enfranchisement, he found the number of births 434; in the first ten years of their freedom, from 1760 to 1770, 620; and from 1770 to the beginning of 1777, 585 births. By these extracts it appears that, during the first period, there were only 434 births; second period, 620; third period, 770. If we suppose an improvement of this sort to take place through out the kingdom, how great would be the increase of population!"† [p. 301.] The argument against slavery arising from its depopulating tendency, is unanswerable. ‡ ["Upon the authority of Cape Papers of so recent a date as Dec. 1828, the slave population is found, from recent enumeration, to have been nearly stationary (in the Cape Colony) from 30 to 35,000, during; the last twenty years; although in that period, the free population of all classes and colours has almost doubled itself. The deplorable statistics of our West India Islands, where the slave population, as the registry proves, has actually decreased 28,000 in six years! leaves us little to be surprised on this score." Eclec. Rev., Jan. 1831, p. 37.]

An objection to the abolition of slavery peculiar to the Mahomedans is made on the ground, that the injunctions of their Prophet, prohibit any other than slaves attending on their women, and that therefore they cannot dispense with slaves. The nature of this objection, and the reply to it, are stated in the communication of the European members of the Committee formed at Prince of Wales Island, in 1808, to consider the propriety of the suppression of slavery in the Island. —

"In support of this opinion (say the Committee), they adduce a passage in their Koran, which, on reference to Sale's translation of it,* [Vol. ii. p. 192.] the Committee find translated thus:

'And speak unto the believing women, that they restrain their eyes and preserve their modesty, and discover not their ornaments, except what necessarily appeareth thereof; and let them throw their veils over their bosoms, and not shew their ornaments unless to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husbands' fathers, or their sons, or their husbands' sons, or their brothers, or their brothers' sons, or their sisters' sons, or their women, or the captives which their right hand may possess, or unto such men as attend them and have no need of women, or unto children who distinguish not the nakedness of women; and let them not make a noise with their feet, that their ornaments which they hide may thereby be discovered.'

The undersigned deem it unnecessary to state to the Honourable Board the import, in their opinion, of this passage, or to elucidate it by remarking how much the manners of the Mahomedan society, particularly of the poorer classes, are in opposition to the doctrine deduced from it. They beg leave to call the attention of the Honourable Board to the following passage only of the Koran:

'And unto such of your slaves as desire a written instrument allowing them to redeem themselves on paying a certain sum, write one, if you know good in them, and give them of the riches of God, which he hath given you.'† [Sale's translation, vol. ii. p. 191.]

Which certainly not only directly enjoins the emancipation of slaves, but exactly in the manner suggested by the undersigned members. They, however, are far from wishing to recommend the adoption of any measure which might be generally disagreeable to the Mahomedan community, whether their objections to it originate in ignorant prejudice, or proceed from a regard to interest and convenience; but they have good reason to believe that the opposition, even among the followers of the Mahomedan religion, to the emancipation of slaves, is very partial, and confined almost entirely to a few of the first rank."* [Par. Papers, p. 443.]

The Mahomedans further state on the general principle of this objection to the emancipation of slaves (to use the language of the European member of the Committee who, with the native members of it, dissented from his brethren):

"By the law of their Prophet, a Mussulman may have four wives, if he can afford to maintain so many, and he is not restricted to any number of concubines. His wives are generally chosen from among the daughters of free men of equal rank with himself, but his concubines can only be taken from among his slaves. Now, say they, if all slaves are emancipated, or made simple debtors, our concubines will of course have it in their power to leave us, on paying the sum fixed upon as their value, which in most instances they will be able to do, from the fruits of their master's generosity; and, in this infant and confined settlement, Mahomedans will find it difficult to meet with suitable wives. It is considered by all Mahomedans, but particularly among the higher class of Malays, a very great disgrace for a woman, with whom he has once lived, to go with strange men, or leave his house without his consent, which their emancipation will enable them to do, even while they are with child by their master."† [p. 444.]

On my right, sat the poor deluded widow, who was to be the victim of this heart-rending display of Hindoo purity and gentleness; she was attended by a dozen or more Brahmuns; her mother, sister, and son (an interesting boy of about three years of age), and other relatives were also with her. Her own infant, now twelve months old, was craftily kept from her by the Brahmuns. She had already performed a number of preparatory ceremonies; one of which was washing herself in a strong decoction of saffron, which is supposed to have a purifying effect. It imparted to her a horrid ghastliness; —her eyes indicated a degree of melancholy wildness; an unnatural smile now and then played on her countenance: and everything about her person and her conduct indicated that narcotics had been administered in no small quantities....

An increase of activity was soon visible among the men, whose ‘feet are swift to shed blood.’ Muntrams having been repeated over the pile, and the woman and every thing being in readiness, the hurdle to which the corpse of the husband had been fastened was now raised by six of the officiating Brahmuns; the end of a cord about two yards long, attached at the other end to the head of the bier, was taken by the widow, and the whole moved slowly towards the pile. The corpse was laid on the right side, and four men furnished with sharp swords, one stationed at each corner, now drew them from their scabbards. The trembling, ghastly offering to the Moloch of Hindoism, ...

Librarian's Comment: rather, the ego of husbands, who don't want their wives to "go" with other men, or "leave their house without their consent", as is also the case with the Mahomedans' slave-concubines, who cannot be emancipated against the Mahomedans' own rules of emancipation of slaves, for the same egotistical reason. Otherwise, why are the children allowed to live, but not the wife/mother?]

... then began her seven circuits round the fatal pile, and finally halted opposite to her husband’s corpse, at the left side of it, where she was evidently greatly agitated. Five or six Brahmuns began to talk to her with much vehemence, till, in a paroxysm of desperation, assisted by the Brahmuns, the hapless widow ascended the bed of destruction. Her mother and her sister stood by, weeping and agonized; but all was in vain—the blood-thirsty men prevailed. The devoted woman then proceeded to disengage the rings from her fingers, wrists, and ears; her murderers stretching out their greedy hands to receive them: afterwards all her trinkets, &c., were distributed among the same relentless and rapacious priests. While in the act of taking a ring from her ear, her mother and sister, unable any longer to sustain the extremity of their anguish, went up to the side of the pile, and entreated that the horrid purpose might be abandoned; but the woman fearing the encounter, without uttering a word, or even casting a parting glance at her supplicating parent and sister, threw herself down on the pile, and clasped the half-putrid corpse in her arms... The men with swords at each corner then hacked the cords, which supported the canopy of faggots—it fell and covered the lifeless corpse and the living woman! A piercing sound caught my ear; I listened a few seconds, and, notwithstanding the noise of the multitude, heard the shrieks of misery which issued from the burning pile. In an agony of feeling, we directed the attention of the Brahmuns to this; and while so doing, again—still louder and more piercing than before—the burning woman rent the air with her shrieks! ... the hymn ended, but not the shrieks and groans of the agonized sufferer; they still pierced our ears, and almost rent our hearts!

-- Excerpt from "India’s Cries to British Humanity, Relative to Infanticide, British Connection with Idolatry, Ghaut Murders, Suttee, Slavery, and Colonization in India; to Which are Added, Humane Hints for the Melioration of the State of Society in British India," by James Peggs, 1832

The precept of the Koran enjoins giving slaves "a written instrument, allowing them to redeem themselves on paying a certain sum." Why oppose the abolition of slavery with such a precept before them? Is it not evidently from other motives than those of respect to their religion?

But the principal objection to the abolition of slavery, both in the East and in the West, is that which arises from the interest of the slave owners, and of the government. On this view of the subject it is stated by W. B. Bayley, Esq., Secretary to the Bengal Government in 1817, —

"With reference to the extent to which domestic slavery exists in India, under the established laws and usages of the Hindoos and Mahomedans, and to the known habits and feelings of the people relative to that point, the Vice President in council is of opinion, that the greatest care should be observed to guard against the prevalence of an impression, amongst the natives, that any general or direct interference, in the existing relation of master and slave, is contemplated by Government. Any impression of that nature might be expected to excite feelings of alarm and dissatisfaction; and on this ground it appears to be of importance that the Government of Bombay should avoid, as far as may be practicable, the official revival and discussion of this question, after the deliberate consideration which it has undergone in communication with the legal authorities at this Presidency."* [Par. Papers, p. 335.]
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The Collector of Trichinopoly, in 1818, gives his views upon the difficulty of the question of the abolition of slavery, in the following terms: —

"I shall submit my opinion, as to the policy, of abolishing this establishment. There is something so revolting and abhorrent to an Englishman, in the idea of slavery, that the advocates for its continuance in any shape must ever labour under the disadvantage of pre-judgment. Notwithstanding this, I shall endeavour to shew that, so far as relates to the revenue of this district (and I trust my opinion will not be supposed to extend further), the abolition of the puller system would be attended with the most ruinous consequences. It has been the custom, to describe the pullers as the lowest order of society, involved in wretchedness and misery, and reduced to a condition 'scarcely superior to that of the cattle which they follow at the plough.' In Malabar, it would also appear, that the human form has even changed its wonted appearance, and that the slaves are distinguishable by their diminutiveness. This theme holds out a fine subject for declamation; but, so far as it relates to this class of people in Trichinopoly, it is highly erroneous, inasmuch as there is no class of people generally so athletic or tall as the pullers. It may possibly be urged, that there is something degrading in a government being concerned, in selling human beings, 'like so many cattle.' It would, perhaps, be better if it could be avoided; but so long as the land continues possessed by Brahmun meerassidars, who, by the immutable laws of cast, are prevented personally exercising the offices of agriculture, I see no possible means of collecting the revenue, nor of cultivating the land, without the establishment of pullers (slaves). Divesting this discussion of national feeling, the most obvious inconvenience and evil which attend it are — that a man, for the sake of food and the other necessaries of life, is condemned to perpetual labour. I exclude all unreasonable rigour on the part of the master, because I have already shewn that the ruling principle of human conduct, self interest, is conducive, in the present instance, to soften severity. But whether this obligation to perpetual labour, on the part of the puller, is not fully requited by a perpetual certainty of maintenance (for which those who work for hire are often at a loss) may, I think, be fairly doubted. It is, however, possible, that the advocates of freedom may think with Cicero, and the third judge in Malabar, 'Mihi liber esse non videtur, qui non aliquando nihil agit.' ["mihi enim liber esse non videtur, qui non aliquando nihil agit.": "for he does not seem to me to be a free man, who does not at any time do nothing."]

"For the sake of argument, I will suppose that, by proclamation of government, the establishment is directed to be abolished. In this case, I apprehend, the direct consequences would be, either an immediate desertion of the pullers in a body, or that they would remain in statu quo. The first would be the natural conduct of any class of society having experienced ill usage from their former masters; and the latter course would be adopted by the pullers, if they had no reason to complain. If the pullers absconded, no revenue could be collected; for who is to supply their place? And, in this case, would Government have any claim on the meerassidars?

Land Tenures of India: The Tamil Country.

In considering the landed tenures in this part of India, we are struck with the distinction prevailing between them and those on the western coast; originating, apparently, in the different states of society on the two opposite sides of the peninsula. In Malabar and Canara, the natives seldom reside together in considerable number; in these districts, therefore, an assemblage of houses into townships is rarely seen. The numerous civil and military servants of Government, the merchants, traders, &c. inhabit the principal seaport towns on the coast; but in the interior, the agricultural population is scattered in little groupes over the face of the country, and each landlord resides apart on his estate. Hence the landed proprietors evince a spirit of independence; community of property or common interest in the soil is unknown. But in the eastern coast, the whole population is congregated in villages of greater or lesser extent, like independent townships or corporations. The village community, of which the ryots form the leading party, embraces a series of officers or members, from the astronomer down to the blacksmith. Hence has arisen a community of concern in the village, and of interest in the land.

In Tamil villages the exclusive hereditary right to land vested originally in the Vellalers, one of the principal Sudra castes. In the course of time this right was partially transferred to other tribes; Brahmins, Musulmans, and even native Christians, amongst whom, as well as amongst Europeans, it is generally known by the name of meerassy, an Arabic Word ([x]), denoting hereditary property in general, and apparently introduced and applied to this right by the Mahomedans, soon after their conquest of the Deccan.* [Mr. Ellis says, generally speaking, meerassy right in land prevails wherever the Tamil language is spoken; and all terms expressive of this right (called by the original Soodra possessors, cawnyatchi, or free hereditary property in land) and its incidents, belong to this language. See Mr. Ellis's "Meerassy paper," in Revenue Selections, p. 812.]

The term meerassy includes a vast variety of hereditary privileges (all pertaining, however, to land); it may be distinguished into land-meerassy, and office-meerassy.

The office-meerassy consists of right to marahs, or deductions from the gross produce of taxable lands; and to certain mauniums, or assignments of taxes on particular spots of ground, attached to various villages and district offices.

As respects the land-meerassy, which is peculiar to the Tamil country, the lands of every village may be divided into two kinds: those held free from the condition of any payment, and those held with the express condition of rendering a portion of the produce to the state. The first class includes perumboc, or lands incapable of cultivation; and tarisee, waste lands; both free from tax. In the second are comprehended all the cultivated lands, consisting of, 1st, mauniums, or land of which the revenue has been assigned; and 2d, waraput (paying a share in kind), and teerwaput (paying a money-tax), or lands, the revenue of which has not been alienated from the state.

The perumboc consists of rocks, public roads, beds of rivers, &c., public ground in which corpses are burnt or interred, suburbs occupied by Pariars and outcasts, lands on which the temples stand, and the site of the nuttum, or village itself. The meerassidars have, invariably, houses or sites of houses in the nuttum; but various pure tribes are permitted to dwell there; so that all the residents are not meerassidars. The privileges of the latter in the perumboc consist of a right to the produce of its quarries, mines, &c., and to control the concerns of the village pagoda. The tarisee is subdivided into the immemorial waste, and land formerly cultivated; each consists either of common, on which the meerassidars graze the cattle they employ in agriculture; or of jungle, in which they cut firewood. Both kinds may be cultivated by the meerassidars (with consent of Government in respect to land not before cultivated); but the moment either is reclaimed, it ceases to be tarisee, and becomes waraput or teerwaput, and liable to tax, which is low at first, raising gradually to the general standard. The maunium lands are divided into, 1st, arable, the public tax on which has ever belonged to members of the village community; and 2d, arable, the public tax on which belongs to individuals, by virtue of special grants from the state. The waraput and teerwaput are already explained. These divisions respect chiefly the dues of Government; the rights of the meerassidars are the same in all three.

With reference to these, the cultivated fields of every Tamil village, including the several descriptions of land mentioned above, are more generally classed under the following heads: nunjah, or wet; poonjah, or dry; and totacal; or gardens and plantations. A considerable portion is wet land, covered with paddy, requiring copious irrigation. These are dependent for supply of water chiefly on the rains of the N.E. monsoon, which are extremely uncertain. Tanks, or reservoirs, cuts from rivers to fill them, and from the beds of rivers, to drain off the spring water when the floods have ceased, and natural springs in sandy soils are numerous in all parts of the Carnative Payeng haut, and the greater part of the lands of Tanjore and Trichinopoly is watered by cuts from the Cauveri; in the Madura and Tinnavelly provinces the sources of irrigation are also numerous.

The revenue claimed by the sovereign from land of this description appears to have been immemorially collected in kind: not a fixed quantity of grain for a defined extent of land, like the rents in kind in Malabar and Canara, but a certain portion of the produce, whatever it may chance to be. The custom of collecting the revenue of wet land in kind, prevailed in almost all the provinces in the peninsula east of the ghauts.

The revenue from poonjah land is generally demandable in money in the western and southern provinces, but is still paid in kind in the northern. Dry crops are very numerous (not less than thirty); the grain ripens at different seasons, which probably made it inconvenient to collect the dues in kind. The lands producing poonjah crops were, therefore, assessed with a fixed money tax, for a fixed measure of land -- generally varying, however, with the nature, not the extent, of the produce.

Totacal land is usually secure of artificial irrigation, and is more generally assessed with a fixed money tax; except that, the culture being expensive, the tax, though much higher in proportion to the extent of the land, is much lighter in proportion to the value of the produce.

The teerwa was in general a certain rate for a fixed measure of land, according to its produce: raggy or pulse, so much; grain, so much, &c.; the rate varying with the nature of the crop, and the crop with the season. Lands planted with sugar-cane, plantains, betel, and tobacco, though not classed as gardens, were assessed with a high money-rent the year they were so cultivated; but when re-converted into rice-lands, they fell to the usual warum. This species of assessment partook, therefore, of the nature of consumption-taxes.

It occasionally happened that land might be one year poonjah, the next nunjah, and afterwards, perhaps, totacal; so that the ancient Tamil land-tax was not fixed on the land, but regulated chiefly by the nature of the crop; and in the nunjah lands, it was dependent also on the extent and price of the produce.

The exclusive hereditary rights vested in the Tamil meerassidars, possessed an additional peculiarity in that portion of the country known by the name of Tondei Mandalam, which, extending from the southern extremity of the Nellore district nearly to the Coleroon, includes chiefly the Company's jaghire, now the zillah of Chingleput, and the two divisions of the Arcot subah. In the villages of that part, from the earliest times, a portion of the arable land, tax free, was attached to the meerassy, and formed an integral part of that right. This was termed cawnyatchi maunium: inseparably connected with it was another peculiar privilege of these meerassidars; namely, a right to certain gratuities (marahs), in the shape of deductions from the gross produce of all the cultivated lands in the village paying tax. Where the lands were cultivated by their own labourers, the additional profit was derived from the nunjah lands only, for in these the deductions were made before the Government's share was paid by them; in the lands assessed with the money-tax, the whole of the produce was their own. But where these lands were cultivated by others, the meerassidars received their marahs on the poonjah, totacal, &c. as well as on the nunjah.

These marahs, peculiar to Tondei Mandalam, must not be confounded with other deductions prevalent, as already mentioned, throughout the northern and southern provinces, in favour of the village or other officers; these are paid by the meerassidars of Tondei Mandalam in common with others who cultivate the lands; but their own marahs are received by them.

On the establishment of every Tamil village, the rights were vested in all the original Vellaler settlers, collectively, not in each individual; each, therefore, possessed a separate equal share in the whole meerassy; and in each village the number of equal shares remains the same as when the village was originally settled. In some villages the number of shares is a hundred; in others of equal extent, fifty, or ten only. From the decrease in the number of meerassidars, some may hold two, three, four, or even fifty shares. From their increase in other places, the shares may have been split into fractional parts, and many may hold only a portion of a share.

In all Tamil villages the perumboc, the tarisee, and in Tondei Mandalam, the meerassy mauniums, and marahs also, are held in common joint property by the whole of the meerassidars, each participating in proportion to his share in the meerassy. If a village consists of thirty-two shares, and a meerassidar possesses half a share, he is entitled to a sixty-fourth part of all the benefits derived from the fisheries, mines, or quarries in the perumboc; of the pasturage, firewood, and other profits of teh tarisee; and, in Tondei Mandalam, to a xity-fourth of the gross produce of the meerassy maunium and marahs. In mortgaging or selling the whole or any part of his meerassy, he mortgages or sells such part of his share in these; but he cannot divide and dispose of any particular spot of land in the perumboc, tarisee, or meerassy maunium. No spot belongs to him; he possessed a share in all; not a part of each, and the whole must remain entire. This, however, does not apply to the cultivated land, which, in some villages, is held in this manner by all the meerassidars, collectively, as one joint indivisible property; but in others, by each individually, as property of a separate, distinct, and independent nature. Hence its tenure is two-fold; pasang-carei, and arudi-carei.

Pasang-carei (or samadayem in Sanscrit) implies a collective proprietary right used to denote that particular joint tenure of the cultivated land, which, like that of the perumboc, tarisee, &c. above explained, was anciently universal throughout the Tamil country, and still prevails in many parts of it, especially in Tondei Mandalam. Under this system, the meerassy of the entire cultivated lands belongs to the whole body. The number of shares belonging to each meerassidar being known, the lands are either cultivated in common, and the net produce divided according to the share of each, or the land itself is thus divided, either annually, or every fix, six, or ten years, the fields being assigned by lot.

The meerassidars in many villages, however, especially in Tanjore, Tinnevelly, Madura, Dindigul, and the other Tamil provinces to the south of the Coleroon, instead of dividing the cultivated lands of the village periodically, appear, after having once divided them in the manner described, to have made the division permanent, thereby converting the ancient collective tenure into one in severalty, which is distinguished by the Tamil denomination arudi-carei, or by the corresponding Sanscrit term pala-b'hogum. Under this system, the meerassidar enjoys the meerassy of his own particular fields; and when he sells it, he transfers to the purchaser not only his common right of participation in the collective property of the village, but his individual right to certain defined lands.

In Tanjore, and even in other districts, the whole meerassy of a village has by purchase or other means, become vested in a single individual: the tenure is then distinguished by the denomination eka-b'hogum.

From the nature of these tenures, no village can be partly held by one and partly by the other; it must be held by one of the three. The first (pasang-carei) is most prevalent in the northern, and the second (arudi-carei) in the southern, Tamil provinces; to these also the last is chiefly confined.

The Tamil meerassidars occasionally let their lands to under-tenants, named pyacarries, who take them for one, two, or more years, paying the meerassidars a certain share of the produce -- or sometimes, on poonjah land, a certain teerwa, but rarely a fixed sum for a given extent of land. They hold either of all the meerassidars collectively, of each individually, or of the sole meerassidar, according to the tenure of the land. They never have concern with perumboc, tarisee, or meerassy maunium. These tenants are divided into two distinct classes: oolcoody, or permanent; and paracoody, or temporary.

The paracoody pyacarries are strangers admitted into the village as tenants for a limited period. They are, in fact, tenants at will, or under special agreements, like the patomkars of Malabar, or the chali-guenies of Canara. But where land, for a certain period, has for several generations been farmed by the same family, the tenant is termed an oolcoody pyacarry, and by prescription becomes possessed of an hereditary right to hold his farm in perpetuity, regularly paying the teerwa; nor can he be ousted so long as this is paid, neither can the teerwa be raised. These privileges may be mortgaged, but not sold.

The foregoing is a view of the landed tenures in the Tamil country under the ancient Hindoo Governments. The meerassidars seem to have united in their own persons the characters of farmer and landlord more universally than the jenmkars or mulees of the western coast. The different in the value of these properties is traceable to the larger portion of the produce taken as public revenue, the less productive nature of the soil, and less favourable climate, on the eastern side of the peninsula, compared with Malabar and Canara; but at one time meerassy was universally a transferable property, and the meerassidars everywhere enjoyed a clear landlord's rent from lands cultivated by their pyacarries; and both a landlord's rent and a farmer's profit from those cultivated by their own labourers.* [The Brahmin meerassidars, who do not follow the plough themselves, and even many Sudras, leave their lands under the care of the oolcoody pyacarry, who pays about 45 per cent of the produce to the Government, from 22 to 25 per cent as landlord's rent to the absentee, and is content with from 22 to 32 per cent in remuneration for his labour, for seed, for cattle, and for his subsistence.]

The severe and arbitrary policy of the Musulman princes, whose power was of longer duration in the Tamil country than on the other coast, was highly detrimental to the meerassidars. Most of those of the Carnatic were reduced by the increasing demands, which absorbed not only the landlord's rent, but, in many places, the farmer's profit also, to a situation little better than that of oolcoody pyacarries; the Musulman Government becoming not only the sovereign but the landlord of the country. Tanjore, which was transferred to us directly from the Hindoo Government, was, accordingly, the only Tamil province in which meerassy right was found by us nearly unimpaired. In the district of Chingleput, as well as Dindigul, Madura, Trichinopoly, and Tinnevelly, which had been only a short time under Mahommedan government, meerassy, though reduced in value, was found tolerably perfect; but throughout the soobah of Arcot, Salem, Baramahl, and Coimbatore, augmentations of the land-tax, or excessive demands in other shapes, had left little of it besides the name.

In Malabar and Canara, where the land-tax was a portion of the landlord's rent, fixed on the land, and collected whether the fields were cultivated or fallow, the Government did not interfere with the cultivation of the soil; but as the land-tax on nunjah land in the Tamil country was a portion of the produce, a neglect of cultivation affected the public finances. Hence it became a principle of meerassy-tenure, that the meerassidars should cultivate all waraput or teerwaput lands, either themselves, or by renting them to pyacarries.

Whilst the meerassidars received a toondo-warum, or clear landlord's rent, they needed no other stimulus to cultivation; but when this became absorbed by the arbitrary impositions of the Government, the land-tax was converted into a land-rent; and the landlords, sinking into mere occupiers, and restricted to the profits of farms in the lands cultivated by their own servants, ceased to employ pyacarries in those other lands, from whence they derived no advantage. The Government, to prevent arable land from being thus left vacant, transferred it, temporarily, to pyacarries of their own selection. This principle was even applied to the waste lands; and on meerassidars declining to cultivate tarisee lands, for which other offers had been made, the Government granted cowles to pyacarries for a limited term, sufficient to ensure to them a fair return for the stock and labour employed to render the land productive. In Tondei Mandalam, the share allowed to the pyacarries thus employed was more favourable than that allowed to the meerassidars; but the different was more than compensated by the latter's retaining the cawniatchy maunium, which the pyacarries never enjoyed, and which seems to have been possessed by the descendants of the ancient meerassidars, even in places where they had lost proportions of their other lands.

This employment of pyacarries by the Government, greatly contributed to level the ancient distinctions betwixt the meerassy landlords and their tenants; for although the pyacarries thus employed often admitted the justice of the meerassidar's demands, they often, also, alleged their inability to discharge them, in addition to the public assessment; and the meerassidar had no longer power to enforce his claims, owing to these pyacarries being in immediate contact with the circar. Hence, through the succession or removal of the meerassidars, the pyacarries came into possession of a great portion of the cultivated lands of the village. In the year 1799, Mr. Place, in an elaborate report, after stating that 15,994 meerassy shares were held by 8,387 meerassidars, the whole number then in the jaghire, adds that the remainder, or 1827 shares, "are unclaimed, but occupied by pyacarries." In the following year, Mr. Lushington, in his report on Tinnevelly, particularly mentions whole villages of this description. Where the meerassy was not destroyed, the meerassidars still possessed a saleable property in the land; but where they had been reduced to a condition little better than that of pyacarries, or their tenants had usurped their lands, every vestige of the original shares was obliterated: the ancient distinctions disappeared, with the property to which they were attached, and all the cultivators, being considered as Government tenants, paid their rents directly to the state.

Such was the situation, more or less, of all the Tamil provinces, except Tanjore, when we became possessed of the country. It was universal nowhere except in Tanjore, and was not everywhere of equal value. In Tanjore the meerassidar's clear net landlord's rent was estimated at about 25 per cent of the gross produce of the land. In Tinnevelly it was equal to 13-1/2 per cent only. It is worthy of remark, that in many parts of the country, the superstitious veneration of the inferior Hindoo officers of the Musulman Government for the privileges of the Brahmins, had preserved the meerassy rights of the sacred tribe from the additional cesses which destroyed those of their less favoured Sudra brethren; for, in the northern division of Arcot, where meerassy generally no longer existed, the swastiums of the Brahmins were saleable property. In Tinnevelly, also, the dhurmasenum lands on the banks of the Tambrapurney, belonging to a colony of Telinga Brahmins, were found more favourably assessed than the Sudra meerassy lands; and, even in Tanjore, the Sudra meerassidars did not receive so high a warum as the Brahmins.

-- The Asiatic Journal and Monthly Register, Volume 21, January to June, 1826

The latter would naturally say, you have taken away our means of paying; you have reduced us to poverty; you have abolished an establishment which has existed for ages, and have thought proper, at our expense, to emancipate our slaves, which prescription and our laws made as much our property as the houses we live in. By the laws of our cast, we are prevented tilling our land; and yet you ask us to pay a revenue which alone can be paid from its produce.

"Should the proclamation have only the effect of leaving things as they are; if the pullers remained with their masters, the only benefit resulting would be, that Government had published a proclamation without any attention being paid to it. It would be at best a useless, if not a dangerous document. Hence to emancipate them entirely would be ruinous in its consequences, to the revenue and the puller; for emancipation in India would confer no rights beyond what the puller at present enjoys. Though nominally emancipated, he and his children would remain the lowest order of society; he would either continue at the plough, possibly under less favourable circumstances than at present, or seek a livelihood by more daring means. I have no doubt, as observed by the Board, that 'it might be dangerous too suddenly to disturb the long established relations in society, subsisting between those two orders.'"* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, pp. 893, 894.]

To these remarks, the report of Mr. Graeme on Malabar, in 1822, furnishes, it is presumed, a very satisfactory reply. —

"The most serious objections I have heard, against any active measure in favour of the slaves of Malabar, are the violation of the rights of private property which it would involve, the necessity to which the proprietors would be subjected of paying more for labour, employed in the cultivation of their lands, and the difficulty which slaves would have of subsisting, if left to their own resources.

"It is not requisite to make such an abrupt innovation, upon established rites and customs, as to declare the slaves to be free forthwith; but, a prospect should be opened of eventual but gradual emancipation, and proprietors should be indemnified by the payment of a maximum price, which should previously be ascertained for each district, and promulgated. To set the example, Government might be disposed to sanction the occasional appropriation of small sums annually to the purchase of slaves, and to accept slaves in payment of arrears of revenue, which from being too heavy, it might, at all events be advisable to remit; but, in all these cases, the wishes of the individuals themselves should be consulted, and they should not be emancipated, unless they feel confident of being able to earn their own livelihood without assistance. Slaves should also have the power of redeeming themselves from servitude, whenever the exertions of their own industry may place them in a state of indemnifying their masters for the loss of their rights of property over them. The magistrate should have the power of fining or emancipating for ill treatment. It need not be apprehended that these provisions would bring about an emancipation too rapidly; but the knowledge of their future operation would, in the mean time, act as a stimulus to the activity of the slaves, and it would insure better treatment on the part of the proprietors. Slaves, thus cautiously emancipated, would not be likely to leave their usual places of residence as long as they afforded the necessary means of subsistence: and that in most cases they would, there can be little doubt; for there could be nothing to diminish the demand of their old masters for their services. They would therefore still be living on the old estates, but more comfortably and respectably, and probably less addicted to the petty pilfering of which their masters now accuse them. A great improvement might be expected to take place in the state of cultivation in the province; for not only would the old slaves work more cheerfully, and with more effect, but many proprietors in the southern division, who from indolence leave every thing to their slaves, would be inclined to betake themselves to manual labour, when they found that they were obliged to pay higher for it in others.
Upon the principles of these observations, I have drawn out a Regulation respecting slaves, which I have submitted to Government through the Board of Revenue. The cautious nature of the different provisions renders it easy to apply it to Canara as well as Malabar, without inconvenience; for, though in Canara slavery may be considered to exist in a milder form, its gradual supercession would be attended with benefit.* [It would be gratifying, by the publication of another volume of Par. Papers on Slavery in India, to know that this Regulation had been adopted.]

"Upon an assurance from themselves, that they would earn a more liberal subsistence in a free state, I purchased and emancipated at Calicut, under deeds registered in the Zillah Courts, a woman of about fifty-two years of age, her son of thirty-one, her daughter twenty-five, with an infant in her arms, and the husband of her daughter of thirty-five. They are of the Kalladee cast. They feel, I believe, some degree of awkwardness at not having some tambran, or patron, to look up to; and their neighbours, who derived no pleasure from the example of emancipation thus commenced, endeavoured, and in part succeeded, in instilling into them the idea that they were purchased, with no other motive than that of being conveyed by sea to some distance on a good opportunity; but their alarm was not so great, as to prevent their communicating the report to me on being asked. They were every day engaged out at work, upon terms which secured them a comfortable livelihood, so that I have little doubt that their freedom will promote their comfort and happiness."† [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 923.]

From these various documents it is evident, that slavery, though of a milder and consequently less destructive nature than that of the West Indies, exists to a considerable extent in British India.
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The following extract of a letter to the author, from a West Indian gentleman in London, in 1829, shews, in a clear and forcible manner, the difference between the nature of East and West India slavery; —

"I avail myself of _____'s intended reply to your communication, to trouble you with some remarks on East Indian slavery. I have myself, with some considerable attention, gone through the Parliamentary Papers, and have made the same remarks as yourself, relating to the unsatisfactory intelligence respecting Bengal, the sugar district of India. The information relative to Madras, without being very full, is precise on some very important points; such as the division of the produce of the soil between those bondmen who cultivate and those who possess it;— a feature which makes all the difference between East and West Indian slavery. I should premise, that I am myself a West Indian, and recently from the West Indian colonies; therefore well acquainted with Colonial slavery. And, being thus able to judge, I confess I see nothing in the details of East Indian servitude, that can, in any way, identify it with that of our West India colonies.

"But the fact of the existence of Indian slavery will serve the West Indians very little — for the controversy is not about slavery, but the system of slave labour, and its moral and physical evils. Had the crying injustice of uncompensated toil, and the cruelties attending the system of coercion which necessarily grows out of it, not been made a part and parcel of West Indian slavery, I doubt whether the existence of slavery, as an abstract question of right and wrong, would have ever deeply interested the people of England.* [See Wilberforce's Appeal, pp. 53, 54.] I do not see in India, that a case is made out at all analogous to the monstrous evils attending this institution in our Transatlantic possessions.

"In regard to subsistence, and reward for their labour, we have this distinct statement from Mr. Lushington, and other Collectors of Madras, that the pullers, besides certain gratuities at marriages, funerals, births, and festivals, have certain yearly emoluments arising out of the cultivated lands. Thus to each puller and pullee is assigned a cultivation of 150 cullums of rice. Out of this their annual emolument is each man eight cullums and a half, and to each woman six and a half. As this for every man and woman gives the relative number of 15 to 150, the emoluments of a man and woman amount to a perquisite of ten per cent, on their joint labour. Besides these, they have certain fixed stipends for ploughing and sowing; they reap at five per cent, each; they thrash at five per cent; and, the fixed gratuities to be paid at festivals being settled by long prescriptive custom, considerable addition is made to their income. Mr. Lushington estimates the emoluments of each cultivator at 19 per cent, on the proceeds of his labour. If a West Indian proprietor were compelled to apportion to each negro slave, nearly one-fifth of the produce of his estate as the payment of their labour, and to take, with the remaining four-fifths, all the expenses and contingencies attending the capital invested, I think we should hear little of the obstinacy of the planter, in not acceding to laws tending eventually to abolish the existing relations between the cultivator and proprietor.

"It is difficult to gather from the Parliamentary Papers, what is the staple cultivation of the Madras Presidency besides rice. From what I can collect in the Oriental Herald, for Sep. 1829, page 540, in some inquiries connected with the landed tenures and agriculture in Madras and Bombay, cultivation is almost wholly dependent on irrigation, and in Southern India, rice is the great staple of agriculture. In regard to sugar, it is only necessary to attend minutely to the details respecting its manufacture, in the Eastern and Western world, to see that, cultivated by whomsoever it may, it is entirely divested of the evils attendant on the driving system with us in the West Indian colonies. There are certain Papers laid before Parliament, entitled the East India Sugar Papers, which shew this circumstance. — The facts will be seen in a pamphlet entitled, 'East India Sugar, or An Inquiry,' &c., Hatchard, 1824. It appears that the Asiatic sugar is grown in small fields, tilled by the ryot, his family, and dependents; that the canes are cut, and the juice expressed, by moveable mills, and then boiled in earthen vessels, in the fields in which the canes are grown. In this state it forms an unclarified and ungranulated mass, called goor, which is brought to market and sold to the sugar manufacturer. Beyond this process, the cultivator has nothing whatever to do with the commodity. In all this there can be no driving system, because there is no extensive cultivation; no extensive capital invested, no working eighteen hourd during crop, and no uncompensated labour, to render the profit as great as possible on a large capital, afloat in elaborating the article of commerce."

More particular information is requisite on the subject of slavery in India, relative to the actual number of slaves; 'the relations of master and slave;' the nature of the employment of slaves, their provision, increase or decrease, &c.

Though the Par. Papers contain 418 folio pages respecting slavery in the Bengal Presidency, not a single item appears which may furnish data on which to ascertain the number of slaves in this part of India. This must be considered a serious defect, in this valuable collection of official documents. The same remark applies to the Presidency of Bombay; and as it respects Madras, with a few exceptions supplied by the Collectors, but little information can be procured of the actual number of slaves. The want of laws, to regulate the conduct of the owners of slaves, appears a very great evil in East Indian slavery. What can justify such sentiments as the following, before referred to, —

"We desire that you will be extremely cautious in making any regulation for defining the relations of master and slave. It is our wish to improve the condition of the latter to the utmost extent, and we fear that, in defining the power of masters, acts of compulsion might be legalized, which by custom are not now tolerated, and the slaves might be placed in a worse condition than before."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 904.]

Is uncertain custom better than law? How can the treatment of the slave be known, while there are no written published laws to which he can appeal. Is not this procedure calculated to keep the degraded slave in statu quo? From the Madras papers some idea may be formed of the nature of the employment of slaves, and the provision allowed them; but more full information is desirable.

Whether the slave population increases or decreases does not appear. The destructive influence of slavery in some of the West Indian Islands is most appalling. "Into Jamaica alone, since the conquest (in 1665), when there were in it about 40,000 slaves, not less than 850,000 Africans have been imported; making a total of 890,000, exclusive of all the births which have taken place during that period. And yet, at the present moment, the slave population of the Island does not exceed 345,000! No fewer than 545,000 slaves more than now exist there have been imported into this single island! It is for Jamaica to account for so great a waste of life."* [East and West India Sugar (Hatehard), p. 34.] It may be presumed, from the comparatively mild nature of slavery in the East, that it is not so prejudicial to the increase, civilization, and happiness of the human race, as the slavery of the West; but more particular information is necessary to form a correct judgment of its real nature and influence. Every friend of humanity must desire, that the philanthropic and successful advocate in Parliament of the abolition of Suttees in the East, and of Slavery in the West, through whom the successive volumes of Par. Papers, respecting the Suttee, have been procured, and likewise the massive volume of Papers on East India Slavery, may be enabled to procure that further information, respecting slavery in India, that may ultimately lead to its abolition in every part of the eastern dominions of Great Britain.

It is the imperious duly of Britain to meliorate, and eventually abolish slavery in every part of her dominions. It is not the author's design to touch the subject of West Indian slavery — nor is it necessary; so many valuable works having been published upon that subject. Slavery in the East may be greatly mitigated by the benign influence of the British Government; and the Madras Board of Revenue, in 1819, suggested, "that the further purchase of free persons as slaves should be declared invalid and illegal, and all children hereafter born slaves should be free; that however any person might contract, in writing, for a term of years, or for life, such contract should be binding only upon the individual who executes it; that slaves should be held competent to possess property, and to dispose of it, without their masters' interference: that the purchase of female children, to be educated as prostitutes, should be prohibited: that owners of slaves should be bound to provide wholesome food for them, as well as clothing, and not to neglect them in sickness, age, or infirmity: that they should be deprived of the power of corporeal punishment; that slaves, ill-treated by their masters, should be allowed to change owners; that a breach of the law should enfranchise the slave; that slaves should be allowed to purchase their liberty at the price paid for it; and that slaves attached to lands which may escheat to Government should be liberated."† [Asi. Jour., Jan. 1829, p. 30. Par. Papers, p. 900.] In 1824, the Court of Directors desired the Madras Government to be "extremely cautious in making any regulation for defining the relations of master and slave." In Feb. 1826, (says the Asiatic Journal,) "the Governor in Council of Madras declares, that the views and opinions above expressed coincide entirely with his own." This speaks little for the speedy melioration, we say not abolition, of slavery in this part of India. Why is Britain so timid, so tardy, in conferring upon her Asiatic subjects the blessings of freedom? It is important that the state of slavery in India should be more fully and generally known, and the practicability and utility of its entire suppression pressed upon the attention of the Legislature.* [The following extract appears interesting: — "Sir Thomas Smith (Secretary to Edward VI) testifies, that he never knew any villain in gross, throughout the realm, and the few villains [villainage: the legal status or condition of servitude of a villein or feudal serf; a status defined by law; servitude; state of subjection to an owner or master or forced labor imposed as punishment; "penal servitude" -- The Free Dictionary] regardant remaining, were such only as belonged to Bishops, monasteries, or other ecclesiastical corporations, in the preceding times of Popery. His words are, 'The holy fathers, monks and friars, had at their confessions, and specially in their extreme and deadly sickness, convinced the laity how dangerous a practice it was, for one Christian man to hold another in bondage: so that temporal men by little and little, by reason of that horror in their consciences, were glad to manumit all their villains. But the said holy fathers, with the abbots and priors, did not in like sort by theirs; for they had a scruple in conscience to empoverish and despoil the church so much, as to manumit such as were bound to their churches, or to the manors which the church had gotten; and so kept their villains still.' — By the statute of Charles II the tenure in villainage was virtually abolished, and at that time there was hardly a pure villain (or slave,) left in the nation." — Blackstone's Com. vol. ii. p. 96.]  

The adoption and encouragement of freelabour are of great importance in promoting the abolition of slavery. Its utility in the cultivation of indigo in India is very apparent. The first few chests arrived in England in 1787: it is now estimated to employ nearly 500,000 free persons, and the article has ceased to be cultivated by slaves. "It is not known that there is any indigo whatever cultivated by slave labour, although, from the nature of things, it may be difficult to ascertain it with certainty; the quantity, however, if any, must be exceedingly small."† [See "A short Review of the Slave Trade," &c., Birminghan, 1827.] It is a question of much interest — Is East India sugar the product of slave labour or not? This has been asserted by some writers, and positively denied by others. It is evident, from the Papers on Eastern Slavery, that the greatest number of slaves is found on the Malabar coast. No sugars are exported from Malabar, but it is stated, that sugar is imported for home consumption. In Bengal, the great sugar province of India, the number of slaves, compared with other parts of Hindostan, appears comparatively small. The Bengal Board of Trade, in 1792, observe, —

"In this country the cultivator is either the immediate proprietor of the ground or he hires it, as in Europe, of the proprietor; and uses his discretion in cultivating what he thinks best adapted to the nature of the soil, or the demand of the market. One field produces sugar, the next wheat, rice, or cotton. The Bengal peasantry are freemen, and are, in the usual course of nature, replaced by their children. The Bengal peasant is actuated by the ordinary wants and desires of mankind. His family assist his labour and soothe his toil, and the sharp eye of personal interest guides his judgment. In the West Indies, the whole labour of the ground is performed by hand, with the spade or hoe. Here the ox and plough, as in Europe, lessen the labour of man and facilitate the productions of the earth."* ["Papers respecting the cultivation and manufacture of sugar in British India." 1822, pp. 53, 60, 146. See also pp. 32, 92, &c.]

Slave labour is not an item in the different estimates given of the price of cultivating sugar. Mr. Udny, resident at Malda, in 1793, writes, "The expense of cultivating one bigah (about 1600 square feet) is estimated at 8ru. 8an, whereof the particulars are,

-- / ru. / an.

Hire of ploughs, oxen, &c. / 1 / 12
Cooly (labourers) hire / 0 / 14
Do. weeding eight times / 4 / 0
Do. cutting and bringing earth / 0 / 8
Do. tying canes four times / 1 / 0
Petty charges / 0 / 6
Total / 8 / 8."† [For an ample investigation of this question, see "A Letter to W. W. Whitmore, Esq. M. P., in reply to the erroneous statements of the late J. Marryat, Esq. on the subject of slavery in the East Indies." Hatchard, 1823. Ori. Herald., Oct. 1829. The Anti-Slavery Reporter, Sep. 1829. East India Slavery by G Saintsbury, Tilt, Fleet Street, &c.]

"But we may spare ourselves the trouble, (says the Anti-Slavery Reporter, for Sep. 1829,) of confuting the elaborate misstatements of our adversaries on this question. The controversy is fast tending to its termination. The march of events will scarcely leave room, much longer, either for misrepresentation or misapprehension. The facilities already given in Bengal, by Lord W. Bentinck, to the investment of British capital, and the development of British skill in the cultivation of the soil; the almost certainty that those fiscal regulations which have hitherto depressed the growth of sugar in Bengal, and prevented the large increase of its imports into this country, will soon be repealed; the prospect of an early-removal of the other restrictions, which still fetter the commerce of our Eastern possessions; the rapidly increasing population and prosperity of Hayti; the official statements of Mr. Ward, as to the profitable culture of sugar by free labour in Mexico; and the rapid extension of the manufacture of beet-root sugar in France (a prelude, as we conceive, to its introduction into this country, and especially into Ireland); all these circumstances, combined, afford a promise which can scarcely fail of seeing a death blow inflicted on the culture of sugar by slave labour."

Much encouragement may be derived, as "it respects the abolition of slavery in British India, from the just and humane sentiments on the subject, frequently expressed by the functionaries of the Indian Government, — from the extent of our power, — and the general abhorrence in which slavery is held in Britain.

The author, while arranging the contents of the voluminous Papers on East India Slavery, noticed some of the excellent sentiments of the authorities in India relative to the nature and injurious tendency of Slavery; they are as follow: —

"I make no scruple to declare my opinion, that absolute unconditional slavery, by which one human creature becomes the property of another, like a horse or an ox, is happily unknown to the law of England; and that no human law could give it a just sanction."* [ar. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 9.] — Sir W. Jones.

"It is impossible to think without horror of whole generations being born to slavery."† [p. 105.] — T. C. Metcalfe, Esq., Resident at Delhi.

"The British retain the rights of their birth, and ought also to retain all the relations connected with the British character — to which, it is equally abhorrent to be the master of slaves, as to endure slavery.‡ [p. 147.]: — W. Thackery, Esq., Chief Secretary to Government, Calcutta.

"Slavery is a practice which is always liable to be attended with the greatest abuse; and which, however mild and unobjectionable it may sometimes be in its application, must still be viewed, as a violation of one of the first principles on which society is constituted."§ [p. 172.] — Lord Minto.

"Slavery under any shape, or if it bears only the name, is so repugnant to every principle of enlightened administration, and so inconsistent with your lordship's benevolent plans, that I fear I should not stand excused in my defence of such a system, under any modifications or circumstances whatever.'' || [p. 157. See pp 303, 317.] -- Sir Stamford Raffles.

"Slavery is the greatest of all evils; and the attempt to regulate such an evil is in itself almost absurd. There is no excuse for continuing the practice in India, a country fully peopled, and where cultivation and commerce can be carried on by free men."¶ [p. 434.] — Governor Farquhar.

"Slavery in its mildest forms is degrading to the minds of Britons."** [p. 135.] — W. K. Phillips, Esq., Governor of Prince of Wales Island.

"Nothing, perhaps, is so revolting as the idea of hereditary slavery. It might be considered an adequate inducement to deeds of charity to compensate them by the labours of the object of it during one generation, instead of aggravating the sorrows of accidental necessity, by slavery through all generations."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 345.] — W. Leycester, Esq., Judge of Bareilly.

Let such sentiments as these, become general among those who hold in their hands the destinies of India, and it may be justly anticipated, that slavery at no very distant period will be annihilated.† ["These different public establishments (the Botanic Gardens at Calcutta) used to be all cultivated by the convicts in chains. In the Botanic Garden their labour is now supplied by peasants hired by the day or week, and the exchange is found cheap, as well as otherwise advantageous and agreeable; the labour of freemen here, as elsewhere, being infinitely cheaper than that of slaves." (Heber's Journ., vol. i. p. 43.)]

Modern Slavery in India

According to the Global Slavery Index, there were an estimated 7,989,000 people enslaved in India in 2018. Forced labor, child exploitation, trafficking and slavery are all criminalized by the Indian government. However, certain forms of slavery such as child marriage are permitted, so long as it doesn’t involve kidnapping. Similarly, there are no formal laws against children fighting in armed conflicts.

India is the world’s largest granite producer, having produced 35,342 million tons in 2013. In 2017 India made $738,731,000 in profits from exporting Granite, Basalt and Sandstone. However, the markup is incredible. While granite countertops run from $2,000 to $8,000, the price Indian exporters charge for red granite for example is just $5 per $15, or about $100 for a full granite kitchen.

To expose granite quarries, entire forests, along with their soil, are done away with. And once the quarry has been worked out and all the granite has been extracted, what remains is an abandoned wasteland, useless as forest or farmland. Because granite has to be removed from quarries in large thin slabs, one can’t use dynamite or bulldozers to speed up the process; rather, people have to go in with drills and chisels, hammers and crowbars to gently work the granite out of the ground. And the most cost effective labor force, slavery, is put to work. Bonded labor slavery is the name of the game here.

Forced sexual exploitation is another emerging trend across India’s open and unmanned international borders. In 2016, 126 young females were trafficked into the northeastern state of Assam. They were lured in by traffickers offering them the promise of a good job, but were then forced into sexual slavery. In another example, Nepali women, who are highly valued in India where they are seen as very beautiful, are lured or traded across the border into sexual slavery. If they are ever able to attain their freedom, they usually cannot return home to Nepal because they have brought shame to their families — their families will be kicked out of their homes and villages as a result, so the enslaved women are trapped.

-- When Did Slavery End? It Hasn’t. Modern Day Slavery Explained. By Voices 4

The influence of the British Government in India is great, and may safely and successfully be exerted in abolishing slavery and every inhuman custom. It was justly remarked, by the late Bishop Heber, that in India, "our will is our law." Let Britain sincerely will the good of India, and what may not be accomplished? The present time is eventful; may it be improved. To use the language of Mr. Graeme's Report on Malabar, in 1822, —

"It matters not that many worthless characters are in worse circumstances than the slave; the question is -- whether slaves are as comfortable as they ought to be, and whether they acquire as much by their own industry, in servitude, as they would in a free state? Their condition is undoubtedly improved considerably under the Company's government; for the British law has extended its protection to them in common with all, against injury to their lives or limbs, or any great severity of ill usage; but British justice and humanity are not satisfied till they have accomplished, by rational means, all the good that is capable of being done. The general tranquillity which prevails through the British empire in India, seems to present a favourable opportunity for commencing the work of amelioration, and to withhold it would be to sanction the perpetuity of slavery."‡ [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 922.]

Slavery is justly held in abhorrence in Britain; and, as the nature and prevalence of this evil in British India are known and lamented, measures will be proposed and urged upon the attention of the Legislature for its abolition.§ ["In the British Parliament, Slavery, and the questions relevant to it, will always be the object of serious discussion. Orators, not less distinguished by the brilliancy of their talent, than by the solidity of their virtue, seconded from without the walls of the senate, by the writings of men gifted with the same qualities, will continue to raise their voice in favour of justice and Christian charity. These accents, repeated by the periodical press, will at length resound through each hemisphere, and prove the knell of Slavery." Ori. Herald, vol. xiv. p. 96. "On Nobility of Skin." See also "The Death warrent of Negro Slavery," 1829, p. 23.] This state of society is inimical to human happiness, and opposed to the improvement and elevation of our species. The author trusts he may adopt the language of the Judge of Bundlecund, whose proposed judicious Regulations on the subject of slavery appear to have been disregarded. — "I have endeavoured to point out some of the inconveniences of systematic slavery, and aimed at displaying the future advantages of abolishing so inhuman an institution. Aware of the great importance, and convinced of the caution, with which innovation should be attempted, or the ancient laws, customs, or prejudices of a people infringed, I presume not even to sketch the mode or to fix the period of general emancipation; and perhaps the sudden manumission of those now actually in a state of bondage, though abstractly just, might be politically unwise; but, there can exist no good reason, either political or humane, against the British government prohibiting the purchase or sale of all slaves, legitimate or illegitimate, after a specified time, and likewise ordaining and declaring that all children, male and female, born of parents in a state of slavery, shall from a like date be free.

"Should my humble arguments on the subject draw the attention of men possessed of more ability, to investigate and determine the propriety of establishing personal liberty on the British model, throughout the Company's provinces, as well as invested with power to extend relief to the objects of my regard, so as to promote a mitigation of their miserable situation, I shall deem myself well rewarded, having no end in view but the honour of my country, and the happiness of my fellow creatures."* [Par. Papers on Slavery in India, p. 303.]

But Britain has a greater boon, than civil liberty, to bestow upon her enslaved and superstitious subjects in the East: —

There is yet a liberty, unsung
By poets, and by senators unpraised;
'Tis liberty of heart, derived from heaven —
Bought with His blood, who gave it to mankind."—

This liberty is revealed in the Gospel. — "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." For what purpose is India subjected to Britain, by His fiat who "ruleth in the kingdom of men, and He appointeth over it whomsoever he will?" — Is it not to make his glory known, and hasten the period when it shall be sung in heaven — "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever?" O Britain, my beloved country, consider thy high destiny, and labour, by the messengers of heaven's mercy to man, to make "His way known upon the earth, his saving health among all nations."

"Britain! thy voice can bid the dawn ascend;
On thee alone the eyes of Asia bend.
High Arbitress! to thee her hopes are given
Sole pledge of bliss and delegate of heaven.
In thy dread mantle all her fates repose,
Or bright with blessing, or o'ercast with woes;
Arid future ages shall thy mandate keep,
Smile at thy touch, or at thy bidding weep.
Oh! to thy godlike destiny arise!
Awake and meet the purpose of the skies!
Wide as thy sceptre waves, let India learn
What virtues round the shrine of empire burn.
Let gentle arts awake at thy behest,
And science soothe the Hindoo's mournful breast.
Be thine the task, his drooping eye to cheer
And elevate his hopes beyond the sphere,
To brighter heavens, than proud Sumeeru owns,
Though girt by Indra and his burning thrones.
Then shall he recognise the beams of day,
And fling at once the fourfold chain away;
Through every limb, a sudden life shall start,
And sudden pulses spring around his heart;
Then all their deadened energies shall rise
And vindicate their title to the skies:
Be these thy trophies, Queen of many Isles!
Yes, it shall come! E'en now my eyes behold,
In distant view, the wish'd for age unfold;
Lo, o'er the shadowy days that roll between,
A wandering gleam foretels th' ascending scene.
Oh! doom'd victorious from thy wounds to rise,
Dejected India, lift thy downcast eyes,
And mark the hour, whose faithful steps to thee,
Through Time's press'd ranks, brings on the jubilee."* [Grant's Revival of Learning in the East. 1805.]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Accessed: 7/31/22

When D. P. Walker wrote about "ancient theology" or prisca theologia, he firmly linked it to Christianity and Platonism (Walker 1972). On the first page of his book, Walker defined the term as follows:
By the term "Ancient Theology" I mean a certain tradition of Christian apologetic theology which rests on misdated texts. Many of the early Fathers, in particular Lactantius, Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius, in their apologetic works directed against pagan philosophers, made use of supposedly very ancient texts: Hermetica, Orphica, Sibylline Prophecies, Pythagorean Carmina Aurea, etc., most of which in fact date from the first four centuries of our era. [100-400 A.D.] These texts, written by the Ancient Theologians hermes Trismegistus, Orpheus, Pythagoras, were shown to contain vestiges of the true religion: monotheism, the Trinity, the creation of the world out of nothing through the Word, and so forth. It was from these that Plato [428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC)] took the religious truths to be found in his writings. [???!!!] (Walker 1972:1)

Walker described A revival of such "ancient theology" in the Renaissance and in "platonizing theologians from Ficino to Cudworth" who wanted to "integrate Platonism and Neoplatonism into Christianity, so that their own religious and philosophical beliefs might coincide" [!!!](p. 2). After the debunking of the genuineness and antiquity of the texts favored by these ancient theologians, the movement ought to have died; but Walker detected "a few isolated survivals" such as Athanasius Kircher, Pierre-Daniel Huet, and the Jesuit figurists of the French China mission (p. 194). For Walker the last Mohican of this movement, so to say, is Chevalier Andrew Michael Ramsay (1686-1743), whose views are described in the final chapter of The Ancient Theology. But seen through the lens of our concerns here, one could easily extend this line to various figures in this book, for example, Jean Calmette, John Zephaniah Holwell, Abbe Vincent Mignot, Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron, Guillaume Sainte-Croix, and also to William Jones (App 2009).

-- The Birth of Orientalism, by Urs App

On the right, the real sheet of a theatre surimono by Kunisada, on the left with a faked signature of Hokkei, c. 1825

Forgery is a white-collar crime that generally refers to the false making or material alteration of a legal instrument with the specific intent to defraud anyone (other than themself).[1][2] Tampering with a certain legal instrument may be forbidden by law in some jurisdictions but such an offense is not related to forgery unless the tampered legal instrument was actually used in the course of the crime to defraud another person or entity. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgeries, though they may later become forgeries through knowing and willful misrepresentations.

Forging money or currency is more often called counterfeiting. But consumer goods may also be counterfeits if they are not manufactured or produced by the designated manufacturer or producer given on the label or flagged by the trademark symbol. When the object forged is a record or document it is often called a false document.

This usage of "forgery" does not derive from metalwork done at a blacksmith's forge, but it has a parallel history. A sense of "to counterfeit" is already in the Anglo-French verb forger, meaning "falsify".

A forgery is essentially concerned with a produced or altered object. Where the prime concern of a forgery is less focused on the object itself – what it is worth or what it "proves" – than on a tacit statement of criticism that is revealed by the reactions the object provokes in others, then the larger process is a hoax. In a hoax, a rumor or a genuine object planted in a concocted situation, may substitute for a forged physical object.

The similar crime of fraud is the crime of deceiving another, including through the use of objects obtained through forgery. Forgery is one of the techniques of fraud, including identity theft. Forgery is one of the threats addressed by security engineering.

In the 16th century, imitators of Albrecht Dürer's style of printmaking improved the market for their own prints by signing them "AD", making them forgeries. In the 20th century the art market made forgeries highly profitable. There are widespread forgeries of especially valued artists, such as drawings originally by Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Henri Matisse.

A special case of double forgery is the forging of Vermeer's paintings by Han van Meegeren, and in its turn the forging of Van Meegeren's work by his son Jacques van Meegeren.[3]

Criminal law

A forged police identification card used by a convicted terrorist.

England and Wales and Northern Ireland

In England and Wales and Northern Ireland, forgery is an offence under section 1 of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, which provides:

A person is guilty of forgery if he makes a false instrument, with the intention that he or another shall use it to induce somebody to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some act to his own or any other person’s prejudice.[4]

"Instrument" is defined by section 8, "makes" and "false" by section 9, and "induce" and "prejudice" by section 10.

Forgery is triable either way. A person guilty of forgery is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or to both.[5]

For offences akin to forgery, see English criminal law#Forgery, personation, and cheating.

The common law offence of forgery is abolished for all purposes not relating to offences committed before the commencement of the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.[6]


Forgery is not an official offence under the law of Scotland, except in cases where statute provides otherwise.[7][8]

The Forgery of Foreign Bills Act 1803 was repealed in 2013.

Republic of Ireland

In the Republic of Ireland, forgery is an offence under section 25(1) of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001 which provides:

A person is guilty of forgery if he or she makes a false instrument with the intention that it shall be used to induce another person to accept it as genuine and, by reason of so accepting it, to do some act, or to make some omission, to the prejudice of that person or any other person.[9]

A person guilty of forgery is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, or to a fine, or to both.[10]

Any offence at common law of forgery is abolished. The abolition of a common law offence of forgery does not affect proceedings for any such offence committed before its abolition.[11]

Except as regards offences committed before the commencement of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001 and except where the context otherwise requires, without prejudice to section 65(4)(a) of that Act, references to forgery must be construed in accordance with the provisions of that Act.[12]


Forgery is an offence under sections 366, 367 and 368 of the Canadian Criminal Code. The offence is a hybrid offence, subject to a maximum prison sentence of:

• if tried summarily: 6 months
• if tried on indictment: 10 years

United States

Further information: Crimes Act of 1790

Forgery is a crime in all jurisdictions within the United States, both state and federal.[1][2] Most states, including California, describe forgery as occurring when a person alters a written document "with the intent to defraud, knowing that he or she has no authority to do so."[13] The written document usually has to be an instrument of legal significance. Punishments for forgery vary widely. In California, forgery for an amount under $950[14] can result in misdemeanor charges and no jail time, while a forgery involving a loss of over $500,000 can result in three years in prison for the forgery plus a five-year "conduct enhancement" for the amount of the loss, yielding eight years in prison.[15] In Connecticut, forgery in the Third Degree, which is a class B misdemeanor[16] is punishable by up to 6 months in jail, a $1000 fine, and probation; forgery in the First Degree, which is a class C felony,[17] is punishable by a maximum 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 fine, or both.[18]

Civil law

As to the effect, in the United Kingdom, of a forged signature on a bill of exchange, see section 24 of the Bills of Exchange Act 1882.

In popular culture

• The 1839 novel by Honoré de Balzac, Pierre Grassou, concerns an artist who lives off forgeries.[19]
• The Orson Welles documentary F for Fake concerns both art and literary forgery. For the movie, Welles intercut footage of Elmyr de Hory, an art forger, and Clifford Irving, who wrote an "authorized" autobiography of Howard Hughes that had been revealed to be a hoax. While forgery is the ostensible subject of the film, it also concerns art, film making, storytelling and the creative process.[20]
• The 1966 heist comedy film How to Steal a Million centers around Nicole Bonnet (Audrey Hepburn) attempting to steal a fake Cellini made by her grandfather.[21]
• The 1964 children's book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory written by Roald Dahl revealed the "golden ticket" in Japan was a forgery.
• The 1972 novel by Irving Wallace, The Word concerns archaeological forgery, the finding and translation of a supposed lost gospel by James the Just, close relative of Jesus Christ, as part of a large project to be published as a new Bible that would inspire a Christian revival, but which is possibly a forged document.[22]
• The 2002 film Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Spielberg, is based on the claims of Frank Abagnale, a con man who allegedly stole over $2.5 million through forgery, imposture and other frauds, which are dramatized in the film. His career in crime lasted six years from 1963 to 1969.[23] The veracity of most of Abagnale's claims has been questioned.[24]
• The graphic art novel The Last Coiner, authored by Peter M. Kershaw, is based on the exploits of the 18th century counterfeiters, the Cragg Vale Coiners, who were sentenced to execution by hanging at Tyburn.[25]

See also

Main article: Outline of forgery

• Art forgery
• Authentication
• J. S. G. Boggs American artist
• Counterfeiting
o coins
o currency
o medicine
• Digital signature forgery
o watches
o postage stamps
• Epigraphy
• False document
• Phishing
• Questioned document examination
• Replica
• Signature forgery
• United States Secret Service
• White-collar crime


1. United States v. Hunt, 456 F.3d 1255, 1260 (10th Cir. 2006) ("Historically, forgery was defined as the false making, with the intent to defraud, of a document which is not what it purports to be, as distinct from a document which is genuine but nevertheless contains a term or representation known to be false.") (internal quotation marks omitted) (emphasis added); see generally, 10 U.S.C. § 923 ("Forgery"); 18 U.S.C. §§ 470–514 (counterfeiting and forgery-related federal offenses); 18 U.S.C. § 1543 ("Forgery or false use of passport").
2. "§ 19.71 S. Forgery". The Law Offices of Norton Tooby. Retrieved 2018-11-15.
3. Davies, Serena (2006-08-04). "The forger who fooled the world". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 2022-01-12. Retrieved 2019-04-29.
4. Digitised copy of section 1.
5. The Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, sections 6(1) to (3)(a)
6. The Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981, section 13
7. W J Stewart and Robert Burgess. Collins Dictionary of Law. HarperCollins Publishers. 1996. ISBN 0 00 470009 0. Pages 176 and 398.
8. Stair Memorial Encyclopaedia
9. Irish Statute Book. Digitised copy of section 25.
10. The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, section 25(2)
11. The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, sections 3(2) and (3)
12. The Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, section 65(4)(b)
13. "California Legislative Information, Penal Code section 470". Retrieved 20 July 2017.
14. Brady, Katherine (November 2014). "California Prop 47 and SB 1310: Representing Immigrants" (PDF). Immigrant Legal Resource Center1. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
15. Couzens, J. Richard; Bigelow, Tricia A. (May 2017). "Felony Sentencing After Realignment" (PDF). California Courts. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
16. "Chapter 952 - Penal Code: Offenses". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
17. "Chapter 952 - Penal Code: Offenses". Retrieved 2017-08-09.
18. Norman-Eady, Sandra; Coppolo, George; Reinhart, Christopher (1 December 2006). "Crimes and Their Maximum Penalties". Office of Legislative Research. Connecticut General Assembly. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
19. Yeazell, Ruth Bernard (2008). Art of the Everyday: Dutch Painting and the Realist Novel. Princeton University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0691127262.
20. McBride, Joseph (2006). What Ever Happened to Orson Welles?: A Portrait of an Independent Career. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 245–250. ISBN 0813124107.
21. Casper, Drew (2011). Hollywood Film 1963-1976: Years of Revolution and Reaction. John Wiley & Sons. p. 1972. ISBN 978-1405188272.
22. Cawelti, John G. (1977). Adventure, Mystery, and Romance: Formula Stories as Art and Popular Culture. University of Chicago Press. p. 281. ISBN 0226098672.
23. Wight, Douglas (2012). "Owning December". Leonardo DiCaprio: The Biography. John Blake Publishing Ltd. ISBN 978-1857829570.
24. Lopez, Xavier (23 April 2021). "Could this famous con man be lying about his story? A new book suggests he is". WHYY. WHYY. PBS. Retrieved 26 June 2022.
25. "Telling the Coiners' story". BBC North Yorkshire. 3 June 2008.


• Cohon, Robert. Discovery & Deceit: archaeology & the forger's craft Kansas: Nelson-Atkins Museum, 1996
• Muscarella, Oscar. The Lie Became Great: the forgery of Ancient Near Eastern cultures, 2000
• "Imaginary Images" in Detecting the Truth: Fakes, Forgeries and Trickery at Library and Archives Canada

External links

• Bibliographies of archaeological forgeries, art forgeries etc
• Museum security mnetwork: sources of information on art forgery; with encyclopedic links
• Fakes and Forgeries on the Trafficking Culture website, University of Glasgow
• Academic Classification of Levels of Forgery on The Authentication in Art Foundation Website
• List of Caught Art Forgers on The Authentication in Art Foundation Website
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Bernard of Clairvaux
by Wikipedia
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APPENDIX C: The History of Ariosophy

BETWEEN January 1929 and June 1930 a long essay by Lanz appeared in serial form in the Zeitschrift fur Geistes- und Wissenschaftsreform. 'Die Geschich te der Ariosophie' claimed to trace the history of the ariosophical racial religion and its opponents from earliest times up until the present. This account provides a graphical account of Lanz's neo-manichaean conception of the world, inasmuch as he attempted to identify all historical agents as being within one or other of two eschatological camps, working respectively for good or evil, light and darkness, order and chaos.

According to Lanz, the earliest recorded ancestors of the present 'arioheroic' race were the Atlanteans, who had lived on a continent situated in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean. They were supposedly descended from the original divine Theozoa with electromagnetic sensory organs and superhuman powers. Catastrophic floods eventually submerged their continent in about 8000 BC and the Atlanteans migrated eastwards in two groups. The Northern Atlanteans streamed towards the British Isles, Scandinavia, and Northern Europe, while the Southern Atlanteans migrated across Western Africa to Egypt and Babylonia, where they founded the antique civilizations of the Near East. The ariosophical cult was thus introduced to Asia, where the idolatrous beast-cults of miscegenation had flourished.

Lanz claimed that the racial religion had been actively preached and practised in the ancient world. He asserted that Moses, Orpheus, Pythagoras, Plato, and Alexander the Great had been its champions. The laws of Moses and Plato's esteem for the aristocratic principle, and his provision for a caste of priest-kings in The Republic, proved them Ariosophists. Lanz conflated the writings of these ancient thinkers into a monolithic ariosophical tradition, which focused on the famous library at Alexandria, which allegedly housed a magnificent collection of ariosophical scriptures. Scholars and priests from all over the world were said to have come here to study the old papyri of the Southern Atlanteans; here the Old Testament (a fundamental ariosophical text) was edited from scattered chronicles discovered in Palestine; a college of priest-kings attached to the library spread the racist gnosis through missionaries as far as China. The entire Hellenistic world was thus supposed to be familiar with Ariosophy before the advent of Christ-Frauja. The coming of Frauja and his establishment of the Church unleashed -- so it was maintained -- a new wave of ariosophical missionary activity in the world.

The Germans entered the ariosophical tradition as a result of the missionary activities of Wulfila [Ulfilas] (c. 311-83). Wulfila translated the Bible into the Gothic language and carried the gospel to the Germanic tribes which had settled on the Balkan peninsula and beyond the River Danube. He had also been a partisan of the Arian heresy (so named after the theologian Arius of Alexandria). Lanz claimed that Wulfilia had actually preached the Aryan racial religion to the Germanic tribes. The suppression of the Arian heresy was interpreted as a victory for those devoted to the beast-cults. Lanz angrily charged these pagans with the defacement of the famous codex of the Gothic Bible. Because most of its racist passages had been excised, the Germans were permitted to neglect those strict eugenic observances, which would have guaranteed their transformation into god-men. Lanz wrote five Luzerner Briefe numbers about the supposedly suppressed writings of Wulfila, together with a lexicon which provided a key to the hidden meaning of his surviving text. [5]

Despite the suppression of the Arian heresy and the failure of the Goths to realize the racial parousia within their extensive sixth-century empire, Ariosophy was fostered by new historical agents. Lanz identified the revival of Ariosophy in the monastic tradition of medieval Europe. Lanz regarded the Benedictine Order as a revival of the old Aryan colleges of priest-kings, dedicated to the preaching of the racist gnosis and organized on hierarchical principles. He wrote five studies about the ariosophical inspiration of the Benedictines. After identifying the reformed monastic orders as agents of Ariosophy Lanz traced this spiritual heritage to the Cistercian Order. Lanz celebrated this order and its famous leader St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) as the principal force behind Ariosophy in the Middle Ages.

Because of their close links with the Cistercian Order, the military order of the Knights Templars was regarded by Lanz as the armed guard of Ariosophy. Its rule had been composed by St Bernard, who wrote a homily of praise, De Laude novae militiae (c. 1132), and preached the Second Crusade in 1146. According to Lanz, the Templars were attempting to stem the tide of inferior races in the Near East, and so provide a bulwark of racial purity on the eastern flank of Aryan Christendom. Their efforts were paralleled in the west by the military orders of Calatrava, Alcantara, and Aviz, which had been formed during the mid-twelfth century to fight the Moors in Spain.

Lanz invoked the struggle of the medieval military orders against the heathen powers as a legitimation of his own crusade against populism, democracy, and Bolshevism in the twentieth century. With graphical imagination Lanz conjured up an ideological map of the world from the eighth to the seventeenth century: within the ever tightening ring formed by the Islamic powers of Northern Africa, the Middle East and eventually the Balkans, and the amorphous Mongol hordes of the steppes, lay the embattled 'aria-christian' domain. The constant offensive of peoples devoted to the beast-cults and the threatened destruction of European racial supremacy necessitated the crusades of the military orders. Thus medieval Christendom was envisaged as a martial monastery of aristocratic and racial virtue, from which armed knight-monks rode forth to break the vice-like encirclement of the aggressive inferiors. These images nourished Lanz's vision of a modern crusade against the political emancipation of the masses through parliamentary democracy and socialist revolution.

The Middle Ages represented the golden age of Ariosophy to Lanz. A world of bold knights, pious monks, magnificent castles, beautiful monasteries was underlaid by the racist-chivalrous cult of the religious and military orders. The religion of this period was 'keine weichliche Humanitats-Religion, sondern eine extrem-aristokratische und ariokratische Rassenkultreligion und eine straffe, supranationale, alle arioheroischen Volker umfassende wissensehaftliche, politische und wirtschaftliche Organisation, welche rucksichtslos, bisweilen sogar mit Harte, das Untermenschentum ausrottete, oder im Sklaven- und Hongentum oder in Judenghetti in Untermenschentum ausrottete, oder im Sklaven- und Horigentum oder in Judenghetti in wohltatigen Schranken hielt!' ['no insipid humanity-religion, but an extremely aristocratic and "ariocratic" racial cult religion and an austere scientific, political and economic organization embracing all ario-heroic peoples. This religion ruthlessly exterminated sub-humanity or else kept it charitably within the bounds of slavery and serfdom or in Jewish ghettoes!"] Lanz regarded the 'cosmic week' (a subdivision of the Platonic year) from 480 to orders. The culture of the period was described as 'die letzte herrliche, beruckend schone Blute arisch-heldischer Religion, Kunst und Wissenschaft' ['the last magnificent and fascinatingly beautiful blossoming of ario-heroic religion, art and science']. [8]

The suppression of the Templars in 1308 signalled the end of this era and the ascendancy of the racial inferiors. Henceforth Europe witnessed the slow decline of her racial, cultural, and political achievements. The growth of towns, the expansion of capitalism, and its creation of an industrial labouring class led to the breakdown of the aristocratic principle and the strict maintenance of racial purity. Christianity was perverted into a sentimental altruistic doctrine, which taught that all men were equal, and that man should love his neighbour, irrespective of his race. During the 'cosmic week' from 1210 to 1920 Europe was subject to a process of debasement, culminating in the enormities of Bolshevism and its open proclamation of rule by the masses.

-- The Occult Roots of Nazism: Secret Aryan Cults and Their Influence on Nazi Ideology: The Arisophists of Austria and Germany, 1890-1935, by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
San Bernardo by Juan Correa de Vivar, held in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain
Doctor of the Church
Doctor Mellifluus
Last of the Fathers
Born: c. 1090, Fontaine-les-Dijon, Burgundy, Kingdom of France
Died: 20 August 1153 (aged 62-63), Clairvaux Abbey, Clairvaux (modern day part of Ville-sous-la-Ferté), Champagne, Kingdom of France
Venerated in : Catholic Church, Anglican Communion[1], Lutheranism[2]
Canonized: 18 January 1174, Rome, Papal States by Pope Alexander III
Major shrine: Troyes Cathedral
Feast: August 20
Attributes: Cistercian habit, book, and crosier
Patronage Cistercians, Burgundy, beekeepers, candlemakers, Gibraltar, Algeciras, Queens' College, Cambridge, Speyer Cathedral, Knights Templar, Binangonan, Rizal

Bernard of Clairvaux (Latin: Bernardus Claraevallensis; 1090 – 20 August 1153), venerated as Saint Bernard, was a Burgundian abbot and a major leader in the revitalization of Benedictine monasticism through the nascent Cistercian Order.

He was sent to found Clairvaux Abbey at an isolated clearing in a glen known as the Val d'Absinthe, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) southeast of Bar-sur-Aube. In the year 1128, Bernard attended the Council of Troyes, at which he traced the outlines of the Rule of the Knights Templar,[a] which soon became an ideal of Christian nobility.

On the death of Pope Honorius II in 1130, a schism arose in the church. Bernard was a major proponent of Pope Innocent II, arguing effectively for his legitimacy over the Antipope Anacletus II.

In 1139, Bernard attended the Second Council of the Lateran and criticized Peter Abelard vocally. Bernard advocated crusades in general and convinced many to participate in the unsuccessful Second Crusade, notably through a famous sermon at Vézelay (1146).

Bernard was canonized just 21 years after his death by Pope Alexander III. In 1830 Pope Pius VIII declared him a Doctor of the Church.

Early life (1090–1113)

Bernard's parents were Tescelin de Fontaine, lord of Fontaine-lès-Dijon, and Alèthe de Montbard [fr], both members of the highest nobility of Burgundy. Bernard was the third of seven children, six of whom were sons. Aged nine, he was sent to a school at Châtillon-sur-Seine run by the secular canons of Saint-Vorles. Bernard had an interest in literature and rhetoric. He had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, and he later wrote several works about the Queen of Heaven.[3]

The Vision of St Bernard, by Fra Bartolommeo, c. 1504 (Uffizi)

Bernard emphasized the value of a personally held faith, with the life of Christ as a model and new emphasis on the Virgin Mary. In opposition to the rational approach to divine understanding used by the scholastics, Bernard preached an immediate faith, in which the intercessor was the Virgin Mary.

Bernard was nineteen years old when his mother died. During his youth, he did not escape trying temptations and around this time he thought of living a life of solitude and prayer.[4]

In 1098, a group led by Robert of Molesme had founded Cîteaux Abbey, near Dijon, with the purpose of living literally according to the Rule of St Benedict. After his mother died, Bernard decided to go to Cîteaux. In 1113 he and thirty other young noblemen of Burgundy sought admission into the new monastery.[5] Bernard's example was so convincing that scores followed him into the monastic life.

Abbot of Clairvaux (1115–28)

Bernard exorcising a possession, altarpiece by Jörg Breu the Elder, c. 1500

Bernard holding a demon at his feet, oil on canvas by Marcello Baschenis, c. 1885

The little community of reformed Benedictines at Cîteaux grew rapidly. Three years after entering, Bernard was sent with a group of twelve monks to found a new house at Vallée d'Absinthe, in the Diocese of Langres. This Bernard named Claire Vallée, or Clairvaux, on 25 June 1115, and the names of Bernard and Clairvaux soon became inseparable.[4] During the absence of the Bishop of Langres, Bernard was blessed as abbot by William of Champeaux, Bishop of Châlons-sur-Marne. From then on a strong friendship grew between the abbot and the bishop, who was professor of theology at Notre Dame of Paris and the founder of St. Victor Abbey in Paris.[3]

The beginnings of Clairvaux Abbey were austere; Bernard soon became ill. Nonetheless, candidates for the monastic life flocked to it in great numbers. Even his father and all his brothers entered Cîteaux, leaving only Humbeline, his sister, in the secular world. She, with the consent of her husband, later took the veil in the Benedictine nunnery of Jully-les-Nonnains. Gerard of Clairvaux, Bernard's older brother, became the cellarer of Cîteaux. Clairvaux soon started founding new communities.[6] In 1118 Trois-Fontaines Abbey was founded in the diocese of Châlons; in 1119 Fontenay Abbey in the Diocese of Autun; and in 1121 Foigny Abbey near Vervins.

In addition to successes, Bernard also had his trials. During an absence from Clairvaux, the Grand Prior of the Abbey of Cluny went to Clairvaux and enticed away Bernard's cousin, Robert of Châtillon. This was the occasion of the longest and most emotional of Bernard's letters.[3]

The abbey of Cluny as it would have looked in Bernard's time

The monks of the powerful Benedictine abbey of Cluny were unhappy to see Cîteaux take the lead role among the monastic orders. They criticized the Cistercian way of life. At the solicitation of William of St.-Thierry, Bernard defended the Cistercians with his Apology. Peter the Venerable, abbot of Cluny, answered Bernard and assured him of his admiration and friendship. In the meantime, Cluny launched a reform and Abbot Suger, the minister of Louis VI of France, was converted by Bernard's Apology.

Doctor of the Church

Christ Embracing St. Bernard by Francisco Ribalta

In 1128, Bernard participated in the Council of Troyes, which had been convoked by Pope Honorius II, and was presided over by Cardinal Matthew of Albano. The purpose of this council was to settle certain disputes of the bishops of Paris, and regulate other matters of the Church of France. The bishops made Bernard secretary of the council, and charged him with drawing up the synodal statutes. After the council, the bishop of Verdun was deposed. It was at this council that Bernard composed a rule for the Knights Templar; it soon became an ideal of Christian nobility. Around this time, he praised them in his Liber ad milites templi de laude novae militiae.[7]


Bernard's influence was soon felt in provincial affairs. He defended the rights of the Church against the encroachments of kings and princes, and recalled to their duty Henri Sanglier, archbishop of Sens and Stephen of Senlis, bishop of Paris. When Honorius II died in 1130, a schism broke out in the Church by the election of two popes, Pope Innocent II and Antipope Anacletus II. Innocent, having been banished from Rome by Anacletus, took refuge in France. King Louis VI convened a national council of the French bishops at Étampes and Bernard, summoned there by the bishops, was chosen to judge between the rival popes. He decided in favour of Innocent.

Bernard travelled on to Italy and reconciled Pisa with Genoa, and Milan with the pope. The same year Bernard was again at the Council of Reims at the side of Innocent II. He then went to Aquitaine where he succeeded for the time in detaching William X, Duke of Aquitaine, from the cause of Anacletus.[4]

Saint Bernard and the Duke of Aquitaine, by Marten Pepijn

Germany had decided to support Innocent through Norbert of Xanten, who was a friend of Bernard's. However, Innocent insisted on Bernard's company when he met with Lothair II, Holy Roman Emperor. Lothair II became Innocent's strongest ally among the nobility. Although the councils of Étampes, Würzburg, Clermont, and Rheims all supported Innocent, large portions of the Christian world still supported Anacletus.

In a letter by Bernard to German Emperor Lothair regarding Antipope Anacletus, Bernard wrote, “It is a disgrace for Christ that a Jew sits on the throne of St. Peter’s” and “Anacletus has not even a good reputation with his friends, while Innocent is illustrious beyond all doubt.”

Bernard wrote to Gerard of Angoulême (a letter known as Letter 126), which questioned Gerard's reasons for supporting Anacletus. Bernard later commented that Gerard was his most formidable opponent during the whole schism. After persuading Gerard, Bernard traveled to visit William X, Duke of Aquitaine. He was the hardest for Bernard to convince. He did not pledge allegiance to Innocent until 1135. After that, Bernard spent most of his time in Italy persuading the Italians to pledge allegiance to Innocent. The conflict ended when Anacletus died in 1138.[8]

In 1132, Bernard accompanied Innocent II into Italy, and at Cluny the pope abolished the dues which Clairvaux used to pay to that abbey. This action gave rise to a quarrel between the White Monks and the Black Monks which lasted 20 years. In May of that year, the pope, supported by the army of Lothair III, entered Rome, but Lothair III, feeling himself too weak to resist the partisans of Anacletus, retired beyond the Alps, and Innocent sought refuge in Pisa in September 1133. Bernard had returned to France in June and was continuing the work of peacemaking which he had commenced in 1130. Towards the end of 1134, he made a second journey into Aquitaine, where William X had relapsed into schism. Bernard invited William to the Mass which he celebrated in the Church of La Couldre. At the Eucharist, he "admonished the Duke not to despise God as he did His servants".[3] William yielded and the schism ended. Bernard went again to Italy, where Roger II of Sicily was endeavouring to withdraw the Pisans from their allegiance to Innocent. He recalled the city of Milan to obedience to the pope as they had followed the deposed Anselm V, Archbishop of Milan. For this, he was offered, and he refused, the archbishopric of Milan. He then returned to Clairvaux. Believing himself at last secure in his cloister, Bernard devoted himself to the composition of the works which won for him the title of "Doctor of the Church". He wrote at this time his sermons on the Song of Songs. In 1137, he was again forced to leave the abbey by order of the pope to put an end to the quarrel between Lothair and Roger of Sicily. At the conference held at Palermo, Bernard succeeded in convincing Roger of the rights of Innocent II. He also silenced the final supporters who sustained the schism. Anacletus died of "grief and disappointment" in 1138, and with him the schism ended.[3]

In 1139, Bernard assisted at the Second Council of the Lateran, in which the surviving adherents of the schism were definitively condemned. About the same time, Bernard was visited at Clairvaux by Malachy, Primate of All Ireland, and a very close friendship formed between them. Malachy wanted to become a Cistercian, but the pope would not give his permission. Malachy died at Clairvaux in 1148.[3]

[b]Conflict with Abelard

Towards the close of the 11th century, a spirit of independence flourished within schools of philosophy and theology. The movement found an ardent and powerful advocate in Peter Abelard. Abelard's treatise on the Trinity had been condemned as heretical in 1121, and he was compelled to throw his own book into a fire. However, Abelard continued to develop his controversial teachings. Bernard is said to have held a meeting with Abelard intending to persuade him to amend his writings, during which Abelard repented and promised to do so. But once out of Bernard's presence, he reneged.[10] Bernard then denounced Abelard to the pope and cardinals of the Curia. Abelard sought a debate with Bernard, but Bernard initially declined, saying he did not feel matters of such importance should be settled by logical analyses. Bernard's letters to William of St-Thierry also express his apprehension about confronting the preeminent logician. Abelard continued to press for a public debate, and made his challenge widely known, making it hard for Bernard to decline. In 1141, at the urgings of Abelard, the archbishop of Sens called a council of bishops, where Abelard and Bernard were to put their respective cases so Abelard would have a chance to clear his name.[10] Bernard lobbied the prelates on the evening before the debate, swaying many of them to his view. The next day, after Bernard made his opening statement, Abelard decided to retire without attempting to answer.[10] The council found in favour of Bernard and their judgment was confirmed by the pope. Abelard submitted without resistance, and he retired to Cluny to live under the protection of Peter the Venerable, where he died two years later.[4]

Cistercian Order and heresy

Bernard had occupied himself in sending bands of monks from his overcrowded monastery into Germany, Sweden, England, Ireland, Portugal, Switzerland, and Italy. Some of these, at the command of Innocent II, took possession of Tre Fontane Abbey, from which Eugene III was chosen in 1145. Pope Innocent II died in the year 1143. His two successors, Pope Celestine II and Pope Lucius II, reigned only a short time, and then Bernard saw one of his disciples, Bernard of Pisa, and known thereafter as Eugene III, raised to the Chair of Saint Peter.[11] Bernard sent him, at the pope's own request, various instructions which comprise the Book of Considerations, the predominating idea of which is that the reformation of the Church ought to commence with the sanctity of the pope. Temporal matters are merely accessories; the principles according to Bernard's work were that piety and meditation were to precede action.[12]

Having previously helped end the schism within the Church, Bernard was now called upon to combat heresy. Henry of Lausanne, a former Cluniac monk, had adopted the teachings of the Petrobrusians, followers of Peter of Bruys and spread them in a modified form after Peter's death.[13] Henry of Lausanne's followers became known as Henricians. In June 1145, at the invitation of Cardinal Alberic of Ostia, Bernard traveled in southern France.[14] His preaching, aided by his ascetic looks and simple attire, helped doom the new sects. Both the Henrician and the Petrobrusian faiths began to die out by the end of that year. Soon afterwards, Henry of Lausanne was arrested, brought before the bishop of Toulouse, and probably imprisoned for life. In a letter to the people of Toulouse, undoubtedly written at the end of 1146, Bernard calls upon them to extirpate the last remnants of the heresy. He also preached against Catharism.[11]

Crusade preaching

Second Crusade (1146–49)

News came at this time from the Holy Land that alarmed Christendom. Christians had been defeated at the Siege of Edessa and most of the county had fallen into the hands of the Seljuk Turks.[15] The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the other Crusader states were threatened with similar disaster. Deputations of the bishops of Armenia solicited aid from the pope, and the King of France also sent ambassadors. In 1144 Eugene III commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade and granted the same indulgences for it which Pope Urban II had accorded to the First Crusade.[16]

There was at first virtually no popular enthusiasm for the crusade as there had been in 1095. Bernard found it expedient to dwell upon taking the cross as a potent means of gaining absolution for sin and attaining grace. On 31 March, with King Louis VII of France present, he preached to an enormous crowd in a field at Vézelay, making "the speech of his life".[17] The full text has not survived, but a contemporary account says that "his voice rang out across the meadow like a celestial organ"[17]

James Meeker Ludlow describes the scene romantically in his book The Age of the Crusades:

A large platform was erected on a hill outside the city. King and monk stood together, representing the combined will of earth and heaven. The enthusiasm of the assembly of Clermont in 1095, when Peter the Hermit and Urban II launched the first crusade, was matched by the holy fervor inspired by Bernard as he cried, "O ye who listen to me! Hasten to appease the anger of heaven, but no longer implore its goodness by vain complaints. Clothe yourselves in sackcloth, but also cover yourselves with your impenetrable bucklers. The din of arms, the danger, the labors, the fatigues of war, are the penances that God now imposes upon you. Hasten then to expiate your sins by victories over the Infidels, and let the deliverance of the holy places be the reward of your repentance." As in the olden scene, the cry "Deus vult! Deus vult! " rolled over the fields, and was echoed by the voice of the orator: "Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood."[18]

When Bernard was finished the crowd enlisted en masse; they supposedly ran out of cloth to make crosses. Bernard is said to have flung off his own robe and began tearing it into strips to make more.[16][17] Others followed his example and he and his helpers were supposedly still producing crosses as night fell.[17]

Unlike the First Crusade, the new venture attracted royalty, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France; Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders; Henry, the future Count of Champagne; Louis's brother Robert I of Dreux; Alphonse I of Toulouse; William II of Nevers; William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey; Hugh VII of Lusignan, Yves II, Count of Soissons; and numerous other nobles and bishops. But an even greater show of support came from the common people. Bernard wrote to the pope a few days afterwards, "Cities and castles are now empty. There is not left one man to seven women, and everywhere there are widows to still-living husbands."[16]

Bernard then passed into Germany, and the reported miracles which multiplied almost at his every step undoubtedly contributed to the success of his mission. Conrad III of Germany and his nephew Frederick Barbarossa, received the cross from the hand of Bernard.[15] Pope Eugenius came in person to France to encourage the enterprise. As in the First Crusade, the preaching led to attacks on Jews; a fanatical French monk named Radulphe was apparently inspiring massacres of Jews in the Rhineland, Cologne, Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, with Radulphe claiming Jews were not contributing financially to the rescue of the Holy Land. The archbishop of Cologne and the archbishop of Mainz were vehemently opposed to these attacks and asked Bernard to denounce them. This he did, but when the campaign continued, Bernard traveled from Flanders to Germany to deal with the problems in person. He then found Radulphe in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery.[19]

The last years of Bernard's life were saddened by the failure of the Second Crusade he had preached, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him.[11] Bernard considered it his duty to send an apology to the Pope and it is inserted in the second part of his "Book of Considerations." There he explains how the sins of the crusaders were the cause of their misfortune and failures.

Wendish Crusade (1147)
Bernhard preached the Wendish Crusade against Western Slavs, setting a goal to the crusade of battling them "until such a time as, by God's help, they shall either be converted or deleted".[20]

Final years (1149–53)

Bernard receiving milk from the breast of the Virgin Mary. The scene is a legend which allegedly took place at Speyer Cathedral in 1146.

The death of his contemporaries served as a warning to Bernard of his own approaching end. The first to die was Suger in 1152, of whom Bernard wrote to Eugene III, "If there is any precious vase adorning the palace of the King of Kings it is the soul of the venerable Suger". Conrad III and his son Henry died the same year. Bernard died at age sixty-three on 20 August 1153, after forty years of monastic life.[11] He was buried at Clairvaux Abbey, and after its dissolution in 1792 by the French revolutionary government his remains were transferred to Troyes Cathedral.


Main article: Doctor Mellifluus

Bernard was named a Doctor of the Church in 1830. At the 800th anniversary of his death, Pope Pius XII issued an encyclical about him, titled Doctor Mellifluus, in which he labeled him "The Last of the Fathers." The central elements of Bernard's Mariology are how he explained the virginity of Mary, the "Star of the Sea", and her role as Mediatrix.

The first abbot of Clairvaux developed a rich theology of sacred space and music, writing extensively on both.[citation needed]

John Calvin and Martin Luther quoted Bernard several times[21] in support of the doctrine of Sola Fide.[22][23] Calvin also quotes him in setting forth his doctrine of a forensic alien righteousness, or as it is commonly called imputed righteousness.[24]


Stained glass representing Bernard. Upper Rhine, c. 1450

Bernard was instrumental in re-emphasizing the importance of lectio divina and contemplation for monks. Bernard had observed that when lectio divina was neglected, monasticism suffered.[25] Bernard "noted centuries ago: the people who are their own spiritual directors have fools for disciples."[26]


Bernard's theology and Mariology continue to be of major importance, particularly within the Cistercian and Trappist Orders.[c] Bernard helped found 163 monasteries in different parts of Europe. His influence led Alexander III to launch reforms that led to the establishment of canon law.[27] He was canonized by Alexander III 18 January 1174.[28] He is labeled the "Mellifluous Doctor" for his eloquence. Cistercians honour him as one of the greatest early Cistercians.[11]

His feast day (observed in several denominations) is 20 August.

Bernard is Dante Alighieri's last guide, in Divine Comedy, as he travels through the Empyrean.[29] Dante's choice appears to be based on Bernard's contemplative mysticism, his devotion to Mary, and his reputation for eloquence.[30]

The Couvent et Basilique Saint-Bernard, a collection of buildings dating from the 12th, 17th and 19th centuries, is dedicated to Bernard and stands in his birthplace of Fontaine-lès-Dijon.[31]


Bernard of Clairvaux is the attributed author of poems often translated in English hymnals as:

• "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded"
• "Jesus the Very Thought of Thee"
• "Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts"


An engraving of The Lactation of Saint Bernard. The Virgin Mary is shooting milk into the eye of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux from her right breast.

The modern critical edition is Sancti Bernardi opera (1957–1977), edited by Jean Leclercq.[32][d]

Bernard's works include:

• De gradibus humilitatis et superbiae [The steps of humility and pride] (in Latin). c. 1120.[33]
• Apologia ad Guillelmum Sancti Theoderici Abbatem [Apology to William of St. Thierry] (in Latin). Written in the defence of the Cistercians against the claims of the monks of Cluny.[34]
• De conversione ad clericos sermo seu liber [On the conversion of clerics] (in Latin). 1122.[35]
• De gratia et libero arbitrio [On grace and free choice] (in Latin). c. 1128..[36]
• De diligendo Dei [On loving God] (in Latin).[37]
• Liber ad milites templi de laude novae militiae [In Praise of the new knighthood] (in Latin). 1129.[38]
• De praecepto et dispensatione libri [Book of precepts and dispensations] (in Latin). c. 1144.[39]
• De consideratione [On consideration] (in Latin). c. 1150. Addressed to Pope Eugene III.[40]
• Liber De vita et rebus gestis Sancti Malachiae Hiberniae Episcopi [The life and death of Saint Malachy, bishop of Ireland] (in Latin). [41]
• De moribus et officio episcoporum (in Latin). A letter to Henri Sanglier, Archbishop of Sens on the duties of bishops.[42]

His sermons are also numerous:

• Most famous are his Sermones super Cantica Canticorum (Sermons on the Song of Songs). Although it has at times been suggested that the sermon form is a rhetorical device in a set of works which were only ever designed to be read, since such finely polished and lengthy literary pieces could not accurately have been recorded by a monk while Bernard was preaching, recent scholarship has tended toward the theory that, although what exists in these texts was certainly the product of Bernard's writing, they likely found their origins in sermons preached to the monks of Clairvaux.[e] Bernard began to write these in 1135 but died without completing the series, with 86 sermons complete. These sermons contain an autobiographical passage, sermon 26, mourning the death of his brother, Gerard.[43][44] After Bernard died, the English Cistercian Gilbert of Hoyland continued Bernard's incomplete series of 86 sermons on the biblical Song of Songs. Gilbert wrote 47 sermons before he died in 1172, taking the series up to Chapter 5 of the Song of Songs. Another English Cistercian abbot, John of Ford, wrote another 120 sermons on the Song of Songs, so completing the Cistercian sermon-commentary on the book.
• There are 125 surviving Sermones per annum (Sermons on the Liturgical Year).
• There are also the Sermones de diversis (Sermons on Different Topics).
• 547 letters survive.[45]

Many letters, treatises, and other works, falsely attributed to him survive, and are now referred to as works by pseudo-Bernard.[3] These include:

• pseudo-Bernard (pseud. of Guigo I) (c. 1150). L'échelle du cloître [The scale of the cloister] (letter) (in French).[3]
• pseudo-Bernard. Meditatio [Meditations] (in Latin). This was probably written at some point in the thirteenth century. It circulated extensively in the Middle Ages under Bernard's name and was one of the most popular religious works of the later Middle Ages. Its theme is self-knowledge as the beginning of wisdom; it begins with the phrase "Many know much, but do not know themselves".[46][47][3]
• pseudo-Bernard. L'édification de la maison intérieure (in French).[3]


• On consideration, trans by George Lewis, (Oxford, 1908)
• Select treatises of S. Bernard of Clairvaux: De diligendo Deo & De gradibus humilitatis et superbiae, (Cambridge: CUP, 1926)
• On loving God, and selections from sermons, edited by Hugh Martin, (London: SCM Press, 1959) [reprinted as (Westport, CO: Greenwood Press, 1981)]
• Cistercians and Cluniacs: St. Bernard's Apologia to Abbot William, trans M Casey. Cistercian Fathers series no. 1, (Kalamazoo: Cistercian Publications, 1970)
• The works of Bernard of Clairvaux. Vol.1, Treatises, 1, edited by M. Basil Pennington. Cistercian Fathers Series, no. 1. (Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1970) [contains the treatises Apologia to Abbot William and On Precept and Dispensation, and two shorter liturgical treatises]
• Bernard of Clairvaux, On the Song of Songs, 4 vols, Cistercian Fathers series nos 4, 7, 31, 40, (Spencer, MA: Cistercian Publications, 1971–80)
• Letter of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux on revision of Cistercian chant = Epistola S[ancti] Bernardi de revisione cantus Cisterciensis, edited and translated by Francis J. Guentner, (American Institute of Musicology, 1974)
• Treatises II : The steps of humility and pride on loving God, Cistercian Fathers series no. 13, (Washington: Cistercian Publications, 1984)
• Five books on consideration: advice to a Pope, translated by John D. Anderson & Elizabeth T. Kennan. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 37. (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1976)
• The Works of Bernard of Clairvaux. Volume Seven, Treatises III: On Grace and free choice. In praise of the new knighthood, translated by Conrad Greenia. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 19, (Kalamazoo, Michigan: Cistercian Publications Inc., 1977)
• The life and death of Saint Malachy, the Irishman translated and annotated by Robert T. Meyer, (Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 1978)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, Homiliae in laudibus Virginis Matris, in Magnificat: homilies in praise of the Blessed Virgin Mary translated by Marie-Bernard Saïd and Grace Perigo, Cistercian Fathers Series no. 18, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1979)
• Sermons on Conversion: on conversion, a sermon to clerics and Lenten sermons on the psalm "He Who Dwells"., Cistercian Fathers Series no. 25, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1981)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, Song of Solomon, translated by Samuel J. Eales, (Minneapolis, MN: Klock & Klock, 1984)
• St. Bernard's sermons on the Blessed Virgin Mary, translated from the original Latin by a priest of Mount Melleray, (Chumleigh: Augustine, 1984)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, The twelve steps of humility and pride; and, On loving God, edited by Halcyon C. Backhouse, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1985)
• St. Bernard's sermons on the Nativity, translated from the original Latin by a priest of Mount Melleray, (Devon: Augustine, 1985)
• Bernard of Clairvaux : selected works, translation and foreword by G.R. Evans; introduction by Jean Leclercq; preface by Ewert H. Cousins, (New York: Paulist Press, 1987) [Contains the treatises On conversion, On the steps of humility and pride, On consideration, and On loving God; extracts from Sermons on The song of songs, and a selection of letters]
• Conrad Rudolph, The 'Things of Greater Importance': Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia and the Medieval Attitude Toward Art, (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990) [Includes the Apologia in both Leclercq's Latin text and English translation]
• Love without measure: extracts from the writings of St Bernard of Clairvaux, introduced and arranged by Paul Diemer, Cistercian studies series no. 127, (Kalamazoo, Mich. : Cistercian Publications, 1990)
• Sermons for the summer season: liturgical sermons from Rogationtide and Pentecost, translated by Beverly Mayne Kienzle; additional translations by James Jarzembowski, (Kalamazoo, Mich: Cistercian Publications, 1991)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, On loving God, Cistercian Fathers series no. 13B, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 1995)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, The parables & the sentences, edited by Maureen M. O'Brien. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 55, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2000)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, On baptism and the office of bishops, on the conduct and office of bishops, on baptism and other questions: two letter-treatises, translated by Pauline Matarasso. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 67, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2004)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for Advent and the Christmas season translated by Irene Edmonds, Wendy Mary Beckett, Conrad Greenia; edited by John Leinenweber; introduction by Wim Verbaal. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 51, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2007)
• Bernard of Clairvaux, Sermons for Lent and the Easter Season, edited by John Leinenweber and Mark Scott, OCSO. Cistercian Fathers Series no. 52, (Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2013)

See also

• Biography portal
• Christianity portal
• France portal
• Saints portal
• List of Catholic saints
• List of Latin nicknames of the Middle Ages: Doctors in theology
• Scholasticism
• St. Bernard de Clairvaux Church
• Prayer to the shoulder wound of Jesus
• Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, patron saint archive
• Pope Eugene III



1. André de Montbard, one of the founders of the Knights Templar, was a half-brother of Bernard's mother.
2. Other mystics such as John of the Cross also found their language and symbols in Song of Songs.[9]
3. His texts are prescribed readings in Cistercian congregations.
4. For a research guide see McGuire (2013).
5. For a history of the debate over the Sermons, and an attempted solution, see Leclercq, Jean. Introduction. In Walsh (1976), pp. vii–xxx.


1. Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018. Church Publishing, Inc. 17 December 2019. ISBN 978-1-64065-235-4.
2. "Notable Lutheran Saints". Retrieved 21 August 2020.
3. Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j Gildas 1907.
4. Jump up to:a b c d Bunson, Bunson & Bunson 1998, p. 129.
5. McManners 1990, p. 204.
6. "Expositio in Apocalypsim". Cambridge Digital Library (manuscript). Cambridge Digital Library. MS Mm.5.31. Retrieved 26 January 2016.
7. Durant 1950, p. 593.
8. Cristiani 1977.
9. Cunningham & Egan 1996, p. 128.
10. Jump up to:a b c Evans 2000, pp. 115–123.
11. Jump up to:a b c d e Bunson, Bunson & Bunson 1998, p. 130.
12. McManners 1990, p. 210.
13. Alphandéry 1911, pp. 298–299.
14. McManners 1990, p. 211.
15. Jump up to:a b Riley-Smith 1991, p. 48.
16. Jump up to:a b c Durant 1950, p. 594.
17. Jump up to:a b c d Norwich 2012.
18. Ludlow 1896, pp. 164–167.
19. Durant 1950, p. 391.
20. Christiansen, Eric (1997). The northern Crusades (2nd, new ed.). London, England: Penguin. p. 53. ISBN 0-14-026653-4. OCLC 38197435.
21. Lane 1999, p. 100.
22. Calvin 1960, bk.3 ch.2 §25, bk.3 ch.12 §3.
23. Luther 1930, p. 130.
24. Calvin 1960, bk.3 ch.11 §22, bk.3 ch.25 §2.
25. Cunningham & Egan 1996, pp. 91–92.
26. Cunningham & Egan 1996, p. 21.
27. Duffy 1997, p. 101.
28. Kemp 1945, pp. 13–28.
29. Paradiso, cantos XXXI–XXXIII
30. Botterill 1994.
31. Base Mérimée: Couvent et Basilique Saint-Bernard, Ministère français de la Culture. (in French)
32. SBOp.
33. PL, 182, cols. 939–972c.
34. PL, 182, cols. 893–918a.
35. PL, 182, cols. 833–856d.
36. PL, 182, cols. 999–1030a.
37. PL, 182, cols. 971–1000b.
38. PL, 182, cols. 917–940b.
39. PL, 182, cols. 857–894c.
40. PL, 182, cols. 727–808a.
41. PL, 182, cols. 1073–1118a.
42. Ep. 42 (PL, 182, cols. 807–834a).
43. Verbaal 2004.
44. PL, 183, cols. 785–1198A.
45. SBOp, v. 7–8.
46. PL, 184, cols. 485–508.
47. Bestul 2012, p. 164.


• Anon. (2010). Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints. Church Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0-89869-637-0.
• Alphandéry, Paul D. (1911). "Henry of Lausanne" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 298–299.
• Pierre Aubé: Saint Bernard de Clairvaux, Paris, éd. Fayard, 2003, 812 pages.
• Bernard of Clairvaux (1976). On the Song of Songs II. Cistercian Fathers series. Vol. 7. Translated by Walsh, Kilian. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. ISBN 9780879077075. OCLC 2621974.
• Bernard of Clairvaux (1998). The letters of St Bernard of Clairvaux. Cistercian Fathers series. Vol. 62. Translated by James, Bruno Scott. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. ISBN 9780879071622.
• Bernard of Clairvaux (1836). Mabillon, Jean (ed.). Opera omnia. Patrologia Latina (in Latin). Vol. 182–185. Paris: Jacques Paul Migne. 6 tomes in 4 volumes.
• Bernard of Clairvaux (1957–1977). Leclerq, Jean; Talbot, Charles H.; Rochais, Henri Marie (eds.). Sancti Bernardi Opera (in Latin). Vol. 8 volumes in 9. Rome: Éditions cisterciennes. OCLC 654190630.
• Bestul, Thomas H (2012). "Meditatio/Meditation". In Hollywood, Amy; Beckman, Patricia Z. (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521863650.
• Botterill, Steven (1994). Dante and the Mystical Tradition: Bernard of Clairvaux in the Commedia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
• Bunson, Matthew; Bunson, Margaret & Bunson, Stephen (1998). Our Sunday Visitor's Encyclopedia of Saints. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor.
• Calvin, John (1960). McNeill, John T. (ed.). Institutes of the Christian Religion. Vol. 1. Translated by Battles, Ford Lewis. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. OCLC 844778472.
• Cantor, Norman (1994). The Civilization of the Middle Ages. New York: HarperPerennial. ISBN 0-06-092553-1.
• Cristiani, Léon (1977). St. Bernard of Clairvaux, 1090-1153. Translated by M. Angeline Bouchard. St. Paul Editions. ISBN 978-0-8198-0463-1. OCLC 2874038.
• Cunningham, Lawrence S.; Egan, Keith J. (1996). "Meditation and contemplation". Christian spirituality: themes from the tradition. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press. ISBN 978-0-8091-3660-5.
• Duffy, Eamon (1997). Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes.
• Durant, Will (1950). The Story of Civilization. Vol. IV: The Age of Faith. New York: Simon and Schuster.
• Gildas, Marie (1907). "St. Bernard of Clairvaux" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
• Evans, Gillian R. (2000). Bernard of Clairvaux (Great Medieval Thinkers). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-512525-8.
• Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bernard, Saint" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 795–798.
• Gilson, Etienne (1940). The mystical theology of St Bernard. London: Sheed & Ward.
• Kemp, E. W. (1945). "Pope Alexander III and the Canonization of Saints: The Alexander Prize Essay". Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. 27: 13–28. doi:10.2307/3678572. ISSN 0080-4401. JSTOR 3678572.
• Lane, Anthony N. S. (1999). John Calvin: student of the church fathers. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. ISBN 9780567086945.
• Ludlow, James Meeker (1896). The Age of the Crusades. Ten epochs of church history. Vol. 6. New York: Christian Literature. OCLC 904364803.
• Luther, Martin (1930). D. Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesammtausgabe (in German and Latin). Vol. 40. Weimar: Herman Böhlau.
• McGuire, Brian Patrick (30 September 2013), "Bernard of Clairvaux", Oxford Bibliographies, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/OBO/9780195396584-0088
• McManners, John (1990). The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-822928-3.
• Most, William G. (1996). "Mary's Immaculate Conception". Irondale, AL: Eternal Word Television Network. Archived from the original on 19 February 1998. Retrieved 23 February 2015. Adapted from Most, William G. (1994). Our Lady in doctrine and devotion. Alexandria, VA: Notre Dame Institute Press. OCLC 855913595.
• Norwich, John Julius (2012). The Popes: A History. Vintage. ISBN 978-0-09-956587-1.
• Riley-Smith, Jonathan (1991). The Atlas of the Crusades. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2186-4.
• Runciman, Steven (1987). The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Frankish East, 1100–1187. A History of the Crusades. Vol. 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-34771-8.
• Smith, William (2010). Catholic Church Milestones: People and Events That Shaped the Institutional Church. Indianapolis: Left Coast. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-60844-821-0.
• Verbaal, Wim (2004). "Preaching the dead from their graves: Bernard of Clairvaux's Lament on his brother Gerard". In Donavin, Georgiana; Nederman, Cary; Utz, Richard (eds.). Speculum sermonis: interdisciplinary reflections on the medieval sermon. Disputatio. Vol. 1. Turnhout: Brepols. pp. 113–139. doi:10.1484/M.DISPUT-EB.3.1616. ISBN 9782503513393.

External links

• Works by Bernard of Clairvaux at Project Gutenberg
• Works by or about Bernard of Clairvaux at Internet Archive
• Works by Bernard of Clairvaux at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
• "St. Bernard, Abbot", Butler's Lives of the Saints
• Opera omnia Sancti Bernardi Claraevallensis his complete works, in Latin
• Audio on the life of St. Bernard of Clairvaux from
• Database with all known medieval representations of Bernard
• Saint Bernard of Clairvaux at the Christian Iconography web site.
• "Here Followeth the Life of St. Bernard, the Mellifluous Doctor" from the Caxton translation of the Golden Legend
• "Two Accounts of the Early Career of St. Bernard" by William of Thierry and Arnold of Bonneval
• Saint Bernard of Clairvaux Abbot, Doctor of the Church-1153 at EWTN Global Catholic Network
• Colonnade Statue St Peter's Square
• Lewis E 26 De consideratione (On Consideration) at OPenn
• MS 484/11 Super cantica canticorum at OPenn
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