Imatges de pàgina

freedom, and security of the individual to be found in the mot republ.can states, where known fixed laws of imaemorial wage: are the highest rational and civil rights of man, ar kalt in matters of properiy.'

Mr. Grant then proceeds to answer Mr. Rouse's objections, in a manner which appears to be satisfactory,

In the first part of his enquiry our author begins with stating that, in all the native states of Asia, the fovereign is fole universal proprietary lord of the land; and the Ryots, or bufbandmen, hold directly of the prince, by immemorial ulige, as perpetual tenants in capite. To support this granil proposition, he refers to Volney for the Turkisi dominions, to Chardin for Persia, to bernier for Hindoitan. It may be obleryed that little learning is shewn on either side; and that a mais of evidence might surely have been collected, from oriental and European writers, on fo important an object. Our limits will not permit us to enter so wide a field; and a few quotacions might rather prejudice than instruct, by displaying too confined a view; but the opinion which abides in our memory, after not a little reading to this purpose, is, that Mr. Grant's doctrine is right, and that several exceptions tend to confirm his general rule.

In speaking of the contests concerning the Zemindars, before the courts in India, Mı. Grant gives the following remarks:

• A reference to the terms of a Zemindary Sunnud, (patent, or commission of appointment) would have fetiked the matter in dispute decisively and at once ; but it is a curious fact, that neither pasty, throughout the whole conteit, appear to have thougot ot producing an instrument, which nei ertheless was declared to be effen:ial in establishing the rights of a Zemindır. 'The truth feems to be, if the nature of a Sunnud was then at all kno'n or undersiod, that the determination to which it in uit infallibly lead, wh tever that might be, would some way or other mili'ate with the public views and intereits of boih parties. For if the Zemindas was found to be an officer, it would be the rein of the whole clats of individuals under such description, and prove extremely eind:rraffing to government; at the same time, with supposed presention of justice, the expected buliness of the court would be much diminished, on the idea that no fuiis could be looked for at ihe instance of the Zemindars against their fuperiors in otice; and it was already considered as a hardihip, that the lawyers had lost a considerable part of their practice in consequence of the measures of the company's adminiftration. On the other hand, if the 22mindar was adjudged to be a proprietary land-holder, in right of his Nancar, greater inconveniences might follow the decision, as


well to the company in the management of their revenues, as to the officers of the court, in being abiolutely and for ever excluded from the larger advantages to be hoped for, in the recovery by forms of English law, of the private debts due from the Zemin dars.-- The probabilty, however, of the result, both from the letter and spirit of the terms of a Sunnud, went rather to the former supposed case, which involved the ruin of the Zemindars ; and accordingly, the opposition to a process of inquiry for afcertaining the doubiful right of the court's jurisdiction, arose on the part of government, which might not be so successful in parrying, by the interpretation of a single word, pretensions of proprietorthip, if legally determined.'

The eastern governments, as Mr. Grant obferves, p. 11, rest public prosperity on the ease, freedom, and perpetual leases, of millions of husbandmen, rather than on the civil existence of a few hundreds of great intermediate landed proprietors, cilential to preserve the constitution of free ftates. But we fhall only further remark on this first part, that it presents a general progressive view of the subject, and the different lights in which it has been regarded by the English government in India ; and that it is closed with the following observations concerning the policy of granting a right of proprietorship to che Zemindars:

• The question to be agitated resolves itself necesarily in policy, as well as in fact, into the four following alternative propofitions or heads of inquiry ; namely, ift, Whether the East India company shall assert the validity of their Sunnuds, and avow their right under those deeds to the Zemindary of the twenty four pergunnahs of Calcutta, or entirely divest themselves of that spe. cies of territorial jurisdiction, by disclaiming the authority of such grants ?-2d, Whether they shall be just to themselves, their creditors, and the English nation, by realizing the legal expedient acquisition of upwards of one million sterling yearly revenue to the state, or suffer the continuance of the dangerous system of allowing so much to be collusively embezzled by numberless intermediate agents--be employed in supporting a refractory spirit, and sometimes open rebellion, ever easy to be instigated in Hindoftan, by those who may have hopes of sharing the benefits of plander and forfeiture, to be expected on fupprefling it-or secretly made use of in fapping the foundations of government by a certain application of the means,, whenever so afforded, of corsupting individuals in pftensible ministerial power, or pofsefling invisible influence? 3d. Whether they fall support the authority, seal advantage and permanency, or permit the gradual decline and ruin of the British sovereignty in India ? 4th, and finat. ly, being the most material point in iflue, Whether the Ryots or

peasantry, peasantry, forming the great mass of the people, are henceforth to be secured in liberty and property, as ordained by their own laws, and enjoined by a British act of parliament; or, their interests to be sacrificed in a ten years settlement, or eventually for ever, be wholly given up to the discretion of a few ignorant, mer. cilefs despots, as erroneously considered hereditary proprietary land-holders, as they are truly acknowledged to be in most cases the viciou: tools of their more-depraved irresponsible dependents ; and thus, on the mistaken grounds of the relative fituation, rights and uses of three or four hundred Zemindars, in the constitution of Indian society, the British nation be induced virtually to change the condition of millions of the most useful, inoffensive, peaceable subjects in the universe, from a state of actual freedom and legal security in their possessions, to that of the baseft inevitable flavery, and most cruel oppression ; under the inefficacy of any proposed restraints or formal controul, necessarily deviled in ignorance, when militating with the wiseft and long-established re. gulations of past experience, and executed in corruption, when ef. fectively left as they must be, mediately or immediately, to na. tive agency.'

The second part contains a discussion of the great national question of Zemindary rights of property and inheritance in the lands of Bengal, exhibiting all the arguments which have been used for and against their being possessed of such rights, reasoning on the question abitractedly, rather as a matter of speculation than of fact.

Mr. Grant admits that the Hindoo princes had property in the lands, before the Mahometan conquests; but he gives no idea of the extent of their principalities, though effential to the question. The following paragraph is more to the purpofe.

• Some offices are hereditary in all civilised governmenis; nor is the Mogul's, in this respect, an excep'ion. But the ofice of Zemindar is not, and could never have been properly confidered an inheritance; though a felfth expedient policy, perhaps alone applicable to the state of Hindofan, hath usually disposed of it to one of the children or family of the lart occupant; but not so expediently to his natural heir, by rules of primogeniture, as to his confidential son, daughter, wife, relation, friend, or nominee, in whose bands the immediate Zemindary management might chance to fall, together with the secret treasure, or other personal property of the deceased; and who, by such accession of private wealth, fuperadded to a presumptive proof of official capacity, in being left or found in the vacant public charge, was, in the ordinary course of ministerial favour, always deemed the most eligible person for the succession, as the best enabled to liquidate all Crit. Rev. N. AR. (IV.) Jan. 1792.


ballances of rent incurred by the former Zemindar, and moreover pay the largest indefinite demands of royal Pefheuse, Soubahdary, Nuzzeranab, and Dewanny fees, necessarily incident to every new Zemindary Sunnud, in proportion to the known value of the patent employment thus conditionally bellowed.'

At the end is a large Appendix of late papers illustrative of the subject.

Upon the whole, it appears to us that Mr. Grant has proved his position, in an ample and satisfactory manner.

The History of the Town of Taunton, in the County of Somerset.

Embellished with Plates. By Joshua Toulmin, A. M. 410.

7s. 6d. Boards. Johnson. 1791. WE have always approved of local histories, when they

are not permitted to degenerate into frivolous detail; which is the blemish most apt to adhere to productions of this kind. Mr. Toulmin seems to have guarded more against this fault, than several of his predecessors, by copiously intermixing his narrative with national affairs, and thereby rendering it more interesting. Indeed he might seem to have rather exceeded the just proportion of the allotment in this respect, were it not, that his judicious observations, added to the faithful account of public events, may support in the reader a degree of alacrity for the perusal. It cannot, however, be denied, that he fometimes loses sight of Taunton in pursuing more extenlive objects; though he always returns to it with emolument in point of local information.

In the first chapter, the author describes the ancient state of the town, its situation, antiquity, and some other circumstances. There is reason, he thinks to suppose, that Taunton was not unknown to the Romans. For in the year 1666, two large earthen pitchers, full of medals, were dug up by labourers, in ploughed fields; one at Lawrence Lydeard, and the other within the parish of Stogumber, or Stoke Gomer, adjoining it. This discovery, he observes, has been suppofed to authorize the following conclusions: that, after the conquest of other parts of Britain, the Romans came to the Cangi, in Somerset: that, having conquered them, in a valkoz between Taunton and Withyel, at or near the place now called Conquest, they still continued a legion, or part of ore at least, hereabouts, which they paid with such money as was found in the above-mentioned pitchers, to prevent any insurrections by land, or invasions by sea : and that these forces, when called home to relieve the empire, distressed by the irruptions of the northern nations, buried these treasures.' 8


These observations, he farther remarks, are confirmed by the discovery of Roman coins, and divers other antiquities, in the foundations of an old house near the castle, in 1643 ; and by a like incident within the memory of man; when, on pulling down a house in St. James's parish, an old Roman coin was found.

It appears sufficiently clear that Taunton was a place of note in the time of the Saxons. Ina, one of the west Saxon kings, as early as the year 700, built a castle here for his residence ; and is said to have held the first great council of his kingdom. Our author informs us, that the mode of succellion, in the manor of Taunton-Dean, is fingular, and is sometimes productive of very serious evils to families : for estates, according to the custom of it, descend to the widow of a man, though a second or third wife, to the prejudice of the issue under a prior marriage, who are totally precluded, though the lands were the ancient inheritance of their father. Another peculiarity, with respect to the right of succession, is that the younger son inherits before the elder; a custom which this tenure has in common with Borough-English.

In the second chapter, the author gives the plan of the town and public structures ; St. Mary Magdalen's church ; the appointment of the vicarage ; St. James's church; with diffenting meeting-houses, the grammar-school, and other public buildings.

The third chapter treats of the civil constitution of the town; the fourth, of its trade, manufactures, and navigation; the fifth, of the political transactions and revolutions, in which Taunton has been the scene of action; and the fixth, of the prefent ftate of the town, with the modern improvements and population.

It appears from the following account, that within a period of nearly half a century, Taunton has experienced a great revolution in its trade."'. The trade of Taunton, says our author,

• Is now reduced to a low ebb. Houfes in the suburbs have fallen into ruins and been destroyed : and the number of inhabitants greatly decreased : while the woollen manufactory, in other places, and in the north particularly, has flourished The decay of it, here, must be therefore sought in causes, that have had a local operation. Contefted elections, by no means friendly to industry, mult have proved particularly prejudicial to a trade, which, at times, could admit of no delay, in the execution of orders for goods, that must be ready for the failing of thips, and the seasons of foreigo fairs. The mischief of their influence, in this respect, was particularly felt in the continued and violent opposition of the year 1754. The demand for its goods was then grzat; but through F a


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