Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

4.  Goldsmith, ‘The Hermit’ (in chapter 8 of The Vicar of Wakefield).

5.  Groves are still scarce in the Agra country, but much planting has been done on the roads.

6.  Gorakhpur, Azamgarh, and some other districts, forming half of the old province of Oudh, ceded by the ruler of Oudh in 1801, were long known as the Ceded Provinces.  The western districts of the North-Western Provinces, known as the Conquered Provinces, were taken from the Marathas in 1803-5.  The Province of Benares became British territory in 1775.  The hill districts of the Kumaun Division were annexed in 1816, at the close of the war with Nepal.  All the regions named are now included in the Agra Province of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, in which the editor served for twenty-nine years.

7.  The author’s remarks are not readily intelligible to readers unversed in the technicalities of Indian revenue administration.  The author writes on the assumption that Government was the proprietor of the soil.  While he was writing, the settlements under Regulation IX of 1833 were in progress.  Those settlements, or revenue contracts, were ordinarily sanctioned for periods of thirty years, and the landholders, whom the author calls ‘lessees’, have gradually changed into ‘proprietors’, with full power over their land, subject only to the State lien for the ‘land revenue’ (Crown rent, or State share of the produce), and to the laws of inheritance and succession.  The ‘resumption of rent-free lands’ simply means the subjection of those lands to the payment of ‘land revenue’.  It is inaccurate to say that the lands are become ‘the property of Government’ by reason of their being assessed.  Even when land generally was regarded as the property of the State, and the landholders were considered to be only lessees, no objection would have been made to the planting of groves if payment of the ‘land revenue’ had been continued for the planted area as for cultivated land.  Now that landholders have been recognized as proprietors, there is nothing to prevent them from planting as much land as they like with trees, although the State has not always been willing to exempt the whole planted area from assessment.  No one ever objected to the renewal of trees except on the ground that the area under trees might be excluded from assessment.  For many years past the Government of India has been most anxious to encourage tree-planting, and has sanctioned liberal rules respecting the exemption of grove land from assessment to ‘land revenue’, or ‘rent’, as the author calls it.  The Government of the United Provinces certainly is not now liable to reproach for indifference to the value of groves.  Enormous progress in the planting of road avenues has also been made.  The deficiency of trees in the country about Agra is partly due to nature, much of the ground being cut up by ravines, and unfavourable for planting.

8.  The Aligarh district lies to the north and east of the Mathura district.  The fort of Aligarh is fifty-five miles north of Agra, and eighty-four miles south-east of Delhi.

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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