Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

If, in the meantime, the gentleman comes out, and finds the men, his servants pacify him by declaring either that they have not yet had time to carry his orders into effect, that they could not get copper change for silver rupees, or that they were anxious to collect all the people together before they paid any, lest they might pay some of them twice over.  It is seldom, however, that he comes among them at all; he takes it for granted that the people have all been paid; and passes the charge in the account of his servants, who all get what these porters ought to have received.  Or, perhaps the gentleman may persuade himself that, if he pays his valet or butler, these functionaries will never pay the poor men, and think that he had better sit quiet and keep the money in his own pocket.  The native police or revenue officer is directed by his superior to have wood collected for the camp of a regiment or great civil officers, and he sends out his myrmidons to employ the people around in felling trees, and cutting up wood enough to supply not only the camp, but his own cook-rooms and those of his friends for the next six months.  The men so employed commonly get nothing; but the native officer receives credit for all manner of superlatively good qualities, which are enumerated in a certificate.  Many a fine tree, dear to the affections of families and village communities, has been cut down in spite, or redeemed from the axe by a handsome present to this officer or his myrmidons.  Lambs, kids, fowls, milk, vegetables, all come flowing in for the great man’s table from poor people, who are too hopeless to seek for payment, or who are represented as too proud and wealthy to receive it.  Such always have been and such always will be some of the evils of the purveyance system.  If a police officer receives an order from the magistrate to provide a regiment, detachment, or individual with boats, carts, bullocks, or porters, he has all that can be found within his jurisdiction forthwith seized—­releases all those whose proprietors are able and willing to pay what he demands, and furnishes the rest, which are generally the worst, to the persons who require them.  Police officers derive so much profit from these applications that they are always anxious they should be made; and will privately defeat all attempts of private individuals to provide themselves by dissuading or intimidating the proprietors of vehicles from voluntarily furnishing them.  The gentleman’s servant who is sent to procure them returns and tells his master that there are plenty of vehicles, but that their proprietors dare not send them without orders from the police; and that the police tell him they dare not give such orders without the special sanction of the magistrate.  The magistrate is written to, but declares that his police have been prohibited from interfering in such matters without special orders, since the proprietors ought to be permitted to send their vehicles to whom they choose, except on occasions

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