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1 Law Rev. 1 (1880)

handle is hein.journals/lwreviw1 and id is 1 raw text is: THE


No. 1.]       MAY, i88o.           [VOL. 1.

Art. I.-The Zemindary Settle-
ment of Bengal. 2 Volumes.
Calcutta : 1879.
M ESSRS. BROWN & CO. have done
good service to the public by pub-
lishing the two beautiful volumes, entitled
The Zemindary Settlement of Bengal.
For a long time past, there has not appeared
in this country a work so scholarly upon
a subject of such transcendent interest. The
object of the work is clearly set forth in the
Introduction.  The effects of the zemindary
settlement of Bengal will last as long as
British rule in India; but already, well con-
ceived ideas of the authors of that settle-
ment seem to be nigh forgotten. They de-
signed a permanent settlement for the ryot,
of the same character, and under the same
guarantee of its inviolability, as the per-
manent settlement for the zemindar, and
they thought that they had effectually pro-
vided for such a settlement, at the rates
of 1792, by the Regulations of 1793. Yet
we find that in 1879, the Bengal Go-
vernment appointed a Committee to con-
solidate the substantive rent-law, and to
suggest amendments, as if a permanency of
assessment had not been assured to the ryots
in 1793 by the authors of the permanent
settlement, and as if the rents paid by ryots
in the present day were not already so much
greater, indubitably, than the pergunnah
rates, plus abwabs of 1792, as (at least) to
assure to the ryots immunity from further
enhancement of rent. The author, therefore,

proposes to consider the lines on which the
Zemindary Settlement was made, and to
ascertain whether it is really the fact that a
permanent assessment for ryots was omit-
ted from a settlement by which its authors
 hoped to secure happiness to the body of
the inhabitants. He has bestowed upon the
subject a scrupulous care and attention which
deserves the highest praise, and his research-
es have been conducted with an industry
and an honesty of purpose, which could scarce-
ly be surpassed. As he rightly says: The
prosecution of this inquiry and a digest of its
results involved a deal of drudgery, wading
through ponderous volumes, much dry read-
ing, and hard manual labour; but if in the
result, weighty utterances of India's worthies
well expressed, have been exhumed from an
official or parliamentary literature that is
practically dead and buried, and from writ-
ings of earnest thinkers and well-wishers of
India, who have long since passed away, the
reader will, perhaps, consider himself a gainer
by the recovery of extracts, and the collec-
tion of information, such as he may not find
within the four corners of any other book,
and such as may be very helpful in consider-
ing that, which, for Bengal, is now the ques-
tion of the day, viz., the rent question. The
Appendices constitute a large portion of the
book and are certainly not the least valuable
portion. The papers in the Appendix were
to have been limited to subjects directly con-
nected with the Zemindary settlement of
Bengal; but the progress of the inquiry show-
ed that the condition and status of the ryot
had been injured, not alone by the mistakes

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