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Sir Thomas Monro

madras, government, bombay and country

MONRO, SIR THOMAS, K.C.B., born in 1762, a Madras infantry officer, who rose to the rank of Major-General. He was Collector of the Ceded Districts and of the Bara Mahal, and commanded a division of the Madras army in the third Mahratta war. He took Sholapur, and settled the whole of the country between the Ceded Districts and the Southern Mahratta country. While Governor of Madras, he died of cholera near Ghooty, at Puttecondab, 6th July 1827, aged 65. He was an able administrator. A statue by Chantrey, in which he is seated on a horse in still life, has been erected in Madras to his memory. He entered the Madras army in 1779. His successful occupation of all the southern country, about 700 miles long, belonging to the Mahrattas, has been famed in history. Starting with 500 or 600 soldiers, amongst whom were a few Europeans, he took possession of the country which had been ceded by the treaty of Poona. Nine forts were surrendered to him or taken by assault on the way, and at the end of a silent and scarcely observed progress, he emerged from dis tricts hitherto ruled by the hostile Mahratta race with an accession instead of a diminution of forces.

Under British rule three land tenures are known, the zamindari or permanent settlement, made in 1792 by Lord Cornwallis, of Bengal proper, and since then extended to Behar and Orissa, in which the lands are divided amongst middlemen, who pay a quit-rent to Government.

Under the ryotwari tenure in Madras, recognised by Sir T. Monro, the cultivators are the co-owners

of the soil, and pay direct to Government. A modification of this has been introduced into Bombay.

The pattadari tenure was established by Mr. Martins Bird in the North-West Provinces, aril it has since been extended to the Panjab. In this, Government deal direct with com munities, who are jointly_ responsible the assessment.

In Bombay and Madras, Government transacts its revenue business direct with the cultivating ryot or farmer, who is regarded as the feuar or proprietor, paying a feu-duty ; and so long as that is paid ho cannot be dispossessed. Neither in Bombay nor Madras is there any middleman. In Bengal, how ever, the British took up the zamindar system, who, under Muhammadan rule, had been partly a rent collector and partly a landed proprietor, and elected him to be owner, to the exclusion in many cases of the rights of the cultivators. Subse quently the Government, to the exclusion of the real owner, elected the tenant or the village com munity. In Bengal and Oudh the land tax is still levied on estates ; in Northern India, on villages and proprietary holdings, and on indi vidual fields. But in Madras and Bombay the tax is levied on the blocks of 10 or 12 acres, accord ing to the convenience of the occupiers. Sir Thomas Monro was the strongest advocate of the ryotwari tenure.