A Letter from Robert Saunders, 1788

(From Bengal District Records - Dinajpur, vol. 1 (1787-1789), edited by Walter K. Firminger, B.D., F.R.G.S., Archdeacon of Calcutta [Assam Secretariat Printing Office, Shillong, 1914], letter 275, p. 179. Courtesy of Conrad Roche.)

From Robert Saunders (1754-1825) to George Hatch, then Collector of Dinagepore:

7th December 1788


I must request the favour of a little of that attention from you to my people which I have always experienced.

Many opium ryots in your district, I am told, after sowing and producing the plant, have, by the influence of the Jamuldar, a practice of using young plants as a vegetable, to prevent the delivery of opium. I have ordered my man to inform you of the particulars; and, if you see it proper, I shall be most obliged to you for a perwannah directing the Jamuldars to permit the people who cultivate the poppy to receive my advances, and deliver their opium at the established rates.

I am, etc.

Dinagepore is now Dinajpur, Bangladesh. Boglepore is now Bhagalpur, India. A ryot was a peasant or tenant farmer. A jamuldar (zemindar) was a landowner or collector of local land revenues. A perwannah (purwanah) was an order or letter of authority.

content last revised 4 Feb 2001