ANGLO-SIKH TREATY

ANGLOSIKH TREATY (1840). In 1832, a treaty was executed by Lord William Bentinck, the Governor General of India, through Col. C.M. Wade, with the Lahore Darbar concerning navigation through the Sutlej and the Indus rivers within the Khalsa territory. Another treaty on the subject was subsequently executed in 1834, fixing a duty on every mercantile boat, independent of its freight and of the nature of its merchandise.A third treaty was executed on this subject on the arrival of George Russell Clerk, agent to the Governor General, at the Sikh Darbar, in May 1839, adjusting the rate of duties on merchandise, according to quantity and kind.

The treaty between the Sikh and British governments, signed in the time of Maharaja Kharak Singh on 27 June 1840, provided for duties, on a fixed scale, proportionate to the measurements of boats, and not on the variety of commodities. The treaty provides a schedule of rates of duties on the mercantile boats, viz.on boats not exceeding 250 maunds of freight, 50 rupees; on boats exceeding 250 maunds but not exceeding 500 maunds, 100 rupees; and on all boats above 500 maunds, 150 rupees. Grain, wood and limestone were declared to be free of duty while duty was payable on every other commodity according to the measurement of the boat.

The text of the treaty: Treaty with Maha Rajah Khurruk Singh 1840 (Signed by Maha Rajah Khurruk Singh) Seal of Maha Rajah Khurruk Singh Formerly a Treaty was executed by the Right Honorable Lord William Cavendish Bentinck, the Governor General of India, on the 14th of Poos, Sumbut 1889 (corresponding with AD 1832), through Colonel (then Captain) Wade, concerning the navigation of the Sutlej and the Scinde rivers in the Khalsa territory, in concurrence with the wishes of both the friendly and allied Governments.Another Treaty on the subject was subsequently executed through the same officer, in Sumbut 1891 (corresponding with AD 1834), fixing a duty on every mercantile boat, independent of the quantity of its freight, and the nature of its merchandize. A third Treaty was executed on this subject, in accordance with the wishes of both Governments, on the arrival of Mr. Clerk, Agent to the Governor General, at the Durbar, in May 1839, adjusting the rate of duties on merchandize, according to quantity and kind, and although at the end of that document so much was specified as that the two high powers should after this never propose a rate below (less than) that specified, yet, notwithstanding after this, when that gentleman came to the Khalsa Durbar at Amritsur, in Jeth, Sumbut 1897 (corresponding with May 1840), he explained the difficulties and inconvenience which seemed to result to trade under the system proposed last year, in consequence of the obstruction to boats for the purpose of search and the ignorance of traders, and the difficulty of adjusting duties according to the different kinds of articles freighted in the boats, and proposed to revise that system by fixing a scale of duties proportionate to the measurement of boats, and not on the kind of commodities, if this arrangement should be approved of by both Governments.

Having reported to his Government the circumstances of the case, he now drew up a Schedule of the rate of duties on the mercantile boats navigating the Rivers Scinde and Sutlej and forwarded it for the consideration of this friendly Durbar. The Khalsa Government, therefore, with due regard to the established alliance, having added a few sentences in accordance with the late Treaties, and agreeably to what is already well understood, has signed and sealed the Schedule, and it shall never be at all liable to any contradiction, difference, change or alteration, without the concurrence and concert of both Governments, in consideration of mutual advantages, upon condition it does not interfere with the established custom duties at Amritsur, Lahore, and other inland places, or the other rivers in the Khalsa territory. 

Articlel.Grain, wood and limestone will be free from duty. Article 2. Witli exception to the above, every commodity to pay duty according to the measurement of the boat. Article 3. Duty on a boat not exceeding two hundred and fifty maunds of freight, proceeding from the foot of the hills, Roopur or Loodiana, to Mithenkote or Rojan, or from Rojan or Mithenkote to the foot of the hills, Roopur or Loodiana will be Rs. 50 viz., From the foot of the hills to Ferozepore, or back Rs. 20 From Ferozepore to Bhawulpore, or back Rs.15 From Bhawulpore to Mithenkote or Rojan, or back Rs.15 The whole trip, or down Rs.50 Duty on a boat above two hundred and fifty maunds, but not exceeding five hundred maunds, from the foot of the hills, Roopur or Loodiana, to Mithenkote or Rojan, or from Rojan or Mithenkote to the foot of the hills, Roopur or Loodiana will be Rs.100 viz., From the foot of the hills to Ferozepore, or back Rs. 40 From Ferozepore to Bhawulpore, or back Rs. 30 From Bhawulpore to Mithenkote or Rojan, or back Rs. 30 The whole trip, up or down Rs. 100 Duty on all boats above five hundred maunds will be Rs. 150 viz., From the foot of the hills to Ferozepore, or back Rs. 60 From Ferozepore to Bhawulpore, or back Rs. 45 From Bhawulpore to Mithenkote or Rojan or back Rs. 45 The whole trip, up or down Rs. 150 Article 4. Boats to be classed l,2,or 3, and the same to be written on the boat, and every boat to be registered.

Article 5. These duties on merchandize frequenting the Sutlej and Scinde, are not to interfere with the duties on the banks of other rivers, or with the established inland custom houses, throughout the Khalsa Territory, which will remain on their usual footing. Dated 13th Assar, Sumbut 1897, corresponding with 27 June 1840 (True translation) (Sd.) G. CLERK, Agent to the Governor General Approved by the Governor General, 10th August 1840

References :

1. Cunningham, Joseph Davey, A History of the Sikhs. London,1849
2. Hasrat, B.J., Anglo-Sikh Relations. Hoshiarpur, 1968
3. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89