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of the runners being laid up, and I was informed by Mr. Goldfinch that hardly a post arrives without the report of the death of some person from fever. As to the European officers and subordinates, I was struck, as others have been, by their altered appearance. Since last year nearly every one, from Captain Baker downwards, is suffering or has suffered, and unless matters mend, as I trust they will, we shall meet with some obstruction from a cause altogether beyond regulation or control ; the district is getting as bad as the Dung
8. The rains too, this year have, it is to be regretted, held on to an unusually late period; indeed, there has been a heavy fall at the ghaut within the last five or six days which I think will be productive of undesirable results. Before this fall the dense jungle was still undried, the grass and undergrowth long and green, and the late unexpected and very undesirable moisture will defer for many days longer the thorough drying up which is so very necessary
9. I hope I shall not be thought anxious to make too much of the difficulty, but it is a very serious one, and should be fully explained to Government; and if any confirmation of my account of the state of matters is wanted, I would refer to Mr. Goldfinch, whose personal experience of a residence in North Canara, and whose more extended official information, will enable him to speak with more authority than I can.
10. On the ghaut when I passed down only about 1,500 men had been collected. They had all been imported from Rutnagiree, Sawunt Waree, &c., by the individual who has, with my consent, received a contract for executing the ghaut and road works on the schedule of rates given in para. 17 of my letter to Captain Baker. This number of men is far less than I expected to see, or than Captain Baker led me to expect I should see ; but the rice crop, as is well known, was very late this year, and the people cannot leave their homes until it is cut and stacked.
11. Reinforcements are, however, coming daily in twenties and thirties, and if not alarmed by the unhealthy state of the district, I believe, that shortly there will be three or four thousand men at work. This number is less than Captain Baker reported he expected to have, but I never thought his hopes would be fully realised, and I believe he will have done very well if he gets and keeps the number just named.
12. Without some such arrangement as a contract, it would have been very difficult to have got, or to have kept labour. The adoption of the contract plan relieved Captain Baker of the details of accounts of works, of personal accounts with each man, of advances given and recovered, and of all the complications due to keeping the records of a large fluctuating body of men; and added to this, he is spared the difficult and expensive arrangements for feeding the people, all of which have now been provided for by, and fall on the contractor. On the other hand, the schedule of rates, considering extra cost of labour in the district, is extremely moderate, and I have little hesitation in saying that, working departmentally, we could not have kept within such prices. Most of them are the contractor's own tenders, and though he might perhaps have been beaten down a little, he appeared desirous to act so fairly, and his offers were so reasonable, I did not desire to make any reduction, being convinced it is as much for the interest of Government as for the contractor, that he should desire a reasonable profit from an adventure which is as creditable to his enterprise as it is advantageous to the prosecution of these important works.
13. Such men as this contractor and his managing agent (a person who has executed contracts elsewhere) are much needed in this department, and I shall be very glad if the result of the present arrangement is as satisfactory to the individual concerned as it will be to us if carried out, as there is every reason (setting aside disorganization on account of sickness) to hope it will be.
14. At present, the proportion of fever cases on the ghaut is not very great, only about 4 per cent. ; but the men are fresh, and it remains to be seen what the effect of a longer residence will be. The contractor's managing agent has, however, suffered; Lieutenant Maccartney, Royal Engineers, has been very unwell from fever the last few days, and the other Europeans, Mr. Stapleton, and Serjeants Ferrell and Cresswell, are also ill.
15. I have arranged, as you will see from my letter to Captain Baker, for the general use of timber bridges on the line as being cheaper and more quickly executed, and as overcoming many of the difficulties more rapidly than stone arches. My idea is, that when the timber superstructure is worn out, iron shall be substituted; and as there are few or no cases in which pile supports will be applicable or necessary, a great deal of what is done now, will, I trust, come into permanent use.
16. You will observe from the 15th para. of my letter to Captain Baker, that I have had to find fault in respect to one point of his management. Up to the date of my visit, as the contractor's men arrived, they were employed on clearing the line of jungle to admit of the commencement of the excavation, but this, though necessary to a certain extent, had not been properly regulated by Captain Baker's subordinates on the spot, and far more jungle has been cleared than was necessary. The loss that has been incurred, though considerable, is not of moment, and I fortunately arrived with Captain Baker in time to put a stop to further luss, and I trust matters are now so regulated on the ghaut, that any further unprofitable expenditure need not be apprehended.
17. At Mullapoor, Mr. Maxwell, of the firm of Nicol & Co., is making preparations for the erection of cotton screws and saw mills, but I doubt
much if his arrangements will be completed this season. His main difficulty appears to be connected with the labour supply, and his European engineer and workpeople have been suffering from fever. On the whole, I doubt very much whether cotton in any quantity will come down from Kyga this year, even if we are successful in opening it entirely. Until screws are erected, there is no object in bringing cotton by this route, and I shall be greatly surprised if Mr. Maxwell is successful in setting up his machinery before the monsoon. At present, beyond the collection of a small quantity of material, the erection of a chupper residence, the excavation of some foundations, and the erection of a small landing jetty, nothing has been done.
MEMORANDUM from the Chief Engineer at the Presidency, No. 1765, dated the
15th December 1862.
SUBMITTED to Secretary to Government.
The chief engineer has already suggested to Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy that Captain Baker should make Beiteul his head quarters during the monsoon ; little, if anything, can be done, and the chief engineer has, been informed by the subedar-major of the sappers, that the company at Beitcul have not suffered from fever.
2. Colonel Kennedy's attention will be called to recent orders by the Commander in Chief respecting sanitary arrangements; these are equally applicable to gangs of workmen. Colonel Kennedy has probably attended to this already, but as it is not noticed in his letter to Captain Baker, it appears necessary to remind him.
RESOLUTION of Government.
The Honourable the Governor in Council approves of Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy's views, and directs that the satisfaction of Government be expressed to that officer at the general result.
2. The attention of the principal inspector general of the medical department should be called to paras. 6 and 9 of Lieutenant Colonel Kennedy's letter, dated the 3d December 1862.
(signed) H. Rivers, Lieut. Col., R. E.
Secretary to Government.
EAST INDIA (SEDASHEGAR HARBOUR).
COPY of CORRESPONDENCE relative to the Pier
and HARBOUR of SEDASHEGAR, and Roads leading thereto.
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,
3 March 1863
[Price 3 s. 4d. ]
Under 16 oz.
RETURN to an Address of the Honourable The House of Commons,
dated 7 May 1863 ;-for,
A “COPY of all CORRESPONDENCE not hitherto published, relative to the
HARBOUR of SEDASHEGUR, and Roads leading thereto.”
29 May 1863.
W. T. THORNTON, Secretary,
Public Works Department.
Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed,
i June 1863