I’m extracting this from Vol 1 of Romesh Dutt’s 1902 The Economic History of India Under Early British Rule .
This book is also available here.
This letter precedes Dutt’s discussion of weavers, and is pertinent evidence, to set the scene regarding unathourised oppressions by some British merchants and officers.
In the first place, a number of merchants have made interest with the people of the factory, hoist English colours on their boats, and carry away their goods under the pretence of their being English property, by which means the Shah-bunder and other customs are greatly determined.
Secondly, the Gomastahs of Luckypoor and Dacca factories oblige the merchants, &c., to take tobacco, cotton, iron, and sundry other things, at a price exceeding that of the bazaar, and then extort the money from them by force; besides which they take diet money for the peons, and make them pay a fine for breaking their agreement. By these proceedings the Aurungs and other places are ruined.
Thirdly, the Gomastahs of Luckypoor factory have taken the Talookdars’ talooks [the farmers’ farms] from the Tahsildar by force for their own use, and will not pay the rent. At the instigation of some people, they, on a matter of complaint, send Europeans and Sepoys, with a Dustuck, into the country, and there create disturbances. They station chowkeys [toll houses] at different places, and whatever they find in poor people’s houses they cause to be sold, and take the money.
By these disturbances the country is ruined, and the Reiats cannot stay in their own houses, nor pay the malguzaree [rents]. In many places Mr. Chevaier has, by force, established new markets and new factories, and has made false Sepoys on his own part, and they seize whom they want and fine them. By his forcible proceedings many hants, gauts, and perganas [markets, landing-places, and fiscal divisions] have been ruined.