Bernier, François, Travels in the Mogul Empire A.D. 1656-1668

(Westminster, Eng. :  Constable,  1891.)



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■   CONCERNING HINDOUSTAN               237

evils in any state, and it is incumbent upon a Sovereign
to provide a remedy against them. It is certain that no
remedy would be so efficacious as the destruction of the
right of private property. Do away with this meum and
tuum, and the necessity for an infinite number of legal
proceedings will at once cease, especially for those which
are important, long, and intricate : the larger portion of
magistrates employed by the King to administer justice to
his subjects will also become useless, as will those swarms
of attorneys and counsellors who live by judicial contests.
But it is equally certain that the remedy would be
infinitely worse than the disease, and that there is no
estimating the misery that would afflict the country.
Instead of magistrates on whose probity the monarch can
depend, we should be at the mercy of such rulers as I
have described. In Asia, if justice be ever administered,
it is among the lower classes, among persons who, being
equally poor, have no means of corrupting the judges, and
of buying false witnesses ; witnesses always to be had
in great numbers, at a cheap rate, and never punished.
I am speaking the language of several years' experience ;
my information was obtained from various quarters, and is
the result of many careful inquiries among the natives,
European merchants long settled in the country, ambassa¬
dors, consuls, and interpreters.^ My testimony is, I
know, at variance with the account given by most of our
travellers. They happened, perhaps, in passing through
a town, to see two poor men, the dregs of the people, in
the presence of a Kadi. Our countryman may have seen
them hurried out of court to receive, either the one or
the other, if not both, hard blows on the soles of the feet,
unless the parties were immediately dismissed with a
' Maybale-Baba,' ^ or a few soft words which the magistrate
sometimes utters when   he   finds  that  no   bribe  can be

'  Tmichemens in the original, our ' dragoman.'

'^ Intended for mubd'eleh Baba, ' Be at peace, my children,' equiva¬
lent to advising them to settle their case out of court.
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