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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 29


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Ryotwarry is that system of tenure which, under nominal yearly tenancy, gives to the tenant fixity of tenure—a title as good as a freehold without (1) its original cost; (2) with the option of throwing up unprofitable fields in hard times, instead of throwing good money after bad, and starving a whole farm to make five or ten hungry acres profitable; (3) with an unchanging light demand and great ease of transfer. (4)

It is a system entirely in favour of the tenant; it does all that can be done to ensure his prosperity—and thus it also secures the prosperity of the landlord.

It may not be adapted to estates of moderate dimensions, but for a large estate—such as Crown Lands—it is admirable because it is firmly and simply based. It recognizes that the interests of landlord and tenant are really only one; viz., that of the latter, and seeking mainly to attain this, it, at the same time, secures to the landlord a body of tenantry who never fail of payment.

It has been the tenure for centuries in the Madras Presidency in the South of India.

It is applicable to large or small farms.

In Madras there is no limit in practise, but in theory it is considered well to prevent labourers becoming pauper tenants, by limiting the minimum to the area that can be cultivated by the owner of a plough and a pair of bullocks.

The usual rate levied is supposed to be about one-fifth of the gross crop.

But in average seasons the demand really amounts to much less.

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The form of the simple title deed runs much as follows:—

"In the village of Taupo, as long as you, John Smith, pay annually, or by such and such instalments, the tax of twenty-five shillings on five acres of dry (or irrigated) land within_________such and such boundaries, or numbered so and so, it shall remain yours and your heirs.


"On behalf of Government"