30 DECEMBER 1882, Page 2

The Times publishes a full account of the new Rent

legisla- tion proposed for Bengal. It appears from this that the peasantry have recently shown symptoms of disaffection, pro- duced by the constant efforts of the landholders to raise rents.. Under the Perpetual Settlement, the agrarian Charter of the Presidency, the Government pledged itself never to raise the quit-rent payable by the Zemindars, on the well-understood condition that the rents of the hereditary peasants should also remain fixed. Owing to the rapid increase of the population, there is now a fierce Competition for land, and the Zemindars, though admitting that a hereditary tenant is entitled to fixity, evade the principle, by shifting tenants from patch to patch, and then allowing competition as if they were new tenants. An Act passed in 1859 gave the peasants fixity, if they could show twelve years' occupancy ; but this has proved insufficient, and the Government is anxious to devise a more complete system. Three proposals are before it,—ono to separate peasant lands from demesne lands, giving absolute copyhold on the former ; another, to grant fixity on a twelve years' occupancy of any holding on an estate; and another, to reduce the term to three years. There can be no doubt that the first proposal is in exact accordance with the in- tention of the Settlement, but socially it hardly goes far enough. It would be necessary also to fix a maximum rental for the demesne lands, which, if paid, should bar all legal pro ceedings.