BLACK ACT. This was the name given in odium by the non-official Europeans in India to Act XI., 1836, of the Indian Legislature, which laid down that no person should by reason of his place of birth or of his descent be, in any civil proceeding, excepted from the jurisdiction of the Courts named, viz.: Sudder Dewanny Adawlut, Zillah and City Judge’s Courts, Principal Sudder Ameens, Sudder Ameens, and Moonsiff’s Court, or, in other words, it placed European subjects on a level with natives as to their subjection in civil causes to all the Company’s Courts, including those under Native Judges. This Act was drafted by T. B. Macaulay, then Legislative Member of the Governor-General’s Council, and brought great abuse on his head. Recent agitation caused by the “Ilbert Bill,” proposing to make Europeans subject to native magistrates in regard to police and criminal charges, has been, by advocates of the latter measure, put on all fours with the agitation of 1836. But there is much that discriminates the two cases.

1876.—“The motive of the scurrility with which Macaulay was assailed by a handful of sorry scribblers was his advocacy of the Act, familiarly known as the Black Act, which withdrew from British subjects resident in the provinces their so called privilege of bringing civil appeals before the Supreme Court at Calcutta.”—Trevelyan’s Life of Macaulay, 2nd ed., i. 398.

[BLACK BEER, s. A beverage mentioned by early travellers in Japan. It was probably not a malt liquor. Dr. Aston suggests that it was kuro-hi, a dark-coloured saké used in the service of the Shinto gods.

[1616.—“One jar of black beer.”—Foster, Letters, iv. 270.]

BLACK-BUCK, s. The ordinary name of the male antelope (Antilope bezoartica, Jerdon) [A. cervicapra, Blanford], from the dark hue of its back, by no means however literally black.

1690.—“The Indians remark, ’tis September’s Sun which caused the black lines on the Antelopes’ Backs.”—Ovington, 139.


[BLACK JEWS, a term applied to the Jews of S. India; see 2 ser. N. & Q., iv. 4. 429; viii. 232, 418, 521; Logan, Malabar, i. 246 seqq.]

BLACK LANGUAGE. An old-fashioned expression, for Hindustani and other vernaculars, which used to be common among officers and men of the Royal Army, but was almost confined to them.

BLACK PARTRIDGE, s. The popular Indian name of the common francolin of S.E. Europe and Western Asia (Francolinus vulgaris, Stephens), notable for its harsh quasi-articulate call, interpreted in various parts of the world into very different syllables. The rhythm of the call is fairly represented by two of the imitations which come nearest one another, viz. that given by Sultan Baber (Persian): ‘Shir daram, shakrak’ (‘I’ve got milk and sugar’!) and (Hind.) one given by Jerdon: ‘Lahsan piyaz adrak’ (‘Garlic, onion, and ginger’!) A more pious one is: Khuda teri kudrat, ‘God is thy strength!’ Another mentioned by Capt. Baldwin is very like the truth: ‘Be quick, pay your debts!’ But perhaps the Greek interpretation recorded by Athenaeus (ix. 39) is best of all: tris tois kakourgois kaka ‘Three-fold ills to the ill-doers!’ see Marco Polo, Bk. i. ch. xviii. and note 1; [Burton, Ar. Nights, iii. 234, iv. 17].

BLACK TOWN, n.p. Still the popular name of the native city of Madras, as distinguished from the Fort and southern suburbs occupied by the English residents, and the bazars which supply their wants. The term is also used at Bombay.

1673.—Fryer calls the native town of Madras “the Heathen Town,” and “the Indian Town.”

1727.—“The Black Town (of Madras) is inhabited by Gentows, Mahometans, and Indian Christians.…It was walled in towards the Land, when Governor Pit ruled it.”—A. Hamilton, i. 367.

1780.—“Adjoining the glacis of Fort St. George, to the northward, is a large town commonly called the Black Town, and which is fortified sufficiently to prevent any surprise by a body of horse.”—Hodges, p. 6.

1780.—“… Cadets upon their arrival in the country, many of whom … are obliged to take up their residence in dirty punch-houses in the Black

  By PanEris using Melati.

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