In 1832, a treaty was executed by Lord William Bentinck, the Governor-General of India, through Col. C.M. Wade, with the Lahore Darbar concerning navigation, through the Sutlej and the Indus rivers within the Khalsa territory. Another treaty on the subject was subsequently executed in 1834, fixing a duty on every mercantile boat, independent of its freight and of the nature of its merchandise. A third treaty was executed on this subject on the arrival of George Russell Clerk, agent to the Governor-General, at the Sikh Darbar, in May 1839, adjusting the rate of duties on merchandise, according to quantity and kind.
The treaty between the Sikh and British governments, signed in the time of Maharaja Kharak Singh on 27 June 1840, provided for duties, on a fixed scale, proportionate to the measurements of boats, and not on the variety of commodities. The treaty provides a schedule of rates of duties on the mercantile boats, viz. on boats not exceeding 250 maunds of freight, 50 rupees; on boats exceeding 250 maunds but not exceeding 500 maunds, 100 rupees; and on all boats above 500 maunds, 150 rupees. Grain, wood and limestone were declared to be free of duty while duty was payable on every other commodity according to the measurement of the boat.
The Text of the Treaty:
Sirdar Runjeet Sing and Sirdar Futteh Sing have consented to the following Articles of Agreement concluded by Lieutenant-Colonel John Malcolm, under the special authority of the Right Honorable Lord Lake, himself duly authorized by the Honorable Sir George Hilaro Barlow, Baronet, Governor General, and Sirdar Futteh Sing, as principal on the part of himself and plenipotentiary on the part of Runjeet Sing.
Article 1. Sirdar Runjeet Sing and Sirdar Futteh Sing Aloowalia hereby agree that they will cause Jeswunt Rao Holkar to remove with his army to the distance of 30 coss from Amritsar immediately, and will never hereafter hold any further connection with him, or aid or assist him with troops, or in any other manner whatever, and they further agree that they will not in any way molest such of Jeswunt Rao Holkar's followers or troops as are desirous of returning to their homes in the Deccan, but, on the contrary, will render them every assistance in their power for carrying such intention into execution.
Article 2. The British Government hereby agrees that in case a pacification should not be effected between that Government and Jeswunt Rao Holkar, the British Army shall move from its present encampment on the banks of the River Beas as soon as Jeswunt Rao Holkar aforesaid shall have marched with his army to the distance of 30 coss from Amritsar; and that in any Treaty which may hereafter be concluded between the British Government and Jeswunt Rao Holkar, it shall be stipulated that, immediately after the conclusion of the said Treaty, Holkar shall evacuate the territories of the Sikhs and march towards his own, and that he shall in no way whatever injure or destroy such parts of the Sikh country as may lie in his route. The British Government further agrees that as long as the said Chieftains Runjeet Sing and Futteh Sing abstain from holding any friendly connection with the enemies of that Government, or from committing any act of hostility on their own parts against the said Government, the British Armies shall never enter the territories of the said Chieftains, nor will the British Government form any plans for the seizure or sequestration of their possessions or property.