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the censorship. We are rather in- ultimate degree of freedom on the clined to believe, that it was owing to press in India. That, which the late the discovery of a circumstance, which Governor General bestowed upon it, had either been at the time entirely has been employed to the very worst overlooked, or the growing im- purposes; and although the shameful portance of which had not been pro- abuses which have prevailed, have not perly provided against, namely, that induced Government to re-impose the a previous censorship might, in the censorial trammels, they have comeye of the English law, subject pelled them to adopt measures, betthe officer exercising it, or the Go- ter calculated than those hitherto emvernment under whose orders he ployed, to prevent the evils, which a acted, to a responsibility in the case regard to the maintenance of our of libels published against private in- power in the East, renders it imperadividuals, which it was by no means tive on them to guard against. prudent at any time to incur, much The able and masterly statement of less to remain under, where there was facts, now before us, will be perused a daily increasing society, and a daily by every one, taking an interest in the greater clashing of private interests. character of our Government and The question of a censor's liability in the maintenance of its authority, in such cases has never, indeed, been with much satisfaction. It brings tried in this country, and in our opi- home to Mr. Buckingham the charge nion of it we may very probably be of having violated the laws regardmistaken ; but we apprehend we are ing the press, so triumphantly, and not far wrong, in surmising, that con- from evidence so incontestable, that siderations connected with this view of it would be perfectly superfluous to the subject, actuated the public au. add any thing with the view of estathorities, when the censorship was blishing this point; and it must for abolished.
ever shut the mouths of those who If our readers keep in view the maintain, that he was transmitted principles, which we have laid down solely on account of the remarks at the commencement of this article, he made on the appointment of the they will agree with us, that in taking present clerk to the Stationery Comaway the censorship, and imposing mittee. It is indeed impossible to the restrictions, to which we shall peruse this statement, and to behold afterwards have occasion to allude, the editor of the Calcutta Journal, Government were bestowing in fact a repeatedly violating the law, and Gogreater degree of liberty on the Indian vernment repeatedly restraining itself press, than it had ever enjoyed. The from exacting from him its penalty, act of Lord Hastings has, indeed, been without wondering alike at the boldvery unfairly and ungratefully held up, ness and effrontery of Mr. Buckingas laying a trap for public writers; ham, and the leniency and long-sufwhereas it is obvious, that in substi- fering of the Governor General in tuting the Governor General in Coun- Council. With the question, how far cil
, as judge of the tendency of public Englishmen in India possess the same writings, in place of the censor, it was right, as Englishmen at home, to approximating nearer to the most per- publish remarks on the acts of the fect state of freedom, in which the Local Governments, Mr. Buckingham press can exist, consistent with the had nothing to do: nor had he any very being of civilized society—that concern in the question, how far, if
submitting this tendency to a jury this liberty does not exist, it is expeof the writer's peers. We shall after- dient to bestow it upon them. He wards take occasion to point out the had voluntarily come under an obliimpolicy and danger of bestowing this gation, not to touch in his paper on
the subjects prohibited by the autho- the extent in which he did. rity of Government ; he received per- tempted to surmise that he was vain mission to follow the profession he enough to flatter himself with being chose, under express stipulations, that able, by dint of his own ability, to he would conform to the regulations establish the same right to comment enacted in regard to it, whatever they on the acts of authority, as is exercised might be: and we can imagine no- by the press at home, where circumthing more intrinsically ridiculous, stances are so widely different: and assuming, and misplaced, than his whether he created among many of attempts to justify his breaches of the European community, an appeacknowledged laws, by endeavouring to tite for “free discussion” at the Preprove to Government, that such laws sidency, or was himself the child of ought not to have been enacted. Un- this appetite, and the tool of those til the publication of the Statement, who sought its gratification, he no we were not, however, aware of the doubt derived confidence, in with. extent of Mr. Buckingham's delin- standing Government, from the supquencies. His whole life, as an editor, port and countenance, which, we appears to have been spent in a syste- gret to say, he experienced from many, matic attempt to evade the laws which who ought to have known him and he was bound to obey, and in urging their own circumstances better. upon Government a tissue of the most The Statement traces Mr. Buckshallow, sophistical, and inapplicable ingham through all his career of disarguments, in defence of his conduct. respect and disobedience to GovernIt will be seen from the pamphlet be- ment,* confining itself very properly fore us, that many and repeated were to his attacks upon public authority : the applications which the Governor and we ourselves shall not take up the General in Council was compelled to cudgels on questions affecting private make to his law officers, in conse
character, however such questions may quence of the libels which issued have been obtruded upon the attenweekly from the Calcutta Journal; tion of the Indian public. It will and certainly the very fact of making undoubtedly be asked in England, these applications, places beyond a when the subject is brought before doubt, the sincere desire of Govern- the Indian Authorities, how a man ment, to allow the late editor of the like Mr. Buckingham, in the daily Calcutta Journal all the benefits he breach of regulations, issued from the could derive from the laws of Eng- Council Board, was enabled to perland, administered in all the latitude sist so long in his course of disobe. of their liberty,-a latitude which he dience; and it will not redound to the could not claim, and which, as it was honour of the ex-editor, that this impurely ex gratia of the Governor Ge- punity is in part to be ascribed to his neral, ought to have met from him having held up the sentiments of the with a very different return. Every late Governor General, in his answer one knew, and no one better (as to an address from Madras, as having appears from his own correspondence led him into a hope and belief that with Government) than Mr. Bucking the regulations had been annulled. It ham himself, that by the laws, as is true, that in this answer, the Marthey existed in India, he could be quess Hastings warmly eulogized the deprived of his license of residence, advantages of public scrutiny through at the pleasure of the Governor Ge- a public press; and we have no hesineral in Council. But he has left us tation in expressing our regret, that to conjecture, what could possibly
* For an abridged historical account of Mr. have been his aim and design, in brav-, Buckingham's principal offences, vide our leading ing the application of these laws, to
article. We purposely confine our present strictures to a general view of the case.
when the Noble Marquess stated his not excite the most marked disgust opinions on this subject--opinions in and reprobation; and we yet look which we cordially agree-he did not back with some astonishment at the accompany the statement with a refe- scene, which for a short time prerence to the regulations, which he had sented itself. That any part of the himself imposed. To the expediency public of India, laying claim to honourand necessity of these regulations be able feelings, should have affected to could not, however, have borne a dole out its pity to Mr. Buckingham stronger testimony, than by continuing as an injured man, and to overlook them in full force, after the expression the insults offered to a nobleman so of these general sentiments. It will not justly and highly esteemed as the excite much surprise, that, under such Marquess Hastings, can only be excircumstances, the late Governor Gene- plained by the angry passions, which ral should have felt inclined to try the happened at the moment to have experiment, how far leniency and for- been conjured up by a paltry dispute bearance might correct the licentious- which had been carrying on in the ness of the press, to a greater extent newspapers of che settlement, on the in Mr. Buckingham's case, than he comparative merits of Mr. Buckingwould otherwise have done. His ham and Mr. Bankes, as gentlemen Lordship, as appears from this State- and travellers. When Mr. Buckingment, had received repeated assu- ham found it convenient, for his own rances from the editor, how sensibly purposes, to drag Government, and he felt this forbearance, and how the late Governor General, into this sincerely desirous he was of evincing altercation, he was listened to by his gratitude, by a more obedient con- many with a degree of credence duct in future; and, considering how and attention altogether unworthy of sensible Mr. Buckingham must have their good sense; and we blush for been, that all his prospects of success the little discretion and judgment of in this country depended on the fiat those, who could for a moment have of the Governor General in Council, entertained the belief, that a Governit was to be expected, that his pro- ment, which had, in all its acts, shewn fessions of regard to his authority the utmost leniency and forbearance would, at least for some time, have to Mr. Buckingham, could have combeen something more than empty bined with a set of anonymous and words. It requires, however, a very unknown scribblers in the Bull and cursory glance over the present State- the Journal, to vilify his character, ment, to be satisfied that these pro- urge him on to language of disrespect, fessions never received any thing like and ultimately to his banishment from an embodying, in acts of respect and the country. The Statement before deference to authority. So far was us very properly avoids making the this from being the case, that Mr. most distant allusion to the trifling Buckingham at length proceeded to discussion, to which we have referred. the extent of applying the most dis- It places clearly before the public the respectful terms to the public conduct grounds and the causes of the editor's of Lord Hastings, openly, and without transmission; and every candid man, disguise, accusing him of tyranny in who looks into it, will at once agree the discharge of bis high duties ! It with us in saying, that if in the last certainly proclaimed a very callous act of Government it proclaims and and depraved feeling in the mind of justifies the vigour of that rule, on the Indian public, when such language the unimpaired respectability of which from an editor of a newspaper, and depends our very existence, it also one so peculiarly circumstanced as abounds, in almost every page, with Mr. Buckingham by this time was, did proofs that this act was not resorted to until it was time—we had almost vernment, and the great success that said more than time.
attended it, ' a success beyond his It is impossible to peruse the ably most sanguine expectations,' he inwritten Statement before us, without forms them that Government had being sometimes tempted to laugh at waived the acknowledgment and apothe assumed dignity and importance logy first required, and merely expectof the editor of the Calcutta Journal. ed an expression of the editor's regret When called upon, in one instance, to at having worded the original notice apologize to the Madras Government,
so carelessly as to bear the appearfor a gross libel which he had pub- ance of disrespectful animadversion on lished upon it, this free mariner af- the Governor in Council at Madras, fects to say to the Governor-General and with this expressed expectation of in Council, “ It is impossible for me
Government, he said he should have to express to you, Sir, how I feel no reluctance in complying, “ since humbled by such a demand !" But his sentiments had undergone no we cannot express ourselves better change.'” on this subject, than in the words of
When the circumstances of this the Statement itself,
case are taken into one comprehensive To the clear and positive injunctions of view, and we recollect who the parties the Supreme Government of the country,
are, with whom this Mr. Buckingham Dr. Buckingham, a licensed free mariner; is corresponding, and who this Mr. residing bere on sufferance, thinks proper to oppose his pretended dignity; as if the Buckingham is himself, it is impossible unfounded insinuations thrown out by not to smile at the farcical aspect him against the public conduct of the which the affair presents. Encouraged Madras Government were nothing, and his dignity every thing. It is impossible by the indulgence which he had exfor him to express, says he, how much he perienced, and indebted for this indulfeels humbled by being called on to apo. gence to circumstances, of which he logize for any opinions he may have cxpressed against the Madras Government, proved himself well adapted to take because, they were “ honestly conceived, advantage; this individual, only notable and honestly expressed.”
as the conductor of a public paper, carActing upon his ideal notions of ried on, under a new system of reguhis own dignity, Mr. Buckingham lations, enacted from a belief that the sends in a letter of justification, couch- Indian press would fall into the hands ed in such terms as to be altogether of men of sense, erects himself into a inadmissible, repeating rather than personage of great importance, and atoning for his offence! Most art. backed by a turbulent “faction," as it fully overlooking the fact, that what- is very properly termed in the Stateever might be the nature of the grieve ment before us, aspires to little short ance under which he fancied himself of being Governor General himself, to labour, he was not at liberty, to under of course the control and remark disrespectfully upon the acts direction of the modern reformers of of any of the Governments in India. India. Nothing perhaps can place the He attempts to prove, that he and his whole matter in a more contemptible subscribers had suffered, and were point of view, than the consideration suffering, from the Post-office regula- who are these modern reformers, tions. When driven to publish some- this turbulent faction--who, in the thing like an apology, he does so in words of the Statement, have disthe shape of a “ Notice to Corres- graced themselves' by their associapondents under the Madras Presiden- tion with this high priest of free discy,”——“ in whicli,” says the author of cussion. They are men being under the Statement, having related, with favour in the country, whose adminisapparent triumph, the nature of the tration they are contributing (we correspondence between him and Ge- would fain hope unwillingly) to impugn
and vilify;-men who, challenged to they would take such other steps as might point out a single instance, in which appear to them proper to vindicate their this administration has departed from public officers, whose characters had been
Government accordingly did justice and equity, would themselves be call for the name of the writer of the the first to laud its measures, and to letter in question : but no notice was taken profess themselves among the fore- of Mr. Buckingham who gave it publi
city. His conduct on this occasion, as most of its admirers; men, who, with on many others, was through the lenity of all these pretensions, have not in Government allowed to pass without any reality the talent to look into the
mark of displeasure. grand questions of Indian policy as
The reformers of India cannot be regards the press; but who, finding unacquainted with Cobbett and his a public writer, like Mr. Buckingham, writings; and they will perhaps recolwho could skip about, and gambol lect, that Cobbett had to cool his with ease upon the surface, only heels in Newgate for a goodly term, proclaimed their own ignor..nce, by
for having written that English - solheartily giving him credit for the depth diers were flogged by foreigners, thereof his knowledge; men, in short, who, by tending to excite mutiny and diswithout knowing it, have been made
affection in the army. Now we will ask the tools and the dupes of a journalist, Mr. Buckingham's numerous friends and who has manifested, in all he has done, admirers, what they think would have a uniform regard to his own interest.
been the fate of the English apostle But on the merits of Mr. Bucking- of radicalism, had he said as much in ham's transmission we would come,
regard to the economy of the army at even with these men, to a very sum- home, as the ex-editor has allowed to mary issue. Let them turn to the 17th be said, in the letter alluded to, about page of the Statement, and read the
that of the army in India? Will they following paragraph.
deny that, to tell any army that the
good currency remitted for their payOn the 29th of the following month [February 1820] a letter was published
ment is kept back, and they are paid in the Calcutta Journal, in which the wri. with bad, does not tend to excite dister, after complaining of the rate of ex- affection and mutiny in the ranks? change at which the troops in the Nizam's or will they maintain that it is safer country were paid, attempted to shew, that the officers through whom the pay was
to tamper with the troops of an Indian issued, derived an illicit profit from selling than an English army? We are quite or receiving the good currency, which was sure there is not one among them, sent there from the Company's country, blinded and intemperate as they have and issuing a base currency to the troops; and he concluded with insolently recom
shewn themselves, who will advocate mending that Government should openly such opinions, or even venture to deduct a certain portion of the pay of the deny that, on this occasion, Mr. troops, instead of depriving them of it Buckingham experienced a leniency, clandestinely.
This letter the Resident at Hydrabad considered it his duty to trans- which, even had the letter to which mit do Government, as he observed in his we have referred contained the first letter on the subject, that it could not have and the last of his offences, he very been intended, in removing the restrictions ill deserved. We peruse it, even at from the press, cither that the acts of Government should be audaciously ar
this distance of time, with no slight raigned, that discontent at their measures degree of feeling: and we are pershould be spread among the troops, or suaded that when brought to the that their servants should be wantonly traduced, in the discharge of their public notice of those at home connected duty, by the slander of anonymous calum- with the Government of India, or niators. He therefore requested that Go- having within its territories a friend or ternment would call upon the writer of relative whom they esteem and love, the letter in question (who had given his address to the editor) to justify the im- they will thank the present Governorputations he had presumed to cast, or that General for adopting a measure, which Asiatic Journ.-No. 97.
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