« PreviousContinue »
the gates of Toulouse, and from the wood of Soignes to the towers of Notre Dame. (Cheers.) 15ut in this assembly my toast has a peculiar title to receive all the honors. The British Army, gentlemen, everywhere met and baffled the most despotic, the most to midable enemy of a Free Press which the world ever saw. Almitting all his greatness, all his magnificent and richest qualities, yet there never lood a fiercer hater, a more inexorable tyrant, where the liberty of the Press was concerned, than Napoleon Bouaparte. (Cheers.) But the hour of retribution came, and the murder, I will call it by no other title, -the foul murder of the unfortunate Palm - of the poor bookseller, whom the despot crushed in warth and in scorn, was gloriously revenged on the Plains of Waterloo, by The BR111st Anxix. (Much cheering.)
The ChairMAN.—Gentlemen; another bumper, and let this be the fullest you can fill. I have given you the freedom of the Indian Press; I have endeavoured to describe the immeasurable blessings it will co fer on this country ; but my toast now is the health of him to whom we owe that boon? our distinguished guest, S1, Charles Metcalfe. (Enthusiastic cheering which continued for a lony time.) I shall not, gentlemen, detain you long, for more I cannot say, than what I have already uttered, regarding the value to India of the freedom of the Press, nor can I say more regardi g our obligation to Sir Charles Metcalfe, than that it is to him, to his wisdom, his decision, his independence, we are indebted for that incalculable blessing. But surpass. ing as are the claims of Sir Charles Metcalfe on us, for this great act, how well are they supported by the history of his Indian life. (Loud cheers.) Lock at him in every relation of Society; the hospitablo
host, the friend of the social circle, the charitablf
reliever of distress, the munificent patron of useful institutions, the assiduous officer of Government ; the statesman who cared for the empire' (Chee s.) Were I to seek for that, to which I might compare him, 1 should find it in the striking feature of this country, where numerous and magnificent streams flow through, and fertilize vast tracts of land, till uniting together, they form a mighty river, bearing on its bosom the riches and commerce of the kingdom, and constituting the source of all its greatness. So with Sir Charles Metcalfe : his assiduity, his talent ; his munificence, his charities, his judgment, firmness, and integrity, are the qualities resembling those rich streams, and uniting in him as they have done, they have given to India, that great statesman who has proved the pillar of her empire. (Immense cheering.) I give you, gentlemen, prosperity, health and happiness to Sir Charles Metcalfe, the liberator of the Indian Press. (The toast was received as it merited, and many minutes elapsed before Sir Charles could obtain a hearing, so prolonged and euthusiastic was the cheering.
Air.--" Charlie is my darling.”
Sin Charles Morcaire, rose and was again greeted with cheers, which were continued, in one universal burst for about five minutes. The worthy Baronet seemed deeply affected, but recovering himself, he said: —Gentlemen; you have so overwhelmed me with your kindness, that I find myself quite unable to give expres. sion to my feelings, or to retnrn my thanks as I could wish. I possess not the eloquence of my fiend, the so enable me to do so; but l believe with him, and with you, that a Free Press is a blessing in any country; (Much cheering) and I perfectly concur in all he has said in praise of it as applied to this. (Cheers.) We have ample, proof of the vast benefits accruing from a Free Press in our own country and in America; and it was on this proof that I acted as I did here, respectiug the Freedom of the Press. (Cheers.) I will proceed no further on the subject of the eman
cipation of the Press. Were I before another tribunal, I might defend that measure; (Deafening cheers.) but to do so here, is evidently quite unne, essary-perfectly superfluous. (Much cheering.) You are all with me. (Cheers.) I shall conclude, gentlemen, with thanking you, first for the honor you have done me in inviting me to this party in celebration of the Freedom of the Press; (Cheers.) and, secondly, for the exceeding kindness with which you have just drank my health. (Much cheering.)
Ma. Dickens.—Gentlemen ; one cheer more to the honestest statesman we have cyer had. (Deafening and long-continued cheering.)
C. R. PRINsep, Esq.-Gentlemen; we are met to celebrate the anniversary of the Liberated Press of India in the presence of its illustrious liberator; and I am not surprized when I consider it is the last time he will join in its celebration, that his presence should have been hailed with such enthusiasm. Iłut we must not |allow the interest of the occasion to divert our attention altogether from the grand odject of our meeting, or to sorget that much yet remains to he done. It is not enough that the Freedom of the Press should be declared by the statute or advance by regulation, nor is it suffi|cient that it should be guarded by all the provisions that the ingenuity of man or of Law Commissioners can levise. No true friend of the Press will rest satisfied until he sees it placed under the safeguard of the sole palladium of civil society–Trial by Jury. (Much cheering.) I see; gentlemen, I have touched a chord that thrills through all your hearts. I am content with that expression of your feelings; but I cannot sit down without drawing your attention to the facts that the Press of India enjoys little of that security. It is only in the King's Courts that it can appeal to a jury at all, and in those courts it has no such appeal, except upon a criminal charge. All its civil liabilities are left to the absolute discretion of the Judges, which English principles and Euglish practice have denounced as a most unsafe tribunal. 1 have done enough to draw your attention to the necessity of going a step further, and obtaining the security of jury trial in all cases where the Press is concerned. That point gained, all will be safe, all will be permanent. Tories may combine against it, Whigs may job, and Benthamites may blunder on ; the Press shall bring its enemies to the ground one after another, when it shall be enabled to launch its weapons from underneath the Fgis of jury trial. Gentlemen, let us, therefore, drink in a full bumper, Trial by Jury, the bulwark of the Freedom of the Press.(Cheers.)
Alas! little better, three lustres ago,
The Chai RMAN.—Gentlemen ; my friend, the ViceChairman, at the bottom of the hall, and my other friends under his care, have not been unifo inly orderly in their proceedings this evening, and I feel a little jealous that at a testivity given in the cause of Freedom, they should have all the disorder to themselves - (4 laugh). As I cannot set, I shall therefore follow the example, and break through the order of the toasts. We have drank, gentlemen, the Freedem of the Press and its Liberator, but there is another to whom the Press owes great obligations. If it needed any argument to secoinineud to you the object of my toast, I know I nee, but mention the high opinion which Sir Charles Metcalfe entertains of him, and the sincere esteem with which he prizes him as an enlightened statesman, and a friend of India. Gentlemen, it was Lord Willion, Benūnck (Loud cheering ) I say it was Lord William Bentinck who hist practically set the Press of India free ; for from the monent that he landed on these shores, to the hour that he left them, the restrictions existed out in name. Let me recall to you also, gentlemen, his uniform support of the cause of Steam Navigation. It is he that has sent the boats to the distant provinces by inland navigation ; it is he who is nobly advocating the scheme in England; and though he has left our shores, he has not deserted our interests. (Cheering.) I could dwell on many other strong claims he has on your gratitude, but need I do more than give our late Governor-General, Lord William Bentinck, the friend of the Press, the staunch advocate of Steam. (Drank with loud cheers.)
The Chain MAN.—Gentlemen ; previous to our proceeding to the next toast on the list, permit me to read to you a letter I have received from a gentleman now absent, but who is greatly respected and esteemed by you all ; I mean my friend Dwarkanauth Tagore. (Cheers) Mir, Clarke then read the following letter :
Losqueville CLAnke, Esq.,
My Dr.An Sin, – It is a severe disappointment to me that the departure of the steam packet, only two days before our meeting, deprives me of the satisfaction to which I had so long looked forward, in common with my brother stewards and the friends of free printing, of holding our yearly festival in the presence of Sir Charles Metcalfe. But there is no help for it, and I can only
beg you to assure the meeting and our greatly respected guest, that nothing but unavoidable necessity could have kept one away on such a great occasiou as the celebration of the privilege of freely expressing our opinions of public measures and men. -
It is my duty more particularly, as a native landlord and me chant, and note intinate than most of my country men, perhaps, with yours and with the nature of the Government under which this great and rising country is connected with England, to speak out on an occasion . like the present. I sincerely believe that the liberating of the Press in India is one of the most valuable acts ever attempted by the lindian Government; it strengthens their own |. and ears, and eyes, in ruling this vast region, and it is also a guarantee to the people that their rulers mean to govern with justice since they are not afraid to let their subjects judge of their acts.
Yours very truly, DwaukANAuth TAGone. Calcutta, 6th February, 1838.
The Vice Chai R MAN.—Gentlemen ; I rise under feelings of no ordinary embarrassment, with a greater mistrust, indeed, of my own powers to address a public assembly, very limited as I have always felt these powers to be, than I ever experienced in my life. It can scarcely be otherwise, for while 1 feel that no words of mine can do justice to the excellence of the good man and good citizen I am about to name to you, I am nervously anxious that one whom I am proud to call a dear and valued friend, should receive full justice at my hands. Hence my mistrust, hence my apprehensions. I am sen-ible that the public and private virtues of this admirable individual ought to be themes for some tongue “less unworthy of mine,” at the same time I feel that my own friendship, instead of inspiring, makes me full of doubts, doubts lest I should fulfil neither my own ideas or yours of the honor due to the name I am about to propose— yet why should I feel thus apprehensive It ought to be no very duñcult matter to illustrate what is already illustrious. I hank God, the honor due to the name connected with my toast depends upon a more solid foundation than my feeble words ! That name is inscribed foremost amongst the foremost on the roll of those most distinguished for inercantile liberality and commercial enterprize. It is amongst the first, if not the very first, on the list of active, able and munificent citizens to whom the whole community is indebted. The name of my friend is revered by many whom he has saved or established in life by his judicious advice or his liberal assistance. It is written in the hearts of thousands who have partaken of his inexhaustible charity; who have had cause to bless his boundless benevolence, confined to no caste, colour, or creed. It shines brightly surrounded with all that is urbane and kind and courteous, on the tablets of social hospitality. It is heard in the halls of our colleges, in the porticos of those literary and scientific institutions which he has supported and enriched. it shines gloriously through an act, a recent act, of charity so princely, so magnificent, that I tax my memory in vain to discover a parallel to it within my own knowledge and experience. Above all, the name of this admirable citizen is inseparably connected with that cause whose triumph we have met this night to celebrate. Gentlemen, need I say after this that it is the name of Dwarkanauth Tagore. (Much cheering ) Here then we have in an individual,—though to a degree so eminent that we cannot expect it to be common, the qualities and attributes which we desire to foster amongst his countrymen at large, -moral courage, integrity, liberality, self dependence, love of truth, a sense of right, a scorn of wrong, and a freedom from prejudice. (Cheers.) But what if we succeed in our endeavours to create analogous feelings, not only in those immediately around us in this metropolis, but in thousands, tens of thousands,
millions, of their countrymen. If we inspire the masses —Aye, there's the rub. The question is a grave one, and demands grave consideration, let us think of it. I do not now address that party, for many of whom I have the highest esteem, but whom I must be permitted to designate as of the Silver-stick and Burra Sahib school, in reverence for whose mighty attributes the worthy Hindoo backed his horse or his ass into a ditch, on the approach of the majesty of the services, in the person of our departed friend, Indophilus-(Cheers and laughter.) the last person in the world, God knows, to require such
an act of homage which filled him with astonishment
and pity. (Laughter.) I do not, gentlemen, address this |...}. They are at least consistent. They would still
egislate for India not after the A. Z. fashion but from the Vedas and the Koran. They would be great in San
serit and Arabic. They would enlighten the universal
mind of India with the philosophy of Aristotle and the
science ot the Moorish Alchemists. They would have the
people remain in the same free and happy state as when the successors of Sevagie levied chout, and the dues of the state were collected from the zemindars by the simple and effective process described in Mr. Harrington's analysis, of tying up their bare legs in company with some half dozen of cats in a pair of loose pantaloons (Laughter.) As for the Press ; no doubt this respectable party would be well content to allow the Press as much freedom and influence as would have been accorded to it, had they ever thought about the matter, by those liberal minded potentates Surajah Dowlah and Tippoo Sultan. But let that pass. This party is at least con•istent, and in friend or foe I revere an honorable consistency. (Cheers.) But I turn from them to another party, full of magnates and dignitaries and Education Committees, and School book Societies and Friends of India, and every thing that is genteel and superb, both here and at home – a party which attempts to carry into practice the incongruous absurdity—I know not how to designate it—the vain imagination of enlightening and educating and civilizing the people of India, of giving them a love of truth and knowledge, which is in other words a love of freedom, yet at the same time shackling the Indian Press with fetters of iron and manacles of steel. (Cheers.) Nothing appears to me more absurd than this singular delusion—it is to the Greek's foolishness. I trust and believe that this party will not succeed in their suicidal efforts again to manacle the Press; but if they do, then it seems to me self-evident that they must be prepared at ouce, not only to discourage, but altogether to prohibit and put down the study and acquirement of the English language. (Cheers.) Gentlemen ; the explosive tendencies of steam and of all the combustible gasses in the world are as nothing to those which would exist amongst a people conversant with the language of Milton and Junius, of Chatham and Brougham, of Franklin and Washington, yet prohibited by law fom giving publicity to these sentiments with res. pect to the acts of their Government. (Cheers.) No ; if the enemies of the Indian Free Press, to whom I now advert, wish to be consistent, if they wish even for safety,+let them adopt in their projects of civilization, the civilising language of Muscovy, or Crim-Tartary; but let them beware of English. For you shall as soon bind the light of the blessed sun with chains of iron as prevent a people familiar with the lauguage of liberty from openly uttering their sentiments on the public measures of public men. (Much cheering.) But we may be told, “When English is familiar to every man who can read or who thinks, we will then place at the disposal of the community the means of publicly expressing their thoughts on the important point of Government, to wit, the Free Press. Giving the party I advert to credit for this intention, yet still surely it is a miserable delusion, it is as if one were to say, here is our charcoal, and our sulphur, and our saltpetre; while
they are in separate heaps approach them not, even with a rush light or a dark lanthorn ; but when we have
mixed them, and grained them, and glazed them into gnn. powder, then throw a lighted torch into the midst of the heap and it shal not explode. (Cheers.) Gentlemen, will these people never learn from experience,—are the lessons of history to be for ever lost upon them What have we and our fathers seen for the past fifty years in France, in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy Why, that wherever a Free Press has suddenly grown up amongst a people previously civilized,—mind, gentlemen, I say amongst a people previously civilized but yet wholly unfamiliar with its workings, wholly unprepared for it, — in other words, were the Free Press has not “grown with a nation's intellectual growth and stregthened with its strength,”—there it is no longer a beneficent spirit minis. tering to civilization, prosperity and happinees, but a revening fiend “with Ate by her side come hot from hell" to cry “ havoc and let slip the dogs of war,” to spread strife, bloodshed, and misery. (Cheers.) Think not, however, that because 1 utter these opinions 1 undervalue the Freedom of the Press. However introduced, its ultimate results are well worth a century of revolutions. I advert only to the facts, and in doing so I again ask, will the party I have alluded to never learn from experience 2 For I turn from the countries l have mentioned to another—I look “ upon this picture and on this.” I turn gentlemen, to the United States. They also passed through the terrible ordeal of civil war; they too saw party in every village, almost in every family ; factions in every city,–foreign armies in every field. But what was the result The storm rolled over, the fiery suite, bloody—mark me, gentlemen-bloody, with so few exceptions that history has almost forgotten them, only in the “fair field of fighting men.” The fiery strife died away, and left freedom, happiness, prosperity and national character, which has nobly manifested itself, if our latest accouuts from Home are to be relied upon in the conduct of the American merchants during the recent trying monetory crisis. (Cheers.) Whence is the cause of the mighty difference which I have noticed I answer confidently in the pre-existence of a Free Press in the present United States; (Cheers.) to the people being familiar with a Free Press in all its bearings, including those political and social benefits to Society to which a Free Press is essential, and which are as inseparable from its constant presence amongst a people, as harmony and beauty are inseparable from the works of creation. (Cheers.)
Gentlemen, I know not by what process of ratiocination it occurs, but the idea of a Free Press is invariably associated in my mind with Highland Whiskey. (Luughter.) I believe there are those here who will bear me out in the assertion, that as soon as the young Gael enters the world, he is made familiar with the vir. tues of “mountain dew.” From thenceforward he nevet relaxes in the laudable attachment thus early fostered. It is good that it should be so. It is good for the Highland constitution, to enable the shepherd on the mountain, the fisher on the lake, the hunter in the glen, to contend against the storms of a humid and severe climate. At the age of discretion a pint bicker or quaigh, I believe, is the term of the veritable Farintosh, is but a comforting and wholesome draft ; for the drinker hath ever been used to it. But give the same medicine to one who has not been taught to reverence the virtues of this elii ir vitat from his youth upwards, and instead of promoting a wholesome circulation, a cheerful glow through his entire frame, it makes him a mad, ungovernable savage. (Laughter.) Gentlemen. ; l pray of you to pardon this long digression ; charitably think that l have inadvertently mounted my hobby horse and that he has run away with me. I return to the subject of my toast and I could return to none more worthy or more noble. (Cheers.)
Dwarkanauth Tagore, then, is inseparably connected with our good and just cause. (Cheers.) At the time when all was apathy or dismay ; at the time of the passing of the Press Law, Dwarkanauth Tagore of his forth to fight the good fight. celebration of this anniversary, we were told by no mean authority, that Dwarkanauth Tagore had spent thousands with no other object than the Freedom of the Press. They went to charges gentlemen, heavy charges which, after all, is no bad test of men being in earnest, “Kill a man's family,” says Byron, “ and he may brook it,” but keep your hands out of his breeches' pocket.” (Laughter.) They went to charges, gentlemen, they entertained counsel to argue against the registration of the Law in the Supreme Court; they petitioned the Parliament; they stood, in short, like those described in the beautiful lines of Moore. “Night closed around the conqueror's way.” Night, gentlemen, always closes round the way of any conqueror or who triumphs over the Press. “Night closed around the conqueror's way, And lightning shewed the distant hill, Where those who lost that dreadful day Stood few and faint but fearless still.”
illustrious friend, who sleeps with the just, alone stood Temple of Fame, to be treated by his country with neg.
Manfully did this little band of patriots stand in the breach ; manfully did they continue to hope when “Hope seemed none.” (Cheers.) In the hour of our triumph, let not these brave hearts be forgotten. One has, as the French happily express it “gone to immortality.” But the noble, the admirable survivor, can still enjoy the applause of his fellow citizens, can still know that his name, “is in our flowing cups freshly remembered." (Cheers.) I call upon you, therefore, to pledge me with hearts and voices, with three times three and all the honors. “ The principal survivor amongst the native champions of a Free Press, DwarkaNauth Tagore." (Wuch and enthusiastic cheering.) Air.—“ For Auld Lang Syne.” BABoo RAMN Ath TAGor. E.-Gentlemen ; in consequence of the departure of Dwarkanauth Tagore from Calcutta, owing to his ill health, I regret extremely he has been unable to join with you to night for the purpose of drinking the health of our distinguished guest, the liberator of the Indian Press. (Cheers.) But as he is absent, I think it is a duty incumbent on me, being his nearest relation, to return you thanks for the honor you have done him in drinking his health. (Applause.) J. F. Leirii, Esq.-Gentlemen ; the toast which I have the honor to propose, is preceded by the name of a man whom living England honored, and whom dead, lndia has cause to mourn To you who know the moral and intellectual condition of the natives of this country the boldness, the independance, the enlightened views of the late Rammohun Roy, (Cheers.) must be convincing proofs of his superiority over the great mass of his fellow countrymen. While these characteristics command for his memory unseigned respect, they must induce you to admit the appropriateness of coupling his name with the present toast, “The enlightenment of the people of India.” (Cheers.) It is no doubt true, that many of his youthful fellow-countrymen, with their present advantages, may soon rival him in mere extent of know. ledge, but no other will draw to himself that won d admiration which Rammohun Roy's advent excite a time when, relatively speaking, moral and intellectual darkness spread itself over the length and breadth of the land. His be the praise of having first, by the inherent force of a superior intellect, burst the swadding-bands of prejudice and caste, which keep the mind in a state o helpless infancy, to assume the full stature and to assert the natural prerogatives of a reasonable being, —a thinking man! (Cheers.) His name is linked to his country's history, and to the .."..."; and must, on account of his unwearie rts to improve the political and social condition of the people of India, in after ages, ranked among the most honored names of his countrymen, although during his life it was his fate, like that of many now to be found occupying proud niches in the
(Cheers.) On the first lect, if not with scorn.
What pleasure would it have given his mind, had he now been alive, to have witnessed our meeting this evening, under the auspices of our honored guest, to commemorate the liberation of the Indian Press, an object most dear to his heart, and by him petitioned for and advocated (Cheers) To have witnessed also he impulse which his been given, by the praiseworthy exertions of Government, of Societies, and of private individuals, to the cause of education, the great means for the enlightenment of the people of India. By promoting education we make some return to the people among whom we live for the riches, which are drawn from their country; for through education we will teach them how to in prove the natural, and how to create new sources of wealth, and will raise then, in a moral point of view, in the scale of nations. This is our duty. It ought also to be an object of our ambition, as no surer method could be adopted to falsify the prediction, “that were we driven from this country no monument of state or beneficence would be left behind." The enlightenment of the people of India will be a monument of our rule more gigantic and lasting than the Pyramids themselves. They are but a senseless mass to mark the place of sepulture of a few dead kings, ours will be a living monument to speak to latest ages of the resuscitation of whole people ! (Loud cheers.) I have only now to request you to drink to the memory of Rammohun Roy, and to bespeak your best wishes and exertions for “ the enlightenment of the people of lndia.” (Drank in solemn silence.)
Baboo Proso NNo Cooman TA Gone.—Gentlemen ; as a friend of the late Rammohun Roy, and one who was glad to participate, though in a minor degree, in the persecutions he suffered, and as a native of India, I rise to offer you my warmest thanks for the honor you have done to the memory of my late lamented friend, and for the interest you have expressed for the improvement of my country. When you hear that we complain of omission on the part of Government as regards the improvement of our country and the cause of education, I wish you not to understand that we mean to say, that it has totally neglected to perform its duty, but that it has not done so much in this respect as it ought and could have done. The day when the distinctions of color, caste, and religion, and the difference between conquerors, and conquered will be totally banished, is, I am happy to say, fast approaching, when we shall be treated not as conquered put as fellow subjects of the British crown. (Cheers.)
Some have thought fit to surmise, that by the diffusion of education among the people of India, the connexion between her and England, will ultimately be desolved. These people, I say, are quite wrong; because, if gratitude be a feeling inherent in human nature, and if education and enlightment tend to cherish that feeling, how can it be asserted, that if India owe to England, her mother country, a heavy debt of gratitude for her enlightenment, that she will prove an ungrateful daughter No, on the contrary, education, and allowing to the people of India the exercise of the political privileges regarding the English, as at home, is the surest way of establishing British rule in India on the firmest basis.
Although, gentlemen, you perceive but a small number of my countrymen present this evening to do honor to the occasion, yet l have reason to believe, that it will not be long ere this cause of complaint against them will be removed. The day will soon come when in this hall and on such an occasion, your number will not command so overwhelming a majority, but rather be in the minority.
I cannot, gentlemen, proceed further. Though thoughts I have not language sufficient at command to express them. I therefore eonclude with again returning you my warmest thanks for the honor you have done me by the last toast. (Cheers.) The Chann M.A.N. - Gentlemen ; wou have drank to two of the earliest and most staunch supporters of the Press ; I have now to appologize for the absence of another old friend of the good cause, James Pattle. Domectic afflictions keep him away, or he most assuredly would have been here. (Cheers.) T. Dicknxs, Esq., rose and was grected with enthusiastic cheers, which seemed to affect and embarrass him very much. After a short pause he sail : – Gentlemen ; your kindness almost overpowers me, I rose to purpose to you the “ladian Press,” wishing to dwell upon the subject ; but I fear I shall be unable to do justice to it. Permit me to vivify and peoonify, as far as the post is concerned, that abst action which we call the Indian Press, and recall to vour memory a few, and but a few, of those whom I have known as its a vowell and responsible conductors : all friends, I am proud to say, of my own, and all, as you will admit, worthy of the public esteem. The end and aims of the Press of India may be well judged of by a bare mention of the names of those who were engaged in it. Let me recall to you those of Fullarton, of Compton, of John Grant, of William Adam, of James Sutherland, (may I be pordoned for speaking too of myself as one of those men,) of my friend long since gone, Dr. Abel, whom many of you must remember rsonally, and most knew by reputation. Many recol}. crowed upon and make me, however much I desire it, incapable of doing justice to this toast. From those names of its avow, d conductors which I have given you, and to the list many more names equally worthy might be added, every one may judge of what has been the general character of the periodical Press in this country. I give you, gentlemen, the INDIAN Pitess. (Loud cheers ) Mr. SAM vel. SMITH,-Gentlemen; though labouring under rather severe indisposition, l rise with pleasure to express, as well as I am able, the acknowledgements of the Press, for the toast just proposed by Mr. Dickens, which has been so flatteringly received by this comany. After the very eloquent addresses you have }. to from the excellent Chairman, Mr. Clarke, and other highly talented gentlenen, who have said all that can be advancel on the subject, it would be a vain endeavour to address myself to you on the value and importance of a Free Press. I shall not, therefore, make the attempt. Besides, on two former occasions when I had the happiness to meet many of the gentlemen I now see arround me, to commemorate the glorious event of the Emancipation of the Indian Press, I had opportunities of which I availed myself freely and fully to describe the former state of the Press, and express the deep obligations of its conductors to its honorable and magnanionious liberator. (Cheers.) I shall not, therefore, now detain you by any repetition of the experiences of the olden iime, when the unfortunates of the Indian Press dragged on a shackled existence, disgusting to themselves, and contemptable in the eyes of the public. From these shackles, we acknowledge the boon with the most grateful feelings, they were freed by the magnanimous Act of Sir Charles Metcalfe. (Loud cheers.) It is true that we had long enjoyed by sufference, under Lord William Bentinck (and even under Lord Amherst, in a lesser degree,) nearly the same freedom of expression, we have since practised under the law ; but none of us knew the day, the hour, when the death, departure or supercession of a liberal Governor by a Tory Lord, an enemy to liberal measures and freedom of discussion, might again plunge us into the depths of that disgracful thraldom from which we have been liberated by Sir Charles Matecalfe. (Cheers) The new Governor, finding a Press-gagging law on the books, might easily enforee it unobstructed by the diffculties which would attend the concoction of a new law. What would then have been out humilating position
Who that had ever tasted of freedom would again patiently submit to bondage, to bondage of the worst description,--to bondage of the mind, -to prohibition of the free expression and interchange of opinions between men, by nature and by habit free. Not I, for one, and I had accordingly looked forward gloomily to the daily expected arrival of Lord Haytesbury, and the departure of Sir Charles Metcalfe in 1835. But the bright star of the Indian Press was in the ascendant. Lord Heytesbury came not, and Sir Charles Metcalfe remained our Supreme Governor, long enough to fulfil his noble intention : he passed the glorious white act of 1835, –he gave Freedom by Law to the Press of Indin. For this one act, if for no other, his memory will live in the grateful recollection of all who prize freedom of thought, freedom of expression, Freedom of. Press, and who does not * England, to which happy land, the head-quarters of the Free Press, our liberator is now proceeding, will receive him with open arms, – will join the friends of freedom in India, in loud acclaim —will hail with joy the arrival on their shores of Sir Charles Metcalfe, the Liberator of the Indian Press. (Much applause.)
Gentlemen, as a member of the once shackled, now free Press of India, I thank you for the honorable mention of our tribe, - for your handsome reception of the toast, and I trust that the Press of lndia will never disgrace the good opinion which, after some years of trial, you appear to entertain of it. (Cheers.) Capt. T. J. Taylor.— (Madras Army).-The toast, gentlemen, I have now to propose, requires but few prefaratory remarks on my part, for it is one which will at once strike home to every patriot breast. There is one country dear to every Englishman,—one people for whom our earliest sympathies are enlisted. Need I say that that country is Poland 2 whose heroic struggles, alike in the past and present century, are above all praise, and from the most touch ng portion of modern history. (Cheers.) On such an occasion as this, when met to commemorate the anniversary of the day on which, after a long but happly a bloodless struggle, the safeguard of our liberties, the palladium of our rights in this country, the freedom of the Press was achieved, the fate of that unhappy people demands our especial sympathy ; for of all the sufferers in the cause of Freedom none have experienced such woes as Poland. (Cheers.) Who is not familar with that tale of woe, and has not mourned over the fate of her gallant defenders ? Who has not breathed a heartfelt anathema against the tyrant conquenors of her soil, of her princes, nobles, warriors 2 How manv fell before the oppressor's sword, or expiated on the saffold the crime of having defended their country' (Cheers.) How many were swept away to the snows of Siberia ; others thrust into dungeons,—fit tenements only for the adder or the toad, how many linked in chain-gangs on the ramparts of Warsaw, while others hardly less wretched, and stripped of their possessions, were driven forth in banishment and poverty, to seek subsistence, as they best might, in foreign lands ! Such was the treatment the men experienced, the women were treated worse. Every insult and outrage that ould dictate or ingenuity invent has been wreaked on that ill-fated race. Females even of the noblest blood of Europe, were made to labour on the roads, the scoff of mocking soldiery, exposed to insult, outrage, the chain and the scourge; and of their offspring, sucklin were torn from their mother's breasts and dashed headlong from the ramparts of Warsaw, as if in derision of the walls so gallantly defended by their unhappy sires, while others of-larger growth were sent off to Siberia or to military colonies thousand of miles distant, and—horrible cruelty —their names were changed so as to prevent the possibility of tracing, in after years, their present destination. And for what were all these miseries inflicted on this noble people, the bravest of the brave, the most injured of the oppressed ? For what, but for claiming fulfilment of a constitution guaranteed to them by the