HC Deb 25 May 1824 vol 11 cc858-90
Mr. Lambton

spoke to the following effect:

I rise, Sir, in pursuance of the notice which I gave, to present to the House a petition from Mr. Buckingham, late proprietor and editor of "The Calcutta Journal," complaining of a series of aggressions on the press in India, by the government of that country—a petition which, as it appears to me, deserves the most serious consideration of this House. I consider this petition to be one of great importance, because it involves a question of the deepest interest—I mean the Liberty of the Press; a question which in every country is intimately interwoven with the best interests and well-being Of society, and which in no country is of more vital importance than in India, where, as I contend, the safety of our empire, and the happiness of the almost countless millions committed to our charge, depend; not on the continuance of ignorance, and, consequently, of slavery, but on the diffusion of knowledge and education, the surest—nay, the only mode of convincing the native population of the benefits which they derive from our government. It is not my intention to discuss this question at the present moment, with a view to its more general bearings. I shall confine myself, on the present occasion, to the condition of Mr. Buckingham's case; I shall lay separately before the House the statement of his particular complaint, on which I shall subsequently ground the necessity of entertaining the more general question.

This petition is of very considerable length, and I shall endeavour, therefore, for the convenience of the House, to state as shortly and distinctly as I can, the lead- ing facts of the case. In the year 1813, Mr. Buckingham left England on a commercial voyage to the Mediterranean, and after remaining some time at several of the ports in that sea, he went from Egypt to Bombay, having been appointed to the command of a large ship engaged in the China trade. While in the prosecution of those commercial pursuits, he was ordered to quit Bombay by sir Evan Nepean, the governor of that island, on the ground of his having obtained no licence from the East India Company. He returned to Egypt, and took the necessary steps to obtain a licence from the Court of Directors, which was obtained for him in England, and forwarded to Bombay, where he went again in the year 1816, and continued engaged in commercial pursuits until the year 1818. The vessel under his charge having been shortly after ordered to proceed on a slave expedition to the coast of Africa, Mr. Buckingham resigned his situation as commander, because he would not engage in a species of traffic which was utterly repugnant to his feelings.

Some time after, Mr. Buckingham being resident in Calcutta, by the advice of several English merchants, established at that place, an English newspaper, called the "Calcutta Journal," having purchased the stock and printing materials of two other newspapers at an expense of 3,000l. This paper Mr. Buckingham conducted with so much ability, and to the satisfaction of all classes of the British community of India, that its circulation gradually increased, until it became a property of the value of 40,000l. and brought him an annual income of 8,000l. He had expended on this paper, since the original purchase, a sum amounting to not less than 20,000l. During the whole of that period included between the years 1818 and 1823, the supreme government had repeatedly acknowledged the legality of his residence and pursuits in India, and even entered into a contract with him, in his capacity of Editor and publisher of the Calcutta Journal, for the payment on his part of 4,000l. to defray the expenses of the postage of his journal. At this period no censorship of the press existed in Bengal, the restraints which had been imposed on the press by the marquis of Wellesley having been abolished by the marquis of Hastings. The marquis of Hastings made a public declaration of his having removed all restrictions from the press in India, in answer to an address signed by the chief justice, the judges of the supreme court, the law officers, the company's civil servants, and 500 of the British inhabitants of Madras. This document I consider of so much importance that I shall, with the permission of the House proceed to read it:

"You have observed my exertions to diffuse instruction through the extensive region with which we had become thus suddenly intimate. I cannot take credit for more than the having followed the impulse communicated by every British voice around me. Yes! we all similarly confessed the sacred obligation towards a bounteous Providence, of striving to impart to the immense population under our protection, that improvement of intellect, which we felt to be our own most valuable and dignified possession. One topic remains—my removal of restrictions from the press, has been mentioned in laudatory language. I might easily have adopted that procedure without any length of cautious consideration, from my habit of regarding the freedom of publication as a natural right of my fellow subjects, to be narrowed only by special and urgent cause assigned. The seeing no direct necessity for those invidious shackles, might have sufficed to make me break them. I know myself, however, to have been guided in the step by a positive and well-weighed policy. If our motives of action are worthy, it must be wise to render them intelligible throughout an empire, our hold on which is opinion. Further, it is salutary for supreme authority, even when its intentions are most pure, to look to the control of public scrutiny. While conscious of rectitude, that authority can lose nothing of its strength by its exposure to general comment. On the contrary, it acquires incalculable addition of force. That government which has nothing to disguise, wields the most powerful instrument that can appertain to sovereign rule. It carries with it the united reliance and effort of the whole mass of the governed; and let the triumph of our beloved country in its awful contest with tyrant-ridden France, speak the value of a spirit to be found only in men accustomed to indulge and express their honest sentiments."

After such a declaration from the governor-general, it was naturally considered that the press of India was subject only to the due restraint of the laws, and trial by jury especially as many proceedings at law had been instituted by the Indian government against the publishers of alleged libels. It is no slight argument in favour of Mr. Buckingham, that, during the whole period in which he was engaged as Editor of the Calcutta Journal, he was never once convicted of publishing any libel against the government, or against private individuals. The marquis of Hastings resigned the office of governor-general in the beginning of the year 1823, and was temporarily succeeded in the government by Mr. John Adam, then senior member of the council, and formerly censor of the press, until the arrival of the new governor-general, who was at that time expected to be the present right honourable secretary for foreign affairs. One of the first acts of Mr. Adam's temporary administration was the revival of a criminal information against Mr. Buckingham which had been filed a short time before, which revival was considered so unjustifiable by sir Francis Macnaghten, the judge then sitting on the bench, that, on its being moved, he declared the whole proceeding to be cruel, illegal, and oppressive. Mr. Buckingham was at this time plaintiff in an action which he had brought against certain individuals who had published a gross libel on his character. While he was thus plaintiff in one case, and defendant in another, Mr. Adam the acting governor-general, took an opportunity of doing what the marquis of Hastings, in the plenitude of his permanent authority, had never ventured to do. He annulled Mr. Buckingham's license to remain in India, and ordered him to quit the country within the space of two months, on pain of being seized if found in it after that period, and sent as a prisoner to England. The reason assigned for this proceeding was, Mr. Buckingham's having published some severe remarks in his Journal on the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Bryce, the head of the presbyterian church in India, to the office of clerk of a committee for supplying the government offices in Bengal, with pens, paper, ink, gum, pounce, and other articles. This traffic, Mr. Buckingham considered, and as I conceive very justly, to be quite incompatible with the holy calling of this reverend gentleman, as well as contrary to the regulations of the East-India Company. He thought it impossible for this reverend gentleman to serve the government offices with stationery, without neglecting his more sacred and important functions. It is remarkable, that this very appointment, for commenting on which Mr. Buckingham was banished from India, was subsequently cancelled by the Court of Directors, 'and the reverend doctor's conduct, in accepting such an office, has been severely animadverted upon by the presbytery of Edinburgh, as tending to degrade and disgrace the church of Scotland. By this arbitrary proceeding on the part of Mr. Adam, Mr. Buckingham was transported from India without any trial, separated from his friends and connexions, and removed from the superintendence of a property at that time worth 40,000l., but which was immediately deteriorated in value, and which must eventually be totally annihilated. This unmerited punishment has been inflicted on him without his being accused of any breach of the laws, and solely at the arbitrary caprice of Mr. Adam: for I assert that Mr. Buckingham had violated no regulation of the East-India Company—committed no offence against the laws of England—and had been guilty of no one act which could even be entertained in a court of justice.

On the arrival of Mr. Buckingham in England, he applied to the Court of Directors, and subsequently to the Board of Control, for a license to return to India, to retrieve his affairs, which was refused. Mr. Buckingham then instituted legal proceedings against Mr. Adam; but, partly from the death of his solicitor in India, partly from the difficulty in obtaining the necessary documents, and partly from the terror which had spread through all ranks, in consequence of the late proceedings of the Indian government, he has been compelled to abandon this attempt. It might be imagined that the hostility which was entertained by the Indian government against the press would have been satiated by the unwarranted punishment inflicted on Mr. Buckingham. The contrary, however, was the fact. Mr. Buckingham having consigned the property of his Journal to an Indo-British Editor, who could not be banished from the country without trial. Mr. Adam shortly after promulgated a regulation, subjecting the Indian press, whether in the hands of British or native editors, to a license, to be granted or withheld at the pleasure of the governor; thus anni- hilating at once the freedom of discussion which had been extended to the Indian press by the marquis of Hastings. Remonstrances against this regulation were presented to the supreme court of justice in Bengal, on the part of the British inhabitants, as well as of the natives; but it was declared by sir F. Macnaghten, who assumed the whole judicial authority of the court in the absence of the other judges, that it was not repugnant to the Jaws of England. The attack on the freedom of the Indian press, did not stop here. Mr. Adam, emboldened by success, followed it up by a still stronger measure, prohibiting British subjects, as well as natives, to sell, circulate, or even to lend any publication which the governor might think proper to denounce, on pain of a heavy fine, and in default of payment, imprisonment in the common gaol. Such is the law, or such rather is the despotism which exists in India at this moment, and such it must remain, unless measures are taken by parliament, or by the government of the country, to prevent the evils which must necessarily arise from it.

The petition complains of other instances of persecution, so mean and vexatious in their character, that it seems hardly credible that any government should have condescended to resort to them. It appears that the petitioner was prevented by the government from opening a public library on an extensive scale, which he had formed at a great expense for the accommodation of the Indian public. Immediately after the arrival of lord Amherst fresh operations were commenced against the Calcutta Journal. The first attack was made upon a person of the name of Arnot, a British-born subject, who was forcibly seized and imprisoned in a military fortress, where it was intended he should have been confined until some ship should be ready to sail for England, and thus banish him from the country. However, Mr. Arnot was determined not to submit, and accordingly he applied to the supreme court, and obtained a writ of habeas corpus, and at length, after an able and solemn argument at the bar by Mr. Turton, a gentleman whose talents and character have made him in that country, what he was in this, a most distinguished ornament of his profession [cheers], his imprisonment was declared to be illegal, and he was consequently liberated by order of the presiding judge. Mr. Athot then determined to take advan- tage of his liberty, and betook himself to the foreign settlement of Chandernagore; and here again he was forcibly seized by a military officer, in the very presence of the French governor, under a second warrant signed by lord Amherst [hear, hear], and placed as a prisoner on board a ship in the river Hooghly, not bound direct to the united kingdom, but going round by Bencoolen [hear, hear], and was peremptorily refused to be allowed to go in any other ship.

Having thus disposed of Mr. Arnot, it appears that the next step taken was the total destruction of the Calcutta Journal, and on grounds just as barefaced as those upon which the treatment of Mr. Buckingham himself was founded. This was done in the following November, in consequence of an order from the chief secretary for the suppression of the paper. The ground alleged for its suppression was, the publication in its pages or a pamphlet written by an hon. friend of mine, Mr. Leicester Stanhope, who is now gloriously employed in advancing the cause of freedom and of Greece [cheers]. The main object of this pamphlet was, to record the speeches of some of the king's judges and officers in 1819, delivered on the very occasion of voting the address to which I have alluded; and yet it was made criminal to re-publish in this Journal those same speeches which had appeared long before in other papers [hear, hear]. However, shortly after, the government caused it to be made known, that a license would be granted for the renewal of the Journal; but, on what condition? Why, on the condition that its future editor should be one of their own servants [hear, hear!]. Lord Amherst's surgeon was accordingly proposed; but he was objected to, on the ground that he was not sufficiently under their control; and at length a person was found, considered to be unexceptionable in every respect, Dr. Muston, the son-in-law of one of the members of the government, and he was appointed to the situation of editor, with a salary of 1,000l. a-year, together with Mr. Buckingham's house, which had been let to an English merchant for 500l. a-year [hear, hear!].

Thus we find, that Mr. Buckingham was made to drink the very dregs of persecution. First we find that he was lured by an appearance of liberality to embark his property in this Journal; then a criminal proceeding is taken against him: next he is banished; and finally, his property is expended in support of principles which he detested and abhorred, and for the exposure of which he had established and supported this very Journal. The last accounts received from India, state, that Dr. Muston is in possession of the Journal. No final answer has been given by the government as to whether they will or will not renew the license; and the whole of the establishment is maintained on full pay, in expectation of a decision. I have endeavoured to confine myself to a clear and distinct narrative of this case, and I trust I have succeeded in making it intelligible without encumbering it with details [hear!] I shall refrain, on the present occasion, from making any remarks on the general question as to the advantage of a free press in India, and the more particularly, because it is my intention, early in the ensuing session, to call the attention of the House to the subject [hear, hear!]; when I mean to move for the appointment of a committee to inquire how far the existence of a free press is an advantage or injury to our Indian possessions [[hear, hear]. At present, I shall confine myself strictly to the case of the petitioner, who has been the victim of the most cruel oppression, not warranted by sound policy or expediency, but arising from a wanton and aggravated spirit of despotism. If such things are allowed to go unredressed, the responsibility of the Indian government is virtually at an end. Those acts of parliament which give the East-India company their power in India will be efficient, only when their profit and dominion are concerned, but powerless when the liberties and properties of Englishmen are at stake—and the grossest acts of tyranny and injustice may, in future, be perpetrated with such impunity, as may ultimately, I fear, endanger the very existence of our supremacy in India [loud cheers]. I now move, Sir, for leave to bring up this petition.

Mr. Wynn

said, that the very able manner in which the hon. member had stated the petitioner's case, had rendered the subject even more intelligible than if the whole petition had been read to the House. He should follow the example of the hon. member, and confine himself strictly to the statements in the petition; for he held the general question respecting the press of India to be too extensive in its bearings to be dealt with in a discussion thus incidentally introduced, and when the House was unprepared for such a question. Whenever that question was brought forward he should be prepared to contend, that the very principles upon which he valued a free press, as the essential safe guard of our government here, made him consider it prejudicial to the British authority in India. With respect to the circumstances stated by the hon. member, he felt great embarrassment on account of the peculiar circumstances in which he was placed with respect to the situation in which Mr. Adam stood, and the measures adopted by Mr. Buckingham. He apprehended that the House of Commons acted upon certain rules in cases of this description from which they never departed; and one of them was this—that whenever a party complaining had the means of applying for redress to the other tribunals of the country, that House would feel very reluctant to interfere. Upon that ground, he thought it would be improper to entertain the subject in that House. But, how stood the case? Had Mr. Buckingham not applied to other tribunals? Had he not entered into recognizances to prosecute this case in an English court of justice? Was it not clear, then, that the matter could not be discussed in that House without the greatest possible injustice? The 21st Geo. 3rd provided, that in case any person complaining of the conduct of the governor-general, or the members of the council should execute a bond effectually to prosecute either by information, indictment, or action, in some competent court of justice, within the space of two years; he should be entitled to a copy of all orders in council, to a commission to examine witnesses, and several other advantages. This course Mr. Buckingham had pursued; and the last he had heard of it was in the month of January, when his solicitor had addressed a letter to the court of directors, stating that he had been instructed to commence legal proceedings against the hon. John Adam, pursuant to a bond which he had executed. The court of directors intimated their readiness to receive any proofs on his part. Was it fair, then, to call upon Mr. Adam now for his defence, which might perhaps, be made hereafter matter of fresh charge, and turned against him in a court of justice? He could only state, that Mr. Adam was perfectly ready to defend himself from any attack; and from his general character, and what he knew of the facts of this case, he was persuaded that the defence would be completely satisfactory. The hon. member had said, that, up to the time of the departure of the marquis of Hastings from India, there had been no appearance of any complaint against Mr. Buckingham—[Mr. Lamb ton said, across the House, that no measures had been taken against him.]—But, would it be believed, that no less than five times Mr. Buckingham had been warned against following up the course he was then pursuing? The last letter he had received on the subject was from the secretary to the marquis of Hastings, on the 5th of September, 1822, which letter stated, that if he persisted in the same line of conduct, his licence would be immediately cancelled, and he should receive orders to quit the country. And yet it had been said, that this course was now thought of for the first time by Mr. Adam. The course which Mr. Adam had pursued was perfectly conformable to the act of 1813; which provided, that if any man did an act to forfeit the protection of the Indian government, his license might be revoked, and he himself ordered to quit the country. In this course, not only Mr. Adam, but the entire council agreed—The next point was the regulation issued by Mr. Adam; but into this subject he did not mean to enter, as a better opportunity would arise, when a regular case should have been brought forward by Mr. Buckingham, and heard before the proper tribunal. The House would see, that in this transaction was involved a serious legal question, not merely as affecting the press of India, but touching the right of the government to issue any regulation that had not been previously part of the law of the land. Another part of the statement related to the conduct of lord Amherst towards Mr. Arnot. On this subject he had very imperfect-information; but he could not avoid remarking, that the hon. member had omitted a material part of the statement; namely, that Arnot was residing in that country without any license or authority whatever; and by the existing law, it became the duty of government to put an end to his residence there. The act conferred the power of arresting the individual, and putting him on ship-board: and the only question was, whether it also gave the power of detaining the person before the sailing of the vessel? The court determined that it was not lawful, and consequently he was liberated. With respect to the ships having gone round by Bencoolen, it was not in his power either to affirm or deny the statement; but from the character of lord Amherst, and the estimation in which he was held generally throughout the country, he could conceive nothing more improbable, than that he should exercise any harshness that was not absolutely necessary.

Sir W. De Crespigny

bore testimony to the humane character of Mr. Adam. From his knowledge of that gentleman, he believed him to be incapable of behaving harshly towards any one.

Mr. Hume

was sorry the right hon. gentleman and the hon. baronet below him had taken the course they had done on this occasion. There was no necessity to adduce testimony to private character, since no private character was assailed. No one had attacked the character of the individual in his civil station; but complaint was made of public acts immediately proceeding from him. After a lapse of two years, during which this transaction had been known, no answer was given to the charge. All the right hon. gentleman said, was that when a court of justice had decided, then he would be ready to discuss the question. In his opinion, the interests of the whole population of India called upon that House to pronounce an opinion on the great question now brought before them, without waiting till those legal proceedings were finished. The petitioner denied that he had that redress in his power, which the right hon. gentleman contended he had. The agent, who was to have sent over evidence from India, was dead. Mr. Buckingham wished to procure various documents, to follow up with effect the action which he had given security to prosecute. It was impossible to imagine the effect which the exercise of arbitrary power, now complained of, produced in a settlement. In this instance, ruin had followed every person who had attached himself to Mr. Buckingham, or espoused his cause. He hoped most sincerely that the extraordinary power now vested in the company's servants would never be renewed. Why should not the same principles by which Englishmen were governed when they proceeded to other colonies be extended to India? Was it an answer to the injustice of the existing system to say, that the governor general had the power to send any person he pleased out of the country? He denied that he had the power to the extent now contended for. Whatever power he had, was granted to him under the responsibility of not exercising it harshly. But it was said, that Mr. Adam's case had not been heard. He maintained that it had been heard. It had been drawn up by himself, and sent home to every member of, the court of directors. He (Mr. H.) had read it, and he must say, after all Mr. Adam's colouring, that he had made out no case whatever. Mr. Adam's conduct, he would assert, proceeded from premeditated malice against this individual. Mr. Buckingham had been ruined in his prospects, and a property of 30,000l. had been destroyed, It could be proved, that Mr. Adam bad declared, if ever he had the power, that he would send Mr. Buckingham out of India. Were the government to act in one way towards one paper, and adopt a different course towards another? Were they to allow a particular paper to malign every person the editors thought proper and when an individual stood forward and stated the truth, was he to be treated like a felon and sent out of the country? He had resided long enough in India to know what good might be produced by the liberty of the press: and he had no hesitation in saying, that Mr. Buckingham's proceedings operated beneficially for India. It taught the English in that country to state their opinions on passing events, when they saw that those events were contrary to the interests of the public. When government misconducted itself, gentle hints were given which produced very salutary results. The House ought to know that there was in India a paper called the "John Bull," which was absolutely set up by the servants of the government. The secretary of the government and other persons in office were connected with it. The "John Bull" in England, bad as it was, did not equal its namesake in scurrility. The government always disclaimed any connexion with the "John Bull," in England; but the connexion between the Indian government and the "John Bull" there, was well known. It was set up by the secretary of the Bengal government, assisted, he believed, by Mr. Adam himself, for the purpose of writing Mr. Buckingham down; but the moment he attempted to rescue his character from the gross abuse that was heaped on it, he was treated as a criminal. Mr. Buckingham claimed no exemption. All he said was, "If I have erred bring me to trial. Let the criterion of my conduct be the verdict of my countrymen." Mr. Buckingham was prosecuted, and he was acquitted. What did he then do? He brought an action against the editors of the "John Bull," and the moment he had taken that step, means were devised to send him out of the country. The right hon. secretary for foreign affairs must feel greatly surprised at this statement. He was convinced that the right hon. gentleman, when at the head of the Board of Control, would not have authorized such proceedings. His conduct in that office had been most liberal. When 23 out of 24 of the directors came to the resolution of rescinding the regulations of the marquis of. Hastings with respect to the press in India, for the purpose of restoring the censorship, and sent that resolution to the Board of Control, the right hon. gentleman locked it up, and there it remained still [hear]. That House ought immediately to take into its consideration the evil of suffering such arbitrary power to exist. They ought not to allow this system of uncontrolled and lawless power to be continued. He entreated gentlemen, before this subject was again discussed, to read all the documents connected with it. He ventured to say, those documents would prove that the greatest disregard was paid by the Indian government to the feelings opinions, and remonstrances of Englishmen. That government wished to enforce silence with respect to all their proceedings, and therefore the press was shackled. What would England be if she had not a free press? In that case the government might go on as they pleased, without animadversion or observation. The rights of English subjects, and also of native subjects, were compromised by this system. The natives of India were hourly becoming more intelligent. As a proof of this fact, he wished gentlemen would read the address of Ram Mohun Roy, a learned native, in favour of a free press. But that was an object of which the government seemed to be afraid; and, in proportion as they cramped the energies of the press they retarded all improvement. So long as Mr. Adam lived, the circumstances which had been that night disclosed would not be considered as reflecting any credit on him. The marquis of Hastings would not have acted thus; his mind was too enlarged. He was sorry to say that the commencement of lord Amherst's ca- reer did not augur well for the future government of India. The hon. member then ridiculed the inconsistency of the Indian government with respect to the regulation of the press—there being one set of regulations for Calcutta, and another for Madras, and a third for Bombay; and concluded by condemning a power, which not only enabled the governor-general to send a man out of the country because he printed something which did not please him, but also authorized him to prevent the importation of the "Edinburgh Review," or any other work of which he did not approve.

Mr. Astell

said, that the object of the hon. gentleman who presented the petition was, to point out Mr. Buckingham as a much injured individual, and to fix on Mr. Adam the charge of having acted from premeditated malice. Now, he would show, that Mr. Buckingham's deportation did not originate in malice on the part of Mr. Adam. The hon. gentleman had traced the history of Mr. Buckingham down from 1818. He was then at Bombay; and, not being licensed, the government would not allow him to remain. He, however, was anxious to stop in India; and, no sooner were his wishes made known, than the directors granted him a license as a free mariner. A free mariner, he would observe, was a person who was allowed to navigate from port to port in India, to proceed upon his lawful business as master or mate of a ship; but the license did not give him the right to remain on shore. Mr. Buckingham went out as a merchant, and in 1818 he again returned to India. In November, 1818, he became editor of the "Calcutta Journal," and in May, 1819, he was warned by the government of Bengal, that he was liable to be removed, on account of certain articles which had appeared in his paper. On that occasion he expressed sorrow for having forfeited the countenance of the government, and the matter was passed over. In January, 1820, he again transgressed, and he a second time made an apology to the government. In November, 1820, he published a paragraph of so offensive a nature, as caused a fresh warning to be given, and he found it necessary once more to throw himself at the mercy of the government. In July, 1821, he was again informed, that he had incurred the displeasure of the government by the publication of an improper article. During all this period, the marquis of Hastings was governor-general in India; and yet they were told of the malignant feeling of Mr. Adam, as if he alone had disapproved of Mr. Buckingham's proceedings. When, in July, 1821, he attacked the government of Fort St. George and the bishop of Calcutta, he once more received warning. But, persisting in the same line of conduct, it was proposed to withdraw his license, and send him home. That proposition was supported by three members of the council, which consisted of the governor-general and three civil officers. The marquis of Hastings, however, disagreed with the council; and exercising the power with which he was entrusted by the act of parliament, he, from a feeling of lenity, refused to sanction their decision, and Mr. Buckingham was allowed to remain. The council, however, passed a severe censure on his conduct; and it was determined, if he again misbehaved, that he should be sent away. He again transgressed, and in punishing that transgression, what had Mr. Adam done but followed up the declaration of the council, by exercising the temporary power that was placed in his hands? And it was the more necessary that he should use that power, because it was temporary; lest the interests confided in him should suffer under his government. It was said, that his allusion to the case of Dr. Bryce was the only reason for sending him away: That was not the fact. Mr. Buckingham was sent home because he had been repeatedly warned. The last trespass, calling for the interference of the governor-general, must of course occur, and that trespass happened to be the animadversions on Dr. Bryce. The governor-general then found it necessary to support the authority which was vested in him, and he did that which he was bound to do. Therefore Mr. Buckingham was not an injured individual, and the same justice ought to be done to Mr. Adam which gentlemen opposite had endeavoured to do with respect to Mr. Buckingham. It was not reasonable, it was not equitable, to enter on this subject at the present moment, when Mr. Adam was on his trial. The case of Mr. Arnot was different from that of Mr. Buckingham. He was residing in India without any license whatever, and therefore he might be removed at any time. Though the judge said, in his case, that it was not legal to keep him in custody before he was put on ship-board, should be recollected, that another chief justice, sir William Jones, had held a contrary opinion. The hon. member had said, that of all other places, the freedom of the press was most necessary in India. On that point, he begged leave to say that he dissented entirely from the hon. member.

Sir Charles Forbes

begged the attention of the House to the contents of two letters which he had received from a very intelligent and most respectable British resident at Calcutta, Mr. John Palmer, on the subject of the treatment that Mr. Buckingham had met with. With respect to the great question of the freedom of the press in India, he (sir C. F.) was not then prepared to say, that under all the circumstances, he would give his support to a wholly unrestricted press in that part of the British dominions. At the same time, he had no hesitation in saying that the present restrictions on public discussion, were as unnecessary as they were impolitic. It was indeed too true, that the governments in India were apt to look with considerable jealousy at any public discussion of their own acts. They considered it the height of arrogance and presumption in any person to dare to comment on what they thought proper to do. But, the extraordinary power of deportation was what he most complained of. And yet, it was too frequently held out as a menace, not alone to British residents, but to the natives of the country living under British law. He had known a native merchant menaced with the punishment of deportation on no other imputation than that of having made a beneficial bargain with the government of Bombay, and having refused to abandon his contract at the mandate of the government. With a spirit worthy of a man who valued the security of British law, the native of Bombay addressed himself to the governor of the presidency in these words:—"I have been threatened, without offence, with being sent away from this island. That such an order is untrue, I believe, for I know it is inconsistent with the rights of Englishmen, and the laws under which you govern." One word more on that tremendous power of deporting men from India. That power was originally granted with the view of preventing improper persons from getting into the interior of India and tampering with the Datives. He earnestly intreated the hon. member who had introduced the present question with such perspicuity, to follow it up with other measures, so as to protect the people of India, both British and native, from a state of insecurity at variance with every principle of British law. Of Mr. Buckingham, the petitioner, he knew nothing, but from the correspondence of Mr. Palmer, a gentleman whom he highly respected, and in whose assertions and judgment he placed the fullest confidence. The hon. baronet here read the following extracts from letters which he had received from that gentleman:—"Calcutta, March 1, 1823. I present my friend, Mr. Buckingham, the Editor of the 'Calcutta Journal,' to your notice and friendly offices, under a full persuasion that your judgment of him, upon acquaintance, will justify the liberty I assume in recommending a banished man to you. The whine about the hazard of free discussion in this country, will receive your contempt whilst you will be satisfied that infinite benefit must result to the true interests of all societies from its indulgence."—"March 17. I have recommended Mr. Buckingham to a few of the East India directors, without fear of being considered an incendiary, a rebellious or discontented spirit. I am satisfied of the salutary influence of a free press every where. I believe the 'Calcutta Journal' has done much good, and was doing more. I request your notice of Mr. Buckingham, who, I believe, in spite of all sorts of calumny, to be worthy of your good offices and protection. Mr. B. got very inadequate damages yesterday, in an action for libel against the Bullites, though the judge spoke of their malice with abhorrence."

Sir F. Burdett

commenced his speech, by deprecating, in the strongest terms, the wanton act of tyranny which had been committed against Mr. Buckingham. That gentleman's case, he was bound to say, struck him as one of the most cruel that bad ever come before the House; and his principle motive for rising was, to entreat his hon. friend near him, not to rest contented with pledging himself, in the next session, to discuss the general question of a free press for India, but to give the petitioner, during the present session, the advantage of his talents, in a motion specifically directed to the hardship of his case. The question before the House resolved itself into two considerations. There was the great question of a free press in India; but first came the obligation of investigating the severe hardships of the persecuted petitioner, and the violent conduct of the temporary governor of India. The latter stood distinct, and it became that House, as it valued the security of every man in India, to make the necessary investigation. He could place no confidence in that commonplace apology of all governments, in which the right hon. the president of the Board of Control had laid such stress; namely, that the House of Commons ought not to interpose, because proceedings at law were pending between the aggrieved and the aggressor. Such proceedings should not prevent that House from inquiring into an act of violent and arbitrary conduct committed by an individual in authority against the liberty and property of a British subject. The hon. director, who said much as to Mr. Buckingham's acts, but, as it struck him, with very little effect, had talked of the repeated warnings the petitioner had received from the Bengal government. He was warned, forsooth, of this and the other offence that the government observed in his writings as an editor. No doubt the comments of a public writer were not often palatable to those whose acts were commented upon. No doubt, there were epistles upon epistles, and they were most probably urged and repeated when the editor was fairly, properly, and most laudably employed in exposing their very proceedings. Those warnings were no proof of offences against law. Of the character of Mr. Adam he knew nothing, except from the present transaction; but, upon that evidence, it seemed, that this violent act had been committed towards Mr. Buckingham, because he had commented, perhaps most properly, upon the conduct of the government of India, and had found fault with an appointment made by Mr. Adam, which the board of directors had afterwards thought proper to rescind. Then, the question for the House was, not merely whether Mr. Adam had exceeded the letter of his power, but whether he had exercised that power with due temperance and discretion—whether he had used the authority fairly, for the purposes to which it was intended to be applied—and further, whether the power itself, however exercised, was not one which demanded censure and recall? Let hon. members look at the situation in which Mr. Buckingham was placed. Whatever offence he had committed against the existing government of India, he had been actually entrapped into, by the appearance of a more liberal policy in a former governor, who had, in fact, looked upon a free press as a probable benefit rather than a mischievous engine in India. Here lay the danger, let it be observed, of arbitrary governments. Men were safe in no one line of conduct, let them pursue what line they would. Right or wrong was a question of individual feeling. What was right to-day, might be wrong to-morrow. A change of the governor was a change of the law. Nay, a change of the governor's opinion had an operation equally sweeping. And this led him to say one word, whether he would or no, upon the common condition of British subjects in our territories in India. If it was really an object with England to encourage a free trade with India, her first act ought to be to give every English resident there the full benefit of English law. If ever we were to derive any real benefit from our Indian possessions, it must be by the abandonment of that system of despotism, which pressed upon the natives of the country not more hardly than upon the English who were tempted there in pursuit of fortune. He would not occupy the time of the House by dwelling at length upon topics, for the discussion of which more ample opportunities would arise. The object before the House at present was, the relief of a particular individual, whom he considered to have been treated with a cruelty unmerited, and almost unparalleled. Situated as Mr. Buckingham had been, the most incessant anxiety to conform himself to the regulations (however slavish) imposed upon him, would have been insufficient to ensure his security, no charge of any description, but that he had neglected certain warnings, was made out against him; and for this neglect, his property, and his prospects in life, were to be destroyed. The argument, that the matter was already in a course of legal discussion, seemed to him to have no force whatever; and he should sit down with again pressing it upon his hon. friend the member for Durham, to bring on the consideration of the petitioner's case in a distinct motion without delay.

Mr. Secretary Canning

said, that he did not rise to detain the House by any discussion on a topic which, by common consent, was reserved for a distinct consideration. The House would agree with him, that the great question of the liberty of the press in India, and the nature of our colonial policy, were subjects not of a character to be discussed on a merely incidental question. The hon. member who presented the petition, and the House, must feel, that if the present question was followed up by any other proposition, the effect would be, in a case actually pending in a court of law, to prevent the due and equal administration of justice. As to the power under which the governor-general acted, it might be a question whether it ought or ought not to continue; it would be a fit subject of discussion, whether the rigours of such a power might be put an end to or modified; but it was undeniable that it was a power, and the only one, which was given to them to exercise in certain cases, under the existing law. The system might be wrong; but the House should see, that while they condemned the system, they did not go still further, and condemn the governor-general for his conformity with that system. The fault was not in the governments of India; it was not in the directors; it was in the law of the land—it was the uniform practice, in our relations with that great anomalous and astonishing part of our Empire—our Indian possessions. With respect to what had been described, in strong language, as transportation of the individual, it was the course which a positive act of parliament had pointed out to governors-general, and which had been, under the emergency, uniformly practised. But, the act by which the power of punishment was thus given, was accompanied by another act, which afforded to the individual suffering unjustly the penalty of the law, the means of obtaining redress. The case then was this. The governor-general of India had applied to an individual the punishment prescribed by law for the offence of which it was alleged that that individual had been guilty. Undoubtedly, if an individual was subjected, without cause, to the punishment of the first act, he was a most injured person; but then parliament had provided, in the second act, the means by which he might vindicate himself. That was the statement of the general principle. The statement of the facts of the particular case was this. By the act to which he had already alluded, which gave the power of obtaining redress to those who were unjustly subjected to the operation of the penal law, Mr. Buckingham had the means of bringing his case, not before an Indian, but before a British tribunal. To that course he had determined to resort; and, in furtherance of that determination, he had entered into the proper securities in order to obtain the necessary documents and evidence, and had commenced legal proceedings against Mr. Adam. In that state of things, what show of justice or equity would there be in that House interfering in the present case, any more than there would be in interfering between any other individuals in legal contest in the court of King's Bench? It was, therefore, that without entering at all into the merits of the case, but on the simple showing of the petitioner himself, it appeared to him to be utterly impossible that the House should interfere upon the subject, until a decision had been come to respecting it in a court of law. But, at the same time, he perfectly agreed with the hon. baronet, that when-ever the subject could be properly and effectually taken up by parliament, it ought to be so taken up, in order to see what the power which the law gave to the authorities in India was, and to determine, without any regard to the question, whether that power had been well or ill used; if it was a kind of power which ought to be continued. He was quite prepared to agree with the hon. baronet, that such an inquiry as that, whenever the proper time should arrive for entering upon it, would be highly expedient and serviceable. But he was not prepared, under pretence of discussing that which was unquestionably a great constitutional question, to discuss collaterally the case of an individual, which case, in the situation in which it stood, could not properly come under the view of the House. The hon. member for Aberdeen had observed, that he (Mr. C.) had seemed to express some surprise at a passage in the speech of the hon. gentleman, by whom Mr. Buckingham's petition had been presented to the House. Undoubtedly, he did express surprise at that passage; for it was one well calculated to excite surprise in his mind. It was the passage in which the hon. member spoke of the tyranny of lord Amherst. Such a charge was new to him; and novelty was apt to produce surprise. To hear that lord Amherst had become a tyrant did not astonish him much less than it would have astonished him to hear that he had become a tiger. He trusted he was open to conviction, whoever might be the party concerned but he certainly had listened to that part of the hon. member's statement with very great incredulity. Power certainly changed men sometimes. It was possible that the most mild and forbearing nature that he had ever known in his life might have become savage and ferocious by transportation to another climate. But if it did so turn out, it would be one of the most extraordinary physical phenomena that had ever come within his knowledge. And, all personal feeling apart, there were parts of the case, besides that which referred to the conduct of lord Amherst, which excited his surprise. The conduct of the marquis of Hastings, and his intentions with respect to India, seemed to be a good deal mistaken; and it was necessary that the error should be set right. It seemed to be imagined indeed, that the marquis of Hastings had at once, in a fit of zeal, thrown down all the guards by which the press of India, up to the time of his administration, had been fettered; and that he had absolutely instituted prizes for the discussion of the most delicate subjects, in the freest way, all over the country. Now, the fact was, that the marquis of Hastings had done no such thing. He had abolished the old mode of restraint; but he had introduced a new one scarcely less effective. And therefore the question submitted to him (Mr. C.) as President of the Board of Control, had been, not whether there should be restraint, or not, upon the press in India, but whether the old form, which, without telling any tales, he might now say the directors had been desirous of restoring, should be re-introduced, or whether the scheme substituted by the marquis of Hastings should have a fair trial. From the draught which the directors had sent up upon that occasion, he had certainly, for a time, withheld the approbation of the Crown. He had given no directions for taking off the censorship—the course which the marquis of Hastings had pursued; but he did not hesitate to say that after it was off, he had thought the new scheme might as well have a fair chance given it of success. The accounts of what the marquis of Hastings had done with respect to the press, had arrived, he believed, in the year 1819. In the spring of 1820, the draught of the directors, setting out the old mode which they wished to restore, had been sent up; and he had withheld the sanction of the Crown from it until the end of that year, when he ceased to be interested in the arrangement. For himself, therefore, he certainly had been desirous that the new system should be tried; but, before such unqualified praise was given to him for approving of that system, or to the marquis of Hastings for inventing it, it would be as well that the House should know what the system of improvement was. The regulations which were established by lord Wellesley, and which the marquis of Hastings had found in force when he went over, ran thus:—"1, Every printer of a newspaper shall print his name at the bottom of the paper. 2. Every editor or proprietor of a newspaper shall deliver in his name and place of abode. 3. No paper shall be published on a Sunday. 4. No paper shall be published at all, until it has previously been inspected by the secretary of the government, or some person authorized by him. 5. The penalty consequent upon the disregard of any of the above regulations, shall be the immediate embarkation of the offender for England." Now, in lieu of this censorship, the following regulations had been established by the marquis of Hastings, which did not, the House, would see, set the press at liberty altogether. "The editors of newspapers are prohibited from publishing any matter under the following heads.—1. Animadversions on the measures of the court of directors and other public bodies connected with the government in India. 2. Also all disquisitions on the political transactions of the local administrations. All offensive remarks on the members of the council or the supreme court, and the lord bishop of Calcutta; and all discussions having a tendency to create alarm or suspicion among the native population of any intended interference with their religion. 3. Also the republication, from English or other newspapers, of any matter coming under the above heads, calculated to affect the security of the British power or reputation in India. 4. Also all scandal or personal remarks on individuals tending to excite discord and animosity in society." Now, certainly, the panegyric was a little too wide which said, that the marquis of Hastings had intended to do away entirely with the existing restrictions upon the press, and substitute uncontrolled and unlimited discussion as a system throughout India. He hoped he was not saying too much, when he declared, that were he possessed of power which nothing could control but the press, and were that press as limited as it had been limited in India by the marquis of Hastings, he should certainly entertain no apprehension of its restraining influence. In destroying the illusion which existed on this subject, and in making what might be considered a self-sacrifice, he begged not to be understood as expressing his approbation of the regulations which he had just quoted. He did not wish what he had said to be construed into an approval either of those regulations, or of the regulations for which they had been substituted. The question which had been put to him was—the censorship having been destroyed, and other regulations established in its place, whether it was worth while to send peremptory orders to India to destroy the new regulations, and to renew the censorship? His answer had been, that he did not think it worth while. If it had afterwards appeared to him, that the new regulations were more offensive, and less effectual than the censorship, he should certainly not have interfered to prevent the renewal of the latter; but as he soon after went out of office, it was impossible for him to say what might have been his ultimate decision. What was the inference which he wished the House to draw from all this? Not that they should express approbation of either of the systems in preference to the other. But, surely, gentlemen of all parties would allow, when it appeared that two such minds as those of marquis Wellesley and the marquis of Hastings—men as virtuous and honourable as they were great and dignified—as much attached to the principles of liberty as the most enlightened statesman that ever lived—concurred in the necessity of some control over the press in India, he would not say that their judgment should be subjugated to that of those distinguished persons, but that they might well pause before they declared that the marquis of Hastings ought to be condemned for the course which he had pursued. What he had stated were the authorities on which he founded his opinion; and he was sure that the hon. gentleman who had introduced the subject with so much temper and ability, would not say that they ought to be put out of the question. What the decision might be on the particular case under consideration, he would not anticipate. In his opinion, it neither would be nor could be decided on abstract principles. It must be looked at with reference, not to the happily enlightened state of this country, but to those modifications which belonged to a state of society not merely different from our own, but which had no resemblance in the whole world. In such a country, and under such regulations of the press as be had described, Mr. Buckingham had done that which he (Mr. Canning) would not characterize. His conduct must be judged with reference to the law under which he lived at the time, and not with reference to the law by which, happily, we were governed. As to Mr. Adam, with that gentleman, he had no personal connexion. But he should be doing great injustice to him, if he did not say, that he was a man who had raised himself by his meritorious conduct; a conduct, the value of which had been acknowledged by the successive individuals who had held the government of India, and who had, therefore, the opportunity of witnessing and appreciating it. He could truly say from experience, that in situations of great difficulty he had known that gentleman exert himself in the most manly and creditable manner. If he were to judge of Mr. Adam's general character from his conduct as a public officer, he would say, that he was a man evidently determined to act honourably and uprightly, cost what it would. Mr. Adam might, in the pursuit of what he considered a just object, have been guilty of violence and oppression in the exercise of the temporary authority with which he was invested. If so, he was in that course of trial which parliament had appointed to take cognizance of such misdeeds; and should he be proved guilty, God forbid that he should not be visited by the punishment awarded by law to such an offence! But it was impossible that that House could step in with an extra judicial proceeding; and above all, that, while the particular case was under the consideration of a court of law, it should step in to try the merits of that case, and of the general system together. That House, if it entered at present into the investigation of the subject, could not separate the individual case from the system. But a court of law would separate them. It would try Mr. Adam by the law which he was bound to administer; and would consider Mr. Buckingham's case by the law under which he lived. When the individual case should be once out of the way, he (Mr. C.) should have no objection whatever to consent, not only that the whole question respecting the press of India should be brought under the view of parliament, but that it should also take into consideration the other modifications of the system of Indian government, which the progress of knowledge and the improving condition of the population of our Asiatic empire might appear to demand.

Mr. Denman

contended, that the concluding observations of the right hon. gentleman who had just sat down, and the opening observations of the right hon. the president of the Board of Control were founded on a complete fallacy. The right hon. gentleman had mistated both the law and the fact. He seemed to suppose that Mr. Buckingham had contravened the Jaw, and that it was in consequence of that contravention he had been expelled from India. That was not the fact. Mr. Buckingham had contravened no Jaw; he had not even contravened the marquis of Hastings's regulations: for their existence was not known when Mr. Buckingham published in the Calcutta Journal that which had occasioned his banishment from India. But, the great error of the two right hon. gentlemen was, that they supposed Mr. Buckingham was availing himself of the act of parliament, which, it was supposed, prescribed the means by which he might remedy the injustice that he had suffered. When first Mr. Buckingham returned to this country, he had done him (Mr. D.) the honour to ask his opinion, as to the course of proceeding which it would be expedient for him to pursue. If he did not most conscientiously believe that all Mr. Buckingham's legal proceedings were relinquished, he would certainly not support, his present petition. If, on the contrary, Mr. Buckingham persevered in them, he would say that he disgraced himself. In the petition which his hon. friend had presented from Mr. Buckingham, the latter disclaimed all legal proceeding. If, after so solemn a disclaimer, Mr. Buckingham should nevertheless proceed, he (Mr. D.) would in no way be legally concerned on the subject. But, the fact was, that the allegation that Mr. Buckingham continued his legal suit, was only one of the reasons which were always discovered by those who wished to get rid of the complaints of any injured individual. Mr. Buckingham had no connexion with the leading members of that House. He had never sat in the same cabinet or at the came table with them. Of course, there- fore, his remonstrances were met by panegyrics on those whom he considered his oppressors. Every right hon. member was prepared with some ground, founded either on candour to an adversary, or on partiality to a friend, for rejecting any individual case of grievance that might be submitted to the consideration of parliament. The petitioner had declared that he did not mean to follow up any legal proceeding; and yet the House of Commons were, forsooth, to slumber over his wrongs, because it was possible he might be insincere! When was this doubt to end? Was the offence of having once entered into recognizances to be visited on Mr. Buckingham by a perpetual denial of justice? Would the right hon. gentleman believe next year, or the year after, that the intention of not proceeding legally was sincere? To him it appeared, that the petition was one to which the House ought to attend with reference both to the oppression which the petitioner had suffered, and to the system under which that oppression had been inflicted. Unquestionably, on looking at the act of parliament, which, according to the right hon. gentleman, afforded the means of redress for such injustice as that complained of, he had advised Mr. Buckingham to drop all legal proceedings. The remedy which that act pointed out was merely nominal: it imposed on the person complaining of oppression such a course in proving his case, as rendered all prospect of success hopeless. The governor-general of India was armed with arbitrary power, at a moment's notice, to send out of the country any individual whose newspaper or face, he, or any of the underlings of office, disliked, or with whom he or they had made an improvident bargain: and that individual had no remedy at law, unless he could prove malice and corruption on the part of his oppressor—a thing manifestly impossible, unless the governor general of India were to be an idiot as well as a tyrant. It was so, also, with regard to the magistrates in this country. The House were every day told, that if those magistrates behaved improperly, redress might be obtained in the court of King's-bench. But, that redress could not be obtained, unless malicious or corrupt motives could be established. And who did not know the difficulty of establishing any such charge by distinct and and positive evidence? Greatly as he thought of the liberty of the press, that formed but a small part of the question under consideration. Undoubtedly, to talk of a press, and that press not free, was to talk of a secret enemy instead of an open friend. But that was not the single question before them. The question was not, why the press was not unrestrained in India; but why, there being laws regulating the press, in the event of any violation of those laws, was not the violator pursued in the proper and regular course of justice? When he heard the hon. chairman of the court of directors talk of the five warnings which Mr. Buckingham had received against the commission of the offence with which he was charged, it naturally occurred to him to ask the hon. chairman why the offender had not been brought into a court of justice? At the time that Mr. Buckingham was charged with the offence in question, he had brought an action, in the Supreme Court against the proprietor of the "John Bull" newspaper, by whom an action had also been brought against him, so that he was in the double capacity of plaintiff and defendant Yet Mr. Adam had torn him from his business, from his family, from all his hopes, and had sent him to a distant country, where he was ruined, and perhaps on the very verge of beggary. It was horrible to hear of such things. It was horrible to see any thing like an attempt to introduce into this country that Indian atmosphere which he for one was not prepared to breathe. He trusted parliamentary inquiry would be instituted into the treatment that Mr. Buckingham had experienced. It had been considered necessary to submit the conduct of individuals, situated as Mr. Buckingham had been situated, to the judgment of a court of law in India in several instances. If in one, why not in all? Was it not in Mr. Buckingham's favour, that, in the civil action which he had himself brought for a libel on his character, he had recovered damages, and that the revival of the criminal information against him by Mr. Adam was considered so unwarrantable by the judge, sir Francis Macnaghten, that he refused to send it to a jury, and declared the whole proceeding to be cruel, oppressive, and illegal? What reason could be assigned for the existence of so despotic a law as that under which Mr. Buckingham was suffering, unless it were an overwhelming necessity? Yet no such necessity appeared to exist. Why preserve this perpetual Alien bill in India?—an Alien bill, too, of the most strange description; for aliens were free from its operation, which was directed against English alone! It was not because any man had been mild and amiable in this country, that he must necessarily be mild and amiable in India. It was very true, as the right hon. gentleman opposite had himself allowed, that power frequently altered characters. The right hon. gentleman could not have forgotten that beautiful passage in the scripture, in which the future tyrant, to whom the prophet predicted, that when advanced to authority, he would be guilty of oppression and cruelty, exclaimed, "Is thy servant a dog, that he should do this thing?" But he did it. Such, indeed, were the naturally vitiating consequences of the possession of arbitrary power, that no wise or good man would wish for it. With respect to Mr. Adam, it did happen that that gentleman was an old school-fellow of his; and he recollected him to have been a boy of a most amiable and gentle character. Nevertheless, he must declare that, on the present occasion, Mr. Adam seemed to him to have behaved in as cruel and unjustifiable a manner as any governor of a colony that he had ever heard of, bad as such persons usually were. So far was his conduct in the transaction from deserving to be regarded with indulgence, except indeed from the circumstance of his not being in this country to defend it, that it ought to receive the most marked and general reprobation. But, although Mr. Adam was not in this country to de-fend himself, he had published his defence, and no person could read that defence without finding in it Mr. Adam's own condemnation, and seeing the arbitrary and uncontrolled power which he had exercised. The hon. chairman of the court of directors had talked of the warnings which Mr. Buckingham had received, as if they were the distant rumblings of thunder that were to throw a man on his knees to pray to Heaven to avert from him the menacing storm. But, why was the storm to fall as it did? Surely Mr. Adam might have waited a few weeks until the arrival of the new governor. But the whole proceeding clearly showed the nature of that system, which, from the top to the bottom, required unsparing revision and correction. It was the bounden duty of parliament to take care that the press in India enjoyed that degree of liberty which might safely! be granted to it; and, above all, to deprive the government in that country of the power of exercising an arbitrary deportation, towards any individual who might happen to displease them by the manliness and independence of his conduct.

Mr. Lambton

felt that an apology was due from him to the House, for intruding upon them again, after the very able manner in which Mr. Buckingham's cause had been advocated by his hon. friends; but there were one or two points in the speeches of the right hon. gentlemen opposite which he should be wanting in duty to the individual whose petition he had undertaken to present to parliament if he were not to notice. With respect to any imputation on individuals, it was in the recollection of the House, whether at the very outset of his address to them on presenting the petition, and in the whole course of that address, he had not wholly disclaimed attributing corrupt or malicious motives to any one? He had stated the case with reference to its own merits. He had simply stated the facts which had occurred under Mr. Adam's temporary administration of the government of India without imputing to that gentleman, or to any one else, any improper motive whatever. The right hon. gentleman (Mr. Canning) however, talked as if his speech had been full of personal inculpation. He had a right to complain also of the way in which the right hon. gentleman had treated another of his statements. He had told the right hon. the president of the Board of Control in private, that all legal proceedings had been dropped by Mr. Buckingham. He had also endeavoured to impress that fact upon the House this evening. The death of Mr. Buckingham's solicitor, in India, and the unaccountable circumstance that his counsel, Mr. Ferguson (recently appointed advocate general under Mr. Adam) had omitted to send him the necessary documents and evidence, added to other considerations, had induced him to decline all further proceeding. If that had not been the case, he (Mr. L.) would certainly have abstained from presenting the petition. It had been contended, that Mr. Adam had only administered the power which belonged to the existing system. That he (Mr. L.) positively denied. It was one of Mr. Buckingham's strongest complaints. The system which Mr. Adam found on his accession to the temporary government of India was the system which the marquis of Hastings had established. It signified nothing to talk of the private regulations respecting the press which that noble marquis had circulated. Those regulations, not having received the sanction of the governor in council, were inoperative as law. For his part, he knew nothing of the marquis of Hastings's character. But this he knew—that the marquis of Hastings had removed all arbitrary control on the part of the government over the press of India. He was not called upon to defend the marquis of Hastings, to speak of his attributes, or to hold him up as an example. But, when the noble marquis had made a public declaration to one effect, and had circulated private regulations to another, Mr. Buckingham could only consider himself bound by the former. Did the noble marquis make those regulations the law of India? No. It was true that they had since been registered by the lord chief justice, and had become the law; but at the time at which Mr. Adam acted upon them they were not so. The right hon. gentleman opposite had maintained, that transportation from India was the punishment provided by law for the offence with which Mr. Buckingham was charged. That he (Mr. L.) denied. To transportation from that country no man could be justly exposed, unless he had forfeited all claim to the protection of its government. That claim Mr. Buckingham had not forfeited. He had nevertheless been transported: and to parliament, and through parliament to the people of England he made the present appeal.—He now begged leave to make a few observations on what had fallen from the hon. chairman of the court of directors. That hon. gentleman had talked of the inconvenience of this mode of bringing forward the subject. He (Mr. L.) knew of none. When an English subject suffered injustice, the proper course was, to make, what he (Mr. L.) had made on the part of the petitioner, a full, open, and, he trusted, candid, statement of his case to the only tribunal where it could be properly and constitutionally discussed. But, the hon. chairman had alluded to the five warnings which Mr. Buckingham had received, and had expressed his surprise that after receiving those warnings he had gone on in the same course. He would mention to the House what one or two of those warnings had been. One was a complaint against Mr. Buckingham that he had stated that the appointment of Mr. Elliott to the government of Madras was a public calamity, being induced to make such a statement by Mr. Elliott's conduct respecting her late majesty and the princess Charlotte. On application, however, to the advocate general, whether or not it would be proper to institute a prosecution against Mr. Buckingham on this subject, the advocate general declared that there was no ground for such a prosecution. Another warning was a supposed libel against the bishop of Calcutta. It proved however to be, not a libel on the bishop, but some remarks on the conduct of the chaplain. What was the result? It was found that Mr. Buckingham's statement was correct, and the evil of which he complained was rectified. Was this an occurrence likely to "warn" Mr. Buckingham, or to induce him to abstain from making still further exertions to produce various reforms which were suggested by his honourable mind? The third warning was the publication of a statement relative to the military, which it was said was calculated to create discontent and insubordination in the army. The writer of that statement had left his name and address with Mr. Buckingham: the statement was inquired into; its truth was established; and the evils of which it complained were redressed. Representations of such a nature as the one he had last mentioned, were in India especially serviceable. It had been well stated by sir John Malcolm, whose opinions were entit ed to be received with great deference, that the prosperity of India required free discussion, in order to put government in possession of cases of oppression and injustice, of which they might not otherwise become informed. This was particularly true as respected the army. Did the hon. chairman of the East India Company forget the mutinies of Velore and Madras? At that period, the press was under a severe censorship; but it was the general opinion that if the press of India had been free, government would have been put in possession of the circumstances in which those mutinies originated, and they would in all probability have been prevented. If the House would grant him a committee for that purpose, he would prove, by the testimony of officers of the highest respectability, that as far as the subordination of the army, and the general tranquillity of India were concerned a free press in that country would be eminently serviceable. With respect to the individual whose petition he had that night presented, he (Mr. L.) had really never entertained any hope that the House would redress the injustice which that individual had suffered. His sole object had been to publish the petitioner's case. He conceived that that object had been attained by the proceedings of the present evening. He had not the remotest purpose of bringing the subject again under the consideration of the House, convinced as he was, that by so doing, he should only waste time and trifle with the feelings of the petitioner. He repeated, that his sole motive in what he had done was, to call public attention to the subject. He did not know any thing of the petitioner. He did not know Mr. Adam, or the marquis of Hastings. Of lord Amherst, all that he knew was, that he had proved his sturdy independence, to the surprise of all well bred mandarins, by refusing to perform the Kotou in China, [a laugh]. He might be the greatest and the best of human beings. He might possess, as the right hon. gentleman had said, the most mild and gentle of natures.—But, whether he was a "physical phenomenon" or not—whether he was a "Tyrant" or a "Tyger," he (Mr. L.) was bound as a member of parliament, when he received a statement of oppression and cruelty, supported by men of the highest character and respectability, fearless of all consequences, and regardless of the rank and power of the individuals whom that statement might implicate, to perform his duty, by placing it before those who called themselves the Commons of England. If they refused to grant redress, on their heads was the blame [hear, hear!].

Ordered to be printed.