§ Mr. Tulk
moved that the Report of the Select Committee appointed in 1834 to inquire into the claims of Mr. Buckingham to compensation be read. This having been done, the hon. Member said, that it was only from a conviction of the justice of Mr. Buckingham's claims that he ventured again to appeal to the House, in the hope of inducing them to reverse the decision to which they had come on the subject of them. The hon. Member then commented at some length upon the facts contained in the Report, and upon the injustice with which they showed that Mr. Buck- 170 ingham had been treated, and after intimating, that if he succeeded in carrying his first motion, he should afterwards move that the sum of 10,000l. be paid out of the funds of the East-India Company, as Compensation to Mr. Buckingham for the injury, or rather destruction which they they had inflicted on his properly in India, concluded by moving, "that this House do agree to the resolutions of the Select Committee on the case of Mr. Buckingham, as reported to the House on the 14th of August, 1834."
Mr. Vernon Smith
said, that there was only one observation in the speech of the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this motion in which he could concur—and that was, that he (Mr. Tulk) did indeed owe an apology to the House for bringing forward this question again after it had been decided against him in this session, when the whole question was fully entered into. The hon. Gentleman had not shown the slightest ground for mulcting the East-India Company in a penalty of 10,000l. for the benefit of Mr. Buckingham; and in making that proposition the hon. Member had even gone beyond the resolutions of the Committee, which had carefully abstained from stating the sum to which they considered Mr. Buckingham entitled.
§ Mr. Poulter
supported the motion, on the ground that it was founded on the resolutions of the Committee, which had been agreed to almost unanimously.
§ Mr. Robinson
resisted the motion, on the ground that, the House had no jurisdiction, and could not erect itself into a tribunal to decide on the pecuniary claims of any individual as against the East-India Company.
§ Mr. Hume
admitted, that the House had no jurisdiction to interfere in pecuniary matters between man and man, or between an individual and a public company, where any other competent tribunal existed; but in the present instance, there being no such means of re as, he should support Mr. Buckingham's appeal.
§ Mr. Richards
could not believe that the House had no jurisdiction in such a case. There could be no doubt they were fully competent to entertain the claim of the hon. Member for Sheffield, and, therefore, he was much surprised the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith) had thought it necessary to oppose the present 171 motion in limine on technical and formal grounds, without at all entering into the consideration of its substantial merits.
§ Mr. Hogg
spoke as follows:—Having been on the spot during the whole period of the transaction adverted to, perhaps the House will kindly grant me their indulgence while I state my reasons for hoping that these resolutions may not be agreed to. I think, Sir, that, at first, a stand ought to have been made upon principle, and that the appointment of the Committee ought to have been resisted. But as the Committee was appointed, and has reported, I think the question ought to be argued on its merits; and on its merits alone I am prepared to meet it, abandoning every objection of form. I contend that the Committee have reported no facts to support their own resolution and recommendation. They and the Gentlemen opposite have treated this matter as one which consisted of one offence and one punishment, involving in its consequences the ruin of Mr. Buckingham. You are told that the Government not only sent him home, but, on his departure, adopted measures to suppress his paper and ruin his fortunes. I deny that this is correct; I deny that when he was required to leave India, Government, either directly or indirectly, said, or did anything to injure his paper, or interfere with his arrangements; and upon that issue I am willing to place the result of this motion. India and Indian affairs have few attractions, and command but little attention or interest; and I believe that, often as this subject has been before Parliament, no statement of the circumstances has ever yet been made. If permitted by the House. I will give them a narrative of Mr. Buckingham and The Calcutta Journal. I see Mr. Buckingham opposite; and I shall feel obliged by his interrupting me, if I in any respect misrepresent or overstate. I do not wish to weary the House by unnecessarily reading documents, but I have with me the evidence adduced before the Committee, and am prepared to prove the correctness of every statement I may make. No word shall intentionally fall from me calculated to reflect personally on the hon. Member; I agree in all that has been said as to the conduct and demeanor of that Gentleman in this House since I have had the honour of a seat in✶ Republished from a corrected Report.172 Parliament. But the more bland, and mild, and soothing his manner here may be, the more necessary it is to draw the attention of the House to the circumstances which compelled the local government of India to visit him with extreme severity. The hon. Member who introduced this motion complained of the state of the House, when the Bill on this subject was rejected this Session, and said that the friends of Mr. Buckingham were not then in attendance. As far as my memory serves me, that division was taken under circumstances peculiarly calculated to mark the sense of the House. The Bill was introduced as a private one, but did not come on till after five o'clock, when public business of some importance was expected; and the House was, in consequence, crowded—[No! No!]—I mean comparatively crowded, with reference to the numbers usually present on the discussion of private business; and I will venture to say, that the division this Session, rejecting the Bill, is the largest that ever took place on this subject. I have premised that I will urge no technical objection, but I must beg the attention of the House to the number of tribunals before which this claim has already been urged. It was introduced into this House as a public Bill, and withdrawn, I admit, on the ground of form. It was introduced this Session, as a private bill, and rejected by a division of 125 to eighty-one. It has been urged before the Court of Directors, a body constantly changing, ever since 1823, and has always been rejected. It has also been urged, during the same period, before the various Commissioners for the Affairs of India, and has been repudiated by them all, with the single exception of Lord Glenelg. It was brought, with the united influence of all Mr. Buckingham's friends, before the Court of Proprietors, and rejected by a majority of 279; the numbers being 436 to 157; and if, after all these unsuccessful appeals, the hon. Member has any fair claim, I must admit, that he has been unfortunate indeed. What, Sir, is Mr. Buckingham's first and great grievance, prominently dwelt on before the Committee, in his evidence and statements, and the one upon which all his complaints and claims must be founded? He states, that he arrived in Calcutta in 1818, and that believing the press there to be free, and subject only to the restraints imposed by 173 the English law of libel,—believing it to be free as in England (these are his words), he set up The Calcutta Journal. Mr. Buckingham so says, and I give the fullest credence to what he states. But I declare my conviction, that there was not another individual in Calcutta, European or native, white or black, who laboured under a similar delusion. It was notorious as the sun at noon-day, that the press was not only not free, but subject to the most rigid and stringent regulations. Mr. Buckingham is quite right in endeavouring to show, that when he established his paper the press was free, and that he was injured by some ex post facto law. He feels that he cannot have a shadow of claim, if it should appear that he perseveringly violated rules which were already in existence when he commenced his paper, and with which he either was acquainted, or ought to have been acquainted. No person can anywhere be permitted to plead ignorance of the law; and in a country peculiarly circumstanced, like India, it would be preposterous to allow a man to urge in justification, or even in palliation, that he had embarked in an undertaking in utter ignorance of all the rules and regulations relating to that particular calling. As this part of the subject is most important, I entreat the attention of the House while I mention the state of the press in India, as it existed before and at the time of the establishment of The Calcutta Journal. The first press regulations were framed by the Marquess of Wellesley, in 1799, and with the permission of the House, I will read them:—1st. Every printer of a newspaper to print his name at the bottom of the paper.2nd. Every editor and proprietor of a paper to deliver in his name and place of abode to the Secretary to Government.3rd. No paper to be published on a Sunday.4th. No paper to be published at all until it shall have been previously inspected by the Secretary to the Government, or by a person authorized by him for that purpose.5th. The penalty for offending against any of the above regulations to be immediate embarkation for Europe.These regulations first established the censorship, and the editors were then distinctly apprized, that the penalty for offending was immediate embarkation for Europe. These rules remained in force until 1813, when new regulations were established, of nearly the same tenor, but more general and stringent.—[Read! 174 Read!]—Being called upon to read them, I will do so.1st. That the proof sheets of all newspapers, including supplements, and all extra publications, be previously sent to the Chief Secretary for revision.2nd. That all notices, hand-bills, and other ephemeral publications, he, in like manner previously transmitted for the Chief Secretary's revision.3rd. That the titles of all original works, proposed to be published, be also sent to the Chief Secretary, for his information, who will thereupon either sanction the publication of them, or require the work itself for inspection, as may appear proper.4th. The rules established on the 13th May, 1799, and the 6th August, 1801, to be in full force and effect, except in so far as the same may be modified by the preceding instructions.The rule of August, 1801, was a special one, relating to the publication of military orders. I hope the House will think that I was not incorrect in stating that these new rules were more general and more stringent than those first issued. Such was the state of the press from 1799 up to August, 1818, when the censorship was removed, under the government of Lord Hastings, and new rules were framed, much more extensive in their application than any which had preceded them, and much more perilous for those engaged in the conduct of public journals. As these were the existing rules when Mr. Buckingham arrived in Calcutta and set up The Calcutta Journal, I hope I shall be permitted to read them to the House, and also the circular letter which was then addressed by the Secretary to Government to the editor of every paper.Circular Letter to Editors of Newspapers.SIR.—His Excellency the Governor-General in Council, having been pleased to revise the existing regulations regarding the control exercised by the Government over the news-papers, I am directed to communicate to yon, for your information and guidance, the following resolutions passed by his Lordship in Council.The editors of newspapers are prohibited from publishing any matter conning under the following heads:—1st. Animadversions on the measures and proceedings of the Hon. the Court of Directors, or other public authorities in England, connected with the Government of India,—or disquisitions on political transactions of the local administration,—or offensive remarks levelled at the public conduct of the members of Council, of the Judges of the Supreme Court, or of the Lord Bishop of Calcutta.1752nd. Discussions having a tendency to create alarm or suspicion among the native population, or any intended interference with their religious opinions or observances.3rd. The republication, from English or other newspapers, of passages coming under any of the above heads, or otherwise calculated to affect the British power or reputation in India.4th. Private scandal and personal remarks on individuals, tending to excite dissension in society.Relying on the prudence and discretion of the editors for the careful observance of these rules, the Governor-General in Council is pleased to dispense with their submitting their papers to an officer of Government previous to publication. The editors will, however, be held personally accountable for whatever they may publish in contravention of the rules now communicated, or which may be otherwise at variance with the general principles of British law as established in this country, and will be proceeded against in such manner as the Governor-General in Council may deem applicable to the nature of the offence, for any deviation from them. The editors are further required to lodge in the Chief Secretary's office one copy of every newspaper, periodical, or extra, published by them respectively.(Signed) "J. ADAM,Chief Secretary.Such was the state of the press when Mr. Buckingham established his paper. Such were the rules to which he, as an editor, was bound by his licence to conform; and I ask any hon. Member who hears me, if it is not a mockery to assert and contend that a press subject to such rules was "free?" And yet, Sir, it is gravely alleged that Lord Hastings, by removing the censorship, established the freedom of the press. I maintain that, so far from removing the restrictions on the press, he actually increased them; and rendered the situation of an editor much more difficult, much more embarrassing, and much more perilous, than it had ever been before. Previously to 1818, the whole of the responsibility rested with the censor; and an editor was safe in publishing everything that escaped his vigilance, Not so afterwards. Editors are furnished with a terrific catalogue of prohibited matters; and, in the event of offending, are declared personally accountable, and liable to be punished according to the will and pleasure of Government. I will explain to the House the reason why the censorship of the press was removed. In the early part of 1818 there was a paper in Calcutta edited by a half-caste;—I 176 need not say, that I do not use the word offensively, but as indicating a person born of an Indian mother and an European father. That gentleman was aware that, under the 53rd of George 3rd, he could not be transmitted for disobedience of the press regulations, and he held the Government at defiance. He published articles which had been struck out by the censor, and asserted his right to publish what he pleased—subject only to the English law of libel. It was not to be tolerated that an editor, because a half-caste, should arrogate to himself privileges that were not conceded to a British subject. Lord Hastings addressed the Home Government, stating the difficulty, and in the meanwhile, to escape from such embarrassment, removed the censorship, and framed the rules to which I have drawn the attention of the House. The censorship was thus abolished, not to render the press free, but because it was not sufficiently extensive in its application, and had failed in affording adequate control. Such, Sir, was the restriction, or, if you please, enslaved state of the press at Calcutta, when Mr. Buckingham set up his paper. The condition upon which he held his licence, and had permission to remain in Calcutta, was obedience to the regulations I have read; and yet, within a few months, that Gentleman thinks proper to discard these regulations, and to fasten upon an expression used by Lord Hastings, under the excitement of the moment, when returning thanks to an address from the inhabitants of Madras. When Lord Hastings returned from the upper provinces, after the successful termination of his campaign, the inhabitants of Madras presented him with an address, and, among other topics, adverted to his having removed the censorship from the press. It was always considered by editors irksome and humiliating to be compelled to submit every paper to the Secretary; and the removal of this necessity was regarded as a boon, though accompanied by the most stringent rules. Lord Hastings, in his reply, adverted to this subject; and, under the excitement of the occasion and the scene, indulged in a little flourish about the liberty of the Press, not very consonant with the rules he himself had framed. Mr. Buckingham thinks proper to consider this as a formal announcement of the liberty of the Press, and to disregard the rules and regulations 177 formally framed for the guidance of all editors. I will ask the House, if anything could be more unfair or uncandid, than to have culled from the speech of that distinguished nobleman, an expression used in the moment of exultation when returning thanks to a complimentary address; and to contend, that he regarded such expression as annulling the regulations which had been deliberately framed and passed by the Government of which Lord Hastings was the head? Mr. Buckingham knew as well as I do, that it was not competent for Lord Hastings, by anything that he could either speak or write, to annul, alter, or in anywise affect a regulation passed by the Governor-General in Council. I beg to apologise for having dealt so much at length on the state of the Press when Mr. Buckingham established his paper; but the House will see that it is indispensably necessary they should be made acquainted with the rules and regulations then in force, and to which Mr. Buckingham was bound to yield implicit obedience. I will now call the attention of the House to the general conduct and character of The Calcutta Journal; and having been on the spot at the time, and having carefully read the evidence before the Committee, my opinion is, that the character of that paper was most dangerous and injurious—that it tended to bring the Government and public authorities into contempt in the eyes of the natives—and that it tended to create, and did create, disunion and dissensions in society. As editor of The Calcutta Journal, Mr. Buckingham arrogated to himself the right of arraigning all the measures of Government, and all public officers before the tribunal of what he was pleased to call "public opinion." He inculcated the doctrine, that it was vain and idle to apply for redress to the Government or constituted authorities, and invited all persons to appeal to him as the supreme arbiter; his paper was accordingly filled by anonymous letters—from persons purporting to be civil and military servants— of a tendency destructive of the efficiency and subordination of those services. He also admitted into his columns articles and letters containing personal remarks, which excited discord and dissension, and kept society in a state of feverish excitement. I do not mean to state, or impute to Mr. Buckingham, that such articles and letters were scandalous or libelous, 178 They might, probably, have been inserted in a London newspaper without exciting attention or interest; but in India every one is known, and remarks that in England, might be harmless, would there excite feelings of animosity, destructive of the peace and harmony of society. Such is my opinion of the tendency and character of The Calcutta Journal. The authorities both in India and in England entertained, and have repeatedly expressed, a similar opinion; and I maintain that the evidence and documents produced before the Committee, bear me out in all I have said. Where, I ask, was "the public" in India—of which Mr. Buckingham vaunts, and to whose "opinion" he says he appeals, when holding up to obloquy public men and measures? It is mockery to talk of "a public," and "public opinion," in India. There is no public in India. There, every man is in office, civil or military, controlling those below him, and owing obedience to those above him. It is a society of public functionaries, but there are no elements to form a public. I suppose no hon. Member will tell me, that the military officers in the service of the King and Company form a public? As little can it be said, that the civil tenants form a public. That service is a kind of civil garrison, where, of necessity, discpline and subordination are preserved nearly as strictly as in the army. At the time referred to, who were then in India, besides the civil and military officers? None but 300 or 400 tradesmen and shopkeepers in Calcutta, with the few barristers and attorneys attached to the Supreme Court, and a few straggling Europeans in the interior, engaged in the manufacture of indigo. Is this, then, "the public," that is to control our mighty empire in the East, and to afford an adequate and salutary check to power that is absolute? The Government in India ought to be, and is, under the control of public opinion, but that public is in England, where measures originating in absolute power will ever be received with jealousy, and scanned with suspicion. This control is effected and secured by a system and gradation of checks. Every public measure is placed upon record, and the reasons for it fully assigned. Complete diaries of all public proceedings are thus kept, and regularly transmitted to the Court of Directors, and Board of Control, to whose vigilant inspection they are subjected, They are also accessible to the 179 Members of this House; and the appeal from injustice in India is to this House, and through this House to the people of England,—and not to the editor of a paper in Calcutta, and a discontented faction, by whom he may be supported, and which he may dignify with the name of "a public." I shall now call your attention to the first offence committed by Mr. Buckingham, or rather the first occasion on which Government felt compelled to notice his frequent violations of the press regulations I am anxious that the House should hear the early and distinct warning given to Mr. Buckingham; and, also, that they should contrast his mild, meek, and submissive tone on this occasion, with his subsequent arrogant defiance of Government, when continued impunity had rendered him daring. The offensive paragraphs were published the 26th of May, 1819, and, as hon. Members call upon me to read them, I will do so.We have received a letter from Madras, of the 10th instant, written on deep black-edged mourning post of considerable breadth, and apparently made for the occasion, communicating, as a piece of melancholy and afflicting intelligence, the fact of Mr. Elliot's being confirmed in the government of that presidency for three years longer. It is regarded, at Madras, as a public calamity, and we fear that it will be viewed in no other light throughout India generally. An anecdote is mentioned in the same letter, regarding the exercise of the censorship of the press, which is worthy of being recorded, as a fact illustrative of the calosity to which the human heart may arrive; and it may be useful, humiliating as it is to the pride of our species,—to show what men, by giving loose to the principles of despotism over their fellows, may at length arrive at.Here is an article, announcing that the continuance of a certain governor in office is regarded as a public calamity, and imputing to that Governor, that his conduct had been governed by despotic principles, and had been influenced by unworthy motives. It is not necessary, for the purposes of this motion, that I should discuss the policy or the law of the press regulations, but, if requisite, I am prepared to do so. I refer you to the press regulations, and I ask if there could be a more flagrant violation of them than what I have read? On the 18th of June, a letter was written to Mr. Buckingham by the Chief-Secretary, from which I will beg permission to read an extract.The Governor-General in Council regrets to observe, that this is not the only instance in 180 which The Calcutta Journal has contained publications at variance with the spirit of the instructions above referred to. On the present occasion, the Governor-General in Council does not propose to exercise the powers vested in him by law; but I am directed to acquaint you, that by any repetition of a similar offence, you will be considered to have forfeited all claim to the countenance and protection of this Government, and will subject yourself to be proceeded against under the 36th section of 53 Geo. 3rd. c. 155.What is the statement of Mr. Buckingham before the Committee respecting this article? He says, that Lord Hastings did not consider it objectionable, and would never have noticed it, if Mr. Elliot had not written and remonstrated. Now, what is the fact as appears by the evidence? Two days after the publication of this offensive matter, Lord Hastings recorded a strong minute, and considered the article so objectionable, that he directed a reference to be made to the law-officers of Government. [Mr. O'Connell: What was their reply?] The Advocate-General stated, that however offensive and injurious the article might be, it would not be held libelous, and that Mr. Buckingham could not be indicted. Why that is my case— that is what I am contending for; that in India articles may be published, which are most dangerous and injurious, but which would not be held libels by an English Court of Justice, and thence the necessity for the press regulations. Now, let me read the reply of Mr. Buckingham:—I shall not presume to intrude on the notice of his Lordship in Council, any observations tending to the extenuation of my conduct in this or in any previous instance, as departing from the spirit of the instructions issued to the editors of the public journals in India at the period they were exempted from the necessity of previously submitting their publications to the revision of the Secretary to Government. I shall rather confine myself to observing, that I sincerely regret my having given cause to his Lordship in Council to express his displeasure; and the more so, as there is not an individual among the numerous subjects under his benign government, who is more sensible than myself of the unprecedented liberality which has marked his Lordship's administration in general, and the immense obligation which all the friends of the press owe to the measure of the revised regulation in particular. The very marked indulgence which his Lordship in Council is pleased to exercise towards me, in remitting, on this occasion, the exercise of the powers vested in him by law, will operate as an additional incentive to my future observance of the spirit of the instructions issued before the commencement of The 181 Calcutta Journal, to the editors of the public prints of India, in August, 1812, of which I am now fully informed, and which I shall henceforth make my guide.Nothing could be more proper or becoming than this reply. I read it, not to reprobate it, but to contrast it with some of the statements of Mr. Buckingham, and with his subsequent conduct and language, when he hurls defiance at the Government, denies their right and power to transmit him, and ridicules, as waste paper, these very regulations which he here declares shall be his future guide. Mr. Buckingham states, and strenuously contends before the Committee, that when he set up his paper in October, 1818, he thought that the press was free and unfettered. Does he, in the first letter, pretend or allege that he imagined the press to be free? He does not deem it decent to attempt even an extenuation of his conduct. He expresses his regret at having offended,—his gratitude for the indulgence shown to him,—and promises in future obedience to the regulations; and shortly afterwards, in fulfilment of that promise, proclaims in his Journal, that those very regulations are of no more avail than waste paper, and that no editor is bound to obey or respect them. I will only trouble the House with one other article, published about a year afterwards, in November, 1820, headed "Merit and Interest." A reference was immediately made by order of Government to the Advocate-General, who stated that he considered the article as a libel on the Government and Administration of India, not only highly offensive in its terms, but mischievous in its tendency; and a rule nisi for a criminal information, was immediately moved for and obtained in the Supreme Court. I will not ask the House to take the character or description of that libel from the Advocate General or from me. I will read to you how Mr. Buckingham himself characterised it. In writing to Government and begging for that mercy which was extended to him, he says—Should this information be filed (as it will be almost impossible to escape coming within the strict legal definition of libel, though nothing could have been more remote from my meaning), I may be subjected to a fine of 500l. and twelve months' imprisonment, for a crime, in which, if it be one, I am so far from participating, that I have been the most active agent in endeavouring to counteract and expose the miserable calumny which I am accused of propagating with seditious intent.182 And afterwards, in his own Journal, speaking of this article, he calls it "a violent and libelous article."
§ Mr. Buckingham
The article was not written by me, as editor, but by a correspondent, and published inadvertently.
§ Mr. Hogg
I think the hon. Member must be rather in error in stating that it was published, inadvertently; for in his own paper he states, as his excuse, that he published it only for confutation. These are Mr. Buckingham's own words; he published the libel only for confutation. This is a blessed doctrine for the editor of a paper! He deliberately publishes a gross and violent libel one day, that he may sit in judgment on it the next, and ex cathedra confute and condemn it. What would be said here, in free England, if the editor of the Times, or any leading paper, having published a libel, would dare to state that he had published it only that he might confute it? Sir, this is the most dangerous the most monstrous, doctrine that was ever heard of in any country. I hold in my hand a paper circulated by Mr. Buckingham, and containing extracts from the speeches of many distinguished individuals; and among others an extract of a speech of the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department, in which that noble Lord states, that he was in possession of all the facts laid before the Committee, and that there was not one article in The Calcutta Journal (I quote the noble Lord's words "that would not do honour to any man possessing an honest zeal for the welfare of the community." Such is the declared opinion of the noble Lord, as to this article, which was pronounced a libel by the Supreme Court,—was declared a violent libel by Mr. Buckingham himself,—and was, by him, deemed of such atrocity, that if the prosecution had been proceeded with, he would have been subject to incarceration for twelve months and a fine of 500l. These, Sir, are instances during the early period of Mr. Buckingham's career, when, though he ventured frequently to transgress, he was always ready to express his contrition, and solicit forgiveness; and had not, from continued impunity, assumed the attitude of defiance. I told the House that I should confine myself to the general character of the paper, and I shall not intrude on their indulgence by going through all the offences committed by Mr. Buckingham, and all the warnings he received, I am well aware 183 that when speaking of the general character of the paper, I shall be told by hon. Members opposite, "Oh! we cannot listen to you or the authorities you cite; you have all been long resident in India; you have all long breathed the atmosphere of despotism, and you have not escaped the contagion to which you have been exposed." This, Sir, is a convenient mode of disposing of the opinions of gentlemen, who from long residence in India, are surely the most competent to judge of the condition and circumstances of that country. But I ask, how comes it that any fresh importation from England became similarly infected? How comes it that the Bishop and the Commander-in-Chief, who had passed their lives in free England, were compelled to address the Government on the subject of The Calcutta Journal, and to require that the clergy might be protected from obloquy, and the army from insubordination? In July, 1821, the Bishop was compelled to address Government, complaining of an anonymous letter, charging the Chaplains with gross delinquency, and imputing to the Bishop, that he connived at the offence. So frequent were the anonymous letters, purporting to be written by military officers, and so dangerous their tendency, that in June, 1822, the Commander-in-Chief found it necessary to publish a General Order on the subject. For three years was the indulgence and clemency of Government extended to Mr. Buckingham, who was almost justified in mistaking forbearance for weakness, and in demeaning himself accordingly. In 1822, he not only transgressed the regulations, but boldly contended in his paper, and publicly proclaimed, that they were not binding, and that he owed them no obedience. He also publicly maintained, and proclaimed, that by law the Governor-General had no power or right to transmit an editor. Was it to be endured that the editor of a paper should thus set at defiance the Government, and hold up to scorn and ridicule, as waste paper, the regulations which he was bound to obey, and which, after his first offence-he declared should be the rule of his future conduct? Was it to be endured, that he should delude the ignorant and encourage the factious, by contending and dictating in his paper, that the Governor-General had no power to transmit for any offence committed through the Press, although he had again and again been referred to the 184 Statute, which is as clear and distinct as language can make it;—and, after more-over, he himself had expressed his gratitude to Government for not putting in force against him the provisions of that very Statute? The hon. Member for Middlesex has contrasted the conduct of Lord Hastings with that of Mr. Adam, and has told you, that if Lord Hastings had remained, Mr. Buckingham would not have been sent from India. Now, Sir, what are the facts, and I will leave the House to draw their own conclusion? Every warning that was given to Mr. Buckingham, and every letter that was written to him, was while Lord Hastings was at the head of the Government. In the very first letter that was written to Mr. Buckingham by the order of Lord Hastings, and which I have read to the House, he is distinctly told, that a repetition of his offence will subject him to transmission. That warning and threat was again and again repeated; and will any man, who knew that great and distinguished individual, venture to assert, that he would have deigned to threaten what he was not prepared to perform? In September, 1822, while Lord Hastings was still in India, Mr. Buckingham received his final warning; and, as his next offence was accordingly punished by transmission, I trust the House will permit me to read part of the letter written to him on that occasion:—Whether the Act of the British Legislature, or the opinion of an individual shall be predominant, is now at issue. It is, thence, imperative on the duty of the Local Government to put the subject at rest. The long-tried forbearance of the Governor-General in Council will fully prove the extreme reluctance with which he adopts a measure of harshness; and, even now, his Excellency in Council is pleased to give you the advantage of one more warning. You are now finally apprized, that if you shall again venture to impeach the validity of the Statute quoted, and the legitimacy of the power vested by it in the chief authority here, or shall treat with disregard any official injunction, past or future, from Government, whether communicated in terms of command, or in the gentle language of intimation, your licence will be immediately cancelled, and you will be ordered to depart forth-with from India.Lord Hastings left India shortly afterwards, and the next offence was committed during the temporary government of Mr. Adam; but if Lord Hastings had remained, will any one contend, that he would have hesitated to discharge what he himself had 185 declared to be an imperative duty? I had the honour and pleasure of knowing Lord Hastings well; and, however great the liberality and humanity of that distinguished nobleman, he would have scorned to dictate the threat I have just read to you, if he had not been prepared to execute it in the discharge of what he considered a public duty. It may be asked, why did Lord Plastings forbear so long?—why did he not send off Mr. Buckingham long before? I will refer you to his own words for the reason. He did not forbear because he had any doubts as to the dangerous character and tendency of The Calcutta Journal. He says, in a minute made by him on the subject, that he was reluctant to visit Mr. Buckingham with the last severity, "because he regarded him as the tool of a faction in Calcutta, that were arrayed in hostility against the Government." He thought that Mr. Buckingham, if left to himself, would yield obedience to the laws; and he hesitates and abstains, from feelings of compassion towards Mr. Buckingham individually, regarding him merely as an instrument in the hands of others. All the authorities, both at home and in India, were agreed as to the dangers to be apprehended from the abuses of a licentious press in India, and as to the necessity of adopting some strong measures of prevention. It is a strange coincidence, that on the 1st of March, 1823, the very day in which Mr. Buckingham embarked for England, Lord Liverpool, Mr. Canning, and Mr. Wynn, were assembled at Fife-House, and in a minute made there, recorded their opinions of the dangers to which the British power in India might be exposed by the abuse of a licentious press; and they distinctly state in that minute, that the transmission of the individual offending is the ultimate foundation on which any step that may be taken must rest for its support and efficiency. Let the House bear in mind, that there was no middle course—no matter how dangerous the articles published —no matter how calculated to bring the Government into contempt—to excite the alarm of the natives—to create insubordination in the army and dissension in society; still, if not indictable as a libel by the law of England, the Government had no power to prevent or control the publication of such articles, except by warning at first, and ultimately by trans- 186 mission. The authority of the noble Lord the Member for Glasgow, the late Governor-General of India, has also been referred to, and you have been told that his opinions as to the press in India have already been evinced by his vote this Session in favour of Mr. Buckingham when the Bill was thrown out. I beg the attention of the House, while I read to them the opinions of that noble Lord, deliberately recorded by him so late as 1830. On the 6th of September, 1830, be recorded a minute on the subject of the press, an extract of which I will ask permission to read:—To prevent, as far as may be possible, the publication of remarks (the disrespectful nature of which may be too certainly anticipated), that this despatch will call forth, it seems necessary that a prohibition should proceed from the Secretary to Government to all editors of papers, from admitting into their columns any observations whatever upon this official document.And further on—I have always said and thought that, as well with the liberty of the press as of the subject, it was indispensable for the safety of the empire, that the Governor-General in Council should have the power of suspending the one, and of transmitting the other, whenever the safety of the State should call for the exercise of such authority.This was not the assertion of any bare abstract public principle. The noble Lord carried it into immediate execution; and, on the same day, he ordered the Chief Secretary to write to all the editors a circular which, as it is very short, I shall also ask leave to read:—I am directed by the right-honourable the Governor-General in Council to acquaint you, that you are prohibited from admitting into your paper any comments on the letter from the honourable the Court of Directors, No. 37 dated 31st March, 1830.Now, I should like to know what that noble Lord would have done if the editors had disregarded and disobeyed his injunction? But, still more, what would the noble Lord have done if he had deemed it necessary to repeat such injunctions, and the editors had persevered in disobedience? I know the noble Lord's humanity, but I also know his firmness in the discharge of his duty; and I am afraid that any offending editor would have been in imminent peril of losing his licence. From what I have already stated, the House will readily understand why 187 The Calcutta Journal had great circulation, and realised considerable profits. It is to be regretted, but it is not the less true, that the paper which contains the strongest animadversions on Government.—the most violent strictures on public officers, and the most personal remarks—will always have the greatest circulation. I do not deny that The Calcutta Journal was conducted with ability; but the House must not suppose that Mr. Buckingham was the only able editor in Calcutta. There were then, many papers in Calcutta, conducted by men of great talents and learning; and some of whom now fill the highest stations both at home and in India. But these gentlemen then complained, and I now complain, that Mr. Buckingham had a monopoly of the articles I have enumerated. They obeyed the laws, and abstained from all strictures on Government and public men, and from all personal remarks, while Mr. Buckingham dealt in all those contraband commodities; and he, who calls himself the great enemy of all monopolies, for four years enjoyed the exclusive trade in articles, that were prized the more, because they were prohibited,—and thence the circulation of his paper. The hon. Member for Shaftesbury says, that Mr. Buckingham's only offence appears to have been, that he was more forward in liberality and legislation than his time, and that the Parliament of England have adopted and carried into execution many of the principles, for the assertion of which he was punished. Now, Sir, let us apply this doctrine and see its results. Suppose Mr. Buckingham, instead of establishing his paper, had arrived in Calcutta, in 1818, with a cargo of goods then contraband, but now legal—suppose he had said, that actuated solely by sentiments of benevolence, he had voyaged to India to supply the poor natives and his enslaved countrymen with what they required, on reasonable terms, and to day and break down the infamous system of monopoly and exclusion which compelled them to deal with a rapacious company— suppose that his ship so freighted, had been seized, and that notwithstanding his patriotic professions, it had been confiscated, would you now hear him say to Parliament, "I led the way—I broke down the system—I adventured gallantly—and you, the Parliament, cannot say that I was wrong, for you have stolen and adopted my principles—restore to me my good ship and cargo, which was confiscated under laws which 188 ought never to have existed, and which I was the first to assail?" Such, Sir, is the argument of the hon. Gentleman, as practically illustrated. I feel that I have trespassed on the time and indulgence of the House, but the story is a long one, and I endeavour to compress it as much as I can. On the 8th of February, 1823, Mr. Buckingham disregarded the last solemn warning he had received, again offended by animadverting on the conduct of Government in an appointment they had made, and on the 12th his licence was withdrawn by the order of Mr. Adam, then acting as Governor-General—[Hear! hear!] And notwithstanding that cheer, I say it is fortunate that Mr. Buckingham was sent home by such a man as Mr. Adam, as it excludes the possibility of establishing any charge of harshness or severity. Eminent for talents and attainments of the highest order, Mr. Adam was the proudest ornament of the distinguished service to which he belonged —benevolent almost to weakness—and generous almost to profusion—he was beloved with devotion while living—and now that he is gone, his memory is hallowed by blessings throughout the continent of India. This, Sir, is not the language of panegyric—it is the language of truth. I have not uttered a word to which my hon. Friend opposite, the Member for Ashburton, will not now more than bear testimony; and if my right hon. Friend, the Member for Kirkcudbright was in his place, he would pour forth his soul in eloquence, whilst dwelling on the talents and virtues of that distinguished and truly good man. I have stated, that on the 12th of February, Mr. Buckingham was informed that his licence was withdrawn, and on the 1st of March he embarked for England. This is the most important period in the case, and I entreat the attention of the House to the conduct of Mr. Buckingham, and the endurance of Government during this period. I have heard Gentlemen on both sides, say, "supposing it was necessary to send away Mr. Buckingham, why interfere with his property, and suppress his paper? My reply is,—"I deny that when Mr. Buckingham was transmitted, Government in any manner interfered with his property or papers." Nay, I declare, that Mr. Buckingham shall have my vote if any gentle man can show me that Government, either directly or indirectly interfered with him whilst making what arrangement he pleased on his departure. The case has been treated as if Mr. Buckingham had offended, 189 and had been punished by transmission and the suppression of his paper; and the House and public have been thus misled. There are three distinct intervals in the case. The first, from the establishment of The Calcutta Journal till the transmission of Mr. Buckingham; the second, from the departure of Mr. Buckingham till the 4th of April, when the new press regulation was passed; and the third, from the passing of that regulation until November, when the licence granted under that regulation was withdrawn. On the 12th, Mr. Buckingham was informed that he must leave India; on the 14th, two days afterwards, he sneers at and defies the Government, both in his paper and in a pamphlet which he circulated. He boasts that by appointing, as editor, an Anglo-Indian, who is not liable to transmission, he has secured the independence of his paper. He invites the Company's servants to correspondence, and suggests the means of conducting it clandestinely. He also invites them to take shares in his paper, and suggests the means of holding them secretly. He speaks of his own transmission, and all the arrangements he has made, as a consummation devoutly to be wished; and adds his belief, that the circulation of his paper will thereby be greatly increased. Government might, if they pleased, have prohibited their servants from holding shares in a paper, placed under a management, that declared to be in defiance of the regulations—they might, if they pleased, have prohibited the circulation of the paper beyond the Mahratta ditch, or local limits of Calcutta. But I repeat, and beg the attention of the House to this fact, that although the Government did consider the conduct of Mr. Buckingham as most offensive and insulting; yet they did not, by word or deed, directly or indirectly, say or do anything that could in any manner affect the property in the paper, or interfere with the arrangements which Mr. Buckingham might choose to make. If we are to judge from Mr. Buckingham's triumphant exultation, and the rapidity with which he made all his engagements, we must suppose that he sought and courted the martyrdom of transmission, and had prepared himself for its consequences. On the 12th of February, that he is told he must leave India in two months; within five days he states that the transfer of his property has been made and completed, and in fourteen days he embarks for Europe. We come now, Sir, to the second interval— 190 from the departure of Mr. Buckingham to the passing of the new press regulations. On the 14th of March, the new editor, Mr. Sandys, was apprized, that the character of The Calcutta Journal remained the same, and he was warned of the consequences. On the 4th of April the new regulation was passed, prohibiting any person to print or publish any public journal without having obtained a licence for that purpose from Government. This regulation was rendered necessary by the daring conduct of the new editor, from the perid when Mr. Buckingham, was ordered to leave India. I will not myself describe to you the conduct and character of the paper during this interval. I will give you its character from the lips of Sir Francis Macnaughton, one of the most distinguished Judges that ever sat on the Indian Bench—eminent not only for his talents and learning, but for his liberality and humanity, and referred to by Mr. Buckingham himself as a witness. When the new press regulation was presented for registry in the Supreme Court, it was opposed by Counsel, who appeared for The Calcutta Journal; and I hope the House will permit me to read a few extracts of what fell from Sir Francis Macnaughton when pronouncing the judgment of the Court. Adverting to the necessity of such a regulation he says:That if this was not a case in which the enactment of a regulation was proper, he was at a loss to conceive how any regulation could be justified by its propriety. He went further, and declared some such one to be, in his opinion, absolutely necessary.Then adverting to the editor being a half-caste, Sir Francis says—If he had been a British subject, and committed an offence against the British Government to-day, he might be ordered to depart from the country to-morrow. Yet what is the insolent boast? That he is free from all control of Government, and amenable to this Court alone. That is, that he may print and publish anything, however seditious and destructive of the Government's authority; that he may continue such publications at pleasure; and that they cannot even be questioned until the next Session, which will be in June; and although a bill of indictment may be found against him, he may, perhaps, traverse over until October, giving him all the intermediate time to bring the Government into hatred and contempt, and to hold it in open defiance. The Government had thought proper to order Mr. Buckingham (the late editor of The Calcutta Journal) to be transported to his own country. He (Sir Francis) did not think himself at liberty to enter at all into the merits of 191 that proceeding. Sitting where he sat, it would be highly improper in him to give an opinion upon the question; it may be, at least, assumed that the order, in the opinion of Government, was proper. And what was the consequence? An immediate proclamation of defiance, a declaration that the paper should be continued upon its former plan, and on the same principles, because the editor to be appointed would not be within the reach of the Government's immediate authority. Nay, they went further, and announced the folly and weakness of the Government in having removed Mr. Buckingham from his office, and in not having so much sagacity as to discern that another editor might be appointed who would be free from their control, and that they had aggravated the evil of which they complained, by subjecting themselves to a greater annoyance in this country, and by sending Mr. Buckingham to another, where he could be a more formidable opponent; and that they had thus, instead of being exposed to one battery, placed themselves between two forces. He asked if any Government ought to submit to such insolence and outrage, or if such a one as this could be consistent with such a press?As we have heard so much about property, I entreat the attention of the House to what Sir Francis says on this subject:—As to the property of those who might have speculated upon profit to be derived from an abuse of the Government, it stood upon a very different footing. The Government is no guarantee to such an adventure. It may truly say, "Non hœac in fœdera veni." The Government is free to act as it may think proper; but he hoped, if there was any body concerned in such a fund, that he would not be suffered to benefit by his speculation. If, like other funds, it was to rise as the State in hostility was reduced, and to advance upon every defeat of the enemy—the Government being that enemy—he trusted it would not be long before he saw an end of such a stock and of such a stock-jobbing.What Sir Francis Macknaughton says is most true. The stock in trade was the abuse of Government; and you will presently see, that when this stock was withdrawn, the whole concern tumbled to pieces. On the 4th of April, after a long argument, the press regulation was registered by the Supreme Court; and after that registry, no person could print or publish any public journal without having previously obtained a licence. I have read to the House a description of the conduct of The Calcutta Journal, after the abdication of Mr. Buckingham, and while under the management of Mr. Sandys; and I ask the House, if they 192 would be much surprised if they heard that Government, before granting a licence to such a paper, had required some alteration in its management. Here was an opportunity when the Government could have evinced their displeasure, and controlled the paper as they pleased. No such course was adopted. Mr. Sandys, the offending editor, applied for a licence, and obtained one immediately, without limit or restriction, on the same ground on which a licence was granted to the editor of any other paper then existing. I come now to the third interval—I mean the period from April, when the licence was granted to The Calcutta Journal, under the new regulation, until November, when that licence was withdrawn; and over this period I feel that I must hurry rapidly, having already trespassed too long on the kind indulgence of the House. On the 8th of April, the Commander-in-Chief was again compelled to interfere, to prevent publications inducing insubordination in the army. On the 18th of July, the Chief Secretary addressed Mr. Palmer and Mr. Ballard, the constituted attorneys of Mr. Buckingham, noticing seven violations of the law within thirteen days, and Mr. Palmer and Mr. Ballard replied, disclaiming any influence or control over the management of the paper—and thus compelling the Government to visit on those conducting the paper, and on the paper itself, any consequences arising from disobedience of the laws. On the 23rd of September, the Government was under the necessity of noticing the continued violation of the press regulation; and not wishing to suppress the paper, by withdrawing the licence, they ordered home the assistant-editor, Mr. Arnott, then residing in India without permission. This severe measure proved as unavailing as the milder warnings; the law continued to be broken and defied, and on the 6th of November the licence was withdrawn, and the paper could no longer be published. Here again, I deny, that the Government interfered with the sale of the paper; the attorneys of Mr. Buckingham might have sold it the next day, and would have done so, if they could have found a purchaser. Mr. Merton proposed to rent the premises and conduct the paper for a limited period; but after some correspondence, Government thought it right to refuse him a licence, because it did not appear that he 193 would have the sole control. He afterwards made some arrangements with Mr. Buckingham's attorneys, and having sent in an affidavit, stating that he was sole-proprietor, he obtained a licence, and continued the paper, under the name of The Scotsman, in the East, for about seven months, when the paper died a natural death. I feel most grateful to the House for the attention with which they have been pleased to honour me; and I trust I have redeemed my pledge by showing that the House and the public have been misled and deceived by having this matter represented as one transaction—as if Mr. Buckingham had offended, and for that offence had been transmitted, and his paper suppressed, and his property ruined. I have shown you, that, for two years, Mr. Buckingham, in reply to repeated warnings from Government, expressed his contrition, and promised, in future, an obedience, which he never observed;—that, encouraged by impunity, he latterly defied the Government, denied their authority, and held up to derision and contempt their regulations; and that Government did not resort to the extremity of sending him home, till they were compelled to do so by his perseverance in a course which he well knew could lead to no other result:—that, when he was required to leave Calcutta, the Government neither directly nor indirectly interfered with his property, nor with the transfer and management of his paper, but permitted him to make his own arrangements, at a time when he was sneering at and defying them. I have shown you how offensive and insulting was the conduct of The Calcutta Journal, under the editorship of Mr. Sandys, from the departure of Mr. Buckingham until the registry of the press regulations; and that, notwithstanding such misconduct, a licence was granted to him, in common with all other editors. I have shown you that, after the granting of such licence, the law continued to be violated and defied by Mr. Sandys:—that Mr. Buckingham's friends and attorneys disclaimed having any control over the management of the paper:—that all warnings and threats were scorned and disregarded by Mr. Sandys:—that the contest at length was, whether the Governor-General in Council or The Calcutta Journal should be supreme;—and that the Government were thus reluctantly compelled to have 194 resort to the last extremity, and withdraw the licence from the paper.
If The Calcutta Journal was so valuable as has been represented, how comes it that Mr. Buckingham's attorney did not immediately sell the good-will and stock in trade? How comes it that Mr. Merton, who attempted to continue the paper, was obliged to abandon it in seven months? I have already told you the reason, and will repeat it, because it is an answer to all that has been urged by Mr. Buckingham. For four years The Calcutta Journal attained extensive circulation, and realised considerable profits by a flagrant violation of the law, to which other papers yielded obedience. When the licence was withdrawn, and it became notorious that the Government was determined to vindicate its authority and enforce the law, the paper was deprived of an advantage that it ought never to have been permitted to have enjoyed. It was then, for the first time, placed in fair competition with the other Journals—to that competition it proved unequal,—and in seven months was abandoned as a losing concern;—and thus ends the history of The Calcutta Journal. Before sitting down, I will, with the permission of the House, draw their attention to a libel published at Madras, so lately as December, 1834; and I am anxious to do so, because all idea of danger, either to the State, or individuals in India, has been ridiculed. The letter I allude to is signed, "The East Indian Franklin;" and as a specimen, I will read a few extracts from it.Let every one of us boldly determine, whenever a fair opportunity offers, to send an useless resident, a wicked collector, a sleeping member of the council, &c. to the * * let us mark every favoured servant of the John Company, or rather the embryos of the future John Company; and if we cannot, then let us mark them with the signs of our vengeance. Most of us have daily hundreds of opportunities to act the part of an E—A—, and often with more impunity, or with perfect safety to our lives; if so, why should we hesitate to make a few embryos of the future John Company undergo the fate of a C— C—.I will tell you the persons indicated by the initials I have read. E. A. is Enam Ally, who murdered Colonel Coombs on parade, and C. C. is that Colonel Coombs, The letter thus concludes,—Snatch the bloohy dagger with which our tyrants incessantly wound us, and show it to them; and if the sight of the blood they spill 195 do not turn their hearts, bury it deep into their bosoms,This is a specimen of a "harmless, innocent libel," and published, too, within these two years. Mr. Buckingham stated before the Committee, that the persons composing the Petit Juries in India were residing with a licence revocable at pleasure, and intimated that Juries so com posed were ever ready to find a verdict of guilty when persons in authority prosecuted. I hope, Sir, and believe, that Juries in India will ever discharge their duty fairly and honestly, and must deny, that they have ever shown the tendency imputed to them. On the contrary, their leaning and bias is all the other way. The Petit Juries consist of tradesmen and shopkeepers, having no communication with the services, or with persons in authority, and completely segregated from them; and I say that they are by no means prone to find a verdict upon the prosecution of a person in authority. In the very case I have read to you, what think you was the finding of the Jury? Their verdict was, "guilty of publishing, inadvertently," and strongly recommending the defendant to mercy. This verdict the Judge refused to receive, and then a verdict of "guilty" was returned, with a strong recommendation to mercy of the person who had admitted into his columns this atrocious libel. I have not addressed myself to the amount of compensation, because I feel assured it will be the opinion of a very large majority of this House, that Mr. Buckingham is not entitled to any compensation whatever, either from the East-India Company or the public. I beg, Sir, to repeat my apologies for having intruded at such length on the indulgence of the House, and my thanks for the attention with which they have been pleased to hear me.
contended, that now the questions as to the circumstances of The Calcutta Journal, the amount of compensation to be paid to Mr. Buckingham, and the parties who were to pay it, were neither of them before the House, but the real and only question for consideration was the confirmation of the resolutions which the Committee had unanimously agreed to, after hearing the whole case opened and conducted by eminent counsel on both sides, and the examination of witnesses upon every point bearing upon the question at issue, which resolutions were drawn up by the hand of Lord Glenelg, then President of the Board of 196 Control, and now the principal Colonial Secretary. It was not, for it could not be denied, that Mr. Buckingham had suffered a most grievous wrong, and was he without any legal remedy? The proudest despot on the earth could not with impunity injure or offend the poorest Englishman; there was in that House a tribunal—there was in England a moral force, which cast its protection over all who bore the English name, and surely it would not be alleged that Mr. Buckingham formed an exception to that rule hitherto deemed universal. The question was really not the amount of the compensation, but there did arise a very serious question between the East- India Company and the people of this country. At all events, there was one thing to which, as a Member of that House, he could not consent—namely, that a British subject should be ruined and robbed, and then told that a reformed House of Commons could afford no remedy.
§ Sir John Hobhouse
said, that the present question had been already fairly and fully tried—had been decided by a competent and solemn tribunal; and now, if the present proceeding were successful, they must reconsider that decision in a totally different, and, as he would contend, irregular form, and annul it altogether. It had, on the previous occasion, been brought forward as a private Bill, and now it was to be considered in the form of a public resolution. He thought himself entitled to say, that he was as open as any Member of that House, to a claim of justice. It had been said that justice was blind, but he presumed it would hardly be contended that justice should have one eye open, and be alive only to the interests of the complainant. Justice he desired to have; but justice required that both sides should be heard. In his opinion, nothing could be clearer than that the case was strictly a private question, and he desired to know what grounds there had been laid for taking it out of the regulations according to which all private questions were discussed in that House. Then it was alleged, that the amount was of no importance; surely the amount which the hon. Gentleman, whom he was sorry to see in his place, ought to receive, was the question, or at least formed so very large and important a part of it, and was so intimately interwoven with the entire question, that no just or successful 197 attempt could be made at a separation. Then if the House affirmed by its resolution the statement that the hon. Gentleman was entitled to 10,000l., what became of the distinct assurance given on a former occasion, that the question then brought before the House was a private and not a public question? The House was, therefore, most seriously called on to deliberate respecting the course which it would pursue. First, the hon. Gentleman demanded 5,000l.— next, 40,000l.—then 10,000l.; the last was what he at present required, and under such conflicting demands, he professed himself at a loss to know how the House was to legislate. It was most unusual thus to come forward with a public resolution, when a private Bill had been lost, and even if the resolutions were agreed to, it would be mere waste paper, so far as its effects went upon the minds of the East-India Directors. One consideration urged upon the attention of the House was this truly—the resolution ought to be at once affirmed, because the Bill was on the former occasion defeated by an accident. What would the House think, if he were to come down and say, "A private Bill having been carried by an accidental majority, for compensating the hon. Member for Sheffield, the House ought to remedy that evil, by adopting a public resolution, with a view to deprive him of that compensation?" In spite of all the menaces of the hon. Member, and in spite of the letters the hon. Member might address to the electors of Nottingham, he meant conscientiously to discharge his duty. He hoped that on consideration his hon. Friend, the Member for Poole would not press this extraordinary question to a division. He could not be serious in that intention; it was impossible that he could be serious. There never in the history of Parliament was an instance in which the Legislature paid a set of men by a resolution, for to that it would come, since this resolution must be intended to be the basis of some Bill or other,
§ Mr. Buckingham
was not about to give his opinion on this question, and he only wished to make an observation in answer to a complaint which the right hon. Gentleman had made, that he (Mr. Buckingham) was present while this matter was discussed. He hoped the right hon. Baronet would give him leave to state that this question was now being heard judicially, and he would ask if there was 198 any instance known of a plaintiff being excluded from a Court of Justice while his cause was being tried. He denied having sent any threatening letters to any part of the country, and he disclaimed writing anything in the Sheffield Iris, reflecting on anybody for the course they had pursued in reference to this question. As to writing to Members of that House to request their attendance in support of the motion, he had the example of his Majesty's Government for doing that.
§ Mr. Harvey
wished to ask a question of the hon. Member for Northampton, which would, if answered in the affirmative, place the point at issue in a very narrow compass. He had understood the hon. Member to say, that the solicitor of the East-India Company, so far from concurring in the correctness of the statement made by Mr. Buckingham, estimating the damage he had sustained at 40,000l., had declared that it could not exceed 7,000l. or 8,000l. If so, that was an admission from the proper quarter, that a considerable sum of money was due to Mr. Buckingham.
Mr. Vernon Smith,
in answer to the question put to him, said, that Mr. Peacock, when before the Committee, at first defended the whole case, and denied that Mr. Buckingham had any claim to compensation, and afterwards, supposing that the Committee had decided that Mr. Buckingham was entitled to compensation, he went to show, that admitting him to be entitled to some compensation, it could not exceed more than 7,000l. or 8,000l.
§ Mr. George F. Young
thought that a moderate sum ought to be given to the hon. Member for Sheffield out of the public purse, because he had been injured by the public; but he objected to the source from which that remuneration would be provided by the resolutions, as the East-India Company was not to blame, since the Government, and not the East-India Company, appointed the Governor-General.
§ Major Beauclerk
was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman, who was one of the Committee that reported in favour of Mr. Buckingham's claim, should pursue the course which he had adopted. He was surprised also that he should accuse the hon. Member for Sheffield of sending-menacing letters—an accusation so grave in its nature, that he ought to be called upon to prove it at the bar of the House or elsewhere. It was not right or fair to throw out these personalities before the House.
§ Sir John Hobhouse
remarked, that so far from being a Member of the Committee which reported in favour of Mr. Buckingham's claim, he was not even in Parliament at the time.
Mr. Anderson Pelham
wished to ask the hon. Member for Sheffield, whether he himself, or some one else using his name, had sent him under an enclosure, addressed to him, three letters, with a request that he would forward them? He thought he had understood the hon. Member to say, that he had not sent any letters, but these bore the signature of "J. S. Buckingham."
§ Mr. Buckingham
was desirous of explaining a subject which it appeared was little understood. The hon. Baronet had adverted to a threatening letter which it was alleged he (Mr. Buckingham) had sent to the Sheffield Iris, and of his having in that newspaper used menacing language to him with respect to his opposition to his claims for compensation. He had before distinctly denied, and he did still deny, that part of the charge, he never having done anything of the kind. Disposing of that part of the charge, he would next allude to the letters. He certainly had written some fifty or sixty letters, the tenour of which he would repeat. There was in doing so no attempt at concealment, they having been dated from his own house, signed by his own name, and addressed to those Members likely to take an interest in his case. The letters contained a statement of facts, a printed Report of the Parliamentary Committee, and an expression to the effect that he should feel happy if the hon. Member to whom it was sent would do him the honour to transmit the documents to his constituents, for them to deal with the subject as they might think fit. As the hon. Member had stated in his case, one corporation did and another did not entertain the petition; but the general result was, that from ninety to ninety-five petitions from England, Scotland, and Ireland were sent up to Parliament, signed by 25,000 individuals. In procuring their signatures no magic art had been exercised. He was not in a condition to spend money very liberally, as other hon. Members might be. The moral influence of the facts themselves had been the only influence employed, and those he had left to the judgment of the public.
§ Mr. Baines
remarked, that the Committee came to an unanimous decision that 200 Mr. Buckingham ought to receive compensation, and if they had not the power of giving it, why was the Committee appointed?
§ Mr. Tulk
replied, that his right hon. Friend had appealed to him to withdraw his motion, a request with which he could not comply, and he could not but at the same time complain that this question, which was to have been treated as a neutral one, had been made a question of party. He could not but remark that the leader of the Government in that House was absent. He held in his hand an extract of the noble Lord's speech on a former occasion upon this subject. He did not know whether the noble Lord had paired off or not; but he knew that upon this subject he had expressed himself in the strongest manner, and that he had said, so far from attaching any blame to Mr. Buckingham, he thought his conduct highly honorable and praiseworthy, conformable to those rules of conduct and examples of freedom which ought to be held up to the imitation of his fellow-countrymen. Yet that noble Lord was not there to give the hon. Member the benefit of the expression of his opinion. He was sorry to think it; but he thought if it had been a question taken up by the other side of the House, there would have been more zeal displayed.
§ The House divided, when the numbers appeared:—Ayes 60 5 Noes 92; Majority, 32.
|List of the AYES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Hindley, C.|
|Attwood, T.||Ingham, R.|
|Baines, E.||Lister, E. C.|
|Barnard, E. G.||M'Leod, R.|
|Beauclerk, Major||Maher, J.|
|Bentinck, Lord W.||Musgrave, Sir R.|
|Bernal, R.||O'Brien, C.|
|Bish, T.||O'Connell, D.|
|Blake, M. J.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Bowring, Dr.||Palmer, General|
|Brady, D. C.||Parker, J.|
|Bridgeman. H.||Parrott, J.|
|Brotherton, J.||Pease, J.|
|Browne, R. D.||Potter, R.|
|Cave, R. O.||Poulter, J. S.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Pryme, G.|
|Collier, J.||Richards, J.|
|Curteis, H. B.||Roche, W.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hon.||Rundle, J.|
|C. T.||Scholefield, J.|
|Ewart, W.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Fielden, J.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Fitzsimon, C.||Stuart, V.|
|Gaskell, D.||Talbot, J. H.|
|Grattan, H.||Thompson, Colonel|
|Harvey, D. W.||Trelawney, Sir W.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Wakley, T.|
|Hector, C. J.||Wallace, R.|
|Walter, J.||Wyse, T.|
|Wason, R.||Hume, Mr.|
|Williams, W.||Tulk, Mr.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adam, Sir C.||King, E. B.|
|Alsager, Captai||Law, Hon. C. E.|
|Angerstein, J.||Lefevre, C. S.|
|Archdall, M.||Lucas, E.|
|Bailey, J.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Bainbridge, E. T.||Mostyn, Hon. E.|
|Baring, F.||Nicholl, Dr.|
|Barnaby, J.||North, F.|
|Blackburne, J.||O'Ferrall, R. M.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Parker, M.|
|Bonham, R. F.||Pelham, Hon. C. A.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Perceval, Colonel|
|Brownrigg, S.||Pigot, R.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Pinney, W.|
|Chandos, Marquess of||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Chichester, A.||Plunkett, Hon. R. E.|
|Chisholm, A. W.||Pollen, Sir J. W.|
|Denison, J. E.||Praed, W. M.|
|Dillwyn, L. W.||Price, S. G.|
|Duffield, T.||Bickford, W.|
|Duncombe, Hon. A.||Robinson, G. R.|
|Dundas, Hon. T.||Rolfe, Sir R. M.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Ross, C.|
|Elley, Sir J.||Scott, Sir E. D.|
|Estcourt, T.||Scott, J. W.|
|Estcourt, T.||Scourfield, W. H.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Seymour, Lord|
|Forbes, W.||Sheppard, T.|
|Forster, C. S.||Sibthorp, Colonel|
|Fort, J.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Spry, Sir S. T.|
|Geary, Sir W.||Townley, R. G.|
|Gladstone, T.||Trevor, Hon. A.|
|Hale, R. B.||Turner, W.|
|Halse, J.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Hawes, B.||Walpole, Lord|
|Hawkins, J. H.||West, J. B.|
|Hay, Sir A. L.||Whitmore, T. C.|
|Henniker, Lord||Wilkins, W.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Williams, R.|
|Hogg, J. W.||Wilson, H.|
|Howard, P. H.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Hoy, J. B.||Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.|
|Jackson, Sergeant||Young, G. F.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.|
|Johnstone, J. J. H.||TELLERS.|
|Irton. S.||Smith, Mr.|
|Kearsley, J. H.||Baring, Mr.|
|E. W. Pendarves||H. Goulburn|
|J. J. Guest||J. G. Heathcote|
|Alderman Wood||Hon. S. R. Lushington|
|T. F. Buxton||R. Sanderson|
|Captain Dundas||J. M. Fector|
|Sir S. Whalley||J. A. Smith|
|O'Conor Don||E. J. Stanley|
|A. Lynch||J. Young|