HC Deb 23 April 1852 vol 120 cc1030-5

On Motion that the House, at its rising, adjourn to Monday next being put,


craved the indulgence of the House, in order that he might give a personal explanation in respect to something which passed in the India debate on Monday last. He craved this indulgence, not merely on his own behalf, but also on behalf of a gallant and distinguished officer, whose name was prominently mentioned in the course of that debate, namely, Colonel Outram. Perhaps he should best discharge his duty by asking permission to read a note which he had received from that gallant officer; though, in reading it, he must, in order not to violate the forms of the House, alter a little the phraseology. The note, which was addresssed to himself, was to the following purport:— On perusing a speech delivered in a discussion on Monday last, I observe that my name is brought forward in apparent connexion with certain statements impugning the honour and integrity of high official personages in the Bombay Government. Although I do not believe that those who are acquainted with my public or private character will imagine that such statements could have emanated from me, yet, at the same time, in my peculiar position, I deem it right to state most explicitly that no person had any authority from me to make such statements, and that I have had no personal communication with any one. On my arrival in England, I was informed by a friend that notice had been given for the production of the papers connected with my dismissal from office. In reply, I declared that I should be very glad to see all the documents laid before the public, as I was anxious that the facts of the case should be publicly known; but that, as a servant of the East India Company, I had forwarded a memorial to the Court of Directors through the proper channel, and relied on them to afford me the redress to which I considered myself entitled; that I could not therefore take any part in bringing the question before the public. I need scarcely explain to you, Sir, who have had access to all the official documents, that the statements made, casting imputations on the personal honour and integrity of Members of the Bombay Government, have no foundation in anything I have written. I was made aware, during my official career at Baroda, that a belief existed that the high officers of Government were open to corruption, and that such belief was promoted by the native subordinates for their own interested purposes. Fully convinced there were no grounds for such dishonouring imputations, I laboured earnestly to trace out and bring to punishment the delinquents through whose corruption the good name of the British Government was tarnished. But it is not necessary to enter into any further particulars, my only object being to disclaim any participation in or connexion with the statements to which I have alluded. He should not trouble the House with any statement from himself in addition. The House was aware that this gallant and distinguished officer had been removed by the Bombay Government from the high office he held; but however sensitive the gallant officer might feel on that point, he was anxious that, having been so removed, he should not be supposed capable of casting dishonourable imputations on the Govern- ment which removed him. The gallant officer did not offer, or presume to offer, an opinion as to any allegations made, his sole desire being that it should be known in that House and in India, to which he might soon return, that he was not identified or mixed up with those allegations. He (Sir J. Hogg) thought it right to add from himself, that the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Anstey), to whom Colonel Outram's letter referred, had not stated that he made those allegations on the authority of the gallant officer; but any one who heard or read the debate could not fail to come to the conclusion that the statements were made on the authority of Colonel Outram. He yesterday acquainted the hon. and learned Gentleman with the communication he had received, feeling perfectly satisfied that if any misapprehension existed, which might be painful or injurious to the gallant officer, nobody would be more anxious for an opportunity of explanation than the hon. and learned Gentleman himself.


said, that the concluding observations of the hon. Baronet precluded the necessity of his stating that he (Mr. Anstey) was the person alluded to in the ambiguous passage referring to Colonel Outram. In the first place, he (Mr. Anstey) did not know by what right anybody could call upon him to disavow what he had never said. He had never said, and had never meant to say, that Colonel Outram had directed or requested him to make any accusation whatever. He (Mr. Anstey) was not the man to shrink from his own responsibility. He had made the allegation on his own responsibility, and on the responsibility of nobody else; and as to Colonel Outram, he had expressly stated that in this matter that gallant officer had not acted as an accuser or even as a volunteer. He (Mr. Anstey) had read the circular which Colonel Outram received from the Bombay Government, calling upon him to institute that inquiry which he did institute, and for instituting which he was removed. He (Mr. Anstey) had said that the gallant officer had acted in complete subordination to the officer he served under; and indeed his complaint had always been that Colonel Outram had been dismissed for obeying orders. But if it were intended that he (Mr. Anstey) should disavow all communication whatever with Colonel Outram, then he had letters to read to the House which rendered it impossible that he could make such a disavowal. He (Mr. Anstey) had1 not acted in this matter altogether without authority. He said that after the manner in which he had been treated—after the complete disavowal which Colonel Outram had been pleased to make of him and his proceedings—and that, be it observed, without his having had the courtesy to make any previous communication to him—he (Mr. Anstey) felt justified in saying that he held in his hand a letter in partial compliance with which he had acted in bringing Colonel Outram's case before Parliament. That letter was dated the 30th of March, 1852, and came from a gentleman who professed to act for Colonel Outram himself. He said— Mr. Hamilton Browne has the honour to present his compliments to Mr. Anstey. Captain Osborne has just told H. B. that he might make use of his name in writing to Mr. Anstey. Colonel Outram, C.B., late political resident at Baroda, who has just come home, for exposing a very flagrant case of corruption has been superseded. H. B. would feel greatly obliged by Mr. Anstey moving immediately, if possible, for the production of the papers in this difference between Colonel O. and the Bombay Government; and the public, when they are produced, can then form its judgment on the merits of the matter. H. B. has written to Lord Brougham, begging him to do the same in the House of Lords. Shortly after receiving this letter, he (Mr. Anstey) wrote to say that he would take up Colonel Outram's case. In the mean time, Mr. Browne, who appeared impatient to begin proceedings, had written a letter to the hon. Member for Dunfermline, which was almost a duplicate of the one he (Mr. Anstey) had read. It was as follows:— Mr. Hamilton Browne applied to Captain Osborne to move for the production of the papers in the case of 'Colonel Outram, C.B., v. the Bombay Government.' Captain Osborne said that he had so much to do that he might forget it; but that Mr. Hamilton Browne might write to a friend of his, Mr. Anstey, who took a particular interest in Indian affairs, making use of his name. Mr. Hamilton Browne did so, but has not been honoured by any answer, although Captain Osborne stated that he might make use of his name with Mr. Anstey, with whom Mr. Hamilton Browne has not the pleasure to be acquainted. Colonel Outram accuses no one, nor does he wish to do so; but on the production of the papers he leaves the public to judge for themselves. Should, however, Mr. Anstey, or any other gentleman moving for these papers, wish to see Colonel Outram, Mr. Hamilton Browne will have much pleasure in introducing him to them. H. B. did not know the etiquette or rule in such matters, otherwise he would have adhered to it. Upon receiving this, he (Mr. Anstey) wrote in answer to say that he would move for the production of the papers, and that he should be happy to call on Colonel Outram, as proposed. He received a reply from Mr. Browne, enclosing a letter he had received from Colonel Outram. Mr. Browne's reply was as follows:— Mr. Hamilton Browne has the honour to present his compliments to Mr. Anstey, and again to return him his best thanks for bringing forward the Motion for the production of the papers in Colonel Outram's case. H. B. asked this favour to oblige his brother, Brigadier W. J. Browne, C.B., who commands the troops at Baroda. All that Colonel O. required was, H. B. presumes, that the papers should be moved for, and that the case should then rest with the public, after their production, on its own merits. H. B. begs leave confidentially to enclose a note from Colonel 0., just received, which will explain the matter, which he begs Mr. Anstey will have the goodness to return. He (Mr. Anstey) did return Colonel Outram's letter, as requested, and, because of that one word "confidentially," he would say nothing with regard to its contents beyond the fact that it was addressed to Mr. Hamilton Browne, and that it justified him (Mr. Anstey) in proceeding with the case on his own responsibility as he had done, without stating or implying in the remotest degree anything that could compromise Colonel Outram in the statement he made to that House. (He Mr. Anstey) had now to add, that after the hon. Baronet (Sir J. W. Hogg) had arranged with him that these explanations should be brought on that day, he (Mr. Anstey) saw for the first time in his life the gentleman from whom he had received that letter. That gentleman waited upon him to ask for an interview, and stated that he deeply regretted Colonel Outram's conduct, and that he thought that Colonel Outram had better have written to him (Mr. Anstey) than to the hon. Baronet; and he (Mr. Anstey) replied that he would make use of all the correspondence, if the matter was brought forward at all—that he (Mr. Anstey) considered he had been dealt with in a manner that was neither just nor generous by Colonel Outram—and that if he pursued the question further in his place in Parliament it would be out of tender consideration for the natives and for the honour of the Government of India, but not at all out of any consideration for Colonel Outram himself. Nevertheless, he (Mr. Anstey) would be happy to withdraw everything that he had said either in favour of that gallant officer, or against him, if it in any way tended to disturb the compromise of claims which appeared to have taken place between him and the Court of Directors.


said, he held in his hand a letter addressed by Colonel Outram to Mr. Browne, and which the hon. and learned Gentleman was under the impression had given him authority to make the statement to which he had referred. It was to this effect:— My dear Sir—I was absent from home all day yesterday, and when I got your note on my return it was too late to communicate with you. From the tenour of Mr. Anstey's note, which you enclosed, I fear he must have supposed that I desired personally to intrude on him; but I hope you will recollect that though I expressed that I should be gratified if the papers relating to my affair were called for and obtained, I at the same time said I could not myself take any steps to cause their production, and that I was particularly anxious to avoid personally agitating in the matter. Under these circumstances, I should have caused unnecessary trouble to Mr. Anstey in seeking a meeting with that gentleman; but under the circumstances the delay in receiving your note prevented the possibility of my responding to his invitation. I am greatly obliged to you for the trouble you have kindly taken on my behalf, and hope, if you have an opportunity, you will kindly add to my obligations by explaining to Mr. Anstey how I was prevented from attending to his summons yesterday.—Yours very sincerely, J. OUTEAM. Tuesday.


said, the hon. Baronet seemed to be sorry that the hon. and learned Member for Youghal had not, for his own sake, withdrawn what he had stated; but he begged to ask whether Colonel Outram did in any respect deny the accuracy of the allegations which the hon. and learned Gentleman made in his statement to the House; and, if not, he should like to know Whether the hon. Baronet considered he had gained anything by bringing this question before the House?


said, the letter which the hon. Baronet had just read was not written in answer to any offer of his (Mr. Anstey's), but in answer to Mr. Browne's offer to procure an interview between hint and Colonel Outram; and his (Mr. Anstey's) letter was to the effect that he would save Colonel Outram the trouble of seeking him, for he would call on that gallant officer himself.

Motion agreed to.

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