HC Deb 20 July 1857 vol 147 c25

said, he wished to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Board of Control, namely, whether he was aware that an announcement had been made in one of the public journals that a telegraphic despatch had come from Bombay stating that the army of Bombay had broken out into mutiny? He (Mr. Roebuck) therefore wished to know if Her Majesty's Government had received any information tending to support or contradict that announcement.


said in reply, that neither Her Majesty's Government nor the Court of Directors of the East India Company had received any information on that subject. Perhaps in the present state of the public mind it might be considered desirable that he should state the way in which intelligence was brought from India. There were two mails from India in the course of each month, and on their arrival at Suez, communication was made with Trieste, and thence a short account was sent to this country by telegraph, the mails themselves following in due course. There was no other mode of communication that he was aware of, and therefore he was at a loss to conceive how such information as that to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had alluded could have reached this country from India. He (Mr. Vernon Smith) would be the last man to attempt to interfere with the arrangements by which intelligence was transmitted to the public press; but he did hope that in the present excited state of public feeling in reference to the calamitous events which had occurred in India, the editors of respectable public newspapers would abstain from publishing rumours calculated to prejudice the minds of the people of this country, unless they were assured in every instance of their perfect accuracy. He would only further add, that at present he could not believe in the rumour to which the hon. and learned Gentleman had referred, and that opinion was strengthened by the impressions he had received from the last accounts that had come into the hands of the Government. He had no reason whatever to believe from them that the slightest disaffection existed either in the Bombay or Madras army.