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"THE LATE CALCUTTA CHRONICLE.'
Mill's Hist. of Brit. India, 2d Ed. vol. i. p. 255. The Proprietor of the late “ Calcutta Chronicle" yesterday informed the subscribers to that paper, that a respectable application had been addressed to the Government, praying for a renewal of the license on grounds which, it was hoped, would be successful. He has now to add, that the application has been unsuccessful, and for the information of his friends and the public, be subjoins the correspondence that has passed on the occasion, republishing the first letter of Mr. Secretary Lushington, that the whole may be presented to the reader at one view. To Mr. William Adam, and Mr. Villiers Holcroft, Proprietors of the Calcutta
Chronicle. • GENTLEMEN,
"General Department. * The general tenor of the contents of “The Culcutta Chronicle," having been for some time past highly disrespectful to the Government, and to the Honourable the Court of Directors, and that Paper of the 29th instant in particular, comprising several paragraphs in direct violation of the Regulations regarding the Press, I am directed to inform you, that the Right Honourable the VicePresident in Council has resolved, that the license granted to you on the 25th January last, for the printing and publishing of “ The Calcutta Chronicle," be cancelled, and it is hereby cancelled accordingly from the present date.
'Tam, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant, • Council Chamber,
• C. LUSHINGTON, 31st May, 1827.'
Chief Secretary to the Government.' To Charles Lushington, Esq., Chief Secretary to the Government, "Sir,- I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of this da te, informing me that the license of “ The Calcutta Chronicle” is cancelled by the Right Honourable the Vice President in Council.
"As his Lordship in Council has not seen fit to indicate the particular articles or paragraphs that have brought upon me this heavy expression of his displeasure, I am at a loss to know wherein my offence consists, what are the violations of the Press Regulation, to which his Lordship refers, or in what respects the general tenor of the paper has been considered as highly disrespectful to the Government and to the Honourable the Court of Directors.
. I beg to call to the recollection of his Lordship in Council, that the rules attached to the Press Regulation are expressly declared to “ impose no irksome restraints on the publication and discussion of any matters of general interest relating to European and Indian affairs, provided they are conducted with the temper and decorum which the Government has a right to expect from those living under its protection ; neither do they preclude individuals from offering, in a temperate and decorous manner, through the channel of the public newspapers or other periodical works, their own views and sentiments relative to matters affecting the interests of the community.” With profound deference to his Lordship in Council, I beg to state, that in offering my sentiments relative to matters affecting the interests of the community, I am not conscious of having transgressed the bounds here prescribed.
• I beg respectfully to submit, for the consideration of his Lordship in Council, that in every former case of suppression, several previous admonitions have been given ; whereas, in the present case, although I am inforined that the general ienor of the contents of “ The Calcutta Chronicle” has been considered, for some time past, highly disrespectful, yet the withdrawal of the license is sudden and unexpected, and has not been preceded by any authoritative warning, to which it would have been at once my duty, my interest, and my inclination to attend.
‘Knowing the difficulties and dangers that beset the path of an Indian Editor, I was originally induced to allow my name to be sent into Government, in that character, with extreme unwillingness, which was vanquished chiefly by the hope of being instrumental in saving from destruction the property of a poor man, vested in a paper that haçi incurred the displeasure of Government; and the leniency shown by Gorernment in that case, subscquently, encouraged me to
THE ORIENTAL HERALD.
No. 50.-FEBRUARY, 1828.-Vol. 16.
AN APPEAL TO ENGLAND AGAINST THE NEW INDIAN
A VERY able and interesting pamphlet, under this title, has been published during the past month, by Mr. Ridgway; and if sufficient pains be taken to give it extensive circulation, it cannot fail to exsite in English bosoms some sympathy with those whose cause it so feelingly pourtrays, and ably advocates. In addition to the question of the Stamp Act, which is argued legally, politically, and commercially, there are contained, in this pamphlet, observations on the condition of British subjects, under the Government of the East India Company, which are pregnant with important matter, and cannot be made too generally known. As we have already expressed our own opinions on the particular measure respecting which this appeal to England is made, we shall, instead of repeating them, give an analysis of the pamphlet before us, in the sentiments of which we heartily and entirely coincide, connecting the several portions of it which we mean to extract, by such explanations as shall place the substance of the whole before the reader.
After a preface of 16 pages, stating the causes and object of the publication, the Appeal commences by announcing the edict of the Indian Government, for raising a revenue by means of stamps, and thus enumerates the objections to such a measure.
• It is peculiarly ill suited to the habits and the multifarious small transactions of the two or three hundred thousand Natives who compose the bulk of our city population. It bears peculiarly hard on the infant commerce of an infant and dependent state. It is especially ill timed, as coming into operation in the second year of profound peace, following a most expensive and ruinous war, which has not only dissipated millions in expenditure, but absorbed, by loans, which are still kept open, vast sums of individual saving and capital, that heretofore used to seek the channels of commerce and reproductive industry. It is impolitic, as adding to the burdens and to the difficulties of trade and manufactures, at a moment when they are in a languishing condition among us, consequent upon the Oriental Herald, Vol. 16.
effects of the late war, and the reaction of those tremendous shocks which commerce and confidence have recently sustained in Europe and America. It is unwise in respect to the Company, as showing, in glaring colours, towards the expiration of their charter, the nonidentity of interests between governors and governed, where the former are not only great monopolists and traffickers, but owners of the universal rent of land, avowedly holding their lease of the country on the principle of a private estate or plantation, from which they are to extract all the profit they can, without rendering account to the governed, and without reference to the necessary charges of governing and maintaining. It is foolish, as leading to the renewal of ancient questions and feuds with the King's Supreme Court here, which was planted among us in 1774, expressly as a counterbalance and protection against illegal acts and doubtful exactions of the Company's governments. It is imprudent, as giving rise to the mooting of many grave and curious points, touching actual and future relations between the delegated local authority of the Company's temporary and trading government, and the subjects of the King in India—in India now formally recognised as a royal possession by the last charter of 1813. It is inconsiderate, because the Natives hold this new and unaccustomed species of taxation in especial abhorrence, and have before twice successfully resisted or evaded it, when attempted to be applied to the Moffussil,' (or provinces out of the jurisdiction and protection of the King's courts,) where the Company exercise absolute authority.
* But these considerations, though all of them most important, are not what we chiefly desire should attract the attention of our fellow subjects in England at this moment.
In this stage of our pleading, we pass by the political and economical defects of law stamps, and taxes on justice in any shape; the heavy bearing of taxes on transfers of property in relation to the net revenue they produce, and to the charges of levying; and the vexations and impediments they throw in the way of business, and of the growth and accumulation of capital.
Our primary object is a higher one ;--we would fain interest our countrymen, if we can, in the struggle we are endeavouring to make against our Indian “ Stamp Act," as being ILLEGAL and unCONSTITUTIONAL. It is here we desire to make our stand-to resist by all lawful means in our power this first instance of a local impost, levied, as we aver, by incompetent authority; on grounds that are to justify hereafter the imposition of direct and indirect taxes of every kind and degree, without our concurrence, or even our previous knowledge of the meditated imposts, and with no other limitation than the declared will and pleasure of the authorities set over us. In the nomination of those authorities we have no voice; -of their proceedings we are allowed to know nothing ;-their wants we have no means of appreciating ;-they are men with whom, from the absence of institutions of any description, we have no organ of communication, far less a due influence proportioned to property; and, to sum up all, they have the most absolute power over our persons and fortunes, and can put down all opposition offered to their will in the shape of petitions, writings, printing, speaking, or actions in court, by the summary deportation of any obnoxious European at a moment's notice, and without cause as signed.'
The writer next passes to' the consideration of the manner in which the Supreme Council in India is formed, and states, in a very accurate and forcible manner, the reasons why a body so constituted is unfit to be intrusted with an unlimited power of taxation; as such a corporation directly adds to its wealth, as well as its patronage, by increase of taxes, without being accountable to the people for its expenditure, or under more than a mere nominal responsibility to any other power :
'If any net revenue or surplus arises, such a government is not bound to remit taxes in proportion ; on the contrary, the narrow and ignorant policy of England has been, that such should be remitted thither as tribute, and appropriated to the conquerors. In short, a conquest India is, and as a conquest she has been treated. This pernicious tendency and spirit of the Government is not allowed to receive its natural compensatory mitigation by transfusion of the arts, the example, the skill, the intelligence, the capital, and industry of the superior country and race into the inferior. All settling, all colonizing, all resort to the country, all security of remaining when there, all interloping, is rigorously prohibited, except to a favoured handful of Europeans, who are unlawfully bound, by indentures, to yield up, as the Company allege, every privilege and birth-right under the terrible alternative of banishment from property, family, and connections, in the event of giving umbrage to the Company, or its servants abroad !
. Thus the local council of Government, from the nature of the close anti-colonial and proprietary system, feebly checked at best by the controlling board of Indian ministers, is naturally and essentially opposed to the interests of the conquered ; and it is more particularly opposed to the interests of the inhabitants of the metropolitan cities of British India, because these are possessed of more intelligence, spirit, and wealth, than the mass of the provincial population-because they are in some degree protected by the King's courts, and because these cities are the great centres of intercourse, trade, and connections with the mother country. What checks, what guarantees, what influences exist, on the part of any class of the inhabitants, to countervail such a system, or to work on the individuals who compose its little oligarchy of a council ? Literally none. We have not even the benefit of a King's chief Judge or
Chancellor sitting in that body, as in most royal dependencies where there is no colonial assembly. The commanders-in-chief are civil ciphers—the governors diplomatists, who look to the Company for the usual close of their services, a pension—the two other members are the Company's own dependents, not merely from habits of long life and gratitude for selection, but from present hopes of prolonged enjoyment of lucrative office, if they give satisfaction, and future hopes of succession to directorships at home on the strength of solicitude abroad for “ the Company's interest.”
• If we had the nomination, by election among citizens of large property, or by any other means, of even a single member in council to represent and watch over our interests—nay, if there were even a single non-military inember in council whom we could consider independent of the Company, and of that powerful “ aristocracy of place," the civil service, we might be satisfied, for some years to come, at least, to leave the power of taxation, and our fates and fortunes, in the hands of such a council. But, constituted as that is, and while India remains excluded from almost any share of parliamentary or ministerial attention, and leased out to a corporation, (a mercantile one especially,) we must loudly claim not to be delivered over, bound hand and foot, to the tender mercies of such a body, harsh, haughty, arbitrary, partial, and above all secret in its proceedings towards the subject, with whom it has, and can have, no sympathies-nothing in common.
• It is our firm belief that Parliament never contemplated that we should be so delivered over, or that the power of unlimited taxation should be conferred on the local Governments jointly with their masters, the Directors and the Board of Control. We find no enactment to that effect in any of the statutes. We collect no such intention from any thing let fall by members of either House in debate ; nor is it, indeed, likely that an English Parliament would ever delegate such wide-sweeping power to any inferior authority whatever. But if its habitual and salutary jealousy of its own exclusive “
power of the purse” had ever given way, so extraordinary a grant would have been fully, explicitly, and even apologetically conferred, instead of being left to be gathered and inferred by implication. Yet, on no better foundation rests the power, now first assumed, of taxing without limitation of any kind, by authority of this Government, (under private sanction of the Court of Directors and the Board of Control,) within the city of Calcutta.'
To this follows a clear and succinct history of the settlement of the town or city of Calcutta, showing it to have been entirely of English origin, founded before the East India Company effected any territorial conquests in Bengal, and before the Emperor of Hindoostan legalized these conquests, by conferring the government of them on the Company; and proving clearly, that from this distinction, as well as that of having a King's court of justice, it was not intended