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proof of the benefit of a free press, which the local government and this Mr. Adam, for obvious reasons, laboured to render non-effective. While, however, Mr. Adam was endeavouring to prevent effectually similar disclosures for the future, he with the worthy members of the Bengal government, in consistency with their mean and narrow views, was insinuating a charge of jobbing against the Marquis of Hastings -they who had just been jobbing with the aforesaid parson! The Marquis of Hastings, in establishing a free press, observed, "My removal of restrictions from the press has been mentioned in laudatory language. I might easily have adopted that procedure without any length of cautious consideration, from my habit of regarding the freedom of publication as a natural right of my fellow-subjects, to be narrowed only by a special and urgent cause assigned. The seeing no direct necessity for these invidious shackles might have sufficed to make me break them. I know myself, however, to have been guided in the step by a positive and well-weighed policy. If our motives of action are worthy, it must be wise to render them intelligible throughout an empire, our hold on which is opinion. Further, it is salutary for supreme authority, even when its intentions are most pure, to look to the control of public scrutiny: while conscious of rectitude, that authority can lose nothing of its strength by its exposure to general comment; on the contrary, it acquires an incalculable addition of force. That government which has nothing to disguise, wields the most powerful instrument that can appertain to sovereign rule. It carries with it the united reliance and effort of the whole mass of the governed; and let the triumph of our beloved country in its awful contest with tyrant-ridden France, speak the value of a spirit to be found only in men accustomed to indulge and express their honest sentiments." This liberal and enlightened language was of itself enough to make the noble Marquis obnoxious to the narrow-minded agents of the Court of Directors in India, and the participation of the latter in the same sentiments can excite no wonder in this country.*
Let us consider the character of a colonial journal belonging to the most renowned, the most intellectual, the freest, and richest nation in the world, or what a journal vegetating under the gracious and condescending permission and auspices of such men as Lord Somerset and Mr. Adam would be permitted to do what might be supposed to constitute and really does constitute the beau-ideal of a newspaper under their impartial government; and if it should approximate a little in resemblance to those which Leopold of Austria honours with his gracious patronage--we beg his pardon, paternal care-it arises from genuine similitude of outline. Such a journal, then, must not presume to comment or interfere with the policy of the government, in any other way than in that of unqualified commendation-it must record no objections made by any portion of the population, high or low, to existing things of what nature and kind soever they may be. As in England the king can
* When Warren Hastings was in authority in India, he sent as a present ofinestimable value to the Directors at home, two hundred Darius's, which these sagacious persons ordered to be melted down for the worth of the gold. This would hardly happen now, though the views of the Directors at present exhibit a prostration of intellect and an illiberality of policy not much advanced from what it then was.
do no wrong, so his representatives and functionaries, from supreme to subaltern, are to be considered as endowed with the same virtue abroad, and any mal-practices, acts of oppression, and jobbing, which they may carry on, it is to be left to their own discretion to keep secret from the authorities at home, to continue or suppress as they may deem most agreeable to themselves. Their supposed unvarying rectitude of conduct is to be uniformly asserted, it being a necessary safeguard of "social order," and no business of a journalist. In cases where the local government is opposed to the mass of the people, and addresses are got up, stating the perfect satisfaction of all the reputable part of the inhabitants with existing affairs, the characters of functionaries, &c. the part of such functionaries is to be supported from respect for authority, from principles of duty, and from gratitude at the permission given for the existence of the journal itself. No theoretic notions for bettering the condition of the lower classes, on the right of man-selling, or the importation of eunuchs into India as servants, or the exportation of women to Arabia, or in short, any thing which really exists, and is therefore permitted by authority-no attempts to raise the Black to an equality with the White in physical or moral qualities-no instances of ruffianly oppression of the slave, and, more than all, advocating the instruction of men of colour, and making them as wise as the authorities themselves, is to be permitted, unless the censors or the authorities for the time being may happen to agree on this subject with his Majesty's ministers at home; but as the latter are likely to take wrong views, and to dictate from a sense of their own power rather than in unison with colonial views and feelings, permission must be first obtained. It must be an invariable rule in such political comments as may be tolerated in the settlement, that nothing can be better than the actual state of things there, that they cannot be improved, and that the future prospects, judging from the past, are equally conducive to the happiness of the lowest individual. Officials are uniformly to be represented as perfect, every slave-owner considerate and merciful, every overseer a pattern of meekness and gentleness, every priest laborious and devout-to the contrary notwithstanding, as the lawyers say. Every person in office to be mentioned with due humiliation and respect, and with all his lawful titles. Only such portions of proceedings in the law courts, councils, or public meetings, as cannot give offence to persons in authority, the confidential friends of such magistrates, or landholders of respectability, who possess interest of any kind, may be printed. All punishments of slaves, in particular, are to be given, that they may operate by the terror of the relation upon others; but a peculiar discretion is to be exercised in detailing the fines and penalties of law, when such may chance to take place against a white inhabitant. Advertisements for runaway slaves, sales of slaves, commercial auctions, deaths, marriages, births, descriptions of natural history and scenery in the colony, poetry, (satirical and political excepted,) accidents, receipts, charades, and riddles, in short, every other department of the journal with the trivial reservations aforesaid, to be left to the editor's discretion. Such is the liberty of the press in most of the colonies of Great Britain; such is the character of a journal that basks there in the sunshine of favour, that is as useful, loyal, and patriotic, in the sense these terms are understood where it flourishes, as its tolerators can desire. Such is the instrument that renders the dim
sighted blinder, mystifies the inhabitants of the mother country, and assists in keeping down the intellect and degrading the character of those among whom it exists-yet most of our colonies have only such, and that which is a blessing in England, operates upon them as a
Under a press so degraded in purpose, how is it possible any of those good effects can be produced by it, on the morals and manners of the colonies, which we witness among the inhabitants of the mother country? The knowledge that a writer dares not speak the truth, utter his comments freely, or give an account of facts, unless such accounts are first garbled, is fatal to the spread of knowledge and intellectual illumination; it is better to have no colonial press at all, than one which cannot be independent. But there never has been one solid, one rational objection, made to the existence of a free press in the colonies. Its enemies have begged every question, and used only assumptive arguments respecting it; they have alleged as consequences what could never possibly happen, conjured up phantoms and bugbears, to alarm the timid and vacillating, and threatened the boldest with insurrection, tumult, and bloodshed, which they did not themselves believe could by any chance of possibility ensue. The truth is, they feel the press is a powerful instrument in their own hands, which it is politic to keep so, that by its means they may colour or suppress a thousand acts which would have a very dubious effect on the public mind at home, and in England, if placed in a true light. It is a wish to keep their own power, however unhallowed, secure, and to conceal truth, that makes the enemies of a free press cling so strongly to their present hold upon it. Had a free press existed in Demerara, the orders of Lord Bathurst would have been printed on their arrival in the country, and any misapprehension of them on the part of the slave population been prevented by a general explanation. In all events, the governor could not have kept them back, and suffered them to be first communicated from distant sources, thus by his own conduct contributing to the irritation of mind among the slaves which it is said caused the revolt-though for our own parts, we believe the true causes of that revolt and the sanguinary display of colonial power which followed it, are at present unknown. Had the English newspapers been circulated as freely in the colonies for the last twenty or thirty years, and been made as accessible to all who could read them as they were at home, which could not have been the case with the enormous expenses (until lately) attached to their transmission, they would not, perhaps, have remained as they are now, half a century behind the mother country in good morals, humane feelings, the state of intellect, and just views of things. What has advanced England beyond Spain, which is two hundred years behind her in every thing that can contribute to national freedom or happiness, but the unshackled communication of knowledge, the perpetual detection and exposure of error and the application of the principles of right reason through the press, to every thing which concerns public welfare and private advantage?
Let us hope, then, that the subject of a colonial free press will be taken into the consideration of Government without delay, and that the opinions of interested individuals in the colonies will not be suffered to weigh a feather, where a broad general principle of the British con
stitution, and not a mere local question, is at stake. We do not ask for a press without responsibility; we merely demand that the same liberty should exist, the same right of property prevail, in one part of the British dominions as in the other; that an inherent portion of an Englishman's privileges should not be plundered from him under the flag of his sovereign, from a mean concession to the passions of persons from among the most unintellectual divisions of the British population; that an arbitrary power should not be allowed to exist, and the most grinding oppression have no appeal but to the idle foolery of law aphorisms, or be mocked on demanding relief, with impracticable theories in redress for wrong: being no better than the advice of a physician, should he recommend his patient to throw himself from St. Paul's to cure his malady, while, if he has no money to fee the doorkeeper, he cannot mount to the top, and if he be able to pay for his ascent, he will inevitably break his neck in following the prescription. The stupid and illiberal Dutch law should be superseded by the British at the Cape of Good Hope, impartially administered as at home, and the same freedom of the press conceded. There would be no need to travel seven or eight thousand miles in search of the remedy for evils which would then have no existence,―a remedy worse than the disease. It is probable that ere long there will be a thousand Englishmen at the Cape for one Dutchman, who in addition to the obstacles of colonization must contend with foreign laws, must submit to degradation, contrary to the feelings of a Briton and the right he claims under his own government. If these laws cannot be superseded, let there be two codes until the Dutch population is merged in that of its conquerors. Let no individual, any more than in England, have his property or his actions placed at the mercy of any thing but the law. The will of a governor abroad should be allowed no more latitude over a free subject, than the king possesses at home. There never has been any necessity that it should be otherwise; and if not immediately altered (except in India, where the ten years to come of the charter, which it is hoped never will be renewed, may prevent it) the better feelings of the times will not suffer it to remain long-yet why should it be delayed an hour?
Pastor cum traheret, &c.
As near Blackfriars, "sad by fits,"
Broke many a giant pebble,
Vainly you wield yon pounding axe;
White Portland's sons around you pour
VOL. XI. NO. XLVII.
"Ah me! what ills each house beset,
"O'er your smooth convex, coach or car
Eyes should be sharp, for mortal ears
Lo! while I sing, yon heedless hack
And thrown her down on her face. "But oh! when droves of sheep and pigs With countless stockbrokers in gigs
Are mix'd-can aught be minded?
'Tis sad beyond endurance,
"Soon from my stream the two Lord Mayors Debarking at Blackfriars'-stairs,
Shall notice your behaviour:
"Go then, Colossus, stick to roads,
Leave by your pick-axe undone; Go delve in some less stubborn soil, You'll find it an Utopian toil
To mend the ways of London."