A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:11 am




As you have dragged me into your controversy with the LONDON WEEKLY REVIEW, a publication with which I have not, and never had, any connection, although I have long known and esteemed its conductors as gentlemen of high talent and unimpeachable character; I appeal to your sense of justice to allow me to defend myself against the unjustifiable attack of Mr. James Silk Buckingham, one of the Proprietors I believe of the Athenaeum. As he has turned round upon me because of the mention of my name as one of the many who once befriended and spoke well of him, and then saw reason to regard his conduct with extreme aversion, let me state here that the Editor of the "Weekly Review" having been Mr. Buckingham's own referee in our difference (which ended in this gentleman, and John Hunt, Esq. of the Examiner, referee on my part, awarding me £50 damages from Mr. Buckingham), it is surely no fault of mine if Mr. Buckingham's own referee, who now knows and regards him exactly as I did years ago, state a fact so completely within his knowledge. But as changing my opinion of Mr. Buckingham has thus exposed me to this attack, I beg leave to state in extenuation a few of the reasons that produced that change. If Mr. Buckingham can explain them away, with his usual dexterity, he will be grateful to me for affording him this opportunity, and I and my friends will be glad to think better of him than we have done for some years past.

1. He assured us in Calcutta, when he sold his Journal in shares, that it was worth £40,000. That this sum was made up, one-half of copyright, one-fourth of property on the spot, and the remaining fourth of goods commissioned from Mr. James Richardson (23 Cornhill), his agent in London, which were all to arrive in India by the end of that year (1822), and be paid for by a credit on Messrs. Fletcher, Alexander, and Co., now of King's Arms Yard, Coleman Street: I take this from Mr. Buckingham's printed statement and contract of sale in my possession. Unfortunately, however, conversing with Mr. Richardson, his agent above named, on the subject, he informed me that he never sent Mr. Buckingham goods to the value of £10,000 in his life, and not more than £2,000, or a fifth of the sum, in 1822, or any one year.
I take this to the best of my recollection, and if wrong, his agent can correct me. And I must add also, that the whole put together, when soon after disposed of by public auction, that it might sell to the highest advantage, did not fetch, I believe more than £8,000 instead of £20,000.* [This is a most liberal calculation for Mr. Buckingham, when the fact is that the highest offer ever made for the whole concern with its latest additions, including of course all the reputed ten thousand of property from England, copy-right and all together; was only about £3,000, not one-tenth of the value asserted by Mr. Buckingham. In witness whereof, that offer was made by Samuel Smith of the Bengal Hurkaru, a shrewd and enterprising man in business, perhaps the best judge of the value of such property of any man in India.] If his agent in Cornhill did not send this £10,000, pray who did? Will Mr. Buckingham print a certificate of the fact from his agents, Messrs. Alexander and. Co., who were alleged to have supplied the funds?

2. If the copy-right of a Journal liable to be suppressed daily by the banishment of its conductors was worth any thing, six months' purchase of the profits may surely be considered a fair estimate. But, allowing from eighteen months to two years, even this, by his own account, would hardly exceed £7,000, which, added to the former £3,000 for effects, makes only a saleable value of £10,000 in all.* [Mr. Buckingham himself confesses, in his letter to the East-India Company of November 13th, 1825, vol. viii. p. 168, that the property only fetched rupees 18,278, or about £1,000. Let him or his agents explain what became of the difference between this and the £20,000! He alleges that it arose from there being no purchasers to compete with each other, and that the types were consequently sold as old metal. That this is quite false I know, as I was present at the sale, where I saw most of the Printers in Calcutta competing with each other; and some of the property sold above its value.] Mr. Buckingham may say indeed, that he sold a fourth of it for that in shares £100 each. But as it was under a condition to furnish each of the purchasers a daily publication, costing 16 rupees per mensem for 100 purchasers, it amounted then to a mortgage over the property equal to its whole worth, at the tremendous interest of 20 per cent. Mr. Buckingham carried home the ten thousand in his pocket, as he publishes somewhere, and left others to pay the interest, consequently the shareholders lost almost all, while he appears to have lost nothing. Yet he tells us that he lost £40,000? Will he state of what it consisted, or if he did not land in India a few years before without a penny of his own, and rather in debt.

3. Mr. Buckingham engaged myself and the present Editor of the Weekly Review to aid him in conducting his Oriental Herald, on a salary of £150 per annum each, with a promise of a share in the profits. At the end of the period of my agreement he declared there were no profits whatever, and that it only afforded £500 per annum for the literary materials of it, on which estimate he wished us to enter into a contract to relieve him of the whole expense of them. At the same period he had a printed estimate in private circulation, stating that the literary materials cost him just three times the above sum, and that even then it would yield a surplus profit of above £800 per annum.* [By another estimate made by him to Messrs. Jowett and Mills, the printers of the work, he made the cost of the literary materials £756 per annum, and the clear annual profits £2,028 as proved by their document, an evidence in my possession. He tried by this estimate to induce them to accept a share of the profits, instead of payment for their work!]

4. On this latter statement he sold a number of shares or perpetual copies of the work to Sir Charles Forbes, Mr. [Joseph] Hume, and others for large sums (afterwards converted into magnificent subscriptions, with a view to support the work;) yet, notwithstanding this aid of several thousands so raised, and the ten thousand at least he brought from India, and the surplus profit of £800 per annum (or rather £1,800 if the lower estimate of the literary materials were the true one), he soon afterwards professed to be reduced to absolute poverty, and solicited public charity: yea, he hung up boards in every part of the town, saying the smallest sums would be acceptable.

5. All this time he lived in a style very unlike poverty, first in a magnificent residence in Regent's Park, then in one hardly less splendid in Grove End Road; yet denounced as calumniators those who saw and declared this fact, that may easily be ascertained by hundreds in this city.*
[For the description of these houses, see Oriental Herald Advertiser for January 1826, p. 5. and August 1826, p. 21. The last, valued by him as worth £500 a year rent, is the cottage to which he retired to drink the "crystal stream!'] In order to aid this public charity, some weak persons were persuaded to believe that he was at this time living at a small cottage in the outskirts of London, drinking only "the crystal stream," which fable is believed in India to this day.

6. Mr. Buckingham agreed, in presence of John Nevins, Esq., merchant in the City of London, and John Betts, Esq., of Honiton, Devon (as proved by their evidence in my hands), to resign to me all share or participation in the trade of book-selling (with which he had induced me to connect myself), either at home or abroad, under the nominal exception only of wholesale orders to the extent of two or three thousand pounds, which I had neither capital nor inclination to execute. Soon afterwards he denied this agreement in toto, in presence of the Hon. Col. Stanhope and Dr. Gilchrist, the referees in the case, as proved by their documentary evidence.

7. While openly professing to me his resolution to resign that business, an agreement which he confirmed in presence of the two gentlemen above named, I found he was secretly employing the name of Messrs. Longman and Co., to enable him to carry it on, on a much greater scale than before, and, as he subsequently avowed, solely for his own benefit.

8. Afterwards, however, as a reason for denying all agreement with me, Mr. Buckingham alleged that he had completed an arrangement with Messrs. Longman and Co., for supplying books, paintings, &c. to the eastern world: He had actually distributed thousands of circulars in India to that effect. That respectable house, however, declared that no such arrangement ever existed, as proved by the extract of their letter in the "London Weekly Review."* [See Appendix, Notarial Documents, p. 8.]

9. It is proved by letters attested by the signatures of Col. Stanhope and Dr. Gilchrist, that the only claim submitted by me against Buckingham was for fulfilment of the above agreement (the evidence of which, by shrinking from the investigation, he never allowed them an opportunity of seeing or acting on). In your paper, Mr. Buckingham now asserts that the claim was a share of the profits of the Oriental Herald.

10. As it is attested that I never submitted this claim, I shall here state my reasons: he wrote at one time there was no profit, at another within a few weeks that there was £800 per annum; at one time, that an item of expenditure was £1,500, and within a few weeks represented the same item as only £500! I was afraid to form any closer connection with such a work; he had before offered me a share in his "Calcutta Journal," an apparently much more flourishing concern: it turned out to be a share of loss: "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes:" [Google Translate: I fear Greeks bearing gifts] If some publishers and editors had my experience, they would not be so anxious for shares with a Sphynx, -- or a framer of enigmas, who has the knack of being unintelligible, except when he pleases; and of conjuring up bubbles or riddles, which prove fatal to those who do not understand them.

11. The chief personal grievance which wrought a change in my opinion was, that after I had exposed myself to persecution and banishment, imprisonment, shipwreck, and in short periled life and fortune in his cause in India, when many others had deserted him, for which I received testimonies of approbation from the best and greatest men that country can boast of; he, for whom chiefly I suffered, declared himself not in the least obliged to me! This was submitted to the judgment of Dr. Gilchrist and Col. Stanhope, whose decision I shall here quote from the MS. in the Hon. Colonel's own hand.

"My opinion was, and is, that these gentlemen have rendered useful service to the state. Mr. Buckingham was wrong in asserting that he owed nothing to Mr. Arnot, because Mr. Arnot had served him faithfully under the most trying circumstances."

This was written long after the infamous letter quoted in your paper, and attributed to the Hon. D. K*******; and it is the deliberate decision of a gentleman whose character ranks as high, although he may not peradventure have so high an opinion of Mr. James Silk Buckingham, and who had the matter much longer before him than this last dupe of the "Adventurer," as he must be, if he has lent himself in the way represented.

I shall now touch briefly on his part in the transaction. On my arrival in England, I addressed a memorial to the East-India Company, a copy of which by the advice of Mr. Buckingham was intrusted to Mr. K*******. At the next public Court of the East-India Proprietors, the Hon. Chairman, Mr. Marjoribanks, intimated that the feeling of the Directors was that I had suffered wrong, and that if the matter were left to them they would endeavour to do me justice. Mr. K******* then and there gave a public pledge, that if the Directors did so, he, as a proprietor, would not interfere, and this was the understanding on both sides of the Court. The Directors accordingly awarded me £1,500 of compensation for my losses and sufferings. This came in the usual course of business for the approval of the Proprietors, when, strange to tell! the Hon. D****** K******* stood up within the very same walls which had heard his pledge, and conjured up every topic of party irritation and violence that was likely to create division, and to disturb the confirmation of the grant. It was nevertheless confirmed unanimously, with the exception of his solitary verbal protest, against the grounds on which it was given. He wished to prove that redress could not be given me on any other grounds than those, which would have afforded it also to his friend Mr. Buckingham, whose claim was rejected; yet he knew the cases were totally different and dissimilar. Though aided and egged on by Mr. Buckingham to this, he failed in his attempt, which if successful would have condemned me to poverty, or at least deprived me of the proud testimonial which the unanimous decision of a great public body in my favour affords. I reproached him with his inconsistent conduct, and since that period he and his friend Mr. Buckingham have been using every means to ruin me. They hate me for having discovered their want of principle, and having spoken the truth to and of them; because I obtained justice in spite of their treacherous opposition, and because their case was decided to be not so well founded as mine; so that all their addresses and petitions for money from the same body having failed, they were at last reduced to beg petty subscriptions from public charity.

When I had obtained my just redress, they endeavoured however to benefit by it. Mr. Buckingham knew that on my first leaving Bengal, the inhabitants, his friends among the number, had offered me a present of £500 to defray my charges to England: a voluntary testimonial of their approbation and sympathy quite unsolicited on my part, of which I shall retain a grateful recollection till my dying day. I applied part of the money to the object for which it was given, and it of course perished in the general shipwreck of my property by the burning of the Fame, from which Sir Stamford Raffles, myself, and others, narrowly escaped with our lives. (This too I suffered for Mr. Buckingham.) The rest of the sum I presented to a philanthropic institution in Calcutta. Mr. Buckingham now claimed more than half of it as belonging to him! And this claim he referred to the Hon. D****** K*******!!! Mr. B. first pretended that the part of the money contributed by his friends was a loan advanced me on his account! Then, that it was actually entered in his Agent's books against him. I challenged him to prove either the one or the other. We both applied to his agent, Mr. J. C. C. Sutherland, of the house of Alexander and Co., who happened to be in England; who wrote in reply, there was no such entry in Mr. Buckingham's account! and he told me personally, that he never heard of my asking or receiving a loan from their house. Mr. K******* can produce this letter if he chooses!!!

In support of this claim, seeing no other mode left, Mr. Buckingham drew up a long paper; depreciating and vilifying every part of my conduct from the first moment of our connection. Almost every line of it was untrue, as I can prove by the evidence of every honest man who knows the facts. It was intended, I believe, to send this romance to India with a string of signatures, without my knowing any thing about it, but for the honesty of a gentleman who would not lend himself to such a proceeding. It thus came to my knowledge -- when I refuted every part of it that deserved refuting. Mr. K******* however, seems to have taken it for true gospel, and is reported to have consequently sent out his single opinion in a letter, which he will yet be sorry for.

The Editor of the Weekly Review admits that he was deceived in this same manner by a series of specious statements, which he now discovers to be entirely false. Mr. K*******, who seems determined to have the honour of being the last of the 'Dupes,' may believe that I landed in India a beggar -- that Mr. Buckingham relieved me from great distress -- that on leaving it I borrowed three hundred pounds from his Agents -- that on my arrival in England he treated me kindly and relieved my necessities, and that I at last (without any reason whatever) turned round and called him a villain! This is B.'s story, and there is not a word of truth in it. The truth is, I went to India much richer than he did, having above £1,000 of ready cash of my own before I left England, as I can prove by the statement of my agent in Edinburgh, W. Walker, Esq., Writer to the Signet. And Mr. B. never lent or made me a present of a shilling in his life, to the best of my recollection and belief. When I first gave him my aid, I neglected much more lucrative prospects, by following which I might have been now as much richer as I am poorer than him to-day. He found me, therefore, in easy circumstances; and left me destitute. He found me full of youth, and health, and hope, he left me poor and friendless -- broken down by long persecution and misfortune, all brought upon me by my attachment to him; and then, when I was reduced to uncertainty as to the means of earning my daily bread, he tried to deprive me unjustly of what he owed me, to the extent of fifty pounds. After I would not submit to this cruelty and injustice, he boasts that he depicted me so as to make people regard me with "horror and disgust."* [See his Athenaeum.] Here be gratitude with a witness!!! The above is confirmed by the following decision of Mr. John Hunt, formerly Editor of the Examiner, and Mr. A. St. John, now Editor of the London Weekly Review. On an agreement signed by Mr. B. and myself, showing that the matter referred was my claim for redress for his having inveigled me into his publishing concern in Bond Street, they write their decision as follows: --

Messrs. Hunt and St. John, having consulted together on the matters to which the above agreement refers, have decided, that the sum of fifty pounds should be paid by Mr. Buckingham to Mr. Arnot as a compensation for the loss he has incurred."

(Signed) 1st June, 1826,


This, with the above recorded decision of Col. Stanhope, Mr. Buckingham's own friend and arbiter, will shew whether the Editor of the Weekly Review, the Editor of the Examiner, and every body thought me entirely in the wrong, as Mr. Buckingham asserts. Such is a specimen of my reasons for changing my opinion of him; and if you or any gentleman of character will say they are not sufficient, I will furnish you with others equally well authenticated.

I am, Sir,

Your most obedient humble servant,


23, Leicester Square, 16th April, 1828.

P.S. -- I beg to add that the above facts are drawn from Mr. Buckingham's printed and published statements, as, even in self-defence, I would not wish to avail myself of any private knowledge of his accounts to his prejudice, if my situation had afforded me an opportunity of having it, which it did not (this being a subject over which mystery -- dark brooding mystery! ever hung) as appears by the following extract from his printed rules and regulations --

"On the accounts of the month being made up by Mr. Heckford, and examined and revised by Mr. Sandys, but by no other person, &c. &c."

Wishing to derive no benefit from anyone's good opinion further than is just, I shall here also notice that Mr. Buckingham's arbiter and friend blamed me for one thing, and one only -- for pressing my reference till I got a written decision. I did so as the only means of stopping the floodgates of calumny, which I knew would be let loose the moment I discovered his baseness; and I would advise every one connected with Mr. B. never to part with him long without a written acknowledgment that may put a curb on his fatal talent of invention.

2. -- So averse have I been from publicly attacking Mr. Buckingham, that I have for years past rather suffered under his calumnies than exposed them and their author, good-naturedly listening to the intreaties of his friends, who represented how much a common cause would suffer if our quarrels became known, and begged me to believe that though many things, particularly his conduct to myself, were too bad, some were capable of being explained. As -- in giving vent to my indignation I might have also used some expressions that gave the matter too high a colouring, I was willing to make full reparation for any shade of injustice done even in self-defence. "In taking revenge," said the Hon. Col. Stanhope -- (I quote the M.S.) "a man is but even with his enemy: in passing it over he is superior." I made this exertion of magnanimity, and agreed to bury my wrongs in oblivion. But I have just learnt by letters from India, that my good-nature in listening to such advice has been made use of for a treacherous purpose, that I might be depicted to my friends abroad, as a wretch, every thing false, base, and abject. But the day of retribution will arrive, when those who pervert a man's virtues into crimes (and what greater virtue is there than charity and forgiveness of injuries?) will receive their reward, and the public will perhaps learn, like me, never again to trust to the honour or judgment of any man who is, or professes to be, the 'dupe' of Mr. Buckingham.

Letter of Colonel [Leicester] Stanhope to Ram Mohun Roy

Worthy Philanthropist, Your Memorial to the King of England, demonstrating the usefulness and safety of a free press in British India, and praying for its restoration, I forwarded with a letter, to the Secretary of the Board of Control. He honoured me with a courteous reply, stating that it had been graciously received by his Majesty. This Memorial, considering it as the production of a foreigner, and an Hindoo of this age, displays so much sense, knowledge, argument, and even eloquence, that the friends of liberty have dwelt upon it with wonder; while the monopolists, who would doom one hundred millions of England’s subjects to eternal despotism, unequal to combat with its logic, have denied its authenticity. The advocates for censors and licensers are now in the full sway of their bad power. They are, however, either silenced by their fears, or struck dumb by the reasonings of their antagonists, or reduced to a most lame and impotent defence. What are their arguments? Read the proceedings on the late Appeal before the Privy Council, and you will not find one that has truth or reason to support it. Mr. Bosanquet contended, that “a free press was adapted only to countries, the government of which depended on the good opinion which the people entertained of its justice and wisdom, and the other qualities which belong to good government.” Certainly a free press is not calculated for an unjust, an unwise, or a bad government, which are the characteristics implied by Mr. Bosanquet of our Indian rule. Yet who but the Honourable East India Company’s advocate would maintain such rank immorality? The Directors who attended the debate must have been vexed enough to hear him slide into so imprudent an admission. The Holy Alliance would blush to hear such doctrines. The Holy Inquisition, when it reigned in all its glory at Goa, never supported any thing so diabolical. If a demon were sent on earth to seek out some crime for which a nation was to be condemned, he could not devise a more frightful one than that of a race of civilized conquerors dooming one hundred millions of their distant and submissive subjects, and their descendants, to eternal misgovernment. “De Lolme,” said Mr. Spankie, “had stated that the establishment of a printing press in Contantinople would, ipso facto, overturn the government.”* [This was an error of the learned Serjeant: De Lolme has stated no such thing. We shall enlarge on this subject hereafter. – Ed.] No doubt: but does Mr. Spankie mean to compare Lord Amherst to a Sultan -- Censor Adam to his Vizier -- our Collectors and Judges to Bashaws -- our Sepoys to Janissaries, and one hundred millions of English subjects to Turkish slaves? And if he does, can any statesman, Tory or Whig, wish to perpetuate such a system? "The liberty of the press and a free government," said Mr. Spankie, "might amalgamate together; but if it were united with an absolute government, it would speedily mildew and destroy its brother." What does Mr. Spankie mean by free and absolute governments? There are degrees in both these systems of rule. England is less free than America; for, according to Mr. Spankie, though she admits of no slavery at home, she has nothing but slaves in Hindoostan. France is less despotic than Austria, and Austria less despotic than Turkey. Prussia is a despotism -- but still under Frederick the Great she enjoyed great liberty of discussion. Our slave colonies are despotisms -- but they have their constitutions, laws, and free presses, India, too, is called a despotism; but the press was free to licentiousness, in the dangerous times of Warren Hastings; and, according to Mr. Spankie, during Lord Hastings's administration.

This advocate was not, however, satisfied with simple despotism, such as it prevailed in Prussia, or even in our slave colonies. He was for a despotism more unlimited than that which existed in the time when Burke told the Parliament, that the British rule in India was the most galling tyranny that had ever existed on the face of the globe; and that her protection was worse than all the irruptions of the Tartars and the Arabs.

"A cargo of European clothing," observed Lawyer Bosanquet, "would no more fit the persons, than our laws and maxims would suit the moral, political, and religious opinions of the people of India;" notwithstanding that all the Sepoys are clothed in garments made in and sent out from England. Mr. Bosanquet seems to think that the natives of Hindoostan are a curious race of animals -- a species of ouran-outangs, somewhat resembling man, but inferior to him in form and reason; and hence he would domineer over them as herdsmen do over the brutes of the field. If we speak of curious races, however, where is there, after all, to be found an animal less like a man than your English lawyer, with his legal reason, and his artificial reason,* [Vide Lord Coke, 12th Report.] his rusty stuff-gown, and his dusty ridiculous wig? These are the only human beings who do not in all things admit the pre-eminence of reason, founded, not in law, but in truth; and whom no clothes will fit but silk gowns or robes of ermine.

Mr. Bosanquet asserts, that "not a single step can be taken in India without hazard and peril;" and, according to Mr. Spankie, "we could not induce the people to feel an affection for our Government, nor to rise to take up arms in its defence. The only thing we could hope," said he, "was to prevent them from taking arms against us." This is a most melancholy prospect. It must be evident, indeed, to all men, that no structure ever rested upon a worse foundation. It is like those modern metropolitan houses of ours that are built to stand for a few years, and then to overwhelm their inhabitants in their ruins. The sooner we change a course so replete with weakness and danger, and follow Lord Hastings's wise steps, the better; for there can be no root to any government but in the good will and good opinion of the people. "And the surest way," as Lord Bacon has it, "to prevent seditions is, to take away the matter of them; for if there be fuel prepared, it is hard to say whence the spark shall come that shall set it all on fire."

You will rejoice to learn that the Marquis of Hastings has returned from Malta to England. All who know his gallant spirit and high honour anticipate good from this event. Rest assured that no paltry motive of private interest, or want of ministerial favour, of going to Ireland or going to India, will prevent this illustrious nobleman from clearing his character and name from the odious slur that has been out upon it by the Court of Directors, and which, though so ably defended by Mr. Kinnaird, Mr. Hume, Mr. Buckingham, Sir J. Doyle, and other liberals, (for these alone stood by him in the hour of trial,) still left many sceptical and prejudiced minds in a state of doubt. Nor will any hope of obtaining power or pension from the Court of Directors prevent this high-minded statesman from manfully defending, in the face of this country and the world, that course which he and Warren Hastings pursued towards the Asiatic press, which long experience has proved so safe and useful, and which he advocated in his answer to the Madras address, in language that will be remembered when his great military triumphs are either forgotten or jumbled together with those of tyrants.

God grant that your Memorial, recommending a free press in India, may be attended to by our good Sovereign. That it will, I have reason to hope, because Mr. Randle Jackson did, on the 4th of April 1821, in the face of the East India Company and the world, insist on Mr. Canning's decided intentions to oppose the renewal of restrictions on the press; a determination quite worthy of the noble character of Mr. Canning's administration.

I am, your sincere friend,

London, June 9, 1825.


-- Leicester Stanhope, The Oriental Herald and Journal of General literature; vol. 6, July to September, 1825, London, Sandford Arnot, 33, Old Bond Street, MDCCCXXV

Having enjoyed the friendship and approbation of the best and greatest men for talents and virtue, in every part of Europe or Asia where I have set my foot -- men who could judge of character, and observed me, as the Hon. Col. Stanhope justly observes, under the most trying circumstances -- I thank God that I can dispense as before with Mr. K*******'s suffrage, as he knows nothing of me except from the tale of a false accuser; and I do not think him a better or a wiser man than Burckhardt, Bankes, Boog, Barker, and Col. Missett, the British Consuls of Egypt and Syria, the Editor and Proprietor of the London Review, who were 'Dupes' before him, and at last came to think, as I did, on longer and more severe experience than possessed by Mr. K******* or any man in England.

Since the above was written, Mr. Buckingham has added one more breach of faith to the list. At the repeated and earnest intreaties of his friends Kinnaird, Stanhope, and Gilchrist, and who, deeming him a useful political instrument, begged of me not to expose his private conduct, I agreed to forgive him, and a treaty of peace was accordingly concluded, under the guarantee of the Editor of the Examiner and Mr. Kinnaird. The conditions of the treaty were, that neither of us should write or publish any attack against the other, or do any thing to bring our differences into public discussion. This being settled, and Mr. Buckingham's own friend and arbiter, Col. Stanhope, having acquitted me of blame, and admitted that his friend B. was wrong, as above shown, I thought it would be only acting handsomely to express regret for having occasionally perhaps spoken of him with undue severity, especially as he complained that I had in my letters to India called him "AN ABANDONED VILLAIN," &c. I do not recollect having used any such expressions, but if I did it certainly was rather an exaggeration, which I could not but regret my imprudence in having committed. Severe as the libel law is, however, Buckingham has never attempted to prove that I had said worse of him than he deserved. He has since printed part of my Letter, to create an impression, that because I did not think him quite "an abandoned villain," I therefore thought him a very good man, and that because part of my information to his prejudice rested on the reports of others, there was not a much larger part resting on surer evidence! The foregoing letter will shew whether I do not know enough independent of hearsay, and whether a simple unimpassioned statement of the facts is not sufficiently damning without the exaggerations of passion. While his revival of the discussion by an attack on me, is a breach of faith to Messrs. Hunt and Kinnaird as well as to myself, of which they have both complained, as proved by letters in my hands, it is an act of folly which Buckingham and his friend will yet bitterly repent, as they have now deprived themselves of all claim to my mercy and forbearance.

Having already quoted the opinion of my conduct expressed by the Hon. Lt.-Col. Stanhope, Mr. Buckingham's own friend and arbitrator in 1826 and 7, I shall here shew that his opinion of me continues unchanged up to the present hour, as appears by the following autograph inscription on a copy of his work presented to me on the 17th of last month (May 1829):

From Leicester Stanhope to Sandford Arnot, who ably wrote and nobly suffered for a Free Press in British India.

And this sufferer has for years been maligned and persecuted by some of its pretended friends, because his heart revolted against such abominable, treacherous, and swindling practices!!!
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Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:11 am


From the Bengal Hurkaru, January 1st, 1829.

MR. ARNOT has made the John Bull* [The manner in which it found its way there has already been explained.] here the vehicle of a very long communication, the object of which is to represent the man who was once his friend and benefactor ["My friend and benefactor!!!" Say. rather, who professed himself to be so until he had me completely ruined, and then threw off the mask! See pp. 66 and 68.] as AN UNPRINCIPLED SCOUNDREL.* [My object was to represent the facts, when forced to do so, in self-defence; and it these facts prove the assailant to be that -- which it is libel to name -- it is not my fault. I did not make him so: his own heart should be blamed that made him, act as he did.]

Our contemporary takes great credit to himself for giving insertion to this letter, and ascribes it to his love of publicity, which it seems the advocates of a free press have evaded on this occasion. The public will decide that point for themselves. We freely admit that our contemporary has never shown the least reluctance to publish any thing like personal abuse or slander directed against those who are opposed to him in politics. In so far as we are concerned, we have not the least hesitation to state our objections to publicity in this case. We like publicity, we never shrink from the investigation of truth; but we like justice and impartiality also. Above all, we like to hear both sides of a question.* [Therefore they publish this new attack on me, and like Mr. B. without allowing me to be heard in self-defence!]

Our reasons, then, for refraining from occupying our pages with the interminable disputes of Mr. Buckingham and Mr. Arnot, which relate almost exclusively to their own private affairs and engagements, are first, that setting aside the personal character of this controversy; which must render it totally uninteresting to the public, in all that regards transactions in London between Mr. Buckingham and Mr. Arnot, and several other persons, who are neither known by, nor cared for, by anyone here, we have only an exparte statement; while in all that relates to the former discussions here in India about Bankes and Burckhardt et id genus omne [Google translate: and all of that kind], we apprehend every one who ever felt any interest in them, has long since had a surfeit of them. For these reasons we have studiously abstained from any allusion to the subject; nor should we now have noticed it, but for a direct and individual appeal made to us on a matter of fact, to which undoubtedly we can and will speak. We allude to the valuation of the journal property. Before we say our brief say on that subject, however, we feel it incumbent on us to remind our readers that Mr. Arnot was once fully agreed with us on the merits of the Bankes and Burckhardt controversy.* [What had I to do with that? My letter said not a word on the merits of that controversy -- it merely mentioned that these gentlemen had changed their opinion of Mr. Buckingham.] We know that some differed on that subject, but we always considered Mr. Buckingham's defence most complete and triumphant, and so did Mr. Arnot while in this country. Since Mr. Arnot's arrival in England, all that has transpired in reference to this celebrated controversy, which could in any manner touch the merits of it, has been the three verdicts against Bankes junior, Bankes senior, and Murray the bookseller. Those who decided against Mr. Buckingham, might not deem these verdicts sufficient to shake their judgments; but surely it will be conceded by every unbiassed mind that there was nothing in them to weaken the conviction of one who had determined in his favour on the previous evidence, nor does it appear that they produced any such singular effect on Mr. Arnot's mind.* [There were several things to change my opinion. 1st. My subsequent discovery of Mr. B.'s real character, which rendered Messrs. Bankes' and Burckhardt's story extremely probable. 2dly. The powerful evidence produced by Mr. Bankes on the trial -- which, taken in connection with the character of the plaintiff, unknown to the Jury, I could judge of better than they could. 3dly. The amount of damages compared with the pretended amount of injury -- namely, only one-hundredth part.] What then is it that leads him to a discovery, that that which he had upon abundant evidence, and after mature deliberation, pronounced white, was in reality black?* [What sad sophistry! My letter gave no opinion on the subject; but I have now done so for the satisfaction of Mr. Buckingham and his friends.] A personal quarrel about his own individual interests, which had, be its merits what they may, no more bearing upon the case of Bankes and Burckhardt than it had upon the war between the Turks and the Greeks! With this remark we leave the public to judge of the value of Mr. Arnot's newly awakened conviction on the merits of that controversy.

We come now to the fact upon which a direct appeal is made to us. Mr. Arnot charges Mr. Buckingham with having put a false value on his property here, in order to sell it. On that point we will give the public some data on which to form their own judgment. The amount of gross receipts of the Journal in the month in which Mr. Buckingham left India, was in round numbers about Sa. Rs. 14,000 or 15,000;* [Mr. B.'s own printed statement made it only 13,768 rupees for the month of January 1823; and the average of the previous six months only 12,927. If it was 14,000 or 15,000 rupees in March, it must have improved greatly by his removal from its management. (See printed rules for conducting the Calcutta Journal, dated Feb. 1823.)] the bills were farmed, and ten per cent allowed for the risk of collection, leaving a net receipt of about 18,000 rupees; say that 7,000 or 8,000 of this were profit.* [Mr. B. made the profit less than this by one half, viz. only 25 per cent on about 13,000 rupees, or less than 3,500 rupees a month even by the highest estimate. See Prospectus and Statement to purchasers.] Mr. Arnot himself tells us, that the mere dead stock, sold at auction, which he affirms to be the most advantageous mode of selling (have not our readers in their experience found it so?) for £3,000.* [For less than £2,000, according to Mr. Buckingham's own statement. And £3,000 was the highest sum offered for property, copyright, and all, privately or publicly.] The dead stock then sold for so much at auction, the monthly profit being, at the same time, 5,000 sicca rupees per month.* [Here is a parody on the old story of the men in buckram! He drops from 8,000 to 7,000, and then to 5,000. -- A little lower, honest Jack! Twenty-five per cent on 12,927 rupees, the average of six months, was only 3,230 rupees per mensem, equal to 38,760 rupees, or less than £4,000 per annum. Compare this (to say nothing of the mortgage upon it of £3,000 per annum, see p. 15) with Mr. B.'s assertion at p. 49, that his income was £8,000 per annum!] Hence our readers may decide the value for themselves. Mr. Arnot considers six months' purchase a fair valuation of the copyright.* [Was more ever paid for a journal in India? Mr. Buckingham can inform us; for he has been a great jockey in buying and selling papers, both in Calcutta and London.] The copyright of the Morning Chronicle sold, we remember, for £40,000* [The Morning Chronicle and the Calcutta Journal! It is comparing an sere of land in Regent's Park, with an acre on the Swan River! The Hurkaru must think that it has the monopoly of all the fools in India for its readers.] Was that six months' purchase only?

But Mr. Arnot considers six months' purchase ample, because the Journal was "daily liable to suppression." Mr. Arnot forgets that when the shares were sold it was not liable to any such thing.* [I said it was liable to suppression by the banishment of its conductors. Can you deny this?] The licensing law did not pass until after Mr. Buckingham left the country! No law but the law of transmission then endangered the conductors of the Press; and no one knows better than Mr. Arnot, that Mr. Buckingham was so sanguine as to believe that it would never again be exercised.* [Mr. B. may have professed himself so, and I may have believed his professions at that time. I don't do so now. He knew he could cause himself to be removed from his obligations at any time by insulting the Government!] Supposing then there had been free scope for competition, can Mr. Arnot believe that six months' purchase would have been a fair valuation of the property? We at least do not think so.* [I allow two years' purchase on the profits, for copyright, or 24 times 3,230 rupees, which would be only equal to 79,520 rupees, or about £8,000; less by £2,000 than the sum which Mr. Buckingham, having obtained it under a promise to send out its value in goods, quietly pocketed and carried home with him! This is the man, who was robbed, he says, of £40,000 and £8,000 per annum!]

That Mr. Buckingham's property did not fetch its value, he attributes to the want of competition. This Mr. Arnot denies: there was competition he says. For what? for the types and presses and, paper?"* [What else are we disputing about? We had set off £20,000 for the copyright already -- the value Mr. Buckingham himself put on it, being twice or thrice more than enough. There remained £20,000 to be accounted for, of reputed actual tangible property, and for this there was every competition. This therefore should have been proved to be worth another £20,000.] Where was the competition for the copyright? Who was willing to embark capital in a property, which a stroke of a secretary's pen could then annihilate the next day? One individual alone, who was already engaged in the precarious business of a newspaper, the proprietor of this paper; his offer in the actual case was liberal, although Mr. Arnot has not stated its full extent;* [Then why do not you state it? Because it would make against you!] but he never pretended that it would have been any thing like an equivalent for the property. had there been a fair field for competition.

In the sale of the paper, however, if any shareholder were taken in, it was his own fault; there were frequent meetings, and the shareholders had every facility afforded them to examine the accounts.* [Could they examine the property said to be on the seas, worth £10,000? This is the main point!] Mr. Buckingham's banishment, indeed, caused the paper to fall off in circulation? till it did so we apprehend the shareholders touched the promised dividends;* [Did they touch the £10,000? This is the question!] that they afterwards lost by the speculation they may attribute to that system which places Europeans at the mercy of any temporary Governor, and to that system which enables a temporary Governor, with the concurrence of one judge even on the bench, to make a law placing property equally within its power.* [Was the £10,000, said to be on the seas, within its power?]

Would the proprietors of the John Bull think six months' purchase a fair valuation of their copyright?* [Would anyone give them more? Did any paper in India ever fetch so much as xix months' purchase on the gross receipts, with such a charge on it as 75 per cent of current expenditure, or two years' purchase of the net profits?] If so, they may consistently agree with Mr. Arnot that Mr. Buckingham did overvalue his property, though it would still remain to be shewn, whether the act were criminal.* [If there be legal criminality in this case, it is in the £10,000 said to have been on the seas.] If so, either among buyers or sellers, we know of few who have not forfeited their character. With one more observation we take our leave of this subject.

Mr. Arnot alludes to a paper drawn up by Mr. Buckingham to which it would seem he is replying. Why did he not send that paper with his letter, that the public of India might have both sides of the question before them. We feel that we have dwelt on this subject at greater length than will be agreeable to many of our readers; but we are not likely to trouble them again about it.

On the absurdity of inferring or contending that the individual conduct of Mr. Buckingham, or Mr. Arnot, or Mr. Anybody else can at all weaken the force of the arguments in favour of a free press, we shall not insult the understandings of our readers by offering any remark. It might as well be argued that because a divine affords in his conduct an example of envy, hatred, and uncharitableness, therefore the Christian religion does not inculcate peace and the forgiveness of injuries!
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Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:12 am

Reply [by 'NO DUPE'] printed in the Calcutta John Bull of next Day.

Mr. BULL: -- Mr. Arnot's statement, which you published in Wednesday's Bull, has proved rather an unpalatable pill to the Hurkaru, who is pleased to ring the changes upon 'the personal abuse,' and 'slander,' and 'malignancy,' of the John Bull! Heaven save the mark! Cannot you, sir, allow a poor unfortunate ill-used gentleman to tell his tale, and publish his defence against his accusers, without being twitted about a "Divine" affording "an example of envy, and hatred, and uncharitableness," and "the Christian religion," inculcating "peace and forgiveness of enemies?" What has all this rigmarole to do with the charge of Arnot, that Buckingham sold the value of £10,000 in books* [Types, presses, paper, books, *c. See extract from Statement to the Purchasers, Notarial Documents, page 1st, corroborated by Contract of Sale, p. 2d,. shewing that this £10,000 was held out as the security on which the shares taken were to be held.] coming from Richardson in 1822, and paid for by a draft on Fletcher and Alexander -- which books Richardson told Arnot he never sent -- and which property, at the public sale of the Journal and all its appurtenances, was not forthcoming? "The whole," says Arnot, "including types, presses, and books, sold for less than £3,000" -- and on this conclusive fact the editor of the Hurkaru leaves Arnot in full possession of the field. The discovery of this fraud, says Arnot, "was one of the reasons why I changed my opinion of Buckingham." Was it not a good one? And pray, when the tale of the books from Richardson fell to the ground, how could the tale told by Buckingham in the Bankes and Burckhardt controversy fail to fall with it, in the mind and belief of Arnot? It owed all its solidity to a persuasion of the narrator's veracity. Take that away, and it vanishes as "the baseless fabric of a vision." From this moment Arnot escaped from among the "dupes" where your cotemporary seems proud yet to take his place -- or rather, more properly speaking, I verily believe, to figure away the only "dupe" left on this side of the Cape. When Buckingham was discovered, during the row, to have had the original of a paper in his possession, of which he publicly declared he could never obtain the sight of even a copy, the people here changed their opinion of him. Has not Arnot the same right, on making a similar discovery, in regard to the £10,000 worth of books? I maintain he has; and that the remarks on this gentleman's conduct by the editor of the Hurkaru are altogether unmerited by his old friend and coadjutor.


Calcutta, 1st January.

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Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:12 am


THIS apology is of great importance, as it comes from those who had the best possible means of knowing the facts of the case, and the strongest possible motive to justify their client, if it were practicable to do so. That they have made so lame a defence, therefore, is a conclusive proof that nothing better could be offered.

The paper in which it appeared (the Bengal Hurkaru) has, as well known, long depended on the support of certain merchants in Calcutta, some of the principal of whom were personally concerned with Mr. Buckingham in the Calcutta Journal. Hence the worthy editor of the Hurkaru, owing to this and his own pecuniary circumstances, is compelled, I am informed, to submit whatever he writes and publishes to the previous censorship of one of the members of the respectable house of Alexander and Co., the agents of Mr. Buckingham. This must therefore be considered as their defence of their client, in whose conduct they fear that their own character will be considered as implicated; because be made use of their name, and that of their highly esteemed correspondents in London, as a guarantee for the truth of the statements in his prospectus. The money raised on the faith of these statements, and carried to England, coming afterwards of course into the hands of his bankers, Messrs. Ransom and Co., the Hon. Douglas Kinnaird, as a member of that firm, is mightily afraid lest the public should reproach him with the fingering of money so obtained. These powerful and opulent houses, with their numerous connexions, may therefore think they have a common interest in denouncing as every thing bad any person who dares to state the facts which I have stated. There are others who may join them in this, from the mistaken idea, which they do not scruple to avow, that it is of little importance to them what a man's private character for honesty may be, so long as they can employ him as an instrument to accomplish their public objects. They even think such a man, who will never stick at a bold assertion when it suits their purpose, more useful than another who is more scrupulously conscientious. They call this "doing a little evil to effect a great good."
Now, admitting that their intentions are well meant, I doubt greatly the wisdom of their measures; because I have lived long enough to see the reverse proved by experience. The experiment of supporting such a man has been tried; every means have been used, by the combination of wealth, influence, and talent, to prop up his character -- and the attempt has most signally failed -- and in the failure every public object which it was hoped to serve has most lamentably suffered. Let us not any longer therefore expect a bad tree to produce good fruit -- or the same fountain to yield bitter waters and sweet.

As the editor of the Hurkaru still makes it a matter of reproach to me that I entertain an opinion after a trial, which I did not express before it, I am reluctantly compelled to state my reasons for that change. It is a principle of English law as well as of justice, to suppose every man innocent until you have proof to the contrary: in this charitable manner I judged of Mr. Buckingham. But when the trial took place, we had such evidence as the following, which I reluctantly quote.

Mr. Beechey authenticated extracts of letters from Mr. Burckhardt's hands, dated 28th June and 26th July 1816, and 28th March 1817, stating that plaintiff was "the most barefaced and impudent impostor and swindler I have ever met with; and shall say as much to himself; and therefore I have no objection to your saying I have ceased to be his friend. -- As to what regards my own opinion of Buckingham, it remains unaltered: his late proceedings towards his employer have made him forfeit the least title to my esteem. I have not had any news from Syria for some time. Mr. Buckingham has gone from thence to Persia, having given a complete slip to his employers." -- See Report of Trial in Orient. Herald, Courier, &c.

To this, having already given Mr. Buckingham's account of the summing up of the learned Judge, as modified by Mr. B. or his reporter, I shall add a summary, in the leader of the "New Times" of Oct. 1st, 1826, and which, though from some political partizan, appears to me a very fair statement of the evidence, and totally free from party violence. From this the reader may judge whether there was any grounds to alter my opinion on that case.

New Times, Oct. 21st, 1820.

"The gains of some men are losses: and such, we cannot help thinking, was the verdict which Mr. Buckingham obtained in the trial which we reported yesterday. The alleged fraud of which Mr. Bankes accused him, consisted of circumstances, many of which could scarcely be known to any person except Mr. Bankes and Mr. Buckingham. These it was of course impossible for Mr. Bankes to establish by legal evidence, and consequently Mr. Buckingham was entitled to a verdict. The disclosure, however, which the trial produced, was of a kind which few men would court.

Among other things, it was clearly proved that Mr. Buckingham had not performed the duty for which he was hired by those merchants who employed him (a duty, by the bye, altogether inconsistent with antiquarian perambulations); that it was only by Mr. Bankes's good-nature and indulgence that Mr. Birmingham was enabled to make the journey to Djerask, out of which the dispute arose; that Mr. Bankes paid the whole of the expenses, though Mr. Buckingham asserted that he paid half; -- that many of the engravings contained in Mr. Buckingham's book were copies of old French prints; -- and that, in the judgment of the most reputable witnesses, the plan of Djerask, published by Mr. Buckingham, was taken from that of Mr. Bankes; it was positively sworn to that Buckingham, when he was permitted to enjoy the advantage of accompanying Mr. Bankes, expressly promised not to make drawings or to take notes. Under such circumstances, a man treated as Mr. Bankes has been, if he had had the rules of evidence and special pleading before his eyes, would not have written in the very words which that gentleman used. But was it surprising that a man of honour, accustomed to live with men of honour, should forget the petty dictates of legal prudence, and give vent to the feelings of well-merited indignation?

Mr. Buckingham's counsel prevented by technical objection evidence being given of the opinion entertained of that gentleman's character by those in Syria who had the best means of judging of him. Whether that opinion would have been much to his honour we may infer, partly from his eagerness to suppress it, and partly from the extracts from Burckhardt's letters which were given in evidence.

"The devil, however, should have his due;" and it is therefore but right even that Mr. Buckingham should get a verdict, if one syllable is breathed against him which cannot be proved by legal evidence. But the legal result does not improve the moral quality of Mr. Buckingham's  conduct, respecting which, whatever doubts may have existed before, none we think can exist now."
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Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:13 am


AN additional reason for changing my opinion of the "learned Traveller and Divine," 'was his deceitful and unfeeling conduct to his friend Mr. St. John, who by his splendid talents mainly contributed to establish Mr. B.' s Oriental Herald, and raise it into notice as a literary work -- a distinction which it has now long since lost. When after three or four years of incessant labour, on a salary insufficient for the subsistence of himself and family without running into debt, Mr. St. John had fully established the Literary Character of the work, thereby securing to Mr. B. by his own account, a prospect of a permanent income of from one to two thousand per annum, on Mr. St. John's constitution almost sinking under the exertion, the following was Mr. B.'s treatment of him, as described by Mr. St. John himself in the London Weekly Review. -- The mention of my name in the same, as will be observed, was the cause of Mr. B.'s attack on me.

"Every observing person must be struck with the fact that, after a while, Mr. Buckingham's friends almost always become his enemies. Some take more, others less, time in undergoing the change; but sooner or later the change is sure to take place. One man after another becomes acquainted with him -- admires him -- befriends him -- speaks well of him -- and then
A change comes o'er the spirit of his dream;

he discovers something in Mr. Buckingham which surprises and disgusts him; then follows relaxed intercourse, then coldness, then enmity -- for 'to this complexion it must come at last.' There is some moral mystery in this -- some problem in human nature yet to be solved. But such is the case. Mr. St. John's change of opinion is by no means singular; Mr. Burckhardt, the celebrated traveller, Mr. Bankes, Mr. Barker, British Consul at Aleppo, Mr. Boog, Mr. Lee, Col. Missett, Mr. Arnot -- once his friends, changed their opinion of him, and were at length compelled (many of them, at least,) to regard him with extreme aversion. How happens it that these gentlemen, every one of whom had the fullest opportunity of forming a correct judgment of his character at various periods of his life, all came at length to the same conclusion? -- Were all these mistaken? How did it come to pass that he thought at one time so highly of these several individuals, and then suddenly, when they ceased to think well of him, discovered their opinion of character to be of no value? No one, who knows Mr. Buckingham, and his inordinate fondness for money, will believe for a moment that any thing but self-Interest could have induced him to engage the assistance of any one whatever. He discovered, or imagined, that Mr. St. John had talents which he could turn to his account, as also that from extreme carelessness, or stoicism, or what you please, he cared little to grasp at money. This was just what he wanted. He offered him £150 a year, and a sixth share of the profits, to assist in editing the Oriental Herald; or a percentage upon the whole amount of the receipts. Mr. St. John preferred the £150 and the sixth. The former he received; the latter he has not heard of to this day! That this was exactly the state of the case, Mr. Arnot, who is neither dead nor out of the country, and by whom the same conditions were accepted, will no doubt testify on oath. Now for the real balance of pecuniary obligation, which Mr. Buckingham represents to be so much in his favour. By comparing together the two contradictory statements of his (which we have under his own hand), it appears that, with Mr. St. John's assistance, the Oriental Herald had been raised, before the end of the year 1826, to produce a profit of about £1800 per annum; one-sixth of that sum, justly due to him, for three years and a half, would amount to £500. To which let Mr. Buckingham add what he owes his old friend for correcting the MS. of his book of Travels, and writing the better portion of the Notes; and assisting him in keeping the letters of his quotations from the learned languages from being printed upside down, when this 'learned Theban' was actually unable to tell whether or not the right end of the characters was uppermost!!" -- London Weekly Review, April 12th, 1828.

Mr. St. John proceeds to state, that the result of the above magnificent promises which were made to him for such signal services, was, that the "learned Theban" and "grateful Traveller" took advantage of the first temporary illness to dock the sum of £1. 13s. 4d. from his sick friend's salary; and soon afterwards, on finding that he could get on without Mr. St. John's further aid, "set about contriving how to get rid of his friend;" and that for this purpose "he feigned to be overtaken by some sudden calamity, which would immediately deprive him, he said, of the power of carrying on his work." This purpose being served, the work has gone on ever since; and it is added, that this "poor man, who had a short time before represented himself as without a shilling, and had got rid of his friend from unavoidable necessity," now told him and his friend (Captain D. L. Richardson, of the Bengal army) in a peculiarly boasting tone, "that he too (Mr. B.) had his four or five thousand pounds to throw away as well as other people. In proof of this, he soon after started three or four more publications -- weekly, twice weekly, and daily. This was long after his public subscription, which the same authorities (Messrs. Richardson and St. John) state Mr. B. once estimated at £4,000 to them in private, and "publicly at £10,000." He who can thus sport with facts, can be at no loss to make a plausible story, highly satisfactory to those who believe it. "His statements (these gentlemen conclude) are a mere tissue of crafty misrepresentations, mixed up only with such a slender portion of truth as is sufficient to render them mischievous, by deluding those ignorant of his real character." The reader will judge for himself, whether the statement of these facts, which by the attack it produced on me, led to the publication of my defence and of these pages, did not afford additional grounds for the opinions therein expressed.
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Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:15 am


From what has been stated, the reader can perceive how freely Mr. B. is prepared to avail himself of the traveller's privilege of dealing in the marvellous. Add to this a remarkable plausibility of manner and fluency of speech; and you have the true character of him, so admirably depicted by Mr. Barker, the British Consul of Aleppo, more than twelve years ago, and which the events that have since occurred have so completely verified: "As Johnson said of his friend Savage, he rarely finds a stranger whom he does not leave a friend; but he never had a friend long who did not wish to become a stranger." With such qualifications for enacting the part of an itinerant orator, it was to be expected that Mr. B. should have a considerable degree of success in the new character which he has now assumed. Formerly, when his character was discovered in Egypt, he removed to India -- when it began to be known there, he fortunately got himself removed to England. Now when the literary men of London have learnt to appreciate his conduct, and his "Evening Chronicles," Atheneums, Sphynxes, Arguses, and such like "nine days' wonders" could no longer impose upon them, he showed his usual art in changing his mode of attack on public credulity. And as, whether he commenced a paper or abandoned it, made it dearer or cheaper, morning or evening, once or twice a week, the motive assigned was always the public good; so now, such is his veritable motive -- not that of putting five shillings into his pocket for every fool he can find throughout the country.

His last shift, his public lectures on the eastern world, deserve a concluding remark. I was once in hopes that these would be productive of some good, by exciting attention towards Indian affairs. That he would stir heaven and earth to do this I felt assured; as the more auditors the more "crowns" -- (not of martyrdom!) The degree of success he has met with in this, has not, however, been without the usual alloy of evil; as partly to create greater interest, and partly to vent his spleen against the East-India Company, he has drawn pictures so exaggerated, that while they have dazzled the multitude of ignorant believers, they have lowered his credit with persons who really know India.

As an example how this may be done: -- There is I am told in the Edinburgh Museum some specimens of earth, labelled 'Species of clay eaten by the natives and country-borns, in the East-Indies, presented by Miss Tytler of Mongheer." A gentleman born in India, who had lived long near that place, without ever hearing of such a thing, was struck with astonishment at meeting this piece of information, for the first time in Scotland; but, on more minute inquiry, found that children, and others of a certain morbid appetite, are fond of chewing this species of clay, just as similar individuals in England pick chalk from the walls, &c. It is easy for any ingenious man to collect facts like this, and say to an audience ignorant of India -- "See what a miserable country! One part of the people Jae forced to eat clay, and others to subsist upon the grains picked from the excrement of cattle!* [Mr. Buckingham's Lecture!]. The revenue arises from or is employed to hire prostitutes at the temples of idols; the public officers to collect pilgrims together for destruction under the wheels of Juggernaut -- the people are not half clothed, and some go stark naked about the streets -- the women are imprisoned for life in the houses of their male relations, -- drowned at the confluence of the Ganges and Jumna, or burned on the funeral piles of their husbands; -- the aged men are suffocated with mud thrust into their mouths on the banks of the Ganges -- the young men go about with hoops or ropes pulled through their flesh, and iron skewers thrust through their tongues, or swing aloft suspended by hooks fixed in their backs -- while many live by carrying "fat" Europeans on their backs like horses, &c. &c.

In this country, where there are so many thousands who do not know how to get rid of their time and money, such a woeful and wonderful picture of misery must attract attention. And many, instead of amusing an idle hour with looking at the "learned cats," and the "calculating pig," will no doubt prefer listening to the no less "learned" Eastern traveller. In this there would be no harm; but, unfortunately, in the crowd there come a few who really know India, and every misstatement and distorted fact excites in their mind a degree of disgust and indignation; which, when collected, and acting upon the British government, will create a feeling of aversion and distrust towards all the advocates of reform, as mere quacks and impostors. And thus, as in every former instance, the delusions practised on the public will end in disappointment and injury, after exciting a certain idle curiosity and clamour, and putting a certain number of "crowns" into the pocket of the performer, who now aims at something more substantial than the hopes of a crown of martyrdom, which may have at first drawn him into the pulpit to lecture in a holier cause.

There are miseries enough in India, heaven knows: in what country are there not? But are such the evils which Great Britain should first attempt to cure? There are many defects in its system of government, and, as Sir Charles Forbes justly observed in the House of Commons, in all systems of government. Whether there be fewer in that of India, as this wise and benevolent man supposes, than in almost any other, I, with much shorter experience of the country than he enjoyed, would not venture to pronounce. The experiment of governing a hundred millions of Asiatics by a handful of European civil and military officers, who are but imperfectly acquainted with their subjects, is so novel and extraordinary, that it would not be surprising if this government contained greater and more numerous defects than any other. But what parts of the system require first to be amended, and how or by what means it is to be effected with safety and probability of success, by substituting something better, are questions that will require the grave and deep consideration of all the philosophy and virtue of a great people. If, instead of this, means be used to call the principles of avarice and ambition into action -- if it is to be merely a scramble for patronage, or a general grasping at the supposed inexhaustible mines of wealth to be found in the East -- we may have many changes without one improvement, but with the very reverse. And little will be gained, much will be lost, by hiring such men as Mr. Buckingham to make peregrinations through the country, like "Peter the Hermit," or his antipodes Carlile and Taylor, who are now engaged in a similar way, to work upon what the Morning Chronicle calls the "beastly ignorance" of the British public, to whom it may well be said: "If ye would not do justice to your Christian brethren in Ireland, whom ye have seen -- will ye do justice to the swarthy and unchristian natives of the East, whom ye have not seen!" Of such advocates, with the fate of the cause of the Indian Press before their eyes, the people of India may well say: --
Non tali auxilio; non defensoribus istis. [Google translate: It is not for such aid; The defenders were not there.]

The professions of false friends will end as hitherto, by loading them with heavier fetters; the pretended efforts for the deliverance of India, will terminate as before, by fixing additional links to its chain. And the very persons who work its ruin to fill their own pockets, will, with unblushing effrontery, still call themselves its "friends and benefactors;" just as Cobbett sticks up his gridiron, the emblem of his false prophecies, in the face of insulted common sense and the people of England, as a trophy of victory! Every delusion, distorted fact, and mis-statement, scattered over the country regarding India, by those who have no respect for truth, can only tend farther to mislead men's minds from a just conception of its true situation, and the real means of benefitting it. Whoever, by inflaming the passions and cupidity of the public, is unprincipled enough to convert the question of Indian legislation into a mere struggle between the merchants of London or Liverpool, and the merchants of Leadenhall-street, for the profits of trade and tea; and between the patronage of the Directors and the patronage of the Minister, for the advantage of ruling India, will doubtless find his account in serving either of these powerful parties. In this disgraceful struggle, if such is to be its character, what hope is there for the people of India? what regard will be paid to their rights and interests? Will the new candidates for the participation of power and profit, be more disposed to grant the Hindoo a share in self-government? To lessen the public burdens by resigning to the people a larger part of their much-coveted wealth? To improve the judicial system by introducing a superior code of laws, by employing abler public officers, or by entrusting more to qualified native hands? To extend education, and enable them to protect themselves and property from the encroachments of their now more numerous European masters? Unless these, and objects such as these, be secured by the changes recommended, they are mischievous quackeries and delusion, contrived to dazzle and deceive the public, and veil secret plans of grasping at power and plunder, which every conscientious friend of India ought to expose and reprobate.

Of these subjects I shall shortly treat more at length, and shall only observe in conclusion, that as in this publication, which has been elicited by an imperative sense of duty, I can have no interest but that of the public in view (since it can afford neither pleasure nor profit to anyone to provoke a political "adventurer" to brand him with his "gridiron"), so I have endeavoured to avoid any reflection on personal or private and domestic character, and to confine myself to facts which have a strict reference to the public cause. Beyond this, which is the property of the public, I have no desire to intrude; and as the worst public characters have been endowed with great social and domestic private virtues, I would not, in this case, so much as insinuate the contrary, to wound the feelings of a human being, even for a moment. However, to refute one of Mr. B.'s calumnies against myself, as to my account of the style in which he lived alluded to above (p. 61), at the period he meanly and avariciously assumed the profession of a public beggar, and pretended to be reduced to such distress, as to be under the necessity of turning his back on his friends who had stood by him at every risk, I feel called on to copy the following exquisite morceau, from an anonymous advertisement of the house in which he lived, to which he was evidently ashamed to put his name, lest an indignant public should ask, "is this the house of a beggar?" And it will be observed that he left this house of £500 per annum some time afterwards, not from need, but from "circumstances requiring his presence in another quarter." As he affects to call himself another "Peter the Hermit," this may not inappropriately be entitled


[b][size=110]DESCRIPTION of the "OBSCURE LODGINGS in the skirts of London," to which "Peter the Hermit" 'the ruined man was obliged to retire, to drink "the crystal str
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Re: A Sketch: History of the Indian Press, by Sandford Arnot

Postby admin » Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:15 am


[N.B. To show the reader that the foregoing statements are not lightly advanced, I annex authentic copies of Notarial Documents, substantiating every important fact, of which I subjoin a brief analysis.]


Value of the stock of Mr. Buckingham's concern in Calcutta, stated by him when sold in July 1822, to be sicca. rupees 200,000 -- i.e. about £20,000. p. 1.

Value of the same as per sale in November 1824, only sicca rupees 18,287, or less than £2,000 sterling. p. 2.

Letter of Mr. J. S. Buckingham to Mr. S. Arnot, dated Nov. 1823; showing that he entirely approved of Mr. Arnot's conduct in managing his concern in India, and was sensible that the latter was thereby exposing himself to banishment and ruin on his account. p. 2, 3.

Letter of Mr. B. to Mr. A. dated Dec. 1825, offering to announce him as being joint editor of the Oriental Herald, stating that from the advantage it had already derived from his pen, it must be materially benefited by his permanent accession to its strength. pp. 3, 4.



Of Mr. B.'s various contradictory Estimates of the Value of the Oriental Herald, to the various persons whom he wished to take in as Sharers of that Property.

1. Written estimate made by Mr. Buckingham, of the value of the Oriental Herald in the autumn of 1825, delivered to Messrs. Jowett and Mills, its printers, to induce them to purchase shares in the Work: -- Clear annual profit, £2,028. p.4.

2. Printed estimate made by Mr. Buckingham, of do. do., dated October 1825, Of clear annual profit only £853 16s. p. 5.

3. Written estimate of do. in March 1826, in letter to Mr. Arnot. Profit and prospects of profit less than nothing, work about to go down. p. 5, Extract C.

4. Printed estimate in large circular sent to India, dated 1st January 1826, to induce people to purchase shares in the work. "The investment of the small sum required for the purchase of a free copy, would (he then says) be perfectly safe, while the return of interest would be ample." p. 6.

Expense of the literary materials of the work, according to the first of the above four estimates per mensem, £63. p. 4.

Do. of do. by the second of the four, per mensem £125.

Do. of do. per private letter to Mr. Arnot, dated January 1826, offering contract to produce them, £500 per annum, per mensem £41 13s. 4d., or rather £331. 68. 8d., as in this is included £100 per annum for reporting.

Expenses of reporting in a third estimate, p. 5, Extr. C. £20 per mensem, or £240 per annum.

Monthly sale of the work in India by the first estimate, p. 5, 850 copies.

Do. do. by the second do., page 5, -- 750 copies.

Do. do. by large printed circular, p. 5, -- 1,000 copies.


Mr. B.'s announcement in small circular, secretly despatched to be distributed all over India, that he had formed a connection with Messrs. Longman and Co., the greatest publishers in the world, enabling him to supply the eastern world with books, paintings, musical instruments, &c. &c. &c., with such advantages as scarcely any other house in London could supply, p. 6-

Messrs. Longman and Co.'s denial that any suck arrangement with them had ever been concluded. p. 13.-N.B. They do not even deal in paintings, musical instruments, &c.

Mr. St. John's testimony that he knew nothing of the above secret circular being contained in the packets, or enclosed in the larger circulars, which he, and others were asked to address to India.

Letter of Mr. Arnot presented to Mr. Buckingham by John Betts, Esq. of Brompton, and John Nevins, Esq. merchant in the city of London, stating the agreement between him and Mr. Buckingham, confirmed by the latter in their presence, that he, on account of the obligations he was under to the former, should resign tile business of bookselling, with all the advantages of his connections for carrying it on, in favour of Mr. Arnot.

Letter of John Nevins, Esq. merchant in the city of London, confirming the above, and stating that Mr. Buckingham hinted a wish to make a reservation from the above agreement of any wholesale orders of the amount of two or three thousand pounds.

Letter of John Betts, Esq., lately from Bengal, then residing at and proprietor of Montpelier Square at Brompton, in further confirmation of the above agreement.

Statement of Mr. Arnot, attested by the Hon. Col. Stanhope and Dr. J. B. Gilchrist, showing that at a conference held on the subject at the house of the latter, Mr. Buckingham denied the above agreement in toto; and entirely disavowed having ever held out to Mr. Arnot any expectations beyond the monthly sum paid him as a salary for contributions to the work.

Letter of Dr. J. B. Gilchrist, stating that Mr. Arnot had always urged for their decision on the case, and had been reduced to the most poignant distress by Mr. B.'s unfriendly and unfeeling conduct to him in his misfortunes.

Letter from Mr. Hume, the umpire, stating his reasons for not interfering in the matter.

Reference to John Hunt, Esq. of the Examiner, and A. St. John, Esq., then joint editor of the Oriental Herald with Mr. Buckingham, and their decision that the latter should pay Mr. Arnot fifty pounds for his losses by the shop in Bond-street, in which Mr. B. had involved him, and then refused to reimburse him when in need.

Letter of Mr. Hunt, intimating that this sum was not to be considered as discharging the weighty obligations and debt of gratitude due by Mr. B. to Mr. A. arising out of the events which had occurred in consequence of Mr. A. 's connection with him, as submitted to Dr. J. B. Gilchrist and the Hon Col. L. Stanhope.

Letter of the Hon. Leicester Stanhope, acknowledging the liberality and generosity of Mr. Arnot's conduct to Mr. Buckingham.

Letter of Messrs. Rickards, Mackintosh, and Co., showing part of what Mr. Arnot sacrificed (a sum equivalent to above £100 per annum) on consenting to become publisher of the Oriental Herald.

Letter of W. Walker, Esq. W. S., Edinburgh, showing a portion of what Mr. Arnot sacrificed by his adherence to Mr. Buckingham in the cause of the Indian Press, besides all his prospects in life, in return for which, his soi-disant "friend and benefactor" avowed that he did not feel in the least obliged to him.


The sacrifice which received this return having involved the repeated risk of life, and the laceration of every tie of friendship and affection -- to say nothing of the loss of an immediate income equal to £500 per annum, which was in my option if permitted to remain in Bengal, and all the prospects of fortune which that wealthy province presented, most people will probably blame my over-forbearance, in suffering the author of so much mischief to remain so long unpunished by public exposure. There were others, however, connected with him, whom I wished to allow full time to extricate themselves and their cause from his toils, by seasonable warning. As the most devoted of them have since seen their error, and the most blind and credulous are in a fair way of opening their eyes, I am now happily saved the pain of involving many well-meaning men in the disgrace of their quondam associate. Among others the Hon. Douglas Kinnard expressly authorized Mr. Henry Hunt of the Examiner, to inform me, that he considered Mr. B. a fool and a _____; and that if he had written any thing against me for saying so before, it was merely with a view to support him as a political instrument, and not that he knew any thing to the advantage of his private character, or to the prejudice of mine, excepting always Mr. B.'s own story. Perceiving therefore that Mr. K. merely acted under the influence of his deceptions, I freely forgive him for being misled by one who has deceived so many. While closing this sheet another of Mr. Buckingham's great friends, who supported him through thick and thin for many years, Mr. Low his publisher, has volunteered to be the publisher of this Pamphlet, from being satisfied of the correctness of its statements, and of the public duty of warning others against imposition. As these sheets have also been shown to every one in London most conversant with the facts above stated, they appear under the strongest guarantee for their accuracy. No doubt will any longer remain, as to the intrinsic value of that character which is most admired by those who know it least, and most despised by those who know it longest and best.

One of the most remarkable of the latter class, who changed his opinion on long and bitter experience, is Mr. St. John, one of the last but not the least of the sufferers connected with the Indian Press in this country, the sequel of whose history is as follows. When as before shown (at p. 80 supra), with the aid of his great literary talents, the Oriental Herald had been raised, by Mr. B.'s own showing, to the value of £1,800, Mr. St. John having a just right to a sixth share of the work in addition to his small salary, according to agreement, as a reward for his valuable contributions, received advances at various times amounting, in all, to £70, in anticipation of the profits of his share. But when the time for realizing these profits arrived, Mr. B. represented the work as about to stop, and the share consequently as worth nothing. As to the truth of this, the documents now published will enable the reader to judge. Mr. B. has since exacted repayment of the £70, in a manner too painful to be described; and Mr. St. John is in consequence just now, as I learn, from the sufferer, obliged to sell off his furniture, and entirely break up his domestic establishment -- leave that literary circle of which he is so bright an ornament, and remove, with his large family, to linger out his days in a foreign country. So true it is, that the worst acts of worst governments are hardly so tyrannical and fraught with misery as the proceedings of private individuals to each other, conducted, too, very frequently under the guise of friendship, by those professing to be "friends and benefactors."
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