Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings [The Earl of Moira]
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/26/21

The Most Honourable The Marquess of Hastings
Governor-General of India
In office: 4 October 1813 – 9 January 1823
Monarch: George III; George IV
Preceded by: The Lord Minto
Succeeded by: John Adam
As Acting Governor-General
Governor of Malta
In office: 22 March 1824 – 28 November 1826
Monarch: George IV
Preceded by: Hon. Thomas Maitland
Succeeded by: Alexander George Woodford
As Acting Governor
Personal details
Born: 9 December 1754, County Down, Kingdom of Ireland
Died: 28 November 1826 (aged 71), At sea off Naples
Nationality: British
Spouse(s): Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun (1780–1840)
Children: 6
Parents: John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira; Elizabeth Hastings, 13th Baroness Hastings
Military service
Allegiance: Great Britain
Branch/service: British Army
Rank: General
Commands: Commander-in-Chief of India
Battles/wars: American War of Independence; War of the First Coalition; Anglo-Nepalese War; Third Anglo-Maratha War

Francis Edward Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, KG, PC (9 December 1754 – 28 November 1826), styled The Honourable Francis Rawdon from birth until 1762, Lord Rawdon between 1762 and 1783, The Lord Rawdon from 1783 to 1793 and The Earl of Moira between 1793 and 1816, was an Anglo-Irish politician and military officer who served as Governor-General of India from 1813 to 1823. He had also served with British forces for years during the American Revolutionary War and in 1794 during the War of the First Coalition. He took the additional surname "Hastings" in 1790 in compliance with the will of his maternal uncle, Francis Hastings, 10th Earl of Huntingdon.[1]

Background, education and early military career

Hastings was born at Moira, County Down, the son of John Rawdon, 1st Earl of Moira and Elizabeth Hastings, 13th Baroness Hastings, who was a daughter of the 9th Earl of Huntingdon.[2] He was baptised at St. Audoen's Church, Dublin, on 2 January 1755.[3] He grew up in Moira and in Dublin.[4] He joined the British Army on 7 August 1771 as an ensign in the 15th Foot (the going rate for purchasing a commission for this rank was £200). From that time on his life was spent entirely in the service of his country.[5] He was at Harrow School and matriculated at University College, Oxford,[1] but dropped out. He became friends there with Banastre Tarleton. With his uncle Lord Huntingdon, he went on the Grand Tour.[6] On 20 October 1773, he was promoted to lieutenant in the 5th Foot. He returned to England to join his regiment, and sailed for America on 7 May 1774.

American War of Independence

See also: American Revolutionary War

Battle of Bunker Hill

Trumbull's The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill

Rawdon was posted at Boston as a lieutenant in the 5th Regiment of Foot's Grenadier company, which was then under the command of Captain Francis Marsden. He first saw action at the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker Hill. Serving with the grenadiers, he participated in the second assault against Breed's Hill (which failed), and the third assault against the redoubt. His superior, Captain Harris, was wounded beside him. At the age of 21, Lord Rawdon took command of the company for the third and final assault.[7] When the troops of the third assault began to falter, Rawdon stood atop of the American redoubt, waving the British ensign. John Burgoyne noted in dispatches: "Lord Rawdon has this day stamped his fame for life." He also was wounded during the assault.[1] He was promoted captain, and given a company in the 63rd Foot.[8] After having recognized him upon entering the redoubt, it is said[by whom?] that it was Lieutenant Rawdon that executed the already mortally wounded American general Joseph Warren by shooting him through the head.[citation needed] Lord Rawdon is depicted in John Trumbull's famous painting, The Death of General Warren at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Rawdon is in the far background holding the British ensign.

Campaigns in the Carolinas and New York, 1775–76

Main articles: Landing at Kip's Bay and Battle of White Plains

He was appointed Aide-de-camp to General Sir Henry Clinton, and sailed with him on the expedition to Brunswick Town, North Carolina, on the Cape Fear River, and then to the repulse at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, South Carolina. He returned with him to New York. On 4 August, he dined with General Clinton, Admiral Lord Howe, Lord Cornwallis, General Vaughan, and others.[9] During the Battle of Long Island, he was at headquarters with Clinton.[10]

On 15 September, Rawdon led his men at Kip's Bay, an amphibious landing on Manhattan island.[11] The next day, he led his troops in support of the Light Infantry that attacked Harlem Heights until the Americans withdrew. He participated at the landings at Pell's Point. The British pressed the Americans to White Plains, where on 1 November the Americans withdrew from their entrenchments.

Rhode Island, England, and New York

On 8 December Rawdon landed with Clinton at Rhode Island, securing the ports for the British Navy. On 13 January 1777, with Clinton, he departed for London, arriving 1 March. During a ball at Lord George Germain's, he met Lafayette, who was visiting London.[12]

Returning to America in July, while Howe went to his Philadelphia campaign, Rawdon went with Clinton to the New York headquarters. He participated in the battles of the New York Highlands, where on 7 October, Fort Constitution (opposite West Point) was captured. However, this was too late to link up with General Burgoyne at Albany.[13]

Rawdon was sent to Philadelphia with dispatches and returned to New York for the winter, where he raised a regiment, called the Volunteers of Ireland, recruited from deserters and Irish Loyalists. Promoted colonel in command of this regiment, Rawdon went with Clinton to Philadelphia.[14] starting out on 18 June 1778, he went with Clinton during the withdrawal from Philadelphia to New York, and saw action at the Battle of Monmouth.[15] He was appointed adjutant general. Rawdon was sent to learn news of the Battle of Rhode Island.[16]

At New York, on 3 September 1779, he quarreled with Clinton, and resigned his position as adjutant general.[17] He served with the Volunteers of Ireland during the raid on Staten Island by Lord Stirling on 15 January 1780.[18]

Southern Campaign

Main article: Southern theater of the American Revolutionary War

He went south to the Siege of Charleston with reinforcements. After the city fell to the British, Lord Cornwallis posted him at Camden (16 August 1780)[1] as the British sought to occupy South Carolina. Rawdon commanded the British left wing at the Battle of Camden. When Cornwallis went into Virginia, he left Rawdon in effective command in the South.

The Marquess of Hastings as Governor-General of India by Joshua Reynolds

Perhaps his most noted achievement was the victory in 1781 at the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill, in which, in command of only a small force, he defeated by superior military skill and determination, a much larger body of Americans.[19] Thinking (in error) that General Nathanael Greene had moved his artillery away, Rawdon attacked Greene's left wing. Rawdon quickly concentrated his entire force on the American left flank, using the military advantage of local superiority, which forced the American line to collapse and abandon the field in disorder.[20]

However, Rawdon was forced to begin a gradual retreat to Charleston. He relieved the Siege of Ninety-Six, evacuating its small garrison and conducting a limited pursuit of American troops. He withdrew his forces to Charleston. In July 1781, in poor health, he gave up his command. On his return to Great Britain, he was captured at sea by François Joseph Paul de Grasse, but was exchanged.[21] After Rawdon's departure, the British evacuated Charleston as the war drew to a close. They took thousands of Loyalists and freed slaves with them, having promised freedom to slaves of rebels who joined their lines, resettling these groups in Nova Scotia and the Caribbean.

Peace years

On his arrival in England, Rawdon was honoured by King George III, who created him an English peer (Baron Rawdon) in March 1783. In 1789 his mother succeeded to the barony of Hastings, and Rawdon added the surname of Hastings to his own.[19]

Rawdon became active in associations in London. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1787 and Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1793.[22][23] For 1806–08 he was Grand Master of the Free Masons.

In May 1789 he acted as the Duke of York's second in his duel with Lieut.-Colonel Lennox on Wimbledon Common.[1]

French Revolutionary Wars

See also: French Revolutionary Wars: Campaigns of 1794

Following the declaration of war in 1793 of France upon Great Britain, Rawdon was appointed major general, on 12 October 1793. Sent by the Pitt ministry, Rawdon launched an expedition into Ostend, France, in 1794.[24][25] He marched to join with the army of the Duke of York, at Alost. The French general Pichegru, with superior numbers, forced the British back toward their base at Antwerp. Rawdon left the expedition, feeling Pitt had broken promises.[26]

Political career

Rawdon sat for Randalstown in the Irish House of Commons from 1781 until 1783. That year he was created Baron Rawdon, of Rawdon, in the County of York.[27] In 1787, he became friends with the Prince of Wales, and loaned him many thousands of pounds. In 1788 he became embroiled in the Regency Crisis.

In 1789, he took the surname Hastings in accordance with his uncle's will. He succeeded his father as 2nd Earl of Moira on 20 June 1793, and thereafter served in the House of Lords for three decades.

Donington Hall

Donington Hall

Inheriting Donington Hall in Leicestershire from his uncle, Rawdon rebuilt it in 1790–93 in the Gothic style; the architect was William Wilkins the Elder. It is now a Grade II* listed building.

He placed the estate at the disposal of the Bourbon Princes upon their exile in England following the French Revolution. He is said to have left a signed cheque-book in each bedroom for the occupant to use at pleasure.[28]

Plot to become Prime Minister

In 1797 it was rumoured briefly that Rawdon (Moira) would replace Pitt as Prime Minister. There was some discontent with Pitt over his policies regarding the war with France. Additionally, Pitt's long tenure in office had given him ample opportunity to annoy various political grandees, including but not limited to The Duke of Leeds and Lords Thurlow and Lansdowne.

In mid-May a combination of these various figures, coupled with a handful of Members of Parliament, proposed to make Rawdon (Moira) the Prime Minister. Having fought in the American War and having led an expedition to Quiberon, he commanded widespread respect. His relationship to the Prince of Wales also established him as a potential rival to Pitt, who was supported strongly by George III.[29]

The prime motivation for the plan of having Rawdon (Moira) become Prime Minister was to secure peace with France, the plotters having come to believe (somewhat unfairly) that Pitt was an obstacle to this objective. But their plan collapsed barely a month later in mid-June because of a lack of support from the political establishment. Additionally, when Rawdon (Moira) wrote to the King to propose the change of chief ministers, the monarch ignored him. Thus the proposal came to nothing.[29]

He became Commander-in-Chief, Scotland with the rank of full general in September 1803.[30]

Later politics

Rawdon was a long-standing advocate of Irish issues, in particular Catholic Emancipation. At one point he was described by the Irish revolutionary Wolfe Tone as "The Irish Lafayette".[31]

Becoming a Whig in politics, he entered government in 1806 as part of the Ministry of All the Talents as Master-General of the Ordnance, which enabled him to carry a philanthropic measure, which he had promoted since his first entry into the House of Lords, the Debtor and Creditor Bill for relief of poor debtors.[19] However, he resigned his post on the fall of the ministry the next year.[1] He was also Constable of the Tower (of London) from 1806 to his death. Being a close associate of the Prince-Regent, Moira was asked by him to form a Whig government after the assassination of Spencer Perceval in 1812 ended that ministry. Both of Moira's attempts to create a governing coalition failed, but as a mark of the prince's respect he was appointed to the Order of the Garter in that year.[19] The Tories returned to power under the Earl of Liverpool. On 6 December 1816, after the conclusion of the Anglo-Nepalese War (see below), Moira was raised to the rank of Marquess of Hastings together with the subsidiary titles Viscount Loudoun and Earl of Rawdon.[32]

He also became the patron of Thomas Moore, the Irish poet. Moore visited his patron's new seat, Donington Hall, and wrote about his impressions of it. "I thought it all exceedingly fine and grand, but most uncomfortable."[28] Moore was later disappointed when Moira, having been appointed Governor General of India, did not offer to take him to India on his staff. The two men only met one more time.[33]

Governor-General of India

The Marquess of Hastings as Governor-General of India

Through the influence of the Prince-Regent, Moira was appointed Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William, effectively the Governor-General of India, on 11 November 1812.[34] His tenure as Governor-General was a memorable one, overseeing the victory in the Gurkha War (1814–1816); the final conquest of the Marathas in 1818; and the purchase of the island of Singapore in 1819.[35]

After delays clearing his affairs, he reached Madras on 11 September 1813. In October, he settled in at Calcutta and assumed office. British India then consisted of Madras, Bengal, and Bombay. He commanded an army of 15,000 British regulars, a Bengal army of 27 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of cavalry; a Madras army, led by General John Abercrombie of 24 regiments of native infantry, and eight regiments of native cavalry.[36]

Anglo-Nepalese War

Main article: Anglo-Nepalese War

In May 1813, the British declared war against the Gurkhas of Nepal. Hastings sent four divisions in separate attacks led by General Bennet Marley with 8,000 men against Kathmandu, General John Sullivan Wood with 4,000 men against Butwal, General Sir David Ochterlony with 10,000 men against Amar Singh Thapa, and General Robert Rollo Gillespie, with 3,500 men against Nahan, Srinagar, and Garhwal. Only Ochterlony had some success; Gillespie was killed. After inconclusive negotiations, Hastings reinforced Ochterlony to 20,000 men, who then won the battle of Makwanpur on 28 February. The Gurkhas then sued for peace, under the Sugauli Treaty.[37]

Third Anglo-Maratha War

See also: Third Anglo-Maratha War

After raids by Pindaris in January 1817, Hastings led a force at Hindustan in the North; in the South, the Army of the Deccan, under the command of General Sir Thomas Hislop. The Peshwa was defeated by William Fullarton Elphinstone on the Poona. Appa Sahib was defeated at the battle of Nagpur. Hislop defeated Holkar at the Battle of Mahidpur. These events effectively established the supremacy of British power in India.[38]


Rawdon was active diplomatically, protecting weaker Indian states. His domestic policy in India was also largely successful, seeing the repair of the Mughul canal system in Delhi in 1820, as well as educational and administrative reforms, and encouraging press freedom.[38] He confirmed the purchase of Singapore from the Sultan of Jahore, by Sir Stamford Raffles, in January 1819.

His last years of office were embittered by then-notorious matter, the affairs of the W. Palmer and Company banking house. The whole affair was mixed up with insinuations against Lord Hastings, especially charging him with having shown favouritism towards one of the partners in the firm. He was later exonerated but the experience embittered him.[38]

Tomb of Lord Hastings in Hastings Gardens, Valletta

He also became increasingly estranged from the East India Company's Board of Control (see Company rule in India). He resigned in 1821 but did not leave India until early 1823.[38] He was appointed Governor of Malta in 1824 but died at sea off Naples two years later aboard HMS Revenge, while attempting to return home with his wife. She returned his body to Malta, and following his earlier directions, cut off his right hand and preserved it, to be buried with her when she died.[38] His body was then laid to rest in a large marble sarcophagus in Hastings Gardens, Valletta. His hand was eventually interred, clasped with hers, in the family vault at Loudoun Kirk.[23]


• He was awarded the freedom of the city of Dublin in recognition of his service in America.[39]
• Loyalists whom he rescued from the Siege of Ninety Six during the American Revolution were resettled by the Crown and granted land in Nova Scotia. They named their township Rawdon in his honour.
• Hastings County, Ontario, and three of its early townships were named after him, by Loyalists who were resettled in Upper Canada after the American Revolution.[40]
• HMS Moira was named in his honour in 1805, as was the Moira River in Ontario, Canada.


Shield of arms of Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings, KG, PC

On 12 July 1804, at the age of 50, he married Flora Campbell, 6th Countess of Loudoun, daughter of Major-General James Mure-Campbell, 5th Earl of Loudoun and Lady Flora Macleod. They had six children:

• Flora Elizabeth Rawdon-Hastings (11 February 1806 – 5 July 1839), lady in waiting to Queen Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, died unmarried.
• Hon. Francis George Augustus (1807–1807), died in infancy.
• George Augustus Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 2nd Marquess of Hastings (4 February 1808 – 13 January 1844)
• Sophia Frederica Christina Rawdon-Hastings (1 February 1809 – 28 December 1859), married John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute, mother of John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute.
• Selina Constance Rawdon-Hastings (1810 – 8 November 1867), married Charles Henry and had children.
• Adelaide Augusta Lavinia Rawdon-Hastings (25 February 1812 – 6 December 1860), married Sir William Murray, 7th Baronet of Octertyre.
Through his brother, the Hon. John Theophilus Rawdon, he was uncle to Elizabeth, Lady William Russell.[41]

In popular culture

• The character of Rawdon Crawley in William Makepeace Thackeray's 1847–1848 novel Vanity Fair is named after him.
• He appears as Francis Rawdon Hastings, the Second Earl of Moira, in Stephanie Barron's 2006 novel Jane and the Barque of Frailty .


Marquess of Hastings by Hugh Douglas Hamilton (c. 1801)

Marquess of Hastings, Governor-General of India by Joshua Reynolds (c. 1812)

Francis Rawdon, Marquess of Hastings. Engraving. Fisher, Son & Co, London. 1829

Francis Rawdon, Marquess of Hastings by Henry Raeburn. 1813


1. Beevor, p. 58.
2. Chisholm 1911, p. 53.
3. "Registers of St Audoen's Church". Irish Genealogy. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
4. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 21)
5. Chisholm 1911, pp. 53–54.
6. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 22)
7. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 27)
8. Nelson, Paul David (2005). Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Marquess of Hastings: Soldier, Peer of the Realm, Governor-General of India. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press. ISBN 9780838640715.
9. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 42)
10. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 32)
11. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 47)
12. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 55)
13. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 56)
14. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 61)
15. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 62)
16. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 65)
17. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 67)
18. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 69)
19. Chisholm 1911, p. 54.
20. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 95)
21. Paul David Nelson (7 May 2007). "Lord Rawdon, Baron Rawdon, Earl of Moira, Marquess of Hastings". Archived from the original on 29 January 2009. Retrieved 26 October 2008.
22. "Fellows Details". Royal Society. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
23. Beevor, p. 59.
24. Brown, J. (1851) A History of the Highlands and of the Highland Clans, Vol.IV.
25. James, C. (1805), A New and Enlarged Military Dictionary, 2nd ed.
26. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 121)
27. "No. 12419". The London Gazette. 1 March 1783. p. 1.
28. Beevor, p. 60.
29. Hague, William J. (September 2004). William Pitt the Younger: A Biography. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-00-714719-9.p. 407.
30. "Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 29 November2014.
31. Kelly p. 228.
32. "No. 17198". The London Gazette. 7 December 1816. p. 2314.
33. Kelly pp. 226–229.
34. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 148)
35. "Francis Rawdon- Hastings, 1st Marquess of Hastings | eHISTORY". Retrieved 15 November 2017.
36. (Paul David Nelson 2005, p. 162)
37. (Paul David Nelson 2005, pp. 164–165)
38. Chisholm 1911, p. 55.
39. Morley p. 286.
40. Boyce, Gerald E. (1967). Historic Hastings, Belleville: Hastings County Council.
41. Reynolds, K. D. (2020). "Russell [née Rawdon], Elizabeth Anne [known as Lady William Russell] (1793–1874), hostess". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/odnb/9780198614128.013.90000380152. ISBN 9780198614128. Retrieved 23 December 2020.


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Hastings, Francis Rawdon-Hastings, 1st Marquess of". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 53–55.
• "Hastings, Francis Rawdon". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12568. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• Paul David Nelson (2005). Francis Rawdon-Hastings, Marquess of Hastings: Soldier, Peer of the Realm, Governor-General of India. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 978-0-8386-4071-5.
• Beevor, R. J. (1931). Hastings of Hastings. Printed for Private Circulation.
• Harrington, Jack (2010). Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1.
• Kelly, Ronan (2009). Bard of Erin: The Life of Thomas Moore. Penguin Books.
• Morley, Vincent (2002). Irish opinion and the American Revolution, 1760–83. Cambridge University Press.

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by the Marquess of Hastings
• Ninety Six National Historic Site
• Francis, Lord Rawdon – Colonel
• Battle of Hobkirk's Hill
• Rediscovering Hobkirk's Hill
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Fri Mar 26, 2021 10:18 am

Dharma Sabha
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/26/21

Dharma Sabha was formed in 1829 in Calcutta by Radhakanta Deb. The organization was established mainly to counter the ongoing social reform movements led by protagonists such as Raja Ram Mohun Roy and Henry Derozio. More specifically, the impetus of forming the organization came from a new law enacted by the colonial British rule which banned the practice of sati in the country; the focus of the new association was to repel the law which was seen as an intrusion by the British into the religious affairs of the indigenous people by some sections of the Hindu community.[1] Dharma Sabha filed an appeal in the Privy Council against the ban on Sati by Lord William Bentinck as it went against the assurance given by George III of non-interference in Hindu religious affairs; however, their appeal was rejected and the ban on Sati was upheld in 1832.[2][3]

The Dharma Sabha campaigned against the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1856 and submitted a petition against the proposal with nearly four times more signatures than the one submitted for it by Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar.However [4][5] Lord Dalhousie personally finalized the bill despite the opposition and it being considered a flagrant breach of Hindu customs as prevalent then, and it was passed by Lord Canning.[6][7]

The organization soon morphed into a 'society in defense of Hindu way of life or culture' which then turns as a think tank for [RSS Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh].[8]


1. Ahmed, A.S (1976). Social ideas and social change in Bengal, 1818-1835. Ṛddhi.
2. S. Muthiah (2008). Madras, Chennai: A 400-year Record of the First City of Modern India. Palaniappa Brothers. pp. 484–. ISBN 978-81-8379-468-8. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
3. Crispin Bates (26 March 2013). Mutiny at the Margins: New Perspectives on the Indian Uprising of 1857: Volume I: Anticipations and Experiences in the Locality. SAGE Publications. pp. 48–. ISBN 978-81-321-1336-2. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
4. H. R. Ghosal (1957). "THE REVOLUTION BEHIND THE REVOLT (A comparative study of the causes of the 1857 uprising)". Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. 20: 293–305. JSTOR 44304480.
5. Pratima Asthana (1974). Women's Movement in India. Vikas Publishing House. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-7069-0333-1. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
6. Amit Kumar Gupta (5 October 2015). Nineteenth-Century Colonialism and the Great Indian Revolt. Taylor & Francis. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-317-38668-1. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
7. Belkacem Belmekki (2008). "A Wind of Change: The New British Colonial Policy in Post-Revolt India". AEDEAN: Asociación Española de Estudios Anglo-americanos. 2 (2): 111–124. JSTOR 41055330.
8. Kopf, D (1969). British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773-1835. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 271.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 27, 2021 5:45 am

Indian Journalism in the Colonial Crucible: A nineteenth-century story of political protest
by Prasun Sonwalkar
Journalism Studies, Vol. 16, No. 5, 624–636



India’s imperfect democracy may be underpinned by an equally imperfect journalism, but the symbiotic relationship between the two is rarely acknowledged or highlighted. The fact remains that India’s democracy is enabled and enhanced by its roots in the ancient tradition of dialogue, debate and argument, which was transformed by the growth of print journalism since the late eighteenth century. In the modern sense, this tradition matured in the acid bath of India’s freedom struggle, when journalism and journalist-leaders such as Gandhi and Nehru played a central role before independence in 1947. This paper focuses on a forgotten chapter in India’s modern political history, when the idea of a free press became the locus of the earliest example of constitutional agitation. In the colonial cauldron of the early nineteenth century, protest by Indian and British liberals against press licensing and other restrictions imposed by the East India Company took the form of “memorials” (petitions) addressed to the Supreme Court in Calcutta1 and to the King-in-Council in London. The agitation begun in Calcutta in 1823 was carried forward in London, which later curbed the Company-state’s restrictive acts towards the press in India, until the Mutiny of 1857. The agitation also included the daring act of Rammohun Roy to close his Persian journal, Mirat-ul-Akhbar, to protest against restrictions imposed by acting Governor-General John Adam. Recalling this chapter of political protest enhances our understanding of the dominant theme of politics in Indian journalism, which continues today, despite rampant commercialisation and corruption.

KEYWORDS East India Company; freedom of the press; memorials; press; press ordinance; protest


The 2014 general elections in India—considered the largest democratic exercise in the world—provide a convenient backdrop to explore the symbiotic and deep relationship between politics and journalism in India. Superlatives are often used to describe various aspects about India, from its 1.2 billion plus population, to levels of poverty, to the growing number of millionaires and billionaires. Superlatives are also used to describe the ways in which the Indian news media covered—or did not cover—the 2014 elections. In the context of deepening of the corporate–politician nexus since the liberalisation of India’s economy in the early 1990s, there are indications that the 2014 elections witnessed unprecedented levels of commerce and compromise on the part of the news media. Large numbers of candidates, constituencies, parties and issues were systematically marginalised in news discourse in favour of certain politicians and their parties. American-style branding of candidates and parties was taken to new highs of manufacturing consent as thousands of techno-savvy volunteers lent their expertise (including holograms) to selectively influence the discourse. Manoj Ladwa, who was the head of public relations of Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign, said after the party’s landslide electoral victory: “We studied the Barack Obama and Tony Blair campaigns, but this was a [Narendra] Modi campaign and it will be seen as a benchmark in political communication on media courses” (Sonwalkar 2014, 11).

The news coverage of the elections presents itself as a rare case study of professionalisation of political communication and western-style methods being deployed in a traditional society that is undergoing transformation at various levels, but continues to face serious challenges of poverty, health, education and security. If the news coverage of the 2014 elections is seen as plunging new depths of corruption, misuse and manipulation— partly captured in the phrase “paid news”, which means politicians paying for propaganda masquerading as news content—it also reflects and reiterates a reality that is so banal and boring that it is rarely acknowledged or noticed. It is the reality of politics being the default setting of Indian journalism, an aspect that defies Murdoch-style dumbing down of news content for commercial gains. Since the early 1990s, news content has become light as part of the “Murdochization” of Indian journalism (Sonwalkar 2002), with increasing focus on celebrities, cinema, crime and cricket, but the historical hard-wiring of politics in Indian society, as reflected in journalism, has retained its salience. Political events and issues are often narrated in Bollywood-style imagery and idioms, particularly on television, but despite the rapacious pursuit of profit and corruption by news organisations and some journalists, the dominance of politics, party leaders and issues has continued across the news media, including print, radio, television and the rapidly expanding social media. This article focuses on this core, umbilical link between journalism and politics in India, and recalls the first—but largely forgotten—chapter of protest in the early nineteenth century that set the template for subsequent political agitations, culminating in India’s independence in 1947.

The origin of modern journalism in India in the late eighteenth century presents a unique case study of the idea of “British journalism abroad”, of how the ways of doing journalism travelled from England to various colonies of the British Empire, how the “model” was received, adopted and constructively adapted by the local elites, and how journalism of this period prepared the groundwork for the use of the press as a powerful weapon during freedom struggles, particularly in non-Dominion or non-Settler colonies such as India. According to standard historical accounts, Indian nationalism began in 1885 with the formation of the Indian National Congress, or during the preparatory phase of agitational politics in the preceding decade. However, the vast material comprising hand-written records of the East India Company (EIC) and surviving copies of the first English and Indian-language journals suggest that by as early as 1835, print journalism had emerged as a site where the first impulses of Indian nationalism were being expressed. Journalism had also become an effective tool for social and religious reform. It had become a key aspect of what was then a new form of political protest—constitutional agitation—which included petitions to EIC officials, town hall meetings in Calcutta, seeking legal alternatives and raising issues through the press. Later, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders of India’s freedom struggle followed the example set by the the first leader-journalists such as Rammohun Roy, H. L. V. Derozio and Bhabani Charan Bandopadhyay, and used journalism to powerful effect. By 1835, Indians were already using print journalism to lecture to the British on how to run their empire, and writing extensively about the Irish and the revolutionary struggles in Spain and Italy as part of veiled attacks on the company’s rule in India. This focus on politics in the early phase of Indian journalism helps partly explain the persistence of politics as the dominant theme in modern India’s news media.

The next section places the origins of modern journalism in India in historical context and summarises key developments until the early nineteenth century. Journalism itself became the focus of the first political struggle in the colonial cauldron at the time, as top officials of the EIC saw the press as a threat and imposed severe restrictions. Matters came to a head in 1823, when acting Governor-General John Adam took two steps: deporting the irrepressible editor John Silk Buckingham, whose Calcutta Journal often launched scathing attacks on the Company government and its leading individuals; and issuing a Press Ordinance that imposed severe restrictions on the press. It is the response to this Press Ordinance by leading Indians in Calcutta that provides a remarkable and first example of modern ideas and the press being used in political protests in colonial India. As Gaonkar (1999, 17) observed, “Modernity is more often perceived as a lure than as threat, and the people (not just the elite) everywhere, at every national or cultural site, rise to meet it, negotiate it, and appropriate it in their own fashion”. The Indian response to the Press Ordinance took the form of two memorials (petitions)—one addressed to the Supreme Court in Calcutta and the other to the King-in-Council (so-called when the sovereign is acting on the advice of the Council); and in an act described as “daring” at the time, social reformer Rammohun Roy closed his Persian journal, Mirat-ul-Akhbar, in protest. As historian R. C. Dutt put it, “It was the start of that system of constitutional agitation for political rights which their countrymen have learnt to value so much in the present day” (Majumdar 1965, 234). The response also included transnational protest when Buckingham, deported to England, continued his diatribe in print against the Company government from London. This article, however, focuses on the Indian response: the two memorials and the closure of Roy’s journal.

The Context of Early Indian Journalism

This period in Indian journalism history was marked by political flux, when the Mughal Empire was in decline and a commercial enterprise from England—the East India Company—was coming to terms with the reality of having assumed political power over most of the sub-continent. It was a period of much uncertainty, when nothing was a given. In mid-eighteenth century Mughal India, slowly but surely, the old was giving way to the new in complex ways. The Mughal Empire was losing its influence, while the EIC gained political power and influence after the Battle of Plassey (1757), Battle of Buxar (1764) and the Treaty of Allahabad (1765), in which the Mughal Emperor formally acknowledged British dominance in the region by granting EIC the diwani, or the right to collect revenue, from Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. The Supreme Court was founded in Calcutta in 1774. The EIC ceased to be simply a trading company and transformed into a powerful imperial agency with an army of its own, exercising control over vast territories with millions of people. As Thomas B. Macaulay said during a speech in the House of Commons on 10 July 1833: “It is the strangest of all governments; but it is designed for the strangest of all empires”. Elsewhere, the close of the eighteenth century was a period of cataclysmic change: American and French Revolutions had a profound influence not only on rulers in England but also on officials of the EIC. Radical politics began to emerge in England from the 1750s, which was strongly resisted by the forces of status quo. The same fears gripped the early officers of the expansionist EIC as it established itself in Calcutta and spread its influence across India.

Journalism emerged amidst such conditions and uncertain attempts by the Company government to introduce new, modern ways of governance and other measures, most of which proved controversial and faced opposition from Indians. The Company government, at the time engaged in battles across India, watched uneasily as English-language journals were launched from 1780 onwards, when James Augustus Hicky published the first journal, Hicky’s Gazette Or Calcutta General Advertiser. Alert to the dangers of Jacobinism [supporters of a centralized republican state and strong central government powers and/or supporters of extensive government intervention to transform society], the EIC tried to control the press and prevent its growth from as early as 1799, by when British entrepreneurs and agency house came together to launch more journals. The question of freedom of the press first exercised colonial authorities at the time of Richard Wellesley’s governorship (1798–1805), when the Company government interpreted any criticism in journals as lurking Jacobinism. In 1799, Wellesley introduced regulations for the press, which stipulated that no newspaper be published until the proofs of the whole paper, including advertisements, were submitted to the colonial government and approved; violation invited deportation to England. Until 1818, the regulations applied only to the English journals, because until that year, there were no journals in Indian languages.

The Company government succeeded in controlling the press until 1818, by when the combination of a proliferating commercially driven print culture, a growing British community, a new generation of British editors and administrators, Christian missionaries and Indian elites alert to new ideas and impulses, ensured the growth of journalism and the idea of a free press. Several English-language journals followed Hicky’s journal, as members of the small British community in Calcutta sought to recreate the British world and cultural conditions in England: “[As] the German demands his national beverages wherever he settles, so the Briton insists on his newspaper” (Mills 1924, 103). Calcutta became the setting for the origins of Indian journalism and the crucible of the first sustained cultural encounter between Indian intellectuals and the west. In the late eighteenth century (1780), the white population in the town was less than 1000; in the 1837 census, 3138 English were returned, with soldiers forming the main element of the community. A part of Calcutta came to be known as the “white town”, where the British based themselves and sought to recreate British cultural life through news, goods, music, theatre and personnel that arrived and left for England by sea. As Marshall (2000, 308–309) noted, the “vast majority of the British were not interested in any exchange of ideas with the Indians. They did not expect to give anything, still less to receive. They were solely concerned with sustaining British cultural life for themselves with as few concessions as possible to an alien environment”.

Yet, members of the Indian intelligentsia, such as Rammohun Roy, living in Calcutta responded in creative ways to aspects of European culture that became available to them. Some members of the British community, on their own, developed cultural contacts with the local population, notably Sir William Jones, Nathaniel Halhed, Charles Wilkins and, for evangelical reasons, the Baptist missionaries in nearby Serampore. Indian scholars employed at the Fort William College also brought them in close contact with the British. As EIC’s presence spread and grew in its influence, Calcutta became the centre of governance, attracting unofficial Britons seeking to make a fortune, thus setting the scene for discursive interactions with the local population at various levels, including in the field of journalism (such as it was then). Indian intellectuals such as Roy were quick to absorb new ideas from the west. At the time, as Raichaudhuri (1988, 3) noted, “The excitement over the literature, history and philosophy of Europe as well as the less familiar scientific knowledge was deep and abiding”.

At the heart of this “excitement” was the technology of print, which enabled the flow of ideas and news from the metropole to the colonial periphery, vice versa, and slowly beyond Calcutta to the other two presidencies of Madras and Bombay and elsewhere. The printing press first arrived in India in Goa with Portuguese missionaries in the mid-sixteenth century. Several religious texts were later printed in Konkani, Tamil and other Indian languages, but it was not until the late eighteenth century that the first English-language journals were launched in Calcutta, followed by journals in Bengali, Persian and Hindi in Calcutta, and in other Indian languages in Madras and Bombay. In the last two decades of the eighteenth century, “Calcutta rapidly developed into the largest centre of printing in the sub-continent … appropriate to its paramount importance to the British as an administrative, commercial and social base” (Shaw 1981, ix).

Hicky catered to the small but expanding British community, which was able to sustain more English journals, some of them launched with the support of the EIC. As Marshall (2000, 324) noted, “White Calcutta sustained a remarkable number of newspapers and journals in English. Between 1780 and 1800, 24 weekly or monthly magazines came into existence … The total circulation of English-language publications was put at 3000 … These are astonishing figures for so small a community”. It was the era of journalist as publicist, as editors—in England and in colonial India—stamped their personalities on their journals, often entering into vicious attacks against rival editors and officials of the EIC. Hicky bitterly attacked Governor-General Warren Hastings, chief justice of the Supreme Court Sir Elijah Impey and others in the British community in Calcutta. The English journals were mainly non-political in character, sustained by advertising and had the British community as its audience. Besides some criticism of the EIC by mostly anonymous letter writers to the editor, the journals published orders of the colonial government, Indian news, personal news, notes on fashion, extracts from papers published in England, parliamentary reports, poems, newsletters and reports from parts of Europe. Editorials and other content would mainly interest the British community.

If Hicky’s journal is better known historically for publication of scandals, scurrilous personal attacks and risqué advertisements selling sex and sin, he was also the first to fight against the colonial government, then almost single-handed, to defend the liberty of the press. He wrote: “Mr Hicky considers the Liberty of the Press to be essential to the very existence of an Englishman and a free G-t. The subject should have full liberty to declare his principles, and opinions, and every act which tends to coerce that liberty is tyrannical and injurious to the COMMUNITY” (Barns 1940, 49, italics and capitals in original; in the days of letter press, “G-t” stood for “Government”). Hicky was soon hounded by Hastings and Impey, fined, imprisoned and his journal closed in March 1782. He died in penury in 1802. He was the first of several editors of English journals to invite the wrath of EIC officials who were wary of the effects of the ideas spawned by the French Revolution in India, and were highly sensitised to any threats to the existing order. By 1800, some journals closed for want of advertising and subscription, while others closed when British editors were deported to England after publishing material that was considered unacceptable by the EIC. Editors who attracted EIC’s ire and found themselves on ships back to England included William Duane, editor of Bengal Journal, removed as editor and almost deported in 1791, and finally deported as editor of Indian World in 1794; Charles Maclean, editor of Bengal Hurkaru, deported in 1798; James Silk Buckingham, editor of Calcutta Journal, and his assistant, Sandford Arnot, deported in 1823; and C. J. Fair, editor of Bombay Gazette, also deported in 1823.

The year 1818 had witnessed developments that catalysed the growth of journalism in an expanding colonial India. As noted above, deportation remained a key instrument to discipline British editors, but the measure could not be applied to editors who were Indians or to Europeans born in India. To remove the anomaly, the Marquess of Hastings, who was governor-general from 1813 to 1823, removed the 1799 censorship and issued a new set of rules in 1818. In a circular to all editors and publishers in Calcutta, he set out guidelines with a view to prevent the publication of topics considered dangerous or objectionable, or face deportation. But his new rules did not possess the force of law as they were not passed into a Regulation in a legal manner, which meant that in practice there were no legal restrictions on the press. The Marquess of Hastings was soon hailed in Calcutta as a liberator of the press. In the same year, the first journals in an Indian language— Bengali—were launched, the precursors of several Indian-language journals in other parts of India. There is a dispute about which was published first, the Bengal Gejeti edited by Harachandra Roy with the assistance of Gangakishore Bhattacharya, or Samachar Darpan, launched by the Baptist missionaries at Serampore—both were launched in May 1818 (some scholars claim that Bangal Gejeti was launched in 1816). The missionaries had earlier launched the monthly Digdarsan in April 1818, but due to the missionary context, nationalist historians credit Bangal Gejeti as the first journal in an Indian language, but it did not last for more than a year (none of its issues are known to exist). The year 1818 also saw the launch of Buckingham’s Calcutta Journal, on 2 October, a biweekly of eight quarto pages, which was to come into frequent conflict with EIC and also encourage the growth of the indigenous press by often publishing extracts from the Indian-language journals and commenting favourably on their growth. A Whig, Buckingham propagated liberal ideas and views through his journal that almost reached the record daily circulation figure of 1000 copies. As the editor, he wrote, he conceived his duty to be “to admonish Governors of their duties, to warn them furiously of their faults, and to tell disagreeable truths” (Barns 1940, 95). Setting himself up as a champion of free press, Buckingham saw a free press as an important check against misgovernment, especially in Bengal, where there was no legislature to curb executive authority.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, a “multifarious culture of the print medium” had come into existence in India:

It was the first fully formed print culture to appear outside Europe and North America and it was distinguished by its size, productivity, and multilingual and multinational constitution, as well as its large array of Asian languages and its inclusion of numerous non-Western investors and producers among its participants. (Dharwadker 1997, 112)

Print journalism had found a fertile soil in colonial Calcutta, but it also generated near-panic among colonial officials about its potential subversive effect on the army. Expressing “intense anxiety and alarm”, Chief Secretary John Adam (1822) wrote in a lengthy minute on the press: “That the seeds of infinite mischief have already been sown is my firm belief”. When the Marquess of Hastings sailed for England on 9 January 1823, he was temporarily succeeded as governor-general by John Adam, whose first act was to deport Buckingham to England, which led to the closure of Calcutta Journal. Secondly, Adam promulgated a rigorous Press Ordinance on 14 March 1823, which made it mandatory for editors and publishers to secure licences for their journals. To secure the licences, they had to submit an affidavit to the chief secretary under oath. For any offence of discussing any of the subjects prohibited by law, the editor or publisher was liable to lose the licence.

The following sections set out the Indian response to the Press Ordinance, mainly directed by Rammohun Roy (1772–1833), who is less known for his contribution to Indian journalism than for his reformist initiatives in the realm of religion, education and social awareness (in particular, for his campaign to abolish sati or widow burning). Considered in hagiographic and nationalistic accounts as the founder of modern India, most of his reformist initiatives were conducted through the technology of print in the form of pamphlets, translations, tracts and journals. He was closely associated with at least five journals: Bengal Gejeti (Bengali, 1818), The Brahmunical Magazine (English–Bengali, 1821), Sambad Kaumidi (Bengali, 1821), Mirat-ul-Akhbar (Persian, 1822) and Bengal Herald (English, 1829). Roy—easily one of the foremost examples of an “argumentative Indian” (Sen 2005)— often engaged in lengthy debates with Baptist missionaries and used his polemical skills to oppose the Press Ordinance.

Press Ordinance and Two Memorials

Before the Press Ordinance was issued on 14 March 1823, officials in the governor-general’s administration were clamouring for legal restrictions on what they saw as “excesses” of the press. In a lengthy minute dated 14 August 1822, John Adam (1822) wrote: “My objection is to the claim of that class of persons to exercise in this country, the privileges they are allowed to assume at home, of sitting in judgement on the acts of Government, and bringing public measures and the conduct of public men, as well as the concerns of private individuals, before the bar of what they miscall public opinion”. Another senior official, W. B. Bayley, wrote on 10 October 1822: “Feeling as I do that the Native Press may be converted into an engine of the most serious mischief, I shall … state the grounds on which I consider it essential that the Government should be vested with legal power to control the excesses of the Native as well as the European Press”.

The Marquess of Hastings, who had tolerated much criticism from Buckingham and had refrained from taking action, was faced with an increasingly belligerent group of officials, who wanted more powers to clamp down on the press. The Marquess of Hastings finally wrote to London in October 1822 for more such powers, but before any progress could be made on the issue, he returned to England on 9 January 1823. Adam, the senior-most official at the time, took over as the acting governor-general, and as stated above, his first two acts in office were deporting Buckingham to London, and issuing the rigorous Press Ordinance. Under the laws of the time, every new executive measure had to be submitted to the Supreme Court for registration before it could come into force. Adam’s Press Ordinance was submitted to the court on 15 March 1823, and two days later, Rammohun Roy and four others submitted a memorial, asking the court to hear objections against it. Besides Roy, it was signed by three Tagores (Chunder Coomar, Dwarkanath, Prosunno Coomar), Hurchunder Ghosh and Gowree Churn Bonnergee.

The memorial discussed in a logical manner the general principles on which the claim of freedom of the press was based in all modern countries, and recalled the contribution Indians had made to the growth of British rule. It created a sensation at the time and came to be described as the “Aeropagitica of Indian history” (Collet 1988, 180, italics in original). The memorial pointed out the aversion of Hindus to undertaking an oath because of “invincible prejudice against making a voluntary affidavit, or undergoing the solemnities of an oath”. Using the rhetorical strategy of professing loyalty and attachment of the Indians to British rule, the memorialists wrote that they were “extremely sorry” to note that the new restrictions would put a “complete stop” to the diffusion of knowledge, promoting social progress, and keeping government informed about public opinion. It pointed out that the natives “cannot be charged with having ever abused” freedom of the press in the past, and went on to audaciously state:

Your memorialists are persuaded that the British government is not disposed to adopt the politician’s maxim so often acted upon by Asiatic Princes, that the more a people are kept in darkness, their Rulers will derive the greater advantages from them; since, by reference to History, it is found that this was but a short-sighted policy which did not ultimately answer the purpose of its authors. On the contrary, it rather proved disadvantageous to them; for we find that as often as an ignorant people, when an opportunity offered, have revolted against their Rulers, all sorts of barbarous excesses and cruelties have been the consequence … Every good Ruler, who is convinced of the imperfection of human nature, and reverences the Eternal Governor of the world, must be conscious of the great liability to error in managing the affairs of a vast empire; and therefore he will be anxious to afford every individual the readiest means of bringing to his notice whatever may require his interference. To secure this important aspect, the unrestrained Liberty of publication, is the only effectual means that can be employed. And should it ever be abused, the established Law of the Land is very properly armed with efficient powers to punish those who may be found guilty. (Collet 1988, 392–393)

The memorial was read in court, but the judge, Francis Macnaghten, dismissed it, but admitted that before the Press Ordinance was entered or its merits argued in court, he had pledged to the government that he would sanction it. The ordinance was registered in the court on 4 April 1823. The memorial was much appreciated but failed to prevent the ordinance from becoming law. The only other recourse Roy and his group had was to appeal to the King-in-Council in London. Roy then drafted another memorial, more sophisticated in its logic and arguments, and sent copies to Lord Canning (then Foreign Secretary and Leader in the House of Commons) and to the EIC’s Board of Control, in London. Over 55 numbered and lengthy paragraphs, Roy repeated the opposition to the Press Ordinance. Describing the second memorial, Collet (1988, 183) wrote: “Its stately periods and not less stately thought recall the eloquence of the great orators of a century ago. In a language and style for ever associated with the glorious vindication of liberty, it invokes against the arbitrary exercise of British power the principles and traditions which are distinctive of British history”. Continuing the rhetorical strategy of mixing fulsome praise with caution, warning and criticism, the second memorial recalled world history and put it to the King:

Men in power hostile to the Liberty of the Press, which is a disagreeable check upon their conduct, when unable to discover any real evil arising from its existence, have attempted to make the world imagine, that it might, in some possible contingency, afford the means of combination against the Government, but not to mention that extraordinary emergencies would warrant measures which in ordinary times are totally unjustifiable, your Majesty is well aware, that a Free Press has never yet caused a revolution in any part of the world because, while men can easily represent the grievances arising from the conduct of the local authorities to the supreme Government, and thus get them redressed, the grounds of discontent that excite revolution are removed; whereas, where no freedom of the Press existed, and grievances consequently remained unrepresented and unredressed, innumerable revolutions have taken place in all parts of the globe, or if prevented by the armed force of the Government, the people continued ready for insurrection. (Collet 1988, 407)

In parts of the memorial, Roy lectured to the King in polite language on the importance of freedom of the press and its relevance to the continuation of British rule in India. He also reproduced the eight restrictions under the Press Ordinance, and recalled that Friend of India, a publication by the Baptist missionaries from Serampore, had appreciated the role of the native press and had stated in a recent issue: “Nor has this liberty been abused by them [the native press] in the least degree”. Roy then eloquently pointed out that the Ordinance, issued after Buckingham’s deportation to England, gave the impression that the Indian press was being punished for the actions of one individual, and stated: “Yet notwithstanding what the local authorities of this country have done, your faithful subjects feel confident, that your Majesty will not suffer it to be believed throughout your Indian territories, that it is British justice to punish millions for the fault imputed to one individual”. A key aspect of the memorial was Roy’s recall of Mughal history and the akhbarat (newsletters) system instituted during their rule. In two paragraphs (43 and 50), the memorial regretted the new press restrictions, made veiled criticism of British rule and stated:

Your Majesty is aware, that under their former Muhammadan Rulers, the natives of this country enjoyed every political privilege in common with Mussulmans, being eligible to the highest offices in the state, entrusted with the command of armies and the government of provinces and often chosen as advisers to their Prince, without disqualification or degrading distinction on account of their religion or the place of their birth … Notwithstanding the despotic power of the Mogul Princes who formerly ruled over this country, and that their conduct was often cruel and arbitrary, yet the wise and virtuous among them, always employed two intelligencers at the residence of their Nawabs or Lord Lieutenants, Akhbar-navees, or news-writer who published an account of whatever happened, and a Khoofea-navees, or confidential correspondent who sent a private and particular account of every occurrence worthy of notice; and although these Lord Lieutenants were often particular friends of near relations to the Prince, he did not trust entirely to themselves for a faithful and impartial report of their administration, and degraded them when they appeared to deserve it, either for their own faults or for their negligence in not checking the delinquencies of their subordinate officers; which shews that even the Mogul Princes, although their form of Government admitted of nothing better, were convinced, that in a country so rich and so replete with temptations, a restraint of some kind was absolutely necessary, to prevent the abuses that are so liable to flow from the possession of power. (Collet 1988, 413, 416–417)

The memorials were an example of the confluence of themes of history, earlier Indian administrations (notably Mughal) and modern ideas, notably the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham, with whom Roy had been in touch. Roy cited the intelligence network of the Mughal rules to emphasise the use of various ways of communication to the rulers. At a time of weak international communication, Roy demonstrated remarkable understanding of world politics, and referred to examples to support his opposition to imposing restrictions on the press. The memorials, or public petitions, were addressed to British authorities, but drew on earlier traditions, akhbarat, of alerting the ruler to the moral infractions of his servants. In the process, Roy and his co-petitioners reframed the form and substance of the memorials but not its essential purpose that was often used in the past. This confluence of the past and the then colonial present was best exemplified by Roy, who, as Bayly (2004, 293) put it, “made in two decades an astonishing leap from the intellectual status of a late-Mughal state intellectual to that of the first Indian liberal … he independently broached themes that were being simultaneously developed in Europe by Garibaldi and Saint-Simon”.

The memorials failed to overturn the Press Ordinance; they were couched in courteous language of the time, but included covert and not-so-covert warnings that the future of British rule in India was in danger if the new rulers did not allow Indians many of the privileges available to people in England. The memorials were seen as a daring act by Roy and his group at a time when expanding colonial rule was marked by arbitrary official decisions, racism, punishment, imprisonment and the rapacious extraction of resources. But Roy took another daring step at the time: closing his Persian journal, and setting down the reasons for doing so in its last edition.

Closure of Mirat-ul-Akhbar

In his minute of 10 October 1822, Bayley devoted much attention to the contents of Roy’s Mirat-ul-Akhbar (Mirror of News) to justify demanding more powers to curb the press. Noting Roy’s “known disposition for theological controversy”, Bayley recalled an article in the journal on the death of Thomas Middleton, bishop of Calcutta. He wrote: “After some laudatory remarks on his learning and dignity the article concludes by stating that the Bishop having been now relieved from the cares and anxieties of this world, had ‘tumbled on the shoulders of the mercy of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost’. The expression coming from a known impugner of the doctrine of the Trinity, could only be considered as ironical, and was noticed … as objectionable and offensive”. In subsequent issues, Roy went on to defend the article in his style described by Bayley as the “polemical disposition of the editor”. On 4 April 1823, the day the Press Ordinance was registered in the Supreme Court and became law, Roy closed Mirat-ul-Akhbar in protest. In the final issue, he set out the reasons for doing so:

Under these circumstances, I, the least of all the human race, in consideration of several difficulties, have, with much regret and reluctance, relinquished the publication of this Paper (Mirat-ool-Ukhbar). The difficulties are these:

First—Although it is very easy for those European Gentlemen, who have the honour to be acquainted with the Chief Secretary to Government, to obtain a License according to the prescribed form; yet to a humble individual like myself, it is very hard to make his way through the porters and attendants of a great Personage; or to enter the doors of the Police Court, crowded with people of all classes, for the purpose of obtaining what is in fact, already [? Unnecessary] in my own opinion. As it is written—

Abrooe kih ba-sad khoon i jigar dast dihad
Ba-oomed-I karam-e, kha’jah, ba-darban ma-farosh
(The respect which is purchased with a hundred drops of heart’s blood
Do not thou, in the hope of a favour commit to the mercy of a porter).

Secondly—To make Affidavit in an open court, in presence of respectable Magistrates, is looked upon as very mean and censurable by those who watch the conduct of their neighbours. Besides, the publication of a newspaper is not incumbent upon every person, so that he must resort to the evasion of establishing fictitious Proprietors, which is contrary to Law, and repugnant to Conscience.

Thirdly—After incurring the disrepute of solicitation and suffering the dishonour of making Affidavit, the constant apprehension of the License being recalled by Government which would disgrace the person in the eyes of the world, must create such anxiety as entirely to destroy his peace of mind, because a man, by nature liable to err, in telling the real truth cannot help sometimes making use of words and selecting phrases that might be unpleasant to Government. I, however, here prefer silence to speaking out:

Guda-e goshah nashenee to Khafiza makharosh
Roo mooz maslabat-i khesh khoosrowan danand
(Thou O Hafiz, art a poor retired man, be silent,
Princes know the secrets of their own Policy).

I now entreat those kind and liberal gentlemen of Persia and Hindoostan, who have honoured the Mirat-ool-Ukhbar with their patronage, that in consideration of the reasons above stated, they will excuse the non-fulfilment of my promise to make them acquainted with passing events.

Once again, the confluence of themes of religion, language, personal honour rooted in the past and the colonial present are evident in Roy’s last note to his readers. He invoked Persian couplets to make courteous attacks on the British and the restrictions imposed in the Press Ordinance. He pointed out the differential access Indians and the British had to officials of the Company government, and recalled the embarrassment rooted in religion and tradition faced by Indians to the act of taking an oath. Taken together, even though the two memorials and closing Roy’s journal were couched in courteous terms and some rhetoric, they were essentially an act of political defiance, which was delivered in the language and discourse of the new rulers. The opposition to the Press Ordinance won new converts among the British (such as Lieutenant Colonel Leicester Stanhope), and provided a template for future political opposition on other issues, such as the controversial Jury Act, Indian property and labour, the rights of Britons in India, taxes, education and making English the medium of instruction.


Roy closing his journal in protest and the two memorials did not succeed in changing policy, but their significance lies in the ways in which the colonial authorities dealt with the press subsequently. The memorials were much appreciated in England, where Buckingham had continued his campaign in print against the EIC and its exercise of arbitrary powers in India. Lord Amhurst, who took over from John Adam as the governor-general of India in 1823 (he was in office until 1828) did not implement the Press Ordinance rigorously, neither did his successor, Lord Bentinck. The memorials, closure of Roy’s journal and Buckingham’s activities in London had generated much publicity on the issue of freedom of the press in colonial India, with governors-general choosing to avoid taking major action against the fast growing press. In 1835, it was another acting governor-general, Charles Metcalfe, who, aided by Macaulay, removed Adam’s licensing and other restrictions on the press through Act No. XI. By then, the idea of a free press had become a key element of a growing public sphere in Calcutta and elsewhere in colonial India. Metcalfe, who was later penalised by EIC authorities in London for removing the press restrictions, was hailed as a liberator of press and immortalised in Metcalfe Hall, a major landmark in Calcutta, which was built with public subscription in the style of imposing empire architecture in his honour. The press had become a key site of discussion and protest as the Company government introduced new laws and initiatives to govern India. The largely permissive situation for the press continued until the 1857 rebellion, by when opinions and positions had hardened on both sides, as Indian journals openly criticised the British and the EIC imposed new restrictions on the press.

But the press had grown all over colonial India, despite new repressive measures. As Majumdar (1965, 233) put it, “[The] daring act of Rammohan and his five associates marks the beginning of a new type of political activity which was destined to be the special characteristic of India for nearly a century”. The significance of Roy’s two memorials was highlighted soon after the Round Table Conference was held in London in 1930–1931 to discuss India’s future: “It might never have come about had the great Ram Mohan Roy not taken the lead, and three Tagores, a Ghose, and a Banerji, not joined him in the starting the process that led to it” (O’ Malley 1941, 198). This forgotten chapter of protest focused on the idea of a free press provides a key insight into the continuation of politics as the dominant theme in Indian journalism today. Politics and political protest occupied the centre-stage in early Indian journalism, and continued during the long freedom struggle, which further entrenched politics as the dominant theme, which continued after independence, up to the present. The form, structure and discourse of politics in Indian journalism has changed, reflecting corresponding changes in political structures and themes, but the symbiotic link between journalism and politics in India has never been in question.


No potential conflict of interest was reported by the author.


1. British/Colonial spellings have been used for people and places in the paper.


Adam, John. 1822. Minute No. 3, British Library, Bengal Public Consultations, P/10/55.
Barns, Margarita. 1940. The Indian Press: A History of the Growth of Public Opinion in India. London: Allan & Unwin.
Bayley, W. B. 1822. Minute No. 8, British Library Bengal Public Consultations, P/10/55.
Bayly, C. A. 2004. The Birth of the Modern World: 1780–1914. Oxford: Blackwell.
Collet, Sophia D. 1988. The Life and Letters of Raja Rammohun Roy. Calcutta: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj.
Dharwadker, Vinay. 1997. “Print Culture and Literary Markets in Colonial India.” In Language Machines: Technologies of Literary and Cultural Production, edited by Jeffrey Masten, Peter Stallybrass, and Nancy J. Vickers, 108–133. London: Routledge.
Gaonkar, Dilip P. 1999. “On Alternative Modernities.” Public Culture 11 (1): 1–18. doi:10.1215/ 08992363-11-1-1.
Majumdar, R. C. 1965. British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance. Part II. Bombay: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.
Marshall, P. J. 2000. “The White Town of Calcutta under the Rule of the East India Company.” Modern Asian Studies 34 (2): 307–331. doi:10.1017/S0026749X00003346.
Mills, J. S. 1924. The Press and Communications of the Empire’. London: W. Collins Sons.
O’Malley, L. S. S. 1941. Modern India and the West: A Study of the Interaction of Their Civilisations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Raichaudhuri, Tapan. 1988. Europe Reconsidered: Perceptions of the West in Nineteenth Century Bengal. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Sen, Amartya. 2005. The Argumentative Indian. London: Allen Lane.
Shaw, Graham. 1981. Printing in Calcutta to 1800. London: The Bibliographical Society.
Sonwalkar, Prasun. 2002. “Murdochization of the Indian Press: From By-line to Bottom-line.” Media Culture & Society 24 (6): 821–834. doi:10.1177/016344370202400605.
Sonwalkar, Prasun. 2014. “Narendra Modi’s Victory Compared to ‘1979 Thatcher Moment’ in UK.” Hindustan Times, June 2.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:41 am

John Zachariah Kiernander
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/25/21


John Zachariah Kiernander (1711–1799), also known as Johann Zacharias Kiernander, was a Swedish Lutheran missionary in India.[1]

Beth-Tephillah Church founded 1770 by John Zachariah Kiernander, later the Old Mission Church, Calcutta

He was the first Protestant Missionary to establish a base in Bengal. He built the Old Mission Church in Calcutta and founded one of the first printing presses in Calcutta. In 1781, he accused James Augustus Hicky, the editor and publisher of Hicky's Bengal Gazette of libel. He won the trial. He is the author of The Trial and Conviction of James Augustus Hicky.


1. Edward Cave; John Nichols (1824). The Gentleman's Magazine, and Historical Chronicle. Edw. Cave. pp. 105–10.


Johann Zacharias Kiernander
by Paul Tyson
Accessed: 3/25/21

Johann Zacharias Kiernander was born in Sweden in the year 1710. Kiernander was the first missionary to establish a base in Bengal even before William Carey and Henry Martin arrived. He studied theology at Hale University and served as a teacher in Latin.

In 1739 he received the call of God to serve in India and reached Tharagambadi. Kiernander worked as a Tranquebar missionary in Cuddalore in Tamilnadu. But, after the French had taken over this city in 1758, Kiernander had to leave the city and move to Calcutta.

He reached Calcutta in 1759 and accomplished a great work for God in that place.

Ministry in India

His keen interest in expounding the Bible, his enthusiasm, and his straight forwardness attracted many people there. many were saved and baptized. Sunday services were held in a rented room and he preached to the English and local people in their own languages respectively. Hundreds of non-Christians were saved through him.

His marriage earned him a good fortune. He used this as an opportunity to help the Christian people who were living in poverty and built several schools. He built the Old Mission Church in Calcutta and the living quarters for missionaries.

He is also credited for founding one of the first printing presses in Calcutta. Meanwhile, he lost his wife to Cholera but yet continued to labor in God’s vineyard amidst many hurdles. He stayed true to his call and finished his race on this earth fulfilling God’s divine purpose.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 27, 2021 6:55 am

John Adam (administrator)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/26/21

John Adam (4 May 1779 – 4 June 1825) was a British administrator in India, serving as the acting Governor-General of the British East India Company in 1823.


The memorial to John Adam in the Adam mausoleum, Greyfriars kirkyard

The eldest son of William Adam of Blair Adam, he was born on 4 May 1779, and was educated at Charterhouse School. He received a writership on the Bengal establishment in 1794; and, after a year at Edinburgh University, landed at Calcutta in India in February 1796[1] to work for the East India Company.[2][3]

Most of Adam's career was spent in the secretariat.[3] He was private as well as political secretary to the Marquess of Hastings, whom he accompanied in the field during the Third Anglo-Maratha War. In 1817 he was nominated by the court of directors a member of council.[1] In 1819 he became a member of the Supreme Council of India.[3]

As senior member of council, Adam became Acting Governor General of India on Lord Hastings's departure in January 1823.[3] His rule lasted for seven months, until the arrival of Lord Amherst in August of the same year. It saw the suppression of the freedom of the English press in India. James Silk Buckingham had established the Calcutta Journal, which published severe comments on the government. Adam cancelled Buckingham's license for residence in India, and passed regulations restricting newspaper criticism. Buckingham appealed to the court of proprietors at home, to the House of Commons, and to the Privy Council; but the action of Adam was upheld by each of these three bodies. Another unpopular act of Adam's governor-generalship was to withdraw official support from the banking firm of Palmer, who had acquired great influence with the Nizam of Hyderabad.[1]

Adam also appropriated public money for the encouragement of Indian education. His health broke down and he left his job and he left in March 1825. After a voyage to Bombay, and a visit to Almorah in the lower Himalayas, he embarked on a ship to return him to his parents in Britain. He died off the coast of Madagascar on 4 June 1825.[1] He was buried at sea but he is memorialised within the family tomb in Greyfriars Kirkyard in Edinburgh.[2][3] A tomb monument to Adam was also erected in 1827 in Cathedral of Calcutta, now known as St. John's Church.[3]

The John Adam

The John Adam was an Indian-built ship of about 580 tons burthen, appointed in 1821 for the accommodation of the mission of John Crawfurd to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China.[4]


1. Cotton, James Sutherland (1885). "Adam, John" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
2. Monuments and monumental inscriptions in Scotland: The Grampian Society, 1871
3. Ayers, Sydney (July 2019). "An English Country House in Calcutta: mapping networks between Government House, the statesman John Adam, and the architect Robert Adam". ABE Journal. 14–15.
4. Crawfurd, John (August 2006) [First published 1830]. "I". Journal of an Embassy from the Governor-general of India to the Courts of Siam and Cochin China. Volume 1 (2nd ed.). London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley. OCLC 03452414. Retrieved February 2, 2012.
• Prior, Katherine (September 2004). "Adam, John (1779–1825), administrator in India". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 July 2009. The first edition of this text is available at Wikisource: Cotton, James Sutherland (1885). "Adam, John" . In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
• Ayers, Sydney (July 2019). "An English Country House in Calcutta: mapping networks between Government House, the statesman John Adam, and the architect Robert Adam." ABE Journal.



This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Cotton, James Sutherland (1885). "Adam, John". In Stephen, Leslie (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 1. London: Smith, Elder & Co.


John Adam, 1885-1900
by Dictionary of National Biography
1885-1900, Volume 1
by James Sutherland Cotton

ADAM, JOHN (1779–1825), Anglo-Indian statesman, was eldest son of William Adam [see Adam, William, 1751–1839]. He was born on 4 May 1779; was educated at the Charterhouse; received a writership on the Bengal establishment in 1794; and, after a year at Edinburgh University, landed at Calcutta in 1796. The greater part of his career was spent in the secretariat. He was private as well as political secretary to the Marquis of Hastings, whom he accompanied in the field during the Pindari or third Mahratta war. In 1817 he was nominated by the court of directors member of council; and as senior member of council he became acting governor-general of India on Lord Hastings's departure in January 1823. His rule lasted for seven months, until the arrival of Lord Amherst in August of the same year. It is memorable in history chiefly for one incident — the suppression of the freedom of the English press in India. James Silk Buckingham, afterwards M.P. and founder of the ‘Athenæum,’ had established the ‘Calcutta Journal,’ which published severe comments upon the government. Adam cancelled Buckingham's license, without which no European could then reside in India, and passed regulations restricting newspaper criticism. Buckingham appealed to the court of proprietors at home, to the House of Commons, and to the Privy Council; but the action of Adam was sustained by each of these three bodies. Another unpopular act of Adam's governor-generalship was to withdraw official support from the banking firm of Palmer, who had acquired a preponderant influence with the Nizam of the Deccan. Adam also deserves credit for being the first Indian ruler to appropriate a grant of public money for the encouragement of native education. Adam's health had now broken down. After in vain seeking relief by a voyage to Bombay, and by a visit to Almorah in the lower Himalayas, he was ordered home to England. He died off Madagascar on 4 June 1825. Though some of his public acts involved him in unpopularity, his personal character had won him almost universal goodwill. His portrait was painted by G. Chinnery for the Calcutta Town Hall.

[A full account of John Adam is given in the memoir in the Asiatic Journal for November 1825. There is also in the library of the India Office, bound up in a volume of tracts, A Short Notice of the Official Career and Private Character of the late J. Adam, Esq. (Calcutta: privately printed, 1825). This is a pamphlet of 16 pages, written by C. Lushington, evidently an intimate friend; but it is sadly deficient in facts, the Buckingham incident being not even referred to.]
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:18 am

William Duane (journalist)
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/21

William Duane
Born: 1760, Champlain, New York, US
Died: 1835, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US
Occupation: journalist

William Duane (1760–1835) was an American journalist.[1]

Born in Newfoundland,[2] he moved to Calcutta in 1788, and founded the Bengal Journal in 1791. Later that year, after the Governor-General of India John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth shut down the Bengal Journal for a libel against the French royalist government in exile in Calcutta, Duane founded his second newspaper, The World. He was deported for a libel in this newspaper in 1794 and emigrated to the United States.[3][4][5]

Before he died of yellow fever on September 8, 1798,[6][7] Benjamin Franklin Bache hired Duane to work on the Aurora newspaper and printing business.[6] Duane married fellow journalist Margaret Hartman Markoe Bache at the Christ Church in Philadelphia on June 28, 1800. They lived at 316 Market Street some time after their union. After 25 years of marriage, Bache told Thomas Jefferson in 1824 that she had the qualities of "a Roman matron".[6]

According to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Thomas Jefferson attributed his presidential victory to this paper.[1] Jefferson named Duane a lieutenant colonel, and by the War of 1812 he was an adjutant general. He died in Philadelphia in 1835[1] and was interred at Laurel Hill Cemetery.[8]

William Duane tombstone in Laurel Hill Cemetery

William John Duane was his son.


1. Historical Society of Pennsylvania
2. [1]
3. Phillips, Kim T., "William Duane, Philadelphia's Democratic Republicans, and Origins of Modern Politics," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 101 (1977), pp. 365–87.
4. Pasley, Jeffery L., "The Tyranny of Printers": Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic, Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 2001, pp. 176–95.
5. Pasley, Jeffrey L (1 January 2001). ""The tyranny of printers": newspaper politics in the early American republic". University Press of Virginia. Retrieved 9 September 2016 – via Open WorldCat.
6. "Margaret Hartman Markoe". Independence National Historical Park. U.S. National Park Service. December 1, 2020. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
7. Weisberger, Bernard A. (2000). America Afire: Jefferson, Adams, and the Revolutionary Election of 1800. William Morrow. p. 218.
8. Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D.C
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Sat Mar 27, 2021 7:26 am

John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/21

The Right Honourable The Lord Teignmouth
Watercolour by George Richmond, 1832
Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William
In office: October 1793 – March 1798
Monarch: George III
Preceded by: The Earl Cornwallis
Succeeded by: Sir Alured Clarke (Acting Governor-General)
Personal details
Born: 5 October 1751, St James's, London
Died: 14 February 1834 (aged 82), Portman Square, London
Resting place: St Marylebone Parish Church
Spouse(s) Charlotte Cornish ​(m. 1786)​
Children: 9, including Charles John
Education: Harrow School

John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth (5 October 1751 – 14 February 1834) was a British official of the East India Company who served as Governor-General of Bengal from 1793 to 1798. In 1798 he was created Baron Teignmouth in the Peerage of Ireland.

Shore was the first president of the British and Foreign Bible Society.[1] A close friend of the orientalist Sir William Jones (1746–1794), Shore edited a memoir of Jones's life in 1804, containing many of Jones's letters.

Early life

Born in St. James's Street, Piccadilly, on 5 October 1751, he was the elder son of Thomas Shore of Melton Place, near Romford, an East India Company employee, by his wife Dorothy, daughter of Captain Shepherd of the Company's naval service. At the age of fourteen Shore was sent to Harrow School.[2] In his seventeenth year Shore was moved to a commercial school at Hoxton for the purpose of learning bookkeeping, to take up an opportunity made for him by the merchant Frederick Pigou, a family friend.[1] Towards the close of 1768 he sailed for India as a writer in the East India Company's service.[2]

Soon after his arrival in Kolkata, then called Calcutta, in May 1769 Shore was appointed to the secret political department, in which he remained for about twelve months. In September 1770 he was nominated assistant to the board of revenue at Murshidabad. Shore at the age of 19 suddenly found himself invested with the civil and fiscal jurisdiction of a large district; he also studied languages.[2]

In 1772 Shore went to Rajshahi as first assistant to the resident of the province. In the following year he acted temporarily as Persian translator and secretary to the board at Murshidabad. In June 1775 he was appointed a member of the revenue council at Calcutta. He continued to hold that post until the dissolution of the council at the close of 1780. Though he revised one of the bitter philippics launched by Philip Francis against Warren Hastings, and is said to have written one of the memorials against the supreme court and Sir Elijah Impey, he was appointed by the governor-general to a seat in the committee of revenue at Calcutta, which took the place of the provincial council.[2]

Revenue official

Shore gained the confidence of Hastings by attention to his duties. Besides superintending the collection of the revenues, he devoted much of his time to the adjudication of exchequer cases. He acted as revenue commissioner in Dacca and Behar, and he drew up plans for judicial and financial reforms. Deploring the lavish profusion of the governor-general, Shore communicated his views of the financial situation to John Macpherson, who, instead of privately imparting them to Hastings, inserted them as a minute into the records of the Supreme Council. As a result of what was seen as a breach of confidence, Shore resigned his seat on the board.[2]

In January 1785 Shore returned to England in the company of Hastings. While in England, on 14 February 1786 he married Charlotte, the only daughter of James Cornish, a medical practitioner at Teignmouth.[2]

Having been appointed by the Court of Directors to a seat on the Supreme Council, Shore returned to India, and on 21 January 1787 he took his seat as a member of the government of Bengal. Many of the reforms instituted by Charles Cornwallis were attributable to Shore's influence in the Council. In the summer of 1789, Shore completed the ten-yearly settlement of the revenues of Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha. Though Shore recommended caution and further inquiry, and protested against rigidity, his decision in favour of the proprietary rights of the zamindars was ratified by Cornwallis and formed the basis of the much discussed Permanent Settlement.[2]

In December 1789, Shore embarked for England, where he arrived in April 1790. He is said to have refused the offer of a baronetcy on the ground of "the incompatibility of poverty and titles". On 2 June 1790 he was examined as a witness in the trial of Warren Hastings with regard to the transactions of the committee of revenue at Calcutta, and he testified to his friend's popularity among the Indians.[2]


Shore was appointed by the court of directors governor-general of India in succession to Cornwallis on 19 September 1792, and was created a baronet on 2 October following;[3] Edmund Burke protested vainly. Shore embarked for India at the end of the month. On 10 March 1793 he arrived at Calcutta, where he remained without official employment or responsibility until the departure of Cornwallis. He succeeded to the government on 28 October 1793.[2]

The period of Shore's rule as governor-general was comparatively uneventful. His policy was attacked as temporising and timid. He acquiesced in the invasion by the Mahrattas of the dominions of Ali Khan Asaf Jah II, the Nizam of Hyderabad; he permitted the growth of a French subsidiary force in the service of more than one native power; he thwarted Lord Hobart's efforts for extending the sphere of British influence; he allowed the growth of the Sikh states in northern India; and he looked on while Tipu Sahib was preparing for war. In these matters Shore faithfully obeyed his instructions.[2]

Though he showed weakness in dealing with the mutiny of the officers of the Bengal army, he boldly settled the question of the Oudh succession, when he substituted Saadat Ali Khan II for Wazir Ali Khan, albeit at the cost of the Massacre of Benares. As a reward for his services Shore was created Baron Teignmouth, of Teignmouth in the peerage of Ireland by letters patent executed at Dublin on 3 March 1798.[2][4]

Later life

Resigning the government into the hands of Sir Alured Clarke, Teignmouth left India in March 1798. On 4 April 1807 he was appointed a member of the board of control, an office to which no salary was attached, and four days afterwards was sworn a member of the privy council. He occasionally transacted business at the board of control, or at the Cockpit, where as a privy councillor he sometimes decided Indian appeals with Sir William Grant and Sir John Nicholl. But he occupied the most of his time in religious and philanthropic matters, though he nominally remained a member of the board until February 1828.[2]

Teignmouth never took his seat in the Irish House of Lords, nor was he elected a representative peer after the union. He was twice examined before the House of Commons on Indian affairs, on 18 June 1806 and on 30 March 1813. In consequence of the order of the House of Commons for Teignmouth's attendance on the first occasion, the House of Lords on 19 July 1806 passed a resolution maintaining the privilege of peerage as apart from the privilege of parliament. This resolution, however, was not communicated to the Commons; and on the second occasion the order of the Commons for Teignmouth's attendance was not questioned by the Lords.[2]

Shore became a prominent member of the Clapham sect: from 1802 to 1808 he lived at Clapham. He then moved to London, where he passed the remainder of his days. He was elected the first president of the British and Foreign Bible Society on 14 May 1804, and held that office until the end of his life. He took an active part in the various controversies in the Society, and gave his decision in favour of the exclusion of the apocryphal books from all editions of the Bible issued by the society. He died at his house in Portman Square on 14 February 1834, aged 82, and was buried in Marylebone parish church, where a monument was erected to his memory.[2]

Teignmouth was elected president of the Royal Society of Literature, but declined the office in favour of Bishop Burgess.[2]


Teignmouth was a close friend of Sir William Jones, whom he succeeded as president of the Asiatic Society of Bengal on 22 May 1794. On that occasion he delivered an address on the 'Literary History' of his predecessor (London, 1795), which was frequently reprinted, and has been translated into Italian. Three of his contributions to the society are printed in 'Asiatick Researches' (ii. 307–22, 383–7, iv. 331– 350). He translated in three manuscript volumes the Persian version of an abridgment of the 'Jôg Bashurst,' but later destroyed them in consequence of the little encouragement which his translations of Persian versions of Hindu authors received. He wrote a number of articles for the Christian Observer, and the earlier annual reports of the Bible Society were written by him. He was also the author of some mediocre verse. He published:[2]

• ‘Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Correspondence of Sir William Jones,’ London, 1804. This passed through several editions, and formed vols. i. and ii. of ‘The Works of Sir William Jones,’ which were edited by Lady Jones (London, 1807, 13 vols.)
• ‘Considerations on the Practicability, Policy, and Obligation of communicating to the Natives of India the Knowledge of Christianity. With Observations on he “Prefatory Remarks” to a pamphlet published by Major Scott Waring. By a late Resident in Bengal,’ London, 1808. Reply to John Scott-Waring.
• 'A Letter to the Rev. Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., in reply to his Strictures on the British and Foreign Bible Society,' London, 1810.
• 'Thoughts on the Providence of God,' London, 1834 (anon.)

A portrait of Teignmouth was painted by Arthur William Devis.[2]


Teignmouth had three sons and six daughters by his wife, who died on 13 July 1834. He was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Charles John Shore.[2] His second son, Frederick John married in 1830 Charlotte Mary Cornish of Devonshire.[5] The second daughter Anna Maria married Thomas Noel Hill,[6] who had fought at the Battle of Waterloo. His daughter Caroline Dorothea married Rev. Robert Anderson (their eldest daughter, Florence Caroline, married Lord Alwyne Compton).[7] Shore was great-uncle to the poet Louisa Catherine Shore.[8]

Coat of arms of John Shore, 1st Baron Teignmouth
Crest: A stork regardant with a stone in its dexter claw Proper.
Escutcheon: Argent a chevron Sable between three holly leaves Vert.
Supporters: Two storks regardant Proper.
Motto: Perimus Licitis (We Die In A Good Cause) [9]


1. Embree, Ainslie T. "Shore, John". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25452. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
2. "Shore, John" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
3. "No. 13463". The London Gazette. 29 September 1792. p. 765.
4. "No. 14064". The London Gazette. 11 November 1797. p. 1081.
5. La Belle Assemblee London, February 1830.
6. Falkner, James. "Hill, Sir Thomas Noel". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/13312. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
7. Stanton, V. H. "Compton, Lord Alwyne". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/32523. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
8. "Shore, Louisa Catherine" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
9. Debrett's Peerage. 1838.


This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: "Shore, John". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

Further reading

• Charles John Shore Baron Teignmouth (1843). Memoir of the Life and Correspondence of John Lord Teignmouth. Hatchard and Son.
• Birendra Bahadur Srivastava (1981). Sir John Shore's policy towards the Indian states. Chugh.gjjn

External links

• Leigh Rayment's Peerage Pages


John Shore, 1751-1834
Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 52
by George Fisher Russell Barker

SHORE, JOHN, first Baron Teignmouth (1751–1834), born in St. James's Street, Piccadilly, on 8 Oct. 1751, was the elder son of Thomas Shore of Melton Place, near Romford, sometime supercargo to the East India Company, by his wife Dorothy, daughter of Captain Shepherd of the East India Company's naval service. At the age of fourteen young Shore was sent to Harrow, where he was placed in the fifth form, and had Halhed, Sheridan, and Francis, lord Rawdon (afterwards marquis of Hastings), among his contemporaries. In his seventeenth year Shore was removed to a commercial school at Hoxton for the purpose of learning bookkeeping, and towards the close of 1768 he sailed for India as a writer in the East India Company's service. Soon after his arrival in Calcutta in May 1769, he was appointed to the secret political department, in which he remained for about twelve months. In September 1770 he was nominated assistant to the board of revenue at Moorshedabad. Owing to the indolence of the chief of his department, and the absence of the second in command on a special mission, Shore at the age of nineteen suddenly found himself invested with the civil and fiscal jurisdiction of a large district. In spite, however, of his laborious official work, he found time to devote himself to the study of oriental languages. In 1772 Shore proceeded to Rajeshahe as first assistant to the resident of that province. In the following year he acted temporarily as Persian translator and secretary to the board at Moorshedabad. In June 1775 he was appointed a member of the revenue council at Calcutta. He continued to hold that post until the dissolution of the council at the close of 1780. Though he revised one of the bitter philippics launched by Francis against Hastings, and is said to have written one of the memorials against the supreme court and Sir Elijah Impey, he was appointed by the governor-general to a seat in the committee of revenue at Calcutta, which took the place of the provincial council. Shore quickly gained the confidence and regard of Hastings by his unceasing attention to his duties. Besides superintending the collection of the revenues, he devoted much of his time to the adjudication of exchequer cases. He acted as revenue commissioner in Dacca and Behar, and drew up plans for judicial and financial reforms. Deploring the lavish profusion of the governor-general, Shore communicated his views of the financial situation to John (afterwards Sir John) Macpherson, who, instead of privately imparting them to Hastings, inserted them as a minute on the records of the supreme council. In consequence of this breach of confidence Shore resigned his seat at the board. In January 1785 he returned to England in the company of Hastings, who during the voyage composed a paraphrase of one of Horace's odes which he addressed to Shore (European Mag. 1786, i. 453–4). While in England Shore married, on 14 Feb. 1786, Charlotte, only daughter of James Cornish, a medical practitioner at Teignmouth.

Having been appointed by the court of directors to a seat in the supreme council, Shore returned to India, and on 21 Jan. 1787 took his seat as a member of the government of Bengal. His knowledge of the judicial and fiscal affairs of Bengal was both extensive and profound, and many of the reforms instituted by Cornwallis were attributable to his influence in the council. In the summer of 1789 Shore completed the decennial settlement of the revenues of Bengal, Behar, and Orissa. His minute of 18 June 1789, which extends to 562 paragraphs, still remains the text book on the subject of the Bengal zámíndari system (Parl. Papers, 1812, vii. 169–220; Seton-Karr,Cornwallis, 1890, p. 28). Though Shore recommended caution and further inquiry, and protested against fixity, his decision in favour of the proprietary rights of the zamindárs was hastily ratified by Cornwallis and formed the basis of the much discussed permanent settlement. In December 1789 Shore embarked for England, where he arrived in April 1790. He is said to have refused the offer of a baronetcy on the ground of ‘the incompatibility of poverty and titles’ (Memoir, i. 204–5). On 2 June 1790 he was examined as a witness in the trial of Warren Hastings with regard to the transactions of the committee of revenue at Calcutta, and testified to his friend's popularity among the natives (Printed Minutes of Evidence, pp. 1276–86).

Shore was appointed by the court of directors governor-general of India in succession to Cornwallis on 19 Sept. 1792, and was created a baronet on 2 Oct. following. Burke protested vainly against the appointment of ‘a principal actor and party in certain offences charged against Mr. Hastings’ (Memoir, i. 226), and Shore embarked for India at the end of the month. On 10 March 1793 he arrived at Calcutta, where he remained without official employment or responsibility until the departure of Cornwallis. He succeeded to the government on 28 Oct. 1793. The period of Shore's rule as governor-general was comparatively uneventful. He implicitly obeyed the pacific injunctions of parliament and the East India Company, and pursued a thoroughly unambitious and equitable policy. Being more anxious to extend the trade than the territories of the company, his policy was attacked by the jingoes of that period as temporising and timid. That there was some truth in this cannot be denied. He acquiesced in the successful invasion by the Mahrattas of the dominions of the nizam; he permitted the growth of a French subsidiary force in the service of more than one native power; he thwarted Lord Hobart's efforts for extending the sphere of British influence; he allowed the growth and aggressions of the Sikh states in northern India; and he looked on passively while Tippoo was preparing for war. The only answer to these charges is that Shore faithfully obeyed his instructions, and nothing more could be expected of him. Though he showed great weakness in dealing with the mutiny of the officers of the Bengal army, he displayed courage of a very high order in settling the question of the Oude succession. His substitution of Saadut Ali for Vizier Ali met with universal approval in India, and the court of directors recorded that ‘in circumstances of great delicacy and embarrassment Sir John Shore had conducted himself with great temper, ability, and firmness.’ As a reward for his services Shore was created Baron Teignmouth in the peerage of Ireland by letters patent executed at Dublin on 3 March 1798. Resigning the government into the hands of Sir Alured Clarke [q. v.], he left India in March 1798, and on his return to England received the thanks of the court of directors ‘for his distinguished merit and attention in the administration of every branch of the company's service during the period in which he held the office of governor-general.’ On 4 April 1807 he was appointed a member of the board of control, an office to which no salary was attached, and four days afterwards was sworn a member of the privy council (London Gazette, 1807, pp. 422, 449). He occasionally transacted business at the board of control, or at the Cockpit, where as a privy councillor he sometimes decided Indian appeals with Sir William Grant and Sir John Nicholl. But he soon lost all interest in Indian affairs, and occupied the greater part of his time in religious and philanthropic matters, though he nominally remained a member of the board until February 1828.

He never took his seat in the Irish House of Lords, nor was he elected a representative peer after the union. He was twice examined before the House of Commons on Indian affairs, on 18 June 1806 (Parl. Papers, 1806–7, No. 240–41), and on 30 March 1813 (ib. 1812–13, vii. 9–20). In consequence of the order of the House of Commons for Teignmouth's attendance on the first occasion, the House of Lords on 19 July 1806 passed a resolution maintaining the privilege of peerage as apart from the privilege of parliament (Journals of the House of Lords, xlv. 812). This resolution, however, was not communicated to the commons, and on the second occasion the order of the commons for Teignmouth's attendance was not questioned by the lords (Diary and Corr. of Lord Colchester, 1861, ii. 69, 442; May, Parl. Practice, 1893, pp. 403–4).

Shore became a prominent member of the evangelical party known as the Clapham sect, which included the Thorntons, Charles Grant, John Venn, Zachary Macaulay, and William Wilberforce. From 1802 to 1808 he lived at Clapham. In the latter year he removed to London, where he passed the remainder of his days. Shore was elected the first president of the British and Foreign Bible Society on 14 May 1804, and held that office until the end of his life. He took an active part in the various controversies to which that institution gave rise, and gave his decision in favour of the exclusion of the apocryphal books from all editions of the Bible issued by the society. He died at his house in Portman Square on 14 Feb. 1834, aged 82, and was buried in Marylebone parish church, where a monument was erected to his memory.

Teignmouth had three sons and six daughters by his wife, who died on 13 July 1834. He was succeeded in the title by his eldest son, Charles John Shore, who represented Marylebone in the House of Commons from March 1838 to June 1841, and died on 18 Sept. 1885.

Teignmouth was a hard-working and useful administrator. His talents were moderate, and his religious views were strong; but of his ‘integrity, humanity, and honour it is impossible to speak too highly’ (Lord Macaulay, Edinb. Rev. lxxx. 227).

Teignmouth was elected president of the Royal Society of Literature, but declined the office in favour of Bishop Burgess. He was the intimate friend of Sir William Jones (1746–1794) [q. v.], whom he succeeded as president of the Asiatic Society of Bengal on 22 May 1794, when he delivered an address on the ‘Literary History’ of his predecessor (London, 1795, 8vo), which has been frequently reprinted, and has been translated into Italian. Three of his contributions to the society are printed in ‘Asiatick Researches’ (ii. 307–22, 383–7, iv. 331– 350). He translated in three manuscript volumes the Persian version of an abridgment of the ‘Jôg Bashurst,’ but afterwards destroyed them in consequence of the little encouragement which his translations of Persian versions of Hindoo authors received. He wrote a number of articles for the ‘Christian Observer,’ and the earlier annual reports of the Bible Society were wholly written by him. He was also the author of some mediocre verse.

He published: 1. ‘Memoirs of the Life, Writings, and Correspondence of Sir William Jones,’ London, 1804, 4to. This passed through several editions, and formed vols. i. and ii. of ‘The Works of Sir William Jones,’ which were edited by Lady Jones (London, 1807, 8vo, 13 vols.). 2. ‘Considerations on the Practicability, Policy, and Obligation of communicating to the Natives of India the Knowledge of Christianity. With Observations on the “Prefatory Remarks” to a pamphlet published by Major Scott Waring. By a late Resident in Bengal,’ London, 1808, 8vo. 3. ‘A Letter to the Rev. Christopher Wordsworth, D.D., in reply to his Strictures on the British and Foreign Bible Society,’ London, 1810, 8vo. 4. ‘Thoughts on the Providence of God,’ London, 1834, 8vo (anon.).

A portrait of Teignmouth was painted by Arthur William Devis [q. v.]

[Memoir of the Life and Correspondence of John, Lord Teignmouth, by his son Charles, second Baron Teignmouth (with portrait), 1843; Christian Observer, xxxiv. 261–300; the Bible Society Monthly Reporter, 1891, pp. 71–7, 108–11, 124–7; Correspondence of Charles, Marquess Cornwallis, 1859; Sir W. W. Hunter's Bengal manuscript Records, 1894, i. 11–139; Sir John Malcolm's Political History of India, 1826, i. 117–193, vol. ii. App. pp. xliv–lxvi; Mill and Wilson's History of India, 1840, i. 242 n., v. 468–640, vi. 1–70; Thornton's History of the British Empire in India, 1858, pp. 218–19, 223–30; Marshman's History of India, 1867, ii. 30–6, 51–70; Edinburgh Review, lxxx. 283–291; Athenæum 1843, pp. 564–6; Monthly Review, July 1843, pp. 336–9; Gent. Mag. 1834 i. 552–3, 1843 ii. 339–56; Annual Register, 1834, App. to Chron. p. 212; Burke's Peerage, 1896, p. 1401; Dodwell and Miles's Bengal Civil Servants, 1839, p. xvii; India List, 1896, pp. 119, 121; Haydn's Book of Dignities, 1890; Butler's Lists of Harrow School, 1849; Brit. Mus. Cat.]

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Progress of British Newspapers in the 19th Century
Published by Simpkin, Marshall & Co.

Page:EB1911 - Volume 19.djvu/590

India.—For a considerable period under the rule of the East India Company the Indian press was very unimportant both in character and influence. It was permitted to shape its course and to gain a position as it could, under the potent checks of the deportation power and the libel law, without any direct censorship. Nor was it found difficult to inflict exemplary punishment on the writers of “offensive paragraphs.”

Prior to Lord Wellesley's administration the most considerable newspapers published at Calcutta were the World, the Bengal Journal, the Hurkaru, the Calcutta Gazette (the organ of the Bengal government), the Telegraph, the Calcutta Courier, the Asiatic Mirror and the Indian Gazette. Mr Duane, the editor of the World, was sent to Europe in 1794 for “an inflammatory address to the army,” as was Mr Charles Maclean, four years afterwards for animadverting in the Telegraph on the official conduct of a local magistrate.

The Calcutta Englishman dates from 1821. Lord Wellesley was the first governor-general who created a censorship (April 1799). His press-code was abolished by the Marquis of Hastings in 1818. The power of transporting obnoxious editors to Europe of course remained. Perhaps the most conspicuous instance of its exercise was the removal of the editor of the Calcutta Journal (Silk Buckingham), which occurred immediately after Lord Hastings's departure from India and during the government of his temporary successor, Mr John Adam. Buckingham's departure was followed closely (14th March 1823) by a new licensing act, far exceeding in stringency that, of Lord Wellesley, and (5th April 1823) by an elaborate “Regulation for preventing the Establishment of Printing-Presses without Licence, and for restraining under certain circumstances the Circulation of Printed Books and Papers.” The first application of it was to suppress the Calcutta Journal.

In the course of the elaborate inquiry into the administration of India which occupied both Houses of Parliament in 1832, prior to the renewal of the Company's charter, it was stated that there were, besides 5 native journals, 6 European newspapers: three daily, the Bengal Hurkaru, John Bull and the Indian Gazette; one published twice a week, the Government Gazette; and two weekly the Bengal Herald and the Oriental Observer. At this period every paper was published under a licence, revocable at pleasure, with or without previous inquiry or notice. At Madras, on the other hand, the press remained under rigid restriction. The Madras censorship was removed whilst the parliamentary inquiry of 1832 was still pending.

One question only, and that but for a brief interval, disturbed Lord William Bentinck's love of free discussion. The too famous “Half-Batta” measure led him to think that a resolute persistence in an unwise policy by the home government against the known convictions of the men actually at the helm in India and an unfettered press were two things that could scarcely co-exist. It was on this occasion that Sir Charles Metcalfe recorded his minute of September 1830, the reasoning of which fully justifies the assertion—“I have, for my own part, always advocated the liberty of the press, believing its benefits to outweigh its mischiefs; and I continue of the same opinion.” This opinion was amply carried out in the memorable law (drafted by Macaulay and enacted by Metcalfe as governor-general in 1835), which totally abrogated the licensing system. It left all men at liberty to express their sentiments on public affairs, under the legal and moral responsibilities of ordinary life, and remained in force until the outbreak of the mutiny of 1857.

In 1853 Garcin de Tassy, when opening at Paris his annual course of lectures on the Hindustani language, enumerated and gave some interesting details concerning twenty-seven journals (of all sorts) in Hindustani. In 1860 he made mention of seventeen additional ones. Of course the circulation and the literary merits of all of them were relatively small. One, however, he said, had reached a sale of 4000 copies.[1]

In 1857 Lord Canning's law, like that of 1823, on which it was closely modelled, absolutely prohibited the keeping or using of printing-presses, types or other materials for printing, in any part of the territories in the possession and under the government of the East Indian Company, except with the previous sanction and licence of government, and also gave full powers for the seizure and prohibition from circulation of all books and papers, whether printed within the Indian territories or elsewhere.

In 1878 an act was passed, which long remained in force, regulating the vernacular press of India: “Printers or publishers of journals in Oriental languages must, upon demand by the due officer, give bond not to print or publish in such newspapers anything likely to excite feelings of disaffection to the government or antipathy between persons of different castes or religions, or for purposes of extortion. Notification of warning is to be made in the official gazette if these regulations be infringed (whether there be bond or not); on repetition, a warrant is to issue for seizure of plant, &c.; if a deposit have been made, forfeiture is to ensue. Provision is made not to exact a deposit if there be an agreement to submit to a government officer proofs before publication.” After the disturbances of 1908-1909 further and more stringent regulations were made.

The Indian Daily Mirror (1863) was the first Indian daily in English edited by natives.
The total number of journals of all kinds published within all the territories of British India was reported by the American consular staff in 1882 as 373, with an estimated average aggregate circulation per issue of 288,300 copies. Of these, 43, with an aggregate circulation of 56,650 copies, were published in Calcutta; 60, with an aggregate circulation of 51,776 copies, at Bombay. In 1900 it appeared from the official tables that there were about 600 newspapers, so called, published in the Indian empire, of which about one-third, mostly dailies, were in the Indian vernaculars. Calcutta had 15 dailies (Calcutta Englishman, &c.); Bombay 2 (Bombay Gazette); Madras 4 (Madras Mail); Rangoon 3 (Rangoon Times); Allahabad 2 (Pioneer); Lahore 2 (Civil and Military Gazette).

Authorities.—For late developments, see Mitchell's, Sell's and Willing's Press Directories. For historical information: J. B. W. Williams, Hist. of British Journalism to the Foundation of the Gazette (1908); H. R. Fox-Bourne, English Newspapers (1877); “The Newspaper Press,” Quarterly Review, cl. 498-537 (October, 1889); Hatton, Journalistic London (1882); Pebody's English Journalism (1882); Progress of British Newspapers in the 19th Century (1901; published by Simpkin, Marshall & Co.); Andrews, History of British Journalism (2 vols., 1860); Hunt, The Fourth Estate; Grant, The Newspaper Press (3 vols., 1871-1873); Plummer, “The British Newspaper Press,” Companion to the Almanac (1876); Nichols, Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century, iv. 33-97. (H. Ch.)
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Lord William Bentinck
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/27/21

Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Lord William Bentinck, GCB GCH
Governor-General of India
In office: 4 July 1828 – 20 March 1835
Monarch: William IV
Prime Minister: Henry Addington; William Pitt the Younger; The Lord Grenville
Succeeded by: Sir Charles Metcalfe (As Acting Governor-General),
Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William
In office: 2 July 1826 – 1833
Monarch: George IV; William IV
Prime Minister: The Duke of Wellington; The Earl Grey
Preceded by: William Butterworth Bayley (Acting Governor-General)
Governor of Madras
In office: 30 August 1803 – 11 September 1807
Monarch: George III
Prime Minister: The Earl Grey; The Viscount Melbourne; The Duke of Wellington; Sir Robert Peel
Preceded by: The 2nd Baron Clive
Succeeded by: William Petrie (Acting Governor)
Personal details
Born: 14 September 1774, Buckinghamshire, England
Died: 17 June 1839 (aged 64), Paris, France
Nationality: British
Political party: Whig
Spouse(s): Lady Mary Acheson ​(m. 1803)​
Parents: William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland; Lady Dorothy Cavendish
Education: Westminster School
Awards: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath; Royal Guelphic Order
Military service
Branch/service: British Army
Years of service: 1791–1839
Rank: Lieutenant-General
Commands: 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons; Commander-in-Chief, India
Battles/wars: Napoleonic Wars

Lord William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck GCB GCH PC (14 September 1774 – 17 June 1839), known as Lord William Bentinck, or simply Lord Bentinck, was a British soldier and statesman.[1] He served as Governor-General of India from 1828 to 1835. He has been credited for significant social and educational reforms in India including abolishing sati, suppressing female infanticide and human sacrifice.[2] Bentinck said that "the dreadful responsibility hanging over his head in this world and the next, if… he was to consent to the continuance of this practice (sati) one moment longer." Bentinck after consultation with the army and officials passed the Bengal Sati Regulation, 1829 there was little opposition.[3] The only challenge came from the Dharma Sabha which appealed in the Privy Council, however the ban on Sati was upheld.[4] He ended lawlessness by eliminating thuggee – which had existed for over 450 years – with the aid of his chief captain, William Henry Sleeman. Along with Thomas Babington Macaulay he introduced English as the language of instruction in India.[5][6][7]


Bentinck was born in Buckinghamshire, the second son of Prime Minister William Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland, and Lady Dorothy (née Cavendish), only daughter of William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire. On the marriage the family name became Cavendish-Bentinck.[8]

He was educated at Westminster School, a boys' public school in Westminster, London.[9]

Early career

In 1783, at the age of 9, he was given the sinecure of Clerk of the Pipe for life.[10]

Bentinck joined the Coldstream Guards on 28 January 1791 at the age of 16, purchasing an ensign's commission.[11] He was promoted to captain-lieutenant (lieutenant) in the 2nd Regiment of Dragoons on 4 August 1792,[12] and to captain in the 11th Regiment of Light Dragoons on 6 April 1793.[13] He was promoted to major in the 28th Foot on 29 March 1794[14] and to lieutenant-colonel in the 24th Dragoons that July.[15] On 9 January 1798, Bentinck was promoted to colonel.[16] In 1803 he was, to some surprise, appointed Governor of Madras, and was promoted to major-general on 1 January 1805.[17] Although his tenure was moderately successful, it was brought to an end by the Vellore Mutiny in 1806, prompted by Bentinck's order that the native troops be forbidden to wear their traditional attire. Only after serious violence was order restored and the offending policy rescinded, and Bentinck was recalled in 1807.

After service in the Peninsular War, Bentinck was appointed commander of British troops in Sicily. He was brevetted to lieutenant-general on 3 March 1811.[18] A Whig, Bentinck used this position to meddle in internal Sicilian affairs, effecting the withdrawal from government of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies in favour of his son, Francis I of the Two Sicilies, the reactionary Queen's disgrace, and an attempt to devise a constitutional government for the troubled island, all of which ultimately ended in failure. In 1814, Bentinck landed with British and Sicilian troops at Genoa, and commenced to make liberal proclamations of a new order in Italy which embarrassed the British government (which intended to give much of Italy to Austria), and led, once again, to his recall in 1815.

Bentinck in Sicily

As conditions in Sicily began to deteriorate at the beginning of the 19th century, England began worrying about its interests in the Mediterranean. Internal dissensions in the Sicilian government and an ever-increasing suspicion that Queen Maria Carolina was in correspondence with the French Occupation of Sicily as its object led to the appointment of Bentinck as British representative to the Court of Palermo in July 1811.[19] At the beginning of his time at the head of Sicilian affairs, politicians in London opposed the Bourbon rule and appealed for Sicilian annexation. Bentinck was sympathetic to the cause and plight of the Sicilians and "was quickly convinced of the need for Britain to intervene in Sicilian affairs, not so much for Britain's sake as for the well-being of the Sicilians."[20] He was also one of the first of the dreamers to see a vision of a unified Italy.[19]

The English, however, were content to support the Bourbons if they were willing to give the Sicilians more governmental control and a greater respect of their rights. Bentinck saw this as the perfect opportunity to insert his ideas of a Sicilian constitution. Opposition to the establishment of a constitution continued to surface, Maria Carolina proving to be one of the toughest. Her relationship with Bentinck can be summed up in the nickname that she gave him: La bestia feroce (the ferocious beast).[20] Bentinck, however, was determined to see the establishment of a Sicilian Constitution and shortly thereafter exiled Maria Carolina from Palermo. On 18 June 1812 the Parliament assembled in Palermo and, about a month later, on 20 July 1812 the constitution was accepted and written on the basis of 15 articles, on the drafts prepared by Prince Belmonte and other Sicilian noblemen. With the establishment of the constitution the Sicilians had now gained an autonomy they had never experienced before. The constitution set up the separation of the legislative and executive powers and abolished the feudalistic practices that had been established and recognised for the past 700 years.[19]

Bentinck's success in establishing a Sicilian constitution lasted only a few years. On 8 December 1816, a year after Ferdinand IV returned to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the constitution was abolished and Sicily was reunited with Naples. The constitutional experiment was deemed a failure although it cannot be said to be his alone.[19] The Sicilian nobles were inexperienced and in the face of the difficulties of 1814 and 1815 could not sustain a constitution without British support, which was withdrawn in the wake of the end of the Napoleonic wars. The British no longer had an invested interest in the internal affairs of Sicily now that the threat of French invasion had been removed. The establishment of a Sicilian constitution that was facilitated by Bentinck was not to be soon forgotten. The ideas found therein and the small taste of freedom lingered in the memories of the Sicilians and had an influence on the desire for autonomy that was at the base of the Sicilian revolutions of 1820 and 1848.[20]

Italian adventure

Elisa Bonaparte; whom Bentinck would not countenance retaining the Principality of Lucca and Piombino, first granted to her by Napoleon in 1805.

Territory of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in 1796

Northern Italy in 1814.

Portrait of Napoleon as King of Italy. He renounced the Italian throne, along with the French, on 11 April 1814.

Sailing from Sicily on 30 January 1814, Bentinck first made for Naples. There he reluctantly signed an armistice with Joachim Murat; whom he personally detested as being a man whose "whole life had been a crime," yet whom Britain found it expedient to detach from his brother-in-law, Napoleon, by guaranteeing his Kingdom of Naples in return for an alliance.[21] Having instructed the forces under his command in Sicily to make a landing at Livorno, Bentinck then travelled north, with a day's stop in Rome, to join them.[22] The disembarkation at Livorno began on the 9 March and took three days to complete, Murat's Neapolitans already having occupied the port beforehand.[23]

Napoleon's sister Elisa, though having now abandoned her Grand Duchy of Tuscany, had nevertheless not given up completely in attempting to salvage something out of the collapse of her brother's Empire. Having obtained from Murat - husband of her sister Caroline - the guarantee that he would obtain the consent of the Coalition he had just joined to her retention of the Principality of Lucca and Piombino in return for having rendered up Tuscany without a fight, she had, by the time of Bentinck's appearance at Livorno, retired to Lucca. Upon hearing of his landing, she sent a delegation to gain assurances that Murat's pact would be respected. Bentinck replied that it would not. If she did not depart immediately, he said, she would arrested. With 2,000 British troops dispatched towards the city to carry out this threat, the heavily pregnant Elisa had no choice but to abandon the last of her territories and flee north, where she eventually fell into allied hands at Bologna.[24]

Elisa quit Lucca on the 13 March. The next day, Bentinck issued a proclamation from Livorno calling on the Italian nation to rise in a movement of liberation. "Italians!" he declared, "Great Britain has landed her troops on your shores; she holds out her hand to you to free you from the iron yoke of Buonaparte...hesitate no longer...assert your rights and your liberty. Call us, and we will hasten to you, and then, our forces joined, will effect that Italy may become what in the best times she was".[25] In thus attempting to bring about his long-nurtured dream of an independent Italian nation-state in the north and centre (he did not consider the Neapolitans and Sicilians 'Italians'),[26] Bentinck was quite publicly repudiating the policy of his own Government - which was intending to largely restore the status quo ante bellum in Italy; with Austria in possession of Lombardy and the King of Sardinia re-established in Piedmont. For the next month, Bentinck was therefore operating as effectively an independent actor representative of Britain only, as Rosselli says, in the widest sense: in that he held himself to be furthering Britain's true interests, regardless of whether the current Government recognised them or not.[27]

Ordering his troops north to besiege Genoa, Bentinck himself now headed to Reggio Emilia for a conference with Murat. At this conference on the 15th, he brazenly demanded that Tuscany be handed over to himself and evacuated by the Neapolitan forces then in possession of it. It was necessary, he argued, that Tuscany be under British jurisdiction, as otherwise he would have no logistical base from which to conduct future operations - to which Murat replied that it was the same argument on his side which dictated his own necessary possession of it.[28] Suddenly threatening to turn his forces against Naples itself and restore the rightful Ferdinand IV if Murat did not give way, Bentinck was quickly reprimanded in a firm note from Castlereagh reminding him that he was instructed to co-operate in every way with Murat and Austria. At which he reluctantly withdrew his bid for Tuscany - which he had likely been hoping to turn into the nucleus of a free Italian state under his own aegis - and left for Genoa.[29] There had, in any case, been no discernable response from the Tuscans to Bentinck's proclamation, while in Genoa he would find a welcoming audience at last.[30]

Bentinck had been ordered to take and occupy Genoa in the name of the King of Sardinia.[31] But when the city surrendered to him on 18 April 1814, he instead proclaimed - contrary to the intentions of the Coalition - the restoration of the Republic of Genoa and the repeal of all laws passed since 1797, much to the enthusiasm of the Genoese.[32] At the same time, he dispatched an expeditionary force to Corsica to attempt to revive the Anglo-Corsican Kingdom of 1794–1796 and gain for Britain another useful base in the Mediterranean.[33] In Genoa meanwhile, on the 24th, he received representations from the provisional government in Milan beseeching Britain's support for the maintenance of an independent Kingdom of Italy rather than the restoration of Austria's rule over Lombardy. With Napoleon's abdication of both the French and Italian thrones on 11 April, the government in Milan was in search of a new sovereign who would better bolster their chances of survival and, in seeking to bind Britain to their cause, the suggestion was put to Bentinck that Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, the seventh son of George III, would be a welcome candidate.[33] Though Bentinck recommended they might look to Archduke Francis of Este as a more realistic candidate in order to mollify the Austrians.

With Napoleon's double abdication on the 11 April however - though the news took time to cross the Alps - Bentinck's capacity to influence events on the ground while, with the war against the Emperor still raging, all was still to a great extent up in the air, largely came to an end. As did his Government's motive for toleration. His erratic behaviour over the recent months had led the Prime Minister Lord Liverpool to brand him simply "mad", and his scope of authority was sharply reduced; though he was not finally dismissed from his grand post as Commander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean until April the following year.

Governor-General of India

Lord William Bentinck was the first governor general of British-occupied India . Everyone else before him was the governor of Bengal (Fort William) On his return to England, Bentinck served in the House of Commons for some years before being appointed Governor-General of Bengal in 1828. His principal concern was to turn around the loss-making East India Company, to ensure that its charter would be renewed by the British government.

Lady William Cavendish-Bentinck (c 1783–1843) (Ellen Sharples)

Bentinck engaged in an extensive range of cost-cutting measures, earning the lasting enmity of many military men whose wages were cut. Although historians emphasise his more efficient financial management, his modernising projects also included a policy of westernisation, influenced by the Utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and James Mill, which was more controversial. He reformed the court system

Educational reforms

Bentinck made English the medium of instruction[34] after passing the English Education Act 1835. English replaced Persian as the language of the higher courts. He founded the Calcutta Medical college after the committee appointed by him found that "The Native Medical Institution established in 1822 , The Committee headed by Dr John Grant as president and J C C Sutherland, C E Trevelyan, Thomas Spens, Ram Comul Sen and M J Bramley as members found the education, examination system, training and lack of practical anatomy clearly below standards" and recommended its closure, which Bentinck accepted and he opened the Calcutta Medical college which offered western medical education and opening of this college is seen as Introduction of Western Science into India.It was the first western medical college in Asia and it was open to all without distinction of caste or creed. James Ranald Martin compares the creation of this college to Bentinck's other acclaimed act of abolishing Sati[35][36][37][38][39][40]

Social reforms

Abolition of Sati

Bentinck decided to put an immediate end to Sati immediately upon his arrival in Calcutta. Ram Mohan Roy warned Bentinck against abruptly ending Sati. However, after observing that the judges in the courts were unanimously in favor of the ban, Bentinck proceeded to lay the draft before his council. Charles Metcalfe, the Governor's most prominent counselor, expressed apprehension that the banning of Sati might be "used by the disaffected and designing" as "an engine to produce insurrection." However these concerns did not deter him from upholding the Governor's decision "in the suppression of the horrible custom by which so many lives are cruelly sacrificed."[41]

Thus on Sunday morning of 4 December 1829 Lord Bentinck issued Regulation XVII declaring Sati to be illegal and punishable in criminal courts. It was presented to William Carey for translation. His response is recorded as follows: "Springing to his feet and throwing off his black coat he cried, 'No church for me to-day... If I delay an hour to translate and publish this, many a widow's life may be sacrificed,' he said. By evening the task was finished."[42]

On 2 February 1830 this law was extended to Madras and Bombay.[43] The ban was challenged by a petition signed by "several thousand… Hindoo inhabitants of Bihar, Bengal, Orissa etc"[44] and the matter went to the Privy Council in London. Along with British supporters, Ram Mohan Roy presented counter-petitions to parliament in support of ending Sati. The Privy Council rejected the petition in 1832, and the ban on Sati was upheld.[45]

Ban on female infanticide and human sacrifice

Bentinck prohibited female infanticide and the custom of certain of newly born girls to be killed and against human sacrifices. Although his reforms met little resistance among native Indians at the time, Indian enemies repeated a story to the effect that he had once planned to demolish the Taj Mahal and sell off the marble. According to Bentinck's biographer John Rosselli, the story arose from Bentinck's fund-raising sale of discarded marble from Agra Fort and of the metal from the Great Agra Gun, the largest cannon ever cast, a historical artefact which dated to the reign of Akbar the Great.[46][47] Bentinck removed flogging as a punishment in the Indian Army.[48]

Saint Helena Act 1833

The Saint Helena Act 1833, also called the Charter Act of 1833, was passed during Bentinck's tenure and, accordingly, the monopoly of the East India Company was abolished. The Governor-General of Bengal became the Governor-General of India. This Act added a law member to the executive council of the governor general. Bishops of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta were to be appointed for the benefit of the Christians in India.

Bentinck returned to the UK in 1835 and refused a peerage, partly because he had no children and partly because he wanted to stand for Parliament again. He again entered the House of Commons as a Member for Glasgow.[49]

Personal life

Memorial at the Bentinck family vault in St Marylebone Parish Church, London

In August 1791, Bentinck played in a non-first-class cricket match for Marylebone Cricket Club against Nottingham Cricket Club at King's Meadow, Nottingham.[50][51]

Bentinck married Lady Mary, daughter of Arthur Acheson, 1st Earl of Gosford, on 18 February 1803.[52] The marriage was childless. He died in Paris on 17 June 1839, aged 64. Mary died in May 1843.[53] They are buried together in the Bentinck family vault in St Marylebone Parish Church, London.


1. "Lord William Bentinck | British government official". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
2. Showick Thorpe Edgar Thorpe (2009). The Pearson General Studies Manual 2009, 1/e. Pearson Education India. pp. 103–. ISBN 978-81-317-2133-9. Retrieved 2 May2018.
3. John Clark Marshman (18 November 2010). History of India from the Earliest Period to the Close of the East India Company's Government. Cambridge University Press. pp. 357–. ISBN 978-1-108-02104-3. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
4. S. Muthiah (2008). Madras, Chennai: A 400-year Record of the First City of Modern India. Palaniappa Brothers. pp. 484–. ISBN 978-81-8379-468-8. Retrieved 7 May2020.
5. Radhey Shyam Chaurasia (2002). History of Modern India, 1707 A. D. to 2000 A. D. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. pp. 113–127. ISBN 978-81-269-0085-5. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
6. Jörg Fisch (2000). "Humanitarian Achievement or Administrative Necessity? Lord William Bentinck and the Abolition of Sati in 1829". Journal of Asian History. 34 (2): 109–134. JSTOR 41933234.
7. Arvind Sharma; Ajit Ray (1988). Sati: Historical and Phenomenological Essays. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 7–9. ISBN 978-81-208-0464-7. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
8. Boulger, Demetrius Charles (1897). Rulers of India: Lord William Bentinck. Oxford Clarendon Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-164-16873-7.
9. "Imperial India". Retrieved 27 May 2019.
10. Taylor, Charles. The Literary Panorama, Volume 10. p. 1411.
11. "No. 13278". The London Gazette. 29 January 1791. p. 64.
12. "No. 13446". The London Gazette. 31 July 1792. p. 606.
13. "No. 13516". The London Gazette. 2 April 1793. p. 269.
14. "No. 13635". The London Gazette. 25 March 1794. p. 264.
15. "No. 13686". The London Gazette. 19 July 1794. p. 748.
16. "No. 14080". The London Gazette. 6 January 1798. p. 23.
17. "No. 15770". The London Gazette. 8 January 1805. p. 47.
18. "No. 16460". The London Gazette. 2 March 1811. p. 406.
19. Lackland, H. M. (1927). "Lord William Bentinck in Sicily, 1811–12". The English Historical Review. 42 (167): 371–396. doi:10.1093/ehr/xlii.clxvii.371.
20. Hearder, Harry (1983). Italy in the Age of the Risorgimento 1790–1870. New York: Longmans.
21. Gregory, Sicily: The Insecure Base, 119; Rosselli, Lord William Bentinck, 175.
22. Rosselli, Lord William Bentinck, 173.
23. Nafziger, G. F. & Gioannini M., The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, 1813-1814, 209.
24. Williams, The Women Bonapartes, II, 299–302.
25. The Parliamentary Debates from the Year 1803 to the Present Time, Volume 29, 729.
26. Rosselli, Lord William Bentinck, 151.
27. Rosselli, Lord William Bentinck, 174.
28. Nafziger, G. F. & Gioannini M., The Defense of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Northern Italy, 1813-1814, 210.
29. Gregory, D., Sicily: The Insecure Base, 120.
30. Gregory, D., Napoleon's Italy, 183.
31. Rath, J. R., The Fall of the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, 1814, 186.
32. Gregory, Sicily: The Insecure Base, 120.
33. Boulger, Lord William Bentinck, 52.
34. Olson, James S.; Shadle, Robert S., eds. (1996). "Bentinck, Lord William Cavendish". Historical Dictionary of the British Empire. 1. Greenwood Press. p. 131. ISBN 0-313-29366-X.
35. David Arnold (20 April 2000). Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-0-521-56319-2. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
36. Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya (1999). History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization: pt. 1. Science, technology, imperialism and war. Pearson Education India. pp. 477–. ISBN 978-81-317-2818-5. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
37. Michael Mann (24 October 2014). South Asia's Modern History: Thematic Perspectives. Taylor & Francis. pp. 463–. ISBN 978-1-317-62445-5. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
38. Shamita Chatterjee; Ramdip Ray; Dilip Kumar Chakraborty (3 August 2012). "Medical College Bengal—A Pioneer Over the Eras". Indian Journal of Surgery. 73(3): 385–390. doi:10.1007/s12262-012-0714-2. PMC 3824763. PMID 24426482.
39. "Students demand restoration of the old name of Calcutta Medical College". Krishnendu Bandyopadhyay. The Times of India. 30 January 2018. Retrieved 3 May2018.
40. Mel Gorman (September 1988). "Introduction of Western Science into Colonial India: Role of the Calcutta Medical College". Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. 132 (3): 276–298. JSTOR 3143855. PMID 11621593.
41. H. H. Dodwell (1932). The Cambridge History of the British Empire. CUP Archive. pp. 140–142. GGKEY:ZS3NURDNRFH. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
42. Arvind Sharma; Ajit Ray; Alaka Hejib (1988). Sati: Historical and Phenomenological Essays. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. pp. 7–21. ISBN 978-81-208-0464-7. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
43. Rai, Raghunath. History. p. 137. ISBN 9788187139690.
44. Dodwell 1932 p. 141.
45. Kulkarni, A.R.; Feldhaus, Anne (1996). "Sati in the Maratha Country". Images of Women in Maharashtrian Literature and Religion. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0791428382.
46. Cooper, Randolf (2003). The Anglo-Maratha Campaigns and the Contest for India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 198.
47. Rosselli, J (1974). Lord William Bentinck: the making of a Liberal Imperialist, 1774–1839. London: Chatto and Windus for Sussex University Press. p. 283.
48. S. K. Aggarwal (1 February 1988). Press at the crossroads in India. UDH Publishing House. p. 17. ISBN 978-81-85044-32-3. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
49. Boulger 1897, p. 208.
50. Britcher, Samuel (1791). A list of all the principal Matches of Cricket that have been played (1790 to 1805). MCC. p. 22.
51. Haygarth, Arthur (1862). Scores & Biographies, Volume 1 (1744–1826). Lillywhite. p. 123.
52. Boulger 1897, p. 17.
53. Boulger 1897, p. 148.

Further reading

• "Bentinck, Lord William Henry Cavendish". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2161. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
• Rulers of India: Lord William Bentinck – available at the Internet Archive
• Belliapa, C. P. (21 April 2014). "On William Bentinck's trail". Deccan Herald (Bangalore). Retrieved 19 January 2015.
• Harrington, Jack (2010), Sir John Malcolm and the Creation of British India, Ch. 5., New York: Palgrave Macmillan., ISBN 978-0-230-10885-1
• Wiskemann, Elizabeth. "Lord William Bentinck Precursor of the Risorgimento." History Today (1952) 2#7 pp 492-499 online.

External links

• Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Lord William Bentinck
• Biography of Lord William Bentinck, includes links to online catalogues, from Manuscripts and Special Collections, The University of Nottingham
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Part 1 of 7

A Sketch of the History of the Indian Press, During the Last Ten Years: With a Biographical Account of Mr. James Silk Buckingham
by Sandford Arnot
Member of the Asiatic Society of Paris
Second Edition

“Is it British justice, for the faults imputed to one man to punish millions?

-- Memorial of the Natives of India to the King of England.


• Errata
• To the Conductors of the Public Press of Great Britain
• History of the British Press in India, viz.
• I. During the Administration of the Marquis of Hastings
• II. Under the Administration of the Hon. John Adam
• III. Under the Government of Lord Amherst
• Proceedings in England Connected with the Indian Press
• Discovery of reason to believe that Mr. B. had abstracted nearly £10,000 from the cause of the Indian Press
• Biographical sketch of Mr. James Silk Buckingham
• Causes of this Publication connected with the above Discovery
• Suppressed Defence of Mr. Arnot against the Calumnies invented by Mr. J.S. Buckingham, in revenge for the above Discovery
• Apology for him by his Agents in India, not denying the charge
• Reply to the same by "NO DUPE", maintaining it as proved
• Remarks on the Apology, showing its weakness
• History of his conduct to Mr. St. John, his literary Coadjutor in England
• Mr. Buckingham as an Itinerant Orator
• Peter the Hermit's Cave -- Description of the alleged "obscure Lodgings in the outskirts of London," to which the soi-disant [Google translate: Supposedly] Patriot and Martyr, "Peter the Hermit," retired to "drink the chrystal stream," as given out, while soliciting charitable relief, by boards pasted up all over London, begging for the smallest pittance to alleviate his distress
• Proofs and Illustrations, and Catalogue of Mr. B.'s Contradictions, being an Analysis of printed Notarial Documents annexed


Page / Line

14 / 15 / For “before," read “for. "
15 / 25 / For £4,500, read £4,000.
18 / 17 / For Sir, read Mr.
19 / 21 / For “ Shewing,” read “ Knowing."
-- / 22 / After which, read "at."
22 / 31 / For "Turlon," read "Turton."
30 / 1 / For "persons," read "previous."
59 / last line, / After "know" omit the semicolon.
80 /40 / For £500, read £1050.

To the Conductors of the Public Press of Great Britain

I know not to whom I can so appropriately dedicate the following brief history of the Indian Press, during the last ten years, as to you who have nourished it from your inexhaustible intellectual stores, stimulated it by your example, and sympathised in its misfortunes. The account of these you will not read with the less interest, that the author of it was him self a participator in the events which he describes; and may, therefore, with justice say in the words of the ancient: quæque miserrima vidi, et quorum pars fui. [Google translate: I saw the most miserable, the Jews established, and of which I was a part of.]

2, South Crescent,
Bedford Square.



As the publication of the following statement of facts arose out of circumstances beyond my control, I claim no merit in bringing it before the world. All that remains in my power is to render the publication as subservient as possible to the public good, and to the cause of truth, by accompanying it with such explanations as will place in a true light an important question with which it is connected.

It is, indeed, the duty of every man who has suffered in a public cause, to embrace every fair opportunity of stating to the world his reasons for supporting it and the dangers to which it is exposed, either from professed friends or open foes. No phrase is more commonly in every one's mouth than that the character of public men is public "property." If so, it is the duty of the public to ascertain with the greatest care what that character is, that they may know whether or not their property be a good one, and the tenure by which they hold it secure. It is, above all, the duty of those who are friendly to the same cause, to ascertain that they entrust its advocacy into the most trustworthy hands: for surely no wise people engaged in any contest would entrust the command of an important post to a person of whose honesty they were not perfectly secure; or, to come to more every-day transactions, no prudent merchant would leave his vessel in charge of a pilot, however expert and daring, if there was reason to apprehend that, from want of principle and to serve his own purposes, the pilot would run the vessel upon the rocks.

Just so has the cause of the Indian Press been already shipwrecked; and it is my painful duty to describe by whom, and by what means, it has been ruined: ruined for a time, at least; and if it should ever recover that shock, the best service I can render it is by a faithful account of the causes of its past misfortunes, to guard its friends against similar dangers in future. Ten years ago the censorship had been abolished by the Marquis of Hastings, the then Governor General of India. After he had concluded victoriously two important wars, and secured the country from foreign aggression and internal pillage, thereby placing the hundred millions under his sway in tranquillity and peace, to improve their condition still more, he gave them a press, through which they might explain their wants and wishes, free from the control of a censor. This act was applauded all over the East, and hailed as the commencement of a new and glorious era in India, as shewn by the address presented to his Lordship by "about five-hundred of the most enlightened Gentlemen of Madras," who manfully raised their voices in its favour, notwithstanding the Government of that Presidency was adverse to the measure. (Vide the Hon. Col. Stanhope's History of the Indian Press, p.82). These five hundred included the chief justice and judges, and law officers of his Majesty's Supreme Court for British law, the chief judge of the Company's Supreme Court for native law (Sudder Adawlut), the residents of Hyderabad and Nagpore, and the Company's principal Staff Officers, &c. &c. &c., men of as high rank and influence in that part of the world, as the ministers and members of the British Cabinet are in England. Nor was the measure without its powerful friends even in this country: what Lord Hastings had done in the East, there was here the immortal eloquence of a Canning ready to defend.

In less than four years from the brilliant period of which I have been speaking, all this had passed away like a refreshing summer cloud, and not a shadow of freedom was left to any press in India. A measure was enacted to silence public discussion, by placing all newspaper property at the mercy of the Government. No public meeting was called, and hardly ten voices were raised in all India against this measure; and when it was afterwards discussed in the Court of East-India Proprietors, the only public body in England likely to take a deep interest in the question, a body, too, into which every liberal man in England, possessed of property, may, if he chooses, enter and declare his sentiments, so low was the cause of the freedom of the Indian Press sunk, that at last hardly three hands were raised in its behalf!

What produced this remarkable and melancholy change? The opponents of the freedom of discussion in India attribute it to the badness of the cause itself; I, however, am prepared to prove that it arose from the lamentable conduct of a person who put himself forward as its advocate, and continued to pervert the energies of the Press to his own selfish purposes, by converting it into an instrument of gratifying his personal piques and vanity, and of levying contributions on the public. This, at least, is the judgment which I have formed, on an extent of experience and knowledge of the subject which few besides myself have had an opportunity to acquire. But the contents of the following pages will enable every reader to judge for himself; and, if I succeed in proving the justness of my opinion, it may be the means of rescuing the cause of the Indian Press from the obloquy which has been brought upon it by the misconduct of its professed friend and advocate: it may be the means of again obtaining for the principle of free discussion, as applied to India, a patient and impartial consideration at the approaching investigation regarding the best mode of governing that important division of the British Empire.

The Marquis of Hastings having been the great founder and patron of the freedom of the Press which existed in India, it is the duty of every friend to that measure to place his character and policy in their just point of view. His new regulation for the Press, dated the 12th of August 1819, which abolished the censorship, was to the following effect, viz.

That Editors of newspapers were prohibited from publishing, 1st. Animadversions on the measures of public authorities in England connected with the Government of India, or on the local administration, the Members of Council, Judges of the Supreme Court, or the Lord Bishop of Calcutta. 2dly, Any thing calculated to excite alarm or suspicion amongst the natives as to any intended interference with their religion. 3dly, Private scandal or personal remarks tending to excite dissention in society.

The consequence that would result from an infraction of these restrictions was stated in these words:

"Relying on the prudence and discretion of the Editors for their careful observance of these rules, the Governor General in Council is pleased to dispense with their submitting their papers to an officer of Government previous to publication. The Editors will, however, be held personally responsible for whatever they may publish in contravention of the rules now communicated, OR which may be otherwise at variance with the general principles of British law as established in this country, and will be proceeded against in such manner as the Governor General in Council may deem applicable to the nature of the offence, for any deviation from them."

Here two classes of offences are clearly pointed out; one class, offences against British law; another class, offences against the rules now laid down for the press. For the first class, the Government might proceed by an action at law in the usual form; for the second, it evidently could not, because they were rules unknown to that law. Some other mode of enforcing them must, therefore, have been in contemplation, or the enactment of Regulations, which there was no power to enforce, would have been an act of mere folly. But the Governor General of India is vested with a power of ordering any British subject (if a native of the United Kingdom) to quit India, and by this power a British editor who resisted the authority of these rules might, consequently, be punished by expulsion from the country. Therefore, in enacting these rules beyond the letter of the law, and announcing that any Editor disregarding them would be "proceeded against," Lord Hastings clearly announced (and could have meant nothing else) that he would exercise the power of "summary transportation without trial," when necessary, as a means of coercing the conductors of the Indian Press, and enforcing the above restrictions after the abolition of the censorship. This is the true character of the act for which he received the applauses of the five hundred enlightened and distinguished residents of Madras, to which he is stated to have returned the following memorable, thousand-times quoted, reply:--

"My removal of restrictions from the Press," (by which his Lordship clearly meant the censorship, a most galling restriction, which he had removed for something far less grievous), "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 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 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."

Previous to this, under the Censorship, no one had the power of publishing any sentiment, however honest, except what the censor pleased to permit: whereas, under Lord Hastings's new regulation, every one had the power of saying everything, as in England, subject only to punishment afterwards, if he contravened the laws or regulations. By the former, the liberty of the press is to this day narrowed in England; by the latter, it was still farther narrowed in India: and to this his Lordship must have alluded, in saying that it was to be narrowed "only by special and urgent cause assigned."

The motives for these limitations on the freedom of discussion may be easily perceived. Censures passed on the Court of Directors, or other public authorities in England, might be supposed incapable of influencing men at such a distance, who, most probably, would never see or read them, or of altering measures already passed; while they might excite a local ferment and opposition abroad, where it could be of no avail, and thereby create alarm at home, and raise up powerful enemies to the very freedom of discussion which the Noble Marquis was so desirous to establish. The same reasoning might be applied to animadversions on the Lord Bishop of Calcutta, Members of Council, Judges of the Supreme Court, &c., viz. that the Press might sting and wound the feelings, but, in the present state of society in India, where so few are independent, could not exercise an efficient control over persons holding the highest rank and authority. Would it be wise, then, to begin by making enemies of those whose opposition might so soon prove fatal to an institution yet in its infancy.* [Vide the Hon, Col. Stanhope's History, p. 54.] Lord Hastings knew that the far-famed Press of England did not attain to its present strength and importance in a day, nor in a century. By prudent and moderate management, he saw that the Press of India might also be gradually nursed into maturity; that the alarms felt on account of its novelty would subside, the benefits of its operation be experienced, and men's minds, by degrees, become accustomed to its controul.

It is lamentable to think that a scheme so full of hope and promise, so enlightened and beneficent, could be thwarted by the turbulent conduct of one man. But,

"The reckless hand which fired th' Ephesian dome,
Outlives in fame the pious sage that raised it,"

and the firebrand, in the present case, was Mr. James Silk Buckingham. No difficult matter was it to excite a flame, if any one was found so imprudent or unprincipled as to apply the torch of discord: for the experiment of introducing freedom of discussion among a hundred millions of Asiatics, was, of itself, of a nature to excite distrust, if not alarm, in the minds of the many whose principle of policy it is to hold fast by that which is established and shun all innovation.

Mr. Buckingham, who conducted a Paper called the "Calcutta Journal," began by extolling the Marquis of Hastings, his character and government, in such terms of adulation, as to excite first jealousy and ultimately disgust; since others, holding a less prominent place in the administration, might justly feel that they had as much merit in the measures adopted as its head, on whom these praises were so extravagantly lavished. From this he gradually proceeded in his praises more pointedly to contra-distinguish the noble Marquis from the rest of the administration, which Mr. B. now taught the public to view as consisting of a good and an evil principle; Lord Hastings representing the former, and his Council, Secretaries, &c. the latter. This personal court to the great man might serve a temporary purpose. Mr. Buckingham, it has since been stated, was then making interest for a situation under the Government. He did not succeed in his object; perhaps the flattery was too gross for the refined sentiments of Lord Hastings. But these crafty artifices did not fail to excite jealousy between him and his Council and official advisers; and these latter being the most permanent elements of the government, who rise successively into power as its heads drop off, their opposition to Lord Hastings' policy, in the end, proved fatal to the liberty of the Press.

They seem to have said to themselves:

"Is any lord or lordling from England to come and reap the benefit of our long-earned experience, and then set up a sycophant to flatter himself as the author of every good thing done, and sneer at us, who have borne the burden and heat of the day, as insignificant underlings?"

The manner in which Mr. Buckingham contrived to create enemies to the freedom of the Press in other quarters, will be best shewn by a brief summary, accompanied with a few extracts from his correspondence with the Government, as published by himself.

1stly. Attack on the highest law authority in India.
-- The feelings of his Majesty's Chief Justice were deeply wounded by a severe animadversion on a transaction, necessarily of a very distressing kind to him, which occurred in his family, allusion to which in a public newspaper was the leas called for, as the affair was of a domestic and private, not of a public or political character; and the less excusable, as the affair, having happened, was such as no censure or regret could remedy or recal. No journalist, therefore, was justified in laying hold of such an opportunity to wound the feelings of a father; and by personal injury, probably render hostile to the Press a person who might have been its most powerful friend, from holding the highest legal office in India. Sir Edward Hyde East had notwithstanding the virtue to speak in favour of the liberty of the Press, if properly used, when it came afterwards under discussion in a case wherein Mr. Buckingham himself was the defendant. His successor in authority, however, avenged his cause by sealing its destruction.

2dly. Attack on the Governor of Madras. On the 18th of June 1819, the Lord Hastings caused the following letter to be addressed to Mr. Buckingham, respecting an attack on Governor Elliott:

Sir, 1. The attention of Government having been drawn to certain paragraphs, published in the Calcutta Journal of Wednesday the 26th ult. I am directed by his Excellency the Most Noble the Governor General in Council, to communicate to you the following remarks regarding them.

2. The paragraphs in question are as follows:-- "Madras. We have received a letter from Madras of the 10th instant, written on deep black-edged mourning post, of considerable breadth, and apparently made for the occasion, communicating, as a piece of melancholy and afflicting intelligence, the fact of Mr. Elliott's being confirmed in the government of that Presidency for three years longer!! It is regarded at Madras as a public calamity, and we fear that it will be viewed in no other light throughout India generally. An anecdote is mentioned in the same letter, regarding the exercise of the censorship of the press, which is worthy of being recorded, as a fact illustrative of the callosity to which the human heart may arrive; and it may be useful, humiliating as it is to the pride of our species, to show what men, by giving loose to the principles of despotism over their fellows, may at length arrive at."

[Then, after stating that the Censor there had prevented the publication of a letter from the Princess Charlotte to her mother, Mr. Buckingham concluded by saying] "that it tended to criminate, by inference, those who were accessory to their unnatural separation, of which party the friends of the DIRECTOR of the Censor of the Press unfortunately were!

3. The Governor General in Council observes that this publication is a wanton attack upon the Governor of the Presidency of Fort St. George, in which his continuance in office is represented as a public calamity, and his conduct in administration asserted to be governed by despotic principles and influenced by unworthy motives.

4. The Governor General in Council refrains from enlarging upon the injurious effect which publications of such a nature are calculated to produce in the due administration of the affairs of this country. It is sufficient to inform you that he considers the paragraphs above quoted to be highly offensive and objectionable in themselves, and to amount to a violation of the obvious spirit of the instructions communicated to the Editors of newspapers, at the period when this Government was pleased to permit the publication of newspapers, without subjecting them to the previous revisions of the officers of Government.

5. The Governor General in Council regrets to observe, that this is not the only instance in which the Calcutta Journal has contained publications at variance with the spirit of the instructions above referred to. On the present occasion, the Governor General in Council does not propose to exercise the powers vested in him by law; but I am directed to acquaint you, that by any repetition or a similar offence, you will be considered to have forfeited all claim to the countenance and protection of this Government, and will subject yourself to be proceeded against under the 36th section of the 53d Geo. III., cap. 155."

To this letter from Lord Hastings his magnanimous and liberal protector, Mr. Buckingham, in reply, concluded with the following sentence:

"The very marked indulgence which his Lordship in Council is pleased to exercise towards me, in remitting on this occasion the exercise of the powers vested in him by law, will operate as an additional incentive to my future observance of the spirit of the instructions issued before the commencement of the Calcutta Journal, to the editors of the public prints of India, in August 1818, of which I am now fully informed, and which I shall henceforth make my guide."

The next attack on the same Government of Madras related to the transmission of his journal by post, which Mr. Buckingham insinuated was impeded in that presidency by the Government, from hostility to its principles. On this Lord Hastings thus commented, in an official letter dated January 12th 1820:

"2. The observations alluded to are clearly intended to convey the impression that the Government of Fort St. George had taken measures to impede the circulation of the Calcutta Journal, which measures were unjust in themselves, and originated in improper motives.

"5. Your remarks on the proceedings of the Government of Fort St. George are obviously in violation of the spirit of those rules to which your particular attention, as the Editor of the Calcutta Journal, has been before called; and the unfounded insinuations conveyed in those remarks greatly aggravate the impropriety of your conduct on this occasion.

"6. The Governor General in Council has perceived with regret the little impression made on you by the indulgence you have already experienced; and I am directed to warn you of the certain consequence of your again incurring the displeasure of Government. In the present instance, his Lordship in Council contents himself with requiring, that a distinct acknowledgment of the impropriety of your conduct, and a full and sufficient apology to the Government of Fort St. George, for the injurious insinuations inserted in your paper of yesterday, with regard to the conduct of that Government, be published in the Calcutta Journal."

In reply, Mr. Buckingham informed Lord Hastings that as he had received an address from Madras complimenting him on his abolition of the Censorship, by the substitution of the more lenient restrictions before mentioned, to which he had replied as above quoted, therefore he (Mr. B.) considered these restrictions as no longer existing!

"I conceived," he says, "that the regulations or restrictions of August 1818, were as formally and effectually abrogated by that step (the reply to the address) as one law becomes repealed by the creation of another, whose provisions and enactions are at variance with the spirit of the former."

This was, in fact, to maintain that an Act of Parliament or an order in Council might be annulled by a speech of the Duke of Wellington at Apsley House, or the City of London Tavern: and that a speech, too, which declared that the liberty of the Press was to be "limited by special cause assigned," must be held to signify and declare, that this liberty was to be quite unlimited! On these grounds the Marquess of Hastings was most disingenuously and ungratefully accused of professing one thing and meaning another. His Lordship, however, magnanimously passed over the imputation on himself, and rested satisfied with an apology being published by Mr. Buckingham, expressing his regret at "having worded the original notice so carelessly as to bear the appearance of disrespectful notice on the Governor of Madras."

3dly. Attack on the highest ecclesiastical authority, the Lord Bishop of Calcutta. This was published on the 10th July 1821, as follows:--

"It is asserted (but I conceive erroneously) that the Chaplains have received orders from the Lord Bishop of Calcutta, not to make themselves amenable to any military or other local authorities; and, therefore, when a young couple at an outpost prefer going to the expense of making the clergyman travel 250 miles to go and marry them, he is at perfect liberty to accept the invitation, and to leave 3000 other Christians, his own parishioners, to bury each other, and postpone all other christian ordinances until his tour is completed, which, in this instance, occupies, I understand, more than three sabbaths.

In consequence of one of these ill-timed matrimonial requisitions in December last, the performance of divine service, and other religious observances of the season, were entirely overlooked at Christmas, which passed by for some Sundays in succession, and Christmas-day included, wholly unobserved,

It would appear, therefore, to be highly expedient, that no Military Chaplain should have the option of quitting the duties of his station, from any misplaced power vested in him by the Lord Bishop, unless he can also obtain the express written permission of the local authorities on the spot to do so, and provided, in all such cases, the season is healthy, and no one dangerously ill, and that he shall unerringly return to the station before the Sunday following, that divine service may never be omitted in consequence of such requisition."

On the name of the author of this statement being asked for by the Government, Mr. Buckingham replied that he did not know any thing about him, as it was anonymous, but that he thought publishing it might be productive of good. To this Lord Hastings sent the following reply:

"It was to have been hoped, that when your attention was called to the nature of the publication in question, you would have felt regret at not having perceived its tendency, and that you would have expressed concern at having unwarily given circulation to a statement which advanced the invidious supposition that the Bishop might have allowed to the Chaplains a latitude for deserting their clerical duties, and disregarding the claims of humanity.

Instead of manifesting any such sentiment, you defend your procedure, by professing that you 'published the letter under the conviction, that a temperate and modest discussion of the inconveniences likely to arise from a want of local control, in certain points, over Military Chaplains, might be productive of public benefit.'

It is gross prostitution of terms to represent as a temperate and modest discussion an anonymous crimination of an individual, involving at the same time an insinuated charge, not the less offensive for being hypothetically put, that his superior might have countenanced the delinquency.

With these particulars before your eyes, and in contempt of former warnings, you did not hesitate to insert in your Journal such a statement from a person of whom you declare yourself to be utterly ignorant, and of whose veracity you consequently could form no opinion. Your defence for so doing is not rested on the merits of the special case. But as your argument must embrace all publications of a corresponding nature, you insist on your right of making your Journal the channel for that species of indirect attack upon character in all instances of a parallel nature.

When certain irksome restraints, which had long existed upon the press in Bengal, were withdrawn, the prospect was indulged that the diffusion of various information, with the able comments which it would call forth, might be extremely useful to all classes of our countrymen in public employment. A paper conducted with temper and ability, on the principles professed by you at the outset of your undertaking, was eminently calculated to forward this view. The just expectations of Government have not been answered. Whatsoever advantages have been attained, they have been overbalanced by the mischief of acrimonious dissensions, spread through the medium of your Journal. Complaint upon complaint is constantly harrassing Government, regarding the impeachment which your loose publications cause to be inferred against individuals. As far as could be reconciled with duty, Government has endeavoured to shut its eyes on what it wished to consider thoughtless aberrations, though perfectly sensible of the practical objections which attends these irregular appeals to the public. Even if the matter submitted be correct, the public can afford no relief, while a communication to the constituted authorities would effect sure redress; yet the idleness of recurrence to a wrong quarter is not all that is reprehensible, for that recurrence is to furnish the dishonest conclusion of sloth or indifference in those bound to watch over such points of the general interest. Still the Government wished to overlook minor editorial inaccuracies. The subject has a different complexion when you, Sir, stand forth to vindicate the principle of such appeals, whatsoever slander upon individuals they may involve, and when you maintain the privilege of lending yourself to be the instrument of any unknown calumniator. Government will not tolerate so mischievous an abuse. It would be with undissembled regret that the Governor General in Council should find himself constrained to exercise the chastening power vested in him; nevertheless he will not shrink from its exertion, where he may be conscientiously satisfied that the preservation of decency and the comfort of society, required it to be applied. I am thence, Sir, instructed to give you this intimation: should Government observe that you persevere in acting on the principle which you have now asserted, there will be no previous discussion of any case in which you may be judged to have violated those laws of moral candour and essential justice, which are equally binding on all descriptions of the community. You will at once be apprized that your license to reside in India is annulled, and you will be required to furnish security for your quitting the country by the earliest convenient opportunity."

From the indignant tone of this letter, and the expressions with which it concludes, respecting the necessity of adhering to the laws of "moral candour and essential justice," it is plain that Lord Hastings now had become convinced that he had been trifled with, by promises never meant to be fulfilled, and that his liberal and generous forbearance and protection were met with quibbling sophistry and hollow professions, only made to be broken as soon as they had served the temporary purpose of averting immediate punishment; that, in short, he was not dealing with a man who had a mind impressed with those principles of rectitude, or that standard of action called "conscience," which might have guided him to observe common candour and fairness in his dealings.

In reply, Mr. Buckingham tacitly admitted that, in forming this judgment of him, Lord Hastings was not far from correct. The old censorship had been bad; the new restrictions were bad; but that the conductors of the press were to be guided by the rules of common honesty, he held to be worse still.

"I must now (he says), I fear, consider your letter of the 17th as establishing a new criterion, in lieu of the former, more safe, because more clearly defined guides for publication." Common honesty and justice, a new and severe criterion for him, though the judge were one of the most pure and magnanimous of men! But, indeed, he might think that the more upright the judge, so much the worse for the transgressor. In conclusion, Mr. Buckingham says:

"If so severe a punishment as banishment and ruin is to be inflicted on a supposed violation of the laws of moral candour and essential justice, of which I know not where to look for any definite standard, I fear that my best determinations will be of no avail."

Lord Hastings might have replied, that all good men look in their own breasts to the standard of honesty, which God has planted there. That it is to this standard, under heaven, all human actions must ultimately be referred, whether it be applied in the form of trial by jury, decision by a single judge, by a bench of justices, by a Governor, or by a Council: therefore no Government has yet enacted laws to define or determine what honesty and truth are, because they are supposed to be known to all; and the man who has them not implanted in his mind by nature, is unfit to live in human society. Pontius Pilate, indeed, once asked, "what is truth?" The divine founder of Christianity made no reply. When it was now asked, in the same sneering manner, "what are the rules of honesty and justice?" the good and virtuous Lord Hastings felt that it would be unworthy of him to reply. Consequently the following note was addressed to Mr. Buckingham:

"Sir: I am directed by his Excellency the most noble the Governor General in Council, to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 27th ultimo, and to inform you, that the letter in question has produced no change in the sentiments and resolutions of Government, already communicated to you on the 17th ultimo."

4thly. Attacks on Lord Hastings' Administration. -- The following extracts, of another letter from the Government, and Mr. Buckingham's reply to it, are an apt illustration of his confessed unacquaintance with the rules of "moral candour and essential justice:"

To Mr. J. S. Buckingham, Editor of the Calcutta Journal.

Sir: The attention of the Governor General in Council has been called to a discussion in the Calcutta Journal of the 31st ultimo, respecting the power of Government to forbid the further continuance within the British territories in India, of any European not being a covenanted servant of the Honourable Company.

With a suppression of facts, most mischievous, as tending to betray others into penal error, you have put out of view the circumstance that the residence alluded to, if it be without a license, is criminal by the law of England; while, if the residence be sanctioned by license, it is upon the special recorded condition, not simply of obedience to what the local Government may see cause to enjoin, but to the holding a conduct which that Government shall deem to merit its countenance and protection; a breach of which condition forfeits the indulgence, and renders it liable to extinction.

This provision, which the legislature of your country has thought proper to enact (53 Geo. IIII. cap. 155, sect. 36), you have daringly endeavoured to discredit and nullify, by asserting that 'transmission for offences through the press is a power wholly unknown to the law;' that 'no regulation exists in the statute book for restraining the press in India;' and that 'the more the monstrous doctrine of transmission is examined, the more it must excite the abhorrence of all just minds.'

No comment is requisite on the gross disingenuousness of describing as a tyrannous authority that power, the legality and justice of which you had acknowledged by your voluntary acceptance of a leave, granted on terms involving your express recognition to that effect. Neither is it necessary to particularize the many minor indecencies in the paper observed upon, since you have brought the matter to one decisive point.

Whether the act of the British Legislature, or the opinion of an individual shall be predominant, is now at issue. It is thence imperative on the duty of the local Government to put the subject at rest. The long-tried forbearance of the Governor General will fully prove the extreme reluctance with which he adopts a measure of harshness; and even now, his Excellency in Council is pleased to give you the advantage of one more warning. You are now finally apprized, if you shall again venture to impeach the validity of the statute quoted, and the legitimacy of the power vested by it in the chief authority here, or shall treat with disregard any official injunction, past or future, from Government, whether communicated in terms of command, or in the gentler language of intimation, your license will be immediately cancelled, and you will be ordered to depart forthwith from India."

In replying to the above, Mr. Buckingham gave the following piece of an argument between him and a cotemporary journal:

"With the most wilful blindness to all that had been passing for the last four years in India, the editor of John Bull opened his dissertation with the following singular confession: 'In the first place, then, we must begin by acknowledging candidly, that till Thursday last, when the matter was announced in the Calcutta Journal, we had not the most remote idea that a free press was established in India;' and then goes on to insinuate that the professions of the Governor General were of no value whatever, and that that freedom of the press for which he had so justly received the thanks and admiration of his countrymen from all quarters of India, not only did not exist now, but never had, and never was intended to have, any force or meaning whatever.

On the following day (August 27), I noticed these ungenerous, and, as they appeared to me, unwarranted assertions of my opponent, by saying that I believed the wish of the Governor General was in unison with his professions, that the press should be held amenable to the courts of law for its offences (that being the process observed by his Lordship in the majority of the cases in which he had thought proper to interfere, and in the most recent instances also); and that if this were the case, the press must be considered free; for all that was ever meant by me in using that term, was, free from any other restraint or control than that imposed by a court of law and a jury."

Here Mr. Buckingham alleges, that by all that had occurred during the last three years, Lord Hastings must be held to have declared that the press was to be free from any restraint but "a court of law and a jury;" and that if his lordship did not mean this, it is insinuated that he was an arrant hypocrite and a deceiver. What is the fact? That the whole of Lord Hastings' declarations, even in the reply to the Madras address itself, were the very reverse of what Mr. Buckingham here pretends. They were that the liberty of the press was to be narrowed by "special and urgent cause assigned," and to be restrained, therefore, both by the laws of England, and by the further limitations specified in Lord Hastings' regulation, enacted expressly for the Indian press.

But the most singular thing is, that a little afterwards, in the very same letter, Mr. Buckingham asserts that the laws of England imposed no legal restraint on the Indian press. His words are:

"I beg distinctly to state, that so far from having suppressed the fact of its being unlawful for Englishmen to reside in India without license, I have admitted and reiterated that fact times beyond number, always making it the ground of my argument for saying that the fear of having this license withdrawn, and being therefore sent to England as a person unauthorized to remain in India, is the most powerful as well as the only legal restraint even now exercised over the Indian press."

What an admirable and consistent advocate of free discussion, to discover and point out to the Government, that the exercise of the power of "summary transportation without trial" was "their only legal mode of regulating the press!" Then the recourse which had been had "in the most recent instances" (as he had a little before stated), to a court of law, must have been highly illegal and improper! In the next paragraph he goes on to say:

"Neither on the statute book of England nor the statute book of India, by which I mean the printed and public regulations of the Government, issued and passed in the usual form, am I aware of any law for restraining the Indian press."

Here then, in the same letter, were three propositions maintained:--

1st. That the press was free from any other restraint than that imposed by a court of law and a jury.

2dly. That the legal, and the ONLY legal restraint existing, was that of summary transportation without trial.

3dly. That there was no law, either in England or in India, for restraining the press there, which was consequently more free than the English press itself.

These three were brought forward to prove the truth of a fourth proposition, namely, his former assertion which had been condemned by the Government, viz.

4thly. That transmission (to England) for offences through the press, was a power wholly unknown to the law.

The man who could assert in the same letter these different and diametrically opposite propositions, might well think it a grievous hardship to be tried by the rules of "moral candour and essential justice," and say, he knew not where to look for any definite standard of them!

It would be useless to pursue further such a maze of endless contradictions. It is enough to state that Mr. Buckingham continued to follow the same course, and employed the whole energies of the press, invigorated as it had become by the degree of liberty conferred upon it by Lord Hastings, to cast a shade on the character and closing administration of this nobleman: its generous, and now almost only protector, to whose magnanimity and indulgence Mr. Buckingham himself owed his good fortune and even existence in Bengal; but for which he must have been expelled (as he had before been from Bombay), and thrown upon the world again, a needy adventurer, to live by his wits or the precarious bounty of his friends.

It is now clear enough that Mr. Buckingham was secretly of this same opinion, and felt conscious that as soon as Lord Hastings, now the object of his revilings, left the country, all hopes of farther protection or impunity were at an end. This event was to take place in the beginning of the year 1823, and in the latter part of 1822 Mr. Buckingham prepared for the coming storm. He resorted to the following notable plan of selling out the property he had in his Journal.

He proposed to convert the concern into a sort of joint-stock company, by selling it in shares of 1,000 rupees (or about £100) each. As an inducement to purchase these shares, he informed the public, that the concern was worth four lacs of rupees (or about £40,000 sterling); that this amount was made up one-half of copyright, one-fourth of property on the spot, and the remaining fourth of property, types, presses, &c. ordered from Mr. Richardson, (28, Cornhill,) his agent in England.

"These [says the prospectus, from which I quote the words] will all leave England before the end of this year (1822), and some portions are now on their way out; all of which being to be paid before, out of my funds, by a credit on Fletcher, Alexander, and Co.* [Then of Devonshire Square, now of King's Arms Yard, Coleman Street.] to cover insurance and every risk, must be added to the dead stock of the concern, which will make its whole value amount to 2,00,000 rupees, as the security on which the shares taken are to be held."

On this security, to which he bound himself by legal contract, he sold by his own account 100 shares, obtaining for the same gross sum of 1,00,000 rupees or nearly £10,000 sterling. Now, though the purchasers might have formed a rough estimate of the value of property on the spot, or the copyright of a paper, provided the accounts were fairly stated, it is evident they could form no judgment of the value of goods stated to be on the way from England. These they must have taken on the confidence that the individual who said he had commissioned and sent funds to pay for them was acting with good faith; and that if he sold property which had no existence, in order to put the price thereof into his pocket, he would come within the provisions of the useful statute enacted against the obtaining of money on false pretences.

Though it may be anticipating, it is proper to state here, in connection with this project, that the agent referred to in England has since stated that he did not send goods to any thing near the amount specified, or even so much as a fifth part of the sum, at the period to which this contract applies. And there is no evidence yet produced of the funds having been remitted to obtain them. It is no marvel, therefore, if in India no proofs appeared of their ever having arrived; and the whole materials of the concern were soon after sold by public auction (the ordinary mode of disposing of property in Bengal, and adopted in this case, therefore, by Mr. Buckingham's agents as the most advantageous), for less than two thousand pounds, a tenth part of the amount contracted for as "the security on which the share taken were to be held!" The reader may form his own judgment as to the causes of this most extraordinary discrepancy.

The real value of the copyright of the Journal, allowing it to be worth six months' produce of the gross receipts, or two years of the net profit, would have been about £8,000; but this is a very high calculation, considering that it was a Journal of such ephemeral standing, and liable to be suppressed daily by the arbitrary banishment of its conductors. Adding to this the above sum of £2,000 for actual tangible property, we have a total value of £10,000, just equal to the sum Mr. Buckingham had raised by the sale of shares.

The condition on which these shares were held made them a kind of mortgage over the concern; as the holder of each became entitled to a daily paper of sixteen quarto pages free of charge (except postage), costing sixteen rupees per mensem, and amounting in all, for 100 shares, to Sa. Rs. 19,200 per annum, or nearly £2.000 sterling yearly. Besides this, as the whole concern was conceived to be divided into 400 shares, each of which was to be entitled to a corresponding proportion of the profits, the 100 shares sold would absorb one-fourth of the whole net receipts or profits. Supposing these to be, as Mr. Buckingham has so often since asserted, £8,000 per annum, the fourth of this added to the above £2,000 would render the annual charge upon the concern £4,000. But his own printed estimate of the actual receipts and disbursements for the last six months of 1822, which he published at that time in Bengal, made the net profit to be no more than 25 per cent on the receipts, or about £4,500 in all. The same estimate represented the shareholders as drawing an interest of 308 rupees per annum on each share, which for 100 shares is equal to 30,800, or in round numbers about £3,000 yearly.

Such was the weighty consideration which Mr. Buckingham had bound himself, "his heirs, executors, and administrators," to make good for seven years, to the purchasers of shares (or mortgagees, as they may well be called). He had also bound himself to give his own personal services for three years; and not voluntarily to leave the country under a penalty of 50,000 rupees. He had further contracted to export to the concern property to the amount of 100,000 rupees as above shewn. Now he knew that if the government could only be provoked to remove him from the country he would, in the first place, be relieved of the above 50,000 rupees penalty. 2dly, He would be removed from the severe exposures of his character to which he was now subjected, on account of his previous conduct in Egypt and Syria.

3dly, He would be out of hearing of any clamours that might be raised about the fulfilment of his contract, as to the promised exportation of the property to the value of £10,000. Lastly, if others in his absence should by possibility succeed in carrying on such a concern, with a burden upon it of above £3,000 per annum, the labour, and anxiety, and waste of health, would fall upon them. If they failed, or sunk under it, and the concern with them, then he would get rid of all his remaining obligations, and have his £10,000 snug in his pocket! Under these circumstances, the following is the contumelious stile in which he wrote of the venerable Marquis of Hastings, at first his patron, and to the last, notwithstanding so many years of misrepresentation, contumacy, and insolence, his magnanimous protector against the numerous and powerful enemies his controversies, turbulence, and slanders, had raised against him. He tauntingly told his Lordship, now on the eve of his departure, and adopting the figure of speech which he thought would be most galling to an aged military chief:--

"The banners by which the free press of India was first protected, have been since unhappily abandoned, deserted, fallen, and IGNOMINIOUSLY furled, by the very hands that were the first to unfold and wave them in pride and exultation over our heads."

This self-confuted invective was directed against a Governor-General of India in the plenitude of his power. With one word he might have banished his defamer to the ends of the earth, -- from Bengal to the shores of Europe; knowing that every member of his government would have applauded the deed. But he neither punished, nor expressed the resentment. Yet persons were found so unjust and ungrateful, as to employ that freedom which the Marquis of Hastings had bestowed on the Indian press, to accuse him of basely deserting his principles, and covering himself with ignominy! That very press, whose tongue he had unshackled, employed its liberty to load him with insult; and the very man whom his protection had saved from beggary and ruin, and fostered into consequence, employs it to tarnish his name, and, if possible, dim the lustre of that well-earned fame, which had been consecrated, and rendered venerable, by the accumulated honours of nearly half a century.

Lord Hastings soon after took his departure for Europe. And when the influence of his benignant character ceased to shine upon India, the liberty of the press which he had established, and all the hopes of improvement associated with it, soon sunk with him into the darkest night. This will be more fully illustrated in the following chapter.
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