« TrướcTiếp tục »
reasons for opposing the motion of the noble lord, not only in its present form, but in any possible shape in which it could be framed. The noble lord seemed to infer from his statement of the regulations of the press in India, that no restraint ought to be imposed upon it. If such was his meaning, he must say that a wilder scheme never entered into the imagination of man than that of regulating the Indian press similarly to the English. There could be no doubt that the very government would be shaken to its foundation, if unlicensed publi❤ cations were allowed to circulate over the continent of Hindostan. There could be but two descriptious of persons in India; those who went to that country with the licence of the company, and those who lived in its actual seryice; and there could be no doubt whatever that the company had a right to lay any regulation it pleased on those who chose to live under its power, and who, when they went into its territories, knew the condition of submission to its authority on which their stay de. pended.
rules for the guidance of the secretary of the government in revising newspapers. He was to prevent all observations respecting the public revenues and finances of the country-all observations respecting the embarkations on board ships, of stores or expcditions, and their destination, whether they belonged to the company or to Europe-all statements of the probability of war or peace between the company and the native powers-all observations calculated to convey information to the enemy, and the republication of paragraphs from the European papers which might be likely to excite dissatisfaction or discontent in the company's territories. If the press was to be prevented from publishing any thing on all these heads, he was at a loss to know what subject was left open to it. With respect to the administration of justice at Madras, it was considered as pure, yet the courts appeared to be ashamed of their proceedings, since they would not suffer them to be published; yet such publication might have the effect of allaying the ferment occasioned by the late trials: and he then stated that two grand jurors, and three petty jurymen, had been sent away from Madras for their conduct on these trials. He concluded by moving " for copies of all orders, regulations, rules, and directions promulgated in India since the year 1797, regarding the restraint of the press at the three presidencies of Bengal, Madras, Sir John Anstruther made vaand Bombay, whether acted upon rious remarks on the impropriety by the government there, or sent of allowing a free press in India. out by the court of directors, or He said, he remembered a series of the board of control." essays, very ingeniously written, Mr. Dundas rose to state his for the purpose of proving how
Lord Folkestone did not call in question the right of the East India Company to make rules for their own territory, but that was no reason why the house should be kept in ignorance what these rules were. It was not only proper, but highly expedient, that we should know to what our fellow subjects in India were subjected.
small a number of natives might massacre all the European inhabitants in Bengal, which was dispersed all over the capital, Cal
. Sir Thomas Turton spoke in a strain of severe sarcasm on the principles of our government in India. He fully agreed that so delightful a plant, as the liberty of the press, could never flourish in the sterile soil of despotism. "Why (said he) should you give Indians the advantage of knowledge? "You would only thereby be giving them the means of detecting your own injustice. You have ransacked their country, you have despoiled its people, you have murdered their princes; and of course, for your own protection, you must keep them deluded, deceived, and ignorant. You might as well tell me of the liberty of the press in Morocco and Algiers, as under your government in India. According to the right honourable gentleman, the people of India are considered as nothing.
marks unfavourable to the exten sion of the liberty of the press.
Mr. Whitbread observed, upon Mr. Wallace's opinion, that the licence of the press had made rapid strides, that in reality the rapid strides which he had witnessed for many years past were in a retrograde direction. He answered some of the remarks which had been made in disparagement of the liberty of printing; but at the same time asserted that the opposition to his honourable friend's motion on the ground that he was the advocate of a free press in India, went upon a mistake, for that his arguments had no such object. He thought that his honourable friend had made out a sufficient case for the production of the papers moved for, and should there. fore support the motion.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer objected to the production of the papers, because granting them would convey an idea that there was something wrong in the conIf duct of the persons concerned, and such is your principle, to keep in his opinion no case had been them ignorant is as much your po-, adduced to warrant such a suppolicy, as to keep them enslaved has sition. been your crime.
Mr. Wallace opposed the motion, saying, that the liberty of the press was for the preservation of freedom, and that there was no liberty in India to preserve; and he seemed to think that the licence of the press required checking even at home.
Mr. C. Grant observed, that we did not carry despotism to India, but found it there; and he thought the subject under discussion highly dangerous.
Sir J. Newport could not concur in the opinions advanced, that the servants of the company were bound to abide by all the regula tions of the company, or else return to England. The company might make regulations highly unjust and oppressive; and it was the duty of that House to take care that they did not.
Lord A. Hamilton thought it unnecessary, after the able manner in which his motion had been supported, to trespass further on the Mr. Lockhart made some re- time of the House. If, as an
Discussion on the Report of the Bullion Committee. Their Resolutions moved by Mr. Horner, and rejected. Those of Mr Vansittart, voted. Lord Sidmouth's Bill for amending the Act of Toleration.
The thus commenced
SCARCELY any subtention of was protracted by daily adjourn
the House of Commons, during this session, than the consideration of the report of the committee, appointed in the preceding session, to examine the state of the bullion and currency of the kingdom. Mr. Horner, on May 6th, in a committee of the whole house, introduced the subject in an elaborate, and very intelligent speech. He began with stating the arrangement he proposed to adopt in discussing the highly important topics before them, which was, to divide the resolutions passed by the committee into two series; of which, the first set went to the causes of the high price of bullion; the second, to the effect and remedy. The general tenor of his speech was to shew that the paper currency of the country had undergone an actual depreciation, and that the only remedy was to provide for the resumption of cash payments at the bank as speedily as possible.
He was replied to by Mr. Rose, who undertook to maintain three points; that the bank paper was not depreciated that it was not in the power of the bank materially to affect the circulation-and that not a guinea more would be seen, even were the bank restricuon taken off to-morrow.
ments till the 9th, and was conducted by many of the ablest speakers on both sides of the house, To give any adequate idea of the arguments employed would require the compass of a pamphlet: in general terms it may be observed, that principle was opposed to principle, and fact to fact; and that the very opposite lights, in which the subject was viewed by men of great ability and information, seemed to prove that the theory of this important part of political economy is yet crude and unde termined. When the question was at length put upon the first resolution moved by Mr. Horner, it was rejected by 151 votes against 75. This division decided the fate of all the other resolutions, except the last, the purport of which was to oblige the bauk to recommence its cash payments at the expiration of two years from the present time, instead of six months from the ratification of a definitive peace, as it now stood. A second division took place upon this resolution, which was negatived by 180 against 45.
On May 13th, the house being in a committee on the same subject, Mr Vansittart introduced his rival set of resolutions, supported by the ministry. The debates upon them,
which were in great measure a recapitulation of those on the topics of the preceding resolutions, continued by adjournment to the 15th; when, after various amendments had been moved and rejected, they all passed. The resolutions thus sanctioned may be regarded as matter of history; we therefore insert them at length. The rejected ones will be found under the head of State Papers.
Propositions respecting Money, Bul
lion, and Exchanges.
I. That the right of establishing and regulating the legal money of this kingdom bath at all times been a royal prerogative, vested in the sovereigns thereof, who have from time to time exercised the same as they have seen fit, in changing such legal money, or altering and varying the value, and enforcing or restraining the circulation thereof, by proclamation, or in concur rence with the estates of the realm by act of parliament: and that such legal money cannot lawfully be defaced, melted down, or exported..
II. That the promissory notes of the governor and company of the Bank of England are engagements to pay certain sums of money in the legal coin of this kingdom: and that for more than a century past the said governor and company were at all times ready to discharge such promissory notes in legal coin of the realm, until restrained from so doing on the 25th of February, 1797, by his majesty's order in council, confirmed by act of parliament.
III. That the promissory notes
of the said company have hitherto been, and are at this time held to be, equivalent to the legal coin of the realm, in all pecuniary transactions to which such coin is legally applicable.
IV. That at various periods, as well before as since the said restriction, the exchanges between Great Britain and several other countries have been unfavourable to Great Britain: and that during such periods, the prices of gold and silver bullion, especially of such gold bullion as could be legally exported, have frequently risen above the mint price; and the coinage of money at the mint has been either wholly suspended, or greatly diminished in amount: and that such circumstances have usually occurred, when expensive naval and military operations have been carried on abroad, and in times of public danger or alarm, or when large importations of grain from foreign parts have taken place.
V. That such unfavourable exchanges, and rise in the price of " bullion, occurred to a greater or less degree, during the wars carried on by King William the IId, and Queen Ann; and also during part of the seven years war, and of the American war; and during the war and scarcity of grain in 1795 and 1796, when the difficulty increased to such a degree, that on the 25th of February, 1797, the Bank of England was restrained from making payments in cash by his majesty's order in council, confirmed and continued to the present time by divers acts of parliament; and the exchanges became afterwards still more unfavourable, and the price of bullion higher,