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When the Numbers of the Asiatic Journal and the Oriental Herald, for the last month (August), were issued from the press, one of the first occupations that suggested itself was a comparison of the speeches in the Debate of the 9th of July, as reported in these contemporaneous publications. The striking and uniform resemblance of nearly all the speeches in the one, to the reports of the same speeches in the other, would have led a stranger to believe that there must have been either extreme fidelity on the part of the reporters, or some mutual understanding and reciprocal aid between them. They differed materially in nothing, except that those of the Asiatic Journal were reported in the third person, and those of the Oriental Herald in the first; and that some documents were given at length in the one, while the substance only was reported in the other. All that fell from the several speakers, however, was strikingly alike, with one single exception only; but this was so remarkable as to deserve a more extended notice.
In the Oriental Herald, all the speeches are reported in the first person. In the Asiatic Journal, only one of the speeches is so reported; and this is Sir John Malcolm's. At first view, we were struck with this peculiarity; and still more so when we saw that it was included within inverted commas, as if it were a quotation from some written authority, and not the work of a reporter. Our surprise soon subsided, however, when on a comparison of the speech in the Asiatic Journal with that in the Oriental Herald, we found them almost as remarkable for their difference from, as all the other speeches had been for their resemblance to, each other. We found, in short, that there were sins of commission as well of omission ; that Sir John, in his written speech, had not only “ left uns the things which he ought to have said," —but that he had also " said the things which he ought not to have said,”-and, in short, that there was
no health in him." The speech, as spoken in the India House, occupies seven very short columns, in the Oriental Herald :-the speech, as written, either before or after it was spoken, for the press, makes more than eleven long columns in the Asiatic Journal! There may be no “ concealment” in this; but we think there is clearly “mystification,” and we therefore very much doubt if Sir John really hates this so much as he fancies he does. Whether the speech was first written in order to be spoken, and the memory of the gallant General occasioned him to forget some parts, while his imagination helped him to the invention of others; or whether the speech was written after it was spoken, and memory equally failed to recall what was really said, so that invention became necessary to fill up the blanks, we know not; but we are willing to stake our reputation for sagacity on the fact that the speech was written for the Asiatic Journal by the hand of Sir John Malcolm himself, although his memory must be weak, and his imagination strong indeed, if he really believes that the speech so written is a faithful report of the one spoken by him in the Court. Reporters may omit to transcribe a great deal that a speaker really utters, and now and then may give a wrong version of, or an imperfect sense to, what he says;-but reporters are not the men to write gratuitously whole columns for speakers, and to set down in their notes pages that were never spoken at all. They may have imagination and talent enough for this—but they want application and time. It may therefore be assumed, with as much certainty as any inference may be drawn from undoubted premises, that the speech of Sir John Malcolm, as reported in the Oriental Herald, is really the speech spoken by him; and that the speech in the Asiatic Journal is the speech written by him, and therefore contains what, on a more deliberate review of the question, he wished to say on the subjects therein brought under discussion. As we took the liberty to append some brief notes to the spoken speech, in our last Number, the same hatred of “ mystification” which Sir John himself expresses, induces us to offer a few remarks also on the latter; the text of which we consider to be the production of his own hand. That public men should revise their speeches, by correcting grammatical errors, amending obscure expressions, and calling in the proper aid of their own memories to prevent their being made the authors of what they really did not say, is perhaps a general and a harmless privilege. But that public speakers, who fail to make the impression they wish in what they personally deliver to the public ear, should write new speeches with their own hands for the public eye, is rather an unfair extension of the privilege of revision. But, if they will do so, they must take the consequences. They must be prepared for the full blaze of “ daylight,” that will be let in upon their practices, and abide the pitiless storm which will gather round their heads. Proceed we, however, to our task.
In going through the written speech of Sir John Malcolm, we shall confine ourselves principally to the portions not to be found in the spoken one, for the sake of novelty at least, though we may perhaps be here and there tempted to contrast what may deserve it in both.
In speaking of Mr. Adam, after the usual eulogy on private character which generally precedes a defence of public wrong, Sir Johh says
of Mr. Adam on an intimate knowledge of thirty years : he is as remarkable for mildness and humanity, as for firmness and judgment: he is from birth and education a lover of the free constitution of his country, and all he has done in the case now before us has, I am assured, proceeded solely from an imperious sense of public duty."
This will no doubt pass with understandings of a certain calibre, for excellent reasoning ; but let us see to what it amounts :--This intimate knowledge is an acquaintance with Mr. Adam when a youth, the first years of their servitude in India being passed together in Lord Wellesley's secretarial office. For the last ten or fifteen years, at least, this intimate knowledge has been confined to occasional meetings in public, and perhaps occasional correspondence. Sir John Malcolm is a Madras military officer-Mr. John Adam is a Bengal civil servant. Sir John Malcolm has been principally employed in Southern India, in Persia, and the central provinces of Hindoostan-Mr. Adam has been principally employed in Bengal, and, for many years past, as Secretary, Censor of the Press, and Member of Council, has been confined to Calcutta, so that for many years, at least, they never could have met at all. Public men in Europe may be known pretty intimately, by those who never saw them, from the publicity of all their deeds and thoughts ; but in India there are neither public writings, public speeches, nor public acts, by which men can be known, till they come to be high in office, towards the close of their career; and Mr. Adam has given a specimen of his powers in that way, which will remain on record (not much to the honour of his feelings or of his understanding) as long as his slavish and slanderous Manifesto exists. This intimate knowledge of thirty years, therefore, is of no more
“ I can
worth than the knowledge which any man in England might have of any man in France, whom he knew to be an amiable boy, and a promising man; but who, after thirty years, during which he had seen him thirty times, and still thought favourably of him, had turned out at last to be both knave and fool, and ended his days either in degradation or derision, or both.
But, then," he is from birth and education a lover of the free constitution of his country.”—He was born of Whig parents, it is true ; but so far are Whig principles from being hereditary, or passing from generation to generation, that they rarely or ever last out one race, it perpetually happening, that men begin the world as Whigs, and end it as weathercocks, being unable to maintain their own principles steadily for themselves, much less to transmit them to their progeny.—His education was not much better. No man educated for India is likely to be overburdened with love for our “ free constitution :" but even if he were, Mr. Adam's principal education was completed in the office of Lord Wellesley, one of the most arbitrary Governors that India ever saw. He began his education by admiring Lord Wellesley's despotism towards Englishmen, whom he banished without mercy or consideration. He matured his education, by acting, for several years, as censor of the press : and he closes his career, by putting forth a pamphlet, full of the most slavish and degrading doctrines, in which, among other things to the same effect, he says, “ It is not possible to conceive a more gross and open
insult to a Government than a defence of what is known to have excited their displeasure.” This is the consummation of these high advantages of “birth and education,” which are to form the guarantee of Mr. Adam's being a "lover” of the free constitution of his country. It is truly an Oriental love, that strangles, the moment it has flattered and dallied with, the object of its caresses.
Then, too, says Sir John, “ I am assured that all Mr. Adam has done, has proceeded from an imperious sense of duty." This at once proves how slight must have been his “intimate knowledge" of the subject of his panegyric. Ifit be meant the assurances of Mr. Adam himself, or of his friends, they are altogether worthless; and as to assurance from conviction or belief, this is little better. Actions and not professions, are the
1 Mr. Mill, iu his excellent History of British India, which it would be well for every man to read before he wrote or spoke on Indian affairs, gives the following specimen of Lord Wellesley's method of keeping up the principles of our free constitution, which he also “ loved," no doubt, from birth and education.
“ The hostility of the Governor General to his fellow-subjects, pursuing, independently of the Company, their occupations in any part of India, is expressed without a word to indicate reasons, in the same letter, thus : The number of Europeans established in Oude, is a mischief which requires no coniment. My resolution is fixed, to dislodge every European, excepting the Company's servants. My wish is to occasion as littlc private distress as possible; but the public service must take its course : and it is not to be expected that some cases of hardship will not be found in the extent of so great a measure. These last words (adds Mr. Mill) indicate extensive numbers. Why did not the Governor General, before he dared to strike at the fortunes of great numbers of his countrymen, declare and prove the evils which they produced ? For what reason is it, let them declare, who know what is understood, under such a Government as ours, by the responsibility of tlie ruling few, that he has never yet been effectually called upon to account for such conduct? The good which they were calculated to produce is obvious to all. The question still remains unanswered-What were the evils?".
proper guides in such cases, and what do these lead us to infer? Sir John Malcolm does not perhaps know, what those who are less intimate with Mr. Adam may, however, tell him, that there is a certain spell in which he is bound,-a secret influence that hangs around him, -a weakness that once captivated even the first soldier of the age,-a poison that has often steeped in blindness and fatuity more crowned heads than one,-a power, to which gods and heroes have been fabled as falling sacrifices,-a charm that lost a world, when Rome was linked to Egypt, -and before which,“ an imperious sense of duty” is but as a feather before the whirlwind. In forbearance to the frailties of human nature, we have not dwelt on this, as many would have done; but it is really too much to hear, on every side, the “sense of duty” set up as the only explanation of what can never be defended on such grounds; and what, indeed, there is every reason to believe, arose purely and entirely from personal feeling, and a pre-determination to destroy.2
A new and singular argument has been ventured on, by Sir John Malcolm, against giving a free press to the British inhabitants in India. In bis written speech it is lost amid a cloud of words ; but in substance it is this : In England there are three classes: the aristocracy, the lower orders, and the middle ranks in life. The first, he says, are not an cssential part of the British public, “ because they must, in some degree, be swayed by their connexions, their interests, and their political parties.” The second are not an essential part of the British public, because they are too uninstructed to understand either the political questions agitated, or the demagogues who lead, or the periodical writers who flatter them.” It is only the third or middle class “ who have too much knowledge to be misled like the lower orders, whose occupations free them from the motives of the higher orders, and who are also, in a great degree, remored from the passions and feelings of both.” This is the beau ideal of Sir John Malcolm's British public in England; and to them a free press, he says, is useful: but he contends there is no such middle class among the English in India; and; therefore, a free press is not suited to them.
It is impossible to admire sufficiently the confusion of terms and images which seem to dance through this classification, like a will-o'-thewisp, which ever invites, and yet ever eludes, the pursuit. What is given as the peculiar characteristic of the first class—the higher orders, “their being influenced by interest, connexion, and party,” is common to all the world : and without the universality of this influence, mankind would want the common motives to action. Nothing, in short, is less peculiar than this : it influences princes and peasants, as well as men of every rauk between ; and is not only common to all classes in any one country, but is so to every country under the sun. Sir John Malcolm's “ daylight” was not clear enough, however, to allow him to see this. Again, what is mentioned as peculiar to the lower orders—“their being
2 There are some remarks on the worthlessness of testimonies to character, in opposition to proved misdeeds, from the deep and powerful mind of Mr. Bentham, in his recent “Book of Fallacies," that are so much in point, as to de. serve to be referred to here. See p. 120 to 122. He concludes by saying, “ If there be any one maxim in politics more certain than another, it is, that no possible degree of virtue in the governor, ean render it expedient for the governed to dispense with good laws and good institutions.”
too uninstructed to understand either the political questions agitated, the speakers who would lead, or the writers who would instruct them," is also common to all
: and is perhaps even more applicable to the aristocracy than to what Sir John, probably, would call the rabble. What a specimen of the knowledge to judge of political questions, might be seen in a temporal peer--a First Lord of the Treasury, declaring, that the true cause of the want of bread among the lower orders, was the superabundance of corn! What a specimen of the same knowledge, to hear a spiritual peer-a right reverend prelate of the metropolitan see, contending that, literally and morally speaking, the king could do no wrong, though he should actually commit all the crimes denounced in the Decalogue ! What a specimen of extensive information, to find a Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs relinquishing an island like Java, from total ignorance of its political and commercial importance! What a specimen of the value of knowledge, to hear the Member for Corfe Castle inveighing against its being imparted to his fellow-countrymen, as if it were soine fatal and destroying poison! Why, the lower ordere, as they are called, would be ashamed of snch drivelling as this; and are far superior, in useful information, to many among the high, who look down upon them with contempt. The reason is obvious. The higher orders have already all they desire, and have little motive to exertion. The lower must amass information, if they would improve their condition; and the desire of doing this being common to man, and generally stronger as he descends in the scale,-as long as knowledge is only to be acquired by labour, the higher orders, however polished in their exterior, will always, as a body, be more inferior to the lower, in point of useful information, than is generally supposed. Then, as to the middle class, no one can tell where this begins or ends. The distinctions between those who have more than 10,0001. a year, and those who have less, can be marked : between those who have titles, and those who have none, equally defined. Who shall say, however, to what order such extremes, as stupid men of wealth and poor men of genius, belong? If the former be of the higher order, because of their titles and their admission to royal favour, they may be of the very lowest in point of intellect or occupation. If the latter be of the lower order, because of their misery and destitution, they are clearly of the higher because of their mental attainments. This middle class is altogether evanescent, and cannot be otherwise. But if Sir John Malcolm's classification were worth any thing, then neither the high nor the low ought to have a press, but only the middle ranks—a distinction at once as absurd as impossible; and the very fact of nations making no distinctions, either in the law or the practice, on that head, but giving as much freedom of the press to men who can barely read, as to those who are most distinguished for their learning, is clearly indicative of the absence of all supposed necessity for such distinctions in every country in which the press exists.
The most amusing part of the whole, however, is this: that the very individuals, the British inhabitants of India, to whom Sir John Malcolm would deny a free press, are all taken from the very class to whom only, if he could manage it, he would grant such an engine; as he contends that it is these alone to whom it is useful. The British inhabitants of India are neither taken from the higher nor the lower orders of society in England; but, as far as the limit can be ascertained, they are all from