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1821. May 14.
Collectanea – Liberticide Laws.

Morn. Chron. May 12, 1821.

"Our readers are aware that to the wisdom and liberality of
"the Marquess of Hastings, the censure which had for twenty years been imposed
"on the Press in India was removed; by which the complaints of natives
"for oppression, if well-founded, might reach the eye of authority, and thus
"protection afforded be extended to the many millions of human beings
"subjected to British dominion & who heretofore had no channel by which
grievances could be made known. The enlarged policy of the Governor
General was adopted by the enlightened Governor of Bombay, & at no
previous time had our to wide Empire in the East enjoyed such serenity, prosperity & happiness as under the present auspices. In
removing the previous censorship, the Press was liable, as it ought
to be, to the judicial tribunals, & accordingly we see by the despatches
which we received on Thursday, that on the 23rd of November, a motion
was made in the Supreme Court of Bengal, by Mr Spankie, the Advocate
General, for a rule to shew cause why a criminal information
should not be filed against Mr Buckingham the Editor of the Calcutta
, for the publication of "a false, scandalous & malicious
"libel, of & concerning the Government of that country," in a
letter on merit & interest signed Amulus, the libelous matter of
which consisted in stating that all promotion, advancement & reward
were withheld even from merit except by the pernicious means of
political influence, or as it is generally termed interest – an imputation
which from every account, is totally unfounded in the present
Administration of our Indian Government. A Rule was granted.

On the 26th Mr Fergusson prayed, on the part of the defendant, for
an extension of the rule, first on the plea that some doubt existed in
his mind as to the jurisdiction of the Court, or its power to proceed by
criminal information in cases of libel; and secondly as to the necessity
of collecting documentary evidence and materials for the defence, as he
intended to argue both on the law and the fact; but more particularly
to prove the absence of all criminal motive or intention on the part of
his client. Mr Spankie objected to any extension of time on the grounds
urged by his Learned Friend. The jurisdiction of the Court was established
in direct & express terms in the Charter, by general usage & by analogy
with other Colonial Courts. The Chief Justice concurred with the Advocate
General: Sir Francis Macnaghten seemed to think the question of
jurisdiction might admit of argument. Sir Anthony Buller concurred
with the Chief Justice. After some further argument by Mr Fergusson
for delay & by Mr Spankie & Mr Money, the junior counsel for the prosecution,
the rule to shew cause was extended to the first day of next
term, which wd happen on the 8th January, & of which we have not yet
had an account. But every friend to the fair to the freedom of the Press must
rejoice in thus seems it brought to account for the exercise of its functions to an independent tribunal."

Identifier: | JB/109/190/001
"JB/" can not be assigned to a declared number type with value 109.



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Collectanea - Liberticide Laws




Morn. Chron. May 12 1821



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Andreas Louriottis


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[[notes_public::"To RD Copy the whole of this article" [note in Coll's hand]]]

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