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Imprimatur as Adversary: Press freedom and colonial governance in India, 1780–1823

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 May 2020

University of North Carolina at Charlotte Email:


Examining cases of libel between 1780 and 1823, this article analyses how the theory and practice of press regulation and governmentality was initially articulated in colonial India, embodied in everyday transactions between the newly invented East India Company state and an emerging newspaper press. While Company officials recognized that scrutiny by a free press was central to establishing their fairly new claims to just governance and public legitimacy, they feared that public critique would destabilize the very sovereign authority that they sought to establish. Concerned with appearing arbitrary, officials developed strategies through which they could demand obedience without necessarily predicating it on censorship. Journalists derived much of their negotiating power from the early colonial state's vulnerability to public scrutiny, but they also knew that the state possessed extensive control over their livelihood. Cognizant of the power and constraints of colonial governmentality at this juncture, they produced their own mechanisms of permissible intransigence. This uneasy equilibrium generated the questions explored in this article: What rights of comment and critique practically accrued to newspapers? What was the legal authority of executive regulations censoring newspapers and how far were these enforceable? Why, in practice, did punishments remain strikingly similar across periods with and without formal censorship? The cases between 1780 and 1823 not only reveal the historical negotiations that structured this foundational—though somewhat marginalized—period of India's press history, but also explain the strategic shifts that followed as, in 1823, the fulcrum of crime and punishment turned away from press censorship and towards press licensing.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Acknowledgements: My sincere thanks to the anonymous reviewers for MAS for their helpful suggestions. I am extremely grateful to Robin Jeffrey for his critical insights while I was preparing the manuscript; also to Christine Haynes, Fiona Ross, Tanika Sarkar, and John David Smith for their help in thinking about the project. For their perceptive comments on multiple drafts, I am much indebted to Ella Fratantuano and Simon Teuscher.


1 Libel on Mr Landon, a civil servant, published in the Madras Courier, pp. 1–52, in Proceedings relative to the Madras press, 1791, Restrictions on the press in India, 1791–1822, India Office Records (IOR).H (Home Miscellaneous)/539, British Library, London (BL), esp. Letter from Landon to governor-general (Charles Oakley Bart), Fort St George, 28 October 1791, pp. 1–25. The archival text refers to both ‘Landon’ and ‘London’.

2 Libel on Landon, Landon to governor-general, 28 October 1791, p. 6.

3 Ibid., p. 18. The Madras Courier was established in 1785 by the government printer, Ahuja, Richard Johnson. B. N., History of Indian press: growth of newspapers in India (Delhi: Surjeet Publications, 1996), p. 4Google Scholar.

4 As long as it carried the signature of secretaries to government or others duly authorized. Ahuja, History of Indian press, p. 4; B. M. Sankhder, with a foreword by Prasad, Amba, Press, politics, and public opinion in India: dynamics of modernization and social transformation (New Delhi: Deep and Deep Publications, 1984), p. 220Google Scholar. Newspapers with the ‘sanction and authority’ of government also enjoyed commercial privileges such as paying reduced or no postage.

5 Libel on Landon, Letter from editor, J. S. Hall, 31 October 1791, pp. 31–34.

6 Libel on Landon, Extract Fort St George Public Cons., 23 November and 6 December 1791, pp. 41, 50–51.

7 Discussing early European newspapers, Andrew Pettegree uses the term ‘news men’, pointing out that the publisher's task ‘was essentially editorial’ since he was responsible for content. He also states that early newspapers left ‘little scope for what we might regard as journalism’ since reports were not long enough to leave room ‘for much in the way of comment and commentary’. Pettegree, Andrew, The invention of news: how the world came to know about itself (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2014), pp. 1112Google Scholar.

8 Anything printed in a press required a licence from the governor-general, on the submission of an application stating the names and other particulars of the press, newspapers, etc. Basu, Durga Das, Law of the press in India (New Delhi: Prentice, Hall, 1980), p. 249Google Scholar. For details, see Barns, Margarita, The Indian press: a history of the growth of public opinion in India (London: George, Allen and Unwin, 1940), pp. 115–23Google Scholar; and Natarajan, J., History of Indian journalism: part II of report of the press commission (Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1955), Chapter 3Google Scholar.

9 Excluding (Dutch national) William Bolts’ abortive attempt in 1776. Barns, Indian press, p. 45; Ahuja, History of Indian press, p. 2. Michael H. Fisher points out that manuscript akhbārāts were ‘gradually supplanted’ by printed newspapers during the nineteenth century, although they did continue into the next century. Fisher, Michael H., ‘The office of Akhbār Nawīs: the transition from Mughal to British forms’, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 27, no. 1, February 1993, pp. 4582, esp. pp. 77–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Pettegree discusses how printed newspapers differed in form and content from earlier manuscript services and news pamphlets. See Pettegree, The invention of news, Introduction and Chapter 1, esp. pp. 8–9.

10 Shaw, Graham, Printing in Calcutta to 1800: a description and checklist of printing in late 18th-century Calcutta (London: The Bibliographical Society, 1981), pp. 4, 215–32Google Scholar. Ahuja describes many of the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century newspapers: Ahuja, History of Indian press, pp. 3–11. Barns points out that a printing press was in operation in Madras in 1772 and that an official printing press was established in Calcutta in 1779. Barns, Indian press, p. 44.

11 Fisher, ‘Office of Akhbār Nawīs’, pp. 77–78.

12 Dirks, Nicholas B., The scandal of empire: India and the creation of imperial Britain (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), pp. 59, 185CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

13 Metcalf, Thomas R., Ideologies of the raj, Volume III, Part 4. New Cambridge History of India. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997 [1995]), p. 1Google Scholar; Dirks, Scandal of empire, pp. xii, 25, 129.

14 Dirks, Scandal of empire, pp. 59, 185.

15 Ibid., p. xii.

16 Ibid., pp. 129, 187, 197.

17 Ibid., p. 197.

18 Black, Jeremy, The English press in the eighteenth century (London: Croom Helm; Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987), p. 175Google Scholar

19 Barns, Indian press, p. 45.

20 Quoted in Shaw, Printing in Calcutta, pp. 4–5.

21 Quote in Barns, Indian press, p. 89.

22 Riddick, John F., The history of British India: a chronology (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2006), p. 187Google Scholar.

23 Articles 499–502 (Chapter XXI) defined criminal liability for ‘malicious defamation’. English common law distinguished between slander as verbal defamation and libel as written or printed, while civil liability came under the law of torts. The 1860 IPC, however, held both written and spoken defamation subject to ‘criminal remedy’. It would not consider defamatory ‘any opinion whatever respecting the conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public functions, or respecting his character, so far as his character appears in that conduct’. Halim, Abdul, The law of defamation as administered in British India (Lucknow: S. L. Kharbanda and Co., 1947; Allahabad: Hind Publishing House, 1947, 2nd edn), pp. 45, 34–37, 77Google Scholar.

24 In Britain, licensing laws lapsed in 1696, after which the press was regulated through the courts, with the law of seditious libel being used to control ‘anti-government printing’. Plucknett, Theodore F. T., A concise history of the common law (Union, NJ: The Lawbook Exchange, 2001, 5th edn), pp. 500Google Scholar ff; Hamburger, Philip, ‘The development of the law of libel and the press’, Stanford Law Review, vol. 37, no. 3, February 1985, pp. 661765, esp. p. 667CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

25 Plucknett, Concise history of the common law, pp. 499–502.

26 Barns, Indian press; Ahuja, History of Indian press; Natarajan, History of Indian journalism; Parthasarthy, Rangaswami, Journalism in India: from the earliest times to the present day (Delhi: Sterling, 1989)Google Scholar; Sankhder, Press, politics, and public opinion.

27 Robert Darnton, ‘Literary surveillance in the British raj: the contradictions of liberal imperialism’, Book History, vol. 4, 2001, pp. 133–76; Deana Lee Heath, ‘Creating the moral colonial subject: censorship in India and Australia, 1880–1939’, PhD thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 2003.

28 Darnton, ‘Literary surveillance in the British raj’, p. 167.

29 Heath, ‘Creating the moral colonial subject’, p. 19. In discussing ‘moral censorship’ between 1880 and 1939, Heath argues that in both Britain and India the state ‘did not feel the need to assert themselves as moral regulators when their populaces were doing such a good job of regulating themselves’: ibid., p. 18.

30 Heath, ‘Creating the moral colonial subject’, pp. 10–11, draws on Michel Foucault's analysis of governmentality: ‘a modern regime of power in which power operates in both productive and disciplinary ways’. This resonates with William Mazzarella and Raminder Kaur's argument (also drawing on Foucault) that ‘[c]ensorship, then, would be not so much a desperate rear-guard action as a productive part of the apparatus of modern governmentality’. See their introduction in Mazzarella, William and Kaur, Raminder (eds), Censorship in South Asia: cultural regulation from sedition to seduction (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2009), esp. p. 5Google Scholar.

31 Boyer, Dominic, ‘Censorship as a vocation: the institutions, practices and cultural logic of media control in the German Democratic Republic’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 45, no. 3, July 2003, pp. 511–45, esp. pp. 512, 539–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 Before 1911, Anglo-Indians—those born in India and with one Indian parent (usually the mother)—were referred to as Eurasians.

33 Jeffrey, Robin, ‘Communication and capitalism in India, 1750–2010’, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, vol. 25, no 2, 2002, pp. 6175, quote on p. 67CrossRefGoogle Scholar. He dates this ‘web’ to the 1870s. Gangadhar Bhattarjee's short-lived Bengal Gazette (established in 1818) is described as the ‘first Indian newspaper in English’, followed in 1820 by Samvad Kaumadi in Bengali and in 1822 by the Mir'at’l-Akhbar in Persian, the latter two associated with Ram Mohan Roy. Ahuja, History of Indian press, pp. 8–9.

34 Black, English press, pp. 143–44.

35 Ibid., p. 135.

36 Jeffrey, Robin, ‘Testing concepts about print, newspapers, and politics: Kerala, India, 1800–2009’, Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 68, no. 22, May 2009, pp. 465–89, esp. pp. 468, 479CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

37 His chronology roughly coincides with broader shifts in print culture, especially Ulrike Stark's description of the commercialization of print, particularly in regional languages, from around the 1840s onwards, and Priya Joshi's of the growing importance and popularity of public libraries in British India in a similar period. Stark, Ulrike, An empire of books: the Naval Kishore press and the diffusion of the printed word in colonial India (New Delhi: Permanent Black, 2008), pp. 34Google Scholar; Joshi, Priya, In another country: colonialism, culture, and the English novel in India (New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. See also Ghosh, Anindita, ‘An uncertain “coming of the book”: early print cultures in colonial India’, Book History, vol. 6, 2003, pp. 2355CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

38 Bayly, C. A., Indian society and the making of the British empire, Volume 1, Part 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002 [1988]), p. 71Google Scholar. The circulation numbers coincide with Natarajan, History of Indian journalism, p. 11, but not with the conclusion that they had no political impact in India.

39 Shaw, Printing in Calcutta, table on p. 39.

40 Bayly, Indian society, p. 68.

41 Ibid., pp. 69–71.

42 Darnton, Robert, ‘Book production in British India, 1850–1900’, Book History, vol. 5, 2002, pp. 239–62, esp. p. 240CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Ghosh, ‘An uncertain “coming of the book”’, p. 47; Stark, Empire of books, p. 16; Bayly, Empire and information, quoted in Stark, Empire of books, p. 13.

43 See N. Ram, ‘Foreword’, in Parthasarthy, Journalism in India, p. xiii; and Sankhder, Press, politics, and public opinion, p. 333.

44 Sankhder, Press, politics, and public opinion, p. 217; Barns, Indian press, p. xiii; Ahuja, History of India press, pp. 5–6; Parthasarthy, Journalism in India, p. 27 and Chapter 2.

45 Also theological differences. The 1813 Charter Act allowed for Anglican and Presbyterian churches to be established in India and some of their functionaries became editors or proprietors of newspapers. Ahuja, History of Indian press, pp. 6, 8.

46 Barns, Indian press, pp. 73–75. Also Ahmed, A. F., Social ideas and social change in Bengal 1818–1835 (Leiden: Brill, 1965), pp. 55, 67Google Scholar; Cassel, Nancy G., Social legislation of the East India Company: public justice versus public instruction (New Delhi: Sage Publications, 2010), p. 366Google Scholar; Jones, Derek (ed.), Censorship: a world encyclopaedia (London; New York, NY: Routledge, 2015), p. 1160Google Scholar.

47 Nigel Little emphasizes the Indian context in understanding Duane's biography, including the links ‘between editors and malcontent officers’ in the EIC's armies. However, he argues that instead of judging men like James Hicky and William Duane ‘within an imperial framework, where they are the “libellous little men of empire”’, they should instead be located in the ‘wider Anglo-American tradition’ of radicalism. Little, N., Transoceanic radical, William Duane: national identity and empire 1760–1835 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2008), pp. 1, 6, 70–1, 82Google Scholar.

48 Newspapers in Indian languages or English-language newspapers owned and edited by Indians.

49 Darnton, ‘Literary surveillance in the British Raj’, pp. 133–76; Heath, ‘Creating the moral colonial subject’. For the moral regulation of cultural expression (especially drama and film), see Bhatia, Nandi, Acts of authority, acts of resistance: theater and politics in colonial and postcolonial India (Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Kaur and Mazzarella, Censorship in South Asia; Khosla, G. D., Pornography and censorship in India (New Delhi: Indian Book Co., 1976)Google Scholar; and Mehta, Monika, Censorship and sexuality in Bombay cinema (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2011)Google Scholar.

50 For sedition, see Barrier, N. Gerald, Banned: controversial literature and political control in British India, 1907–1947 (Columbia, MO: University of Missouri Press, 1974)Google Scholar; Kamra, Sukeshi, The Indian periodical press and the production of nationalist rhetoric (New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. In a 2005 presentation ‘Race, religion and libel law: the Parsi colonial case study’ (Legal theory workshop series), Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 2005), Mitra Sharafi analysed how Parsi identity was contested through defamation laws in early twentieth-century India. This focus resonates with global interest in press regulation and the concomitant struggle of journalists to establish the press as a bulwark of freedom in civil society. Early analyses, while detailing the everyday needs fulfilled by newspapers, also trace the ‘heroic struggle’ of the fourth estate. Hunt, F. Knight, The fourth estate: contributions towards the history of newspapers and of the liberty of the press, 2 vols (London: David Bogue, 1850), p. 2Google Scholar. The thread is visible in more contemporary scholarship, including Jeremy Black's study of eighteenth-century England or Jeremy Popkin's reconstruction of the eighteenth-century European continental press. Black, English press, p. 152; Popkin, Jeremy, News and politics in the age of revolution: Jean Luzac's ‘Gazette de Leyde’ (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989), Chapter 1Google Scholar. The Gazette de Leyde was published in the Netherlands but printed in France. See also Temple, Kathryn, Scandal nation: law and authorship in Britain, 1750–1832 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003)Google Scholar.

51 Barns, Indian press, pp. 73–75, quote on p. 74.

52 For a list, see ibid., p. 75.

53 Sankhder, Press, politics, and public opinion, p. 254.

54 Extract Bombay Public Cons., 30 September 1791, pp. 329–39, in Proceedings relative to the Bombay press, IOR.H/539, BL.

56 Extract Bombay Public Cons., 31 August 1792, esp. pp. 338–39, in Proceedings relative to the Bombay press, IOR.H/539, BL.

57 Case of Mr Humphreys, pp. 53–156, IOR.H/539, BL. See Letter to Court of Directors, 24 April 1795, pp. 53–67, esp. pp. 54–55, and Fort St. George Cons., 7 April 1795, pp. 83–120, esp. pp. 93–94.

58 The 1793 Charter Act continued to empower the EIC to grant licences to its employees and others to work in its Indian territories. Humphreys’ claimed he had permission to reside in India, but failed to produce a covenant executed by government.

59 Case of Mr Humphreys, Fort St. George Cons., 7 April 1795, pp. 93–94.

60 The president-in-council added that, if advisable, Humphreys could be tried for libelling the Prince of Wales in England.

61 Case of Mr William Duane, 1791–94, pp. 1–226, IOR.H/537, BL, esp. Public Letter to Bengal, 5 January 1796, pp. 225–26. Duane was almost deported for publishing an article suggesting that the French in Bengal were responsible for an unfounded rumour about the death of Charles Cornwallis, the British commander-in-chief and governor-general; officials said this violated ‘the regard due … to maint[aining] proper authority of Government’: ibid., Foreign letter from Bengal, 17 August 1791, pp. 1–4. After the Bengal Journal was forcibly closed down, Duane set up another newspaper, The World which also published material that the Bengal government considered libellous, leading to his deportation. See also Little, Transoceanic radical, Chapters 3 and 4.

62 Initially entitled Bengal Gazette or Calcutta General Advertiser. Barns, Indian Press, pp. 46–47. The first earned him a year's imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 and the second, a fine of Rs 5,000 (which Hastings forgave). Parthasarthy, Journalism in India, p. 25. A recent biographical study is Otis, Andrew, Hicky's Bengal Gazette: the untold story of India's first newspaper (Chennai: Westland Publications, 2018)Google Scholar.

63 Case of Charles McLean, 1798, pp. 289–315, IOR.H/537, BL, esp. Extract Law Letter from Bengal, 29 September 1798, pp. 289–92, and Extract Bengal Law Cons., 30 July 1798, pp. 297–98.

64 Case of Charles McLean, Extract Bengal Judicial Cons., 3 and 19 July 1798, pp. 293–96, 312–14. Meanwhile, officials had discovered that Maclean was the person who, in March 1795, had been ordered to be returned to Europe for quitting the ship he was attached to. However, he had gone missing (like Humphreys).

65 Case of Charles McLean, Extract Bengal Judicial Cons., 3 July 1798.

66 Case of Charles McLean, Extract Law letter to Bengal, 11 June 1800, p. 315.

67 Natarajan, History of Indian journalism, p. 12; Sankhder, Press, politics, and public opinion, p. 254; Barns, Indian press, pp. 72, 86.

68 Imposition of the censorship, 1799, pp. 339–59, IOR.H/537, BL, esp. Extract Bengal Public Cons., 26 May and 3 June 1799.

69 Special prohibitory orders issued to the editors of newspapers, 1801, 1803, 1804, pp. 369–75, 377–84, and Special prohibitory orders extended to editors of newspapers at the subordinate presidencies, 1807, pp. 385–92, both IOR.H/537, BL.

70 Extract Bengal Public Cons. 19 June and 2 July 1807, pp. 385–95, IOR.H/537, BL.

71 Extract Bengal Public Cons., 2 July 1807, esp. pp. 393–95.

72 Extract Bengal Public Cons., 19 June and 2 July 1807.

73 Extract Bombay Public Cons., 18 June 1807, pp. 435–39, IOR.H/539, BL, esp. chief secretary to government, Fort William (Thomas Brown), to chief secretary to government of Fort. St. George, 18 June 1807. The same was sent to Bombay and Prince of Wales’ Island.

74 Extract Fort St. George Public Cons., 29 and 30 June 1799, pp. 161–66, IOR.H/539, BL.

75 Publication of government general orders previously to inspection by the military secretary prohibited, 1795, pp. 159–60, IOR.H/539, BL, esp. Extract Military Miscellany Book from 1st to 14th December 1795, to editor of Madras Gazette, 12 December 1795.

76 Extract Bombay Public Cons., 30 September and 27 December 1791, IOR.H/539, BL, pp. 329–39, 403–4.

77 Henry Gwillam's charge to grand jury suppressed, pp. 177–84, IOR.H/539, BL, esp. Extract Separate Law Letter from Fort St. George, 21 October 1807, pp. 177–78, and Extract Fort St George Public Cons., 1 September 1807, pp. 179–80.

78 Henry Gwillam's charge, Extract Law Letter from Fort St. George, 21 October 1807.

79 Henry Gwillam's charge, Extract Law Letter from Fort St. George, 22 September 1807, pp. 183–84.

80 Editors of the Madras newspapers ordered to contradict an erroneous statement respecting a French officer, pp. 189–98, IOR.H/539, BL, esp. Extract Fort St George Public Cons., 3 and 4 May 1808, pp. 189–92, 193–98.

81 Editor of Madras Courier censured, 1816, pp. 215–24, IOR.H/539, BL, esp. Letter from secretary to government, public department (G. Stratchey) to Secretary at the India House (James Cobb), 1 May 1816, pp. 215–16, and Letter from G. Stratchey to editor of Madras Courier, 4 May 1816, pp. 223–24.

82 Editor of Madras Gazette censured, 1818, pp. 231–36, IOR.H/539, BL.

83 Proprietor of Bombay Gazette censured, 1802, pp. 417–21, IOR.H/539, BL.

84 Apology by editors of the Bombay Courier and second apology by editors of the Bombay Courier, pp. 422–34, IOR.H/539, BL, esp. Extract Bombay Public Cons., 5 January and 23 March 1804, pp. 430a–b, 431, 433–34.

85 Neglect of editors to submit the proof sheets of their papers for the inspection of the government previously to publication, censured, 1808, pp. 397–401, IOR.H/537, BL.

86 Home: Public: Cons., 22 October 1813, nos 34–35, 38, 39, and 40, National Archives of India, Delhi (NAI). Libel against surgeon Robert Tytler, 1813, pp. 415–32, IOR.H/537, BL.

87 Ralph James, editor, Hircarrah, to chief secretary (Dowdeswell), 22 September 1813, Home: Public, 22 October 1813, no. 39, NAI.

88 Libel against Tytler, proprietors of Hircarrah press to chief secretary (Dowdeswell), 9 October 1813, pp. 427–29.

89 Libel against Tytler, chief secretary to proprietors of Calcutta presses, 16 October 1813, pp. 430–32.

90 Libel against Tytler, chief secretary (Dowdeswell) to Tytler, 11 September 1813, pp. 420–21.

91 Irregular conduct of editor of Mirror (Lieutenant James Ralph), 1815, pp. 433–57, IOR.H/537, BL. In the 1813 discussion immediately above, Ralph James was editor of the Hircarrah.

93 Ibid., esp. pp. 443–47.

94 Case of Rev. Dr. Bryce, editor of Asiatic Mirror, pp. 459–545, IOR.H/537, BL, esp. Extract Bengal Public Cons., 7 June 1817, pp. 459–65.

95 Case of Dr. Bryce, Report of the acting chief secretary (J. Adams), 3 June 1817, pp. 491–96, and Letter from secretary (James Trotter) to Bryce, 7 June 1817, pp. 502–8.

96 Case of Dr. Bryce, Bryce to Adams, 18 July 1817, pp. 534–42.

97 Case of Dr. Bryce, Bryce to Adams, 5 June 1817, pp. 459–65, and Bryce to Adams, 4 June 1817, pp. 498–500.

98 Ahuja, History of Indian Press, p. 8. Natarajan, History of Indian Journalism, p. 14. Joseph Hardwick links the ‘vestry politics’ of Calcutta's Anglican churches in the 1820s to the emergence of a reform movement among British expatriates in Calcutta: J. Hardwick, ‘Vestry politics and the emergence of a reform “public” in Calcutta, 1813–36’, Historical Research, no. 84, 2011, pp. 87–108.

99 Case of Dr. Bryce, Extract Bengal Public Cons., 10 June 1817, pp. 509–25.

100 Removal of the censorship, 1818, pp. 547–52, IOR.H/537, BL; also IOR.H/532 [no. 3], BL. Editors were required to lodge a copy of every publication in the chief secretary's office

101 Barns, Indian press, pp. 89–90; Sankhder, Press, politics, and public opinion, p. 225.

102 Barns, Indian press, p. 72.

103 Removal of the censorship, 1818. Potential penalties were left somewhat open-ended: editors found to be in violation of the regulations would be ‘proceeded against’ as the government deemed ‘applicable to the nature of the offence committed’. This differed from the 1799 order, which had specified ‘immediate embarkation for Europe’ as the penalty for violations.

104 Report on the subject of the freedom of the press in India by N. B. Edmonstone, 6 January 1823, pp. 1–170, IOR.H/536a, BL. Quotes on pp. 17ff.

105 Attack on Governor Elliott, pp. 63–92, IOR.H/532, BL, esp. pp. 65–67, 83–87.

106 Charges against Madras government for obstructing circulation of CJ, pp. 93–148, IOR.H/532, BL.

107 Merit and interest: pay of Madras troops, pp. 149–90, IOR.H/532, BL, esp. pp. 151–57. The bishop was accused ‘of encouraging and upholding the clergy’ in neglecting their duties and of giving chaplains ‘perfect liberty on every idle pretence’ to leave their flock untended. Circulation post-free of the infamous prospectus and complaint of the bishop, pp. 191–284, IOR.H/532, BL, esp. pp. 217–27.

108 Articles calculated to obstruct injustice, pp. 285–366, IOR.H/532, BL, esp. Extract Public Letter from Bengal, 1 January 1822.

109 Publication of extracts from Sir John Malcolm's report on Malwa, pp. 353–68, IOR.H/532, BL; Article in CJ, signed ‘A Military Friend’ (Lieut.-Col. W. Robison), pp. 369–438, IOR.H/532, BL.

110 Article in CJ, signed ‘A Military Friend’, pp. 383–87.

111 Attack on Governor Elliott, Letter from advocate-general (R. Spankie), to chief secretary (W. B. Bayley), 31 May 1819, pp. 73–82.

112 Ibid.

113 Ibid.

114 Attack on Governor Elliott, Extract Public Letter from Bengal, 5 August 1819, pp. 65–67.

115 Letter from Chief Secretary (W.B. Bayley), to Mr Buckingham, 18 June 1819, pp. 83–87, IOR.H/532, BL; Edmonstone, Report on the freedom of the press in India.

116 Evidence of Charles Lushington, pp. 131–32, in Minutes of evidence presented before the select committee on the Calcutta Journal, 1 to 31 July 1834 (printed), included in Proceeding of the select committee of the House of Commons on the Calcutta Journal, pp. 619–825, IOR.H/536, BL. Buckingham also argued that he saw, even in government gazettes, ‘a constant violation of those instructions for the press that he was being chastened for violating’. Charges against Madras government for obstructing circulation of CJ, Buckingham to chief secretary (Bayley), 22 January 1820, pp. 104–132, 105–7.

117 Address to Marquis of Hastings from principal inhabitants of Madras, 24 July 1819, and answer of the Marquis, pp. 5–8, IOR.H/538, BL.

118 Charges against Madras government for obstructing circulation of CJ, Buckingham to chief secretary (Bayley), 22 January 1820.

119 Charges against Madras government for obstructing circulation of CJ, Letter from chief secretary (Bayley), to Buckingham, 27 January 1820, pp. 139–47.

120 John Adams, a member of Council, who would succeed Rawdon-Hastings as governor-general, dissented from this ‘indulgent construction’. Edmonstone, Report on the freedom of the press in India, p. 40.

121 Article in CJ, signed ‘A Military Friend’, Extract Bengal Public Cons., 17 November 1790, pp. 159–64, IOR.H/532, BL, esp. correspondence between advocate-general (R. Spankie) and chief secretary, 10, 11, and 13 November 1820.

122 Circulation post-free, pp. 191–284, esp. Extract Bengal Public Cons., 27 July 1821, pp. 241–84, esp. pp. 255–56.

123 Circulation post-free, Extract Bengal Public Cons., 27 July 1821; and Extract Public Letter from Bengal, 1 October 1821, pp. 193–209.

124 Barns, Indian press, p. 91. Malcolm had served under Wellesley.

125 Ibid., pp. 109–10.

126 Ibid., p. 110.

127 Cassel, Social legislation of the East India company; Little, Transoceanic radical.

128 Suggesting that CJ was a tool of the ‘perverse spirit’ of those in Calcutta who dissented from the conservatism of Robert Jenkinson (English prime minister, 1812–27). Articles calculated to obstruct injustice, pp. 285–352, IOR.H/532, BL.

129 Circulation post-free, Extract Bengal Public Cons, 27 July 1821.

130 Article in CJ, signed ‘A Military Friend’: Governor General's note, 1 June 1822, Fort William, pp. 411–18.

131 Ahuja sees the conflict as representing the council's support for Wellesley's rather than Rawdon-Hastings’ policy. Ahuja, History of Indian press, p. 11

132 Evidence of Charles Lushington, pp. 131–32, in Minutes of evidence. Even Leicester Stanhope, who eulogized Rawdon-Hastings, acknowledged that he had ‘threatened’ Buckingham over the latter's ‘sharp sarcasms’ on the Bishop of Stanhope, Calcutta. L., Sketch of the history and influence of the press in British India (London: C. Chapel, Royal Library, Pall Mall, 1823), p. 2Google Scholar.

133 Evidence of Charles Lushington, pp. 131–32, in Minutes of evidence.

134 Public Letter from Bengal, 17 October 1822, including Minutes relative to the press, European and Native, pp. 527–55, IOR.H/532, BL. Also Article in CJ, signed ‘A Military Friend’, Governor General's note, Fort William, 1 June 1822.

135 Minute by Thomas Munro, 12 April 1822, pp. 297–325, IOR.H/539, BL.

136 Instead, that Munro had a vision of imperial governance in which knowledgeable and sympathetic ‘pro-consul’-type administrators would remain at the helm until some undefined future when Indians would—theoretically—govern themselves. Stein, Burton, Thomas Munro: the origins of the imperial state and his vision of empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989)Google Scholar.

137 Barns, Indian press, p. 89.

138 Ibid., p. 115; Natarajan, History of Indian journalism, pp. 26–27. Similar regulations were made in Bombay in 1825 and 1827: Basu, Law of the press in India, p. 249.

139 Except ‘shipping intelligence, advertisements of sales, current prices of commodities, rates of exchange, or other intelligence solely of a commercial nature’. Every application required ‘the name or names of the printer and publisher of the proprietors, their place of residence, the location of the press and the title of the newspaper, magazine, register, pamphlet, or other printed book or paper’. Any change required a fresh application for a licence. Natarajan, History of Indian journalism, pp. 26–27.

140 Ibid.

141 One of the earliest challenges was Ram Mohun Roy's representation to the Supreme Court referencing the Mir'at’l-Akhbar (est. 1822; in Persian), followed by that of Govind Chunder Gour and Aunundo Gopal Mookerjea on behalf of the Sambad Kaumudi. (est. 1820; in Bengali). Ahuja, History of Indian press, pp. 8–9; Natarajan, History of Indian journalism, pp. 26–27.

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