Leo Tolstoy (graf).

The Asiatic journal and monthly register for British and foreign ..., Volume 9 online

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found. It was blocked op by walk on
three sides ; the fourth wall, to the west,
however, was not carried up to the roof,
atid left a space of about three feet.
Through this opening It is supposed that
the bayonets must have been thrown, ap-
parently in a hurry, as they were heaped
up in a very confused manner. They are
of all shapes and sizes, covered with
mst, and many of them with the Compa-
ny's mark btill visible. The number
thus discovered is said to be upwards of
12,000.

For some time past the rooms oa each
side of the place where the bayonets were
found, has been occupied by boat-office
keepers, and the most singular part of the
story is, that these weapons, under snch
circumstances, should have remained so
Jong concealed. Underneath them several
cooking utensils, articles of household
furniture, and oyster shells were found,
and also auction advertisements and ta-
vern bills, dated in 1795. This myste-
rious circumstance has given rise to con-
jectures as various as improbable. Wish
hidden weapons, conspiracy and insur-
rection became of course associated, and
accordingly it has been supposed that
they were collected by some desperate na-
tives for the purpose of opposing the Bri-
. tistfi power in India. The accumulation
of such a large quantity has been account-
ed for in a different way. It is said to
have been customary to throw unservice-
able and rejected bayonets, Ac. into the
river opposite the fort, and with the na-
tives it had been also cnstoniary to fish
them up in the night ! These no doubt
found a ready purchaser, who probablj
collected them to sell to the Arabs, ana
others from Pegn and the Eastern Islands,
who frequent the port at Calcutta.

Isle of Saugur. — We are sorry to 6nd
that not only Mr. PI u met, who had lately
been appointed superintendent of the
workmen employed in clearing the Isle of



Asiatic InteUligence.— Calcutta. [Junk,

Saugur, In the room of Dr. Dunlop, bat,
that also Dr. Saauolle, mo European ■as-
sistant, and several native se rva nt s, hcrve
been upder the necessity of tearing; tne
place, from the eatreme uahealttiiaeas)
which at present prevails there. And
yet tl^is is the snot on which', some little
time ago, a plan was proposed for erect-
ing a temple to the goddess Hygeisu—
Calcutta, Jan. 8.

Coroner's /»f*^— On Thursday, leHh
Nov. an inquest was hoMen at the hoane
of Richard Francis, Esq. situate In Man-
goe Lane, over the body of Thomas Tfcus-
pie Blackburn, late a writer in the civil
service of the Hen. Bast India Company.
It appeared in evidence, that the deceased
had called upon his friend Mr. Francis
twelve days before, to afford him a room in
hit house, as he was sick and dM not line
to reside in bis own, situate on the drco-
lar road, because It was damp* A room
was kindly provided lor him, and he in-
stantly wrote for Dr. John Macwhirter ;
who attended him until the fetal catas-
trophe. The doctor's deposition tended
to shew, that the deceased had appeared
desponding and anxious throughout his
ilmets, and particularly so on the evening
preceding his death. On the afternoon of
the same day it had been deemed neces-
sary to apply leeches to his temples : at
night the deceased bad complained to his
kind host that he was unhappy in his
mind, was greatly in debt, and that he
was very wicked, but had resolved on fol-
lowing a new course. He appeared to Mr.
Frauds to be delirious before he left him
to his repose, which was about half past
tea o'clock. Before day-light the foUow*-
ing morning a report was heard by air.
Francis, who being suddenly aroused from
his sleep, imagined it was the morning
gan, and remained unconscious of harm*
until disturbed by a note, thrown into his
room through the Venetian window by
Dr. Macwhirter. The latter bad gone
early to visit the deceased, and upon feel-
ing the hand cold, and no pulse at the wrist,
besides perceiving the bed-clotbes be-
smeared with blood, was alarmed, and
he wished to have the presence of a wit-
ness. Upon returning to the room, and
throwing open the windows, these gen-
tlemen discovered that the throat ot the
deceased was partially cut with a razor
(which was found afterwards lying upon
his, bed), and it was supposed, having fail-
ed in his attempt, he had used a pistol,
for not a vestige of face or bead remained !
There was no direct evidence given to
prove these facts ; but upon a close inves-
tigation by the coroner and his jury, traces
of blood-marks were discovered to the ad-
joining apartment (in a line with that of
the deceased), and it was clear to their
minds, that he must have gone thither for
the purpose of procuring his razors, for



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1820.]

the case had been taken out of his own
bedding, which was rolled up on a tabic,
- and wherein were the remaining appara-
tus for shaving ; these said articles having
remained in that place without being be-
fore removed from the first day of his ar-
rival. The case was found upon a chair
in his own room, where it is probable be
first made the attempt to cot his throat,
as before mentioned, and that then he
must have returned to the aforesaid room
to procure the pistol, with which he shot
himself, as that was found burst, stickiug
at the foot of the bed in the musquito cur-
tain, where it must have fallen, in the re-
coil. The pistol ball had passed through
the pannel of the door behind the bed of
the deceased, leading to the next room,
leaving its mark on the furthermost wall,
aud was found under a table on the op-
posite wall, quite flattened. JJnder the
foregoing circumstances, a verdict was
returned of Lunacy.

New Chapel, Dec. 2. — Government
have determined on dedicating another
new building in Calcutta to Divine wor-
ship according to the Euglish Protestant
church* For the equal accommodation
of the eastern and western districts, a
chapel is to be built on a spot of ground
In the Bow-Bazar, commonly called the
Gao Khanah, a little to the westward of
the Mussulman college. It is to be a
plain and simple edifice, with a dome,
without galleries, and calculated to con-
tain six hundred persons. The Bishop
has sanctioned his chaplain, the Rev. Mr.
Hawtayae, to perform the clerical duties.
A bchool-ropm is to be built near, the
expenses of which will be defrayed out of
certain funds at the disposal of the Lord
Bishop.

Ve*try Question, — Calcutta has been
some time agitated by a dispute between
the gentlemen who, by the votes of a few
who have passed office and acquired that
privilege from custom, compose the Select
Vestry of St. John's cathjedral, and a large
party among the British inhabitants of Cal-
cutta, who claim to have, as a General
Vestry, a right to choose the Select Vestry
annually.

This party of antagonists to the Select
Vestry have made many attempts to exer-
cise the suffrage thus claimed, and when
foiled by the subsisting members of that
body, have twice solicited the interpo-
sition of government in their favour, with-
out beiug able to obtain any act or deci-
skm^adverse to the privileges of the Select
Vestry, derived and transmitted by a
close election.

Iu consequence of these unavailing



Asiatic Intelligence.— Calcutta. 619

applications, a meeting was called on the
22d of September, at the town -hall, of
all the British inhabitants, at which the
subject was stoutly debated. After much
argument on both sides, a preponderating
majority carried a set at resolutions, of
which we subjoin a careful abstract, not
having room for the whole ; but we have
aimed to preserve the force of those pas-
sages which unfold the nature of the dis-
pute, aud the basis of the claims revived
by the present inhabitants. The want of
some conditional term equivalent to " It
is the opinion of this meeting,*' at the
begiuuing of such of the resolutions as
require it, does not originate with the
abstract: owing to this omission, the
assembly speak as if by the energy of deli-
berate volition they had created the acts
of which they complain. The sixth, for
example, shews what resolute minds may
accomplish. The tone of confident dicta-
tion in the thirteenth leaves the govern-
ment at liberty to coincide with the
meeting.

The 15th contemplates the raising of
a grand imperial burly-burly about the
reclamation of a free vestry code for the
parish of St. John, Calcutta, iu case the
Supreme Government should reduce the
scale ou which the privilege of choosing
parochial officers cau be exercised. The
13th, 14th, and 15th resolutions, form an
epitome of the mischiefs to be apprehended
from giving parochial assemblies a dispro-
portionate magnitude aud publicity, com-
pared with the objects for which they
meet. Thus, an iuexhaustable orator lifts
himself into a boisterous importance by
converting a room for petty business into
a theatre for ambitious debate. The con-
tingent appellants jump at once from the
vestry office at Calcutta to the Parliament
House in Britain. From the decorous
address spoken by the chairman in pre-
senting it, we infer that the petition with
which the committee went up to the
Government House at Calcutta did not
contain the mixture of distrust aud
menace, the professed submission, and the
prepared appeal, pervading the 14th aud
15 th resolutions.

Abstract of the Resolutions pro-
posed and carried at a Meeting
iu the Town-Hall, Sept. 22,
1819, to which all the British
inhabitants of Calcutta were iu*

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620 Asiatic Intelligence.— Calcutta. [J u «,

vittd, and at which more than conferred on the inhabitants in 1787, and



300 attended, on the subject of
the dispute with the Select Vestry
of St. John's Cathedral.
First.— Resolved : That the Church
Constitution, made public in 1787, in the
Government Gazet te, and emanating from
the collective wisdom of Lord Cornwallis
and of set end chief functionaries of go-
vernment, joined in a select vestry with
the chapiaius, appears to this meeting to
contain provisions for the administration
of the church affairs, and for the manage-
ment of the revenues and poor funds, in
themselves most just, reasonable, and
prudent ; equally honourable to all parties
concerned, whether we regard the li-
berality of the high authority which con-
ferred the rights and privileges contained
in tiiat charter, or the characters of the
inhabitants of this city.

Second.— Resolved : That the instru-
ment thus solemnly promulgated under
the sanction of t|ie government, as repre-
sented by its chief, has never been abro-
gated or altered in any of its essential
provisions, by an act equally authentic ;
consequently the constitution aforesaid
is conceived by this meeting to be still in
full force.

Third.— Resolved : That whether from
confidence in their delegates, the select
vestry, or whether from indolence or con-
stant occupation in business on the part
of the inhabitant electors, it has happened
that the annual election meetings, though
duly summoned every Easter since 1787,
have been scantily attended by the in-
habitants, and frequently of late years
have been atteuded by none except the
actual members of the old select vestry,
on whom, in the absence of other con-
stituents, the duty of electiug the new
vestry has legally devolved on such occa-
sions, and who, iu the abseuce of other
candidates, have necessarily re-elected
the same individuals to the offices of
church- wardens and sidesmen.

Fourth.— Resolved : That within the
last few years, the relaxation of vigilance,
on the part of the electors, appears to have
produced a corresponding laxity in the
select vestry, and au iudifferenc^ to the
opinion of the constituent body, mani-
fested in the manner of discharging their
functions, and particularly by their having
ventured to discontinue the accustomed
annual publication of their accounts in
the government gazette, without the
authority of the general vestry.

Fifth.— Resolved : That from these and
other indications, the select vestry made
light of their responsibility to the general
vestry,' and even inclined to question its
controlling and constituent authority, cer-
tain public spirited individuals determined,
two years ago, to assert the privileges



were successfully resisted by the select
vestry, who denied the elective fight of
the inhabitants $ and, by their representa-
tions to government, appear to have per-
suaded that high and respected authority
to abstain from interfering authoritatively
Jo behalf of the electors, nuder an im-
pression that the select vestry alone
possessed the right of election to office.

Sixth.— Resolved : That in the present
year the attempt was renewed with bet-
ter success, the general vestry having, by
a considerable majority, re-elected a
church-warden on their own behalf, and
having chosen two new sidesmen, iu vir-
tue of their ancient franchises; which
the same majority resolved were nowise
impaired by certain paragraphs of a letter
to the old vestry, produced as a justifica-
tion of their right to re-elect themselves,
hut which, when justly interpreted, were
considered by the meeting to be a mere
acknowledgment of any vestry de facto,
for the convenience of carrying on the
public business and trusts, waving all
interference in the question of right, and
suggesting a reference to higher authority.

Seventh.— Resolved ; That on the first
meeting for the discbarge of ordinary
business after Easter, the select vestry
took upon themselves to revive the dis-
cussion of the great question of the gene-
ral vestry's competency to elect them to
the offices which they were then exercising
in virtue of that competency, and in failure
of which they could not have aoy legal
existence as a select vestry, inasmuch as
no election whatever had taken place on
the prescribed day, save and except that
election by the inhabitants which they
affected to question.

Eighth.— Resolved : That the select
vestry, on the strength x>f private and ir»
regular communications with the indi-
vidual employed by government to write
the letter regarding the former year's
election, proceeded by a majority of three
against two io der-lare the election of the
inhabitants null and void, ejected the two
dissentieut sidesmen, declared themselves
the lawful select vestry, and recalled to
their seats the two sidesmen of the year
before, who bad been rejected by the in*
habitants at the general vestry election.

Ninth.— Resolved ; That the ejected
sides men, having iu vain solicited the
interposition of government, who again,
and in more express terms, declined to
interfere on the point of right, and having
fruitlessly appealed to the persons calling
v themselves the lawful select vestry, who
refused to notice their applications to ham
a general vestry summoned to decide be*
tween them, have called a special meeting
of the inhabitants, electors, with the
sanction of government, for the avowed



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18*0.] Asiatic Intelligence.— Calcutta.

purpose of laying before us the opinion
ofcouiiseH and for concerting measures
to vindicate the franchises of the inhabi-
tants, thus wrested from us by the usurpa-
tioo of the select vestry.

Tenth.— Resolved : That this meeting
considers the two sidesmen, Mr. R.C.
Piowden and Mr. Trevor Plowdeo, en-
titled to its fullest approbation and cordial
thanks, lor their acflous, able, and disin-
terested exertions in behalf of our com*
mon rights and privileges.

Eleventh.— Resolved : That this meeting
considers the persons now calling them-
selves the select vestry, and in forcible
possession of the records and powers ap-
pertaining to the offices of select vestry-
men, to have no good right so to style
tbemsel? es, or to act in that corporate ca-
pacity, and that we will use our strenuous
endeavours to oust them from their pre-
tended functions, and to recover the an-
cient rights of election and control to the
general vestry.

Twelfth.— ResoWed: That we the inha-
bitants now present, together with such
persons as have been prevented from at-
tending but concur in opinion, do join in
* respectful petition to the Supreme Go-
vernment, which shall be drawn up and
presented by our committee and our chair-
man, and after narrating our past proceed*
ings, and detailing these our resolutions,
shall confine itself to the simple object of
earnestly entreating that high authority to
re-establish by its power the constitution
of 1787, precisely as it stands recorded,
either as a permanent rule and ordinance,
or as a temporary measure pending any
reference to authorities in Kngtand.

Thirteenth .—Resolved: That this meet*
tag cannot allow itself to question the be-
neficent and liberal views of the govern-
ment, nor its readiness to Interpose its
mediation and authority, in establishing,
in the shape of an old charter revived or a
new charter granted, the just and salutary
principles laid down in that admirable
vestry constitution of 1787, beyond the
enforcement of which our utmost desires
are not extended ; and that we are well
persuaded the Supreme Government of
British India will never hesitate to act on
the undeniable maxim, that all men, hold-
ing public trusts, and administering re-
venues or funds for the general good,
should be held responsible for their con-
stituents. That we are confident of
government's acquiescing in the expe-
diency of enforcing the churchwardens*
and sidesmens* oaths; and the former
yearly rendering of their accounts on
oath; of rendering the prosecution of de-
linquent officers effectual ; of compelling
the publication of accounts ; and of pro-
viding for occasional meetings of the ge-
neral vestry, on formal requisitions signed
by a given number of electors.



621



Fourteenth.— Resolved : .That Jf the go-
vernment, for reasons unknown to us,
should decline to grant or restore the
system of 1787, so much coveted by the
inhabitants, we will endeavour to obtain
redress from the laws ot the land ; we
will support the sidesmen in endeavours
to gain their restoration to office, by such
proceedings, at law or in equity, as shall
appear advisable to them and their coun-
sel, with tne approbation of a committee
of our own body ; and we will personally
contribute, and endeavour to obtain the
contributions of every independent in-
habitant, towards defraying such law
charges.

Fifteenth.— Resolved: That if we should
ultimately fail in these moderate views,
through the improbable refusal of the
government to attend to our solicitations,
or the incompetence of the strong arm of
the law to afford redress, we will sub-
scribe our names, and* invite the signatures
of all our fellow citizens to humble peti-
tions, drawn up by our committee, to the
King in council, or either or both Houses
of Parliament, as the case may be; be-
seeching either, or all those high autho-
rities to extend relief to us in the matters
above set forth j and that, In the event of
such humble petition or petitions being
determined upon, that to the King in
council be transmitted, by our committee,
through the Supreme Government and
the honourable the Court of Directors, to
the Presideut of the Board of Controul,
to be by him laid before the King in coun-
cil ; and that any petition to the Lords
Spiritual and Temporal, or Commons'
House of Parliament, shall be transmitted
through such members of those Houses as
the committee may think will aid our
views.

Sixteenth.— Resolved : That the fol-
lowing gentlemen be a committee, for
carrying into effect these resolutions >

Commodore Hayes, Chairman; Messrs.
Pattle, Palmer, Trower, Trant, Forbes,
R. C. Piowden, Wynch, T. Piowden,
Buckingham, Dampier, Siddons, Comp-
ton, and J. Young.

Seventeenth. — Resolved : That this
committee considers it right and just not
to close these proceedings without re-
cording this resolution, explicitly dis-
claiming any intention of imputing cor-
rupt, dishonest, or sordid motives or
conduct, to the persons now claiming to
be the select vestry of St. John's, whe-
ther in their corporate or individual ca-
pacities ; the objects of this meeting being
confined to the assertion and recovery of
old and acknowledged rights, which we
conceive to have been wrongfully wrested
from us, the inhabitants of Calcutta, by
our own appointed servants, whose wish
to make themselves wholly independent
of their constituents, we ascribe to iin-

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Adatic Intelligence.— Calcutta. [June,

poises that do not necessarily aflect our Lordship's person and government ; and in
respect for the moral and personal cha- thus submitting our humble appeal on be-



racter of those Individuals,

Eighteenth.— Resolred : That deeply
regretting the injury the poor hare sus-
tained, from the preseut select vestry
having lost the confidence of the public,
we do, in the event of our projected
petition to the government failing of ef-
fect, constitute ourselves a society for
receiving and distributing alms, in like
manuer and under similar restrictions and
responsibilities as are laid down in the
regulations appointed by Lord Corn wal lis
in June 1787 ; aud that six persons of
the committee, by us chosen, shall be
elected from time to time by a majority
of the said committee, to fulfil the object
of this resolution during the interval that
may elapse, until we can obtain either the
revival of the above-mentioned constitu-
tion of 1787, or any other vestry consti-
tution which may be hereafter legally
established.

Nineteenths— That the thanks of this
meeting be given to Mr. Buckingham, for
the disinterested and laudable public spirit
he has invariably manifested during the
whole period of the discussion of the
vestry question, through that palladium of
the liberty of the British Press in India,
the Calcutta Journal,

Twentieth.— Thanks to Commodore
Hayes, for bis impartial and able conduct
in the chair.

Twenty-first.— Thanks to the high-
sheriff and the under-sheriff, for their
ready convening of the meeting.

Nov, 13.— The Governor-gen having
signified his pleasure to Commodore
Hayes, chairman of the meeting and
committee, that be would receive their
petition this day at 10 o'clock, the com-
mittee named in the sixteenth resolution
attended at the government house at the
time appointed. The commodore had
the honour to indicate to his Lordship the
object of the meeting in a short address.

My Lord :— Agreeably to the wishes of
a numerous meeting of the inhabitants of
Calcutta, assembled at the town-hall on
the 22d of September last, under the
sanction of your Lordship's government,
we now take the liberty to present their
humble petition, praying for redress
agaiust certain grievances, which they
hope to acquire from your Lordship's
wonted regard for public justice.— We
disclaim hostility towards any party, as
our sole object is the amelioration of the
condition of our more unfortunate and
helpless fellow-creatures, which object
we hope to attain through your Lordship's
impartial consideration.— We take this
opportunity of personally expressing our
unfeigned respect and attachment for your



half of the public, we have before us every
rational ground of hope, as our depen-
dence is placed upon the just decision of
one of the greatest and best men of the
age.

After which, the commodore presented
the petition to his Lordship, who received
It most graciously, and stated that it
should be laid before the council for con-
sideration without delay.

Assault Extraordinary. The following
transaction, growiug out of the .«* vestry
question/' shows ^ the fierce animosity
which it has caused between seme of the
opposite partisans in the society of Cal-
cutta. The narrative is in the words of
the editor of the Calcutta Journal.

On the evening of Thursday, Sept. 3t,
about the close of twilight, when the
course was crowded with carriages, the
editor of this journal was taking an air-
ing in his huggy, with a friend. The
young person who had distinguished him-
self at the meeting at the town-hall, by
advocatiug the cause of the select vestry,
aud whose speech was reported as that of
a young gentleman whose name was not
then known, happened to pass by on
horseback at the time; and though bis
person was distinctly remembered, nor
thing peculiar was remarked in his appear*
ance, so as to indicate hostile iutentions.
Immediately after passing the buggy, which
was proceeding at a slow rate, and the
persons in it were lounging back in a list-



Online LibraryLeo Tolstoy (graf)The Asiatic journal and monthly register for British and foreign ..., Volume 9 → online text (page 121 of 126)