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amble; by three of the four reasons of the Court of Directors, upon the appeal; and by the whole of the argument of counsel, upon the hearing of it."
(The learned judge here read the preamble to the Calcutta regulation, and extracts from the reasons of the Court of Directors upon the appeal; and also adverted to the arguments which had been urged by counsel upon the hearing of that appeal; for the purpose of showing that the Calcutta regulation was avowedly founded upon the allegation that "matters tending to bring the government of Bengal, as by law established, into hatred and contempt, had of late been frequently printed and circulated in newspapers, and other papers published in Calcutta.")
"But what is the preamble to the regulation which is now proposed to be registered in the Supreme Court at Bombay? Is there any recital of ' matters tending to bring the government of this country, as by law established, into hatred and contempt, having been printed and circulated in newspapers and other papers published in Bombay'? Nothing of the kind;—the preamble merely recites, that a certain regulation had been passed in Calcutta for the prevention of the publication of such matters. Is it the fact, that such matters have been published in the Bombay papers? Can a single passage, or a single word, 'tending to bring the government of Bombay into hatred and contempt;' can a single stricture, or comment, or word, respecting any of the measures of government, be pointed out in any Bombay paper?
"How, then, without such necessity as is stated in the preamble to the Calcutta regulation, can it be expected that even were the Supreme Court to consent to register it, and an appeal were preferred, it would be confirmed by his Majesty in Council ?—where would be the reasons of the Court of Directors in favour of it ?—where would be the arguments of counsel in support of it?
'"Suppose an act of parliament passed to suspend the habeas corpus act in Ireland, on account of treasonable practices in that country; in such case, evidence of such practices would be laid before committees of the two Houses of Parliament before the act was passed, and the act would also recite !lu/m, as the Calcutta regulation recites the evils which it was intended to remedy. But would the fact of such act having been passed for Ireland justify a motion to extend it also to England, without any evidence of any such treasonable practices, nay, when it was well known that there were no such, or any circumstances to call for it, and with a mere recital of the habeas corpus act having been suspended in Ireland, as the present proposed regulation merely recites that the same regulation had been passed at Calcutta?
"I am of opinion that this proposed regulation should not be registered."
That this is sound constitutional doctrine, we presume few persons will be found to deny. Mr. Justice Rice, while he thought the proposed change repugnant to the law of England, and that policy did not require it, yet did not object to. the registry; principally because, as regarded the repugnance, he deferred to the appellate authority, and as regarded the policy and expediency, he did not think the legislature intended to leave them so much to the consideration of the Court as to the Government. Mr. Justice Chambers, however, concurring in the opinion of the Chief Justice, the judgment of the Court was, — that the regulation be disallowed.
With respect to the reformation of the police, the principles of Sir Edward West, as developed in his celebrated charge to the grand jury at Bombay, are in strict accordance with those of the most enlightened jurists and legislators of the present day. The time is fast approaching,- when his merits on that point will be fully felt and acknowledged.
Another very important object of a local nature which Sir Edward West had much at heart he did not live to see accomplished; an object which would naturally arrest the attention of every humane and enlightened man, and the consideration of which was imperative upon one placed in charge of the highest magisterial authority of the presidency. That object was the improvement of the condition of the prisoners
VOL. XIV. I
in the gaol of Bombay. He repeatedly commented upon the subject from the bench; and pointed out the absence of those improvements which the legislature had introduced into gaols in England; not more from a sense of humanity than from a firm conviction of their being essential to the prevention of crime. The practice of loading prisoners before trial (who, by law, are presumed to be innocent) with heavy irons is an injustice of no slight magnitude; but the want of classification that prevails in the Bombay gaol, the mingling of those who are untried with those who have been convicted, and of those who are but entering the career of vice with the most hardened offenders, has been so irresistibly shown to be one of the most powerful causes of moral depravity, and, consequently, of the increase of crime, that it may well be matter of surprise that no effectual means have yet been taken to erect a gaol which would admit of a remedy being applied to so enormous an evil.
As a judge, the chief characteristics of Sir Edward West were, his undeviating devotion to the duties of his important office, and a high-minded determination not to be supine in the execution of them. From a natural sensitiveness of disposition, he was remarkable for exhibiting a very extraordinary degree of feeling, whenever any case of great interest was brought before him. His benevolence and humanity to the natives were the consequence of this part of his character; and there was nothing he more earnestly desired than the improvement of their condition in society. In all causes in which their interest was at variance with that of Europeans, it was obvious to the most common observer, how great his anxiety was to hold the scales of justice with an even hand, and to inspire the native population with a confidence in the equity and protection of the Supreme Court; and his conduct in that respect has left a most powerful impression on their minds. It has been said to be characteristic of a judicial mind to be given to doubting. An excess of such doubting is, perhaps, one of the greatest public evils; but an anxiety to be right induces a patience of examination which is of the greatest public utility. In all questions of fact, Sir Edward West was very diffident in coming to a conclusion; and he was rarely satisfied in ordinary cases with the conclusion at which he ultimately arrived. But this was the natural effect of being obliged to rely upon native evidence; which, in many cases, without being intentionally contrary to truth, is from its nature loose and unsatisfactory; and a correct interpretation of which it is seldom easy to obtain, both from the imperfection of the language and from the variety of dialects spoken on that side of India. In conclusions of law, he did not show more anxiety than every discreet judge ought to feel in striving to arrive at a just and legal judgment.
In private life, Sir Edward West was a most affectionate and devoted husband and father. His whole happiness, indeed, depended upon the assiduous and affectionate attentions of his amiable wife; and the simplicity and tenderness of his character were manifested by the delight he took in the sports of his infant daughter and only child. The pleasures of social intercourse he amply appreciated; especially in the company of those in whom he placed confidence, and to whom he felt attachment. It is to be lamented, that in India the fluctuating state of society and other circumstances are not favourable to the formation of intimacies. In that limited sphere, however, he was not without possessing several firm and attached friends, who lament his death in common with those numerous friends whose respect and love he had secured before he quitted England. In closing this picture of his private life, his unostentatious attention to the duties of religion must not be passed over in a light and cursory manner. It was not in his nature to obtrude his sentiments on such subjects upon others, but those who were intimate with him could not fail to discern the liveliness and sincerity of his religious principles. They were often shown, and in a manner to which a love of forms could never have led. Both in private and in public, his habitual practice of devotion was persevered in with constancy and regularity. Nor was he satisfied with personally maintaining this strict attention to the duties
of religion; but he enforced the observance of them uponothers, as far as his influence could extend. He had well studied the Scriptures, and not only gave the assent of his powerful understanding to the great scheme of Christianity contained in them, but endeavoured to make its precepts his guide through life; and its promises were the foundation of his hope at the approach of death.
After an illness of eight days, Sir Edward West died at Poona, of a severe fever, on the 18th of August, 1828, in the forty-fifth year of his age. He was buried at Poona.
It is much to be regretted that there is no portrait of Sir Edward West, either in England or in India. He was so perfectly destitute of personal vanity, that the feeling almost amounted to aversion to sit for his picture, although the request was made to him before he left England, by the members of University College, Oxford, in a way which could not but be flattering to him. The College had paid the same compliment to Sir Robert Chambers and Sir William Jones, both of whom, previous to their appointment to the Indian bench, were among its most distinguished members; and in those cases its wishes had been complied with. Sir Edward West declined the honour; nor is it believed that there is any resemblance of him elsewhere. Since his death, the principal natives of Bombay, in gratitude for the protection and kindness which they had invariably experienced from him, were desirous of placing his portrait in the Supreme Court, as a testimony of their sense of his public worth. Finding it impossible to accomplish that object, they determined to perpetuate his memory by contributing a very large sum of money for the purpose of associating his name with one of the most promising institutions, as regards the civilisation of that part of India, that ever was established — by founding a scholarship, to be called by his name, for the benefit of the schools of the Native Education Society of Bombay; and on the 8th of October, 18'28, a deputation of the principal native inhabitants of Bombay proceeded to the house of Sir Charles Chambers, acting Chief Justice, to present an address of condolence, in the following words :—