16 MARCH 1878, Page 1

The Government of India has struck a tremendous blow at

the Vernacular Press. On the 14th inst. the Viceroy's Council, declaring that this Press included seditious, extortionate, and scandalous journals, passed a law enabling any district magis- trate, with the consent of the local government, to compel any publisher to enter into a bond binding himself not to repeat articles decided to be objectionable. If he breaks his word, the bond will, of course, be estreated. He can only escape by bind- ing himself to submit proofs of all future articles to an officer to be appointed by the Government. The law does not affect papers published in English, whether by Europeans or Natives, and appears to have been passed unanimously. It will be applied at first only to Bengal, Bombay, and the North, Madras being exempted. 'We have endeavoured to show elsewhere that the law is both unjust and inexpedient, but must mention here that it is probably not disliked by the higher classes of natives, because it will put a stop to the " black-mailing " which has grown up, while the body of the people care nothing about the matter. These facts ought, however, to deepen the jealousy of Parliament for a Press which has no ordinary protection, and which it can- not be expedient or right to place without warning /tors /a /vi.