LIBEL ON JAMES WILSON.
CONSIDERABLE indignation has-been. arousedbya curious sally in the---" Trade Circular " of Messrs. Travers and Sons. It is an obituary'notice.ef Mr. Jamealctilson, in-a-tone more than critical. The writer professes to be-obeying a sense of duty, "-in the inte- rests of sound fininkee;dree trade,: and` commercial 'consistency "— ....,!LWith one universal veice,",he says, "the_ press has lowered-the tifibti Of QrmitAitiiiii-by,proelaimiag that Kr. NVilson's:loss is irreperaI, lindllitit Our cotinti,-,,*-ffistmguiShed Above all others for .its commercial ca- pacity, can produce no man to fill his place." To correct thisidulation, abalwritetztves- eirr' -view4,4-" In4ft. Wilson's career, there- has net, so iagaalfraiaie!ftwere,,: bean ,a ._single 'feature hut that of. industry. 'Re has Amer e. nimatiened as the ,en. ginater. of RD.. improvement-in, fistulae,. trade, ,or„any, other department of pablic [His 'career is then de- Seribe'd the conduct of the -Economist .; and in office, where he is said have been " always ready for the 'Government set-vice-in the ilonsmof Commons." Andlelis accused of negligence, because someof the Tetovds of himteriotl in. the Treasury, .h,‘with-regardio contracts or subsidies, Imre Lewdest or uncle 'l -".4.t this part of hiscousse, Mr. Wilson, not- Withstaiiding alibe'hiliipenditure suited to hiseposition, wasinulerstood-to have amassed a large fortune. His public services, therefore; had at least metazintlequate.return in position, influence, and money. Then came the Indian mission. He was offered the post of Indian Chancellor Of the Ex- eheqner,-10,0001. per annum,. unlimited power to act in every Amy he pleased, ;and the 'final .prespect of those advantages -which alwaysattend the elose.of such an undertaking.. . We.pass to Mr. Wilsonhandian acts. His first 'measure was to introduce the currency seheme, in total op- position to the principle Of currency recognized ingland as the only sound ene, and which, upon its particulars being received here, .Sir Charles -Wood, -the President of the India- Council,lourabitnecessary immediately to coun- termand: His next measure was . a -direct violation ofsallthoPree-trade dpistrines through whichrsolely he had.risen to notice, ancleonsisted inzthe establishment of high protective dutieson'the native manufactures.and pro- duce-45f lvdia.. . . His third and last step was.to impose the Income.tax, the main objection to which lies in the.stimillus it affbrds to fnitid upon a liepulation-where'-frand-ittir virtue' .and ',where every. species of oppression _can be practised by native officials, thus creating a prospect of the most cruel tact cis . . It remains_ also to be noticed, that while the news from -Oude already brings accounts of gross torture for the extraction of the XiMorde-tax, the Chamber of Commerce at Calcutta have deemed itneces- Wiry to pass a strong resolution' against -Mr. 'Wilson's monetary-proposals. 41fthellisPitte-with,8ir C. Trevelyan, nothirg :need be said, except that-it :was-undoubtedly commenced .a most uncourteous reference to that gen- *man in -a speech „by Mr. Wilsonin the.Legislative.Council." Throughout this composition, there as an inexactness -which Might be characterized. by a stronger name. Our own paper. las spoken of 'Mr. Wilson's qualities and .service in -terms carefully ,measured, and we have not been.alone in ; so doing. We. gave What.w,e thought tobe ,ajust tribute !to his peculiar .talents, to his amfiagging.diligence, and to his official fidelity. ." The universal voice of the press," therefore, was-not raised in a tone of adu lotion. Bat those who were . acquainted with.public affairs are psi usdn saying that Mr. Wilson's career was distinguished by liomething.more,than. industry. He hadtalents not of the highest order, but very rare in their degree, with a practical sagacity and trustworthiness. almost,equally rare. 'The insinuation that he had '" amassed a large fortune," has in it a-sting vibichthe .public at large will not thoroughly appreciate,. and it is a sting aimed at a dead man!
It is worse than inexact to say :that his currency scheme was "in total opposition to the principle recognized in England:" We explained the .!degree in . which it deviated from the inten- lions of the .government here ; but although he inadvertently Made an!omi.ssion which. involved the _question of !principle -it is a gross exaggeration to say that lis.measure was in "total .cop- position." In fact his currency.scheme—the error excepted—was the scheme of the Home-Government. We will not,pause to dis- miss the question of free trade ; Which is unquestionably in- fringed by the prot.eetivoduties on native manufactures ; but the merits of that question are not to'be ilisniissedin a few sentences. The income-tax seems likely to be very generally accepted in ..The allusion to the torture -in Oude, unless we are Charitably to .regard it as a mere piece of -clumsiness in the writing, is one of the wildest and most malignant insinuations which we have ever seen against a public man. 'Mr. Wilson had no more to do with the alleged torture 'in Odde, than he had with 'the imprisonment of Eng- lishmen in the Bleak 'Hole of Calcutta. And as to the dispute with Sir Charles Trevelyan, it was not a question of words, but pne of flagrantinsabordination, the character of which was stamped liy-the-recaltnflijrCharles. -Mr. Wilson's very natural sense of provocation-sat:Sir., Charles's resistance may have .prompted lan- guage ,whia,trellection, or the advice of others, might have qualified^: Intwe'cannot'forget the provocation. And with that single exception, it must be said, not only that Mr. Wilsoes Career in India was absolutely blameless, but that it has com- manded a spontaneous and emphatic tribute of approval front every class, both'in India -and at home. And for just reasons. In ti strange country, in .a trying -climate, Mr. Wilson used Very great bodily, exertion 'in order personally to ascertain the accuracy Of 'the data on which he was proceeding. He travelled over no small portion of ground for that purpose. He made himself-master of facts to a degree which is quite unusual with Faigliihmen India,:partinulaily with those who have newly arrived. He consulted the views of officials, of residents, of natives; and thretighotit, while acting in 'a manner which has coneiliatAlappoSition in a remarkable degree,le remained strictly faithfulto his chiefs at honie. Death removed -him from office whenhe'had already attained an extraordinary amount of success iUone of themost formidable undertakings that a statesman ever confronted.
"We may be told that the remarks to which we refer appear only in a' " Trade 'Circular,' but when' Trade Cireulars assume the function of a newspaper, they assume also the responsibilities of a public journal; and they cannot evade the liabilities. The writer of the paper has, either in direct terms or by-implication, characterized fir. Wilson as amen having very ordinary talents— amassing a large-fortune under circumstances which make "that assertion a kind 'of acenstil--4reacherously reversing 'the duties which he was sent to' fulfil in India—contriving an oppressive tax which man only be a stimulus to fraud,—wantonly offending another Ohne servant—and as Winking at the use of torture to extractlis uefariouaimpost. There is not a man in the City who does not know the total falsehood of these imputations ; and the only sensation created, by the paper is one of the strongest dis- gust. It is butIaii to say that, accordino-p to very general report, the head of the house under whose name-the Circular appears, is so serieuely indisposed as to be quite incapable of transactingbusiness.' The responsibility, we assume, must be regarded as being. limited to the pen"actually employed ; unless the.nest number of the Cirvilar shmild, fail to disclaim the'language of that pen. -