26 MARCH 1859, Page 14


TnnouGH the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Government has announced that in the estimates of the coming year a sum will be set apart as compensation to Mr. Barber for the suffering unjustly inflicted upon him ; the amount of compensation appears to have been left an open ques- tion. Before the Select Committee of the Commons on his case, it was proved that Mr. Barber's losses, in personal property and cost of defence, exceeded 3000/. ; that the money expended to reinstate him exceeded the same sum; while for fourteen years he was deprived of professional practice, which might fairly be set down at 10001. a year : here is a direct money loss estimated at something more than twenty thousand pounds. That is not all. For three years he endured the actual horrors of convict slavery; and in Norfolk Island the horrors of the system were pressed upon the sufferer with a vindictive cruelty. By misadventure, perhaps, the state was instrumental in occasioning his loss, by proxy it inflicted upon him a wanton aggravation of the injury. The very defence against these attack's was, through the mistake of the Government, crippled by the seizure of his books and other means necessary fur his defence. The press of the country has declared the public opinion on his case; the House of Commons has ratified that opinion ; the Government has now acknowledged the debt, We have long ago said that "full reparation for injury to fortune and sta- tion should be compensated with a generous usance." It does not become a great nation which has injured a helpless man to stint the measure of its redress. It might be said, for example, that during a portion of this time that Mr.13arber was supported at the public expense : will the Chancellor of the Exchequer deduct from the sum allowed the cost of Mr. Barber's keep while he was unjustly treated as a convict ? That would be one mode of balancing the debtor and creditor account. The more popular view will be, that, as we have actually taken from him 20,0001. and something more, be- sides grievous personal injury to feelings, to health, and to permanent pros- pects, we owe him, in simple honesty, the capital sum with large interest. These obvious facts may be the data for estimating the sum which ought to be set apart for the compensation of Mr. Barber.