House Of Commons
Thursday, July 11, 1839.
MINUTES.] Bills. Read a first time:—Constabulary Force (Ireland); Ecclesiastical Districts.—Read a third time:—Turnpike Acts Continuance.
Petitions presented. By Sir Edward Knatchbull, from one parish, against the New Poor-law.—By Mr. Pryme, from St. James's, Westminster, for closing Gin-shops on Sundays.—By Mr. R. Stewart, from the Schoolmasters of Scotland, for an Increase of their Salaries.—By Mr. D. W. Harvey, from St. George's (Southwark), against the Collection of Rates Bill.—By Mr. Ainsworth, from Bolton, for granting Bonded Warehouses to large towns.—By Messrs. Grote, Macauley, R. Ferguson, Ainsworth, Lord Dalmeny, and Sir H. Parnell, from a great number of places, for a Uniform Penny Postage.
having moved the Order of the Day for the second reading of the Cathedral and Ecclesiastical Preferments Bill,
said, that when last year a bill, nearly similar to the present, came before the House, it was said, that if the Government succeeded in carrying it, they would, without directly pledging the House to any principle hostile to the establishment, practically and surely effect the object of the Duties and Revenues Bill, and undermine all the ecclesiastical privileges of the Church of England, year by year, and little by little. Nearly all the chapters objected to that bill, not from any feeling with regard to their own interests, inasmuch, as even if they could be swayed by such a motive, their own personal rights were secured, but because of the injurious effect which it would have upon the Church. That whole question was prejudiced by this bill. It was a bill for the suspension of ecclesiastical appointments for the current year in all the cathedrals of England. But it went still further than this—that the rule should be relaxed according to a certain rota and principle, which rota and principle were to be established by that other bill, if it should ever be passed into a law, which the noble Lord introduced early in the session. Now, he would ask the noble Lord, whether this Bill would not, if it were carried into effect this year, and if it were renewed next year, and for a certain number of years in succession, as it had been renewed for a certain number of years past, eventually realize all those objects which the noble Lord had in view in the other bill, which stood for a committee that night (the Ecclesiastical Duties and Revenues Bill)? Would the noble Lord not secure all the great objects which he had in view when he introduced and passed the larger bill? He had many objections to this bill, but he should reserve them until it was in Committee. The great fundamental objection to it was this, that it anticipated and prejudged the question on which the House had specially reserved its opinion; and that the details would practically produce all those evils which he, and those more immediately concerned, had deprecated as the consequences of the greater bill.
was ready to admit, if this bill were continued from year to year till all the vacancies had occurred, that the reduction of the cathedral stalls and chapters would be ultimately accomplished in the manner proposed by the general measure. He therefore quite agreed with the hon. Baronet, that that was a sufficient objection against the frequent renewals of this bill, but not to justify an opposition to it during the present year. As far as he understood, there were not serious objections to the main object of the larger bill, because that object was not to suspend or abolish cathedral stalls and prebendaries, but to secure the raising of funds in the least objectionable form, for the increase of religious instruction in the doctrines of the Established Church. With that object he believed that the clergy and the two universities were disposed to concur. The question was, how were they to accomplish it? The matter had been submitted to the Archbishop of Canterbury and to the Church Commissioners, and various proposals had been discussed, suggested by persons connected with cathedral chapters, who all united in one wish to have the differences settled. It was on that ground, therefore, and not owing to any doubts which he entertained himself, that he thought the bill for carrying out the report of the Church Commissioners should lay over for another year. Under that view he trusted that the hon. Baronet would give his consent to the second reading of this bill.
Bill read a second time.
Government Of Lower Canada
having moved the Order of the Day for going into a Committee of the whole House on the Lower Canada Government Bill,
said, that the motion of which he had given notice spoke for itself. The resolution which he should presently move only gave expression to a truth which every man's conscience must acknowledge. No statement, no argument was required to support what may almost be termed a truism. He should not detain the House, therefore, more than a few minutes. His object in bringing forward this motion was not to persuade the House of that of which they were already convinced; nor could he hope that it would induce the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, to redeem his promise, that this Session should not pass away without legislating for the permanent government of the Canadas; for nothing could be expected from the Government. They were evidently unable to deal with the subject, and afraid to touch it. Their whole course with regard to it, from the beginning of the Session, had been a disgraceful shuffle. Nor could they, even with the best intentions, carry any measure without the leave of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth. For, in fact, they were not a government, but mere holders of certain places during the pleasure of the right hon. Baronet. And, assuredly, if the right hon. Baronet wished it, they would bring forward a measure with respect to Canada. It was not to them, therefore, but to the right hon. Baronet, that any one must appeal who would obtain any practical result from a motion in this House with regard to Canada. If he would hold up his finger in favour of this resolution, those who were called the Government would at once assent to it; and in that case, though the grouse might have a holiday during August, the disorders and miseries of Canada would be remedied. For the delay that had occurred, in however contemptible a light it had placed the Government, they were not responsible; for they were utterly without power, and the helpless could not be held responsible. Not so with regard to the right hon. Baronet. It was in his power to settle this question if he pleased. One word from him and the thing was done. The right hon. Baronet knew that he (Sir W. Molesworth) was speaking the truth. It might not suit the convenience of his party to insist upon a permanent settlement of Canadian affairs; but it was in their power—in the right hon. Baronet's power, as their leader, to determine whether the people of Canada should be driven to despair by the neglect of the Imperial Parliament, or at once relieved from the distractions and calamities by which their country was impoverished and depopulated. Which, he asked, would the right hon. Baronet consult, the convenience of his party or the interests of justice, humanity, and sound policy? He would not despair of the right hon. Baronet's being willing to sacrifice mere party objects to the higher considerations which were presented to him by this question. It was to the right hon. Baronet he appealed on behalf of the people of Canada. If he should decline to aid them, if he should turn a deaf ear to their complaints and entreaties, if he should refuse to utter the opinion which he had only to express in order that the Government should do their duty; then would the blame rest rather upon him who was the real leader of the House, than upon the mockery of a government which the noble Lord represented. The right hon. Baronet recently quoted Lord Durham as an authority in this matter. He read from that noble Earl's report the following passage:—
He would respectfully call the right hon. Baronet's attention to some other passages of Lord Durham's report, which strictly related to the question before the House. At the very commencement of that remarkable document, the noble Earl said,—"The state of the two Canadas is such, that neither the feelings of the parties concerned, nor the interests of the Crown, or the colonies themselves, will admit of a single session, or even of a large portion of a session of Parliament being allowed to pass without a definite decision, by the Imperial Legislature, as to the basis on which it purposes to found the future government of those colonies."
Again, after having described the political and social state of Lower Canada—the all-pervading and irreconcileable enmity between the contending parties—the entire and immediate disaffection of the whole French population—the suspicion with which the English regard the Imperial Government—and the determination of the French, and the tendency of the English to seek for a redress of their present intolerable evils in the chances of a separation from Great Britain. After having described all this, Lord Durham says,—"While I found the field of inquiry thus large, and every day's experience and reflection impressed more deeply on my mind the importance of the decision which it would be my duty to suggest, it became equally clear, that that decision, to be of any avail, must be prompt and final. I needed no personal observation to convince me of this; for the evils I had it in charge to remedy are evils which no civilized community can long continue to bear. There is no class or section of your Majesty's subjects in either of the Canadas, that does not suffer from both the existing disorder and the doubt which hangs over the future form and policy of the government. While the present state of things is allowed to last, the actual inhabitants of these provinces have no security for person or property, no enjoyment of what they possess, no stimulus to industry. The development of the vast resources of these extensive territories is arrested, and the popu- lation, which should be attracted to fill and fertilize them, is directed into foreign states. Every day during which a final and stable settlement is delayed, the condition of the colonies becomes worse, the minds of men more exasperated, and the success of any scheme of adjustment more precarious."
Nor, according to Lord Durham, was there a less urgent necessity for promptitude on account of Upper Canada. The noble Earl said, that the majority of the inhabitants of that province were loyal, and determined to abide by the decision of the home government. But, he added,"The disorders of Lower Canada admit of no delay; the existing form of government is but a temporary and forcible subjugation. Whatever may be the difficulty of discovering a remedy, its urgency is certain and obvious."
And, in concluding his report, the noble Earl again urged the necessity of a prompt and decisive settlement of the question of the form of government of the Canadas:—"I cannot but express my belief, that this is the last effort of their almost exhausted patience, and that the disappointment of their hopes on the present occasion will destroy for ever their expectation of good resulting from British connexion. If now frustrated in their expectations, and kept in hopeless subjection to rulers irresponsible to the people, they will, at best, only await in sullen prudence the contingencies which may render the preservation of the province dependent on the devoted loyalty of the great mass of its population."
And lastly, the noble Earl warned the Government of the fatal effects of delay and of disappointing the expectations of the Canadians, that there would be an immediate and final remedy to all those evils of which they so justly complained. He said,—"In conclusion, I most earnestly impress on your Majesty's advisers, and on the Imperial Parliament, the paramount necessity of a prompt and decisive settlement of this important question, not only on account of the extent and variety of interests involving the welfare and security of the British empire, which are perilled by every hour's delay, but on account of the state of feeling which exists in the public mind throughout all your Majesty's North American possessions, and more especially the two Canadas,"
What the Government thought of these urgent recommendations and solemn warnings, it was of no moment to inquire. But what, he asked, did the right hon. Baronet think of them? Would he tell the House and the people of Canada that he thought they ought to be totally disregarded? Would he vote against the resolution, that merely declared that they deserved the serious and prompt attention of Parliament? Would he make himself a party to the cruel and wicked indifference of the Government to the sufferings of the people of Canada? Did he forget (whatever the noble Lord might do) the prime minister's declaration six days after the receipt of Lord Durham's report, that a measure should be introduced "before the Easter recess for the purpose of putting a speedy end to the discontent that unhappily prevailed in Canada? Did the right hon. baronet forget the noble Lord's repeated assurances to a similar effect, or the solemn and formal message from the Crown? Would he protect and sustain the Government in their deliberate attempt to break all these promises—to shuffle out of obligations which ought to be held sacred by men having as much regard for their public as for their private honour—to sneak—to sneak shabbily (for that was the word) out of the discussion of a question which their own incapacity had rendered difficult, and wholly unmanageable by their feeble hands? But a discussion, at all events, they would not escape. Though hon. Gentlemen opposite should favour the noble Lord by voting with him in silence against this motion, his hon. Friend the member for Liskeard would scarcely fall in with the wish of the Government to treat Lord Durham's report as waste paper. He asked his hon. Friend whether he thought that further delay—that an indefinite postponement of legislation—was less inexcusable at the present moment than when Lord Durham warned the Government and the public of the ruinous consequences of allowing even a large portion of the session to pass without some final and permanent settlement? And could the right hon. Member for Coventry,—whose knowledge of Canada and whose deserved weight in the House on Canadian questions no one was more willing to acknowledge than himself—could that right hon. Member remain silent to-night, or vote against this resolution, which expressed his own well-known opinions, in order to accommodate the noble Lord, or other hon. Members whose thoughts were far from Canada, and directed towards the moors? It was said nothing could be done at this late period of the session, but the right hon. Baronet pledged himself that at the very commencement of the next session the undivided attention of Parliament should be first directed to Canadian affairs. Why, he asked, not now at once? "This late period of the session" meant the near approach of grouse shooting; or so, at least, the argument would be translated in Canada. Why, the people thought that the members of this House ought to prefer the vital interests of the colonies to the amusements of the 12th of August. And who was to blame for this near approach of grouse shooting before the settlement of Canadian affairs? The affairs of Canada had been contemptuously neglected by both Houses of Parliament during the whole session. Were hon. Members to take advantage of their own wrong-doing, and to make past neglect an excuse for continued indifference? Party or personal convenience was the only ground on which his motion could be resisted. For his part he declared that he was ready to put aside both considerations, in order that Parliament might do its duty in this case. Any permanent settlement was better than none at all, He expected nothing—nobody expected anything from the palsied hands of the Government; but if the right hon. Baronet would apply himself seriously to this work, he might be sure of a large majority in both Houses of Parliament. The question really rested with him. His year or nay would decide it. Once more imploring him to extend his protection rather to the suffering people of Canada than to the wretched Government, which it might not suit his convenience to displace, he would conclude by moving, "That it is the opinion of this House that every consideration of humanity, justice, and policy, demands that Parliament should seriously apply itself, without delay, to legislating for the permanent Government of her Majesty's provinces in Upper and Lower Canada.""I fortunately succeeded in calming for a time the irritation that existed, by directing the public mind to the prospect of those remedies which the wisdom and beneficence of your Majesty must naturally incline your Majesty to sanction, whenever they are brought under your Majesty's consideration. But the good effects thus produced by the responsibility which I took upon myself will be destroyed; all these feelings will recur with redoubled violence; and the danger will become immeasurably greater, if such hopes are once more frustrated, and the Imperial Legislature fails to apply an immediate and final remedy to all those evils of which your Majesty's subjects in America so loudly complain, and of which I have supplied such ample evidence."
agreed with the hon. Baronet in thinking that this was a subject to which it was desirable that the House should devote a few hours' attention, and that they should not separate without a discussion on the affairs of Canada. Although he was suffering under considerable indisposition, he felt called upon to address a few observations to the House. As he felt very great interest in the subject, and as he entertained a directly contrary opinion to the hon. Baronet on the topics of his speech, with the exception of that to which he had just alluded, he would follow him, but in doing so he would pursue a more cautious course than the hon. Baronet had done, and would shortly call the attention of the House to three or four most important points growing out of this subject. One of these was the danger that might arise from the mismanagement of affairs in Canada, which he had never yet seen placed in a sufficiently clear point of view, and, above all, as regarded the hands into which Canada might fall in case of anything of this kind unhappily occurring; and considering also the situation and resources of Lower Canada, and the disposition of the people, the inhabitants of that province. Above all, he would beg the House to turn its attention to the situation of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and to its importance as a naval station, and how much effect its loss might have on the military importance and the commercial existence of this country. When he returned to this country from Canada he heard—and he heard with astonishment from those to whose opinions some deference was due—that the province of Lower Canada was so remote and so separated from the rest of the British empire, that it could afford no facilities for aggression upon us, in case that it should ever be lost to us. If any hon. Gentleman would cast his eye over the map of the world, he would find no spot on the surface of the inhabitable globe so pregnant and threatening with danger to this country, from its natural situation, as the waters of the St. Lawrence. It was, in fact, a Baltic of our own, it was an inland sea, and it only required an outlay of capital and industry to develop its resources and make it teem with productions, and present an appearance which would produce the greatest effects on the condition of European nations. England had it in her power to make the gulf of St. Lawrence as available for the support of her power as the Baltic was for the Russians, and the countries which surround it. It was, like the Baltic, protected from attacks for a very large portion of the year by the ice which chained its entrance; but, unlike that inland sea, it had the advantage of three outlets, which could be easily defended, and which it would require a very large force to blockade—the strait of Belle Isle, or the passage between the main land and Newfoundland; the main entrance to the waters of the St. Lawrence; and the gut of Kanoe, between Cape Breton and Nova Scotia: all these must be guarded, in case of separation from this country, and at a period of war, by British fleets, at the period of the breaking up of the winter, amidst the fogs of Newfoundland. It had been considered, if Canada were dissevered from this country, it would be united with the United States of America. This was by no means a necessary consequence. If he were certain of this event happening, he should not feel the alarm which he now felt on the subject—for turning over the annals of past times, he did not recollect an instance, in ancient or modern history, in which a parent state had been destroyed by its children, when established in an independent state, if the parent had bestowed upon them feelings similar to her own, and a system of policy resembling that which she pursued. States were usually destroyed by other states which were opposed to them in opinion and alien to them in habits and manners. It was most probable, that Canada would not fall into the hands of the United States; but—and he was, in consequence of the existing relations be- tween the two countries, enabled to make this statement without being thought invidious, or wishing to raise jealousies—into the hands of France—England would not have given up the possession of Canada for two months before a French fleet would be anchored in the waters of the St. Lawrence, to protect their ancient subjects. They would be almost bound to take this course by the Treaty of 1763, and they would be further urged to it by the ancient feelings and recollections with which Frenchmen would naturally regard New France. He could not but recollect the feelings manifested so lately as 1802, by one of the most celebrated statesmen of France towards Louisiana and the other French settlements on the banks of the Mississippi and the Ohio, which it had been the intention of the French emperor to have taken possession of, had he not been prevented by the resumption of the war; and, in abandoning those countries, he had adopted such measures and precautions as would render it impossible they should fall into the hands of England without that power being involved in a war with the United States. If abandoned by England, it was more than probable that France would be drawn—even if she were unwilling—into such close connection with Canada, that she must defend the latter. He was happy to say, that no danger was to be apprehended from either France or the United States at the present time, but it would be most absurd of them to abstain from considerations of this kind, even should they be the best and most attached allies. Again, would Ireland be exposed to no risk or danger from a power having possession of the gulf of the St. Lawrence? Canada, by its confines, came in contact with Russia, and was the seat of the most valuable fur trade in the world, the greater part of which belonged to this country, and of which Russia had just sufficient to excite its cupidity. Under these circumstances, it was impossible to undervalue its importance to the Crown of Great Britain, either as a commercial, a military, or a naval station, and he was convinced that there was no spot which in adverse hands could so materially affect the commercial and naval supremacy of Great Britain as the waters of the St. Lawrence. He had dwelt on that topic, because he knew it would be idle to expect the House to attend to every subject which would make it the imperative duty of the House not to abandon that province. He had also touched on this point at some length, because he had never heard it put forward before, and he was also anxious that on this as well as the other topics there should be a grave deliberation, so that a safe course might be adopted. He hoped that it was not the intention of this country to abandon Canada, and in that House and in the other House of Parliament he had heard persons, whose opinions deservedly carried great weight with them, allude to the possibility of such an intention being entertained, all that he urged was with the view of preventing that country falling into confusion, which was likely to happen if this subject was continually broached and never settled. He begged the House to turn its attention to the other extremity of the United States, and it must be aware, should the present state of things continue, something like the scenes of Texas might be repeated in Canada. He hoped he might say, without offence to the hon. Baronet, and without offence to the noble personage from whose report the hon. Baronet had read certain passages, much as he admired the ability with which that report had been framed, that he (Sir C. Grey) never perused some passages in that report without being reminded of the proverb—"The more haste the less speed." He wished the hon. Baronet, instead of using the language which he did, had suggested the heads of a plan which he would recommend Ministers or the right hon. Baronet to adopt, and send out to Canada before the 12th of August. It was more easy to fire a shot than to form a plan of government. The hon. and learned Member for Liskeard (Mr. C. Buller) recommended the union of the provinces, and had said that the Government, having once decided on the propriety of that project, should forthwith proceed to execute it. The hon. Member said, that he was for a thorough representative system—that was, that the majority of the whole was to govern. He would observe, that this was not really the principle of our representative system, even since the Reform Bill. It should also be recollected, that the majority of the inhabitants of the two provinces, taken together, were Roman Catholics. He did not say this with any regret, for he considered it not, per se, as any argument against the union. Had the hon. Member, however, considered how intimately the existence of the religious endowment in Canada was connected with the preservation of the French tenures? Was he aware that the Roman Catholic holders of land only paid tithes? Directly the Protestants became possessed of the land, the tithe ceased. If the hon. Member for Liskeard succeeded in putting an end to the French system of tenure, he could tell him, that it was in consequence of that system, that these lands were not passed from the hands of the Roman Catholics into those of the Protestants. If the tenure was abolished, it would be impossible to prevent that change taking taking place. In Lower Canada, the clergy were a respectable, intelligent body of men, and possessed just influence in the country. Was it to be supposed that the vast number of curates and pastors would be reduced to begging, which would be the result of such a change in the system, without an effort to avert it? The French tenure ought not to be put an end to without providing some compensation for the French clergy for the loss of tithe that would ensue to them. The hon. Baronet had made no statement of the manner in which he proposed to carry his wishes into effect. He would remind the House that it was proposed to unite two provinces, the one of which had a surplus over her expenditure of 100,000l., while the revenue of the other—Upper Canada—did not meet her expenditure. This at least was the case in 1832. He considered it would be madness to attempt to proceed in the present Session to enact a legislative union of the two provinces. There were two main points to which a wise government ought to look, under existing circumstances. The first was, that the Canadas should have a government capable of defending those provinces from foreign invasion. This object had fortunately been obtained, but he was sure, that if Government had not suspended the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, that province would, long before this, have become the prey of the turbulent borderers from the American frontier. The next point was, to have a Government capable of putting down internal rebellion; and here again he felt, that if the House of Assembly of Lower Canada had continued to exist, not even a strong military Government could have prevented rebellion again breaking out. The first thing he would venture to urge upon the Government was, the absolute necessity that nothing should be done contrary to law, to the principles of liberty, to the principles of the British constitution, which were impressed as deeply on the minds of the Canadians as on the minds of the British nation itself, and in which they felt at least as deep an interest. The Canadians were exceedingly tenacious of the principles of law, though he would admit that they did not always observe it it in their own conduct. The next point he would urge on the attention of Government was, that it was essential to make the rights of property sacred in Canada. The property of the Canadians were all earned by their own toil and industry, or by that of their ancestors, and should be respected. Another point which required great care on the part of the Government was, the subject of taxation. There was nothing which would be more likely to irritate the Canadians in general, and to disincline the Upper Canadians to an union, to make them fearful of abandoning the Legislature they as yet retained, than an announcement, that an unlimited power of taxation would be committed to the new Government. The power of this clause on this subject was such as would enable that Government to impose taxes for public works, not merely tolls, which would be a reasonable tax, but on lands and tenements; any attempt at which would be sufficient to throw the French Canadians especially into a flame from one part of the country to the other. The possessions of the French Canadians, as a general rule, did not exceed thirty acres, even for the better sort of cultivators; they were lazy and slovenly in their agriculture, and content to do just what their fathers did before them, without attempting an improvement. They had no capital, and they felt tithes, and the other taxes which they already were subject to, very heavily. If the House was to attempt to impose the slightest additional tax—the merest apparent trifle, a sum not sufficient to break a fly's back, it would be enough to alienate them from the Government, or make them break out into rebellion. Even under Lord Dalhousie's government, excellent as it was, and highly respected as he was, it was made matter of accusation against him, that he had allowed the property of the Canadians to be appropriated, without the sanction of the House of Assembly. He (Sir C. Grey) thought it extremely advisable, that expression should be given to the public feeling in Canada, by means of municipal institutions. There should be popular councils and municipal institutions introduced throughout the various districts, especially of Lower Canada. It appeared to him, also, that before there was a complete union of the two provinces, it would be desirable, for a short period, to bring into united action, at a certain season of the year, the Legislative Council of the two Canadas.
should first address himself to the resolution which had been moved by the hon. Baronet, as an amendment to the House going into Committee on the Canada Bill. The principle of that resolution was to declare, on the part of the House, that considerations of humanity, justice, and sound policy demanded that Parliament should apply itself to legislate for the permanent government of the provinces. He (Sir R. Peel) must, in the first place, observe that he held himself entirely free from any responsibility whatever as to delay; that whatever responsibility the hon. Baronet might impute to him in future proceedings, he felt himself absolutely free from any responsibility as to the past. At an early period of the present Session he had asked the noble Lord whether he intended to proceed to legislate practically for the Government of Canada this Session, and the noble Lord answered that such was his intention. A few weeks after this, he again put the same question to the noble Lord, further asking him whether before Easter the House would have an opportunity of seeing the legislative measure by which it was proposed to provide for the future government of Canada, and he received an assurance that it was intended to submit such a measure before Easter. He had at the same time intimated his strong opinion that unless the proposed measure was in the hands of the House before Easter, the opportunity of legislating on the subject this Session would be altogether lost, and the Session would pass over without anything whatever having been done. He had no hesitation in stating that could he have foreseen that the intention of legislating for Canada would have been abandoned, he would himself have submitted to the House some proposition, in order to bring this question to some practical issue. It was not, however, till a very advanced period of the Session that he understood from the Government that they had abandoned all hopes of legislating on this subject. The hon. Baronet asked him (Sir Robert Peel) to discard all party considerations, and to consult only the interests of the provinces. This was what he had always proposed to do; but he doubted whether if he were to concur in this resolution at this period of the year he should not be considered as abandoning this principle of conduct. The resolution of the hon. Baronet meant that the House should in the present Session apply itself to legislation on the subject: the words of the resolution were "without delay." But if they were prepared on the 11th July to legislate for Canada in the present Session, why go through the form of this preliminary resolution?—Why not proceed at once to the consideration of some practical measure? If the resolution merely went to pledge the House to proceed with this subject in a future Session, it seemed to him superfluous, for he (Sir Robert Peel) was distinctly of opinion that the House would altogether neglect its duty if it permitted the beginning of the very next Session to pass over without taking some decided steps for settling this question. The hon. Baronet had offered no explanation of what he proposed to do. In asking him (Sir Robert Peel) to pledge himself to co-operate with him in legislating for the permanent government of Canada, the hon. Baronet had, in the course of his speech, given him very little practical assistance towards the forming a judgment upon the point. The hon. Baronet had laid down no practical principles, had stated no conditions on which union was to be effected. He (Sir Robert Peel) considered it essential that a full statement should be made from the opposite side of the House of what they proposed to do for the settlement of this question. If it was seriously contemplated to adopt a union of the provinces, let them have the measure with full and distinct explanations of all the details, and also with some assurance that it would be satisfactory to the people of the Canadas. If her Majesty's Government declined the duty of legislating on the subject, no one else could at present take it up. No one not having access to official sources could acquire the requisite information. What means had he (Sir R. Peel) of ascertaining how far the present circumstances and feelings of the Canadians were favourable to this measure? He wished, indeed, that the advice he gave three years ago on this subject had been taken—to go into a Committee of the whole House, for the purpose of inquiring and ascertaining what were the wishes and sentiments of the people of Canada with respect to a union of the Provinces. Unless her Majesty's Government gave the House the means of judging of this question, by making those inquiries which were necessary—unless they, on their own responsibility, placed upon the table a plan with details matured and considered, there could be no reasonable hope of effecting anything during the present Session. He could not, therefore, concur with the hon. Baronet. He repeated, that he thought this the most difficult problem to solve that had ever been submitted to Parliament. They had difficulties of a conflicting nature to reconcile. But their first step was to look those difficulties fairly in the face. It was not by vague discussion and talk about the necessity of a settlement or the policy of a union, but by really considering the great questions before them with a view to an immediate measure. He agreed in the principle that we ought to maintain the Canadas. He thought that if Canada were adverse to the connection with this country, that it would be almost a hopeless task to legislate. But the Canadas had declared their firm allegiance to their present Sovereign and their attachment to the British connection. They had proved, by an exhibition of the greatest courage and fortitude, and by the endurance of the severest suffering and injustice, their determination to maintain that connection. He did not consider, therefore, that it would be compatible with the true interests or the honour of the country, looking at its extensive colonial dependencies, to abandon that connection, even if it could be supposed unfavourable to its pecuniary interests. He believed that the glory and strength of this country would be extinguished if from any paltry considerations or from timidity, they should reject the offer of that gallant people, who told us that they were ready to run all hazards to preserve their connection with us, and to maintain the integrity of the empire. At the same time, it was im- possible to overlook the tremendous responsibility which rested upon them in legislating for the Government of that Colony, and in providing that it should be effectual for the maintenance of domestic peace, and for defence against foreign attack. They were bound to provide that the government of that country should be constituted on a principle which would enable them to maintain British supremacy. That government should be further constituted, not with a view to the benefit of the country, but for the advantage of the colonists. Whatever the pecuniary interests of this country might be, he (Sir Robert Peel) thought that the government of the colony should be conducted with a regard to the welfare of, and as far as possible, in conformity to, the wishes of its inhabitants. That was the only way in which the connection could be secured. But, undoubtedly, there were the greatest difficulties in attempting the formation of any such government. They had, as an hon. Member had observed, two peoples, speaking different languages, with different customs and laws, and it was necessary to ascertain what was to be the security under any future government for that party who should be in the minority. Some hon. Members in that House, perhaps, might have implicit faith and confidence in the wisdom of a majority; but he had not, and he thought that, immediately after the forcible suppression of an insurrection, there was still less ground for confidence in the wisdom and moderation of a triumphant party. He was well assured, that it was an absolutely necessary precaution, with a view to rendering Canada a thoroughly British colony—with a view to the introduction of British laws, and to the continued maintenance of British supremacy—that they should take some effectual guarantee that the present majority in one of the provinces, when by a union it should become a minority, should not be exposed to injustice. They were bound, as he said before, to make their legislation such as the Canadians could not complain of. Now, the religion of Lower Canada was the Roman Catholic. All the securities for the maintenance of that establishment must continue. Further, they must be perfectly certain, whatever might be the modification of the elective franchise in which the united government was to be founded, however property and numbers might be blended in the new representation, that effectual securities remained against any such preponderant influence as might counteract the intentions of the British Parliament. The Government having considered these points, must either propose some scheme of settlement, founded on extensive inquiries, and a knowledge of the feelings and wishes of the inhabitants of the colony, or Parliament must, for the present, abandon the task of legislation. The hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to think that the period for a union was already past. The impression on his mind seemed to be that it would not be safe within any definite period. Upon this point, he (Sir R. Peel) must say, that if he had only the French Canadians themselves to deal with, he very much doubted whether it would not be their interests to continue, for some time to come, under a strong but just and lenient Government, such as at present existed. To bring them at once into close connection with a population opposed to them in feelings and prejudices, was a step which he for one did not feel confident would be of much advantage to their interests. But he must consider, on the other hand, the interests of the British population in Lower Canada. They had been faithful to the British Crown, and there was no reason why they should be subjected any longer than was absolutely necessary to a government which was in principle despotic. They had also to consider the necessity of affording to Upper Canada those facilities for carrying on her commerce, of which she had been hitherto deprived. Upper Canada was very fairly entitled to the navigation of the St. Lawrence. There were points which imperatively called for a decision; and he would repeat to the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, that it was not by vague general assertions of the advantages of a settlement, but by going into those real difficulties, and propounding measures for overcoming them, that anything practical could be done. He now came to the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Sir C. Grey). The right hon. and learned Gentleman undertook to convince him (Sir Robert Peel) that he was entirely wrong in thinking that they had made no advances towards a settlement. But what was the right hon. Gentleman's proof? The first advance, in his opinion, was the establishment of a despotism—of a strong and arbitrary go- vernment. But how far this helped them to a settlement, he (Sir Robert Peel) must confess he did not think the documentary evidence in existence, even including the fruits of the right hon. Gentleman's own labours as a commissioner—was sufficient to enable them to ascertain. In saying that he did not see a prospect of a satisfactory settlement, he was not denying the necessity of the present measure, to which he was giving his support; but he denied that the mere establishment of arbitrary power in Canada was an advance towards a settlement such as would give future satisfaction to the colony. He thought, indeed, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman must be himself of this opinion, for the only satisfaction he afforded them was, that, after having been tossed so long by the tempest, they were at length happily settled upon a rock. The utmost consolation which the right hon. and learned Gentleman could give was, that they had escaped the perils of shipwreck by being fortunately cast upon a rock in the midst of the ocean—rather a poor comfort to afflicted mariners. But the right, hon. and learned Gentleman professed to lay down the principles by which Parliament should be guided, and then he proceeded with a series of truisms which were as applicable to any case or country as those which were under consideration. The right hon. and learned Gentleman's first principle was, that the Governor should observe the laws. Who doubted it? The Governor ought not to outstep the limits of the law. He fully admitted it; but he did not see how it was more applicable to Canada than to any other country, or how it gave the least advance towards a settlement. The right hon. and learned Gentleman proceeded to his second maxim, and said it was peculiarly necessary to Canada to make property secure. He did not see that the attachment to property was peculiar to Canada. He did not think that there was any people who did not feel that the first bond of civilised society was the sacredness of property. He did not see the peculiar applicability of this principle to the case under consideration, unless, indeed, the right hon. and learned Gentleman intended some covert allusion to the bill before the House, to which it would be, in some degree, pertinent. Perhaps they ought to understand him as saying, not "avoid taking the property of the Canadians," but "take especial care that you do not shake the feeling of the Canadians, either by interfering with the tenures of their property, or by subjecting them to taxation, in the imposition of which they have no voice." If that was what the right hon. and learned Gentleman meant to say to them, he (Sir Robert Peel) must say, that he entertained sentiments very much in accordance with those of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. Another suggestion of the right hon. and learned Gentleman was the establishment of municipal institutions. Admitting the practical benefits which such a measure was calculated to produce, he did not see how it was likely to contribute much towards carrying into effect the union of the provinces; but, taking it for as much as it was worth, he thanked the right hon. and learned Gentleman for this his only practical suggestion. A fourth suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman was, the establishment of a sort of ad interim government for the two provinces. The right hon. and learned Gentleman proposed that the Legislative Council of Upper Canada should confer with the Governor and special Council of Lower Canada in matters of joint concern. He did not think that such a proposition would be very agreeable to the House of Assembly of Upper Canada. He did not think that a popular body would be content to give over to a provisional government—wholly irresponsible government—its most important functions. He considered that this suggestion might be fairly considered to counterbalance the advantage of the other about municipal institutions. He, therefore, thought, that the speeches of the hon. Gentleman who had addressed the House, did not, any more than the documentary evidence in existence, afford them any assistance in determining upon immediate measures. He had adverted to the suggestions of' the right hon. and learned Gentleman who had promised to point out the practical course to be pursued, and he must say, that, considering the right hon. Gentleman's great acuteness, legal knowledge, and experience, a more sorry entertainment than that with which he bad treated the House he had never met with. It was impossible for him to support the motion of the hon. Member for Leeds. If they were prepared for legislation during the present Session, let them proceed to it at once. But, if they could not legislate until next Session, let them not fetter the House with any pledge at present. He was perfectly ready to admit, that he thought the affairs of Canada ought to be an object of paramount concern to Parliament in the next Session; but he would not imply so much distrust in Parliament as to pledge it now for the next Session. Before the House proceeded with the consideration of the clauses of the bill, he wished to make some observations with respect to the general character and operation of the measure. This would be a much better course towards her Majesty's Government than entering into discussion upon mere details without any preliminary discussion upon the general scope of the measure. In fact, there had not as yet been any explanation of the particular object of the bill. He certainly thought, from the declaration of the Government, that it had been intended to extend the period of the existing bill for a short time, on account of some difficulties which it was anticipated might arise suddenly upon the expiration of the act in 1840. He thought that some additional powers would have been given to the Governor and special Council—the want of which at present threw great obstacles in the way of certain local improvement. He thought, too, that since, in consequence of the clause introduced into the Act of last year, preventing the provisional government from altering any law of the Imperial Parliament, considerable practical embarrassment had been found, that such an extension of power would be given to the provisional government as would enable it to preserve the public peace, and to repel aggressions. He had no hesitation in saying, that he should be prepared to give her Majesty's Government any of these powers for which ground should appear, or any which could be shown to be absolutely necessary for the maintenance of the public peace, or the effectual repression of insurrection. He would now examine the bill before the House more particularly, and consider it under three different heads. First, with respect to the duration of the present measure. He certainly was glad to find that it was not intended to extend the duration of the Act of last year. The Act of last year would expire on the 1st Nov., 1840. He was glad to find that her Majesty's Government did not at present consider it necessary to renew it, but were content to propose its renewal, if it should appear necessary, during the next Session. The present bill did not provide for the extension of the period for which the provisional government was to endure. Unless renewed in the course of next Session, the Act of last year would expire on the 1st November, 1840. But the bill before the House proposed that the ordinances of the provisional government, which would, under the existing Act, expire in 1842, might, under certain circumstances, have a more permanent duration. No change was to be made in the period for which the provisional government itself was to exist, and this part of the bill was not intended to be altered. It was proposed that the ordinances of the provisional government should have, in certain cases, a longer duration than 1842, but not that there should be any extension of the period during which that government itself was to continue.
, if it had been proposed to go on with the bill for the union of the provinces during the present Session, they should also have to extend the duration of the provisional government to January 1842.
was correct, therefore, in supposing that although an indefinite duration might be given to the ordinances of the provisional government—that government could not exist beyond the 1st of November, 1840, without the further intervention of Parliament. The second point to which he wished to call the attention of the House was the third clause in the bill. That clause contained much more extensive powers of taxation than he thought were at present contemplated by the House. First let the House consider the restrictions upon the taxing power which were imposed on the provisional government itself. By the Act of last year the governor and special council had not the power to impose any tax or rate, save only as far as concerned the continuance of any tax or rate payable within the province at the time of the passing of the Act. The Bill before the House proposed to repeal the restrictions imposed by the Act of last Session, and to permit the levy of any tax or impost within the province to any amount, without any restriction, excepting that the proceeds of such tax should be applied to local improvements within the province, and this provision
He begged to call the attention of the House to this point. They removed the restriction, namely, that no tax should be imposed by the governor and council, except the continuance of an existing tax, and they gave the governor and special council power or unlimited taxation for local improvements. Observe, too, how indefinite the terms were. The bill gave a power to the governor and council to raise taxes "for carrying local improvements within the said province, or for the establishment and maintenance of police or other objects of municipal government." What were the objects of municipal government? Under these vague terms every expense of a domestic nature might he included. He could understand that the police of Montreal or Quebec might be defective, and that there was no power at present to apply a remedy. And if the Government had specified matters of this kind, he (Sir Robert Peel) would not have refused what might be asked as a cure for the evil, if the necessity for it had been made out. The course which the Government ought to have pursued was, to give a distinct enumeration of the objects for which this power of taxation was required. He would not then have refused it if they succeeded in showing its necessity. The right hon. Gentleman opposite laid upon the table of the House in the last few days a report of the council of Lower Canada, in which some approach was made to such a specification. The report says"That no such new tax, rate, duty, or im- post, shall be levied by, or made payable to, the receiver general, or any other public officer of her Majesty's revenue in the said province; nor shall any such law or ordinance as aforesaid provide for the appropriation of any such new tax, duty, rate, or impost, by the said governor, either with or without the advice of the executive council of the said province, or by the commissioners of her Majesty's Treasury, or by any other officer of the Crown."
The bill for the union of the provinces also contained a specification of the power to be exercised by the municipal authorities. From these different sources they might gather what was meant by municipal objects; but there was no precise definition of the phrase; and there was a bill now under the consideration of the House which, if it became law, would very much extend the meaning of municipal objects. The bill to which he referred proposed to give to town councils the power to raise money, not only for ordinary municipal purposes, but upon agreement of two-thirds of the council to raise money for the public benefit of the borough and the inhabitants thereof, by levying a rate on the inhabitants. Municipal objects might, therefore, have a very extensive meaning next year, and there would be no restrictions whatever on the power of the governor and council to raise money, on the ground of effecting local improvements and promoting municipal objects. In another point of view, the governor and council would still be prevented from appropriating to the public service more than was appropriated in 1832, or about 40,000l.; but they would have unlimited power of taxation for local improvements and municipal objects. He must repeat, that he was perfectly ready to consider any bona fide improvements or municipal objects that might be specified, but he objected totally to this unlimited power of taxation. He was also ready to enable the provisional government by the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act, if necessary to maintain internal tranquillity and to put down insurrection. But it was absolutely necessary to define and limit the power of taxation. Lord Durham, who felt the necessity of some power of taxation for local improvement, proposed that an ordinance imposing a tax should have no force until laid before Parliament. He would ask whether this clause gave the power to the provisional government to incur debt for the promotion of internal improvements? If so, it might not only tax the colony to an indefinite extent at present, but mortgage its future revenues; and the new municipal institutions that were to be created would find it their principal business to raise funds to pay the interest of the debt so incurred. It was, impossi- ble, that Parliament could contemplate giving a power of this kind. He could not undertake to amend the clause, but as it now stood must oppose it. He would give the provisional governmen the power that might be necessary to prevent the obstruction of public improvements, to maintain the authority of the Crown, and repress insurrection—but he must contend for a limitation of their discretionary power over taxation. So much with respect to this point. He now came to the fourth clause, which gave most extensive power. He did not know whether he comprehended the general powers that were given by this clause, but he found, on referring to it, that there was a power given "to repeal, suspend, or alter, any provisions of any act of Parliament of Great Britain, or of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, or of any Act of the Legislature of Lower Canada, as then constituted, repealing or altering any such Act of Parliament." Let them know exactly the position which was established by this clause. He did not apprehend, that greater power was to be given to the governor and special council than the colonial legislature previously had; but in the original act, granting power to the Legislature, there was superadded this restriction, that they should not have the power of repealing or altering any Act of the British Parliament. In repealing this restriction, was an unlimited power given, or was it only given to the extent which the original Legislature had? Did they, for instance, intend that the governor and special council should have the power of dealing with the tenures of land? If it were fitting to give the power of dealing without limitation with the tenures of land, surely that was establishing a strong presumption, that the governor and council might be safely intrusted with the general administration of the province. He could not help thinking, that it was the original intention of the government to propose some limitation on this subject. He found, by a cautious note in the margin, that this power of altering the law of tenures was expressly limited to the enfranchisement of the Montreal district: he hoped that every Gentleman would read this marginal note, and he would find, that it was not intended that the governor and special council should have a general power of altering the law of tenures. This was another proof, that matters of this sort were not prepared with that care which they required. He admitted, in a spirit perfectly fair, that he would not withhold this power if they showed him, in a special case like that of Montreal, an opportunity of effecting a great public good with the good-will and consent of all parties, which, if deprived of this power, they could not effect. He would vote for granting that power in that special case, or in any other special case of a similar nature; but to alter the whole law of tenures, after the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman showing the connection of the Roman Catholic religion, with property, he was not prepared; and he asked therefore, was it right to give to a governor and special council an unlimited power of altering that law? He would make no objection with respect to the duration of the present law. That law would expire in 1840; but if he were convinced of the necessity of renewing that law, he would consent to a short renewal. As the law stood, the power of the present Government would expire in 1840. He must say, therefore, that he did not think it prudent to give to the governor and special council the unlimited power of taxation which the third clause gave, or those extensive powers of altering the law which were given by the fourth clause. It was said, that in consequence of the restriction imposed on the provisional government by the clause, commonly called Sir William Follett's clause, the power of suspending the Habeas Corpus Act was not given. There were doubts on the subject. Bow would the clauses of the present bill solve those doubts? Why not specify the nature of the doubt, and provide a distinct remedy? The governor and council had no higher power than the colonial legislature had. Had the Legislature the power of suspending the Habeas Corpus Act? Was it perfectly clear, that the colonial legislature ever passed a law to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act? [The Attorney-General, it was done in Upper Canada.] With respect to the power itself, he was ready to assent to it; and, as far as he could ascertain from the last accounts that had reached him, he entertained doubts whether, in the present state of the colony, they ought to refuse to the government of it, into whosesoever hands it was committed, full power to maintain the autho- rity of the British Crown, and to provide for the security of its subjects. He had stated the grounds on which he objected to those clauses of the bill giving unlimited powers of taxation and legislation, and he had thought it right to state his view of the general operation of the bill before going into Committee. He would not undertake the modification of those clauses according to his own views, not having that information which was absolutely necessary to undertake that task; but he trusted, that government would—and he could not help thinking, that it would be the sense of the House, that the Government should—taking all the powers that were necessary for all specified local improvements, and for maintaining the public welfare, impose some limitations on the extensive powers that were proposed to be given by this bill."That the governor and special council should be empowered to impose taxes for purposes altogether local, such as the maintenance of a police force, the lighting and paving of streets, and for otherwise improving towns and villages, and to increase or reduce local rates already existing; and further to pass ordinances for the under-mentioned purposes, viz., for the inspection of produce, and to impose rates of inspection; for authorizing companies or individuals to construct railroads, canals, bridges, and other internal communications, and to impose tolls and rates of transport thereon; for the borrowing of money for internal improvements on the security of the revenues of the province."
begged to be permitted to explain. What he had recommended was, that after the establishment of municipal councils throughout both provinces on a good plan, the Legislative Council of Upper Canada might to a certain degree, be dispensed with, not abolished, and certainly not that the Assembly should be suspended or destroyed, but that the functions of the Legislative Council of Upper Canada should be conducted by a union of part of its members with the special council of Lower Canada, mainly for the purpose of giving their assent or refusal to the bills of Upper Canada, and of exercising some control over the Legislature of Lower Canada. The right hon. Baronet had stated, that he had provided him with a sorry entertainment. The right hon. Baronet should at all events recollect, that it had been gratuitously provided.
did not think it necessary to detain the House with many arguments against the proposition of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, seconded, as it was, by the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Westminster. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, who had since risen had pointed out the disadvantages of that proposition. That right hon. and learned Gentleman had attended long to the state of Canada; he was intimately acquainted with it, and he was warmly attached to the maintenance of British authority in that province, and to the maintenance of the rights of the Crown, and at the same time entertained every re- gard for the interest and welfare of the people. He could not but recollect, on the other hand, that whatever might be the view of the mover and seconder of this motion at the present time, that in December, 1837, they appeared to carry their views to the subversion of British authority, to the defeat and disgrace of British power, and to the entire destruction of what was called the British party in Lower Canada. At present it appeared, that the views of those hon. Members were changed and having changed them, they now came and asked the Government suddenly to adopt a course of conduct which, according to their present views, was the best that could be adopted. Having made up his mind with regard to the best course to be adopted, he was not disposed to change it in consequence of the authority of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, seeing what a dangerous course he should have taken if he had followed the hon. Baronet's guidance on the former occasion. The right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, denied, that he considered himself as in any way responsible for the delay that had taken place in legislating with respect to Canada, during the present Session, and the right hon. Baronet having stated, that he was not so responsible, he was certainly not about to say, that he considered the right hon. Baronet, or that he could place him in a situation in which he could hold him responsible in any way, but, at the same time, he could not allow the other inference to be drawn, which might be drawn from the statement of the right hon. Baronet that in putting questions in that House to him at an early period of the Session, and repeating them afterwards, was by any means apparently and ostensibly urging on the Government the duty of legislating during the present Session. In his own opinion, when the right hon. Gentleman put his questions, he did not know whether it was the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, that it would be for the public interest that they should proceed to legislate, or that legislation should be delayed, and he asked many Members what they thought was the opinion of the right hon. Baronet. Some said, that the right hon. Baronet was anxious for legislation, and others said, that the right hon. Baronet's opinions were decidedly against legislation, and that if legislation were proposed he would probably oppose it by a motion for delay. At all events, there was nothing in the questions that at all implied, either to him or to the House generally, that the right hon. Baronet wished to urge legislation during the course of the present Session. But whatever view he might have taken of the questions of the right hon. Baronet, certainly his view and that of the Government were considerably modified when, after the decision on the Jamaica bill, Government began to turn their view to this subject, because it appeared to him at all times the greatest misfortune if upon a subject of this kind there should be any way by which a general agreement, or an agreement of a great majority, could be secured, and they should, by precipitately urging their own course make the question a subject of party decision, and by making it a party question forbid the hope of a settlement that would be satisfactory to Canada. Although, in his opinion, they might dispute on questions of party politics affecting this country and with a people around them who were so affected towards the general authority of the executive as to enable it to preserve things in order, exposed to no imminent danger, yet when that authority was so far removed, as this country was from the colonies, there was the utmost danger that the empire would be weakened and impaired, if not ultimately shaken, by making questions of colonial policy to depend on party decision in the two Houses of Parliament. With that view, therefore, the Government was anxious not to precipitate any decision on this subject, and had, accordingly endeavoured to obtain the greatest support possible in presenting a measure for the settlement of the affairs of the Canadas. They had recently seen what authority was due to representations from the colony on the subject of the union, so far as regarded Upper Canada, and as respected Lower Canada, the present state of the people there forbade any expression of opinion coming from that province carrying any great weight, was to influence the decision of that House. Different Members of that House, and the right hon. Baronet himself, had spoken of the difficulties of this question; and the right lion, Baronet had admitted on this occasion, as on a former occasion, that there was not perhaps any question of legislation more difficult than that which presented itself on the subject of Canada. His own opinion was, that the principle of a union was the best principle of a settlement, not because the principle of a union did not in itself contain very great difficulties, but rather from a consideration of the difficulties attending every other plan, and every other view of the subject; but he at least had not come to this opinion from any blindness to the difficulties that attended this principle. It appeared to him, that they must proceed with respect to Canada upon one of two principles. They must either proceed upon the principle of the bill of Mr. Pitt in 1791, namely, that of separating the two provinces, or they must go upon the principle of uniting them. If they proceeded upon the principle of a separation of the two provinces, they would have to consider, that they could not so completely separate them as to make a French province and a British province, and the consequence would be, that the British portion of the population would be ever in collision with the French population. But when they had thus separated the provinces, looking at the peculiar French tenure, looking at the peculiar state of the Roman Catholic church, and at the state of the French authority in Lower Canada, they would have then to consider in what manner they should constitute the supreme authority. If it were arbitrary and despotic, they might depend upon it, that their subjects in that part of North America would not long quietly acquiesce in that species of arbitrary and despotic authority; they would not acquiesce in it as a permanent system of Government, seeing that it was neither in harmony with the authority established in this country, or in that under which they had so long lived, or in the neighbouring provinces, whether those of the United States, or those under the protection of the British Crown. They would naturally demand, and perseveringly demanding, they would, no doubt, obtain, the establishment of the House of Assembly, and of a representation founded on those principles of freedom to which the people of this country were long accustomed. With a Government founded upon those principles of representation, immediately again would begin the difficulties between the French and British races. The French majority and the English minority sitting in the same House of Assembly, the English minority would be urging everything that would tend to improve the province, to promote immigration, and everything consonant with British commerce and enterprise; and the French majority, in order to preserve their power, would discountenance every innovation, every change in the law—would discountenance commerce and immigration—and would obstruct, as far as possible, the improvement of the province. In this view, it would be utterly impossible to establish permanently an arbitrary and despotic authority in the French province; and it would be equally impossible, with any hope of harmony and concord, to establish a representation which should make the French party predominant, and which should seek to exclude British interests, and views, and enterprise. Upon a consideration of these different modes of government, he had come to the conclusion, that the best chance of future government was to lay a foundation of government by which naturally, in the course of events, the representatives of the British population should acquire a predominant influence in the Representative Assembly, and should thus gradually lay the foundation of a permanent flourishing province, attached as that portion of the population was chiefly attached to British institutions, as contradistinguished from arbitrary and despotic institutions on the one side, and from those of the United States on the other. He believed himself that this was the best principle to proceed upon. The difficulty of carrying it into effect was, no doubt, very great, the difficulties after carrying into effect the first proposition, and preparing the way meeting the Assembly, would also be very great, but still he was convinced, that this proposition afforded the best chance of maintaining a permanent connection with the authority of the British Crown, and of securing likewise the permanent welfare of the people of those provinces. He had stated this with a view to the general principle which they would have hereafter to discuss; now, as regarded the particular bill before the House, the right hon. Baronet said, towards the close of his speech, that supposing these powers, with regard to taxation and legislation, to be necessary, it forced the inference that they considered it a good form of government, that which was founded in a governor and council, superseding the representative Assembly altogether. He said, they were not acting in that way. These proceedings did not support any such inference. They did not suppose that any such consequences would follow from taking what he conceived to be the best means they could devise to make a provisional and arbitrary authority effectual for the purpose of hereafter forming a union of the two provinces and of the two people. The right hon. Baronet spoke of the very large powers that were given by this bill to impose taxes, rates, and duties for municipal purposes, for establishing and maintaining police, and providing for other objects of municipal government. The right hon. Baronet said, that these terms were very vague. He had received the able legal assistance of the Attorney-general in selecting those terms which should be most definite for the purpose in view, but if the right hon. Baronet could suggest any words that would be more definite, he would be quite ready to adopt them. These burthens were proposed to be raised solely for the benefit and improvement of the provinces, and neither the Government of this country nor of the province could have any object in going beyond the purpose of the improvements that were required. With regard to the second clause, the right hon. Baronet had pointed out, as was perfectly true, that the original intention of the clause was different from the present. It was proposed originally to give powers with regard to tenures of land, with certain limitations. It was originally intended to meet an agreement that had been made with a seminary at Montreal; but, if it were a good provision—if a great public improvement might be made by it, he did not see why it might not be extended. This was the reason why the clause was made more general than was originally intended. As, from the declaration of the right hon. Baronet, they had one common object in view, he would not make any vexatious objection to any suggestion of the right hon. Baronet on that point; but, at the same time, as the right hon. Baronet had not pointed out any amendment, he was not prepared to say, that the clause as it at present stood was too large. The right hon. Baronet spoke of the fourth clause as giving, as he conceived, a power greater than was intended, and as not applying to the case of the Habeas Corpus Act. He (Lord John Russell) conceived that it did apply, and that it was required on account of the defect or ambiguity of the bill of last year, by which great doubts were suggested both in this country and in Canada. It was a most unfortunate thing that newspapers should have gone from this country to Canada, professing to convey the opinions of two noble and learned perons holding very high judicial situations, stating that the proviso in the Canada Bill, called Sir W. Follett's proviso, was not merely passed with regard to Lord Durham's ordinances, but went much farther, and affected the power of suspending the Habeas Corpus Act, or of imprisoning persons who were involved in the consequences of high treason, without immediately bringing them to trial. On this doubt, as so represented, two of the judges in Canada acted; and, what he conceived to have been a very great misfortune to the province, having to decide upon the construction of the Act of Parliament, these two judges, who he believed acted most conscientiously in the exercise of their judicial functions, gave an opinion which was fatal to the security of the province. He would reserve what further he had to say with respect to the particular clauses referred to until they were in Committee, when he should be ready to consider any suggestions that might be proposed with respect to the amendment of the wording of any particular clause. He must say, as he had already said, that not agreeing with some of the opinions expressed by the right hon. Gentleman, he was still ready to lend his assistance, in order to effect the declared object which they had in view—namely, to secure the province of Lower Canada to the authority of the Crown, and, at the same time, to provide for the general welfare and happiness of the people.
rose to explain. It seemed to him that the noble Lord had misunderstood him. He did not mean to limit the provision to the police of Quebec or to the deficiency in any particular town. It was manifestly the interest of all towns to have a good police and to be well lighted and well watched. He did not mean to give the Governor in Council a power to cause all those towns to be well lighted and well watched, but he meant to give to the inhabitants a power to tax them selves for municipal purposes. But when they were going to give powers which were not to be placed under popular control it was right that they should have some limitation, and that they should know the precise extent of those powers, and what were the particular local improvements to which the exercise of those powers was to extend.
said, he did not know what object would be gained in discussing particular clauses before the bill was in Committee. He must say, however, that he was inclined very much to concur in the objections to the 4th clause. The subject of a change of tenure greatly affected the properties of the people of Lower Canada; there was also a national feeling on this subject, and unfortunately it had been one of the most recent subjects of dispute between the two races. If they gave the Governor and Special Council the power of legislating on these tenures, it would excite a justifiable alarm that this Special Council, composed of their political opponents, would exercise their power to introduce a general change which had been so long resisted. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Home Department said, that the power was given in order to meet the exigency that occurred in the district of Montreal; but two or three such exigencies might arise in other parts of the province as that which had long existed in Montreal, namely, a case where the property was burthened with a disputed title, and the Government made the change of tenure contingent upon a recognition of the title. He could not concur with the right hon. Baronet in his objections to the third clause, nor participate in his alarms as to the increase of taxation which it would occasion. The right hon. Baronet's observations upon this subject appeared to him exceedingly sound and appropriate as a general theory applied to colonial government, and they were applicable to any colony except Lower Canada; but there they would be inapplicable on account of the enormous surface of the province. The amount of taxation at present was about 140,000l., of which only 60,000l. was required for the general purposes of government; all the remainder being expended in those various public improvements which formed an extensive part of the expenditure of any new colony. When he admitted that the present taxes of the colony were more than were required for the purposes of government, he was aware that he laid himself open to the inquiry why they should want increased powers of taxation. The simple fact was, that in a colony like Lower Canada, if you denied the power of raising taxes, you de- nied, in many of the most important cases, the power of legislation. He would instance the various matters relating to police, quarantine, besides that, in his opinion, most desirable object of a registration office; which, though that might here very properly be called matters for municipal taxation, could not be so considered in Lower Canada, where there were no sort of municipal institutions. The right hon. Baronet seemed to be exceedingly afraid lest the Government should be tempted, with an income already beyond their general wants, to abuse this power of taxation to their own purposes. This was the whole evil now apprehended by a party who had no qualms or hesitation in empowering the same Government to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act, and the trial by jury, and all the other features of constitutional government in that colony. He believed, that the only ground of apprehension on this score entertained by the Canadians was, lest the Council should raise taxes for general public improvements, which the merchants and landowners were of course naturally anxious for, but which the Canadians had always opposed. He could not but think that it was rather hard that the right hon. Baronet opposite should find fault with his hon. Friend near him for not bringing forward a bill of his own, in opposition to that of her Majesty's Government; for he believed, that his hon. Friend approved of the general principles upon which the government measure had been framed, and that if the Government had gone on with it, his hon. Friend's objections in matters of detail would have been entirely obviated. But however this might be, he really could conceive no mischief to arise from any man's and every man's coming forward to say what he thought respecting the past and future treatment of the Canadas; and he apprehended danger from no other cause than from the absence of discussion—from its not being known what they thought and what they meant to do, and from the consequent prolongation of that system of mystery and vacillation which he looked upon as the main source of the present ills of these colonies. He anticipated evil from the general indisposition of the House to look the present state of the colonies and the whole policy of the colonial government fairly in the face, to determine on what principles that policy was henceforth to be conducted, and to make those extensive changes in our colonial system which must be suggested by calm deliberation on the working of the present order of things. He dreaded the continued ignorance of the real state of affairs which this aversion to discussion was calculated to produce among ourselves; and from all he saw and heard, he apprehended that when all their shifts had been exhausted, and when they could no longer stave off the moment of decision, they would come to that decision with no more settled views, no more complete information than they possessed at present. He dreaded also the effect of their inaction on those colonies. When their inhabitants, who for the last two years had never known security of person or property—who had been looking to that House for the settlement of their affairs, and had expected by every packet intelligence of its determination respecting the institutions they are henceforth to live under—when they find that the Session from which they expected the final settlement of their disorders had passed over without a single step being made towards it—that nothing had been done, that only vague indications had been given of what Ministers, none of what Parliament, intended to do, what did they think would be the result on their feelings? Without speculating on the irritation, which he could not but consider the natural fruit of this apparent indifference to their fate, was it not obvious that these people must infer that we had really come to the conclusion either that no remedy was required, or that it was hopeless for us to attempt to devise one—that we left them to their fate to shift for themselves. There was one advantage of this debate, in the noble Lord's having entirely thrown over, on this occasion, the specious pretexts for delay which he sometimes brought forward; sometimes attaching great importance to the report from Mr. Hagerman, and sometimes to those mysterious despatches of Sir George Arthur, to which he ever and anon referred as the hidden causes of his inaction, and had frankly avowed, what every one knew before to be the real reason of our having no Canada Bill this Session, namely—the present state of parties. He supposed, that this was one of the apprehended dangers of discussion; that it was feared, that the Canadians might discover, that the real cause of an obstinate inattention to their unhappy condition, was the weakness of the Government, and in the unscrupulous and factious opposition of their opponents. He wished to treat this subject apart from the petty objects and views of the parties of the day; but he must say, that he thought both were equally blameable for it, or that, indeed, the opposition were even more blameable than the ministers. It was the common shame of both, that they made the interests of our countrymen in the colonies the sport of their party manœuvres. While the Gentlemen opposite, acting on principles which he must be excused for saying appeared to him the most immoral ever avowed by an Opposition pledging themselve to no system; suggesting no more advisable course, thought their functions were discharged by the exercise of a perverse ingenuity in discrediting and thwarting any and every plan proposed by the Government—while the Government, instead of meeting this factious hostility with the vigour which would quell it in a moment, instead of gravely maturing, and boldly proposing large and sound measures, and trusting to the good sense and good feeling of the country to insure their success, and scatter to the winds any party that should dare to thwart them in such a cause, attempted to evade the criticism of its measures, by offering no measures to be criticized. While such was the petty and discreditable game of parties, the great colonial empire of Britain was crumbling to pieces on every side of us, and they were involving in certain ruin the dearest interests of thousands and millions of their countrymen. They had fought their party fights on Canada and Jamaica—they had mutilated one bill and thrown out another—forced Lord Durham to return, and crippled Sir Lionel Smith, and what was the result? They had probably barbarized one colony and revolutionized another. And did they flatter themselves that these were evil deeds, for which they would not some day be made answerable? Did they flatter themselves that they had taken a course which, whatever temporary party purpose it might serve, would give them a claim to any lasting feelings of regard and gratitude from their countrymen? He well knew the difficulty which must be experienced in securing the assent of a Government to so entire a change of its whole policy as that which Lord Durham had proposed in the system of colonial government; but he could not understand how any one could cast his mind over the recent history of our colonies, or advert to their present deplorable state in every thing that respects their government, without coming to the conclusion, that in our whole colonial system there is some radical vice requiring vigor- ous and searching correction. The system of governing the colonies from home had had a long trial in the North American provinces, and proceeding on the principle of combining an irresponsible executive with a representative legislative, how had it practically worked in them all? He said all: for, in truth, the evils to which he had now to apply a remedy were not to be found in the Canadas alone. In every colony of British North America there was the same constant collision between the Assembly and the Executive Government; and in all the catastrophe of an absolute stoppage of the machine of government either had arrived or was fast approaching. In the case of Lower Canada, the blame was laid on the perverseness of the French; in Upper Canada, on Mackenzie; in Newfoundland, on the Catholic religion; and he dared say that in the other provinces there were some persons, whom the officials represented as few in numbers, and singularly perverse in purpose, to whose causeless malignity they attributed the constant collision between the different powers of Government. But when they took all these phenomena together—when they saw exhibited in every one of these colonies the same practical difficulties in the working of the present system, were they not forced to conclude, that there must be some common cause for these common ills, and that that cause must exist in the very frame of Government, which was everywhere out of order? Compare the British provinces in North America with the contiguous States of the Union. In almost every natural resource the former had the advantage. Compare the present condition of the two. In every respect of tranquillity and content, of civilization, of material prosperity and industrial activity, of legislation, and of general education, our provinces were so lamentably behind the neighbouring settlements, which are all of a much more recent origin than themselves, as to make every Englishman that valued the honour of his native land blush when he witnessed the palpable inferiority that almost everywhere on the North American continent was the distinctive mark of the possessions of the British Crown. He certainly did not attribute this difference to any inferiority of republican over monarchical institutions. He believed the advantage to be on the side of the latter. But he could only refer to one more essential difference between the two Governments, and he thought he could find it in the influence which the one people had over its own Government, while, by the narrow policy of our colonial system the other was deprived of the control of its own internal affairs. This was the fundamental error which Lord Durham had pointed out in the government of these colonies. This was the error which he would rectify, by establishing an entirely different practice in our colonial government; by proposing it as a rule of government, that the executive of the colony should be kept in entire harmony with the legislature; that the system of constant interference with the details of colonial affairs should be abandoned; and that the colonial government should, in fact, be carried on in the colony, and not in Downing-street. The change proposed was a great one, but it was a simple one; it would, at any rate, render colonial government a much simpler and easier thing than it had yet been. He should like to have it explained to him how, under any other system, it was supposed possible to have any harmony between the different branches of the legislature, or any efficiency in the Government. He would not now enter into the discussion of the details of the working of the present system, because the consequences of the original vice had been amply detailed in Lord Durham's report, and traced by him through every institution of the colonies. He merely referred to it, in order to remind the House, that the contest of races in Lower Canada was but one of the many causes operating to produce the present calamitous state of our provinces; and that the union proposed by Lord Durham was calculated, in his opinion, not merely to settle that question in the only manner in which any rational friend of humanity would desire to see it settled, but that it aimed at the still higher object of forming these colonies into one large and important community, fit to manage its own internal affairs while the colonial connection subsisted, not unfit to stand by itself whenever that connection might be dissolved. He was not one of those who thought that that connection need necessarily be of brief duration or mischievous influence. He was not one of those who thought colonies were useless to a state. To plant colonies in the wilderness—to turn the unemployed resources of nature to account, and to provide a competence for our own population—to raise up new branches of trade, and new nations of customers—appeared to him a wise and noble policy in a great nation. If we maintained colonies for these purposes—if we gave up the old policy of dividing in order to govern, but sought only to maintain an empire by making it a source of benefit to the dependent province—he did not see why these colonies might not long remain under the protection of Great Britain, and be a source of unmingled profit. It would be necessary for this purpose to abandon every notion of making them nests of aristocratic patronage, and to abandon every antiquated scheme of regulating trade. If such ideas were abandoned, and he believed that no Gentleman in the present day would avow them, he did not see what cause of collision could ever arise between the colonies and the mother country. To regulate their foreign relations, and to secure the immigration, and the settlement of waste lands, were the only objects left to the mother country. And though the noble Lord, arguing in a manner in which it would be easy to demonstrate the impracticability of any form of government in any country, had remained fixed in the notion that the colonial assemblies would always insist on interfering precisely in those one or two matters which were excepted from their powers, yet he could not anticipate that the representatives of a colony would have so little sense as to tear asunder their connection with the country of their fathers, to forfeit the protection of our armies and navies, and to stop the supply of that labour which was the only source of prosperity to a new country, in order to gratify some whim of meddling in matters with which they had no business. With these two exceptions, he saw no reason for our ever interfering with the internal affairs of a colony. He thought that the principle of colonial government ought to be that the people of the colony were more competent to manage their own affairs than the constantly changing offices of a department in the mother country; that they would probably act with as much justice and as much good sense as other people; and that if they acted unjustly or unwisely, they must be the chief, and probably the only sufferers, and must, like other communities, purchase wisdom by experience. He himself could not believe in the necessity of this constant superintendence on our part, when he recollected, that almost every prominent cause of dissension in these colonies had been placed in it by some blunder of the Imperial Parliament or the Colonial-office. His hon. Friend, the Member for Leeds, had asked him, whether he was content to stand by and see Lord Durham's report completely thrown over. He was certainly committed to that report. Had he dissented from any one of its main doctrines, he should have felt it due to himself to make public that difference of opinion. He had not done so because there was no part of that report from which he either dissented at the time of its publication, or of the soundness of which subsequent reflection had induced him to doubt. He was not anxious for the immediate adoption of the measures recommended in the report, because he thought that Lord Durham's reputation required not the approbation of any person in this House or in the Government. He had good occasion to appeal from them to the judgment which had been passed on his report by all impartial thinking men in this country; and when he looked to the reception which it had experienced in those colonies, to which it more immediately related, and to the echo of that opinion from other colonies, which had found in his views a great applicability to their own present or future condition, he thought he might feel pretty confident, that whatever might be the period at which the report might be acted upon here, it had had an effect in the colonies, that nothing could prevent them from coming to a speedy triumph of his views. He thought he might feel very sure, that his report would be the text-book of the colonial reformer, until it became the manual of the colonial government of Great Britain.
rose, not for the purpose of entering the very wide and general discussion into which the House had that evening diverged, but rather for the purpose of expressing a hope that the House would not longer delay the business of the evening, but would proceed at once to the consideration of the details of the bill in Committee. He should confine the very few words he had to say to observations of a general nature on the bill itself, and on the objects which it was intended to accomplish. He had heard with pleasure that no essential difference in principle as to this bill existed in the House. There seemed to be a general impression that it was our duty to provide without delay for an object, which, in Lower Canada, was of urgent necessity—namely, that while we were anxious to mitigate the exercise of arbitrary Government there, by taking every precaution against the abuse of it, we should still not impose a practical grievance upon that colony by disabling it from legislating on pacificatory principles, and from introducing any ameliorations into its internal condition. For his own part, he was of opinion that there were no pacificators like employment and industry. And he was sure that nothing would produce a political calm sooner than turning the minds of the population to schemes of industry and improvement. He begged the House to consider the strange and anomalous condition of Lower Canada alone of all the British colonies. In that colony hardly any transaction like that which was necessary to pass a private bill through that House could now pass; and therefore no scheme of local improvement could now be carried into effect there. It was also found impossible to keep up the usual establishments for the preservation of good order in the colony—such as schools, police, &c. These establishments at present were either wholly inoperative, or would speedily become so, if the House did not interfere. Believing, therefore, that hon. Members on both sides of the House were desirous to put an end to this state of things, he entreated them not to fall into the error of introducing words into this bill which would bar the very effect they wished to produce. There was one subject of great importance, on which the statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Liskeard, who on this question had a sort of demi-official authority, was calculated to cause considerable misapprehension—he alluded to the account which his hon. Friend had given of the actual state of the revenues of Lower Canada, and of that portion of them which was applicable to local improvements. It was clear that if there were any revenues which could be so dealt with by the local Government, the necessity of imposing any local rates for such purposes would be materially diminished. In fact, however, the local revenues of Lower Canada had diminished from 153,000l., which was their annual amount in 1832, to 60,000l. in the last year. Now, out of these local revenues all the grants for the police and the education of the entire province were provided: and in one of his last despatches Sir John Colborne had declared, that unless some means were devised for increasing the amount of these revenues, he should not be able to keep up these establishments another year. Now, by enabling the local Government to make rates for this purpose, the House would enable the Governor to provide for the maintenance of establishments which, though absolutely necessary, must be abandoned, unless such power was granted him. He entreated the House not to be induced by any idle jealousy of the powers to be intrusted to the local Government to abstain from giving to it the means which were necessary to carry into full execution that arduous task which had latterly been thrown upon it, and which it had hitherto discharged in such a manner as to entitle it to the entire approbation of the House, the cordial support of Government, and the warmest gratitude of the whole country. He also implored them not to withhold from the local Government the power of making any laws of a permanent character. Already there was a great demand on the part of the colonists for a law to provide for a better tenure of lands. Already were the factious part of the population accusing the British Government of intentionally postponing the introduction of such a law. What was the consequence? All the accounts he had received from the colonies concurred in declaring that public confidence had been completely overthrown by the existence of the present unhappy state of things, that transactions relating to property were to a great extent suspended, and carried on under great disadvantages. From the information that had reached him, he should be justified in saying, that it would be unsafe to continue the system of inaction for another year. He knew the meaning of that cheer; he supposed hon. Gentlemen intended to express an opinion, that, if this were the case, Government ought, during the present Session, to have dealt with the wider questions that were still open, and effected a permanent settlement of the affairs of Canada. He did not stand there to deny, that if they had done this, an immense good would have been obtained; and he would say, that during the earlier part of the Session it was the most anxious hope and desire of Government to effect this settlement; but in the course of that very night's debate, he had heard much from Gentlemen on both sides of the House, which should induce them to pause before imputing blame to Government, that at the end of the Session they had come to the conclusion, that the balance of advantage was against legislating precipitately on a subject of so great importance, and in favour of stating to the House and to the colony, in the form of a bill, not only the principles on which they proposed to proceed, but the manner in which they thought that these should be carried into effect. A great point would, in his opinion, have been gained, if the House had agreed to the second reading of the other bill relating to Canada which had been brought forward by Government, and thereby affirmed the principles of the union of the two provinces, and the establishment of municipal institutions. He very much regretted that that measure had not advanced so far, and hoped that the House would not refuse to go into committee on the present bill for the purpose of considering its provisions.
had given his best assistance to Government on the questions which had arisen out of the state of Canada, and was most ready to go all justifiable lengths in supporting the measures they might bring forward for the adjustment of the differences unfortunately prevailing in that colony. He stood now on the ground he had originally taken, and from that he would not depart. The noble Lord opposite, at the beginning of the last Session, had told the House, that he was not prepared to sacrifice the French Canadians to British interests, and the right hon. Baronet, the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, had deprecated the passing of any laws intended to be permanent, which could be regarded by them as oppressive or vexatious. He entirely agreed with these sentiments, and though he was perfectly prepared to join in giving every assistance to Government in introducing improvements in the internal regulations of the colony, yet he would not consent to grant any powers to the Governor and Council which should be directed against the interests of the French Canadians. He had considered with that view the provisions of the present bill, and he must say, that they appeared to him calculated to rouse the worst feelings of the French Canadians, and excite those very disputes between the two races of inhabitants which it had been hitherto thought desirable to repress. Lord Durham, in the report which he had made, had expressed an opinion, whether wisely or not, that it was impossible to prevent a contest between the two races. He agreed with that noble Lord, that, if authority were reposed in the French Canadians, they would abuse it; all their proceedings satisfied him that that was to be expected, and it was quite clear, that the British Cana- dians would never permit power to be so lodged in such hands. He was willing, that the French Canadians should be deprived of that power which they had formerly abused, and that they should be coerced as far as was necessary for the general welfare; but, on the other hand, he would not go a single step beyond what the necessity of the case required. Take, for instance, the case of tenures, It was now proposed to confer on the Governor and Council power to alter the land tenures of the French Canadians; in other words, all the laws which regulated their landed property. The bill would enact, that the ordinances of the Governor and Council should not be valid till her Majesty's assent to them was signified, and that before that assent was granted, they should lie thirty days on the table of the House. That he thought was a very bungling mode of legislation. If these ordinances were to come to this country for the approval of the home authorities, there was no reason why Parliament should abandon its legislative functions, and confide them to the colonial Governor and Council and the Crown. He did not think it at all likely, judging from the manner in which Parliamentary papers were usually treated, that the papers would attract much attention during that space of time when they were to be submitted to the consideration of the House. Be that, however, as it might, he could not consent to interfere with that law of property, the maintenance of which had been guaranteed to the French Canadians by the Imperial Legislature. The English law of property had been in the first instance introduced into the colony after the conquest, but the French law was restored by the 14th of George 3rd, and was not disturbed by the statute of 1791. They were now asked to invest a despotic authority with power to alter the tenures of the French Canadians. A more unjust or impolitic provision he (Sir E. Sugden) could not conceive. The noble Lord had himself stated the number of French Canadians at 500,000 out of the 600,000 inhabitants, and had said, that the religious question was bound up with the question of property. He would at once admit, that there could not be a greater absurdity than to ingraft feudal institutions on a province to which they had granted a representative form of Government. But that absurdity they had them- selves committed, and he for one would not be a party to the violation of the compact into which they had entered to preserve the institutions of the French Canadians. He could not consent to grant a perpetual power to pass laws to the Governor and Council. He would not consent to grant powers which must be regarded as preparatory to the union of the provinces, and by conferring which the House would give the noble Lord some reason hereafter to say that they had pledged themselves to the principle of union. At the beginning of last Session, when the act for the government of Canada was before the House, several hon. Members had urged the necessity of granting those powers which the present bill would confer, and the noble Lord and right hon. Gentleman had strongly objected to the proposal. What was it that now rendered those powers necessary? The failure of Ministers to mature a plan for the permanent government of Canada. He had no means of knowing whether or not blame were justly attributable to them for not having done this, and therefore he would take it for granted that the difficulties in the way of bringing forward a plan at present were insurmountable. He thought, that Ministers had not acted fairly by the House in neglecting to lay on the table before that day the communications they had received from the authorities in Canada if they had designed to take the House by surprise, of which intention, however, he entirely acquitted them, they could not have followed a more convenient course. Were they, he would ask, to leave the Governor and Council to decide all these grave and important questions now pending, than which none could be imagined more closely affecting the welfare of the inhabitants of a colony? Were the Governor and Council, for instance, to establish an appeal court—an institution which did not exist in a perfect form even in this country, and which if good for the Canadians must be at least equally good for the inhabitants of England? Then there were the rights of the seigneurs, in which the interests of at least 50,000 proprietors of the soil, holding their land under tenures, the maintenance of which had been guaranteed by Parliament, were involved. The abolition of these tenures would be as flagrant an act of injustice as had ever been inflicted on colonists by a superior power. He believed, that these tenures were injurious to the interests of the Canadians themselves, but the Canadians thought otherwise, and with them the sole right of deciding rested. He could not, therefore, consent, by agreeing to the present bill, to disturb a compact which former Parliaments had made with the Canadians. He objected also to the mode of taxation. If ever there was a question which demanded the sympathy of that House—the representatives of the people of England—it was this question of taxation. The Governor and Council were to have the power of taxation against the will of the people, and while the constitution of the colony was suspended. Now, he objected to such a power, first, on the general ground, that the people of the colony ought not to be taxed against their will and without their consent by their representatives, and when such despotic powers were assumed by a Government he hoped that difficulties ever would arise and compel that Government to resort to constitutional means for the attainment of its objects. But, in the next place, he objected to the scheme of taxation, because the taxes to be imposed were to be applied to purposes which, however good in themselves, the Canadian people were decidedly opposed to. Was that a proper principle for the Imperial Parliament to act upon? No, it was a principle repugnant to the constitution, and he should, therefore, oppose this part of the proposition of the Government. He should not trouble the House further at that time, but when they went into Committee he should oppose all those parts of the measure to which he had now directed the attention of the House.
thought the speech of the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, the best radical speech he had ever heard. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that nothing could be more monstrous, than to impose taxes upon a people against their will, and without their consent, by their representatives, and he perfectly agreed in that opinion. He had said, that when a Government assumed despotic powers, he hoped that difficulties would arise, which would compel that Government to resort to constitutional means, and in that sentiment of the right hon. Gentleman he also agreed, and he trusted that this bill, which gave such powers to the Governor and Council, would not pass, if it was intended to bring forward a measure for effecting a final settlement in the next Session of Parliament. His object in rising, however, was to direct attention to the motion of the hon. Baronet who had commenced the debate. That motion was, that, "every consideration of humanity, justice, and policy demands, that Parliament should seriously apply itself, without delay, to legislating, for the permanent government of her Majesty's provinces of Upper and Lower Canada." Such was the motion which the House had to decide upon; and he must say, that during the last two Sessions, and the present, this was the only question which had come before the House, in regard to which no difference of opinion had been expressed. All sides had concurred in the principles of the motion of the hon. Baronet; and surely then it would have been wise to have brought forward some measure for the permanent settlement of the Government of Canada. The speech of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth was, in his opinion, the most severe reproach upon the Government which could have been inflicted upon it, and, for his own part, he could see no reason why they should not have legislated in the present year, as well as in the next. He could not see how the extraordinary powers to be conferred by this bill, would pave the way to a final settlement in the next Session, and he feared they might have a contrary effect. They had already interfered too much in the affairs of the colony, and he held that they were ruining themselves, and ruining the colony, by their continued interference in the internal affairs of the people of Canada. It was only by consulting the interests of both, that the connexion of the colony with the mother country, could be rendered mutually beneficial, and such a course, he was sorry to say, had not been pursued by the Government. He was fully persuaded that the difficulties which the Parliament had now to encounter, had been created by themselves. If they had at first done that which was essential—if they had made the Executive Council accord with the representative body, the difficulties which they had now to contend against, would never have been felt. That was the only ground of complaint on the part of the Canadian people, when Parliament first interfered; that was the only difficulty which at first was to be surmounted, and the continued interference of Parliament had created the rest. Parliament, urged on by the Government, had inflicted evils on the colony, of which the longest liver would not see the end. He would not trespass longer upon the time of the House, than to express a hope that the despotic Government which had been established in Canada would soon be terminated. After the unequivocal expression of opinion on the motion of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, he would put it to his hon. Friend, whether it would be wise to press his motion to a division?
The House divided on the original motion; Ayes 223, Noes 28:—Majority 195.
List of the AYES.
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Divett, E.|
|Acland, T. D.||Donkin, Sir R. S.|
|A'Court, Captain||Duff, J.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Duffield, T.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Dunbar, G.|
|Ashley, Lord||Duncombe, T.|
|Attwood, W.||Dundas, Sir R.|
|Baillie, Colonel||Du Pre, G.|
|Baines, E.||East, J. B.|
|Baker, E.||Eastnor, Lord Visc.|
|Bannerman, A.||Egerton, W. T.|
|Baring, F. T.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Ellis, W.|
|Barry, G. S.||Estcourt, T.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Evans, Sir De Lacy|
|Berkeley, hon. G.||Evans, G.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Evans, W.|
|Bernal, R.||Fenton, J.|
|Blair, J.||Ferguson, Sir R. A|
|Blake, W. J.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Blennerhassett, A.||Finch, F.|
|Bolling, W.||Fitzroy, Lord C.|
|Bowes, J.||Freemantle, Sir T.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Freshfield, J. W.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Gladstone, W. E.|
|Brotherton, J.||Gordon, R.|
|Brownrigg, S.||Graham, rt. hn. Sir. J.|
|Bryan, G.||Grant, F. W.|
|Buck, L. W.||Grattan, J.|
|Bulwer, Sir||Greenaway, C.|
|Burr, H.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Grimsditch, T.|
|Cavendish, hon. G. H.||Grimston, Viscount|
|Chapman, A.||Grimston, hon. E. H.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Guest, Sir J.|
|Clay, W.||Hale, R. B.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Halford, H.|
|Cole, Viscount||Handley, H.|
|Collins, W.||Harcourt, G. S.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Hawkes, T.|
|Darby, G.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T||Hayter, W. G.|
|Hector, C. J.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Henniker, Lord||Ponsonby, C. F. A. C.|
|Hinde, J. H.||Praed, W. T.|
|Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.||Price, R.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Protheroe, E.|
|Hodgson, R.||Pryme, G.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Rice, E. R.|
|Hope, G. W.||Rich, H.|
|Horsman, E.||Richards, R.|
|Hoskins, K.||Roche, E. B.|
|Hotham, Lord||Roche, W.|
|Howard, F. J.||Rolfe, Sir R. M.|
|Howick, Viscount||Rolleston, L.|
|Hurst, R. H.||Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Hurst, F.||Round, J.|
|Hutton, R.||Rundle, J.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Irton, S.||Russell, Lord J.|
|James, W.||Rutherford, rt. hn. A.|
|James, Sir W. C.||Seymour, Lord|
|Jervis, S.||Shaw, rt hon. F.|
|Jervis, J.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Shelborne, Earl of|
|Knatchbull, rt. h. Sir E.||Sheppard T.|
|Labouchere, rt. hn. H.||Sinclair, Sir G.|
|Langdale, hon. C.||Smith, B.|
|Law, hon. C. E.||Smith, R. V.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Lockhart, A. M.||Spencer, hon. F.|
|Lowther, hon. Col.||Stanley, Lord|
|Lowther, Viscount||Stanley, M.|
|Lushington, rt. hon. S.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Macaulay, T. B.||Stewart, J.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Macleod, R.||Stock, Dr.|
|M'Taggart, J.||Strutt, E.|
|Marshall, W.||Sturt, H. C.|
|Marsland, H.||Style, Sir C.|
|Maule, hon. F.||Sugden, rt. hn. Sir E.|
|Melgund, Viscount||Surrey, Earl of|
|Morris, D.||Teignmouth, Lord|
|Muskett, G. A.||Thomas, Colonel H.|
|Nagle, Sir R.||Thompson, Mr. Ald.|
|O'Brien, W. S.||Thornely, T.|
|O'Connell, D.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|O'Connell, J.||Turner, E.|
|O'Ferrall, R. M.||Turner, W.|
|Oswald, J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Packe, C. W.||Villiers, Viscount|
|Paget, F.||Wallace, R.|
|Pakington, J. S.||White, A.|
|Palmer, C. F.||White, H.|
|Palmer, R.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Palmer, G.||Williams, R.|
|Palmerston, Viscount||Williams, T. P.|
|Parker, J.||Williams, W. A.|
|Parker, M.||Wood, C.|
|Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.||Wood, Sir M.|
|Patten, J. W.||Wood, Colonel|
|Pechell, Captain||Wood, George W.|
|Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Pemberton, T.||Wynn, rt. hn. C. W.|
|Pendarves, E. W. W.||Yates, J. A.|
|Perceval, hon. G. J.||Young, J.|
|Phillpotts, J.||Steuart, R.|
|Pigot, D. R.||Stanley, E. J.|
List of the NOES.
|Bagge, W.||Hume, J.|
|Baring, H. B.||Johnson, General|
|Broadley, H.||Mackenzie, T.|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Norreys, Lord|
|Buller, C.||Parker, Rob. T.|
|Burdett, Sir F.||Perceval, Colonel|
|D'Israeli, B.||Polhill, Frederick|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Round, C. G.|
|Dugdale, W. S.||Smith, A.|
|Estcourt, T.||Wakley, T.|
|Fielden, J.||Wilbraham, hon. B.|
|Forrester, hon. G.||Williams, W.|
|Hall, Sir B.|
|Hindley, C.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Leader, J. T.|
House in Committee.
On the first clause, that the number of councillors shall not be less than "twenty."
thought this number of councillors would only render the despotism more hurtful and more injurious. It was better to have one despot than many. He should, therefore, oppose the clause.
would rather give the power to Sir John Colborne alone, than to the Governor and a Special Council of twenty persons.
was also opposed to the appointment of so numerous a special council. He wished to know also the manner in which they were to be elected; whether they were to be elected in the old manner? By increasing the number of the Council, they diminished the responsibility. He should therefore certainly object to the whole clause, and take the sense of the House.
believed, in point of fact, that there were more than twenty persons in the Council of Sir John Colborne at present, and it was certainly desirable that their number should be specified. He wished to make no reflections on former special councils, but he thought by increasing their number, they should be able to have a body more connected with the interests of the colony, and the whole body would be responsible to the Canadian people.
objection was, to any of these men being vested with power to pass permanent laws, and when the hon. Member, the under-secretary for the colonies, spoke of responsibility, he would ask if he did not know, that for many years, the Special Council of Lower Canada had laughed to scorn the whole Canadian people. If they were to have a despotism, he said again, let them have a pure and single despotism, with sole and undivided responsibility.
The Committee divided on the question, that the clause as amended stand part of the bill:—Ayes 272; Noes 15: Majority 257.
List of the AYES.
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Donkin, Sir R.|
|Acland, T. D.||Douglas, Sir C.|
|A'Court, Captain||Dowdeswell, W.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Duffield, T.|
|Ainsworth, P.||Dugdale, W. S.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Dunbar, G.|
|Ashley, Lord||Dundas, Sir R.|
|Ashley, hon. H.||Du Pre, G.|
|Attwood, W.||East, J. B.|
|Bagge, W.||Eastnor, Lord Vis.|
|Ballie, Colonel||Egerton, W. T.|
|Bainbridge, E. T.||Egerton, Sir P.|
|Baines, E.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Baker, E.||Ellice, E.|
|Baring, F. T.||Ellice, W.|
|Baring, H. B.||Estcourt, T.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Estcourt, T.|
|Barnaby, J.||Evans, Sir D. L.|
|Barry, G. S.||Evans, G.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Evans, W.|
|Berkeley, hon. G.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Berkeley, hon. C.||Fenton, J.|
|Blair, J.||Ferguson, Sir R.|
|Blake, M. J.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Blake, W. J.||Finch, F.|
|Blennerhassett, A.||Fitzroy, Lord C.|
|Bolling, W.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Bowes, J.||Freshfield, J. W.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Gladstone, W. E.|
|Broadley, H.||Gordon, R.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Gordon, Captain|
|Brotherton, J.||Gore, O. J. R.|
|Brownrigg, S.||Graham, Sir J.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Grant, F. W.|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Grattan, J.|
|Bryan, G.||Greenaway, C.|
|Buck, L. W.||Grey, Sir C.|
|Burr, H.||Grey, Sir G.|
|Burrell, Sir C.||Grimsditch, T.|
|Burroughes, H.||Grimston, Lord|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Grimston, hon. E.|
|Cavendish, G. H.||Guest, Sir J.|
|Chapman, A.||Hale, R. B.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Halford, H.|
|Clay, W.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Handley, H.|
|Collins, W.||Harcourt, G. G.|
|Colquhoun, J. C.||Harcourt, G. S.|
|Courtenay, P.||Hardinge, Sir H.|
|Cowper, hon. W.||Hastie, A.|
|Craig, W. G.||Hawkes, T.|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Darby, G.||Hayter, W. G.|
|De Horsey, S. H.||Henniker, Lord|
|Divett, E.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Hill, Lord A.||Paget, F.|
|Hinde, J. H.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Hindley, C.||Palmer, C. F.|
|Hobhouse, Sir J.||Palmer, R.|
|Hobhouse, T. B.||Palmer, G.|
|Hodgson, R.||Palmerston, Lord|
|Holmes, W.||Parker, J.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Parker, M.|
|Hope, H. T.||Parker, R. T.|
|Hope, G. W.||Parnell, Sir H.|
|Horsman, E.||Patten, J. W.|
|Hoskins, K.||Pechell, Captain|
|Hotham, Lord||Peel, Sir R.|
|Houldsworth, T.||Pemberton, T.|
|Howard, F. J.||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|Howick, Lord||Phillips, M.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Pigot, D. R.|
|Hurst, R. H.||Pigot, R.|
|Hurt, F.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Ingestrie, Lord||Polhill, F.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Ponsonby, C.|
|Irton, S.||Praed, W. T.|
|Irving, J.||Price, R.|
|James, W.||Pryse, P.|
|James, Sir W. C.||Pusey, P.|
|Jermyn, Earl||Rice, E. R.|
|Jervis, J.||Rich, H.|
|Kinnaird, A. F.||Richards, R.|
|Knatchbull, Sir E.||Roche, W.|
|Knightley, Sir C.||Rolfe, Sir R. M.|
|Knox, hon. T.||Rolleston, L.|
|Labouchere, H.||Rose, Sir G.|
|Langdale, hon. C.||Round, C. G.|
|Lascelles, W. S.||Round, J.|
|Law, hon. C. E.||Rundle, J.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Rushbrooke, R.|
|Leveson, Lord||Russell, Lord J.|
|Lincoln, Earl of||Rutherford, A.|
|Lockhart, A. M.||Salwey, Colonel|
|Lushington, C.||Scarlett, J. Y.|
|Lushington, S.||Scholefield, J.|
|Macaulay, T. B.||Seymour, Lord|
|Mackenzie, T.||Shaw, F.|
|Mackinnon, W. A.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Macleod, R.||Sheppard, T.|
|M'Taggart, J.||Sinclair, Sir G.|
|Mahon, Lord||Smith, B.|
|Marshall, W.||Smith, R. V.|
|Marsland, H.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Maule, F.||Spencer, F.|
|Melgund, Lord||Stanley, Lord|
|Meynell, Captain||Stanley, M.|
|Milton, Lord||Stanley, W. O.|
|Moreton, A. H.||Stewart, James|
|Morris, D.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Murray, A.||Stock, Dr.|
|Muskett, G. A.||Strutt, Edw.|
|Nagle, Sir R.||Sturt, H. C.|
|Norreys, Lord||Style, Sir C.|
|O'Brien, W. S.||Sugden, Sir E.|
|O'Connell, D.||Surrey, Earl of|
|O'Connell, J.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|O'Ferrall, R. M.||Teignmouth, Lord|
|Ossulston, Lord||Thomas, Colonel H.|
|Oswald, J.||Thomson, C. P.|
|Owen, Sir J.||Thompson, Alderman|
|Packe, C. W.||Thornley, T|
|Troubridge, Sir T.||Wood, C.|
|Turner, E.||Wood, Sir M.|
|Turner, W.||Wood, Colonel|
|Verney, Sir H.||Wood G. W.|
|Vernon, G. H.||Wood, Colonel T.|
|Waddington, H.||Worsley, Lord|
|Walsh, Sir J.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Ward, H. G.||Wynn, C. W.|
|Welby, G. E.||Yates, J. A.|
|White, H.||Young, J.|
|Wilde, Sergeant||Stanley, E. J.|
|Williams, W. A.||Stuart, R.|
List of the NOES.
|Archdall, M.||Roche, E. B.|
|D'Israeli, B.||Vigors, N. A.|
|Duncombe, T.||Wakley, T.|
|Dungannon, Lord||Wallace, R.|
|Fielden, John||Warburton, H.|
|Hutt, W.||Williams, W.|
|Johnson, General||Hume, J.|
|Molesworth, Sir W.||Leader, J. T.|
Clause agreed to.
, on Clause 2, proposed more stringent regulations relative to acts that might be passed by the Governor, and Special Council, to continue in force after 1st November, 1842, and providing, that all such enactments should be laid before Parliament previous to their being confirmed, within thirty days after the same may be received by one of her Majesty's Secretaries of State, if Parliament be then sitting, and if not, within thirty days after the meeting of the first Session of Parliament then ensuing.
must confess that the insertion of the proviso did not alter or remove his objections to the principle of this clause, and as he had not previously troubled the House with any observations on the question, he trusted they would indulge him with their attention for a few minutes. The House would recollect, that, when they passed the Act of last year, making temporary provision for the government of Lower Canada, establishing extraordinary powers in the Governor-general and Special Council, that measure was agreed to by the House, because those powers were sought for under circumstances of the most imminent and urgent necessity—that necessity being pleaded as the reason for giving powers of the most despotic and arbitrary character ever conferred by the Imperial Parliament upon any individual—a power which was only sought to be justified by the impending danger, and as the only means which could be devised for putting a stop to anarchy in the province, and preventing every thing from falling into confusion. By that act, however, they had imposed five restrictions on the authority conferred, still deemed so despotic and extensive. What were those restrictions? The first was, that the Governor and Special Council should possess no power to pass permanent laws. Second, they received no power to impose new taxes, but merely to continue those which were then in existence. Third, no power was given them to deal with the Legislative Assembly, or to interfere with the rights or qualifications of electors. Fourth, they had no right to interfere with or infringe the powers and provisions of any act of the British Parliament. Yet three out of those four restrictions they now proposed to do away by this measure. The fifth restriction, which prohibited the Governor and Council from appropriating any larger amount of the public revenue of the province than had been done in the year 1832, was not directly abrogated, but it would be virtually evaded and defeated, because they would thus be enabled to raise funds for local purposes by other means. And whereas the amount so appropriated in 1832, amounted from 70,000l. to 80,000l, they might thus raise that amount by those other means, and the Governor, in that manner, might have an additional 70,000l. or 80,000l. put into his hands beyond what was necessary for the purposes of the state. The clause was framed upon principles almost directly opposite to those which he would be prepared to act upon. His principle was, that where extraordinary powers were granted for any urgent purpose, it should be distinctly understood that the person holding them should not go beyond what was distinctly expressed in the restrictions. But the principle of the Government was to deny nothing to the person exercising such powers, but those which were specifically restricted. He asked, which was the safer of those two plans? When dealing with powers to be conferred on a body, confessedly unconstitutional, could it be doubted that the safe course would be to grant them specific powers, not for the purpose of permanent legislation, but for temporary purposes; not to grant powers of legislation to the Governor and Council, limited in duration to the year 1842, but to enable the anticipated permanent legislature that might succeed them to confirm the ad-interim laws which might be passed under the temporary powers conferred by this bill. There was all the difference in the world when they came to deal with a country possessed of great constitutional rights, and with a country where party spirit ran so high as it did in Lower Canada. He was willing to place reliance on Sir John Colborne. He would give credit to his prudence, and place every confidence in the manner in which he might exercise any powers that Parliament might think proper to intrust him with. But if you left him such powers as were asked for, there was not one institution of the country—the tenure of property—nor one law existing in the province, which he might not change. There was not one thing that affected the institutions of that country that he might not completely alter, and he was not to be responsible to any person. In that country, before the unhappy differences existed between the upper and lower Houses of Legislature—when these legislative assemblies were united in the promotion of common objects as much as they could be—all attempts to settle these important questions failed, although the greatest attention was paid to these subjects, and therefore no one act of this temporary legislature could expect the assent of the whole constituent body of Lower Canada. These were such important points to consider, that Sir John Colborne and his council must be aware of all the bearings of the various questions, and be enabled at once to lay down such satisfactory principles for the settlement of these matters, that they could at once legislate for the future government of the province. That gallant officer and his council had shown their zeal and anxious desire to settle these matters, by taking upon themselves this duty. These were very important considerations, and he hoped that they would induce the Committee to pause before it consented to give such powers of legislation. What were the subjects respecting which they now wished the power to be intrusted to Sir John Colborne to enable him to legislate? The first was the establishment of registry offices. This was a very important object, said his hon. Friend. No doubt of it. The next subject was the establishment of a court of appeal. A very necessary object exclaimed his right hon. Friend. No doubt of it, but it was a subject that he did not think should be intrusted to a Legislature constituted like the present one in Canada. This subject had long excited the attention of both Houses of Legislature in Lower Canada, and, notwithstanding every exer- tion, they had been unable to come to anything like a satisfactory solution of the question, and determine how such a court could be constituted to afford satisfaction. Was the present Council more likely to arrive at a satisfactory result? You, however, proposed to give the Council power to establish a court of appeal from all the courts of judicature there. Again, the whole judicature of the country, Sir John Colborne says, calls for the prompt attention of the Government or of the Special Council. It was proposed to give the power to the latter, and this was, no doubt, a most important subject. These were, then, the nature of the objects to be intrusted to this body, whose exclusive powers expire in 1842, and the composition and construction of which are dependent on the will of the Prime Minister and the Colonial Secretary. They were also told, that important remedial measures were required in the present situation of the country such as would lead, in addition to the reconstruction and enlargement of the judicature, and the establishment of registry-offices and a court of appeal, to the commutation or abolition of the lods-et-ventes, particularly in towns, and the other subjects connected with feudal tenure. These were very important subjects, but they were not such as that the settlement of them should be intrusted to a temporary council. If all these powers were given to a legislature newly constituted, you conferred on its acts a degree of permanency which you would not without hesitation give to legislative assemblies duly constituted and responsible to the provinces. But what was the pretext on which Ministers asked the House to give such powers? Not one of the points had been clearly stated as to giving this power of permanent legislature. His right hon. Friend had asked for these powers, but what authority had he shown to justify their necessity? His right hon. Friend, the Member for Coventry, whom he regretted that he did not see in his place, and he regretted it as he was a great authority on this subject, when he addressed the House a few nights ago, did not say one word in favour of giving such powers. His right hon. Friend did not state any constitutional doctrines to satisfy the House, that they should give such powers to the Special Council to effect such great changes in the institutions of the province. All that he then stated was necessary was, that they should give such powers to the Council as would hold out encouragement to private enterprise, and to undertakings for public improvements. This was said, because it was found, that a wharf could not be made at Montreal, and because it was found, that other improvements could not be undertaken, as the Council had only power to direct, that tolls should be taken for more than two years. For these purposes what they required was, the power of taxation and of permanent legislation connected with those works beyond the year 1842. To such powers and provisions that (the Opposition) side of the House would consent at once. God forbid that they should do anything to stand in the way of great public undertakings, which were likely to be attended with great public good, or to check a spirit of enterprise which was likely to be productive of such advantage to the province. They wished to give encouragement to all such objects, because they were fully aware, that they were likely to secure the permanency of the connexion of the province with the mother country. They were willing to consent to this, but they were not willing to give a power of permanent legislation to the Special Council on any subject, however important, that might come into the heads of the members of it, such for instance, as taxing the whole community for any or every purpose. He was unwilling to delegate to the Council powers for permanent legislation on any subject or for any purpose it might think fit; but on these local matters there could be no such objection raised. The proposition that was made to the House for conferring these powers appeared to him to be monstrous, and he appealed to the House with confidence, that they would not give such powers to any temporary legislature. They (the Opposition) said, let the Government state the extent of the powers absolutely necessary to confer on the Council, for the purpose of extending local improvements, and they would meet them so far; but it was impossible that they would ever consent to give such extensive powers as were now asked for. He would not pretend to propose a clause to this effect, such as would supply the case; but it would be easy to frame one out of the second clause now before the Committee. It was not his duty, or those of that side of the House, notwithstanding what was said a few nights ago by the hon. and learned Member for Liskeard, although they had done so to a great extent during the present Session, to correct the blunders that con- stantly existed in the bills introduced by the Government, and to frame the bills on the constitutional principles on which they ought to rest. He would not, therefore, frame a clause; but he would consent to one which gave them a great portion of the powers asked for in the papers of Sir J. Colborne, now on the table. For instance, to use the language of the report of the sub-committee of the Special Council, he was willing—
He was not willing, however, to give this Council unlimited power over all acts of permanent legislation that they might choose to pass on any subject, and this power resting on such vague terms as were used in this bill. There was nothing in the information laid on the table which justified the demand for such powers, but they would not give such unlimited power where no necessity for it was shown. He would suggest, that the clause should be altered in the way that he proposed. He would not go into the fourth clause at present, as this giving the powers of legislation and taxation was quite sufficient to deal with now. His hon. Friend had said, that it was desirable to settle the questions of the establishment of a court of appeal, and of the reconstruction and enlargement of the legislature, of the establishment of registry-offices, and of powers of levying taxation. No one disputed this: the question was, whether this would be done in a satisfactory manner in the way proposed; but they all agreed, that powers should be given for local improvements, and they were told, that the power of making rates and tolls was necessary for the purpose. It was asserted, there were no means of paying for these improvements, but it appeared from the financial papers respecting Canada, that there was an annual revenue of 70,000l. beyond the ordinary expenses of the province, Might not this sum be dis- posed of for the purpose of promoting local improvements, and for the purpose of assisting in the erection of bridges, and the formation of roads. He confessed also the Governor and Council were not exactly the parties to whom he should leave the decision on these matters. If they made rates for the purpose of local improvement, it could be done without giving a permanent legislative power to the Council, but he did not see why provision could not be made for local improvements out of the funds which he had alluded to without resorting to new taxation. He was willing, however, if it were necessary to give powers of taxation, and even permanent taxation, if the objects for which it was raised were limited to purposes of general and local improvement in the country, and for the maintenance of the peace of the country by a well-regulated system of district police, and also for the establishment of a system of lighting and paving the towns. Why could not a clause be made giving these powers, and making provision that the law should be enforced after 1840 for rates for making local improvements, and for effecting these objects? The clause might be easily framed, stating the defective powers found to exist in the present act, and making provision for the future. [The noble Lord read a clause to that effect.] He did not say, that the clause contained exactly the words that should be used, as he had hastily written it since he had been in the House, and he did not mean to say, that it might not be improved, but it laid down the distinction which he wanted, and it would give all the powers that were necessary for the purposes of local improvement. He did not intend to make a motion to substitute any words such as he had proposed, but he had suggested the nature of the change which he thought desirable. He proposed, therefore, to omit altogether the second clause; and if this should be agreed to, it was not for himself, but for the Government, to propose a modification of the clause."That the Governor and Special Council be empowered to impose taxes for purposes altogether local, such as the maintenance of a police force, the lighting and paving of streets, and for otherwise improving towns and villages, and to increase or reduce local rates already existing; and further to pass ordinances for the undermentioned purposes, viz., for the inspection of produce, and to impose rates of inspection; for authorising companies or individuals to construct railroads, canals, bridges, and other internal communications, and to impose tolls and rates of transport thereon; for the borrowing of money for internal improvements on the security of the revenues of the province."
would confine his observations as much as possible to the subject immediately before the House. The noble Lord had entirely misconceived the financial state of the province of Lower Canada, and the amount of the funds at the disposal of the Government for the purposes of local improvement, and the maintenance of the peace of the province by the means of a well-organised police. His noble Friend had said, that there was a very large surplus from the revenues of the province which could be devoted to these purposes. From the documents on the Table, it appeared that the revenue of Lower Canada in 1832, was 120,000l.; last year it was only 95,000l. The amount of the permanent civil list of the province was 60,000l., therefore there was a surplus of about 35,000l. The noble Lord might say, that this 35,000l. per annum might be applied to the formation of railroads, bridges, and other improvements of a local kind. But the whole expense of education, keeping up the provincial schools, and other matters of the kind, were defrayed out of this fund, and not levied, as in other countries, by means of local rates; therefore it would be found that nearly the whole of this sum was involved. In the papers which were lately laid on the Table, Sir J. Colborne said, that, in the present year, he had been able to defray the charge of the police force in Quebec and Montreal, but if the powers of the Special Council were not enlarged, which could alone adequately provide for its support, it could not be kept up another year. This showed that there could not remain any surplus at the disposal of the Government, and, therefore, there could not be funds for the purposes of local improvement, and for extending the police and other necessary institutions of the province. With respect to giving to the Special Council powers of passing permanent laws, and of levying permanent taxes, he would only observe, that no road, no railroad, and no canal, would be attempted to be made, if the Council could only give the parties the power of levying tolls for one year. If this power were only to be given to the Council for one year, it had better be withheld altogether, as it was little more than a mockery. He now came to the other point touched on by his noble Friend, namely, the general and permanent legislation for the province. On this subject he would refer him to the authority of one which he was sure had great weight with him—he meant Sir John Colborne. Hardly stronger words could be used than were resorted to on this subject by the gallant Officer who was now responsible for the safety of those provinces, and whose merits he should be ashamed of himself if he were slow to acknowledge. This was the language in which Sir John Colborne spoke of the objects of permanent legislation, which his noble Friend thought might be deferred for another year. If they, next year—and he trusted that such would be the case—sent out a constitution to Canada, before that measure could be acted upon, or even passed into a law, it must be sent out to Canada to be canvassed and considered. He would only refer to the letter of Sir John Colborne, to show what was previously necessary. That gallant Officer said,
He had understood his noble Friend to say, that Sir John Colborne suggested merely powers for local purposes, and that he did not desire that powers should be given for permanent legislation. Now, Sir John Colborne stated, that it was essential that the matters he had alluded to should be legislated on either by the Council or by the Imperial Parliament; and he thought, that to legislate on the details of the subject of Canada in the British Parliament would be a hopeless undertaking. The evils of postponing legislation on all these subjects were obvious, and Sir John Colborne declared that he could not continue to deal with them if something was not done; and said, that it was absolutely necessary, for the peace and tranquillity of the provinces, the preservation of order, and to deprive the disaffected of the mischievous influence they had in the province, that some powers of permanent legislation should be applied. He, therefore, trusted, that the House would hesitate before it acceded to the proposition of his noble Friend, and deprived the present local legislature of the colony of all power of dealing with their subjects."I have no doubt they are immediately required to impress a conviction of the efficacy of the law in parts of this province where justice has been hitherto imperfectly administered, to repair, in some degree, the evils under which the loyal inhabitants have long laboured, and relieve all classes from burthens which they have reluctantly borne, and to deprive the disaffected of that influence which acknowledged grievances, speciously exaggerated, have unhappily obtained for them."
said, that the only part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech that he agreed in was, that it was a folly for that House to legislate for Canada. He agreed in this opinion, but the House had not been slow to pass resolutions depriving the colony of its legislature, and now they were ready to admit that they could not legislate for it here, but were anxious to transfer their powers of legislating to a small and irresponsible body in Canada. He agreed with the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, in much that had fallen from him, and he was surprised how any man of independence in the House of Commons could doubt as to the impropriety of leaving such powers to the Governor and his Council in the colony. This must be the case with all men, unless they are actuated with strong party feelings. He should support the amendment of the noble Lord. If the Council even could pass laws for the benefit of the people of Canada, they never would be accepted as good laws by the people of that country, and they never could confer the benefit on the inhabitants which they might do if they were passed by a regular legislature.
did not think that the right hon. Gentleman was justified in making the references that he had to the authority of the papers of Sir John Colborne. The right hon. Gentleman had said, that alterations might be made in the tenure of property in Canada, but, to be beneficial, they should be permanent; and that neither on this nor any other subject should the Legislature be limited to the year 1842. But what did Sir John Colborne say in the paragraph before that read by the right hon. Gentleman?—
Sir John Colborne, then, did not advocate a system of permanent legislation for the Council, but only said, let me make a practical experiment; and if it did not succeed, proceed in the Imperial Parliament to legislate permanently. Sir John Colborne did not, in any of these papers, demand permanent powers of legislation. On this subject he would refer to what that gallant officer said in a subsequent dispatch dated Montreal, and referring to the changes proposed to be made there:—"Most of the measures to which I have thought it right to draw your Lordships' attention as being of a character to demand the prompt interposition of her Majesty's Government, or of the Special Council, might, if found to be practically beneficial, be subsequently embodied in an Imperial Act providing for the future government of the province"
He did not find there any demands for permanent legislation, but that he merely asked for powers to enter upon practical experiments in legislating; and if successful, that the Imperial Parliament should confirm them and make them permanent. Again, in his former dispatch, Sir J. Colborne said—"The ordinance to incorporate the ecclesiastics of the seminary of St. Sulpice, to confirm their title, and to provide for the general extinction of seigniorial rights and dues within their fiefs and seigniories, I trust will be sanc- tioned by her Majesty's Government as soon as possible, and be authorized by an Imperial Act, to be continued in force till repealed or revoked by competent legislative authority in the province. The provisions of this ordinance appear to give satisfaction generally to the inhabitants of Montreal, and also to the superior and ecclesiastics of the seminary, but certainly demand the confirmation of the Imperial Parliament with reference to the extensive interests which would be affected by any doubt as to the permanency of the arrangements proposed."
This was not a suggestion of permanent legislation, and yet it was proposed to give him powers to pass permanent laws to effect compulsory changes in the tenure of property, or any other matter. The most extensive alterations might be made in landed property by such means if this bill should pass, and it should seem expedient to the Special Council to make such changes. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to refer with some degree of triumph to these documents. It was only the other day that he (Sir R. Peel) asked him a question as to the communications from Sir J. Colborne on the subject of the local improvements, and the right hon. Gentleman said, that he could not answer him, but that he would look into the dispatches on the subject; and in consequence of what he then said, these dispatches of Sir John Colborne were laid on the table. He did not think, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman was justified in referring to these docu- ments, with such an air of triumph. The right hon. Gentleman said, that the Imperial Parliament was unfit to legislate or debate on Canadian affairs; but what was proposed in the bill before the House?"Lord Durham, I am aware, appointed commissioners to report upon several of the subjects in question, and had, I believe, framed ordinances for the consideration of her Majesty's Government to authorise a communication of the lods-et-vents in Montreal, and the establishment of registry offices; but I imagine that the reforms which he was desirous of introducing were not finally determined on, and as I have therefore requested the Executive Council to collect such information as will enable me either to promote the views of my predecessor, or to propose measures for reconstructing the Court of Appeal, and the judicature of the province, if the alterations which may be suggested can be effected through the legislative power granted to the Special Council."'
These were to be enactments, then, if they were left on the table thirty days, and this was to be the only check on this distant legislation, and yet they were told that that House could not legislate on the subject. He trusted that the House would not consent to give the Governor and council in Lower Canada the power of indefinitely taxing the people of that province, and of permanent legislation on property and all the institutions of the country. He was willing to give the Governor necessary powers to effect local improvements, and he hoped that in the last year of the Canada Government Act they would not trust the Governor and Council with almost unlimited power of permanent legislation."Provided also, that if any law or ordinance shall be made by the said Governor with such advice and consent as aforesaid, altering or affecting the tenure of land within the said province of Lower Canada, or any part thereof, the operation of every such law or ordinance shall, by the terms thereof, be suspended for the signification of her Majesty's pleasure, and no such law or ordinance shall be confirmed or left to its operation by her Majesty until the same shall have been first laid for thirty days before both Houses of Parliament."
said, that Sir John Colborne had stated, that if these powers of legislation were not conferred on the Council, that he trusted that laws would be passed in England to give effect to the changes in the institutions of Canada which he proposed, and which he believed were essential for the well-being of the country. He had suggested, in case the course recommended was not adopted, that the necessary laws should be passed temporarily by the Special Council, and that they should afterwards be made permanent by the Imperial Parliament. Did the right hon. Baronet mean to deny, that if they did not legislate, that the consequences pointed out by Sir J. Colborne would not ensue, and that a state of things would arise pregnant with great evils and deeply affecting property, and which would be productive of great evils to the colony?
believed, that there was no intention of restoring a representative and constitutional government to Canada, and therefore this bill was proposed. It was utterly impossible for them to defend the giving the power to the Council to make permanent laws.
thought, that the House should have been very cautious in abolishing a representative government in Canada, and making a despotism in its place; but when they proceeded to make a responsible government there, they should also take care to make it an efficient government. It appeared, from what had taken place, that Gentlemen opposite were willing to consent to abolish a representative government, but they made it a matter with their consciences by doing all in their power to cripple the government established in its place. He asked whether it were possible to lay aside party considerations on a subject of this kind, and think only of the interests of the colony, and how they could establish there a safe and well-organised system for its future government, and which would be responsible for the administration of affairs. He thought, that in the bill formerly proposed, the noble Lord only recommended an emasculated kind of government. He did not think that it would be expedient, under the present bill, to let the Government interfere either with property or religion; but he thought in all other matters the powers of legislating might be left to it. The question simply reduced itself to this—whether there should be a legislature with the power of making permanent laws that might be repealed by the future popular legislature, or whether that legislature should only have the power to make temporary laws which that future popular legislature might continue. Now, if the future legislature were really popular and efficient, he could not conceive that there existed any very great difference in practice between the two propositions. But by the plan proposed, of making every law temporary and to expire at the meeting of the new legislature, the result would be produced of leaving to that new legislature the settlement of almost all the questions that were likely to excite strong party feeling. Hon. Gentlemen who were for temporary laws were not, perhaps, aware of the evils that had already arisen out of the practice that had prevailed in Lower Canada of making merely temporary acts, in order that on the expiry of those acts terms might be made with the Government prior to their being renewed. Year after year these temporary laws came dropping in; and one consequence of the practice was, that at the present moment, Lower Canada, by the mere expiry of such laws, was left without many of the most necessary. For instance, there was at this time no jury-law in Lower Canada. The juries were summoned, not according to any rule laid down by Act of Parliament, but by regulations issued in a letter from the Governor, which he might alter or withdraw at any time he thought fit. With the exception, then, of the subjects of tenures of land and of religion, he could not conceive that any harm could be done by the concession of the power to make permanent laws. With reference to what had fallen from the noble Lord opposite on the subject of not giving to the Governor and the Legislature the powers of legislating on the education of children, he must be allowed to remind the House that the education law was one of those expiring laws, and that, in fact, owing to some squabble or dispute in the legislature, all the schools in Lower Canada had stopped at once. Would the noble Lord go so far as to say that the educational system of Lower Canada ought not to be re-constructed on a proper footing?
observed, that the hon. and learned Gentleman seemed disposed to attack every one who entertained opinions on the subject of Canada different from those of Government, yet was extremely tender of his own right to differ from Government. The hon. Gentleman objected to any attempt to interfere with the laws of property; but he (Sir R. Peel) was prepared to show that no efficient registration-law could come into operation, unless there was a change in the laws relating to the tenure of property. These were the words of Sir John Colborne's special council:—
"The general or indeterminate mortgage, or hypothèque (that is, without specification of any particular property to which it is to attach), the customary dower, arising, without special contract, from the mere celebration of marriage, and descending as an inheritance with an indefeasible hypothèque to the children, and the legal or tacit mortgage arising from the offices of tutor and curator, which most persons may, by law, be compelled to undertake; these were circumstances in the existing state of the law which materially interfered with the adoption of an effectual system of registry, and seemed to present impediments which no system could entirely surmount while they continued to exist."
had not referred to the law of property, but to the law of tenure.] Then the hon. Member would allow all the other laws relating to property to be dealt with by the Special Council. It certainly did appear to him, that either the Council should have the power to legislate permanently as to property, or be restrained altogether from exercising any power with regard to it. For with the admitted ignorance of the Imperial Parliament as to Canadian usages, to permit the law of dower or the law of mortgage to be interfered with would be impolitic in the extreme.
was at a loss to conceive how he had brought upon himself the lecture of the right hon. Baronet.
Because the hon. and learned Gentleman charged us with sacrificing the good of the Canadas to party considerations, when the noble Lord had distinctly acquitted us of all such feeling.
said it was quite true, as the right hon. Baronet had said, that he had admitted that there was nothing in what had fallen from the hon. Baronet to which he could fairly object, yet at the same time he must observe that he had never understood the right hon. Baronet to object to the clause now under consideration. The right hon. Baronet in his speech, on stating the course he should take, commenced with the third clause, and he therefore concluded (and nothing afterwards fell from him to the contrary) that he had no objection to offer to the second clause. This was in his mind a very important clause—one on which the absolute existence of the Government in Canada depended, and in which the property of the people of the colony was essentially mixed up. The noble Lord the Member for North Lancashire had adverted in his own peculiar way to two different views of this question, taken by the Government on the one hand, and himself and those on his side of the House on the other hand. His views differed somewhat from those of the noble Lord. His opinion was, that they were, in this bill, asking for all the powers that would tend to the benefit of the Canadian people. The noble Lord on the other hand, and those who acted with him, thought only of the maintenance of the Government of the province without taking into consideration what were the measures most calculated to be generally advantageous and to lead to good legislation. In the bill of last year they had been anxious, as far as possible, to limit the powers of the Governor, and the consequence was, that there were repeated complaints from Canada of the insufficiency of the powers of the Governor. Similar representations were constantly made by Lord Durham and Sir J. Colborne, and he now thought it was the duty of Government to propose to invest the Governor with such powers as would remedy the evil formerly complained of. With regard to the limitation of the power to grant money for local purposes, he was disposed to think there was room for some limitation, and would consider the subject. He had no objection to consider the expediency of introducing some words for the purpose of limiting more strictly the operation of the clause to local purposes.
said, that on the second reading of the bill, as well as during the discussion that night, he had expressed his objection to the clause.
The Committee divided on the question, that the clause stand part of the bill.—Ayes 174: Noes 156; Majority 18.
List of the AYES.
|Aglionby, H. A.||Divett, E.|
|Anson, hon. Colonel||Donkin, Sir R. S.|
|Attwood, T.||Duncombe, T.|
|Bainbridge, E. T.||Dundas, Sir R.|
|Baines, E.||Elliot, hon. J. E.|
|Baring, F. T.||Ellice, E.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Ellis, W.|
|Barry, G. S.||Evans, Sir De L.|
|Beamish, F. B.||Evans, G.|
|Berkeley, hon. H.||Evans, W.|
|Berkeley, hon. G.||Fenton, J.|
|Blake, M. J.||Ferguson, Sir R. A.|
|Blake, W. J.||Finch, F.|
|Bowes, J.||Fitzroy, Lord C.|
|Bridgeman, H.||Gillon, W. D.|
|Briscoe, J. I.||Gordon, R.|
|Brodie, W. B.||Grattan, J.|
|Brotherton, J.||Greenaway, C.|
|Bryan, G.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Buller, C.||Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Bulwer, Sir L.||Guest, Sir J.|
|Campbell, Sir J.||Hall, Sir B.|
|Cavendish, hon. C.||Handley, H.|
|Cavendish, hon. G. H.||Hastie, A.|
|Childers, J. W.||Hawes, B.|
|Clay, W.||Hawkins, J. H.|
|Collins, W.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Heathcoat, J.|
|Craig, W. G.||Heathcote, G. J.|
|Crawford, W.||Hill, Lord A. M. C.|
|Crompton, Sir S.||Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J.|
|Denison, W. J.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. T.||Hollond, R.|
|Horsman, E.||Roche, W.|
|Hoskins, K.||Rolfe, Sir R. M.|
|Howard, F. J.||Rumbold, C. E.|
|Howick, Lord Visct.||Rundle, J.|
|Hurst, R. H.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Hutt, W.||Rutherfurd, rt hon A.|
|Hutton, R.||Salwey, Colonel|
|James, W.||Scholefield, J.|
|Jervis, J.||Scrope, G. P.|
|Kinnaird, hon. A. F.||Seale, Sir J. H.|
|Labouchere, rt. hn. H.||Seymour, Lord|
|Langdale, hon. C.||Sheil, R. L.|
|Lemon, Sir C.||Smith, B.|
|Lennox, Lord A.||Smith, R. V.|
|Lushington, C.||Somers, J. P.|
|Lushington, rt. hn. S.||Spencer, hon. F.|
|Macauley, T. B.||Stanley, M.|
|Macleod, R.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|M'Taggart, J.||Stewart, J.|
|Marshall, W.||Stuart, Lord J.|
|Marsland, H.||Stuart, W. V.|
|Maule, hon. F.||Stock, Dr.|
|Melgund, Lord Visct.||Strangways, hon. J.|
|Molesworth, Sir W.||Strutt, E.|
|Moreton, hon. A. H.||Style, Sir C.|
|Morpeth, Lord Visct.||Surrey, Earl of|
|Morris, D.||Talbot, C. R. M.|
|Murray, A.||Thomson, rt. hn. C. P.|
|Muskett, G. A.||Thornely, T.|
|Nagle, Sir R.||Troubridge, Sir E. T.|
|O'Brien, W. S.||Turner, E.|
|O'Connell, D.||Turner, W.|
|O'Connell, J.||Verney, Sir H.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||Vigors, N. A.|
|O'Connell, M.||Villiers, hon. C. P.|
|O'Ferrall, R. M.||Wakley, T.|
|Oswald, J.||Wall, C. B.|
|Paget, F.||Wallace, R.|
|Palmer, C. F.||Ward, H. G.|
|Palmerston, Ld. Visct.||Westenra, hon. H. R.|
|Parker, J.||Westenra, hon. J. C.|
|Parnell, rt. hon. Sir H.||White, A.|
|Pechell, C.||White, H.|
|Philips, M.||Wilbraham, G.|
|Pigot, D. R.||Wilde, Mr. Sergeant|
|Pinney, W.||Williams, W. A.|
|Ponsonby, C. F. A. C.||Wood, C.|
|Ponsonby, hon. J.||Wood, G. W.|
|Power, J.||Worsley, Lord|
|Pryme, G.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Pryse, P.||Wyse, T.|
|Reid, Sir J. R.||Yates, J. A.|
|Rice, E. R.|
|Rich, H.||Steuart, R.|
|Roche, E. B.||Stanley, E. J.|
List of the NOES.
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Barneby, J.|
|Acland, T. D.||Bentinck, Lord G.|
|A'Court, Captain||Blackstone, W. S.|
|Archdall, M.||Blair, J.|
|Ashley, Lord||Blennerhassett, A.|
|Ashley, hon. Henry||Boldero, H. G.|
|Bagge, W.||Bolling, W.|
|Baillie, Colonel||Bradshaw, J.|
|Baker, E.||Broadley, H.|
|Broadwood, H.||James, Sir W. C.|
|Brownrigg, S.||Jenkins, Sir R.|
|Bruce, Lord E.||Jermyn, Earl|
|Bruges, W. H. L.||Jervis, S.|
|Buck, L. W.||Johnson, Gen.|
|Burr, H.||Knatchbull, rt. hn. Sir E.|
|Burrell, Sir C.||Knight, H. G.|
|Burroughes, H. N.||Knightley, Sir C.|
|Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.||Knox, hon. T.|
|Chute, W. L. W.||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Clerk, Sir G.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Colquhoun, J. C.||Leader, J. T.|
|Courtenay, P.||Lincoln, Earl of|
|Damer, hon. D.||Lockhart, A. M.|
|Darby, G.||Mackenzie, T.|
|De Horsey, S. H.||Mahon, Lord Visct.|
|D'Israeli, B.||Meynell, Capt.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Miller, W. H.|
|Dowdeswell, W.||Neeld, J.|
|Duffield, T.||Norreys, Lord|
|Dugdale, W. S.||Owen, Sir J.|
|Dunbar, G.||Packe, C. W.|
|Dungannon, Ld. Visct.||Pakington, J. S.|
|Du Pre, G.||Palmer, R.|
|East, J. B.||Palmer, G.|
|Eastnor, Lord Visct.||Parker, M.|
|Egerton, W. T.||Parker, R. T.|
|Egerton, Sir P.||Patten, J. W.|
|Ellis, J.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Estcourt, T.||Pemberton, T.|
|Estcourt, T.||Perceval, hon. G. J.|
|Farnham, E. B.||Pigot, R.|
|Fielden, J.||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Fector, J. M.||Polhill, F.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Powerscourt, Ld. Visct.|
|Forester, hon. G.||Praed, W. T.|
|Freshfield, J. W.||Price, R.|
|Gaskell, J. M.||Pringle, A.|
|Gladstone, W. E.||Pusey, P.|
|Gordon, hon. Captain||Richards, R.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Rolleston, L.|
|Grant, F. W.||Rose, rt. hon. Sir G.|
|Grimsditch, T.||Round, C. G.|
|Grimston, Lord Visct.||Round, J.|
|Grimston, hon. E. H.||Rushbrooke, Colonel|
|Hale, R. B.||Sandon, Lord Visct.|
|Halford, H.||Scarlett, hon. J. Y.|
|Harcourt, G. S.||Shaw, rt. hon. F.|
|Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H.||Sheppard, T.|
|Hawkes, T.||Sibthorp, Colonel|
|Henniker, Lord||Sinclair, Sir G.|
|Herbert, hon. S.||Somerset, Lord G.|
|Hinde, J. H.||Stanley, Lord|
|Hindley, C.||Stormont, Lord Visct.|
|Hodgson, R.||Sturt, H. C.|
|Holmes, W.||Sugden, rt. hon. Sir E.|
|Hope, hon. C.||Teignmouth, Lord|
|Hope, G. W.||Thomas, Col. H.|
|Hotham, Lord||Thompson, Mr. A.|
|Houldsworth, T.||Vernon, G. H.|
|Hughes, W. B.||Villiers, Lord Visct.|
|Hume, J.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Hurt, F.||Walsh, Sir J.|
|Ingestrie, Lord Visct.||Wilbraham, hon. B.|
|Inglis, Sir R. H.||Williams, T. P.|
|Irton, S.||William, W.|
|Irving, J.||Wood, Colonel|
|Wood, Colonel T.|
|Wynn, rt. hon. C. W.|
|Yorke, hon. E. T.||Fremantle, Sir T.|
|Young, J.||Baring, H.|
On clause 4 being read,
proposed the addition of certain words, to prevent any alteration being made under the bill in the law of tenure.
said, that this was a subject which had greatly contributed to embroil the colony, and had formed the most complete obstacle to improvement. Until the law of tenure was reformed, it would be impossible to have a good system of registration; and for those reasons he trusted the House would not agree to the proposed amendment, as the Governor and Council might draw up a code which would be satisfactory to the people of both races.
supported the amendment. It was most unfair to take advantage of a suspension of the constitution to sacrifice one of the contending parties to the other.
said, that a change in the present system of tenure was admitted by all parties to be indispensable, and the only dispute was, what should be the nature of the alteration. He thought the present opportunity an advantageous one for adjusting these disputes, but at the same time, there was some force in the objection to trusting so great a power to the Governor in Council; he should, therefore, propose an amendment to the effect, that no law or ordinance of the Governor in Council, with regard to tenures, should be of any force or effect until it was confirmed by an Act of the Imperial Parliament.
Clause as amended was agreed to.
Other clauses agreed to, and the House resumed.
Report to be received.