Page images
PDF
EPUB

worth our while to retain our co- no such distinction could be drawn. lonial empire? " I say, in the first The Canadian Indemnity Bill afplace, with regard to this proposal, forded a case in point: the Gothat I consider it to be our bounden vernment maintained that it was a duty to maintain the Colonies which local matter, but Ministers were have been placed under our own told that the assent of the Crown charge. (Loud cheers, principally ought not to have been given to it.” from the Opposition side of the Coming to the question of conHouse.) I think we cannot get stitution and government, Lord rid of the obligation and respon- J. Russell referred to the declasibility to govern these Colonies ration issued by the Council of the for their benefit; and I trust we Colonial Reform Society, including may be the instruments of improv. twelve or fourteen Members of that ing and civilizing those portions House and three or four Peers. of the world in which they are “I think the course taken by these situated. In the next place, there gentlemen, of forming themselves are many reasons why we should into an association, and correspondconsider that our Colonies forming with the Colonies, is a measure part of the strength of the em- of very dubious policy.” (Cries pire. In peace, as well as in war, of Hear, hear.")) The Council their support, or the loss of it, is claimed self-government for the of great importance.

North American Colonies, the South "We have also obligations to the African Colonies, the Australian Conative races; some of whom, like lonies, Van Diemen's Land, and New the natives of New Zealand, or Zealand. Lord John considered those of Natal in South Africa, these in the order named. With have shown a remarkable aptitude regard to Canada, he sketched the for civilization ; and if they were history of the responsible governabandoned by us, they would un- ment established there; and maindoubtedly relapse into their savage tained that, with respect to that habits, probably to be extermi- Colony, New Brunswick, and Nova nated in a war of races. The Scotia, the practice of administravalue of our commerce, which pe- tion had been very closely approxinetrates to every part of the globe, mated to the constitutional pracall will admit; and many of the tice of this country.

“ With recolonies give harbours and security spect to Canada, Nova Scotia, to that trade, which are most and New Brunswick, the principle useful in time of peace, but are which these gentlemen wish to absolutely necessary in time of have carried into execution has war. But, abandoned by us, many been carried into effect; and I of our Colonies would be unable to should say that the consequence maintain independence. Mauritius has been, and must be, that there would recur to France, the Cape of have been far fewer questions Good Hope to Holland.

brought before the Secretary of "Another scheme which has been State than there used to be. In proposed is that the colonial legis- regard to many questions of official lature should be free with respect conduct or misconduct, with regard to local laws, while the imperial to many local affairs in which it sanction should be required for could be nothing but a difficulty other laws. But I believe that and embarrassment for the Colo

[ocr errors]

nial Secretary to be called upon to of an hereditary Council, there is decide, he hears not a word : they an elective Council, which I think are settled in the province; the has a duration of eight years, but Governor informing him about half being elected at the expirathem if he thinks they are of im- tion of every four

years.

Of portance. The government is car- course, this experiment is new, ried on, therefore, with less resort and it would be presumptuous to to this country than used to be the say that it will entirely succeed; case."

but the order in Council having In regard to the Cape of Good been passed for the purpose of its Hope, Government had come to general introduction, that order the decision that representative and the instructions founded institutions should be introduced. thereupon will be sent out to the "A Representative Assembly will Cape, and any amendments with be chosen by persons having a regard to the details which have certain amount of property and been settled here may be conqualified in the manner which has sidered at the Cape before the been specified. But a question measure obtains its final sancarose as to the formation of what tion." is called the Legislative Council ; In regard to Australia, the Bill and, upon the whole, Her Ma- which he introduced was nearly jesty's Government came to the the same as that of last year. opinion that, instead of imitating goes not on the principle of havthe constitution of Jamaica or that ing a Council and Assembly, in of Canada, it would be advisable imitation of the Government of this to introduce into the Cape of Good country, which has been usually Hope a Council which should be the form most palatable and poelective, but elected by persons pular in our Colonies ; but it is having a considerably higher qua- proposed that there should be but lification than those who are the one Council-a Council of which choosers of the Representative two-thirds shall be formed of reAssembly. These, it was consi- presentatives elected by the people dered, might be persons who had and one-third named by the Gobeen named by the Crown as per

The reason for adopting sons of weight and influence, as this proposal is, that, after a great magistrates and others, persons deal of deliberation, that plan was who had been selected by Munici- adopted some years ago, and, I

cils as persons entitled think, was finally enacted by Parto the highest offices which they liament in 1842; and since that could confer. It is proposed that time has been found so acceptable the Representative Assembly to the people of New South Wales, should have a duration of five that upon the whole, as far as we years, and the Legislative Council could ascertain their sentiments, à duration of ten years, but half of they appear to prefer that form of the members to be elected at the popular government to that which expiration of five years. Something is more in analogy with the Golike a constitution of this kind, vernment of this country. (“Hear, though differing in some very re- hear!” and a cry of No!") But markable particulars, is now in ope- when we propose that this shall be ration in Belgium, where, instead the form of government for New

vernor.

pal Co

South Wales, I should add, that lony, and not for this country, to we propose likewise to give the determine the amount of the Colony the power of altering their Governor's salary, though some own constitution in that respect; amount ought to be fixed. Reand that if it should be their ductions of expenditure would be opinion that they had better resort effected in Jamaica. Trinidad was to a government by Legislative inhabited by seven races, and the Council and Assembly, there would community was as yet unfit for be no veto, no restriction on the popular representation ; but it was part of the Crown, against the proposed that there should be an adoption of that course. Last year elective Municipal Council at the we proposed that the customs seat of Government. In Mauduties which now prevail in New ritius, also, the Governor, Sir South Wales should be enacted by George Anderson, thought that Parliament for the whole of the there should be an elective MuAustralian Colonies, and should be nicipality; and the Governor of binding till they were altered Malta had introduced elective the proper authorities. We have members into the Council. As for thought that, although it is a most the other colonies, it was needless desirable object that the customs to go into any question of free induties should not vary in the dif- stitutions for them. Lord J. Rusferent Australian Colonies, it is sell did not think there was a not advisable to enact that by single one beyond those named authority of Parliament, but that which should at present have any it is better to leave them to settle representative institutions, for themselves whether they will Lord John then stated the views not adopt a similar tariff for all of Government respecting transporthe various parts of Australia.” tation. He regarded it as a subThe several Australian Colonies ject concerning the Home Secrewould have their own Councils. tary far more than the Secretary An Assembly of these Councils for the Colonies, so far as adminiswould have the power, on the ap- tration was concerned. Lord Grey plication of two Colonies, of fram- would be well satisfied if he were ing a tariff for the whole. That told that no more convicts would body would also deal with the be transported; but when Lord price of waste lands, only that it John attempted, in 1840, to reduce would be obliged to make the the number of convicts transported, price uniform for all the Austra- the House of Commons passed a lian Colonies.

resolution that so large a number In New Zealand, the establish- should not be retained in this ment of representative institutions country; and the Judges declared would take effect at the time al- that transportation was necessary to ready fixed by Parliament-1853. the general law. Lord John, how

Lord John Russell then ever, had stopped transportation to plained the state of matters in New South Wales, which was now other Colonies. In Guiana, at his practically a free colony; there were suggestion, Governor Barkly had only 6000 convicts among 200,000 carried a considerable extension of inhabitants. The Colonial Secrethe franchise. Lord John avowed tary must endeavour to carry out his opinion that it is for the Co- the system of transportation so as

ex

[graphic]

not to inflict injury: and the pre- would be in a very few years a large sent Government had proposed emigration to that colony, and that that where the colonists were will New Zealand would be one of the ing to accept of a small number of most flourishing of our dependenconvicts, they should be sent to cies. them; but it being always under- In his peroration, Lord John stood that convicts should not be Russell declared that Government forced on them against their will. must persevere in the course of The order for sending convicts to free trade, which had been effected the Cape had been rescinded, and with a less painful transition than the transport-ship had been sent might have been anticipated; and on to Van Diemen's Land. The also in the course of promoting future management of transporta- political freedom in the Colonies, tion was a subject not without on the general rule, that while the considerable difficulty. It must be Imperial Government is their re. expected that there would, more presentative as respects all foreign and more, arise among the settled relations, in their domestic conColonies an aversion to freed or cerns it will interfere no further transported convicts ; and the than is clearly and decidedly neHouse would no doubt have to cessary to prevent a conflict in consider, before long, whether an the State itself. The question of alteration should not be made military force he would reserve for with respect to the punishment of a future occasion. He believed transportation as regards some that in some settlements it might classes of offences not of the grav. be reduced ; but the Colonies est character.

would look to us for defence in Lord John also stated his views any foreign war, or against any on the subject of emigration. Emi- foreign aggressor. He thought we gration was of two kinds—to supply were bound to give it them, and to labour for existing colonies and fill maintain the means to give them up the interstices of society, and that assistance. He believed that to found colonies where society they might proceed on these prindoes not already exist. He en ciples without danger for the prelarged on the advantages of the sent, and without renewing in the spontaneous emigration to North future the errors, the repeated America; in one year 1,500,0001. blunders and inconsistencies that was raised in that way from pri- produced the contest with the vate sources, and the abuses did United States. He did anticipate, not arise which would arise in any with others, that some of our Cogreat plan carried on by Govern- lonies might so grow in population ment. The rate of emigration to and wealth that they might feel North America, in the last three themselves strong enough to mainyears, had been 265,450 persons tain their own independence in per annum; to the Australian Co- amity and alliance with England. lonies, in the last two years, more “I do not think,” concluded the than 18,000 a year. There were noble Lord, " that that time is yet 12,000 Europeans in New Zea- approaching. But let us make land. The Canterbury settlement them, as far as possible, fit to was about to be formed there ; and govern themselves ; let us give Lord John felt no doubt that there them, as far as we can, the capacity of ruling their own affairs; let them that some of them (as that given increase in wealth and population; by Lord Clarendon to Rhode and whatever may happen, we of Island) were to this hour their this great empire shall have the actual constitutions. He admitted consolation of saying that we have that the noble Lord's propositions contributed to the happiness of the were most liberal, and they had world.” (General cheering.) in a great measure satisfied his

Sir W. Molesworth, after se- mind. With regard to South verely condemning the system of Africa he had nothing more to the Colonial Department, and in- ask; but did Lord Joho think our sisting upon the necessity of an North American Colonies would entire reform of our colonial policy, not ask for elective Councils ? And examined at much length the views why did he arrive at an opposite of Lord J. Russell, and the doctrine conclusion as to what was fit for of colonial government expounded New South Wales ? His better in his speech, suggesting, as he spirit had acted in South Africa, proceeded, schemes of improve- but in Australia his evil genius ment. Sir William engaged to had prevailed, when he copied his bring in a Bill, which he had five new constitutions in Australia prepared, embodying his princi- from one faulty example in existples of colonial policy.

ence there. Mr. Anstey passed a very unfa- Mr. Hawes observed that this vourable judgment upon the plans “faulty "constitution was one which of Sir William Molesworth, offers had given satisfaction to the coloing some suggestions to the Prime nists, and both New South Wales Minister, of whose measure he and Van Diemen's Land objected generally approved.

to any other; in framing new Mr. Baillie entered into some constitutions for Australia, theredetails respecting the alterations fore, it was desirable to adopt as a in the constitution of British model that form which had worked Guiana.

well and was acceptable to the Mr. Labouchere was desirous, colonists. But power was left to as a member of the Government, the colonists, if they pleased, to to give the most ample power of establish a double Chamber. With self-government and free govern- reference to the South African ment to the South African and constitution, it was intended as a Australian Colonies. Controvert- declaration of the Government that ing some of the positions of Sir they would not object to elective W. Molesworth, he cited the Councils in other Colonies. Mr. favourable opinions expressed in Hawes offered a general defence the last-named Colonies of the of the Colonial Department against proposed constitutions, and de- the strictures of Sir W. Molesfended the Cape scheme of govern- worth. ment.

Mr. Gladstone urged the GoMr. Roebuck said that Lord J. vernment not to commit a false Russell, in his sketch of our colo- step in relation to the Australian nial history, had struck out a most Colonies. Mr. Hawes had said important feature — the remark- the single Chamber had been able charters of the United States, adopted because the people of which were so peculiarly definite, New South Wales objected to an

« PreviousContinue »