§ MR. HERRIES
said, he had several times asked the noble Lord, and other Members of the Government, for the production of the votes and proceedings of the legislative body of Canada, showing the progress of the Bill for granting compensation for losses sustained by reason of the Canadian rebellion, more especially for such extracts from those votes and proceedings as would lead to elucidate the intention of the colonial legislature in pass- 1031 ing the Bill in question. He wished now to know whether there was any difficulty in the matter, or whether there was any objection, and what, to laying such papers before Parliament? In other words, he desired to be informed if the question, whether or no persons who had contributed to and aided in the rebellion were to be indemnified for the losses thereby incurred by them, had been mooted in the course of the proceedings on the Bill, and if so, what had been the result?
§ MR. HAWES
, in reply, said, that all the votes and proceedings of the legislative assembly of Canada received by the Colonial Office had already been printed and laid before Parliament, and that the Government had no others to produce. He believed it had not been the custom to send the whole of the votes and proceedings of the colonial legislature to the Colonial Office until the close of the Session; but on this occasion the Governor had forwarded certain of those proceedings, which, as he had said, had been already produced.
§ MR. HERRIES
wanted to know whether any further information than what had been already produced had been received officially; or if not, whether the Colonial Office was in possession of any private letters containing the information he required; and whether, presuming such to be the case, they would be laid before Parliament?
§ MR. GLADSTONE
would put a question with the view of clearing up this matter. The understanding was, that none of the votes and proceedings of the colonial legislature relative to the Rebellion Losses Bill had been laid on the table. So he understood it. But in the 9th page of the papers laid before Parliament early in the last month, there were certain proceedings of that legislature relative not to that Bill, but to the address of confidence which had been voted to the Governor after the riots at Montreal. He apprehended that the votes and proceedings to which his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for the Colonies referred as having been produced, were those. If so, probably his hon. Friend would say whether any previous votes and proceeedings had not also been received, and if they had, whether there would be any objection to produce them.
§ MR. HAWES
would, had his right hon. Friend given him notice of his question, have made the necessary inquiries in order to satisfy him. Having received notice of the question of the right hon. Gentleman 1032 the Member for Stamford, he had inquired whether copies or extracts of any votes or proceedings of the Canadian legislature relative to losses which might have been sustained by persons engaged in the rebellion, had been received by the Colonial Office, and was informed that none such had arrived. But, as he had stated, it was not the custom to forward the votes and proceedings of the colonial legislature to the Colonial Office until the end of the Session. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Except in special cases.] Yes, except in special cases. In the present case, undoubtedly, the Secretary of State for the Colonies had been informed of what was going on; but the Governor General did not think it necessary to write an official despatch until the Bill arrived at that stage at which it was necessary to obtain the Royal assent. He would make further inquiry on the subject, and if any papers had been overlooked, which, though possible, he did not believe to be the case, he would inform the House on Monday, and they should be produced.
§ MR. HERRIES
The hon. Gentleman must be aware that, though it was important that they should have the documents in question in an official shape, they were already in the hands of the public. They had been published in all the newspapers; and if the official papers were not produced by the hon. Gentleman, he apprehended they would be at liberty to look upon the newspaper accounts as authentic.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
had seen the statements to which the right hon. Gentleman referred; but reminded him that many documents had appeared in the newspapers which had not been laid on the table, and of course the right hon. Gentleman was perfectly at liberty to attach whatever degree of authenticity to them he thought fit.
§ Subject dropped.