§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the Third Time."
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, previous to the third reading of this Bill, he wished to propose to the House that they should pass a resolution, notice of which had been previously given. He was very sensible that it was an apparently invidious task to propose to the House to retard, even for a moment, the passing of a measure which had for its object, or at all events for a main portion of its object, to confer franchises and representative institutions upon a portion of our fellow-subjects who had not hitherto had the advantage of enjoying them. But he feared lest this Bill should prove a new exemplification of the truth of the old maxim, that the more haste was sometimes the worst speed; for he believed that the legislative measure which they were now asked to sanction was crude and immature, and in some important particulars was at variance with the establishment of those institutions. He was convinced it would not only be the best, on grounds of general policy, but it would also save the time of the Government of this country, and enlarge the colonial freedom, if they were to ascertain the feeling of the inhabitants of the colonies before we finally dismissed the measure. The House knew the inconvenience of arriving at an overhasty decision on these matters. Her Majesty's Government had not been many weeks in office, in 1846, when they asked and obtained the consent of Parliament to a Bill providing a constitution for New Zealand; and before many weeks had passed, that constitution was on its way across the sea. What subsequently took place amply demonstrated that if there had been any one in this House able to persuade the House to refuse the demand for immediate legislation, that person, however unacceptable and unpopular his Motion might at the moment have been, would eventually have been acknowledged as the good genius of the colonial department. For what happened? The constitution arrived in New Zealand; and the very next post brought back a demand on the part of the Governor that the law should be suspended—a demand so urgent that the Government were compelled at once to propose to the new Parliament that it should undo, bodily and entirely, that constitution which, twelve 1385 months before, the preceding Parliament had been asked to sanction. It is impossible to overrate the importance of the duty in which Parliament is engaged, in framing a constitution for the Australian colonies. The impulses we communicate, and the form in which we mould their institutions, will, in all probability, exorcise a lasting influence for good or for evil on that population. He did not say that they would never again hear of Australian legislation. On the contrary, it was one of his main complaints against this Bill that it contained the seeds of frequent reference to the Government and Parliament of this country; but he did contend that it was the duty of Parliament to make the measure which it was proposed to confer on the Australian colonies, as far as possible, a final measure. Their duty was to see that it was a measure well considered in itself, and that it was in all respects the best that could be framed, consistent with the wishes and feelings of the colonies themselves; and though he was reluctant to ask that they should further refer the measure to the colonies before finally sanctioning it, yet he thought he could lay before the House what would amply justify the demand. After all, there was nothing strange in the demand for delay. Earl Grey thought it necessary to deliberate from 1846 to 1849 before he could satisfy his own mind as to the provisions of a Bill that would give a representative constitution to the Australian colonies. And yet this was the first year that the House had any real opportunity of considering its provisions; and if the deliberations of Parliament were to be anything more than a mere form—anything more than a mere decent ceremonial—if the Acts of Parliament were to be anything more than a mere registering of the decrees of the Executive Government—if it were intended that the mind of Parliament should be directed to the subject before sanctioning the law, it was not unreasonable that they should have an opportunity of referring its provisions to the colonists themselves before they gave their final sanction to the measure which was now before them. The argument to which he would be inclined most to refer, if it could be justly urged in favour of the Bill, was, that it was in conformity to the ascertained wishes of the people of the colonies. If that were so, he would be prepared to overlook many defects and shortcomings in the provisions of the Bill. But he was prepared to say 1386 that they had no proof that the wishes of the colonists in general were in favour of this Bill; on the contrary, they had demonstrable proof that in many particulars it was directly repugnant to their wishes. He did not mean to deny that in Van Diemen's Land there was a great anxiety for representative institutions, and that the smallest delay in conferring those institutions would be considered, in itself, unacceptable to the feelings of the people of that colony. But the people there would unquestionably say—let our representative institutions be such as have received the sufficient and final consideration of Parliament; let them not be institutions which will give us a limited, and in some respects a nominal freedom—let them not be institutions which will place our representatives under the superintendence and jealous control of the Crown, exercised both over the Governor and the Legislative Council—let it be a deliberate and, so far as England is concerned, a final measure. But they were not to confine their view to Van Diemen's Land alone; they must extend their consideration to the great mass of their fellow-subjects in every quarter of the globe. With regard to South Australia, he admitted that when first the people received the Bill, they expressed their thanks to the Government for the introduction of the measure; and ho, for one, frankly joined in the thanks thus offered for the motives which had induced the Government of their own accord to bring forward such a measure. But they must recollect that those who thus expressed their satisfaction at the prospect of obtaining representative institutions were persons who had not hither to enjoyed them; and living hitherto under an almost absolute Government, so far as legislation was concerned, it was natural that they should regard with satisfaction any measure which tended to their enfranchisement. But did the colony of Soth Australia approve of the measure as it stood? They did no such thing; because many of the provisions in this measure fell short of their demands. The Governors of the colonies objected to that which was the principal foundation of the measure—the reservation of a veto to the Colonial Department, and the right of revising all colonial legislation; and he objected to the constitution of the general assembly—to the principle of a single chamber. The Council of South Australia objected to the retention of the veto by the 1387 Colonial Office, to the constitution of the general assembly, and to a single legislative assembly. The inhabitants of Adelaide, who rendered their thanks to the Government for the measure as a whole, objected likewise to the constitution of the general assembly, and they objected to the control retained over the salaries paid to public officers, as well as to the control retained over all changes in the elective franchise. From the colony of Van Diemen's Land there was no report approving of the provisions of this Bill. But the Governor had sent home an emphatic disapproval of the constitution of the general assembly, as well as of the single legislative chamber. In New South Wales the Governor and the Legislative Council both opposed the constitution—the vicious constitution of the single chamber, which they were about to sanction. It followed, therefore, that on every point on which the opinion of the people has been declared, they were at variance with the provisions of the measure which the House was about to adopt. But this was not all with regard to New South Wales, the inhabitants of which had prayed for a change in their colonial franchise; and this prayer, by adopting the present measure, the House would refuse. Further, a great change had taken place in the views of the Government within the last twelve months. There had been an important announcement on the part of Her Majesty's Government, that they were prepared, in the case of the Cape of Good Hope, to frame a second legislative chamber on the basis of the elective principle. A disclosure of the measures of Government so novel, and which was sure to produce electrical effects wherever it was spread, was sufficient of itself to require in sound policy that it should be made known to the people of Australia before we fixed upon them a Parliamentary constitution. He asked what would be the feeling of these colonies if they found themselves saddled with a principle of government which declared that they were unfit for the exercise of legislative functions unless they were placed under watch and ward by a compact body of the nominees of Government, while they found that to other colonies concessions had been made which to them were ungraciously refused. The objections—the positive and strong objections—which he entertained against this Bill, related to four points. He objected to that provision in the Bill which required the constant interference 1388 of the authorities at home with the future management of the local affairs of the colony. He objected to that provision which required that two out of the five colonies should have power to erect a general assembly, with powers to over-ride the acts of the legislatures in each colony. He objected to them bequeathing, as their last legislative gift to Australia, a constitution based on the principle of a single legislative chamber, especially a single chamber composed as that of New South Wales was. He objected on the part of New South Wales to their refusing to deal with the elective franchise in that colony. He would begin by stating on what occasions the Bill provided for the interference of the authorities at home. In the first place, it provided that no law should pass, whatever its naure, without being subject to revision; and, of course, to possible disallowance at home. No law could be carried into effect in the colonies if it touched the question of salaries to the governors, either actually or in prospect, or what touched on the provision made for public worship either actually or in prospect, unless it contained a suspending clause, that was to say, till it was sent home; for the House would understand that, though all measures were sent home, yet in ordinary cases, pending the sanction of the Home Government, they had the force of law. It provided that the constitution of the general assembly should be sent home, that any alterations in its constitution should also he referred, as well all that related to the limitation of powers between the general and local legislatures. Then it provided that the constitution of the colonies should not be altered, nor that any change should be made in the elective franchise, unless the measure was first referred home. Now, he contended that these were matters in which the colonies alone were concerned—that they were the best judges how to regulate the electoral franchise—that they had means of judgment which the Government at home did not possess—that they had not only the right of judging, but that they ought to have the responsibility of judging; and this House would commit a serious error if they took the burden of these responsibilities upon themselves. Lastly, there was reserved for the revision of the Government at home the management of the colonial lands—a question which transcended in importance all others; for if there was a question which excited or absorbed public feeling in the 1389 colonies, it was the management of their waste lands—the fund and treasure-house of their future wealth. With regard to retaining a veto on colonial legislation, up to a recent period he had been so far deluded with the idea that it was of use in order to secure colonial legislation, that he had come to no deliberate opinion that it ought to be given up. But subsequent reflection had satisfied him that it ought not to be retained. It was the cause that they had at present the whole responsibility as to the internal government of the colony—as to the police of the colony; and they were burdened with the whole extravagant expenditure which flowed from that responsibility—an expenditure which would never be diminished till more rational ideas were entertained of our freeing ourselves from responsibility in colonial affairs; and he feared it would be long before rational ideas were adopted on this head if they allowed the present opportunity to pass of giving their fellow-subjects, who were admitted to be quite prepared for the reception of representative institutions, the right of managing their own local affairs. What was the reason for maintaining this veto on the laws of the colony? Had it the advantage of securing a uniform system of law throughout the empire? No such thing, because laws had been passed in several of our colonies which were many of them at variance with the British law. But if it did not secure uniformity, what else did it do? It made law for a considerable period uncertain, thus detracting from the authority of the colonial legislature, because often a period elapsed of from twelve to eighteen months, and even of two years, between the passing of a law and the obtaining the sanction of the Crown. Till that sanction was obtained, no man could tell whether it was law or not. Surely that was an evil of a very serious kind. Further, it had the effect of lowering the colonial tone—it was adverse to the cherishing habits of freedom and self-dependence. There are in all colonies a mass of citizens, the most valuable often for wealth and intelligence, who are at all times too ready to withdraw from public affairs; and that is a tendency which this measure will foster and encourage. Because those individuals who are fond of their personal ease will abstain from interfering in the management of colonial affairs, knowing that Parliament will revise their proceedings, and trusting to Parliament to prevent any flagrant measure from 1390 passing. They could never separate the rights of freemen from the responsibilities of freemen; they could never take away the rights of freemen without taking away their responsibilities too. They would never have had that masculine tone in the American colonies, which actually grew up there, if this system of legislation had prevailed in the seventeenth century. Let them give the colonies those benefits in reality, which in words they professed to do—let them take the responsibility of framing the details of their own laws. What imaginable and what conceivable reason could there be for the hon. Gentleman opposite, or the noble Earl at the head of the colonial department, or the numerous staff which was maintained at so much expense under them—what reason was there for these parties doing duties which belonged of right to the people of these colonies? But these were not merely negative evils. He would venture to state to the House that this system of interfering with the colonial laws was, in many cases, productive of the most vexatious results; because, though they could not succeed, and did not always attempt to make the law of England the strict rule and model for colonial legislation, yet sometimes they did apply that rule, and the effect was most grievous to the colonies. He would state only a single instance of this. The Legislature of New South Wales passed an Act which provided that the proprietors of stock might mortgage the growing crop, or, as it was called there, clip of wool. It might at once be understood that this was a measure of enormous importance to the development of the resources of that colony. To them it was of immense importance to possess—to us it would be no object whatever to withhold. But it happened to be contrary, or to be esteemed to be contrary, to a principle in the bankrupt law of this country, because, though a similar provision was allowed for the mortgage of ships, yet, with respect to ordinary property, such an arrangement could not be made. He believed that the Colonial Office had acted in the spirit of their duty, as imposed upon them by the present vicious system, in withholding their sanction from this colonial law; but it became matter of most disagreeable discussion between the Governor and the local authorities, and he could not say whether, up to the present moment, this real grievance had been redressed. Now, he would ask, with what propriety, or with what common sense, they could profess to give 1391 to local communities the management of their own concerns, when they refused their sanction to an act of the legislature like this? But there was another reason. He felt that the cases in which it was most desirable that this country should interfere, were precisely the cases in which they would find it impossible to do so—cases in which the views of the colonies differed so much from theirs, that where they would be most tempted, and would most desire to interfere, but in which, by their interference, they would be most apt to wound the colonial dignity, and to hazard the colonial connexion. He would mention two such instances. One of them was the Canada Rebellion Losses Bill, of last year; a Bill which he was sure would appeal at once to the feelings of the House. His conviction was, that it was a misfortune that we should have had the power to interfere in that case, as we had not interfered. Why should we have had a power reserved to the Crown to prevent an Act which no Minister of this country could ever have dared propose to the Imperial Legislature, and yet have been unable to exercise that power? Never in respect to England, never in respect to Scotland, never in respect to Ireland, would the noble Lord at the head of the Government have ventured to propose to the Imperial Parliament that it should pass an Act which sought to compensate men who had borne arms against their sovereign for losses which they had suffered whilst bearing those arms. But they were told, that where the distinction of races and local accidents had introduced a new set of ideas into the colony, where the form and condition of society were very different from what they were in the mother country, it was very fit that they should pass such an Act, and that the Crown should not refuse its assent to it. They were told it was a matter of purely local concern, with which this country had nothing to do—that it was the business of the colonists, and that they alone ought to settle it. Well, then, if that were so, he could only say that he wished they had not contracted any stain by having been obliged to give their consent to it. He would next refer to the second case, which was that of the University of Toronto. In the year 1797 the legislature of Canada West prayed the Crown that a university might be chartered in the colony, and offered to endow it. Shortly afterwards a portion of the wild lands was set aside for the uses of 1392 the university; and in the year 1827 it was chartered by King George IV., under the title of King's College, and upon the model of Oxford. The charter had not been long in operation when the constitution of the college was materially altered; and in the year 1849 its title was altered from King's College to "The University of Toronto," by an Act which provided that religious instruction should be altogether excluded from the business and work of the university. Now, if in this country a gift of public land had been given to any great institution, which should subsequently be altered in its constitution in a manner which Parliament might not think was altogether wise, an attempt might be made to reform it; but it would not be stripped of its property if there appeared to be any chance of improving it. But the University of Toronto had been stripped, and those who professed the Protestant religion had been obliged to leave it in consequence of the new constitution. He did not mean to say, indeed he did not think, that the Government at home ought to have taken upon itself the responsibility of refusing its assent to that Act. There was no doubt about its being a purely local matter; but he again repeated that it would have been better if the Crown had never had the power to interfere at all, as it would in that case never have been obliged to accept such a responsibility as that of assenting to such a measure. He had now said quite enough to weary the House upon the subject of the local legislature. He should pass on to the next point. He objected to the clause in the Bill which was to provide for the foundation of a general assembly. He thought that no such general assembly should be liable to be called into existence upon the requisition of two out of the five colonies that were to be represented in it; and he asked the House to give time for the proper consideration of the Bill, because such a principle was repugnant to the wishes of the colonists themselves. He said it was repugnant to the wishes of the colonists, for he did not think that the Government had received from one single governor of any one of the colonies, from one single legislative body, from one single organ of public opinion, or from one single public meeting of the inhabitants of any colony, a single solitary approval of the scheme of a general assembly. On the contrary, he believed that the wishes of the colonists were altogether opposed to a general assembly. And he begged to observe 1393 that it was no answer to his objection to say, that its appointment was optional; because inasmuch as two of the colonies becoming requisitionists were to be sufficient to call it into existence, those who were most strongly opposed to it might be coerced into sending representatives to it—they might actually be drawn into it unwillingly. But he contended that it was unfit for the colonists. The colonies were not yet mature enough for such an institution. It was founded upon an inapplicable example. They were about to make it upon a precipitate inference from what was not in any way applicable to the matter. They had taken as their model the United States of America. Why, what bad the federation of the United States to do with the matter? They felt that they had to stand against the great Powers of Europe, and their only chance lay in federation. Portions of their territory were claimed by England, by France, and by Spain. They were obliged to combine for mutual support. But in what respect did the condition of the Australian colonies resemble the United States of America? The case of the British North American colonies, indeed, was very different. But still even there it would be very difficult to solve the problem of the precise principles upon which a general assembly should be constructed, and to determine the powers of such a body, limited as they should be by the local rights of the colonial governments upon the one hand, and by the omnipotence of Parliament upon the other. Next, he should say, that with regard to the local legislatures, he thought that all that had passed in that House upon the subject of a single or a double chamber, showed the universal feeling of the House to be in favour of a double chamber; and he felt that the question had been decided, not in reference to the interests of Parliament or the country, nor in reference to the interests of Australia, but in reference merely to political interests and the division of parties at home. He might be wrong, but it was his confident opinion that the impartial vote of that House would have been in favour of a double chamber, if it had been possible; and he fully admitted the difficulty of separating that question from all connexion with, or bearing upon, the position of the colonial administration. He was not now assailing the Administration, or making any complaint against them—he was only stating what he regarded as a matter of fact inseparable 1394 from our system of colonial government. He believed that every authority was against a single chamber, with one of which only he would trouble the House. It was that of the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, Sir W. Denison, who said in a despatch to Earl Grey, Dec. 28,1849—I am afraid, that the remedy proposed by the Committee of the Privy Council, namely, that of vesting a power in the legislatures of the different colonies, of amending their constitutions, by resolving either of their single houses of legislature into two, will hardly meet the evil. A single house of assembly or legislative body will always attempt to assume to itself a portion of the power of the executive. The members, looking to the class from which they are likely to be selected, will not have much idea of the importance of imposing strict and definite limits for the purpose of keeping the executive and legislative functions perfectly separate and distinct. The proceedings of the legislative assembly at Sydney, during the last session, will afford ample evidence of the tendency of a single legislative body to struggle for the possession of executive power, if, indeed, any evidence of such a fact be required. When, therefore, a body thus constituted has once found itself in the possession of a power which it may be enabled to wield in some instances for the benefit of the individual members, in others for the purpose of assuming to itself some portion of the power which can only be wielded properly by the executive, it is not at all probable that it will originate or carry out a change which will in effect diminish its power, and tend to deprive each individual composing it of a portion of the importance which attaches to him as a member of such a body. I would submit also that if each colony be empowered to alter its constitution irrespective of any changes in the other colonies of the Australian group, the reasons which have induced the Committee of Council to recommend that all should have governments constituted upon the same model would seem to have but little weight, as a change on the part of any of the four would at once destroy the uniformity. My opinion, I confess, remains unchanged by anything that I have heard or read since I last addressed your Lordship on this subject. Indeed, every additional day that I remain in the colony serves to add to the strength of ray conviction, that it would be most desirable, when the change in the form of the government of this colony does take place, that a second chamber should be constituted at once by authority of Parliament. Such a chamber, however, should differ from those which did exist in the North American colonies, inasmuch as a large portion of the members should be elected, or otherwise rendered independent of the Government, and they should hold their position for a long period, if not for life.That was a perfect answer to the only argument in favour of the Bill, namely, that by the Bill they were now giving to those legislative chambers the means if they should think fit of improving their own constitution. He did not blame the Act of 1842. There were reasons for passing that Act. The convict element, which prevailed so strongly 1395 in the society of those colonies, was feared. Precautions had to be taken in trying the experiment, which was one of fearful and critical interest. They were obliged to take securities at all hazards, and they accordingly did take them. But the experiment having succeeded, they now thought that the time was come for giving full representative powers to all those Australian colonies. If so, and if the constitution of New South Wales were bad; if it could not be excused upon the ground of its being an experiment, why was it to be made the foundation of the universal constitution of all the Australian colonies? And to what purpose were their nominated members about to be appointed? What would be their position in the legislative council of New South Wales? What was it at present anywhere? Did they enjoy the respect either of the community or of their elected colleagues? Were they looked upon as going down to the House to give an independent vote; or were they considered as the mere tools and slaves of the Government? Why, they were looked upon as the mere tools of the Government. They were regarded as having no will, no opinion, and no conscience of their own, and as being mere instruments of the will of another. All the professions of Government, of being actuated solely by their desire to benefit the colony, were looked upon merely as so much wind and vapour. So it was in New South Wales; and no man surely would tell him that the composition of the council of the colony was in the slightest degree fitted, from the respect it commanded, to be adopted as the ideal standard of the constitution most fit to be constructed for all the Australian colonies. He would not then go into the question of whether there existed or not within the colony the means of forming two chambers. He thought the elements did exist. Let them look back to the cradle of the European constitutions, and they would see that there was a time when even we had only one chamber. But in that infancy of Anglo-Saxon institutions there were the different orders represented in that chamber, so that we had the germ of the second chamber there. And in the early constitutions of the American colonies the freemen and the assistants in the single chamber were the germs of the future senate and house of representatives. But there was one reason which, he should confess, most particularly made him think that if a double chamber were wanted in any place 1396 more especially than in another it was in the Australian colonies, and that reason was the necessity for dealing carefully with the wild lands. He was convinced that the Australian colonists would never be contented with an arrangement which would deprive them of the management of the wild lands. The Government would not give the management of those lands to the legislative councils, because they were afraid there would be foul play regarding them. They were afraid these lands would be turned to purposes of personal corruption. The proper cure for that would be, to have two legislative chambers, one of which would be a check upon the other; which was a reason given by Mr. Maddison for the adoption of a senate in the United States. But where were the germs of a second chamber in the plan now proposed for the government of Australia? Would the nominated members ever rise into sufficient importance for that purpose? No; on the contrary, they would lose position, and be worn down under the pressure of public opinion in the colony, until they disappeared altogether. He did not mean to say that they should form a perfect constitution at once, and force it upon the people of Australia. It was not their business to force any such system upon those colonists. It would be better the colonists should accept a bad constitution at the hands of the mother country, and work it out and improve it themselves, than that they should take a better one which would be forced upon them without leaving them the option of improving it. But what he complained of was, that they had never given the colonists the chance of a double chamber at all; and he complained that the very Government which denied this chance to the Australian colonists had given to the colonists at the Cape of Good Hope a chamber of representatives and a legislative council based upon the principle of election. The plan, he contended, ought to be made known to the people of Australia before Parliament gave its final sanction to it. With regard to the present state of the franchise in New South Wales, he had a few remarks to offer. He spoke of New South Wales as the colony which contained at present two-thirds of the whole population that was about to be affected by the measure. They had in New South Wales an extremely narrow franchise. Was a narrow franchise necessary for the maintenance of the institutions of that colony, or to give a proper tone to the proceedings? 1397 No such thing. He had been informed by a gentleman who was very much distinguished in the colony, and whose name had been frequently mentioned in that House—he meant Mr. Lowe, who had been a distinguished member of the legislative council—he had been informed by that gentleman that the colonists were exceedingly anxious to have the franchise qualification extended, for that it was based upon a very narrow footing at present. It did not admit of a leasehold qualification at all, whereby it excluded some of the greatest capitalists of the colony—the great stockholders; and it required a man to have a house of the value of 20l. a year, whereby it excluded the great bulk of the recently arrived emigrants who had not had time to acquire any great amount of property. On all abstract principles, then, they were bound to enlarge the franchise qualification in New South Wales; and if it were right upon abstract principles, why was it not done? It had been expressly prayed for by the colonists themselves. They had had it asked for by public meetings, by governors, by councils of the colonies, and they would not grant it; but what were they going to do instead? They were going to give away, prospectively, the power of dealing with the franchise to the future Government of New South Wales. Not to the present council, but to the future. Was it likely to be a more learned or a more enlightened body than the present? New South Wales was at present made up of two great districts, New South Wales Proper, and Port Phillip. The element of convict influence was strong in New South Wales. It was weak in Port Phillip. The present council was formed from the two jointly. But this would not allow the franchise qualification to be dealt with by the joint council, nor until Port Phillip and New South Wales were separated. But when they should have been separated, and when in New South Wales the convict influence should have been freed from the check which Port Phillip now opposed to it, then the franchise was to be extended. He was afraid that they were giving over the whole of the representation of New South Wales into the hands of an oligarchy of the very worst kind. And if anything were wanting to make such a provision still more incomprehensible, it was this, that whilst they were giving the power of extending the franchise qualification prospectively to New South Wales, they were giving it immediately 1398 to Van Diemen's Land and South Australia. If that were not an anomalous—he might indeed use the word "absurd" mode of proceeding, manifestly and upon the face of it, it would not be worth while to argue the point further to prove it so. He thought that no one could fail to see it. It was on these grounds that he had felt it his duty to ask the House not to give its final sanction to the Bill, until it should have given it further deliberation, and have had time for some further communications from the colonies with regard to it. He believed a Bill of that nature was mischievous to the growth of the colonies, and that it tended to restrict their freedom. Before they finally settled so important a question, they ought to consult the persons themselves who were most deeply interested; and they were bound to take care that the measure upon which they settled should be, he would not say perfect, permanent, and final, but that it should be the nearest possible approach to that which might be permanent. He protested against their imposing upon Parliament the high and dangerous responsibility of interfering with and controlling the local concerns of those colonies, convinced as be was that by taking upon themselves such management they would be entailing upon this country enormous expenses, and they would be entailing upon themselves the exercise of a power which he, for one, would not accept, because it would lead to the risk of the recurrence of occasions such as they had seen the evils of already, where an active interference would involve an opposition to the expressed will of the colonists; and a no less evil would be in a neutrality, which would involve public dishonesty. Let them give real freedom to the colonies, and they would at once consult the dictates of prudence, secure the honour of the Crown, draw forth the affections of the colonists towards the mother country, and place the connexion between them upon that basis of freedom and good feeling which every good citizen ought to wish to see established.
To leave out from the word 'That' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'this House, adverting to the numerous provisions of the Australian Colonies Government Bill, which require the interference of the authorities at home in the future regulation of the affairs of those colonies, and desirous to reduce as far as possible the occasions for such interference, and to place the political institutions of the said colonies upon
the basis most likely to be permanent, will not give its further sanction to that Bill, until there shall have been afforded to the governors, legislatures, and people of the said colonies, an opportunity of considering the provisions of the measure as they stand, in conjunction with the several proposals varying from them which have been submitted to the notice of the House,'
§ MR. ROEBUCK
rose to second the Amendment. The House was now called upon by the Government to take a most important step in the history of the administration of our colonies. The House was now called upon to divest itself, to a certain extent, of its power over these colonies. Was that policy of the Government justified by our colonial experience—the experience of ourselves, and of other nations? What were the circumstances under which the House was called upon to pass the Bill? It appeared to him that the Government had learned no lesson from the experience of the past; they had not yet learned that between the mother country and the colonies disputes might and would arise—disputes relative to the extent of the power of the colonies themselves. The noble Earl the Secretary of State for the Colonies had been chosen to that office because he was supposed to be fit for it. What had be done? When South Africa and Australia called on him to legislate for them, he applied to the Committee of Privy Council, by whom a constitution was drawn up. And, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford said, with regard to New Zealand, what had he done? He believed the noble Lord's impulse and his wish was to be right, but he had shown a want of courage in dealing with the principles which he professed. With regard to New Zealand, was there ever a body of men more worthy of the power of governing themselves than the emigrants there? They were men far above the real exigencies of want, men as able as the Members of that House to govern themselves. They planted a colony in that country, and they told the Colonial Minister what every colony of Englishmen had told the Colonial Minister, that they desired to govern themselves. Earl Grey was the first Colonial Minister who had said that that desire ought to be gratified, and had brought in a Bill for the purpose of carrying out the recommendation of these colonists. He did not agree with the right hon. Gentleman in what he said on that subject. There was a giving way—a yielding to 1400 the desires of a body of men who had justice on their side. What occurred? There was at present a very worthy Governor in New Zealand; as worthy a governor as ever was in a colony; but he had the feeling of a governor, and he did not like to give up his power, and when the constitution came out which was to make him a constitutional governor, all of a sudden he found out something that frightened the Colonial Minister. He said these men who, like himself, were educated Englishmen, would so oppress the natives of the country that they were utterly unworthy of the power of self-government. In the case of South Africa, again, the noble Lord had avoided responsibility. He went to the Committee of Privy Council, and out went instructions to the governor, and he was told, under those instructions, to propose a constitution to the existing body. The council were to adopt the constitution, and it was to come back home for confirmation, and by this circumbendibus route the noble Lord escaped responsibility. And what had he done with regard to Austrlia? Still acting on the suggestions of this council, who were made by him, the breath of whose nostrils were by him, and through whom he escaped all responsibility, he had proposed this Bill. Now, history told them all the difficulties that had arisen in consequence of the colonial connexion; and had one of them been alleviated by this Bill? Not one. Dealing with Australia, the noble Lord had come to that House, and placed pell-mell on one heap all the difficult problems they had to solve. He said, "I will raise certain bodies in that country, and upon them I will throw all the responsibility of all the great questions that arise out of a colonial question." Not one of them had he dared to solve; he did not deserve the name of a colonial legislator. The noble Lord had come down there under the influence of a generous spirit, wishing to give them self-government, but he had shirked his trust; he had abdicated his power, and thrown upon others that which his own position entailed upon him. This he said Earl Grey had done, and the proof of it was the Australian Bill, which was the combined wisdom of the Colonial Office. He said it was the combined wisdom of the Colonial Office, because it seemed to him that the House of Commons was a registering body. What the Minister chose to bring down, they, in obedience to his 1401 commands, registered. What the Minister would, they sanctioned; what he desired, they made a law. Of all the Bills that ever passed, the most lame, impotent, un-symmetrical, and incomplete, was the Bill now on their table. Why, Clarendon was a far better Minister for a colony than Earl Grey. Earl Grey might permit himself to be placed in the same category with such a man; but considering the evidence and the experience which this age had taught us, when we had colonies so numerous, and had gone through a vast vicissitude of fortune, that no other nation could equal us with regard to it, the meanest of men, almost, might have learned a lesson from that experience. But none of the cases on which we had experience was provided for. There was a connection between the colony and the mother country; but did the Bill point out in any way whatever where the power of the mother country ended, and where the power of the colony began? Not at all; there was no line, all was undefined. What were they about to do? They were about to give to the colonies that which would cause constant dissensions. The noble Earl himself knew, and had often declared, that the great source of all disputes between the colonies and the mother country had arisen out of the constitution of the second chamber. Two chambers, he acknowledged, were requisite. And how did he get out of the difficulty? Just mark the want of courage, the want of daring to brave the responsibilities of his position. The noble Earl's own opinion was, that two chambers should exist, and should be chosen by the people; but he did not dare to take the responsibility of proposing that. He threw the responsibility on the colonies. He (Mr. Roebuck) believed that the permissive power in the Bill was a very wise power. He liked the idea of making any large section, or any large portion, of the world homogeneous, and uniting them under one government, especially when they were of one name and nation; and if there were a means of uniting this people under one general assembly, he thought it extremely desirable to take advantage of the chance of so doing. But when he so said, he might be permitted to draw the line, and to show wherein the powers of this general assembly consisted: first, with regard to the separate assemblies out of which it was to be derived; and, next, with regard to the great metropolitan empire of which it formed a part. Why, this Bill took no notice 1402 of this; there was no mention of a general confederation, no provision or preparation for it in the Bill. And he had the more right to mark and signalise this, because the noble Earl could not have been aware of the great evidence which history had given us. He charged the Ministry with utter incapacity and impotency, because in dealing with great interests like this they had brought in an inefficient measure. In the southern hemisphere our descendants were destined to see a great empire arise, which, as he believed, would rival the great empire in the west; but when posterity should see that great people in existence, they would say it was owing to the individual perseverance and power of Englishmen, standing alone, unaided, unassisted—nay, thwarted—by the Government of the country to which they belonged. It was because he believed that this thing which they called a Bill—and which was some time or other to be an Act—because it would not advance, but throw back, civilisation in our colonies, that he seconded the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford.
§ MR. HAWES
said, he believed he might fairly ask the indulgence of the House, and plead on his own behalf some difficulty in following the right hon. Gentleman and his seconder, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just sat down, inasmuch as he could be but little prepared for the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—a speech upon every topic and principle of colonial policy which could by possibility be brought into discussion upon the third reading of the Australian Colonies Bill. This Amendment was one which bore upon the face of it a very limited and narrow character. The right hon. Gentleman desired to proceed no further with the Bill at present, but to transmit the Bill and all the Amendments adopted and rejected by the House in the course of discussions upon it to the governors, the legislatures, and the people of four colonies; and he called upon those legislative bodies, and the people of those colonies, to return to the House an answer by which we should be enabled hereafter to legislate satisfactorily to the colonists. He thought it would have been better at once to have moved that the Bill be read a third time that day six months. That would have been a direct course. But the right hon. Gentleman, as he had said, had dilated upon every topic relevant or irrelevant to the subject under discussion, 1403 He (Mr. Hawes) must say, that if they adopted the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman on this occasion, they went far to decide the question whether they were to retain their colonies or dependencies or not. For, if he understood the right hon. Gentleman, he waived the veto of the Crown; he maintained that the veto of the Crown and the appointment of governor by the Crown involved the country in disputes and expense. Why, in what way was he to read that proposition? Was he not to infer that the right hon. Gentleman had not only changed his opinions, but indeed totally abandoned the opinions that he formerly held? When the Bill was introduced into the House, the right hon. Gentleman said he was in favour of the principle of the Bill. And what was the principle of the Bill? The Bill did not propose to surrender the powers of the Crown; it did not propose to separate England from the colonies, but if they followed the right hon. Gentleman's argument to its conclusion, it came to this, that on account of the expense he was prepared to abandon our colonial empire, and to relieve Parliament from matters connected with colonial legislation. [Mr. GLADSTONE: Colonial local legislation.] But how was the right hon. Gentleman to deal with the question of local legislation? Upon that question he had not enlightened the House. He thought the right hon. Gentleman had been Colonial Secretary long enough to know the extreme difficulty of drawing the line between questions which were local, and questions which were imperial. Why, the right hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark proposed that the colonists should have the power of local or internal legislation without the sanction of the Crown; but when he came to define what was local and what was imperial legislation, the hon. Baronet found it necessary at once to provide against inevitable disputes, and to create a tribunal for their settlement in a Committee of Privy Council. Look to the scheme of the right hon. Gentleman. Every Bill that interfered with the prerogative in any degree would, of course, he objected to by the law officers of the Government. They would be bound to watch over the least encroachment upon the then limited prerogative of the Crown. This Bill, on the contrary, adopted an existing constitution—one that had been tried, and one which, he repeated again, had met with the assent and consent of the inhabitants of New South Wales. But the Bill went further than that; it 1404 gave the colonists the power to amend the constitution. Now, he contended that that power was more likely to prevent collision between the mother country and the colonies than anything else. That power was for the first time conceded to the colonies by this Bill. [Mr. GLADSTONE: No!] The right hon. Gentleman, as far as he understood him, would give the power absolutely to the colonies. He (Mr. Hawes) admitted that the veto of the Crown was retained, and he asked hon. Gentlemen connected with the colonies if they wished to have that put an end to? If it were abandoned, they abandoned that constitutional connexion which now existed between the colonies and the mother country. Was the House prepared to take such a step? But the practical question was this—was this Bill desired by the colonies or not? He understood the right hon. Gentleman to say they had expressed no approval of it. Why, the papers before the House, he imagined, must have escaped the right hon. Gentleman's attention. What did the great public meeting of South Australia say? They said this—That the Bill laid before Parliament, entitled a Bill for the better government of Her Majesty's Australian colonies, so far as it relates to the colony of South Australia, meets the wishes and the wants of the colony in most of its essential provisions; and a Bill constituting a representative government with such extensive powers deserves to be regarded as a large, liberal, and comprehensive measure.The right hon. Gentleman proposed to disappoint the people of South Australia; and on what grounds? In order to have a report from four governors, four legislatures, and the people of four colonies, before any final legislation was adopted. Why, it could only arrive here in the course of the next Session of Parliament, and then there would be such a mass of conflicting opinions to digest, rudis indigestaque moles, that no legislation could take place till the Session after that. Well, but they (the Government) said, if the colonists do not like this Bill, let them alter it—they have the power. If the object were to create a double chamber, and the colonists concurred with them, let them resort to the provisions of the Bill, and convert the single chamber into a double chamber. There was nothing to prevent that being done. Therefore, he contended that to delay this Bill was to delay a useful, and, in the language of the public meeting in South Australia, the resolutions of which he had quoted, "a 1405 liberal and comprehensive measure." The right hon. Gentleman spoke in favour of a double chamber. Let the House remember that this question had been discussed more than once, and already decided by the House by large majorities. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that there was some desire on the part of his noble Friend, Earl Grey, to exercise some power over the colonies which did not belong to his office; that he was anxious to fetter and limit the legislative powers of colonial assemblies. Now, he must say that anything more unfounded than that could not be supposed. If he understood the right hon. Gentleman right, he said he would give up the veto of the Crown. [Mr. GLADSTONE: On local questions.] But what were local questions? Was the Rebellion Loses Bill of last year a local or an imperial question? Did the right hon. Gentleman think that a local question? [Mr. GLADSTONE was understood to reply in the negative.] But the Canadian Parliament did, and it was so considered by this House. When a local legislature passed bills, they ought to be respected, and would always be respected, by the Home Government. But he would again ask the right hon. Gentleman, what was the line of distinction between imperial and local questions? Were land questions only local? Were revenue questions solely local? It was almost impossible, he conceived, to draw the line with satisfaction. The great objection the right hon. Gentleman had to the Bill was the establishment of a single chamber; and he admitted that even our first Parliaments consisted of a single chamber; in which, however, the different orders of the State were represented by distinct bodies or classes. Now, that was not practicable, even if desirable, in the colonies. And Scotland long had a single chamber, which managed its affairs, he believed, at least, to the satisfaction of Scotchmen. Passing by that, he would come to other questions connected with the Bill. It had met with the general approval of the colonists. In South Australia they had had this Bill before them, and pronounced it to be a wise and liberal measure. In Van Diemen's Land a great public meeting had been held, and not a single objection had been urged against the measure; on the contrary, they had prayed that its main provision, a single elective chamber, might be introduced in that colony. As there had been no official representation of that fact, the Government 1406 could not lay the papers before the House; but the fact was well known to all connected with the colony. In Port Phillip they had had a meeting, and passed a resolution to this effect:—That a petition be addressed to the Crown, and to each House of Parliament, praying that the separation of Port Phillip and New South Wales may he immediately carried into effect, by a Bill having reference solely to that object, and also praying for the establishment of a separate legislature for this colony, on the same principle as now applies to the constitution of New South Wales, providing for the establishment of a legislative council, eighteen members of which to be returned by the several districts, and nine members to be nominated.This was in fact the Bill of the Government, and not one objection to this measure had come from any one of the colonies—whilst the colonial press had been unanimous in favour of the Bill. Yet this was the Bill which the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield had characterised, with more eloquence than truth, so monstrous in its main provisions, and so objectionable, that he would join with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford in arresting its further progress. The hon. and right hon. Gentlemen agreed in no one point of colonial policy; but they united in opposing a Bill more liberal than had ever yet been proposed for the government of our colonies, and against which no objection whatever had been urged by the colonists themselves, except in reference to the single chamber, and that was confined to the legislative council of South Australia, while the Bill itself gave them, the colonists, the power of establishing a double chamber if they pleased. He confidently appealed to those who had hitherto supported the Bill still to do so, and not to delay all legislation on this subject indefinitely, or at least for one or two years to come. Even if they waited to receive the mass of information and opinions which might be collected from the colonies—it was uncertain whether the House would concur in the suggestions that might be made; but this he knew, that the colonists approved of the Bill in its present shape. It was alleged that the only ground upon which the Government refused to concede a complete control to the colonists over their waste lands, was through fear of personal corruption and jobbing. That was certainly not the ground. The ground was a far higher one, and one which he hoped the House would appreciate. The waste 1407 lands of the colonies were in fact the estate of the Crown, held for the benefit of the people of England, as well as the people of the colonies; and the sole question was how it might be best managed for the benefit of both. The management of the local legislatures might be as honest and intelligent as the management at home; but still they must be subject to a local pressure, which would be extremely inconvenient, not because it would lead to personal corruption or favouritism—for every one knew that popularly constituted bodies were exposed to influences altogether apart from jobbing or corruption—but which, in this case, would tend, in the long run, to transfer those lands to a large number of owners at a very low price—to introduce a system not very different from that which had been found in our earlier colonies so mischievous in its operation. When the hon. and learned Member stated his belief that two chambers would afford a better security for the good administration of the waste lands than one, surely he must have for gotten the case of Canada. [Mr. ROEBUCK: There were two elective chambers in that case.] It was upon that circumstance, then, that security was relied on; but he (Mr. Hawes) did not believe that the double chamber would furnish the constitutional check anticipated. Could the House believe for a moment that with a double chamber there would be such an essential difference of interest and party as to constitute a valid and constitutional check? New South Wales doubtless contained many men of intelligence and ability; but its population was 200,000, while that of Port Phillip was but 35,000, and of South Australia 45,000. In such small communities the two chambers would really represent the same interest, and not form that check which the right hon. Gentleman relied on as his safeguard. Then the Bill had been objected to by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield as not establishing a supreme court, like that of the United States. But then the United States had a written constitution, and the supreme court administered one body of law. But, with four or five different legislatures, each competent to make its own laws, and the same law being administered perhaps differently in each, a supreme court could come to no decision except with the aid of lawyers from the several colonies, and it would simply be a court of appeal 1408 from local tribunals. This was founded on a scheme of government totally different from that proposed, and one not easily realised. As to the franchise, the colonies themselves would have the power to regulate that; it might be left with confidence to the existing councils, who would doubtless regard the wishes and feelings of the people. It was said the Government had disregarded the frequently expressed wish of the colonists, that the franchise should be extended to leaseholders. The 10th section of the Bill contained a provision on that subject; but the whole question would be far better left to the colonists themselves. New Zealand had been adverted to both by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford, and the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, as a proof of what were called the blunders of the Colonial Office. He wished the House fully to understand the position of the question with regard to that colony. Some time ago a Bill giving a constitution to New Zealand had passed that House almost unanimously, and with the bonâ fide intention of carrying the measure out; but upon the representation of the Governor himself to the effect that so long as the European population was so small, and the revenues of the colony were paid so largely by a native population—a brave and high-spirited people, and well furnished with arms—laws made entirely by the European population would not be peaceably submitted to by the natives, the statute was suspended. But the accounts recently received from the colony, which would form the subject of future papers to be laid before the House, were so satisfactory both as to the progress of the colony and its tranquillity, that the Governor had intimated to Earl Grey that he was no longer of opinion that the introduction of representative institutions ought to be further delayed; and it was probable that in the course of next Session a legislative measure for this purpose would be introduced. Under these circumstances he hoped the hon. and learned Member for Cockermouth would see the propriety of not pressing the Amendment of which he had given notice, as the subject required much consideration. With regard to the Bill under discussion, he had heard no good ground why the House should reverse its former decision; he, therefore, hoped the Bill would be passed. The right hon. Gentleman had not even shadowed out any Bill of his own, and his principles were so vague 1409 that it was with difficulty they could be apprehended. He seemed disposed to surrender all the power of the Crown and the Secretary of State, perhaps with some reservations which were not very clear; but this Bill had received a degree of support in the colonies rarely obtained. The right hon. Gentleman asked why they did not revert to the old colonial principles of government. But all the old colonial charters contained these significant words: "No law shall be passed repugnant to the law of England." The result was, that suits brought under a local law were made matter of appeal to the home authorities; so that the Privy Council gained, in point of fact, a control over the legislation of the colonies. It was to avoid that tedious and unsatisfactory process, by which laws were frequently reversed long after they had passed, by a judicial decision, that the present power of sending the laws over at once to receive the sanction of the Crown was substituted; and he did not think that a return to the old practice would be any amendment. Believing the Bill to be well intended, as was indeed admitted on all hands—being anxious to pass a measure which should be acceptable to the colonists—and seeing that it contained provisions which would enable them to alter their constitutions if they pleased—he hoped the House would adhere to the opinion it had already expressed in favour of the Bill, and not concur in the resolution which the right hon. Gentleman had proposed, with a view indefinitely to postpone any legislation on this subject.
§ MR. J. E. DENISON
said, that, looking round on the House, he feared that it would be practically impossible now to introduce any amendment in this Bill, though permitted by the forms of the House, unless the Government would sanction them. He feared the Bill would have to go in its present shape to the other House. He thought the measure wrong in much that it gave, and more wrong in some things that it withheld. It was wrong in the form of constitution granted to these colonies, wrong as to the federal assembly, and certainly wrong as to the way in which that assembly was to be constituted. But it was infinitely more wrong in that which it withheld from the colonies—the management of their own waste lands. He had supposed the principle and very essence of the Bill to be, that people were better able to manage their own affairs than others at a distance of 16,000 miles 1410 could manage them for them. At all events, if they did not manage them better, they would do it more to their own satisfaction. Government gave the colonies the power of changing their constitutions, but withheld that great, material interest on which they most desired to exercise the power now granted. What made people colonists? What led men to separate themselves from all the ties of home and of kindred? The desire to become, in another hemisphere and a distant country, the possessors of land—to found the fortunes of themselves and families on the solid foundation of land which they could not obtain at home. It was said that the colonists had announced themselves favourable to this Bill; but the Bill which they approved contained the provision that they should have the management of their own waste lands. That had been publicly announced to them. When the Bill was first introduced last year, no mention was made of waste lands; a question was asked of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who, after due consideration, came down and announced that it was the intention of Government to grant the management of the waste lands to the colonies. That had gone forth, and had been the source of infinite satisfaction to the colonists. So profound was the interest they took in these waste lands, that should the offer be made, would they have the management of the waste lands, and lose the rest of the Bill, or would they have Bill, without the management of the lands, there could be no doubt that the first alternative would be chosen. The Bill originally delegated the management unconditionally to the federal assembly, without any reservation to the Crown. When the matter came to be considered, it appeared that the federal assembly was a very bad tribunal for the purpose; and the noble Lord, late one evening, in Committee on the Bill, had given up the proposal of delegating the waste lands to the federal assembly; but he then made a very retrograde step, and said he should withdraw the power from the colonies altogether. Had he (Mr. Denison) known that that would be the result of the Amendment he had proposed, giving to the legislature of each colony the control of its own waste lands, he would have left the Bill as it stood; for bad as it was, it would have been much better to give the management to the federal assembly—which would never meet now, but would then have met, 1411 just for once, to settle the question of the waste lands—than to withdraw the power from the colonies altogether. It was said to be necessary to maintain uniformity of management of the waste lands. The meaning of uniformity was, that the same rule should be applied to things similar in themselves. But nothing could be more dissimilar than the condition of these several colonies; therefore, to apply the same rule to the management of their waste lands, was not to establish uniformity, but the greatest diversity. Then the noble Lord said a despatch had been received from the Governor of Van Diemen's Land, referring to a certain report, which threw so much light on the question, that it was very desirable its consideration should be deferred till the arrival of the report. But that despatch made entirely in favour of his view. The great object of the Governor of Van Diemen's Land was to show the striking difference which existed between that colony and those on the main land, and that nothing would so much injure the interests of Van Diemen's Land as a federal assembly, in which New South Wales should have the preponderance—the one being a purely pastoral district; the other a fertile country suited for agricultural purposes, with abundant water communication, and where the land was of more value. He noticed a report from the Legislative Council of New South Wales; and to this part of the despatch there was the following note appended:—"This report has not been received." He (Mr. Denison) sincerely hoped the hon. Under Secretary, on looking into the archives of the Colonial Office, would not find that this report had been by any accident overlooked, for he knew perfectly well that though the report, which was passed in September last, had never arrived, the author of that report had himself arrived in this country. He had had the advantage that day of conversing with the gentleman who presided over the committee of the legislative assembly, and was the author of the report in question, which had left the colony long before he did; and he was much surprised that it had not yet reached England. [Mr. HAWES: The report has been received, but is not yet printed.] The report had been agreed to unanimously by a committee of the legislative council, in September 1849; it had been adopted unanimously by the legislative council, and ought therefore to have been received with some attention. It represented, in the strongest language, 1412 the inconvenience, mischief, and injury of maintaining in New South Wales an upset price of land of 1l. per acre, and recommended that it should be reduced to 5s.; also that leaseholders should be permitted to occupy till purchasers could be obtained at 5s., the leaseholders then to have the power of pre-emption. The system of keeping an upset price was a thoroughly false and rotten one, and had generally failed in the colonies. In New South Wales, where they had attempted to create concentration, separation and dispersion had been the result. The attempt thus to keep up a constant and exact proportion between capital and labour, in practice turned out to be a delusion. It would be more true to say that the best results followed from their disproportion—a superabundance of labour sometimes inviting capital—a superabundance of capital at other times attracting labour. In such cases, as was seen in the United States, the general interests of society advanced with a more equable pace when left to themselves, than when the attempt was made to enforce them by law. Had our legislation been founded on the same principle, it would have been more coincident with reason and common sense, than the attempt to fix upon land worth but a few shillings per acre an upset price of 1l.; indeed, now a reduction in the upset price might induce the colonists to acquiesce in the arrangement proposed in the Bill. But when the Government proposed to retain the exclusive management of the land, and to keep the upset price at 1l per acre, the legislative assembly of New South Wales having unanimously resolved that that was injurious to the colony, and proposed its reduction to 5s., it was a farce to talk of giving satisfaction and content to the colonies by any such proceeding. If this value of land suited South Australia or Port Phillip, it certainly did not suit a mere pastoral district like New South Wales; its own legislative assembly had decided that it was entirely injurious. To New South Wales, which contained perhaps two-thirds—certainly more than half—the population of all these colonies, the Bill gave no single thing but the power of altering its constitution—that constitution with which it was said to be so entirely satisfied that it had been adopted as a model for those of all the other colonies. Separating from it Port Phillip, and perhaps a large district to the north, the Government denied it that which it alone desired, and which they had already promised 1413 —the management of its own waste lands. The Bill could have no other effect than to invite the colonists to use the power which it gave them for wresting from this country that control over the waste lands which we should be compelled to surrender when we could no longer do so with either honour or advantage, but which might now be given up to the satisfaction of the colonists. He objected also to the constitution of the federal assembly. Since the last debate, some very slight alterations had been made. Before, New South Wales was to have 12 members, and Victoria 4; now. New South Wales would have 13, and Victoria 7. Was it probable that in an assembly which had the power of regulating fiscal duties, and determining the proportion which should go to the treasury of each State, that a State which had 13 voices in the assembly would obtain the co-operation of a State which only had 7, and that they would form a harmonious partnership in the matter of rates and revenues? Though the proportion had been altered, the principle remained the same, and was essentially vicious. Reference had been made in the last debate to the federal assembly as a means of promoting the formation of railways and canals. Since then he had been in communication with several gentlemen connected with the colonies, and learned that sometime ago a proposal had been made to construct a railway in a certain district of New South Wales. All the owners were but too happy to give their land for the sake of the means of communication which would be afforded them. Unfortunately, the line had to pass through some of the waste lands of the Crown. Application was made to the Colonial Secretary, who said—I am sorry to tell you, gentlemen, that the law of the Imperial Parliament makes this land worth 1l per acre. It is not in my power to make any concession; but I shall be happy to report your proposal to the Government at home, and in the course of twelve months you will have an answer.The consequence was, that this useful undertaking had been nipped in the bud, and was wholly thrown aside. The question of the waste lands was one of great importance, and he should certainly bring it forward when the proper period for doing so arrived. He did not think the Bill a good one—what it did it did not do in the most useful way, and what it withheld, it withheld most injuriously. For these reasons he should vote against the third reading.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
intended to assent to the third reading of the Bill, but he wished to make a few observations confined to the grievances of the colony of Van Diemen's Land, in the hope that the Government would give to these grievances a favourable consideration. Between the years 1824 and 1840 the system of free emigration to Van Diemen's Land had a fair trial, and was attended with successful results. The emigrants went out on the understanding that the penal system was to be gradually abandoned; and by the year 1840 the convict population was reduced to only one-half its former proportion to the free population. In 1838, the colonists asked for free institutions, but the Government determined to delay conceding them for some time longer. Having withheld from them free institutions, the Government also resolved upon constituting Van Diemen's Land their penal settlement par excellence; and thenceforth transportation to New South Wales was ordered to cease. The result was, that since then from four to five thousand convicts annually were sent to Van Diemen's Land, diverting the free emigration to the more favoured colonies, and greatly diminishing the former excess of free population over the convict population. All the taxes raised by the colonists, too, were swallowed up by the cost of police; and whilst between 1828 and 1840 the sum invested in the purchase of land by the colonists alone was 218,000l, and in 1840 it was 58,000l.; in 1845, the land fund had sunk so low that it was doubted whether it would exceed 2,000l. These facts had been admitted by the Colonial Secretary, and other Government officers; and yet no reparation or redress was given for the oppression that had been practised towards Van Diemen's Land. Now, the Bill before the House proposed to saddle the people of that colony with 13,300l annually on account of police; so that the colonists who had petitioned to be rid of the convicts were not only not relieved of them, but were obliged to pay for them. This he held to be an imperial object, and ought, therefore, to be paid out of imperial resources. That was the object of the Amendment which he had put upon the Paper; and he trusted that the Government would acknowledge its justice. The Bill proposed to charge Port Phillip and South Australia—with a larger free population than Van Diemen's Land—each with 5,000l. annually for the same 1415 purpose as that for which it charged Van Diemen's Land with a burden of 13,300l. He wished the House to redress this glaring inequality, and to fix 5,000l. as the charge upon Van Diemen's Land, as well as upon each of the other two colonies. He had on former occasions referred to the actual condition of the wasteland question with regard to Van Diemen's Land. The policy of successive Governments had gradually reduced it until it was almost extinct; so that the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for Malton was one in which Van Diemen's Land had almost no interest whatever. Sir W. Denison, in the despatch that had been often alluded to, was decidedly of opinion that the colonists ought not to be entrusted with the sole management of the waste lands; and he (Mr. Anstey) maintained that the colonists had signified their approval of this Bill with a knowledge of the nature of its provisions regarding waste lands. He considered that the Under Secretary for the Colonies had conclusively proved that popular opinion in the colonies was in favour of this measure, with all its defects; and that it was demanded by the circumstances of all the Australian colonies, with the exception of New South Wales, which, since Lord Stanley's Act in 1842, had had the power of remodelling its own constitution; but its legislative council had not yet taken any steps for exercising that power. But the question was, were they to refuse to the other Australian colonies that power of remodelling their own constitutions which they so urgently demanded, merely because New South Wales happened to be indifferent whether it possessed it or not? for that was the whole gist of the argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford. With regard to the opinion of those who thought that this optional power would be practically inoperative, because the constituent assembly would not be likely to create another body co-ordinate with themselves, he entirely differed from that view. Indeed, as one entirely opposed to the principle of a second chamber, his only fear was, that, with the power in the hands of the governor of nominating one-third of the constituent assembly, the assembly would too readily he brought to entertain and adopt the double chamber. In conclusion, he trusted that the Government would favourably consider both the hon. Member for Mal-ton's Amendment, and his (Mr. Anstey's) 1416 own suggestions; but whether they did so or not, the principle of the Bill would not be affected; and, believing that principle to be a sound one, he would cordially support the third reading of the measure.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
begged to make only one or two remarks in that stage of the debate. On the subject of the waste lands he would not enter, because he conceived that to be out of place on the present occasion. With respect to the civil list he would only observe, that he thought it ought to be put under the control of the local legislature, and the sooner the better. Now, with respect to the present Bill, and the various Amendments proposed, it seemed to him that the question raised by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford was simply this, "would they take the Bill as it was, or postpone it for another Session? "Now, weighing the balance of good and evil, he (Mr. Aglionby) was for assenting to the Bill as it was at present. He concurred in a great deal of what had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and agreed with him in some of his objections; but, at the same time, he considered it was better to take the Bill now than postpone it. It would be of importance to show the colonists that the Imperial Legislature was disposed to take a step and then a vote on the management of their own affairs. If he thought that was a final measure, he would oppose it; but, as it recognised a proper principle of self-government, and gave a means for improving and reforming the constitution hereafter, if found expedient, he did not think it ought to be put off for another Session.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, that the main argument in favour of this measure was, that it was ardently desired by the colonies. Now, it was admitted that there was considerable indifference with respect to it in the important colony of New South Wales. With respect to the others, it was not surprising that they should be anxious for representative institutions. But he denied that there was any evidence to show that they were in favour of this particular measure. On the contrary, as far as public opinion was manifested by the legislative councils, by the legislatures in the various colonies, and by public petitions, it was clear that the colonists desired to have a copy of the British constitution. He was not going to delay the House by repeating evidence adduced, or bringing forward extracts 1417 or documents to show that the supposed concurrence of the colonists in the projects of Government was ill founded. The Governor of New South Wales, in two several and distinct despatches, expressed his strong opinion as to the superior advantages of two chambers over one. The Governor of Van Diemen's Land had also on two separate occasions expressed himself in favour of a double chamber. Then there was the report of the Privy Council, which likewise stated that double-chamber would be preferable to single-chamber legislation. The noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government, in introducing the measure, stated to the House, that "wherever the English went, they carried with them the freedom of the institutions of the mother country." Now, he wished to know, did the present Bill answer the purpose of the colonists, or enable them to carry out the spirit or freedom of the mother country? No; but so far from being a measure of a nature calculated to effect such, it was a mere experiment of the Colonial Office. The hon. Member the Under Secretary for the Colonies expressed his surprise at a postponement being called for until the opinions of the colonists should be ascertained, and assured the House that the opinions of the colonists were in favour of the measure, which he (Mr. Scott) begged to deny. They had given a double chamber to the Cape, yet denied it to Australia, which, he doubted not, would be the cause of stirring up strong feeling in the minds of the inhabitants there, and perhaps lead to dismemberment rather than continuance. It was in vain for majorities of that House to pass measures for the benefit, as they supposed, of the colonies, which, instead of conferring good forms of government, gave them nondescript ones, such as never previously existed in the colonies of this country, if he excepted that form of constitution given by Lord Stanley to New South Wales after it had ceased to be a penal settlement, and which was intended to be merely initiatory. He, therefore, called on Her Majesty's Ministers to withdraw that portion of the Bill which enacted legislation by only one chamber, as also that which had reference to the minimum price of land. Upon these grounds then, and also resting on the conviction that Her Majesty's Ministers had not, as they thought, the approbation of the colonists, of the Privy Council, or the House of Commons, in favour of this Bill, he thought it would be better to postpone 1418 the third reading of the measure until they should obtain better and more satisfactory information.
§ MR. SIMEON
said, that in voting for the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford he should deeply regret their causing any dissatisfaction in the colonies; but it would be a cause of much deeper regret to him if they allowed themselves to pass a measure which would be dangerous to the character of that great legislative assembly, and injurious to the best interests of the colonies. The hon. Member the Under Secretary for the Colonies had characterised the proposition of the right hon. Representative for the University of Oxford as the strangest one he had ever heard; and, in answer to that, he (Mr. Simeon) should say that the contingency was probably the strangest that had ever before occurred in the British House of Commons. In the Speech of Her Majesty from the Throne, a liberal colonial policy was indicated and the first week in the Session the noble Lord the First Minister of the Crown came down to that House and delivered a speech which, he would venture to say, appealed to the heart of every man interested in the welfare of the colonies. Yet, notwithstanding all that, they had a series of protracted debates, in which hon. Gentlemen on one side of the House called for legislation by the operation of two chambers, the benefit of which Her Majesty's Ministers admitted in theory, though they opposed it in practice. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies had spoken of the Amendment as if it were prompted by a vain desire to save expense to the mother country. He (Mr. Simeon) could not consent to regard the colonies as costly incumbrances. He believed that the imperial fame of Great Britain depended more than on anything else on the preservation of her colonial connexions, and he would never be a party to the severing of what he hoped would continue for ages. They were told that the Bill contained a provision by which the colonies would have the power of altering their constitution if they found that it did not suit the exigencies of their position. The House had two courses before it in the outset: it might either have given the colonies the power of summoning constituent assemblies to make a constitution themselves, or it might have itself framed such a constitution as it seemed best; but, instead of taking either of those courses, 1419 it had taken a pitiable middle course, which would neither redound to the credit of this country, nor conduce to the interests of the colonists. He was confident that much disappointment would be felt in the colonies at such a measure following the speech of the noble Lord at the commencement of the Session. The Colonial Office had been an incubus upon the colonies; it had crushed their vigour and cramped their energies; and this attempt to perpetuate existing grievances and anomalies, would excite great dissatisfaction. Entertaining these views, he should support the Amendment; and he was confident that after the measure had been discussed in the colonies, the House would regret that it had not consented to postpone legislation until it was able to legislate for all times, and so as permanently to attach the affections of the colonists to the mother country.
§ MR. HUME
said, he concurred in the opinion of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down that the Colonial Office had up to that moment been an incubus upon the colonies, and it was because he was anxious to get rid of its baneful domination that he supported the Bill. His aspiration year after year had been that the colonists might be allowed to govern themselves, and have a government conformable to their own wishes. He despaired of seeing anything good from the Colonial Office; but he regarded the speech of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, which had so often been referred to, as the commencement of a new era in the colonies. The measure under consideration he considered to be the measure, not of the Colonial Secretary, but of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, on whom it had been forced by the discontent caused throughout the whole of the colonies by the misgovernment of the Colonial Secretary. If there was any part of the Bill of which he (Mr. Hume) disapproved, it was the appointment of nominees. It was proved by the correspondence respecting the Cape of Good Hope, that in that colony the opinions of the ablest and most popular men were disregarded from the moment when they became the nominees of the Crown. Whilst he admitted that this Bill was full of anomalies, and that the Government ought to have taken a more decided course, he would, under the circumstances, counsel the House not to reject it. There was much in it to which he objected; for example, the provisions with respect to the civil list, and with respect to the 1420 allowances to the clergy; but the colonists themselves would be able to sweep away such anomalies. Each colony might choose its own time for forming a second chamber. Some colonies might not at present he prepared for such a step; but he had no doubt that in New South Wales and in Van Diemen's Land a second chamber would be formed without delay. If Parliament wished to keep the colonies, it must endeavour to make the connexion mutually honourable and advantageous. When the colonists had formed their government they would not tolerate anything like oppression on the part of this country. If the course entered upon in this Bill were continued, the colonists would, he thought, he satisfied; and were the case otherwise, they would have ample power to redress their grievances.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, that not only the hon. Member for Montrose, but all who had expressed their intention of voting for the third reading of the Bill, had not failed to inform the House that the measure was defective; and in this manner it was, that a great and important measure of this kind was to be passed by the Legislature of this country. At present, however, the simple question before the House was, whether they would pass the Bill, fraught as it was with delay, and calculated to produce many mischiefs, or whether they would do what the Government pretended they were anxious to do, namely consult the colonies, before proceeding to legislate upon the form of government which might be acceptable to them. The old adage, "the more haste, the worse speed," was exactly applicable to the conduct of the Government with respect to this Bill. When it was introduced it was stated to be based upon two positions, that of consulting the colonists and avoiding delay; the Bill, however, was so happily concocted, that it did neither the one nor the other. Another objection to the Bill was, that it exactly reversed the wishes of the colonists. They were required, by its provisions, to suggest a form of constitution for themselves, which the Government at home were to criticise; whereas, what the colonists required was, that the Government should originate and propound some plans for them, making the carrying out of these plans contingent upon the concurrence of those for whom they were designed. The colonists had said, "If you are going to make us any newfangled constitutions, to give us electoral bodies such as no person 1421 on earth had ever yet heard of, we insist upon our right not to have any such constitution forced upon us, without previously having had our wishes consulted on the subject." The Government had proposed in their Bill an innovation of the British constitution, and were bound by their own principles to have consulted the colonies. It was impossible, if the measure were passed in its present state, that any permanent good could be effected for twenty years to come. There were four different parties in the colonies—the Government party, the Representative, the local South Australia, and the Federal party; and the question with respect to constitutions would be for years agitated among them without any final settlement being arrived at. He trusted that the Government would have the courage to postpone or suspend the Bill if they saw that the objects which they professed to have in view could be carried out in a more effectual manner than by the mode which they had proposed. It might be a great deal to ask, but still, from the importance of the subject, he felt constrained to ask, those liberal Members who had called themselves the advocates of colonial freedom, but who had voted for the Bill at the same time that they denounced it as one of a tyrannous tendency, and who had been dragged through a great deal while following the Government through the various stages of the Bill—to fall back upon their original principles, and support the Motion of the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford for the suspension of the Bill, in order to afford time for obtaining information on the subject.
§ MR. DIVETT
believed that the colonists of South Australia were most anxious that the Bill should be passed in its present shape, and would, therefore, cordially support the Motion for its third reading. Numerous attempts had been made to impede the progress of the Bill by Members of the Colonial Reform Association, who had spoken so often on the subject that other hon. Members had had but little chance of addressing the House; and he could only characterise their efforts as impracticable attempts to unite extreme Radicalism with extreme Toryism. It had been said by more than one hon. Member, that land could not be obtained in the Australian colonies under 1l, per acre: such, however, was not the case; and it would be seen from returns laid before the House, that land had been sold at prices much below 1422 that sum. Nothing could be more satisfactory than the working of the Land Act in South Australia. In his opinion, the colonies were greatly indebted to the Government for their perseverance in carrying through this Bill. This was the third Session in which it had been under the consideration of the House, and he should give it his support, believing that it would give satisfaction to the great body of the colonists.
§ MR. STANFORD
regretted that he was not able to vote in favour of the Amendment proposed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford. He should regret very much to see this country give up all control over the waste lands in the colonies, because, in his opinion, much benefit was derived from the opportunities afforded us by those waste lands of sending out our surplus population. With regard to the veto exercised by the Crown on measures passed in the colonial legislature, he thought that the right hon. Gentleman had been most unfortunate in the two instances which he had selected. If the Bill to allow the mortgaging of the wool of sheep had not received the veto of the Crown, it would have proved fatal to the interests of the colony; and Ministers advised the Crown to assent to the Rebellion Losses Bill, on the ground that it was supported by a large majority in Canada. No one could say that there had been any tyrannical exercise of the power of the Crown in those cases, and therefore he was by no means convinced by the right hon. Gentleman's arguments of the propriety of voting for his Amendment. The arguments used by the hon. and learned Member for Sheffield were of a different character. The hon. and learned Gentleman objected to the Bill because it did not preserve a proper analogy between the constitution of Australia and the constitution of this country, He recollected, however, a time when the hon. and learned Gentleman represented himself as a Diogenes searching in vain for the British constitution; and he was, consequently, rather astonished to find him objecting to this Bill on the ground that the constitution which it gave was not analogous to that British constitution which he was unable to find. The hon. and learned Gentleman's objections were merely theoretical, and he never addressed himself to the Amendment at all. Not having heard, therefore, any reasons which were sufficient to induce him to vote for the 1423 Amendment, he should support the third reading of the Bill, although he did not think it a perfect measure.
§ MR. MACGREGOR
, though not content with many of the provisions of the Bill, yet looking to the evil of further delay, and considering the good that it contained, he would support it, that it might be sent out to the colonies at once. If the Bill were to be a final measure, like the constitution given to the American colonies, he should not give it his assent; but seeing that it left so much to the colonists themselves, and having confidence in the noble Lord at the head of the Government, that he would not deny to the colonists any measure which appeared to them to be practical, he saw no reason for rejecting the Bill. With respect to the local affairs of the colonies, he thought the Colonial Office ought to leave to the colonists themselves the management of all those concerns which were of a peculiarly local character; but he would make some exceptions to these. He would not allow the colonies to impose heavy or restrictive duties on goods imported into their own territories either from the home country or a foreign country, or from one colony to another; and the various matters included in the schedules of the Bill he would leave to the colonists themselves to regulate; and with respect to salaries, while he would leave the salaries of the governor and the chief justice a matter of arrangement for the Home Government, he would leave all other public salaries to the management of the colonies. He considered also that some alteration should be made in the price of laud in those colonies, which was so high that it drove many to the United States who would otherwise proceed to Australia.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 226; Noes 128: Majority 98.
|List of the AYES.|
|Abdy, Sir T. N.||Berkeley, Adm.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Berkeley, hon. H. F.|
|Adair, R. A. S.||Berkeley, C. L. G.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Bernal, R.|
|Alcock, T.||Birch, Sir T. B.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Blackall, S. W.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Bouverie, hon. E. P.|
|Armstrong, Sir A.||Boyle, hon. Col.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Bramston, T. W.|
|Bagshaw, J.||Brand, T.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Brocklehurst, J.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F. T.||Brockman, E. D.|
|Barnard, E. G.||Brotherton, J.|
|Bass, M. T.||Brown, W.|
|Browne, R. D.||Henry, A.|
|Burke, Sir. T. J.||Heyworth, L.|
|Busfield, W.||Hobhouse, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Cardwell, E.||Hodges, T. L.|
|Carter, J. B.||Hodges, T. T.|
|Cayley, E. S.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Howard, hon. C. W. G.|
|Childers, J. W.||Howard, P. H.|
|Clay, J.||Hume, J.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Humphery, Ald.|
|Clerk, rt. hon. Sir G.||Hutchins, E. J.|
|Clifford, H. M.||Hutt, W.|
|Cobden, R.||Jervis, Sir J.|
|Cockburn, A. J. E.||Keogh, W.|
|Collins, W.||Kershaw, J.|
|Colvile, C. R.||King, hon. P. J. L.|
|Cowan, C.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Lascelles, hon. W. S.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Lemon, Sir C.|
|Crawford, W. S.||Loch, J.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Locke, J.|
|Cubitt, W.||M'Cullagh, W. T.|
|Dalrymple, Capt.||Macgregor, J.|
|Dashwood, Sir G. H.||Mahon, The O'Gorman|
|Davie, Sir H. R. F.||Mangles, R. D.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Martin, C. W.|
|Divett, E.||Martin, S.|
|Drummond, H.||Matheson, J.|
|Duff, G. S.||Matheson, Col.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Duncan, Visct.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Duncan, G.||Moffatt, G.|
|Duncuft, J.||Monsell, W.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Moore, G. H.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Morgan, H. K. G.|
|Dunne, Col.||Morison, Sir W.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Morris, D.|
|Ellis, J.||Mostyn, hon. E. M. L.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Mowatt, F.|
|Evans, Sir D. L.||Mulgrave, Earl of|
|Evans, J.||Muntz, G. F.|
|Evans, W.||Mure, Col.|
|Ewart, W.||Norreys, Lord|
|Fagan, W.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Ferguson, Col.||O'Connell, M.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||O'Flaherty, A.|
|FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W.||Ogle, S. C. H.|
|Foley, J. H. H.||Ord, W.|
|Fordyce, A. D.||Osborne, R.|
|Forster, M.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Freestun, Col.||Parker, J.|
|French, F.||Patten, J. W.|
|Glyn, G. C.||Pechell, Sir G. B.|
|Grace, O. D. J.||Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.|
|Graham, rt. hon. Sir J.||Pelham, hon. D. A.|
|Granger, T. C.||Perfect, R.|
|Greene, J.||Peto, S. M.|
|Greene, T.||Pigott, F.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Pilkington, J.|
|Grey, R. W.||Pinney, W.|
|Grosvenor, Lord R.||Plowden, W. H. C.|
|Grosvenor, Earl||Plumptre, J. P.|
|Harris, R.||Power, Dr.|
|Hastie, A.||Powlett, Lord W.|
|Hatchell, J.||Price, Sir R.|
|Hawes, B.||Raphael, A.|
|Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.||Rawdon, Col.|
|Headlam, T. E.||Reid, Col.|
|Heald, J.||Reynolds, J.|
|Heathcoat, J.||Ricardo, J. L.|
|Heneage, G. H. W.||Ricardo, O.|
|Heneage, E.||Rice, E. R.|
|Rich, H.||Tenison, E. K.|
|Robartes, T. J. A.||Thicknesse, R. A.|
|Roche, E. B.||Thompson, Col.|
|Romilly, Col.||Thornely, T.|
|Romilly, Sir J.||Townshend, Capt.|
|Rumbold, C. E.||Tufnell, H.|
|Russell, Lord J.||Tynte, Col. C. J. K.|
|Russell, F. C. H.||Vane, Lord H.|
|Rutherfurd, A.||Verney, Sir H.|
|Salwey, Col.||Villiers, hon. C.|
|Scrope, G. P.||Vivian, J. H.|
|Scully, F.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Seymour, Lord||Walter, J.|
|Shafto, R. D.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.||Wawn, J. T.|
|Sheridan, R. B.||Wilcox, B. M.|
|Smith, J. A.||Williams, J.|
|Smith, J. B.||Willyams, H.|
|Somers, J. P.||Williamson, Sir H.|
|Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.||Wilson, J.|
|Spearman, H. J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Stanford, J. F.||Wood, W. P.|
|Stansfield, W. R. C.||Wrightson, W. B.|
|Stanton, W. H.||Wyvill, M.|
|Stuart, Lord D.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||TELLERS.|
|Talbot, J. H.||Hill, Lord M.|
|Tancred, H. W.||Bellew, R. M.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Evelyn, W. J.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Farnham, E. B.|
|Arkwright, G.||Farrer, J.|
|Bailey, J.||Fellowes, E.|
|Baillie, H. J.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Bankes, G.||Floyer, J.|
|Baring, hon. F.||Forbes, W.|
|Bateson, T.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Bentinck, Lord H.||Galway, Visct.|
|Beresford, W.||Gooch, E. S.|
|Berkeley, hon. G. F.||Goulburn, rt. hon. H.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Granby, Marq. of|
|Best, J.||Grogan, E.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Gwyn, H.|
|Blair, S.||Hale, R. B.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Halsey, T. P.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Boyd, J.||Herbert, H. A.|
|Brisco, M.||Herbert, rt. hon. S.|
|Broadley, H.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Bromley, R.||Hildyard, T. B. T.|
|Brooke, Sir A. B.||Hodgson, W. N.|
|Campbell, hon. W. F.||Hood, Sir A.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Hope, H. T.|
|Castlereagh, Visct.||Hope, A.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Hornby, J.|
|Christopher, R. A.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Christy, S.||Jones, Capt.|
|Clive, H. B.||Law, hon. C. E.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Lennox, Lord A. G.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Lewisham, Visct.|
|Codrington, Sir W.||Lindsay, hon. Col.|
|Cole, hon. H. A.||Lockhart, A. E.|
|Corry, rt. hon. H. L.||Long, W.|
|Deedes, W.||Mackenzie, W. F.|
|Denison, J. E.||Manners, Lord C. S.|
|Disraeli, B.||Manners, Lord G.|
|Dod, J. W.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Drummond, H. H.||Meux, Sir H.|
|Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.||Miles, W.|
|Dundas, G.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|East, Sir J. B.||Morgan, O.|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Mundy, W.||Stuart, H.|
|Naas, Lord||Stuart, J.|
|Napier, J.||Sullivan, M.|
|Neeld, J.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|O'Brien, Sir L.||Taylor, T. E.|
|O'Connor, F.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Oswald, A.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Palmer, R.||Thornhill, G.|
|Portal, M.||Tollemache, J.|
|Prime, R.||Turner, G. J.|
|Rendlesham, Lord||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Vivian, J. E.|
|Sandars, G.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Scholefield, W.||Waddington, H. S.|
|Scott, hon. F.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Simeon, J.||Welby, G. E.|
|Smith, rt. hon. R. V.||Wortley, rt. hon. J. S.|
|Smyth, J. G.||Yorke, hon. E. T.|
|Smollett, A.||Young, Sir J.|
|Stanley, E.||Gladstone, W. E.|
|Stephenson, R.||Roebuck, J. A.|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read 3°.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
then moved, pursuant to notice, the insertion of a Clause to enable the several Legislatures of the colonies in British North America to establish a General Federative Assembly for those colonies. It was his opinion that those colonies, if they were left in their present condition, would, before long, become annexed to the great federal union of the United States, already quite extensive enough. The only way to prevent this mishap would be to create a national feeling among them; and this object he believed his clause would effect.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
must object to the introduction of the clause. He did so without entering into the question whether or not it would be wise to form a federative assembly in our North American colonies; he considered it desirable to keep the present Bill limited to its stated object—the formation of federative assemblies in our South Australian colonies; and he therefore objected to the introduction into it of a provision relating to North America.
§ MR. ROEBUCK
said, he should not press his Motion to a division. He was content on the present occasion with recording his opinion.
§ Motion made, and Question, "That the said Clause be now brought up, put, and negatived."
§ MR. AGLIONBY
proposed a clause, providing for representative institutions and the means of self-government within the islands of New Zealand.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that the Government had very recently received despatches from the Governor of New Zealand, 1427 in which he said, that at present the state of the colony was most satisfactory, and that he did not see any reason for continuing the suspension of the free institutions sanctioned by Parliament. At the same time there were certain points in respect of which the Government were desirous to amend the New Zealand constitution. There would not be time during the present Session to legislate on that question, as those points required most careful consideration; but in the course of the next year he hoped to submit to the House a measure on the subject.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the said Clause be now brought up.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. J. E. DENISON moved, as an Amendment, that the legislature of each colony should have the management of the waste lands within the limits of the colony.
Page 8, line 35, after the word 'respectively,' to insert the words, 'And for selling, demising, granting licences for occupation of, or otherwise disposing of waste lands of the Crown within the limits of the colony, and for the appropriation of the money to arise from such disposition of such lands, anything in an Act of the sixth year of Her Majesty, intituled, 'An Act for regulating the sale of waste lands belonging to the Crown in the Australian colonies,' or in an Act of the tenth year of the reign of Her Majesty, to amend such an Act, and to make further provision for the management of such land, to the contrary notwithstanding; Provided always, that one equal half part of such gross proceeds shall be, and the same is hereby appropriated towards the expense of removal from the United Kingdom to the colony wherein such revenue accrued of emigrants from the United Kingdom.'
§ MR. HAWES
said, that undoubtedly the question raised by this Amendment was of the greatest importance. The question, however, of land sales had been investigated by a Select Committee, and the Land Sales Act was the result of that investigation. The object of the Amendment was to transfer land in the colonies from imperial control. Now, the Legislative Council of South Australia had objected to any interference whatever with the Land Sales Act. The stockholders in New South Wales had distinctly requested of the Government to adhere to the policy of the same Act; and a petition had been presented to that House praying that the Act in question would be maintained. Therefore he thought that it would be highly inexpedient to depart from the policy of an Act, under which nearly 2,000,000l. sterling 1428 had been expended in emigration and in public works. The land fund of New South Wales had been of late years gradually increasing, which showed that attention was still directed to colonisation. The Governor, in his last despatch, informed them that the Legislative Council of New South Wales objected only to the price of land, and not to the manner in which it was sold, or to the control of the Executive Government. He hoped, therefore, that the hon. Member would withdraw his Amendment thus incidentally introduced.
§ MR. HUME
said, the subject was of too great importance to be disposed of incidentally. It ought to be coupled with the question of how far the colonies shall pay their own expenses. A substantive Motion ought to be made on the subject, and when brought forward he would be prepared to vote for giving the sale of the waste lands to the colonists themselves, so soon as they could fairly undertake it.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, the principle of 20s. an acre had been adopted because the South Australian Company had obtained land at that price, and did not wish to sell it for less. That was the reason why an Act of Parliament was passed raising the price of land in the colonies from 5s. to 20s. an acre. During six years prior to the Act, the land sales brought 800,000l.
§ Question put, "That those words he there inserted."
§ The House divided:—Ayes 82; Noes 222: Majority 140.
|List of the AYES.|
|Adair, H. E.||Cocks, T. S.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Cole, hon. H. A.|
|Alexander, N.||Deedes, W.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Disraeli, B.|
|Arkwright, G.||Dod, J. W.|
|Bagot, hon. W.||Drummond, H.|
|Baldock, E. H.||Duckworth, Sir J. T. B.|
|Bankes, G.||Dundas, G.|
|Beresford, W.||Estcourt, J. B. B.|
|Bernard, Visct.||Farrer, J.|
|Blackstone, W. S.||Filmer, Sir E.|
|Blair, S.||Forbes, W.|
|Booth, Sir R. G.||Forester, hon. G. C. W.|
|Brisco, M.||Fox, S. W. L.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Galway, Visct.|
|Cabbell, B. B.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Carew, W. H. P.||Gore, W. R. O.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Grogan, E.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Clive, H. B.||Hamilton, J. H.|
|Cobbold, J. C.||Heneage, G. H. W.|
|Hood, Sir A.||Portal, M.|
|Hornby, J.||Prime, R.|
|Hudson, G.||Rendlesham, Lord|
|Johnstone, Sir J.||Repton, G. W. J.|
|Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.||Scholefield, W.|
|Knight, F. W.||Sibthorp, Col.|
|Knox, Col.||Simeon, J.|
|Lennox, Lord A. G.||Smollett, A.|
|Lewisham, Visct.||Somerset, Capt.|
|Lockhart, A. E.||Stanley, hon. E. H.|
|Mackenzie, W. F.||Stuart, H.|
|Manners, Lord J.||Sturt, H. G.|
|Meux, Sir H.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Miles, P. W. S.||Thompson, Ald.|
|Miles, W.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Mullings, J. R.||Vyse, R. H. R. H.|
|Mundy, W.||Walpole, S. H.|
|Naas, Lord||Willoughby, Sir H.|
|O'Connell, M. J.||TELLERS.|
|Packe, C. W.||Scott, F.|
|Palmer, R.||Denison, J. E.|
§ Bill passed.