, as his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies was present, requested an answer to the question which he had put on a former evening, respecting the proclamation issued by Sir W. Colebrooke, Governor of Antigua, calling on the freeholders of 3 the respective islands under his government to assemble, and to select five individuals for each island, who should meet together at St. John's, Antigua, for the purpose of taking into consideration, and framing laws and ordinances for all the Caribbee Islands. This proceeding was resorted to under the alleged authority of two acts of the Colonial Assembly, the one passed in 1694, the other in the reign of Queen Anne, in 1705, which, it was asserted, invested the Governor with due authority to take that step. He believed, however, that this power was now exercised for the first time, and the acts referred to were supposed to have, become obsolete. Was that course adopted in conformity with instructions sent out by Government, and if not was there any objection, if a correspondence had taken place on the subject, to laying it before the House?
§ Lord Glenelg
said, that last year, Sir W. Colebrooke, the Governor of the Leeward Islands, had expressed his opinion, that it would be advisable to form a general legislative assembly for the Leeward Islands, especially as there were two Acts of 1694, and 1705, under which an assembly of that description might be called together; and as, in 1798, an assembly had been summoned, under the Act of 1705, for the purpose of considering laws with respect to the condition of the slaves, he on application being made to the Colonial-office, stated it to be his opinion that such a plan would be advantageous; but he directed the Governor, in the first place, to satisfy himself whether such a plan could be legally carried into effect, and whether it would be expedient to submit to such an assembly various questions of great magnitude which might affect particular islands. In answer to that suggestion, the governor stated, that he had taken the opinion of the law officers on the subject, and they held, that the proceeding would be perfectly legal, and that he was convinced that it would be a most advisable measure. In consequence, on the 21st of December, Sir W. Colebrooke, sent his proclamation to the different islands, preparatory to the formation of the projected assembly. But, as the legislature and council of Antigua refused to act, and put their negative on the proposition, there was an end of the proceeding. Up to this moment, the council and assembly having refused to 4 act, the plan had not been carried into effect.