HC Deb 07 February 1832 vol 10 cc32-3
Mr. Hume,

in moving for a copy of the Insolvent Debtors' Act, as applied to New South Wales, and also the copy of the instructions in connection therewith, sent out to General Darling by his Majesty's Secretary of State, said, that before he entered upon the subject of his Motion he must complain of the many improper appointments which had been made in our civil and military offices in the West Indies, which brought discredit on the Government, and did great mischief to the colonies. He had known many instances of persons who were shunned in the country, and yet obtained excellent appointments in our foreign possessions. He had now in his hand a list of five persons holding public situations in New South Wales who had taken the benefit of the Insolvent Act passed for that Colony, and yet refused to pay their creditors a single shilling. A certain portion of their salaries ought to have been made over to their creditors, or the Act sanctioned such injustice as never should have been permitted, although he was happy to say the present Government had determined to put a stop to such proceedings. He had received the earliest attention from the noble Secretary for the colonies, and on this part of the subject would add no more. However, he was here bound to say, that a brother of General Darling's had left a pamphlet at his house, which contained the grossest allegations against him. Such charges he did not mind, because at the proper season, he should be ready to prove the truth of everything which he had stated. As long as the Press was free, the truth would come out. He had used the Press for that purpose himself on more than one occasion, and he would allow the exercise of the same privilege to others.

Lord Howick

said, the Insolvent Act in New South Wales was similar to that of England; and the former was passed in consequence of a season of great distress, which had affected all persons engaged in speculations and public offices as well as others, but as soon as it was known to Lord Goderich that officers of Government had taken the benefit of it, he felt that it was not for the honour or advantage of Government, that after a declaration of insolvency, an individual should continue to hold office, and he accordingly wrote to the Governor of the colony, intimating that any persons taking advantage of the Act of Insolvency, must consider themselves as no longer in his Majesty's service, and that the Governor, must fill up such places as well as he could until other officers could be appointed. Of General Darling he would only say, that he had not been recalled, although it was intimated to him, as well as to the Governors of all other colonies, that their appointments should not be continued beyond six years, agreeable to a regulation made by the late Mr. Huskisson. This intimation was far from a recal of General Darling, who, in all the party conflicts in New South Wales, had given no reason to the Government for changing his appointment.

Mr. Dixon

said, no season of distress could justify public officers in taking the benefit of an Insolvent Act. They ought not to have engaged in speculation, every government should be very careful in its selection of officers for colonies, for being at a distance from the seat of Government they had great advantages from their authority in any contest with the settler. He did not say, that had been so in the present instance, but the case was open to such a suspicion. He knew nothing of the case, except from ex-parte information, but that bore out all that had been said to the disadvantage of the Governor.

Returns ordered.