§ Sir William Molesworth
* No Member of this House ever more required indulgence than I do on this occasion. The subject which I have undertaken to bring before the House, is of such great importance, and in some respects of so delicate a nature, that I cannot think of it without being forcibly, not to say fearfully, reminded of my own inability to do justice to it—of my inexperience and want of weight in the House. Such a topic in the hands of one who had acquired personal influence with the House, might well stimulate the Speaker to exertions which should add to the respect already felt for him; but with me the importance and difficulty of the subject have a contrary effect, and only remind me how necessary it is to bespeak a kind allowance for my deficiencies. It is with this feeling of apprehension for myself that I am anxious to disclaim certain opinions with regard to colonies, which, I know not why, have been attributed to me, and which are, justly in my humble judgment, unpopular in this House and in the country. I allude to the opinions of those who think that the best thing, that a mother country can do with her colonies, is to get rid of them. The saying, "Emancipate your Colonies," means with those who employ it most emphatically, a great deal more than the mere words convey. It is used, by some at least, to express an opinion that a country like this would be better without colonies, and even that it would have been better for us if we bad never had colonies. From this sentiment, notwithstanding my respect for* From a corrected Report.477 some who entertain it, I venture to disagree altogether. What! are we to repent of having planted the thirteen English colonies of North America, which have expanded into one of the greatest, most prosperous, and happiest nations that the world ever saw? Are we to regret, that the more northern deserts of the American continent, which constitute her Majesty's possessions in that quarter of the globe, are in the course of being reclaimed, cultivated, and filled with inhabitants of our race, whose industry finds an ample reward, and who, having wants like our own, require objects that are produced here, and thus furnish us with continually increasing markets in which to sell the produce of our domestic industry? Is it a pity that our numerous and profitable markets in the West Indies should ever have existed? Should we despond over our mighty empire in the East, which has brought to us—let those deny it who would deny the shining of the sun at noon—an incalculable tribute of wealth? Is our extraordinary trade with the infant colonies of Australasia, an evil or a good? Sir, for my part, I can see no necessary evil, but do see vast and inevitable good, in the possession of colonies. And this is no new opinion of mine, formed by the occasion. Will the House, kindly taking into consideration the disadvantages under which I labour, in having been supposed to agree with those who cry "Emancipate, your Colonies," permit me to offer some proofs (and it shall be done very briefly) of the degree to which I have been misrepresented or misunderstood? So long as nearly five years ago—a long period in a short life—I took an active part in the foundation of a colony in which I feel a deep interest on public grounds, and have proved it by incurring personal risk as a trustee responsible for the safety of considerable funds belonging to the colony. During last year (long before the revolt in Canada had excited here a new interest in colonies) I had the honour to become one, along with my hon. Friend (if he will allow me call him so) the Member for Thetford, and my hon. Friends the Members for Lambeth and Caithness, of a Colonial Association whose opinion on the advantages which this country has derived from the possession of colonies was publicly expressed in the following terms, in which I did then, and do now, most cordially agree.
478 "At the time when Elizabeth granted to the brother-in-law of Raleigh the first charter for British colonization, the wants of the people, and even of the Sovereign of England, were confined to objects such as would now be considered fitting for only a half-civilised race. The Queen herself trod upon reeds, fastened her clothes with wooden skewers, and fed upon beef, salt fish, and beer. The richer classes could expend their income from land only in a rude hospitality, which consisted but of quantity without variety, and had no other effect than to support retainers in a rough plenty. Nothing could well be coarser than the food and clothing of the great body of the people. But along with the emigration of Englishmen to distant lands, new productions were discovered and sent home in exchange for products of domestic industry. It was then that we began to be a manufacturing and commercial nation. Who shall estimate the influence upon the industry, not only of England, but of Europe, of the cultivation of sugar, tobacco, and cotton, in America? These are but a few of the many new productions arising from colonization which have gradually, through the stimulus of new desires, so improved the useful arts in England (that of agriculture included), that our population has continually increased, with a continual decrease—the grand test of social advancement—in the proportion of hands employed in raising food for the whole society. Bristol, with her West-India trade, Liverpool, with her trans-Atlantic commerce, the modern towns of Lancashire, with their manufactures of the raw produce of America—what are these but manifest results of British colonization, Ships, colonies, and commerce!' It is to these that England is chiefly indebted for her pre-eminent wealth, and even for the greatness of our domestic numbers. The old fashion of colonizing was, therefore, a very good one for this country."
The noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, the hon. Baronet who may be said to represent in this House the Colonial Department, and the right hon. Baronet opposite, know how anxious an interest I, (as Chairman of a Select Committee of this House, whose labours are not yet concluded), have taken in the affairs of New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land; not confining myself (as I am sure 479 the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, will bear me witness) to the subject of transportation, which is the question specifically before the Committee, but sparing no pains to discover by what means the remarkable productive and commercial prosperity of those colonies may be preserved, when the main cause of that prosperity, a constant and increasing supply of convict labour, shall be abolished for very shame at the continuance of the moral horrors of transportation. Further proofs, Sir, might be adduced, but these, I trust, are enough; more especially as one of the complaints I shall presently have to make against Lord Glenelg is, that practically, in one important respect at least, he has sided with those who deny that it is advantageous to preserve and add to our colonies.
That opinion, Sir, with respect to the disadvantage of having colonies, appears to me to have arisen from the want of a distinction, to which I am desirous to draw the attention of some of my hon. Friends, and especially the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Dundee. The right hon. Baronet, in his work on Financial Reform, has said, "The possession of colonies affords no advantage which could not be obtained by commercial intercourse with independent states." In like manner Mr. Bentham had said, fifty years before, "There is no necessity for governing or possessing any island in order that we may sell merchandise there." Who can doubt the truth of these propositions, so far as they go? But they do not embrace half the subject; they suppose, or take for granted, that which never existed. They suppose the existence, and the continual increase, of a number of foreign states, whose inhabitants are as skilful in production, and as desirous to obtain British goods, as if they were of our own race and had recently emanated from this country. The doctrine presumes that we could have had the same trade as at present with foreign lands, even though none of our people had gone forth to settle there; that all the countries which we have peopled and converted into growing markets for the sale of our domestic produce would have been just as useful to us, in a commercial point of view, if they had remained "independent states." The independent state of New Holland before we had planted colonies there! The independent state or people of America 480 amongst whom William Penn and his followers settled! Is not Japan, with which we have no trade, one of the right hon. Baronet's "independent states?" Have we such a trade, or anything like such a trade, with Java as we should have had if we had retained colonial possession of that most fertile country? The doctrine of the right hon. Baronet rests on the assumption that the world abounds in "independent states," able and willing to purchase British goods, and that whatever may be the increase of domestic capital and production requiring new markets, such markets will spring up, just at the moment we want them, in the form of "independent states." Has that assumption any foundation in fact or reason? I cannot help thinking that it has none—that at all events it is greatly to the advantage of a country like this to plant Colonies, and thereby create markets where none exist or are likely to exist by any other means; and that this is pre-eminently the policy of such a country as England, whose power of producing wealth by means of manufacture has no other limit than the extent or number of the markets in which she can dispose of manufactured goods. But supposing this admitted, and even, admitting another great advantage from colonizing—namely, the outlet which it provides by emigration for a surplus population—still the hon. Gentlemen who agree with the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Dundee, may contend that there can be no advantage in governing colonies; that the sooner we convert them into "independent states," the better for them and for us. The sooner the better! but when? Should we, for example, now, at once, confer independence on the last colony founded by England, with its 3,000 inhabitants, giving up to that handful of people the disposal, without the slightest regard to this country, of an enormous extent of unoccupied land, and thus enabling them, if they pleased, to put an end to the whole system of colonization established there, and even to become a slave-holding state, as they would be strongly tempted to do, if they did put an end to that system? Or should we not rather maintain that act of the Imperial Legislature, which gives to the labouring classes of this country, by providing them with a continually increasing means of emigration, from low wages to high wages, a property, a sort of inheritance, in the 481 extensive wastes of that Colony? Should we allow the few who have departed, to forbid the departure of the many who would follow if we do not abandon our dominion over this Colony? Then, again, would it be right to emancipate Upper Canada, where, according to all appearances, the great majority of the people wish to preserve their allegiance to the British Crown? Surely, Sir, the emancipation of Colonies must be a question of time—a question in each case, of special expediency. Might we not say, too, that it is a question which would seldom or never arise between a colony and its mother country, if all Colonies were well governed—not less well governed than were the British Colonies of New England before our attack on their chartered rights of local self-government, when they were as loyal, not to say even more loyal—more devoted in their allegiance—than any other portion of the empire?
And this brings me, Sir, to what I imagine has given occasion to the unreasonable cry of "Emancipate your Colonies." In our possession of Colonies there have been, and still are, abuses and evils enough. Surely it was an abuse of colonial possession to appoint Sir Francis Head, Governor of Upper Canada; to give him an opportunity for creating a rebellion by encouraging preparations for it with "folded arms." And undoubtedly the present state of Lower Canada, the necessity of setting up a garrison Government there, of bestowing autocratic powers on an individual (however worthy of confidence he may be)—this surely is an evil arising out of colonial possession. The Canada timber monopoly is a good example both of an abuse and an evil in colonial possession. It would be easy to multiply examples under each head; but how long soever the catalogue should be, would it, I ask, be more striking than the one comprehensive, all-pervading abuse and evil, of subjecting some forty or fifty separate communities to the rule (I will presently show how it is necessarily irresponsible) of one so incompetent to discharge such arduous and important functions as the present notoriously incompetent Colonial Minister? The abuses and evils of colonization—this is indeed a fertile theme, but it is one upon which I am not inclined to dwell now, except for the purpose of declaring, that in my humble opinion, comparing the abuses and evils with the 482 uses and advantages the balance has been, and is, greatly in favour of the sees and advantages. Those who cry "Emancipate your Colonies," appear to have seen nothing but the abuses and evils; they have imagined that colonies and jobbing, colonial trade and colonial monopoly, were synonymous terms. Nor is this to be wondered at, perhaps; for it should be recollected, that until of late years, it was generally and seriously believed, that a colonial trade was of no value, unless it was in some way or another a monopoly trade; and secondly, that colonial misgovernment has been far greater and far more obvious in the present generation than it was before. I mean by this to infer that the most enlightened men are apt—and by reason of their hostility to the old system of colonial monopoly, to undervalue and disparage colonial trade itself, confounding the uses with the abuses, which last had got full possession of their minds; and in the next place, that since we lost, by maltreating them, our colonies in North America, and since we set up in Downing-street a Colonial-office to conquer and to govern the colonies of other nations; since, in a word, we abandoned the old system of chartered colonies and adopted the new one of crown colonies; since we exchanged our ancient and successful system of colonizing—that of allowing to the colony a large share of local self-government—since we have pursued the Spanish system of governing in all things from a distance by a Council of the Indies in Downing-street, the government of our colonies has been far more objectionable, more ignorant, necessarily so on account of the great distance between the subjects and the seat of all authority; more oppressive, insomuch as local power has been confided to strangers who have no permanent interest in, or sympathy with, the colony; and, lastly, more injurious to us at home, by furnishing a larger amount of Government patronage, or, in other words, larger means of Parliamentary corruption. A new dislike to the old system of colonial trade, and an impression made by the new system of colonial government, under which the evils and abuses necessarily belonging to all governments from a distance had increased and become more obvious—these I believe to be at the bottom of the opinion which condemns, as mischievous and absurd, the old fashioned, 483 but (as it appears to me) sound opinion which is expressed by the cry "Ships, colonies, and commerce." Instead of wishing to separate from our colonies, or to avert the establishment of new ones, I would say distinguish between the evil and the good; remove the evil, but preserve the good; do not "Emancipate your Colonies," but multiply them, and improve—reform your system of colonial government. Sir, I yield to no man in this House in a desire to preserve and extend the colonial empire of England. I wish that our connexion with the United States had not been dissolved; because one may suppose, that if it had been preserved, slavery in America would have been by this time abolished, and the American tariff would never have existed. While, on the other hand, I rejoice at the separation, it is only because I prefer the lesser evil; believing that the colonists, after our tyrannical attack on their local constitutional rights, had no choice but between independence and abject submission to our power; and that the triumph of our tyranny in America would have been a misfortune to the world. It is. Sir, on the same principle, while I wish that our connexion with Lower Canada were more intimate and more friendly than it has ever been, that I hope, that the people of that country will either recover the constitution which we have violated, or become wholly independent of us. However strong my impressions may be of the advantages of colonial empire, yet I sincerely trust that I shall ever sympathize with a people struggling for their just rights, and heartily wish them success.
Sir, there is another disadvantage under which I labour, and from which I hope with the permission of the House, to relieve myself in a few words. Knowing how distasteful this motion is to some hon. Members, especially on my own side of the House—aware, of course, of the difficulty which they will have to refute of even to deny a proposition which ever one who hears it must acknowledge to bi perfectly true; I expect (unless they should take the more prudent course of silence, relying on the right hon. Baronet's protection and guardianship when it shall come to the vote), I expect that they may refer to the general political opinions which I have avowed in this House and elsewhere, and may endeavour to 484 represent this motion as having democratic objects and tendencies. This would be a way of making the motion unpopular in this House. I will, Sir, however, endeavour to prevent the success of such a manuvre. I declare, then, that in bringing the subject of our colonial administration, and of the qualifications, or rather disqualifications of the Colonial Minister before this House, I have had no regard whatever to any abstract opinions of my own with reference to the best form of government for an old and much-advanced country like this—that I can hardly conceive a greater absurdity than the proposal to set up democratic institutions in all our colonies—amongst the ignorant and superstitious millions of India—amongst our negro fellow-subjects in the West Indies, or the convict and once convict inhabitants of New South Wales, or amongst the motley and not half or even quarter civilized population of our territories in South Africa, or even among the labouring rustics for whom Parliament has provided the means of settling in South Australia, most of whom could not tell you the meaning of the word "democratic" or the word "institution." Sir, I am convinced that the form of government which a colony should possess must depend upon the special circumstances of the case, and that the sort of constitution which was very good for one colony might be very bad for another: that some colonies absolutely require a despotic authority; that for others an aristocratic power may be most suitable; and I doubt much whether amongst all our colonies there be more than two or three in which I should not be very much afraid to try the experiment of a pure democracy. What is the nature of our government of 100,000,000 of people in India? Fortunately it is not of the nature of colonial-office government, but it is anything but democratic. Yet I know not if a better could be devised for the people who are subject to it. What would be the state of India if all the public affairs of that country were confided to the neglect of the Colonial-office? I hope some hon. Gentleman connected with India will tell us how he should like such an arrangement. The House will, therefore, see that the present motion has no concern with, or relation to, my opinions on government in general, whatever they may be; that the motion is no more 485 open to the objection of having democratic objects and tendencies than if it had been proposed by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, and seconded by the right hon. Baronet, the Member for the University of Oxford.
Sir, it may be said that I have singled out the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial-office for an invidious and spiteful attack; that he is not more incompetent than some of his colleagues; that his office has been filled by as incompetent men; that the whole Cabinet are responsible for neglect of duty in each department of the State; and that the censure of this House should be directed against them as a body. I am not sure, Sir, but that there may be some force in the last objection to my motion. Let me, however, explain to the House the reasons which have induced me to call upon them for an expression of want of confidence in Lord Glenelg alone. The Colonial-office differs materially front every other branch of the Government. All the other departments of the State administer for us, who are represented in this House; the Colonial-office administers for the colonies, not one of which is represented in any assembly to which that office is in any degree responsible. The other branches of Government administer only, they do not legislate; but the Colonial-office, besides having to conduct an administration comprising all the branches of government, civil, military, financial, judicial and ecclesiastical—an administration rendered still more difficult by the various institutions, languages, laws, customs, wants, and interests of a great variety of separate and widely different communities—besides all this, which the whole administrative force of this country could hardly manage well—besides an administration more varied and difficult than that of this country, of one race, language, and law besides this infinite variety of executive functions (as if the executive duties were not sufficiently complicated and incongruous) the Colonial-office has further, to legislate more or less for all the colonies, and altogether for those colonies which have no representative assembly, by means either of instructions to governors, or of orders in council, or by appointing and instructing some or all of the branches of the colonial legislature. Such a complication of functions in a single office would be bad enough 486 if all the colonies were close together, and close to England. Let us recollect, however, how widely they are dispersed, and how far from Downing street is the colony which is nearest to England. As to most of them several months, and some of them a whole year, must elapse before a letter between the Government and one of its subjects can be answered by return of post. A petition arrives here; who is there to press its prayer on the attention of the Colonial Minister?—who is there to take care that it shall be even read by him? Whether he ever looks at it must depend on the degree of his diligence, and of his interest in the colony whence it comes. Orders dispatched hence should be adapted, not to the state of things which existed in the colony at the date of the Minister's last advices there from, but to that which he may conjecture will exist when his orders arrive. How can he fail to err without the highest sagacity and foresight? Besides, in many cases, the very subject of the letter, or petition, or remonstrance, may be worn out before he can even know of its existence. Whatever the difficulties, then, of both legislating and administering for so many different communities, all these are enhanced a thousandfold by the great distance between the subjects and the Government. Let us further reflect, Sir, that in addition to all these most arduous functions, we impose upon the Colonial-office no small portion of the task of suppressing the prosperous and increasing slave trade with Africa, and also a branch of criminal jurisprudence in the administration of a secondary punishment at the antipodes. Forgetting one-half of the duties of the Colonial-office, still it must be at once admitted, that the place of Colonial Minister should never be held but by a person in the very highest degree qualified for public affairs; by the most diligent, the wisest, the most careful and assiduous, the most active and energetic member of the Cabinet; that the Colonial Minister stands out from the rest of the Cabinet, overcharged with the most arduous duties, incurring obligations the most difficult to perform, eminently, might we not say, if we had any regard for our colonies, peculiarly subject to the interference of this House, and bound by every sense of public and private virtue, if he find himself incompetent to the task which he has rashly undertaken, to resign 487 his office into abler hands? I do not now speak of Lord Glenelg, but of any and every Colonial Minister. It is only on account of the peculiar nature of his office that censure of any incompetent individual who may fill it seems to me peculiarly the duty of this House: it is an office the performance of whose duties, depends far more than in any other branch of Government upon the qualities of the individual by whom the office is held. In every other department of the State the Minister is responsible to this House, where the representatives of conflicting interests have the strongest motives to keep anxious and vigilant watch over the details of his conduct, and unnecessary delay and inactivity are exposed to constant reproach. Though the Minister be not the most distinguished of Statesmen, nor possess personal qualities of a superior description, yet his crude and imperfect notions may be improved in this House by the suggestions of his Friends and the corrections of his opponents. This can seldom take place in colonial affairs, except where some grave and extraordinary event, such for instance as a rebellion in one of the Colonies, calls public attention to the subject. In ordinary cases this House, in which the Colonies have no direct representatives, and few persons thoroughly acquainted with the particulars of Colonial affairs, can exercise no control over the details of the Colonial-office. In the Cabinet, the affairs of the other departments of the State are more or less within the cognizance of all the members of the Cabinet, and each Minister, in his separate department, may be supposed to be responsible to the whole body; this cannot possibly be the case with regard to the Colonial Minister, whose department embraces all the branches of Government of our numerous and widely remote dependencies, with the details of whose affairs it is utterly impossible for his colleagues to be acquainted. Sometimes, indeed, we find that the head of another department comes down to this House, and makes a speech on colonial affairs; but every one who understands the subject, and listens to the discourse, can easily perceive that it is got up from a brief. In the Colonial-office, where it is so hard to do well, or even to avoid doing ill—over the details of which this House can exercise no control, in which, consequently, the Minister is completely irresponsible as to de- 488 tails, personal qualities are all in all. If Parliament will not alter the system which imposes so much upon one person—which gives to that person so great a power for good or evil, it is at least the duty of Parliament to take care that that office is not filled by one of the most incompetent members of the Government. I repeat that this motion is not directed against Lord Glenelg as Lord Glenelg; that it has no object of personal hostility against him; and if he appear to be singled out for attack from the rest of the Administration, that has occurred, not from any malignant or even ungenerous feeling towards him, but simply because the branch of Government at the head of which he has had the misfortune of being placed, is the only one which absolutely requires, for the decent performance of its duties, qualities which the noble Lord does not possess. I merely assume, Sir, for the present, that he does not possess them; I shall soon come to the proof of that part of the case.
But, on the other hand, there are hon. Members on this side of the House who may possibly object to an expression of a want of confidence in Lord Glenelg, on the ground, that if the House should agree to my motion, they would indirectly censure the Government of Lord Melbourne. Hon. Members may even say, that under the disguise of affirming a truism with regard to Lord Glenelg, I am endeavouring to undermine the Government, and, to use their own most patriotic phraseology, "let in the Tories." I at once admit, that the House cannot agree to my motion without censuring the whole Cabinet, who ought to be responsible, not for the particular acts or neglects of Lord Glenelg, but, for his continuance in office after the late conspicuous events have so amply demonstrated his incompetency; but I deny the supposed charge of disguise; and in order to satisfy the House that there is no disguise in the matter, I have no hesitation in declaring, that I for one should feel no regret if this motion should result in giving us a better Cabinet as well as a better Colonial Minister. Suppose the Cabinet dissolved by a vote of this House on colonial affairs, does it follow that the Tories would obtain power? It would not be as Tories, at all events. I do not believe, Sir, that we shall ever again have a government acting upon Tory principles, except under circumstances like the present, when a government professing liberality 489 adopts Tory principles in order to retain office. If the Tories were under the responsibility of office, they would be as liberal as the country; they would be controlled by the opposition, just as the present Government is controlled, the only diffeence being, that whereas the guiding opposition is at present Tory, it would then be liberal. That, Sir, would be better than the present state of things; and even better than that might happen, unless we are to conclude that the liberal party has been so degraded and weakened by its submission to the Tories, that her Majesty would find it impossible to form a vigorous and self-relying liberal administration, if the present Ministers were to let go their grasp of power. Sir, expecting that insidious motives should be imputed to me, I think it best frankly to state to the House what I feel about the Government; but let me hope that my frankness on this head will obtain for me the confidence of the House, when I declare, that in submitting this motion to them, I am no more actuated by hostility to the Ministry than by personal hostility to Lord Glenelg. I cannot be blind to the possible result of such a motion being carried; but, as far as I am concerned, such a result will be merely incidental or accidental. I have not had it in view—that is not my object. My only object, whatever may perchance or possibly happen besides, is to relieve the colonies from an imbecile and mischievous administration of their affairs—to bring before the House, at a moment when they will give attention to such a subject, the critical state of many of our colonies, in various parts of the world—and to establish, for a time at least, some sort of responsibility in the Colonial-office. Are these proper objects, supposing the proposition contained in my motion to be true? All turns, I think, upon the truth of that proposition.
Whether or not the proposition be true depends on the answer to certain questions:—Are not many of our colonies in various parts of the world in a condition which requires a more than usually wise and vigorous Colonial Minister? Does not the colonial empire at present exhibit peculiar difficulties and dangers? Is there not at this moment, more than at any previous time, a pressing necessity for placing at the head of colonial affairs a statesman on whose diligence, forethought, judgment, activity, and firmness this House and 490 the country may be able to rely? Is not the present Colonial Minister—has he not proved it by his acts—peculiarly unfit to deal with the peculiar difficulties belonging to the present state of the colonies? These are the questions which I beg of the House to examine and to decide upon; and I will now proceed to state the grounds upon which I am led to believe that the conscience of every Member of the House will answer every one of these questions in the affirmative.
In bringing before the House the critical condition of several of the colonies, and the peculiar neglect of that critical state by the present Colonial Minister, it matters but little with what Colony one should begin. Every quarter of the globe furnishes a case strongly illustrative of the positions contained in my motion. But we must commence somewhere. I will begin with a case as to which I can appeal for the confirmation of some of my statements to several hon. Gentlemen; amongst others to the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Newark, and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. During the last Session of the last Parliament, the House instituted an inquiry into the state of our penal Colonies in Australia. The Committee has been revived this Session. The disclosures made before the Committee represent a state of things which it was hard, even for those who heard the representation, to credit. Not that there could be any doubt either of the knowledge or of the veracity of the witnesses examined, but that they described a state of society, a degree of moral contamination, a condition of national infamy, so revolting, that one was loth to believe in the existence of such horrors. The evidence taken before the Committee of last year is in the possession of hon. Gentlemen. No one, I think, who has examined that evidence can doubt, that whatever have been the evils attending upon planting colonies with convicts, those evils have of late years greatly augmented, and have just now attained a pitch which requires some prompt, vigorous, and comprehensive remedy. Is not the right hon. Baronet opposite of this opinion? The first step to a remedy was ample inquiry. The House will perhaps imagine that the Colonial Minister had some part in the inquiry which has taken place; that it was suggested by him; that he was sufficiently acquainted with the great and growing 491 evils in question to have proposed such an inquiry in Parliament. Not at all! On the contrary, the country is solely indebted for that inquiry to the noble Lord, the Member for Stroud, from whom, before I moved for a Committee, I had the good fortune to obtain a promise that the motion should have his support in the House. Considering the colonial nature of the subject, why did I not, in order to obtain the sanction of Government, address myself to the noble Lord at the head of colonial affairs? Simply, because I believed that such an application would be in vain. I was afraid of the proverbial indecision and supineness of that Minister; and I believed that the only sure mode of obtaining an inquiry on this colonial subject, was to pass by the Colonial Minister, and apply to another Minister whose department is eminently not colonial. My opinion of the Colonial Minister may have been erroneous; but it was formed on common report and belief; and the fact therefore is, that so far as I am concerned, the important information as to New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land, now before the House, would not have been obtained if I had not made bold, in seeking a colonial inquiry, to proceed as if there were no such department as that over which Lord Glenelg presides. Sir, if I had wanted any justification for such a course, I should find it in another proceeding, or rather neglect of Lord Glenelg's with regard to New South Wales.
While the moral and social corruption of that colony exceeds belief, its economical prosperity is equally remarkable. Nothing can be more clearly established by the evidence taken before the Transportation Committee, than the fact that both the evil and the good have one and the same cause—namely, a regular and increasing supply of convict labourers. If the stream of convict emigration be stayed, the source of the economical prosperity will be dried up, unless indeed some other means be adopted of supplying the colony with labourers. Amongst those most conversant with the subject, there is but one opinion, as to the evils which arise from supplying the colonies with labour by means of transportation—but one opinion as to the necessity, if the colony is to be saved from ruin, of promoting the emigration of free labourers. The means too of promoting emigration exist to an almost incredible extent; they were called into 492 existence by the noble Lord, the Secretary at War, when he was Under Secretary for the colonies in the year 1831. The noble Lord's regulations for the disposal of waste lands in New South Wales and Van Die-men's Land (which did not take effect until the year 1832) have actually produced an emigration fund amounting to about 400,000l. sterling; and persons, on whose experience and judgment the greatest reliance may be placed, estimate the future revenue from the sale of waste lands at 200,000l. a-year in New South Wales alone. Here, then, are abundant means of supplying the colony with a substitute for convict labour. Now, what has Lord Glenelg done with this vast emigration fund? He allowed a portion of it to be placed at the disposal of a private society, who expended the public money in sending out to the colony shipload after shipload of the most abandoned and irreclaimable prostitutes. He placed another portion of it at the disposal of one Mr. John Marshall, a sort of agent or broker for shipping, who performs (without any responsibility) for the Colonial-office the difficult functions of conducting emigration with the public money of the colony. But this is not all; only a portion of this vast emigration fund has been applied, however improperly, to its proper purpose. The remainder, amounting to no less a sum than 200,000l., is locked up in the public chest at Sydney, lying idle, of no use whatever, although the demand for labour is more urgent than at any previous time, and the colonists have vehemently prayed that the money which they paid for land may be expended according to the conditions on which they paid it. And this sum in the public chest is not only useless, but it is worse than useless; for since ready money was paid for the land, a great part of the currency of the colony is thus absorbed and locked up in the Government chest. The loud and frequent complaints of the colonists on this subject have fallen upon the ear of the noble Lord as if he were stone deaf. This, Sir, after transportation, about the horrors of which the noble Lord seems to have known nothing until they were brought to light by the Committee of inquiry, even if he knows anything about them now—this is a subject of the deepest importance to the penal colonies; and what attention has the noble Lord paid to this important question of free emigration by means of the sale of 493 waste lands? None whatever! But has he no excuse for his total neglect of this important and urgent colonial subject? I would put the question to my hon. Friend, the Member for Sheffield, who in the Session of 1836, presided with uncommon ability over a Committee of this House, by which this subject was most carefully examined, and which Committee strongly recommended the adoption of a system for giving complete and permanent effect to Lord Howick's regulations, as they are properly termed—I ask the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Newark, who took a very prominent and very valuable part in that inquiry, what notice has the noble Lord taken of the labours of the Committee? None whatever. The noble Lord has treated the report of the Committee as if it were so much waste paper; and I am not surprised at it, for I believe that the inquiry of 1836 concerning waste lands and emigration was obtained, like the inquiry on transportation, without any assistance from the noble Lord, by the aid of another Minister, as if in truth there were no such Minister as the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Department. I am not therefore the only Member of this House who, in seeking for information on a very important colonial subject, has passed by the Colonial Minister as if there were no such person in existence.
There is another fact, Sir, as to New South Wales, from which the people of that colony might be justified in inferring that there really is no such person in existence as the Colonial Minister—that Lord Glenelg is a merely imaginary personage, a nominal being, without functions to perform, or at least without capacity to perform them. For many years New South Wales has been governed by an Act which expired in the year 1836. That Act established a temporary system and form of government—a system and form of government suited to the time when the Act passed; that is, when the majority of the inhabitants of the colony were convicts under punishment. Need I add that this system of provisional government was (necessarily under the circumstances) of a most despotic character; that it neglected altogether the principle of representation, and gave to the colonists no voice whatever in the management of their own affairs? But since then the circumstances of the colony have altogether changed. The free co- 494 lonists have become the majority. Those free colonists, naturally desirous to obtain some of the rights of Englishmen, have looked forward with the deepest anxiety to the period when the New South Wales Act would expire—to the time when Parliament would have to legislate anew on the subject; and when they might hope that Parliament, in framing a constitution for a free people, would bestow on them some degree of representation, and give them some voice in the management of their own local affairs. To the colonists of New South Wales, therefore, 1836 was a most important year. Was the noble Lord, the Colonial Minister, prepared for this very important colonial occasion? Did he submit to Parliament a new constitution for the colony? No; he only asked Parliament to renew the old Act for one year. But in 1837 it will be supposed, when this Act of a twelvemonth would have expired, that the noble Lord was prepared. Not a hit of it! In 1837 he again asked for and obtained the renewal of the old Act for another twelvemonth. But, perhaps, it may be said that the noble Lord believed that the colony was not ripe for any other than the old despotic constitution, and that he acted deliberately in renewing the old Act from year to year. Not at all, Sir; for on both occasions the Under Secretary for the colonies, acting undoubtedly on behalf of his chief, gave notice of his intention to propose an entirely new Act for the government of the colony. On both occasions, no doubt, the noble Lord intended to relieve the colonists of New South Wales from their anxiety on a subject which must ever be one of the deepest interest to freemen; but on both occasions he only exhibited his own infirmity of purpose. Is he prepared this year? or are we to renew the old Act for the third time? Are we for the third time to tell the free people of this colony that we care so little about them as to neglect altogether a matter about which they care above all things? And if we do so, are we to wonder at their resentment?
Here, then, Sir, as respects one colony, are three great questions, urgently pressing on the unwilling attention of the noble Lord. First, a remedy for the terrible evils of transportation; secondly, a means of saving the colony from economical ruin; and, thirdly, a new constitution for the colony. Each of these questions is 495 rendered more difficult by the noble Lord's neglect of it hitherto. If we are to judge by the past, what are we to expect for the future?
As respects New South Wales, I have only to add further, that this is one of the several colonies of which the Governors have recently resigned, or been recalled, on account of differences between those Governors and the department over which Lord Glenelg so neglectfully presides.
In the neighbourhood of our penal Colonies, there exist circumstances which, whilst they call for prompt and vigorous action from the Colonial Minister, strongly exhibit Lord "Glenelg's inattention and neglect. I allude to the state of many islands in the South Seas, whose inhabitants are subjected to every species of evil from the lawless residence amongst them of British subjects, and especially of convicts who have escaped from our penal settlements. The islands of New Zealand afford the most striking example both of an urgent necessity for some comprehensive measure of prevention, and of Lord Glenelg's carelessness. And here again I may refer to a Committee of this House—the Committee on Aborigines, which, in 1836, collected very conclusive evidence on the subject, and of which the Under-Secretary for the Colonies was a member. It appears from the evidence before that Committee, and from other documents recently laid on the table of the House, that not less than 2,000 British subjects have settled in New Zealand; that so many as 200 of them are absconded convicts; that they are not subject to any law or authority; that they do exactly what pleases them; that they have pleased to commit crimes towards the natives, at which humanity shudders; and that, in fact, the native race is rapidly disappearing before them. It is in evidence, that our lawless fellow-subjects have excited the native tribes to wars and massacres in order to obtain tattooed heads as an article of commerce; that they have taught the natives to employ corrosive sublimate in poisoning their enemies, and have actually sold them that poison for the purpose; that these outcasts from British society have taken an active part in the cruel slaughters of one tribe by another; that they have introduced the use of ardent spirits and of fast-destroying disease; and that, as a natural consequence, "the natives are swept off in a ratio which 496 promises at no very distant period to leave the country destitute of a single aboriginal inhabitant." The last statement I have given in the very words of Mr. Busby, an officer of the Colonial department, who resides in New Zealand, for no other purpose, it would appear, than that of writing accounts of these enormities for the use (should I not rather say for the utter neglect?) of Lord Glenelg. He says further, "District after district has become void of its inhabitants, and the population is even now but a remnant of what it was in the memory of some European residents." Now, is this a case of urgency? Is this a matter to be slept over for years, until the native race shall have disappeared altogether?
And further, I venture to ask the right hon. Gentleman, the President of the Board of Trade, whether he has not received a memorial, signed by a large number of the merchants and shipowners of London, trading to the South Seas, representing that, unless prompt measures be taken to establish British authority in New Zealand, it is fully to be expected that the lawless British settlers in that country will become a piratical community like the bucaniers of old; and that even now the greatest danger is to be apprehended to our shipping? What has the noble Lord, who should have been most conversant with this evil and this danger—what has he done, either on behalf of the natives of New Zealand or of our shipping in the South Seas? What has he proposed? What has he thought of? He has done—proposed—thought of—absolutely nothing! If it had been a matter in the moon, he could not have been more careless about it.
The next colony to which I will refer, is the Mauritius. Last year, the state of that colony was brought under the consideration of this House on a motion for a Committee of inquiry. Various facts, proving the very disturbed condition of the Mauritius, were stated by an hon. Gentleman intimately acquainted with the subject—I mean the learned civilian, the Member for the Tower Hamlets. Those statements were not contradicted by any one. To this high and unquestionable authority I shall now appeal for the facts I am about to mention. He said, "The most extraordinary circumstances have been detailed to me, (and they are not yet denied), as to the conduct, or rather 497 misconduct, of various governors of the island of Mauritius, and as to the administration of justice, or rather its maladministration there." "Since the year, 1810, there has been in that colony, a perpetual violation of the statute law of the land. Upwards of 20,000 felonies have been committed (as admitted by Sir G. Murray), and remain unpunished, without one solitary exception; and up to the present hour these wrongs remain unredressed." The slave trade has been carried on in opposition to the law. When, from time to time, this country has applied to the French government to enforce the provisions of the act for the abolition of, the slave trade, "France," said the hon. Gentleman, "taunted us by saying, that our power was defied and our laws evaded by our own colonists. This opposition to the law prevails up to the present hour; it has existed in its most malignant form, for the last three or four years. I will not consent to throw the veil of oblivion over the conduct of those who avow their crimes and boast of their impunity. What has been the history of the last four years? Treason has been triumphant in the Mauritius; thousands of colonists have been banded in arms against the domination and power of England; manifestoes have been published throughout the colony, in which the wretches who indicted them dared to say that the time had come when assassination—assassination by the sword, by poison, or by fire, was to be justified. This has been the state of the Mauritius—these the crimes which have been raging." He likewise asserted, that "20,000 individuals, who were as much entitled to their freedom as any man in this House, have been kept for the last fifteen, years, contrary to both law and justice, in a state of the most cruel slavery." These are a few of the facts adduced by the learned Civilian, when he demanded last year an inquiry into the state of the Mauritius. The refusal of that inquiry, he said, would be "a triumph to those who have hitherto rebelled against the British Government, and hopeless misery and despair to those who have been the victims for so many years of this cruel persecution. The free coloured people of the Mauritius, a very numerous and intelligent body, a deputation of whom have come to this country to seek for justice and inquiry at the hands of a British House of Commons, 498 will sink into despair if inquiry be denied, and they are told to place themselves again at the mercy of those from whom they have already experienced so much injustice and oppression. This deputation will go back, believing that they and those whom they represent, are devoted victims of the other party." A similar tone was taken by my hon. Friend, the Member for Liskeard. Notwithstanding the eloquent complaints, the friendly entreaties of these hon. Gentlemen, the inquiry was denied; and I feel justified in asserting, that the state of the Mauritius is most critical.
What has Lord Glenelg done, proposed, thought of, with a view to the critical state of the Mauritius? If information on the subject were required by this House, the return, I fear, would be "nil!" It matters not where the emergency may exist, or how great it may be, in every case where decision, activity, energy, is especially required, there we shall find, not that the noble Lord has done more than in other cases, but only that his inactivity and supineness are the more to be deprecated and regretted.
The next colony to whose critical—might I not say deplorable?—state I would wish, Sir, to call your attention, is our settlement in Southern Africa, at the Cape of Good Hope—a territory larger than the whole of the mother country. It was once inhabited by numerous aborigines, rich in flocks and herds; by the Hottentots and the far superior race of the Caffres. The natives have nearly disappeared, partly massacred, partly driven from their native country; even now the system of destruction is going on, and in proportion as our frontiers are extended the native tribes are swept away. Sir, I can appeal to the labours of a Committee of this House, the Committee on Aborigines, for a confirmation of my statement. "Any travellers," say they, "who may have visited the interior of this colony little more than twenty years ago, may now stand on the heights of Albany, or in the midst of a district of 42,000 square miles, on the west side of Graaf Reinet, and ask the question, Where are the aboriginal inhabitants of the district, which I saw here on my former visit to this country?' without any one being able to inform him where he is to look for them to find them." What, I ask, has become of them? They have perished. They were generally exterminated by those execrable 499 military expeditions, commenced by the Dutch, continued by the English, which are termed commandoes. Another cause of the destruction of the natives is, the interminable wars occasioned by the stealing of cattle. The colonists, on the most futile pretexts, have frequently carried off the cattle of the natives. The natives, deprived of the means of subsistence, must either perish or rob. If they rob the whites, they are exterminated by the commanders; if they rob their weaker neighbours, these again, thus left to starve, must rob those beyond them or perish. Thus the first robbery by our colonists has given rise to a succession of robberies, and native wars which have desolated the most central parts of the continent of Africa. One of the witnesses examined before the Aborigines Committee says, "It must be obvious that there can be no other limits to the baneful effects of such a system than those which nature may have fixed by seas or natural boundaries; and it is to be feared that the evil increases as it rolls from one part of this ill-fated continent to another. The mischief we now deprecate is, of all the mischiefs which have attended the slave trade, the greatest, and there is not in the centre of Africa at this moment a fragment of society that has not been dashed to pieces against another by the capture of cattle in the wars which have originated in the attempts to procure slaves." Thus, Sir, our colonists are producing in Southern Africa, by seizing the cattle of the natives, evils similar to the worst of those created in central Africa by the slave trade. Besides these evils, which have long existed, and for which it may be difficult to find an adequate remedy at the present moment, the most extraordinary events are taking place in the colony, which prove the inability and feebleness of the Colonial Government. A formidable body of Cape boors, amounting in number, according to the statement of their leader, to no less than 900 armed and disciplined men, carrying along with them their wives and children, sheep, cattle, waggons, household stuff, and farming utensils, have left the colony, and set our authority at defiance. Some few of this party alone carried along with them 91,000 sheep and 3,200 head of horned cattle. Their object is to cross the country of the Caffres, and fight their way, if needs be to Port Natal, in the Zoolah country a 500 settlement on the eastern coast, several hundred miles distant from the frontier of the Colony, purchased from the Zoolah King, where about 3,000 persons, whites and blacks, are now established. This settlement was long unrecognised; I know not whether it is even now recognised by the Colonial-office. The settlers there have denied their allegiance to this country, and they have rejected our agent with impunity. To this point the wandering horde to which I have alluded, are now directing their steps, if they have not already reached their destination. They have had the fiercest encounters with the natives, and in ranged battle with one of the native chiefs they have slaughtered, at the lowest computation, 400 of his followers. The reasons for this strange migration are stated by the leader in a letter to the governor, dated Sand River, 21st July, 1837: he says,The undersigned conductor and chief of the united encampments hereby humbly sheweth, that as subjects of the British Government we, in our depressed circumstances, repeatedly represented our grievances to his Majesty's Government, but in consequence of finding all our efforts to obtain redress fruitless, we at length resolved to abandon the land of our birth, to avoid making ourselves guilty of any act which might be construed into strife against our own Government; that this abandonment of our country has occasioned us incalculable losses; but that, notwithstanding all this, we cherish no animosity towards the English nation. That, in accordance with this feeling, commerce between us and the British merchants, will, on our part, be freely entered into and encouraged, with the understanding, however, that we are acknowledged as a free and independent people.Their object, according to resolutions adopted by them at Caledon, on the 14th of August, 1837, is "to establish a settlement on the same principles of liberty as those adopted by the United States of America, carrying into effect, as far as practicable, their burgher laws." No one can tell what disastrous commotions may be produced by this Tartar horde of wandering boors. The sanguinary conflicts which have already taken place are but precursors of fresh and deadly struggles, and hapless the lot of the miserable natives who become subject to these bold and determined men, merciless to their despised fellow-beings. The system of colonial government which has produced these results is well and briefly summed up be- 501 fore the Aborigines' Committee by one of the witnesses, in the following terms:—It gives satisfaction to neither party on the frontier; the colonists complain that Government affords them neither protection nor redress, that they are always insecure and always sufferers; the Caffres, on the other hand, represent the whole system as founded on false principles, and stained with injustice and cruelty to them; and the impartial observer soon becomes satisfied that both parties have ground for discontent and alarm.Here then, Sir, we have an important colony completely disorganised. The extermination of the natives is rapidly proceeding. Part of the colonists are in open rebellion, or have wandered into the deserts to escape from British authority. Discontent prevails on all sides. Whatever the differences amongst her Majesty's subjects there, each party complains of the Government; no party is attached to the British Crown. Do I blame Lord Glenelg for this most unhappy state of things? By no means. The present deplorable condition of Southern Africa has been occasioned by our system, or rather total want of a system, of Government. For this, Lord Glenelg is not particularly to blame; but see what the want of a system has produced; observe in how very miserable and critical a state the colony is at last; and then, Sir, let us decide whether it be not high time to adopt some system of government there; to apply a remedy of some sort for such crying evils. Sir, would an assiduous and energetic Colonial Minister have allowed such evils to grow to such a pitch without proposing some kind of remedy for them? Can we expect any efficient remedy from the infirm hands of Lord Glenelg? If not, and if the House really care at all about this important colony, then will they agree to my motion; and more especially if they should be of opinion that there are many colonies besides those already mentioned, whose peculiarly critical state at this moment calls for more than average energy, diligence, and wisdom, in the head of the Colonial Government. I should have added, that the governor of this colony has just been recalled. That makes two: we shall soon come to more.
I proceed, then, to another colony, whose condition is more than usually embarrassing and troublesome—the antislave-trade colony of Sierra Leone. Far 502 be it from me, Sir, to cast a shadow of blame on Lord Glenelg for the total failure of this colony as a means, which it was intended to be, of checking the slave trade. Nor is it any reproach to Lord Glenelg that we have lavished millions after millions upon establishing a settlement which appears to have had no other result than a profuse expenditure of public money and human life. The misgovernment of this colony is proverbial. The peculation, the lavish expenditure, the public plunder, for which it has been notorious, have given it so bad a name, that it may be aptly designated as one enormous job. Now, if I am not mistaken, the governor of that colony has just been recalled; has been driven away from the colony by the jobbers and peculators who fatten there on the spoil of the public. And, in order that my statement on this subject may be easily corrected if it be erroneous, I will address it in the form of a question to those who are best acquainted with the facts. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he did not, when occupying Lord Glenelg's present office, appoint the present governor of Sierra Leone, selecting him on account of his upright, straightforward, and energetic character, as a person well qualified to bring about some reform in that great job in the shape of a colony? Did not the Gentleman in question proceed to Sierra Leone as a Reformer? A Reformer in Sierra Leone! The fact of such a monster need not be told. The reforming governor of Sierra Leone, though he was eminently successful in attaching and conciliating the natives in the neighbourhood, soon gave offence to the small band of official jobbers who call themselves the colony, and was removed accordingly! If the hon. Baronet, the Member for Devonport, object to my statement, let him move for copies of the correspondence between the Colonial-office and the late governor. If that were done, the House would see that Sierra Leone is another case of colonial trouble and difficulty for which Lord Glenelg is responsible, but for which it is not to be expected that Lord Glenelg will provide a remedy.
This, Sir, is the third recent case of a governor's removal on account of differences with Lord Glenelg's department. Let me now mention a fourth—that of the new colony of South Australia, whose gover- 503 nor, appointed by Lord Glenelg not more than eighteen months ago, has been just recalled. I have no doubt that this recal may be justified, just like that of Sir F. B. Head; but if so, how does Lord Glenelg justify the appointment? and have not the appointment and the recal together placed the colony in that state which is sometimes called a state of "hot water?" If we add to these four the resignation of Lord Gosford and the recal of Sir Francis B. Head, there will be no less than six recent cases of the removal of a colonial chief magistrate for extraordinary causes, and under circumstances of extraordinary difficulty and trouble for the colony. Here are six gentlemen at least who have cause to rue the day when they became subordinates of Lord Glenelg—Sir Richard Bourke, Sir Benjamin D'Urban, Major Henry Campbell, Captain Hindmarsh, Lord Gosford, and Sir Francis Bond Head. Here are six colonies at least in a state of "hot water." Surely, Sir, my proposition as to the critical state of the colonies and the incompetency of Lord Glenelg cannot but be true. But let us proceed to further proofs and illustrations.
Our slave colonies—no, our apprentice colonies—in the West Indies, great and small, insular and continental, Crown and chartered, present a wide and very productive field of trouble, embarrassment, and danger. Sir, in alluding to them, I shall confine myself to subjects which come strictly within the terms of my present motion, being of peculiar urgency at the present time; nor shall I dwell on all of those subjects. The subject of the gross violation of the Emancipation Act has been exhausted in the other House of Parliament, and Lord Glenelg, though rather late in the day to be sure, has promised to submit to Parliament a measure for giving us that which we thought we had purchased by 20,000,000l. of redemption-money. I would ask what the Colonial Minister has done, or proposed, or thought of, in respect to two other matters belonging to West Indian affairs, which, if he possessed the faculty of attention, would urgently require its exercise. I allude to precautions against the time, now very near at hand, when there will be an end to all compulsory labour in the West Indies, and when the negro inhabitants of our chartered colonies will claim the right and the power to elect 504 negro members to the local Parliaments. So long ago as in January, 1836, Lord Glenelg, or some other person writing in his name, seems to have been struck with the great importance of the former of these subjects, and even to have devised a sufficient means of preventing the apprehended evil. In a circular of that date, addressed to the Governors of his Majesty's possessions in the West Indies, Lord Glenelg said, or was made to say—"It must not be forgotten, that the conditions under which society has hitherto existed will, on the expiration of the apprenticeship, undergo an essential change. During slavery, labour could be compelled to go wherever it promised most profit to the employer. Under the new system it will go wherever it promises most profit to the labourer. If, therefore, we are to keep up the cultivation of the staple productions, we must make it the immediate and apparent interest of the negro population to employ their labour in raising them. There is reason to apprehend, that at the termination of the apprenticeship this will not be the case. Where there is land enough to yield an abundant subsistence to the whole population in return for slight labour, they will probably have no sufficient inducement to prefer the more toilsome existence of a regular labourer, whatever may be its remote advantages or even its immediate gains. Should things be left to their natural course, labour would not be attracted to the cultivation of exportable products, until population began to press upon the means of subsistence, and the land failed (without a more assiduous and economical culture) to supply all its occupants with the necessaries of life. In order to prevent this, it will be necessary to prevent the occupation of Crown lands by persons not possessing a proprietary title to them, and to fix such a price upon Crown lands as may place them out of the reach of persons without capital." Here a great danger is plainly indicated, and the means of prevention as clearly pointed out. The danger is, that the whole of the labouring population of the West Indies should, as soon as they become entirely free, refuse to work for wages—should set up, each one by and for himself, on his own piece of land; and that thus capitalists should be left without labourers, to the certain ruin of the industry of those colonies. Sir, I, for one, have no doubt that in all those colonies 505 where land is excessively cheap, the apprehensions of the noble Lord will be fully realised; but along with the expression of his fears, the Colonial Minister suggested a measure of prevention. "It will be necessary," he says, "to fix such a price upon Crown lands as will place them out of the reach of persons without capital; and this plan of preserving labour for hire by means of rendering the acquisition of waste land more difficult was strongly recommended to Parliament by the Committee to which I have referred. As the plan could be of no use whatever unless adopted some time before the total emancipation of the apprentices it will be supposed, that the noble Lord has followed up his important dispatch by proposing some general and efficient measure founded on his own views and those of the Committee in question. By no means; the subject remains just where his dispatch left it in January, 1836; at if, notwithstanding its great importance it had fairly slipped from the memory of the Noble Lord. Is this a case of culpable neglect? I appeal to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Newark, than whom no Member of this House is better acquainted with the subject; but to this case of culpable neglect I have now to add one, it reference to the same subject, of culpable activity, if the term "activity" may be applied to any proceeding of the noble Lord.
The planters are impressed, as was the noble Lord, in January, 1836, with the necessity of taking some precaution against the year 1840, as respects the supply of labouring hands. They have devised a new kind of slavery, and a new kind of slave trade; and this invention the noble Lord has, by an order in council, dated the 12th July, 1837, fully sanctioned. This order in council authorises the planters of Demerara to import into that colony to serve as labourers—"indentured labourers" I believe is the tern employed—what class of people does the House imagine? Englishmen or other Europeans who might assert their right as "indentured labourers?" No. Freed Negroes from the United States, who being of the same race, and speaking the same language as the present colonial population of British Guiana, might be "indentured labourers" without becoming slaves? No. But a class of people the most ignorant, the most strange, the 506 most helpless, in all respects the most fit to become slaves under the name of "indentured labourers." They are called Hill Coolies. The country from which they are to be imported, after being kidnapped, is the East Indies. In New South Wales, the same apprehension of a want of labourers (which, as I have already said, the noble Lord might have prevented by expending the emigration fund, instead of keeping it locked up in the public chest at Sydney) has led to a similar project for the importation of Hill Coolies. This attempt to establish a new kind of slavery was condemned by the late governor, Sir R. Bourke, in a despatch now before the House. Should we not condemn the noble Lord for having sanctioned a similar attempt in British Guiana? That new law of slavery—that piece of colonial legislation—will surely be repealed, now that It has come to the knowledge of the British public. But will this set up the noble Lord as a statesman qualified to save the industry, the whole productive power of the West Indies, from total overthrow in the year 1840?
The political prospects of the West Indies are not less gloomy than those which relate to productive and commercial industry. In the chartered colonies, above all, which possess local representation, is it to be believed that the two races—the masters and the slaves of yesterday—today perfectly equal as to political rights—will sit down peaceably together in the same legislature? Will not the blacks, as they may easily do, seek to obtain a majority in the local Parliament? And will the whites, the haughty masters of yesterday, quietly submit to what they will consider so deep a degradation as being ruled by their recently emancipated slaves? Let the question be answered by referring to the actual state of political opinion amongst the Whites of Jamaica. If ever a colony was rebellious at heart—if ever a colony was in a state of dangerous excitement—this one is! The whole of the West Indies indeed, economically and politically, are in a most critical state. The state of the West Indies, having reference to 1840, calls especially for forethought, for precautionary measures. Are we to trust to the noble Lord for such measures of forethought, of precaution? Or are we, so surely as we place any reliance on the noble Lord's energetic sagacity, to wait quietly—nothing done, nothing proposed, 507 nothing thought of—till 1840 is upon us? Sir, may I not say, that the noble Lord has neglected to take, and seems incapablel of taking, any precautions to render harmless the great revolution—economical, social, and political,—which must happen in the West-Indies two years hence? Considering the near approach of 1840, is it fair,—is it just—is it commonly humane—towards our fellow subjects in the West-Indies, who, be it always remembered, have no representation in this House—to let the noble Lord continue fast asleep at the head of colonial affairs? According to the treatment of my motion by the House, will be the answer to this question. If the House decide uninfluenced by considerations altogether foreign to the subject, who can doubt of the result?
The House will, I trust, have observed that neither in referring to the dangerous condition of any colony, nor in questioning the capacity of the noble Lord to deal with the existing circumstances of our colonial empire, have I mentioned the subject of the colonial policy of this or any other Administration. That subject I conceive to be foreign to the question before the House. With this impression I should not, except for the purpose of correcting a misrepresentation as to myself, have even alluded, as I did just now, to the subject of colonial policy in the abstract. Neither general principles, nor particular measures founded upon this or that principle, have anything to do with my proposition as to the actual state of colonial affairs, and the incapacity of the present Colonial Minister. The questions which I have submitted to the House are questions of mere fact. I inquire not into the causes of the present critical state of colonial affairs. I have no concern on the present occasion with the opinions of the noble Lord or of his colleagues, or of any other person, on the subject of colonial policy. Still less should I be willing to obtrude on the House any opinions of my own with respect to subjects, between which and the question at issue there is no kind of relation whatever. In proceeding, therefore, to say a few words on the condition of our North American provinces, I put aside altogether the differences between the Assembly of Lower Canada and the Colonial-office. I stop not to ask which has right or justice on its side—the Office or the Assembly. With a view to the motion before the House, I have not a word to say about the 508 resolutions of last year, or the act of this year. Against both of those measures I spoke and voted at the time, and should be ready to do so again on a fitting occasion; but if both of those measures had had my strenuous support, instead of my most determined opposition, such a course would not in the least have precluded me from submitting my present motion to the House. I have the honour of addressing the House on a totally different question. And first, Sir, as to the noble Lord's manner of carrying into effect the policy of the Government towards Lower Canada. Need I recur, Sir, to those wearisome despatches which have impressed upon the country at large a conviction of the noble Lord's pre-eminent unfitness for the conduct of difficult affairs? Need I, following a noble Earl in the other House of Parliament (Aberdeen), count over again the long list of promises forgotten—of assurances never fulfilled—of instructions which never arrived until it was too late—of excuses for leaving Lord Gosford without instructions—of postponements without a reason—of apologies and pretexts for delay when promptitude was most requisite—of self-contradictions, hesitations—meaningless changes of purpose, and other proofs of an inveterate habit of doing nothing? "In fact," said the noble Earl, "the system that the noble Lord went upon, was that of doing nothing." Doing nothing reduced to a system! This system of the noble Lord has much to answer for. Who will deny that it was the main cause of the revolt and bloodshed in which it ended? If the recent accounts from Lower Canada make it appear, as I think they do, that the policy of the Government towards that country has fewer or less determined enemies there, than was lately supposed, yet those favourable accounts cast still heavier blame on the noble Lord's extraordinary system; tending, at least, to show that the most ordinary degree of decision and promptitude would have prevented the revolt altogether. The easy suppression of the revolt, however, by no means establishes that the colony is in so little a critical state as to be fit for the noble Lord's peculiar system. So again of Upper Canada. Does not that colony require, particularly just now, from the head of our Colonial Government a system very different from that of the noble Lord? Is it probable—is it possible—is it in the nature 509 of things, that the noble Lord should so far change his second nature as to conquer the habit of doing nothing? But it may be said the Government of our North American provinces has been taken out of the hands of the noble Lord, and confided to a noble Earl (Durham) who possesses in an eminent degree the personal qualities in which the noble Lord is most conspicuously deficient. I have heard this said, Sir, but cannot understand it. I readily acknowledge the statesmanlike qualities of the noble Earl, whose personal character seems to qualify him, above most men, for the performance of difficult and arduous public functions. Let me acknowledge the very striking contrast between the habits of the noble Earl and the system of the noble Lord. But, what then? From whom is the noble Earl to receive—from whom has he already received—instructions? To whom is he to make reports? Who is to bring before Parliament the legislative measures the noble Earl may propose? Answer to all—the noble Lord wedded to his system of doing nothing? Does it not therefore appear, not only foolish, but almost ridiculous, to make such a person as the noble Earl subordinate to the noble Lord? They had far better change places; for the system of the noble Lord is one in which subordinates cannot well indulge, least of all under such a chief as the noble Earl; and it is in the chief, the head of our colonial department, that the qualities of diligence, forethought, judgment, activity, and firmness are most required.
Sir, I have detained the House too long, and will trouble them with but a few words more. Hon. Members, far better acquainted than I can pretend to be, with the history of Parliament, will confirm me in saying that this motion is fully justified by precedent; but I will not rely at all on this justification. I rely wholly on the truth of my proposition, and the expediency of affirming it. This appears to me to be a case for which we ought to make a precedent, if there be none to direct us in providing a remedy for the evil. Whatever may be thought of the motion, the case, I will venture to say, is without precedent. Were our colonies, ever since we established a central Government for them, in so critical a state before? When did so many and so grave questions press upon the attention of a Colonial Minister? Is there a single Member of the House 510 who will say upon his conscience that the present Colonial Minister possesses any one, or is not deficient in all, of the qualities mentioned in the proposed address to the Crown? Sir, my proposition is true, and upon that I alone rely; for if such a proposition be true, who will deny the obligation upon us to provide an adequate remedy for the evil? Sir, instead of searching after precedents, I point to the millions of our fellow-subjects who are unrepresented in this House—to the great branches of domestic industry which depend upon the well-being of our colonial empire—to New South Wales, sinking into a state of irreclaimable depravity, with its free emigration fund locked up in the Government chest, and its oft-promised constitution withheld year after year—to the Mauritius, with its 20,000 freemen held in bondage by the insolent and would-be rebel planters—to South Africa, almost denuded of its native inhabitants, distracted by factions who agree in nothing but their curses of the Colonial-office, and its horde of rebels gone forth into the wilderness to conquer an inheritance of oppression over the helpless natives—to the "white man's grave," that job off jobs, which is rejoicing in the recal of a reforming Governor—to the West Indies, bordering on the ruin of their industry, inventing a new slave trade with the sanction of the noble Lord, in order to counteract the noble Lord's total neglect of the means which he himself has pointed out as necessary to preserve the use of capital in those fertile lands; grossly evading the Emancipation Act, after pocketing its enormous price; and fast approaching the time when, without a single precaution with a view to that strange event, 800,000 negro slaves will in one day acquire the same political rights as their masters of another race; and with the most important of those possessions in a state little short of open revolt;—and lastly, to the North American provinces, where open revolt has just been suppressed—where civil bloodshed has excited the passions of hatred and revenge—where a constitution is suspended, and martial law is still in force, and where there is no prospect of peace and contented allegiance, but in the prompt settlement of a great variety of questions of surpassing complexity and difficulty. I point to all these colonies in a state of disorganization and danger; and then to 511 the interests at home, which depend, more or less, on the productiveness of colonial industry—to Birmingham and Sheffield—to Leeds, Liverpool, and Glasgow, and to the great colonial shipping port of London. This done, instead of searching after precedents, I would remind the House of the noble Lord's system, as described by his immediate predecessor in office—the fatal system of doing nothing at all! If truth and the public interest are to prevail, the House will surely accede to my motion, whether or not it be according to precedent.
One word more, and I shall no longer trespass upon the patience of the House. It has been suggested to me, that my motion would have been more likely to be carried if it had applied, not to a particular Member of the Government, but to the whole Administration. For the following reasons, I have not listened to that suggestion. The subject relates strictly to the colonial department, and I wish to confine myself to the subject. It may be true that the whole Cabinet should be held responsible for the errors and defects of the Colonial-office—that may be a good constitutional principle, but I am not aware of it. Not being aware of it, I have pursued the plain and simple course of attributing to the Colonial Minister alone his own errors and deficiencies. The other course—that of proposing a vote of want of confidence in the Ministry on account of the state of a single department—would have been far more agreeable to me in one respect, inasmuch as it would have relieved me from the suspicion (which however I trust that none who know me will entertain) of being actuated by personal hostility to Lord Glenelg. On that account alone I should have much preferred moving for a vote as respects the Cabinet; but I felt that my first duty was to place the subject before the House in the light best calculated to obtain their attention, and therefore have I confined to the Colonial Minister the proposal of a vote of censure for matters which are exclusively of a colonial nature. I have very likely erred through inexperience of the usages of Parliament and the Constitution; but I have acted according to the best of my judgment, and throw myself upon the indulgence of the House. I conclude by moving, "That a humble address be presented to her Majesty, respectfully expressing the opinion of this House that in the present 512 critical state of many of her Majesty's foreign possessions in various parts of the world, it is essential to the well-being of her Majesty's colonial empire, and of the many and important domestic interests which depend on the prosperity of the colonies, that the Colonial Minister should be a person in whose diligence, forethought, judgment, activity, and firmness, this House and the public may be able to place reliance; and declaring, with all deference to the constitutional prerogatives of the Crown, that her Majesty's present Secretary of State for the colonies does not enjoy the confidence of this House, or of the country."
§ Viscount Palmerston
could not say he rose, on the present occasion, with any reluctance, for he rose to vindicate an absent Friend from an unjust and ungenerous attack, and to defend the Government of which he was a Member, from an unfounded and unmerited censure. He rose to defend the Government, because, although the hon. Baronet had chosen to select one Member of the Administration as a peg on which to hang that which was really and substantially an attack on the Government at large, it was as an attack on the Government that he must consider and should meet the hon. Baronet's motion. They must speak in that House plain English; they must give things their real names, and he would not accept the motion as an attack on one Member of the Government—he would deal with it as an attack on the Government as a whole. According to the constitution of this country, the Government was not an aggregation of separate departments; it was well known that the leading measures of every department were submitted to the consideration of the Cabinet, and that the Cabinet was responsible in its joint capacity for all the great outlines of the measures of each department, although the execution of those measures might rest with particular heads of the departments concerned. It was, therefore, as an attack on the Government that he meant to meet and dispose of this motion. He did not at all complain of this attack, nor even of the course which the hon. Baronet had pursued, as inconsistent with the principles of the constitution and Parliamentary practice. It was undoubtedly competent for any person feeling no confidence in the existing Government to call on that House to affirm and support his opinion; but in one respect, at least the hon. Baronet had produced 513 a novelty in Parliamentary practice. It was perfectly natural, that when parties were nearly balanced the leader of a great political party in this country—one who by his former political conduct had obtained the confidence of a large portion of the community—who might be surrounded by troops of friends in that House, consisting of men able, by their talents and experience, to assist him in forming that Administration which he would substitute for one he intended to dismiss—it was perfectly natural that such an one should make such a motion, prepared as he would be to carry on the public service, if be succeeded in removing the Government against which his motion was directed, and if the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir R. Peel) had made this motion of want of confidence in the Government, although he should have been prepared to state his reasons why it should not be acceded to, yet he should, in such a case, have made no objection to the quarter whence the motion would have come. But he could pay no such compliment to the hon. Baronet who brought forward this motion. He would not suggest the difference there was between two such opposite quarters; but this he would take leave to say, that the present motion did not come with peculiar fitness from its present quarter. The hon. Baronet had not been quite as successful in execution as he appeared to be hostile in design. He had not shown that his power to strike was equal to his desire to wound; and after the pompous announcement by which his motion was ushered in, and the call of the House for the occasion of this great attack on his noble Friend, he must say, that one of the difficulties he experienced in rising to reply was, that he was almost at a loss to find a charge which there had been an attempt to substantiate against his noble Friend and the Government. The hon. Baronet, indeed, had gone through a long catalogue of the colonies, and made remarks on each; but in almost every instance, either the accusation brought forward was founded in circumstances or events long antecedent to the period when his noble Friend was charged with the colonial administration, or the hon. Baronet himself had in so many words abandoned the charge. The hon. Baronet, however, had said, he did not mean this as an attack on the Government. He must, however, construe the motion by its necessary effect, not by the hon. Baronet's disclaimer. The hon. Baronet said, he 514 hoped he should not be met by reference to former speeches, nor by assertions that he meant to promote, by this motion, the spread of democratic institutions. No such charge would he make, but he must take leave to point out a remarkable contrast between the speech which had been made to-night, and the tendency of this motion and another speech the hon. Baronet had made not long ago on matters not altogether foreign to the present question. The hon. Baronet now said, if this motion should, have the effect of dismissing the Government, although that was not his intention in bringing it forward, still such an effect would not break his heart. The hon. Baronet spoke of a Tory Government, with a liberal opposition as likely to induce a better state of things than the present. Now it was not more than four months ago, that the hon. Baronet had met his late constituents in Cornwall at a public dinner, at which the hon. Baronet delivered a speech, containing his sentiments on the state of the country and of the Administration, and on the relative position of the Conservative and the Liberal parties. In the latter days of October, the hon. Baronet had expressed great apprehensions lest the majority in the House of Commons in favour of her Majesty's Government should gradually disappear. He anticipated, that the election Committees would make such a change in the relative position of the two parties in the House as would soon give a majority to the Tories. "It is with unfeigned sorrow," said the hon. Baronet, "that I state this to be the result of my sincere conviction. I cannot under, the influence of my wishes, alter this belief; nor, in my opinion, can any advantage be derived from endeavouring to blind ourselves to the dark prospects immediately before us. I do not mean to attack or accuse her Majesty's Ministers. No advantage can result from it at the present moment. I wish them to retain power, even if all that is to be gained thereby is the proper distribution of patronage in Ireland." Those were the sentiments which the hon. Baronet expressed at that time, and there was no occasion for him to point out to the House how very different they were from the sentiments which the hon. Baronet expressed now. At the close of the dinner, this toast was also given—"Her Majesty's Ministers, so long as they study the interests of the Reformers of Great Britain;" and for this toast thanks were returned by—Mr. Leader. He, therefore, must be permitted to say, that if this motion were 515 really directed against the whole Government, as he verily believed it to be, the hon. Baronet would have shown better taste, better judgment, and better feeling, had he included all the Ministers, instead of endeavouring to hold up to public obloquy one single member of the Government. If the object of the hon. Member were to procure the dismissal of the present administration, he certainly ought not to have levelled his accusation against an individual Member of it. When he said, that the hon. Baronet had levelled his accusation against the Government, he was sure that the hon. Baronet could not but feel in his heart that his motion, if carried, must produce the removal of the present administration. Did the hon. Baronet suppose, that the present Cabinet either would or could remain in office, if one of its Members were to be driven from it by a direct vote of censure of that House? If the Members of the Cabinet were so base as to think of remaining in office after such a vote, the House of Commons would not permit them to retain their power. No House of Commons would ever permit a set of men to retain their places, who had allowed one of their colleagues to be sacrificed to save them selves. It was for this reason that he persisted in saying, that the hon. Baronet had acted unfairly by his noble Friend (Lord Glenelg) in launching against him a motion which was substantially aimed against the whole administration. There was nothing either in the private or in the public character of Lord Glenelg, which could form any excuse for so ungenerous and so un-handsome an attack. Lord Glenelg was neither an unknown nor an untried man. He was a man whose talents were admitted whose acquirements were acknowledged whose principles were known, and whose services had become matter of public record. His noble Friend had been invariably the supporter of liberal principles it every situation in which he had served When he was Under-Secretary in Ireland his noble Friend had been the steady and unflinching advocate of the claims of the then oppressed Catholics, and that, too, at a time when the advocacy of the Catholic claims was not the road to political advantage. When his noble Friend was at the Board of Trade, first as Vice President and subsequently as President he was the steady supporter of those liberal principles of political economy which were first advocated by the late Mr. Huskisson, and which brought down upon his 516 head so much unmerited obloquy from ignorant prejudice. As President of the Board of Control, his noble Friend had framed and carried through Parliament that system of government, under which it had been determined to rule in future our extensive empire in the East, and which had opened to the industry of the inhabitants of this country the vast regions of that continent, peopled by a hundred of millions of human beings. And if that measure should open wide, as he had no doubt it would, the portals through which the blessings of civilization and the light of Christian truth, were to spread over that now benighted region, it would be matter of marvel to the historian in future times, how it came to pass that in the lifetime of the individual who carried so great a measure there was found in the House of Commons, aye, and in the ultra-liberal part of it, a man who had gravity enough to affirm that that individual was incompetent to conduct the administration of the colonial empire of this country. There was nothing in the public conduct of his noble Friend, Lord Glenelg, but what redounded to his honour,—nothing in his administration of important public departments but what proved him to be eminently qualified for the service of the public. The hon. Baronet, in his anxiety to find topics for an attack upon his noble Friend, had not been fortunate in selecting his noble Friend's colonial policy; and whether the hon. Baronet had acted from his own unprompted judgment, or whether he had been advised by persons who might have other and ulterior views of their own, he had been unfortunately guided; and his speech of that night was a satisfactory proof that he had acted under most erroneous counsels. The hon. Baronet's first charge against his noble Friend, Lord Glenelg, was the demoralised state of the penal colony of New South Wales. His noble Friend, forsooth, was unfit for the discharge of his arduous duties as colonial secretary, because all the offenders and criminals sent from this country to New South Wales, did not become angels in the course of their passage. Unfortunately for the hon. Baronet, it was the law of this country, not the administration of the colonial department, that added to the demoralization of that penal settlement, of which the hon. Baronet had so loudly complained. He could not pretend to go through all the topics, and 517 though all the personal matters, in which the hon. Baronet had indulged his taste for vituperation, and in all of which he had shown himself marvellously mistaken. The hon. Baronet had represented persons to have been protected in the colonies by Lord Glenelg whom Lord Glenelg had actually removed from office. The hon. Baronet had stated measures to have been taken by Lord Glenelg, which Lord Glenelg had actually prevented. The hon. Baronet had represented Lord Glenelg as idle and unoccupied, when he was active, stirring, and busy. The hon. Baronet had represented Lord Glenelg as indifferent to the interests of the aboriginal inhabitants of our colonies, when a Report of the House of Commons—that very Report which the hon. Baronet held in his hand during his long speech—expressed a very different opinion, and stated, that the conduct of Lord Glenelg, and the policy which he had directed to be pursued, were deserving of approbation. The hon. Baronet had endeavoured to make the House believe, that in New Zealand no steps had been taken by Lord Glenelg to afford to our settlers that protection which ought to be afforded them by the mother country. Did not the hon. Baronet himself well know, that that subject had long occupied the attention of Lord Glenelg—that communications almost without end had passed between Lord Glenelg and the parties who were seeking to colonise that island—and that it was only from the difficulties inherent to the matter in question that their object had not been hitherto attained? The hon. Baronet had then gone to the Mauritius, and had reminded the House that in the year 1810 that colony was in a very disturbed and discontented state, and that the slave trade was carried on there almost without concealment. The hon. Baronet had, however, incidentally stated, that that colony was now satisfied, content, and tranquil; and he did not suppose, that even the hon. Baronet would venture to affirm, that the slave trade was openly carried on there now after slavery itself had been abolished for ever. Indeed the very grounds upon which the hon. Baronet had founded his attack against his noble. Friend, Lord Glenelg, had removed every ground of attack against her Majesty's Government; for the hon. Baronet had shown, that the things which he had found fault with had all taken place before Lord Glenelg was a Member of the Government, and that 518 where there had been before discontent and dissatisfaction there now was, under Lord Glenelg's Administration, satisfaction and contentment. The Cape of Good Hope was also an instance of the strange mistakes made by the hon. Baronet in the history of events in his own time. Now, if any colony were to be selected as peculiarly affording the means of refuting the charges of the hon. Baronet he would select the colony of the Cape; for if the hon. Baronet had taken the trouble of reading the documents laid on the table of the House he could not have been ignorant, that the disturbances in that colony, which owed their origin to the continued encroachments of our settlers on the aborigines, had been put an end to by the arrangements of his noble Friend. And when the hon. Baronet spoke of the settlers who had left their original locations and had gone to the eastern frontier of that colony, he should have recollected, that their migration was owing to their having been prevented, by Lord Glenelg's policy, from making any further encroachments upon those very aborigines whom the hon. Baronet had taken under his protection. But, said the hon. Baronet, "that system of encroachment commenced with the Dutch;" and therefore the hon. Baronet inferred that his noble Friend was unfit to remain Colonial Secretary. Again, at Sierra Leone the hon. Baronet had said, that things were not at all to his liking. He admitted, however, himself, that no blame was imputable to Lord Glenelg on that score. Why, then, had he included the position of affairs at Sierra Leone in his speech as a ground of charge against Lord Glenelg, when with his own mouth, he gave a complete justification of Lord Glenelg's conduct by saying, that the abuses which he complained of there, were either of old standing, or in the progress of removal? The hon. Baronet had then proceeded to remark upon the removal of several of the governors of our colonial dependencies. Did the hon. Baronet suppose, that the governors of those colonies, when once appointed, were to remain all their lives in their respective governments? Was he not aware that by the rules of our service our colonial governors were only appointed for a certain limited period? And that of those who had been recently, as he called it, removed, some had resigned of their own accord, and others had completed their stated period of service? But did he suppose, that in our large and nu- 519 merous colonial establishments instances never occurred in which, without blame to any party, the colonial Minister might feel it necessary to inform a colonial Governor that he must for the future dispense with his services? Again, when the hon. Baronet travelled to the West Indies, he informed the House, that in many of our colonies, and particularly in Jamaica, no provision had been made for the condition of the negroe when his term of apprenticeship was at an end. The hon. Baronet had here been manifestly speaking on a subject on which he had not taken the pains of seeking information, for otherwise he must have known, that her Majesty's Government had for some time past been anxiously collecting information on that subject, and that so far from its having escaped their attention, it had much and often occupied their thoughts. The hon. Baronet had then gone to Canada, and here, though he could not compliment the hon. Baronet either on the efficacy of his speech or on the judgment with which he had selected the topics of it, he must be permitted to say, that from the light manner in which he had touched upon the affairs of Canada, he had displayed more judgment than he had displayed in the other parts of his address, and had given ample and satisfactory proof that recent events had not been thrown away on the hon. Baronet. If there were any colony, on the administration of which, he was inclined more particularly to rest for the vindication of his noble Friend and her Majesty's Government, it was this very case of Canada. What was the state of Canada? Was there any man so ignorant, even among the hon. Gentlemen opposite, was there any man, who had paid so little attention even to the recent debates of that House, as not to be aware that the dissatisfaction of the Canadians did not begin with the accession of Lord Glenelg to the Colonial office? [Cheers.] How must his noble Friend, the Member for North Lancashire, have blushed for—how must he, on hearing their late derisive cheers, have been startled at—the deep ignorance of his Friends, who appeared to suppose that the discontents in Canada had originated with Lord Glenelg's taking office in the present administration! Those discontents were well known to be of many years standing; but they had in one province been entirely removed, and in the other greatly diminished during the administration of his noble Friend. The events of the 520 last few months were ample proofs of the wisdom of our administration of that province. True it was, there had been a revolt. But it had been put down—and how? Some of the French settlers in Lower Canada had taken up arms. Had they been supported by the great mass of French Canadians in that province? Quite the reverse. Was it not notorious, that the majority had remained loyal to their Sovereign?—and was not that a sufficient proof that they felt, that connexion with England was more for their interests than separation from it, and that their discontents were not sufficient to induce them to join an armed force in resistance to the authority of this country? What had recently happened in Upper Canada was another satisfactory proof of the general soundness of Lord Glenelg's colonial policy. A short time ago that province was in a state of extreme discontent, bordering almost on actual disturbance. The supplies were refused by its House of Assembly. The whole machinery of Government, as his noble Friend observed on a former evening, had been, in consequence, at a stand; and at that time had a spark fallen on the inflammable materials of that province, the result undoubtedly would have been serious. What, however, had happened since? His noble Friend had redressed the grievances of which the Upper Canadians complained. A few men, who still remained discontented, had recently attacked the capital of the province. They had been repulsed by the inhabitants of the district without the aid of a single soldier of the line. On their repulse, a band of foreign adventurers, assisted by the desperate men who had been repulsed, made an attack on the eastern frontier of the province. There, again, they were repelled by the unaided efforts of the Canadians themselves. A similar attack had been made in a different quarter of the province, and had again been attended by similar results. A province which had thus acted, after being formerly dissatisfied and discontented, afforded undeniable proof that a system, which had thus produced affection instead of discontent, was a system worthy of approbation. He contended that on these grounds the hon. Baronet had signally failed in adducing any ground on which he could fairly propose to the House a resolution of censure against her Majesty's Government. Speaking of our colonies generally, he would say, that, so far from their present 521 condition affording any proof that the recent administration of them had been faulty, it gave ample evidence that the system under which they had been administered by his noble Friend was wise and satisfactory. Our colonies at present were, as a whole, prosperous, contented, and tranquil, and did not afford any the slightest shadow of an imputation on the conduct or policy of his noble Friend. What he would ask the House, was the present condition of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, colonies on which the hon. Baronet had carefully abstained from saying a word? A few years ago they were as discontented as the Canadas were recently represented to have been. What was their state now? They were satisfied and loyal, and therefore it was, that he again repeated his former assertion, that the speech of the hon. Baronet, and the instances which he had quoted in support of his resolution, so far from justifying his charges against his noble Friend and the Government, proved that they were utterly without foundation. He further said, that if this motion were made directly for the removal of the administration, it was fitting that the House should understand the question on which it was going to vote, and the consequences which its vote was likely to produce. Now, he would ask the hon. Baronet whether he proposed, as might be inferred from something which had fallen from him, to come into office with his own followers, as soon as the present occupants were removed from it? As the hon. Baronet had said, that it did not follow as a matter of course, that the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tam-worth and his followers would take the Government if the present Cabinet were driven from their places, he must suppose that the hon. Baronet thought that he should be able to hold office with the present supporters. And yet he thought that the hon. Baronet would have some difficulty on that matter, as he would have a point or two on colonial policy to settle with his followers before they could act as a combined and a united cabinet. Oh! he had just been given to understand that the hon. Baronet did not wish the people to suppose that he would take upon himself the responsibility of assuming the government of these kingdoms, if his present motion were carried. Then it must be the hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who would succeed to the vacant offices. And 522 let the House consider, with regard to Canada and Ireland, whether those hon. and right hon. Gentlemen would have any chance of conducting the affairs of Government with credit to themselves and advantage to the country. He asserted that in Canada, they could not so conduct them. Things might be done in the Canadas by the present Administration, which would not be accepted if proposed by the hon. Gentlemen on the opposite benches. It was true, that the late revolt had been put down, but much still remained to be done to establish permanent tranquillity and satisfaction in that colony; and he did not think that the hon. Gentlemen opposite, with the peculiar views which they were in the habit of taking on political questions, would be so able as the Members of the present Administration to bring matters there to a satisfactory conclusion. Then, as to Ireland, did hon. Gentlemen opposite imagine they could govern that country? Did hon. Gentlemen opposite imagine they could carry on the Administration while Ireland was in a state of discontent? Why, the peace and tranquillity which were now fortunately established by the wise system of administration, there, would give way to the Kentish fire, and the re-establishment of Orange supremacy. Perhaps, however, the hon. Baronet might say he liked a mixed Administration, or, as it was called on the Continent, a Government of fusion. Perhaps the hon. Baronet might think that when the victory was gained, he himself and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, would meet on the field of conquest and divide the spoils of the battle. Possibly his noble Friend, the Member for North Lancashire, might be associated with them to make up the triumvirate. But what curious sacrifices would the Members of such a Government have to make in order to be able to act in union! The hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, would be obliged to surrender Ireland to Orange domination the right hon. Baronet and his noble Friend would have to submit to the dominion of the ballot-box, and to deliver up Canada to the M'Kenzies and Papineaus. Yes, such a confederacy would lose Canada and Ireland for the sake of following in Westminster the example of Marylebone; for the sake of seeing that union of extremes effected which it now appeared was the only system upon which public even could act with advantage. The motion of the hon. Baronet, if it 523 were founded, as he implied, upon the question of Canada, was not only groundless but unseasonable. Why had the hon. Baronet not proposed to remove the Government before the Canada bill was passed? If the hon. Baronet thought Government incompetent to administer our colonial affairs, why had he not prevented them from investing Lord Durham, the new Governor-general of Canada, with dictatorial powers! The hon. Baronet said he had opposed the bill. Opposed the bill? Why, had the hon. Baronet any chance of opposing the bill successfully? Did he not see that hon. Gentlemen opposite supported it, and that against both sides of the House, the attempt must necessarily be vain? Why did the hon. Baronet not propose to remove Government at that time? When the bill was pending the hon. Baronet opposed it, and left the Government unassailed; but now, when it was passed into law, he brought forward his attack on the Government. He allowed the Government to finish their work, and when the work was concluded, be assailed the workmen, without attempting to guard against the mischievous effect of the work. The hon. Baronet would place the Government in the hands of the party opposed to that which now held it; he would place the exercise of those powers, which but a short time since he characterised as excessive and dangerous, in the hands of those whose accession to power he stated about four months back, opened a black and dark prospect to the country. He maintained, that that course was perfectly inconsistent; and he would recommend the hon. Baronet, if he meant to be the leader of a party, to improve his knowledge of Parliamentary strategy. It would lead him over a wide field of observation, and one into which it would be unnecessary for him to enter, to attempt to refute charges that had refuted themselves. He had told the House that the Ministers considered this motion as having for its evident object the removal of Government, and that they would not accept it as a motion levelled against Lord Glenelg himself. He should not meet it by any indirect defence; he should not meet it by moving previous questions; he should meet the motion with a plain and simple negative, as a motion unequivocally calling on the House to declare that they had no confidence in her Majesty's present Government. He begged the House to view this motion in its true 524 and proper light. Whatever the decision of the House might be, let it be made upon its real grounds, and let the House not be carried away by any false impressions which the hon. Baronet had endeavoured to create. That motion was directed against the whole Ministry, though it might be said, it was only meant against the individual; that individual had been selected as a victim for an unjust and unfounded attack, and the body to which he belonged could not be allowed to remain after their Colleague had fallen under the unmerited and undeserved censure of that House. He begged to conclude by stating, that it was his intention to vote against the motion. The hon. Baronet wished the House to come to a direct vote. He did not wish to avoid that, and should not have recourse to any of those Parliamentary means which the hon. Baronet seemed to expect he would resort to—he should simply and plainly say "no" to the hon. Member's address.
§ Mr. Hall
was anxious to take that early opportunity of stating the reasons on which he should ground his vote on the present occasion. In reference to what had fallen from the noble Lord who had just sat down, he considered it right for his own justification to state, that he did not agree in many respects with the Government in the administration of colonial affairs, and he certainly could not agree with the noble Lord that their conduct towards Canada was in any degree the brightest gem in their colonial policy. He condemned that policy, and disapproved of the course which Government had adopted towards that country. With respect to the question before the House, he could not help regretting that his hon. Friend had not taken the course which he generally adopted, of meeting every matter in the most open, manly, and straightforward manner. In levelling an attack against his noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Department the hon. Baronet had taken, if not an unjust, at least an ungenerous course. The noble Lord was merely a part of the present Government; his conduct was sanctioned by his colleagues, and, if censure was applicable to one, it equally applied to the whole of the Ministry; and the motion, instead of being directed against an individual, should have been framed so as to include all those who were parties to that policy which his hon. Friend desired to censure. In 525 the annals of Parliament it was difficult to find any precedent for a motion like the present. The instance most similar was that of Mr. Fox in 1779, when that right hon. Gentleman introduced his motion against the conduct of Lord Sandwich. But then, again, how different was the situation of Mr. Fox to that of his hon. Friend. Mr. Fox was the leader of a great and influential party in that House; he was the chosen organ for the expression of their sentiments; he was the leader of a large minority directly opposed to the Government of the day; and, with all deference to his hon. Friend, he must say that he stood in a very different position from that which the hon. Baronet occupied, whose only support would come from his strongest political opponents. Mr. Fox, also, at the time he impugned the conduct of Lord Sandwich took special care that a similar motion should be brought forward in the House of Lords, when Lord Sandwich himself might answer the accusations brought against him; but had his hon. Friend taken care that such should be the case in the present instance? Had he found any individual peer, noble or learned Lord, or both, to bring forward this same question in the House of Lords? With regard to the motion before them, the noble Lord who had preceded him had entered at some length, into a defence of Lord Glenelg and the Government, but he (Mr. Hall) desired to confine himself to the consequences which would ensue if this motion were carried; and entertaining opinions upon many subjects in coincidence with those expressed by the hon. Baronet, he would ask his hon. Friend, supposing the motions were carried, did he think they would gain anything by placing in office those against whom they were most diametrically opposed. For his part he could not vote for the present motion; he could not agree in a proposition the natural consequence of which was to displace the present Government, in order to replace it with the Gentlemen sitting opposite. He could not think, that liberal opinions, such as he entertained were more likely to be carried out by the Tories than by the present Administration. Did his hon. Friend suppose, that if the name of Lord Melbourne were expunged from the list of her Majesty's Councils, that they should derive any advantage from that of the substitution of the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, 526 in his place? Did his hon. Friend think this would be a change for the better? And yet this would be the probable consequence of success attending the present motion. And with respect to Ireland, his hon. Friend would surely not maintain that the conduct of the noble Earl at the head of that Government had not been productive of the greatest blessings and the greatest satisfaction to its inhabitants, or had not been marked with the strictest justice and impartiality. He was not prepared to place the reins of power in the hands of Gentlemen opposite; he would not sanction by his vote the dominion of the Orange faction again in Ireland. And believing that Lord Mulgrave's administration was good, he would not support the return to power of that individual whom Lord Mulgrave succeeded, and one of whose first acts, was, to raise to the office of Privy Councillors, some of the most violent Orangemen in that country, and over whose head, when he appeared in public, orange flags had waved, in token of his devotion to the cause of which they are the acknowledged symbols. If he believed that this motion would have a contrary effect to that which he anticipated—if instead of bringing in a Tory Government it would produce one of a more liberal description, calculated to give fresh vigour to those liberal principles which his hon. Friend and himself entertained in common with each other—he would follow a very different course. But, believing, as he did, that the motion, if carried, would unquestionably have the effect he dreaded, he would not be guilty of such dangerous or such miserable double dealing, as to support a vote which would first bring the Tories into power, and then become a party to passing another vote that they were totally unworthy of the confidence of the country.
§ Viscount Sandon
said, that the hon. Baronet, in the observations he had addressed to the House had certainly not taken the course that he had expected. He had expected that, considering the anxious attention lately attracted to our North American colonies, considering that that part alone of our colonial empire could justify the terms of the hon. Baronet's motion, the attention of the House would have been more particularly called to the policy which the Administration had adopted with respect to the affairs of those possessions. Instead of taking this course, however, the 527 hon. Baronet had ranged in a vague, general, excursive way over the whole field of colonial policy. He thought his noble Friend (Lord Palmerston) had put the question on its proper basis. He perfectly agreed with his noble Friend that a motion of this kind ought not to be directed against an individual Member of the Government. He did not think that course very constitutional, he did not think it very convenient, above all things he did not think it very just; added to which, he confessed there were personal reasons which would have made it impossible for him to support the motion. He had long had the pleasure of an acquaintance with the noble Lord, and any one who had enjoyed that privilege must find it impossible for him to consent to heap on his name such a weight of censure. Any one acquainted with the distinguished talents, the high integrity, the admirable private life of the noble Lord, would, he repeated, feel it impossible to be a party to such a proceeding. But neither did he consider it right to direct a charge against any one Member of a Government, except on the ground of personal delinquency. There were cases in which maladministration might be imputed to the head of a department; but he had not heard that there was any part of the noble Lord's official conduct which could justify a personal charge. He differed very widely from that noble Lord in his views on colonial affairs, but he believed no faults could be imputed to him in which the whole Cabinet did not participate. The resolutions of last year could not be said to have been the work of Lord Glenelg; they were introduced into Parliament by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Home Department. Such, he believed, were the views of that great Conservative party with whom he had the honour to act. But Government had asked the House to put a direct negative on the motion of the hon. Baronet; and they did not conceal that they intended, in asking for a direct negative, to claim the approbation of the House. Now, he must say, that this was a demand which he could not concede. He, and those who thought with him, were placed in such a position that they could not accept either of the alternatives offered to them, and yet were forced to express their opinion on the question. He had never been a party to any violent political movement, but he could not avoid expressing an opinion on a question which excited such universal attention, and which deeply concerned the interests of the con- 528 stituents he had the honour to represent. He did not know any part of the empire so much interested in the maintenance of the connexion between this country and her North American colonies on a proper footing as the town of Liverpool. He found, on examination, that between a third and fourth part of the tonnage of the port of Liverpool, not employed in the coasting trade, was dependent on the trade with the North American colonies, and he had received many urgent requests from the chief merchants of the place, entreating him to do everything in his power to maintain the relations at present subsisting with those colonies. He had formed a decided and deliberate opinion on this question, which he believed to be in perfect accordance with that of his constituents; and he should not be doing his duty if he refused to express it freely and fearlessly. He should, therefore, state to the House the course he meant to pursue. Not being able to acquiesce in the address to the Crown moved by the hon. Member for Leeds, he should feel it to be his duty to move, by way of amendment, "That an humble Address be presented to her Majesty to express to her Majesty our deep regret that the tranquillity of her Majesty's provinces of Upper and Lower Canada should have been disturbed by the wicked and treasonable designs of a disaffected party in those provinces, by which many of the inhabitants have been seduced into open revolt against the authority of her Majesty. To assure her Majesty that we have observed with the utmost satisfaction the zeal and fidelity which have animated the loyal inhabitants of her Majesty's North American provinces, and that we cordially rejoice in the success which has attended the exertions of her Majesty's regular forces, combined with the voluntary services of her Majesty's faithful subjects. To assure her Majesty of our continued determination to aid her Majesty in every effort which she may be called upon to make for the suppression of revolt and the complete restoration of tranquillity, professing at the same time our desire to afford redress for every real grievance, and maturely to consider such permanent arrangements for the constitution and government of the province of Lower Canada as may best secure the rights and liberties and promote the interests of all classes of her Majesty's subjects in that province. Humbly to represent to her Majesty, that it appears to us, upon a consideration of the documents and cor- 529 respondence relating to the North American provinces which her Majesty has been graciously pleased to communicate to this House, that the open defiance of her Majesty's lawful authority in the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, and the necessity of suppressing rebellion by force of arms, and of suspending the constitutional government of Lower Canada, are in a great degree attributable to the want of foresight and energy on the part of her Majesty's confidential servants, and to the ambiguous, dilatory, and irresolute course which they have pursued in respect to the affairs of Canada since their appointment to office." He hoped hon. Gentlemen on the other side would admit that this was a full, fair, and open expression of opinion—that they would see that the course he proposed to take was in accordance with the course taken by those with whom he had the honour to act throughout all the late transactions, and that it was also perfectly in accordance with the language held by them when the resolutions brought forward last year by the noble Lord opposite, were under discussion. If he recollected right, it was the general impression on his side of the House, that the resolutions did not go far enough; the general opinion was, if he recollected right, that, in dealing with Canadian politics, it would be better to settle the question at once. The case he had to make out did not lead him so far back as the hon. Baronet had gone, or to those anterior circumstances to which the hon. Baronet had alluded. [Cheers.] He knew what those cheers meant; he knew that they recant to insinuate, that the disorders of Canada had not commenced at the present day. He agreed with those who thought, that the seeds of the differences had been sown earlier, and that there were abuses and maladministrations under former Governments. But the question was, whether the present state of affairs was attributable to the present Administration or not. Was there not a period when there was an opportunity of settling those affairs, which, by irresolute and dilatory conduct, the Ministers had allowed to escape? What had been the result of the Report of the Committee of 1828? Was it a measure which had been received by the Assembly in Lower Canada with approbation? Was it treated by them as an imperishable monument of human wisdom? The question was, whether, since the present Administration came into office, they had not had an opportunity of healing the differences 530 in Canada, and settling its affairs, and had not allowed that opportunity to escape? In 1831, the Administration in which Lord Goderich was at the head of the Colonial Department, in a spirit of overweening confidence, gave up at once the command over the revenue which was possessed under the act of 1774, in the hope that the result of that sacrifice would be an establishment for the civil government. In that expectation he had been entirely disappointed. The question which was to be resolved at the time when Lord Melbourne's Administration was formed was, in what way this act of generosity should be remedied—in what way the Government should resume the position it had abandoned and put itself in a position to enforce those arrangements, on the part of the Assembly, by which the civil and judicial establishment should be secured. The noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, (Lord Stanley) when he succeeded to the office of Colonial Secretary, had adopted the simple course of suspending, for a limited period, the act of 1774, and referring the matter to a Committee; but, before that Committee could make a Report, the right hon. Gentleman, the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, succeeded the noble Lord in the office of Colonial Secretary, and from that moment the vigorous course was abandoned. He did not say, that there was anything in the intercourse between the right hon. Gentleman and Mr. Roebuck which wanted precision; but he did think, that there was not that clearness in his intercourse with the Canadian deputation, which prevented misapprehension and disappointment. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House, that, on his going out of office, he had a Plan for settling the whole Canadian question—that, on his walking out of Downing-street, he carried in his pocket a scheme for settling the whole question. But, a few months after, he was in office again, and Canadian affairs continued still the same. In the interval, the Administration of the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, had proposed to send out a noble Lord, distinguished for his conciliatory demeanour, and the respectability of his private life, to examine and decide upon the spot. What was the consequence as soon as Lord Melbourne's Government came in? Instead of one Commissioner, three Commissioners were appointed, and instead of a couple of months, they had occupied two or three years; and what had been the result after all? The lame 531 conclusion they came to, after two years, was, that it was necessary to recover the revenue which, in a fit of generosity, we had given up. All of them agreed in this one point, that the first thing to be done was to recover possession of those revenues—the alternative was, the suspension of the constitution. One of the Commissioners, who had at first entertained some doubt on this subject—even that Commissioner in the last Report had shown, that the doubt which had hung over his mind had been completely removed, and he concurred with the rest, that there was no other course but to recover the revenues. What had been the result of the inquiry? Did the Government adopt the recommendation of the Commissioners? No; they confined their measure to the giving up the arrears to April last; the other questions were left as before, with other difficulties superadded. And what had been the result? Had it not been exactly what was to be expected? One thing had struck him as peculiarly denoting that dilatoriness, irresolution, and ambiguity, which were adverted to in the address he had the honour to move. A point which was most requisite, in order to make an impression on the mind of the colonists, when we were about to resume the revenue, was the improvement of the executive and legislative councils; and that measure, which ought to have been hurried forward, that very measure had been postponed from time to time. From the papers which had been laid on the Table, there were passages which bore strongly on this point. It seemed that Lord Gosford was sensible of the way in which he had been crippled by the orders of Lord Glenelg to call the attention of the Assembly as early as possible, to the regulations of the House; and would it not be supposed, that this order would have been accompanied with a settlement of a point in which the feelings of the Assembly had been so much involved? But what was the fact? The order to call the Assembly was dated early in May, and it was not till the end of July that the question of the councils was discussed. On the 8th of September, 1837, there was a despatch from Lord Gosford, giving an account of the first meeting of the House of Assembly, in which he says, "It is a matter of great regret to me, that I could not, at an earlier period, have given a practical proof of my political views, and by acts to show my determination to redress certain grievances which evidently called for it however, it is too late now 532 to talk of this." That was a confession from Lord Gosford of the inconvenience he had felt for want of the instructions of her Majesty's Government. If the House wanted a further proof, it was contained in this passage: "I was obliged to share with others in submitting to circumstances over which there was no control." There was not only the evidence of the Governor himself as to the manner in which he felt himself crippled with respect to the House of Assembly; but there was additional evidence to be found in the address of the House of Assembly, implying that, if there had been a real reform of the two Councils, they would have abandoned at least some of the questions. They said, in their address of August 25, "We have learned with fresh regret, from your Excellency's speech, that no such reform has been effected, or will be so at any near and determinate period, notwithstanding the so-often-repeated pledges of the Government. Your Excellency has been pleased to allude distantly to the improvement of the composition of the Legislative and Executive Councils of this province. With regard to the Executive Council, we shall here forbear any painful reflections on the unmodified existence of that body, after it had been so solemnly repudiated by your Excellency in the name of the Crown. We should have hoped that, as a pledge of the sincerity of the Government, the Legislative Council would have been so remodelled as to enable us to ascertain up to what point it had been rendered capable of legislating conformably with the wishes and wants of the people, and to act according to the conclusion to which we might have come on this important subject. The reforms which your Excellency announces as having been delayed will, nevertheless, if effected in a spirit of justice and harmony, become a powerful motive with us for examining whether the Legislative Council, in its present form of constitution, could even for a time co-operate with us in a system of legislation conformable to the interests of the people, and of thereby ascertaining whether it shall have been so remodelled as to induce us to manifest confidence in her Majesty's Government." Now surely it would have been important to have kept up these good feelings in the House of Assembly, and to have said "True, we are compelled, from the necessity of the case, to assume the funds which were at your disposal; but we give you, at the same time, a pledge to 533 redress your grievances." But instead of this, the redress of grievances was postponed till a distant future, and not redressed when the rebellion took place. This was one of the strongest evidences of the dilatory and ambiguous conduct of her Majesty's Government. It was also remarkable, that there was a considerable minority in the Assembly, and if there had been a prospect that the promise would be carried into effect, the Assembly would probably have granted the supplies, and the minority would have become a majority. There was another point on which he felt very strongly—he alluded to the insufficiency of troops. Here it might be said, "Your great leader (the Duke of Wellington) has told you there were enough." Had the noble Duke said so? He thought that the noble Duke's opinion had been confined to a military opinion as to the sufficiency of troops to retain possession of the province; but the question was entirely different whether there were troops enough to prevent rebellion. He hoped that the policy of the Government had not been like that of Sir Francis Head—to invite rebellion. Would it not have been better, when the Government were about to propose a course of proceeding likely to lead to irritation and insurrection, to have had such a force in Canada as would have rendered such an insurrection hopeless. Such a course, instead of that of Sir F. Head, would have been more consistent with the duty of the home Government. And what had been the opinion of Lord Gosford himself, on that subject? The noble Lord, on the 10th of June, had admitted that the steps which had been taken would not be dictated by the apprehension of any great commotion, for he had every reason to believe that the mass of the Canadians were loyal and contented; but he added, that a larger force was necessary, not for the purpose, it was true, of suppressing commotion or insurrection, but to deter the ill-disposed, to secure the good feeling of the wavering, and to give confidence to the loyal portion of the people. Could it have been right, then, for the Governor, under the advice of the home Government, to have sat looking tamely on at passing events with folded arms—nay, with scarcely a single picket to announce the approach of the enemy, and then for the Ministry at home to find in subsequent results a justification of their conduct? And in what way had they suppressed the rebellion and the insurrec- 534 tion? Why, not fly troops accustomed and disciplined to service, and who could have no feeling but that of duty to their Sovereign, but for want of such troops, it had been necessary to appeal to volunteers; and thus that which had first been insurrection, was converted into something of the character of a civil war. It had necessarily excited the passions of the injured British Canadian population when called upon to suppress the insurrection raised by the French portion of the colonists; and it could not be questioned that all the irregularities which had been committed, and all the disorders which had taken place, had arisen from the employment of volunteers, and, by these means, the setting up one class of citizens against another class of citizens. All those evils were to be attributed to the neglect of her Majesty's Ministers, who had left no other alternative for the adoption of the executive Government of the colony, save and except the use and application of the volunteer force. It was remarkable that the opinions which he (Lord Sandon) was now endeavouring to express were entertained in the very scene of the insurrection. If regard was had to the province of Lower Canada, it would be found from the expressions used by the Earl of Gosford that there an impression had been created, and certainly not without cause, that her Majesty's Government were not disposed to pursue a very resolute or determined course. That this impression prevailed in the minds of some portion of the Canadian people was manifest from the words used by Lord Gosford on the 11th of July, 1836. His words were these:—"No one can regret these measures more than myself, but a few examples appear to be necessary, and will, I believe, have a very salutary effect, especially as it has been part of the policy of the ill-disposed to create an impression that the Government is unwilling or unable to act, and that it may be set at defiance with impunity." Now, he defied any set or body of men to have created that impression unless the policy of the Government had given some fair grounds for it. Then, again, with respect to Upper Canada, it would appear from the dispatch of Sir F. Head of the 21st of April, 1836, that a similar expression prevailed in that province. In that despatch Sir F. Head used the remarkable expression—"If the whole country should be disposed to rse up in revolt, he saw no difficulty in the way of crushing that rebellious party, except the general impress- 535 sion and fear which prevailed that the home Government would be afraid to support him." Now, in what was that impression found? How did that fear arise? Had there been no wavering in this House by Government towards those who had allied themselves to the Canadian agitators, and had not events here tended to excite those fears and create those impressions? Why, Sir F. Head went on to say—" I tell your Lordship the truth—that the reception given in England to Mr. Mackenzie" (a man who had since proved a traitor) "has had the effect of cowing the loyal, and of giving confidence to the insurgents, "But," continued Sir F. Head, "if you knew the feelings of the country, you-would be aware, and your Lordship must pardon me for telling you, that the republican party are incapable of understanding the generous policy of the Government there, and confidently look to the home Government for support." Now, it would seem that both the republican party in Canada and the republican party at home looked for support to the present advisers of her Majesty. Even on the present occasion he fully expected that some hon. Members who were opposed to the course of policy pursued by the Government with reference to Canada would agree to sanction the same course, would cling very closely to the Government on this occasion, and look in turn for the support of the Members of her Majesty's Ministry. Some of those hon. Gentlemen need feel no apprehension, that a past correspondence with traitors, that exultations and rejoicings in the defeat of British soldiery, would be at all likely, in case of a future election, to deprive them of that support of her Majesty's Government which had been so lately and so liberally bestowed. Nay, he dared to say that the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Leader) entertained no fear or apprehension if he stood again for the representation of Westminster that his course to-night would deprive him of the support of the Controller of her Majesty's Household, or that the noble Lord opposite, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, would not again come forward to his aid. And it was clear that the democratic party in both countries were anxious to lend their support to and receive support in return from her Majesty's present advisers. There might be in the small knot of hon. Members now rallying round the hon. Member for Leeds, some of whom thought that the cases of Canada and Ireland were not identical, and 536 others that the only difference between M. Papineau and Mr. O'Connell was, that the O was at the beginning of the name in the one case, and at the end on the other, but who still would desert the ranks of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, and the other leaders on the Canadian question, and would find themselves on this occasion supporting that very line of Canadian policy which for the last three or four years they had been so loud and zealous in deprecating. He was conscious how much the Canadian question had been exhausted, and therefore he did not intend to trespass much further upon the patience of the House, nor should he have done so, but that he and those with whom he acted had been compelled to take part in this debate. The right hon. the President of the Board of Control said that they were not compelled to do so. At least, he understood the right hon. Gentleman to say, that they on the Opposition was called upon to express an opinion one way or the other. He was therefore called upon either to condemn singly or solely Lord Glenelg, which he was not singly and solely prepared to do, or to go with the noble Lord, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, in sanctioning that which he fairly and candidly would state he could not. He and those with whom he had the honour to act had not solicited this question and discussion. They had made no arrangement with the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds. That hon. Baronet had brought forward the question, and upon it the House was called on to express an opinion; and he (Lord Sandon), as an honest and honourable man, came forward, without fear or favour, to give expression to the opinion which he had formed. To the question he admitted that he should not have been the man to call the attention of the House. The question had been forced upon them. His noble Friend opposite (Lord Palmerston) had jocularly expressed an apprehension that there might be a coalition Government formed between the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth, and had talked of the sacrifice of opinion which necessarily must be made by the parties forming such a Government. He did not think his noble Friend opposite was exactly the individual to make that observation. He (Lord Sandon) had been told that there had been an avowal by the Government of as wide difference of opinion between the members of the Government on many leading questions as possibly could exist between 537 the hon. Member for Leeds and the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. He understood the noble Lord opposite to be a friend and supporter of the Established Church, while a great and important portion of the Ministry to which he belonged were opposed to it, and considered it a nuisance; in short, upon many questions there was as great a difference of opinion amongst the members of the Government themselves as between the Government and a great proportion of their supporters. He, therefore, did not think that his noble Friend opposite was the person to treat with ridicule such a coalition Government as that which he had suggested. Now, he (Lord Sandon) particularly distrusted such unions, and should regret being compelled to embark in the same boat with gentlemen whose political sentiments he held to be dangerous to the country. The present Government, however, seemed to entertain no such scruples or objections. Having thus discharged, he feared imperfectly, his duty, having supported the charges—not of impeachment—he had made against her Majesty's Government, he should conclude by moving as an amendment upon the motion of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, the address which he had already read to the House.
§ The Speaker having put the amendment,
§ Mr. Labouchere
said, that as the veil of mystery which had lately hung over the designs of hon. Gentlemen opposite had now been, by the amendment of the noble Lord who had just sat down, drawn aside, and as it was apparent that the great and powerful party arrayed on the benches opposite were ready to bring to issue the question, whether or not, with reference to the colonial and other affairs of this great empire, it was desirable, for the interests of the country, that the present Government should be removed from the seat of power—as that was now manifestly the subject of the debate of this night, he trusted, that the sense of justice which in any time of party excitement had ever distinguished the House, would induce it to lend a patient hearing even to one of the humblest Members of that Administration. He (Mr. Labouchere) had not the honour to hold that station in the councils of her Majesty which could entitle him to lay claim to any share of the responsibility of the colonial policy, but so far as giving his cordial approbation to that policy in all its main features—so far as he was able to take his share in that responsibility, he 538 felt, in honour and conscience bound, to do so on the present occasion. He said all its main features, because he took it for granted this discussion would not be confined to mere petty cavils upon slight and immaterial points; on the contrary, he took it for granted the great question was, whether, in the entire course of colonial affairs, which it had been the misfortune, but not the fault, of the present Government to meet, they had acted in a manner to compel the House to continue the confidence which it had reposed in them, or such as to make it the duty of the House to take steps for the removal of the Government from power. His noble Friend who had just sat down, speaking for the great party of which the noble Lord was an ornament, had said that he proposed the amendment very reluctantly and under compulsion. He credited that assurance of his noble Friend, and believed, that he and the hon. Members near him came forward on this occasion most unwillingly and under strong coercion. ["No, no!"] He was greatly mistaken if that coercion and compulsion came, not from his Friend, but from those behind his noble Friend, and that the pressure had been so great and urgent that it was impossible to refuse. He did not blame the leaders of the party opposite, nor those who urged them forward, for it was very natural, that at a time when parties in this House were so equally balanced—when hon. Gentlemen opposite were pluming themselves upon the results of certain recent victories—it was quite natural for them to spur on their leaders, and for his own part, uncertain though he might be as to whether the Government was to stand or fall, but, speaking merely as a Member of the House of Commons, he heartily rejoiced, that the question had been fairly brought forward in a manner which showed, that hon. Gentlemen opposite were ready and willing to take the conduct of affairs; and being so fairly brought forward, he was sure the Government to which he belonged would readily bow to any decision upon it to which the House might come. If the question had been other than this, he would not have troubled the House with any observations, but as the attack was made upon the matter of the affairs of Canada, and conceiving, as he did, that the greatest injustice was thereby done to the Government generally, and particularly to Lord Glenelg, who deserved high credit for his management of those affairs, he was induced to offer himself to 539 the attention of the House for a few moments. He was satisfied, that anything he should say with reference to the noble Lord, the Member for Liverpool, that noble Lord would not suppose to be a personal attack upon him; but he owned he felt surprised, that the attack should have come from his noble Friend. He had acted with his noble Friend on the subject of Canadian politics, and he had hoped and believed, that his noble Friend entertained much the same opinions on that subject as himself, and certainly it was with astonishment he now saw his noble Friend come forward to pronounce a sweeping censure not only upon Lord Glenelg, but upon the whole Government. With respect to the motion of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, he was not surprised that it should have been made, though he was very much surprised at the time at which it was brought forward. But in what position was the House placed? It had already voted an Address in many respects similar to that now proposed by his noble Friend opposite; the only difference was, that tacked to the present Address was a vote of censure upon the Government. Now, he could not help asking the question why at the time the House had voted for and carried an Address to the foot of the Throne, when all the documents which now furnished the ammunition for the present attack were on the table—why, if hon. Gentlemen opposite really believed the conduct of the Government was so culpable as they now contended, they did not then express their want of confidence in the present Administration? He could not help suspecting, that there was this difference between that and the present occasion—that was a period of considerable alarm. There were then very threatening clouds in the horizon, and that man must have been clear-sighted indeed who could have ventured to predict that the storm would not burst and bring desolation upon the country. He must say, that it was not a very worthy or courageous part to be performed by those who had shrunk from the responsibility which at that time they would have incurred in assuming the reins of Government, now that the storm was dispersed and the waves were stilled, to declare, that they were not unwilling to commit themselves to that calmer sea on which, when darkness and tempest brooded over its waters, they hesitated to embark. But when he came to examine into the causes which had produced that unfortunate state of things which had 540 prevailed iu Canada, he considered, that it would be necessary to look back a little before the House came to a decision on the subject. On former occasions, when Canadian affairs had been brought under discussion in that House, he had not been very eager to express his opinions as to the origin of the troubles which agitated those colonies, although he felt, that blame was attributable in many quarters. He had considered it better motos componere fluctus. The thing was to restore calm and tranquillity. He did not, although he believed many faults had been committed by parties on both sides—some, he admitted, by his own friends—he did not think, that since 1828 there had been any lack of a disposition on the part of the Government at home to do substantial justice to the Canadas. They undoubtedly meant well towards that country, and that being the case, he considered, that it would be useless to engage hon. Gentlemen in criminating and accusing each other, when both parties were not altogether free from blame. But when he took a wider view of the political horizon, and inquired to what cause was mainly owing the present unfortunate state of affairs in Canada, he felt himself obliged to go back a few years, and in making that retrospect he could assure the House, that he would be as brief as possible. The year 1828 was generally the period from which hon. Gentlemen took their survey of the condition of the Canadas. It was in fact their starting point, because the Canada Committee was then appointed. But if the House would look to what really caused the troubles which had disturbed that colony, let them not dismiss the history of the previous period in so summary a manner. To that point he would advert, and in doing so he addressed himself particularly to the right hon. Baronet, the Member for Tamworth. That right hon. Gentleman was a Member of the Cabinet which existed many years previous to 1828. During that time measures of the greatest importance, and which had produced the most lasting and the most fatal results in the colony, had been carried into effect with regard to the Canadas by that Administration. He was sure that there was no Member of the Committee which sat in 1828 to inquire into the grievances of the Canadians who could possibly acquit that Administration of being deeply and morally responsible for the state of feeling with which the Canadians regarded this country. It had given him 541 great satisfaction to hear the right hon. Baronet express the liberal opinions with respect to our colonial policy, which had fallen from him in the course of the recent debates on this subject; but he must beg leave to tell that right hon. Gentleman, that those liberal professions presented the greatest possible contrast to his conduct as a Minister, when the Tory party was in the full possession of power. He was not going to enter upon a detailed examination of the objectionable measures which the Administration of which the right hon. Gentleman was a Member had carried out with respect to Canada. The House had heard a good deal of discussion lately with regard to the appropriation of the revenues of the colony by the Governor on the behalf of the Crown. Why, when the right hon. Baronet was in office that was done every year. These acts were frequently condemned by the Committee of 1828. He had heard them frequently condemned in that House; he had never heard them defended by any one. He would not pursue the subject further, but he thought it but right to allude to those acts, as the Government was now put upon its trial by the very men who had caused the troubles for which the present Administration was made responsible. As his noble Friend (Lord Sandon) had thought fit to bring forward a general accusation against the conduct pursued by the Government with regard to Canada, he expected, that he should have heard from him a clear and unambiguous statement of the course of policy which he and his friends would adopt if they returned to the Government. He had heard, indeed, one intimation with some surprise from his noble Friend. His noble Friend had said, that the Bill which was brought in by the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire, in 1834, was abandoned by the Government when that noble Lord quitted office, and his noble Friend had attributed to that circumstance the evils which had since arisen in Canada. He had heard that opinion expressed by his noble Friend with the greatest surprise, because, as he believed, his noble Friend was a Member of the Committee which was sitting upon Canadian affairs when that Bill was introduced, and upon the Report of which it was not proceeded with. At any rate, as far as he recollected, and if he were wrong his noble Friend would set him right, his noble Friend never intimated the slightest opinion that that Bill ought to be proceeded 542 with. Another reason why his surprise had been excited was, that his noble Friend had accused the present Government of procrastinating and dilatory proceedings. Why surely his noble Friend had not forgotten the period when Sir George Murray was Colonial Minister. Sir George Murray was undoubtedly possessed of many valuable qualities, which distinguished his career as a public servant, but a more dilatory and procrastinating Minister it had never been his fortune to see. He was the Colonial Minister in 1828, when the Canadians looked with hope towards this country, and when their feelings were warm and grateful. That was the time to strike; and yet Sir G. Murray being then Colonial Minister, more than two years were suffered to elapse, and no settlement had been made of the disputed question of the revenues in Canada, at the time when he retired from office. He, during that period, had felt it to be his duty to bring forward a resolution on the subject, asking the House to do that which he was afraid the Colonial Minister would not carry into effect. And who had supported that resolution—nay, who had seconded his motion? Why, his noble Friend, the Member for Liverpool. And yet his noble Friend allowed himself to be put forward to-night, to brand the Government to which he was now opposed, as having been, by their procrastination and delay, the cause of those evils which, up to a recent period at least, had disturbed the province of Lower Canada. His noble Friend had no doubt diligently looked into the blue books which had been laid upon the table, but he had as little doubt that his noble Friend was equally diligent when Sir G. Murray's conduct was the subject of investigation. Sir James Kempt, than whom no better governor ever administered the affairs of the colony, and to whom so much was due for the manner in which he had conciliated the good will of the Canadians, complained in the most emphatic language of the delay at the Colonial-office, when Sir G. Murray was at its head, in sending out instructions. So long was the delay, that when the instructions which Sir George Murray had written for were sent out to him, he was obliged to throw them into the fire, and write back to Sir G. Murray, that if he had acted upon them, he should have thrown the whole colony into confusion. He might go on much longer in giving what he thought were good reasons to show the House, that whatever embarrass- 543 ment and difficulty might be found in the present posture of Canadian affairs, it was not to be attributed solely and exclusively to the unfortunate Government against which the present attack was directed. But he did hold the question for the House to be, whether the general principles of policy pursued by the present Government, as well as the principles on which their administration of our colonial affairs had been conducted, were of that description and character, that it was desirable for the country that they should retain the seats which they now held, or whether the hon. Gentlemen opposite should cross the House and occupy them. He might be supposed to have some bias in deciding that question, and he thought it would be more graceful in him, holding, as he did, even the humble situation which he now filled, to leave it for the House to determine. Upon that question the present Government would depend; and he should only express his earnest wish that the decision which the House might feel called upon to pronounce, might be such as would be best calculated to promote the real and permanent interests of this country.
said, that he had risen earlier in the course of this debate than otherwise he should have been desirous of doing, in consequence of some observations which had fallen from his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Labouchere), and which more immediately pointed at measures which he, in his public capacity, had introduced. He felt, therefore, that this was an opportunity which he ought not to pass by, of setting his right hon. Friend right. But, in the first place, he would take the opportunity of observing upon the remark made by his right hon. Friend, that at length the veil of mystery which had so long shrouded the operations of hon. Gentlemen on the opposition side of the House had been cast aside, that at length the course of policy which they had determined to follow had been exposed to view, and that having previously concealed in the most scrupulous manner every indication of their intentions, they had at length explained their objects, and developed their designs. His right hon. Friend seemed to charge Members on the opposition side of the House, with a project for taking the Government by surprise in introducing the amendment which his noble Friend had proposed. ["No, no."] Why, then, if there was no complaint of surprise, was the word "mystery" em- 544 ployed? Mystery implied a concealment, and a wilful concealment, of intentions; and, really, if they called this mystery, he did not think that it was his side of the House against which such a charge should be exclusively directed. But what were the facts of the case? The hon. Baronet the Member for Leeds, unconnected with that side of the House, without any communication so far as he knew, with any Member who sat on the benches of the opposition, certainly with no concert, direct or indirect, with him or any of those Gentlemen with whom he usually communicated on political matters, gave notice of his intention to bring before the House a question involving the character of the policy pursued by the Government; and to give the notice more solemnity, he stated that he should move a call of the House. The hon. Baronet, in making that statement, had intimated that it was the object of his motion to call for the opinion of the House on that part of the Government policy especially—namely, that pursued towards our colonies, which was called in question by the amendment; and although it might be a delicate and dangerous task, if the hon. Baronet's motion stood by itself, to choose the side to be taken upon a division, yet he could feel no hesitation in giving his support to the amendment of his noble Friend, and he must remark, that the course which Gentlemen upon his side of the House had taken must, from the very nature of the case, depend upon the course taken by the Government themselves. It was very possible, and it was certainly open to the Government, to have moved a counter resolution; and looking at the tone of triumph already assumed by his noble Friend the Secretary for Foreign Affairs—nay, looking at his declaration, that the administration of the affairs of Canada, the results of which had been insurrection and bloodshed, was the brightest gem which the system of policy adopted by the Government could boast—looking, also, at the hearty rejoicings expressed by his right hon. Friend (Mr. Labouchere) that the question was now fairly brought to issue, that question being, as it had been put by his noble Friend and his right hon. Friend afterwards, whether, in truth, the Government which now filled the situations of the responsible advisers of the Crown enjoyed n an equal degree, the confidence of the 545 House and the country,—looking at this, he must say, that the Government would have taken a bolder and more straightforward course, if they had moved a resolution declaring that they did enjoy that confidence. But, at all events, he had a right to assume this. He was entitled to suppose that the Government, having openly rejoiced that this question was now brought forward, never could think of avoiding a division on the proposition, that the words of the motion made by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, stand part of the question. He concluded that her Majesty's Ministers would say, "The motion of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, is liable to technical and constitutional objections. We feel that there are objections to singling out an individual member of the Government as responsible for the policy adopted in Canada. We are all responsible for that policy. We declare that policy to be the brightest gem of our administration. We desire nothing so much as that the approbation of the country, with respect to that policy, should be declared," and then having determined that the words proposed in the motion of the hon. Member for Leeds should not stand part of the question, he concluded that they would joyfully go forth to meet the amendment of his noble Friend. The motion of his noble Friend was a motion of censure on the whole Government. That amendment did not extend over so large a geographical space as the motion of the hon. Baronet, although it related to no inconsiderable portion of our colonial empire, but referring to arguments and to facts, it laid down broadly and fully the principles which they on that side of the House entertained with reference to our colonial policy, and which they were prepared to follow up. And, forced as they were to come to this discussion, they invited the Government to enter upon, and expected they would not shrink from it. But it had been said that this was a strange time to entertain such a question. It had been stated, that Gentlemen on the Opposition side of the House had been afraid, in times of difficulty, to assume the government of the country; but now, in these quiet and easy times, when the storm had blown over, when all was peace, tranquillity, and revived loyalty—when all was harmony and good-will in Canada—now, it was said, they came forward with a motion to unseat the Government. Why, 546 the very ground on which his right hon. Friend had taken up his position was the forbearance of the Opposition. At a time when it was doubtful whether rebellion would not immediately succeed—when treason was more likely to prosper than any British subject could have desired—at a time when the conduct of her Majesty's Government had rendered it extremely doubtful whether the efforts of men of all parties would be successful in the attempt to preserve the Canadas to the British Crown at such a crisis, there was no place for a question of party. They all felt that her Majesty's Government had invited them to join in an address to the Crown, expressive of loyalty and support, and they felt whatever was the responsibility which they might have incurred by their conduct with regard to Canada, that was not the time to embarrass, by any differences, the service of her Majesty; and that they ought then to have but one object—that of convincing the people of Canada that rebellion would never experience from any party in this country, by any fortuitous combination of circumstances, the slightest degree of support. His right hon. Friend had remarked, that now perfect tranquillity and restored attachment prevailed, the Members who sat on the Opposition side of the House had attacked the present Government; but supposing these troubles to be at an end, the fact left him, and those with whom he acted, free, and at liberty to express their opinion with regard to the course of policy which had led to the disasters by which the colony had been afflicted. But let him (Lord Stanley) observe, that if indeed harmony and good feeling were fully restored—if there were nothing to apprehend for the future—if peace were completely secured, and a perfect understanding established between the mother country and Canada, it was truly a strange time, not for bringing forward this motion, but for rigorously pressing forward a measure for the suppression of the constitution of Lower Canada. Why, if harmony and good feeling were restored, where, he would ask, was the plea for suspending that constitution? Why invade the constitution of Canada, if they could repose any trust in the legislature of that country? His noble Friend, in fact, must know full well, that the state of affairs in Canada was very different from that which was here described, and 547 that the Government which would succeed him, in the event of his retiring voluntarily from office at the present moment, or being driven from office by a vote of that House, would have no easy task to perform to remedy the evils which had flowed from the misgovernment of the last few years. But his right hon. Friend who last addressed the House, before alluding to the proceedings of the Committee which sat in 1828, went back to a still earlier period, and entered, not into a discussion of the points at issue, but into a condemnation of the conduct of previous administrations. It was not for him to defend the conduct of any administration which had the charge of colonial affairs previously to the year 1828. He had heard something from his noble Friend, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, that night, as to the "inconsistency of persons joining with those who entertained different political opinions." He had heard from his noble Friend a supposition, which undoubtedly did the utmost credit to his noble Friend's ingenuity, for it never could have entered the brain of any other but himself; he had heard his noble Friend allude to a supposed intention of forming a Government by the union of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir W. Molesworth) with his right hon. Friend near him (Sir R. Peel). He knew not whether his noble Friend had any intention of forming a part of that Government. But if his noble Friend did not entertain such an intention, he trusted he might remind his noble Friend that for a longer period than his memory could go back, it would be the only administration of which his noble Friend had not formed a part. It was not for him to vindicate the course of colonial policy which had been pursued by any administration previously to the year 1828. He would agree in opinion with his right hon. Friend opposite, that up to that period—nay, he might be of opinion that since that period, very great abuses had prevailed in the colonial system of Government. But he was undoubtedly surprised to hear his right hon. Friend bring against his noble Friend, the Member for Liverpool, a charge of inconsistency, because he was the person to accuse the present Government of dilatory, ambiguous, and undecided conduct, and had also been the person who had charged Sir George Murray with similar conduct. In his estimation, if ever there was a testi- 548 mony given to the consistency of his noble Friend, it was that very statement of his right hon. Friend opposite, that whatever administration was in power, his noble Friend had ever been found to be the consistent advocate of constitutioual reform in Canada, and the consistent impugner of every man in office whom he could charge with ambiguous policy, or accuse of interposing unnecessary delays. His right hon. Friend had not correctly stated the object of his noble Friend's motion, when he said that his noble Friend imputed to the Government all the inconveniences and vexations of the commotions which had arisen in Canada. Now his noble Friend, and the party with whom he acted, imputed no such thing. But they imputed to the Ministers, though they had not originally sought to prefer the charge, but were driven to it, for they were called on now to state their opinions—called on in a manner which rendered it impossible for them to avoid an explicit declaration of those opinions, instead of discussing the colonial policy of the present Government generally, to discuss the Colonial Secretary's Canadian policy specifically, and while they could not accede to the motion which was made by the hon. Baronet opposite, on the one hand, they could not, on the other, accede to the meed of approbation which would be implied by their giving to that motion a direct negative; they were imperatively called on then to state their opinion of the colonial policy pursued by her Majesty's Government, and that opinion they therefore frankly and unhesitatingly declared; and they did impute to their want of foresight, to their ambiguity, vacillation, and irresolution, in a great degree, the unhappy revolt which had brokeu out in Canada. They further said, that more firmness, energy, decision, a plainer and more candid statement of what they were disposed to grant and what to withhold, the simple and obvious plan of acting on their own mind and judgment, instead of suffering themselves to be driven backwards and forwards by every wind and shift of wind, would have rescued them from disreputable subservience to a small and comparatively insignificant party, and succeeded in earning for them the respect of all thinking men for prudence and firmness, while it would not have rendered less effective their attempts at reconciliation. His right hon. Friend was mistaken 549 when he affirmed that the bill of 1834, which he had had the honour to introduce with the full consent of Lord Grey's Cabinet, had any reference to the Committee which sat during that year on Canadian affairs. When a motion was made by an hon. Gentleman not now in the House for inquiring into the state of the two Canadian provinces, he moved that the inquiry should be limited to Lower Canada, the province of Upper Canada not having then presented any necessity for such investigation; and when he having carried that limitation, moved for the appointment of that Committee, he stated distinctly that its appointment had no reference to the bill which he intended to produce. Upon the same night on which he had moved for the appointment of the Committee, he also moved for leave to bring in the bill. That bill, however, he had never brought in. [An observation was here made by an hon. Member on the Treasury bench.] It was very possible that his (Lord Stanley's) recollection might be mistaken upon the subject of his having moved on the same night for leave to bring in the bill, but this he distinctly recollected, that in moving that night for the appointment of the Committee, he stated it to be the intention of the Government, upon their own responsibility, and without reference to the proceedings before this Committee, to introduce this Bill, the intention and ultimate object of which he then distinctly stated. In the Committee several Gentlemen who were not so well acquainted with the facts of the case as his Majesty's Government imagined themselves to be, requested that the Government would not proceed with the bill until the evidence should have been fully laid before the Committee. To that request, backed by his noble Friend and the right hon. Gentleman opposite, he at once acceded, with the distinct understanding, however, that if he should remain in office, the bill should be proceeded with. Before that Committee ceased to sit, from causes totally unconnected with Canadian affairs, he ceased to hold the seals of the colonial office; and his right hon. Friend who succeeded him, asked of him, with great courtesy, whether he should have any personal objection to the evidence which had been given before the Committee not being laid before Parliament? He stated, in reply, that he had no objection whatever, provided the object which he 550 proposed to himself were effected—that the main end for which that Committee was appointed, was obtained upon the evidence being collected. His object was to vindicate the Government with which he had been connected; but with regard to the Government which succeeded him deferring a bill, or declining to print evidence, as he was no longer connected with colonial affairs, it was a matter personally to him of perfect indifference. From that period, he dated the commencement of that irresolution and ambiguity with which the present Government was chargeable in their administration of the affairs of these colonies. He trusted that his right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would excuse him, if he adverted to a communication which immediately after that period passed between his right hon. Friend and Mr. Roebuck. He did not charge his right hon. Friend with intentionally misleading Mr. Roebuck. He did not make any charge against him, for having, after that communication, had recourse to the expedient which he adopted of borrowing money from the British Treasury on the faith of a subsequent repayment out of the colonial chest. He made a wide distinction in opposition to the view which Mr. Roebuck had taken of this transaction between the case as it had really occurred, and the case of taking the money out of the colonial chest in the first instance. But he would say this, that he felt perfectly convinced the language held by his right hon. Friend in this interview with Mr. Roebuck was not of such a nature as to put that gentleman, acting, as he was, upon the part of the Colonial Assembly, in full possession of the intentions entertained by her Majesty's Government. He believed that that interview was of a personal and merely verbal nature. No authentic communication had, he believed, been made of what had passed upon that occasion; no communication whatever, but that which was published, probably by one of the parties who attended Mr. Roebuck, and appeared on the part of the provincial legislature. It appeared, however, to have been evidently implied, by what transpired during that interview, that there was to be a very wide and manifest difference between his right hon. Friend's official conduct and that which he had pursued. His right, hon. Friend assured Mr. Roebuck on that occasion, that he had as much respect for the privi- 551 leges of the House of Assembly as he entertained for those of the House of Commons; that no earthly consideration could tempt him to infringe upon the smallest of their rights, or violate the least of their privileges, and in one week afterwards, the main hold which the House of Assembly had upon the Government of this country, consisting in the non-payment of their salaries to the servants of the Crown in Canada, was wrested from them. The right hon. Gentleman at once deprived them of that hold by paying those salaries out of the British Treasury, and declaring that he expected repayment from the colonial chest. He did not believe that if his right hon. Friend had, at that time said frankly and openly to Mr. Roebuck—"I do not mean to give you an Elective Legislative Council; I mean to pay the servants of the Crown in the first instance; I am determined that they shall not starve," he (Lord Stanley) did not believe that Mr. Roebuck would have left the colonial office, with the impression that the first thing for which the colonists should look should be the settlement of this question with respect to the Elective Legislative Council. This was the mainspring of action throughout. This was the subject of their perpetual appeal—"Will you give us an Elective Legislative Council or not?" He would take a brief review of the conduct of the Government with reference to this question of an Elective Council, from 1834, down to the present time. ["Take it from the year 1828."] How could he take it from 1828 since it was never heard of till 1832? He would, however, take it from the year 1828, because a question was asked in the Committee of that year, and the Canadian delegates who came over from the House of Assembly, in giving their answer upon that occasion, repudiated the idea of their Legislative Council being made elective, and expressed their anxious desire to adhere to the established forms of the constitution. If, therefore, Gentlemen wished him (Lord Stanley) to go back to that period, he would do so with perfect readiness. But in 1833, an address to the Crown was agreed to by the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, in which it was strongly insisted upon that the Legislative Council of that province should be rendered elective. In 1834, the Assembly adopted several resolutions upon this same subject There were various points upon 552 which he was desirous to touch in connection with this question, but he knew how disagreeable it was at all times to Gentlemen in that House to refer to documents, and he would content himself, in order to demonstrate the conduct of Government in this matter, with exhibiting the distinctness of the demands on the one hand, and the indistinctness and indecision of the replies on the other. Among the resolutions passed by the House of Assembly in 1834, which were ninety-two in number, there was one, the 12th, which stated that "the attention of the Assembly had been called to two different modes of constituting an Elective Legislative Assembly; that the House thought, judging from experience, that there would be no security in the first mentioned mode, the evils which would flow from its adoption being abundantly evident; but that the House approved of the plan proposed by Mr John Nielson, which presented ample facilities as to qualification, mode of election, and other particulars; and that the House had already, on the 20th of March, 1833, in an address to his Majesty, explicitly declared how they thought the Legislative Council might be rendered tolerable." In the 14th resolution, the House of Assembly again repeated their determination as to the Legislative Council being rendered elective; and stated, "that although such an institution might be considered by the British Secretary incompatible with what he called 'our Monarchial Constitution' ("and undoubtedly," said the noble Lord, "I submit to the imputation"), such a reform in the constitution of the Legislative Council was loudly called for; and the advantages which would result to the province from such a change were sufficiently apparent from the success which had attended its adoption in the contiguous free, moral, and powerful confederation of the United States of America." There was also a subsequent resolution, which he would not trouble the House by reading, but on the whole it was affirmed with the utmost distinctness, that, without an Elective Legislative Council, no mode whatever of altering the existing system—no proposition of amendment—no removal of grievances would, for a single moment, be accepted by the House of Assembly in Lower Canada; and the same thing was stated in the plainest terms—in terms which were not in the least degree liable to mistake—by the gentlemen who came over to this country, as the authorized 553 delegates of the House of Assembly. Upon that broad issue they put the whole question. "An Elective Legislative Council—nothing without that will satisfy us. We will have nothing short of that." He would ask, whether, in the conference between Mr. Roebuck and his right hon. Friend opposite, his right hon. Friend had put forward distinctly and plainly his declaration that her Majesty's Government considered an Elective Legislative Council, in the existing state of Lower Canada dangerous to the monarchial institutions of the empire? This, he believed, he had not done. He did not believe that his right hon. Friend had put it broadly and distinctly to Mr. Roebuck. But if Mr. Roebuck had not been made acquainted with the real intention of Government with reference to the Legislative Council, the terms of the instructions sent out by Lord Glenelg were explicit enough. The despatch of that noble Lord to which he referred, stated, that "the King was most unwilling to permit his officers to debate the question whether one of the vital principles of the established form of government in his dominions should undergo a change; that the solemn pledges which had been given for its maintenance, constitutional usage, and analogy, were alike opposed to the principle of entertaining such an idea; and that the objections against this poposition were so numerous as almost to preclude discussion." This was the language used by Lord Glenelg in his correspondence with Lord Gosford; and he (Lord Stanley) would ask whether that noble Lord was at liberty, while treating with the House of Assembly of Lower Canada, to state to them the substance of those instructions? No. For four or five months after the transmission of these instructions to the seat of the conial government, while Lord Gosford was endeavouring to obtain a civil list from the Assembly, and boasting of the progress which the Commissioners were making in the work of reconciliation, as evinced in the more moderate tone adopted by the House of Assembly, Lord Gosford and his brother Commissioners complained that all their plans were frustrated by the unhappy publication of these very instructions. Was there, or was there not, ambiguity and irresolution in the conduct of that Ministry which issued instructions upon a point admitted on all hands to be fundamental, and authorized their servants in the co- 554 lony to keep their instructions a secret from and treat with the party which preferred a complaint, as if their demand would be acceded to? The publication of the instructions put an end to that. Very shortly before these instructions were made public through the indiscretion of Sir F. Head, Mr. Roebuck moved in the House of Commons for a copy of those instructions, complimenting the Government at the same time upon the conciliatory course which they had adopted. Upon that occasion the hon. Gentleman, the Under Secretary for the Colonies, said that he could not accede to this proposition, inasmuch as the publication of these instructions would be detrimental to the public service. Upon receiving this reply, Mr. Roebuck at once, and in the most courteous manner, withdrew his motion. In a week or a fortnight after, it was discovered that these instructions had been made public. What then? Mr. Roebuck said he could no longer place dependence on the Government with reference to this matter; that whether they had desired intentionally to mislead or not, they had been paltering with the colonists in a double sense, and holding out promises which they never intended to realize, as was evident to him, now that their instructions were made known. It might be expected that uncertainty would terminate here; that the Government would have at this point taken up a distinct line of action with regard to the Legislative Council of Lower Canada. But what had been the language used by the Under-Secretary to the Colonies, Sir George Grey? "It has been indeed assumed, that the constitution of the Legislative Council is not a subject of inquiry under the instructions addressed to the Commissioners. This I am prepared to deny. To the fullest extent to which the present constitution of the Council has been alleged as an evil, to the same extent has it been referred to the Commissioners to report. It was the duty of Government to be slow in adopting a change of this description; and, up to the present period, what reason is there to suppose that there is any strong feeling among the majority of the inhabitants of Lower Canada in favour of an Elective Council?" Here was the whole question thrown open again by a Government which must have known long previously that this was the vital and fundamental point on which the success of 555 their whole colonial policy turned. When he went out of office in 1834, he left to his right hon. Friend who succeeded him every paper, public or private, connected with the colonial Administration in his possession. His private secretary became the right hon. Gentleman's private secretary also; and every paper marked "private" which came into his (Lord Stanley's) possession was transmitted through the private secretary to the right hon. Gentleman's office. His right hon. Friend left his office of Colonial Secretary on the 15th of September following, and unfortunately the change of Government took place on the very day when his right hon. Friend's first despatch was prepared. This was, undoubtedly, most unfortunate; and he could state this fact, in addition, that the right hon. Gentleman did not leave to his successor one single statement containing any account of what was to have been the nature of those instructions. Lord Aberdeen came into office in November, 1834, and remained in until the April following. In the course of a very short time alter he assumed the office of Colonial Secretary he drew up a most able minute, stating what had passed, and what he had done in reference to various points of Canadian legislation. He prepared instructions for Lord Amherst—definite instructions—stating what to concede and what not—giving him authority to go a certain length, and no further—declaring what the mind of the Government was, and desiring him to offer those terms in the most conciliatory manner. The Earl of Aberdeen went out of office in April, 1835, but he did not take his instructions with him; he left them with his signature affixed to them in the Colonial-office, that his successor might see what his intention was; so that the Minister who then succeeded (Lord Glenelg) had the double advantage of knowing what the course of policy pursued by his predecessor had been, and of being able to appeal to one of his colleagues for the definite instructions which, but for the unfortunate accident of November, would have been signed and sealed. His noble Friend (Lord Glenelg) had beer very much praised for his attention and enterprise. No man certainly respected the noble Lord's character and talents more than he did, but if he had selected points whereon to eulogise his noble Friend, it would not have been those of 556 energy and diligence. But a commission night to be sent out at a convenient time, and consequently a commission was sent out—not one Commissioner, that would lave been too despotic an authority, but three Commissioners, and those Commissioners so chosen as to leave between them every possible variety of shade of political opinion, thus insuring what was afterwards We result—the most happy unanimity of discrepancy. There was one point, and one only point, upon which all parties were agreed, and that was, that the only remedy to be adopted—the mildest and most effectual course to be pursued, was to take in 1836, the Commissioners having then first reported the measure, the identical measure, which he had had the honour of recommending in 1834, which had received the sanction of Lord Grey's Cabinet, and which, he would observe, as the authority had been appealed to, an authority which he looked to with the highest respect and deference, had met with entire approbation in the evidence given by Sir James Kempt from his own knowledge. That was the solitary point of advice given unanimously which her Majesty's Government did not think it necessary to follow. But after sending those Commissioners to inquire upon every possible subject, which he would not weary the House by detailing, receiving from them not a single proof, not a tittle of evidence, with regard to any one of those points, all of which remained the same and unaltered, beyond what they had possessed in 1834, her Majesty's Ministers, at least, in the year 1837, screwed up their courage to come down to the House of Commons with certain resolutions. Before he adverted to those resolutions he would just read one extract, and only one, from the report of the Commissioners. Leaving apart all consideration of the responsibility of the Executive Council, the immediate cession of the revenues, the repeal of the Tenures' Act, the abrogation of the charter of the Land Company's Act, and various other points, all of which had been subjected to the same discussions in 1836 as they had previously undergone during the Government of 1834, he would see how they had acted with respect to the Legislative Council. In the first place, the Commissioners unanimously and separately vindicated the conduct of the Legislative Council from many of the charges which 557 had been thrown out against it. They stated that as decidedly the opinion of the French population of the lower classes was in favour of an Elective Council, so was that of the whole of the English population as decidedly opposed to it and favourable to the maintenance of the constitution, They then continued with this remarkable passage:—"Turning now to the consequences of an Elective Council, we are not to suppose that the party now so violent in demanding it would sit down in quiet thankfulness and submission if it were granted. It is looked to, we must consider, not as an empty name, but rather as a means towards further ends. Neither are we left entirely in the dark as to what those ends may be. We will not enter upon the field of conjecture as to the various steps which might mark the progress of their demands, but simply point out that two at least have already been announced, which, it appears to us, whilst England has a shadow of authority, it must be impossible, because dishonourable, to grant." Those two were the repeal of the Tenures' Act without a guarantee for the titles acquired under it, and the abrogation of the charter of the Land Company. They stated this as the direct and necessary consequence of an Elective Council, in their report received early in 1836; and it was not till 1837 the resolutions of the Government respecting the state of Canada had been brought forward. And when brought forward, what sort of resolutions were they? They expressed no distinct or positive opinion upon any one subject, while the authors of them were told by both sides of the House that they could only irritate, without doing any good; that they were calculated rather to encourage their enemies than confirm their friends, if by enemies were to be considered those who were seeking for unconstitutional changes in Canada. Those resolutions were, however, passed with the concurrence of nearly the whole House, but at the same time with an intimation of the irritation they would produce; and having passed, after considerable delay, with which Lord Glenelg was not chargeable, but for which the Members of the Government at the other side of the House were, in his opinion, highly censurable, because by that delay they had made it impossible during that Session to pass an Act founded upon those resolutions—having passed both House of Parliament, 558 they were transmitted to Canada. But were any steps taken by the Government to convince Canada that they were in earnest in enforcing those resolutions? After having adopted this most irritating course—after having been told by the agent of the Colonial Assembly, that unless they took great precaution those resolutions would lead to revolt and bloodshed, what course had been pursued by her Majesty's Government, and what inducement had they given to the Canadian people to disbelieve that if they had only pressed their demands a little more strongly, those demands would not meet with a violent resistance. Who were the individuals who had been most prominent in opposing the policy of her Majesty's Government with regard to Canada, and in supporting those persons who were putting forward most unconstitutional pretensions? Why, they were the hon. Member for Westminster, the then Member for Bath, and the then Member for Middlesex—the very three individuals who had received, in the election which immediately followed, and in the two elections which followed, with regard to one of them, who in the first opposed Sir Francis Burdett, and the next Sir George Murray—the very three individuals who had opposed most vehemently the policy of the Government as to Canada, received at those elections much and signal countenance from her Majesty's Government—yes, those were the very Gentlemen who had been, to the utmost of their power, encouraging persons in Canada to resist the authority of the British throne. He did not want to make any personal allusions; but he could not avoid saying, that if there was one individual above another who had used strong and violent language with regard to the French population of Lower Canada, that individual was the hon. and learned Member for Dublin; and did the Canadians see that that hon. and learned Member obtained no portion of the favour and countenance of her Majesty's Government? Did they not see that the hon. and learned Member for Dublin had drawn a parallel between Canada and Ireland, that he himself had traced that parallel, and that he had invariably pressed upon the attention of the House that it was by bold, even, and unceasing demands they were to wring from the Government that which they had a right to demand—did they not see that the hon. and learned Gen- 559 tleman had in this manner been successful as regarded Ireland, and seeing it, what reason had they, with M. Papineau at their head, to suppose that the same course, if pursued in Canada, would not meet with the same happy results? In a debate upon one of these questions they had heard her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Home Department, in his place in Parliament, lay broadly down this maxim—that when popular concessions were sought by a majority of the people, they must necessarily be granted by the Government, and that if the first grant were not sufficient, more must be conceded. Now, his noble Friend's amendment characterised the conduct of the Government as ambiguous, but had it been M. Papineau who had undertaken the task, he would certainly have said, in reference to this maxim of the noble Lord,—"Here is a clear indication of our course; we cannot be misled; the more pressing we are, the more success we may expect; Government gives so freely under the pressure from without in Ireland, that they cannot refuse us what they have granted to that country merely because we are weak and distant." He asserted, then, that the Government had been giving encouragement with one hand, while with the other they had been applying ineffectual and miserable measures of restraint. Had there been no vacillation, no delay in their proceedings? What was the first duty upon sending out these resolutions? Why, to send out with them definite instructions as to the course which the Governor ought to take in the critical position in which he was placed, that he might not be left solely to his own jugdment, and to act entirely from himself. He should have received definite instructions, and a sufficient force to carry them into effect; but he had neither received the one nor the other. In November, 1836, the noble Lord, the Secretary of State for the Colonial Department, promised full and immediate instructions as to the course to be pursued; in March, he announced that resolutions had been brought forward in the House of Commons, and that immediately upon their being passed, full instructions should be given; and in April, he announced that he could not give full instructions until those resolutions should have passed the Lords, although his noble Friend knew very well what would be the result of his laying them before their Lordships, 560 and could have had no apprehension whatever of their being rejected. There might, to be sure, have been a formal objection to his sending out instructions before the resolutions were passed, but having those instructions fully prepared and ready to be sent out the moment the assent was given to the resolutions, was manifestly the course which was called for, and which ought to have been pursued. But even then those instructions were not issued. Month after month communications were dispatched to Lord Gosford, who was, however, still left to act upon his own responsibility, without instructions from the Home Government; and although ordered in April to call together the provincial Parliament, he was not furnished with the means of doing that upon which the Government acknowledged their hopes rested—namely, of introducing those resolutions into the Executive Council. In 1836, Lord Gosford recommended certain individuals to be put into the Councils; and in May, 1837, Lord Glenelg stated that he could not agree to them, and that Lord Gosford should send others for consideration. Lord Gosford continued month after month to send home the names of persons unobjectionable to all parties in Canada, when at length Lord Glenelg wrote to say, but not until after he had left the Parliament without the power of doing it, that Lord Gosford might name any nine gentlemen he pleased. Could there have been a more vacillating, irresolute, or unstatesman like course, than that which had been pursued by Lord Glenelg and her Majesty's Government respecting the Legislative Council, and which they professed to be one of the greatest means of conciliating Canada? One word with regard to the troops. On the 6th of March, 1837, Lord Glenelg communicated to Lord Gosford—"that as a measure of precaution, they ought, probably, to strengthen the military force in Canada by the temporary addition of two regiments, and that her Majesty's frigate, the Inconstant"—how happily named!—"would sail with them as soon as the navigation was open." Need he say, that the sequel of this correspondence was free from any signs of vacillation, and that Lord Gosford had no reason to apprehend that Lord Glenelg would not act decidedly, and in conformity with his own declared opinion? They would see. Upon the 6th of March, he stated that two regi- 561 ments should proceed to Canada, and upon the 22nd of the same month, he sent the following satisfactory message to Lord Gosford:—"My last private letter led you to expect a reinforcement to the garrison of Canada of two additional regiments"—not a very unnatural expectation he should think,—"but since I made that communication to you I have ascertained that it would not be possible to detach such a force without inconvenience, and without making a demonstration which might be productive of greater evil than advantage." Now, would it not have been better for Lord Glenelg to have ascertained that by communicating with his Colleagues on the subject before he dispatched his letter of the 6th of March? He would say, that this constant variation and fluctuation of opinions and intentions must have the effect of rendering any person subordinate to the present Government extremely cautious and timid as to how they should act, even upon the strongest premises; that it must paralyse the efforts of the best disposed, raise the hopes of the disaffected, and, in the very absence of their demonstration, produce the most powerful effect, as in fact, it had done, by giving encouragement to the rebels of Lower Canada. But, what was the answer made by Government? Oh! that, indeed, there were troops in Nova Scotia, and that Sir C. Campbell was ordered to send them to Canada. Now, upon the face of this correspondence, as far as he could see, it did not appear that Sir C. Campbell had been authorised to do any such thing. It appeared that a letter had been sent to Lord Gosford telling him to call upon Sir C. Campbell for troops if he should think it necessary; but it did not appear that any direct communication had been made to Sir C. Campbell to the effect that the military strength in Nova Scotia was liable to be weakened by a detachment for the Canadian service. He was much mistaken if Sir C. Campbell had not, on more than one occasion, protested against such a reduction, on the ground, too, that the military force in Nova Scotia was not sufficient for his own administration of the province. That very point had been put to the Government. A motion had been made in another place for the production of the letters of Sir C. Campbell on the one part, asking for a reinforcement, and a the Government on the other, re- 562 fusing it; but they had been told, that it would be inconvenient to the public service to produce them. They had, however, produced the dates, upon which the demand had been made and refused! What then took place? It was stated by a high authority, that in Canada there was a sufficient force to put down the rebellion—very differently from what was generally supposed; that it could be put down by the gallantry of the troops and the loyalty of a great portion of the Canadians themselves. That anticipation was correct, and the rebellion had been actually put down, though with considerable loss of life, and great misery and wretchedness to the country at the commencement of a Canadian winter. But, nevertheless, there was not avowedly a sufficient military force to discourage the rising without other assistance; for, just previous to it, the American papers were full of calculations on the subject. They stated that there were but 3,000 troops, or whatever the number was, in Canada, that in a short time the navigation would be closed, that then no further reinforcements could be had, and that such troops as were in the country would either be driven out of it, or blockaded in Quebec and Montreal. Such were the speculations made by persons in the United States, who were favourable to what was called the popular cause. They further stated, that the second regiment had been sent for at a very late period, and that notwithstanding the facilities afforded by the circumstance of the navigation remaining open so long, the winter having commenced at a later period than was almost ever known before, yet that in a very few days that regiment would not be able to go from Halifax to Quebec. It was a fact well known that the insurrection had broken out long before the leaders of it intended, and that had it not—had the mine not exploded too soon, her Majesty's Government, by their vacillation and uncertainty, would have been convinced that they had left the country in a state totally unprepared to meet the exigency of the case. He would allude to one other point, because a point of singularly good fortune to her Majesty's Government. He was happy in having the opportunity of paying that tribute, which he was sure no man in the country would withhold, of admiration and acknowledgment of the honourable and 563 handsome manner in which the central government of the United States had maintained faith with this country. With a population over whom their laws gave them very little control, placed beside a Government which, if any unauthorised intervention of rambling troops took place, would have been the last to complain, seeing that the whole of the border was excited, and that the natural democratic feeling of the United States was kindled and enflamed by the Canadian revolt, and that it was irritated by the temporary, and perhaps unavoidable, act upon the frontiers in repelling aggression, the government of the United States, in the most manly and honourable manner, had, upon the faith of existing treaties, although at the loss of their popularity as a republic, observed a neutrality between the two countries. But if the American government had taken a different course—if it so happened that they had availed themselves of this pretext, which the border states were too ready to lay hold of for possessing themselves of the disputed territory between Maine and Canada, and if they had thereby compelled this country, in the moment of her weakness to repel the aggression of America, where would be the hopes, let him ask, founded upon the foresight of the present Government, of keeping down even the wretched insurrection which disturbed the tranquillity of Canada? He did not despair of seeing the Canadian people brought back to a sense of the egregious manner in which they had been duped by their leaders. He knew no people naturally more content or more amiable, with better dispositions, or more kindly habits in domestic life, than the Canadians—s the French population of the Canadians; but he knew at the same time, that they were a people of ignorance the most profound, of prejudices the most inveterate, of simplicity the most undoubted, of vanity the most egregious; and, consequently, putting together their simplicity, vanity, ignorance, and prejudices,—a people in the most absolute and entire dependence upon those demagogues and leaders who flattered their prejudices for the purpose of obtaining their support, If the Government would bring them back to a state of tranquillity and contentment it must be by measures which would give them their rights, but give them nothing more. By 564 maintaining the balance between them and the British portion of the population, above all, by abstaining from throwing out hints of a willingness to give what you never intend to give, but by acting with firmness and decision, by letting them know your determination, and by letting them see it is just and honest, by such a course he believed England might win the affections as well as control the obedience of the Canadian people. He did not hesitate, with his noble Friend, to declare, although he did not charge her Majesty's present Government with the evils and difficulties which afflict Canada, yet he did not hesitate to declare and say with confidence, that if they had displayed foresight, energy, and determination, to the same extent that they displayed the precisely opposite qualities, if they had not been ambiguous in their language, vacillating and irresolute in their conduct, the evils which had led to revolt and rebellion in that colony, would not have arisen, and would not have called for the wretched necessity of shedding human blood, and suspending the constitutional rights of our Canadian fellow—subjects.
§ Sir Charles Grey,
who was very imperfectly heard throughout the whole of his speech, commenced by saying, that he thought he should be doing great injustice to the Government, and great injustice also to himself, if he were to put himself forward to answer so experienced and able a debater as the noble Lord who had just sat down. Indeed, with so recent a claim to partake in the debates of the House, he should hardly have presumed to share at all in the present discussion, if it were not well known that he had to a considerable extent been connected with the affairs out of which the motion of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, had arisen. Looking at the nature of that motion, and seeing how directly it was levelled against Lord Glenelg, he was most anxious that those who knew how many opportunities he had had of observing that noble Lord's conduct, and of learning his opinions and disposition upon Canadian affairs, should not lie under any mistake as to the conclusions which he (Sir Charles Grey) had formed upon the subject. Therefore, feeling himself called upon at all events to take some part in the debate of the evening, he must account for his taking that particular moment for 565 rising, by stating, that the noble Lord (Stanley) had mentioned some circumstances which he thought were not quite accurate, which he believed he was able to set right, and which, perhaps, no other person in the House could do. Having made this, which was a true, though perhaps not a sufficient apology for that which might otherwise appear to be most presumptuous in him, he would now proceed to speak, not only upon the subject on which the latter part of the debate had turned, but also to offer a very few words (he should be dissatisfied with himself if he sat down without doing so) of what occurred to him as to the original motion brought forward by the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds, for that motion was still before the House; and before they rose that night, the motion, as well as the amendment moved by the noble Viscount (Viscount Sandon), the Member for Liverpool, must be disposed of. It was certainly with rather a strange feeling that he first read the terms and contemplated the tenor of the motion of the hon. Baronet. It appeared to him that the motion was not only in some degree ungenerous in itself, but that it presumed, or seemed to expect a certain want of generosity in others. He could only attribute any anticipation of success for such a motion to an expectation on the part of him who brought it forward, either that the colleagues and associates of the noble Lord whom it attacked would at once ungenerously turn upon a wounded companion and leave hint to his fate, or else that the adversaries of the Government would so rejoice at having an opportunity afforded to them of grappling with their old foes, that they would for that purpose join the ranks and act in concert with those to whom, upon every point of policy, they were opposed in a tenfold greater degree. He sincerely rejoiced that in both of these expectations the hon. Baronet had been entirely disappointed. On various grounds he was happy to think that the motion as well as the amendment would fail, the more especially as he considered the motion to be highly objectionable on constitutional grounds. He considered it to be highly objectionable that one individual should thus be singled out from amongst a Cabinet, all of whom had partaken in those councils, and sanctioned those measures, the sole and exclusive responsibility of which it was now sought to attach to his 566 noble Friend. To this extent he did not hesitate to describe the motion as a most unbecoming interference with the legitimate prerogatives of the Crown. But there was another light in which the habits of his life naturally led him to view the question, and that was with reference to the justice or the injustice of the proceeding: to him it appeared to involve the extreme of injustice, for the forms of the House precluded the noble Person principally accused from being heard in his own defence; the meanest subject in the realm being accused of an offence rendering him liable to the slightest penalty, could claim the right of being heard on his own behalf, while in the present case a Cabinet Minister was denied that simple measure of justice which the humblest man in society could insist upon as a matter of right. Although motions of this description might be made and made again, though the forms of the House did not allow of defence on the part of the noble Lord, yet he hoped the House would not forget that it was their duty to extend to the noble Lord that protection to which the broad rules of justice entitled him. Relying upon those broad principles of justice, and upon the influence which he hoped they would have upon the minds of hon. Members opposite, he did feel almost confident that they would not give their sanction to the proposition of the hon. Baronet, the Member for Leeds. That hon. Baronet, in bringing forward his motion, had adopted a course which, however convenient it might be to himself, was any thing but convenient to others, and was any thing but favourable to the legitimate purposes of public discussion. The hon. Baronet had laboured to establish points not at all material to the main question, and had altogether failed to establish those on which alone the success or failure of his motion ought to depend. The hon. Baronet laboured to establish the importance of our colonial possessions, and to show the difficulties with which the maintenance of those possessions was surrounded; but he was at a loss to discover how statements and reasonings, bearing upon those questions, went to inculpate the noble Lord at the head of the colonial department. Every thing which did not tend to that object was clearly beside the question. The position, and the only position, which the hon. Baronet had to establish was this, that the noble Lord had 567 by his conduct deserved the vote of censure, or the vote of want of confidence, which the House was called upon to pronounce. Looking back, then, upon the speech of the hon. Baronet, he should say there was nothing in it which rendered a special defence for the noble Secretary for the Colonies necessary. His case, he thought, might safely be left to that general defence which could, as he thought, be effectually made on behalf of the Ministers at large. It was natural that he should attempt that general defence of the Government as to Canada upon which he then proposed to enter. It was to be expected from him, principally on this account, that he had been for some time resident in Canada, and had been one of the Commissioners there. He was, therefore, in the first place, anxious to set the House right as to some misconceptions connected with the present question. Previous to entering upon which, however, he should take the liberty of saying, that it was rather a remarkable subject for a trial of strength between the parties, when the question brought forward was one which involved principles on which the one party had allied itself with the other. It was also worthy of observation, that in both Houses there should have been such marked diversity of opinion amongst the opponents of Ministers that there could be no rational grounds for expecting them to concur in any vote of condemnation respecting any line of policy. The unfortunate rebellion in Canada had been ascribed chiefly to the want of foresight, the dilatory and irresolute conduct of the present Colonial Minister; but a little attention should be paid to dates. Neither Lord Glenelg nor the Cabinet could justly be held responsible prior to 1835. And what was the main difficulty, what was the grand obstacle which interrupted the ordinary course of Government, and induced the conflict which unhappily ended in bloodshed? There was in the first instance the unreasonable demands of the French Canadian Assembly and the impossibility of complying with them; the power which the Assembly had of interrupting the course of government, and making it impossible for the Queen's Minister and the Imperial Parliament to stop short of those measures which threw the province into open rebellion. When and how had that difficulty been constituted? He affirmed that it existed in full 568 force before 1835. Such being the case, and the French Canadian Assembly having before that taken a position from which they would not recede, the dilatoriness which had been imputed to the noble Lord arose not from irresolution, but from a natural reluctance to take those measures which at length developed the crisis which was unavoidable, whatever course of policy might have been adopted. The next circumstance to which he would allude was the Committee of 1828. He was far from blaming the spirit or intentions with which the decisions and recommendations of that Committee had been formed. He would make no further observation on their conduct, at least to their disparagement, than to say, that he was confident they had not been fully aware of the circumstances which rendered it dangerous to intrust the French Canadian people with all the liberty which belonged to them, if they were really to constitute an assembly such as a House of Commons in the province. That Committee had conceded to them nearly the whole of their demands; as far as possible, by their recommendations, they put the Canada House of Assembly into the position and functions of the British House of Commons. Then came the provincial Act of 1829, which increased the difficulties of the case, making an important alteration in the electoral districts of the province, making it utterly impossible that there should be any other than a French Canadian majority, extending almost to the whole body of the Assembly. Lord Ripon's Act, passed no doubt with the best intentions, had also the effect of consolidating the power of the Assembly. In the spring of 1834, the whole of the ninety-two resolutions, comprising the entire unreasonable demands of the French Canadian Assembly had been passed; and the noble Lord opposite (Lord Stanley) did not leave the Colonial-office without sending out a despatch which tended to irritate the Canadians. The whole of the difficulties had arisen before Lord Glenelg entered the Colonial-office. No act could have prevented mischief of some sort; and it was mere accident as to the form or extent in which it should be developed. He did not mean to say, that during their continuance in office he had always concurred with the present Administration; but on a calm review of the whole, he could not come to the conclusion, that the conduct of 569 Ministers during that period had in any important or assignable degree contributed to produce the disasters which he, for one, sincerely deplored. What were the omissions charged against the Government between the years 1835 and the present time? The first was, that instead of one Commissioner, three had been sent out. This, he thought, a singular objection. Lord Aberdeen had resolved, on sending out Lord Amherst as sole Commissioner, thinking that he combined in his own person all the talents of the three who had been appointed. The Commissioners had been sent out for the purpose of pacifying the French Canadians, and, in his opinion, Lord Amherst would have stood a worse chance than they did of obtaining supplies from the Assembly. Ought not, then, hon. Gentlemen opposite, who thought that Lord Amherst's policy would have tranquillised Canada to state what he would have done if his demands had been refused by the House of Assembly, as most assuredly they would have been? There was no reason to suppose that any other measures would have met with better success than those which had been adopted by the Government. There had been some delays, and various measures, which had driven persons to oppose the authorities in Canada, amongst which was the passing of the resolutions of last year. He acknowledged that there then appeared to have been delay, but it had not been from want of will on the part of the Ministry; it had arisen from the opposition of a small but energetic party, and from a multiplicity of public business. The resolutions had, in some degree, caused the outbreak in to rebellion, but passing them was indispensable, in consequence of the circumstances that had existed in the colonies for many years; and they had the unanimous consent of the party which now supported the amendment of the noble Lord. It had been said, that it would have been policy to accompany those resolutions by measures of conciliation; but, with reference to the instructions to Lord Gosford on the subject of an elective Legislative Council, it was from the despatches which were published by Sir Francis Head, not containing the whole of those instructions, that the discontent of the Upper Canadians had arisen; as soon, however, as Lord Gosford felt at liberty to publish them verbatim, their indignation at what had been disclosed by Sir 570 Francis Head was immediately appeased. Any person who had been in Canada must have fully exonerated Lord Gosford, and would have appreciated the difficulties under which the Government had laboured. His whole conduct had been marked, not by timid caution, but by just discretion. The noble Lord had admitted new members into the Legislative Council to conciliate the French Canadians, but this had only the effect of inducing them to say, that they considered it a fresh insult, because their other demands were not conceded. The only remaining complaint against the Government was, in not sending out troops, but it was one of which he could not perceive the justice. There was no call for them until the latter part of 1837; and his own conviction, as Commissioner, on his leaving Canada was, that no rebellion would take place. A noble Duke (the Duke of Wellington), a high authority, had not found fault with the Government for not sending out troops to Canada, but the noble Duke thought it would have been better to increase the number in Halifax and New Brunswick. Surely, this could not be imputed to the Ministers as a fault or a crime. From the sources of information which the Government had in their power, and which had led them to think more troops unnecessary, how could the Government come clown to this House and ask for supplies for the extra expenses? And what answer could they have given to the American ambassador, if he had inquired why they were sending troops through America; and why, if they were intended for Canada, they were increasing their forces there? A Friend of his, whose opinions were similar to those of the hon. Members opposite, had pointed to the recommendation of Lord Gosford in September, that troops should be sent out; but it must be remembered, that that despatch, though written in September, had not reached this country until October, and if troops had been sent out at that season of the year they would most probably have spent the winter at the island of St. Anticosti, as they could not have got up the St. Lawrence. When the Ministry were censured for delay, it ought to be borne in mind that no troops had been wanted until it was too late in the year to send them out, and also that the policy which this Ministry have pursued, has conciliated the neighbouring states, and 571 secured the affections of the other British colonies; showing the former that they had no hostile intentions towards them, and convincing the latter that they only wished to exercise a paternal authority over them. This policy had left the inhabitants of Canada in full security, and had suppressed a rebellion, which, under other circumstances, might have been dangerous, and might have led to a sepation of the colonies from this country, but which, as it had happened, had passed away like clouds in a summer morning.
§ The debate was adjourned.