§ Mr. Hume
wished to ask the noble Lord a question which he considered one of very great importance. He wished to know the condition of Upper and Lower Canada at this time, and whether it was civil law or military law, that was enforced there. He understood, that persons had been tried for high treason by the ordinary courts of justice in Montreal and in Upper Canada, and yet it was stated, that military law was still existing there. He must also ask, and he did so regretting the necessity of it, whether there 1363 were any objection to there being laid on the table, copies of the instructions given to Sir George Arthur on his proceeding to Canada, as by a document which he held in his hand it appeared, that on the 12th of last month, since the arrival of that officer, two persons had been executed for treason; that six others had been ordered for execution on the 24th, and four others on the 27th. He had also seen a letter in The Times, which stated, that since the execution of the two men, a petition had been sent up to the Executive Council to stay the hands of the executioner in the other cases, and, that Sir George Arthur, with a spirit of mercy which was essential to good government, had been pleased to grant the prayer of it. He wished to know what the state of those unfortunate provinces was, as far as the noble Lord felt himself justified in communicating it.
§ Lord J. Russell
did not know, that he could give precise answers to these questions. As to the state of Upper and Lower Canada, he could say, that there had been certain acts passed by the Legislature of Upper Canada prescribing certain modes of trial, according to which persons charged with treason were to be tried, but there had not been received at the Colonial-office copies of those acts. There had, however, been received despatches from Sir George Arthur, stating, that two persons had been tried for high treason before the ordinary tribunals, but he had received no intimation of their having been executed. As to the other cases, he believed, they rested only on rumour. The instructions, that had been issued to Sir George Arthur were conformable to what he had stated in the House, and he had no objection to produce them.
§ Lord J. Russell
said, that the province of Lower Canada had been placed under military law by Lord Gosford, and, that Sir J. Colborne, on assuming the government, had continued it. He had no doubt, however, that it had since been removed, although no distinct intelligence had been received respecting it.
§ Mr. Maclean
said, he did not clearly understand the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), whether he objected to laying on the table a copy of the instructions to Sir George Arthur.
§ Mr. Maclean
had understood the question of the hon. Member for Kilkenny to apply generally to the instructions with reference to Canada; and the question which he wished now to put was, whether as Lord Durham had sailed, there would be any objection to lay on the table a copy of the instructions which he had received?