HC Deb 10 June 1839 vol 48 cc97-129

On the motion of Mr. Labouchere, the House resolved itself into a Committee of the whole House on the Jamaica Bill.

On the question that the first clause do stand part of the bill,

Sir E. Sugden

said, in rising to make the motion of which he had given notice, he should wish first to draw the attention of the Committee to what the question before them was, not because he very much apprehended that Gentlemen were labouring under a delusion in that respect, and he believed that they were about to enter upon a discussion of a question which had nothing to do with that really under consideration. The Committee were not about to discuss the question between master and slave, but between the House of Assembly and her Majesty's Government. The question between master and slave was brought before the House when her Majesty's Government brought forward a proposition with respect to the termination of negro apprenticeship. It would, perhaps, be in the recollection of the Committee, that upon that occasion he did not hesitate to express himself in very strong terms against the conduct of the planters towards the negroes. He must, however, say, that the right hon. Gentleman, the Judge-advocate (Sir G. Grey) had entirely misapplied what he then said. He should be able to show, that the course which he then took was entirely consistent with the course which he was about to take. On that occasion he not only took the same view of the question as that taken by her Majesty's Government, but he also suggested various clauses for the benefit of the negro population, and which were adopted by her Majesty's Government, and made part of the bill. The question now before the House, was a question which had arisen since the Emancipation Act, and that very act had itself ceased in consequence of apprenticeship having been abolished, and of every man in Jamaica, whatever his colour might be, having become equally free. The Government had abandoned their intention of suspending the constitution of Jamaica, but he must still, in a few words, recall the attention of the Committee to the circumstances under which the Government had introduced their bill for the suspension of the constitution of Jamaica. The right hon. Gentleman opposite must have thought such a course necessary, because he had said, that even now he had not changed the opinions which he then entertained, and that he believed, that the proper course would be a suspension of the constitution. It was therefore his duty to draw attention strictly to the circumstances, which, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, justified the measure of the Government, but which, he must contend, amounted to no justification whatever. It might not be difficult to show, on the part of the Government, some grounds for the course which had been pursued, but he had no hesitation in saying, that the acts of the Government, and the proceedings of the Governor, had led to that line of conduct, on the part of the Assembly, which had influenced the Government to propose the suspension of the constitution of Jamaica. He, however, begged at the outset to state, and to state distinctly, that he was not there to uphold the conduct of the House of Assembly in every part; he could not justify the protest of that body, nor give his opinion in favour of some part of the resolutions which they had passed. He thought the conduct of the members of the House of Assembly, unexplained and unaccompanied by any statement of their objects, in some respects indefensible, and he had never entertained a doubt, that the Imperial Parliament had the power to legislate for Jamaica, when circumstances rendered it absolutely necessary to have recourse to such a line of policy. The difficulty was, to ascertain. when it became the duty of Parliament to interfere; and the question in the present instance was, whether a case had arisen to justify the Imperial Legislature in superseding the legislative functions of the House of Assembly. He trusted the Committee would do him the favour to attend to the difference which existed between the present case, and that which had occupied the attention of the House on a former occasion, when the bill for amending the Emancipation Act was considered, and they would then see, that the measures now contemplated were not justified by the occasion. He would press upon the Committee, and upon the Government, to consider the provisions of the bill for amending the Emancipation Act, and the inference to be drawn from that act, relative to the views of the Government with respect to Jamaica. That act imposed heavy pains and penalties, but it did not propose to suspend the legislative functions of the colony. Government, by that act imposed upon the planters, the exact penalties which, in their opinion, the nature of the case called for; but there they stopped. They were not then prepared to suspend the constitution of Jamaica—they were not prepared to proceed to such an extremity at that time. The penalties of the act for amending the Emancipation Act were deemed sufficient, and no more severe proceeding was contemplated. At the time that act was passed, it was impossible to anticipate whether the House of Assembly would put an end to the system of apprenticeship before the expiration of the time when the Imperial Parliament had resolved that it should cease; and they were, in consequence, unwilling to apply their consideration to that object, while they were without evidence with respect to the intentions of the Assembly, and when no provision had been made to meet the change in the circumstances of the negroes, which would take place on their obtaining perfect freedom. When the act for amending the Emancipation Act reached Jamaica, and when it had been communicated by the Governor to the House of Assembly, that body, without any delay, proceeded to consider the subject of apprenticeship, and almost immediately passed as full and complete a measure of emancipation as that House or the country could possibly desire. Was that a measure affording any evidence of unwillingness on the part of the House of Assembly to act in a sincere and friendly spirit towards the negroes; and was it not a measure calculated to conciliate this country, and entitle the House of Assembly to the respect and support of Parliament? Jamaica did more than they had any right to expect. Disregarding her own rights, she had granted complete emancipation in order to conciliate this country, and to meet the wishes of the Imperial Legislature. The act for amending the Emancipation Act had wounded her feelings, and violated her constitutional rights; and, although he had assented to that act, he did not wonder that Jamaica had manifested resentment against a measure which was so calculated to rouse her indignation. A correspondence had taken place between the Governor and the House of Assembly relative to the bill for terminating the system of apprenticeship, and to that correspondence he would now call the attention of the Committee. The Governor, in relation to that measure, had addressed the Council, and the Members of the House of Assembly in the following terms. He said, Jamaica is in your hands; she requires repose by the removal of a law, which has equally tormented the labourer, and disappointed the planter; a law by which man constrains man in unnatural servitude. This is her first exigency. Now let the Committee attend to what followed. The Governor continued— Jamaica, for her future welfare, appeals to your wisdom to legislate, in the spirit of the times, with liberality and benevolence towards all classes. And what was the reply of the Assembly? They said, We shall proceed, in the critical posture in which the island is placed, to give to the momentous matters submitted to us our most serious consideration. Jamaica does, indeed, require repose, and we anxiously hope, that should we determine to remove an unnatural servitude, we shall be left in the exercise of our constitutional privileges, to legislate for the benefit of all classes, without any further Parliamentary interference. Was there anything in that reply which could be considered as indicating anything like reluctance on the part of the House of Assembly to legislate in the spirit of the times? Was there anything indicating hostility to the negroes, opposition to the wishes of this country, or unwillingness to take the necessary steps to meet the change in the circumstances of the colony, which would arise on the termination of the apprenticeship system? No such inference was to be drawn from the reply of the House of Assembly, and all that body contended for was, that they should be left in the free exercise of their constitutional rights. The feelings of the House of Assembly were in accordance with the wishes of the people of this country, and he was prepared to show, that it was the Conduct of the Government and the proceedings of the Governor which had tended to alter those feelings, and to induce the Assembly to adopt the course which Ministers now complained of. After the Act for final Emancipation had passed the Legislature of Jamaica, the House of Assembly was prorogued, the prorogation having taken place on the 16th of June, and now let him ask what the conduct of the Governor had been while the Assembly was separated, and while it was impossible for that body to have any communication with his Excellency? The first act of the Governor to which he would call the attention of the Committee was one of great importance, as it indicated a wish to supersede the authority of the Colonial Legislature, and was calculated to wound the feelings of the House of Assembly. The Committee would remember that the circumstance to which he was about to allude had occurred while the Assembly was prorogued, and when that body had not the power of replying. It was an attack behind their backs, which the Members of the House of Assembly had no opportunity of repelling. He now came to the circumstance itself. In a despatch from Sir Lionel Smith to Lord Glenelg, his Excellency said:— I am anxious to draw your Lordship's attention to the Act of this island, 5 William 4th, chap. 2, for enlarging the powers of justices in determining complaints between masters and servants, &c. This Act has already been found to operate with great severity against the European emigrants; and the friends of the negro are naturally apprehensive that it may be convened into a powerful engine of oppression against the labourers, as it gives authority to a single justice to apprehend, under his warrant, servants in husbandry, who absent themselves or neglect to fulfil their contract, and punish them by hard labour, not exceeding three months, or by forfeiture of wages. Now let the Committee mark what followed. His excellency added:— I hope your Lordship will be enabled to rid us of this Act, either by a formal disallowance, or by the authority of the Imperial Parliament. The Committee would, therefore, see, that after the House of Assembly had passed the final Emancipation Act, and after the Governor had appealed to the wisdom of that body to legislate in the spirit of the times, and with liberality and benevolence towards all classes, his first step was, to apply to the Colonial Secretary to disallow an act of the island, or to effect its repeal by an application to the Imperial Parliament. His Excellency first expressed confidence in the wisdom of the House of Assembly, and then, instead of applying to that body, he, on the first occasion, asked the Crown to disallow an act of the island, or to have it repealed by the Imperial Legislature. A worse instance of bad faith he must say he had never witnessed. In reply to the despatch of his Excellency, Lord Glenelg said, that the act alluded to had been too long in operation to be disallowed; the Government had not fallen into the views of the Governor, and so the matter terminated. The next case to which he should allude afforded a still stronger instance of the ungracious mode in which the Assembly had been treated. On the 10th of September, 1838, the Governor writing to the Colonial Secretary, said— I beseech your Lordship to look to the provisions of the Local Vagrant Act unrepealed, 35 Charles 2nd, chap. 11. This Act was introduced against the lawless soldiery of Governor Doyley, and many violent planters are now rejoicing in the power it gives them of flogging free men from parish to parish, and there is an improvement in its penal powers by the 32nd George 3rd, chap. 11, still unrepealed, which adds six months' hard labour in the House of Correction. Your Lordship may bid me apply to the Legislature to repeal these frightful laws, but I should apply in vain; and in the midst of freedom we have still terrific engines of oppression and tyranny preparing for the emancipated population. Such was the language which the Governor had addressed to the Colonial Secretary relative to the Assembly. They were represented as clinging to "terrific engines of oppression," and ready to carry "the most frightful laws" into operation against the emancipated population. But the Act for final Emancipation was a proof that the Assembly was willing to go even beyond their duty to conciliate the wishes of the people of this country; and yet, with that proof of the liberality of the House of Assembly before him, the Governor wrote to the Colonial Secretary to obtain the interference of the Imperial Parliament, and that application was made before the House of Assembly had been even appealed to. These certainly were two of the worst instances of bad faith he had ever witnessed. Bad, however, as those cases were, they would become still more liable to censure, when he added, and he should afterwards prove the fact, that the Governor was in a state of total ignorance as to the laws to which he had called attention. To what, then, was the conduct of the Governor to be attributed, except to a feeling of hostility and prejudice against the House of Assembly? There was no ground for the accusations which he had made, and was it fair in such a manner to attack a body who had not the power of reply? He should like to know what the feelings of the House of Assembly must have been when they met on the 30th of October, if they had known that such despatches had been forwarded to the Home Government. The Colonial Secretary, too, had fallen into the same error as the Governor. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had told them on a previous evening that those "terrific engines" existed, that the negroes might be flogged from parish to parish under the "most frightful laws, and he had called for the interference of that House to put an end to such "revolting tyranny." Now, the fact was, that no such laws existed, there were no "terrific engines" or "frightful laws" which could be brought into operation against the negroes. Surely, then, when the Governor called for the repeal or disallowance of laws which the Government ought to have known had no existence in reality, it was the duty of Ministers to look into the actual state of the case, and not to have allowed themselves to be influenced by the representations of his Excellency, who was evidently actuated by a feeling of prejudice against the Assembly. When the bill for amending the Emancipation Act was under consideration, the House could have no means of knowing whether Jamaica would or would not terminate voluntarily the ap- prenticeship system before 1840; but although it was not generally known, yet the Government had information of the passing of the Act for final emancipation on the day the Prisons Bill was introduced into the other House of Parliament. Now, after passing the Emancipation Act, could, he would ask, any measure have been framed more calculated to rouse the indignation of the Assembly, than the Prisons Bill? If Jamaica had refused to emancipate the apprentices, and chosen to retain their rights till 1840, there might have been some reason for the Government interfering in the internal affairs of the colony; but, after the Assembly had complied, in the most ample manner, with the wishes of the Government, of both Houses of Parliament, and of this country, interference could not be justified. The Prisons Bill was introduced as affecting all the legislative colonies of the West Indies, and without any application having been made to ascertain whether prisons bills would be prepared by the legislative bodies themselves in those colonies. One main object of that Bill was to regulate the prisons of Jamaica. It was impossible for Jamaica not to look on such a measure with jealousy, as it was a direct interference, by the Imperial Parliament, with the local affairs of the colony, which nothing short of absolute necessity could have justified. But this was not all. The first act of the Governor, in promulgating the Prisons Act, was to copy the very rules and regulations which, in 1834, had been introduced into the Act of the House of Assembly. So that, in point of fact, the Governor was forced to resort to the legislation of the House of Assembly, in order to carry into execution the Act which had passed the Imperial Parliament. The Colonial Legislature had framed the best rules and regulations for the prisons of the island, and the Governor had adopted them, and yet the House of Assembly were held by the Government as incapable of legislating for the welfare of the people, or of taking those steps which the altered condition of the colony required. Could any thing be more unjust than such a course? and was it possible that the House of Assembly should not feel indignant at such treatment? It might be said by the right hon. Gentleman, that the feelings of the people of this country had been strongly excited by the condition of the negroes, but it was the duty of the Government to have pro- tected the Assembly from the aspersions which had been cast upon that body, and not to have given way to the excitement which prevailed. It had been said, that the Prisons Bill affected Barbadoes also. True, such was the case, but there was a great difference between the Legislative and the Crown Colonies. The Crown colonies having no legislature, were governed by the Colonial Secretary, and by acts of the Imperial Parliament, but it was not so in the Legislative colonies. There, the internal affairs were regulated by the local legislatures, and it was natural that such bodies should be jealous of the interference of Parliament, and surely it would have been useless to have local legislative bodies at all if the Government were continually to interfere, or the Colonial Secretary to disallow all the acts which they might frame. With the recollection of the unpleasant circumstances which took place in reference to measures passed by the Colonial Assembly, and the interference, as it was termed, of the Imperial Parliament with those measures, he thought that there was reason to complain of the Governor, as having exhibited a want of caution in first proroguing the Assembly too abruptly, and then in calling them together too early, without allowing sufficient time to elapse that the feeling of irritation which had been provoked might be in some measure allayed. Under all the circumstances, he confessed, that he was not surprised that there should have been a disinclination on the part of the Assembly to engage in legislation; and he entertained a strong impression that mild and conciliatory measures would have pre-vented all those evils which had taken place, and that that House and the country would have been spared those discussions which had occupied so much time hitherto. But, as it was, there was no foundation for coming to that House to ask for powers for the Governor which could not be maintained on grounds contained in former acts. If the right hon. Gentleman pleaded a particular case, and argued that the necessity of the case called for such a proceeding, he should be able to answer that by putting the question as to whether or not the Assembly of Jamaica were to have a locus pœnitentiœ allowed to them by this bill. He would, however, go further, and he would show that it was a mere farce to call the bill a means for, allowing the Assembly to fall into its former course of legislation. The clauses of the two bills had been reversed and altered. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Labouchere), in opening the case, said he should first introduce a provision to enable the Governor to pass such temporary laws as might be necessary in case the Assembly would not act. The clause containing that provision in the first bill was now so far changed in the second bill, that the power of the Governor was not made contingent on any such circumstance. As he understood, however, that the Government did not mean to make the power of the Governor contingent, he would not oppose the clause. On the contrary, if the Assembly were to have a fair opportunity of acting, let it be most distinctly understood that if they did not act when that opportunity was given, there was not a man in that House who would not be most ready to give to the Government the powers necessary to carry on the legislation of the colony. But by the clause as it stood at present the council would be mere creatures in the hand of the Governor; and although that might be considered very proper, yet he thought it important that the Committee should know what powers were to be given to the Governor. If the Governor were to have power to remove all or any of the Members of the Legislative Council and the Executive Council, his power over them would be so complete that he would be able to annul any measure he pleased. Then again it was a very nice question whether, after a measure had been passed by the Governor and Council, or by the Imperial Parliament, the Assembly might not repeal it. He was, therefore, prepared to give those powers which would enable the Governor and Council to make temporary laws only in case the Assembly refused to act. He considered the first clause in the bill unnecessary. He came then to the question to which it was particularly necessary he should address himself—that was, was there or not a necessity for the provisions which the right hon. Gentleman had introduced into the first clause, and which he had said could be no longer delayed, and were necessary for the protection of the generally emancipated population of Jamaica against the planters, their late masters? He should be able to show that the laws the right hon. Gentleman considered so binding on that popu- lation did not exist, and had not the slightest existence except in the minds of the Governor and the local officers, and of her Majesty's Government; and if he showed that, he thought he should remove all the pretensions for this unsound legislation. The first question on that point was as to vagrancy. The Act of Charles 2nd made a man a vagrant who refused to work for the usual wages, and it was said, that the statute of the 35th of George 2nd allowed freemen (and negroes being now freemen came within the provisions of that Act) to be whipped from parish to parish until they reached their homes; and it was also said, that the subsequent statute of George 3rd permitted an additional punishment of hard labour; and on these suggestions the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Labouchere) had asked, whether it were possible that the British Legislature would permit enormities of that kind to continue? The state of the law, as he had just described it, had been so laid down by the Governor of Jamaica, in the despatch to which he (Sir E. Sugden) had already referred, and also in the answer of the colonial Government at home to that despatch. It would, however, have been as well if both those authorities had ascertained whether any such law as that of Charles 2nd was in existence. He meant to assert, without any fear of contradiction, that no such law now existed or had any force, and therefore, that the Governor of Jamaica was most grossly mistaken when he referred to that statute as one of tyranny and oppression, against the emancipated population. He asserted, that no such powers were now in force; that there had been no attempt to inflict it, or to put it in practice; that there had been no desire manifested to resort to it; so that all the representations of the Governor of Jamaica and of the Government at home were without foundation, if the Act of Charles 2nd had ceased to be of force and effect. There was a rule of law which no one acquainted with such matters would venture to contradict—that it was not necessary by a later Act expressly to repeal a former statute, but that if the provisions of the subsequent Act, although affirmative, were pregnant with a negative, that then the former was virtually although not expressly repealed; and, therefore, if in this instance there was a provision in the later Act differing from the former, the later Act operated as a substitution for, and not an addition to, the older statute. Before he inquired into the provisions of the statute of Charles 2nd, he must observe, that these were Acts not levelled against the slaves at that time, but against the white and coloured population, including also soldiers who misconducted themselves. The first section of the statute of Charles 2nd directed, that taxes should be raised and expended in the erection of houses of correction. Now that section was altogether repealed, for, by the next statute, the 32nd Geo. 3rd, s. 2, it would be found, that "the justices, vestrymen, and members of the assembly of each parish, should, with the churchwardens, erect and build houses of correction," and these parties for that purpose became and were created a corporation. It was, therefore, clear, that in point of law, the first section of the statute Charles 2nd was repealed by the second section of the later statute 32nd George 3rd. Now, the second section of the statute of Charles 2nd directed that every vagrant should be apprehended and taken before a justice, who had power to order him or her to be whipped on the naked back not exceeding thirty-nine lashes. Now, the right hon. Gentleman opposite had, on this subject, appealed to the feelings of the House, an appeal which never would be made in vain when proper circumstances arose; but in this instance that appeal had been made on grounds which did not exist, except in the imagination of the Governor of Jamaica and the Government at home. For the House would bear in mind, that the power of whipping under the 35th Charles 2nd, was superseded by the powers conferred by the 32nd George 3rd, upon the justices, to send a vagrant as a rogue and vagabond for six months to the house of correction to be built under that Act. The management of those workhouses, or houses of correction, was given under the last statute to the justices, vestrymen, churchwardens, and members of the assembly tot each parish, and with them, by a still more recent statute, had been associated the special justices, and therefore there was the best protection against any abuse of power afforded. This body corporate, to whom the management of the prisons was confided, had, it was said, still jurisdiction to whip any persons within their jurisdiction who should misbehave themselves, to the extent of thirty-nine lashes. He, however, should presently show, that, this corporation had no such power. Nay, he would undertake to receive all the lashes that by law could now be inflicted. He was not at all apprehensive of the pain he should endure in consequence. The statute which followed were the 7th George 4th, c. 26, which empowered parishes to bind poor children apprentices, and the Jamaica Acts, 4th and 5th William 4th, c. 8th., which contained express provisions with regard to the erection of workhouses and houses of correction, and also an admirable set of rules and regulations for the management of those places. Those rules and regulations, so far from assuming the existence of the power to whip persons, made a classification, and particularly directed, that due provision should be made in each prison for the enforcement of hard labour upon such prisoners on whom it was felt due to inflict it, and they were followed verbatim in the Jamaica Prisons Act of 1st and 2nd Victoria, which also contained no provision as to whipping. He thought, therefore, it was perfectly clear, that there was no power to inflict corporal punishment, and as a proof that no such power existed, no attempt had been made to exercise it. The special justices had been appointed for the protection of the emancipated classes, and he did not find that, under their rule, any man had been hardly dealt with. One man had been sent to prison for two days, only for an offence which, if it had been brought before a police office at home, would have led to a much longer confinement, with the addition of hard labour on the treadmill. In point of fact, how was it possible that in Jamaica there could be any vagrants? Vagrants were persons wandering from place to place without the means of purchasing food or shelter; but in Jamaica the negroes had their masters' provision grounds to which to recur. By strangling the constitution of Jamaica, they would be taking out of the hands of the white man the disposition to do justice to the black, and they would moreover be kindling the embers of dissension amongst both. The House should remember, that the Governor still retained the power to redress any injury which might be inflicted, since, if an individual were sentenced to too lengthened a period of imprisonment, it was in the power of the Governor to mitigate the sentence. The clause was altogether unnecessary; it was without any foundation, or even the pretence of foundation. He pledged his reputation as a lawyer, that there were no grounds whatever for making such a provision, except those that existed in the imagination of the Governor. The clause was, in fact, a mistake, and it would be much more prudent of the Government to acknowledge that such was the case, and abandon it at once, than to persevere until they were told of their error by that House, or by the country, when it was called upon to judge fairly upon the subject. The House of Assembly ought to have an opportunity given it of again entering upon its legislative functions. If it rejected the opportunity so given to it, he pledged himself to give his best support to the Government, in passing such laws as might be necessary to meet the exigency of the case. The right hon. Gentleman concluded by moving that the first clause should be omitted.

Mr. Labouchere

, in the first place, could not but express his regret that the right hon. Gentleman had not been present at the debate which took place when the former measure proposed by the Government was under discussion, for he (Mr. Labouchere) felt satisfied, that if the right hon. Gentleman had been then present, he would not have thought it necessary to enter into the very wide field of discussion which had occupied the first half of his speech, but which offered nothing but topics already discussed and disposed of. The greater part of the right hon. Gentleman's observations were applicable to a measure which, although it was under the consideration of the House, indeed, upon a former occasion, did not form at present the subject of its deliberations. He hoped, therefore, that the House would excuse him, and that the right hon. Gentleman would not attribute it to any want of respect for his argument, if he abstained from following the right hon. Gentleman in that part of his speech. Instead of doing so, he thought he should better employ the time of the House if he endeavoured to state what he conceived to be the real object of the present debate, and what were the much narrower, although very important grounds, upon which the House had now to form its judgment. With regard, to the former bill brought forward by the Government, the right hon. Gentleman had truly said, that it had been withdrawn, not because there had been any change of opinion on the part of the Administration as to its utility, nor because the House had expressed a contrary opinion to that which had been announced by the Government, but because the House was nearly equally divided in its sentiments upon the question. While one party was of opinion that the conduct of the House of Assembly had been such as to lead to no rational belief that they would legislate so as to give effect to the great measure of emancipation, and to satisfy the just expectations of the people of England, the other party considered it expedient, not indeed to succumb to the House of Assembly, not to permit it to persist in the system which it had hitherto pursued, but to give it, to use the phrase of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, a locus pœnitentiœ, taking care, at the same time, that if the House of Assembly did not avail itself of this locus pœnitentiœ, if all legislation was suspended in Jamaica for another year, sufficient provision should be made for preventing the occurrence of anything that could endanger the peace of the community in that colony, or frustrate the great experiment of which it was now the scene. The present bill was framed for the express purpose of carrying into effect the latter of these views of the subject, and of affording the locus pœnitentiœ which they contemplated. If it passed, the House of Assembly would be called together and would be invited to legislate, and he should consider that the Government, after making this concession, would be acting in an unworthy spirit if it did not afford to the House of Assembly a full and fair opportunity of legislating upon the subjects now demanding their attention, or if the present bill contained any restrictive provision which the safety and welfare of the people of the colony did not fairly require. The only question then was, whether the provisions of the present bill went any further than the necessity of the case demanded, or whether they were only such as were necessary to fulfil the pledge which hon. Members had given to their constituents, that they would use their best endeavours to secure the success of the Emancipation Act, and not abdicate the control which that House possessed, at the time when it might be most necessary to exert it. For although slavery might be abolished, the interests of the recently emancipated population would furnish abundant cause for the Legislature of this country to continue to exercise its paternal care and solicitude towards the inhabitants of the colony. That was the real question now in debate, and he should say nothing whatever with respect to the bygone transactions which formed the topics of the early part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, except a very few words in justice to the gallant officer to whom allusion had been made. He could easily understand the right hon. Gentleman's anxiety to vindicate his consistency upon the present occasion, after the course which he had taken on a former occasion. The Act of Emancipation had violated the rights of the House of Assembly to legislate for the domestic concerns of the colony in a much greater degree than was proposed by the present measure; and when he recollected the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman with reference to that Act, he was not at all surprised that he should feel some concern as to his character for consistency upon the present occasion. What had been the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman? Why, a bill was introduced by the Government for the amendment of the Emancipation Act, and the right hon. Gentleman himself had introduced some important and valuable amendments to that bill, referring especially to the introduction of prison clauses into it. Did the right hon. Gentleman who had pressed these clauses upon the Government, now mean to say that a Prisons Bill was not necessary? Did he mean to say, that protection was not required for the free negroes, or that they ought to be left to such protection as would be afforded them by a Prisons Bill passed by the House of Assembly? If he did, he would have some difficulty in persuading the House that he had acted a consistent part. In reply to the charges made by the right hon. Gentleman against Sir Lionel Smith, he scarcely felt it necessary to do more than refer the House to the extracts which he had read on a former occasion, from the speeches of several Members of the House of Assembly, who said, that their quarrel was not with Sir Lionel Smith; that they were most anxious not to make a personal quarrel with him; that their quarrel was with the Imperial Parliament and the Government of England; that their complaint was of the manner and tone in which the Imperial Parliament legislated for the island of Jamaica, and that they wanted to be assured, that that course of legislation would be altered. That was the ground, as alleged by those Members of the House of Assembly, which had led to their differences with Sir Lionel Smith. The right hon. Gentleman had commented in severe language upon the conduct of Sir Lionel Smith towards the negroes; in answer to which he would read an extract from a proclamation issued by that gallant Officer, and addressed to the negro apprentices, on the 9th of July, 1838, which was in these words:— Recollect what is expected of you by the people of England, who have paid such a large price for your liberty. They not only expect that you will behave yourselves as the Queen's good subjects, by obeying the laws, as I am happy to say you have always done as apprentices; but that the prosperity of the island will be increased by your willing labour, greatly beyond what it ever was in slavery. Be honest towards all men; be kind to your wives and children; spare your wives from heavy field-work as much as you can; make them attend to their duties at home, in bringing up your children, and in taking care of your stock; above all, make your children attend Divine service and school. The right hon. Gentleman might make that proclamation a matter of crimination against Sir Lionel Smith, but the people of England would think differently of it. He felt it due to that gallant Officer, who had had, Heaven knew, sufficient difficulties to contend with besides misrepresentations of this sort, to say thus much in his defence, and repel, as he believed he had refuted, the charges made against him. He now came to what he considered the real question. Both sides of the House, he believed, were agreed as to the principle; but while the Government gave to the House of Assembly a locus pœnitentiœ, and time to pass every law that might be required for the prosperity of the island—while they did not attempt to legislate in the slightest degree directly, provided the colonial legislature would but legislate for themselves, they at the same time conceived it necessary to give to the Governor and Council the discretionary power of reviving such measures as the House of Assembly might refuse to re-enact. He knew it would be dangerous to say, at this side of the Atlantic, what were not, and what were, the particular laws absolutely necessary for the good government of Jamaica. He would only say, in reference to the doubt expressed by the right hon. Gentleman opposite, of the original intention of the Government to introduce into the clause conferring the discretionary power to which he had allowed a provision, which would give to the House of Assembly full time to legislate, if they were so disposed—he could only say, that both the original and printed copies of the bill, contained such provision. He might also appeal to Mr. Burge, whom he had informed of the fact of that provision having been accidentally omitted in the bill then before the House. The right hon. Gentleman had objected in very strong language to the powers conferred upon the Governor and Council in the first clause, whereas the arguments of Mr. Burge were specially directed against the second clause in the Bill. That Gentleman went so far as to say, that unless that clause was expunged there was no chance of the Assembly of Jamaica proceeding to legislate. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House, that any new law upon the subject of vagrancy was unnecessary. The right hon. Gentleman was perfectly singular in that opinion. It was not the opinion of the Governor, who said it was absolutely necessary, neither was it the opinion of the House of Assembly themselves. All those encomiums, therefore, which the right hon. Gentleman had passed upon the subject went for nothing. He (Mr. Labouchere) was greatly surprised to hear the right hon. Gentleman say, that there was no vagrancy in Jamaica. If that were the case, how did it happen that the Governor, that the House of Assembly, and that every person who had communicated information on the subject, should have been so completely ignorant of the fact, since they all agreed in saying, that a good vagrancy law was most essentially requisite for the island of Jamaica? He would now proceed to consider what the present law of vagrancy was. He did not rest his opinion on the subject upon his own authority, otherwise he should be very reluctant to oppose it to that of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to stake his reputation as a lawyer upon the fact, that the act of the 35th of Charles 2nd., the frightful provisions of which he had read on a former occasion to the House, was from beginning to end repealed and annulled, that it was no more the law of Jamaica than if it had never been enacted, and that he (Sir E. Sugden) could not understand how any man of reason could look at the statutes of Jamaica, and not be of the same opinion. He (Mr. Labouchere) had a very great respect for the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, but he thought he should be able to show that neither had the Governor of Jamaica stated that a new law was necessary, nor the colonial officers adopted that statement, upon light grounds. He thought he could likewise show, that the opinion of the Chief Justice, and that of the Attorney-general of Jamaica, were entitled to some respect upon this point. If it happened that their opinion was in direct contradiction to that of the right hon. Gentleman, he would not say it followed that the right hon. Gentleman was right and they wrong, but that there must be some obscurity on the subject, and that it was the duty of that House to provide that no obscurity should exist. He conceived that the opinion of the Chief Justice and Attorney-general of Jamaica was practically of considerable importance on this subject, because they were the persons who had practically to decide upon it. It would be rather an unfortunate kind of consolation to the negro who was flogged under the act in question to be told, that in the opinion of a very eminent English lawyer he had been flogged illegally. He feared the right hon. Gentleman had rather rashly declared, that he would willingly undergo any number of lashes that could be inflicted under that act. In a despatch, dated November 6, 1827, he found the opinions of the Chief Justice and the Attorney-general upon this subject (the right hon. Gentleman read an extract from the despatch), to the effect, that the 35th of Charles 2nd, c. 11, gave the power of punishing vagrancy in Jamaica; that by the 3rd section the churchwardens were authorized to apprentice poor children; that the 4th section of George 3rd, authorized the establishment of workhouses, and the 5th the occupation of vagrants at labour for a certain period. When they found it to be the opinion of the Governor that very serious evils might result from maintaining the present law, and not enacting a new one on the subject of vagrancy, and when they found that the House of Assembly also required some alteration in the law, he thought he might fairly conclude that it would be most inexpedient to allow another year to pass over without some new enactment on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman had stated, that there was no evidence of convictions having taken place under the present act. That was true; but it should be recollected that hitherto ejectments had not taken place to any great extent. At all events, it could not be said that the House of Commons was acting intemperately in providing that legislation on the subject should take place, when they at the same time provided, that ample means and time should be afforded the Legislative Assembly of Jamaica to legislate for themselves before we should attempt to interfere with them. The right hon. Gentleman had likewise observed, that even if they (the Government and law officers of Jamaica) were right in supposing that this law, or what they regarded as the present vagrancy law, was actually in force and unrepealed, that after all it did not vary much from the English law, he (Mr. Labouchere) conceived they differed in many important points, and that the Jamaica law was infinitely harsher than the English law. Even if such were not the case, and that in each the same powers were given to the justices over the labourer, still he should be prepared to say, that the law that might work well in England might work extremely harshly in Jamaica. He quite admitted, that in the orders of council then on the table of the House there was evinced a distrust and suspicion, but it was a necessary distrust and suspicion. He now came to the law which regulated contracts for lands, upon which the House of Assembly had come to a similar conclusion—namely, that a new law of contracts was urgently required for Jamaica. The right hon. Gentleman said, he did not consider any new law was necessary. He (Mr. Labouchere) however, must say, that he considered the House of Assembly and the Governor of Jamaica upon this, as upon the other point, a higher authority than the right hon. Gentleman could possibly be. If they compared the contract laws of England and Jamaica, a very great difference would be found between them. The law of contracts as at present existing in Jamaica was completely a one-sided law. All the penalties and punishments were directed against the negro who broke his contract; there were none on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman said there was no necessity for a new law, because there were very few punishments under the present. There were undoubtedly very few, but the reason of that was, that there were very few contracts. The negro would not enter into a contract under the present law, and he (Mr. Labouchere) thought he was quite justified in declining to do so upon such terms as that law provided. It gave to the negro no power to recover from the oppressor, if it should be his misfortune to fall into the hands of one, that which was his due, while it gave to the master every power of teasing and harassing the negro if he should think fit so to do. If they were disposed to place the negro in a just relation to the master, and if they did not wish to prevent him from acquiring habits of industry, then must they agree with the House of Assembly, that legislation on the subject was necessary. The last law to which he had to refer, and which was by far the least important, was that for preventing the unauthorized occupation of land, an evil which had not gone to any great extent in Jamaica. If, however, the system of ejectment were extensively carried on, that law would operate very injuriously. He begged of the House to recollect the position in which they stood with regard to those laws. They had heard the agent for the House of Assembly, and he was glad they had. That Gentleman did not state that any one of those laws was in itself oppressive or unjust, or was not such a law, as the House of Assembly ought to pass; and he begged the House to observe, that those three orders of Council had been in operation in all the Crown colonies without the slightest complaint. He would repeat that it was the wish of her Majesty's Government to respect the feelings of the House of Assembly in Jamaica as far as possible, and as far as possible to avoid any interference with the just rights and privileges of that body, but to adopt so moderate and limited an interference as that which had been recommended from the other side would be a complete abandonment of the position which the Miniters of the Crown had taken up in the last Session of Parliament. In the month of April last year the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite contended, that the Government in the West Indies should have the power of making regulations for controlling the colonial legislatures, and for affording sufficient protection to the apprentices. His argument now went quite the other way; he altogether objected to the Government making any new regulations. He would ask, was it wise or prudent that there should be so little of consistency or stability in the conduct of public affairs as this violent departure from principles previously acknowledged and acted upon? At times there would appear to be in that House great excitement on the subject of our West-India colonies, and there would appear to be an earnest disposition to agree to any propositions, however sweeping and extensive; then a change would come over the sentiment of the House, the language held would be, that the Imperial Legislature was in a condition to dictate its own terms, and need not be in a hurry. But though some were of opinion that they might now do so, yet he did hope, that as the advisers of the Crown entertained no disposition of that sort, so the House of Commons would act on the present occasion upon no such principle. He agreed, that the period of the apprenticeship ought not to be prematurely terminated; he agreed, that every thing should be done and nothing omitted to show that a protecting care would be extended to the negro population, and he urged these considerations and all others which he had felt it his duty to address to the House with the more earnestness, from a conviction that the House was then upon its trial; and he hesitated not to say, that if they did not take care they would altogether lose the confidence of the colonial dependencies of this great empire. There was no portion of the empire which could put confidence in their general declarations, if on one occasion they limited their provisions in legislation to an extent so narrow as was then proposed, while at another they were ready to go indefinite lengths. He hoped, then, that the House would not reject the proposed clause. Her Majesty's Government were most anxious to limit the interference within the narrowest bounds to which it could safely be confined, and he would claim, in their name and on their behalf, as much credit for what they left undone as for what they did.

Mr. Gladstone

said, that he felt on the present occasion, as he did on all others when the affairs of Jamaica were under consideration, most unwilling to address the House; but the objection which he felt to trouble them with any observations of his own was much abated when he recollected, that it would only be necessary for him to trespass upon their attention for a very short time. The whole of the legal part of the subject had already been exhausted by his right hon. and learned Friend near him, the Member for Ripon, and he believed, that what remained to be said might be stated in a very few words. He always had agreed in much that fell from the' right hon. Gentleman opposite on the subject of our West-India colonies, and especially he agreed in much that fell from him on the present occasion: he agreed with him in thinking that upon a subject of this nature it was a matter of the highest importance that the colonies of this great empire should feel confidence in the steadiness and the stability of the Government. He concurred with those who laid it down as a general principle regarding the control which the Imperial possessed over the Colonial Legislature, that that control was supreme. There could not be a shadow of doubt that Parliament had maintained and exercised that control. It was a matter not to be questioned, that it formed part of the duty of Parliament to watch over, to correct, and to control the Legislatures of our West-India colonies. He agreed further, that as a general rule it was expedient, it was prudent, it was in accordance with equity and justice, that Parliament should leave the ordinary business of legislation to the colonial legislatures, and that Parliament, exercising a control over itself, should not permit itself to interfere or to meddle with affairs of every day occurrence, but should rather reserve itself for great and worthy occasions. If, then, the right hon. Gentleman opposite agreed with him in those general principles, as indeed he did not see how he could dissent, he begged permission to examine in what manner they could be applied to the proposition then before the House. In the first place, it could not be denied, that the Colonial Assembly ought to have a full and fair opportunity to re-consider the course which they had pursued. When that opportunity had been given, and when it was found that the Colonial Legislatures had not employed it to advantage, he should then not be prepared to oppose the interference of the Imperial Parliament, but until that time arrived he confessed it did appear to him that they ought to pause. The right hon. Gentleman opposite had spoken as if the Opposition had treated the question before them as a party question. Could he, on reflection, really think so? In choosing a point of attack, were the Conservative party so much embarrassed as to be driven to the necessity of selecting one so disadvantageous as the defence of the Jamaica House of Assembly? Could any one suppose that they would have entered upon that defence had they not been influenced by those higher considerations which rested on the great principles of public justice? Before he proceeded further, he requested the House to reflect upon the probable reception which a measure of this nature would be likely to receive if, instead of the noble Viscount in another place, the right hon. Baronet near him happened to be at the head of her Majesty's councils. If the right hon. Baronet proposed to suspend the rights and privileges enjoyed by the House of Assembly in Jamaica during 200 years, not only the whole of the hon. Members opposite would raise against him a most formidable opposition, but more than half of his own Friends would withdraw from him their support, and say, that though disposed to vote for his measures generally, this was too much. Was it to be expected, that 294 Members of the Reformed Parliament would support a bill hoping to get rid of it on principles such as had been stated? Now, he would ask, had the Colonial Legislature in Jamaica been allowed the opportunity to which they were fairly entitled? He would assert the negative. It was not in their power to have proceeded with the matter antecedently to the month of November last, for they were, in effect, prohibited by the policy pursued at the Colonial Office, with the details of which it was not then necessary that he should trouble the House. In November last, it was true that these subjects were, though not in the most formal manner, named to the House of Assembly by the Governor; and that they were apparently in a condition to take them into consideration; but the old question of the Prisons Act here interfered. In reference to this act, he would remark that he was ready to admit it to have been in its substance justifiable; what he complained of in that act was, that its form was highly objectionable, inasmuch as it was the form of an ordinary measure of internal legislation. It proposed to legislate in the minutest details for the prisons of the West Indies, in a tone and manner which would have fully authorised any other act of internal interference. Had it not been protested against, by the local legislature, the privileges of the House of Assembly would have been completely set aside, and the Prisons Act, as it stood, would have been a precedent for the most minute interference on the part of the imperial legislature, even to the extent of fixing the price of yams in Kingston market. He requested, at the same time, that hon. Members would not lose sight of the fact that at the time of passing the Emancipation Act, there was an implied contract that all principles on which that measure was founded should be fairly carried out, and there could be no doubt that there had been a full understanding that an improvement in prison discipline was required by the Emancipation Act. He was moreover, prepared to affirm, that Parliament might very well say that they were prepared to admit the ordinary right of the House of Assembly, to admit that in the usual course of affairs that House of Assembly was entitled to regulate the affairs of the colony in such manner as it might think the most fitting; but Parliament might, at the same time, say to the House of Assembly, that they were not competent to the task of re-organizing themselves—that Parliament must reserve to itself that important undertaking: which would not be encroaching on the constitutional rights of the colonial legislature. Bearing these considerations in mind, he should request the House to recollect the demand made by the Colonial House of Assembly; it was this—that they should be guaranteed in the exercise of the ordinary rights of legislation. He admitted the dilemma and the difficulty, but he blamed the mode in which the Executive Government now proposed to interfere with the legislative rights of the House of Assembly, and he contended that that body ought to be allowed a sufficient locus pœnitentiœ, an advantage to which they were entitled, and of which the Government themselves stood much in need. That of which he thought the House of Commons had a right to complain was, that there existed no fixed grounds for legislation—that there had been no fair offer given in November last, and that ever since then just grounds of alarm had existed in the minds of the colonial Legislature. Farther, when the right hon. Gentleman talked of his anxiety to give the House of Assembly ample time and opportunity for considering and settling these three important questions, what was his notion of ample time and opportunity? The House was now nearly in the middle of June. Even supposing the bill to pass by the middle of July, which was a very liberal allowance, that it reached Jamaica by the middle of August, was the House of Assembly to be told that unless they passed satisfactory measures on these three wide subjects before the end of September, on the 1st of October there should issue from the office of the Governor certain laws which were to supersede their powers? Such a proceeding as this might be justified by very strong circumstances, but what had the right hon. Gentleman himself stated as to the probability of obtaining laws on these subjects from the House of Assembly? Mr. Burge, it was admitted, might betaken as a criterion of the opinions and views of the House of Assembly, and the right hon. Gentleman had remarked that Mr. Burge had expressed no objection to the three enactments. Now if this Gentleman had not started such objections, and was to be taken as the mouth-piece of the Colonial Legislature, what reason was there for supposing that the House of Assembly was disinclined to take the desired course themselves? Surely the House of Assembly was not treated with the consideration due to them. And what was the difference between them? On the one hand the Government demanded that the House should violate a great constitutional principle; and, on the other, the only inconvenience, they themselves stated, was the delay of a year. But there was every reason to believe, that enactments to answer the purposes required could have become law by January next, and it would have been far better if the necessity had arisen to have summoned a parliament earlier than usual, seeing that there would be no remarkable difficulty in such a step, than have taken a course by which constitutional principles of such great importance were violated. What were the evils which it was asserted would arise from the continued refusal of the Assembly to legislate? The evils were the grievances to which the negro population would be subjected, The House must certainly be surprised to learn that the negro population, whose grievances were made the foundation of this important measure, were a minority of the whole emancipated negroes. At least there were between two and three hundred thousand emancipated negroes in Barbadoes and the other islands, for whom none of these provisions were proposed to be made and yet with respect to whom the necessity for such protection must have been just as great as for those of Jamaica. If, therefore, the Government could make out a case of serious grievance for the population of Jamaica, they would convict themselves of gross neglect and injustice to the negro population of the other colonies, inasmuch as they did not propose similar regulations for them. But because they did not propose any such enactment for the other colonies, he thought the inference irresistible that there was no real case of grievance in Jamaica. With regard to the subject of ejectments which had been touched upon, he thought the planter had more reason to complain than the negro. The planter ought to have some means of ejectment by summary process, as the negro could, by summary process, recover his wages. But this defect in the law, in so far as it pressed upon the planter, it was not proposed to remove. So with respect to the law of contracts, the planter was a greater sufferer from the want of such a law than the negro. There were, in fact, no contracts existing. If there were, the negro might suffer; but there were none existing; and the evil which resulted was not to the negro, who received his wages from day to day, but to the planter, whose operations required that he should have labour on a Urge scale, but who could not have it on any guarantee for its continuance under the present system. His right hon. Friend had referred to the Act of Charles 2nd., relating to vagrancy, and, upon the question as to whether it had been repealed or not, quoted the opinions of the Chief-justice and Attorney-general of Jamaica, in opposition to the opinion of his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ripon. He certainly was surprised to hear his right hon. Friend do this, and could not help suspecting that if the opinions on both sides had been the reverse of what they were, his right hon. Friend would have quoted that of his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Ripon as decisive authority. But he had another opinion to adduce on this subject, which, though it could give no additional weight to his right hon. and learned Friend's authority, might have some influence with his right hon. Friend opposite. This was the opinion of Lord Glenelg, who, in a letter of the 15th of September, 1838, to the Governor of Jamaica, referred to the opinions of the Chief-justice and the Attorney-general on the subject of the Vagrant Act, and said— The Chief-justice refers to the Colonial Act, Charles 2nd., c. 18; the Attorney-general adds a reference to the 35th of Charles 2nd., c. 11, and the 7th of George 4th., c. 26. It seems to have escaped their notice, that the acts of Charles 2nd. were repealed by the 6th of George 4th., c. 17. Nor has either of them referred to the statute of 17 George 3rd. c. 31. Non nostrum inter vos tantas componere lites. He did say that if the opinion of his right hon. and learned Friends were not conclusive, that if there were any doubt whether a law two hundred years old were repealed or not, it would be better to set the matter at rest by a new enactment than to make it a pretext for taking away the powers of the Colonial Assembly. There was one other point to which he wished to refer, and that was the second clause, which certainly did involve the power of taxation. But this was a matter of necessity. Its object was to prevent absolute anarchy. In October next the taxes would cease to be due, and it was essential that they should interpose to secure the first necessity of civil society. By this clause the Imperial legislature recognised it as its first duty to make provision that the Government should e carried on, and that the population of the country should not suffer from the suspension of the natural and necessary operations of society. He had not anything more to add. He did not wish to detain the House. The side of the question which he advocated was not that which admitted of popular appeal; but he believed it was the side which involved the principles in the long run most essential to the interests of the people themselves, and entitled to the respect which that House always accorded to constitutional rights. And he must say, that if that respect existed now with the power with which it habitually operated, it would be impossible for the House to sanction the first clause of the bill before them.

Sir G. Grey

would follow the example of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, by occupying the attention of the House as briefly as possible. Indeed, he should not have felt it necessary to have risen at all, if it had not been for the misrepresentation which the hon. Gentleman had made with respect to the passage of the despatch which he had read. The Chief Justice and Attorney-general of Jamaica were bound to report their opinion on the question submitted to them, and the Government were justified in acting on their opinion, with a view to bettering the condition of the emancipated population. The Government had obtained a full and ample report from the Chief Justice upon the subject of the Poor-law: and the Act of Charles the 2nd to which he had referred was not chapter 11, but chapter 18, which was totally different. It was the Attorney-general who had directed their attention to the 35th of Charles the 2nd, as having a slight reference to the Poor-law. So far from the hon. Member's (Mr. Gladstone) opinion as to the repealing of the law of the 35th Charles the 2nd being supported by the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon, he had only said, that the 35th Charles the 2nd had been virtually superseded by the Act of George the 3rd. No one was more ready to admit the great ability and legal acquirements of the hon. and learned Member for Ripon than he, for he had had the best opportunity to form an opinion as to those acquirements; but upon the subjects to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman had adverted in connexion with that bill, he should be inclined to give a preference to the practical authority of the Chief Justice and the Attorney-general of Jamaica, and, therefore, he could not surrender these opinions even to the high and distinguished authority of the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon. The hon. Member opposite (Mr. Gladstone) had alluded to the fact of Mr. Burge being the representative of the House of Assembly of Jamaica; but he had said, that if the second clause should be passed, the House of Assembly would not legislate under its operation. It was the duty of the House to take care that sufficient protection should be afforded to the population for whose benefit the Emancipation Act had been passed, and to see that its provisions were carried out; and he hoped hon. Members would see the necessity of dis- charging that duty by passing such a measure as would insure protection to that portion of the population. With respect to the time afforded before the bill should come into operation, the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon had said, that an extension of time might be desirable, and in this the Government had no objection to acquiesce; the words in italics were, in fact, open for consideration, and he should say, it looked like an attempt to excite a prejudice against the bill to speak as if the words which were open for consideration were proposed to remain permanent. He hoped the bill would pass. He hoped the House would adopt a measure which would prevent the possibility of a continuance of oppression in the event of the House of Assembly refusing to legislate, or in the event of their legislating in such a spirit as had been adverted to—namely, to pass for those in a state of freedom laws imbued with a spirit of slavery. With respect to the laws upon the subject of squatting, he was of opinion that they would be equally beneficial to the planter and to the negro. Indeed, he thought that their real interests were the same; it would be calculated to produce great and permanent evil, if the negro population were allowed to settle themselves upon the land which they might find unoccupied, and give themselves up to habits of idleness, which could not fail to injure the planters. In this respect, as in all others, the true interests of all classes in Jamaica were the same.

Mr. Gladstone

rose to explain. He had come to a wrong conclusion with respect to the Act of Charles the 2nd. Whether the Act were repealed or not, it did not alter his views with regard to the bill. If it were not repealed, it was not necessary to introduce a bill which was such an insult to Jamaica.

The Solicitor-General

did not rise to defend the opinion of the Chief Justice or the Attorney-general of Jamaica, but he would grapple with the opinion of the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon. He would say, that the Act of Charles the 2nd had not been repealed by the Act of George the 3rd. He was aware there was a difficulty in deciding with those nice legal distinctions before the House, but he would show that it had not been repealed. The Act of Charles the 2nd recited, that "all rogues, vagabonds, and other idle persons, who should be found wandering from place to place, or in any otherwise mis-ordering themselves," might be apprehended by a constable and brought before a justice of the peace, who had by that Act the power, if they were fit to work, to order them to receive any number of lashes not exceeding thirty-nine upon the bare back. Now, under that Act, persons who went about in the West Indies practising the obi, or palmistry, or any other nonsensical superstition, were subject to punishment; but the Act of George the 3rd did not allude to such persons, so that, in that respect, it did not repeal the Act of Charles the 2nd; and the argument of his right hon. and learned Friend did not apply. There were various other points in which the Act was not repealed, but he thought that which he had mentioned was sufficient to show that all cases to which the Act of Charles the 2nd was directed were not within the purview of the Act of George the 3rd.

Mr. Goulburn

had no intention of entering into a legal argument; he had not the honour of belonging to the legal profession; and he was perfectly satisfied with the opinion of his right hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Ripon, than whom there could be no higher authority upon such a subject. With respect to the opinions of the Chief Justice and Attorney-general of Jamaica, they had only stated, in answer to questions from the Secretary for the Colonies, what laws were in force respecting Poor-laws and the Vagrant Act; but when the Secretary for the Colonies had directed his attention to the fact of one of those laws being repealed, the Chief Justice admitted his mistake; and if he had then been mistaken, it was clear that the House of Commons were not bound to rest upon his ipse dixit with regard to the subject then before them. The next question was the nature of the bill before them; and he would ask, could there be a doubt of its nature? It was sought by that bill to give to the Government and Council of Jamaica a power of refusing any measure which might pass the House of Assembly, thus preventing it from becoming law; it also gave the Governor and Council the additional power of legislating without the assistance or consent of the House of Assembly. What would be the consequence if such a power were given to the House of Commons in this country—a power to legislate independently of the House of Lords; or, re- versing the case, if the House of Lords could, whenever they pleased to dissent from the House of Commons, legislate without its assent? And yet such were the powers which they proposed to give to the Governor and Council, who, in case they refused to give their assent to the measures of the House of Assembly, could then proceed to legislate themselves.

Mr. Sheil

thought that the question between both parties reduced itself to this—was it necessary to do more than pass the second clause? What was admitted by the right hon. and learned Gentleman to whom the Opposition was intrusted by the party to which he belonged? That right hon. and learned Gentleman admitted that the second clause was indispensable—that some interposition with the House of Assembly was absolutely necessary. That, then, being conceded by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, let them see to what results that concession must lead. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, by admitting the necessity for the second clause, confessed, that interference on the part of the Imperial Parliament was indispensable. Then the right hon. and learned Gentleman said, that old laws must be revived, and he had also condemned the conduct of the House of Assembly. In commenting upon that conduct, he had pronounced an unequivocal censure. Now, if the second clause were necessary, it was worth while to ask if the first clause were not equally necessary? The case made out was, that old laws must be revived, but that new laws were not necessary. How was that point to be decided by the House? They had, to be sure, heard the opinion of the hon. and learned Gentleman. That opinion must be entitled to the greatest respect, if it were pronounced from the bench. Such was not the case, for the right hon. and learned Gentleman appeared there in his ultra-forensic capacity. When the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not appear as a judge, but when he appeared as a partisan, he was not disposed to attach that importance to the right hon. and learned Gentleman's opinion on matters, which in another and a better place, he should be disposed at once to give to them. He had marked, in one respect, the conduct of the right hon. and learned Gentleman, who began his speech at five o'clock by a denunciation of the Prisons Bill. When he heard the Prisons Bill denounced by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, he could not help asking himself what course the right hon. and learned Gentleman Lad taken upon the Prisons Bill. He had, indeed, that night said, that it infringed the rights of the Assembly, and that it was an invasion of the principles upon which the Colonial Assembly was founded. Did the right hon. and learned Gentleman oppose the Prisons Bill at the time that it was proposed? Was not, in fact, the bill passed without a comment in either House of Parliament? And yet that bill invaded the rights of the Colonial Legislature as much as the present proposition of the Government. When, then, they did not object to the Prisons Bill, what was the reason that they objected to a bill founded upon the same principle on which the Prisons Bill rested? But then the right hon. and learned Gentleman put the [whole of the case upon the necessity for the second clause. He said, that it was indispensable to revive old laws that were on the point of expiration, because the colony required it. [Sir Edward Sugden: No.] The right hon. and learned Gentleman said no—but then, if he admitted that old laws must be revived, must not new laws be also necessary to meet a new state of things? The whole case hinged upon this—were new laws required? Then that was to be determined by appealing to the House of Assembly itself. That House had unequivocally declared that bills were required to determine between masters and servants, upon the subject of the Vagrant Act; and other matters, too, were referred to by them. Would the House permit him to read the words of the House of Assembly? They said, We feel, in common with your Excellency, the emergency in which the country is placed by the expiration of the annual laws, and are well aware of the necessity which the present state of society imposes, that laws for the prevention of vagrancy, for the regulation of the relative duties of servants and masters, to determine the qualification of electors, to regulate the militia, and to prevent the occupation of lands, should be enacted. Under these circumstances, then, the House must perceive that it would neglect its duty if it did not pass this bill, or some bill of the same kind.

On the question that the clause stand part of the bill,

The Committee divided:—Ayes 228; Noes 194: Majority 34.

List of the AYES.
Adam, Admiral Aglionby, H. A.
Aglionby, Major Ellice, E.
Ainsworth, P. Ellis, W.
Alcock, T. Erle, W.
Alston, R. Euston, Earl of
Andover, Viscount Evans, G.
Archbold, R. Evans, W.
Attwood, T. Ewart, W.
Baines, E. Fazakerley, J. N.
Baring, F. T. Ferguson, Sir R. A.
Barnard, E. G. Finch, F.
Barron, H. W. Fitzgibbon, hon. Col.
Barry, G. S. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Beamish, F. B. Fleetwood, Sir P. H.
Bellew, R. M. Fort, J.
Berkeley, hon. H. French, F.
Berkeley, hon. G. Gillon, W. D.
Bewes, T. Gordon, R.
Blackett, C. Grattan, H.
Blake, M. J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir C.
Blake, W.J. Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.
Blunt, Sir C. Grosvenor, Lord R.
Bodkin, J. J. Guest, J. J.
Bowes, J. Harland, W. C.
Brabazon, Sir W. Hastie, A.
Bridgeman, H. Hawes, B.
Briscoe, J. I. Hawkins, J. H.
Brocklehurst, J. Hayter, W. G.
Brodie, W. B. Heathcoat, J.
Brotherton, J. Heathcote, G. J.
Browne, R. D. Hector, C. J.
Bryan, G. Hill, Lord A. M. C.
Bulwer, Sir L. Hobhouse, right hon. Sir J.
Byng, G.
Byng, right hon. G. S. Hobhouse, T. B.
Callaghan, D. Hodges, T. L.
Campbell, Sir J. Holland, R.
Cave, R.O. Horseman, E.
Cavendish, hon. C. Hoskins, K.
Cavendish, hon. G. H. Howard, F. J.
Cayley, E. S. Howard, P. H.
Chalmers, P. Howick, Viscount
Chapman, Sir M. L. C. Humphery, J.
Chester, H. Hurst, R. H.
Chetwynd, Major Hutt, W.
Chichester, J. P. B. Hutton, R.
Clay, W. Ingham, R.
Clements, Viscount James, W.
Codrington, Admiral Kinnaird, hon. A. F.
Collier, J. Labouchere, rt. hn. H.
Collins, W. Langdale, hon. C.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Lemon, Sir C.
Craig, W. G. Lister, E. C.
Crawford, W. Loch, J.
Crompton, Sir S. Lushington, C.
Curry, Mr. Sergeant Lushington, rt. hon. S.
Dalmeny, Lord Lynch, A. H.
Dashwood, G. H. Macaulay, T. B.
Davies, Colonel Macleod, R.
D'Eyncourt, rt. hn. C. Macnamara, Major
Donkin, Sir R. S. McTaggart, J.
Duke, Sir J. Marshall, W.
Dundas, C. W. D. Marsland, H.
Dundas, F. Martin, J.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Martin, T. B.
Dundas, Sir R. Maule, hon. F.
Elliott, hon. J. E. Melgund, Viscount
Ellice, right hon. E. Mildmay, P. St. John,
Moreton, hon. A. H. Slaney, R. A.
Morpeth, Viscount Smith, B.
Morris, D. Smith, G. R.
Murray, A. Smith, R. V.
Muskett, G. A. Somerville, Sir W.M.
Nagle, Sir R. Speirs, A.
Norreys, Sir D. J. Spencer, hon. F.
O'Callaghan, hon. C. Stanley, W. O.
O'Connell, D. Stansfield, W. R C
O'Connell, J. Staunton, Sir G. T.
O'Connell, M. J. Stock, Dr.
O'Connell, M. Strangways, hon. J.
O'Connor, Don Strickland, Sir G.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Strutt, E.
Ord, W. Style, Sir C.
Paget, F. Tancred, H. W.
Palmer, C. F. Thomson, rt hn. C. P.
Parker, J. Thornely, T.
Parnell, rt. hn. Sir H. Tollemache, F. J.
Parrott, J. Townley, R. G.
Pechell, Captain Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Pendarves, E. W. W. Vigors, N. A.
Phillipps, Sir R. Villiers, hon. C. P.
Philips, M. Vivian, J. H.
Phillips, G. R. Vivian, rt. hn. Sir R.H.
Pigot, D. R. Wakley, T.
Pinney, W. Walker, R.
Power, J. Wallace, R.
Pryme, G. Warburton, H.
Redington, T. N. Ward, H. G.
Rice, E. R. Westenra, hon. H. R.
Rice, right hon. T.S. White, A.
Roche, E. B. White, S.
Roche, W. Williams, W.
Roche, Sir D. Williams, W. A.
Rolfe, Sir R. M. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Rundle, J. Willshere, W.
Russell, Lord J. Winnington, T. E.
Russell, Lord Winnington, H. J.
Russell, Lord C. Wood, C.
Rutherford, rt. hn. A. Wood, G. W.
Salwey, Colonel Worsley, Lord
Sanford, E. A. Wrightson, W. B.
Scholefield, J. Wyse T.
Seale, Sir J. H. Yates, J. A.
Seymour, Lord TELLERS.
Sharpe, General Stanley, E. J.
Sheil, R. L. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Acland, T. D. Blair, J.
Adare, Viscount Blakemore, R.
Arbuthnot, hon. A. Blennerhasset, A.
Ashley, Lord Bradshaw, J.
Bagge, W. Bramston, T. W.
Bailey, J. Broadley, H.
Bailey, J, jun. Brownrigg, S.
Ballie, Colonel Buck, L. W.
Baker, E. Buller, Sir J. Y.
Baring, H. B. Burroughes, H. N.
Baring, hon. W. B. Calcraft, J. H.
Barneby, J. Canning, rt. hn. Sir S.
Barrington, Viscount Cantilupe, Viscount
Bateson, Sir R. Chapman, A.
Bell, M. Christopher, R. A.
Bethell, R. Clive, hon. R. H.
Blackstone, W. S. Codrington, C. W.
Cole, hon. A. H. Jermyn, E.
Cole, Viscount Johnstone, H.
Colquhoun, J. C. Jones, W.
Compton, H. C. Kemble, H.
Coote, Sir C. H. Kilburn, Viscount
Corry, hon. H. Knatchbull, right hon. Sir E.
Courtenay, P.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Knight, H. G.
Damer, hon. D. Knightley, Sir C.
Darby, G. Knox, hon. T.
Darlington, Earl of Law, hon. C, E.
Davenport, J. Lefroy, right hon. T.
De Horsey, S. H. Liddell, hon. H. T.
Dowdeswell, W. Lincoln, Earl of
Dugdale, W. S. Litton, E.
Duncombe, hon. W. Lockhart, A. M.
Duncombe, hon. A. Long, W.
Du Pre, G. Lowther, hon. Colonel
Eastnor, Lord Lucas, E.
Egerton, W. T. Lygon, hon. General
Egerton, Sir P. Mackenzie, T.
Ellis, J. Mahon, Viscount
Estcourt, T. Marton, G.
Farrand, R. Master, T. W. C.
Feilden, W. Maunsell, T. P.
Fellowes, E. Meynell, Captain
Fleming, J. Miles, W.
Foley, E. T. Miles, P. W. S.
Freshfield, J. W. Miller, W. H.
Gaskell, J. Milnes Mordaunt, Sir J.
Glynn, Sir S. R. Neeld, J.
Goddard, A. Neeld, J.
Godson, R. Nicholl, J.
Gordon, hon. Captain Norreys, Lord
Goulburn, rt. hon. H. Owen, Sir J.
Graham, rt. hon. Sir J. Pack, C. W.
Grant, F. W. Pakington, J. S.
Greene, T. Palmer, G.
Grimsditch, T. Parker, R. T.
Grimston, Viscount Peel, rt. hon. Sir R.
Grimston, hon. E. H. Peel, J.
Hale, R. B. Pemberton, T.
Halford, H. Pigot, R.
Harcourt, G. S. Planta, right hon. J.
Hardinge, rt. hn. Sir H. Plumptre, J. P.
Hayes, Sir E. Polhill, F.
Heneage, G. W. Pollen, Sir J. W.
Henniker, Lord Pollock, Sir F.
Hepburn, Sir T. B. Powell, Colonel
Herries, rt. hon. J. C. Praed, W. T.
Hill, Sir R. Pringle, A.
Hillsborough, Earl Pusey, P.
Hinde, J. H. Rae, rt. hon. Sir W.
Hodgson, F. Richards, R.
Hodgson, R. Rickford, W.
Hogg, J. W. Rolleston, L.
Holmes, hn. W. A'C. Round, C. G.
Hope, hon. C. Round, J.
Hope, H. T. Rushbrooke, Colonel
Hope, G. W. Sandon, Viscount
Hotham, Lord Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Hughes, W. B. Shaw, right hon. F.
Hurt, F. Sheppard, T.
Irton, S. Shirley, E. J.
Jackson, Mr. Sergeant Sibthorp, Colonel
James, Sir W. C. Sinclair, Sir G.
Jenkins, Sir R. Smith, A.
Smyth, Sir G. H. Villiers, Lord
Somerset, Lord G. Vivian, J. E.
Spry, Sir S. T. Waddington, H. S.
Stanley, E. Walsh, Sir J.
Stanley, Lord Whitmore, T. C.
Stewart, J. Wodehouse, E.
Stormont, Viscount Wood, Colonel
Sturt, H. C. Wood, T.
Teignmouth, Lord Wyndham, W.
Tennent, J. E. Wynn, right hon. C.
Thomas, Colonel H. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Thornhill, G. Young, Sir W.
Trench, Sir F. TELLERS.
Vere, Sir C. B. Fremantle, Sir T.
Vernon, G. H. Clerk, Sir G.
Wood, Sir M. Lowther, Lord
Busfeild, W. Alsager, Captain
Verney, Sir H. A'Court, Captain
Wilde, Sergeant Filmer, Sir E.
Berkeley, hon. C. Gore, B. O.
Scrape, G. P. Powerscourt, Viscount
Pattison, J. Farnham, E. B.
Dennistoun, J. Houstoun, G.
Heneage, E. Yorke, hon. E.T.
Villiers, C. Henniker, Lord
Talfourd, Sergeant Kelly, F.
Standish, C. Castlereagh, Viscount
Stanley, M. Bentinck, Lord G.
Denison, W. J. Eaton, R.J.
Seale, Sir J. Ashley, hon. A.
Leveson, Lord Bagot, hon. W.
Shelburne, Earl of Bruce, Lord E.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Herbert, hon. S.
Handley, H. Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Ponsonby, C. F. A. C. Perceval, hon. G. J.
Rich, H. Palmer, R.

The remaining clauses of the bill agreed to.

The House resumed.

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