HC Deb 19 June 1839 vol 48 cc508-24

On the motion that the order of the day for the third reading of the Jamaica Bill be read,

Mr. Hume

begged to be informed whether the request of the House of Assembly, praying her Majesty's Government to tell them whether they would be allowed to legislate for the colony, had received any answer from the Government?

Lord J. Russell

thought that the hon. Member had entirely misunderstood the effect of the demand made by the House of Assembly, which amounted to a request that the Ministers of the Crown would give up the right of Parliamentary legislation. It was quite impossible that the Crown should give up that power, and, therefore, no answer has been given to the request of the House of Assembly.

Mr. Hume

protested against such an interpretation of the language used by the House of Assembly. He contended, that there had been no refusal on their part, so far as public documents went, to legislate for the colony, and no man of common sense would say that they had refused. The House of Commons had already interfered with the internal concerns of the island; and this being the case, the Assembly waited to see whether Parliament intended to interfere further, being resolved not to take the useless trouble of legislating, if there was to be any more interference by Parliament with internal legislation. He thought that the House of Assembly had great ground for complaint, considering the manner in which their resolution was drawn up. It was as follows:— Resolved, that in the opinion of this House they will best consult their own honour, the rights of their constituents, and the peace and well-being of the colony, by abstaining from the exercise of any legislative function, excepting such as may be necessary to preserve inviolate the faith of the island with the public creditor, until her most gracious Majesty's pleasure shall be made known whether her subjects of Jamaica, now happily all in a state of freedom, are henceforth to be treated as subjects, with the power of making laws, as hitherto, for their own government, or whether they are to be treated as a conquered colony, and governed by Parliamentary legislation, Orders in Council, or, as in the case of the late amended Abolition Act, by investing the Governor of the island with the arbitrary power of issuing proclamations, having the force of law over the lives and properties of the people. Now, he contended, that the fair and honest meaning of those words was, that as Parliament had interfered, they wished to ask the Government to tell them plainly and simply, whether they would be allowed to legislate? No answer had been sent to that very reasonable request, and that was the ground on which he had objected to the proceedings taken by the Government.

Mr. Labouchere

must say, that the spirit of the demands made by the Assembly could not be mistaken. The demand made by the House of Assembly was this,—that the Ministers of the Crown would, on the part of the Government and on the part of the Parliament of England, assure the House of Assembly, that they would deal with them in a different manner from heretofore. He begged to remind the House of the resolution to which it came by a large majority, in which, if he was not mistaken, the hon. Member for Kilkenny himself voted. After the Abolition Act Amendment Bill was passed, the House came to a solemn resolution, which he would read to the House, and he would observe, that the House then deliberately determined that they would continue to watch over the negro, and, if necessity arose, that they would interfere for his protection. The resolution was agreed to on the 29th of May, 1838, and was to this effect:— That this House, at the same time, declares its opinion, that no means should be omitted which can tend to secure to the negro population of her Majesty's colonies the privileges to which they are entitled under the Act for the Abolition of Slavery, and under the Act for the amendment of the Slavery Abolition Act; and further, that the anxious attention of this House will be directed to the state and condition of the negro population, when the expiration of the term of apprenticeship shall have entitled them to the full enjoyment of entire freedom. Now, he put it to the House, who knew what were the resolutions passed by the House of Assembly, and who knew what complaints had been made by them, to couple them with the demand made by the Assembly, that the Government would deal with them in a different manner to that in which they had acted; and he would ask the House, whether the Government would not have been guilty of an act of the grossest delusion, if they had used any language to Jamaica which would have induced the Assembly to imagine that Parliament was in any way disposed to relax their vigilance on behalf of the negro. He felt that no justification was wanting on the part of the Government for proceeding with this bill, for if there was any fault to be found with the Government, it was for having pushed forbearance to the very limits of weakness, and for being too slow to act. He approved of the Abolition Act, and approving of it, he thought that the Government ought not to have used any language which might countenance any delusion on the part of the Assembly of Jamaica, when they were determined, if the Assembly did not do their duty, that they would do it for them.

Order of the day read.

Mr. Labouchere

, in moving that the Jamaica Bill be read a third time, would take that opportunity of stating that he had considered the objection made by the right hon. Member for Ripon, relative to the time at which the Governor in Council should legislate if the Assembly had not previously legislated. In proposing this bill he had said, that it was far from his intention to fix a period which would not give the Assembly ample time to legislate, and instead of the 1st day of October next, he would move that the blank be filled up with the words "the 15th day of November."

Bill read a third time.

On the motion that the bill do pass,

Mr. Goulburn

rose and said, that as this was a subject which, on a former occasion, had been amply discussed, and there was a question which stood for this evening possessing universal interest, he thought that he should best consult his duty by compressing within a very narrow compass, indeed, the observations with which he should preface the motion which he was about to make. The first point to which he should refer was one of form. He had intended to move to omit all the words in the first clause, but if he did that, he should preclude the right hon. Gentleman from making that alteration in the date which he wished to effect. He should, therefore, propose to leave out all the words of the clause up to the date, and if he succeeded in that motion, he should then move to omit the remaining portion of the clause. If he correctly understood what had already taken place in the House, and the assurance which had been given by the Government, he must believe, that the Government bonâa fide, wished to give the Assembly the power and the opportunity of continuing to legislate for Jamaica, and that they were sincerely desirous, that the popular branch of the Legislature should not be placed in abeyance. Giving them, therefore, credit for their sincerity, he could not see how they could oppose the motion which he was about to make, if the first clause in the bill must necessarily tend to produce feelings in the Assembly which would make it impossible for any man to sit and legislate as a member of that body. It was not likely that men who had been sent back to their constituents, and had received their sanction and approbation, would now retrace their steps. These were the difficulties of the case; but he thought these difficulties might be surmounted. He had seen letters from members of the House of Assembly stating that the Assembly was not indisposed to conciliatory proceedings. It should be recollected, that the resolutions of the Assembly were carried by a minority of the whole body, by twenty-one out of forty-five members. He thought it fair, therefore, to infer, that the House of Assembly did not entertain, as a body, the strong opinions which some Members of the House had expressed, and that if an opportunity were given to them, they would act in accordance with the wishes of the Government. It was for this reason that he did not wish to retain the objectionable clause. He would not say one word upon the topics which had been touched upon before. He would not say one word about the conduct of the Government, and he would say nothing which could have any tendency to excite angry feeling. He would merely state, that the laws which it was proposed to enact, rendered it extremely difficult to carry into effect the object which the Government professed to have in view. He did not know whether the hon. Gentlemen opposite had read those laws, the passing of which was made a condition of non-interference by the Governor in Council; but in the multitude of papers which were laid upon the table of the House, he was afraid, and the smile of the right hon. Gentleman confirmed his apprehensions, that they had not given to those laws the perusal to which they were entitled. The clause directed, that the House of Assembly should pass in principle the same laws as those which were mentioned in the Orders in Council; and it was professed, that those laws should be limited to contract, vagrancy, and squatting. He would show, that it was impossible for the House of Assembly, if their object was only the public good, to assent to that proposition. He would take the contract laws as an example. The contract laws which were proposed to the House of Assembly went to repeal all existing contract laws, and whether they were to be retrospective or not was not quite clear. In the next place, it was provided, that no contract between master and servant should be made beyond the limits of the colony, and that all such contracts should endure for one year only. Now, what was the effect of that provision? It was his lot, as it was the lot of almost every West India proprietor, to engage persons in this country under contracts for the term of three, four, five, or even seven years, to be employed on their estates in Jamaica as coopers, carpenters, and ploughmen. It was one great object of the planters, and of the Assembly also, to introduce agricultural improvements into the colony, and the attainment of that object could not fail to diminish the labour of the negroes. It was, therefore, no less desirable to the planters than to the negroes and to the friends of humanity, that every facility should be afforded for the purpose of introducing an improved system of cultivation; but if the contract laws which were proposed were adopted by the Assembly, that improvement would be greatly retarded. Was it likely that any person would consent to leave this country and to go out to Jamaica without a certainty of employment for some years? Would any persons be so rash as to enter into an engagement in this country with the knowledge that the engagement into which they might enter was invalid, and with the certainty that when they arrived in the colony with a contract for seven years, that that contract was of no force? Was it possible that the House of Assembly, if they wished to promote the agricultural prosperity of Jamaica, could assent to a proposition which would entirely preclude the sending out of servants from this country—servants who were most valuable to their masters, and who were of little less value to the negroes themselves, because they communicated to them a knowledge of the most improved modes of cultivating the land? Then, again, look at the inequality of the law. The law between master and servant was, that if the servant injured the property of his master, a pecuniary fine was imposed. That was fair, and so far he agreed with the provisions of the law; but then there was no power of levying the fine upon the servant by direct means. If the servant set fire to his master's property, the fine to be imposed for that offence could not be levied by distress; but if the master neglected to furnish the servant with any thing specified in the contract, the servant could recover damages by distress. The master was obliged to have recourse to an action of debt to recover from the servant, whereas the servant might recover from the master immediately by distress. Then, again, the servant for an offence against the master might be imprisoned for the term of fourteen days, but if the master injured the servant by violating any of the articles of the contract, the master might be imprisoned for a month. There was one more objection. The act to which he had been alluding, affected the whole judicial system of the colony, and could not fail seriously to injure the interests of justice. What were the provisions of this law? It provided for the holding of petty sessions, and how were those sessions to be held? It was provided, that there should in every court of petty sessions be not less than two stipendiary magistrates, and they were to have the option of not admitting more than one of the local magistrates. Now he would ask, whether any thing could be more unjust than such a provision, whether any thing could have been devised more likely to destroy that confidence which it was of so much importance should exist between the negroes and the proprietors of the colony? Besides, the appointment of magistrates was vested in the Crown, and what necessity was there, therefore, for asking the House of Assembly to legislate at all upon the subject? Could it be called a conciliatory proceeding to go to the House of Assembly, the members of which were themselves magistrates, and ask them to pass a measure which would reduce them to a position similar to that of the wild animal in the story when placed between two tame elephants? By such a step they would degrade justice, and create a feeling of hostility in the minds of the local magistracy, which could not fail to prove injurious to the best interests of the colony. Even the admission of such a man as Lord Seaford into a court of petty sessions was to be made dependent upon the will of two stipendiary magistrates, and he would ask any Member of that House what his feelings would be if he was told he should only sit in a court of petty sessions by permission of two paid London magistrates? He should not trouble the House further, as he thought he had said enough to show the impolicy of the first clause of this bill, and he should, therefore, move that the words of the clause which he had specified be left out.

Mr. Hume

, who spoke amidst interruption, was understood to say, that he objected to this bill on principle, although he admitted that, when compared with the last bill, it was much less offensive. This measure was less unconstitutional than the last, for it did not suspend the constitution of the colony, or impose any tax, but still it authorised an interference with the powers of the Assembly which he felt himself obliged to protest against. Where was the necessity for this measure? He denied that a case of necessity had been made out, and there was not one document upon the table of the House by which it could be shown that this measure was required in order to secure the peace or prosperity of the colony. It was, therefore, upon principle that he objected to this bill. Did they interpose to protect the negroes, or to secure the tranquillity of the colony? No such thing. The country was in a state of the most profound tranquillity, and all the interests of the colony were prosperous. He held in his hand a letter from Mr. J. M. Phillipps to Mr. Sturge, who had taken so much interest in the condition of the negroes, in which that gentleman said:— I am exceedingly concerned to find, that the planters have succeeded in creating the panic to which you allude. They have made a desperate effort to do this, and they have succeeded. It is currently reported here, that the London journalists, who have lately manifested so much sympathy with our late slave-masters, have been bought for that purpose, and they have certainly shown themselves, especially the professedly anti-aristrocatical part of them, by no means insensible to bribes. Should the Government at all listen to the misrepresentations of the pro-slavery party, it will be a most lamentable circumstance, as it would but revive the differences of which they complain, and which are now almost universally set at rest. The most profound tranquillity universally prevails. Our courts of justice seldom now behold a criminal, and the absence of ordinary offences from the calendar is often the subject of gratulation by the judge. The business of the estates and pens is almost, in every instance, being proceeded with; innumerable spots are being recovered by small setlers from the wastes; new villages are rapidly rising up in every direction; land is nearly double the value it was a few months ago; estates and small farms are seldom in the market, and when they are, although greatly augmented in value, there is no want of purchasers. That was the state of the colony on the 5th of May in the present year. Mr. Phillips went on to say:— The advantages resulting from the new state of things in the towns are too palpable to admit of a single question. New houses are being erected, or old ones are undergoing repairs in almost every street. The markets are abundantly supplied with provisions—the comforts and wants of civilised life are increasingly desired and possessed; merchants and traders have more employment than formerly, and intimations of the decrease of commerce, of the decline of agriculture, and of the ruin of the country, are no where to be seen. So far are we from being likely to realise the dismal scenes predicted by the enemies of freedom, that the very reverse may be confidently expected. Not only is this fact proclaimed by the avidity with which properties are purchased when exposed for sale by the increased price of land, together with the host of other evidence, but also by the efforts that are being made for the improvement of agriculture; by the designs in contemplation, both for the manufacture and transport of produce in the more general introduction of machinery; and in the construction of railroads—by the various public institutions, which are beginning to rise into being, and by the conversions that are daily taking place, to the advantages of the new state of things among proprietors, and attornies themselves. The strongest evidence is offered by every thing we see and hear around us, that we enjoy the dawn of a brighter day in every respect than Jamaica has ever yet beheld. Now, if all this was true, where, he would ask, was the necessity for interference with local legislation? There was another letter, dated the 2nd of May, from Mr. Clerk, who he knew was a person on whose authority they might depend. That Gentleman said— The people are going on admirably. On almost every sugar estate in this part of the parish, there is as much sugar making, I believe, as during the apprenticeship. I can mention Orange-Valley (nearly all the people on which are connected with my church), Cape-Valley, Borough-Bridge, and Greenock, where the people are employed by the job, or at 1s. 8d. per day, with houses and grounds; they are working well. At Dumbarton, Antrim, Culloden, Ballantry, although the people were not paid more than at other places, they are charged from 3s. 4d. to 6s. 8d. per week rent, yet there is no real cause of complaint. They are also working well, although for less than their neighbours; but this I do not expect to continue. These estates must either pay the market price for labour, or lose their people, if land can be bought in the neighbourhood. There is one interesting fact which I cannot forbear mentioning—that from the time of Rawlinson's (the late special justice) removal, to the end of the apprenticeship, but two persons connected as members or esquires with my station were punished, and those improperly or unjustly. From the 1st of August to this date, not one has been imprisoned for any crime, although nearly 30,000 in number; indeed, in the whole district with which, as a minister, I have to do, in which there is a negro population of 9,000 or 10,000, full half of which attend my ministry, but one black person has been committed to prison, and that for an assault, which I think was compromised. We have no police, and we need none. Were it not for the disputes respecting wages and rents, the stipendiary magistrates would have a sinecure situation. I was very sanguine respecting the working of freedom. My expectations are more than realized. Give God the glory. Now, when such was the state of the colony, where, he would ask, would be found the necessity for this interference by the Imperial Parliament? Let the noble Lord look at the report of Captain Pringle, and he would find that the grossest delusion prevailed with respect to this bill. What was the opinion of Lord Brougham upon this measure—of him who had done so much for the emancipation of the negroes. This bill was said to be for the protection of the negroes but Lord Brougham had said, that there never was a grosser delusion than that which prevailed with respect to this bill—that was with respect to the old bill. There was no necessity for such a measure, and this interference with the Legislature of the Colony, could only be productive of injury. Captain Pringle had shown, that in the course of a few years, the negroes would be the electors, and that they would have the power of returning the Members of the House of Assembly. But this bill would prevent the negroes from obtaining that which alone could distinguish them from slaves. Emancipation had given them all the privileges which had formerly been enjoyed by the whites, and when the act of emancipation was complete, the number of persons exercising the elective franchise would be doubled. It was, therefore, because the first clause of this bill interfered, without even a show of necessity, with the legislative rights of the people of the Colony, that he should give it every opposition in his power.

Lord J. Russell

said, the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down had divided his argument into two parts; one was that in which he argued against the bill which had been formerly before the House, and the other part was directed against the third reading of the bill, which was carried about twenty minutes ago, To the ques- tion now before the House, the hon. Gentleman had not addressed one single argument; for the question before the House was, the adoption or rejection of this clause. He could understand very well the line of argument taken by those who objected to their legislating for the House of Assembly of Jamaica, and who were for allowing the Legislature of Jamaica to take their own course. But when that question was put, there was but one Gentleman who said "no," and even that hon. Member, though the House was so full, repented of his opposition, and allowed the bill to be read a third time. Therefore there was no question in the House as to an interference with the Legislature of Jamaica. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goulburn) had alluded to the probability of many Members of that House not having read the Orders of Council, to which it might be replied, as a set off", that there were many Members who did not hear the arguments of the learned counsel at the bar, who had appeared there as the agent of the House of Assembly of Jamaica. It might be a matter of surprise to some, that the speech of that learned counsel should have made so little impression. Though it was a very able speech, and went much into the case, it was entirely founded, not on this clause of the bill, but upon the second clause. The learned counsel, as representative of the House of Assembly of Jamaica, did not argue, that the Orders in Council were oppressive and inapplicable; he did not attempt to show, that their provisions were not adapted to the state of Jamaica; he did not in the least impugn the statement made, that they had been six months in operation in other colonies, and that no practical fault had been found with them; but he confined his whole argument to the second clause, and, taking part with the constitutional rights of Jamaica, he thought the learned counsel had argued very properly, with respect to the second class, and not the first, because it was the second, and not the first, which enabled the Governorand Council to continuecertain taxes which would otherwise expire, and he argued according to the act of 1778, and according to constitutional notions that the power given to the governor of enforcing taxes, and thus far to interfere with the constitution of Jamaica, was an experiment on that constitution which ought not to be tried, and a power which. that House ought not to grant. He would not repeat, nor even attempt to give a sketch of, his argument, but it went very fairly against the House giving that power to the Governor and Council. The House was not convinced by it, and he owned he was a little surprised when the right hon. and learned Member for Ripon, who he thought had listened with great attention to the speech of the learned counsel, got up at the end of the speech, and said, that when the House in the following week should come to the consideration of the subject, he would move the rejection of the first clause from the bill. So little was he convinced by the arguments of the learned representative of Jamaica, that he let go by entirely the clause to which he objected, and directed his opposition to the clause which the learned counsel would have allowed to remain. That was the clause to which objection was now made; but, if they left that clause out of the bill, they would prevent certain laws from being made for the protection of the negroes, for the prevention of vagrancy, and for guarding against the unlawful occupation of lands, while at the same time they would not maintain the rights of the House of Assembly. The hon. Member for Kilkenny, would in effect consent to an interference with the constitutional rights of the House of Assembly, over which this clause, which it was proposed to omit, would have no effect whatever. He could only say, that the orders in council had been in operation a considerable time, and there had been scarcely any objection urged against them. If any objections were to be made, he thought they would be more rationally made against the second clause of the bill; at all events the constitutional question entirely depended on that clause.

Sir Robert Peel

would willingly give way to the impatience of the House if he thought that by so yielding he should at all assist the House in doing that which was creditable to itself; but as this was a question which affected one of our most important colonies, he felt bound to intrude on their patience, not for any gratification of his own feelings, but because he felt that the House of Commons would place itself, if they adopted this bill, in a discreditable position. The noble Lord had found it convenient to compliment the speech of the learned counsel, who appeared at the bar on behalf of the House of Assembly, and he had always observed the readiness of the noble Lord to compliment every speech which did him the least damage. The noble Lord said the speech of the learned counsel was a most constitutional speech, because it was directed against the second clause of the bill, and not against the first, and what did the speech of the agent of Jamaica prove? "It proves (said the right hon. Baronet) that we are not partisans of the island of-Jamaica. It proves that we are not acting in concert with the agent of the House of Assembly. We take that course which is the just course. We will provide against those emergencies which the right hon. Gentleman told us might occur if the House of Assembly refused to exercise its functions, and against the anarchy which he depicted. We yield to his opinion, and say we are willing to provide against those contingencies and to supply the defects in the legislature. But you go further, and provide for the permanent legislation of Jamaica, while at the same time you declare your intention and wish that the House of Assembly should resume its functions. How do you hope that the House of Assembly will resume its functions and be an useful instrument of legislation if you pass this bill? You say to the House of Assembly—" Unless you pass three separate and most important laws relating to the domestic legislation of the colony; in that case you shall be suspended, and the Governor and Council shall execute your functions." You give, then, six weeks to pass these laws, and I ask you, do you feel it to be decorous? Have you made such progress in legislation? When you look at your own course with respect to church-rates, with respect to Irish tithes, with respect to joint-stock banks, and with respect to legislation for Canada, and remember that you have postponed every practical measure till 1842, do you think it decorous to tell the colonial legislature of Jamaica, that unless in six weeks they pass three most important measures, you give them notice that you will suspend their constitutional functions? What I deprecate is this, that you are going to give that House of Assembly a great advantage over you: it is in the wrong now, and you are going to reverse the position, and place yourselves in that situation. He never felt (the right hon. Baronet continued), more strongly on any ques- tion. If the House of Assembly neglected its duty to this country—if it neglected the welfare of the inhabitants and of the negro population—if he was convinced of the intentional and continued neglect, he would give the Government his support in arrogating to the British Imperial Parliament the power and right to legislate for the welfare of the people of Jamaica. But he felt that they were embarrassing the question by the course which they were now adopting. They were not reserving to Parliament the power of deciding when the emergency should arise; but they were referring to the Governor and Council the right to determine what should be done. A threat was held out to the Assembly, that if they did not perform certain things by a given day in October, that power was to be exercised by a new governor, whom they were going to send out; a man without experience in the affairs of Jamaica was to have the power of deciding the fate of the Assembly. By making it possible to hold over them a coercive threat they made it impossible for them to execute their functions effectively. If they wished the legislature of Jamaica to be continued, surely they also desired that it should be useful. Suppose it yielded to their menace, what authority would it have in the island? Would it not be said, both by whites and blacks—" True, you have saved yourselves from sudden extinction; but why? For the welfare of the negro population, or for the good of the people at large? No; but you did it under a coercive menace, and you have saved the rights of the people by yielding to fear. After that, how could they hope that the House of Assembly could be useful to their constituents? They were, in fact, placing the island in a worse condition than before. The Legislature would be preserved, it was true, but it would be discredited, in consequence of yielding to a menace. What were the proposed conditions? They were not clearly intelligible to all; they were conditions sub modo; there were certain laws which the House of Assembly were to pass within six weeks or two months, but they were not to pass them absolutely; a discretion was to be reserved to the House of Assembly to determine this important fact, whether or no the circumstances of the island of Jamaica would render the application of the Orders in Council expedient. What a wide dis- tinction was here? Suppose they entertained a doubt, a bonâ fide doubt, and suppose the Governor and Council differed from them upon a matter of detail, in respect to which the House of Assembly entertained a bona fide doubt—for, let it be observed, they were at liberty to consider whether the Orders in Council were suitable to the local circumstances of the island or not. Suppose a difference of opinion arose, it would then be a grave question for the Imperial Parliament to determine whether the decision of the House of Assembly was justified by the circumstances. But, by this bill, it would be left to the Governor and Council to determine this grave point; they would have the power not only to pass the ordinance, but they would place the Government in this embarrasing position—the House of Assembly having a bona fide doubt as to the practicable and expedient application of any of the Orders in Council to the local circumstances of the island, the Governor and Council may decide that the Assembly shall be extinguished. Would they support the Governor and Council in that decision? Now, he would ask, was it fit that great doubts which might arise should be resolved by the Imperial Parliament in February next, or by the local authority appointed by the Crown on the 15th of October? No, not on the 15th of October, for they were to have fourteen days more to pass these laws? That was the option given them, with an express injunction to consider the adaptation of these laws to the local circumstances of the island. If they were found refractory, if they refused to meet, if they refused to resume their functions at all, and if clear evidence were furnished that they would not perform their duties, that would be an occasion grave enough for calling the Imperial Parliament together to determine what course should be pursued. By the course now pursued they were not legislating wisely for Jamaica. This piece of paper (holding up the Jamaica Bill), continued the right hon. Baronet, is a plaster for the wounded honour of the Government, and it covers the wound very ineffectually. You have our assurance; we have convinced you that we are not acting in concert with the agent of Jamaica, that we are not acting in the spirit of partisanship, certainly not in a spirit of Jamaica partisanship, that must be apparent to the noble Lord him- self. We have assured you of our readiness to consider this grave question, whether, if circumstances of difficulty arise, it will be fitting to determine to suspend the functions of the House of Assembly of Jamaica. But, from the most positive conviction of the truth and force of what I am saying, I entreat you not to give this advantage to the local Legislature. I entreat that you will not, after the instances and examples you have yourselves given of the difficulty of deciding great questions in six years, impose on another Legislature, which have not had their attention drawn to these things, the necessity of passing, in six weeks, important measures, by holding out to them this condition, that unless they obey, their functions shall cease.

Mr. Labouchere

could not, consistently with his sense of duty, suffer this question to be put from the chair without saying a few words upon it. He believed that, after all, it was a very simple question. They were agreed that it was desirable that the House of Assembly should again be called together, and have an ample opportunity of retracing the steps they had taken, and of proceeding to discharge their duty towards the colony of Jamaica. But, then, they were also agreed, that the House of Commons should maintain the ground it had always asserted, especially, as in the last Assembly of Parliament, it had been resolved, that measures should be taken, in case the House of Assembly should persist in the course it had commenced, that the interests of the colony of Jamaica should suffer as little as possible from their conduct. The House had, therefore, almost unanimously agreed on that which was the most unconstitutional part of the bill, and which provided for those annual laws in Jamaica, among which were those called money bills. He agreed with his noble Friend, and with the agent of Jamaica, who had addressed the House from the Bar, that that was by far the strongest part of the bill before the the House. He must say, in reference to the slighting manner in which the right hon. Gentleman opposite had spoken of Mr. Burge, who had represented the interests of the House of Assembly, that he was much more inclined to bow to the opinion of their representative, than he was to the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman. The hon. Member for Kilkenny had declared, that Jamaica was in a state of tranquillity; and he was happy to be able to add to his testimony, that from all the accounts received by the Government, that tranquillity still continued. He was glad to have that opportunity of stating his conscientious belief, that the peaceable and orderly state of the island, which was almost unexampled, was a phenomenon, to be attributed to the services of a body of men who had unfortunately been very much calumniated—the ministers of religion in Jamaica, who had obtained a great influence over the minds of the people there, and had exercised it in a very proper and salutary manner. But were they to rely upon that extraordinary kind of means for maintaining the peace of the island? Was it not necessary that measures should be taken to secure the three objects proposed in the bill before the House? They had a distinct admission of the House of Assembly that the laws for the regulation of contracts for hired service in agriculture or manufactures, the prevention of vagrancy, and the prevention of the illegal occupation of lands, were urgent and necessary. By the present bill the Assembly would be enabled to pass those laws themselves, if they chose to embrace the opportunity. There was nothing unusual in the course which had been pursued by the House. They had reason to believe, that the orders in Council sent out contained the principles of good laws, and he must say, that he should regret the rejection of this clause. Looking at the conduct of Parliament last session, and remembering the resolution which was come to, to continue their vigilant watch over the Assembly, he should consider that the House had abandoned their position if they did not pass this bill.

The House divided on the original motion; Ayes, 267; Noes, 257: Majority in favour of the bill, 10.

List of the AYES.
Abercromby, G. Bannerman, A.
Adam, Admiral Baring, F. T.
Aglionby, H. A. Barnard, E. G.
Aglionby, Major Barron, H. W.
Ainsworth, P. Barry, G. S.
Alcock, T. Beamish, F. B.
Alston, R. Bellew, R. M.
Andover, Lord Bennett, J.
Anson, hon. Col. Berkeley, hon. H.
Anson, Sir G. Berkeley, hon. G.
Archbold, R. Berkeley, hon. C.
Attwood, T. Bernal, R.
Baines, E. Bewes, T.
Blackett, C. Ferguson, R.
Blake, M. J. Finch, F.
Blake, W. J. Fitzpatrick, J. W.
Blewitt, R. J. Fitzroy, Lord C.
Blunt, Sir C. Fleetwood, Sir P.
Bodkin, J. J. French, F.
Bowes, J. Gibson, T. M.
Bridgman, H. Gillon, W. D.
Briscoe, J. I. Gordon, R.
Brodie, W. B. Grattan, J.
Brotherton, J. Grattan, H.
Bryan, G. Greenaway, C.
Buller, C. Grey, Sir G.
Buller, E. Grosvenor, Lord
Bulwer, Sir L. Guest, Sir J.
Butler, hon. Col. Hall, Sir B.
Byng, G. Hallyburton, Lord
Byng, rt. hon. G. S. Handley, H.
Callaghan, D. Harland, W. C.
Campbell, Sir J. Harvey, D. W.
Cave, R. O. Hastie, A.
Cavendish, hon. C. Hawkins, J. H.
Cavendish, hon. G. Heathcoat, J.
Cayley, E. S. Heathcote, G. J.
Chalmers, P. Hector, C. J.
Chapman, Sir M. Heneage, E.
Chester, H. Heron, Sir R.
Chetwynd, Major Hindley, C.
Childers, J. W. Hobhouse, Sir J.
Clay, W. Hobhouse, T. B.
Clayton, Sir W. Hodges, T. L.
Clements, Lord Hollond, R.
Codrington, Admiral Horsman, E.
Collier, J. Hoskins, K.
Collins, W. Howard, F. J.
Conyngham, Lord Howard, P. H.
Cowper, hon. W. F. Howick, Lord
Craig, W. G. Humphery, J.
Crawford, W. Hutton, R.
Crompton, Sir S. Ingham, R.
Currie, R. James, W.
Curry, Sergeant Jervis, J.
Dalmeny, Lord Kinnaird, A. F.
Davies, Colonel Labouchere, H.
Dennistoun, J. Lambton, H.
D'Eyncourt, C. T. Langdale, C.
Divett, E. Lemon, Sir C.
Donkin, Sir R. S. Leveson, Lord
Duff, J. Loch, J.
Duncombe, T. Lushington, S.
Dundas, C. W. D. Macaulay, T. B.
Dundas, F. Macleod, R.
Dundas, hon. J. C. Macnamara, W.
Elliott, hon. J. E. M'Taggart, J.
Ellice, Captain A. Marshall, W.
Ellice, right hon. E. Maule, hon. F.
Ellice, E. Melgund, Lord
Ellice, W. Milton, Lord
Erle, W. Moreton, A. H.
Euston, Earl of Morpeth, Lord
Evans, Sir De L. Morris, D.
Evans, G. Murray, A.
Evans, W. Muskett, G. A.
Ewart, W. Nagle, Sir R.
Fazakerly, J. N. Norreys, Sir D. J.
Ferguson, Sir R. O'Brien, W. S.
Ferguson, Sir R. A. O'Callaghan, C.
O'Connell, D. Speirs, A.
O'Connell, J. Spencer, hon. F.
O'Connell, M. J. Standish, C.
O'Connell, Morgan Stanley, hon. M.
O'Connell, Maurice Stanley, W. O.
O'Connor, Don Stansfield, W. R.
O'Ferrall, R. M. Staunton, Sir G.
Ord, W. Stuart, Lord J.
Paget, F. Stuart, W. V.
Palmer, C. F. Stock, Dr.
Palmerston, Lord Strickland, Sir G.
Parker, J. Strutt, E.
Parnell, Sir H. Style, Sir C.
Parrott, J. Surrey, Earl
Pattison, J. Talbot, C. R. M.
Pechell, Captain Talfourd, Sergeant
Pendarves, E. W. Tancred, H. W.
Phillipps, Sir R. Thomson, C. P.
Philips, M. Thornely, T.
Philips, G. R. Tollemache, F. J.
Phillpotts, J. Townley, R. G.
Pigot, D. R. Troubridge, Sir E. T.
Pinney, W. Turner, W.
Ponsonby, hon. J. Verney, Sir H.
Power, J. Vigors, N. A.
Price, Sir R. Villiers, hon. C.
Pryme, G. Vivian, Major C.
Pryse, P. Vivian, J. H.
Ramsbottom, J. Vivian, Sir R. H.
Redington, T. N. Walker, R.
Rice, E. R. Wall, C. B.
Rice, right hon. T. S. Wallace, R.
Rich, H. Warburton, H.
Roche, W. Ward, H. G.
Roche, Sir D. Westenra, hon. H.
Rumbold, C. E. White, A.
Russell, Lord J. White, H.
Russell, Lord White, S.
Russell, Lord C. Wilbraham, G.
Rutherford, A. Williams, W.
Salwey, Colonel Williams, W. A.
Sanford, E. A. Wilmot, Sir J. E.
Scholefield, J. Wilshere, W.
Scrope, G. P. Winnington, T.
Seale, Sir J. H. Winnington, H.
Seymour, Lord Wood, C.
Sharp, Gen. Wood, Sir M.
Sheil, R. L. Wood, G. W.
Shelborne, Lord Worsley, Lord
Smith, J. A. Wrightson, W.
Smith, B. Wyse, T.
Smith, G. R. Yates, J. A.
Smith, R. V. TELLERS.
Somers, J. P. Stanley, E. J.
Somerville, Sir W. M. Steuart, R.
List of the NOES.
Acland, Sir T. D. Attwood, M.
Acland, T. D. Bagge, W.
A'Court, Captain Bailey, J.
Adare, Lord Bailey, J. jun.
Alford, Lord Baillie, Colonel
Alsager, Captain Baker, E.
Arbuthnott, H. Baring, hon. F.
Archdall, M. Baring, hon. W. B.
Ashley, Lord Barnaby, J.
Ashley, hon. H. Barrington, Lord
Bateson, Sir R. Feilden, W.
Bell, M. Fector, J. N.
Bentinck, Lord G. Fellowes, E.
Bethell, R. Filmer, Sir E.
Blackstone, W. S. Fitzroy, hon. H.
Blair, J. Fleming, J.
Blakemore, R. Foley, E. T.
Blandford, Marquess Forester, hon. G.
Blennerhassett, A. Fox, G. L.
Boldero, H. G. Freshfield, J. W.
Boiling, W. Gladstone, W. E.
Bradshaw, J. Goddard, A.
Bramston, T. W. Godson, R.
Broadley, H. Gordon, Captain
Brownrigg, S. Gore, O. J. R.
Bruce, Lord E. Gore, O. W.
Bruges, W. H. L. Goulburn, H.
Buck, L. W. Graham, Sir J.
Buller, Sir J. Y. Grant, F. W.
Burdett, Sir F. Grimsditch, T.
Burrell, Sir C. Grimston, Lord
Burroughes, H. Grimston, hon. E.
Calcraft, J. H. Hale, R. B.
Canning, Sir S. Halford, H.
Cantilupe, Lord Harcourt, G. G.
Cartwright, W. Harcourt, G. S.
Chapman, A. Hardinge, Sir H.
Christopher, R. Hawkes, T.
Chute, W. L. W. Hayes, Sir E.
Clerk, Sir G. Heathcote, Sir W.
Clive, hon. R. H. Heneage, G. W.
Codrington, W. Henniker, Lord
Cole, hon. A. H. Hepburn, Sir T.
Cole, Lord Herbert, hon. S.
Colquhoun, J. C. Herries, J. C.
Compton, H. C. Hill, Sir R.
Conolly, E. Hillsborough, Lord
Cooper, E. J. Hinde, J. H.
Coote, Sir C. H. Hodgson, F.
Corry, hon. H. Hodgson, R.
Courtenay, P. Hogg, J. W.
Cresswell, C. Holmes, W. A'C.
Dalrymple, Sir A. Holmes, W.
Damer, hon. D. Hope, hon. C.
Darby, G. Hope, H. T.
Darlington, Earl Hope, G. W.
De Horsey, S. H. Hotham, Lord
Dick, Q. Houldsworth, T.
D'Israeli, B. Houstoun, G.
Douglas, Sir C. E. Hughes, W. B.
Dowdeswell, W. Hume, J.
Duffield, T. Hurt, F.
Dugdale, W. S. Ingestrie, Lord
Dunbar, G. Inglis, Sir R. H.
Duncombe, W. Irton, S.
Duncombe, A. Jackson, Sergeant
Dungannon, Lord James, Sir W. C.
Du Pre, G. Jenkins, Sir R.
East, J. B. Jermyn, Earl
Eaton, R. J. Johnstone, H.
Egerton, W. T. Jones, Captain
Egerton, Sir P. Kelly, F.
Egerton, Lord F. Kelburne, Lord
Ellis, J. Knatchbull, Sir E.
Estcourt, T. Knightly, Sir C.
Farnham, E. B. Knox, hon. T.
Farrand, R. Law, hon. C. E.
Lefroy, right hon. T. Richards, R.
Lincoln, Earl of Rickford, W.
Litton, E. Rolleston, L.
Lockhart, A. M. Round, C. G.
Long, W. Round, J.
Lowther, Colonel Rushbrooke, Col.
Lowther, Lord Rushout, G.
Lowther, J. H. Sandon, Lord
Lygon, hon. Gen. Scarlett, hon. J. Y.
Mackenzie, T. Shaw, right hon. F.
Mackenzie, W. Sheppard, T.
Mackinnon, W. Shirley, E. J.
Maclean, D. Sibthorp, Col.
Mahon, Lord Sinclair, Sir G.
Maidstone, Lord Smith, A.
Manners, Lord C. Smyth, Sir G. H.
Marsland, T. Somerset, Lord
Marton, G. Spry, Sir S. T.
Master, T. W. C. Stanley, E.
Mathew, G. B. Stanley, Lord
Maunsell, T. P. Stewart, J.
Miles, W. Stormont, Lord
Miles, P. W. S. Sturt, H. C.
Miller, W. H. Sugden, Sir E.
Monypenny, T. Teignmouth, Lord
Mordaunt, Sir J. Tennent, J. E.
Morgan, C. M. R. Thomas, Colonel H.
Neeld, J. Thompson, Alderman
Neeld, John Thornhill, G.
Nicholl, J. Trench, Sir F.
Norreys, Lord Tyrrell, Sir J. T.
Owen, Sir J. Vere, Sir C. B.
Packe, C.W. Verner, Colonel
Pakington, J. S. Vernon, G. H.
Palmer, R. Villiers, Lord
Parker, M. Vivian, J. E.
Parker, R. T. Waddington, H.
Parker, T. A. W. Walsh, Sir. J.
Patten, J. W. Welby, G. E.
Peel, rt. hon. Sir R. Witmore, T. C.
Peel, J. Williams, R.
Pemberton, T. Williams, T. P.
Perceval, hon. G. J. Wodehouse, E.
Pigot, R. Wood, T.
Planta, right hon. J. Wyndham, W.
Plumptre, J. P. Wynn, C. W.
Polhill, F. Wynn, Sir W. W.
Pollen, Sir J. W. Yorke, hon. E. T.
Powerscourt, Lord Young, J.
Praed, W. T. Young, Sir W.
Pringle, A. TELLERS.
Pusey, P. Freemantle, Sir T.
Rae, right hon. Sir W. Baring, E.
Paired off.
Brabazon, Lord Wilbraham, R. B.
Campbell, W. Campbell, Sir H.
Colquhoun, Sir J. Trevor, Rice
Crawley, S. Broadwood H.
Dashwood Liddell, H.
Denison, W. Reid, Sir J. R.
Duncan, Lord Douro, Lord
Dundas, Sir R. Knight, Gally
Etwall, R. Cripps, J.
Edwards, Sir J. Meynell, Captain
Easthope, J. Price, R.
Fitzalan, Lord Praed, W. M.
Fitzsimon, N. O'Neill, General
Fort, J. Davenport
Hill, Lord M. Perceval, Colonel
Hawes, B. Saunderson
Hurst Estcourt
Hutt Gaskell, J. M.
Lister, E. C. Rushbrooke
Lushington, C. Kemble, H.
Lynch, A. Follett, Sir W.
Maher, J. Granby, Lord
Martin, J. Burr, D.
Mildmay, P. Green
O'Brien, C. Kerrison, Sir E.
Paget, Lord A. Bagot, W.
Power, J. Kirk, P.
Pendarves, E. W. Praed
Slaney, R. A. Jones, J.
Strangways, J. Castlereagh, Lord
Talbot, J. H. Maxwell, S.
Walker, C. A. Crewe, Sir G.
Westenra, J. Rose, Sir G.
White, Luke Jones, Wilson
Back to