HC Deb 06 February 1840 vol 51 cc1310-1
Sir J. Graham

wished to put a question to the noble Secretary for the Colonies respecting the Hill Coolies. He understood the noble Lord on a former night to declare that her Majesty's Government had come to a determination to renounce the resolution to which they had formerly come, respecting the deportation of Hill Coolies from the continent of India to the West Indies under eon-tract of low wages for labour, which they were to perform on their arrival in those colonies. He understood the noble Lord to say that such a change of decision was only contemplated, and that it had not yet been made. He likewise understood the noble Lord to say that the Government wished to have a discussion on the subject in that House before they made that change. He now wished to be informed of the time and occasion when her Majesty's Ministers would be prepared to explain the reasons for this contemplated change of policy. He likewise wished to know whether it were the intention of Ministers to extend their change of policy to the Hill Coolies to be transported to the West Indies, or to limit it only to those transported to the Mauritius. If the noble Lord would take a suggestion from him, he would suggest that a motion for leave to bring in a bill to carry his plan into execution, would afford the best opportunity for discussing the policy and tendency of the measure to be adopted for the emigration of the Hill Coolies.

Lord J. Russell

was understood to intimate that all he had said on a former occasion was, that he wished to have the opinion of Parliament on the policy of the measure he intended to adopt. He believed that that measure might be accomplished without the assistance of Parliament. At the same time he was inclined to agree with the right hon. Baronet, that the best mode, perhaps, of taking the sense of Parliament on the question, would be to introduce a bill on the subject. It certainly was a very material change, and he should be very glad to ascertain the opinion of Parliament as to its expediency. He would, therefore, take into his consideration the suggestion of the right hon. Baronet. In the mean time he would say that no further steps would be taken by Government until Parliament had decided whether they ought to be taken or not. He did not know whether the right hon. Baronet was aware that what he had stated on a former night had reference to the Mauritius alone.

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