HC Deb 01 June 1840 vol 54 cc813-4

The Report on the Canada Government Bill was brought up.

On the motion that it be agreed to,

Mr. Hume

expressed a hope that the Habeas Corpus Act would no longer remain suspended in this province, as a most respectable Gentleman, seventy-five years of age, had now been immured in a dungeon for more than three years, and had never been brought to trial even before a court-martial. The sufferings of the Italian prisoners in the dungeons of Austria, had not been more atrocious than the sufferings inflicted by the British Government on some of the most virtuous citizens in Lower Canada.

Sir C. Grey

felt, that he should be acting a most unmanly part, if he did not support the proposition that Mr. Bejet, whose acquaintance and hospitality he had enjoyed whilst acting as a commissioner in Canada, should be immediately discharged. He believed it was the mode in which his property was implicated with the ecclesiastical seigneuries of Canada, that had prevented him from giving to the British Government the sureties, which it had demanded as a preliminary condition to his liberation.

Lord J. Russell

felt, that it was quite impossible for him to speak with any certainty as to the measures which might be taken with respect to Mr. Bejet; the Governor-general of the colony, who was on the spot, must judge of the danger to be apprehended to the province from the liberation of any persons now in custody. He was led to believe that Mr. Bejet, who was one of the richest men in Lower Canada, had been concerned in giving aid to a most atrocious rebellion, which had been accompanied with some most cruel, revolting, and sanguinary murders. But as the hon. and learned Gentleman had just acknowledged, Mr. Bejet, if he had given the required sureties, would not have been detained in custody. If this bill should be passed, and if a representative form of government should again be restored to Canada, he was quite sure that there would be a desire to overlook all that had occurred, so far as was consistent with the security of the province. He had no doubt that under such circumstances, the restrictive system would no longer be continued.

Sir C. Grey

said, that his impression with respect to Mr. Bejet was, that he,. being one of the richest men in Lower Canada, had given encouragement not to those who had embarked in the rebellion, but to the setting up of those newspapers, which had supported the same principles that were avowed by those who were concerned in that dangerous and delusive enterprise.

Report agreed to.