HC Deb 12 June 1840 vol 54 cc1154-6

Report of the Committee of Supply brought up. On the vote respecting Australia being proposed,

Mr. Goulburn

said he wished to call the attention of the House to a point which had been omitted. The House was aware of the great services rendered in Australia by Sir T. Mitchell, and the officers under his command, in exploring voluntarily large tracts of land in that country, thereby adding largely to the dominions of the Crown there, and opening a large and profitable field to British industry. On all former occasions, similar services had been most deservedly remunerated by Government, but here, neither the Surveyor-general, nor the gentlemen who accompanied him in a long, a toilsome, and dangerous exploratory expedition, had received any reward whatever. If, by the new rules laid down, it was impossible to bestow upon them grants of land in the districts they had discovered, some other mode of remunerating them should be had recourse to.

Mr. French

observed, that the surveys in question had already cost very large sums. While surveys in America, conducted by able engineers, were effected at a cost of less than a farthing an acre, the surveys in Australia had cost one shilling and sixpence an acre.

Lord J. Russell

said, there could be no doubt of the great merits of the gentlemen referred to, but not having considered the point suggested, he could not at present say anything as to giving them the remuneration proposed. As to grants of land, that system had led to such abuses, that it had been altogether abandoned, and he could not consent to make any exceptions to the rule which had been fixed in that respect.

Sir T. Acland

thought, that these gentlemen had strong claims for remuneration. As to the rule respecting grants of land, the eminent services of these parties had been rendered to the country long before that rule was laid down, and it ought not, therefore, to apply to them.

Mr. Ward

certainly thought, that the gentlemen who had made these exploratory services, were entitled to a reward; but he considered that it would be altogether unadvisable to make any exception in their favour, of the rule which had been made as to grants of land. If they were remunerated, it should be by a money grant.

Vote agreed to.