HC Deb 27 March 1840 vol 53 cc219-20
Lord Eliot

then moved "that the South Australian papers (ordered 14th February), be laid before the House forthwith." These papers were now rendered still more necessary from the summary dismissal of the late commission, which had thrown the management of colonial emigration affairs into other hands. Six weeks had elapsed since the papers were moved for, and he thought they could not be accused of precipitancy in urging the immediate production of these papers.

Mr. Vernon Smith

said, that the delay in the production of the papers had arisen from the circumstances attendant on the change of the commission to which the noble Lord had referred. The Colonial Office, however, had nothing to do with the production of these papers. Such a motion as the present, where papers had been moved for by an address, was most unusual; but if the noble Lord saw nothing unusual or discourteous in it, he would not offer any opposition to the motion.

Mr. Hutt

was glad that the noble Lord had moved for these papers, but, at the same time, he could, from his own knowledge, state, that the production of them would be attended with very considerable labour.

Lord G. Somerset

could not understand how the hon. Gentleman, the Under-Secretary for the Colonies, could conceive that his department was not responsible for the returns in question. If the Colonial Office was not responsible, who was? The immediate production of these papers was most important at a time when the Colonial Secretary had turned out one commission and appointed a paid commission in their room. Nor did he see that there was any want of courtesy in calling for the production of papers six weeks after the House had agreed to an address.

Mr. V. Smith

had been quite unaware that the motion for these papers was intended as an attack on the Colonial Office, for their conduct with regard to the commission.

Mr. Mackinnon

said, that the late commission would be most desirous that the information sought for should be given.

Mr. Goulburn

said, that there had been of late a most unreasonable delay in the production of papers moved for and ordered by that House,

Mr. V. Smith

said, that the apparent delay arose from the fact that many of the papers were not now laid on the Table until they were ready to be delivered to Members generally in a printed form.

Motion agreed to.