HC Deb 19 March 1841 vol 57 cc399-400

The House in a Committee upon the South Australian Acts.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the committee would recollect, that on a former night, it had been proposed, that her Majesty's Government should be authorised to guarantee a loan to meet the deficiency for bills drawn from the South Australian colonies; upon that occasion a suggestion was made that there should be an advance of the sum absolutely required to meet the claims for bills and supplies; and it was further suggested, that a vote for this sum should be voted in a committee of supply. Yet upon the whole he thought it better to pursue the more usual course, and take the amount from the consolidated fund. He would, therefore, propose that a sum of 155,000l. be granted out of the consolidated fund for this purpose.

Sir W. Molesworth

said, that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to lend a sum out of the consolidated fund for the purpose of defraying the bills now due. He cordially approved of what had been proposed by the right hon. Gentleman, as the only means of preventing vast distress in the colony. It appeared to him, that the proposal did not go far enough to meet the exigencies of the case. Not only ought the bills which had been drawn by the Governor of South Australia to be provided for, but in his (Sir W. Molesworth's) opinion the debt incurred by the commissioners, and due to the emigration fund, ought also to be paid. There were no funds now available for emigration, and the debt due to the emigration fund amounted to 56,000l. He was emboldened to make this proposal because the committee of the House of Commons had been unanimously in favour of the proposition, because when he had moved a resolution to that effect no one had voted against it. It appeared to him, that if they were bound to vote a sum of money to pay the bills drawn by the governor for unauthorised expenditure, they surely ought to pay the sums expended in pursuance of an Act of Parliament. A great part of that sum of 56,000l. had been laid out by parties for land, and therefore he contended that they might justly complain that they had been disappointed in their expectations if that sum were not appropriated to carry out emigrants. He therefore entreated the committee to take these matters into their consideration, and he did so now, more especially, because this was the time of year when emigration should take place to South Australia, and when it was best for their health, and for the advantage of the colony, that the emigrants should leave this country. He, therefore, hoped that the right hon. Chancellor of the Exchequer would consent to a supplemental vote, for the purpose which he had pointed out.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

said, that the hon. Baronet had not considered the real object of the motion before the House. It was not made with a view to the final settlement of the question, for that had been determined to be postponed when the matter was discussed the other evening, until a bill should be brought in, which should set the colony in its right position for the future. All that was sought to be done by this grant was to provide for the necessities of those who might, by their being neglected, be left in a position of difficulty. He admitted that if this were a final arrangement, the hon. Baronet would have a right to urge the topics which he had brought forward, upon the House, but as it was, he was sure that he would not deem it necessary to press the matter any further.

Vote agreed to. The House resumed, The Chairman reported progress, and obtained leave to sit again on Monday.