HC Deb 28 July 1846 vol 88 cc113-4

begged to ask the Under Secretary for the Colonies, whether it were or not the intention of the Colonial Office to sanction the regulation made on the 3rd day of March last, by the Governor of South Australia, respecting future land sales in that Colony, which, according to the last Report of the Colonization Commissioners would seem to have been drawn up under the direction of Lord Stanley, and in contravention of the decision of that House upon the Land Bill introduced by order of that noble Lord?


replied, that the last despatches received did not come down to a sufficiently late date to enable him to answer the inquiry. As to the regulations, however, it would be for the Secretary of State to consider them when they arrived, and to sanction them or otherwise as he should think fit.


begged to ask his hon. Friend whether it appeared from the Papers in the Colonial Office that any such regulations as those alluded to had been drawn up by the noble Lord, and forwarded to the Colony? Probably so much might be at once ascertained without waiting for the arrival of despatches.


said, that it would appear that some regulations had been authorized to be forwarded.


begged to offer a few observations upon the subject. It should indeed probably be expected that he should not remain silent whilst it was under discussion. He was indeed compelled to offer some explanation. He must complain of the terms in which the hon. Gentleman had clothed his question. He had in fact made it a sort of speech for which he had obtained a place upon the books of the House, and a speech too to which no reply could by any possibility be made. He (Mr. Hope) should say that the hon. Gentleman had made use of a most improper, or rather he should probably have called it an indiscreet exercise of his power. It was not only an unfair mode of proceeding, but the allegations were unfounded in fact. The Land Bill, introduced by his noble Friend (Lord Stanley), and which had been opposed by his hon. Friend the Under Secretary for the Colonies, in an Anti-Corn Law speech, had for its object the reserving to the Crown its rights over all mines and minerals under the land sold to the colonists. For reasons totally unconnected with those alleged in opposition to it, that Bill was withdrawn. But the opinions of the law officers of the Crown were first taken with regard to the rights of the Crown, and they were clearly of opinion that those rights were sufficiently good and clear to render such an Act unnecessary. In the regulations for the future arrangements, all, therefore, that his noble Friend (Lord Stanley) had done, was to declare the rights of the Crown reserved, but without seeking to do so by the authority of a declaratory Act of Parliament.

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