HC Deb 07 June 1847 vol 93 cc187-9

wished to trespass upon the House for a short time, upon a personal matter arising out of the Motion he had made on Tuesday night last. The noble Lord had intimated that the Government had reason to expect that he (the Earl of Lincoln) would bring before the House the subject of colonisation in the form proposed by Mr. Godley. The statement was then made in a form which did not require any immediate reply from him; but since then a statement had been made elsewhere distinctly and explicitly, that the deputation had stated to the Government that they had been formally authorized to inform them, that in the event of their (the Government) declining to accede to the bringing forward of that plan, he would himself bring it forward. If by that assertion it had been intended to imply that he had brought forward his Motion in a hostile spirit to the Government, or had framed it so as to deceive them, he begged to give that assertion his most explicit denial. From the first, he had stated to Mr. Godley and the other gentlemen forming that deputation, that his object was not to bring his plan before the Government, but one of an entirely different nature; and he then stated the form in which he intended to bring forward his Motion, and he had never altered the form. There were witnesses to what he had said. ["Hear!"] The right hon. Member for Coventry was good enough to intimate by that cheer that he recollected the circumstance. So much as regarded himself. But there was another person who was more interested in the matter, a gentleman who was not a Member of that House, and on that very account the House would be the more disposed to render him indulgence. He alluded to Mr. Godley himself; for the charge implied falsehood on the part of that gentleman and the others who had waited upon the noble Lord. The noble Earl read a part of a letter which he had received that morning from Mr. Godley, in which he explicitly denied the representation that had been made, that the deputation had asserted that they were formally authorized by Lord Lincoln to state that he would bring forward Mr. Godley's plan, and stating that what he (Mr. Godley) really said was, that Lord Lincoln intended to bring the subject of colonisation before Parliament, and that he (Mr. Godley) had written a letter to the Spectator, in which he said that he believed Lord Lincoln would not oppose his plan. He regretted that Mr. Godley, a public-spirited gentleman, who had devoted his time and attention in the most liberal and patriotic manner to bringing this subject before the Government, with no ill-feeling towards that Government, but with a desire to serve his country, should have been subjected to such discourteous flippancy as had been evinced towards him a few nights ago. And this he said without reference to the merits or demerits of Mr. Godley's plan. Unfortunately his noble Friend the Member for Devonshire was absent from town; but the hon. Member for Kerry was in his place, and, in justice to Mr. Godley, would no doubt confirm his statement.


said, the fact was, that two subjects were talked of when the deputation went to the Colonial Office—one being Mr. Godley's plan, and the other a Commission of Inquiry on the subject of colonisation; and the deputation had said, that if the Government did not feel themselves authorized to institute an inquiry of that kind, the noble Lord opposite would bring the matter before the House—that was, the subject of colonisation, and not Mr. Godley's plan.


said, that what had been stated by the hon. Member for Kerry was in perfect conformity with his own recollection. There were two questions spoken of at that meeting; one was Mr. Godley's plan—and Mr. Godley deserved great praise for the talent and industry with which he had prepared that plan— and the other question was a Commission to inquire into the subject of colonisation. It did not appear that Mr. Godley's plan had been urged as one that ought to be adopted by the Government; but it had been urged that a Commission ought to be appointed by the Government. When he (Lord J. Russell) informed the deputation that it was not his intention to appoint a Commission, he had understood from Mr. Godley that then the subject would be brought forward by the noble Lord in the House of Commons. He (Lord John Russell) had been left in doubt whether it was Mr. Godley's plan or the appointment of a Commission that was meant; but he never had had a suspicion that the noble Lord was about to bring forward Mr. Godley's plan. The noble Lord gave his notice, and he (Lord John Russell) understood from that that the Motion was to be a general one, such as the noble Lord had afterwards made. He (Lord John Russell) did not know that he had ever said anything different to what he was now stating. He had never understood that the noble Lord was to bring forward Mr. Godley's plan; but his impression had been, that if the Government did not appoint a Commission, then the noble Lord was to bring forward a Motion on the subject, without pledging himself to any specific plan.