HC Deb 24 July 1849 vol 107 cc920-49

rose to move the resolutions of which he had given notice with respect to the colonies of British Guiana. At the hour at which he rose, and in the thin House which he addressed, he would not attempt to go into the question fully, but would content himself with laying down those principles on which, in his opinion, the House ought to act in furtherance of the great object of rendering the colonies of this kingdom satisfied with and benefited by their connexion with the mother country. Such, however, had been the course pursued, that we had not only rendered many of these colonies a burden to the country, but had interfered with their natural advancement, while as to those colo- nies in the western hemisphere, which we had so much prided ourselves on possessing, they had actually been reduced by us to a state of ruin and beggary. The object of his hon. Friend the Member for Inverness-shire, in moving for the Committee which had sat upon the subject, was to bring before the House the condition of two particular colonies, which he (Mr. Hume) believed to have suffered from a degree of misgovernment which had brought ruin on the colonies themselves, and disgrace on the mother country. It was with that view that he had seconded the Motion. The Committee proceeded to inquire into the state of that colony. By a large blue book, which had been produced, it would appear that they had availed themselves of documents furnished by the Colonial Office, but which, he was of opinion, taken in connexion with the absence of parties from the spot to substantiate the case, were insufficient for the purpose. In that Committee there had not been that assistance rendered which there would have been had parties conversant with the grievances complained of been present. Owing to the absence of such parties, the investigation had necessarily been unsatisfactory. The Committee had nevertheless made a report, and it was because he disagreed with the conclusions which it contained, that he was anxious to bring the case under the notice of Parliament. He complained that that report was inconsistent with the facts; but, as it was the report of the majority, the House was bound to receive it. What he should have liked would have been a distinct decision with respect to the conduct of the colonists and the Colonial Government; but he could only characterise the report as a half-and-half report, meagre in its conclusions, and hardly entitled to be called a report at all. As it presented the most urgent case for investigation, the Committee had proceeded with Guiana instead of Ceylon. It was said at the time that the supplies for the colonies had been stopped, and that the Colonial Cabinet and their House of Commons were at variance with each other. It would have been in the power of the Government to have taken a wiser course between December, 1847, and the present time, than to have allowed the Colonial Office and the colonists to have remained in a state of wanton antagonism and opposition with each other; but the decision which had been arrived at was inconsistent with both law and fact—a circumstance which he could only account for on the supposition of unwillingness to come to a positive decision on the subject. The Committee, in their report, stated that on a review of the circumstances of the case referred to them, they were of opinion that the Crown was entitled to insist on an adherence to the civil list, drawn up in pursuance of an arrangement in 1844, for the full period for which it had been granted; and they thought that no attempt, direct or indirect, to set that arrangement aside could be justified. At no remote period, they said, that list would be open to review; and the Committee recommended that when vacancies occurred they should not be filled up pending the settlement of the matter in dispute. The only other paragraph of the report to which he would refer, was the one in which the Committee stated, that whilst they refrained from offering any opinion on the subject of constitutional reforms, they suggested that any changes with respect to British Guiana should be effected in friendly concert with the colonial authorities, and that a greater control over public affairs should be conceded to the legislature of the colony. The first point to which he would address himself was with respect to the reductions in the civil list. Were the colonists justified in making the reduction in the civil list in the altered commercial circumstances which surrounded them? Now the Act of 1846, which reduced the price of their commodities to so low a point, that in this country they sold below prime cost, was the cause assigned by the colonists for their ruin, and supplied a reason for reduction in the expenditure of the colony. Earl Grey, as the head of the Colonial Department, contrary to both reason and law, refused the request of the colonists. He (Mr. Hume) therefore, arraigned the conduct of the Government with respect to this question of the civil list, as not only being deficient in prudence, but as being positively illegal. First, with respect to the legal part of the question. A similar occurrence had taken place in 1840 and 1841. The colony of Demerara was governed by a Governor and two courts—one a Court of Policy, consisting of five elected members and five official members; the other consisting of the whole Court of Policy, and five or six other elected members, forming a Combined Court. In the Court of Policy the Governor presided, and in pursuance of the eiders of Earl Grey the official members were always to vote with the Governor, so that there were five votes with him, and five with the elect- ed members. The Governor had a double vote, so that in every question brought forward by the Government the Governor had a casting vote. But the Court of Policy had no power to provide or to pay the money; and they were obliged to have recourse to the Combined Court, which consisted more of elected than of official members, and in which the colonists had a majority. The Combined Court was like our own House of Commons. The estimates for 1848, brought in December, 1847, were opposed by the elected members as being too large. They made a powerful appeal to the Government to be allowed to prepare to avert that ruin which they stated they saw impending, by being allowed to reduce all salaries above 700 dollars 25 per cent. They requested the sanction of Earl Grey to the proposal, which they deemed a prudent and a wise one. Earl Grey returned a decided answer, that he would not allow the reduction in the civil list to take place, but that the court might make all and any other reductions in the expenses of the colonies they pleased. True, the civil list was then only 30,000l.; but the colonists never for a moment doubted that Earl Grey would refuse their proposition. The arrival of the answer of Earl Grey was expected. Governor Light promised to postpone the estimates until the 15th of May, in order to give time for the reception of the reply; but notwithstanding that the arrangement was made an order of the day, on the 11th of April Governor Light brought in the estimates, and by his casting vote in the Court of Policy succeeded in carrying them at the original rate fixed. Now he (Mr. Hume) first complained of a breach of faith in Governor Light in hurrying on the estimates after the promise he had given; but when the answer of Earl Grey arrived, lie declared that no reductions should take place, alleging the bargains which had been made, and stated that until 1854 no such reductions would be considered. On referring to the report of the Committee it would be seen that the Colonial Office had acted in this matter with heartlessness and obstinacy. Earl Grey having directed that the whole of the supplies should be collected, and not a portion of them. The supplies were stopped in consequence, Parliament was blocked up, and the colonists and the Colonial Office had been in a state of antagonism ever since. Now, Earl Grey had no objection to Lord Harris making such reductions in Trinidad as he might think fit; and the colonists of Demerara, believing themselves to be in the same category with respect to the depreciation of their produce, felt that injustice was done in the refusal to grant them the same privilege. It would appear, from the conduct of the Government in this affair, that the Colonial Office could not be induced to contemplate the dreadful state of that colony by allowing the inhabitants to make the desired reductions in their civil list. In 1841, when a similar occurrence took place, and the supplies for the civil list were stopped, the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies, finding himself at a loss what course to pursue, and being ignorant of the law on the question, directed Mr. (now Sir James) Stephen, a gentleman of great research and ability, to draw out a case for the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, who were then Dr. Dodson, Sir Thomas Wilde, and Sir John (now Lord) Campbell. These gentlemen gave clear and distinct answers to the questions submitted to them. It was rather singular that in 1840 the same means were had recourse to as recently. When the Governor found that the Combined Court would not pay the civil list in 1840, the Court of Policy carried an ordinance granting the continuance of the civil list. The ordinance came home to England, and the noble Lord then at the head of the Colonial department directed the law officers of the Crown to say whether it was valid or not. The answer to this question was, that the ordinance would be useless, unless the Combined Court supplied the money. The Combined Court did not do that, and Sir Henry M'Leod proceeded to British Guiana, in order, if possible, to settle the dispute between the Governor, the Court of Policy, and the Combined Court. Sir Henry M'Leod carried out the opinion of the law officers of the Crown as a guide to him in his operations. The opinion of the law officers was clear. The Crown had no control over revenue, except over a capitation tax on slaves. The question then came, how was the money to be provided? The answer given was clear. As, since the acquisition of the colony to the period of giving the opinion, the Court of Policy was declared to have the power to fix the estimates, and the Combined Court to provide the ways and moans and vote the money, if the Combined Court refused to vote the money, the only means of getting redress was to come to the Imperial Parliament. Now, the colony at this moment had come to the very point he had described. The Combined Court had refused to vote the money, and a dispute difficult of settlement had arisen. In 1840 the elected Members had been induced to agree to the civil list on the understanding that they were to have the advantage to be derived from the immigration of labour. Matters continued in this state until 1844, when the Government sought an extension of the civil list, which would have expired in 1847. The colonists complained that the promises of the Government had been broken. They said that certain vagrant laws had not been passed according to promise, and that many other facilities for the improvement of the colony (which they had been led to expect) had been denied them. In 1844 they said they had the protection of the English market, which they thought would have been continued to them. Certainly it was singular that after the abolition of slavery the Government should have attempted to raise the civil list. With respect to protection, he had not complained of its withdrawal from the colony, although he had urged that its operation should have been gradual, and that the colonists should have been enabled to obtain labour necessary to the cultivation of the soil. The treatment of the colony, however, had been heartless and severe; and the refusal of reduction by the noble Earl at the head of the Colonial department, was culpable in the highest degree. What was the noble Earl's ground of defence? The noble Earl said the colonists agreed to continue payment of the civil list till 1854. They did; but on the arrival of the immigration ordinance, passed at the same time, in England, it was rejected. The consequence was another ordinance, which never received the sanction of the Combined Court. The noble Earl also contended that it would be wrong to make any reduction in salaries granted on certain conditions, and for a certain time; but the colonists insisted that the legal ordinance only extended to 1847. The now ordinance passed in 1844 was not a legal ordinance. On Governor Walker succeeding Governor Light he summoned the Combined Court, and their first vote was a reduction in the civil list from 39,000l. to 26,000l. The Governor objected to the reductions, but the vote passed in due form. After this had been done. Governor Walker sus- pended the Combined Court, and it remained suspended until the arrival of Mr. Barkly. It was not supposed that Mr. Barkly was furnished with any definite instructions. The manner of that gentleman's reception must have been very gratifying; and he was looked upon by the colonists as a friend who would settle all their differences. Governor Walker willingly received supplies for three months; but after the receipt of Earl Grey's letter, he said that for the future he could only accept as a whole. Matters remained in this situation until Mr. Barkly arrived. From his speech it did not appear whether he had received any instructions or not. Under Governor Barkly the colonial legislature proceeded to the other votes; and they went through them, to what extent he did not know, because the Government refused to lay the information on the table, although he had repeatedly asked for information, and given notice of his Motion several weeks ago; and he could only suppose they were afraid to lay the documents on the table for fear of giving information. But, speaking from the reports in the papers sent home from the colony, it appeared that one of the elected members asked Governor Barkly, the supplies being stopped, how he was paying the salaries, and where he got the money from? There was money in the chest, and the elected members, believing that the Governor had applied that without their authority, declared that he was acting illegally and unconstitutionally, and wished to enter their protest against the proceeding. The Governor would not allow them to protest, nor permit the discussion to go on, but shut the door, and the colonists again complained that he 'was adding insult to injustice, not even allowing them to discuss the matter in the Combined Court. They therefore complained, and had sent home the petition that had been presented, setting forth their grievances; and in this extraordinary state matters had gone on up to the 12th of May, since which he was not sure that he had any later accounts. He had read to the House tin; opinion of the Committee, all the witnesses examined before which recommended a reform in the constitution of that colony. The colonists wished to do away with the old Dutch practice, and to have a representative body, with a responsible government, and the Committee recommended that a change should be made consistent with the feelings of the colony. Governor Barkly, finding himself unable to obtain the votes in the Combined Court, shut it up, and the supplies being all stopped no money was collected except from the customs, and by the revival of an old Act for raising money which had been protested against as illegal. But how these funds were expended no account was given; and Governor Barkly, after the insult and injustice he had inflicted on the colonists, brought in an ordinance by which he sought to reform the Court of Policy by extending the suffrage. He (Mr. Hume) had no objection to an extension of the suffrage; but the object of the Governor was evidently to obtain a majority of the elected members, in order to carry out and obtain a sanction to his estimates, which had hitherto been unpaid and unvoted since December, 1847. The colonists complained that the reasons assigned by the Governor were altogether groundless. The Governor said that the right of suffrage depended, under the ordinance—and this was an important point—on the payment of a certain tax, and that the colonial legislature not voting any supplies, consequently those entitled to vote on account of the payment of the money had no claim. Therefore he (the Governor) would bring in a now Bill to alter the suffrage, so as to secure what he no doubt thought would be a body of men elected who would support his own views. Now, the colonists had an answer to make to this; but the Committee had refused to consider this point. He (Mr. Hume) laid before the Committee a paper sent home along with the petition of the colonists, and the lawyers in the colony stated that the law of the case was this—on the 1st of January every year the public officer called for a list of the parties who assessed themselves to the amount required, and they said it was not necessary that payment should take place to entitle them to the suffrage, because from the day that the register and the assessment was made, they were able to vote and had voted, and consequently that payment was out of the question, being merely a pretence got up for interfering with the colonists' old-established privileges. Well, in that enviable state of confusion the colony remained at present, beginning with the dispute about the civil list, whether the colonists should be allowed to reduce all salaries above 700 dollars 25 per cent. It was found that the ordinance sanctioning the civil list was not legal, not having received the sanction of the Combined Court; and that it ought not to have been carried on, as the Combined Court alone had the sole power to hold the purse-strings of the colony, and a single shilling could not be voted without their sanction. Nevertheless, Governor Barkly continued to pay the officers altogether illegally and unconstitutionally; and now sought to carry out a reform that he believed would obtain for him an obedient set of men, as elected members of the Court of Policy. Now, the elected members did not complain of this change. They only wished it to be made complete. They wished to got rid of their present institutions, to substitute real electoral ones in their place. They said, "Let the qualification be placed as high as they liked; only, it should be duly considered and carried out with their sanction and consent." On the whole, it seemed that the Government, being powerful, were determined to maintain their power, because they possessed it at present, whether they were right or wrong; and that the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial department would not yield in a matter of mere etiquette, and allow the least consideration either to law or justice, which appeared to have been violated; and on that ground he (Mr. Hume) thought it time for the House to declare the opinion which he had endeavoured to embody in his resolutions. When before the Committee, Sir H. Light was asked— Am I to understand you to state that for the ten years you were in the colony, and for ten years before that, the colonists have always been at variance with the Government?—Yes, always. In the time of Sir Benjamin D'Urban the supplies were stopped for two years, though the King's chest sufficed in some degree to pay some of the officers. During the ten years you were in the colony you have stated that the principal objection arose to you when the abolition of the apprenticeship was proposed?—Yes. After that, what was the next point of difference, or were there any other points of difference between the colonists and yourself?—I think the chief thing was with respect to immigration; not giving them the number of immigrants they wished, but only proposing a certain number of immigrants: I have no idea why they disliked me in fact. So that it was quite the fact, that from the moment Sir H. Light arrived, up to the time at which he left, there existed this continual antagonism between the Government and the colonists; and the same ruinous state of things was still suffered to continue. The colonists had long complained of their protection being taken away from them contrary to good faith; and they had calld his at tention to the fact, that when the noble Lord, now the Premier, formerly proposed certain alterations in the sugar duties, Lord Sandon (now Earl of Harrowby) proposed an Amendment that was very important, as showing the animus of the House at the time, and how likely it was to lead the colonists to believe that the arrangement was to be permanent. He would not then say anything as to his own views of the merits of the question; he had simply, at the request of the petitioners, to call attention to a matter of fact. Lord Sandon's Amendment, then, was to the effect that, considering the efforts and sacrifices that Parliament and the country had made for the abolition of the slave trade, in the earnest hope that our exertions and example might lead to its mitigation and final extinction by other countries, that House was not prepared, especially with the pro-sent prospect of the supply of sugar from the British possessions, to adopt measures for the reduction of the duties. An hon. Baronet who sat near him (Mr. Hume) seconded this Amendment, stating that he considered it the best way of dealing with a proposal that involved the ruin of most valuable possessions, and a disregard of the sacred duties of humanity. The Amendment was carried by 317 to 281, being a majority of 36 against any alteration of the sugar duties; and the colonists wished him (Mr. Hume) to state that when they assented to so large a civil establishment, they did so on the understanding and with the perfect confidence that they would be secured the continuance of the advantages they then enjoyed with respect to protection on their sugar. It was only duo to a colony, situated at a great distance, 28 estates in which, according to the last mail, had been abandoned, 24 more having passed into the hands of the receiver, in addition to 24 others which appeared in the appendix of the report—it was only justice toward" a distant colony, placed in such circumstances of distress, that he should lay these things before the House. After the sudden change in our commercial legislation, to refuse to allow the colonists to make such reductions in their expenditure as would enable them to meet the requirements of their altered position, be thought a most heartless and reckless course of procedure, and one without the least consideration for the feelings of the colonists. On that ground he brought forward this Motion, and he was sorry the House was not fuller, as he was anxious, at any rate, to have an expression of the feeling of the House at large on this important question. He was sorry that it had been delayed so long, but he was not personally answerable for that. He thought he had now stated in brief all the leading circumstances of the case of this unfortunate colony, which was admitted by Sir H. Light to be in a state of utter ruin—all the planters being ruined; and yet the Government obstinately persisted in keeping up a state of things which they could easily prevent. He had shown that the ordinance which Earl Grey wished to maintain regarding the civil list, was illegal and worthless in the opinion of the law officers of the Crown; and he had also shown that the plea that the salaries of existing officers might not be reduced had no pretence for a foundation, for the salaries were only secured to the end of 1847, not a single officer having taken office subject to a new appointment. On all those grounds, then, it appeared to him the House was called upon to affirm as its opinion the resolutions which he had now to move. His object was to induce the House to say that the Colonial Office should not interfere to prevent the colonists from making reductions in their expenditure if they thought fit; but that the colony should be placed in the situation which Canada occupied, having responsible officers appointed by the people, and having the means of knowing on the spot what were the capabilities and wants of the colony, and being allowed to administer to these wants as the Canadians possessed the power of doing. In Canada he believed that peace, good order, and prosperity would be the consequence of the responsible government. The Houses of Parliament there were now acting in perfect unison with the Governor, and everything was now proceeding with the utmost harmony; whereas in the unfortunate colony now under consideration, for twenty years a pernicious and ruinous state of disunion and antagonism between the constituted authorities bad prevailed.

Motion made, and Question proposed— That it appears by the Evidence taken before the Select Committee on British Guiana, that that Government has been carried on for the last ten years in opposition to the expressed views and opinions of the Elective Members of the Colonial Legislature, and that the supplies are now stopped in the Colony by continued opposition, to the great injury of the Colony: That this House is of opinion, that the time has arrived when the Public Expenditure of the Colony should be reduced as desired by the Colonists; and also for the establishment of a respon- sible Local Government, which should have full power to decide on the extent and nature of their establishments, and to provide the means for paying the same.


said, that notwithstanding the late period of the Session, when so many Members were out of town, and when, therefore, it was impossible to obtain a fair expression of the opinion of Parliament upon any subject—notwithstanding this disadvantage, his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose had considered it his duty to bring under the notice of the House the report of the Committee appointed to inquire into the grievances of British Guiana; and he did so on two grounds: first, because the inhabitants of that colony, confiding in the justice of the House of Commons, had expressed a desire that the dispute which had so long existed between the Colonial Office and the Legislature of that colony should be decided by the Imperial Parliament; and, secondly, because, having had the misfortune to differ in opinion from the majority of the Committee with respect to the nature of the report which, in accordance with the evidence, it was the duty of the Committee to submit to the House, he thought it would be but just and reasonable that the whole case should be fairly stated, and laid before that tribunal to which the inhabitants themselves had expressed a desire that it should be referred. His hon. Friend was of opinion—and he (Mr. Baillie) confessed he entirely agreed with him—that the Committee had omitted to notice in their report some of the most important points of the evidence that was laid before them. He begged the House to mark this, that if a Committee of that House were appointed to inquire into certain evils and grievances alleged by a colony, and omitted to notice in their report those evils and grievances which were stated to exist in the general practice and administration of the Colonial Office, the House had naturally a right to assume that the silence of the Committee upon those points was a tacit approval of the course of policy which had hitherto been pursued; and the result Would be that no amelioration—no improvement of any kind would take place either in the government of that colony, or in any other colony similarly situated, and placed under a similar system. He was, therefore, on behalf not only of British Guiana, but of all other colonies, that he begged leave to call the attention of the House to just those points of the evidence which had been omitted to be noticed by the Committee. Those hon. Members who had read the evidence must be aware that the Government of British Guiana was one of those which was lately described by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies as a sort of preparatory school for constitutional government; that was to say, colonies with nominally a constitutional government, but which the Colonial Office had gone on to treat like children, depriving them of all real power in the management of their own affairs. For example, in British Guiana the Court of Policy had the supreme legislative authority, but it was in reality entirely under the control of the Governor. The Combined Court had the power to regulate the financial affairs of the colony; but this power had been set aside by the right assumed by the Governor, first of all by placing his veto on any measure introduced into the Court, and thereby putting down all discussion upon it; and, secondly, by adjourning the Court sine die when the Court differed from him. It was indisputable that when the Governor assumed such powers, and was supported in that assumption by the Home Government, the liberties of the subject were in fact placed entirely in his hands; and the colonists could exercise no power whatever. It was against this assumed authority exercised by the present and by the late Governor, that the inhabitants of British Guiana had been contending. By the exercise of the power assumed to adjourn the Court sine die, the colony had been left nearly twelve months without any revenue, to the great injury of the colonists, who were thus deprived of all resource. The Government had threatened to remove from them the protection of Her Majesty's troops; and it had been notified to them by the Governor that he should be under the necessity of disbanding the police force, and the other establishments of the colony. And thus it had in effect been notified to these colonists in terms not to be mistaken, that unless they were disposed to submit to whatever should be dictated to them, they would be handed over to the idle and disorderly black population of the colony, whom the Governor had described as having lately become very much demoralised, and had stated that crimes of all descriptions were upon the increase. Such were the means which the Government had resorted to in order to deprive the inhabitants of this colony of the free exercise of those rights and privileges which their constitution intended they should enjoy—rights and privileges which the law officers of this Grown had pronounced that they had a right to enjoy—privileges which were secured to them by the articles of capitulation when the colony became ours. The first witness examined before the Committee was a gentleman who, for the last ten years, had been the Governor of the colony. The Committee were aware that Sir Henry Light enjoyed a high official reputation at the Colonial Office. He was deemed to be the model of a colonial governor by that department. He was described in an official document as a man of very great ability and of extraordinary vigilance and activity. The Committee was aware that he had had conferred upon him the distinguished honour of the Order of the Bath, which was notified to him by the Secretary of State in the most flattering terms. He (Mr. Baillie) mentioned these circumstances in order that the House should understand how much he appreciated the importance of the evidence given before the Committee by that gentleman. Sir H. Light informed the Committee that for the 10 years during which he administered the affairs of British Guiana, he had governed it contrary to the expressed views and opinions of all the elective members of the legislature; and he said that such a course had been sanctioned by precedent, and it was the only rational mode of dealing with the parties. He (Mr. Baillie) confessed that when he heard the evidence of Sir H. Light, it appeared to him that that gentleman had justified all the resistance which had been offered by the inhabitants of the colony. He could not conceive a greater indignity or a grosser insult offered to a body of Englishmen than that they should be deprived of the exercise of the rights and privileges which their constitution conferred upon them, by the assumptions, arts, and trickery of the Government. He (Mr. Baillie) had thought this to be so important a point that he submitted to the Committee a resolution very similar to the first resolution which the hon. Member for Montrose had on the present occasion proposed for adoption. The Committee, however, did not think fit to entertain it, or to pronounce any opinion upon the subject. There was another grievance of which the inhabitants of this colony had just reason to complain in regard to the conduct of the Governor. The Governor, in spite of the most urgent remon- strances on the part of the colonists, refused to allow any law to pass for the regulation of labour, or for the prevention of paupers and squatters, or permit any contract for labour for a longer period than thirty days, under the pretext that it would be contrary to the liberty of the subject, the Governor being apparently ignorant that in every civilised country in the world such contracts existed. In Scotland no farm labourer was employed for a period of less than six months. In consequence of this refusal, the inhabitants met and passed certain rules and regulations, to which they bound themselves to adhere. These were laid before the Committee; and they were perfectly fair, just, and reasonable, and such as no English labourer would for a moment have objected to. But they were objected to by the negroes, and a general strike took place throughout the colony. A deputation on the part of the blacks waited on the Governor to ask his opinion; he denounced the resolutions, and told the negroes that they were not bound to observe them, and instructed the police magistrates not to enforce them. The result was, that, supported as the negroes were by so great an authority, the planters were obliged to succumb, and he was warranted in asserting that the ruin and misery which had fallen upon that colony was mainly owing to the conduct thus pursued on the part of the Governor. He now came to the question of the civil list; but before he entered upon that topic, he begged the House to bear in mind two points: first, the express reason assigned by Governor Light, in the year 1839, for the great increase in the civil list; and, secondly, the mode, manner, and circumstances under which that increased civil list was ultimately obtained. In 1839, Governor Light wrote a despatch to the Colonial Office, and requested that his salary might be increased from 3,500l. to 6,000l, and also an increase of the salaries of the other officers of the colony; and he placed this demand upon these grounds—first, the great and increasing prosperity of the colony, which would fully justify increased burdens being put upon it; and, secondly, the high prices of all the necessaries of life in British Guiana, as compared with the prices in the island of Antigua, of which he had previously been the governor. This despatch was favourably received at the Colonial Office, and Governor Light was instructed that he might make a demand for an increased salary and an increased civil list from the Court of Policy. But when he made that proposition in the Court of Policy, it was violently objected to by the colonists; and the present chief justice of the colony designated the demand as being most unjust, and if granted would be extremely onerous upon the colonists. A resolution was passed to that effect. The consequence was, the Court refused the proposition, and the increased civil list was stopped. In passing that resolution, the Court of Policy acted only as they had a right to act—for no one disputed that right; but because they did so act. Governor Light adjourned the court sine die, whereby 60,000 dollars were lost to the colony. Under these circumstances, the noble Lord at the head of the Government, who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies, sent the governor of a neighbouring colony in order to allay the disputes between the colonists and the Governor. Now, about this time, a general feeling prevailed that immigration alone would save the colony from ruin. The Government at homo being aware of this feeling, instructed Sir H. Macleod that he might tell the Court of Policy that if they would grant a civil list, they should have an immigration ordinance; but that if they refused to grant a civil list, no immigration ordinance should be issued. That was expressly stated in evidence by Governor Light, who said it was a bribe held out to the colonists, by means of which they hoped to obtain a civil list as large as was necessary. [Mr. HAWES: Where was that evidence?] Do do you dispute it? [Mr. HAWES: Yes.] It is in the evidence, and I will produce it presently. Well, the result was that Sir H. Macleod was enabled to pass in an instant a civil list, and the Government passed an immigration ordinance. But when the necessary document for raising an immigration loan on the credit of the colony was presented at the Colonial Office, it was rejected, and so the matter remained for four years. In 1844 the Colonial Office at length consented to sanction the loan, upon condition that the colony granted the civil list for an additional period of seven years; and thus the Crown obtained a civil list to be voted for fourteen years instead of seven. He confessed he was one of those who thought it was most dishonourable conduct on the part of the Government thus to stipulate with the colonists for a civil list. If the Government considered that immigration was a measure calculated for the well-being of the colony, they ought to have granted it without stipulating for increased pay to the public servants. Therefore, he proposed a resolution to the Committee to that effect; but it was not adopted by the Committee. He now came to the close of the year 1847, when, in consequence of the reduced price of colonial produce, certain resolutions were agreed to in the Court of Policy, setting forth that on account of the distress and the exhausted state of the resources of the colony it had become a matter of necessity that an extensive reduction should be carried out in every branch of the annual expenditure; and they authorised a reduction to the extent of one-fourth. A Motion founded on these resolutions was sent to Earl Grey. He would not weary the House by going into details. Suffice it to say, that the proposition was rejected by Earl Grey, on the ground that he conceived the faith of the Crown and the colony was pledged to the public servants for the maintenance of the civil list for a certain period, and that for that period it must be maintained. Now the Colonial Office appeared not to have remembered that the first reason advanced by Sir H. Light in 1839, in order to obtain an increase of the civil list, namely, the increasing prosperity of the colony, was altogether illusory and without foundation; and that the second reason, namely, the great increase in the cost of living, no longer existed, it having been proved before the Committee that the prices of provisions at this moment were lower than they were in Antigua at the time to which Sir H. Light's comparison referred. The Colonial Office also appeared not to have reflected that they had allowed the Governor of Trinidad to reduce the salaries of the public officers in a greater proportion than was asked for in British Guiana; for while in British Guiana the proposed reduction was only 25 per cent. the Governor of Trinidad reduced the salaries 33 per cent—notwithstanding that in Trinidad the rate of taxation was not more than 20s. per head, whereas in British Guiana it was about 40s. There could not be a doubt that the bitter feelings engendered in this dispute were greatly increased by the manner in which the appeal of the Combined Court was rejected by Earl Grey, as well as by the statement which he made about the same period to the House of Lords with respect to the prosperous condition of the colony. Hon. Members who had read the evidence taken before the Committee must be aware that the statement of Earl Grey to the House of Lords with respect to the colony created great excitement in the colonial legislature, and that an animated discussion took place on the subject. The Governor was asked whether he had furnished the information contained in Earl Grey's statement, and he replied that he had not; and more-over that he always furnished Earl Grey with correct information, as it was his duty to do, with respect to every thing that took place in the colony. The statement of Earl Grey to which he referred was as follows:— He had also seen it stated in the local newspapers, that on the east coast of Demerara, where a contemplated reduction of 25 per cent in wages had taken place, it had been met cheerfully and in perfect good humour by the negroes, who would submit to the reduction of wages when they saw it was necessary; but who, when they saw the planters anxiously competing for their labour, would endeavour to get the last farthing they could obtain. The consequence of that reduction was, that at once, and without the expense of immigration, the colony obtained the advantage of an increase of one-fourth to its working population. If that were the case, would any man tell him that the system of protection was to the advantage of the planter? He (Earl Grey) held, on the contrary, that if protection were admissible on the grounds of the general interests of the country, it would be for the interest of the planter himself that we should adhere to the wise determination which Parliament came to in 1846. Now, the colonists were naturally indignant at this statement, when they knew that there was not one single word of truth in it. Indeed, it was proved in the Committee, that at the very time Earl Grey made that statement, he had a despatch from the Governor of British Guiana four days in his possession, which despatch arrived by the same packet as the newspaper he had quoted, and informed him that as matters then stood in the colony, half the estates would be thrown out of cultivation, unless the prices of labour were reduced. That despatch also contained an enclosure respecting a tour of the Colonial Secretary, for the purpose of inducing the labourers to return to their work, but which did not specify a single instance of success. When this subject was last discussed in that House, he (Mr. Baillie) was accused of using harsh language in speaking of Earl Grey with reference to the statement he had made to the House of Lords. He therefore felt himself called upon before the Committee to justify the language he then used. He told the Committee that if in their opinion his charge against Earl Grey was not clearly and fairly proved, he hoped, in justice to Earl Grey, they would pass a resolution to that effect; but if in their opinion the charge was fairly proved, he trusted they would, in justice to him, pass the following resolution, which he had prepared:— That additional difficulties in the arrangement of this dispute have been engendered by the statements made by Earl Grey on the 8th of February, 1848, announcing to Parliament, on the authority of a colonial newspaper, that the most satisfactory arrangements as to labour actually existed in British Guiana between the employers and the employed; it having been proved to your Committee that Earl Grey was at that very time in possession of despatches which had arrived by the same packet as the newspaper in question from the Governor of the colony (of which, however, be made no mention) stating that, as matters stood on the 31st of December, 1847, half the estates of the colony must go out of cultivation. Upon that resolution the Committee declined to express any opinion, although it must be admitted it contained a grave charge against the Secretary of State. He invited the Committee to state whether in their opinion the charge was true; and not a single Member ventured to say that he did not believe it to be true. In fact, no person answered him when he made his statement. He had, therefore, felt it to be his duty to bring the case before the House. He asked the House what would be their feelings if a Member of the Government—say the Secretary of State for the Home Department—were to receive a despateh from the Poor Law commissioners for Ireland, informing him that in the union of Castlebar there had been 8,000 deaths from famine; and if, after receiving that despatch, a debate should take place on the subject, and the right hon. Gentleman should get up and say that he had received a most satisfactory communication with respect to the state of Ireland; that he had just seen a copy of a Castlebar newspaper, in which he had found a paragraph stating, that in consequence of the success of their free-trade measures, famine had been banished from the country, that provisions were abundant, and that the poor were all well fed, at little cost to the proprietors of the soil—if the Secretary of State for the Home Department were, under such circumstances, to make such a statement to the House, what would be the feelings and opinions of hon. Members on the subject? Would they think that confidence should be any longer placed in such a Minister, or that he should continue to be intrusted with the lives and fortunes of Her Majesty's subjects? And yet the case he had stated to the House with regard to the Secretary of State for the Colonies was exactly parallel—the only difference being, that in the case of Ireland the people were represented in that House, whereas, in the other case, the people were inhabitants of a distant colony who were not represented at all. He said before, that the Committee refused to adopt his resolutions. Indeed, they rejected both the resolutions which he proposed, and the resolutions which were proposed by the Under Secretary for the Colonies. [Mr. HAWES: My resolutions were never proposed at all.] He (Mr. Baillie) believed that they were submitted and afterwards withdrawn. By way, he supposed, of getting out of the difficulty in which the Committee were placed, one Member proposed to adopt the resolutions of Sir R. Peel, even before they were drawn up. The Committee, however, did not listen to that proposal, and the resolutions were fairly laid before the Committee before they were adopted. He begged to remind the House that the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose was of deep importance to the interests of the colony; it involved the question of self-government; the question whether the colonists should in future be allowed to manage their own financial affairs, or whether the Colonial Office should be allowed to interfere as heretofore, and not only dictate to them on that subject, but actually use their great and powerful influence in order to compel their acquiescence. England had of late rendered her name odious by her conduct in foreign affairs in almost every country of Europe. She had exhibited an arrogant desire to interfere and dictate in the internal affairs of the weaker and less powerful countries of Europe; whilst, at the same time, she exhibited an anxious desire not to take offence from the powerful and the strong. Witness her conduct with regard to Spain, Portugal, and Naples, and her conduct with respect to France, Prussia, and the United States. He begged the Government not to teach the colonies that they were acting a similar part in their dealings with them; that they had been compelled to grant to the threats of the people of Canada—the powerful and the strong—the enjoyment of those rights and privileges which they re- fused to the prayers and remonstrances of the humble and the weak; and that if they—the colonists—would obtain redress for the evils which they laboured under, they could not hope to obtain their object by an appeal to the justice of the House of Commons, as in this instance, but by an appeal to arms, as in the case of Canada,


said, he was relieved from the necessity of going at great length or much detail into the question which the hon. Member for Montrose had brought before the House, because he and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Inverness-shire had had an opportunity of bringing all those charges and complaints before a Committee of that House, to the appointment of which the Government offered no opposition in any respect—to which every facility was offered by them, and every possible document calculated to aid them, in the possession of the Colonial Office, freely and spontaneously given. Having made these charges and complaints—none of them conceived in a spirit of much charity—they found themselves in a minority in the Committee; and when they found that to be the case, they thought it necessary to obtain the opinion of the House in opposition to the report of the Committee. If the case was to rest entirely on the statements of the hon. Member for Montrose and of the hon. Member for Inverness-shire, he (Mr. Hawes) might be apprehensive of the result; but statements so void of accuracy and so little calculated to give the House correct information, it had not been his fortune often to hear. After they had sat for months on the Committee, and had heard all the evidence, they seemed to have left it with precisely the same opinions, and not to have imbibed a particle of information from the inquiry. Had either hon. Gentlemen stated the origin of the dispute to the House, or the grounds stated by the colony for asking the Government to alter an Act of Parliament? for in that light an act of the Court of Policy (the competent legislature of the colony) was clearly to be considered. That act of the Court of Policy established a civil list, not to the amount of 39,000l., as the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose stated, but, in point of fact, to a considerably smaller amount. Every statement he (Mr. Hawes) made on this point on a former occasion, had been fully borne out by evidence; and he should take the liberty to repeat it. The civil list was nominally 39,000l.; but of that 4,500l. was, he was sorry to say, paid out of the imperial treasury; a reduction of 1,009l was to be made for pensions which had fallen in, and a further reduction of 9,000l. for charges on account of the ecclesiastical establishment, which ought to be paid out of the colonial revenue, so that, in effect, the whole of the civil list was not more than 24,000 or 25,000l. The charge for the clergy was placed on the civil list by the colony, as the Committee papers showed sent to the Home Government. The revenue of the colony was not less than 227,000l. a year; and out of that revenue a civil list of the above amount was set aside by the Court of Policy for the payment of the officers who conducted the government of the colony. The origin of the dispute was certain resolutions of the Court of Policy, to which the hon. Member for Inverness-shire had referred. He was anxious to call the attention of the House to them, that they might thoroughly understand the course that the dispute had run, and the conduct of his noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, with reference to it. These resolutions stated—he gave the substance of them—that the colony was solely agricultural, and dependent on the markets of Europe. That, in consequence of the competition from slave-grown sugar, to which they had been exposed by the measures of the Imperial Parliament, the value of their property had declined. On the first objection they grounded the necessity of reducing the civil list. They went on to say, the revenue was declining, the colony impoverished, and that they were unable to pay the civil list as it was imposed on them. The first question the House had to ask was, whether the civil list had been embodied in an Act of the Court of Policy; and, if so, was it excessive; and was the colony in that state of decline, and its revenues so fallen, as to justify a reduction? Would it be believed by those who had heard the statements of those two hon. Gentlemen—such close allies on this question—so remarkably consistent in opinion on all matters connected with protection to sugar—that in evidence before the Committee, out of the mouths of their own witnesses it was plainly and un-deniably stated the revenue of the colony up to last year had not fallen at all; but, on the contrary, had rather increased? If the state of the revenue formed no just ground for reducing the civil list, and if it was shown in evidence by adverse witnesses that the revenue had not fallen, what pretence could there be to justify the decision at which they were asked to arrive? To that view of the case there was no answer. Had the revenue declined? No. Did the Act of Parliament, gradually diminishing the protective duties on sugar, justify a reduction of the civil list? Certainly not. The hon. Gentleman declared his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies refused to make any reduction when it was first proposed. They must have spent their time most unprofitably in the Committee, and either they had not heard or had forgotten the despatches which had been road. [Mr. BAILLIE: I said, he refused at first.] He would quote an extract from the first despatch of his noble Friend in February, which would not bear out that statement. It stated, and truly, that the object of the civil list, voluntarily renewed in 1844, was to place the servants of the Crown beyond the reach of circumstances calculated to affect their incomes; and that the Government having effected that object, left six-sevenths of the revenue of the colony to be dealt with by the Combined Court. His noble Friend stated, that he was not aware of any circumstances in the present state of the colony which could justify the Crown in reducing the salaries which had been secured by the civil list. If there were any circumstances to justify a reduction, Earl Grey would not refuse it. He (Earl Grey) then went on to show the revenue had been increasing yearly up to 1846, and that there was no reason to suppose there had been any decline up to September, 1848, when the supplies were stopped. Earl Grey had dealt with the case fairly. But was that all his noble Friend had done? In a subsequent despatch, he distinctly gave his assent to reductions of salary as vacancies occurred; and since then he had stated that, though his present impressions were, that the finances of the colony were not in a condition to render reductions necessary, and that the salaries were not too high, the reasons for a different conclusion should receive his most careful consideration. What conclusion had the Committee come to? Had they, after hearing all the evidence, and all hon. Gentlemen could say, declared the salaries should be reduced, or that the pledge given to the servants of the Crown should be abandoned? Quite the contrary; they took precisely the same grounds as his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies, and declared it was not competent to the Combined Court to alter the civil list. Their report was clear and distinct on that point; they stated— Upon a review of the several circumstances above adverted to, your Committee is of opinion that the Crown is entitled (if considerations of good faith and of public policy require it) to insist upon an adherence to the civil list arrangement made in 1844 for the full period for which the civil list was granted, and that no attempt to set aside that arrangement, either by direct or indirect means, can be justified. He wished to know the difference between the conclusion to which the Committee had come after full inquiry, and that of his noble Friend the Secretary for the Colonies. Was it no justification of his noble Friend, in having decided on the best information before him that the civil list should not be reduced on the ground assigned, that a Committee of the House, after a long and laborious investigation, had arrived at a precisely similar result? When the hon. Gentleman said he (Mr. Hawes) had abandoned his resolutions, he begged to say that they were never proposed to the Committee, though printed for consideration; for having heard from the most distinguished Member of the Committee—one beyond all doubt entitled to the greatest weight—resolutions he (Mr. Hawes) preferred to his own, he at once adopted them, and he was quite ready to bear any blame which might attach to him for having preferred to follow the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth, rather than the hon. Members for Montrose and Inverness-shire. When the Committee presented their report, his noble Friend immediately sent a despatch, dated June 1, 1849, to Governor Barkly, of which the following was an extract:— Having thus expressed to you the views which I have been led to take of the proceedings adopted by yourself and the Combined Court on the understanding that the question concerning the civil list should be left in statu quo pending the inquiry before a Committee of the House of Commons, I now take the earliest opportunity after the report of that Committee having been made to the House, of transmitting to you a copy of their report, and requesting that you will lay it before the Combined Court. I trust that the Combined Court will receive the decision of the Committee as to the rights of the Crown under the civil list ordinance as determining that question, and that they will join with me in a cordial desire that all differences out of it should be forgotten. I can assure them that they will find on my part the utmost solicitude to co-operate with them in acting upon the views of the Committee as to the necessity of economy which are entirely in accordance with my own, as expressed in my despatches) and in making such arrangements as may most contri- bute to the future prosperity of the colony, and most tend to the obliteration of any personal feelings which may have been excited in the course of these unfortunate discussions. That was the principle upon which Earl Grey proposed to act; and he thought himself entitled to remind the House that the Committee of Inquiry did report in the teeth of the opinions expressed and the statements made as well by the hon. Member for Inverness-shire, as by the hon. Member for Montrose and of those who supported them throughout that inquiry. Then, again, there was a point of some importance on which he thought that Earl Grey had been somewhat unfairly attacked, and that related to the opinions which he entertained on the subject of economy. It would be a gross misrepresentation to describe Earl Grey as unfavourable to economy. There had been no case of wise economy which had not at all times commanded his cordial and earnest support. But then his opponents, not content with imputing to him a want of economy, charged him with inconsistency for having pursued one course with reference to Trinidad, and quite another in the case of British Guiana. It was said that he granted that redress to the former which he refused to the latter; and this was contended for as warmly as if there subsisted any analogy between the one and the other, when the two cases were wholly different, inasmuch as no guarantee whatever had been given to the officers employed in the civil establishments at Trinidad—no security had been given to them for the continuance of their offices and salaries during a period of ten years. There was no legislative Act establishing a civil list. Lord Harris, with the wisdom and ability which distinguished his government, did certainly propose the reduction of pub-lie expenditure in Trinidad, and he having made to Earl Grey a proposition recommending a change of that nature, and having supported his advice by statements and reasonings of much weight. Earl Grey concurred with him, and reduction was sanctioned; the main feature of the Trinidad case being that the expenditure exceeded the income, while in British Guiana the case was the reverse—the income was equal to the expenditure. The cases were not only different, but there was not the slightest resemblance between the two. He regretted that the hon. Member for Inverness-shire, and likewise the hon. Member for Montrose, had spoken of a breach of faith having been committed, as any man with the least information on the subject must have known that there existed not a shadow of foundation for any such charge. The evidence entirely negatived the allegation. In the report on the table, and in the evidence appended to it, they would find the most ample proofs that all the idle talk about breach of faith was mere misrepresentation; and let it be remembered that the evidence by which that charge had been answered was the evidence of witnessess not brought forward by him, but by the Gentleman who wanted to make out a case of grievance. [It was understood that Mr. BAILLIE denied this.] Well, he begged the hon. Gentleman's pardon if he imputed anything of that sort without sufficient foundation; but if it had not been done by him, the hon. Member for Montrose must have been the person to whom the Committee was indebted for getting up that part of the evidence. From that part of the evidence then before him, to which he wished to direct the attention of the House—he meant the evidence given by Mr. Sandbach—nothing could be more manifest than that, so far from the colony having any the least reason to complain of a breach of faith, it was the Crown that had to complain of a breach of faith. If any conditions were made, those conditions had been by the Government completely fulfilled. Money had been paid, and loans had been effected to promote emigration; but the book on which he laid his hand clearly and most distinctly showed that there never had been, at any time, the least breach of faith on the part of the Crown. But the hon. Member for Montrose was very candid in one part of his speech; for he admitted that, before the Act of 1846 respecting sugar, there was on that article a protecting duty, and that now British Guiana, by reason of the prospective loss of that protecting duty, was not able to meet her engagements, or, in other words, was not able to pay her civil list; and the hon. Member said this, because he believed that the existence of protecting duties was necessary for the purpose of enabling the inhabitants of British Guiana to maintain their civil list at the point at which they had undertaken that it should be preserved. According to him, it was necessary that they should raise the price of sugar to consumers in England, in order to maintain the revenue of British Guiana. But what was the real state of the facts? Protection had been prospectively only withdrawn by an Act of the Imperial Parliament. And was that a ground for saying that a solemn compact was to be broken? If it could be shown that the expenditure of the colony exceeded the income of the colony, then there might be a case for the reduction of salaries. The hon. Member for Montrose said, because the sugar of British Guiana was low in price, that therefore they must commit a breach of faith with the officers of that colony. Were public officers to be rewarded upon principles which were to be regulated by the prices of commodities? If so, then all salaries must be governed by the Price Current. If it could be shown, as be conceived it had been shown, that the colony was not bankrupt—that the revenue was not declining—surely every ground for reduction, when that reduction involved a breach of faith, had been completely cut away from those who proposed it. If it were thought that 25,000l. was too great an amount for the civil list for such a colony, then let it at the proper time be fixed at a sum under that amount; but if they proceeded upon economical principles alone, let them remember that the people of British Guiana had themselves a control over six-sevenths of their whole revenue. The revenue of the colony amounted, in round numbers, to 227,000l, and the colonists would have done better in looking after the expenditure which was under their own control, than in getting up a mischievous, reckless, and injurious quarrel for the purpose of embarrassing the Government in revenge of the Act of 1846. They never considered what could be effected in the way of economy in respect to the money under their own control. He stated that on the authority of Sir H. Light and Lieutenant Governor Walker. So far from the trade of the colony having declined, the production of sugar had actually increased since 1846. If he took from the year 1845 to 1848 inclusive, it appeared that an average of 28,500 tons of sugar had been produced annually in the first three years, and that 32,000 tons was the average for the years 1847 and 1848. This did not look like that impoverishment of the colony which had been spoken of. Upon another subject adverted to by the hon. Member for Montrose, Governor Barkly, finding that the Court of Policy was a mere oligarchical body, which possessed very little influence in the colony, and elected by very small constituencies, with a very high franchise, had with singular propriety introduced a measure, which became necessary in consequence of the stoppage of the supplies, for extending the constituency. The constituency at present did not amount to more than 700 or 800. Under the new measure it would be increased considerably. Was there anything wrong, then, in looking forward to the support of a more popularly constituted body for the support of the civil list? If it was so supported hereafter, would it not be a proof that the colony was not on the side of the Court of Policy? Governor Barkly, so far from being unwilling that his own salary should be reduced, declared in his very first speech that he should be sorry if his own salary stood in the way of those reductions. The struggle, therefore, was the mere struggle of a party to uphold their influence in the colony. The hon. Member for Inverness-shire had alluded to the part which he took in Committee in reference to a statement made by Earl Grey in the House of Lords. Here, again, the main fact was kept out of sight, namely, that Earl Grey spoke from information obtained from a local newspaper, which bore date two or three days after the despatch of the Governor. The statement was, that in a particular district the labourers had returned to their work, and were, in fact, working at a reduction of 25 per cent; and Earl Grey, in arguing that if wages were reduced, it was tantamount to an increase in the number of labourers, referred to the case stated in the newspapers as an example. The hon. Member also said, the Government had made the immigration ordinance a bribe for the civil list. In that case an accidental phrase had been caught hold of—Governor Light having only really stated in his evidence that the colonists had declared that they would grant anything in their power to obtain immigrants; but added, Q. 98, which the hon. Member abstained from quoting, "That I can hardly suppose that you would imagine I should bribe those under me for the sake of a civil list." It had been said that it was a breach of faith not to allow the colonists to procure labour from any part of the world. The Member for Montrose was in favour of what was termed free trade in labour; but there was evidence in the papers that what the colonists meant was, that they should be at liberty to go to the slave coast of Africa. If by free trade in labour was meant liberty to buy men from the slave coast, he confessed that he was opposed to it, and he believed a majority of that House were also opposed to it. It had been said that this report was the report of the right hon. Member for Tamworth. Now, he was most desirous of doing justice to his hon. Friend the Member for Buckinghamshire. He begged to say that that part of the report which went to reform the constitution of British Guiana, and extend the franchise, was entirely due to that hon. Gentleman; and he was happy to inform him that at this moment the Colonial Office and the Government were acting in the spirit of its recommendation; and he trusted that before long they would see a Franchise Bill pass which would secure a more extended constitution, and a more enlightened and efficient body of representatives in that colony.


then moved the adjournment of the debate.


said, he rose principally to refute a calumny of the grossest kind. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies said that by free trade in labour was meant the use of slave labour. He utterly denied that such was the case. That was the only thing in the hon. Gentleman's speech which he thought worthy of notice. The alleged facts were admitted. The hon. Gentleman had chosen to term an act of policy an act which the law officers of the Crown had declared to be of no value whatever, those functionaries having declared that the colonists were right in the course which they had pursued. He wished to see the colonists in the enjoyment of responsible government, and no longer in leading strings. If a rebellion took place, there would be immediate concessions.


said, he wished the House merely to know what they were to divide upon. An adjournment of the debate had been moved by his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Newark. The fact was, that the public time was very important just now, and that this debate had only commenced at half-past nine o'clock. There was a general understanding in the House that every Member of the Committee was anxious to make a very long speech, and, therefore, it was deemed expedient that they did come to a conclusion as soon as possible. Now, he thought the Amendment of his hon. and learned Friend an extremely convenient one, and the House had better accede to the proposition without dividing upon it. As yet there had been a debate of only three hours upon this important question. It would lead to a very prolonged discussion, and, therefore, he felt that it had better be adjourned.


was quite satisfied that the House should go to a division upon the speech of the hon. Under Secretary. It had not yet been mentioned in the course of this debate that the report which was carried was so carried by a majority of 8 to 3; and that the proposition of the hon. Member for Montrose was rejected by a majority of 10 to 4.

Motion made, and Question put, "That the debate be now adjourned."

The House divided:—Ayes 17; Noes 94: Majority 77.

Original Question put, and negatived.

The House adjourned at half after Twelve o'clock.