HC Deb 17 June 1850 vol 111 c1464

of Lord MONTEAGLE, Lord WODEHOUSE, and Lord ROSSIE (KINNAIRD), against the Refusal to Hear Petitioners by Counsel, June 10, 1850, against the Australian Colonies Government Bill, (p. 943.)


  1. 1. Because it is unjust to refuse hearing petitioners, who allege that they are deeply interested, by property and otherwise, in the Australian Colonies, and that they will be greatly prejudiced by the provisions of the Bill now before the House, should it pass into a law in its present stage.
  2. 2. Because this refusal to hear counsel is contrary to precedents laid down by the House in analogous cases; more especially on the 5th February, 1838, when the agent of the Assembly of Lower Canada was heard against the Canada Government Bill; and on the 28th June, 1839, when the agent for Jamaica, as well as counsel for private petitioners, were heard against the Jamaica Bill.
  3. 3. Because the refusal to hear petitioners, who, from former residence in Australia, from the possession of property there, and from the political functions with which they have been entrusted, have a claim to be heard, is peculiarly injurious in a case like the present, where a Bill is under consideration, containing enactments not defended on their own merits, but by an assertion of the state of public feeling in the Colony, and by the degree of acceptance which those enactments may have received.
  4. 4. Because it is salutary and most politic at all times, and more especially in cases where the interests of great and distant colonial communities are involved, to prove, by the course adopted in Parliament, that this House acts with wise caution and consideration, and will be ready to receive all information that is tendered on behalf of those subjects of Her Majesty who, though not directly represented in the Imperial Legislature, are entitled to claim our sympathy and our protection.
  5. 5. Because we are fearful that this refusal to hear the petitioners, and the rash and precipitate prosecution of this Bill in the absence of the information thus tendered, but rejected, cannot but produce local discontent, and may suggest an inference that the Imperial Parliament is careless or indifferent in respect to a measure on which depends the future well-being of the Australian Colonies, and the establishment of a legislature founded on those constitutional principles which have been found in the mother country the best securities for liberty and for order.