§ Order for Committee read.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
having presented several petitions from persons connected with New Zealand, said, those petitions were all of them to the same effect, expressing strongly the desire that this Bill should be allowed to pass. The petitioners called attention, some of them to one part, some of them to another part of the Bill, but the general conclusion of the whole was that the Bill should pass. The last of those petitions was from Mr. Gibbon Wakefield, the prayer of which was particularly directed to the question whether there should be provincial Legislatures, or whether there should be a Central Legislature and Legislatures for particular localities. With his usual ability, Mr. Wakefield discussed the subject, and earnestly 18 prayed that the Bill as it stood might pass into a law. Before moving that Mr. Speaker do leave the Chair, on the House going into Committee on this Bill, he (Sir J. Pakington) was disposed to hope that he would save time, which he held extremely valuable in this ease, and at this particular period, if he entered into some short explanation of the changes which it was his intention to propose in this Bill. Since the second reading of the Bill he had received suggestions from several quarters, but principally from some hon. Members of that House, of the highest eminence and distinction, Gentlemen with whom he had no political connexion, and whose courtesy and kindness of feeling in offering these suggestions, and the manner in which they had done so, he would really be wanting in justice to his own feelings, as well as to the manner in which, as he had said, those suggestions had been tendered, if he did not take that opportunity of acknowledging. From those Gentlemen he had received suggestions entitled to the greatest weight, not only as coming from them, but entitled to the greatest weight from their intrinsic value, offered in a spirit entirely apart from party feeling, and intended to facilitate the passing of this Bill in such a shape as should be most effectual for its objects. He had stated before that his whole object in this Bill was to give the inhabitants of New Zealand the best and most acceptable Government for themselves, consistently with those imperial considerations which he felt bound to keep in view. The suggestions to which he had alluded related principally to two points. He would, with the permission of the House, direct its attention to them, with reference especially to the very difficult question, as he had always thought it, of what was the best mode of providing Governments for the different provincial districts of those Colonies. He had to choose out of three alternatives, namely, the Bill as he had ventured to submit it to the House; next, a suggestion, coming from a quarter to which he was bound to pay the greatest respect, that, instead of taking the Bill as it stood, and giving Provincial Legislatures, he should rather follow the precedent of the Australian Government Act of 1842, and give distinct municipalities, that was to say, municipal bodies with enabling Clauses to legislate on certain subjects, and that they should be restricted from legislating on all subjects beyond those specified. The 19 third suggestion he had received from the hon. Member for Southwark (Sir W. Moles-worth) was, that, instead of putting into the Bill either Provincial Legislatures or provincial municipalities, it should be left to the Central Legislature, when formed, to provide for the municipal government of these separate districts in such manner as they might think best. Those were the three alternatives he had to consider. He thought the House would see that between the Bill as it stood, and the second of those alternatives—the precedent of 1842, the distinction was really rather one of name than of fact. As he had drawn the Bill, and announced when he first moved it, his intention was that those Provincial Legislatures should, in fact, be municipal. As he had drawn the Bill, those local bodies were to legislate on all matters of interest to the locality, being restricted from legislating on certain specified subjects, those specified subjects embracing the main objects of what he might call a Colonial or Imperial Legislature. It was a question whether they should legislate on all except certain important restricted subjects, or should legislate on certain specified subjects, those being very large and comprehensive. After the fullest consideration, he had come to the conclusion that, looking to the nature of the restrictions, those bodies could hardly be regarded as Colonial Legislatures; and while the restrictions being negative on subjects which they cannot touch, it enables them to embrace various objects which might be necessary for their welfare that a Legislature should touch, and which would not come within the specific objects prescribed. He had, on that ground, ventured to prefer the course he now took. To the other course, which the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir W, Molesworth) was going to propose, namely, that the House having nothing to do in this Bill with provincial legislation, but that the Central Legislature should settle what they were to have, there were, he thought, obvious objections. First, there was a loss of time. In the next place, looking to all precedent and experience, the House would find that Colonial Legislatures had not shown themselves disposed to part with powers once intrusted to them in favour of anything like minor districts. He rather thought he might adduce Australia as an instance; but the case had been so strongly put by Mr. Gibbon Wakefield, that he hoped the House would permit him to refer to an 20 extract, in which Mr. Wakefield said that this was a case "where prevention was more easy than cure, because if once a Provincial Government were established, those who composed it were little disposed to diminish their authority." He (Sir J. Pakington) should not trouble the House with more extracts. Mr. Wakefield dwelt at considerable length on the subject, and that was the view taken by him. If the House, as it appeared to be, were disposed to give the different localities powers of independent government for their own interests, it would be better to lay down in this Bill broadly and distinctly the basis on which those governments were all to be formed, than to leave those localities to the uncertain result of the view which the Central Legislature might take of the matter when they came to deliberate on the powers they might think it necessary to intrust to the local Legislatures. He would now briefly advert to a fourth plan recommended by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), who, if he rightly followed the right hon. Gentleman in a former debate on this subject, expressed great objection to the course he (Sir J. Pakington) had taken of establishing a supreme Legislature in the Colony. Knowing the weight of the right hon. Gentleman's authority, he should say, with great respect, that he could not agree with him in his view. With reference to the local Legislatures, the right hon. Gentleman wished that they should have no concurrent power, that their powers should be defined, that they should act, so far as those powers extended, in a perfectly independent manner, and that the Central Legislature should act on equally broad and defined independent powers. If that plan were adopted, it would certainly lead to very great confusion. Instead of simplifying the legislation of the Colony, it would practically be found extremely difficult to define the boundary between the powers of the Provincial and the Central Legislatures. He believed the adoption of the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion would lead to the very difficulty he was anxious to avoid, and therefore he could not yield to the right hon. Gentleman's objection with regard to the concurrent power. It was not so much a concurring as an overriding power which would be vested in the Central Legislature; and he could not but think that for the future welfare of those Colonies there should be one supreme Legislature, whose 21 power shall be superior to those minor bodies, who ought to deal only with the interests of their own localities, subject to the paramount authority of the Central Legislature. Having had those suggestions thrown out, to which, from the manner in which they were given, and the quarter from which they were offered, he repeated that he felt bound to give every attention, and having unusual opportunities of consulting those connected with the colony, having opportunities of consulting parties directly connected with Nelson, Wellington, Otago, and Canterbury, namely, four out of six localities — he thought, with this choice before him, his best course was to avail himself of the period intervening between the time when these suggestions were offered and the present moment to take the opinion of those gentlemen possessing great local knowledge, and taking a deep interest in the welfare of the Colony. He had consulted, then, with those interested in the Colony both in London and in the country, and he was now enabled to state that which was proved by the petitions he had presented. He was bound to say that those who were interested in the Colony unanimously desired that he should proceed with the Bill as it stood, rather than that he should take either of the two alternatives of granting only municipalities, or of empowering only a Central Legislature to prescribe what those Governments should be. Anxious to meet the suggestions which have been offered with so much weight from different quarters in that House, he submitted to the gentlemen so interested in the Colony whether, if be retained the Bill essentially as it was, but made certain important alterations, they would be willing to accept those alterations? The answer he received was, that they not only approved of the alterations, but they most thankfully and gratefully accepted them. Under these feelings, then, he had determined upon a very important alteration with respect to those Local Legislatures. The alteration was, that, instead of the superintendents being nominated by the Governor of the Colony, as proposed in the Bill, they should be elected by the same constituencies as elected the Legislatures. He had not made this alteration without very serious consideration. He had had to consider how far it was consistent with the British Constitution that he should venture to enact an elective Executive. The noble Lord whom he had succeeded 22 in the office he now held, with reference to this very Bill, laid down broadly—and he (Sir J. Pakington) begged to say he agreed with the noble Lord-—that anything like an elective Executive was unknown to the British Constitution. Agreeing in that proposition, he (Sir J. Pakington) would be no party to any measure making an Executive elective. But he looked upon these different districts in New Zealand not as separate Colonies, hut as so many municipalities of one Colony. In whatever ratio they were distinct Colonies, in that ratio he should be opposed to the creation of an elective Executive; but in whatever ratio they were municipalities, then in that ratio the proposition came within the spirit and the practice of the British Constitution in making the heads of those municipalities elective. Looking at the wording of the Bill— knowing what were his own intentions in introducing it—believing, moreover, that these districts partook so largely of the nature of municipalities — and being conscious that he intended they should have that character, he thought he was not open to the charge of departing from the spirit of the British Constitution in proposing that these superintendents should not be nominated, but elective, and that by the same constituencies who were to elect the Provincial Councils. Following up that principle, it was also his intention to strike out of the Civil List the provision of salaries of 500l. for each of these superintendents, leaving it entirely to the option and discretion of each Provincial Legislature whether they would or not vote a salary for these officers. This was one important alteration with regard to the government of these localities which it was his intention to make. The next clause in the Bill to which he would refer, was one on which there had already been more discussion than he had expected, and he hoped what he was about to say would not lead to any further discussion on the subject: he alluded to the clause relating to the rights of the New Zealand Company. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), and the right hon. Baronet (Sir J. Graham), had adverted to that clause. He (Sir J. Pakington) had endeavoured to take a ground upon this subject to which he thought the House could not fairly make any fair exception. At least he had acted upon the spirit of strict justice, and had taken a ground from which he must 23 be allowed to say he could not depart—a ground beyond which he did not think it his duty to go, but less than which he was not justified in taking, namely, that whatever might be the equitable claim of the Company under the Act of 1847, he was bound to see secured to them by this Bill. The Bill, as was well known, was not intended, originally, to apply to the New Zealand Company; it was intended to confer the blessing and advantage of self-government on New Zealand; but still he thought it a paramount duty on his part to take care that the effect of the Bill should not be to leave the New Zealand Company in a worse condition than that in which he found it. The only question, then, was how best to carry out that principle. He thought the House would go with him one step further; and that they would admit, looking at the Act of 1847, that he had no right to consider whether the bargain between the New Zealand Company was a good or a bad bargain. It was a bygone transaction. An Act of Parliament had settled it. That Act was confirmed and explained by the correspondence which had passed between Earl Grey and the Company. A question had been raised whether Earl Grey was justified in taking upon himself to put the construction he had done on the Act of 1847. With that he (Sir J. Pakington) had nothing to do; he felt himself bound by the contract as it stood. The only difference between the Act of 1847 and the present Bill was this: The Act of 1847 prescribed that the produce of every town-land sold in New Zealand should be divided into three portions; and that one portion should be devoted to emigration, another portion to surveys; and the balance, whatever it might be, should go to the New Zealand Company. The fault of the Act was, that while the produce of the sales was so divided, it said nothing about the proportions, and there arose a practical difficulty. By analogy, however, with what had occurred in Australia, it had been held and argued that half of the money should be devoted to emigration. The Act, however, did not so state; and Earl Grey thought that one-fourth would be a fair proportion to be given to the New Zealand Company. Now, assuming the price at 1l., and 10s. thereof to be the proportion for emigration, there would then remain the surveys to be defrayed, and then the balance for the Company. It was a matter of some doubt whether the surveys would require more than 5s. in the pound, or not. 24 If it did, then it was questionable whether the balance would meet the equitable rights of the Company. He would not, however, enter into the question whether Earl Grey was justified or not in taking upon himself to construe the Act of Parliament as he had done; but this he thought, that the noble Lord had taken a very convenient course, and a very just and very moderate course; and, looking at the whole transaction, and at the construction which Earl Grey had put upon the Act of 1847, he would ask the House, and he did so with some degree of confidence, whether he was doing more than justice in proposing to give to the New Zealand Company one-fourth of the produce of the sales of land in that Colony. In the interviews which he had had with persons connected with that Company, they had said there were many districts in which the land would sell for more than 1l. an acre, and they asked why the sum of 5s. only should be paid to the Company. But, on the other hand, it was shown that in some districts the land would sell for less than a pound; therefore it was asked why give the company so much as 5s.? His answer to these objections was that they should set one case against the other. But his own feeling was, that the best and fairest plan would be to abandon the clause which gave 5s. in the pound to the New Zealand Company, and to enact that the Company should receive one-fourth in every case. He had now explained what his wish and object was, namely, to do the Company justice—not more. Considering that the subject was incidentally introduced into the Bill, he hoped the House would not allow it to be made a matter of protracted discussion; but that the clause would be allowed to pass either in one or the other shape—the Company, on their part, he believed, being quite disposed in either case to be satisfied. There was only one other point to which he wished to advert. Strong feelings of approbation had been expressed by petitions and otherwise of that part of the Bill which placed the lands of the Colony at the disposal of the Legislature. Upon that subject, perhaps he might be allowed to add one word more. In these days it was impossible to say in what Colony in that part of the world those extraordinary discoveries of gold might not take place. He knew that in New Zealand expectations were strong among the populace that gold might be discovered; he therefore wished to say, in addition to the placing of 25 the land of New Zealand at the disposal of the Colonial Legislature, that in the event of any gold mineral discovery in that Colony he should he prepared to advise the Crown to place the whole of the proceeds of the discovery at the disposal of the local Legislature. He hoped he should not be considered as travelling unduly beyond the object of which he was now addressing the House if he stated that by the mail which left this country yesterday he had announced to the Australian Government, on the part of Her Majesty's Government, that it was the intention of this Government to place unrestrictedly at their disposal all the revenues which might he derived from any gold discovery in those Colonies. He had now concluded the observations which he had to make as to the alterations he intended to propose in Committee. He had done so for the sake of saving time, and in the hope that, in Committee, he should experience a continuance of that forbearance from all sides of the House which was so desirable when deliberating on a measure intended to promote the welfare of an important and rising Colony; and that they would now merge all differences of a minor nature in order to go into that Committee as speedily as possible.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
begged to express his thanks to the right hon. Gentleman for the attention which he had paid to this subject, and for the liberality of his views and intentions in conferring a good constitution on New Zealand. He considered that many of the Amendments alluded to by the right hon. Gentlemen, were decided improvements in the Bill, and he trusted they would be accepted by the House. There was one point, however, to which he wished to call the attention of the House, and that was the claims and position of the New Zealand Company, to which the right hon. Gentleman had adverted. He (Mr. Aglionby) was willing to pay a tribute to the ability and industry which the right hon. Gentleman had devoted to this entire subject, and he believed that it was his sincere wish to do justice to the New Zealand Company; and they asked nothing more. He sympathised in the remark of the right hon. Gentleman that it would be wrong to place the New Zealand Company in a better position than it occupied in the year 1847; but at the same time he (Mr. Aglionby) must say that it would be monstrous to place it in a worse position. He wished that the right hon. Gentleman would take some advice 26 as to what were the legal and equitable rights of the Company, and thus endeavour to determine out of that House whether any of the clauses of the Bill failed in doing justice to the Company. He (Mr. Aglionby) thought he owed it to himself and to the New Zealand Company to allude to some remarks which had been made respecting that body, which nothing but an unfortunate illness had prevented him from noticing at the time of the second reading of the Bill, when they were brought forward. The hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) had been particularly severe against the New Zealand Company, and, though admitting that it had received opposition from quarters where it ought to have found support, he had yet said that its principal failure had been owing to great mismanagement. [Sir W. MOLESWORTH: No doubt of it.] He (Mr. Aglionby) begged to deny that statement in toto, and he was perfectly ready to meet any proof that might be advanced in support of it. He could not help feeling some surprise that the hon. Baronet should have been the one to make such a charge, considering the position in which he stood as one of the earliest members of that undertaking. The name of the hon. Baronet had had considerable influence with the public; he had been elected a director of the Company in the year 1839; and he had continued an active member of the direction until 1843, when the Company was first involved in great difficulties. So far from there being any mismanagement of the affairs of the New Zealand Company, he (Mr. Aglionby) believed that the opposition of certain persons in authority had produced the distress into which it had fallen; but as the hon. Baronet had been a director of the Company for so long a time, he might at least have been silent on the subject of mismanagement. From the year 1843, when the hon. Baronet had left the Company to struggle with its difficulties, down to the year 1847, when Parliament interfered at the suggestion of the then Colonial Minister, he (Mr. Aglionby) was not aware of any mismanagement beyond that which was forced upon the Company by circumstances, and over which they had no control. The late lamented Mr. Somes, the Member for Dartmouth, continued at the head of the affairs of the Company till his death; and many others of the distinguished gentlemen who had taken an active part in the direction still adhered to 27 it. In 1847 Parliament introduced some alterations, but he was not aware that between the two periods he had named, there had been any mismanagement. In proof of that he would refer to a letter of Earl Grey, dated July, 1850, three years afterwards, in which his Lordship stated that he had an unchanged sense of the importance of the colonising efforts of the Company, and the great value of their results, and that nothing had occurred in any degree to affect the satisfaction he felt at the progress they had made. He (Mr. Aglionby) should be very willing to proceed with the Bill at present before the House; but, connected as he was with the New Zealand Company, and having a common interest with the shareholders, he must be excused for feeling somewhat strongly on the subject of those unjust and unfounded allegations. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had also made some remarks respecting the New Zealand Company. He had said, indeed, that he excepted that Company from other colonising companies, which he viewed with considerable horror, but from the collocation of his speech he had unfortunately mixed them all up together. The right hon. Gentleman objected to colonising companies in the mass, and said that they were irresponsible bodies, and that their affairs were always conducted with secrecy. But this was not the case with the New Zealand Company at least, the whole of whose affairs had been made fully known to the public. With respect to the statement of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), that the Colonists would be willing to pay the debt of the Company, he (Mr. Aglionby) would only remark that he should rather have for his creditor the Government at home, to which an appeal could be made, than a Colonial Legislature at the distance of many thousands of miles away, over which there could be no control. He would merely echo the remark of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Ripon (Sir J. Graham), and say, Let the New Zealand Company have justice and no more, and let it not be placed in a worse position than it occupied in 1847. He hoped to convince the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Pakington), that some of the clauses of this Bill would operate unfairly to the Company, and that the right hon. Gentleman would consent to the alterations which he should propose in Committee.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
wished to say he had made no remark that could be regarded as an attack on the hon. Member, or on the New Zealand Company. He earnestly implored the House to reserve the discussion until they were in Committee.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, that in reference to the attack of which the hon. Member for Cockermouth (Mr. Aglionby) had spoken, he had no remark to make as to the way in which the New Zealand Company had managed their affairs; but what he was prepared to prove was this proposition, that the Company had obtained their Act of 1847 by misrepresentation and by the concealment of the truth; and, if the House liked, he would proceed with his proofs now. [cries of "No, no!"]
§ MR. MANGLES
said, that whenever the hon. Member brought forward his charges, he and the representatives of the New Zealand Company were fully prepared to meet them.
§ House in Committee.
§ Clause 1, repealing the 3rd & 4th and 11th & 12th of Victoria, agreed to.
§ Clause 2.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, he rose, in pursuance of notice, to move the omission of the 2nd Clause, and all subsequent ones before the 32nd Clause, and, in their stead, to insert—It shall be lawful for the General Assembly, by Act or Acts, to incorporate the inhabitants of any district within the said colony, and to establish in such district a council for the local government thereof; such council shall have power to make orders and by-laws for providing for any matters which shall be specially subjected to the direction and control of the said council by any law of the said General Assembly.He was quite willing to allow that the discussion on the second reading of the Bill had had two useful results: first, it showed that hon. Members were generally anxious that, if possible, New Zealand should obtain a Constitution during this Session of Parliament; and, therefore, he hoped that the minority would hot offer any factious opposition to the further progress of the measure; and, secondly, it showed what were the chief differences of opinion with regard to the future form of that Constitution. The first great difference of opinion was whether New Zealand should form one political unit, or should be divided into several political units. His right hon. Friend the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) was of opinion 29 that New Zealand should be divided into six political units, that each of those units or provinces should have powers of exclusive legislation on all subjects except a certain number of enumerated subjects; that these independent provinces should be federated after the fashion of the States of the American Union, by means of a General Assembly, which should only have powers of legislation on the subjects on which the Provincial Legislatures were to be forbidden to legislate. This plan was clear, distinct, unobjectionable in theory, and worked well in the American Union. And if New Zealand, instead of being of the size of Great Britain, had the magnitude of the United States, or of the continent of Australia; if, instead of being-divisible into six provinces, with a population of from 1,500 to 8,000 each, it were divisible into a score of States with a population of from 100,000 to 1,000,000 each; and, finally, if, instead of continuing to be a dependency of Great Britain, it were about immediately to become independent, then he admitted that the plan of his right hon. Friend was the one which experience had shown to be best adapted for the government of a system of States covering an extent of territory too vast to form one complete political unit. He objected to this plan for New Zealand, because he thought that New Zealand was formed by nature to make one political unit. For, though its settlements were separated by mountains, they were closely connected by sea; all its best parts were close to the sea. Therefore, with steam vessels communication between various parts of New Zealand would be more easy at present, than communication between various parts of England was in the time of the last generation. He objected also, because New Zealand was so distant from any other country that it would have no natural enemies, unless we divided it into independent rival and ultimately hostile communities. He objected also, because six or more independent codes of laws would be a great inconvenience in the limited area of New Zealand, which did not exceed that of Great Britain; for in this country considerable inconvenience at present resulted from the difference between the laws of England and of Scotland England would not have been as great as it was at present if the Heptarchy bad continued in existence. He doubted the expediency of establishing a Hexarchy in New Zealand. From the debate on the 30 second reading of the Bill, he was entitled to infer that the majority of the House were of opinion that New Zealand should form one political unit. That seemed to him to have been the opinion of the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Colonies, of his right hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith), of his hon. Friend the Member for Malton (Mr. J, E. Denison), of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leominster (Mr. F. Peel), and also of Earl Grey, the two latter of whom thought that the General Assembly would ultimately eat up the Provincial Legislatures, and reduce them to municipalities. He might, therefore, assume that the Committee would be of opinion that New Zealand should form one political unit or Colony; and, at the same time, he must infer from the debate on the second reading, that the Committee would be also of opinion that New Zealand should be divided into districts or provinces, and that each district or province should have some amount of subordinate local self-government. If this were admitted, then came the question which he proposed to raise, namely, by whom ought New Zealand to be divided into districts or provinces; by whom ought the constitution of the subordinate local governments to be determined? Ought these things to be done by the Imperial Parliament of Great Britain, or by the General Assembly of New Zealand? He proposed that they should be done by the General Assembly—first, because, as the local governments were to be strictly subordinate to the General Assembly, they would have a more subordinate character if they were created by the General Assembly than by the Imperial Parliament; secondly, and chiefly, because the constitution of these subordinate governments was a matter of very little consequence to the Empire at large, but of very great consequence to New Zealand; and therefore, it was probable that the settlers of New Zealand would know better than we did what form of subordinate government would suit them best. It appeared to him that, in a matter of such purely local concern as the division of New Zealand into districts or provinces, and the establishment of subordinate local governments, the wishes of the settlers in New Zealand should be consulted. It would be impossible at that moment to enter into a statement of this whole question; but he might say, with regard to the case of New South Wales, to which reference had been made 31 in the course of the debate, that no argument against his proposition could he drawn from the conduct of that Colony, because it had only opposed the establishment of Provincial Councils so long as the Colonists were under restrictions; but they subsequently, by their own free will and wish, established Provincial Councils. It appeared to him to be a fundamental principle of sound colonial policy that in matters of pure colonial interest we should meddle as little as possible, and should leave to the Colonists themselves to settle what they would wish to have. If the Colonists wanted these Provincial Councils, they would create them; and if they did not want them, they ought to be allowed to do without them. Now, he believed, there was a difference of opinion in the Committee as to what were the wishes of the settlers in New Zealand with regard to this subject. On the second reading he had assigned his reasons for thinking that the majority of the settlers in New Zealand were opposed to Provincial Councils of the description contained in this Bill, and would prefer simple municipalities. He had also quoted memorials to that effect from Wellington and Nelson; also the opinion of the Lieutenant Governor of New Munster on behalf of the settlers of Canterbury and Otago. But his hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) flatly contradicted his statements, and asserted that the term "municipal," as used in these documents must be taken in a non-natural signification; and on behalf of the Canterbury Association in London, he declared that the majority of the settlers in New Zealand were in favour of Provincial Councils somewhat after the fashion of this Bill. Now, he had every respect for the gentlemen of the Canterbury Association; but it was the characteristic of all associations, especially of earnest and sincere men, to believe that the interests of their association were the interests of the human race, and that the wishes of their association were the wishes of mankind. These were the consequences of well-known laws of the human mind. Therefore he warned the Committee not to attach all the weight to the authority of the members of the Canterbury Association which would be due to them as individuals; for Canterbury had been intentionally made a class settlement. Its founders wished it to continue a class settlement, distinct from the other settlements of New Zealand. Therefore they 32 believed that the Government of New Zealand should be a Hexarchy, and that such were the wishes of the settlers of New Zealand. Now, as he was perfectly open to conviction on this subject, he hoped his hon. Friend was equally so. He (Sir W. Molesworth) was ready to abide by the decision of the settlers of New Zealand. Would his hon. Friend abide by that decision? or did he wish, for the sake of carrying out the views of the Canterbury Association, to force upon the settlers of New-Zealand these Provincial Councils, whether they were wished for by the Colonists or not? And if his hon. Friend wished to force these Provincial Councils on New Zealand for the sake of the Canterbury Association, he must beg the Committee to remember that the Canterbury Association had only about 3,000 settlers. It had only about one-ninth of the European population of New Zealand; and there were three other settlements in New Zealand larger than Canterbury, though Canterbury had more influence in this country than all the other settlements in New Zealand put together. But if his hon. Friend denied that he wished to force these Provincial Councils upon New Zealand, contrary to the wishes of the settlers, if he asserted that he wished to establish these Provincial Councils because the settlers of New Zealand desired to have them, then he must, under the penalty of contradicting himself, vote for his (Sir W. Molesworth's) Amendment, because, if it were carried, the representatives of New Zealand would have the power of establishing the Provincial Councils contained in this Bill. They might enact every one of the clauses which he proposed to omit from this Bill. They might divide New Zealand into six provinces, establish in each province a superintendent and Provincial Council, vest in the Governor the appointment of the superintendents, pay to each of them a salary of 500l. a year, direct that each of them should have a veto, should obey instructions from the Governor, and should reserve Bills for the assent of the Governor. They might also vest in the Governor a final veto, to be exercised within two years; and, if the settlers of New Zealand wished these things to be done, the General Assembly would do them, and establish the Bill of the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary in all its integrity. But he did not believe that the settlers wished these things to be done, but would prefer municipal institutions of the simplest kind, 33 which they might obtain under his Amendments. It followed, therefore, that by his Amendments the settlers in New Zealand would obtain that kind of subordinate local government, which they might like best, while by this Bill Provincial Councils would be forced upon them whether they liked them or not. He might observe that the powers which he proposed to give to the General Assembly of New Zealand, were analogous to those which the Legislature of the Australian Colonies possessed by the Act of 1850. He would not further trespass on the patience of the Committee, but would divide on the question.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
was understood to observe that there were quite as many precedents for the permanence of local governments gradually united under one head, as of one Government originally so established remaining united. The hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark might have recalled the instance of this country, which was once a Heptarchy, and afterwards became a United Kingdom; the Provinces of France now a Kingdom; or that of the United States of America, which subsist under a Federal Government. There were, in fact, many such precedents of Provincial Governments ultimately concentrating under one head. The proposition of the hon. Baronet seemed to him (Mr. Adderley) to differ only in degree from that of the Bill before the Committee, and ultimately to arrive very much at the same point. In both cases it seemed to be the wish that those functions which were absolutely and purely local should be discharged by a local body, whether it be called a municipality or by any other name, and that the Central Government should attend to those matters which applied to the whole of the colony. When the hon. Baronet referred to the wishes of the colonists, he (Mr. Adderley) fully agreed with him that that was the right quarter to appeal to; but when he said that the colonists agreed with his views, he (Mr. Adderley) thought that the hon. Baronet was mistaken, and that he had taken an erroneous view of the documents to which he referred. At various meetings in different places, the colonists had expressed a wish for local self-government; and in using the word "municipal," they had said that they did not employ it in its strict and limited meaning, but in a larger sense, expressly citing the Rhode Island precedent as an illustration of the large powers they so designated. He was not now al- 34 luding to the petition from the Canterbury Settlement, but was quoting the language employed at a large meeting held at Wellington. With respect to the statement that the Canterbury Settlement was an exclusive Colony, he must tell the hon. Baronet that there was nothing exclusive in that settlement. The colonists were Churchmen, and went out on a combined plan for carrying out all the institutions necessary for civilised life, in which they of course included the Church as their provision for the most important requirement of all. Close beside them was a Presbyterian Colony, to which, certainly, with equal justice, the title of exclusiveness might be applied; but they all knew very well that there were such principles of exclusiveness in all the most successful Colonies. But he begged distinctly to deny that such combination necessarily implied exclusiveness. The combination of men agreed in all essentials, was necessary for the complete execution of any scheme; but the combination of Churchmen proved Canterbury had no spirit of exclusion in it against any who chose to come into a settlement so formed. He appealed from the hon. Baronet to the colonists themselves; and before the hon. Baronet pressed the Amendment, he would beg of him to con? sider if there really was any great difference in ultimate effect between his plan and that proposed by Government.
§ LORD JOHN RUSSELL
said, it was certainly very desirable that a Bill should be passed during the present Session which should confer representative institutions on New Zealand. There were, indeed, several points in the present Bill on which he might entertain a different opinion from that of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, yet he did say, that upon its principal points there was a great concurrence of opinion, both on his own part, and generally on the part of the House. Therefore he should wish to interfere as little as possible with the progress of this Bill through Committee, and he would apply that wish to the statement made by his hon. Friend the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Moles-worth). Their general opinion was, that there should be one general representative Legislature for New Zealand, and that there should be local bodies, having more or less powers, and partaking more of a municipal than of a supreme legislative character. He (Lord J. Russell) would have preferred that they should have begun 35 by creating a legislature for the whole Colony, and had made the powers of the various local bodies to arise out of the powers of the general legislature. But that appeared to him to be a difference upon which the House ought not to be divided; and as his hon. Friend the Member for Southwark had stated his views upon the subject, he (Lord J. Russell) should much rather, if the Government persisted in their view of the mode in which the Bill ought to be carried into effect, that the hon. Baronet should waive his opinion in favour of that of the Government, and allow the Bill to pass in the shape in which it had been proposed. He the more readily said this, for two reasons that had arisen since the second reading of the Bill. One was, because the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary had given notice of an alteration by which the superintendents, instead of partaking of the character of lieutenant-governors appointed by the Crown, should partake more of the nature of mayors of municipalities, being elected by the bodies over which they had to preside. That change certainly reconciled him more to the present shape of the Bill. The other reason was, that the right hon. Gentleman had himself declared that night, before going into Committee, that the municipal character was the character which he wished to affix to these local bodies. It was the more desirable that they should have that character, because then there was no reason to apprehend that conflict of jurisdiction which he thought was the only practical evil they had to dread from the present shape of the Bill. There was, even with regard to the municipalities of this country, a power in the Secretary of State to disallow the by-laws passed by any corporation; and in the same way there would be a power with respect to the legislation of the local bodies in the Central Legislature. Therefore, upon the whole, he should say there was nothing inconsistent in the scope and object of the Bill. He did not wish to take any further part in the discussion, but perhaps he might state that he thought some difficulty was likely to arise hereafter on one point, if a considerable alteration was not made in the measure. He did not wish to dispute the point whether the Legislative Council should be nominated or elective. He should certainly prefer the elective shape, as contemplated by Earl Grey; but, however, that was a matter on which he should not vote if it was not in accordance 36 with the views of Her Majesty's Government. But there was a provision in the Bill by which there should be a limitation of the number of members of the Legislative Council, and yet that they should be appointed for life. Now, he apprehended that there would be considerable danger in that provision; because they might have the Legislative Council appointed for life separating themselves upon some questions from the community, and thwarting the measures of the representative body. If that body was to be appointed for life, he thought it would be absolutely necessary that the Crown, or the Governor as the representative of the Crown, should have power to make it from time to time act in accordance with the views generally entertained by the representative body, and with the feelings of the colonists at large: otherwise there would be the danger of a minority setting themselves up against the majority, and no means of terminating the antagonism, owing to the minority holding their seats for life, and there being no power to increase their number. This difficulty would be obviated by allowing the Crown to extend the number of the Legislative Council without limitation. As the Bill now stood, it was provided that the number should be not less than ten, nor more than fifteen; which, in his opinion, was an unnecessary restriction upon the power of the Crown. If a contingency should arise, he thought it desirable that the Crown should have the power he had mentioned; and, with this exception, he had every wish that this Bill should pass into a law this Session.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
said, he had heard the speech of the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary with great satisfaction on many points; but one argument used by him did not appear to carry any great weight with it. The right hon. Baronet said, that if we gave this Central Legislature any very considerable powers, he feared it would be very l0th ever to part with the powers so confided to it to a subordinate jurisdiction. Now he (Mr. J. E. Denison) thought the great objection to the establishment of this Central Legislature was the difficulty of communication between the various parts of the Colony, which was such that he had believed it would be impossible to get men of standing to give their time in the performance of legislative duties in this central meeting. If, however, he understood that these difficulties might be overcome, he thought the 37 preponderance of argument was certainly in favour of the Central Legislature, in favour of endowing it with supreme power, and with all possible dignity and honour, so as to induce men of consideration and of standing in the Colony to devote themselves to the discharge of the duties of members. He should, therefore, infinitely prefer the form suggested by the hon. Baronet below him (Sir W. Molesworth); but, at the same time, after the speech of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell), and in the face of what seemed to be the general opinion of the House, namely, that hon. Members should not seriously interfere with the passing of this Bill, he feared the suggestion of the hon. Baronet would not be of much avail. He should like, however, to ask the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary, whether, in the clause which granted the powers of altering the Constitution to the Central Legislature, it was his intention to extend those powers so far as to enable the central body very materially to affect the form and functions of these local Legislatures themselves, because, if so, the matter in dispute was contracted into a very narrow compass. He did not wish to give any serious opposition to the passing of this Bill; hut if the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) divided the Committee, he should feel bound to support the Amendment.
§ MR. MOWATT
said, that notwithstanding the extraordinary circumstances in which the House found itself with regard to the amount of business which had to be transacted before the termination of its existence, and notwithstanding the deprecation of obstruction, or even criticism, that had on that plea been urged, he could not let this Bill pass without submitting a few observations, taking, as he did, a deep interest in the welfare of our Colonies, and possessing some practical knowledge of the real character of their wants. He had hoped that the disadvantages resulting from the want of experience on the part of the present head of the Colonial Department, would have been in some measure remedied by the advantage of finding that right hon. Gentleman unprejudiced and unfettered on the subject of Colonial legislation. But he was sorry to say that the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman, since he had entered upon his present duties, had confirmed the opinion which he had long entertained, namely, that it was hopeless to expect that the 38 people of this country could legislate for the permanent good of the Colonies. He had expected that the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, as regarded colonial matters, would have been at least a tabula rasa; but it must be apparent to every one who had observed his conduct since acceding to office, that he had constantly walked in the beaten paths of, and been altogether led, by the old habitues of the Colonial Office. What the Colonies desired was not a complicated body of laws passed by the Imperial Legislature, but a measure which would permit them to govern themselves. If the right hon. Baronet should ask him in what manner be proposed to give that power to the Colonies, his answer would be—Give them such a measure as has been suggested by the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark. He would not go so far as to predict the failure of this Bill, because of the establishment of six independent Legislatures, for be must confess that he entertained no such opinion. Whatever might be the character of the Legislatures which might be granted to them, the Colonies would in the end progress, and that progress would be the result of their own energies. But he would say this with regard to this measure, that he believed that it would operate prejudicially and injudiciously; and if the hon. Member for Southwark should divide the Committee, he should give him his support. If this Bill were passed in its present shape, he had no doubt that next Session petitions would reach that House from every province in New Zealand, praying to be delivered from its oppressive operation. He thought, how-over, that by far the most objectionable part of the Bill was that which provided for the nomination of members by the Crown. Now it was a fact incontestably established by experience, that however valuable those men might be before then-nomination, their selection by the Government at once destroyed their character. If the Government desired to have a second chamber, they should make it elective, and dependent upon the choice of the people also, without which choice it would never possess their confidence. The Government should elevate the standard of qualification, so as to make the office desirable to the most worthy inhabitants of the Colonies. Some people in this country imagined that our Colonies were to be treated as if they were children, and utterly incapable of managing their own business. Now, a 39 grosser delusion there could not be. If the whole globe were searched, it would be impossible to find men more intelligent, acute, able, and enterprising than those that were scattered at the present moment throughout our Colonies. He hoped that the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Colonial Office would pause in the course upon which he had entered, of inflicting petty, complicated, and detailed legislation upon our Colonies, and boldly propose to the Imperial Legislature a measure that would enable them to govern themselves. What our colonies desired was not an extended and complicated body of laws imposed by the mother country, but as few as might be—as little in the way of legislation as possible; for it must always be remembered that legislation implied interference and, generally, obstruction. Whatever legislature was forced upon them by the mother country, it would have but little effect, except that of retarding their progress for a little while; but it would amount to the same thing in the end— they would owe their progress entirely to themselves. The only persons who appeared really to understand questions were the writers in the press of this country. For example, ten days ago there appeared in the Times an article on colonial self-government, the sentiments of which, he would stake his existence, if put to the vote in any one Colony, would have been triumphantly carried by acclamation, so precisely did they chime in with the wants and feelings of the people of the Colonies on Legislation. The language of the colonists was, "Give us as much power as can be safely confided to us, and leave the rest to us."
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he must protest against the application of the last speaker's observation to New Zealand, because he believed that nothing would be so painful to that Colony as to be left alone. It was because he had a deep conviction that New Zealand required this Bill, that He had undertaken to introduce it, and it was because he believed he was taking the course most acceptable to the Colony that he preferred the shape that the Government had given to the Bill, to the shape proposed by the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir W. Molesworth), great as was his authority on these subjects. Looking at our past experience of Australia and Canada, he thought it was wiser to give the Colony municipal institutions at once, rather than to expose their creation to risk and uncer- 40 tainty. But this Bill was a mere outline, giving large powers to the colonists to fill up the details as they deemed best; and he would remind the hon. Baronet that he (Sir J. Pakington) had made it his business to consult all those in this country conversant with this subject; and it was in consequence of their advice that he had adopted the present plan in preference to the hon. Baronet's. He therefore hoped the hon. Baronet would not divide the Committee.
§ MR. MOWATT
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. What I said was, that the Colonies simply desired a measure which would enable them to legislate for themselves, and not a piece of detailed legislation like that now before the Committee. I am surprised at the statement of the right hon. Baronet as to the large powers of self-government which had been conceded to the Colonies, when it is well known that not a shilling of their revenue can be expended except in such manner as is directed by the officers of the Imperial Government.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, that seeing that he was in a decided minority, he would not put the Committee to the trouble of dividing.
§ Clause agreed to; as were also Clauses 3 to 17 inclusive.
§ Clause 18.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, he had to propose an alteration in this clause, the effect of which would be to strike out the general powers conferred by the Bill on the Local Legislatures, and to give them power only over certain enumerated subjects, such as were contained in the Australian Constitution Bill. If they left in the Bill the powers now conferred by it on the Local Legislatures, they would not be creating simple municipalities, but they would be carrying out the views entertained by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone); for as sure as the Bill passed in its present state the various Provinces would become States very nearly as independent as the States of the American Union now were. He would suggest, therefore, whether it would not be better to confine the powers proposed to be conferred upon the municipal bodies to certain enumerated subjects, and to give the general powers to the Central Legislature. With this view he proposed to leave out all the words in this clause after the words "all such laws and 41 ordinances," and to introduce the words "to make by-laws for local purposes."
§ MR. GLADSTONE
said, that when the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark talked of this clause giving effect to his (Mr. Gladstone's) views, and not to those of the right hon. the Secretary of State for the Colonies, he thought that the hon. Baronet was more than just to him, and less than just to the Secretary of State in carrying out the views which he entertained. He should have been very glad if the Bill had given effect to his views, because he had great faith in the full application of the principles of local government to New Zealand; but he must observe, that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State appeared to have followed the principles of the Municipal Corporation Act of England. It did not exhaust by a catalogue the subjects of legislation, with which the Local Legislatures were to meddle, but it gave them general powers to enact bylaws for the order and good government of the corporation, reserving to the Government the check of a veto to be exercised within forty days. In the present instance the Secretary of State had gone still further—further, indeed, than he thought was wise—for he reserved the check of a veto which might be exercised any time within two years. He had objections to the measure; but he looked at the Bill as a whole, and he felt that its great merit was this— that it would allow the deliberate will of the colonial community to settle the institutions of New Zealand as they might think proper. If the intelligent public feeling of the Colony should be in favour of the local principle of government, he had no doubt that the local principle would in that case gain full scope, and override those powers, giving the Central Legislature a check over the Local Legislatures; but if public opinion should be in favour of a Central Legislature, then the central legislative power would limit, curtail, and cut down the powers of the Local Legislatures. On these grounds he was willing to support the clause as it stood at present.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he had little to say in addition to what had been said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford. He thought the sound and liberal principle was to allow the different municipal bodies to legislate for the good of their respective localities, restricting them only in the case of subjects of general and imperial importance, and that it would be far better to 42 leave their powers wide, in order to meet unforeseen contingencies, than to tie them up to any enumerated list of subjects, however wide they might be.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, he preferred the Clause to the Amendment of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth). He considered it was unwise to lay down rules and to attempt to legislate for the Colony.
§ MR. MOWATT
apprehended that, in the first instance, there would be a great struggle for supremacy between the Local and Central Legislatures under this Bill; for though a power of veto was given to the Central Legislature, yet he feared that would not be enough.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he should support the clause, because he felt that at the commencement of the working of these institutions the Provincial Councils would require greater scope than they would need afterwards.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 19.
§ MR. F. PEEL
said, he ventured to suggest an Amendment in one paragraph in this clause, the object of which would be to give the Local Legislatures the power of controlling the sale and letting of the Crown waste lands situated within the limits of their respective provinces, and also the appropriating the land fund arising from their disposal. As matters stood at present, the Crown—subject of course to the rights of the New Zealand Company—was at liberty to appropriate the proceeds of the land fund; but it was proposed by this Bill to transfer that power to the authorities within the Colony, and it therefore became a fair question to consider whether it would not be preferable that the local councils should exercise that power rather than the General Assembly. Now, he was of opinion that it would be, on the ground that where it was required that persons should pay a price for their land higher than its intrinsic value, they were entitled to receive an equivalent in the form of some moral or material advantage, directly and personally beneficial to themselves, and that they could derive that advantage only from this power over the produce of the land sales being conferred on the local councils. If they gave it to the General Assembly, he had no doubt that it would be exercised for the general benefit of New Zealand. But that general benefit might have a very remote and distant bearing on the interests of the particular settlement where the land was situ- 43 ated, and within which the land fund had been created. The revenue of the Colony must he derived principally from two sources—the customs, and the sale of land. Now the customs duties were imposed on articles that, though landed at particular ports, were consumed generally throughout the Colony, and therefore there could be no objection to giving the Central Legislature the appropriation of the revenues derived from the customs. But the case was different with respect to the land fund; because not a shilling of it might be spent in the neighbourhood of the persons who had contributed to it. So far with regard to the land fund. Now with regard to the power of controlling the price of land sold and let within the Colony, he believed that if it were not for the terms of purchase at which the New Zealand Company had contracted to sell their lands, and the rights of the Canterbury Association, the best thing would be that they should fix by Act of Parliament one uniform price for the sale of lands in New Zealand. That would be the only way in which they could prevent fluctuations in the price, and give a guarantee to persons investing capital in the lands of that colony, that their investments would neither be capriciously enhanced, nor depreciated in value. He believed farther, that such a course would be in accordance with the wishes of the Colonists themselves, because there had very recently been received from the residents an address to the Crown, praying that Her Majesty would fix one uniform price of land in New Zealand. But then they were told that the existing terms of purchase were contracts binding on the Crown, and that the Crown could not alter them without a breach of faith, unless with the consent of parties. It was fair to those who had purchased land in New Zealand on the terms issued by the Company, that those terms should not be altered without their consent. He considered, therefore, that the he3t course now would be to give to some authority within the Colony, the power of altering the terms of purchase. He thought it was most desirable that the terms of purchase should be altered. At present the price of land varied in the different settlements from 60s. to 20s.; and, therefore, he was in favour of giving to some authority within the Colony the power of altering it so as to bring it eventually into uniformity throughout every settlement. But he would give that power to the Local 44 Councils rather than to the General Assembly, because he considered that the purchasers of land within each settlement were the only parties entitled to determine whether the price should be altered or not. He pressed this the more, because he observed that in the Bill two provinces out of the six—the provinces of Canterbury and Otago—had the power of altering these terms. Now, he thought the other provinces would have a just right to complain if Canterbury and Otago, besides having the exclusive right to alter the price of their own lands, should also have a voice in altering the price of the land in the other provinces, as they would have if the power in question was conferred on the General Assembly. He trusted, therefore, that the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary would not object to the alteration in the clause which he suggested.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, no one was better acquainted than the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. F. Peel), with the peculiar circumstances which regulated the sale of lands in the two settlements to which he had alluded. But he was not disposed to yield to the suggestion of the hon. Member, because he intended the concession as a boon to the Colony, and he was unwilling to impair its value by subdivision. He agreed that it would be most desirable to have one uniform price for the lands; and the most likely way he thought of obtaining that end, would be to have all the lands under one management. Another important consideration was, the economy with which these lands might be managed; and he certainly thought that economy would be better consulted by having one central management, than by diffusing it Over the different Local Legislatures.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, he was also in favour of a uniform price for the land. At first that price was fixed at Wellington at 20s. per acre, 10s. of which was regarded as payment for the land. At Nelson the price was raised to 30s.—at Otago to 40s., and at Canterbury to 60s.In all of these the price of the land was about the same, but the additional price was intended as payment for additional advantages, as in education and religion. He thought that a uniform price, however, was desirable, but he did not think it would be attained by the means suggested by the hon. Member for Leominster.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, the Colony was most grateful to the right hon, Gentleman 45 (Sir J. Pakitigton) for having handed over to the colonial authorities the management of the land fund. With regard to the details, he concurred generally with the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. P. Peel), and he felt grateful to him for having stated so clearly and impressively the argument in favour of giving the management to the Colonial Legislatures. He could not say, however, that he was in favour of a uniform price—he should not think it was either desirable or even attainable, for circumstances would always differ in the different settlements. Neither did he think that economy would be gained by placing the management of the land fund in the hands of the Central Legislature. But at the same time, he knew the Colony felt so grateful in having the management of this fund conceded to them in any shape, that he would not now impede the progress of the Bill by raising objections to the mode.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
said, the question of land was the master question in every new settlement. For his part, he rejoiced that the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary had placed this question under the control of the Central Legislature, as he was satisfied that, when the transfer was once made, all questions regarding the price of land, and a hundred other subjects, would speedily be put an end to. The Colonial Legislature would have power to settle the price according to the natural principles of supply and demand; and he had no doubt that the proceedings of the New Zealand Legislature in this respect would set an example worthy to be followed by the other Colonies.
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, he thought the observations of the hon. Gentleman (Mr, J. E. Denison) would be deserving of more support if the Colony of New Zealand were now dealing with the land question, without being encumbered with the decisions of the various companies who possessed land there. He did not desire to impede the progress of the Bill; but if he might suggest the postponement of this clause, he thought it would be very desirable, as it was a most important one, and should be reconsidered. He also objected to that part of the Bill which related to post-offices and the carriage of letters, as he thought the term "Post-offices" a very ambiguous one. Another point which he thought was not sufficiently explicit in the Bill, was that relating to the erection and maintenance of lighthouses.
SIR JOHN PARTINGTON
said, he could not accede to the proposition for the postponement of the clause. Nothing could be more generally acknowledged than that the regulation of the Post-office was an Imperial concern. It was so here, and he could see no reason for a departure from the universal practice in this case.
§ MR. MOWATT
said, here was more evidence of the unhappy disposition of the Colonial Office in this country to encumber the Colonies with its interference. The Post-office, it had been said, was always matter for Imperial legislation. That was so in Europe; but to make it absolutely so in a case where it would take six months or more to get an answer on such a trifle as changing the office from one house to another in the same town, was ridiculous. What possible harm could result from striking such a clause out of the Bill? So, too, in the case of a lighthouse, what danger to Imperial interests was to be apprehended because a point of this kind was not referred to the Central Legislature?
§ MR. F. SCOTT
said, he should move that the words "Post-office" be struck out of the fifth division of the clause.
§ MR. EVELYN DENISON
said, the Central Legislature had power, by the 69th Clause, to alter the provisions of this Act; and if the regulations of the Post-office were found not to work well, they might be altered.
§ MR. SLANEY
thought the management of the Post-office was properly confided to the Imperial authority. A proof of this was afforded by the cheap postage of this country. The price of land, too, was properly left to the governing body; were it otherwise, the municipalities might bid against each other.
MR. VERNON SMITH
wished to know if it was likely any difference could arise in the legislation respecting Europeans and natives.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that in the event of the Central Legislature passing any enactment, that enactment must receive the consent of the Crown. As to any differences being likely to arise in legislation, as it regarded Europeans and natives, the whole spirit of this Bill, and the whole spirit of his intentions with regard to it, was to put the natives as completely as possible on a footing with the Europeans.
§ Amendments negatived.47
§ Clause agreed to; as were also Clauses 20 to 32 inclusive.
§ Clause 33 (Appointment of Members of the Legislative Council),
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that in deference to what had been said by the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell) in an earlier part of the evening, he was quite ready to strike out the words limiting the number of the Legislative Council to fifteen.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, that the great object of a second chamber was to obtain a Conservative element of a character to gain and deserve the respect of the people. The only way to make the upper house effective, was having it elective by the people, and allowing its members to sit for a longer period than those of the lower. Supposing they took six provinces, gave to each two members, elected them for eight years, and made half go out every four years; such a house, as shown in the States, would, and does truly, represent the natural Conservative element. That element it was impossible to obtains by means of Government nomi-nature. There was a strong feeling against nominees everywhere—in New Zealand as in Australia. Take the most popular man and make him a nominee of the Crown, he at once ceases to be popular; he is considered a mere tool of the Government. By making nominees he was certain that they did not get what they wanted, and that they offended the sense of the people. He protested against this nominated second chamber as being contrary to that sound principle of balance of power which he thought ought to exist in every Government formed on an analogy to the Constitution of England or of the United States.
§ MR. MOWATT
said, that this clause constituted the essence of the Bill, and if it was retained in its present shape, and the Upper Chamber was nominated by the representative of the Crown, however perfect the Bill might be in the rest of its machinery and details, it would be utterly valueless for the purpose which that House had in view—to satisfy the colonists. An effective upper chamber was found in the case of the Senate of the United States to infuse a conservative element into the Legislature of the country; and he believed that a check upon the popular body in the Lower House could be obtained in the mode proposed by the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth), or by other means, as efficiently as by the system of nominees. 48 Let them raise the standard of the qualification for the members of the Upper House as high as they liked, so as to obtain, in the best way they could, the men whom they would wish the Governor to select for the members of the Upper House; but let them not adopt a system which would have the effect of utterly destroying the efficiency of any man who was called up to that assembly.
§ MR. S. CARTER
hoped the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) would divide the Committee on this question, because he regarded it as the most important clause in the Bill. It was an attempt to establish a bungling imitation of the House of Lords in a new settlement, or, what was worse, to create an oligarchy of fifteen in the Colony. The most effective and satisfactory way of proceeding would be to make the members of the Upper Chamber elective.
§ MR. FORSTER
said, he must express his concurrence in the views which had been stated by previous speakers with reference to the injurious effect of the nominee system. He had rather have the sole responsibility of the Governor than that of the nominee Upper Chamber, which was generally used merely as a screen for the exercise of his authority. He believed that the clause as it at present stood would have a most mischievous effect in the Colony, and would give great dissatisfaction.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that, whatever decision the Committee might come to, he could not subscribe to the opinion which had been expressed by the hon. Member for Penryn (Mr. Mowatt), that this clause was so important as in its present form to render the Bill entirely valueless. He thought that was attaching a most exaggerated importance to the clause, and that it was a view which would not be entertained by any Colony under our rule. When he heard the statement of the hon. Member for Tavistock (Mr. S. Carter), that this was a bungling and abortive attempt to create a House of Lords in the Colony of New Zealand, he could only suppose that that hon. Gentleman, having only just entered the House, had never ascertained what was the constitution of the Legislative Assemblies in those Colonies in which representative institutions existed. This was certain, that whether the alteration which was now pressed upon the Government was or was not a good one, it was an experiment which had never yet been tried in the British dominionsl; 49 and however unpopular the avowal might he, it was a change to which nothing should induce him to assent. The hon. Member for Penryn said that an elected Upper Chamber answered in the United States; he (Sir J. Pakington) did not say that it did not, hut with every respect for the United States, he was not disposed to go there for precedents for the constitution of a British Colony. He preferred the institutions of his own country; and the hon. Member had not, in his opinion, brought forward any argument for an elected Upper Chamber, which would not be equally good for an elective representative of the Crown. He thought it was the duty of that House to see that the institutions of our Colonies were assimilated as closely as possible to those of the mother country. How they had no precedent for an elective Upper Chamber either in England or in any of the Colonies which had representative institutions; and although he did not mean to say that they could make the analogy perfectly literal and close between the two cases, he believed that they would obtain the closest analogy possible to the House of Lords, by giving to the Crown the power of nominating the members of the Upper Chamber; the only difference being that the dignity conferred was hereditary in the former, and not in the latter case. There were five representative constitutions in North America, namely, those of Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward's Island, and Newfoundland, and in every one of these the Upper Chamber was nominated by the Crown. The same was the case in the West Indies, with the exception of British Guiana, which had a peculiar constitution left by the Dutch. He might be told that there was an exception to this rule in the case of the Cape of Good Hope; but the constitution for that Colony had only been sent out the other day; it was not yet completed, and had not yet become one of the settled constitutions of the British Empire. He would be no party to any other course than that of assimilating the constitution of the Colonies to that of the mother country, which would not be done if they made the Upper Chamber elective. He differed altogether from hon. Members opposite with respect to the theoretical disadvantages of a no minee Upper Chamber, for, looking to that body to fulfil the functions of a check upon the more popular branch of the legislature, and at the same time as standing between 50 it and the Crown (represented by the Governor), he thought those functions would be much more efficiently discharged by an independent body of men, than by a chamber deriving their existence from the same authority which nominated the lower branch of the legislature.
§ Mr. F. PEEL
said, that the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary declared that he desired to assimilate the constitution of the Colonies to that of the mother country, and would be no party to the adoption of a different course. Now it was very natural that we, who knew by experience what was the advantage of living under institutions so nicely balanced and justly proportioned as our own, should desire that our descendants in the Colonies should participate in what we found was so great a boon to ourselves. But then he thought we should give the Colonies not only the form but also the substance of the English Constitution. Now, he failed to perceive what was the practical advantage to be derived from having a nominated Upper Chamber. The advantage of an Upper Chamber was generally supposed to be that the passage of a measure through two chambers gave time for deliberation, and prevented crude and hasty legislation, and what was merely the reflection of the transient impulses of the moment. Another great advantage of a second chamber was, that it prevented the representative of the Crown from coming into direct collision with the will of the people, which would be the case if there were only a single chamber, and he was obliged to veto any objectionable measure which it might have passed. If, however, the Upper Chamber was to resist the current of popular feeling, it must have some inherent force and vitality in it that commanded the respect of the country, and in some sort enlisted on its side the prejudices and feelings of the people. Now the House of Lords in this country was qualified to discharge functions of this sort, because it was composed of persons having large territorial possessions, and who had been ennobled for services they had themselves rendered to the country, or which had been rendered by those who stood in the line of their ancestry. But what resemblance would a nominated upper chamber have to the House of Lords? The Governor was to select whom he pleased for its members, without respect to territorial possessions, or to any other condition of eligibility. He did not think that a body so 51 composed could command the respect of the Colony. Moreover the members of the Council, when once chosen, were to hold their offices for life, so they would not merely be independent of the people, hut also of the Governor; and it was clear, therefore, that they would compose a close oligarchy, who would be most likely to impede the progress of all measures that would conduce to the advantage of the Colony. When the right hon. Baronet referred to Canada and the other provinces of British North America, he (Mr. F. Peel) must remind the Committee that there had been recent changes in the constitution of these colonies, which were not without a bearing upon this question of how the Council should be composed. It was always supposed that the Governor would fill up the vacancies occurring in the Council by persons of acknowledged ability, distinct from any party considerations, and because they represented the leading interests in the Colony. But of late years there had been an agitation in North America for what they called responsible government— very incorrectly, as he thought, because he hoped and believed that the Executive of our Colonies was conducted under a sense of responsibility, not merely to the Colonial Office, but also to the people whose administration they conducted, and whose affairs were placed under their direction; what they meant was party government—government by persons who possessed the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives. Now in Canada, Nova Scotia, and, he believed, in other provinces of British North America, where responsible Governments had been established, what had been the effect produced on the manner in which the Councils were appointed? The vacancies were now filled up by the Governor, on the views of his Executive; and the Executive, being now the government of a party, of course recommended persons, not with reference to their station or ability in the Colony, or to their being of the leading interests, but because they sided with their own party views. The effect of that change had been still lower to depress the Council in public estimation, and to lessen the respect attached to it. But the right hon. Gentleman said that precedent must rule the day, and that in whatever Colonies there were two chambers, one of these had always been nominated by the Governor. Now we had a very extensive Colonial Empire, and one extending to all 52 the quarters of the world; but only in the West Indies and in the North American provinces had we any example of legislation by two chambers. The area, therefore, of our experience was comparatively a restricted one. It was quite true that the upper chambers, where such existed, in the West Indian Colonies were nominated by the Governor; but he contended that there were particular reasons for this, which did not apply to the case of New Zealand. In these islands the upper chamber was not merely the Legislative Council, but it was also the Privy Council and the Executive of the Governor; and no one had suggested that the Executive of an officer appointed by the Crown, should be elected by the people. The Legislative Council in Jamaica, for instance, which was only an illustration of what existed also in the other islands, consisted of eleven persons; three being members ex officio — the Bishop, the Chief Justice, and the Commander-in-Chief of the Forces—who were also members of the Privy Council of the Governor, and gave advice in that capacity —and eight others holding the chief offices of the Executive, and being in fact, salaried officers of the Government. But although this reason existed for the upper chamber being nominated by the Governor, it was not true that there had been no disposition in Jamaica to make the upper chamber elective. When, two or three years ago, the Retrenchment Bills which passed the House of Assembly were rejected by the Legislative Council, the former body passed a resolution declaring that the latter did not possess the confidence of the country, or of the House of Assembly, because it was nominated; and although their constitution had been in existence 200 years, they addressed the Crown, praying that it might be altered, and that the Legislative Council might be made elective; nor, in fact, did the people in our North American colonies so entirely acquiesce in a Legislative Council appointed by the Governor, or consider it so serviceable to good government as the right hon. Gentleman had represented. Only last year the House of Assembly in New Brunswick passed a resolution to address the Crown to make the upper chamber elective, and the Governor had prepared a measure for carrying out that object, and had laid it before the Legislative Council. That body had postponed the consideration of it to the present year; but what course the Legislature of the Colony had taken with respect to it 53 this year, he was not aware. Newfoundland had also last year addressed the Crown, asking for party and responsible Government, and that the Legislative Council might be made elective. Every one, too, who knew the history of Canada knew that there had been a constant struggle and antagonism between the two chambers in that country. What took place with respect to the clergy reserves, was one illustration of the want of harmony between them. In nine consecutive Sessions immediately preceding the union of the Canadas, the House of Assembly of Upper Canada passed a Bill, which was as often rejected by the upper chamber, for secularising the clergy reserves, and applying them to the purposes of education. Now if the Legislative Council had not been nominated but had been elected, that measure would have passed through both Houses; and it was quite clear, therefore, that the members of the Legislative Council had been selected by the Governor without much reference to the proportions which the different religious bodies in that Colony bore to each other. These were reasons that might well lead the Committee to doubt whether the precedents that had been referred to by the right hon. Baronet were of so much weight as he supposed, and whether it was not expedient to try the experiment of an elective chamber in New Zealand.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, that one argument that had been used against this clause convinced him that the clause ought to be agreed to. The argument of the hon. Gentleman who had just resumed his seat was, that the effect of this clause would be to have a Legislative Council independent of the people, and also of the Crown, as represented by the Governor. Now, that was the very object of an upper chamber— to guard against crude and hasty legislation, reflecting too rapidly the premature opinions of the people, before they were well digested, and admitted as sound opinions by the country at large, while, on the other hand, it operated against any undue encroachments on the part of the Crown, which, by its preponderance, might press on the liberties and freedom of the people. But, in addition to that, what the hon. Gentleman had stated in reference to precedent ought to weigh very strongly with the Committee in their decision upon this question. It was right they should assimilate the institutions of every part of Her Majesty's dominions, as far as circum- 54 stances would admit, to those institutions which we had found so much for our own benefit; and he was astonished, when they were discussing this Colonial question, to find a sort of censure cast upon those institutions which they were so willing to praise when applied to this country, but which they were prepared to abandon when applied to our fellow-countrymen in the Colonies. He thought that if that House wished to encourage the best class of emigrants to go out to our different colonial dependencies, they could not do it in so excellent a manner as by securing to these Colonies all the laws, habits, and usages to which they had been accustomed in this country.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, he agreed that, in order to encourage the upper classes to become Colonists, it was right to hold out all the inducements possible; but yet he thought the present clause was the blot upon the Bill. He should like to know from the right hon. Colonial Secretary, who had told the Committee that he had been in communication with gentlemen connected with our Colonies, whether any of these gentlemen had sanctioned this mode of proceeding by a nominee Council? He had no objections to the existence of a second chamber as a check on hasty legislation; but he would ask whether there was no other mode of constituting this intervening body which it was desirable to have? Was there no way of introducing a property qualification in the constitution of that chamber, so as to effect a nearer resemblance to the House of Lords in this country? He declared, from his extensive correspondence with those parties who had emigrated to this Colony of New Zealand, that nothing was more odious than a nominee Council; and it was a fact that the persons summoned to the Council by the Governor refused to be his nominees, on the ground that they would have been looked on with suspicion as the tools of the Government. He strongly urged upon Her Majesty's Ministers the reconsideration of this clause, and the question which had been raised upon it.
§ MR. ADDERLEY
said, he thought that the fact of the members of the upper chamber being nominated for life, was, perhaps, a saving clause; and he thought it just possible that it might render them sufficiently independent of the Crown. For he did not think the Governor would dare to swamp them by increasing the number of the chamber, nor that he could do so if 55 he tried. He joined issue with the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies upon the point of precedent, for he maintained that every precedent in English Colonial history was in favour of an elected upper chamber. If he refused to take the United States as a model for the constitution of a British colony, let him go back to those States when they were not only the finest Colonies of England, but the finest Colonies that the world had ever seen. A division of the legislature into two chambers had always been found necessary in New England, and in every case both chambers were elective. He thought when the right hon. Baronet said that he would not take a lession from the United States, he was carried away by forms and names, and had lost sight of the spirit and essence of the thing. And when he referred to the case of Canada, let him bear in mind what was pressed upon their attention the other evening by the right hon. Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), that those who were there agitating for such a change in the constitution as would render the upper chamber elective, were the Conservatives, and those who were in favour of the preservation of British influence in that Colony. He (Mr. Adderley) trembled when he heard the right hon. Gentleman say that the Constitution for the Cape of Good Hope was not yet a settled feature of our colonial policy, but was still sub judice, for he was perfectly certain, from information which he could not doubt, that any despatch which the right hon. Gentleman might send out, altering the elective character of the upper chamber, would convulse the Colony to its very foundation. That was the most popular feature in the Constitution, and, once having been promised and held out to the Colonists, their attachments, hopes, and expectations connected with it, were such that it would not be safe, having regard to the integrity of the Empire, to deprive them of it. He hoped, however, that if the right hon. Gentleman made a sine quâ non of this proposition, the Committee would consent to it, rather than lose the Bill altogether.
§ LORD JOHN MANNERS
said, he was not much in the habit of taking part in colonial debates, but it seemed to him that some hon. Gentlemen who had expressed their views upon the formation of a Constitution for this Colony were too apt to consider that Constitution as thoroughly complete, and not in the light more or less 56 of an experiment. It was impossible that, in a new Colony, they should find a House of Lords, or House of Commons, or Court of Judicature, or Established Church, that would be exactly equivalent to the corresponding institutions in the mother country; and the objection that had been urged against a nominated upper chamber in New Zealand might as well be urged against the House of Assembly of New Zealand, or any other institution in that Colony. What the Committee ought to regard on such an occasion as the present was, whether the institutions proposed for the Colonies were calculated in their ultimate effect to produce the same results which had issued from the institutions of this country. He supported the clause in the Bill, because the upper chamber, which his right hon. Friend proposed, might very fairly be expected to yield those results which had flown in a long series of years from the corresponding institution in this country. He saw in this chamber, thus nominated by the Governor, the germ of a New Zealand House of Lords. It was true, they did not find at present the elements which would form a House of Lords as it existed at this moment in England; he did not see the property and the ancestral position which rendered the House of Lords, in the 19th century, worthy of the dignity and the high respect universally accorded to it. But if these were now wanting, that was no reason for saying they would always remain so. Their duty as statesmen was to provide institutions for the Colonies with a view to the future—such as would give those results that had been arrived at in this country. He regarded it as a recommendation of a chamber appointed by the Governor, that it would be independent of him. Such a chamber would form the basis of a more free, and a more independent, upper chamber than any which the hon. Gentlemen opposite could devise, and of one more free, more independent, and more powerful than any that should exist at the will of the Governor. He therefore trusted the Committee would accede to the proposal of his right hon. Friend.
MR. VERNON SMITH
said, he was glad to find they had got in the noble Lord a new recruit on Colonial affairs, because the great cause of complaint was that so few persons in that House had taken an interest in them. He must say, however, that he was surprised and astonished at the alteration of tone on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers, because hitherto they 57 had proceeded on the supposition that the consent of the Colonists was the first thing to he considered, and he was sorry to hear that Her Majesty's Government had departed from that doctrine. The elective principle was the one advocated by almost every Colony; it was the Constitution they had given to the Cape of Good Hope. And why not give it to New Zealand—why did they go backward in their course? He was surprised at the right hon. Baronet's sudden horror of American and Republican Constitutions, when he introduced this Bill, forming, in fact, six small Republics and a sort of Federal Government; and anything having more of an American appearance could scarcely be conceived. Now, however, the right hon. Gentleman was determined that nothing should be done in the Colony except by exact analogy to the mother country. Instead of a House of Lords, they were to have sixteen gentlemen nominated by the Governor of the Colony for life; but it would require the fancy even of the noble Lord who had just sat down to discover any analogy between the two bodies. The House of Lords was possessed of property and of prestige, and he could not conceive anything more absurd than a proposal for establishing in their Colonies a nominative Council and calling it a House of Lords. All they wanted was a double assembly for the purposes of deliberation— that was to say, that every question should he submitted twice for consideration; and if they elected that second body with a different qualification and a different term of duration, they had all that was wanting for deliberative consideration. The hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Ad-derley), had asked them not to oppose the clause, because it would be fatal to the Bill. He (Mr. V. Smith) had yet to learn that it would be fatal to the Bill; but it was their duty to assert the principle which was most dear to the Colonists, namely, the elective principle; and they should not he scared from their course by the threat of the right hon. Gentleman to throw up the Bill if the clause were struck out—a threat which he hoped he would not carry into effect.
§ MR. MOWATT
said, he would admit that an elective Council was against the general usage of our Colonial policy; hut the consequence of that policy was, that, instead of our Colonies being really an outlet for our population, we found that 99 out of every 100 emigrants betook themselves to other Colonies instead of our 58 own. This was but one instance of our insisting upon legislating for the Colonies in every single matter even of the most trifling importance. They must change the system of legislation for the Colonies, because it was a gross inconsistency to talk about self-government to them, when in the same breath they assumed that their own institutions were perfect, and therefore would force them upon the Colonies. That was what the right hon. Baronet had said over and over again; and it appeared to horrify him that they should get up there and talk of the institutions of the United States; but he (Mr. Mowatt) thought it must be admitted that, as a Conservative Chamber, the Senate of the States of America had worked admiraby. He believed it was the desire of the right hon. Baronet to confer such a system of self-government on the Colonies as would work beneficially, and, therefore, he hoped he would lay aside the idea that he was committed to all the details of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman had only recently acceded to office; he had not had a lengthened opportunity of studying the question, and he (Mr. Mowatt) hoped the right hon. Gentleman would not object to their proposing in Committee the alteration of some important clauses.
§ MR. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, he wished to know by whom it was desired that the Constitution of this country should he imitated as far as possible in the Colonies? Was it by theorists on this side of the ocean, or by the Colonists themselves? He had never been able to satisfy himself that there was any occasion for a second House at all; but if two Houses there must be, the second ought to he like the House of Representatives, an elective one. The right hon. Baronet the Secretary for the Colonies, and the noble Lord the Member for Colchester (Lord J. Manners) spoke of the necessity of having a nominated chamber, in order to keep down what they were pleased to term the democratical element. Had either of them seen how this principle had operated in colonics where it had been tried? He (Mr. C. Anstey) had been in a Colony where the prerogative of the Crown had been exercised by the nomination of a Legislative Council, and he assorted that not a single gentleman of landed property or consideration in the Colony found a place there. The persons who wore originally named refused to sit in it, and the places were filled up with adventurers who happened to be in the 59 Colony. This was the sort of House of Lords which the right hon. Gentleman wished to plant in New Zealand. He would not find a single gentleman who would consent to sit there; but he might find clerks and adventurers, and—to use a word which Thackeray had rendered classical—snobs. He would remind the right hon. Gentleman that a nominee Council caused a rebellion in Canada, and if we had not been wise in time, the same grievance would have caused a rebellion in Australia. There was but one choice to make, and that was between one House of Representatives and two Houses of Representatives. Other choice there was none; and if the Bill passed in its present shape, he was sure that the people of New Zealand would repudiate with indignation the insult which had been offered to them.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that when the right hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith) spoke of his (Sir J. Pakington's) creating six little Republics, he begged to repudiate the term. What he had proposed would no more make little Republics, than every city in this Kingdom was a Republic. After the spirit in which the Bill had been met, he could not help expressing a very earnest hope that the great majority of that House would be disposed to act in, the manner which had been announced by the noble Lord the Member for London. The noble Lord had stated that there was great weight in the reasons which he (Sir J. Pakington) had given for a nominee chamber, and said that, though he might be disposed to agree with Earl Grey in preferring an elective upper chamber, certainly he should not be disposed by any vote of his to endanger this Bill upon that point. That was what the noble Lord had stated in very distinct terms. He could not help saying once more that he had heard nothing in the course of the debate to support some of the statements which had been made of dissatisfaction on the part of the Colonists. The petitions which he had laid on the table that evening, begged that, as the Bill was, so it might pass. He begged also to remind the Committee, that it was not only throughout Canada, and not only in the West Indies, that the nominee Legislative Council existed, but by the constitution of the Australian Colonies, as reconstructed 60 with only a single chamber, in every one of them there was a proportion of nominee members. [An Hon. MEMBER: One third.] Yes; one-third. The fact was, that wherever there were two chambers, one was a nominee chamber, and where there was a single chamber, the same principle was recognised, and one-third of the members were nominees. He must repeat his hope that the Committee would be actuated by the spirit which he had already alluded to. There might be differences of opinion as to the details, but he thought the principle had been admitted, and he looked upon this as an essential principle of the measure.
SIR WILLIAM MOLESWOTH
said, the right hon. Baronet was hardly treating them fairly. The debate had been entered into that evening, as far as he was concerned, with the understanding that the minority should yield to the majority, because they were all anxious to carry this Bill. There were many clauses in it to which he strongly objected, and if he had opposed them separately, the Bill could not have passed. But he had not done so; and on every occasion when he found himself apparently in a minority, he had yielded. He now asked that the right hon. Baronet, if he found himself in a minority, should in like manner yield. He and those who agreed with him on this question were prepared, bond fide, to carry out this Bill without any factious opposition, according to the will of the majority, and he said that if the right hon. Baronet should throw up the Bill, if the majority decided that the Legislative Council should be elected, it would be a departure from the understanding which had been come to.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, that in several instances in the course of the discussion that evening, he had acted upon the principle of the hon. Baronet, and had yielded to what appeared to be the wish of the majority. At the commencement of the discussion, also, he had agreed to several important alterations; but he begged it to be understood that he could not say, and that he should not be justified in saying, on the part of the Government, that he would give up anything with regard to what he considered to be the important principles of the measure.
§ MR. WALTER
said, he hoped that no apprehensions as to the fate of this Bill would deter hon. Members, who, like himself, shared the objections of the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. 61 Molesworth) from recording their votes against this clause. Any temporary delay in the passing of this Bill which might be occasioned by an adverse vote upon this clause, would be compensated by the advantage of gaining another opportunity of framing a measure for the government of New Zealand upon sound principles of colonial policy. He, for one, entertained the strongest objections to this clause; and he could not imagine a greater libel upon British institutions than the attempt which had been made to compare this nominee Chamber with the British House of Lords.
§ Question put, "That the Clause, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 132; Noes 89: Majority 43.
|List of the AYES.|
|Acland, Sir T. D.||Gaskell, J. M.|
|Adderley, C. B.||Goddard, A. L.|
|Arkwright, G.||Gooch, Sir E. S.|
|Bailey, '.||Greene, T,|
|Baillie, H. J.||Gwvn, H.|
|Baird, J.||Hale, R. B.|
|Bankes, rt. hon. G.||Halsey, T. P.|
|Baring, T.||Hamilton, G. A.|
|Barrington, Visct.||Hardinge, hon. C. S.|
|Barrow, W. II.||Harris, hon. Capt.|
|Beresford, rt. hon. W.||Hayes, Sir E.|
|Best, J.||Henley, rt. hon. J. W.|
|Blair, S.||Hemes, rt. hon. J. C.|
|Blandford, Marq. of||Hervey, Lord A.|
|Boldero, H. G.||Hildyard, R. C.|
|Bramston, T. W.||Hill, Lord E.|
|Bremridge, R.||Hope, Sir J.|
|Bridges, Sir B. W.||Hope, H. T.|
|Broadwood, H.||Hotham, Lord|
|Bruce, C. L. C.||Howard, Sir R.|
|Burrell, Sir C. M.||Hudson, G.|
|Campbell, hon. W.||Hughes, W. B.|
|Campbell, Sir A. 1.||Johnstone, Sir.].|
|Cayley, E. S.||Jolliffe, Sir W. G. H.|
|Chandos, Marq. of||Jones, Capt.|
|Chichester, Lord J. L.||Kelly, Sir F.|
|Child, S.||Knight, F. W.|
|Cholmeley, Sir M.||Knox, Col.|
|Christopher, rt.hon.R. A.||Langton, W. G.|
|Christy, S.||Lennox, Lord A. G.|
|Cocks, T. S.||Lockhart, W.|
|Cotton, hon. W. II. S.||Lowther, hon. Col.|
|Darner, hon. Col.||Lygon, hon. Gen.|
|Deedes, W.||Mandeville, Visct.|
|Disraeli, rt, hon. B.||Manners, Lord G.|
|Dodd, G.||Manners, Lord J.|
|Drax, J. S. W. S. E.||Martin, C. W.|
|Dunne, Col.||Meux, Sir H|
|East, Sir J. B.||Miles, W.|
|Edwards, H.||Moody, C. A.|
|Farrer, J.||Morgan, 0.|
|Ferguson, Sir R. A.||Mundy, W.|
|Filmer, Sir E.||Mure, Col.|
|Floyer, J.||Naas, Lord|
|Forbes, W.||Napier, rt. hon. J.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Neeld, J.|
|Freshfield, J. W.||Newdegate, C. N.|
|Gallwey, Sir W. P.||Noel, hon. G. J.|
|Packe, C. W.||Tennent, Sir J. E.|
|Pakington, rt. hon. Sir J.||Thesiger, Sir F.|
|Palmer, R.||Tollemache, J.|
|Palmer, R.||Trollope, rt. hon. Sir J.|
|Peel, Col.||Tyler, Sir G.|
|I'owlett, Lord W.||Tyrell, Sir J. T.|
|Renton, J. C.||Vesey, hon. T.|
|Repton, G. W. J.||Villiers, hon. F. W. C.|
|Rushout, Capt||Vivian, J. E.|
|Sandars, G.||Walpole, rt. hon. S. H.|
|Scott, hon. F.||Wellesley, Lord C.|
|Seymer, H. K.||West, F. R.|
|Smollett, A.||Westhead, J. P. B.|
|Somerton, Visct.||Whiteside, J.|
|Stafford, A.||Wodehouse, E.|
|Stanley, E.||Wynn, H. W. W.|
|Stuart, J.||Lennox, Lord H.|
|Sturt, H. G||Knox, W. S.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Aglionby, H. A.||Hindley, C.|
|Anson, hon. Gen.||Hollond, R.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Hutchins, E. J.|
|Armstrong, R. B.||Hutt, W.|
|Bailies, rt. hon. M. T.||Keating, R.|
|Bell, J.||Keogh, W.|
|Berkeley, C. L. G.||Kinnaird, hon. A. F.|
|Bouveric, hon. E. P.||Littleton, hon. E. R.|
|Bright, J.||Locke, J.|
|Brotherton, J||Meagher, T.|
|Brown, W.||Mangles, R. D.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Matheson, Col.|
|Buxton, Sir E. N.||Milner, W. M. E.|
|Carter, S.||Morris, D.|
|Clay, J.||O'Brien, Sir T.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Parker, J.|
|Cobden, R.||Pechell, Sir G. B|
|Coke, hon. E. K.||Peel, F.|
|Colebrooke, Sir T. E.||Perfect, R.|
|Cowan, C.||Ricardo, O.|
|Crowder, R. B.||Rice, E. R.|
|Dalrymple, J.||Romilly, Col.|
|Denison, J. E.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Devereux, J. T.||Sadleir, J.|
|D' Eyncourt, rt hon, C.T.||Seobell, Capt.|
|Douglas, Sir C. E.||Scully, F.|
|Duff, J.||Seymour, Lord|
|Duncan, Visct,||Smith, rt. hon. R. V.|
|Duncan, G.||Smith, J. A.|
|Ellice, E.||Strutt, rt. hon. E.|
|Ellis, J.||Stewart, Adm.|
|Estcourt, J. B. B.||Stuart, Lord D.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Sutton, J. H. M.|
|Forster, M.||Tancred, H. W.|
|Fox, W. J.||Thompson, Col.|
|Geach, C.||Thornely, T.|
|Greene, J.||Towneley, J.|
|Hardeastle, J. A.||Townley, R. G.|
|Harris, R.||Walter," J.|
|Hastie, A.||Watkins, Col. L.|
|Hastie, A.||Williams, J.|
|Hayter, rt. hon. W. G.||Williams, W.|
|Heneage, G. H. W.||Wyld, J.|
|Heywortb, I.||Molesworth, Sir W.|
|Higgins. G. G. O.||Mowatt, F.|
§ Clause agreed to; as were also the Clauses from 34 to 49 inclusive.
§ Clause 50, which provides for the vacating of seats in certain cases,63
§ MR. CHISHOLM ANSTEY
said, he wished to know whether Her Majesty's Ministers could assign any reason for not including in this clause a provision for excluding Jews from the House of Assembly in New Zealand. Some of the Members of Government had certainly distinguished themselves for their Christian zeal for the exclusion of Jews from the House of Commons of this country, and here was an admirable opportunity for the exercise of the same zeal to exclude Jews from an assembly not yet in being, with this difference—that in the House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland the Jews had a right by law, whereas in New Zealand they had no right whatever. He trusted, therefore, that some Christian Gentlemen on the Opposition benches would get up and move the insertion of a provision to exclude Jews from the House of Assembly in New Zealand; and he (Mr. C. Anstey) should have great pleasure in voting against it.
§ Clause agreed to; as were also the Clauses from 51 to 67 inclusive.
§ Clause 68, which provides that the General Assembly shall have power to make any alterations in the constitution of the House of Representatives.
§ SIR EDWARD BUXTON
said, that the Local Assemblies had not the power of inflicting any disabilities upon the natives of New Zealand to which Europeans were not equally liable. This restriction, as he understood, did not at present apply to the General Assembly. It seemed to him that no course could be so dangerous as, in a case where the natives were so numerous, intelligent, and warlike as in New Zealand, to give power to any portion of the Colonists to establish an internal superiority over the natives. He trusted, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies would take care that some words were introduced which would extend the limitation in question also to the General Assembly.
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he fully appreciated the motives of the hon. Baronet in making this suggestion. He (Sir J. Pakington) could hardly imagine that the Central Legislature would desire to pass any law which would bear hardly upon the natives, considering what those natives were; still less could he imagine that, even if they did pass any such law, the Governor-in-Chief would hesitate to disallow it. Besides which, it would have to come home for ratification. At the same time he could conceive it possible that there might be 64 outbreaks among the natives, and that it might be necessary to give the Central Legislature power to deal with such a case. But he promised the hon. Baronet that he would consider the matter, and see what could be done with regard to it.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, he took objection to the clause on the ground that, as it then stood, the Governor of New Zealand might take any portion of the Colony and make it a native district, and then establish all the native laws and customs there.
§ MR. WALPOLE
said, by Clause 53 it was competent to the General Assembly, except as after mentioned, to make laws for the peace and good government of the Colony, provided such laws were not repugnant to the law of England. Then, by Clause 71, power was given to the Governor to cause the laws, customs, and usages of the aboriginal inhabitants to be observed, so far as they were not repugnant to the general principles of humanity. The reason for the clause was, that there were portions of New Zealand where it would be advisable to maintain the customs and laws of the natives until the whole Colony had become more or less incorporated with the European inhabitants. It was not advisable to say at once that the General Assembly should make no laws except such as were consonant with the laws of England, and so at once destroy all the usages and laws which the native inhabitants might think it desirable to retain.
§ Clause agreed to; as were also Clauses 72 and 73,
§ Clause 74, which provides that upon all sales of Waste Lands 5s. per acre shall be paid to the New Zealand Company till their debt is discharged,
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
said, he wished to know how the Exchequer was to recover back the sum lent to the New Zealand Company?
§ SIR JOHN PAKINGTON
said, he had endeavoured to do justice to the New Zealand Company and no more, in making that provision in the Bill, and he could not help expressing a hope that it might not be made a ground for reviving bygone differences. The loans in question were cancelled, and he was afraid the state of affairs between the Exchequer and the New Zealand Company was all the other way, and not as the hon. Baronet supposed. The truth was, the Crown was a 65 purchaser of the New Zealand Company to a very large extent.
§ SIR HENRY WILLOUGHBY
Have these loans been repaid? [An Hon. MEMBER: No!] Then the Exchequer has sustained a loss.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, that the present Government, whatever its merits or demerits, was not responsible for the transaction to which the hon. Baronet alluded. That matter was settled by an Act passed in 1847. He concurred in the remark made by the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies deprecating a renewal of old discussions. He regretted that at the commencement of the debate he had been led to introduce bygone transactions, to which it would have been better had no reference been made. He objected to the clause, not as surplusage, but as tending to cause doubts.
§ Clause agreed to.
§ Clause 74.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said, that it was his intention, at this stage of the Bill, to discuss the conduct of the New Zealand Company.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said: As this question of the New Zealand Company is not necessarily connected with the legislation which is now before the Committee, I beg to suggest that the best course which we could take would be to postpone the discussion of that question until the bringing up of the Report. We should then come prepared to deal with that subject — to form an impartial opinion, and give an impartial verdict. If the hon. Baronet will agree with that suggestion—if he will reserve the discussion of that question till another occasion—we shall be able to get through the remaining clauses of the Bill. If we should fix the discussion on the con duct of the New Zealand Company for the bringing up of the Report, that controversy could be entered into, and every other topic excluded.
§ SIR WILLIAM MOLESWORTH
said. he was very sorry to say that he could not agree with the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman. He could not consent to the adoption of this clause.
The CHANCELLOR or THE EXCHEQUER
Has the hon. Baronet any objection to the postponement of this clause until the remaining clauses have been agreed to.
§ MR. AGLIONBY
said, that unless this clause was retained (with such amendments as he hoped the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Colonial Office would agree to), Parliament would commit a gross breach of faith. Amendments on Clauses 74, 75, and 76 had been drawn by counsel, with the view of securing sufficient protection to the New Zealand Company. Those Amendments had only been submitted to the right hon. Baronet on the previous day, and it was impossible that he could have fully considered them. He (Mr. Aglionby), therefore, suggested that progress should now be reported.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
said, he would consent to that course, but thought that the Committee might proceed with the further discussion of the Bill on Monday morning.
§ The CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I should propose, then, if convenient to hon. Members, to take it on Thursday, after Supply.
§ House resumed.
§ Committee reported progress.