HC Deb 07 June 1852 vol 122 cc132-3

rose to ask the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether the despatches just arrived from the Cape announced the passing of the constitution ordinances, including the alterations of the franchise against which the Attorney General protested; what information had been received relating to the rumoured advance of Praetorius against the Zoolus; and whether treaties were actually entered into with the Caffre chiefs for the termination of the war? The papers and letters just received were full of the importance of the expressions of Lord Derby last year, when he said in the debate on the Cape in the House of Lords— I might have hesitated as to the introduction of so large a measure of representative government as is contemplated in the plan disclosed by these papers. But I say that, inasmuch as the question has been raised, and has been raised upon such high authority, and has obtained the sanction of so large a portion of the colonists, and the sanction of the Grown, I say that any risk is to be encountered, and I will not bate one jot of the extent of free institutions proposed to be conferred upon the colony, however much I may look with anxious apprehension to the working of these institutions—at all events in the first place."—[3 Hansard, cxviii. 717.] He wished, also, to know if Government intended to carry out their legislation on the subject this Session?


said, that the question of which the hon. Member had given notice embraced three points, to which he had added a fourth, and, in replying, he (Sir J. Pakington) would take them seriatim. As the hon. Member had given notice of the question on Saturday, he presumed the hon. Member referred to the accounts which came over a week ago with Sir Harry Smith, and he might not be aware that a mail had arrived this morning. By the mail of a week ago he (Sir J. Pakington) had received a despatch from General Cathcart, stating that he had thought it to be his duty to pass the constitution ordinances with the alterations made by the Council; and, by the mail of this morning, he had received the ordinances themselves. As to the second question, he was very happy to be able to state that the rumoured advances of Prsetorius against the Zoolus not only remained without foundation, but that by the mail this morning he had received the agreeable information that a convention had been agreed to between Prsetorius and Her Majesty's Commissioners, and that peaceful relations had been established. As to the third question, whether treaties were entered into with the Kaffir chiefs, he regretted to say he had no information that they were; and he was afraid, from the despatches received from General Cathcart, there was no reason to believe there would be. With respect to the fourth question. he did not know till a week ago that the ordinances had been sanctioned by the new Governor, and, as the ordinances had only arrived this morning at the Colonial Office, he thought the hon. Member would admit it would be extremely premature for him to attempt to state now what were the intentions of Her Majesty's Government. on this subject.