HC Deb 03 May 1852 vol 121 cc102-38

rose, in pursuance of notice, to move for leave to bring in a Bill to grant a Representative Constitution to the Colony of New Zealand. He begged, in the first place, to move that the passage from Her Majesty's most gracious Speech from the Throne relating to the Government of New Zealand be read.

Paragraph in Queen's Speech, at the opening of the Session, read, as follows:— The Act of 1848 for suspending the operation of a previous Act conferring representative institutions on New Zealand will expire early in the next year. I am happy to believe that there is no necessity for its renewal, and that no obstacle any longer exists to the enjoyment of Representative Institutions by New Zealand. The form of these Institutions will, however, require your consideration; and the additional information which has been obtained since the passing of the Acts in question, will, I trust, enable you to arrive at a decision beneficial to that important Colony.


said, he could assure the House that in bringing forward this measure, he did so under the impression of very great personal anxiety, and if he should fail in making his explanation of the subject as clear as he could wish, he hoped he should receive the indulgence of the House. He was so sensible of the importance, the difficulty, and the great responsibility of moving the grant of a new constitution for a Colony so peculiar in many respects as that of New Zealand, that he confessed he should have felt, bad it not been for circumstances which he hoped the House would consider as a sufficient justification for the Motion he was now making, that after having held for so short a time the arduous office which he now filled, he might have been considered open to the charge of presumption for so soon endeavouring to settle a Colonial question of this difficulty and intricacy. He had to avow that when he first came into office, and gave his attention to the state of the question of the better government of New Zealand, his inclination and intention were to move for a further continuation for one year of the state of government which now existed in that colony. But when this intention on his part became known to many persons in this country who were deeply interested in the welfare of New Zealand, and were anxious that the blessings of the British Constitution should as speedily as possible be extended to that country, he received from those parties the strongest possible representations of the inconvenience and injury that had arisen from the delay which had already taken place, and that Her Majesty's Government had held out hopes of settling this question in the present Session; that Her Majesty, in Her gracious Speech, had recommended that no further time should be lost; that it would be hard upon them to be deprived of their civil rights in consequence of the accident of a change of Ministry; an argument which, if it availed now, it was quite possible might be urged in a subsequent Session. Such was the nature of the representations he received upon this subject, and they possessed so much force and weight, that he felt he was bound not to spare any labour or exertion on his own part to meet wishes so reasonable in themselves, and so justified by circumstances, and, with the concurrence of his Colleagues, he determined at any rate to endeavour to submit to Parliament a measure on this subject which might deserve their approbation. He must also frankly own, that, with every wish to meet the desires of those interested, he believed it would have been impossible for him, multitudinous and arduous as his occupations were, to have attempted, in the short time he had filled the office he had the honour to hold, the settlement of this question, had it not been for the assistance he had derived from the preparation of a measure which was left in the office by his predecessor, Earl Grey, and also for most valuable suggestions which he had received from the present able Governor of New Zealand, who had been for a long time in communication with the noble Earl on this subject. He had also had the advantage of receiving numerous suggestions from the gentlemen to whom he adverted, in this country, who took a deep interest in the welfare of that Colony. He would not detain the House by going at any length into the early history of New Zealand. It must be well known to all who took an interest in that Colony that it was one of the most recently acquired dependencies of the British Crown. The first advances of civilisation on its territory were made about the year 1808, when those pioneers of the progress of Christianity and civilisation, the missionaries of the Christian religion, founded a settlement on its shores. This was followed by frequent visits from enterprising merchants and others connected with trade, whose intercourse with the natives by degrees led to irregularities, and even crimes, which it became necessary for the Government at home to put a stop to. And in order to show how recently this dependency of the British Crown had been acquired, he might mention, that in 1832 a Bill was introduced into Parliament "for the prevention of crime committed by Her Majesty's subjects in New Zealand and other islands in the Pacific, not being within Her Majesty's dominions." Subsequently, however, to 1832 the intercourse between occasional visitors and the natives of New Zealand became more and more frequent, until Captain Hobson was sent out as Consul to that country, with directions to assume the government of that country as soon as a cession of the sovereignty could be obtained from the natives. In 1840 the first steps for annexing the island of New Zealand as a dependency to the British Crown, were taken under the authority of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell), who then held the seals of the Colonial Department. The progress of the Colony since it thus—only twelve years since—became a dependency of the British Crown, although considerable, had been retarded by various circumstances, and among others by the rebellion of a portion of the natives in 1845. But in the year 1846, the rebellion being then put down, Earl Grey, who had then lately succeeded to the Colonial Office, resolved to grant a Representative Constitution to the Colony, a resolution for which he did not propose to cast any blame upon the noble Lord. But when the Constitution which was determined upon by the noble Lord was sent out to the Colony, the Governor (Sir George Grey) felt great apprehensions that it would not suit the then existing state of the population, and more especially of the native population. The rebellion of the natives had only been put down in the preceding year; and this new Constitution did not confer upon them those civil rights which the Governor (Sir George Grey) thought were essential. He therefore returned that constitution to England, with a very urgent representation against putting it immediately into force. In that despatch there occurred the following interesting passage with respect to the state of the natives:— Then it must be borne in mind that the great majority of the native population can read and write their own language fluently; that they are a people quite equal in natural sense and ability to the mass of the European population; that they are jealous and suspicious; that they now own many vessels, horses, and cattle; that they have in some instances considerable sums of money at their disposal, and are altogether possessed of a great amount of wealth and property in the country, of the value of which they are fully aware; that there is no nation in the world more sensitive upon the subject of money matters, or the disposal of their property; and no people that I am acquainted with less likely to sit down quietly under what they regard as injustice. This description showed that the natives of these islands were possessed of great natural intelligence, and that they had, oven at that comparatively early period, made a considerable advance in the arts of civilisation. And this was urged by Sir George Grey as a reason why no Constitution could be satisfactory which did not take care of the rights of the natives. He continued, in the same despatch:— The natives are, at present, certainly not fitted to take a share in a representative form of government; but each year they will become more fitted to do so, and each year the numerical difference between the two races will become less striking; so that a great advantage would he gained by delaying even for a few years the introduction of the proposed Constitution into the northern parts of New Zealand. On the receipt of this despatch, a measure in compliance with this strong recommendation of the Governor was in 1848 introduced by the noble Lord (Earl Grey) then at the head of the Colonial Department, to suspend "the New Zealand Act of 1846,"for five years, until March, 1853. This was the Act which imposed on Parliament the necessity of doing something in the present Session, and the House would of ne- cessity perceive that, if they did not, the Act of 1846 would of itself come into operation. He wished, therefore, to ask the House whether they were not of opinion that the time was now come when they might adopt, or at least attempt, a final Constitution for this interesting Colony? The question for the House to determine was, what that legislation should be. From the year 1848 to the present time, the progress of New Zealand in all those respects which could bear upon the important question of granting' to her or withholding from her representative institutions, had been of the most satisfactory kind. In 1848 the European population, which had made rapid progress since 1844, did not exceed 17,000 in number. They now, he believed be might safely say, reached 26,000 or 27,000. In 1848, the value of the exports from New Zealand was 44,215l.; in 1850 it reached 115,451l. And while this increase had taken place in the population and in the value of the exports, the revenue had been increased from 48,589l. in 1849, to 57,743l. in 1850. He would now quote a passage from the despatch of the Governor (Sir George Grey), dated October 11, 1851, and in which he gave the most satisfactory account of the general progress of the colony. He said— From an analysis of the returns connected with the revenue and expenditure of both provinces, it would be found that the ordinary revenues of the islands for 1860 had, in comparison with the year 1849, increased by no less a sum than 9,154l. l1s. 9d, these revenues having risen. from 48,589l. 5,s. 1d. in 1849, to 57,743l. 16d. l0d. in 1850, the increase being chiefly made up of an increase of about 4,000l. in the revenues derived from duties of Customs, and an increase of about 5,000l. in the revenues derived from the sale of land; and this augmentation of the revenues took place notwithstanding a large decrease in the expenditure of the local Government and of Great Britain on account of military services—the decrease of expenditure by the local Government, as compared with the previous year, amounting to no less a sum than 16,662l. 2s. 9d. it would be found that, in the year 1850, the value of the exports from these islands had risen to the sum of 115,425l. l1s. 7d.; and it was fortunately, in his power to report that the general improvement which had taken place in these islands in 1850 had continued to take place with increased rapidity during the year 1851, and that there appeared every reason to believe that the prosperity of New Zealand was now established on a firm basis, and it would continue to increase certainly and steadily. He hoped that these facts would be sufficient to convince the House that, so far as regarded the progress of the Colony in all the important points of general prosperity, population, and material welfare, there was every reason why it should be entrusted with that privilege of self-government which Earl Grey was anxious to give them so early as 1846, and which was only withheld under the special circumstances to which he had referred. He would now quote to the House another extract from the despatch of Sir George Grey dated in October last, which accompanied the provincial ordinances, and which was now in the course of being printed for Parliament:— The whole of these islands are now in a state of complete tranquillity. Every settlement is in a prosperous condition; the native race are loyal, and are daily increasing in wealth; and the local government now possesses very considerable influence over them. Under these circumstances the House would, he thought, feel that Her Majesty's Government were justified in proposing now to confer representative institutions on the Colony. There were, however, many peculiarities in the case of New Zealand which rendered it very difficult to decide as to the best mode of enacting a new Constitution for that island. We had not, with respect to it, as to the Cape of Good Hope and various other Colonies, merely to decide whether or not the progress and prosperity of the Colony were such as to justify the Legislature of this country in putting an end to the government of what was called a Crown Colony, and substituting representative institutions in its stead. The case of New Zealand did not admit of their proceeding with such simplicity. There were three respects in which the Colony of New Zealand was different from almost any other dependency of the Crown. The first was the geographical peculiarity; the second was the mode of settlement which had been adopted; and the third, and this was perhaps the greatest peculiarity of all, was the very high order of the natural qualities and intelligence of the natives of those islands. The geographical peculiarities both of the northern as well as the southern islands consisted in their centres being occupied by a very lofty mountain-ridge which sent down on both sides spurs to the sea. The centre of these mountains was unfit for the purpose of cultivation or habitation, and it was only on the plains that intervened between the spurs that colonisation and cultivation had consequently taken place. The result of this was, that there was no Colony in which the means of communication by land between the different parts was so difficult; and at this moment he believed it was impossible to communicate between any of the settlements of New Zealand except on foot. The result of this was, that the settlers in New Zealand had not, as elsewhere, congregated around one particular centre. They had taken up their residence in different portions of the islands, and their settlements were now spread over a length of country in the two islands of, he believed, not less than 800 or 900 miles, embracing three settlements in the northern and three in the southern island, all at a considerable distance from each other. The third and most certainly the most interesting peculiarity was, the high character of the native population. In the despatch of Sir George Grey, to which he had already referred, and which was dated in August last, and received in this country in October, the Governor entered into particulars with respect to the character of the natives of New Zealand, and their advance in civilisation, which would, he was sure when presented to the House, be read by hon. Members with the greatest possible pleasure. In the first portion of this despatch, Sir George Grey dwelt upon their extraordinary skill and bravery in war. He said that they were well armed, that they were capable of acting with the greatest discipline, and of adopting the most skilful tactics; and that in fact there could be no doubt that they, for warfare in that country, were better equipped than our own troops. He stated that they might at any moment attack our settlements with the greatest ease, and that we, on the other hand, had scarcely the power of attacking them, from the manner in which they shifted their dwellings from one place to another. And he then, having thus dwelt upon their skill in the arts of war, went on to give the following account of their proficiency in those of peace, which he (Sir J. Pakington) would cite as showing their extraordinary advance in civilisation and national prosperity since 1847:— With these characteristics of courage and warlike vagrancy, the Maories present, however, other remarkable traits of character. Nearly the whole nation has now been converted to Christianity. They are fond of agriculture, take great pleasure in cattle and horses; like the sea, and form good sailors; have now many coasting vessels of their own, manned with Maori crews; are attached to Europeans, and admire their customs and manners; are extremely ambitious of rising in civilisation and becoming skilled in European arts; they are apt at learning; in many respects extremely conscientious and observant of their word; are ambitious of honours, and are probably the most covetous race in the world. They are also agreeable in manners, and attachments of a lasting character readily and frequently spring up between them and Europeans. Many of them have also now, from the value of their property, a large stake in the welfare of the country; one chief has, besides valuable property of various kinds, upwards of 5001. invested in Government securities; several others have also sums of from 200l. to 400l. invested in the same securities. He goes on to say afterwards:— It would appear that a race such as has been described could be easily incorporated into any British settlement, with mutual advantage to both races, the natives supplying agricultural produce, poultry, pigs, and a constant supply of labour (although yet for the most part rude and unskilled); while, upon the other hand, the Europeans would supply the various manufactured goods required by the natives, and provide for the manifold wants created by their increased civilisation. Such a class of settlements might easily grow into prosperous communities, into which the natives, with characters softened by Christianity, civilisation, and a taste for previously unknown luxuries, would readily be absorbed. This process of the incorporation of the native population into the Europeans' settlements has, accordingly, for the last few years, been taking place with a rapidity unexampled in history. Unless some sudden and unforeseen cause of interruption should occur, it will still proceed, and a very few years of continued peace and prosperity would suffice for the entire fusion of the two races into one nation. Now he thought the House would agree with him that native tribes who could thus be described by the person who should be the most competent judge of their capabilities, were entitled to every consideration at the hands of that Sovereign whoso subjects they had become in the course of events, and by the progress of Christianity and civilisation. He thought the House would feel with him that in legislating for such a people it should be our endeavour not to give them any opportunity to show their courage or prowess in war; but that we should endeavour to teach them the blessings of peace and the arts of civilisation, and to show them an example of that Christianity which they had so rapidly and so readily embraced; and that our legislation should be so shaped as to draw as little distinction as possible between the European and native inhabitants of the Colony. But, as he had said before, the peculiarities of New Zealand to which he had adverted rendered it impossible that they should proceed to give a Constitution to that Colony upon the same plan as that on which they had proceeded to give Constitutions to Colonies differently situated. It was the opinion of Earl Grey, to some extent in 1848, but in his later plans still more, and it was also the opinion of Sir George Grey, the Governor of New Zealand, that in adopting a Constitution for a Colony so situated it was absolutely necessary that they should provide not only for a general central legislature, but also for the government of those smaller communities which are placed at detached intervals along the shores of these islands. In arranging the local governments for these detached communities, a question arose upon which he was aware that a great difference of opinion had taken place. He believed that there was no difference whatever amongst any who had given attention to the mode in which free institutions could be granted to New Zealand, that in some way or other the right of separate government should be given to those detached localities; but while sonic thought they should be dealt with as independent Colonies, forming a federal Colony with one general legislature governing the whole, after the model of the United States of America, or of the plan which was proposed by Earl Grey, but afterwards abandoned, in the Bill which he brought in for the government of the Australian colonies; others, on the contrary, thought that these detached communities should be regarded as portions of one Colony, having each a local legislature or government, not exactly in the nature of a municipality, but still approaching that character, with one central government, exercising a general superintendence over all. Her Majesty's Government, after the best consideration they could give to the subject, were of opinion that, looking to the small population of these several detached communities—to the hope they entertained that as population increased these communities would gradually spread along the coast and become more connected with each other—to the general extent of the whole of these islands, and the hope they had that as civilisation advanced and population increased the means of communication both by sea and land would be materially improved—looking, he repeated, to all these considerations, Her Majesty's Government were of opinion that the better plan would be to consider the whole as one Colony, than to deal with these small detached settlements as independent communities. It was to carry out this plan, regarding these detached communities not as separate bodies, and therefore looking to the necessity of carefully framing both the local legislatures of these separate communities and the general legislature, which was to govern the whole, that the Government had framed the measure which he would now proceed to explain to the House. He would first state to them the manner in which it was proposed that the local legislatures should be framed. According to the plan of Earl Grey, which he had found in the Colonial Office, it was the intention of the noble Lord, and he believed lie was right in saying that the plan was approved by Sir George Grey, the Governor of New Zealand, to divide the island into five provinces—Auckland, Wellington, Nelson, Canterbury, and Otago, giving the Governor power to settle their boundaries. He could not, however, see any reason why the settlement of New Plymouth, about the middle of the North Island, had not as good a claim to be made into a separate province, as Canterbury or Otago. In point of distance it was about 200 miles from Auckland, on the one hand, and from Wellington on the other; it was inhabited by a highly respectable class of emigrants, and in point of population was little, if at all, inferior to Otago in the other island, and he believed not to Canterbury. And Her Majesty's Government had, therefore, thought it better to commence this experiment by dividing the island into six provinces, adding New Plymouth to those which he had previously mentioned. They proposed, and this was in accordance also with the plan of Earl Grey, that each of these provinces should be governed by an officer to be called a superintendent. The Governor had recommended that this officer should be elected. Her Majesty's Government proposed, however, and this too coincided with the plan of Earl Grey, that the superintendent should be appointed by the Governor-in-Chief of the Colony. It was uged by Earl Grey, with very great force, that as the superintendent must be regarded as, in some degree, taking the place of the head of the Executive department, it was wholly without precedent that a person carrying out any portion of the Executive under our Constitution should be elective. He thought it far better that the superintendent should be appointed by the Governor-in-Chief, than be sent out by the Colonial Office, because it was desirable that those officers should be persons residing in the various provinces which they would have to govern, and that their appointment should not be made the subject of party arrangements in this country. He thought it far better that the Governor-in-Chief should, on his own responsibility, select the persons in the Colony whom he thought best qualified to fill the office. They proposed that each of these superintendents should have a salary of 500l. a year. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir W. Molesworth) had intimated that that sum was too high; but the hon. Baronet should recollect that at this very time the lieutenant-governors of New Ulster and New Munster had 800l a year each. Besides these superintendents, it was proposed that in each of the provinces there should be a Legislative Council. It had been a question of considerable doubt whether the provincial councils should consist of one or two chambers. It appeared, however, to the Government that, looking to the small population which those settlements now contained, there was no ground to think that the elements existed out of which two chambers could be properly and respectably constituted. There was another question of some difficulty—as to whether the chamber should be wholly elective, or should be constituted in part of nominee members. The plan which Her Majesty's Government recommended was different from that in favour of which Earl Grey had decided. Earl Grey decided that one-third of the members should be nominees, and the Governor of New Zealand had recommended the adoption of the same course. He (Sir J. Pakington) was aware that he was taking upon himself some responsibility in departing from the recommendation both of Earl Grey and the Governor of the Colony; but looking to the character of the communities; looking to the limited nature of the duties which the members of council would have to discharge; above all, looking to the jealousy of nominee members of that kind which they knew to exist in New Zealand, to such an extent, indeed, as to render it difficult in such small communities to find gentlemen who would undertake to act upon those terms—looking to all these points, Her Majesty's Government thought it better to recommend that the proposed Legislative Councils of a single chamber should be wholly elective. Another important question remained, with regard to the amount of franchise which should confer the right of voting for the members of the provincial councils. And here he begged to say, that feeling the impossibility of judging of the matter at this distance from the Colony, feeling that their want of local information was such as to disable them from saying whether one franchise was more proper than another for a Colony so situated, the Government had thought it better altogether to place confidence in the recommendation of Sir George Grey, and to adopt the franchise which he had determined upon, namely, that the franchise should be given to every man possessing a freehold worth 50l., or in the occupation of a house in a town worth 10l a year, or a house in the country worth 5l. a year—six months previous occupation being required—or in possession of a leasehold which had three years to run, and was worth 10l. per annum. For the reason he had mentioned, he would not presume to give an opinion upon this franchise. He would only say that it was the franchise recommended by the Governor, and that he had recommended it as being of a liberal and comprehensive nature. He begged to say also, that in consequence of the great advance of the natives in civilisation, the Government proposed to draw no distinction between the natives and Europeans with regard to the franchise; but that whenever a native should be residing within the limits of any of the provinces, and should be possessed of the requisite qualification, he should be regarded as a British subject, and should be as free to exercise the franchise as any of his European neighbours. There was another question on which he had ventured to differ from Earl Grey, and that was with respect to paying the members of the provincial councils. Earl Grey had recommended that Members residing at a distance of ten miles from the place where the Council sat, should receive 50l. on the first day of the Session for expenses. To say, however, that a gentleman residing at a distance of nine miles and a half was to discharge his duty gratuitously, while others, at a distance of ten miles, should receive 50l, appeared to be an inconsistency which he should be sorry to introduce into this Bill; and he thought that when they were entrusting a community with the right of self-government, this was one of those things that had better be left to be settled by themselves in the manner which they might deem most conducive to their own interests. He now came to a very important point, namely, those subjects with regard to which the Provincial Councils were to be restricted from legislating. They were fourteen in number:—1st, they were not to legislate for the imposition or regulation of Customs' duties; 2nd, for the establishment of any Courts of civil or criminal jurisdiction, except for the purpose of trying offences now punishable by the law of New Zealand; 3rd, for determining the extent of jurisdiction or course of proceeding of the Supreme Court; 4th, for regulating the current coin of the said island; 5th, for determining the weights and measures of the said island; 6th, for regulating the post office and carriage of letters; 7th, for enacting laws relating to bankrupts and insolvents; 8th, for the erection and maintenance of beacons and lighthouses; 9th, for the imposition of any duty on shipping; 10th, for regulating marriages; 11th, for interfering with the Crown lands, or any to which the title of the aboriginal natives had never been extinguished; 12th, for inflicting any disabilities or restrictions on natives to which Europeans were not subjected; 13th, for altering in any way the criminal law in New Zealand; and, 14th, for regulating the course of inheritance of real or personal property. There was here a very important difference between the plan which Her Majesty's Government now ventured to recommend, and the plan recommended by Earl Grey. They proposed that the provincial legislatures should not have the power of dealing with the Crown lands, because they apprehended, if they had that power, one principle might be adopted by one body, and another principle by another; and great inconvenience might be found to arise from their dissimilarity of opinion. The Government thought it was the better way to reserve a question of this great importance to be dealt with by a higher and separate authority. Her Majesty's Government differed also from Earl Grey with respect to the mode in which the Acts passed by the provincial Legislatures were to receive final assent. By Earl Grey's plan, Acts passed by them were to receive the Royal Assent, as was the case with all other Colonial Legislatures. But, looking to the restrictions which he had just enumerated, and to the limited powers of these provincial Legislatures, it seemed better to the Government that those matters should at once be settled without delay, by delegating the power of giving Her Majesty's final assent to the Governor. At the same time the Governor would have power in any special case to refer home for the Royal Assent. He would now describe the manner in which he proposed to constitute the Central Legislature. It was to consist of the Cover- nor-in-Chief at its head, with a Legislative Council and a freely-chosen Assembly. The first difficulty was as to the constitution of the Legislative Council, and this was perhaps the most important point in which Her Majesty's Government had ventured to differ from the decision of Earl Grey. The noble Earl had intended that the upper chamber of the Central Legislature should be an elected body; that each of the provincial Legislatures was to elect three persons, who were to constitute the Legislative Council of the Central Legislature. There was not, however, in Her Majesty's dominions any precedent for an elective upper chamber. Even in Canada, where the power of self-government and the freedom of British institutions had been carried further than in any other of the dependencies of the Crown, there had never existed any desire for an elective upper chamber. He believed he was correct in saying that it had been intimated to that province whether or not they would regard an elective upper chamber as a desirable part of their Constitution, and there had been no indication of any such wish on the part of the Colony. There was one instance, hut that he could not regard as a precedent, because the question was yet under consideration; he meant the Constitution now under consideration for the Cape of Good Hope. In the proposed Constitution for the Cape of Good Hope, it was decided that there should be an elective upper chamber; and the peculiarity of the plan was this—that the franchise of an elector for the upper chamber was to be the same as the franchise of electors for the lower chamber; but the difference was this— that the members of the lower chamber were to be elected by the electors of certain electoral districts, while the members of the upper chamber were to be elected by the votes of the whole, with certain modifications. There was no precedent for any such mode of constituting an upper chamber within the Queen's dominions; and the Government had received communications from the Cape of Good Hope since they came into office, which led them to believe that very considerable objections were entertained in the colony to this mode of constituting the upper chamber, and was viewed by the colonists with great apprehension; and in providing an upper chamber for New Zealand, the Government had no inclination to follow the precedent, so far as it was a precedent, that was proposed for the Cape. On a question of this magnitude and difficulty, there must be a great difference of opinion; but he must confess, speaking on the part of the Government, that they thought it better to follow the precedent that exists in the other colonies of the British Crown, where British institutions were enjoyed, and that the Upper Chamber should be there, as elsewhere, nominated by the Crown, but to hold their seats for life. They proposed the franchise for election of the Lower Chamber to be exactly the same as for the electors of the provincial Legislatures, and it would remain for the Governor to arrange the electoral districts. They proposed that each Parliament of the Central Legislature should last for five years; and in speaking of the provincial Legislatures, he should have stated that two years had been recommended for their duration, but the Government agreed with Earl Grey, who thought the period too short, and they proposed that the provincial Legislatures should be elected for four years, and that, as he had already stated, the Central Legislature should be elected for five years. It was proposed that the legislative council should in no case consist of less than nine members, leaving it to be considered to what extent it might be increased; that the upper chamber should not consist of less than ten, or more than fifteen; and that the elected chamber might rise from a minimum of twenty-five members, and not exceed forty. It was proposed that the acts of the Central Legislature should override the acts of the provincial, and that the acts of the provincial Legislatures should not be independent where the act of the Central Legislature would override them. They proposed that there should be a civil list reserved—and this was another point on which they differed from Earl Grey. At present the civil list was 12,000l. a year, and the Government proposed that that civil list should be retained. They did not propose to increase it, yet, by diminishing the present number of Judges, which appeared to be more than was necessary, they would be able to provide for the proposed salaries of superintendents of provinces without any increase of the civil list. There was another very important reservation which the Government intended to propose, sanctioned by the advice of the Governor; out of the funds of the colony, and which had not hitherto existed, they meant to propose that a sum of 7,000l. sterling per annum should be reserved for what were called "native purposes." As he had previously stated, where natives were within the limits of a province, they would have the right to vote, and to exercise the same franchise and privileges as Europeans; but still there would remain a vast number of intelligent natives, contributing largely to the revenue of the country by the consumption of imported goods, who would not have a voice, at all events for the present, in the election of representatives. Therefore they proposed that 7,000l. a year should be reserved for the benefit of the native tribes, and that this 7,000l. a year should be appropriated for the construction and maintenance of hospitals—for the establishment and maintenance of schools— for the payment of the resident magistrates—for presents for the native chiefs, in acknowledgment of their services, and for other objects that would promote the happiness and prosperity of the natives. He entertained also a sanguine hope that the liberality of the colony itself would increase that grant to a larger amount. There was another power which they pro-posed to reserve in the Central Legislature, and that was the management of the Crown lands. This was a deviation from the practice in Australia and other countries. They proposed it in the belief that that body would be better able to deal with those matters than any other body they could possibly entrust with this great power. He need not remind the House of the conflicting nature of the arrangements with regard to land in New Zealand. The claims of the New Zealand Company and the Otago Association, and the very peculiar powers which, under the authority of an Act of Parliament, had been granted to the Canterbury Association, rendered this a very difficult subject. That was not the moment to enter upon the subject. But he should observe that in the Bill which he asked leave to bring in, it was their intention to respect existing rights, and not to empower the Central Legislature in any case to override existing rights. There was only one other subject, with regard to the power of the Central Legislature, to which he would refer, and he felt it to be of the greatest importance. After the explanation he had endeavoured to give them, they must feel that in many essential respects they must regard this Constitution as experimental. They must look forward with hope and expectation to the gradual increase of the colonists and of the population, and to its rapid advance in prosperity. They could not hope that in shadowing out a scheme of this kind, though sanctioned by the best authority, that it was to be looked to as a final and permanent settlement of this difficult question, in what manner the residents in a distant colony on the other side of the globe could best govern themselves and manage their own affairs. They could only look upon this as the commencement of a system, and they bad introduced a clause into the Bill fully enabling the Legislature of New Zealand from time to time to propose and enact such changes in the institutions of the Colony as they might think proper. With regard to the provincial legislatures, for instance, if the population increased, and their circumstances changed, and if they wished to enact that they should have two chambers instead of one, let them so enact it. So with regard to the constitution of the Central Legislature, and all the arrangements that he had described. They proposed that they should have full power to change them, to meet their own views and requirements, only stipulating that where constitutional changes of this nature were made, as a matter of course all such changes should be reserved for the ultimate consent of the Crown. Having moved for leave to bring in this Bill, he should have redeemed the pledge which he had given to those individuals who suggested to him that no further delay should take place; and it would remain for the House to decide whether, after the explanations he had given, they thought the Bill he now asked leave to introduce, came fairly and reasonably within that category of necessary measures to which Her Majesty's Ministers were at present pledged to confine themselves. He submitted this question fairly and frankly to the consideration of the House. In his humble opinion this Bill did come within that category; but if it were the judgment of the House that it did not, he would readily bow to that decision. But on one point he must beg not to be misunderstood. He must beg that ail who take an interest in the colony of New Zealand would bear in mind that the alternative would be between passing this measure, with such amendments, of course, as Parliament should think right, or to pass an Act suspending for another year the existing state of affairs, He had been strongly pressed by gentlemen connected with New Zealand, in the event of their not being able to legislate this present year, to let the Act of 1846 revive next year, rather than not give them any Constitution at all. To this Her Majesty's Government were not willing to consent, because they thought there were the most serious objections to allowing that Bill to revive. And he was the more justified in expressing that opinion on the part of the Government, when he said that he was fortified in that determination by the opinions of the Governor of New Zealand, Sir George Grey, and by the authority of Earl Grey, who introduced the measure of 1846. In a despatch written by Earl Grey shortly before he left office, he used these expressions:— Her Majesty's Government, however, on a consideration of the various despatches you have addressed to me, have come to the conclusion that it would be inexpedient to allow the Act of 1846 to come again into force, because we are of opinion, from the changes that have taken place in the state of affairs in New Zealand, and from the additional information that we have obtained, that it will require various modifications both in substance and form, although the essential principles must be kept in view. He hoped the House would understand that if it were not the pleasure of Parliament to pass this Bill with such modifications as the House thought right, the alternative must be to pass a Suspension Act, and to reserve the whole of the subject for consideration next year. They did not intend by this Act to interfere in any way with the municipal institutions which were recommended by Earl Grey, and which were part of the Act of 1846: these were not included in the Suspension Act, and on which he was glad to say that the Governor had already proceeded to act. It was the desire of Her Majesty's Government to do their duty, and to endeavour not to withhold any longer from the inhabitants of New Zealand those institutions and rights for which they were naturally so anxious. He was sanguine enough to hope that the measure he had sketched out would not meet with any serious opposition; and it only remained for him to express his hope that it might be productive of those advantages to the present colonists of New Zealand and their descendants which had been so long enjoyed and so highly valued in this their fatherland.


said, he could assure the right hon. Gentleman that his apprehension that he had failed to make his statement clear, was unfounded. He appealed to his right hon. Friend, however, to deny the proposition which he (Sir R. H. Inglis) had repeatedly urged in this House, namely, that every Colony of England ought to be a miniature England; and that inasmuch as every colonist in New Zealand carried with him the right of Trial by Jury, the right of the Law of Primogeniture, and almost every other social and civil right which he had enjoyed at home, he ought also to carry with him the principle of religious institutions? He did not consider that any Constitution was complete or worth the acceptance of Englishmen, that did not, in the first instance, provide for the existence of religious institutions. If it were said that the colonists themselves take care and provide for them, all he could say in reply was, that exactly in proportion as men required religious instruction were they unwilling to seek it for themselves. His right hon. Friend reserved a certain sum for the civil list, and he quite concurred with him in so doing; but he asked whether he ought not, also, to reserve a certain proportion, either of land or of revenue, to the purpose to which he had called attention. With regard to the upper chamber, the Members of which it was proposed should be elected for five years, he suggested whether it would not be better that they should be elected for life.


Sir, I was one of those who on a former occasion expressed my opinion in strong terms that it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government, in the position in which they stand, and from the state of opinion in this House, to confine themselves, in the introduction of measures for the consideration of Parliament, to questions that were urgent in reference to the circumstances of the present time; and it is on that account that I feel it is no more than just that on this occasion, and without waiting for any future discussion of the subject, I should state that with the feelings which I entertain upon colonial liberties, and with the respect which I wish to pay to the sentiments and opinions of our fellow-subjects in the colonies, I think my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary has done no more than his duty—notwithstanding the state of Parliament and the great issue we are awaiting at home—in submitting to the House of Commons the plan he has just explained. It appears to me that, after all that has taken place in regard to New Zealand—after Parliament in 1846 had professed to confer on that Colony the benefits of free institutions, and still more suddenly withdrew the institutions, that were somewhat suddenly and rashly given —after the state of suspense in which the people of that country have been kept from year to year for so long a time, and considering their admitted fitness and capacity for the exercise of political privileges, I say that they would be deeply aggrieved if they were to find that differences of opinion amongst ourselves with regard to the particular condition of their colonial institutions, should prevent us from giving, in the present state of public affairs, the benefits of free institutions to New Zealand. Acting in that spirit, and being desirous that no further delay should take place before an immense boon is conferred on a great number of our fellow-subjects, who I believe are exceeded by none in their known worthiness to receive, and their perfect competence to exercise political privileges, I shall be ready to concur with my right hon. Friend, and to lend him every assistance in my power in forwarding this Bill. There are many points in our colonial institutions on which I may have views somewhat varying from those which Her Majesty's Government may be prepared to recommend; but at present the only question I am disposed to ask myself in this—is the Bill proposed by Her Majesty's Government, on the whole, a boon for the colonists, and is it worth the while of the colonists to receive it? I do not wish to give a detailed opinion on its provisions until I read them in print; but after hearing the statement of my right hon. Friend, I cannot have the slightest hesitation in stating my strong opinion that this Bill is a Bill embodying many most valuable principles, and a Bill which in the circumstances in which the Government stand will be received and hailed with gratitude by the colonists of New Zealand. I will reserve the consideration of the provisions until that fuller discussion which I am sure my right hon. Friend is prepared to facilitate. If there was any one provision in the Bill which I should endeavour to induce him not to persist in to the letter, it would be one of those in which he differed from the plan intended to be proposed by Earl Grey—I mean the constitution he proposes to give to the Legislative Council, and the Central Legislature. On that particular question I must reserve to myself the right of expressing—especially on Conservative grounds—the reasons which lead me to a different conclusion from that arrived at by the right hon. Gentleman. But on looking on the measure as a whole, I think it will be a boon well worthy of a grateful reception on the part of the colonists of New Zealand, and likewise a measure that does honour to my right hon. Friend, notwithstanding his brief experience in office, to which he so modestly refers.


said, he thought the right hon. Gentleman need not have been so precipitate in introducing his Bill, especially as he had only on that day laid the papers on the table of the House which had been received in the course of last year. He hoped that if the House allowed this measure to be laid on the table, they would not be precluded from discussing on a future day the question as to whether this was a measure which it was absolutely necessary to pass in the present Session of Parliament. The right hon Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone) had said that all they had to consider was whether the measure would be received in the light of a boon by the colonists. He (Mr. V. Smith) was, however, of opinion that the House had much more to consider. Before the House adopted this Bill, they must consider whether the proposal to give the management of the Crown lands in New Zealand to the Government of that Colony, whilst at the same time no step was taken to confer a similar advantage upon the Colonies of Australia, would not produce much dissatisfaction and discontent. In his opinion the Parliament of this country ought to extend that advantage to every one of the Australian Colonies. That and the other important principles in the proposed Bill, hon. Gentlemen should consider well before they permitted the right hon. Gentleman to proceed further with it. He did not hear the right hon. Baronet say anything with regard to the qualifications which would be required to the Members of the provincial Councils or of the general Legislatures. That question had already been discussed in the House, and he only mentioned it with the view of learning from the right hon. Baronet whether he proposed to make any difference between the qualifications required of natives, and those required of European settlers. On another question, too, he should like to be furnished with some information—he alluded to the differences which had existed between the Now Zealand Company and the Government. He wished to know whether they had been arranged. That question was left in some doubt last Session; and it was desirable that the right hon. Baronet should inform the House what was exactly its present condition. He made these observations mainly for the purpose of precluding the assumption that the House had no right to discuss the question at that stage. He hoped that the right hon. Baronet would understand that the question was perfectly open. He hoped that the right hon. Baronet would submit his Bill at such a time as would give ample opportunity for its discussion.


said, he was not satisfied with the course which had been taken by the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary. This, in his (Mr. Hume's) opinion, was not a question of urgency, and he, therefore, thought that the Government ought to have postponed it till the next Parliament. Whatever decision might be come to with regard to the disposal of the Crown lands in New Zealand, ought to prevail with regard to the rest of our Colonies. If the privileges which we might give to New Zealand were not at the same time extended to the other Colonies of Great Britain, discontent would prevail amongst them. If the Government should determine on persevering with the nominee system with regard to the composition of the colonial councils, the privilege of colonial legislation would be perfectly useless. The proceedings of the Cape of Good Hope would satisfy hon. Gentlemen on that point. Every man who had visited the Cape would confirm his statement. Similar testimony could be had from New South Wales, Van Diemen's Land, and every other place where the mockery existed. Unless, therefore, the Government could make up their mind to do away with the nominee system, they need not expect to see contentment in our Colonies. He expected to have heard something said by the right hon. Baronet as to relieving the mother country from the expense of administering the affairs of the Colonies; but not a word had been said on that subject. They were told by Earl Grey two or three years ago that measures were in progress which would make the Colonies pay their own expenses, and relieve England of the burthen which she had too long borne for them. He confessed he was very much disappointed at not having heard a word said by the right hon. Baronet as to how far the Colonies were to be dependent upon the mother country. The right hon. Baronet had stated that he would reserve a certain amount of the colonial revenue for the civil list, and 7,000l. for other purposes. Now, he (Mr. Hume) conceived that if the Colonies were to be compelled to raise a revenue for the support of certain public institutions, they had a right to be entrusted with their management. It was treating them as children to keep them thus in leading strings, notwithstanding all the experience which they had had. He also objected to that law which compelled the Colonies to wait until this country sanctioned those Bills which they might have adopted in their own Legislatures after ample discussion. He had long felt great anxiety with regard to the burthen which England had to bear with respect to her Colonies, and he regretted that the right hon. Baronet had said nothing which could tend to relieve that anxiety. On that ground he did not think it worth his while to discuss at the present time the Bill of the right hon. Baronet, which contained no principles that could tend to the general welfare of the Colonies.


said, that unless some such measure as the one now proposed were passed, they must pass an Act of Parliament for the purpose of suspending the constitution of New Zealand for at least another year. Now, to the passing of such an Act he would offer all the opposition in his power, because in his opinion almost any form of representative government would be better for New Zealand than the continuation of the present state of things in that colony. He was excessively anxious that the settlers in New Zealand should have as speedily as possible the management of their own local business, both for their own sakes and also for the sake of the people in this country. He felt certain that until they had obtained such a privilege, no step that could be taken would relieve us from the vast expenditure to which we were put on account of them. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Colonies had said that the Colony of New Zealand was a very interesting and remarkable Colony. In one respect the Colony of New Zealand had been one of the most remarkable colonies which this country had ever planted; because in proportion to the numbers of its European population, and in proportion to the period of its existence, it had cost us a larger sum of money than any other Colony which Great Britain had ever possessed. He found that in the course of the last eleven years we had spent on this Colony of New Zealand the immense sum of 1,600,000l. in civil, military, and naval expenditure. Now, he was convinced that no stop could be put to this vast expenditure until New Zealand had the power of managing its own affairs. He had listened with great attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. He should be sorry at that moment to pronounce a very decided opinion with regard to the details of his measure, but he must say that, though he felt it his duty to object to some of the details, he took the measure as a whole as one which would confer upon New Zealand institutions of a most liberal character. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that there should be one Central Legislature in New Zealand, and that that Legislature should be composed of two Houses. He disagreed, however, with the right hon. Baronet as to the nominee system. The right hon. Baronet would find that that system would not work well; he would find that the nominees of the Crown would not command any respect, influence, or weight with the inhabitants of New Zealand. He agreed with the right hon. Baronet in thinking that, owing to the peculiar manner in which New Zealand had been colonised, they should develop as much as possible municipal or provincial institutions amongst its inhabitants; and he was of opinion that the proposal to divide the Colony into six provinces, each province to have a council, with a president, would be advantageous. In his opinion, that officer should be elected by the inhabitants of the Colony. The right hon. Gentleman proposed to vest the disposal of the waste lands in the Central Legislature of New Zealand. That was a boon which would be accepted by its inhabitants with great thanks. He hoped that a similar boon would also be conferred upon the Australian colonies. He would not at that moment enter into the other points to which the right hon. Gentleman had adverted. He would reserve his remarks upon the details of the measure until another opportunity, and would conclude with expressing his opinion that the House would confer a great boon upon the inhabitants of New Zealand, and all the friends of free institutions to our Colonies, by assisting the right hon. Baronet in his endeavour to carry this Bill.


said, he was greatly satisfied with the course taken by the Government in regard to this measure, which was preferable to the continuation of the Suspension Act for another year. In reference to the Crown lands, the burden was felt to be so great in New Zealand that he thought it was highly desirable, in order to settle the question, that the principle recognised by the Government should be enacted in the present Parliament. Seeing that it would be necessary if some such Bill as this did not pass, to carry a Suspension Act, surely it ought to be the desire of colonial reformers, sitting on the other side of the House, that a measure should be carried which conferred on the colonists extensive powers of legislation, rather than that they should carry a mere Suspension Act.


thought his hon. Friend who had just sat down was mistaken in supposing that any hon. Member had stated his intention to oppose the introduction of this Bill. His (Mr. P. Howard's) hon. Friend the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had, no doubt, made some general strictures upon it; but neither he nor any other hon. Member had expressed his intention to oppose its introduction. The hope that had been held out in Her Majesty's Speech at the commencement of the Session, that representative institutions would be granted to the Colonies, had naturally strengthened that earnest desire for the establishment of such institutions which already existed in those colonies where such did not exist. He had confidence in the fulfilment of that hope. He was quite sure that the unsettled state of the Government in New Zealand materially tended to retard the progress of emigration to that colony, which was so favoured by climate, and so calculated in every way to give ample scope to the enterprising spirit of our fellow-countrymen. He partially agreed with what had fallen from the hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W. Molesworth) and the hon. Member for Montrose as to the constitution of the upper house of assembly; he agreed with them, that that was one of the main difficulties with which we had to contend. Unless the representative element were in some measure infused into the upper assembly, he did not think it was likely that we could give permanent satisfaction to New Zealand. It might be necessary that certain official Members of the Government should hold seats in the upper assembly in virtue of their offices; but as a general principle it would be well that the elective system should as much as possible be in- fused into the upper as well as the lower assembly. He hoped that Her Majesty's Government would give due consideration to that point. It might he possible to arrange and combine a second or upper chamber, which should be confined to those who had once served in the other house of assembly; but the elective principle, however modified, would, he thought, be a great object to secure, and one which ought not to he neglected. At the same time, something might be urged in favour of the retention of a certain amount for a civil list. He trusted that that principle would be as sparingly enforced as possible; for they had seen that every case of feud in the colonies arose from that head. In some capes it might happen, as in Australia, that the fixed salary of an official might, under ordinary circumstances, be too large, whilst, on the other hand, it might be too small. It was, consequently, advisable that the salaries of official men, and of those who served under the Crown in New Zealand, should be fixed by those who had chosen that colony as their home. When he considered the character of the inhabitants of that Colony, and the position of those who had emigrated to it— when he considered that it might he said to contain men representing almost every class in society—if this boon of representative institutions could be conceded to them, he believed that it might be conceded with safety anywhere. He trusted that the invigorating principle of election would be allowed to pervade the Upper as well as the Lower House of Assembly. He trusted, too, that nothing would prevent the House from dealing with this measure during the present Session. He begged to offer his meed of thanks to the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary for the ability and zeal which he had shown on the present occasion. One of the great foes of this country—Napoleon —said that Colonies were the wings that enabled this country to soar to greatness. Without our Colonies we should be comparatively powerless; and as he believed that this measure was one of the means of securing them to us, giving happiness and contentment to their inhabitants, and providing a field for the development of our fellow-countrymen's enterprise, he trusted that the House would aid the right hon. Baronet in his endeavours to carry it through the Legislature.


said, he had listened with great satisfaction to the plan of the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies, in which he was glad to perceive that the Government had determined that the franchise should be the same for the natives as for the rest of the inhabitants of the Colony. He was satisfied that in a distant Colony like New Zealand, in which they might be said to be forming the nucleus of a future republic, it was of great importance that there should be no difference made between the different races of which the Colony was composed. In that respect there was a difference between the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman and that of Earl Grey. If he remembered right, in the Bill of Earl Grey the franchise for the natives was different from that of the colonists. He (Sir E. Buxton) rose, however, for the purpose of asking the right hon. Gentleman whether he could inform the House how many, or what proportion, of the natives were likely to have votes under the proposed franchise; and whether he had provided that not only in the provincial Chambers, but in the Central Legislature, they should have no right to enact that any different franchise should be enforced on the natives, to that which was to he enacted for the European colonists? He trusted that provision would be made in the Bill by which the colonists hereafter would have no power to make one franchise for themselves, and another for the natives. He thanked the right hon. Gentleman for what seemed to him (Sir E. Buxton) a very liberal scheme of representation for New Zealand, and he trusted that it would afford happiness and freedom to the comparatively large native population by which the English settlements were surrounded.


said, that one thing in the statement of the right hon. Gentlemen the Secretary for the Colonies had greatly surprised him, namely, that he should have thought it necessary to adduce figures, showing the increase of the population and commerce of New Zealand, in order to persude the House that the Colony was fit for a Representative Government. He (Mr. Adderley) asserted that if, had been fit for years; and the fact had been admitted over and over again by different Ministers of the Crown. He confessed that he had listened with astonithment to the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Mr. V. Smith), and the hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume), asking for more time to consider this proposition; especially when he knew how conversant both of them were with Colonial affairs. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton must have made up his mind on this subject over and over again; and certainly he had a fair opportunity of doing so when his Friends were in office, and he himself for a short time, during which his Colleague the Colonial Minister had matured a second New Zealand constitution, drafted it and sent it out to the colony. The right hon. Gentleman could scarcely consider this a new measure; and he (Mr. Adderley) hoped he would give his assistance to the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies in carrying out one which was so desirable. With regard to the observation that had fallen from the hon. Member for Montrose, that the mother country should be relieved from the expense it sustained on account of the Colonies, he would tell the hon. Gentleman that he must do justice before he talked of economy—that he must give the Colonies their rights before he could expect this country to be relieved of their expense. Give them their rights, and then these expenses, no more burdensome to us than irritating to them, might be abolished. Canada was the only Colony which enjoyed anything like its proper political rights, and it was also the only Colony from which the Government had ventured even to contemplate withdrawing its troops. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) had said that this was not a case of any urgency. Why, if we had a grievance at home, involving only a millionth part of the inconvenience to ourselves and injustice, not a night would pass before the House had taken some steps for its removal. He would not attempt to discuss the details of the measure in its present stage, because he conceived the principle of the measure, if it was not already conceded, would be discussed on the second reading, and the details considered in Committee. He rose on the present occasion rather to express his own gratitude and that of certain gentlemen now in London, by whom the views of the colonists were to a considerable extent represented, to the right hon. Gentleman, for having, so immediately on taking office, recognised the necessity of this measure, and for having addressed himself to the consideration of the subject without delay. He could assure him that the feelings of the colonists were so strong on the subject, that they would be content with any measure opening the prospect of self-government to them, without narrowly scrutinising its details; and they were most thankful for the measure proposed. There were, however, two points respecting which he greatly objected to the details of the plan. In the first place, he concurred in the observations of the hon. Baronet (Sir W. Molesworth) with regard to the composition of the Upper Chamber of Legislature. That that branch should be composed of nominees of the Crown, appeared to him (Mr. Adderley) a great blot in the measure, for hon. Members knew very well how these nominees stunk in the nostrils of every colony in which the system had ever been tried. He objected to the nominee chamber, because it was a caricature of the House of Lords. These nominees were not in the independent position which belonged to Members of the House of Lords in this realm; they were merely tools of the Crown, carrying on through an additional department of legislature that which pervaded too exclusively all our Colonial Constitutions, namely, the Crown, and nothing but the Crown. In the second place, he regretted the very subordinate position assigned to the Provincial Legislatures. In fact, the Central Legislature was made the only one in the Colony, for it had a general overriding power, evidently intended to swallow up the powers distributed through each separate locality. This plan reversed the principle which that House had carried out successfully in almost every other Colony. A body of English settlers that went to any particular spot seemed to have generally some pervading idea; and it was not until other settlements began to grow up in their neighbourhood that they felt the want of a general legislative body. The proposed plan, therefore, seemed to put the cart before the horse. If they had given to each Legislature a cheap, practical, and effectual mode of dealing with their own affairs, they would ultimately have arrived at the Central Legislature at which they aimed, with much greater success than they were likely to do by the plan proposed. He should certainly have given to the Provincial Legislatures many functions and subjects of legislation that were proposed to be given to the Central. He should even have gone so far as to have placed the management of the land funds in their hands. The right hon. Baronet had argued against the federal system, and in favour of one pervading general Legislature, on the ground that the natural features of the country opposed a barrier to communication between the different pro- vinces. That he (Mr. Adderley) should have thought was rather an argument for federation in preference to comprehension, and for each province managing its own affairs until these impediments should have been removed, and until the different provinces should have approached nearer to each other, and should naturally have formed themselves under one combined Government. The best authority on the subject, Mr. Fox, delegated here from Wellington, the author of The Six Colonies of New Zealand, was of a similar opinion; and Mr. Deans, who was connected with Nelson and with Canterbury—the settlement in which he (Mr. Adderley) was more particularly interested—had told him that very day that they might as well put the Central Government at Sydney as at Auckland, or even at Wellington; for there was actually as much communication between Canterbury and Sydney, as there was between Canterbury and Wellington. However, these were points of detail which might be discussed hereafter. What he wished to see was the representation and self-acting principle of the British Constitution applied to the colonists; who, though far from their native shores, were still as much entitled to the privileges of that Constitution as they who remained at home. To show the injustice of the present system, and the check it gives to colonial enterprise and development, he would only state a fact or two. Six years ago the colonists applied for permission to build a lighthouse at Port Nicholson: they raised the money, and the only thing wanting was to get a Bill passed through Parliament for authority to levy dues. The Minister of that time replied, that he must refer to the Governor for further information; and to this day the lighthouse is unbuilt, and several shipwrecks have occurred at the spot. He remembered that the hon. Gentleman the Member for the West Riding (Mr. Cob-den), when dining in a wooden townhall in France, had asked the municipal authorities how it was that they had no better public edifice; and the answer he received was, that they had pulled down the old building, for the purpose of erecting a new one, twelve years ago; that they had been obliged to send the plans to the Minister of the Interior, and that there they had remained ever since. Such was precisely what constantly occurred in the Colony of New Zealand. The Canterbury colonists, though they had only a few months landed, had already paid 3,000l. taxes to the Central Government; but they could not get in return some small outlay for moorings in their harbour, and the result had been that some of the most valuable lives in the settlement had been lost. Such was the present miserable system of government. So long ago as 1845, the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord J. Russell), and the late Sir Robert Peel, had both acknowledged that self-government ought at once to be given to New Zealand; the next year, 1846, the Governor wrote to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), then at the Colonial Office, that the Colony was fit and eager for self-government. Earl Grey, on succeeding to the office the same year, was so strongly of the same opinion, that before he had been in office two months, he sent out to the colony his idea of a Constitution. An Act was accordingly passed, but the Governor had taken upon himself to prevent it from coming into operation. It had been suspended for five years, but under a portion of its powers kept alive, the Governor had made two abortive attempts to constitute provincial councils; in one case wholly nominated, in the other partially. Both failing, he himself governed, taxed and appropriated taxation autocratically, and therefore illegally. It was, indeed, most creditable to the present Colonial Secretary that he had not allowed such a state of things to continue—that he had determined not to let a mere change of Ministry, with which the colonists had had nothing to do, prevent them receiving a measure of such tardy justice; and he begged to thank him, in the name of those who were now in London as the agents of the Colony, for having so ably and so vigorously addressed himself to the measure.


said, that he thought that Her Majesty's Government would have been fully justified if they had said, that this being a subject of great importance, and one which required considerable investigation, they proposed to suspend the Constitution of the Colony for another year; but having fully investigated the subject and proposed a measure, he thought they were not only justified but entitled to the greatest commendation for having introduced it at so early a period to the notice of the House. With respect to the measure itself, not having yet seen it, he wished to say as little as possible. He trusted that there would be no considerable opposition to its progress through the House, and hoped to be able to give his support to some of those points upon which the hon. Member who had just sat down had threatened the Government with opposition. With respect to Legislative Councils nominated by the Crown, there was no doubt but that in the present state of things they had not that amount of authority which they ought to have; at the same time the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary, in his (Lord John Russell's) opinion, was justified in saying that the Constitution of New Zealand should be an image of the British Constitution, and that such should be generally established in the Colonies. They had not, of course, an hereditary peerage, and the deficiency was therefore supplied by nominees of the Crown. He could not oppose any Motion of his own, or support a Motion in opposition to the views of a Minister of the Crown, who proposed to imitate that which had been the established form of the British Constitution in the Colonies. The chief thing was, no doubt, to establish Representative Institutions, and if it were found that there were parts of such institutions which worked with dissatisfaction in the Colonies, there could be no interest either in the Minister of the Crown or in Parliament to oppose the just wishes of the Colonies in that respect. The grand obstacle to the due working of representative institutions in the Colony of New Zealand was found to be the great disproportion between the number of British settlers and natives fitted to undertake the working of these institutions. Now, the right hon. Colonial Secretary proposed, if he understood him rightly, that when a native should hold a qualification the same as a British settler, he should have the same right of voting, and the same franchise. That might be a very convenient arrangement within a restricted settlement; but if the settlement were considerably extended, it was obvious that they would then come to large bodies of natives who would have no conception of the mode of carrying out such institutions, or of the persons whom they ought to send as their representatives. Upon the other hand, these natives would consider it a great grievance if they were altogether excluded from having a voice in that Assembly. This was the great difficulty which the Governor (Sir George Grey), a very able man, felt—the difficulty of providing for the due representation of 100,000 of the native population. On the other hand, there was great objection, and some danger, in conferring upon the Governor absolute authority in limiting the districts. It appeal's, therefore, that the main difficulty in any such measure as the present is, whether you will give absolute authority to the Governor in this important matter, or reserve that authority for the Queen in Council, or define it in the Bill. He did not very clearly understand the limits over which this General Assembly was to have jurisdiction—whether over the whole of New Zealand and the different adjacent islands, or whether all the parts of the Constitution were to be enforced, or whether they were to be placed within restrictive limits. That was the difficulty felt in 1848; and he was not aware who the present Government proposed to overcome it. He hoped the Government would he able to succeed; and, for his own part, so far as he could conscientiously do so, he should give them his support.


said, he rose to thank the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Colonial Department for the care, attention, and zeal with which he had considered the important subject to which the Bill related. He (Mr. Aglionby) felt greatly interested in the subject of the proposed Constitution of New Zealand, he having been instrumental in introducing a large proportion of the colonists to that country. He differed from the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) in his opinion that the present measure was not one of importance; as, "on the contrary, he believed it to be of the highest possible importance, and calculated to be productive of great and lasting benefits to the Colony. There was only one point on which he (Mr. Aglionby) wished to make an observation—he meant the land question. He agreed generally in the remark of the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley), that the management should be placed, with a qualification, in the hands of the Colonists. It ought to be recollected that the land fund had been given by the Imperial Government as a security; and the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Colonial Department had intimated, that in placing the fund in the hands of the Central Legislature it would be necessary to provide some security for those who had claims on that fund. A lien had been given to the New Zealand Company, which was to take effect in July, 1850, in the contingency of the Company's not being able to continue its colonising operations; so that the land fund was the only statutable security which the New Zealand Company had for its debt. With respect to the New Zealand Company, he would simply state, that by its exertions they had prevented the Colony becoming a French penal settlement, and that in consequence it was entitled to receive a fair consideration of its claims. Having had an interview with the right hon. Baronet on the subject, he acknowledged the right hon. Baronet's attention and anxiety to leave no room for any charge of breaking faith. Earl Grey felt so strongly the difficulty of the Crown dealing with the land, that he proposed a mode of relieving the land from the lien upon it; he wished to cut the Gordian knot. Till the Colonists got the land they never would he satisfied. The cheapest and best course was to let them have the land, and to create a stock. The moment the Parliamentary pledge was redeemed, Parliament would have the right to deal with the land as it pleased. He believed, that till they gave the Colonies free institutions, allowed them to choose their own Legislature, and manage their own lands, and withdrew their present expensive staff—protecting them only against foreign hostile invasion —they would be constantly called upon to find some assistance for the support and maintenance of their colonial establishments.


said the right hon. Baronet at the head of the Colonial Department had adverted to the plan of a Constitution for New Zealand, which had been proposed by the late Colonial Minister, and embodied in a public document. There would, perhaps, be no objection to laying that plan before the House. It would be useful when they came to discuss the Bill in Committee.


said: I cannot resist the temptation of attempting to offer to the right hon. Secretary for the Colonies a warmer congratulation than any he has yet received. Does the right hon. Gentleman know—I am certain he does know—that a principle has fallen into his hands which is capable of carrying this country to as much of the empire of the world as an honest man can wish? The questions of a first and second chamber shall be left to the professionals in that line; for there is another question which by its magnitude reduces them to comparative insignificance. The bane and injury of our colonial establishments has always been the differences of race. Of those differences the right hon. Baronet has announced the beginning of the end. He has demonstrated, with a statesmanlike grasp, that the British Crown stands in the same relation to the natives of New Zealand as the Romans to our rude ancestors. It is not clear whether our ancestors ate anybody, but it is certain that they roasted. Here, then, was a native race, much like our painted forefathers, proposed to be introduced, on equal terms, to the benefits of British citizenship. Man could not foresee to what extent a principle so auspiciously begun might in the end be carried. There were some points of detail on which information might be desired. It had been stated what was to be the qualification of the electors, but not of the elected; if it were the same as that of the electors, there would be every reason to be content. There was one other point not altogether satisfactory. There was something said of a sum of 7,000l. to be expended for the benefit of the natives. If the natives were to be equal with persons of European birth or descent, why should they be treated as children or objects of charity? They would advance as quickly if left to their own resources; they wanted no such adventitious aid as was proposed. On the whole, however, it was impossible to avoid congratulating the right hon. Baronet on his good fortune in being the agent in this great cause. Some of us might have been content if it had fallen into previous hands; but large and most respectable classes in. this country would view with delight the prospect that the subject would be dealt with as seemed intended.


said, he must acknowledge the favourable and indulgent spirit with which the House had received his proposal, and felt, in consequence, more sanguine than ever that, notwithstanding the lateness of the Session, and his desire to meet any fair objection to the measure, that it might become the law of the land before the close of the Session. With regard to the exception which the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) made to the general tone of the reception given by the House to his plan, he should have thought that a Bill for conferring the blessings of self-government on his fellow-subjects would not have been treated by the hon. Member as unworthy their attention this Session. He was glad that his attention had been called to a subject which he had overlooked in his statement, namely, the great expense of the Colony to this country. He found that, from the year 1845 to 1851, the annual expenditure of this country for New Zealand, not including the maintenance of the military forces there, had fluctuated from 20,000l!. to 36,000l. In 1843 there was a vote of 54,000l., and in 1850 of 21,000l. This large expenditure constituted an additional reason for giving to the Colony a system of self-government. He had great pleasure, however, in stating that, in the Colonial Estimates to he submitted to the House in the present year, the large annual sum hitherto granted to New Zealand would be reduced to 10,000l For the next year the Government had reason to hope that 5.000l only would be required to be voted, and in the following year they had every reason to hope that the Colony would become entirely self-supporting. He was not able to answer exactly the question put by the hon. Baronet the Member for South Essex (Sir E. Buxton) as to the probable extent of the provinces which would be affected by the measure; but on referring to a recent despatch of Sir George Grey from New Zealand, it appeared that in the British settlements both races already formed one harmonious union, cemented by the same bonds, engaged in the same occupations, professed the same faith, resorted to the same Courts of Justice, stood in many cases mutually and indifferently to each other in the relation of landlord and tenant, and were rapidly and invisibly forming but one people. It would appear that at all events a very large proportion of the native population was entitled to the same privileges as the British settlers, though what that number might be he could not state with any degree of exactness. With reference to the grant of 7,000l. to which some objection had been taken by the hon. and gallant Member for Bradford (Col. Thompson), it should be borne in mind that, although they had a considerable number of natives ready to take a place with British subjects, there were still a large number in a population of about 120,000 who were very far from the same point of civilisation, and the sum proposed would be expended for the purpose of providing schools and other means for raising the civilisation of that portion of the natives. The noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell) had desired some information on the subject of the limits of the jurisdiction of the General Assembly. By the proposed measure the Governor would have the power of prescribing the limits to the different provinces; it would be open to the Central Legislature to extend these limits as circumstances might require. The Central Government would, of course, have control over the whole of the Colony. With reference to the document referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the University of Oxford (Mr. Gladstone), if he considered that it would tend to facilitate the discussion of the Bill, he should have no hesitation in laying it upon the table of the House.


The plan as proposed by Earl Grey in the document referred to, is one which has not been maturely considered.


said, that if the noble Lord had any objection to his doing so, he would not consent to its production. He would leave the matter between the noble Lord and the right hon. Gentleman.


I have no objection to its being laid before the House.

Leave given; Bill ordered to be brought in by Sir John Pakington and Mr. Henley.

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