HC Deb 24 February 1853 vol 124 cc554-90

said, he hoped the House would not consider that he trespassed upon their time, or that any apology was necessary for calling their attention to the condition of the Australian Colonies, and the policy which it appeared to him should he adopted by the Imperial Government towards them under the extraordinary and unexpected circumstances in which they were placed. For some years past there had been a growing and increasing inclination evinced on the part of that House to give its attention to Colonial affairs; and certainly there were no parts of Her Majesty's Colonial dominions which at this moment excited greater interest, either in that House or the country, than those which were situated in Australasia. Those colonies had always been free from the difficulties connected with variety of races which had occurred in several of our dependencies that had been acquired by conquest; they had been peopled from the inhabitants of these islands; they had enjoyed very great prosperity, and were favourably circumstanced as to climate. They had consequently attracted much of the attention of that House. No longer ago than last Session the House devoted much of its consideration to the Colony of New Zealand; and in the year 1850, under the Government of the noble Lord the Member for the City of London, Parliament discussed and adopted a constitution for the colonies of Australia, unconscious at that time of the important discoveries of gold which were then impending in those colonies. Towards the close of the year 1850 those extraordinary discoveries of gold took place, bringing about a new state of things in those regions, stimulating their prosperity to a marvellous extent, and giving a redoubled impetus to emigration from this country and other parts of the world; and whatever interest had formerly been taken by Parliament and the country in the Australian colonies had been very greatly increased by these startling events. He did not know that there were any statistics in this country which could enable him to state the exact quantity of the precious metals which these colonies had produced within the short period of little more than one year in which the whole of the gold fields had been worked; but he believed that he would not be overrating the amount if he estimated it at not less than 10,000,000l. sterling. Of course these immense discoveries had caused a great rush of population to these colonies, and greatly tended to conduce to their material prosperity; but he wished to guard himself against exaggerating the prosperity which those discoveries had occasioned, and against stimulating the amount of emigration to which they might give rise. On the contrary, it appeared to him very desirable that the truth should be known in this respect; and so far from the emigrants from this country having met with universal success, they had had in many cases to encounter very great suffering and much disappointment. He did not now refer to the great sickness and mortality which had prevailed, he was sorry to say, on board of some of the emigrant ships last year, though this was a subject which required and deserved the attention of Parliament. But, irrespectively of the sufferings which prevailed on board those ships, the emigrants in many instances had landed in Australia labouring under severe sickness and privation. Weakened by a protracted voyage, they had found they were unable to compete with the fatigues and hardships which work at the gold mines involved, increased from the working of those mines being carried on at a considerable depth under ground. Great sickness had, in many cases, been the consequence of a description of labour wholly new to persons who had been accustomed to ordinary industry in this country; and he believed that very many of those who had gone out with high-raised hopes were likely to return to this country, disappointed in the expectations they had formed. He had said thus much in order to show that in the remarks he was about to make, he had no intention of saying anything unduly to stimulate, while on the other hand he did not wish unduly to discourage, the tide of emigration which was flowing from this country towards those distant colonies, and he would now proceed shortly to explain the object he had in view in soliciting the attention of the House. It was the fortune of the late Government to hold office during the year in which the earliest effects of the extraordinary discoveries of gold in the colonies where they occurred began to be felt, for it was during last year that the full effect of the gold discoveries in the increased prosperity and rapidly increasing population of the Australian provinces was first made manifest. In his endeavours to discharge the duties of the arduous office in the late Government which, he had the honour to hold, nothing had given him more anxiety than that the extraordinary crisis which had arisen in the Australian colonies should be met by the Government of this country in a generous and liberal spirit, such as was calculated to promote the interests both of the colonies and the mother country. He desired now to state, and in no boastful spirit, the policy which the late Government thought it their duty to adopt in respect to the future administration of those colonies, and, in no spirit of undue distrust or suspicion, to call upon the Government of which the noble Lord was the loader in that House, to state whether or not it was their intention for the future to pursue the policy which the late Government had commenced, or, if they intended to deviate from that policy, what would be the nature and extent of that deviation. In taking this course he should not detain the House by entering into the early history of those Australian colonies. The House was, of course, aware that the colony of New South Wales had been founded towards the close of the last century, and was originally entirely a convict settlement. Nothing could be more remarkable than the rapid progress of New South Wales from the period at which it ceased to he exclusively a convict colony, and when the departure of many freemen from this country to reside on its shores gave it the interest attaching to those dependencies of the Crown to which the inhabitants of this country carried their energies and industry. In the year 1830 the imports of New South Wales amounted in value to 420,418l., and the exports to 131,461l., whilst the population numbered 55,000. Passing over twenty years, to 1850, he found that in that year the imports of New South Wales had increased to 1,333,413?., and the exports to 1,357,784l. This showed an astonishingly rapid increase in the material prosperity of the territory, which was still more extraordinary during the following year, 1851, in which he had already mentioned that the gold discoveries took place. The imports for that year rose to 1,563,931l., and the exports to 1,796,912; and the population, which in 1830 was only 55,000, had increased to 197,153, or, in round numbers, 200,000, Thus the imports for 1851 were at the unusual, if not unprecedented, rate of about 8l. a head of the population of all ages, and the exports at the rate of about 9l. a head of all ages. These facts showed a rate of prosperity which had hardly been equalled in any other community. He would now beg to call the attention of the House to the still more extraordinary progress of the colony of Victoria. He did not know whether all who heard him were aware that the great and prosperous colony of Victoria, only eighteen years ago, was an untouched wilderness, in which not a single civilised Englishman had yet fixed his abode. Another fact he might perhaps be allowed to mention, in no degree for the purpose of censuring the statesmen to whom it referred, but rather with the object of showing how little human foresight and wisdom had in reality to do with the great changes which in many cases take place around us. About the year 1834 some persons in Van Diemen's Land who were anxious to establish a settlement in Port Phillip applied to the Home Government on the subject, and in December, 1834, the present Prime Minister the Earl of Aberdeen, who was then Colonial Secretary, wrote a despatch in answer. In the following month of July, 1835, Lord Glenelg, who had succeeded the Earl of Aberdeen in the Colonial Office, wrote another despatch on the same subject. Both those despatches were to the effect that no settlement could be allowed at Port Phillip, and declared explicitly that such a settlement would be opposed to the policy of England, which was rather to concentrate than to extend the population of those colonies, and would involve expenses which it would not be worth the while of this country to incur. Happily for both countries British enterprise and British spirit had anticipated the decision of those statesmen, and before these answers had been received in Australia some active and energetic men had established themselves in Port Phillip. That was in the year 1835. In 1845, after the lapse of only ten years, the imports of this infant settlement amounted to 248,000l., the exports to 464,000, and the population to 28,000. In 1851, after six years more had passed, the imports had risen to 1,056,000l., and the exports to 1,423,000l., whilst the; figures of the population had been reversed, for instead of being 28,000, it had increased to 82,000. Such was the rapid increase of the colony of Victoria, which the Earl of Aberdeen and Lord Glenelg had pronounced ought not to be founded, and which, only eighteen years: ago, it was considered by official men impolitic to establish. He repeated that, in adverting to these facts, he intended no censure. He was willing to admit that, had he been in their position, he should probably have arrived at the same decision as they did. He now wished to call the attention of the House to what had been the immediate effect of the discoveries of gold upon the material prosperity of this colony. He asked leave to compare the revenue of Victoria for the quarter ending June 30, 1851, with the corresponding quarter of 1852. For the quarter ending June 30, 1851, the revenue of Victoria amounted to 35,994l.; that was the general revenue. For the same quarter in 1852 the general revenue had increased to 98,456l., being an increase of 62,462l. The Crown revenue in the same quarter of 1851 amounted to 87,874l; in the corresponding quarter of 1852 it was 186,579l., showing an increase of 98,705l., and a total increase of Crown and general revenue of 161,167l. In a few months the population, which in 1851 was 82,000, had 120,000—a result of the enormous influx of immigrants. This would show the House the extraordinary progress of the colony of Victoria, and would show that the state of those colonies was such as to require the serious consideration of the late Government. He would now state what had been the amount of emigration to those colonies during the last few years, with the view of showing the increase that had taken place subsequently to the marvellous discoveries to which he alluded. In 1849 the emigration from this country to Australia was 32,191, in 1850 it was 16,681, in 1851 it was 21,532, but during the last year, 1852, it increased to 87,434. Such was the state of things to which the attention of the late Government had been directed. In considering the policy they ought to adopt towards those colonies, their unhesitating decision was that they were bound to meet the demands preferred in a confiding, trustful, and generous spirit, and that we at this distance from those colonies could not judge of their local interests, or of the expenditure necessary to promote them, so well as the colonists could judge of those matters for themselves, and that we ought to place that confidence in them as English subjects, and men accustomed to the free- dom and institutions of this country, which they claimed the right to share, and which they were so well entitled to possess. The late Government were confirmed in that determination by the very honourable development of national character which had been witnessed in the present extraordinary circumstances of the colony, and which he thought he should fail in the duty he had undertaken if he did not bring under the notice of the House. Nothing could surpass the creditable and honourable manner in which the thousands engaged in the mining operations of the Australian colonies had up to the present time conducted themselves—in the colony of Victoria, more particularly. The House would bear in mind that until the steps taken by the late Government in the course of last year, so sudden was the change of affairs, and so completely did the discoveries of gold take the country and the authorities by surprise, that the Executive Government in Victoria was unprovided with any means of adequate control over the vast population which flocked within its boundaries. Throughout the whole of 1852, both in New South Wales and Victoria, though he did not mean to say that no crimes or disorders occurred, yet the general conduct of the persons engaged in mining adventure had been most moral and creditable. The local Government, to their credit, took early means to provide the persons assembled at the diggings with the means of divine worship by the appointment of ministers; and, notwithstanding the temptations of this extraordinary scene, the Sunday at all those spots had been for the most part properly observed, divine worship had not been neglected, and the conduct of the people had been on the whole most exemplary. He ought to mention another subject, no loss honourable to one branch of the service on which we relied with confidence for our defence—he meant the British Army. Until last autumn the Government of Victoria had no troops except a handful of some fifty soldiers belonging to one of our regiments of the line, who had no barracks, but were billeted about the town of Melbourne. Yet, in spite of all the temptations to which they were exposed at a place within seventy miles of the field of wealth, it was a fact highly honourable to the British Army, that up to the time at which he (Sir J. Pakington) left office he had not heard of a single instance of desertion or misconduct on their part. Looking, then, to the unexpected expenses to which the Government of Vic- toria was exposed for the preservation of order at the gold diggings, the late Government determined to place at the disposal of the local Government the revenue arising from the gold discoveries. Accordingly, in June last, he sent out a despatch, in which he announced that the revenue derived from the gold was to be regulated by the local Legislature, and expended by them. A despatch was also transmitted, in which the Governor was informed that to aid in maintaining order a regiment of infantry would be sent to the colony, and the naval assistance which might be requisite would also be provided. That was the policy which the late Government regarded as most likely to conduce to the welfare both of the colony and the mother country, and they trusted it would be accepted as conciliatory and fair. Very shortly after, he had, with the concurrence of his Colleagues, sent out that despatch, there arrived in this country a petition from the Legislature of New South Wales which attracted at the time very considerable attention, being brought before the other House by a noble Lord now holding office in the present Government—the Duke of Argyll; whilst in that House it was presented by his noble Friend then Secretary for Ireland (Lord Naas). The prayer of that petition contained a bold and energetic declaration of what the inhabitants of New South Wales considered to be their rights, and of the demands which they thought themselves entitled to make on the Government of this country. That petition, which received the earnest attention of Her Majesty's Government, was, in fact, the renewal of a petition and remonstrance sent to this country six months before. In June, 1851, the then expiring Legislature of New South Wales, which was in existence before the Act of 1850 came into operation, adopted this declaration and remonstrance. It arrived in this country in December, 1851, and was answered by Earl Grey, then the Colleague of the noble Lord opposite (Lord J. Russell), and his (Sir J. Pakington's) predecessor in the Colonial department. In a despatch written in the month of January, 1852, the noble Earl distinctly refused every one of the prayers comprised in the petition of the colonists. Just before the Government of the noble Lord opposite went out of office, and within a week of the time at which Earl Grey wrote that despatch refusing the prayer of the expiring Legislature of New South Wales, the new Legislature, elected in the intervening time under the operation of the Act of 1850, adopted the same declaration and remonstrance as their predecessors, and this was the petition to which he had adverted as having been received in this country in the course of last summer. They stated in emphatic language their entire adoption of the prayer of that petition, the last words of which showed the deep interest felt by the inhabitants of New South Wales in this question Solemnly protesting against these wrongs, and insisting upon these our undoubted rights, we leave the redress of the former and the assertion of the latter to the people whom we represent and the Legislature which we address. The objects sought for by the petitioners were arranged under live heads; the first, a complaint of the civil list fixed by the noble Lord (Earl Grey) under the Act of 1850; second, a request that the lands of the colony might be placed under the control of the colonial authorities, instead of that of the Imperial Government at home; third, a reform of the Customs; fourth, that all patronage to Government offices might be left entirely in the hands of the local authorities; fifth and last, that all legislation upon local subjects might be finally disposed of in the colony without reference to the Imperial Government at home, that was to say, without requiring the assent of the Crown. The Government of the noble Lord opposite having refused all compliance with the prayers of the colonists on any of these points, he hoped the House would permit him to state the answers returned by the late Government, and he would enumerate these in reverse order to that in which he had stated the list of demands. First, with respect to the prayer for final legislation, he entirely agreed with the answer sent by Earl Grey to this part of the petition, that it was a subject on which it was extremely difficult to meet the views and objects of the petitioners. He did not know how far the noble Lord opposite, or Earl Grey, might be disposed to agree with him, when he said that on principle the late Government had no objection to this prayer, but a serious difficulty arose with respect to the possibility of granting it. He begged to read what fell from the noble Lord the Member for London on this very subject, in the able and interesting speech he made upon our colonial policy at the commencement of the Session of 1850: — Another scheme which has been proposed is that a certain description of laws adopted, by the colonial legislatures should require the assent of the imperial authority, but that, with regard generally to the acts of the colonial legislatures, no such sanction should be requisite; and that a line should be drawn between those laws which require the assent of the Crown, and those which should he enforced without, such assent. Now, Sir, I do not believe that it is possible to draw any such distinction. I think we had a strong proof of this in the debates which took place last year with respect to a measure which was passed by the House of Assembly, by the Legislative Council, and by the Governor of Canada. It was asserted in this House that that was a measure which ought not to receive the assent of the Crown, and that Her Majesty ought to reject it, although it had been affirmed by all the Canadian authorities. The Government, on the other hand, maintained that it was a matter of local government, and that the will of the colony, expressed deliberately by the legislature, ought to be affirmed. I do not wish to revive that contest. I may say, however, that my opinion is very strong that it was a matter for the local authorities to decide; but I mention this as an instance of the difficulty there would be in drawing a precise line, and to show that any attempt to draw such a line would be most likely to raise disputes as to whether a particular law came within or stood without that line. I believe that any man acquainted with the administration of the colonies will come to the conclusion that it is only in rare cases that the authority of the Crown ought to he interposed; and that, with respect to local affairs, the executive and legislative authorities of the colony are the best judges/'—[3 Hansard, cviii. 517.] he must say, that on this subject he entirely concurred with those expressions of the noble Lord, and the views laid down in the despatch of Earl Grey. He thought that any interference on the part of the Crown, by disallowing local acts, should be of rare occurrence, and that only under special circumstances imperatively calling for it; and he should be glad to see a line drawn, if it were possible to do so, between local and Imperial legislation, and some such distinction established as that between public and private Bills with ourselves. But he felt the difficulties which the noble Lord had pointed out, and he believed that the practical effect of any of the plans which had been yet suggested would be to restrict rather than to enlarge the powers of the Colonial Legislature. On this point, therefore, the late Government returned an answer in effect the same as that of Earl Grey. With respect to the demand that all patronage should be vested in persons resident in the colony, Her Majesty's Government answered that they thought that for the sake of the colonists themselves—though doubtless persons who had displayed ability in the colonies were entitled to local promotion—it would not be advisable to exclude the introduction of fresh persons into the colony, when it might be the pleasure of the Crown to send them out to fill offices of trust and emolument. The general rule was for the Governor to select persons among the colonists for public employments; and he agreed with Earl Grey that it was impossible for the Government to recognise any monopoly of a right to such situations on the part of the inhabitants of New South Wales, so as to preclude them from being bestowed on others of Her Majesty's subjects. With respect to the Customs, Earl Grey had made changes which met the wishes of the colonists to a great extent, and as they had put that branch of the public service on the same footing there as at home, he thought little ground of complaint remained under this head. On the next subject, one of great importance, they arrived at a different determination from their predecessors. The civil list had always been a great grievance to the colony of New South Wales, and the enormous amount of 70,000l. a year was saddled upon them under circumstances which, whether it was so intended or not by Earl Grey, prevented them from exercising any control except in the most unimportant trifles. On this point the late Government thought it impossible to withhold their assent to the demands of the colonists, and they, therefore, called on the colonists only to provide such a civil list as would secure sufficient salaries to official persons residing in the colony. The remaining subject that he had to bring under the notice of the House, was of far the greatest importance, that of the disposal of the waste lands of the colonies. He saw an hon. and learned Gentleman opposite who was much more conversant with it than anybody else, he meant the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Lowe), who, when a member of the colonial legislature, he believed, was himself a party to a very able correspondence carried on for a long period between the Legislature of New South Wales and the Colonial Department in this country with respect to the maintenance or repeal of the Land Sales Act now in operation, The point of all others on which the Legislature of New South Wales felt the greatest interest and anxiety, was that of the disposal of the waste lands. Earl Grey, as he had said, distinctly refused the request of the colonists. One point, that of right, the late Government felt, with Earl Grey, that it was impossible to concede. Upon this subject Earl Grey said— It is my duty not to withhold the expression of my decided dissent from the doctrine that the waste lands in New South Wales, or the revenue derived from them, are in any reasonable sense the exclusive property of its inhabitants, or that their representatives ought to have as of right the control and disposal of that revenue. The late Government agreed in these opinions of Earl Grey, and felt that it would be impossible to admit as a matter of right that which, if admitted, would belong as fully to the 4,000 inhabitants of Western Australia as to the 200,000 inhabitants of New South Wales, and which would indeed have equally belonged to the first few families which settled in a corner of New Zealand. The right to the waste lands was, in the opinion of the late Government, vested in the Crown. Earl Grey admitted that it might be desirable to transfer the control of the waste lands of a colony to its local legislature; but he thought the time had not yet come. The point which the late Government differed from Earl Grey, was in thinking that the time had now arrived at which this concession ought to be made. Looking at what had been done in other colonies, at the circumstances of the question in Canada, and the concessions made only last year by the New Zealand Bill, which yielded this very point of the management of the waste lands; knowing, also, the great weight attached to this point by the inhabitants of New South Wales, and the urgent terms in which their petition stated their wishes, the late Government arrived at the decision that they would best discharge their duty to the Crown, and consult the interests both of this country and the colonists, by giving up to them the management of their waste lands. It was enacted by the Land Sales Act that not less than one half the produce of the land sale should be devoted to the furtherance of emigration. For some years that Act worked well; but, looking to what was now passing there, and to the rapid increase of their population and wealth, the late Government thought it should in future be left to the local legislature to decide at what rate it would be most beneficial to the people generally that their land should be sold; and how far it was desirable for them to spend their revenue in promoting emigration from this country. For under existing circumstances it was far more important to them to receive an addition to their population, than it was to us that the present rapid tide of emigration should continue to flow from this country. He had already stated that the number of emigrants from this country to Australia amounted last, year to 87,434, of whom only 34,329 were sent out. by the funds remitted home under the Land Sales Act, the great majority having gone out entirely independent of the funds provided under the operation of that set. On these reasons the late Government determined to concede this important boon to the colonies, attaching to it, however, certain, conditions which it was right that he should mention. It appeared to them that, independently of recent events, it was clear that these colonies had outgrown their present form of constitution; that it was not conducive to their welfare that they should continue to be governed by a single Legislative Chamber, but that it was desirable that there should be two chambers in each of these great colonies. The late Government thought this change, which had long been desirable, had become much more so in consequence of the rapid advance which these colonies had lately made in material prosperity; and that when they were conceding to the colonies entire control over the revenue derived from the gold licences, which in the colony of Victoria amounted last year to no less than 80,000l., and also of that derived from the land sales, it would be for the interest of the colonies that this control should be exercised by a double rather than a single chamber. And he hoped that, notwithstanding what passed in 1850, the present would not differ from the late Government in this respect. In that year, the late Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Walpole) moved as an amendment on the Government plan, that there should be a double in stead of a single chamber in the Australian colonies; he was unsuccessful, being defeated by the then Government, It was a second time advanced, and unsuccessfully, by the right hon. Baronet the Member for Southwark (Sir W, Molesworth), who had long taken so much interest in colonial matters that it caused him (Sir J. Pakington) some surprise to see the right hon. Baronet intrusted with the care of parks and gardens and regretted also to find that the right hon. Baronet was not present on this occasion, [Lord JOHN RUSSELL: He is ill.] Then, he regretted the cause of his absence more than the absence itself. Notwithstanding this, however, he believed that even before the recent great discoveries and concessions, the general sense of the House of Commons, and of those who took most interest in Australian affairs, was in favour of these colonies being governed by a double chamber. Indeed, he never clearly understood the ground on which the Government of the noble Lord refused it. It was no doubt alleged that the colonies themselves did not desire it; but he (Sir J. Pakington) scarcely knew the ground on which that statement rested. There was certainly a petition from Geelong, in Victoria, in which they stated that they were at that time more anxious to be separated from New South Wales, and to be erected an independent colony, than about the form of their constitution: and they asked that they might then retain a single chamber. But at the same time, in 1850, a memorial was sent home from the colonists of New South Wales generally, praying for a double chamber. Under these circumstances, and looking to the fact that the petition to which he had referred contained a prayer that the institutions of New South Wales should he assimilated to those of Canada, where there was a double chamber, the late Government thought it was prudent to attach to the large concessions they were about to make to the colonies a stipulation that Victoria and New South Wales should adopt a double chamber; and they notified this to the colonies in the despatch for the production of which he was then moving. And it was with great satisfaction he had since learned that, while the Government here had arrived at this decision, the Legislature of New South Wales was engaged in devising a new constitution, part of which was a double chamber, differing in no essential respect from that which the late Government urged them to adopt. He had now stated to the House the substance of the answer that the late Government felt it their duty to send to this most important petition. It was, as the noble Lord would see, widely different from that which the Government of which he was the head had only six months before sent to the same prayer. This petition did not, however, advert to another subject which had excited in the Australian colonies a degree of interest and excitement not inferior to that raised by any of the subjects which he had already noticed. He alluded to the transportation of convicts from this country to Van Diemen's Land. The noble Lord opposite (Lord John Russell) on the first night after the mooting of Parliament, had in that House, and the noble Duke (the Duke of New-castle) now at the head of the Colonial Office, had, in another place, stated that the present Government intended to act on the declared determination of the late Government not to send out any more convicts to Van Diemen's Land. But neither the noble Lord nor the noble Duke had explained the reasons why it was desirable to make so great a change; and in the meantime the highest possible authority on this subject—the Lord Chief Justice of England—had, in the House of Lords, stated his regret that the punishment of transportation should cease, if it could possibly be continued. In 1847, also, some of the most eminent Judges, who were examined before a Committee of the other House, which sat on this subject, expressed themselves strongly in favour of the continuance of transportation as a secondary punishment. He had also himself in the debates that took place at that time expressed a strong opinion in favour of transportation, being convinced from his experience in a court of justice that it had proved a valuable portion of our secondary punishments, and that it was highly deterring in its effect upon criminals. It was therefore incumbent on him to state why the late Government felt it their duty to promise the Australian colonies that transportation to Van Diemen's Land should cease. Soon after he entered office, he received one of the most influential deputations he ever saw on this subject of transportation. It was headed by the present Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works (Sir W. Molesworth), and its members pressed upon him in the strongest manner possible the determination of the Australian colonies no longer to submit to convicts being sent there. He (Sir J. Pakington) stated in reply to them that he had lately received from Western Australia representations that that colony was willing to receive convicts; and also a petition from Moreton Bay, praying to be detached from New South Wales in order that they might receive convicts. He also told them that when Earl Grey was Colonial Secretary, a representation, signed by about 140 colonists of Van Diemen's Land, had been received, the earnest prayer of which was, that transportation might be continued to that colony on account of the benefit which was derived from the labour of the convicts. At the same time he promised the deputation that the late Government would give their anxious attention to the representations made to them, and see whether or not they could, consistently with their duties to these colonies, continue to send convicts to Van Diemen's Land. The result of their deliberations was that they advised Her Majesty, in Her gracious Speech at the opening of the present Session, to hold out to Van Diemen's Land the hope that no further transportation should take place. It was perfectly true that public opinion in the colony might be said to be divided on this subject. Under the great pressure that existed for want of labour, the inhabitants of Moreton Bay were ready to take convicts; but he thought the House would agree with him, that the prayer could not be conceded without a violation of good faith towards New South Wales. A division of opinion doubtless existed in Van Diemen's Land, and he had no doubt that under the desertion of that colony which to a great extent took place last year in consequence of the gold discoveries, the employers of labour had benefited greatly by the labour of the convicts. But, nevertheless, the late Government were unable to resist the conclusion, notwithstanding these facts, that throughout the whole of these colonies there existed the deepest dislike and hatred of the continuation of the convict system; and as strong and general a determination as ever pervaded the colonists to use every legitimate means to put an end to a system from which they believed they suffered the worst effects. If hon. Gentlemen would turn to the papers with respect to transportation, published in 1852, they would find ample proof of the strong feeling which existed on this subject in the Australian colonies. He would not refer to the somewhat doubtful proceedings of a body calling itself the Australian League, but at the same time the action of that body must not be lost sight of. It was not limited to any one colony; it extended through Van Diemen's Land, Victoria, and Now South Wales; it had been joined by many of the most respectable colonists, and it must be regarded as the result of fixed purposes and feelings on this subject. But the display of this feeling had not been limited to the proceedings of the league. Public meetings had been held— especially in Victoria—when the most unanimous and the strongest feelings had been expressed, and the Legislatures of New South Wales and Victoria had all addressed the Crown, entreating that transportation might be stopped. If he wanted further proof of the extent and depth of this feeling, he should find it in the address of the Chairman of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce to the members of that body, which was certainly not likely to have interfered in a matter of this kind, unless the colonists had the strongest feelings upon this subject. He said— Addresses to a commercial association may not generally embrace subjects of a social and moral character, but the situation of our colony is peculiar, and I trust that it is not necessary to plead that the material interests of society are not paramount to virtue and happiness. I am the more encouraged to allude to the absorbing subject of transportation, because I feel that, not only in this society, but throughout the entire colony, there is but one sentiment on the subject. It is, indeed, an enormous evil that into the bosom of this rising society there should be thrust thousands of criminals yearly ejected from the bosom of a mighty Empire. Even a stronger proof of the feeling entertained on this subject was to be found in the fact of a large public meeting which had lately been held in South Australia. This colony might have been expected to be free from the evils of transportation, because by its charter no convicts could be sent there, and a long distance intervened between it and Van Diemen's Land; still a majority of the criminals convicted in its courts of justice were convicts who had been sent to Van Diemen's Land. Thus it was not free from the taint, and one of the largest meetings ever held in Adelaide was convened to address the Crown by petition on this subject. In Van Diemen's Land, no doubt, a considerable portion of the employers of labour, and particularly of those engaged in agriculture, were in favour of employing the labour of convicts; but the great majority of the population were decidedly opposed to the continuance of transportation. The Governor of the colony, indeed, Sir William Denison, a most able and intelligent public servant, had not up to this time ceased to represent that in his opinion the interests of Van Diemen's Land required a continuance of transportation. But it appeared by the last intelligence from the colony that the Legislature had by an overwhelming majority decided to petition the Crown to terminate transportation. The Legislature of Van Diemen's land, like that of the other colonies, had two-thirds of its members elected by the people, and one-third nominated by the Government. The elected members unanimously supported this address, as did also a considerable portion of the nominated members, including one of the servants of the Crown in the colony; another of its servants staying away. He would ask the House, therefore, whether, under the circumstances which he had detailed, it would have been wise in the Government to have embarked upon a struggle with these colonies on this subject? He thought that no reflecting man would give such advice. We might have succeeded in that struggle by force of arms; but even success so obtained would have been disastrous. Whatever might be the value of Sir William Denison's opinion, could the Government have answered the prayer of the people and Legislature of Van Diemen's Land by telling them, "We are sure that ere long you will require the labour of these men, and for your own sakes we will refuse the prayer of your petition?" It would be impossible for the Government to have taken that ground, and, consistently with prudence and discretion, to have continued to send convicts to Van Diemen's Land, however highly they might value transportation as a secondary punishment. The reasons for this conclusion were materially strengthened by the discovery of gold; for if we now sent out convicts, what we meant as a punishment might be taken as a very great boon, and crime might be committed in order that the criminal might be sent out to the colonies. Indeed, not long since in the Ionian Islands a soldier was shot because the officers in the garrison there found that crime and outrage were become prevalent amongst the men, who committed offences for the purpose of being sent to Australia; and a friend of his having lately visited Gibraltar, found amongst the convicts there three men in irons who had committed an outrage solely that they might be transported to Australia. Were it necessary, he could adduce evidence from this country to show that we could not continue to look to transportation as an efficient secondary punishment. Having thus explained the reasons which induced the late Government to come to the determination to which he was glad to hear that the present Government intended to adhere, he must express his earnest hope that they would not allow any long time to elapse before they explained to the House their views on the subject of secondary punishments; for the noble Lord opposite would admit that there should not be a continued uncertainty in the country on this subject. He had strong opinions in connexion with it, and when the proper time arrived he would probably take the opportunity of stating what the views of the late Government were regarding it. If he understood the noble Lord correctly on a former evening, no convicts were to be sent to Van Diemen's Land after the ships now engaged had sailed. [Lord JOHN RUSSELL assented.] He was happy to find that the Government still intended to send convicts to Western Australia; for the reasons which he had urged against transportation to Van Diemen's Land, did not apply to the latter colony. The settlers did not object to receive convicts, and Western Australia was separated from the nearest settlement by 1,400 or 1,500 miles of an impracticable desert. He thought, however, the noble Lord could not look to send any large portion of our convicts there; though he hoped that means would be devised not altogether to put an end to transportation as a secondary punishment next in severity to death. He had now alluded to all the grievances which these colonies had urged upon the Home Government. He had shown that the late Government conceded nearly every one of those prayers; but he must remind the noble Lord opposite, that the Government of which he was the head refused the most important of them; and although transportation was now given up, there still remained important concessions prayed for by the colonists, but distinctly refused by the noble Lord's Government. They had since been conceded by the late Government; and he thought, therefore, he was entitled to ask what part this Government intended to pursue with respect to them? In Canada, the noble Lord said that he reverted to the policy of Earl Grey; did the noble Lord intend also to revert to the policy of Earl Grey with respect to our Australian colonies? He hoped and believed, that even if he did not take exactly the course of the late Government, he would not revert to the refusal of 1852, but would meet the wishes of the colonists in a generous spirit. He could not on this point avoid making another quotation from the noble Lord's (Lord J. Russell's) speech upon the colonies in 1850:— I now come to the question as to the mode of governing our colonies. I think that, as a general rule, we cannot do better than refer to those maxims of policy by which our ancestors were guided upon this subject. It appears to me that in providing that wherever Englishmen went they should enjoy English freedom, and have English institutions, they acted justly and wisely. They adopted a course which was calculated to promote a harmonious feeling between the mother country and the colonies, and which enabled those who went out to these distant possessions to sow the seeds of communities of which England may always be proud."—[3 Hansard, cviii. 549.] As far as his humble opinion went, he must say that he never read language more worthy of the high position of the noble Lord, or in which he more entirely concurred. During the time he (Sir J. Pak- ington) held the seals of the Colonial Office, he endeavoured to act strictly on these principles; and it was in pursuance of them that he had made the concessions which, notwithstanding this language, the Government of the noble Lord had withheld. He was, therefore, anxious to know what the policy of the Government was to be on this subject. The late Government felt that two courses were open to them. He had no doubt that, supported by the strong arm of imperial power, they might have refused these concessions, and still have enforced the continuance of the connexion between the colonies and the mother country so long as, notwithstanding their prosperity, the former felt too weak to assert their independence. He and his Colleagues, however, felt that there was another and a wiser policy, namely, to win their confidence by conciliating their affection, and thus to prolong their attachment to the mother country. It was upon these principles that the late Government endeavoured to deal with the great crisis that had arisen in these colonies, and upon these principles he hoped that the present Government intended to continue to act. He would conclude by moving for— Copies of the Despatch from Sir John Pakington to the Governors of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, dated 15th December, 1852, and his Despatch to the Lieutenant Governor of Van Diemen's Land, dated 14th December, 1852.


said, that he entirely concurred in the opening observation of the right hon. Baronet opposite, that there was no necessity for his apologising to the House for drawing its attention to the situation of the Australian colonies. They constituted a group of our dependencies, of which that House had every reason to feel proud. They exhibited, in a remarkable degree, the capacity of the English race to take root in the soil of foreign countries, and there to plant communities, which in an incredibly short space of time appear almost to rival the ancient countries of Europe. The right hon. Baronet had not in any degree over-estimated the results of British industry and enterprise in these colonies. He (Mr. F. Peel) fully endorsed the tribute which he had paid to the fidelity of the troops which were stationed at Victoria, and could say quite as much for the regiment in New South Wales, from which the troops in Victoria had been detached. The right hon. Gentleman had made a speech to which he had listened with the attention which was due to so high an authority. The statement of the right hon. Gentleman was valuable from the extent and accuracy of the information it contained; and he found no fault with the speech, unless it were for the want of a proportion between it and the practical purpose the right hon. Gentleman had in view. It was not needed as a vindication of his own policy. No one had impugned that policy; and he believed there was no one that was not disposed to bear testimony in a general way to the credit that was due to the right hon. Gentleman's colonial administration. The spontaneous communications which had been made by the noble Lord (Lord J. Russell) in that House, and by the noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Department in another place, bad, he thought, anticipated one-half at least of the right hon. Gentleman's Motion, and superseded the necessity for the inquiry that had been made by the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think, that because they had reverted to the policy of the Government which preceded his own with respect to the clergy reserves in Canada, there was, therefore, some possibility of their disturbing all the changes that bad recently taken place. The right hon. Gentleman remembered that the Government was not prepared to follow up his views with reference to the Canadian clergy reserves, and he was instantly filled with solicitude lest his instructions with regard to some other matters should meet the same treatment at their hands. He would, however, endeavour to dispel the anxiety of the right hon. Gentleman on the subject. The despatch to which the right hon. Gentleman referred, was written by the right hon. Gentleman about a week before he quitted office, in reply to a communication from the Governor of New South Wales, which had been received some six months previously. That despatch contained the petition of the Legislative Council, on which the right hon. Gentleman had largely commented. It was in the first instance, a reaffirmance of the views entertained in New South Wales on certain points which had long since been in controversy between ourselves and that colony. There were three of the matters referred to which might be considered of minor importance, and which he would, therefore, dispose of in the first place. These matters had reference to their interference in the Customs establishment of the colony, the exercise of a veto power by the Crown, and the manner in which the patronage of the Colonial Office had been exercised. He bad stated the other night, with regard to the Customs establishment, that since the repeal of the Act under which the Imperial duties were levied, and more especially since the repeal of the restrictions on navigation, they had ceased to have any interest in the appointment of the officers of the Customs in the colonies. They had, therefore, before the petition from the Legislative Council reached this country, transferred that establishment into the hands of the colonial authorities, and it was placed precisely on the same footing as any other department. As to the disposal of patronage, he thought any complaint on that head was unreasonable and ill-founded. During his long tenure of office he believed that Earl Grey had given as full a recognition to the claims of colonial talent as he could possibly venture to do. With very few exceptions, every nomination to office in that colony was made upon the recommendation of its Executive Government. It had been contended that ii would be of advantage to have a stringent regulation, by which a monopoly would be secured to the inhabitants of that colony of all the offices of trust and emolument within it; but he believed that the introduction of any such regulation would be attended with great inconvenience to the public service. It must be obvious, that occasions would now and then arise where they would require some special knowledge which could not be procured within the narrow limits of a colonial community. He would give an instance of that. A short time ago the Legislature of New South Wales incorporated the University of Sydney, and appointed a Senate, at whose disposal they placed a permanent annual sum of 5,000l., to be applied by the senate in payment of salaries to professors, and for exhibitions to scholars who had shown un-usual proficiency in literature and science. What was the first thing that the Senate of that University did? They wrote a letter to the Astronomer Royal, Sir John Herschell, and others, requesting they would select gentlemen to fill those professorships, on the express ground that it was impossible to obtain properly-qualified persons the colony. The House would, therefore, see that it would be extremely unadvisable to lay down a regulation that under no circumstances should there be any appointment made of persons in this country to offices in New South Wales. With regard to the veto, it was well known that the Crown was a constituent part of every Colonial Legislature. But the representative of the Crown was empowered in each colony to assent or dissent, on the part of the Crown, to colonial ordinances; and if he assented, he did so subject to the disallowing power of the Crown. Whatever might be their confidence in the ability and good intentions of their governors, it would be impossible for them to give them a full discretion over the confirmation or disallowance of local enactments. It was admitted, he believed, that the alleged grievance was more a matter of theory than of practice, and that few ordinances were disallowed. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that the Legislature of New South Wales had suggested that it might be possible to make a distinction between matters that might be considered as local, and those that had an Imperial interest, or appeared to touch the prerogatives of the Crown and that with regard to the local matters there could be no objection to give the Governor power, without any application to the Crown, to act on behalf of Her Majesty. He (Mr. Peel) could only say, with regard to that proposition, that if it were possible to draw a line of demarcation, distinguishing what were local matters and what Imperial, and to do so without restricting the existing powers of the Colonial Legislature, he felt sure there would be no disinclination on the part of the noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Office to consider the propriety of establishing such a distinction. He would now come to the more important part of the petition, which concluded with a proposition in which the Legislative Council said that if they gave to them the exclusive control of their entire revenue, as well territorial as ordinary, and if they assisted them in exercising the power which was conferred upon them by the Act of 1850, for the Amendment of the constitution of the Legislature, they would on their part be willing to bear, not alone the whole cost of their civil expenses, but also to defray the expenses incurred for their military protection: and as a testimony of the sincerity of those assurances of loyalty and devotion which they had so often requested should be carried to the Throne, they were prepared to vote Her Majesty an adequate and ample civil list, in substitutions of the sums contained in the schedule of the Act of the 13 & 14 Vic. The House was aware that it had appropriated a part of the ordinary revenue to the payment of the civil service in the colony; and he believed himself that a permanent provision of that kind, not liable to be capriciously altered by the Legislature, was necessary, in order to secure the services of able and efficient men to act in the colony. He believed that the local Legislature itself took the same view as the House did of the matter; and the point of their complaint was, not that the provision was a permanent one, but that Parliament, by its sole authority, without their concurrence, in contravention of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Declaratory Act of 1788, by which Parliament once for all renounced the power of levying taxes upon their colonial subjects, appropriated a part of the revenue which was raised by taxes imposed by themselves. On considering this question he was inclined to think that the preponderance of the argument in the controversy rested with the colonial Legislature, and therefore he believed the Government were prepared to accept a civil list voted by the colonial Legislature in substitution of the civil list which Parliament had voted. He anticipated that they would have no occasion to repent having taken that course, or to regret the confidence which it betokened in the good sense of the people of New South Wales. He had recently seen the draft of a measure granting a civil list to Her Majesty, which had been prepared by a Committee of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, and he found the sum they were prepared to recommend exceeded considerably the sum Parliament had devoted to the subject. The sum Parliament had devoted for the purpose was 73,000l., and the civil list recommended by the Committee amounted to 88,000l. Moreover, it was impossible for them to know at such a distance what was the amount necessary to carry on the public service. In the colony of Victoria, for instance, they had reserved a sum of 20,000l. for the chief civil departments of the Government; and one would suppose that was a sum that bore some proportion to the ordinary revenue of the colony; but what did the House suppose was the estimated expenditure for the colony of Victoria for the next year? It was not 20,000l., nor twice 20,000l., but it was 1,750,000l., compared with which the sum of 20,000l. was an absolute triviality. Again, we had reserved 2,000l. for the department of the Colonial Secretary; but, looking to the estimate of the sum required for carrying on that department for next year, he found that in consequence of the enormous rise in the rate of wages, and the price of provisions, the sum asked for was just 11,000l, Therefore it was quite clear that Parliament could not do better than allow the colonists to vote their own civil list, in the perfect confidence that they would provide sufficiently for the public service. He would now come to the question of the unappropriated waste lands in the colony, of which the Crown was proprietor as trustee, not for the benefit of the inhabitants of any particular colony, but for the good of the Empire at large. Here again they had the interposition of Parliament. Parliament regulated the price at which those lands were to be sold—Parliament regulated the manner in which the unsold lands should be occupied—and Parliament regulated the manner in which the produce of the land sales should be disposed of. The right hon. Gentleman had omitted to state that the Legislative Council of New South Wales had qualified that Act as a pernicious and impolitic enactment; but he (Mr. Peel) differed entirely from that opinion. He was quite ready to dispute the justice of that opinion, because he believed that the manner in which the Crown had exercised its trust had been of the greatest advantage to the colony. The right hon. Gentleman was not quite correct in stating the object of the Land Sales Act. The right hon. Gentleman would find that in the years 1838 and 1839 as much had been raised from the sale of land as was raised in any year subsequent to the passing of that Act. He (Mr. Peel) would not say that in the Land Sales Act they had stopped at that point in the ascending scale of price which was best for the interest of the colony; but this he was quite certain of, that the two leading principles of the Crown management of waste lands—first, that the land should be sold; and next, that the price should be a fixed price—were sound and just principles. The old system of management had been one of free grants, and the right hon. Gentleman would recollect that in British North America, under that system, enormous grants of land were squandered on persons without capital to carry on cultivation or procure a supply of labour. If they wanted an illustration of the effects of the two systems, let them take Western Australia and Victoria. The first was ruined by the system of free grants, while Victoria, on the contrary, where land was, from the first, sold at a high price, was the most prosperous, and had been all along, of any colony acknowledging the supremacy of the British Crown. But he was prepared to admit that there were considerations having a political complexion which overbalanced the economical advantages of the present management of this matter. They were told by colonial Governors that there was a settled and widespread opinion, extending to the most loyal and respectable persons in the colony, that that was a subject that should be transferred to their respective Legislatures. The right hon. Gentleman had adverted to the condition which he thought it was of much importance should be annexed to such a concession, and considered that a change in the Legislature of New South Wales should precede the actual grant of that power. The right hon. Gentleman would find that the two propositions made were—first, that the land fund should be placed at the disposal of the Council; and next, that they should assist the present Legislative Council to alter the form of its constitution. Now, the present Government were quite ready to give them such assistance. The right hon. Gentleman had stated that Parliament adopted the single Legislative chamber in 1850 because it was in accordance with the wish of the colonists, but he (Mr. Peel) did not think that was quite correct; the object of the Act of 1850, so far as the colony of New South Wales was concerned, was simply to separate from it the district of Victoria. In reality they had left the Legislative Council of New South Wales exactly as it had been for several years. He understood that the Legislative Council was considering the propriety of amending its constitution, and a Bill had been brought in for the purpose of transforming the existing single chamber into two chambers; and in no long time the reception by the Government of the Ordinances for that purpose might be expected. Under these circumstances, the Government intended, before bringing in any measure with respect to the Land Sales Act, to wait and see what was the permanent basis on which the Legislature of New South Wales was to be fixed. The right hon. Gentleman had also adverted to the question of transportation, and he concurred very much in the remarks that had fallen from the right hon. Gentleman on the subject. They had arrived at a conjuncture when the interests of this country and its dependencies had been brought to coincide. The object they originally had in view in selecting transportation as the chief kind of secondary punishment was, to adopt a punishment which, by the terror it inspired, would deter from the commission of crime, and which, in its operation, would have a beneficial tendency, and a reformatory effect upon the hearts and the habits and moral characters of those who were subjected to the penalty. These two objects had been effectually accomplished by transportation. The removal of the offenders to the antipodes, the long sea voyage, and the infrequency of communication with that part of the world, were circumstances that combined to invest transportation with a sort of vague and undefined apprehension. With regard to the beneficial effect of transportation upon the convicts who were sent to the colonies, he found the testimony of all those who had been in Van Diemen's Land, and the testimony was invariably to the same effect, was, that the great majority of the convicts who had been sent to Van Diemen's Land, having been removed from temptation, had become, as might be expected, orderly and industrious people, who were willing to conform themselves to the laws of society. But since the discovery of gold, all the circumstances had been entirely changed. The removal to Australia was no longer regarded with terror; on the contrary, last summer the office of the Emigration Commissioners was crowded with persons asking to be sent to that colony; and with regard to the effect that was likely to be produced on the discipline of the convicts in Van Diemen's Land, he need only remind the House that the gold mines were in close proximity to the penal settlements, and therefore the temptation to escape and make large gains would overpower the dread of being apprehended. He would remind the House also of the immense increase in the expenses of transportation. It would be impossible to retain the services of the officers in the penal establishments unless their salaries were increased, and if they were kept up he should not be surprised if the House were called upon to pay twice the present amount for their support. But by far the strongest inducement to discontinue transportation to Van Diemen's Land arose from the repugnance to it of the colonists in the Australian settlements. They had established Legisla- tive Councils in each of those colonies, and not one alone; but each and every of the Legislative Councils had petitioned Her Majesty, and had passed Resolutions condemnatory of the system, and asking this country to put an end to the system. These, therefore, were among the considerations that had weighed with Her Majesty's Government in arriving at the same conclusion as their predecessors. From communications that had passed between different departments, he was satisfied that the Government, with the assistance that Parliament might be called upon to give them, and the means they had of removing a certain number of convicts to Western Australia, would be able to make arrangements by which it would be quite possible to dispose of all their criminals on whom sentence of transportation might be pronounced in the course of the year; and he would now conclude his observations, having gone through, he believed, all the points on which the right hon. Gentleman had sought information.


said, it must be a matter of great pride and satisfaction to the members of the Colonial Reform Association, who combined together to recall the attention of the country to the proper principles of colonial government, to hear that almost every suggestion which they had made three years ago, the force of circumstances obliged successive Ministers to carry out. The Ex-Colonial Minister and his successors were vying with each other for the credit of adopting them. He had received a letter bearing upon this subject from Mr. Pox, the agent in this country for the Wellington colonists, who was now travelling in the United States. He contrasted the United States with this country, and says that the rapid growth of the new States in the west was simply attributable to the localisation of the functions of government in them. In reference to Canada, the writer said that since the management of its own affairs was entrusted to it, its progress was most astonishing, and that Western Canada for the first time surpassed the United States in the rapidity of its progress. Toronto had six times the population which it had in Sir Francis Head's time, and was one of the finest cities west of New York. The particular subjects interesting to the Australian colonies were the gift of the civil list, and of the control of the waste lands. He was happy to find that the first point was conceded by the Government. With regard to the land sales, New South Wales from 1843 to 1850 had been pressing the question on the attention of this House, and annual petitions were presented on the subject. These petitions were signed by the majority of the inhabit ants of the colony, and were backed up by the Colonial Government. They were also supported from time to time by all the magistracy and by the unanimous vote of the Legislative Council. In this respect the present Government seemed to lag-behind their predecessors, and to be reluctant to grant this reasonable request, There was no question which pressed so ungently as that of giving the colony the control over the land sales and the appropriation of the proceeds. It was a question of life and death with them. While the Imperial Parliament, or the authorities in this country, managed emigration out of these funds, the cost per head charged upon the local revenue was exactly 50 per cent greater than the cost of sending out emigrants by any other means to Australia. And not only was a waste of 50 per cent out of their resources inflicted by the system, but the kind of emigrants sent out was not such as the colonists themselves wished to have. It seemed to him (Mr. Adderley) that the Colonial Legislature alone could deal with the question; and he was perfectly certain the Government were now only postponing what they would ultimately be obliged to do. Whilst they were postponing it, unfortunately they inflicted great loss on this country; for the Australians themselves said, "Give us the control of our land revenue, and we will undertake to maintain the administration of our own affairs and our own defences." For his part, he confessed he thought the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Pakington) had shown his policy to have possessed considerable superiority over that of the present Government by the resolution he had taken at once to give up the land revenue to the colonies. His surrender to the Colonial Government of the gold discovered in Australia, was one of the most statesmanlike acts he (Mr. Adderley) had ever witnessed. The right hon. Gentleman had the great credit due to him of having done that in time, which the Government would undoubtedly have been ultimately compelled to do. He had thereby elicited from the colonists those thanks which would have been entirely lost had the concession been made from necessity and not from choice. With regard to some of the Members of the Government, he could hardly conceive how, with the opinions they bad so often expressed, they could agree to the delay of the offer of the control of the land revenue which the right hon. Gentleman had made. One of the Secretaries of the Board of Control in particular (Mr. Lowe) had rendered himself eminent as the advocate of giving up the land revenue to the colonies. The most able arguments in support of such a policy had been delivered by that hon. Gentleman, and it was chiefly to those arguments that he (Mr. Adderley) attributed his own strong convictions upon the subject. One thing more he must take credit for to those Gentlemen who three years ago pressed for colonial reform. During the discussions on the Australian colonies which took place in 1850, the point which was more especially urged than any other was this: that Lord Grey, did not take the best mode of giving a constitution to the colony. It was said that he had two courses before him. He might either have given them the best constitution in his power to give, which would have been two chambers; or else have given them an efficient constituent assembly, representing the whole colony, whose sole and immediate duty it would be to frame a constitution for themselves. But the Bill of the noble Karl did neither one nor the other. True, it gave a body which might act as a constituent assembly, but, in the first place, that body did not represent all classes in the colony; on the contrary, it was a sort of nondescript assembly, composed of nominees of the Government and representatives of the people, and, indeed, such as were the least likely to adopt measures that would lead to the formation of a constitution of a satisfactory character. Besides, they were empowered to act as a permanent Legislature if they pleased, and not only as a constituent assembly, and were, therefore, not likely to abdicate to others. The argument used against giving the most perfect constitution to the colony, in the first place, was, that the Government were anxious to defer to the wishes of the colonists themselves, but that those wishes had never been clearly expressed. The result was, in practice, that which had been predicted in 1850—that, as he understood the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Pakington) the Government at home had been obliged to advise the colonies to proceed to the exercise of the constituent powers given to them under the 35th clause of the Act, and which powers they had not yet exercised of themselves. Moreover, he understood the right hon. Gentleman to say that he had been obliged to attach certain privileges to those who acted under the powers of that clause, which operated as an inducement to them to act, and that but for those privileges they would not have been willing to do so. He would add, for the purpose of leaving on record his own opinion, that there were only two or three things more which were necessary to be done, in order to give the Australian constitution a perfectly British form. He concluded, of course, that the division of legislative chambers would be effected; and he hoped that both these chambers would be elective. He hoped also that the veto of the Crown upon local legislation would be distinctly given up. It was so in the New Zealand Act, he would not say absolutely given up, but restricted to two months, which was however, giving it up. Whilst the colony of New Zealand was exempt from the reference home upon its local legislation, he could not see why the Australian colonies should have their local legislation saddled with this reference home, which impeded the operation of the most urgent local enactments and undertakings for two years. So completely did this reference home restrict and impede local legislation, that he hesitated not to say that it was the main cause of the Australian colonies not having advanced with the same rapidity with which the United States of America had advanced. The right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary for the Colonies had stated, indeed, that they had advanced considerably, and he had said how little human foresight had to do with the course of events. On the other hand, he (Mr. Adderley) would say that the comparative progress of the United States of America and our Australian colonies showed distinctly how much human foresight had to do with it; for if we had only had the foresight to remove the impediments which stood in the way of the advancement of our colonies, we should have found that the same great Anglo-Saxon race which had raised the United States to the first rank among the nations of the world, would have raised those colonies to an equal pitch of greatness and importance. He would now say a few words with regard to the subject of transportation. That was another point which the advocates of colonial reform had from time to time pressed upon the attention of Parliament and the Government; and he was happy to find that circumstances had at last compelled the carrying into effect the recommendations they made. It was now high time that this should be so, for he could conceive nothing more injurious to the interests and honour of this country than the system of prevarication, change of purpose, breach of faith, and perpetual infractions of promises, which had attended the long course of experiments by which this country had attempted to keep up that anomalous and vicious system of penal discipline, at one time under the name of transportation, at another under that of "deportation." It had been said, that criminals by transportation frequently became honest men; but did it never occur to those who used that argument, that the improvement of those criminals arose from their having greater space, and being afforded more ample means of occupation? And he would ask the House whether it would not be better to use those corrective means of space and occupation before crime was committed than afterwards? Let them try emigration, therefore. If the colonies were used for emigration, then those who in this country were led by the pressure of their circumstances to perpetrate crime, would find means of honest living opened up to them before they had become criminals. Thus we should avoid the anomaly of first making criminals and then injuring our colonies by making them places in which to punish them. Let it be borne in mind that the Government of this country were pledged upon that subject, though the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Peel) did not seem to recollect it, or to have condemned the system of transportation, as he should do, as a selfish system, in which the country considered its own interests alone, and not those of colonies, and used, or rather abused, the colonies only for its own shortsighted purposes. But what was the main cause which had at last produced the consummation of the wishes of those who had so long denounced the system of transportation? The system of transportation to Australia had become a perfect farce by the discovery of gold in those colonies. In regard to this subject, the colonists themselves had shown a much higher feeling than the Parliament and Government at home; for in the existing pressure of circumstances there, where labour of any kind at any cost was a great object to the colony, it would have been excusable if they had silenced the dictates of conscience, and, acting on the promptings of self-interest, had submitted to be degraded by this country as a receptacle for its convicts, and had accepted as a matter of urgent necessity the convicted felons of England to supply the demands of their labour market. But Australia had been proof even against the influence of such a temptation as that. Undoubtedly there were some parties in the colony who would have been ready to snatch at the cargoes of convicts from this country to supply the deficiency of labour. But that, he was happy to say, was not the feeling of the colony at large. The Anti-Transportation League made it necessary that the system should be abandoned. The Governors of Australia recommended that it should be given up, and the first acts of the new local Legislatures, by large majorities, were to ask us to abandon it. From what he had heard since the commencement of the discussion, he understood that transportation was still to go on to Wes-tern Australia. He was sorry for it, because, although Western Australia might be looked on almost as a distinct country, yet, as South Australia, which by its charter was more guarded than any other Australian colony from this infliction, had suffered from the immigration of convicts, and recollecting that this was a matter of feeling and sensitiveness on the part of the colonists towards this country, he was convinced that it would be impossible to maintain very long a system of transportation to Western Australia. But so long as Western Australia was to be made a depot for the worst criminals they could find, he would beg that House not to drive the convict population there to one more crime, more gross than any they had committed here. He (Mr. Adderley) would even gravely propose that the House should make an annual vote to supply, in the persons of the very lowest outcasts of our women in this country, those who perhaps would make suitable wives for the colonists with which the mother country was going to people Western Australia. He would only add his hope that the noble Lord would carry out and realise those high expectations which his opening speech at the reassembling of Parliament had raised, and that, as transportation had failed and broken down, the Government would deal with the whole question of secondary punishments. They had the power to do much now, and knew not how long their unusual power would last: they might entitle themselves, when it failed, to the grateful recollections of the country, and he hoped they would deal with this great question without delay. One of the principal parts of the subject, however, for their consideration was whether a better system for the treatment of juvenile offenders could not he adopted, so as to staunch the first springs of crime, and so most effectually reduce within manageable amount the number of criminals to be dealt with by such restricted means of punishment.


Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary of State for the Colonies, who brought this subject forward, having, as I think, been justified in calling the attention of the House to the present state of circumstances relating to these colonies, and having stated what the preceding Government intended as to those colonies, I should have hardly thought it necessary to trouble the House at all, had not the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, made, as I think, some extraordinary mistakes upon this question, which it would not be right to leave uncorrected. I have long thought that with respect to these questions, and several others to some extent connected with them, though we have had very frequent and long debates in this House, there has not been much difference as to principle, though there has been considerable difference as to the time and mode of carrying changes into effect. What must be recollected in treating this subject is, that the colony of New South Wales was not founded by emigrants and a free Government, but was founded in 1786 for the purpose of transporting criminals to that colony with the consent of the somewhat despotic Government of that day. This was the purpose for which it was destined from 1786 to 1837, when my right hon. Friend, now the Chief Commissioner of the Board of Works (Sir W. Molesworth), whose absence this evening I regret, pressed for a Committee of this House on this subject of transportation: a Committee was appointed, and all the evidence taken before that Committee; and the general opinion of that Committee did but confirm that wise opinion of Lord Bacon, that "it is an unblessed thing to plant with the scum of your population." The greatest evils and the most dreadful crimes were found to result from that system of transportation. Some three years later, being then Secretary for the Colonies, I procured an Order in Council by which transportation to New South Wales was to cease, and from that time the character of the colony was changed, and it became, from having been a large prison, a colony which was thenceforward to run the same career which our free and noble colonies have run In 1842 the Earl of Derby, being Secretary for the Colonies, introduced measures which I think had been partly considered by his predecessors, being measures for the sale of land at certain fixed prices, and by which a Legislative Council in those colonies was to be formed, to consist not entirely of nominees of the Crown, but to be partly elective. At a later period my noble Friend Earl Grey proposed to extend the representative principle to Van Diemen's Land, South Australia, and Western Australia. He proposed also to divide Victoria from the colony of New South Wales. It was on that occasion that the debates arose to which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) has referred, but I don't think in a very accurate manner. The question at that time was whether we were at once to change the whole constitution of that colony by Parliamentary authority, or whether we were to continue the existing constitution of that colony, leaving it to the colonists to frame institutions fitted, it might be, for their government better than anything we could frame in this country. The latter view was what the Government took, and an Act of Parliament embodying those views was passed accordingly. The hon. Gentleman certainly made a proposition for a constituent assembly for those colonies, but that proposition was not approved by the House. The question now raised was brought forward within the last year; and perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary of State for the Colonies will recollect that when he first came into office I took the liberty of informing him that he would find the subject of transportation most deserving of his attention, and would require immediate deliberation, and that the question of the constitution of New South Wales and of Van Diemen's Land was well worthy of his consideration. I must say that I think the late Government acted wisely, according to the circumstances of the time, in the resolution to which they came. They gave it as their opinion that the Land Sales Act should be altered, and that the colonies themselves should have the power of controlling the sales of land, and the distribution of the proceeds. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) seems to think that the present Government have rather restricted the Resolution come to by the late Government in that respect; but I submit that that is not the case; in fact, they have not restricted it, and, if they have altered it, they have rather enlarged the scope of the Resolution. What the late Government stated was, that they wished a constitution to be framed in which there should be a Legislative Council nominated by the Crown, and a popular Assembly representing the people, and that on receiving a constitution so framed, with respect to the particular number of members in the Legislative Council, the Government intended to introduce a Bill giving power to the Colonial Government and Legislature to dispose of the waste lands. The present Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Duke of Newcastle, has said that if a proposal should reach this country for a change of constitution, he should consider the propriety of introducing a measure on the subject. The difference between the two measures is not much, and the proposition of the present Government is not less liberal than that of the former. With respect to that great question of transportation, I hardly can deal with it at present; but the hon. Gentleman has scarcely in this respect fairly represented the conduct of my noble Friend Earl Grey when he was Secretary of State for the Colonies. What he proposed soon after entering office was, that persons convicted in this country should continue to be sent to Van Diemen's Land, but should not be sent in the character of convicts, but in that of exiles. There would, according to this plan, be about the same number sent to Van Diemen's Land—only under a different name—that there would have been sent before under the name of transported convicts. So far from it being a benefit to the colony that they should bear the character of exiles, it was thought better that the authorities of the colony should have the power over them which they would have over men who had been guilty of crime. The system was adopted of tickets of leave. That was the principal change made. Two circumstances, however, occurred worthy of notice. One was, that Sir William Denison, who is an able and efficient Governor, unfortunately mistook the instructions, and gave intimation to the Assembly that transportation was about to be abandoned, instead of explaining that the same number, or about the same number, would be sent to the colony under a different name. The House of Lords then resolved to inquire into the subject, and the impression produced by that inquiry was unfavourable to the punishment of transportation. It is obvious, from the circumstances stated by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir J. Pakington), that the late Government had resolved at the end of the last year that, as soon as possible, they would discontinue transportation to Van Diemen's Land. That determination having been deliberately adopted, there arises here a most important question with respect to the substitution of a secondary punishment. The right hon. Gentleman the late Secretary of State for the Colonies asked us what was our decision on that point, and what was our opinion; but at the same time no one is more competent than he is to see of how great importance a decision on this subject is, and that the Government ought to take full time for deliberation before their decision is pronounced. I only ask that the Government may be allowed that time to consider this highly important subject. No unnecessary delay will occur; and as soon as we decide on the substitute that is most efficient for the purpose, we shall lose no time in laying a measure before Parliament.


said, he cordially expressed his satisfaction at observing the concurrence on both sides of the House in the propositions and principles which the hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Adderley) and others had attempted to impress on Her Majesty's Government Recollecting the early attempts he (Mr. Hume) made to impress on the Government the propriety of leaving the Colonies free from the trammels imposed by Downing-street, and recollecting that he had been called a rebel because he advocated reform in Canada, he had the greater satisfaction in perceiving how matters had come round, and would now say, "Let bygones be bygones." Sir William Denison made his statement on the 24th of July, 1847; but last year a sum was voted to take out convicts; and the thanks of the Colonial Assembly had been giver to him (Mr. Hume) for having pointed out what were their wishes to the people of England, ineffective as his opposition ad proved. No man in this House had more clearly expressed the principles on which our colonial policy ought to he conducted, than the noble Lord the Member for the City of London (Lord John Russell), especially in the despatch written by the noble Lord when Mr. Poulett Thompson, afterwards Lord Sydenham, was appointed to the Government of Canada; and when the constitution for the Cape of Good Hope came under discussion last year, the noble Lord, in an excellent speech, laid down the principles which he (Mr. Hume) had always thought might be most beneficially applied to the colonies, as to this country. What he complained of was, that the noble Lord had not been consistent; one year suspending the Canadian constitution, another year resorting to coercion. But he (Mr. Hume) should bury in oblivion what was past if the noble Lord continued to act on the principles he had now laid down. There was some reason to complain of the vacillating policy that from time to time had interfered with emigration—the best remedy for the evils arising from reduction of wages and other causes in England. He did not see the hon. Member the brother of Sir William Denison in the House; but he must say that no man stood more in opposition to the feelings of the people in Van Diemen's Land than Sir William Denison. The Government ought to have people there who had the talent for conciliating and making their counsels and feelings accord with the wishes of the inhabitants. The hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies, who had to-night made an admirable exposition, and with whom he only differed on a few points, would learn from experience that when colonists, in meeting after meeting, and legislature after legislature, persisted in asserting their views, the best course was to remove the causes of agitation. Whenever there was a colony with whom the Governor could not act in harmony, one might depend upon it there was something wrong. He hoped the present Government would he in advance of the late Government, and he should rejoice if every one of our colonies were allowed to manage its own affairs.

Motion agreed to.