HC Deb 11 July 1854 vol 135 cc42-3

said, that since he put a question to the right hon. Baronet a few evenings ago, as to whether the Government had received any in- formation with respect to recent events which were said to have transpired in Canada, another mail had arrived in this country. He wished to know whether that had brought any despatches from Lord Elgin, and if so, what was the nature of the intelligence which they contained? He wished particularly to know whether it was true that the Canadian Assembly had been dissolved in consequence of a Resolution upon the subject of the clergy reserves having been carried as an Amendment to the Address, and in opposition to the Government?


said, that when the right hon. Gentleman put this question a few evenings ago, the Government had not received any official intelligence on the subject. They had on Monday last received from Lord Eglin despatches, stating the circumstances under which the Assembly had been dissolved. The Governor opened the Session with a speech on the 13th of June. An Address was proposed in answer to that speech, and upon that Address two successive Amendments were moved. The first expressed regret that the Government had not recommended during the present Session a measure for the secularisation of the clergy reserves, and for the abolition of the seignorial tenures. That was rejected by 54 to 16. Subsequently, however, another Amendment, speaking of "an immediate settlement of the clergy reserves," was proposed. That proposition, which was supported by several Members who had opposed the former Amendment, was carried by 42 to 29. An Act passed the Canadian Legislature last Session, by which the number of the members of that body was increased from 84 to 105; and the provincial Government of Lord Elgin both concurred in thinking that it was inexpedient to submit a question of such importance to the present Assembly, but that it would be better to postpone its consideration until another Assembly was elected under the new Act. Under these circumstances, Lord Elgin, acting under the advice of the Colonial Government, had prorogued the Assembly with a view to an immediate dissolution.