HC Deb 31 July 1854 vol 135 cc1005-6

wished to put a question to the right hon. Gentleman as to the affairs of the colony of Newfoundland, upon which he had made an inquiry some time ago of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies, with regard to the demand of the Colony for responsible government. The answer then given to his inquiry was, that the Duke of Newcastle had sent out a despatch stating certain conditions upon which he was willing to accede to that demand. Since then he (Sir J. Pakington) had heard that the Colonial Legislature had rejected these conditions; and he believed a deputation was now in London, and had waited upon the right hon. Gentleman to ask what were his intentions on the subject. The question he wished to put to the right hon. Gentleman now was, whether it was his intention to recede from the conditions laid down by the Duke of Newcastle, to alter those conditions in any degree, or to adhere to them?


said, it was quite true that the Duke of Newcastle had stated, in a despatch transmitted to the Colony, the conditions he thought it desirable to lay down before responsible government was conceded to that Colony; but he did not think the right hon. Gentleman had quite correctly stated the reception those conditions had met with. These conditions had not been rejected, but, on the contrary, three of the most important seemed to have been objected to by no party in the Colony. The first of these related to the compensation to be awarded to holders of offices, and the differences which had arisen on this point were only as to the amount of compensation, and were, he hoped, susceptible of very easy and satisfactory adjustment. With regard to the increase in the number of members, no difference of opinion existed, he believed, on that point. As respected the sub-division of electoral districts—one of the most important of the conditions referred to—a Bill upon this subject had passed the Assembly. It was true that differences had arisen between the Council and the Assembly upon this point, but they had arisen upon matters of detail which had been magnified into more importance than could be justly attributed to them. It was correct that the Assembly had deputed persons to see the Secretary of State on these subjects; and he (Sir G. Grey) was now in communication with them, and he hoped that the differences which had arisen between the Council and the Assembly were by no means insuperable. With respect to the question which had been put to him, he would, without adhering strictly to every one of them, express his general concurrence in the conditions laid down by the Duke of Newcastle.