§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. LOCKE
I rise, Sir, to move the second reading of this Bill. I am hardly aware whether the Government intend to offer to it any opposition or not, but I can hardly suppose they do, inasmuch as the Bill has already been before the House, and they have admitted the existence of the evils which it proposes to remedy. It is precisely the same Bill that was introduced in the year 1861, and I believe at that time it met with the general approbation of the House. It is not my intention to go into the grounds upon which it has been agreed on all hands that a reform is necessary in the Royal Court of Jersey. It would be needlessly taking up the time of the House were I to state the instances which have occurred, and which have, on a former occasion, been brought before the attention of the House, of the great inconvenience which suitors, and not only suitors but other persons who have gone to the Island of Jersey to take up their residence there have been put to in consequence of the law procedure of that Island. I shall content myself with pointing out the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners sent in the year 1859, and which were reported to this House in the year 1860 and the commencement of 1861. Complaints had been made before the sitting of this Commission and also of a previous Commission which sat in 1846. The question was fully gone into in 1846, I believe, as to the Criminal Procedure in the Island of Jersey, and, subsequently, this second Commission was appointed in 1859 fully to consider the laws of the Island, and likewise to Report upon the procedure of the Courts of the Island. The latter Commissioners made their Report partly, as I have stated, in 1860, and fully in 1861; and on the 1st of May, 1861, Mr. Sergeant Pigott introduced a Bill into this House, founded entirely upon the Report of the Commissioners; and, in June of that year, the Bill was read a second time. The Bill which I have now the honour to introduce is precisely the same Bill that was introduced by Mr. 517 Sergeant Pigott. When that Bill was read a second time in June, 1861, Sir George Lewis, who was then the Secretary for the Home Department, stated that he entirely approved of the provisions of the Bill, but inasmuch as the States of the Island of Jersey had not had sufficient time to consider the Report of the Commissioners, he thought it was too soon for this House to legislate upon the subject, and upon his expressing that view, Mr. Sergeant Pigott did not go on with the Bill, or seek to pass it that Session. He did not, however, say he would not proceed any further with the Bill, but, on the contrary, he pledged himself to bring it in again on a future occasion, and he has only been prevented from doing so by having been appointed by Her Majesty one of the Judges of the land. Sir George Lewis upon that occasion fully admitted the necessity of reform in the Royal Court of Jersey, and stated that his only objection to proceeding with the Bill was, that scarcely six weeks had elapsed since the Report of the Commissioners had been laid before the House, and that the authorities of the Island of Jersey had not had sufficient time to consider what they would do with regard to the recommendations of the Commissioners. Now such an argument as that cannot by any possibility be brought forward on this occasion, because the Report, as I have stated, was made in the year 1861, and we are now in the year 1864. The Report has been brought to the attention of the States of the Island of Jersey, and the Bill which was brought in by Mr. Sergeant Pigott has likewise been brought under their consideration. They know full well what the intention of the Government of this country is, and if they have not proceeded as they had the opportunity of doing, by the withdrawal of the Bill in 1861, they have nobody but them selves to blame; and I think I shall be justified in saying that this House ought to agree to the second reading of this Bill on the present occasion. As I have already said, I shall not go at length into a statement of the grievances which have been alleged and redress for which is demanded at our hands by persons who have become residents in the Island of Jersey. But I will shortly call the attention of the House to the Report of the Commissioners of 1859. The Commissioners thus classify the legislative sources of the laws of Jersey:—First, Royal Charters; second, 518 Orders of the Sovereign in Council; third, laws passed by the States or, before 1771, by the Royal Court, and allowed by the Sovereign in Council; fourth, local ordinances by the States, in force for three years without the express allowance of the Crown, if not expressly disallowed; and fifthly, Acts of the Imperial Parliament. Now the reason, the obvious reason, why the proper mode of dealing with this question is by a Bill in Parliament, I think, will appear from the Report of the Commissioners themselves, because they say, with regard to the Sovereign in Council, those Orders might be resorted to in order to effect the desired reform, though they admit that that position is disputed by many legal authorities in Jersey. I think, therefore, it is better that a course should be adopted which is open to no objection. As to the third mode, laws passed by the States, there is no doubt that the States, if they like, have the power, with the sanction of the Crown, of reforming this Court at Jersey. But is there any hope whatever that they will adopt that course? Time was given them in the year 1861, at the instance of Sir George Lewis, it being said that they were not then prepared. They have had plenty of time since, and I shall presently state to the House the mode in which they have recently acted. In my opinion, no hope whatever can be entertained that the States of the Island of Jersey will entertain this question, and pass any bill that shall effect the reforms which we all desire. Therefore, the only mode that suggests itself to me is by an Act of the Imperial Legislature, and the Commissioners say that the competency of Parliament to legislate for Jersey is unquestionable, nor do I find that any of the authorities in the Island of Jersey have ever disputed that proposition, although they say the Imperial Parliament ought not to interfere with them inasmuch as they are not represented. Various acts, however, have been passed by the Legislature of this country with reference to Jersey, and such acts are now in force, and consequently no legal question can by possibility be raised as to whether or not this House has the power of legislating for the island.
§ MR. LOCKE
That is true, but if they do not register, an order may be given by the Crown that they must register, and they cannot disobey that order. There- 519 fore, to all intents and purposes, this House has full power to legislate for the Island of Jersey. That being so, I come to the question of what the Bill contains. Though many of the inhabitants of Jersey are most anxious that this Bill should pass, I think the House will be somewhat astonished that any should object when they find how very small are the dimensions of the Bill. It is a Bill which does not interfere with the constitution of Jersey in any way whatever. It does not interfere in the slightest degree with any of their rights and privileges. If it interferes with the rights and privileges of anybody, it is simply the rights and privileges of twelve men, and the question is whether they have performed their duty, and whether they ought not to be got rid of. It interferes with the constitution of the Royal Court of Jersey. Now, how is that Court constituted? At the head of it is the Bailiff. He is appointed by the Crown, and he has a salary of, I think, £300 a year, and he is entitled to perquisites, amounting altogether on the average to £650 a year. He has likewise other duties to perform; he is a member of the States. But no complaint is made with regard to the Bailiff; he is a person who has had a legal education, and I believe that he has, as far as lies in his power, seeing how he is trammelled by the Jurats, performed his duties most satisfactorily. But now we come to the clog of the system in this Royal Court of Jersey, which is caused by these twelve persons called Jurats. Now, how are they paid, and what is their qualification? The qualification is, that they must be assessed at a rent of a little over £30 a year; so that any person in the Island of Jersey, with a few exceptions — the exceptions being those who carry on the trade of a brewer, a butcher, a baker, or a tavernkeeper—may be elected one of these Jurats, the sole qualification being that he occupies premises of the rental of £30 15s. 3d. a year. Now, upon the face of it, is it right that twelve Jurats should be thus appointed, who are not jurymen judging merely of the facts, but of the law? But, even if they were, it would be most objectionable to have only these twelve men, persons of no legal education whatever, trying everything in a place like Jersey and having; the authority of Judges. I may here say that I do not found my observations upon statements made by persons living in Jersey, who have suffered inconvenience from 520 the mode in which justice is there administered, but all I state is founded on the Report of the Commissioners. Now, the Commissioners state that they have no complaint to make of the Bailiff; but the Bailiff cannot rule in his court according to law. He must rule along with the majority of the Jurats, so that, in point of fact, here are twelve men who have received no legal education, a majority of whom can enforce their view in opposition to the only man belonging to the court who is supposed to know anything about law, and he is bound to give a decision directly contrary to law on many occasions, because the majority of the Jurats chose to think that he should do so. Can anything be more absurd than that such a system as this should be allowed to go on in a place where there is now a population of 60,000 persons, and where they have vessels belonging to the island amounting to a tonnage of 50,000 tons. Important questions arise from time to time, shipping questions, questions between persons residing in this country and persons residing in Jersey, who must submit to the decision of these twelve Jurats, who, it is admitted on all hands, by everybody, I believe, in the Island, do not necessarily know anything about law, and I have never heard that they do. And who are these Jurats? They are elected, and they hold their office for life, and are members of the States. They receive no salary, but they receive fees, and it is their direct interest, and the Commissioners state that such is the fact, that the cases should be delayed as long as possible. There are instances, I believe, where cases have been delayed for an immense number of years. I do not impute that entirely to a desire on the part of the Jurats to accumulate fees, but to the fact that the same Jurats must attend upon every occasion, supposing it is a case where evidence is to be taken. They sit only for a short time; they are Members of the States as well as of the court, and they have many duties to perform. A certain number of them can attend only on particular days, the cases cannot proceed on any subsequent occasion, unless the same Jurats can come again, and the consequence is that from time to time the course of justice is delayed, and the greatest inconvenience arises to the suitors. There is another point. The Crown law officer is likewise essential to the constitution of this court; not that it is necessary that he should do anything, 521 but the court cannot go on unless he is present. This again causes great delay, because his duties often require him to be elsewhere. The quorum of the court is the Bailiff and seven Jurats, but in the first instance the case is brought before a smaller tribunal, consisting of the Bailiff and two or three Jurats. It is alleged that inconvenience arises from the irregularity of the attendance of the Jurats. Now, what are the recommendations of the Commissioners? They recommend that the Bailiff shall still remain, that his salary shall be increased, and, in addition to the Bailiff, there shall be two Judges of £1,000 a year each. They recommend that all the fees should be paid into a fund in the Island, that the salary of the Judges in future shall be paid out of that fund, if it be sufficient, and there are certain other provisions for the purpose of paying them. The proposed expenditure is £3,200 a year, and that is all, Now, really it does seem to me very extraordinary that with a proposition like this, made in 1861, and well understood by the States of the Island of Jersey at that time, that they should not have made up their minds to adopt this Bill. I can only come to the conclusion, as they have not done so, that their great object is to set themselves against any reform whatever. [Mr. HAD-FIELD: Hear, hear!] Now, what has recently taken place? I do not know exactly the course which the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State intends to pursue, but I may state for the information of the House that the right hon. Gentleman expressed himself in approval of the principle of this Bill so far back as 1846, when he filled the office which he now holds. I may also state for the information of the House, that his late predecessor, Sir George Cornewall Lewis, fully approved of the Bill introduced by Mr. Sergeant Pigott, and that a petition very numerously and respectably signed, has been sent to Her Majesty, which expressed the approval by the petitioners of the principle of this measure. What I am now about to state is not taken from the Report of the Commissioners, but from a letter of the Lieutenant Governor of the Island of Jersey, in which he states the character of the persons who have signed the petition, expresses his approval of the prayer of the petition, &c., and urges exactly those arguments which we urge in favour of this Bill. I have no desire to found this Bill upon the statement of any private indivi- 522 dual, or upon any of the objections which may have been brought forward in that way. I found the measure entirely upon the Report of the Commissioners, upon the opinion of the great bulk of the people of Jersey, as expressed in their petition, and also upon the authorities there. I will read to the House a few passages from the letter of the Lieutenant Governor to Sir George Grey. The Lieutenant Governor says—I have the honour, at the request of a deputation of influential gentlemen of the Island, who waited upon me yesterday, to transmit the accompanying petition to the Queen, praying for a reform of the constitution of the Royal Court, in accordance with the recommendations of the two last Royal Commissions, and to solicit Sir George Grey to lay the same before Her Majesty. This petition humbly prays that the elections to supply the vacancies on the Bench may be suspended by Her Majesty in Council until measures are taken to separate the Judicial from the Legislative functions of the Jurats, and for ensuring a better administration of Justice. The Petitioners, in accordance with the Royal Commissioners' recommendations — 'that no member of this branch (Jurats) of the Legislative Body should form part of the Judicial Body,' urge that the Jurats should be relieved from the Judicial office, retaining their present positions as members of the States and of the corporate body called the Administrators of the Impot. The petitioners forcibly exhibit that the ancient system of an elected and unpaid Magistracy, fulfilling the double functions of Judges and Legislators, and not qualified by any description of legal training to administer the laws, however well such a system may have been adapted to the times in which it was instituted, is entirely unsuited to the requirements of the present day, and is adverse to the true interests of the Island. The petition contains the names of many of the largest landed proprietors, and of the most educated and influential native and resident gentlemen of the Island; and I am informed by the deputation that all the petitioners, with a few solitary exceptions, are ratepayers; that, moreover, the Island has not been generally canvassed, but that the people have been left to come forward spontaneously and affix their signatures. Sir George Grey will, doubtless, expect me to offer some comments on the contents of the petition. I cannot, for my part, but admit the reasonableness of its scope and prayer, directed, not against individuals, but against a system the working of which appears to have produced widespread dissatisfaction for the Inst thirty years at least, and to have kept this community in a state of agitation for a long period, and which, apparently, will not cease until the recommendations of the two last Commissions are adopted. I am induced to believe that the time is come when the necessity for the proposed change in the judicature of the Island is more and more felt and desired, and that the present conjuncture of circumstances offers a most favourable opportunity for introducing it, by separating the judicial from the legislative functions of the Jurats, and assigning the former to men of competent legal attainments, as the only guarantee for the proper administration of the laws.523 In reply to the Lieutenant Governor's communications, Mr. Waddington, on the 9th of last March, wrote—I am directed by Secretary Sir George Grey to inform you that the Lords of the Committee of Council for the Affairs of Jersey and Guernsey, having taken the whole of the case into careful consideration, would he prepared to recommend to Her Majesty that the prayer of the Petition from the Landowners, &c., should be granted, and to advise the Queen to accept the resignation of these two Jurats, and to direct that their places should not be filled up, on receiving a distinct assurance from the States of Jersey that they are prepared to take the necessary measures for carrying into effect, in whole or in part, the recommendations of the Commissioners appointed to inquire into the Civil, Municipal, and Ecclesiastical Laws of Jersey, with regard to the constitution of the Royal Court. And I am to request that you will inform Sir George Grey what steps the States are ready to take as regards the furtherance of reform in the mode of administering justice in the Island.Well, after the receipt of that letter, what do they do? They call the States together, and instead of setting themselves to work to comply with the suggestions contained in the letter received from Sir George Grey, they take a course which evinces their decided opposition to all reform whatever in the Island. I have here a report of a debate which has just occurred in the States upon this very subject. It was introduced by the Attorney General there, who was anxious that a reform should take place, that the Report of the Commissioners should be acted upon, and that a Bill, similar to that now before the House, should be passed. I will not trouble the House with quotations from the speeches of Gentlemen who took part in that debate, but it is perfectly obvious that they entirely set themselves against any reform whatever. In all probability, if Her Majesty's Government decide upon waiting until the States of the Island of Jersey adopt the recommendations of the Commissioners, and refuse to pass any Bill in the meantime, they will have to wait till the Greek Kalends. The States intend doing nothing of the sort. What have they done? They have referred the matter to a committee to report upon it, and have adopted the course of sending-a deputation over to this country to oppose the Bill I have introduced. Already they have waited upon the Secretary of State for the Home Department and have made their representations to him. I am informed, not by the right hon. Gentleman, but by others, that they have induced him to oppose this Bill on the second reading. Upon what grounds 524 I cannot by any possibility understand, unless he chooses to hand himself over to the authorities of the States of Jersey and say "I delight to be imposed on. I wish with all my heart to believe those I have no right to believe when they say they are anxious to come forward and make those reforms which can never be made unless the Legislature of this country make them." Unless the right hon. Gentleman wishes to be imposed on, the only course he can pursue is to allow this Bill to be read a second time. What real objection can there be to the course I propose? This is no new measure. The Bill was read a second time in 1861.
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
I beg my hon. Friend's pardon. That is a mistake. The objection of Sir George Lewis was taken to the second reading.
§ MR. LOCKE
The Government expressly state in the letter which they have sent over to Jersey that they approve of the principle of the Bill. In that case I do not see how they can object to the second reading. The reason the Bill was not proceeded with in 1861 was that Sir George Lewis raised an objection, which was that the States of Jersey had not had sufficient time to consider the recommendations of the Commissioners. He thought the Bill came too soon. That objection does not apply now. We have given them three years, and still they have done nothing. The Government told them they must do something, and what have they done? They have simply appointed a Committee for the purpose of devising the means of evading all reform whatever. Under these circumstances, I ask the House to read the Bill a second time, and I am willing to place myself in the hands of the House as to the time when it shall go into Committee. If the Government will intimate that they intend to introduce a Bill themselves—if they will take the labour off my hands, I shall be most happy to resign the duty to them. Indeed, I think the question is one which would be much better dealt with by the Government than by an independent Member. I believe there is not the slightest objection to any one of the enactments of this Bill on the part of the Government. As I have already stated, its object is simply to reform the Court of the Island of Jersey. It does not interfere with the rights or privileges of a single individual in that Island, jut it will give them such a Court as every civilized people ought to have, and will 525 abolish that which up to the present time has been considered by every right feeling person in the island to be a nuisance. I beg now to more that the Bill be read a second time.
§ MR. HADFIELD
I rise to second the Motion of my hon. Friend for the second reading of the Bill. Already two Royal Commissions hare been issued to inquire into the state of the administration of the law in Jersey—one in 1846, and the other in 1859. Both of those Commissions hare recommended most important alterations, but as yet none of those alterations have been carried into effect. Some slight and unimportant legislation may have taken place in the Island; but I believe I am correct in saying, that not one of the important recommendations of either of the Commissions has yet been carried into effect by the States. Unless the whole of the inquiries which have hitherto taken place be a farce, it is necessary that something should be done to carry out the recommendations of the Commissioners. The issuing of a Royal Commission is no farce. On the contrary, it is a very serious step for this House to take. The expense of the last Commission was something like £5,000. And, after waiting now for five years, we are in this position; we hare been required to wait until the matter has approached the present stage, and now we are asked to wait still further. I cannot conceive anything more unjust to the Island than the present condition of the law there. In my humble opinion they are not removed from a state of barbarism; they are only adapted to a place to which civilization has not extended. I believe it is a fact that you may arrest a man there for an imaginary debt on the mere ipse dixit of a complainant. In one case a gentleman was imprisoned for three years, and it was only after he had endured that amount of imprisonment that it was discovered that there was not the shadow of foundation for the claim. That could not have happened in this or any other civilized country. There are no less than sixteen recommendations contained in the Report of the last Royal Commissioners. The House is aware that a previous Commission sat in 1846. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State will allow me to remind him that the proceedings of that Commission met with his entire approval. If my memory serves me aright, he then filled the office he so ably fills at the present time. When they remonstrated with 526 him from the Island of Guernsey concerning any interference with the law by the Government, the right hon. Gentleman addressed a letter to the authorities there, in which he announced his intention of persevering with the reform of the law of the Islands. As I have already stated, there are no less than sixteen recommendations contained in the Report of the last Commission, and if these recommendations were carried out, and if law and justice were properly administered in Jersey, the value of property would increase in that Island to a very considerable extent. I forget what the exact calculation was, but I think I am within the limit when I say it was estimated that, by a proper administration of the law, the value of property would increase at least 30 or 40 per cent. The hon. Member for Leicestershire has presented a petition to this House, in which he states that his rights hare been greatly prejudiced and interrupted, solely because the laws are in such an inefficient state that it is impossible for him to obtain redress. The Court which the hon. and learned Member for Southwark proposes to reform is conducted in a manner which shows that there is altogether a want of authority on the part of those who have charge of it. Not only are irregularities of every description committed, but even acts of violence, of discourtesy, and impropriety are constantly taking place. The most improper language is used by the advocates who attend the Court, and altogether the proceedings are conducted in a discreditable way. As regards property there, if you wish to build a church you must vest the property in trustees, and the wives of trustees are entitled to dowers out of it, while the property itself is liable to be seized for the debts of trustees who are appointed for its protection. The inefficiency of the laws of that Island is so great as to render the value of property uncertain. The delays which take place in the administration of law are disgraceful, and the constant complaints which have been made on the subject demand, in my opinion, the serious consideration of this House with the view of passing some legislative enactment for the removal of the grievances now complained of. I should like to know what possible objection there can be to sending this Bill before a Committee. If the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Grey) has not had time to attend to all the recommendations 527 of the Commission, let us adopt some other course. Let us send the Bill to a Select Committee for the purpose of having its provisions fully considered. Eighteen years have now elapsed since the first Commission was issued, and nothing important 1ms yet been done. Are we not, I would ask, to take this matter into consideration for ages? Is it right that the civil laws of Jersey should continue to exist in their present state? Is it right that, having issued a Commission in 1859—five years ago—we should now be called upon for further delay before legislating upon the subject? The propriety of introducing legal reforms into Jersey has been admitted on both sides of the House. The Commission of 1846 was issued by what was considered the Liberal side of the House, when the right hon. Gentleman the present Home Secretary was in office. But in 1859 another Commission was issued, and at that time the Government of Lord Derby were in office. The appointment of the Commission had the sanction of the right hon. Member for the University of Cambridge (Mr. Walpole), who was then Home Secretary, although he retired from office before the Commission was actually appointed. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wiltshire (Mr. Sotheron Est-court) actually pleaded in this House the propriety of issuing the Commission. It was issued, therefore, by the authority of the Government of Lord Derby. The Commissioners in the last Commission, in the two visits which they paid to the Island, spent three months in investigating these matters, and in collecting evidence on the subject. They presented their Report to the House in 1860, in an enormous volume of more than 800 pages, much of it closely printed. That Report is now before the House, and all we are asked to do is to pass this simple measure. The measure my hon. Friend has brought before the House I can only regard as the beginning of important regulations. Until the Royal Court is reformed, and put into more intelligent hands, into the hands of those thoroughly conversant with the law, nothing can be done. Until that is done we can have no real reform in Jersey. We have waited for a reform of the criminal law of Jersey for eighteen years, and, as nothing material has been done on the part of the States themselves to reform these great abuses which the excellent Reports of these Commissioners point out, I do hope and trust, after such an expendi- 528 ture of money as this country has incurred, that the House will feel it necessary without further delay to take up the question seriously. I would put it to the House, if it is not time that we should have some effective legislative enactment for the purpose of remedying the evils which have been so justly complained of. If this Bill should pass, it would be the commencement of the reforms which are so much needed, and the beneficial result to the people of Jersey would be very great indeed. I have already had the honour of presenting petition after petition in favour of some measure of reform, and I have urged on the Government to take the matter into their careful consideration with the view of bringing in some measure that would be satisfactory to the people of Jersey. This Bill would be regarded as a great boon, and it would tend materially to enhance the value of property in Jersey; and if the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary would take it in hand, I think he would be fairly entitled to the thanks of the people of the Island. Under these circumstances, I have great pleasure in seconding the Motion for the second reading of the Bill.
§ Moved, "That the Bill be now read the second time."—(Mr. Locke.)
§ SIR GEORGE GREY
said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had moved the second reading of this Bill was right in anticipating that the Government would raise no objection to the principle of the Bill. He agreed with the principle; but he wished to guard himself against approving all the clauses contained in the Bill, especially those relating to the mode of payment of the Judges, which he thought would require further consideration. As far as the Bill aimed at the reform of the constitution of the Royal Court, a separation of the judicial from the political functions, and the appointment of paid Judges, he approved its object. The hon. and learned Gentleman was not correct in saying that the Bill relating to this subject, introduced two years since by Mr. Serjeant Pigott, was read a second time, because it would be found, upon reference to the records of the House, that the Bill was withdrawn in consequence of objections made to it by the Government upon the ground that sufficient time had not been allowed to the States to act upon the recommendations of the Royal Commission. That objection did not arise now; but until yesterday he would have been disposed to request the hon. and 529 learned Gentleman to postpone the measure to give the States a further opportunity of carrying out the reforms which were needed. The late Governor of Jersey (Sir Percy Douglas) had in1861 pressed upon the States the expediency of effecting the reforms which had been suggested by the Royal Commission, and, in fact, some reforms were effected in the mode of administering the Criminal Law, and especially as regarded summary jurisdiction. The present Governor (Major General Cuppage), animated by the same spirit, had also urged the necessity of further reforms; and letters had been referred to by the hon. and learned Gentleman which showed the opinion of the Government here upon the subject. Not long ago two Acts were passed by the States providing for the resignation of two jurats, and the election of others. These Acts were referred to the Privy Council, together with a memorial signed by a large number of the inhabitants of Jersey, praying for reforms of the constitution of the Court and in the administration of justice. After consulting the Law Officers of the Crown, the Privy Council decided to advise Her Majesty to confirm those portions of the Acts relating to the resignation of Jurats, but to withhold assent from the portions relating to the election of other Jurats; and further suggested that the Lieutenant Governor should call upon the States to consider what steps should be taken to carry out the recommendations of the Royal Commissioners. The memorial was subsequently sent to Jersey to be communicated to the States. A copy of the present Bill had also been sent to the Governor, who, while he approved of it generally, suspended the expression of any decided opinion until it was seen what determination the States had arrived at. Only yesterday, however, he (Sir George Grey) had received a letter from the Chairman of the Committee of the States announcing that it had been merely resolved to appoint a Committee to take such measures as they might think necessary to resist any attempt to invade their privileges. There was no desire whatever to interfere with their privileges, but he confessed that this letter had held out no hope that the States would do anything effectually in the matter. The Government here had shown a forbearing spirit, and had wished to leave the requisite reform to be carried out by the States themselves; but as the States declined to take any steps in that direction, it could not be said that Parliament was 530 not entitled to interfere. He should, therefore, not object to the second reading of the Bill, on the understanding that the Committee upon it would be postponed for a considerable time to allow the States to take any steps which might appear to them proper under the circumstances.
§ Motion agreed to.
§ Bill read 2°, and committed for Wednesday, 4th May.