§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
asked the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Queensland "Executive Minute" of the 15th March, 1883, has been communicated to Her Majesty's Government, or whether, in any shape, Her Majesty's Government have information by whose authority orders were issued on that day for taking possession of New Guinea in Her Majesty's name; whether, from the Despatch of Sir A. Kennedy on the subject, dated one day previous—viz., 14th March, in which he makes no allusion to any such intentions, his Despatch of 19th April, and paragraphs 2 and 3 of his Despatch of 26th April, it may be inferred that this action was taken by the Ministers, and not by the Governor; and, whether Sir A. Kennedy's last Despatch, expressing a subsequent approval of the action of his Ministers, was written when he was on the point of departure in consequence of extreme illness, from the effects of which he shortly after died on the voyage home?
§ MR. EVELYN ASHLEY
Sir, we have not received the "Executive Minute" referred to, and the only information 527 we have as to the authority under which orders were issued is contained in the Papers before the House, which state that it was done under the authority of this "Executive Minute," which implies a Minute adopted by the Executive Council, at which the Governor ordinarily is present and presides. I have referred to the passages indicated by the hon. Member; but I am not prepared, from the perusal of them, to make the inference contained in the second part of the Question, that the action was taken by the Ministers independently of the Governor. It is true, I regret to say, that Sir A. Kennedy was ill at the time of his departure; but we have no reason to believe that he was at the time so ill as to be incapacitated from business.
§ SIR GEORGE CAMPBELL
asked, Whether, in justice to the memory of such an honourable and independent man as Sir A. Kennedy, the hon. Member would inquire whether, as a matter of fact, he was present at the meeting of the Executive Council of 15th March; and, whether Sir A. Kennedy was a party to the issuing of the order for the annexation of New Guinea on the 15th March, and scrupulously keeping back all information from Her Majesty's Government for more than a month afterwards.