§ Lord Glenelg
had, he said, to present to their Lordships, by the command of her Majesty, certain papers relative to the affairs of Canada. These papers, he had to apprise their Lordships, were the sequel to papers presented to that House about three weeks ago. He wished then to state to their Lordships, that in submitting to them these papers, which would be found to relate to the same subject as the papers formerly presented, it was his disposition—he might say more, it was his wish—if he had their Lordships' concurrence in so doing, at once to enter into the subject to which these papers referred. But he was aware that there was some informality in 2 such a proceeding; and that the more regular course would be to fix a time at which the subject could be brought under the consideration of the House. He was quite ready, he was quite prepared, to enter into the subject then, and to submit it to their Lordships' consideration; but he was induced to submit to their Lordships' judgment, whether he ought to proceed at that moment, or whether he should call the consideration of the House to the subject on the earliest day possible. On this point, then, he wished to submit to their Lordships' judgment. If it was their Lordships' wish or opinion that he had better not enter upon the subject then, he would give notice that he would, on the earliest day possible, on Thursday, move an humble address to her Majesty on the subject of the affairs of Canada.
observed, that having taken an active part, as one of his late Majesty's servants, with respect to this subject, and having given to it the most solemn and serious consideration, when it was heretofore in that House, he felt bound to say, without wishing to delay the ex- 3 pression of his opinion upon this subject, that he thought the most convenient course now to be followed was that which was most customary—the giving notice of the intention to move an address at the earliest possible period. He was clearly of opinion that this would be the fairest course of proceeding towards her Majesty's Government, the fairest towards their Lordships, and the most just and satisfactory to all the parties concerned.
§ Viscount Melbourne
said, that with respect to this subject a different course had been pursued by their Lordships from that which he wished, and which ha been adopted previous to the adjournment by the other House of Parliament. His noble Friend (Lord John Russell) had given distinct notice that he would make a motion upon the subject of Canada. He (Lord Melbourne) certainly had said, that he would call the attention of their Lordships to it, but he had not given any distinct notice for a particular day on which he night bring it forward; nor were their Lordships summoned. Under such circumstances he did not think it right nor fair to call upon their Lordships for a distinct vote upon measures of such importance; but at the same time he felt that there was a certain degree of inconvenience, and that it might appear disrespectful to their Lordships, that a statement should be made to the other House and no statement made in this. He had suggested to his noble Friend the course that he considered ought to be followed in laying the papers upon the Table of their Lordships' House, and it was out of respect to their Lordships that he adopted the course now submitted to them. He certainly felt, that the course the most proper and the most convenient would be for his noble Friend to give notice of his motion for Thursday, and he begged of their Lordships to understand that this course was proposed out of deference to them.
§ The Duke of Wellington
thought, that it would be most desirable to know what was the nature of the proceedings to be proposed by her Majesty's Government at the next meeting of that House. He confessed that he had a very strong opinion upon this subject. It was his opinion that the course of proceeding by an Address from that and the other House of Parliament, was not a regular course of proceeding in such a case as the present. His opinion was, that this was a case of war. He was sorry to say it—it was a 4 case of war—hostilities had been already committed. In such a case, then, the original proceeding ought to be a message from her Majesty, and an answer to her Majesty's message; then their House ought to adopt an humble Address to her Majesty. That was his opinion as to what ought to be the natural course of proceeding on this subject. He was the more anxious upon this point because his opinion was, that that course of proceeding ought to be adopted which was most likely to serve as the foundation for the successful termination of the unfortunate state of affairs in the country to which these proceedings related. His opinion was, that her Majesty and her Majesty's Government ought to speak out upon this subject. Not only they, in both Houses of Parliament, but also the country, ought to understand upon what ground it was, that her Majesty and her Majesty's Government intended to stand upon this question, and that, too, in relation to that country and to Canada; and the sooner they understood this the better, and the more speedy would be the termination of these unfortunate disputes. He had no doubt that her Majesty's Ministers would call upon Parliament to support her Majesty's Government. He hoped they would call upon Parliament in such a manner as that Parliament would be enabled to pledge themselves to the support of her Majesty, and that preparations would be made for bringing the war to a speedy and certain conclusion as soon as the season opened. If such a course were proposed he should be prepared to support her Majesty's Government. He entreated their Lordships, and he entreated her Majesty's Government, not to submit to any other course. He intreated them to remember that a great country like this could have no such thing as a little war. He wished them to understand that they ought to enter on such operations upon such a scale, and in such a manner, and with such a determination to the final object, as must make it quite certain that they would succeed, and that, too, at the earliest possible period after the season opened. He begged to ask of her Majesty's Government as to the course which was intended to be pursued upon Thursday next, in order that they might prepare themselves fairly for the discussion.
§ Viscount Melbourne
agreed in the opinions which had been expressed by the noble Duke; he quite agreed with him in the necessity of her Majesty's Government 5 being explicit as to the line of conduct which they proposed to adopt; and he quite agreed with the reasonableness of the expectation entertained by the noble Duke that the preparations made should be on such a scale as to bring these affairs to a speedy conclusion. Perhaps in the first instance, the more usual course ought to be the sending down a message; but papers had been sent down, and those papers constituted a message. There would then have been an inconvenience and an incongruity in sending down a message from the Throne, after the principal matter which must form the subject of that message was already before the House. The noble Lord had said, that he hoped her Majesty's Ministers would speak out upon the present occasion. Undoubtedly they would; and he was ready to admit that though it might have given somewhat more solemnity and weight to their present proceedings to have had a massage from the Throne in the first instance, yet he trusted that both her Majesty's Ministers and the Houses of Parliament would adopt such a tone as must render sufficiently apparent the determination of this country, consistently with a due regard to the rights of others, to maintain its dignity and station amongst the nations of the earth.
was understood to say that their Lordships' ought to know the terms of the address. A message if sent down to the House would apprise them of that of which the papers did not inform them, the existence of a state of war. The papers which they then had did not tell them when war had commenced, although they might she that it existed. He wished the noble Baron to tell them the terms of the address he meant to propose. He could not support that address if it called upon him to approve the course which her Majesty's Government had followed. He adverted to the course followed by them, which was disclosed in the correspondence before their Lordships. He thought that the noble Baron had said, that the papers which he had now to present to their Lordships were merely the sequel to those he had before presented. He wished the noble Baron would tell them why this course was pursued with the papers that had been received. He never recollected in any instance of such a correspondence that the date of the writing of a letter was given, and not the date at which it had been received. It was impossible to understand the correspondence without the dates. 6 He had to remark that there was a very great hiatus in this correspondence. He saw that on the 20th of November, 1836, it was stated by the noble Baron, in a letter to Lord Gosford, that "he should very shortly have to address him fully upon the nature of the proceedings which it would be necessary to adopt, to arrest the proceedings in the colony, should they be persisted in." Now, he found no dispatch between that and the 11th of March, 1837, when, in a letter sent by the noble Baron to Lord Gosford, it was said—"Although I am unable at the present moment to enter as fully as the occasion might seem to require into an explanation of the reasons for the course which his Majesty's Government have felt it their duty to adopt in relation to the affairs of Lower Canada, nor into a statement of the duties which will consequently devolve upon your Lordship, I feel it incumbent on me to avail myself of the first opportunity which has offered since the affairs of Lower Canada have been brought before the House of Commons of informing you of the proceedings of Parliament with reference to this subject." He wished to know had there been any dispatch sent between the 20th of November, 1836, and the 11th of March, 1837; and if there were, could it be communicated without detriment to the public service? He wished to know if the noble Baron had kept his word, and had entered into the explanation of the intentions of her Majesty's Government?
§ Lord Glenelg
certainly intended, when he laid the papers before the House to have followed them up with the dispatches since received. He had not looked to the dates of the last dispatches, nor did he then recollect the particular date to which the noble Baron alluded. He certainly should examine as to the paper referred to; and whatever dispatch could be produced between November and March without detriment to her Majesty's service should undoubtedly be produced. His impression then was, that the entire correspondence was before the House.
said that there were several other hiatuses in the correspondence which he desiderated very much to understand; but then he assumed, and he was bound to assume, that her Majesty's Ministers, as men of business, knowing their own case, gave all the necessary papers, and he therefore, presumed that there were no other papers relating to the point in question. As to what had been referred to by the 7 noble Lord (Lord Ellenborough) it appeared to him to be a very extraordinary; lacuna indeed, for without the instructions promised by the noble Baron, Lord Gosford could not have acted. He, however, took it for granted that there were no; other papers to be produced than those before the House. Yet there were many other blanks in this correspondence; but he could not now point them out without entering into the whole question. Perhaps, however, his noble Friend would supply the defects which had been referred to between that and Thursday, or the matter might be proceeded with to-morrow.
§ The Earl of Ripon
remarked that the seat of Government in Upper Canada had been attacked. No part of the papers produced, referred to that province, and he wished to know the reason why; for it appeared that Mr. M'Kenzie had obtained temporary possession of the capital of Upper Canada. ["No, no!"] Then the reason why Mr. M'Kenzie had had a chance of obtaining possession of it was, that the troops had been sent to Lower Canada to Sir John Colborne. He was surprised that no information was given upon that subject.
§ Lord Glenelg
admitted, that the two subjects were very closely connected; but he had no official account on the subject referred to by his noble Friend. The papers he presented related to the transfer of the troops from Upper to Lower Canada.
§ Papers laid on the Table.