HL Deb 06 August 1846 vol 88 cc349-51

said, he wished to put one or two questions to the noble Earl now at the head of the Colonial Department. The first question which he intended to put related to the government of New Zealand. He was well aware that there was a great deal of difficulty attending the whole question of the government of that Colony; but he could not help believing that, even at this advanced period of the Session, something might be done for improving the administration of affairs in that part of Her Majesty's dominions. It was understood that just before the late Administration left office they had prepared, and were on the point of laying before Parliament, a measure connected with the government of New Zealand; and he believed that the noble Earl had seen that measure. The general principle of it met with the general concurrence of parties in this country and the colonists themselves. Now, in the present state of affairs in the Colony he thought it a matter of very great importance that some such measure should pass this Session; and he wished to know from the noble Earl whether or not Her Majesty's present Government intended to introduce any such Bill during the present Session of Parliament. If they did not undertake such a task, he was not certainly prepared to prefer against them any complaint for that omission; but he hoped, nevertheless, that something might be done. The other question which he intended to put related to the Australian Waste Lands. He had himself laid a Bill upon the Table of their Lordships' House, which had been read a first time; but he could not, under present circumstances, think of going on with it, for it was clearly a matter which the Government alone could take up with any view of bringing it to a satisfactory issue. If the noble Earl did not mean to take up that Bill this year, he hoped, as the question was one of great importance, that his noble Friend would be able to say that he would introduce a measure on the subject early next Session.


replied, that he should be happy to answer both the questions put by the noble Lord. Late as it was in the Session, he did not despair of Parliament being able to legislate upon both those subjects. With respect to New Zealand, he did say that, notwithstanding all the difficulty which surrounded the task of legislating for it, the matter was too important to allow the present Session to pass over without some attempt to bring in some measure on that subject. Although every one must feel that the arrangements to be made required much consideration, and therefore much time, yet he thought it extremely important that some legislative measure relating to New Zealand should be passed in the present year. He entertained no doubt that the measure which he found in the Colonial Office had been very carefully considered, and he was quite ready to admit that, in the main features of the Bill he entirely concurred. It would require some alteration and some extension; but he hoped that in the course of a few days a Bill similar in principle would be brought forward in the other House. As to the other Bill respecting which the noble Lord had put a question, the measure was one of great importance, and he thought it was one which ought to pass in the present Session; he therefore did propose to proceed with it. He was sorry that there were in the Bill now on the Table some points which were not satisfactory; he intended, however, to reconsider it very attentively, and to propose that it be read a second time on Tuesday next, when he intended further to propose that the House should go into Committee on the Bill, pro formâ, in order to give him an opportunity of stating the alterations which he intended to propose, and the grounds upon which he wished to submit them to the House.

Bill read 2a.

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