HL Deb 17 July 1848 vol 100 cc509-10

EARL GREY moved the Third Reading of this Bill.


did not moan to oppose this Bill, but he could not allow this measure to pass without expressing his regret that this Bill did not provide for our language being used in the courts of law in the United Provinces of Canada. He considered that this would be a serious disadvantage in the operation of the Act, by which the ends of the union would be altogether frustrated, and a permanent barrier would be raised up between two portions of the country, whose amalgamation was essential to the welfare of both.


said, he could not admit that the measure would have this effect. The information he had received from his noble Friend the Governor General of Canada was, that the existing state of the law defeated its own object—that it kept up a state of law directly the contrary of their object—and that instead of erasing the distinctions of race it made them only the more marked and obvious. He admitted that it would be an advantage if one language were used in the official records throughout Canada; but he attached still more importance to the principle of allowing all their local concerns to be regulated according to the wishes and feelings of the people of Canada. He therefore could not doubt that this measure, which had been recommended by three successive Governors General, would receive the sanction of Parliament. He was happy to say that the privileges accorded to the Canadians of being allowed to manage their own internal affairs, had been very successful in reconciling all classes in the colony to the existing system of government, and to cause them to regard with warm attachment this country. Her Majesty, and the institutions under which they lived; ill proof of which he referred to several memorials and grand-jury addresses that had lately been received from both the French and English portions of the population. All the attempts that had been made, even during the recent events in Europe, to produce agitation in Canada, had totally failed, and the colony now enjoyed a degree of peace and of general content which he believed had never before prevailed. These were the results of allowing the Canadians to manage their own affairs: he was persuaded that the principle was right and just in itself, and he hoped their Lordships would agree to it.

Bill 3a, and passed.

House adjourned.