HL Deb 10 February 1852 vol 119 cc323-4

wished to put a question to the noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Office which had reference to a Bill introduced by Government. Shortly before the prorogation in August last, he (the Duke of Newcastle) had given notice that in the event of the question not being taken up by the Government, he should bring forward the subject of New Zealand in the present Session, with a view to legislation. Notice had, however, been given of the intention of Government to introduce a Bill in the present Session, and he should, of course, be unwilling to raise any discussion on the subject which might be inconvenient. It must be admitted that it would be desirable that a measure should be introduced in the course of the present Session, looking at the condition of the colony. He begged, therefore, to know whether it was intended by Ministers to introduce the measure in that or in the other House of Parliament; and if so, at what time it might be expected?


said, that he must inform the noble Duke that with respect to the House in which that Bill must originate, there was no room for question; inasmuch as that when in August last he was extremely anxious to commence it in that House, he was informed by the highest authority in the other House of Parliament, that, being a measure of finance, it must originate in the House of Commons. The Bill would, he hoped, be brought in as soon as the state of business in that House gave a reasonable prospect of its being proceeded with; it was prepared, but various points remained which it would be desirable to include in it. He had reason to believe, from the last despatches he had received from the Governor of New Zealand, that in a very short time they might probably receive some additional information which would have a very close bearing on the question. It was certainly not his intention to wait for those despatches if the state of things in the House of Commons were such as to enable the Bill to be brought in. He agreed with the noble Duke that it was a subject of urgency, and should come before them as soon as possible. He trusted that before long it would be in the power of his noble Friend the First Lord of the Treasury to inform him if the state of business in the House of Commons would enable the Bill to be brought in there.