HL Deb 12 July 1864 vol 176 cc1370-2

who had given notice To call the Attention of the House to the Momorial of Sir Francis Bond Head to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, laid upon the Table of the House on the 6th of June last; and to move, That, in the opinion of this House, the great, successful, but heretofore unrequited services rendered by Sir Francis Bond Head, Bart., as Governor of Upper Canada in the years 1836 and 1837, call for the favourable consideration of Her Majesty's Government, said, it had been his intention to bring under the notice of the House a document on the table, in which was contained a memorial of Sir Francis Bond Head to the Secretary of State for the Colonies; but in consequence of what appeared to have taken place in the other House last night, he was induced, with the permission of their Lordships, to withdraw his notice. He might be permitted, however, to say a word or two as to the circumstances which induced him to bring forward the question after the lapse of so many years since Sir Francis Head was employed as a public servant. He should not certainly have thought of now reviving the question but for the document referred to, which, if it did not challenge a discussion, at all events left it open for any noble Lord to take notice of the matter. By no man now living, he believed, had the public been better served than by Sir Francis Head, who was Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada at a period of the greatest difficulty, when that valuable province was in a state of open revolt against the authority of the Crown. At that critical period Sir Francis Head was suddenly sent to administer the province of Upper Canada, and by his promptitude, energy, and courage, saved that colony to the British Crown. From that period to the present, owing to circumstances which it would be needless to mention and difficult to explain, the services of Sir Francis Head had been passed over without the slightest notice. From his modest nature, unpresuming character, from anxiety to retire from public notice, that valued public servant had not pressed the subject, as he might have done, upon Members of the Legislature and the public generally, but he (the Earl of Hardwicke), nevertheless, felt it a great misfortune to himself and to the honour of the country, that his services were not requited with public notice. He had intended to have troubled the House with a proof of Sir Francis Head's services, but he was led to believe that the Government were prepared to take the subject into consideration, and hoping for an assurance to that effect from the noble Lord who represented the Colonial Department in the House, he begged to withdraw his notice.


said, that whilst he did not wish to detract from the claims of Sir Francis Bond Head, it should be borne in mind that he did not complete his work—that he resigned before the revolt was crushed. Sir George Arthur, his successor, completed the work, and was entitled to a large share of the reward.


thought it much better to leave the distribution of rewards with the Crown, and allow the whole question of Colonial Governors to be considered generally as a question of public policy, instead of bringing forward individual cases. Though he was generally in favour of the payment by the colonies of the expenses of their government, still he thought that the pensions of Governors who were sent to the colonies by the mother country should form an exception and should be paid by the mother country. He thought that the mother country should provide for an official whom they forced upon the colony, whether they would or no.


said, he quite agreed with the noble Lord. He hoped that the position of the Colonial Governors as a body, would be taken into consideration. They were in the receipt of very moderate salaries, the whole of which they generally spent at their posts; they frequently received honours for the services rendered by them; and then they returned home as poor as when they commenced life. This was a state of things which ought not to continue, and he hoped that the Government would consider the question in a liberal spirit.


was understood to promise that the whole subject should undergo consideration.


said, he considered that Sir Francis Head had preserved Canada to this country in a dangerous crisis, when there was every danger of a war with the United States, and that it was to his energy that Canada owed that she was not involved in the miserable condition of the country adjoining her. Sir Francis was not supported as he ought to have been at home during the rebellion; but in the instructions given to Sir George Arthur, who was appointed Governor of Canada when he resigned, the energy and the success of his career were especially alluded to, and his example was held up for imitation. Sir Francis Head resigned his office because he refused to promote and reward men who had been openly and boastfully disloyal. In his present advanced age a pecuniary reward would form but a slight burden on the country, while it would be some consolation to Sir Francis Head to feel that his services were appreciated.

House adjourned at half past Six o'clock, till To-morrow, half past Ten o'clock.