HL Deb 27 November 1888 vol 331 cc276-8

I beg to ask my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether the Government have come to any descision as to the appointment of Sir Henry Blake as Governor of Queensland?


I have to inform your Lordships that Sir Henry Blake has stated to the Government that, after what has passed, it would be extremely unpleasant for him to undertake the Governorship of Queensland; and he has requested to be relieved of that appointment. Her Majestys Government, under the circumstances, have agreed to that request. On this day week I assured your Lordships that I was not unmindful of the grave responsibility attaching to the Secretary of State in selecting the Governor of a Colony, and I should like in a very few words to point out how eminently fitted Sir Henry Blake was for the Governorship of Queensland. I cannot but think that the opposition which has been raised against this appointment has proceeded from a misapprehension of the position, and from the want of knowledge of Sir Henry Blake's eminent qualifications and services. His service in Ireland was duly recognized by the appointment by the noble Earl opposite of Sir Henry, then Mr. Blake, to the Bahamas. I must add that this service in Ireland in no way rendered him unacceptable to the com- munity and people of Newfoundland, although previously to his appointment there had been, unfortunately, serious religious and political dissensions in that Colony. In the Bahamas, which is not a Crown Colony, but which has a representative assembly in which the Government cannot command a majority, Sir Henry Blake did most excellent service. He interested himself largely in developing the industrial resources of the country; he showed great sympathy with all classes of the people; and upon his retirement general expressions of regret followed him from all sides. When he came to Newfoundland he had to administer a responsible Government, and he there showed the same conspicuous tact and judgment, and proved, moreover, that he thoroughly understood and recognized the relations which existed between the Governor and his responsible Ministers. As in the Bahamas, so in Newfoundland, he applied himself steadily to developing in every way the resources of the Colony, and to improving the condition of the working classes. As in the Bahamas, so in Newfoundland, when he departed expressions of esteem came in from all quarters. Addresses of regret at his departure were received from the Premier and ex-Premier, from the leading men of both political parties, and from the Bishop and other loading persons. I may say that his departure has been viewed with regret by all classes. I will only add that Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that, by the continued exercise of the tact and judgment which he has hitherto so conspicuously displayed, Sir Henry Blake would have amply justified the selection of Her Majesty's Government.


As I was the Minister responsible for bringing Sir Henry Blake into the Colonial Service, I feel bound to express in a few words my entire concurrence with what the noble Lord has said. Sir Henry Blake seemed to me to be one of the very ablest men I ever came across. That is the account I also heard of him from others who were officially connected with him, and in my judgment he was, and is, fully fitted for the highest posts in the Colonial Service. At the same time, I think the Secretary of State is acting quite rightly and with sound judgment in not seeking to force him as a Governor upon a Colony which, however unreasonably or from whatever cause, has taken a prejudice against him.

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