« EelmineJätka »
SOUTH WALES. separate government. We venture to submit that this is entirely a question that concerns
the inhabitants of the nothern districts only, and that the very eager desire of the Executive Council of New South Wales to prevent separation, can be the result of no other cause except the wish to retain the management of the revenues. From a very careful examination of the subject, founded upon local experience, we are thoroughly convinced that the finances of the northern districts will be amply sufficient to support a separate government, and we can venture to take upon ourselves to guarantee, that if the division were formed on the southern boundary of New England and the M'Leay, so as to include the largest settled and most populous portions of those districts, the revenues of the new northern colony would be amply sufficient for all purposes of government, and we may add, that with an increasing population and prosperity, which would be the natural results of separation, the finances would be inproving every day.
Encl. 2 in No. 5.
Minute, No. 53/44.
Messrs. J. Richardson, M. H. Marsh, H. S. Russell and
11. We would further observe, that the provision in the Civil List of the Constitutional Bill for a resident judge at Moreton Bay. amounts to an admission by the Sydney council that separation is at all events necessary for judicial purposes.
12. În conclusion, we have the fullest confidence in your Grace's endeavours to procure for us separation, so much desired by all our constituents, and that our wishes, we hope most temperately and moderately expressed in our numerous petitions and addresses, will meet with the same favourable consideration as the somewhat violent remonstrances and threats of the Sydney Council, and we would further add, that whatsoever decision your Grace and the Imperial Parliament may come to, it will make no difference in our unabated loyalty, and our firm attachment to the mother country and its institutions.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
We have, &c.
Member for the County of Stanley.
W. H. MARSH,
Member for the Pastoral Districts of
Member for the Stanley Boroughs.
Enclosure 2 in No. 5.
PROCEEDINGS of the Executive Council on the 5th September, 1853, with respect to a Memorial praying the immediate formation of a new colony on the southern boundary of the districts of New England and the M'Leay.
Confirmed September 12, 1853.
His Excellency the Governor-General brings under the notice of the council a memorial which has been placed in his hands for the purpose of being forwarded to his Grace the Duke of Newcastle by the gentlemen named in the margin, three of whom, namely Messrs. Richardson, Marsh, and Russell are members of the Legislative Council representing northern constituencies, and the fourth, Dr. Dobie, is a nominated member of the council, residing in one of the northern districts. This memorial prays the immediate formation of a new colony on the southern boundary of the districts of New England and the M'Leay, and has apparently been prompted by the provision contained in the 51st clause of the Constitution Bill now under the consideration of the Legislative Council, which, if passed into law and assented to by Her Majesty, will prohibit the formation of any new colony south of the twenty-sixth parallel of south latitude.
2. The council have already in their proceedings of the 31st March 1851, expressed so decided an opinion both with respect to the inexpediency of separating the northern portions of the colony at all, and the injustice of adopting the boundary contended for by the memorialists, (should any such separation be sanctioned,) that they might well discuss the present memorial with a mere reference to their former minute; but there are one or two statements in it which may be considered to demand some reply.
3. It is alleged in the fifth paragraph of the memorial, in allusion to a difference of opinion that had previously existed amongst the inhabitants of the northern districts on the subject of the introduction of convicts, that many of them were favourable to transportation merely for the sake of hastening separation. Upon this the council deemed it proper to remark, that although the statement may be literally true, it is also undeniable that a very large proportion of those interested in that measure desired separation chiefly, if not wholly, because, by reason of the conditions which it was then believed would attach to the erection of the northern colony, a prospect was held out to them of an abundant supply of convict labour; and it can be hardly overlooked that the determination of Her Majesty's Government to send no more convicts to any part of the Australian
colonies, removes any claim to separation on the part of those who sought separation because they thought they could by that means secure the advantage of convict labour; an advantage which was denied them so long as the northern districts remained integral portions of New South Wales.
4. With respect to the complaint repeated in this memorial of the impossibility of the inhabitants of the northern parts of the colony being adequately represented in the Legislative Council, by reason of the distance of the seat of Government, the council only deem it necessary to remark that the journey from Brisbane to Sydney by steam vessels may be made in three days, which is considerably less than the time necessarily occupied by some of the members of council representing southern constituencies in coming to or from Sydney. It is within the knowledge of the council that on the occasion of a recent circuit court at Brisbane, one of the judges of the supreme court and the attorney-general performed the journey thither and back (disposing of the business of the court) in ten days less time than was occupied by another judge and the solicitor-general in travelling one of the inland circuits. It is true that on this occasion the steamer which conveyed them to Brisbane, remained there until the business of the circuit was over; but it is fair to presume, on the other hand, that the facilities for communication by steam vessels between Sydney and Brisbane will always be commensurate with the commercial importance of the latter place. But assuming for a moment that the request of the memorialists were granted and that Brisbane were made the seat of the new Government, it cannot be denied that as regards Legislative Representation, many of the northern districts instead of being bettered by the change would, for a long time, be in a worse condition than before, because between Brisbane and the other sea ports which would be embraced in the Government there cannot be said to be any direct communication. And this reasoning, moreover, presupposes that Brisbane will be the seat of northern government, a condition which the council are by no means prepared to grant. The objection taken by that memorialists may with equal force be urged by the representatives of every other district of the colony which is more than a day's journey from the seat of Government, and a large number of them must be exposed to this inconvenience until facilities of communication between different parts of the colony are multiplied to a degree which cannot reasonably be looked forward to until the present sparse population shall have become infinitely more dense.
5. It is here necessary to correct a misconception into which the memorialists have fallen. In the ninth paragraph it is stated that they have reason to believe that the Government of New South Wales intends to propose that a local representation shall be established at Moreton Bay for the purpose of spending such sums of money as may be voted by the Sydney Council upon improvements in the northern districts. No such intention is or has been entertained by the Government.
6. In the tenth paragraph of this memorial the following passage occurs: "We venture to submit that this is entirely a question that concerns the inhabitants of the northern districts only, and that the very eager desire of the Executive Council of New South Wales to prevent separation, can be the result of no other cause except the wish to retain the management of the revenues." To allow this remark to pass as if it had been unobserved, would, perhaps, be inconsistent with what is due to Her Majesty's Government, to whom the appeal is made. But the council conceive that they will best consult what is due to their own character if they abstain from any attempt to rebut this aspersion on the conscientiousness of the advice which, under the solemnity of an oath, they felt it their duty to render to his Excellency on this subject.
7. Having said thus much with respect to separation generally, the council desire only to offer a single remark with regard to the question of boundary.
The northern limit contended for in the Constitution Bill now before the local legislature as the northern boundary of New South Wales, should any separation be permitted, has for several years been generally recognised, after having been formally determined by an Act of the Imperial Parliament 5 & 6 Vict. cap. 76. ; and although the enactment contained in the 51st clause of that Act has been so far modified by the subsequent Act 13 & 14 Vict. cap. 59., as to reserve to Her Majesty the power to include in a separate colony any lands lying to the north of the thirtieth parallel of south latitude, yet this power has never been exerted, and the council cannot divest themselves of the conviction that it was retained only as necessary to, and contingent on, a particular policy which has since been finally abandoned by Her Majesty's Government. The aim of the memorialists to embrace in the desired Northern Colony large tracts of country to the south of even the most southern of the limits at any time contemplated by Parliament, is regarded as simply unreasonable.
8. The council conclude their remarks on this subject by repeating the opinion already recorded in their proceedings of March 1851, that a great injustice would be done to this colony were the northern settlements which have been created by its capital and labour to be now permanently severed from it.
(Signed) Executive Council Office, Sydney, September 13, 1853.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor General Sir CHARLES A. FITZROY to the Duke of NEWCASTLE.
MY LORD DUKE,
It is my duty to transmit to your Grace a petition addressed to Her Majesty by the colonists of New South Wales whose signatures are thereunto attached, praying that Her Majesty will withhold her assent to the measure now under the consideration of the Legislative Council for remodelling the constitution of this colony.
Government House, Sydney, November 10, 1853. (Received February 15, 1854.)
2. This petition was agreed to at a public meeting held in Sydney on the 15th August last, and was placed in my hands by a deputation, who at the same time presented to me an address, a copy of which is enclosed, as well as of my reply thereto.
3. As the petition has reference to a bill still before the Legislative Council, to the principal details of which, although the second reading of it was carried by a large majority, that body does not in any way stand pledged, it appears to me that to offer any opinions of my own upon it at the present moment would be premature; but at the same time, I consider that it is incumbent upon me to state for your Grace's information and consideration the following facts relative to certain allegations contained in the petition and in the address with which it was handed to me.
3. In the first place I must observe, that the petition can only be considered as representing the views of a portion of the community. Assuming the number of persons who attended the public meeting at which it was agreed to, to have been four thousand, which is certainly fully as many as did attend and which is the number of the signatures attached to the petition, they cannot, I think, be fairly said to have represented any large proportion of the inhabitants of a city reckoning, with its suburbs, at least sixty thousand inhabitants; while it is worthy of remark, that whatever may be the objections to the present constitution of the legislature of this colony, the second reading of the bill now petitioned against was carried (exclusively of the nominee members both official and non-official) by a very large majority of the elective members.
4. With respect to the allegation in the address that the principle of the bill "is diametrically opposed to the wishes of the great body of the colonists" as proved by "the deliberate expression of public opinion at numerous public meetings in Sydney and elsewhere, counterpoised by none of an opposite character," and by "the nearly unanimous voice of the colonial press," 1'deem it right to state as a fact, that at the meetings which have been held at several of the towns in the country, and which have been far from numerously attended, no two meetings have agreed in their views as to how an upper house could be constituted on the elective principle; and a committee now sitting in Sydney, appointed at the general meeting to which I have adverted, to draw up the form of a constitution to be substituted for the one now before the council, has been equally at fault. The facts that no public meetings have ever met in favour of this measure may, I think, be readily received as a proof that the majority of constituencies are satisfied to leave the matter in the hands of their representatives. As regards the press, the Sydney Morning Herald, which advocates the nominee principle in the formation of the upper house, has an infinitely larger sale and circulation than all the other newspapers of this colony put together.
5. In conclusion, it is proper that I should observe that all the meetings which have been held, have been of a very orderly character; and that at all of them there has been a very general expression of loyalty and attachment to Her Majesty's person and government, and to British institutions.
I have, &c.
(Signed) CHARLES A. FITZROY.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle.
Enclosure 1 in No. 6.
To the Queen's Most Excellent Majesty.
The humble Petition of the undersigned Colonists of New South Wales,
THAT your petitioners approach Your Majesty with a deep sense of unfeigned loyalty to Your Royal person, and of attachment to, and respect for, the throne and institutions of Great Britain.
That your petitioners desire to see established in this country, a constitution and form of Government framed in accordance with the genius and spirit of the constitution of their mother country, which your petitioners believe to be the views entertained by your Majesty's present advisers.
That in particular your petitioners desire a legislature composed of two houses, both based upon popular suffrage, and founded upon a just and equitable apportionment of the representation, to the numbers, intelligence, and property of the community, and of all classes and interests within it.
That a bill has been introduced into the Legislative Council, for the establishment of a constitution for this colony, which is wholly opposed to the wishes and interests of your petitioners, and to all sound principles of British liberty.
That the present Legislative Council does not, and cannot, as now constituted, represent the voice of the people of New South Wales, and that it is therefore incompetent to frame a constitution which will be satisfactory to the people of this important section of Your Majesty's dominions.
That your petitioners rely with perfect confidence in this matter on the enlightened sentiments which sway Your Majesty's councils, and in the wisdom and justice of Your Imperial Parliament.
Your petitioners therefore pray, that Your Majesty will withhold your assent to any measure which shall fail to embody the views and wishes of Your Majesty's loyal petitioners, as herein expressed; and that Your Majesty will be graciously pleased to have regard to them in any measure which you may cause to be laid before the Imperial Parliament.
And your petitioners, &c.
Enclosure 2 in No. 6.
May it please your Excellency,
WE have sought this audience for the purpose of submitting to your Excellency, as the representative of the Imperial Government in this colony, such explanation as we feel may be naturally expected from those who resort to the unusual course of an appeal by petition to Her Majesty against an injury apprehended from those of whom a majority are ostensibly their own representatives.
Deeply grateful as we are for the liberal intention which prompted Her Majesty's Government to confide to a body regarded as the exponent of the public will of the colony, the task of framing its future constitution, we are in the same measure alive to the necessity of rendering manifest the fact (for fact it truly is) that the general strain of opinion in the Legislative Council is such in this matter as wholly to defeat this gracious intention of Her Majesty's advisers, being diametrically opposed to the wishes of the great body of the colonists. We confidently state this to your Excellency as our own solemn conviction. We rely, in corroboration, on the deliberate expressions of public opinion at numerous public meetings in Sydney and elsewhere, counterpoised by none of an opposite character, on the petition now presented for transmission, and on the nearly unanimous voice of the colonial press.
We submit to your Excellency's serious consideration, whether this adverse feeling is not too manifest and potent to be compatible with the safe and peaceful working of any measure at all allied to that which the council has shown a disposition to force upon the colony.
Satisfied that such a persuasion must be the result of your Excellency's personal observation, we feel every assurance that Her Majesty's Government will, as a necessary consequence, be also fully apprised of this important fact.
The committee and petitioners whom we represent, further trust that, as your Excellency has had every opportunity of knowing that their proceedings have been moderate, loyal, and consistent with sincere attachment to Her Majesty's Government, and British institutions, your Excellency will afford them the benefit of your testimony to this effect, in order to repel those false and coarse aspersions to which they have been improperly subjected during the recent debate on the Constitution Bill in the Legislative Council.
Encl. 1 in No. 6.
Encl. 2 in No. 6.
ncl. 3 in No. 6.
Encl. in No. 7.
See "The Empire" Newspaper 16 Aug. 1853, 7 Sept. and
* Page 62.
Enclosure 3 in No. 6.
TO JOHN GILCHRIST, Esq., J. B. DOWALL, Esq., G. K. BOLDEN, Esq.
I WILL forward the petition which you have just placed in my hands to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in order that it may be submitted by that minister to Her Most Gracious Majesty.
I will also transmit to the Secretary of State a copy of the Address which you have now presented to me.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor General Sir C. FITZROY to the
Government House, November 11, 1853. (Received February 15, 1854.)
WITH reference to my Despatch* No. 140, of the 10th instant, transmitting a petition to Her Majesty against the bill now before the Legislative Council for remodelling the constitution of the colony, I have now the honour to forward the copy of a letter from the chairman of the committee styling itself the "New South Wales Constitution Committee," requesting that I would transmit to your Grace the accompanying newspapers, containing speeches delivered at public meetings and at a public dinner against the bill in question.
MY LORD DUke,
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
I have, &c.
(Signed) C. A. FITZROY.
Enclosure in No.
Sydney, October 1853.
As the chairman of the New South Wales Constitution Committee, appointed at a great public meeting of the inhabitants of Sydney, held at the Victoria Theatre, on the 15th August ultimo, and again at a still larger meeting, at which I also presided, held at the Circular Quay, on the 5th of September ultimo, and having reference to the Petition adopted at the latter meeting, which has been already placed in the hands of his Excellency the Governor-General for submission to Her Most Gracious Majesty. I have the honour to request that the accompanying newspapers may also be forwarded for the information of Her Majesty's Government, containing reports of the speeches and proceedings at both the public meetings above referred to; also of the speeches at the public dinner given on the 29th September ultimo, to the members of council who voted against the second reading of the Constitution Bill, now under consideration.
The newspapers are supplied in duplicate to admit of separate copies being submitted for the perusal of the Right Honourable the Lords of the Committee of Council for Trade and Foreign Plantations.
I have, &c. (Signed)
JOHN GILCHRIST. Chairman of Committee.
EXTRACT of a DESPATCH from Governor General Sir C. FITZROY to the
Government House, Sydney, November 17, 1853. (Received February 16, 1854.)
I HAVE had the honour to receive this day your Grace's confidential Despatch of the 4th August, intrusting to me your views with respect to the projected changes in the constitution of this colony.
* Pages 44 and 48 of Papers relative to the "Constitution of the Australian Colonies," presented to Parliament by Her Majesty's command, 14th March 1853.