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NEW SOUTH WALES.
Despatches from Governor-General Sir C. A. FitzRoy.
EXTRACT of a DESPATCH from Governor-General Sir C. A. FITZROY to the
Government House, Sydney, January 1, 1853.
"REFERRING to my confidential Despatch of the 1st* November last, transmitting, for your information, a copy of the report of the Select Committee of the Legislative Council appointed to prepare a constitution for this colony, under the power conferred upon that body by the Constitution Act, 13 & 14 Victoria, Cap. 59, and also transmitting copies of the Bills prepared by the Committee, I now deem it my duty to inform you, that soon after the meeting of the Legislative Council on the 23d of November last, after its adjournment, which I reported to you in the same Despatch, Mr. Wentworth, in consideration of the thinness of the house and the advanced period of the session, moved the postponement of the second reading of the Constitution Bills until the next session, which proposal was almost unanimously assented to by the house."
The Right Hon. Sir John S. Pakington, Bart.,
(No. 59.) MY LORD DUKE,
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor-General Sir C. A. FITZRoy to the
Government House, Sydney, May 11, 1853.
(Received August 19, 1853.)
I HAVE the honour to enclose herewith a copy of the speech with which I yesterday opened the session of the Legislative Council of this colony. 2. I also transmit a copy of the address presented to me by the Council, and of my rejoinder.
I have the honour to report that I have provisionally appointed Mr. Thomas Barker to a seat in the Council as a Crown nominee, in place of Mr. Icely, whose resignation I accepted.
His Grace The Duke of Newcastle,
I have, &c. (Signed)
C. A. FITZROY.
*Page 29 of Papers relative to "Constitution of Australian Colonies," presented to Parliament by Her Majesty's command, 14th March 1853.
† Page 21, similar Papers, presented 1st July 1852.
Encl. 1 in No. 1.
Enclosure 1 in No. 2.
Extract from Votes and Proceedings of the Legislative Council, dated 10th May 1853. Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the Legislative Council,
IN meeting you again in session it becomes my duty to declare to you the objects for which you are thus assembled. I have called you together at an earlier period than usual, in compliance with the request conveyed to me in your address of the 21st of December last, and also because there are some matters in respect of which I am anxious to avail myself of your advice and assistance with as much expedition as may be consistent with their proper consideration and satisfactory settlement.
2. I desire first, however, to acknowledge with gratitude to Divine Providence the general prosperity enjoyed by all classes of the community. At no former period of the existence of the colony has the material condition of its inhabitants, I believe I may confidently assert, been in a more satisfactory and progressive state. Although the prices of the necessaries of life have very considerably advanced, yet I am happy to say that they still continue abundant, whilst the increased means at the disposal of the people generally have enabled them without difficulty or inconvenience to meet the additional expenditure to which they are subjected. I must except, however, from this satisfactory state of things the paid servants of the Crown, whose incomes, fixed with reference to former prices, now prove very inadequate to their proper position and reasonable support. It will be my duty, therefore, to invite your concurrence in such an advance in their present remuneration as the altered circumstances of the colony may appear to render just and expedient.
3. Whilst in the enjoyment of so large a measure of material prosperity, we must not forget the duty which devolves on the Legislature to make some corresponding provision for promoting the intellectual and moral advancement of the community. Measures will accordingly be submitted to you for augmenting the amount allotted for education, with a view to the extension of primary shools, as well as to the encouragement of institutions destined to promote the higher branches of literature and science.
4. It is with lively satisfaction that I am at length enabled to place before you the decision of Her Majesty's Government on the representations contained in your petition to Her Majesty, adopted on the 5th of December 1851, complaining of certain grievances, and praying that Her Majesty would be pleased to adopt the necessary measures for their redress. The Despatches of the Right Honourable Sir John Pakington, conveying this decision, and of his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, confirming the same, on behalf of Her Majesty's present Government, will be in immediately laid before you. To these documents I would therefore refer you for the detail of the terms upon which the control of the administration of the Crown lands and the appropriation of the revenues arising therefrom will be transferred to the Legislature of the colony, as well as those upon which other important concessions will be made, rather than attempt any recapitulation of them here. It is sufficient to state that everything of material consequence will be granted upon conditions which I doubt not will be considered satisfactory both to you and the colonists generally. It is a matter of unfeigned gratification to me that these important concessions have been consented to during the time that I have the honour to administer the government of this colony, as I entertain a confident and earnest hope that by a wise exercise of the additional powers of self-government which will thus be conceded this rising and important dependency of the Crown will rapidly advance in its social, moral, and religious condition; and I cordially join in the expectation so ardently expressed by the late Secretary of State, that the effect of these important measures may be such as to cement and perpetuate the ties of kindred affection and mutual confidence which connect its people with those of the United Kingdom.
5. I have the satisfaction to announce to you that I have received advices of the arrival in England of the remittances made in the month of August last for the purposes of immigration, and amounting to about 105,000l. The additional funds thus placed at the disposal of Her Majesty's Land and Emigration Commissioners will enable them to increase in a material degree the number of emigrant ships to be sent to this colony during the present year. In addition to the ships already arrived, I have received an intimation of nine ships having been taken up for the conveyance of emigrants, and which may be expected in the course of the next two or three months. This accession to the labouring population will afford a very seasonable relief to the pressure for additional labour which is now so severely felt in all branches of colonial industry, and will, I hope, tend to prevent any further rise in the present high rate of wages. The various documents having reference to this important subject will be immediately laid before you.
6. I have also to congratulate you on the highly favourable state of the public revenue. The aggregate amount collected in the past year exceeded that which was received in the year 1851 by 100,000l. This increase arose exclusively in the general revenue. In the territorial revenue there was a trifling decrease, but the funds from this source have at all times been liable to considerable fluctuation. In the present year, however, I anticipate a much more favourable result. Regulations have been promulgated for establishing local land offices, and directions given for accelerating the survey of lands for the sale of which application may be made to the Government. I confidently trust that these measures may
have the effect of greatly facilitating the acquisition of land, and thus, by affording a safe and profitable investment for the funds which under the present propitious circumstances of SOUTH WALES. the colony have been so largely accumulated by the community generally, tend materially to promote its social and moral advancement,-objects which it will be readily conceded are much more important and gratifying than the mere financial advantages which the measures in question are also calculated to produce. The usual abstracts of revenue and expenditure have been prepared and printed, and will be immediately presented to you.
7. The estimates of revenue and expenditure are in a forward state of preparation, and will be laid before you on an early day.
8. During the recess I have received petitions adopted at public meetings held at Sydney and Sofala, and from persons engaged in gold digging in the Western Districts, complaining of some of the provisions of the Gold Act passed during the last Session, and of the Regulations founded thereon, and praying that the necessary alterations may be made therein for obviating the objections to these measures, which the petitioners have thus represented, and which I believe have also been entertained by a considerable portion of the community. It is my intention, therefore, immediately to lay before you a Bill to amend this Act in such manner as I hope will remove any just grounds of dissatisfaction.
9. It will be my duty to lay before you a Despatch from the Right Honourable the Secretary of State, recommending various alterations in the law for preventing the desertion of seamen from merchant ships, founded upon certain Acts passed by the Legislature of Canada for a similar purpose, and which have been found in those provinces highly useful in effecting the object in view. A Bill embodying the provisions of the Acts in question, and for further improving the law relating to merchant seamen will accordingly be laid before you; and as this is a subject of vital importance to the commerce of the colony, as well as to the interests more immediately concerned, I beg to recommend that it may receive your early attention.
10. I beg also to recommend to you the resumption of the investigation, commenced during the last two sessions, of the important questions relating to the law of marriage, and the registration of births, burials, and marriages. On the latter subject a Despatch, which I have recently received from the Secretary of State, transmitting certain forms which have been found very useful for the purpose in view in the United Kingdom, will be immediately laid before you. The considerations involved in these questions being so important to the best interests of society, I confidently trust that the Council will be enabled, during the present session, to place them upon a satisfactory and permanent basis.
11. In consequence of the large number of persons passing to and from the gold fields of Victoria, and the instances of outrage and robbery which have occurred, both on the line of the great southern road and in the country situated upon the boundaries of that colony, I have found it necessary to increase the police establishments, for which provision was made in the estimates for those districts laid before you during the last session. Patrol stations have been established through the whole of the line of road to Albury, and detachments of native police have been ordered to be organized at convenient situations in the border districts. I rely on obtaining your sanction to these arrangements; and I am induced to believe from recent occurrences that a still greater augmentation of the police force of those districts will be required.
12. Notwithstanding the considerable sums voted during the last two sessions for the repair of the principal leading thoroughfares, I fear that under the present system of management the object contemplated has been but very imperfectly carried out. It is my intention therefore to place upon the estimates for 1854, the requisite sums to provide for the appointment of competent road engineers to advise and assist the local committees in the proper performance of the important functions devolving upon them. Until the necessary means can be provided for the establishment of railway communication on the great lines of thoroughfare, it seems most necessary that the ordinary roads of the colony should not be allowed to continue in their present state of disrepair, whereby the cost of transit must be greatly and, as regards the interests of the community, most disadvantageously increased.
13. I propose to lay before you bills for improving the procedure of the supreme court both at common law and in equity. These Bills are founded on Acts of Parliament passed during the last session, and I deem it highly desirable that the legislation of the colony on the subject of law reform should keep pace with the improvements adopted in England.
14. I have received several representations from proprietors of stock and others in the northern districts, expressing their desire to have the country lying to the northward of the present pastoral districts of Wide Bay and Burnett thrown open to location. Measures have therefore been adopted for this purpose. It will be necessary in carrying out this object to establish an adequate police force at Port Curtis, where it is proposed to lay out a township, and provision will accordingly be made upon the estimates to meet the necessary expenditure.
15. There are various other subjects upon which I shall have occasion to communicate with you during the session, and I shall avail myself of the ordinary means of doing so by message
CHAS. A. FITZ Roy, Governer General.
Legislative Council Chamber,
10th May 1853.
Enclosure 2 in No. 2.
To his Excellency Sir Charles Augustus FitzRoy, Knight Companion of the Royal
We, Her Majesty's loyal and dutiful subjects, the members of the Legislative Council of New South Wales, in Council assembled, desire to express to Your Excellency our affection and loyalty to the person and Government of our Most Gracious Sovereign, and to offer our respectful thanks for Your Excellency's Speech to this Council, and for your ready compliance with the request for an early Session, which was conveyed to your Excellency by the Address of this Council of the 21st of December last. We join with your Excellency in the expression of our gratitude to Providence for the generally prosperous condition of all classes throughout the colony, and we concur with Your Excellency in believing that at no former period of its existence has the material condition of its inhabitants been in a more satisfactory and progressive state.
2. That the increased cost of all the necessaries of life, consequent upon the Gold Discovery, is severely felt by those servants of the Crown, whose incomes, fixed with reference to former prices, have proved inadequate to their proper position and reasonable support, we readily admit, and we shall be prepared to consider any proposition that may be made by Your Excellency with the view of establishing a rate of remuneration more in accordance with the altered condition of the colony.
3. We agree 'most cordially with the sentiments expressed by Your Excellency, that whilst congratulating ourselves on the unparalleled prosperity of the colony, it is incumbent on the Legislature sedulously to provide means for improving the social and moral condition of the community, in a corresponding degree. For we feel persuaded that the future welfare of this country and the proper exercise of its constitutional freedom will be most effectually secured by sound and extended education, under the influence of which every citizen becomes best qualified to contribute to the social and political advancement of the society of which he is a member.
4. It affords us the most sincere gratification to learn from Your Excellency that the petitions and remonstrances which have, from time to time, been adopted by resolutions of this Council, have at length secured the attentive consideration of Her Majesty's Ministers, and that the rights therein urged have, in all material points, been acknowledged and conceded by the Imperial Government. The assimilating, more closely, the political constitution of this Colony with that of the Parent State, and the removal of all well-grounded causes of grievance, will effectually strengthen those bonds of loyalty and affection by which we are united to the Crown of England. The several Despatches having relation to the contemplated New Constitution will receive our most serious consideration, and we shall earnestly strive, in any Legislative enactment that may be framed to provide such a measure as may tend best to secure the enjoyment of Constitutional freedom to all classes of Her Majesty's subjects throughout this portion of Her dominions. For the conciliatory manner in which at length the claims of this Council have been met by the Imperial Government, we feel that our thanks and those of the colony generally are especially due, as well to Her Majesty's advisers as to your Excellency, and we sincerely hope that your Excellency may during your administration have the satisfaction of concurring in a Legislative Measure embodying those changes in the constitution of the colony which may effectually provide for its permanent welfare and good Government.
The Statement made by your Excellency respecting the several remittances for emigration purposes, we receive with much pleasure. The demand for mechanics, and for agricultural and pastoral labourers continues unabated. The demand for artisans of almost every class is so great as to constitute at the present moment the most serious impediment to the progress of the colony. The enormous increase of house rent, and the impossibility of carrying on any great works are evils of a private as well as of a public character, for the alleviation of which no adequate relief can be found except in the copious introduction of mechanics and labourers of all classes.
6. We learn with much gratification the highly prosperous state of the public revenue, and we are glad to receive the intimation from your Excellency that measures have been taken for facilitating the survey and sale of public lands. We agree with your Excellency that by facilitating the acquisition of land the most salutary results cannot fail to flow alike to individuals and to the public.
7. The Bill for amending the Gold Act, which Your Excellency has intimated your intention to bring before us will receive our best attention. Having due regard to any well grounded objections that may be found to exist with respect to the present Gold Regulations, we shall, nevertheless, enter upon the consideration of the Bill about to be brought before us, with the desire to frame a measure by which the reciprocal rights of the public on the one hand, and the gold seeker on the other, may be asserted and maintained. 8. Our early attention shall also be given to the consideration of the measure which Your Excellency proposes to submit to us, with the view of amending the Law relating to