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Merchant Seamen. We acknowledge the subject to be of great importance as affecting the interests of commerce.
9. We confidently expect that during the present session some measure of a permanent and comprehensive character may be enacted for settling the Law of Marriage, and for the Registration of Births, Marriages, and Burials.
10. The augmentation of the Police Force on the southern line of road and on the borders of the colony appear to have been rendered necessary by the causes adverted to by your Excellency; and on considering the estimates of expenditure we shall not be unmindful of the importance of preserving in a state of efficiency, the necessary means for protecting life and property.
11. To the other important subjects referred to in your Excellency's address we will give our attentive consideration when they are brought before us.
Legislative Council Chamber,
Sydney, 10th May 1853.
Enclosure 3 in No. 2.
Government House, May 11, 1853.
Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the Legislative Council,
I BEG to thank you for this address, and for the assurance it conveys to me of your co-operation and assistance in perfecting such measures as it will be my duty to submit for your consideration during the session.
CHARLES A. FITZROY.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor-General Sir C. A. FITZROY to the Duke of NEWCASTLE.
(No. 94.) MY LORD DUKE,
Government House, Sydney, July 27, 1853.
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge the receipt of Earl Grey's Circular Despatch of the 8th August 1850,* transmitting the copy of a Minute of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, on the subject of the transfer to the Colonial Government of the Customs Establishment in New South Wales; and also of further Circular Despatches from his Lordship, dated 19th April 1851† and 20th April 1852, respecting the delegation to colonial officers of certain powers and functions which have been vested in the Comptrollers of Customs and Navigation Laws. I have also received Earl Grey's Despatch of the 12th February 1852, No. 15.,§ stating that the Commissioners of Customs were then about to issue to the Collectors of Customs instructions, settled with his Lordship's concurrence, to communicate with me as to the time at which the establishment should formally be transferred to the Colonial Government, and instructing me to report, for the information of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, upon the best mode of providing for the examination and audit in the colony of the accounts of the department.
2. The Collector of Customs having, in a communication dated the 21st August last, reported the receipt of the instructions alluded to by Earl Grey, he was desired, in conjunction with the Auditor General, to state the time at which the Customs Establishment in New South Wales could be conveniently transferred to the Colonial Government; and in compliance with the suggestions made by these officers, in a letter of the 3d September 1852, instructions were issued by me for this transfer to be made on the 1st October following.
3. With respect to the examination of the accounts of the Customs Department in the colony, I annex a copy of a report made on the subject by the Auditor-General and the Collector of Customs, dated 21st December 1852, in which they proposed that these accounts, from the date of the transfer to the colony up to which the Collector would complete and forward them to England, should be audited in the same manner as the other public accounts in the Audit Office, and submitted for final audit by the Legislative Council; and that
Page 42 of Papers relative to the Australian Constitution, presented to Parliament by Her Majesty's command, 4th February 1851. † 97
§ Page 30} of similar Papers, for 1st July 1852.
Page 87 of similar Papers, for 14th March 1853.
Encl. 3 in No. 2.
21 Dec. 1852.
to ensure the efficient discharge of this duty some person well acquainted with SOUTH WALES. the peculiar nature of the accounts should be attached to that department.
This suggestion has been adopted, under the advice of my Executive Council,
25 Jan. 1853.
Eucl. 1 in No. 3.
4. In consequence of the transfer in question, it became necessary to issue new commissions to the officers of Customs, in lieu of those required to be returned to England. These were accordingly prepared, and issued in a form approved by the Crown law officers, under the great seal of the colony; and the deputations forwarded in Earl Grey's Despatch of 20th April 1852 have been placed in the hands of the officers named in the annexed list, empowering them to execute the duties of Comptroller of Customs and Navigation Laws at the ports of this colony. Instructions have also been given for the punctual transmission of the returns relating to trade and navigation required from them for the information of the Imperial Government.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
I have, &c. (Signed)
CHAS. A. FITZROY.
Enclosure 1 in No. 3.
As a proper examination of the Customs accounts can only be carried on by comparing the lengthy imprest account with the warehouse register, for the purpose of ascertaining that all the goods which have gone out of bond for home consumption have been duly charged with duty, and by comparing that register, again, with the export accounts, to ascertain that the goods discharged from the register for exportation have been duly exported, besides the more laborious duty of re-calculating the duties in every bill of entry, to see that they are correct, we are decidedly of opinion that the inspector of the accounts in the Audit Office will require one assistant at the least to enable him to perform his duty efficiently.
Such check or comparison takes place, for the collector's own satisfaction, in the Custom House, at the end of each quarter, by the three clerks who keep those accounts, and occupies a considerable time; previous to which, too, a comparison is made by other persons between the quarter sheets of imprests with the bills of entry themselves, to see that the latter, numbering from three to four thousand per quarter, are properly copied into the former.
Taking into consideration the few persons who can in all probability be found here competent to carry on this particular audit, and the onerous duty which will be imposed on the inspector, we venture to offer an opinion that a salary of not less than three hundred a year should be awarded him.
The transfer of the Customs Establishment having taken effect from the 1st October last, the accounts for the quarter commencing from that date will be subjected, under Earí Grey's Despatch of the 12th February last, to audit in the colony. They will be ready for transmission to the Audit Office by about the 1st February next, and we accordingly recommend that arrangements should be made for the appointment of the officers sufficiently early to admit of their entering upon their duties from that date.
The salaries of the two officers recommended by us will involve an additional annual expenditure of not less than 4251. and not more than 500l., for which provision must be made out of some other fund than that provided by the Constitution Act for the Audit Office, which will not admit of any additional charge being laid upon it.
We have, &c. (Signed)
The Hon. the Colonial Secretary,
Enclosure 2 in No. 3.
PROCEEDINGS of the EXECUTIVE COUNCIL on the 18th January 1853 with respect to the
His Excellency the Governor General lays before the Council a joint communication from the Collector of Customs and the Honourable the Auditor-General on the subject of the regular audit of the customs accounts, now to be undertaken in the Audit Office, from which it appears that additional clerical assistance, at a cost of not less than 4257. and not more than 500l. per annum, is necessary in the latter department, beyond what is provided for in schedule A. of the Act 13 & 14 Vict. c. 59.
2. As this expenditure does not come within the scope of Sir John Pakington's Despatch of the 3d of June last, the Council cannot of their own authority sanction its being borne on the unappropriated moiety of the territorial revenue, but they advise that it be temporarily charged thereon, until it can be formally sanctioned by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury:
Executive Council Office, Sydney,
FRANCIS L. S. MEREWETHER.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
Enclosure 3 in No. 3.
LIST of Officers in New South Wales to whom deputations have been issued to execute
Mr. Wm. Augustine Duncan, Sub-Collector, Brisbane, Moreton Bay.
Clerk of the Council.
COPY of a LETTER from CHARLES NICHOLSON, Esq., Speaker of the
MY LORD DUKE,
I HAVE the honour to transmit to your Grace the accompanying resolutions adopted by the Legislative Council of New South Wales on Tuesday the 14th instant, in reference to the Despatches addressed by your Grace and by the Right Honourable Sir John S. Pakington to the Governor-General of this colony, dated respectively the 18th* and 25th of January 1853 and the 1st October and 15th December 1852.
I have, &c.
Enclosure in No. 4.
RESOLUTIONS adopted by the LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL of NEW SOUTH WALES on Tuesday
* Pages 43, 44, and 48 of Papers relative to the Australian Constitution, presented to Parliament by Her Majesty's command, 14th March 1853.
Encl. 2 in No. 3.
Encl. 3 in No. 3.
Encl. in No. 4.
22 August 1853.
5th Sept. 1853.
Encl. 1 in No. 5.
its deep sense of the conciliatory spirit evinced in the late Despatches from the Right Honourable Sir John Pakington and his Grace the Duke of Newcastle, laid by the Governor General on the table of this House on the 11th day of May last, and to express its hope that they are the commencement of a new and auspicious era in the government of Her Majesty's Australian colonies.
2. That this Council, at the same time, desires to record its appreciation of the Despatches of his Excellency the Governor-General, recommending the concessions which have been made.
3. That a copy of these resolutions be transmitted by the Speaker to the Right Honourable
Legislative Council Chamber,
14th June 1853.
COPY of a DESPATCH from Governor-General Sir C. A. FITZROY to the
Government House, Sydney, September 6, 1853.
(Received December 17, 1853.)
(Answered No. 8, January 14, 1854, page 64.)
MY LORD DUKE,*
I HAVE the honour to transmit a letter addressed to your Grace by the gentlemen whose signatures are attached to it, and which was placed in my hands for this purpose by Mr. Matthew Henry Marsh, member of the Legislative Council for the New England and M'Leay Squatting Districts.
2. This letter, as your Grace will observe, is in continuation of former applications which have been at different times addressed to your predecessors, for the separation of the northern districts from New South Wales, and their establishment as a distinct colony; and as it coutains certain statements which, in my opinion, are incorrect, and which, if allowed to pass without observation, are calculated to mislead, I deemed it my duty, before forwarding it to submit it to my Executive Council, and I now beg to enclose a copy of the minute of the proceedings of that Board, stating their opinion on the several topics introduced in this letter, with which I entirely concur.
His Grace the Duke of Newcastle,
Enclosure 1 in No. 5.
I have, &c.
C. A. FITZROY.
MY LORD DUKE,
Sydney, August 22, 1853.
As the Constitutional Bill is now before the Council of New South Wales, and as the fifty-first clause prohibits the formation of a new colony south of the twenty-sixth parallel of south latitude, we take the liberty of pressing our claims for the separation of the northern districts, and to entreat your Grace to take immediate steps for the formation of a new northern colony on the southern boundary of the districts of New England and the M'Leay.
2. We have the greatest possible confidence in the success of our endeavours, because Her Majesty's Government has lately yielded to the expressed opinion of the Legislative Council of New South Wales all the concessions that have been required, although the colonists themselves have given no expression of their wishes by petitions or in any other way whatsoever. Whereas the desire for separation, and the formation of a new colony on the southern boundary of the districts of New England and the M'Leay, has been shown most fully to be the wish of the inhabitants generally, not only by petitioning the local legislature but also by no less than six addresses to Her Majesty, including those specially sent from the southern portion of New England and the M'Leay. And we may observe that the signatures to these addresses have been most numerous, considering the scattered state of the population, and the fact that more dependence was placed on the respectability than the number of the names obtained.
* The previous Despatches on this subject will be found in the Collections of Papers relative to "Convict Discipline and Transportation" (Australian Colonies), presented to Parliament by command of Her Majesty, during the years 1850, 1-2 and 3.
3. As the above-mentioned addresses and several other documents on the subject must be in your Grace's office, we respectfully beg leave to refer you to them without wearying you at the present moment with a repetition of the arguments they contain.
4. As the representatives of the northern districts, we think we can venture to assert that there never was a political object so unanimously desired by any community as the separation from New South Wales, and we are fully borne out in this statement by the fact that whilst so many petitions and addresses have been signed in favour of it for the last three years, not one has appeared against it, and scarcely an opinion has been heard on the other side; and we may add that the representatives of these dictricts are unanimous also, for although one of us (the member for Darling Downs) is now on his voyage from England, and consequently will not be able to sign this letter, yet before his departure he was an active member of the separation committee, and we have reason to know from private letters that his opinions on the subject are unchanged. The other member also for Morton and Maranoa is at present in the northern districts and may not return before it is necessary to forward this letter, he, however, before his departure, most fully agreed with us in the necessity of immediate separation and the propriety of memorializing the Home Government on the subject.
5. The only difference of opinion that ever existed amongst us was, whether some system of transportation should accompany separation or not, which question has happily been set at rest for ever; and we may add that many of us were favourable to transportation, merely for the sake of hastening separation.
6. The impossibility of our being properly represented in a council meeting in Sydney, not only on account of the great distance, but the difficulties of travelling, has been before shown in documents forwarded to the Home Government, and we need only on the present occasion add, that the enormous time occupied by the council of New South Wales in debating questions, and voting sums of money on objects of mere local importance in which the northern settlers have no interest whatsoever, renders it impossible for us to be so far from home during so very many months every year.
7. We believe that there is scarcely any person conversant with the facts, who does not think that separation, sooner or later, must be inevitable, and we submit that the present time is of all others the most opportune, as an Act of Parliament will be required for the purpose of granting the concessions already promised to the Legislative Council of New South Wales, after which the mode of effecting separation will become more difficult, and the accounts between the two colonies less easy to be settled, whereas these and other difficulties would be comparatively light at the present time.
8. By the 51st and 52d sections of the Constitutional Bill now before the Legislative Council, it is proposed that no division of the present colony shall ever take place south of the 26th parallel of south latitude. We submit that if these clauses are passed, Her Majesty cannot be advised to give her consent to them after Lord Grey's Despatch to Sir C. A. FitzRoy, No. 161,* dated 27th December 1851, (5,) and that if they do not pass it will be practically an admission by the Council that separation is inevitable: we may also remark, that when these clauses come to be discussed in the House, it is probable that not one northern member will be present, as it is not likely that any of them will be able to be absent from their families and occupations more than six months, the time which the Council will have been sitting when the clauses are taken into considertion.
9. We have also 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. We would venture to submit, that this absurd proposal is in fact admitting that separation, in some shape or other, is necessary. We would suggest that it in reality amounts to the introduction of a kind of federative system of which Sydney would be the centre, and perhaps we may be allowed to remark, that whilst it may be desirable that subjects of strictly local importance should be managed by a colonial legislature, we cannot help thinking that anything beyond this should be under the direction of the Home Government and British Parliament, rather than under the control of any number of distinct colonies; in short, we would desire to substitute Imperialism for whatever advantages there may be in other parts of the world in any system of federalization; and we should infinitely prefer to be entirely under the Home Government, which must necessarily be impartial, to being subjected to any government in New South Wales, which might be opposed to our peculiar interests, and where, from necessary causes, our representation would practically be of no advantage.
10. The only argument of any value against separation in the minute of the Executive Council of New South Wales, which minute contains no date, but was printed in pursuance of an address of the Legislative Council of the 13th August 1852,† in answer to the petition of the inhabitants of the northern districts, and the memorial drawn up by the committee appointed on the 30th December 1850, at a public meeting of the inhabitants of the southern portion of New England and the M'Leay, was, that under the existing circumstances, the finances of the northern districts would not have been sufficient to support a
Page 130 of Papers relative to "Convict Discipline and Transportation; Australian Colonies." Presented to Parliament by Her Majesty's command 30th April 1852. † Page 88 of same Papers.