Sivut kuvina
PDF

hat any further business could now be brought to a satisfactory terminaion.

"In taking the only course which is thus left to me, 1 do not think it necessary to make any comment with respect to the question in dispute, further than this, that those who are so ready to assert their own claim to privileges, which are not parliamentary, upon the mere plea of undisturbed assumption on their part, would have shown more discretion in not so prematurely and arbitrarily denying to others the right toaprivile»e which, unless withheld by special provision, belongs, as matter of course, to a legislative body, which likewise appears to have been formerly recognised by the resolution of the house itself, and which is supported by the undeniable evidence of acts in the journals, which owed their origin to the second branch of the legislature.

"Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Assembly— I could not but foresee, by the tendency of your first proceedings, that I might at any time find myself obliged to take the disagreeable step which is this day forced upon me. When inflammatory topics were wantonly introduced in your first address to me, it was impossible to calculate how soon the most conciliatory intentions might be diverted from the original direction, by an imperious sense of duty. In continuation of the same line of conduct, you thought proper afterwards to place certain resolutions upon your journals on the subject of your address and my reply. As those resolutions were not communicated to me by message, I thought, that acting under the intention I expressed, under any provocation,

steadily to pursue the course which I conceived to be for the benefit of the colony, I might avoid taking immediate notice of it, and allow the public business to proceed to its close; and to that determination, I should have adhered, but for this difference between you and the other branch of the legislature, with which I have myself no direct concern; but I cannot dismiss you from your attendance here, without noticing a resolution in which you stated, that a doctrine advanced by me, was subversive of your acknowledged rights, and dangerous to your lives and properties. The doctrine you have thought fit to stigmatize, is not mine. It is one laid down by every constitutional lawyer. It is maintained by the practice of your own courts. It has uniformly been asserted in official communications with my predecessors, by all successive advisers of the crown, under every different administration. When you speak, therefore, of your acknowledged rights, I am at a loss to conceive by whom and when those rights which you now assume were ever acknowledged. The right of the imperial parliament of legislating for all his majesty's subjects, when it so thinks fit, is inherent in that body, and has never been abandoned except as regards internal taxation. The 18th of George the Third, which makes that exception, proves the general right of legislating over the colonies. You must always recollect that I never originated this discussion. The question is of your own raising— the dispute of your own seeking; the provocation was given entirely by you, and with you must its consequences rest. When you assert a perfect equality with your fellow subjects in other parts of his majesty's dominions, there is no doubt

[ocr errors]

that, as individuals, you are all equal in the eye of the law. But this is not an independent kingdom; and as a legislature, we, who are here assembled, are not equal to the imperial parliament, consisting of the three estates of the realm—king, lords, and commons. It is, indeeed, most fortunate for a fair consideration of your interests, that such a question should have been so inopportunely brought forward. It is not by the vehemence of your denial, that you can negative the existence of the right; but by the moderation of your conduct, that you might for ever avert its exercise. Should such interference ever take place, it would not be for any vain display of selfish superiority; but in the furtherance of measures, to the ultimate accomplishment of which, the parliament of Great Britain is pledged, and which experience should have shown, that the legislatures of the colonies would not themselves adopt.

I must now thank you for those portions of the annual supplies which you have already voted. Your task has, in this respect, been much lightened, by the liberality of the British government, in taking upon itself the payment of his majesty's troops, during the present year. I am sure that the people of this colony will not be insensible to the double obligation which they owe to the paternal care of their sovereign, in having, at the same time, increased the numbers of the garrison, and relieved you from the charge of its subsistance, showing equal solicitude for your safety, and sympathy for your distresses. At the same time 1 must say, that on your side you might have considered, that in moments of difficulty and danger, the adequate protection of an armed force, is hardly more im

portant, than the efficient administration of criminal justice; and I therefore peculiarly regret, that at such a moment, your next act should have been the refusal of any provision whatever to the chief justice of the island, who had been appointed by your sovereign.

"1 have no intention of enumerating the other instances in which you have disappointed my expectations; so much of your conduct appears to court that crisis which is now arrived, that you cannot be surprised when I announce to you, that it is not my intention again to call together the present house of assembly. As soon as the circumstances of the present season render it expedient, I shall appeal to an enlightened constituency. The liberality of that enactment, which did away with all distinctions of colour, I duly appreciate. I have no donbt that the newly-enfranchised freeholders will show they deserve the trust reposed in them, and that in its exercise, there will be no more emulation on all sides, than a desire to prove the soundness and moderation of their principles, the extent and devotion of their loyalty.

"Gentlemen of the Council,

Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the
House oi'Assembly:

"You are now about to return to your homes, at a moment which, after the experience of last year, it is impossible not to feel to be one of soma anxiety. I have myself no apprehension, that any persons will be found misguided enough, again to brave the penalties of rebellion; I have the greatest confidence in the efficiency of the measures taken for the immediate suppression of any such attempt. But as the representative of my sovereign, I speak his sentiments, when I ex

press through you to the slave population, that solicitous as his majesty always is for their welfare, any criminal endeavours on their parts, to wrest from their masters advantages to which they have no legal claim, can have no other effect than to draw down upon them the severest punishment. For myself, I can assure you, that no personal exertion shall be wanting on my part, to extend to you, at all times, in the most prompt and rigorous manner, that protection which it is the duty of my office to afford. On your part, I trust that, forgetting all minor differences which may have occurred between you, you will unite cordially in one common feelling, of the permanent obligation of preserving the peace and tranquillity of the country.

"I now," said his excellency, "dissolve this general assembly, and it is hereby dissolved accordingly."

Proclamation for suppressing the Colonial Unions, promulgated at Kingston, on the 25th of Janu. ary, 1832.

[ocr errors][merged small]

William R. Whereas it hath been represented to us, that divers of our subjects, resident in our island of Jamaica, have associated themselves together into certain voluntary societies, under the name of Colonial Church Unions, or other similar designations, and that public meetings of such societies have been holden in different parts of our said island, on which occasions resolutions have been entered into, for the forcible removal from our said island, of divers teachers and ministers of religion dissenting from the doctrine or discipline of the established Church of England and Ireland: And whereas it hath been further Zz

represented to us, that the several resolutions aforesaid, have been printed and dispersed throughout the said island, to the great disquiet and alarm, not only of such religious teachers, as aforesaid, and of their several congregations, but of all other peaceable and well disposed inhabitants of our said island: And whereas, such proceedings as aforesaid are contrary to law, and tend to the imminent danger of the public peace in our said island: Now, therefore, we do hereby declare and make known to all whom it may concern, that we are purposed and firmly resolved, in the exercise of our lawful authority, to maintain within our said island the principles of religious toleration, and to protect and defend all our subjects and others resident there, in the public worship of Almighty God, according to their own consciences, although such worship may not be conducted according to the doctrines or discipline of the Church of England and Ireland aforesaid, so long as such persons shall conform and be obedient to the laws. And we do hereby admonish all persons resident within our said island, that if any attempts shall be made to carry into effect any such resolutions as aforesaid, for the forcible removal from our said island of any such teachers and ministers as aforesaid; or if any such society, or any other persons within our said island, shall republish any such illegal resolutions as aforesaid, that then, and in every such case, we will enforce against all persons presuming to offend, all such pains and penalties as they may incur by such their offences; and we do hereby strictly warn and admonish our subjects, and all others resident within the said island, that they do abstain from associating themselves with every society formed, or which may be formed for any such illegal pur. |>ose as aforesaid, as they will answer the contrary to us, at their peril. And we do especially and strictly command all judges, custodes, justices of the peace, and all our officers, civil and military, in our said island, that they not only abstain from associating themselves with any such society as aforesaid, but that, according to"their several charges and trusts, they do, to the utmost of their respective abilities, and according to their several trusts, give full effect to the law, for the maintenance of toleration in matters of religion, and do co-operate in bringing to justice all persons who may offend in the premises. And we do further admonish all our faithful subjects in our said island, who may feel themselves aggrieved

by any such illegal proceedings as aforesaid, that they do abstain from the adoption of any violent or illegal measures for obtaining redress in the premises, as they shall answer the same at their peril; it being our firm purpose and resolution to use the power in us vested by the law, in such a manner as may secure effectual protection to all our subjects, within our said island, in the peaceable and orderly discharge of their several lawful callings, and in the enjoyment of all the rights, privileges, and franchises to them, or any of them, belonging.

Given at our Court at St. James, this third day of December, one thousand eight hundred and thirtytwo, and in the third year of our reign.

LOWER CANADA.

Speech of his Excellency, the Go. vernor-in-Chief, on opening the session of the Legislature, Nov. 15, 1832.

Gentlemen of the Legislative Council, Gentlemen of the Home of Assembly:

I have called you together at. the period precisely corresponding with that of your last year's meeting, being still under the impression that it is the best suited to the convenience of the majority of the members of the two houses of the provincial parliament.

It is, besides, peculiarly desirable that the present session should commence at an early period, in order to afford sufficient time for bring, ing to maturity such measures as were in progress at the close of tho

last session, and for taking up the consideration of such other measures as the growing wealth and prosperity of the province may suggest.

The period having arrived for effecting a new adjustment of the proportion to be paid to Upper Canada, of certain duties levied in this province, the commissioners nominated on the part of the two provinces respectively, under the provisions of the Act 3d Geo. IV. Chap. 119, have recently met and entered largely into the consideration of that subject; and although the discussion which ensued thereupon was conducted with no less cordiality and good feeling, than with ability and diligence on both sides, I am concerned in having to announce to you, that the commissioners have separated without coming to any decision upon the important question intrusted to their management; and having, moreover, differed in regard to the appointment conjointly, of a third commissioner, or arbitrator, it becomes necessary, according to the provisions of the above mentioned act, (section ) to refer the matter to his majesty's government, for the purpose of obtaining the appointment of an arbitrator under the royal sign manual. The subject of the currency has been brought under your notice upon more than one occasion during the last few years ; but no practical measure having resulted from the consideration of it, I think it necessary to advert to it again; not so much with a view to the adoption of any general and comprehensive system, as to suggest the expediency of providing for the wants of the public, by the creation of a metallic currency of inferior value, to replace the silver coins, and copper, now in circulation, the intrinsic value of which, (especially of the latter,) is notoriously much below its current value.

Of the temporary acts of the legislature which are about to expire, I desire to call your particular attention to the following, namely :-1st—An act relating to the fisheries in the county of Gaspe, repealed in part by the 1st of William the IV., chapter 22—which expires on the first of May, 1833.

2dly.—An act to establish registry offices in the counties of Drummond, Sherbrook, Stanstead, Shefford, and Missiskoui, amended, and extended by 1st of William IV. chap. 3—second section further extended by 2d WillianlV. chap. 7— duration till the 1st of May, 1833.

And 3dly.—An act to establish boards of health within this province, and to enforce an effectual system of quarantine, which expires on the 1st of May, 1833.

I think it necessary here to refer to that part of my speech to you at the opening of the last session, which relates to the townships. The increasing importance of that interesting portion of the province—the habits of its population—and their wishes connected with the advancement of their own peculiar interests, are subjects which well deserve the attention of the legislature.

By the enactment of laws calculated to meet the diversified wants of a mixed population, like that of Lower Canada, the general prosperity of the country will be advanced, and the peace and countenance of all classes of his majesty's subjects in the province, established upon a solid and lasting basis.

The foregoing remark embraces a truth so obvious, that it may perhaps be thought superfluous to introduce it on the present occasion; but my mind is so deeply impressed with a sense of the importance (I might perhaps add the necessity) of effecting a strict and cordial union of interests and public feeling throughout the province, that I cannot abstain from seizing upon every opportunity which presents itself for promoting the success of an object of such paramount interest; an object, which, (as it appears to me,) it is no less the duty, than it is manifestly the true interest of every inhabitant of Lower Canada, to assist in promoting to the utmost of his ability, and in preference to every other consideration.

Gentlemen of the House of Assembly:

The supply bill voted during tho last session, which, in consequence

« EdellinenJatka »