• Debates anb time:imp in Varliament.
PRINCIPAL BUSINESS OF THE WEEK.
HOUSE OF ColiMoris. Thursday, May 31. Questions and Explanations—Navy Es- timates: postponed resolution debated and agreed to—Army Estimates: resolutions reported—Civil Contingencies: votes sharply discussed, and agreed to—Defects in Leases 11W, Passengers Bill, Clergy Relief Bill, and Registering Births, &e. (Scotland) Bill, considered in Committee—Joint Stock Companies Act (1848) Amendment Bill, and General and Quarter Sessions Bill, brought in and read a first time—Adjourned at 911. 15 ra. Friday. June I. Alleged Cannibalism on the Irish Coast, explained away by Lord John Russell—Supply: Miscellaneous Estimates discussed—Adjourned at
12 h. Om.
[Time occupied in the two sittings, 13 h. 19 m. since the beginning of the Session, 552h. as m.]
REASSEMBLING OF THE COMMONS.
The House of Commons met on Thursday, after the Whitsuntide holy- days; and the business of the evening was multifarious. After several petitions had been presented, Mr. CHRISTOPHER drew at- tention to the fact that the recently published papers respecting Canada had been placed in the bands of Members only on Wednesday, whereas they had appeared in the columns of the Times newspaper on Saturday ; and he wanted to know whether any person connected with the Colonial Office had received the sanction of Government in communicating them to that journal? Mr. HAWES stated, that the only reason why the papers had not been delivered to Members was the intervening of the holydays. Several applications for copies had been made from persons connected with newspapers; and as it was very desirable that the papers should be com- municated to the public as soon as possible, all those applications were complied with, except one which was made at too late an hour. Mr. SLANEY inquired what had been done with the sum of 10,0001. voted in 1841 to encourage the formation of public parks in the vicinity of large towns? Mr. HATTER replied— Between 4,0001 and 5,0001 of that money had already been appropriated for the purpose of promoting the formation of public parks, and applications were now before the Treasury to the amount of 3,0001 The regulations under which these advances were made were, that the parties applying were to raise a sum at least equal in amount to that which they required to be advanced. The principal towns which had already obtained assistance from the grant were Dnndee, breath, Manchester, Portsmouth, and Preston; and the places from which app were cations we now pending were Leicester, Harrogate, Stockport, Sunderland, and Oldham.
In Committee of Supply, a postponed vote of the Navy Estimates was reconsidered. On Vote 8 (wages to artificers, &c., in her Majesty's estab- lishments at home,) Sir HENRY WILLOUGHBY moved to reduce the vote
by 50,0001 Last year the sum originally demanded was 851,3461., but it was reduced by 40,0001 on the recommendation of the Committee on the
Navy Estimates: this year the sum is still enormous-764,7631—the
greatest, excepting the vote of the last two years, that has been demanded for a similar object; and he insisted that there ought to be a reduction.
It is desirable to have an efficient navy, but there must be some limit to
the increase. Mr. COBDEN seconded the motion. Sir FRANCIS &also defended the vote in general terms, as not being greater than the service of the country requires. The employment of a higher and better class of workmen occasions increased expense. Government will continue to pree_ tise every economy consistent with the efficiency of the service.—Motion withdrawn.
The report of the Committee of Supply on the Army Estimates was brought up. Mr. SCULLY moved that the case of Mrs. Uniacke should be taken into consideration by the Secretary at War; that lady having been refused a pension ever since the death of her husband. Mr. Fox MAME explained, that the case bad descended through various Ministries since the time when Lord Palmerston was Secretary at War: it had been tho- roughly examined, and decided on principles of justice; Colonel Uniacke having married his wife in 1820, when he was seventy years of age. Mt SCULLY wished to know if there was any limit to the age at which officers might enjoy the pleasures of matrimony. Mr. Fox MAULS replied, that the standing rule at the War Office is, that officers who marry after sixty years of age cannot secure pensions for their widows.
The House went into Committee of Supply on the Civil Contingm ties; and Mr. OSBORNE called attention to some extraordinary items. He had never thought that much good would arise from the report of the Committee last year, since no Committee can effect what is properly the province of the Executive Government; and he complained that there had been no principle in the cutting down of the estimates. For example, there is a material reduction in the annual vote for building the Houses of Par- liament,—a very questionable economy. In their present shape the Miscel- laneous Estimates are unmanageable: they should be divided into separate votes for Civil Services, Colonial Services, and Public Buildings. He observed votes on account of the Commission for determining our boundary in Ame- rica, Lord Minto's special mission to Italy, Colonel Wild's mission to Por- tugal, negotiations with Buenos Ayres: he objected to these annual instal- ments, for the whole cost under such heads should be stated at once. There was a vote of 1001 for the President of Liberia: he did not know enough of geography to know where Liberia was, and he could not find it on the map. Among the votes for the Household not included in the Civil List, there is a charge for "triennial trumpets,"—the trumpets being tri- ennial, the vote annual. Other votes noticed by Mr. Osborne were those for watermen ; knights' robes and collars; travelling expenses of the King of the Belgians; Fine Arts Commission—what have they done for the 6,0001 received since 1842? casts of the Phigalian marbles, (501) as a present to the King of Greece; 4621. for forms of prayer and tlalmksgiving —whenever any gentleman has an Evangelical St, the country is• to pay for it; 601. 4s. 5d. for presents to the Sultan of Johanna,—who is he? Ana there were more Commissions—the Metropolitan Improvement, Health of Towns, Application of Iron to Railways, and Management of the Mint, Commissions.
Mr. GLADSTONE complained of the charge for the Commission on the Mint-2,5001. The Master of the Mint is a person of high station in the Government, with a considerable salary; the ordinary duties are altogether insignificant; and he is fully competent to conduct the inquiry himself. The appointment of commissions in cases of this kind was necessarily attended with this disadvantage, in addition to the expense which they caused, that they had a tendency to divide, and by dividing to diminish, public responsibility. It was desirable that the heads of the recognized departments should do all things which could be done by them; because the power which Members of Parliament pos- sessed of calling them to account for their conduct acted as a security for the pro- per discharge of deities. Commissions were assemblages of gentlemen who had little sense of responsibility to Parliament, and as to whom Members of the Com- mons had not the advantage of unrestricted discussion on the floor of that House. Sir JOHN TYRELL enforced this complaint with the remark, that not- withstanding the inquiry and the blue book, nothing has been done by Go- verment.
The vote was defended by Sir Catiteas WOOD and Mr. SHELL. At the Mint considerable saving would be effected if the recommendations of the Commission were carried out.
A question arose as to the nature of the vote before the House; which Mr. OSBORNE described as a vote of 100,0001; while Sir CHARLES Wool) maintained that it was a vote of 50,0001. The resolution before the House; as recorded in the Votes and Proceedings, was this- " That a sum not exeeeding 50,0001, (being part of a sum of 100,0001, which 50.0001 has been granted on account) be granted to her Majesty, to com- plete the sum necessary to defray the charge for civil contingencies, to the 31st day of March 1850."
Additional papers on the affairs of Canada were presented to both Houses last week: among them appear the Earl of Elgin's despatch et- planatory of the circumstances which led to the introduction of the Re- bellion-Losses Indemnity Bill, and Earl Grey's despatch in reply to Lord Elgin's first despatch describing the outbreak in Montreal. Lord Elgin's explanatory despatch recapitulates the succession of gers by which the preciediug Government (which went out in April 1848) apPeared to be committed to the principle, and even to the details, of the measure of indemnal for Lower Canadians. It sketches the provision made by the Upper Canada As' sembiy for giving indemnities to owners who had been injured by rebels; and the subsequent acts by the United Canadian Parliament extending this prom . I as to give indemnities also to owners injured by persons in her Majesty's WM' Mr. OSBORNE moved to reduce the present vote to 30,0001., making we whole sum 80,0001. The amendment was negatived, by 47 to 15; the vote was agreed to; and the House resumed. Some bills were forwarded a stage, and the House adjourned ata quarter after nine o'clock.
the appointment in 1845 of a fund, and the unanimous adoption, on the same day,
an address praying the Governor-General to causeroper measures to be adopted for insuring indemnity to the Lower Canadians fopr their losses on these accounts; the appointment of the Commissioners, and their report, obtained by Mr. Daly in April 1842, with a view to an early decision on the course to be taken in Parliament on the subject. Under these circumstances, the present Go- vernment took office; and it was to be expected that they should propose to found a measure on so much as had been done by their predecessors. Lord Elgin did not think he should be justified in risking a Ministerial crisis at a time when his Council had the support of a majority in the Assembly, by refusing to permit the introduction of a bill, similar to one already passed, and seeming only the logical consequence of preliminary measures under former Governments and Governors. The despatch characterizes the vehement and unrelenting opposition raised to the hill within and without the walls of Parliament; and alludes to the remarkable fact, that the great majority of the petitions on the subject were addressed to Lord Elgin himself, and comparatively few to either branch of the Legislature,— hopeless of prevailing with the Representatives of the People, or determined from the first to force him to leave his neutrality, and joiu issue with the local Govern- ment upon this most delicate and exciting question. These petitions prayed a dissolution, or a reservation of the bill for the signification of her Majesty's plea- sure. The first course would not, he thought, have been justifiable either in prin- ciple or policy: the second was more safe and practicable; but after a narrow scrutiny, he found that the votes in the Assembly seemed altogether irreconcil- able with the allegation that the question was one on which the two races were arrayed against each other throughout the Province generally: so he considered that the reservation of the bill would be casting a responsibility on her Majesty and her Majesty's advisers, which ought in the first instance at least to rent on his own shoulders; and he felt that be should by so doing awaken doubts as to the sincerity of the intention to carry on constitutional government in Canada; and it is his firm conviction, that if such doubts were to obtain generally, they would be fatal to the connexion.
Earl Grey's Reply to the Earl of Elgin's first Despatch. "Downing street, May Is.
"My Lord—I have received and laid before the Queen your Lordship's despatch of the 30th of April, giving an account of the scenes by which the city of Mont- real has been disgraced, and in the course of which the building occupied by the Provincial Parliament has been destroyed by fire.
"I am commanded by her Majesty to inform your Lordship, that while she has received with very great concern the intelligence of these deplorable events, they have not impaired the confidence which her Majesty has hitherto felt in your abil- ity and judgment, and that she continues to regard your administration of the affairs of the Province as meriting her entire approbation. " Upon the act of the Provincial Parliament which has afforded a pretext for the outrages which have been committed, it is the duty of her Majesty's servants to reserve their judgment until we shall be in possession of the full information which you lead me to expect as to its character and objects: but whatever may be the view which may be taken of the merits of that measure, there can be but one opinion as to the guilt of those who, in resistance to a law constitutionally passed by the Provincial Legislature, have had recourse to violence of so disgraceful a character, or as to the very serious responsibility incurred by all who have, even by the imprudence of their language, assisted in producing the excitement which has led to such lamentable results. Her Majesty's servants entirely concur with your Lordship as to the consequences which must follow from submitting to the End of dictation by which it has been attempted on this occasion to overrule the decision of the legally constituted authorities of the Province; and they confidently rely upon your firmness, supported, as I trust you will be, by the Parliament and the great majority of the people of Canada, to enforce for the future obedience to the law, and to compel those who may disapprove of the measures either of the Legislative or Executive Government of the Province, to confine their opposition within le.gta,and constitutional limits.
" I appreciate the motives which have induced your Lordship to offer the Suggestion with which your despatch concludes; but I should most earnestly de- precate the change it contemplates in the Government of Canada. Your Lord- ship's relinquishment of that office, which under any circumstances would be a most serious loss to her Majesty's service and to the Province, could not fail, in the present state of affairs, to be most injurious to the public welfare, from the encouragement which it would give to those who have been concerned in the vio- lent and illegal opposition which has been offered to your Government. I also feel no doubtthat when the present excitement shall have subsided, you will suc- ceed in regaining that position of 'dignified neutrality' becoming your office, which, as you justly observe, it has hitherto been your study to maintain, and from which even those who are at present most opposed to you will, on reflection, perceive that you have been driven, by no fault on your part, but by their own un-
reasoning violence. .
" Relying, therefore, upon your devotion to the interests of Canada, I feel as- sured that you will not be induced by the unfortunate occurrences which have taken place to retire from the high office which the Queen has been pleased to in- trust to you, and which, from the value she puts upon your past services, it is her Majesty s anxious wish that you should retain.