10 MARCH 1838, Page 1


Tins week opened with preparations for the Parliamentary con- flict on Sir WLLLIAM MOLISWORTH'S motion on the Colonies. Ministers summoned a meeting of their friends at the Foreign Olke on Monday ; when a few minutes' talk enabled the willing Members to decide that the Government must be supported, and the Tories kept out, at any cost of consistency or truth. The Tories mustered three hundred strong, as their newspapers boasted, at Sir ROBERT PEEL'S; where, after mature deliberation, it was resolved that the Whigs must not be thrust out of office—just yet; that another not very remote period would be more conve- nient for the operation of removal ; and that, in pursuance of this policy; an amendment to the motion should be proposed, which no man sharing in Sir WILLIAM'S popular sympathies could support, but which would afford the opportunity for damaging speeches. The Ministerial newspapers were/filled with coarse vituperation of Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH and Mr. LEADER, intended, no doubt, to gratify the gentlemen in Downing Street and their terri- fled supporters, but which, we should suppose, must have been nayseous even to them. The sagacious authors of this scurrility for granted that Sir WILLIAM Moeuswoirrit could nothing but Canada; and exerted their eloquence to wisdom of Ministerial management in that quarter,— big to recollect that the North American provinces we not thS only foreign possessions of England which exhibited the COniewileet, of Colonial Office administration. In spite of the swaggering air assumed by the Downing Street scribes, their alarm wits manifest. It. arose from blindness to the real design of the Tory leaders; which, as has been repeatedly explained in this journal, is clearly not to take office at present.

Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH, having for years past applied him- self to the study of Colonial subjects, appears to have thought this a favourable time for rousing the attention of Parliament and the country to the condition of the unrepresented portion of the Bri- tish dominions. The recent events in Canada had startled even an apathetic Ministry, and forced a negligent House of Commons to regard the situation of one colony at least with more than wonted interest, though only to treat it with more than the usual quantity ef injustice. It was not on the state of affairs in Canada, how- ever, that Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH based his motion. In a speech of great ability, but which Whig oracles pronounced dull and stupid to the last degree, he described, not in minute detail, but in their characteristic features, the actual condition of New South Wales, the Mauritius, South Africa, Sierra Leone, and the • West Indies, only bestowing a brief allusive notice on the Cana-

dian outbreak and its consequences. He proved by reference to facts, notorious and indisputable, that each of these colonies had some great question to settle, requiring the exertion not only of the highest skill, but the utmost activity, energy, and firmness, in the individual Minister to whom the chief management of the Colonies was intrusted. Admitting that many evils, whose exist- ence nobody denied, were of old standing—the result of errors long since committed,—the practical question which he called upon the House to decide was, whether Lord GLENELG had, in ha administration, evinced fitness to grapple with the difficulties and the dangers with which at this present time the Colonies, as a whole, are troubled and threatened. There was nothing of acri- mony or virulence, no exhibition of animosity against the present Colonial Secretary, even in those parts of the statement necessarily Personal. It was not Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH'S design to pre- lent a bill of indictment against Lord GLENELG: but, having shown that most of the principal colonies are in a "critical state," he appealed to the common sense and knowledge of Members to say whether Lord GLENELG possessed, par excellence, the extra- ordinary qualities dernandeli for their beneficial administration, under the circumstances ? And now that a majority has ne- gatived the imputation of unfitness, no human being, adequately

informed, will venture to assert that Lord Gurentut it fit for the active and energetic duties of the Colonial department in these times. Though the Member for Leeds did not dwell upon the errors and negligence@ of Lord Grairesto especially—exposing the results of a vicious system rather than attacking the indolent and vacillating Minister—he did assert specific instances of blame- worthiness, for which Lord GLENELG, and not the Cabinet as a body, must rationally be answerable, and to which nothing that can be called a reply was offered. They stand on the record still. The act of Parliament under which New South Wales is go- verned expired in 1836, and has been .since annually renewed; though, being framed for a state of society in which convicts pre- dominated, it is wholly unfit for the present condition of the colony. Why has no new constitutional act been passed or pro- posed ? Because Lord GLENELG hesitates and procrastinates. The evidence given before the Transportation Committee of last session was appalling : it disclosed the vices of the " most depraved community that ever existed." But by Lord GLENELG those horrors were unheeded; the discovery was not of his making; he sought not for inquiry ; he has administered no re- medy. The transportation system is still in full vigour.

The Slave-trade in the East is carried on for the benefit of the planters of the Mauritius, and the landholders of British Guiana, under an order in Council sanctioned by Lord GLENELG, the unconscious and ignorant dupe of parties interested in the traffic.

In Southern Africa, the natives are fast disappearing under the exterminating sway of the British. Lord GLENELG writes eloquent despatches in condemnation of the enormities ; but for any effectual remedy the Colonial Office is asked in vain. Thousands of the most depraved and desperate of the criminals, mewed from the great English prison-state, have established themselves, a plague and curse on the shores of New Zealand. That fine country is now the scene of a bloody war—the nest of future buccaneering and piracy .worse titan Algerine: but the only species of protection afforded to the aborigines by the Colo- nial Office, is the appointment of a Itelpless and solitary indivi- dual, whose employment is to record atrocities which he cannot prevent. •

The Emancipation Act has been violated by the planters ; -the Blacks in several of tile West India, islandi are in a static . savage discontent ; the period of complete f.seSlom is at hsnd, and a fresh supply of hired labour will be needed : yet Lord GLENELG, who several years ago proved his knowledge of the true and safe way of securing a supply of labour, in a despatch which recom- mended restrictions on the disposal of waste land, seems to have done absolutely nothing for carrying the sound principles re- cognized in that despatch into effect, and averting a deplorable crisis. Another instance, from the same dangerous ground of the West Indies—it is only within a few days, that, stung and spurred by Lord BROUGHAM, Lord GLENELG has introduced a bill to pro- vide for the execution of an act of Parliament passed in 1833, and to expire, as regards a large portion of the persons whom it affected, in August next.

To these charges no answer was given. The defence made by Ministers for their colleague was a simple denial that the Colonies were in an unsatisfactory state, or that Lord Gsereseo's adminis- tration exhibited negligence. To the motion they objected, that it was unhandsome to single out Lord GLENELG for attack; and that as the object of the motion was to dismiss the Ministers, it should have been directed against the Cabinet as a body. It is not supposed that Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH could have grieved had the result of his motion been the breaking-up of the Tory-Whig Ministry,—an event which, in hit letter to the elec- tors of Leeds, a few days after Lord JOHN RUSSELL'S "decla- ration," lie had proclaimed to be desirable: but that was not his object. The reasons for separating the Colonial Minister from his colleagues will be found in Sir WILLIAM'S speech : if not unan- swerable, they certainly were not answered. Every Ministerial and every Opposition Member without ex- ception who followed Sir WILLr5M MOLESWORTH in the debate, wandered from the subject of the motion—sotne of them to Ire• land f but most to the well-worn topic o! Canada, for the discus- sion of which they were all crammed. But the industry bestowed

on the Canada question, produced not a biligle new fact or argu- ment of any weight. Into the particulars of the inapplicable speeches it would therefore b,, waste a time to enter.

The motion for an address to the Crown declaring " want of confidence" in Lord GLENELG, might have by Minis- ters with a counter-resolution affirming he. variosie xceilent

qualities for the government of the Chionlesy., t!..!tri- buted to their colleague : but in the +lace of this, zolwrAL"

MERSTON, who took the lead for the Tsteiguiy beech, tnted himself with giving the pretieu tt " sleep* !native ;''s IV h he

affected to consider something very manly and chivalrous, though his official experience taught him that it was, in such a case, only one degree less sneaking than " the previous question." Lord BANDON, in conformity with the Tory tactics, moved, as an amendment, an address imputing the bloodshed in Canada,to the 7 dilatory and vacillating policy of Ministers, but at the same time speaking of the poor Canadians in such harsh terms, that none of the Radical Members, however indifferently affected to the Tory- Whig Government, could support it. At the request of Lord JOHN RUSSELL, Sir WILLIAM MOLESWORTH Withdrew his motion, which during the whole of two nights' debate was thrown aside for party and personal vituperation ; and the House divided on Lord SANDON'S amendment by itself—

For the Tory Amendment 287 Against it 316 29 Whig-Radical majority The Ministerialists had calculated on a smaller majority ; and great was their exultation when it actually reached 29, in a House, including Tellers and the Speaker, of 608 Members. The number of Absentees was 50; of whom 28 were Tories, and 22 Liberals of various shades. The number of placemen in the majority was 35. Those who would deduct the placemen in a division affecting their official existence are told, that if Ministers should not vote upon such a question, the members of the Opposition, who look to be their suc- cessors, ought to be struck off as equally interested parties. This is a plausible, if not a complete answer. Yet, under Tory Govern- ments, the same sort of claim was generally made by the Whig Opposition. In the present case, too, there was this unprecedented peculiarity, that the Opposition, so far from being desirous of turning Ministers out of office on the question, had taken especial care to place themselves in a minority, though one sufficiently nu- merous to demonstrate their strength.

The division is not mortifying to the Tories. They have now proved that their real strength is equal to their paper muster ; for, adding the Tellers and the Absentees to the minority, they count 317 votes upon a question which, not affecting the Church, left the LENNOXES, Mr. TOWNLEY, Sir CHARLES LEMON, Mr. LONG, Mr. GORING, and other " Doubtfuls," at liberty to vote with the W hig Ministers. The speeches were damaging to both the great parties. They were full of recrimination ; and it must be allowed that the lead- ing orators were most successful in their endeavours to prove that their respective adversaries had grossly misgoverned the Colonies. On that point there can be no doubt. The question is, which party has sinned the most. The Whig delinquencies are of more recent date ; the Tory of longer duration.

The Lords have had a debate and division on an analogous ques- tion. Lord BROUGHAM, on Tuesday, moved for the repeal of the order in Council which authorized the removal of labourers from the East Indies and the Eastern coast of Africa to British Guiana. In a long and masterly speech, he traced the history and exposed the evils of slavery, from early times to the present ; bringing his multifarious facts and illustrations to bear with concentrated force upon the single point under discussion, by showing that it was pre- cisely on the same pretext, and nearly in the same manner, that slavery had first been introduced into the West Indies. The Spa- nish planters required a supply of labour then, as the British planters do now ; and it is obtained from ignorant and helpless peo- ple, brought from afar, and placed at the mercy of their masters. The effict of the order in Council. now called in question, is to extend the term for which these labourers may be bound to their

masters, from three years to five. But for this extension, the traf- fic would not be profitable, and would be no longer carried on. Lord GLENELG is therefore answerable for the continuance of a practice which, under any precaution, is liable to the greatest abuse, whilst there are in fact none but fu tile attempts made to protect the victims, who are duped or kidnapped into servitude, after the sufferings of a sea-voyage of which they had no conception. The defence set up by Lk rd GLENELG amounted to an admission of the truth of' the charge. The Duke of WELLINGTON concurred in the main facts stated by Lord BROUGHAM; and read a paper of suggestions for the better regulation of the trade; on the adoption of which he pretended to insist ; but was satisfied with a loose promise from Lord MELBOURNE to " take them into consideration," and moved the previous question. On this occasion the Duke was not sup- Brted by several of his party : 10 Tories voted with Lord ROUGHAM in the minority of 14, and 14 with the Duke and Ministers in the majority of 56. Among the Tory mutineers, were the ablest men of that party—LYNDHURST, STRANGFORD, HARROWBY, EL LENLIOROUGH, WHARNC LIFER, and Bishop PHIL': Pons.

The conduct of the Duke of WELLINGTON on this occasion

has given rise to remark. The Times broadly insinuates that he knows not what he is about, and has become little better than an old woman. The Whigs will therefore do well not to rely too much on the Dukes evident inclination to prop their ricketty Cabinet. The Tories, when it suits their purpose, will lay the old soldier on the shelf with as little ceremony as he accorded to Lord Ennosi. The accomplished Ex-Chancellor LYNDHURST, we may be sure, has no intention of helping the W trigs, or promoting his own exclusion from political influence and the pleasures of power.

Lord Joan RUSSELL'S great measure for " carrying out the intention of the Reform Act," has been strangled by the Peers. On Thursday, the Marquis of LANSDOWNE moved the second reading of the Parliamentary Electors and Freemen Bill. The

Duke of WELLINGTON, not allowing any alteration of the Re- form Act in a democratic direction, moved to put off the second reading for six months ; which motion, after a feeble resistance by Lord RADNOR and Lord COTTENHANI, was carried by a majority Of 147 to 82. For the rejection of this trumpery palliative there will be no dangerous excess of public ghefor anger. The " heee to freemen" which it contained has always been deemed of qua- tionable virtue. The other moiety only professed to benefit voters already registered, not claimants of the franchise, by extending the time for discharging their taxes,—a provision in accordance with the niggardly spirit of its authors. The measure, had it become law, would only have staved off the entire repeal of the Ratepaying clauses.

An illustration of the Palace Premier's attention to public

business occurred on Thursday. Being urged by Lords BROUGHAM, WADDINGTON, and ABERDEEN, to state the inten- tions of Government respecting the additional endowment of the Scottish Church, Lord MELBOURNE could only reply, that the subject was where it had been so long, " under consideration:' he could not name any time when the Government plan would be ex. plained; there were three large Reports to be examined; in short, Lord Viscount MELBOURNE was totally uninformed on. a ques. tion which excites the greatest interest in Scotland, and is likely to give his Government as much trouble as any other which it may attempt, more suo, to " settle." Although Lord MELBOURNE could say nothing about the matter, Lord JOHN RUSSELL, in the House of Commons, on the very same evening, gave Sir ROBERT PEEL a statement of the leading provisions of a Scottish Church bill about to be introduced. He intends (as we understand the varying reports of his speech) to repeal the law which makes the consent of three-fourths of the heritors necessary to the division of a parish, and to the application of unexhausted teinds to the support of a new church and clergyman, In this way he would provide for the additional endowment of the Established Church in parishes where the means exist. To the erection and support of new churches in the Highlands, and some parishes in the South of Scotland, Lord JOHN proposes that the "Bishop's teinds" and other Crown—that is to say public—property, shall be applied.

Of this wise scheme it may safely be said, that the first part will never be executed. Lord JOHN dares not repeal the Act of 1707, in defiance of the holders of the unexhausted teinds. If the second portion of the plan be carried with Tory aid, Ministers may look for the unmitigated hostility of the entire body of Dis- senters—their stanchest supporters in Scotland—and of no small portion of the English Dissenters, who will make common cause with their Northern brethren. The safest policy for Ministers would be to refuse interference in the matter, grounding their refusal on the Report of the Commissioners. But what would their Tory friends say to that ?