13 JANUARY 1855, Page 13


Sin—In the commentary which you have passed upon the events which have lately occurred in New Zealand, you have hardly done justice either to the character of the events themselves or the principle involved in their consideration. It is, perhaps, impossible, whilst the echoes from Sebastopol are ringing in our ears, to expect any considerable share of public attention to occur- rences in so distant a part of the empire as New Zealand. Yet when one -reflects, that whatias just occurred there, will, under -similar circumstances, infallibly be repeated in those provinces of Australia to which Tree constitu-

tions have-been-granted-by-Parliament, and that in thesolution of the dif- ficulty which has arisen at Auckland depends the harmonious working of government in all the great dependencies of the empire in the Pacific, it is not passible to overrate the importance of the subject, and -very essential that the true character of the contest should be understood.

Instituting a comparison between Canadaend New Zealand, you, endeavour to seek the causes which made the introduction of "responsible govern- ment" a successful experiment in Canada, whilst•New Zealand it has been a failure. Now I venture to say, that the very summary of events which you have inserted in another part of your journal, and upon which, I :presume, your commentary was founded, together with the most cursory knowledge of what happened in Canada after the passing of the Constitution Act for that colony, will serve to show that "responsible governments' in that sense of the term which was understood in Canada—in that sense of the term which was understood and most ably expounded by Lord Metcalfe—in that sense of the term which is the only rational sense which can be given to it when practically applied to the working of government—has never been introduced into New Zealand, and cannot therefore be regarded as a failure. Lord Metcalfe, in his answers to the numerous addresses presented to him during the Ministerial crisis which happened whilst he was Governor of Canada, defines the nature of the Canadian constitution, and expounds his own ideas of what "responsible government" means. According to him, "responsible government" means, that the heads of departments should form the Executive Council of the Governor, and.shouU be chosen from Members of the Assembly who possess the confidence of that body as well as of the Governor himself. And it must be obvious to the plainest capacity, that no men can be called Ministers responsible to the re- presentatives of the people for the acts Of government, who themselves have

no control over the officers who carry on the functions of government, who can only enter the offices of government by sufferance' and who can make

themselves acquainted with the details of government only so far as the ir- removeable and irresponsible holders of office permit. Such responsibility is a farce,—nay more, it is an absurd injustice to those who are supposed to be responsible.

What, then was it, which caused Lord Metcalfe's difficulties in•Canada-

which almost then, "responsible government" in Canada a failure? which

had its origin in the Anti-British tendencies of the French Canadian popu- lation, and which Lord Metcalfe so successfully surmounted, reconciling the principle of "responsible government" in the colony with the rights of the 'Crown and the supremacy of the 'Mother-country ? It was an attempt on the part of his Executive Council, constituted as I have before stated, to usurp all the functions of- government from the hands of the Governor, to use all the-patronage of the Government as a party political engine, and to render the Governor himself, who must ever be responsible to the Crown, the mere representative of the pageantry af English royalty. This Lord Metcalfe heated, whilst he resolutely, abided by the principle of "responsible .government."

Now, the summary of events which have occurred in New Zealand which your paper contains, than which nothing can be more fair, shows beyond question that no unconstitutional demands of individuals called to the Exe- cutive Council, no factions .proceedings of the Assembly elected by the people have brought about the crisis there existing, but simply that the practical introduction of the principle of "responsible government" demanded by the Assembly, promised in woraby the Governor, has been denied in reality to the colony. Whether it was wise in the popular party to precipitate the crisis—whe- ther it would not have been wiser to wait for those instructions from home which the arcumstanees in which the Governor was placed were sure to call . forth, before the extreme measure of a rupture with him was resorted to—I will not stop to inquire. One thing is certain. With the precedent of Canada before them, "responsible government" will be insisted on by the colony, and must be conceded by the Government; and I cannot 'believe that a Go- vernment at home .of which -Sir W. Molesworth is a member can hesitate

long on the be pursued. I am your obedient servant, IL FITZOBRALD. [From the date of a private note which accompanied this communication, we perceive that the packet had loitered on its way to our office—it did not reach us till 'Monday. In the mean Lime, 'Mr. Godley's letter on the 'same subject had appeared. To both our correspondentowe willingly concede -the admission that there has been no real trial of "responsible government "in New Zealand : the late show of something that passed under that name was, as Mr. Godley called it last week, • a sham." But it passed for the time as a reality. As such it was puffed and trumpeted by the teacher, par excellence of the doc- trine, and not repudiated by the disciples who accepted office under the-com- promise. In Canada there was a great settled community, and the weight

and momentum of public opinion bore -down all obstruction. 'Ultimately it may be the same in New Zealand ; but for the present, 'while-the colony it- self is highly prosperous, the government is in a mess—described in most of

the letters we have seen as a state of "chaos," which 'they trace back to the management of that pet of the Colonial Office, Sir George Grey, now re- warded by a higher appointment.--EDJ