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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80a

The Secretary of State for the Colonies to Governor Sir John Young. (Separate.)

The Secretary of State for the Colonies to Governor Sir John Young. (Separate.)



I have to acknowledge your Despatch, No. 37, of the 21st May, enclosing a copy of the Proclamation by which you had prorogued the Parliament of New South Wales, on the 11th of that month, in consequence of the approaching expiration on the 13th of the period to which the first nominations to the Legislative Council were limited.

With regard to the reconstruction of that body, I have nothing to add to my Despatch of the 4th February last, the recommendations of which I am glad to hear from you will not have been overlooked by yourself and your Ministers in taking the measures necessary for the purpose; hut I cannot pass by without notice your report of the means which you took, by the advice of your responsible advisers, to ensure the passing of the Land Hills through the Legislative Council; the creation, namely, upon a sudden, and for a single night, of a number of Legislative Councillors, which you do not specify, but which must have been sufficient to convert a large majority against the Bills into a majority in their favour.

I am fully sensible of the very difficult position in which you found yourself when pressed to take such a course, under a threat of resignation, by Ministers who you say you could not have replaced. I regret, however, that they should have offered you that advice, and that you, even under the circumstances which you describe, should have accepted it. A measure so violent and in its nature so unconstitutional could only be justified by circumstances of the gravest, danger and the greatest urgency, which did not, as it appears to me, exist on the present occasion. Your resistance to it could only have led to the same state of things (after, perhaps, a Ministerial crisis) which has actually resulted from the defeat of the attempt to force the Bills through the Council by the counter stratagem to which the Opposition resorted, and would, I can hardly doubt, have received a large amount of approval and support from the public opinion of the Colony, irrespectively of the merits of the measures which happened to be in question.

I have thought it my duty to say so much by way of comment upon a proceeding which is not creditable to the cause of constitutional government in Australia, while it tends to weaken the position of the Governor; but I can at the same time make great allowances for the difficulties of the dilemma in which yon found yourself placed so soon after your arrival in a new sphere of duty, and I am sure that you acted as appeared 10 you, at the moment, best for the public interests.

I have, &c. (signed) Newcastle.