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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80a

The Secretary of State for the Colonies to Governor the Earl of Belmore

page 81

The Secretary of State for the Colonies to Governor the Earl of Belmore.

My Lord,


I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your Despatch, No. 109, of the 14th of July, enclosing a Memorandum by Mr. Robertson on the subject of my Despatch, No. 2, of the 18th December last, relating to some additional appointments which had been made to the Legislative Council of New South Wales.

When writing that Despatch I was fully aware that the number of the Upper House in New South Wales was unlimited. I am also fully aware that, on certain critical occasions, it may become not only expedient but indispensable to bring the two Houses into harmony, by creating, or threatening to create, a number of Legislative Councillors sufficient for that purpose. But it is not the less clear that the whole value and character of the Upper Chamber will be destroyed if every successive Ministry is at liberty, without any sufficient occasion, to obtain a majority in the Council by the creation of Councillors. To prevent this, some constitutional understanding, having in the public eye the form of a valuable though not absolutely inflexible precedent, and limiting the circumstances under which such creations can properly take place, is desirable. Such an understanding did, in fact, exist between Sir John Young and his successive Ministers; and the object of my Despatch of the 18th of December was to enforce on you the inconvenience of any course which was calculated, without necessity, to impair the authority of that understanding, and to the expediency of making it clear, in the interest of the Colonial Constitution, that any necessary violation of its letter was not really a violation of its spirit; that is to say, that it was resorted to not to strengthen a party, but in reality for the convenience of legislation.

I have, &c. (signed) Granville.