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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80a

The Attorney General to the Colonial Secretary

The Attorney General to the Colonial Secretary.

My dear Forster,

Attorney General's Office,

I exceedingly regret that you have thought it your duty to withdraw from the Ministry, in consequence of the refusal of His Excellency to appoint to the Legislative Council two gentlemen whose names were submitted to him by the Cabinet, through me, a few days since. I entirely concur with you in deploring His Excellency's refusal. Had His Excellency declined to act upon the recommendation of the Cabinent previously to the late vote of censure, which led to the dissolution, I think that we then might have most properly tendered our resignations to him on that ground, but I do not think that such a course can now be taken with any degree of propriety, when there is good reason to believe that on Friday next an Amendment to the Address will be moved, with every probability of its being carried. I think that it would betray pusillanimity on our part were we to evade the issue which will then be raised, by retiring from office on the avowed ground of His Excellency's refusal to act in a particular instance on our advice.

Nothing has occurred between His Excellency and the present Cabinet during the fifteen months that we have been in power that can fairly call upon us to place on record our opinion of the transactions to which you refer.

My other colleagues and myself, equally with you, concur in the principle which has led to your resignation, if we are right in understanding that principle to be a determination to withdraw from office on the refusal of the Governor to act upon our advice in any matter which we may think it our duty seriously to insist on; but, as already stated, we differ from you entirely as to the time and occasion which you have selected for the application of that principle; neither can we join with you in expressing the opinion, as you have done, that His Excellency has betrayed partiality towards our predecessors as compared with ourselves. There were many things done by His Excellency at the instance of the late Administration which we could not approve, and as the like could never by any possibility have been recommended by us, such things can hardly form page 85 legitimate topics for comparison or contrast. In my own personal intercourse with His Excellency, I have at all times found a courteous readiness on his part to act in accordance with constitutional principle, and I do not remember any instance other than that which has led to your resignation in which he has declined to act on any recommendation of the Cabinet. While regretting his refusal, I, at the same time, think that it was unwise of you to avail yourself of this misunderstanding to withdraw at so peculiar a crisis as the present. I am aware that you care as little for the censure of the Assembly as I do, so long as we are both conscious that we have done nothing to deserve it; but, however we may disregard that censure, it is, I think, our duty manfully to meet it. My colleagues, as well as myself, are all perfectly satisfied that in what you have done you have not been actuated by any desire to throw impediments in our way, but solely by a determination to vindicate your position as a Responsible Adviser of the Crown. Although our views on this matter differ from yours, we know that our conduct in continuing in office will not be attributed by you to any motive other than that which I have already expressed. It is His Excellency's wish that you should retain your present office until your successor is appointed.

Yours very faithfully, (signed)

James Martin.