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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80a

Extract from Mr. W.C. Wentworth's Speech on the Third Reading of the Constitution Bill. ("S. M. Herald," 22 December 1853.)

Extract from Mr. W.C. Wentworth's Speech on the Third Reading of the Constitution Bill. ("S. M. Herald," 22 December 1853.)

"With reference to the clamour which had been raised about the nominee Upper House being likely to override and undo all Constitutional Government, and to surrender all the power into the hands of the squatters,—the number of elected Members in the Lower House, which was to consist of no fewer than fifty-four members, would make it utterly impossible for such to be the case. A House so constituted would be, as it had always when occasion required it, proved itself to be, too powerful for the Upper House, and even for the Throne. A proof of this power had recently been exhibited in England; and many such proofs existed in earlier history. An Upper House had occasionally attempted to resist the popular will, but never determinately and with ultimate success, because the popular will was found to be irresistible, and an Upper House which would be obstinate in its resistance would surely be swept away. The reasons cited by the opponents of the nominee principle, in behalf of an elective Upper House as superior to a similar structure on the nominee principle, was its unexpansive and inflexible character; and for the very same reason he had been strenuous in his opposition to the elective principle prevailing in the Upper House. The erection of such a body would lead to a revolution. (Hear, hear.) It would control the Lower House, and could trample on the rights of the people. Therefore he was in favour of a nominated Upper House, which he felt assured would and must give way, rather than excite a revolution, and also because he felt assured that the responsible Minister of the day would compel it to give way in such an exigency. He was opposed to the principle of an elective Upper House on account of its inflexible and unexpansive character, an argument which, though used in its behalf, was fraught with the most dangerous character; and because he preferred the British Constitution, which had stood the test of ages, which had worked well, and had been found congenial to the feelings and sentiments of Englishmen. (Loud cheers.) It was because under such a Constitution Englishmen could live contentedly and securely, that he proposed giving such a Constitution to the Colony, and such an Upper Chamber to the Legislature; and he, therefore trusted the House would show their concurrence in his opinion by passing the third reading of the Bill by a large majority. (Loud and prolonged cheering.)