Despatch from Viscount Monck to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (23 December 1864)
By: Viscount Monck
Citation: Despatch from Viscount Monck to Right Hon. Edward Cardwell (23 December 1864) in UK, Parliament, Correspondence respecting the Proposed Union of the British North American Provinces (London: George Edward Eyre and William Spottiswoode, 1867).
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Copy of a DESPATCH from Viscount Monck to the Right Hon. Edward
(No. 203.) Quebec, December 23, 1864.
(Received, January 9, 1865.)
SIR, (Answered, No. 5, January 13, 1865, p. 42.)
I HAVE the honour to acknowledge with feelings of much satisfaction the receipt of your Despatch (No. 93.*), of December 3, in which you convey to me the general approval by Her Majesty’s Government of the scheme of Union for the British North American Provinces agreed to by the Conference which met at Quebec in October last.
With regard to the two points upon which you have written, namely, that of the exercise of the Royal prerogative of pardon and the constitution of the Upper Chamber of the general Legislature, I shall only say at present that as respects the former I am in a position to state that it was never the intention of the Conference to interfere in the slightest degree with the constitutional prerogative of Her Majesty to select herself the person to whom she should entrust the duty of revising sentences pronounced by legal tribunals.
The resolution was introduced merely as a suggestion to meet a local difficulty resulting from imperfect means of communication during the winter months between portions of the proposed Union.
It is plain that this proposition could form no part of the Act which will be necessary in order to give effect to the proposed plan of union, and, in fact, the suggestion contained in it must be determined by the decision of the Queen, with whom alone rests the power of naming the person to shall be delegated the exercise of her prerogative.
With regard to the constitution of the Upper House of the general Legislature, it is apparent that the resolutions adopted by the Conference will be subjected to the action of many minds before they shall have become embodied in addresses from the Legislatures of the several Provinces.
I would suggest that we should adjourn the consideration of this subject until we see the form in which the resolutions will emerge from these discussions.
I have the honour to transmit for your information a copy of a communication which, in pursuance of the instructions contained in your Despatch, I have addressed to the Lieutenant-Governors of the Lower Provinces and to the Governor of Newfoundland.
I have, &c.
The Right Hon. Edward Cardwell, M.P., (Signed) MONCK.
&c. &c. &c.
Enclosure in No. 1.
SIR, Quebec, December 23, 1861.
REFERRING to my Despatches to you noted in the margin, I have the honour to transmit for your information a copy of a Despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies in reference to the resolutions adopted by the Conference which assembled at Quebec in October last to consider the propriety of effecting a Union of the Provinces of British North America, and also a copy of the answer with I have returned to this Despatch.
In this Despatch Mr. Cardwell desires me “to take immediate measures, in concert with the Lieutenant-Governors of the several Provinces, for submitting to their respective Legislatures this “project for the Conference.”
In pursuance of these instructions, I have the honour to inform you that I have summoned the Canadian Parliament to meet on Thursday, January 19th, 1865, when I propose to bring before both Houses of the Legislature the important subject referred to in Mr. Cardwell’s Despatch, in order that if the Legislature shall think fit an Address may be adopted to the Queen, praying Her Majesty to direct that steps may be taken for passing an Act of the Imperial Parliament to unite the Provinces of British North America on the basis laid down in the resolutions adopted by the Quebec Conference.
I shall feel much obliged after consulting your advisors on the subject, you will inform me what course you intend to pursue for the purpose of giving effect to Mr. Cardwell’s instructions.
I have, &c.