Newfoundland, Legislative Council, Prorogation (7 April 1865)

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Date: 1865-04-07
By: Newfoundland Legislative Council
Citation: Newfoundland, Legislative Council, Journal of the Legislative Council of the Island of Newfoundland, 8th Parl, 5th Sess, 1865 at 76-82.
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Mr. President, and Honorable Gentlemen of the Council:

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the Honorable House of Assembly:

The period has arrived at which I may with propriety relieve you from further Legislative occupation, and enable you to return to your personal duties and business, which, in their diligent fulfilment, are not less important than your Sessional labors to the general welfare of the community of which you are members.

I have been acquainted with the Resolution passed by the Honorable House of Assembly on the subject of the proposed Confederation of the British North American Colonies, to the effect that for the reasons set forth, the House deems it desirable to submit the question to the consideration of the people before the decision of the Legislature is taken upon it; and that for this purpose final determination upon this important subject should be deferred until the next meeting of the Legislative bodies.

Under other circumstances I might perhaps have viewed with regret any delay in dealing with a subject on which Her Majesty’s Imperial Government have exhibited so warm and generous an interest. But as it is almost certain that some of the other Colonies concerned in the proposed arrangement will not, during the Session of the present year, declare any definite judgment on that arrangement, and its immediate success when put into operation will much depend upon the true spirit and intention of the suggested Confederation being comprehended and appreciated by the people whom it is designed to serve, I am not now disposed to dissent from the view which you have taken of the matter, or the course you have adopted.

Her Majesty’s Government would not desire to force any important modification of the local constitution upon the acceptance of the people. of the Colony, against temperate and deliberate declaration of unwillingness to receive it; and it is desirable that the community should fully understand the advantages of that to which their assent is sought. But the Nation has a right to expect the Colonies to accept, and does look to them to assume, their legitimate portion of those charges and responsibilities which are the inevitable concomitants of self-government and free political institutions; and Her Majesty’s Ministers justly regard with favour a project of Union which will mutually and materially strengthen each for sustaining the burden which must be borne by all.

I observe with much satisfaction the several important and valuable measures which you have adopted during the present Session. In some of them you have built solid foundations for future improvement in different departments of public affairs; and in others you have provided for immediate local requirements, such as the proposed Light-House at Burgeo and the Bridges over the Rocky River in Placentia Bay, which are in themselves elements of progress. By the Act for the Registration of Births and Deaths you will have, I hope, established the means of procuring statistical data of which the Colony has hitherto been utterly destitute, respecting the population and their sanitary and social condition, and of which the value will not perhaps be appreciated fully until the knowledge is acquired which can only be obtained from them.

I trust at no distant period the wisdom will be obvious of the amendments which you have made in the previous system with regard to the repair and maintenance of highways, by transferring to the Board of Works the superintendence and control of expenditure on the main postal routes. And by making permanent the legal provisions which are necessary for this branch of the public service, you have left only to be furnished annually the grant of money necessary to carry them out, which may simply form an item in the Bill of Supply.

The amendments and continuance of the Volunteer Organization Act, and the encouragement which you have bestowed upon the establishment of local Protective Forces by the grant on account of Clothing to the existing Corps, will, I have no doubt, effect much towards the developement of that patriotic spirit and self-reliant tone of feeling which commands respect for communities. You may depend upon my cordial solicitude, in my office as Commander-in- Chief, to use the powers and the means which you have placed at my disposal for the credit of the Colony, and in the manner best calculated to effect the improvement of the Corps.

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the Honorable House of Assembly:

I readily acknowledge the enlightened liberality with which you have granted not only the usual amounts for the ordinary public service, but, in accordance with the suggestions contained in my Speech when opening the present Session, have placed grants at the disposal of the Executive authority for the encouragement of the Bank Fisheries, the introduction of the culture of Flax, and for the compilation of the Local Laws. Guided by the counsel of my Constitutional advisers, you may rely upon my sedulous care being bestowed to ensure the judicious application of the funds so en-trusted to the local Government.

Mr. President and Honorable Gentlemen of the Council:

Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the Honorable House of Assembly:

In compliance with an Address which I have received on the subject of the Salmon Fisheries, attention shall be given to enquiry respecting the best mode of proceeding for their protection, with the view of submitting a measure at the next Session of the Legislature, embodying the provisions which may appear necessary.

Although the result of the Seal Fishery is not yet fully known, the success enjoyed by some vessels which have already returned justifies the belief that the community may be congratulated upon at least a fairly profitable season in this branch of our local industry.

The mildness of the Winter and the apparent promise of a fine and early Spring, would seem to en-courage hope for an equally successful Cod Fishery; and on separating now, I trust that I may be permitted to cherish the cheerful anticipation that when I again have the pleasure of meeting the Council and Assembly in Session, it will be under circumstances more propitious than those which ushered in the present year.

The Hon. the President of the Council then said: It is His Excellency the Governor’s will and pleasure that this General Assembly be prorogued until Monday, the first day of May next, then and here to be holden; and this General Assembly stands prorogued accordingly.

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