UK, House of Commons, “Canada”, vol 48, cols 95-97 (10 June 1839)

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Date: 1839-06-10
By: UK (House of Commons)
Citation: UK, HC, “Canada“, vol 48 (1839), cols 95-97.
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Lord J. Russell said, that with regard to the motion of which the noble Lord, the Member for North Lancashire had given notice, it might be convenient to the House that he should state, 96that the course which he should take on the Canada question, depended on the course which would be taken by the noble Lord; and when that was explained, it would be for the Government to determine whether they thought it necessary to press the question to a division. If the noble Lord could not agree to the principle of union between the two provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, then he should press his first resolution; but if, on the other hand, the noble Lord did not think it advisable that the House should pledge itself to a measure before it saw the details, then he would withdraw the resolution, move for leave to bring in a bill, and lay the bill on the table of the House.

Lord Stanley had no objection to repeat the precise terms of his motion, which were these—that on Thursday next, he would take the sense of the House as to the expediency of pledging the House, by an abstract resolution, to the principle of union between Upper and Lower Canada.

Sir R. Peel said, that it seemed to him that it would be advisable to come to a distinct understanding upon the subject of the motion given by his noble Friend, the Member for North Lancashire, and he could not but think it inconvenient that the course to be pursued by her Majesty’s Government, was to depend on the speech of the noble Lord. If the noble Lord, the Secretary for the Home Department would recollect, what he (Sir R. Peel) said some time back, was, that if it was not proposed in the present Session to legislate on the subject of an union between the Canadas, nothing could be more unwise than to fetter themselves by a resolution on an abstract question. If, therefore, the noble Lord intended to withdraw his resolution, and to bring in a bill for the purpose of effecting an union, he apprehended that there would be no opposition to such a course. As it might be productive of bad consequences if a division should take place on this subject, he trusted the noble Lord would ask for leave in the ordinary way to bring in a bill.

Lord J. Russell thought, that there would be great evil in taking a division upon this question, which might be interpreted, in Canada, as a division upon the principle of an union, whereas it would only be a division upon the expediency of proceeding by resolution or by bill. He should be ready, therefore, to withdraw his resolution, and to bring in a bill.

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Sir R. Peel wished to know, whether there had been any change in the noble Lord’s intentions of legislating upon this subject during the present Session, or whether the bill would be merely laid on the table of the House?

Lord J. Russell said, that after the very strong protest against an union by the Legislative Assembly of Upper Canada, the Government would certainly not feel justified in pressing forward legislation upon the subject during this Session.

Mr. C. Buller wished to ask the noble Lord, whether he intended to give up the second resolution also; because it was to that that his objections applied.

Lord J. Russell replied, that he should take the same course in both cases, and that he should move for leave to bring in a bill embodying the principles declared in the second resolution.


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