UK, House of Lords, “Canada”, vol 46, cols 130-131 (8 March 1839)
By: UK (House of Lords)
Citation: UK, HL, “Canada“, vol 46 (1839), cols 130-131.
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Lord Ellenborough said, that the noble Earl the late Governor General of the North American provinces, in reply to an address of the inhabitants of Toronto on the ninth of October, stated that he had issued commissions for inquiry, not only upon the subject of crown-lands and emigration, but also upon the subject of municipal institutions and general education. The reports of the commissioners upon crown-lands and emigration had been received: but no information had yet been furnished with respect to municipal institutions and general education. Further it appeared, that in the proclamation of the noble Earl (Durham) dated the 9th of October, the noble Earl said, he regretted very much to renounce the hope of employing unusual legislative powers for the endowment of these provinces with municipal institutions, and a general system of education. He (Lord Ellenborough) wished to ask the noble Marquess whether he had received any such materials as the report of the commissioners would afford for future legislation upon these important topics. One of the matters to which these materials for future legislation referred was undoubtedly that which, in his opinion, was by far the most important, namely, a measure for giving to the Canadas competent tribunals for the administration of justice in local affairs.
The Marquess of Normanby certainly
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was not yet in possession of such reports. He (Lord Normanby) understood, that there were reports of the kind in existence, but the Government was not yet in possession of them. Whenever they were transmitted to him he should be ready to produce them.
The Earl of Durham said, that with regard to any additional reports that might be transmitted to the Government, he could only observe, that some of them had not yet arrived in this country. He had certainly issued commissions of inquiry upon the subjects to which the noble Lord had referred, and since his return he had been put in possession of the report of the commissioners upon Municipal Corporations, which he should place in the hands of the Government in the course of three or four days. He had also received a report from the Bishop of Montreal, relative to the condition of the Church in that province. That also would be presented to the Government in the course of a few days. The report upon general education had not yet arrived, but he expected it shortly, and the moment it arrived it should be given to the Government.
With respect to the legislative measures which he had intended to propose, he had in his possession the draft of a bill prepared with great care upon the important subject of a general registry. Had he remained at the head of the Government he should have submitted that measure to the general Council; of course, in consequence of his retirement, he had not been able to do so, but the bill which was in a complete state, was in his possession. With regard to another important measure which he had intended bringing forward had he remained in Canada, he meant the commutation of feudal tenures in the island of Montreal, he could state, that it had been met in a most amicable spirit by the superior of the convent, who possessed a considerable part of those tenures; and he had reason to believe, that that matter would shortly be adjusted.
With regard to the jury laws they had also been in process of revision. All the materials and reports in his possession should be at the service of her Majesty’s Government. In the event of his receiving information from Canada, he should think it his duty to lay it before her Majesty’s Ministers. He should certainly think, that the reports alluded to, would be received in the course of a very short time.
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