Alexandra Times at KellyGang 2/6/1868 (3)
This, so far as it goes, is the system of government which the representatives of the people in this colony, who were appointed only a very few years ago to frame a constitution for Victoria, were expected to int? ?duce. They professed to have done it, ? until lately, the Constitution Act has b? ? ? ? ? ? ? colonists, as investing them with all the rights and privileges of popular representation, which our British fellow subjects in England enjoy by virtue of their unwritten, but well-understood, constitution Latterly, however, we have been told by a few persons who happen to hold seats in our Legislative Council, some of whom helped to frame the constitution, that we have not got a counter part of the British Constitution, so far as applicable, but that we are to be governed upon a system which they pretend to have evolved from the terms of the statute which they framed. What that system is, or is to be, when fully matured, the colonists are yet uninformed, but we shall take the liberty of dealing with so much of it as we are permitted to see, and speculate a little on what will be our probable destiny under the new political doctrines of Sladen and Co.
Before touching the subject in its financial bearing, let us examine the opinions of some. of the greatest statesmen of England on that particular function of the Upper House, the value of which is so often pressed upon us by the members of that House, and which is called the check upon hasty legislation. We are now dealing with measures in which the Upper House is admitted to have equal authority with the Lower, to initiate, alter, or reject. We give the Upper House the full benefit of this position-but even on occasions of contests between the Houses, measures of that class, what was the language of Earl Grey in the House of Lord on the Oaths' Bill, passed by the House of Commons, and sent to the House of Lords in 1858?
"Earl Grey, on the 22nd of April, 1858, after remarking on the perseverance of the house of commons in maintaining the principle,- not by one house of commons, but by several under different, administrations, and therefore ratified by the nation at large, spoke as follows :- 'We have unmistakable evidence that on this subject the mind of the nation is made up; and being so made up, let me remind your lordships what is the proper duty of this house. Ever since our constitution has been settled in its present state, there has been a general concurrence of opinion amongst statesmen and political writers, that this house ought not to oppose an obstinate resistance to the declared will of the country. The attempt can never in the end succeed, or conduce to the dignity or authority of your lordships’ house.' With reference to Earl Derby, the premier, continuing his opposition to the bill, Earl Grey observed, 'I will recommend him to pause and consider what was the conduct of a distinguished man who formerly held the situation he now holds, with reference to a similar question. In 1828 the repeal of the Test Acts was carried by a comparatively small majority in the house of commons. That measure was notoriously opposed to the opinion of the Duke of Wellington - then at the head of the government - and as notoriously contrary to the opinion of a very large majority of this house. But the Duke of Wellington, without professing to have changed his convictions on tile subject in dispute, taking a states. man's view of the consequences that would ?sn ue from asking this house to place itself in opposition to the measure, which had been passed by the representative branch of the legislature, advised your lordships to agree to it; and his counsel was adopted. I believe that among men of judgment, and experience there never has been any difference of opinion as to the Duke of Wellington having on that occasion taken a correct view of his duty," Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 3rd ser. vol. ii., sess. 1857-8, p. 1480.)
|!||The text has been retyped from a microfiche copy of the original.
We have taken care to reproduce this document but areas of the original text may been damaged.