British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

pressly, to declare that to be law, which has emanated from an individual or body not clothed with legislative powers.

5th, Because his Excellency the Governor alone has not the power of issuing proclamations affecting the personal liberty and property of the inhabitants of this colony.

6th, Because by the concluding Article of the Capitulation it is declared that all doubts which may arise as to the intent and meaning of the Capitulation, are to be interpreted in favour of the colony; and therefore, the attempt to make either an Order in Council or a Governor's Proclamation law in this colony, is a direct violation of a solemn compact, ratified and confirmed during the reigns of George the Third and George the Fourth.

7th, Because the decision on this point has been obtained by the use of improper means. A majority of the Court having, in the first instance, declared the Order in Council and the Governor's Proclamation not to be law, his Honour the President made use of the following illegal and unconstitutional language, viz.-

'There is no longer any court in this colony, either civil or criminal; and it will therefore be my duty to report the same to the Governor immediately, as I see no mode of punishing for murder or burning, unless the Governor proclaims martial law;' which language we can view in no other light than that of a threat, to intimidate and influence the members of this Court in the due and conscientious discharge of their duty, and which, in our opinion, produced that effect on the honourable member J. H. D. Koolhaas, who after such threat withdrew the vote which he had previously given against the Order in Council and Governor's Proclamation, and voted with his Honour the President, thereby converting the previous majority into a minority. We do therefore, for the reasons aforesaid, most solemnly protest against an Order in Council or a Governor's Proclamation being received as law in this Court.

JAMES DOUGLAS, J. MEERTENS, PETER ROSE


18
BRITISH GUIANA: EDWARD STANLEY TO GOVERNOR SIR J. C. SMYTH, 22 February 18341

SIR,

I regret that the demands upon my time, arising out of the important measure of emancipation now in progress throughout His Majesty's colonies, have prevented me from conveying to you at an

____________________
1
C.O. 112/18, pp. 106-15. E. G. Stanley had been Under-Secretary for the Colonies from 1827 to 1828. He replaced Goderich as Secretary of State for War and the Colonies in 1833. Major-General Sir James Carmichael Smyth became Governor of British Guiana in 1833. He had served with Craig and Baird at the Cape and with Wellington at Waterloo.

-108-

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