British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

have been unpopular, whether justly or not, with the merits of the question which relates to the existence of the power itself. For my own part I have always felt that the power of conferring pecuniary rewards was of absolute and indispensable necessity in order to maintain the executive Government in this country, and to enable it to discharge those duties which it owes to the people; and I fairly own that I think this power, as it now stands, by the regulation of the civil list, and by the aids which can be drawn from the hereditary revenue in Ireland, and from the 4 ⅟2 per cent. duty, is not extended beyond those limits which are warranted by that necessity which I have stated. But it is easy to see that the discussion of these topics in Parliament, though, I think, by no means to be avoided where necessity calls for their introduction, is nevertheless liable to the effect and operation of other notions; and that the success of such an argument might not depend on its justice or propriety.

This being the case, the advantage which would be gained by carrying such an arrangement being a point merely of appearance towards the colonies; and the danger to be incurred by proposing it being that of limiting the power of Government in an instance where I think it by no means too large at present; it appears to me that in point of fair and reasonable policy it ought not to be attempted; and that it is better to leave the business in the situation in which it has so long stood, and in which the cause of complaint, if any, is certainly not on the side of the colonies. . . .


12
CANADA: MEMORANDUM ON QUESTIONS AT ISSUE IN FRAMING A NEW CONSTITUTION 17891

[The petitions and counter-petitions from Canada are considered, together with Lord Dorchester's comments on the proportionate weight and opinions of the habitants, seigneurie, and English-speaking settlers.]


HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY

1st. The first point prayed for in the petitions is a House of Assembly, which it is proposed should be triennial and should be composed of old and new subjects, in such manner as the King may think proper.

Besides the general and obvious topics which result from a comparison of the present form of government in Canada with the con-

____________________
1
C.O. 42/21, ff. 65-97. Enclosed in dispatch from Grenville to Dorchester, 20 October 1789 (printed in W. P. M. Kennedy, Statutes, Treaties and Documents, Oxford 1930, pp. 184-8). The paper has no date or signature, but it appears to have been at any rate based upon the memorandum which Grenville drafted and submitted to Thurlow. The document is printed in full in Shortt and Doughty, vol, ii, p. 970.

-197-

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