British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

to make, nor any other improvements in the laws and constitutions of the Canadas, will be attended with the desired effect, unless an impartial, conciliatory and constitutional system of government be observed in these loyal and important colonies. . . .


24
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: S. W. G. ARCHIBALD, C.J., TO SIR JAMES KEMPT, 12 May 18281

Halifax.

. . . When we consider our colonial legislatures we must admit that they are widely different in their constitution from the Parliament of Great Britain, and that they require to be moulded by men of good understanding and honest intentions to suit the local circumstances of the country or otherwise they will produce little else than vexation and annoyance. In the House of Commons no petition for any sum of money is received unless recommended by the Crown and thereby this constitutional principle is acknowledged, that while it is the sole right of the Commons to grant the public money, those grants are for services pointed out by the Crown; but your Excellency well knows that in the colonial assemblies the case is different and that with few exceptions all grants of money originate with members of the Lower House without any recommendation whatever. The necessity, therefore, of the Council as an intermediate branch of the legislature in all money matters, as well as in other bills, is most obvious, and as they are a more permanent body than the Assembly, it is peculiarly their duty to guard against any appropriations, however desirable, which might exceed the disposable means of the colony and thereby lead to public embarrassments.

The legislatures of this province and New Brunswick early discovered that the only way of adjusting the public affairs of the country was for the House of Assembly to submit in separate resolutions for the consideration of the Council every separate sum and service and in cases where they could not agree upon the particular service under consideration, the money was applied to some other beneficial purpose agreed upon by them; thus each service is separately discussed without endangering the passage of a bill containing all the general services of the country. Thus have these provinces proceeded in their appropriations of large sums of money from year to year and whenever

____________________
1
C.O. 217/148, pp. 217-21, enclosed in Kempt to Hay 14 May 1828. S. W. G. Archibald was Chief Justice of Prince Edward Island (1824-8) and later Attorney- General of Nova Scotia. He remained an adroit and resourceful Speaker of the Nova Scotia Assembly and Solicitor-General during the full time of his tenure of the Chief Justiceship. Sir James Kempt had fought in the Peninsular War. He was Governor of Nova Scotia from 1820 to 1828 and administrator of Canada from 1828 to 1830.

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