Palmer and Collier to Cardwell
Lincolns Inn
April 6th 1865
We are honored with your commands, signified in Sir Frederic Rogers' letter of the 20th of March, ultimo, stating that he was directed by you to request that we would take into consideration the following circumstances.
A doubt has arisen, in Vancouver Island, whether the Governor can give his assent toaManuscript image a Bill passed by the Legislative Council and Assembly, after the expiration of the Legislative Session.
That the present Legislature of Vancouver Island was constituted under Letters Patent of 16th May 1851, being the Commission of the then Governor—now Sir James Douglas, modified, in certain respects, by other Letters Patent of 8th October, 1862. That, on the revocation of these Letters Patent, provisions to the same effect were included in the Commission of the present Governor, Captain Kennedy, of which a copy was enclosed. That that Commission provides for the constitution of a Legislative Council, and theconveningManuscript image convening of a Legislative Assembly, and empowers the Governor, with their consent, to make laws for the peace &c.
That similar legislative Bodies are established in other Colonies, sometimes by Letters Patent, sometimes by Act of Parliament, or local Law. But neither in the Letters Patent constituting the Council of Vancouver Island, nor (it is believed) in the Instructions establishing any other Colonial Legislature, is any express provision made for limiting the time within which the Governor may assent, on behalf of Her Majesty, to a Bill passed by the Legislature.
ThatManuscript image
That, in some small Colonies, legislation is effected, not by a single Annual Session but by summoning the legislature pro re natâ, as Laws are wanted.
Sir Frederic Rogers was further pleased to state, that, under these circumstances, you desired to be informed, whether, in Vancouver Island, and other Colonies possessing Representative Legislatures, the assent of the Governor to any Bill, passed by such a Legislature, must, in the absence of any express Legislative provision, be given before the expiration of the Session, within which such Bill was passed: and in case this necessity doesnotManuscript image not exist, whether there is any limit, and, if so, what limit, to the period within which such assent must be given?
In obedience to Your commands, we have taken this matter into consideration, and have the honor to Report,
That we do not think it is necessary, that the assent of the Governor to any Bill, passed by such a Legislature as is supposed by the question, should be given before the expiration of the Session, within which such Bill was passed. If, indeed, it were provided by the Constitution of any such Legislature, that the law and custom of the BritishParliamentManuscript image Parliament should, as far as practicable, be observed therein, the point might admit of more question: but we conceive it to be certin, that, when Bills passed by such Colonial Legislatures are reserved for the signification of Her Majesty's pleasure thereon, the Royal assent need not be given, and generally is not given, during the Session in which the bill is passed: so that the usage, in such cases, is generally different from that of the British Parliament.
We are not aware of any limit, within which the Governor's assent must necessarily be given to a law passed by such a Colonial Legislature, and notrevokedManuscript image revoked or altered by any subsequent legislation.
We have the honor to be,
Your most obedient
humble Servants
Roundell Palmer
R.P. Collier
Minutes by CO staff
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ABd 6 April
I think that the Govr may now be authorized to assent to the Act.
On second thoughts however I am not sure that it might not be advisable to remove any doubt as to the meaning of the 2nd clause (vide Mr Blackwoods final note).
I would write that Mr Cardwell wd now proceed to the selection of a Judge—that the Royal Warrant authg the appointment of that functionary wd authorize his appnt only during pleasure, & that it mt perhaps be advisable having reference to the peculiar wording of the Law, to enact expressly that nothing contained in it shd give him any greater interest in his office than during HMs pleasure.
FR 11/4
Then to Mr Parker as to the Patronage.
EC 12
Other documents included in the file
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Draft reply, Cardwell to Kennedy, No. 21, 17 April 1865.
Minutes by CO staff
Returned to Dt too late for Mail of 15th April.