Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/308

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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY.

Bank, and left to the Council the full responsibility of the suspension of public payments. Calmer counsels now prevailed, and a conference was held between two Houses, when some slight alterations in the Tariff Bill were assented to, and the Council passed the Bill, thus putting an end to the long struggle—only, however, for it to burst out in a new and envenomed form. Just at the moment when peace was restored, Sir Charles Darling was recalled by the Home Government on the ground that he had displayed partisanship in assisting the M‘Culloch Government and the majority in the Assembly to coerce the Upper House. In order to mark the national gratitude to the outgoing Governor thus censured in the popular cause, the Assembly decided to offer a grant of £20,000 to Lady Darling; but, owing to the fact that the Colonial Secretary intimated that Sir Charles Darling must retire from the colonial service if the gift were accepted by his wife, and the necessity of communicating with Sir Charles Darling before deciding on the action to be taken in consequence, the amount was not actually voted till August 1867, when it was included in the annual Appropriation Bill, which was at once rejected by the Council. The deadlock now recurred with all its former intensity. The new Governor, Sir John Henry Manners-Sutton (afterwards Viscount Canterbury) less complaisant than his predecessor, refused to endorse the judgments of the Supreme Court in favour of the Government creditors, and the former ingenious sources of satisfaction were thus shut off, leaving the M‘Culloch Ministry no other resource but to resign. The new Governor found it as impossible as his predecessor had done to form an alternative Government, Mr. Fellows, to whom he primarily applied, declining to guide his course in relation to the Darling grant by the results of another appeal to the country. Sir James M‘Culloch resumed office, and obtained the passage of a temporary supply bill, on a pledge that no part of the money voted should be applied to the payment of the obnoxious grant. After a brief recess Parliament was again called together; the Governor, to put an end to the trouble, agreeing, now that Sir Charles Darling had resigned the public service, to recommend the Council to pass the Appropriation Bill with the £20,000 grant included. The Council, however, formally repudiated his intervention, but agreed to consider the grant on its merits if it were sent up to them as a separate measure. The Government was inclined to agree to this course, but the Assembly insisted on its continued inclusion in the Appropriation Bill, or otherwise they would be committed to the admission that tacking was unconstitutional, and would thus abrogate the privileges which they had fought so hard to vindicate. The result was that the Council again summarily rejected the Appropriation Bill. Another temporary supply bill was introduced; but the Council rejected it, on the ground that there was no guarantee that it might not be utilised to pay the Darling grant. In this dilemma the Ministry had recourse to their old device for meeting public payments in a modified form. They decided not to have recourse to a bank, but notified the public creditors that if they brought actions individually against the Crown they would not be defended. Even the Governor was impressed with the necessities of the situation, and agreed to this course being adopted, so long as the procedure was confined to the payment of services necessary for the protection of life and property or the prevention of dangerous confusion. In the meantime Parliament was again dissolved, with the result that the Government supporters counted sixty as against eighteen for the Opposition. In the meantime the Duke of Buckingham had become Colonial Secretary, and a despatch was received from him forbidding the Governor to in any way facilitate the adoption of the Darling grant. This was tantamount to prohibiting its inclusion in the Appropriation Bill. Sir James M‘Culloch and his colleagues immediately resigned, and after prolonged negotiations Sir Charles Sladen agreed to form, in the teeth of hostile votes in the Assembly, a ministry which only lasted two months. In the meantime the deadlock seemed likely to become more stringent than ever, it being now the turn of the Assembly to block Governmental supplies. Just at the most critical juncture the Colonial Office made its peace with Sir Charles Darling, who withdrew his resignation from the service,

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