Darling and Verdon trip

Mount Alexander Mail, 22 May 1866
MR. VERDON’S TRIP TO ENGLAND.
Star.
It so happens that we know what the Governor has undertaken to prove. He has put in two pleas, both of which are singular in their way, when pleaded in refutation of the censures of an officer of the home Government, guided by the best legal authorities of the realm. We are told that Sir Charles Darling first pleads the plenary powers of his office, and secondly; ‘ as ihe king can do no wrong, so the . king’s representative in the colonies is equally privileged, the responsibility in each case resting with the Ministers and advisers of either the king or governor.” The first plea is obviously a denial of the power of the home Government to call his acts into question, and could as properly be pleaded by Governor Eyre as by Sir Charles Darling. The question, however, is not only what those powers are, but how they have been exercised. Of this last question, the home Government is clearly the sole judge, and it can as properly recall the Governor of Victoria as of Jamaica ; 2nd if our patriots approve of the one act, how can they, on this plea, disapprove of the other? Here is a question to be answered. The other plea is based on a fallacy, as Sir Henry Barkly proved, in a despatch which we quoted only a short time ago. If a governor can do no wrong, how is it that he is liable to impeach ment? Who ever heard of a sovereign being impeached? Sir Henry Barkly wrote — “the fundamental maxim, ‘ a king can do no wrong’ must be, inapplicable to the sovereign’s deputy, who is liable to impeachment, to action, to removal from office on address of the -House of Commons or colonial Legislature. But even if we admit the plea, it does not cover the case. Sir Charles Darling ventured to do what no king or queen of Great Britain dare attempt. He dared to levy taxes without the consent of the Legislature, and to expend the public moneys without the sanction of an Appropriation Act. He claimed to be a king and something more, for he practically acted as a despot. If this is the case to be set up, and we are told it is, Mr Verdon may stop in the colony, and Sir Charles Darling may save himself the anxiety and expense of seeking a further inquiry. The absurdity of the case is not, we fear, likely to deter a Ministry whose career has been one long, ridiculous assumption of power, the game will be continued until the last card is played, and disputed after that. The members of the Opposition should, therefore, ask for information at once, as to whether it is true that the Treasurer is on defending bent, and whom and what is he going to defend. There is not, to us, any very clear evidence that the services of Mr Verdon are required in England, even in his martial character whilst in arma cedunt logai, his presence as an advocate of the Governor will be a slur upon the colony and an insult to the home Governor.

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