The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957) Wednesday 25 October 1865
MEETINGS IN THE COUNTRY.-REPLY TO THE
Meetings in various districts of the country have been organised by the friends of the Government. The resolutions and addresses adopted at them have been almost word for
word the same. In reply to that from Ballarat the Governor said;
” It will be my duty to transmit to the Secretory of State the petition which, on behalf of a public meeting of the inhabitants of Ballarat, you have placed in my hands for submission to Her Majesty.
“I need not assure you that it is satisfactory to me to observe the opinion which the meeting bas conveyed to Her Majesty, not
only of my administration of the affairs of the colony generally, but also of that particular measure by which, in the existing conjuncture, the public liabilities are met, and
the public service continues to be efficiently maintained.
” You are aware that the Leglslat ive Council, separating me from my responsible Ministers, have thought fit, through the medium of a document which has necessarily received publicity, to accuse me individually of unjustifiable conduct in giving my assent to that measure, which the Council has at the same time characterised as a scheme collusive (viz., concocted with a fraudulent intent) unconstitutional, and revolutionary.
” To the people of Victoria an extensive power of controlling, and a corresponding duty of forming an opinion upon, public affairs has been committed by the constitution of its Government and Parliament, and in order to enable the people to judge how far this charge against the Queen’s representative in the colony is supported by facts, I entered at some length into an explanation of the circumstances connected with the measure upon which the charge is founded,
when on a recent occasion I received from a deputation of a public meeting in Melbourne
An address to Her Majesty similar in purport to that which you have just committed to my care. ‘
” It adds materially to the confidence with which I now accept expressions of public
opinion upon the subject, to feel satisfied that they are not given without a full knowledge of all the facts which have any material bearing upon it.
” With respect to the law by whose instrumentality the measure referred to has been carried into effect, it may be well to remark
that its adaptability to the purpose does not, in my estimation, consist of the facility by which a judgment against the Crown may be obtained, but in the peculiar provisions of the statute, whereby direct authority ia conveyed
to the Government at once to satisfy that judgment out of the consolidated revenue; and whether it was or was not contemplated
by the framers of the act, or by the Parliament which passed it, that it should be applied to cases precisely similar to the present, it is
at any rate not a little remarkable, that in defining the claims or demands against the Crown which come within its operation, it declares them to be claims and demands which shall be founded on and arise out of some contract entered into on behalf of Her
Majesty, or by the authority of her local government.’
” It would, I think, be difficult to construct a clause more comprehensive in its terms, or
more clearly describing the nature of the demands and claims-both those which the Government is now satisfying, through the
medium of tho London Chartered Bank, and those which are directly preferred by the bank itself.
“Having made these observations in reference to those passages of your petition to Her Majesty which relate to myself, I now desire to assure you that I am not insensible to the strong expressions of confidence in my responsible advisers which not only that
document contains, but which have reached me in various forms from unanimous assemblages of the inhabitants of the colony, and
that I attached to them due weight in deciding upon my own conduct as the depository of the constitutional power of the Crown in the present position of public affairs.”