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EXTRACTS FROM INSTRUCTIONS PASSED UNDER THE
ROYAL SIGN MANUAL AND SIGNET FOR SIR CHARLES HENRY DARLING
AS GOVERNOR AND COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF IN AND OVER THE ISLAND OF NEWFOUNDLAND, THE COAST OF LABRADOR, ETC., GIVEN AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE THE FIFTH DAY OF MAY, 1855: IN VIRTUE OF WHICH INSTRUCTIONS THE SYSTEM KNOWN AS RESPONSIBLE OR PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENT WAS ESTABLISHED IN THIS COLONY.1
And whereas We have by Our said Commission [Note: the Commission to Charles Henry Darling, Esquire, as Governor, dated May 5th 1855] ordained and appointed that the existing Council for Our said Island shall constitute and be a Legislative Council for Our said Island: and that the said Legislative Council shall be composed of such Public Officers within our said Island, and of such other Persons within the same, as shall from time to time be nominated or designated by Us, by any Instruction or Instructions, or Warrant or Warrants, to be by Us for that purpose issued under our Sign Manual and Signet, and with the advice of Our Privy Council; all which Councillors shall hold their places in the said Council at Our pleasure: Now We do hereby authorise and empower you, by any Instrument or Instruments to be made and issued in Our name and under the Public Seal of Our said Island, to constitute and appoint provisionally, not less than Ten nor more than Fifteen Persons to be the first Members of the said Legislative Council for Our said Island, subject to Our Pleasure.
And We do declare Our pleasure to be that Five Members of Our said Legislative Council shall be a Quorum for the dispatch of the business thereof.
And We do authorise and empower you, by an instrument under Public Seal of Our said Island, to appoint One Member of Our said Council to preside therein, and to remove him and appoint another in his stead.
1 Reprinted from Revised Statutes of Newfoundland, 1916, vol. 1, App. pp. xlvii to li.
And for ensuring punctuality of attendance of the Members of the said Legislative Council, and for the prevention of meetings of the said Council being held without convenient notice to the several members thereof, it is Our pleasure, and We do hereby direct, that you do frame, for the guidance of the said Council, such standing Rules and Orders as may be necessary for those purposes with such other standing Rules and Orders as may be best adapted for maintaining order and method in the dispatch of business, and in the conduct of all debates in the said Council, which Rules and Orders, not being repugnant to these Our Instructions, or to any other Instructions which you may receive from Us, shall at all times be followed and observed, and shall be binding upon the said Council.
And We do further direct that Minutes shall be regularly kept of the proceedings of the said Legislative Council, and that the said Council shall not ever proceed to the dispatch of business until the Minutes of the last preceding Meeting have first been read over and confirmed or corrected as may be necessary.
You are authorised and directed, with the advice and consent of Our said Executive Council, from time to time, as need shall require, to summon and call General Assemblies of the Freeholders and Householders within the said Island and its Dependencies within your Government, in such manner and form, and according to such powers and authorities, as are hereinafter appointed by these Our Instructions, or according to such further powers and authorities as shall be at any time hereafter granted or appointed under Our Sign Manual and Signet, or by Our Order in Our Privy Council, and according to the Laws of Our said Island in that behalf made and provided; and Our will and pleasure is that the persons thereupon duly elected by the major part of the Freeholders and Householders of the respective Towns and Districts, and so returned, shall, before their sitting, take the Oath commonly called the Oath of Allegiance, which Oath you shall commission fit persons under the Seal of Our said Island and its Dependencies, to tender and administer unto them; and until the same shall be taken, no Person shall be capable of sitting, though elected. And We do hereby declare that the Persons so elected and qualified, shall be called and deemed the General Assembly of Our said Island of Newfoundland; and that you, by and with the advice and consent of Our said Legislative Council and Assembly, or the major part of them respectively, shall have full power and authority to make, constitute and ordain Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances, for the public peace, welfare and good government of Our said Island and its Dependencies and the People and Inhabitants thereof, and such others as shall resort thereto, and for the benefit of Us, Our Heirs and Successors; which said Laws, Statutes and Ordinances, are not to be repugnant, but as near as may be agreeable, to the Laws and Statutes of this Our United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
And it is Our further Will and Pleasure that all such Laws, Statutes and Ordinances, of what nature or duration soever, be, within three months, or sooner, after the making thereof, transmitted to Us under the Public Seal of Our said Island and its Dependencies for our approbation or disallowance of the same, as also duplicates thereof by the next conveyance; and in case any or all of the Laws, Statutes and Ordinances not before confirmed by Us shall at any time be disallowed and not approved, and so signified by us, Our Heirs or Successors, under Our or their Sign Manual and Signet, or by order of Our or their Privy Council, unto you, then such and so many of the said Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances as shall be so disallowed and not approved, shall from thenceforth cease, determine and become utterly void and of none effect, anything to the contrary thereof notwithstanding; and to the end that nothing may be passed or done by Our said Legislative Council and Assembly to the prejudice of Us, Our Heirs and Successors, We will and ordain that you shall have and enjoy a negative voice in the making and passing such Laws, Statutes, and Ordinances as aforesaid, and that you shall and may from time to time, as you shall judge it necessary, adjourn, prorogue, or dissolve all General Assemblies as aforesaid.
And whereas by a Commission under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, bearing date the Second day of March One thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, in the Second year of the Reign of His Majesty King William the Fourth, and by Instructions under His Royal Sign Manual and Signet, bearing date the Twenty-Seventh day of July, One thousand eight hundred and thirty-two, His said late Majesty did authorise and empower Sir Thomas John Cochrane, Knight, then Governor of Newfoundland, to summon General Assemblies of Freeholders and Householders within the said Island: And Whereas General Assemblies were afterwards elected and holden in and for the said Island under and by virtue of the said last mentioned Commissions and Instructions, and under and by virtue of other Commissions and Instructions from time to time issued by Us: And Whereas by an Act passed in the Sixth Year of Our Reign, intituled "An Act for amending the Constitution of the Government of Newfoundland," it was enacted amongst other things, that it should be lawful for Us, in the manner therein provided, to establish a qualification in respect of income or property, in right of which any person might thereafter be elected to serve as a member of the Assembly of Our said Island, and in manner aforesaid to determine the length of the period of residence which should be required, in addition to any other qualification, for voting at such elections or for being elected to serve as a Member of the Assembly, and to restrain, in manner therein provided, appropriations of moneys to the Public Service by the said Assembly, and to require that all Elections of Members to serve in the said Assembly should be simultaneous: And Whereas so much as is hereinbefore recited of the said Act
was made permanent by an Act passed in the Eleventh Year of Our Reign, and entitled "An Act to make permanent certain parts of the Act for amending the Constitution of Newfoundland:" And Whereas by a Commission
under the Great Seal aforesaid bearing date the Twenty-seventh day of August, One Thousand, eight hundred and forty-two, and by Instructions under our Sign Manual and Signet bearing date the first day of September, One thousand eight hundred and forty-two, We did, in pursuance of the powers reserved to Us by the said first recited Act, make certain changes in the Constitution of the Government of Newfoundland, in respect of the qualifications of Members of the Assembly, and the period of residence necessary to qualify Electors for and Members by such Assembly, and in respect of holding elections for such Assembly simultaneously, and limiting the duration thereof, and in respect of restraining the appropriation of public funds by the said Assembly And Whereas General Assemblies have been since elected and holden in and for the said Island under and by virtue of the said last mentioned Commission and Instructions, and under and by virtue of other Commissions and Instructions from time to time issued by Us, and lastly of our Commision and Instructions aforesaid, bearing date the Ninth day of November, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Fifty-two: Now by these Our Instructions under Our Signet and Sign Manual, We do, in pursuance and exercise of the powers vested in Us by the said recited Acts, and other powers and authority to Us in that behalf appertaining, direct that in relation to the summoning of such General Assemblies, you do follow the provisions of Our said recited Instructions, and of an Act of the Legislature of Newfoundland passed in the Eighteenth Year of our Reign, and intituled "An Act to Increase the present number of Representatives in the General Assembly of this Island, and to regulate the Representation thereof."