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Hong Kong Governor Bonham to British Minister Lord Grey, 1849

Hong Kong Governor Bonham to British Minister Lord Grey, 1849, Regarding Chinese Participation in the Colonial Government

Hong Kong Governor Bonham to
British Minister Lord Grey, 1849

Regarding Chinese Participation in the Colonial Government

Governor Bonham to Lord Grey, despatch 22, 26 February 1849, CO 129/28   (quoted in Steve Tsang, ed. Government and Politics. pp. 59-60)

    The 8th clause [of the petition] represents that the inhabitants have no share in the legislation of the Colony. On this subject I have only to say that I see no objection whatever to the nomination of two of the principal inhabitants to a seat in the Legislative and Executive Councils respectively. On the reverse I think that the admission of two gentlemen of the Commercial Body would prove extremely useful in many respects for they process, from a more free and constant intercourse among themselves and with the native inhabitants than the Government officers conveniently can have, the means of acquiring information of the requirements of the Colony and of the changes and amendments to be desired which from their position is denied to the members of the Council as at present constituted. The adoption of this measure would moreover afford opportunities at all times of enabling the public generally to make their wishes and desires known to the local Government. This alone, if it were of no other use, would prove to a certain extent satisfactory to the inhabitants, and certainly would not be otherwise than useful to the authorities, and it would moreover enable the Government to explain its acts which in many way, I will say in most cases, are complained of because they are unexplained and consequently misunderstood. I therefore beg respectfully to offer it as my opinion that Her Majesty might be moved to sanction two of the principal inhabitants being appointed to the Legislative and Executive Councils respectively. By paragraph V of [Her] Majesty's Gracious Instructions to the Governor of this Colony bearing date 6th April 1843, the number of Members in each Council is restricted to three, in addition to the Governor. The three members at present composing the Legislative Council are the Chief Justice, the Attorney General, and the Colonial Treasurer; those in the Executive are the Major General in Command of the Forces, the Colonial Secretary, and the Secretary to the Chief Superintendent of Trade. If therefore Her Majesty should be graciously pleased to sanction an addition to these Councils, it will be necessary that these instructions be modified to that effect.

 

Asia Institute