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an Arrears Act, and a Prevention of Crimes Act, and an Agricultural Holdings Act, and only the best Radicals know how many other Acts and promises of Acts, all curtailing and not enlarging the limits of our liberty. Change was wanted, and the frigid phantasy of individual freedom with all its philosophic splendour dissolved in the first fervour of a practical demand.

And the overthrow of this illusive altar of liberty, while it has been general throughout the domain of English politics, has had its effect in matters concerning the colonies; though in these matters it has been less signal, and has not attracted as much as it deserves of public and accurate recognition.

It is only lately that silence seems to have overtaken a body of writers and thinkers who used to be loud in proclaiming the perfection of their principles for the conduct of the relations between Great Britain and her dependencies. They had constructed a faith relatively to our colonies co-ordinate with their faith concerning all other political questions. Freedom was the great thing-freedom for the individual, freedom for the colony. This was a passion, an emotion; but reason, which could not be altogether set aside, came in and rather snubbed and flattened out the emotion. In the same way that it seemed certain that freedom could not be given to any one man except under restrictions guaranteeing freedom to other men, so it appeared that the liberty granted to a colony must, in practice, be subject to the liberty of other parts of the British dominions. Accordingly the propositions came to be, that every man was entitled to complete liberty subject to the claims of society, and that every self-governing colonial community was entitled to the management of its own affairs subject to the claims of the empire. In effect, the sentimental axioms about freedom were forced to temporise with the limitations of common sense, which robbed them of all practical value and turned them into mere verbiage. People who knew something of the colonies, and the spirit slumbering in them, wondered, as they looked on these meaningless propositions, how they were to have force, whence was to come the authority, when a conflict of interests arose, Imperial interests and Colonial interests, competent to beacon off the boundary at which Imperial interests should abdicate and Colonial interests take up the sceptre. But doubts such as these did not seem to affect the theorists, and in the general interlude of tranquillity which up to 1877 was enjoyed by our dependencies their jubilant voices might be heard, possessed of increasing confidence as each year of peaceful progress passed on, piping their panacea for the perplexities of a Colonial Empire. Their song lasted just so long as providence was kind enough to keep facts out of the way of their theory. In 1877 the Government of the Cape Colony, aided by Imperial forces, engaged in the Gaika and Galeka war; in

1879 the Imperial Government engaged in the Zulu war; in 1880 the Government of the Cape Colony, with their own forces, engaged in the Basuto war; and in 1884 there is still war in Zululand which requires a movement of British troops; while the Basutos, unbeaten, are thrown back upon the Imperial Government to be dealt with directly by Imperial authority; and now between the Imperial Government and the Australian colonies there is a question of the first magnitude at issue.

At the touch of each one of these troubles the celebrated principle that the colonies have a right to govern themselves subject to the rights of the rest of the Empire manifests its inanity. It is no more than a verbal proposition, and vanishes like smoke. No one can say where the Colonial affairs end over which the colonies are to have exclusive jurisdiction, and where the Imperial affairs begin. After the experience of 1877 and 1879 the theorists still clung desperately to their fading formula. The Zulu war, they pleaded, was a calamity wrought by the autocratic arm of an Imperial High Commissioner, and was no act of a self-governing community; and as to the Cape Colony's own war with the Gaikas and Galekas, the Cape Government must understand that for the future no Imperial troops shall be given in aid of any Colonial enterprise; and thus we save our Imperial interests. But the impotence of the plea was transparent and the formula was doomed. The Zulu war, every observer of South Africa knew, was an undertaking favoured and encouraged, if not required, by the feeling of the South African communities, and the hand that struck the blow was but an index answering a hidden spring. The invasion of Zululand was in all but a formal sense an act of selfgovernment in South Africa. But lest any one, a firmer believer than others, should have been prepared to dispute this statement, and to still trust to one last invocation of the discredited and dying divinity of his unfortunate axiom, the uproar of Basutoland arises to drown his voice. The Cape Government was suffered to carry war into Basutoland because its relations with Basutoland were under its own control; that was a matter of self-government. And the colonists failing in the war, have been forced to allow the Basuto nation to break their country off from the Cape Colony and to place it directly under the Imperial Crown. And here we have the spectacle of a colony operating-if there is any reality in such a division. of Imperial and Colonial interests as I have been examining-beyond the zone of Imperial interests, within the circle of its own interests, and yet in the sequel absolving itself of a large part of the consequence of its proceedings, and throwing upon the Imperial Government a burden that by its own acts it had made heavy and that it was unable itself to bear.

It will be evident that in treating this question of the theoretical counterposition of Imperial and Colonial interests I have made no

reference to minor concerns of purely municipal administration, in regard to which the principle of freedom from interference has had in the early history of our colonies a real significance; but this reservation in no degree affects the justice of my contention. Indeed, were it worth while to enter upon so minute an inquiry, I believe it might be shown that there is hardly any matter in any colony so absolutely small but that issues of it might, under possible contingencies, become of Imperial moment and magnitude. That colonies are entitled to manage their own affairs subject to the saving of Imperial interests is, therefore, I submit, a proposition in which, despite the position of honour that able men have assigned it, there is, at the present time, except in the most insignificant matters, neither value nor meaning..

It might seem, indeed, that it were needless to labour over so plain a conclusion; and this undoubtedly will be the criticism of those who have any intimate acquaintance with the details of Colonial history. But unfortunately the number of such persons in England in comparison with those who are tempted to take their opinions from imaginative writers is not large; and the imaginative writer, with a few plausible propositions and a prescription warranted to avert all illness in a body politic that has of late so greatly suffered, is dangerously liable, like the Sophist of old, to make the worse appear the better cause. Moreover, even accurate and impartial thinkers do not easily outgrow the influence of creeds and watchwords which, once vital and endued with reason and power, have legitimately lost place and become obsolete owing to the surcease of the cause which called them into being. Some people never outgrow such influences at all, and they help to form the types of stationary civilisation we find in the East, and become pure fanatics. Others outgrow them but slowly, and, like Mr. Bright, depart reluctantly from the emptied shrines, and perambulate proudly the battlefields of the past, sounding the call of conflicts that are dead. Our views about our colonies have suffered particularly from this blowing of worn-out trumpets.

No one, probably, would now seek to justify that ancient interference of the Crown with the internal administration of the colonies which had its root in endeavours to maintain a system of commercial reciprocity and protection; and the grant of self-government to the colonies and the attempt to develop and perfect the plan have been of late years in no sense party measures. It was a Conservative Secretary of State who in 1868 amplified the independent powers of government in British North America by the confederation of seven powerless provinces into one capacious and puissant dominion. But for all this, a certain class of politician, undoubtedly with a very just pride in the older and somewhat antique efforts of his sect, has grown dreadfully senile in regard to the imposing stature of our colonies.

He wants to have credit for all that spacious architecture of freedom when or wherever it was designed, and he wants, too, to set upon it the seal of his own exclusive patronage. Urged perpetually by fond recollections to a superfluous glorification of the principle of self-government of which he claims paternity, and yet unable to evade the fact of imperial supremacy, he has compounded propositions as to the rights of the colonies, subject only to the rights of the empire, that for all practical purposes are as empty as the wind. Unfortunately, a vast number of people carelessly accept such dogmas as of real substance and value. Thus, having neglected our true political armoury, we are found, when the danger comes, proudly arming ourselves and going forth to fight with weapons of straw. Australia marshals her forces and South Africa marshals her forces -battalions of colonial interests-and the Secretary of State looks in his drawer and produces his famous paper roll of imperial responsibilities, and, waving it in the air, awaits the dissolving of the opponent hosts. But the opponent hosts remain unscathed by the spell.

Were it not tedious it would be as advantageous as it is marvellous to examine the expressions of politicians of the school I refer to where they seek to describe the nature and predict the future of our colonies. An illustration of the extravagance I mean might be drawn from the writings of Mr. Thorold Rogers, and, in particular, a paper published in the Cobden Club Essays of 1871 will furnish a fair specimen of the perfectly awful ignorance of an educated man writing for a sciolist society upon a common subject. In this imaginative excursus we have the colonist painted for us as a creature out of all sympathy with the ruling sentiments of the people of England, a despiser of their institutions, a hater of their habits. He is, it is evident, what the writer conceives to be the full and destined development of the genuine Radical spirit let thoroughly loose in a land glowing with real liberty, the autotype of the coming citizen of the world; and one of his finer passions we may note in passing is his deadly antipathy to horse-racing, which appears to him to be among "the most insolent manifestations of arrogant wealth." This reference to horse-racing is small matter, but it is an example of the utterly absurd and false tone of writing of this class, and it happens to be an example particularly striking, for in no part of the world is horse-racing more popular or pursued with more thoroughness than in Australia and other British Colonies. Mr. Goldwin Smith, even though with the advantage of living and writing in Canada, seemed unable to correct by experience these fantastic visions of theory, for he had a fashion of calling the people grand names they did not


(1) The American would consider these and similar practices (horse-racing, &c.) as the most insolent manifestations of arrogant wealth, and, as I conceive, the British colonist would think so too."-Cobden Club Essays, Second Series, 1871, "The Colonial Question," p. 42, Thorold Rogers.

like, celebrating them as "rough, raw, and democratic," and generally infusing into them virtues of his own thinking which they hastened decisively to disclaim.

However sad it may be, it is not surprising that when a large and able body of thinkers and politicians have set themselves to embrace, to foster, and disseminate hollow and dangerous illusions regarding the whole character of the most important parts of our Colonial Empire, we find that we have to deal, when the time of trouble comes, with a mass of opinion in England that is perverted and intractable. The plain fact is that public opinion in England has been taught truths about the sentiment of our self-governing colonies that are no truths, and has been flattered with engaging axioms for the management, or for the neglect, of these colonies that, when put to the rude test of experience, are like ropes of sand. Neither Canada, nor Australia, nor the Cape Colony are mere tops of democracy, content to spin in a contracted circle, careless of their connection with the mother country, and indifferent to the calls of patriotism and the influences of ambition. Nor are they, as the theorists have particularly taught, puling in the sickly air of submission, and unable to attain to self-reliance for lack of the bracing breezes of complete independence.

We have to consider communities in our Colonial Empire of this spirit;-self-reliant to the verge of audacity, ambitious, and, because it is the concern of their liberalism to build, not to destroy, full of the masterful imperial instinct; and since the maxim of our wise men for disposing of difficulties between the Imperial Government and Colonial Governments has failed, the question arises, upon what basis and by what principles is the conflict between the interests of the empire and the interests of a colony to be determined? To such a query one answer, I know, will come very readily from certain quarters. The first principle, it will be said, upon which the relations of this country with her colonies must be conducted, is a determination on the part of the Imperial Government to refuse to accept lightly any extension of responsibilities. Such a principle, if correctly understood and discreetly applied, is capable of affording a sound basis for the position of the British Government in regard to its dependencies, and it is worth while to examine what that principle may be taken to mean. First of all I should ask assent to the proposition that the extension of our responsibilities is not necessarily the same thing as the extension of our territory. It is not only easy to conceive, but it is easy to see, in chapters of our own history and of the history of other nations, occasions when the extension of the territory of a State has been so far from carrying with it increased responsibilities, if by increased responsibilities we mean an increase of the danger of war and of cost to the State, that it has plainly achieved a decrease

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