HC Deb 31 May 1860 vol 158 cc1826-41

in calling the attention of the House to the Report of the Committee on the Military Defences of the Colonies, said, he thought it was essential to a proper discussion of the Army Estimates that the expenditure of the country upon colonial defences should be brought before the House. He was induced to introduce the subject now because he might not have another opportunity of doing so, and because if it were to be discussed at all it ought to be before supply was granted for the army. They were about to vote £15,000,000 for the Army Estimates, and of that sum upwards of £4,000,000 was disposed of in colonial defences. He could show that a great deal of this money was unnecessarily voted—that it was uselessly thrown away; while at the same time the resources and rightful obligations of large portions of the Empire in men and money were refused, although both could be readily enlisted in Her Majesty's service. A Committee had sat upon the subject of the Colonial Defences, and he wished now to know whether the Government intended to act upon their Report, and if not, what was going to be done. It was in March, 1859, that the gallant General (General Peel) then at the head of the War Office, communicated with the Colonial Office and the Treasury his sense of the immense inconvenience and mischief produced by the existing system, and urged upon them the necessity of coming to some definite principle as to the distribution of the expenditure on colonial defences between his own and the Colonial Department. General Peel then laid down, as the basis of an equitable arrangement, the double principle that the Home Government ought to contribute to the defence of the Colonies from invasion, but that the colonists should provide wholly for their own internal defence, and that any expenditure by the mother country for that purpose ought to be reimbursed from the colonial funds. The gallant General then proposed the formation of a Committee formed of representatives of three offices—the War Office, the Colonial Office, and the Treasury—to consider the best means of devising better arrangements. That Committee was formed and consisted of Mr. Hamilton (the Secretary of the Treasury and formerly a highly respected Member of that House) as representative of the Treasury; Mr. Godley (a man of the highest ability and worth, and one whose opinion upon a question like this was of the greatest value because of his vast acquaintance with colonial matters) from the War Office; and Mr. Eliott (also a man of eminent ability) from the Colonial Office. Mr. Godley was one of the founders of the Colony of Canterbury, in New Zealand, one of the most successful colonies this country had ever established. He (Mr. Adderley) could himself bear testimony to its success, having been one of the original adventurers in the scheme with Mr. Godley, and being in the receipt of large and ample dividends arising from the unexampled and unchecked prosperity of the colony. That Committee made its Report. To that Report he desired the particular attention of the House on various grounds. Questions of considerable import were involved in its consideration. It was important on the ground of economy; it had an important bearing upon the efficiency of the army, which, as the hon. and gallant General (Sir De Lacy Evans) had just stated was now scattered over the globe; but thirdly, it was important because it showed that the safety and vigour of our colonies were materially impaired by the present system. He intended, first, to state the principles laid down by the Report; secondly, the objections advanced by Mr. Elliott, in an appendix, to some of those principles; and thirdly, to show the fallacy of those objections. The Report showed, first, that the colonies of England contributed to the expense of their own defences about one-tenth part only, and it stated that such a state of things was quite novel in the whole world's history and an entire innovation on the former treatment of her Colonies by England. It was absolutely unparalleled in the history of the world that any portion of an empire—colonial, provincial, or otherwise—should be so exempted, both in purse and person, from the cost of its own defences. He did not believe that, there was one Englishman in a thousand who was well acquainted with the history of our earliest colonies; but those who knew it would remember that for a century and a half the original American colonists had maintained their own defences without any assistance from the mother country, and had not only maintained peace within their own borders, but had even defeated the regular armies of Spain, France, Holland, and other countries repeatedly with their own Militia troops. Graham, the historian of the early American colonists, showed how England used to go to war in those days, and the zeal with which the colonists readily supplied not only money but troops. In 1710, when England was engaged in a contest with France, the American militia, being disappointed in the arrival of the English regular army, obtained permission to take the field alone, and added Port Royal and Acadia to the dominions of the Crown. A far more memorable instance was that of the taking of Louisburg in 1745, when the young English colonies, exposed to danger on all sides, absolutely themselves, unaided by a single man from England, raised a force, both military and naval, and took Cape Breton, the Gibraltar of America, and added it to the dominions of the Crown. The Mutiny Act of England was never extended to America until 1740, and it was then that the introduction of English troops began there, never censing until the emancipation of those colonies, produced mainly by the interference of the mother country. The present sysem was not only an innovation, but one of the most inconsistent and anomalous description. No definite rule existed; for some colonies which as Imperial stations had a right to have Imperial garrisons, contributed most, and those which had no claim for assistance contributed least. Another aggravation was the treatment of the troops in regard to colonial allowances. In some rich colonies Her Majesty's troops received allowances in addition to their pay. The consequence was, that the pay of the troops stationed in less liberal colonies where no such allowances were made was necessarily increased out of our Treasury beyond the regular pay of our army; and where this was not done continual grumblings and discontent prevailed. When Earl Grey was at the head of the Colonial Office, be suggested that all that England should undertake to maintain in each colony was that amount of force which might be considered necessary for Imperial purposes. Very ample reasons were given in the Report for not adopting that proposition. He thought the Report sufficiently disposed of the proposition and principles laid down by Lord Grey. What was sufficient for Imperial purposes? He suspected hardly two Gentlemen in the House would give the same opinion on that point; some would say that no force at all, others that a very large one, was required. This proposition, in fact, left it to the discretion of the Government to determine what force was required, which was the cry practice at present found so mischievous, that a Committee had been formed to get rid of it. The force which might be deemed sufficient dining peace would, of course, prove insufficient in time of war; but that was just the time when the mother country could least spare any troops. The Report laid down the only principle which appeared to him capable of application to the case, and that was the classification of all English dependencies into Imperial stations and self-governed Colonies. It recommended that the cost of those posts which were established by the Imperial Government for their own purposes, whether warlike, as at Gibraltar and Malta, or philanthropic, as in West Africa, should be defrayed out of the Imperial Treasury. The Report included in the second class the territories of Colonies which had each a Government of its own, and declared that there was no reason whatever why this country should contribute a farthing towards the defence of those Colonics, or that they should be exempted from bearing their full share of the cost, except that the Imperial Government had the power to determine the questions of peace and war, or, in other words, that the Colonies were not represented in the Imperial Parliament. He would next come to the objections raised by Mr. Elliott to portions of the Report. Mr. Elliott acknowledged that there were gross anomalies in the existing system, and that it was impossible that England should undertake to defend all her Colonies throughout the world, and be illustrated that position very tersely in his Appendix. He said, when the Emperors of France and Austria went to war in Italy it was immediately proposed to construct new batteries at the Cape of Good Hope. That was a proposal to strengthen this country in the event of her being involved in a European war, by locking up 100 artillerymen on the most southerly coast of South Africa. It was an illustration of the system of England with regard to all her Colonies. Mr. Elliott, however, denied the soundness of the principle laid down by the Committee, that the non-representation of the Colonies in the British Parliament constituted the only reason for their exemption from paying the cost of their own defences, and insisted that mere self-interest ought to induce us to defray some part of that outlay, because the Colonies consumed more of our produce than other countries, he also objected to the recommendation of the Report that a fixed rule and rate of aid should be laid down on which England should assist the Colonies. He (Mr. Adderley) thought be should have little difficulty in showing the utter fallacy on which Mr. Elliott based his objections. He would not accept the position that the Colonies should bear their full share of their own expenses, even if they were represented in Parliament. He would still have some reason why they should be exempted, even though they were represented as much as Scotland; on what ground such partiality should be exercised towards portions of the Empire, he utterly fails to show. As to Mr. Elliott's reason that the Colonies had other claims on this country and that self-interest induced us to contribute to the expense of the Colonies, because they imported more of our produce than foreign countries, that was simply the old fallacy which existed before the principles of political economy were so well known as now. Sir George Grey, the Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, had recently expressed the same opinion in a speech in London, in which he said that upon every article the colonists imported from this country they paid something towards the Imperial taxation. Why, if that was contributing to their own defences then every country in the world that took our produce did the same thing, and we ought to pay for the local expenses of every foreign country dealing with us on the same ground of self-interest. But absurd as his inference is, he is still less sound in his premises. Mr. Elliott pointed to Australia as consuming per head a larger amount of the produce of Great Britain than the United States, and drew the conclusion that therefore a dependent country consumed more than an independent one. That argument was completely exposed by Mr. Godley, who showed that the opposite conclusion might be supported by the same logic, because Canada imported less per head than the United States, and the United States themselves imported more largely after they became independent than before, even in rate of importation per head. There are, therefore, more data for expecting importation from independent, than from dependent, countries. Of course all these arguments were fallacious, because countries did not import produce from this country from political motives but from commercial requirements. With regard to Mr. Elliott's second objection to a fixed rate of aid towards the defences of our Colonies, the Report recommended that the rate should he laid down, from which there should be no deviation, save by way of exception. Mr. Elliott would have no such rate laid down as a rule, but would keep the matter still in the discretion of the Colonial Office, to say what amount of contribution this country should be charged with—the amount of money and the number of troops Her Majesty should contribute towards each of the Colonies. What Mr. Elliott proposed was simply to retain matters as they are. It was trusting to the discretion of the Colonial Office that had led to the present state of things. His proposition was to amend the present system by retaining the present system. The proposition of the Report was to lay down a fixed rule, and rate of aid. There could be very little question which of those two propositions was the wiser. Alteration was at least more in the way of amending a vicious system than simple retention. Mr. Elliott endeavoured, by way of some change, to classify the Colonies under four heads, instead of under two; but it would be found that the four resolved themselves into two, and he did not think that any mode could be devised of varying or increasing the classification under the two heads proposed in the Report. Mr. Elliott classified colonies according to the amount of European clement in their populations. Mr. Elliott said that from the number of coloured population the West Indies required a large contribution in men and money from this country; yet, singularly enough, the troops which protected those colonists from the coloured population were coloured troops. The case of the West Indies best illustrated the advantage of a fixed rule, because if any deviation from a fixed rule could be justified, it would be in their case where the Imperial policy had interfered with the local government, interrupted their command of labour, and embarrassed the relations of the colonists to their population, and where their policy being exceptional, the treatment might also be justly exceptional. How much bettor to treat exceptional cases exceptionally, than to have no rule, because there must be exceptions! He concluded that Mr. Elliott, having been so long connected with the Colonial Office, gave a fair example of how the discretion which he advocated would be used. Mr. Elliott said of Ceylon that they contributed more than other colonists to their own defence, and there was some question whether they should not contribute still more, but at this moment they were engaged in making a large outlay on railways and other works, and it was clear that whatever was taken extra for defence would be deducted from those very useful public works. People in England were engaged in railway undertakings and other remunerating enterprises, and yet every poor man was taxed for national defence; but according to Mr. Elliott, colonists who were undertaking public works ought to be exempted from the usual liability of citizens, and all the cost of their defence be added to the taxation of this country. The Government have stated that the present state of things could not be allowed to continue; they had asked for a Committee; they had formed a Committee representing three Departments of the Government. This most important Report was before the House, and he wished to know how the Government intended to deal with it. The Report proposed material changes in the system, and changes which he thought would be of very great benefit to this country, by improving the efficiency of the army and diminishing taxation, and to the colonies by insuring their vigour and safety. If the Government were not prepared to act upon it—he did not mean hastily, but by declaring that they would gradually carry the principle recommended in the Report into effect,—would they suggest some plan of their own, or would they refer the subject to a Committee of the House? Before going into Committee of Supply upon £15,000,000 of Estimates, £4,000,000 of which he disputed as involving many useless items and still more mischievous principles, the Government ought to let them know what they were about to do upon this important subject.


thought it a matter of regret that this departmental paper should have got into their hands. He did not think that the practice of substituting for a speech of a Minister the printed opinions of his permanent subordinate was likely to be attended with advantage, and in this instance the only result was to show that three officers of the Government had a serious difference of opinion upon the subject. There seemed to him no other way to settle the controversy than to refer the matter to a Committee of the House; and a further reason for doing so was, that he thought these three Gentlemen—especially Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Godley had exceeded the limits of the reference in their Report. The direction of General Peel was that they should examine into the best mode of saving to the country the expense of defending the Colonies and maintaining order within them; instead of which, Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Godley had gone into a metaphysical inquiry as to how best to promote patriotism and self-reliance, which was clearly beyond the purview of their duties. The right hon. Gentleman said that the fact that Mr. Godley had been a colonist and was in the War-Office gave a combined value to his report; he had a very high opinion of Mr. Godley, but having been in the same colony with that Gentleman he knew that' these opinions were there openly professed by Mr. Godley, and had, therefore, nothing to do with his tenure in the War-Office. He felt bound to dispute the statement that Canterbury was the most successful of all our colonies. It was a scheme which failed entirely in those points in which it differed from other schemes, and although it was perfectly true that 4,000 Englishmen, placed upon most fertile land, succeeded in supporting themselves, and rising to a flourishing condition, he could not allow the claim of Mr. Godley to be the leader of the most successful band of colonists which had ever left these shores. His right hon. Friend disputed £4,000,000 of those Estimates as useless; but the total amount for the Colonies was only £3,000,000, and half of that must be deducted for military garrisons, which it was necessary to maintain for Imperial purposes in different parts of the world—such as Malta and Gibraltar. That could not be charged as part of the expenses of the Colonies. His right hon. Friend had passed over very lightly the objection to the views of which he was the advocate, which was to be found in the fact that the Imperial Government was wont to make wars, for the cost of the prosecution of which the Colonies were compelled ultimately to provide the funds. It was indeed doubtful whether they would in many cases be put to any but the most trifling military expense were it not for the consequences which their connection with Great Britain entailed. When there was an impression that there might be a war between England and France there was a great panic in Australia; but it was solely upon this ground, that if the Imperial Government went to war the trade of Australia might he harassed by the enemy. So in the instance of Canada. If she dreaded the breaking out of hostilities with the United States she was apprehensive of that result chiefly because some dispute might arise between this country and the latter with respect to the Isthmus of Panama, the subject of recruiting, or for some similar reason. If we had to maintain a large force in Ceylon, it was simply because our Government of India might possibly create a ferment in the Native mind which might run on to Ceylon and render the services of troops necessary. So it was also with the other colonies; while in the case of the Cape of Good Hope and New Zealand a considerable force was required to keep the large native population at bay. It was true, indeed, that the Dutch needed hardly any assistance to keep the Caffres at bay; but then that was because they shot them as they would wild beasts, which our feeling would not permit us to do. Again, it had been our policy to plant two Republics which were rapidly growing in power to the north of the Cape Colony, presenting a constant source of danger, which, inasmuch as the establishment of those colonies was the direct act of the Imperial Legislature, it was bound to fur- nish the funds to meet. So it was in all cases, that wherever there was a necessity for troops that necessity arose simply from the connection of the Colonies with England, and from the danger of the Colonies being involved in England's quarrels. Now, Mr. Godley, in his paper which had been circulated the morning before, expressed it to be his opinion that it was desirable to reduce to a minimum the dependence of the Colonies; but it was perfectly obvious from the observations of his right hon. Friend that the object of those who supported that view was to destroy the dependence of the Colonies altogether. But if those opinions were carried into effect, and that the Colonies in the event of a breaking out of a French or Russian war were plundered by our enemies, the result would be that they would seek, as soon as possible, to put an end to a connection which they found to cost them extremely dear. His right hon. Friend had referred in support of his views to America, while Mr. Godley drew attention both to America and the Greek colonies of old, contending that in neither of those cases was it the custom to pay for colonial defence. But it should be remembered that in America the militia, which a spirit of patriotism and self-reliance had called into action, had been hardly so formed when it had been turned against England herself; while the Greek colonies could not be held to be colonies in our sense of the term. Corcyra, for instance, was no more a colony of Corinth than England was of Saxony, from which source a large amount of its population was derived, but upon which it was in no way dependent. The population, it was true, went from the old country to the new, but the dependence was merely nominal; and this was the state to which it was wished to reduce our colonial empire, at least it was a state of things which would be brought about by the policy recommended, whether it was wished or not. He did not think that there was any necessity for him to argue in favour of the continuance of our colonial system, for he believed that any proposition to abandon our Colonies would be hooted out of the House. He believed, however, that though our colonial empire could not be overthrown in that way, yet that it might be undermined; and he therefore most earnestly trusted that the Government would not take any action upon the recommendations in the docuuments in question—recommendations which had been made by a department unconnected with the Colonies—without submitting the matter for further consideration.


said, he was very glad the noble Lord had risen to address the House, inasmuch as he concurred in nearly the whole of the observations which he had made. He must, however, express his regret that the subject of those observations had been brought forward that evening by his right hon. Friend opposite (Mr. Adderley), inasmuch as, in the present state of the House, it was impossible that any satisfactory discussion with respect to it could take place, and as some hon. Members had left under the impression that the question would not be introduced. He regretted particularly the absence of the right hon. Gentleman who lately filled the office of Secretary for the Colonies (Sir E. Bulwer Lytton), who, he had reason to believe, would not lend his powerful aid in support of the views of which the right hon. Gentleman was the advocate. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adderley) asked what course the Government intended to take in reference to the Report? It must not be forgotten that there were virtually two Reports, which were incompatible with each other. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to object very much to the classification of the Colonies made by Mr. Elliott, and to prefer that made by Mr. Godley. The latter gentleman, however, had really made no classification of the Colonies, as one of his classes contained them all, while the other comprised those military posts which are not Colonies. It appeared to him (Mr. Fortescue), on the other hand, that Mr. Elliott's classification was adapted to the state of things as it stood, and to the various and varying circumstances of the several communities which owned our sway. He found a number of communities differing in almost every respect; some, like Australia and America, of English origin, and others not, some young and growing, and others firmly established; he found islands which comprised the most extraordinary collection of races that had ever been brought together under any Government; and a number of dependencies with savage tribes on their frontiers or within their borders;—finding these circumstances existing, he adapted his advice to the facts with which he had to deal; and this circumstance very much recommended Mr. Elliott's Report to consideration. Now, the first of the Reports, to which the right hon. Gentleman had called the attention of the House, (Mr. Godley's), which had been sent in at the suggestion of the gallant General, who was then at the head of the War Department, was a very able document. But what did this Report do? Instead of preparing a scheme adapted to each Colony, according to its respective needs and capabilities, it attempted to lay down one rigid, uniform rule, as applicable alike to every one of our various and widely differing dependencies. It took away the whole of that discretion now exercised by the department of State concerned with these Colonies, and sought to supply the place of the judgment and discretion of the Secretary of Slate, by a kind of agency which was certainly simple enough—and, if possible, might be very convenient—but which he thought was an utter impossibility. It proposed to hand over to the Colonies the entire responsibility, management, and initiative in all matters relating to their military defences—a greater revolution could not well be conceived;—and, having handed over that power to the Colonies, this country was to contribute towards the expense of that military defence, not according to the wealth, danger, or necessities of the Colonies, but in one fixed and uniform proportion. Such a proposal, however ably defended, he could hardly believe any responsible Colonial Minister would undertake to carry into effect. It entirely disregarded the numerous differences that existed between our several Colonies, whether they were wealthy or poor, young or old, secure in their position, or exposed to internal or external foes. In short, it would be in practice entirely unworkable. The right hon. Gentleman had dwelt a good deal on what he considered the main motive and reason why this country should contribute in any degree to the protection of her dependencies—namely, that these were not represented in the Legislature, and that the power of peace and war was not in their hands. It was impossible to overrate the importance of that consideration; but it was not the only reason. Many of these dependencies could never have come into existence; and could not continue in existence now as separate and independent communities. It was only under the protection of this country, which sent them forth, that they could be maintained at all. Many of them were so small, that it was perfectly futile to speak of them as independent communities—if we chose to abandon them, they must attach themselves to some other State. A great part of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman referred, not to the proper mode or amount of our military contributions to our Colonies, but to the question whether we should maintain our Colonies at all. Now, hon. Gentlemen had undoubtedly a right to their opinions on that subject; but representing, as be did, the Colonial Office, he did not think it his duty to discuss such a question; he thought the business of that office was to keep the Colonies; and therefore he did not enter into any question of the value to us of the commerce of Australia and Canada, as compared with that of the United States. With respect to the motive for keeping up a force in our Colonies, it did not arise mainly from the problematic risk of a great European war; it was of a more pressing and immediate nature. In some of them, where any considerable amount of force was kept up, the danger arose not from any chance of a European war, but from the risk of hostilities with formidable Native tribes. Great as our expense had lately been at the Cape, it bad saved us the still greater expense of another Kaffir war; and that expense was already greatly lessened; for at present the force of all arms at the Capo was not much more than 4,000 men; whereas, when the Report was made, it was double that number. In Now Zealand, again, these charges were daily diminishing. While that was so, he entirely admitted that it was the duty of the Government to examine into the condition of every Colony, and endeavour, by every means in their power, to reduce the amount and cost of the force in each; and obtain from each the largest and fairest contribution towards its support. But the bead of the Colonial Office was not prepared to adopt the very simple but impossible scheme to which the name of Mr. Godley was attached. Mr. Godley rather taunted Mr. Elliott with not having proposed a rival scheme; but he entirely denied the justice of that accusation. It was Impossible by one stroke of the pen to unite all colonial and Imperial interests, and to produce one uniform self-acting scheme which would supply the place of the judgment, sagacity, and firmness of the Secretary of State in settling all those difficult and complicated questions, involving both colonial and Imperial interests. It was the duty of a Colonial Minister to take the case of each colony or group of colonies into separate consideration, dealing with it according to its special circumstances and requirements, and, while reducing its demands upon the Imperial Exchequer to the lowest practicable limits consistent with safety, also to foster and stimulate the feeling of self-reliance in the minds of the colonists. The right hon. Gentleman had passed very lightly over the military spirit which undoubtedly existed in the great colony of Canada. In our Australian colonies, likewise, there was a rapidly growing spirit of self-defence—a sentiment which it was most desirable to cultivate to the utmost. Those colonies were most favourably situated. Separated from the great Powers of Europe by thousands of miles of ocean, and with no formidable tribes on their frontiers, their need of the protection of Imperial troops was reduced to very narrow limits. He would not, however, say that they should be wholly divested of that protection, because he should be sorry to see any great dependency of the British Crown entirely denuded of a certain number of English redcoats. Feeling and reason went to a great extent together in this matter, and it would be undesirable that these colonial communities should be left unprovided with a moderate body of the mother-country's military force. The colonies of Australia already contributed a large portion of the expenditure upon their own defence—one of them considerably more than half the entire amount. And let him remind the House that if, following out the recommendation of the Report, one fixed and uniform rule were applied indiscriminately to all our Colonies, we should be driven to this absurd result—that we should have to reject a portion of the sum now contributed by these rich and growing communities. Such an uniform rule must be adapted to the circumstances of the weakest and poorest of our Colonies, which could not be expected to pay more, perhaps, than one-third of the cost of its defence—a proportion much below that which was derived, and properly derived, from a wealthy colony like Victoria. The subject was, however, a very large and complicated one, and it was impossible on an occasion like the present to treat it as it deserved. With respect to the question put by the right hon. Gentleman to the Government, he could now only answer, speaking for his noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Department, that he would use his best endeavours to restrict the Imperial expenditure upon colonial defence within the smallest possible compass—to induce, and if necessary compel, certain colonies, New Zealand for example, to contribute more than they now did towards their own protection. But at the same time his noble Friend could not undertake to carry out one rigid uniform scheme, which it was impossible to adapt to all the varying exigencies and capacities of our different dependencies.


said, it was not the pre-per time on the Motion for going into Committee of Supply to discuss so important a question as the military expenditure of our Colonial Empire, and he expressed a hope that the Government would consent to its being referred to a Select Committee. The Report on our colonial defences, to which allusion had been made, was a very valuable document, and he placed great reliance on Mr. Elliot's opinion. The recommendation made by the hon. Member for Pontefract (Mr. Childers) with regard to colonial military expenditure was deserving of consideration, because, as the Estimates were now framed, there was great difficulty in ascertaining what was paid by the Colonies, and what by the Imperial Government. He was inclined to think that the amount of our colonial expenditure was exaggerated; and though it was not to be denied that England should frame her colonial policy on the model of that of France, yet it was worthy of remark, that the single colony of Algeria cost France more in one year than the whole Imperial expenditure of England in the fifty Colonies of her Empire. He looked upon the charge for fortifications for the Colonies as an extravagant one, and he doubted if we got value for it in the event of any contingency arising. Large works for fortifications had been carried on at Quebec. We had spent there two millions, and a quarter of a million at Halifax. The only value those works were to us was in the event of the United States making a descent on Canada; but for it to be successful they must suppose sympathy on the part of the colonists and determined aggression on the part of the United States. If such a contingency were to arise it would not be by fortifications or by any conceivable military preparations, that our North American Colonies would be preserved to us, and therefore it was that he desired the expenditure with reference to our colonies should be so judiciously expended that we should get a corresponding benefit from it. The absence of any great military road through Canada was an illustration of the illogical character of our policy in this matter. The only access for troops into the interior of Canada during seven months of the year was through the State of Maine, by way of Portland, and yet we spent vast sums in fortifying colonial cities, to which, in the hour of danger, we should be unable to send succour. He (Mr. Mills) repeated the expressions of his hope that the Government would allow the whole subject of colonial defences, the revisions of which was a necessary corollary to the adoption of the principle of colonial self-government, to be referred to an impartial Select Committee of the House of Commons.