§ MR. R. TORRENS
said, that a sufficient apology for bringing forward at this time the Motion of which he had given notice would, he felt assured, be recognized in the feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty respecting the character and the permanency of the political relations existing between this country and her self-governing Colonies. He had observed with pain that recent official communications between Her Majesty's Secretary of State, and the Governments of some of these Colonies exhibited a tone of irritation, dissatisfaction, and distrust sadly in contrast with the spirit of mutual respect and confidence which had hitherto generally characterized that intercourse. He had also noticed that these conditions, so favourable for the purpose, were taken advantage of by men of great ability to propagate opinions adverse to the integrity of the Empire, opinions which were rapidly gaining a more tolerant if not a more approving assent in this country and in the Colonies, but which 1818 his experience had entirely satisfied him were as inconsistent with the true interests of those Colonies as they were incompatible with the future greatness of this Empire. The school of politicians to which he referred—and lest he should misrepresent them he would quote the language of their great apostle, Professor Goldwin Smith—declared—That our possessions, if regarded as military posts, must be abandoned, because in these days of free trade commerce no longer needs cannon to clear her path; but if regarded as Colonies they must be abandoned, because in adopting free trade we have destroyed the only motive for retaining our Colonies.He would not occupy the time of the House by discussing the arguments by which these philosophers of the closet attempt to sustain this view, because the same premises would force the very opposite conclusion irresistibly upon the conviction of every practical man observant of things as they really are. Such men do not need to be told that the result of free trade in rendering England the workshop of the world has been to concentrate a population vastly greater than can be fed upon the produce of these islands, and so has brought it to pass that the very life of our people is dependent upon our retaining command of the seas, the high road for the transport of the people's bread and of the manufactures with which it is purchased. But the time has passed away when our navies spread their sails to the wind as the only motive power; in these days the command of the seas means coals accumulated in secure and convenient depots where our steam navy may replenish; free trade therefore, so far from rendering it unnecessary to retain such of our possessions as afford advantages of this kind, places us under the strongest obligation of necessity to retain them. Again, free trade, instead of "destroying the only motive for retaining our Colonies," has destroyed the only rational motive for casting them off, since it has abolished monopolies which, under the previous régimé, imposed an onerous taxation on the inhabitants of this country for the benefit of the Colonies, amounting, on the single article of sugar, to over £2,000,000 per annum. The most frequent objection against England maintaining her Imperial position as the central cohesive power amidst the free communities which she has brought into 1819 existence is based upon the alleged costliness of that position, and a heavy bill is made out by including the expenses of military posts and convict establishments in the same account with expenditure on account of Colonies properly so called. But, on referring to a Return recently laid on the Table, it would be seen that the charge entailed on this country for military defences, and other purposes of the self-governing Colonies in Australia, amounted, in 1865, to £69,064, and, in 1867–8, to £106,863, giving a mean of £87,963 only, a sum barely sufficient to cover the expenses entailed on these communities by the residuum of an evil inheritance entailed upon them for the relief of this country. So far, therefore, as regarded the five self-governing Colonies in the Australian group, this argument on the score of costliness was absolutely without foundation. If, however, other settlements founded under the auspices of the Colonial Office have entailed enormous cost, that circumstance afforded them no argument for casting them off, though it furnished a valid reason for reforming that management. The casting off of our Colonies, and especially those of the great North American group, had also been advocated, on the plea that by that means we might evade the obligation to defend them against foreign aggression. But, he would ask, could England remain tamely quiescent whilst communities of her children, founded under her protecting auspices, were subjected to aggression or forcible annexation? Would she not, in such case, sink dishonoured in the estimation of the whole world, and forfeit the prestige acquired by so lavish an expenditure of blood and treasure in times past? Assuredly this result would follow upon such pusillanimous conduct in either case, equally whether those communities, ambitious of more complete independence, parted from us in amity or remained content to combine the privileges of perfect local self-government with those of common citizenship in this great Empire. Nay, even Mr. Goldwin Smith repudiates a policy founded on cowardice and dishonour, declaring that—Supposing Canada to become independent, and supposing her independence to be afterwards threatened by the aggressive combination of any foreign power, no Englishman would vote more heartily than himself for risking the fortunes, and1820if it were needed, the existence of the Empire in her defence.If it be argued, as it had been argued, that the scattering of our naval and military forces in time of war would prove a source of weakness, he would confidently reply that if once our relations with the self-governing Colonies were placed upon a reasonable and permanent basis, the wealth and strength of the 7,000,000 of the English race who inhabited them would constitute the wealth and strength of the British Empire little if at all less effectively than if those 7,000,000 were resident within these islands. He based this assertion upon a perfect knowledge of the hearty and fervent loyalty of these people, a loyalty not confined to the British-born but quite as earnestly felt by the colonial-born subjects of Her Majesty. That loyalty, that fervent desire for continued identity with this country had not died although, with the deepest regret, he must state that a conviction—whether founded on adequate grounds or otherwise—had been induced upon the colonial mind, that it was the deliberate policy and set purpose of Her Majesty's Government to bring about a separation; that in furtherance of that purpose some Colonies were encouraged by significant suggestions to ask for independence, whilst others were being incited and goaded on to the same end by an unequal and inconsistent course of action, by refusal of reasonable aids in times of difficulty, by misrepresentations and bitter taunts, when the circumstances rather called for indulgent and sympathizing consideration. It was true this policy had been distinctly disavowed by Her Majesty's Ministers, and he accepted that disavowal in perfect good faith; still, the reports which reached us simultaneously from opposite quarters of the globe rendered it impossible to doubt that the line of conduct which had of late been pursued—be the motive of that conduct what it may—had had the effect of inducing upon the minds of the colonists the belief to which he had referred. In the Dominion Parliament we find Sir Alexander Gait stating his conviction, based upon correspondence with Her Majesty's Government, that—The policy of independence had been arrived at by the imperial Government; and, so far as his loyalty to the Crown is concerned, he stood on the same ground as the Ministers of the Crown of England.1821 The impression created by this statement had been strengthened by the refusal of the Secretary of State for the Colonies to allow the publication of the correspondence referred to, though requested by Sir Alexander Gait, and urged by a Member of this House. In the same Parliament, the Hon. L. S. Huntington was reported to have said—Opposition was useless, and Imperial influence is always too powerful for colonial dissent. I have accepted the situation in its fullest sense, as faithfully and loyally as if I had originally promoted it. But, the first step having been taken, I see dangers in delay, and I believe it is expedient to take measures for the severance of our present relations to the Empire. This noble sentiment of loyalty to the British Crown, which has so generally and so happily subsisted among the great masses of our people. Can we forget our noble Queen? Can we dissociate ourselves from the glories and the traditions of the Empire? British Citizenship is no idle word, and what could we create for ourselves to surpass it? For a century the affectionate colonial eye has rested from afar upon the British Throne, as the centre of power, protection and glory. Can all this trustfulness, this affection and loyalty be torn ruthlessly away? It deserves at least respect and tender treatment.As to the views entertained in New Zealand there was testimony that must be accepted, as it was that of the local correspondent of the journal which pre-eminently advocated the Ministerial policy. The Times of 23rd March published the letter of their Wellington correspondent, dated the 21st January, from which, with the permission of the House, he would read a brief extract, describing the effect produced by recent despatches—The despatch is stigmatized freely as harsh in the extreme, ungenerous, and filled with assertions and implications showing wilful misrepresentation or great ignorance of the antecedent history of the Colony. It would, however, be impossible to recapitulate the objections to this celebrated despatch, which appears to have been commented on as severely in England as here. As the immediate consequence of Earl Granville's expressions and his declaration of the Imperial policy towards New Zealand, the expediency of declaring the independence of the Colony, of refusing to maintain the viceregal establishment, and even of annexation with the United States has been freely discussed, and it is only because the case of the Colony appears to have attracted considerable attention, and called forth the sympathy of a large and influential section of the English people, that no decided steps have been taken in one of these directions. It is also expected that the colonial question will be fully considered during the next Session of Parliament, and the more moderate section of the community is willing to await the event of that discussion before accepting any proposal for a radical change.1822 They had yet more authoritative testimony in the Memorandum of the New Zealand Government, in reply to Earl Granville's despatch of October 7, as follows:—Nowhere more than in New Zealand does there exist a stronger feeling of loyalty to the Crown, and of devotion to Her Majesty, or a higher value attached to its position as an integral part of the Empire; and Ministers feel assured that throughout the Colony there will arise a universal feeling of regret that the tone and purport of Earl Granville's despatch (written at a time when he must have known the Colony to be in the greatest distress), are scarcely susceptible of any other explanation than a desire to abandon this country, and to sever its connection with the Empire.In the New South Wales Parliament, Sir James Martin, late Chief Secretary, was reported to have said—He was sure that, if the Colonies were canvassed from one end to the other, it would be found that a large majority would condemn that policy, which was supposed to be the policy of the Imperial Government. It might be very well for the Ministry at home, in order to retrench, to advocate the necessity of leaving the Colonies to defend themselves, and, for the purpose of inducing them to do so, to hold out the intention of allowing them to separate from the mother country whenever they should show any disposition to take that course. He thought, however, that such a course would be injurious to all concerned—to England and the Colonies.The Hon. C. Cowper, Colonial Secretary—Hoped never to see the day when these Colonies should be separated from the mother country, but he thought they would be separated before many years. The Home Government had shown no disposition to favour the connection; but he was by no means sure that if the Colonies were to think of separating, they would not move in another direction.In the Parliament of Victoria, the Hon. G. Duffy, formerly a Member of this House, and recently a Cabinet Minister in the Colony, said, on the 3rd November—He admitted that we should be prepared to defend ourselves, at our own cost, for the result of any quarrels of our own; but it seemed to him to be a monstrous proposition that we should take, so far as we are concerned, the responsibility of the quarrels of the mother country, over which we exercised no more control than we did over the solar system. He thought that by negotiation some arrangement might be arrived at by which the Colonies might hold a position similar to that occupied by Hanover when annexed to the British Crown. That country was not necessarily involved in every war that Great Britain might undertake. It might be possible to place the Colonies on the same footing, so that unless they voluntarily chose to assist the mother country and espouse her quarrels they would be held harmless.1823 Were it needful, he might adduce similar testimony from other Colonies; but a brief extract from the address of Sir Philip Wodehouse to the Legislative Assembly of Cape Town might suffice as a summary of the whole. Sir Philip, speaking in his capacity as Her Majesty's representative, fully instructed, it must be presumed, as to the Colonial policy of Her Majesty's Ministers upon pre-eminently a question of vital importance, assured the Assembly that—In North America we have unmistakable indications of the rapid establishment of a powerful independent State. In Australia it is probable that its several settlements, with their great wealth and homogeneous population, will see their way to a similar coalition. In New Zealand the severance is being accomplished under very painful circumstances.It was passing strange to find such concurrent testimony arriving simultaneously from such authorities, separated from each other by half the earth's circumference, and each professing to have derived his information from the same authentic source—Her Majesty's Colonial Ministers—and yet to be assured by Her Majesty's Ministers themselves that they entertained no such views, and utterly repudiated the policy attributed to them. He believed that the House would agree in the opinion that the occurrence of such a phenomenon warranted the inquiry—"Whether some modification might not with advantage be introduced in the existing machinery for official intercommunication between Her Majesty's Colonial Minister and the Governments of those great dependencies?" In contrast to the feelings which found voice in the extracts which he had read, as also in answer to those who regarded our colonial possessions as a source of weakness, he would draw the attention of the House to the manifestations of hearty fervent loyalty and desire for permanent union exhibited only a few years back by this same 7,000,000 people who inhabited those great Colonies, a loyalty, as he had said before, not confined to the British-born, but, if possible, more earnestly felt by the colonial-born subjects of Her Majesty, and vouched by substantial proofs. Canada, during the Crimean War, had offered to aid the mother country by furnishing a regiment. He happened to be in Melbourne when the news of the Trent affair arrived. There was a general conviction that war was inevitable—if, indeed, it 1824 was not then already raging. The Victorians saw clearly enough that their Colony would be a special object of attack—that the gold ships leaving their port would be to the Privateers from California what the Galleons were in days of old to the Buccaneers of the Spanish Main. The first intimation that hostilities had commenced would probably be the presence of an American ship of war laying the town and shipping under contribution. The quarrel was one in which they had no concern, no voice. They were involved in it solely through their connection with this country, yet no thought of severing that connection was for a moment entertained. One spirit animated all—one common voice called aloud to stand or fall by the old country. Yet this was the Colony in which Mr. G. Duffy had, under the irritation produced by recent despatches, and, apparently, with general concurrence, advocated what was tantamount to severance, though within so short a period the cry in Victoria and throughout those Colonies was—"England's distress is Australia's opportunity," raised in a sense the opposite of that in which it was used by the great Irish Agitator, and the response to it appeared in the shape of munificent contributions on the occasions of the Irish Famine, the Cotton Famine, the Crimean War, and the Indian Mutiny. He regretted that Returns which he had asked for two months ago had not been laid upon the Table, as they would furnish the particulars. He could, however, from another source convey to the House some idea of the spirit which, at a time so recent, animated our fellow-subjects in that part of the world—he referred to a recent work of great interest, entitled Experiences in Viceregal Life, the author of which was not entirely unknown to Mr. Speaker, and, with the permission of the House, he would read a brief extract descriptive of a meeting held in Sydney, on the 20th February, 1855, to raise a fund for the relief of widows and orphans of soldiers who fell in the Crimean War.What charmed me most was the feeling of the people. There seemed such a hearty loyalty towards England, such an evident pride in being spoken of as Britons, and having their British sympathies appealed to—any expression of the kind being sure to be followed by hearty applause;—such a cordial recognition of the blessings they enjoyed under British rule, and of the claims therefore which England had on them—a point1825which was frequently dwelt on by the speakers, and always so cordially applauded that it was delightful to see. £6,000 was subscribed on the spot, though this was only the commencement; and there are still collections to be made all over the Colony.Such were the feelings towards this country which at that time pervaded those Colonies—feelings now estranged, though he trusted not yet hopelessly, by the course of action pursued by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was anxious to guard against being misunderstood on this point. He fully recognized the great abilities of the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, and of his right hon. Friend who represented that Department in that House; and he was also satisfied that they were actuated by the best intentions. Their deficiency was one which they shared in common with their predecessors in Office—an unavoidable ignorance of the real condition and requirements and, what was of no less importance, the aspirations and sentiments of the great communities, in the administration of whose affairs those good intentions and great abilities were employed. What had occurred was the natural product of the departmental machinery under which the affairs of the Colonial Empire were administered. That Department consisted of a permanent staff imbued with a traditional policy, acquired not in the Colonies but in the office itself, in which policy it was their business to instruct the quasi responsible Minister, who was not always selected for any special qualification for that post, but rather as the convenience of political parties might dictate, and who was usually removed just about the time when he was beginning to gain an insight into the real condition and requirements of the communities whose interests were committed to his charge. Such a system was well adapted for its original purpose—namely, for enforcing the policy or the will of this country upon military posts, convict settlements, and plantations in which a few European masters or drivers accumulated wealth by the forced labour of numbers of a darker race; but its very aptness for that state of things constituted its unfitness for conducting the affairs of a great Empire, comprising powerful and intelligent communities of Englishmen in the enjoyment of constitutional government. Applied to such communities the precedents of the past 1826 assume the character of partiality, inconsistency, illiberality, and an offensive assumption of superiority intolerable to communities which claim incorporation in the Empire on terms of equality or not at all. This statement was susceptible of easy proof; and he claimed the indulgent attention of the House whilst he cited instances to show that he had not brought it forward rashly, or upon insufficient grounds. He would abstain from going back to any remote date, not because there was any lack of such instances in the history of past administrations—unfortunately there was an evil uniformity in that respect—but because recent transactions, well within the memory of the House, afforded ample material for his purpose. He would begin with the Red River difficulty as the most recent. The Papers laid on the Table proved great care and masterly statesmanship on the part of Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies in bringing to a conclusion the negotiations which had been so long pending between the Hudson's Bay Company and the Dominion Government for the cession to the latter of the North-West country. The pecuniary obligations and interests of the high contracting parties had been most carefully attended to. He also observed a laudable consideration for the interests of the aboriginal tribes. But there were others of Her Majesty's subjects nearer in blood, and who, from their numbers as well as from the progress they had made in settling the country, were entitled to be called into counsel on a matter vitally affecting their interests; yet the very existence of these settlers, numbering some 20,000 souls, appeared to have been ignored throughout the negotiations, unless, indeed, he assumed that they were the "third parties" referred to in Part 3 of the Memorandum addressed by Mr. M'Dougall, on the 28th December last, to the Governor General of Canada, which, as it was very brief, he would read—That your Excellency will be pleased to express to his Grace, as the opinion of the Canadian Government, that it is highly expedient that the transfer which the Imperial Parliament has authorized, and the Canadian Parliament approved, should not be delayed by negotiations or correspondence with private or third parties whose position, opinions, and claims have heretofore embarrassed both Governments in dealing with this question.1827 Admitting that the North American Act of 1867, which in Section 146 sanctioned the incorporation in the Dominion of the then outstanding Colonies upon Addresses of their respective Legislatures to Her Majesty, ordained also that Rupert's Land, not having a separate Legislature, might be incorporated upon Address to Her Majesty by the Parliament of Canada alone; still that provision did not appear to contemplate, still less to sanction, the extinguishment of the inherent common-law rights of these 20,000 British subjects to be allowed a voice in the settlement of their local government and taxation and to have their rights and privileges secured, before the ratification of the transfer of themselves and lands to the absolute sovereignty of another settlement, from which they were divided by a vast desert, and with which they had little communication. Their expectations do not appear to have been, at all unreasonable. They claimed that their local affairs should be administered upon the spot by a District Council and officers of their own selection, and that they should send a representative to the Dominion Parliament; but, unfortunately, whether through oversight or ignorance, these rights were not secured to them. They were sold and handed over, just as sheep were, with the run, in Australia, and the result was an armed demonstration, which must retard the settlement of the country, and it was to be feared would not terminate without bloodshed. It would suffice to adduce one other case, prolific as it was in examples of unequal dealing, inconsistent policy, harsh and ungenerous treatment, such as fully justified the significant language of Sir Philip Wodehouse, that—"the policy of severance is being worked out under very painful circumstances in New Zealand." In that Colony a war originated at a time when the Native affairs were retained under the exclusive management of the Imperial Government. That war, interrupted by an occasional truce, had endured ever since. Whilst it was yet raging the Legislature of the Colony, yielding to the continued solicitations of the Secretary of State, withdrew the positive refusal to take over the management of Native affairs, conveyed in their Memorial of 1868, and on the express condition conveyed in the following explicit language:— 1828In consideration of the thoroughly efficient aid which Her Majesty's Government is now affording, and relying on the cordial co-operation of Her Majesty's Government for the futureconsented to relieve this country from the responsibility of Native affairs. Earl Granville, speaking of this war in the House of Lords, on the 25th July, 1864, said—It was impossible for the mother country to divest herself entirely of responsibility for her Colonies, especially in case of war. … With regard to the origin and commencement of the war now being waged in New Zealand, he believed it to be a just war;and the present Prime Minister, being at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer, declared that—He did not see how England could with justice throw the whole responsibility of the war on the Colony;" that "the policy which had led to the war had not been exclusively that of the Colony;" that "the Home Government had approved it, and were so far responsible for it.Notwithstanding these statements—as just as they were explicit, and notwithstanding the express condition for future aid, under which the Legislature of New Zealand agreed to relieve this country from responsibilities attached to Native affairs, they found that Colony impoverished by the continuance of the war, and oppressed by the unexampled taxation of £6 5s. per head, appealing in vain to the Government of this country not for money, but simply for a guarantee, which, without costing the taxpayers of this country one farthing, would have enabled them to raise a war loan at 4 per cent, instead of 6. or 7 per cent. When it was noted that the guarantee thus denied to New Zealand, under circumstances amounting to something like a life or death necessity, was at the same moment granted to the Canadian Government—not because of any such necessity, but in furtherance of an object which could not be deemed more than one of expediency—then this denial, grievous and unjust in itself, was aggravated by evident partiality. The same partiality and absence of any guiding principle was exhibited in the allowance of military aid to the Dominion Government for the suppression of an emeute of a comparatively trifling character, whether they considered the relative forces or the issue at stake—whilst the assistance of a single regiment for which they offered to pay every farthing of expense, was refused to New Zealand, 1829 although, the Secretary of State was in possession of the Governor's despatch assuring him that, after consultation with General Sir Trevor Chute, and with the Admiral on the station, he had reason to fear that—"the withdrawal of that regiment would lead to a general rising of the Native race, and tragedies as dreadful as those of Delhi and Cawnpore." In defence of that conduct, it was alleged that the Secretary of State for the Colonies was only carrying out the policy of his predecessors. That statement, however, was not borne out by the facts as disclosed in the Papers before the House. They, on the contrary, exhibited a constantly shifting policy. For example, they found the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State for War, in 1866, and his successor Lord Carnarvon, in 1867, when Secretary for the Colonies, proposing to leave one regiment, on condition that a certain sum was contributed by the Colony—£50,000, he believed—for Native purposes, a condition which had been faithfully complied with. Next they found the noble Duke (the Duke of Buckingham)—in his despatch, dated 8th July, 1869—declaring that Her-Majesty's Government had no intention of withdrawing the troops if the Colony, would pay for them. And, finally, they had the present Secretary of State, in his despatch of the 21st May last, intimating—"that he would not have ordered the withdrawal of the troops had he been aware that the Colony was willing to make sacrifices;" and yet, in the month of November following, though informed that the Colony had made provision for payment of all the expenses of the regiment, he abandoned that plea altogether, and peremptorily ordered the withdrawal of the troops on the new plea that possibly they might be employed "in support of a policy," which, as he stated, "the Imperial Government had always regarded as pregnant with danger." And that refusal was persisted in, although a stipulation had been offered that the troops should remain in garrison under direction of Imperial authority, as, in fact, they had remained during the last two years without having been called upon to fire a shot, although hostilities had prevailed incessantly, and settlements had been devastated, women outraged, infants slaughtered almost within sight of the 1830 barracks. The policy which it was alleged the Imperial Government regarded as "pregnant with danger"—as far as could be learned from the despatch of November last—was the confiscation policy and the non-recognition of the so-called Maori king. What were the facts as regarded those confiscations? Peaceful settlements—without the slightest provocation given, or even alleged to have been given—were attacked by savage fanatics, the women outraged, infants and young children ruthlessly slaughtered, the homesteads, created out of the wilderness by the labour of half a lifetime, given to the flames, implements and materials destroyed, the cattle and horses driven off as plunder. Year after year that process had been repeated, and as often as the Maori found it desirable to sue for peace—that was, as often as he had expended his ammunition, or his crops required attention—peace was granted him without exacting compensation for the destruction of property, or restoration of the plunder. Under such a system war, always congenial to the Maori, became very profitable pursuit. In fact, such a system offered the greatest incitements to renew the career of murder and outrage so soon as the necessary ammunition could be obtained from the American whalers which frequented that coast for that express trade. It was at length found unavoidable to change that policy, and, as a condition of peace, to exact retribution for murder and outrage, and compensation for destruction of property. But upon what could compensation be levied? The rebel Maori possessed no movable property. His lands alone were available for the purpose; and therefore, upon the recommendation of Sir George Grey—in his despatch to the Duke of Newcastle, dated 30th November, 1863—this confiscation policy was adopted by Her Majesty's Government, who at that time retained the management of Native affairs in their own hands exclusively. He would trouble the House with a few extracts from the despatches, setting forth the policy approved by Her Majesty's Government at that time. The Duke of Newcastle, in reply to Sir George Grey's despatch, said—I think that any body of Natives which take up arms against Her Majesty on such grounds as those alleged by Waikatoes may properly be1831punished by a confiscation of a large portion of their common property. I think the lands thus acquired may properly be employed in meeting the expenses of carrying on the war; nor do I see any objection to using them as sites for military settlements.We find the same policy endorsed by Mr. Cardwell, who succeeded the Duke as Secretary for the Colonies, in the following words:—We have accepted the principles upon which he (Sir George Grey) has acted—the chastisement of the guilty Natives—the exaction of a reasonable indemnity for the expenses incurred by the war, and a moderate security for the settlement and future protection of the colonists.And again—The objects winch Her Majesty's Government have been desirous of effecting for the colonists were substantially these—they have wished to inflict on the rebel tribes, or some of them, an exemplary punishment in the way of forfeiture of lands, which should deter them from wanton aggression in the future.Notwithstanding this explicit adoption of the confiscation policy, Her Majesty's Secretary of State, in his despatch of the 7th of October last, intimated, in effect, that troops were withdrawn and a guaranteed loan denied, with the express object of placing the colonists, under compulsion of dire necessity, to purchase a temporary and disgraceful truce by the restoration of the lands most righteously forfeited. He believed that he should be supported by everyone who had any knowledge of savage or semi-civilized races when he said that the restoration of those lands would be viewed by the Maori as an indication of weakness, and would be the signal for a fresh onslaught. The refusal to recognize the sovereignty of the Maori chieftain, who had thrown off his allegiance to Her Majesty and assumed the title of King, was not originally the policy of the colonists, but was transmitted to them as portion of the evil inheritance of which they had undertaken to relieve this country on the conditions he had referred to; and the reversal of that policy at this time would, in the judgment of all who had any knowledge of the true condition of affairs, at once alienate the more powerful and higher-class tribes who remained faithful to their allegiance, and refused to recognize the assumption of a sovereign position by a second-class chieftain. The New Zealand colonists saw in the policy thus attempted to be forced upon them consequences so disastrous that even the cruel necessity of separation 1832 from the mother country would be a preferable alternative. In the language of the Memorandum of the New Zealand Government, in replying to the despatch of the 2nd October—They claim that the Colony should be practically recognized as an integral portion of that Empire, and not be thrust out beyond its pale as of infinitely less consideration than a British subject in foreign lands. They ask England for no pecuniary sacrifice; they do not appeal to her compassion; but they do appeal to those eternal principles of justice, which are as much the duty of the strong as they are the heritage of the weak, and which even the most powerful nation should never withhold from the feeblest suppliant.That the stability of the Empire had received a severe shock through the harshness and the injustice of the course adopted towards New Zealand, was undeniable. What, it was asked, was the utility of union with Great Britain if it did not ensure mutual aid and sympathy in times of difficulty and trial? To affirm that whilst the Colonies remained obnoxious to hostile invasion, in consequence of their connection with Great Britain, they were to be refused succour and countenance in their danger and distress, was an untenable proposition. In the language of a right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles Adderley)—Such terms of intercourse compose no friendship, nor alliance, nor community, nor solid connection of any sort but a fool's paradise of mutual promises and expectations, equally visionary and evanescent. If the Colonies will undertake the duties as well as the privileges of British citizens, we may go on together as members of one great Empire, each part habitually maintaining itself, and the whole ready to rally round any threatened point.The passage he had quoted described the true position as regarded the obligations of the Colonies, but the proposition was conversable. It was equally a condition of "our going on together as members of one great Empire," that the parent State should "undertake the duties as well as the privileges of" the head of that great Empire, and that she had not done so in the case of New Zealand was but too painfully manifested. The colonists neither desired nor expected to continue burdensome to the taxpayers of this country. To be self-supporting as well as self-governing was their normal condition; but this, like every other general rule, was subject to exceptions, of which the mutually reciprocal obligation to afford aid and sym- 1833 pathy in time of war, distress, or difficulty was the chief. He believed that Her Majesty's Government recognized this obligation on the parent State, although the ill-advised course that had been pursued had induced a contrary opinion. He repeated his belief that the misunderstanding which had arisen was attributable not, in any degree to lack of ability or lack of good intentions on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers, but wholly to the unsuitableness of departmental machinery. He had considered various schemes which had been suggested for rectifying that deficiency with the respectful attention that was due to the character and experience of the gentlemen from whom they emanated. Some had proposed to give the Colonies representation in that House; others, the establishment of a Council exterior to, and, as regarded certain great Imperial questions, superior to this Parliament; others, a Council of Advice similar to that which assisted the Secretary of State for India; and he had come to the conclusion that the noble Lord the Secretary of State for the Colonies was right in rejecting them one and all, either as impracticable or as inconsistent with the theory of the Constitution. On the other hand, it was a great error to suppose, as had been asserted by Earl Granville, that the Governors constituted the proper channel of official communication between the Governments of the great self-supporting Colonies and the Secretary of State. The Governors constituted a most suitable channel for conveying to the Colonial Cabinets the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and very potent instruments for promoting that policy; but, as the servants of the Imperial Government, dependent as regarded their future prospects on the favour of the Secretary of State, they were not, and never could be, suitable channels for advocating the colonists' case from the colonists' point of view at the Imperial Court. He was glad to find himself borne out in that view by the right hon. Baronet opposite the Member for Staffordshire, from whose recent very admirable work on Colonial Policy he would here read a brief extract—It was true that Colonial Governors, however dependent their Ministers might be on the confidence of local representative bodies, are likely enough themselves to keep an eye on the policy of the Home Government, and tune their own course with it.1834 He would also avail himself of the concurrent testimony of one whose experience had been gathered, like his own, in the administration of Colonial Cabinets. Mr. M'Culloch, late Chief Secretary in the Colony of Victoria, had said, in a recent debate upon the relations with the mother country—He deprecated the system which made the Governor, rather than the Ministry of the day, responsible for the despatches which were sent in reply to Imperial communications; these despatches, about which the people in the Colony know nothing, were taken in England as expressive of the community here, when the fact was neither the people nor the Ministry had anything to do with them. This position seemed to him to be a wrong one which should not be continued.For himself he believed that a very small alteration would suffice to adapt the present machinery of the Colonial Office for the efficient administration of affairs under the novel relations which the great development of the self-governing principle in modern times had brought about. What he believed practicable and also sufficient for the purpose was—First, to limit the veto upon acts of the Colonial Legislature to cases in which those acts infringed upon the Prerogative, or were inconsistent with treaty obligations; secondly, to permit such Colonies, as might elect so to do, to send envoys duly empowered and authenticated, who should stand to the Secretary for the Colonies on precisely the same footing which the envoys or chargé d' affaires of foreign countries occupied in their intercourse with the Foreign Secretary, to watch over the interests of their respective Colonies, entitled to be made cognizant of any measure in contemplation affecting them, and that, before the Minister had committed himself by any action to a, particular course; entitled, moreover, to proffer advice and suggestions, which, being founded on personal experience, would prove invaluable to the Secretary of State, and secure him from falling into errors such as had recently been committed. What would be thought of a suggestion that Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, instead of being advised as at present by ambassadors or chargé d' affaires, duly authenticated from the Governments with which we have diplomatic relations, should be advised respecting the affairs of those countries by officers of his own appointing, who had neither special knowledge respecting those af- 1835 fairs, nor any mission to advocate the interests of those countries from their own special point of view; but, on the contrary, a direct interest to square their advice in accordance with the proclivities of the Secretary of State on whose favor they were dependent for future advancement? Surely no one would affirm that such an arrangement was calculated to perpetuate friendly relations; but, on the contrary, would expect from it the frequent occurrence of mistakes and misconceptions, giving rise to recriminations and antagonistic feeling. Yet this was precisely the machinery by means of which our diplomatic relations with the great self-governing Colonies were conducted. Every man of practical experience would acknowledge the immense advantage of personal interviews for preventing difficulties and irritations, and for smoothing them away when they arose, and he firmly believed that if either of the colonial statesmen now in this country on a special mission from New Zealand, had been authenticated from the commencement, and before the Secretary for the Colonies had committed himself to a particular course, that course would have been modified and the heart-burnings and alienation of feeling, which all must deplore, would have been avoided. It had been objected that the policy which he now advocated would tend to relax instead of drawing closer the bond of union. He would reply that the bond of union between the parent State and the now adult Colonies was not strengthened but strained by an unduly close association perpetuating the condition appropriate to nonage, and the conviction forced upon him by a long and varied experience in colonial affairs was, that the alternative lay between ultimate separation and the recognition of those Colonies on the same footing as foreign States in alliance so far as regards this matter of diplomatic relations. He believed he had made out a sufficient case for inquiry. He had occupied the attention of the House at too great length. Conscious as he was of inability to do justice to so great a subject, he must thankfully acknowledge the kind attention with which the House had favoured him. Loyalty and patriotism were potent spirits, had worked wonders in times past, and might again; but they were spirits intangible, incorporeal—once evaporated they could never again lay 1836 hold of them. They were lost for ever. This consideration should temper and guide not only our dealings, but our tone of communication with our great self-maintaining and self-governing Colonies. A great opportunity now presented itself for consolidating, on an even and permanent basis, the union of their great Colonial Empire—an opportunity which, if allowed to pass away, might never return, for uniting those great self-governing communities with the parent State by the bond of a common allegiance, affording to each the advantages of common citizenship, and to both the strength of union in a great Empire. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Resolution of which he had given notice.
§ MR. EASTWICK
, in seconding the Motion, said, he must begin by expressing the hope that the support he wished to give to the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrens) would not be weakened if it should appear that he differed from him in some particulars. It was one of the stock fallacies to allege that a proposition was unsound because all the speeches of those who supported it were not pervaded by the same idea. This fallacious objection was one of the arguments used against the hon. Member (Mr. R. Torrens) when he brought forward his Motion with respect to emigration on the 1st of last month. Surely it ought rather to make for than against them that they supported the same Resolution, although they might look at the question from different points of view, and arrive at their conclusion by separate routes. His (Mr. Eastwick's) view of the matter, then, was that, in order to show sufficient grounds for the appointment of a Select Committee to inquire into our political relations with the self-governing Colonies, it was not necessary to dwell upon what had occurred in New Zealand, and still less upon certain schemes which had been proposed for modifying our forms of communication with those Colonies. As for the withdrawal of our troops from New Zealand, it was only part of a policy, and if that policy was right it might be contended that we had done right in this particular instance. He said nothing of the time and manner of execution—that was a separate question, and he might have something to remark about it presently. With regard to the substitution of diplomatic for of- 1837 ficial intercourse with the Colonies of which, they were speaking, and similar alterations, the appointment of a Colonial Council like the Council of India, or colonial representation of any other kind—although it might be very proper that a Committee should examine these schemes and report upon them—he at once avowed that he did not attach much importance to them, or expect any signal advantage from their adoption. Granting that the objections to them could be got over—and he did not see how they could—we could no more arrest with them the movement that was now going on than we could anchor a ship with a packthread. As for the diplomatic idea, there was an incongruity in a dependency, even if it were a self-governing dependency, sending an envoy to the Imperial Government, to which he could not completely reconcile himself. Then, he saw a difficulty in establishing a rival line of communication to that we already had through the Governors. Lastly, and above all, the very favour which, would be here shown to the envoys, if they were—as no doubt they would be—men deserving of it, would expose them to unjust suspicions in the Colonies, and impair their influence. With regard to the Colonial Council, that was an idea which more commended itself to his mind. It had been said in "another place" that there was no analogy between our Colonial and our Indian Empires; and that was true if they were compared en bloc. But just as India was all despotic, so the colonial groups were all democratic, and were in much the same stage of advancement. The plan, too, had been tried in France, where a Comité Consultatif assists the Minister, and he believed it worked well. It had also been discussed in the Colonies, and was viewed there, as he learnt from the last newspapers, without disfavour. He saw nothing against it except one objection, which, however, he feared was fatal. He would express it in the words of Sir William Molesworth—All experience in the Colonies proves that the most influential persons lose their influence immediately on becoming nominees.The recommendation of the Council would, therefore, give no additional weight to any measure. Representation of the Colonies in the Imperial Parliament had been tried by France, and still existed in the case of Spain and 1838 Portugal; but he did not think that precedents drawn from those countries were likely to be very persuasive in England. The taxation difficulty might be got over, perhaps, by giving the colonial representatives only a limited right of voting. But he did not know whether the Colonies would appreciate such a boon, and he believed that there was no chance of the people of this country consenting to it. He, therefore, passed over all those matters, and came to what he considered the real ground why a Select Committee should be appointed to inquire into our political relations with the self-governing Colonies. This he found in the fact that we are now entering upon an entirely new stage of colonial policy, the issue of which appeared to him extremely doubtful—so that we ought not to neglect any precaution lest we should take some fatal and irretrievable step. In order to see that the present policy was entirely new and untried, let the House look back on the past history of our dealings with the Colonies, and it would be seen that there had been nothing like it before. He found it mentioned in the instructive volume on the Colonies, published by the right hon. Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Charles Adderley), that a high authority on colonial matters—the late Mr. Ellice—used to say there had been three periods in our colonial policy. There was first the aurea œtas, so much extolled by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government in his remarkable speech of the 21st of May, 1852. That Golden Age was the period when England allowed the Colonies to govern themselves; but no one would say that she even dreamt of separation. There was a flaw in that otherwise perfect system; but that very imperfection showed that England meant to continue to avail herself of the union. She imposed on the Colonies commercial regulations which were devised rather in the interest of this country than in the interest of the Colonies. That brought them into the second period, when, by tampering with their self-government, England lost some Colonies, and was frightened into governing the rest morn strictly, taking the expense on herself. It was true that, under that policy, so far from losing ground, she oven went on acquiring other Colonies in place of those she had lost; but she threw away the chance of establishing 1839 an Empire, the power and splendour of which we could now—to use the words of the right hon. Member for North Staffordshire—"only regretfully conjecture." The third period was ushered in by the celebrated Report of Lord Durham, in 1838. That Report showed that the stricter and more interfering our Government became during the second period the worse they made matters. After the great rebellion which severed England from the United States we did not lose any more Colonies; but we crushed the life out of those we kept. So, though this country continued to defray the expense, she began to go back to the policy of the first period—that of allowing her colonial dependencies to govern themselves; but it was with halting steps, as was natural in a retrograde movement. Lord Grey's history of his own Administration showed that there was a constant recurrence to the paternal system of interference. On the other hand, England sometimes travelled too fast, and removed restrictions without reserve where she might have made useful stipulations. For instance, she made no stipulation for free trade, though it was an Act of the Canadian Legislature in 1843 which was the first step to the repeal of the Corn Laws in 1849. Perhaps it was natural that Lord Durham's Report should have given rise to a policy of a mixed and nondescript character. It was inspired by Edward Gibbon Wakefield, written by Charles Buller, and signed by Lord Durham; so that it was not surprising that the policy which sprang from it was of uncertain hue, just as neutral tint is made from a combination of colours. But in these three stages of colonial policy there was no idea of separation. Our colonial policy was now entering on its fourth stage or age, in which England was to leave the Colonies entirely to themselves, to withdraw her troops from them, to throw off all expenses on their account, and gesticulate, if we do not say, farewell. He hoped that this fourth age would not prove theLast scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history,in which England would be left in dotage, sans everything. It was precisely because he entertained considerable apprehensions of this result that he supported the Motion of his hon. Friend for a Committee of Inquiry. He feared 1840 it would lead to a state of affairs in which we should find ourselves bereft of all our Colonies. Our policy was not to interfere in any way with our Colonies, to withdraw our troops, and to relieve ourselves from all anxiety and expense with regard to them. It was not difficult to show that the Colonies were of vast importance to England; and if they were we ought surely to embark in this new policy with the greatest caution, looking back to the errors and warnings of the past, and not rushing from one wrong system into the opposite error. A policy which might end in stripping us of all our great colonial possessions ought not to be decided upon without the fullest deliberation, not only of Her Majesty's Ministers, but of this House, of the whole Legislature, and of the nation. For several months past there had been indications of a growing attention to this matter on the part of the public, which, he was sure, would not be satisfied unless it was referred to the consideration of a Select Committee. He should imagine that Her Majesty's Ministers would themselves be glad to be relieved in this way of some of the responsibility which at present attached to them with respect to this change they were inaugurating. Did they doubt that if, even with the best intentions, they should make a false step at the present moment they would incur odium which all their services in other directions would not remove—because by a mistake here they would have inflicted injuries on the whole Empire. He said "the whole Empire," for though it was the fashion to speak of separation from England as a matter of indifference, and even of advantage to the Colonies, when they had reached a certain development, it could be shown that such a step at any period was just as likely to be injurious, and, perhaps, disastrous to them, as it would certainly be prejudicial to the mother country. It might sound very attractive to say that we would concentrate our Army at home, rely upon our naval superiority to defend any part of the Empire that might be threatened, and relieve ourselves of all anxiety and of all expense. This might be a grand attitude if it were adopted on the principle of reculer pour mieux sauter; but he feared it was only meant that we were to die cheaply in a corner. But whatever the intention, he asked, will this 1841 policy apply at once to all these self-governing Colonies, and equally to those where there are large Native populations as to those where there are none? Have we entered into no engagements and incurred no responsibilities which should prevent its application even were all else favourable? Let the House see how this was—and take first the case of Australia. Here he admitted that there was no strong objection to the new policy. In Victoria, for example, there was nothing whatever, as far as he knew, to be said against it. That was a Colony with no Native population, with an ample revenue of £3,000,000, and with abundant moans of defence. The Colony itself had spent £1,000,000 in fortifying its noble harbour, which would soon be safe against any enemy. England had most liberally and properly presented the Colonial Government with a turret-ship of 3,000 tons, carrying four 600-pounders. At all events, we contributed £100,000 towards its construction, while the Colony did the rest. Victoria had another man-of-war, a training-ship, a naval reserve, 5,000 excellent soldiers, 20,000 more on the rolls, and 100,000 men who would fight in case of invasion. Victoria had received from England a, flag, and we had saluted it. She offered us a regiment in the Crimean War, and sent a contribution of £50,000 to the Patriotic Fund. Victoria, then, was not a weakness to us, but a source of strength and glory, and she had no wish to leave us. She did not require our troops; but if she should ever need assistance he hoped we should give it with our whole heart and strength.
The next case was that of Canada; and here, he confessed, it seemed to him the scale began to incline the other way. It would take some years before the Dominion was thoroughly cemented; and it seemed as if the Fenians were determined to wreak upon the Canadians the hatred they bore to us. While we talked of withdrawing our troops we were guilty of a manifest inconsistency in sending an expedition to the Red River; but we should be guilty of something worse if we did not send it. The Canadians did not wish the troops to be withdrawn; the station was popular with our soldiers; it was cheap and healthy, and regiments had fewer men in hospital there, he believed, even than when in England. It seemed, moreover, most 1842 inopportune to deprive Canada of the means of naval defence at this moment. Instead of presenting Canada with a turret-ship as we had done Victoria, we had withdrawn even our gunboats from the Lakes, and had left the frontier defenceless. Canada had need of those boats, had need of some of our best men-of-war's men as instructors and as the nucleus of a naval force. Canada was the third Power in the world as regarded shipping and seamen—she could man any number of vessels of war that we could spare. His hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) had spoken of Canada as a country which existed only by sufferance; but that seemed hardly consistent with the assertion of Martin's Statesman's Year Book, that in 1871 Canada, with its affiliated Provinces, would have a population of about 5,000,000. Did a nation of 5,000,000 of Englishmen, backed by 30,000,000 more, and the most powerful Navy in the world at their back, exist on sufferance? A right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Lowe), who was a greater authority on financial than on military matters, had spoken of Canada as a source of weakness to us. Was an outpost of 40,000 soldiers, with a reserve of several hundred thousand men, a weakness? He would not venture to oppose his opinion to that of the right hon. Gentleman; but he would refer to the Report of the Committee of Foreign Relations held at Washington in February, 1841, which estimated the position that Canada and other Colonies give us at a million of men under arms. As soon as the Confederation of our North American Colonies was complete Canada would not require our troops; but why give offence by speaking of withdrawing them now?
The next case was New Zealand; and here there was a Native population, which at once created a difficulty. His hon. Friend (Mr. E. Torrens) had gone so fully into the matter that he should content himself with saying that as the 18th Regiment had only moved to Australia, where it was not wanted, he thought it had much bettor have been left where it was so urgently needed. But if the troops must needs be withdrawn, why reject the alternative which the New Zealand Commissioners proposed, to solve the difficulty by encouraging emigration? If we would guarantee the Treasury Bills of the New Zealand Go- 1843 vernment to the extent of £50,000 a year for five years even, the difficulty would be at an end; and we should have expended nothing. But he did not complain so much of the withdrawal of the troops as of the ungracious manner in which it was done, which had alienated not only New Zealand, but Australia, and of the arguments by which it was justified. The noble Lord who was at the head of the Colonial Office (Earl Granville) said in "another place" that had he left the troops in New Zealand they must have been employed, because they would not have had the moral courage to resist appeals for help when outrages and barbarities were practised. That argument was utterly unsound, because the troops had been there for the last three years and had not acted, though massacres and disturbances had occurred. It was an argument which appealed to the chivalrous sentiment, and would have been a very proper argument at the time when our policy was really liberal and magnanimous, when we were defraying a great part of the costs of the war, and chivalrously defending the colonists. But when we came to higgle over the price of our soldiers, and to say that we would let them have them for £55 a piece, and we would not let them have them for £40, and so on, the argument seemed to him out of place. England was now "travelling third class," and he objected to our entering a compartment for which we had not paid.
Next came South Africa, and here he thought the policy of the Government entirely broke down and deserved the severest censure. Here we had a Native population three or four times as numerous as the European, and the fiercest antipathies of race. Here we had entered into engagements which we were bound in honour to observe. We had distinct pledges like that of May 12, 1843. He was quoting from a proclamation of the Governor-General that "the expense of maintaining a military force adequate to its, the colony's, protection will be borne by the mother country." He had carefully read through the Papers presented to Parliament in May, 1869, and on the 21st of February this year, and he was confident that anyone who would take the same trouble would be astounded at the monstrous inconsistencies and discreditable trans- 1844 actions in which we had involved ourselves by this save-all policy. Let him state a very few facts. On the 23rd of February, 1854, we entered into a convention by which, to use the words of Sir Philip Wodehouse, the Governor—Her Majesty's Government forced the people of what was then termed the Sovereignty, in opposition to the decided wishes of the majority and of the most intelligent, to set up an independent Government.We did this knowing that the people, released from control, entertained a fanatical hatred of the Natives, and were uncompromising supporters of slavery. Yet we set up this Orange River Free State, and allowed another similar republic to be established in its immediate neighbourhood. Immediate and incessant war and all the horrors of the slave trade followed as a matter of course. The Dutch farmers of the Orange State immediately entered into a war of extermination with all the Native tribes in proximity to them, and especially against the Basutos, a loyal tribe, with whom we had entered into many treaties, and among whom a number of French Protestant missionaries, with their families, had taken up their abode. When these Basutos were getting the better of their cruel persecutors we interposed, and in the interests of these freebooters effected a peace on the 28th of May, 1858. The war broke out again; the young men and women of the Basutos were slaughtered, their children enslaved, nameless atrocities were perpetrated, so that the tribe of 100,000 souls was at last left with only 6,000 acres that could be cultivated, which meant starvation. As it was thought inconvenient that crowds of starving wretches should cross our frontier, we again interposed, and on the 13th of January, 1868, took the Basutos under our protection as British subjects. But the Dutch freebooters cared nothing for our proclamation. They prosecuted the war with vigour, burnt such crops as were left to the famishing Natives, and would not desist until by the treaty of the 12th of February last year we made over to them the best land of the tribe, including two of the stations of the French missionaries. Meanwhile, the kidnapping and enslaving went on just as it did in the days when Dr. Living-stone reported that these Dutchmen, besides killing a considerable number of adults, had carried off 200 of his school 1845 children into slavery. And now having established a slave trade at the Cape, which was in some respects worse than that we had spent millions to suppress on the West Coast of Africa, the Government had announced its intention of withdrawing the troops, and handing over the whole immense region to the tender mercies of the Boers, and, as the English colonists fear, to the dominion of Holland. He held in his hand the copy of a letter from a member of the Legislative Council at the Cape to the Premier, which he need not read, because the state of facts spoke for itself. He hoped the House would not assent to such measures, and that, at all events, it would direct inquiry to be made into the truth of those statements. He hoped it would not accept the pounds, shillings, and pence view of the question, which some hon. and right hon. Gentlemen wished to substitute for all others. He objected to that view, believing, in the words used by the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, when, speaking upon May the 21st, 1852, he said—The great interest and purpose of England in colonizing is the multiplication of her race, and not to extract from them some miserable and contemptible pecuniary benefit."—[3 Hansard, cxxi. 956.]For the sake, however, of those hon. Gentlemen who preferred that low view, he should wish to present a debtor and creditor account with the Colonies. Unfortunately the right hon. Gentleman who represented the Colonial Office in that House (Mr. Monsell), while he was very careful to show how much the Colonies cost, was equally careful not to show how much they brought in. Why should this be? Why, as they have a Home financial statement and an Indian financial statement, should not a Colonial financial statement be also furnished? This country was as much interested in the Colonies as in India. He held in his hand a statement drawn up by the Hon. Secretary of the Working Men's Association, showing the trade statistics for 1866. From this it appeared that the Colonial Debt, all of which we hold, amounted in that year to over £48,000,000—it was now over £50,000,000—and that our trade with the Colonies was £60,646,181—£9,000,000 more than that with the United States. And this Colonial trade was rapidly 1846 increasing, while our trade with tie States was diminishing, in consequence of the unreasonable restrictions in-posed. Besides this, there were at least £100,000,000 of British capital invested in the Colonies, the income from which was spent in this country. On the whole, it could not be said that we drew less than £10,000,000 appear from the Colonies clear profit; while all that the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Monsell) could show on the other side was £2,005,890, and, deducting the cost of regular troops, now to be withdrawn, and under all circumstances an expiring charge, £425,403. It might be said that these investments would be as safe if the Colonies were independent and separate as they were now. But no guarantee for this existed, save the assertion of those who said so. On the other hard, was there no danger, if the Colonies separated from us, of profuse expenditure, of repudiation, of intestine wars and foreign wars? The Colonies, at least, were not of this opinion, for they were agitating for being considered, neutral ground, valueless as such a declaration would be if the necessities of war once arose. Our investments were now absolutely safe; they could not be as secure if the Colonies had no protector. He would not venture to probe this matter further. He would only say that if the Colonies were of immense value to us financially, thy were of incalculably more value to is politically and morally. By them we had spread over the world the language, the free institutions, and the glory of England; and now, when they were becoming an irresistible strength to us—a strength which was reckoned years ago at 1,100,000 of men under arms, and had gone on increasing ever since—we were invited to push them from us because some Members in the Cabinet regarded them as of no value. There was no necessity, he maintained, for separating from for Colonies to the end of time. As the key-stone of a great Confederation we wee even more valuable to them than the were to us, great as their value undoubtedly was; and all this talk of separation never would have arisen had is not been for the indiscreet language of our own statesmen. This he would attest by citing one extract from the Report published at Montreal of the great meeting in the county of Shefford, held 1847 last autumn, to consider the question of declaring the independence of Canada. The Hon. Mr. Huntingdon said—We are merely taking up a discussion which his been opened by the leading minds of England. Are" (here the Report mentioned three members of tie present Cabinet), "disloyal? And if the discussion is proper and loyal, then, why should disabilities hang over those who engage in it in this country? … We are but participators in a discussion which Englishmen have promoted, and in which their interests are blended with ours. Had it been otherwise, if England were anxious to maintain and perpetuate the connection, if she deaded the change and deprecated the dismembrment of the Empire, our lips would be sealed, aid we should seek only such amelioration and advancement as we could legitimately achieve with-in the power and the jurisdiction of the realm.Motion made, and Question proposed,That a Select Committee be appointed to inquire into the political relations and modes of official inter communication between the self-governing Colonies and this Country, and to report whether any or what modifications are desirable, with a view to the maintenance of a common nationality cemented by cordial good understanding."—(Mr. Robert Torrens.)
said, he should confine himself very closely to the terms of the Motion of his hon. Friend (Mr. R. Torrens), and should not enter into the doings of the various Colonies which governed their own affairs at the other since of the globe. His hon. Friend had given them a very able resumé of what had happened in New Zealand in the course of the last few years, and had based upon these transactions an argument in favour of a Committee to inquire into the doings of the Colonial Office. All that might be very true—and in the main he agreed with his hon. Friend, and disagreed with the course which he Government had taken with regard to New Zealand; but that matter was bought before the House last Session was fully debated, and was decided against the view which he (Viscount Buy) entertained. To import a New Zaland debate, therefore, into the present discussion was to prevent their ever driving at a satisfactory conclusion. New Zealand managed its own affairs; and when the responsible Ministers of that Colony came forward to repudiate the interference which Members of the House were willing to exercise on its behalf, and to say that there existed no colonial question, and that they were perfectly satisfied with things as they stood, the mouths of persons in this country were stopped, and they would only render 1848 themselves ridiculous if they kept on assuring colonists at the other side of the globe that they were very much ill-treated. Mr. Fox, the New Zealand Minister, in a memorandum referring to certain communications which had been addressed to the Government of New Zealand, among others, by persons in this country a short time ago, entirely repudiated the proceedings then taken, and said that his Government could be no party to any action which might have for its object the assertion of a position different from that assigned to the Colony by the Constitution, or which might weaken the union between the parent State and its offspring. He did not see that the hon. Member who introduced this question had suggested any fresh machinery for managing the affairs of this country and the Colonies; and he really believed the appointment of a Committee such as the hon. Gentleman advocated would not facilitate or advance the object which he seemed to have in view. No doubt the primary object of his hon. Friend, like that of every other Member, was to maintain intact the relations now existing between Great Britain and her Colonies; but that object was not likely to be attained by frequent discussions, by constantly laying bare what were believed to be the secret woes and secret wounds of the Colonies, by telling them there were people in this country who believed that they were ill-treated, and by allowing expressions to be used which might convey to their minds that to some of those living in this country the connection existing between Great Britain and her Colonies was distasteful. Having given up the last rag of compulsion as regarded the Colonies, that was not the way to perpetuate the union now existing as a purely voluntary tie. It would be acknowledged that the immigrants into the Colonies retained that spirit of self-reliance, and even of self-assertion, which was generally regarded as characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon race; therefore, to let them suppose that we believed that they hung upon our skirts, wishing to impose upon us duties which they ought to perform themselves—that they were an inconvenient incubus to us—was not the way to maintain our present connection with them. The tie between England and the Colonies was a purely voluntary one; but there must 1849 be danger in allowing the present state of uncertainty to continue, and he thought these constantly recurring debates, and still more the appointment of the Committee now moved for, would have a most disastrous effect. He agreed with his hon. Friend that the colonists were originally very loyal to the Crown; but he could not concur with him that the sentiment of loyalty was now somewhat diminished. In proof of his assertion, his hon. Friend had cited some words used by Sir Alexander Galt. Now, he desired to speak with all respect of Sir Alexander Gait, whom he had known for 20 years; but it was no secret that Sir Alexander was one of the original Canadian annexationists; and although he had since occupied places of trust, dignity, and emolument in Canada, it might be fairly assumed that he had never entirely laid aside his former opinions. It was also perfectly well known that when Sir Alexander Galt used the words in question he was under the impression that Canada had not been altogether well treated. A just idea of the state of public opinion could not be conveyed by fixing on the words of a solitary individual whose antecedents would lead everyone to conjecture what his sentiments would be, and by ignoring the opinions expressed by nearly all the leading men in the Colony. Then Mr. Huntingdon, whom his hon. Friend had also quoted, had delivered speeches of such a nature that it was not fair to bring him forward as a specimen of a loyal community, because he had very openly expressed his opinion in favour of a dissolution of the connection between this country and the Colony. Against these two instances adduced by his hon. Friend he would put the universal, constantly-expressed, and well-known loyalty of the Canadian people. The enthusiastic reception they lately gave to the son of our Sovereign was owing not to mere curiosity and a gaping after Royalty, it arose from the fact that in Canada loyalty was elevated to a passion. His hon. Friend had also alluded to the language used by Mr. Gavan Duffy in another part of the world; but something was known of that gentleman's political antecedents, and if he retained the opinions which distinguished him in 1848, he certainly was not the kind of man who ought to be selected out of the whole of Australia 1850 in order to stigmatize a loyal people as evincing some tokens of disloyalty to the Crown. No doubt it was true that all systems of colonization tended eventually, and by slow degrees, to separation from the mother country. All history showed that. The Spaniards ruled their dependencies by means of an aristocracy to whom were committed the liberties and almost the lives of almost all persons who had the misfortune of not being born in Spain. They oppressed the Creoles and the Indians, and put religion and intellect under a thraldom which almost annihilated religion and intellect in the Spanish Colonies. Still, the final result was the independence of those Colonies. Look, again, at Brazil, which was erected into something like an integral portion of the monarchy. A ray of light was allowed to penetrate into the darkness of the Brazilians. Some encouragement was given to literature, art, and agriculture, and to a certain extent they were free. The result, however, was precisely the same—independence. Again, the French, a people peculiarly gifted with the power of assimilating themselves to aboriginal races, adopted in America the policy of keeping their colonists in subjection. When, however, French America passed into our hands that system was entirely reversed, and the people were encouraged to combine, to deliberate, to debate, and to govern themselves; but both systems tended—as in his judgment all systems must—to the subversion of metropolitan authority and the eventual independence of the Colony when it was fitted for it. We could not successfully contend against that law. He maintained, however, that our Colonies were, at the present moment, independent and free, although there existed between them and the mother country a tie which might be, if properly treated, so potent for good and so powerless for evil that he could see no reason why it should be ever broken. A friend of his in Scotland, the best sportsman he ever knew, once showed him a cobweb with which, for a wager, he had killed trout, depending not on the strength of his tackle, but on its elasticity. Now, he maintained that the connection between ourselves and the Colonies, fine and cobweb-like though it was, was yet firm and elastic enough to enable us to pass through many troubled years if we only recognized the fact that 1851 we were dealing with free men, with whose own concerns we ought not to interfere. This was, in fact, the principle on which we had acted during 30 years. We simply retained the power of veto, and this was the precise power which, in his hon. Friend's opinion, ought to be relaxed. He was unable to concur in that opinion. A few years ago he moved for a Return of the number of occasions on which that power had been exercised in British North America since 1840. From that Return it appeared that the power of veto had been only exercised twice in 1842, and twice in the following year, and then in regard to most unimportant matters. The last time the veto was exercised was exactly 25 years ago, when it was used to negative an Act that had been passed for the dissolution of the marriage of a man named Harris "and for other purposes therein mentioned." If then, in the course of 25 years, no Act was passed in Canada that demanded the exercise of the veto of the Sovereign, or if there had been such Acts and the veto of the Sovereign had not been exercised—in either of those cases it would seem that the power of the veto was superfluous; but in either view also it was clear that the veto was not exercised to such an extent as to jeopardize in the least degree our influence over the Colonies. There was the case of the Clergy Reserves which occurred a short time ago. In 1791 the Constitution Act reserved to the clergy one-seventh of all the un-granted land in Canada. The Canadians afterwards became discontented with the way in which these lands were administered, and wished to forfeit them in total disregard of the rights of the existing incumbents. How did Earl Grey act on that occasion? He stated the case with very great skill, remarking that the colonists might rely on the adherence of the British Government to the principles which they had lately observed in the exercise of their authority in the Province. What were those principles? Lord Grey's despatch, in which he announced the assent of this country to the Clergy Reserves Act, gave the answer. He said the question whether the existing arrangement was to be maintained or not was one exclusively affecting Canada, and that the decision of the matter ought not to be withdrawn from the Colonial Legislature. In other words, 1852 the Government looked upon the existence of a National Church as a purely local question, with which it was not their duty to interfere. Lord Grey dared not veto the Bill, for he knew that the exercise of the veto in that case would be followed by separation on the part of Canada. He (Viscount Bury), therefore, contended that the argument of his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrens), to the effect that the veto of the Home Government, as at present exercised, was dangerous to this country was plainly out of place, inasmuch as the veto itself was entirely nugatory. Again, there was the Militia Act. We had sent over the flower of our troops to Canada in 1862 to assist the colonists—no doubt for certain purposes of our own. They, however, acting as free men with reference to their own country, and without reference to England, threw out the Bill which was introduced with the object of providing the nucleus of a militia, and we had not dared to put a veto upon their conduct. We knew the colonists were, in point of fact, independent, and we had left them to manage their own affairs. That was the position in which our relations with the Colonies must continue to remain;—for it was not to be supposed that they would withdraw from their position of freedom, or give us a greater hold over their internal affairs. If it were even possible that they could do so, we should not wish that they should, so that if any change were to be made in our relations with them it could be only in one direction, and that would be to get rid of the last vestige of our supremacy—the allegiance which they owed our Queen, the one great link by which they were now united to the mother country. His hon. Friend, he might add, ought, in order to justify the House in appointing the proposed Committee, to show that there was some political grievance existing in the Colonies, and that if the steps which he suggested were adopted that grievance would be removed. He had, however, done nothing of the kind. But before he alluded further to the Motion of his hon. Friend, he (Viscount Bury) wished to be allowed to say a few words by way of personal explanation with respect to his connection with a certain committee which had been organized to obtain a meeting here of delegates from the va- 1853 rious Colonies during the winter. He was no party to sending out the original circulars of Messrs. Youl, Sewell, and Blaine; but afterwards, when some of the members of the committee consulted him on the subject, he felt that the only way in which any good could be done was that they should put themselves in communication with the Government, and through the Government with the Governors of the various Colonies; for there was no use, in his opinion, in resorting for information to the only other source from which it could be obtained, the Opposition in the Colonies, who might, indeed, give details of certain grievances, which, however, as soon as they were mentioned at home, might be repudiated by those who were in power, and who possessed the confidence of the people whom they represented. The advice which he had thus given was apparently agreed to; but a sort of colonial "Cave of Adullam" came to be formed at the East-end of the town, around which every description of colonial discontent appeared to have a tendency to crystallize itself. He could, under the circumstances, only dissociate himself as quickly as possible from what he believed to be an utterly false move; and he thought it was due to the House that he should have stated how the circumstances of the case really stood so far as he was concerned. Having said thus much by way of personal explanation, he might mention that the communications which had been sent to the various Colonies by the committee to which he referred had been replied to by a few of them. Some of those replies he had already read; but he might add that in one of them, dated from Government House, Brisbane, it was stated that the Government of the Colony saw no reason for altering the present mode of communication on subjects of mutual interest between them and Her Majesty's Government. That was another Colony which repudiated the idea that there was any colonial question, or that the existing relations between this country and the Colonies required re-modelling—thus throwing over his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge and his Motion altogether. He held in his hand a memorandum which was furnished by a distinguished Canadian, in which, referring to that Motion, he said— 1854On that part of the first point which may be embraced in the words 'political relations' I make no other observation than that I believe the great body of the colonists are satisfied with them; that it is their earnest desire to continue them; and that they will not readily part with the prestige or advantage which is their birthright as British subjects. But if time and altered circumstances require it they will be ready to readjust the conditions of the relation so as to adapt them to any new requirements.Those were the words of an ex-Minister of Canada, who added—In reference to the latter branch of the subject—'the mode of carrying on communication with this country'—I do not think that any serious dissatisfaction exists, or that there is any ground for it. Some party or individuals in a Colony may occasionally, from personal disappointment or for political purposes, complain of the Colonial Office; but those who have had the responsibility of conducting affairs have rarely, if ever, bad occasion for dissatisfaction, and I can suggest no machinery by which the very varied, delicate, and often difficult questions claiming the consideration of the Colonial Department could be better or more speedily dealt with.Now, that being so, what would be the effect of a Committee if appointed? He had heard various opinions expressed in that House as to the value of the connection between the Colonies and the mother country, and if the Committee were composed with any fairness all those sections of opinion must be represented upon it. Under those circumstances, it would be perfectly easy for any Member of the Committee to have recorded in the short-hand writer's notes whatever evidence he pleased. He would simply have to call witnesses whom he knew concurred in his peculiar views and to ply them with questions until the answers which he received were completely to his satisfaction, and such as he could afterwards triumphantly appeal to to refute his adversaries or to support his own suggestions. As well, he contended, might a short-hand writer be set to take down the gossip of the smoking-room to be subsequently used to prop up a particular theory. Great as might be the danger of debating in that House such delicate and ticklish subjects as the relations between Great Britain and her Colonies, he said the previous deliberation that would be given to opinions such as that by being placed on record in the form of evidence supplied by a Committee of that House would be still more dangerous; and for that reason, if for no other, he should be entirely averse from the appointment 1855 of a Committee. The Government ought to have the whole responsibility in dealing with such an important matter, and if the Government believed there was anything that ought to be inquired into, let them issue a Royal Commission on their own responsibility. If any change at all in the relations between us and our Colonies was to occur, it must be in the direction either of a separation or of a concession on the part of the colonists of some portion of their autonomy. This country had nothing to concede; she had already conceded everything to the Colonies, reserving simply to herself the veto and the recognition of her Sovereign as liege lord. Would the colonists give us any concession? He thought not; but the answer lay in the value the Colonies would attach to their connection with this country. What were the advantages to the Colonies of that connection? First of all, there was the prestige of belonging to a great nation, and of I forming part of a great Confederation: secondly, they had no expense for diplomatic relations, and in all matters arising between them and foreign countries they spoke through their English representative with much greater effect than they possibly could if they were isolated republics, speaking only with the weight that would attach to 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 of people. Next, there was the consideration of the protection of the British flag. Of course, a weak Power always stood in some danger of being interfered with by meddlesome or aggressive people; and if the Colonies belonged to a great nation or Confederation, of course they enjoyed a very great advantage. The Colonies, he believed, would give a great deal to retain those advantages; but there was another consideration which he thought outweighed them—namely, that they lived under a constitutional monarchy. No one who had lived in a Republic, no one who had lived in America and had seen how the whole machinery of life was stopped by the constant canvassing going on for the Presidential election and by the constant "caucusses"—no one who had seen how the turmoil attending the election of one President began afresh on the day that he was installed—but must admit that to spare a nation the necessity of every three or four years electing its chief officer was to confer on it at once one of 1856 those solid blessings which it was impossible to over-value. He could not resist quoting a few lines from an author who, a few years ago, sat in that House—which he entered at a period of life when the brilliancy of his wit was somewhat dimmed by age—Mr. Justice Halliburton. "Sam Slick" said the Sovereign of the British Empire was the head of his people and not the nominee of a party; he was not supported, right or wrong, by the one party that chose him, nor was he hated and oppressed, right or wrong, by other party because they didn't vote for him; but he was loved, and regarded, and supported by all with a feeling that they knew nothing of in their country (the United States)—namely, loyalty. For the advantage of living, therefore, under our constitutional monarchy the Colonies would, he believed, be ready to sacrifice much; but they ought not to sacrifice one jot or tittle of their autonomy as freemen. And what, on the other hand, did England gain by her connection with the Colonies? She gained what was not to be despised—the alliance of 7,000,000 of people in all parts of the world. We could look around and see in all parts of the habitable globe that we had active men, not foreigners, into whose nation we could enter with all the advantages of being English subjects. What would be the result if we abandoned our Colonies? Suppose we had any dispute with the United States, and that Canada was in the position of a neutral—it must be remembered that part of Canada was within a few day's steaming of Ireland; and if we were not in possession of any portion of Canada, not only should we not have a place where we could refit a ship-of-war, where we could coal and have a naval station, but we should offer our enemy a secure base of operations against Ireland within a very short distance of our coast. We should have no place nearer to us than Bermuda; and recollecting that Bermuda was situated near the American Coast, did we suppose that, blockaded and attacked as it would be, it would long remain a naval station for us? No; it would fall into the hands of our opponent. Then, with Canada and Bermuda gone, did we think we could hold the West Indies? Some might think that did not much matter; but once our Empire began to crumble 1857 away, and we had lost Canada, Bermuda, and the West Indies, would Australia remain with us six months afterwards? He trowed not. He believed the importance of this country retaining her connection with Australia now was as nothing compared with what it would be when Australia teemed with population, and doubled and trebled her wealth and power as she would do. We had great and increasing relations with the whole of the East—with China, Japan, and the various stations in those Eastern seas. An able writer—Mr. Merivale—in The Fortnightly Review the other day, said that in looking at that subject he quite lost himself in the contemplation of the importance of our trade and our relations with that vast collection of islands and with the countries in the Eastern seas, and that he could not overrate the importance that Australia would be to us in the future. He (Viscount Bury) entirely endorsed that opinion; and it should be remembered that if we lost one of those Colonies we lost them all. It was sometimes urged that the Colonies were a burden to us, or likely to be so in the event of war. There had been several cases in which Canada had been almost involved in war through her connection with us. The Oregon boundary question was one of them—a question which Canada did not raise, nor was she primarily interested in it. The Oregon boundary dispute would have equally arisen if Canada had lain many fathoms below the sea. Again, in the San Juan difficulty, and also in the Trent affair, Canada, through no action of her own, might easily have been engaged in war with the United States. In connection with what was called the Enlistment question, a person living on the boundary of Canada very nearly succeeded in involving us in complications with the United States; and throughout the Crimean War, and afterwards through the American War, the Government of the United States—not once, but repeatedly, and in the most enthusiastic terms—thanked the Government of Canada for the way in which they discharged their international obligations and prevented the possibility of dispute. There were also the Alabama and other disputes; and in all these Canada was involved as the possible theatre of hostilities in the event of war; but in none of these cases did the 1858 fact that we held Canada as a British possession in any way complicate matters. Therefore, in time of war or of possible war, Canada had never been anything like a source of weakness to us. Great stress had been laid upon the difficulty and alleged, impossibility of our defending Canada; but the elements of climate and of distances had not been sufficiently considered. It must be remembered that St. John's, a well fortified place, was 250 miles from Halifax; Halifax was 600 miles from Quebec; Quebec was 200 miles from Montreal; and to reduce all these places, and occupy them permanently, or even temporarily, an invading Power must detach separate fleets and armies. When we remembered that, in the civil war between North and South, it took three years for the North, with its naval preponderance, to get possession of the Southern arsenals, could we anticipate that St. John's, Quebec, and Halifax, all strong citadels, would fall so easily as some assumed they would? It was forgotten that siege operations could not be continued during the winter, but must be suspended, and then renewed in the spring, for supplies must be drawn across lakes which in winter were impassable for sleigh or boat. No doubt, if disloyalty were developed among the Canadians we could not hold Canada, which contained as many fighting men as the Southerns were able to bring into the field; but it would be impossible for that number of fighting men to be so entirely overwhelmed by any force which an invading army could bring against them as to enable that army to hold Canada for any considerable time; and he was confident the loyalty of the Canadians, so long as they believed we earnestly desired to maintain the connection with them, would induce them to make any sacrifice rather than sever it. Again, he believed that aspirations after national unity and love for the mother country had not yet become wholly extinct in either the individuals or the communities of our race; and he knew that the more democratic opinion grew the more firmly it became attached to nationality. A citizen of the United States always spoke with pride of "my country;" and in that respect they were an example to some of us. There had recently been published, on the Motion of the hon. and gallant Member for 1859 Aberdeen (Colonel Sykes), a Return showing the expenditure on colonial account from 1858 to 1867, from which wrong conclusions might be drawn unless it was carefully analyzed. In the first place, it stopped at the year 1867, and did not show the great reduction made since that time. The chief outlay would appear to be in British North America, to which an average of £797,670 per annum was chargeable. But the interval included in the Return was, from exceptional causes, the most unfavourable. It embraced four events—the Trent affair, the complications arising out of the American War, the Fenian invasion, and the outlay on construction of permanent works at Halifax and Quebec, now nearly completed. The Return showed in British North America an outlay in 1867–8 of £1,266,000, of which £100,000 was for permanent works, about £50,000 for barracks, and a like sum for naval charges, which, in 1861, amounted to £320,000; whereas the gross expenditure in 1869–70 was only £509,000, and in 1870–1 it was only £245,000, a considerable part of these sums representing the outlay for the completion of the works at Halifax. The amount applicable to Nova Scotia was £121,000, while that for the whole of the rest of the Dominion was only £103,000. The whole group of Australasian Colonies—Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand—were to cost less than £25,000. It was further necessary to see what portion of this outlay represented the mere pay, clothing, and commissariat of the troops; because, although the money was spent in the Colony, it could not be properly chargeable to the Colony, unless the troops stationed there would, but for the requirements of colonial service, be struck wholly from the roll of the Army. The expenditure on the self-governing Colonies might, even including the permanent works in British North America, be now put down at—Australasia, £25,000; Canada, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward's Island, £245,000. Surely the total of these sums was not a large amount to pay for maintaining our extended Empire. He was aware of no other kind of expenditure than military on these Colonies. The question whether an equivalent in money was received from 1860 their trade was a problem which could be solved by figures. "Trade follows the flag" was a maxim which was especially true in regard to the colonial intercourse with the mother country; and those who asserted that the Colonies would be as good customers to English manufacturers as they now are if the tie of common nationality were removed spoke with little understanding of the colonial mind. Admitting the force of the argument that communities would, everything else being equal, endeavour to buy in the cheapest markets, were not the recent progress of manufactures on the Continent of Europe and in the United States, and the greatly improved means of intercourse between Continental ports and foreign countries, somewhat impairing the past monopoly which England had in foreign markets, and making it her interest not to weaken any one of those influences which operated to attract the colonial demand to her? Could separation be accomplished without political enmity, and, if that existed, would not our trade with our Colonies be annihilated? If the returns of trade between England and the United States were analyzed, it would be seen that, notwithstanding the increasing wealth of individuals in the States, the amount per head of the imports of British manufactures was yearly diminishing; and if the Returns were correct, they proved that the Australian and British American Colonies together consumed six times as much of the products of British industry, in proportion to their population, as did the United States. The United States, with a population of 38,000,000, received £21,000,000 worth of British imports, which was equal to 11s. per head; the Dominion of Canada, with a population of 4,300,000, received £7,000,000 worth of British imports, or 33s. per head; New South Wales, with a population of 450,000, received £3,000,000 worth, or £6 13s. per head; New Zealand, with a population of 220,000, received £1,700,000 worth, or £7 14s. per head; South Australia, with a population of 170,000, received £1,200,000 worth, or £7 per head; and Victoria, with a population of 700,000, received £6,000,000 worth, or £8 10s. per head. If trade followed the flag in the remarkable manner indicated by these figures, surely it must be acknowledged that it would be a great misfor- 1861 tune to this country if the connection with any of our Colonies was severed. If we, however, insisted upon shaking them off, political enmity must follow, and the consequences of such a state of things must be most serious to the interests of this country. Those who contended that the Colonies were a burden to us were arguing in a vicious circle, which would not bear the light of day. It only required to be noticed to be disposed of, for everyone must acknowledge that Colonies were a source of great strength to the mother country. One of the purposes for which the Committee was asked was to inquire into the modes of official intercommunication between the self-governing Colonies and this country; but it was not necessary that the Colonial Office should be employed at all in such intercommunications, because on various occasions treaties had been negotiated between the various Colonies and the United States, and sometimes between the various Colonies and other foreign nations, without assent previously obtained at the Colonial Office. Therefore, he conceived that no inquiry on that point by a Committee was desirable. It was not necessary for him to enter into the various systems which had been proposed at different times as panaceas for the grievances complained of, because the hon. Members for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrens), and Penrhyn (Mr. Eastwick), had disclosed of the several suggestions which had been made with that view, and which probably would again be brought before any Committee which might be appointed. Of this he was sure—that if it were not wished to retain to the end of time the connection under which the mother country had become so great among the nations of the earth, and the Colonies had so largely developed themselves in material and every other kind of prosperity, there was one duty which England had to perform, and that was to deal with the colonists as free men, and say no word which would hasten or embitter separation. Let her regard it as a high and holy thing to educate nations of free men for that independence which, no doubt, in the fulness of time, they would come to; but, because he wished to see the connection maintained in all its integrity for many long years yet, he deprecated the appointment of any such Committee as the one now 1862 suggested, and he would therefore conclude by moving the Previous Question.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
seconded the Amendment.
Previous Question proposed, "That that Question be now put."—(Viscount Bury.)
§ SIR CHARLES ADDERLEY
said, he thought the discussion which the hon. Member's Motion had evoked would be far more useful than the Committee could be which he wished to have appointed. A discussion in that House from time to time on our colonial relations was a very desirable thing, for this reason—that there were very few in this country who took the trouble to ascertain for themselves the real merits of that great subject; even very few Members of that House had in any way studied the enormous value and importance of our colonial relations, or could give any very definite or sound reason for the opinions they held very vaguely on the subject. He believed there was nothing more characteristic of a free, self-acting country like this than that it was very sharp in looking after affairs at home, and very careless in its judgment of affairs at the extremities of the Empire. An occasional debate, therefore, on our colonial relations must be useful; partly that it might be seen and known here and in the Colonies that, whatever the views taken of the policy most conducive to a lasting connection, but one feeling pervaded all parties, on whatever side the House, and that was a sense of the value of our connection with the Colonies, and a desire to make that connection as permanent, as thorough, and as real as possible. Very different views might, no doubt, be taken of how to secure that end; but the only difference between us was as to the mode of treatment, not as to the value of the object in view. Some thought that a Colony must be dependent, patronized, protected, to be a Colony at all, and that the instant a Colony was able to protect itself it ceased to be a Colony, just when to his (Sir Charles Adderley's) mind it first appeared a real extension of the Empire. He must allow that the hon. Member who moved this Resolution (Mr. R. Torrens) had made out his case so far that a sense of dissatisfaction had boon expressed in some of the Colonies with the present policy of the Home Govern- 1863 ment. The hon. Gentleman had cited sufficient quotations to make that clear; but then came the question—was that dissatisfaction well founded? Was there any truth in the allegations made by the complainants? Was it not rather the fact that the feeling was one of disappointment springing from our having for a long time pursued a wrong policy towards the Colonies, on which many vicious interests had grown up, and that now we were beginning to revive what had been the most successful colonial policy of the country, but which must destroy many old abuses? Had the hon. Member remained in his place he should have made an appeal to him on the Motion he had made. He asked him before Easter to give some clue to what his views were on the subject, and after listening to his speech he must say he could not very definitely understand what he proposed to himself or the House. To ask for a roving inquiry into our colonial relations would be not so much a waste of time as a positive mischief. Of course it would raise expectations that would not be realized; of course, every species of complaint and grievance would be brought forward—perhaps invented for the occasion. The inquiry, therefore, was in every way likely to injure the relations now existing between the Colonies and this country. Nor, so far as he could understand the views of the hon. Member, was it likely to afford any compensation for all this injury by leading to any definite result. The hon. Member proposed, so far as he could make out, two propositions—one the formation in this country of a Colonial Council of some sort, the other a mission of envoys from the Colonies to this country. Strange that he should in the language of his Motion seem to prefer the more alienating process. The terms were to—Inquire into the political relations and modes of official intercommunication between the self-governing Colonies and this country, and to report whether any or what modifications are desirable, with a view to the maintenance of a common nationality, cemented by good cordial understanding.He treated colonial relations no longer as those of Colonies but as of foreign nations, sending envoys to this country as foreign nations. This showed that the hon. Member had certainly no very clear idea of what modifications were desirable, as his proposed inquiry tended to the reverse of his allegations. If 1864 the grievance in the hon. Gentleman's mind was so imaginary, no wonder that the propositions which emanated from it should be illusory also. The hon. Member did not, as they were all aware, come new to this subject. A great many years ago he took a very active part in founding a self-acting Colony, and on the very best principles. No man knew better than the hon. Member, both from history and from personal experience, that for successful connection with this country it was indispensable that a Colony should possess the power of self-government, of which power that of self-defence formed a necessary portion. It could not be supposed, after successful experience of the working of that principle, that the hon. Member was now prepared to retract his former views on the subject and to relinquish the convictions of his earlier days. On the contrary we did not understand him to retract in any way the views to which he has formerly given elaborate and practical expression, but to contend that the Government has not sufficiently given effect to them, so that the hon. Gentleman's proposition ought to have for its object the carrying out his former views to fuller extent. But if that were so, it was difficult to see the exact nature of the alleged grievance. The hon. Gentleman said that the Colonies, or some of the most eminent men in them, complained of the policy of the present Government as one tending to separation and independence. As this latter phrase was more frequently used by the hon. Gentleman than any other, he presumed that it embodied an allegation against the Government, and that the hon. Gentleman hoped, to effect a cure by the appointment of a Committee of Inquiry. The combination of the liabilities of self-defence with the privileges of self-government was not a step receding from, but rather an advance towards, our original and more successful colonial policy. The withdrawal of the Imperial troops from the Colonies appeared to be one main subject of dissatisfaction; but in adopting this step, the Government was only returning to the earliest and best colonial policy of this country. It was a fact distinct in our history as any fact could be, that the first introduction of English troops into the New England Colonies led directly to the loss and independence of those Colonies. Up 1865 to that time, from their very first arrival on those shores, the colonists had defended themselves from the attacks of Natives far more formidable than any Colonies now had to cope with, and also against the armies of two of the most powerful nations in the world—France and Spain. But when we first sent troops among them there came the question, who was to pay for them? The story was very well known; the stamp tax was attempted to be imposed upon them expressly to recoup those expenses, and then came the outbreak, ending in the loss of the Colonies. The policy of withdrawing the troops—which was the policy of the present and had been the policy of the last Government—was not now; it was but the revival of our old colonial policy. And when the hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion (Mr. Eastwick) talked of it as a new and false stage in our colonial policy, he must remind him that such was not really the case, and that all the colonial disasters from which we had suffered were brought about by our departure from the very system to which we were now returning. There seemed to be an impression abroad that a party of politicians in this country were in favour of breaking off the connection, and the self-respect of the Colonies was mortified by the assumption that we were anxious to throw them over. But the fact really was, that the self-respect of the Colonies had been far more injured by our previous protection, and in proposing to withdraw the troops their true self-respect was again consulted. If the Colonies were really to form a part of this country, they must know very well that they ought to take on themselves the same duties and obligations of citizenship as their fellow-subjects at home, including the duty of self-defence. In the answers which had been received to the circulars sent out by the present Colonial Minister, the proffer of protection was rejected by the most eminent colonists in every quarter—they resented sentimental expressions of sympathy offered in the way of patronage—and in proportion to the strength, vigour, and self-respect of the colonists was the emphasis of their resolution to have the direction of their own affairs unimpaired by protection. Even in New Zealand, though some people complained loudly of the withdrawal of the troops, that was not 1866 the general feeling of the best men of the Colony; the strongest party, that which prided itself on the appellation of "self-reliant party," strongly advocated the withdrawal of English troops. Mr. Fitzgerald, one of the ablest statesmen that the Colony had produced, stated that for five years he had watched, in one of the new and most important districts of the Colony, the deterioration of the English character, owing to the presence and protection of British troops. And what, meanwhile, had been the experience of these troops? Why, much greater dissatisfaction had been expressed from time to time at the presence of these troops than now at their proposed withdrawal. During the whole period of their stay it had been one scene of bickering between the Governor, the Commander, and the local authorities; ridicule had been heaped upon the troops sent from England by the colonists, and so far from dissatisfaction being now felt for the first time, he ventured to believe, less dissatisfaction than ever before existed among the general body. It had been said that the true way to insure peace was to make those who were exposed to it bear the expenditure of war; and the truth of that saying had been already exemplified more rapidly and decidedly in New Zealand than ever before. It was a strange proposal to terminate New Zealand wars by reviving the interference which created them. There was no good, he repeated, in a vague inquiry of the kind now recommended, unless there were some tangible object in view. But, perhaps, the way in which the hon. Member proposed to increase the amicable relations between the mother country and the Colonies, and to draw closer the bond between them, was by creating a Confederate Legislature of some sort the four kinds of Confederation which the hon. Member had sketched out were—First, the introduction of colonial representatives into the House of Commons; secondly, that a Congress should be formed outside the House of Commons, in which this country and the Colonies should be equally represented; thirdly, that something in the nature of the Council of Spain for the Indies should be framed; or, fourthly, that agents or envoys should be sent from the Colonies to this country. All these four propositions seemed to him (Sir Charles Adderley) equally 1867 impracticable; and a moment's reflection must show their unsatisfactory nature to every man. If colonial representatives were introduced into the House of Commons, were they to take part in the discussion of questions affecting this country locally? and would the House tolerate these distant and uninterested representatives swamping their votes on home questions? In what way, again, were these Members to introduce into the House of Commons questions affecting particular Colonies having Parliaments of their own? There was a contradiction here which could only be got rid of by upsetting the Constitutions of those Colonies as now existing to reconcile them to this new theory of representative legislation. Then, as to a Congress, could this old country, which through centuries had gradually framed its institutions, be reconciled, all at once, to such a novelty as a Congress? In this Congress, all considerations of Imperial interest—such as those relating to peace or war, to commerce, and to all general interests—would be discussed, while the House of Commons, he presumed, would be left to deal with purely local questions. Such a proposal, he thought, would not find favour here for a moment. You cannot make a Congress of distant communities as of contiguous States. As to the third suggestion, that a Council should be formed on the model of the India Council of Spain, or its parallel in France, this was the strangest of all. What greater insult could be offered to the Colonies than the constitution of a Council governing self-governing Colonies autocratically at home, and not responsible to local opinion? The fourth plan by which the hon. Member proposed to bind the Colonies closer to this country was one for treating Colonies like foreign countries, the proposal being that from our own Colonies we should receive diplomatic envoys. What advantage would it be to a Colony not too rich in statesmen to send envoys wasting their time in this country, on the chance of some occasion occurring when their advice might be useful? Such were the propositions of the hon. Member for Cambridge. He believed that the most effective way of conference with Colonies would be to ask them to send delegates to confer upon cases as they arose. He must, therefore, demur to the appointment of a Committee of the proposed 1868 nature, which, while calculated to do a great deal of mischief in the way of raising vague expectations, could at the best lead only to a mere debate on wholly impracticable propositions. When, too, he found the hon. Gentleman the Member for Penryn (Mr. Eastwick) supporting the Motion for the Committee, on the ground that a general inquiry would be useful, but expressing his disagreement with the reasons for which its appointment was moved, he felt still more strongly that this would not be the way to cultivate more friendly relations with our Colonies. The utmost that could result from such a Committee was a sentimental expression of sympathy, which could lead to no real benefit. If, however, they desired to express any sympathy, they should do it in some manner that would lead to real and tangible results, and not in a vague discussion of impracticable propositions. By all means let them do anything to cement the all-important connection with the Colonies, which were the outlets of our crowded population, and the extension of our commerce. While, however, he could not vote for the inquiry proposed, he certainly did not like to vote for the Previous Question, which had been moved as an Amendment, because it appeared to him to be a rough mode of disposing of questions of this sort. Such questions were no doubt of great delicacy, and they could not be subjected to anything resembling supercilious treatment without the danger of wounding feelings which he was well aware were at that moment rather sensitive. Of one thing, however, he was sure—that they were all alike seeking one common end—to cement in the soundest possible way the connection, between the Colonies and this country, and to place our relations upon the firmest and most satisfactory footing. To do so you must follow natural relations, and not attempt artificial bonds.
§ MR. MAGNIAC
said, he had listened with surprise and astonishment to the noble Lord the Member for Berwick (Viscount Bury), when the noble Lord informed the House that it was not necessary to go the antipodes for information concerning the Colonies—that they had nothing to do with New Zealand—but ought to confine their discussion within the four corners of the Motion, and that such debates as these were 1869 likely to be attended by prejudicial effects. He (Mr. Magniac), for one, did not agree in the belief that the debate was likely to be prejudicial, or that the expression of their desire to cement a good feeling between this country and the Colonies was likely to be attended by ill effects. To his mind, too, the circumstances connected with Now Zealand made its discussion peculiarly appropriate, for he did not think it could be said that the understanding between this country and New Zealand was either very good or very cordial. Unfortunately, circumstances had arisen, either through their misunderstanding our intentions, or our misapprehending their wants or desires, which had led to the existence of a very painful feeling in the Colony at the present moment. The noble Lord (Viscount Bury), moreover, had indulged in an assertion which he would take leave to say had not a sufficient foundation in fact, when he stated that the New Zealand Ministers repudiated the interference of unauthorized persons, and that, therefore, our hands were tied. He believed, however, that the English Parliament was authorized to interfere, and, if possible, to interfere with effect; at any rate, that view was maintained by the authorized Ministers of the Colony, who made no such repudiation as that referred to by the noble, Lord, and had expressed themselves desirous of courting instead of shunning; the most searching investigation. Last year about this time, or a little later, there was a debate in which the noble Lord took part, and he (Mr. Magniac) was then in hopes that the debate would have led to some good result. A lull, however, came over the war in the Colony, the Natives did not exhibit the same activity; but, though a jubilant cry arose in this country that there was nothing more to complain of, those who; knew something more about the Colony and the Natives of New Zealand felt differently. By our last accounts, too, he did not know that the danger was altogether past, for they knew that the despatch of Earl Granville had been translated into the Maori language, and had been circulated throughout the length and breadth of the land. He held in his hand a letter from a gentleman in the Colony, who said that Earl Granville's despatch, telling the Maories that the balance of justice was on their 1870 side, had tended to continue the rebellion, and that it was something for them to know that the colonists had lost the sympathy of the Imperial Government. The noble Earl, in "another place," said that the Colonies were aware that the determination of the Government to withdraw the troops only applied to a time of peace, and would not affect the obligations or the relations between the mother country and the Colony in time of war. He did not know how it could be argued that the Colony was not at war at present, seeing that the noble Earl had deprecated the carrying on of hostilities in any other than the most regular mode of warfare. The Colony, therefore, at this time required the support of the mother country. Although the New Zealander was not of the same colour as the English, the two peoples were at war, and the European inhabitants of the Colony had a right to be treated be England as if she was at war with an enemy, cither of white or any other colour. The war might seem a small one to the people of a great country; but it had cost the colonists £4,750,000 in a few years, and this was an enormous sum when divided among a population of 220,000 people. The House of Commons had not been so chary in refusing assistance to other Colonies. There was last Session a loan to Canada, another for making a harbour at Galle, another for making a railway in King Edward's Island—and other loans innumerable, of which he had forgotten the names; but in the case of New Zealand the loan was stopped. He thought it a very inconsistent doctrine to hold that what was right in the one case was wrong in the other; and if it were said that these were the consequences of ancient obligations, it would surely not be denied that we had obligations to our kinsmen in New Zealand, which ought to be held equally binding. It had been stated, on the authority of Earl Russell, that the treaty of Waitangi still existed, and Tinder that treaty the colonists were justified in expecting the assistance of the mother country. A very ugly matter had come to light with regard to New Zealand. Certain gold diggings in the Colony had been worked by a large number of miners, and the land had brought a Maori chief an income of £8,000 a year for his rights. After yielding large results the diggings became 1871 poor, and a large number of miners who were starving saw on one side of a fence thousands of acres of auriferous land which they were not allowed to touch; because, under the treaty of Waitangi, the Government had made an arrangement which forbade them to cross the line. He had seen it stated that 20,000 miners would redress the balance of the races; but he did not wish the responsibility of settling the New Zealand difficulty to rest on the broad shoulders of these miners. The present position of affairs was that Te Kooti, like other savages, fought and fled, pursued by Europeans, and 1,200 or 1,500 friendly Natives. The Natives, however, must be fed, and the money voted by the Assembly had been expended within a few thousand pounds, so that it was said that unless Te Kooti was arrested within a few days the friendly Natives must be disbanded. He thought that the Home Government might interfere and assist the Colony out of their very great straights. The colonists were already taxed ten times as much as the people of this country, and any addition to colonial taxation would drive away thousands to the neighbouring Colonies. During the last 12 months not more than 600 or 800 settlers had arrived in a Colony which could receive and feed thousands of artizans and others engaged in agricultural and mining pursuits. He had had no previous communication either with the hon. Gentleman who had brought forward the Motion or with the hon. Member who had seconded it; but, he must say, that, under the circumstances, he thought that, without going into extravagance, assistance might be given to the Colony by the mother country which would enable the colonists to justify their names as Englishmen. He appealed to the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies and to the Prime Minister not to think this Colony beneath their attention. The day might come when it would have it in its power to help the mother country.
explained that he had not changed his opinion, which remained the same as last year; but he deprecated bringing up the New Zealand question in the middle of a general discussion, such as had been raised that evening.
§ MR. R. N. FOWLER
said, that during the last Session of Parliament the ques- 1872 tion of New Zealand had been very fully discussed on the Motion of the noble Lord the Member for Berwick (Viscount Bury). He could not approve the policy of confiscation which had been pursued in New Zealand during a long course of years; but though he felt that the views which had been enunciated on that subject by the noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies (Earl Granville) were very much in accordance with his own, he could not help observing that the policy of confiscation which he reprobated had been pursued not only by the local Government but by the Imperial Government. If there was any man in England more than another responsible for that policy it was the present Secretary of State. The noble Lord the Secretary for the Colonies, for whom he had the greatest regard—for he had had the pleasure of meeting that noble Lord in private life, and had experienced at his hands that courtesy and kindness which he extended to every one brought within the sphere of his notice—had been a Member of every Government which ruled the destinies of the Empire since 1852, with the exception of the short periods during which the late Lord Derby and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Buckinghamshire had been in power. He referred to the year 1852, because that was the time when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Droitwich (Sir John Pakington) passed the Bill through that House which established the Constitution under which New Zealand was still governed. While therefore he rejoiced that Her Majesty's Government had arrived at a different conclusion from that of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. E. Torrens), nevertheless it appeared to him that they were responsible for almost everything that had been done in New Zealand up to the present time, and it seemed rather hard, therefore, that the Imperial Government should now turn round and say—"You, the Colonial Government, have pursued a wrong course, and therefore we will deprive you of the support you have been led to expect from us, and we will take away our last regiment." Though he differed from the hon. Member for Cambridge on the question of New Zealand, he was glad he could concur in his remarks with respect to the Red River Settlement, on which subject the House was aware he had had a No- 1873 tice on the Paper since the commencement of the Session. It seemed to him that the colonists in that settlement were entitled to two things—first, and in a particular degree, to the full management of their local affairs, considering that they were at a great distance from any other Colony; and, secondly, to representation in the Canadian Parliament upon a liberal and generous basis. The hon. Member thought they ought to have one Member. He (Mr. Fowler) would go further, and say they were entitled to two. He wished to say a word with, respect to the Colonies of the Cape and Natal. The House must bear in mind that in the Cape Colony there was a population of 200,000 of European descent, a large proportion being not of English but of Dutch origin. In connection with this question the House should also remember that there were two independent republics which had been permitted to grow up by arrangements made with the British Crown—the Transvaal Republic and the Orange River Free State. As to the Transvaal Republic, Papers had been presented by the Under Secretary to the Colonies on the question of slavery, to which, he hoped, before the close of the Session, he should have an opportunity of calling attention; he would only say now that the Republic in question was one which for various reasons could not claim any sympathy from the British nation or from that House. As to the negotiations recently carried on between Her Majesty's Government, the Governor of the Cape, and the Orange River Free State with regard to the Basutos, which would be brought before the House by his hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Gilpin), he must say that that State had pursued a course of the most nefarious oppression with respect to the territories of Moshesh. He was glad to see that that remark had been assented to by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. Now, what would be the result of leaving the population of the Cape entirely to conduct its own affairs? There would be very great danger of conflict between the Dutch and the English elements of the population resolving themselves into a British party and a Dutch party, and it would be fraught with peril if the influence which the Crown possessed from having troops there was withdrawn. On the northern 1874 frontiers of the Cape and Natal there was a large Native population. Some might think—but he hoped it would not be said in that House—that the Native races must be exterminated by civilization. Whatever might be thought on that subject with respect to other Colonies—and it was a sentiment which he regarded with the utmost abhorrence—such a result could not be anticipated at the Cape. One Native tribe might from one cause or another be exterminated, but another would succeed it, and consequently we must always expect to have questions arising between the Government of the Cape and the Native tribes to the northward. Under these circumstances, it seemed to him most important that power at the Cape should be in the hands of the British Government, which should act justly towards the Natives, and that these poor people should not be left to the mercy of the Dutch colonists, who were actuated be the most hostile feelings towards them, and who looked upon them as a race of "niggers" to be exterminated, instead of trying to Christianize and civilize them. Much attention has been directed to the question of the withdrawal of Imperial troops from the Colonies generally, and it had been argued that it would be a measure of economy. But he would venture to ask whether the step was really an economical one? No doubt that if we did really mean to reduce our Army to a minimum, the policy of concentrating our troops at home could not be impugned; but on any other hypothesis he maintained that it would be far better and even more economical to retain our troops in the Colonies instead of bringing them home. The Cape Mounted Rifles were maintained by the Colonists, and there had been a financial deficit for years past at the Cape. In 1868 it amounted to £91,306. The colonists already contribute £100,000 a year towards their defences, the major portion of which was expended on the well-organized mounted police force under Sir Walter Currie. In 1869 the deficit was £50,000, and in the depressed state of the finances of the Colony, if the troops were withdrawn, it would have virtually to remain undefended, except by the 500 mounted police. Mr. C. Pote, who was for five years a Member of the House of Assembly, and for 10 years a Member of the 1875 Legislative Council of the Cape Colony, had well said, in a letter just addressed to the Prime Minister—Though we are British colonists, we are also British subjects, and not only British subjects, but a section of the great British nation itself, and we have not forfeited or alienated our birthright or claim to be protected, because we have transported ourselves from the soil of Great Britain to the outlying dominions of the Crown, at whose instance and recommendation, and under whose powerful protection, the British colonists were induced to found a home for future offshoots from her population, and to foster and to promote a trade now growing into proportions from which England is receiving considerable advantages. And it does seem to be a measure inconsistent with the humane and enlightened policy of this great country that her Ministers should bargain and seek to exchange, for a mere money consideration, the blood and existence of a loyal people.Again Mr. Pote said—The force necessary to maintain even the semblance of peace in British Kaffraria is about to be disbanded, and the last vestige of military authority to be withdrawn, and the colonists are to be called upon to provide for the defence of this conquest of the British Government, which it costs that power an army of occupation to hold, and this in the teeth of the fact that a considerable section of this territory has been parcelled into farms, and the colonists invited to settle upon them, to stock them, to build houses, and otherwise generally to improve their properties.Lastly, Mr. Pote made the fair suggestion—That the present greatly reduced military force should be permitted to remain until Her Majesty's Government had sent out a Commissioner to report upon the history and present condition of the Native races, their situation on the border, military posts and garrisons, vast amount expended upon them, extent of the Colony, its resources, capabilities, population, climate, productions, and the propriety or impropriety of wholly withdrawing the Queen's troops from the Colony until it shall so far have recovered itself as to be able to pay such fair contribution as Her Majesty's Government may require for the maintenance of a military force in the Colony.That was a reasonable suggestion, which he trusted would receive due consideration from the Government. The case of Natal was yet worse. The European population there was small compared with the Native, and the proportion of British settlers still smaller. It was important, therefore, with a view to the best interests of the Natives, that they should look to the Imperial Government, which could view these questions with an impartial eye and with a disposition to treat the Native races justly and fairly. Everyone must feel that not only were these individual cases of the greatest 1876 importance; but also that a crisis had arrived as to the whole question of our colonial policy. Nearly a hundred years ago the folly and perverseness of Lord North's Administration, backed up by an infatuated House of Commons, lost to the British people their finest American Colonies. It might, indeed, be a question whether, under any circumstances, those Colonies could have permanently remained connected with this country; but was there an Englishman now living, in that House or out of it, who would not regret that if we were to part, we parted not in friendship, but in anger. We all now desired to cultivate the best relations with the great colonial possessions handed down to us by our forefathers. Nobody doubted that, if the Colonists now wished to separate from us, we should use no effort to retain them by force; at the same time every moral and peaceable means should be employed to perpetuate our connection with those great communities—so long as they were true to us we would be true to them. We appreciated the loyalty which is as warm on the banks of the St. Lawrence and on the shores of New Zealand as on the banks of the Thames, and a very grave responsibility would rest on the Government and the House of Commons which should do anything to weaken the ties that knit the Colonists to the mother country. They had not yet had the pleasure of hearing Her Majesty's Ministers upon this question; but he clung to, the hope that when the right hon. Gentleman rises to address them he would express words which would convey to the Colonies that feeling of friendship and goodwill which would tend to strengthen the feeling of loyalty and attachment to the mother country, that some recent utterances of the Press had done much to dissipate, and which would bind together in closer bonds of union every part of this great Empire, so that posterity would look upon the debate of that night as having done much to dissipate delusions, and to cement more closely than ever the relations of England with every one of her Colonies.
§ MR. MONSELL
thought his hon. Friend who had just sat down (Mr. R. N. Fowler) had expressed in eloquent language the feelings entertained, he was sure, by every Member present in the House towards the Colonies. There 1877 could be no difference of opinion among them on that subject. They all desired to see the Colonies growing, not only in strength and power, but also in loyalty and affection to the mother country; and he trusted, as his hon. Friend had said, that the result of this debate might be to dispel some illusions which had been industriously set afloat—not, he thought, for any very good purpose—in respect to the sentiments of the Government in relation to our colonial possessions. His hon. Friend (Mr. R. N. Fowler) had referred to the Cape of Good Hope and Natal; but, without being hypercritical, he would remind him those two Colonies did not come under the terms of this Resolution—they were not self-governing Colonies. If he had an opportunity of drawing the attention of the House to the results of the double system of administration in those Colonies, and to the conflicts which arose between the Executive, which was in the hands of Her Majesty, and the local Parliament, which had the control of the finances, he believed those conflicts would go far to bring the House to the conclusion that the only wise system to adopt in reference to our colonial possessions was the system adopted by the late, as well as the present Government—namely, to develop to the fullest extent the principle of self-government in every one; of our Colonies that is fitted for it. He now came to the speech with which his hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrons) opened this debate. In no measured terms his hon. Friend put forward accusations against Her Majesty's Government. He adopted the proposition that Her Majesty's Government deliberately intended to force the Colonies to break away from the mother country; and he used a variety of epithets to describe what he called the injustice and bad treatment, and so on of which the Government were guilty. He (Mr. Monsell) now asked the House in fairness to consider on what foundation did these accusations rest. His hon. Friend cited his witnesses, and the first of them was Sir Alexander Gait, a Canadian statesman of eminence, who was said to have made certain statements expressive of a desire for a separation of Canada from, this country, and he endeavoured to fix Sir Alexander's opinions on the Government, because they had refused to produce a private and confidential 1878 letter written to that gentleman on the subject of a distinction which Her Majesty was about to confer on him at the time the letter was written. He had, however, expressly stated that every word that was in that private letter was contained in the letter that was published, in which Lord Granville said that Her Majesty's Government held there was no reason for withholding from a distinguished statesman a title of honour because he held views not in accordance with those of Her Majesty's Government, and had the opinion that at some future time it might be for the interest of Canada to separate from the mother country. That was one of the arguments on which his hon. Friend based Ms accusations. His next reference was to a speech of a Mr. Huntingdon, in Canada, of which he (Mr. Monsell) had never before heard. The statement of Sir Ranald Martin, to which his hon. Friend alluded, was one referring not to New South Wales, but to a despatch of Earl Granville to the Governor of New Zealand. There was nothing in the treatment of Now South Wales by the British Government of which Sir Ranald complained. His hon. Friend had also referred to a speech made by Mr. Duffy in the Parliament of Victoria. He (Mr. Monsell) had a copy of that speech before him, and he found that, speaking of the Colony of Victoria, Mr. Duffy said his impression was that, under the canopy of Heaven, there was not a country in which personal and political liberty were enjoyed in fuller perfection than in that Colony. These words of Mr. Duffy showed the view he, at least, took of the relations between the mother country and the Colonies. Like the late Mr. M'Gee Mr. Duffy was one of the strongest supporters of the British Crown, and was most anxious to preserve a complete and uninterrupted connection between the Colony in which he lived and the Crown. But when his hon. Friend came forward in the character of an accuser, he (Mr. Monsell) must ask him for his credentials—his authority he readily admitted—probably he knew as much of the Australian Colonies as any other Member of that House; but any views that he might elaborate out of his own brain were views which could not be entertained by the House or the Government. They were dealing with 1879 great self-governed communities—with Colonies who held their destinies in their own hands—and the Home Government could not accept as the views of these self-governed Colonies any views that were not expressed by the Legislatures of those Colonies, or by means of petition or memorial from the people themselves. Now, had his hon. Friend cited a single expression from the Legislature of a single Colony—putting New Zealand out of the question for the present—which expressed dissatisfaction with the relations at present existing between this country and her colonial possessions? He (Mr. Monsell) had gone to the record of the Petitions presented to the House to see if any Petitions had been presented from the Colonies; but the return was nil. He went to the Colonial Office to inquire whether any memorials had been received complaining of the way in which the Colonies were treated. He could find none. But it might be said that this was a happy year; he therefore asked—had there been a serious quarrel with any of the Colonies during the last ten years? What was the answer to that question? In Victoria, no doubt, there had been a serious controversy with respect to the vote of £20,000 to Sir Charles Darling; but that was the only serious controversy that had taken place in the Colonies during the last 10 years. Other complaints there had been, no doubt, of a minor character; but as to serious quarrel there was none. It appeared to him that that fact alone was the most eloquent argument that could be urged against the views of his hon. Friend. Was it possible that people could have a grievance—that people of our race could have a grievance—and that they would not complain of it? That was simply impossible. But, as his noble Friend the Member for Berwick (Viscount Bury) observed, there was not merely negative, but positive testimony. When a conference of colonists was suggested, a letter was sent from the association in Cannon Street to all the Colonies, in which they were invited to express their views with regard to the manner in which they were treated by this country; and every one of the Colonies had refused to take part in the movement. His noble Friend (Lord Granville), as soon as he received information of what the association had 1880 done, addressed a letter to the Governors of all the self-governing Colonies, and distinctly raised the question whether there was anything in the mode of communication between the Colonies and Her Majesty's Government which tended to obstruct good feeling, or which would admit of practical improvement? That despatch said—The questions which most seriously affect individual Colonies in relation to the mother country have often in their nature and treatment little connection with those which arise in others; nor, as far as I am aware, is there anything in the mode of transacting business between the British and Colonial Governments which, under their cordial relations, obstructs negotiations or calls for any practical improvement in their means of communication.Lord Belmore, the Governor of New South Wales, stated, in reply, that he had referred Lord Granville's despatch for the consideration of his responsible advisers, who informed him that they concurred in the views therein expressed. Was it possible that these could be the words of men who felt discontented with their position? The Governor of Tasmania enclosed a Memorandum, addressed to himself by the Colonial Secretary of that Colony, in which there was this statement—Tasmania, under a system of responsible government and an elective Parliament, fully empowered for all purposes of domestic legislation, and having access, through the Governor, advised by constitutional Ministers, to the Crown, through Her Majesty's Secretary of State for the Colonies, has no reason to feel dissatisfied with her existing relations with the Imperial Government.He must remind his hon. Friend that discontent once did exist in the Colonies. Under the system which prevailed 30 years ago there were complaints without number; there was the Canadian rebellion; there was the contest about the land in Australia; and discontent and dissatisfaction in nearly all the other Colonies. The system of giving to the Colonies complete and absolute control over their own affairs had dispelled these discontents and led to most happy results, and he trusted that the House would never consent to any Motion expressing dissatisfaction with the fullest development of that system. The hon. Gentleman had referred to the cost of the Colonies to this country. In 1865 the cost of the Colonies to this country—including military expenditure—was £4,265,177; in 1870 it would be only £2,049,796—a reduction of more than 1881 £2,000,000; while the position of the Colonies and their relations towards the mother country was as satisfactory now under the smaller as it had previously been under the larger expenditure. His hon. Friend (Mr. R. Torrens) had made some suggestions as to the subjects into which the Committee, if appointed, should inquire. He (Mr. Monsell) did not know that he could add anything to what his right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir C. Adderley) had said with regard to substituting Envoys or Ambassadors for the present system of communication with the Colonies—a plan which went directly towards separation, and was not in the direction of consolidation. He should be very much surprised at the Colonies sending Ambassadors to this country, because before many years had elapsed such a step must lead to Ambassadors being appointed instead of Governors. But if the hon. Gentleman could show that there was in the Colonies a general feeling in favour of such a plan, the Government would be most willing to take the subject into their consideration. At present, however, they were of opinion that such a system would tend to injure both this country and the Colonies them selves, and would diminish the speed of communications between the Secretary of State and the responsible Ministers in the Colonies; because despatches which were sent home by an Ambassador must be referred to the Governor before an opinion could be pronounced about any important matter. If a despatch was submitted to the Governor at the same time that it was forwarded by the Ambassador no possible advantage could be derived. His hon. Friend had also raised the question of military expenditure, and he (Mr. Monsell) wished to ask whether that subject could be more fully, more ably, or more exhaustively investigated than it was by the Committee which sat in 1861? That Committee, which considered the subject in the most minute manner, was composed of eminent Members of the House, and called before it witnesses of the highest authority. It had the advantage of hearing the opinions of Mr. Godley, who had, probably, devoted more time and thought to the subject than anyone who was now in the House. His conclusions were adopted by the Committee, and both 1882 the late and the present Government had endeavoured to carry them out. And what would be the result of an opposite conclusion on the part of the House? Had the hon. Member considered what the effect would be upon the principle of self-government in the Colonies if the House should decide to revert to the old system, and to employ British troops in the Colonies with responsible government? Did he believe that could be done without control over their internal affairs being exercised by this country? And who would pay for the policy which those troops might be sent to carry out? The renewal of such a system would tend to the complete subversion of that plan which his hon. Friend and the majority of hon. Members wished to carry out in accordance with the conclusions of the Committee. His hon. Friend's Motion contained the words, to inquire into our "political relations" with the Colonies; and he wished to ask the hon. Member what he thought would be the effect of the House proceeding to inquire into abstract relations existing between this country and the Colonies, and into the distribution of power? Was it not perfectly obvious that, if such a course was to be adopted, questions of the greatest gravity and difficulty would be raised, which, instead of producing content, would only be the source of angry controversy? If anyone doubted that, he would refer to the effect which had been produced by the Cannon Street letter on the Colony of Victoria. Before the discussions raised by that letter, that Colony was perfectly contented; but Mr. Higginbotham and his friends had now put forward principles which would, if adhered to, put an end to all relations between the Colony and the mother country. What were the resolutions that were proposed by Mr. Higginbotham? They differed greatly from his hon. Friend's views on military protection, for those resolutions declared not only the obligation of the Colonies to protect themselves against all internal disturbance, but they also asserted—The obligation to provide for the defence of the shores of Victoria against foreign invasion by means furnished at the sole cost, and retained within the exclusive control, of the people of Victoria.That this House protest against any interference, by legislation of the Imperial Parliament, with the internal affairs of Victoria, except at the1883instance or with the express consent of the people of the Colony.Another resolution objected to instructions being sent for his guidance to the Governor by the Secretary of State. These were the sort of questions which would be raised be fore his hon. Friend's Committee, and their discussion could only create confusion, jealousy, and quarrels between the Colonies and the mother country. The treatment of the Basutos had been referred to; and although that was a question which did not fairly come within the Resolution before the House the hon. Gentleman (Mr. R. N. Fowler) who mentioned it did so in such very strong language that he (Mr. Monsell) felt it necessary to explain the error into which the hon. Member had fallen. The hon. Member appeared to imagine that before the Basutos were taken under British protection this country was bound to defend them. In that supposition, however, the hon. Member was entirely wrong. The settlers in the Orange Free State having defeated the Basutos and taken possession of a great portion of their territory, the British Government interfered to prevent their extermination; and Sir Philip Wodehouse had asserted that a sufficient quantity of fertile land had been secured for their support, and that, in truth, the Basutos had not undergone any further sufferings than those incident to their being driven out of a portion of the lands which they had been accustomed to occupy, whereas had it not been for the interference of the British Government they would have been utterly destroyed. The interference on the part of the Government of this country, which was an interference from pure charity, had been successful in saving them from such a fate, and they had always expressed the most lively gratitude for the kindness we had shown them. The next question to which he would advert was by far the most serious of those which had been brought under the attention of the House that night; and he did not think he should be far wrong in stating that every other topic had been used only as a support to the attack on the main position—our New Zealand policy. That policy fairly challenged discussion. The hon. Member (Mr. B. Torrens) had undoubtedly put forward the case of New Zealand in the light most favourable to his own views. The first complaint of the hon. Member, 1884 as he understood it, was that the Government had been guilty of gross injustice in arranging to send troops to the Red River Settlement and in giving Canada a guarantee for a loan to enable her to construct certain necessary fortifications, while they had refused to do anything for New Zealand. Were he to go into a history of our dealings with Canada and with New Zealand, he did not think that the latter would be proved to have had the worst of it. Putting aside that point, however, it was clear that the position of the Red River Settlement was very different from that of New Zealand with regard to this country. The Red River Settlement was not a self-governing Colony, like New Zealand—it was a territory without free institutions which we had engaged to hand over to Canada, having received it from the Hudson's Bay Company, whereas New Zealand was a Colony possessing its own Government. The two cases, then, were not in pari materia at all—they were perfectly different. Then, as to the guarantee we had given to Canada to enable her to complete her system of fortifications, it must be recollected, by giving that guarantee, we were merely fulfilling engagements which we had already entered into. The fact must not be overlooked that Canada stood in a very peculiar position in respect of her contiguity to a foreign Power, which was not the case with regard to New Zealand. He would now proceed to the charge of the hon. Member for Cambridge as to the alleged bad treatment of New Zealand. The hon. Member said that, after the promise of Lord Carnarvon, under the late Government, and of the present Secretary of State for War, a regiment of Her Majesty's troops should have been allowed to remain in New Zealand. But that charge was not very difficult to answer—for, after all, what was the promise made by Lord Carnarvon? Lord Carnarvon's words were—You observe that if withdrawn from the outposts the troops would be useless to the Colony; but it is not with the object of being useful that they are now in New Zealand; the Colony has long since adopted the duty of protecting itself, and Her Majesty's troops are no longer there to protect it, but merely remain, or ought merely to remain, for want of the transports necessary for sending them away.When a regiment was offered to the Colony, the only condition upon which the Colonial Ministers would consent to 1885 pay for it—and it was a condition which it was quite right for the Colonial Ministers to make—was that they should be allowed to use it—that the troops should not be shut up merely to be looked at, but that they should be really used to put down insurrection. But Lord Carnarvon had offered to leave a regiment on the condition that it was to be used only to garrison the principal towns. With this condition the Colonial Government refused to pay for it, and therefore the Duke of Buckingham ordered all the troops in the Colony to be withdrawn. But his hon. Friend had made an observation which had astonished him not a little—he stated that the present Secretary of State for War had enjoined the punishment of the rebels by the confiscation of their lands. Now, his right hon. Friend certainly did lay it down—and he was right in laying it down—that it was just that the lands of those who were in rebellion against the Crown should be confiscated. But did he stop there? His right hon. Friend went on to say that it was not merely a question of justice, but that the colonists must consider whether they would be able unaided, without the assistance of the Queen's troops, to pursue those tactics, and that if they took lands which they could not keep, they and they alone, would be responsible. His right hon. Friend said distinctly—You are aware from my former despatches, that Her Majesty's Government would not consent to the confiscation of land, however justly appropriated, which would render necessary the employment of force to protect the new occupiers against the former occupiers of the land.The view upon which Her Majesty's Government had acted in this matter was stated very clearly and in a very few words in the letter addressed from the Colonial Office to his hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Magniac). That letter stated that the postponement of the withdrawal of the troops would be taken to indicate an unsettled policy on the part of the Home Government, and would encourage the Colony in the dangerous error of relying on the support of British troops instead of upon their own energy, justice, and prudence. What did those words mean? By energy was meant their providing a sufficient force to defend themselves; by justice, that there should be no unnecessary confiscation of land; and by prudence, that 1886 they should enter as far as they could into friendly relations with the Maories. He was perfectly ready to rest the case on a comparison on those three points of the condition of things existing-before this policy was pursued and the state of things existing at present. In dealing with the question of confiscation, he must remind hon. Gentlemen that, at the time the Colony got the responsible Government the relations between the Natives and the colonists were satisfactory. This the first Parliament assembled in New Zealand had stated. It had been said that the responsibility of the Imperial Government arose from their dealings with the Natives, which had produced the state of things which now existed, and therefore it was that he desired to go back to the time when the Colony really commenced to manage its own concerns. It was scarcely necessary to remind anyone who had given the slightest attention to the subject that as soon as responsible government was established in New Zealand a constant struggle began on the part of the colonists to get the same control over the Natives as they had over the Europeans. Governor Gore Browne, in 1850, wrote—"It is not easy to control those who cast longing eyes on Native lands, nor will the fear of war have any effect, for many will profit by it." In the year 1862 the late Duke of Newcastle made an effort to acquire by legislation power sufficient to enable the Imperial Government to control Native affairs; but his proposals were scouted by the friends of the colonists in this House and by the Colonial Legislature in New Zealand. The scheme was accordingly abandoned, and the Duke of Newcastle concluded that, as the Home Government had no real power of controlling Native affairs, it would be better to resign the whole duty into the hands of the colonists. It was true this also led to remonstrance on the part of the colonists, who desired to enjoy power without bearing responsibility; but they eventually accepted their new position. The Home Government, however, though they had abandoned all claim to power, made great sacrifices to carry the colonists through their difficulties; but the presence of General Cameron with 10,000 Imperial troops in the Colony was the occasion of more fighting between the General and the Governor than between the troops and 1887 the Maories. The result was that the utter impossibility of carrying on affairs under a double Government became apparent; the withdrawal of the Imperial troops was demanded by the Colonial Government, and Mr. Weld, Prime Minister of the Colony when this demand was made, has stated that the disasters which have since occurred were not so much occasioned by the withdrawal of the troops as by the delay in withdrawing them, which prevented that development of self-dependence among the colonists which alone could enable them to overcome the difficulty of their position. After it had been decided to comply with Mr. Weld's demand for the withdrawal of the Imperial troops, 3,500,000 acres were confiscated, and the bitterness of feeling entertained by the Maories towards the settlers increased. The Government of Mr. Weld remained but a short time in office; their successors neglected to make proper preparations for the defence of the Colony, and the rising of last year was the result. The effect produced upon the Native mind by confiscation was emphatically stated by one of the eminent colonial statesmen now in this country, Mr. Dillon Bell, on the 22nd of July last year, when he said—Three years ago I arrived at the conclusion that the sooner we got out of the difficulty in which we were placed on account of the confiscated lands, the better for the Natives and for us. I hope the House will bear past warnings in mind, and think twice before any more land is taken. We have seen how on the confiscation of land at Mokoia a struggle was commenced, the end of which it was difficult to see, and at Opotiki and the East Coast we have always had hanging over us a great danger by the occupation of confiscated lands.And what was the opinion of Dr. Featherstone, the other New Zealand Commissioner—one of the ablest of New Zealand statesmen—as to the preparation made by the colonists to meet the exasperated Natives in view of the withdrawal of the troops. Dr. Featherstone said—The Colony challenges a large portion of the Native race, almost invites them into rebellion, and, at the same time, disarms itself; strips itself of all means of defence; places itself at the mercy of a half-civilized people, keenly smarting under the loss of their lands. This may be called a policy, but it is the policy of suicide.MR. Fitzgerald, to whom his right hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Charles Adderley) referred a 1888 few minutes ago, said exactly the same thing—How was the money spent which had been voted? It is an undisputed fact that when the incursion of Titokowaru took place in 1868, there was no force ready to assist him. He had not, it is admitted, above 80 men with him when he began; 50 men, such as we ought to have had, would have put an end to the affair at the outset. But at this very moment we were disbanding old forces, and were compelled to enlist miserable boys who were picked up in the streets and along the quays. The slaughter at Ngatuote Manu was the result. The army had to be reorganized in the face of a triumphant enemy. The headquarters at Patea were a scene of perpetual drunkenness and debauchery, which would have destroyed the discipline of the best soldiers in the world.He (Mr. Monsell) thought he had now clearly shown to the House what the position of affairs was which Her Majesty's present Government had to deal with when they came into Office. It seemed evident that as long as a British regiment remained in New Zealand there was the pledge given by our flag that the colonists would be protected, and that so long as that was so the colonists would not exert themselves for their own defence, or adopt a conciliatory tone towards the Natives. Knowing that they had Great Britain to rely upon when they got into difficulties, they took little precautions to keep out of them or to do what they could to protect themselves. Her Majesty's Government accordingly determined not to revoke the Duke of Buckingham's order for the withdrawal of the 18th Regiment, and the event had proved that they were right in their determination, for since the colonists had been left to their own resources they had displayed great self-reliance, and had exerted themselves in a manner, and with a zeal, that were worthy of the race from which they sprung. Mr. Richmond, one of the late Ministers of New Zealand, had clearly shewn this. He said—No more effective work had been done by the military arm since the Colony was founded than within the last 12 months, even in the day when General Cameron commanded 10,000 Imperial and 5,000 colonial troops.That was what the colonists had done without any assistance from us. As to the altered relations between the Government of New Zealand and the Natives, he need only refer to a statement made by the Prime Minister of the Colony, to the effect that a portion of the country which had been the field of many battles with the Maories was re-occupied by the set- 1889 tiers, and that a coach was running1 quietly through it for a distance of some 50 miles. In a word, the three objects referred to in the letter he had quoted, addressed to his hon. Friend the Member for St. Ives (Mr. Magniac), had been accomplished, and energy, justice, and good relations between the two races had developed under the present system. With regard to the financial position of New Zealand, of which a good deal had been said, he did not deny for a moment that that Colony was in a difficult position, and that she had great difficulties to overcome before she could attain a state of healthy prosperity. The future, however, was by no means so black as it had been painted. The financial Minister of the Colony had pointed out that, although the taxation imposed upon individuals was higher in New Zealand than in Great Britain, yet the earnings of the labourers in the Colony were, as a rule, twice as much as the earnings of labourers were here. Her Majesty's Government would be glad, so far as it could be done without infringing the principles they had laid down, to assist the colonists. Indeed, his hon. Friend must be well acquainted with the instructions issued by Earl Granville in reference to the protection to be given to the colonists by Her Majesty's ships, and he might add that all reasonable demands would be considered by the Government in the fairest manner. The hon. Member opposite, who seconded the Resolution (Mr. Eastwick), had twitted the Government with departing from the ancient colonial policy of this country; yet it is for acting on that policy, disastrously departed from after the separation of the United States, that the hon. Gentleman blames us. Benjamin Franklin, when he was examined before this House 102 or 103 years ago, said—We never oven when we were weak asked you for a single soldier to enable us to defend ourselves against the Indians, and you cannot imagine that we shall ask you for assistance now we have grown strong.That great man, colonist though he was, would certainly not have joined in the demand to keep Imperial troops in any of our self-governing Colonies. Yet it would be an inadequate description of our present policy to say that it was simply a recurrence to our ancient colo- 1890 nial policy. Under it the Colonies were subject to commercial restrictions for the benefit—at all events for the supposed benefit, of the mother country. Now their commerce is free. Then the connection between the Colonies and the mother country was enforced by the sword. Now, no British statesman desires the continuance of the connection on any terms but those of free good-will. They are bound to us by no cords but those of affection and of interest. So sure as children become men, so surely will the days come when these great communities will develop into independent States. The desire of Her Majesty's Government, and he believed, of every party in the State, was to postpone that inevitable hour—to make the ties that bind us together so elastic that they may not burst, and avoiding those abstract questions the hon. Gentleman's proposal would be sure to raise if it were adopted, to leave to each Colony the fullest control over its internal concerns.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
said, he thought there was some ground of complaint against the right hon. Gentleman who had just sat down (Mr. Monsell), because he had dwelt so very largely—almost exclusively—on the subject of New Zealand, which was a mere detail of the colonial question, whereas the Motion before the House was for a Committee—To inquire into the political relations and modes of official intercommunication between the self-governing Colonies and this country.He confessed, however, that some of his Friends on that side of the House had erred in a similar way, and had thus tempted the right hon. Gentleman to stray from the subject of the Motion. The question was sufficiently large without being overcrowded by details. He was the less surprised, too, at the right hon. Gentleman's doing so, because everyone interested in New Zealand would readily imagine that that Colony must cause considerable uneasiness in the minds of those who had presided over colonial affairs during the last 12 months. He would not be tempted to digress from the real point at issue, even by the example of so high an authority as the right hon. Gentleman; but he had, he thought, somewhat misrepresented the position which had been taken up by the hon. Member for Cambridge 1891 (Mr. R. Torrens). The right hon. Gentleman had assumed that those who coincided in the views of the hon. Member were proceeding upon the supposition that the Colonies were disloyal and discontented. That, however, was the very last thing which they were disposed to do; on the contrary, they believed that the Colonies entertained a feeling of loyalty, deep, true and stoong towards the Crown: what they contended for was that there was every reason to believe that a feeling of uneasiness existed on the part of the Colonies; that they imagined we were dissatisfied with them and were not loyal to them, which was an entirely different matter. There were grounds for supposing that they thought we were inclined to snap that chain which they valued so much, and that those old associations, on which they set even greater store than on material prosperity, were sought to be shattered from this side of the broad ocean. The right hon. Gentleman had indeed drawn a very couleur de rose picture of the state of the Colonies at the present moment, and would lead the House to imagine that they were all quite satisfied. The right hon. Gentleman had said that no Petitions had been presented by the Colonies. He (Viscount Sandon) was rather surprised at such a statement, and turned to a paper which he held in his hand from the Minister of Now Zealand, dated the month of January in this year—
§ MR. MONSELL
said, he would remind the noble Lord that he had stated distinctly that he excepted New Zealand from his remarks, and proposed to deal with that Colony separately.
§ VISCOUNT SANDON
said, he was glad to hear the explanation, and should not advert to that point any further. The real question, as he had already indicated, was whether there was not great uneasiness in the Colonies. It was true, perhaps, that there might not be Petitions from them; but was there, he would ask, any hon. Gentleman connected with the Colonies who heard him who did not receive letters from them which showed the existence among them of great apprehensions with regard to the future? If the right hon. Gentleman had cast his eye over the Australian and Canadian newspapers, he would have found that they all made mention of the existence of very great uneasiness. 1892 Did he know nothing of the expressions of feeling of Sir George Grey and Sir William Denison—who were surely men of weight and knowledge on this subject? Had he not looked into the very remarkable preface with which Lord Russell had, only this year, reintroduced his Speeches to the public, in which he spoke in terms of the gravest apprehension with respect to other colonial policy for the future? These things surely were sufficient to justify him in saying that much uneasiness did prevail not only in the Colonies but in England. That uneasiness had, he believed, been increased by the precedent set in the cession of the Ionian Islands, which the Colonies feared might any day be followed in their own case without the country being consulted. Then, who were the persons by whom the existing feeling of uneasiness was created? Who were the people who wished to get rid of the Colonies? Not, he was happy to say, Her Majesty's Government—he was happy to think that Her Majesty's advisers had exhibited no such desire. The debates in "another place" had drawn forth a strong expression of feeling from the noble Earl at the head of the Colonial Department, to the effect that he, at any rate, did not wish to lose the Colonies. The discussions which had taken place had brought out the fact that the Colonies did not wish to separate from the British Empire. Past Colonial Ministers did not desire it. Earl Grey had expressed himself strongly in favour of keeping up the connection between them and the mother country; and Lord Carnarvon strained every nerve to strengthen that connection. The despatches of the Duke of Newcastle were greatly in favour of maintaining the Empire in its integrity. Who, then, wanted to part with the Colonies? Did the working classes? Could anybody mistake the meaning of those meetings which had been held within the last few months on the subject? The depth of feeling among the artizans on this subject was not yet fully appreciated by the country. Was it not manifest that our working classes looked upon the Colonies as their land of promise, and regarded those distant territories as the birthright, so to speak, of their sons and daughters? Was it the mercantile or the landed interests, then, who wished for separation? So far as his own constituents were concerned, he be- 1893 lieved there was scarcely a commercial man among them who was in favour of parting with our Colonies; while he was sure that hon. Gentlemen connected with agricultural constituencies would say that no farmer or landed proprietor would approve of such a policy. By whom, then, had the feeling of uneasiness been created? He had read the very interesting work of his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke), and with particular attention a chapter relating to the future of our Colonies. One sentence in it had struck him very much, and he would venture to read it to the House—With the more enlightened thinkers of England, separation from the Colonies has for many years been a favourite idea.But who were the "enlightened thinkers?" Far be it from him to ridicule the opinions of any body of men or any sect of philosophers, and he was happy to find that the hon. Baronet severed himself from the "enlightened thinkers" of whom he spoke, for he said plainly, in his able book, that he wished us to keep Australia. It was, however, he could not help remarking, somewhat dangerous to use such vague expressions in dealing with large political matters. This expression, as to the "enlightened thinkers," was like the French phrase, "on dit,"—nobody knew where it came from—somebody had said it, but nobody would father the great thought. Generally, "enlightened thinkers" were those who held the same opinion as ourselves. However, he had reduced those who wished to part with the Colonies to a very small body; and if they came to be counted, he believed they would be found to amount to anything but a numerous sect. The matter was, however, too grave a one to be joked upon; and he could scarcely imagine how any sect of men could desire to see our great Confederation broken up at such a moment as the present. The general tendency of men at the present day was in quite the opposite direction. The tendency of the day was in favour of large nationalities, and the day of small nations was past. Could we shut our eyes to the fact that nationalities were everywhere endeavouring to group themselves into large States? Germany was forgetting her divisions, and grouping herself into one powerful State; Italy 1894 had happily almost accomplished the same work; and the races in the North were following out the same process. Why should we, at such a moment, in obedience to the opinions of any set of men, however enlightened, crumble up that great Empire which Providence had placed in our hands? It was surely our duty to take the opposite course, and carry out the work we were called upon, as a first-class nation, to fulfil. Could it be imagined that we should long remain a first-class Power if Colony after Colony were stripped from us? Could we, under such circumstances, long retain our grasp on India? we owed it as a duty to our own people not to shrink, from any feeling of laziness, from maintaining the proud position which, we had acquired, and to keep open these outlets for our teeming populations; while we owed it also to the people of those new Continents, to whom it was a great advantage to have the admixture of our old civilization and to start with our great traditions, not to break that tie which attracted to them the cultivated classes of this country, but which would cease to exist if they did not continue to be subjects of the same Crown. The question was a great and a large one; and it had, he thought, been very well put in a despatch lately sent to the Government by that distinguished man Sir Philip Wodehouse, who spoke of responsible government in the Colonies as meaning in the end independence, and therefore separation from the mother country. He believed Sir Philip Wodehouse was wrong; but, nevertheless, his deliberate expressions showed what opinions were afloat, and convinced him that the question of the relations between ourselves and the Colonies must be faced as a whole, and handled in a broad and comprehensive spirit. Now, that was the point which he would entreat the House to consider very carefully, whether we were to look forward calmly and contentedly to the future sketched out in that despatch, or to use our best exertions to consolidate those semi-independent communities into one great Empire with ourselves. It was, no doubt, the harder, but it was the more glorious task: it was, no doubt, a difficult problem, and would require the exercise of all the statesmanship which this country possessed for its solution; but he hoped 1895 that no luxurious laziness, no timidity, no shrinking from labour would induce that House to decline the noble work of reconstructing, and, so far as things on earth could be so, of rendering everlasting our British Empire.
§ SIR CHARLES W. DILKE
said, he should not have spoken in the debate had he not been charged by his noble Friend who had just sat down (Viscount Sandon) with having made a statement which he might have made, but not quite in the line of thought which the noble Lord had suggested. He had not argued that the "enlightened thinkers" of this country were of opinion absolutely that it would be better we should get rid of our Colonies; but that it would be better to do so than that the one-sided character of the connection between us and them should be allowed to continue, and he had said that he himself was not favourable to separation. In what had fallen from his noble Friend as to the value to England of her colonial possessions he concurred to the fullest extent. They had had that night not one debate, but a succession of debates on various colonial questions. His hon. Friend had almost trampled on the hon. Member for Penrhyn (Mr. R. N. Fowler) by anticipating the coming discussion of the Red River question; while debates on the affairs of the Capo, the Basuto difficulty, the New Zealand difficulty, and other matters, had all been provoked by the general character of the Resolution. As to the suggestion that the Colonies should send Envoys to this country, the cases which the hon. Gentleman quoted in support of his suggestion were almost all cases in which the parties concerned would not, as a matter of fact, have been represented here. For example, the inhabitants of the Red River Territory were not a Colony of themselves, and, undoubtedly, did not possess responsible self-government, and under no circumstances would they be represented here tinder the hon. Member's plan. The Under Secretary for the Colonies had shown that in the instance of the Cape also the parties would not have been represented here. Moreover, when the proposal was laid before the Colonies they all declined it—five or six of them declining curtly and emphatically, while the Colony from which his hon. Friend came sent no answer at all to the com- 1896 munication addressed to it on the subject. Again, his hon. Friend seemed somewhat to have misunderstood the functions of an Envoy: his real objection to the present system seemed to consist in communications being sent by the Governor instead of by the Colonial Minister to this country. For all practical purpose we were kept as well acquainted with the state of affairs and with the changes of opinion in any Colony by the Queen's representative—the Governor—there, who could inform us of the mind of the Colonial Ministry by sending us their minutes, as we possibly could be if they had an authorized Envoy in England. This country was also kept well acquainted with the successive phases of opinion by means of persons specially accredited for these purposes. Therefore, the proposition for having Colonial Envoys foil to the ground as completely on practical considerations as on the theoretical considerations stated by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir Charles Adderley), who had lately been Colonial Under Secretary. As regarded the question of colonial expenditure, it was too late at that hour to go into the general question; but he maintained that, irrespective of the military establishments, there were considerable charges which the colonists might fairly be called on to pay in justice to the people of this country. The colonists paid nothing towards the Debt, nothing towards the charge for the great officers of State, and nothing towards the Diplomatic and Consular Vote and the Civil List. Let them contrast the case of India—a country with which they could I do as they pleased—with that of the Colonies. They made India pay the cost of the India Office here, also a contribution towards the cost of the Navy, as well as for several of the Consular establishments, almost the whole cost of the mission in Persia, together with a large portion of the cost of the mission to China and several other adjacent countries. On all those points, and in respect also to the Debt, it was capable of argument, and, he thought, of demonstration, that to carry out the principle of equality with this country, and likewise the principle of federation, the Colonies ought to be charged with considerable payments from which they now escaped. His hon. Friend said our 1897 colonial trade had been increasing since 1866; but the Returns showed that while our total exports of our own goods to foreign countries had increased by £11,000,000 between 1867 and 1869, our exports to the Colonies had declined within the same period. He felt that whenever anything in the shape of a colonial grievance was brought before the House it should not only be answered, but the Imperial grievances should likewise be stated. With regard to the case of New Zealand, it had been repeatedly asserted that the policy adopted by the Government towards that Colony was new; but the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State had already disposed of that argument. The terms of the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary were almost identical with those employed by the Earl of Carnarvon and afterwards by the Duke of Buckingham. The case of the guarantee to Canada in respect of part of the purchase money for the Red River Settlement had not been sufficiently answered. He spoke against it at the time; and it was supported from the Treasury Bench in speeches which went against the principle of guarantees so far, that there was almost a promise given by the Government, and concurred in by the Opposition, that guarantees should not be indulged in again except to relieve this country from charges to which it was already subject. The hon. Gentleman who opened the debate said that the Colony of New Zealand was in a state of bankruptcy; but his statement was not borne out by the fact that it raised its last loan upon terms more favourable than it had ever obtained formerly. This showed that after the most serious period of its calamities the credit of the Colony was better than it had ever been before. Moreover, a letter which had been referred to was in conflict with Mr. M'Lean's public statement made in February last, that the probabilities of successful resistance by the Maories, or of a rising of the friendly Natives, were less than, they had been for many years. Reference had been made to a statement that the United States would give the same assistance against the Maories that they gave against the Indians on the Mississippi; but that notion was founded on entirely incorrect data. The United States Go- 1898 vernment had for years given no protection whatever to many of the States, and very little to those territories in which the greatest massacres had occurred. The massacres in New Zealand were mere trifles to those which bad taken place in eight or 10 of the American States in the course of the last five or six years. Mr. Huntingdon had been quoted; but he could not fairly be quoted by those who were opposed to separation, because everything he said was coloured by his opinions in favour of annexation to the United States. Mr. Gavan Duffy had also been referred to; but he advocated the Colonies being put upon the same footing that Hanover had been on in reference to this country. Now, the connection between this country and Hanover had been simply a "personal union" arising from the fact of the two countries having the same King, and, of course, Hanover bore all its own charges, civil and military. It was not until the Colonies were prepared to bear all their own charges that they could stand in the same relation to this country that Hanover had done. The hon. Member for Penrhyn (Mr. Eastwick) had spoken of Colonial Budgets being presented to the House as Indian Budgets were; but unless the Colonies were prepared to bear their whole expenditure, the account would be all on one side—a mere statement of expenditure on our part without any receipts. As a rule, he was not opposed to inquiry; but he thought that the debate had shown how injudicious a general inquiry would be, seeing that it, would provoke recrimination, of which instances had been furnished; and if it were strictly limited to the means of communication it would be useless, for only two or three speakers had said they saw any reason for a change.
If this debate had been confined to criticisms upon the conduct of the Government in particular cases, I should have been well content to leave the matter as regards the principal of these cases—namely, New Zealand—as it stood in the speech of the Under Secretary of State, and as it was left by my right hon. Friend opposite the Member for North Staffordshire (Sir Charles Adderley); but the debate has taken a much wider range, and assumptions have been made that the present Government has aspired to be the heralds and in- 1899 augurators of a new policy and a new era in regard to the Colonies; and, inasmuch as my noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Earl Granville) has, with great judgment and discretion, only acted in full conformity with the general convictions of the Government, I should be sorry to leave the defence of his policy simply in the hands of a Gentleman, however competent he may be, who merely represents a particular Department in this House, or that there should be room for the supposition that the Colleagues of my noble Friend are not ready and anxious to share with him the responsibility for his conduct. The noble Lord the Member for Liverpool (Viscount Sandon) speaks of a general uneasiness that prevails, and which is expressed in letters. It appears, however, that not in responsible and public documents, but through private channels, he says it reaches himself and many other Members of Parliament; and he thinks that uneasiness is so formidable that it requires notice and the adoption of some Imperial measure. The Motion of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. R. Torrens) is, in point of fact, rather a testimony to the existence in some shape of that uneasiness than a proposition to be considered strictly upon its merits with reference to practical purposes. What is the cause of this uneasiness? No serious attempt has been made to fasten responsibility for it upon the acts of the Government. That it exists I do not doubt; and, moreover, I will venture to say, without fear of contradiction, that it has always existed during the last 30 years—a period during which the policy of this country with regard to the management of its Colonies has been constantly in process of modification. Ever since we began to concede first to one Colony and then to another the management of its own affairs, and ever since this country, pursuing that principle to its legitimate consequences, began to think it was compelled to contract its own responsibilities in respect of their military defence, of course there have been persons who have more or less participated in this uneasiness. There is simply no greater uneasiness now; but, on the contrary, there is less than when the system of responsible government was first introduced; and when it was said that the establishment of responsible govern- 1900 ment in the Colonies would be fatal to the connection between the Colonies and the mother country, very plausible arguments being urged in support of that view. But, though the existence of uneasiness is an inconvenience, yet it is simply an inconvenience which attaches to the movements of all policies under a free Constitution, because there are always to be found persons, such as an hon. Friend of mine called "weak-kneed" individuals, who are the originators of alarm, and who are much more governed by their own feelings and dispositions than by the dispassionate examination of the facts of the case. The hon. Gentleman who seconded the Motion (Mr. Eastwick) stated, in distinct terms, that a new policy had been propounded and acted on by the present Government. He said that there have been three periods in the history of the connection of the Colonies with this country, and that we are now entering on a fourth. The third of these periods was, if I understood the hon. Gentleman aright, the period of responsible government, and the concession to the Colonies of the management of their own affairs, and that we have now passed from that into a fourth period, in which separation is openly avowed as the rule of policy for this country. But the hon. Gentleman hardly made the slightest attempt to prove that proposition—he had nothing to adduce except the speech of Mr. Huntingdon, whose words, he said, were enough to show that a policy of that kind has been adopted by the present Government of this country. The present Government, however, do not claim the credit of adopting or introducing any new policy. There is no question of any new policy at all; but there is a question of the successive development and application of admitted principles to one Colony after another, according as circumstances allow and invite their application. That is the simple explanation of the whole matter. When you are involved in a bad system you cannot pass even to a better without feeling some inconvenience in the transition. If you look back to the history of the colonial connection between European Powers and trans-Atlantic possessions you find that it is the nature of those possessions to grow, and so to grow as to alter essentially, in obedience to laws stronger than the will of man, the 1901 conditions of their relation to the countries with which they were originally connected, until they arrive at that stage of their progress in which separation from the mother country inevitably takes place. It is impossible, however, to look back with satisfaction to the mode in which that separation has occurred. In every instance it has been brought about by war and bloodshed, involving an inheritance of pain, hatred, and shame; whereas in reason there ought to be nothing to preclude the hope, when the growth of a colonial possession is such as to make separation from the mother country a natural and beneficial result, that that separation, so far from being effected by violence and bloodshed, might be the result of a peaceable and friendly transaction. Surely it is a great object to place, if possible, our colonial policy on such a footing, not for the purpose of bringing about a separation, but of providing a guarantee that, if separation should occur, it should be in a friendly way. That is the sense, the principle, and the secret of our policy with regard to colonial reform. But it is not an easy matter to escape from the false position in which we were involved 30 or 40 years ago, when not only was there much wrong, but when, we may say, looking back with the light of the experience we have since gained, there was nothing right in the relations of our Colonies with the mother country. We have had experience of the policy of restraint attempted to be applied by European countries to their colonial possessions; and we have not only that experience in former generations to guide us, but we have also had most serious warnings addressed to ourselves, especially in the case of the great Colony of Canada. Therefore, it is an honourable chapter in the history of our own times that there has boon a great and almost continuous effort among our statesmen, without distinction of party, to work out a policy such as to avoid the peril and disgrace, which, whenever the period should arrive, would attach to separation effected by violence and bloodshed. This is done to the present hour, and it is not, as supposed, the introduction of a new policy, but the successive application of principles now established and recognized by persons of authority of every shade of politics, and received, it may be said, with universal assent. That is the; 1902 case as regards the policy we have endeavoured humbly to pursue; and it does not, in my opinion, tend to weaken the relations between the mother country and the Colonies, but, on the contrary, while securing the greatest likelihood of a perfectly peaceable separation, whenever separation may arrive, gives the best chance of an indefinitely long continuance of a free and voluntary connection. That is the footing on which we, like our predecessors, have endeavoured to found our colonial policy. Freedom and voluntaryism form the character of the connection, and our policy is not to be regarded as a surreptitious or clandestine means of working out the foregone purpose of casting off the Colonies, but as the truest and best, if not the only means, of fulfilling our obligations to them. And with respect to pecuniary matters, a large deduction must be made before I can adopt the observations of the hon. Gentleman who brought forward this Motion, who I am sorry should have made such continual reference to the economical proceedings of the present or any Government—for the present Government is not the only Government who have avowed the principle of retrenchment. He exhausted his vocabulary of epithets in describing what he called the unworthy way in which our colonial policy is conducted, calling it a pound, shilling, and pence policy, and accusing us of higgling with the Colonies, and of a disposition to "travel third-class." Does he mean to say that we are, for the sake of economy, abandoning honour and duty? The hon. Gentleman may make light of extravagance and be ready to sacrifice the interest of the taxpayer, thinking the fact of an economical result the severest condemnation of our policy; but we never said that for the sake of economical results the obligation of any duty was to be made light of. With respect to colonial defence, though the pecuniary burden entailed was the chief evil we had to contend with, still I thought that the greatest evil done by that system was done to the Colonies themselves. We did not teach our Colonies to rely upon themselves; but we taught them to rely that, come what would, they would be defended by a power thousands of miles away. It is impossible to establish a free community unless you have along with the enjoyment of the privileges of 1903 freedom a fair distribution of the burdens which they entailed. Unless men are taught to rely upon themselves they can never be truly worthy of the name of freemen. With respect to the Motion under consideration, I hope my hon. Friend (Mr. R. Torrens) will not think it necessary to take the sense of the House. If he does, I shall be willing to meet it with a plain and simple negative, if that course were open to me; but as the previous Question has been moved, I shall vote against the putting of the Question. I appeal to my hon. Friend, having raised a discussion on this subject, does he really think that advantage will be derived from pressing a Motion in the terms he has placed on the Notice Paper—to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the political relations subsisting between this country and its numerous self-governing Colonies, and to do that through the medium of a Committee which is to report upon modifications which may be desirable in the mode of conducting those relations with a view to the maintenance of a common nationality cemented by cordial good understanding? Well, now, that is a proposition which he supports by gravely impugning the conduct of the Government in relation to New Zealand. But he would find it quite impossible in one and the same Committee to conduct a full inquiry into the conduct of the Government—a perfectly fair and proper subject of inquiry—and to connect it with a thorough and exhaustive inquiry into the wide question of policy as to the proper mode of establishing official intercommunication between our self-governing Colonies and this country. But that is not all. He contemplates modifications in the relations between this country and these self-governing Colonies. Has any case whatever been made out for these modifications? Is it not plain that these relations are conducted on a footing satisfactory to both parties? I am not saying that every measure taken by this country is necessarily satisfactory in every Colony and on every occasion; but who complains of the machinery? Have the Colonies not the fullest benefit of our free institutions? Have they any difficulty in finding men competent, like my hon. Friend, and willing to come forward and make known their complaints, even if they were more warm and sus- 1904 ceptible in their feelings than they are sound in their objections? Is it not a perfectly simple method of communication in which the correspondence of the Colonies with this country is conducted? And is not the proposal of my hon. Friend open to this objection—is it not a very serious matter to appoint a Committee to examine whether any and what modifications are desirable in the political relations and modes of official intercommunication? Before we could consent to the appointment of such a Committee, under any circumstances whatever, our first duty would be to require evidence that these self-governing bodies themselves concurred with the Mover of the Motion, and united with him in the desire that such a Committee should be appointed. Does the Motion contemplate the scheme of incorporation recommended by the noble Lord (Viscount Sandon) opposite? I could not help smiling at the unequal justice the noble Lord dealt out to my hon. Friend I the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) and himself. My hon. Friend was so unfortunate as to use in his book the phrase "enlightened thinkers;" and the noble Lord said, do not allow us to be led away by those vague terms; but the noble Lord himself had not the least objection to "a bold and comprehensive policy," which he says we ought to adopt. He did not object to throw out descriptions so vague and shadowy as must be loft to his own imagination to judge of—a mode by which, if anything was meant by what he said, the Colonies would be placed almost on the footing of British counties, with a view to what he called—in that moderation of language which he commends to my hon. Friend—the everlasting continuance of the British Enquire. The noble Lord's plan of incorporation is altogether visionary, as Mr. Burke said long ago Opposuit Natura. You cannot overlook the countless miles of ocean rolling between them and us—so unlike the position of the United States. It is a sign of immense human energy when you see a country like the United States extending itself continuously over that vast Continent—where, without limit, and step by step, land opens at every pace of the progress of that wonderful community. But, for my own part, I am not sanguine enough to approve—I reserve my judgment till the noble Lord comes down from the 1905 clouds and describes to us on the solid earth something-more about these incorporations than he has yet chosen to do, and till he does so I certainly must decline appointing a Committee on any such scheme. What, then, are we to do? What changes is it proposed you should make? Are you going to tighten the bonds of our administrative connections or to relax them. If you are going to relax them, in what respect? There is very little to give up. Then; is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council; are you going to abolish that jurisdiction so far as our Colonies are concerned? Then there is the veto of the Crown on the passing of Acts of Parliament and the appointment of a Governor. I am not afraid of any of these things. I believe that the connection with our Colonies depends so entirely on will and affection that I do not regard it as bound up essentially in the maintenance of any administrative function whatever, lint we have no cause to give up either one or other of these; and we are not willing to undertake any inquiry on the subject without knowing what those self-governing Colonies think of it. But if, on the other hand, my hon. Friend says he does not mean to relax the relations further, but to tighten them, the meaning of that is that he intends to abridge the liberties of self-government we have accorded to these Colonies; and rely upon it if such a Committee were appointed the apprehension of it would go across the seas to one Colony and another, and prove the occasion of serious political mischief and alarm. I hope, therefore, my hon. Friend will not be disposed to press his Motion. If he does, we shall give such a vote as the forms of the House may enable us to do against his Motion; and my noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Office, with that ability, temper, and conciliation, and with that real and not merely affected regard for the interests of the Colonies which he has always shown, will continue to administer the affairs of his Department—not endeavouring to aim at distinguishing himself by inaugurating any new theory, but steadily and courageously acting on the same principles which have hitherto actuated him, and with the fullest confidence and support of all his Colleagues.
§ MR. R. TORRENS
said, he would not detain the House by many remarks 1906 in reply. He had been asked by the Under Secretary for the Colonies for the credentials under which he ventured to advocate this question. Now, his credentials were precisely the same as those of the right hon. Gentleman himself—as representing a largo and intelligent constituency, who had as much interest in this question as the Colonists themselves. The question had been discussed in the Colonies, and why not in the British Parliament? If the debate had no other effect than to draw from the First Minister the explicit statements he had made respecting the views of the Government upon the proper religions between this country and 1he Colonies, it would have had good results. The only basis on which the permanent connection between this country and her Colonies could be maintained was that each should bear its own burdens, and should not be supported or defended solely at the expense of the other. He regretted, however, that he had hoard from the right hon. Gentleman—though perhaps he was mistaken—that he could not regard this connection as other than of a temporary character.
§ Mr. R. TORRENS
said, he was glad to hear it. There was no idea, entertained in the Colonies of terminating the connection. The suggested appointment of Euvoys had been spoken of as putting the Colonies at a still greater distance from the mother country, and as pointing to separation; but he believed it Mould have quite a contrary effect. The bond of union between the parent State and the non-adult Colonies was not strengthened, but strained, by an unduly close association perpetuating the conditions of nonage. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles Dilke) hail brought forward a new doctrine, that it was sufficient to have a diplomatic representative at one end of the line. In our intercourse with foreign countries it was surely as necessary that the foreign Power should have its Envoy to instruct the British Minister as to the policy which he was accredited to represent, and to enforce that policy upon his attention, as it was that we should have our Envoy in a foreign State to perform similar offices in the interest of this country. And if ad- 1907 vantages were found to result from mutual intercourse thus sustained with foreign countries, surely the same principles must hold good in the case of the Colonies. It was owing to this want of reciprocity, this absence of the necessary mechanical arrangements for intercommunication, that the present difficulties had arisen. He believed, that if, for instance, one of the gentlemen at present in this country to represent New Zealand—unhappily too late to do any good—had been accredited here as an Envoy, the feeling which had, unfortunately, been created by the withdrawal of the troops from New Zealand need never have arisen; for, being made acquainted with the intentions of the Government, he would have had it in his power to acquaint them with the real merits of the case, and to urge upon them the views of the Colonists. He bogged to ask the noble Lord who had moved the Amendment (Viscount Bury) what he thought was likely to be the effect upon the minds of people in the Colonies, who had no very clear understanding of the forms of the House, if the Previous Question were carried? Would it not be universally understoood that the House of Commons had refused to go into the case of the Colonies? That, he feared, was the aspect in which the vote would certainly be viewed. He wished he could feel justified in complying with the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman at the head of the Government, and it was with great pain he felt compelled to divide the House. But he regarded the present moment as a crisis in the history of the country, believing that we were in immediate danger of having one of our great Colonies separated from us unless justice was done. Inquiry must be made into the causes of the departmental difficulties which from time to time arose with the Government of this country, or we should lose not that Colony merely, but all our Colonies one by one, when questions like the transportation question arose. The Under Secretary for the Colonies, forgetting that controversy, spoke as if no difficulty I had arisen within the last 10 years. The time had now come for placing the Colonies upon a consistent, uniform, and rational basis, by means of which their connection with the mother country would be preserved, he hoped, for an 1908 indefinite time, and that was the object aimed at by his Motion.
Previous Question put.
The House divided:—Ayes 67; Noes 110: Majority 43.