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Title: Imperial Federation - The Problem of National Unity
Author: Parkin, George
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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This Edition is intended for circulation only in India and the
British Colonies


Macmillan's Colonial Library










No. 143


'I tell you that when you study English history you study not
the past of England only, but her future. It is the welfare of
your country, it is your whole interest as citizens that is in
question while you study history. How it is so I illustrate by
putting before you this subject of the Expansion of England. _I
show you that there is a vast question ripening for decision,
upon which almost the whole future of our country depends. In
magnitude this question far surpasses all other questions which
you can ever have to discuss in political life._'





THIS book has been written at the request of many friends who
think that a useful purpose will be served by putting the facts
and arguments which it embodies into a connected form, where
they will be easily accessible to the ordinary reader, and where
either their fallacies may be exposed or their truth find a
wider recognition. In most of the chief centres of the British
world both at home and abroad I have found men of all classes,
and not seldom large masses of men, who agreed on the whole with
the line of thought which I here try to follow; agreed, too,
with an intensity of belief and a warmth of enthusiasm which
are, I think, rarely found except in connection with great and
true causes. This concurrence of other minds has deepened the
profound conviction which I have long felt that the completion
of a closer and permanent political unity between the British
communities scattered throughout the world should be a first aim
of national statesmanship, and might {vi} become, if its
advantages were clearly understood, a supreme object of popular

It is essentially a subject for full and free discussion.
Permanent national unity for British people can only be based on
an agreement of opinion among at least the larger self-governing
communities that the union is for the common good. That there
should be an absolute unanimity of consenting opinion among the
populations of the communities concerned we have no reason to
hope. It has never occurred in any large national consolidation
hitherto, and it is not likely to do so now. The continued unity
of the Empire is a political question involving immense issues,
and divergent opinions may be assumed from the start. Indeed, it
becomes more evident from day to day, to those who watch
carefully the current of events, that the end can only be
gained--as great ends have ever been gained--after a severe
struggle between contending forms of thought. The provincialism
which has uniformly resisted large national organization; the
pessimism which sees danger in every new form of political
evolution; the repugnance to change in an old country with forms
of government more or less fixed; the crudeness of political
thought and want of national perspective in young communities;
the ignorance which begets inertia: all these exist and must be
combated. In this struggle the better cause, the strongest
arguments, the deepest convictions, the most {vii} strenuous
moulders of public opinion, will win. Mere circumstances will
never shape themselves for the required solution. A policy of
drift will never result in united strength. Growth may be an
unconscious process--organization can only be the result of a
conscious effort. No thinking man today would wish to see the
American Republic resolved into its original sovereign states,
Germany into its kingdoms, small principalities, and duchies;
Canada into its distinct provinces; Italy into its cities. Yet
none of these would now be what they are had their fortunes been
left to the drift of circumstances alone. Their history proves
that the ideals of the clearest minds, backed up by intense
convictions and resolute effort, are essential to the attainment
of the highest political organization. Circumstances or the
course of events may thwart human effort or favour it, but they
can never take its place as a complete substitute.

The further consolidation of the Empire depends in great measure
upon the answer given to two questions. Is it for the advantage
of the different communities that they should remain together?
and, granting an affirmative answer to this, does the problem of
further unification on a mutually satisfactory basis present
difficulties which transcend the resources of British

These questions roughly indicate the line of enquiry which I
wish to follow. Behind them lies an issue {viii} which British
people throughout the world will soon be forced to recognize as
infinitely surpassing in momentous significance any upon which
their political thought and energy are now being spent. We may
not unreasonably believe that the movements at present going on
in the mother-land and the colonies are only supplying us with
the political formulae required for grappling with the higher
national problem.

It seems like sheer political blindness not to perceive that in
different parts of the Empire forces are now actively at work
which may at any moment precipitate a decision of this great
question; movements in progress which, it seems safe to say,
must of necessity lead up to a decision within a time measured
at the very most by one or two decades.

Nations take long to grow, but there are periods when, as in the
long delayed flowering of certain plants, or in the
crystallization of chemical solutions, new forms are taken with
extreme rapidity. There are the strongest reasons for believing
that the British nation has such a period immediately before it.
The necessity for the creation of a body of sound public opinion
upon the relations to each other of the various parts of the
Empire is therefore urgent. In stating the case for British
Unity I have constantly found myself merely linking together
arguments already used by thinkers in many parts of the Empire.
{ix} Any apology on my part for thus making use of other men's
thoughts, is unnecessary. Earnest believers in a great cause
only wish that the grounds of their belief should be made known
as widely as possible.

No one can be more conscious than myself of the incompleteness
of the statement which I have tried to make. But even a partial
study of a great subject may serve a useful purpose. If what is
here said furnish to the advocates of National Unity some texts
upon which they may enlarge and improve, if it provoke that
honest criticism which leads to a firmer grasp of truth, I shall
be more than satisfied.




    CHAPTER I.      PAGE
  DEFENCE     59
  CANADA     115
    {xii} CHAPTER IX. PAGE
  INDIA.      243
  FINANCE      271
  Commercial and Strategic Chart of the British Empire, on
Mercator's Projection .._End of book_.





THE glory of the British political system is often said to lie
in the fact that it is a growth; that it has adapted itself, and
is capable of continuous adaptation, to the necessities of
national development. The fact is proved and the boast is
justified by British history, but behind them, no doubt, is a
race characteristic. A special capacity for political
organization may, without race vanity, be fairly claimed for
Anglo-Saxon people.

The tests which have already been, or are now being, applied to
this organizing capacity are sufficiently striking and varied.
In the British Islands themselves a gradual and steady process
of evolution, extending over hundreds of years, has led up from
the free but weak and disjointed government of the Heptarchy
period to the equally free but strong and consolidated
government of the United Kingdom. In the United States, within
little more than a hundred {2} years, we have seen one great
branch of the race weld into organic unity a number of loosely
aggregated provinces under a system which now extends over half
the area of a great continent. Twenty-five years ago the process
was repeated on the other half of the American continent. In the
face of difficulties, by many believed to be insuperable,
Canada, stretching from ocean to ocean a distance of nearly 4000
miles, has become a political unit, and already exhibits a
cohesion which small European States have often only gained
after long periods of internal and external conflict.

On another continent Australians, dealing with provinces larger
in area than European empires, are grappling courageously with
the problem of political combination, and the universal
confidence felt in the ultimate success of their efforts shows
what reliance is put upon the strength and efficiency of the
race instinct. In South Africa and the West Indies the
considerable intermixture of coloured races complicates the
question, but here too the forces which make for unity are more
or less actively at work.

Speaking generally we may say that in the long course of
Anglo-Saxon history whenever the need of combination has arisen
the political expedient has been devised to match the political
necessity. This capacity for adequate organization has been the
keynote of distinction between the democracy of our race and all
the democracies by which it has been preceded.

There is reason to think that this organizing quality {3} is one
which has given effectiveness to all others. The steadiness of
the advance which the race has made in social and industrial
directions has depended upon the security given by political
organization at once comprehensive, flexible, and strong. No
other branch of the human family has ever been so free to apply
itself to the higher problems of civilization.

All the conditions of the world at the present time point to the
conclusion that further progress must be safe-guarded in the
same way. On the one hand, we see an extraordinary organization
of military power and a widening of military combination among
European nations to which the past furnishes no parallel, and
which suggest hitherto unheard-of possibilities of conflict or
aggression. On the other hand, the vast extension of industrial
and commercial interests among British people, without any
parallel in the previous history of the world, seems to demand a
corresponding widening of the political combination which is
required to give them security.

Meanwhile the amazing spread of the race has become the main
fact of modern history--the one which assuredly will have the
most decisive influence on the future of mankind. Only within
the last hundred years, one might almost say within a still
narrower limit of time, has this been fully realized. The
tentative efforts of Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch, and French to
dominate the new continents opened up by the discoveries at the
end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth
centuries did not {4} receive a decisive check till towards the
end of the eighteenth. Then the new tide fairly began to flow.
The flux of civilized population, by which new and great centres
of human activity are created, has since that time been so
overwhelmingly Anglo-Saxon that nearly all minor currents are
absorbed or assimilated by it. Teuton, Latin, Scandinavian, with
one or two limited but well-defined exceptions, lose their
identity and tend to disappear in the dominant mass of British
population which has flowed, and continues in scarcely abated
volume to flow, steadily away from the mother islands to occupy
those temperate regions which are manifestly destined to become
in an increasing degree centres of the world's force.

With abundant space on which to expand, increase has been rapid,
and it would seem that in mere mass of numbers English-speaking
people are destined at no distant date to surpass any other
branch of the human stock.

That an expansion so vast should bring in its train a new set of
political problems, with a range wider than any that had gone
before, is only natural. That new hopes should be conceived from
this wonderful change in the balance of the world's forces; that
new plans should be devised to utilize it, as other expansions
have been utilized, for the good of our race and of mankind, is
equally natural.

It is almost needless to point out that the conditions
incidental to this expansion were at first misunderstood. The
ignorance of public opinion as to the true {5} relations between
mother-land and colonies, seconded by the blindness and
obstinacy of politicians waging a bitter party fight, produced
in 1776 the great schism of the Anglo-Saxon race. Chatham,
Burke, and many of the clearest minds of England, believed that
the American Revolution was unnecessary--in America itself there
was a large, and for a long time a preponderant party, which
held that in constitutional change a way of escape could be
found from Revolution. The worse counsels prevailed, and
Revolution took the place of Reform and Readjustment. It is, no
doubt, idle to speculate upon the results which might have
followed from a different line of action; if the statesmen of
that day had proved equal to the task of dealing with the
political problem with which they were confronted. The idea that
the separation of the United States from Great Britain was a
pure gain to either country or to the world may, however, be
distinctly challenged.

It may easily be imagined that the earlier ripening of public
opinion in England upon the question of slavery, and the earlier
solution found for it on peaceful lines, might have helped to
solve the problem at an earlier stage in America as well, and
thus prevented the frightful catastrophe of the War of Secession
in 1865. The close and intimate political reaction upon each
other of the two greatest Anglo-Saxon communities, the one with
its higher standard of statesmanship and public morality, the
other with its more active liberalizing tendencies, might have
been in the highest {6} degree healthful for both. United with
all others of their own race and language, British people might
have been able, in self-sufficing strength, to withdraw almost a
hundred years earlier than could otherwise be possible from the
entanglements of European politics, and to be free to devote all
their energies to the maintenance of peace, and the development
of industry, commerce, and civilization. Qualifications to these
views will, of course, present themselves to every mind, and it
is not necessary to press them too far or to quarrel with the
course of history. Much more important is it to observe its
results and learn the lessons which it teaches.

We now see that the bifurcation of Anglo-Saxon national life
which took place in 1776 was of all other events in modern
history the one most pregnant with great consequences. The war
of the Revolution led primarily to the foundation of the
Republic of the United States. Its significance, however, is not
exhausted by this fact, great though it is. The reflex action
upon the thought and policy of Britain involved consequences as
important and far-reaching. Revolution for once in our
development had taken the place of Evolution, but in the end
enabled the latter to resume its steady course. The revolt of
the American colonies led to the closer study of the principles
which must control national expansion. Britain strove, and not
in vain, to acquire the art of bringing colonies into friendly
relation with the national system. The nation-building energy of
her people remained unimpaired, {7} and though one group of
colonies had been lost, others, extending over areas far more
extensive, were soon gained. Under new principles of government
these were acquired, not to be lost, but retained as they have
been up to the present time. Is that retention to be permanent?
Is it desirable? Can the colonies be brought, and ought they to
be brought, not merely into friendly relations, but into organic
harmony with the national system? Has our capacity for political
organization reached its utmost limit? For British people this
is the question of questions. In the whole range of possible
political variation in the future there is no issue of such
far-reaching significance, not merely for our own people but for
the world at large, as the question whether the British Empire
shall remain a political unit for all national purposes, or,
yielding to disintegrating forces, shall allow the stream of the
national life to be parted into many separate channels.

Twenty-five years ago it seemed as if English people, and it
certainly was true that the majority of English statesmen, had
made up their minds definitely as to the only possible and
desirable solution to this great national problem. The old
American colonies had gone, and had remained none the less good
customers of the mother-country for having become independent.
Very soon, it was sincerely believed, the whole world would be
converted to Free Trade, and with universal free trade and the
universal peace which was to follow, nothing was to be gained
from retaining the colonies, {8} while the colonies themselves
were expected to look eagerly forward to complete political
emancipation as the goal of their development. A few brilliant
writers in the press, a few eloquent speakers on the platform,
gave much vogue to these views. The correspondence of prominent
public men which has since come to light, the recollections of
men still living, furnish convincing proof that this opinion was
widely accepted in official circles. A governor, leaving to take
charge of an Australian colony, was told even from the Colonial
Office that he would probably be the last representative of the
Crown sent out from Britain. This tendency of official thought
found its culmination when, in 1866, a great journal frankly
warned Canada, the greatest of all the colonies, that it was
time to prepare for the separation from the mother-land that
must needs come. The shock which this outspoken declaration gave
to Canadian sentiment, built up as it had been on a century of
loyalty to the idea of a United Empire, was very great. That
statesman and journalist alike had misconceived the temper of
the British as well as of the colonial mind was soon made
manifest. This was shown by the almost universal applause which
greeted the passionately indignant protest of Tennyson, when, in
the final dedication to the Queen of his Idylls, he wrote:--

    'And that true North[1], whereof we lately heard
    A strain to shame us--keep you to yourselves: {9}
    So loyal is too costly! friends, your love
    Is but a burden: break the bonds and go!
    Is this the tone of Empire! Here the faith
    That made us rulers! This indeed her voice
    And meaning, whom the roar of Hougoumont
    Left mightiest of all nations under heaven!
    What shock has fooled her since that she should speak
    So feebly?'

At once it became clear that here the real heart of Britain
spoke--that poet rather than politician grasped with greater
accuracy the true drift of British thought.

It is not too much to say that from that day to this the policy
of separation, as the true theoretical outcome of {10} national
evolution, has been slowly but steadily dying. John Bright held
the theory in England almost up to the end of his great career.
Goldwin Smith advocates it in Canada still. Of their views I
shall have more to say later. But among conspicuous names theirs
have stood practically alone. Politicians in Britain do not
wish, and if they wished, would scarcely dare, to advocate it on
public platforms. Separation may come under the compulsion of
necessity, from the incapacity of statesmen to work out an
effective plan of union, or as the result of national apathy and
ignorance--not because it is desired, or from any theoretical
belief in its advantage to the people concerned.

If we lay aside, however, the question of national feeling, or
national interest, and look upon the matter as simply one of
constitutional growth and change, it is little wonder that the
statesmen of that earlier period took the view they did.

I have in my possession a document which seems to me of much
historical interest in this connection as furnishing concrete
evidence of the direction of political thought at the period to
which I have referred. It is the printed draft of a Bill
prepared with great care more than twenty-five years ago by Lord
Thring, whose long service as Parliamentary counsel to
successive Cabinets has given him an experience in the practical
forms of English legislation quite unrivalled. The Bill was
intended to be a logical sequel to those measures of Imperial
legislation by which responsible government was {11} granted to
the Canadian and Australian colonies. The new constitutions had
then been in operation for some time in several of the great
colonies, and already no slight friction had occurred in the
endeavour to adjust Imperial and Colonial rights and
responsibilities upon a clear and well-understood basis.
Moreover, the continued formation of new colonies and the desire
of certain Crown colonies to attain to responsible government
suggested a fundamental treatment of the whole question of
colonial relations. The Bill therefore embodies an attempt to
put upon a just basis the relations between Britain and her
colonies at each period of their growth, and to state clearly
their mutual obligations and mutual duties.

It naturally provides in the first place for the government of
settlements in their earlier stages of growth under the absolute
jurisdiction of the Crown.

In the next place, the transition of such a Crown settlement
into the rank and status of a colony with responsible government
is not left to be decided by agitation within the colonies or by
irregular pressure in other directions, such as lately took
place in the case of Western Australia; but it is made to depend
on a definite increase of European population and other
conditions equally applicable to all colonies alike. With the
grant of responsible government, however, comes a clear division
between imperial and local powers, and an equally definite
distribution of burdens; the guarantee to the colony of
protection from foreign aggression being contingent upon the
contribution by {12} the colony of the revenue or money required
for defence in fair proportion to its wealth and population.

Lastly, 'as the natural termination of a connection in itself of
a temporary character' (to use the words of the preface to the
Bill), provision is made for the formal separation of a colony
and its erection into an independent state when its people feel
equal to under-taking the full range of national responsibility.
Direct provision is made for independence only at the colony's
own request, but it is suggested that separation might be
brought about by coercive proclamation on the part of the
mother-country in case the colony fails to perform the national
duties which it accepted with responsible government.

The interest of this proposed legislation seems to me to lie in
the proof which it furnishes that the grant of responsible
government was by no means regarded as giving finality to
national relations, but only as marking a stage in colonial
development. The view thus taken by Lord Thring in England was
the view taken by Joseph Howe in Canada, to whose opinions I
shall have occasion hereafter to refer.

The merit of the Bill lay in the fact that it placed upon a
defined and easily understood footing the relations of
mother-land and colony so long as they remained together; and
provided a constitutional way of escape from the connection when
it had ceased to give satisfaction to either party. Its
peculiarity, indicative of the opinions prevailing at the time,
is that no notice is taken of the possibility of a colony rising
{13} to a place of greatness and power inconsistent with a
strictly subordinate colonial relation, and yet desiring to
perpetuate its organic connection with the nation.

The constitution of the United States provides that new
settlements, though thousands of miles from the centre of
government, and as truly colonies as those of Britain, shall
rise from the condition of territories into that of states,
under which they enjoy the full national franchise, and assume a
full share of national responsibility. In a like manner Lord
Thring's Bill fairly faced the fact that for communities such as
those which British people were forming, the colonial stage was
temporary and transitional, and it provided, in a different
sense, but in accord with existing conditions and beliefs, a
fixed goal for colonial aspirations, and a fixed limit to the
responsibilities of the mother-land.

The framer of this Bill is now, I have reason to think, among
those who believe that a very different end of colonial
development is both desirable and practicable. Such a reversal
of opinion is the natural outcome of the extraordinary changes
which have passed over the national life. The extension of
commercial and industrial relations, the growth of common
interests, the increased facility for communication, above all,
the retention in the colonies, under their new systems of free
government, of a strong national sentiment, and the absence of
the anticipated desire to break the national connection, have
thrown new light upon the whole question.


In that new light it now seems that there is an argument well
nigh unanswerable, which goes to prove that so far from being a
matter of indifference, the separation from the Empire of anyone
of our great groups of colonies would be an event pregnant with
anxieties and possible disaster alike to the colonies and to the
mother-land, and so far from being the natural line of political
development, that separation would be as unnatural as it is
unnecessary. It is this thought that has given birth to the idea
of national federation, to the conviction in many minds that the
chief effort of our national statesmanship should be directed to
securing the continued unity of the wide-spread British Empire,
to resisting any tendency towards that disintegration which a
generation ago was looked forward to with comparative unconcern.
This is not the thought of mere theorists or enthusiasts.
Statesmen and thinkers of the first rank both in the mother-land
and the colonies, while reserving their judgment as to the lines
on which complete unity can be gained, have strongly affirmed
their belief that it is the true goal for our national
aspirations, that the question is one of supreme concern for the
whole Empire, and that the problem must soon be grappled with in
practical politics.

Not the creation, but the preservation of national unity, is the
task which thus confronts British people, which they must accept
or refuse. Unity already exists: it is the necessary
starting-point of every discussion. It will prove, if need be,
an incalculable assistance {15} towards the attainment of the
completer unity at which we aim. But the existing unity is crude
in form, one which in its very nature is temporary and
transitional, one which ignores or violates political principles
ingrained in the English mind as essential to any finality in
political development, and which already results in gross
inequalities in the conditions of citizenship throughout the

The logic by which this position is proved seems irresistible in
its appeal to the mind of the ordinary British citizen. It is
well to be clear on this point.

The essence of British political thought, the very foundation
upon which our freedom, political stability, and singular
collective energy as a nation have been built up, may be
expressed in two words--Representative Government. The loyalty
of the subject and the faithfulness of the ruler spring alike
from this. The willingness to bear public burdens, the deep
interest in public affairs, the close study and careful
application of political principles which distinguish the people
of our race from all others, and the advance of the whole body
politic towards greater individual freedom combined with greater
collective strength, are all direct outgrowths of Representative
Government. Other races may work out other systems and attain
greatness in doing so; we have committed ourselves to this, so
far as dealing with our own people is concerned. From the local
board which settles the poor-rate or school-tax for a parish, to
the Cabinet which deals with the highest concerns of the Empire
and the world, {16} this principle is the central element of
strength, since it is the ground on which public confidence is
based. A British subject who has no voice in influencing the
government of the nation throughout the whole range of its
operation has not reached that condition to which the whole
spirit of our political philosophy points as the state of full
citizenship. We are on absolutely safe ground when we say that
great English communities will not permanently consent to stop
short of this citizenship, nor will they relegate to others,
even to a majority of their own nationality, the uncontrolled
direction of their most important interests.

With certain qualifications, introduced to mitigate the glaring
anomaly of the situation, the great self-governing colonies of
the Empire are in fact now compelled to allow many of their most
important affairs to be managed by others. Canada, with a
commercial navy which floats on every sea, holding already in
this particular the fourth place among the nations of the world,
has a voice in fixing international relations only by the
courtesy of the mother-land, and not by the defined right of
equal citizenship. Australia, occupying a continent, with vast
and growing commercial interests, is in the same anomalous
position. English-speaking, self-governing populations,
amounting in the aggregate already to nearly a third of the
population of the United Kingdom, and likely within little more
than a generation to equal it, with enormous interests involved
in nearly every movement of national affairs, {17} have no
direct representative influence in shaping national policy or
arranging international relations.

The almost perfect freedom they enjoy in the control of local
affairs accentuates rather than mitigates the anomaly. By
accustoming them to the exercise of political rights it makes
them impatient of anything which falls short of the full dignity
of national citizenship.

No one who understands the genius of Anglo-Saxon people can
believe that this state of affairs will be permanent. No one who
sympathizes with the spirit which has constantly urged forward
British people on their career of political progress can wish it
to be so. Great countries with an assured future cannot always
remain colonies, as that term has hitherto been understood. The
system which persists in making no other provision for them is
on the point of passing away.

It is sometimes urged that freedom from national burdens should
be enough to reconcile colonists to any lack of representation
in national counsels; that if they have no sufficient share of
Imperial Government they are at least rid of Imperial anxieties;
that wise direction of affairs may, in any case, be looked for
from the mother-land. But no immunity from public burdens, can
compensate for the loss of a share in the higher life of the
nation and the higher dignity of full citizenship: no honourable
career can result from a readiness to shirk responsibility: a
willingness to rely upon others to do our {18} work or protect
our interests is not the spirit which has built up or will
perpetuate the power of our race. Such argument may suit the
infancy of colonies; applied to their adolescence it is
degrading, since it implies a mean and contented dependence. If
the greater British colonies are permanently content with their
present political status they are unworthy of the source from
which they sprang. It will not be so. The spirit of independence
has developed, not degenerated, in the wider breathing space of
new continents. A very little further growth, increasing the
complication and aggravating the anomaly of the existing
situation, will bring us to a stage where that spirit will no
longer endure the restraints now put upon it by practical
difficulties of political organization, and where those
difficulties must be swept away by the gathering force of
national instincts and necessities. About the direction of
change there may be a question; about the certainty of change
there can be none.

But the argument is equally strong when we reverse our attitude,
and place ourselves in the position of the taxpaying citizens of
the United Kingdom. There are probably few of these who are not
at times filled with a glow of pride and enthusiasm when they
think of the vast extent of those colonies, which, planted by
British energy, held through years of conflict by British
courage, and proudly inheriting British traditions, are rising
to pre-eminence in every quarter of the globe.


This pride and enthusiasm have very positive and practical
issues. The citizen of the remotest colony knows that should an
enemy wantonly attack his frontier--should port or city be
threatened by a hostile force--almost within twenty-four hours,
as soon as telegraph could summon or steam convey them, British
sailors or British soldiers would be pouring thither, as ready
to fight and die for that particular bit of soil as for the
shores of England itself. But the sentiment which makes this
possible is balanced and qualified by very different
considerations. The citizen of the United Kingdom has often been
compelled to regard the colonies as great dependencies which
increased his responsibilities and multiplied his difficulties
without returning to the mother-country, under their present
organization, strength in men or resources, or even in exclusive
commercial advantage. Every new colony or colonial interest was
to him something new to defend, and augmented the burden of

Yearly the vast expense necessary to provide adequately for
national responsibilities increased, and added itself to the
weight of taxation incident to an advanced civilization and
complex social system. While forced to bear the chief burden of
the taxation required for national defence, the people of the
British Islands could see that the mass of the colonists
benefited by this protection already possessed, or were likely
before long to possess a higher average of wealth and comfort
than the mass of the people {20} who bestowed the benefit.
Looking forward little more than a generation he could foresee a
time when the colonists whose commerce was protected would equal
in number the whole home population which gave the protection,
when the volume of colonial commerce itself would surpass that
of the mother-land.

It requires little argument to prove that the anomaly of leaving
one part of a nation to bear a disproportionate share of the
burdens of the whole is as inconsistent with Anglo-Saxon ideas
of government as the exclusion of the colonies from a
proportionate voice in the conduct of national affairs.

An effective method of illustrating this anomalous condition of
the Empire and of British citizenship at the present time is to
consider the immediate change which takes place in the political
privileges and responsibilities of a man who shifts his
residence from the mother-country to Canada, Australia, or any
other great colony. He crosses the ocean, perhaps, to carry on
in another part of the Empire the business of the the bank, or
commercial house, or shipping firm with which he is connected
here. Such of his interests as require national protection
remain the same, and continue to enjoy security under the
British flag. He continues to take precisely the same interest
as before in the national welfare. But he loses at once the
right to influence national policy by his vote, and at the same
time he drops his old responsibilities of citizenship, since he
no longer pays the same proportion {21} of the taxes which make
the nation strong to protect him.

Take again a crucial case as applied to the working man. In
Australia one finds nearly 100,000,000 of sheep. The shepherding
and shearing of these sheep, the packing, carriage, and shipping
of their wool, give employment to a large section of the
industrial population. Nearly all this wool finds its market in
England, where the manufacture of a portion of it gives
employment to an immense population in centres such as the West
Riding of Yorkshire and parts of Scotland. The safety of this
wool in passing from the Australian centre of production to the
British centre of manufacture is essential to the prosperity of
the people in both. To this end Australian ports are made strong
at Australian expense and British ports at British expense. So
far all is fair and the distribution of the burden on industry
is equal. But between the two countries lie 12,000 miles of sea
to be guarded, and this is effectively done at enormous naval
and military expense, the burden of which, however, is almost
exclusively borne at the British end of the line. The proportion
paid by the Australian workman is comparatively insignificant.
Yet he is the one who earns the higher wages and feels the
pressure of taxation less.

I have heard a working man in a large public meeting in
Australia assert that the position viewed from this aspect was
unfair, and he added that he personally was far better able to
bear an equal share {22} of national burdens as a working man in
Australia than he had ever been as a working man in Britain. He
was certainly as competent to exercise the national franchise.

The illustration thus taken from a single colony and a single
department of industry has, of course, a wide application.
Whether viewed, then, from a purely British or a purely colonial
standpoint there are unanswerable reasons, and they are equally
unanswerable from either side, which point to an early
modification of the national system.

Especially is it to be noted, however, that the circumstances
which have developed this great problem have not arisen, like
many other political problems, from injustice or mismanagement
in the past, or from any causes tending to provoke mutual
recrimination. Through the simple processes of growth and
change, the conditions which satisfied the demands of national
life in the past have become insufficient to satisfy its
necessities for the future. Nothing could possibly be more
helpful for the solution of the question than this fact, that
men are able to approach it entirely free from party feuds and
local animosities.

Why, it may be asked, have not the inconsistency and the
temporary character of the existing national system been all
along obvious to every one? Why does the public attention
require to be directed to facts so manifest? Perhaps the best
answer is to be found in the wonderful rapidity of the changes
which have been going on, and the intense {23} absorption of
British people, both at home and abroad, in the actual processes
of national evolution, which left no time for studying their
indirect results.

Within the last century, and mainly within the last half
century, the United Kingdom has passed through the most
strenuous period of industrial development known in the history
of nations. The social system has been revolutionized by an
extraordinary increment of wealth, an immense increase of
population, and its concentration in towns, with all the
difficult problems which these changes involve. Political
thought has had enough to do to adjust the balance between
decreasing rural and increasing urban constituencies--to meet
the wants of a democracy advancing in prosperity and
intelligence, to maintain an equilibrium between new and
conflicting forces. Moral effort has been strained to the utmost
in dealing with education, sanitation, social reformation, and
kindred questions, a deepening sense of public responsibility in
such matters going hand in hand with an almost paralyzing
increase in the masses to be dealt with. Under such
circumstances it is scarcely to be wondered at that British
people within the United Kingdom have been too much absorbed in
what was directly before them to weigh carefully the results of
what was going on abroad; that even when most active in external
as well as internal affairs they seem to have conquered and
peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.'


In the colonies the preoccupation of thought and energy has with
equal reason been as complete. It is scarce fifty years since
the Canadian provinces obtained local self-government. The last
half century has witnessed the growth of a most complete system
of municipal and provincial institutions, crowned by a great act
of constructive statesmanship in Confederation. The organization
of half a continent on material lines has kept pace with each
step in political construction. Railroads, canals, telegraphs,
postal facilities, steamboat communication, all the machinery of
modern civilization, have been widely applied to an immense

In Australia movement has been even more rapid and engrossing.
Melbourne has changed in fifty years from a village of a
thousand inhabitants to a city of 500,000. Australian commerce,
in its infancy when the Queen came to the throne, now equals
that of the United Kingdom at the same date. New Zealand, then
the home of mere savages, has already a British population which
exports annually £10,000,000 worth of the products of civilized
labour. In South Africa half a continent is being organized
under conditions of extreme difficulty.

In the rush of progress so swift as this, the mass of men are
conscious chiefly of the work immediately before them. But as
this work grows under their hands, the vast external interests
are created, and the wide external connections grow up, which
compel attention to the larger problems which they involve.


The local politician, as provinces consolidate, is, by a process
of natural compulsion, changed into the statesman with a
national and international range of political vision.

It seems almost superfluous to point out that in striving for
closer consolidation British people would be following strictly
along the lines of the most striking national movements of
modern times. They would be merely keeping abreast of the spirit
of the age.

For the idea of national unity the people of the United States
twenty-five years ago made sacrifices of life and money without
a parallel in modern history. No one now doubts that the end
justified the enormous expenditure of national force. 'The Union
must be preserved' was the pregnant sentence into which Lincoln
condensed the national duty of the moment, and to maintain this
principle he was able to concentrate the national energy for a
supreme effort. The strong man who saved the great republic from
disruption takes his place, without a question, among the
benefactors of mankind.

Germany struggled through years of difficulty, conflict, and
swaying tides of national passion towards the ideal of a united
fatherland. The ideal has been realised; the men who made its
attainment possible have won, not merely the gratitude of their
countrymen, but the world's respect as well; even their acts of
despotism are forgiven and more than half forgotten in the
momentous significance of their one supreme {26} achievement.
Today it seems as if their work of consolidated strength was the
best guarantee of Europe's peace.

Cavour's statue stands in the squares of Italian cities--his
name lingers in Italian hearts. To Tuscan, Lombard, and
Neapolitan alike he is 'our great Cavour'--the man whose
courageous genius found a basis in facts for the conception of
Italian unity, whose patient and resolute diplomacy made
possible the satisfaction of the national aspiration.

Canada has placed first on her roll of greatness the statesman,
to whom she mainly owes the achievement of Federal unity. Thus
beyond a doubt the men who have graven their names most deeply
on the history of our time are those who have carried out in
many lands and under varying conditions the work of national
consolidation. American unity, German unity, Italian unity,
Austro-Hungarian unity--the expansion of Russia without loss of
unity--these are the accomplished facts of our time which we
have to face. More than this. We do not need the philosophical
historian to tell us, for the process is going on under our own
eyes, that a governing tendency of the age is towards the union
of many states into combinations of nearly equal
strength--sometimes by fusion, sometimes by federation,
sometimes by alliance. On the practical equipoise of two such
great groups the equilibrium of Europe at this moment depends.
Race adds its influence to the tendency.
Pan-Sclavism--Pan-Latinism--Pan-Teutonism {27} are more than
names. They are forces which play their part in moulding the
destinies of nations and governments. The aspect of the whole
world irresistibly suggests the thought that we are passing from
a nation epoch to a federation epoch. That British people should
fall in with this tendency is in the strict line of historical
continuity. 'From clans in the north,' it has been truly said,
'and from a heptarchy in the south, England and Scotland grew
into nations and thence into one nation.' In the great offshoots
of the race abroad the tendency is renewed, and each step
prepares the way for another and greater effort. To consolidate
the empire which Chatham founded is the one manifest opportunity
remaining in the British world for British statesmen to place
their names in our history beside those of the greatest of the
statesmen of the past.

For the mother-land an organized national unity means, not
degradation from her imperial position, but a frank acceptance
of the facts of national growth, and the greater dignity which
would come from acknowledged leadership of the free communities
which have grown up around her.

Prussia gained, instead of losing, in dignity, when many of the
higher functions of her historic parliament became merged in
those of the Reichstag of the German people, when she gave up
her individual place as a nation in Europe to assume the
leadership of the German Empire. So would it be with Great


For the colonies national unity means independence: not
'virtual' independence, as their present ill-defined condition
is sometimes spoken of, but the manly and sufficient
independence which comes from asserted rights and assumed

There are two kinds of independence. The first is that of the
son grown restless under tutelage, who throws himself off, more
or less recklessly, from the family connection, refuses family
advice or assistance, and takes the chances of life on his own
account. Given, on the one hand, overbearing and unsympathetic
parents anxious to retain their control till the last moment,
or, on the other, children filled with ignorant self-conceit and
consequent discontent, and independence of this first type is
the natural result. Sometimes it is justified, and succeeds;
sometimes it is born of blind stupidity and makes lamentable
shipwreck. But this is not the ideal or the only form of
independence. Given reason, due consideration, mutual regard for
rights on both sides, and the family tie becomes a partnership
which combines the advantages of all the liberty required for
full development with the unity of action and counsel which
assures strength. It produces a great Rothschild firm, each head
of which is free to work out his own views at his own centre of
the world's finance, but each in touch with the other for
counsel or action, each making use of the business machinery
established by all the rest, and thus securing incomparable
business advantages for all. So in a wider sphere it produces
the nation--the great {29} American Republic--the Swiss,
Germanic, or Canadian Confederation; each state or group of
states working independently within its own well-defined sphere
of influence; each taking its share as freely in the equally
well-defined but wider orbit of a large national life.

Our admiration is not given to the independence of the American
state, or the Canadian or Australian province when holding aloof
from union, where we feel that a spirit of petty provincialism
is at work. Nor can it be reasonably given to the independence
of the Greek state impatient of any control beyond that which is
found within a city's walls. At least, in this case, if we
admire, we pity still more, for the lack of the power to
preserve the liberty which the city had created. We reserve our
admiration for the reasoned and secured independence of a state
whose members have abandoned the petty side of their
individuality, and displayed that political self-restraint,
sagacity, and largeness of view which is implied in wide
organization for the attainment of great ends.

It is to this independence of partnership that a real national
unity would lift the colonies of the British Empire. Doubtless
it would at first be the partnership of junior members. More
than this could not reasonably be expected. But the position
need not be an irksome one.

One primary principle reason approves and experience recommends
for our guidance in attempting to outline the form of union
which will best be adapted {30} to the genius of the British
people. For all its communities there should be the utmost
freedom of individual action which is consistent with united
strength. Apparently this condition will be best fulfilled under
some form of Federal connection.

[1] Lord Dufferin dedicated a Canadian edition of his 'Letters
from High Latitudes' in the words 'To that true North.' I cannot
refrain from connecting with these lines one more association
which will, I feel sure, in Canadian hearts at least, add a
tender grace to the vigorous thought of the poet and the
delicate compliment of the politician. I am able to do so
through the accident of a conversation with the late Rev.
Drummond Rawnsley, of Lincolnshire, a connexion and intimate
friend of Lord Tennyson, whom I happened to meet some years
since at the house of a common friend, Professor Bonamy Price,
at Oxford. Introduced to him by our host as a Canadian, I was
informed by him of a fact which he felt sure would interest all
Canadians. The Poet Laureate, with whom he had lately been
staying, had told him that when the articles referred to had
appeared in the _Times_, Lady Franklin, who was then a guest in
his house, and who felt the most intense interest in the future
of Canada, had been filled with indignation at the wrong which
they did to English sentiment and to Canadian loyalty, and had
strongly urged upon him the duty and propriety of giving
utterance to some sufficient protest. Being in the fullest
sympathy with Lady Franklin's views, the poet acted upon this
suggestion and the lines were written. I do not think any
private confidence is violated in mentioning the facts told to
me on such unquestionable authority. It seems well that Canadian
people should know when reading these lines, that behind the
poet's brain was the woman's heart, and that a lady whose name
is held in highest honour wherever the English language is
spoken, and wherever heroism and devotion touch the human heart,
is thus connected by the subtle thread of sympathy and the
golden verse of our greatest poet with their own loved land.




THE central internal fact, then, which must soon bring about a
decisive change in our system of national organization is the
necessity that British people in all parts of the Empire should
have, if they are to remain together and so far as circumstances
permit, full and equal privileges of self-government and
citizenship. The political instinct which works in this
direction nothing can resist, for it has become innate in all
that is best in our race. The colonist who is permanently
content with less has lost no small part of the spirit of his

The central external fact which points to federation rather than
separation as the form which that change should take is the
necessity for joint defence of great common interests, and the
joint management of international relations.

It may be fairly claimed that in accepting the federal idea
Anglo-Saxon peoples have reached the crown of their political
achievement, inasmuch as it offers a compromise between
excessively centralized systems of government, which gave
strength at the {32} expense of local freedom, and those other
systems which for the sake of local freedom sacrificed the
strength which was necessary for their own preservation. The
liberty of the small Greek Republic was in some aspects a
glorious thing contrasted with the despotisms around it, yet we
cannot but remember that for want of power to combine that
liberty was crushed beneath the heel of the foreigner.
Federalism is the device by which organized democracy, without
giving up anything essential to liberty, is placed in a position
to wrestle on even terms with organized despotism.

An Australian writer has lately defined very justly the true
reason for the application of the Federal principle. 'It may be
said,' he remarks, 'that federation becomes desirable where, on
the one hand, the country is too enormous in extent and too
diverse in conditions for its internal affairs to be
satisfactorily managed by one central government, while, on the
other hand, the communities have certain common interests best
served by their coming together, or are confronted by common
dangers if they keep apart.' Never in the history of the world
were these conditions more completely fulfilled than in the case
of the British Empire. But objections to a federal organization
for the Empire are at once raised. 'The areas and communities to
be dealt with are too vast, the problem too complex, and the
consequent difficulty of giving an adequate organization too
great for such a plan to be thought of.' To this it may be
answered {33} that the growth of the United States has widened
political horizons. It has proved that immense territorial
extent is not incompatible, under modern conditions, with that
representative system of popular government which had its birth
and development in England, and its most notable adaptation in
America. It has shown that the spread of a nation over vast
areas, including widely-separated states with diverse interests,
need not prevent it from becoming strongly bound together in a
political organism which combines the advantages of national
greatness and unity of purpose with jealously guarded freedom of
local self-government. So that if the birth of the American
Republic suggested the confident inference that the inevitable
tendency of new communities was to detach themselves like ripe
fruit from the parent stem, the circumstances of its growth have
done much to dissipate the idea. The United States have
illustrated on a great scale the advantages of national unity;
their example has pointed the way to its attainment. That
example has been followed in one great British community; it is
being adopted in another.

But in the United States, in Canada, in Australia it is urged,
we have continental contiguity. The British Empire is too large,
its parts, separated by oceans, are unfitted for government
under a common federal system. We can at least answer that the
standard of possible size for a nation has steadily enlarged in
the course of history. For a federal system the unit may be
small or large, there seems {34} to be a measure by which to fix
the possible size of the unit in any case. The breadth of
interest is this measure. In a United British Empire each of the
federated countries, as commercial communities, would have
interests all over the world, and having such interests would
have a justification for being units in a world-wide Oceanic

For great trading communities, moreover, we must remember that
oceans do not divide. The almost instantaneous transmission of
thought, the cheap transmission of goods, the speedy travel
possible for man, have revolutionised pre-existing conditions in
commerce and society, once more widening our horizon. The fact
lies at the very basis of our national prosperity; it is
recognised in the every-day transactions of commercial life. Why
should it not be admitted among the ordinary considerations of
political life as well?

Communities so remote from each other as those which compose the
Empire, it is said again, 'cannot have those common interests
which are necessary to give cohesion to a nation.' Let us
consider the point.

I go into a woollen mill in Yorkshire or the south of Scotland.
Its proprietor, a great organizer of industry, shows me over the
vast establishment, from the warehouse where the bales of wool
are being packed as they arrive after their long voyage from the
antipodes, through the washing, combing, spinning, weaving,
dyeing, and pressing rooms till we come to the show rooms where
the completed goods are awaiting sale and shipment to the
furthest {35} corners of the world. He tells me that any
circumstance which checked the steady supply of the raw material
even for a few weeks would leave all this extensive and
complicated mass of machinery idle; would throw his employees,
numbered by thousands, out of employment; would bring himself
face to face with ruin and his people with want. Any
circumstances which checked the steady shipment of the
manufactured goods to distant markets would produce consequences
scarcely less immediate or less disastrous. I find the
proprietor day by day anxiously watching the reports of the wool
sales in London, and through them anything that affects the wool
trade in Sydney, Melbourne, or Dunedin. Clearly this man and
those who work for him must look far afield, if they consider
all the conditions upon which their prosperity depends. They are
types which represent many millions of people in the United

I go to Australia or New Zealand, and find myself the guest of a
squatter on his remote station. The sheep in his flocks number
perhaps a hundred thousand. He shows me his station houses, his
shearing sheds, his wool sheds, his vast paddocks enclosed with
hundreds of miles of wire fencing, all his extensive plant, his
horses, his shepherds, his band of shearers. He has to fight
against drought; swarms of rabbits may threaten him with ruin;
his year's clip of wool may, as the result of past disasters, be
mortgaged to the Banks. But if the telegraph tells him that wool
is rising in the London market, that the {36} factories at Leeds
and Halifax and Huddersfield are running at their utmost
capacity, that Yorkshire is prosperous, he is cheerful and faces
his difficulties with a hopeful mind. A good year's sales will
repay him for his risks and recoup him for the losses of the
past. Cut this man off from access to the home markets for a few
months, block the ports from which he ships his wool, or break
the line of his communication, and his industry is paralysed,
his workmen without pay; the bank which backs him and stakes
much on the prosperity of him and his like may close its doors.
Here manifestly is a man who, with his organized army of
industry, from the shepherd who tends the sheep to the lumper
who handles the bales at the docks, has interests which extend
further than his immediate neighbourhood.

I go on board one of the great liners which run between
Australia and England, and which may be taken to represent the
third great form of British industry. Down in her hold, forming
the chief part of her cargo, are several thousand bales of wool.
When she returns the wool will be replaced by manufactured
goods. The profits of the company which owns and manages her
depend upon the prosperity of the great manufacturing
communities at home and the great producing areas abroad; upon
the pressure of outward and homeward trade. Upon the absolute
safety from hostile attack of this vessel and her like in
passing over many thousand miles of sea depends once more the
industrial security of the vast multitudes of human {37} beings
for whom and between whom she carries on exchange.

Can community of interest and mutual dependence be more complete
than this? Of the man who produces the raw material, the man who
works it up, and the man who carries between them, can we say
where the interest of the one begins and the other ends? Yet
what has been said of one raw material of production and
manufacture may be said of a hundred. What has been said of wool
may be said of wheat, for artizans must be fed while they work,
and more and more English people at home will have to depend on
English people abroad for their supplies of wheat. It may be
said of meat, which every year, in increasing quantity, Canada,
New Zealand, and Australia send to the mother-land.

No limit can be put to the range of common interest between
communities of which one devotes its industry chiefly to
supplying the raw material of commerce, the other to its

This community of industrial interest is strengthened by a
thousand influences which give community of thought in almost
every relation of life, and must be reckoned among the forces
which make for cohesion.

The population which flows into the waste places of the colonies
comes chiefly from the motherland, not driven out by religious
persecution or political tyranny, but impelled by the spirit of
enterprize or in search of the larger breathing and working
space of new countries. In almost every case the emigrant {38}
makes a new bond of friendly connection. He leaves the old
Britain without any feeling of bitterness, and often with
friendly aid; he finds a welcome as well as a home in the new
Britain beyond the seas. There the links of connection multiply
and strengthen. Cheaper ocean transport, cheaper postage,
cheaper telegraph rates, are constantly making it easier for him
to keep in touch with the old home. His daily or weekly paper
has its columns of English news, keeping him well informed about
all that most closely concerns the nation's life. The best
products of the best minds of the motherland furnish his chief
intellectual food, and form the basis of his education. Cheaper
and cheaper editions poured out by competitive publishers in the
centres of cheap production bring all the master minds who have
spoken or written in the English tongue within easy reach even
on an Australian station or a Canadian prairie. The tick of the
telegraph keeps the financial and speculative interests of the
whole outlying Empire in almost instant touch with those at the
centre. The philanthropic and social movements which originate
in the old lands or the new find an almost immediate reflection
or response in the other. Pan-Anglican Synods, Oecumenical
Councils, and General Assemblies, together with the great
Missionary and Bible Societies, keep in closest touch the
religious thought and activities of the British world. The
British Association for the Advancement of Science meets in
Montreal, and finds itself as much at home there as in {39}
London, Edinburgh, or Dublin. Competitions of skill in arms or
in athletics add their manifold links of connection. It seems as
if Pan-Britannic contests of the kind on a great scale might yet
revive the memories of the old Greek world. Already corps of
riflemen or artillerymen meet in friendly competition year by
year at Wimbledon, Bisley, or Shoeburyness.

The young Australian or Canadian who begins to practice with the
cricket-bat or oar is already in imagination measuring his skill
and strength against the best that Great Britain can produce,
nor has the cricketer or oarsman of the United Kingdom gained
his final place in the athletic world till he has tested his
powers on Australian fields or Canadian waters. The eager
interest with which in either hemisphere the tour of a selected
team or the performance of a champion sculler is watched from
day to day is a curious proof of the intimacy of thought made
possible by existing means of communication.

The great labour conflicts of the past two or three years have
furnished striking examples of the vital sympathy which springs
from nationality and close social and commercial connection.
During the Australian strike of last year, day after day, by
message and manifesto, each party to the contest strove to bring
over public opinion in Great Britain to its side, while the
funds raised on the one side of the world today were on the
morrow giving support and encouragement to those they were
intended to assist at the other. Once more there is the sense of
common {40} and equal ownership of great national memories and
names. The people of the great colonies have never broken with
national traditions. They are able to enter without reserve into
that passionate affection with which Shakespeare and Milton,
Scott and Burns, loved their native land, even while pointing
out her faults. The statue of a national hero, like Gordon,
finds its place as naturally on a square of Melbourne as on
Trafalgar Square itself. Equally in place are the memorial
tablet to an Australian statesman in the crypt of St. Paul's
beside the tombs of Nelson and Wellington, or the memorial
service at Westminster to a statesman of the Empire who did his
work in Canada.

It may be asked whether it can be supposed that the great
colonies, widely separated as they are, will ever learn to think
and act together politically; whether, for instance, Australians
can ever be expected to take interest in Canadian fishery
disputes, or Canadians sympathize in Australian excitement about
New Caledonia or New Guinea. 'Canada and Australia,' says Mr.
Freeman, 'care a great deal for Great Britain; we may doubt
whether, apart from Great Britain, Canada and Australia care
very much for one another. There may be American States which
care yet less for one another; but in their case mere continuity
produces a crowd of interests and relations common to all. We
may doubt whether the confederation of States so distant as the
existing colonies of Great Britain, whether the bringing them
into closer relations with one another as well as with Great
Britain, will at all {41} tend to the advance of a common
national unity among them[1].'

The question thus raised is an interesting one, not to be
dismissed in a word. Some force is given to it by the wide
separation of the colonies from each other, and the lack of
intercourse in the past. But anyone who watches colonial
questions closely sees that great changes are taking place. Till
a very few years ago Canada looked to Australia only eastward
across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Dominion has now
become like Australia, a state upon the Pacific, with interests
in that ocean which are sure to become very considerable. Lines
of steamship, postal, and cable communication between the two
countries are already in contemplation. The safety of such
routes would of itself form a great common interest. Passing
through the centre of the Pacific it would tend to create those
national interests which would increase British influence in
that ocean--an end very much in Australasian thought.

On the Atlantic Canada is extending her trade relations with
another group of colonies, the West Indies. This trade promises
to develop greatly in the future, for as one country is in the
temperate zone and the other in the tropics, each seems the
natural complement of the other in range of production. The
opening of a Panama route would give the Australian colonies a
profound interest in the strength of the British position in the
West Indies.


Australia and New Zealand, again, have a substantial interest in
the political fortunes of South Africa, since in that country is
the most vulnerable point of their most important trade route.
In the _Naval Annual_ for 1890 Lord Brassey estimates the
outward-bound Australasian trade which passes the Cape at twenty
millions sterling per annum, and uses the statement to enforce
his views as to the national importance of making perfectly
secure our position at this great turning-point of the world's

But I do not wish to lay undue stress upon these facts, which
are only intended to be illustrations of the existence and
growth of common interests between different groups of colonies.
They are suggestions of future possibilities rather than
powerful factors in the present.

It is more pertinent to measure the strength of the forces which
at the present time make effectively for national cohesion.
Nobody doubts that if today either Canada or Australia were
attacked by any foreign power the whole might of Great Britain
would be put forth to protect them. As little doubt can there be
that if Britain were wantonly attacked and engaged in a struggle
for existence, each of these great colonies would be ready with
such assistance as it could give. Race sentiment and national
honour, to say nothing of self-interest, would combine, as
things now stand, to make these results as certain as anything
can be in human affairs. The common {43} bond with the
mother-land seems to me a guarantee of sufficient unity between
the colonies--not so close, not so instinctive, it is true as
the more direct tie, but still amply sufficient to give
effective national cohesion. All the colonies are parts of the
same great body; all would alike suffer from the weakness of the
whole. All would gain indefinitely from united strength.

'In their case,' to repeat what Mr. Freeman says of the United
States, 'mere continuity produces a crowd of interest and
relations common to all.' But if Mr. Freeman reflects that
seventy-seven per cent. of Australia's trade, eighty per cent.
of New Zealand's trade, eighty-five per cent. of South Africa's
trade, fifty per cent of Canada's trade, finds its way backward
and forward over the vast oceans which separate these colonies
from Britain, or from each other, he will be forced to admit
that mere distance of separation produces, if not a crowd of
interests and relations, at least a few interests and relations
common to all which are practically predominant. No states of
the American Union have an interdependence of financial and
commercial relations proportionally so exclusive and complete as
those which exist between New Zealand, Australia, South Africa,
or even Canada and Great Britain. 'It is hard to believe,' adds
Mr. Freeman, 'that states which are united only by a sentiment,
which have so much, both political and physical, to keep them
asunder, will be kept together by a sentiment only.' Mr. Freeman
has evidently not studied {44} the facts of colonial trade, or
the relations of English and colonial industry[2].

Another practical aspect of the question naturally appeals
strongly to many minds. We are the most strenuous working race
of the world, and the problems of labour fill a large place in
our thoughts of the present and the future. Not only to hold our
own in the keen competition going on with the rest of the world
in both manufacture and the production of raw material, but also
to reach the higher ideal formed of the life possible for a
working man, we seek to make as light as may be the burdens
which industry must necessarily bear. In all countries no small
portion of these are such as are imposed by the needs of
national organization--burdens which no country has ever yet
escaped, or ever will. In national unity we may have all the
advantages and resources of co-operation utilized to this end on
a vast scale; one diplomatic and consular service; one fleet
instead of several; ports and docks defended at the common
expense for the good of all. Under any well-considered scheme it
is certain, so far as defence is concerned, that all parts of
the Empire would secure {45} a maximum of protection at a
minimum of cost, and the same would hold good in regard to other
forms of necessary national expense. A nation economizing
expenditure in these directions could enlarge it for objects
which tended to the common good, and brought advantages within
the reach of the masses, cheap postage, cheap telegraphy, cheap
transit of every kind. Combinations undertaken for ends such as
these could have no savour of an aggressive Imperialism.

To provide for the safety of industry is not Jingoism. Richard
Cobden was not under a Jingo influence when he said that he
would willingly vote £100,000,000 for the Navy rather than see
it unable to fulfil its task of giving security to British
commerce. His was rather the expression of strong English common
sense, which faces facts and the actual conditions of life. Lord
Rosebery is not a Jingo when he suggests that British people can
best secure peace by 'preponderance.' The strength of a United
Empire would be no more than equal to the increasing tasks which
are laid upon it. The fear that Federation with the strength
which it gave would make British people the bullies of the world
appears absurd. If we have powerful athletic sons we do not cut
their muscles or reduce their physique lest they should use
their splendid strength to injury of their neighbours; rather do
we train them to use it in noble ways--to be foremost in toil,
to help the oppressed, to defend the defenceless, to be the
strong arbiter between contentious disputants. So with the
nation. Doubtless vast {46} strength, without an adequate
controlling moral force, has in it a temptation and a danger.
But surely the remedy lies in deepening the moral sense, not in
limiting or diminishing the material strength of the nation.

To the Christian, the moralist, the philanthropist, no
inspiration could be greater than that which might well spring
from observing the growing strength of the Empire, and from
reflection that this immense energy might be turned in
directions which would make for the world's good. And strength
beyond all other nations British people must have if they are to
face in its fulness the work they have to do. As the outcome of
that intense life which has specially characterized the last two
hundred years they find themselves front to front with the whole
world on every great sphere of action or field of
responsibility. They have to face and boldly play their part in
the large and complex problems of European politics, when the
might of enormous armies stands ready to enforce the decisions
of an alliance or the will of a despot. Commerce, extending to
the remotest islands or penetrating to the heart of uncivilized
continents, makes almost co-extensive with the globe those
ordinary interests of British people which require protection.
Three hundred millions of mankind, who do not share British
blood, of various races and in various climes, acknowledge
British sway, and look to it for guidance and protection; their
hopes of civilization and social elevation depending {47} upon
the justice with which it is exercised, while anarchy awaits
them should that rule be removed. Through commerce and
widespread territories the nation is brought into constant
intercourse and often into the most delicate relations with
almost every savage race on the globe, thus standing almost
alone of European nations on that border-land where civilization
confronts barbarism, of all positions in which a nation can be
placed perhaps the one most weighted with responsibilities and
most pregnant with possibilities of good and evil. To this
position the world's history offers no parallel; beside it
Rome's range of influence sinks into comparative insignificance.

But to understand all that it means we must remember that along
with this mighty growth of power there has been a steady growth
of a public conscience, which holds itself responsible not only
for national acts, but for national influence; which refuses to
shut its eyes to abuse of power, but rather looks upon power as
a sacred trust, to be used for worthy ends. Therein lies the
justification of our national greatness, and of the wish that it
should be maintained.

    'We sailed wherever ship can sail,
      We founded many a noble state;--
    Pray God our greatness may not fail
      Through craven fear of being great.'

This is the poet's thought and prayer. May it not rightly be the
thought and prayer of every British citizen? We have assumed
vast responsibilities in the {48} government of weak and alien
races, responsibilities which cannot now be thrown off without a
loss of national honour, and without infinite harm to those
under our rule. A nation which has leaning upon it an Indian
population of nearly 300,000,000 over and above the native races
of Australasia, South Africa, and many minor regions, must
require, if stability and equilibrium are to be maintained, an
immense weight of that trained, intelligent, and conscientious
citizenship which is the backbone of national strength. It needs
to concentrate its moral as well as its political strength for
the work it has to do.

If we really have faith in our own social and Christian progress
as a nation; if we believe that our race, on the whole, and in
spite of many failures, can be trusted better than others, to
use power with moderation, self-restraint, and a deep sense of
moral responsibility; if we believe that the wide area of our
possessions may be made a solid factor in the world's politics,
which will always throw the weight of its influence on the side
of a righteous peace, then it cannot be inconsistent with
devotion to all the highest interests of humanity to wish and
strive for a consolidation of British power. It is because I
believe that in all the noblest and truest among British people
there is this strong faith in our national integrity, and in the
greatness of the moral work our race has yet to do, that I
anticipate that the whole weight of Christian and philanthropic
sentiment will ultimately be thrown on the side of national
unity, as opening {49} up the widest possible career of
usefulness for us in the future; inasmuch as it will give us the
security which is necessary for working out our great national

The praises of the Federal system of the United States are much
dwelt upon now that it has been justified by triumphing over the
difficulties and dangers of a century. It seems the natural and
easy outgrowth of the circumstances in which the original
colonies found themselves at the close of the Revolution. The
conditions under which it was created and exists are pointed out
as ideally favourable for national unity on a federal
basis--contiguity, common interest, sentiment based on a common
history, and other facts and considerations of a parallel kind.

Far different from this did the task of framing the Federal
Constitution seem to those who had it in hand. It has been
described by Mr. Bryce as 'a work which seemed repeatedly on the
point of breaking down, so great were the difficulties
encountered from the divergent sentiments and interests of the
different parts of the country, as well as of the larger and
smaller states.' The same writer adds: 'The Convention had not
only to create _de novo_, on the most slender basis of
pre-existing institutions, a national government for a widely
scattered people, but they had in doing so to respect the fears
and jealousies and apparently irreconcileable interests of
thirteen separate commonwealths, to all of whose governments it
was necessary to leave a sphere of {50} action wide enough to
satisfy a deep-rooted sentiment, yet not so wide as to imperil
national unity.'

Yet once more we read of difficulties curiously like those which
are urged as making British unity impossible now. 'Their
geographical position made communication very difficult. The sea
was stormy in winter, the roads were bad, it took as long to
travel by land from Charleston to Boston as to cross the ocean
to Europe, nor was the journey less dangerous. The wealth of
some states consisted in slaves; of others in shipping; while in
others there was a population of small farmers,
characteristically attached to old habits. Manufactures had
hardly begun to exist. The sentiment of local independence
showed itself in intense suspicion of any external authority;
and most parts of the country were so thinly peopled that the
inhabitants had lived practically without any government, and
thought that in creating one they would be forging fetters for

Difficulties, then, are no new thing in national organization.
They may be, as they have been, but the spur to the determined
will of nation or individual. They are to be measured by the
resources at our disposal with which to confront them.

Admitting the difficulties involved in framing a Federal system
we must at the same time remember the long and peculiar training
which our race has had in dealing with them. Acute minds have
been turned upon the problem, systems have been framed and
adopted by vast populations, and time has tested {51} the
results. The experience of the United States extends over more
than a century of strenuous national life and wonderful growth.
In the light of that experience, and to meet her own
necessities, Canada faced the question a quarter of a century
ago, and framed a system which works well and gives assurance of
permanence. Encouraged by these examples, Australia is taking
steps to frame a similar union. Thus three great
English-speaking communities have had their thoughts fixed with
anxious attention upon Federal problems. In forming or in
carrying on these three great English-speaking federations,
fundamental principles have been so exhaustively studied and so
thoroughly tested that the conditions that must control Federal
organization may now be stated with a very considerable degree
of accuracy. Germany, Switzerland, and Austro-Hungary all
furnish data which assist in making conclusions definite. An
adoption of Federalism is therefore no longer a leap in the
dark. The losses and gains which it involves can be weighed and

With such a range of history and experience to fall back upon it
ought to be possible for a practical self-governing people to
distinguish between the relations they wish to control through
the smaller machinery of local government, and those they are
content to submit to the larger machinery of a central
government: to draw, in short, a true line of division between
those interests which are peculiar to each {52} member of the
Federation and those which are common to all.

In this connection Professor Ransome has stated what seems to me
a striking and most suggestive view. He points out that the
geographical relations of the great divisions of the Empire lend
themselves naturally to Federal organization on a large scale. A
primary difficulty in all federations, as I have said, is to
draw a sufficiently defined line between those local questions
in the settlement of which communities, and most of all
Anglo-Saxon communities, will brook no interference from
outsiders, and those other questions in which all have a common
interest, and are content to have only a proportionate voice.
Great Britain, Canada, Australia, South Africa, have each
internal problems of their own to wrestle with, which each can
solve only for itself, and about which it would resist dictation
or resent even advice from all or any of the others. Such are
the relations of French and English in Canada; of white and
coloured labour in Australia; of Boer and Englishman in South
Africa; of Irish Home Rulers and Unionists in the United
Kingdom. But the fact that Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and
South Africa lie in different quarters of the globe at once
distinguishes broadly all questions of this kind, and diminishes
the probability of conflict. On the other hand the very distance
of separation makes it impossible, except by united action, to
deal adequately with the vast interests common to all. To draw
the line of {53} distinction between things purely local and
such as are general in status thus widely separated would be
much easier than to do the same for the contiguous sovereign
states of the American Republic, or the contiguous provinces of
Canada or Australia. The very diversity and peculiarity of local
interest simplify the task.

It is to be noted, also, that in forming a British Federal
system we should be relieved from what was the most difficult
problem which presented itself to the framers of the American
constitution. It was necessary to create a head for the state,
and a method was devised with elaborate caution for doing this
in freedom from the storms of party passion. In actual working
that system has broken away from the original intention of its
authors, and more than once the quadrennial selection of a party
head to the American Republic has put a heavy strain upon the
machinery of national government.

The British nation, on the other hand, has a head which commands
reasoned and personal allegiance in all parts of the Empire.
Under it the popular will reaches its end with less friction
than under any other method yet devised. The system has been
proved capable of easy and satisfactory application to the wants
of the colonies, even under a federal organization such as that
of Canada. The possession of such a starting-point will prove of
enormous practical advantage in facing the problems of national


The fact that the constituent elements of the proposed
federation are not at the same stage of political development
naturally occurs as a difficulty. Canada, in having a fully
matured internal system, is riper for federation than Australia,
Australia than South Africa, South Africa than the West Indies.

The circumstance is often urged as a conclusive argument for
delay: it is sometimes represented as an insuperable obstacle to
any present progress towards closer unity. The condition is no
new one to existing federal systems, nor has it proved an
obstacle of importance to the framing of an adequate
constitution. Both the United States and Canada have a carefully
arranged system by which their younger communities are admitted
by successive stages into fuller privileges of citizenship, each
as it reaches a fixed period of maturity becoming entitled to
the full franchise of state or province. As well argue that a
man must not admit his eldest son into partnership until the
youngest has come of age, as claim that Canada, with its
constitution already consolidated by a quarter of a century's
history, must still wait another quarter or half century for its
rightful position in the nation to which it belongs because the
West Indies and South Africa have not been able to work their
way through certain stages of political evolution. Strange,
indeed, would have been the political position of the United
States had they waited to frame their federal system till
Colorado was on a level with Massachusetts. For a nation {55}
like ours, constantly expanding, and with possibilities for
further extension even greater than the United States, common
sense would seem to indicate the maturity of the first great
colonies, the period when they might fairly be expected to
desire some final decision about their national destiny, as the
time when the basis of a Federal system, applicable on a fixed
principle to all, should be determined. They are then free, as
each advances to maturity, to choose between independence and
entrance into the national system.

The concession of Responsible Government to the colonies was an
important, but by no means a final step in political
development. From some points of view the change seemed to
superficial observers very closely akin to the concession of
independence. It gave the absolute control of local affairs, the
power of levying taxes, and of applying the proceeds; but the
higher functions of government, it must be remembered, still
remained with the central power. Not only was this so, but the
responsibilities of independence were clearly not imposed in the
same proportion that its privileges were granted.

In the minds of some colonists and more Englishmen I have found
a belief, or rather a suspicion, that any closer union than at
present exists could only be effected by taking away from the
colonies some of the self-governing powers which they now
possess. That this is necessary is clearly a mistake, and one
which probably arises from the erroneous impression about {56}
the degree of self-government which a colony enjoys. Not the
resignation of old powers, but the assumption of new ones, must
be the result of Federal union. A colony has now no power of
making peace or war; no voice, save by the courtesy of the
mother-country, in making treaties; no direct influence on the
exercise of national diplomacy. Admitted to an organic union,
its voice would be heard and its influence felt in the decision
of these questions. To the Imperial Parliament, that is, as
things now stand, to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, is
reserved the right to override the legislation of a colony, just
as, for example, the Parliament of the Dominion has the right to
override the legislation of a Canadian Province. But as the
Canadian feels in this no sense of injustice or tyranny, since
he is represented in the superior as well as in the inferior
Legislature, so the colonist would feel no loss of political
dignity if he had his true place in the higher as well as in the
lower representative body. With enlarged powers, it is true, the
colony would have to accept enlarged responsibilities. In human
affairs the two invariably and rightly go together[3]. If,
instead {57} of federation, a colony chose independence, it
would evidently be compelled at once to assume the control of
all questions now reserved for Imperial treatment, and the
corresponding burdens now provided for at Imperial expense. In a
closer union the larger control and the larger responsibility
would be assumed in partnership rather than individually. Surely
this is not subtracting anything from the power of
self-government. It is the means of making it complete.

Shall it, then, be separation or closer union? Shall we face the
dangers which few can deny will be incident to the
disintegration even by Act of Parliament and mutual consent of
the greatest nation of the world; or shall we choose, as a wiser
alternative, to confront, as in the past, the difficulties of
such political reconstruction or adaptation as is required to
meet new national needs? This is the question which not merely
may arise, but certainly must arise within a very measurable
time to be settled by British people in all parts of the world.

It has been said that all great movements which affect the
condition of peoples are originated and carried forward by the
combination of two forces: the force of conviction, which comes
from reason, and the force of enthusiasm, which is born of
sentiment. It is generally supposed that Anglo-Saxon people are
most strongly influenced by reason, by arguments directed to
their intelligence. Yet it may be doubted if in any race,
sentiment plays a more decisive part in {58} moulding public
action. It lives in the pages of Milton, Shakespeare, Scott,
Burns, Tennyson, and in distant lands loses none of its power to
stir men's hearts. It has profoundly influenced Canadian history
for more than a hundred years. It flames up in every colony when
a crisis arises when British honour is at stake.

Millions of people in distant parts of the world glory in the
right to speak of England, Scotland, or Ireland under the tender
name of home. A sentiment indeed, but a mighty power. It is true
that the term 'loyalty,' as it has usually been applied to
British colonies and colonists in their relations to the United
Kingdom, is in some ways becoming an obsolete and unmeaning
term. A larger loyalty which has in it no suspicion of
dependence is taking its place. It is one which implies
faithfulness to the great nationality to which we belong, its
heart, indeed, and its greatest traditions in Britain, but its
mighty limbs and no small share of its hopes for the future on
the world's circumference. It is at the bar of this loyalty that
the Briton at home as well as the Briton abroad must be judged.
The sentiment on which it partly rests is one we need not fear
to count upon, and it has its limits only with the British
world. It has been proof against the defects of an illogical
system: it will prove the main element of cohesion in a true
system. But we need not fear to turn away entirely from
sentiment to study the dry facts of material interest which each
of the greater communities of the Empire has in National Unity.

[1] _Britannic Confederation_, p. 54.

[2] Since the above was written we have been called upon to
lament the great loss which English literature has suffered in
Mr. Freeman's death. I cannot but think that the critical
attitude which he took towards British unity is explained by a
remark which I have lately found in his _Impressions of the
United States_. He says, 'Greatly to my ill-luck, I am wholly
ignorant of all things bearing on commerce, manufactures, or
agriculture.' Are not these the questions which really dominate
British national development?

[3] 'No community which is not primarily charged with the
ordinary business of its own maintenance and defence is really,
or can be, in the full sense of the word, a free community. The
privileges of freedom and the burdens of freedom are absolutely
associated together. To bear the burden is as necessary as to
enjoy the privilege, in order to form that character which is
the great necessity of freedom itself.'--Mr. Gladstone before
the Colonial Committee, 1859.




IN beginning his elaborate study of the Empire and its capacity
for defence, the author of 'The Problems of Greater Britain'

'The danger in our path is that the enormous forces of European
militarism may crush the old country and destroy the integrity
of our Empire before the growth of the newer communities that it
contains has made it too strong for the attack.' In closing he
says: 'The result of this survey of Imperial Defence is to bring
before the mind a clearer image of the stupendous potential
strength of the British Empire, and of an equally stupendous
carelessness in organizing its forces. ... Our ambition is not
for offensive strength, and not only home-staying Britons, but
our more energetic colonists themselves, decline to accept such
organization of our power, with the temptations that it would
bring. We wish only to be safe from the ambition of others, and
the first step towards safety must be the arrangement of
consistent plans for supporting the whole edifice of British
rule by the assistance of all the component parts of the Empire.
As all have helped to raise the fabric, so may all combine {60}
to secure it by the adoption of a settled plan of Imperial

The defence of common interests has been, in the past, the
primary bond which has held federations together. It must be put
in the very forefront among the arguments for British unity.
Taken by itself it seems to furnish more than sufficient reason
why Great Britain and her colonies should present a united
political front to the world.

Common interests so vast no nation or union of nations has ever
before had in the history of the world. The foundations of
British greatness rest in the creative power of industry, and
that interaction of industry or exchange of products which we
call commerce. Industry and commerce have combined to make our
nation the richest in the world. We are a race of workers and of
traders. It is in virtue of our working and trading instincts
that we hold today the foremost place among the nations of the
world. In following them we have won Empire; it seems capable of
proof that to satisfy their necessities we must maintain Empire,
for what we have been in the past such we are manifestly to be
on a much larger scale in the future.

Transferred to Canada, or Australia, New Zealand, the Cape, or
to foreign lands, the Briton is still the eager worker and
trader, and the field for the exercise of his qualities is ever
enlarging. As the standard of living rises with increasing
prosperity, as the comforts and luxuries of distant lands come
within reach of even {61} the labouring man, commerce is
stimulated anew; its safety becomes of greater concern. In the
strength of the British flag to give security to the infinite
army of workers who carry on their toil under its protection, is
involved the welfare and prosperity of the greatest aggregation
of human beings that ever was joined together in one body

It is when we consider the extent of British commerce, of what
the nation constantly has staked upon the security of ocean
trade, that we realize the vastness and importance of the
problems involved in national defence, the supreme necessity
that British people should be in a position either to command
peace, or to face with confidence, so far as trade is concerned,
the risks of any war that may be forced upon them.

To most minds figures perhaps convey but an inadequate idea of
what they represent, but it is only by figures that the extent
of the stake which British people have upon the ocean can be
indicated. The rapidity of expansion is as striking as the
actual extent, and they may usefully be put together. In 1837,
when the Queen ascended the throne, the annual value of the
sea-commerce of the United Kingdom, together with that of the
colonies and dependencies, was estimated at £210,000,000. That
commerce has now, in a little more than fifty years, expanded to
nearly £1200,000,000. Every year British people have afloat upon
the ocean wealth represented by this enormous sum. Nothing like
it has ever been {62} known in the history of any nation before.
The marvellous expansion still goes on. In the case of the
colonies and dependencies, with their unlimited possibilities of
development, it is manifest that we see but the beginning of
their commercial career. For them, as for the mother-islands,
the safety of trade, the security of the ocean waterways, must
in the interests of industry be the supreme object of
statesmanship. And I believe that there is a well-nigh
unanswerable line of argument which goes to prove that
statesmanship will find that security most certainly and most
effectually by maintaining intact the actual unity of the Empire
through such further political consolidation of its various
parts as will make united action possible and most effective. On
the other hand, there are the strongest reasons for thinking
that the separation of even one of the great colonies might
produce for the colony itself, for the United Kingdom, and for
the Empire at large, a fatal flaw in the capacity for defending
interests which are vital to the general prosperity and to the
greatness of the nation.

The outline of this argument may be shortly stated.

The vast magnitude of the Empire, and its dispersion in the
various quarters of the globe, have hitherto oppressed the
imagination of those charged with its defence. Vulnerability has
seemed the natural concomitant of magnitude. The impression
might have been correct fifty or seventy-five years ago; it is
not so today. It seems a proposition fairly capable of
demonstration that under the changed conditions of {63} modern
communication and naval war the vast area of the Empire and the
wide dispersion of its parts, so far from being a cause of
weakness, are really elements, under proper organization, of a
strength greater than any nation of present or past times has
ever enjoyed. It is a strength, too, which particularly
recommends itself to the national mind, since it is effective
for defence rather than aggression.

To understand how magnitude and diffusion may be sources of
strength we must recall the fact that for all purposes of trade,
intercourse, and naval power, the introduction of steam has
re-created the world. Before Trafalgar was fought Nelson was
able to keep the sea for months, the staying power of a ship of
war depending almost entirely upon its supplies of food, water,
and warlike stores. Now it has become chiefly a question of coal
endurance. Removed from the means of renewing its supplies of
coal, the most powerful ship afloat within a very limited number
of days becomes a helpless hulk.

'The striking distance of a ship of war is now on an average two
thousand miles,' are the words used by Lord Salisbury not long
since to indicate the nature and extent of this change in the
conditions of naval defence. What he means is, we may suppose,
that when a modern ship of war has filled her bunkers with coal,
she can go two thousand miles, do the work assigned her, and get
safely back to her starting-place. High naval authorities have
told me that Lord Salisbury's average is fixed at the outside


'Our fleet must be present in sufficient force to protect
adequately the whole commerce of the Empire, wherever it is,'
says the Secretary of the Admiralty in a last year's speech, and
the press almost unanimously unites with Chambers of Commerce
and other representative bodies in echoing the sentiment as a
national resolution.

In discussing a considerable event in naval construction in the
beginning of the present year the _Times_ said: 'So far as human
effort can attain its end, the country has now definitely
resolved that the naval history of the future shall not be
unworthy of its past.' It added: 'There is no finality to naval
policy. ... Its only sound basis is not the cost of the fleet in
the abstract, but a rational estimate of the conditions of naval
defence at sea.'

But the world is 25,000 miles round, and the commerce of the
Empire is upon every sea. The striking distance of a ship of war
is 2000 miles, and practically every ship of war we have
operates under the limitations imposed by the use of steam. The
figures certainly give us the necessary data for calculating
what naval bases are necessary for adequate naval strength.

Surely Canada, resting on the North Atlantic and North Pacific;
South Africa, commanding the passage around the Cape; and
Australasia, in the centre of the vast breadth of the Indian and
Pacific Oceans, are not merely useful, but, under the conditions
which have been stated, essential. But when we have realized
{65} that under modern conditions they are essential to widely
extended sea power, we are in a position to understand the
addition which they make to defensive strength. A nation which
commands the great naval and coaling stations at these essential
points could practically paralyze any enemy which sought to
attack her, by simply closing the ports of coal supply to
hostile ships.

Let me ask the reader to turn to the map of the world which
accompanies this book. In it an attempt has been made to
emphasize, though not unduly, a few of the main facts connected
with our national position. The chief routes of British commerce
are indicated--the arteries along which flow the life-blood of
the nation. On what is now the principal route to the East, that
through the Mediterranean and Red Seas, we note the fortified
naval and coaling stations in a connected chain: Gibraltar,
Malta, Bombay, Trincomalee, Singapore, and Hong Kong. At each of
these stations British ships find themselves under the shelter
of strong fortifications. Most of them are practically
impregnable, and are supplied with docks for the repair of
ships. All are points of storage for coal. Besides these
stations of primary importance there are subsidiary ports,
Kurrachi, Colombo, Calcutta, and many others.

Whether this remarkable hold on the greatest route of Eastern
commerce is the outcome of a grasping militarism, or the natural
result which arises from supreme commercial interest, may be
judged from a {66} single fact. Of the 3800 steamships which
passed through the Canal in 1891 seventy-eight out of every
hundred were under the British flag, leaving only twenty-two
divided among Frenchmen, Germans, Dutchmen, Austrians,
Spaniards, Americans, and all the other nations of the world. Of
the whole tonnage eighty-two per cent. was British.

Follow, again, the alternative route to the East and South
around Africa. Here we find Sierra Leone, St. Helena, Cape Town,
and Mauritius at intervals singularly adapted to the necessities
of steam navigation under conditions of either peace or war.
Other nations occupy parts of Africa, but none have naval
stations of corresponding strength.

Terminating these two great Eastern routes we have in
Australasia King George's Sound, Thursday Island, Melbourne,
Sydney, and Auckland, which may be regarded as positions of
primary naval importance. Some of these are already fortified,
others have their defensive works in progress. Secondary, and
yet important, are Hobart, Adelaide, Brisbane, Wellington,
Lyttleton, Dunedin, and other ports.

Westward across the Atlantic, Halifax, Bermuda, St. Lucia, and
Jamaica furnish adequate naval bases for the protection of the
vast British commerce which traverses this ocean. The harbours
of the Gulf and River St. Lawrence and Newfoundland, and of
several West India islands, supplement these strongly fortified

On the Pacific Coast Esquimalt and Vancouver {67} furnish
stations from which may be protected the new route of trade and
travel opened to the far East, and the projected route to

Finally, the Falkland Islands, to which it has now been decided
to give adequate fortifications, furnish a coaling place for
ships in times of urgent necessity, and a point from which trade
can be defended in the long voyage between Britain and Australia
by the Cape Horn route. They also serve as a base of protection
for our large trade with the Western coast of South America.

It will be seen that the map illustrates another group of facts
which we must consider before we can fully grasp the relation of
this geographical distribution of the Empire to naval power in
an age of steam. On the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Canada,
in New Zealand, Tasmania, New South Wales, and Queensland, in
India, Borneo, and South Africa, coal is noted as among the
products of these countries, and in them all, there are, in
fact, great coal deposits forming in each corner of the globe, a
wonderful complement to those of the mother-land.

Here, then, is the outline of a maritime position such as no
people ever enjoyed before. North and South, East and West, we
bold the great quadrilateral of oceanic power. It is not an
undue strength of position, for it has to match the greatest
commercial expansion that history has known. The security of
each part of the system seems essential to the security {68} of
the whole, and therefore should be guaranteed by the united
strength of all. And it is clear that under modern steaming
conditions it is this very diffusion of the Empire over every
part of the world which constitutes its greatest advantage for
giving safety to a world-wide commerce.

The conditions, however, under which this maritime position is
maintained, and the vast and growing commerce of the Empire now
enjoys security present some anomalies which cannot possibly
have in them conditions of permanency.

Let me summarize the facts as placed before the House of Commons
(March 2nd, 1891), by Sir John Colomb. The annual value of the
sea-borne commerce of the United Kingdom is, roughly speaking,
about £740,000,000; of the colonies and dependencies
£460,000,000. As the latter has increased ninefold and the
former but fivefold in a little more than fifty years, it is
clear that at no very distant time the sea-borne commerce of the
outlying empire will become equal to and gradually surpass in
value that of the United Kingdom.

The portion of the whole colonial trade which consists of
interchange with the United Kingdom, and in the safety of which
presumably the United Kingdom has a close and direct interest,
is £187,000,000. This leaves £273,000,000 of independent trade
carried on with foreign countries, or between the colonies and
dependencies themselves. Compared with the sea-borne trade of
great foreign powers which support {69} large war navies, Sir
John Colomb finds this independent trade to be 'about four times
as much as the whole sea-borne trade of all Russia; about equal
to that of Germany; about three-quarters that of France; two and
a-half times that of Italy; and nearly half that of the United
States.' The whole of this vast and rapidly increasing
independent trade has precisely the same guarantee of protection
from the naval power of the Empire as the trade of the United
Kingdom itself. Yet, while the net expenditure (1890) incurred
by the United Kingdom in the Naval Estimates is £14,215,100, the
whole contribution of the colonies and dependencies for the same
purpose only amounts to £381,546, of which India alone provides
£254,776. In other words, out of every pound spent for the
protection of the nation's commerce at sea, the United Kingdom
contributes 19s. 53/4d., the outlying empire 6 1/4d. This
comparison is made even more striking when combined with the
statement that the united revenues of the colonies and
dependencies amount to £105,000,000, against the £89,000,000
which represent the revenue of the United Kingdom. The vast
capital sum invested in ships, armament, and naval
establishments, believed to amount to more than £80,000,000, is
paid wholly by the taxpayers of the United Kingdom.

Besides the protection to their commerce given by the Navy,
colonists enjoy as fully as British people themselves the use
and advantage of the consular and diplomatic services of the
Empire. The colonial merchant, {70} sailor, or shipmaster finds
in every chief port of the world a consul to whom he can apply
for protection--an officer whose services are paid for by the
British taxpayer alone. The Imperial treasury maintains unaided
the costly diplomatic staff which carries on the long and
delicate negotiations in which the colonies are often more
directly concerned than the mother-land itself. If the results
of diplomacy sometimes fail to satisfy colonial expectations,
the experience is not new among nations, nor likely to be
avoided by the agencies which a colony could independently set
in motion. When the execution of treaties involves loss to the
individual colonist, the example of Newfoundland and the Behring
Sea indicates that it is to the Imperial treasury that he
chiefly looks for compensation.

This want of proportion in the distribution of national burdens
is so striking that one is impelled to ask if it may not have at
least some partial or temporary justification. There is one
consideration of much weight. The settlers in the outlying
sections of the Empire have been compelled in their short
history to face tasks of great difficulty. They have had upon
their hands the organization of vast continental areas, the
clearing of forests, the construction of highways and railroads,
the extension of the post and telegraph over immense distances,
the speedy application of the machinery of civilization to new
lands. Were it quite certain that all this would become a
permanent addition to the strength and resources of the nation,
it {71} might well be an object of national policy to relieve
them from other burdens, however fair in themselves. There
would, on the other hand, be no justification for this if they
are in the end to become independent powers or additions to the
strength of another state.

In any case, the moment that the ordinary taxpayer of the new
land is as able to pay as the ordinary taxpayer of the old, the
uneven distribution of responsibility becomes a gross injustice.

Meanwhile it ought to be possible to roughly define even now
some of the general principles which should be attended to in
distributing this responsibility.

We are fortunate in having the clearly stated opinion of one
great colonial thinker upon this point. Joseph Howe is
remembered in England, no less than in Canada, as one of the
ablest statesmen that the colonies have produced. 'The great
orator and patriot,' is the description applied to him by Mr.
Goldwin Smith. As the brilliant and triumphant champion of
Responsible Government his record places him absolutely beyond
the suspicion of subordinating colonial interests to any others.
Yet from the very outset he looked upon the attainment of
complete independence of local government in the colonies as but
a stepping-stone to the assertion of still higher national
rights, to the acceptance of still higher responsibilities; to
some form of substantial union among British people, based on
considerations of equal citizenship and the defence of common
interests. As far back as 1854 he delivered in the Nova Scotia
Legislature an {72} address, since published in his collected
speeches under the name of the 'Organization of the Empire,'
which attracted wide attention at the time, and, indeed,
embodies most of what has since been said by the advocates of
national unity. Twelve years later, when on a visit to England,
he published in pamphlet form an essay bearing the same title,
and giving his more fully matured views upon the question. If
the genesis and enunciation of the Imperial Federation idea in
its modern form is to be credited to anyone, it must be assigned
to Joseph Howe for this early and comprehensive statement of the
main issues involved. The study of the utterances of this great
colonist, this champion of colonial rights, may be commended to
those shallow critics who profess to believe that the proposal
for national unity is an outcome of Imperial selfishness, and
that its operation would tend to cramp colonial development.

Mr. Howe had none of the illusions which prevail in some parts
of the colonies about the possibility of enjoying peace without
taking the steps necessary to secure it: 'We have no security
for peace,' he says, 'or if there be any, it is only to be
sought in such an organization and armament of the whole Empire
as will make the certainty of defeat a foregone conclusion to
any foreign power that may attempt to break it.' And again, 'The
question of questions for us all, far transcending in importance
any other within the range of domestic or foreign politics, is
not how the Empire can be most easily dismembered, not how a
province {73} or two can be strengthened by a fort, or by the
expenditure of a million of dollars, but how the whole Empire
can be so organized and strengthened as to command peace or be
impregnable in war.'

After discussing the best method of securing the representation
of colonial ideas in influencing the general policy of the
country, a condition which he believes necessarily precedent to
joint expenditure, Mr. Howe then boldly grapples with the
question of provision for defence.

'By another bill, to operate uniformly over the whole Empire
(India being excepted, as she provides for her own army) the
funds should be raised for the national defence. This measure,
like the other, should be submitted for the sanction of the
colonial governments and legislatures. This tax should be
distinguished from all other imposts, that the amount collected
could be seen at a glance, and that every portion of the whole
people might see what they paid and what every other portion had
to pay.

'This fund could either be raised as head money over the whole
population, in the form of a property or income tax, or [as Mr.
Howe preferred] by a certain percentage upon imports;
constituting, next to existing liabilities, a first charge upon
colonial revenues, and being paid into the military chest to the
credit of the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury.'

Two important qualifications Mr. Howe suggests as to the
incidence of this national taxation upon the colonies.


'As the great arsenals, dockyards, depots, and elaborate
fortifications are in these islands; as the bulk of the naval
and military expenditure for arms, munitions, and provisions
occurs here, where are the great fleets and camps, the people of
Great Britain and Ireland ought to be prepared to pay, and I
have no doubt would, a much larger proportion towards this fund
than it would be fair to exact from the outlying provinces,
where, in time of peace, there is but little of naval or
military expenditure.

'In another respect a wise discrimination should be exercised.
Within the British Islands are stored up the fruits of eighteen
centuries of profitable industry. All that generations of men
toiled for, and have bequeathed, is now in possession of the
resident population here, including all that was created and
left by the forefathers of those by whom the British colonies
have been founded. Taking into view, then, the comparison which
these wealthy and densely peopled islands bear to the sparsely
populated countries beyond the sea, it would seem but fair that
they should assume, in proportion to numbers, a much larger
share of the burthens of national defence.'

He then sums up: 'If the general principle be admitted, we need
not waste time with the details, which actuaries and accountants
can adjust. Fair allowance being made under these two heads, I
can see no reason why the colonists should not contribute in
peace and war their fair quotas towards the defence of the


'But the question may now be asked, and everything turns upon
the answer that may be given to it, will the colonies consent to
pay this tax, or to make any provision at all for the defence of
the Empire? It must be apparent that no individual can give an
answer to this question; that the Cabinet, were they to propound
this policy, even after the most anxious enquiry and full
deliberation, could only wait in hope and confidence for the
response to be given by so many communities, so widely dispersed
and affected by so many currents of thought. ... That it is the
duty, and would be for the interest, of all Her Majesty's
subjects in the outlying provinces, fairly admitted to the
enjoyment of the privileges indicated, to make this
contribution, I have not the shadow of doubt. ... Without
efficient organization they cannot lean upon and strengthen each
other or give to the mother-country that moral support which in
peace makes diplomacy effective, and in war would make the
contest short, sharp, and decisive. ... If once organized and
consolidated, under a system mutually advantageous and generally
known, there would be an end to all jealousies between the
taxpayers at home and abroad. We should no longer be weakened by
discussions about defence or propositions for dismemberment, and
the irritation now kept up by shallow thinkers and mischievous
politicians would give place to a general feeling of
brotherhood, of confidence, of mutual exertion, dependence, and
security. The great powers of Europe and America would at once
recognize {76} the wisdom and forethought out of which had
sprung this national combination, and they would be slow to test
its strength. We should secure peace on every side by the
notoriety given to the fact that on every side we were prepared
for war.'

One more quotation is necessary to place before the reader the
full breadth and courage of Mr. Howe's reasoning:--

'But suppose this policy proposed and the appeal made, and that
the response is a determined negative. Even in that case it
would be wise to make it, because the public conscience of the
mother-country would then be clear, and the hands of her
statesmen free, to deal with the whole question of national
defence in its broadest outlines or in its bearings on the case
of any single province or group of provinces, which might then
be dealt with in a more independent manner.

'But I will not for a moment do my fellow-colonists the
injustice to suspect that they will decline a fair compromise of
a question which involves at once their own protection and the
consolidation of the Empire. At all events, if there are any
communities of British origin anywhere, who desire to enjoy all
the privileges and immunities of the Queen's subjects without
paying for and defending them, let us ascertain who and what
they are--let us measure the proportions of political
expenditure now, in a season of tranquillity, when we have the
leisure to gauge the extent of the evil and apply correctives,
rather than wait till war finds us {77} unprepared and leaning
upon presumptions in which there is no reality.'

No apology seems needed for placing before the reader at such
length the views held on this crucial question of national
defence by one of the great fathers of Responsible Government in
the colonies, a man whose whole life was marked by absolute
devotion to the principles of popular government and to colonial

Joseph Howe spoke and wrote of conditions existing before that
great period of Canadian development and expenditure which
followed upon the confederation of the different provinces. This
probably accounts in large measure for the different view of the
situation taken and the different solution of the question
suggested by his distinguished successor, Sir Charles Tupper.
The right and duty of the colonies to contribute to the general
strength of the Empire which guarantees them security is
admitted as fully by Sir Charles Tupper as by Joseph Howe. Of
the most expedient method for utilizing the young energy and
growing resources of the colonies he takes a different view. In
an article recently published in a leading magazine[1] he

'Many persons, I am aware, both in the colonies and here, have
looked upon the question of the defence of the Empire as best
promoted and secured by a direct contribution to the support of
the army and navy of this country. That I regard as a very {78}
mistaken opinion; and I believe that there is a much more
effective way of promoting the object in view. In my opinion, no
contribution to the support of the army and navy of England on
the part of Canada would have contributed to the defence of the
Empire in a greater degree than the mode in which the public
money in Canada has been expended for that purpose. We have
expended, in addition to an enormous grant of land, over a
million pounds sterling per annum, from the first hour that we
became a united country down to the present day, in constructing
a great Imperial highway across Canada from ocean to ocean; not
only furnishing the means for the expansion of the trade and the
development of Canada, but providing the means of
intercommunication at all seasons between different parts of the

After pointing out that the construction of the Transcontinental
Railway enabled Canada in 1885 to put down without England's
help the half-breed rebellion, while the previous outbreak in
1870 had required the services of General Wolseley and the
Imperial troops for several months, Sir Charles Tupper goes on
to say:--

'We have, therefore, not only provided the means of
intercommunication, the means of carrying on our trade and
business, but have also established a great Imperial highway
which England might to-morrow find almost essential for the
maintenance of her power in the East. Not only has Canada
furnished {79} a highway across the continent, but it has
brought Yokahama three weeks nearer to London than it is by the
Suez Canal. I give that as an illustration that there are other
means which, in my judgment, may contribute much more to the
increased strength and the greatness of the Empire than any
contribution that could be levied upon any of the colonies. ...
The expenditure by the Government of Canada that has
successfully opened up these enormous tracts of country in the
great North West of the Dominion, which promise to be the
granary of the world, is of itself the best means of making
England strong and prosperous, as it will attract a large
British population thither.'

Sir Charles Tupper can also speak of more direct contributions
which the Dominion makes to the national strength.

'Canada has in addition expended since confederation over forty
millions of dollars upon her militia and mounted police, and in
the establishment of a military college, which, I am proud to
know from one of the highest authorities, is second to no
military school in the world, and of nine other military schools
and batteries in the various provinces, of which the Dominion is
composed. In 1889 Canada expended no less than two millions of
dollars on the militia and North West mounted police, which
anyone who knows the country will admit is a most effective
means of defence. It is true we have a comparatively small
permanent force, but {80} we have established military schools,
and we have such a nucleus of a further force as in case of need
would enable us to develop the militia in the most effective
manner, consisting of 37,000 volunteers who are trained
annually, and a reserve of 1,000,000 men, liable to be called
upon should necessity arise.'

Once more: 'One of the most effective means adopted by the
Imperial Parliament for the defence of the Empire is by
subsidizing fast steamers built under Admiralty supervision,
with armament which can be made available at a moment's notice.
These steamers could maintain their position and keep up mail
communication in time of war or be used for the transport of
troops. Canada has contributed £15,000 a year to a splendid line
of steamers, such as I have described, now plying between
Canada, Japan, and China, and has offered no less than £165,000
per annum to put a service like the Teutonic between England and
Canada, and a fast service between Canada and Australia. All
these splendid steamers would be effective as cruisers if
required for the protection of British commerce, and the
transport of troops and thousands of volunteers to any point
that the protection of the Empire demanded.'

It is on grounds thus stated that Sir Charles Tupper concludes
that, 'Instead of adding to its defence, the strength of a
colony would be impaired by taking away the means which it
requires for its development and for increasing its defensive
power, {81} if it were asked for a contribution to the army and

The argument, which may be applied to all the colonies, amounts
to this, that it would be true national economy to leave free at
present all the energies and resources of these young countries
for local defence and for carrying on the mere processes of
growth. Obviously the fairness of this arrangement, for which
there is much to be said, depends entirely on the assurance that
the colony is to remain permanently a part of the Empire. There
is no reason why Britain or any other mother-country should bear
any part of the natural burdens of a colony if the colony is,
nevertheless, left free to mark its adolescence by declaring
itself independent, or by annexing itself to another and perhaps
rival state. It is equally obvious that such an arrangement
could in no sense be final; and that it only shifts the question
of more normal adjustment of national burdens to a time not very
far remote. It could therefore in any case only be looked upon
as a temporary compromise. For instance, the whole volume of
colonial trade (including India) is to that of the United
Kingdom now in about the proportion of four to seven: judging
from the relative rate of increase before referred to the day is
not far distant when they will be equal. The proportion of
population is also changing rapidly. The anomaly of one half of
the national trade and one half of the population bearing the
direct naval expenditure of the {82} whole would be very great
indeed. This method, too, would seem to conflict rather
seriously with a principle which has become a very fundamental
idea in the British mind, viz. that a bearing of burdens in some
very direct form must go hand in hand with representation. Till
direct responsibility in general defence is undertaken, direct
representation in determining general policy can scarcely be
conceded. To fix the point at which any colony should become a
direct instead of an indirect contributor to the nation's
defensive strength would be a manifest necessity. To these
criticisms Sir Charles Tupper can fairly answer that he deals in
his proposition only with actual and not with prospective
conditions. In fixing new and permanent relations, however, for
an empire which is changing as rapidly as ours, the future must
be kept in view as much as the present. Doubtless the true
settlement of the question lies in a compromise between the
present and the future.

Not long since one of the most prominent of English statesmen
put the matter to me in this way: 'We in Great Britain know very
well that while you in the colonies are engaged in organizing
great continents and furnishing them with the machinery of
civilization we cannot expect you to contribute for common
purposes in proportion to us, who start with the stored up
resources and appliances of centuries. But we know that as you
complete your docks, harbours and lighthouses, your railroads
and canals, your schoolhouses and churches, as society becomes
{83} settled and the needs of civilization supplied, then you
will gradually become ready and willing to bear your full
proportion of those burdens which are the token of full and
equal citizenship.' With him, as with Joseph Howe, the
settlement of the central principle of national unity was the
main point; the determination of the details of expenditure was
a matter for friendly negotiation--for actuaries and

We may now ask, as did Joseph Howe, whether the great colonies
would be willing to accept, either immediately or by gradual and
progressive steps, any further share in the responsibilities of
the nation. It may be assumed that this decision will be based
on the facts and arguments of the case.

'Reason shows and experience proves that no commercial
prosperity can be durable if it cannot be united, in case of
need, to naval force.' This remark of De Tocqueville is so fully
proved by the facts of history that its truth may be accepted as
axiomatic. It is a truth for the colonies to consider. Highly
commercial already, their desire and manifest destiny are to be
still more so. Canada's commercial navy, as has been said,
already ranks fourth in the world. She is a first-class shipping
power. Australia's trade is perhaps greater in proportion to
population than that of any other country. Alone among all the
people of the past or present, British colonists have not had to
accept the full responsibilities of increasing commercial
greatness. The {84} little republic of Chili, with a trade of
£26,000,000, and a population of about 3,000,000 maintains
40,000 tons of armed shipping, at a large annual expense. The
other republics of South America bear like burdens. Australia,
with its much larger volume of sea trade and far greater of
revenue, pays only £126,000 for naval defence, strictly confined
to its own shores. Canada, with its remarkable tonnage of ocean
shipping, its great interests at stake on its eastern and
western coasts, leans almost entirely for defence of commerce
and fisheries upon British ironclads paid for exclusively by the
people of the United Kingdom.

The deceptive argument, drawn from the example of the United
States at some periods of their history, that a degree of
isolation gives immunity from such burdens, has now lost its
force. The policy of the Great Republic has been sharply
reversed, and the creation of a powerful navy has become an
object of national ambition, and is apparently the outcome of
national necessities developed by the widening of commercial

Judged, then, by all historical precedent, the great colonies
must in the natural course of events accept naval defence as a
part of their ordinary burdens. That they have escaped this form
of expense hitherto is manifestly due almost entirely to the
fact that as parts of the empire they have been so fortunate as
to enjoy without cost the protection of a supreme naval power.
Will they secure the most effective defence, the best return for
the money they spend, within the {85} Empire or without? Within
the Empire they would have the advantage of naval bases in every
important corner of the world. The portion of force contributed
by themselves would have the prestige of the whole to make it
most effective. They would have the advantage of all the
stored-up skill and experience of the greatest school of naval
training that the world has ever known. They would have the
direction of naval experience absolutely unique. They would be
able at once in spending their money to avail themselves of the
best results of naval experiments carried on by the United
Kingdom at enormous cost. Alike in cheapness and efficiency they
would enjoy the advantages which come from co-operation on a
great scale.

There is, of course, an opposing view. Stated in its extreme
form it was put thus, three or four years ago, to the
Legislature of Quebec by Mr. Mercier:--

'Up to the present time we have lived a colonial life, but today
they wish us to assume, in spite of ourselves, the
responsibilities and dangers of a sovereign state, which will
not be ours. They seek to expose us to vicissitudes of peace and
war against the great powers of the world; to rigorous
exigencies of military service as practised in Europe; to
disperse our sons from the freezing regions of the North Pole to
the burning sands on the desert of Sahara; an odious regime
which will condemn us to the forced impost of blood and money,
and wrest from our arms out sons, who are the hope of our
country and {86} the consolation of our old days, and send them
off to bloody and distant wars, which we shall not be able to
stop or prevent.'

Probably Mr. Mercier's auditors were well enough acquainted with
history to detect at once the obvious fallacy of his argument.

Still, it is worth while to remind colonial writers and speakers
when they assert, as they sometimes do, that a union of defence
with Britain means the dragging away of Canadians or Australians
to fight in Europe or Asia, that Britain is the one country in
the world that has never, in modern times, been compelled to
resort to conscription; that no one is asked to fight in the
ranks of her army or in her fleet except those who wish to, and
that on these terms she has been able to put into the field and
on the sea all the soldiers and sailors she requires. This is as
true of her large native Indian armies as it is of her English,
Scotch, Welsh, or Irish regiments. Britain knows nothing of the
conscription which prevails in Germany, France, and Russia,
which even the United States found necessary in the War of
Secession. The men whom Australia sent to the Soudan she sent of
her own accord, and not at Britain's request, much less her
command; the numerous Canadian officers now holding commissions
and in the active service of the Empire are there by their own
individual choice. There is not the slightest reason to suppose
that the British system of a purely voluntary service would be
changed under any new political conditions imposed {87} by
closer union. The career of a soldier is one which has for many
minds a great attraction. With the progress of military science,
it now offers in many of its departments, as never before, a
field for the highest intellectual qualities and scientific
attainments. To say the very least, to be a defender of one's
country is a not unworthy ambition. It is therefore extremely
likely that into the great career offered by an Imperial service
many colonists with military predilections would be drawn. Even
if their sole object were to prepare themselves for the service
of the particular part of the Empire to which they belonged, the
wider training to be obtained in the highly organized system of
a great state would be invaluable. But once more I repeat that
the service would be purely voluntary. If Mr. Mercier and those
of his compatriots who think with him have lost what was once
supposed to be an instinct of their race, they have the
opportunity within the British Empire, which they could not
depend upon having in France, of following their inclination.
Mr. Goldwin Smith states, though I think incorrectly, that
colonists are essentially non-military. If his view is true,
then the task of defending the Empire will naturally gravitate
into the hands of those in whom the military instinct is strong,
of whom the Empire has always as yet found enough for all its

Again, in a somewhat similar connection Mr. Smith speaks of 'the
heavy weight of a constant liability to entanglements in the
quarrels of England all over the {88} world, with which Canada
has nothing to do, and about which nothing is known by her
people. Her commerce may any day be cut up and want brought into
her homes by a war about the frontier of Afghanistan, about the
treatment of Armenia or Crete by the Turks, about the relation
of the Danubian Principalities to Russia, or about the balance
of power in Europe.' Let us put against this flight of
imagination the solid facts of history and see if Canada has had
any reason to feel this pressure of dread from her connection
with Britain. In 1812 British troops assisted Canadians in
repelling what Mr. Smith himself describes as 'unprincipled
aggression.' Since that time under the British flag Canada has
known a continuance of peace absolutely without parallel for a
corresponding' period among all the nations of the world. The
last European war in which England took part was that with
Russia, closed in 1856. The effect upon Canada of that war was a
stimulus given to her timber and provision trade by the closing
of Baltic and Black Sea ports. One of Canada's own sons, General
Williams, the hero of Kars, won in that war a fame of which
every Canadian is proud. Since 1856 there has been an
Austro-Italian war, an Austro-Prussian war, a Franco-Prussian
war, a Russo-Turkish war. No British sword was drawn, no
Canadian interest touched in all of these. The gigantic civil
war of secession shook the American union to its foundations;
Britain took no part, and Canadians along with her lived in
peace. In India {89} Britain was compelled in 1856-7 to go
through a strain of agony and effort to maintain her place of
power. Canada's sole part was to weep at the fate, to glory in
the heroism of those who suffered or who won at Lucknow,
Cawnpore, Delhi, and a hundred other scenes of conflict. With
England's numerous petty wars with barbarian tribes on the
fringe of advancing civilization, mostly undertaken in behalf of
colonists, Canada has had nothing to do[2]. When she had her
first half-breed rebellion British troops were promptly sent to
put it down. So far, then, Canada has not had 'want brought into
her homes' through her connection with Britain, but on the
contrary has enjoyed a peace and security that might well be the
envy of the world. Like the United States, Canada enjoys the
advantage of isolation from European strife, together with the
further advantage of connection {90} with a power whose flag
gives to Canadian ships and commerce on every ocean the surest
guarantee of safety at present existing in the world; a
guarantee the importance and significance of which will increase
with the growth of Canadian commerce; a guarantee which she
could not possibly find under an independent flag, nor yet under
the flag of the United States, whose one weakness, by the
admission of American authorities themselves, lies in the want
of those naval bases which are everywhere the necessary adjuncts
of extended maritime security.

But even when the extraordinary immunity from the risks of war
which the colonies have enjoyed under the British flag has been
demonstrated it seems well to give due weight to any honest
objection which exists to committing themselves entirely to the
military policy of the Empire at large, until, at least, the
sense of national unity has had time to become fully developed.
That the colonies will refuse to contribute to Imperial defence,
as is sometimes asserted, I do not believe, and facts are
themselves now beginning to disprove the statement. That they
may contribute enormously to the national strength without
offending the prejudices of even the most sensitive may also be
shown. Lord Thring has made a suggestion upon this point which
seems to me exceedingly interesting and helpful. After pointing
out the overwhelming common interest which all parts of the
Empire have in resisting attack from without, he proposes that
in each of the great colonies willing {91} to enter into the
arrangement defensive forces should be created which would be
recognized parts of the Imperial army and navy. These forces
should not primarily be under a compulsory obligation to serve
out of their own countries, or beyond their own limits, but when
called out for Imperial purposes within their limits they should
form a part of the Imperial army and navy, and be under the same
general control. But the colonial forces should be empowered to
volunteer for the common national service out of their own
limits, and on so doing they should be regarded as an integral
part of the nation's defensive force.

A national military and naval organization such as that here
suggested would appeal directly to that local patriotism,
instinctive in all, which considers no sacrifice too great if it
is made for the defence of men's own homes and firesides; it
furnishes the opportunity for that wider national patriotism
which knows that the safety of the parts depends upon the safety
of the whole; and it meets the objection which has been
mentioned before, and is often made, to young communities being
compelled against their will to take an active part outside
their own borders in wars in which their concern is only
indirect. The actual defensive force of the Empire would be
immensely increased by the effective organization of each part
under a common direction, a necessity so often and strenuously
insisted upon by Sir Charles Dilke and others who have thought
and written upon national defence; its contingent force would be
still {92} more increased in the event of a war which appeals to
the reason and sympathy of the several great communities.

Those who argue for separation in the colonies, as well as men
like the late Mr. Bright at home, rest their case largely upon
the view that the mother-country carries permanently along with
her the entanglements of a traditional foreign policy which is
chiefly European, and with which it is unfair to involve young
communities in parts of the world remote from Europe[3]. This
view seems based on past history more than on the facts of the
present. More and more every day Britain tends to become a world
power, and it is this fact rather than her European position
which dominates her policy. She faces Europe much more in the
interest of her colonies than in the support of ancient
traditions. We have only to read the news from day to day, or
the summary of national policy for a year as it is presented in
a Queen's Speech, to see that Lord Salisbury was within the
strict limit of fact when he told a deputation but a few months
since that his work in the Foreign Office had made him {93}
deeply sensible of 'the large portion of our foreign
negotiations, our foreign difficulties, and the danger of
foreign complications which arise entirely from our colonial
connections; and the effect is that from time to time we have to
exercise great vigilance lest we should incur dangers which do
not arise from any interest of our own, but arise entirely from
the interests of the important and interesting communities to
which we are linked.'

The difficulty with the United States in the Behring Sea and the
Gulf of St. Lawrence, and with the French in Newfoundland; the
complicated negotiations with Germany, Portugal, and other
powers, European and native, in Africa, chiefly entered into in
behalf of colonies or colonizing companies, are, to take the
very latest illustrations, quite sufficient to give definiteness
to Lord Salisbury's statement[4].

To some sincere thinkers in the colonies the value of British
protection seems slight compared with the risks entailed by the
Imperial connection. They believe that the true and evident
policy for these young countries is to break off this connection
and so free {94} themselves from its dangers. Having no reason
to quarrel with anybody they anticipate with independence not
only the immunity which they have enjoyed from war, but the
further relief from the fear of war. Commerce carried on without
naval protection; internal safety secured without expense on
military organization; a neutral flag respected by all
belligerents; the settlement of all differences by friendly
arbitration, seem to them not unreasonable expectations.

The dread of some Englishmen, on the other hand, is that they
may be drawn into wars in which they have no direct interest by
the action of individual colonies.

Each of these opinions has some superficial ground of
justification; each process of reasoning has, if pushed to its
final conclusions, fatal defects. But is there not reason to
believe that the growth of the Empire is bringing us to a point
when the policy of England and her colonies may be entirely
coincident on the great questions of peace or war?

In the desperate struggle for existence which England in past
centuries has often had to carry on, in those contests which
have toughened the fibre of her children and fitted them to be
of the ruling races of the world, she has often had to make
combinations or enter into agreements with the European nations
around her from which she would gladly have kept herself free.
But with the spread of the Empire abroad England is every day
becoming more able {95} to look away from Europe, to stand aloof
from purely European disputes, and to secure all the strength
she requires from combination with communities which are her own

Such an outcome of the nation's life would be the best
justification for all that England has suffered and spent in
building up the Empire. But it is not for colonists to forget
that she has spent and suffered much.

At Melbourne two years ago, in a lecture intended to refute the
arguments for British unity, and to point out the danger to
Australia of remaining connected with the Empire, Sir Archibald
Michie, with great apparent deliberation, said: 'As the
miserable result of her (England's) past foreign policy, as
ineffectual to any good purpose as it has proved expensive, she
is indebted to the amount of some £700,000,000 to the public
creditor, the National Debt. To what an extent does not this one
miserable fact, so disgusting to all Chancellors of the
Exchequer, cripple the strength and movements of the
mother-country, and weaken her influence with the world at
large.' Were this the thought of a single man it would be scarce
worth while to recall it. But in some of the colonies similar
reference to the National Debt is found not infrequently in
journals which must be taken seriously, and in the mouths of men
who influence public opinion. Often it is emphasized by a
triumphant allusion to the different application of colonial
borrowings, represented as they are by assets in the form of
railways, canals, harbour improvements, {96} telegraph systems,
and public works of many kinds. The criticism and comparison
seem misleading in the last degree.

We may make a liberal allowance for mistakes in British foreign
policy. We may criticise things done in the heat of national
passion, or at times when Britain was carrying on a struggle for
existence. We may leave out of our reckoning the glory of having
saved the liberties of Europe when other nations were yielding
in despair, when British subsidies alone brought their armies
into the field, and British resolution inspired them with new
courage. Yet, when all this allowance has been made, we may say
that a colonist is perhaps the last man in the world to sneer at
the public debt of England. She came out of the prolonged and
tremendous struggle which piled up her debt possessing as an
asset to show for it about one-fifth of the known world.
Professor Seeley has proved conclusively that England's great
continental wars, the chief causes of her vast expenditures,
were in large measure contests for colonial supremacy. From
those wars she gained the power to give Canada to the Canadians,
Australia to the Australians, vast areas and limitless resources
in many lands to those of her people who have gone to inhabit
them, and so to complete by industry the conquest begun by arms.
From those wars she emerged with a command of the sea which has
enabled her to supplement her gift of territory with a guarantee
of safety which has secured it from attack during the early
stages of settlement until the {97} present time. The National
Debt would seem to be a natural mortgage upon the territories
acquired by war expenditure, yet the gift of Crown lands which
was made to the colonies acquiring responsible government was
made absolutely free from this mortgage. These Crown lands in
all the colonies are sold and used entirely for local benefit,
while the whole incidence of taxation for what may fairly be
called the interest of the purchase-money falls upon the United
Kingdom alone.

The expense of the great expeditions which culminated in the
victory on the Plains of Abraham is a considerable item in the
National Debt, but half a continent now held by Canadians is no
insignificant item to set against it. If the expenditure for the
American War be put down as a mistake, it must be remembered
that the United States themselves, no less than Canada, reaped
the advantage from the previous expenditure which set the
Anglo-Saxon on the American continent free from French

Fifty years ago the French Government asked the British Foreign
Office how much of the vast unoccupied {98} areas of Australia
it claimed. 'The whole of it,' was the prompt reply. No doubt
the recollection of the Plains of Abraham, of Trafalgar, of
Waterloo, had something to do with the acceptance of that reply
as conclusive.

If the colonies are able to expend their borrowings on
reproductive works alone, this advantage is not entirely due to
their own superior prudence, but in part at least to the
circumstance that they have been protected by a great Imperial
power not afraid to go into debt for national ends. Gibraltar
and Malta, Aden, Singapore, and Hong Kong, the Cape and St.
Helena, stations in every corner of the world for the protection
of the commerce of the colonies as much as that of the United
Kingdom, are the best answers to those who sneer at the National
Debt of Great Britain.

The United States incurred a war debt of more than 2000,000,000
dollars, not indeed in carrying out a foreign policy, right or
wrong, but in remedying mistakes of internal policy. The war
brought no vast addition of territory;  it simply saved the
state from disruption. No one doubts that the expenditure has
been more than repaid by the national unity and greatness which
it secured. But the very people who were crushed by that vast
outlay have been obliged, since they remain within the nation,
to contribute to the payment of the debt incurred.

They are obliged to contribute their share of the vast pension
roll, amounting to much more than 100,000,000 dollars per annum,
paid to the soldiers of the Union {99} who crushed them.
Compared with this, the magnanimity of the mother-land in
handing over to her younger communities, absolutely free from
incumbrance either of mortgage, of military responsibility, or
of commercial restraint, the major part of those vast assets
which she had to show for her national debt, seems to me
amazing. A colonist, reproaching England with her foreign policy
and the debt which it led to, cuts a sorry figure in the face of
these facts. And if we put the £30,000,000 added to the debt of
England in order to extinguish slavery beside the price paid by
the United States for the same national purification, we shall
discover reasons for thinking that there may be national
mistakes worse than those to be discovered in the foreign policy
of Britain.

Sir Charles Dilke says[6]: 'It is a remarkable instance of past
Imperial carelessness that the very principles upon which the
burden of defence should be divided between ourselves and
colonies, and the proportions in which it should be borne, have
never been settled.'

And again[7]: 'It is not the United Kingdom only but the whole
British Empire which needs consistent and united organization
for defence. The colonies should be represented on our great
General Staff, and the principle of self-preservation, applied
to the Empire, should be disentangled from the petty {100}
political questions by which the relations between the
mother-country and her children are often hampered and sometimes
embittered. ... Unfortunately, considerations of Imperial
defence, which should be regarded from the point of view of
common self-interest, are apt to become mixed up with the
individual and fleeting interests of various portions of the
Empire. If, as I hope, we are to continue to stand together as a
confederacy holding the future of the greater portion of the
world in its hands, the inhabitants of the home islands and of
the colonies must come to an understanding for mutual support
during the crisis of civilization in which we may find ourselves
at any moment.'

I have often had occasion to quote Sir Charles Dilke's opinions
on questions which have come within the range of this
discussion. The luminous and exhaustive statement of the
condition and resources of the Empire contained in the two
volumes of the '_Problems of Greater Britain_,' though somewhat
weighted by detail, and in my opinion weakened by an imperfect
balancing of the primary and secondary forces at work in the
colonies, is still by far the most valuable contribution yet
made to the study of our national position. The line of argument
by which the author proves the necessity for closer defensive
organization of the different parts of the Empire seems to me
overwhelming in its conclusiveness. His demand that the colonies
should be represented on the General Staff which is to
constitute the {101} brain of the nation in military questions,
his impressive warnings that the mother-land and colonies must
stand side by side in protecting the commerce and civilization
which both have borne a part in building up, make it very
difficult to understand the hesitating and irresolute attitude
which he takes in his chapter (vol. ii. part vii.) on 'Future
Relations' to the question of Federation, or any defined system
of political union. Military combination, even for defensive
purposes alone, must certainly mean a common foreign policy and
the joint expenditure which is necessary to make it effective; a
common foreign policy and expenditure imply some means of giving
adequate expression to the will of all the communities
concerned; and to most minds that, I think, will point directly
and inevitably to some form of common representation. Military
authorities may plan and advise, but under any British system of
government political authorities who derive their mandate
directly from the citizens can alone make the plan effective.
Mere alliance could never accomplish all that the author of the
'Problems of Greater Britain' believes essential to the safety
of the Empire. Alliance is temporary and easily revocable, and
therefore by no means a settlement of permanent national
questions. The moment that an attempt is made to remedy the
carelessness complained of, to settle the principles upon which
the burden of defence is to be divided between the mother-land
and colonies, 'to come to an understanding for mutual support,'
it will be found {102} that immediately behind the military
problem is the political problem[8].

[1] _Nineteenth Century_, Oct. 1891.

[2] While these pages are going through the press there comes,
as if to qualify what is here said, the news that a young
Canadian, Captain William H. Robinson, of the Royal Engineers,
has met a soldier's death while leading, with conspicuous
courage, an attack on Tambi in Sierra Leone. Trained in Canadian
schools, and graduated with the highest honours from the
Canadian Military College at Kingston, he had steadily pushed
his way forward in the Imperial service and had for some time
been in charge of the important fortifications in course of
construction at Sierra Leone. In the ardent pursuit of his
profession he had specially volunteered for the service on which
he was engaged when he met his end. As his teacher I had
occasion to watch over the early development of his very
exceptional powers. Britain has, first and last, sacrificed many
precious lives on Canadian soil, but in Captain Robinson Canada
has begun to repay the debt to the mother-land with one of the
most promising of the sons she has yet produced.

[3] 'I should like to ask the friends of federation whether the
colonies of this country--Canada, and the great colonies which
cluster in the South Pacific and in Australia--whether these
colonies would be willing to bind themselves to the stupid and
regrettable foreign policy of the Government of this country?
Will they take the responsibility of entering into wars which
will be 10,000 miles away, and in which they can have no
possible interest or influence, and in which they could have
been in no degree consulted as to the cost? My opinion is that
the colonies will never stand a policy of that kind.'--John
Bright at Birmingham, March 28th, 1888.

[4] A Liberal Foreign Minister has lately expressed the same
thought in other words. 'Our great Empire has pulled us, so to
speak, by the coat-tails out of the European system; and though
with our great predominance, our great moral influence, and our
great fleet, with our traditions in Europe and our aspirations
to preserve the peace of Europe, we can never remove ourselves
altogether from the European system, we must recognise that our
foreign policy has become a colonial policy, and is in reality
at this moment much more dictated from the extremities of the
empire than it is from London itself.'--Lord Rosebery to the
City Liberal Club, March 23rd, 1892.

[5] American writers admit this, 'The Seven Years' War made
England what she is. It crippled the commerce of her rival,
ruined France in two continents, and blighted her as a colonial
power. It gave England the control of the seas, and the mastery
of North America and India, made her the first of commercial
nations, and prepared the vast colonial system that has planted
New Englands in every part of the globe. _And while it made
England what she is it supplied to the United States the
indispensable condition of their greatness, if not of their
national existence_:--Introduction to _Montcalm and Wolfe_

[6] _Problems of Greater Britain_, vol. ii. 522.

[7] _United Service Magazine_, April, 1890.

[8] Since the above was written a very distinct advance of
thought on the question of British unity has been indicated in
the work on 'Imperial Defence,' just published by Sir Charles
Dilke and Mr. Spencer Wilkinson. The authors say (p. 54): 'It is
enough to say, that the great question, perhaps the greatest
question, which has to be answered by the present generation of
Englishmen, is whether the British Empire is to become a series
of independent, though, perhaps, friendly states, or to make a
reality of the military unity which at the present time is
rather a sentiment than a practical institution. It is evidently
impossible to organise the defences of the Empire until this
prior question has been settled, and it is quite impossible
until it has been faced to determine properly the policy of
Great Britain. If the principle of the unity of the Empire and
the unity of its defences is maintained the greatest conceivable
degree of security would have been gained for the whole and for
every part, and the British Empire could afford, as against the
attack, of any single power, to steer clear of all alliances and
to pursue a policy solely to the immediate welfare of its
subjects. ... Before, then, the defence of the British Empire
can be placed throughout on a permanently satisfactory footing,
it seems necessary that the great political question of the
century should be settled, and that Englishmen all over the
world should make up their minds as to the real nature of
Greater Britain.' The most ardent Federationist could not wish
for a more succinct statement of the national position than




To understand the relation of the United Kingdom to the question
of national unity we must try to grasp the main features of the
astonishing and unparalleled change which in the last half or
three quarters of a century has come over the industrial
condition of the British Islands. This change has left them in a
position absolutely unique among the nations of the present day,
a position, moreover, to which history furnishes no parallel.

It has been estimated that when the Queen came to the throne, of
the working population of the country one-third were
agricultural labourers, and one-third were artizans. There has
since been an addition of from 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 to the
whole population, and at the end of this period of remarkable
growth we find ourselves face to face with the overwhelming fact
that of all the working classes of Great Britain only an eighth
are agricultural labourers while three-fourths are artizans.
What this means is in no way more tersely described than when we
say that Britain has become the workshop of the {104} world.
What it involves is the conclusion that never in the history of
the human race has any great nation lived under such artificial
conditions as do British people at the end of this period of
extraordinary industrial development, a period which has its
limit well within the century. All the circumstances of national
existence have been revolutionized.

After the application to the soil of intense culture, of
scientific skill, of abundant capital, of cheap labour, only
about 8,000,000 or 9,000,000 quarters of wheat are produced out
of the 28,000,000 quarters which now represent the annual
consumption. The rest comes from the far distant prairies of the
United States and Canada, from India, South Australia, New
Zealand, the Black Sea and the Baltic. With other cereals it is
the same, the demand for those which cannot be produced at all
in Great Britain, such as rice and maize, being immense.

Cheap ocean freights, which make it possible to transfer a
bushel of wheat by sea from Montreal or New York to London at a
lower price than it can be carried by rail from some English
counties to London, handicap the English producer still more. It
seems as if the dependence upon the outside world for grain
supplies were likely to increase, not merely with the rapid
increase of population which is still going on, but with the
necessity of applying the land to more profitable forms of
production as ocean transit is still further cheapened, and as
increasing prosperity leads to a greater consumption of animal


As with grain foods so with meat. Hundreds of thousands of live
cattle, many hundred thousand tons of meat, chilled, frozen,
salted, or tinned, pour into the country every year from across
the sea. Canada alone last year sent 123,000 head of cattle; New
Zealand nearly 1,500,000 frozen carcasses of sheep. It has been
estimated that the quantity of meat food in the United Kingdom
at any time is only sufficient to supply the market for three
months; beyond that all must come from without.

So also with cheese, fruit, and other staple articles of
consumption. Still more striking is the dependence on distant
lands for a wide range of articles once esteemed luxuries, but
now reckoned among the comforts, if not the necessities, of
daily life, such as sugar, tea, and coffee. If the massing of
facts into figures best conveys to some minds the nature of the
situation it may be put in the statement that every year the
United Kingdom pays for articles used for food brought from
abroad the sum of £153,000,000 sterling. Or it may be better
illustrated by a comparison. Draw around almost any other nation
or country of modern times--Germany, Italy, Russia, the United
States, Canada, Australia--a barrier preventing the ingress of
any food supply from the outer world. There will be
inconvenience, some measure of restriction of consumption in a
few particulars, but the condition is one which could be endured
not merely for months but for years. Place a like barrier around
the British Islands and {106} in six weeks the pressure of want
will begin to be felt; in six months starvation will be the
prevalent condition of the population.

Such a picture is, of course, imaginary--the fact which lies
behind it is stern reality.

The illustration emphasizes, but does not exaggerate, the
absolutely unique nature of the national position.

For the first time in the course of human history we have had in
the last half century presented to us in the British Islands the
spectacle of a great people depending for its existence upon the
safe and continuous transport from the most remote corners of
the globe of about two-thirds of the chief articles of daily

That the outlook of such a people upon the world should differ
fundamentally from that of any other people of past times or of
the present day is manifest. What has been said is not meant to
prove that the situation is one which should necessarily induce
extraordinary anxiety. Difficulties are to be measured by the
resources at hand to grapple with them. Danger only comes when
the sense of proportion between the two is lost.

Food is not all. Britain the workshop of the world, and
three-fourths of its working population artizans! Upon what do
these vast armies of industry, these millions of working men and
women, spend their toil to earn the wages that buy the food thus
brought to them from such great distances and at {107} such
expense? Once more we find the ends of the earth scoured to
furnish them with the raw material upon which they work. Wool
from Australia, New Zealand, India, Africa, South America;
cotton from the Southern States, India, Egypt; timber from
Canada, Russia, Scandinavia, Honduras; precious metals, ores,
jute, hemp and other fibres, oils, gums, ivory, shells, hides,
furs, precious stones--everything that can be moulded for use or
beauty, all productions of land and sea, are poured forth day by
day from the holds of a thousand ships in the greater ports of
the United Kingdom to be transferred to the centres of British

The critical character of this dependence for a perfectly steady
supply of raw material is under modern conditions as striking as
the extent of the dependence. The great Yorkshire woollen
spinners tell us that to be cut off even for three or four weeks
from the supplies of Australian wool would mean the closing of
hundreds or thousands of factories and a widespread paralysis of
industry. They point out that when the regularity of sea
transport depended upon wind and weather, or when the home
market supplied a larger share of the material, common prudence
made it necessary to lay in heavy stocks to provide against
contingencies for many months. So fixed has now become the habit
of depending upon the regular arrival of ocean steam-ships from
week to week, the regular sequence of great wool sales at
frequent stated periods, that it is possible {108} in
manufacturing to live as it were from hand to mouth; that, as a
matter of fact, a large proportion of manufacturers do so live,
purchasing only enough for their immediate wants, and renewing
their stock at very short intervals. Thus the effect of any
stoppage of sea-transport would be disastrously felt at once,
reaching in its influence alike the manufacturing capitalist and
the workman in his cottage.

A group of manufacturers at Galashiels, one of the important
Scottish centres of the wool trade, told me that nine out of
every ten pounds of wool they used was Australian. The
proportion can scarcely be less in the Bradford district and
other large areas of Yorkshire. Nor are such illustrations of
the completeness of dependence on supplies abroad exceptional or
confined to wool. Cut off Dundee from its importations of Indian
jute and the collapse of its main industry would be sudden and
general. Lancashire is not likely to forget what it means to
lose control of her ordinary markets for obtaining raw cotton.
We may put together once more the figures which express this
marvellous relation to British industry to the remoter parts of
the world.

For wool last year Britain paid £26,000,000; for raw cotton
£40,000,000; wood £14,000,000; metals £23,000,000; flax, hemp,
and jute £10,000,000; and so on.

But even what has been said of food and raw material of
manufacture exhibits but one side of the national position. To
be the workshop of the world {109} implies access to the markets
of the world. I say nothing of the vast centres of commerce
abroad which serve as the main points of distribution. But go to
the loneliest Australian or New Zealand bush; to the backwoods
and remote prairies of Canada; to distant South African gold and
diamond diggings, and we find the shelves of the humblest shop
filled with the products of the looms of Yorkshire, Lancashire,
or Paisley, of the factories everywhere scattered throughout the
United Kingdom where the vast inflow of raw material is worked
up. To foreign countries, as well as to those inhabited by
British people, to every civilized or uncivilized continent,
district, or island, however remote, these manufactures
penetrate, and must continue to penetrate, if the vast fabric of
British industry is to be maintained.

Once more, the figures which represent the annual aggregate of
export trade are immense: cotton goods £70,000,000; woollen
goods £26,000,000; iron and steel £28,000,000; machinery £

Between this great inflow of raw material and food, and the
equally great output of manufactured goods, has sprung up yet
another prime factor in Britain's industrial position, her
shipping interests. She has become by far the greatest of ocean
carriers. It is not merely that scores of millions of capital
are invested in ships alone; that 60 per cent. of all the steam
tonnage of the world and a large proportion of its sailing
tonnage are under the British flag; that tens of thousands of
men find employment {110} upon the seas, and tens of thousands
more in the immediate handling of ships and their cargoes around
British harbours and docks. The mere construction of ships and
their equipment for this vast carrying trade gives an impulse to
almost every form of British industry. The shipyards of the
Clyde alone turn out at times a thousand tons or more of iron or
steel shipping for every working day of the year. The vast
aggregate for the whole country forms a large element in the
industrial life of the nation.

Here, then, in roughest outline, is a picture of the unique
position which the British Islands hold in the world today. Let
us remind ourselves once more that the extreme singularity of
this situation has been created well within the span of an
ordinary life, for the sea-borne commerce of the United Kingdom,
which today has an annual value of more than £740,000,000, was,
when the Queen came to the throne in 1837, only £155,000,000.
The difference between these figures fairly measures the
increased dependence of the country upon its imports, exports,
and the carrying trade.

Now for a nation existing under conditions such as have been
described, where the work and wages and food of the masses of
the people depend on easy and constant access to the remotest
corners of the globe, it seems possible to indicate what must be
the end and aim of national policy--the supreme objects of
statesmanship. Surely the first object must be to {111} secure
the absolute safety for trading purposes of the water-ways of
the world.

Maritime security Britain is bound to maintain, if she is to
retain manufacturing superiority. The only manufacturing rival
which seriously threatens her is the United States. It is a
friendly rivalry, and should remain such. But each country, with
what advantages it has, will play relentlessly for its own hand,
and for the welfare, real or supposed, of its own people.
Britain carries on the contest by means of Free Trade, thereby
cheapening production, and winning the market of the world. The
United States use for their weapon Protection, stimulating
production till it becomes cheap. Britain also, under this
opposing condition, depends for food and material on the outside
world--the United States have the food and most of the material
within themselves. The first serious break in Britain's power to
hold the waterways of the world would place her at a fatal
disadvantage. Safe in a continental isolation the United States
could supply the customers who came to her for manufactured
goods with what they wanted. To be on even terms Britain must
have maritime security, and this she could not have if by the
successive cutting away of her great outlying offshoots she
should lose control of those points of vantage which now are the
secret of her supremacy quite as much as the ships which she
sends forth from her dockyards.

Second only to maritime security seems to me the necessity for a
country in the position of Great Britain {112} to keep as far as
possible the sources from which she draws her food and raw
material within the national domain.

Great Britain has had at least one sharp reminder of the
advantage which would accrue to a country so dependent as she is
on the outside world of having the areas of production under the
national flag. This reminder was one which gave a rough shock to
the generally accepted theory that if the consumer wants to buy
and the producer wants to sell, all the conditions for
satisfactory commercial intercourse between countries are
fulfilled without reference to national relationship. In 1865
the War of Secession broke out in America, and the ports of the
cotton-producing states were blockaded. Millions of bales of
cotton were wasting on the wharves and in the warehouses at New
Orleans, Charleston, and other Southern towns. On the other
hand, in Lancashire millions of spindles were idle, and vast
bodies of people were reduced to extreme need or thrown for a
long period upon the charity of the benevolent from want of the
raw material of their industry. The producers certainly wished
to sell, the consumers to purchase. English manufacturers had
money with which to buy--English shippers had the vessels to
carry--the English Government had the men-of-war which could
easily have forced a way to the supplies which were needed.
Between was the barrier of international law and national
honour, which forbid a neutral nation to interfere with
belligerents. The barrier was respected, {113} and England
passed triumphantly through the moral strain involved in
resisting the temptation to go to war for an industrial end
alone. The lesson to be learned from such an example appears
manifest. The retention of the national right to keep open the
communication between the centre of consumption and the areas of
supply is alike desirable for the industry of the one and of the
other. To give an obvious illustration. The vast woollen
industries of Yorkshire are supplied almost exclusively from
regions now within the Empire--New Zealand, Australia, India,
and South Africa. So long as these countries remain under a
common British flag the working man who produces the wool and
the working man who spins it retain the national right to keep
their industries in touch with each other: the moment they pass
out from under the flag that right is given up. Great Britain
would have no more right to force her way into the ports of an
independent Australia or New Zealand, blockaded by a German,
French, or Chinese fleet, than she had to force her way into the
harbours of Louisiana or South Carolina. The neutral flag may
furnish a way of escape for Britain's industry when she is
herself in direct conflict with another power; it gives no
assistance when a nation with which she is at peace chooses to
close the ports of a country from which she draws her food or
the material of her industry. The reader will find that the
illustration is a far-reaching one if he extends it to the whole
range of Britain's wants either for supply or for markets for
her manufactured {114} goods; and to the whole range of colonial
necessity for a market for their staple products, and a supply
of what they do not produce.

Still more significant is the illustration if he remember that
as regards food supply the Empire might, in an emergency, soon
become entirely independent of foreign countries, while, with
the single exception of cotton, we could tide over an indefinite
period even in the matter of raw material for manufacture.




WHEN we come to regard our question from the colonial point of
view the first place in any consideration must obviously be
given to Canada. The national problem is there presented to us
in a crucial form. The growth and consolidation of the Dominion
have done more than anything else to make manifest the anomalous
condition of the Empire. In it we have a colony with a
population twice as large as the United States had when they
became independent, larger than that of England in Elizabeth's
time, or than that of some considerable European States at the
present day. It is a population which has proved itself equal to
the highest duties of citizenship. The slowness of earlier
growth has not been without advantage, since it has
unquestionably given steadiness and maturity to political
thought. With comparative suddenness Canada has now caught the
inspiration of a large national life. Vast undertakings in the
direction of material progress are entered upon with confidence
and executed with success. On political lines her people have
been the first to prove by actual experiment {116} on a large
scale the adaptability of a federal system to British methods of
representative and responsible government. Since confederation
was entered into nearly twenty-five years ago self-reliance has
become the keynote of Canadian life and has produced its
legitimate and ordinary results. In material development, in
political organization, in the spirit of the people, the
Dominion has reached the stage looked forward to by early
thinkers on colonial problems as the one at which it might
reasonably be expected to assume an independent national
existence. It must therefore soon bring to the test the theories
of these thinkers as to the results of national expansion.

The position of Canada is made unique among British colonies by
another condition. She is so placed geographically that
annexation to another kindred state is a manifestly possible
alternative to either independence or continued British
connection. Whether independence, annexation to the United
States, or a closer and permanent union with the Empire is most
consistent with the honour and interest of the Canadian people,
and whether the separation of Canada from the Empire is a matter
of indifference to the British nation at large, are questions to
be here discussed.

Facts of geography, facts of history, and questions of trade
relations, must enter chiefly into the consideration.

There is an advantage in giving the first place to geography.


A glance at the map shows the relation of Canada to the Oceanic
Empire of which it now forms a part. It fronts towards Europe on
the Atlantic and towards Asia on the Pacific. On both oceans it
gives the finest naval positions that a great maritime power
could desire, and the only positions possible for British people
on the American continent. A wonderful system of waterways
penetrates, from the Atlantic frontage, unto the very heart of
the continent, to prairies which are the greatest undeveloped
wheat area in the world, lands capable of supporting a large
population and of proved capacity to yield a vast surplus of
food products. The trend of the Great Lakes and of the St.
Lawrence towards the point which gives the shortest sea
connection with Europe indicates the natural direction in which
this food surplus will chiefly flow. Should the still open
question of the summer navigation of Hudson's Bay by grain
vessels be settled in the affirmative, even the facilities
offered by the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence for cheap
transit would be eclipsed, and western wheat placed on English
markets at a rate hitherto unknown. But this is a contingency,
and it is perhaps better to confine the attention to settled

The significance of Canada's geographical position, facing and
commanding the two great northern oceans at the points nearest
to the opposite continents of Europe and Asia, is supplemented
by geological facts of extreme national interest. At the very
point where the Dominion stretches out furthest towards Europe,
{118} and where the maritime provinces furnish open harbours all
the year round, we find in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton
inexhaustible supplies of excellent coal. The coal areas of this
region are the only sources: of supply in Eastern America
northward of Pennsylvania, and the only sources directly upon
the eastern coast of the continent, where they seem to give a
singular advantage for both transatlantic and transcontinental
trade. Crossing now the 3800 miles which measure the breadth of
the continent, we come to the Pacific coast, and the excellent
harbours with which it also is everywhere indented. The
importance to the Empire of these harbours is manifest, since
they are the only ports under the British flag on the whole
Pacific coast of America from Cape Horn to the Behring Sea, the
only base of naval supply, the only means the Empire has of
matching the Russian depot, Vladivostock (soon to be in direct
connection with St. Petersburg itself), over which they have the
great advantage of being open all the year round. They furnish
the base from which the trade of the North Pacific is, and must
be, protected. For the defence and prosecution of trade, still
more important than the harbours themselves is the fact that in
the Island of Vancouver, where Canada stretches out so as to
give the shortest route to Japan and China, we have again an
abundance of coal. The importance of these deposits is enhanced
by the circumstance that all other coal found on the Pacific
coast from Cape Horn northward to Puget Sound is of an inferior
quality, {119} and limited in quantity. San Francisco itself
obtains a large part of its coal from Vancouver Island in the
north, or from the British colony of New South Wales on the
other side of the Pacific.

Looking East and West, then, the Dominion has its maritime
position confirmed by its supplies of coal. This is not all.
Deposits extending over thousands of square miles have been
discovered midway in the great prairie region, at once solving
the fuel problem for a treeless country and supplying the force
that carries trade and population across the continent. Later
discoveries in the Rocky Mountains indicate the presence there
of an anthracite coal peculiarly adapted to naval use, and
likely to supply our ships in the Pacific with fuel of a quality
equal to any that British mines can furnish.

The facts of Canada's maritime position thus broadly stated
will, I think, leave on most minds the impression that should
the country pass under a foreign flag, so that British ships
could claim only the rights of aliens in the harbours of the
Atlantic and Pacific, or even under an independent flag, when
they could enjoy only the rights of neutrals, the change would
mean a complete revolution in the conditions under which British
commerce is protected, and the influence of the nation
maintained on the two oceans.

There is, again, a military as well as a naval aspect from which
to regard Canada's geographical relation to the Empire.


The energy of the Canadian people has within a few years linked
together the Pacific and Atlantic frontages of the Dominion by a
great railway system. The new line has the advantage of being
shorter than any other transcontinental route, and crosses the
Rocky Mountains at a level 1500 feet below any line further
south. The anticipated obstacle of snow blockade in the mountain
district has been effectually overcome; in the Eastern or
Intercolonial section, where alone this difficulty recurs from
drifting snow, it is being reduced to a minimum. Practically it
now amounts to the possibility of one or two days' delay twice
or thrice during the winter months, and apparently even this
might be obviated by the more liberal use of snow-sheds. A
winter often passes without any obstruction worth mentioning.
The line is unquestionably the most effective among those which
cross the American continent. It has enabled English letters to
reach Japan in twenty-one days instead of the forty required by
the old routes. Military authorities pronounce it a valuable
addition to the Empire's means of communication with the East.
Its climatic advantage over the Cape of Good Hope and Suez Canal
routes at some seasons of the year may yet add strength to its
other recommendations. Compared with these routes it is also the
safest, since furthest removed from the possibility of European
attack. Of its military efficiency there can be no reasonable
doubt. The manager of the Canada Pacific Railway told me that
his company had made representations {121} to the Imperial
Government that it would undertake to transport men in blocks of
5000 from troop-ships at Halifax to troop-ships at Vancouver
within seven days. His statement is justified by the fact that a
single train has already carried 600 marines and blue-jackets
with their officers from the Pacific to the Atlantic within that
time. Such trains can be indefinitely multiplied. Thus a
squadron at Vancouver could be reinforced from Portsmouth in
about a fortnight by this route, a squadron in the China Seas in
a little more than three weeks. A fifty days' voyage in the
first case by Cape Horn, a forty days' voyage in the latter by
the Suez Canal, has hitherto been the rule. Such facts
illustrate the greatness of the changes which are taking place
in the conditions of our naval defence. The swift steamships
which complete the Eastern connection are constructed for
immediate transformation in case of necessity into armed
cruisers for the transport of troops and for the protection of
the commerce which they are themselves creating. Supplemented by
ships of a corresponding character on the Atlantic, such a route
might in a national emergency prove an immense addition to the
military resources of the Empire, and especially for the defence
of India. The mere fact of its existence adds to the nation's
military prestige, and the consequent hesitation of any other
power in making attack.

A word should be added about Canada's geographical relation to
the telegraphic system of the {122} Empire. The existing lines
of communication between the United Kingdom and the Australasian
colonies and India have never yet been tested by the chances of
a European war. In all cases they pass over foreign countries or
through shallow seas whence they could be easily fished up and
cut. What an entire break of this connection would mean in the
commercial world may be judged from the fact that even now more
than a thousand pounds a day are spent on cablegrams between
Britain and the Australasian colonies alone.

What it would mean in the emergencies of war may be left to the
imagination. The panic caused in Australia a few years since by
an accidental break in the line at a time when war with Russia
seemed imminent clearly proved the importance of the question.

These considerations sufficiently indicate the immense advantage
and greater security which would come from an alternative route
across Canada. The case was clearly stated by Mr. Sandford
Fleming, the distinguished Canadian engineer, in an address to
the Colonial Conference of 1887, to which he was a delegate:
'The western terminus of the Canadian Pacific
Railway--Vancouver--is in telegraphic communication with London.
Communications have passed between London and Vancouver, and
replies returned within a few minutes. From Vancouver cables may
be laid to Australasia by way of Hawaii or they may be laid from
one British island to {123} another, and thus bring New Zealand
and all the Australasian colonies directly into telegraphic
connection with Great Britain, without passing over any soil
which is not British, and by passing only through seas as remote
as possible from any difficulties which may arise in Europe.

'Again, India can be reached from Australasia by the lines of
the Eastern Telegraphic Company; South Africa can be reached
through the medium of the Eastern and South African Company: and
thus, by supplying the one link wanting, the Home Government
will have the means provided to telegraph to every important
British colony and dependency around the circumference of the
globe, without approaching Europe at any point.'

The advantages, commercial and military, of a line of
communication thus isolated and national, as compared with those
which pass through or near the political storm-centres of
Europe, are too obvious to require elaboration. Since 1887 a
survey of this route has been going on, though far too slowly,
under the direction of the Admiralty; groups of islands useful
for operating the line have been annexed, and the laying of the
cable seems only to depend on a more general recognition of its
national necessity.

What has now been said indicates roughly Canada's geographical
relation to the question of a united oceanic empire, of which
she may fairly be regarded as the key-stone. What is next to be
considered is {124} her relation to the great state which lies
along her southern border, and which divides with her about
equally the bulk of the North American continent. Here our study
of the map must go hand in hand with the study of Canadian

A series of great lakes and rivers, and, for the rest,
astronomical or arbitrary boundary lines, constitute the only
geographical divisions between the United States and Canada. The
political and moral line of separation is due to the fact that
more than a century ago the colonies which formed the germ of
the United States revolted and threw off their connection with
Great Britain; those which formed the nucleus of Canada elected
to remain united with the mother-land and to work out their
political destiny in accordance with British institutions.

The geographical boundary, like those which divide many other
nations, seems indefinite and artificial to the mere student of
maps; it has been engraved deeply enough in the hearts of
Canadian people. It had to be defended in 1775, and once more in
the war of 1812, at much expense of life and treasure. Crossing
it in 1783 and succeeding years, the persecuted Loyalists of the
American Revolution found safety and freedom under the British
flag[1]. Again it {125} had to be defended from the Fenians
organized in 1866 on American soil. Fishing disputes and
boundary disputes, embittered by Canadian dissatisfaction with
the methods of American diplomacy, have kept attention fixed
upon the line of national demarcation. Still more sharply has it
been defined by national habits of thought. South of the line,
for at least three-quarters of a century after the Revolution,
on a thousand fourth of July platforms dislike and hatred of all
things British have been studiously inculcated. Even now an
appeal to anti-British feeling may decide the fate of a
Presidential election, and has been the winning trick of party
politics. North of the line, at every public gathering and on
every public holiday up to the present moment, loyalty to the
British nationality for which such sacrifices were made, and
allegiance to institutions which have borne thoroughly the test
of application in a new country, are recognized as of the very
essence of the popular life. The mere suspicion that these
principles were being trifled with by a few erratic and
irresponsible members of a great and otherwise perfectly loyal
political party has excluded that party from power for a period
almost beyond the limit of political experience in British
countries. It is scarcely possible to imagine conditions under
which communities kindred in race, language, and {126}
literature could have had a more decisive and divergent bias
given to their history, to national traditions and enthusiasms,
to everything that lies at the roots of individual political
life. They have prevailed decisively against contiguity, against
commercial intercourse, social intercourse, literary
intercourse, against a considerable interchange of population.
Those who know best the passions which control the popular mind
in Canada are fixed in the belief that the retention of a
political individuality independent of the United States has
become the touchstone of Canadian national honour.

To understand why this is so we must recall and account for one
primary fact, remarkable enough in itself and probably unique in
history. We can easily understand that it requires no very
marked natural boundary to form the line of division between
nations which differ in language, religion, and descent, as in
the case of European states. But in America we see that an
almost purely artificial line of division has for more than a
century been drawn across the breadth of a continent, and
between two peoples who speak the same language, study the same
literature, and are without any decisive distinctions of
religious creed. There has been a great drawing together between
the United States and Canada, as between England and Canada,
during the last twenty-five years, but it is no greater in the
one case than the other, and proceeds on social and literary,
not on political lines. Evidently there {127} is in addition to
the geographical line some fundamental principle or fact which
separates the two countries.

The same profound national convulsion which gave birth to the
United States gave birth to the real life of Canada as well. As
much principle and as much self-sacrifice were involved in the
act of the Loyalists who gave to British Canada its peculiar
character as in the struggles of the Revolutionists who founded
the American Union. For what he believed a great principle, the
Revolutionist broke down an old loyalty, cut his ties with the
past, and engaged in the battle for independence. The Loyalist,
on the other hand, with an abiding faith in the institutions of
his mother-land, not to be shaken by the single mistake of a
king, a minister, or a parliament, elected to stand by the
losing side, to depend upon constitutional agitation to secure
the full political liberty he too desired, and so sacrificed his
all to retain his connection with the past, and came to Canada.
No victory that Britain ever won by land or sea is more worthy
to be blazoned on the pages' of her history than the loyal
devotion of that great body of men and women, who, refusing to
abjure their ancient allegiance, after the Revolutionary war,
gave up their homes, their professions, and all that made life
comfortable, crossed over into what was then a forest
wilderness, and built up those Canadian provinces which have
since grown into a great British confederation.


Who will venture to say that the faith of the Loyalist has not
been as fully justified as that of the Revolutionist? American
institutions have not developed any higher forms of political or
religious freedom than those which are found in Canada and in
other colonies of the Empire today under British institutions.
They have not produced a higher tone of public morals or a
greater purity of social life. They have not even diminished the
risk of great national convulsion. They have not made impossible
the oppression or abuse of inferior races, black, red, or
yellow. They have not rendered statesmanship more noble and
unselfish, justice more incorruptible, human life more sacred,
domestic ties more holy, the people more God-fearing. I do not
believe that there is a Canadian from one end of the Dominion to
the other who honestly believes that American institutions have
equalled, much less surpassed, his own in anyone of these
particulars. If these are the things which ennoble a nation--if
these are marks of true success--the descendants of the
Loyalists have no reason to regret the choice which their
ancestors made at the time of the Revolutionary war.

The strain under which that choice was made, and the courageous
loyalty which inspired it, have never had the recognition
throughout the Empire which they deserved. One English
historian, however, has done justice to the United Empire
Loyalists. Mr. Lecky says: 'There were brave and honest men
{129} in America; who were proud of the great and free Empire to
which they belonged, who had no desire to shrink from the burden
of maintaining it, who remembered with gratitude all the English
blood that had been shed around Quebec and Montreal, and who,
with nothing to hope for from the Crown, were prepared to face
the most brutal mob violence, and the invectives of a scurrilous
press, to risk their fortunes, their reputations, and sometimes
even their lives, in order to avert civil war and ultimate
separation. Most of them ended their days in poverty and exile,
and, as the supporters of a beaten cause, history has paid but a
scanty tribute to their memory, but they comprised some of the
best and ablest men America has ever produced, and they were
contending for an ideal which was, at least, as worthy as that
for which Washington had fought.'

That ideal was the conception of a United Empire.

How profoundly this great Loyalist tradition, reinforced as it
has been by many other considerations and circumstances, has
affected Canadian life, can be gauged only by the actual state
of Canadian feeling. Mr. Goldwin Smith has spared no endeavour
to prove that the assimilation of Canadian and American
sentiment is well-nigh complete. Let us, instead of consulting
his imaginative statements, study the actual and quite recent
expressions of representative public men and bodies.

Commencing in Eastern Canada, we find Attorney-General Longley,
of Nova Scotia, a pronounced {130} opponent of the present
Dominion Government, who in past times has seemed to approach
very nearly to the advocacy of annexation, now writing in the
_Fortnightly_ for March, 1891: 'There is still a deep-seated
objection in the minds of a large majority of the people of
Canada to union with the United States. It may be
unphilosophical, it may be irrational, but it exists. ... It is
not very easy to blot out a century of history in a day, and the
record of the past hundred years has had a constant tendency to
confirm British Americans in their devotion to British as
against American interests. ... It is simply not a practical
solution of the future of Canada to suggest political union with
the United States, because the preponderating majority of the
people will not hear of it. Time is the great miracle worker and
may change all this; but we must speak of things as they are. No
material considerations will induce the Canadian people at
present to accept political union with the United States.'

Archbishop O'Brien, also a Nova Scotian, and the most
representative and influential Roman Catholic of Eastern Canada,
has in many public utterances expressed his conviction that
annexation to the United States would involve for Canada moral
damage and political degradation.

New Brunswick, out of its sixteen Parliamentary representatives,
had in the last Parliament one whose attitude was ambiguous,
since as an editor he seemed to advocate, as a politician he
abjured, the idea of {131} annexation. Journalistic ability of a
high order and the fact that he represented a commercial
constituency having closer trade connection with the New England
ports than any other Canadian town made tenable for a time this
anomalous position. A decisive vote in the last election left
him out of public life, and thus deprived Mr. Goldwin Smith of
perhaps the only illustration of his claim that the advocacy of
annexation does not exclude from the Dominion Parliament.

Passing on to Quebec we find Mr. Mercier, till lately the local
French Canadian leader, hastening to supplement, as he not long
since did in Paris to a _Times_ correspondent, an expression of
opposition to Imperial Federation by the statement that there is
'no party in Canada ... in favour of annexation to the United
States.' In Ontario we find Mr. Blake, the strongest man of the
Liberal party, withdrawing from public life because he thought
he discovered, in the policy of his political friends, a
tendency towards annexation. This, at least, is the
interpretation which suggests itself to the ordinary reader of
his published explanation. The repudiation of any desire for
annexation was general, vehement, and doubtless sincere, on the
part of the more conspicuous Liberal leaders against whom it had
been charged.

Mr. Mowat, the Liberal Premier of Ontario, has lately written a
letter for publication, in which he says: 'There are in most
counties a few annexationists, {132} in some counties more than
in others; but the aggregate in the Dominion, I am sure, is
small when compared with the aggregate population. The great
majority of our people, I believe and trust, are not prepared to
hand over this great Dominion to a foreign nation for any
present commercial consideration which may be proposed. We love
our Sovereign and are proud of our status as British subjects.
The Imperial authorities have refused nothing in the way of
self-government which our representatives have asked for. ... To
the United States and its people we are all most friendly. We
recognize the advantages which would go to both them and us from
extended trade relations, and we are willing to go as far in
that direction as shall not involve, now or in the future,
political union; but there Canadians of every party have
hitherto drawn the line. ... North America is amply large enough
for two independent nations, and two friendly nations would be
better for both populations than one nation embracing the whole
continent.' In another formal statement of the policy of the
Liberal party in Canada, Mr. Mowat has said: 'We are as much
attached to our nation as the people of the United States are to
theirs. The attachment to their nation does our neighbours
honour, and intelligent men amongst them cannot regard otherwise
our attachment to our nation. As no commercial, or other
material advantage, real or supposed, would induce the people of
the United States to change their allegiance, so neither, I
hope, {133} will the prospect of some material advantage induce
Canadians to change their allegiance to the Empire. ... For the
Liberal party or any important section of it to favour political
union with the United States would be death to all hope of
Liberal ascendancy in the Councils of the Dominion.'

Going still further West to the prairie regions and British
Columbia, hitherto relied upon by Mr. Goldwin Smith for
producing a population free from the political traditions and
prejudices of the East, we find a compact vote recorded for a
Government which makes the maintenance of British connection the
corner-stone of its policy, and a chief ground of appeal to the

Lastly, we come back to the Dominion Parliament itself. There,
in 1890, Liberal and Conservative, Frenchman and Englishman
alike, by an absolutely unanimous vote, given with the avowed
object of silencing discussion upon the point, united in
declaring their unwavering faith in the advantage for Canada of
its existing national connection. Mr. Smith claims that
geography is too strong for national sentiment, but these are
the hard facts which he has to confront in Canada at the end of
more than a century of her separate existence. Evidence could
scarcely be more conclusive that the main facts are those to
which he resolutely shuts his eyes.

The expressions which I have given are those of moderate and
distinctly representative men, but there is a deeper passion
which must be taken into account.


Could annexation under any circumstances be effected peacefully
and at the ballot-box? I doubt it. If a day should ever come
when a bare majority of Canadians voted for annexation, would
such a decision be accepted by the minority? To many it would
mean Revolution and would be treated as such. It must be
remembered that nationality is based on feelings which often lie
too deep for mere argument or discussion. In all ages of the
world it has been a fighting issue, a question on which
minorities yielded only on compulsion. Against mere numbers,
moreover, intensity of passion and depth of conviction weigh
heavily. I have never heard the question openly discussed, and
express an opinion upon it with some diffidence, but to me it
seems certain that only coercion would make a very large and
influential section of Canadian population submit to the changes
which annexation would involve. And I think such a minority
would be justified in the eyes of all who place honour and
devotion to lofty national tradition before material gain.

Living close to the United States, Canadians can see many
practical reasons, outside of sentimental ones, why they should
not commit the fortunes of their country to an alliance with
those of the great republic. Assuming commercial advantage, the
political objections might well seem decisive as a
counterbalance. The price which the States have to pay for their
wonderful career of prosperity is not yet clear. The amazing
flood of immigration with which {135} it has been attended is
steadily diluting the Anglo-Saxon element and diminishing the
relative influence of the native American. A well-known Mayor of
Chicago not long since outlined for me the elements of the
population over which his municipal rule extended. The analysis
would form a curious study for those who would forecast the
American type of the next century: A recent event has revealed
the fact that America's population includes a great mass of
Italians, little in sympathy with the institutions under which
they live, and reinforced by emigrants who crowd every steamer
that leaves the Mediterranean to cross the Atlantic.

I lately heard a representative American writer and thinker in
England say that in his judgment the Irish question was becoming
a more disturbing factor in American politics and a more
difficult one to deal with, than it has been for Great Britain.
Of the value of this sincerely held opinion an outsider cannot
perhaps form a just estimate, but we know that a split in
Tammany may practically decide a Presidential election, and a
Canadian may fairly think that any problem of race or creed with
which he has to deal is not more perplexing.

There still remains the race issue in the South. The war of
Secession settled the slavery question: it left the negro
question as a dead weight upon the future. Thoughtful Americans
themselves are among the first to confess that they have not yet
seriously attempted to grapple with it. In the first outburst
{136} of generosity, or as a move in the game of party politics,
the franchise was given along with liberty, and the result no
one as yet foresees. Clearly the country has to face the
prospect of a steadily consolidating zone of black population
stretching far across the continent. Should the Dominion be
annexed to the United States all the voting weight of Canada
within the union would for a generation to come scarcely balance
this single negro element of America's population, supposing
that, in accordance with Canadian ideas of political justice,
the negroes should be allowed (as they are not now) to exercise
their legal right.

The violence and insecurity of life which have marked the
settlement of the West, and still prevail over whole States in
the South, are unknown in Canada. People ask why lynch law, as
little known in new British countries like Canada, New Zealand,
Australia, and South Africa, as it is in Britain itself, is
still a common phenomenon in the administration of American
justice. Canada has managed a large Indian population with
little serious difficulty; her neighbours during the same years
have been engaged in a series of wars of extermination,
apparently the outcome for the most part of maladministration in
Indian affairs. The confusion of marriage and divorce laws
throughout the various states has become a serious evil, for
which no remedy has yet been devised. If Canadians have
sometimes to wrestle with political corruption, they at least do
so resolutely and {137} effectively, while there is a widespread
belief that among their neighbours it is a permanent and
accepted factor in party government.

These points are not dwelt upon in a spirit of petty criticism,
but it seems fair to mention them as facts which influence
powerfully Canadian judgment in forming an opinion on the
comparative merits of the political systems which they see
working side by side.

One other consideration beyond that of commercial advantage has
often been thrust upon Canadians as a reason why they should
seek annexation. They are told that so long as they remain
politically connected with Britain they will be exposed to the
chances of war with the United States, since the Dominion would
naturally be made the first point of attack should differences
arise between the two countries. It is urged that resistance to
such an attack would be useless and absurd, and that Canada's
only guarantee of safety from future subjugation and the
military occupation of the country is to form as quickly as she
can and on the best terms she can, a civil union with the power
that thus threatens her.

If the appeal to mere commercial advantage seemed mercenary,
this appeal to cowardice seems base. Certainly it is one which
has never made any impression on the Canadian mind. Perhaps this
is mere recklessness. It might be argued, however, that 4000
miles of frontier are as perplexing for attack as for defence.
Canadians remember that in 1812 they successfully faced a
corresponding danger when the odds were as {138} much against
them, and numbers as disproportionate, as they are today. They
remember that to crush the Southern States, fighting without
outside help, required the most expensive and destructive war of
modern times, prolonged over renewed campaigns. They know at any
rate that the task of subduing them is one which would not be
lightly undertaken. But picture the worst that such a war could
bring: defeat, military occupation, complete subjugation. If war
between Britain and the United States be, as is claimed, a
possibility of the future, would not each and all of these be
for Canadians infinitely preferable to placing themselves in
such a position that; having abandoned a country which they
loved and joined themselves to a country which they feared, they
would by that act be pledged to use their arms, their means,
their collective forces as a people, against the land that gave
them birth, that had extended over them the strong shield of her
protection through a hundred years of struggling infancy, and
had freely given them the best she had to give of perfect
freedom and noble institutions?

I am satisfied that this argument alone is quite sufficient to
make annexation to the United States a moral impossibility for
the Canadian people. They may join heartily in every process by
which their mother-land and the great republic are drawn more
closely together; they may even be in no small degree the link
which binds them together in friendly feeling. But to expose
themselves to the possibility of hostile {139} conflict with
that mother-land for the sake of a temporary commercial
advantage or from motives of cowardice would make them incur the
contempt of the people they leave and the contempt of the people
they join. In the long run it may be taken for granted that the
path of commercial and every other prosperity will be found
along the path of national honour. That national honour is
looked upon as the issue at stake there can be no reasonable

In considering more closely the question of commercial advantage
it may in the outset be remarked that no truly noble individual
life, much less any truly noble national life, was ever yet
built up on principles and purposes entirely mercenary. The
landmarks in history to which the human heart everywhere turns
with a thrill of instinctive pride are the periods when nations
have forgotten, for a time, self-interest and the love of gain,
and in the glow of patriotic enthusiasm have made great
sacrifices from motives of principle, affection, honour, and
loyalty, British Canada owes its foundation to such an outburst
of lofty spirit. The United States themselves were founded, as a
nation, upon what seemed at the time an utter defiance of
commercial advantage, and the heroic periods of that country, as
of every other, the periods which gave birth to all that is
noblest and purest in it, were not the times of its wealth and
luxury, but the times of its self-denial, suffering, effort, and
sacrifice. Prosperity must be an incident of noble national
life; not the sole foundation on which it is built.


Again, while it would be absurd to undervalue material
prosperity, we must constantly remember that its highest value
consists as much in the discipline of the powers required for
its acquisition as in the acquisition or possession itself. This
must be as true of nations as daily experience shows it to be in
the case of individuals. When Canadians are told that they must
look to political union with the United States for any increase
of commercial prosperity, and that such a connection will at
once draw them into a tide of greater business energy, I cannot
but think that a prosperity purchased by such means is obtained
by the sacrifice of that which gives prosperity its greatest
worth. Speaking as a Canadian to Canadian audiences, I have
sometimes put the argument in this way: 'We have a country with
enormous capacity for development. The field is large enough and
varied enough to satisfy the greatest energy and every form of
it. The consolidation of a national strength, the linking
together of our widespread provinces by railway systems, the
opening up of our great North-West, seem to have removed the
chief obstacles which have hitherto stood in our way. Under such
circumstances, or under any circumstances, would it not be
infinitely more worthy of us, would it not be a far better
national training and discipline, to set ourselves resolutely to
work to supply that in which we are deficient, rather than to
seek it ignominiously at the hands of our neighbours? Can it be
true that we have not the strength of brain or hand to wrest
from nature the {141} success and prosperity which others have
won? If we have not, then let us not add to our weakness a
spirit of mean dependence.'

Looking at the question under aspects such as these, I find it
impossible to conceive that Canadians, who have for more than a
century received their national impulse and development from a
political system which they believe the best in the world, for
which they have continued to profess the most devoted regard,
and to which they are tied by a thousand bonds of affectionate
sympathy, will deliberately, in cold blood, and for commercial
reasons only, dissolve that connection, and join themselves to a
state with the history and traditions of which they have little
sympathy, and to whose form of government they object. To take
such a course would indicate an extraordinary degradation of
public sentiment.

When, therefore, I am told that geography and commercial
tendencies are strong, I can only reply that the bias of
national life and loyalty to the spiritual forces which give a
people birth are stronger still. A sensitive regard for public
honour is infinitely stronger.

But even the question of commercial advantage has two aspects.

Comparing the relative advantages of the United States and the
British Empire we find that with the former lies that of
continental isolation--a position so secure, peopled as the
country now is, that no external power could hope to shake it.
Attack might be annoying and detrimental, but by no means fatal,
{142} for the chief dependence of the country is not upon
external trade. Even a blockade of all its ports would stimulate
internal activity, for the United States are almost
self-sufficing in the matter of production, and manufacturing
industry would have the whole union entirely to itself. A very
remarkable and advantageous position we must admit this to be,
freeing the country from external dangers to which other nations
are subject, and so leaving it in a better position to grapple
with those vast internal problems of race and colour which
confront it.

Very different indeed is the advantage which Britain enjoys. She
has, however, no reason to envy the great Republic. Instead of
continental compactness she has world-wide diffusion--precisely
that kind of diffusion which satisfies the necessities of
countries which depend, and must always to a considerable degree
depend, upon external trade. It would be too much perhaps to say
that at the present moment the British Empire possesses the same
security on the ocean that the United States have on their
continent, but it is not too much to affirm that with her
command of the strongest maritime positions of the world, her
backing of vigorous and growing populations, and her resources
in money and trained men for naval equipment, she could soon
become so. This is the kind of security which Britain requires
with her vast outflow of merchandise--her inflow of food and raw
material. It is the kind of security needed by countries like
Australia, New Zealand, or South {143} Africa, which have an
enormous export of special products for which the character of
the country is specially adapted. If no question of national
honour were involved, and if Canada had to make a choice purely
upon grounds of national security between what is offered to her
from connection with the United States and with the Empire, the
decision would depend upon whether she aspired to great
commercial connections or would be content with merely
continental relations. It is certain that if the United States
ever regain control of their own carrying trade, or if by the
development of manufacturing energy they are led to look largely
to outside markets, they will feel more and more the limitations
imposed by a purely continental position. Canada has at the
present time large maritime interests. Her great length of sea
coast, the productive fisheries east and, west, the facility for
ship-building given by her forests, have stimulated her maritime
activity to such an extent that in tonnage of shipping she now
ranks fourth among the nations of the world, counting the United
Kingdom as one. Her sailing ships are found in every quarter of
the world, taking part in the carrying trade. Several great
steam-ship lines cross the Atlantic, another connects the
Pacific coast with Japan and China--a line is projected to
Australasia--others carry on trade with the eastern and western
coasts of America and with the West Indies. The instincts and
conditions which have made British people a maritime and trading
race are renewed in {144} the Dominion. Canada's interest is to
retain the national connection which gives her commerce the best
opportunities, her fleets the surest protection in all parts of
the world.

The Canadian shipmaster or trader knows that at ports all over
the world, at Hong Kong and Calcutta, at Malta or Melbourne, at
the Cape or Auckland, in a word, at all the great centres of the
world's ocean commerce, he can claim the protection of the
national flag, he has a right to apply to the British consul, he
can rely on the prestige of the British name. These are rights
of which the Canadian knows the value. They are rights which he
is not likely to relinquish, for they have been honestly won,
first by retaining his allegiance at the price of much sacrifice
in the revolution of 1776, and then by steady persistence in
that allegiance at all costs through more than a century. He
knows they are rights that no other nation can give him in equal

It is in trade relations, however, that Canada's interest is
supposed to look away from Great Britain or the rest of the
Empire, and towards the United States. Twenty years ago the
American Republic entered upon its policy of excluding as far as
possible the products of other countries, and among them those
of Canada, by a high protective tariff. That policy has been
steadily maintained until it has reached a climax in the
McKinley tariff. It had previously forced a protective policy
upon Canada itself. It seems clear that the Dominion has
suffered {145} to some extent commercially by this exclusion
from the markets of her own continent, by the resolute
determination of their neighbours that Canadians shall not, as
Canadians, have any share in the prosperity of the United
States. That she has gained in energy, self-reliance, and
national purpose is equally clear to anyone who attempts to
measure the splendid and successful efforts which she has since
confederation and under this exclusion made at self-development.
That the moral gain infinitely outweighs the commercial loss, I,
for one, firmly believe. But there are those who argue that for
the commercial advantage which it is anticipated would flow from
union with the United States, the continental independence of
the country, its historical traditions, its political
institutions, its nationality, should be abandoned. In Great
Britain itself there are found many who assume as a matter of
course that commercial attraction will inevitably lead to the
political absorption of the Dominion into the United States. I
believe that the opinion is a mistaken one. The grounds upon
which it is based deserve examination. Let it be remembered that
no one now ventures to bring forward in support of this
proposition any argument based on the superior freedom or
excellence of American institutions, social or political. The
day for that is past. We can assert, without fear of
contradiction, that the condition of the self-governing colonies
of Britain finds no parallel in the world in making government
an immediate reflection of the {146} popular will, and so in
giving the utmost possible freedom and weight of influence to
the individual citizen. When Lord Dufferin told an American
audience at Chicago that Canadians would not breathe freely in a
country where the Executive was placed for years together beyond
the reach of the popular will, and was not under the constant
supervision of the Legislative bodies, he indicated a vital
difference which distinguishes the form of popular government in
British countries from the American system, a difference which
colonists think is all in favour of the former. If the
government of any self-ruling dependency of England is bad, the
fault lies in the character of the constituency, not in the form
of government.

The question, then, is purely one of commercial advantage, a
certain supposed and possibly temporary per-centage of trade
gain which Canadians would secure by abjuring their national

Grounds are not wanting for the belief that the inevitable
tendency of several very great trade interests of Canada is more
towards Great Britain and some of the British dependencies than
towards the United States. From their position and physical
character Canada and the United States must in many ways be
rival producers. Both are great grain and cattle raising
countries. Both wish their surplus of agricultural productions
to reach the consuming millions of the old world, or the
tropical countries like the West Indies where they may be
exchanged for articles of {147} use or luxury. Certain it is
that the United States now export to Great Britain many millions
of pounds' worth of those very products which Canada sends in
smaller quantities to the States. Such a fact scarcely bears out
the assertion that the United States furnish the natural market
of Canada. It rather suggests that better organization for
transport and greater commercial enterprize would make the
English market the more valuable of the two for Canada.

But while urging this view of ultimate trade tendencies there is
no need to underestimate the present advantage and convenience
which Canada would derive from the freest possible access to
American markets. These may be at once admitted, the only
qualification being that Canada cannot afford to purchase
advantage and convenience at the price of national dishonour or
humiliation. Let us remember, however, that advantage and
convenience are not confined to one side.

It is already true, it is becoming increasingly true, that the
United States must have Canadian products. They leap over even
the barrier of a McKinley tariff. American forests are nearly
exhausted--those of Canada are not only still of immense extent,
but practically inexhaustible, since nature has reserved by
conditions of soil and climate, large areas exclusively for the
growth of trees. Canadian waters have well nigh a monopoly of
the best fish of the American continent. From Nova Scotia
northward gulf and bay swarm with fish which pour downwards
{148} from the cold Arctic regions in numbers that never fail,
and of the best quality. The lakes and rivers of the north-west
might well supply the whole of the centre of the continent with
fresh-water fish. On the Pacific the Canadian monopoly is not so
complete since the purchase of Alaska by the United States, but
the fisheries of British Columbia have a great future. On the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in the inland prairie region
Canada can supply coal in abundance to regions in the United
States without deposits of their own. American brewers find it
necessary to have Canadian barley, and are earnestly petitioning
Congress to reduce the duty from thirty to the old rate of ten
cents per bushel. So too with farm produce of other kinds.
American consumers now pay a higher price for the eggs and
poultry once drawn from Canada but driven by the McKinley tariff
to seek new, and as it turns out, fairly satisfactory markets in
Great Britain. That tariff must inevitably result in a largely
increased development of manufacturing industry, a closer
pressure of consumption upon producing power in the matter of
food in the United States, and a consequent increase in the
demand, already very noticeable in New England towns, for easy
access to Canadian supplies. The freedom of the markets of the
continent is likely ere long to be a stronger election cry in
the United States than it has been in the Dominion[2].


Something ought perhaps to be said in reference to the part
which Canada seems likely to take in supplying food to the
United Kingdom. The area of wheat production has shifted rapidly
on the American continent, first westward from New York State to
Ohio, Illinois, and Iowa, then northward to Wisconsin,
Minnesota, and Dakota. Till within a few years past these
northern states of the Union were supposed to mark the limit of
successful wheat cultivation. Actual experience has now proved
that it is several hundreds of miles further north, and that in
Canadian territory is included the largest and richest
undeveloped wheat area in the world. Allowance must be made for
occasional early frosts, which are, {150} however, not so
disastrous as Indian or Australian droughts, and may apparently
be successfully combated by fall ploughing and early sowing.
When this allowance is made, it seems clearly proved that in
both quantity and quality the north-western provinces and
territories of Canada will soon take a leading place in grain
supply. The railway, which opened up the country to settlement,
was completed in 1885. Yet in 1887 the districts which it
reached, with but a scattered population, yielded 12,000,000
bushels of surplus wheat; in 1890, 16,000,000 bushels; and the
estimate for 1891 is 21,000,000 bushels. Eight times this
quantity would supply the whole British demand. At the present
average of production 100,000 farmers thrown into the
north-west, which {151} is capable of absorbing many hundreds of
thousands, would raise all the wheat that now comes into the
United Kingdom. Statisticians are already forecasting the date
when the growth of population, going on side by side with the
exhaustion of the more fertile prairie lands in the United
States, will equalize production and consumption in that
country, and leave it unable to furnish the supplies on which
Britain has hitherto so largely depended. Speaking to a
Yorkshire audience not long since, Sir Lyon Playfair suggested
twenty years hence as the probable period to the time when
England could expect to draw wheat supplies from the United
States, after which she would have to depend on Canada, India,
and other countries chiefly within the Empire. On the same
question Mr. Bryce, in speaking of the United States, says:
'High economic authorities pronounce that the beginnings of this
time of pressure lie not more than thirty years ahead. Nearly
all the best arable land of the West is already occupied, so
that the second and third best will soon begin to be cultivated;
while the exhaustion already complained of in farms which have
been under the plough for three or four decades will be
increasingly felt.' Like opinions have been expressed by
American writers. Whatever may be thought about the precise
point of time, the tendency is manifest. Within a measurable
time the Empire will, by the natural progress of events, mainly
supply its own markets with wheat, and, it may be added, with
its second most important article of consumption {152} meat. The
argument which I have used in another place, pointing to the
advantage and greater security for both producer and consumer,
of having so far as possible the areas which furnish the raw
material of manufacture under the protection of the national
flag, applies with equal, if not greater force, to food supply.

[1] 'Mob violence and many forms of injustice, made life almost
intolerable for them in their homes, and emigration to British
territory took place on a scale which has been hardly paralleled
since the Huguenots. It has been estimated, apparently on good
authority, that in the two provinces of Nova Scotia and New
Brunswick alone, the Loyalist emigrants and their families
amounted to not less than 35,000 persons, and the total number
of refugees cannot have been much less than 100,000.--Jones'
'History of New York,' ii. 259, 268, 500, 509. An American
authority quoted by Mr. Lecky.

[2] Since writing the above I have found the case thus put from
the United States point of view in the _North American Review_
for August, 1890:--'The exhaustion of the forests of Maine, the
disappearance of the forests in the Saginaw valley, and the
utter disregard for the future by which the policy of protection
has stimulated the policy of destruction, will in a quarter of a
century result in denuding vast areas of the United States of
the timber supply available within reasonable reach of its great
points of demand. All the industries dependent upon timber, if
they are to grow in the next twenty years, will need new
resources for the supply of the raw material. Whence can these
be obtained except from the portion of the continent outside of
the United States? ...When one recalls the vast stretches of
treeless prairies within the United States, in which shelter
must be provided, the necessities and exhaustion of rainless
regions resulting from the destruction of forests, and the rapid
growth of vast cities on the lakes and plains, and also the fact
that from the northern part of the continent above is a supply
of timber certain for all future time, the necessity for the
extension of commerce so as to include these areas is apparent.

'The exhaustion of wheat lands is a consideration of the most
vital importance in relation to the future supply of the food of
this continent. It is a startling fact, not yet fully realized
by the people of this country, that at the present rate of
procedure the United States may be a large importer of
breadstuffs. The growth of population is so rapid, the
exhaustion of arable land so constant, that without new and
cultivable territory the sources for the supply of food products
will soon be below the local demand. ... When it is recalled
that the best wheat-producing region of the world is found just
north of the Minnesota line, and that in the new provinces and
territories of the Canadian north-west there is a possible
wheat-supply for all time, it will be seen how important has
been the provision of nature for the food of mankind.'

And again:-' Cheap food for New England is the necessity of the
hour in that region. ... In the Maritime Provinces are abundant
sources of food supply. No other country in the world can
produce potatoes, apples, oats, hay, poultry, dairy produce,
and, still more important, the finest fish food, equal to Nova
Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. ... In the
unlimited supply of cheap raw material from Canada, in the
unrestricted output of fish and food products, and the constant
employment of cheap labour from the north, the new hope of New
England may be found. Without these her manufacturing prospects
are gloomy indeed.'




CANADA has had a two-fold history: French and English. The two
elements of the population have not amalgamated to any
appreciable extent, the hindrance arising from religion rather
than race. We have then today a French-speaking Canada and an
English-speaking Canada. It is important to keep in the mind a
clear idea of the proportion of the one to the other. The
tendency of the French population to remain concentrated in a
single province or its immediate neighbourhood, (I do not forget
the Acadian French, but they cannot seriously affect the
position), makes it easy to indicate this proportion, and its
fluctuation. In 1759 Quebec was Canada--a Canada entirely French
and Roman Catholic. In 1791 Ontario was set off as a separate
province, and within fifty years was of itself equal to the
French province in population and superior in wealth. Today
Quebec is the only French-speaking province among the seven
which make up the Confederation. An overflow into a few of the
border counties of Ontario, a limited and {154} scattered
migration to the north-west, mark the only further expansion of
the French population over new areas in Canada. A considerable
migration to New England, where the Quebec peasant becomes a
factory operative, is interesting, because it shows that he
resists amalgamation in the United States as steadily as in
Canada. Quebec then, still represents French Canada. It has a
population of 1,500,000, of whom 1,200,000 are French. It should
be added that the wealth and influence of the great and growing
city of Montreal are in the hands of the English minority, as
were the wealth and influence of the city of Quebec in its days
of greatest prosperity. A certain unprogressive spirit hampers
the Frenchman, and gives a striking commercial and industrial
advantage to the English population. Perhaps this contrast may
in part be explained by the fact that the conquest of 1759 was
followed by the return to France of a small, but intellectually
and commercially important element of French Canadian society,
while the English population was reinforced a few years later by
an influx of loyalist energy and ability.

Roughly speaking, therefore, the French of Canada stand to the
whole people as, at the most, a million and a half to five
millions. The many provinces which are still to be carved out of
the north-west will be English speaking. It is true that the
French _habitans_ have large families, and the natural increase
of the race is somewhat greater than that of British colonists,
but on the other hand the whole inflow of immigration increases
{155} the weight of the English-speaking provinces; the outflow
to New England lessens that of Quebec. The relative influence
and numbers of the French element in Canada will never be
greater than they are at present, but rather less, partly owing,
as I have said, to the formation of new provinces, but even more
to the hesitation of French Canadians to follow the advice of
their wiser leaders like Mr. Laurier, and throw themselves more
entirely than they have hitherto done into the tide of
Anglo-Saxon movement on the continent. More than one historian
has pointed out that the efforts of French kings and ministers
to make Quebec a preserve for a single set of ideas paralyzed
the energies of the colonists in early days. There seems to me
to be a like danger now, arising from similar causes, that it
may become the less energetic community of a strenuously
progressive continent. But it can never dominate Canadian
development, or permanently block the general movement of the
Dominion in any given direction.

From another point of view French Canada today represents one of
the most interesting triumphs of British constitutional
government. When the Province of Quebec came under British
dominion in 1763, it had never known what free government by the
people meant. Governors and Intendants, with almost despotic
power, or taking their orders even in minute detail from a
French king or minister in Paris, left no room for popular
control. Striking indeed was the contrast which the province
presented to the {156} English colonies further south, which
from their very foundation began to organize a system of local
self-government. In Quebec the beginnings of self-government had
still to be made after 1763, or, rather, after 1774, the date of
the Quebec Act. Yet the remark of Montalembert, that the
Frenchman in Canada under British institutions has attained a
liberty which the Frenchman of France never knew, is in strict
accord with fact. France, which seems to have wasted few regrets
on a colony which had always been poor and a drain upon her
resources, plunged into all the horrors of the Revolution to win
a liberty which after all for more than a century has wavered
between name and reality. The people of her surrendered colony,
carrying on, along with the British provinces, the agitation for
responsible government by methods entirely constitutional, save
for the slight outbreak of 1837, have gained and continue in the
secure enjoyment of a popular freedom as complete as that of any
country in the world; a recognition for their religion such as
that religion cannot command in France. Between the European
Frenchman, moreover, and the French Canadian is the barrier
raised by the Revolution. Modern France does not send emigrants
to Quebec, where, indeed, they would scarcely be welcome. The
typical French republican, with his atheism, his free life, and
his contempt for religious forms, would be curiously out of
place in the average French Canadian community, devout, moral,
and conservative. He would, indeed, run no slight risk of {157}
being boycotted by clerical orders. The sentimental tie with
France or race and language remains, and to the honour of French
Canadians be it said, is fondly cherished, though it is not
sustained by that constant intercourse and hearty literary
sympathy which so bind the English world together. The reasoned
political allegiance of the people goes out to the British
connection, which gives steadiness to their public and security
to their religious life.

Once more, French Canadians have profound objections to
annexation to the United States. They go in numbers to work in
the mills and factories of New England, or in the forests of
Michigan or Maine for a few months or a few years, forming a
large proportion of the so-called exodus, but those who become
naturalized American citizens have hitherto been an unimportant
fraction of the whole. Many return, the movement to and fro
being continuous. Those who stay form more or less distinct
communities of their own, to which cohesion is given by the
curé, who follows to supply the ministrations of their religion.
The simple loyalty of the habitant to his Canadian home and to
his religion is no slight offset to his narrowness of political
outlook and his somewhat unprogressive habit of mind. It made
him fight against American aggression in 1774; it added a bright
page to Canadian history by the heroic part taken in the war of
1812, when 400 French Canadians under de Salaberry defeated at
Chateauguay an army {158} of 3000 Americans. Happily we need not
now think of like aggression, but should danger ever again
threaten Canada, there are the strongest reasons to believe that
the Frenchman even of the United States would soon find his
place beside his compatriot in the old home, fighting for the
land he loves with a passionate affection.

It is only natural that, with race, language, and religion on
the one side, and on the other a heritage of free political
institutions giving security to all of these, we should find
fluctuations of expression among an excitable people in regard
to national attachment. On the whole, however, the steadiness of
French Canadian loyalty to British institutions is remarkable.
Cardinal Manning told me in 1886 that French Canadian bishops
and clergy had over and over again assured him that their people
were practically a unit in preferring British to French, or any
other connection, and since that time the pastoral addresses of
the highest ecclesiastics have more than once confirmed this
statement in explicit terms.

Sir George Cartier described himself as an Englishman speaking
French, and he no doubt meant it as a sincere indication of the
drift of French Canadian thought. When a conspicuous French
politician--not a Conservative--told me in Ottawa three years
since that he would not be afraid to stand on any platform in
Quebec and affirm that, in the event of war between France and
England, other things being equal, four French Canadians out of
every five would not only {159} sympathize with, but prefer to
fight for England, the energy of the statement was a surprise to
me; but I have no reason to doubt the speaker's sincerity. The
absolute truth of the statement cannot be questioned, if the
supposed contest involved the substitution in Quebec of
anti-religious French Republicanism, which the French Canadian
hates, for the tolerant system of Britain. Looking back upon all
that has happened in France since 1789, looking even at the
condition of the Republic today and its attitude towards
religion, the French Canadian may, and, it may be added, often
does, sincerely echo the thought of the brilliant historian of
the French occupation of America when he says that 'a happier
calamity never befell a people than the conquest of Canada by
the British arms.'

In criticism of what has so far been said of French Canada it
will no doubt be replied that Mr. Mercier, the late leader of
the French Nationalist party in Quebec, has taken occasion to
denounce the proposal to work out some scheme of British unity,
and has pointed to independence as, in his opinion, the ideal
future for Canada. No doubt Mr. Mercier was for a time able to
introduce new features into the political life of Quebec, but
there is no reason to suppose that he broke down even for a
moment the traditional policy of his people, who have long
looked upon their British connection as the chief safeguard for
the rights which they most value. The exposure of Mr. Mercier's
political methods and the collapse of his system make {160} it
perhaps unnecessary to discuss his views on national affairs.

Mr. Laurier, the exceedingly able and fair minded leader of the
opposition in the Canadian Parliament, is described in 'The
Problems of Greater Britain,' as 'more or less in favour of'
Imperial Federation. He has lately, probably under the pressure
of political events in the Dominion, expressed the opinion that
independence, rather than Federation with the Empire, was the
more desirable end of Canadian development, basing his argument
chiefly upon the idea that Canada would, in a federated empire,
be drawn into European wars. I have dealt with this objection in
another place. Mr. Laurier is devoted to the honour and the
interest of Canada, and it may be taken for granted that if
these can be proved to coincide with the honour and interest of
the Empire, any difficulty which he sees in British unity would

It will be admitted that the experience of Sir John Macdonald in
dealing with the French Canadian people, and his knowledge of
French Canadian sentiment towards the Empire and the Dominion
were unique. As a statesman he had every reason to consider and
conciliate the French vote, by which his parliamentary majority
was in part maintained throughout his career. Yet he never saw
in French Canadian feeling any bar to a united Empire. In 1889,
at a time when certain Quebec politicians, and even members of
his own Cabinet, were declaiming {161} rather vigorously against
the idea of Imperial Federation, I had an opportunity of asking
his opinion as to the ultimate attitude which Quebec was likely
to take towards the question. His reply, given without reserve
or hesitation, was marked by a decision which was manifestly the
outcome of much thought upon the question. I try to reproduce
this opinion, not so much to attach to it the weight of his
great name, as because it bears upon the face of it the
recommendation of reason and truth. 'The relation of Quebec
towards the Empire is fixed,' said he, 'by the facts of history
and the aspirations of the people themselves. The controlling
idea of the French Canadian is to retain his language, religion
and civil institutions, necessarily held under a critical tenure
on a continent in the main Anglo-Saxon. But he has in the treaty
of 1763 and the Quebec Act founded upon it a Magna Charta as
dear to him as is to an Englishman that won from King John. By
that treaty the honour of England was pledged to France that the
Frenchmen of Quebec who then became British subjects should be
continued in the enjoyment of their religious and civil
institutions. In annexation to the United States or in Canadian
independence this guarantee would be given up. In the Great
Republic the French Canadian would run the risk of being blotted
out as was the Frenchman of Louisiana. In an independent Canada
he would hold his own with difficulty. He must in the long run
vote to follow the Empire in whatever {162} direction its
development may lead. This condition is permanent; all others
are temporary. The interest of the French Canadian will lie in
resisting separation, whether in the direction of independence
or annexation.'




No discussion of the relation of Canada to the Empire, much less
any more general discussion of British unity, would be complete
which omits special reference to Mr. Goldwin Smith and the views
on national questions which he has for many years persistently
and strenuously advocated. To these views he has challenged
attention anew in his latest volume, _Canada and the Canadian
Question_, which may fairly be supposed to condense all that can
be said in favour of the separation of Canada from the Empire,
and generally in support of that form of national disintegration
which is involved in the great colonies becoming separate states
or annexing themselves to other nations. Very considerable
interest is given to this latest utterance of Mr. Smith from the
fact that he is almost the last conspicuous representative of a
school of thinkers which twenty-five or thirty years ago
appeared likely to dominate English opinion on colonial affairs.

To these men the United Kingdom was, and was to be, sufficient
unto itself; the outlying portions of the Empire were but
incidental and temporary {164} connections; the greater colonies
were to be voluntarily dropped when they had developed strength
to stand alone, or as convenient opportunities to get rid of
them arose.

The splendid edifice of Empire built up by the toil and
statesmanship of generations was an illusion which gave nothing
more than a false prestige; its dissolution was to herald the
dawn of a better day.

It will be generally admitted that in England this school of
thought is practically dead. In his vigorous and persistent
attempt to revive it in Canada Mr. Smith has met with little
success. That one of the most brilliant writers and masters of
style in the English world should in a distant colony have
devoted well-nigh twenty years of his life to weakening the
political bond between Britain and that colony with practically
no visible result, is of itself a phenomenon which indicates the
true tendency of national life. But that in the pursuit of his
fixed idea Mr. Smith has done much harm is, I think, scarcely
open to doubt. Both in Britain and the United States he has
produced false impressions on Canadian affairs. The useful
efforts which he has made for the elevation of journalism and
for the purification of public life in Canada, the greater
service which he might have done in giving high ideals to the
Young Dominion, have been neutralized or made impossible by his
intellectual slavery to a set of ideas which rendered him
incapable of entering into or sympathizing with the deeper
motives of {165} Canadian life. A great contemporary thinker and
satirist, James Russell Lowell, made the 'barbed arrows of his
indignant wit' the terror of corrupt politicians, while still
retaining the love of the people whom he served. This he did in
virtue of his constant sympathy with national aspirations and
the firm faith in his country's future which shines through
every page of his bitterest criticisms. In a similar sphere of
effort Goldwin Smith has failed, because he has permitted an
atrabilious and pessimistic temperament, a preference of epigram
to accuracy, and an impatience at the non-fulfilment of his own
political prophecies to distort his studies of Canadian
problems, and to take away much of their value.

For those many Canadians who welcomed his coming to Canada, as
one of the happiest omens for the political and intellectual
life of the country, in whom even yet admiration struggles with
disappointment, the duty of pointing out his unfitness to
interpret the political history and actual position of Canada,
is as painful as it is imperative.

Mr. Smith's book on Canada is manifestly intended primarily for
readers in England. It is to his English audience that he
appeals when he says that 'he does not think that the honour or
true interest of his native country can for a moment be absent
from his breast.' Of this, Englishmen must judge; Canadians, who
respect patriotic sentiment, only ask of Mr. Smith (and they
have some reason for emphasizing the request) that they may be
credited with sincerity {166} when they claim that the honour
and true interests of their native country compel them to
dispute his arguments and repudiate the main conclusions about
Canada's destiny which he outlines for his English readers.
Unfortunately they must do no more than this. Mr. Smith claims
'that he has done his best to take his readers to the heart of
it (the Canadian question) by setting the whole case before
them: that his opinions have not been hastily formed: that they
have not, so far as he is aware, been biassed by personal
motives of any kind.' This is a pledge of fairness and
impartiality in discussion. It is a pledge which, in Canadian
opinion, is not fulfilled. No man in Canada speaks or writes
with a deeper sense of responsibility than Principal Grant, as a
clergyman, as the head of an important university, and as one of
the most active moral forces in the Dominion. He knows Canada,
too, from end to end, better than any living man. Yet in a
formal review of _Canada and the Canadian Question_ Principal
Grant endorses the opinion of another writer that Mr. Smith's
book is 'so brilliant, so inaccurate, so malicious even, that it
is enough to make one weep.' The criticism does not seem to me
too strong. Nor must Mr. Smith think that it is only upon
super-sensitive Canadian minds that this impression is left. One
of the closest thinkers and most brilliant writers on political
subjects in England, a man of cool judgment, who has observed
Canadian institutions on the spot, said to me after perusing
_Canada and the Canadian Question_ that he considered {167} it
the most unfair book he had ever read. At the high table of an
Oxford college a Canadian ventured to deprecate the acceptance
by English people of Mr. Smith's brilliant and epigrammatic
statement of half-truths as truths upon Dominion affairs. The
reply of one of the clearest thinkers in the University was not
unsatisfactory to the colonist. 'We in England know Mr. Smith
well, and we know that, where every sentence has to be so
sharply pointed as his, a liberal allowance must be made for
accuracy. Canadians need have no fear that his views are
accepted without question here.'

Nor has the impression been different even at the Antipodes. We
read in the _Australian Critic_: 'To say that the book before us
is written by Mr. Goldwin Smith is to say that it is eminently
readable, that its style is forcible and epigrammatic, and that
its historical descriptions are clear and vivacious. But we have
a right to expect something more in a book describing the
history and institutions of a country. We have a right to expect
fairness, and fairness in this book we do not get.'

This unfairness of statement, thus generally recognized, and
evident to every reader from the moment that those phases of
Canadian politics are dealt with which led up to and followed
upon Confederation, accounts for the irritation so commonly
manifested in Canadian criticism of Mr. Smith's views. It is an
unfairness the more irritating because often so clever and
subtle that it half eludes criticism, and because {168} it is
closely interwoven with much vigorous thought on Canadian
affairs. More than this, many to whom it gives the greatest
annoyance hesitate to criticise it as they would, from a
conviction that it is the offspring of temperament and literary
habit, rather than deliberate insincerity[1].

Only a few of Mr. Smith's arguments can be dealt with here, and
it is perhaps better first to refer to such as are conspicuous
by their fallacy rather than those marked by unfairness.

I have pointed out the remarkable naval position which the
Empire holds in the North Atlantic and the North Pacific through
the possession of Canada. Let us see what Mr. Smith suggests in
substitution for this advantage when, as he proposes, it has
been voluntarily abandoned.

'Great Britain may need a coaling station on the Atlantic coast
of North America, not for the purposes of blockade, which could
no longer have place when all danger of war was at an end but
for the general defence of her trade. Safe coaling stations and
harbours of refuge, rather than territorial dependencies, are
apparently what the great exporting country and the mistress of
the carrying trade now wants. Newfoundland would be a safe and
uninvidious possession, and it has coal, though bituminous and
not yet worked. The Americans do not covet islands, {169} for
the defence of which they would have to keep up a navy. The
island itself would be the gainer: there would be some chance of
the development of its resources; with nothing but the fishing
the condition of its people seems to be poor. Let England then
keep Newfoundland. Cape Breton is rather too close to the coast,
otherwise it has coal in itself, and Louisbourg might be
restored.' Clearly we have here an Englishman who has learned in
his new home to talk a language unfamiliar for some centuries at
least to the English ear, and one who fails to grasp the
fundamental conditions of England's existence as a great nation.
The greatest naval power in the world, bound to defend a
world-wide commerce and above all to defend that main food route
across the Atlantic which would almost certainly be the first
point of attack in a Great European war, because it is the one
point at which a well-nigh mortal blow could be delivered, is
quietly asked to hand over to another nation her well-nigh
impregnable naval station at Halifax, her command of a hundred
minor ports, of the St. Lawrence, and of the splendid coal
fields of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton, and to relegate herself
to the rock-bound, fog-encircled and sometimes ice-beset coasts
of Newfoundland: to content herself with coal 'bituminous and
not yet worked,' and all because the possession would be 'safe
and uninvidious' and because 'the Americans do not covet
islands.' In this casual redistribution of the bases of naval
power it is {170} extremely characteristic and noteworthy that
on the Pacific where the trade of a great ocean is to be
protected, and where Russia has a great naval depot, not even an
island is reserved for British people, probably because again
Vancouver is 'rather too near to the coast,' to be outside the
range of American covetousness, and its coal deposits too
extensive for it to be considered 'uninvidious.' In reading the
lines I have quoted from Mr. Smith expressing his conception of
the relation of the United States to Great Britain, it is
impossible not to recall the words which Shakspere puts into the
mouth of Cassius;--

    'Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world
    Like a Colossus, and we petty men
    Walk under his huge legs, and peep about
    To find ourselves dishonourable graves.'

Let us not fail, however, to recognize that Mr. Smith does dimly
see and admit the conditions under which Britain holds her
maritime power. 'Safe coaling stations and harbours of refuge,
rather than territorial dependencies are apparently what the
great exporting country and the mistress of the carrying trade
now wants.' The admission that British naval power rests upon
safe coaling stations and harbours of refuge is fundamental. But
the most superficial study of the facts or even a glance at the
map makes it plain that in the Empire the command of these
positions is inseparably connected with territorial possession.
Britain cannot turn away her great colonies to work out an
independent destiny while {171} at the same time she retains in
each the best points in naval and military vantage for the
creation of a series of Gibraltars such as Mr. Smith apparently
has in his mind. Sir Charles Dilke has clearly pointed out that
while we cannot possibly with any regard to commercial security
give up the military station which we hold at the extremity of
Africa, on the other hand we cannot retain it permanently
without the friendship of the colonists and a maintenance of
national control over the surrounding country. Still more true
is this of Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Let Mr. Smith try
to arrange a plan by which Australia, South Africa and Canada
will accept independence with its national responsibilities and
at the same time hand over to England their 'safe coaling
stations and harbours of refuge' which he himself admits are the
very conditions of her existence, and he will find himself face
to face with a problem much more difficult than any which he
propounds to Imperial Federationists when he demands of them a

'Surely,' says Mr. Smith, 'the appearance of a world-wide power,
grasping all the waterways and all the points of maritime
vantage, instead of propagating peace, would, like an alarm gun,
call the nations to battle.' To this it must straightway be
answered that the case is one in which as things stand no
'grasping' is required. What British people need for their great
national purposes they hold already. Their possessions have been
won in a long course of national {172} development and are held
in most cases under the solemn confirmation of ancient or modern
treaty, or at least by the tacit consent of all the nations. No
title-deeds in the world are more secure according to any
recognized code of international relation. Nor is her moral
right to consolidate her position less strong or more likely to
be questioned. Self-defence is a primary instinct and admitted
necessity of nature--recognized as such by communities as well
as individuals. 'In strengthening her navy, England is pursuing
a policy in the strict sense defensive. We threaten nobody. We
cherish no ambitious design. It is more and more the wise policy
of England to keep out of engagements in matters with which
neither we of the mother-country nor our sons in the colonies
have any concern. The external policy of England is directed to
one object, which is to secure from attack the highway of the
sea[2].' To different nations the problem of self-defence comes
in different forms. France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Russia,
find vast military organization the necessary condition of safe
national existence. To none of them would exclusion from
commerce with the rest of the world be fatal: their own
resources can, in emergency, supply their wants. Resistance to a
flood of hostile invasion they must be prepared to make at any
moment, and to this the public thought is mainly directed. No
one questions their right to equip themselves for this
resistance, however much the necessity may be deplored.


The United States, again, have been hitherto comparatively
independent of external commerce. Even the carrying trade has
been allowed to slip chiefly into foreign hands. Continental
isolation and vast population give a sufficient range for
national industry and sufficient security from hostile invasion.
They enable the people to turn their attention mainly to
internal development and the complex or even threatening
problems involved in the assimilation and elevation of the
confluent races which are taking possession of the soil. Very
different is the position of British people. To them, whether at
home or abroad, the steady flow of commerce is as the flow of
blood through the veins; the safety of the waterways is
practically a question of life or death. The very fact that
Britain is not compelled to be a great military power, in the
sense that European nations are military powers, adds millions
to her armies of industry, increases indefinitely her producing
forces and so makes more imperative the necessity for absolutely
safe commercial intercourse. Britain, as the result of natural
growth, now possesses the unquestionable right and the manifest
opportunity, without a single stroke of aggression, to organize
a naval power adequate to the protection of the chief waterways
of the world, and of the enormous commerce which the industry of
her people has created thereon. To any combination thus planned
to guard the very life of the nation, what just or reasonable
objection can be made? To any objection not just or reasonable
{174} what answer must English people make? For a race of
traders scattered over all quarters of the globe, peace is a
supreme interest, and peace, as the world is now constituted,
can only rest on organized power. For the first time in history
we see a nation which unites under its flag all the
comprehensiveness of a world-wide Empire and a wonderful
relative compactness secured by that practical contraction of
our planet which has taken place under the combined influences
of steam and electricity. No other nation ever has had--it is
well nigh impossible to believe that any other nation ever will
have--so commanding a position for exercising the functions of
what I have called an oceanic Empire, interested in developing
and able to protect the commerce of the world. Such an Empire is
probably the best guarantee of permanent peace the world has
ever had or is likely to have this side of the millennium. Who
shall question our right and duty to organize it for the great
ends manifestly within our reach?

But Mr. Smith questions not merely our right, but our capacity.

We are told that however much steam and telegraph have
annihilated distance 'they have not annihilated the parish
steeple. They have not carried the thoughts of the ordinary
citizen beyond the circle of his own life and work. They have
not qualified a common farmer, tradesman, plough man, or artizan
to direct the politics of a world-wide state[3].' Shall we {175}
then give up all large statesmanship, and adopt the parish
steeple as the measure of our political ideas? The parish
steeple has its place and limiting power in England as
elsewhere, but it has not prevented the creation of a great
Empire, its successful administration and its retention. In the
end it is the strongest men and the clearest minds of a country
which give direction to its destiny, and nowhere is this more
the case than among Anglo-Saxon people. The common farmer,
tradesman, plough man, or artizan may not be able to direct the
policy of a state, but he has a marvellous instinct for
discovering and supporting the man who can, be he a Cromwell or
a Cecil, a rail-splitter or a Hohenzollern. When he has made up
his mind, moreover, we have more to fear, apparently, from a too
complete surrender of his own judgment than from ignorant
interference in matters which he does not fully comprehend. That
the spread of modern democracy involves no necessity of
abandoning large statesmanship the history of the colonies
clearly proves. Canadians may not, as Mr. Smith suggests, know
much of Australian or South African politics, but they have
given themselves up with singular persistence to the guidance of
a statesman with an imperial range of ideas and policy. In
Australia the masses, however much they may be absorbed in their
labour struggles and social problems, choose, as their leaders,
with occasional change, but on the whole singular steadiness,
men like Sir Henry Parkes, Mr. Service, Sir Samuel Griffiths,
Mr. Gillies, or {176} Sir Henry Atkinson, every one of them men
who, even when most absorbed with the affairs of their own
colonies, are thinking constantly on national questions, and
dreaming of some great British unity in the future, as their
written and spoken thoughts fully testify. Even in South Africa,
with its intensified localism, we see the reins of power
committed to a man who stakes his political career equally upon
working out a South African unity, and upon securing that it
shall be consistent with the policy of a united Empire.

I fear that it is impossible to acquit Mr. Smith of at times
making statements disingenuous in themselves and especially
misleading to the English reader. Perhaps the peculiar animosity
with which he has always regarded those Canadian Railways whose
construction has falsified his prophecy that the Dominion could
not be welded together, explains, if it does not excuse, a
special recklessness of statement when he describes them to
English people. Mr. Smith speaks of the Intercolonial Railway as
'spanning the vast and irreclaimable wilderness which separates
Halifax from Quebec.' Again he says: 'The maritime Provinces are
divided from Old Canada by the wilderness of many hundred miles,
through which the Intercolonial Railway runs, hardly taking up a
passenger or a bale of freight by the way.' Would the ordinary
reader outside of Canada believe, after reading this
description, that in the course of the 688 miles of rail between
Halifax and Quebec the {177} Intercolonial traverses large
counties like Cumberland and Westmorland, among the most fertile
and productive in Canada; that though running through forest
country in the immediate rear of the settled coast line it is
closely connected by a score of short branches with the coal
areas and all the thickly populated districts along the Bay of
Fundy and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, that for 100 miles it
follows the still more populous shores of the River St.
Lawrence, and that the comparatively short distance, scarcely
more than 100 miles, between the settlements at the head of Bay
Chaleur and those of the St. Lawrence is alone responsible for
the epithets 'vast and irreclaimable' which Mr. Smith applies to
the whole length of the road? Would the reader believe that it
is a railway which carries about a million passengers and more
than a million tons of freight every year? That it has conferred
the enormous advantage of swift communication with the outside
world on some hundreds of thousands of people to whom its
construction was an object of eager desire for years before it
was accomplished? It is true that, worked as a State Railway for
the good of the communities through which it passes, for the
avowed purpose of uniting the provinces more closely, kept at a
high state of efficiency, and under some unusual expense for
clearing away snow in winter, a loss is at present annually
incurred, but it is doubtful if any public expenditure made in
the Dominion confers so great an advantage on so many people,
while subserving great national purposes. {178} Not in Canada
alone, but in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, India,
Russia and South America, railways, which do not directly pay,
are for the public good, or for prospective and indirect
advantage, constructed and worked to the content of those who
pay for them. In Great Britain state subventions are given to
steamship, postal, and cable lines which would not in themselves
be at once commercially profitable. For many years a large
deficit has been paid on the ordinary English telegraph system;
a deficit which even last year amounted to no less than £190,000
sterling. The money has been paid cheerfully, because it gives
to the mass of the people the advantages of the sixpenny

Why should all the vials of wrath, ridicule, and, we may now
add, misrepresentation, be reserved for the one State Railway of
Canada, because the people are willing to pay the deficiency of
£50,000 or £100,000 involved in its operation, for the sake of
the consolidation which it has given to the Dominion, and the
unmeasured benefit which it confers on immense districts and
large populations which would otherwise be singularly isolated,
socially and commercially, from the rest of Canada and the rest
of the world.

Once more, speaking in disparagement of the same railway as a
military route, Mr. Smith says: 'At the time when the
Intercolonial was projected, the two British officers of
artillery, whose pamphlet has been already cited, pointed out
that the line would be fatally liable to snow blocks. It would
be awkward if, at a crisis {179} like that of the Great Mutiny,
or that of a Russian invasion in India, the reinforcements were
blockaded by snow in the wilderness between Halifax and Quebec.'
What can we think of a writer who claims to be fair, and yet
parades as authorities two young gentlemen whose haphazard
forecast has been belied by twenty years of actual working
experience? So far from being 'fatally' liable to snow block,
the Intercolonial is operated during the two or three months of
deep snow with less risk of delay than is incurred every day of
the year by ships passing through the Suez Canal, the other most
available route in an Indian Crisis. It has been my own lot to
suffer a longer detention on a steamship at Ismailia, a
detention accepted by the ship's officers as in the course of
ordinary experience, than I can remember having met with in many
years' experience of the Intercolonial.

When Mr. Smith turns from the Intercolonial, which does not pay,
to the Canada Pacific, which does, we find no improvement in
fairness of statement. Of the Canada Pacific he says: 'The fact
is constantly overlooked in vaunting the importance of this line
to the Empire, that its Eastern section passes through the State
of Maine, and would, of course, be closed to troops in case of
war with any power at peace with the United States.' In a note
it is added: 'The _Quarterly Review_, for example, spoke of the
Canadian Pacific Railway as running from "start to finish" over
British ground, though the line was at that very moment applying
for bonding privileges to the Government of {180} the United
States.' This is evidently a deliberate statement. What are the
facts? During the months of open navigation Montreal is the
water terminus of the Canada Pacific Railway, and the only point
from which transfers would be made across the continent. From
Montreal to Vancouver, that is, from ocean to ocean, from 'start
to finish,' the line is entirely on British soil. Connection
further east with the winter ports of Halifax and St. John, has
from the first been made by means of the Grand Trunk and
Intercolonial lines, the route yet from 'start to finish'
running over British territory alone. From the St. Lawrence
there is even the alternative of a double route to the sea
coast, one down the St. John valley, chiefly owned and
controlled, I think, by the Canada Pacific, the other along the
Gulf of St. Lawrence, while a third has been projected by the
Grand Trunk, the rival of the Canada Pacific, through the heart
of New Brunswick. Only a year and a half ago the Canada Pacific,
to save distance, built still another line from Montreal
eastward to make connection with the Intercolonial, and it is on
the ground that a portion of this third line passes through the
State of Maine that Mr. Smith informs English people that
Canada's trans-continental railway 'would, of course, be closed
to troops in case of war with any power at peace with the United
States.' Whether this statement, made in a very critical point
of Mr. Smith's argument, is a _suppressio veri_ or _suggestio
falsi_, I leave others to decide. On which side is the correct
statement of {181} facts I can safely leave to the adjudication
of the Canadian reader, the Canadian press, or of any person who
has access to a good railway map of the Dominion. So flagrant
seems to me the distortion of fact that I have sometimes
wondered whether Mr. Smith was not testing the limits of that
English ignorance of colonial matters of which he makes much in
another part of his volume.

I must quote once more: 'In opening a trade among the provinces,
a natural trade at least, these inter-provincial railroads have
failed, for the simple reason that the provinces have hardly any
products to exchange with each other, and that means of
conveyance are futile where there is nothing to be conveyed.'
The answer to this may be put into a question which business men
will appreciate even if an author in his study at Toronto does
not. Why is it, if there is nothing to be conveyed between the
provinces, that, in addition to the Intercolonial, two competing
lines have already been constructed and a third projected, all
on purely business principles, to unite the maritime provinces
to those of the St. Lawrence?

In his excessive eagerness to make points, Mr. Smith exposes
himself to no slight suspicion of a willingness to open up
unnecessarily, if not maliciously, old sores between the
mother-land and the colony. He says: 'That in all diplomatic
questions with the United States the interest of Canada has been
sacrificed to the Imperial exigency of keeping peace with {182}
the Americans is the constant theme of Canadian complaint. ...
By the treaty of 1783, confirming the independence of the United
States, England not only resigned the territory claimed by each
State of the Union severally, but abandoned to the general
government immense territories "unsettled, unexplored, and
unknown."' After explaining that this was partly due to
ignorance, he continues: 'This is the beginning of a long and
uniform story, in the course of which not only great tracts of
territory, but geographical unity has been lost. To understand
how deeply this iron has entered into the Canadian soul, the
Englishman must turn to his map and mark out how much of
geographical compactness, of military security, and of
commercial convenience was lost when Britain gave up Maine. ...
A large portion of Minnesota, Dakota, Montana, and Washington,
Canada also thinks she has wrongfully lost. These are causes of
discontent; discontent may one day breed disaffection;
disaffection may lead to another calamitous rupture; and instead
of going forth into the world when the hour of maturity has
arrived with the parent's blessing, the child may turn in anger
from the parental door.'

To conjure up these historic mistakes as the cause of a possible
national rupture will only raise a smile in Canada; upon readers
outside of Canada who do not understand the circumstances the
passage leaves a false impression. That mistakes were made most
people agree; that they were partly due to the ignorance {183}
of English diplomatists is true; but Canadians must admit that
they were due to Canadian ignorance as well. As late as 1874 a
Cabinet Minister of the Dominion on a public platform described
the splendid wheat areas of the North-West as a country only
fitted to be the home of the wolf and the bear. Among the
separate and unsympathetic provinces, prior to confederation,
there were ignorance and indifference as well as among English
statesmen. 'Every intelligent Canadian now knows that most of
these mistakes were far more due to the want of a nexus between
the Colony and the Empire which would have brought colonial
knowledge and experience to the assistance of British diplomacy.
He knows that since the acceptance of this assistance as a part
of the public policy of Britain, such mistakes can no longer
occur, as the Fishery Award at Halifax and the Fishery Treaty at
Washington, when Canadian interests were represented by
Canadians, sufficiently testify; as the Behring Sea negotiations
testify, in which, acting upon the information supplied by the
Dominion Government, and recognizing the justice of the case,
Lord Salisbury did not hesitate to say the final word which made
aggressive diplomacy pause and submit to impartial arbitration.

'Disintegration, surely, is on the point of being complete,' and
'the last strand of political connection is worn almost to the
last thread,' Mr. Smith exclaims, using as the illustration of
his point Newfoundland's claim to make a commercial treaty of
her own independently {184} of Canada. He refuses to see what
others see, that the invitation to Newfoundland to have her
interests directly represented in the arbitration with France;
the fact that Canada has been thus represented at Halifax, at
Washington, in the Behring Sea difficulties; the formal
introduction, in short, of colonial opinion and knowledge into
national diplomacy, marks the creation of new threads of
connection, new bonds of union, which promise to be permanent,
because constructed on true and primary political principles.

It is, I think, a fatal flaw in Mr. Smith's discussion of the
Canadian Question, a fatal comment on his claim to have 'done
his best to take his readers to the heart of it by setting the
whole case before them,' that he makes no mention of this
decisive change in national policy, or of the consequent change
in the Canadian mind, which, if not reconciled to losses in the
past, has no reason to dread them in the future, and in this
confidence is content. That he should treat as present and
gravely irritating, grievances which have become purely
historical, is unfair and misleading.

If the difficulties with the United States which have arisen on
the Pacific and Atlantic coasts are not settled amicably and
justly, it will not be from any want of willingness on the part
of British people or Canadians. Britain and Canada agreed to a
settlement of the St Lawrence Fishery Question which an American
Democratic President and Cabinet accepted as fair. A Republican
Senate rejected it as a move in the party {185} game, and has
preferred to leave it open ever since. Any reader of the
correspondence in the Behring Sea Question can judge for himself
on which side was the spirit of conciliation and compromise.
Only in the last resort did Lord Salisbury utter the warning
words which seem to have done more than anything else to prepare
the way for fair adjudication upon the points at issue.

How curiously and completely Mr. Smith is out of touch and
sympathy with the organizing movements of the British world: how
oddly inconsistent he can be even while pressing his own
theories, one or two further illustrations will suffice to show.
Apparently he looks upon Australian Federation as a step in the
wrong direction. 'We cannot help once more warning the
Australians that Federation under the Elective system involves
not merely the union of the several states under a central
government with powers superior to them all; but the creation of
Federal parties with all the faction, demagogism, and corruption
which party conflicts involve over a new field and on a vastly
extended scale. It is surprising how little this obvious and
momentous consideration appears to be present to the minds of
statesmen when the question of Federation is discussed[4].'
Warnings like this are repeated. Anxious as he seems to be for
the unification of the American continent by the absorption of
Canada into the United States, Mr. Smith would apparently urge
Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland to avoid even the
example of Canadian {186} confederation in gaining for
themselves effective unity, although he knows, that for them
confederation means the freedom of the continental market and
the same breaking down of tariff walls which is the one supreme
bribe he has to offer to Canadians in exchange for the surrender
of their nationality. Another turn of the intellectual wheel and
even American unification is forgotten in a new ideal of
disintegration. 'There is no reason why Ontario should not be a
nation if she were minded to be one. Her territory is compact.
Her population is already as large as that of Denmark, and
likely to be a good deal larger, probably as large as that of
Switzerland; and it is sufficiently homogeneous if she can only
repress French encroachment on her eastern border. She would
have no access to the sea: no more has Switzerland, Hungary, or
Servia ... The same thing might have been said with regard to
the maritime Provinces--supposing them to have formed a
legislative union--Quebec, British Columbia, or the North West.
In the North West, rating its cultivable area at the lowest,
there would be room for no mean nation.' This passage may
explain to English or Australian readers why Mr. Smith has no
acceptance in the Dominion as the prophet of Canada's political
future. One remembers with astonishment that it is the writer of
these lines who, on the one hand, assures Canadians that they
cannot resist absorption into the United States, and who, on the
other, tells the advocates of British unity that they are
impracticable dreamers.


After this it does not seem surprising to find that Mr. Smith
himself proceeds to knock away the foundations on which his own
argument on the Canadian question has been built? These
foundations are practically two in number--the fear of war on
the American continent arising from irritation at the presence
of Britain there--and the necessity for Canada of commercial
intercourse with her own continent. These are the reasons why
the Empire is to be disintegrated, and Canada is to seek a new
national connection.

Following upon this we read: 'Of conquest there is absolutely no
thought. The Southern violence and the Western lawlessness which
forced the Union into the war of 1812 are things of the past.
The American people could not now be brought to invade the homes
of an unoffending neighbour. They have no craving for more
territory. They know that while a despot who annexes may govern
through a viceroy with a strong hand, a republic which annexes
must incorporate, and would only weaken itself by incorporating
disaffection. The special reason for wishing to bring Canada at
once into the Union, that she might help to balance the Slave
Power, has with the Slave Power departed. So far as the
Americans are concerned, Canada is absolute mistress of her own

Canada, therefore, in Mr. Smith's later opinion, has nothing to
fear from war with the United States.

Once more, discussing the McKinley tariff, we read:--,


'However, the manifest faults of the measure, combined with the
enormous waste of public money incurred in baling out surplus
revenue to avert a reform of the tariff, have proved too much
for the superstition or the sufferance of the American people.
Symptoms of a change of opinion had even before appeared. New
England is now praying for free admission of raw materials. The
Republican party in the United States is the war party, kept on
foot for the sake of maintaining the war tariff in the interest
of the protected manufactures. It has made a desperate effort to
retain power and to rivet its policy on the nation by means
which have estranged from it the best of its supporters; but in
the late elections it has received a signal, and probably
decisive overthrow. What all the preachings of economic science
were powerless to effect has been brought about at last by the
reduction of the public debt, and of the necessity for duties as
revenue. A new commercial era has apparently dawned for the
United States, and the lead of the United States will be
followed in time by the rest of the world.'

This means, if words mean anything, that in Mr. Smith's opinion,
the United States are soon to throw open their markets to the
world, and so, without political humiliation, Canada will have
the commercial freedom of her own continent. One asks why
'Canada and the Canadian Question' was ever written.

An explanation may perhaps be found. Mr. Smith quotes (page 247)
Sir Henry Taylor's opinion that {189} the North American
colonies are useless and dangerous possessions for Britain, and
thus goes on to remark: 'It may be said that this was written in
1852 and that since that time we have had new lights. Some
persons have had new lights, but those who have not are no more
unpatriotic in saying that the possession and its uses are as
dust in the balance compared with its evil contingencies than
was Sir Henry Taylor.' That is to say, though within the last
half century the relations of the empire have absolutely
changed, though the safety of its enormously multiplied commerce
has come to depend on steam and coaling stations in every corner
of the world, though the colonies have become great
self-governing and self-sustaining communities, though the world
has been recreated by steam and electricity, Mr. Smith frankly
admits that these facts have given him no 'new lights' on
questions of empire. He is living among the memories of the
past; he devotes himself to the task of maintaining a theory
based upon facts which have become fossilized under the drift of
half a century of extraordinary change. Even if we are prepared
in such a case to admit his sincerity, we have a right from the
outset to challenge any claim to adequacy of treatment or
correctness of judgment.

One more criticism of British Federation may be referred to as
illustrating the inconsistency in argument of which a clever
writer is capable:--

'Are the negroes of the West Indies to be included? {190} Is
Quashee to vote on imperial policy?' says Mr. Smith, in fine
scorn of the British federationist, who doubtless has no special
fear or thought about a carefully restricted and controlled
coloured vote in a few scattered colonies: a vote which in the
aggregate represents not more than a very minute fraction of one
per cent. of the enfranchised citizenship of the Empire.
Strangely out of place, however, does this scorn seem when we
find the same pages embody an argument for Canadians throwing in
their political lot with a Republic where the Quashee vote,
unconditionally and irrevocably granted, will far outweigh their
own; where it will become enormously influential as soon as the
free exercise is permitted of the rights granted by
constitutional law, as, one would think, must ultimately be the
case in a country which claims to give exceptional political
freedom. Equally inconsistent does it seem when placed beside
the romantic political enterprize to which Mr. Smith would
commit Canadians. He says, 'The native American element in which
the tradition of self-government resides is hard-pressed by the
foreign element untrained to self-government, and stands in need
of the reinforcement which the entrance of Canada into the Union
would bring it[5].' Nay, more, Mr. Smith wishes Canada to enter
the Union for Britain's sake, that she may 'neutralize the votes
of her enemies[6].' Does he reflect that if the Canadian {191}
vote chanced to be barely insufficient to neutralize the votes
of Britain's enemies, Canada would, as I have elsewhere pointed
out, be constitutionally forced into active hostility to the
mother-land? The path which he points out has on it possible
natural dishonour from which Canadians will instinctively
shrink. They will prefer to retain the right to neutralize the
influence of Britain's enemies, if the necessity arise, by other
means, such as they have found effective before.

[1] A _Times_' editorial has spoken of Mr. Smith's views about
the relations of Canada to the Empire as 'one of those crazes
that are scarcely intelligible in a man of great intellectual

[2] Lord Brassey, _Naval Annual_, 1890

[3] _Canada and the Canadian Question_, p. 260.

[4] _Canada and the Canadian Question_, p. 232.

[5] _Canada and the Canadian Question_, p. 274.

[6] _Idem_, p. 269.




I HAVE been able to speak of Canada as a unit; as already ripe
for the next stage in its political development; and of its
people as practically familiar with the application of the
Federal principle. The Australian colonies, which, taken
together, come next to Canada in size and population, have not
reached this point, but are struggling towards it. Yielding to
what appears to be the general tendency of modern political
development, and following the example of the United States and
Canada, the Australian people are wrestling with the problems of
local federation. With two great precedents to guide them the
task might seem an easy one. But they meet with the old
difficulty in learning the art of give and take; in overcoming
the same narrow but often sincere spirit of provincialism which
obstructed the adoption of a federal system in the United States
and Canada, the spirit which will have to be met and overcome in
working out any system of British unity. It is, however, a
significant and hopeful fact that the growth of the individual
colonies has inspired in all the best minds the aspiration for
some larger {193} Australian patriotism than any single colony
can give. The problem of federating Australia presents some
features different from those met with in the United States and
Canada. The whole territory of a vast continent is divided among
five colonies, each of which has therefore in area the
proportions of an empire or kingdom, and far exceeds in size the
states of the American Union or the provinces of Canada. Each
has a sea frontage of its own, and is thus independent of all
others for external communication. These divisions, again, have
grown up under a system of what may be called state socialism.
The government of each colony takes the chief part in developing
its resources, by the construction of Railways, irrigation
systems and other public works, involving the creation of large
public debts. Thus immense importance has been given to the
functions of the individual colony, functions which the colony
would be unwilling to resign, and which the Federal Government
would be rash to undertake.

I mention these new features and difficulties, because in
dealing with them new light will be thrown on federal problems.
Each accomplished federation makes more clear the steps by which
the next and higher one is to be attained, and the principles by
which it is to be governed.

It will be necessary to speak of the three insular divisions of
the Australasian colonies separately, but it is in regarding
them as a whole that we get an adequate idea of the great place
which they hold {194} and may continue to hold in the Empire.
Their populations are, and will continue to be, more purely
British than any countries yet occupied by Anglo-Saxon people.
Ninety-five per cent. of the inhabitants, whether born in the
colonies or in the mother-land, are British. There is here
nothing to parallel the elimination of the Anglo-Saxon element
which is taking place so rapidly in the United States. There is
no French province, with its individual lines of development, as
in Canada. There is no large Dutch element, as in South Africa.
The coloured population which may be found necessary for the
cultivation of the tropical north, will be strictly subordinated
to the necessities of British development, and there will never
be in Australia, as there is in the United States, an immense
coloured vote to confuse national politics. As a base of
maritime power the Australasian colonies manifestly furnish to
the nation of which they are a part an opportunity for
maintaining a supreme and indisputable control over a vast area
of the southern seas. Their harbours, some of which are amongst
the most capacious in the world are yet for the most part
capable of secure defence. Several are already supplied with
docks, spacious enough to admit for repair the largest ships
afloat. The more important are already strongly fortified.
Melbourne is pronounced by competent authorities to be one of
the best defended ports in the Empire. In New South Wales,
Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand, great neighbouring coal
{195} deposits increase the value of the harbours as stations
for either carrying on or protecting trade. Still more
important, they have behind them great and increasing
populations, capable of supplying adequate means of local
defence. It is manifest that such colonies may be a great
element of strength in any nation, and especially in one which
chiefly depends for security on naval power. Along with South
Africa in the Southern Hemisphere they complete what I have
before called the quadrilateral of maritime position which in
the Northern Hemisphere is represented by the United Kingdom
itself and Canada, with the commanding outlook of the latter
upon the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Australasia and South
Africa, however, projected as they are far into the water
hemisphere of the globe, give a far more complete monoply of
naval position than do the northern angles of this
quadrilateral. A great sea power enjoying the right to their
exclusive use would in any conflict have an immeasurable
advantage in maintaining command of the ocean.

The facts which indicate the industrial relation of Australasia
to the rest of the Empire are scarcely less significant than
those connected with naval position.

In the production of one great article of manufacture, wool, it
easily leads the world, both in respect of quantity and quality.
In its singular adaptation for pastoral pursuits it seems the
natural complement of a great manufacturing country like the
United Kingdom, and of a cold country like Canada. Its {196}
capacity for supplying meat as well as wool to the United
Kingdom has increased greatly during the last few years and
appears capable of indefinite expansion.

The production of gold, amounting to more than £300,000,000 in
less than fifty years; of silver, copper, tin and other metals,
which in vast quantities find their chief market in Great
Britain, indicate another important line of connection with
British industry. In proportion to population the Australasian
colonies take from Great Britain more than any other countries
in the world; they are able to do so because they sell to her
more than any other countries. Without precise figures to
justify the assertion one is yet quite safe in saying that no
two states in the American Union, even those lying most closely
together, have such proportionately large trade relations with
each other as have the Australasian colonies and the United
Kingdom, situated at opposite sides of the globe.

Australia's apparent isolation has suggested to many the
possibility and expediency of her aiming at an independent
national life. A little study of her relations with the rest of
the world shows that her isolation, at any rate, is purely
imaginary. If the first glance leads us to think that the
colonies most remote from Britain are likely to have the least
connection with her, facts soon show us that they really have
the closest of all. There is a very plain argument which goes to
prove that distance under {197} the conditions of modern
commerce, produces a greater community of interest than
contiguity. In Canada I have put historical bias in the
forefront of the factors determining towards national unity, a
bias so strong that in the future, as in the past, it seems
likely to defy any geographical considerations which oppose it,
and to force even commercial relations, to some extent, if need
be, into its own direction. In Australia the prior place must be
given to geographical situation and its influence upon
commercial relationship. In her interests and connections
Australia is, in an extraordinary degree, European and Asiatic.
Four-fifths at least of all her external commerce is with
Britain or with European countries chiefly through Britain. This
trade passes along waterways the safety of which depends upon
the movements of European powers. It is an essential element in
the prosperity of the people. A trade at present small but
prospectively great in the Indian and China seas gives Australia
a deep interest in Asiatic questions.

An able Australian writer lately said in the _Times_, 'Australia
is one of the least self-contained countries in the world. It is
a wonderful producer of raw material. But it must trade off this
raw material. ... A dozen big "stations" would supply wool
enough to clothe every man, woman and child in Australia. How is
the big remainder, almost the whole, to be disposed of? We must
sell it in the other hemisphere. We have no choice. ... The fact
is we cannot {198} produce all we want to consume, and we cannot
consume all that we can easily produce. ... We must sell our
surplus abroad. It would not be worth while disturbing the
deposit at Broken Hill only to pack away millions of silver
coins in vaults.' He goes on to say: 'England could do without
Australia better than Australia could do without England. The
one imaginable event would mean something like ruin; the other,
only disaster. England's prosperity is rooted in many countries,
in so many that she is always able to turn a brave face in any
single direction.'

Leading merchants and financiers of Australia have said to me
that six months stoppage of the English trade would mean the
closing up of three-fourths of the commercial and financial
houses of the country. The rapid expansion of this trade every
day increases the importance of the Suez Canal and the Cape of
Good Hope routes, the two channels along which Australian
commerce chiefly flows. Another field for trade is opening up in
the China seas and in India. For a people thus related to
Europe, Africa, and Asia, the Eastern Question, with all that it
involves, has a deep and permanent interest. The question of
whether Great Britain or Russia is in India and holds command of
Indian waters is vital to Australia's position in the Southern

On this point the _Melbourne Age_ not long since said: 'The
growth of Australia into a nation will bring with it the burdens
of a nation, among which {199} the burden of foreign relations
is the worst, especially if the relationship concerns a hostile
power. Australia is already concerned in the Russian advance on
India. ...The possession of the Indian seaboard means so much to
the safety of these colonies that the mere mention of it is
sufficient to awaken attention on the subject: for if the peace
of Australia demands that foreign nations shall not post
themselves in the Pacific, still more vital is it that Russian
guns shall not point over the Indian ocean, or Russian cruisers
gather in Indian harbours. Australia shares in the danger, and
is interested in meeting it, whether from the Imperial or the
local point of view. Even as an independent state, Australia
could not afford to agree to an occupation of India by Russia;
in fact, our danger would be all the greater. If the Russians
reach the sea-front the menace to Australia will be intolerable,
and Australia has its own interest in preventing this. The
defence of Australia begins on the hills outside Herat, and
there already the attack has begun.' I have preferred to quote
an Australian opinion upon this point to giving my own.

But even the questions connected with the trade routes and India
do not exhaust the European interests of Australia. She has
Germany and France at her doors, the one in New Guinea and the
other at New Caledonia and the New Hebrides. With both she has
had irritating points of difference and to the presence of both
in the Pacific she objects. {200} The nearness of the great
Dutch colonies of Java and the neighbouring islands is not now a
subject of anxiety, but should the course of European politics
ever lead to the absorption of Holland by Germany, an apparently
not impossible contingency, the Dutch colonies would become more
serious factors in Australasian affairs, for a great European
naval and military power would control a native population which
numbers 20,000,000, inhabiting islands which stretch along and
lie close to the uninhabited side of Australia. The present able
administrator of New Guinea, Sir William McGregor, who has long
made a special study of the political relations of the Pacific,
expressed to me his opinion that Australasian independence, with
the consequent withdrawal of Britain's protection, would almost
certainly result in French and German efforts to secure
positions in Australasia at the expense of the colonies.

The defence of her sea-borne commerce, greater in proportion to
population, as has been said, than that of any other country in
the world, must always be a foremost thought in the Australian
mind. On the conditions which will render that defence secure
military authorities are practically agreed. Speaking of the
great naval stations which command the principal trade routes,
Major General Sir Bevan Edwardes said after his late careful
study of Australian defence: 'It will thus be seen how mutually
dependent the scattered parts of the Empire must necessarily be.
The mother-country in maintaining {201} these fortified stations
affords direct protection to Australian interests. The Cape
Colony, in bearing a share in the defence of the most important
of these stations, lends a hand to Australia in the event of
war. Hong Kong, Singapore, Ceylon and Mauritius, in the large
contributions they have made to defence, and the considerable
annual sums applied to military purposes, are not only defending
themselves, but the interests of the whole nation, including
those of Australia. Canada, by the construction of that grand
line of communication, the Canada Pacific Railway--the
importance of which will be fully shown in our next great
war--and when she has completed the defences of Esquimault, will
in the same way aid in the general national defence.' He adds,
and I venture to italicize his words: '_Australia, as being the
most remote of all portions of the Empire, and having the
largest trade routes, would gain more in war from the existence
of these stations than any other group of colonies. The idea
that local defence will suffice for the needs of a commercial
country, and that the interests of Australasia end with her
territorial waters, is utterly false. The real defence of the
Australasian colonies and their trade will be secured by fleets
thousands of miles from their shores_[1].'

Once more, China, with its population of 400,000,000, is a close
neighbour to Australia with its 4,000,000. Only narrow seas
separate them. The decisive objection felt in every part of
Australia to the immigration {202} of Chinese, and the steps
taken to prevent it, point to relations which might easily lead
to serious rupture between the two countries. I have heard
sober-minded Australians, including cabinet ministers, affirm
that for a long time to come Australia of itself would be
absolutely powerless to offer any adequate resistance to an
irritated China if she used her considerable fleet for the
annoyance of Australian commerce, or if she chose to flood with
a Mongolian population the vast unoccupied areas of the North
and West coasts of the continent, which are incapable of defence
by land forces from the colonies. The idea is sometimes brought
forward in Australia that England's desire to keep on good terms
with China and Australia's resolution to prevent a large Chinese
immigration, bring Imperial and colonial interests into hopeless
conflict on a fundamental point of policy. On the other hand it
may be fairly questioned whether Australia, without the weight
of British influence and the strength of British ironclads
behind her, would have escaped serious consequences through her
impulsive action in denying international rights to Chinamen.
But leaving aside this question, it is still clear that so long
as China is a naval power of considerable strength in seas
frequented by Australian commerce, so long Australia cannot
forget her existence and neighbourhood. An independent Australia
would be compelled at once to develop a navy equal at least to
that which she meets in those seas, otherwise she would have no
means of {203} checking or chastising the insolence of the
meanest Chinese junk which interfered with Australian trade or
attacked an Australian ship.

It is manifest, then, that Australia's position is far from
being one of isolation. Conditions more different from those
under which the United States started upon their career of
independence it is difficult to imagine. Almost the last act of
Britain before the Revolution was to crush the only other
European power which had a footing in America, and might prove a
menace to the colonies. Wolfe won at Quebec in 1759--and
Independence was declared in 1776. From 1789 till 1815 the whole
of Europe was plunged, in strife so desperate that the United
States were left free to work out their own development as no
nation had ever been left to do so before. Nevertheless the
short war of 1812 ruined American commerce, paralyzed industry,
and closed by far the larger number of American business houses.
It showed that isolation and an ability to ward off actual
invasion did not give immunity from the calamities of war.

It seems to me that two inferences, most misleading when applied
to the present condition of the British world, are constantly
drawn from the results of the American Revolution, and the
growth of the United States.

In the first place, because Britain's power in the world was not
seriously affected by the loss of the American colonies, it is
supposed that she would suffer as little from the loss of those
which she now {204} possesses. No inference could be more
mistaken. When the American colonies were gone, there still
remained space in which a new colonial empire could be founded;
there was still room to find bases of maritime power and
commercial influence on all the great oceans, and in both the
Northern and Southern Hemispheres. England at once found it
necessary to avail herself of this opportunity. There is no
chance left now to found a third colonial empire. The other
nations of Europe, finding out too late for themselves the
advantage which England had gained, have appropriated what small
portions were open for their occupation.

Again, the fact that the United States have in the course of a
century grown into a world-power of the first magnitude tends to
mislead the imagination in forecasting the future of the
colonies. Let Canada and Australia, it is thought, make
themselves independent, and the history of the United States
will be repeated; their greatness equalled in each case. Many
circumstances unite to make such a result impossible.

First, the physical conditions of the countries themselves. A
Canadian who has made some study of Australia may perhaps be
allowed to express frankly his conviction that neither country
can possibly look forward to anything that will for a moment
compare with the extraordinary increment of population in the
United States. He may add that to him this is a subject for
congratulation, rather than regret.


Delightful as are Canadian homes, and all the surroundings of
Canadian life to those who understand and have been brought up
among them, or to those who come from a similar climate, there
is no doubt that the long winter, the short summer, and the
necessity which both impose for strenuous exertion, render the
country unattractive to vast masses of those emigrants of less
stamina who pass so freely into parts of the United States. We
may fairly hope that in the long run the race advantage of the
slower growth will be great, and an abundant recompense for the
less rapid increase of population.

Climate is, in fact, the controlling element in a persistent
process of natural selection. It excludes the negro from being
any considerable factor in the population. The Italian
organ-grinder and all his kind flee southward at the approach of
winter. Only on the Pacific coast does the Chinaman find a
congenial home. Cities like New York, St. Louis, Cincinnati, or
New Orleans attract even the vagrant population of Italy and
other countries of Southern Europe: Canada, to her own ultimate
advantage, repels it. Canada will belong to the sturdy races of
the North-Saxon and Celt, Scandinavian, Dane and Northern
German, fighting their way under conditions sometimes rather
more severe than those to which they have been accustomed in
their old homes. Selection implies less rapid increment; quality
is balanced against quantity.

The obstacles to rapid growth which Canada finds {206} in
northern cold Australia meets with in southern heat, in a
continental configuration which deprives the country of an
adequate river system, and in isolation from European centres of

The geography of the continent presents features which must be
considered in forecasting the future of the country. We often
see elaborate calculations, based upon the rate of increase
during the last fifty years, which are intended to prove that a
rapid increment of population, parallel to that which has taken
place in the United States, may be anticipated. I found that
more prudent thinkers in Australia reject such estimates as
utterly fallacious on merely physical grounds, and facts support
this different view. With a circumference of about 8000, and a
diameter of more than 2000 miles, it is very doubtful if
Australia can ever have a great city more than two or three
hundred miles from the sea-shore. If Broken Hill be quoted as an
exception, it would seem to confirm rather than weaken this
view. A large output of silver, amounting already to many tons
per week, has attracted to the spot and supports a population of
twenty-five or thirty thousand people. But even the presence of
so large a population has not led to the cultivation of the
soil, and almost every article of food is brought from a
distance, while a supply of water itself is only obtained with
difficulty. During a recent period of drought, water was carried
to Broken Hill by rail.

In America, as soon as the Alleghanies were {207} passed, the
flood of immigration poured out upon the great river valleys of
the Ohio, Mississippi, and Missouri, and the prairies of the far
West, capable of at once absorbing millions of people. Nothing
of this kind is possible for Australia. There the want of water
in the interior, the partly desert and partly pastoral character
of the country, are limiting dense population to the rim of the
continent. Even there it is curiously concentrated in the
cities. Irrigation, with the intense culture which it makes
possible, may cause a considerable change over limited areas,
and artesian wells will do much to give steadiness to the
pastoral industry, but after all such allowances have been made
it seems perfectly clear that the centre of Australia will be
conquered but slowly, and will never be densely inhabited. It is
hoped that by a united effort among the colonies a railway may
be thrown across the continent from North to South; one from
East to West would apparently be impracticable, and the
connection between the opposite coasts will be chiefly
maintained by Sea. Over vast areas from five to ten acres of
land must be allowed for each sheep pastured, and it is doubtful
if the capacity of much of this land to carry stock can be
sensibly increased. The care of sheep and cattle can be carried
on with great profit and on an immense scale by an exceedingly
limited population, and a large part of Australia must always be
chiefly pastoral. I suspect that in the mining industry also the
proportion of workers to the volume of production {208} is
comparatively small. Three hundred millions of gold taken from
the soil since the first discovery of the precious metal less
than fifty years ago, and vast public and private borrowings in
addition of outside capital have given a great impulse to
settlement in the past. But the conditions of the last half
century have clearly been abnormal, and can scarcely be taken as
an index of the future.

There are, however, other aspects of Australian life which mark
this contrast with America even more decisively than do the
prevailing industries and physical conditions to which I have
referred. The coloured element, which in the United States now
numbers about 8,000,000, and forms so large a fraction of the
whole population, Australia rejects entirely. Neither Chinaman,
Hindoo coolie, nor Kanaka will ever be permitted to become to
Australia what the negro is to the United States, a considerable
and permanent addition to dense population. Scarcely less strong
is the objection to the indiscriminate immigration of cheap
competitive labour such as that which has filled up America. The
arrival at Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane of half a dozen
steamships with a living freight such as has been discharged at
New York from the steerage of Trans-atlantic liners almost every
day for the last quarter of a century would today bring New
South Wales, Victoria, or Queensland to the edge of revolution.
Assisted emigration has come to an end, save in the two younger
colonies. For years {209} the great trans-continental Railway
companies and Trans-atlantic steamship companies of the United
States have acted as the most energetic emigration agencies in
every country of Europe, with the one object of pouring a flood
of population, without the slightest reference to its quality,
over the lands lying along the newly built Railway lines. An
Australian Government which tried in this manner to make its
State-built Railways productive, would soon find its occupation
of governing gone.

That 'pulling in of the latch string' and closing the door which
the United States have decided upon reluctantly and late,
Australia has begun almost at the commencement of her career.
She has determined that her population shall be select. This
policy exposes the working man of Australia to the sarcasm that
he is quite prepared to repeat in his vast continent that
selfishness in respect of land which he is rather fond of
denouncing in the landlord of the old world. On the other hand,
the United Kingdom has, early and late, sent too many social
failures to Australia to justify either surprise or indignation
at Australia's aversion to unacceptable immigration. We need not
quarrel with Australia's decision in this matter, for it is one
which a country has a right to make. It secures more perfect
social and political assimilation of new material and avoids the
great dangers which flow from placing large political powers in
hands unfitted to use them. But if select, then not vast in
numbers. Judging from present indications and {210} tendencies
Australia is likely to have settled along its seaboard a slowly
increasing but singularly wealthy population, whose prosperity
will be ministered to by the highly remunerative mining and
pastoral industries of the thinly settled interior.

This sea-board of the continent, the rim of which alone is or is
likely to be thickly settled is 8000 miles long. A country so
situated and populated is manifestly exposed, in an unusual
degree, to naval attack. It is this sense of exposure which has
in large measure promoted the idea of Federation among the
colonies themselves. It has stimulated the work of harbour
defence, important for the whole Empire as for Australia itself.
It has led to the joint arrangement between the mother-land and
the various colonies for an addition to the Australian Squadron.
The terms of this arrangement are worthy of note. The various
colonies jointly agree to contribute the sum of £126,000 per
annum, partly as interest on the capital employed in
construction, partly towards the maintenance of a certain number
of armed ships to be reserved exclusively for service in
Australian waters. To carry out this arrangement the amount
invested by the mother-country in the ships, seven in number,
already constructed and in active service, has been close upon a
million sterling. The skilled officers and trained seamen are
also supplied from the Royal Navy. It is specially agreed that
any expense incurred beyond £126,000 shall be borne by the
Imperial Treasury, that the ordinary strength {211} of the
Australian Squadron shall not be reduced on account of this
local addition to naval defence, and that during the ten years
over which the arrangement extends the seven ships cannot be
withdrawn from Australian waters. Surely no young country with
an increasing necessity for coast defence due to enlarged wealth
and commerce ever secured it on terms to compare with these. No
better illustration could be given of the advantage which the
colonies may derive from joint action with the mother-land.

The Australasian colonies aspire, and reasonably aspire, to
dominance in the Pacific. That manifestly depends on having at
command the naval power which can be best secured by
co-operation with the Empire. The creation of substantial
interests in the heart of the Pacific, such as would be involved
in the construction of cable, postal and commercial routes,
linking Australia and New Zealand with Canada in one direction,
with the West Indies and Great Britain in another (when the
Panama route is open), interests which the whole Empire would be
concerned in securing, would do more than anything else to give
effect to Australian aspirations.

However threatening or annoying the presence of Germany and
France in the Southern Seas might be to an independent Australia
before she had arisen to a position of great naval strength, I
cannot but think that every German and French station in the
Pacific, so long as the Empire remains one, is a guarantee of
peace. So overwhelming would be the advantage {212} in naval and
coaling bases, and in reserves of fighting force, enjoyed by a
united British people in those seas, that any European nation
could not but expect that a declaration of war against the
British Empire would be followed by an immediate attempt on our
part to sweep the enemy from the few ports which he might hold
in the Pacific; and it cannot be doubted that such an attempt
would be made with every probability of success.

There are those who think that Australian Federation will not
make for British unity, but will instead prove the prelude to
Australian Independence. I believe that this is an entirely
mistaken view. But were it true; did the choice for Australians
lie between Federation with the Empire and Federation among the
colonies themselves, I unhesitatingly say that the true course
would be to accept the latter. Until Australia can act and speak
as a unit, she is incapable of deciding wisely and conclusively
upon her own destiny; she is not in a position to take her right
place and exert her due influence in a federation of nations. A
number of colonies grouped as are those of Australia, which
failed to see the advantage of a common political life, or were
unwilling to make the sacrifices necessary to secure it, would
remain in a state of political unrest and incomplete development
which would render them a weakness rather than a strength in a
great national combination. Much as I believe in the advantages
which would come to Australia, to the other colonies, to Great
Britain and {213} to the world at large from British unity, I
yet am convinced that it would be better that Australia should
be isolated from the Empire than that she should be divided
within her own boundaries. This opinion is entertained, I feel
sure, by ninety-nine out of every hundred advocates of a United

In Canada, however, confederation has not had the effect of
weakening attachment to the Empire. By giving the people a
larger political judgment it has made them weigh more seriously
the responsibilities of national existence and made them value
more highly connection with a powerful state.

Meanwhile the contest going on in Australia is the best of all
preparations for the acceptance of the wider idea of national
unity, since it leads to the accurate definition of principles,
and a careful balancing of the gain and loss involved in large

Canadian experience leads us to think that Australian Federation
would lend itself to national union in another way. In Canada
before 1867, the date of Confederation, the Colonial Office was
continually appearing as a factor in provincial politics.
Whatever trouble arose, Downing Street was to blame, and party
passion vented all its bitterness upon this official
representative of England's policy. It is safe to say that
Confederation eliminated the Colonial Office as an active, or at
any rate, an irritating factor from Canadian party politics. It
was found that by far the larger number of those questions which
gave rise {214} to friction with the Colonial Office were
transferred to the domain of the Dominion government; that the
difficulties were such as were necessarily incident to the
management of a large state; that Canadians had to fight out
among themselves disputes once fought out with an English
minister. It is a striking fact that since Canada attained to a
united voice on public questions, since confederation imposed
upon her the necessity of dealing with internal difficulties and
forming a large judgment on common affairs, not only has no
serious difficulty arisen with the Colonial Office, but the
deliberately expressed opinion of the Canadian Government has,
as a rule, given a general direction to British policy in
dealing with external matters which concerned Canada.

In one or two of the Australian colonies the Colonial Office is
still heard of occasionally as it was in Canada thirty or forty
years ago; the Colonial Secretary of the day is a frequent
subject of political lampoon; denunciation of his policy is a
part of the stock-in-trade of the party politician. To say that
this denunciation is affected rather than real is not enough; it
is at times a very real irritant between English and Australian
feeling. The federation of Australia will, in my opinion, remove
this irritant as federation did in Canada, and by eliminating
petty differences enable people to take larger views and have
fewer suspicions in national affairs. If the Federal Government
of Australia reserve the right, as Canada has done, to appoint
the governors of provinces, there will {215} be no opportunity
for disputes such as that which arose with Queensland a few
years ago. If the right be not reserved, a colony will have
little room to complain about the manner of its exercise by the
Colonial office.

I have pointed out the interest which it seems to me the
Australian colonies have in all matters which affect the rule of
the Empire in the East, and especially in the question whether
Britain or Russia is in India. Military authorities, on the
other hand, are agreed, and the fact is, indeed, manifest to any
observer, that in the event of a great struggle for the
possession of India, the advantage for the Empire as a whole
would be immeasurable in having behind India the colonies of
Australia and New Zealand, as a base of supply and support, even
if they did not send a man into the field. The suggested
creation of a great national arsenal in one of the southern
colonies as a safe source of rapid supply of war material in
case of any temporary break in the connection of India and the
colonies with the United Kingdom is a proposal which recommends
itself to the common sense of British people, who will have more
at stake in the next great war than any nation ever risked
before. In the single matter of equipping cavalry the colonies
might well turn the scale in an Eastern war. Already both New
Zealand and Australia export horses in considerable numbers to
India, and indeed already furnish the bulk of the remounts for
our Indian cavalry. The surplus stock {216} to be drawn upon is
becoming great enough to stand almost any drain, and with the
attention now given in the colonies to horse breeding quality is
constantly improving. The command of men which the nation has in
India, and of horses in Australia, would counterbalance anything
that Russia can draw from the steppes of Tartary.

In the matter of food supplies, too, the colonies might play an
important part. Army contracts for tinned meats are now filled
by the great meat preserving factories, and the capacity of the
vast pastures of Queensland and the farms of New Zealand to
furnish food of this kind is practically unlimited. There
remains to be noticed one all-important fact. The original
acquisition of India, as the highest authorities now admit,
depended upon Britain's easy access to its coasts by sea. With
the Australian colonies and South Africa under the national flag
that access could be easily maintained in the face of all
comers. The permanence of the British position in India may be
considered as resting very largely on this issue.

Whether in a critical contest for the possession of India
Australia would contribute men, as well as supplies, may be left
to conjecture. But looking at all that would be at stake for the
colonies of the South, the failure to respond to a real call of
need against Russia would indicate some falling off in that
'saving common sense' which has hitherto inclined British people
to challenge enemies on the furthest {217} frontier rather than
await them at their own doors. An Australian opinion has already
been given upon this subject. A contingent of Australian troops
sent to the Soudan may be put to the credit of impulsive
national enthusiasm; a contingent one day on the frontier of
Afghanistan might well be the outcome of deliberate and
far-sighted Australian policy.

I attach very little importance to the opinion, sometimes
expressed, that in view of the rapid increase of a native-born
population in Australia, any measures looking towards national
unity should be hurried forward before the generation born in
the United Kingdom had passed away or lost its controlling
influence. Other reasons there are for early movement, but not
this one. The idea of national unity must win on its own merits.
The growth of a native-born population may or may not make for
consolidation, but it is on the judgment and sentiment of such a
population that the strength of any union must ultimately
depend. Meanwhile we may remember that four-fifths of the
population of Canada is native-born; the fact has not weakened
in the slightest degree the closeness of sympathy with Great
Britain and the Empire.

Of the many ardent advocates of national unity, everywhere
scattered throughout the Dominion, by far the larger proportion
consists of native Canadians. So I believe it will ultimately be
in Australia. The longer history of Canada, the more severe
conditions of that history, seem to me to have given a greater
{218} maturity and definiteness of political thought in Canada
than in Australia.

It was often pointed out to me in Australia, by the older
inhabitants, and particularly the older politicians, that among
the un-travelled younger people of the colonies there was at
present an extraordinarily exaggerated opinion of the absolute
and relative importance of Australia in the world. A stranger
naturally hesitates to generalize on the truth of such a
criticism, though marking individual illustrations. I had the
privilege of addressing a gathering of young men of the Sydney
University. In a debate which followed one of the students
asked: 'What single thing have people in England better than we
Australians have here?' The manifest sincerity with which the
question was asked made the remark deeply interesting--almost
touching. The attitude of mind is accounted for by the lack of
some standard of comparison close at hand. England has measured
her strength with too many rivals to overrate her place in the
world. Canada has had a great neighbour to force upon her a
sense of proportion. The United States themselves emerged from
the great war of Secession with a temper curiously modest and
moderate as compared with the spread-eagleism which prevailed in
the years when the country had known little but continuous
prosperity, when its strength had not been tested by trial, and
when a republican form of government was supposed to be a
guarantee against all the ills from which monarchies were wont
to suffer. {219} The remarkable conditions under which Australia
has been developed, with no strong native races against which to
struggle--with external enemies kept at a distance by British
ironclads, or by fear of the British name, and with suddenly
gained wealth almost without precedent in history--sufficiently
account for any over-confident attitude on the part of very
young Australians. This, time is sure to rectify. Political
experience gives political perspective. Out-side of this it
would be difficult to discover anything in the mass of
Australians to indicate that they were likely to be different
from Englishmen or Canadians in loyalty to a large nationality.
I say the mass of Australians, for it would be idle to ignore
the fact that another current of thought exists.

In two of the Australian colonies, New South Wales and
Queensland, some journals are found which make it their business
to cultivate an anti-British and separatist feeling, and it must
be admitted that they give themselves to their task with great
and unflagging energy. It is very difficult to estimate
accurately the range of their influence. I found the most
divergent opinions held upon the point by well-informed
Australians themselves, some looking upon them, and the idea
which they represented, as forces that would have to be reckoned
with in the future: others regarding them as unworthy of notice,
and without any permanent influence. Certainly in strength of
language they have no parallel in any other part of the British
world, or in the United States. British people {220} outside of
Australia may be interested in knowing something of their tone
and aim. I select a comparatively moderate passage. 'What does
it [British Federation] offer us in exchange for our ideals and
our aspirations, and our sympathies and our interests? ... It
offers us only an unwieldy Empire, crusted over with fungi,
rotting with inequalities, governed by a class which is blown
out with Privilege and Pride, that ignores the Spirit of the Age
and clings to the brutal Past. In this Empire our Australia will
be swamped, under it she would be buried; in it our inspiration
to lift again the torch of Liberty would be smothered and
drowned. We do not want it and we will not have it. Our
Australia shall be as free from foreign control as is the
sunshine that the Australian loves; as is the billowing sea that
surges eternally around her shores. She shall in herself be
complete, in sympathy with all, in dependence upon none. ... We
have no interest in British Trade and still less in the
maintenance of the Empire. We do not care who owns India; we
hope that if any more opium wars come about the white ensign
will be blown out of Chinese waters; nothing would please us
better than to hear that the Spaniards had retaken Gibraltar and
the Germans Heligoland and that the huge facade of commercial
aggression and oligarchic robbery had come down with a crash.'

This passage fairly represents a kind of political pabulum which
is dealt out very freely and finds an audience in Sydney and
Brisbane. For the most {221} part it is furnished, not by native
Australians, but by imported talent. In Sydney a higher grade of
newspaper freely discusses the question of separation from the
Empire, with a distinct inclination towards independence as the
true Australian ideal.

At a public meeting which I addressed in Sydney the statement of
the arguments for British unity met with what seemed to me a
distinctly unfriendly reception. The case stands quite alone in
my experience of the British world. I was, however, to my
surprise assured by leading men who were present that the
hearing given me was, for Sydney, a very good one. If so, the
lot of a public man in New South Wales is not an enviable one.

At this meeting Mr. Buchanan of the Legislative Council moved,
and Mr. Traill of the Legislative Assembly seconded, a
resolution, affirming that 'the natural and inevitable tendency
of the Australian colonies is to unite and form among themselves
one free and independent nation.' I give the names of the mover
and seconder that the weight or weakness of their support of
such a resolution may be justly estimated by those competent to
judge. In comment upon the occurrence the leading Sydney
journal, while repudiating any sympathy with the display of
Separatist feeling, said, 'the fact is patent that within the
last few years the opponents of closer union, even the advocates
of separation, have gathered courage, spoken more boldly, and
taken an aggressive attitude.' Australians therefore know what
they have to deal {222} with. Mr. Dibbs, the present premier of
New South Wales, has used expressions that indicate a wish for
or an expectation of Australian independence. On the other hand,
among the great majority of leading men in the colony, including
native Australians of prominence and conspicuous ability, such
as Mr. Barton and Mr. Reid, the opinion appeared general that
separation from the Empire would mean for Australia 'all loss
and no gain.' At the Sydney conference of 1891 the voice of Sir
Henry Parkes was as decisive for permanent unity with the Empire
as was that of Sir John Macdonald at Quebec in 1864.

Making all allowance, however, for division of opinion in
Sydney, it must be remembered that New South Wales by no means
represents all Australia.

If large and enthusiastic meetings, the hearty support of an
influential and exceptionally able press, and the cordial
approval of the clearest thinkers form a sufficient index to
popular opinion, then one is justified in saying that the idea
of national unity appeals strongly to the sentiment and to the
reasoned conviction of the people of the next great colony,
Victoria. The dominating energy of Victoria has extended its
interests to every corner of the Australian continent. Its
business connection with the mother-land is more important and
intimate than that of any other colony. Hence the outlook on
national questions is wide, and Victoria would steadily resist
any tendency to separation from the Empire. The same may be
said, I think, of South Australia, where the press is
conspicuous {223} for its able and temperate discussion of
national questions and where the prominent leaders of opinion
are sincere believers in the permanent unity of the Empire.

In Queensland, as is well known, there has been in past years
much talk of separation, chiefly arising from friction with the
Colonial office being made a factor in local party conflicts.
For some time Queensland refused to share in the expense for
naval defence undertaken by the other colonies, the contribution
for that purpose being denounced as 'tribute.' Later and wiser
thought has reversed this decision. From its long coast-line and
the immediate proximity of settlements formed by other nations,
Queensland has more interest than any other colony in naval

The consciousness of exposure to attack prompted the attempted
annexation of the whole of New Guinea, and explains the intense
annoyance felt in Queensland at the refusal of the Colonial
office to sanction that annexation. The necessity for naval
protection is a permanent condition, and will probably dominate
the political thought of Queensland even more than of the rest
of Australia. In Rockhampton I had the opportunity of
discussing, the question with a large and sympathetic audience,
and in other parts of Queensland as well as there with leading
politicians and journalists. Despite the superficial talk about
separation, I doubt if in any colony of the Empire is the value
of a great national connection more thoroughly understood by
those who really dominate the policy of the colony.


Taking the Australian continent as a whole I think it is a fair
estimate to say that in every one of the colonies there is an
overwhelming majority who would favour permanent connection with
the Empire. On the other hand it is quite certain that in some
of the colonies there is an active and aggressive minority
energetically working for ultimate separation. It is for
Australians and Australians alone to decide between these
conflicting ideas.


The colony of Tasmania is comparatively small, but its insular
position makes it one of the critical points in Australian
defence. Up to the present time owing to the small population
and revenue, its principal harbours have been less strongly
fortified than those of Australia, and military authorities have
constantly urged greater attention to its defences upon the
ground that by seizing positions here an enemy might find means
of coal supply and a base from which to attack Australia. Upon
this point the report of General Edwards was most emphatic. The
island is within three days' steaming distance from Adelaide,
one from Melbourne, two and a half from Sydney and four from New
Zealand. With several fine harbours, a soil and climate equal to
any in the world, a considerable coal supply, and as yet only a
limited population to resist attack, Tasmania {225} would
present to any hostile power not merely an opportunity but
almost a temptation to establish a Gibraltar in the Southern
seas. Tasmania has strong commercial reasons for wishing to
federate with Australia. On the other hand in an Australian
federation she would have the strongest reasons for opposing
separation from the mother-country. Like New Zealand, she
depends for safety upon naval defence, a defence she could not
receive from the colonies of the continent.

So far as it is possible to judge from external indications the
opinion of this small but strategically most important colony is
almost entirely in favour of close and permanent connection with
the Empire. During discussion on the subject carried on in the
principal centres of population, and extending over some weeks,
I found that the idea of British unity was heartily supported by
everyone of the leading newspapers, and by most of the principal
public men, including the leaders of the Government and
Opposition. Opposing ideas have their representatives in a small
group of sincere republicans, headed by the present
Attorney-General, the Hon. A. Inglis Clark. The republicanism of
this small party was the more interesting, as it seemed to me
quite unconnected with and superior to the irrational and bitter
anti-British feeling which occasionally finds expression in one
or two of the Australian colonies.



In New Zealand I found among politicians, journalists, and the
public generally, a remarkable consensus of opinion that the
circumstances of that colony would always compel it to regard
questions of national defence and consolidation from its own
point of view, and in a large measure independently of
Australia. Facts justify this attitude. New Zealand is 1000
miles long and nowhere more than 150 broad. Cut in two by a
broad strait and penetrated by numerous bays and inlets, it has
3000 miles of coast line, and is therefore more exposed from a
naval point of view than any other equally fertile, wealthy, and
thinly settled country in the world. That it is an outlying part
of Australia is an illusion left on many minds from a casual
glance at small maps of the Southern Hemisphere, but the
illusion vanishes the moment we visit the country or consider
the facts. Twelve hundred miles of open sea separate it from
Australia. The trade between the two is growing, but it is
insignificant compared with the flood of commerce which pours
from each towards Britain. The similarity of production will
probably make this a permanent condition, save when drought
compels Australia to look to New Zealand for food supplies.
Britain is New Zealand's one great market, and it has become a
more steady and reliable market from the means which have been
devised to transfer the perishable produce of New Zealand farms
to the {227} British consumer. Meanwhile, in her isolated
position only naval power can give the colony adequate defence.
The states of Australia can give effective support to each
other--they cannot give it to New Zealand until they possess a
fleet sufficient to command the Southern seas, and such a fleet
they will not possess at any time within the range of present
political calculation. Among reflective men in New Zealand one
finds no readiness to believe that geographical isolation could
be relied upon for giving military security, an idea which has
considerable vogue in parts of Australia. 'I see that the
tendency of enterprize and science is every year more to
annihilate space, and space will be annihilated for purposes of
war as well as peace, and the distance of the colonies from
those who may attack them every year becomes less and less of a
protection to them.' These words of Lord Salisbury express not
inaccurately, I think, the prevailing thought of all serious
politicans in New Zealand in regard to their country. The
feeling is strengthened by a further consideration. New Zealand
has already a good deal of trade with the scattered islands of
the Pacific. This trade is likely to have a large development as
time goes on. At any rate New Zealanders have formed a very
definite ambition to acquire a large commercial connection and
powerful influence in the Pacific, an ambition which can
scarcely be realized unless its commercial interests have
adequate naval support.

Considerations of the kind I have mentioned explain {228} the
comparative indifference of the colony to Australian federation,
which would never satisfy her necessities except as subsidiary
to the larger national union. They explain the fairly unanimous
support which her ablest public men have given to the general
principle of national Federation. Mr. Ballance, the Liberal
Premier of New Zealand, said in the House of Representatives, in
a discussion which took place prior to the Australasian Federal
Convention at Sydney, that 'Imperial Federation, with a free
management of its own affairs as at present, was the only future
he would look to for the colony.' Equally strong expressions
could be gathered from the speeches or writings of most of the
leading men of New Zealand. The fear lest Australian Federation
might ultimately lead to separation from the Empire was publicly
and expressly assigned as a reason why New Zealand should not be
a part of the Australian commonwealth. Inside an Australasian
Federation New Zealand's influence would be steadily thrown in
favour of British national unity. On the other hand, should
Australia ever move towards separation--an improbable
contingency, but one often suggested by a few of her journalists
and public men--the advantage in prestige and more practical
ways which New Zealand would derive from retaining the wide
national connection, and becoming the centre of the Empire's
naval strength in the Southern seas, would infinitely outweigh
anything Australia could possibly offer, and would decide the
course to which {229} self-interest even now points. The
individual interest which New Zealand thus holds towards the
question is very significant, and worthy of careful attention.
Placed in the centre of the water hemisphere of the globe this
'Britain of the South' seems the precise complement of the
mother-country at the centre of the land hemisphere, while a
conjunction of circumstances,--the possession of excellent
harbours, already very fairly defended, and easily made
impregnable, a plentiful supply of coal, timber, and metals, a
climate which never fails to favour abundant crops, and
nourishes a sturdy race,--fits the country to be the opposite
pole of the Oceanic Empire which Britain has created. Distance
might be supposed to have lessened commercial intercourse with
the mother-land; as a matter of fact it is greater in proportion
to wealth and population than that of any other country. Roughly
putting the exports of New Zealand at £10,000,000 per annum,
£7,000,000 go to Great Britain, £2,250,000 to other parts of the
Empire, and only the small remaining balance to other countries.
The proportion of imports is not widely different. Community of
interest could scarcely be greater than this. The safety of this
trade, too, is of the very essence of the prosperity, one might
almost say of the commercial life of the country. Its stoppage
would mean financial and industrial paralysis. We have therefore
some measure of what the security guaranteed by the greatest
naval power in the world means to New Zealand.


On the other hand, it would be difficult to exaggerate the
advantage which such a power would derive in war from the
exclusive use of this halfway place in the voyage around the
world. Auckland, Lyttleton, Wellington and Dunedin all have
excellent harbours. The fortifications which protect them,
constructed and equipped at the expense of the colony itself,
are, says General Edwards in his report 'well planned, and the
armaments are sufficient to repel the attack of several
cruisers, provided the defence is properly organized and
competent officers appointed to command.' Thus they furnish a
comparatively secure retreat for ships of commerce or of war.
Auckland and Lyttleton have docks, that at Auckland being
capacious enough to receive for repair the largest ship of war
afloat. Even now the vessels of France, Germany and other
nations call here to coal, victual, or repair, finding such
stations as Samoa or Noumea but poor bases from which to
operate. The advantage to a nation holding these ports in time
of war would be overwhelming. It would scarcely be diminished
even if Australia should become independent. Other powers, if
they respected Australia's independence, could not use her ports
as a base of attack, and at the utmost could only demand the
rights of neutrals which would be of little use in a serious
conflict with Britain while retaining the exclusive possession
of New Zealand. The defection of one or two of the Australian
colonies, or even of the whole continent, would weaken {231} the
chain of the Empire's maritime position, but would not create in
it a fatal flaw, so long as New Zealand remains faithful to the
national allegiance. The practically undivided sentiment of her
people and her own supreme interests alike incline her in this

[1] _Address before Royal Colonial Institute_--_March_, 1891.




THOSE who claim that the separation from the Empire of any one
of our three groups of great colonies would inflict a serious if
not a fatal blow on our national greatness and the prosperity of
British people--point with no slight interest to the
illustration of their argument which is furnished by South
Africa. Here, again, we have under the British flag a country of
vast extent and favourable for European occupation. The
institutions of self-government are already established over a
wide area, and are being gradually extended. A confederation of
all the South African provinces is already in the thought of
practical statesmen. We have here, then, the probability of the
formation of another power, so large that a merely colonial
position cannot be expected to satisfy its ultimate political
necessities. Though at present far inferior to Canada and
Australia in population, and behind them in fulness of
constitutional development, it is moving along the same lines of
political growth, and circumstances may at any time lead to a
rapid increase of population. Most of the arguments, therefore,
which are used, in, {233} favour of Canadian or Australian
separation apply to South Africa as well. If an independent
government, a separate foreign policy, a distinct system of
defence, an individual diplomatic relation to the rest of the
world, is a political necessity for Australia, New Zealand, or
Canada, it is clearly an equal necessity for South Africa. The
internal impulse towards independence might even be expected to
be exceptionally strong, since a considerable fraction of the
white population is not British by descent, and has been led by
circumstances to feel a peculiar sensitiveness in regard to
political rights.

Is then the retention of South Africa under the national flag,
and within the national system, a matter of indifference to
British people either at home or abroad? Is the separation of
South Africa, its freedom to associate itself with any power it
pleases, or even its being placed in a position where British
people could only enjoy or be granted neutral rights in its
harbours, a condition of things which can be discussed with
equanimity by Australians, New Zealanders, East Indians, nay,
even by Canadians with their great ocean interests, to say
nothing of the people of the United Kingdom itself? The test
which South Africa applies to separatist theories seems to me a
crucial one.

Once more I cannot do better than quote from the 'Problems of
Greater Britain.'

The author says: 'Considered from the Imperial, from the Indian,
and from the Australian point {234} of view, as an aid to our
maritime power, no spot on earth is more important to us than
the Cape with its twin harbours Table Bay and Simon's Bay.' And
again: 'While a general hostility to our rule would be
sufficient to make us part with almost any other colony, it is
impossible for us to give up the military station which we
occupy at the extremity of the African continent and which
itself cannot be held unless we hold at all events a portion of
the country round it.'

No one who considers the geographical position of the Cape, and
its relation to the greatest trade route of the Empire, can
regard these utterances as exaggerated. The Cape is, and must
always be, one of the greatest turning places of the world's
commerce. Between St. Helena and Mauritius for the Indian bound
ships, between St. Helena and King George's Sound for those
going towards the Southern seas, the Cape is the only sufficient
resting-place that European ships can find.

'As a vessel steaming from British ports for India, or China, or
Australia, in time of war begins to approach the point of
exhaustion of its coal supply it finds itself in a region of
storms, far from any shelter except that at the Cape of Good
Hope. The position of that refuge, and the certainty of being
able to deny it to an enemy, combined with the command of the
Red Sea route, even if only for the purpose of stopping it,
draws therefore, on behalf of England, an almost impassable line
on this side of the globe {235} between the Eastern and the
Western Hemispheres. The difficulty which our ownership of the
Cape places in the way of possible opponents, even more than the
refuge afforded to our ships, constitutes in war the supreme
advantage of the possession of the Cape of Good Hope as a naval

Such being the relation of South Africa to the Empire, such the
importance of its remaining under the British flag, we may well
ask, with some anxiety, whether the feelings of its people and
the interests of the colony point in the same direction.

The attitude of the leading men of South Africa towards the idea
of national unity is clearly defined. Mr. Hofmeyer, the leader
of the Dutch or Afrikander party, at the colonial conference of
1887, brought forward, and earnestly pressed upon the assembled
delegates, a scheme for 'promoting a closer union between the
various parts of the British Empire by means of an imperial
tariff of customs.' His words indicate the temper of mind in
which he addresses himself to the question: 'I have taken this
matter in hand with two objects: to promote the union of the
Empire, and at the same time to obtain revenue for the purpose
of general defence.'

Sir Gordon Sprigg, for many years Premier of Cape Colony,
speaking in London in 1891, strongly advocated a similar policy,
and was urgent, to quote his own words, 'that an invitation
should be addressed to the governments of the various colonies
and dependencies {236} to send representatives to this country
to consider, in a conference, the practicability of forming a
commercial union between the different parts of the Empire,'
regarding this as the most effectual way of accomplishing what
he considered should be the aim of national statesmanship, viz.
the unification of national interests.

The present Premier of Cape Colony, and the most influential man
in South Africa, Mr. Cecil Rhodes, has stated that he looks upon
the consolidation of the different colonies of South Africa as
the main aim of his political life, but at the same time his
utterances, from the beginning of his political career to the
present moment, indicate conclusively that he only thinks of a
united South Africa as an integral part of a united Empire, so
constituted as to give adequate expression to the aims of its
various members. It is interesting to find that these three men,
who may be taken as representing the different sides of South
African feeling, all eminently practical, and all above a
suspicion of subjecting the interest of the colony to the
interest of the nation at large, are agreed in the belief that
the best future for their country is close association with the
mother-land, and the Empire. And looking at the facts of the
situation, from a South African point of view, who can doubt
that they are justified? Pressing upon British South Africa on
all sides are the nations of Europe. France is in Madagascar.
Bordering on British territories are those of Germany and
Portugal. {237} The Dutch Republics, as yet only half won to
friendliness and sympathy, are close at hand. Large native
populations--which do not fade away, as in America, New Zealand,
or Australia at the approach of the white man, but rather
multiply under influences which make for peace--are all around.
The development of a great continent overflowing with stores of
wealth depends not only on the energy of the men who have the
work directly in hand, but on the confidence they feel that
behind them is the diplomacy of a powerful nation to maintain
their rights, the wealth of a rich nation to furnish them with
capital, the strength of a great people to secure them, in
emergency, from disaster.

If the British connection seems of such significance to South
African statesmen, in working out the future of their vast
country, quite as much does the Empire require the constant
advice of those statesmen in directing the difficult diplomacy
and making the critical decisions which the control of so much
of the continent necessitates. The lack of such advice, directly
and consistently sought, is probably at the root of much of the
difficulty of the past. In the long run South African opinion
must dominate national policy in South Africa. That it should be
expressed in an authoritative form, and under a due sense of
national responsibility, are the conditions which will make it
most helpful, and most reliable.

Sir Gordon Sprigg and other public men from the Cape have
pointed out to me how peculiar are the {238} problems which
arise in South African politics, how much they stand apart from
Anglo-Saxon experience in other parts of the world, how
impossible it is for anyone who has not to deal with these
problems on the spot to understand them. Here, if anywhere, the
maxim is true to which I have alluded in another place, that
'only those who know a country are fitted to rule it.' It is
only by utilizing the knowledge and experience of the best minds
of the country that adequate direction can be given to its
external relations as to its internal government.

The actual and contingent stake which Great Britain, Australia
and other parts of the Empire have in the exclusive use of the
Cape as a naval station in time of war may be roughly outlined
in figures. Lord Brassey, dwelling upon the importance to the
nation of completing the fortification and equipment of the
neighbouring harbours, mentions in the Naval Annual for 1890,
that at present about £90,000,000 worth of commerce centres at
or passes this point every year, including £20,000,000 of
outward trade to Australia, £13,000,000 to the Cape itself, and
portions of the Indian, Chinese and other Eastern trade which
make up the whole. This is under normal conditions. But should
the Suez Canal be closed, and it is difficult to see how in a
great European war this could be prevented, unless England could
obtain and maintain absolute naval control of the Mediterranean,
and military control of Egypt, then at least £150,000,000, and
possibly £200,000,000 of {239} British trade would be forced to
go round the Cape. I have mentioned elsewhere Lord Dufferin's
statement, to the London Chamber of Commerce, that if anything
ever occurred to take away our control of the Indian markets
there is not a cottage in the manufacturing districts of England
which would not feel the blow at once. If this be true of the
Indian trade alone, the argument becomes much more impressive
when applied to the risks which would be incurred, alike by
Britain, India, and Australia if they were compelled to depend
for the security of the whole vast volume of Eastern and
Australian commerce upon such neutral rights as could be granted
by an independent South Africa, or if they left the Cape in such
a position that it could be seized by a hostile power. We have
an interesting historical illustration of what security on this
great trade route means in the fact, stated on apparently
reliable authority, that between the years 1793 and 1797, when
the French held the Isle of France and Bourbon, no less than
2266 British merchantmen were seized by French ships or
expeditions sallying out from those stations. So intolerable did
the situation become for British commerce that the conquest of
the French stations became an absolute necessity, and this was
effected in 1810 when a new outbreak of war had made like
disaster imminent. Yet this was before the vast trade of
Australasia had come into existence, and when our trade with the
East was but a trifle compared with its present great


In the case of South Africa, however, the argument for national
unity is so strong that few undertake to question it. Not long
since, in the Manchester Reform Club, I met a sincere disciple
of the old school of thinkers on colonial policy. He had studied
the question under Mr. Goldwin Smith, at Toronto, and was at
first concisely and comprehensively dogmatic in his assertion
that the only plan for England was not only to permit, but to
encourage, each of the great colonies to become independent as
soon as possible. He was an honest thinker, and one could with
him afford to stake the argument on a candid answer to a single
question. 'Could Great Britain, with any regard to the safety of
her national position, afford to give up South Africa'? The
emphatic negative which, after a moment's thought, he gave, was
the only reply possible for one who acknowledged the force of
facts when presented to his mind.


The present and contingent relation of the British West Indies
to the problem of national defence, and therefore of national
unity, is more direct than at first sight may appear. No portion
of the Empire was won at greater expense of prolonged conflict
than the West Indian Islands, but their relative commercial
importance was temporarily diminished by the occupation of other
tropical countries, and the substitution of the {241} beet-root
sugar of temperate climates for that of the cane. West Indian
trade, which has found out many new directions, is still,
however, important, and not for the United Kingdom alone, but
for the Canadian Dominion as well. Canada and the West Indies
are the complement of each other in natural production, and a
very large trade is sure to grow up between them as they develop
in wealth and population. The Dominion has, therefore, a deep
interest in the power of the Empire to protect commerce such as
is given by stations like Bermuda, St. Lucia and Kingston.
Halifax has already been connected with Bermuda by a telegraph
cable. The West Indian islands and Naval Stations at present
depend for communication upon lines passing through the United
States. The continuation of the Halifax-Bermuda cable to the
West Indies would give an independent electric connection
between all the British possessions in America. This might
become a very distinct addition to the resources of our naval

The completion of any means of ship communication across the
Isthmus of Panama would increase indefinitely the importance to
the Empire of the West Indies. Australia would have at once the
same kind of interest in the strength of the national position
there which she now has in our possession of the Cape, or in our
control of Aden and Malta. Through this new channel would
probably flow the main flood of British commerce with the
western coasts of North and South America. It would furnish the
easiest line of {242} naval communication between the Eastern
and Western coasts of Canada.

Thus for the needs of the present and the contingencies of the
future the retention of the British West Indies under the
national flag gives strength to our general system of defence.

The completion of telegraphic and steam communication between
the principal islands has brought the question of local
federation within the range of serious discussion, but the
obstacles, social as well as physical, are naturally much
greater than in the case of Canada and Australia, and the
accomplishment of union may be for some time delayed. The
islands could not well be independent in any case, and there is
probably no part of the Empire which would lend itself more
readily than the West Indies to national consolidation.

[1] _Problems of Greater Britain_, vol. ii. p. 521.




'As time passes it rather appears that we are in the hands of a
Providence which is greater than all statesmanship, that this
fabric so blindly piled up has a chance of becoming a part of
the permanent edifice of civilization, and that the Indian
achievement of England, as it is the strangest, may after all
turn out to be the greatest; of all her achievements.'--Prof. J.
R. Seeley.

'BUT above all, what is to be done with India'? With this
question Mr. Goldwin Smith makes the relation of India to the
Empire the crux of the Federation problem. To him the difficulty
presented seems insoluble, chiefly because he believes that it
would be impossible for a federation of democratic communities
scattered over the globe to hold India, about which they know
little, as a dependency. He even doubts, in his customary vein
of pessimism, whether the fate of the Indian Empire is not
already 'sealed by the progress of democracy in Britain.' So far
from this last being the case it looks as if the English working
man, who has annually more than £60,000,000 of trade staked on
our hold on India, will be the last to weaken by his vote our
position in the country or our grip on the waterways which lead
to the East. Every second or third day's work of the Lancashire
cotton-spinner is done for the Indian market, or for other
Eastern {244} markets which we control on account of our
position in India. In some large districts, such as that of
Oldham, the proportion is three days' work out of four. And the
Lancashire spinner is a keen political thinker, especially where
his bread and butter are concerned.

The industry of the city of Dundee depends almost entirely upon
the supply of a single fibre from the valley of the Ganges. The
Dundee jute-worker is a Radical, but he is not likely for that
reason to forget that his daily wage depends on the hold which
the Empire keeps upon Bengal. The purely trade relation of India
to the United Kingdom was clearly put by Lord Dufferin in his
address to the London Chamber of Commerce three years ago. He

'During the past year our trade with our Indian Empire was
larger than our trade with any other country in the world, with
the exception of the United States, amounting to no less a sum
than £64,000,000. If, again, we merely confine our attention to
a comparison of our exports to India with our exports to other
countries, we shall find that the same  statement holds good,
namely, that the exports of Great Britain to India are greater
than those to any other country in the world except the United
States, amounting as they do to £34,000,000, whereas our exports
to France do not exceed £24,000,000, and to Germany £27,000,000.
In fact, India's trade with the United Kingdom is nearly
one-tenth of the value of the total British trade with the whole
world. ... In 1888 she took £21,250,000 worth of our cotton
goods {245} and yarns, out of a total of £72,000,000 worth
exported to all countries, whereas China only took £6,500,000
worth, Germany £2,500,000 worth and the United States £2,000,000
worth. Again, if we take another great section of British
exports, such as hardware, machinery and metals, we find that
out of a total export of £36,000,000 to all countries India in
1888 took £5,750,000 worth, whereas we only sent £3,000,000
worth to France, £1,750,000 worth to Russia, and £750,000 worth
to China.

'These figures, I think, should be enough to convince the least
receptive understanding what a fatal blow it would be to our
commercial prosperity were circumstances ever to close, either
completely or partially, the Indian ports to the trade of Great
Britain, and how deeply the manufacturing population of
Lancashire, and not only of Lancashire, but of every centre of
industry in Great Britain and Ireland, is interested in the
well-being and expanding prosperity of our Indian
fellow-subjects. Indeed it would not be too much to say that if
any serious disaster ever overtook our Indian Empire, or if our
political relations with the Peninsula of Hindostan were to be
even partially disturbed, there is not a cottage in Great
Britain, at all events in the manufacturing districts, which
would not be made to feel the disastrous consequences of such an
intolerable calamity.'

There is another point to consider. The rapid growth of our vast
Indian commerce has been largely due to the application on an
immense scale of British capital {246} for the opening up of the
country by railways and canals, and for the conservation and
distribution of water by systems of irrigation. It is estimated
that £350,000,000 are thus invested, to which must be added
other large sums employed in various forms of industrial
enterprise;  the profits and interest of all this capital
flowing back steadily to the United Kingdom, and evidently
secured only by British dominance.

When to all this we connect the fact that from 75,000 to 100,000
British people find well paid employment in carrying on the
government, defence and industrial development of the country we
begin to understand the vast range of national interests
involved in our retaining possession of India. The estimate that
the people of the United Kingdom draw from India sixty or
seventy millions sterling every year in direct income is
probably a moderate one. Directly then Britain's stake in India
is enormous. Indirectly our possession of the country would
probably determine the drift of the commerce of the vast regions
still further East.

Nor is it the United Kingdom alone which is concerned.

The present and prospective interest of the Australasian
colonies in India are also great, not only for the military
reasons which have been mentioned, but in view of the growing
trade relations. India reduced to anarchy by the withdrawal of
British rule, or India governed by Russia, would mean a serious
blow {247} to Australasian trade, present and prospective. It
might easily mean exclusion from all the markets of the East.

South Africa, which owed its earliest development to the fact
that it was the stopping place on the road to India, still owes
much of its importance to the same cause. The interest of Canada
in India is more remote, but now that Canadian steamship lines
are on the Pacific, with their terminus at Hong Kong, Britain's
position in the East has a new interest for the Dominion.

But every British colony great and small is directly and deeply
interested in the maintenance of the power of the Empire, and if
the continued power of the Empire involves, as it seems to do,
the retention and government of India, the colonies should not
shrink from sharing that responsibility.

Professor Seeley has proved with conclusive clearness that the
government of India has had very little effect upon the domestic
politics of England; there is no reason to think that it would
have more upon the domestic politics of the Empire.

The political difficulty about India's relation to a united
Empire is, however, felt very widely. It is one of the first
which occurs to the minds of most men when they turn their
attention to the question, as I have found during public
discussion in many parts of the Empire. Nor is this to be
wondered at. That a country enjoying popular representative
institutions should rule as an imperial power over some hundreds
{248} of millions of people without representation in their own
government is an extraordinary anomaly. Men's minds have,
however, become accustomed to it by long usage, and the fact is
accepted almost without remark. But when a proposal is made to
re-construct the national organism on what is claimed to be a
logical basis, the incompatibility between our popular system of
government, and the system which we apply to India at once

The anomaly, however, would be no greater under federation than
without it, and it is one with which the British mind in all
parts of the Empire is familiar. Most of the great colonies have
had on a small scale the experience which the United Kingdom has
had on a large scale of ruling weaker races without giving them

Unquestionably confusion of thought is caused by the careless
use of the term Empire into which English people have fallen.
Applied to India and the crown colonies it is admissible, though
with the qualification that in practice the Empress of India
acts as much under advice as the Queen of England. As a name for
the 'slowly grown and crowned Republic' of which the mother-land
is the type and the great self-governing colonies copies, the
term Empire is a misnomer, and has none of the meaning which it
has when applied to Russia, Austria, or the France of the
Napoleons. If immediate reflection of the popular will in public
policy be taken as the test, England, Canada, and Australia are
more republican than the modern {249} republics; as democratic
as is well possible under a representative system of government.
But the people of this 'crowned republic,' proud of their
capacity for self-government, and impatient of any illegitimate
control over themselves, have assumed the task of governing a
real Empire--one which contains a population of some hundreds of
millions of various races. The legitimacy of this assumed task
we need not stay to discuss. The actual relation of Britain to
India as to several other countries without self-government is a
fact; and one which has passed beyond the range of discussion.

This government of India the United Kingdom, upon which the work
now devolves, finds it possible to carry on, and on the whole
efficiently. That it is done to the good of the people ruled is
scarcely open to question. British rule in India may be far from
ideally perfect, but that it is superior to anything India ever
had before is freely admitted even by foreigners. Is there
anything in the nature of the case which would prevent the
representatives of a united British race from carrying forward
the government of India as do now the representatives of the
United Kingdom alone?

Let us consider the system of government. To the Indians
themselves no representation, as we understand the term, is
given. While largely employed for executive functions they take
no part in legislation. An English statesman of proved capacity,
assisted by a council of experienced specialists, is placed as
{250} Viceroy at the head of affairs. Under him is a trained
body of civil servants, selected by a rigid system of
examination. To these the general administration of the country
is committed. It is a system of government by experts.

The fiscal system of India, its revenue and expenditure, are
kept entirely separate from those of the United Kingdom. It has
its separate and clearly defined code of laws suited to its
circumstances. It has a practically independent military
organization. The government of the great dependency is not only
essentially different in form from that of the self-governing
portions of the Empire, but revolves in a sphere of its own. The
general lines of Indian policy come under the review of
Parliament; the pressure of public opinion is kept upon those
who rule India through the channel of Parliamentary criticism;
beyond this the rule of the country is left to the specialists
to whom it has been committed. It has been long since any
question of Indian policy made or unmade a government.

I have met everywhere, in Britain and in the colonies, people
who think that India makes a heavy drain upon the revenues of
the United Kingdom, and would do so upon the revenues of a
united Empire. This is an example of that ignorance which, it
has been truly said, is the most probable dissolvent of the
Empire. It is therefore not unnecessary to say that India pays
exclusively for its own defence and government. Every soldier,
white or native, from the {251} Commander-in-Chief down to the
humblest sepoy; every civil servant, from the Governor-General
to the lately appointed clerk, is paid from Indian revenues
alone. India does even more, it pays the whole expense of the
India Office in London, and for the maintenance of Aden and
other ports near the mouth of the Red Sea, with their garrisons,
although these give protection to other Eastern commerce and to
that of the Australasian colonies as well as Indian. India
contributes also to the maintenance of consular establishments
in China and of the British Embassy in Persia. The resources and
the fighting power of India stand today as a barrier to guard
from danger the enormous British commerce in the Eastern seas,
to keep back the most dangerous military power of Europe and
Asia from nearer approach to the English communities of the

The question whether any degree of representation could be given
to the Indian population would remain for a federated Empire,
just as it now exists for the United Kingdom. The problem would
be no greater and no less. Any step taken in that direction
would no doubt be exceedingly cautious and tentative. But for
dealing with this, as with all other Indian problems, a united
Empire, with its consolidated strength, would be vastly more
efficient than a nation going through various stages of

The answer which appears to me sufficient to those whom claim
that Britain's control of India interposes {252} an insuperable
obstacle to a Federal system for the Empire is this:--

India is practically a crown colony, and as yet the United
Kingdom has shown no inclination to govern it otherwise than as
a crown colony. The same duty may be rightly accepted and duly
fulfilled by British people as a whole under any system of
common government. To accept it would create no new national
burden or risk, would react no more upon the ordinary political
development of the various states than it has upon that of the
United Kingdom.




FOR the sake of studying the various angles from which the idea
of federating the Empire is criticized it seems worth while to
refer briefly to some of the views expressed in a paper, lately
contributed to a leading magazine[1], on the subject, by Mr.
Andrew Carnegie, under the title of 'An American View' of
Imperial Federation. Among thinking native Americans I have
found, as a rule, a genuine sympathy with the advocates of unity
for British people, a sympathy perfectly natural in a nation
which has suffered and sacrificed so much as the people of the
United States have for a similar object. Besides, their
familiarity not only with the idea of large political
organization, but with its actual working out has taken away
from them that fear of its difficulties which seems to haunt
many weak-kneed Englishmen who conceive that human political
capacity had achieved its utmost when it evolved the existing
Imperial system. One of the distinguished thinkers of the United
States, after a tour made around the world a few years ago,
expressed {254} to me, with characteristic American energy and
emphasis, the opinion he brought home with him upon the subject
of British consolidation. 'The citizen of the British Empire,'
said he, 'who is not an enthusiast on the question of Imperial
Federation, is a Philistine of the very first magnitude.'

Working out on separate and yet parallel lines the great
problems of liberty and of civil and religious progress, the
United States and the British Empire have the strongest reasons
for sympathizing with each other's efforts to consolidate and
perfect the national machinery by which their aims are to be
accomplished. English people now understand and respect the
motives which actuated the resolute and successful struggle of
the people of the United States against disruption. That
Americans should understand the necessity which exists for
maintaining the integrity of the Empire and the principles on
which it is sought to maintain it, is most desirable. They are
not likely to learn them from Mr. Carnegie.

Curiously enough, he begins his argument by forgetting that
there is a British Empire. As I have pointed out elsewhere
(though without regarding the views as essential to Federation),
there are those who consider that national consolidation would
be hastened on through an endeavour by tariff agencies to make
the Empire self-sufficing in the matter of food, just as the
United States by the McKinley tariff, are endeavouring to make
themselves self-sufficing in the matter of manufactures.


Mr. Carnegie justifies protection in the United States because
it ultimately cheapens production, and then says: 'Now because
Britain has not the requisite territory to increase greatly her
food supply, any tax imposed upon food could not be temporary
but must be permanent. The doctrine of Mill does not therefore
apply, for protection, to be wise, must always be in the nature
of only a temporary shielding of new plants until they take
root. It will surprise many if Britain ever imposes a permanent
tax upon the food of her 38,000,000 of people, with no possible
hope of ever increasing the supply, and thereby reducing the
cost, and thus ultimately rendering the tax unnecessary. A tax
for a short period, that fosters and increases production, and a
tax for all time which cannot increase production, are different

Mr. Carnegie evidently forgets that the Empire covers one fifth
of the world, that it produces every article of food and raw
material of manufacture, that under the compulsion of any great
national necessity it could in five years make itself
independent of outside supplies, with the possible exception of
raw cotton, and that by the natural processes of growth and
change, without any protection, it is likely in the near future,
partly on account of the inability of the United States to
furnish what they have hitherto furnished, to be drawing its
supplies of food chiefly from its own territories. It is not my
business to suggest, much less argue for a system of protection
{256} for the Empire, but if it is to be discussed, let us at
least take into account the elementary facts which Mr. Carnegie
omits. The climax of absurdity seems well-nigh reached when Mr.
Carnegie, fresh from the full operation of the McKinley Tariff
and its justification, roundly accuses the Empire Trade League
of making 'efforts to array one part of the race against the
other part' because it has suggested a very slight differential
tariff within the Empire. Life in America is not generally
supposed to destroy a sense of the ridiculous.

Mr. Carnegie's criticism of another class of Federationists is
that they have 'no business' in their programme, 'no
considerations of trade,' that 'sentiment reigns supreme.' It is
evident that he has not a primary conception of the main drift
of federation policy. He is like many of his fellow-citizens in
America, out of whom life on a broad continent appears to have
driven the maritime instinct. Because external commerce or the
carrying trade means little to the United States, or because his
own country is so remarkably self-contained, he has no standard
by which to measure the profound and practical significance
which maritime position has for countries like Great Britain or
Australia. In 1890 of the 3389 vessels which passed through the
Suez Canal 2522 were British and three American. In the same
year, out of the whole volume of American external trade itself,
only 12.29 per cent., or about one-eighth was carried in
American bottoms, of the remaining seven-eighths by far the
larger part crossed the seas under the {257} British flag.
Again, in 1890 the shipping cleared in England amounted in all
to 3,316,442 tons, but of this only 38,192 tons were under the
United States flag, although the trade between the two countries
is one of vast proportions. These figures will serve to
illustrate how difficult it must be for anyone looking at our
national questions from an American point of view to understand
the fundamental interests of British people, and perhaps explain
the airy cheerfulness with which Mr. Carnegie suggests various
processes of political evolution which involve the
disintegration of the Empire. But Mr. Carnegie has other
difficulties than those which arise from studying a question
from an unfavourable angle. The intense occupations of business
in America may well be his excuse for not keeping in touch with
the movement of British politics; they can scarcely excuse him
for discussing English affairs as if he were in a position to
understand them. 'Britain,' he says, 'can choose whether
Australia, Canada, and her other colonies, as they grow to
maturity, can set up for themselves, with every feeling of
filial devotion towards her, or whether every child born in
these lands is to be born to regard Britain as the cruel
oppressor of his country. There is no other alternative, and I
beseech our friends of the Imperial Federation (League) to pause
ere they involve their country and her children in the
disappointment and humiliation which must come, if a serious
effort is made to check the development and independent
existence of the colonies, for independence {258} they must and
will seek, and obtain, even by force, if necessary.' One
hesitates whether to lay stress upon the ignorance or the folly
of sentences like these. I use the words advisedly. Ignorance,
because apparently Mr. Carnegie does not know that almost every
responsible British statesman of the past half century and of
the present day, when dealing with this question, has said that
when the great colonies wish to go Great Britain will raise no
objection; that this view has been re-echoed unanimously by the
press and by public opinion; and that no advocate of Imperial
Federation, national unity, or whatever other name we apply to
British consolidation, has ever hinted at the union of the
self-governing portions of the Empire as anything else than a
pact entered into voluntarily by communities free to choose or
refuse as they please, as free as were the States of the
American Union or the provinces of the Dominion to adopt their
present system. Britain has not waited, and Imperial
Federationists have not waited, for Mr. Carnegie's supplications
to decide this great and fundamental issue of national policy.
The advocates of national unity are the foremost to proclaim it.
Folly, for it is folly when Mr. Carnegie, in the face of facts
like these, which nobody can question, rounds his periods with
hints at cruel oppression, on the one side, and independence won
by force, on the other, when discussing the relations of England
and her colonies. It is on his own continent that he finds the
example of states kept within a national union by force.


If Mr. Carnegie understands little about Britain's relation to
her colonies and to the world, he understands much less about
the opinions of colonists. None the less he speaks of them with
the most complete assurance of knowledge. A single illustration
will give the measure of his ignorance. Quoting certain views in
opposition to British connection expressed by Mr. Mercier, the
late leader of the extreme national party in the French province
of Quebec, he gravely assures his readers that Mr. Mercier
reflects the sentiments of ninety-nine out of every hundred
native-born Canadians and Australians. Absurdity could scarcely
go further.

Mr. Carnegie poses as a political philosopher and gives English
statesmen the advantage of his sage advice on national
questions. We look for the grounds of this superior wisdom and
we read as follows: 'What lesson has the past to teach us upon
this point? Spain had great colonies upon the American
continent: where are these now? Seventeen republics occupy
Central and South America. Five of these have prepared plans for
federating. Portugal had a magnificent empire, which is now with
the Brazilian Republic. Britain had a colony. It has passed from
its mother's apron-strings and set up for itself, and now the
majority of all our race are gathered under its Republican
flag[2]. What is there in the position of {260} Britain's
relations to Australia and Canada that justifies the belief that
any different result is possible with them? I know of none.' And
knowing none, Mr. Carnegie, by his own confession, writes in
utter ignorance of the main facts of the question which he
discusses. Spain and Portugal governed their colonies from the
home centre, and as tributaries. Britain allows her colonies to
govern themselves, and to dispose of their own money as they
please; Spain and Portugal (and England in 1776) wished to
retain their colonies against their will; Britain now leaves the
question of continued connection a matter which colonists are to
decide for themselves.

Very interesting indeed is Mr. Carnegie's sudden change of front
when he comes to look at federation as making for the
aggrandisement or the good of {261} the United States rather
than of the British Empire. He has just been proving the
absurdity, the impossibility, nay, the criminality, of trying to
knit together in some sufficient federal union the mother-land
and her great colonies. He proves to his own satisfaction that
the colonies never will be and never ought to be satisfied with
the position they will have in such a union. Separate
governments and separate governments alone will satisfy their
yearnings for complete independence.

He passes by without note the idea which inspires the
Federationist, who believes that such a union will make
enormously for the world's peace, not only by preventing the
formation of many distinct and possibly hostile states, but also
by enabling British people to give security to industry over an
area of the world greater than was ever before under a single
flag--at least three times as great as that of the United
States, to say nothing of the vast extent of ocean which the
Empire can control.

With his ignoring of this leading idea of those who wish for
British unity, and his ridicule of federation for the Empire, a
feature of the alternative which he proposes is in odd contrast.
He suggests that Canada should be encouraged by England not
merely to give up her present allegiance, but to join the United
States, and this is the argument with which he supports his
suggestion: 'With the appalling condition of Europe before us,
it would be criminal for a few millions of people to create a
separate government {262} and not to become part of a great mass
of their own race which joins them, especially since the federal
system gives each part the control of all its internal affairs,
and has proved that the freest government of the parts produces
the strongest government of the whole.' Why not, one asks, for
the British people as well as for those of the United States?
Why may not full control of internal affairs and the freest
government of the various parts of the British Empire go hand in
hand with a strong government for the whole? Why may we not
consider the united and sympathetic effort of the different
divisions of the Empire to so consolidate their strength as to
maintain peace over one fifth of the world directly--indirectly
over a still greater proportion--a nobler ideal than that for
which Mr. Carnegie thinks the Empire should give up Canada--i.e.
the peace of America? Nor need the larger interfere with the
smaller aspiration. Incidentally Mr. Carnegie himself fully
admits this. After having used the possibility of conflict
between Great Britain and the United States as his chief or only
argument for the transfer of Canada's nationality, he goes on to
say: 'Even today every Federationist has the satisfaction of
knowing that the idea of war between the two great branches is
scouted on both sides of the Atlantic. Henceforth, war between
members of our race may be said to be already banished, for
English-speaking men will never again be called upon to destroy
each other. During the recent difference ... not a whisper was
heard on either {263} side of any possible appeal to force as a
mode of settlement. Both parties in America and each successive
government are pledged to offer peaceful arbitration for the
adjustment of all international difficulties--a position which
it is to be hoped will soon be reached by Britain, at least in
regard to all differences with members of the same race.'

The Geneva arbitration, the Halifax arbitration, the San Juan
Settlement, the offer of arbitration in the Behring Sea affairs,
so long urged upon Mr. Blaine by Lord Salisbury before it was
accepted, the arbitration arranged with France in the affairs of
Newfoundland, all seem to indicate that Britain is quite as
advanced as the United States in these views of peaceful
settlement. With this qualification of his way of stating the
case we may accept Mr. Carnegie's hopeful outlook, which takes
away all the point of his previous contention. There is,
however, a point worthy of his and our consideration.

I once heard Lord Rosebery express the opinion that equality of
power was one of the chief guarantees of peace between great
states. It adds the very powerful motive of self-interest to
those other influences which incline a nation to arbitration or
other fair and reasonable methods of settling international
difficulties. 'If,' said he, 'it should ever happen that England
became towards the United States like the old grandmother in the
corner, her teeth dropping out one by one, as her colonies leave
her, and she {264} were patronised or despised by her grown up
offspring, this relation would not be one tending to promote
friendly feeling. Far better for mutual respect, consideration,
and closer friendship that each should follow out its own
development on its own broad lines.' Whether a British Empire
going through a process of disintegration, or one steadily
consolidating its strength would be more likely to obtain equity
and fair play from American politicians (who must so often be
distinguished from the American people) I may safely leave even
Mr. Carnegie, who knows them, to decide.

Nor is there anything in the position of the United States on
the continent which would justify Americans in demanding from
the Empire the sacrifice of her maritime position implied in the
transfer of Canada to a new nationality. Ports on the Atlantic
and Pacific as many as they need the United States already have.
Trade in Canadian products they can obtain on terms as fair as
they will themselves agree to. A less aggressive neighbour they
could scarcely expect to have. Two countries on the same
continent working out parallel political problems by different
agencies may be mutually helpful with varying experiment and
example. Contrast and mutual reaction stimulate progress for
more than vast monotony of system.

Mr. Carnegie endorses Mr. Goldwin Smith's opinion that Britain's
'position upon the American continent is the barrier to
sympathetic union with her great {265} child, the Republic.' As
an American he should be ashamed to admit the accuracy of such
an opinion. Britain's right to her place on the American
continent is as much above question as is that of the United
States. The man or people to whom a neighbour's enjoyment of an
admitted right causes irritation, has lost the finer sense of
morality. The nation which yielded an undoubted right under the
pressure of such a base irritation would do a harm to
international morals. British Federationists have more faith in
the nobler qualities of the American people than has Mr.
Carnegie. They earnestly hope for a union of effort in behalf of
the higher interests of humanity between the great Republic and
the Empire from which she sprang, but they know that that union
can only come from mutual respect for each other's rights, and
can never be brought about if the aggrandisement of the one must
be purchased by the disintegration of the other.

One more passage must be quoted to illustrate the range of Mr.
Carnegie's vision when he leaves the domain of American politics
to discuss the affairs of Great Britain. He says: 'Her
(Britain's) colonies weaken her powers in war and confer no
advantage upon her in peace.'

I must let another American, whose mind has not been too much
influenced by devotion to trade on a highly protected continent,
a man who has had occasion to study seriously the larger
problems of national life, make answer.


'England,' says Lieutenant Mahan[3], 'by her immense colonial
Empire has sacrificed much of this advantage of concentration of
force around her own shores; but the sacrifice was wisely made,
for the gain was greater than the loss, as the event proved.
With the growth of her colonial system her war fleets also grew,
but her merchant shipping and wealth grew yet faster.'

And again;--

'Undoubtedly under this second head of warlike preparation must
come the maintenance of suitable naval stations, in those
distant parts of the world to which the armed shipping must
follow the peaceful vessels of commerce. The protection of such
stations must depend either upon direct military force, as do
Gibraltar and Malta, or upon a surrounding friendly population,
such as the American colonists once were to England, and, it may
be presumed the Australian colonists now are. Such friendly
surroundings and backing, joined to a reasonable military
provision, are the best of defences, and when combined with
decided preponderance at sea, make a scattered and extensive
empire like that of England, secure; for while it is true that
an unexpected attack may cause disaster in some one quarter, the
actual superiority of naval power prevents such disaster from
being general or irremediable. History has sufficiently proved
this. England's naval bases have been in all parts of the world,
and her fleets have at once protected them, {267} kept open the
communications between them, and relied upon them for shelter.

'Colonies attached to the mother-country afford, therefore, the
surest means of supporting abroad the sea power of a country. In
peace, the influence of the government should be felt in
promoting by all means a warmth of attachment and a unity of
interest which will make the welfare of one the welfare of all,
and the quarrel of one the quarrel of all; and in war, or rather
for war, by inducing such measures of organization and defence
as shall be felt by all to be a fair distribution of a burden of
which each reaps the benefit.'

After such a statement of the bases on which sea power rests it
is with natural regret that Lieutenant Mahan adds: 'Such
colonies the United States has not and is not likely to have.
... Having therefore no foreign establishments, either colonial
or military, the ships of war of the United States, in war, will
be like land birds, unable to fly far from their own shores. To
provide resting-places for them, where they can coal and repair,
would be one of the first duties of a government proposing to
itself the development of the power of the nation at sea.'

British people, either at home or in the colonies, may safely be
left to decide whether they can afford that their ships should
be in war like land birds, unable to fly far from their own

It must not, however, be supposed that Mr. Carnegie really
represents the views of the better minds of his {268} own
country on the question of British Unity. In an article
contributed to a leading American Magazine three years ago I had
occasion to outline for American readers the chief features of
the Federation problem. The editorial comment upon this paper
seems worthy of reproduction as an expression of genuine
American opinion on the subject, and may be commended to Mr.
Carnegie's consideration. The writer says: 'What could be more
natural than the "Federation" scheme for British reconstruction,
which has been before the British public for years, and is now
renewed in the article just mentioned? It offers to Great
Britain the maintenance of every interest, legal, economic,
political and moral, which has grown up in the past, and has
shown itself worthy of conservation. It maintains all the ties
which have held the different parts of the Empire together. It
even strengthens them prodigiously by transforming the weak ties
of colonialism into a true national life: so that the foreigner
shall look upon Canada or Jamaica, not as temporary hangers-on
of a distant island, but as component and fully recognized
members of a magnificent ocean empire. It distributes the burden
of imperial taxation over the whole empire, so that the
Australian may look upon the Imperial iron-clad which comes into
his harbour as possibly the product of his own state's taxation,
while Canadian regiments shall take their tour of duty in
English or Irish cities, or at the Cape. It lessens the dangers
of a new break-up of the Empire through Colonial discontent:
{269} the Canada or New South Wales of the "federation" could
submit without a second thought to the abandonment of claims "by
its own government," while there is now always something of a
sting in such an abandonment by a home government on whose
decision the colony has exercised no direct influence. It leaves
to every square foot of the Empire that alternative of
self-government in the present, or of the hope of
self-government in the future which is afforded by our State and
Territorial systems. Canada would be at once one of the
self-governing States of the Empire: but the territories of
India would have under the Federation such prospects of complete
state-hood, when they should deserve it, as they could never
have under a Russian Dominion or protectorate. ...

'The question now is whether the inevitable development of
English democracy in new directions, more particularly in that
of a federated empire, shall happily anticipate any conjunction
of circumstances which might otherwise force a second break-up
of the Empire. It is really, then, a race against time by the
English democracy.'

The closing reference to Canada may be commended to the
consideration of Mr. Goldwin Smith, as well as Mr. Carnegie,
since it reflects a spirit worthy of a great people.

'If, as one result, our neighbours to the north of us should
become an integral part of a real empire, such a natural and
simple solution will find no congratulations {270} more prompt
and cordial than those of the American people, even though they
are not based on any of those selfish advantages which
annexation professes to offer to the United States[4].'

[1] _Nineteenth Century_, _Sept._ 1891.

[2] This statement is a characteristic instance of Mr.
Carnegie's inaccuracy. Let him subtract from the whole
population of the United States the seven or eight millions of
negroes in the Southern States, the six or seven millions of
Italians, Spaniards, Poles, Hungarians, Austrians, Russians,
Germans and Scandinavians, who entered the country between 1847
and the present time, the people who with their descendants
threaten, according to American writers, to overwhelm the native
element of the population; let him place beside these figures
the further facts stated on American authority that the
emigration from Great Britain to the United States has been in
the same period only about 1,500,000, and from Ireland
2,500,000; and he may find reason to acknowledge that the mass
of 'our race' is still in the British Islands and in the great
colonies which yet retain their distinctive Anglo-Saxon
character. Mr. Carnegie makes the triumphant calculation that
the child is born who will see more than 400,000,000 people
under the sway of the United States. He adds the odd comment:
'No possible increase of the race can be looked for in all the
world comparable to this.' So far from such a growth indicating
the increase of our race, it could only mean its practical
obliteration in the great Republic. The increase of the native
American population is notoriously very slow--only a largely
increased influx of alien races could make Mr. Carnegie's
calculations a reality.

[3] _Influence of Sea Power_, p. 29.

[4] _Century Magazine_, Jan. 1889.




THE financial aspects of our question are striking and
significant. Britain herself is the greatest money-lending
nation of the world: her colonies and dependencies, with their
vast undeveloped resources, are among the greatest borrowers.
The public debts of the Australasian colonies amount to nearly
£200,000,000, and private investments for the development of
mines, for the wool producing and meat raising industries and so
on, amount, I have been told by Australian business men, to even
more. It is probably a moderate estimate to say that Australasia
borrows £400,000,000, all of which is raised in London, to which
the interest steadily flows back.

In his 'Problems of Greater Britain' Sir Charles Dilke says:
'British capital to the extent of £350,000,000 sterling has been
sunk in Indian enterprises, on official or quasi-official
guarantee; and a further vast amount of British capital is
employed by purely private British enterprise in industry.'

Canada's public borrowings amount to about £50,000,000, and
allowing an equal sum for private {272} investments, she perhaps
draws £100,000,000 of working capital from English sources.

Nothing has been said about South Africa, the West Indies, and
the minor divisions of the Empire, but even the rough estimates
already given prove that the aggregate of money loaned from
Britain, and borrowed by other parts of the Empire, reaches
enormous figures, and certainly exceeds £1,000,000,000 sterling.

For investor and borrower the benefit is mutual. The investor
has the advantage of placing his money where it will be employed
in making the most of vast natural resources, under a settled
government, and in the energetic and responsible hands of men of
our own race. This advantage is emphasized by the experience of
British capitalists in countries like Argentina, where
government is unstable, or Turkey, where it is inefficient. It
is emphasized by the contrast between the financial position of
Egypt, when dominated by British influence and protected by
British power, and the same country when free to follow its own
methods of administration and compelled to find its own defence.

It is shown by the difference between the rates at which
Australia or Canada borrow money, and those paid by many foreign

The colonial borrower has the advantage of getting the money he
requires at the cheapest rate possible. The last Canadian loan
was floated at 3 per cent, and the Australian colonies are
borrowing at 3 1/2. Lord {273} Dufferin has said that British
capital is ventured in India 'on the assumption that English
capital and English justice would remain dominant in India.' In
like manner the rate at which colonial loans are issued is
unquestionably determined in part by the fact that the
industrial position and military security of the colonies is
guaranteed by the imperial power. Independent, exposed to face
the risks of war unaided, and compelled to bear the whole burden
of defending their coasts and commerce, the credit of the
colonies could not be what it is to-day.

On the other hand, since cheap capital means cheap production,
the money lent on easy terms to the colonies returns far more to
the mother-country than the interest which has hitherto been so
regularly paid. It secures for Britain what she most requires,
cheap food and cheap raw material--wheat, beef and mutton, wool,
cotton and minerals. For a great consuming country the free
movement of the wheels of industry in the areas of production is
all-important. Even the cheap insurance which comes from assured
safety in the transport of goods between producer and consumer
is no slight element in the prosperity of both.

In view of these considerations there is clearly ground for
saying that a close political union between the greatest
money-lending centre of the world and countries which have the
widest range of undeveloped resources, between the greatest
consuming country and those mainly productive, will be of the
greatest advantage to both.


I have often, to audiences in the colonies, put the financial
relation in the following way: 'You borrow from Britain in
public debts many hundred millions of pounds. When, as
merchants, ship-owners, or house-holders, you borrow money in a
private capacity, on your goods, your ships, or your houses, the
lender requires that as a guarantee your property must be
insured, and for this insurance you must yourself pay. Now when
British people lend you money, on your state credit, they
themselves provide the insurance of the whole strength of the
British army and navy--an insurance which it is admitted secures
the cheapest money in the world. But not only does Britain lend
you the money for the development of your resources, and provide
the insurance which enables you to have it at a cheap rate, but
under her Free trade system she then in addition throws herself
into the open market for every pound of wool or ounce of gold or
tin that you produce. She asks no preference in colonial
markets. Any conditions which would be more favourable for a
borrowing country I cannot find it possible to conceive.'

A further point seems worthy of consideration.

While the colonies, under the national production, borrow money
cheaply on the public credit, the United Kingdom borrows more
cheaply still. Low as is the rate of interest paid on the
National Debt, for many purposes of investment it is deemed the
most satisfactory, because the most secure, of all.

One of the advantages which Canada has reaped {275} from
internal confederation has been the greatly decreased rate of
interest which she pays for her borrowings. A high financial
authority has estimated that the Australasian colonies would
gain, from a consolidated federal stock, an advantage equal to a
diminution of more that £20,000,000 on the general indebtedness.
Facts such as these have naturally led the advocates of national
unity to suggest a further step and to urge that a financial
federation of the public debts of the Empire, guaranteed by the
strength and resources of the nation at large, would reduce the
cost of public money for the colonies and dependencies to at
least the level of interest paid on the National Debt. It has
been pointed out with force and reason that the saving which
might thus be effected under a guarantee of Imperial unity would
of itself be sufficient to enable the colonies to contribute a
large sum to the national defence without any addition to the
burdens which they now bear, while sensibly relieving the
taxpayer of the United Kingdom. The fixing of a reasonable limit
to thus borrowing on national credit for each portion of the
Empire would, of course, present a difficulty, but it is one
which has, on a small scale, been grappled with in the provinces
of the Canadian confederation, and does not seem to be
altogether insuperable. The federally guaranteed debt would
certainly be held almost exclusively within the Empire itself,
and the general desire for its complete security might fairly be
expected to act as a strong national bond. {276} Enormous as is
the amount which the mother-country has already staked in the
colonies and dependencies, it seems certain that under
favourable conditions capital will more and more seek these
areas of peaceful industrial development rather than take the
risks of internal revolutions in South America or military
convulsions in Europe. With closer union this tendency, in
itself essentially healthy, would increase. With separation, it
would be deeply affected by two considerations: first, the
weakened guarantee of safety to the individual colony: and
second, the new burden which would be laid upon the separating
colony in undertaking single-handed the whole task of defence,
and the whole diplomatic, consular and other organization
incident to national independence. Inevitably expenses would go
up while credit went down. I am satisfied that people either in
England or abroad who for colonial relations thoughtlessly
borrow the simile of the ripe fruit dropping easily from the
parent tree, have formed little conception of the violent
financial wrench involved in the separation of even one great
colony, or of the strength of the financial bond which, every
day increasing in strength, is binding more closely together
with ties of common interest the mother-land and her greatest

A very important financial issue has lately been raised by the
proposition to permit the investment of British Trust Funds in
colonial securities. The proposal has for some time been
steadily urged upon the English Government by the Agents General
who {277} officially represent the Australian colonies, and by
the High Commissioner for Canada, and it is generally believed
that the negociations had proceeded so far that at one time Her
Majesty's Government had consented to initiate the Legislation
necessary for the purpose. Though the discussion is now in
abeyance, it will no doubt come up at a later time for decision.
If favourable, that decision would confer a considerable
financial advantage upon the colonies. Of the sufficiency of the
guarantee furnished in such investments careful and responsible
financiers entertain no reasonable doubt. It is obvious,
however, that any determination to concede this privilege to
trustees implies a belief that the colonies will remain a part
of the Empire. It is equally obvious that any tendency in an
opposite direction on the part of any great colony would be
fatal to the proposition. At present such investment can only be
made in certain home securities, or in Indian, and a very
limited number of colonial securities which are under direct
Imperial guarantee. There would be as valid reason for extending
them to French, Italian or Russian securities as to those of
colonies which might soon become independent nations. It will be
scarcely possible to avoid the consideration of ultimate
inter-imperial relations should this subject come up for final
decision in Parliament. Under a settled system of Imperial unity
colonial securities, even without Legislation, would naturally
rank with the best in the Empire.




IN matters of fiscal policy the British Empire at present
occupies a position peculiar among all the nations of the world,
in that for nearly half a century it has been without any fiscal
system common to its various parts. Nor does the fact seem to
have seriously affected the sense of unity. It cannot be said
that New South Wales, which till quite lately has in its fiscal
arrangements followed the example of the mother-country, is
united a whit more closely to her than is Victoria or Canada,
where duties have long been imposed not merely for revenue but
for protection. 'Nor can it be truly said that the ties,
practical or sentimental, which bind together Canada and the
United Kingdom, have grown weaker since the adoption in the
Dominion of a trade policy opposite to that of the mother-land.
Should the new commonwealth of Australia, in its eager desire to
create varied industries, decide upon a system of inter-colonial
free trade, with protection against the rest of the world,
including Britain, no one would now anticipate therefrom any
fundamental change {279} in the political relations between
mother-land and colony.

Compared with all other nations, these conditions seem extremely
anomalous. They are accounted for by the fact that the Empire
itself is in its composition anomalous. In it we find
communities existing under widely different conditions, some
with vast populations concentrated in a small space, while
others have their inhabitants thinly scattered over immense
areas; some with wealth which lends itself readily to direct
taxation, others which can only collect revenue easily at the
ports; some chiefly engaged in manufacture, others in the
production of food and raw material; some with capital and cheap
labour in such abundance that they can cheerfully face any
competitors, others under severe pressure from the competition
of commercially hostile neighbours more rich and numerous than
themselves. Economic theories are, in fact, being tested
throughout the Empire under almost every conceivable condition,
to the ultimate advantage, we may hope, of economic truth.
Meanwhile, though no serious jar in the national system has as
yet been caused by the divergence of trade policies, this
divergence is looked upon by many as an almost insuperable
obstacle to any closer political union. It is urged that a real
national unity cannot exist without community of fiscal system,
and in support of this position appeal is made to the examples
of the United States, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Switzerland and
Canada. In all of these {280} free internal trade followed upon
the formation of a Federal system.

How, it is often said in England, can we unite more closely with
countries which in trade matters are almost as hostile to us as
France, Germany, or the United States? How, it is said in the
colonies, can we unite more closely with a mother-land which in
trade matters makes no distinction between her greatest enemy
and ourselves?

Of late, as the pressure of hostile tariffs in foreign countries
has been more severely felt, the tone of reproach is more
distinct in England than in the colonies.

The slightest historical retrospect shows that this is not
justified. The system by which each self-governing division of
the Empire regulates its trade policy in accord with what it
conceives to be its own interests, treating other parts of the
Empire exactly as it does foreigners was not initiated by
colonists, but by the people of the United Kingdom, in
connection with the adoption of Free Trade in 1846. Previous to
that period mutually beneficial trade relations, both as regards
exports and imports, existed between the mother-land and the
colonies. Many of the colonies, and especially Canada, protested
vehemently against this change of national policy and suffered
severely from the complete reversal of the trade relations which
had previously existed. Given almost ostentatiously to
understand that the mother-land was indifferent to the trade
{281} policy which they pursued, the colonies were free, without
any reproach on their national allegiance, to choose the system
which seemed best adapted to their wants. On the one side they
saw the United Kingdom wonderfully prosperous under Free Trade.
On the other they saw the United States sweeping along in an
equally wonderful career of prosperity under a system of
Protection. The conditions prevailing in the United States
seemed, of the two, more similar to their own, and it cannot be
doubted that this example has had much to do with the adoption
of Protective systems in most of the colonies. The wisdom or
error of the choice remains to be demonstrated, for clearly all
systems of Protection are yet on their trial. Are they
expedients to accomplish a temporary purpose, or are they
permanent policies?

Even in the United States there have been elections which
indicated a distinct wavering of the public mind upon the
question. In Canada the party which favours Free Trade is
neither small nor unimportant. In Australia one of the chief
objects aimed at in Federation is the freedom of inter-colonial
trade which will be one of its conditions. Protection against
the outside world will at first probably be another, but Sir
Henry Parkes and other supporters of Federation have expressed
the most confident belief in the ultimate prevalence of Free
Trade principles over the Australian continent. He would be a
bold prophet who would undertake to say whether Protection or
{282} Free Trade would ten years hence be the policy of the
United States, Canada or Australia, strong as is the hold which
the former now has in each.

On the other hand, there is a prevalent opinion in Canada, and
in other colonies as well, that the United Kingdom will yet be
driven to recede to some extent from her Free Trade position. It
is observed that however correct may be the economic principles
on which Free Trade is based, national passion has prevailed
over economic truth, and most of the nations of the world
continue to erect higher and higher barriers against the trade
of the United Kingdom, thereby falsifying the forecasts of the
early apostles of Free Trade. More than this, it is seen that
the United States, while given free access to English markets,
not only creates a McKinley tariff to keep out English goods,
but by offering Free Trade to Canada at the price of
discrimination against Britain, practically, though perhaps not
intentionally, uses the trade question as a leverage to break up
the Empire. It is believed that, under the influence of
considerations such as these, a decided reaction has in Britain
begun in the direction of some modified system of Protection
within the Empire.

Are there grounds to justify this opinion?

Certain it is that many Members of Parliament, representing both
rural and manufacturing constituencies, openly avow their
preference for a discriminating tariff within the Empire, and
for fighting the commercial hostility of other nations by the
use of similar {283} weapons, and appear to lose no political
strength by the avowal. Twice has the Convention of Conservative
delegates broken away from its leaders, and passed what amounted
to Fair Trade resolutions. Liberal and Conservative
representatives of labour constituencies have alike affirmed of
late years that they find the working man's mind permeated with
Fair Trade ideas, ideas which might become a serious political
force in any period of prolonged industrial depression. A mayor
of the greatest of English manufacturing towns told me in the
very home of Free Trade that in his opinion England might yet
have to revise her commercial policy. The leading
silk-manufacturer of Yorkshire is an ardent advocate of Fair
Trade principles. The heads of different great woollen and other
manufacturing firms in the same county have told me that their
judgment inclined them in the same direction. Joseph Cowen, the
distinguished representative of northern Radicalism has said,
that he looked upon a British Zollverein as the true ideal of
our national statesmanship. When Sir Charles Tupper urged upon
the late W. E. Forster the advisability of giving the outlying
parts of the Empire a better commercial footing than foreign
countries, his reply was: 'Well, I am a free trader, but I am
not so fanatical a free trader that I would not be willing to
adopt such a policy as that for the great and important object
of binding this Empire together.'

The _Times_, commenting upon a speech of Sir {284} Gordon Sprigg
advocating a commercial union between England and her colonies,

'There is still a considerable amount of fetish-worship, but the
ideas upon which any commercial union must rest will not in
future incur the furious and unswerving hostility that would
have greeted them twenty years ago. It is getting to be
understood that Free Trade is made for man, not man for Free
Trade, and any changes that may be proposed will have a better
chance of being discussed upon their own merits rather than in
the light of high-and-dry theory backed by outcries of the thin
edge of the wedge. The British Empire is so large and so
completely self-supporting, that it could very well afford, for
the sake of serious political gain, to surround itself with a
moderate fence.'

And again, discussing a resolution passed in the Dominion House
of Commons in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain,
the same journal has lately said:--

'We have not disguised our opinion that if the colonies as a
whole, and without _arrière pensée_, were prepared to enter into
a Customs Union with the mother-country on mutually advantageous
terms, there would be a strong body of public opinion in favour
of meeting the offer, if possible, even at the cost of some
departure from the rigorous doctrines of Free Trade. ... If, by
not too great a departure from the strict lines of Free Trade,
it were possible to bind the great self-governing colonies in
close {285} and permanent commercial alliance with the mother
country, securing not only a vast reserve of political strength
but the command of large and rapidly growing markets, it would
probably be thought well worth while to incur some sacrifice.
When nations like the United States, Russia, and France are
strengthening their exclusive systems against us, and when
central Europe is involved in a network of commercial treaties,
it is not pleasant to contemplate the possibility that, under
protective tariffs of increasing stringency, our colonial trade
may slip from us, and the political allegiance of our colonial
subjects may be gradually broken down.'

In expressions such as these, which might be multiplied, those
who advocate a return to preferential trade relations within the
Empire find proof of a great change in English public opinion.
But after all has been said that can be said it is clear to any
unprejudiced observer that on the whole an overwhelming majority
of the people of the United Kingdom still sincerely regard free
trade with all the world as necessary to the welfare of the
masses, and to the stability of the vast industries of the
country. No political party would as yet dare to face an
election on a platform of Protection or Fair Trade. The reason
is obvious. Dependence on sources of food supply outside the
Empire is still so great that any change of policy would be
thought to involve great risk and anxiety. Though a few years of
strenuous effort would doubtless make the Empire self-sufficing
in the {286} matter of food, still those few years of transition
would be a critical period. Clear thinkers outside of the United
Kingdom recognize this. It is well known how strongly Sir John
Macdonald held the opinion that the Empire would be strengthened
and drawn together by preferential trade between its different
communities. Yet he said to me in 1889: 'Till England sees that
we can feed her or with a little encouragement can do so, we
must not expect to work out Federation on a trade basis. But as
soon as we have proved what our North West can do and English
people see that they can get all the wheat they want from
ourselves and the other colonies, the English point of view,
will change, and trade advantage can be made to supplement the
other forces which make for British unity.' Sir Charles Tupper
argues for immediate discrimination, but he as fully recognizes
that it should not affect the prices of food for the vast masses
which, in England, depend on outside supplies.

He has given illustrations which he thinks indicate that a
fiscal arrangement which favours the productions of the colonies
would not result in raising the price of food materially in
Great Britain, while it would give stimulus to colonial industry
and increase the colonial market for British manufactures to the
great advantage of the British working man.

He points out that the Mark Lane prices of corn during the year
1890 and 1891, as shown by the report of the Board of
Agriculture, indicate a fluctuation {287} in price of ten
shillings a quarter, and it was only when the maximum advance of
ten shillings a quarter was reached that a half-penny difference
was made upon the four-pound loaf. From this fact he draws the
conclusion that five shillings a quarter could be imposed upon
foreign wheat without making any appreciable advance in the
price of bread.

A second illustration he draws from the meat supply. In
consequence of the existence of pleuro-pneumonia in the United
States, cattle sent from that country to Great Britain have to
be slaughtered upon their arrival, while the freedom of Canada
from the disease exempts Canadian cattle from this regulation.
The advantage given to Canada by this distinction is estimated
by Mr. Rush, the highest American authority upon the subject, at
between eight and twelve dollars a head. The result has been an
immense expansion of this trade for Canada, which last year sent
123,000 head of cattle to England, for which Canadian stock
raisers would receive about a million dollars more than
Americans would obtain for the same number of cattle, while Sir
Charles Tupper claims that no one has even suggested that any
difference has thereby been made in the price of meat. Lastly,
he points to the experience of France and Germany, where, after
a much higher duty had been imposed on corn, the cost of bread
was less than before[1].


But if the price of wheat be not changed, what, it is asked,
will be the advantage to the colonies, and what is to be the
compensation to the mother-country for making the change?

The colonial advantage will come from the new direction given to
emigration. The great numbers of emigrants who now go under a
foreign flag to produce the grain and other food which the
United Kingdom buys will go to British countries where they will
enjoy the advantage of the easier access to British markets and
by so doing will add to the wealth and strength of the colonies
and the Empire.


To understand the anticipated advantage to the mother-country we
must study some extremely suggestive facts connected with
inter-imperial trade.

Man for man the people of the colonies, leaving out India,
consume British products out of all proportion to foreigners.
The figures fluctuate from year to year, but taking the
countries with which the United Kingdom carries on the greatest
amount of trade a sufficiently accurate average can be given of
the ordinary annual consumption per head of British manufactures
in each. In Germany and the United States this consumption is
about 8s. per head, in France 9s., in Canada £1 15s., in the
West Indies £2 5s., in South Africa £3, in Australasia nearly
£8. Thus three or four millions of people in Australasia take
more of British goods than about fifty millions of people in
Germany, and nearly as much as sixty millions of people in the
United States. Only an artificial boundary separates Canada from
the United States, yet an emigrant who goes north of that
boundary immediately begins to purchase more than three times as
much of British goods as one who goes south of it. As a customer
to the British artizan one Australian is worth sixteen
Americans; one South African is worth seven or eight Germans.
Figures such as these have suggested the remark that 'trade
follows the flag.' It is perhaps a more adequate explanation to
say that trade follows not merely the flag, with the protection
and prestige which it gives, but that it follows along the line
of {290} the tastes, customs and habits of life which the
emigrant carries with him; along the line of intimate social and
financial connection such as that which exists between England
and her colonies. The lowest prices current do not altogether
determine the direction of commerce. Social, political,
financial and even sentimental considerations unite to create
the wants of a people and so in a measure to give tendencies to

Putting all these facts together it is claimed that a national
policy which inclined emigration towards the colonies would
create with great rapidity new markets for British products and
would send back in increasing volume the productions which
Britain wants to buy, while adding greatly to the strength and
self-sustaining capacity of the whole nation. Hence it is that
many advocates of British unity sincerely believe that the
adoption of preferential trade relations within the Empire is
the readiest way to the great end in view. They hold that trade
advantage constitutes the best outward token of national union,
and by its sense of common benefit would do more than anything
else to make all willing to contribute to national expense.

This view is held very strongly in Canada, South Africa and the
West Indies: less importance is attached to it in New Zealand
and still less in Australia.

It should not be wondered at in England that Canadians bent upon
the maintenance of British connection think of preferential
trade relations with {291} the mother-land as a way of escape
from the anomalous position in which they have of late been
placed. 'Let it be clearly understood,' says Principal Grant,
'that Canada has only two markets worth speaking of. One of
these, Great Britain, she shares on equal terms with every
foreign nation, and from the other, the United States, she is
debarred as long as she is connected with Britain. The former
would be as open to her as it is now were she to unite
commercially with the Republic and against Britain, and, were
she to do so, she would then at once get the other market also.'
Is it right or politic, he asks, that an important part of the
Empire should be left to such a choice? Principal Grant,
however, goes further, and argues that a preferential
arrangement within the Empire would only be required as a
temporary measure, and would really lead to the Free Trade
relations which are desired with the United States. 'So
all-important,' he says, 'is the British market to the United
States voter, that the mere prospect of a preference being given
in it to his rivals would be enough to bring him to a business
frame of mind; he thoroughly believes in the "cash value of his
markets," and would be ready to give, for what he believes to be
a sufficient consideration, that value which he will never dream
of giving for nothing.'

While the Canadian accustomed to the thought of protection would
thus build up the Empire, strengthen the union, and deepen the
sense of nationality by preferential trade relations, the
English Free Trader {292} suggests another solution. He says to
Canada: Throw down your tariff walls against English
manufactures, so far at any rate as your revenue necessities
permit, and thereby make Canada the one cheap country to live in
on the American continent. When your farmer buys his clothes,
builds his house, gets his machinery, his earthenware, his
hardware at a far lower cost than the farmer who is being bled
to satisfy the McKinley tariff, he will then have an advantage
over his competitors far greater than could be given by a
preferential tariff in England. Your North-West will be filled
with immigrants crowding even from the United States to the
centre of cheap living and therefore cheap production; your
Eastern farmer will have an increased profit on the meat, the
poultry, the eggs, the fruit which he sends to the British or
the American market; British capital will flow freely into the
country; railroads, canals, ports, shipping will feel the
pressure and the prosperity of inward and outward trade;
manufactures suitable to each locality will increase with the
greater prosperity of the country and the diminished cost of
living. Even the McKinley tariff may be forced to give way in
face of the striking illustration which Canada would give on the
American continent, of the benefits flowing from free commercial
movement. The farmer of the Western States, handicapped beside
the farmer of the Canadian North-West, would in all probability
use his vote to compel the Eastern manufacturer to come to terms
with England and Canada.


But even if other nations refused to yield to such influences,
an empire covering one fifth of the world, and capable of
producing everything required by man, would have before it,
under a system of free commercial intercourse and common
citizenship, a period of prosperity unparalleled in the history
of the world.

The venerable Earl Grey, in an appeal specially addressed to the
Canadian people--an appeal which has stamped upon every sentence
good-will for Canada, and sincere regard for her interests--has
urged that the Dominion should not merely throw open its markets
to England, but to the United States as well, and argues with
all the earnestness of his youthful convictions that such a
course would not only bring to Canada the same prosperity which
Free Trade brought to England, but, on account of Canada's
peculiar relations to the United States, would go far to break
down all systems of excessive protection.

We have then, in matters of trade, great variations of system
between the different communities of the Empire, and great
differences of opinion within each of the communities

Does this conflict of thought upon trade policy present an
insuperable obstacle to national unity? There are those who
claim that mutually advantageous trade relations furnish the
only basis on which it is worth while to discuss Imperial
Federation with any hope of practical result. This opinion is
held alike by some who look to preferential treatment, and {294}
others who look to exceptional freedom of interchange within the
Empire for the necessary bond.

With this extreme view I have never been able to agree. Even
without trade advantage between its parts there are decisive
reasons why the nation should present a united front to the
world. Unity is essential to safety, as I have tried to prove,
and at any moment the outbreak of a great war may make safe
trade of more vital consequence for British people than either
Free Trade or trade depending on tariffs. The wealth created by
either must be defended, and with the least possible burden on
the individual community. A common system of defence therefore
seems of itself a sufficient justification for close political
union. This is a permanent condition.

On the other hand, it can scarcely be questioned that ideas on
trade policy all around the world are in a state of flux. That
systems now existing may be modified, perhaps reversed, within a
few years, is not only possible, but highly probable. The
greater freedom or greater restriction of trade is a temporary


That the temporary difficulty of conflicting tariffs should be a
bar to the attainment of permanent national security, seems, on
the face of it, absurd.

In any attempt at Federal organization it would probably at
first be necessary to leave to each community the choice of the
method by which its revenues are raised. To do so would not
apparently put too great a strain on the admitted flexibility of
the Federal system. But it can scarcely be doubted that one of
the first effects of a close political union, in which common
ends are constantly kept in view, and the strength and
prosperity of each part are an immediate concern to all, would
be to break down by degrees all existing barriers to the
advantageous movement of inter-imperial commerce.

[1] On this point Lord Dunraven says--_Nineteenth Century_,
March, 1891: 'The duty on wheat in France in 1882 was only 2 8d.
per cwt.; in 1885 it was raised to 15d. per cwt., or 536 per
cent. According to some economists, the price of wheat should
have gone up in like proportion, and the masses have had to pay
dearer for their bread. But what are the facts 1 The price of
wheat actually fell from an average of 10.085. per cwt. in 1883,
the year following the low duty, to 9.295. in 1886, the year
following the increased duty, or 8 per cent. Instead of the poor
man in France having to pay dearer for his bread, he paid less
in 1886 than in 1883, as the following table shows:--

BREAD           1883   1884   1885   1886
First Quality   1.57   1.49   1.39   1.39
Second Quality  1.35   1.26   1.17   1.22
Third Quality   1.17   1.13   1.04   1.09

In Germany, too, I find the same results follow from increased
duties. Wheat went down from 10.30s. per cwt. in 1882, when the
duty was 6d. per cwt., to 9.39s. per cwt. in 1889, or 9 per
cent. when the duty was 2s. 6d., per cwt--or 500 per cent.
higher, while bread remained at about the same price. Internal
development appears in both these cases to have more than
compensated for any restriction of foreign imports, and it is
only fair to remember that the resources of the British Empire
in respect of food supply are immeasurably greater than those of
France or Germany.'

[2] Prof. Shield Nicholson quotes Adam Smith's sentence: 'To
expect that the freedom of trade would ever be entirely restored
in Great Britain is as absurd as to expect that an Oceana or
Utopia should ever be established in it,' and goes on to say:
'this curious example of the danger of political prophecy-should
suffice to dispel the apathy generally displayed towards any
consideration of the fiscal aspects of Britannic confederation
... Nothing is more common than to speak of the complicated
tariffs and the vested interests of the newest colonies as
insuperable obstacles to any general fiscal reform. As a matter
of historical fact, however, in much less than a century the
commercial policy of the British Empire has passed, speaking
broadly, from the extreme of central regulation to the extreme
of non-interference, and there is, _prima facie_, no reason why
a reaction should not occur if such a course is shown to be to
the mutual advantage of the colonies and the mother-country.'




'There is not the least probability that the British
constitution would be hurt by the union of Great Britain with
the colonies, That constitution, on the contrary, would be
completed by it, and seems to be imperfect without it. The
assembly which deliberates and decides concerning the affairs of
every part of the Empire, in order to be properly informed,
ought certainly to have representatives from every part of it.
That this union, however, could be easily effectuated, or that
difficulties and great difficulties might not occur in the
execution, I do not pretend. I have yet heard of none, however,
which appear insurmountable.'----Adam Smith's _Wealth of

THE advocates of national consolidation have been constantly
subjected, as everyone familiar with current discussion knows,
to two diametrically opposite forms of criticism. They are
vigorously reproached by writers like Mr. Goldwin Smith for not
stating in detail the method by which their purposes are to be
accomplished; they are ridiculed by others as people who aim at
binding together by means of a 'cut and dried plan' an Empire
which has hitherto depended upon slow processes of growth for
its constitutional development. It will be well to form a just
estimate of these contradictory lines of criticism.


The demand so often made for a formal and detailed statement of
the precise constitutional methods by which national unity is to
be secured appears to me to be put forward in defiance of the
teachings of history. The grounds upon which this opinion is
based are obvious to anyone who studies the methods by which
Federal organization has been effected in the past.

Take first the case of the United States. The time between the
recognition of American Independence in 1783 and the adoption of
the Federal constitution in 1788 has been well called the
'critical period of American history.' During this period of
strenuous agitation Alexander Hamilton, Madison, and other
American statesmen had freely discussed in a general way their
ideas upon Federal union, and had made many but widely divergent
attempts to outline the main principles upon which it should be

Still, when the famous convention which met in 1787, eleven
years after the declaration of independence, entered upon its
discussions, it had to deal, not with any single plan, but with
many contradictory plans, brought forward by states or
individuals. It is now known that weeks and indeed months spent
in anxious consultation elapsed before even the most sanguine
among the delegates began to feel assurance that a plan which
would harmonize conflicting ideas could be devised. Even when
the Federal constitution was at length drafted, and Alexander
Hamilton, at the last session of the convention, made {298} a
final plea for its adoption, he emphasized his demand for the
sacrifice of personal preferences by pointing out how remote its
provisions were from the ideas which he had at the outset
entertained and had indeed supported throughout the discussions.
It was at a later period that Hamilton and other leaders of the
Federation movement made their contributions to the famous
'Federalist,' a series of discussions avowedly written with a
view to secure popular support for a plan which had previously,
however, only been elaborated by the united wisdom of the
trained statesmanship of the country[1].

The discussion of Canadian Confederation had been conducted only
upon general lines up to the time when the leading public men of
Canada, drawn alike from all political parties, met in
conference at Quebec in 1866. The Federal system of the United
States had given general direction to the public thought, but
the actual scheme by which Confederation was accomplished had
been barely outlined in the minds of a few of the principal
delegates; the resolutions at first proposed were submitted to
much criticism and revision, and the final form of the
constitution was only adopted after weeks of earnest discussion.
Even Sir John Macdonald admitted that on the quite {299}
fundamental question of whether the union should or should not
be Legislative, he only yielded his own convictions to the
manifest objection of the majority in the Conference.

The agitation for Federal Union in Australia has gone on for
many years; the examples of both the United States and Canada
have been open to Australian study, and hence the easy
construction of a system might have been assumed. Yet it was
only when the responsible statesmen of the different colonies,
and of the different political parties in these colonies, had
met in general conference that a formal plan other than the
essays of amateurs was placed before the public.

We have in our own generation seen the union of Italy and that
of Germany consummated under the strain of intense national
passion, and yet we know that even the chief agents in working
out those great movements could only feel their way as they went
along, taking advantage of opportunities and advancing with the
advance of public sentiment--and that it was only when near
their goal that they saw clearly the precise form which national
unity would take.

One may therefore with some confidence appeal to history in
support of the position that no great work of national
consolidation has ever been carried out which started from a
defined initial plan. The plan has been the crown of effort, not
its starting-point.


For this there are two manifest reasons. Years of discussion and
agitation are almost necessary, especially under free popular
constitutions, before that public opinion can be formed which
enables statesmen to determine what sacrifices or concessions
communities are willing to make to secure even a great end.
Again, only statesmen practically and closely in touch with the
people, familiar with the passions or prejudices of the
communities concerned, and accustomed, moreover, to the work of
practical administration, are able to give adequate
constitutional expression to aspirations or desires for
unity--necessarily more or less vague even when vehement; they
alone can judge where compromise or concession must be made, or
where it would be fatal.

It is on such grounds as these that advocates of the more
complete political unity of the Empire have hitherto chiefly
confined themselves, to pointing out the fundamental defects of
the existing system, to the inculcation of principles, the study
of facts, and the dissemination of information bearing upon the
question. They have directed their efforts to bringing about
conferences of statesmen duly qualified to deal with the
questions at issue, and at the same time to creating a public
opinion which would justify such conferences in taking vigorous
action. They have felt that the formulation of detailed plans
should be left for statesmen who had received a mandate from the
people, and who would be responsible to the people for the
results of their decisions.


This policy constitutes the best answer to those who ridicule or
reproach them with attempting to bind the Empire together by
some preconceived system of their own. The only plan to which
they look forward is such a one as may be the outcome of the
will of the people and the wisdom of responsible statesmen
representing the different parts of the Empire.

While the demand for a formal and detailed plan is illogical,
the suggestion of plans is useful and helpful so far as they
give definiteness to men's thought, and so help to form or
strengthen public opinion.

But in approaching the study of possible plans we are met by a
primary consideration.

There are clearly two ways in which national unity might be
attained. One would be by a great act of constructive
statesmanship, such as that which gave a constitution to the
United States, that which confederated Canada, that which is
doing the same for Australia, that which in other states has
changed an old system for a new. Such an effort is what people
have undertaken when they saw before them a great national
problem, knew distinctly what they wished to accomplish, and
were ready to run the risks always involved in radical change
for the sake of the end to be obtained by new organization. To
make such an effort requires statesmen with courage to lead, and
with judgment to plan so as to command public approval; courage
and judgment such as {302} those which unified Germany and
Italy, or those which federated the United States and Canada. On
a smaller scale we have in the history of the United Kingdom
examples of this bold and definite statesmanship, as opposed to
slow constitutional growth and change, in the acts of Union with
Ireland and Scotland, or in the Reform Bills of half a century
ago which gave to the vast but newly-formed industrial centres
their true weight in the government of the country. To make
decisive constitutional changes to meet distinct national
necessities is strictly in keeping with our political
traditions. An attempt to federate the Empire by a great act of
political reconstruction would therefore differ from other
events in our history not so much in kind as in degree. If the
task to be undertaken seems great, we must remember that it
would be faced in order to deal with facts of national growth
and change without precedent in human history.

It can scarcely be denied that at any time circumstances may
arise which would almost compel such an act of reconstruction.
The demand of a single great colony to know the terms on which
it might remain within the Empire as an alternative to
independence would make the question practical at once. A great
struggle for national safety or national existence would
probably have the same effect. That the public mind should be
prepared to deal intelligently with such a question is the
strongest reason for the careful education of popular opinion on
all matters relating to our national position.


There is, however, another very different method by which the
object in view may be attained or at least approached with the
prospect of final attainment. Instead of radical change and
reconstruction we may look to a policy of gradual but steady
adaptation of existing national machinery to the new work which
must be done.

This method commends itself more especially to thinkers in the
mother-land, who are accustomed to consider that the supreme
merit of the British institution consists in the fact that it is
not a written rule,--not a system struck off at white heat by
the efforts of legislators, but is, in the main, the result of a
progressive historical development. To them further progress
would seem safer if pursued on similar lines. The policy seems
of less consequence to colonists, living as they do in countries
going through rapid changes, and lending themselves more readily
to new organization.

The ideal of Federation which naturally presents itself to the
mind is one which provides a supreme Parliament or Council,
national not merely in name but in reality, because containing
in just proportion representatives of all the self-governing
communities of the Empire. Such a body, relegating the
management of local affairs to local Governments, and devoting
its attention to a clearly defined range of purely Imperial
concerns, would seem to satisfy a great national necessity. It
would secure representation for all the great interests of the
Empire, it {304} would bring together those best fitted to give
advice on Imperial matters, and it would be free from that
overwhelming responsibility for petty administration which now
paralyzes, and at times renders ridiculous, the supreme council
of the greatest nation in the world.

This, it seems to me, is the ideal which must be kept in view as
the ultimate goal of our national aspiration and effort. It is a
reasonable ideal, one which, as we have seen, long since
commended itself to the philosophic mind of Adam Smith, and
which has today, under the changed conditions of intercourse,
infinitely more to justify it, and infinitely less to hinder its
attainment than in his time. Even Burke, to whom it also
occurred as a reasonable political conception, would have
hesitated to employ the phrase, _opposuit natura_, with which he
dismissed it, could he have grasped the possibility of what
steam and the telegraph have done during the last half century.
The realization of some such an ideal as this--a common
representative body, Parliament or Council, directing the common
policy of the Empire, while absolute independence of local
government is secured for the various members--may fairly be
looked upon as the only ultimate alternative to national
disintegration, the only thing which can fully satisfy our
Anglo-Saxon instincts of self-government, and give finality to
our political system.

Meanwhile I have found that practical statesmen throughout the
Empire, even those most devoted to {305} the cause of national
unity, while recognizing that the difficulties constantly tend
to diminish, look upon the immediate realization of this ideal
as impracticable, or as involving too great a political effort,
too sweeping a change in the existing machinery of national
government. They turn themselves to the consideration of
measures which will by gradual steps and a process of
constitutional growth lead up to the desired end.

Prominent among such measures must be placed the proposal to
summon periodical conferences of duly qualified representatives
of the great colonies to consult with the home government and
with each other on all questions of common concern. The public
recognition of the right of consultation, the formal summoning
of such conferences by the Head of the State, would of itself be
a signal proof to the outside world of the reality of national
unity, a decisive step towards its complete attainment. By
bringing the leading statesmen of the colonies from time to time
into immediate contact with those of the mother-land, the
opportunity would be furnished for that personal understanding
which becomes more and more necessary in the conduct of politics
and diplomacy. In proportion as dignity is given to these
conferences, and as their decisions are carried into effect,
their influence on the policy of the Empire would increase till,
it is believed, they would either themselves develop into an
adequate Federal council, or would have gained an authority and
experience entitling them to indicate the lines on which such a
council could be created.


The Conference of 1887, though merely tentative, proved how
great is the variety of subjects which may usefully come under
the consideration of such gatherings. New questions are
constantly arising. A single illustration may be given. The
right of Canada to make independent treaties has been so
strongly urged by the leaders of the Opposition in the Dominion
Parliament that it is difficult to see how, when next in power,
they can avoid pressing the claim upon the Imperial Government.
In the constitution outlined by the Australian convention at
Sydney 'external affairs and treaties' were among the subjects
specially reserved for the Federal Government. A prominent
Victorian barrister has pointed out that this provision would
bring up the whole question of the nature and limits of the
Imperial connection. Newfoundland is now claiming the right to
form separate treaties with foreign powers, and has thereby come
into conflict with Canadian interests. It is clear that such
questions should be settled on broad principles of general
application. The fixing of such principles would of itself
justify a conference of representatives of all the communities
concerned. But conferences are occasional, and it would still be
necessary to provide some means of more continuous contact
between the thought of the Governments of the colonies and that
of the mother-land. On this point of an adequate constitutional
nexus we have many important suggestions, to a few of which
reference should be made.


Sir Frederick Pollock, in an article contributed to an English
journal in March, 1891, says: 'Is there not any way, short of a
gigantic constitutional experiment, of providing a visible
symbol and rallying-point for the feeling of Imperial patriotism
which has so notably increased within the last ten years? I
think there is. One part of our constitution retains, not only
in form, but in fact, the vigour of perpetual youth, and is
capable of indefinite new growth as occasion may require,
without doing any violence to established usage. I mean the
Privy Council. From the Privy Council there have sprung within
modern times the Board of Trade, the Judicial Committee, the
Education Department, the Universities Committee, and virtually
though not quite formally, the Local Government Board, and the
several commissions now merged in the Agricultural Board. Why
should there not be a Colonial and Imperial Committee of the
Privy Council, on which the interests of the various parts of
the Empire might be represented without the disturbance of any
existing institution whatever, and whose functions might safely
be left, to a large extent, to be moulded and defined by
experience? ... It might be summoned to confer with the Cabinet,
the Foreign or Colonial Minister, the Admiralty, or the War
Office, at the discretion of the Prime Minister or of the
department concerned; and its proceedings would be confidential.
... It is hardly needful to mention the Agents-General of the
self-governing colonies as the kind of persons who {308} should
be members of the Committee now suggested, being, of course,
first made Privy Councillors. ... I believe that such a
Committee might give us something much better than a written
constitution for the British Empire; it might become the centre
of an unwritten one.'

In the _Nineteenth Century_ for October, 1891, Sir Charles
Tupper suggests a plan similar in principle to that of Sir
Frederick Pollock, but more clearly defined. Assuming that at no
distant date the Australasian and the North African groups of
colonies will be federated, as the Canadian provinces now are,
he proposes that each of these three great British communities
shall be represented in this country by leading members of the
Cabinets of the countries to which they belong, ministers going
out of office when their own governments are changed, and so
permanently representing the views of the government in power.
Such a minister should in England be sworn _ex officio_ a member
of the Privy Council, and though not a member of the Imperial
Cabinet would be in a constitutional position to be called upon
to meet it on every question of foreign policy or when any
question that touched the interest of a colony was being
considered. To this suggestion Sir Charles Tupper lends not only
the great weight of his personal authority, but he supports his
proposal by the expressed opinion of men like Earl Grey, the
Marquis of Lorne, W. E. Forster, and others.

Once more, Lord Thring, looking at the question {309} as a
constitutional expert, has stated his opinion that the best way
in which the colonies could at present directly intervene in the
general policy of the Empire would be by elevating the position
of Agents-General to one akin to that of a minister of a foreign
state, and by giving them in addition, as members of the Privy
Council, the right of constitutional access to the British
Government. This, he thinks, would satisfy the immediate
necessities of the case, and would pave the way for the fuller
representation which must come with the fuller acceptance of
national responsibility.

Nothing can more fully show the change that has come over the
public mind than the fact that proposals such as these are now
made by constitutional authorities and responsible public men.
It illustrates a complete reversal of the policy which was
assumed without question by the statesmen of the last
generation. The discussion has become one not of the principle
of unity, but of ways and means to arrive at the most
satisfactory constitutional nexus between the mother-land and
her offshoots.

But it must not be thought that discovering the precise point of
constitutional connection is the only or even the most important
step towards effective unity. While the constitutional question
is being debated there is much which Parliaments can do, much in
which every voter in the Empire, by the use of his political
influence can assist, to forward the cause of political
unification. Foremost among these practical measures may be put
the establishment of the cheapest possible {310} postal and
telegraphic communication. The practical advantages which would
flow from an inter-Imperial system of Penny Postage have been so
often and so effectively presented by those who have given
special attention to the question, that it is unnecessary to
dwell upon them here. But from another aspect it may be said
that when the emigrant of the remotest colony knows that,
because he is a British citizen, the penny stamp upon his letter
will carry the home news of father, mother, brother or sister
over all the extent of a world-wide empire, such a fact will be
more to the nation than the strength of many ironclads in the
stronger national sentiment, the deeper feeling of national
unity which it will evoke.

The same may be said of extended and cheapened telegraphic
communication, which even now makes possible an extraordinary
sympathy of national thought.

The beginning which has been made in co-operation for naval
defence and in the strengthening of posts essential to common
security, can with advantage be carried much further than it has
yet been.

The addition to the judicial committee of the Privy Council of
representative judges of the greater colonies, on the same
principle that Indian law is now represented, is a practical
measure which would give a more complete judicial unity to the
Empire, and perhaps lay the foundation of a supreme court of
final appeal for the federated nation. These are but {311}
illustrations of lines on which immediate action can be taken
and progress made.

But the work of unifying a great nation is not one that can or
should be left to legislators alone. Statesmen must have behind
them the strength of a trained and intelligent public opinion;
the warmth of national passion. In forming such a public opinion
and developing such a passion there is abundant room for the
patriotic effort of every believer in the greatness and goodness
of the cause, whatever may be his walk in life.

Chambers of Commerce, by the careful and practical study which
they are able to give to commercial relations; by the
opportunities which their associations furnish of bringing
together the representatives of those trading interests upon
which the Empire has been so largely built up, should be able to
exercise a profound influence on public thought, and provide
important information for the guidance of political leaders.

The discussion in working men's clubs of the industrial and
political relations of the Empire is most desirable. So far from
being remote from the ordinary interests of the working man,
such discussions would be found to touch more closely than
almost any others upon his daily work, wages, and food. It may
with confidence be said, that a working man who does not have
some fair knowledge of inter-Imperial relations is not fit to
exercise the franchise for the Imperial Parliament.


The equipment of all public reading-rooms and working men's
clubs with maps specially designed to stimulate geographical
imagination, and books to furnish accurate geographical
information about the Empire would serve a highly useful

Upon the journalism of the Empire a great responsibility is
laid. It is only a few years since even the most prominent
English journals published colonial news under the head of
foreign intelligence. Canadian news came to London by way of
Philadelphia. All that is now changed. Four or five of the
leading London dailies, and most of the greater provincial
journals, now make the careful and conscientious study of
colonial problems a marked feature of their work. One suggestion
perhaps remains to be made. If the British interests at stake
determine such questions, the time will probably soon come when
in three if not four of the outlying parts of the Empire the
greatest English journals should have as able and as well paid
correspondents as in the great capitals of Europe. The work of
such men, devoting their time to the study of colonial
conditions, would do much to make English information accurate,
and to create in the colonies confidence in English opinion on
their affairs.

It is a crying evil that much of the English news published in
the daily Canadian press, reaches it, even now, by way of New
York, and has characteristics specially given to it to meet the
demands of anti-British classes of American newspaper readers.
Canadian {313} journalism can alone apply the remedy of direct
communication carried on under reliable control.

In schools there is an immense work to be done. The cultivation
of national sentiment in the minds of the young, on the basis of
sound knowledge, historical, geographical and industrial, is not
only a legitimate work, but a primary duty for the schools of a
country. Especially is this true of countries where good
government rests on the intelligence of the masses. Above all is
it true for a nation which has the great birthright of free
popular institutions; which has more than once stood as the
bulwark of modern liberty, as it may have to stand again; which
has traditions behind and prospects ahead fitted to fire the
noblest and purest enthusiasm. Somewhat extended observation has
led me to conclude that there is a very great lack of historical
and geographical teaching in portions of the Empire. The
deficiency is most marked on the historical side in the
colonies, and especially in parts of Australia; on the
geographical side in the mother-land. The remark applies equally
to elementary and to secondary schools. It seems a lamentable
thing that any British child abroad should grow up without
having felt the splendid inspiration to be drawn from the study
of British history; a disgraceful thing that any British child
in the mother-land should grow up to exercise the franchise
without a fair idea of the geography of the Empire whose destiny
will be influenced by his vote.

I appeal to the teachers of our British world, and {314} to all
who have to do with the direction of its education, to remedy
this deficiency. The spread of educational facilities has placed
in their hands a wonderful leverage with which to give direction
to the destinies of the Empire. One hesitates whether to press
this duty most strongly upon those who control the 'Public' and
secondary schools, which chiefly educate the professional and
political classes, or the common schools which give to the
voting masses most of the early training which they get. Let
both equally feel the significance of this great national

This work of giving education upon the immediate problems of
national life, begun at school, should be carried on at our
colleges and universities. The author of the 'Expansion of
England' has shown how much can be done from a single centre and
by a single teacher when the highest resources of historical
knowledge and literary skill are turned to the elucidation of
national problems.

By manifold agencies and influences, then, is the problem of
British unity to be worked out. Our freedom, our national
traditions, our institutions, our Anglo-Saxon civilization, are
the common heritage of all. It is the business of all to labour
for their maintenance and for their security.

[1] 'In nothing could the flexibleness of Hamilton's intellect,
or the genuineness of his patriotism, have been more finely
shown than in the hearty zeal and transcendant ability with
which he now wrote in defence of a plan of government so
different from what he would have himself proposed.'----_The
Critical Period of American History_, p. 342, John Fiske.

[Illustration: Commercial and Strategic Chart of the British

[Transcriber's Note: All spellings have been preserved as

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