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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 2

British Colonial Policy

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British Colonial Policy.

The relations between Great Britain and one

A new point of departure in our Colonial policy.

of her most important Colonies are at present in a state of severe tension, and Englishmen of both the great political parties are fully persuaded by the course of events in South Africa that we have reached a new point of departure in our Colonial policy. We cannot in future allow ourselves to be dragged into costly and disastrous wars with African barbarians by the Government of the Cape Colony, over whose action we exercise no control, just as we cannot permit our treaty obligations towards the United States to be overridden, and our friendly relations to be imperilled, by an. Act of the Legislature of Newfoundland.

These Colonies are in the enjoyment of "responsible" Government, but they seem to have never yet realised their own responsibility, although in South Africa that realisation seems now likely to be effected after a very tragic fashion, and the Colonists may find that their unaided strength is not adequate to the struggle which their rashness has provoked in Basutoland.?

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When the Transvaal Territory was annexed it was asserted that the Native inhabitants desired protection against the Boers, while the Boers in their turn required protection against the Natives, and that all alike were prepared to welcome the British flag. Unfortunately British protection is so little appreciated by the Natives, that the most powerful tribes within our territory are in open revolt, and it is only too probable that the Boers may make common cause with the Natives against us.

The Home Government not primarily to blame.

For the calamities which have recently occurred and are still impending in South Africa the Home Government is not primarily to blame. As happened so often in the early history of our Indian Empire, the most decisive steps, for good or ill, were taken by local officers without waiting for authority from home. There was no electric cable between Europe and South Africa until a few months ago; but now the telegraph has rendered it impossible for the future that England should find herself committed, without her own knowledge, to the destruction of a native kingdom or the annexation of an independent republic.

Fluctuation of British Colonial policy.

The Colonial policy of British statesmen has from time to time undergone remarkable fluctuations. There was an early period when Colonists were regarded as mere dependents, to be governed for the exclusive benefit of the Mother-country, and to be taxed without their own consent, their duty page 7 being to take home manufactures, whether they wanted them or not, to send all their saleable produce into the home market, and to receive upon their shores the offscourings of the criminal population. This was the Spanish theory of Colonial obligations, and when it was rudely dispelled by the American war of Independence, the policy afterwards adopted by the British Government erred in the opposite extreme. The Colonists were allowed to enjoy the chief privileges of self-government, and were relieved of its most serious burdens; costly armaments being maintained at the charge of the British exchequer for the protection of the Colonies against all dangers, real or imaginary. This state of affairs could not be permanent: it was justly stigmatized as tending to make the Colonies a useless burden on the Mother-country, and even to produce, rather than to prevent, the risk of Colonial wars. Again a change took place, and those statesmen who withdrew the garrisons of imperial troops from the Australasian and North American Colonies were at first accused of wilfully promoting the disruption of the empire. But what have been the actual results? On our side the loss of a few healthy and agreeable military stations may be set off against a considerable reduction in the army estimates, as well as in the loss of men by desertion. On their side the Colonists have cheerfully recognised the obligation of prosperous, self-governing communities to provide for their own defence, and have page 8 made the important discovery that the presence of standing armies is not conducive to the maintenance of peace. In particular the white people of New Zealand have found, since the departure of the red-coats, that it is possible to settle without fighting their disputes with their Maori neighbours, and the two races are now living side by side on terms of political equality.

Success of the policy carried out in North America and else-where.

If it were possible to carry out in other quarters of the globe the policy which has proved so successful in North America, in Australia, and in New Zealand, the prospects of the British Colonial Empire would indeed be bright. In those fortunate countries the Colonists are exempt alike from vexatious interference and enfeebling protection on the part of the Mother-country. They feel themselves to be a source of strength, instead of a burden, to their countrymen at home, and they cherish a proud loyalty for the British crown and flag, urging only the sentimental grievance that people in the old country do not take sufficient interest in Colonial affairs. Especially of Australasia can it truly be said that in the great islands of the Southern Ocean a Young England has arisen, cherishing for Old England the affection of a daughter, not the jealousy of a rival. A mighty nation has been already founded—a nation looking to England as a model in politics, in art, in literature, even in sports,—living our life, thinking our thoughts, reading our books, and page 9 gradually transforming, as far as nature will permit, the new world at the antipodes into the likeness of the old home-land. It is difficult to imagine any cause or pretext for severing a union based thus on mutual esteem, and imposing upon neither party any galling burden or restraint. The connection with the old country acts most beneficially in binding together Colonies whose jealousy of each other might otherwise result in actual hostilities, and which are, but for this common bond, as completely independent of each other as are the various republics of Spanish America. Gradually these Colonies, which display in the early-stages of their career so strong a tendency towards separatism and home rule, may be brought into closer relationship with each other through their common regard for the Mother-country, and may come to appreciate the advantages of a federal union over a system of hostile tariffs and inter-colonial rivalry.
Sir James Mackintosh has enunciated in terse

Sir James Mackintosh's system of "Colonial policy."

language his own system of Colonial policy :—"A full, and efficient protection from all foreign influence; full permission to conduct the whole of their own internal affairs; compelling them to pay all the reasonable expenses of their own government, and giving them at the same time a perfect control over the expenditure of the money; and imposing no restrictions of any kind upon the industry or traffic of the people." These maxims were stated in a speech delivered in the House page 10 of Commons, in 1828, on the civil government of Canada, and it may be fairly asserted that in accordance with them the Colonial policy of Great Britain has since that date been conducted, while the British Colonial Empire has attained its existing prosperity and grandeur.

The words of Sir James Mackintosh, when uttered, were especially applicable to our North American colonies, whose condition and circumstances he contrasts thus favourably with those of all other known countries:—"Exempt at once from the slavery of the West and the castes of the East, —exempt from the embarrassments of that great continent which we have chosen as a penal settlement,—exempt from all the artificial distinctions of the Old World and many of the evils of the New." Australia is now no longer a penal settlement; and New Zealand has sprung recently into political existence, giving to the maxims above quoted a far wider application at the present time than they had when enunciated in 1828.

General acceptance by the Liberal party of Mackintosh's principles.

During the half-century which has elapsed since that distinguished Liberal, Sir James Mackintosh, enunciated his principles of Colonial policy, they have found general acceptance with the Liberal party, under whose auspices the British Empire has been administered during the greater part of that period. It is hardly too much to say, that any marked departure from these principles page 11 has invariably resulted in serious difficulty, although the bitter lessons of the American war of independence have been well enough laid to heart to prevent the recurrence of any complete disaster.
Perhaps the most difficult question has been

The most difficult question.

to determine how far the interference of the Mother-country is necessary or desirable, in order to protect the Colonies "from all foreign influence." The phrase employed by Sir J. Mackintosh appears indeed to be too comprehensive, seeing that "all foreign influence" need not be mischievous, and that in many instances the Colonies are now quite capable of affording themselves "a full and efficient protection." Occasionally we have had differences with various European Powers and with the United States of America, when the interests, real or supposed, of our Colonies have been concerned, and where Great Powers are implicated we are bound to take care that our Colonial fellow- countrymen get fair play. On the other hand, Imperial intervention is frequently unnecessary, and even mischievous, when the Colonists are involved in disputes with barbarian neighbours, whether within or without their own territorial limits. In such disputes there is great reason to fear that the consciousness of having overwhelming strength at their back has rendered the Colonial authorities far less reasonable and just than they would otherwise have been.
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The Colonial policy of the Beaconsfield Government.

The Colonial policy of Lord Beaconsfield's Government was in marked opposition to that which was advocated by Sir James Mackintosh. The Colonists were not encouraged to develop their internal resources by peaceful industry, and to expend their revenues upon improvements within their own borders, such as new countries most urgently require. They were rather encouraged in aggressions upon the territory of their neighbours, although possessing far more territory than they could fully occupy, while all the naval and military resources of the empire were devoted to the conquest and annexation of new countries.

During Lord Beaconsfield's tenure of power the Fiji Islands were annexed, Cyprus was occupied, and a large portion of Afghanistan was seized; but it was in South Africa that the most extensive additions to the empire were made, and it is difficult as yet to say exactly how many new subjects, or how much territory, may have there been acquired. In round numbers, however, the British Empire now extends over nine millions of square miles, and contains 300,000,000 inhabitants, surpassing even the Russian Empire in area, and rivalling even the Chinese in population. If increased extent, rather than increased prosperity and power, be the great desideratum for the empire, then the policy lately in fashion has been eminently successful. None, however, of these recent acquisitions seem likely to become page 13 true self-supporting colonies, and they must remain for a long period, if not permanently, a drag upon the resources of the home-country. As regards Cyprus, it will hardly be disputed that this island can never become a British Colony in the true sense of the term. Intended originally to be made, like Gibraltar and Malta, "a strong place of arms," Cyprus has been already, to all intents and purposes, evacuated by the British troops. It possesses no natural harbours; it is denuded of timber; and it is liable, like the neighbouring coasts of Syria and Cilicia, to be scourged at particular seasons with a wasting and deadly fever. In course of time, if the country were completely under British rule, and if a large amount of British money were spent upon its improvement, Cyprus would doubtless regain a portion of the prosperity which it enjoyed before it fell into the power of the Ottomans; but to England it will never be anything but an encumbrance. Neither the method by which Cyprus was obtained, nor the tenure by which it is held, under the suzeraineté of the Sultan, can be regarded as satisfactory, and the only apparent reason for keeping it is the difficulty of finding any one to take it off our hands. With regard to Fiji, on the other hand, it may be hoped that this new dependency will prosper, founded as it has been under favourable auspices, in close proximity to the great self-governing colonies of Australia. The Home page 14 Government, however, must be prepared for strong pressure on the part of the colonists, who will certainly urge further annexations in New Guinea and throughout Polynesia. No risk of invasion by savage neighbours can well be alleged in these cases, but there is of course the christianising and civilising mission" to be carried out—a mission which always in Australasia has resulted in the gradual extinction of the native races. Not a few of the most eager annexationists will also probably be found to have speculated on the rise in value of landed property, which the hoisting of the British flag is certain to produce.

Important consideration.

In considering any proposed annexation of territory, it is most important to realise the fact that Englishmen resident on the spot are almost all interested personally in promoting annexation. On the frontier of every new country are to be found many enterprising and energetic individuals, with little to lose and much to gain by the results of a "forward" policy. These pioneers of civilisation are eager for employment, and quite ready to fight; so that the expenditure of imperial funds on a colonial frontier is always popular, either in peace or war.


It is impossible to omit India altogether in considering the colonial policy of Great Britain, for India is a country occupied and governed by Englishmen; it is a "Crown Colony" upon an enormous scale, and may be classed along with page 15 Ceylon, Hong Kong, or Jamaica, however greatly it may exceed them in size and importance. To these so-called Crown Colonies the maxims of Sir James Mackintosh do not apply in their entirety, and in the case of India their application has been very partial and unfair, particularly of late years. India has no "permission to conduct her own internal affairs;" she has no "control over the expenditure of money" by her own government, although she is "compelled to pay all such expenditure," whether "reasonable" or not. As for "protection from all foreign influence," India has been repeatedly involved in trouble beyond her own frontiers upon quarrels with which she had no direct concern, and disputes in which she had no voice. She has contributed men and money to wars in China, in Abyssinia, in Afghanistan—wars into which she has been dragged by Imperial, not by Indian, statecraft.

In thus treating India we have not acted up to the lofty standard of policy usually professed in dealing with our dependencies. We cannot, indeed, at present give to the natives of India a "perfect control over their own internal and financial affairs." although considerable reforms in that direction might even now be effected. While India, however, is compelled to pay all her own expenses, it is only fair to her, and to her rulers, that those who are responsible for Indian finance should have the direction of Indian policy, and page 16 that Indian tax-payers should never have burdens cast upon them with the view of enhancing British prestige abroad, or of conciliating British electors at home. But after all India stands entirely separate from our other dependencies, and cannot well be included in a general .scheme of British Colonial policy.

Increase of responsibilities.

Within the last few years, while a "forward" policy has been in favour, we, the people of Great Britain, have had our actual responsibilities alarmingly increased, and obligations have been incurred on our behalf of such a nature that they cannot well be repudiated with honour, although the burden of attempting to fulfil them may become altogether intolerable. Our position is that of an embarrassed landowner, unable to do justice to his vast estates, because of his multifarious liabilities, yet grasping at every parcel of land within his reach, and mortgaging deeper and deeper his ancestral property in order to provide the purchase money.

In Asia we have indefinite obligations connected with the Anglo-Turkish convention, while the "strong, friendly, and independent Afghanistan" has been "shattered like an earthen pipkin" (to use Lord Lytton's own words) into fragments which prove very awkward indeed to handle. In Africa also a well-established native dynasty has been destroyed, and Zululand has been reduced to a condition of anarchy which can hardly fail to page 17 result in ultimate annexation, while additional territory, involving fresh risks of collision with the natives, is even now in course of acquisition upon various parts of the western coast.

The time come for the people of Great Britain to speak out plainly.

Surely the time has come for the people of Great Britain to speak out distinctly, and to say that they will do their best to manage the possessions they hold already, but that British blood and treasure shall no longer be poured out like water in order that white adventurers may speculate successfully in land purchases, and may obtain greater facilities for selling rum to the blacks, or even in order that Christian missionaries may be protected from the consequences of their own rashness in playing the part of rulers and belligerents.

It is indeed certain that a large proportion of our conquests and annexations would never have been made, if the British nation, or even the British Government, had been fairly consulted in the matter. Again and again we have found ourselves involved in a course of action contrary alike to our notions of justice and of expediency, through the rash precipitancy, or even the deliberate disobedience, of officials whose distance from head-quarters has enabled them to defy control, until irremediable errors have been committed.

The most serious error recently committed in

The most serious error.

Colonial policy has been the annexation of the Transvaal Territory, an act for which it would be difficult, if not impossible, to find any precedent page 18 in the long history of British conquest and colonisation. We have often conquered during war the territories of other civilised nations, and have retained them after peace was concluded; we have often also seized and annexed the lands of troublesome barbarian neighbours, being sometimes driven to take such a course as a simple measure of self-defence. We have never before, in time of peace, appropriated forcibly the territory of an independent civilised community. The rights frequently denied to heathens with dark faces have hitherto been recognised in the case of white men, professing the Christian religion, and speaking a language kindred to our own.

The Boers of the Transvaal.

The Boers of the Transvaal are not mere savages : their forefathers were Dutch Calvinists and French Huguenots, who carried into South Africa the sturdy courage and love of independence which characterised them in Europe. Unwilling to live under foreign rule, they have already twice abandoned their settlements, and plunged boldly into the wilderness beyond the ever-advancing British frontier. Now for the third time they have been overtaken, and the territory which they have occupied and colonized is declared to be British.

The motive for this high-handed proceeding on the part of the English Cabinet appears to have been the vain hope of promoting a federation of all the European settlements in South Africa, similar to that of the British Colonies in North America. There certainly was no lack of unprofitable territory, page 19 of native troubles, or of financial responsibilities in South Africa before the Transvaal was annexed, and all these are now largely increased, so far as the Colonial Office is concerned, without any apparent compensation.

It may be readily conceded that the position of

Neither strength nor dignity to be derived from the subjection of the Boers.

Great Britain is strengthened, and her dignity is enhanced, by the development of free communities under her flag, cherishing her institutions, although not sharing her burdens. But neither strength nor dignity can be derived from the compulsory subjection of the South African Boers, whose territory is to us valueless, and with whom we need not have any cause of quarrel whatever. Possibly they may offer no serious armed resistance to overwhelming force; they may even "trek" once more towards the north, leaving to our army of occupation the lands which they have acquired by the usual rough methods of frontier pioneers in a barbarous country. If they depart, a "damnosa hæreditas" will be left to us; if they remain, even passive disaffection on their part will be a formidable matter for the British Government, and they will have the active sympathy of their numerous Dutch kindred within the Cape Colony itself. Happily the blunder committed in the annexation of the Transvaal Republic is not yet irreparable; it has caused as yet no bloodshed,1 and

1 Since the above has been in type this has unhappily ceased to be true.

page 20 what has been destroyed by the stroke of a pen may be restored by the same agency. A certain amount of magnanimity is required to acknowledge in a practical manner that an injustice has been done, but after all we may fairly claim to be a magnanimous nation, and have repeatedly proved ourselves capable of similiar acts of restitution. On the tomb of William the Taciturn, at Delft in Holland, hangs a wreath of immortelles dedicated by the Dutch "South African Republics" to the great Prince of Orange. One of these Republics has now lost the independence so dear to all Dutchmen, and our old allies of the Netherlands would thoroughly appreciate the justice and magnanimity which the restoration of that independence involves.

Importance of insularity and geographical position.

In considering the question as to how far the British Colonies would be a help or a hindrance to Great Britain in the event of a struggle with any first-class Power, the most important point seems to be their geographical position and their degree of insularity. The British Empire is essentially insular, or at least peninsular, and continental possessions can only be a source of weakness. Happily we possess little continental territory (as distinguished from peninsular), except in America, where our frontier for thousands of miles is conterminous with that of a very powerful neighbour, against whom it is absolutely indefensible. Elsewhere the ocean or the desert separates our territory from that of all our rivals, and upon the page 21 ocean we are still supreme; even in India the natural boundaries of the great peninsula are marked with singular clearness, and the highest mountain range in the world separates it from the rest of Asia. Australia is a continent in point of size, but an island in position. Africa remains, however, the hopeless land upon which European civilisation can make no permanent impression, where white men can never be more than conquerors and masters among a vastly preponderating multitude of coloured races, where slavery, mutato nomine, exists in reality, demoralizing the white master no less than the black bondsman. Difficulties may from time to time arise in any one of the numerous and extensive colonies of Great Britain, but the prospect in general is full of hope, and the mother country finds herself gradually relieved of burdens and responsibilities as her Colonial offspring becomes stronger and more independent. But South Africa is an "enfant terrible" in every sense of the word, and is likely in the immediate future to cause more trouble than all the others together.
In most of our self-governing Colonies the native

Disappearance of native populations in most of our Colonies.

population has either disappeared entirely, or has become peaceably merged in a preponderating mass of European descent; so that the Australian Blacks, the Red Indians of North America, and even the Maoris of New Zealand, have ceased to impede the spread of free representative institutions. Even in page 22 India itself, where we rule over a vast subject population, the worst features of modern "imperialism" do not manifest themselves readily among a docile race, with an ancient civilisation, and long accustomed to subjection.

South Africa an exception.

It is far otherwise where, as in South Africa, a few conquering white men find themselves surrounded by swarms of natives, warlike and uncivilised, incapable of self-government according to European notions, dangerous as independent neighbours, and still more dangerous as disaffected subjects. The conquerors are rendered cruel by their own fear of the conquered, slavery in some form or other inevitably results, and the development of a prosperous free community is rendered well-nigh impossible. In the "Dark Continent" of Africa the natives do not recede before the white man, and the extent of country peopled with warlike savages is almost boundless; each new conquest or annexation brings us face to face with fresh complications, of which it is impossible to see the end.

The British settlers in South Africa a mere handful.

In all our African possessions the British settlers are a mere handful, and it seems as if that country can never become an important field for European emigration. It would indeed be well for England, if her territory at the Cape of Good Hope were limited, as at Gibraltar, Aden, or Singapore, to a coaling station, a fortress, and a free port.
During the last few years the military cost page 23 of our Colonial Empire has varied but little

Cost of ou Colonial Empire.

in amount: the annual sum has been about 2,000,000l., one-half of which has been expended upon the four great military and naval stations, Gibraltar, Malta, Bermuda, and Hong Kong, and cannot fairly be regarded as Colonial expenditure. The free Colonies of Australia and New Zealand now demand no military outlay whatever from the British exchequer; and the same may be said of North America, with the single exception of Halifax in Nova Scotia. The military expenses for the West India Islands are not heavy, and tend to diminish. In short, the only true Colonies, which involve serious charges for military purposes upon the Imperial treasury are those in South Africa, and there the evil has greatly increased of late years. The Australian Colonies are disposed to squander their own money in fortifications and defences against a purely visionary foe, and we may admire their public spirit and patriotism while deprecating their needless extravagance. The same may be said as to the Dominion of Canada, with this addition, that warlike demonstrations against the United States tend to create a real danger, which would not otherwise exist. In Australia and America the colonists are perhaps pugnacious, but they are not aggressive, and, like our own Volunteers, they might take for their motto, "Defence, not Defiance." Difference of circumstances produces an entirely different policy page 24 in Africa, where wars of aggression are never ending, although each in turn is described as being necessary to maintain the very existence of the British settlements in that unfortunate country.

Confederation the new panacea.

The new panacea for African troubles is Confederation, and we have been assured that it overrides in importance every other consideration. Doctrinaire statesmen may point to North America with triumph, and may ask : Why should not we carry out in another continent with success a similar scheme of confederation? The answer is simple enough: None of the conditions favourable to confederation exist in South Africa. Here is no group of free self-governing communities, acknowledging the same sovereign and the same flag, undisturbed by barbarian subjects or neighbours, and interested mainly for fiscal reasons in promoting a union. In South Africa there is only one British dependency enjoying responsible government, viz., the Cape Colony proper, with a population at the census of 1875 amounting to 720,000, less than one-third of whom are whites. The dependencies of the Cape Colony, all annexed within the last fifteen years, include British Kaffraria, Basutoland, Griqualand East, Griqualand West, and the Transvaal, with a population equal to that of the Colony proper, and almost entirely black, with the exception of the Boers. Then there is Natal, a British colony, with a population of 325,000, less than 23,000 of whom are of European descent. page 25 Lastly comes the independent Dutch republic, or Orange Free State. Thus there are only three communities, which can possibly confederate at present, and the Orange Free State, over which we have no legal control whatever, is one of them. In the other two countries, which are under the British flag, there are more than a million of inhabitants, but only one quarter of these are of European descent, and of that quarter of a million the majority are not British, but are of Dutch, French, or German origin. In other words, the English settlers are a mere handful among a numerous population of alien whites and a far more numerous population of blacks, even within our own territory, while beyond those limits stretches a vast continent, more or less densely peopled with blacks, over which continent the red line of British dominion tends to advance with alarming rapidity. Confederation under such conditions is an absurdity, and can mean nothing more than the assumption by the Cape colonists of a task far beyond their powers, viz., that of administering unaided a territory which threatens to rival India in extent, if not in population.
Such an undertaking can only result in disastrous

Disastrous failure a certain result.

failure, if attempted by a feeble and divided Colony under the form of free institutions; it will test the wisdom and experience of the Home Government, backed by the whole power of the British Empire.
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Probable result of withdrawal of authority of mother country.

If the authority of the mother country be withdrawn from South Africa, it is only too probable that the result will be the establishment of a slave-holding oligarchy, in whose constitution and laws slavery will be the essential principle, although the name will not appear. In the Southern States of the American Union the Federal authority alone prevents the negroes from being to all intents and purposes re-enslaved. Coloured persons in various parts of the world are "apprenticed," or "held to labour" as coolies, although it is illegal to sell them as slaves; while in South Africa black women and children are "given out," and slavery exists under thinly disguised forms. The question now is whether the people of Great Britain are prepared to hand over the territories and the tribes conquered by them and at their cost, to be ruled by the handful of white men at the Cape, in Natal, and in the Transvaal. The responsibilities incurred by conquest and annexation cannot be so easily shuffled off, and in England, as in Rome of old, there will be "always news from Africa."

The African race the grand difficulty of the European.

The African race in both hemispheres seems destined to be the grand difficulty of the European, and the condition of affairs in the late Slave States of the American Union presents a strong analogy to that which prevails at the Cape. Confederation in the latter case will be as difficult a scheme as "Reconstruction" in the former, and "Reconstruction" has recently been described by a page 26 powerful American writer as "A Fool's Errand." "Slavery as a formal state .of society was at an end; as a force, a power, a moral element, it was just as active as before. Its conscious evils were obliterated; its unconscious ones existed in the dwarfed and twisted natures which had been subjected for generations to its influences, master and slave alike. As a form of society it could be abolished by proclamation and enactment; as a moral entity it was indestructible as the souls on which it has left its mark."
It is true that the blacks of South Africa have

The South African blacks in the position of serfs.

not been bought and sold like chattels within the memory of the present generation, nor are they liable to the lash of the task-master as a legalised punishment; but they are in the position of serfs, and they can truly say, like their brethren in the old Slave States, "Niggers never can have a white man's chance here."
"The remedy is one that must be applied from

The remedy.

the outside. The South will never purge itself of the evils which affect it. Its intellect, its pride, its wealth, in short, its power, is all arrayed against even the slow and tedious development which time and semi-barbarism would bring. Hour by hour, the chains will be riveted closer. Look at the history of slavery in our land. See how the law-makers, the courts, public sentiment, and all the power of the land grew year by year more harsh and oppressive page 28 on the slave and his congener, the 'free person of colour,' in all the Slave States. In direct conflict with all the predictions of statesmen, the thumb-screws of oppression were given a new and sharper turn with every passing year. The vestiges of liberty and right were shred away by legislative enactment, and the loopholes of mercy closed by judicial construction, until only the black gulf of hopeless servitude remained.

The remedy from with out, not from within

"The remedy is not from within. The minority knows its power, and the majority realizes its weakness so keenly as to render that impossible. That which has made 'bulldozing' possible renders progress impossible. It must be from without. The remedy for darkness is light; for ignorance, knowledge; for wrong, righteousness. Let the nation undo the evil it has permitted and encouraged. Let it educate those whom it made ignorant, and protect those whom it made weak."1
If the Mother Country were to make over the destinies of the vast coloured population in the British African Colonies to the tender mercies of the white colonists, the result would probably be much the same as if the freedmen of the former American Slave States were left, unprotected by the Republicans of the North, to settle their political status with their former masters in the South. The responsible Government conferred

1 "A Fool's Errand," by One of the Fools.

page 29 upon the Cape Colony unfortunately restricts the effective intervention of the Colonial Office to the territories lying beyond the present boundaries of that Colony.
In the meantime we must beware of extending;

The area of nominal self-Government should not be extended.

the area of nominal self-government by bestowing absolute power upon a small minority of whites over a subject black population. The experiment of a representative Government under such conditions foiled in Jamaica, and, warned by this failure, we can now see that the independence of the few implies the subjection of the many, and that even the nominal enfranchisement of the ignorant blacks does not enable them efficiently to protect themselves. In Barbados and in Natal the problem of constitutional reform is rendered well-nigh insoluble, and the Transvaal question is complicated by the same difficulty.

H E. Captain Strahan, C.M.G., Governor of the Windward Islands, in the address with which he opened the Legislative session in Barbados, on the 12th of December, 1877, uses these words:—

"The late unhappy disturbances have attracted public attention very strongly to the question whether the constitution of Barbados requires amendment, either by extending the franchise or by establishing that direct protection by the Crown of the unrepresented classes which takes the place of representation, and which is afforded by the constitution of a Crown Colony."

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He further speaks of the Barbados constitution as "conferring singularly independent powers upon a small minority of the people," but protests against the idea of any large extension of the franchise among the negro population.

Sir Garnet Wolseley on a "responsible" Government for Natal.

Sir Garnet Wolseley, on the 13th of February, 1880, in a despatch to Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, the Secretary of State for the Colonies, writes from Pietermaritzburg, Natal, on the subject of creating a "responsible" Government in that Colony, an address praying for such a form of Government having been forwarded to Her Majesty from the Legislative Council of Natal. He uses these words:—"In a colony where the voters or, in other words, the grown-up males of European descent are only about 4,100, any attempt to create a constitution on such a very narrow basis, in imitation of that which we possess in England, would be as futile as it would be dangerous. The whole white population of Natal does not amount to 22,300 souls, while the Kaffir population is said to be nearly 400,000. You will remark that under the proposed constitution it is not intended that the natives should have any voice in public affairs, or that they should be directly represented in cither of the two Councils. To give over the government of this Colony into the hands of the very small number of white people in it would, in my opinion, be as unjust to the large number of natives living within its borders, as it would be page 31 dangerous to the peace of South Africa. I believe that one of the principal and earliest products of responsible Government in Natal would be an endeavour, in one way or another, to set up little by little the compulsory relation of master and servant, employer and employed, between the white population and the black; and I can foresee the gravest and most disastrous consequences as the almost certain outcome of any such attempt, were it permitted by the Mother Country." Sir Garnet Wolseley goes on to mention, "The white man who hungers for the possession of farms beyond the existing boundary of the Colony," and to describe the native policy, which finds favour with the colonists of Natal, as "a policy of annexation and of interference in native affairs beyond their own borders, a policy of which war sooner or later must, be the result." And he adds:—"To the colonists war means the spreading amongst them of millions of money drawn from the English treasury; and the crime of bringing about a native war does not so clearly appear to the Natal colonist, who thinks he may rely always upon the aid of British battalions to save him from the adverse consequences of a conflict which he may have himself provoked."

What Sir G. Wolseley says of Natal is true of all Colonies existing under similar conditions, and the practice (loudly denounced when attributed to the Dutch Boers) of "indenturing" natives, page 32 especially women, for long periods of compulsory service, has already called forth remonstrances from the Home Government, addressed to the authorities of the Cape Colony. In South Africa every native war results in confiscation of native lands, with the virtual reduction to servitude of the natives themselves. Thus the frontier farmers obtain land and labour at the same time, while responsibilities and burdens are cast upon the Home Government and the British taxpayer. Such has been the course of events hitherto; but it may be hoped that a change has recently taken place, and that the Basuto war, now raging in South Africa, may teach a salutary lesson to all concerned.

Decline of the importance of the Colonial Department.

The recent transfer of Cyprus from the control of the Foreign to that of the Colonial Office is apparently a prudent proceeding. The latter Department of State has declined greatly in relative importance to the other first-class Departments, as one Colony after another has been emancipated from the control of the Mother Country and entrusted with powers of self-government. In fact, the Colonial Office has ceased to be a first-class Department, and the population under its immediate jurisdiction is now comparatively small. While the India Office is responsible, according to the most recent census, for a population of 191,000,000 in British India, besides 48,000,000 in the Protected Native States, the Colonial Office has, in round numbers, 5,000,000 subjects, besides page 33 1,000,000, whose position of partial subordination may be compared with that of the Indian Feudatories.
But although the Colonial Department is insignificant

Successful administration of the Colonial Department.

in magnitude when contrasted with India, it is far more successful in its administration, if financial prosperity may be taken as an evidence of success. Except in the case of military and naval stations, maintained for the advantage, real or supposed, of the empire generally, the colonies impose no burden of any consequence upon the British exchequer, and those countries which are under the jurisdiction of the Colonial Office can exhibit a most satisfactory balance-sheet, with annual surplus and insignificant debt. It is, indeed, otherwise with the free constitutional colonies; but for their finance the Homo Government is in no sense responsible.

Grants in aid are still made from the civil estimates for salaries of governors, and other special purposes, but they are small in amount and are gradually diminishing; so that the British Colonial Empire is really self-supporting, as regards all civil and internal administration.

The British Colonies are divisible into three

The Colonies divisible into three classes.—First class.

distinct classes. First, Crown Colonies, where legislation and administration are alike under the control of the Home Government, by whom all public officers are appointed. Not one of: these Crown Colonies is of first-class importance page 34 (India of course being excepted), and some of them are merely military garrisons, naval stations, or trading settlements. The most populous are Ceylon, Jamaica, Mauritius, the Gold Coast, and the Straits Settlements; and their aggregate population amounts, including Cyprus; to considerably more than four millions and a half.

Second class.

Secondly, Colonies where Representative Institutions exist, and where the Crown exercises only a veto on legislation, but the Home Government has retained the control of the executive, and the appointment of public officers. Such Colonies are Natal, Western Australia, Barbados, Malta, Leeward. Islands, Bahamas, Bermudas, and British Guiana. The population of the "Representative" Colonies is somewhat greater than one million.

Third class.

The third class includes all the most important Colonies, those enjoying Responsible Government. Over these the Home Government possesses no control beyond the appointment of a constitutional Governor as representative of the British Crown, and a veto upon legislation very rarely exercised. In this category are Newfoundland, the Dominion of Canada, the Cape of Good Hope, New Zealand, Tasmania, and the four principal Colonies of the Australian continent. Their population amounts, according to the latest returns, to seven millions and a half, nearly all of whom, except in the Cape page 35 Colony and its dependencies, are of European race; whereas, in the other two classes of colony, the white inhabitants form a minority quite insignificant in numbers. The Colonial Office, therefore, exercises complete control over 5,000,000, partial control over 1,000,000, and merely nominal control over 7,500,000, the total being 13,500,000 persons. The different classes of Colonies differ greatly as to their financial position. The constitutional Colonies have fallen into errors natural to young and prosperous communities, and have failed to profit either by the example of the Mother Country, or by that of the United States. They alienate the public lands with reckless rapidity, they hamper trade with protective tariffs, and they raise loans for the "development of the country," while they disburse as ordinary revenue, rather than as capital, the produce of the public land sales.
Great Britain has adopted a free trade policy,

Great Britain's free trade policy, non-reduction of national debt.

by virtue of which she has acquired enormous wealth; but she makes no serious effort to reduce her national debt, even in times of peace and prosperity, leaving it as a permanent burden to future generations, for whose supposed benefit so much of it has been contracted, but who will certainly find it a disastrous inheritance, and will probably have enough to do in meeting the obligations and liabilities arising in their own times.
The United States, on the other hand, have page 36

The United States, its protective policy, but rapid discharge of national liabilities.

hitherto favoured protection of home industries—a policy which, in their case, has proved less mischievous than usual, on account of their vast territory and the varied resources existing within their own limits. The Americans are increasing rapidly in numbers and in wealth; they might fairly argue that their descendants will be better able than they are to bear the burdens incurred in the great civil war which put an end to slavery, but they do not favour this indefinite postponement of national liabilities, and are paying off at the cost of the present generation the debt which this generation has incurred.

Principal Colonies falling into double error.

Our principal Colonies are falling into the double error of hampering their commerce and postponing their liabilities; they accept alike the American policy of protection and the British policy of indebtedness, reducing both ad absurdum. Each colony maintains a hostile tariff, not only against the Mother Country, but against its Colonial neighbours; so that Australia, with a population smaller than that of single American States, has half-a-dozen distinct fiscal systems, framed in a spirit of mutual jealousy, and seriously impeding the commercial development of the country.

The Australian Colonies.

The six Australian colonies (including Tasmania) are rapidly outstripping the Old Country in the matter of indebtedness. The oldest of them had not a single British settler a century ago; their page 37 aggregate population in 1878 was a little over two millions, while their aggregate public debt was 45,000,000l. New Zealand, with a population (including Maoris) of less than half a million, had in 1878 a public debt of 22,608,311l., and New Zealand has not yet existed forty years as a separate colony. The annual expenditure of these colonies continues to exceed their income; and the consequent increase of indebtedness is not the worst feature of the case, for a large proportion of the revenue is derived from land sales—a source of supply liable to exhaustion in all colonies, and in certain colonies already almost exhausted.

Thus in 1877 the gross amount of public revenue for the Australasian Colonies was 17,800,000l., of that amount rather less than one-third being raised by actual taxation. In 1878 the "ordinary" expenditure of New Zealand, in a time of profound peace, exceeded the revenue by nearly 200,000l. while the expenditure out of "loans for public works" was 1,786,992l.

New Zealand has a great future before her, but that future has been gravely compromised by a reckless financial policy, which has already expended a large portion of her splendid patrimony, the public lands, and has saddled the community with a public debt just twice as heavy per head as that of the United Kingdom.

In fact, the most promising of all our Colonies, page 38

The most promising Colony the most heavily indebted.

on account of natural advantages, is now, in proportion to population, the most heavily indebted country in the world. The "net indebtedness" of the Colony, including the old Provincial Government loans, has been stated by the Agent-General for New Zealand as amounting on the 30th June, 1879, to 21,513,303l. 14s. 5d.

Nature, objects, and extent of expenditure.

Ten millions sterling of this money have been expended on railways constructed and in course of construction, and five millions upon other public works, including roads, harbours, lighthouses, and telegraphs. Upon immigration 3,770,000l. have been spent, and 1,470,000l. upon the purchase of native lands. All of these are doubtless objects involving a certain outlay, which, if made judiciously, will prove beneficial in the future, and which need not have been made entirely out of current revenue. But, in estimating the financial extravagance which has piled up so large a debt in so short a time, it must be borne in mind that an additional sum of 10,763,577l. has been spent by the Colony of New Zealand, being the amount realised from public lands granted and sold down to the end of 1878. Now this large sum, amounting to one-half of the entire public debt, ought surely to have been regarded as capital, and not as current income; it ought to have been applied either to the reduction of the permanent debt, or it should have been set apart for special contingencies; but nothing of the sort has been page 39 done. The annual charge for interest of debt and sinking fund is stated in 1879 at 1,200,000l., but the total sinking fund accrued at that date has been only 1,709,000l., reducing the net indebtedness to twenty-one and a half millions sterling, as above mentioned. For the last ten years the revenue of New Zealand has been divided into "consolidated" and "land" revenue, the former having increased gradually and steadily during that period from one million to more than two millions and a half, while the annual revenue from sales of land has fluctuated between 208,000l. and 1,586,500l.
This highest figure was reached in 1877-78,

Increase of permanent debt.

and it is noticeable that from various causes the land revenue has in the following year shown a falling off to the amount of nearly one-half. It is somewhat difficult to reconcile the details of the statistics furnished by the Agent-General for New Zealand with those given in the Statistical Abstract recently laid before Parliament, but it is clear enough that, while the land revenue has been spent from year to year, the public permanent debt has been trebled since 1889.
Hitherto no cheek has been placed upon such

Check upon extra vagance.

reckless extravagance by the pressure of direct taxation, but this will not be the case in future, and a heavy tax upon property has been imposed within the last few months. It may be hoped that the effect of this impost will "be to open the eyes of the New Zealand people, and page 40 to bring about economy and retrenchment. Their Agent-General boasts that their public works are not constructed for the present population only, but for many times the number. Whence are these multitudes to come? The country wants European immigrants, but its great distance from Europe places it at a woeful disadvantage compared with America as a field for emigration. If, in addition to this disadvantage, New Zealand is to be handicapped with heavy taxation, even the present scanty stream of immigration will be turned away from her shores, and she will have to depend solely upon the natural increase of her existing population. Meanwhile the evil done is by no means irreparable.: the public credit of New. Zealand is still justly high; the larger portion of the lands of the colony is still unalienated, while the railways constitute a really valuable property, already producing, at least in the Middle Island, a net return of three per cent, upon the cost.

Analogy between New Zealand and Victoria.

The peculiarities which characterise the finance of New Zealand are found also in that of Victoria to a considerable extent. If the five years from 1873—74 to 1877—1878 be considered, the revenue is found to vary between four millions sterling and four millions and three-quarters, while the expenditure for each year, except 1876—77, considerably exceeds the revenue. Out of this revenue only a portion, far less than the moiety, is raised by taxation.

page 41

In 1877—1878 out of four and a half millions sterling one million seven hundred thousand, or 38 per cent., resulted from taxation, almost entirely from customs, although a land tax was then imposed for the first time. In that year 756,000l. was realised from land sales, 1,202,000l. from railways, 239,000l. from posts and telegraphs, besides large sums from rent of Crown lands, water supply, fines, forfeitures, &c. All these sources of income are steady, some of them are increasing, and all, except land sales, may be regarded as legitimate revenue. From other Australian Colonies reports of budget statements reach us, showing that financial difficulties are now seriously felt, and it is a very hopeful sign that recourse is being generally made to direct taxation. Financial reform and retrenchment are probably not far distant, when self-governing communities, whose public income has been hitherto derived from land sales and protective import duties, begin to feel the pinch of direct taxes.

At present the Australians are inclined to boast

Australian inclination to boast of their revenues.

of their large revenues, and the Victorian Year- Book for 1878—79, para, 160, says, "Not one country (in the world) raises so much per head as any of the Colonies on the Australian continent, or as New Zealand." The very next paragraph, however, shows that in the case of Victoria the proportion of revenue raised by taxation is only 38 per cent., while it is rather less than one-third of the total revenue for all the Australasian Colonies.
page 42

Indebtedness of Canada, New found land and the Cape.

The Dominion of Canada has not displayed quite so serious a case of youthful extravagance as have the Australasian Colonies. The total "net liabilities" of the Dominion and Provincial Governments was in 1878 just under 30,000,000l. for a population of less than four millions. This gives a degree of public indebtedness per head of population corresponding closely to that of the United States, and considerably less than half that of the United Kingdom. Canada has never been burdened with the costs of a great civil war, but it is a significant fact that whereas the receipts annually exceed the expenditure by a very large sum in the United States, and the public debt diminishes steadily, the Dominion debt displays an opposite tendency, and in 1878 the expenditure exceeded the revenue by 235,000l., besides a sum of 1,380,916l. expended from "Loans on Public Works." Newfoundland has held aloof from the rest of British North America, and is quite independent of the Dominion. Her public debt is as yet small, but here as elsewhere the tendency is to increase, the deficit in 1878 being 27,000l. on a total expenditure of less than a quarter of a million sterling. The only other important self-governing Colony is that of the Cape, where the public debt is growing rapidly, having increased between 1870 and 1878 from little more than one million to nearly seven millions sterling, a sufficiently alarming figure for a country where the white population does not yet equal a page 43 quarter of a million; but this debt must be largely increased by the wars in which the Colony is now engaged.
A good example of financial economy is given by

A good example.

the Orange Free State, which declares a very small debt, and a surplus of annual revenue over expenditure. In this respect the little Dutch Republic stands alone among the numerous self- governing communities founded by European settlers beyond the limits of Europe.
But, while the "Responsible" Colonies are thus

Satisfactory financial condition of Crown Colonies.—Jamaica.

plunging headlong into debt, and mortgaging their future prosperity, the two other classes display a far more satisfactory balance-sheet, notwithstanding the large staff of salaried officials which they usually maintain. The Governor of Jamaica has recently called attention to the flourishing finances of that important island, where debt has been largely reduced of late years, without any increase in taxation, and where the amount of revenue in 1878 was 539,000l., exceeding the expenditure by 35,000l., so that Jamaica is now almost free from public debt.
Barbados stands in a still more satisfactory position,


as in 1878 the public debt was only 25,000l., and the revenue for the year exceeded the expenditure by 7,000l. Trinidad in 1878 shows a debt not much greater than half the annual revenue, which is very largely in excess of the expenditure. In the Leeward Islands the revenues exceed the page 44 expenditure, and the public debt is inconsiderable. In the Bahamas and the Bermudas a fair equilibrium seems to be maintained between incomings and outgoings; while Tobago returns almost precisely the same figures for revenue as for expenditure.

West Indies.

Thus the British possessions in the West Indies set an excellent example in finance to the more independent and progressive Colonies, and it is gratifying to find that these comparatively humble dependencies are now so well administered as to be able to pay their own way, and to meet all their liabilities with case. The same holds good of the Crown Colonies in other parts of the world: except such as are mere garrisons, none are a burden on the British taxpayers, and, except the great Indian empire, none are bowed down beneath a weight of debt.


Ceylon in 1878 was practically free from debt, and the revenue exceeded the expenditure by 95,000l. Mauritius had then a debt of 700,000l, less by 90,000l. than the revenue for that year, which also exceeded the annual expenditure by 55,000l. Of the other dependencies of the British Crown, viz. Hong Kong, Straits Settlements, Labuan, Guiana, it may be said that they are all solvent and prosperous in their fiscal affairs.

Malta and Gibraltar.

Malta and Gibraltar are able to defray without difficulty all necessary expenses of civil government. Heligoland has a small annual surplus, page 45 and a trifling debt. Even such settlements as British Honduras, the Falkland Islands, and St. Helena contrive to pay their own way fairly well; while the West African Settlements, the Gold Coast Colony, and Lagos are prosperous financially, notwithstanding their insalubrious climate.
The financial prosperity of the British Crown

Financial prosperity of Crown Colonies in marked contrast to civilized communities in general.

Colonies is thus in marked contrast to the indebted condition of civilised communities in general, not excepting some of the wealthiest and most powerful European empires (with which it is useless to compare them), while Switzerland alone can display an equally favourable balance sheet. If, however, they contrast favourably in this respect with British Constitutional Colonies, much more favourable is the contrast as regards most of the independent communities which have arisen from the ruins of the Spanish American Empire : the Argentine Republic, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Central America vie with each other in deficit and debt.

Altogether the result of an inquiry into the financial condition of the British Colonies and their pecuniary relations to the Mother Country is by no means unsatisfactory, always excepting India, and perhaps South Africa,

The aggregate revenue of the British Dominions

Aggregate revenue of British Dominions.

is, by the latest returns, upwards of 160,000,000l. One-half of this enormous sum is raised in Europe, and one-third in Asia. Of the remaining sixth nearly two-thirds are raised in Australasia, leaving page 46 only one twenty-fifth of the total for America and one-fiftieth for Africa.

Relative importance of British possessions.

If the relative importance of the British possessions in the five divisions of the globe be estimated by their respective incomes, then, taking one hundred as the total, Europe is represented by fifty, Asia by thirty-three, Australasia by eleven, America by four, and Africa by two. If population, or area, be taken as the standard of comparison, very different results are obtained.

As regards population their order of magnitude is—Asia, Europe, America, Australasia; and as regards area, it is—America, Australasia, Asia, Europe. In both respects Africa is now quite indeterminate.

A class of politicians to be on our guard against.

We cannot be too much upon our guard against that class of politicians who believe that the strength and resources of the British empire necessarily increase with its territorial extension, and who regard all conquests or annexations of rival nations as affording just cause for alarm. They appear to think that every barbarous country, and especially every island, all over the globe, belongs, or ought to belong, to England. If a rumour gets abroad that the Americans propose to purchase a naval station near Honolulu, or that a couple of German war-vessels have been lying for a considerable time at the Samoa group of islands, these "patriots" are frantic with jealousy, lest another Great Power should do once what England has done over and over again, and should attempt page 47 to share the British monopoly in civilizing aboriginals off the face of the earth. It is true that, when a country inhabited by savages has once been invaded by white settlers, the only chance of protection for the natives is under the flag of a civilized Power, and in their choice of evils the British flag is probably the least; but our hands are already too full, and we cannot do justice to our vast possessions. If other great nations are willing to undertake a share in the task of civilizing Africa or Asia, a far-sighted policy dictates ready acquiescence on our part in what is merely the imposition of a burden on the shoulders of a possible rival. Thanks to her naval supremacy, England has already secured all the best available territory for colonization, and that which remains unappropriated is not very likely to "pay"
When the French undertook the expedition that

Jealousy and alarm at foreign conquests and annex at ions are ground-less.

finally resulted in the conquest and annexation of Algiers, great jealousy and alarm were excited in this country, and many persons actually believed that British interests would suffer, if a stable, civilized Government were substituted in North Africa for chronic piracy and misrule. France was then the "bête noire," or bugbear, of so-called British patriots, who are now able to perceive—what the French tax-payer has long ago discovered—that Algeria has profited more than France by the hoisting of the tricolor upon the shores of Africa, At the present day Russia is exhausting her imperfectly developed resources in subjugating the page 48 wild hordes of Central Asia, and again it is imagined that British interests are menaced, and that all Russian action is directed by hostility to England. Surely these patriots, who regard the strength and prosperity of neighbouring nations as necessarily disastrous to themselves must rejoice when that strength is expended, and that prosperity is diminished in carrying out the "mission" of subduing barbarians and unbelievers. Enlightened selfishness should prompt Englishmen not to restrain suspected rivals from distant conquests, but rather to encourage them in squandering their forces over the surface of the globe. Experience has taught us in many wars, that remote colonies and possessions are a serious encumbrance to a belligerent of inferior maritime force, and in particular it has been proved again and again, that all islands occupied by the rivals of Great Britain are simply hostages placed in the hands of that Power which so long has ruled the seas. During the wars waged with other European nations by England, since the destruction of the Spanish Armada inaugurated her naval supremacy, the enemy's settlements and garrisons, isolated and cut off from reinforcement, have invariably fallen one after another into British hands. The Dutch in particular were almost everywhere explorers and pioneers to the British, and the names of New Holland, New Zealand, and Van Diemen's Land sufficiently indicate that Australasia, as well as South Africa and Ceylon, would have page 49 been Dutch, if England had not finally triumphed over Holland, her determined maritime rival. The ocean does not separate outlying possessions from a mother-country that has undisputed command of the waves. The Mediterranean bound together the widely-scattered provinces .of the Roman Empire, in the centre of which lay the city of Rome. The British Isles lie in the centre of the land surface of the globe, and are united to remote dependencies by the same salt waves that part them from neighbouring rivals. After Rome had vanquished Carthage, her only maritime rival, she flourished for many centuries, having none to make her afraid; but Italy is not an island, or Rome might have continued, like Venice amidst the lagoons, to defy the barbarians for many centuries more.

The Roman poet might well lament that the sound of Italian wars was audible alike to Medes and to Africans, and might ask what fields were not enriched with Latin blood—

"Qui gurges ant quæ flumina lugubris
Ignara belli? Quod mare Dauniæ
Non decoloravere cædes?
Quæ caret ora cruore nostro?"1

In a yet wider sense the question has been asked—

"Sons of the Ocean Isle!
Where sleep your mighty dead?"

And the answer is:—
"Wave may not foam, nor wild wind sweep,
Where rest not England's dead."

1 Horatii Flacci Carminum, lib. ii., Ode i.

page 50

The sea, whose shores have been enriched with English blood, spreads far beyond the Pillars of Hercules, and the existence of our vast empire is due to our command of that grand highway of nations, far more than to any superiority over other races, either as conquerors or as colonists. Not without reason is the British navy popular, giving, as it does, security at home and empire abroad, without menacing liberty or unduly burdening the exchequer.

Value of the navy.

At the present period no portion of the empire, except India, would be seriously imperilled, if we did not possess any regular army at all, and if the defence of the whole were entrusted to a powerful navy, with a well-organized local militia in each colony, as well as in the United Kingdom. Even India, it must be remembered, was conquered from the seaboard, and our maritime supremacy alone enabled us there to crush our French rivals. Without that supremacy we could hardly hold the country for a year, while with the sea open to our transport vessels, and India garrisoned by a localised European force, no enemy exists that need alarm the most timid of patriots. For us the "gates of India" are on the Suez Canal, and Egypt is the only land, beyond the limits of India proper, the possession of which would strengthen our Eastern Empire.

The case of Great Britain unparalleled.

The case of Great Britain is indeed without a parallel in history: her empire stretches over "regions Cæsar never knew," and her colonies page 51 have never been rivalled in extent by those of any nation except Spain. The "red line" of British dominion continues to encroach upon all other colours over the map of the globe, including ever more and more territory, until it seems as if the empire must crumble away from its own weight and want of cohesion. Unlike Rome, England is surrounded by many independent nations, several of them surpassing her in military power, although she might almost cope singly with the united naval forces of all. If all England's vast empire were in truth a "Greater Britain," contributing willingly in men and money to the maintenance of English rule, then indeed she might defy the world in arms; but, as Mr. Gladstone has most truly said, her rule has to be maintained "with the strength that lies within the narrow limits of these shores." The self-governing Colonies of British origin have ceased to be a burden: they pay their own way, and might even become a support in any time of dire emergency; but they contribute neither to the imperial forces nor to the imperial exchequer. India has paid her own way hitherto; but the first grant in aid has already been made to her by England, in the form of a loan without interest.
The remainder of the empire, including all the

Heavy responsibilities.

African possessions, must be regarded as entailing heavy responsibilities upon the people of the United Kingdom, without adding to the strength page 52 necessary for discharging those responsibilities. To acquire more possessions of this nature, whether in Zululand, in Afghanistan, or in Asia Minor, simply means casting fresh burdens, military and financial, not upon the empire at large, but upon the 33,000,000 inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland, who bear bravely the load already on their shoulders, but certainly feel that they have got about as much as they can well carry. Practice in carrying weights doubtless develops strength up to a certain point, but there is a limit even for the strongest, and that limit we seem now to have reached; but still, such is the energy of the race, that there are Englishmen who continue to cry out for more dusky subjects, more barren territories, more wars, and more debts!

A large proportion of the empire an unpeopled waste.

We possess already the most extensive empire that has ever existed on this globe, and a large proportion of this is still an unpeopled waste, requiring capital and labour to develop its splendid resources, and to support millions where now only thousands are found. There is an ample field for all our national energy within our own existing borders, and the Englishman who advocates the wider extension of those borders, far from the sea our own element, into the heart of Africa or Asia, is no true friend to his country.

It has been stated that our imperial burdens are borne by the inhabitants of the United Kingdom; but at the present time this statement is hardly correct, for Ireland is now an additional burden on page 53 the military strength of the empire, and, until Ireland is pacified by just legislation, England has only Scotland to assist her in sustaining "the too vast orb of her fate."

Yet statesmen like Sir Bartle Frere continue to

Necessity for British electors to speak out.

advocate the retention of Kandahar, and the extension of a British protectorate over the whole of South Africa, and, unless British electors and taxpayers speak out strongly against such a policy of "force, folly, and fraud," they will find themselves saddled with ever more and more useless and costly possessions. In her future competition with other nations Great Britain is already handicapped quite seriously enough with her enormous public debt, from which encumbering weight her most formidable rival is rapidly shaking herself free. Is there no lesson to be learnt by us from the policy of civilised nations at the present clay, as well as from that of Rome or Spain in the past? Two notable examples are before us—Germany and

Two notable examples.

the United States of America. Both of these nations doubtless have a great future before them, but which of them is pursuing the policy best calculated to raise it to the foremost place? Germany annexes valuable provinces, contracts powerful alliances, increases her army, and takes upon herself to become the arbiter of Europe. The Americans leave other nations to manage their own affairs, reduce their military expenditure to the lowest possible figure, and direct their indomitable energy to the reduction of their public liabilities page 54 and to the development of their internal resources. They abstain, in spite of great provocation, from farther encroachment upon Mexico; they decline to be tempted even by so glittering a bait as Cuba, the "Pearl of the Antilles;" they refuse to become an "imperial" race ruling over subject nationalities, or to burden themselves with out-lying possessions, easy to attack, and difficult to defend. They have their reward : they are indeed a mighty nation, compact and self-governing, free from burdens and liabilities, strong in their position, their wealth, their numbers, and their energy, without an unwilling subject or a foreign enemy, at once the most powerful and the most peaceable nation on the face of the earth. Are we to follow their example, or that of Germany? Are we to thrust ourselves into every European quarrel, as well as to carry foe and sword through Africa and Asia? Are we to increase continually our public debt, as well as the number of our discontented subjects and unprofitable possessions? The industrial Commonwealth is clearly outstripping the military Empire in all that makes life worth having, and German emigrants are pouring into America by hundreds of thousands. England has, like America, a secure position, immense territories, and free institutions; let her compete in the rivalry of peace and progress, rather than in that of spoliation and conquest.

The results of a fair trial

The "forward" Colonial policy, of which Sir Bartle Frere is the chief apostle, has had a fair page 55

of the "forward" policy.

trial, and it has brought upon us, in Zululand and in Afghanistan, the two most serious military reverses ever sustained by the British arms in battle with a barbarian foe. These defeats have indeed been "avenged," but there is little glory or satisfaction to be gained in the punishment of men, whose crime is to have fought bravely and successfully in defence of their native land against unprovoked invasion.
Of the wars that have arisen, and are likely to

Impossible to see the end of wars arising out of this policy.

arise, out of this disastrous policy it is impossible now to foresee the end, even if the present Liberal Government should display a greater readiness than they have hitherto done to break the continuity of disaster, by dismissing all the agents whose conduct produced the original mischief, and employing men in sympathy with a policy of peace and conciliation, such men as Sir Henry Bulwer, late Governor of Natal.
If the Liberals really believe that rash and unjust

Duty of Liberals.

acts have been committed by their predecessors in office, why can they not make manifest their belief by deeds as well as by words? How can those who condemn the seizure of the Transvaal against the will of its inhabitants treat the Boers as rebels for attempting to resist annexation? Is it impossible, or absurd, for a great nation to acknowledge a blunder, and make restitution for a wrong? If Liberal Ministers content themselves with censuring, instead of altering, the Colonial policy of the Conservatives, they will page 56 have themselves only to thank, when they reap the fruits of that policy.

Scope for the energy of Colonial Office

Even within the limits of its present jurisdiction the Colonial Office may find scope for considerable energy. The Crown Colonies are financially prosperous, but important reforms are lacking in many, if not all of them, and it is possible that in some cases administrative economy has been carried too far. From Ceylon come eager demands for railway extension and for ecclesiastical disestablishment and disendowment. From Malta there is a cry for representative reform; from Cyprus and Honduras there are petitions for important constitutional amendments.

Objects of our future Colonial policy.

Our future Colonial policy must be to reform the institutions and develop the resources of those countries for whose administration we are really responsible; to divest ourselves of all liability for the action of those Colonies over whose govern-ment we exercise no power of control; and, above all, to put an end to the system of "filibustering" by officials, traders, or missionaries under shelter of the British flag.

David Wedderburn.

London : R. Clay, Sons, and Taylor, Printers