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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 80

Temporary Expedients

Temporary Expedients.

It is now universally admitted that it is impossible any longer to continue to treat the affairs of these States as matters of merely departmental importance, the concern of the Colonial Office, as was done in 1881; this is seen from the fact that Imperial Conferences of Premiers have taken place in London. This truth seems to be realised in the Transvaal, where the Het Volk party make a demand for participation in Imperial affairs a plank in their platform. As the British electors are under present conditions the sole ultimate tribunal to decide on all questions of Foreign and Colonial policy, it follows that the States are entitled to appeal directly to them on matters more nearly affecting their interests. An instance of this method occurred in 1900 when several delegates came from South Africa to address British constituencies, and recently delegates from, or representatives of, the States oversea have addressed meetings in England on the question of Preferential Trade. Such a proceeding is not only not a matter of "interference," but is perfectly justifiable so long as the British democracy is the ultimate tribunal and returns page 11 to power His Majesty's advisers. But there are many difficulties in the way of continuously pursuing this course, although it would be of immense service in educating the people at home and oversea as to the condition and destiny of the Empire.