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representatives of the colonies to take their place in an Imperial House of Commons. Seas and lands no longer divide us. The representatives of New Zealand could reach Westminster with far greater ease and safety than members of the House of Commons 250 years ago conld have journeyed to London from the wilds of the Hebrides or from the western shores of Ireland. The comparatively trivial details of local government now detain the two Houses for a longer period than necessary. A session of from three to four months would give a reasonable time to Imperial business, and reserve half a year to the home life of the colonial member.
Probably the first steps in federation would be permissive. To compel any reluctant member of the family to be driven into the embraces of the parent country would only excite antipathetic symptoms. The honour and advantages conferred upon the associated colonies would draw outsiders into the family circle. The absence of one or two members would be no more fatal to federation than it was to the formation of the Canadian Dominion.
Canada and Australasia offer no special problem, but South Africa demands different treatment. Unfortunately, the welding of the British and Dutch races has not proceeded to the extent that we find it in the British and French association of Canada. Neither in Australasia nor in British North America have we the coloured problem which demands solution in South Africa. In that continent
—the America of the Old World—European colonisation can only succeed on the highlands. Some of these colonies must continue isolated States divided by seas of fire and malaria from other Europeanised districts. The black man cannot be hunted out like the lion and the elephant; he will remain more or less civilised in the neighbourhood of the dominant race, and his political condition will therefore be the African riddle of the coming centuries. The experience of the United States hardly supports the hope that the Africanwhether negroid or Bantu in type-can be incorporated into the civic society of a white people. Certain districts of South Africa may have, therefore, to be left in the perpetual condition of Crown colonies, never entering upon the full manhood of self-government.
There is, however, another service which our South African Empire may do for os. Looking across the Indian Ocean, we see Hindostan, fertile and prosperous in spite of occasional blasts of war, plagae, and famine. The paternal care exercised by the British Government, the development of railways which distribute food and contract the operation of famine, better sanitation, and that “ Britannic peace” which holds back from strife rival States and religions—all these make for & rapid increase of population. We must provide for this, or the very justice and humanity of our rule will create fresh difficulties for us. Eastern Africa, already the field of the Hindoo merchant, may become a tropical colony for India. Our Aryan cousins will receive from us a new home within easy distance, where they may share in the benefits of our Empire centuries after the British have retired from India. The expansion of race is as certain in its operation as the force of water. China, which exercises no external authority, pours her surplus population into the Malay States, and makes the northern shores of Australia, and the inhospitable fringe of Western America a dumping ground.
In the statatory devolution of power from the Imperial Parliament to the different colonial and national assemblies, there would be little fear of any conflict of authority. Should a dispute arise between different parts of the Empire, the Imperial Parliament or the Supreme Court would determine the difficulty. The Crown would exercise its power of veto and control through a lord lieutenant or governor appointed on the advice of the Imperial Ministry to each separate Parliament of the Empire. There would, of course, be local Ministries, and within their own limits the Parliaments would legislate and act through their own executive. The representation to the Imperial Parliament, and the contribution to be made to the Imperial Exchequer might be revised septennially upon bases of population and assessable value. Questions which are now the subject of sharp difference of opinion because the interests of the three kingdoms are not alike would be settled when one part of the United Kingdom ceased to deny to another a much-desired reform. Ephraim would no longer vex Judah, nor the Empire be rent in twain in order to give effect to a local measure.
Offers of assistance and the honourable competition for a share in national defence in case of war argue that colonies growing in strength and importance would not hold back their proportionate contribution to the Imperial Exchequer. They would play their part in Imperial government, and have a voice in the application of the funds so contributed. With many of the markets of the world closed against them, the working men of this country could hardly fail to see the great advantage conferred upon them by a united Empire, with free intercourse between its several parts secured for the coming age. A large measure of this kind would comprehend many of the dissident and alienated forces of Liberalism. It does not imply that lesser and modest measures are meanwhile to be overlooked. In order to rally the country, to confer benefits even greater than she has done in the past, Liberalism ought to summon the people to a more ardaous but nobler enterprise than any which are inscribed upon those tattered flags, the trophies of her ancient victories.
J. COMPTON RICKETT.
WANTED: A DEFEAT.
AUDATOR was taking his coffee on the club terrace and wonder
ing whether the Whips would let him off, when Criticus, looking irresponsible in a bicycle suit, bore down on him.
“Off already ?” asked the member.
“Yes," said the official cheerily, “there's very little going on in the office; I am off to-night for a cycling trip in France—the only place in the world where they know how to keep their roads.”
“ Pity me," said the Parliament man," who am chained to my seat in the House until the Whips will let me go We aren't doing much either,” he conceded, in answer to a lifting of the critic's eyebrows; " but then, you know, the duties of the Opposition have to be carried on somehow, and a few of us have got to stick to it.”
“I suppose you are doing duty for the Front Bench," said Criticus, “for I gather they are never there, and some of them have actually left town. Labby said the other day that he had sown watercress on their seats, and he was sure most of it would grow."
“ You are incurable," said the faithful one. " You are never satisfied with them." “Do you
know any one who is ? ” said Criticus. " It adds to the pleasure of going abroad, that it will allow one to forget for a while this wreck of Liberalism. I am tired of it, myself.”
“Oh, yes,” said the M.P., with more spirit than he sometimes showed under these attacks. “ You clever people can talk; but you see we win the elections all the same."
“That,” said the critic, " is the worst feature of the whole thing. You are succeeding, just as these Front Bench philosophers predicted, on the ghastly blunders of the Government. Never since I could read a newspaper has any Government blandered so badly. They can't VOL, LXXIV.
even pass a Vaccination Bill, although they profess to believe it is essential to save as all from small-pox. The cnly thing they have doneexcept Workmen's Compensation, which they and you both detest—is to make grants of money to their friends. As for foreign policy, Granville, who was an old woman, was a hero compared to Lord Salisbury."
“ Well,” said the member, “why shouldn't we win? can't regret that the country is disgusted with them, too.
I'm suro all the Tories in the House are sick enough of it, and whenever they speak their mind, they curse Salisbury more bitterly than we do."
“ Yes," said Criticus, “that is one of the irritating elements of the situation. The man in the House of Commons who most cordially agrees with Salisbury is Harcourt himself. Salisbury is now the leader of the anti-Jingoes, and those of us who are not quite happy about these new fire-eating tendencies on the Liberal side can partly forgive his failures, because they lean to virtue's side.'
Of course, Rosebery would do it infinitely better-even the Tories know thatbut, then, he is not available, and there is nobody else.”
“Surely you don't mean," said the other, “ that you would rather these people went on ? Of coarse, we can't force them into an election just yet, but it must come before long, and then, I am thankful to say, we shall be rid of them."
" That is just what horrifies me," said Criticus. “ I am afraid you may win---though I hope to heaven you won't.”
“What on earth do you mean ? ” said the M.P., who honestly thought that his friend had lost his senses.
“What I mean," said the other, “is very simple. I mean, that bad as things are now, when you are all in Opposition, the situation would be infinitely worse if you had won the General Election, and had to make another attempt at governing the country. I told you before that what you wanted was a Leader, and also that yoa wanted a Policy; but I now tell you, by way of parting benediction, that what you want most of all is a defeat."
His friend was speechless with astonishment.
“Yes," said the permanent official, “I say it deliberately, and I have carefully thought it out. Of course, I shall vote for the election comes on, but I shall pray that you may be beaten, and I think every serious Liberal had better do the same. This ridicalous business about Doughty and his seat is an excellent object lesson. Any of the pressmen will tell you that there are dozens of folk on your own side who quite agree with Doughty and who would be delighted to throw ap Home Rale if they dared. Does anybody suppose that men like Perks are willing allies of the Irish ? Bat, of course, they dare not go over to the Liberal Unionists, and the party cannot possibly swallow its pledges. I am a Home Roler, and I repent of nothing. But it is perfectly obvions, even to the most
loyal, that if you got a majority at the polls you would never be able to repeat the old tactics. No Prime Minister in his senses, certainly not either Harcourt or Rosebery, would dream of using a brand new majority to try and drive an Irish Bill through the House of Commons in his first session, with a certainty of seeing it kicked out by the House of Lords; but if you win you will be face to face with that dilemma. You can hardly suppose you are going to have a majority against the Irish and the Tories combined. Even if you had, it would be quite as fractious a team as the last one was, and penal servitude would be almost as cheerful as the attempt to govern with it. That is what Rosebery said when the Cordite Vote put him out of his misery; and the situation now is not better but worse.
“Doughty, of course, is a fool, but he has revealed the situation. I hope and believe that neither the party as a whole, nor even the poor Front Bench, are prepared to go back on Mr. Gladstone, and I do not see any real reason why the Irish Alliance should not go on in much the same fashion as before, so long as you are in Opposition. It is when you have to take office that the difficulties will begin, and I think the difficulties on that question alone are hopeless."
Laudator had been looking at him with his mouth open during this exposition. He himself, faithful party man as he was, felt that there was a great deal more truth in this than was comfortable. Indeed, he had heard lots of people in the smoking-room uttering opinions which fitted unpleasantly into the critic's forecast; but, as his friend paused to take breath, and looked out gloomily over the park, he found an opportunity to say:
“But there are plenty of other things we want besides Home Rule. The Irish must be reasonable, you know. We will do what we can for them, but it isn't our fault if the House of Lords stops the Bill. They must help us in the rest of the programme. It can't be all on one side, can it ?” he ended plaintively. He did not himself
when he came to think of it, how the Parliamentary situation was going to work out with a weak Liberal Cabinet in office.
Criticus only smiled in his superior way, and looked as if he was going. But Laudator had a happy thought, and detained him with it.
“A press fellow," he said, “was asking some of us the other day how we thought it would work if we offered Dillon a pledge—honest Ipjun, don't you know—that if he would help us to get out of that trap about Home Rule first, and ploughing the sands, and all that sort of thing, we would give him a bona fide Bill before the Parliament was out-say the last session, jast before the election--and send it up to the Lords, and then have an election on it—'Justice to Ireland and down with the House of Lords'-we might get it through that way, perhaps. I thought it was rather a good idea. Only Tom Ellis isn't about, so there's nobody to talk to about these things."
“ Why don't you go and talk to Harcourt ?" jeered the critic. “I