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Germany, which stand in the way of closer fiscal relations between the Mother Country and the colonies. This has also been pressed upon Her Majesty's Government by my colleagues from Australia and the Cape, and by myself. A very great advance has, I think, been made in that direction by the reply of the Prime Minister that the Government of this country will address itself to any possible means to remove the obstructions imposed by those two treaties upon the fiscal relations of the different parts of the Empire. His Lordship said :
“With regard to those two unlucky treaties which were made by Lord Palmerston's Government some thirty years ago, when, I must say, the matters of our relations with the colonies could not have been fully considered, we have tried to find out from official records what the species of reasoning was which induced the statesmen of that day to sign such very unfortunate pledges.
I can give you with the greatest confidence, I think, the assurance that not only will not this Government, but any future Government, ever be disposed to enter into any such engagements again. The matter must be one which the Government will carefully watch, and I have no doubt that before a very long time has elapsed some means of mitigating this evil may be found.
There have been other indications of an improved sentiment with regard to the position of the colonies. I now refer to the peerages conferred upon Sir George Stephen and Lady Macdonald. I allude to those two facts as indicating a most important advance in regard to the position of the various
colonies throughout the Empire. The time has come when the Government of this country has declared in the most effective manner and it is the first time it has ever gone to that extent—that service to the Crown performed in the colonies will be accepted and recognised in the same manner as if it had been performed in any part of Great Britain. Of course it is obvious that this can only be done when other things are equal, and that the occasions are probably few and far between when such a recognition can be given.
To come more directly to the subject under consideration, I believe all are agreed that the leading objects of the Imperial Federation League are to find means by which the colonies, the outlying portions of the Empire, may have a certain voice and weight and influence in reference to the foreign policy of this country, in which they are all deeply interested, and sometimes more deeply interested than the United Kingdom itself. In the next place, that measures may be taken by which all the power and weight and influence that these great British communities in Australasia, in South Africa, and in Canada possess shall be brought into operation for the strengthening and defence of the Empire. The discussion of these questions has led to a great deal of progress. We have got rid of a number of fallacies that obtained in the minds of a good many persons in relation to the means by which those objects are to be attained. Most people have come to the conclusion stated by Lord Rosebery at the Mansion House, that a Parliamentary Federation, if practicable, is so remote, that during the coming century it is not likely to
make any very great advance. We have also got rid of the fallacy that it was practicable to have a common tariff throughout the Empire. It is not, in my opinion, consistent with the Constitution either of England or of the autonomous colonies. The tariff of a country must rest of necessity mainly with the Government of the day, and involves such continual change and alteration as to make uniformity impracticable.
Now the matter resolves itself, in my judgment, into the important question whether, in view of the Constitution of Great Britain, and in view of the Constitutions of the great colonies, it is not possible and practicable to devise a means by which those colonies will have all the voice and all the influence to which they are entitled in reference to the foreign policy of this country. Many of my readers will remember that when the Marquis of Lorne returned from discharging the duties of Governor-General of Canada, which he performed in the most able and satisfactory manner, he delivered at the Royal Colonial Institute an address on Imperial Federation. I am inclined to believe that sufficient attention has not been given to the very practicable means he then suggested, by which the Governments of the colonies could have a voice in the foreign policy of the Empire. Having examined the subject in all its bearings, and having devoted a great deal of thought and consideration to it, I believe that the solution of what I am afraid Lord Salisbury considers an insoluble enigma will be found in that direction. I regard the time as near at hand when the great provinces of Australasia will be confederated under
one Government. I consider that a most vitally important movement, not only to those colonies, but to the Empire itself, because it is in that direction that I look for a great advance with regard to Imperial Federation. I know there may be differences of opinion upon that point; but I believe that, great as are the difficulties which lie in the way of inducing provinces to give up their autonomy and merge themselves in a larger body in which they may be over-weighted, the advantages and necessities to Australasia of being united under one central Government are so great that they will steadily overcome all obstacles which stand in the way of such a movement. When that has been done it will be followed, I doubt not, at a very early day by a similar course on the part of South Africa, and then we shall stand in the position of having three great dominions, commonwealths, or realms, or whatever name is found most desirable on the part of the people who adopt them—three great British communities each under one central and strong Government. When that is accomplished, the measure which the Marquis of Lorne has suggested, of having the representatives of these colonies during the term of their office here in London, practically Cabinet Ministers, will give to the Government of England an opportunity of learning in the most direct and complete manner the views and sentiments of each of those great British communities in regard to all questions of foreign policy affecting the colonies. I would suggest that the representatives of those three great British communities here in London should be leading members of the Cabinet of the
day of the country they represent, going out of office when their Government is changed. In that way they would always represent the country, and necessarily the views of the party in power in Canada, in Australasia, and in South Africa. That would involve no Constitutional change; it would simply require that whoever represented those dominions in London should have a seat in their own Parliament, and be a member of the Administration. It requires no material alteration in the Constitution of this country, and it would be found entirely practicable to provide that when a member of the Cabinet of Australasia, of South Africa, or of Canada represented it in London, he should ex officio be sworn a member of the Privy Council in England, and practically become a Cabinet Minister here, or at any rate should be in a position to be called upon to meet the Cabinet on every question of foreign policy, or, at all events, when any question that touched a Colonial interest was being considered. In that way their Governments would be brought in perfect rapport with the Imperial Government. And the advantage would be twofold: they would have the opportunity of addressing to the whole Cabinet the views that animated the Governments of their colonies, and they would have the advantage of learning fully the views of the Government of this country, and in that way be able to communicate its sentiments more perfectly to their respective colonies. I do not doubt that in almost every instance Her Majesty's Government would have their united support on any question of foreign policy that touched a Colonial interest. They would thus have