« ForrigeFortsett »
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. 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
the heartiest and most enthusiastic support of those three great subsidiary Governments forming a complete whole. In that way I believe that, while they would be quite unable to overrule, as it would be most unwise that they should be able to overrule, the Government charged with the administration of public affairs in Great Britain, they would be able so to represent their views as to give them all the weight to which they are entitled. I think that would fully meet the views of the outlying portions of the Empire, giving them as it would an opportunity of expressing their opinions and of exercising their influence in relation to questions of foreign policy.
And now comes the next question, that of defence. No one can fail to see how advantageous it would be for England to appear before the world with the knowledge on the part of every foreign country that she was not standing alone, but acting with the united influence and support of those great British Dominions, which at no distant day will have a population larger than that of Great Britain. The moral weight and the prestige thus given would be considerable, but the means of concerting united action for defence between those outlying portions of the Empire and the Government of the day here would be the most effective and practical method by which they could aid and support each other. Many persons, I am aware, both in the colonies and here, have looked upon the question of the defence of the Empire as best promoted and secured by a direct contribution to the support of the army and navy of this country. That I regard as a very mistaken opinion,
and I believe that there is a much more effective means of promoting the object in view. opinion, no contribution to the army and navy of England on the part of Canada would have contributed to the defence of the Empire in a greater degree than the mode in which the public money in Canada has been expended for that purpose. We have expended, in addition to an enormous grant of land, over a million pounds sterling per annum, from the first hour that we became a united country down to the present day, in constructing a great Imperial highway across Canada from ocean to ocean, not only furnishing the means for the expansion of the trade and the development of Canada, but providing the means of intercommunication at all seasons between the different parts of the country. Louis Riel and a mere handful of halfbreeds were able to terrorise the whole of the North-West of Canada in 1870 for half a year, until the arrival of Lord Wolseley, who occupied three months in reaching that place after the spring opened. Lord Wolseley could now perform the same journey within two days. On the last occasion on which a rising occurred, in 1885, but ninety miles of the Canadian Pacific Railway remained incomplete. In twenty-four hours 4,000 men had volunteered from every part of Canada to go at once to the North-West, and the disturbance was quelled without calling upon this country for the slightest assistance. We have, therefore, not only provided the means of intercommunication, the means of carrying on our trade and business, but have also established a great Imperial highway which England might to-morrow find almost essential for
the maintenance of her power in the East. Not only has Canada furnished a highway across the continent, but it has brought Yokohama three weeks nearer to London than it is by the Suez Canal. I give that as an illustration that there are other means which, in my judgment, may contribute much more to the increased strength and the greatness of the Empire than any contribution that could be levied upon any of the colonies.
It is admitted that England has nearly reached the limit of its expansion in these islands. But she has unlimited power of expansion in the outlying portions of the Empire. She possesses today all the most important sections of the world adapted for European colonisation - Australasia, South Africa, and Canada. I do not undervalue her other possessions, but I am now speaking of the means of building up great and powerful British communities. The expenditure by the Government of Canada that has successfully opened up those enormous tracts of country in the great NorthWest of Canada, which promise to be the granary of the world, is of itself the best means of making England strong and prosperous, as it will attract a large British population thither. Many persons are labouring under a great mistake with reference to the position of Canada and the rapidity with which it has advanced. As a matter of fact no place in the world has made greater progress and more substantial advance in the last twenty-four years, since it was united under one Government. Great as is the development of the United States of America, where they have increased their population since the date of their independence twenty