HC Deb 28 April 1863 vol 170 cc876-98

said, he rose to call attention to the correspondence which had recently been laid before Parliament between Her Majesty's Government and the Governors of Canada and of New Zealand respectively, concerning the military defences of those Colonies. In the course of the discussions which had taken place on the Army Estimates he (Mr. Arthur Mills) had been requested by several hon. Members to originate a debate in which the general question of the relations between Great Britain and her Colonies, in respect to the defence of the Empire might fairly be raised. He wished to disclaim any desire to alienate the allegiance of any of the Colonies, or to precipitate the dismemberment of the Empire; while, on the other hand, he did not desire to retain them in subjection one hour longer than they chose. Nor had he any wish to enter into the question of colonial party politics, which more particularly belonged to the colonists themselves. He would briefly state the facts of the case to which he wished to call attention. During the last year a commission had been appointed in Canada, consisting of eight members, seven of whom, he believed, were Canadians, to inquire into the defences of Canada. They recommended to the local Parliament that a militia force of 50,000 men should be raised and trained, together with a reserve force of the same number. He believed that the recommendation of the Commissioners was unanimous. A Bill was brought in to carry it out, but the Canadian Parliament did not adopt it. And instead of a local force of 50,000 men they embodied and trained only 15,000—not much more than one-fourth of the force recommended by their own Commission as absolutely essential for the defence of the Colony. At the present moment there were little more than the above-named number of Volunteers and militia-men armed with Enfield rifles in Canada. In addition to the local force of 15,000 there were about 10,000 or 12,000 Imperial troops in Canada. The Canadians justified themselves for their apparent shortcomings in self-defence, on the ground that they were in no danger, and did not think they ought to submit to the inconvenience and expense of raising a large force when they were in no peril. He admitted that the Canadians were the best judges as to whether they were in peril or not. But he would put the case thus. They were cither in peril or they were not. If they were in peril, then they ought to have raised a larger force for the defence of the province; for if Canada were really in danger of invasion, it was worse than ridiculous to suppose that a frontier of 1,000 miles, assailable by land or water at every point, could be adequately protected against the incursions of a hostile army by ten or a dozen British regiments. If they were not in peril, then they did not require 10,000 or 12,000 Imperial troops in Canada, whose expense was defrayed by the taxpayers of this country. It might be said that to advocate the withdrawal of the troops from Canada would, on grounds of Imperial policy, be to make a monstrous proposition; but when the House of Commons accepted, by a formal Resolution last year, the liability of England for the protection of her Colonies from perils occasioned by "Imperial policy," could it be contended for a moment that Canada was thereby released from all responsibility for her own defence. If England had bombarded New York or Portland, or any city on the American seaboard, and had thereby provoked an attack on Canada, England would undoubtedly be bound to bear the brunt of such an invasion as her own policy had invited; but he should wish to know in what estimation the loyalty of the Canadians was to be held, if they showed no sympathy with us in such cases, for example, as that of the Trent, and upon what grounds they would be justified in casting upon the mother country the whole of the responsibility which she was willing to share with them? The relations which ought to subsist between this country and Canada in respect to the question of her defence had, he thought, been very well laid down in a despatch of the Duke of Newcastle, in which he stated that the main security against aggression which the latter enjoyed consisted in the fact that a war with Canada meant a war with England; but that it did not therefore follow that England could afford to maintain there an unlimited number of troops, while it still remained true that the defence of Canadian territory must mainly depend on the Canadians themselves. In bringing the subject forward he was not actuated by any spirit of hostility to Canada; on the contrary, he introduced it because he believed the executive Government of this country needed the support of Parliament in carrying on a correspondence in which it appeared from the papers Canada acted the part rather of a hostile Power than of an integral portion of the empire. The total sum paid by the Parliament and people of Canada in 1862, for the various purposes to which he had referred, was only between £60,000 and £70,000, as against a sum (exclusive of extras) paid by this country of little less than a million sterling. He did not think that they ought to be carrying on protracted negotiations on the subject with the Government of Canada. He considered that the time was come for taking a more decisive attitude, and for putting an end to the undignified and unsatisfactory wran- gling between the Secretary of State and the Parliament of Canada, whether by the Canadians increasing their militia force or the Government of England withdrawing the troops from Canada he did not pretend to say; but one of those two courses ought to be adopted.

Passing from Canada to New Zealand, he might observe, that though the case of the latter colony was widely different from that of Canada, they were almost similar in that both were nearly independent. The colony of New Zealand had possessed a constitution for ten years. When that constitution was granted, the Crown thought proper to make a reservation with reference to the right of dealing with the native races—not in the spirit of interference with the Powers of the local Parliament, but in obedience to the principles which had always actuated this country in dealing with those portions of the empire which were inhabited by warlike tribes. Whether that reservation was wisely made or otherwise he would not discuss, but its effect had been from that time forward to throw nearly every expense incurred for the defence of the colony upon the Imperial Government. Was the claim on the part of the people or the Legislature of New Zealand well founded? They said, "You, the Crown of England, by your representatives have been meddling in colonial affairs, so you must bear all the responsibility of conflicts with the natives." But to what extent, as compared with the Colonial Legislature, had the Crown of England interfered? In 1858 alone, no less than four Acts dealing with the natives were passed in the Colonial Legislature, none of which were disallowed or interfered with, but received the Royal assent. The Imperial Parliament, during the same period, had only passed two principal Acts—one by which the Queen relinquished any scintilla of power that might previously have been reserved, and the other guaranteeing a loan of half a million to New Zealand. In the mean time, the war expenditure, occasioned by settling disputes in which we as a nation had not the minutest interest, had been almost entirely borne by Great Britain. For five years negotiations had been carried on between successive Secretaries of State in England and the New Zealand Government, with the object of inducing the colony to pay the moderate sum of £5 a man for the soldiers employed in its defence. Every one of those soldiers cost England £100 per man per annum, and it was sought to make New Zealand bear one-twentieth of their cost. Sanguine economists hoped that such an arrangement had been effected; but it would appear from the latest accounts, that of the proportion of £35,000 to be sustained for the year 1862 by the colony £25,000 were swept away by various deductions, leaving only £10,000 to be contributed by the colony towards the vast military expenditure of which Sir George Grey spoke in the following terms:— The rate of military expenditure now going on, allowing nothing for the cost of operations in the field, amounts to nearly £400,000 a year, and to this a sum of £260,000 will have to be added for each six months' operation in the field, or a sum of £520,000 a year, making a total of £920,000 a year if operations are continued; and I concur with the Lieutenant General in thinking that the sum actually expended would be more likely to exceed than to full short of this sum. When to this amount are added the sums due to the services not included in the Estimates, the total military expenditure will be very largely increased. The Colonial Treasurer, moreover, gravely suggested that no present attempt should be made to meet these liabilities; but after the Native difficulty was at an end, and the respective proportions to be borne by the Imperial Government and the colony had been ascertained, that a loan should be raised to cover the latter. The practical inference to be drawn from the correspondence was, in his mind, that the time had come, not for negotiation, not for despatch writing, but for distinct and definite action. That action need not involve any hardship upon the people of New Zealand. The case was argued as if England was leaving the colonists to their fate, or, still worse, leaving the colonists to murder the Maoris, a supposition which was shocking to those philanthropists who before contended for the granting of representative institutions and for absolute rights of self-government. Surely, if men were capable of managing their own affairs, they ought to know how to behave in face of a warlike race like the Maoris. He did not say that England would be able to retire altogether from these contests; but if the colonists, without being deserted, were taught to lean more on themselves, there would be fewer disturbances, and they would behave with greater circumspection towards the native race, knowing that they would no longer be backed up in all their unrighteous claims. Accusations of injustice might be levelled against the parent State for such a course, but it must be remembered that the relations of England towards her Colonies had entirely changed. She could no longer legislate for them; she could not recall the days when they were bound to her by exclusive commercial treaties, or when they were compelled to receive her criminal population. The question in the present day was no longer whether Great Britain should tax her Colonies, but to what extent the Colonies should be permitted to tax Great Britain. Men were now asking, very naturally, whether at this time especially of severe commercial distress at home, the distant Colonies of our Empire were to be permitted permanently to garrison their frontiers with our troops while they excluded our manufactures from their markets. He believed that Great Britain had it in her power to retain her Colonies not in inglorious and unlovely subjugation, like the colonies of ancient Rome, but in an affectionate and far more enduring allegiance. If the Home Government were really about to inaugurate a better system, he believed, that so far from the days of their colonial empire being numbered, the affections of the Colonies for the mother country would be more closely cemented than if they continued to be alternately dandled and overawed. The Colonies had shown the most generous feelings towards the mother country by their benevolent contributions during the Russian war, the Indian mutiny, and now during the distress in the cotton districts. What they had now to be taught by a resolute and decisive policy on the part of that House was that communities must share in the burdens and responsibilities if they would participate in the privileges of free men. The hon. Member concluded by moving an Address for the Correspondence.


said, he rose to second the Motion. The facts brought before the House were most important, and he should like to be informed by the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies what were the advantages they derived from the two dependencies to which his hon. Friend had referred, as a counterbalance. The Canadians levied a duty of 20 per cent on some of their most important manufactures. Yet Canada looked to England to keep up a large military force for her protection, and there were about 5,000 British troops in that Colony. The last Returns gave an annual expenditure on the Colonies of about £4,250,000, of which, he doubted not, about £3,000,000 might be saved. It was said that "the sun never set upon the British dominions," but that was a large sum to pay for the vainglorious boast. Whenever they had any dispute with the United States, they always threatened to take Canada, just as though Canada was of any advantage to England. Of course, it would be extremely unpleasant to have Canada wrested from them by force of arms; but he thought that the people of Canada should, to a greater extent, undertake the duty of their own defence, especially as they were better able to bear taxation than the people of this country.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Copy of all Communications which have passed since the commencement of the year 1862 between the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Representatives of the Crown in the British Dependencies respecting the mode and cost of their Military Defence.


said, he was glad to find that his hon. Friend (Mr. A. Mills) looked with a favourable eye upon the correspondence which had taken place between Her Majesty's Government and the Governments of Canada and New Zealand. He (Mr. C. Fortescue) quite agreed in much which had been said by his hon. Friend as to the course that should be pursued by Her Majesty's Government; and, indeed, it was evident from the papers before the House that Her Majesty's Government thought that the Canadian Government had performed but a very slight portion of their duty in reference to the defence of the province against any dangers that might arise, and that opinion had been very frankly conveyed by the Colonial Office to the Canadian Government. The Governor General of Canada (Lord Monck) had expressed a similar opinion in a despatch which did him great credit for frankness and honesty of tone; and the Home Government, agreeing in the opinion expressed by Lord Monck, had stated that they thought that the Governor General of Canada had consulted the real interests of the Colony in the language he had adopted, and thus had, with all courtesy, but with perfect frankness, conveyed that opinion to the Canadian Government. In his opinion, the Home Government was under an obligation to protect the distant provinces of the Empire against such dangers as they could do but little themselves to avert or incur, so far as the policy which they maintained towards other Powers was concerned. So far as regarded her internal affairs, however, a colony such as Canada might do much either to incur or avert any blow to which she might be liable, according as she maintained towards other Powers a resolute and well prepared attitude, or exhibited a posture of indifference and unreadiness, trusting to chance or the strong arm of the mother country to protect her. While he fully agreed with his hon. Friend that it was the duty of the Home Government to impress these opinions on the Government of Canada, he would not have the House underrate the exertions which the Canadian Government and people had made under the existing circumstances. Too little, it was true, had been done; yet something had been accomplished, and still more was in progress. According to the last accounts they had from Canada, the Volunteer system was carried on there with considerable activity and spirit. At the beginning of the year there were some 25,000 Volunteers actually organized and under training, and that number was rapidly increasing. In addition to that, attempts, and apparently successful attempts, had been made to render the rural militia of Canada fit for service in any emergency which might arise. The real difficulty connected with military organization in Canada occurred in the rural districts. As might to a great degree be expected, the Volunteers were found in the towns. The rural districts were thinly peopled, with great intervals between them; and it was far less easy to draw any large bodies of men together from their farms for any length of time to undergo training than was the case in this country. Yet that difficulty ought to be encountered and overcome. But the officers and non-commissioned officers of militia throughout the rural districts of Canada were forming themselves into drill associations, and no officer was allowed to remain on the list of the militia without qualifying himself as such. [A laugh.] The hon. Gentleman might laugh, but that was a great improvement on the previous state of things, and he could tell his hon. Friend that the highest military authorities in Canada were of opinion that the rural population—a hardy race, accustomed to field sport, the use of fire-arms, and an active self-reliant life—would, under the command of trained officers and non-commissioned officers, who were being provided, easily and in a short time be formed into a most efficient body of troops for the defence of their country. That was not merely the sanguine hope of the Home Government, but the deliberate conviction of military critics in the Colony. He was far from saying that enough was done to meet the requirements of the case, or that the Canadian Government and Legislature had proved themselves equal to their duties. Still, there could be no doubt that the people of Canada were in this matter in advance of their political leaders; that there was among them the strongest feeling of loyalty and attachment to their institutions and to their connection with the mother country; and that, in the event of danger arising, there would in a very short time be a large and valuable force raised by the people of Canada, who would be as ready as on any previous occasion to sacrifice life and property in defence of their liberty and of the British connection.

There had been very considerable difference of views between the Home Government and that of Canada upon some points, and one of these points was a very important one. His noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Office had, in reference to taxes, expressed his opinion to the Governor General that the finances and credit of Canada would never stand upon the footing that they ought to occupy until the Canadian Government made up its mind to incur the unpopularity of proposing a measure of direct taxation. Her Majesty's Government, however, could do nothing in the matter but use their moral influence, and they had freely expressed their opinion that nothing would tend so much to raise the credit of Canada as a measure for direct taxation, which would enable her to lower her duties upon imports. He must, however, observe, that in his opinion those duties had been misrepresented as duties for protection. He was convinced that they were not imposed for that purpose, although, no doubt, the duties were higher than the manufacturers and the importers of this country had a right to expect. The greatest part of the correspondence which had been referred to related to the vexed question of the relative proportion of the cost of troops and of the defence of the Colony which should be borne by the Home and the Colonial Governments respectively. It was impossible to lay down any definite rule upon the subject, but his noble Friend had endeavoured to convince the Colonial Government of their obligation in the matter; without denying, however, the obligation of England. Now, as to the obligation of the Imperial Government to defend the Colonies, They constantly heard Gentlemen of high authority representing that the great and beneficial changes which had taken place of late years in the commercial and political relations of the Colonies towards the mother country had almost discharged the Imperial Government from the duty of defending the Colonies. Without at all wishing to lighten the duty of self-defence which rested upon any colony, and on Canada in particular, he thought that it was quite necessary that the House should understand the nature of the change which had taken place, and what were the obligations which rested upon the mother country. The changes in reference to colonial affairs had put an end for ever to any attempt to subordidate the interests of the Colonies to the interests of the mother country by commercial arrangements. The Colonies were left perfectly free to pursue their own views of their own interests in all fiscal and commercial matters, which were within the limits of Imperial treaties with foreign Powers, according to their own views; and every idea of controlling the commercial legislation of the Colonies for the supposed benefit of the mother country had been abandoned. He said "supposed benefit," because the new system was really more advantageous than the old one for the mother country. In regard to their own political affairs, the largest and most liberal powers of self-government had been conceded to the colonists within their own limits; but it appeared to be forgotten that beyond those limits those great changes had changed nothing. It was forgotten that in reference to all external affairs, either in connection with another Colony or with a foreign Power, no change had taken place; and, indeed, it was essential to the very nature of a dependency that its relations with foreign Powers should be controlled by the central and Imperial Government. For all practical purposes many of the Colonies, with reference to their domestic and internal affairs, were about as free as any country in the world; but in all those questions upon which the issues of peace and war depended, in all negotiations and treaties with other States, the authority of the Imperial Government and Parliament was supreme. They must be the friends of our friends and the enemies of our enemies; and therefore the obligation of assisting them in case of war still rested on the mother country. That obligation the Home Government had fully and frankly acknowledged in the correspondence under discussion. It must be a matter of discretion in the Government for the time being whether it would not be safer and cheaper in the long run, as a measure of protection, even in time of peace to maintain a certain moderate force in a colony like Canada; and certainly, considering the times in which we lived, it did seem pretty certain, if such a course had not been followed, if no Imperial force had been sent to Canada or maintained there, the conclusion which must naturally have been drawn would have been that this country had repudiated all obligation of defending any portion of its Colonial Empire. The Government thought it their duty, in the despatch which had been quoted by his hon. Friend, to admit to the Canadian Government the obligation he had described. But that obligation of the Imperial Government in no degree impaired the obligation under which Canada lay to defend herself to the best of her power. The defence of Canadian territory must mainly depend on the Canadian people themselves. At the present moment Canada was more prosperous, more contented and loyal, than at at any former period; Canada was better able to defend herself than she ever was before, and in spite of the shortcoming of the Government she would be found, in case of danger, more willing than ever to fight in defence of the institutions she enjoyed. The Government felt that the public men of Canada had not shown that foresight which might have been expected, and had not yet provided that organization in time of peace in which confidence might be placed for a time of war; but the Government had not neglected to enforce their views on Canada, and would continue to do so. So much with regard to Canada.

He next came to New Zealand, which, however interesting in itself, was a very special case, and did not raise any general question of Imperial expenditure on account of the Colonies, of which Canada was the most important instance. The collision which had taken place in New Zealand was between the native tribes and colonists within their own territory, and was not a question of the defence of the Colony against any of the great Powers of the world, in which the empire at large was interested or involved. The persons who settled on the island of New Zealand found it peopled by a powerful and formidable race. There were difficulties in founding a settlement under those circumstances—difficulties which were not met with in the formation of other colonies. Ten years ago representative institutions and a constitution with a popular assembly were given to New Zealand. Two or three years afterwards that system was completed by a grant of responsible government. As a rule, the mother country would increase her obligations if the causes which led to war were under her control, and hitherto the Imperial Government had increased its obligations towards New Zealand by endeavouring to maintain a separate system of native management apart from the government and the control of the settlers. That system had been maintained since popular institutions were granted to the colony of New Zealand, and had been known as the system of double government. Various efforts were made to carry out this separate government for the natives, but it became evident from experience, that whilst the system of double government prevented some evils, it also prevented much good being done in the shape of various necessary improvements. It permitted the King government to grow up, and in fact entirely failed. The natives were allowed to arm themselves in the most efficient manner, because the New Zealand authorities were afraid of incurring the unpopularity of putting the law against them in force. The Crown had done all it could to maintain a system of government which should alike protect natives and the settlers from the evils of war; but in that object it had failed. In reference indeed, to this New Zealand war, he still, as he had always, believed that the chiefs and the natives had no ground to complain of any wrong done to them, and that the colonists did them no injustice. But war had come, and Imperial control had failed to avert it. Under these circumstances Her Majesty's Government made up its mind, under the advice of Sir George Grey, to resign the attempt of performing a duty which they could no longer fulfil. They had long felt their obligations to the natives of New Zealand, and they did not surrender them till by painful experience they convinced themselves that the grant of popular institutions left no alternative but to intrust the local Government with unlimited authority over all the inhabitants of the island. At the same time, Her Majesty's Government did not repudiate any of the responsibilities which might justly be supposed to attach to them, although the Address of the New Zealand Parliament would seem to anticipate some such repudiation. The Government, in sending a large body of troops to New Zealand, had recognised the responsibility which the Imperial control over native affairs had imposed upon them. They did not at present call upon the Colonial Government for any contribution towards the cost of those troops, but only made a reasonable demand for repayment of advances made for the maintenance of the local military and volunteers in the Colony, and for the construction of military roads, which were of incalculable benefit to the Colony. Those demands they were enforcing against New Zealand, and forewarning them of their obligations in regard to their self-defence. They admitted, however, their obligation to carry the Colony through the present crisis, and once more to establish peace and tranquillity, and Her Majesty's Government was prepared for a limited time to continue the forces necessary for that purpose. Having said thus much concerning Canada and New Zealand, he did not think it necessary to dwell upon the latter part of the Motion, which the hon. Gentleman did not seem much inclined to press. He would only say that other correspondence was going on, but it was in such a state that it would not be for the public interest to produce it. His noble Friend was giving his best attention to the important subject of military protection of the Colonies, with a view of making such arrangements as would enable this country by degrees to reduce its expenditure, at the same time that it faithfully performed all its just duties towards the Colonies.


said, he had hoped that the Motion would have led to some explicit declaration of the intentions of the Government, but from the speech of the hon. Under Secretary he could gather nothing but that it was the intention of the Government to continue in the course they had pursued since the affair of the Trent. He had thought the policy of the Government was that so long as a Colony was in its infancy, and unable to defend itself, this country was bound to defend it; but when the Colony became capable of doing-something for its own protection, the mother country was only bound to supply any deficiencies; and when the Colony was out of its infancy, and became able to protect itself, then the duty of this country ceased altogether. It appeared, however, that such was no longer the policy of the Government, as in the case of Canada—a Colony in an advanced stage of prosperity, and able in a great measure to defend itself—the Government had just declared its acquiescence in a course which simply meant, on the part of the colonists, that they meant to do nothing for themselves. Canada was a great and powerful country with 2,500,000 inhabitants, not very rich perhaps, but in thriving circumstances. The latest statistics showed that in 1859 the two provinces possessed 1,900 miles of railways, that the exports and imports each amounted to £7,000,000 annually, and that the revenue was between £1,800,000 and £1,900,000 a year, or, deducting interest upon debt, the net revenue was £1,200,000. Why should not such a country do something towards its own protection? The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary said that the Canadians, although they had not done all that might have been expected of them, were doing a good deal. But what was the military and naval expenditure of Canada as compared with that of England? It appeared that during the last few years the people of this country had been paying about 17s. a head per year for military and naval forces to defend not only this country, but also the Colonies, while the Canadians had only paid towards their own defence a sum equal to less than 5d. per head, having deemed it an act of great liberality to vote £50,000 towards that object. It appeared that Canada had raised only 15,000 men, not regular troops, but militia, for the defence of their country. From the correspondence he found that in August the Colonial Secretary had transmitted a despatch to the Governor General of Canada, and in October the Executive Council sent an answer to that despatch in which they stated their explicit intention of doing nothing more than they had hitherto done, as it would be too great a drag on their resources. Their feelings were exceedingly friendly; he did not ac- cuse them of any want of loyalty, and he had no doubt that they wished to continue their connection with this country; but they said that to do anything more than they were now doing would be too great a strain upon their resources. Now, what did Her Majesty's Government intend to do? In July last a debate took place, in which the noble Lord at the head of the Government stated that the Government had done for the Canadians all that they intended to do, and that it rested with the Canadians to do the remainder, and that they did not intend to recall the troops then in Canada or to send additional troops there. But in the event of the contingencies which had been referred to, it was impossible that the small number of English troops in Canada could suffice to defend that Colony if it were seriously invaded. If war occurred with America, it would be absolutely necessary to send out additional troops, or our army there would be humiliated by having to abandon the country, or would be exposed to annihilation. Other Colonies, and in particular the Australian Colonies, had made large contributions towards their own defence; and if Canada, which was older than they were, was allowed to rely on the parent State, other Colonies would complain with reason of the injustice of putting them on a different footing. In the case of war, the English army would not receive much assistance from the Canadians, who were not training themselves to any considerable extent, and the result would be, that this country would be completely drained of its garrisons for the protection of Canada. Could Her Majesty's Government contemplate such a result with satisfaction? Another point was the effect which such a state of things might produce upon public opinion. At present public opinion was, generally speaking, in favour of the connection with the Colonies; but if war were to break out with the United States, it would not be war on a small scale. It would become necessary to increase the burdens of this country in order to defend Canada against invasion; and the effect upon public opinion would be disastrous, and might prove unfavourable to a continuance of our connection with Canada, and afterwards even with other Colonies. In a commercial point of view, and as affording a field for our surplus labour, he thought that such a connection was of great advantage to this country. But as he could not help feeling that the course which the Government were pursuing in Canada was calculated neither to propitiate the colonists, nor to render certain our connection with Canada, he had heard with extreme regret what must be regarded as an intimation that the Government meant to make no change in their policy on the question.


said, he could not agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken, in thinking that the Government had no intention to make any change in the relations existing between the Colonies and the mother country. It seemed to him, both from the speech of the hon. Under Secretary and from the papers presented to Parliament, that they had arrived at a crisis in their relations with the Colonies, and he believed that the noble Duke the Colonial Secretary, and the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary, were entitled to the credit of having boldly faced the question, and brought it to an issue. He had foreseen long ago that the present state of things could not go on for ever, and his anticipations on the subject were at last fully verified. They had at length come to the end of the third phase of Colonial government. At first they left the Colonies very much to themselves, only imposing restrictions upon their commerce, for a supposed advantage to the mother country. Those two things did not agree with each other, freedom and subserviency; and when they attempted to tax the Colonies in the Imperial Parliament, they separated themselves from the mother country on that ground. They attempted to govern the next Colonies from Downing Street, and for many years there was constant interference from that quarter. Not many years had elapsed since New Zealand, for example, found it impossible to build a lighthouse without a tedious process of obtaining sanction from the Crown in London. The departments of France were never more under the control of the Minister in Paris than the British Colonies were then, at least in theory, under that of the Colonial Secretary in London. Such a system could not last, and eventually it broke down completely. About thirty years ago England entered upon the third phase of Colonial government, extending to her Colonies the privilege of self-government—nay, more, stimulating their adoption of constitutions far more democratic than her own—and yet, at the same time, retaining in her own hands their protection and de- fence. They now saw the end of this confusion of two principles. The Colonial authorities, who represented the principle of self-government, and the Colonial Minister at home, who represented the principle of external defence, were diametrically opposed to each other, and the incongruous system was working out another change in the relations between the Colonies and the mother country. At that crisis he was anxious to point out that the sole remaining argument advanced by the Colonies for the continuance of England's protection and defence, while they were allowed to govern themselves, was a complete fallacy. The issue to which he alluded had assumed a very marked character, in two of their most important Colonies—namely, Canada and New Zealand. In dealing with the subject he would refer more especially to Canada, because it was the most important Colony, and because it was, at that moment, by far the most critically circumstanced. Indeed, the position of Canada was so critical that to to speak any incautious words about her would be madness, but to be altogether silent would be criminal. He believed, that if an earlier understanding had been come to between the mother country and Canada upon the question which the House was then considering, they might have looked to that Colony with confidence, and relied on her as an addition to our strength, whereas she formed at present our chief source of anxiety. Let them consider the point on which the Colonial Minister was at issue with the representatives of the people of Canada. The Colonial Minister said, in effect, to Canada, "You cannot be defended by troops from England; your main defence must be yourselves; your preparations are utterly inadequate; the Governor General calls your plans completely illusory;" and he laid down the general principle "that the right of self-government had the correlative duty of self-defence." To that the reply of the Colonial Executive Government was, "Your principle is not applicable to a Colony; your theory of colonial relations is novel and untried,"—so little cognizant were they of the early and more brilliant history of our Colonies; "we must rely mainly upon you for our defence; we have a decided aversion to military service, except in the presence of danger "—that is, they prefer danger first and preparation afterwards; "we consider the Intercolonial Railroad the primary consideration, and we must think of it before we develop the military resources of the Colony." They add, "We do not intend to do anything to cause war; if you are going to cause a war, you must fight it yourselves; we have enough to do to manage our own internal affairs and to suffer the effects of your policy." No two things could be more opposed than the respective theories of Downing Street and Canada. The principle at issue was the applicability to a Colony of the obvious maxim that self-government and self-defence were correlative terms; and the question which the House had now to consider was, whether a Colony enjoying self-government was to be freed from taking its share of the burden of military service alike with the taxpayers at home. He contended that there was not a shred of soundness in the sole argument of the Canadians in defence of such an immunity, that the foreign policy of the Empire was in the control of the Home Government, not in theirs, and that wars resulting from foreign policy should be fought at the sole expense of the central portion of the Empire. It was to be regretted that the Colonial Minister should have given the slightest countenance to such an argument by admitting that it involved a principle to some extent, merely reminding the colonists that they should do something on the ground that they were benefited by the protection of England; that their interests were promoted by their being an integral part of the Empire; and that a powerful navy, to which they contributed nothing, guarded their shores, their commerce, and their lives. He could not admit, that even if no such considerations existed, the argument for colonial inaction would have the slightest foundation. The foreign policy of the Empire, according to the Constitution, did not rest with the people at Home or in any Colony, or in any part of the Empire more than in another; it rested with the Crown, and the Crown was as much resident in Canada as in England. They had more than once been dragged into war without Parliament being aware of it. There was a recent war with Persia begun without the cognizance of Parliament. The control possessed by that House over the foreign policy of the Government consisted in their power to refuse supplies. The Colonies had the same power. It was a power which in England was seldom used, but habitually in the Colonies. The Crown at home may involve a Colony in war, but so may the Crown in a Colony, represented by the Governor, involve the Empire in war; and Governors had run us to the verge of war, as was the case in Canada when local struggles, under Sir Francis Head's government, led to American embroilment. The Parliament of Canada had unlimited powers, and might involve them in a war by enacting hostile tariffs. Besides, the circumstances, interests, and position of Canada, were not unlikely to bring war on England on her account. England's monopoly of foreign policy afforded no justification for Canada presenting a roll of 15,000 volunteers, and telling them that was its quota towards a defence of the Empire in America. It was nothing short of insolence for Canada to take up such a pretext. But he was afraid the question had been brought forward too late to have a bearing on any contingency that might presently arise in that quarter. In such an event, they must rather look to the 12,000 troops which, owing to the foresight of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, had been sent to Canada; though it was very likely that in case of a war they would rather want those men in this country, and then Canada would see the hollowness of her confidence. It had been well said that every soldier sent to Canada represented 100 Canadians who would have been enrolled and equipped if that soldier had not been sent out. [Mr. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE: That was said of Australia.] He understood it to apply to Canada, and thought it specially applicable there. He would then proceed to say a word or two on the case of New Zealand. In that Colony the same issue was raised, and was raised in a still more striking form, for the question there was not of foreign war, but of Native rebellion. The Governor of New Zealand and the Colonial Government in this country thought that the colonists ought to take upon themselves the charge of suppressing such a rebellion, but the Governor had announced that there were very unsatisfactory relations between him and his responsible advisers on that point. He said his Ministers were ready to assume the Native administration, but not so as to bind the Colony to any liability. The House of Representatives also declined to take any responsibility on themselves for the Native policy, and founded that refusal upon the ground that the right of deter- mining the policy to be pursued towards the natives of New Zealand had been reserved for the Crown. The Colonial Minister, too timidly, replied that that reservation had been made for the benefit of the Colony, and that the Governor who represented the Crown could do very little without supplies from the Colonial Parliament. The real answer was that the reservation of Native policy to the Crown was not a reservation to England, but to the Crown in New Zealand, as distinct from the Parliament there; and such a reservation gave them no claim on English taxpayers to pay for, nor on English soldiers to fight their Native wars. By the Constitution Act of 1852, the entire administration of its own affairs was transferred to New Zealand, and it was a mistake of that Colony and of Canada to suppose that they should have complete self-government, and at the same time throw the burden of their defence on the mother country. He agreed with the Colonial Minister that the time was come when a clear understanding should be arrived at with respect to the relative position of this country and the Colonies, and that the principle was a good one, that primarily the cost of wars should be borne by those for whose benefit they were carried on. He was glad that the subject had been discussed, and the important papers referred to by his hon. Friend (Mr. Mills) brought under the notice of the House. He regarded the policy of the Colonial Minister as deserving in every sense of the support of the House. He had only stopped short of what might, and he thought ought to have been done; but he trusted that the noble Duke would meet and overcome the difficulties which admittedly lay in his way, and carry the courageous policy he had adopted to its legitimate conclusion.


observed, that no subject was more worthy of the immediate and serious attention of the Government than the defences of Canada. There appeared at present to be a greater likelihood that England would be involved in a war with what were formerly the United States of America than with any other country. Every one in England would, he was sure, deprecate such an occurrence; but there was undoubtedly on the part of the Northern States a strong feeling of irritation against England, which might probably be fanned into a greater flame by the remarkable speeches of some hon. Gentlemen in the House. It was evident that great standing armies and navies would henceforth become habitual to North America, as they had hitherto been to Europe. It seemed a short-sighted proceeding to take a half-and-half policy with respect to the defence of the Colonies, and to throw small bodies of troops into them merely as objects for attack. If they came to the conclusion that it was their duty to defend the Colonies against every attack, they had no alternative but to keep large armies in them; but he gathered from the speech of the hon. Under Secretary of State that the Government were beginning to make a change with respect to the military defences of the outlying portions of the empire; and though it was obviously not a case in which any sudden change could be made, yet the impression conveyed by the hon. Under Secretary was that the dawn of a new state of things had begun. The House could not forget what it had been told only a short time back, that the reason why so large a force was kept up within the borders of England, was not for the defence of this country, but for the purpose of providing reliefs for the Colonies, and that a reduction in the large amount of troops scattered among the British possessions would provide means for the reduction of the army at home. No doubt, the amount of money that might be saved thereby every year would have to be calculated by millions. It would, indeed, be a great advantage to the taxpayers in this kingdom if the amount paid annually for the military and naval defences could be materially reduced; and no evil, but great good, I would ensue both to this country and the Colonies. It was shown by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his evidence, and by other statesmen, that it was a bad thing for the Colonies—prejudicial to feelings of independence and self-reliance—not to have the duty of self-defence thrown on them. Instead of the British Empire being weakened, it would be strengthened by the policy, he advocated; and, in case of a war arising, the military force of the country would be more powerful than now, for they all knew that in the present day the very essence of war consisted in the concentration of force and in massing the soldiers about a few of the most important points, and not in scattering them in small bodies over different points. The fact of this country keeping soldiers for the Colonies was a great inducement to those Colonies not to arm them- selves. One of the most important considerations connected with the question was what would be the result on the native tribes. He did not think that the present system gave any protection to the natives, and at the Cape of Good Hope and in New Zealand the colonists had shown themselves more ready to get into quarrels and wars with the natives than they might have been if they had foreseen that they would have had to pay the bill themselves. But there had arisen among the colonists a different feeling with regard to the natives, for whom more consideration was now entertained, and the colonists might be trusted not to enter upon cruel and oppressive wars against the natives. The only great argument against the withdrawal of troops from the Colonies was the idea, that as it was the Imperial policy of this country which involved the Colonies in war, this country was therefore bound to maintain their defence in the event of war arising. He could not go the length of saying that they had no claims on that account, but he thought that all fair demands would be met by giving them absolute security against the possibility of any enemy attacking or blockading their sea cost. Besides, if this Empire went to war again, it was to be hoped and believed that it would do so on just grounds, and in vindication of some sound principle; and in that case it was surely the duty of every part of the Empire, whether outlying or near at home, to take a share in the war. It appeared to him that a war such as that which occurred with Russia, when this country believed it was standing up for great Imperial interests, was as much for the advantage of every other part of the Empire as for this particular part at home. Undoubtedly, were it not for the protection of the British Empire, some of the Colonies might be exposed to the attacks of any strong Power which might feel inclined to take possession of them. With regard to Canada, for instance, who knew but that Russia might not have stretched out her long arm to take possession of the northern portion of the continent if it had not been that England stood in the background. By stationing small bodies of troops in distant and scattered Colonies, they were placing them in great danger. Ultimately, of course, the nation which had the dominion of the sea must conquer in any hostilities of this sort, but it was always a temptation to the enemy to attack a Colony where there was only a small body of troops, for the sake of getting hold of them. To scatter our forces all over the face of the earth, "dandling" the Colonies, as the hon. Member expressed it, and leading them away from a natural sense of independence, was a grievous mistake, and he hoped the Government would make up their minds to some decided policy.


said, that as the correspondence was incomplete at present, he had no desire to press his Motion for its production; and on the understanding that when it was in a condition to be produced Government would do so, he had no objection to withdraw it.


said, that his hon. Friend might be sure that when it was in a fit state to be produced he should have no objection to lay upon the table such portions as might he deemed advisable.

Motion, by leave, withdrawn.