« ZurückWeiter »
other,- so much so, that the whole The main object of free institutions colonial belief of some men seems is to maintain a check upon the to be founded solely on the idea of a public expenditure; to see that the similitude between the relations of public money is not paid away in a mother country and a colony, and sinecure offices, or to incompetent those of a parent and child.
officials. This is the principle upon Hence it is argued, that the colony which we manage our own affairs. ought to be governed by the mother But when we manage the affairs of country until it is able to govern the Western Australians for them, itself; and hence the same philoso we say, 'Such and such a governphers look upon the separation of ment establishment is good for you. the colonies ultimately as a matter It is for your benefit that the salaries of political necessity; so that this should be so and so ; therefore, until foolish simile, by which we seem to you guarantee that you will secure have governed our colonies, is not such a sum every year for ever as without danger. For observe the will defray these expenses, we cannot dangerous doctrine involved. The permit you to manage your own right of the people to be ruled by attairs.' those laws only to which they have The first great objection, therefore, given their free assent is made to which we bring against the Governdepend on numbers, not upon its ment scheme is, that it makes a advantage to the State. This right, money bargain of those privileges on the contrary, is treated as if it which in England we have been were injurious to the State, and taught from our childhood to believe were only to be admitted when ex are the most sacred guarantees of torted by force. Whereas, can any liberty. sound reason be given why, if five Again, a measure such as this bill Englishmen settle down in a distant professes to be, such as the country part of the empire, they should be was led to expect it would be, from deprived of this privilege of sharing the speech by which it was introthe Government any more than tilty duced, ought to contain, in broad, gethousand ?
neral, and intelligible terms, the basis In the new scheme for the govern of the constitutional law by which ment of the Australian colonies, this the colonies are to be governed. adolescentic principle has been allow It ought, first, to state simply the ed to enter in the most inischievous nature of the constitutions which it manner. The even partially free in is about to give to the colonies ; stitutions which the other communi- secondly, to define clearly the powers ties are to enjoy are to be with held which these legislatures are to posfrom Western Australia, until the sess, and the limits within which present civil list is guaranteed out they are to act; thirdly, it ought to of the colonial revenues. It is specify the subjects which are reargued, that until the colony served from their control, as pecucan support her own government liarly concerning the honour and inshe ought not to govern herself. terest of the empire; fourthly, it England, it is said, pays so much ought to state explicitly how far it towards the government of the co is competent to the legislatures thus lony, and has, therefore, a right to organized to change their own con
The mother - country stitutions. ought to get something for her Now, let us see how far the promoney, so she takes out the change posed measure satisfies these conin despotism. That was exactly the ditions. argument used in respect to the In the first place, it is encumCape. We paid 1,500,000l. for you ; bered with a large number of clauses, give us so much of your moral re enacting laws for the several colonies spectability in return by receiving in respect to their own internal and our vagabonds.' Now there cannot purely local affairs. For example, be a better instance than this pro there are several clauses expounding vision of the Bill, of the manner in the mode in which a kind of district which, in our government of the municipal council is to be formed, colonies, we trample under foot all the mode in which it is to be elected, our most cherished notions of con the powers it is to have, and so on. stitutional right.
These districts were originally con
templated in the constitutional Act of containing hardly a feature of the New South Wales in the 5th and 6th of constitution of the mother-country. Victoria. They turned out to be most The formidable objection to the miserable failures, as they were likely introduction of Government nomito be, seeing that they were con nees into a popular assembly, is in structed by persons living fifteen the fact, that a party is thereby thousand miles distant from the raised up in the colony with intercountry, who had never been in the ests and sympathies not belonging country, and who were very partially to one or another political faction in informed as to what was going on the colony, but attached to the home there. Of course they were failures. government as opposed to the coThe clauses in the present bill first lony altogether. Nothing can be amend the clauses of the old bill, - more alarming to the future relawhether for better or for worse, who tions of the mother-country and the knows ?- most certainly not three dependency, than the existence of a men in the House of Commons. The British and a colonial party opposed amended clauses are then extended to one another in the colony itself. to all the Australian colonies.
There ought to be no British party, Now, when we say we are going as such, in a colony: politics must to give free institutions to the colo work themselves out in the colony nies, do we mean it, or do we not? as they do at home. The attempt If we do, and that they are to be to govern a distant community by a allowed to manage their own affairs, faction, can, in the long run, only then why, in the name of common peril the relations between the two sense, engage in a most elaborate countries. How it may be wise to piece of legislation about matters frame a second chamber, is a matter wholly concerning them, and about of minor importance. The necessity which we know absolutely nothing ? of having one chamber, expressing But, it is said, There are clauses which the wholly unbiassed will of the enable them to change all this. people, is imperative. There can be Exactly so: the bill is crowded with no other guarantee for the affections clauses doing what is sure to be of the people. wrong, which necessitates the intro But a much more important conduction of a new set of clauses to sideration is, that the constitutional enable the local legislatures to set it law of a colony ought to contain a right again. Could it not occur to nice discrimination between the imour legislators that if the colonies perial and the municipal functions. want district councils they would In the Government measure there is make them, and would have the ad no trace of such a distinction. How vantage, at any rate, of knowing could it be expected in a measure what they were making ?
which itself sets the example of a The first nine clauses in the Go gross intrusion on the province of vernment bill specify the nature of the local legislatures? Yet history the constitutions which it is proposed has warned in vain, if such a meato give to the colonies. The princi sure goes out to the colonies unacpal feature is, that there is to be but companied by those definitions and one House of Assembly, of which limitations of mutual authority, two-thirds are to be elected by the which can alone offer any guarantee people, and one-third nominated by for permanent, good, mutual underthe Crown. The advantage of one standing. or two Houses has been frequently This measure must be regarded and fully discussed. The question as final. The colonies are now loyal. is of less importance, because the They would enter gladly into mulegislature, however constituted, is tual terms; and having voluntarily to be allowed to change its own con pledged themselves, would honourstitution.
ably abide by the arrangement. It But we may be permitted to ex may not be so a few years hence. press great surprise that any country They are growing in power and in the enjoyment of a form of go wealth with amazing rapidity. If vernment which has been found ad they begin to exercise what may be mirably adapted to the wants and termed the imperial functions, they temper of its people, should suggest will with difficulty be induced to a government to its dependencies, resign them. But the greater dan
ger is, not that they will intrude a scheme more certain to produce upon the imperial province, but that perpetual conflict. we shall continue our mischievous The federation, however, is to be and irritating intermeddling with a voluntary act; and as the colonies their affairs.
are to be represented according to The Government measure contains population in the House of Delegates, no guarantee that this great grieve which will secure to New South ance to the colonies shall not be con Wales a preponderating majority of tinued in all its present calamitous the house, and as the powers of the rigour.
individual legislatures are to be curof the Colonial Office tailed by their union with the fede--that fatal power, which cost us ration, one does not perceive what America, which has superseded the they can gain, whilst they certainly constitutional rights of British colo lose a good deal. The federation nists all over the world,- that is to clauses are, therefore, little more be maintained in its full integrity.
than an innocent amusement at conThe governor of the colony, as stitution-making. before, is not to govern as the re But whilst, on other grounds, the presentative of the majesty of Eng several states will have a direct inland, using a dignified discretion, terest in not accepting of the proand being responsible to his sovereign posed federal government, a bribe for a misuse of the high and sacred has been offered which it is imagined trust imposed in him, but he is still will prove sufficiently tempting to to be the miserable delegate to the overcome these objections. The recolony from Downing Street; he is gulation and disposal of the waste still to govern by the instructions' lands and the disposal of the funds he shall receive; still to assent in arising from their sale or leasing, are the Queen's name to bills by the to be placed within the power of the colonial legislature, which may, after federal government as soon as it is all, be vetoed in England, setting formed. aside his authority; still he is to re Now we should be very curious
some bills for the Queen's, to hear the reasons why the waste that is, the colonial minister's, assent; lands are to be given up to the federal still he is to be the tool of English government, and not to the governpolitical faction.
ment of each individual state. There The colonies will very soon find can, one would imagine, be but one out that a bill which leaves the go reason, viz. to secure a uniform price vernor and the Colonial Office on in all the Australian colonies. But their present footing in respect to why should the price of the waste the colony, is a sham from beginning land in all the colonies be the same ? to end. It does not give them that There is no argument at all for which their forefathers in America charging any price for lands, except had-municipal freedom.
But Mr. But the Government scheme also Wakefield admits that the sufficient,' proposes to get up a federation of price is a price which cannot be acall the Australian colonies under curately foretold. It depends on the one central government. The defect circumstances of the colony. It can of the bill in other parts is more be found out only by experience. egregiously visible here ; for no Hence it may be different in all the discrimination of any kind is at colonies. tempted between the powers of the But by the proposal to place the federal government and of the impe waste lands under the control of the rial authority ; whilst as between the federal government, it is acknowfederal government and the govern ledged that the present management ments of the separate colonies, it is will not do, that the present system expressly stated that they may both requires some change. This, we say, legislate on the same subjects; but is distinctly acknowledged by the that the legislation of the federal proposal to alter the authority engovernment is to supersede that of trusted with the disposal of waste the individual legislatures, and that lands. the Queen in council is to decide But after making this acknowdisputes. It would be hard to devise ledgment, what do the Government
do? They place the management blood of a dominant race, to which of the lands in a body whose very God has given dominion over land existence is no more than a remote and sea, the blood which fills our contingency, and will probably never own veins, flows with replenished become a reality at all. This mode vigour in theirs ; whilst an iron of treating the waste lands' question destiny compels us, even out of the is a mere pretence. The result will materials of our distress and decrebe, as the object seems to be, that pitude, to administer to their rising they shall remain as at present under prosperity. The vast population the control of the home Government. around us, swarming, and thickening,
Again, supposing that New South and clambering upon one another, Wales and any other colony — say in the rush after wealth, or the Victoria - entered into a federal al struggle for existence, until a multiliance under this bill, New South tude is trodden underfoot — ihe Wales would have a very large ma crowds who are doomed to vice and jority in the House of Delegates. misery, or are driven out into that Now, what is to prevent the house, most desolate of solitudes, the throngso constituted, from disposing of the ing streets of our cities; this, our waste lands in Victoria, and appro weakness, is their strength - this priating the proceeds to the benefit cause of our despair is their brightof Sydney? There is nothing in the est promise. world to prevent this taking place. And as the visions of the future
So that the waste-land question is crowd upon the brain -as we watch arranged either so as to secure con the colossal forms of young and tinual hostility and jealousy between lusty nations which are rising like the separate states, or as to remain genii out of the Southern Occan-as in its present disgraceful condition.
we attempt to grasp the dim outline Will the Government give any which portends the immensity of reason of any kind why its own waste their future power – how strange lands should not be placed under the appears the ignorance or infatuation control of each individual state ? which is indifferent to the magnitude
In the present sad indifference to of the act which is to fix our relations colonial politics it were difficult to to them for ever. recognize the important era through Our really honest Colonial Rewhich we are passing. And yet it
formers are few; but they are can be no light matter to issue to ardent and energetic. Let them future nations the magna charta of look to it-they have a heavy session their liberties - the basis of their before them. Some colonial govern. constitutional law. It is vain to ment bill must be passed this session, suppose that their future career will or the colonies are lost. The Gonot be influenced by the circumstances vernment proposal is confused, blunof their first projection into their dering, unintelligible, deficient in orbits; or to forget that the re many details, wrong in many prinsponsibility of the original impetus ciples. The bill which goes out to is with ourselves.
the colonies ought to be--and will But however the destinies of the be if the Colonial Reformers stick to colonies may be concerned, depend their work -- simple, distinct, and, upon it our own are at least as above all, complete. It must not deeply staked.
The time is fast legislate for the colonies. It must arriving when it will be out of our establish local legislatures, and enupower to inflict any permanent evils merate definitively the constitutional on the colonies. The ills they would limits within which they may act; suffer by a separation from the mo and must finally and for ther country would be slight and annihilate the power of the Colonial transient ; for America has taught Office. them how soon the energies which The Ministry are feeble and vacilcan emancipate a province will create lating; the Parliament ignorant and an empire. We cannot injure our indifferent. If the Colonial Recolonies, because they contain within formers are firm and wise as they themselves the elements of their own are patriotic they may yet save the great prosperity; elements which
empire. are beyond our control. The noble
LEAVES FROM THE NOTE-BOOK OF A NATURALIST. PART IV............
.... 411 LETTERS FROM GENERAL CONWAY AND THE COUNTESS OF AILESBURY
TO HORACE WALPOLE (EARL OF ORFORD). PART II.
423 HILDA D'EHRENBURG. BY ELI BLACKGOWN, D.D.
.... 435 CHORUS OF MÆNADES. FROM AN UNPUBLISHED MASQUE
442 A BATCH OF BIOGRAPHIES. THE LIFE OF COLLINS
443 THEODORE EDWARD HOOK
448 SIR FRANCIS CHANTREY
453 DAVID SCOTT, F.B.A...........
457 THE PEACE CAMPAIGNS OF ENSIGN FAUNCE. BY MICHAEL SOUTH.
CUAP. L.-CHAPTER THE LAST
THE VILLAGE NOTARY' AND MADAME PULSZKI'S 'MEMOIRS.'
THOUGHTS IN RHYME. BY THE LATE JOHN STERLING