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reviewer's criticisms—the charge of shameful and repeated breach of faith. This is the charge to which we have already referred as applying both to the annexation of Basuto Land and to that of the Diamond Fields. It is brought in the following terms :
* The delegates (of the Orange River) refused pointedly to be parties to the treaty' (the convention of 1854)ʻunless the British Government would bind itself not to interfere between them and the natives, and not to enter into any treaties with the natives by which their interests would be prejudiced; and to this Clerk consented. By the first article of the treaty the Boers of the territory were declared to be " to all “ intents and purposes free and independent people, and their Govern"ment a free and independent Government." The second article affirms that “the British Government has no alliance whatever with
any chiefs or tribes to the north of the Orange River, with the " exception of Adam Kok, and Her Majesty's Government have no “ wish or intention to enter hereafter into any treaties which might be “injurious or prejudicial to the interests of the Orange River Govern"ment."
The words “ wish or intention"
are accepted in good faith. The correspondence proves beyond a doubt that the British Government had wished finally and definitely to withdraw behind the Orange River. They did not anticipate that a British Governor at the first temptation would construe the words to mean that there was no such wish or intention at the time when the treaty was signed, but that the British Government retained its right to form and act upon such a wish or intention should it be convenient to do so in future. If the ambiguity was intentional it was a fraud ; if it was accidental, Englishmen, sensitive for the honour of their country will regret that it should have been taken advantage of.'
To us this charge appears, on its very face, wholly unjustifiable. There is no ambiguity whatever in the article of the Treaty. It is quite plain that Sir G. Clerk did not consent to the demands of the Boers. If he had, there would have been no difficulty in employing words which would have expressed that consent. The article would have run thus: The British
Government engage not to enter, &c.' Instead of this the article quite unequivocally confines itself to the disclaimer of a'wish or intention,' and as unequivocally leaves the Government at liberty thereafter to act as circumstances may render advisable.
What is the alleged course of the negotiation? The Transvaal Boers were British subjects whose conquests, according to recognised British law, we claimed as made for the British Crown, and over whose persons we claimed the rights of sovereignty. We offered to relinquish these rights, which we had the power to enforce, if they would pledge themselves not to establish slavery on our borders. They professed themselves ready, as our contemporary tells us, to accept these conditions if we would promise not to interfere between them and the natives, or to make treaties by which their interests would be prejudiced.
No sensible negotiator would entangle his country in such a bond. Indian princes, indeed, are placed under an obligation to make no alliances except with Great Britain. But this is in effect an acknowledgment of suzerainty—a concession to superior strength which if not conciliated will find means of making itself felt disagreeably. Great Britain, however, could not have been expected to write itself down vassal to the Boers of the Orange River, or to involve itself, Natal, and the Cape Colony in engagements of which it was impossible to foresee the working. What pourparlers took place we do not know. The result, however, is before us. Every word or phrase which could be construed as involving a prospective promise is excluded from the treaty, and instead of this the article declares that ‘H. M. G. have no wish or intention to enter hereafter • into any treaties which may be injurious or prejudicial to the • interests of the Orange River Government.'
No wish or intention. The very rhythm of the sentence suggests a coming qualification. I have no wish or intention
to do anything disagreeable, but I advise you as a friend to take care what you are about.' And the limited character of the expectation held out would be peculiarly evident from the pointed contrast between what was asked and what was given. It is impossible that men of sense, who had asked for a prospective promise, should suppose they had got what they asked when they only received a disclaimer of present wish or intention.
If it be said that Sir G. Clerk and the Boers had agreed to impose on the treaty a construction not warranted by the words, the case assumes the aspect of something like a fraud upon the Home Government. For what is it that they do? They send home for the ratification of the Secretary of State an agreement carefully and unequivocally worded and in its natural meaning sensible, harmless, and unobjectionable-a general indication of the course which the British Government wished, intended, and expected to be able to pursue. But this they do with an understanding between themselves that as soon as it has been approved at home, as meaning what it says, it shall be construed to mean something which it avoids saying, a hard pledge of which the future application cannot be foreseen, and which may be fraught with all sort of embarrassment to the Government which Sir G. Clerk represented. It will next be said that a disconsolate widower, tenant for life, who declares, in the presence of his next in settlement, that he has no wish or intention to marry again,' will, if he change his mind, be liable to an action for breach of promise not to marry
Our contemporary does not seem to be aware that the words of a treaty are supposed to be carefully weighed, and though after all they may sometimes be loose or inadequate, yet that it is clearly understood that they are never to be construed as carrying a meaning which they pointedly and unequivocally exclude.
The question of Responsible Government is one in which, in the Cape Colony, the questions of native management and military protection converge. To make it intelligible a short explanation is necessary. The terms · Crown Colony' and • Responsible Government indicate the outside forms of Colonial Constitutions. In the first the Executive is entirely under the control of the Governor, all public officers being appointed, instructed, promoted, and removed by him. The Legislature is so composed that he can always command a majority in it; and though he is instructed to show great consideration for the opinions of its official and unofficial members, yet his will, and through him the will of the Home Government, is, when exerted, irresistible in the passing of laws as in the conduct of the administration.
Under Responsible Government, on the contrary, the Governor is bound in all matters of local interest to act on the advice of a Ministry possessing the confidence of a Representative Legislature. All public officers are appointed, instructed, and removed by or by the advice of this Ministry. The representatives of the Colonists are therefore all-powerful, directly in passing laws and imposing taxes, and indirectly through the Ministry in conducting affairs.
Between these two forms of government, and serving often as a transition from one to the other, are many varieties of constitution, of which the common characteristic is this, that while laws are passed and taxes imposed by a wholly or partially representative body, the administration is conducted by a body of permanent officials, responsible in all things through the Governor to the Home Government.
The propriety of adopting one or other of these forms of government is materially affected by the existence or non-existence of a native, or coloured, or subject population. A homogeneous society may, from the nature of the case, be trusted to take care of its own interests, if only it is sufficiently intelligent. And there is no good reason why it should not be so trusted. But a few men of superior intelligence, with an Anglo-Saxon desire to make fortunes, cannot, from the nature of the case, be trusted to take care of the often conflicting interests of an inferior race. There is therefore a strong primâ facie reason why the Home Government should reserve that duty to itself. In possessions where Englishmen cannot settle and multiply, this state of things becomes normal; and in the tropics, accordingly, Crown Colonies are the rule.
The same reasons which exist permanently in the tropics exist in a somewhat different shape and for a time in temperate climates. The first settler is at once flung among natives from hom he has to be defended. We have described the alternative which arises. If he has to defend himself the temptation to resort to murderous methods is almost irresistible. He has therefore to be defended by Great Britain, which, as it accepts the duty of punishing savages, is bound to see as far as possible that they are not ill treated, and for that purpose to retain in its own hands the administration of the colony.
It is plain, however, that an English colony like Canada or Victoria cannot be kept in leading strings for ever, and the question is, how soon it is desirable—with reference to this particular question—to make it defend and govern itself. It cannot be called on to defend itself until it is strong enough (whatever that may amount to), and, it may be said, it ought not to be allowed to govern itself till there is a reasonable prospect of its governing with justice. When is the latter condition fulfilled ? Our rough answer is this—when it has so increased that the opinions and interests of the border settlers have ceased to be the opinions and interests of the colony. One advantage of a great nation is that, in any question between particular interests, the great body, when appealed to by the Press or in Parliament, arbitrates as a neutral. when the principal districts of a colony have been for years inhabited and cultivated without native troubles or the fear of them ; when busy centres of population are established; when multiform interests have sprung up, and when among certain professions habits of impartial thought have been acquired; the quarrels between settlers and natives assume the character of a question between particular interests, and the whole body, not affected by any frantic esprit de corps, can consider with reasonable coolness what is right and what is for the best
interest of the whole. And this is still more the case if the increase of population, which creates an impartial majority, is accompanied by arrangements with the mother country which throw on that majority the penalties of native mismanagement. Thus the same condition of things justifies the Home Government at once in calling on the colonists to defend themselves, and in trusting them to manage native affairs--that is, in withdrawing troops and in establishing Responsible Government.
But we have said that between these two modes of government lie various others in which the people have the power of legislation and of the purse, while the Crown has the executive administration, and with it the duty of governing and controlling the natives. In relation to our present purpose this state of things (which existed till recently at the Cape of Good Hope) is liable to two inconveniences.
One is that those who make laws and vote money can practically hamper or paralyse the Government; and consequently that the Local Government may find itself forced into a bad policy by the want of proper laws and adequate funds, and then obliged to call on Great Britain to support that policy by force of arms. This is now a familiar dilemma.
The other is this. Great Britain acknowledges no obligation to defend its colonies against internal troubles or frontier tribes, except only when they cannot do it for themselves. The military contributions, as they were called, of different dependencies were regulated not by considerations of justice but of mercy. Each was called upon to pay what it was supposed capable of paying without material inconvenience; subject to the duty of paying full price when it was rich enough.
But what follows? That if the colonial finance is well managed the Home Government strikes in between the colony and the fruits of its good management. If there is a surplus revenue, it is rightly and necessarily urged by the Home Government as justifying an enlarged military contribution. It was thus by careful financial management that Ceylon was first enabled and then required to defray the whole of her military expenditure. But Ceylon was a Crown Colony, and it is not to be expected that a Representative Assembly should deny itself the satisfaction of lavish expenditure or inadequate taxation in order to be thus mulcted. These considerations are level to the most ordinary capacities, and appeal to the simplest apprehension of public and private interest. How far they prevailed in the Cape we cannot say-probably a good deal, if the Cape colonists are made of the same stuff as their