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ment. The Queen, as a constituent of our Parliament and the head of our Executive, derives her title by her succession as Queen of Great Britain. But in enacting and administering the laws of Canada, she acts, not as Queen of England, but as Queen of Canada. It has been proposed to amend the royal title to conform to modern facts, and the amendment probably only awaits a convenient moment. The oath to be taken by Canadian Privy Councillors has already, long ago, been so amended. A member of the Canadian Executive Council simply swears that he will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty, Queen Victoria. The Cubans, therefore, under a like constitution, would have been a free and independent people, having the Queen of Spain as the head of their Government, but being in no wise subject to the authority or Government of Spain.
The following abstract of the terms of the new Cuban Constitution, formulated in November, 1897, was communicated by the London Times correspondent at Madrid:
1. The Cubans to enjoy all rights accorded by the Spanish Constitution without limit of any kind.
2. Identity of political rights for Spaniards and Cubans without distinction of race or colour.
3. The creation of a Cuban Chamber; all the members to he appointed by a popular election; with a provision for a subsequent establishment of a Senate.
4. The Cuban Chamber to be empowered to vote on the estimates of expenditure, to make laws relating to public services, to fix custom tariffs, and to decide on the responsibility of the members of the Executive power.
5. The Mother Country to assume the exclusive management of international, military and naval matters, together with the competent jurisdiction and organization of tribunals.
6. To also undertake the direction of political and civil laws of a national character, and the control of expenditure under this head in Cuba and Puerto Rico.
7. The Executive power to be invested in the GovernorGeneral, with delegates whom he will have the right of appointing, and who will be responsible to the Cuban Chamber.
The wording of the sixth clause, excluding “national legislation” from the local jurisdiction, at once denies to Cuba that national status which is given to Canada. The clause making the Executive Council appointees of the Governor-General, but respon
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sible to the Cuban Parliament, lacks the benefit of the interpretative clause in the Canadian Act which imports the principles of the British Constitution. These principles are already negatived in the case of Cuba by the express exclusion of national powers under the sixth clause.
The reservation of “national” legislation to the Spanish Parliament by the sixth clause, obviously includes at least the whole field of criminal law, and probably much more. How much, would presumably be determined in the first instance by the Cuban Courts of Law; that is to say, by courts constituted and judges appointed by the Spanish Government, under the fifth clause. Their decrees will be executed in the presence of the Spanish army, the control and payment of which is also withheld from the Cuban Legislature.
With the one exception of custom tariffs, the status of Cuba corresponds rather to the limited powers of one of the provinces of the Dominion, than to the plenary national status of Federated Canada as a whole. The legislative, administrative, and fiscal authorities reserved to Spain are much what the arbitrary Emperors of Rome reserved to themselves, in their division of powers and revenues with the Roman Senate.
Senor Du Bosc somewhat triumphantly claimed that the Cuban status was more advanced than that of Canada, because the Cubans, in addition to their local constitution, were given thirty representatives in the Spanish Parliament. If there is one thing which well instructed Imperialists do not desire, it is the substitution of representation in the Home Parliament for their own national Parliaments. Such representation would be utterly inconsistent with the only logical scheme of a Federal Empire. For matters that require conference and co-operation, the Privy Councils of the different colonies, directly responsible to their own people and sitting amidst them, are their most effectual representatives. For purposes that concern them they really form, together with the Queen’s Home Cabinet, the great Council of the Empire. Senor Du Bosc himself illustrated the illusory character of the Spanish system, when he stated that the thirty representatives of Cuba in the Cortes voted against the grant of Cuban autonomy. Such suspicious unanimity probably indicates by whom the delegates were really chosen, and of whom they were representatives.
The United States were justified in treating the autonomous constitution purported to be granted to Cuba as being, if not purely illusory, at all events far short of a grant even of real local independence. It certainly falls short of fulfilling the description of being a reproduction of the constitution and status of Canada. Still the new constitution contained the seeds of better things. It would have given the Cuban people (if they had proved worthy of their opportunities), an excellent standing-ground for working towards larger developments.
The bona fides of an autonomic constitution, however, can never be fairly tested in the presence of an overawing foreign army. The law of England enacted that garrisons should be withdrawn during an election. It was not illogical or unreasonable that the United States Congress should demand that Spain should make good her pretensions by withdrawing her army, so that the native Cubans might be able to put their new constitution to a free test. But it seemed to be also required, by the same logic, that the demand should be accompanied by a bona fide undertaking on the part of the United States to restrain their own people from interference, equally prejudicial to the experiment.
But at this moment, as if an extraneous demoniac hand had intervened, occurred the overwhelming disaster of the Maine. In the presence of a tragedy, men are not in the mood for business methods. The primitive passions of humanity were appealed to and thenceforth inevitably governed the action. The conviction of foul play was but disputably founded on the facts in evidence. But the prima facie bearing of the facts supported the conviction. At all events it took irresistible possession of the minds of the American people. Assuming that conviction, there would have been something ignoble in a nation accepting money damages as compensation for such a villainy perpetrated upon its defenceless sailors. It was a more chivalrous determination that nation should answer to nation; that the offender's flag should be torn from the spot where such a crime had been permitted under its protection; that the scene of the tragedy should be made a deodand to the Manes of the victims.
The mass of the American people cannot be blamed for following the unanimous judgment of their experts, even if the judgment was in fact not well founded; still less can they be censured for insisting on the only adequate and dignified remedy. The people obeyed their hearts and are blameless. But it is the duty of Governments to control the heart by the head; it is their proper office to make passion conform to justice. Crime calls for punish
ment; but the hasty imputation of crime is equally a wrong. Spain, in the presence of an accusation, which would condemn her to everlasting dishonour, was entitled to a fair trial. Her plea for an international determination ought not to have been slighted. It ought even yet to be conceded, notwithstanding the war, and whatever may be its event. Upon the facts proved, expert opinion has arrived at its conclusions, by deductions, which are nothing more than conjecture. Expert opinion is not even unanimous in its conjectures. Experiment, under scientific direction, is the only final test; and experiment may not only relieve Spain of her supposed guilt, but may yet clear up the mystery in a manner beneficial to future constructors of warships and to the handling of the formidable modern explosives.
“If the Spanish Government,” wrote the Madrid correspondent of the London Times, “as early as October last, had detected the firm resolve of the President to intervene, and was anxious to avoid war, why did it not accept the tender of good offices, made in such friendly terms ? The question occurred to me at the time, and I ventured to enquire whether a satisfactory solution might not be found, by accepting, with certain restrictions and reserves, the good offices tendered—whether at least it might not be worth while to ascertain what kind of a solution the President hinted at, when he described it as 'honourable alike to Spain and the Cuban people.' His Excellency kindly explained to me that, however reasonable my suggestion might appear to a foreigner imperfectly acquainted with the chivalrous character of the Spanish people, it was practically impossible to act upon it. He was a Spaniard and could not admit foreign intervention in internal affairs. Cuba was simply a Spanish province beyond the seas, and the Cubans were Spanish subjects, like the inhabitants of Aragon or Castile. If any Spanish Minister could be found weak enough to admit such intervention, he would raise throughout the country a storm of popular indignation, which would not confine itself to the overthrow of the cabinet which had permitted such national humiliation."
We are reminded of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous cla: Mication of the six parties who are present in a dialogue apparently between two individuals. Behind John's images of himself, and of Peter, and Peter's images of himself and of John, there are the bal John and the real Peter. Perhaps in this case the real Peter and John, standing behind the faces and voices of
international diplomacy, were the irreconcilable and unchangeable determinations of the Spanish and American peoples.
To the President, Mr. McKinley, credit has been generally given, both in the United States and abroad, for having endeavoured to observe faithfully the high and terrible responsibilities of his office. I fully believe that he had every desire to avoid hostilities; or at least to wait an obviously just occasion on his country's behalf, and a favourable moment, after its preparations were complete.
It is, in the opinion of many, the misfortune of the United States Constitution that, while it exalts the Presidency into the supreme aim of ambitious chivalry, it does not endow the successful occupant with the necessary full powers to enable him to creditably discharge his responsibilities to the nation. Alike in respect to the internal policy to which he commits himself in his candidature, and in the conduct of foreign relations, he is at the mercy of hostile factions and prospective rivals in the two Houses, without whose concurrence he can do scarcely any important act.
The moderating disposition which many Presidents have exhibited in times of popular excitement, emphasizes a very great political fact; that concentration of responsibility, by the individualization of authority, is the best hope of good government under our representative systems. We have often seen the popular choice fall upon a mere party leader, not previously distinguished from his fellows, either by moderation of views or by any promise of statesmanlike insight. Yet the same man, promoted to a position where the decision of great issues is cast upon his single head, is seen to rise unexpectedly to the duties of the occasion. The mantle of kings seems to fall upon the individual who is called upon to exercise the office of kings. His vision is not always bounded by the November elections or the next Presidental campaign. His conscience takes the care of a nation in its keeping. That great ever-living Corporation becomes a guiding presence at his side; and he is able to hear the calm applause of history and the remote gratitude of future generations, above the roar of mobs, and the tumultuous passions and interests f the day.
The measure of individual power entrusted to the President is daily doing honour to the Fathers of the Uni od States Constitution. That his powers were not made more explicit and com