Imágenes de páginas

large extent due to qualities not at all of a showy character. It is, for instance, a fact of more than superficial significance, and one worth remembering, that in the South American Republics, where the British peoples move among a mixed crowd of many nationalities, the quality which has come to be accepted as distinctive of them is simply "the word of an Englishman.” In like manner it is qualities such as humanity, strength, and uprightness of character and devotion to the immediate calls of duty without thought of brilliant ends and ideal results which have largely contributed to render British rule in India successful when similar experiments elsewhere have been disastrous. It is to the exercise of qualities of this class that we must also chiefly attribute the success which has so far attended the political experiment of extraordinary difficulty which England has undertaken in Egypt. And it is upon just the same qualities, and not upon any ideal schemes for solving the social problem, that we must depend to carry us safely through the social revolution which will be upon us in the twentieth century, and which will put to the most severe test which it has had yet to endure the social efficiency of the various sections of the Western peopleg.”




The “Crown colony” system, by which the home government or "Crown" names the administrative officers and at least a part of the law-making body in the colony, is applied in a more or less modified form to the government of 485,000,000 out of the total 500,000,000 people governed under the general title of colonies, dependencies, or protectorates. In the latter the governing and lawmaking powers are entirely named by or within the direction of the home government; but in general terms it may safely be said that the English crown colony system is approved and accepted in its general principles and methods by nearly all colonizing governments other than the English, and is thus the general basis of the government of a very large proportion of the 500,000,000 people living under a colonial form of government.

It seems not improper, therefore, in closing this discussion of the general plans by which government of colonies is administered by the home government and in the colony, to present in detail the reasons which led to the final adoption of this system by the British Government. These are presented with great care and detail by Earl Grey, who was secretary of state for the colonial department during Lord John Russell's administration, under which the system was largely formulated. This discussion, although written in 1853, is still considered by English authorities on colonial matters as a standard presentation of the principles upon which the present colonial system of England is founded. The following is from the opening chapter of that remarkable work, which consists of a series of letters by Earl Grey, addressed to Lord John Russell:


I consider that the British Colonial Empire ought to be maintained, principally because I do not consider that the nation would be justified in throwing off the responsibility it has incurred by the acquisition of this dominion, and because I believe that much of the power and influence of this country depends upon its having large colonial possessions in different parts of the world.


The possession of a number of steady and faithful allies in various quarters of the globe will surely be admitted to add greatly to the strength of any nation, while no alliance between independent States can be so close and intimate as the connection which unites the colonies to the United Kingdom as parts of the great British Empire. Nor ought it to be forgotton that the power of a nation does not depend merely on the amount of physical force it can command, but rests, in no small degree, upon opinion and moral influence. In this respect British power would be diminished by the loss of our colonies to a degree which it would be difficult to estimate. Hence, if it is an advantage, not for the sake of domineering over other countries but with a view to our own security, to form part of a poweriul nation rather than of a weak one (and, considering the many examples we have seen of the injustice to which weak ones are compelled to submit, this can hardly admit of a question), it seems to follow that the tie which binds together all the different and distant portions of the British Empire, so that their united strength may be wielded for their common protection, must be regarded as an object of extreme importance to the interests of the mother country and her dependencies. To the latter it is no doubt of far greater importance than to the former, because, while still forming comparatively small and weak communities, they enjoy, in return for their allegiance to the British Crown, all the security and consideration which belong to them as members of one of the most powerful States in the world. No foreign power ventures to attack or interfere with the smallest of them, while every colonist carries with him to the remotest quarters of the globe which he may visit in trading or other pursuits that protection which the character of a British subject everywhere confers, and can depend, in any difficulties or under any oppression to which he may be exposed, on the assistance of Her Majesty's diplomatic and consular servants, supported, if necessary, by the whole power of the Empire.


But I should regard it as a very unworthy mode of considering this subject if it were to be looked at with a view only to the interests of this country, as that word is usually understood. I conceive that by the acquisition of its colonial dominions the nation has incurred a responsibility of the highest kind, which it is not at liberty to throw off. The authority of the British Crown is at this moment the most powerful instrument, under Providence, of maintaining peace and order in many extensive regions of the earth, and thereby assists in diffusing amongst millions of the human race the blessings of Christianity and civilization. Supposing it were clear (which I am far from admitting) that a reduction of our national expenditure (otherwise impracticable) to the extent of a few hundred thousand a year could be effected by withdrawing our authority and protection from our numerous colonies, should we be justified, for the sake of such a saving, in taking this step, and thus abandoning the duty which seems to have been cast upon us?

It is to be remembered that if we adopted this policy we must be prepared for very serious consequences which would undoubtedly result from it. Some few only of these I will mention. No one acquainted with the actual state of society in the West India Islands, and the fcelings prevalent among the different classes of their inhabitants, can doubt that, if they were left unaided by us to settle amongst themselves in whose hands power should be placed, a fearful war of color would probably soon break out, by which the germs of improvement now existing there would be destroyed, and civilization would be thrown back for centuries. In Ceylon a similar result would follow. Its native races are utterly incapable of governing themselves, and yet they certainly would not submit to be ruled by the mere handiul of Europeans who have settled among them, if this small body were unsupported by British power. The great wealth which within the last few years has been created in this island would be destroyed, and the most hopeless anarchy would take place of


that security which now exists, and under the shelter of which such promising signs of improvement are beginning to appear. Even in New Zealand, although I have little doubt that the colonists of European descent would be found capable of establishing a government under which they might eventually rise to prosperity, yet we could scarcely hope to see this effected without a series of contests with the native inhabitants, in which the latter would in the end be destroyed, but not until they had inflicted and suffered an almost equal amount of misery. On the west coast of Africa there is at this moment a far more encouraging prospect than at any previous time. The efforts which have been so long made to improve the negro race seem to be at length beginning to produce important results, and a great change for the better may be looked for. But if we take up a new policy, and abandon our positions on the African coast, the slave trade will again revive in the extensive territory within reach of our settlements, where it has now been extirpated and has given place to a legitimate commerce which is daily becoming more important.


To say nothing of the higher motives, and of the duty which I conceive to be no less obligatory upon nations than upon individuals, of using the power and the advantages intrusted to them by Providence to advance the welfare of mankind, I would ask whether, even in mere money, there would not be something to set off against the saying of expense from the abandonment of our colonies? On the other side of the account we have to put the destruction of British property which would thus be occasioned, and the annihilation of lucrative branches of our commerce, by allowing anarchy and bloodshed to arrest the peaceful industry which now creates the means of paying for the British goods consumed daily in larger quantities by the numerous and various populations now emerging from barbarisin under our protection.

It is true there are several of our colonies to which the last observations do not directly apply, but the policy of abandoning a part of our colonial empire could scarcely be adopted without giving so great a shock to the feeling of confidence and security in the remainder as greatly to increase the difliculty of maintaining it; and I must add that it appears to me very doubtful whether even the colonies most capable of governing themselves, and which have no uncivilized tribes to deal with from whom any danger could be apprehendel, would not for some time have much difficulty in maintaining their present state of tranquillity and security, both externally and internally, if their connection with the mother country were suddenly dissolved.


If the reasons which I have just stated for maintaining the connection between this country and the British colonies are admitted to be sound, it will follow as a necessary inference that two very plain rules as to the terms on which that connection should be continued may be laid down. In the first place, I think it will clearly follow that this country has no interest whatever in exercising any greater influence in the internal affairs of the colonies than is indispensable either for the purpose of preventing any one colony from adopting measures injurious to another or to the Empire at large, or else for the promotion of the internal good government of the colonies by assisting the inhabitants to govern themselves when sufficiently civilized to do so with advantage, and by providing a just and impartial administration for those of which the population is too ignorant and unenlightened to manage its own affairs. While was our policy to maintain a monopoly of the trade of the colonies, it was necessary for the home Government to exercise a considerable control over their internal administration, because otherwise this monopoly would certainly have been evaded, and accordingly it will be found on looking back at the earlier history of our colonies (especially those which now constitute the United States), that the interference of the servants of the Crown in their internal affairs and the differences which that interference occasioned arose almost entirely from the endeavor to uphold the commercial system then in force. The abandonment of that system has removed the necessity for this interference. Secondly, I think it will follow that when this country no longer attempts either to levy a commercial tribute from the colonies by a system of restriction, nor to interfere needlessly in their internal affairs, it has a right to expect that they should take upon themselves a larger proportion than heretofore of the expenses incurred for their advantage.


I would observe with regard to the vague declamation on the absurdity of attenípting to govern the colonies from Downing street, of which we have heard so much, that it would undoubtedly be in the highest degree absurd to attempt to govern from Downing street, if this is to be understood in the sense of directing from thence all the measures of the local authorities; but I am not aware that such an attempt has at any period of our history been thought of. On the other hand, it is obvious that if the colonies are not to become independent states, some kind of authority must be exercised by the Government at home. It will conduce to a clearer understanding of the subject to consider by what means any control over its dependencies is now practically maintained by the mother country, and to what extent that control ought to be carried.


The authority of the home Government over the colonies is exercised mainly in two ways; first, by the appointment of governors, and, secondiy, by sanctioning or disallowing the measures of the local governments, of which these officers are at the head. It is also exercised sometimes, but much more rarely, by prescribing measures for their adoption. With regard to the selection of governors, though I am aware that a contrary opinion has sometimes been expressed, it appears to me clear that if we are to have colonies at all, the appointment of their governors must necessarily be retained by the Crown, since I do not perceive by what other means any real authority or control could be exercised over the executive government of the colonies by the advisers of the Crown. But though the governors of colonies ought, in my opinion, always to be named by the Crown (and, looking to the consequences of Presidential elections in the United States, I believe that the advantage to the colonies of having persons entirely unconnected with local parties thus appointed to these situations can not easily be overrated), the nature and extent of the powers intrusted to the governors, and consequently the character of the colonial governments, must differ widely in different cases. In the settlements on the west coast of Africa the governors substantially exercise both executive and legislative authority, limited only by an appeal to the home Government. In Canada a representative assembly has not only the chief power of legislation, but also virtually a large share of executive authority, since the members of the executive council are required to possess its confidence. Between these two extremes there are many intermediate degrees of more or less power being exercised by the governors of different colonies.


The degree of control to be exercised over the local authorities by the secretary of state, as the organ of the home Government, ought obviously to depend very much on the greater or less amount of power with which the governors of different colonies are invested. In a colony like Canada, where representative institutions have attained their full development, and the governor is aided in his administrative duties by ministers who are required to possess the confidence of the legislature, exceedingly little interference on the part of the Government at home seems to be required. `In colonies where this system of government is in successful operation, the home Government should, in my opinion, attempt little (except in those rare cases where imperial interests or the honor of the Crown are affected by local measures or proceedings), beyond advising the colonial authorities and checking, so as to give an opportunity for further reflection any ill-considered and hasty measures they may be inclined to adopt. Practically I believe that the influence which can thus be exercised through a judicious governor is very considerable, and may be of great service to the colonies. In the strife of parties which prevail in all free governments, the existence of an impartial authority serves to check the too great violence with which political contests are sometimes carried on, and the experience and position of a minister of the Crown in this country enable him frequently to offer usefui advice to the colonial legislatures. There are other colonies in which representative institutions exist, but in a form suited to a less advanced stage of society, and where the governor consequently is called upon to exercise considerably more power than under the system to which I have just adverted; and there are other colonies, again, in which no such institutions yet exist.


In proportion as governors are more independent of any local control, it becomes necessary that some should be exercised over them from home; and in those cronies where they are unchecked by any kind of representative institutions, it is the duty of the secretary of state to maintain a vigilant superintendence over their proceedings. Although he ought, as I conceive, to abstain from any meildling interference in the details of their administration, and to support their authority so long as they appear to deserve his confidence, and rather to advise their recall when they cease to do so than to fetter their diseretion by cietailed instructions, he is yet bound to attend to complaints which may be made against their measures, and to prescribe for their guidance the general line of policy to be pursued.


These rules, as to the degree of interference to be exercised by the secretary of state, are equally applicable to the legislative and executive measures of the local authorities in the colonies; but while I am of opinion that the authority of the Crown, of which the secretary of state is the depositary, should be used in all cases with great caution, and in colonies possessing representative institutions with extreme forbearance, I can not concur with those who would prohibit all interierence on the part of the home Government in the internal affairs of the colonies. It seems to have been overlooked, by those who insist that such interference must always be improper and who would adopt without any qualification the rule that the colonies should be left to govern themselves, that this would in some cases imply leaving a dominant party, perhaps even a dominant minority, to govern the rest of the community without check or control.


To permit the government of a distant colony to be so carried on, notwithstanding the oppression or corruption which might be known to exist, would in general be for the ease and advantage of the ministers of the day, but would not be consistent with any but a very low view of the duties belonging to the responsible advisers of the Sovereign of this great Empire. In point of fact, it has not unirequently happened that the absence of difficulty in some parts of our colonial administration has arisen, not from its merits, but from its faults. For instance, so long as the home Government took no thought of the condition of the Vegro population of the West Indies, it met with no opposition from the assemblies of Jamaica and the other West Indian colonies; but when, urged on by public opinion in this country and by the House of Commons, the Government undertook to give effect first to the resolutions of 1823 for the amelioration of the condition of the slaves and ultimately to the act of emancipation, it found itself placed in a position of antagonism to the dominant class in these colonies, the difficulties arising from which are not yet by any means at an end. Yet it was clearly the duty of the Imperial Government not to leave the population of these colonies to the unrestricted disposal of the local governments, and in this respect at least the discontent engendered by the interference of the home Government was the discontent of the dominant few (who can alone make themselves heard in this country) at interference exercised for the protection of the helpless and ignorant many. Even now, in the former slave colonies which possess representative institutions, the body of the population does not practically exercise such an influence in the assemblies as to exempt the advisers of the Crown from the duty of keeping a watchful eye upon the proceedings of the legislatures for the purpose of checking any attempts which might be made to pass laws bearing unfairly on the laboring classes.


But even where the interference of the home Government is not necessary for the protection of a part of the population too ignorant or too weak to protect itself, there is another consideration which may require the exercise of some control over the proceedings of the local governments with regard to the internal affairs of the colonies. Every act of these governments, whether legislative or executive, is done in the name and by the authority of the Sovereign; hence the honor of the Crown, which it is of the highest importance to the whole Empire to maintain unimpaired, must be compromised by any injustice or violation of good faith which it has the power to prevent being committed by the local authorities. It is therefore the duty of those by whom the Imperial Government is conducted and to whom, as the responsible servants of the Crown, its honor is intrusted to take care that this honor does not suffer by the Sovereign's being made a party to proceedings involving a departure from the most scrupulous justice and good faith toward individuals or toward particular classes of the inhabitants of any of our colonies.


In the colonies which are the most advanced in civilization and in the exercise of the powers of self-government it is not superfluous to insist on this consideration. On the contrary, it is in colonies having popular forms of government that there is perhaps most danger that in the excitement of party contests, to which such governments are peculiarly liable, measures not consistent with strict justice may sometimes he attempted and may require to be checked by the authority of the Crown intrusted to the secretary of state. Any interference on the part of that minister with measures of purely internal administration in the colonies to which I am now adverting is to be deprecated, except in very special circumstances, the occurrence of which must be exceedingly rare; but I am convinced that it may sometimes be called for, and that it is therefore expedient to trust, for averting the evils and the dangers which must arise from an improper interference by the home Government with the local administration, rather to the discretion with which the powers now yested in the Crown are exercised than to a limitation of these powers by new legal restrictions. In particular I should regard it as in the highest degree unadvisable to adopt the proposal that has been made to take away, so far as regards certain classes of laws, the general power which the Crown now possesses of disallowing all acts or ordinances passed by the colonial legislatures.

I have little doubt that the propriety of regulating the amount of control to be exercised by the secretary of state over the measures of the local authorities by the greater or less infusion of popular power in the constitutions of the several colonies will be generally recognized. It remains to be considered what steps ought to l* taken for the establishment of representative institutions where they do not now exist, or for improving them where they exist only in an imperfect form. On this head, also, I think there can be little difficulty in determining the principles which ought to be acted upon, although there will be a goo:l deal more in their practical application.


Keeping steadily in view that the welfare and civilization of the inhabitants of the colonies and the advantage which the Empire at large may derive from their prosperity are the only objects for which the retention of these dependencies is desirable, and believing also that there can be no doubt as to the superiority of free governments to those of an opposite character, as instruments for promoting the advancement of communities in which they can be made to work with success, I consider it to be the obvious duty and interest of this country to extend representative institutions to every one of its dependencies where they have not yet been established, and where this can be done with safety; and also to take every opportunity of giving increased development to suchi institutions where they already exist, but in an imperfect form. But I believe that in some cases representative governments could not safely be created, and also that the same form of representative institutions is by no means applicable to colonies in different stages of social progress. The principal þar to the establishment of representative governments in colonies is their being inhabited hy a population of which a large proportion is not of European race, and has not made such progress in civilization as to be capable of exercising with advantage the privileges of seli-yovernment.

Of such colonies Ceylon affords the best example. The great majority of its inhabitants are Asiatics, very low in the scale of civilization, and having the character and habits of mind which have from the earliest times prevented popular governments from taking root anri flourishing among the nations of the East. Amidst a large population of this description there are settled, for the most part as temporary residents engaged in commerce or agriculture, a mere handiul of Europeans and a larger number (but still very few in comparison with the whole population) of inhabitants of a mixed race. In such a colony the establishment of representative institutions wonkl be in the highest degree inexpedient. If they were established in such a form as to confer power upon the great body of the people, it must be obvious that the experiment would be attended with great danger, or rather with the certainty of failure. Ii, on the other hand, the system of representation were so contrived as to exclude the bulk of the native population ironi real power, in order to vest it in the hands of the European minority, an exceedingly narrow oligarchy would be created, a form of government which experience certainly does not show to be favorable to the welfare of the governed. Were a representative assembly constituted in Ceylon, which should possess the powers usually intrusted to such a body, and in which the European merchants and planters and their agents had the ascendancy, it can hardly be supposed that narrow views of class interests would not exercise greater influence in the legi-lation of the colony than a comprehensive consideration of the general good. To anticipate that this would be the effect of placing a large measure of power in the hands of a small minority implies no unfavorable opinion of the character and intelligence of the European inhabitants of Ceylon, but only a belief that they would act as men placed in such a situation have generally been found to do.

In Mauritius, Trinidad, Santa Lucia, and Natal a somewhat similar state of things exist; for although the preponderance of the uncivilized races in these colonies is far Jess overwhelming than in Ceylon, still, taking into account the immigrants from India and Africa ( whose welfare is entitled to especial consideration), the inhabitants of European origin are but a fraction of the whole population. Hence it appears to me that the surrender of a large portion of the powers now exercised by the servants of the Crown, and the establishment of representative legislatures, would not be calculated to insure the administration of the government upon principles of justice and of an enlightened regard for the welfare of all classes in these communities. This end may, I believe, be far better attained by maintaining for the present in these colonies the existing system of government, of which it would be a great mistake to suppose that, because the inhabitants are not entitled to elect any of the members of the legislatures, it provides no securities against abuse.


Other influences are brought to bear upon the government of these colonies, which answer many of the objects of a legislature of a representative character. In the first place, in all of them, the press is periectly free. The newspapers comment upon all the measures of the Government, not only with entire liberty, but with the most unbounded license and the force both of local opinion, and also, to a considerable degree, of opinion in this country, is thus brought to bear upon all the measures of the administration. Every inhabitant of the colonies is also entitled freely to address to the secretary of state any complaints or remarks he may think proper on the measures of the local authorities, subject only to the rule that such letters shall be transmitted through the hands of the governor (who is bound to forward them, in order that he may at the same time send such explanations on the subject as appear to him to be called for. This privilege is largely exercised, and is the means of supplying much useful information. It is hence impossible that the secretary of state can be kept in ignorance of any errors or abuses committed by ihe local authorities, while if he fails to interfere when he ought, he can not himself escape the censure of Parliament. The greatly increased facilities of intercourse with the colonies have of late years effected a great practical alteration in the position of colonial governors; and, whatever may have been the case formerly it undoubtedly can not be alleged that Parliament is now indifferent to what goes on in the colonies, or that faults, real or imaginary, which may be committed in the administration of their affairs can hope to escape the ever-ready criticism of an opposition eager to find matter for objection to the government of the day. Perhaps some persons may think that this disposition has been carried too far for the real interest of the colonies.

In these colonies there exist also legislative councils consisting partly of persons filling the chief offices of the government, partly of some of the principal inhabitants, who, thoughı named to their seats in the legislature by the authority of the Crown, and not hy popular election, are yet in the habit of acting with great freedom, and practically express to a considerable extent the opinion of the class to which they belong. It was my object, while I held the seals of the colonial department, without relinquishing the power possessed by the Crown, gradually to bring these legislative bodies more under the intluence of the opinion of the intelligent and educated inhabitants of these colonies. With this view, in one or two cases, the proportion of unoflicial to official members was augmented, and the practice was everywhere introduced of requiring the whole expenditure to be provided for by ordinances discussed and passed the legislative council; these ordinances being founded on estimates prepared and submitted to the legislature by the governor, and published for general information. In general tha fised establishment of the colonial governments is provided for by permanent laws, and that part of the expenditure which is of a more fluctuating character by ordinances passed annually, every charge on the colonial revenue being required to have, in one form or the other, the sanction of the legislature. This regulation was adopted, under my instructions, in all the colonies to which I am now referring, in place of the very lax and irregular practice previously prevailing in some of them, by which the only authority for a large proportion of their expenditure consisted of instructions given by the secretary of state, with the concurrence of the treasury. The publicity given to the estimates and accounts of the colonial expenditure, and the rule that, except in cases of great emergency, the draits of all proposed ordinances should be published before being passed, have enabled the colonists to bring under the consideration of the governors and the legislative councils, and ultimately to the secretary of state, any objections they have entertained to proposed ordinances or financial arrangements. Every encouragement has been given to them to make known their opinions freely, both to the local and home governments; and the most careful consideration has been given to their views, especially when these have been stated by chambers of commerce or municipal bodies, the advice and assistance of which int he administration of colonial affairs are, in my judgment, of the highest value.

These are as effective securities as in the present state of these colonies I believe to be attainable for insuring their good government; but I conceive that gradually to prepare them for a more popular system of government ought to be one of the principal objects of the policy adopted toward them, and it is one of which I never lost sight. It was more particularly with this view that I endeavored, whenever practicable, to create a system of municipal organization, entertaining a strong conviction that the exercise of the powers usually intrusted to municipal bodies is the best training that a population can have for the right use of a larger measure of political power.


These observations on the general principles which ought to govern our colonial administration would be incomplete without adding some remarks upon the important subject of patronage. It is commonly believed that one of the principal objects for which the colonies are retained is the patronage which they are supposed to afford. It is impossible to conceive a greater delusion. It is now many years since the colonies have afforded to the home Government any patronage which can be of value to it as a means of influence in domestic politics. Since Parliament has ceased to provide, except in a very few special cases, for any part of the expense of the civil governinent of the colonies the colonists have naturally expected that offices paid for by themselves should be filled up by the selection of persons from their own body when this can be done without inconvenience. Accordingly ottices in the colonies have for a considerable time been for the most part practically disposerl of by the governors.

It is true that these offices, when their value exceeds 1200 a year, are in general nominally at the disposal of the secretary of state, and when vacancies occur can only be filled up by the governors, subject to the confirmation of the Crown signified by that minister. But in the great majority of cases the recommenilation of the governors is accepted as a matter of course; the patronage, therefore, is in effect exercised by thein, and offices are filled up by the appointment of colonists.

This practice prevails more or less completely in different colonies, according to circunstances. In the North American colonies appointments may be said to have been for a long time given exclusively to residents, and in the other colonies having temperate climates and a European population they have been chiefly so, perhaps with fewer exceptions, than would have been for the real advantage of the colonies themselves. I say with fewer exceptions than would have been for the real advantage of the colonies themselves, because until they reach an advanced stage in their progress I believe that the appointment to some of the principal otiices in the colonies of persons not selected from the narrow circle of their own inhabitants and imbued with the peculiar feelings and opinions which are apt to prevail in such communities, but chosen from among the well-educated gentlemen of the mother country, is calculated greatly to improve the tone of colonial society and to prevent it from gradually degenerating from the standard of manner, and acquirements to which we are accustomed at home. It is also an advantage in small societies, as tending to mitigate the bitterness of that party spirit which is so often their bane, that some of the offices of most importance should be filled up by persons from a distance, not connected with any of the small knots and cliques into which such societies usually become divided; while the interchange of appointments between different colonies not only answers this object, but tends also to keep up among them a feeling of connection with each other and with the Empire of which all form a part. These remarks apply more especially to judicial appointinents, which I believe it would be wise, as a general rule, to fill up from the bar of the mother country, or of other colonies, until the colonies have made a considerable advance in wealth and population.

For these reasons it seems to me in the highest degree inexpedient that a transfer of patronage from the Crown to any colonial authorities should be formally made. The existing arrangement enables the secretary of state occasionally to depart from the restricted field of selection for important oilices afforded by the society of the particular colony, though practically this can be done very rarely; while the necessity imposed upon the governor of reporting the reasons for his recommendations to vacant offices, and obtaining the confirmation of the secretary of state for the provisional appointment he may make, affords no unimportant check on any abuse of the patronage thus exercised, especially as those candidates for employment whose claims have not been admitted by the governor have the right of bringing their case, by letters sent through his hands, under the consideration of the secretary of state.

În the tropical climates, where the number of residents of European race is comparatively small and the colonial society affords a still narrower field of selection, appointments are rather more frequently made from home, but even in these colonies the more important and lucrative situations are usually filled by the promotion of those who have held inferior appointments; and it is desirable for the encouragement of the civil servants of the Government that this course should in general be followed, though no positive or invariable rule can be laid down, and it is sometimes of great advantage to depart from the usual practice. The above observations apply to all appointments under the rank of lieutenant-governor, or president, administering the government of a colony, and the effect of the practice I have described, which has been followed for some years by successive secretaries of state, has been to reduce the number of appointments really at the disposal of this minister within limits so narrow as to render the patronage an object of no importance as a means of obtaining political support for an administration.

Governors and lieutenant-governors, it is true, are invariably appointed by the Crown, on the advice of the secretary of state, but this patronage can only be looked upon as a source of difficulty and anxiety. The welfare of every colony and the alternative of success or failure in administering its affairs are so mainly dependent upon the choice of a governor that I can hardly believe that any secretary of state, even if he were insensible to all higher motives than a regard for his own interest and reputation, would willingly be guided in his selection by any consideration except that of the qualifications of the individual preferred. At the same time the advantages of these appointments are not such as to lead to their being often accepted by persons who have much distinguished themselves by the ability they have shown; so that the sei vices of men who have filled other important offices, and who would therefore be preferred for such situations, can not be commanded. Hence the choice generally lies among persons of less tried fitness.

« AnteriorContinuar »