13 MAY 1848, Page 14


Pitoat being burdens our Colonies might be converted into sup- ports for the Mother-country ; but the great obstacle to such a truly "blessed change" is the Colonial Office : we have under. taken to show how the Colonial Office effects this obstruction.

Every process which would aid the beneficent conversion pre- sents to the Colonial Office, as it is at present constituted, a sub- stantial reason for hostility. We appeal to known facts. The Colo- nial Office will not permit the Colonies to be self-supporting. New Zealand would have been so ; but the Colonial Office interfered. South Australia started with a plan of self-support; but the Co- lonial Office interposed, compelled alterations of the plan, ap- pointed its own Governors and when the colony was oppressed with the consequences of Official mismanagement, the Office tried to make out that the original plan had failed. Something of this animated the British Government in the affairs of the "planta- tions" before the Colonial Office existed, even so far back as the origin of the early American Colonies : the Office may plead that it inherited the Anti-Colonial spirit from previous Govern- ments; but in the special Department the animus has become in- veterate, and is now maintained by vested interests. Were the Office now to permit the Colonies to be self-supporting, it must admit all its past conduct to be wrong, and the views of its most able antagonists in all parts of the globe to be right.

The Office will not permit the Colonies to govern themselves, because that would supersede the Department; which makes a world of business for itself by trying to carry on, in Downing Street, the detailed management of the Colonies in both hemi- spheres. To leave the Colonies themselves the power of self-go- samument, would take from the Department in Downing Street nine-tenths of its work, and by superseding its functions would break up the establishment.

The Office will not permit colonization to be that continued operation on which the true colonial relation depends ; a fact abundantly proved in the debates of last session on colonization. The pretext, repeated as a cuckoo cry, is, that there is no exten- sive demand for labour" in existing settlements : but coloniza- tion creates new settlements, and with them employment for la- bour. All our new colonies attest that fact. New Brunswick invites an indefinite multiplication of fresh settlements; but the Colonial Office is as deaf as the adder. The reason is, that oolo- nization is a 'recess which has never entered into the routine of the Colonial I ce; it has always been forced upon it from with- out, and as a national operation it would constitute a troublesome novelty.

The Colonial Office has not permitted, until considerably after the eleventh hour, and to a very limited extent, the immigration of efficient labour into the West Indies. The connexions and interests of the Office lie at home—it is a branch of the Home Government : it fell in readily with the project of slave-eman- cipation and the project of free trade in sugar, when they became essential-to the smooth working of politics at home. But the im- migration of labour into the West Indies is a thing that imme- diately concerns those colonies alone, and therefore it has had small interest for the Office. The: clerks in Downing Street do trot see what they can get by Negro immigration ; but the heads of the Office do see that it may involve the disagreeable necessity of asking Parliament for some money. The Colonial Office made no difficulty in continuing the emi- gration of convicts to the Australian Colonies, and would have continued it to this day but for the stir raised out of doors. It has also permitted the emigration of paupers to North America ; a migration of poverty and disease which has operated as a perfect nuisance in Canada. Natural complaints on that score have been used as if they constituted proof that the -Colonies do net like colonization. They do not like to be dust-holes for English refuse and rubbish.

Besides these special reasons and modes of administering its own branch of affairs, the Colonial Office, as a large branch of the general administration of the empire, shares in the interests and views common to all the departments. It implicitly obeys the chief canons of official custom. It will not select men according to ability or fitness, either for clerk- ships at home or governorships in the Colonies : the Office and the Colonies are preserves of patronage for political 'use; political partisans have a claim to a certain share of that patronage ; other portions are used for the benefit of the Office itself, by bestowing place on men who are pliant, astute, and able to dress up a ease adroitly. To admit a different order of men, would not only be a waste of patronage, but would introduce traitors into the camp. The functions of the Office Are performed, not for the good of the Colonies—that is only the -pretext—but for the good of the Office : they are mere suit and service for the tenure of place and patronage. No case, there- fore, is judged on its merits: it must be compressed, if not sup- pressed, should it tell against the Office; developed, should it tell for the Office. By dividing the labouni of mastering these 4g cases," a very useful arrangement is effected : certain posts are 'created -or kept up, which consist in -possessing a monopoly of in- —an—d wh—ich lwAthelt ht11119-4"1 7141-"g712:11re. ie.nIllh-&–entellgsevneenalt°1 ltfrmeaIrett;niot'itt'e (o)ff; that bees of the "Holy Office" or of the Jesuits' association. This plan of bureaucratic monopoly is helped by the political mats. tions at the head of the Depanment. Grant the process of converting the Colonies from tincum. brances into supports, and the Colonial Office would cease to pos- sess even an apparent value. A new office would indeed be ne- cessary, to manage the relation between the Mother-country and the Colonies; but its duties would be so different from these of the present Office, that the experience of the members would unfit them rather than qualify them for employment under the new system. In order, therefore, to keep up the Colonial Office, it is necessary to keep up the system of starving the Colonies, upholding incapable or oppressive Governors, and fencing with just claims.

Both Colonies and Mother-country pay dearly for the main. tenance of the Downing Street Office. Among the most obvious, and notorious consequences are such things as long Caffre wars; Canadian rebellions ; aboriginal ware in New Zealand ; ruin an discontents in young settlements, like South Australia before she outgrew the overlaying of the Colonial Office ; incessant disputes; incessant shifting of Governors; endless expenses for staffs of officers, for inquiries, for compensations, loans, &c., &c.; immense expenditure for troops to keep down the Colonies lest they rebel, and to keep up the Colonies against foreign aggression,—to resist which, no one would trust the loyalty or spirit of the Colonies as they are now governed, thwarted, and stunted. All these conse- quences, and many more, have to be endured in order that the Colonial Office may be kept up ; and it is a feeling of self-defence that makes the Office resist any innovation, such as would result in converting our Colonial encumbrances to be stays and supports.