18 JUNE 1927, Page 41


(G. Allen and Unwin. 10s. 6d.)—Dr. Knaplund, who holds a chair of history at Wisconsin, shows in this interesting essay that Gladstone in 1855 and 1865 was advocating in principle the policy which was adopted at last year's Imperial Conference, namely, that the greater colonies —now Dominions—should be accorded the fullest possible freedom to arrange their own affairs. It is true that in 1871 he was reluctant to give them power to impose tariffs, because such a power would conflict with our commercial treaties with Germany and Belgium. But in the main he was all for colonial liberties, holding that, just as the early Greek colonies, though independent, remained closely attached to their mother-cities, so our colonies would value the connexion with Great Britain in proportion as they were free to stay or go. Dr. Knaplund prints from the Gladstone papers at Hawarden a memorandum and letter of 1865, adversely criticizing a fatuous War Office proposal to spend large sums on the defences of Canada without asking for Canadian views on the matter. With reference to Gladstone's brief tenure of the Colonial Office under Peel in 1.846, Dr. Knaplund notes that : " The Spectator, which under the editorship of Robert Stephen Rintoul showed deep interest in colonial affairs, was friendly to Gladstone and praised his early dispatches to Canada." Rintoul was a close ally of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, who persuaded Lord Lyttelton, Gladstone's brother-in-law, and other active Churchmen to form the Canterbury Association which .colonized part of the South Island of New Zealand. And Lyttelton vainly tried to persuade Gladstone in 1849 to become chairman of a new Colonial Reform Society because he had shown exceptional interest in the question. Dr. Knaplund's essay calls attention to an aspect of Gladstone's career which has been generally overlooked in recent years.