19 JUNE 1926, Page 11

In fine, we have the Conservative leader in Canada enunciating

a policy very like that of General Hertzog in South Africa, that " a free nation must recognize only one authority, namely, the will of the people:" • Lawyers and authorities 'on constitutional government will doubtless inform us that when Great Britain is at war the Doniinions - are at war. The British Commonwealth, without a written constitution, has never rested on pure logic.. The reason it exists to-day is because the vast majority of its people believe in it profoundly and consider that their association with it is of benefit to themselVes and to mankind. The British Commonwealth will hold together only so -long as the majority of its citizens desire it. To those who believe in the complete freedom of the self-governing nations of the British Empire, - a status which has been freely recognized by British states- men in recent years, the knowledge that no Dominion will commit itself in advance to participation in a future war of Great Britain's has no terrors. Obviously it would be impossible to make a free democracy like Canada go to war in support of Great Britain if a majority of her people were against such an undertaking. In the past no written pact has been required to ensure the co-operation'of the Empire as a whole in face of a common danger. The " imponderables " have sufficed as they will in the future. A world State, such as the British Empire, can endure only if complete freedom is enjoyed by the nations which compose it. If an overwhelming majority of the people of Canada, South Africa or any . other distant Dominion were to say they wished to withdraw from the British Empire, however much we might regret the fact, we in England would not raise a hand to prevent them. They are masters of their own destiny, and that is one of the chief glories of the British Empire, and it is for that reason it will endure.