4 MARCH 1905, Page 2

It was officially announced on Wednesday that Lord Milner who

has been High Commissioner for South Africa since 1897, and Administrator of the Transvaal and the Orange River Colonies since 1901, had resigned his office for reasons connected with health, and would be succeeded by Lord Selborne. Whatever opinions may be held as to Lord Milner's constructive statesmanship in regard to what we deem the vital matter of Chinese labour, it is impossible to deny that during a period of unexampled stress he bore himself with inflexible determination, consistency, and courage, and that his worst enemies have never assailed his personal integrity or accused him of self-seeking. We are loth to speak grudgingly of his successor, for Lord Selborne, apart from his well-merited personal popularity, has proved himself a hard-working, zealous, and thoroughly capable administrator. None the less, we feel bound to point out that the responsibility which Lord Selborne shares with the rest of his colleagues in regard to the importation of Chinese labour into South Africa under semi-servile conditions may render his position one of great difficulty and embarrassment when the Liberals come into office. It is indeed strange to us• that Lord Selborne should desire to act under a Liberal Colonial Secretary. He surely cannot believe that this Parliament will last another year, or be followed by another with a majority willing to keep Mr. Balfour in power. Of course, if the Government were to last for any considerable time, our criticism would fall to the ground. As long as Lord Selborne is acting under the present Government the appointment is one to which no reasonable person can take exception.