Page:Problems of Empire.djvu/112

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PROBLEMS OF EMPIRE.

of a system of federation is that Ireland might, under it, really remain an integral part of the Empire. The action of such a scheme is centripetal and not centrifugal, and it is in the direction of federation that the democratic movement has been most advanced in the present century.' On the second reading of the Bill Mr. Chamberlain suggested, as an alternative Home Rule policy, 'the present constitution of Canada, not, in the relations between Canada and this country' (to which Mr. Gladstone and others had referred)—'those are the wrong lines, and lines against which I protest, and which mean separation but in the relations inter se of the provinces of Canada and the Dominion Parliament. Those are the relations which I, for one, am perfectly prepared to establish to-morrow between this country and Ireland.'

History has proved that Mr. Chamberlain was right when, in 1886, he pointed to Federation as the true solution of the Irish question.

To sum up. The Coronation Colonial Conference has taken us as far as it is possible to go at the moment in the direction of Imperial Federation. All honour to the statesmen whose labours have carried us so far. The burden of the Empire is becoming too heavy for the mother country to bear alone. I admit that the Colonies are not yet in a position to tax themselves to the same extent as we are able to do for the common defence; and until they are in this position the question of providing for direct control by Colonial representatives of Imperial policy does not arise.

An Imperial Parliament, in which every part of the Empire will be represented, either by elected or nominated representatives, is the ultimate goal which we

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