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Its results.

By the adoption of this principle, a colonial constitution

has become the very image and reflection of parliamentary government in England. The governor, like the sovereign whom be represents, holds himself aloof from and superior to parties; and governs through constitutional advisers, who have acquired an ascendency in the legislature. He leaves contending parties to fight out their own battles ; and by admitting the stronger party to his councils, brings the executive authority into harmony with popular sentiments, And as the recognition of this doctrine, in Enge land, has practically transferred the supreme authority of the state from the crown to Parliament and the people, so in the colonies has it wrested from the governor and from the parent state the direction of colonial affairs. And again, as the crown has gained in ease and popularity what it has lost in power,

so has the mother country, in accepting to the full the principles of local self-government, established the closest relations of amity and confidence between herself and her colonies.

There are circumstances, however, in which the parallel Conflicting is not maintained. The Crown and Parliament England and have a common interest in the welfare of their country ; but England and her colonies


have conflicting interests, or an irreconcilable policy. The crown has, indeed, reserved its veto upon the acts of the colonial legislatures ; but its practical exercise has been found scarcely more compatible with responsible government in the colonies than in England. Hence colonies have been able to adopt principles of legislation inconsistent with the policy and interests of the mother country. For example, after England had accepted free trade as the basis of her commercial policy, Canada adhered to protection, and estab

I “ The executive council is a removable body, in analogy to the usage prevailing in the British constitution" " it being understood that councillors who have lost the confidence of the local legislature will tender their resignations to the governors." Rules and Regulations for the Colonial Serrice, ch. ii.

interests of


in Canada.

lished a tariff injurious to English commerce.

merce. Such laws could not have been disallowed by the home government without a revival of the conflicts and discontents of a former period ; and in deference to the principles of self-government, they were reluctantly confirmed.

But popular principles, in colonial government, have not rested here. While enlarged powers have been in- Democratic trusted to the local legislatures, those institutions constitutions. again have been reconstituted upon a more democratic basis. The constitution granted to Canada in 1840, on Franchise the reunion of the provinces, was popular, but not democratic. It was composed of a legislative council, nominated by the crown, and of a representative assembly, to which freeholders or roturiers to the amount of 5001. were eligible as members. The franchise comprised 40s. freeholders, 51. house-owners, and 101. occupiers ; but has since been placed upon a more popular basis by provincial acts.

Democracy has made more rapid progress in the Australian colonies. In 1842, a new constitution had been granted to New South Wales, which, departing from the accustomed model of colonial constitutions, provided for the legislation of the colony by a single chamber.

The constitution of an upper chamber in a colonial society, without an aristocracy, and with few per

Policy of a sons of high attainments and adequate leisure, has single ever been a difficult problem. Nominated by the governor and consisting mainly of his executive officers, it has failed to exercise a material influence over public opinion; and has been readily overborne by the more popular

Australian constitutions. of 1850.


1 Report on Colonial Military Expenditure, 1861. Ev. of Mr. Gladstone, 3785; MS. Paper by the Right Hon. Edw. Ellice, M. P.; and see a statement of difficulties experienced by the home government in endeavoring to restrain New Brunswick in the granting of bounties. — Earl Grey's Colonial Policy, i. 279.

2 3 & 4 Vict. c. 35; Mills' Colonial Constitutions 184. 8 Canadian Acts, 16 Vict. c. 153; 22 Vict. c. 82.

assembly. The experiment was, therefore, tried of bringing into a single chamber the aristocratic and democratic elements of colonial government. It was hoped that eminent men would have more weight in the deliberations of the popular assembly, than sitting apart and exercising an impotent veto. The experiment has found favor with experienced statesmen; yet it can scarcely be doubted that it is a concession to democracy. Timely delays in legislation, a cautious review of public measures, resistance to the tyranny of a majority, and the violence of a faction, the means of judicious compromise, are wanting in such a constitution. The majority of a single chamber is absolute.

In 1850, it became expedient to divide the vast territories Constitutions of New South Wales into two, and the southern

portion was erected into the new colony of Victoria. This opportunity was taken of revising the constitutions of these colonies, and of South Australia and Van Diemen's Land. The New South Wales model was adhered to by Parliament; and a single chamber was constituted in each of these colonies, of which one third were nominated by the crown, and two thirds elected under a franchise, restricted to persons holding freehold property worth 1001., and 101. householders or leaseholders. A fixed charge was also imposed upon the colonial revenues for the civil and judicial establishments and for religious worship. At the same time, powers were conceded to the governor and legislative council of each colony, with the assent of the queen in council, to alter every part of the constitution so granted. There could be little doubt that the tendency of such societies

1 The relative advantages of a single and double chamber are fully argued by Earl Grey, Colonial Policy, ii. 96, and by Mr. Mills, Colonial Constitutions, Introd., 57.

2 This constitution was postponed, as regards Western Australia, unti! the colony should undertake to pay the charges of its civil government.

8 13 & 14 Vict. c. 59; Earl Grey's Colonial Policy, i. App. 422; ii. 86 111; Mills' Colonial Const., 291; Hans. Deb., 3d Ser., (iii. 634; cix. 1384, &c.

and Cape of

would be favorable to democracy; and in a few years the limited franchise was changed, in nearly all of these colonies, for universal suffrage and vote by ballot. It was open to the queen in council to disallow these laws, or for Parliament itself to interpose and suspend them ;? but, in deference to the principle of self-government, these critical changes were allowed to come into operation.

In 1852, a representative constitution was introduced, after some delay, into New Zealand, and, about New Zealand the same period, into the Cape of Good Hope.* Good llope.

To conclude this rapid summary of colonial liberties, – it must be added that the colonies have further Other coloenjoyed municipal institutions, a free press, and nial liberties. religious freedom and equality. No liberty or franchise prized by Englishmen at home, has been withheld from their fellow-countrymen in distant lands.

Thus, by rapid strides, have the most considerable dependencies of the British crown advanced, through successive stages of political liberty, until an an- democracy cient monarchy has become the parent of democratic republics in all parts of the globe. The constitution of the United States is scarcely so democratic as that of Canada, or the . Australian colonies. The president's fixed tenure of office and large executive powers, the independent position and


i Colonial Acts. Victoria, Nov. 24th, 1857, 21 Vict. No. 33; South Australia, Jan. 27th, 1858, 21 Vict. No. 12; New South Wales, Nov. 24th, 1858, 22 Vict. No. 22.

2 Colonial Acts for such purposes were required to be laid before Parliament, for thirty days, before her Majesty's pleasure should be signitied in regard to them.

3 15 & 16 Vict. c. 72. A previous Act had been passed with this object in 1846, but its operation was suspended in the following year. - Earl Grey's Colonial Policy, ii. 153-158; Mills' Colonial Const., 335; Hans. Deb., 3d Ser., cxxi. 922.

4 Earl Grey, ii. 226-234, App. C. and D.; Cape of Good Hope Papers, presented by command, Feb. 5th, 1850; Mills' Colonial Const., 151.

6 Earl Grey's Colonial Policy, i. 32, 235, 437; ii. 327; Mills' Colonial Const., 185, &c.; Merivale, Colonization, 1861, 651-656

6 Earl Grey's Colonial Policy, i. 29.



by may

authority of the senate, and the control of the supreme court,
are checks upon the democracy of congress. But in these
colonies the hominees of a majority of the democratic assem-
bly, for the time being, are absolute masters of the colonial
government. In Canada, the legislative council can offer no
effectual resistance; and in Australia even that check, how-
ever inadequate, is wanting. A single chamber. dictates its
conditions to the governor, and indirectly to the parent state.
This transition from a state of control and pupilage to that
of unrestrained freedom, seems to have been too precipitate.
Society, - particularly in Australia, — had scarcely had
time to prepare itself for the successful trial of so free a
representation. The settlers of a new country were suddenly
intrusted with uncontrolled power, before education, proper-
ty, traditions, and usage bad given stability to public opinion.
Nor were they trained to freedom, like their English breth-
ren, by many ennobling struggles and the patient exercise
of public virtues. But such a transition, more or less rapid,
was the inevitable consequence of responsible government,
coupled with the power given to colonial assemblies, of
reforming their own constitutions. The principle of self-
government, once recognized, has been carried out without
reserve or hesitation. Hitherto there have been many fail-
ures and discouragements in the experiment of colonial
democracy; yet the political future of these thriving com-
munities affords far more ground for hope than for despon-
England ventured to tax her colonies, and lost them ; she

endeavored to rule them from Downing Street, become athli- and provoked disaffection and revolt. At last,

she gave freedom, and found national sympathy and contentment. But, in the mean time, her colonial dependencies have grown into affiliated states. The tie which binds them to, her, is one of sentiment, rather than authority. Commercial privileges, on either side, have been abandoned ;

1 De Tocqueville, i. pp. 143, 151, 179.

Colonies have

ated states.

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