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aspects. First, there is the symbolic and personal value of a common relation to an actual human being as the visible embodiment of sovereignty and of all the associations that ancient and continuous national tradition carries. This value is highest in India, where rich and varied symbolism plays, for the vast majority of the inhabitants, the part that is taken by political and other abstract terms in Western thought. But it would be foolish to underrate it anywhere. There is a standing witness to it in the fact that under most republican constitutions the president is expected to assume the function of impersonating the commonwealth on ceremonial occasions, and to be willing to take some trouble about it. Switzerland is the one considerable state known to do without a figure-head, the presidency being there merely the chairmanship of an executive board.
In the case of an imperial commonwealth including many states, autonomous and otherwise, it is of manifest importance that the living person who represents it in the public view should be detached from ties of domestic party. This condition is satisfied by the form of our constitutional monarchy, and it is hard to perceive in what other form it could be satisfied as well, or at all. Our monarchy has yet another advantage which must be reckoned among our felicitous historical accidents. This has been matured almost within living memory, and has been fully disclosed only since the publication of Queen
Victoria's correspondence. Whatever acts of state are V done in the sovereign's name are done in substance by
Ministers answerable to the parliamentary majority by whose support they hold office, and in conformity with the general principles approved by that majority, but with a large discretion in details. The sovereign is bound to take his servants' advice, but is entitled to full information on the matter and the reasons of what is to be done, He is thus in possession of political knowledge and experience, especially in the higher politics of empire, which may well be called unique; and he is in a position to offer criticism and suggestion which may be of great value. We know that more than once Queen Victoria saved her Ministers from bad mistakes.
In short, the King has long ceased to govern, but he has become the standing confident of the governing
Cabinet, a confident of assured discretion, whose advice must be listened to with respect but need not be followed. In the near future we shall want more than ever a wellinformed officier de liaison between the Home Government and the Dominion Governments. After the Conference of 1907 the Colonial Office was supposed to have undertaken to provide something of the kind. If any attempt was sincerely made, the result has been insignificant; it is believed that a few officials were shuffled from one
to another and called the Dominions Department. The Dominions, I think, prefer the King to the Colonial Office; and there is no other choice in sight.
Next, allegiance to the Crown has a distinct political significance. It implies the right of British subjects in every part of the Empire to seek justice, in the last resort, from the King in Council, and redress of political grievances from the King in Parliament. In the selfgoverning Dominions, indeed, the Parliamentary control to which the citizen looks for all purposes of internal affairs is not at Westminster, but in his domestic parliament (federal, state or provincial, as the case may be) on which the Parliainent of the United Kingdom has at some time devolved a general power of government. + This devolution is in form revocable, but in substance it is well understood that revocation is out of the question, and amendment possible only when requested by the Dominion itself. However, if accident should disclose any omitted case, or in the extremely improbable event of a local majority attempting a violent departure from our common lines of legal and constitutional tradition, the unexhausted authority of the King and the Estates of the realms would still be available for the emergency.
Inasmuch as in all self-governing units of the Empire ministerial responsibility follows the English model by which Ministers hold office practically at the pleasure of the House of Commons, while the Home Government has to answer here in Parliament for those which are not
* It may be asked, What if the King had an indiscreet private secretary? So it may be asked, What if bankers and solicitors were indiscreet ? Official and professional discretion are at the very root of sound public service, and cannot be machine-made. Fortunately our tradition in this respect is excellent.
self-governing, it seems correct to say that every executive act done throughout the Empire is under the direction or subject to the control, though sometimes a remote control, of some servant of the Crown who is himself subject to Parliamentary control.
We now come to the preeminence of the British Parliament. In point of strict law the sovereignty of that body is universal and equal throughout the King's dominions, but in fact the constitutional understanding is that powers of government once devolved on an autonomous colony are, like the King's original power of judicature delegated to his judges, not resumable. The Parliament at Westminster, therefore, has in practice, so far as the self-governing Dominions are concerned, only a residual supremacy. But the residue is considerable. It covers all foreign relations, and some, though not all, of such matters affecting more than one state of the Empire as in the language of American publicists would be called inter-state.
Thus the British Parliament has the ultimate control, and down to 1916 the British Cabinet had the immediate control, of foreign policy and diplomacy, including peace and war, of imperial defence as accessory thereto, and of peaceful relations with foreign Powers, including commercial treaties and other international conventions. In the matter of commercial treaties the Dominions, notably Canada, have been entrusted in several cases with authority to negotiate them, but the treaty is always concluded in the King's name and with the authority of the British Ministry.* If any standing regulation of the common policy in foreign affairs or inter-state relations is desired, and in fact agreed upon, it can take effect only by an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom ; indeed there is no other form of procedure for amending the constitution of Canada or that of Australia.
Accordingly the foreign policy of the British Empire and every one of its units is the foreign policy of the King's Ministers here; and the substantive control of it is with the working majority of the British House of
* See Sir C. Hibbert Tupper, •Treaty-making Powers of the Dominions,' "Journ. Soc. Comp. Legisl.,' No. 37, Jan. 1917.
Commons. It is needless to prove at this day, though a few years ago it may have been otherwise, that, when Great Britain is at war, the whole Empire is at war.*
This, however, must not be supposed to mean that the Home Government can thereby claim, as of right, any assignable measure of active aid from the Dominions. In the event of a direct attack by the King's enemies on the territory of any Dominion, resistance would no doubt be the duty of all the King's subjects there; and the King's officers and Ministers in and for that Dominion would be in a position to exercise the extraordinary powers belonging to the Crown when there is a state of 'war within the realm'or rebellion, powers of which the precise extent has never been defined, and which it is now thought more prudent to confirm or enlarge by express legislation. But the power and the responsibility would still be with the local government; and it would be their business, not that of the Home Government, to take all necessary measures of local precaution and declare the duties of citizens in face of the enemy. Nor does it seem at all clear that any duty would arise, even in an extreme case-say a hostile expedition threatening Quebec-which could be practically enforced by any authority outside the Dominion concerned. For military purposes, in short, the relation of the Dominions to Great Britain is, in point of form, not much closer than that of an ordinary alliance.
The extent to which the Dominions can claim the mother country's assistance is no better defined. So far as the letter of the bond goes, Great Britain cannot require Australia or Canada to raise a single regiment; but it is equally true, and indeed it follows, that Canadians and Australians are entitled only in the most general way to rely on Great Britain for naval or military support beyond their own local resources. The King is bound to protect all his dominions; but he is not bound to comply with a particular demand for reinforcements; on the contrary, rash compliance with such a demand might well be a subject for the gravest censure of Ministers if it proved disastrous to the common interest of the Empire. The Imperial Defence Committee, it may be observed, is not really an imperial institution. Like the National Gallery, it is a creature of the home Ministry kept alive by a modest grant from the House of Commons. There is no legal or constitutional guaranty of its permanence. Inasmuch as it consists of such persons as the Prime Minister chooses to summon, there has been no difficulty about admitting Dominion Ministers to it as full members; and that is no small item on the credit side.
* See The Problem of the Commonwealth,' pp. 89-93.
Thus our arrangements for safeguarding our imperial commonwealth are really, so far as the actual constitution of the Empire goes, in as crude a condition as the provisions of our ancestors in the Middle Ages for keeping the King's peace. The sheriff might call out the power of the county, but neither the sheriff nor any other man could tell with certainty who would come. Aggrieved persons might call on the sheriff for aid, but the sheriff's power to help them was for the most part an unknown quantity, sometimes his will also. The result was that great men commanding their own retainers were dangerous neighbours to each other, and incidentally to peaceable folk who cared nothing for their quarrels, and often they were able to defy the King's justice for a considerable time. Such is the tale repeated with variations throughout English history from the tenth to the fifteenth century. The peace of nations is in much the same stage to this day.
What the states of the Empire have done in this war has been much better than our existing arrangements promised, and has certainly been an unpleasant surprise for the enemy; but it is not credible that either Great
itain or the Dominions should be willing to take a similar risk again. Another cause of war might be just, without appealing so manifestly to the sense of justice as the German invasion of Belgium. Another Government might make formal consultation with the Dominions a pretext for delay. We are faced with the necessity for putting emergencies touching the whole Empire into the hands of a truly imperial and authoritative executive.
So late as 1911, it is true, His Majesty's Government still clung to the notion, bred in the tepidly comfortable atmosphere of a peaceful Colonial Office-in some of whose corners it may linger even in time of war-that'cooperation, spontaneous and unforced, for common interests and