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260 THE CANADIAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Gladstone andBritain's Imperial Policy. By PAULKNAPLUND.London: Allen & Unwin. 1927. Pp. 256. THe. purposeof this book is professedlyto supplementMorley's Life of Gladstonerather than to give a complete expositionof Gladstone's viewson Britain's imperial policy, but the readerinterestedin imperial policywill reversethe relation. The first two-thirdsof the volumecontains Professor Knaplund'sessay,andthe last third a selectionof documents from the Gladstone papers which the trustees opened to the author. He seemsto have made good useof them. The American Revolution left a double imprint on Gladstone's mind. One was a revulsion from the policy of centralization which brought about that revolution and was then reinforcedby it; the other was the haunting thought that colonial developmentwas toward independence . He was ever quoting Burke upon the American troubles, and never ceased lamenting the tragedy of which the victory over British arms was only the central climax. If only thosecolonieshad separatedasfriendsinsteadof brokenaway asenemies! His consequent attitude toward the remaining colonieswould have been gloomy had it not been illuminated by the happier memory of Greek experience. If the Greek colonies scattered over the Mediterranean world could combine political independencewith strong filial affection, why could not the samebe true of Britain's coloniesover the greater world? Again and again he referred to the Greek solutionas an ideal for the present day. To him the end of colonizationwas not "miserablepecuniary profits", but "the multiplication of the English race, and the spread of its laws and political institutions over the world." Though an idealist who found honour in refusing to avenge the dishonourof Majuba Hill, Gladstonewas also a realist. He wanted to stabilize the frontiers of the Empire, but could not. Germany's entry into the colonial field did not alarm him. It pleasedhim, because,as he remarked to Lord Granville, "German colonizationwill strengthen our hold upon our Colonies." For all his reasoningfrom Greek and American experience,Gladstone shrank from looseningthe imperial ties. He vainly pressedhis colleagues to hedgecolonialautonomy with clear legal boundssimilar to the division of powersin a federation, and when the Australian colonies demanded complete freedom in fiscal matters he balked before the prospectof Colonies negotiatingdirectly with foreignpowersand repudiatingthe obligationsof imperial treaties. Indeed, it is doubtful if he would have yieldedhad not Canadacometo Australia's rescueby passingan act imposingdifferential duties. Then fear rather than faith allowed the Canadian act to stand--another example of how Canada'speculiar position, under the shadowof the REVIEWS OF BOOKS 261 United States, has enabled her to lead the other coloniesinto a larger liberty. At other timesGladstone's realismcoincided with his ideals, aswhen he defendedthe withdrawal of the garrisonson the groundthat "self-government begetsself-defence",and that responsibility for selfdefencewasessentialfor a healthy maturity. In the latter part of the century the tide of opinionflowedback toward the older idea of imperial concentration,and this surrounded him with many misunderstandings. The Liberal leaderwas labelleda "little Englander",and the "recall of the legions"seemed ominousto thosewho thought in terms of Rome. But Gladstonewas willing to devoteall the resources of ihe Imperialgovernmentto protectany colony that would fight to preserveher connectionwith the mother country. Instead of imperial federation, which he thought would weaken the Empire, he strove for colonial federations which would strengthen it. Canadaowes muchto hisministry,whichstopped Howe's dangerousagitation and urged British Columbia and Prince Edward Island into the union. Shortly after his death this adversetide reached its flood, and then it recededuntil at last the principlesof Gladstone himselfwere proclaimedto the world by the Imperial Conferenceof 1926. ProfessorKnaplund was obviouslyintrigued by his subject, and thereforehas produceda very readablevolumein which there is little to cricitize. His final flourish,that "Gladstone must be reckonedamong the great architectsand buildersof the British Commonwealthof Nations," may challengethe readerto distinguishbetweenwhat Gladstonesaidandwhat he did, but this isoneof the rare passages wherethe authorloosens the critical rein uponhisenthusiasm. He doesnot claim originalityfor Gladstone, but he doesrevealhim as a great exponent of the idealswhich have stoodthe test of time. He did well to reprint Gladstone's 1855 address on "Our Colonies," one of the greatest speeches ever deliveredon the subjectof the British Empire. A. L. BURT Tecumseh,a Drama, and Canadian Poems; Dreamland and otherPoems; The AmericanBison; ThroughtheMackenzieBasin; Memoirsand Reminiscences. By CRARLES MAiR, LL.D. (Master Works.of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1710-1093
Print ISSN
0008-3755
Pages
pp. 260-261
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-05
Open Access
No
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