An address of very much more than ordinary interest was delivered at Christchurch on Thursday evening by Mr G. R. Parkin, a member of the Imperial federation League, who is touring the colonies with a view to awaken public interest in the necessity for carrying out the great scheme of consolidating the British Empire and its colonies and dependencies into a great Federal Union, Last summer Mr Parkin addressed enthusiastic audiences in England, and last February in Canada, and the thoughtful speeches which he has delivered have done not a little towards deepening the publio interest in a movement yet destined to take a deep hold upon English communities all over the world, Mr Parkin shows conclusively that there must, in the future, be either consolidation, or division — either tbe welding of the Empire and its dependencies into one homogeneous whole, or the splitting off and independence of the parts, so soon as they feel themselves to be large enough and strong enough to do go. That the latter alternative would be a > wilful throwing away of the splendid i possibilities of a united Empire— a foolishturning apide from a magnificent destiny, Mr Parkin conclusively shows, and he points to Canada, in its federation into one Dominion, as evidencing in petto what may yet be accomplished on a grander and Imperial scale. And here we are pleased to learn from Mr Pa kin, who speaks as one with authority, that Canada "is thoroughly hostile to the idea of poHtica! annexation to || America. He (Mr Parkin) considered it positively shameful for a Canadian to suggest the ides, and that sentiment was the general sentiment of the people. The Frenoh Canadians were intensely loyal to Britain. The English Canadians were more British than the British themselves. That colony having started in a grand outburst of loyalty, every feeling of honor urged the Canadians to remain true to Britain. The Government was the most perfectly fr_e under the British flag. The Annexationists even were allowed to gabble without molestation a very different state of things from that obtaining in Russia, in France, and even in America. He believed that even if there were av majority in favor of Annexation, the minority would lose their last drop of blood rather than submit to it. .... He hoped he had made clear the feeling of intense loyalty that existed in Canada. He was satisfied that Canada would be a part of the great Imperial Federation.™ And if the admission of Canada to a voice and sfyare in the administration of the Umpire is possible, so also is it possible to devise a means whereby Australasia* New Zealand, the Cape- Colonies, and other parts of the Queen's dominions can likewise be represented and exercise their voice and influence in imperial questions. Indeed, as Mr Parian truly said the fact tbatathere : are difficulties in the way, is only to say in connection with British enterprise that those difficulties are to be surmounted for " the Anglo-Saxon race had always found an expedient that would meet a necessity." We also agree with the lecturer that the difficulties have been made too muoh of; and he is probably not far from the fact in saying that all that is necessary to enable those difficulties to be overcome is that the people of^ the Mother Country shonld "drop a little of their arrogance and the colonists a little of their bumptiousness.'* He contends that the federation of the British Empire is not half so difficult a work as that of federating the German Empire or theUnited States; nay,he goes on to say that the facilities of communication by sea and by cable render the work much easier than is generally supposed. He also shows in- a very striking manner the exceptional advantages whioh a British Federation would possess. Referring to the posts held by England commanding the waterways of tbe world, and to the vast resources the Federation would have in her enormous deposits of coal, he contended that "never in the history of the world had any empire held so amazingly favorable a position for defence as the Imperial Federation would," Her coal resources " would practically make her navy supreme, as the war vessels of foreign nations after twenty days' steaming would jbe only helpless hulks. Such was the position of the Empire than she could ab§plutely command tbe commerce of the world, and he did not hestitate to say that the future historians of the world would hold up to scorn the great trading nations that having this manifest advantage, threw it away through some petty spirit of local independence." i He pointed out that the United States " for the single idea of unity had spent hundreds of thousands' of lives >and thousands of millions of money "and said it made him feel ashamed to hear British people say that there was no object in federation. "Be had no hesitation in saying that if Britain did not consolidate her power in a similar manner (to Germany) she mußt be content to sink to the position of a second-class nation, and as regards the alternative of the independence of the colonies he showed that this was impracticable because while as independent States " they might make treaties with other nations, those treaties would not be respected unless there was force behind them. As had been said, it wag all very well to have faith in "the justice of a cause, but more faith could be placed in the guns of the British Navy. It was impossible for one to argue with a man who held a loaded revolver at one's head, and this would be the position of an independent colony with an armed and aggressive foreigne^. ,, In conclusion he said that the business of the Federation League was not to formulate a scheme of federation, bnt to create that enthusiasm whioh would render federation possible, and, so far ag New Zealand is concerned, Mr Parkin may safely take credit to himself for having done something already in this direction by his thoughtful and able address. The formation of a branch of the League in Christchnrch was the natural outcome, and the formation of similar branches in other parts of New Zealand will do not a little towards advancing the question of federation to m prominent position among political questions, and no one, we think, will dispute the truth of the remark of Mr W. P. Reeves at the meeting under notice that the time is coming when the subject of Imperial Federation; will claim serioiuj consideration, and that there oan be no halfway house between Federation and* Separation, '. '•' ' * "
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IMPERIAL FEDERATION., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2120, 27 April 1889
IMPERIAL FEDERATION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2120, 27 April 1889
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