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either Australia or New Zealand is possible, though there may be casual raids, which the local forces of any one of the colonies ought to be, and we believe would be, quite capable of dealing with. The other consideration, that of the Federal tariff, appears to us of more practical importance, though Mr. Colquhoun thinks, or at least hopes, that it may not prove so.
'The freedom of intercolonial commerce is of great importance to New Zealand, whose principal Australian trade is with Sydney, which has been for some years past a free port. The Federal Ministry, divided upon many questions, is unanimous in its determination to maintain a protectionist tariff outside the Federation. The tariff is not a hide-bound system on the American pattern, but rather a compromise between that and one desired purely for revenue purposes. The whole question is one that is likely to be keenly fought in the future, since New South Wales has a strong party of ardent free-traders. . . . It is to be hoped that the statesmen of Australia will not be blinded by the apparent exigencies of the moment to the advantages of that wide and generous policy which has been the characteristic of British trade in all quarters of the globe.'
But in Australia itself, among the federated States of the Commonwealth, there are at least two questions which, from the very beginning, tend to disintegration. The first is the construction of a trans-continental railway from Sydney to Perth, the fro and contra of which appear in very different lights to West Australia and South Australia. By reason of its magnificent harbour and its position on the east coast, where no other can at all compare with it, Sydney is the natural outlet for Australian trade in the Pacific. Hence the importance of the railway to Western Australia.
'There are difficulties in the way, however, for this railway is opposed by some of the Eastern States and South Australia. If a line be made from Perth to Sydney across the continent, it is apparent that Adelaide must suffer very considerably; indeed, the raison (Tetre for its existence would almost disappear. Now the Commonwealth Act forbids the Federal authority to build a railway in any State without its consent. South Australia is very unlikely ever to give its consent unless some compensating advantage can be found, and the position is therefore certain to become more and more strained. . . . On the other hand, the Western Australians threaten to break up the Federal Government unless they get their railway and are thus brought into close contact with the rest of the Commonwealth, and this view is likely to become much stronger as the value of the Pacific becomes realised. . . . The difficulty is, therefore, a very serious one, and is likely to test the Federal Government severely.'
That it will be surmounted we have no doubt, though the States may be for a time like some newly-married couples, who have to learn, with more or less friction, the limits of yielding, compromise, and self-assertion, and then live happy for ever afterwards. The labour question seems to us really far more serious. In Queensland white men cannot work effectively, and coloured labour has been and is largely employed. There are there no fewer than twenty thousand coloured aliens—Chinese, Japanese, Hindus, and Polynesians —none of them desirable as colonists, though sorely needed as labourers. But the labour party in the Southern States is very strong, and opposes the introduction or the presence of coloured aliens.
'Despite the very strong planter interest brought to bear from Queensland, and the impossibility of fully developing that country without outside coloured aid, the Australians are determined to preserve their continent from what they call the contamination of the yellow and black races. The Pacific Island Labourers Bill prohibits islanders from entering the Commonwealth after March 31, 1904, and only allows their immigration meanwhile under licence. No agreement between employers and Pacific Island labourers is to remain in force after December 31, 1906; any islanders found in Australia after that date are to be deported. Already restrictions on Chinese and Japanese immigration have been greatly increased, while steps are to be taken against natives of India by means of an education test. As the Hindus are British subjects, this is sailing rather near the wind, and it is difficult to see how such measures can receive the sanction of the Imperial Government. Japan is not likely to acquiesce in the restrictions against Japanese, and she may adopt retaliatory measures.'
Difficulties with the Japanese there may possibly be, and to the annoyance of the Home Government, but we conceive there is not and cannot be any objection to the Australians protecting themselves from an undue immigration of Hindus or any other coloured British subjects—Houssas, for instance, or Kaffirs. The real difficulty, as it appears to us, will lie among the Australians themselves, and we do not think that Mr. Colquhoun overstates the case in saying: 'The diverging interests—between the Federal 'Government, dependent on the white labour party, and 'North Australia, dependent on coloured labour—constitute 'a serious danger to the unity of the new Commonwealth.'
The most serious danger of all, however, not to the colonies only, but to the Empire, lies in the not improbable difference of opinion or in some misunderstanding between the Commonwealth and the mother country. For such differences or misunderstandings do occur. Our politicians are not always statesmen, and are very often curiously or even ridiculously ignorant of colonial needs, feelings, and prejudices. Formerly, when such differences occurred, the colonies were weak, and gave way; now they are united and strong, and very probably would not. Just at present we are all so deeply impressed with the loyalty shown by the Australians—no less than by the Canadians and New Zealanders—in the recent war, that a sentimental feeling is greatly in evidence, which is not at all likely to stand the rude conflict of business life. We may think, and indeed do think, that the services rendered have been pure loyalty and affection. Possibly the Australians think so too, but it is at least probable that a time may come when many of them may think that the mother country is bound to reciprocate. Bismarck had no monopoly of the cynical motto 'Do ut des;' and the expected return may be neither pleasant nor prudent. Mr. Colquhoun has suggested —as we have seen—that friction might arise out of the refusal of the colonies to admit Hindus; it is perhaps more probable it might arise out of a refusal to make any concession in favour of the Japanese, whom it is the imperial policy to conciliate, as friends and allies. But putting, for the moment, hypothetical speculations on one side, we may take what has actually occurred in the past as an example of what may occur in the future.
In April 1883, acting on a belief, afterwards known to be well founded, that the Germans were preparing to annex New Guinea, the Queensland Government,
'convinced that the establishment of a foreign Power close to their shores would be fatal to their interests, sent agents to take possession in the name of Great Britain—an action which met with the approval of all the other colonies, but was not confirmed by the Colonial Secretary, Lord Derby. Pressure was brought to bear by the colonists, who urged not only the annexation of New Guinea, but the prohibition of convict transportation to New Caledonia by France, and, in effect, the entire control of the Western Pacific by Great Britain. These demands were flatly refused, but the action of Germany in seizing part of northern New Guinea, while these negotiations were still pending, hastened matters, and the Government of the day, under Mr. Gladstone, at last gave way so far as to consent to the annexation of the southern side of New Guinea nearest to Australia.' *
* This annexation, or rather protectorate, was proclaimed on October 10, 1884, and the Louisiade Islands were taken possession of on January 21, 1885, clearly in compliance with orders which must have been sent out from England about the time of the annexation.
We know that at the time the Australian colonies were greatly annoyed by the refusal of Lord Derby to recognise and support the action of Queensland, by the subsequent partition of New Guinea, and by the maintenance of the French convict station in New Caledonia. The questions are at present slumbering, but are not dead, and it is far from impossible that they may again wake to burning life. If so, they may give rise to a very serious divergence of interests. It is conceivable that, under certain conditions, the colonial feeling might be intensely hostile towards France or Germany, or rather towards the French or German possessions in the Pacific, whilst the home sentiment and European interests were all in favour of peace. A sentence of Mr. Colquhoun's strikes the same note:—
'Had the Federated Commonwealth come into existence earlier, it is doubtful if the United States would have been able to acquire her share of Samoa, while the present anomalous state of affairs in the New Hebrides would have been brought to an abrupt conclusion, and Germany would certainly not have had the opportunity for embarking on a policy of controlling an important section of the Pacific*
'The strategic importance of the New Hebrides and New Caledonia is not in reality a pressing matter, for Fiji dominates those groups. But New Guinea is of strategic value, and while Australia does not at present absolutely object to the presence there of Germany—quiescent in the north of the island and in the Solomon and smaller groups— she would strenuously resent any extensive developement of German power in the Pacific, such as the creation of a large naval station, or the acquisition of any of the Dutch East Indies. Any such action would at once rouse Australasia to a man. The Australian Monroe doctrine has not yet been officially promulgated, or incorporated in the national policy, but its spirit is breathed by all Australians. The day therefore may not be distant when Britain may have to decide between her colonies and some of the European Powers —in particular her ally Germany. The question is certainly one that should receive serious consideration before the actual occasion arises, for by such consideration may the clashing of interests be avoided.'
In the diagonally opposite corner of the Pacific lies the English territory of British Columbia, which includes Vancouver Island, and is a constituent part of the Dominion of Canada. Hitherto, notwithstanding its gold, its deve
Mr. Colquhoun's dates are wildly incorrect; a parallel of latitude he speaks of is impossible, and the details which are based on these dates and this parallel of latitude may be relegated to the region of ' good stories.'
lopement has not been great, though its vast natural wealth —not only gold, but coal, timber, minerals, and fish—as well as its numerous and excellent harbours, may and must bring it to a front place in the commerce and politics of the Pacific. This, however, will take time. Compared with her area and resources, the population is exceedingly small, which Mr. Colquhoun attributes partly to the amazing growth of timber, which, valuable in itself, is a hindrance to the immediate work of the farmer, and still more and especially to the lack of communication and consequent absence of a market for produce. 'Urgent need exists,' says Mr. Colquhoun,' for a network of local lines, which could be 'worked at small cost, to bring the interior districts into * touch with each other and with the coast, and to tie them 'all on to the great trunk line of Canada.' The construction of these calls for money, and at present the Government of the Dominion does not see its way to assist.
But meantime the ocean trade is rapidly increasing—a trade with Japan, Eastern Russia, and China. In fact, this trade for the whole of the western coast of North America is developing enormously. The passenger traffic in the summer is very large indeed, and the cargo traffic is so large that for the last three years the tonnage has not been sufficient for it, and there have frequently been large accumulations waiting for ships; and this though six lines of steamers are running from the Pacific ports of America to Yokohama, and thence to the Russian and Chinese ports; of these three are from San Francisco, one from Tacoma, one from Portland, and one from Vancouver, which belongs to the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Portland line, too, is carried on by English ships, and one of the San Francisco lines, though chartered by an American company; the ships of the Tacoma line, and of one of the San Francisco, by Japanese.* Clearly, it is not in the nature of things that a trade carried on by English, American, and Japanese should languish for want of ships, so that a large addition to the number of steamers on these lines may be expected.
In summing up his most interesting survey of the Pacific, Mr. Colquhoun seems to think that the future ' mastery' of it will rest with the United States, and assigns the second place to Japan. But taking into account the extent of coast-line and the excellent harbours of British Columbia, resting for their commercial basis on the vast resources of
* Steamship Subsidies, QQ. 1624-9.