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them, one for each village in the district. They do not speak a word to each other. Each silently seizes his little bundle of petition blanks and hastens home. One night is a good deal of time. By morning the blanks are signed, in the labored but honest handwriting of the peasants.

All candidates' petitions must be filed with the official Election Commissioner at the Central Office of the district before twelve o'clock; and they must contain the signatures of ten per cent of the voters in the district if the candidate's name is to go upon the ticket. The villagers know from previous experience that gendarmes will be stationed along all the roads to the county seat, and that it will go badly with anyone found carrying in a petition for the Opposition Party. So the petitions are entrusted to women. As even women are likely to have their clothing searched, the petitions are hidden in the wrappings of the sick babies whom the mothers are anxiously bringing in to the town physician. Or they are smuggled through under the wing of a chicken carried to market. Cases are known where they have been woven into osier peasant baskets so cleverly that even the sharp eye of the police did not detect them. 'I'm only taking a little bundle of baskets to market to sell, Herr Commissar. I can't starve to death.'

Of the thirty-three petitions, ten are confiscated by the officious police before they leave the villages. Three petitions are found in the gutter. At four villages the people have not dared to sign them. Nevertheless, the sixteen petitions remaining have enough signatures to put the candidate's name on the ticket.

Since early morning a little group of anxious Party workers has been in town. Will the petitions reach them? A deputation of from three to ten must

at all costs file them with the Election Commissioner before noon. Excitement is intense. Will the Opposition succeed in putting up its nominee? Gendarmes make confidential reports to the local magistrate. The latter promptly informs the boss that 'the people have gone utterly crazy. They have never seen this fellow who is trying to run. He has n't had a chance to address them once. Yet they seem inclined to vote for him. There is even danger that they will forget all the wine they have drunk in the pubs' (every pub is controlled by the Government Party) 'at the expense of the official candidate. They are all frightened to death of their neighbors.'

Finally the supporters of 'the only available man' decide that five of their number shall register the petitions, in order to be safe if one or two of them are to be arrested. When they reach the square in front of the Government Offices they discover that it is barred off by a detachment of soldiers, 'in the interest of public order.' No one is permitted to cross. When the delegation of five men appears a lieutenant promptly orders them, 'Disperse.'

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THE CONFERENCE AND DOMINION STATUS1

BY THE RIGHT HONORABLE S. M. BRUCE, P. C., M.C. PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

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BEFORE the meeting of the Imperial Conference which has just concluded, the air was filled with suggestions, emanating from no known source, that the Empire's representatives were about to be faced with a very serious and difficult problem in regard to the status of the Dominions and their relations to one another and to Great Britain. This feeling of apprehension marked the culmination of a period of uncertainty which had continued during the past few years in fact, ever since the end of the war. The pre-war conception of the Empire was a simple one. The Dominions were amply satisfied with the unfettered self-government which they enjoyed in the domestic sphere, and were content to allow Great Britain to conduct their foreign policy on her own responsibility and by her own efforts. But common consultation for the prosecution of the war, followed by the novel method employed in signing the Treaty of Versailles, together with the separate membership of the League of Nations which was accorded to the Dominions, and their fresh rights in the diplomatic field, made it clear that the pre-war conception had gone forever. Suggestions began to be made with ominous frequency that the 'anomalies' of the existing position could not be permitted to continue, and that, as any measure of Imperial federation was entirely out of the question, the only alternative was to accept and possibly

1 From the English Review (London Conservative monthly), December

to codify a greater degree of separation. Such a period of uncertainty might have been foreseen. It was implicit in the nature of the Empire from the moment when the Dominions were accorded self-government. The distinction between self-government in the domestic sphere and nursery government in the sphere of foreign policy was very well for a time, but it could not last. The implications of Dominion nationality demanded an extension of self-government. After the war this extension came piecemeal in this direction and in that, to meet certain practical difficulties as they arose. But the position as a whole was not clarified, and it fell out that the work of clarification devolved upon the shoulders of the recent Conference.

To me it seems that the only real and substantial question which had to be settled was whether the will to unity throughout the Empire had or had not been impaired by the events and experiences of the last twelve years. If it had not, the task of the Conference would have been comparatively easy. If we could count upon an agreement on basic principles, there was little doubt that the details could be satisfactorily adjusted. But if there was genuine divergence of view as to what the Empire really was, then the task we had to face was difficult indeed.

The optimists were abundantly justified by the event. Very early in our discussions it was manifest that ours was to be the easier problem of ad

justing, on a basis of fundamental agreement, matters which were by comparison details.

Even so, however, the task confronting the Conference presented considerable difficulties from one point of view. The British Empire is historically a unique institution. Its problems are unique, and in finding solutions for them one can expect no help from the past, from accepted theories of sovereignty, or from existing rules of constitutional procedure. But it would be misleading to suggest that we were building entirely in the empty air, and that the Conference resolutions represented an attempt to shape a settlement of inter-Imperial relations entirely de novo. If we could not appeal for guidance to the past or to procedure established elsewhere, we could refer to the spirit of a position already partly worked out in practice by the British communities themselves, with their characteristic genius for solving half-consciously, and in practice, problems which might baffle the theorist.

The achievement of the Conference is none the less a real one. It may be said that the resolutions merely clarified a position which existed all along, but I would remind those who are inclined to make criticisms of this sort that before the Conference met there was no such general agreement about the political situation in the Empire as, I think, exists to-day, now that the work of clarification has been done. Doubts were freely expressed as to what Imperial unity could mean if it had to be reconciled with a full degree of autonomy in the self-governing parts of the Empire. Similarly, there were some who questioned whether genuine autonomy could be maintained in face of the need for a unified executive policy in the international sphere. Even among those who were prepared to admit the possibility of reconciling unity with autonomy, there was room for a good

deal of disagreement as to how this was to be done, and where precisely the emphasis was to be laid.

Certain questions, such as that of the right of appeal to the Privy Council, and that of the Dominions' freedom of action in negotiating with foreign countries, may have seemed to some to involve a real issue as between the subordination of the Dominions to Britain and a movement toward the breaking up of the Empire. Our task was, therefore, to remove misconceptions as to the real practical meaning of freedom and the real practical meaning of unity. We had to establish clearly the fact of the full autonomy of the Dominions in respect to every particular issue that was raised, and we had to do this on a basis which left the essential unity of the British Commonwealth unimpaired in any way.

Both these tasks have, I think, been accomplished. In every single case the reconciliation between freedom and unity has been achieved in such a way that there is no further room for doubt among men of good will about what the British Empire means and how in practice it may be expected to conduct its affairs. In so far as uncertainty on these points, both within the Empire and outside it, was impairing good will and preventing progress — and I have no doubt that to a certain extent this was the position - we may claim to have made a real contribution toward the Imperial future.

It should scarcely now be possible, while the general circumstances of the Empire remain as they are to-day, for any question to be raised to which the answer has not been either definitely given or clearly forecasted in the resolutions of the Conference. The three great watchwords of Liberty, Equality, and Unity have been freely and unmistakably accepted, and their application in detail has gone quite as

far as the needs of our time demand, without leading to that kind of overrigid definiteness which may itself so easily prove to be a stumblingblock.

But it would be a great mistake to think that mere agreement upon the terms of resolutions, however satisfying in themselves, means an end of all our difficulties. The problems that remain are practical, and their solution is essential. The reconciliation of freedom and unity must be effected, after all, not on paper, but in the actions of governments and in the hearts and minds of men. We are thrown back now upon the problem which I have always felt to be the root of the whole matter the problem of achieving through consultation the essential degree of coöperation. This is in part a matter of mechanism. Time and space put difficulties in the way of effective communication, and these can only be overcome if every portion of the Empire uses to the full those opportunities for informative discussion which the rest are so ready to afford it. But still more it is a matter of good will, and one is encouraged to hope that this will be forthcoming to meet the practical problems of the future as abundantly as it was around the council table in Downing Street recently. It is scarcely conceivable that the measure of fundamental agreement revealed

in the deliberations of the 1926 Conference could be less than adequate to apply what was there decided to the many practical problems the future holds in store.

After all, to have cleared up the political situation in the Empire, and even to have ensured an understanding as to the extent and limits of common action in future, is only to have cleared the ground for dealing with those other questions which alone can give to political unity real worth and substance. We know now where we stand as an Empire. Each part can rely upon a genuine belief of all in the Imperial bond, and each knows that this close union implies no derogation from its own sovereign status. We have now to bring about a tightening of the bonds of common interest and common sentiment, so that they may withstand the unforeseen shocks of time and circumstance, and endure for centuries to come. Yet even when this is achieved, as I believe through trade development and better communications it will be, future generations may look back upon 1926 as the year in which the Empire definitely emerged from a difficult stage in its growth and finally accepted that new conception of itself, as a free partnership of genuinely equal nations, which came to birth in the storm and stress of war.

VOL. 352- NO. 4298

THE BLACK AND WHITE OF IT1

BY COLIN ROSS

OUR attitude toward the Boers has changed profoundly in the course of the last few years. Our warm sympathy for them during the South African War was followed by a period of coolness, which turned during the World War into hate and bitterness because the Boers had taken England's side and dispatched their troops into Southwest and East Africa.

Now our bitterness and enthusiasm have both passed and we are able to judge the Boers fairly, taking into consideration their good qualities and their defects. It could not very well be otherwise, for we are separated by thousands of miles and really have nothing whatever in common. Our enthusiasm for the Boers was nothing more or less than hate for England, and our more recent bitterness was no more justified than our previous sympathy. But sentimentality in our mutual dealings will do neither nation any good, least of all ourselves, for Boer friendship is not a meaningless economic or political consideration.

After the behavior of the Boers in the World War we Germans underwent a change of heart and lost the sympathy we once had for them. I made no secret of this fact to any of the Boers with whom I came in contact, but I feel I ought to go over the ground on which the attitude of the Boers toward us was based.

I kept hearing, in the first place, that the Boers had reason to suspect

1 From the Vossische Zeitung (Berlin Liberal daily), October 16, 24, 27

Germany's motives. This was because of the famous Kruger telegram sent by the former Kaiser, which led both Boer republics to believe that Germany would intervene on their side in case of a conflict with England. Then, when old Kruger was not received in Berlin, the Boers despaired of their freedom and assumed an attitude of unlimited bitterness and suspicion toward us. This attitude was very cleverly nourished by England at the psychological moment to wit, when she was framing a constitution for the two republics. At that time the British announced and I do not know whether they were warranted in doing that the German General Staff had worked out a plan of operation for Lord Roberts. That seemed so terrifying and frightful to the Boers that they at once agreed to the English proposals.

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When the World War broke out, the Boers, and especially their leader, Botha, who was then South African Premier, found themselves in a quandary. It was a question of rebellion or support of the Empire; to remain neutral was hardly possible. Can Botha be blamed for having put the welfare of his people above everything else? Although a majority of the Boers shared his anti-British sentiments, we did not realize that fact; nor did we know that many Boers were armed and would have fought on our side against England in Southwest Africa. Had not the conspiracy been so quickly detected by English police, the number of

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