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may determine upon after they have concluded their labours. (Cheers.)

The Right Hon. CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, M.P., then rose and said : My Lord Bury and Gentlemen, I came here to-day with the intention of being rather a listener than a talker, and without any previous knowledge of the views of the gentlemen here assembled beyond what is contained in the printed circular. I came on the invitation of my noble friend Lord Bury, who is aware that I feel a deep interest in all the colonies, necessarily so from my long connection with colonial affairs generally, and a great desire to take part in any movement likely to promote a better knowledge on the part of Englishmen in colonial matters and a deeper interest in the fortunes of the colonists. That desirable result we may expect and believe would follow from the institution of such a society as is here proposed. The statement made by my noble friend Lord Bury is worthy of every consideration, and a very little reflection will serve to satisfy any man that the colonies are sufficiently important and interesting to justify the formation of a society especially devoted to them. I know not what my friend Sir Roderick Murchison, who has hitherto ruled with undisputed sway over the Royal Geographical Society, will say, or whether he will think we are invading his dominions in thus proposing to form a society to deal, amongst other matters, with the geography of the colonies; but the world is large enough for both societies, and if we leave to him and the Royal Geographical Society that portion of it which is not comprised within Her Majesty's colonial dominions, I think they need scarcely grudge us that small part which has the honour to be so included. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) I did not know when I came here whether the plan embraced the idea of a colonial club, which I knew had been talked of, but I find it does not, and I don't complain of the omission. I will not presume to dogmatise upon the subject, for I have not the means of forming an opinion ; but my impression is that there would be considerable difficulty in establishing a colonial club; and for this reason—that the colonies are not, as some who ought to know better seem to fancy, one body politic, with common interests and common feelings. On the contrary, the colonies are, as we know, a collection of communities scattered widely over the whole face of the globe, differing from each other as much as possible in every respect, except in that of their attachment to the great empire to which we all belong. There is nothing more interesting or more wonderful than to observe the different circumstances and positions of these various portions of the British empire-from those great English communities established in different quarters of the world, which are rather young nations than colonies, but connected by a federal tie with the great metropolis of the whole, to those insignificant islands and ports and posts which, in the nature of things, must remain the dependencies of some great Power or other, between these extremes we have every variety of political community. (Hear, hear.) And it stands to reason that the inhabitants of those different colonies, when they happen to be in England, are not likely to feel any particular connection with or interest in each other, and probably, therefore, would not be desirous of forming themselves into a social body in the nature of a club. That has always appeared to be the great difficulty in establishing a colonial club. The time may come when the great colonies may form distinct clubs for themselves. Indeed, I see no reason why there should not be a Canadian Club, an Australian Club, and a South African Club, as well as an Oriental Club. But it is not our province to discuss this question now, and I will not dwell upon it further; our object is one on the merits of which, whatever may be thought of the machinery by which it is proposed to be carried out, but little difference of opinion can possibly arise. I feel myself—and my experience in the office I have had the honour to fill convinces me more and more of the fact—that there is a great want of knowledge of colonial matters amongst a large class of people in this country who ought to know better. It has been my fortune, as a Government official and as a member of Parliament, to become cognisant, in many instances, of the importance of that knowledge. There is great difficulty in procuring reliable information in regard to all matters pertaining to the colonies on the part of those who, for political, scientific, or other practical purposes, seek for such information. For instance, there is no such thing as a good colonial library open to the public. It is true there is such a library in the Colonial Office; but it is not open to the public, and cannot be so in the nature of things; and I may say that, in the strict sense of the term, it is not open to the Colonial Office itself, owing to the lamentable want of space in which it is packed away. The formation, therefore, of a colonial library, to which all interested in the welfare of the colonies should have access, that alone would be a good thing gained ; and I cannot help thinking that this would be one of the most useful portions of your general scheme. Then the discussions, such as are carried on in the Royal Geographical Society, would have great interest and great value. But I am inclined to think that one part of my noble friend's statement, if I understood it rightly, admits of some modification. We could hardly expect that meetings of the society in London to instruct our fellow-countrymen in the colonies in practical matters, in which their own interest is immediately concerned, such as shipbuilding, road-making, bridge-building, &c., could influence them to any great extent against their own experience and

knowledge. There can, however, be no doubt that with a view to increase and propagate that scientific knowledge of all things pertaining to the colonies which the Royal Geographical Society is collecting and spreading in regard to all parts of the world, such a society as is here proposed would be invaluable. That kind of knowledge, I need scarcely say, is by no means theoretical or without practical effect. It is to the Geographical Society and the discussions there, and the manner in which those discussions are carried on, that we are indebted for many valuable results in commercial enterprise and scientific discoveries in various parts of the world. With regard to the colonies, I think such discussions would lead to even more valuable and more practical consequences, seeing that while the Geographical Society deals largely with uninhabited and uninhabitable parts of the world, we should deal with the inhabited or inhabitable portions which lie within the confines of the British empire. We all know that there are extensive regions in our colonies which, though now uninhabited, we may well hope will one day be thickly peopled by the British race. These are reasons which are sufficient to induce me cordially to second the resolution which has been proposed by my noble friend, and to promise, so far as I am concerned, to give to the project all the aid and support in my power. (Cheers.)

Mr. LEONARD WRAY said : I will only interpose a few words. In the first place, I think there can be no question that a society of the description proposed is most urgently required. We see here that the smallest and most insignificant companies and guilds have their societies, co-operations, and organisations. Some of them, no doubt, are very large, and have extensive influence, as the Fishmongers, the Mercers, the Merchant Taylors, the Goldsmiths, and others; but we see in our colonies an interest vastly superior and infinitely more important to the empire at large, which, nevertheless, has no organisation, no association or guild to represent it. Everyone, leaving the colonies and coming to England, finds himself on his arrival at an utter loss, for he has no place to resort to where he can meet those who belong to the same colony, and where he can obtain information of what is going on in the country he has left. He is told to go to the Jerusalem Coffee House, or some other place of a similar character, and on his application there he fails to obtain the benefit he desires. Now this defect ought to be remedied as soon as possible. The Chairman and Mr. Fortescue have put the case rightly. An association of the character suggested ought not only to exist, but I am satisfied it will be attended with the greatest benefits to both the colonies and the mother country. But whilo we talk of the colonies, we ought not to forget the dependencies of the British empire. We have a vast empire in India embracing

245,000,000 of subjects, and these cannot be included in the term “colonies." I would suggest that the scheme should include all the dependencies of the British empire, for we find that officers who come here from Indian service, and from service in other dependencies of the British Crown, are at as great a loss when they come home as people who come from the colonies, for a place where they can obtain reliable information, and meet together. An officer of considerable reputation, Sir William Coghlan, has spoken to me on the subject, and has expressed his opinion that India should not be omitted from the scope of the society's operations, and I think every one here must be of the same mode of thinking. (Hear, hear.)

Mr. A. H. Louis said: My Lords and Gentlemen, I feel this much title to address a meeting on this subject that the matter under discussion is one that, by the strongest possible inclination, a somewhat wide-spread theoretical knowledge, and an extensive personal experience, has been long pressed upon me as one of the most important that could possibly engage our attention, viz., the project of establishing a London Colonial Society. For years past I have been moving always and steadily with direct reference not exactly to this project alone, but to this as well as every other means that can be devised for bringing together into one focus the various sections and interests now diffused and chaotic, which go in their aggregate by the name of the British empire. The term “ colonies” I have no doubt has been used promiscuously, and naturally; but that the term may be modified so as to include the whole of the dependencies of the British Crown may fairly be presumed. (Hear, hear. It is scarcely necessary to say a word upon the importance of including India in the scope of the society's operations, as regards the practicability of doing good; but there are special reasons which will induce us to attach great value to India. While I say this I am induced to go further and add that, being familiar with the subject in its practical aspect, I have asked myself the question, How is a society like this to be made to flourish and endure? My belief is that it will scarcely flourish and endure on the scale in which it is desirable that it should do if it were made dependent upon mere annual subscriptions. I doubt very much whether for some time to come it could by such means be maintained in that state of efficiency which all must think essential to the permanent welfare of an institution of so important a character. Therefore I would venture to suggest, with all deference, that we should keep in view the question of an endowment; I don't mean a State endowment, which is, of course, quite out of the question; but what I mean is this, that if the society be properly taken in hand by those who, from official experience and position, are qualified to assist in carrying it into execution, it will be possible to enlist the sympathies and support of the colonial landowners and those who are immediately interested in the colonies to such an extent as would place it on a firm and permanent basis. As to the details of the society's objects, this being only a preliminary meeting, they need scarcely be debated now. All here, I am persuaded, will agree that, while it is most desirable to exclude all political questions, it is essential that we should take cognisance of questions bearing upon the political welfare of the colonies, so long as they do not affect political passions and political party. There are many such questions which should be described rather as social than political, and the solution of which the information which might be obtained through a society like this would materially assist. Those who would discuss those questions now really have no arena for the purpose. The proposed society, well founded, well situated, and well managed by all parties, would afford such an arena, and would tend to the great advantage of every part of our great empire. (Hear, hear.) I never welcomed in my career any project with greater hope or with greater enthusiasm than I do that which is the object of the present meeting. It is a question merely of method to make it the most successful and useful that could be devised. (Hear, hear.) The Marquis of NORMANBY : My Lord Bury, and Gentlemen,-I you

that upon entering this room I had no intention or expectation of addressing this meeting. It is only a day or two since I first heard of the proposal for establishing such a society, but, intimately connected as I have been with our North American colonies, and taking the interest that I do in all that relates to our colonial empire, and feeling also the value of everything connected with the colonial possessions of Her Majesty, and their good name in this country, I determined to attend the meeting of to-day (having duly received the invitation) in order to hear all that could be said in favour of the scheme, and to give it my utmost support. (Hear, hear.) A few years ago a project for a colonial club was brought under my notice. I consented to enter into a consideration of the subject, but the more I reflected upon it the more difficulty I found in carrying out the suggestion to a satisfactory issue; but as regards a society like that which we are now assembled to inaugurate, no such difficulty could arise. (Hear, hear.) No person who takes an interest in colonial matters can help being struck with the extraordinary ignorance that exists in this country in regard to colonial matters; and when I say “this country," I may speak also of the ignorance that exists amongst the various colonies in regard to each other. My experience has been chiefly connected with the North American colonies, and I can assure you you will find it quite as difficult there to gain information in one colony as to the circum


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