« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Parliament and Colonial Legislatures. 175
General in Council. This topic will be considered again in connection with the relations of the Ministers of the Crown to Parliament.
4. The assumed supremacy of Parliament over Colonial Legislatures as a whole, and as distinguishable from an assumed right of arbitrary supersession of the · action of particular Colonial Legislatures, is manifested by the language of particular Statutes, and by the nature of legislative acts the validity of which has never been disputed. Thus, by the Statute of the 28th and 29th Vict. cap. 63, entitled · An Act to remove doubts
as to the validity of Colonial Laws,' it is enacted, that any colonial law repugnant to the provisions of any Act of Parliament extending to the Colony to which such law may relate, or repugnant to any order or regulation made under the authority of such Act of Parliament, or having in the Colony the force and effect of such Act, shall be read subject to such Act, order, or regulation, and shall, to the extent of such repugnance, be void. By the same Act, the Colonial Legislatures are empowered to establish Courts of Judicature ; and representative Legislatures (which are defined to be legislative bodies, of which one half is elected by inhabitants of the Colony) are empowered to make laws respecting their own Constitution, powers, and procedure, provided that such laws shall have been passed in conformity with any Act of Parliament, Letters Patent, Order in Council, or Colonial Law for the time being in force in the Colony. The term Colony' in this Act includes all Her Majesty's possessions abroad in which there exists a Legislature, except the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, and British India. It is perhaps worth while here to call attention to an opinion given by Sir A. Cockburn,
Attorney-General, and Sir R. Bethell, Solicitor-General, on February 15, 1856, that the law and practice of • Parliament, as established in the United Kingdom, are
not applicable to Colonial Legislative Assemblies, nor • does the rule of the one body furnish any legal analogy
for the conduct of the other.'' This may be so, as a matter of strict legal interpretation ; but no conclusion can be drawn from it as to what are the rights and duties of Colonial Legislative Assemblies designedly fashioned in greater or less conformity to the type supplied by the English Houses of Parliament. A political inference may exist, in the absence of all legal cogency.
In many recent Acts of Parliament, the Colonies have been distinctly named, either for the purpose of including or of excluding them. Thus the Copyright Act (5th and 6th Vict. cap. 45) says, that the words • British Dominions' in the Act shall include all the « Colonies, settlements, and possessions of the Crown,' and enacts that the Act shall extend to every part of the British Dominions. The Statute of the 26th and 27th Vict. cap. 6, after reciting that Her Majesty has from time to time caused Letters Patent to be made under the Great Seal, intended to take effect within Her Majesty's Colonies and possessions beyond the seas, enacts that no such Letters Patent shall (unless otherwise provided therein, or by other lawful authority) take effect until the making of them has been signified therein by proclamation or other public notice. The Documentary Evidence Act of 1868 (31 and 32 Vict. cap. 37) provides that, subject to any law that may be from time to time made by the Legislature of any
· Forsyth's Cases and Opinions on Constitutional Lan, p. 25.
Parliament and the Crown Representatives. 177
British Colony or possession, the Act shall be in force in every such Colony and possession ; and it is made to extend to the Channel Islands and Her Majesty's Indian territories. By the 30th and 31st Vict. cap. 45, sect. 16, Her Majesty is empowered to establish Vice-Admiralty Courts in any British possession, notwithstanding that such possession may have previously acquired independent powers. So again, by the 29th and 30th Vict. cap. 65, Her Majesty may, by proclamation issued with the advice of the Privy Council, declare gold coins, made in any colonial branch of the Royal Mint duly established by proclamation, a legal tender within any part of the British Dominions.
The unity of the British Dominions, and the integrity of the quasi-federal relationships between the different parts of those dominions, are manifested in no way more conspicuously than in the practice and undisputed right of Parliament to pass Acts of the kind bere enumerated. In the case of most or all of these Acts, no question of a compétition of interests, as in the matters of taxation and colonial defence, is hinted at. The most questionable kind of legislation is perhaps that which enforces uniformity in the Copyright Law. In respect of the other matters, while a variety of rival interests must exist, as it exists in the case of contemplated Home Legislation, the reconciliation of these interests is a mere matter of compromise and bargaining, and, when effected, is likely to produce harmonious agreement and co-operation.
5. The relation of Parliament to the representatives of the Crown, such as Governors, Lieutenant-Governors, the Governor-General or Viceroy of India, Commissioners and Residents in that country, and special High Commissioners appointed for temporary purposes, belongs to the general subject of the mode in which Parliament secures the responsibility to itself of the Ministers of the Crown. The subject therefore will be suitably and conveniently treated in connection with that later head.
Parliament and Foreign Affairs.
SECTION V.-FOREIGN AFFAIRS.
In treating of the functions of Parliament as lately developed and undoubtedly extended in many directions, the subject of Foreign Affairs would naturally occupy a prominent place. The main difficulty in treating the subject adequately is that of distributing it between the topic of Parliament as a substantive part of the Constitution and that of the relations of Parliament to the Ministers of the Crown. The division of the subject between these topics must at the best be somewhat arbitrary, and to many may appear capricious; but the task must nevertheless be attempted, if the claims of logic and systematic exposition are not to be set at nought.
Many causes have concurred to render the discussion of Foreign Affairs of far greater prominence in modern Legislative Assemblies than it was in previous centuries, except at such crises as urgently involved the honour of the country, or called for strenuous measures to provide for national defence and military or naval ascendency. Mr. Disraeli, who on all hands is admitted to have largely concerned himself with the actual or possible interests of Great Britain in different parts of the world, when explaining the policy of the Government to the headship of which he had just succeeded in 1868, spoke as follows: "I now come to the greatest • department of the State,-one which perhaps is brought ' less prominently before the House than others, but which, after all, more than any other affects the prosperity of this country. Upon the judicious manage