The first effect was the gradual withdrawing of imperial troops from the self-governing colonies, together with the encouragement of the development of local military systems by the loan, when desired, of imperial military experts. A call was also made for larger military contributions from some of the crown colonies. The committee of 1859 had emphasized in its report the fact that the principal dependence of the colonies for defence is necessarily upon the British navy, and in 1865, exactly 100 years after the Quartering Act, which had been the cause of the troubles that led to the independence of the United States, a Colonial Naval Defence Act was passed which gave power to the colonies to provide ships of war, steamers, and volunteers for their own defence, and in case of necessity to place them at the disposal of the crown. In 1868 the Canadian Militia Act gave the fully organized nucleus of a local army to Canada. In the same year the imperial troops were withdrawn from New Zealand, leaving the colonial militia to deal with the native war still in progress.

In 1870 the last imperial troops were withdrawn from Australia, and in 1873 it was officially announced that military expenditure in the colonies was almost "wholly for imperial purposes." In 1875 an imperial officer went to Australia to report for the Australian government upon Australian defence. The appointment in 1879 of a royal commission to consider the question of imperial defence, which presented its report in 1882, led to a considerable development and reorganization of the system of imperial fortifications. Coaling stations were also selected with reference to the trade routes. In 1885 rumours of war roused a very strong feeling in connexion with the still unfinished and in many cases unarmed condition of the fortifications recommended by the commission of 1879. Military activity was stimulated throughout the empire, and the Colonial Defence Committee was created to supply a much-felt need for organized direction and advice to colonial administrations acting necessarily in independence of each other. The question of colonial defence was among the most important of the subjects discussed at the colonial conference held in London in 1887, and it was at this conference that the Australasian colonies first agreed to contribute to the expense of their own naval defence.

From this date the principle of local responsibility for self-defence has been fully accepted. India has its own native army, and pays for the maintenance within its frontiers of an imperial garrison. Early in the summer of 1899, when hostilities in South Africa appeared to be imminent, the governments of the principal colonies took occasion to express their approval of the South African policy pursued by the imperial government, and offers were made by the governments of India, the Australasian colonies, Canada, Hong-Kong, the Federal Malay states, some of the West African and other colonies, to send contingents for active service in the event of war. On the outbreak of hostilities these offers, on the part of the self-governing colonies, were accepted, and colonial contingents upwards of 30,000 strong were among the most efficient sections of the British fighting force. The manner in which these colonial contingents were raised, their admirable fighting qualities, and the service rendered by them in the field, disclosed altogether new possibilities of military organization within the empire, and in subsequent years the subject continued to engage the attention of the statesmen of the empire.

Progress in this field lay chiefly in the increased support given in the colonial states to the separate local movements for self-defence; but in 1909 a scheme was arranged by Mr Haldane, by which the British War Office should co-operate with the colonial governments in providing for the training of officers and an interchange of views on a common military policy.

The important questions of justice, religion and instruction will be found dealt with in detail under the headings of separate Justice, etc. sections of the empire. Systems of justice throughout the empire have a close resemblance to each other, and the judicial committee of the privy council, on which the self-governing colonies and India are represented, constitutes a supreme court of appeal (q.v.) for the entire empire. In the matter of religion, while no imperial organization in the strict sense is possible, the progress made by the Lambeth Conferences and otherwise (see Anglican Communion) has done much to bring the work of the Church of England in different parts of the world into a co-operative system. Religion, of which the forms are infinitely varied, is however everywhere free, except in cases where the exercise of religious rites leads to practices foreign to accepted laws of humanity. It is perhaps interesting to state that the number of persons in the empire nominally professing the Christian religion is 58,000,000, of Mahommedans 94,000,000, of Buddhists 12,000,000, of Hindus 208,000,000, of pagans and others 25,000,000. Systems of instruction, of which the aim is generally similar in the white portions of the empire and is directed towards giving to every individual the basis of a liberal education, are governed wholly by local requirements.

Native schools are established in all settled communities under British rule.


In recent years the subject of British imperialism has inspired a growing literature, and it is only possible here to name a selected number of the more important works which may usefully be consulted on different topics: Sir C.P. Lucas, Historical Geography of the British Colonies (1888, et seq.); H.E. Egerton, Short History of British Colonial Policy (1897); H.J. Mackinder, Britain and the British Seas (1902); Sir J.R. Seeley, Expansion of England (1883); Growth of British Policy (1895); Sir Charles Dilke, Greater Britain (1869), Problems of Greater Britain (1890), The British Empire (1899); G.R. Parkin, Imperial Federation (1892); Sir John Colomb, Imperial Federation, Naval and Military (1886); Sir G.S. Clarke, Imperial Defence (1897); Sidney Goldmann and others, The Empire and the Century (1905); J.L. Garvin, Imperial Reciprocity (1903); J.W. Welsford, The Strength of a Nation (1907); Compatriots Club Essays (1906); Sir H. Jenkyns, British Rule and Jurisdiction beyond the Seas (1902); Bernard Holland, Imperium et libertas (1901); (for an anti-imperialist view) J.A. Hobson, Imperialism (1902). See also the Reports of the various colonial conferences, especially that of the Imperial Conference of 1907; and for trade statistics, J. Holt Schooling's British Trade Book. For the tariff reform movement in England see the articles Free Trade and Protection.

(F. L. L.)

[1] The census returns for 1901 from the various parts of the empire were condensed for the first time in 1906 into a blue-book under the title of Census of the British Empire, Report with Summary.

[2] The white population of British South Africa according to the census of 1904 was 1,132,226.

[3] Or "Board," as it became in 1605.