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HENRY STEVENS, SON & STILES
CORNER OF THE BRITISH MUSEUM
Eintered according to Act of Congress in the year 1908 by Charles A. IV. Purnall in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.
All rights reserved.
This book has been written with two objects in view.
First, to revive the memory of a distant kinsman, who did his best to serve England. Thomas Pownall was a lieutenant of Pitt, he shared that great statesman's views. He was able to reinforce them with knowledge, gained on the spot, of the then existing conditions of the North American Colonies, and the men, such as Franklin, who were the leaders of opinion there.
In the years after his return from those colonies, both from his place in Parliament and in his writings, he advocated those measures of conciliation which Pitt regarded as the only means of preventing a rupture. If they had been adopted the Stars and Stripes need never have replaced the Union Jack. Circumstances change from generation to generation; the nature of mankind and the problems it has to face remain much the same at all times.
Secondly, the attempt is made to deduce, from the failure of an oligarchy to deal with its “Overseas Men” of the eighteenth century, some parallels and lessons which may perhaps help to prevent the democracy of to-day from committing similar errors in the present and the future.
History repeats itself. It has done so, as regards England, in the remarkable similarity between her
relations with the North American colonies in the middle of the eighteenth century and with those which she now has: Canada, Australasia, the Cape. In the old days her colonies desired to remain under the flag if they could get reasonable treatment. That was the mind of Franklin and Washington; it was the mind of Mr. Deakin, of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, of Mr. Moor, Dr. Jameson and their colleagues at the Imperial Conference of 1907. The latter ask for favourable and preferential terms, as the former did a century
century and a half ago. So, too, do the parts played by Thomas Pownall in the Parliaments of King George III. and by the Rt. Hon. Joseph Chamberlain in those of King Edward VII. correspond. Imperially-minded Englishmen, they both became well acquainted with colonial ideas. Widely separated in time, closely allied in thought, the one did long ago, the other has been doing lately, his best for the unity of the Empire. A deaf ear was turned to Pownall's warnings. Events justified them. Is a deaf ear to be turned to the warnings of Mr. Chamberlain ?
It was selfishness and ignorance of the outside world, on the part of the home-staying English, which lost the American colonies in the time of George III. in whose own person those defects were most prominent. The same selfishness and the same ignorance exist to-day. If unchecked in the treatment of the present colonies they may cause even greater loss to us and our descendants than they did to our forefathers.
CHARLES A. W. POWNALL.
The ATLIENÆUM, PALL MALL, S.W.
October 11, 1908.