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CHARTERED mother country with luxuries which, by the 18th century, had become necessaries. They offered a career for the younger sons of good families, and sometimes greatly assisted large and useful enterprises. During the last twenty years of the 19th century there was a great revival of the system of chartered comChartered Panies Great Britain. It is a feature of the companies general growth of interest in colonial expansion of modem and commercial development which has made times. itself felt almost universally among European nations. Great Britain, however, alone has succeeded in establishing such companies as have materially contributed to the growth of her empire. These companies succeed or fail for reasons different from those which affected the chartered companies of former days, though there are points in common. Apart from causes inherent in the particular case of each company, which necessitates their being examined separately, recent experience leads us to lay down certain general principles regarding them. The modern companies are not like those of the 16th and 17th centuries. They are not privileged in the sense that those companies were. They are not monopolists ; they have only a limited sovereignty, always being subject to the control of the home Government. It is true that they have certain advantages given them, for without these advantages no capital would risk itself in the lands where they carry on their operations. They often have very heavy corresponding obligations, as will be seen in the case of one (the East Africa) where the obligations were too onerous for the company to discharge, though they were inseparable from its position. The charters of modern companies differ in two points strongly from those of the old : they contain clauses prohibiting any monopoly of trade, and they generally confer some special political rights directly under the control of the secretary of state. The political freedom of the old companies was much greater. In these charters State control has been made a distinguishing feature. It is to be exercised in almost all directions in which the companies may come into contact with matters political. Of course, it is inevitable in all disputes of the companies with foreign Powers, and is extended over all decrees of the company regarding the administration of its territories, the taxation of natives, and mining regulations. In all cases of dispute between the companies and the natives the secretary of state is ex officio the judge, and to the secretary of state (in the case of the South Africa Company) the accounts of administration have to be submitted for his approbation. It is deserving of notice that the British character of the company is insisted upon in each case in the charter which calls it into life. The Crown always retains complete control over the company by reserving to itself the power of revoking the charter in case of the neglect of its stipulations. There are special clauses in the charters of the British East Africa and South Africa Companies enabling the Government to forfeit their charters if they do not promote the objects alleged as reasons for demanding a charter. This binds them still more strongly, and in the case of the South Africa Company the duration of the charter is fixed at twenty-five years. The chartered company of these days is therefore very strongly fixed within limits imposed by law on its political action. As a whole, however, very remarkable Results results have been achieved. This may be attri*t?onsmitam buted in no small degree to the personality of the men who have had the supreme direction at home and abroad, and who have, by their social position and personal qualities, acquired the confidence of the public. With the exception of the Royal Niger Company, it would



be incorrect to say that they have been financially successful, but in the domain of government and colonization they have achieved remarkable results. This may be seen more clearly by considering each case by itself, but generally it may be said that they have added vast territories to the British empire (in Africa about 1,700,000 square miles), and in these territories they have acted as a civilizing force. They have made roads, opened facilities for trade, enforced peace, and laid at all events the foundation of settled administration. It is not too much to say that they have often acted unselfishly for the benefit of the mother country and even humanity. We may instance the antislavery and anti-alcohol campaigns which have been carried on, the latter certainly being against the immediate pecuniary interests of the companies themselves. It must, of course, be recognized that to a certain extent this has been done under the influence of the home Government. The occupation of Uganda certainly, and of the Upper Niger territory and Rhodesia probably, will prove to have been rather for the benefit of posterity than of the companies which effected it. In the two cases where the companies have been bought out by the State, they have had no compensation for much that they have expended. In fact, it would have been impossible to take into account actual expenditure day by day, and the cost of wars. To use the expression of Sir William Mackinnon, the shareholders have been compelled in some cases to “ take out their dividends in philanthropy.” The existence of such companies to-day is justified in certain political and economic conditions only. It may be highly desirable for the Government to occupy certain territories, but political exigencies at home will not permit it to incur the expenditure, or international relations may make such an undertaking inexpedient at the time. In such a case the formation of a chartered company may be the best way out of the difficulty. But it has been demonstrated again and again that, directly the company’s interests begin to clash with those of foreign Powers, the homfc Government must assume a protectorate over its territories in order to simplify the situation and save perhaps disastrous collisions. So long as the political relation^ of such a company are with savages or semisavages, it may be left free to act, but directly it becomes involved with a civilized Power the State has (if it wishes to retain the territory) to acquire by purchase the political rights of the company, and it is obviously much easier to induce a popular assembly to grant money for the purpose of maintaining rights already existing than to acquire new ones. With the strict system of Government supervision enforced by the modern charters it is not easy for the State to be involved against its will in foreign complications. Economically such companies are also justifiable up to a certain point. When there is no other means of entering into commercial relations with remote and savage races save by enterprise of such magnitude that private individuals could not incur the risk involved, then a company may be well entrusted with special privileges for the purpose, as an inventor is accorded a certain protection by law by means of a patent which enables him to bring out his invention at a profit if there is anything in it. But such privileges should not be continued longer than is necessary for the purpose of reasonably recompensing the adventurers. A successful company, even when it has lost monopoly or privileges, has, by its command of capital and general resources, established so strong a position that private individuals or new companies can rarely compete with it successfully. This is clearly shown in the case of the Hudson Bay Company as at present constituted, and it will probably be so in the case of the Niger and North Borneo Companies. In colonizing new lands these