There are rewards and penalties for those who undertake the organization of a colloquy; on the occasion of the first international colloquy held in Canada under the auspices of a group affiliated to the International Congress of Historic Sciences the rewards have been gratifying and the penalties negligible, thanks to the friendliness and co-operation of historians from so many nations.
The selection of a theme posed some difficulties because we wished to en- courage studies which would demand comparison with the North American, and particularly the Canadian, case. It must be confessed that we saw this as an op- portunity, also, to inform scholars from other parts of the world about aspects of North American history which they might have overlooked. Canada's colonial past, and the fact, in the words of the British constitutional historian A.F.McC. Madden, that "few areas of the world's surface have at no time been within an empire", led us to decide upon "Armed Forces and Colonial Development". As historians of empire, points out Madden, "we have a rich abundance of material to make our patterns, to build our models, to liberate ideas or to demolish gener- alisations. While strengthening our base on a special area -- North America, South Asia, Australasia or Africa -- or century or decade, we should venture into other territories or periods .... for the whole range of imperial existence, from John Smith's Virginia to Ian Smith's Rhodesia is our oyster." 1
That two gentlemen named Smith should symbolise the alpha and omega of empire is a whimsical thought, one which would have pleased Imperial Fed- erationists in the age of Pax Britannica and which some of them no doubt would have recognised as an elegant hyperbole. Professor Madden, who himself makes the case for historical parallels far beyond the expansion of Britain in the seven- teenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, here reveals the essentially subjec- tive national bias from which historians are bound to develop their general out- looks on human experience. Recognizing this element of historical scholarship, we did not presume to suggest avenues of research, even to national commis- sions where the consideration of colonies was likely to play little or no part in the mainstream of their national history. In this way we hope that all the papers presented reflect the place of our theme in the national historiography of their authors, rather than a Canadian view of the subject.
Some national commissions were not represented, but this does not mean that they had no interest in the colloquy. The difficulties of financing attendance at conferences a long distance from home, and some last minute changes in plan,
A.F.McC. Madden, "1066, 1776 and All That: the Relevance of English
Medieval Experience of 'Empire' to Later Imperial Constitutional Issues" in John E. Flint and Glyndwr Williams (eds.) Perspectives of Empire: Essays Presented
to Gerald S. Graham, (London: Longman, 1973), 9-26.