« ПредишнаНапред »
come the progenitors of a bold, and hardy, and independent yeomanry. Insensibly, in the course of a few generations, their ferocity would be converted into valour, their restlessness into activity, their indolence into exertion, their disregard of human blood into the love of country and home. From elements the most discordant, from materials the most unpromising, from passions the most desolating in their native seats, Great Britain possesses the means, not only of effectually liberating her own territory from the dreadful evils under which it labours, but of realizing in distant lands the beautiful vision of the poet :
"Come, bright Improvement, in the car of time,
And rule the spacious world from clime to clime;
Thy handmaid Art shall every wild explore,
Trace every wave, and culture every shore. On Erie's banks, where tigers steal along, And the dread Indian chants a dismal song; Where human fiends on midnight errands walk,
And bathe in brains the murdering tomahawk
There shall the flocks on thymy pastures stray,
And shepherds dance at summer's opening
Each wandering Genius of the lovely glen Shall start, to view the glittering haunts of
And silence mark, on woodland height around,
The village curfew as it tolls profound."
Is money awanting to carry these generous designs into effect ?—are the resources of the state, and more than its resources, required to meet the numerous foreign and domestic enemies by which its independence and tranquillity are menaced?—and is government unable to lay its hand upon any funds at all commensurate to the magnitude of the remedies which require to be applied to the state? Here, too, the colonies afford a certain source of strength; and, in providing for their growth and protection, the surest foundation is laid for the independence and security of the parent state. How was it that the Romans, for so many ages, held together the vast and unwieldy provinces of their empire, and established a dominion which, from
the wall of Antoninus to the foot of Mount Atlas, and from the river Euphrates to the Atlantic Ocean, was actuated by one spirit, governed by one set of laws, and inspired by one unanimous sense of experienced obligation? Simply because they conquered for the interest of the provinces even more than themselves; because they consulted their wishes and desires even more than those of the ruling state, and employed the vast army which the resources of the empire enabled them to keep on foot, in executing great public works, constructing bridges, and forming highways, to connect together their mighty dominion. Why is not the navy of England employed in similar beneficent purposes, to cement together its vast colonial empire, embracing the globe in its circuit, by the strong chain of experienced obligation? Why are the royal ships of England employed during peace merely in naval parades, useless cruises, or inglorious observation of insult to the British flag, when their co-operation is so loudly called for to relieve one part of the empire of its superfluous load of inhabitants, and transfer to another the muchneeded supply of civilized industry? Could foreign nations entertain any jealousy of the British navy, if employed in great part in such a work of manifest necessity and utility? Could fifty sail of the line, a hundred frigates, and two hundred smaller vessels, be better employed than in such a transference of the resources of the empire from those places where they are superfluous to those where they are required? If such a system was judiciously adopted, how rapid beyond all that the world has ever seen, would be the growth of the British colonies? What would it signify that our European trade was declining under the withering embrace of reciprocity treaties, if new fields of adventure were daily arising, and new markets opening on the shores of the St Lawrence, the wilds of Australia, or the mountains of New Zealand? How soon would disappear the discontents of the colonies, thus constantly supplied by the gratuitous efforts of the parent state, with what to them is a perennial source of strength, of wealth, and prosperity
a continued influx of skilled and civilized labourers? And what need we fear either the armies or navy of Rus
sia, if fifty British line-of-battle ships, and twice as many frigates, regularly employed in the transport of emigrants to our colonial dependencies, were ever ready, with their crews which have braved every breeze of the ocean, to protect the majesty of the empire from injury or insult?
The British empire exhibits at this moment, on the opposite side of the ocean, a social aspect so peculiar and remarkable, that the intention of Providence in regard to it, the purposes it is destined to serve in the moral improvement of mankind, and the means which remain for the delivery of itself from impending ruin, are as clearly marked out as if they were declared in thunders from the clouds of Mount Sinai. On the one side of the ocean, is an old, densely peopled, and highly civilized nation, teeming with energy, buoyant with spirit, but cramped by want of territory, and suffering under numerous real, and still more numerous imaginary, evils. On its opposite shore, at the distance of many thousand miles, other provinces of the same empire are to be seen, boundless in extent, teeming with riches, overflowing with fertility, but covered with the jungle and the forest, the abode of the tiger and the rhinoceros, yet requiring nothing but the superfluous hands of the parent state to convert them into a terrestrial paradise. To give effectual relief to the old empire, nothing is needed but to adopt the measures which would at once give life and vigour to the new. Between the two lies the British navy, raised upapparently by providential care to universal dominion, and once numbering a thousand pendants on the ocean; capable, while it protects the integrity of the whole empire, of affording the means of rapid, safe, and gratuitous transmission of the surplus of one part to supply the wants of another. Yet, oh, incredible blindness of mankind! this navy, at once the glory, andcement, and strength of this mighty empire, which could convert the ocean into a secure paved highway encircling the globe, has, under democratic influence and direction, been suffered almost to become extinct, and not a king's ship has ever been employed in that useful labour which could at once enrich, strength en, invigorate, and mutually endear every part of the empire.
But it is not only by sins of omission that the British Government has been found wanting to its colonial. subjects; its sins of commission have been still more serious and flagrant; and there is perhaps no parallel to be found, in the long annals of human misrule and oppression, to the catalogue of injuries with which the dominant multitude in the British islands have alienated the affections of their West Indian possessions. In treating of this momentous subject, we shall not immerse our readers and ourselves in a sea of details: we shall not quote angry resolutions of the House of Commons, or semi-rebellious speeches in the House of Assembly; we shall not go into details of prison acts, or complaints against Baptist missionaries, or misdeeds of prejudiced stipendiary magistrates. All these are important topics, which are the proper subject of consideration for Government or the Legislature, when the specific subjects to which they relate are brought under consideration; but they are not the real causes of the discord. Like the last angry notes in a diplomatic correspondence which terminates in war, they bespeak a previously excited rancour and state of exasperation, and may be held out as the ostensible causes of difference, but they are not the real grounds of hostility. It is in previous injuries, in deep and irremediable wounds inflicted by the injustice of the parent state, that the real cause of discord is to be found.
It is evident that the rule of a distant parent state, over powerful, and vigorous, and distant colonies, can only continue for a succession of ages if founded on three principles:-1st, A fair and equal reciprocity of advantages between the central empire and the colonial possessions. 2d, The esta blishment in the colonies of the same general frame of government as obtains in the parent state: under such modifications only, as necessarily are sug gested by the difference in their physical or social situation. 3d, The maintenance of such an armed force, naval and military, by the mother country, as may compensate to its remote offspring the want of independence by the certainty of protection.
It is remarkable, that while democratic institutions in the parent state are the mainspring of all colonial adventure-the centrifugal force by which,
in every age and country, mankind have been driven abroad from the luxuries and endearments of home, to seek better fortunes in distant landsthey are the institutions, at the same time, which have rendered it most difficult to prevent those colonial settlements from breaking off in anger from the parent state. Such was the smothered discontent which prevailed in all the colonies of the republics of antiquity, that, on the first serious reverse to the parent state, they all proclaimed their independence, and the vast colonial dominion was at once dissolved. The revolt of all the Athenian colonies, after the disaster of Argospotamos; of the Spartan confederacy, after the defeat of Leuctra; of the Roman colonies, after the slaughter of Canna; of the Carthaginians, upon the overthrow of Zama, have all their parallels in modern times; when, on the first serious reverse to more recent republics, their whole colonial dependencies at once proclaimed their independence, and, so far from supporting the mother country, fearfully swelled the ranks of its enemies. Upon any considerable reverse to Venice, Florence, or Genoa, the cities of which they formed the head broke off from a subjection which they hated, to destroy that invidious authority in which they were not permitted to bear any part. The American war, and loss of her magnificent transatlantic possessions to Great Britain, is another instance of the inherent tendency of democratic societies to lose their fullgrown offspring, at the very time when they have arrived at the period of life when they might zealously expect from them efficient assistance, and some return for the long anxieties and protracted solicitude of maternal
No person who surveys with a dispassionate eye the relative situation of Great Britain, and her astonishing colonial empire, can entertain a doubt that we are on the verge of a similar catastrophe, and that nothing but the long duration of European peace, and the halo of renown which England has inherited from the deeds of other days, prevents a general separation of her colonies from taking place. Canada, though in profound peace, has twice broken out into open revolt; albeit provoking, by so doing, the undivided strength of a nation which, five-and
twenty years ago, hurled Napoleon from his throne. Jamaica is in such a state of exasperation, that Government have deemed it necessary to bring forward two different bills for the suspension of its constitution, and the entire subjection of its inhabitants to the rule of a despotic Governor and Council. New South Wales is brooding over injuries which absorb almost the whole ample columns of their local press; and a spirit of discontent is there awakened, which only requires a little more strength to make that distant colony break off the connexion with the mother country, even at the hazard of losing that extraordinary prosperity which, in twenty-five years, has augmented its shipping and commerce above thirty-fold. Such is the dissatisfaction prevalent at the Cape, that not only has the emigration to that noble settlement nearly stopped, but the settlers are actually crossing over with their herds and families to the Caffre territories, and voluntarily incurring the risks of savage rule, rather than the protracted insolence and injustice of civilized democratic government. Even the Ionian islands have fallen into a state of discontent; and Sir Howard Douglas has just fol lowed the common example of dissolving the House of Assembly in Corfu, on account of the rebellious spirit of our Greek subjects. If any man imagines that a colonial empire, agitated by such passions, suffering under such evils, is in a tranquil state, or possessed of the cohesion and moral attachment requisite to make it hold together under the shocks of adverse fortune, he is little versed either in the history of mankind, or its secret spring, the workings of the human heart.
It is remarkable that this tendency to break off from the mother country, and separate into a multitude of independent states on the first serious national reverse, is peculiar to the colonial dependencies of democratic governments, and does not exist in any degree in firm or strongly cemented monarchies. Such monarchies have none of the inherent vigour and energy which is requisite to produce proper colonial offshoots; but in the dominions which they have acquired by conquest, or succeeded to by inheritance, there is none of that restless desire of emancipation, which forms so strong a feature in the character of
dependencies. Deep and apparently fatal were the wounds inflicted at different times by the arms of Napoleon on the Austrian monarchy; but not a symptom of impatience at the imperial rule was manifested, when the French eagles approached Vienna, in any part of its multifarious empire; on the contrary, the most animating episodes of modern history are to be found in the heroic efforts made by the Tyrolese, and the mountaineers of Croatia and Carinthia, to preserve their connexion with their beloved Kaisar, even after he was driven from the palace of his fathers on the banks of the Danube. Did Russia exhibit any symptoms of dissolution-did her provinces rise up in rebellion against the Moscovite rule-when the eagles of Napoleon approached the Kremlin, and the fortunes of the empire were apparently wrapped in a funeral conflagration in the flames of Moscow? Certes, the legions of Napoleon felt the reverse amidst the ruins of Malaroslavitz, in the snows of Krasnoi, on the banks of the Beresina. Did Spain fall to pieces, and each province declare its independence, when Madrid was occupied by the battalions of Murat, and the insurrection of its brave inhabitants quenched in innocent blood? The ramparts of Saragossa, the walls of Gerona, the unconquered bastions of Cadiz, proclaim the contrary. Examples of this sort are common in all ages; they are scattered down the stream of time, and form the bright spots which console the historian for his labours, and fascinate the eye of the reader in the dark and turbid waves of human events.
Is any man sanguine enough to believe that a similar devotion, in its distant colonies, would illustrate the British empire, if assailed in its heart by similar dangers? Would Canada become a La Vendée, Jamaica a Tyrol, Australia a Saragossa, India a Spain, if Nicolas had laid his iron grasp on the arsenals of Woolwich, Portsmouth, and Plymouth? If a Russian fleet of thirty ships of the line lay across the Nore-if Portsmouth and Plymouth were closely blockaded, and the estuaries of the Mersey and the Clyde were closed by hostile fleets-we should
look long enough before we saw friendly sails from the St Lawrence, the Gulf of Mexico, or the shores of Australia, arriving to raise the blockade of the heart of the empire. Now all this is possible-all this might happen without the once powerful, but now democracy-paralysed, empire of England being able to fit out a fleet for its defence ;* and yet we are doing nothing either to strengthen our means of national defence, or secure the allegiance and co-operation of those numerous colonial settlements, on the prosperity and connexion of which not only our welfare, but our very existence as a nation, depends.
Mr Hume has explained, with his wonted sagacity and wisdom, the reason why the remote provinces and colonial dependencies of a despotic empire are always better administered than those of democratic societies. "The reason," says he, " is, that an absolute sovereign, being equally elevated above all his subjects, and not more dependent on one class than another, views them all, comparatively speaking, with equal eyes; whereas a free state is ruled by one body of citizens who have obtained the mastery of another, and govern exclusively the more distant settlements of the empire, and are consequently actuated by personal jealousy or patrimonial interests in their endeavours to prevent them from obtaining the advantages of equal and uniform legislation.' in this circumstance—the government of one body of citizens in one part of the world, by another body in another -that the true cause of the general discontent and exasperation of democracyruled colonies is to be found. monarch equally interested, from the security and strength of his throne, in the prosperity of all his subjects, whether in one part of the world or another, may rule them all with equal justice and equity: but it will always be found impossible to make a body of citizens in one country-the tenpounders of England, for examplesacrifice their own interests or inclinations to those of the distant colonies of the empire. It was the stern refusal to give them a share in the representa
In the beginning of last November, the Powerful, of 84 guns, was put in commission, and began to take in seamen, under that gallant and popular officer, Captain Napier in the end of May she put into the Cove of Cork, still a hundred deficient of her complement !
VOL. XLVI. NO. CCLXXXV,
tion of the empire by the British Commons, which brought about the American Revolution: it was the reckless sacrifice of the whole British West India Islands to the dreams of immediate emancipation, which has occasioned the present deep-rooted exasperation of the white inhabitants of those possessions; and nothing is wanting but the oft-projected and apparently approaching homage to the ten-pounders of England, by the equalisation of the duties on Baltic and American timber, to fill to the brim the cup of Canadian discontent, and convert the Anglo-Saxon race, hitherto the firm supporters of the British connexion, into its most powerful and inveterate enemies.
But although the sacrifice of their material and patrimonial interests to the jealousy, selfishness, or caprice of their numerous rulers in the parent state, is one cause, and a most prolific one, of the discontent of the colonies of all republican communities, it is not the only, nor, in some cases, the most powerful. It is the denial to one part of the empire of the privileges and forms of government which are enjoyed by another-the stern resolution to deny to one class of citizens the privileges which themselves enjoy-which is often the more immediate cause of the rupture. Power is more dearly prized than even property; to forms of government an ideal importance is attached, greater than belongs even to the actual realities of life. When the inhabitants of the colonies of a republican government read the debates in the ruling councils of the commonwealth, and the effusions of its daily press, they see nothing but praises of the unbounded blessing of popular rule, and the incalculable advantages, social, political, and moral, which ever spring from the practical application of the great principles of general freedom and selfgovernment. Great as are these advantages, where sufficient strength is at the same time provided for the frame work of government, they are magnified to the imagination of the colonists by distance and want of experience, and the desire for them rendered uncontrollable by the perception of how rapidly they would all fall into their hands, if the great step of separation from the mother state were once accomplished. So natural is the tendency of the human mind to become
inflated with these wishes, and actuated by these principles, that it may safely be asserted, that in progress of time they will become irresistible; and that the independent spirit, engendered in the parent democratic state, will in all cases rend the colo nial empire asunder, if due attention is not paid to it, in the cautious but steady concession of privileges analogous to those enjoyed by the inhabi tants of the ruling power to its colonial dependencies.
The most obvious way of effecting this object, would be the extension at once of the central constitution to the colonial dependencies; and the conferring of a seat in the great council of the nation on a certain number of representatives from all its colonies, wherever situated. But, though the equity of this has much apparently to recommend it, and the principle of some sort of representation in the central parliament appears by no means unworthy of attention; yet experience has every where demonstrated, that it is by the appointment of a local legislature, elected on prin. ciples suited to the varying circumstances of each colony, that both its wishes are most likely to be attended to, and its interests best consulted. Such is the variety of character, physical circumstances, intellectual cultivation, and original race or intermixture of blood in different colonies, that no uniform system of representa tion could be established without speedily throwing the empire into combustion; and, if the representatives of all the colonies were to sit in the ruling assembly, the result would inevitably be, either that its time would be entirely absorbed in discussing details of great local but little general importance; or that the most material separate concerns of each colony would be overlooked and forgotten in the vehemence of party strife, or the vast national concerns of the whole empire. The ruinous effects which have already resulted from the extension of the same representative system to Ireland as Great Britain, and the woful obstruction of general business which has resulted from the magnitude of its separate concerns, sufficiently demonstrates the extreme danger of overlooking the vast difference in the preparation of different races or nations for free institutions, and the risk of the utility of a