« AnteriorContinuar »
tent fortune (though such, perhaps, as may fall much short of his wishes) a sum of money, however large, to quit his home permanently and take a share in the foundation of a colony; and the more he possesses of those generous traits of character which qualify him for the part he would have to act, the less likely is he to accept the bribe. But offer him a patent of nobility for himself and his heirs,-offer him an hereditary station in the government of the future community, and there will be some chance of his acceding to the proposal. And he would not go alone. He would be followed by some few of those who are moving in the same society with him,-near relations, intimate friends. He would be followed by some, too, of an intermediate grade between him and the mass of needy persons that form the majority of the colony,-his immediate dependents,-persons connected with them, or with the members of his household. And if not one, but some halfdozen gentlemen of influence were thus tempted out, the sacrifice would be less felt by each, and the numbers of respectable emigrants which their united influence would draw after them so much greater. A colony so formed would fairly represent English society, and every new comer would have his own class to fall into; and to whatever class he belonged he would find its relation to the others, and the support derived from the others, much the same as in the parent country. There would then be little more in Van Diemen's Land, or in Canada, révolting to the habits and feelings of an emigrant, than if he had merely shifted his residence from Sussex to Cumberland or Devonshire,-little more than a change of natural scenery.
"And among the essential provisions which it would then be far easier to make than at present, is the appointment of one or more wellchosen clergymen. It is so great a sacrifice to quit, not simply the place of abode but the habits of society to which an educated man is brought up, that, as our new colonies are constituted, it would be no easy matter to obtain accomplished clergymen for them. In truth, however, it makes no part of our colonization plans; and when a religious establishment is formed in any of these settlements, it has to contend with the unfavourable habits which have been formed among Christians, whose devotions have been long unaided by the presence of a clergyman or a common place of worship. By an accomplished clergyman, however, I do not mean a man of mere learning or eloquence, or even piety, but one whose acquirements would give him weight with the better sort, and whose character and talents would at the same time answer for the particular situation in which he would be placed.
"The same may be urged in respect of men of other professions and pursuits. The desirable consummation of the plan would be, that a specimen or sample, as it were, of all that goes to make up society in the parent country should at once be transferred to its colony. Instead of sending out bad seedlings, and watching their uncertain growth, let us try whether a perfect tree will not bear transplanting: if it succeeds, we shall have saved so much expense and trouble in the rearing; as soon as it strikes its roots into the new soil it will shift for itself. Such a colony, moreover, will be united to us by ties to which one of a different NO. XXIV.-OCT. 1832.
constitution must be a stranger. It will have received from us, and will always trace to us, all its social ingredients. Its highest class will be ours; its gentry ours; its clergy ours; its lower and its lowest ranks all ours; all corresponding and congenial to our manners, institutions, and even our prejudices. Instead of grudgingly casting our morsels to a miserable dependant, we shall have sent forth a child worthy of its parent, and capable of maintaining itself."-p. 196--199.
In bringing this long article to a close, we venture to express a hope that the existing government will act vigorously in all these important matters. Their predecessors might justify or excuse non-interference, by the fact that it was their system "to use all gently," to run no risks, to submit to many well known evils rather than risk an encounter with others which they knew not. But the statesmen now in power cannot plead timidity, for they have made the boldest experiment ever heard of in this country; and if they wish to have their motives favourably construed, they must prove that they have not been influenced by personal or party considerations, but are genuine, conscientious reformers. They have dared to remodel Parliament; let them not hesitate to cut away our absurd and rotten criminal law, and our all-devouring poor-rates. If they go manfully to work, and correct the great practical evils by which we are overrun, good men of all parties will thank and bless them, and ultimately be converted into friends and supporters of their administration.