« AnteriorContinuar »
in every age and country, mankind twenty years ago, hurled Napoleon have been driven abroad from the from his throne. Jamaica is in such luxuries and endearments of home, to a state of exasperation, that Governseek better fortunes in distant lands— ment have deemed it necessary to they are the institutions, at the same bring forward two different bills for time, which have rendered it most the suspension of its constitution, and difficult to prevent those colonial settle-' the entire subjection of its inhabitants ments from breaking off in anger from to the rule of a despotic Governor and the parent state. Such was the smo- Council. New South Wales is brood. thered discontent which prevailed in ing over injuries which absorb almost all the colonies of the republics of an- the whole ample columns of their tiquity, that, on the first serious reverse local press; and a spirit of discontent to the parent state, they all proclaimed is there awakened, which only requires their independence, and the vast colo- a little more strength to make that nial dominion was at once dissolved. distant colony break off the connexion The revolt of all the Athenian colo, with the mother country, even at the nies, after the disaster of Argospota- hazard of losing that extraordinary mos ; of the Spartan confederacy, prosperity which, in twenty-five years, after the defeat of Leuctra ; of the has augmented its shipping and com. Roman colonies, after the slaughter of merce above thirty-fold. Such is the Cannæ; of the Carthaginians, upon dissatisfaction prevalent at the Cape, the overthrow of Zama, have all their that not only has the emigration to parallels in modern times; when, on that noble settlement nearly stopped,
' the first serious reverse to more recent but the settlers are actually crossing republics, their whole colonial depend over with their herds and families to encies at once proclaimed their inde the Caffre territories, and voluntarily pendence, and, so far from supporting incurring the risks of savage rule, the mother country, fearfully swelled rather than the protracted insolence the ranks of its enemies. Upon any and injustice of civilized democratic considerable reverse to Venice, Flo- government. Even the Ionian islands rence, or Genoa, the cities of which have fallen into aostate of discontent; they formed the head broke off from and Sir Howard Douglas has just fola a subjection which they hated, to de- lowed the common example of dissol. stroy that invidious authority in which ving the House of Assembly in Corfu, they were not permitted to bear any on account of the rebellious spirit of part. The American war, and loss of our Greek subjects. If any man imaher magnificent transatlantic posses- gines that a colonial empire, agitated sions to Great Britain, is another in- by such passions, suffering under such stance of the inherent tendency of de- evils, is in a tranquil state, or possessed mocratic societies to lose their full of the cohesion and moral attachment grown offspring, at the very time requisite to make it hold together unwhen they have arrived at the period der the shocks of adverse fortune, he of life when they might zealously ex- is little versed either in the history of pect from them efficient assistance, mankind, or its secret spring, the and some return for the long anxieties workings of the human heart. and protracted solicitude of maternal It is remarkable that this tendency care.
to break off from the mother country, No person who surveys with a dis- and separate into a multitude of indepassionate eye the relative situation of pendent states on the first serious naGreat Britain, and her astonishing tional reverse, is peculiar to the colo, colonial empire, can entertain a doubt nial dependencies of democratic gothat we are on the verge of a similar vernments, and does not exist in any catastrophe, and that nothing but the degree in firm or strongly cemented long duration of European peace, and monarchies. Such monarchies have the halo of renown which England has none of the inherent vigour and energy inherited from the deeds of other days, which is requisite to produce proper prevents a general separation of her colonial offshoots; but in the domicolonies from taking place. Canada, nions which they have acquired by though in profound peace, has twice conquest, or succeeded to by inheri. broken out into open revolt; albeit tance, there is none of that restless provoking, by so doing, the undivided desire of emancipation, which forms strength of a nation which, five-and- so strong a feature in the character of
dependencies. Deep and apparently look long enough before we saw fatal were the wounds inflicted at dif- friendly sails from the St Lawrence, ferent times by the arms of Napoleon the Gulf of Mexico, or the shores of on the Austrian monarchy; but not a Australia, arriving to raise the blocksymptom of impatience at the imperial ade of the heart of the empire. Now rule was manifested, when the French all this is possible--all this might eagles approached Vienna, in any part happen without the once powerful, of its multifarious empire; on the but now democracy-paralysed, emcontrary, the most animating episodes pire of England being able to fit out of modern history are to be found in a fleet for its defence ;* and yet we the heroic efforts made by the Tyrolese, are doing nothing either to strengthen and the mountaineers of Croatia and our means of national defence, or Carinthia, to preserve their connexion secure the allegiance and co-operawith their beloved Kaisar, even after tion of those numerous colonial settlehe was driven from the palace of his ments, on the prosperity and connexion fathers on the banks of the Danube. of which not only our welfare, but Did Russia exhibit any symptoms of our very existence as a nation, dedissolution-did her provinces rise up pends. in rebellion against the Moscovite Mr Hume has explained, with his rule—when the eagles of Napoleon wonted sagacity and wisdom, the reaapproached the Kremlin, and the son why the remote provinces and fortunes of the empire were apparently colonial dependencies of a despotic wrapped in a funeral conflagration in empire are always better administered the flames of Moscow ? Certes, the than those of democratic societies. legions of Napoleon felt the reverse “ The reason,” says he, “ is, that an amidst the ruins of Malaroslavitz, in absolute sovereign, being equally elethe snows of Krasnoi, on the banks of vated above all his subjects, and not the Beresina. Did Spain fall to pieces, more dependent on one class than and each province declare its inde another, views them all, comparatively pendence, when Madrid was occupied speaking, with equal eyes ; whereas a by the battalions of Murat, and the free state is ruled by one body of insurrection of its brave inhabitants citizens who have obtained the mastery quenched in innocent blood ? The of another, and govern exclusively the ramparts of Saragossa, the walls of more distant settlements of the empire, Gerona, the unconquered bastions of and are consequently actuated by perCadiz, proclaim the contrary. Ex- sonal jealousy or patrimonial interests amples of this sort are common in all in their endeavours to prevent them ages; they are scattered down the from obtaining the advantages of stream of time, and form the bright equal and uniform legislation.' It is spots which console the historian for in this circumstance-the government his labours, and fascinate the eye of of one body of citizens in one part of the reader in the dark and turbid waves the world, by another body in another of human events.
that the true cause of the general disIs any man sanguine enough to be- contentand exasperation of democracylieve that a similar devotion, in its ruled colonies is to be found. A distant colonies, would illustrate the monarch equally interested, from the British empire, if assailed in its heart security and strength of his throne, in by similar dangers ? Would Canada the prosperity of all his subjects, become a La Vendée, Jamaica a Tyrol, whether in one part of the world or Australia a Saragossa, India a Spain, another, may rule them all with equal if Nicolas had laid his iron grasp on justice and equity : but it will always the arsenals of Woolwich, Portsmouth, be found impossible to make a body and Plymouth? If a Russian fleet of of citizens in one country—the tenthirty ships of the line lay across the pounders of England, for exampleNore-if Portsmouth and Plymouth sacrifice their own interests or inclinawere closely blockaded, and the estu- tions to those of the distant colonies of aries of the Mersey and the Clyde the empire. It was the stern refusal were closed by hostile fleets we should 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 inflated with these wishes, and actu. Commons, which brought about the ated by these principles, that it may American Revolution : it was the safely be asserted, that in progress of reckless sacrifice of the whole British time they will become irresistible ; West India Islands to the dreams of and that the independent spirit, en immediate emancipation, which has gendered in the parent demoeratic occasioned the present deep-rooted state, will in all cases rend the colo exasperation of the white inhabitants nial empire asunder, if due attention of those possessions; and nothing is is not paid to it, in the cautious but wanting but the oft-projected and steady concession of privileges analoapparently approaching homage to gous to those enjoyed by the inhabi. the ten-pounders of England, by the tants of the ruling power to its colonial equalisation of the duties on Baltio dependencies. and American timber, to fill to the The most obvious way of effecting brim the cup of Canadian discontent, this object, would be the extension at and convert the Anglo-Saxon race, once of the central constitution to the hitherto the firm supporters of the colonial dependencies; and the conBritish connexion, into its most powerferring of a seat in the great council ful and inveterate enemies.
of the nation on a certain number of But although the sacrifice of their representatives from all its colonies, material and patrimonial interests to wherever situated. But, though the the jealousy, selfishness, or caprice of equity of this has much apparently to their numerous rulers in the parent recommend it, and the principle of state, is one cause, and a most prolific some sort of representation in the one, of the discontent of the colonies central parliament appears by no of all republican communities, it is means unworthy of attention ; yet not the only, nor, in some cases, the experience has every where demon. most powerful. It is the denial to one strated, that it is by the appointment part of the empire of the privileges of a local legislature, elected on prin. and forms of government which are ciples suited to the varying circumenjoyed by another—the stern reso- stances of each colony, that both its lution to deny to one class of citizens wishes are most likely to be attended the privileges which themselves en. to, and its interests best consulted. joy-which is often the more imme. Such is the variety of character, diate cause of the rupture. Power physical circumstances, intellectual is more dearly prized than even pro- cultivation, and original race or interperty ; to forms of government an mixture of blood in different colonies, ideal importance is attached, greater that no uniform system of representathan belongs even to the actual reali. tion could be established without ties of life. When the inhabitants of speedily throwing the empire into the colonies of a republican govern. combustion ; and, if the representa
1 ment read the debates in the ruling tives of all the colonies were to sit in councils of the commonwealth, and the ruling assembly, the result would the effusions of its daily press, they see inevitably be; either that its time nothing but praises of the unbounded would be entirely absorbed in discussblessing of popular rule, and the in- ing details of great local but little calculable advantages, social, political, general importance ; or that the most and moral, which ever spring from material separate concerns of each the practical application of the great colony would be overlooked and forprinciples of general freedom and self- gotten in the vehemence of party government. Great as are these advan- strife, or the vast national concerns tages, where sufficient strength is at of the whole empire. The ruinous the same time provided for the frame effects which have already resulted work of government, they are magni. from the extension of the same reprefied to the imagination of the colonists sentative system to Ireland as Great by distance and want of experience, Britain, and the woful obstruction of and the desire for them rendered un- general business which has resulted controllable by the perception of from the magnitude of its separate how rapidly they would all fall into concerns, sufficiently demonstrates the their hands, if the great step of separa- extreme danger of overlooking the tion from the mother state were once vast difference in the preparation of accomplished. So natural is the different races or nations for free institendency of the human mind to become tutions, and the risk of the utility of a
general assembly being in a great labourers-stand in a very peculiar degree destroyed by the magnitude of situation; and the magnitude of the the subordinate details thrown upon it injustice which they have experienced from a particular part of the empire. from the legislation of the parent state
But although, for these reasons, the cannot be appreciated, unless the establishment of separate local par- singular circumstances of their situaliaments, or houses of assembly, in ' tion in thạt respect is taken into condifferent colonies, is probably the sideration, Devoted chiefly to the only way of combining their multifa- cultivation of an article of rude prorious interests and wishes with one duce, which can be reared only in a central ruling government; yet it tropical climate, and yet has become 'must ever be recollected, that the an article of necessity to most Euroutmost delicacy is requisite in dealing pean nations, they cannot carry on its with these separate and in some degree cultivation but by means of negro independent assemblies; and that, if labourers, or others equally habithe central legislature, trusting to the tuated with them to bear a tropical force of the national strength, relying sun. Experience long ago proved, on the omnipotence of the general what recent attempts have still more government, requires absolute and clearly substantiated, that the Euroimplicit obedience in the provincial pean race is, generally speaking, assemblies, a discontent fatal to the incapable of labouring in the fields in integrity of the empire will speedily the West Indies, and that field hoeing be generated in all its colonial de- of the cánes, without which no crop pendencies. The more democratic of sugar could be reared, speedily that the central parliament is—the proves fatal to the descendants of more popular the system of election in Japhet. Among all the varied ex, the mother state—the more indispen- pedients which the necessities of their sable it is that a corresponding spirit situation have compelled the West should be tolerated in the colonial India proprietors of late years to assemblies : for it is from the heart of adopt, in order to supply the vacuum the commonwealth that its wishes and occasioned by the measure of negro public opinion comes, and the sub. emancipation, the obvious expedient jects of a democratic legislature will of supplying their place by the re, reasonably expect that the home par- dundant population of Ireland has liament will concede that liberty to never been thought of; because every others which they take to themselves. body practically acquainted with the It may be true that it is difficult to subject knew, that their transportado this;
be true that no rulers tion would be merely lost money; are so despotic in their administra- and that the yellow fever and marsh tion—80 peremptory in their demands miasmata would speedily consign even -50 tyrannical in their measures to the most robust of them to an untimeany but their own constituents—as ly grave. those who are elected under the most It is historically known, and matter popular institutions; and that Aris- of common notoriety, how the desidertotle's maxim still holds good, that the atum of finding labourers capable of rule of a mob is the worst of tyran. cultivating sugar in the West Indies, nies. All this may be perfectly true; and producing the immense addition but it will not alter the nature of whịch it was capable of affording to things—it will not remedy the in- the national wealth, was supplied. ternal weaknesses of a popularly Negro slaves were, under the authogoverned colonial empire--it will era- rity of various royal proclamations dicate none of the seeds of dissolution and acts of parliament, imported from which are sown in all establishments Africa into the West India islands ; where the interests and passions of one and to such a length was this traffic body of men are brought to bear carried, that not only did it for a long directly upon the welfare of another. time occupy a considerable part of the
The West Indies, with respect to British commercial navy, but it at that yital point of colonial prosperity length transferred above seven hun. -a constant supply of agricultural dred thousand Africans to the oppo.
Possibly the Maltese labourers may be able to bear the sun of the West Indies, and in some instances tried on a small scale they have succeeded; but this is the exception, not the rule.
site side of the Atlantic. There is has ever been in other parts of the hardly to be found another example world—the necessary state between in the whole history of the species of savage manners and civilized industry; so considerable a removal, without ---the transition state necessarily endu. the aid of increase in the new settle- ring several centuries, during which ments, of the human race from one the working classes, the property of part of the world to another.
their superiors, are indebted to them Enormous as are the evils-heart- for the protection and subsistence which rending the sufferings-of slavery, they could never otherwise obtain ; when consequent upon the removal of and the habits are slowly acquired, mankind from their native seats, and through successive generations, nethe subjection of the blacks, for the cessary to enable man at length to bear purposes of profit, to the temporary generally the destitution, the excite. rule of white task-masters, there was ment, and the power of freedom. So one circumstance in the condition irksome is constant labour to uncivil. of the negro race, when the hideous ized man-so repugnant is severe toil transposition was accomplished, of in- to the savage, in all ages, climates, and estimable importance, which promised countries—that it never has been overin the end to deprive slavery of its come in any part of the world, but by bitterest pangs, and rear up in the the introduction and long continuance British West India Islands a happy, in- of slavery ; and when the easy supply dustrious, and contented people. This of animal wants by the chase, or the was-they had become STATIONARY. spontaneous fruit of the earth, is exThe pangs of separation from kindred hausted, the human race would every and home were over; the horrors of where perish or become stationary, if, the middle passage were past; they before the moral chains of artificial had become permanently located on wants were thrown around civilized, fixed estates; they had acquired the physical restrictions of servitude homes, and all the endearments and were removed from savage, man. enjoyments of domestic existence. Under the influence of these causes, Experience has abundantly proved, the stoppage of that hideous blot on that the negro race is capable, not Christian civilisation, the slave trade, only of maintaining its own numbers, did all that was necessary to secure but of rapidly augmenting, on the the ultimate prosperity of the negro opposite side of the Atlantic: for the race in the West Indies, by identifyAmerican slaves, it is well known, in- ing their preservation and increase crease faster than the European inha- with their masters' interests, by giving bitants in the southern provinces of the them the same ever-powerful motives Union; and one of the great dangers to protect them which they have to
1 which threatens the transatlantic re- preserve their cattle or houses, and public, is the fearful disproportion, converting the very desire of gain, which is every day augmenting, be- the mainspring of the original frighttween the sable labouring, and the ful traffic, into the certain bulwark of fair-haired dominant, race. When the their ultimate welfare. . Under the British Government therefore, in influence of these causes, the African 1807, adopted the humane, and at the race not only maintained their own same time judicious, step of putting a numbers in the West India islands, but peremptory stop to the slave trade, were advancing, before the disastrous they necessarily rendered the safety era of their emancipation, with rapid and welfare of the negro race an
strides in the career of industry, comobject of solicitude to the white pro- fort, and usefulness. It is well known, prietors ; because the cultivation of that in opulence and well-being they their estates could not be maintained were, in general, superior to any peabut by their propagation; and their santry in Europe. Dwelling in cotnumbers could not increase but under tages which, by a prescriptive usage, the influence of marriage, home, and had become in a manner their own; domestic comfort. The promiscuous surrounded by their gardens, their concubinage and disorderly manners fruits, their children, they exhibited, consequent on their first settlement, generally speaking, a spectacle rarely necessarily gave way before the wants witnessed in this world of care, and to and necessities of the masters, not which the eye of the philanthropist less than the native feelings of the might turn with pleasure even from slaves; and slavery became, what it the brightest scenes of European civili