תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

with Japan ; and Holland, by the occupation of the Cape of Good Hope, rose into the third great colonial power in Europe. But their love of independence was one-sided. A system of exclusiveness and misrule as the origin of Dutch colonial greatness. That very system of exclusiveness and tyranny was re-established in every Dutch settlement; and Holland has now no colonies of which she can boast. Nowhere was the connection of colonies with the mother state less desirable than between Dutch settlements and Holland. Let the eye rest upon Java, before and after its occupation by the British, under Sir Stamford Raffles, and a solemn negative is given to the question at the head of this article.

The gentlest of slave-masters, and among the most liberal in colonial policy, is France. Tbe least enterprising, and the least successful in colonial schemes, are the French. Her greatest statesman, in this relation, was Colbert. With the usual energies of a Protestant mind, he projected a gigantic scheme of French colonization, to embrace the western half of North America. He succeeded in improving the roads and canals of his country, extended her commerce, and taught her sons to manufacture. He built government docks, created a navy, originated the French census, founded libraries and academies, laid the foundations of some of the finest palaces and boulevards of Paris, constructed the quays on the banks of the Seine, and designed some of the triumphal arches which graced the finest European capital. But not even Colbert could permamently connect colonies with the mother state. St. Domingo revolted from French domination, and Hayti is the only West India island governed by the black races in that archipelago. Buccaneers and smugglers raised her insular possessions into importance; but their connection with France laid them at the mercy of British fleets. Louisiana was abandoned, reclaimed, and then sold to her present owners,

New France was turned into British Canada. French Acadia became the British Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Her extensive Indian possessions dwindled down, under our Clives, Hastings, and Wellesleys, into Pondicherry, Karical, and the Isle of Bourbon. Had French colonization been based on the principles of Grecian and Phænician systems, France would have found strength and wealth where she had only so many vulnerable points for mortal wounds.

Last in the field, and long the least in colonial enterprise, was Britain. The spirit to acquire, conquer, and colonize awoke under Elizabeth, was strengthened under Cromwell, stunned under our Walpoles, Rockinghams, and Norths, revived when general European wars thrust colonies into her hands as fast as battles were won on sea and land. The history of her colonial policy is to be admired only by contrasting it with those of Venice, Portugal, Spain, and 'Holland. Less illiberal and suicidal than those of others, but illiberal, selfish, and suicidal enough.

The history of Britain, from first to last, is but a history of colo. nization. Greek and Phænician settlements on our southern coasts earry the imagination further back than history can travel. The Saxon chronicles bring the first inhabitants of Britain from Armenia. Muldon, in the reign of Claudius, was the first Roman colony. Under the mild administration of Agricola, the Romans fairly settled down as colonists; and besides the earthen rampart of Adrian, tb wall of Severus, they bequeathed some knowledge of law and soci. order. But will our friends maintain, in their affirmative articles, that the permanent connection of Britain with Rome was desirable Desirable or undesirable, the Goths, Huns, and Vandals decided the question in Italy; and the Picts, Scots, and Saxons in Britain, without waiting for the opinion of the British Controversialist. The blue-eyed and light-haired races of Northern Germany, whom Rome conld not conquer, seized our island, which the Riman system of colonization had enslaved, civilized, and rendere i effeminate. The Saxon Heptarchy rose into existence, and, because the colonists dissolved the connection between the colony and the mother-state, England began her career of colonization.

[graphic]

The piratical settlements in the Isle of Thanet and in Northumberland, and the short-lived Anglo-Danish monarchy, need not detain us. It is enough, in passing, to note that it was a happy thing for the world that the connection of the colonies with Denmark was not made permanent. The same is the verdict pronounced by the Norman Conquest. The Normans infused a commercial element into the Saxon character; but had Britain been permanently connected with the Frankish empire, when would the British, Controversialist have come into existence ?

The English failed, like the Dutch, in opening a way to India through the Arctic seas. The English, like the Portuguese and the Dutch, were successful in rounding the Cape of Storms. In 1591, they unfurled a flag on the coasts of Hindostan which still braves the battle and the breeze. For seventy years, however, the Island of St. Helena, Fort George at Madras, and a few trading establishments on the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel, were all the British possessions required to protect our commerce. After a course of alternate vigour and decline up to the middle of the eighteenth century, the East India Company at length found itself at the head of a great empire, which grew upon the decay of the Mogul power, and the extinction of French influence, under the brilliant achievements of Clive and Hastings.

Impelled by a destiny equally unforeseen, England had been laying the foundation-stone of a more glorious empire in the West. In 1606, the London and Plymouth Companies were formed; the former to colonize in South, and the latter in North Awerica. These companies were constituted on the most selfish of principles. To monopolize trade between the settlements and privileged persons at home was their sole aim and result. Their dissolution was necessary to the enjoyment of a constitution suited to the growing wants of peoples and nations that naturally thought of somethi beyond the aggrandizement of a country they had forsaken. 1863.

K

Pelham, by grants of land to disbanded soldiers and sailors, laid the foundation of Halifax. French jealousies plunged us into a war at first adverse to our colonial possessions, but which eventually led to our acquisition of Canada. While American states were thus' springing up under a variety of influences, the introduction of the sugar cane and the coffee plant was developing the West India islands into commercial importance. While our soldiers and their Sepoy mercenaries were expelling Dupleix, with his French troops and traders from India, our sailors were wresting island after island from

every colonial power in Europe. The Treaty of Paris, in 1763; effected some changes, but still most of her conquests were retained by England.

And now the embarrassments of the imperial exchequer suggested the introduction of the excise and customs into the colonies. The Stamp Act of 1764 revealed the energies of a people we had brought into existence only to tax. The first American Congress met at New York, in 1765, and Rockingham yielded the stamp duty, but maintained the right to tax the colonies. In assertion of this right, Lord North taxed glass, paper, and tea. The colonists began to think that persons who can write the affirmative to the proposition before us, were to be resisted to the death, and forced the repeal of the tax on glass and paper; the tax on tea was retained by our statesmen on the ground that a permanent connection of British colonies ought to be maintained at all hazards. The colonists, however, had wealth, and could pay the imposts; but the colonists had left England in assertion of the great principles of religious and civil freedom, and would not concede the right of taxation. Edmund Burke exhausted his eloquence in vain on behalf of the colonial right to self-taxation. Opposition and revolt in Massachusetts, and war in New England, soon proved that we had overrated colonial forbearance, and underrated the colonial power of resistance. The delegates of thirteen provinces met in 1776, and once more the bistory of the world declared, in the year 1782, that the permanent connection of the colonies with the mother country was not desirable.

This important revolution should be judged by three great results. First, in relation to America. One of the first acts of the Congress was to organize into a state some thirty thousand persons, who were denied the rights of colonists by the parent state. From a selfish and restrictive commercial policy, settlements in the interior were discouraged, and fostered only on the sea.coasts. “Squatting," with all its social inconveniences, was the result of this system. The Congress legalized the extension of civilization into the back settlements, and from that moment emigration steadily advanced westward. Leaving behind the Alleghany mountains, the stream of population spread on, and placed under civilization the splendid valley of the Mississippi. Along the borders of the states, some twelve hundred miles in length, the European population advanced, according to De Tooqueville's estimate, at the

mean rate of seventeen miles per annum! The states of New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and California, have rapidly extended the dominions of the republic from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. During their connection with the mother country, the states were hampered, and vast and fertile fields were abandoned to savages. No sooner had that connection been dissolved, than the United States began to develop their greatness.

Secondly, in relation to the mother country, this dissolution was equally beneficial. Compelled to find some fresh outlet for her stream of convicts, England turned from America to Australia, and formed, in 1787, the penal settlements of New South Wales. An island of continental dimensions was long overlooked, and our first attempts at colonization in Australia consisted of a temporary encampment of nine hundred souls in Port Jackson. The city of Sydney soon rose into existence,--the capital of New South Wales -with its twenty-one counties, and the germ of some eighty cities. Three other great colonies South Australia, Tasmania, and. Victoria—have rapidly followed each other, leaving Western Australia, and Port Essington in the north out of our calculation. Where, but eighty years ago, the silence of trackless forests was broken only by the footsteps of a most degraded specimen of humanity, stage coaches now rattle, on macadamised roads, from town to town, and omnibuses ply in streets lined with shops glittering with plate-glass and gas-jets. The steam-engine, with its chronic cough and shrill whistle, scare the emu and kangaroo ; and the electric telegraph diffuses information on wings of lightning. The bark huts of the savage, more simple and less ornate than the Australian bower birds' nests, have been displaced by frowning forts, graceful spires, lofty warehouses, and classic banks ; insurance, newspaper, and printing offices ; cathedrals, churches, and chapels; market-places, exchanges, commodions hotels, theatres, and demoralizing ginpalaces. Paddle-wheels and screws have taken the place of the paddles of the frail canoe; clippers laden with gold and copper, wool and tallow, and Great Britain steamers, with vessels of every flag, crowd the harbours of a country which two centuries ago was looked upon with “superstitious dread, as a stranded comet upon the verge of the earth.” Such was the result of that American revolution which made the permanent connection of certain British colonies with the mother country a simple impossibility. Such grand results, to both England and America, arose from dissolving the political ties between parent and offspring.

But, thirdly, had our statesmen recognized the principle that there is a time in the history of nations, as well as of individuals, when tutelage is as undesirable as it is offensive, the American States had parted from England as powerful allies and generous rivals. Unhappily, our short-sightedness enforced what ought to have been conceded. Land, abundant and productive, would for ages yet bave confined Americans chiefly to agricultural pursuits ; our despotic policy has forced a Lowell into hostile rivalry with our

Manchester. Our ungraceful concessions, and our own absurd corn laws, have created American protection tariffs, forcing into unnecessary existence the manufacturing interests of the New England States. The position of the old country makes her of necessity a manufacturer of raw materials; and the condition of the new country, with an almost unlimited supply of uncleared and untilled land, would have made it the producer of that raw material. Indefinitely remote would have been the period when American capital could be forced out of the field into the factory. Our determination to maintain a permanent connection between the colony and the mother country has converted friendly Republicans into fiercely hostile Democrats ; often turned American ships into dangerous privateers; and thrown our great natural ally into the arms of France and Russia. Had we, in noble generosity and Saxon selfreliance, let America rule herself, England and the late United States had, ere long, driven every despot, political and religious, from Europe ; planted the cross over the crescent of fallen mosques, and banished idols from every heathen temple in the world. Arm in arm, Saxon England and Saxon America would have enfranchised Europe, and christianized the world. But the bitterness of parting has continued to rankle in the breasts of brothers on the opposite sides of the Atlantic, retarded civilization by a century, and deferred the realization of the most glorious dreams and visions of Hebrew prophets and Christian apostles.

CADMUS.

Evil EFFECTS OF CIVIL WAR.-At no time does a State menace other States so strongly with conquest, as when it is itself torn by the horrors of civil war. All classes of the people-nobles, merchants, artisans, and labourers—then take up arms; and when peace has reunited their strength, this nation of soldiers has an immense advantage over every nation of mere citizens. Besides, great men are commonly found in civil wars, as in the confusion superior ability makes itself known, and finds the place which naturally belongs to it, while in other times men are placed in stations the least suited for them.- Montesquieu.

HISTORY.– The history of the world is one of God's own great poems.- Hare.

PRIDE.-Pride is the serpent's egg, laid in the hearts of all, but hatched by none but fools. - Samuel Johnson's Hurlothrumbo." AUTHORSHIP.

Never be in haste in writing.
Let what thou utterest be of Nature's flow,
Not Art's; a fountain's, not a pump's. But once
Begun, work thou all things into thy work ;
And set thyself about it as the sea
About earth, lashing at it day and night;
And leave the stamp of thine own soul in it,
As thorough as the fossil flower in clay.-P. J. Bailey.

99

« הקודםהמשך »