תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

new colony, the power and prestige of the mother country is a shield of protection to preserve the colonists from internal anarchy and foreign violence. The mother country, having a settled code of laws, municipal police establishments firmly organized, and a military and naval establishment, transfers all the safety, security, and confidence which these organizations represent to the benefit of the colonists, in common with its subjects at home. While the fear of embroiling themselves with a large, old-established, and wellregulated home government intimidates foreign despots, and law. less men and nations, from interfering with the personal liberty and property of the colonists,—they are under the ægis of a mighty power; therefore they cannot suffer wrong or violence without the wrath of a power fit to demand reparation and inflict due punishment on the offender,-internal anarchy, confusion, and spoliation are annihilated by the fear of the imperial anger. The colonist breathes freely, lives in comfort and safety, and the reward of his industry, accumulated property, is preserved to him. The prosperity thus secured to the colony begets new wants, comforts, and luxuries, which the mother country is benefited by supplying, while the richer supply of productions from the colony increases the wealth and comfort of the home population, by affording larger supplies of commodities at a lower cost; thus by so much increasing the wealthiness or productive power of the millions both at home and in the colony. It is a reciprocal advantage, which is secured by each seeking their own happiness by mutual aid, protection, and service.

The greater the number of the colonies possessed by an old country, in like proportion is the security and welfare of each insured, when wisely and prudently governed. As the great banian tree receives stability and derives support from each stem which strikes down into the earth, and, surely fixing its tensive fibres on a constantly increasing basis, can defy the storms and tempests so rudely tearing up and destroying the isolated oak or single sapling, in like manner the mother country, with her numerous progeny of healthy, thriving colonies, becomes increasingly powerful to resist the storms of human passion with which cupidity, avarice, and the love of violence devastates isolated kingdoms and colonies.

If these advantages are worth possessing, and are so secured by the union of mother country and colony as to be inseparable concomitants each to the other, why, then, their permanent connection in these important relations must be a still greater advantage ; for it is self-evident that a benefit possessed is increased in its value in proportion to the permanence of its possession ; indeed, this is exemplified in every day life so frequently, that to give illustrations would be a trial of the reader's patience scarcely to be tolerated. What, we would ask, has been the chief cause of England's prosperity, her greatness ? We unhesitatingly answer, Her Colonies. Which are the most happy and prosperous communities on the face of the globe? We as unhesitatingly answer, The British Colonies. To what can we ascribe this cause of the greatness of England, and this prosperity and happiness in her colonies, but to the permanence of their connection with each other? On the contrary, look to Mexico and Hayti, for examples of evil resulting from separation and misrule in other nations. Nay, who can for a moment gainsay that, but for the separation so much vaunted by the Americans, they might have been happier, more prosperous, and more peacefully employed at this hour? Looking back along the stream of history, do we not find the mother country by her own wealth redeeming the foul stain from her national character by purchasing the liberty of the slave, thus paying tribute to her own conscience while respecting the rights of her colonists to reimbursement for the property she had taught them to own in the human form divine? Would a different policy have been possible had America remained a British colony! We trow not. May it not be possible that the present troubles in America are, in some respects, retributive ? In their Act of Independence did they not forge the fetters more strongly upon the unoffending slave? Thoughtful man, judge thou ; we speak as unto the wise ; reflect, the assizes of God's judgment may take ages of mortal men’s lives to mature.

It cannot be objected that England is ignorant of the wants and necessities of the colonies, and therefore cannot legislate for them, por govern them; but in wisdom has she so far voluntarily given to her colonies the power of self-government, only possessing a veto in cases of illegal action or violent wrong-doing-assisted in the government thereof by the advice of her wisest and best colonists.

What advantage can be possessed by the colony when separated that it has not now in enjoyment ? Is it freedom, prosperity, a market for its goods, self-government, security, protection ! It has all these in the highest degree, under the best circumstances, and in the greatest assurance of durability, under the fondly cherished relationship with the mother country. Continue to this relationship permanence, and future ages will bless thee; but destroy this connection, and the execrations of all civilization, present and future, will ring in thine ears through a never-ending eternity.

L'OUVRIER.

NEGATIVE ARTICLE.-I.

The question for discussion is ambiguous ; for is the desirableness of the connexion to be viewed in relation to the interests of the mother country, or in relation to the interests of the colony ? When Chatham rose with his dying breath to protest against the dismemberment of the British empire, he viewed the question in one of its aspects"; when Washington, at the bead of thirteen States, declared the necessity of their independence, he took the question in another aspect. The only way in which the ambiguity can be destroyed is by assuming that what is desirable for the mother country must be also desirable for the colony. This, however, cannot be conceded as a universal proposition for take the Spanish settlements in South America as examples,-their inde

1863.

E

pendence was a boon to them, but one of the sources of that decay from which Spain has not yet recovered. Take, again, the Dutch colonies, and we see that the dissolution of the tie between them and Holland crippled the resources of the republic, but enhanced the prosperity of the colonies.

The word colony, again, must be defined, to prevent confusion as to what has to be discussed. Colonia was the Latin word for a farm, a new settlement, or sometimes the community of immigrants. To the pure sense of farming the Romans added the idea of dependency or subjugation. We have extended the meaning of the word and its derivatives to all foreign territories, whether occupied or subjugated. In this broad sense, India, as well as New South Wales, is a colony; the Ionian Isles, as well as the two Canadas, are colonies. But it is manifest that the word so used is misused. India is a dependency, but not a colony. The Ionian Isles are what is called under a Protectorate, and are in no sense of the word a colony. England is certainly not a "mother” country to India, peopled by Asiatics; nor to the Ionian Isles, peopled by Greeks.

Again : with us to colonize is the act of the Government, or of a legally constituted or chartered company; while emigrate is the act of individuals. Emigration, again, is a term arbitrarily restricted. Under a fallacy all Europe is viewed as one country; hence the act of settling in France, Russia, or Germany, is not usually designated an act of emigration; although, inconsistently enough, to go from New Brunswick to New England, or California, is to emigrate. An emigrant, to be a colonist, must settle within British dominions; and India is as much a part of those dominions as Canada, and yet Anglo-Indians are not, but Canadians are, colonists.

To colonize, again, is a term as arbitrarily restricted. We have whole communities of English families in certain parts of France, yet no district there is colonial. We have numbers resident in Paris and St. Petersburg, yet we have not colonized those quarters of the city thus occupied. But as soon as a band of emigrants settle down in a land peopled by races not European, we claim their possessions as a colony.

The question has not only to be defined, but almost every word in it has to be cleared of the ambiguity in which it is, or may be, involved. At first thought, the expression “mother country's seems sufficiently to define the question. It distinguishes India from Australia--for the latter has sprung from the settlements formed by our countrymen, while the former existed, much in its present state, before Britain was itself a Roman colony. Yet if the fact that India has not been colonized by Saxons, while Sydney and Tasmania have, makes the former a dependency and the latter colonies, then one of the Canadas is no daughter of England. New France conquered, became British Canada in 1760. It is as much a subjugated colony as India is, and remains British simply by right of conquest and treaty. The Cape of Good Hope stands in a similar relation, except, perhaps, that the Dutch colony is more Anglicised_than Lower Canada, still French in language and religion. Excepting our Australian and New Zealand colonies, not one of our numerous colonial possessions stands to Britain in the relation of daughter and mother. French, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Portuguese-such are the words which point to the origin of nine out of ten of the British colonies. We have subjugated the most, and, strictly speaking, colonized the fewest of our colonial possessions.

To simplify the question, we shall, therefore, exclude India, Assam, Ceylon, our Chinese settlements, the Ionian Isles, Gibraltar, and Malta from the question to be discussed by us. We shall regard all territories in North America, not American or Russian, as British colonies, whose permanent connection with England is to be in debate. The West India Islands, the Cape, the Australian and the New Zealand settlements, we shall place under the same classification. The question will then stand thus :-" Is the permanent connection of the colonies in North America, in Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, with the mother country desirable ?" Our answer is in the negative.

The history of ancient colonization proves the contrary. Here we must limit our field of observation, else we must take the whole world into view. We cannot follow the migrations which, beginning with the confusion of tongues at the building of the tower of Babel, gradually spread east, west, north, and south, and formed the first inhabitants of the great continents of the world. In passing we may, however, notice one great fact in favour of our negative reply. The first postdiluvian schemes of colonization, of which we have any record, began in the plains of Shinar. To effect a centralization, the renowned tower of Babel was built: to scatter mankind was the great design of the confusion of tongues. The first political act on record was to make the connection of future settlements with the mother state permanent. The greatest and most singular social resolution of which we have any knowledge, was to dissolve the bond of union. One of the first political schemes of aggrandizement was to retain all future offshoots of population in permanent adhesion to the trunk. The greatest standing miracle, the instantaneous multiplication of languages, severed that connection. Man wished what God rendered impossible.

Rome sent out her citizens in organized bands to occupy foreign territories, with the view of either cultivating land or of subjugating the inhabitants. Such parties, by emigrating, did not dissolve all connection with the mother city; and, by colonizing, were not allowed to incorporate themselves with the aboriginal population. Her principal design was, by the formation of military outposts, to subjogate neighbouring states, and extend the empire of her people. Towns, or positions of natural strength, were seized and fortified; and a third of the land was appropriated to the use of the Roman settlers. An odious aristocracy among a number of slaves was the result. An oligarchy monopolized all posts and emoluments, and the natives were subjected to a stern and humiliating despotism. Such military colonies became a Rome in miniature in every province, a convenient outlet for the discontented citizens of the mother city, and a useful outpost for the support of military greatness. The vast dominions thus acquired afforded ample means to the senate, and afterwards to the emperors, wherewith to reward the veteran legions who colonized to make a home for themselves and bulwarks for the empire. A rapid increase of slaves was one of the causes of Roman colonization, and, subsequently, of Rome's unlamented decay. When her subjects were most numerous, out of a population of 130 millions, about a half were in a condition of slavery. Rome founded colonies in Asia and Africa; in Gaul, Germany, Spain, and Britain. Before the death of Augustus, 164 Italian and 199 foreign settlements formed the colonial empire of Rome. In her boundless selfishness and pride she wished

the connection of these 363 colonies with the mother city to be permanent. The stillness of political death for ever, the curse and degradation of slavery in perpetuity, would have afflicted the world to this hour, had not the Goths, Huns, and Vandals dissolved, in torrents of blood, the connection between Rome and her colonies. The policy of Rome was to aggrandize herself at the expense of her settlements, and her system of colonization was conducted on a gigantic but vicious system. The spread of her language, the adoption of her method of administration, the diffusion of her civilization in Spain, Gaul, Germany, and Britain, were undoubtedly great results, but results that became beneficial after the connection of the colonies with the mother state was dissolved. The prevalence of one language in western Europe afforded great facilities for civilization; but that civilization would have stagnated had the ties with the Imperial City not been dissolved. Roman roads afforded the means of universal subjugation ; but before the 13,500 miles of almost iron roadway could become a boon to the nations of the earth, it was necessary to dissolve the links between Rome and her colonies. The effect of Roman colonization could be beneficial only to those who performed Rome's funeral obsequies. As at Shinar, so on a larger field, Providence once more interfered, and by a more stupendous and awful revolution, unmistakably declared that the permanent connection of the mother country with her colonies is not desirable.

From Greece, bodies of men under a bold adventurer went forth to form settlements wherever they were led ; and, in emigrating, forsook at once and for ever their country and their allegiance. The Greek word for a colony, apoikia, distinctly recognized this feature; without, however, implying that the natural ties of consanguinity, of language, or religion, were either to be forgotten or abjured. Notwithstanding an opposite design of Roman colonization, her “coloniæ" and "municipium;" her " coloniæ Romanæ ;" her "coloniæ Latinæ;" the “Jus Romanum," the Jus Latii," and the “ Jus Italicum," reveal the fatal incoherence of the masses Rome wished to weld together indissolubly. But when Greeks colonized they diszolved all local and political bonds with beneficial

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »