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MERIVALE ON COLONIES AND COLONIZATION.

By the condition of his office, the to have poisoned the fountains of eduProfessor of Political Economy at cation, With a pedantry and ignoOxford is bound to publish some por- rance of human affairs, which would tion of the lectures which, in the dis- almost disgrace a Poor-Law Commischarge of his public duties, he has sioner at Somerset House, the works delivered to the University. To this to which we allude combine a comregulation the public have been in plete disregard of the most ordinary debted already for some lucid and rules of grammar and composition. beautiful disquisitions of Mr Senior; Everything, we are told, answers and the lectures now before us, which some purpose in the economy of the owe their origin to the same cause, universe. The only one, however, will not, most undoubtedly, diminish we can assign to this trash—which their sense of its beneficial conse- Grub Street, in its rudest state, would quences. They contain a valuable have scarcely tolerated—is that which accumulation of important facts, col- the Lacedæmonians endeavoured to lected with much industry, arranged effect when they pointed to a drunken with admirable method, stated with helot as the most effectual safeguard great perspicuity, and reasoned upon against intoxication. We hail, therewith unusual sagacity, and still more fore, with great delight, the proof unusual candour. It is not, we think, which this work affords, that sounder a little to the credit of Mr Merivale and healthier principles float in the and the opinion derives strength from atmosphere of Oxford ; and we will, the many examples to the contrary without further preface, lay before which may be found among modern

our readers
a summary

of its contents, writers—that he has not aspired to be with such remarks as they have sug“plus sage que les sages," that, with- gested to us. Perhaps, to a general out neglecting theory, he has appealed student, the sketch of the actual and to fact, that, instead of propounding past condition of European colonies crude notions with dogmatical conceit, will be found the most attractive. It he has kept his sounding-line in his is, we think, impossible even for the hand, and heaved the lead repeatedly most superficial reader to peruse this in the course of his adventurous, but account without interest and instrucwell-considered voyage.

tion. Whatever difference of opinion That modesty which is the best may exist on the more abstruse topics result of extensive learning, joined to which Mr Merivale examines, there a manly confidence in his own un- can be none as to the diligence, skill, biassed and enlightened judgment, and judgment with which this part of combine to render this work an admi- his task has been accomplished. rable model of the principles which In his review of the state of Spanish should be the guide of such investiga- colonies, Mr Merivale, after describ. tions, as well as of the research and ing the conduct of the Spanish toability which Mr Merivale has proved wards the aboriginal inbabitants, to be consistent with the other less which, when the first fury of conquest brilliant, but not less solid and useful had overpast, he agrees with Keeren qualities to which we have alluded. in considering as more humane than In this view we would particularly that of any other European governrecommend to the notice of those to ment, proceeds to give the following whom the work, in the shape of lec- account of their commercial policy:tures, was originally addressed, the

“ The traffic of the mother country was diligent and attentive consideration of

confined, at first, to the single port of this valuable treatise-cautious with

Seville ; afterwards to that of Cadiz. It out timidity, learned without ostenta

was under the control of a board, termed tion, refined without excessive sub

the · Casa de Contratacion,' which was tlety, Mr Merivale presents a striking subjected to the direct government of the contrast to some of the writers which

Two squadrons were annually the University he belongs to and dispatched the galleons, usually adorns has of late produced. A kind about twelve in number, to the port of of epidemical taint seems for a season Carthagena in South America ; the

crown.

6

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'flota,' of about fifteen, to Vera Cruz in He then gives an account of their Mexico. It was the great amount of political condition. The ruling prinbusiness, relatively speaking, carried on ciple of Spain in the government of by those few vessels, and the sudden acti- her dependencies was jealousy-her vity communicated to commerce during single object was the maintenance of the brief transactions which supplied the her authority. For this purpose a wants of a whole continent--all the trade machinery was employed so compliof the empire collected as it were in one cated and intricate as to clog even the focus-- which dazzled the eyes of Euro

ordinary motions of government, and pean observers, and occasioned the most fallacious ideas respecting the amount of tion of strength impracticable. Every

to make any sudden or violent exerannual exchanges actually made. Spaniards, it is observed by A. Smith and thing that could tend to activity or by Robertson, while they tried almost independence-education, enterprise, every other nostrum of colonial policy, study, were sedulously discouraged. never adopted the system of confining The picture drawn by Humboldt is a their trade to an exclusive company.

decisive proof of the extent to which But, as Heeren remarks in answer, the this system had been carried :monopoly of a few rich houses at Seville

“ Les lois Espagnoles défendent l'enwas naturally produced by these restric- trée dans les possessions. Américaines, tions, and a virtual company, though not à tout Européen qui n'est point né so designated by law, was in fact insti- dans la Péninsule. Les mots d'Eurotuted; and Humboldt bears witness that péens et d'Espagnols devenus a similar monopoly was practically esta

synonymes au Mexique et au Pérou; blished in Mexico by a few commercial

aussi les habitans des provinces éloignées houses, which bought up and retailed the

ont de la peine à concevoir qu'il y ait des imports.* Thus, while the Americans Européens qui ne parlent pas leur langue : had to buy the goods of the mother coun

ils considèrent cette ignorance comme une try, or those which the importers had

marque de basse extraction, parce qu'aupurchased from abroad, at a price far

tour d'eux il n'y a que la dernière classe exceeding their values, the benefit of this

du peuple qui ne sache pas l’Espagnol. monopoly was reserved to a small and

Connoissant plus l'histoire du seizième privileged class alone. But, in fact, the

siècle que celle de nos temps, ils s'imatrade of the flota and galleons was so

ginent que l'Espagne continue à exercer utterly inadequate to supply the wants of

une prépondérance prononcée sur le reste so rast a population, that, until the ope

de l'Europe. La Péninsule leur paroit le rations of the smuggler began to redress

centre de la civilisation Européenne.” the evil, it was almost destitute of European commodities.

The Spanish provinces were di“ In connexion with the restrictions vided into nine governments, five of on foreign trade, not only the settlement, which were within the torrid zone, but the visits, of all foreigners were pro- viz., the viceroyalties of New Grahibited more strictly than in China or nada and Peru, and the “ Capitanias Japan. The punishment of the strangers Generales” of Guatimala, Porto Rico, who were found in the colonies was at and the Caraccas. The four others, first death-in later times, perpetual im- the viceroyalties of Mexico and prisonment. Spaniards themselves might Buenos Ayres, the Capitanias Genenot visit them without royal license, and rales of Chili and the Havannah, in this was usually only granted for a limited the last of which the Floridas were time, unless in the case of those who went included, were beyond the tropics or out to hold government offices. Even as

in the temperate zones. late as the middle of the eighteenth cen

The great division of the inhabitury, the landing of a Boston vessel on the desolate island of Juan Fernandez to refit,

tants was into the pure and mixed

races or castes. The shades of this and the appearance of an English whaler

mixture were marked in the language in the South Seas, were occurrences of

of the colonist with the most accurate sufficient importance to require a long report from the viceroy of Peru, and the re

precision that European vanity could primand or cashiering of several officers. suggest. Seven-eighths of these “ Internal commerce between the pro

castes in New Spain consisted of the vinces, to complete the picture, was prohi. mestizos, sprung from the white bited almost as effectually as foreign trade,” (Creole or European) and the copper

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coloured race.

The child of a negro could not always continue. The ir. and Indian was termed chino.' The resistible energies of commerce had mulattoes were the offspring of the found the means of supplying the white man and negro woman. The various wants, in some degree at least, descendants of a negro and mulatto of the inhabitants of those vast regions, woman, or of a negro and a chino, in spite of all the barriers which so were termed zambo. The quarteroons much care had been employed to forcame from the white man and mulatto tify, and so much labour to maintain. woman--the quinteroon from the The policy of the Austrian monarchs quarteroon woman and a white_here was slowly, indeed, and cautiously, the distinction ceases, the child of a but finally abandoned by the new dy. white and quinteroon is white. Those nasty. The richness of the soil and unions by which children are pro- the exuberance of its bidden treasures duced more deeply coloured than their advantages, which the folly of man, mother are called emphatically salta though it might for a time suspend, atras-leaps backward. By the law could not altogether annihilate-began of the mother country the Indians to overcome the restraints of barbarous were reduced to a condition of absolute legislation. pupilage. Not only were they excluded Charles the Third lowered the duties in common with the other natives of on merchandize, and abrogated some those regions from all political influ- of the most irksome formalities to ence, but in the most ordinary trans- which the merchant was obliged to actions of life their competence to submit. He opened the commerce of manage their own affairs was limited Cuba, Porto Rico, Hispaniola, Louito the most insignificant objects. By siana, and Campeachy, to the ports the introduction of this system, to of Seville, Carthagena, Alicant, Barwhich no parallel can be found in his. celona, Corunna, Santander, and Gi. tory, thousands of human beings, pos- jon. In 1778, improvements in Mexico, sessed of civil rights, yet incapable of Guatimala, Venezuela, and La Plata, civil functions, nominally free, yet in advanced with a continually accelereality dependent, were disabled from rating pace; and had wiser councils being parties to any contract (no been adopted in Spain, had the hostile pueden tratar y contratar) and re- feelings engendered by difference of duced to a state of helpless bondage rank and colour been allayed, had the and imbecility.

official patronage of America been Those immense possessions, sur- confided to purer and more adequate passing in magnitude the empire of hands, and had not the soil of Spain Russia or the British dominions in the fierself been violated by an invading East, stretching over 1900 leagues, army, Mr Merivale thinks, that the from Cape St Sebastian to the Straits flag, which the Spanish people upheld of Magellan, from the 37th degree of with such heroic energy in the old north to the 41st degree of south lati- world, might still have floated over tude, were governed almost exclu- the scenes of its ancient splendour in sively by foreigners. The corruption the new. of these authorities was seconded by the plague of a lazy, debauched, and

" Troja que nunc stares! Priamique arx

alta maneres !” superstitious priesthood-an immense part of the revenues of New Spain Be this, however, as it may, one was in their hands, and their numbers thing at least is certain, that the hisamounted to a sixth part of the inha- tory of Spain and her political chil. bitants of Spanish America. The dren is pregnant with the most imporcourage, steadiness, and sagacity of tant and salutary lessons. The domithe old Castilian race were exchanged nions acquired by such prodigious for apathy and cowardice. The efforts of civil policy and military skill, Creole inhabitants were steeped in established at such infinite hazards, habits still more ignominious and and cemented by such torrents of deplorable; and when the Bourbon blood, wasted away in the vain atdynasty ascended the throne of Spain, tempt to gratify the pride of princes, the American provinces had sunk into the luxury of priests, the innumerable a state of abject sloth and almost hope. vices of a long train of weak, corrupt, less degradation.

and rapacious ministers. By the reSuch a state of things, however, cords of the custom- house at Seville,

the

it appears that in the space of seventy- chised in 1809, and Porto Rico, which four years, the kings of Spain had in 1830 contained 45,000 free labourdrawn into that country, from Ame- ers, possessing no land of their own, rica, a sum in gold amounting to bid fair, from the exuberant fertility of ninety-one millions sterling. The a virgin soil, as well as from other annual returns of America to Spain, causes, to obtain a pre-eminence in (in the beginning of the 18th century,) West Indian traffic, which no mercanrather exceeded than fell short of ten tile precautions will long be able to millions sterling. If Charles V., in- counteract. stead of laying the foundation of an The Portuguese settlements in Ameuniversal monarchy, had attended to rica were less brilliant than those of the these dominions ; if, instead of endea- Spaniards, though prodigious ifthepro. vouring to reduce the Netherlands portion between them and the mother —to conquer England—to overcome country be considered— Brazil,if weinFrance-to enslave Italy, to annex clude the whole district once claimed by Portugal to his empire, Philip II. had the Portuguese, being 300 times as large aimed at developing the incredible as Portugal. They were the fruits of resources which were legitimately that spiritof trade and discovery which within his reach, Spain might have displayed itself in Portugal during the eclipsed, in might and splendour, all 15th century, when every enterprize the empires which ancient or modern was carried on with vigour, and every story has described. But to disturb xpedition was rewarded with success.

peace of other countries, these mo- Thus Portugal, hitherto so inconsidernarchs hastened the ruin of their own able among the nations of Europe, - to obtain tribute they prevented began to take the lead among them traffic to secure the treasures of the all; and from creeping along the shores new world they discouraged indus- of Africa with a few vessels, her fleets try in the old; while Spanish hostility began to stretch to the East Indies, raised England and Holland to gran- and to grasp that trade which was the deur and opulence, laying in one the object of Alexander's ambition. Imfoundation of that maritime superio- mense riches, vast armies, numerous rity which she has ever since main- fleets, prodigious commerce, beyond tained, and enabling the other to ac- any thing that had ever, since the fall quire a factitious importance which of the Roman Empire, fallen to the has not yet altogether passed away. lot of any European power, were the

The utter ruin of Spanish prospe return for those splendid and magnanirity was bequeathed by Philip II. as mous exertions. But when, owing to a duty to his successors ; and in spite the fatal expedition of Sebastian, Porof experience, in spite of reason, in tugal became a Spanish province, all spite of suffering, it was executed virtue, generosity, or concern for the with fond, persevering, and desperate public good, were extinguished among fidelity. Such were the kings of Spain its inhabitants. A few private fami-the scourges of their friends--the lies acquired an infamous opulence by stewards of their enemies without the ruin of their country ; while the fleets, though in their dominions the Dutch stripped the Portuguese of their 'sun never set - without commerce, empire in the East Indies, and a conthough their colonies were the most siderable portion of their dominions magnificent the world had seen-im- in Brazil. And though, when Portupotent, though their power was abso. gal recovered her independence, she lute-and beggars, though riches that regained possession of Brazil, the taint mock calculation were at their com- of Spanish policy still continued to mand.

infect her councils, the tide of her Inaccessible, indeed, and indocile, commerce was turned into the bosom must be the mind of him to whom these of a few monopolists, the desire of events have afforded no instruction. extending the regal power predomi

Cuba, and Porto Rico, and the Phi- nated in her councils, and the spirit lippine Islands, in Asia, are now the was quenched for ever which had sole colonial remains of that once made the Portuguese a great people, mighty empire. The Philippines, as and their dominions a mighty empire. Mr Merivale observes, hardly fall In 1807 freedom of trade was, by the within the definition of a colony. But interference of the English governCuba, since its commerce was enfranment, established in Brazil ; and notwithstanding a great falling off in the that expression, of the several European produce of her mines, the progress

nations who act upon the stage of Ameof that country, during the last thirty rica. The Spaniard, proud, lazy, and years, has been rapid and astonishing. magnificent, has an ample walk in which “But," says MrMerivale,“her prospects,

to expatiate ; a soft climate to indulge his

love of ease, and a profusion of gold and in a more comprehensive sense, are suffi

silver to procure him all those luxuries ciently gloomy. The rapid increase of

his pride demands, but which his laziness wealth has unfortunately silenced the voice

would refuse him. of policy and humanity, which, in the last

“ The Portuguese, naturally indigent at century, were no where more willingly

home, and enterprising rather than induslistened to than in Portugal, and the extension of the slave trade has more than

trious abroad, has gold and diamonds as

the Spaniard has, wants them as he does, kept pace with the progress of wealth. lience cruelty and licentiousness, and the

but possesses them in a more useful though other vices of slavery, once confined to the

a less ostentatious manner.

“ The English, of a reasoning disposigreat seaports, seem to be corrupting the Brazilian character, even in the remotest tion, thoughtful and cool, and men of

business rather than of great industry, districts. The slaves are every where outnumbering the free cultivators; the colour- impatient of much fruitless labour, abhor

rent of restraint, and lovers of a country ed freemen increasing more rapidly than the whites; and this latter class of mixed life, have a lot which indeed produces population-noless, it is said, than 600,000

neither gold nor silver; but they have a

large tract of a fine continent, a noble field in number, out of five or six millions in all-endowed with physical strength and

for the exercise of agriculture, and sufficient

to furnish their trade without laying them mental energy far more abundantly than the degenerate Creole race, seems to

under great difficulties. Intolerant as

they are of the most useful restraints, threaten the present frame of society with more immediate danger than awaits it their commerce flourishes from the freefrom the slaves themselves.”

dom every man has of pursuing it accord.

ing to his own ideas, and directing his life The colonies of the Dutch are now after his own fashion. of little importance. The French- “ The French, active, lively, enterpriAmerican colonies, important and ex- sing, pliable, and politic, and though chantensive as they then were, now con- ging their pursuits, always pursuing the sist of Cayenne, and three not very present object with eagerness, are notimportant islands, notwithstanding withstanding tractable and obedient to the burdens to which the French Go- rules and laws, which bridle their disposivernment once submitted for their tions, and wind and turn them to proper support, amounting to two millions

This people have a country annually-a

-a sum which, as the French where more is to be effected by managing were without any maritime power

the people than by cultivating the ground; sufficient for their protection, must be

where a peddling commerce, that requires considered as altogether flung away.

constant motion, flourishes more than Perhaps the time is not far distant agriculture or a regular traffic; where when the blood and treasure which

they have difficulties which keep them France is now lavishing amid the

alert by struggling with them; and where

their obedience to a wise government sands of Africa, may furnish her citi

serves them for personal wisdom. In the zens with equal cause for mortifica

islands the whole is the work of their tion and regret. Thus it is, that

policy, and a right turn their government national vanity assumes the airs of has taken. wisdom; and while tossing its cup “ The Dutch have got a rock or two and ball with infantine folly, terms on which to display the miracles of fruthe destructive pastime patriotism, gality and diligence, (which are their vir. and summons the universe to look on tues,) and on which they have exerted and admire. We quote a striking these virtues, and shown these miracles.” passage from Mr Burke's European settlements, in which the character of of British colonies, the almost bound

In his examination of the history the nations we have mentioned and its effect upon those Colonies, is por

less scope and variety of his subject trayed with uncommon vigour and

have compelled Mr Merivale to purfidelity.

sue a different course from that which

he has adopted in treating of the co“ There seems to be a remarkable pro- lonies of other countries. His object vidence in casting the parts, if I may use has been "to indicate chiefly those

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