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facts which will be of value as exam- nomical history of the West Indies in ples, which may serve as tests of doc. general. At each epoch in that histrines hereafter to be considered as tory, we see the same causes producing indications of a policy to be recom- almost identical effects. The openmended or to be avoided;" and his ing of a fresh soil, with freedom of work expands into a scientific discus- trade, gives a sudden stimulus to setsion of propositions which comprehend tlement and industry ; the soil is counder, them a vast variety of pheno vered with free proprietors, and a
Mr Merivale justly considers general but rude prosperity prevails. that Great Britain, the first manufac- Then follows a period of more careful turing country, and that which en- cultivation, during which estates are grosses the greatest share of the consolidated, gangs of slaves succeed carrying trade of the globe, can gain to communities of freedom, the rough but little from her colonies in return
commonwealth is formed into a most for the prodigious sacrifices she makes productive factory. But fertility diin their behalf.
; the cost of production “ We might draw many articles of raw
augments; slave labour, always dear, produce cheaper and better from other becomes dearer by the increased diffi, countries than from our colonies; there- culty of supporting it: new settlefore, so long as their produce is protected,
ments are occupied, new sources of we are taxed for their benefit. But it production opened: the older colonies, may be questioned, whether any of the unable to maintain a ruinous competicommodities they require from Europe, tion, even with the aid of probibitions, except some few articles which we do not after a period of suffering and diffiand cannot produce, could be obtained by culty, fall back into a secondary state, them cheaper or better from any other in which capital, economy, and insource than from ourselves. Consequently creased skill, make up, to a certain they are no longer taxed for ours, except extent only, for the invaluable advanin one
or two unimportant particulars. tages which they have lost. Thus When the navigation laws, as far as re
we have seen the Windward Islands gards the colonies, were greatly modified maintaining, at one period, a numerin 1824, no great change or disturbance
ous white population; afterwards imof the colony trade ensued. Things had found, of themselves, that level which those porting numerous slaves, and supplyJaws were intended to maintain artificially. ing almost all the then limited conIt is impossible to conceive a more direct sumption of Europe. We have seen contrast than that which exists between Jamaica rise on their decay, and go the British colonial policy of late years through precisely the same stages of
We have seen how St and that of our ancestors. They cared for existence. the most part little or nothing about the Domingo, in its turn, greatly eclipsed internal government of their colonies, and Jamaica ; but St Domingo was cut off kept them in subjection, in order to de by a sudden tempest, and never atrive certain supposed commercial advan- tained to the period of decline. Lastly, tages from them. We give them com- we have seen the Spanish colonies of mercial advantages and tax ourselves for Cuba and Porto Rico, after so many their benefit, in order to give them an centuries of comparative neglect and interest in remaining under our supremacy, rude productiveness, start all at once that we may have the pleasure of govern into the first rank among exporting ing them.”
countries, and flourish like the exuAfter pointing out the effect pro- berant crops of their own virgin soil ; duced, first, by the abolition of the while our islands, still rich in capital, slave trade, and recently, by slave but for the most part exhausted in labour in the colonies, the diminished fertility and deficient in labour, were produce of our West Indian islands struggling by the aid of their accumuand the increased difficulty of produc- lating wealth against the encroaching tion, which, owing to the comparative principle of decay. The life of artiexhaustion of the soil, prevails among ficial and anti-social communities may them, Mr Merivale bids us pause be brilliant for a time; but it is necesfor a moment to reflect on the remark- sarily a brief one, and terminates able uniformity with which events either by rapid decline, or still more have succeeded each other in the eco- rapid revolution, when the laborious)v
constructed props of their wealth give on its own real ground. They cannot way, as they sometimes do, in sudden be content without maintaining that the ruin.
country gains by it in the immediate According to an article in M Cul- course of commercial transactions, as well loch's Commercial Dictionary, the as in respect of the maintenance of the consumption of sugar by European national defence and supremacy. And those nations in 1833, (the last year of sla
whose reason could not be persuaded of
the reality of the commercial gain, have very in the British islands,) amounted
long had to submit to the imputation of ento 560,000 tons-of which the English West India colonies furnished 190,000,
tertaining novel theories and un-English
sentiments ; as if the economical defence the Mauritius 30,000, the East Indies 60,000, Cuba and Porto Rico 110,000,
of the system were necessarily involved in
the political, and the principles of Malthus Brazil 75,000, other European colo
and Ricardo were inseparably connected nies 95,000.
with those of Franklin and Bentham. You, “ The amount of that expenditure which I am sure, will learn to despise this foolish Great Britain is annually called on to and vulgar outcry. There is no novelty in incur in behalf of her colonies, over and the plain and simple arguments which above their own revenues, although it has show the mischief of restrictions on trade; been much exaggerated by opposers of but if they were novel, they would not be the colonial system, is still very great. By the less cogent.
There is nothing una Parliamentary paper of the session of English in pointing out the fact, that Eng1835, it appears that the total charge on land suffers à certain loss by the mainteour revenue, on account of their military, nance of a particular system ; but if it naval, and civil establishments, amounted were otherwise, loss of country is a poor to £2,360,000. To this must be added, substitute in enquiry for loss of truth. in fairness, the annual loss to this country “ But these are considerations which occasioned, as before explained, by the need but little concern us now. The rapid colonial monopolies, chiefly those of sugar tide of sublunary events is carrying us and timber, which is estimated by Sir H. inevitably past that point at which the Parnell, in his work on Financial Reform, maintenance of colonial systems and naviapparently on reasonable grounds, at two gation laws was practicable, whether it millions more, and the charge which we were desirable or no. We are borne helphave recently incurred for the liberation lessly along with the current; we may of our colonial slaves is not less than struggle and protest, and marvel why the £600,000 or £700,000 per annum. If barriers which ancient forethought had we were to add to these soms the cost of raised against the stream, now bend like the wars of which our colonies have fur- reeds before its violence; but we cannot nished the direct cause, the account against change our destiny. The monopoly of us would be enormous indeed.”—P. 236. the West India islands cannot stand; and
- But this is a digression from my pre- its fall will be followed by the crash of sent subject, though it can hardly be consi- those minor monopolies which subsided dered an inapposite one, when it is re- along with it; for the branches of the membered how large a portion of our wars colonial system were nearly connected of the last century were undertaken chiefly with each other. And when these are with the view of protecting and strength- gone, the same curious result will follow ening that very trade with our colonies which has attended the overthrow of so which, I have endeavoured to show you, many other institutions and systems, powe were crippling and injuring all the litical and intellectual, which have held for while by the manifold restraints of our their respective periods a powerful sway prohibitive system. And the true ground over the minds of men. All the theories on which that system is still defended by which have been founded on it by inducmany of its supporters is, that the favour tion, or raised on baseless assumptions, in thus afforded to the colonies (for the effect order to support it,—all the volumes of of the system, as I have endeavoured to statistical facts, tortured into argumentspoint out, is now almost confined to the all the records of the eloquence or the affording favour to them) tends to keep reasoning by which it has been defended, them in connexion with the mother coun. which once were in vogue with the miltry; a notion which I do not believe to lion, which swayed senates and silenced be well founded, but which, if it be, affords captious objectors, and governed and deindeed a political justification for maintain- lighted the public mind—will pass with it ing the system, but not an economical one. into nothingness, or speak to us as it were The misfortune is, that its supporters will in a dead language. Let us look back a not be satisfied with putting its vindication few years, and ask where are the monu
ments of all the zeal and ingenuity which there it was abandoned, with very little was once vented in defence of the slave- help, to the caprice or prejudice of the trade ? or of the Stuart succession ? or in colonists, under which it speedily decayed. opposing the mitigation of the penal code ? The Puritans enjoyed, undisturbed, their Buried together with the learning which peculiar notions of ecclesiastical governwas expended on the topics of witchcraft, ment."-(P. 103.)—" After the separation alchemy, astrology, and the Ptolemæan sys. of the thirteen old provinces, England retem. I do not make these comparisons in mained in possession of Nova Scotia, which any sneering or critical spirit, but merely had a constitution already, and of Canada from the illustration they afford of the de- and its dependencies; provinces which had pendence of that vanity of vanities, the been conquered from France, and possessed fame of human speculations, on the durabi- no constitutions of their own. Represenlity of the subject or the cause which gives tative forms were gradually conceded to origin to them.
We stand in respect of them; to Canada by Mr Pitt's government economical philosophy, as well as other in 1791, the immediate object of the meamatters, on the very verge of time, between sure being to attach the Canadians to the two distinct eras. I do not say that we are British Government, in order to secure wiser than our predecessors; but circum- their aid against the people of the States, stances have thrown a new light on the and also to exempt the inhabitants of Brisubject matter of our studies; and what- tish descent from the burden of French ever theories may occupy the thoughts of laws, under which they were subjected to a future generation, of one thing we may some oppressions ; to Upper Canada at the be sure—that the shadowy arguments by same time, on its separation from the lower which commercial prohibitions have been province; to New Brunswick when sepaso long defended, will be remembered only rated from Nova Scotia in 1785; to Newas ingenious and worthless disputations on foundland in 1832. In all these the frame imaginary premises.”—P. 237.
and government is similar in the main to “ The fundamental idea of the older that of the old crown colonies, which has British colonial policy appears to have been already described. But the greater been, that wherever a man went, he car- degree of control which the mother counried with him the rights of an English try has exercised, both in the formation of man, whatever these were supposed to be. these constitutions and in the internal arIn the reign of James I. the state doctrine rangements of the colonies, may be estiwas, that most popular rights were usur- mated from various circumstances. The pation's ; and the colonists of Virginia, reservation of land by the authority of the sent out under the protection of Govern- mother state for the church establishment; ment, were therefore placed under that the control exercised by the mother state degree of control which the state believed over the sale of all other waste lands, peritself authorised to exercise at home. The haps the most important function of governPuritans exalted civil franchise to a repub-, ment in new countries; are altogether inlican pitch; their colonies were therefore consistent with the principles of the founders republican; there was no such notion as of most of our old North American colo.. that of an intermediate state of tutelage, nies, In some of these the people elected or semi-liberty. Hence the entire absence the governor himself; in some, many of of solicitude, on the part of the mother the executive functionaries; in some, neicountry, to interfere with the internal go- ther the crown nor the governor had any vernment of the colonies, arose not alto- negative on the laws passed by the assemgether from neglect, but partly from prin- blies.”—P. 105.-" Still more strik is ciple. This is remarkably proved by the the difference, when we regard the spread fact, that representative government was of our establishments in other parts of the seldom expressly granted in the early char- world. The penal colonies afforded the ters; it was assumed by the colonists as a first instance (a very necessary one, no matter of right. Thus, to use the odd ex- doubt) of settlements founded by Englishpression of the historian of Massachusetts, men, without any constitution whatever,
a house of burgesses broke out in Vir- Since that time, the example has fructified. ginia' in 1619, almost immediately after We have of late years seen the foundation its second settlement; and although the of three different colonies, in which conconstitution of James contained no such victs are not admitted, and yet all of them element, it was at once acceded to by the governed, for the present, directly by the mother country as a thing of course,
crown, with only a prospective provision thought was ever seriously entertained of for the future establishment of a constitusupplying the colonies with the elements of tional system. This is a remarkable novelan aristocracy. Virginia was the only ty in British policy.” province of old foundation in which the Church of England was established; and
Qur North American empire
cupies on the map an enormous ex- the tract they have explored only at one tent of country, from the Bay of Fun. season of the year, and are almost certain dy, the St Lawrence, the Great Lakes, to be unreasonable either in their praises the Stony Mountains, and the river or their disapprobation. On the 26th Columbia, to the distant shores of January 1788, the little colony moved to the Frozen Ocean. But the colonies Sydney. established or conquered by us spread
“ In the fifty years which have since over a region forming only a small clapsed, the progress of New South Wales portion of these possessions : a portion
has been so astonishing, as far as regards
the production and accumulation of wealth, not geographically compact in shape,
as to afford the most remarkable phenobut nearly uniform in climate and pro
mena in colonial history. In 1789 the duce: and occupied by a million and
first barvest was reaped ; in 1790 the first a half of people, of whom half a mil..
permanent settler (a convict) took posseslion are of French descent, the re
sion of the plot of land allotted to him. mainder English, Scotch, Irish, and
In 1793 the first purchase of colonial American, in various proportions. Al grain (1200 bushels) was made by govern. though the population of these pro
The first newspaper was printed vinces (Canada, Nova Scotia, Prince in 1802. In 1803 Mr Macarthur exhibitEdward's Island, and Newfoundland) ed in London the first sample of merino is very small in proportion to their wool from the sheep of the colony. In surface, it must be remembered that it 1807, 245 lbs. of that wool were exportis in reality concentrated, for the most cd from Sydney; in 1820, 100,000 lbs. ; part, on a small portion of that sur- in 1830, 3,564,532 lbs. ; in 1840, about face, Out of 400,000 square miles in 7,000,000 lbs. Sydney is now a fine city, Canada, a tract larger than France with all the appurtenances of a.great proand Germany together, scarcely 10,000
vincial town, and exhibiting much greater are cultivated; and these are peopled signs of wealth than one of similar size at the rate of upwards of 100 to the would display in England; and an acre of square mile--a relative number as great land, within the town boundaries, sold as in the least-peopled counties of lately for L.20,000.-P. 117. England. The settlements lie in ge- Our remarks on the historical part neral pretty thickly together, but of Mr Merivale's work have insensibly along vast lines of communication, occupied so large a portion of space fronted by the sea, or the noble rivers that we must content ourselves with a and lakes of these countries, and with very slight notice of his discussion, the wilderness behind.
masterly as it is, on the effects of the “ Passing by the Mauritius, a flourish- old colonial system. If we were to ing island, formerly a French possession, suggest any blemish in this excellent but exhibiting no very remarkable differ- and luminous survey, it would be that ence in its economical condition from that Mr Merivale treats with too much deof the West India colonies, unless in its ference the pernicious and absurd pregreat fertility; and Ceylon, in which colo- judices which fall under his examinanization, properly so called, has scarcely tion. Fixing the calm and steady commenced ; we arrive at Australia, the glance of reason on the vaunted land of promise to modern emigrants, and columns of our maritime and commerthe most remarkable field of British in
cial strength, as the navigation laws dustry, out of the limits of Britain, at the
were supposed to be, Mr Merivale present day. After the coast of New South Wales had been discovered by Cap- baseless. In the following passage he
pronounces them to be visionary and tain Cook, it was made a penal settlement, places a summary of his argument bewith a view to rid our jails of the num.
fore the reader. ber of prisoners who were accumulating there after the American war,
“ We have now gone through, I fear, the Sirius frigate landed 800 convicts at in somewhat fatiguing detail, the principal Botany Bay. The coast of that inlet, points of the so-called colonial system. We which had appeared so tempting to Captain have thus far directed our attention wholly Cook, was soon found to afford nothing to its effects on the wealth of the mother but swamps and sand : an instance, among country. The result of our investigation many, of the ease with which government has been, that although, under certain has allowed itself to be misled by the re- contingencies, and granting a variety ports of naval discoverers, to many of
of favourable circumstances, a country whom all land is much alike, and who, might gain by the possession of an artificieven when better qualified to judge, see ally monopolized market for her manufac
tured commodities, yet, in actual practice, les acheter de la main des étrangers, such gain is found to be almost wholly il. même lorsque l'on pouvait, par ce dernier lusory; that the disadvantages of a forced procédé, les obtenir à moins de frais. trade in manufactured commodities are al. Conséquemment, on attachait une haute most always greater than its advantages, importance à posséder, dans les contrées but that to a country possessing the means équinoxiales, des colonies où l'on culof manufacturing cheaper than the rest of
tivât ces denrées que l'Europe ne pouthe world, the benefit must be visionary vait pas produire. Depuis les derniers altogether; while, in order to secure this progrès des sciences économiques, au delusive profit, we are forced to concede to moyen desquels on a pu se convaincre que our colonists a monopoly for their raw pro.
tout progrès industriel consiste à pouvoir duce, which is a real and substantial loss to acquérir à un moindre prix les mêmes ourselves. It is plain, therefore, that the produits, quelle que soit la voie par whole fabric is, in truth, maintained by laquelle on se les procure, la question s'est sacrifices on our part, amounting to an
réduite à savoir si le sucre, par exemple, enormous national expenditure.”-P. 220. revient moins cher étant cultivé dans des
“ It is scarcely necessary to dwell on colonies dépendantes de notre nation, que the peculiarities of our other Australian lorsqu'on se le procure par la voie du colonies, for there is a striking general commerce avec l'étranger. similarity in point of natural features. The “Il y avait un moyen simple de décider insular position of Van Diemen's Land, la question. C'était d'assujettir à un droit modifies its climate to a certain extent ;
égal tous les sucres, de quelque part qu'ils it appears, in fact, to be singularly variable vinssent. Les consommateurs, alors, les in respect of temperature. This also has auraient tirés des lieux qui les fournissent been a convict colony from the beginning, au meilleur marché. Ce n'est point ainsi and more exclusively so than even New qu'on a fait. Pour nous obliger à preférer South Wales. In 1821, free emigration les sucres de nos colonies qui coutent plus commenced, and for some time its pro
cher, on a chargé de plus gros droits gress was very rapid; but the settlers hav- d'entrée ceux des contrées étrangères qui ing been allowed, in the usual inconsiderate coutent moins.”_P. 121. manner, to spread themselves at random “ On a, par cette politique, encouragé on the soil, it is alleged that this island une production désadvantageuse, une pro(as large as Ireland, and peopled by on'y
duction qui donne de la perte; et pour 50,000 inhabitants) has already arrived que les auteurs de cette perte, c'est-à-dire, at that first point of retardation in the
les colons, ne la supportassent pas, on l'a history of colonies, when the best land in fait supporter aux consommateurs Franavailable situations is already occupied, or
cais. La consommation actuelle du sucre taken out of the market. This seems
en France est évalué à cinq cent mille hardly credible, yet there are some cir- quintaux métriques; or, si nous achetons cumstances in its economical condition not cette quantité dans l'Inde où ailleurs, à very accountable. Its own inhabitants
50 francs meilleur marché, par quintal speak in magnificent terms of its capabi
métrique, il est évident que, même en lities and prospects; it was confidently payant les mêmes droits d'entrée, le foretold, that it would become the granary quintal métrique nous reviendrait à 50 of the pastoral settlements of the Austra- francs de moins; ce qui nous procurerait une lian continent; yet, of late years, compa
épargne annuelle de 25 millions, que nous ratively little capital has found its way pourrions consacrer à d'autres achats, à there; and it is said, that the re. emigra
d'autres jouissances, sans que le commerce tion to Port Philip and New Zealand has
Francais gagnât moins, sans que le trésor fully equalled the emigration. But notwith- public vît diminuer ses recettes.”—P. 121, standing this temporary depression, there
M. Comte, in his valuable treatise can be little doubt of its resources and eventual prosperity.
on legislation, states in these words It has a great ad
the effect of this system in France.--vantage in its favourable situation for the command of the whale fisheries."-P. 122.
L. 5, c. 26
“La quantité de sucre qui se consomThe opinion of M. Say on the same
mait en France il y a peu d'années (in subject is expressed in the following
1826) etait d'environ soixante-quatre passage:
millions six cent mille kilogrammes. Ce “ Avant que les principes de l'économie sucre, à raison de cent sept francs trente des sociétés fussent bien connus, on croy- centimes les cent kilogrammes, coûtait à ait qu'il convenait à une nation de cultiver la France soixante-neuf millions trois cent sur son territoire les denrées de sa propre quinze mille huit cent francs. Si, au lieu consommation, plutôt que de les produire de l'acheter dans des îles où il existe sous une autre forme, et de les obtenir par neuf esclaves pour deux personnes libres, des échanges; c'est-à-dire, plutôt que de nous l'avions acheté dans une iles