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subjects far from their home,—to compel them to dig the mines, and to cultivate the plantations, of a country not their

Unless Europe could have levied contributions upon the African population, the Columbian discovery would have been one of unmixed 'disaster; and in the most favourable view, the evil predominated. In the first instance, Europe expended much of its treasure, and sustained a loss of many of its people, before it derived even the appearance of advantage ; and the return it at length received was an increase of luxury, that was far more injurious than beneficial: indeed, wealth accumulated without adequate labour, and, derived to the prejudice of others, must ever be pernicious. The hand of retributive justice is upon it; and, in the fate of Spain and Portugal, we might read the consequence of such unhallowed riches.

It was one of the effects of the establishment of these transatlantic colonies, that they engendered war, and sowed the seeds of dissension. Many of the conflicts which had taken place between European countries had originated in disputes regarding the trade to the settlements of America; and, independent of actual wars, there were a thousand heart-burnings that might be traced to the same source.

It was a remarkable fact also, as respected every parent state, that no sooner did the infant colony acquire sufficient strength, than it threw off its allegiance. Up to that moment it was a burthen, rather than a benefit; and, when it ceased to encumber, it claimed its independence. The history of these colonial children was exceedingly instructive; but it did not appear that “the old folks” were disposed to profit by experience. Indeed, there was something in the sentiment very much allied to natural justice, “ that they who had established and fostered the infant, should expect from the man some remuneration and return;" but, unfortunately, the moral law of individuals did not apply to nations. In truth, the men who received the benefit were not identical with the ungrateful revolters. Such results could not be prevented; they exhibited human nature acting in a mass, and consulting the interests of the majority; and, probably, the character of nations did not, in this respect, much differ from one another.

Undoubtedly, of all the discoveries that had ever been made, that of the discovery of America was the greatest; and, at first view, it might seem, that even to make one vast continent known to the other, must necessarily be productive of signal advantage to both; and this would have been the consequence, had each hemisphere been equally advanced in civilization; but it was the contention of maturity with childhood, and the infant world was not treated precisely with the indulgence suited to its condition. The tutors that were sent to instruct her did not err on the side of kindness, and the lessons they were authorized to teach, have at length recoiled on their masters. In after-times it is probable, that the civilized arts which have been introduced will benefit the country into which they have been transplanted; but hitherto the effect chiefly has been to carry war and devastation into the one region, and import dissension and luxury into the other.

Besides, the multitudes that have been sacrificed in obtaining and preserving these distant possessions, let it be recollected that there is a constant enticement to the useful artizan and the industrious manufacturer to emigrate from the old to the new country, in the hope (though often disappointed) of bettering his condition, and thus the valuable and productive classes of the community are materially diminished.

The vast importation of gold into Europe, which had taken place in the early intercourse with America, had been injurious rather than beneficial. The quantity of specie which Europe possessed, sufficiently represented the value of her wealth. The increase of the precious metals (as they were called,) only depreciated their own value, and did not add to the inherent usefulness of any other commodity. The produce of these realms had the effect, as novelty ever had, of diminishing the relative value of the articles which were raised and manufactured at home, and of exciting a general taste for foreign luxuries, that was any thing rather than beneficial. On the whole, it appeared that the evil predominated; and, singular as might be the opinion, it was confidently maintained that, if an accurate account were taken of both sides of the question, the balance would be against the speculation, and the inference we must draw was, that, so far as events had yet transpired, it would have been better had America been discovered at a later period.

IN FAVOUR OF THE DISCOVERY, it was contended, that so vast an addition to the known world must necessarily be an advantage. The converse of the proposition would lead an absurdity. If the discovery of America was not beneficial, then the knowledge of other countries was not so; and, consequently, the fewer nations we know, the better! The importation of luxury was not in itself hurtful. There was no connection between virtue and want, nor was homely fare necessary to excellence. Every thing had improved since the discovery of the New World. We were in possession of many things of which mankind were formerly ignorant. Although some useful citizens had passed over to America, there was no deficiency in the number of the industrious classes : on the contrary, the population was too abundant; and it was one of the benefits that Europe derived from the discovery, that it was enabled to form valuable colonies with its surplus inhabitants.

Spain had been improved, and had become full of power; it was her own impolicy that afterwards ruined her: her downfal in the scale of nations was not owing to any inherent evil in the nature of the connection, but in the want of sagacity to render it mutually beneficial. Spain should have allowed her colonies to partake in the advantage; and she might have retained her influence, had she been contented to hold the reins of dominion with a lenient hand.

The wars which had arisen out of these possessions were inseparable from the condition of human nature: war there would be at all times; and, if there were no just cause, a factitious one would be created. There was a disposition amongst nations to quarrel, and the subject matter of dispute was not very important. There was no more war, since the discovery of America, than there had been in previous times. The history of the four great monarchies would shew that there was an endless succession of battles; history was, indeed, chiefly made up of them. It was not, however, improbable, that the intercourse with America would diminish the causes of war. It appeared, that, from the great superabundance of the population of Europe, if there were no outlet to another region, new wars would arise by the mere pressure of one nation upon the career of another. The yast and almost interminable dominions, now laid open before us, would tend to remove those jealousies at home, which otherwise would have continued to fan the flames of hostility. We had now "ample room and verge enough," to exercise the energies of an increasing population, and a field for the display of the wildest adventure. We had thus, also, a place of ample refuge, in case Europe should ever be again assailed by hostile incursions, like those which desolated the Roman world. We should not, then, be obliged to submit to the law of the conqueror, nor to become his vassal and bondman. In the mighty Continent of the West, liberty flourished in her civil institutions and her religious worship. There we beheld an example and a warning to Europe; there the beacon-light of freedom ever blazed upon her altars ; and there despotism was checked, and its career bound in. The watchfulness that had been excited, the intelligence that was abroad, and the asylum that had been opened to the discomfited, were so many safeguards to rational freedom, and means of ensuring human happiness.

By this discovery, had the commerce and manufactures of the world been extended, and although colonies might not generally be beneficial to the parent state, yet they formed markets for the commodities of the mother land, and constituted an additional impulse to national industry. The more mankind increased, the greater was the demand for labour, and the more was it remunerated. Hence arose new springs of action, and new motives to exertion. The result of these constantly excited energies it was impossible to estimate; they were unbounded in their present extent, and distant ages would experience the effect of the mighty impulse.

To the united kingdoms, the advantage was incalculable. England owed her power to her navy; and the commerce with America had been a nursery for her seamen, and a school of instruction and improvement for her navigators. If no other effect had resulted to our native land than that which had been adverted to, we should have abundant reason to hail the name of Columbus, and to laud the establishment of those colonies, without which Great Britain would have been as insignificant in power as she was limited in territory.

The slave-trade ought not to have much weight in the argument, for slavery did not originate in America ; but had existed in the Eastern hemisphere from the oldest times. The East, therefore, might be considered as setting the example which the West had followed. Besides, upon the question of happiness, it was to be recollected that the

negro slaves were happier than the majority of those who boasted of their freedom. They were better fed and clothed than most of the labourers of Europe, and the ill-treatment that it was alleged had been inflicted upon them, was grossly exaggerated. As it was the obvious interest of the colonists to treat their slaves with kindness, we might depend, that, in general, they did so. The instances of exception were, both in number and circumstance, far over-stated; and the humane individuals who came forward to attest the commission of acts of cruelty, had an amiable disposition to make out the strongest case they could. We must not suppose that every thing that was eloquently said, was absolutely true. It was one of the qua. lities of intense feeling to hyperbolize, and they who intended to do good were laudably incited not to do it by halves. They knew it was necessary to make an impression, and they did it with all their might. It was not surprising, therefore, that a few heightening epithets in the statement of the negro's story, and a few vehement comments on the conclusions to which it lead, should occasionally appear in the harangues of their advocates. Adverting to the topic of luxury, upon which much declamation had been employed, it was perfectly ridi

VOL. I. PART I.

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culous to object to it. It produced incalculable happiness by multiplying the means of enjoyment: every enlargement of the sphere of our wants lead to the increase of our happiness;

For every want that stimulates the breast,

Becomes a source of pleasure when redrest." All the modes of life were refined and improved; our houses, equipages, and food, on which the feeling of individual and domestic comfort so essentially depended, were all advancing to a state of perfection.

With respect to the alleged inutility of gold, there might perhaps be some show of reason if the matter were considered in a mere abstract view; but the fact was, that the acquisition and accumulation of money had many indirect advantages; it stimulated a thousand exertions which would never have been made but for the desire to possess what was generally esteemed so very essential.

There was a great advantage also in the mutual communication that took place between the one mighty continent and the other; the discovery had excited the energies of the whole world, and the consequences had been, that riches had flowed in from every quarter. We had, by so vast an accumulation of experience, become wiser; and, by the kindly interchange of mutual services, we had become more virtuous, inasmuch as we possessed more philanthropy.

It was to be lamented that blood had been spilled in the establishment of these settlements; yet it might also be recollected, that the inhabitants of the earth were nearly eight hundred millions, and the sacrifice that had been made was but a partial and comparatively an insignificant evil. And against that evil, was to be placed the signal improvements which had been transplanted to America. The people, at the time of its discovery, were chiefly, if not entirely, barbarous ; they were not in possession of the arts of social life; they had scarcely the means of supporting themselves, and the different tribes were furiously employed in destroving and extirpating each other. Their superstition was of the most abominable kind; they sacrificed infants in their idolatrous worship; and their morality was upon a level with the brutes.

Into these regions, where the hand of improvement had never been exerted, Europe carried her thousand means of refinement, and commenced the mighty labour of moral instruction.

The empire of civilization had been extended over forests and swamps, and in lieu of interminable woods we saw rising villages; and, instead of unhealthy and pestilent marshes, we saw smiling verdure and the productions of happy labour. Thus the sphere of human happiness was increased, and thus were the minds also of the human race excited to new ex

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