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COLONIAL GOVERNMENT AND THE JAMAICA QUESTION.
The unhappy contest which has where proved, what reason might now arisen between the local legisla- a priori have anticipated, that trade ture of Jamaica and the mother coun with independent states, how extensive try, has recently attracted a large soever, invariably comes in the later portion of public attention, both in con- stages of society to fall more and more sequence of it having been the cheval into the hands of foreign shipowners, de bataille on which the two parties and that, in the very magnitude of a which divide the state have come to a great manufacturing state, foreign decisive conflict, and from its invol- commercial intercourse, is laid, but for ving within itself the great question the intervention of its own colonies, of the government of our colonial de- the sure foundation for its ultimate pendencies by the reformed legis- subjugation. The reason is to be found lature. The powerful excitement of in the lower value of money, and conthe first of these circumstances, was sequent higher price of shipbuilding that which in the outset brought and seamen, in an old opulent commerit so prominently forward ; but to cial community than a young and the thoughtful and far-seeing, the rising one, which has the materials of last is the one which gives it such a a commercial navy within its own momentous and enduring character. bounds, and the consequent cheaper Recent events, both in Canada and rate at which goods can be transported the West Indies, have made it but and ships maintained abroad than at too apparent, that the capability of home. From this cause, the debility the new constitution to withstand the of advanced years necessarily and very shock of adverse fortune, and maintain shortly comes over every maritime in violate the unseen chain which binds community which is not perpetually together the vast fabric of the British reunited by the trade with its own empire, is ere long to be put to the colonies, just as the weakness of age test; and that the time is rapidly prostrates every family which is not approaching when the strain is to be upheld by the growing strength of its applied to its dependencies, under
own younger branches. which all former maritime dominions, History abounds with the proofs of from the beginning of time, have been this great and leading truth, which snapped asunder.
strikes at once at the root of the reciThe slightest acquaintance with procity system, and demonstrates that history must be sufficient to convince it is to our own colonies, and not the every well-informed person, that colo. trade with independent states, that we nial jealousy and discontent is the rock must look for the means both of up. on which all the great maritime powers holding our maritime superiority, and of the world have hitherto split. As obtaining subsistence or employment the formation of a great maritime to our numerous and rapidly increasing dominion without colonies is altogether population. But it is sufficient to reimpossible for this plain reason, that fer, amidst a host of others, to two facts the carrying trade is generally enjoy- which are of themselves decisive of ed as much by foreigners as natives, the position. America and Canada and the only traffic which can be per are both rising states of European manently relied on as a nursery for descent, with the same language, haseamen, is that which is carried on bits, occupations, and external circumwith your own dependencies, and of stances; but the one is a colonial which foreign jealousy or hostility dependency of Great Britain, and the cannot deprive you-so the loss of otheris an independent state. And what such colonies has invariably been is the result? Why, our North Amerithe certain forerunner of approach can colonies, with a population of only ing ruin. To trust to the carry- 1,500,000 souls, employ 560,000 tons ing trade, as a resource which can be of British and 530,000 of native shiprelied on when colonial dependencies ping; while America, with a populahave been severed from the mother tion of 14,000,000 of souls, only gave country, is of all delusions the most employment, in 1831, to 91,000 Brideplorable. Experience has every tish tons; though the exports to it, in
1836, rose to L.13,000,000. The therto, as if by a miracle, been prowhole remainder was taken off in tected, by aristocratic foresight, from American bottoms, which amounted the ruinous explosions which
in almost to 250,000 tons, proving thus, incon- every other instance have torn asunder testably, how rapidly an increasing the state machine where such a power trade with a foreign state, in an old has been generated within its bosom. commercial community, comes to glide The consequences of this extraordinary into the foreign in preference to the combination of popular energy with home vessels. Again, the tonnage of patrician direction, of natural advanGreat Britain employed in the trade tages with adaptation of character, have with all the states of Europe, is now been, that here trade has been raised considerably less than it was thirty- to a colossal magnitude, amounting five years ago; while that with our own last year to one hundred and five mil. colonies, during that period, has in. lions of exports ; that her flag is seen, creased more than five-fold.* In fact, and her influence is felt, in every it is the vast extent and rapid increase quarter of the earth; that in the east, of our colonial commerce, which has in the west, and in the south, vast compensated the decline of the foreign empires are arising out of her overtrade with independent states, and flowing numbers; and that it is already rendered the nation blind to the rapid the boast of her transatlantic descen. strides which the reciprocity system is dants, that to the Anglo-Saxon race is making in destroying our shipping destined the sceptre of the globe. employed in such intercourse with Numerous are the evils, both social, other states; and yet, by a singular physical, and political, which have perversity of intellect, the reciprocity arisen, perhaps unavoidably, from so advocates continue to refer to the sum extraordinary a destiny being reserved total of our exports and shipping re for a little island in the Atlantic ; and turns, as evidence in their favour, obvious as are the dangers, both exterwhen it is produced only by the pro. nal and internal, which now menace gressive growth of the system they the very existence of society, and the deprecate over that which they sup- duration of all those blessings and this port.
godlike career of usefulness in the There never was a country so evi. British islands, there is yet none of dently destined by Providence, so them which does not admit of an easy nobly endowed by nature, with all the ultimate remedy, by a due attention to gifts requisite to make it the heart and our colonial dependencies ; nor any soul of all the European colonies over one which may not be converted into the globe, as Great Britain. Placed a source of strength, if the obvious on the edge of the European States, destiny of Great Britain, as the procradled in the Atlantic waves, she is pagator of Christian principles and the “the midway station given" between European race through the globe, is the energy, wealth, and enterprise of not forgotten, amidst the insane jeaEurope, and the boundless realms of lousy or monstrous folly of the domifuture greatness and population in dis nant multitude in these islands. Are tant parts of the world. Abounding we overwhelmed with a redundant and to overflowing with coal and ironstone, rapidly increasing population? Do we she possesses within herself, in inex- find twenty-four millions-an enorhaustible profusion, the means of cre mous multitude of inhabitants-in two ating both the moving power and the islands of such limited extent as Great manufacturing implements necessary Britain and Ireland ? Are we reason. to cover the earth with her fabrics. ably anxious how such a prodigious Blessed for ages with a free constitu crowd of human beings, increasing at tion, teeming in all quarters with the the rate of a thousand a day, in a great ardour of freedom, singularly temper- degree dependent, directly or indirected with moderation and ultimate so- ly, on foreign commerce, are to be briety of judgment, she is powerfully maintained, if the outlets of that com. moved by the ardour and energy which merce come to be impaired or closed are the great characteristics of demo- up amidst the vicissitudes of future cratic societies ; and yet she has hi. war, or the fast increasing decay of
* See Porter's Progress of the Nation, i. 217.
national strength ? Let us turn to our Is Ireland a source of incessant discolonies, and there we shall find young quietude ? - Has experience now provand rapidly growing states, to which ed, that all the efforts made to engraft all that surplus population would civilisation and order on its semi-barprove the most inestimable of blessings, barous Celtic, priest-ridden population, and whose boundless wastes invite the are ineffectual ?--that we have given hand of laborious industry, and the them emancipation of which they were powers of European art, to convert unworthy, and reform which has been them into fruitful fields.
prolific only of ruin ?
that conDo we fear, in the rapid progress flagration, rapine, and murder, are and keen rivalry of European manu steadily advancing before the breath of factures, and the uniform and immov an aspiring hierarchy, and atrocities able jealousy of European govern the most frightful daily committed ments, the decline or extinction of the under the eyes of a democratic go. accustomed vents for our manufactured vernment, by a reckless, bloody-mindproduce, in the old world? Let us look ed, infuriated peasantry? Even in these to the east, the west, and the south, melancholy circumstances—the dark. and we shall see empires rising up, est stain which the history of the world with the strength of an armed man, in has yet affixed to the Catholic faith, whose industry, wealth, and prospe and the cause of freedom and tolera. rity, is to be found the surest guaran- tion-aray of hope, opening a vista of tee, not merely forthe continuance, but ultimate felicity, is yet to be found in the boundless increase, of our manufac. the capabilities for receiving the surtured exports and maritime strength all plus population of the country which over the world. Do we observe with the colonies afford. Here; as in almost dread the progress of anarchical prin- all other cases where priestly ambition ciples amongst us, and mark the advent combined with revolutionary passion of that second, and well-known, and fires the torch, it is agrarian distress often-predicted periodin revolutionary and wide-spread misery which has laid progress, where the working.classes the train ; and, if we would apply who continue, are striving to revolt the only effectual remedy to the mul. against the rule of the middle classes tiplied evils which have so long faswho command, the movement? -- Even tened on that devoted land, we must here, too, the handwriting on the wall of commence with affording a vent to ages, while it marks our danger, points the overwhelming multitudes who now also to the only specific by which a overspread its surface, and finding em. remedy can be applied. These wide. ployment to the industrious poor who spread discontents- this monstrous may be left behind.
Here, again, the revolutionary ambition, which would colonies start up to lend a helping convert the illiterate, and rash, and too hand to the empire, when almost sink. often corrupted and profligate opera. ing under the load of that passiontives of great cities, into the rulers of desolated land in the waves. The the state, is chiefly dangerous, because innumerable bands of half-employed, it is pent up within narrow limits; it half-civilized, half-starving bigots, is by opening the safety-valve that the who now encumber its surface-the danger of the explosion is to be pre ready instruments, within its narrow vented. This violent democratic spirit and wasted bounds, of priestly ambi. is the mainspring of emigration--this tion or democratic vengeance-possess impatience of control, this desire to qualities which, if properly directed, rule, is the centrifugal force intended might be productive of prosperity, by Providence to overcome the cohe wealth, and comfort, to themselves and sive effect of babit and civilized enjoy. all around them. Diffused over the ment; and send forth the burning boundless wastes of America, Southern democrat to the wilderness of nature, Africa, and Australia, they would find with the Bible in one hand and the ample employment in reclaiming the axe in the other, to attempt in new wilderness to the first stage of improveworlds those fabled dreams of liberty ment; converted, by comparative comand equality which never can be real. fort, to industrious habits, they would ized in the old, and seek on distant cease to follow the hideous trade of shores that freedom, of which, in his assassination and conflagration ; enapprehension, Europe has become unabled to bring up, in rude plenty, a worthy
numerous offspring, they would be
come the progenitors of a bold, and the wall of Antoninus to the foot of hardy, and independent yeomanry. Mount Atlas, and from the river EuInsensibly, in the course of a few phrates to the Atlantic Ocean, was generations, their ferocity would be actuated by one spirit, governed by converted into valour, their restless. one set of laws, and inspired by one ness into activity, their indolence into unanimous sense of experienced obli. exertion, their disregard of human gation ? Simply because they conblood into the love of country and quered for the interest of the provinces home. From elements the most dis. even more than themselves; because cordant, from materials the most un. they consulted their wishes and desires promising, from passions the most even more than those of the ruling desolating in their native seats, Great state, and employed the vast army Britain possesses the means, not only which the resources of the empire of effectually liberating her own ter. enabled them to keep on foot, in exeritory from the dreadful evils under cuting great public works, constructing which it labours, but of realizing in bridges, and forming highways, to distant lands the beautiful vision of connect together their mighty dominthe poet:
ion. Why is not the navy of England
employed in similar beneficent pur“ Come, bright Improvement, in the car poses, to cement together its vast coof time,
lonial empire, embracing the globe in And rule the spacious world from clime its circuit, by the strong chain of exto clime;
perienced obligation? Why are the Thy handmaid Art shall every wild ex royal ships of England employed duplore,
ring peace merely in naval parades, Trace every wave, and culture every shore.
useless cruises, or inglorious observaOn Erie's banks, where tigers steal along,
tion of insult to the British flag, when And the dread Indian chants a dismal song; Where human fiends on midnight errands
their co-operation is so loudly called
for to relieve one part of the empire walk, And bathe in brains the murdering toma.
of its superfluous load of inhabitants, hawk
and transfer to another the muchThere shall the flocks on thymy pastures
needed supply of civilized industry?
Could foreign nations entertain any stray, And shepherds dance at summer's opening jealousy of the British navy, if employday ;
ed in great part in such a work of Each wandering Genius of the lovely glen manifest necessity and utility ? Could Shall start, to view the glittering haunts of fifty sail of the line, a hundred frigates,
and two hundred smaller vessels, be And silence mark, on woodland height better employed than in such a transaround,
ference of the resources of the empire The village curfew as it tolls profound." from those places where they are su
perfluous to those where they are reIs money awanting to carry these quired? If such a system was judi. generous designs into effect ?--are the ciously adopted, how rapid beyond all resources of the state, and more than that the world has ever seen, would its resources, required to meet the be the growth of the British colonies ? numerous foreign and domestic ene What would it signify that our Euromies by which its independence and pean trade was declining under the tranquillity are menaced ?-and is go withering embrace of reciprocity treavernment unable to lay its hand upon ties, if new fields of adventure were any funds at all commensurate to the daily arising, and new markets opening magnitude of the remedies which re on the shores of the St Lawrence, the quire to be applied to the state? --Here, wilds of Australia, or the mountains of too, the colonies afford a certain source New Zealand ? How soon would dis. of strength; and, in providing for their appear the discontents of the colonies, growth and protection, the surest thus constantly supplied by the grafoundation is laid for the independence tuitous efforts of the parent state, with and security of the parent state. How what to them is a perennial source was it that the Romans, for so many of strength, of wealth, and prosperity ages, held together the vast and un a continued influx of skilled and wieldy provinces of their empire, and civilized labourers? And what need we established a dominion which, from fear either the armies or navy of Rus.
sia, if fifty British line-of-battle ships, But it is not only by sins of omis. and twice as many frigates, regularly sion that the British Government has employed in the transport of emigrants been found wanting to its colonial to our colonial dependencies, were ever subjects ; its sins of commission have ready, with their crews which have been still more serious and flagrant; braved every breeze of the ocean, to and there is perhaps no parallel to be protect the majesty of the empire from found, in the long annals of human injury or insult ?
misrule and oppression, to the cataThe British empire exhibits at this logue of injuries with which the domi. moment, on the opposite side of the nant multitude in the British islands ocean, a social aspect so peculiar and have alienated the affections of their remarkable, that the intention of Pro. West Indian possessions. In treating vidence in regard to it, the purposes of this momentous subject, we shall not it is destined to serve in the moral immerse our readers and ourselves in improvement of mankind, and the a sea of details : we shall not quote means which remain for the delivery angry resolutions of the House of Comof itself from impending ruin, are as mons, or semi-rebellious speeches in the clearly marked out as if they were House of Assembly; we shall not go declared in thunders from the clouds into details of prison acts, or comof Mount Sinai. On the one side of plaints against Baptist missionaries, the ocean, is an old, densely peopled, or misdeeds of prejudiced stipendiary and highly civilized nation, teeming magistrates. All these are important with energy, buoyant with spirit, but topics, which are the proper subject cramped by want of territory, and of consideration for Government or suffering under numerous real, and still the Legislature, when the specific submore numerous imaginary, evils. On jects to which they relate are brought its opposite shore, at the distance of under consideration ; but they are not many thousand miles, other provinces the real causes of the discord. Like of the same empire are to be seen, the last angry notes in a diplomatic boundless in extent, teeming with correspondence which terminates in riches, overflowing with fertility, but war, they bespeak a previously excited covered with the jungle and the forest, rancour and state of exasperation, and the abode of the tiger and the rhino may be held out as the ostensible ceros, yet requiring nothing but the causes of difference, but they are not superfluous hands of the parent state the real grounds of hostility. It is in to convert them into a terrestrial pa- previous injuries, in deep and irreradise. To give effectual relief to the mediable wounds inflicted by the inold empire, nothing is needed but to justice of the parent state, that the adopt the measures which would at real cause of discord is to be found. once give life and vigour to the new. It is evident that the rule of a disBetween the two lies the British navy, tant parent state, over powerful, and raised upapparently by providential vigorous, and distant colonies, can only care to universal dominion, and once continue for a succession of ages if pumbering a thousand pendants on the founded on three principles :-Ist, A ocean ; capable, while it protects the fair and equal reciprocity of advantages integrity of the whole empire, of afford- between the central empire and the ing the means of rapid, safe, and gras colonial possessions. 2d, The esta. tuitous transmission of the surplus of blishment in the colonies of the same one part to supply the wants of an general frame of government as obtains other. Yet, oh, incredible blindness in the parent state: under such modiof mankind! this navy, at once the fications only, as necessarily are sugo glory, andcement, and strength of this gested by the difference in their phymighty empire, which could convert sical or social situation. 3d, The the ocean into a secure paved high maintenance of such an armed force, way encircling the globe, has, under naval and military, by the mother democratic influence and direction, country, as may compensate to its re. been suffered almost to become ex mote offspring the want of independtinct, and not a king's ship has ever ence by the certainty of protection. been employed in that useful labour It is remarkable, that while demowhich could at once enrich, strength. cratic institutions in the parent state en, invigorate, and mutually endear are the mainspring of all colonial advenevery part of the empire.
ture-the centrifugal force by which,