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ART. VII. (1.) A View of the Art of Colonization, with present re
ference to the British Empire; in Letters between a Statesman and a Colonist. Edited by (one of the Writers) EDWARD GIBBON WAKEFIELD. London: John W. Parker, West Strand. 1849. [In an Appendix, the late Mr. Charles Buller's Speech
on Colonization, in 1843, is reprinted.] (2.) The Colonies of England: a Plan for the Government of some
Portion of our Colonial Possessions. By JOHN ARTHUR ROE
BUCK, M.P. London: John W. Parker, West Strand. 1849. (3.) The Australian Colonies Government Bill Discussed. By C.
B. ADDERLEY, M.P. THAT the British empire should be threatened with disruption is an idea so alien from our habits of thought, so foreign to our daily experience in the jog-trot working of public affairs, that we are almost unable to realize it in a distinct shape. To-day has followed yesterday, to-morrow will follow to-day, each so like the other, that we become hardened to the disbelief in change. "The singular tranquillity of the country' during the convulsion of Europe has strengthened our apathetic assurance. States have fallen; but we are not as other states. The very mediocrity of the talent and spirit which are in the ascendant seems to favour our reliance on the
permanency of the
present regime. England may be great; but there is no dangerous greatness in her present statesmen. Nevertheless, the danger does exist, and is all the greater from our inability to form an adequate conception of it.
The danger takes its origin in facts not difficult to comprehend. In the progress of time, our race is spreading itself over distant lands, acquiring in those lands new ideas, new wants, and new capacities of action. Those new ideas, wants, and capacities have outgrown the system under which they are governed from the central office in Downing-street. The colonial sections of our family are actuated by necessities and aspirations which are incomprehensible in that cul-de-sac. Meanwhile, however, the clerks there residing virtually wield the instrument of imperial power. Each colony, moved by its necessities, has some policy; in Downing-street, the grand policy is to have no policy-to prevent action, even the growth of the colonies, or the peaceful extension of the empire. In this way the Colonial Office has a controversy with every colony, in which it may be said that the statesmanship lies on the side of the colony, the overwhelming power on the side of the Colonial Office; that the statesmanship of the weaker community is stultified by the quasi statesmanship of the empire. Not perceiving the nature of its own relation to the colonies, the Office betrays the utter absence of any wish to improve that relation. These terms will be thought too sweeping by those who remember how complicated the details of colonial quarrels have been, and thence infer, as usual, that much may be said on both sides ;' but we speak with the details present to our mind—we speak from a view of the whole—and, thus advised, still feel justified in declaring that the broad facts stand as we have asserted them.
At this very moment, there is not one section of the colonial empire that is not in a state of open resistance to the government in London. Surely that single fact is in itself sufficiently striking and alarming. Canada is in a state of suppressed rebellion. “Responsible government—that is, the spirit of English government by responsible ministries applied to the colonies -has been worked so maladroitly, that the actual Governor has permitted his present cabinet to introduce and carry a bill which is reasonably construed to indemnify the old adherents of the present governing party for losses incurred by active participation in rebellion. Complicated with that administrative scandal are questions of race, which official maladroitness has also tended to stimulate rather then assuage. The British party—that is, the Anti-Gallican party, the Anti-Republican party-has been mortified and exasperated into flagrant rebellion. The Governor, the representative of the British crown, might have been expected to stand forward in the conflict, and to maintain with fortitude that dignified neutrality' that he himself recommended, and that might have done so much to rebuke the excesses on both sides : he found no better way of preserving his "dignified' neutrality than by shutting himself in a country house surrounded with guards; and he only emerged when there appeared to be a lull in the storm. Thus, it may
be said, that in Canada loyalty and attachment to the British connexion are in rebellion, authority defies right, and the sovereignty is in contempt. Worn out with the inconsistencies of the London rule, despising its administration, hopeless of any effective government, all parties in the colony talk of separation, and a paper has been established as the organ of that party, the Canadian Independent. Now, what, in such circumstances, is the conduct of the central government? Most curious. When all London knew of the outbreak in Montreal which routed the Assembly, and visited the representative of the Sovereign with personal indignity, the organ of the Colonial Office in the House of Commons, Mr. Under-Secretary Hawes, declared that he knew nothing of any disturbance! When the common news is brought home to Lord Grey, so that he cannot avoid knowing whateverybody knows, he thinks that he defends his rule by some special pleading to represent himself and his colleagues as following out Lord Durham's responsible government—they had left it all to the local Ministers and the majority of the colonial Commons; and finally, Lord John Russell declares that Ministers confide everything to the ability and discretion of Lord Elgin-of that man, who being stoned in Montreal, greatly daring, carried his dignified neutrality to keep it safe into the back parlour of a country house! *
Such is the state of the great colony in British North America. But there is not one other of the whole group which does not in some way share the discontent. Nova Scotia has its squabbles about responsible government. New Brunswick has shown sympathies with the British League, and deplores its great colonizing railroad as pooh-poohed in Downing-street. The normal state of Newfoundland is discontent. The newest colony of North America, Vancouver's Island, part of Oregon, is alienated to the Hudson's Bay Company, only to elicit proofs. that the Company is incapable of colonizing: The Company has governed its single settlement of Red River tyranically, and most probably lays its account with keeping as much of North America a desert as it can, in order to delay the ultimate extinction of the decaying fur trade.
The West Indies have a right to complain that each year, by the mere lapse of time, adds to the grievous injustice of their case. Whether they have been right or wrong in particular questions of policy—whether, in the course of the controversy, the statesmen of the colonies have fallen into serious mistakes
* Proceedings in the Canadian Parliament. April 25, 26, and 27.—Proceedings at the Meeting of Inhabitants of Montreal. April 27.—[The contest, however, had amounted to open warfare during the whole of the two preceding months, and had filled the Canadian papers.). — Proceedings in Parliament. March 19. — News arriving in London of the violent contest, Mr. M.Kenzie asks about it; and Mr. Hawes declares that he has po knowledge of the introduction of the Compensation Bill in the Canadian parliament. March 22.—Answering Mr. Gladstone's inquiry on the same subject, Mr. Hawes explains that he had used the word
dispatches' advisedly, because Lord Grey had received a private letter' on the subject! May 15.-Lord Stanley's questions, and Lord Grey's replies; Lord Elgin's dispatch, April 30, reporting the disturbances. June 19.-Lord Brougham's motion on Canadian affairs. [The reader will also peruse with advantage an article in the Spectator of the 31st March, headed “The Canadian question made easy.']
† Proceedings in Parliament. March 26.-Lord Stanley's motion on responsible government in the North American colonies in general, and in Nova Scotia in particular. June 19.-Lord Lincoln's statement in the House of Commons relative to Vancouver's Island.
-are questions that do not alter the nature of the broad fact: no party can give its approval to the conduct of the British government; no party can say that its expectations have been fulfilled. The planters were promised that free labour would be as productive as slave labour ; but since emancipation, the planters have been undergoing a rapid and steady process of ruin. The negroes were promised freedom and good wages: they enjoyed a brief fool's paradise of enormous wages; and now, in some parts, the negro labourer of the West Indies has learnt to know that shocking infliction which has often visited the less cherished English labourer--starvation. Jamaica and British Guiana have declared that their broken fortunes prevent their paying as they used to do for official rule: deprived of slaves, and not allowed to multiply free workmen by immigration-deprived by free trade of protection in their staples, and not allowed free trade in labour, they have made retrenchment the cardinal point of the controversy both in Jamaica and in British Guiana. Official rule has consented to accept the disgraceful position of anti-retrenchment. In British Guiana, authority has been stretched to appropriate the public monies; and to defeat an opposition in the peculiarly exclusive parliament of the Colony, Governor Barkly has introduced a special little reform. The Colony has retorted by demanding a real reform-a thorough reconstruction of its representative system. Jamaica has taken up the same broad and incontrovertible ground. It is true the sub-management system in the West Indies is such that under it no colony can or ought to be really prosperous, whatever might be the wisdom and virtue of the parent government. But the policy of the Home Office should have been to fix the blame on the right shoulders, and not to have become parties to it. The more corrupt the system, the more need that the mischiefs of that corruptness should not, under any pretext, be cast upon ourselves. It is true, also, that Lord Grey inherited much of the difficulties now stated from his predecessors; but it is under him that the quarrel has taken a turn most detrimental to authority, so that it ultimately stands thus : while the two colonies are vindicating the common and indisputable rights of British subjects, the English Minister is chaffering for a few pounds more to be tacked on to the Governor's salary; while the colonists allege practical difficulties, and demand practical measures, Lord Grey makes light of the difficulties, quotes garbled extracts from dispatches which describe those difficulties in order to make out the opposite case, and thinks that he has vindicated British statesmanship by sending
over long literary compositions full of abstract principles and generalizing exhortations under the name of dispatches.
The case of the Cape of Good Hope is in all the papers, and fresh in the memory of our readers. The government in London does not well know what to do with its collections of criminals since transportation to Australia was stopped; and Lord Grey, who has concocted some new inventions on that head, undertook to distribute the convicts, after a certain probation, among the colonies. When the friends of the colonies objected, he declared that he would not do so without consulting the colonists, and a dispatch to Sir Henry Smith, the governor of the Cape, intimated as much. The bare proposition raised a tumult of indignation at the Cape. The Colony had never been tainted with convictism; and it may be said that, through all their errors, the colonists have shown a strong sense of morality. But what was their amazement, when they learned that Lord Grey, instead of fulfilling his promise to await their expression of opinion, had given orders to send out a body of Irish rioters and common convicts from Bermuda, boys from the reformatory prisons in England, and military convicts from the British possessions beyond the Cape. Meetings were held throughout the country; two large meetings in Cape Town and Graham's Town on the 4th of July, the day of American independence. Protests were poured in upon the Governor, calling upon him to send away the ship bearing the convicts. The colonists everywhere entered into the pledge,' which bound them not to employ any convicts; not to have any connexion with those who should employ them; not to furnish supplies for the convicts of government; not to give credit, or money, or help, to persons entering into contract with that govern
All classes joined in this pledge. The Legislative Council protested; holders of office resigned their posts; and
For the Jamaica case, the reader may consult the following references:Proceedings in House of Assembly. January 23-Demand for measures of retrenchment; January 24-Prorogation; June 26 — Legislative Council and House of Assembly called together to hear Lord Grey's dispatches read; committee of Assembly reply in firm but temperate language ; July 6—The Governor dissolves the House of Assembly.—Proceedings at the Public Meeting in Kingston. March 6, to petition for similar form of government to that of the North American provinces. For British Guiana, refer to Proceedings in Court of Policy. February 20–Governor's address; February 26—Reply of the Court.-Proceedings in the Combined Court. February 27—Commencement of the new governor's troubles ; March 6—Reply to governor's address; April 2–Governor Barkly's little Reform Bill somewhat enlarging the franchise ; July 13–Governor Barkly's address urging them to vote the supplies; July 16-Court's response, peremptorily calling for representative institutions like those of Canada. Proceedings in Parliament. February 20–Mr. Baillie's motion for inquiry into the discontents of British Guiana and Ceylon.