Page images

the labourer, and pay him for the article with subsistence, omits to employ the labourer because the capitalist offers the article, already made, for less. Here we see the capitalist competing with the labourer--the holder of accumulated labour with the possessor of labour unaccumulated; and the labourer loses subsistence that the capitalist may obtain ‘profit.' Machinery, the unfeeding labourer of the capitalist, is continually superseding labour; and the economical optimists have by no means made it clear that it employs more labour than it displaces, or indirectly calls into activity a proportion of food-producing labour to feed the classes who depend upon the barter of labour for the means of life. Compare the rate of wages in Lancashire in 1849 with the rate in 1839. It is the redundant increase of capital that sets this mischievous process at work, and Mr. Wakefield, we say, suggests nothing to remedy that evil tendency. Colonization would palliate it, but would only postpone the final and fatal result.

Mr. Wakefield notices the tendency of population to increase faster than the means of subsistence, treating the land and its productivity as a fixed quantity. The redundancy of population shows itself in the intense competition,' not of labourer with capitalist, but of labourer with labourer. Again, we notice that he denounces as mischievous, under certain circumstances, that competition which economists usually deem beneficial-also, that his plan, though it palliates and postpones the day of account, suggests no remedy for the evil tendency. In default of colonization, our author seems to fall back upon the sort of moral restraint indicated by Malthus. [See page 88.) During the process of colonization, indeed, this momentous question would be deferred. “If coloniza'tion proceeded faster than capital and people increased, hurtful 'competition would be at an end; and yet capital and people

might increase here in Great Britain faster than they do now.' But what of the ultimate future? What of the day when colonial lands are filled up of the day when Europe and America will ask each other the question that now forces itself upon us in these crowded islands? The day, Mr. Wakefield might answer, is so distant, that we need not trouble our heads with finding a reply. We suspect, however, that if he were forced to enter upon the subject, so far-seeing and conscientious a reasoner would take a view at once much less gloomy and selfish than that. If the day is distant, we already see the process at work, already feel in a degree the effects; and it is impossible that we can alienate from our solicitude the ulterior destinies of our species.

The effect of colonization is not to settle these questions of ratio between population and production, but nevertheless, it is a process most valuable, as proposing to gain for mankind time to develope and settle questions determining the third ratio on which the welfare of nations must depend—the ratio between the development of knowledge and the increase of population -in other words, the development of the arts of production, government, and ethics. We are too apt to look on the social system under which we live as if it were final. No sociologist, indeed, would hazard such an assertion in bare terms; but because we feel the system under which we live irresistible in its control over our own actions, the mind is led to assume that the irresistible power must be inherent in the system itself; whereas, it really lies in the deficient power of individual generations to escape from the slow-growing habits of ages. We cannot at once start off from the habits which our ancestors, through many generations, have been forming for us. Our successors will, in like manner, be trammelled by the habits which we are forming for them. Nevertheless, the system under which we live has not been eternal; it is not even ancient. In its most essential parts, it is strictly modern. In religion, we are separated from the ancient world; our physical science was unknown, excepting in its rudest conjectural generalizations ; commerce, as we understand it, has grown up since the middle ages; municipal government, as it is developed in modern times, is the growth of the same era. Man, therefore, has lived within the authentic records of history under wholly different social systems; systems so different from our own, that those living under them would have laughed at our own plan as an impracticable project. Happily, then, we are not doomed to consider the too exclusively commercial tendencies of modern times as the final manifestation of human genius; nor are we to regard as final those terms on the relation of which the actual system of society and the Wakefield system of palliatives both depend.

Colonization, however, will not only gain time for the evolution of knowledge, but will also extend the sphere of observation by increasing the scope and variety of the experiences which man will gather in different climates, different positions, and different periods. Contemporaneously with the suggestion of these ulterior questions may be observed a marked change in the modes of discussion. If religious controversy has not ceased, certainly there is far less bitterness between the widest opponents, far greater modesty on all sides, far less presumption even in that which may still be called the extreme of bigotry or of scepticism. Discussion is carried on in a more modest and faithful spirit. There is also less estrangement between the faculties of imagination and observation ; both have learnt to borrow assistance from each other. Science tends to common objects by a greater consolidation; and if we only perceive hints of the bearing which positive science may have on polity in the writings of great generalizers like Humboldt and Comte, still it is a fact that the idea has been struck out.

With the growth of knowledge, sound colonization should enlarge the power of the empire. A most important light which has come upon modern discussion is the more intelligent conception of the old dogma that might is right. Rude instincts are apt to jump to true conclusions, though they cannot justify them. It is almost a self-evident proposition that, under the sanction of divine laws, all human progress must be made by human power; and the old dogma which we have mentioned but recently acquires its true form in the maxim, that human progress depends upon the right development and application of human power. The effect of this altered view on the future progress of mankind may be incalculable. The efforts of the patriot, which have been wasted in ceaseless labour and frustration, because they were limited to enforcing checks against existing power, may henceforward be directed more fruitfully, either to inspiring existing powers with a better informed wisdom, or if that be hopeless, in developing some greater power which shall supersede the other. A shining example of the development of power, by conversion, may be instanced in the conversion of Constantine. The other kind is exemplified by the growth of the municipal system in Europe. Both these great changes have done infinitely more through their positive than their negative results—through the power which they developed than the annulling of that which they destroyed. It would hardly be philosophical to say that the municipal system has crushed the power of kings, for the most absolute of feudal chieftains was a beggar in his command of luxury and extent of influence over the globe, or in his faculty of doing good, as compared with Queen Victoria. It is not by checking the power of this or that class - by overturning a dynasty, expelling a king, or crushing an aristocracy, that positive power is to be developed. These are but negative processes. So it is less by destroying sectional power, than by developing the aggregate power of a country, that its faculties for securing its own advancement and that of mankind are to be developed. England is enabled to work much practical good in the world, not only because she has the intelligence to devise it, but because she has the power to carry out her device; and, perhaps, it may be said, that even as it is, her intelligence goes beyond her practical power. It is not, therefore, by abridging or annulling any of the real powers inherent in the nation, that her mission for good is to be promoted. Little good would it bode the nations of the earth, for instance, if England were to abate her ocean ascendancy until other nations can arise equally enlightened, and equally able to cope with the elements. Here is one more high function for colonization: England obtained her ascendancy acquired by war: she may maintain it by colonization-by the peaceful employment of an immense revenue in the building up of colonies and the trade thence arising - vast nursery' for seamen, vast school of nautical power.

There are many other modes in which colonization would open the way for developing the cramped powers of England. Among the perplexities which have arisen from our high state of social cultivation, is its tendency to put most kinds of occupation into a certain routine, and thus to check that energetic action which seems to be a necessity for the full growth of vitality. Our too exclusively commercial inclination has had some share in that; also, perhaps, a disproportionate preference for merely intellectual pursuits. Colonization is a remedy; it helps to restore man to his primitive relation with the land ; affords a field for energetic action in enterprises accordant with a most enlightened spirit; harmonizes the claims of rude life and the impulses of chivalry with the utmost refinement of civilization. It seems, therefore, to reconcile the primitive nature of mankind with the highest state of culture.

But in order to a great whole, the parts of a powerful empire must themselves be powerful. To that end they must be truly free, bound to us by desire, from sympathy of concordant powers. They should be highly developed states concurrent in one empire; hence they should have considerable individuality. The colonies of England have been, and must be, peopled by a race of one type, the Anglo-Saxon race; but thrown into countries that present every variety of climate, of geological structure, and natural features, the race necessarily undergoes several modifications; and consistently with our theory, that upon the whole the progress of mankind is to be promoted rather by a right development of the powers than a frustration of them, it is manifestly desirable less to check these variations in the national type than to set them free for their best development. Undoubtedly, it is found that the modifications which the English constitution undergoes in the several colonies—the peculiar physical capacities which are brought forth - the bent which is given to the genius--the tastes which are incited by the special demands and opportunities severally of North America, South Africa, or Australia, are admirably suited to make the most of the resources offered by those regions, and to endow those sections of the English family with the highest faculties for enjoying happiness, transmitting it to their progeny, and enlarging it for all mankind. Each section of the colonial empire would thus acquire its distinct nationality, to be drawn out, not checked, by the fostering of the imperial rule. But genuine federation would unite the whole by one universal citizenship for the British subject throughout the empire, by the reciprocation of material benefits between metropolis and colonies, by the universal security for freedom, and by opening to every colonist the path of honourable ambition, even to the highest posts of the empire, through the many branches of official and parliamentary activity in the colonies.

But we are forgetting the actual in the possible—the future is leading us from the present; which is, alas! wholly unlike this splendid dream. The things that we dream of exist—the colonies are there, the empire and its vast resources; but the commanding spirit—the men to conceive the idea of that future, to put the elements together, and build the great federation for which we have the materials—where are they? Living, perhaps, but certainly not in office.

Art. VIII. (1.) Euvres de F. Rabelais. Nouvelle Edition. Par

L. JACOB, Bibliophile. 1 vol. Paris : Charpentier. 1847. (2.) The Works of Francis Rabelais. Translated from the French

by Sir Thomas URQUHART and MOTTEUX; with Explanatory Notes by DuchaT, Ozell, and others. A New Edition, revised,

and with additional Notes. 2 vols. London: Bohn. 1849. In 1530, Luther, now an elderly man, had already accomplished more than half his great work, and the young Frenchman, Calvin, was just beginning his career as a theologian, when an erratic fellow-countryman of the latter, a vagabond monk or priest, that had long been at a loss what to do with himself, came to Montpellier, and was matriculated at the university there as a student of medicine, by the name of Francis Rabelais. He must have seemed somewhat of an old fellow to be commencing a new course of study, for he was then in his fortyeighth year—that is to say, exactly as old as Luther, and about

« PreviousContinue »