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BRIEF REFLECTIONS

AND

SUGGESTIONS

REGARDING SEVERAL SUBJECTS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH

THE POWER AND PROSPERITY

OF THE

BRITISH EMPIRE.

IN TWO PARTS.-PART II.

[Concluded from No. LV.]

LONDON:-1827.

CHAP. VI.

Colonies-Policy of endowing them with governments in an infant state which will be suitable to them in adult independence-Exemplified in the relative conditions of the North American and West India coloniesExpensive and impolitic mode of governing the latter-Changes suggested -Benefits arising from a gradual equalisation of rights among the popu lation there-Justice and policy of admitting colonies to elect generally their own civil officers-Improper description of individuals frequently sent out to fill these situations-Hatred engendered against the mother-country in consequence-Necessity of furnishing codes of instructions to governors -Advantages resulting from exposés of the annual improvements and finances of respective colonies, and of having the salaries of governors paid from the colonial revenue-Benefits of encouraging European colonisation in India-Instruction and christianising of the natives, and qualifying them for offices there equally with Europeans.

In the settling of colonies, their governments ought to be modelled after the shape such will naturally assume when the respective countries to which they are adapted arrive at a state of maturity, because the period ought always to be looked forward to when colonies will as naturally throw off the control of the mother country, as a child will that of its parent; and therefore institutions ought to be adapted to it, in its state of infancy, VOL. XXVIII. Pam. NO. LVI. Y

which, with but little alteration, will be equally applicable in its manhood, saving it thus from those revolutionary struggles which must eventually ensue in every country where the governments are not modelled to suit the peculiar situation and habits of the people.

If the country colonised is diminutive in extent, or is likely to continue always thinly peopled and poor, then the nearer its government approaches the true republican form, the more suitable will it be both to its present and its future wants, because such is the mode of government it will naturally assume, both as being the cheapest and the most likely to endure from the poverty of the country, keeping all classes on that footing of equality, in respect to wealth and influence, which serves as the best check to the aspiring views of ambitious men towards despotic power. If, however, the country is destined to be populous, powerful, and rich, then its institutions ought to be modelled so as to adapt its government to that of a limited constitutional monarchy, to prevent those struggles eventually ensuing between the various influential individuals and the various hostile political parties in the state, for the highly-prized (and probably profitable) honor of ruling over it, and between those of property and those of no property, which would eventually end in some bold and ambitious individual raising himself to arbitrary power during such factious contentions. Canada and (probably) Australia may be classed under the latter descriptions of countries, to whose political state constitutional monarchism will eventually be the best adapted; while almost all our other colonies are either too insignificant in extent of territory (like our West India islands), or their territory is too barren (like the Cape) for the support of a wealthy and crowded population, to make any other form of government than the republican suitable to their particular state. In such colonies, therefore, a monied and a landed aristocracy will naturally in process of time spring up; and the mode of government instituted ought to be such as will rather facilitate than hinder the consummation of this natural course of things; fashioning thus the institutions founded to meet present wants, with a view to answer also future exigences-exigences which will naturally result in a country so circumstanced, and in a society so constituted. Thus all those possessing a certain amount of landed property in colonies such as these, might constitute in course of time the privileged class from which the county council could alone elect members to serve as members of his Majesty's colonial council; the governor having at the same time the power of adding to this body by members appointed for life as at present, and having also the power delegated to him of conferring honors of knighthood: so

that with the order of knights and of honorables, (as all the members of council are designated, like those of the American senates,) the minds of the community would be gradually biassed towards a form of government in which a nobility deriving their honors from great virtue, great talents, or eminent services done to the state, would serve as a bulwark between the supreme government and the populace, to guard the liberties of the country against the excesses of either; and at the same time serve as an example of imitation to the other classes in the state for the guidance of their conduct, seeing the honorable and permanent rewards that private worth and public merit could command.

In the West India islands, again, a sort of federal form of government, like that existing in the United States, seems most suitable to their wants. Can there be a greater absurdity indeed than that of a paltry island, scarcely exceeding in extent or population a good English parish, having its resources impoverished, and its energies borne down, by the supporting of government with a salary of several thousands a year, and a host of judges and other functionaries of many thousands more? thousands more? Can a poor island possibly prosper with such a load of troubles on its back? In fact, the greater portion of these islands ought to be looked on simply in the light of corporate towns, each having its separate legislature for the passing of local acts: delegates from the council and assembly of each island meeting annually in some of the most centrical of them, to pass general laws and taxation bills, referable to the whole, under the sanction of the governor-general of the group, who would call together, prorogue and dissolve such bodies in the same manner as is done now. Steam-boats would admit of these voyages being readily accomplished, while judges, appointed too for the group, might go their circuits for the trial of criminal cases affecting life, and for hearing appeals from the respective island local courts. With our government, and our set of judges for the whole group, what a saving would here accrue; allowing the house of assembly of each island to fill up the vacancies in the council, one-third of which might go out in rotation every second year, but be eligible to re-election again, the council appointing its own president, who would be the local governor, and with the advice of two members of the council and two of the assembly, appointed by each body, exercise all the duties of the present governors; their measures, however, subject to the reversion of the governor in chief, by stating in writing his reasons of dissent.

The members of assembly in the West India islands are elected by the parishes, therefore county councils would be here generally unadvisable; but as the population in these islands are separated

by stronger distinctive lines than even those of England, and consequently the strength of each colony is greatly impaired thereby, it becomes a point of most manifest importance to devise a plan whereby the whole may be more intimately united, that not only the internal tranquillity of each colony, and consequently the property in it, may be rendered more secure, but that it may be rendered more powerful to resist its external enemies. These points might be in a great measure attained, by admitting gradually all individuals above the class of blacks to the same rights and privileges as white men; and permitting free men of every color and of mature age the privilege of voting for members of assembly in the country parishes. Such measures would require to be very slowly and cautiously introduced, so as not to do too much violence to the prejudices at present existing; but it is evident that such measures would unite the colored population, which is both numerous, active, industrious, and intelligent, to the white population, and thereby insure, in a great measure, the tranquillity of the colony. People in every country are fonder of uniting with a higher than a lower caste; and never was this more strikingly exemplified than in the West Indies. In St. Domingo the partiality of the colored population to the whites, and their dislike and distrust of the blacks, was most manifest throughout the struggles there; and had the whites but conceded equal privileges to their colored brethren at the commencement of the revolution, it would have been smothered at the very outset. Every one who has resided in the West Indies must have witnessed how much the colored people there look down on those even a shade darker than themselves, and how bitterly they will persecute one of their class who marries a black person.

By conferring equal privileges, therefore, on the colored population, an immense advance would be made towards the securing of internal tranquillity and property in our West India islands; while, by admitting free men of all castes to vote at the country elections, the landed proprietors would begin to give a preference to free laborers over slaves, in order to increase their political influence in the island, because the free laborers would naturally give their votes to those who employed them, which would tend to a gradual emancipation of the slaves, and to the substitution of free for slave labor. It has been remarked, that Africans are averse to steady labor, and that consequently the moment compulsion ceases they will cease to work; but we find all nations in an imperfect state of civilisation equally averse to steady labor, though doing as much at taskwork as the most industrious and regular laborers could accomplish. The more uncivilised portions of the Irish, who will not perform half the labor of an English

man when working from day to day, will generally far excel the latter at taskwork with which they are acquainted; and no class of people can work harder in this sort of way than many of the free blacks in the West Indies, or such as pay a certain weekly sum for liberty to labor for themselves. In several of the West India islands this plan of taskwork is getting into vogue, and no doubt the best results will attend it, as it is the best preparation to a system of steady labor. I spoke in recommendation of the free people of all classes in the country parishes only having a right to vote for members of the assembly; this is with the view of elevating the workmen on the estates in some measure above the workmen in towns, and turning the tide of popularity in favor of a country life among the lower classes there, which now tends in a contrary way: for when a town black has called a country black (equally black with himself) a "dam black plantation nigga," you may know that he has been terribly provoked, and has now ejected his last drop of gall in that most contemptuous epithet.

By such a course of measures the tranquillity of these colonies would be so firmly established, that not a single white soldier would be required in them, excepting probably Jamaica; and an immense saving of not only money, but of human life, result therefrom: for if regiments of colored people and free blacks inured to the climate were raised to garrison them, officered by whites and people of color, all the security resulting from white troops would be attained without the immense waste of life that ensues from the garrisoning them with European troops. But this is not all, it is from America that the greatest danger arises to our West India colonies; but were equal rights with the whites conceded to the people of color, and the blacks elevated again above the same class in America, both parties would unite heart and hand in opposing the aggressions of a people who kept their whole body in such a state of degradation, and by a submission to whom they must expect to be reduced to the same debased level.

The whole of the colonial appointments ought to rest with the governor-general, acting under the advice of the executive council, or of the president and executive council of each respective island, giving a preference, as far as possible, to natives of the colonies, as being the best entitled thereto, inasmuch as the salaries of their offices being liquidated by the respective colonies, those borne therein have the best title to enjoy the like. The bringing up of the colonial youth to fill government situations is strongly recommended for the Cape colony by Commissioner Bigge, and is already in the course of being acted on in New South Wales by its excellent archdeacon, for filling all the church livings there. This course will doubtless prove at first very unpalatable to the

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