Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

be the case to any violent degree. Men spoke of the war as openly as they did at Boston, and in speaking to me generally connected England with the subject. But they did so simply to ask questions as to England's policy.. What will she do for cotton when her operatives are really pressed? Will she break the blockade? Will she insist on a right to trade with Charleston and New Orleans? I always answered that she would insist on no such right, if that right were denied to others and the denial enforced. England, I took upon myself to say, would not break a veritable blockade, let her be driven to what shifts she might in providing for her operatives. “Ah; that's what we fear,” a very stanch patriot said to me, if words may be taken as a proof of stanchness. “If England allies herself with the Southerners, all our trouble is for nothing.” It was impossible not to feel that all that was said was complimentary to England. It is her sympathy that the Northern men desire, to her co-operation that they would willingly trust, on her honesty that they would choose to depend. It is the same feeling whether it shows itself in anger or in curiosity. An American whether he be embarked in politics, in literature, or in commerce, desires English admiration, English appreciation of his energy, and English encouragement. The anger of Boston is but a sign of its affectionate friendliness. What feeling is so hot as that of a friend when his dearest friend refuses to share his quarrel or to sympathize in his wrongs? To my thinking the men of Boston are wrong and unreasonable in their anger; but were I a man of Boston I should be as wrong and as unreasonable as any of them. All that, however, will come right. I will not believe it possible that there should in very truth be a quarrel between England and the Northern States.

În the guidance of those who are not quite au fait at the details of American Government, I will here in a few words describe the outlines of State Government as it is arranged in New Hampshire. The States in this respect are not all alike, the modes of election of their officers and periods of service being different. Even the franchise is different in different States. Universal suffrage is not the rule throughout the United States; though it is I believe very generally thought in England that such is the fact. I need hardly say that the laws in the different States may be as various as the different legislatures may choose to make them.

In New Hampshire universal suffrage does prevail; which means that any man may vote who lives in the State, supports himself, and assists to support the poor by means of poor rates. A governor of the State is elected for one year only, but it is customary or at any rate not uncustomary to re-elect him for a second year. His salary is a thousand dollars a year, or 2001. It must be presumed therefore that glory and not money is his object. To him is appended a council, by whose opinions he must in a great degree be guided. His functions are to the State what those of the President are to the country, and for the short period of his reign he is as it were a Prime Minister of the State with certain very limited regal attributes. He however by no means enjoys the regal attribute of doing no wrong. In every State there is an Assembly, consisting of two houses of elected representatives; the Senate, or upper house, and the House of Representatives so called. In New Hampshire this Assembly, or Parliament, is styled The General Court of New Hampshire. It sits annually; whereas the legislature in many States sits only every other year. Both Houses are re-elected every year. This Assembly passes laws with all the power vested in our Parliament, but such laws apply of course only to the State in question. The Governor of the State has a veto on all bills passed by the two Houses. But, after receipt of his veto, any bill so stopped by the Governor can be passed by a majority of two thirds in each House. The General Court generally sits for about ten weeks. There are in the State eight judges, three Supreme who sit at Concord, the capital, as a court of appeal both in civil and criminal matters; and then five lesser judges, who go circuit through the State. The salaries of these lesser judges do not exceed from 2501. to 3001. a year; but they are, I believe, allowed to practise as lawyers in any counties except those in which they sit as judges,-being guided in this respect by the same law as that which regulates the work of assistant barristers in Ireland. The assistant barristers in Ireland are attached to the counties as judges at Quarter Sessions, but they practise or may practise as advocates in all counties except that to which they are so attached. The judges in New Hampshire are appointed by the Governor with the assistance of his Council. No judge in New Hampshire can hold his seat after he has reached seventy years of age.

So much at the present moment with reference to the Government of New Hampshire.

CHAPTER IV.

LOWER CANADA.

The Grand Trunk Railway runs directly from Portland to Montreal, which latter town is, in fact, the capital of Canada, though it never has been so exclusively, and, as it seems, never is to be so, as regards authority, government, and official name. In such matters authority and government often say one thing while commerce says another; but commerce always has the best of it, and wins the game whatever Government may decree. Albany in this way is the capital of the State of New York, as authorized by the State Government; but New York has made herself the capital of America, and will remain so. So also Montreal has made herself the capital of Canada. The Grand Trunk Railway runs from Portland to Montreal; but there is a branch from Richmond, a township within the limits of Canada, to Quebec; so that travellers to Quebec, as we were, are not obliged to reach that place via Montreal.

Quebec is the present seat of Canadian Government, its turn for that honour having come round some two years ago; but it is about to be deserted in favour of Ottawa, a town which is, in fact, still to be built on the river of that name. The public edifices are, however, in a state of forwardness; and if all goes well the Governor, the two Councils, and the House of Representatives will be there before two years are over, whether there be any town to receive them or no. Who can think of Ottawa without bidding his brothers to row, and reminding them that the stream runs fast, that the rapids are near and the daylight past? I asked, as a matter of course, whether Quebec was much disgusted at the proposed change, and I was told that the feeling was not now very strong. Had it been determined to make Montreal the permanent seat of government Quebec and Toronto would both have been in arms.

I must confess that in going from the States into Canada, an Englishman is struck by the feeling that he is going from a richer country into one that is poorer, and from a greater country into one that is less. An Englishman going from a foreign land into a land which is in one sense his own, of course finds much in the change to gratify him. He is able to speak as the master, instead of speaking as the visitor. His tongue becomes more free, and he is able to fall back to his national habits and national expressions.

up

cess.

He no longer feels that he is admitted on sufferance, or that he must be careful to respect laws which he does not quite understand. This feeling was naturally strong in an Englishman in passing from the States into Canada at the time of my visit. English policy at that moment was violently abused by Americans, and was upheld as violently in Canada. But, nevertheless, with all this, I could not enter Canada without seeing, and hearing, and feeling that there was less of enterprise around me there than in the States-less of general movement, and less of commercial suc

To say why this is so would require a long and very difficult discussion, and one which I am not prepared to hold. It may be that a dependent country, let the feeling of dependence be ever so much modified by powers of self-governance, cannot hold its own against countries which are in all respects their own masters. Few, I believe, would now maintain that the Northern States of America would have risen in commerce as they have risen, had they still remained attached to England as colonies. If this be so, that privilege of self-rule which they have acquired has been the cause of their success. It does not follow as a consequence that the Canadas fighting their battle alone in the world could do as the States have done. Climate, or size, or geographical position might stand in their way. But I fear that it does follow, if not as a logical conclusion, at least as a natural result, that they never will do so well unless some day they shall so fight their battle. It may be argued that Canada has, in fact, the power of self-governance; that she rules herself and makes her own laws as England does; that the Sovereign of England has but a veto on those laws, and stands in regard to Canada exactly as she does in regard to England. This is so, I believe, by the letter of the Constitution, but is not so in reality, and cannot, in truth, be so in any colony, even of Great Britain. In England the political power of the Crown is nothing. The Crown has no such power, and now-a-days makes no attempt at having any. But the political power of the Crown, as it is felt in Canada, is everything. The Crown has no such power in England because it must change its ministers whenever called upon to do so by the House of Com

But the Colonial Minister in Downing Street is the Crown's Prime Minister as regards the Colonies, and he is changed, not as any Colonial House of Assembly may wish, but in accordance with the will of the British Commons. Both the Houses in Canada-that, namely, of the Representatives, or Lower House, and of the Legislative Council, or Upper House-are now elective, and are filled without direct influence from the Crown. The power of self-government is as thoroughly developed as perhaps may be possible in a colony. But, after all, it is a dependent form of government, and as such may perhaps not conduce to so thorough a development of the resources of the country as might be achieved under a ruling power of its own, to which the welfare of Canada itself would be the chief, if not the only object.

mons.

I beg that it may not be considered from this that I would propose to Canada to set up for itself at once and declare itself independent. In the first place I do not wish to throw over Canada ; and in the next place I do not wish to throw over England. If such a separation shall ever take place, I trust that it may be caused, not by Canadian violence, but by British generosity. Such a separation, however, never can be good till Canada herself shall wish it. That she does not wish it yet is certain. If Canada ever should wish it, and should ever press for the accomplishment of such a wish, she must do so in connection with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. If at any future time there be formed such a separate political power, it must include the whole of British North America.

In the meantime, I return to my assertion, that in entering Canada from the States one clearly comes from a richer to a poorer country. When I have said so, I have heard no Canadian absolutely deny it; though in refraining from denying it, they have usually expressed a general conviction that, in settling himself for life, it is better for man to set up his staff in Canada than in the States. “I do not know that we are richer," a Canadian says, “ but on the whole we are doing better and are happier.” Now, I regard the golden rules against the love of gold, the "drum irre- au pertum et sic melius situm,” and the rest of it, as very excellent when applied to individuals. Such teaching has not much effect, perhaps, in inducing men to abstain from wealth,—but such effect as it may have will be good. Men and women do, I suppose, learn to be happier when they learn to disregard riches. But such a doctrine is absolutely false as regards a nation. National wealth produces education and progress, and through them produces plenty of food, good morals, and all else that is good. It produces luxury also, and certain evils attendant on luxury. But I think it may be clearly shown, and that it is universally acknowledged, that national wealth produces individual well-being. If this be so, the argument of my friend the Canadian is nought.

To the feeling of a refined gentleman, or of a lady whose eye loves to rest always on the beautiful, an agricultural population that touches its hat, eats plain victuals, and goes to church is more

« PředchozíPokračovat »