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was answered, was regarded with indifference; the misery and wretchedness of the colonies would have been preferred to their prosperity, if this would have produced the greatest supply. They were in fact regarded as mere appendages, very useful and convenient, but forming no part of the state.
The policy pursued by the different European states towards the colonies, received a tinge from their peculiar characters, unavoidably influenced by the situation and nature of the colony itself,
. keeping always in view the sole advantage of the European sovereignty, no matter how disagreeable or distressing it might be to the colonies. The Spaniards, for instance, found some districts abundant in the precious metals; here every pursuit was discouraged, and even forbidden, not necessarily connected with the working of the mines. Here neither agriculture, manufactures, commerce, nor even considerable population was of much importance; hence the mine districts have generally been condemned to barrenness, more by the policy of the sovereign than by nature, while the inhabitants have been the poorest on the continent. Nature has established no such law, as that because we reside in countries abounding in the precious metals, we must therefore want the comforts and conveniences of life. If permitted to avail ourselves of these advantages, we should prosper even if the soil were barren, by exchanging for things more necessary. But regarding solely the Spanish interests, these districts have been condemned to barrenness and poverty; they have been closed like caverns where the light of day is not seen. These riches must be transported abroad to gratify the idle debauchery of a court, and unintentionally to benefit the unshackled industry of neighboring nations. This vile and oppressive monopoly appeared in
. every thing; when the colonies could procure what was barely sufficient to exchange for the commodities which the crown permitted to be furnished them by those of her own subjects, or even the subjects of other nations to whom she sold this privilege, all further advancement was deemed unnecessary, and therefore checked, lest they might cease to want those articles, mostly of the first necessity, which the crown was desirous of supplying. Agriculture in some districts was permitted to grow to a certain extent; manufactures were everywhere forbidden; the native
. spirit of commercial enterprise was entirely repressed; no commerce was permitted but through the mother-country, and for her benefit. This is the reason why countries which have been settled so many hundred years, are still so thinly populated. Some conjecture may be formed of the state in which South America might have been at this moment, from the progress we have made since our shackles were thrown off. Horses, cattle, and sheep in
South America, have increased without number, while the human race, compared with this country, has scarcely made any perceptible progress. But small portions of the Spanish colonies have been cursed, or blessed (just as one may choose to consider it) with mines. The inhabitants in general gain their living by the cultivation of the soil and the preparation of articles of commerce; they are cultivators and shepherds, but chiefly the first; for where they were not at liberty to set their own prices on their commodities, but were compelled to accept what the monopolists chose to give, and to pay for European merchandise whatever the vender chose to ask, all agricultural industry, further than was necessary for a subsistence, was necessarily repressed. To countries on which nature has showered her choicest gifts, it is not surprising that thousands of European Spaniards should be enticed; and it is natural to suppose, that population without some check would rapidly increase. Spain would easily discover that it was unnecessary to hold out encouragement to emigration; she could, therefore, without fear of crippling the colonies, impose such burthens as would at the same time retard their progress, and procure a present profit. These burthens were of course to be increased with the growth of the colonies. Possibly this might have been practised with a foresight of the future strength of the colonies, and the fear of their revolt; but most probably it proceeded from the insatiate avarice which instigated her to squeeze from the colonies the utmost they were capable of yielding. Jealousy, which has generally been regarded as the characteristic of the Spaniard, may have had some share in imposing the restrictions and establishing seclusion from the rest of the world, which has converted the country of the Spanish colonist into a prison, guarded with as much vigilance as the seraglio of an eastern despot; but again, selfish cupidity is the ruling passion—foreigners have been excluded from intercourse with the colonies, for the same reason that every species of industry and enterprise on their part was forbidden, wherever there existed a chance on the part of the crown to sell a privilege, or turn pedlar itself, and supply the subject at the most extortional prices. We shall be asked of what use would colonies be without these advantages? I ask in turn, what men, possessed of sufficient strength, would submit to be colonists on such terms? The history of all colonies, whether Carthaginian, Phenician, Grecian, or Roman, down to those of modern times, amply prove that resistance to these impositions has been uniform; and its cause may be therefore traced to the instinct of our nature, which urges us to oppose, as far as our strength will permit, the authority of usurped power and the exactions of injustice. No reasoning, but that which justifies the retaining a
slave, can justify the placing of the colonies on a different footing from other portions of the empire. It is not surprising that the British colonies, so much later in their establishment, and in a soil and climate so inferior, should have so far outstripped those of Spain.
The British colonies were established under more happy auspices. The spirit of liberty had been fostered by several important occurrences. The human mind had been unchained by the reformation; and the frequent resistance to the exertion of absolute power in the sovereign, had produced such an acknowledgment of many of the essential rights of man, in such a permanent form, as to be easily appealed to. Numerous safeguards of liberty had been established. The colonists carried with them the seeds of liberty, which they transplanted in a more congenial soil, where they could grow up without being overshadowed by kings and nobles. The colonists were the freest of the free. The habit of reducing rights to a permanent and tangible record, had given rise to the various charters under which the different colonies were established. They were permitted to overcome the first difficulties, inseparable from their situation, with little or no assistance; the Indian nations who opposed their settlements, were subdued; the lands were cultivated, and cities began to rise on the shores of the Atlantic. The colonial trade in a short time, gave employment to thousands of Englishmen, and a valuable market was soon opened for British manufactures. Here, with little or no expense to England, a vast treasure of wealth was displayed to her enterprise and industry. The colonies increased rapidly in consequence of their partaking of the freedom which was in some measure peculiar to Great Britain. It was not long, however, before these advantages on the part of Britain were abused; the colonists were disgusted with the dispositions manifested by her, to consult only her own momentary interests; and they were continually insulted by the insolence of the court favorites sent over to enrich themselves at their expense: this, in countries where there was no distinction of ranks in society, where the pretensions of birth were but little known, where there was no gentry entitled by hereditary right to admiration and worship, constituted in a word the proper elements of republicanism Fortunately for the colonies, Great Britain had delayed the exercise of arbitrary power until they had begun to feel their strength. Two millions of freemen, after a long and arduous struggle against one of the most powerful states of the old world, was at last acknowledged an independent nation. Our population, our wealth, our strength, has increased with a rapidity unexampled. We have become ten times more valuable even to that nation which' endeavoured to chain us down, in spite of all the arts which her folly has practised to excite our enmity; to the wfiole world we are becoming each day more useful, and even necessary.
If our independence was an event of such magnitude, so universally interesting, how important must the independence of the whole continent—the whole of the new world appear! In us the birth of a nation was hailed, by the rest of mankind, with enthusiastic joy ( we are now about to behold the birth of empires. Eighteen millions of souls are now struggling to be free ; unable to act conjointly, yet all concurring in their efforts to shake off the European yoke.— We behold the inhabitants of regions, which for centuries have furnished wealth to stimulate the industry not only of Europe and America, but even of Asia, about to take their mighty destinies into their own hands—about to give a full developement. to their resources—to establish governments, and most probably on the best and wisest models—to form a chain of confederacies, united by a thousand communities, not of family, but of wise and useful intercourse; in fine, to prepare the way for the most splendid revolution that has ever been witnessed on the earth. Mighty must be the revolution which will be effected by nearly half the habitable world, when suffered without restraint to unfold its resources and augment its population. Nations are no more formed for solitary existence than men; it is the continued intercourse and commerce with different countries which civilises mankind, and lays open the career of enterprise and industry. What nation is there that could be blotted out from the map without injury to all that should remain? This intercourse gave bread to thousands, nay, gave life to thousands who would never have been called into existence. How interesting then to all nations the birth of the American Empires, whose commerce will soon add incalculably to the fund upon which the industry of the world may draw! A scene more magnificent never " burst on the eye of philosophy." Past events have sufficiently proved, that under the government of Spain this great work can never be accomplished; like a decrepit and worthless hag, she has been an incubus on South America. With one of the finest countries in Europe, if deprived of the colonies and compelled merely to use those advanages in her future intercourse with them in the way Great Britain has done with the United States, she may yet be regenerated, and become more wealthy and respectable than she would be with all the gold and silver of America, bestowed upon her idleness and sloth. The discovery of America has already produced wonderful effects; but when we compare these effects with what must ultimately take place, they seem but as the first dawn of a glorious day. No one can contemplate the future state of America without having his mind filled with the most magnificent ideas and the
most sublime anticipations. Hitherto it has been a discovery kicked up. >
The separation of the American colonies has been regarded by men of foresight as an event that in the course of time would happen, in spite of every precaution to prevent it. There is nothing more natural than to suppose, that when the vast tracts of country on this side of the Atlantic should attain a population proportioned to their extent, this must so far surpass that of the colonising state, that this last would become the mere satellite. The colonies could not be persuaded to remain the subordinate and inferior, when the old state had fallen into comparative insignificance. Suppose all the rest of Europe removed to the distance of three thousand miles from Spain should be found in a colonial subjection to this power. The very suggestion of the idea exhibits its absurdity. When James I. united the crown of Scotland to that of England, some expressed an apprehension that England would become a province; the very reverse of which was the natural consequence. In politics, as in astronomy, it is a law of Nature that the smaller bodies revolve around the larger. The moment the colony exceeded the ancient state in numbers, and at the same time was not greatly inferior in spirit and intelligence, the ancient state must necessarily take the place before occupied by the colony, or a separation ensue. There is another reason for this tendency to separation :—the colony and the ancient state must in time become distinct nations; the difference of character and occupations, arising from the difference of climate and from the nature of the countries which they occupy; considerable changes in the language and manners in both, owing to the want of frequent intercourse, would soon produce essential distinctions. Added to this, the offensive arrogance of the European, who fancies himself a superior being, as coming immediately from the original and purer fountain of the race, looking down with contempt and despising the degenerate natives, who, in turn, would naturally feel indignation at the self-sufficiency and insolence of the stranger. Of this we had no little experience in our own country; before the revolutionary war, every Englishman thought himself entitled to allegiance from every American, and the natural deviation from English manners was considered a proof of degeneracy. This very readily accounts for much of that unfriendly feeling which has existed between this country and England, and which to superficial observers appears unnatural. If the mere circumstance of living in a distant country, and adopting different habits, will in a few years bring about so great a diversity, this must be still greater where there is an actual difference of race. In the United States, we have numbers from all the different nations