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Physical causes again! We should like to know whether these physical causes operate in France. In the French Constitution of the year 1791, we find the following Article.
“ To be an active citizen, it is necessary not to be in a menial situation, namely, that of a servant receiving wages."
It seems, therefore, that this law which, in the opinion of Major Moody, nothing but the heat of the torrid zone will explain — this law, which any person, ignorant of physical causes, would consider as grossly unjust, is copied from the Institutions of a great and enlightened European nation. We can assure him, that a little knowledge of history is now and then very useful to a person who undertakes to speculate on politics.
We must return for a moment to the North American emigrants. Much mismanagement seems to have taken place with respect to them. They were received with cordiality, and pampered with the utmost profusion, by the liberal inhabitants of Port-au-Prince. They had left a country where they had always been treated as the lowest of mankind; they had landed in a country where they were overwhelmed wiil caresses and presents. The heads of many were turned by the change. Many came from cities, and, totally unaccustomed to agricultural labour, found themselves transported into the midst of an agricultural community. The Government, with more generosity than wisdom, suffered them to eat their rations in idleness. This is a short summary of the narrative of Dr. Dewey, who was himself on the spot. He continues thus.
“ Although these and other circumstances damped the ardour of some of the emigrants, and rendered them dissatisfied with their situation, yet I have uniformly found the industrious and the most respectable, and such as were fitted to be cultivators of the soil, contented with their condition and prospects, and convinced that great advantages were put within their reach. By far the greater part of the emigrants I saw were satisfied with their change of country, and many were so much pleased that they would not return on any consideration, and said, that they never felt at home before, that they have never felt what it was to be in a country where their colour was not despised. But these were such as went out expecting to meet difficulties, and not to live in the city; and they are so numerous, and pursuing their course with BO inuch enterprise, that I feel there is no more reason for surprise at the industry and contentment which they exhibit, than at the dissatis fiction which has brought back 200, and will perhaps bring back a few more.' 1
Second Part of Major Moody's Report, p. 35.
All this statement the Major quotes as triumphantly as it it were favourable to his hypethesis, or as if it were not of itself sufficient to refute every syllable that he has written. Those who came from towns shrunk from agricultural labour. Is this a circumstance peculiar to any climate ? Let Major Moody try the same experiment in this country with the footmen and shopmen of London, and see what success he will have. But those who were accustomed to tillage, applied themselves to it with vigour ; and this though they came from a cold country, and must therefore be supposed to have been peculiarly sensible of the influence of tropical heat. It is clear, therefore, that their desire to better their condition surmounted that love of repose which, according to the new philosophy of labour, can, in warm, fertile, and thinly peopled countries, be surmounted only by the fear of punishment.
We have now gone through the principal topics of which the Major has treated. We have done him more than justice. We have arranged his chaotic mass of facts and theories; we have frequently translated his language into Eng. lish; we have refrained from quoting the exquisitely ridiculous similitudes and allusions with which he has set off bis reasonings; we have repeatedly taken on ourselves the bur. den of the proof in cases where, by all the rules of logic, we might have imposed it on him. Against us, he cannot resort to his ordinary modes of defence. He cannot charge us with ignorance of local circumstances, for almost all the facts on which we have argued are taken from his own report. He cannot sneer at us as pious, benevolent people, misled by a blind hatred of slavery, eager in the pursuit of a laudable end, but ignorant of the means by which alone it can be obtained. We have treated the question as a ques. tion purely scientific. We have reasoned as if we had beer. reasoning, not about men and women, but about spinning. jeanies and power-looms.
Point by point we have refuted his whole theory. We have shown that the phenomena which he attributes to th atmosphere of the torrid zone, are found in the most temper ate climates; and that, if coercion be desirable in the case of the West Indian labourer, the stocks, the branding iron and the forty stripes save one, ought to be, without delay introduced into England.
There are still some parts of the subject in which, if this article were not already too long, we should wish to dwell. Coercion, according to Major Moody, is necessary only in those tropical countries in which the population does not press on the means of subsistence. He holds, that the multiplication of the species will at length render it superfluous. It would be easy to show that this remedy is incompatible with the evil ; that the deadly labour, or, as he would call it, the steady labour, which the West Indian sugar-planter ex. acts, destroys life with frightful rapidity ; that the only colonies in which the slaves keep up their numbers are those in which the cultivation of sugar has altogether ceased, or has greatly diminished ; and that, in those settlements in which it is extensively and profitably carried on, the population decreases at a rate which portends its speedy extinction. To say, therefore, that the negroes of the sugar colonies must continue slaves till their numbers shall have
greatly increased, is to say, in decent and humane phraseology, that they must continue slaves till the whole race is exterminated.
At some future time we may resume this subject. We may then attempt to explain a principle, which, though established by long experience, still appears to many people paradoxical, namely, that a rise in the price of sugar, while it renders the slave more valuable, tends at the same time to abridge his life. We may then also endeavour to show how completely such a system is at variance with the principles on which alone colonization can be defended. When a great country scatters, in some vast and fertile wilderness, the seeds of a civilized population, fosters and protects the infant community through the period of helplessness, and rears it into a mighty nation, the measure is not only beneficial to mankind, but may answer as a mercantile speculation. The Bims which were advanced for the support and defence of u fow emigrants, struggling with difficulties and surrounded by dangers, are repaid by an extensive and lucrative commerce with flourishing and populous regions, which, but for those emigrants, would still have been inhabited only by savages and beasts of prey. Thus, in spite of all the errors which our ancestors committed, both during their connexion with the North American provinces, and at the time of separation, we are inclined to think that England has, on the whole, ob"ained great benefits from them. From our dominions in New South Wales, if judiciously governed, great advantages
may also be derived. But what advantage can we derive from colonies in which the population, under a cruel and grinding system of oppression, is rapidly wasting away ? The planter, we must suppose, knows his own interest. If he chooses to wear his slave to death by exacting from him an exorbitant quantity of work, we must suppose that he gains more by the work than he loses by the death.
But his capital is not the only capital which has been suok in those countries. Who is to repay the English nation for the treasure which has been expended in governing and defending them? If we had made Jamaica what we have made Massachusetts, if we had raised up in Guiana a popu. lation like that of New York, we should indeed have been repaid. But of such a result under the present system there is no hope. It is not improbable that some who are now alive may see the last neyro disappear from our Transatlantic possessions. After having squandered a sum, which, if judiciously employed, might have called into existence a great, rich, and enlightened people, which might have spread our arts, our laws, and our language from the banks of the Maragnon to the Mexican sea, we shall again leave our territories deserts as we found them, without one memorial to prove that a civilized man ever set foot on their shores.
But we must absolutely conclude. This subject is far too extensive to be fully discussed at present; and we have another duty to perform. With the Major we began, and with the Major we mean to end. That he is a very respectable officer, and a very respectable man, we have no reason to doubt. But we do, with all seriousness and good-will assure him, that he has no vocation to be a philosopher. If he has set his heart on constructing theories, we are sorry for him ; for we cannot flatter him with the faintest hope of success A few undigested facts, and a few long words that mean nothing, are but a slender stock for so extensive a business. For a time he may play the politician among philosophers, and the philosopher among politicians. He may bewilder speculative men with the cant of office, and practical men with the cant of metaplıysics. But at last he must find his level. He is very fit to be a collector of facts, a purveyor of details to those who know how to reason on them; but he is no more qualified to speculate on political science, thau
bricklayer is to rival Palladio, or a nurseryman to con fute Linnæus.
THE PRESENT ADMINISTRATIOX.:
(Edinburgh Review,) June, 1827.
We ought to apologize to our readers for prefixing to this article the name of such a publication. The two numbers which lie on our table contain nothing which could be endured, even at a dinner of the Pitt Club, unless, as the news. papers express it, the hilarity had been continued to a very late hour. We have met, we confess, with nobody who has ever seen them; and, should our account excite any curiosity respecting them, we fear that an application to the booksellers will already be too late. Some tidings of them may perhaps be obtained from the trunk-makers. In order to console our readers, however, under this disappointment, we will venture to assure them, that the only subject on which the reasonings of these Antijacobin Reviewers throw any light, is one in which we take very little interest — the state of their own understandings; and that the only feeling which their pathetic appeals have excited in us, is that of deep regret for our four shillings, which are gone and will return no more.
It is not a very cleanly, or a very agreeable task, to rake up from the kennels of oblivion the remains of drowned abortions, which have never opened their eyes on the day, or even leen heard to whimper, but have been at once transferred from the filth in which they were littered, to the filth with which they are to rot. But unhappily we have no choice. Bad as this work is, it is quite as good as any which has appeared against the present administration. We bave looked everywhere, without being able to find any antagonist who can possibly be as much ashamed of defeat as we shall be of victory.
l'ke New Anbijacobin Review. --- Nos. I. and II. 8vo. London, 1837