« PreviousContinue »
It will be strange indeed, if the most sceptical are not convinced of the flourishing state of St. Domingo, when they learn from this second official report which has come forth, that the produce shipped from its 'chief'port, and great mart of trade, in 1824, amounted to no less than 9,551 tons, while that of the Havannah during the same period amounted to :170,989 tons, and that of Kingston, in the comparatively little island of Jamaica, to upwards of 80,000! Why the exports from the other ports of St. Domingo are not given may easily be conjectured. But the sugAR! what has become of it? Have the clouds ceased to drop down fatness, or the earth to give its increase? Cannot one single ounce of sugar be procured from 935,335 or nearly a million of free labourers ? What says our free-labour company to this? Have they sent out an agent to see what our brethren are doing? Can they not prevail upon them to replant some of those fertile fields, which, previous to emancipation, with only half the present population to cultivate them, sent annually to Europe 230 millions of pounds of sugar ?
Before concluding, let me recommend to the writer of this article in the Review, when he again enters upon a delineation of the spirit of West Indian society,' to be at some pains to make his statements and reflections a little more consistent with one another than he has done in this. • The Club of Brothers,' says he, 'who had given
' such unexceptionable proofs of their attach'ment to church and state, by insulting religion 'and committing treason, sent certain chosen
deputies to admonish the true lovers of religion ‘in the neighbouring islands to follow their laudable example. This band of agitators, ten in 'number, landed first at Tobago, but were com* manded to quit the island in an hour; and next 'at Trinidad, where the governor ordered them 'off in five minutes. To Grenada they went, 'but they did not land there ; for they found a • body of soldiers on the shore ready to appre· hend them; and these gentlemen in returning ' from their mission, had to tell the astonished
Barbadians, that their neighbours were actually 'so far behind the inhabitants of Little England, ' and, withal, so unaccountably dull, as to deem ‘ resistance to the military and defiance of the governor, as not being the perfection of loyalty; nor the destruction of a chapel, and the persecu*tion of an innocent family, the height of true * piety.' p. 489.
Does this narrative bespeak the existence of the same ‘spirit of society' in all the islands as in · Little England ?' Yet the writer of it concludes his laboured account of the outrage in Bridgetown by observing, that by far the most important and disgusting feature of the whole case is, the view which it affords of the charac“ter and temper of the colonists.' p. 498.
It is somewhat remarkable too, that in the same
number of this Review, which so strenuously and zealously advocates the cause of religion in a distant corner of the world, we find an article as strenuously advocating the establishment of a new university in the capital of the kingdom, in which no religion whatever shall be taught! We have * been considering with much attention,' say these true lovers of religion, the difficulties which stand ‘ in the way of having any system of religion taught
in the new university, and the more we reflect on 'these, the more insuperable they appear.' p. 503.
Strictures on the Edinburgh Review; or Remarks on
the Colony Trade. That colonies were long considered of importance to European States, and that none was more eager than England to have, or more successful in obtaining them, is well known; but a new light has dawned upon us, and in the eighty-fourth number of the Edinburgh Review we learn, that the British colonies not only are useless, but an actual burthen to the country,—and that, though an integral and constituent part of our empire, (p. 282.) yet their separation, far from being injurious, would be a very great gain to us, (p. 302.)- because, as the Reviewers contend, sugar and all other colonial productions could be procured far more advantageously from foreigners, than they can be cultivated with British capital and industry.
Nor is the attaching a false value to colonies the
only error of which our forefathers are convicted in that paper : the policy of their laws to secure the employment and increase of English shipping is no less condemned. Granting,' say the Re. viewers, “ that in the event of the colonial mono'poly being abolished, we might be obliged to use
sugar that had been imported exclusively in foreign ships, that would not render us in the • least disposed to question the propriety of its * abolition. It has been usually supposed, that an
extensive mercantile is absolutely necessary to 'the possession of a great warlike navy; and the * most vexatious and injurious restraints have been ' laid on commerce, for the sake of forcing the 'employment of ships and sailors. We are satis'fied, however, that the idea is wholly without • foundation. All that is required for the attain* ment of naval power, is the command of conve
nient harbours, and of wealth sufficient to build • and man ships. However paradoxical it may at ' first sight appear, it is nevertheless unquestionbly true, that the navy of Great Britain might be as formidable, or, if that was desirable, infinitely more so, though we had not a single merchant ship.'
From a period nearly coeval with the settlement of the West India colonies, such of them as belonged to the Crown of Great Britain have been compelled to send every article of their produce to England or her dependencies, and to take from thence every article of their supplies. No foreign
ship has been permitted to enter their ports to exchange commodities, nor have the colonists been permitted to send a ship to exchange commodities in foreign ports; and the consequence has been a far more intimate connexion with, and greater dependence upon, the mother country, than is to be found between any of the other West India islands and the countries to which they belong. Within the last two or three years, however, some relaxations of the system, imperiously called for, have been made ; and on this ground it is contended, by the anticolonial party, that the foreign growers of sugar ought forth with to be admitted into the British market on the same terms as our own subjects.
But if the colonists derive an advantage from the monopoly of the home market, have they not paid dearly for it, by the restrictions imposed upon them, to secure a monopoly of their trade and consumption to the manufacturers, merchants, and ship-owners of the mother country? From the markets of foreign Europe they have been excluded since the passing of the Navigation Act, in 1660; but the hardship of the monopoly system has been more particularly felt since the date of the independence of the American colonies, when the intercourse of these (the United States) with our West India islands was put under severe restrictions, partly to deprive them of the trade, and of the market they had had there for provisions and lumber, but chiefly with a view