wAHEFIELD'S VIEW OF THE ART OF COLONIZATION, WITH REFERENCE TO THE BRITISH EMPIRE.* Tan scope of this work is more extensive than might be supposed from its title, unless a special meaning were attached to the word "art." One of Mr. Wakefield's objects is to present a summary view of existing colonial society and a general character of the colonists. Another is to exhibit the kind of government or no-government to which the Colonies are subjected, and the sort of persons who form the official class in those dependencies. To present the pith of the history of colonization daring the last twenty years, is a further purpose of the author, especially in re- ference to the comparative failure of the Australasian settlements through the obstructive policy of the Colonial Office. More closely connected with the art of colonization, is a revised and condensed account of the theory promulgated in the author's former writings, and so widely known as the "Wakefield principle " ; together with the refutation of objections, and an exposure of the misrepresentations to which it has been subjected during the fifteen or sixteen years it has been alleged to be in action. An equally important matter is altogether new: an exposition of the best principles of colonial government,—meaning always by "colonial," the process by which a country wholly or partially unoccupied is peopled and settled by emigrants from a distance " ; such a country forming a colony, in opposition to a "dependency" like India, or the Ionian Islands. The necessity of including religion as a prominent feature in the practice of colonization, is also dwelt upon at length ; and some graphic pictures are given of the condition of society from the absence of religious minis- ters, or from their poverty and mental inferiority. The misdoings of the Colonial Office pretty generally pervade the book ; but its method of &ailing with the Colonies—for government it cannot be called—also forms a distinct feature. 'Particular persons—as Lord Grey, in his connexion with colonization and the "Wakefield principle "; Mr. Taylor, and his Statesman ; Mr. Mothercountry, in his ideal character and his personal adumbration—together with various matters of an incidental kind, will also be found in the volume.
The plan by which the pith of BO great a variety of subjects is pre- sented without confusion in point of arrangement, and with perfect clear- ness as regards matter, is very happy—a lucky idea suggested by the reality, and skilfully improved. Some time since, Mr. Wakefield had been invited to engage in a correspondence with one of our pub- lic men on "a question relating to the Colonies. That question really involved the whole subject of colonization and colonial government. The correspondence that ensued was neither intended nor suitable for publica- tion; but it was shown confidentially to various persons. Some of them, being most competent judges on such a point, have repeatedly expressed their wish that the letters should be published, of course with such altera- tions as would render them not unfit for the public eye." This sugges- tion has been adopted, with changes rather in "workmanship and firm than in materials and substance." The framework of A View of the Art of Colonization is a series of letters between a Statesman and a Colonist well acquainted with our Colonies. The Statesman is applied to by political friends to take part in a grand Parliamentary movement on the Colonial question generally ; and he in turn applies to the Colonist to instruct him. The Colonist declines personal interviews, on ac- count of his health, which forbids the excitement and sustained at- tention necessary to formal discussion viva voce; but he offers to write at leisure, and answer any questions that may be proposed, or re- solve any doubts that may be entertained. This offer is accepted. The Statesman throws out his idea of the method of treating the subject; which enables the Colonist in limine to say something of its nature and extent, and to indicate, without formal stiffness, the different topics to be dis- cussed, and the order of taking them ; though this is sometimes broken in upon by the Statesman's queries, or objections, or the objections and remarks of his friend and neighbour Mr. Mothercountry, to whom he mentions matters as the correspondence goes on. The effect of this framework is to give comparative brevity, with great character and interest, to what in almost any other mode would have been a formal treatise on a branch of political economy. Important no doubt it would have been from the growing importance of the subject, and able from the abilities and long experience of the author ; but we suspect it must have been (perhaps) double its present length, we are pretty sure it must have taken a dry didactic shape, and it must, for the sake of naturalness or completeness, have ran more into elementary exposition than by the present mode of treatment. The great advantage of the plan, however, is the vivacity, the life, the character which it infuses mto the book. The personal matters, that could only have been forced alto a treatise, appear apt and proper in a correspondence, when intro- laced by some remark; such as that, for example, which the Statesman hops to the Colonist touching Lord Grey, and which produces an account )f the conduct and character of the present Colonial Secretary. Familiar eller-writing admits, if it does not indeed require, a lighter manner than my other mode of composition, and favours exposition of an aneedotical
Sr conversational kind. It likewise permits an individuality both )f the real and assumed characters, which could not, unless very Wally managed, be introduced into a book. These traits are not say to exhibit fully either by description or quotation, as they are rather Lamm than form. The following extract may furnish some idea of the ■ eadiarity : or if not a critical illustration, it is a passage on a topic of Teat importance in itself, of passing interest from the diatribes of the danchester philosophers, and of scientific value from the masterly man- er in which the London Banker answers the utilitarian argument. The uestion, it will be seen, is the direct money value of colonies.
• A View of the Art of Colonization, with present Reference to the British Empire. I Letters between a Statesman and a Colonist. Edited by (one of the Writers) Ed- ed Gibbon Wakefield. POE-shed by John W. Parker. " I once heard a discussion of this question at the Political Economy Club. ' With its usual neglect of the most important colonial subjects, the Colonial Office had permitted the question of the boundary of New Brunswick towards Maine to grow into a question of peace or war between England and the United States. • The Americans would have readily agreed with us upon this boundary question when it was of no practical moment: when, in consequence of the progress of - settlement in Maine and New Brunswick, large interests came to be involved in it, they seemed quite unmanageable, and would not, I believe, (for I was a keen ob- server on the spot,) have been managed except by war, or by that diplomacy of perfect candour and straightforwardness, combined with resolution, and a capital cook, by means of which they were managed by the late Lord Ashburton. The near prospect of war produced in this country an interest about New Brunswick ; - and the question of her boundary was discussed in all companies. At the Po- litical Economy Club, a mere man of science contended that the loss of a part, and still more the whole of New Brunswick, would be a gain to England. Of what use, he said, is this colony to the mother-country, that it would not be if it ' were independent ? It is of no use except as a market; and it would be as good a market if independent as it is now. We need not possess a country in order to trade with it. Its dependence is of no use to us ; but it is an injury, since the ordinary defence of the colony as British territory is costly, and the possession of the colony is apt to involve us in costly and otherwise mischievous disputes with foreign countries. This was the whole of his argument. " The other side of the question was argued by a London banker, whose sa- gacity and accomplishments are unsurpassed. He began by admitting that rios- session of a colony may not make it better as a market; that it costs something in ordinary times; and that it exposes us to the risk of disputes with foreign na- tions, from which we should be free if the colony were independent. He admitted the whole argument of the merely scientific economist. But, on the other hand, said he, I am of opinion that the extent and glory of .au empire are solid ad- vantages for all its inhabitants, and especially those who inhabit its centre. I think that whatever the possession of our colonies may cost us in money, the pos- session is worth more in money than its money cost, and infinitely more in other . respects. For by overawing foreign nations and impressing mankind with a prestige of our might, it enables us to keep the peace of the world, which we have no interest in disturbing, as it would enable us to disturb the world if we pleased. The advantage is, that the possession of this immense empire by England causes the mere name of England to be a real and a mighty power; the greatest -power that now exists in the world. If we use the power for our own harm, that is our fault ; the being able to use it for our good is, to my mind, an inestimable ad- vantage. You tell us of the cost of dependencies: I admit it, but reply that the cost is the most beneficial of investments, since it converts the mere sound of a name into a force greater than that of the most costly fleets and armies. If your argument is good for New Erunswick, it is good for all our dependencies. Sup- pose that we gave them all up, without losing any of their utility as markets: I say that the name of England would cease to be a power; and that in order to preserve our own independence, we should have to spend more than we do now in the business of defence. It would be supposed that we gave them up because we could not help it: we should be, with respect to other nations, like the bird which has been wounded, and which therefore the others peck to death. You talk as if men were angels, and as if nations were communities always under the influence of Christian love for each other; whereas men are to some extent devils, and nations take a pleasure in subjugating one another when they can. Vanity, emulation, jealousy, hatred, ambition, love of glory, love of conquest and mastery; these are all national attributes: and whether any nation is independent of a fo- reign yoke, is always a question merely of whether, either by forces of her own, or by the aid of a powerful ally whom jealousy of some other nation induces to be- friend her, she LS able to resist aggression. Let all our dependencies be taken away or given up, and the name of England would go for.nothing: those of our dependencies which are weak would be seized by other nations, which would soon want to seize England. herself, and would be strongly tempted by our ap- parent weakness, by the loss of the prestige of -our greatness, to try their hand at seizing us. Or would you have England, after giving up her dependencies, con- tinue to defend them from foreign aggression ? Most of them could not maintain their own independence if we gave it to them; and the maintenance of it for them by us would cost incalculably more without the prestige of a mighty empire, than our dependencies now cost with that important adjunct of real effective power. 'I am for retaining New .Brunswick;.and though I think thatwe shall be under vast obligation to Lord Ashburton if he should enable us to keep it without a war, I would devote all the means of the-empire to a war for preserving it."
The character of the Colonist is coherently maintained throughout. That of the Statesman answers the dramatic purpose of variety, brisk opposition, and relief; but he perhaps is not so dramatically consistent as the Colonist. The style Of Mr. Wakefield is, as usual, terse, vigorous, and remarkably clear, with more of sobered mellowness—less of obtrusive' force—than in some of his earlier writings. The terseness and vigour do not altogether arise from mere stile, but from the fulness of matter and • the writer's mastery over his subjee:S. The result of time and attentive experience has enabled him to throw off all superfluous matter, as a well- trained athlete gets rid of everything but what contributes to the vigour of his blow.
It is not easy by description to convey an idea of a work which contains so much variety of subjects variously treated. Quotations may indicate some part of these qualities so far as relates to the particular section. The following is a sample of the Statesman, from one of his early letters introductory to the subject : under the guise of stating the extent of his own knowledge, he exhibits that of the public generally, and the state in which "this Office" contrives to keep the Colonies, one and all.
"In common with not a few men in public life, I have lately thought that this subject [colonization] is unwisely neglected by us. I see with them, that colonization is a natural means of seeking relief from the worst of our social ills, and of thus averting formidable political dangers. I see with everybody who reads the newspapers, that our colonies cast us money, much trouble, and not a little shame, without rendering any important services to us in return. All of them at one time or another seem to net into a state of disorder and disaffection; just now the number of disturbed colonies is more than commonly large ; anti there is not one of the whole forty (that, I believe, is the sum of them) or which an Englishman can feel proud. All of them together provide for fewer emigrants than the United States; Canada, which receives the greatest number of emigrants, we are by all accounts only peopling and enriching for the Americans to possess ere long ; and of the only other part of the world to which British emigrants pro- ceed, the population, after seventy years of what is termed colonization, amounts to no more than 300,000, or about that of the town of Glasgow. The West India. colonies are in a lamentable state both economically and politically: so is South. Africa, politically at least, with its colonist rebellions and Caffre wars: so is Cey- Ion with its uproarious Governor and native insurrection: so is our youngest. colony, New Zealand, as the seat of a deadly feud between colonist and native,, of a costly military occupation in order to maintain British authority at all, and of the wildest experiments in colonial government; so is, on one account or, another, every one of the colonies of England, more or lest'. I go merely lv nur own newspapers for the last year or two, which hardly at any time mention a colony but when it is disturbed. To my mind, therefore, nothing could be more nnsaiisfactory than our colonization as it is. On that one point at least, my no- tions, however general, are sufficiently clear." The author's defence against the various attacks that have been made upon his theory occupies some part of his attention. The following is a reply to one of the most usual and most popular grounds of attack ---the failure of the Wakefield scheme, which some friend in "this Offices' assures the Statesman has always broken down when practically tried. "In so far as it was caused by misrepresentation' something more must be said. As so occasioned, the prejudice is felt by most people who have heard of the theory but have not examined it. The misrepresentation is, that the theory has been submitted to the test of practice, and especially by Lord Grey. By the Colonial Office, and by Lord Grey in particular, the theory has been tried in prac- tice as Charles the Tenth carried into effect the British constitution when he up- set his throne by taking Ministry after Ministry from the minority in Parliament; eras the plena steam navigation with screw propellers would be tried by placing the screw forward at the bottom of the ship instead of aft. What Lord Grey .has done with the theory has been to pick out bits of it here and there, turn them into crotchets of his own, and then call them mine; or rather, whilst he was thus mauling an important part of my theory in practice, he has professed to be carry- ing it into effect, and has thus brought it into great discredit. Most true is it, that what Lord Grey calls a trial of the theory has worked ill in New South Wales, and is greatly disliked there, as well as in other colonies. But my state- ment is that the theory has never had anything like a fair trial anywhere; that the professed trials of it have been something not only different from it but utterly at variance with it in reality, though some likeness has been kept up by profes- Bi011/3 and forms of words. The opposition between the so-called trials and the theory itself is as great as the contradiction between my statement and the one that has imposed on you. Before we have done you will have ample means of determining for yourself which of those statements is correct."
One way of misrepresenting the Wakefield theory in practice, has been, the substitution of the auction scheme of land-sales, for that of a fixed price, upon the plan of proper surveys and the rule of "first come first served." After indicating the tests of a price sufficient, but not more than sufficient, to prevent the hurtful acquisition of land by emigrating labourers,—for "in order to determine the price for any colony, proceed- ings of a tentative or experimental nature are indispensable,"—Mr. Wakefield demonstrates, that the plan of sale by auction is in every way mischievous and obstructive to colonization. The moral evils are al- most worse than the economical.
"Under the auction plan, the honest industrious settler is liable to be plundered by jobbing and roguery of various sorts. The official surveyors, by means of in- formation obtained whilst they were making the survey, have it in their power to job; and under our system of colonial government, official surveyors are capable of jobbing in the very souls of their parents and children. Officials of all sorts who can obtain from the surveyors' reports superior information as to the varying qualities of the land, can job if they please, and do job most wofully. The specu- lating capitalist can job by means of his command of money. The bona fide settler, the man ready and anxious to lay out his money in land and improve- ments upon it, has to buy off these harpies: often, when his means are insufficient for that purpose, they sell him the land on credit at an exorbitant price, and ruin him by means of the heavy interest. In America, the inherent evils of mere job- bing at the auction sales are moderated by an occasional administration of Lynch law: a speculator who attends the sale for the mere purpose of harassing and so robbing the good settler, runs some risk of being shot ; besides, in America, where the great quantity of land always offered for sale prevents competition save for peculiarly eligible spots, the inherent evils of jobbing at auction-sales are less than in our colonies. There, the quantity having been generally limited with an ex- press view to competition, and the auction plan not having lasted long enough to suggest the employment of Lynch law, mere jobbing in public land at the auction sales has been a cruel oppression of the settler class. "Competition at auction-sales gives rise to unneighbourly and vindictive feel- ings among the settlers. The man who is partially mined by a neighbour's run- ning him up at a sale, never forgets the injury; and his children inherit the ran- cour so occasioned. The auction-sales in our colonies have produced a large stock of envious and revengeful passions in many a neighbourhood, where, colo- nization being the business of the people, feelings of kindness and a disposition to help one's neighbour would be sedulously encouraged by a really colonizing govern- ntent.
"And lastly, the plan of auction is very unpopular in the colonies, excepting of course amongst the harpy class, who by means of it prey on the class of true co- lonists. To the class of true colonists it is invariably and grievously hurtful. They continually and loudly complain of it; and the maintenance of it in spite of their complaints is a most offensive and tyrannical exercise of the despotic au- thority by which our colonies are governed. "Continually for years these reasons against auction have been pressed on the notice of the Colonial Office, and especially of the present Colonial Minister, but without the least effect; or rather, I should say, with only a bad effect. For Lord Grey, who is the parent of the auction nuisance in our colonies, loves it as a mother does her rickety child all the more when its deformities are pointed out. His affection for it has at length become so strong that arguments against it put him into a rage; and to all such arguments he virtually replies, never by counter- arguments if any such there are, but by expressions of sulky obstinacy which re- mind one of the American help's answer to the bell= the more you ring, the more I won't come.' And such things can be, because, unavoidably, there is no public in this country that cares about the Colonies."
We could extend these extracts by passages from almost every letter; but we must close and with one from the close of the Statesman's studies. h is a little bit of caustic banter, "too nice, but yet too true." "Let us change the theme.
"I wish that the one which must now be presented to you were as pleasant as it is truly disagreeable to me, not to say painful. After much consultation with my friends, after showing them our correspondence, after using every argument that I can think of to induce them to fulfil their purpose of bnnging the whole subject of colonization before the House of Commons early in the ensuing session, I have now the mortification of being told by them (for in fact it comes to this) that they see insuperable obstacles to the contemplated proceeding. It would be idle to tell you all that has passed between us ; but I must just indicate the na- ture of the 'difficulties' which they consider insurmountable. One of these would-be reformers of our colonial system thinks that public opinion is not yet ripe enough for action in Parliament. But action in Parliament,' said is the beet way of ripening public opinion.' The reply was, that the state of parties is unfavourable to the movement: some party collision might ensue, when a fusion or amalgamation of parties resulting In a strong government composed of the best men in all the now broken-up parties is the object of sensible politicians. Another objector hinted at family connexions, and a personal friendship, that in- disposed him to join in any course at which Lord Grey was likely to take offence. Then somebody remarked, that a real exposition in the House of Commons of our system of colonial government, if it did not speedily bring about a thorough re- form, would probably produce great commotion in the colonies, and entail on the mother-country an increase of expense for military and naval purposes, at the very moment when the tide of popular opinion has just strongly set in for eco- nomy. There were more objections; but I may state them all under one descrip- tion—that of ' lions in the path,' little lions and big; in some paths several. My friends admitted,' and perceived,' and 'wished with me; thought the object excellent; and deemed success probable, because, whilst great benefit to this na- tion and the empire must result from colonial reform, no • interest' would be opposed to it except only the despotic-helpless Colonial Office. But with all this clear seeing and positive opinion, my friends would not stir a step; anything but action. Thus all my trouble is lost, and, what vexes me far more, all yours. "I have thought about moving by myself; but in this path I too see one lion very distinctly, and several looming in the distance. The thought of a probable disagreement with my friends in consequence of separating from them and leaving them behind in this matter, is very discouraging: neither can I fearlessly incur the risk of engaging alone in a contest with general prejudice based on ignorance, and the still more formidable indifference of public men and the great public itself to every sort of colonial question. Oh, that I had the self-reliance which some- thing appears to have banished from public life since 1846 ! I almost long for a good stock of vulgar impudence. Just now, at any rate, I wish I were out of Par- liament."