23 FEBRUARY 1850, Page 17


only one portion of the history of England frtim which an Eng„..,turns with unmitigated disgust—that whinli recordsc{Sthe loss 9 erican Provinces. The policy which led ..k? this

loss, an ennts whielipsecedal it were of a ,nature so " natural one should wish to

bUry o if • / • Olt and as, we desire te_ forget z

G are we not anxious to

9t4g No is no lonaer ours. . Never-


es lles4ofFyi hot: for individuals and far 1: Legasnint events of Pest time," for. the.


ffiNg R. • on they are calcidated to convey einonduct. Oar I+ .+,, 1..

Q is a book which has

been St 1 1. of Colonial Govern, 133-04 LI?. re on's" collection of the Charters o t: et Colonies, an introduction and his- , le liter ofsthe, Inner. Temple. 2 - mister,, in his late

en on P.6 s Country, avoided, as if pur pose Y, any usion whatever to the formation and wonderful

Rragreako 4,3* thao. Colonies, or their peculiar relations to the Atothex7eelitttrY ;I' and to ,supply this omission, is stated by the editarto he one object of the present publication. The introduction is Written with special. reference to the nature of the measures now wndOrV'the considantleii of Parliament; and. to the necessity for defining the functionfl which ought to be delegated to a Colonial Legislature, and for distinguishing them from those powers which

are properly Imperial • '

"1 state with confidence," says Mr. LUCAS, " that •a careful inquiry will be found to bear out the statement I maker. that the primary cause of all the disseusionstetween this country and her American Colonies was the absence of any olear distinction between her Imperial and their Municipal rights. Their early charters, faulty in many reipects, were especially so in this par- ticular, that they left a:. wide and debateable ground between the 'zeal and Imperial functions. Upon this ground alternate-inroads on either tide pro- duced irritation, and a sort of border warfare waW kept up, which naturally ended by bringing into collision the aggregate forces of each people, and in- volving them at last in implacable war."

To this, pad! ',on we invite the attention especially of those statesmen who 1 ": that the loss of a„.ctilony, is a cabiretty more to be deplored .: . the loss of a party contest within the walls of St...Stephen's. The charters themselves are curious. and interest- ing-as legal records : taken, in oon*e n with ;the history of the Colonies, they are valuable in theeX,..,,.!!e. That under them the Colonies, actually enjoyed. ;complete independence,.: is imde- niableimul that, as a necessary consequence of this, theyincrensed with Wonderful rapidity in population, in wealth, in commerce, in education, in everything-Which constitutes the material and moral si; -0,fati:Ikeople,;firib' less certain.

Ihe4e ,charterfAiWperfect models for modern legislation in refekenee to the Colanes, is not to be asserted. Constrned by the stria rules of law, and nethy the practice of the Colonial Legisla- tures Wirth was tacitly ailaented to by this country, they do not colitrely'tO the grantees thOse legislatiye powers which ought to be granted ; and it would surely be unwise to rehearse again the drama of America—to allow the Colonies,inthese days of more exact know- ledge and general intell' nee?. to tiXereise powers confessedly ill

in mattersilivhieli ar6 in etent to sb,tind to complain of the e-

plity concernedto permit the

ignorance, the gi of one:Minfiter, as a suffi-

cient justificatia'it in exceedingthe limits of delega-

ted powers,rand to relettf 'eACess of poWer only when it is °PEPIKI tOg..01hiLte"040,10;,'" M14110tll: 40,1k9rtnut leseyu i may be learned from these charters taken .in ootinexion with the history of the acts which were done under colour Affrights conceded by them : and that is; what, in the opinion of eoliinhipsi are those Imperial powers which the Mother- country should lis*.rve to herself, the exercise of which they per- ceive and ackno*dge to be necessary to maintain the unity of the empire; -and- tai promote. the common interest of all. its :widely- spread pessessiortillo4nd whati, on the other hand, are those 'rights which iii`Paglisliken they deem themselves entitled to, and which they, 4440044 enjoy, at the eipense, if necessary," of separa- tion froinAs,,,lko impossible not.. to see, that down to the period of the Declaratiorttof Independence, though conceiving themselves to possess under their charters, whether legally or not, complete local independence, they never laid claim to imperial powers : they submitted to restraints on trade which would not now be asked by this country of the meanest of her colonies ; • Charters of the Old English Colonies in America. With an Introduction and Notes, by Samuel Lucas, M.A., Barrister-at-law. Published by John W. Parker.

they readily assisted the Crown in all wars, which, however op- :posed to their individual interests, the general welfare of the em- pire was supposed to reqiiire ; and they never swerved from their allegiance to their Sovereign, until that Sovereign had called in the aid of his Imperial Parlianient to violate the municipal rights which the charters of his ancestors had conferred upon them," and impose takes without their own consent,' contrary to what they had been taught were the fundamental principles of the constitu- tion of England. " It is trae that, for want of a clear line of de. mareation, they sometimes unconsciously overstepped the of their boindary ; but it should never be foigotten, that the'sepant- tion of Ainerica was not the result of a Successful elairn by colo- niei to the exercise of imperial powers, but of an unsuccessful at- tempt of 'the parent Country to deprive her Colonies of the rights of municipal independence.

New the lesson to be drawn from the history and working of these charters, is the knowledge of the relatien whicha dependency bears; to the centre of power -in the empire ; and if .this relatiOn is well understood and properly clefinedythereis no more diffiailty in understanding how many distant and powerful' countries can be maintained as parts of one great empire, thiai there fi in conceiving haw the force of gravitation can maintain the distant planets in subjection to the sun as the centre-otone system., Lord John Russell stated his opinion, that the definition of this relation in nn act of Parliament is impossible r and, as .the only alternative, he was coMPelled to retain in, one of the douses. of his Australian Bill that most . aliens of all 'restraints on a colony, a power in the Crown to disallow all acts of the Colonial Legisla- tures; leaving-it to the caprice of the Colonial•Minister of the day to decide whether or not any particular act is an invasion of Im- perial power : and thus, the Colonies are.to enjoy no indCpendent legislative powers; because they may possibly abuse some of them. The history of' the Charter Colonies of America proves ineontesti- bly, by the experience of netirly.tintenturies, how Secure imperial powers are in the forbearance of . these 'intrusted with municipal independence ; but the historyof- all our Cohinies slams how value- leas municipal privileges are when held at the will and subject An the caprice of an Imperial Minister. Far better, in our opinion, _would it-be to declare war against a colony for exceeding its poivers as 'for a violation of a treaty;, than to degrade it by a needless' and irritating sense of inferiority Let colonies be placed on the 'same footing as the press; as far -as the latter is free within-legarfunits—with no, censorship. Define the extent of their poivers, and 'bring allegedviolation of those powers to the decision of a tribunal which they will respect. If they persist in a course of conduct Obviously'aeStructi've of the unity of the empire, depend upon it, we are not in a worse position than when we find our Colonies successfully resititillgille legal exercise of =doubted powers. The respect of potitli;the ferenee to is shaken by such proceedings as IntWf-idien' at the Cape of Gard Hope. LordIehn Russell sa±eilikt,sit tion cannot be Made; we are glad- to 'see that Sir Wilba*Mcilesworth. thinks otherwise. The difficulties: of colonial gonment Will not be

settled. without it. . •

'Mr. Lueas's Introduction, contains valnable extracts frOni. the works- of Mr. Chalniera and Governor Potinal, Which show-at least that the 'necessity for making' this definition; in order to ester blish the relations between us and our Colonies on a lasting basis, is

no "fantastic theorSbaodern Colonial It concludea with this emphatic . • ; -

" There are two lewd" capable of extraction from most of.the memorable contests of time ; and we may learn one of them' with our consent, and one without it„_ are just at present at that critical point that we are still hesitating ich to choose. A spirit has met u.a..on the threshold of the fu- ture, and offers, like the Roman from the folds of his mantle,' the old alter- native, l'eace or War. We may select betimes for ourselves, or leave the choice to others hereifter ; either we may maintain the IMperial unity by liberating the Colonies from our maniehial control, or, in an evil hour, we may leave them to' infer that their only, chance of municipal freedom is through the avenue of.their imperial independence."