Imatges de pàgina

an ear (it was suggested, in the pillory) and asserted that it had been torn off seven years previously by a Spanish coastguard. Walpole, a mind unsympathetic to imaginative fiction, who, looking to the interests of colonial trade, desired peace rather than good grounds for a needless quarrel, did his best to quell the storm. But he was opposed not only by the filibustering King George II., but by the Secretary of State, the Duke of Newcastle. Walpole despatched ships to various points and granted letters of marque against Spanish reprisals while he entered into negotiations for a peaceful settlement. He was so far successful that in January, 1789, he obtained a convention between the two countries, settling the claims of the British merchants. But before it could be ratified, other disputes arose over claims made by Spain against the South Sea Company. Pitt made a strong speech against the Convention in the House of Commons, and the Prince of Wales voted against it in the House of Lords. Walpole, whose jealousy of able colleagues left him a solitary figure of strength at such crises, was compelled to give way to the belligerent King and the Opposition, and the war of Jenkins' Ear was declared against Spain in October, 1739.

Jenkins' Ear was swallowed up in 1741 by the war of the Austrian Succession, but not before it had occasioned a most striking exhibition of British naval adventure in the voyage of Anson round the world. Leaving this for the moment, I would deal with the conditions of colonial expansion which gave cause for the war.

ii. Colonies and Empire.—The Latin races of the Mediterranean led the

way both in ocean adventure and in world trade, taking the first steps to overseas Empire in the East and in the tropical and semi-tropical West. It was Empire in the sense of forcible control as subjects by a small body of adventurers, under the authority of a very distant European nation, of races differing in religion, political and social institutions and direction of advance. It was not colonization in our usual modern sense. The Spaniards had found lands peopled by highly civilized races, furnished with great store of precious metals, the Portuguese rediscovered like races hitherto exploited by Arabs and other Moslems, cultivating lands replete with


precious gums and spices, with dyes, with cotton which grew on trees, and honey on great succulent staves, and soft clothing material spun by worms, and a variety of other valuable goods which needed no work, but only successful use of force, or purchase from the politically weaker peoples who possessed them for some trifling matter of no great value which could easily be spared.

It was only in the sixteenth century that the English and Dutch and French seriously began to imitate the exploits of the Mediterranean peoples beyond the ocean. They, like the men of Spain and Portugal, went in search of the precious metals, gums and spices, prepared to live, if they escaped the ever-present death, upon the produce of the labour of the heathen or of his brother the Papist. In the East, following in the footsteps of the Portugals, the Dutch and British established dominion over the natives and set up great trading Companies which rested for their success on the enduring qualities and capacities for rule and for trade of the intruding race.

But with these belated seekers after imperial rule we come to another story. In the west the Tropics were already occupied In the more northerly lands which Columbus missed, to which Amerigo never went, the temperate region of the North West, these new-comers found neither great ancient civilities nor the gold and spices which they sought. The adventurers were compelled, whether English, French or Dutch, to fall back on the great secret of “ Anglo-Saxon " supremacy on which they had stumbled_hard work. Hard work is not lovable; the places settled varied in convenience and fertility; the Pope made no international settlement of the boundaries; the European rivals soon fell out among themselves for possession of the most convenient and fertile territories. The situation is described in very spiteful and flamboyant language, but not without an element of truth by Horace Walpole in his Memoirs of the Reign of George II. under date 1754, just before the opening of the Seven Years' War:

A sea captain spying a rock in the fifteenth century; perhaps a cross or a coat of arms set up to the view of a few miles of coast by an adventurer, or even by a shipwrecked crew, gave the first claims to kings and archpirates over an unknown tract of country. This transitory seizure sometimes obtained the venerable confirmation of an old priest at Rome (who a century or two before had in his infallibility pronounced that the existence of such a country as impossible), or of a still more politic, though not less interested, Privy Council at home. Sometimes, indeed, if the discoverers were conscientious, they made a legal purchase to all eternity of empires and posterity from a parcel of naked natives for a handful of glass beads and baubles. Maryland, I think, was solemnly acquired at the extravagant rate of a quantity of vermilion and jews' harps; I don't know whether the authentic instrument may not be recorded in that Christian depository, the Court of Chancery. By means so holy a few princes, who would be puzzled to produce a legitimate title to their own dominions in Europe, were wafted into rights and prerogatives over the boundless regions of America, Detachments were sent to take possession of the new discoveries : they peopled the sea ports, they sprinkled themselves over the coasts, they enslaved or assisted the wretched natives to butcher one another, instructed them in the use of firearms, of brandy, and the New Testament, and at last, by scattered extension of forts and colonies, they have met to quarrel for the boundaries of Empires, of which they can neither use nor occupy a twentieth part of the included territory."

The Europeans in these overseas settlements repeated the political forms in use in European origins. Spain, Portugal and France reproduced the feudal forms of authority attached to absolute government: the Dutch set in motion the chain of corporations of the Netherlands: the English followed the shiftings of their old world politics and adapted them more or less to their surroundings. They brought their quarrels over religious beliefs and ceremonies with them, and carried their differences of European history into the treatment of the Indians. The Catholic missionaries, whether in Canada or on the Amazon, gave their lives cheerfully to the conversion of the Indians to Christ; the English and Dutch Protestant preferred the easier method of extermination. Thus the Rev. Samuel Peters in his history of Connecticut in 1781 estimated that within fifty years from the third quarter of the seventeenth century the English had killed 86,000 Indians. “The heathen," says this godly writer, “were driven out and we have their lands in possession. They were numerous and we few. Therefore hath the Lord done this great work to give His beloved rest.” Early in the eighteenth century the pious New Englanders expelled and shipped off two members of the Council, who were found guilty of using the Prayer Book. As a further example the Toleration Act, 1639, of the Roman Catholic province of Maryland, shows up the infinite variety of ambiguous heresies with which the Governors of the American colonies must deal. The Act provides for the punishment of such persons as shall call anyone within the province“ an heretick, schismatick, Idolator, Puritan, Independent, Presbyterian, Popish Priest, Jesuit, Jesuited Papist, Lutheran, Calvinist, Anabaptist, Brownist, Antinomian, Barrowist, Roundhead, Separatist, or any other name or terme in a reproachfull manner relating to matters of religion.” It enacts that no person

... professing to believe in Jesus Christ shall from henceforth bee any waies troubled molested or discountenanced for or in any respect of his or her religion, nor in the free exercise thereof ... nor in any way compelled to the beliefe or exercise of any other religion, etc.” In 1654 the Puritans being superior destroyed this toleration, but it was re-enacted by Lord Baltimore in 1658 (Winsor's Mod. and Crit. Hist., Vol. III, 560–62.)

iii. Colonies and Monopoly of Trade.—But beyond all this, the crux of the whole matter was that throughout all settlements and changes the colonists struggling with famine and disease, and want, and seeking by discipline to overcome the unwillingness to work, trying to hold their own against the dispossessed and persecuted Indian, and against the aggression of the competing European encroaching on the unmeasured undefined borders, looked to their own parent nation for assistance in the struggle and for means of life through trade. The parent nation for its part never for one moment looked upon these later colonies in any other light than as overseas depôts for the goods of the home land, a base for expansion of trade, and an outlet for the worst and most helpless of an increasing population. They were fed as one feeds bees with sugar. The old raiding trader who went out for plunder and the spirit of adventure had disappeared. The colonies were planted, not to compete with, but to supplement the home trade. They were of value only so far as they consumed and traded for the materials produced by the mother country. “Whereas,” says 3-4 Anne, c. 10, referring to import of naval stores from America to England, “Her Majesty's colonies and plantations in America at first settled, and are still maintained and protected at a great expense of the treasure of this kingdom with a design to render them as useful as may be to England and the labour and industry of the people there profitable to themselves " the naval stores were to be exchanged for British manufactures.

To obtain the full benefit of such a colony there must be monopoly of trade between it and the home land. This, up to the middle of the eighteenth century and later, was a condition acknowledged for all European nations broken only by such treaty provisions as that which led to Jenkins' Ear, and prtoected by every means which could exclude other nations from trade. As trade expanded and the commercial spirit grew with it the European countries drew closer the walls of monopoly. In the charter of privileges of June, 1629, granted by the Dutch East India Company to the patrons of the new Netherlands, it was provided that all colonial produce or products of coastal trade must first be offered to Manhattan Island. The colonists shall not be permitted to make any woollen, linen or cotton cloth, nor weave any other stuffs there, on pain of being banished, and as perjurers to be arbitrarily punished. (Wm. Macdonald, Documentary Source Book of American History.)

In the regulation of European industries monopoly of trade up to the middle of the eighteenth century was the universal policy. Elizabeth, James I. and Charles I. granted patents for certain trades to corporations. This granting of monopolies by patent was for the purpose of obtaining a revenue which the Commons were too foolish to grant. But it was like the action of the modern Trade Unions, the creation of a monopoly to the destruction of free production by competition, an attempt which is always going on. The gains were made at the expense of the public. The control of the King's power to grant monopolies was on the principle of “me too." Everything inclined to become a monopoly. When in 1624 monopolies were abolished, new trades and processes were exempted and given a

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