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about the first friction continued to increase until it threatened the very existence of legitimate trade, the contest between the tariffs of monopoly for the islands and the smugglers. As trade increased, smuggling increased, until it was estimated as being one-third of the total of the commerce between the mother country and the western colonies. The increase was so enormous as seriously to injure planters in the West Indies, to reduce the revenue, and at the same time to enable East Indian manufactures to be introduced into America without payment of duty.
Except for a few men who understood colonial conditions, Parliament seems to have undervalued most grotesquely the physical powers of resistance to the British forces. But the danger of the commercial position was plain, and gave rise to the hesitation of ministers. “If,” says Captain Phipps, afterwards Lord Mulgrave (P.H., XVII., 1212) “they cannot resist (the tax on tea) they will find some means of avoiding it. God and Nature have given them an extensive coast and, of course, an opportunity of smuggling. You will injure the manufactures of this country in a very high degree by making them prefer the manufactures of your enemies to those of this country.”
It was the just but injudicious efforts of the British ministers, assisted by the support given to the smuggling mobs in America by the various Whig minorities in the British Parliament, which resulted in the American Revolution. Until North became minister in 1770, each short-lived ministry in turn weakened government, disturbed trade and irritated the colonists by their indecision of enforcement and retreat. By 1770 a peaceful solution of the contest would appear to have become hopeless.
ix. The Regulations of 1764-5 and their Results.-In 1763, after the peace, a determined effort was made to stop the smuggling both in the islands and in the American colonies. Regulations were passed in 1764 making the officers of the Navy revenue officers and ordering trial of smugglers in the Admiralty Court without a jury (provisions similar to those inserted in 7 and 8 William III., c. 22 ; 3 George II., C. 28 ; 6 George II., c. 13), provisions accepted without demur in the islands, and essential for America if the illicit trade on the extended coast, where only a few ships were stationed, was to be checked. Here the whole people were in sympathy with the smugglers and joined with them against the revenue officers, as men do with the moonshiner against the sheriff. As a consequence the revenue officers, on whom all the blame was laid, became slack and seldom made seizures unless compelled by circumstances. The regulations were received in the north with great fury. The merchants could not complain of injury done to their legitimate trade, so they made great complaint as to the misuse of seizure and improper carrying out of the law by the naval officers, whom, as they did not live on land they had no means of influencing.
The trouble, however, began in the West Indies. “Grenville,” says the Duke of Grafton (Autobiography, p. 29), “was fully supported by both Houses of Parliament in his laws and regulations which put a stop to the trade between the Americans and the Spanish West India islands and the Main, which had so long been winked at by every government with advantage, because the English manufactures were spread through the extent of these countries, and the return to a great proportion paid in bullion. With this assistance the American trader could take off and pay for large shares of the exports from Great Britain; the mother country thus deriving every essential commercial advantage from this most lucrative traffic. The sourness and discontents occasioned by these measures were great and general throughout the American colonies." The Rockingham ministry on repealing the Stamp Act, also set aside these regulations.
It would have been wise if this illicit commerce, which had been carried on for many years after the tradition of Jenkins' ears to great mutual benefit, should not have been interfered with. The northern Yankees had taken great part in this trade, and were terribly injured by its stoppage. The stoppage affected all the colonies, for the northern colonies, not being self-supporting in food, exchanged salt fish, rum, and the Spanish bullion for the products of the middle and southern states, the Spanish gold thus circulating through all the colonies. Next the British West India islands did a smuggling trade with the French, Spanish, Danish and Dutch islands, exchanging the smuggled goods obtained to the middle and southern colonies for provisions, maize and live stock, the Spanish bullion again figuring in the exchange. Then again New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore carried on a lively trade with Lisbon and many other European ports in flour and wheat, payment being made in specie and wine, the Spaniards, after 1763, regulating the amount of specie to be taken. The result of the regulations most deeply affecting the colonies was the disappearance of the Spanish specie from circulation.
If this action had stood by itself and had been steadily enforced, it might have had no ill effect. The check given to smuggling, says Whately, must increase the regular supply when the causes of its present fluctuation shall be over. But unfortunately, about the same time two other acts, tending to the same result but in no way connected, were put in effect. In April, 1764, a Bill (the Sugar Act, 4 George III., c. 15) was passed laying duties on various commodities, foreign sugar, indigo and coffee, East India silks and calicoes, and foreign cambrics and French lawns, to discourage consumption of foreign goods in favour of British manufactures, also on madeira, port and Spanish wines. These duties, at the very moment when the inflow of specie was being checked, were to be paid in gold and silver to a separate fund for repaying the expenses of protecting the colonies.
To complete the financial pressure, in the same session was passed an Act excellent in itself to deal with the depreciation of the paper money profusely poured out by the local assemblies. This was legal tender, but its value was such that it could only be exchanged for cash at a loss of some thirty or forty per cent., with the result that coin was held up by individuals. The paper credits often depreciated in the hands of the merchants' agents before they could be laid out in bills of exchange or goods for Great Britain. The Act denied to the local assemblies the right to make the paper legal tender.
These three Acts, though unconnected, touched all the colonies on the same sore spot-want of money, the Act checking the paper currency, which turned out to be most beneficial, destroying in the absence of coin the only medium of exchange. Then, while the New England colonies were working up an agitation throughout the country, after enquiring from the
agents whether they had any instructions to propose other means, came the Stamp Act to take effect on November 1st, 1765. The resistance to it had been prepared by the arguments of the British Whig opposition, circulated by pamphlets and by the American Press.
One point in particular should be noticed, which would appear to have escaped the attention of the Whig historians of the revolution. The Assembly of Virginia, for all its violence, only harked back to the principles of the “glorious revolution ” of 1688, and based its objections on technical constitutional rights. The Assembly of Massachusetts looked forward to 1789, and grounded its resistance on the Rights of Man.
In October, 1765, on the invitation of Massachusetts, deputies from nine colonies met at New York for a congress. When they returned home associations were formed for non-importation of British goods from January 1st, 1766. From henceforth Massachusetts dominated all the colonies, giving to them the idea of unity, the distance of the colonies from the mother country and their isolated population rendering it impossible to counteract the political propaganda which by word and writing was scattered over the colonies against this taxation. It was a clear-cut issue between the American Republican and the British Government, which the ministers declined to acknowledge in the vain hope that a compromise might be adjusted.
The effect on British trade was such that in 1769 the British merchants, being frightened, appealed for repeal of the Townshend Act. Lord North, when he came in, repealed, in 1770, all duties on articles of English manufacture, leaving only the 3d. duty on tea. The colonies, on the contrary, were in a position of tremendous strength. “I do not know,” says Franklin in 1772, "a single article imported into the northern colonies but what they can either do without or make themselves," a main distinction between these and the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. He does not think cloth from England necessary to them; they will learn to make their own. They entered into general combination to eat no more lamb.. The people will all spin and work for themselves in their own houses. Virginia and the colonies south of it have less occasion
for wool. They can very well clothe themselves with linen and cotton of their own raising.
At long last consistent action was necessary. Americans," said Lord North (P.H., XVII., 1280) “have tarred and feathered your subjects, plundered your merchants, burnt your ships, denied all obedience to your laws and authority; yet so clement and so long forbearing has our conduct been that it is incumbent on us now to take a different course.” It was too late.
X. Guiana and the West Indies. Leaving the northern colonies in suspense (Walpole writes that he will carry down his memoirs to 1772 when the colonies were pacified-by the appearance of war with France and Spain), let us pass to the more southern European colonies which played so great a part in revolutionary times. Putting to one side the French colonies, consider Guiana.
After being the happy hunting ground of the primitive adventurer for gold, it had become the field for international competition in trade and to a limited extent for settlement. It is the epitome of all the dangers and difficulties and disappointments which attend effort for empire and trade in tropical climates, and of the greatness of the men who fought and failed or overcame them ; Britain, France, Spain, Portugal and Holland in turn fought and settled here. It was the first part of South America to be explored by other than Spanish and Portuguese.
Guiana is bounded by the Orinoco, the Rio Negro, the Amazon, and the Atlantic. It may be divided into four sections: the coast, the inhabited region, some of the most fertile land on the earth; a savannah tableland, three or four hundred feet above the sea, covering some fifteen thousand square miles, a splendid cattle range, though the soil is poor and thin ; a forest range covered with splendid timber, which will not bear clearing for crops; and the sandstone mountains where Eldorado and the fabled lake were situate. The outstanding features of the country are the immense rivers which flow down from the mountains (the Essequibo is some six hundred miles in length), tremendous when in flood, bringing down trees and vegetable matter, forming, by their continued