« ZurückWeiter »
the nations; as she is more advanced in civilisation, that is to say, in social institutions ; in legal means of making the public interests prevail over private; in continually forcing them upon the attention of government, and procuring the removal of whatever might be injurious to them, she would naturally be the first to recognise the new position of affairs in the commercial world, and to conform herself to its particular demands. In such a country as England, from the moment that the public reason has spoken, power consents, or cedes the objectionable point ; prejudices submit
, and are no more heard of. I'here is no attachment to any particular arrangement because it exists; but the cause of its existence is inquired into, and when the necessity for it no longer remains, that one is adopted, which, in its turn, proves its own absolute necessity. Thus at this moment we see England every day altering her act of navigation, which a superior reason, at a former epoch, had given her, and wbich a reason superior again at the present hour induces her to abandon. Such is the privilege of reason; " to adopt measures adapted to each epoch of time.”
CHAP. X.- England considered under six distinctions.
Although it is usual to regard England under the character of one vast empire, yet in reality it is divisible into six parts, five of whichí infinitely exceed the European portion both in territorial fertility and felicity of climate. The question here has no exclusive reference to the English colonies, bound by obedience to the mother country, but applies likewise to those countries, where the social habits of England, her laws, her manners, her tastes, her language, and her own race, indeed, are seen to prevail ; such, for instance, as the United States, whose inhabitants, though emancipated from British domination, are nevertheless by descent, and in all their civil institutions and national customs, perfectly English, apd may be considered therefore as forming the second England.-Canada, with the whole northern regions of America, forms the third ;-the extensive colony at the Cape of Good Hope, the fourth ;-the Indian Peninsula, the fifth ;--and New Holland, the sixth. To these we might add the British possessions in the American Archipelago; but it is not so much to the wealth and extent of the powerful portions of England that we have to look, as to their probable influence on the civilisation of the world. Already has the system of government in England produced a moral revolution throughout Europe, by revealing the true and fundamental principles of social existence, before unknown on the Continent, and by confirming the benefits
of that instruction through the example of their felicitous effects at home. England has also founded, as it were, the greatness of the American empire, which in some particulars is even superior to the parent state. It is scarcely half a century since the United States assumed their rank among the nations of the world as an independent government, and already are they exercising a very sensible influence among them. In fact, they have been to Spanish America, what England has herself been to Europe ; and instruction in political science---in the frame-work of society,--has not been more wanting at Boston and Philadelphia, than in the British capital.
Canada and the other English possessions in America are organised after the model of the mother country. The population of those parts will soon become entirely British; the manners and language of England will be there universally prevalent ;-her systems of political and civil legislation are already established. Such is the case at the Antilles, and ere long the Cape of Good Hope will offer a correct representation in its own colony of the customs and manners of Britain. The English code of laws has been introduced also into India ; commercial establishments have been created upon an extensive scale, and property secured to individual possessors. New Holland presents a wide and
wide and open field for English colonisation by the deportation thither of convicts. It was thus that the first establishments were formed in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The soil was unoccupied, and readily received any impression. People of the same character were transported formerly to those two states, as are at this day sent into New Holland, for punishment; and perhaps before two centuries have passed away, these same portions of the globe will be seen presenting models of legislation to America, and pouring out rivals against England. In process of time, consequently, there will be at least six Englands, connected by the common bonds of national affinity.
But the difficult problem to resolve is this ;-What hereafter will be the influence upon the world at large of these six great bodies, frequently acting perhaps in opposite political directions ; influenced by no mutual interests, yet enjoying a social co-existence in all the relations of civilised life; boasting the same origin, obedient to the same laws, speaking the same language, and distinguished by the same habits ? Notwithstanding their national relation, we see the United States often opposed to England; and at this moment the Spaniards and Portuguese of Europe are engaged in a sanguinary conflict with their brethren across the Atlantic.
The activity-the genius of the British people—the excellent models presented in the civil institutions of England, will not fail,
beyond doubt, to diffuse widely a taste for every thing of British origin. The Spaniards, masters of America and the Philippine Isles, have not at all extended their social existence, because they are a stationary people. Like the Turks, they have pressed on to one definite point, apparently predetermined as the boundary of their career, The Portuguese bave acted in the same manner, and naturally; for the people of the south are impetuous, or energetic for awhile, and then relapse into an inoperative quietude for ages. There was, besides, nothing attractive in the institutions of Spain, or of Portugal nothing superior; but such is not the case with those of England, which offer the highest enjoyments possible to the reasonable inclinations of mankind, and are therefore the best calculated to make their own way, and secure their own universal acceptance.
It is quite evident then, that England, by the numerous states which owe their origin to her, by the manner in which she finds herself represented in all the quarters of the globe, and above all, by the alluring perfection of her institutions, moral, civil, and religious, must be destined to give a new character to the universe at large. Such are the beneficent conquests effected by civilisation !
It is impossible to determine precisely the epoch at which this grand result shall be produced, but it will most infallibly take place; and when the rapid progress every where of the human mind towards the acquisition of intellectual wealth and to perfectibility is regarded, we might almost be justified in conjecturing that the moment of its arrival will not be deferred for any long period.
L E T T E R
SIR CHARLES FORBES, BART., M.P.
PUBLIC DISCUSSION IN INDIA,
BANISHMENT, WITHOUT TRIAL,
TWO BRITISH EDITORS
FROM THAT COUNTRY
THE ACTING GOVERNOR-GENERAL, MR. ADAM.
ADDRESS this letter to you because you are said to have declared publicly, in the House of Commons and the India-House, that if any man would satisfy you that freedom of discussion in India would be beneficial TO THE NATIVES, you would assist in establishing that freedom by all the means in your power. In saying this, you put the question on its true and just footing, for the natives compose the infinite mass and majority of the governed in that country; but they are too commonly left out of view by the English debaters of the Press-qtiestion, wbo seem to treat it chiefly with reference to its bearings on commercial and political parties, or on family connexions, and matters of patronage.
It is the object of the following pages to convince you that the good of the natives, including, of course, the mixed races, cannot possibly be ensured under the East-India Company's distant and doubly-delegated rule, without establishing among them a local check, by public scrutiny through the Press. If I should succeed in convincing you, you are too honest and independent, I am told and I believe it, not to shrink from avowing that conviction, and redeeming, to the uttermost, your pledge in favor of a people and country to whom you are indebted for much of the consideration you justly enjoy, with men who are not the zealots of party, or bigots of any caste or complexion.
In the following examination of the question under discussion, regarding the Indian Press, it is proposed
First. - To give a brief view of the past and present condition of the Press in the British territories in India, which are intrusted to the temporary management of the East-India Company.
Secondly.–To state the arguments that seem to bear on the general question of a Free Press in India.
SECTION 1.-Historical Sketch of the Indian Press. 1. Before commencing on the historical sketch proposed, it