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Recollections of Travel in New Zealand and Australia

The Conquests of Great Britain and the British Race

page 436

The Conquests of Great Britain and the British Race.

In this chapter I propose to treat, not so much of conquests effected by forcible means, by guns, pistols, swords, gunpowder, great shot, armed battalions, and ships of war, as of the steady, silent, but continuous and effective conquests brought about by colonisation, by the throwing off of swarms of population from the mother country and their occupation of barbarian lands, thus in the course of a few generations founding powerful states, imbued with the ideas of freedom which they have brought from the old country, and working free institutions with which the latter has endowed them, and destined at no distant date to exercise an immense influence over the destinies of the world.

This movement, although comparatively silent and unobserved, is perhaps the most remarkable movement of population which has ever occurred in the world's history, and seems destined to have the most lasting results.

But before going into the subject, it may be as well to glance at what we know or assume in regard to previous movements.

When Gaul and Britain were conquered by the page 437Romans, they were found to be inhabited by what is called the Celtic, or, as now sometimes spelt, the Keltic race. This race is supposed to have swept westward from Asia, as indeed all subsequent races are assumed to have done, and it is thought probable that on its arrival in Western Europe it found another race already in occupation, which is now represented only by the inhabitants of the Basque provinces in the North of Spain and the South of France. In these districts the ancient Basque language is still extant.

The Celtic race, however, may be considered to have been in occupation of the greater part of Western Europe at the time of the Roman conquest of Gaul and Britain, and therefore to have previously conquered the countries of Gaul, the British Isles, and perhaps a large part of the Iberian Peninsula, whether peaceably or by force of arms we know not. This must have been a remarkable movement of population. What has now become of this Celtic people? Most persons would reply that they are only to be found in Ireland, the Scottish Highlands, the mountains of Wales, and the peninsula and province of Bretagne or the Lesser Britain, countries and districts where the ancient language is still spoken, although in different dialects. Here we arrive at the test of language as determining the character and nationality of races.

Gaul was for a long period governed by the Romans—for so long a period that the national language was changed to a dialect of the Latin page 438tongue. The prolonged effect of Roman institutions and of the language of the dominant race was to modify the character of the Celt, and to make of him a far more refined being than his compatriot, who still retained his rude independence. Possibly the Romans themselves may have possessed a good deal of Celtic blood; but if so, they had advanced from the rudeness of Celtic life to the highest civilisation of the time.

The settlement of the Franks, a Teutonic race, in Gaul, no doubt had a considerable influence in modifying the character of the people, but the effect cannot now be traced; and also the settlement of the Normans, a Scandinavian people, has given to the people of the province they inhabit a larger frame and a more sober character than are found in the ordinary Frenchman, but this result is local. The effect, therefore, of the Roman conquest of Gaul has been this, that we find the French classed, not as a Celtic, but as a Latin rece, and the late Emperor of the French trying to bring about a union of policy among the Latin races instead of calling upon the Celtic races to unite. Thus, although the Celtic blood no doubt predominates among the French race, the ancient conquest of the country has lost its force as regards the Celts, and the Romans get all the prestige. What is in a name?

If we turn to Britain, we find a different result. The Romans do not appear to have been able to impress their language upon the Celtic inhabitants, page 439and the subsequent invasions of the country by the Teutonic and Scandinavian races,* Anglo-Saxons, Jutes, Danes, and Norsemen are said to have eventually resulted in all the Celts being driven into Wales, Galloway, and the Highlands of Scotland. I must say that I am rather incredulous as to the reported extermination or driving out of large populations, and think it more probable that a large part of the Celtic population was absorbed by the conquering race. No doubt in America and Australia we see the disappearance of entire tribes, but the circumstances are different. People who will only hunt and will not cultivate must become extinct as the world gets filled. However, all the fertile parts of Britain were conquered by Teutonic and Scandinavian races, and thus the character of these races, unconquered as they were by Rome, was impressed upon the country, and the Celts were thrown into the background, along with any impression of Roman civilisation which they might have received. The subsequent Norman Conquest of England no doubt brought back a large amount of Roman ideas as modified by the French.

The wave of emigration from Asia following after that of the Celts is supposed to have been Teutonic. This race occupied the bulk of Central and Northern Europe, and, although beaten, was never fairly conquered by Rome, and may thus be supposed to

* The Scandinavians are, of course, Teutons, but of a different type from the Germans, and so require to be named separately.

page 440have retained its natural characteristics in a state unmodified by outside pressure. The conquest of the countries occupied by it has been complete, and it has not shared the fate of the Celtic race in being broken up in detail; but its expansiveness has long since ceased, except in connection with that branch of it which inhabits the British Islands, and which is of so mixed a nature, and yet so distinctive, that it may be as well to separate it boldly from the other Teutonic races.

In the Colonies, Germans, Scandinavians, Dutchmen, Scotch, Irish are in the first generation resolved into English, the greater nationality, which assimilates them all. Duncan Fraser, Patrick O'Loughlin, Fritz Herrman, Nils Hansen, if only born in an English colony, are found altogether undistinguishable, except by name, from ordinary Englishmen. The Germans especially are a prolific people, and annually swarm off in great numbers to the United States or to the British Colonies; yet, although they make strong attempts to keep up their national characteristics, they share the same fate, and their descendants are sure to become substantially Englishmen. In a similar way the shoals of Irish immigrants merge in a generation or two into the dominant race, though possibly they may retain their religion with modified feelings. Thus is there a concentrating of the forces of Celt and Teuton into one host under the banner of England.

One exceptionally great and tolerably homoge-page 441neous race stands pre-eminent in the East of Europe, the great Slavonic people, occupying Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, and other provinces of the Turkish Empire, Bohemia and other Austrian provinces, and Silesia and Posen belonging to Prussia. While the so-called Latin races have ceased to expand, the empire of the world seems destined to be fought out, either peacefully or by war, between the Slavs and that branch of the Teutonic race which is represented by Great Britain and its offshoots. If Great Britain extends her peaceful conquests by sea, the progress of Russia is great by land, and now an immense part of Asia owns her sway.

Although Greece and Phoenicia both founded colonies at numerous points on the shores of the Mediterranean, their original characteristics are now undistinguishable. No one now thinks of the people of Naples, the ancient Neapolis, as being Greeks; they are classed as Italians. So of the people of Syracuse, of Massilia (Marseilles), of Gades (Cadiz); their nationality is merged in that of Italians, Frenchmen, and Spaniards. The Phoenician colonies of Carthage, &c., have entirely disappeared, being either destroyed or conquered, and are supplanted by other races.

The Romans were a conquering more than a colonising power, although they founded military colonies with their legions in Gaul, Pannonia, Asia Minor, &c. They have left Latin races behind them, people who speak dialects of their language page 442are imbued with their culture, and obey their laws, but are not of their blood.

We must not leave out the conquests of the Moors, Turks, and Arabs, who at one time overran a great part of Asia and Africa, and even pressed hard upon Europe, threatening at one time to conquer the Aryan races, and entirely alter the civilisation, and even the religion, of the West. Had the battle of Tours gone in favour of the Moor, or the siege of Vienna in that of the Turk, there is no knowing what might have been the result. The fate of Teuton and Celt, of Goth and Vandal, hung in the balance. To-day we see the turn of the tide. Spain has long been rid of the Moor, France occupies Algiers, the Turk lies prostrate at the foot of the Slav, and Egypt is almost a vassal of England, or of England and France combined. The Moor, however, not only made conquests but founded colonies, and, although driven out of Spain, he still remains master of the soil in Algeria and elsewhere.

The question of China we may consider further on.

At the present moment the situation on the political chessboard is this:—Russia, after desperate fighting with the Turk during the past year,* appeared to be winning the game with ease, when England suddenly made the move of her fleet to Constantinople, prepared her forces at home, showed her hand with regard to her Indian army, and said, "Check to your king." The question which remains

* This was written some time ago.

page 443to be solved is whether this amounts to checkmate. Whether this may prove to be the case or not, the world awoke suddenly to the cognisance of the fact of the enormous power of England, with, we may say, almost all the fighting power of Asia at her back, and the prophets of her decadence and fall, so numerous in Continental Europe, were startled into admiration of the latent force disclosed. How this power has grown up, almost unperceived, and without consistent plan, I now propose to consider.

We are all aware that the conquest of the Indian Empire was effected by no settled design, but was pushed on from time to time and gradually consolidated simply by the progress of events, and often against the wish and the orders of the authorities in England. "Great events from little causes spring," and the growth and consolidation of the Indian Empire is the aptest illustration of this adage.

In a similar way we shall find that the conquests of England in other parts of the world have sprung from no far-seeing or deeply-constructed plan.

If we take the case of the United States, the revolted colonies of England, we find that a few Puritans, disgusted with the rule of the Stuarts, left their home and country, and founded a new one on the other side of the Atlantic, but which they named New England after their old home, where they also introduced such English names as Boston, Plymouth, New Hampshire, &c. These colonists had fights with the Indians and fights with the Dutch; but upon the whole, the occupation of the United States page 444may be considered to have been peaceful, the great and decisive fight for the possession of America having occurred within the boundaries of Canada. On the Heights of Abraham, overlooking the city of Quebec, the battle was fought which decided whether England or France was to people the New World. Wolfe fell in establishing the power of England. At that time France formed a cordon round the English settlements from Canada by the valley of the Mississippi to New Orleans; but the chain once broken in Canada, the rest of it fell to pieces.

I think the present inhabitants of the United States are hardly sufficiently grateful to England for the battles which she fought in the conquest of America, and of which they have derived the chief benefit. It may, of course, be a disputed question whether or not America would have been best settled by Englishmen or by Frenchmen; and I have no doubt that the French would decidedly say by the latter; and they might have some reason in their statement, inasmuch as they are superior to the English in some qualities, such as sobriety, economy, savoir vivre, cookery, polite manners, and general culture; but I suspect the Americans would demur to this, and say they were best suited from energy, intelligence, capability of managing free institutions, &c., to occupy this great domain. The Americans, therefore, should remember that England gained for them this vast estate, and bear this in mind rather than harp upon the War of Indepen-page 445dence and subsequent short war with England, in regard to which it is time that all angry feelings should subside. Whatever may have been the mistakes made by George III. or his advisers, the War of Independence, in the then state of feeling and political knowledge, was probably inevitable, and it is chiefly by the lessons taught in the said war that England and the world has become politically wiser.

I assume here that I am entitled to include the United States within the circle of the power of England, because it appears to me evident that the policy of the two countries ought to be now, and must eventually become, essentially the same, unless this prospect should be marred by excessive stupidity on the part of the statesmen in either country, a result which is hardly to be expected.

The growth of Canada in wealth and population has of late been enormous. It may now take rank as a state of the second class, and, from its immense territory and great resources, it will before long assert itself as a state of the first. We find that the whole of North America, with the exception of the weak and decaying state of Mexico, is now occupied by English-speaking peoples, mostly of British descent, and, with slight variations, imbued with the habits and feelings of the mother country, and with her love of freedom.

I believe that the ultimate fate of South America will be to fall within the English influences of North America, not by conquest, but by the gradual influx of settlers and the diffusion of ideas. It might have page 446simplified matters had England conquered Buenos Ayres and the basin of the Rio de la Plata, when she had the opportunity; but since that chance is past, it remains to be seen what the influx of European settlers into the temperate regions of South America may effect in the progress of time. The Spaniards, although they forced their religion and their language on the aborigines, did not throw out great bodies of population as the British races have done, but to a great extent intermarried with the so-called Indians, and the result has not been altogether satisfactory. The hybrid race produced will probably go down before the energy of the superior races of the North. If we now turn to Africa, we shall find English influence predominating and increasing. The first results were produced by war. The Dutch took the Cape Colony from the Portuguese, and the English conquered it from the Dutch. The possession of the harbour at the Cape was no doubt considered at the time indispensable to England as a strategical point on the highway to India, and as a naval station both for men-of-war and merchant ships. Apparently but small efforts were made for a long period to develop the resources of the country as a colony. The boundaries of the colony, however, have been rapidly enlarged of late years, and, in fact, Southern Africa now forms an influential group of British colonies, whose pressure tends constantly to enlargement towards the north, in which direction of course lies the only possibility of expansion. Whether or not Southern Africa is destined to page 447become an important state peopled by white races, seems to be a doubtful question. Judging from the statements of Mr. Trollope, the unskilled labour of the colony seems to be almost entirely coloured. The white races decline to enter into the labour market in competition with the black, and the whole population of British and Dutch descent appears to be only 262,000. There must be a large Kaffir population in these parts when we hear of armies of 40,000 men, and all negro Africa lies in front of the colony.

Whether Southern Africa is to be one day peopled by white races or not, there is no doubt that these will form the dominant and governing power, and that this power will press northward, regulating and controlling the populations of Central Africa, in the countries lately discovered by Livingstone, Speke and Grant, Cameron and Stanley, until the frontiers are reached of the territories now brought under the sway of the Egyptian Government by the energy of our countrymen, Baker and Gordon Pashas.

Having glanced at the progress of British power in America and Africa, we have now to consider the same phenomenon in Australasia, viz., in Australia, New Zealand, and Oceania,—in Australia particularly, because it lies over against Asia, and the growth of powerful British states in the great island is sure to produce a remarkable effect upon the political position of the old continent.

The colonisation of Australia, like the conquest of India, appears to have resulted from chance, and page 448not from design. The difficulty of disposing of convicts in England led the Government of the day to shovel them out on the shores of Sydney Harbour, not with the view of founding a nation, but merely to get rid of a nuisance. Less than three quarters of a century have elapsed since the first convicts were landed on the shores of Botany Bay. For many years afterwards the colony was almost unknown except as a byword and term of opprobrium, and its progress was very slow, until its export of wool began to attract the attention of the manufacturers of England.

The turning-point in the advance of Australia seems to have been somewhere about the year 1835 or 1836. The colony of Western Australia had been founded before this date, only, either from the bad system adopted by its founders in giving enormous grants of land to the original settlers, or from poverty of soil, it had made very small progress; but about the time I mention the settlers from New South Wales and Tasmania began to discover the value of the fertile lands surrounding Port Phillip, and an association was started in England for the purpose of settling, as a free colony, the immense territory of South Australia.

Great discoveries of fertile land were made by the late Sir Thomas Mitchell in what he happily named Australia Felix. The occupation of this territory, and other parts of the present colony of Victoria, together with the colonisation of South Australia, gave page 449an immense impetus to the progress of the old and previously somewhat stagnant colony of New South Wales, which then began to throw its settlers and stock into the new settlements, and at the same time pressing northwards to occupy the present colony of Queensland. For rapid occupation of a territory there is nothing equal to sheep. The flocks increase rapidly and soon exceed the means of pasturage, and the sheep farmer is forced to look out for fresh country. Since the time I mention, the art of boiling down and converting sheep into tallow has been discovered, so that the pressure for new country has decreased in urgency; but nevertheless the flocks and herds of Australia continue to march onwards towards the interior and the northern shores of the great island, of course carrying a certain amount of population with them, causing townships to rise and the desert to be inhabited. Western Australia does not seem to be well adapted for carrying stock, and in consequence we there see a very slow progress and increase of population.

Next followed the discovery of gold, first in California, and afterwards in Australia. I knew of gold in Australia as far back as 1849 or 1850, and told many persons who were bound from Sydney to San Francisco that they had better wait where they were; but I did not know where to put my hand upon it in quantity, or doubtless I should have done so.

The discovery of gold, chiefly in Victoria, led page 450immediately to a complete revolution in the social arrangements of the country. Emigrants poured out not only from Great Britain, but from other parts of Europe, and Melbourne sprang from a tolerably quiet town of perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 inhabitants into a splendid city, which now numbers, with its suburbs, a population of some 250,000 souls. Sydney followed suit, but not to the same extent, and fine cities such as Ballaarat, Sandhurst, &c., sprang up in the interior.

I am perhaps digressing into details which have small bearing on my subject, the present point being the probable result of the peaceful conquest of Australia. A large part of Australia lies within the temperate region, and is well suited for the growth of a population of British descent, but a very large part of it is supposed to be barren, and therefore incapable of supporting a large population.

I have seen such large portions of Australia, however, which were supposed to be nearly valueless prove to be very productive, that I have a strong belief that, as population and wealth increase, the country which is actually without value may prove to be of limited area. The great question of the future for Australia must be how she can conserve her water supply, or raise it by artificial means. This is a matter to which I think science will some day give an answer, either by the storage of water by dams—a process already commenced—the use of artesian wells in such large basins as those of the Murray and the Darling, or the construction of page 451irrigating canals from these rivers. There is a great rainfall in Australia, but it is fitful and irregular, and the application of skill and capital is required to intercept the waters which fall or to raise what has been absorbed, and which may lie in great abundance at no great depth beneath the level surface of the interior, and has in fact been found by recent artesian bores to be plentiful in several districts at such depths. The future of Australia depends to an enormous extent on the possibility of obtaining a steady supply of water.

If we turn, however, to tropical Australia, we find a country with a climate too hot for the employment of European labour, but which stands ready and open for settlement; and here we find one of the most difficult problems of the Australian future. At no great distance lies the great Chinese Empire, teeming with a population of over 300,000,000, an enterprising and hard-working people, ready to settle in any country, having constitutions suited to withstand either cold or heat, and forming one of the hardy races of the world. This people is ready and willing to work for far lower remuneration than the European races, and the danger of being supplanted by them has been already felt by the labourers of America and Australia.

Now, Northern Australia being unfit for white labour, it is almost a matter of certainty that it will be peopled by Chinese. The question for the future will be where the line of demarcation is to be drawn, and how the Chinese settled in the tropical districts page 452are to be prevented from overrunning temperate regions, and, by working for less wages, driving out the whites.

So long as the male Chinese are the only immigrants the question may not become serious, because each successive batch will die off in turn; but whenever the Chinese begin to bring their wives with them, then will come the tug of war. We have seen something similar in New Zealand of late years. A few settlers introduced rabbits into Southland, Marlborough, and the Wairarapa, and in a very short time the numbers increased so much that sheep and cattle had to retire.

There is a tremendous power latent in the hands of the Chinese race of conquering the most fertile parts of the globe by mere force of numbers and the exercise of industry, sobriety, and economy. If the Chinese were as aggressive, as highly educated, as intelligent, and as fierce as the British races, nothing could stand before them.

It is to be regretted that in Australian legislation against the introduction of Chinese the chief stress should have been laid upon certain supposed immoral practices of that people. The Chinese have many faults, no doubt, but I don't think they are worse than their neighbours. They certainly do not drink, and therefore are not chargeable with the disgusting crimes of violence brought about by that unhappy propensity of the British races. If it were proposed to exclude the latter by legislation from any other country, perhaps a strong indict-page 453ment could be brought against them. It will be more manly in future to let the question stand on its proper merits. If the Chinese are likely to displace the whites, then it is perfectly legitimate, by the law of self-preservation, to exclude them, but great care should be taken that there be no hasty action taken in a sudden panic, because the moderate use of Chinese labour in thinly-peopled countries may be of immense use to every one concerned. That the Chinese have many good qualities, there can be no manner of doubt.

As the colonial supply of fish would be very precarious if it were not provided for by the skill and industry of Italians and Greeks, so the supply of garden produce would be very limited were it not for the industry of Chinese gardeners. I am not at all sure, however, that the white races, stimulated by competition, may not in the long-run beat the patient industry of the Chinese, even in their own particular branches of labour, by the use of superior implements and more reasoning skill. A Chinaman works as his fathers have done for thousands of years past, and has no idea of making any improvement on their processes.

We see in New Zealand and throughout Oceania another race which has planted itself over an enormous area of the earth's surface, and which, if it had had the necessary aptitude for advancement, might have been one of the most powerful nations on the globe. This is the Maori race, which extends from the Sandwich Islands to New Zealand, page 454from Tahiti to Madagascar. Curiously enough, it seems to have had a fancy for islands, and why it should, in its migrations, have omitted to occupy Australia, is a question that no man can answer.

Had this race been capable of the advanced arts of shipbuilding and of navigation, and of general culture in the arts of peace and war, it might have become bound together as a whole, and have appeared as a great power in the world, instead of being, as it has turned out, merely a rope of sand. A similar remark might be made concerning the red races of America.

With regard to British colonisation, I have now arrived at New Zealand, and when I remember this colony in the end of the year 1839 and look around me now, I may well stare with astonishment at the peaceful conquest which has been made. We have, no doubt, had our few wars with the Maoris, and these were troublesome enough and cost much money and some lives, but they were only interludes in the great peaceful conquest.

What has been accomplished silently and quietly surpasses in result that of many a great European campaign. When I arrived on the shores of Port Nicholson in the year 1839, there was but one white man in the place, but his name was ubiquitous. It was Smith. Auckland was not then founded; the South Island was almost a terra incognita to all except a few whalers. Now we may see numerous cities, large populations, fine farms, institutions of all kinds, civil and religious, and a large and progressing page 455mileage of road and railway and telegraph, besides an efficient service of steamers. I have seen countries that had been settled for hundreds of years, such as the South American States, with barely a mile of made road in their territory, and other countries occupied for thousands of years, such as Turkey and Greece, in a similar position, and I think we have a right in New Zealand to be proud of our roads, our railways, and our telegraphs.

I have now marshalled my forces. I have shown the occupation by the British races of North America, of Southern Africa, of Australia, and of New Zealand.

It will be perceived that these countries form a sort of rude circle round the old continents of Europe and Asia. The colonists, whether in America, in Africa, in Australia, or New Zealand, may be said, in military phrase, to face inwards, and, with "eyes front," to look towards the centre.

Settlement in every case has commenced on the outer fringe of the circle, and the pressure is in every instance towards Asia. America is filling up with people from east to west, and as it fills will begin to press upon Eastern Asia, upon Japan, China, and the Russians on the Amour. African civilisation will press northward from the Cape, although it may be accelerated by the advance of Egypt under European influence. Australia already presses upon New Guinea and the Eastern Archipelago, and will eventually tell upon India. Even New Zealand looks towards the sun and supremacy over Polynesia, and page 456not even the attractions of Otago will induce it to turn its face towards the South Pole.

We have now got all our forces in position, but the numbers are not yet overpowering. The policy of Great Britain ought to be to avoid war if possible until the increase in population of her Colonies shall enable her to dictate that there shall be peace. In another half century she may be able to stamp her foot and armed men will start up at her beck in every quarter of the world. A few more millions in the Colonies will show the extent of her power.

We have for years past heard of the supineness of England in not going to war for all and every purpose. She was to fight for Denmark, for Cir-cassia, for France. Had she done so, she would have frittered away her power and wealth, and have reduced herself to a second-rate position. And why should she have done so? Although Holstein was attached to the rule of the Danish king, it was forgotten that it was a German Duchy. Germany wanted a seaport, Kiel, for her navy, and she might with some show of reason expect to find such in what was part of the German Confederation. England was expected to fight for France, our ally in the Crimea, against Germany, the impulsive public forgetting that France brought the war upon herself, and that Prussia was our more ancient ally in the great war which culminated at Waterloo. We are all sorry for France; but she wanted to conquer Prussia, and when the tables were turned it was page 457only fair that she should take the consequences. When England's Colonies are full of population she may then be able to say, "Gentlemen, we do not approve of this squabbling," and possibly her wishes may then be attended to without fighting.

The question of the future, however, is this, How is the rope of sand which connects England and her Colonies to be converted into a cable with links of iron?

This is a question which probably no one can solve at present. It must be left to the current of circumstances.

The question of federation has been advocated with great ability by the late New Zealand Premier, Sir Julius Vogel, but, with all respect, I don't think he has solved the matter of detail. To send representatives to the British House of Commons would neither, I think, be good for England nor for the Colonies. If the Colonial members were few in number, they would have no weight; if preponderating, they would injuriously affect the legislation of the home country.

Sir Julius Vogel proposes a Customs Union of the Confederation. This would be very desirable if based on the English principle of no differential duties, which would be a contradiction in terms. In that case the Confederation would be a blessing instead of a curse to the world; but if the economical views of Victoria or of the United States were to prevail, then a Customs Union had better be avoided.

page 458

If we seek to conquer, let us do so on grand principles, and not on the miserable exclusive ideas of protection. Let us remember that there are other nations with, in some respects, particularly aesthetical culture, a far higher standard than our own, and that it must be for our benefit to cultivate the closest relations with them.

England blames some of her Colonies for holding protectionist views, but I fear she is herself partly responsible for this. The study of political economy has been almost entirely neglected in her schools, and her sons who go to occupy distant lands make their start in political life in almost entire ignorance of that science. No wonder that there is scope for political quacks and impostors of all kinds.

But if the study of political economy has been neglected in England, how much more has it been so in the United States. Notwithstanding the boasted efficiency of education in the States, it is impossible to read the official statements of the leading men of the Republic without seeing that education there must in some respects be very elementary.

If there is to be a really efficient and powerful federation of the English-speaking countries, it is impossible to exclude the United States. Already its population exceeds that of Great Britain and her Colonies, and in another fifty years it will be the most powerful nation in the world.

The chief obstacle to such a consummation would be the risk to the States of entanglement page 459in European complications, for in other respects the policy of the two countries is identical; the commercial fallacies of the States forming no doubt only an aberration, which will come right in course of time.

As regards a less ambitious federation, viz., that of the Australian Colonies, there would probably be little difficulty, were it not for the metropolitan pretensions and protectionist policy of Victoria. As Victoria has a limited area, and is becoming year by year relatively inferior to her neighbours, and indeed absolutely so with regard to some of them, a little time and patience will probably find her far more amenable to reason. New South Wales is already far ahead of her in production, and as rapidly pulling her up in population. New Zealand will be well ahead of Victoria in another ten years, and South Australia and Queensland perhaps as soon.

Whether or not New Zealand would be prepared to join an Australasian Confederation is a point which would probably depend very much on what is proposed to be done. For a Customs Union it would be desirable that she should join. For purposes of land defence no advantage would be gained, and for naval defence the Australasian Colonies are probably not yet prepared.

Let us now contrast with the great power of England the destiny which has overtaken the once powerful kingdom of Spain. A few centuries ago it might have seemed that Spain must people and govern the greater part of the world. She page 460had the distinguished honour of discovering America; for although Christopher Columbus was a Genoese, he sailed under the Spanish flag. Spain occupied all South America except the Brazils and Guiana, Mexico in North America, and Cuba and other islands of the West Indies. The Philippines also owned her sway. Although I have said that the fight for the ownership of North America lay between England and France, yet Spain was a power which might have contested the possession with either. She held Florida and pressed upon the valley of the Mississippi, and her territory extended far up the Pacific coast of America. Her monarch bore the proud title of King of Spain and of the Indies. The Iberian Peninsula lies on the extreme west of Europe, and possesses many fine harbours and a hardy and active population.

The situation of Spain was perhaps more advantageous than that of Great Britain for taking the precedence in peopling and ruling the ultra-European world. Spain also had her plans, and had these been formed on good principles—in fact, on the principles of modern progress—she might have succeeded in supplanting the British race in all new countries.

Why the plan and system of Spain has not succeeded while the haphazard conquests and colonisations of England have led to such great results, is a most interesting problem. Possibly we may trace the power of law in this—the result of a conflict of moral forces. Despotism is supposed by its advo-page 461cates to give a greater concentration of power than freedom. It is argued that a wise despot can collect around him as advisers the greatest talent of the nation, and that by working steadily on a system, the policy elaborated can be continued from reign to reign without the liability of disturbance from the action of representative institutions. This has often been remarked with regard to Russia, and might have been the case with Spain. But there seems to be a fallacy in the argument, as shown by the results of practice. The power of a nation does not depend alone upon its leaders, but in a very large degree upon the rank and file also. Despotism, civil or religious, tends to knock the life and spirit out of the latter, and torpidity in the mass reacts upon the leaders. Spain has the guilt also of every intolerance upon her shoulders. She would tolerate no religion but her own. She removed the Moors entirely to Africa, although they had attained a greater civilisation than her Gothic race had arrived at. She persecuted the Jews, and allowed no difference of opinion within her realm. In America she destroyed utterly the considerable civilisation of the Aztecs of Mexico, and of the Incas of Peru, and replaced it by a semi-barbarism of almost a lower grade than that which had been displaced. She destroyed nations in the attempt to enslave them; for the American race may die, but will never surrender its personal liberty.

Spain even attempted to force civil and religious despotism upon England, and the defeat of the page 462Spanish Armada by a handful of small ships, manned by a free people, may be supposed to be the decisive battle which settled whether England or Spain, whether a Teutonic or a Latin race, whether freedom or despotism, should take possession of the outlying and fertile portions of the non-European world. As the storming of the Heights of Abraham settled the question of the conquest of America between England and France, so the defeat of the Spanish Armada indirectly decided the question between England and Spain. A clear stage for peaceful conquest had to be made by war.

The question may also be looked upon in a scientific point of view. For some reason or another, the so-called Latin races are not so prolific as the Teutonic races. Great Britain produces annually a large surplus population, which would soon make its redundancy felt, if numbers did not swarm off to America and to the British Colonies. Germany is also prolific, and sends out its hordes of emigrants, chiefly to the United States. Russia is in a similar position, but she colonises by land, and not by sea. On the other hand, the population of France has been nearly stationary for many years past, while Spain has, I suppose, seriously retrograded in numbers for several centuries, and Italy has until lately probably retrograded also. If the Spanish population had been prolific, and had thrown out great swarms to South America and Mexico, it might have been impossible to displace them; whereas the mixed Spanish and Indian races, with a cross of the page 463negro, are sure to go down whenever the people of the United States begin to press upon them.

Another Iberian country, viz., Portugal, was at one time a great maritime power; she discovered the Cape of Good Hope, and held extensive possessions in both hemispheres. She had in some respects the same faults as Spain, but, on the whole, was less intolerant and more intelligent. She has founded a great Empire in South America, which appears to be very well governed, but as its working population is at present mostly composed of negroes, it remains to be seen with what race its vast and fertile lands will be filled up. The Brazils have a great future before them. I think Burton estimates that the Empire is equal in size and productive power to the territory of the United States. Portugal, being a small country, is totally unable to supply the population needed to colonise the Brazils, with which it has also now no political connection, and a heterogeneous mixture of Iberians, French, Germans, and British races seems likely to take possession.

One other state might have contested the great power of Britain, and that is the small kingdom of Holland, with which we may include the kingdom of Belgium. Occupying the delta of the mouths of the Rhine and the Maas, these countries are the natural outlet for a large part of Germany, of France, and of Switzerland. Their populations were also imbued with strong feelings of freedom and with a love of maritime enterprise. If these kingdoms, instead of forming small page 464separate states, had been united politically with the great countries and populations lying inland of them, they might perhaps have succeeded in wresting the empire of the seas from Great Britain, and De Ruyter and Van Tromp might have triumphed instead of Blake and other English naval heroes. America might in that case have been Dutch or German, instead of English. Such, however, was not to be.

After all, whether as regards the French, the Spaniards, the Dutch, or the English, the question practically resolved itself into which nation possessed the best, bravest, and most hardy sailors; and in this point the Dutch were the most able to compete with the English. There is, I think, no doubt that the Teutonic people, including the Scandinavians, far surpass the Latin and the Celtic races in aptitude and liking for the sea. They are cooler in time of danger, and have altogether more self-reliance, qualities essential to excel in a seafaring life. They also like the sea, and take pleasure in yachting. The yachts of the United States compete with those of England, and in Sydney and Melbourne, particularly in the former, the pleasure boats and sailing yachts are a sight to see.

The Dutch of New York seem to have readily amalgamated with the English settlers, but the old names have still considerable prominence among the citizens of America. It is curious that there should have been so much difficulty in amalgamating the Dutch settlers at the Cape of Good Hope. I do page 465not know enough of that colony to be able to point out the reasons.

It is perhaps a curious fact that the bulk of the most aggressive races are quiet, peaceable people, and averse to war. The Russian peasantry are, by all accounts, of a quiet and unambitious character, and they appear to be merely the raw material of conquest in the hands of the statesmen of that country, many of whom are of foreign origin. Similar remarks with some qualifications may be made regarding the Germans, the French, and even the English; but in these countries, particularly in the latter, the people enter strongly into political life, and make public opinion tell upon the question of peace or war.

The two nations, however, which stand facing each other in either peaceful or warlike conflict are Great Britain and Russia. Great Britain, with her Colonies, now presents an English-speaking race of some 40,000,000, and if we add to this the population of the United States, we have some 80,000,000. This is about the numbers of the Russian Empire, including races of all kinds. In another century or less, the increasing population of the Colonies will perhaps bring up the British numbers to equal those of Russia, the United States being excluded from the calculation.

Let it not be supposed, however, that there are no dangers ahead. Both Communism or Socialism and Cæsarism faintly show themselves even among the practical English-speaking races. Should one of page 466these forces break out, it will probably be reacted upon by the other, and an oscillation of troubles may commence. There is no doubt that Socialism is making head in the United States, and this indicates a risk of Cæsarism. There are slight symptoms of the danger in some of the British Colonies. In New Zealand we ought to understand what Communism means, for we have an example of it before our eyes in the old system of the Maoris. I think we may see that such a system is only suited for a people in a low state of civilisation, as with the Russian peasantry, with whom the communistic tie is a cherished institution.

Let us hope, however, that the practical common-sense of the English-speaking races may lead them to steer clear of social and economical fallacies, which might result in a disruption of the ties which bind them together, and a consequent destruction of the power of the Empire.

If we look at what passes around us, we find a most remarkable change of feeling in foreign nations as to the growth of British power. I can remember when on the Continent of Europe the greatest jealousy was felt of England, and there were constant prognostications of her fall. The feeling of the United States of America was also hostile. At the present moment, the feeling of all Europe, except, perhaps, that of Russia, is decidedly friendly, and even Russia is not violently hostile, although it is natural to suppose some soreness on her part since her ambition has been so firmly frustrated. page 467It is no small matter to have been debarred from the conquest of Constantinople.

To what causes are we to attribute the change of feeling above mentioned? Two of these come out prominently. One is the generally peaceful character of English policy, the other is the adoption of free trade by England. To these a third may be added, viz., that the people of countries that become subject to England are given as much personal liberty and freedom of self-government as are compatible with their advance in civilisation. But of all these causes, the adoption of free trade is probably the most effective. Although foreign nations are slow to follow the example, they cannot but perceive that England obtains no advantages in any part of the world that are not equally shared by the people of all other countries. If she has conquered India, she has abolished all differential duties in favour of her own products. If she goes to war with China, and enforces a treaty of commerce at the point of the bayonet, all other nations derive a similar benefit. If she now prevents the shutting up by Russia of the markets of the East, the benefit is not special to herself.

On the other hand, why are the conquests of Russia looked upon with dismay? Because she not only establishes a despotic government over the subject races, but she practically shuts out all outside commerce. Protection, or even exclusion of all but Russian products, is her system. The world wants to trade and exchange its products. The page 468world, therefore, cannot look with pleasure on the guiding principles of Russian administration.

I hope I have not been prolix in my attempt to show the great peaceful conquests which England has made, chiefly during the last and present centuries. Freedom of speech and of conscience were the prime causes of the movement. The prolific character of the British race and the equalising of wages formed the law during the second epoch. If wages are three shillings a day in England and six to eight shillings in America or Australia, the wave of population will naturally flow to the latter countries in the same way that capital flows from three towards eight or ten per cent. The results have been brought about by simple causes, but they are momentous, and have founded nations.

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