« AnteriorContinuar »
considerable number of the poor; but it is not the immediate interest of the land owners, that they should quit their crowded homes. Principles of philanthropy then must be appealed to, when the rich are personally asked to aid such enterprises ;-and when the government is called upon to act in them, the right of the people to be well governed, and consequently to have all means of benefiting them
resorted to, should alone be relied upon. In order, also, to render a great change in the poor laws possible, some arrangement advantageous to the people, as that of fitting out large bodies of emigrants would be, seems unavoidable. The very foundation of the argument against those laws, as at present administered, demands this. If the administration of them, by the rich, have multiplied labourers beyond the means of their being duly remunerated in the market for labour --if they have made the poor numerous in an undue proportion to the wants of well regulated society, it is impossible justly to deny relief, until the due proportion is again attained ; and the most obviously prudent way to that happier state of things, is to alter the distribution of wealth, by placing competence within the reach of industrious men; and nothing will do this but enabling some of the poor to emigrate, or, which is less likely to be agreed to, distributing amongst them a certain property at home.
The difficulty of conducting emigration on a large scale with success, is, undoubtedly, a reason why a minister should pause before he sanctions such a project--and to lessen the difficulty, by pointing out the causes which have led former expeditions to a good or bad issue, will be useful. The Retrospective Review professes to contemplate what has been done in times past, only in order to improve the present, and what is to come. With the hope, therefore, of aiding future enterprises, by a consideration of the causes of former successes and failures, it will be the object of this and a few succeeding articles, to review what has been accomplished in North America, by some of the numerous colonists from England, within the last three hundred years.
Many interesting circumstances also, with regard to the Aborigines of the new world, will be noticed. Few adventurers have listened to Lord Bacon's precepts in behalf of that injured race, although his sentiments are merely those of ordinary justice :
“I like a plantation,” says Lord Bacon, “ in a pure soil; that is, where people are not displanted to the end to plant in others; if you plant where savages are, do not only entertain them with trifles and gingles ; but use them justly and graciously, with sufficient guard nevertheless; and do not win their favour by helping them to invade their enemies, but for their defence it is not amiss; and send oft, of them
over to the country that plants, that they may see a better condition than their own, and commend it when they return."
With regard to the Indians of North America, it will be an important object with us to consider the evidence, which the early history of colonization presents, of the capacity and rights of the people, amongst whom our forefathers sought distinction, or riches, or (what they found without requiting) a refuge from oppression.
A better introduction to the general subject cannot, perhaps, be selected, than the following passages from the Essay of Lord Bacon, just referred to, on colonization: it is to be regretted, that his precepts have entered less into the practice of succeeding statesmen, than his contemplations into the views of projectors.
“Plantations," says Bacon, "are amongst ancient, primitive, and heroical works. When the world was young, it begat more children; but now it is old, it begets fewer; for I may justly account new plantations to be the children of former kingdoms
It is a shameful and unblessed thing, to take the scum of people, and wicked condemned men, to be those with whom you plant
They ought to be gardeners, ploughmen, labourers, smiths, carpenters, joiners, fishermen, fowlers, with some few apothecaries, surgeons, cooks, and bakers.
After looking about what kind of victual the country yields of its self to hand, consider what esculent things there are which grow speedily and within the year; as parsnips, carrots, turnips, onions, radishes, artichokes of Jerusalem, maiz, and the like. For wheat, barley, and oats, they ask too much labour: but with peas and beans you may begin; both because they ask less labour, and because they serve for meat, as well as for bread. And of rice likewise cometh a great increase, and it is a kind of meat. Above all, there ought to be brought store of biscuit, oatmeal, flour, meal, and the like, in the beginning, till bread may be had.
“For beasts or birds, take chiefly such as are least subject to diseases, and multiply fastest: as swine, goats, cocks, hens, turkeys,
se, house-doves, and the like. The victual in plantations ought to be expended almost as in a besieged town; that is with certain allow
If there be iron ore,* and streams whereupon to set the mills, iron is a brave commodity where wood aboundeth. Making of baysalt, if the climate be proper for it, should be put in experience. Grow
• It well illustrates how little practical politicians are guided by the “wisdom of the wise;". to observe, that till within a few years of the revolutionary.war of 1776, the settlers of North America were forbidden to make iron. Happily, new principles are beginning to prevail ; and iron furnaces are amongst the important, growing works in our remaining colonies.
ing silk likewise, if any be, is a likely commodity. Pitch and tar, where store of firs and pines are, will not fail. So drugs and sweet woods, where they are, cannot but yield great profit. Soap-ashes, likewise, and other things that may be thought of. But moil not too much under ground; for the hope of mines is very uncertain, and useth to make the planters lazy in other things. For government, let it be in the hands of one assisted with some counsel : and let them have commission to exercise martial laws with some limitation. And above all, let men make that profit of being in the wilderness, as they have God always, and his service, before their eyes. Let not the government of the plantation depend upon too many counsellors and undertakers, in the country that planteth but upon a temperate number; and let those be rather noblemen and gentlemen, than merchants; for the latter look ever to the present gain. Let there be freedoms from custom, till the plantation be of strength : and not only freedom from custom, but freedom to carry* their commodities where they may make their best of them, except there be some special cause of caution. Cram not in people, by sending too fast, company after company; but rather hearken how they waste and send supplies proportionably; but so as the number may live well in the plantation, and not by surcharge be in penury. It hath been a great endangering to the health of some plantation, that they have built along the sea and rivers, in marish and unwholesome grounds. Therefore, though you begin there, to avoid carriage, and other like discommodities, yet build still rather upwards from the streams, than along. It concerneth likewise the health of the plantation, that they may have good store of saltt with them, that they may use it in their victuals when it shall be necessary.
It is the sinfullest thing in the world, to forsake or destitute a plantation once in forwardness : for, besides the dishonour, it is the guiltiness of blood of many commiserable persons.” — Bacon's Essays, Civil and Moral, xxxiii.
Such was in part the theory of him whose opinion on any subject requires no praise of ours; and who, with a host of illustrious men of his time, laid the foundation of an empire in the west, which modern statesmen have been too weak to sustain.
We proceed to an example of the details which grew out of those enterprises. It is remarkable, that a spirit of poetry and scholarship, and gallantry, accompanied the adventurers of those days even to the humblest efforts of their pens upon
* It is needless to suggest how little this advice is regarded by European governments; and how grievous have been the injuries inflicted upon all parties by the disregard of it.
+ Upon these rules it may generally be remarked, that the cautions which they give, as to the preparation of stores from the mother country entirely, are no longer needed upon our wild lands in North America. Judicious arrangements may previously be made on the spot for most of the things that colonists want.
their return. Scarcely a black letter quarto is to be met with without an introduction of sonnets from the traveller's friends and his collegiate companions; and in a future review we hope to gratify our readers by shewing farther, that they went forth upon their enterprises encouraged by the anxieties of the fair of the highest rank, for their success.
One of the most correct accounts of the New Settlements is called by the author, William Wood,
“ New England's Prospect. A true, lively, and experimental description of that part of America, commonly called New England; discovering the state of that country, both as it stands to our newcome English planters and to the old native inhabitants; laying down that which may both enrich the knowledge of the mind-travelling reader, or benefit the future voyager.”
Wood is infected with the credulity of his age upon matters of which he could not be an eye-witness : as in his serious repetition of " the report, that if the party lives that is bitten by a rattlesnake, the snake will die; and if the party die, the snake will live.”-p. 45. But his testimony is manifestly unimpeachable, whenever he enjoyed the advantage of a personal experience of the correctness of what he states.
Of his work, he says, that he undertook it
* The rather, because there had theretofore some relations past the press, which were very imperfect; as also because there were many scandalous and false reports past upon the country even from the sulphurous breath of every base ballad-monger.”—“ Wherefore," saith he, “to perfect the one and take off the other, I have laid down the nature of the country, without any partial respect unto it, as being my dwelling place where I have lived these four years, and intend, God willing, shortly to return again; but my conscience is to me a thousand witnesses, that what I speak is the very truth, and this will inform thee, reader, almost as fully concerning it, as if thou wentest over to see it."
This is one of the earliest accounts of New England, and in perfect copies it is enriched with a curious map of the country. It is the more interesting, as from the date of it we may conjecture, that by such descriptions of America as this, Cromwell and Hampden, and other despairing patriots, were induced to seek that peace across the Atlantic, which they were deprived of at home. The volume was printed in 1634; and they were stopped by the royal proclamation at Portsmouth in 1637.
The book is divided into thirty-two chapters, of which the titles are printed in the note below ;* it is of some authority with the historians of New England ; and it is altogether a curious volume.
We proceed to lay before our readers select passages from the work itself, interspersing them with a few remarks with reference to modern enterprises.
The second chapter treats “ Of the seasons of the year, winter and summer, together with the heat, cold, snow, rain, and the effects of it;" and to Mr. Wood's remarks it may be added, in favour of the country he recommends, that in proportion as it is cultivated the climate improves.
“ For that part of the country wherein most of the English have their habitations : it is for certain the best ground and sweetest climate in all those parts, bearing the name of New England, agreeing well with the temper of our English bodies, being high land, and sharp air, and though most of our English towns border upon the sea-coast, yet are they not often troubled with mists, or unwholesome fogs, or cold weather from the sea, which lies east and south from the land. And whereas in England most of the cold winds and weathers come from the sea, and those situations are counted most unwholesome
* THE TABLE.
Chap. 2. Of the seasons of the year, winter and summer, together with the heat, cold, snow, rain, and the effects of it.-—p. 3.
Chap. 3. Of the climate, length, and shortness of day and night, with the suitableness of it to English bodies for health and sickness.-p. 8.
Chap. 4. Of the nature of the soil.-p. 10.
Chap. 6. Of the beasts that live on the land.-p. 18.
Chap. 11. Of the evils, and such things as are hurtful in the plantation.-p. 44.
Chap. 12. What provision is to be made for a journey at sea, and what to carry with us for our use at land.-p. 49.
Chap. 1. Of the Connectacuts, Mowhacks, or such Indians as are westward.--p. 56.