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of Europe ; in South America, it is true, the colonists were more generally from the colonising state; but the difference was more than made up by the numbers of the civilised Indians, who still formed a great proportion of the population of many parts ; and these in time became intermixed with the European Spaniards and their descendants, thus forming a distinct people. The natives of the country could without difficulty intermingle, and have common feelings with these their countrymen ; while the Europeans, who could not form any great proportion of the whole, would be looked upon as strangers, as foreigners, at least, until they had been long settled in the colony; had families, and had become identified or amalgamated in the mass. The more the colony increased its numbers, and the longer it continued a colony, the farther would it be removed, in point of feeling, from the ancient state ; the weaker therefore, the ties to that state, and the greater the difficulty of retaining it in subjection. When the habit, the charm, or magic, of dependence was once broken, the ancient state would be regarded in the same light as any other foreign power, and its attempts to bring back the colonies to subjection considered in the same light as the invasion of any other enemy. Hence it is, that the natives of North and South America have become patriots, defenders of their native soil; while Spain is acting the part of an invader, and amuses herself with the belief that she is endeavouring to quell the insurrection of a neighboring province, in which there still remains the latent feelings of affection, like those of a disobedient child toward its parent. Spain is not engaged in reducing the revolt of Valencia or Catalonia, but she is carrying on a war against a distant nation, or nations, with the greatest possible disadvantage. Nothing can exceed the folly of such an attempt. For even if she should be successful for the present, can she produce a change in their minds ? She might as well think of making war on the elements. The time is not very distant, when in the course of nature they must be independent.
It is very evident that the Spanish colonies had long ago become a very different people from the European Spaniards; and as the natural consequence, mutual dislikes and jealousies would be cherişhed. They must have long since felt that they were a people held in subjection. They could naturally ask, “ how long does Spain mean to consider us as appendages to her monarchy, as slaves fastened to the wheels of her chariot to swell her vanity and pomp? Are we to be, colonies for ever? Must we renounce all hope of being able to claim some of the honors of our beloved native soilof being permitted to improve and ornament the Birth place of our ancestors, our own homes, the only country which possesses our affections, the residence of our friends and relations? Are we to be
restricted in all our enterprises by strangers, who come to us as it were from another planet, who have no ties amongst us, and are indifferent to the prosperity and improvement of our country? Shall we tamely submit to these task-masters who will not permit us to use what is our own, and who carry away the fruits of our industry we know not whither ?" The only answer that could be made by the oppressor, would be short and simple, “I have the power. This is denied. The madness, the pride, the obstinacy of Spain, is not yet satisfied, but the world is satisfied—that a people who can defend themselves for ten years, will be able to defend themselves for ever.
The policy of Spain necessarily tended to create and to increase this deep-rooted enmity. Its government would soon be considered as an odious usurpation. The most pleasing subject of the thoughts and conversation of the colonists, would be-their liberation from this political bondage. They would look to the day which would bring about this so much desired event, with something like religious devotion. There is nothing more natural than the prevalence of such wishes. Even in extensive monarchies, which have the advantage of contiguity, or which have but slight separations, there is a constant tendency to fall by their own weight: In Cicero's orations against Verres, we have a fine picture of the thousand impositions to which the remote provinces must necessarily be subject; the vexations practised by the almost irresponsible viceroys, governors, and sub-agents, sent to govern, or rather rob, are without end. Nothing can remedy the want of a centre of power, an original fountain of authority of their own. A country thus separated, without a government of its own, is a world without a sun. The distance from the metropolis renders it impossible to have feelings in common with it, or but few. No empire, therefore, of extensive territory, and particularly when separated by oceans, can be of long duration, unless divided into separate states, each possessing its own centre of power, to which the sympathy, passions, and interests of the people are attracted, Besides being in this manner removed from the metropolis, which rendered it impossible for the people of America to have this community of feeling with the Europeans, and which enabled the imported governors and dignitaries to practise their abuses with impunity, they were separated by an ocean of a thousand leagues. By placing the Americans at such a distance from Europe, nature seems to have forbidden their becoming dependencies, plantations, or appendages of petty European states.
The king of Brazils acted a wise part in transporting his court and government to his American possessions, and converting the ancient seat of empire into a province ; his American possessions had grown too considerable to remaitr as a distinct co
lony; and although his form of government is not such as we should prefer to see generally prevail in America, it is yet much better than if he had attempted to retain them in the colonial state. He nust, however, hasten to identify his interests with those of America—he must cease to be European—he must escape from the trammels of European politics, or he will find his position an uneasy one.
I should be glad to see the breach between him and Spain still further widened, and at the same time a good healthy rejection of the interference of the allies in the affairs of America. The royal family of Spain would have acted wisely for its own interests in transporting itself to Mexico; and even George the Third might have retained his American colonies, and by this time have been master of the new world, had he transferred his crown from the island of Great Britain to the American continent.
Spain has been well aware of this disposition or tendency to separation on the part of the colonies, and to establish governments of their own.
She knew that the colonial state was a forced one, and too unnatural to last for ever. She had had, everywhere, frequent indications of the dispositions of the people which she could not mistake. They were gradually becoming ripe for a separation, in spite of all the precautions she could devise to retard this so much dreaded state. An event, however, in which she took some-share (actuated no doubt by the desire of being freed from her ambitious neighbors the English) served, contrary to her expectations, to hasten this maturity. This was the successful emancipation of the United States. To avoid one evil she encouraged another even more pernicious. Her colonies could not behold without uneasiness, the full enjoyment of the blessings of self-government and a free constitution in adjoining colonies. The imprisoned are tormented by the desire to escape, as much by the natural love of liberty, as by the sight of others in the enjoyment of it. The precautions of Spain for the preservation of her colonies were in consequence increased ; and their dissatisfaction increased in the same proportion. All the pains which were taken to prevent the introduction of liberal principles into her colonies were in vain; the importation of goods may be prohibited, but thoughts will find their way like the rays of light; it is as vain to forbid the spreading of knowledge as to forbid the sun to shine. The true principles of liberty, which have at last escaped abroad, can never be consigned to the tomb of secresy. The art of printing will, in time, effect the liberty of the press; and wherever this liberty prevails, despotism is at an end. These principles shook Europe to its centre; and, although restrained at length, in some measure they are stilt silently working their way. They found their way at last to the more natural clime of Southern America ; and we have
seen that in America these principles have been invariably connected with the establishment of independence. Formerly a revolution indicated little more than a change of masters; it now means the establishment of free government. The unexampled prosperity of the United States, the knowledge of which could not be concealed from the colonists, furnished the aliment to keep alive the fire which had been thus lighted up-their triumph over all their enemies, and their conquest over all their difficulties, at last, must render this fire unextinguishable. The daring enterprise and the intelligence of our citizens, who continually found their way into the Spanish colonies, in spite of all the guards which the most watchful jealousy could establish, contributed not a little to open the eyes of the colonists. For twenty-five years before the revolutions of South America took place, there was a slow but progressive state of preparation for this momentous occurrence. It is, therefore, a mistake to suppose that the separation of the colonies was a revolt produced by an unpremeditated and accidental event—a sudden and passing storm which would soon be over-it was, in fact, the natural consummation of what had been long and gradually preparing, hastened by accidental circumstances, but not occasioned by them.
There is nothing which tends so much to check the sympathy we should be disposed to give the Southern Americans, in their present interesting struggle, as the prevailing idea that they are totally unfit for self-government—a character which we bestow, without discrimination, on all, although there is by no means an uniformity in the moral state of the different colonies. This is a topic of which their enemies have availed themselves, unfortunately, with great success. They are represented without distinction or discrimination, as in a state of extreme ignorance and debasement (a state, by the by, which ought to cover the Spaniard with shame) without any kind of information, and without morals ; lazy, inconstant, worthless, and, at the same time, violent, jealous, and cruel ; composed of heterogeneous casts, likely to be split into factions, and, if left to themselves, to exterminate each other like the soldiers of Cadmus. In fact no pains have been spared to represent them in the most hateful and disgusting colors, and there
of us who now take it for granted that they are the most despicable of the human race. Let us for a moment inquire by whom is this indiscriminate character bestowed ? It is given either by their bitterest enemies or by those who are unacquainted with them, or whose opportunities have enabled to see them only in the most unfavorable light.- Persons who have never seen a Southern American, are in the habit of condemning them all by the wholesale, as stupid, depraved, and worthless. Notwithstanding this, if we consult the enlightened travellers who have visited those countries, we shall find that they concur in bearing testimony to
their native intelligence, and to the number of well informed and well educated people they possess. But is it for us to repeat or believe such slanders? We should recollect the character which until lately was charitably given to us throughout Europe ; and we should hesitate before we condemn a people whom we have had no opportunity of correctly estimating. Until the American revo lution, it was a fashionable opinion, extremely ágreeable to Euro pean vanity, that man degenerated in the new world, and if not continually renewed by European intelligence, would be in danger of losing the faculty of reason. How long since has this slaider been refuted? There are those who assert it even now ; yet the enlightened, who knew that the true dignity of human character does not depend upon climate or soil, but on the liberty and freedom of government, as necessary as the sun and air to plants, foretold what we should be, when left to ourselves. " Why is it, asked an eloquent orator, " that the slave looks quietly on the spot where Leonidas expired? The nature of man has not changed, but Sparta has lost the government which her liberty could not survive.”-Man is everywhere a noble and lofty being; and if the burthen which bows him to the earth be taken away, if the slavish bands in which he is fastened are burst, he will suddenly rise with ease to the natural standard of his character. Our enemies in Europe are still in the habit, in spite of the proofs we have given, both in peace and war, of representing us as degenerate, at least as incapable of any thing great. These things we know to be the slander of malevolence and envy, repeated by ignorance and prejudice; may we not in charity suppose that all we have heard of the Southern Americans is not true ?
The standing topic of our enemies during our eventful struggle for independence, was our supposed incapacity for self-government. They represented us as being, in general, an uninformed people, our distance from the metropolis, from the sun of knowledge, rendering it impossible for us to know any thing, and therefore incapable of making any good use of our independence, even if it were possible for us to gain it; they said we were restless and factious, and would either fall into a state of horrible anarchy, or from our intestine divisions become a prey to the ambition of military chiefs. Nothing of all this happened, or was likely to happen. It is lamentable to see the proneness of the human mind to form opinions without data or experience, or to form general theories from a few isolated facts. It is a source of a thousand vexations in politics, in science, in morals, and in philosophy. It is this bigotry of opinion which forms the greatest barrier to the progress of the human mind. The ignorant and the arrogant will ever believe, that what they do not know to exist, does not exist: VOL. XIII.