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within them and amongst them the stamina of a powerful state, equal to all purposes of self-defence. In mere extent of territory, could that be appealed to as a fair exponent of their importance, they would be entitled to take rank as a first-rate power. How magnificent a country must that appear, one of whose lakes is 480 miles long, and pretty nearly the same breadth, and whose principal river pursues a course of 3000 miles! How impressive, again, to hear of a single province (that of Labrador) equal in square miles to France, Spain, and Germany!" It is true, that this vast province is miserably sterile wherever it has been examined, and does not support a resident population of more than 4000 souls. But in these regions nature has so regulated her compensations, that what the land in some parts refuses the sea makes good. Along the coast even of this inhospitable region, 300 schooners, manned by 20,000 British subjects, are annually employed in fishing; and the estimated value of the total produce is considerably above a quarter of a million sterling. Other fisheries in this same region are of such surpassing importance, that, according to the opinion of many able men, (of whom Mr M'Gregor is one,) without them Great Britain never could have attained that naval supremacy which has so repeatedly been applied to the salvation of Europe. Even at present, when they are necessarily considered "in their infancy," these North American possessions support a population of 1,350,000 people. And that, which they may be made capable of supporting, "by cultivation and improvement," Mr M'Gregor estimates at thirty millions; " and, including the countries west of the great lakes, at probably more than fifty millions."
The aggregate register tonnage of all the shipping employed to and from, or in any way on account of, these North American colonies, is not less than 780,000 tons; and the number of sailors and fishermen employed, at least 65,000. The estimated value (considerably below the real value) of the British exports to these colonies, is annually about two millions and a half sterling; and the fixed capital (including the cattle) which they possess, is estima
ted at forty-two millions and a half sterling.
Of a colonial empire, thus far developed already, and potentially so unspeakably magnificent, we might presume that some knowledge would be pretty generally diffused in this country. Yet so far otherwise is this, that Mr M'Gregor is obliged to tax even our government with the most scandalous ignorance of every thing relating to these colonies, their interests, and their most notorious characteristics. The most injurious manifestation of this ignorance appeared in the general treaty of peace which followed the overthrow of Napoleon, of which more hereafter. But a more ludicrous instance is the following, recorded by Mr M'Gregor. We have all heard of the sapient factor who sent out a cargo of warming-pans to Brazil (in which, by the way, the blunder was not absolutely indefensible, hot climates having sometimes chilly nights); but in the following case, [vol. ii. p. 533,] our government seem to have planned an illustration, upon a large scale, of sending coals to Newcastle. "Beside the vast expenditure of the commissariat department, the preparations for naval warfare were managed in the most extravagant manner. The wooden work of the Psyche frigate was sent out from England to a country where it could be provided on the spot in one-tenth of the time necessary to carry it from Montreal to Kingston, and at onetwentieth part of the expense. Even wedges were sent out; and, to exemplify more completely the information possessed at that time by the admiralty, a full supply of watercasks were [was] sent to Canada for the use of the ships of war on Lake Ontario, where it was only necessary to throw a bucket overboard with which to draw up water of the very best quality." Wood exported from England to Canada! and water exported from Downing Street to Lake Ontario! Is this possible? And could Sir James Yeo, who doubtless had many an audience at the Admiralty, furnish no better advice? But let the truth be told. Our own British Cabinet, at all times the most honourable and the best educated in Europe, has the least benefit of what we may call a professional appren
ticeship. No where will you find ministers with one half of their general knowledge. But the specific knowledge of their stations-where should they gain it? At the universities they learn what gives expan sion and elevation to their minds, I but nothing which presupposes any particular destination of their powers in the paths of real life. Now, on the Continent the case is otherwise. There the education of statesmen is purely diplomatic; and, having little to do with transatlantic politics, or generally with colonial politics, they have, by comparison with British statesmen, two great advantages:the professional knowledge required of them is less; and secondly, it is regularly taught to them in early youth. Continental statesmen receive a pro#fessional education. But with us, education is in the widest and vaguest sense general; and practical life, upon which is devolved, in England, the whole burden of tuition as regards the duties of a statesman, brings with it too many distractions of its own to allow of any tranquil studies. Moreover, in candour, it ought not to be forgotten that a British statesman has a much wider cycle of duties, and a catechism of political knowledge much ampler to traverse, than his brother-statesman on the Rhine or the Elbe. One half of his energies is spent upon the management of a popular assembly; this, in the first place. And secondly, he has a colonial duty to learn, and a colonial interest to administer, which to his continental brother (if we except a very few of the Southern European states) have no sort of existence. Our Oriental colonies, it is true, do not make any large demands on the time of ministers at home; mere distance forbids that. But all those on this side the Cape of Good Hope, and especially the West Indies, have, in our days, occupied and harassed our domestic government even more than our domestic affairs.
This palliation, however, in one view, is but an aggravation of the 'blame in another; for, if Colonial affairs are amongst the burdens which oppress them, the more imperatively should it weigh upon their consciences to make themselves acquainted with the relations of these colonies
to European politics and their real interests. Yet, from Mr M'Gregor's work, we collect every where that their policy has been at the best wavering and indecisive, and, in some instances, fatally blind; of which we cannot need a better evidence than the fact of their having, by express treaty, co-operated in the re-esta blishment of the French at the entrance of the St Lawrence; thus wilfully restoring a baleful influence, whose expulsion from those regions makes so memorable a page in our British Colonial history.
Such being the darkness which prevails even in the highest quarters upon these great interests, we have all reason for peculiar gratitude to any writer who labours effectually to disperse it. That task is neither easy nor pleasant: it can rest securely only upon strong arguments supported by numerous facts, and upon facts in the largest extent improved into their true bearing by arguments the strongest. A book of mere statistics is blind; a book of mere reasoning is weak. In the first, very few readers can find their road; in the second, where the road is officiously pointed out, the reader distrusts his guide. Mr M'Gregor's book is, in this respect, constructed upon the right plan. It is not, as might perhaps have been expected in a case where details so copious had been collected so laboriously, a book stuffed merely with the dry bones of statistics. Yet, on the other hand, the opinions and leading doctrines of the writer are every where sufficiently supported by massy facts and numerical calculations-giving a basis to what otherwise were pure hypothesis, and bringing within the light of palpable evidence what might else have ap peared mere conjectural speculation. Coming at this time, such a book discharges a critical service. For the colonies of British America are now making gigantic strides, such as will soon antiquate and superannuate the feeble and indeterminate policy which has hitherto conducted their affairs in the British Cabinet; and it is only in the interval between wars, that any powerful efforts can be made at home for breathing a new life into the counsels which should watch over their developement.
It is more for her own sake than for any danger which her influence, howsoever abused, can ultimately menace these colonies, that we have reason to pray for the triumph of sound counsels in this chapter of the British policy. The loss of so important a limb as her North American provinces, would inflict a heavy wound upon the reputation of England, and the European estimate of her power. She would suffer; but on them such a separation would fall lightly. They would soon manifest their self-sufficing powers for repelling aggression, and for exercising all the functions of an independent state. To them no power could be really formidable in a military sense, except the great Republic on their frontiers. But as her purpose could be no other than that of incorporation into her own federal system, there would be no reason for apprehending a sanguinary war of devastation. France, from the advantages of her position amongst the parties concerned, might sow momentary dissensions by means of intrigues. But eventually it would be the great domineering interests on each side which would determine the result; and both parties would make their final election with the dignity of an independent choice, and according to the pure balance of political interest. England, therefore, apart, there is not much to chequer the prospects, or to throw gloom upon the external relations, of these provinces. It is, therefore, by a double obligation the duty of a power which stands in this predicament, and holds its influence by a sort of filial suffer ance and prescriptive reverence, to wield it for none but the most benevolent purposes, and in a spirit of parental tenderness. Towards this (as indeed towards any consistent) end, the first step is to make ourselves well acquainted with the real interest of the provinces which we are undertaking to benefit and foster. Without us they have sufficient internal sources of prosperity: let us be cautiously on our guard that they lose none through our interference.
On such a line of policy perhaps no book, before Mr M'Gregor's, could furnish us with any adequate assistance. His challenges our especial notice from this cause that it
is thoroughly comprehensive. Any former work that we know of, supposing even that its information were sufficiently recent, is liable to this great objection-that, by confining itself to one province or two at the most, it foregoes the possibility of rising to a general survey of the foreign relations which connect the whole of these provinces with Great Britain and Europe. Viewed as an aggregate, our North American colonies present a character and a political position which cannot be ascribed to any one of them individually. And it is necessary that they should be considered collectively, in order to appreciate the importance which even each singly may attain. Nova Scotia, for instance, taken separately, and resting on her own resources, will hardly be supposed entitled to any very magnificent prospects; yet, as Mr M'Gregor observes, so great is her capacity for a higher destiny in combination with a state already powerful that she alone, by supplying one capital want, would render the great American Republic independent of Europe. All of these provinces in fact have some natural adaptation to the imperfection of each other. And this it is which makes a comprehensive view, like that before us, no less essential to the truth and accuracy of the several parts than of the total result. In point of correctness also, as respects the great mass of the information furnished, we may presume Mr M'Gregor to have had one advantage peculiar to himself—that much of it has been obtained from the records of the Chamber of Commerce in Halifax, an authentic source of such details not previously laid open to any traveller.
In the first, or Introductory Book, Mr M'Gregor gives a general sketch of American History, from the period of its discovery. This was perhaps necessary to impress an air of completeness and rotundity on his plan; yet, in this part of his work, he travels over ground which has been trodden by so many predecessors, that it was scarcely possible within his limits to bring forward much absolute novelty. In one point, however, the spirit of reciprocal feeling between this country and America in general, we are glad to find
him taking a tone which has unfortunately been too little familiar to our printed works on America, - though it tallies with all that we I have heard in conversation from grave and temperate travellers "It is common to believe," says he, "that the Americans cherish a bitter A hatred to the people of England. Many circumstances have certainly planted sentiments of dislike to England, or more properly to the go=vernment, pretty generally among =the citizens of the United States: =but they are, notwithstanding, more -kind to Englishmen individually =than to the people of any other ■country. I may also observe further, that there is much truth in a reply =made to me by a member of the Legislature of Maine, when conversing with him on the subject: 'Sir,' he said, 'if I were to punish men for abusing countries, I would first knock down the person who stigmatized my own, and immediately after the one that abused yours; and you may depend upon it, sir, that the feeling is more general amongst us than even we ourselves think."" Mr M'Gregor justly goes on to account for this secret leaning to England, from the common literature-the common language-and, until lately, the common history-which connect them with the country.
In the Second Book it is that Mr M'Gregor, properly speaking, opens his subject. The British possessions in North America, are the islands of Newfoundland, Cape Breton, and Prince Edward; together with the provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canadas. Three less considerable possessions we omit-viz. Anticosti, Labrador, and the territory west of Hudson's Bay, the first as deficient in extent, and all as deficient in population. To each of the more important possessions Mr McGregor dedicates a book: we shall follow him according to the or der of his own arrangement.
At the outset of the subject, it is painful to find that the very boundary line which separates us from the United States, has been left open to endless dissensions, by the mere ignorance and carelessness of the British Commissioners. The question was to determine what river had originally been designated by
the name of the St Croix. A short investigation would have cleared up that point in a sense favourable to this country. But to save a little personal trouble, this was resigned to the interpretation of the American party: and thus, to evade a day's litigation, matter has been left for future wars, the territory in dispute being of first-rate importance to either side of the frontier; for, in extent, it is not less than seven millions of acres, and in fertility it is almost unrivalled.
In characterising the general aspect of American scenery in these northern regions, Mr M'Gregor notices, with the surprise which belongs to such a feature of disproportion, the dwarfish size of the mountains, few of which are so high as some in Great Britain. The White Mountains in Hampshire, it is true, ascend to an elevation of 6800 feet, and the Rocky Mountains to nine or even eleven thousand feet-a Pyrenean altitude: but they constitute a solitary exception. The highest part of the Alleghanies is but 2958 feet above the level of the sea; and no mountain to the north of the St Lawrence, not even the Algonquin, is reputed much above 2000 feet high. Dr Johnson said of Miss Knight, the author of Dinarbas, upon hearing of her intention to settle in France, that she was in the right; for that "she was too big for an island." And, seriously, such puny hills as these seem too little for a continent. In reality, it is the lakes and the forests which compose the noble part of the American scenery. With respect to these last, Mr M'Gregor affirms"that it is impossible to exaggerate their autumnal beauty; nothing under heaven can be compared to its effulgent grandeur. Two or three frosty nights in the decline of autumn, transform the verdure of a whole empire into every possible tint of scarlet, rich violet, every shade of blue and brown, vivid crimson, and glittering yellow. The stern inexorable fir tribes alone maintain their external sombre green. others, in mountains or in valleys, burst into the most glorious vegetable beauty, and exhibit the most splendid and most enchanting panorama on earth."
Mr McGregor's sketch of the zoo
logy of these regions, is executed with a happy selection of circumstances. But he is mistaken in supposing it to be not generally known, that the characteristic superiority of American birds is in the splendour of their plumage, whilst those of Europe find a natural compensation in the beauty of their song; this distinction is familiar to most people, and, in fact, is noticed in as common and as early a book as Thomson's Seasons. In the Chapter on the Climatology of North America, we find it remarked, that the winter is commonly supposed to be shorter and milder than a century or two ago. And this effect, supposing it to have a real existence, is ascribed to the progress made in throwing open and clearing away the woods. But Sir Alexander M'Kenzie, the American traveller, than whom no man was more competent to speak on that question, denied the tendency of such changes to produce any result of the kind; and the result itself, as a mere fact, is made very questionable by Mr M'Gregor, who cites some anecdotes, which do certainly throw much doubt upon the statements commonly received. The most disagreeable peculiarity of the climate, if it ought not more probably to be charged upon the diet or other habits of life, presents itself in the premature decay of the teeth. "It is truly distressing," says the author, " to see a blooming maid of eighteen, or a young wife, either without front teeth, or with such as are black and decayed."
The first of our North American possessions, which Mr M'Gregor treats of circumstantially, is Newfoundland. To this he assigns his Third Book. It seems strange that this island, though the first discovered of our possessions, should be the least known; and it is still stranger to add, that, until a very few years since, the interior had never been explored by Europeans.
The two points most notoriously interesting in the circumstances of Newfoundland are its dogs, and its great fishing bank. With regard to the former, it appears to be true (as we had often heard) that the dogs, valued as the Newfoundland breed in this country, are not of the genuine race. Though a cross, however, they
are admitted to be in the highest degree valuable.
The Great Bank is in every view one of the most astonishing phenomena on our planet. In length it is 600 miles, in breadth about 200. Some have imagined that it was originally an island, whose pillars had been shaken by an earthquake, and had in consequence given way. Others suppose that it has been formed by accumulations of sand carried along by the Gulf-stream, and arrested by the currents of the north. It appears, however, to be one mass of solid rock. The Gulf-stream, by the way, is in itself a very interesting feature of these seas. The current is so powerful as to retard a vessel on its outward voyage from Europe from forty to sixty miles a day; whilst on a homeward voyage it increases the rate of sailing so much, that the sailors say they are going down hill" when they are returning to Europe.
There is one page in the History of Newfoundland which is fitted to awake a more distressing and perplexing interest than any the most impressive of those innumerable records which trace the downward career of the poor perishing aboriginal tribes of the New World, in their vain conflict with white invaders. The details of this case, as they are brought together from a great variety of sources by Mr M'Gregor, are not less stimulating to our curiosity than they are distressing, and sometimes even revolting to our humanity: they are attractive from the circumstances of mystery which still hang about the closing scenes of the tragedy, and yet, deeply repulsive from the dishonour which they attach at every step to countrymen of our own, professors of civilisation and Christian truth. The original inhabitants of Newfoundland, at the period of its earliest discovery, were a tribe of savages distinguished by the name of Red Indians. This was their appellation amongst Europeans, and was derived from the circumstance of their being painted universally with red ochre. But they styled themselves Baothics. Even at this early period it is probable that some foundation had been already laid of that jealous hatred which has ever since marked their intercourse with strangers; for,