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companies come again? The answer will be found in actual or threatened competition in lands unoccupied by Europeans. In the general scramble for the remaining waste places in the world the English, true to their instincts and their traditions, have fallen back upon the semiprivate agencies which on the whole worked so well for them in the past, and it now seems as though the old story of the East India Company was, in a modified form and on a smaller scale, to be reenacted in more than one part of the world. By those who believe that Great Britain should keep moving forward in the interests of the world in general as much as in her own, the revival of chartered companies will be taken as a healthy sign. It is one of the best features of the English that they like, if possible, to keep the Government in the background and not to have their work cut and dried beforehand. Let colony shade into protectorate and protectorate into sphere of influence, and, as skirmishers in front of the main body of organized British possessions, let trading companies go on and do their work, to be absorbed hereafter in the fullness of time."
Morris, in his History of Colonization, discussing the causes of England's success, says: “Englishmen to-day, as throughout the greater part of the nineteenth century, represent the best type in the elaboration and application of methods of colonization. Most of the efforts heretofore made of sound enduring colonial empires have proved futile, and in the majority of instances, when misfortune overwhelmed others in their careers, England was the gainer. To this extent the history of her development beyond the seas is the complement of the annals of her rivals; the losses as sustained by other nations were frequently to her profit. On the ruins of others' splendor England has builded. Taught by their errors and cautioned by their reverses, the present mistress of commerce has endeavored to avoid the mistakes and correct the wrongs of her predecessors in this line of labor. The watchword of her policy has been: Construct, organize, never exhaust, but rather strengthen the dependency, let it cost the mother country what it may. How different from the doctrine of Spain, which has elsewhere been characterized as the profit of the parent State at all hazards, whatever be the cost to the colony. * * It is not, however, merely a narrative of conquest which has been reviewed, since the struggle throughout the colonial fabric for escape from oppression is everywhere evident. The colonists so widely dispersed in far-separated quarters of the globe, seconded by the efforts of sympathetic Englishmen, have by different means and at various times within the nineteenth century attained independence and self-government, exemption from penal settlements, the abolition of slavery, and the overthrow of corporate tyranny. These four great reforms, respectively inaugurated in Canada, Australia, the West Indies and East India, have thence diffused their beneficent influence to other localities, and their mention alone suffices to recall the rapid evolution, political and social, achieved during a hundred years.”
SIR CHARLES DILKE.
Sir Charles Dilke, in his Problems of Greater Britain, discusses English colonial methods of to-day as follows:
“Among the English-governed countries there are, then, two great groups. To the one belong Canada, Australia, except its northern coast, New Zealand, Cape Colony, and Bechuanaland; to the other India, a large part of the British African coast, the northern territory of Australia, as well as Ceylon, Mauritius, Labuan, and North Borneo, British Guiana, British Honduras, the West India and other islands, and the territories under the control of the Niger Company, and of the East Africa Company. The former group are the temperate colonies, where, even as near to the equator as Queensland, the English race can labor in the open air, and where the native races consisted mainly of peoples like the red Indian or the Australian aboriginal, of small numbers, who lived by the chase and made little or no use of the soil. In the other group, of which India is the great example, the English find themselves ruling nations and races that they can not hope to replace. We may indeed try to change them in the islands or the small peninsulas; to substitute one black or yellow people for another, as the negroes have been substituted for the Caribs in the West India Islands, and as Hindoos are being in turn substituted for negroes as laborers in some of these, or as the Chinese in parts of British Malaya have taken as workers the place of the Malays; but we can not do without the colored man, nor conveniently till the soil. Most of these countries of darkskinned labor which are under British rule are Crown colonies (except India, of which we have already treated, and which is indeed in a similar position), and most of the Crown colonies consist of countries of this description. There are a few military stations and a few trading posts, some of which lie outside the Tropics where Englishmen could work if the local resources were sufficient to attract them, but in the main the Crown colonies and the habitation colonies form two separate classes. In some parts of India, as, for example, in the tea districts of Assam and the coffee districts of Madras, we encourage English and Scotch planters, but in the old settled districts of Hindoostan the native landlords will continue to exist, and the social problems there presented to us are different from those of our Crown colonies or of the tropical colonies of France, Holland, Spain, Portugal, and the German Empire. The advance made during the Queen's reign by the self-governing colonies of the Empire has been so remarkable in regard alike to the growth of population, the development of resources, and intellectual and social progress that the Crown colonies, on which in former days was concentrated most of the interest that was felt in British enterprises beyond the seas, have been thrown by comparison into the background.
“The colonies and dependencies of which I have now to treat do not at first sight seem to illustrate the expansive power of our race to the same extent as do Australasia, North America, or South Africa. The old tropical colonies, as, for example, those of the West Indies, appear to the eyes of some observers to have exhausted their vitality and entered upon a period of decline. There are, however, new fields open to British energy in tropical Africa which present us with an early view of the colonial problems of the twentieth century, for the development of Africa by railroad enterprise must be the work mainly of the next generation. As regards the older tropical colonies, it would be unfair to apply to them the same standard by which we measure the growth of the self-governing colonies. With the exception of those military or naval stations to which I have referred, the Crown colonies are either situate in low ground within the Tropics or, like Cyprus, Bermuda, and the extra tropical portion of Bahamas, possess a similar climate. They are unsuited to European labor and in some degree to permanent European residence, inasmuch as upon their rich lowlands European children pine or die. Moreover, instead of having wide fields for settlement, our older tropical colonies are either small or densely inhabited by dark-skinned races. In most of them the British planters incurred in the last generation great losses in consequence of the cessation of slave labor and found much difficulty in obtaining an efficient substitute, while the consequent increase in cost of production was followed by so heavy a fall in the price of the chief among the articles which they produced as seemed to have consummated the ruin of the colonies themselves. Observers at home naturally turned away from the contemplation of what they thought was a picture of decay to the consideration of the brighter prospects of the larger colonies, inhabited, except in the cases of South Africa and of Quebec, by a homogeneous population and having about them infinite power of development-life, hope, and promise. At the same time the Crown
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colonies are important to us still, and their decay, if decay there was, is at an end. They include in or near Europe the stations of Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus, the chief of which will be dealt with under the head of imperial defense; in America, little besides British Guiana, British Hunduras, and the West India Islands; in Africa, the West Coast Settlements, Mauritius with its dependencies, and Natal and others which have been described under the head of South Africa; in Australasia, Fiji and British New Guinea, besides that Western Australia, to which responsible government is immediately to be given, and in Asia, Ceylon, the Straits Settlements, Labuan, and Hongkong. If even we exclude from view the British spheres of influence or as the Germans say, of "interest” upon the Niger, in East Africa, in North Borneo, and in northern Bechuanaland, as well as the protectorates, the population in Crown colonies under direct British rule is almost equal to the population of all the rest of the colonies put together, and the volume of external trade of the Crown colonies greatly in excess of that of the other colonies if those of the Australian continent be omitted."
Mr. Alleyne Ireland, author of Tropical Colonization, a native of England and who states in that volume that he has spent twelve years in the British colonies and dependencies, discussing the success of the British colonial system, says in the introduction to the above-mentioned work:
“In examining the growth of the British colonial conception, we find that it can be divided into three periods: Firstly, the period of the old colonial system, during which the prevailing idea in regard to colonies was that they were a national asset which should be made to yield as much profit as possible to the sovereign State; secondly, the period of laissez aller, marked by a strong sentiment in favor of allowing the colonies to become independent, a sentiment which had its origin in the success of the American Revolutionary war; third, the era of Greater Britain, which may be appropriately described in the words used by Mr. Joseph Chamberlain at the Royal Colonial Institute, on March 31, 1897: 'We have now reached the true conception of our Empire. What is that conception? As regards the self-governing colonies, we no longer talk of them as dependencies. The sense of possession has given place to the sentiment of kinship. We think and speak of them as part of ourselves, as part of the British Empire united to us, although they may be dispersed throughout the world, by ties of kindred, religion, history, and language, and joined to us by the seas that formerly seemed to divide us.' Two powerful causes have contributed to the final development of the British colonial conception-abroad, the growth of colonial ambitions among the great continental powers; at home, a two-fold process of education, appealing on the one hand to the reason, on the other to the emotions of the British people.”
Adam Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, commenting upon the difference between English and French methods, in the earlier days of colonization, says that the difference between the sugar plantations of England and those of France consists in the fact that in the English islands most of the funds were originally received from the parent State, while in the French possessions they were the product of the accumulated profits drawn from the soil and due to the labor of the settlers. Hence the British possessions from the beginning made rapid strides (owing to the private capital from England invested in local industries), while the growth of French establishments was much slower.
Rambaud gives the following reasons for the inferiority of the French to the English in colonization: (1) The preponderance of the religious factor in all French enterprises; (2) their introduction of the feudal institutions into the New World; (3) their transfer into the colonies of the same system of administration as that at home; (4) want of inducements to the peasants to emigrate. Contrasted with these it may be said in general terms that the British method has not favored interference with local religious customs, except in cases where human life or the morals of the community were affected; that it has not favored or practiced the introduction of feudal institutions in its colonies; that the adoption of the systems of administration utilized by the home Government has only followed in cases where the community was composed chiefly of natives of the mother country or their descendants; and that the disposition to emigrate has been much more strongly marked among the people of the United Kingdom than those of France.
Lord Salisbury, contrasting the colonial policies of Great Britain and France, in a letter to the British ambassador at Paris, in 1892, said:
“The colonial policy of Great Britain and France in West Africa has been widely different. France, from her basis on the Senégal, has pursued steadily the aim of establishing herself on the Upper Niger and its affluents. This object she obtained by a large and constant expenditure and by a succession of military expeditions. * * * Great Britain, on the other hand, has adopted the policy of advance by commercial enterprise.”
Ecrl Grey, who was British secretary of state for the colonies during Lord John Russell's administration, the period in which the present British colonial system was formulated, writing to Lord Russell in 1853, discusses the principles upon which the colonial system has been framed as follows: “This country has no interest whatever in exercising any greater influence than is indispensable either for the purpose of preventing any one colony from adopting measures injurious to another or to the Empire at large, or else for the promotion of the internal good government of the colonies by assisting the inhabitants to govern themselves when sufficiently civilized to do so with advantage and by providing a just and impartial administration of those of which the population is too ignorant and unenlightened to manage its own affairs,"
Caldecott, in his English Colonization, commenting on the causes of British success, says: “The several colonies at different periods of their history have passed through various stages of government, and in 1891 there are some thirty or forty different forms operative simultaneously within our Empire alone. We find one reflection rising in our minds, however, when we survey the history of this complicated period, namely, that we are looking at the natural growth of an organism which, in its development, has taken differing forms in adaptation to differing needs. No cast-iron mechanism is before us, but a living society, exhibiting vital principles both in what it continues to retain and what it drops or adds by way of alteration. The Briton is supposed to be of rigid character, but in government he has proved himself to be the most elastic of all Europeans.”
Caldecott, commenting upon British methods as contrasted with those of other countries, says: “Again, as conquerors, no right is claimed by us. We do not hold India by the title of conquerors in the sense that the Spaniards held Mexico. We subject it to no tribute, we impose upon it no restrictions in order that profits may be artificially diverted for our benefit. We are there as rulers; the right upon which we rely as a reasonable justification for being there is the right of doing good by ruling."
Poultney Bigelow, in his “Children of the Nations,” 1901, commenting upon the cause of English colonial success, says:
"Even English historians now freely chronicle the manner in which official England in the days of George III spoke of Americans as cowards incapable of organization or resistance. * * * Great changes have taken place since then, never so signally emphasized as in the year 1900, when the colonies of Australia sent their delegates to the mother country to discuss ways and means of closer political intercourse. To-day, English colonies bare their arms for fight in the cause of old England.
* * * When Franklin went to England as an Englishman demanding the rights of Englishmen, asking no strange favor, but appealing to the government of his King for justice according to the ancient charters and many generations of prescription, he and others of the same errand of peace were treated by the court, the aristocracy, members of the Government, and the majority of politicians as contemptible agitators unfit for association on terms of equality with the so-called society of the metropolis. England was drunk with the glory of her past wars; her power had made her blind. * * * It took ten years of good, hard knocks to teach England the lesson which to-day makes her the colonial mistress of the world. Canada was the first to profit by the surrender of Yorktown, but each colony in turn felt the effects of this blow; and now wherever the British flag floats throughout the world it represents either a self-governing Anglo-Saxon community, or at least one in which the natives enjoy as much of self-government as it is safe to accord.”
Mr. Henry E. Bourne, in the Yale Review, May, 1899, comparing British colonial methods with those of other governments, says: “There is something fascinating about building colonial empires, but the bad quarter of an hour comes when peoples annexed or purchased cease to be numbers and become men, when they reject the alien civilization thrust upon them and when punitive expeditions and petty warfare crowd into the expense account, leaving the empire builders each year some millions in debt. Empires that grow of themselves are less unprofitable, but they are of the English or Dutch sort and have trade as their motive, not the mere glory of governing. Perhaps it is unfair to hint in this way that the French colonies are to a degree artificial and costly attempts at empire.
* * Nevertheless, the French Empire has been an unnecessarily expensive affair, and none more bitterly criticise its management than Frenchmen."
Sylvester Baxter, in the Yale Review, says: “The experiences of other powers in colonial management have great value to us, and we can not too closely study their teachings. Since the discovery of the New World there have been seven colonial powers in Europe-Spain, Portugal, France, England, Holland, Denmark, and Germany. Denmark has only a few small islands in the West Indies, together with Arctic Iceland and Greenland, and hardly counts as an example. Germany's experience is too recent to be of much consequence to us. France pursued an exploitation policy and has achieved little, while the value of Spain and Portugal as examples is purely negative. This leaves only England and Holland, and these two furnish the great instances of successful colonial politics."
1. DE LANESSAN.
M. de Lanessan, in his "Principes de Colonisation,” says: “Our business men and manufacturers represent the same value to the colonies as the British business men and manufacturers. But while the colonial policy of the British Government is inspired by the latter element (English business men and manufacturers), ours has been inspired, directed, and carried out for the last two centuries by a military spirit. It is for this reason, perhaps, that during all the epochs this spirit cropped out in the form of temporary but important crises which coincided with the periods of European peace. During all these periodic colonial crises we succeeded at times in conquering, but never in organizing, all of which cost the loss of the greater part of the territory conquered by our arms. The ironical remarks addressed to us, apropos of the question of Egypt by a London paper, would seem to be fully justified. It said: 'In the old rivalry between a people which possessed the colonial genius and another which does not possess it at all, nothing has changed but the field of battle; it is Africa now in place of the Indies and Canada. France is jealous of our progress in Africa. It understands that we strive for nothing else in this part of the world than the consolidation of an immense empire which is to offer considerable advantages to British commerce.' Historical truth is that the French people possess no less the colonial genius than the English people, but our administration has shown itself during all periods utterly devoid of this genius.”
M. Leroy-Beaulieu in his De la Colonisation chez les Peuples Modernes, says: “The nation which holds first rank in colonization and which gives to others the example of vast empires founded beyond the seas is England. And this incontestable superiority applies to more recent times, especially. During the seventeenth century the splendor of Spanish-America eclipsed the modest but solid and sustained beginnings of British America; the unheard-of but superficial and ephemeral prosperity of the Dutch India Company drew away the attention from the patient efforts of the British to gain a foothold in Hindostan. In the eighteenth century the French adventurers in Louisiana and along the Great Lakes or on the shores of the Mississippi or Ohio and in Asia on the shores of the Ganges, seemed for a moment through their audacity, full of expedients, to be on the point of founding their fortune in their own favor and reducing their British rivals to a secondary rôle; at the same time the sudden ascendency of Santo Domingo, which overshadowed Jamaica and Barbados, produced a change in the balance of the European powers and seemed to assure to France the supremacy in colonial matters. But time, that great teacher and impartial judge, which in the long run puts each nation in the place according to its qualities or faults, has given to England for everlasting hold the first rank among the colonizing nations.
"It was during the ninteenth century that the high and powerful capacities of the Anglo-Saxon race for the founding, maintaining, and governing of colonies showed themselves in the most pronounced manner. The eighteenth century had left a somber shade on British colonization; it had fallen into discredit and the firmest minds, under the first impression of the great check which the separation of the thirteen American colonies had inflicted on it, directed the severest criticism against it, which, however, posterity did not ratify. For the lost empires, fruitful England (la féconde Angleterre) has substituted new empires. It was able to multiply, simultaneously and in a degree the like of which is unknown, the population, culture, and the wealth of its old possessions, and improvise in a few years on continents almost unknown and shunned by other nations social communities, endowed with an unprecedented vitality, capacity, growth, and productive activity.
“It must not be thought that England arrived from the start at such a perfect political and eeonomic system, so well fitted for the development of new settlements; she has passed through her period of groping; reforms are seen to follow each other; numerous errors and mistakes were made, but loyally acknowledged and courageously corrected. That which constitutes in our eyes the greatness of the English people, the eminent faculty which has won for them the high place which they occupy in history, and especially in colonization, is that spirit of sincerity and that taste for gradual progress and successive reforms which cause them to study continuously their institutions and laws, to notice without minimizing or exaggerating their imperfections or faults, not allowing themselves to be blinded by national conceit from seeing the faults or errors committed; to modify continually the political and social machinery and economic methods which experience condemns. This spirit of sincerity, this taste for gradual reform, are the most judicious, practical, and resourceful faculties attainable. They preserve the people from the benumbing influence of routine on the one hand and the bursts of violence on the other. In the case of other nations, reforms come only with a crisis which they either produce, or of which they are the effects; in Great Britain reforms do not constitute an abnormal or accidental state, or what may be called a periodic illness; they are being enacted continuously, at almost every moment, they have taken their place in the political, economic, and social life as a permanent and regular factor."
M. Chailley-Bert, in his valuable work “ La Colonisation de l’Indo-Chine,” Paris, 1892, says:
“When inquiry is made into what are the indispensable elements of the prosperity of the colonies, three chief ones are found; good colonists, good laws, and good officials. By good colonists, we mean family people, or likely to become such, who are healthy and sensible, sufficiently energetic and possessing the power of initiative, faculty of patience, besides having some capital. By good laws we mean such as are modest in their claims, liberal in their spirit, supple in their formulation, which regulate but little, do not pretend to foresee everything, and equally refrain from fettering the free activities of the colonists, and restricting the responsibility of the officials. Lastly, good officials are those who entertain broad views and high intentions, possess a comprehensive intelligence and correct judgment, who are zealous of the interests of the colonists and the colony, interpreting the laws, and, if necessary, giving them such a wide construction as to make them an aid to and not a fetter upon the community.
“I doubt whether this ideal of good colonists, good laws, and good officials combined can be found anywhere; I am sure that it can not be found in any of the French colonies. Our colonists, being
Our colonists, being to a large extent unmarried, are in many regards below the average of the home country population. Our legislation being altogether too extensive and changeable, is, at the same time, either superannuated or excessively rigid. Our officials, whatever the attempts of the central administration, are too numerous, chosen by chance, often having neither competence nor responsibility. It is thus that all the elements which we stated to be indispensable for prosperity are wanting, although France has an abundance of them at home and even had them in olden times in its colonies.
“Too little is known of the colonial policy of the ancient régime; its European policy having hurt its case. This colonial policy had one capital vice and that was the lack of spirit of consistency. But it must be said that in its beginnings, and for two centuries after, it showed such wisdom in the conception of its plans and such ingeniousness in the execution of them as will never be surpassed.
“Owing to the colonial methods of the ancient régime France held so many splendid possessions that in the eighteenth century there was still some doubt whether she or Great Britain would prove to be the great colonizing nation. Unfortunately nothing is left to us of this wonderful domain, these invaluable colonists, and the wisdom which, in spite of every thing, perpetuated itself in the royal councils, of all these possessions which had been so dearly bought and so slowly conquered. This domain has crumbled and the traditions have vanished with the fall of royalty, everything was overturned in the great crash at the end of the century, and our past splendor is only proven by the glory of our rivals in possession of the spoils.
“At present, notwithstanding many disasters, we have been able by twenty years of effort to reconstitute our colonial empire. But when we are desirous of making it economically valuable we search in vain for the methods to follow and the men to apply them. The broken chain of traditions can not be linked again. The example of our forerunners, interrupted in their evolution, can not guide us any longer amidst the present difficulties, and in order to acquire a new education we must perforce turn to our foreign rivals.
“There are many people to whom the confession of our inferiority will appear sacrilegious, and our contention that to rid ourselves of our ignorance we must undertake to study, ridiculous. But we would be wrong to listen to them. As Pascal said, 'I blame equally those who choose to praise man as those who choose to find fault with him as well as those who choose to distract him, and I can approve of only those who search while sighing.'
“But once decided to study, let us know how to direct our studies, and let us not exaggerate the advantages to be derived from such a study. We are not going to find abroad the laws, regulations, and general line of conduct which we are to imitate at once without any change. The colonial policy of no nation is free from mistakes, and even the gravest ones. All mother countries have shown themselves shortsighted, ignorant, unjust; all governments careless, indifferent, clumsy. England herself has, during the long years of her history, committed monstrous errors. She possesses, however, two good features which we might do well to acquire: First, a three-hundred-year-old experience, uninterrupted and contemporaneous, from which, after some groping, there might be deducted certain rules of conduct which would nowadays be little subject to controversy; second, a proper distrust of improvisation and a well-confirmed sentiment that in the management of colonial affairs nothing can supersede experience or even study. This, perhaps, is about all the first colonial power of the world can teach us. However little this be, let us try to understand the teaching well at least, for this is by no means so easy a task. * * *
“It is an axiom, or at least admitted to be an axiom, that the people of the Orient are eager after justice. Whoever brings to them this supreme good is sure of being made welcome. This consideration, it would seem, constituted the trump card of the British game. They have a sort of worship for justice. In their eyes the possibility of obtaining justice is one of the first guaranties ; on the other hand, rendering justice is regarded the most sacred of duties and the highest of functions. Wherever they go they open a court-house as soon as they have arrived, and install a judge. After this they attend strictly to their business. It was thus that they proceeded in Burma. The mode of selecting their officials in India enables them to make of them, almost at will, executive or financial officials or judges. They have thus, even in the most rudimentary state of administration, men apt to render justice, who are careful in doing so. As a matter of fact, justice has been meted out on most occasions with the greatest impartiality. The judicial decisions, as a rule, have been in conformity with the spirit of the law and not with the whims of public opinion or the necessities of government.”
Prof. J. R. Seeley, of the University of Cambridge, in his series of lectures on “The Expansion of England,” says:
“I will conclude this lecture with some remarks on the large causes which, in the struggle of five states, left the final victory in the hands of England. Among these five we have seen that Spain and Portugal had the start by a whole century, and that Holland was in the field before England. Afterwards for about a century France and England contended for the New World on tolerably equal terms. Yet, now of all these States, England alone remains in possession of a great and commanding colonial power. Why is this?
“We may observe that Holland and Portugal labored under the disadvantage of too small a basis. The decline of Holland had obvious causes, which have been often pointed out. For her sufferings in a war of eighty years with Spain she found the compensations I have just described. But when this was followed, first by naval wars with England, and then by a struggle with France which lasted half a century, and she had now England for a rival on the seas, she succumbed. At the beginning of the eighteenth century she shows symptoms of decay, and at the treaty of Utrecht she lays down her arms, victorious indeed, but fatally disabled.
“The Portuguese met with a different misfortune. From the outset they had recognized the insufficiency of their resources, regretting that they had not been content with a less ambitious course of acquisition on the northern coast or Africa. In 1580 they suffered a blow such as has not fallen on any other of the still-existing European States. Portugal with all her world-wide dependencies and commercial stations fell under the yoke of Spain, and underwent a sixty years' captivity. In this period her colonial empire, which by becoming Spanish was laid open to the attacks of the Dutch, suffered greatly; Portuguese writers accuse Spain of having witnessed their losses with pleasure, and of having made a scapegoat of Portugal; certain it is that the discontent which led to the insurrection of 1640, and founded a new Portugal under the House of Braganza, was mainly caused by these colonial losses. Yet the insurrection itself cost her something more in foreign possessions; she paid the island of Bombay for the help of England. Nor could the second Portugal ever rival the first, that nurse of Prince Henry, Bartholomew Diaz, Vasco da Gama, Magelhaens and Camoens, which has quite a peculiar glory in the history of Europe.
"Be it remarked in passing that this passage also of the history of the seventeenth century shows us the New World reacting on the Old. As the rise of Holland, the great occurrence of its first years, so the revolution of Portugal, which occupies the middle of it, is caused by the influence of the colonies.
“As to the ill-success of Spain and France, it would no doubt be idle to suppose that any one cause will fully explain it. But perhaps one large cause may be named which in both cases contributed most to produce the result.
“Spain lost her colonial empire only, as it were, the other day. Having founded it a century earlier, she retained it nearly half a century later than England retained her first empire. Compared to England, she has been inferior only in not having continued to found new colonies. And this was the effect of that strange decay of vitality which overtook Spain in the latter half of the sixteenth century. The decline of population and the ruin of finance dried up in her every power, that of colonization included.
"No similar decline is observable in France. France lost her colonies in a series of unsuccessful wars, and perhaps you may think that it is not necessary to inquire further, and that the fortune of war explains everything. But I think I discern that both States were guilty of the same error of policy, which in the end mainly contributed to their failure. It may be said of both that they had too many irons in the fire.'
“There was this fundamental difference between Spain and France on the one side and England on the other, that Spain and France were deeply involved in the struggles of Europe, from which England has always been able to hold herself aloof. In fact, as an island, England is distinctly nearer for practical purposes to the New World, and almost belongs to it, or at least has the choice of belonging at her pleasure to the New World or to the Old. Spain might perhaps have had the same choice, but for her conquests in Italy and for the fatal marriage which, as it were, wedded her to Germany. In that same sixteenth century in which she was colonizing the New World, Spain was merged at home in the complex Spanish Empire, which was doomed beforehand to decline, because it could never raise a revenue proportioned to its responsibilities. It was almost bankrupt when Charles V abdicated, though it could then draw upon the splendid prosperity of the Netherlands; when, soon after, it alienated this province, lost the poorer half of it and ruined the richer, when it engaged in chronic war with France, when after eighty years of war with the Dutch it entered upon a quarter of a century of war with Portugal, it could not but sink, as it did, into bankruptcy and political decrepitude. These overwhelming burdens, coupled with a want of industrial aptitude in the Spanish people, whose temperament had been formed in a permanent war of religion, produced the result that the nation to which a new world had been given could never rightly use or profit by the gift.
“As to France, it is still more manifest that she lost the New World because she was always divided between a policy of colonial extension and a policy of European conquest. If we compare together those seven great wars between 1688 and 1815, we shall be struck with the fact that most of them are double wars; that they have one aspect as between England and France and another as between France and Germany. It is the double policy of France that causes this, and it is France that suffers by it. England has for the most part a single object and wages a single war, but France wages two wars at once for two distinct objects. When Chatham said he would conquer America in Germany he indicated that he saw the mistake which France committed by dividing her forces and that he saw how, by subsidizing Frederick, to make France exhaust herself in Germany, while her possessions in America passed defenseless into our hands. Napoleon, in like manner, is distracted between the New World and the Old. He would humble England; he would repair the colonial and Indian losses of his country, but he finds himself conquering Germany and at last invading Russia. His comfort is that through Germany he can strike at English trade and through Russia perhaps make his way to India.