east. The list of articles to be found on the coast reads like the inventory of a Liverpool warehouse. The wealth of West Africa is simply boundless, illimitable. It confirms Lord Palmerston's prediction of it in 1860, when he said that it "would be a source of wealth, not to Europe only, but to the world, to such an extent that imagination itself could hardly follow it."

Wretchedly managed a sour West African possessions are at present, they leaving out the Gambiado a trade with Liverpool, Bristol, and London of £5,000,ooo, give honorable employment to some eight hundred of our fellow-countrymen, and bring under our sway five millions of negroes, who, when we cease to poison them with "poisoned poison," will be what they were before they saw our faces intelligent, sturdy, industrious, brave, and good-tempered. It is with Western Africa | that the inhabitants and commerce of the United Kingdom are more exclusively concerned. Our possessions there are becoming more and more a necessity to the trade of Liverpool, Manchester, Burnley, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bristol, and London.

several years of residence in this colony Gold Coast in the promotion of whose interests I have not only had the distinguished honor, but also as a labor of love, to take part, I am full of hope for the present and future of this grand, vast, and magnificent colony. I do not wish to advertise it. Its natural wealth and other advantages are enormous, and must sooner, rather than later, attract attention, and draw capital to the country, which, while benefiting the investors, will tend to the continued and increasing development of the natural resources of the colony."

Other Blue-Books I could name-the Royal Geographical Society's proceedings, geological reports to government, etc., all proving the healthiness and the vast wealth of West Africa, where Englishmen, under the conditions I have pointed out, may show whether they still possess the qualities which built up and won India for the Empire. By stamping out the drink curse with courage, determination, and vigor; by proving that, as Christians, we can keep to the spirit of our religion and make it a living power, we shall not only help forward the cause of humanity, but gain a market for our


At this moment there are thousands of manufactures second to none in the world. men hungering for a fresh field of enterprise. Fate will smile on them if we only tackle West Africa in a proper manner, instead of leaving it in the hands of a few merchants, who, to keep the trade to themselves, give out that the climate is unhealthy. A merchant in the City, trading with West Africa, said to me the other day, that if I opened men's eyes to West Africa's material wealth and salubrity of climate I should ruin their monopoly.

From The National Review. JAMAICA AND MAURITIUS.


If there is one object towards which politicians have striven to attain in this nineteenth century, it is the overthrow of As to climate, Lieutenant-Colonel de the barriers that divide class from class; Ruvigne reports as follows in the Official if there is one end which philanthropists Blue-Book: "All those who are ignorant have struggled to compass within the of the real facts as regards climate, nature same period, it is the extinction of the of country, etc., imagine there are greater prejudice of the white man against the difficulties than really exist. I have to black. The earliest success in each case observe that many officers, myself in- was achieved at about the same time; the cluded, served, without detriment to their first Reform Bill came in 1832; emanci health or constitution, in West Africa pation in 1833. The remedy against the from January, 1858, to December, 1863; encroachments of class privilege has been and I can safely say that it was alone dur-(or is thought to have been) found in the ing periods of utter inaction on the coast development and expansion of democratic that I suffered from illness, though when principles; a remedy which has been (or in the thick bush of the Fanti Country, bordering on Ashanti, with privations and long marches, I felt no ill-effects, neither did any of the officers who served under my commission."

Turning to Blue-Book (C. 6270) of this year, we find the governor, Sir W. Bradford Griffith, reporting as follows: "After

has the credit of having been) so successful that it has gradually come to be looked on as the panacea for all social evils. Hence it is scarcely surprising that its progress in our colonies should have been hailed with delight in England, and that English statesrnen, encouraged by its success in colonies where the population is

to all intents and purposes white, should | immigrants from India; and, as the freed now be inclined to extend it to colonies slaves preferred squatting to working, where, though the dominant minority in- labor became ruinously scarce. The House deed is white, the mass of the people is of Assembly, of course, fought both those black that is to say, of Asiatic or Afri- measures tooth and nail with exceeding can descent. In fact, they are inclined to violence and acrimony; and indeed this try whether the panacea will not heal same Assembly proved the most obstinate prejudice of color as well as prejudice of and intractable of all the petty chambers class. in the West Indies.

The old Constitution, however, lasted for another twenty years after the abolition of the protective duties - till the year 1865, when it suddenly came to an abrupt conclusion. The blacks rose in rebellion with a fury that threatened the utter extinction of the whites, and, indeed, but for Governor Eyre, were likely to have annihilated them. The rising, as is well known, was masterfully suppressed; but, none the less, it killed the sham Constitution. The Assembly abdicated under terror, and Jamaica became a crown colony. It is curious that so miserable a parody of the British Constitution should have been suffered to last so long as it did. It was utterly rotten and effete simply a dangerous weapon in the hands of a body of

Englishmen as a rule trouble themselves little about our major colonies, and still less about the more insignificant of them. They know little of their growth and condition; they presume they are flourishing, and assume that they are loyal. They hold in any case that what has been, actually or hypothetically, good for the mother country must be equally good for the colony, quite irrespective of its climate, its industry, its population; and in consequence look upon a demand for representative institutions from any colony as a sure indication of its moral and material progress. Two of our tropical islands lately made such a demand. Probably few Englishmen know or care about the matter; but the fact remains that they did. It is proposed to give, in the pres-narrow-minded and ignorant planters, who ent paper, a brief account of the recent administrative reforms in these two isl ands, Jamaica and Mauritius, to the end that they who have any interest in our possessions beyond sea may learn what is the true reason and significance thereof. And first of Jamaica.

were determined to keep the main power to themselves. At the last general election (1863) the number of registered elec tors, out of a total population of 441,250. was 1.798, of whom 1,482 only recorded their votes.

Crown colony government vests all leg. JAMAICA, a lovely and fertile island, one islative power in a council, composed of hundred and forty-four miles in extreme members official and unofficial, all nomilength, and forty-nine in extreme breadth,nated by the crown; the total number was captured from the Spaniards by Cromwell's expedition in 1655, and finally ceded to England by the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. With the cruel story of the Spanish rule there we are not concerned. It is sufficient to say that very soon after passing into our hands the island was granted a constitution on the English model; a little House of Commons, called the House of Assembly, and a little House of Lords, called the Legislative Council, with a governor for sovereign, complete. So long as slaves were numerous, and sugar was dear, Jamaica was a rich possession, and throve, so far as the landowners were concerned, amazingly. But this artificial prosperity received a severe blow in the emancipation of the slaves, and another in the abolition of the protective duties on sugar some dozen years later. Emancipation dealt peculiarly hard with Jamaica. The reputation of the slave owners was so bad that the English government declined to permit them to receive

varying in different colonies from ten to eighteen or thereabouts. The governor presides, with an original and a casting vote, and is, under the Colonial Office, practically absolute. This was the new Constitution given to Jamaica, with a half promise that it should not be permanent; and during its short existence it certainly improved things considerably. But the memory of the old Constitution was still dear to the Jamaicans; and every measure which was not quite to the taste of one section or another of the community (that is to say, almost every measure that was passed at all) called forth a wail of regret over the glory that was departed. Various things conspired to hasten the downfall of crown colony government in Jamaica. Falling prices and a devastating hurricane were hardly the fault of the government; but many men doubtless thought in their secret hearts that such disasters could hardly have fallen on them under the old Constitution. A not over-tactful governor

helped matters but little; and, finally, a violent dispute with the English govern ment about payment of damages for the unlawful detention of a vessel brought things to a crisis. The unofficial members of council resigned in a body; and the governor was so ill-advised as to say that he could find no gentlemen in the island competent to fill their places.

The tact of Sir Henry Norman calmed
the troubled spirits; and by February,
1884, a Commission of Jamaicans was sit-
ting to decide as to the qualifications that
should be necessary for the future voters.
This Commission recommended that the
franchise should be extended-
I. To men, able to read and write, occu-
piers (as householders) of a house,
and paying direct taxes to the amount
of I annually.

Thereupon a loud outcry (not wholly unjustified) against crown colonyism, and impassioned appeals for a revival of the 2. old Constitution arose. A Royal Commission was sent out in December, 1881, after the quarrel had continued for a year, to report as to the necessary remedies; but before its return to England, in the subsequent April, a petition bearing some five thousand Jamaican signatures, and praying for a reconstitution of the Council, was received by the Colonial Office; the Council to consist of twenty-two members, eight nominated, and fourteen elected. It is needless to say that beyond the promotion of the governor to another colony, and the substitution of the general commanding the West Indian station in his place, nothing was done till December. Throughout this time, the general, although an excellent administrator, was placed in an extremely awkward position, having to govern without the machinery of government, and with a turbulent population clamoring for what he could not give.

In December, however, Sir Henry Norman left England to assume the government, and brought with him Lord Derby's reply to the cry of Jamaica- namely, a retention of the old numbers of the Council, with the same proportion of official and unofficial members, but the last to be elected, instead of nominated as heretofore." And, as a further concession, "in questions involving the imposition of new taxes, or the appropriation of public money for any other purpose than the payment of salaries, already assigned to persons now employed on the fixed establishment of the colony, the vote of the official members shall, as a general rule, not be recorded against that of the unofficial members if not less than six of the latter are present and agreed."

This offer fell so far short of the expectations of the colonists that the agitation was renewed indignation meetings, damnatory resolutions, invidious comparisons of the promise and the performance of the Imperial authorities, with all the pomp and circumstance of outraged liberty, despotic interference, and so forth. But the Colonial Office was firm, and rightly so.

To men, able to read and write, and paying direct taxes to the amount of 30s. annually.

As regards the educational test, however, the Commission was by no means unanimous. Two out of the eight members composing it suggested, without giving reasons, that it should be, for a time at least, ignored. A third member, himself formerly a working man, protested against it with great force and good sense. First, he urged, that the test proposed (namely, that each voter claiming to be enrolled should sign his name to a form of claim, and add the date) was useless and inefficient for any practical purpose. Secondly, owing to the continual neglect of the legislators of the island (the old House of Assembly) to provide for the education of the people, the majority of the colored population for over thirty years had had no fair chance of learning to read and write. This class, however, contained many men skilled in husbandry and handicraft, industrious, and law-abiding, whom it would be unjust to exclude. Thirdly, while not averse from an educational test in the abstract, he opposed the coupling of it with the property qualification, as the combined restriction would have the effect of disqualifying the rich man because he was uneducated, and the educated man because he was poor.

This very sensible reasoning was duly appreciated by Sir Henry Norman. "The immediate enforcement of the educational test," he wrote to Lord Derby, "would probably give the two hundred and fifty thousand adult negroes far fewer votes than the sixty-eight thousand white and colored adults, and thus leave the representation to a great extent in the hands of a limited class." It was, therefore, eventually decided that on the first registration of voters the condition of ability to read and write should be dispensed with, but that all who should on subsequent enrolments (ie., after the year 1884) claim registration for the first time should be required first to subscribe their name and the date to the form of claim.

"The test proposed," said Sir Henry | pensable to him at once; and Lord Derby Norman, "is perhaps hardly worthy to be grants them potentially in the future. called an educational test at all; but I do Shirking the present difficulty and respon not feel able to suggest a higher at pres- sibility himself, he leaves them to his ent." Thus, then, the matter of the fran- successors, who in consequence will have chise was settled. The Commissioners to face increased responsibility and accucalculated that under their unaltered mulated difficulties hereafter. scheme there would be about fifteen thousand voters (the total population was five hundred and eighty thousand); but Sir Henry Norman reckoned that, even under the amended scheme, there would be probably not above nine thousand.

The qualifications for electors duly set tled, the next thing was to fix the qualifications for the candidates. These were allowed to remain the same as those required for members of the old House of Assembly, to wit:

1. A clear annual income of £150 from lands.

2. Or partly from lands and partly from any freehold office or business of £200.

3. Or from office or business alone £300.


4. Or payment of direct or export taxes to the amount of £10.

East) has a history very different from that MAURITIUS (to pass now from West to of Jamaica. The island was originally colonized by the Dutch in 1598; then abandoned by them after a century, and from the French by the British after antaken by the French; finally captured other century (1810), and confirmed in the possession of England by the Treaty of Paris.

The great preponderance of the French sentative institutions to Mauritius; and element forbade the concession of reprewas vested in a governor, assisted by a hence we find that, in 1831, its government Legislative Council, which was made up of bers, all nominated by the crown. That seven official and as many unofficial memMauritius. Emancipation, which dealt so was a great piece of good fortune for The greatest difficulty of all was to set- unharmed. The West Indies, under their disastrously with the West Indies, left it tle what proportion there should be of petty constitutions, were ruined from want official to unofficial members in the new of labor, because it was not safe to entrust Council; but the number of unofficial (that the white oligarchies with coolie immiis to say, of elected) members, was fixed at grants from India. Barbadoes alone of nine, and the number of officials left un-them escaped the general crash, and its specified. Sir Henry Norman twice urged negroes were obliged to work from want his opinion that it would be inexpedient of reclaimed land to squat on. to give the unofficial members a majority however, being under the absolute power Mauritius, for the present; but Lord Derby decided of the crown, was subject to no such disto give them, at all events to begin with, a advantages, and was thus enabled almost preponderance in the new Council. Mean- at once to draw on the surplus population while, power was given to the governor to of India for laborers. This East Indian raise the total number of officials to ten, immigration is by far the most important in cases of urgent necessity; and an ex- event in the history of the island. press instruction was laid down "that it is the governor's duty to override the votes of the elected members if, in his opinion, the public interest absolutely requires it." This is an excellent example of Lord Derby's colonial administration. A gov. ernor urges that certain powers are indisImports (value in Rupees) 1829.

ment best suited to its wants, the island Thus provided with the form of governthrove amazingly, attaining through the half century, 1831-81, to a pitch of prosperity equalled in few British colonies. The following figures will give the reader some notion of the progress of Mauritius:

[ocr errors]

Revenue 66



1881. 1829. 1881.

66 1831.


[blocks in formation]


Exportation of sugar

1831. 1881.

Order in Council, May, 1884.



8,900,000. 24,670,000.



Rs. 35,526,000.









Fr. pds. 70,200,000.



burning questions came up to inflame the Mauritius mind: questions of the mail service, and of the representation of the island. Let not the reader smile. There has been many a bitter struggle between a governor and his council over much smaller things. The words "mail ser vice" comprehend the whole matter of communication with Europe and the civilized world. Deforestation, the necessary forerunner of reforestation, means, in a place like Mauritius, diminished rainfall, decreased fertility, actual injury to life and health. On both those subjects the governor and his official following overruled the greater number of the unofficials, one of whom, a gentleman of high stand

little heated) that there was no object in an unofficial element at all if it was to be overridden in matters of purely local interest, and hinted that it was time such a state of things was altered. The speech was taken up without the Council walls, and the reform movement began.

Again, as regards population. The people in 1830 numbered 96,000, of whom 69,000 were slaves. In 1883 they numbered 359,000, of whom no fewer than 250.000 were Indian immigrants or their descendants; the balance being made up of an extraordinary conglomeration of races, English, French, African negroes (descendants of the old slaves), Chinese, Arab, and Malagasy. Of these last, the French, numbering 2,370, and the Malagasies, numbering 1,250, are, respectively, the most and the least important elements. For the rest, the island went on very comfortably. The Council worked always loyally and cordially with the governor, earning a succession of eulogies from the different secretaries of state at the Colo-ing, said openly in the Council (being a nial Office. Occasionally, of course, there were unpleasantnesses, such as the rule of an unpopular governor, mismanagement of the finances, and so forth; but these were generally set right by the arrival of a new and wiser chief. Once, indeed, there was more than ordinary discontent-when the privilege (which had been conceded to the The first symptom was the convention unofficial members) of enjoying a majority of a large meeting, composed (so the local in the Council was suddenly and peremp- newspapers said) of the élite of Mauritian torily withdrawn. Another severe blow society. The bold orator of the Council to the old French oligarchy was the chang- took the chair, and explained that the obing of the language of the local courts ject of the assembly was to consult as to from French to English; but this was certain changes that were necessary in the called for by the majority of the inhab- Constitution. He spoke with moderation, itants, and accepted by at least one of the and was followed by a leading barrister, disappointed minority as a judgment on who had a scheme ready cut and dried its own prejudices. But then, on the to wit, Council of twenty-four: eight offiother hand, the unofficial members were cial members, eight nominated unofficials, granted the right of initiative in the Coun- and eight elected. This, he said, would cil itself, and this did something towards make safe provision against the monopoly soothing angry feelings. Altogether, in of power in the hands of an oligarchy. He spite of some mistakes (for no government was followed by another gentleman of the is infallible), crown colonyism was admit-legal profession, evidently a favorite orated by all to have done very well for tor, who delivered a chaleureux discours, Mauritius. Capital, French and English, kept pouring in; railways were made; the very best machinery for the sugar manufacture was imported; and all went well and smoothly. The only attempt at elective institutions was made in 1850 by the erection of the capital, Port Louis, into a municipality; but this has not been a complete success. Indeed, the people of the second town in the island firmly declined the offer of the same privilege. Still, the island was happy, contented, and prosperous; well educated, too, the white section of it, and ready to educate the black and brown also, though not without difficulties between Catholics and Protestants, and between European languages and Asiatic.

About the middle of 1882, however, two

wherewith he captivated the assembly for a space of twenty minutes. Unfortunately we have space for but one sentence, and that not the most chaleureux of this discours, though a fair sample: "Convinced that a reform of the Constitution is the sentiment of the whole country, or at the very least of the great majority, we have first formed ourselves into a little group, and have called upon you " (the élite), “as, on divers grounds, the representatives of Mauritian society, to join us; because between us and you, and between us and the whole country, there is an entire consensus of opinion on this point. (Vifs applaudissements.)" The next speaker also was a legal gentleman. He began by declaring that the population of Mauritius could be said without hesitation to

« ElőzőTovább »