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hand, the moral and material strength conferred upon the colonies by their connection as such with the mother country, must be fully aclmitted, nor can it be in equity rudely withdrawn. To drive them to seek protection and especial alliance with other and rival states, would be both wrong and injurious. In considering the benefits derived from our colonies, we must remember that, unlike other European countries, England has never drawn from them direct revenues for the imperial treasury. What Adam Smith said of her a century since is true even now, that she is, “perhaps since the world began, the only state which, as it has extended its empire, has only increased its expense without once augmenting its resources." From one colony only has Great Britain received an accession of military strength. This is Canada, which at the outbreak of the Indian mutiny contributed a regiment to the imperial government.
The advantages which colonists deriye in the protection which the character of a British suliject confers, and the support and aid which the British consular and diplomatic services afford throughout the habitable world, augment the responsibilities and risks which the inother country. incurs in maintaining the cause of so large an offspring. Taking the view of mere interest, and balancing this against the “importance” which extended possessions lend to a state, it would seem that these may, in not a few instances, be an element of weakness rather than of power; and that in many cases firm and intimate treaties and the natural bonds of blood and language, would produce greater advantages. But the consideration is of great value to those who ponder not only on the prospects of colonies, but also on the general progress of our race. When a colony can stand alone, can govern and protect itself, and then chooses to direct its own affairs, while its interests will thus be best watched, no detriment will accrue to the parent state, if the severance be wisely brought about.
Turgot has truly said, that colonies “are like fruits which cling to the tree only till they have ripened.". If, however, nature, experience, political philosophy, and commercial policy all point to this consummation, neither the views of cabinets, the
pride of parliaments, the weight of government officers, nor effete principles of jurisprudence, can effectually oppose it. The latter; as we believe, must be deduced, in the case of England and her colonies, from broader fields and more philosophical sources than will be found in the reports of English courts of law, or rather the judgments there delivered.
Ships, colonies, and commerce," have a very enlarged meaning to what they had in former times. Steamers have revoluă tionized navigation, and free trade has emancipated commerce. The intelligence and wealth dispersed through colonies, the mode of their settlement, the experience of their government–in one word, the fact of their existence, growth, and power-should im
, part to us a lesson by which our views of their rights should be enlarged beyond what we find affirmed by the narrow judgment and limited experience of the old constitutional lawyers.
The present government of the colonies would present a strange spectacle to the eye of the old “constitutional lawyers," and the orthodox home politician, of whom the former was wont to impute to the Crown an absolute power over his foreign provinces, and the latter (as Franklin said) seemed " to consider himself as a piece of a sovereign over America, and to justle himself into the throne with the king, and to talk of our subjects in the colonies.". Besides the high parliament at Westminster, there may be now seen parliaments sitting at Quebec, Sydney, Melbourne, and other places, affording the spectacle of constitutional self-government, in all respects but the all important one, of the possible control of the imperial legislature, and the consequent clashing of the elements in their constitution, when the supposed local interests are opposed to the imperial policy. Such, for instance, might occur if Canada were resolved to introduce protection principles, and oppose those of free-trade, which have, by the struggles and advanced intelligence of the mother country, been happily adopted:
1 We have Lord Glenelg’s authority for saying, that “Parliamentary legislation on any subject of exclusively internal concern to any British colony possessing a representative assembly is, as a general rule, unconstitutional ; it is å right of which the exercise is reserved for extreme cases, in wbich necessity at once creates and justifies the exception." Liberal as this doctrine reads at first, it contains within it the gerins of disputes fatal to the connection between England and her colonies.
A politician or constitutional lawyer of the last generation, who, now for the first time, learnt what innovations had been made on the old systems, would be astonished to see the variety of experiments made to govern “plantations" without absolutism. He would see here, a government by a governor with a council of nominees; there, by a governor and a council, partly of nominees and partly of elected representatives; here, by a governor nominee council and elective assembly; there, by a governor and executive council irremovable, and an elective legislative council and assembly; here, by a governor with an executive council removable, and an elective legislative council and assembly; now, the appropriation of the revenue left with the Crown; now, in the hands of the colony; here, a fixed civil list; there, none at all. Now, though it would be difficult to justify in theory these varied schemes, (and indeed in some cases it would be easy to point out practically the evils of certain of the arrangements,) yet it must be remembered that the numbers of the population, its character and requirements, differ in different colonies. In small communities a parliament and responsible government would be far worse than such an institution in a country parish. Not only party feeling, small factions, heart-burnings, and bitter personalities, would be created, roused, multiplied, and ex sperated; but oftentimes the conflict of private occupations with public functions would render such a form of government impracticable or mischievous.
Although we have been to some extent drawn away from the consideration of the constitutional questions applicable to British colonies, and the more legal aspect of the subject in hand, we will not plead, by way of confession and avoidance, that we have followed Mr. Bell, as was our duty; for while, to some extent we have done so, there is much in his volume concerning the history of particular colonies, which he has given by way of illustration of his subject, tempting us to follow him, where, nevertheless, we have forborne to take this course. But in fact the subject is necessarily mixed up with political and economical consi
· Bell, p. 357
derations. Nay, it hath been said, and not without foundation, that the dissensions which existed between Great Britain and her American dependencies, and which terminated in a fratricidal war, and the creation of a new state in the latter part of the last century, had no small influence over the mind of Lord Mansfield in the cases we have already referred to, and that the political and judicial sentiments were closely allied. We, however, must now conclude the observations which the topic has suggested to us. We may, peradventure, take another opportunity of examining the history of the constitutions which are now in operation in Canada, Australia, and other of our more important colonies. Whether we do this or not, we may in the mean time commend Mr. Bell's volume for attentive perusal. Those who have read Lord Grey's work, will find in Mr. Bell's a commentary thereon both useful and interesting.
The ideas of statesmen of a past generation in respect to colonies have been superseded, even as we have ventured to suggest the legal decisions of the last century would be, if occasion should arise for their reconsideration. A transition period is not the term to apply to that which we are living in, with regard especially to the colonial world. With relation to the obstacles overcome, the direction taken, and the acceleration of pace reached, it partakes more of the character of revolution.
Sir James Mackintosh has shewn how our constitution was not made, but grew; its development in regard to colonies, its elasticity, variety, and adaptability to circumstances, will, we hope, be successfully put to the test for many years yet to come.
1 Note to Campbell v. Hall, 20 State Trials 333 (anno 1774).
VOL, VIII. NO. XV.
ART. VII.—THE REFORMATION OF ADULTS.
1. Reports of the Directors of Convict Prisons for the year 1858. . 2. Fifth Annual Report of the Directors of Convict Prisons in
Ireland for the year ending 31st December, 1858. 3. Second Report of the Inspector appointed under the Act 5 & 6
William IV., c. 38, to visit the different Reformatory Schools
of Great Britain. 1859. 4. Transactions of the National Association for the Promotion of
Social Science for 1857-8.-Punishment and Reformation Department. London: J. W. Parker & Son.
THE reformation of adults is not unfrequently styled impos
a new course.
sible. The ductile mind of the child may, it is said, be drawn from vice to virtue; the half-formed habits of evil may in course of time be replaced by others of a better tendency : but the hard nature of the older criminal, like the gnarled and aged tree, may be broken indeed, but can never be trained to
This argument, which is purely metaphysical, admits of a similar rejoinder. The child who is early turned from crime, bas tasted the excitement, but not the subsequent misery; he may still look back with regret. “At their age,” says the Rev. Sydney Turner (inspector of Reformatories)," there is little of experience, and still less of judgment or conscience to work upon; and though their youth makes them, on the one side, more open to impression, it renders them also more unstable, and more apt to fall again under vicious influences."'* Upon the elder man, on the contrary, the pleasures
' of excess have palled-the cup has been drained to the dregs. He regards his former life with remorse, or at least with distaste, and turns gladly to a calmer and less fevered existence.
Again, supposing the case of the adult criminal hopeless, are
* Report, page 11.