« AnteriorContinuar »
ings. The struggle of the senses is with these people simply what Buffon has called, the domination of the material principle; but carried to the utmost extent, in order to bring back society to the level of savage life, to licentiousness under the name of simplicity.
Madame Tristan, we hear, is about to visit England in the rage of pauper proselytism; and the announcements therefore of her personal charms and moral tendencies may be intended as an advertisement of advantages and terms. Into what decent society she can be admitted we shall not inquire, for who will carry to their own homes the vipers of domestic treason and demoralization? She calls herself a Pariah; happily chosen name, which Madame Tristan in consistent ignorance iniagines to be the sentimental purist of St. Pierre. Had she really known anything of that miserable and outcast Eastern race, she would have felt how well and truly the appellation expresses the absence of every virtue, and the low sink of abject infamy to which we are courted to degrade ourselves by the precept and example of the fair Heteroclite.
Peru, Guiana, and Navigation of the Amazons. Closely connected in a commercial point of view with the subject of Peru, and still more with that of our relations, present and future, with Brazil, we are called upon before concluding this article, by the recent intelligence from Guiana, once more to claiin attention from the Public and the Government respecting the navigation of the Amazon River. In our XXXVIth Number (for January, 1837) we dwelt strongly, both upon the advantages available for British enterprize by throwing open the course of that gigantic stream ; and the benefits that would accrue to Brazil herself from civilizing and cultivating that enormous tract, rich in the full perfection of every produce, and practicable for commerce by the active, social, and gentle habits of the Indians inbabiting the interior. We showed that this boundless and fertile territory,-watered by innumerable rivers of the plain in every direction, across the whole continent to the western side of the great Cordillera of the Andes, and by the numerous streams that take their source in these mountains and render that vast portion of the world a lavish wilderness of unfortunately idle luxuriance,-might by timely care, and a slight exertion on the part of Great Britain, open a wide field for commerce; inferior only to that of the discovery of America itself, or of the route to India by the Cape of Good Hope. We insisted on the precedents of Spain and Portugal in the case of the Douro, and suggested the convenience of a British settlement in or near some one of the numerous islands situate in the mouth of the Amazons. The Times newspaper, with its usual vigilant energy, has pointed out the encroachment made by France to obtain possession of the territory at the entrance of this important stream. Our limits and the lateness of the time will not now permit our examination at Peru, Guiana, and Navigation of the Amazons.
length of the claim set forth upon the basis of the Treaty of Utrecbt, (Art. VIII.) ceding to Portugal the territory of the Amazons and Cape North to Yapock in the bay of Vincent Pinçon; but we must in justice remark that the Dutch map, said to have regulated that point of the treaty, bas been followed, or is borne out, by recent German geographers, who also place the Bay of Vincent Pinçon near to Cape North or about lat. 2° 15' N. Still these very maps define the French possessions in Guiana as bounded by the Yapock, or properly Oyapock, which enters the sea at Cape Orange: and if, as is probable, the ambiguity of two rivers of the same name* gave rise to the difficulty at first, we would ask how it happened that France, at the time when the asserted authority was at hand for reference, and error, if any existed, easy of correction, retired to the limits of Cape North, and in the Treaty of Vienna was satisfied to receive back from Portugal the territory conquered from her to the river Oyapock, defined expressly as BETWEEN THE 4 AND 5 DEG. LAT. N., i. e. near Cape Orange. Admitting all that France would claim by the Treaty of Utrecht in her acceptation of its terms, she lost all claim to every portion when it was conquered from her before the Treaty of Vienna ; and since she omitted at the time of this last treaty to assert her former claim in any shape, it is clear that she held it as utterly untenable then; and, since it is not specified, but excluded, in the restoration of the remainder, it is equally obvious that she has no pretence of right now ; for, when equivalents were weighed in restoration, neither giver nor receiver held this tract as being in the category of equivalents.
It is clear however that our enterprizing neighbours are fully sensible of the value of the commerce we ourselves have so greatly neglected ; and this is evident from the extravagance of the sole pretension they bring forward to support their title. Its value nevertheless is not generally known. Father Acosta, in his Itinerary from Quito to Para in the reign of Philip III. of Spain, gave an account or the tribes of Indians inhabiting the whole line of this territory, and his statements have been amply confirmed by more recent travellers, such as Mawe and Smythe.
It is not merely the range of the Amazons, though spreading across the whole breadth of the continent between 0 and 5 degrees of S. lat. that is embraced in this question, nor even the additional bend of the Marañon from the 4 to the 11 deg. of lat. S. The Ucayali and Beni flow through the fertile valley of the Western Cordilleras, the richest portion of Peru, from La Paz, S. lat 17, northwards into the Marañon at St. Joaquim: and the vast stream of the Madeira in a course of 1800 miles connects the navigation of the Amazons with the famed silver mines of Potosi, through the rich soil of Moxos and Cochabamba. The old official reports of the Peruvian viceroys to the Spanish government, found in the Secretary's departinent at Buenos Ayres, have been freely extracted by Mr. Woodbine Parrish, late English consul, with his usual enterprise and attention to the interests of bis country.
“When this communication is realized,” says that able observer, Europe will dispute for the unrivalled sugar of Cuzco, the coffee of Huanuco and the Yungas of La Paz, the cocoa of Apolabamba and
* Yapu merely signifies a stream.
Moxos, rivalling that of Soconusco, the best in the world." The Geographical Society has placed these extracts in its Journal; and M. Angelis, an Italian, has published several portions in a periodical work printed at Buenos Ayres, and still unfinished.
This immense market for our trade and manufactures, affording too articles of the first necessity and highest luxury in return, has been hitherto all but closed by the weakness and inertitude of the Brazilian Government;
and this at a time when any outlet for our goods was invaluable. Three centuries had left former speculations in the dust of oblivion, when the union took place of all Peru under its present able and enlightened ruler, who has offered fresh inducements and full security for trade. The infinitely more expensive scheme of Wheelwright would, if carried into effect, but touch, if we may use the expression, the worse surface and poorer portion of the Peruvian territory, viz. the western coast alone. We have great hesitation in receiving the statement of coals found at Concepcion for the steam communication, as they are entirely unknown to intelligent and disinterested residents of the place; but it is probable that a thin stratum of LIGNITE, known to exist there, has been mistaken for coal, and hence the erroneous speculations set forth in the appendix to Mr. Scarlett's volumes.
A steam communication of the Amazons could scarcely be objected to by Brazil in the present day, when any assistance to support her feeble authority in Para would be so important to her existence; and thus Europe would be brought in contact with the New World precisely in its most valuable, most exigent, and most neglected portion. But without the assistance and weight of the English Government, all efforts, even purely mercantile, must for years be fruitless, or advantageous only to our more active neighbours.
We have given in the Number referred to* ample details of the nature of a large portion of the country in question, and a complete list of its productions. And when, in conjunction with the foregoing commercial considerations, we look to the advantages of a free and rapid communication with friendly ports in the Pacific Ocean, for shelter and station for our cruizers on the look-out after Russian encroachments along the western coast of America, we shall rejoice to see Chile and Peru, relieved from the madness of the present objectless contest (unpopular in both countries) by British intervention, and feeling in common with the rest of that continent the value of our trade in their interior. We trust to see them evincing their gratitude to the hand that would quell their idle dissensions, and this by uniting the growing strength and resources of the second named power, and the naval skill of the first, in common cause with their supporter, against the common enemy.
From the political part of the question we purposely abstain at present, inasmuch as the vote of the French Chambers two years since for the occupation of Portugueze Guiana, will necessarily produce explanations in Parliament as to the course pursued by our Government since that occurrence was announced.
ART. X.- Aux Canadiens. Chanson. (To the Canadians. A
Song.) Paris, 1838. When treating, in our last number, of political theories and constitutions of government, and slightly alluding to the illustration of those disputes which is afforded by the North American Revolution, we were not aware how soon the attention of all England would be directed to questions of constitutional right, between a parent state and her colonies, arising in the same quarter of the globe.
The recent events in Canada have brought into discussion questions of as much importance in theory as in practice; and the interest of the discussion is heightened by the position in which it has placed the politicians who have to manage it on the part of England. The assertion of the supremacy of the mothercountry, the denial of the absolute power of the purse, the enactment and execution of coercive measures, have fallen upon a set of ministers who boast, justly in some instances, in others most idly, of their political, if not lineal descent from those Whigs, by whom the cause of the Americans was espoused in the reign of George III. We shall not inquire at this moment how correctly the outbreak in Lower Canada is compared with the revolt of Massachusets ; but as the example of the thirteen provinces is naturally cited, we would in the outset disabuse cursory readers of history, of some popular notions concerning our American
That eventful tale is often told simply thus:--Lord North, the Tory minister of George III., imposed taxes on the American Colonies, theretofore a loyal and contented people. They resisted; the minister, and still more the King, insisted upon the supremacy of England, and sent troops to enforce a compliance with her demands. The Whigs in the English Parliament maintained that the Colonists were in the right; the Americans made a vigorous resistance; and their successes and our consequent disasters, and the voice of the suffering and indignant people of England, compelled the Tory ministers to submit, and acknowledge the independence of the United States.
This story, perhaps in no part absolutely false, overleaps precisely the circumstances which are most important at this moment, because they regard the commencement and early events of the Colonial contest.-- America was first taxed by a Whig minister, the assertion of supreme right was made by a minister and a party eminently and boastfully Whiggish, the independence of the Colonies was most scornfully repudiated by the most eloquent of the opponents of taxation. The war was not undertaken
against the remonstrances of the people, nor was it for a long time unpopular.
Whether or not we are now at the commencement of a struggle, which after a protracted war will end in the establishment, in spite of our efforts, of a second American Republic, we do not pretend to conjecture; but we hope that those who live to the conclusion will not forget the commencement, but will recollect that the free constitution of Canada is suspended, and the decisions of the representatives of a people set at nought, by the disciples of Locke, and the admirers of Sidney, and by those professing Whigs who have recently asserted, and pretended to act upon the doctrine, that the will of a people, signified through an elective assembly, is and ought to be supreme.
With these preliminary remarks, we introduce our history of the present controversy. We fear that both in our narrative and our observations we must commit plagiaries : but the narrative is necessary, notwithstanding that it has been well given in speeches and pamphlets; and we cannot always distinguish between the observations which we have borrowed, and those in which we have merely coincided with others.
Those who are fond of tracing governments to their supposed origin, will not forget that Canada was a conquered province. The constitution
upon original contract, if the articles of capitulation and cession be taken to constitute that agreement. But without reverting to the fancies which we exposed in our former number, it is only necessary to observe, that there is no allegation of any breach of the agreement by which Canada came into our possession. Toleration of her religion was all that was promised; this, and more than this, has been uninterruptedly enjoyed. If the rights of the Canadian people were to rest upon the circumstances under which their allegiance was transferred from France to England, a free or representative constitution would certainly not be among them.
In 1774 a constitution was given to Canada,* then constituting the one province of Quebec; by this instrument the free exercise of the Roman Catholic religion was secured, and the French law in civil cases, which had been temporarily superseded, was restored : of these provisions, which were intended and accepted as concessions to the natives, it would be unnecessary to speak, but for one or two remarkable passages in the debate upon them in the House of Commons.
* Act 14 Geo. III. c. 83.
+ Parl. Hist. xvii. 1357,