Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ciple and feeling to the parent country, subjected themselves to the reproach of cowardice, obsequiousness, and self-interested motives. To the same period may be traced that favourite but fatal policy of the Home Government, of attempting to conciliate those in opposition, at the expense of the feelings, the rights, and just claims of its true friends; of refusing reasonable concessions, until compelled by popular movement to grant more than was at first demanded, whereby the grace of justice or liberality was merged in the triumph of a forced surrender, and of treating both classes with an indifference or contempt, that aroused the implacable anger of the one, and damped the ardour and chilled the affections of the other. Tepublican disloyalty can never be softened or won by kindness, which it always ascribes to weakness, or demands as a right; though it may be strengthened by ineffectual resistance, or the withdrawal of salutary restraints: and the most devoted loyalty will perish at last under injuries or neglect. There is a rectitude and majesty in justice that makes it respected by all; and every class is equally entitled to share in its benefits. When it is duly administered, none have a right to complain; but when that duty is once performed, long-tried friendships and faithful services have the first claim upon a grateful remembrance, and should receive the countenance and reward to which they are entitled. To buy off our enemies is a fatal policy; it adds to their resources in the same proportion that it weakens our own, and necessarily leads to new and insolent demands. It is better to arm and discipline our friends, and resist aggression at once, as promptitude and energy may crush it for ever. But to give rebels the advantage of a fair struggle in the field, and when they are defeated to remunerate them for the losses they have sustained, as was recently the case in Canada, exposes a government to the grief or indignation of its friends, and the inexpressible

ridicule or contempt of its enemies.

Besides the formation of the two parties, Loyalists and Patriots, above referred to, whose descendants still distract the remaining colonies with their contentions, the short administration of Sir William Phipps contains one or two instructive lessons, as to the effect of the previous republicanism upon the people. The appointment of a Governor by the Crown, was the most obnoxious part of the charter; and although Phipps was a native, and a favourite of the Puritan divines, the Mathers, who in fact elected him themselves for the office, he was made to feel that in accepting it, he ceased to be regarded as a colonist. Among the associated agents, who had negotiated with the British Government for the new patent, was a violent republican of the name of Cook, who advocated obstruction on all occasions to the King's representative; “as the appointment of an obnoxious ruler,” he remarked, “would make the people rise,” a memorable saying, which made a powerful impression on the public mind. He also counselled them, “to establish no officer's salary, and to perpetuate no

public revenue,” advice which was found too

serviceable to their cause to be neglected for a moment. It soon became a settled maxim of colonial policy, and was adopted throughout the provinces. They now no longer feared the English, as the Charter had confirmed so many of their usurpations, but they heartily despised

[ocr errors][merged small]

them, for such was the venality of the Whigs, that provincial politicians made no scruple of openly asserting “that anything could be obtained at Whitehall for money.” So far as Phipps was concerned, he found his commission a service productive of no emolument, but of great labour and responsibility. How widely different is the situation of Governor now. They have arrived at the other extreme, having large salaries, and nothing whatever to do, but to affix their signatures to the acts of their executives. Phipps could never prevail upon them to establish a salary for him, although they gave him a gratuity, to make him feel his dependence, and to induce him to connive at their usurpations, and their evasions of the laws of trade. In obstructing the Custom House officers, he committed acts that occasioned his recal. He was a man of mean extraction, vulgar manners, and little or no education; his early years having been spent in the hardy occupation of a shepherd, on the bleak and barren hills of his native land, in Maine; and his frame subsequently strengthened by the laborious employment of a ship-carpenter in

Boston. Having accidentally discovered the wreck of a Spanish treasure-ship, he allured King James into a joint adventure for searching for the cargo. A frigate was accordingly placed at his disposal by the Governor of Jamaica, and his divers were so expert, that he fished up several thousand pounds worth of gold. The King was astonished and delighted with his successful speculation, and in return for his large share of the profits, honoured him with knighthood, and a patronage, that in a subsequent reign procured for him the government of the colony. The manners of early life, however, are neither ameliorated nor obliterated by the sudden acquisition of wealth; and as his arm was more powerful than his reason, he never failed to resort to its use, to enforce his arguments or his orders upon his subordinate officers. His attacks on his enemies, as a military man, were less successful than his assaults on his officials in the street, in which his victories, by exciting complaints, compelled him to go to England, to vindicate his conduct. He died soon after his arrival, or his name would doubtless have been found in the long list of colonial rulers, to which

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »