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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/311

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THE EVOLUTION OF COLONIES.

cry, state socialism for its gospel, Joseph of Birmingham for its prophet, and the British Empire for its deity.

The iron age is fitly inaugurated by the most degraded relationship that man can bear to man—that of slavery. Only the oldest of modern colonies imitate the mother countries in passing through this stage; in those of later foundation a mere shadow of it remains, or it takes other shapes. Colonists first enslave the natives of the country where they settle. In the South American colonies, where they went to find gold, they would work for no other purpose; they therefore needed the natives to till the soil; they needed them also as carriers. For these purposes they were used unscrupulously. They were distributed among the Spaniards under a system of repartimientos which repeated the provisions of Greek and Roman slavery, and was itself reduplicated three centuries later in the convict assignment system of New South Wales. With such savage cruelty was it worked that, according to the testimony of Columbus, six sevenths of the population of Hispaniola died under it in a few years. The same form of slavery, but of a very different character, prevailed in Africa down almost to our own times. In the British colonies it was submerged in 1834, from causes exterior to itself, by the humanitarian wave that wrecked the West Indies; in the French colonies it was abolished by the revolutionary government of 1848; in the Dutch colonies it possibly subsists to this day. Theoretically abolished or not, the relationship between civilized whites and savage blacks must be everywhere a modified form of slavery; and a white colonization of the African tropics can only take place under conditions indistinguishable from a limited slavery. In colder or younger colonies, even if a more refined sentiment had permitted it, there could be no question of enslaving the fierce red Indians, the warlike Maoris, or the intractable Australian blacks. The Indians rendered some services to the northern colonists. The Maoris worked for the first immigrants into Canterbury, but as free laborers, and the phase soon passed away as more valuable labor arrived. Blacks were in the early years employed by the Australian settlers, but like nearly all savages they were found incapable of continuous industry. The next step is to import slaves. To lighten the oppression of the Mexicans, negroes were introduced, as they had previously been into Europe. There, and still more in the southern colonies of North America, they were the chief pioneers. They cut down forests, cleared the jungles, drained the swamps, and opened up the country. For the best part of two hundred years the world's sugar, rice, cotton, tobacco, and indigo were grown by negro labor. The effect on the negro himself has been to raise him one grade in the scale of being. If, as Mr. Galton believes, he is naturally two grades below the Euro-