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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/155

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COLONIES AND THE MOTHER COUNTRY.

World and India. If so, it was marked by striking acts of generosity. Conquests made in Canada by England, with the efficient aid of the American colonies, were more than once given back to France. When all but. two of the West India colonies were surrendered in 1814 the Foreign Minister explained that it was desired to open to France the means of peaceful expansion, and it was not the interest of England to make her a military and conquering power. The rivalry did not end with the Napoleonic wars. According to one historian, Australia was saved to the English in 1788 by six days, and for long afterward there was a constant jealousy of French occupation. Ships were sent by Australian governors to take possession of Van Diemen's Land, of southern, western and northern Australia when it was believed that the French had designs on them. An English war ship, sent by the governor of the North Island of New Zealand to annex the rich and fertile South Island, anticipated by only a few hours a French ship dispatched for the same purpose. The rising of the French Canadians in 1838 has been described as "the last convulsion of despair of a sinking nationality." The English, French, and now the Germans are still rivals in present and future colonizing grounds in Africa, China, and the South Seas. But no British colonist doubts that further pacific defeats (if only by being bought out of their possessions) await the French in different quarters of the globe, for it is the colonies that press forward. The North American colonies were at all times more aggressive than the mother state, as the Australasian are now. They are unconsciously on the way to become the suns of new systems. Conquests may be made on various pretexts. The Cape was twice seized by the English to prevent it from falling into the hands of the French, and a few years later the Dutch were constrained to cede the colony to its temporary possessors. Gambetta schemed to annex and colonize the whole North African coast from Egypt to Morocco, and thus to create a France nouvelle along the northern shores of the Mediterranean in place of the New France lost in Canada more than a century before, or of that still older New France on the shores of the Bosporus. In pursuance of this policy, the powers at the Berlin Conference in 1878 permitted France to occupy (not to annex) Tunis, prohibiting her, however, from fortifying its chief port. But no one doubts that the 'regency' there, as in Madagascar, will speedily give way to undisputed sovereignty, and Bizerta is already fortified. Writers are said to be dreamers, and Locke's constitution for Carolina, Rousseau's for Corsica, Bentham's for Russia, with many another quixotic proposal, furnish proof of their simplicity or their wrong-headedness. It is nevertheless a fact that most of the new ideas that are being carried into effect are the suggestions of publicists—journalists who stand midway between men of thought and men of action. Sometimes