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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/401

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COLONIES AND THE MOTHER COUNTRY.

with a nominated legislative council, further with the latter partly elected, and finally with it wholly elective. At these successive stages the colony is in a decreasing degree under the control of the Imperial Government, and a scale might be drawn showing groups of colonies indefinitely arrested at one or another of them. Only colonies destined for complete freedom victoriously pass through them all and emerge into full political manhood.

The duration of their infancy and youth is determined by internal and external circumstances: (1) When a colony is systematically founded and quickly peopled it may rapidly traverse the period of dependence, and (like New Zealand or South Australia) be granted responsible government in about fifteen years. (2) Convict colonies, like Tasmania and New South Wales, may have fifty or sixty years of pupilage. (3) A colony of retarded growth, like West Australia, may be nearly as long a minor. (4) Colonies that have long to struggle with an overwhelming mass of indigenes, like Cape Colony, may take half a century to ripen, and even then, like Natal, may retain traces of the earlier state. (5) When the mother country is herself despotically governed, as England was under the Stuarts, the Commonwealth and the early Hanoverians, colonies that possess every attribute qualifying them for freedom, like many of the North American colonies, may be forcibly retained in partial dependence. (6) The New England colonies, free from the start, were connected with Britain by a shadowy tie of nominal allegiance, tightened at times into real subjection. Lastly, a colony may revert, like Jamaica, after years of Parliamentary institutions, to the dependent position of a Crown colony.

So various and so intricate, so weak here, so strong there, and withal so marvelously compacted, is the network of relations forming the anatomy of the wonderful new type of social organism constituted by a mother country, its free and its subject colonies, its protected states and its dependencies.

The brain sometimes inhibits natural movements and enforces injurious actions, as a morbid conscience often prescribes irksome duties and forbids innocent pleasures. Fathers have misdirected the career of their sons, and the unwisdom of mothers (Lady Ashton, in 'The Bride of Lammermoor,' is a tragic, but far from a rare example) has destroyed the happiness of their daughters. So governments inevitably hinder and blunder, worry colonies by vexatious interferences or goad them into insurrection. For more than thirty years Bishop Fonseca, the president of the Council of the Indies, lay like an incubus on the Spanish colonies in South America. His main object seemed to be to throw impediments in the way of the great discoverers and rulers—Columbus and Cortez. When Cortez planned the conquest of Mexico he experienced protracted opposition from Fonseca, who "discouraged