Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/60

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52
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
THE EVOLUTION OF COLONIES.
By JAMES COLLIER.
V.—POLITICAL EVOLUTION.

THE law that the evolution of a colony repeats the evolution of the parent state would here be logically applied to the history of the relations between colonies and the mother country. These would be shown to have followed a similar course, though with new developments, to those of the mother country with her suzerain; and they would be carried further back and deeper down to those universal animal processes of lactation and rearing which they continue and which explain them. The gradual settlement of a new country would next be exhibited as a repetition (with necessary modifications) of the settlement of the mother country, because guided by the same general laws—that it dispossesses an earlier race, which had followed quadrupeds and birds, which had followed trees, shrubs, and grasses, which again had sown themselves along geographical lines. Chapters on both topics are unavoidably omitted. The law has now to be applied to the political, industrial, and social evolution of colonies. In so wide a subject only aperçus are possible. There are traces in several colonies of a state anterior to the establishment of a settled government. According to the unloving Hobbes, such a state is necessarily one of war, and it is sometimes that; according to the humane Rousseau, it is one of peace, and, to the credit of human nature, it is oftener that. There were English settlers in Pennsylvania before the Swedes arrived. The first immigrants to Plymouth found predecessors on the coast who owed no allegiance. Seventy years after the foundation of North Carolina the inhabitants still led the lives of freemen in the woods. Prior to 1702 New Jersey was considered one of those provinces "where no regular government had been established." The Tasmanian farmers who colonized Victoria lived for some time without any form of government, and lived peacefully. Pastoralists were found on the Canterbury plains before the advent of the Pilgrims, and were content. When the Pilgrims got into collision with the central government, they said bitterly that they would do better with none. Where it is otherwise the circumstances are exceptional. Gold and silver fields everywhere are at first, and often to the last, scenes of wild disorder, where a man's safety depends on his ability to defend himself. Escaped Australian convicts, runaway sailors, adventurers, and natives made up a community which turned the natural paradise of the Bay of Islands into an earthly hell. Parts of Texas in very recent days were the seat of anarchy. Government