Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 1.djvu/467

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415

AMERICA 415 AMERICA nations was of course euided largely by European political conditions, and the Canadians more than once anticipated the outbreak of international warfare. To a certain extent the lrcnch imitated the Indian policy of Spain by utilizing the resources afforded by friendly Indian tribes, but these were always fickle and unstable. In the north, on the borders of the Arctic zone, the main element of stability —agriculture — played but a .secondary role. While the occupation of the Missi.ssippi bsLsin by FreuL'h colonists should have proved an element of strength to the French in Canada, it turned to their dis.idvantage in the end. The incomparably more abundant resources of southern latitudes in a moist climate formed such a contnust with the cold, north- ern dominion that the tendency to neglect the latter grew stronger. When Voltaire pronounced himself in favour of the Louisiana colony, a marked leaning to abandon Canada made itself manifest in France. The concentrated power of the English colonics, assisted by England's naval supremacy, rendered voluntary abandonment unnecessary. IV. En'olish. — The methods of English coloniza- tion in .-Vmerica are so widely known, and its literature is so extensive, that the matter may here be treated with comparative brevity. While in the southern Atlantic States discoveries and settlements were made with the assent of the Crown, under its patron- age, and mostly by enterprising members of the nobility, the northern sections. New England especially, were colonized through personal initiative. There was no desire for independence, though politi- cal, and especially religious, autonomy were the ideals of the Puritan colonists. That religious autonomy has usually been regarded as sj-nonjiuous with religious liberty. Hut it took long j-ears of strvignle and experimenting before the latter became established in New England. The English system of colonial expansion depended mucn more on individual enterprise than the Spanish; but there was much l&ss regard for authority unless the latter was represented by law. English colonization was more akin to the Portuguese in its commercial tendency, and superior to the French in the faculty of combining and organizing for a given purpose. Independence of character was an heirloom of north- ern origin in general, respect for law a specifically English tradition. There Is no doubt that the influence of New England has greatly contributed to the remarkable growth of the United States. The unparalleled rise and expansion of the United States was due chiefly to personal initiative in the beginning, that afterwards voluntarily submitted to the rcfuiirements of organization, and to a political and (subseciuently) religious tolerance which opened the country to all outside elements thought to be beneficial. The.se features, however, were not so much due to the ICnglish as to the American character that developed after the North American colonies had achieved their independence, and the Northern and Southern types of the people came into closer contact. There was a marked contrast between the position assumed by the Catholic Church towards the Indians and the attitude of Protestantism. The former, as soon as the administration of the Spanish dominions in America began to a.ssume a character of stability, instituted concerted efforts for the education and civilization of the Indians. The introduction of the printing-press in Mexico (about l.")3(i) was brought, about specially to promote Indian education. The clergj-, particularly the regular orders (Franci.scans, Dominicans, and others, and later on, on a still larger scale, the .lesuits), l)e<'ame not only teachers, but the protectors of the natives. It was the aim of the Church (in harmony with the crown) to preserve the Iiulian and defend him frcm the inevitable abuses of lesser officials and of settlers. Hence, in Spanish America the Indian has held his own more than anywhere else, and has come to be a moderately useful element. Attempts at creating Indian comnmnities under the exclusive control of ecclesiastics proved very suc- cessful until the expulsion of the Jesuits, when all the beneficial results were irretrieably lost. The efforts of Protestants were mostly individual, and received little or no support from the State. From the English stand[X)int, the Indian wiis and is looked upon as an obstruction to civilization, and the ex- pediency of his removal, forcible or otherwise, hiis dictated a policy sometimes completely at variance with the principles of forl)carance and toleration so loudly proclaimed. But it must also be acknowl- edged that the Indian himself is largely at fault. His extreme conservatism in refusing to adopt a mode of life consistent with progress exasperates, and provokes aggressive measures on the part of, the whites. The cause of this conser%-atism lies largely in the religious ideas of the Indian, as yet imperfectly understood. V. The Nf.ouo. — The negro has assimilated him- self much better than the American aborigine to post- Columbian conditions. Though his condition of life was for centuries deplorable, and though we absolutely condemn slaverj* in every form, it cannot be denied that it was for the negro a useful school, in which he w!is slowly introduced to civilized life and became acquainted with ideas to which the Indian has remained a stranger. Of the negro republic, Hayti, we have already spoken. The complete emancipation of the coloured race in the United States has presented to the people of that countrj' a problem which still awaits its solution. The Era ok .Mf;nic.N I.vdepexdence. — The emancipation of the American colonies from Euro- pean control changed the political configuration of the continent, both north and south. Of the British pos- sessions in North America as they existed in 177Gonly the Dominion of Canada still belongs to the British crown. The other colonies have become the United States of America. Spanish America severed its connection with the mother-country and has been divided into the republic of Mexico, the Central American republics of Cuatemala, Honduras, San Salvador. Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Leon, and Panama; the Antillean republics of Hayti, Santo Domingo, and Cuba, and the .South American republics of Venezuela, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, the Argentine, and Chile. Jamaica re- mains a British possession; Porto Rico is a posses- sion of the United States. The Lesser Antilles still belong to the powers which owned them prior to 177(). namely: England, France, Holland. Denmark, and .Sweden. On the continent, England possesses British Honduras and British Guiana; Holland, Dutch Guiana, or Surinam; and France, French Guiana or Cayenne. Changes like these in the politi- cal aspect of a continent might be expected to have had considerable influence on the status of the Catho- lic Church, which is so intimatelv related with the history of civilization in the New Vorld. Neverthe- less, the independence of the European colonies has not greatly affected the position of the Church in America. In the United States the Church h.as flourished under the republican form of government. In Spanish America the new conditions have affected the Church more markedly, and not always bene- ficially. The lack of stability in the political con- ditions of Spanish American States has so often in- fluenced the deportment of their governments towards the Church that sometimes persecution has resulted, as in Mexico. Attempts to give to the Indian a share in the government, for which he was not pre- pared, have in .some instances not only loosened the tics that bound him to his former protector and