William Henry Parr Greswell.

Outlines of British colonisation online

. (page 1 of 31)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellOutlines of British colonisation → online text (page 1 of 31)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

O)/ - ., /?

Wnt'isewtefa/ ^w

V10W- rS/s7///t .



U t

* '







All rights reserved










MR. GRESWELL'S volume on Colonisation is a record
of achievements of which the British nation may justly
be proud. We read in these pages of maritime dis-
coveries in every ocean, and of still more arduous
inland explorations. The brilliant story of our coloni-
sation carries us forward from the solitary struggles
of the pioneer in unknown countries to the combined
efforts made by great communities to develop
commerce and promote civilisation. We see the first
administrators of our distant dependencies at their
work, in days when communication was slow and
infrequent, and when little aid could be given and
little interference was to be apprehended on the part
of the authorities at home. In a later stage we have
before us encouraging and splendid examples of the
prosperity and contentment which have followed upon
the bold and ungrudging acceptance of the policy of
the devolution of local affairs upon a responsible con-
stitutional government.

In any history of our colonies the West Indies must
have a large place. Those lovely islands, gems of
surpassing beauty set in the silver sea, have been the

vi British Colonisation

scenes of many struggles, and have witnessed some
of the most brilliant victories of the British navy.
Since the close of the Great War the progress of these
islands has never been interrupted by international
conflicts. The difficulties of the planters have been
due to other causes. The manumission of the slaves,
and later the unfair and unequal struggle with foreign
competitors lavishly subsidised by bounties, have
entirely changed the conditions under which the
cultivation of sugar must be carried on. It is gratify-
ing to know that by reductions in the cost of produc-
tion, and the opening of new markets, chiefly in the
United States, the position of the sugar industry has
been much improved. Owing to their tropical climate
the West Indies cannot be regarded as a suitable field
for European colonisation on an extensive scale. For
the negro population these islands may be made an
earthly paradise. It is to the development of peasant
proprietorship that the governors are at this moment
chiefly directing their attention. The fruit trade with
the United States, which has been rapidly growing of
recent years, seems specially adapted to the limited
resources and aptitudes of a negro peasantry.

The history of Canada contains many episodes of
surpassing interest. Heroism and self-denying zeal in
the cause of religion have never been exhibited more
conspicuously than by the Jesuit fathers whom France

Introduction vii

sent forth in the seventeenth century to found missions
in North America. The wars of the eighteenth century
led to many hard-fought encounters between the British
and French forces. The long list of brave and capable
commanders on both sides culminates in the memorable
names of Wolfe and Montcalm. In the siege and
capture of Quebec both these illustrious heroes laid
down their lives with unmurmuring devotion in the
cause of their respective countries. There are episodes
in war in which all the highest virtues of the human
character are displayed. History has no more moving
story than that which gathers round the crumbling
battlements of Quebec. At a later stage Canada was
the scene of another display of patriotism. Thousands
of British settlers, rather than live under an independent
flag, migrated, at great sacrifices, from their homes in the
United States, and came to reside in a country where
all the hard labours of the pioneer had to be en-
countered, but where the flag of the mother country
still waved above their heads. The subsequent history
of Canada is chiefly interesting for the success which
has attended the concession of responsible government.
All traces of rancour and disloyalty have disappeared.
The latest constitutional incident was the federation of
all the provinces into one dominion.

Canada possesses many sources of prosperity. Its
fisheries give employment to a numerous and hardy

viii British Colonisation

maritime population. Lower Canada possesses noble
forests : Ontario has a thriving agriculture and rich
pastures : the Canadian North West is rapidly becom-
ing one of the most abundant granaries of the world.

The West African settlements are especially interest-
ing in connection with many perilous efforts to explore
the recesses of the Dark Continent. Off their surf-
bound shores our squadrons for many years kept watch
and ward for the suppression of the slave trade. Under
British protection the slaves whom we set free have
formed a settlement at Sierra Leone. The port is
advantageously situated, both as a place of trade and
as a coaling-station for the fleet.

As a Colonial p"bwer the French are exhibiting re-
markable energy in West Africa. Englishmen will
watch with a generous approval the efforts of a friendly
power in the cause of civilisation. There would be less
of reserve in our good wishes to French colonisation if
her settlements were administered under a less exclusive
fiscal policy.

At the Cape of Good Hope we have gradually over-
come difficulties which in times past seemed almost
insurmountable. By the concession of responsible
government we have conciliated the Dutch, who form a
strong majority of the white population. After a series
of wars, as inglorious as all conflicts must be which are
waged between a civilised power and savage tribes, we

Introduction ix

have found in the Caffres willing and sturdy labourers,
who are lending invaluable services in opening up the
resources of their country. Under the direction of Mr.
Rhodes, the premier, the railway system of the Cape is
being rapidly pushed forward, and British capital is
being freely applied to the opening up of the mineral re-
sources and the general settlement of the vast sphere over
which the British Protectorate in South Africa extends.

Let us pass on to Australasia. With those distant
shores must for ever be associated the names of the
great navigators by whom they were first explored.
Dampier, Tasman, Flinders, Baudin, and, most re-
nowned of all, Captain Cook, deserve special mention
for the part they took in the extended explorations
which made the civilised world first acquainted with
the vast territories of Australia. The newly-discovered
lands were used in the first instance as a convict settle-
ment. That miserable stage in their history was
fortunately brief. A population of stalwart settlers
has found in the antipodes a rich field for enterprise.
It was soon ascertained that the vast plains of the
continent, though subject to long periods of drought,
were capable of affording adequate subsistence to
sheep selected from breeds especially rich in the pro-
duction of wool.

In 1851 the first great discoveries of gold were made
in Australia. Attracted by the reports of many

x British Colonisation

fortunate finds, emigrants arrived in extraordinary
numbers. In four years the population of Victoria was
increased from less than 100,000 to more than 400,000.
From this epoch onwards the prosperity of the Austral-
asian colonies was assured. It now rests on a broader
and more enduring basis than that of the gold-diggings.
So boundless and varied are the resources, and so
energetic the population, that it is now computed that,
within a period but little exceeding the reign of our
gracious Queen, less than five millions of people have
accumulated a total private wealth of some twelve
hundred millions sterling. Well may the people who
have achieved such dazzling success inscribe upon their
flag the motto, ' Advance, Australia ! '

It only remains to add a few concluding observations
upon the problem of Imperial Federation. Not many
years have elapsed since leading statesmen regarded
with complacency the prospect of a severance of the
ties, in those days deemed an incumbrance, which bound
the mother country to distant dependencies to which it
seemed difficult, if not impossible, to afford adequate
protection. At the present time we have broader and
worthier views of the advantages and possibilities of
maintaining the unity of the British Empire. The
true basis of that union is to be found, not in the
parchments of lawyers or the despatches of ministers,
but in the feelings of the people of the colonies

Introduction xi

towards that old but not exhausted land which it
delights them to regard as the common home of the

On the day before these lines were written, the
subject was treated with a master-hand by Lord Rose-
bery in presiding at the twenty -fifth anniversary
banquet of the foundation of the Colonial Institute.
In his speech delivered on that occasion, with the
humorous touches so much to be desired in a post-
prandial oration, there were conveyed lessons of states-
manlike wisdom. 'It is a part/ he said, * of our
responsibility and heritage to take care that the world,
so far as it can be moulded by us, shall receive the
Anglo-Saxon, and not another character.' While not
recommending the immediate summoning of another
Colonial Conference, Lord Rosebery gave evidence that
sympathy and affection for the colonies was the govern-
ing principle of his conduct as the minister in charge
of the foreign affairs of the Empire. The same senti-
ments were expressed, with not less warmth of feeling,
by Lord Knutsford. There are no divergent views in
reference to our colonial policy. It is held by states-
men on both sides to be of the last importance to the
future of our race to prevent our noble Empire from
falling asunder.


March 7, 1893.


IN the following Outlines of British Colonisation I can
claim to have followed no exact system or method.
Some Colonies are treated more fully than others, and
all of them less than they deserve ; but it is hard to
compress the annals of our Colonies into a single
volume. I have endeavoured to lay stress upon what
may be of little more than passing interest in the story
of conquest, exploration, or first acquisition. The great
Dominion of Canada, the Colony of Newfoundland, and
Africa, south of the Zambesi, I have treated more fully
and exhaustively elsewhere in a recent series (1890-92)
issued by the Clarendon Press. Our Second Colonial
Empire is a vast subject, and demands variety of
treatment, diversity of illustration, and many books
adapted to the wants of the individual reader or
student By a list of books and references given at the
end of each chapter, I have invited my readers to pursue
the subject further ; but I know that it is presumptuous
to pretend to give anything approaching to a complete

AutJiors Preface xiii

bibliography. One striking characteristic of our Colonial
Empire is that it has been mainly acquired, not in con-
sequence of any set or formal State plan, but as mer-
chants, sailors, adventurers, patentees, Companies, and
Associations have led the way. The State has often
cried ' Back ! ' but the individual has cried ' Forward ! '
The whole story is varied, rugged, and picturesque,
being deeply interwoven with the proudest traditions
of our race. Colonial History is English History writ
large upon the face of the world. I have devoted
especial attention to France and to French colonial
policy. France has been our rival in the past, and she
may be our rival in the future, and it is well to throw a
little light upon her methods of colonisation. For my
' Facts and Figures ' contained in the Appendices, which
follow the arrangement of the subject-matter in the
text, and furnish a striking commentary upon it, I can
claim more system and arrangement. These may be
found useful by those who wish to study the statistics
of the census year of 1891 a convenient resting-place
whence to take a survey. These figures, if carefully
studied, constitute a very eloquent proof of the magnifi-
cent material results achieved by the energy of our race.
Not the least surprising revelation is the value of British
trade in Hong Kong and Further India. Upon close
examination it will he found, also, how largely Africa
trades with us. The policy of extending our influence

xiv Author 's Preface

in this continent is abundantly justified by the enormous
proportion of direct export and import trade with our
home ports. Moreover, England's policy is the wise and
enlightened one of declaring all ports, navigable rivers,
and highways free to the commerce of the world I
have also been able to quote from Sir R. W. Rawson's
most useful statistics, showing the proportion of the
trade of our Colonies with the mother country for a
period of years extending from 1872-86. I have sup-
plemented this by a statement of the proportion as it
existed in the census year of 1891.


APRIL 1893.




AUTHOR'S PREFACE, ...... xii


THE WEST INDIES. Jamaica Barbados Trinidad Tobago

British Guiana British Honduras, . . . . 1-19


THE WEST INDIES (continued). The Leeward Islands, including
Dominica, Montserrat, Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla,
The Virgin Islands The Windward Islands including
Grenada, the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Vincent The
Bahamas The Bermudas, ..... 20-44

NEWFOUNDLAND, ...... 45-61



Sierra Leone, The Gold Coast, Lagos, The Niger
Protectorate, ....... 86-107





New South Wales, .

Tasmania Victoria Western Australia ,


South Australia Queensland, * , ;


. 160-180

. 181-199




. 200-217







BORNEO LABUAN, ...... 246-262


. 263-348



GENERALLY speaking, there may be said to be five distinct
periods in the history of the West Indies common to all the
settlements, more or less. First, the period of Spanish occu-
pation following upon Spanish discovery, and dating from
1492, the year of the first voyage of Columbus ; next, the age
of the buccaneers, marking a kind of rough transition stage,
and leading up to the direct interference of England and
France in the affairs of the West Indies. The occupation of
Jamaica in 1655 by Venables and Penn was a deadly blow
aimed at the Spanish dominion, and led ultimately to its utter
downfall. Thirdly, in the midst of national rivalries, un-
licensed acts, and piratical attacks, the gradual growth of the
sugar industry, fostered by slave labour, can be traced. This
industry grew and flourished, especially during the eighteenth
century, and then received two mortal blows from the abolition
of the slave trade in 1807, and the Emancipation Act of 1834.
Before they fell beneath legislation, the West Indian planters
were regarded as some of the richest merchants and capitalists
in Europe. The fourth age is remarkable for the depression
of this great tropical industry, and in Jamaica itself, the most
typical and important possession of all of them, culminates in
the disastrous ' servile war,' during Governor Eyre's regime
(1865-1866). The fifth period, i.e. from this date to the
present time, is one of greater hope. The folly of trusting to

2 British Colonisation

one industry alone, is well as the immorality of slave labour,
have both been exposed by time, and teaching ; and the West
Indian planter, although suffering from the blows dealt upon
him unsparingly from all quarters, is learning wisdom through
adversity. To the student of British colonial history no group
of colonies can present so varied or so diversified a record.

Speaking more particularly, each settlement offers us a dis-
tinct and separate story of development a story within a
story, a history within a history. Island histories are always
interesting from the fact that the communities living on them
work out, in each case, their social and political fortunes
in vacuo. A change of governing power and a transference
of sea dominion does not involve, as it would in the case
of continental possessions, the universal and unquestioned
supremacy of one European Power only. In the framing
of treaties and the adjustment of international contracts, an
island which has been virtually at the complete disposal of the
conqueror is left as indeed the French island of Martinique
was left in 1814 as a naval post or as a foothold upon the
highways of commerce. Thus there still remain many frag-
ments of former empires in the West Indies. Spain, France,
England, Holland, Denmark, Venezuela, all hold possessions
in the West Indies ; whilst the Black Republic of Hayti offers
a most singular and, in a certain sense, a most instructive
study of an island community.

From another point of view it is impossible to speak
of the West Indian islands en bloc. Extending as they do
over twenty degrees of latitude from the Gulf of Florida
to the Spanish Main and the mouth of the Orinoco, they
offer great variations of climate and temperature, although,
of course, they are all tropical settlements, and lie between the
Equator and the Tropic of Cancer. It has been the custom,
also, to include the continental colonies of French, Dutch, and
British Guiana as well as Honduras in the West Indian group
sometimes to the perplexity of the casual reader, who often
speaks of Demerara as a West Indian island ; so that these

The West Indies 3

lateral and continental extensions of the general geographical
expression, 'the West Indies,' provide us with another varia-
tion. Far to the north, the remote Bermudas have been
included under the term, in spite of the very loose links that
exist between them and the larger and better known Sporades
of Caribbean waters.

With regard to size, some of the islands are very small,
and lie like green specks amidst the waste of waters ; while
others are large, and rise, as in the case of Cuba, to the posi-
tion of a rich and stately national heritage. Some, again, are
low-lying on the ocean, mere groups of coral islands, like the
Bahamas, which were called cayos or flats by the Spaniards,
and the abode of wreckers, who made much profit from the
stranding of vessels on their hidden shoals and reefs. Other
islands tower aloft, like Dominica and St. Vincent, to magnifi-
cent heights tall monuments of some mighty volcanic erup-
tion, which has added marvellously to their beauty, and left
strange lakes, hot springs, and chasms everywhere. In Trini-
dad the Pitch Lake, so well known to travellers, and described
by Charles Kingsley and Lady Brassey, is a strange, pungent
Stygian picture, reminding us of Gustave Dore's pictures and
the old-world description of Tartarus, in the midst of tropical
verdure and scenes of surpassing loveliness a vision of death,
as it were, in the midst of beauty. Again, some of the West
Indies are unhealthy, others healthy and in the latter, at a
suitable elevation, Europeans can find pleasant abodes and
bracing sanatoria.

From a political point of view, some of the West Indies
have led a comparatively quiet life for generations ; others,
like Jamaica and St. Lucia, have been torn by conflicts and
swept by the scourge of war. In times of depression, when
the burdens of government have been hard to bear, there has
been a tendency on the part of the island governments to form
themselves into groups, and thus economise the task of
administration ; in times of prosperity, when each island has
been well able to pay its way, there has been a wish to live

4 British Colonisation

apart. Perhaps the latest movement has been towards a
general West Indian confederacy and some form of federal
government. But this development is in the womb of time,
and it is scarcely clear whether a Caribbean confederacy will
arise or not.

To enumerate more particularly our West Indian posses-
sions, they consist of the following islands and continental
possessions :

1. Jamaica.

2. Barbados.

3. Trinidad.

4. Tobago.

5. British Guiana.

6. British Honduras.

7. The Leeward Islands, including Dominica, Montserrat,

Antigua, St. Kitts, Nevis (with Anguilla), The Virgin

8. The Windward Islands, including Grenada, St. Lucia,

St. Vincent.

9. The Bahamas.
10. The Bermudas.

Of these Jamaica, taken from Spain by Cromwell and used as
a buccaneers' perch, is the most important.

The very geographical divisions, as well as the nomencla-
ture, of this island are copied from the Mother-country : in
Jamaica there are the counties of Cornwall, Middlesex, and
Surrey, divided into various parishes. Cornwall, governed
once by a Trelawny, boasts of a town of Trelawny, also
a Falmouth. It is the pride of the Jamaica Cornwall that it
produces the best rum in the world. The various parishes
are distinguished by their peculiar products, and the parish of
St. Ann, in the central county of Middlesex the first part of
the island where Europeans landed is termed the ' Garden
of Jamaica.' The parish of Manchester, in the same county
so called after a Duke of Manchester boasts of fine uplands,
rich fruit and coffee plantations. Clarendon parish so named

The West Indies 5

after the well-known English Lord Chancellor has an historical
interest as the place where, in 1694, at Carlisle Bay the French
were beaten off by the colonial militia. On this occasion the
French took advantage of the terrible ruin and devastation
caused by the great earthquake of 1692, which completely
destroyed Port Royal, to invade the island at Port Morant,
coming from Hispaniola, and instigated, so it has been said,
by disloyal Irish and Jacobites.

Historical associations cluster around Jamaica, and especially
Port Royal. Penn arid Venables, disgracefully repulsed from the
French colony of Hispaniola, which they were sent to conquer,
partially redeemed their fame by the capture of the fortress of
S. lago de la Vega (Spanish town). Benbow, after gallantly
fighting du Casse (1702), lies buried in Kingston Parish
Church, where his tomb with the following inscription can be
seen : * Here lyeth interred the body of John Benbow, Esq.,
Admiral of the White, a true pattern of English courage, who
lost hys life in defence of hys Queene and country. November
ye 4th, 1702, in the 52nd year of hys age, by a wound in hys
leg received in an engagement with Mons. du Casse, being
much lamented.' Spanish Town boasts of a marble statue
erected in honour of Lord Rodney, who, in company with
Sir Samuel Hood, defeated the French admiral,' de Grasse,
on that ever memorable April day, 1782, when the fortunes of
the West Indies and the dominion of this part of the world
seemed to be hanging in the balance. It is said that home
politics were divided upon the subject of Rodney's expedition,
and that a message was sent to him to strike his flag and come
home; but, fortunately for England, Rodney never got this
message, and won for his country that glorious victory.

In later times Port Royal has been the scene of many a
notable rendezvous. During the American war and the French
occupation of Mexico the British war-ships constantly called
at Port Royal for coal and provisions; and in 1864, when
Archduke Maximilian undertook the great and perilous task of
ruling as Emperor of Mexico over a country so long distracted

6 British Colonisation

by war and tumult, he was met at Port Royal by eleven ships
of war, and speeded on that errand destined to prove dis-
astrous to him.

It is interesting to note how Jamaica has been rilled up with
inhabitants from time to time. In 1662, less than ten years
after the hoisting of the British flag at S. lago de la Vega, no

Online LibraryWilliam Henry Parr GreswellOutlines of British colonisation → online text (page 1 of 31)