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ALTHOUGH the resource of emigration seems to be excluded from such perfect societies as the advocates of equality generally contemplate ; yet in that imperfect state of improvement, which alone can rationally be expected, it may fairly enter into our consideration. And as it is not probable that human industry should begin to receive its best direction throughout all the nations of the earth at the same time, it may be said that, in the case of a redundant population in the more cultivated parts of the world, the natural and obvious remedy which presents itself is emigration to those parts that are uncultivated. As these parts are of great extent, and very thinly peopled, this resource might appear, on a first view of the subject, an adequate remedy, or at least of a nature calculated to remove the evil to a dis
tant period : but when we advert to experience and the actual state of the uncivilized parts of the globe, instead of
any thing like an adequate remedy, it will
appear but a slight palliative.
In the accounts which we have received of the peopling of new countries, the dangers, difficulties and hardships, with which the first settlers have had to struggle, appear to be even greater than we can well imagine they could be exposed to in their parent state. The endeavour to avoid that degree of unhappiness which arises from the difficulty of supporting a family might long have left the new world of America unpeopled by Europeans, if those more powerful passions, the thirst of gain, the spirit of adventure, and religious enthusiasm, had not directed and animated the enterprise. These passions enabled the first adventurers to triumph over every obstacle; but in many instances, in a way to make humanity shudder, and to defeat the true end of emigration. Whatever may be the character of the Spanish inhabitants of Mexico and Peru at the present moment,
we cannot read the accounts of the first conquests of these countries, without feeling strongly, that the race destroyed was in moral worth as well as numbers superior to the race of their destroyers.
The parts of America settled by the English, from being thinly peopled, were better adapted to the establishment of new colonies; yet even here, the most formidable difficulties presented themselves. In the settlement of Virginia, begun by Sir Walter Raleigh and established by Lord Delaware, three attempts completely failed. Nearly half of the first colony was destroyed by the savages, and the rest, consumed and worn down by fatigue and famine, deserted the country, and returned home in despair. The second colony was cut off to a man in a manner unknown; but they were supposed to be destroyed by the Indians. The third experienced the same dismal fate; and the remains of the fourth, after it had been reduced by famine and disease in the course of six months from 500 to 60 persons, were returning in a famishing and desperate condition to England, when they
were met in the mouth of the Chesapeak bay by Lord Delaware, with a squadron loaded with provisions, and every thing for their relief and defence a.
The first puritan settlers in New England were few in number. They landed in a bad season, and were only supported by their private funds. The winter was premature and terribly cold; the country was covered with wood, and afforded
little for the refreshment of persons sickly with such a voyage, or for the sustenance of an infant people. Nearly half of them perished by the scurvy, by want, and the severity of the climate ; yet those who survived were not dispirited by their hardships, but, supported by their energy of character, and the satisfaction of finding themselves out of the reach of the spiritual arm, 'reduced this savage country by degrees to yield a comfortable subsistence 6.
Even the plantation of Barbadoes, which increased afterwards with such extraordi. nary rapidity, had at first to contend with a country utterly desolate, an extreme want of provisions, a difficulty in clearing the ground unusually great from the uncommon size and hardness of the trees, a most disheartening scantiness and poverty in their first crops, and a slow and precarious supply of provisions from England.
Burke's America, vol. ii. p. 219. Robertson, b.ix.
p. 83, 86.
b Burke's America, vol. ii. p. 144.
The attempt of the French in 1663, to form at once a powerful colony in Guiana, was attended with the most disastrous con. sequences. Twelve thousand men were landed in the rainy season, and placed under tents and miserable sheds. In this situation, inactive, weary of existence, and in want of all necessaries ; exposed to contagious distempers, which are always occasioned by bad provisions, and to all the irregularities which idleness produces among the lower classes of society, almost the whole of them ended their lives in all the horrors of despair. The attempt was completely abortive. Two thousand men, whose robust constitutions had enabled them to resist the inclemency of the climate, • Burke's America, vol. ii. p. 85. v 2