Skip to main content

Full text of "Political Science Of The State"

See other formats

COMPOSITE  GOVERNMENTS.                         163
in limited numbers.    On the whole the laws of Spain breathe
great humanity towards this part of the population.
The Spanish colonies, with great differences in regard to
negro slavery, and to the treatment of the native races, were
all governed by presidents receiving appointment from the
king. It does not appear that the people themselves had any
concern in their own affairs, unless in the details of municipal
and village management.*
The English colonies first planted in North America de-
Engiish colonies pended for their rights and privileges on royal
and dependencies. charters, which were given usually to companies
in Great Britain. The charters, as was natural in a land
blessed for ages with municipal liberty, gave self-governing
powers to the planters within the limits of English law, yet
not to the full extent. In most of them, sooner or later, the
governor was appointed by the crown, and could set aside
measures of the burgesses in the general assemblies. In one,
i. e., in the colony embracing Pennsylvania and Delaware, a
proprietary governor was provided for—that is, one chosen by
the successors of the original proprietor named in the charter.
In two the qualified citizens voted from the first onward for all
their magistrates. In the towns municipal self-government
followed in substance the example set in England. The col-
onies were all subject to the laws of the mother country in
regard to trade, and a control was exercised by the home
government over their rights to engage in certain occupa-
tions which would interfere with similar ones in the mother
country. On the whole, however, nearly all the rights per-
tained to them which free communities ought to desire. This
was their preparation for becoming a free, independent people*
The relation of these English colonists towards the natives
or Indians was somewhat different from that which we have
*For various particulars in what is said of the Spanish colonies, I
am indebted to Mr. Arthur Helps, Span. Conq. in America, esp. to
vol. iv.