Colony Defined

Edward Gibbon Wakefield

Edward Gibbon Wakefield, A View of the Art of Colonization in Present Reference to the British Empire in Letters between a Statesman and a Colonist. London: John W. Parker, 1849. Rpt by NY: Augustus M. Kelley, 1969.

By the word colony, I shall not mean such a country as either British India, which is a great dependency, or the Mauritius, which was a colony of France, but is only a dependency of England: still less would I term Malta or the Ionian Islands a colony. Nor does the process by which these places became dependencies of England, partake in any degree of the character of colonization. Of colonization, the principal elements are emigration and the permanent settlement of the emigrants on unoccupied land. A colony therefore is a country wholly or partially unoccupied, which receives emigrants from a distance; and it is a colony of the country from which the emigrants proceed, which is therefore called the mother-country. To the process by which the colony is peopled and settled, and to nothing else, I would give the name of colonization. . . . Is the subordination of the colony to the mother-country, as respects government, an essential condition of colonization? I should say not. The independent sovereign states which we term colonies of ancient Greece, I shall suppose to be properly so called. To my view, the United States of America, formed by emigration from this country, and still receiving a large annual increase of people by emigration from this country, are still colonies of England. I divide colonies into two classes; the dependent and the independent, like Canada and Massachussetts.

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