The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927

Mexico as a Field for Systematic British Colonization 63

MEXICO AS A FIELD FOR SYSTEMATIC BRITISH COL-
ONIZATION, 1839
ANNIE IIELOISE ABEL, PH. D.,
Research Fellow of the American Association of University Women,
1925-26
The following letter, written by Daniel O'Connell, the Irish
political agitator, to Joseph Sturge, the renowned Quaker philan-
thropist, and made public through the pages of The British Eman-
cipator,1 holds for the student of frontier history and the special-
ist in colonization a considerable significance; for it not only
ry- t t some of the interest felt by the British people in the
Texas of eighty-five years ago and the concern that the negro
everywhere, free or unfree, was to British humanitarians, but it
likewise indicates how, had things turned out just a little differ-
ently, there might have been more remarkable analogies than there
actually are, historically, between the westward movement in
United States history and modern British colonization in Austral-
asia.
It was when the humanitarian movement, of national conscious-
ness manifestations the most unique, was at its height in the
United Kingdom and when philanthropic organizations with com-
mon membership and, not infrequently, interlocking directorates
were multiplying at an almost furious rate, that Edward Gibbon
Wakefield's great scheme of systematic colonization was projected.
The scheme itself was hardly what one would call philanthropic,
although it had suggestively philanthropic features; but philan-
thropists seized upon it, hoping to find in it a means to their own
great end, the welfare of the feeble races of mankind. And it
must have been in circumstances like these that Daniel O'Connell,
who had identified himself with several of the humane organiza-
tions and, in particular, with the Aborigines Protection Society
and the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, resorted to the
Wakefield plan and the Mexican opening as a way out of the

'No. LII, September 4, 1839.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 30, July 1926 - April, 1927. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117142/. Accessed November 27, 2014.