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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 18

Retrospects and Prospects of the Colony

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Retrospects and Prospects of the Colony.

On Monday the Hon. A. Michie delivered a lecture, in the old Exhibition building, on "Retrospects and Prospects of the Colony." There was a crowded attendance. The Mayor of Melbourne (Mr. Williams) occupied the chair; and among those on the platform we observed the Hon. Mr. M'Culloch, the Hon. Mr. Bindon, the Hon. Mr. Vale. the Hon. C. Gavan Duffy, the Hon. Mr. Francis, the Hon. T. T. A'Beckett, M.L.C.; the Hon C J. Jenner, M L C.; the Hon. Mr. Cole, M.L.C.; Mr. Henty, M.L.A.; Mr. Balfour, M.L.A.; Mr. Bayles, M.L.A.; Mr. Langton, M.L.A.; Mr. O'Grady, M.L.A.; and Mr. M'Kean, M.L.A.

The Chairman briefly introduced

Mr. Michie, who on rising was warmly cheered. He said—Mr. Mayor, and Ladies and Gentlemen,—In appearing before you in the interests of our St. Kilda volunteers, permit me at the outset to express my acknowledgements to our citizen-soldiers generally; for it is now to be put to their credit that, after upwards of seven years' submission to the discipline of the soldier's profession, they can at any time show us in round numbers some 3,000 efficient men in the field. An answer has thus been given to those who, on the first organisation of this force, insinuated that the movement would not last, and that those who joined it were principally attracted by the prospect of wearing a pretty Uniform. In the camp and in the field they have stood the test of professional criticism; and for myself I will say that the value of this force extends beyond that of its merely military character. It must be obvious to the most superficial observer, that in the course of the volunteer's duty every class of society is brought into more intimate communion and sympathy with every other class—a result which assuredly is in itself a great good. Not until I first took part as a spectator in one of our peaceful battles, and saw even our high sheriff lead on his own company, among whom might have been not only some of his own bailiffs, but even some with whom he might have stood in still more tender relations, did I adequately appreciate the civil as well as the military importance of this portion of our defences. Seeing, then, that the volunteer does not merge the citizen in the soldier, and that we are all—as an ancient philosopher calls men-political animals alike, it is not in the presence of such a body that I need apologise either for the matter or the manner of much that I am going to say. It is pretty certain, that—as on the occasion of my last appearance in this place—in some points my hearers will differ from me, as in other points they will probably agree with me; but just as in their own force Volunteers would not inquire into their right or left hand comrade's opinions before acting on an instruction to fire into an enemy about to land, so I hope they will accept me as a comrade to-night, and fire away at me as hard as they like tomorrow morning. It cannot. I think, but be a great comfort to some of us that—Mr. Francis and the Custom-house notwithstanding—the drapers' windows make as beautiful a show as ever. Still throng the carriages between three and five in a certain part of Collins-street. Has not our worthy ex-mayor, Mr. Bayles, ridden the whirlwind, and directed the soft-goods storm into that vast hall which has so lately shown us of what great things drapery is still capable? And cannot those inexhaustible fountains of honour, our excellent fellow-citizens, Moubray and Lush, manufacture any number of princes, and peers, and marchionesses, and mesdames on the shortest notice, and on the most reasonable terms? As these questions can be only answered in the affirmative, I feel I may approach with becoming composure of spirit, and I propose to talk about, I trust with all possible good humour, such interesting topics as free trade and protection, the tariff, the land question, the press, the people, and the mob; about public opinion and the modes of influencing it, and about the probable future of the colony. I do not think I can select any other equal number of topics as interesting as these at the present time, and therefore I cannot but hope a portion of oar evening may be rationally passed in temperately discussing them. With the greatest deference to the analysis of our Legislative Assembly given at a late extra-Parliamentary utterance at Ballarat, and notwithstanding the alleged formed opinions of various sections of our representatives, I do not think it superfluous to start with the elementary question, "What is the meaning of free trade?" These two words represent for me an idea which I endeavour to express page 4 to myself thus:—It is an operation by which all men enjoy the unrestricted power of exchanging with each other the fruits of their labours. The above few words embody with sufficient clearness to my own mind the meaning I attach to the words "free trade," when I use those words. What do I mean when I use the word "protection?" I mean the application of a law by the force of which the fruit of the labour of one man, or set of men, is favoured and made profitable in any particular market, by saving it from competition with the labour of any other man, or set of men, who, in the natural course of human dealings, would otherwise resort to such market. For all practical purposes the above definitions will suffice. Assuming, then, that I have fairly explained the proper meaning of the terms free trade and protection, it may safely be averred that there never can be free trade where there is a custom house; and there never can be protection which does not drive us to buy of the protected industry. In other words, there cannot be perfect free trade where there is any restriction; and that cannot be protection which does not protect. Duties, however light, are, as far as they go, contradictory of and inconsistent with free trade. On the other hand, duties, however heavy, never protect any industry while that industry is still left exposed to the successful competition of the general industry of the world. But, inasmuch as most countries are in the habit of collecting a revenue through the custom house, and yet some countries—England, for instance—claim to be considered free-traders, it see me clear that in the contemplation of, many respectable authorities light duties, not amounting to prohibition of foreign industries, are not deemed incompatible with-a reasonble compliance with the principle of free trade. For instance, England is said to have free trade in corn, although a shilling a quarter duty is imposed on the importation of foreign bread stuffs into Great Britain. This slight and insignificant duty, how ever, does not and cannot operate to exclude foreign produce, for it yields about £60,000 a year to the general revenue. This sum (assuming that England exports no corn) exactly measures the difference between the quantity of corn which England grows and the quantity which England consumes. The home grower is not protected; the foreign grower is not excluded; and therefore it is that English statesmen and journalists are justified in saying that this shilling duty is for revenue, and not for protection. At the same time, it is demonstrable that, use what language you may, the English grower derives whatever advantage arises from the Imposition on the foreign article of that shilling a quarter, from which the home grower is exempt. To this extent, infinitesimal though it be, England at the present moment is deprived of free trade in corn; and yet, by reason of the deprivation being but infinitesimal, we admit that substantially free trade in corn exists in the mother I country. In the above cited instance we, find that a slight duty on a commodity for purposes of revenue is not incompatible with two countries exchanging with all reasonable and required freedom their products against each other; and this, too although the fact is indisputable that the foreign grower of corn cannot find a market in England unless he can sell as cheap as England can sell after the payment by the foreign grower of that shilling a quarter duty which is the necessary passport to the English market. Now, let us apply the above observations to the new tariff, which, we are told, must next session be made a protectionist one. Notwithstanding the clamour which was at first got up about this measure, I find it difficult to believe that any real apprehension ever existed in the mind of any man that even the so-called protectionists themselves ever desired the enforcement of prohibitive duties in this colony. Be that as it may, it is not easy to understand the policy of that section of our public men who, being professed free-traders, are for what they call giving protection all round—to the farmer as well as to the manufacturer. These politicians apparently inculcate the policy—

"A little fostering is a dangerous thing:
Drink deep, or taste not the protective spring."

A policy which seems to imply their belief that a thing bad in itself becomes good when you increase the dose. This curious and self-contradictory policy affects to proceed on the belief that the present tariff is protectionist, in the ordinary sense in which that term is employed. Mere counter-assertions as to the character of the tariff will prove nothing, so we must go to evidence and proofs. Fortunately the tariff itself will help us to an answer; and perhaps an occasional importer will be found an important witness on the same point. For the tariff being a sort of table of fixed quantities is of course, a mere matter of arithmetic. It shows either the amount, or the means by which the amount may be calculated, chargeable Upon the various articles therein named These articles, so named, comprise scarcely a fifth of the annual imports to this colony, the aggregate of which, for the period between the beginning of the year and the 10th of this present month of November, I find returned at £11,982,359 against £10,722,363 for the corresponding period of last year. Four fifths of those imports are not brought under any tariff at all, and piece goods of every description also enter our ports free Keeping these important facts before our minds, now let us see what account experience enables us to give of the new duties. I find that the new duties down to the 31st October last have brought in £115,273, falling short of the estimate by upwards of £7,000, which deficiency is no matter for surprise, seeing that for more than twelve months past goods intended for New South Wales have been carried up to the Murray River in bond, and have there paid duty to the sister colony. page 5 For the whole year, therefore, we should have, on account of the new duties, a sum under £150,000. which amount, taking the new articles subject to the new tariff at two millions in value, would represent only from seven to eight per cent, on that value. Of course the per centage is higher on some few exceptionally cheap articles, such as dried fruits, &c, but from seven to eight per cent seems the average. Now, in England ten per cent, is regarded as perfectly reasonable for purposes of revenue, and as not in any way savouring of protective duties. It is large enough to yield revenue; it is not large enough to shut out foreign goods. Moreover, the rate of duties leviable under this new tariff is less than that of almost any other British colony, and does not amount to one-third of the duties levied under the Canadian tariff. But here it is also necessary to remark that the £150,000 collectable under the new tariff, is not an addition to the previously existing burthens of the country; it is a substitution only for the reduced duties on sugar, tea, gold, and opium. The new imposts just about balance the old abolished imposts. The gross amount of taxation through the Custom House remains under the new tariff what it had been under the old one. The opposition, therefore, when opposition arose in the first instance, had nothing to fasten on with respect to the gross amount of taxation; that opposition could only assail the alleged impolitic substitution. That substitution being a substitution of duties on various manufactured fabrics, in lieu of the previous higher duties on tea, sugar, opium, and gold, it is important to ascertain whether such substitution is, in the aggregate, a greater burthen to the consumer than were the displaced duties. If consumers pay no more in taxation, who is hurt? If a man is to pay £5 a year in taxation, what does it matter to him whether he pays that £5 on sugar or on shoddy? How, in the main, has it appeared, as yet, that the new tariff is more oppressive than were the displaced duties on tea, sugar, opium, and gold? It has been said that no duties on tea and Sugar can be protective, because we cannot produce tea and sugar, but that duties on hats, caps, and widows' cap fronts, may be protective, because we can and do produce these and similar articles Let us examine this position, and endeavour to ascertain what it is worth. As I have said already, and as the fact is, piece goods come in free. Why wan this distinction observed between piece goods and goods worked up into slops? Apparently because we cannot produce muslins, calicoes, silks, and other fabrics, any more than we can produce tea, coffee, or sugar; but we possess in abundance the labour which can work up the untaxed fabrics into shapes fit for human use. This, of course, will not be denied. But then, again, it may be said that the purchasers and wearers of slops have a right to buy in the cheapest market; that if the labour bestowed in England in converting these piece goods into slops is cheaper than similar labour here, the consumers in Victoria have a right to buy that English labour in preference to the Victorian labour. Not disregarding such a position what is the choice before the colonists? On the one hand, we have before us, as proposed objects of taxation, the labour involved in the production of tea and sugar, and, on the other hand, the labour involved in the production of English slops. Assuming—although I by no means admit the fact—that the tax necessarily talls on the consumer, I ask if I and other taxpayers choose to say we will pay our tax on the labour in the slops rather than on the labour in the tea and sugar, what is that to any one? It will not be denied that it is of the essence of freedom that men should be entitled to choose how and upon what particular product of labour they should tax themselves. "Oh," but it may be said, "by taxing the labour in the slops, you encourage, or even foster, the colonial labour!" Well, if you do so, what of that? That colonial labour will be as cheap as the imported labour, or it will not. If as cheap, nobody has the colour of a right to complain. If, however, the colonial labour be not so cheap, why have not the colonists a light to say, as tax-payers, that they choose to hand over to the Custom-house £5, though it may ultimately go into the pockets of the colonial labourer, rather than pay £5 which is ultimately to go into the pockets of the English or the American labourer? The £5 so expended will put in motion a corresponding amount of labour here; it draws no capital into channels into which that capital is not ready almost of itself to flow; and it the aggregate of the taxation be no more than before, what principle, either of politics or political economy, forbids us from saying in plain terms that we will, through the Custom-house (as is done in so-called free-trade England at the present moment), offer a premium to domestic industry to produce, it it can, the same port of articles which are produced elsewhere? But at this stage of the discussion it is frequently [unclear: interpoed] that the two objects of revenue and protection are incompatible: that the one negatives or excludes the other. I have already admitted as much in the definition of protection to which I have given in my adherence at the outset of these observations. But does it follow, or, having regard to our daily experience, in it the fact, that the two objects of revenue, and the more rapid advancement of domestic manufactures, are inconsistent and incompatible? Certainly not. To assert this would be to deny facts which are daily taking place under our very eyes. In every country which has a custom-house we find foreign articles taxed, and yet coming into the taxing country concurrently with that taxing country producing in large quantities the same description of articles as the imported taxed article. I may give an instance to be found in evidence presented to one of our own Parliamentary committees. In the select committee on manufactures, which sat, and took evidence some two years back, Mr. Aitkin the brewer, was called in. In question 240, he is page 6 asked, "With reference to the duty on beer, will you give the benefit of your experience? Answer: The duty on beer is 6d. a gallon. 241. How has that acted? Has it encouraged the brewer?—It has. In 1853 to 1861 English ale averaged from £8 to £10 a hogshead. Through all these years that was the average. 242. How many brewers were there in and around Melbourne then?—Four. M'Cracken's, Henderson's, Murphy's, and my own. Since then there are seventeen, in Melbourne and suburbs. 243. Has the fact of new breweries starting decreased the price of the English article?—The price of English ale from 1862 to the present time has averaged from £4 to £6. 244. That is good English ale?—Yes. You can buy good English are in the market at present at £5." Now, here we have certain facts, which, being facts, must be reconciled with some theory or other. In the first place, we see that this duty is an encouragement pro tanto to Victoria brewing. Secondly, it does not exclude English beer, large quantities of which continue to be imported: and thirdly, the most important consequence of all is that the consumer can buy English beer much cheaper since the imposition of the 6d. a gallon duty, than he could do before the imposition of that duty. Assuming that Mr. Aitkin is not deceiving us as to the facts, how are they to be accounted for but on the supposition either that competition between the English and the colonial brewers has brought down the produce of both, or that diminished cost of production in England has lowered the price of the English article here; and which is the more reasonable supposition of the two? Is it likely, or does anyone suggest, that the cheaper production of beer in England just occurred coincidentally with the imposition of 6d. a gallon duty on that article when entering our port? The duty, then, has apparently operated to bring into existence many new breweries in the colony. It does yield revenue, and the article is cheaper to consumers, and we are properly told that we are never to forget the consumers. That the English article comes in in large quantities, simultaneously with the impulse given to the Victorian trade, need not surprise us, as there is always a more or less numerous class, in any community, who cannot be deterred by a tax from the purchase of a foreign article which is, upon any ground of preference, real or imaginary, an object of desire to the purchaser. So large a reliance, indeed, on this principle of human nature, have the United States Government manifested, even very recently, that they, during the late war, imposed a tax of fifty per cent, on all foreign manufactured goods, imported into the States. This taxation was avowedly for revenue, and declared to be necessary for providing the means of paying the interest on their then rapidly increasing national debt. Yet, even this brought in revenue, nor need the weight of that revenue (as is so frequently assumed), necessarily fall on the consumer, It might fall on either producer, importer, or consumer, or distributively among them, just as mercantile competition or demand and supply at the time of the particular transaction might determine; a position distinctly admitted by Mr. Mill himself in one of his essays" On some unsettled questions of political economy," and also as distinctly asserted by a Melbourne importer in a letter to The Argus of date l5th of June of this year, to the interesting matter of which letter I beg to refer my present audience. But no one here is advocating, or proposing to advocate, such taxation as that of America, on which I am now commenting. I only refer to it as rather remarkable evidence of the extent to which taxation at the Custom-house may both yield revenue, and yet go on side by side with the home industry. In short, some people buy the home made article and others the imported article, and therefore it is in the face of experience to say that revenue and encouragement of home industry are incompatible, or that there cannot be such a thing as incidental encouragement of such an industry, Now, it has often occurred to me, on thinking over this and related subjects, that on such topics as this one we are discussing, new communities may learn quite as much from the actual experience of each other as from the closest speculations of economists. For economists generally have written of and from the experience of old countries. But in old communities, the country for human use is already made, so to speak. In young communities we are making the country, whilst we are applying to it, as well as we can, the abstract truths of economical science. In old countries which have reached their up-most point of development, all new taxation is simply a burthen and an almost unmitigated evil. In a new country, on the other hand, new taxation, if wisely imposed and judiciously expended, may be made the most direct and effective means of cheapening goods to the consumer, and consequently of extending commerce and promoting the prosperity of the merchant, the tradesman, and the manufacturer. It is quite possible that to many this will sound like a paradox. And yet, as you will see from what I am about to read to you, it is truth as capable of being worked out to de monstration as any theorem in Euclid. To show this I invite your attention to an extract from Mr. Russell's recently-published book on Canada. The writer reporting Mr. Galt's defence of the tariff of Canada—Mr. Galt being the Finance Minister of that colony—introduces the passage as follows:—"Mr. Galt argues that an increase of customs duties does not necessarily injuriously affect foreign trade within certain limits, and that those limits have not been exceeded in Canada. Formerly, the cost of British goods in Canada was much enhanced owing to natural causes, whilst Canadian producers obtained a minimum price for their exports. The duty was then generally two and a half per cent., but the price of goods was enormous; and the Canadian suffered pro tanto in his means to page 7 purchase them. Suppose the duties increased five per cent, were to produce a reduction of ten per cent, on other charges, the benefit,' says Mr. Galt, 'would accrue equally to the British manufacturer and to the consumer; the consumer would pay live per cent, more to the Government, but ten per cent, less to the merchant and forwarder.'" As Mr. Galt considers the principle of Canadian finance and Customs to be misapprehended in England as well as in the United States, it may be as well to give his own words:—"The Government has increased the duties for the purpose of enabling them to meet the interest on the public works necessary to reduce all the various charges upon the imports and exports of the country. Lighthouses have been built, and steamships subsidised to reduce the charges for freight and insurance; the St. Lawrence has been deepened, and the canals constructed, to reduce the cost of inland navigation to a minimum; railways have been assisted to give speed, safety, and permanency to trade interrupted by the severity of the winter. All these improvements have been undertaken with the twofold object of diminishing the cost to the consumer of what he imports, and of increasing the net result of the labour of the country when realised in Great Britain. These great improvements could not be effected without large outlay; and the burthen necessarily had to be put either through direct taxation or by customs duties on the goods imported, or upon the trade by excessive tolls corresponding with the rates previously charged. Direct taxation was the medium employed, through the local municipalities, for the construction of all minor local works—roads, court-houses and goals, education and the vast variety of objects required in a newly settled country; and this source of taxation has thus been used to the full extent which is believed practicable without producing serious discontent. No one can for a moment argue that, in an enlightened age, any Government could adopt such a clumsy mode of raising money as to maintain excessive rates of tolls; nor would it have attained the object, as American channels of trade were created simultaneously that would then have defied competition. The only effect, therefore, of attempting such a course would have been to give the United States the complete control of our markets, and virtually to exclude British goods. The only other course was therefore adopted, and the producer has been required to pay, through increased customs duties, for the vastly greater deductions he secured through the improvements referred to. What, then, has been the result to the British manufacturer? His goods are, it is true, in many cases subjected to twenty per cent., instead of two and a half per cent but the cost to the consumer has been diminished in a very much greater degree; and the aggregate of cost, original price, duty, freight, and charges, are now very much less than when the duty was two and a half per cent., and consequently the legitimate protection to the home—i.e., the Canadian—manufacturer is to this extent diminished. Nor is this all: the interest of the British manufacturer is not merely that he shall be able to lay down his goods at the least cost to the consumer, but equally is he interested in the ability of the consumer to buy. Now, this latter point is attained precisely through the saw means which have cheapened the goods. The produce of Canada is now increased in value exactly in proportion to the saving on the cost of delivering it in the market of consumption," "If the aggregate of cost to the consumer remained the same now as it was before the era of canals and railroads in Canada, what possible difference would it make to the British manufacturers whether the excess over the cost in Great Britain were paid to the Government or to merchants and forwarders? It would certainly not in any way affect the question of the protection to home (i. e., Canadian) manufacturers; but when it can be clearly shown that by the action of the Government in raising funds through increased customs duties, the cost to the consumer is now very much less, upon what ground can the British manufacturer complain that these duties have been restrictive on bis trade?" "The undersigned might truly point to the rapid increase in the population and wealth of Canada arising from its policy of improvement, whereby its ability of consumption has been so largely increased. He might also show that these improvements have, in a great degree, also tended to the rapid advance of the Western States, and to their increased ability to purchase British goods. He might point to the fact that the grain supplied from the Western States and Canada keeps down prices in Great Britain, and therefore enables the British manufacturer to produce still cheaper. But he prefers resting his case as to the propriety of imposing increased customs duties solely on the one point, that through that increase the cost of British manufactured goods, including duty, has been reduced to the Canadian consumer, and that, consequently, the increase has, in its results, tended to an augmentation of the market for British goods." Thus far, Mr. Galt; and I venture to say that there are very few lines of the above passage which are not strictly applicable to the circumstances, past and present, of this colony. Have not we incurred a vast outlay for lighthouses, harbour accommodation, railways, clearing of rivers, &c.? Was there not a time when the cost of carriage of goods from Melbourne to Mount Alexander (a distance of only seventy-two miles) was £130 a to? Is not the cost now 35s, a ton? Does not this reduction cheapen the cost of imported goods to consumers all over the colony, and give extra value to our colonial produce in the English market? Does not this at once greatly benefit the merchant, the manufacturer, and the squatter? Is it too much to say that we should make all contribute to the cost of what so greatly benefits all? Unless we do this, how, as page 8 against colonial manufacturers and artizans are we to justify these great Improvements at all? Upon our own principles of free trade, might not colonial manufacturers and artisans have said when these improvements were first projected, "why is our industry to be taxed for the purpose of annihilating the natural protection we possess? In other words why are we to provide the means of bringing all foreign industries more cheaply into competition with our own?" We are at present masters of the situation, and is it consistent with the "let alone" principle we so frequently hear advocated, that the state should make lighthouses and, railways and improve rivers for foreign merchants, and for our own colonial importers and exporters, and charge nothing for these advantages? Is it free trade that such bounties in such shapes should be provided for foreign industries exclusively at our own expense? It is idle to say that the state is paid for providing these facilities to com merce, for we do not get back in the harbour dues and railway fares interest on the outlay, much less any profit on the work. So also, if it be said that our artisan gets the benefit of this cheapness in common with other purchasers, he will tell you that the thing might as well be dear if he cannot buy it at all; and that he cannot buy it at all if cheapened English labour has cut him out of employment altogether, or has greatly reduced his purchasing power. It comes to this, then, that, as Mr. Galt puts the Canadian case, so may we fairly put ours. We have by these vast works greatly cheapened the way of foreign importers to our market. By thus reducing the cost we have increased the demand. If we charge foreign importers nothing for this benefit either in toll or In customs duty, we as effectually provide them with a bounty on their labour at the expense of our colonial labour, as if we had made them a present of the money with which the improvements have been made. On the other hand, if we take from them, in the shape of duty, only a fourth or a fifth of what is saved by reason of these improvements, we charge them only for less than the value received by them, we, at the same time, provide ourselves with the means of carrying out further improvements for our joint further benefit. We do no violence in any direction to any principle of political economy. We do not allow the poor Brighton or St. Kilda market-gardener to bring his produce to the Eastern market without paying the St. Kilda toll. Why do we impose this toll? Because we have made a good road, for which we tell him he must pay. If this be a good answer for him, is it a bad answer to the foreign manufacturer or merchant, or his commission agent here? Ask the market-gardener whether he would rather be without either road or toll, or enjoying the one as the consideration for the other. Ask the city warehouseman in Cheapside, whether he would rather have a free port here, and cost of carriage £130 a ton to Castlemaine, or pay ten per cent, at our port and see his goods whipped to Castlemaine in a few hours and at a cost of a few shillings, where, in the olden time, he paid many times more than as many pounds. We know very well what the answer would be. Thus far, then, It will be seen that, in the above observations on Mr. Russell's statement of the Canadian case, I have dealt merely with the position that customs duties, apart from all considerations of free trade or protection, can be made the most convenient and expeditious means of advancing the fortunes and prosperity of a new country. In such a case, and in this view, taxation is raised and ex pended for the country, as we raise and ex pend it for a municipality—namely, that Governments may do those things which in new countries, by reason of the scarcity of capital, can never be undertaken by private enterprise. There is no absolute rule, and there can be no absolute rule, as to what things shall be undertaken by a Government. The rule must be flexible to circumstances. In England private companies can make the railroads. In these colonies we should as yet have had no railroads to the interior had not Government undertaken the work; and I presume that no man now listening to me would unmake the Ballarat and Murray River railways, and return the money they cost, even if he could do so. Now, related to the subject of taxation, is another topic which has often been referred to by public men among us, and about which I observe much misconception prevails. The topic I refer to is Mr. Mill's so called and miscalled "exceptional instance" to the doctrine of free-trade. Before I offer a single observation on Mr. Mill's words, allow me to read them to you:—"The only case (writes Mr. Mill) in which on mere principles of political economy, protecting duties can be defensible, is when they are imposed temporarily, especially in a young and rising nation, in hopes of naturallsing a foreign industry, in itself perfectly suitable to the circumstances of the country. The superiority of one country over another in a branch of production often arises only from having begun it sooner. There may be no inherent advantage on one part, or disadvantage on the other, but only a present superiority of acquired skill and experience. A country which has this skill and experience yet to acquire, may in other respects be better adapted to the production than those which were earlier in the field; and, besides, it is a just remark that nothing hat a greater tendency to promote improvements in any branch of production than its trial under a new set of conditions. But it cannot be expected that individuals should, at their own risk, or rather to their certain loss. Introduce a new manufacture, and bear the burden of carrying it on until the producers have been educated up to the level of those with whom the processes are traditional. A protecting duty, continued for a reasonable time, will sometimes be the least inconvenient mode in which the nation can tax itself for the support of such an page 9 experiment." Now, in this passage we see that Mr. Mill ignores no economical principle, either precedently or subsequently laid down in the same work. He rests his suggestion—to use his own language—on "the mere principles of political economy." He is in pursuit of the best means of securing the cheapest market. With this object, he is of opinion that, on large and long views of things, it may sometimes be wise in a community to tax themselves for the purpose of establishing manufactures among them which without such early fostering might never be able to struggle into existence at all. "A protecting duty, then, on the mere principles of political economy, can be only, as it were, the present price wherewith we buy our way into a cheaper home market than any which we can command abroad. Mr. Mill here does no more than submit an abstract proposition, leaving the application of it to particular societies. Of course, it is for these societies to consider the whole of the circumstances of any proposed application of the proposition; and having balanced the present cost against the presumed future advantage, then to determine how far it will be ultimately advantageous to foster its own industries. That Mr. Mill's pro position may be unwisely as well as wisely acted upon of course cannot affect the intrinsic soundness of the proposition itself. Why do I dwell on Mr. Mill's proposition on the present occasion? For two reasons—one personal to myself; another purely in relation to the public interest. I have been unjustly accused of having, on a former occasion, referred "derisively" to this passage of Mr. Mill. My words stand, and they speak for themselves. I said that Mr. Mill's equally eminent father—I speak only from memory, as I have not any report of my former lecture at hand—had not submitted or relied on such a proposition as the one under notice. I certainly should feel pained could I, by in advertence, have expressed myself in terms other than those of deep respect towards a man whom I regard as not merely one of the wisest men of this or of any time, but as one who has ever proved himself the intrepid champion of moral truth, howsoever his championship may have brought him into collision with the strongest and most intrenched prejudices of his day. Craving pardon for thus obtruding my own humble personality into this discussion, I proceed to my second reason for calling attention to the so-oft-quoted passage I have read. It must be apparent to any candid mind that, if Mr. Mill's proposition can ever be properly applicable at all, it must be in young countries; in countries of, it may be, great and peculiar yet untried and undeveloped natural capabilities. I do not say that Victoria is a country where such experiments as Mr. Mill suggests should as yet be extensively entered upon; but I will unhesitatingly say that, could clear cases be made out for such experiments, I would at once vote for them, and in doing so, I should not only not be violating any sound principle, but I should be advancing the ultimate objects of the science of political economy itself. What are the probabilities of such experiments ever becoming expedient in this country? To answer such a question, we must carefully study our society, its component elements, and the circumstances by which our people are surrounded. I am here to speak my own sincere thought, and if I tread on the toes of colonial self-love I apologise by anticipation, and pass on. We so often indulge in the pleasant exercise of praising ourselves, that, by way of corrective, we may do no harm by standing for a moment or two at the confessional. If it be asserted that our colony is "the brightest jewel in the British Crown," that our golden resources are marvellous. That our progress has been wonder fully rapid, and that we are entitled—especially when taken at our own valuation—to a good many notes of admiration from the world in general, I sup pose all this must, as usual, be admitted. But there are other things which, I think, must also be admitted. Our brightest jewel has some very unpleasant spots upon it. What do you think of that tarring and feathering business, and of the occasion which led to it, at the Adelaide Lead the other day? Is it pleasant to find Christian miners trying to smoke each other to death in their respective claims? Are "skull-bankers" an agreeable section of our fellow-citizens? Many of you do not know what a skull banker is. I did not my self know the nature and attributes of a skull-banker until they were explained to me some time back by the Hon. W. J. T. Clarke. A skull banker is a species of the genus loafer—half highwayman, half beggar. He is a haunter of stations, and lives on the squatters, amongst whom he makes his circuit, affecting to seek work and determining not to find it. A dozen or so of these skull-bankers were some time back congregated on a run of Mr. Clarke's, and when I, in the Supreme Court, asked a witness (a resident on the station) who those men were, he justified their presence there by saying "they were Mr. Clarke's friends." But the peculiarity of this friendship wag, that whenever Mr. Clarke made his appearance at the 'station the whole of these guests used to acknowledge the arrival of their patron and benefactor by taking to flight and hiding themselves in a dry creek. Again, look at another class of men among us, commonly called "Bolters." The most experienced police magistrate in this city, many months back, called upon me to represent (and to consider the mode of dealing with) the great and constantly growing evil of husbands and fathers leaving their wives and helpless children a burthen on the community at large. Does not this state of things necessitate the encouragement of reformatories, of industrial schools, of benevolent asylums, and of young ladies hunting modest young gentlemen about at hospital bazaars, on a scale which may be inevitable in an old and population-burthened country, but which surely ought page 10 not to be necessary in a young community like ours? Does not this too common disregard of the ties of blood produce much crime and demoralisation, the necessary results of broken up families, and of their consequent misery and destitution? These questions will only admit of one answer, for the facts which prompt the questions are so patent that our very familiarity with them dulls our apprehension of them, and causes us to overlook their injurious effects on society at large. Independent of these terrible evils, however, I do not consider that he is a colonist whose years are spent in oscillating backwards and forwards between Victoria and New Zealand; between summer diggings in the one colony and winter diggings in the other. But would he do this were he able to do anything better? Ought we not, therefore, to be astute to increase the number, and to extend the variety of trades and employments for our people, wherever we can do so consistently with the general interests of the country? Mr. Mill's doctrine becomes worthy of grave consideration, when we are suffering under such anti-social phenomena as I have here pointed out. To eradicate these evils, if we could, were a work worthy indeed of the wisest Parliaments and the most paternal Governments, I fear, however, that such evils are unavoidable whilst the constituent elements of our community exist in their present proportions. We have over 80,000 miners grubbing all the year round for gold. These not being enough, we offer rewards for the discovery of new gold fields, that we may take security, as well as we can, against the commonly recurring flights of miners to other countries, such as Port Curtis, New Zealand, or Nova Scotia. At the same time, we have only some 1,100 pastoral tenants of the Crown. When we contemplate these 1,100 pastoral tenants side by side with these 80,000 miners, can we fail to be struck with the amazing disproportion of able-bodied men devoted to a pursuit at once very exciting to ordinary imaginations, and not very much tending to fix any man's affections to any particular spot? A farmer may and perhaps generally does more or less love the field he has tilled? Can the miner love his worked-out claim, still less the claim which has disappointed his hopes? The expression "new rush" goes a great way towards describing this mining section of our people. The calm, patient, and provident household virtues have not here a very con genial home. Gambling is so large an element in the miner's pursuit, that all the social vices and defects incident to gambling naturally become prominent in such a condition. The intense and morbid craving for gold which appears to be generated of constantly alternating success and failure, seems in many men altogether to deaden the moral sense. These are too commonly the men who abandon wives and children to inevitable starvation, but for the bounty of society at large. Is it at "Sailor's Gully," or "Murderer's Flat" that we can expect to find the simple, pious, reverent life which may exist in the poorest societies, and of which Burns gives us so exquisite a picture in his "Cotter's Saturday Night?" No. The diggers' and mining speculators' Saturday night will I am afraid, seldom do for a companion picture. Come even down to Melbourne, and inspect the mining speculator; there can you without fear and trembling, contemplate that special convocation of politic dealers in scrip who seem to live their active lives near the Chamber of Commerce, and who blockade that part of the pavement. As they discuss the live-long day at high pressure the last telegram from Ballarat, and incessantly give and take the correctest information with high relish, and with an appetite, which is never sated. Have you ever been to the Polytechnic, in Regent-street, London, and seen in that instructive institution the drop of water magnified, I forget how many thousands of times, upon a large illuminated circular plane, by way of giving you accurate and philosophical impressions of what you are in the habit of swallowing every day of your life, without suspecting it? You remember the myriads of monstrous things almost all stomach, and with any number of eyes, and legs, and tails, and of all imaginable shapes and modes of motion, and which seem to exist only for the great purpose of swallowing each other whole all day long in a distracting no-system of society, in which everybody swallows who has the power and he remains unswallowed who can. If you have ever seen all this, take another glance at the outside of the Chamber of Commerce when next you pass, and see what it reminds you of. But, turning from the moral aspect of this mining pursuit, is it at all clear that the physical benefit ultimately accruing to Victoria from the business itself will afford compensation for the evils I have referred to? I think that the history of other auriferous countries will justify many doubts on this point. Upon reflection, it seems scarcely possible to understand how any mere gold country can, for any long period together, be a rich country. "This yellow slave, this ever fresh, young, and delicate wooer, this visible god," as Timon calls it, is after all only a better sort of guano to the people among whom it is found. Every ounce that is ex ported leaves the country by so much less for ever, just as if such ounce had never existed. It has been exchanged for so much brandy and slops. The digger has lived his troubled and feverish life for the comfort of the Chamber of Commerce, the English merchant, and the English manufacturer. When the gold is gone the digger must go too, or turn to something else if he can rind anything else to turn to. For his so-called wealth is simply fugitive and a gold country worked out is, unless other interests have sprung up during the operation, worse off than a country which never bad gold within its soil. Regarded in this light, Mr. Carey, an eminent political page 11 economist of America, would argue that nothing but preliminary protection, pending the growth of new interests, could save such a country from eventual bankruptcy and ruin. For Mr. Carey contends that even agriculture, by itself, in a new country—and he instances some of the eastern states of America—cannot in the long run bold its own against manufactures in the open markets of the world; and he puts his position in such a way as to elicit from Mr. John Stuart Mill a very respectful and well considered answer. Mr. Carey says this: that in as much as all soils, even the richest, sooner or later, wear out, the American farmer with each successive crop is deprived of a certain proportion of his capital—viz., the productive power of his land; that the crop, therefore, which be exchanges against foreign manufactures represents not merely the annual income or revenue from his land, but comprises also portions of the land itself; that, therefore, sooner or later, the farmer will have nothing left to exchange against foreign manufactures, and that, in the case put, foreign trade must some time or other cease. Mr. Mill appears to be somewhat pressed by this case, and he meets it thus. He contends that the alleged gradual deterioration of the land can be corrected by art; that its exhaustive productiveness can be renewed; and that for the effecting this renewal the farmer can import manure. In making this suggestion, Mr. Mill seems to be affected by a doubt whether it would pay a farmer to import a bulky article of freight like manure, and he therefore endeavours to vindicate the reasonableness of his suggestion by remarking that all which is most potent and valuable in manures, viz., the phosphates, lie in narrow bulk, and may be inexpensively carried. This suggested importation of manure is doubtless a merely practical question, and some farmers may give it for Mr. Mill, some for Mr. Carey. But it must be observed that the above answer of Mr. Mill to Mr. Carey's case is the best answer with which Mr. Mill seems to be provided. If Mr. Mill's mode of meeting Mr. Carey's position should, however, fail in actual practice, it does not follow that Mr. Carey is right. In such extensive territories as the states, land worked out, or partially worked, might be allowed to lie fallow until it had recovered the fertility of which man had deprived it, and thus nature would as it were replace the exhausted capital of which Mr. Carey speaks. But, whatever may be the result of this controversy in relation to Mr. Carey's agricultural instance, there can be no doubt whatsoever that Mr. Carey's observation that international trade cannot be permanent where the actual capital f one country is exchanged against the steady and ever recurring industrial income of another country, has much more and even conclusive, force when applied to gold. For gold is neither a manufacture, nor is it an annually recurring product, like the harvest, the wool clip, or the vintage; and as, therefore, it cannot be denied that, sooner or later of gold-fields must he like a tale that is told, it is a matter of public concern to offer the utmost facilities for the miner to transfer himself to the farm, the factory, and the workshop. At present he is too frequently a wanderer on the face of the earth. But the disciples of the "let alone school "may exclaim, as indeed they have often exclaimed "There is no cure for this. Diggers must and will continue to rush about, and they have no disposition nor can you ever induce them to turn to anything else." This answer cannot be accepted as satisfactory, until it can be shown that we have at any time since the gold discoveries afforded the miner any inducements, or even facilities for turning from mining to any other pursuit, or for dividing his energies between mining and farming, or some other business more healthful to mind and body than working in a drive. Among 80,000 miners, consisting of an infinite variety of men, many of whom have merely temporarily transferred themselves from other pursuits to this of mining, there must be, as among any other equal number of persons, men of every possible variety of tastes and capability. Have we ever sought to fasten these men to the soil? Have we offered them facilities for be coming freeholders? As the business of gold digging must at some time or other come to an end, or become so unprofitable and precarious as to be followed only in connexion with some other less uncertain pursuit, are we wise in constantly regarding this industry as a permanent one, when we know that in its very nature it can be only temporary? For years past our produce of gold has been falling off, and therefore should we not at least, especially on free trade principles, remove all impediments in the way of the miner using his present industry as the means of rising into some other calling which might give us a settled citizen in exchange for a very hardworking, and frequently reckless, wanderer? What, until very lately, has operated to prevent, not merely miners, but all other classes, from so changing their occupations? I answer, our entire land system has thus steadily operated down to the time of the passing of the new land act now under administration, and which even yet is on its trial. Therefore it was that a few moments back I glanced at our extra ordinary society, composed, among other elements, of 80,000 miners, alongside, as it were, of some 1,100 squatters. I have endeavoured, in perfectly good faith, to give a rapid sketch of the too common condition of the digger; let us, with equal good faith, now turn our attention to the squatter. It can not be denied with truth that for many years our squatters have been a somewhat privileged class. They have had vast tracts of land at an almost nominal rent; some of them have grown very rich and powerful (that is powerful in that Kind of power which riches confer) in the enjoyment of these advantages. I believe that with page 12 many of them the beau-ideal of a great country is a country which begins by handing over the bulk of its territory to eleven hundred persons, and ever there after respectfully buys its beef and mutton from these elevated eleven hundred. I am disposed to think that we have a number of banks here which devoutly believe this to be a highly satisfactory arrangement. They have substantial reasons for so believing. Much of their business consists of advancing on squatting properties, and in renewing, and renewing, or abruptly pulling up, according to the position of the squatter, whose position, in its turn, must depend upon times and season, as upon his own industry and prudence. There are no droughts in a banker's ledger. There, interest grows all the year round, defiant of scab and foot-rot. The bright consummate dividend of twenty per cent, is in large measure made what it is out of our Australian soil. It solaces the benevolent hearts of many absentee gentlemen, living in elegant mansions in the polite neignbourhoods of Kensington and Tiburnia. We are told that all flesh is grass, and if this, be so, I am very certain that a large quantity of London flesh at this very moment is Australian grass. In short, the squatter, in many instances, is the mere bailiff of the banker, and the banker is squatter In disguise. The Australian banker is frequently a wolf in sheep's clothing, without prejudice to his becoming, whenever necessary, good honest wolf. In so far as his banking personality does its direful arithmetic behind the bluff, smiling, pale-ale-consuming, and only partially conscious squatter, the banker is genuine wolf, and his clothing is the sheepskin of his pastoral friend. But when things go wrong, and when drought-withered station on the one hand, and the ledger on the other, will not balance, and the squatter has his credit stopped, and tremblingly calls for his account, and has it smilingly handed to him, and finds E. O. E—venerated and cautious capitals—that his account is closed, and himself closed with it, then the banker at once appears, and the scene changes. Flocks and stations having gone down the maw of banker, it is of course time for squatter and banker to part. Squatter pays his addresses to Mr. Noel—banker to Kaye and Butchart. Kaye and Butchart announce that "they have the honour to be instructed, &c.," and so the game goes on—with a sort of everlasting fee-fa-fo-fum, banker always smelling the blood of all sorts of Englishmen (without prejudice to other nationalities) who, be they alive, or be they dead, have their pastoral bones perennially ground to make the banker's bread. In the reference I have thus made to the relations between bankers and squatters, let it not be supposed for a moment that I am for encouraging any narrow jealousy of capital, or that I think English money of itself more injurious in this colony than any other money. But I am certainly under a strong impression that this squatter and banker relation involves some of the evils which existed in Ireland before the passing of the Encumbered Estates Act. A largely mortgaged estate has generally a sort of blight on it. A mortgagor cannot improve if he would; a mortgagee will not improve if he can. A mortgagor's solicitude about meeting "interest" confines his attention to fat stock, and he has hardly a thought for bipeds; a banker-mortgagee thinks only of the account in the ledger. You therefore see few indications of civilisation on an Australian squatting station. What you might see under more favourable circumstances you may find sketched by Sir Philip Sidney in his "Arcadia." Let me cut out the delicious little picture, for the sake of the contrast:—"There were hills which garnished their proud heights with stately trees: humble valleys whose base estate seemed comforted with refreshing of silver rivers: meadows, enamelled with all sorts of eye pleasing flowers: thickets, which, being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so too by the cheerful deposition of many well-tuned birds: each pasture stored with sheep feeding with sober security, while the pretty lambs with bleating oratory caved the dams' comfort: here a shepherd's boy piping as though he should never be old: there a young shepherdess knitting, and withal singing, and it seemed that her voice comforted her bands to work, and her bands kept time to her voice's musick." Put beside this sheep station of Sir Philip Sidney one of our banker-nursed stations, garnished with "skull-bankers." In place of the shepherd's boy, piping as though he should never be old, most of our shepherds look as if they had never been young. And as for a shepherdess, how much would a bank manager advance upon her? Of what use are shepherdesses in Australia, when you cannot put them into an inventory, and hand them over with the rest of the stock on the establishment; and how could shepherdesses knit and sine here on damper, and beef, and Barrett's twist, and under the almost dog-like domicile of a slab but? I am unable, therefore, to feel any sort of regret that the present state of things pastoral is likely soon to pass away. Equity, free trade, common sense, civilisation, the required variety of human pursuits, nay, even religion and morality, demand that that state of things shall cease. Equity demands it on tolerably clear grounds. The squatter and banker between them have had the land for many years on almost their own terms; and it is my purpose to show that, according to my apprehension, these terms are not only inconsistent with equity, but that they do also expressly violate that spontaneous development of society and those principles of free trade about which we have lately heard so much. When the advocates of free trade assert it to be so very good a thing, they of course mean that it is a very good thing all round—not a very good thing merely for miners and mechanics, and a very bad thing for bankers and squatters. Assuming that they are thus far consistent I assert, and pro pose to show, that there has never yet been anything like free trade in land in this page 13 colony. If, further, it can be shown that squatters and bankers have become, and propose to continue, wealthy by reason of this violation of the principle of free trade in their favour, is it quite modest that the men in this position should be so specially demonstrative in favour of enforcing tree trade on every other class but themselves ? That there has never been free trade in land in this colony the short history of our land system will show. What is that history? As there are many new arrivals among us unacquainted with the facts, they may be given in few words. Before the year 1831, free grants in New South Wales were made to settlers in consideration of their taking charge of convicts. This practice is commonly referred to as "the assignment system." The grant was proportioned to the number of convicts assigned. In the year 1831, Lord Ripon's regulations for the abolition of free grants and for the sale by auction of all Crown lands, were first promulgated. Until the year 1839 the minimum price was 5s. an acre for country lands, and in that year this minimum price was raised from 5s. to 12s. an acre, but the change did not extend to lands previously advertised at the lower price, of which there was a large quantity at the time of the change. In the year 1841 the system of sale at a fixed price of £1 an acre was introduced in the district of Port Phillip, now Victoria. In 1842 the system of sale by auction was resumed throughout the colony at a minimum upset price of 12s. an acre for country lands, with liberty to select at the upset price portions not bid for. In the year 1843 the minimum price was raised to £1 an acre by the act of the Imperial Parliament 5th and 6th of Vict., ch. 36, with liberty to select at the upset price country portions put up to auction and not bid for, or on which the deposit had been forfeited. Chronologically, you have thus in a nutshell the successive periods of the various changes, from the beginning of our first land system down to the year 1843. It would be beside my present purpose to show by what influences, and with what objects, the present upset price was first determined on. It is sufficient to say that it effectually achieved the following results:—It at once all but annihilated the land fund; it secured to the squatters their runs for next to nothing—as nobody gave, or thought of giving, £1 an acre for had land in New South Wales, 16,000 miles from England, when at least equally good land could be bought at the Cape of wood Hope for 2s. an acre, in Canada at 5s. an acre, and for 6d. an acre in the territory ceded by the Indians to the United States shortly before the adoption of the £1 an acre price in Australia. What wonder, then, that in the year 1844 the entire quantity of country lands and town allotments sold in New South Wales, inclusive of Port Philip was only 4,259 acres, yielding the insignificant sum of £9,174 15s. 3d., whilst in 1837, when the population was only 85,000 persons (being less than half of the population in 1844) the amount of town and country lands sold was 388 695 acres, bringing into the Treasury £121,962 12s. 5d. In the year 1847 came out the celebrated Orders in Council of which you have heard so much, and which proposed (among other curious arrangements exhibiting remarkable ignorance of the circumstances of the colony) to confer on the pastoral tenants of the Crown fourteen years' leases, renewable until the land should be bought for twenty shillings an acre. The net result of this ridiculous system—the invention of the perverse ingenuity of Earl Grey—was, that the squatters practically before the gold era had freeholds in vast tracts of country constituting their rune. Outsiders never dreamt of giving £1 an acre for unimproved land not worth 5s. an acre, and of course squatters themselves were not such foots as to buy that which in effect they were already enjoying for next to nothing. Emigration to Australia all but ceased, agriculture was discouraged, class animosities sprang up at such an outrageous state of things, the squatters strove to obtain the issuing of the leases, the colonists generally opposing, when in the year 1851 gold was discovered in Australia. This great fact, of course, went a long way towards practically settling a question which is perhaps not finally settled yet. Now, I have thus rapidly taken a retrospect of our land history for this purpose. I asserted awhile ago that there had never been free trade in land in Victoria. We cannot have our common sense outraged by the assertion that driblets of sales by auction constitute free trade whilst principalities, altogether free from auction, are occupied by the squatters at a merely nominal rent. Free trade in land can only obtain where there is one simple uniform system for all lands, pastoral or arable, by auction or otherwise, without partiality or special advantage to any class of society whatsoever. Where, do we find such a system? I answer in the United States. There, the embryo of the future state was to be found in the settlers of a new territory. The backwoodsman marched into the forest, and cleared himself a homestead with his axe. Government followed him, surveyed, and sold him his land at a few shillings an acre; and as this kind of population increased, the territory in the fulness of time became a state, and a member of the Union. The importer of goods, hard or soft, who said to such a settler as this. "I require you to buy my goods untaxed at the custom-house, as I bring them from London, the cheapest market," at least addressed a settler who was allowed to draw from our common mother earth the means wherewith to pay for such goods. But when our Australian importer and our bankers and squatters address in the same terms immigrants generally, may the latter not reasonably, even as honest free-traders, retort, "Free trade, if good as you say it is, must be good for all persons, and should prevail in all things?" When William the Norman distributed broad England among his companions in arms, he did much as the British legisla- page 14 ture did when it handed over our territory to some 1,100 squatters. But the tenants in chief of Norman William at the least sub let the same land, so that human creatures lived upon it after all; whereas our barons people their acres only with cattle and sheep. Are these barons exactly the authorities to preach the beautiful simplicity of politico-economical science? What right has a six-hundredth part of the population first to appropriate almost the whole of the land of a country, and then to require the other five hundred and ninety-nine parts of the community to buy in any particular market, when they have never been allowed freely to grow produce where with to pay for their purchases? These considerations are not urged in any hostile spirit to the squatters, among whom are many very sensible, just, and reasonable men. I desire only to call attention to the inconsistency of the same men, in the same society, calling out for what they term the natural system as applied to dealings with merchandise, and as lustily advocating the artificial system as respects land. It is certain, however, that this artificial system has been allowed to attain such proportions under the law that no statesman can now deal with the land question exactly as he might have dealt with it in the beginning. It is one of the inevitable incidents of an artificial system that it cannot suddenly be abolished without injustice, not merely to those who have dealt under the system, but also to many more than those directly interested in it. But without too roughly interfering with squatters' runs, we may now hope soon to see the country more rapidly settled than has been its experience heretofore, for the 42nd clause works. I am rejoiced to find, not merely from official reports, but from the interesting statements of the Age and The Argus special correspondents, that settlement is rapidly extending in many districts. New farm buildings are going up; new fencing everywhere appearing; solitudes are becoming peopled; civilisation is reclaiming the wilderness; the sum of human happiness is increasing in the land. But the year 1870 draws nigh, and once again will the squatters and their backers fight for a still longer day. Can we be surprised, ought we even to feel much disgusted, should they do this? Every where, and in all times, we find class interests striving to gain the ascendancy over the public weal. There seems to have been always, at one period or other, with special modifications, a squatting question everywhere. The history of the Gracchi and of the Ager Publicus of ancient Rome is in many of its features not unlike our own land question. Our own forefathers in England, nearly three centuries back, had their anti-squatting agitations. Mr. Francis Bacon—afterwards the great chancellor—brought two liberal land bills into the House of Commons, and made pregnant speeches against "the Lords," who, as he said, had "en closed great grounds, and pulled down even whole towns, and converted them to sheep pastures." "For enclosure of grounds," continues he, "brings depopulation, which brings forth, first, idleness"—their squatting you see, generated skull-bankers, even as our squatting does;—"secondly, decay of tillage; thirdly, subversion of houses, and decrease of charity, and charge to the poor's maintenance; fourthly, the impoverishing the state of the realm. A law for the taking away of which inconveniences is not to be thought ill or hurtful unto the general state. And I should be sorry to see within this kingdom that piece of Ovid's verse prove true, 'Jam seges est ubi Troja fuit;' so in England, instead of a whole town full of people, none but green fields—but a shepherd and a dog." Not less distinct and emphatic on the same monopolising evil is Sir Thomas More, in his Utopia. I quote from Bishop Burnet's translation. Two of the characters in this work discussing the then distressing prevalence of wandering thieves in England—"There is another cause of it (i. e., stealing), that is more peculiar to England,"says one of the speakers. "What is that?" said the cardinal. "The increase of pasture, said I,"—here the author is apparently speaking in his own person,—"by which your sheep, that are naturally mild and easily kept in order, may be said to devour men, and unpeople not only villages but towns; for wherever it is found that the sheep of any soil yield a softer and a richer wool than ordinary, there the nobility and gentry, and even those holy men the abbots, not contented with the old rents which their farms yielded, nor thinking it enough that they, living at their ease, do no good to the public, resolve to do it hurt instead of good. They stop the course of agriculture, inclose grounds, and destroy houses and towns, reserving only the churches, that they may lodge their sheep in them." This must be a wrinkle for some of our squatters—and perhaps Geelong may tremble—"and, as if forests and parks had swallowed up too little soil, those worthy countrymen turn the best inhabited places into solitudes; for when any unsatiable wretch who is a plague to his country,"—Sir Thomas More, who was a, most pious and conscientious man, had evidently never heard of the heinous sin of "setting class against class"—"for when any unsatiable wretch who is a plague to his country resolves to inclose many thousand acres of ground, the owners as well as tenants are turned out by tricks"—were there dummies in those days?—"or by main force, or being wearied out by ill usage, they are forced to sell them. So those miserable people, both men and women, married and unmarried, old and young, with their poor but numerous families (since country business requires many hands), are all forced to change their seats, not knowing whither to go: and they must sell for almost nothing their household stuff, which could not bring them much money, even though they might stay for a buyer. When that little money is at an end—for it will be soon spent—what is left for them to do but either to steal, and so be hanged. God knows how justly—or go about and beg? and If they do this, they are put in prison as page 15 Idle vagabonds; whereas they would willingly work, but can find none that will hire them, for there is no more occasion for country labour, to which they have been bred, when there is no arable ground left. One shepherd can look after a flock, which will stock an extent of ground which would require many hands if it were to be ploughed and reaped….. Since the increase of pasture God has punished the avarice of the owners by a rot among the sheep, which has destroyed vast numbers of them, but had been more justly laid upon the owners themselves." And so the writer proceeds in the same vein on the same theme, like a mere Wilson Gray; and notwithstanding the fuss Sir James Macintosh and other critics have made about the beautiful simplicity and the unbending integrity of Sir Thomas More's character, and despite the stories about Henry VIII. walking about the garden with his arm round Sir Thomas's neck, I can hardly help thinking Sir Thomas More must have been considered rather a disreputable character in his own day by the upper ten thousand. Even as it was, he came at last to have his head chopped off—perhaps a fitting, finale for one who held such singular, not to say disgustingly radical, views on the "land question." But to come down from the days of Sir Thomas More to those of the Hon. W. J. T. Clarke. Of course it will be said, as has been said many thousands of times already, that agriculture will not pay in Australia; that sheep and cattle are the best products for such a laud as ours; that nature is not to be overruled by mun, and that therefore we ought to allow the squatters to remain in undisturbed possession. I grant that nature is not to be overruled by man, and that land fit only for pasture cannot be profitably worked as arable land. But the persons who stand up so stoutly for nature, on behalf of the claims of the squatters, begin by committing the very offence they deprecate in others. They have overruled nature. They commence by dedicating to a 600th, part of the community the common heritage of all, and then say to the rest of the population buy in an open market, deprived in large measure of the natural means of buying in any market at all. We may be told that we have no right to mix up such considerations with the application of the principles of the economists to our society. I answer that we find them mixed up already in actual practice, coeval with the original constitution of our society. We have an artificial system to deal with, and we have no right to say that an evil which human error has brought into existence is to be left to nature to cure if [unclear: ait] can assist nature in effecting a cure. It is therefore idle to repeat that such social disturbances of what but for such disturbances would have been the natural current of our colonial industry are not to be heeded by statesmen when called upon to apply the principles of economical science. Special circumstances frequently call for special treatment; and in actual practice applied political economy runs into politics, and both into morals: a truth of which Dr. Arnold, of Rugby, had so clear a perception that I may be excused for quoting his own words. In the life and correspondence of this great and excellent; man will be found, in a letter of January 23rd 1840, the following passage:—"I agree with Carlyle in thinking that they (the Liberal party) greatly over-estimate Bentham, and also that they overestimate the political economists generally; not that I doubt the ability of those writers, or the truth of their conclusions as far as regards their own science; but I think that the summum bonum of their science and of human life are not identical; and therefore many questions in which free trade is involved, and the advantages of large capital, &c., although perfectly simple in an economical point of view, become when considered politically very complex; and the economical good is very often, from a neglect of other points, made in practice a direct evil." Now, it may be as well to keep the solid meaning of Dr. Arnold's words in mind, not merely on our own political questions, but even when we come across some of those impatient and bitter expressions of disgusted and self-satisfied superiority which occasionally appear in the colonial press at what is denounced as the ignorant and retrograde policy of Canada on the subject of taxation, and of America, and other young countries on the subject of free trade. May it not be that the Americans know perfectly well what they are about? Can they be so ignorant as not to know that a high duty per se is worse than a low duty? Judged by mere politico-economical lights, a people taking to protection for its own sake deliberately will the partial annihilation of their own productive powers. I cannot easily conceive of such a case. I think it less unreasonable to suppose that the Americans, with full knowledge of the nature and cost of the means they use, employ them as a mere purchasing power for attracting as many people from the old European communities as can be drawn to the New World. The Americans apparently imagine that it is not inexpedient to pay a high price for population, frequently the weakness of an old country, but always the strength of a new one. If homestead bills and customs duties draw this population to their shores, and if the authors of such measures and those who are affected by them are content. I am not aware that any other people have any right to object. We ourselves buy population by means which, at least, equally violate the first principles of political economy, which should leave labour, like capital, to flow into or out of a country, according to the ordinary principle of supply and demand. Let all these points of policy and motives of national conduct, however, be what they may, every nation guides its affairs as best it can; and in all countries fit for freedom even errors ought to be turned to account, as the free play of responsible government, guided by public opinion, must always more page 16 or less gravitate towards the true guidance and economising of a nation's resources. Have we a public opinion competent to pilot its way through these intricacies, and among these depths and shallows of human interests, shifting as they do, or rather as they appear to do, from time to time with the goats of party prejudice or passion? A momentous question, this! "Public opinion." What is it?—where is it? Who can answer these questions? How many even strive to answer them to their own understandings? With difficulty, and only through the aid of statistics, can we attain to some knowledge even of the general composition of our society as respects ranks and callings. But when we strive to detect that impalpable essence called "public opinion," I suspect we are all more or less perplexed, more or less at fault, and more or less the creatures of prejudice, and of imperfect, occasional, and seldom altogether reliable observation. Unless always on our guard against our own weakness and partial vision, we are apt to erect our tastes and our dis gusts into opinions and principles of action. Every man is more or lees swayed by mere fragmentary experience, and by isolated phenomena of character and conduct. For instance, to explain by an extreme example what I mean, some months back, walking home accompanied by a neighbour, we suddenly came on a prostrate and motionless human figure, all in white, coiled up in an angle formed by the abutments of a railway bridge. The recumbent figure might be dead, or in a fit, or merely asleep. I and my companion drew near him, and I exclaimed, judging from his loose baggy cotton dress, "Why, he's a Chinaman!" The figure without in the least altering its attitude, returned with an imperfect pronunciation which explained his case at once, and set our minds at ease, "No, no, Oim not a Choingman, Oim an Oirishman." Radiating alcohol into the general atmosphere, as was this fellow-citizen of ours, the indignant remnant of his consciousness was stung into activity by my too hasty judgment, and his outraged nationality vindicated itself by his claim of the Emerald Isle as the country of his birth. We walked away; and I could not help saying to myself, "There lies a specimen of manhood suffrage; there, with its lodging on the cold ground; and looking uncomfortably like a houseless and unregistered dog, is portion of the majesty of the people; there is an enlightened discriminator between protection and free trade!" This first thought was a depressing one. The next thought, whether a wise one or not, was, I think, but a fair and just one. How much of this man's character or powers did or could I know from this transitory glance? The presumptions were against him, it is true. But Sheridan was once roused up by the watchman from a similar al fresco slumber, and when interrogated as to who he was, gave for answer—the delicious humour of which almost redeemed its falsehood—that he was Mr. Wilberforce. Was Mr. Sheridan unfit to exercise the franchise? You will perhaps hesitate to answer this question in the affirmative. But you may say that every man who gets drunk, and soberses himself sub-Dio, is not a Sheridan Granted. But, all I am contending for is this: that mere casual observations of men afford you nest to no means of ascertaining their general character. For aught I or you could know recumbent Irishman might in his soberer moods be a man who could draw nice distinctions. He might on this occasion have been for the first time in his life drinking too much colonial wine, and it might not have agreed with IBM; and in any view of his case we know that he must get sober some time or other, and go about his business like any other man. Such snatches and passages of observation as this one of mine, could never justify the conclusion that the class to which the sleeper belonged was unlit to be trusted with the power of voting for one or the other of two Parliamentary candidates. To come to just conclusions on such a subject, we must have more extended observations, and found our final judgments upon a much wider experience. Where or how are we to get this experience? Why, surely, by striving to take in all the particulars of which our society is composed; by giving to each of these particulars its due weight in our ultimate judgment, and no more. To instance again. If your mind is depressed, and very naturally and justly depressed, by the sight of a drunkard sleeping off his debauch, are your feelings not elevated and cheered in much more than a corresponding degree by the sight of that procession of healthy, sober, well-dressed, stalwart men, who in the pardonable pride of success, celebrate annually, with banners and high festival, the eight-hours system? Looking as I have looked, long and carefully, at the composition of this procession; and, looking as I have looked, long and carefully, at the assemblage on the grand stand at one of our champion races, I am sure I am unable—and so I suspect are you—to pronounce which assemblage contains the greater amount of political wisdom. At what point in the social scale, going upwards, are we to begin to look for this sort of wisdom? The men of Collingwood are not supposed to possess it, because they are so curiously demonstrative at public meetings But their whole lives are not spent at public meetings. The labour of their hands is perhaps the whole estate of many of them; and we may feel assured that they often think seriously enough about that. They are not always singing of that everlasting march of old John Browns soul. But whatever this general public may be, and howsoever composed, it is certain that it is the public which must ultimately be responsible for the efficient working of our representative institutions, and for the general Shaping of our laws. This public may be taught, advised with, guided; it can never be bullied or driven. It is fitting that we should bear this in mind, whilst endeavouring to acquire some clear in- page 17 sight into its nature and composition. In making this assertion, I must, in passing, express my regret that The Argus so frequently refers to some "numerical majority as a port of terrible, blind, and unreasoning power, ever on the alert to oppress and victimise a wise, rich, and virtuous minority. Surely such a distinction is a mere figment of the brain. Does any one here seriously believe that in Victoria we have any sufficiently numerous section of the ignorant, the houseless, or of the dwellers in garrets or cellars, such as constitute in many old countries "a dangerous class?" Are our police cognisant of each a class strong enough to be a disturbing quantity in good government or in society? I venture to think not. Nor do I believe that the numerical majority of any particular class have any interest (although like every class they have their prejudices) alien or antagonistic to the just and general interests of society at large. How many little freeholders are there throughout the length and breadth of this colony, all of whom it is certain are extremely conservative of their little freehold. How many thousands of careful workingmen are month by month acquiring (despite of the long locked-up lands) dwellings through the numerous building and benefit societies in operation amongst us? Are these people of the sans culotte stamp? Are they a likely class to cry out á la lanterne ! or to throw up barricades against their own trustees? I can understand anyone calling, us all democrats or all conservatives (excepting, of course, the thieves), but the distinction insisted on by The Argus is not easy to comprehend. The above observations derive additional force from the consideration that our representative institutions now rest on an electoral basis of 110,000 men, of whom 70,000 are ratepayers; the residue of 40,000 are men who have a right to vote under their manhood suffrage; and many even of these have interests in mines or in mining claims. We have thus two-thirds at least who may be said to vote under a sort of property qualification, which we may reasonably take as some indication of steadiness, industry, and fore thought in those who have attained to such a position. I observe that even in England a tenant of a house rented at £8 a year is regarded as a safe man to be trusted with the franchise. There are probably few ratepayers here who are not rated in respect of houses the rent of which is at least double £8. Mr. Archer's last published statistics tell us that 535,043 persons are housed; that four-fifths of them above five years old can read and write, and that ten-elevenths of them can read. Both physically and intellectually, then, this our community, as a body, is made up of material very different from that which goes to the composition of what is commonly called "a mob." And yet we are told that there is a mob here, and that it was a mob which, during the last election, refused to hear Mr. Graham Berry in his defence at Collingwood. Now, I am not going to attempt a defence of mobs, for, in the first place, I am not very clear as to what constitutes a mob. It is a word of rather vague meaning. Johnson derives it, and no doubt rightly, from mobile, easily to be moved; and he describes a mob as "a crowd, a tumultuous rout." which the bulk of a people can hardly be. He also gives an extract from Dryden, which shows how large an interpretation even that great classic put on the word, in the expression he uses, "a mob of kings." The essence of a thing called a mob would appear, then, to;be its movableness, its excitability; and therefore we may have well-dressed mobs and ill-dressed mobs—movableness, excitability, being essential to all of them. When William the Fourth once went down to the House of Lords to dissolve Parliament, he was received by a tumultuous assemblage of vociferating angry peers, who for some moments were a mob. There may be a mob, then, any where, and most variously composed. There may be a Collingwood mob, who do the thing cheaply with good strong lungs, and there may be an Exhibition-building mob, who sometimes do the thing more aristocratically and expensively with pepper and rotten eggs. Neither of them, however, is the better for the tumultuous and merely excitable element, and to be impartial, we must censure both. But in our censure let us at any rate discriminate. This susceptibility to being moved may be very various in character. An instructed mob can seldom, if ever, be as mischievous as an ignorant mob. The gross and savage mob of the Lord George Gordon riots was, I take it, very different from any that could be got together in our own day. Fun, rather than malice, seems to be the principal characteristic of our Victorian gatherings. Fun is certainly the principal characteristic of a Collingwood convocation. Let us glance back at Mr. Graham Berry's meeting, held, I think, during the late general election. The comic element of that occasion lay in Mr. Berry's proclaimed grievance that the meeting were robbing him in not hearing him, inasmuch as he had paid for the room. I am inclined to think that he was in a manner robbed; and yet I cannot but also think that the mass of the meeting were actuated by a mere spirit of downright fun in thus converting Mr. Berry's room into so rough a temple for concerted music as it became that night Whenever Mr. Berry's own soul was for marching on to its vindication, the perpetual motion of that old John Brown's soul seemed to be always in opposition. I have been in a few of these breezes myself, and I think that there are few large bodies of men in any rank, where not assembled on an occasion which demands peculiar decorum who would be much more grave than a Collingwood gathering, provided only the comic elements in each case were the same. There is no malice in these demonstrations, and it says much for our society that violence to the person has been almost unknown both in our Parliamentary and our municipal elections At the same time, before quitting this part of my address I would remind my hearers of the words of a great statesman and philosopher— page 18 words which may be quite as profitably pondered by our higher classes as by the demonstrative men of Collingwood:—"Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites …. Society cannot exist unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere, and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without." Words full of wisdom, and worthy of being learned by heart. How many of us can conscientiously say that we reach the standard of moderation here suggested? Can any one of us say so? Amongst the various appetites by which we find ourselves betrayed, are the appetites for dominion, for detraction, for the subjugation of other men's wills, and actions to our own. How often do we assail the spirit of liberty in the very act of defrauding it? Are we not all more or less tyrants, frequently without suspecting the fact? Men have been burned at the stake, their executioners believing they were discharging a religious duty, when they were only feeding the perverted pride of a crossed will, which, by one of those tricks men's vanity and self-love can always play, gets called zeal, enthusiasm, devotion to truth; i. e, the truth of the man who urges it on the acceptance of his fellows. Our civilisation has outgrown the fires of Smith field; but does none of the spirit which lighted those fires survive? Can or do we all respect in others that liberty of thought we claim for ourselves? The men of Collingwood were rated for boo-booing the speaker who claimed to address them, and I am not going to attempt to defend what is plainly indefensible; but are there no symptoms of a more deliberate and still less defensible tyranny among those who probably claim to be the betters of the men of Collingwood? Are there not well authenticated accounts (from Geelong and other places) of tradesmen threatened with loss of custom if they did not vote according to the dictation of the threateners? And still worse—have we not seen this tyranny assailing the private lives of persons politically obnoxious to the assailants? And is not this the worst tyranny of all—the attempted tyranny over thought—that free thought to which alone is due almost all the moral good we enjoy in these latter days? I think be fore we are so hard on the mote in the Collingwood eye, that some of us may think a little on the beam in our own. On what agencies are we to rely for the holding in check this spirit of tyranny which is never dead—which only sleeps until roused up again by an adequate provocative? We have the press, the pulpit, the lecture-room, the infinite talk of men in all the walks of life, the ever-mutually correcting moral censures and political experience of an ever-widening world brought home to us by electricity and by steam. Of all these agencies one of the most potent is the press—nan vi sed scepe cadendo—for it speaks to us daily, and we hardly want Cowper's assurance of the efficacy of iteration in influencing men's thoughts and action. How desirable, therefore, that in every civilised country, and more especially in every free country, we should see mirrored in its press the collective intelligence, convictions, and purposes of the entire community. Is the press of Victoria such a mirror? I think not quite. It is hardly possible for it to be so, for at the same time that it is only wanted to express our immediate local necessities, the press of Victoria must suffer, because it does not carry on its functions under the same conditions which beset and control the English press. Behind and around the English newspaper press is a literature unsurpassed in power and variety in any age of the world. And behind this again are many thousands of men of much literature, who do not write, but who have nevertheless a great influence over those who do. The unwritten thought of a country, with many learned men in it, must always largely shape, and qualify, and keep within the bounds of justice, decorum, and fairplay, the class of journalists, even if the latter in so large a community could ever feel any temptation to abuse their position. The English press, therefore, will always mirror everything English, very much that is imperial, and even cosmopolitan; and on the other hand, the English people, as a nation, know only and are influenced only by their own English press. Press and people therefore grow together, and each is ever being subdued to the quality of the other. But here in Victoria, the local press is not our only press; many of us could not feel that we were living if the English press did not come to us by every mall. For our sympathies and our curiosity extend beyond the sphere of our immediate interests; we would know the central world though on the outer part of it; and, therefore, it is not surprising that Victorians, active and energetic, and congregated here from the world at large, and most of them owing fealty to early memories originating elsewhere, should so frequently utterly ignore the exhortations of our press, and refuse to recognise its authority. Touching the general ability of our press, it is perhaps not too much to say that, upon the whole, it stands as high as any provincial press out of England. As to its independence, its conscientiousness, its regard for fairplay, I am afraid that no man who has been much before the public is quite an impartial or trustworthy judge on these points, and, therefore, I shall offer no opinion upon them. But as I read English as well as Victorian newspapers, I often fancy that I miss from the latter the nicely balanced thought the fine judicial spirit, and the courtesy and moderation of expression, which, even in the height of party Straggles at home, are generally displayed by first-class journals-qualities which give these journals a certain air of authority for all classes of readers I will, however candidly admit that The Argus has one contributor. Whose originality and uniform courtesy, together with his slashing and vigorous style (so like Burke's in one respect, as ever hover- page 19 ing between prose and poetry), always command my respect, and enchain my attention to the end. Is it necessary for me to say that I can refer to no other person than our much-respected old friend, Tom Stubbs? I cannot quit the subject of the press without adverting to an observation I have seen more than once made in newspaper columns. It has been said that most of the country press, and also the press of the neighbouring colonies, have been found in opposition to the present Government. It must be admitted that, so far as this is genuine and honest expression of local opinion, it affords, where the writers have mastered their subject—and not otherwise—an additional authority against the Government. But I take leave to question the genuineness of much of this so called opinion. It is matter almost of notoriety, that much country journalism is Melbourne manufacture—a manufacture of which you may have as much as you have money to pay for. I do not think that all the members of the Victorian press would like to make affidavit that even some of the articles published in neighbouring colonies have been produced altogether independent of Melbourne authorship. Opinions, like light, can be reflected back upon us from distant surface, and a small political party, under manifold disguises, can apparently multiply themselves, and recruit their strength as small theatrical armies sometimes swell their ranks by bringing across the stage over and over again, in various garbs, everybody in the establishment, down even to the money-takers, the carpenters, and the call-boy. If, however, it be true that a majority of our press is on the one side, as moot undoubtedly a very large majority of the people are on the other side, the spectacle is certainly an interesting one, for the majority of the people are, in the main, either right or wrong. If right, they are wiser than the press which assumes to instruct them; if wrong, there is a noble opportunity for the press to convert them. If wrong, and unconverted, our people are either unteachable, or our press cannot teach, the dilemma is one which deserves serious consideration. One thing is certain, that those who desire to teach must not exhibit from the judgment-seat of journalism too great an anxiety to effect the ends of party. Let them candidly discuss the views of opponents, for as Aristotle says, "Among all the searchers for truth, none completely succeed, and none completely fail; those from whose conclusions we dissent do us service, by exercising our intelligence." Is not this at once modest and true? And do you not feel that could Aristotle come back to us and edit a newspaper, he would do his work like a gentleman, and like a gentleman, too, not at all confident that wisdom would die with him But as time admonishes me that I am trespassing upon your patience greatly beyond the little hour permitted by custom to the lecturer, it is fortunate that but one subject remains on which I desire to offer a few observations. That subject is our Parliamentary constitution. I wish, and so I am sure do you, to see that constitution work harmoniously and usefully for the public interests. It may have been an oversight in the framers of our Constitution to make no provision for the possibility of a dead-lock between the two Houses. But the absence of this provision entails on both Chambers an additional necessity for mutual forbearance, and a mutual endeavour to conciliate opposition. And as Victoria must now depend, entirely on herself for whatever of political truth or wisdom there may be in her future policy, I am sure that the honourable gentlemen of the Council will allow me to assume that they are not behind any of us in their desire to advance the interests of a country which as our great Intercolonial Exhibition now shows us, has at immediate command, and bounded by our own seas, the profuse and various wealth of tropical and temperate climes. To make such wealth available for millions yet unborn, the works before us seem plain and simple:—General and sound education for the rising generation, and the elevation of their moral character; the facilitating by bold and statesman like land legislation the more rapid settlement of the country; the providing that country with roads, irrigation, and water supply: the wise promotion and encouragement of new industries; the steady subordination of mere sectional interests to the great general interests of the public at large, seem to be plain and peremptory duties lying in our path, and as man does not live by the material alone, I would add the adorning and making attractive to surrounding populations this our capital city of Melbourne; and last, although far from least, the federation of all these Australian colonies, and the consequent economising and consolidation of their resources and strength. On such subjects can there be irreconcilable differences of opinion among reasonable men? On such subjects can there be permanently one body of opinion for the Assembly, another for the Council? I humbly think not. But if there be such difference of opinion it is all important that it should be expressed in both Chambers. As there must be give and take in politics, an Englishman can always bear being denied a thing if sensible and honest reasons only be given for the denial. But no deliberative body in the world—call it by whatsoever exalted title you may—can command respect save by the intellectual manifestation of the power it exercises. We are often told-and it is a very trite truth after all—that political power, uncontrolled by conscience and unguided by knowledge, is a terrible power for evil. But all history shows—and our common human nature approves it—that such power is quite as dangerous in the hands of the rich as in the hands of the poor; in the hands of the prosperous few, as in the hands of the struggling many. Therefore, all political power, aristocratic or democratic, most justify itself to the critical intellect of the governed, or it will page 20 cease to be power. When the Council checks hasty legislation, it must do so as if really understanding its work; it must not do so in still greater haste and in solemn silence, as we drink to the memory of departed friends. I am aware that Mr. Fellows, in his speech at the opening of the Deaf and Dumb Institution, expressed an opinion that the Council, as well as the Assembly, might improve by still further approximating to the deaf and dumb inmates at Prahran; but I think he does the Council injustice in insinuating that they have too much to say. At any race, one of the most competent, and one of the best informed among Mr. Fellows's own fellow councillors, lately held an opinion opposed to him on this very subject; for only some three years back, the gentleman to whom I refer, read to his fellow legislators the following startling passage, for the edification, I suppose, of the pastoral interest as represented in that House:—"They are all ignorant; all dumb dogs; they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs, which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand. They all look to their own way, every one for his gain from his quarter." Non meus hic sermo. With my critical, and facetious friend (whose lively fancy has perhaps a little exaggerated here), it seems as if ordinary language broke down, under the strong conviction he did groan withal, and nothing short of the nervous words and the strong colours of Isaiah _ sufficed for the portrait. All I can say is, that I should never have been permitted to go to such a source for descriptive materials. But I suppose that in a bishop's registrar is but a choleric word, which in a poor outsider like me would be flat blasphemy. In conclusion, I hope I need hardly say that I have aimed only at one purpose—viz, fair and candid discussion—in the views I have submitted. I do not affect any particular devotion to "this, my adopted country," as the phrase goes—a phrase which is a common form in so many addresses, and which seems to flow mechanically from so many lips. But I think that we are all compelled to take a peculiar interest in a country which, although never to be loved as our own until we can change our nature with our skies, is yet very tenderly regarded as the native country of those who are dearest to us. With his children about him every man is a Conservative, unless he proposes to run away from them. I therefore, by virtue of the hostages I have given to fortune, claim to be as good a Conservative as any one here; but I mean the wise conservatism which can only conserve even the good we have by recognising and discharging the duties which must ever devolve on the first occupants of a new country, and the first founders of a new nation. This distinguishes our position from that of any equal number of people among any of the old populations of the world. For I believe that in the order of Providence, which in its good time raises and depresses dynasties and peoples, the legitimate office of a young land like this is to be the refuge for the weary and the heavy-laden, as well as for the resolute and the self-reliant, who from among the crowded and struggling populations of the Old World may desire to cast in their fortunes with ours. The interests of such a land and the spirit of its legislation are, or ought to be, as large as the interests of humanity itself; and in dealing with them we should do so in the reverent spirit of the old Puritan poet, who, counselling moderation to the antagonist political forces of his day, pleads for the solemn interests and the essential truth and dignity of a human common wealth as paramount to the mere forms of its civil life, in the few grandly simple lines with which, leaving you to apply them, I bid you good night:—"Let not your King and Parliament in one, much less apart, mistake themselves for that which is most worthy to be thought upon, nor think they are essentially the state. Let them not fancy that the authority and privileges upon them bestown, conferred, are to set up a majesty, a power, or a glory of their own! But let them know 'twas for a deeper life, which they but represent—

That there's on earth a yet auguster thing,
Veil'd though it be, than Parliament and King."

[The learned lecturer, who had been frequently applauded during the course of his remarks, which occupied in their delivery nearly two hours and a half, eat down amidst loud and long-continued cheering.]

Colonel Anderson rose to propose a vote of thanks to the lecturer, for the great intellectual treat which he had given the audience. This duty had been confided to IBM, he presumed, as being the representative of the force on behalf of a portion of which—the St. Kilda Artillery-the lecture had been delivered. The members of this body, he was certain, must be highly gratified with what they had heard that evening.

Captain Sargood seconded the motion, and on behalf of the St. Kilda Artillery, thanked Mr. Michie for his lecture.

Mr. Michie briefly returned thanks; and the proceedings closed with vote of thanked to the mayor for presiding.

Wilson and Macklnnon, Printers, Collins Street East, Melbourne.