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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

Australasia: A Vindication

Australasia: A Vindication.

For some time past sporadic attacks have been made by irresponsible English writers upon the credit and fair fame of the Australasian Colonies. In September last an epidemic of these page 76 burst out, and the pages of the Nineteenth Century, the Fortnightly, and the Contemporary contained atrabilious and unwarrantable onslaughts upon Australasian manners, morals, and money.

I do not think that the people of Australasia are more disposed to regard themselves as immaculate than any other community. I believe that they would, as readily as any, appreciate, and possibly act upon, honest criticism directed against their faults and shortcomings. But, for such diatribes as I have it in mind to answer, the bulk of the Australasians feel only a supreme contempt. They wound none but those who are most enthusiastic in maintaining the connection with the Mother Country, and who are stung not so much by the blow struck at their Colonies as by the fact that a brother Englishman has dealt that blow.

It is irrational to suppose that these attacks will permanently have the effect (obviously designed in some instances) of damaging the credit of the Colonies assailed. Those who have financial dealings with Australasia have surer guides in this regard than the Hon. J. W. Fortescue, and will doubtless found their opinions upon assured data rather than upon facts and figures distorted out of recognition or drawn from the inner consciousness of some acrid reviewer. I can hardly believe that the jaundiced testimony of these bilious critics will, in the long run, outweigh the evidence of able and unbiassed writers such as Sir Charles Dilke. But, as the first effect of all this misrepresentation may have been of a damaging character, I venture to contribute my mite of vindication by way of emphasizing the fact, already pointed out by Mr. Howard Willoughby and others, that it is no true presentment of the Colonies pretended to be described.

It will still remain open to a discriminating public to judge between us, and I shall, I hope, have shown that, at all events, some of the allegations to which I take exception are without foundation, and several inferences drawn from facts preposterous.

Lord Jersey, the Governor of New South Wales, who may be supposed to be free from any peculiarly Colonial bias, and who is certainly in a position to form an opinion as to the value of these latter-day criticisms, is reported in the Times' telegraphic summary of September 16 as follows:—

A great deal has been written lately about Australia—in fact, it would seem as if Australia had become the happy hunting-ground of the scribbling globe-trotter. When I open my morning paper I almost expect to read that some now volunteer has opened fire. It is said that there is in Australia too much borrowing, too much drinking, too much page 77 swearing, and so along the whole gamut of vices, till one wonders whether there is any room left for virtues in what is a British race. Misrepresentation has become one of the fine arts of the present day in all parts of the world. People are obliged to accustom themselves to an unexpected, untrue, and perhaps annoying rendering of what they do and say. I suppose it is one of the penalties of civilisation. Still, as we in Australia do not admit that the mosquito is a fair representation of this sunny climate, or that it constitutes one of its chief charms, so we will not take mosquito critics as true representatives of what they think of us in England, or as types of those accomplished writers who, in every age, have helped to teach and to elevate mankind. Most of the charges are so vulgar as not to be worthy of notice, and I feel that on the more practical ones I need say but little. Nothing but sheer folly can nullify the splendid resources of this Colony; and why should we imagine that an educated and intelligent race should ever be guilty of such folly? No doubt there has been a deal of borrowing in the past, and there will probably be more in the future. Our credit will not be impaired as long as the money is well spent and the investor is not alarmed by wild schemes or ill-considered legislation. The investor has a soul above party politics, but is keenly sensitive to schemes which affect his capital or threaten to diminish his interest. Neither is it solely a question of public loans. Investment of private capital in land or industries is essential if development is to be continued. Everyone, therefore, in the Colony is vitally interested in its credit and its honour. It must be remembered, also, that Australians form part of a mighty empire, and they naturally share the characteristics of the race to which they belong.

I do not know that Lord Jersey included Mr. Fortescue in the category of "globe-trotters." Possibly not, for Mr. Fortescue has lived four years, and enjoyed some official experience, in New Zealand. But it may be the case that Mr. Fortescue was a disappointed colonist. Reading between the lines, a critic as daringly vague as himself might hazard the guess that he was one of the "good men" of whom he speaks as having been "turned away" when New Zealand establishments were reduced during the retrenchment period, 1887-90. And if we may assume that he was disappointed, whether in the general or particular sense, we at once find an explanation, which must be otherwise wanting, for the acerbity of his writing—for no one is so severe and unreasonable in his strictures upon the Colonies as the man who has attempted in vain to make a career in them.

And in his "Guileless Australia" (Nineteenth Century, September, 1891) we find him radiant with delight because his previous paper, "The Seamy Side of Australia" (Nineteenth Century, April, 1891), had been taken notice of by the investing class. He had page 78 been successful! If lie had not permanently injured the credit of Australia, he had, at all events, caused some measure of anxiety and loss to the holders of Australian securities. He had succeeded beyond his anticipation, and was surprised and jubilant accordingly.

There was, indeed, good reason for this astonishment. How could Mr. Fortescue have expected that the investing class would have been so moved by his flimsy charges, made up of innuendo, vague generalities, false inductions, and a ridiculously small array of not very significant facts? Mr. Fortescue's "Seamy Side of Australia" was very much a réchauffé of Mr. Charles Fairfield. His "Guileless Australia" is a rehash of Mr. Fairfield-cum-Fortescue. It is a case of the World, the Elephant, and the Tortoise—Mr. Fortescue founded upon Mr. Fairfield: Mr. Fairfield founded upon——anything but undiluted fact.

With the very scantiest supply of solid material Mr. Fortescue has sought to establish some very astounding points against Australia. He does not in plain terms allege all these as parts of his indictment. As to one or two, he "just hints a fault." But his arguments (if they may be dignified by that term) are directed to prove them all, and they are, roughly speaking, as follows:—(1) That the resources and value of the Crown estate of Australia have been absurdly overrated; (2) that the Colonies are hovering on the brink of insolvency; (3) that the public finances are misrepresented by deliberately cooked accounts; (4) that public works said to be reproductive do not give the return alleged, or any return whatever; (5) that the general administration is defective and calculated to shake the confidence of English investors; and (6) that repudiation may in the time to come very possibly be Australia's method of adjusting her finances.

Now, as Mr. Fortescue might say, honest criticism connotes a knowledge of facts dealt with; the capacity and inclination to deduce the right conclusions from these, and, where statistics are employed, the ability to grasp all the qualifications and special conditions that affect each group of figures. More than all, there should be an absolute absence of prejudice. The critic who approaches his subject with a bias in his mind will give but a warped judgment. From the obvious rancour shown by some of Australia's critics (not excepting Mr. Fortescue), I conclude that they are lacking in the last qualification, and, judging them by their works, they may certainly be regarded as wanting in the others. Unquestionably, some of Mr. Fortescue's statements are true page 79 enough: I do not deny that. My complaint is that he will not leave the truth ungarbled—that, starting with premises that are correct, as far as they go, he erects upon the foundation they provide a superstructure that is utterly false—that, whether from a desire to show that all is evil, or from inability to deal with the issues before him, he tortures the truth into a half-truth, or out of all resemblance to truth whatever.

Let us examine the numerous counts of Mr. Fortescue's indictment and see what sort of case he makes out for them.

His "Seamy Side of Australia" was commenced with a sneer at the "cant phrases,' marvellous progress,' 'indomitable energy,' 'admirable enlightenment,' 'unequalled prosperity,' 'boundless resources,' 'magnificent future,' and so forth." In the same paper he said, "I maintain that Australian prosperity is artificial and the outcome of unlimited credit." And throughout this paper and its sequel, "Guileless Australia," the changes are rung upon the themes that the prosperity of Australia is as fictitious as the surpluses of the Colonial Treasurers, and her resources mythical. Much of this is inferred rather than stated none is more than vague assertion; no attempt is made to demonstrate what is alleged by solid .argument and trustworthy statistics.

It is true that he admits in his first paper that the resources of Australia far outweigh her debts. But, having made this admission, he immediately proceeds to discount it. "I would ask," he says, "how these resources are being developed." He then inquires how it is that one-third of the people are concentrated in the towns, and, not having Mr. Fairfield at hand, answers himself out of the mouth of an English emissary of the Self-Help Emigration Society, and finds in the reply "the secret of all the waste, folly, and extravagance now rampant in Australia."

Here we have as good an example as could be desired of Mr. Fortescue's method. We have in this an instance of his painful blindness to the proportions of things; of his habit of mistaking sound and fury for argument; of his proneness to believe that the gravest charge needs proof of no sort beyond his bare averment.

The charge here is that all—not a part, but all—the waste, folly, and extravagance now rampant in Australia arise out of one phase of the working-man question. The one witness (no documents being produced) to substantiate this is an emissary of the Self-Help Emigration Society. The thing which is the secret of so much more than might have been expected of it is thus described by the solitary witness:— page 80

Colonial working men have been so largely employed by Government upon public works that their habit is to demand such work directly other employment is slack, and to insist upon having it in the great cities, where they prefer to live, even when employers up the country are looking in vain for men. We saw the unemployed in Sydney marching about by hundreds, apparently well fed and well clothed, demanding of the Government 6s. a day without piece-work, because to offer less would be, as they termed it, "a degradation of labour in New South Wales," and many of them declining it because, when provided, it was a few miles up the country. This aspect of Colonial life deserves careful observation.

This evidence (?) satisfied Mr. Fortescue—evidence given by a man who only had such experience of Australian life as came of a hurried tour through the Colonies—evidence, moreover, which is wholly inconclusive as well as one-sided (so, perhaps, specially recommending itself to Mr. Fortescue), in that it tells us what the working man demanded and what he would not accept from the Government, but not a word as to what the Government gave. And it is a fact commonly known in Australia that on many occasions when the unemployed have asked for work the Governments have either declined to give it, or have given it only upon terms favourable to the public interests. But Mr. Fortescue is satisfied, and proceeds to say "the politicians supply the working men with the required work (at abnormal wages) at the expense of the British capitalist, and the labour unions utilise the Government wage-rate as the standard for its members." O, British Capitalist, what follies are uttered in thy name!

The Australian working man (who is very commonly a householder, a bank-depositor, and a man with a stake in the country) is seemingly the bugbear of Mr. Fortescue. He it is who prevents the resources of the Colonies from being developed; who is at the bottom of all the waste, folly, and extravagance that make these resources of no account; who is an eccentric nomad—a very butterfly of labour—according to Mr. Fortescue, who tells us that the typical working man "flits from loan to loan;" by which I understand him to mean that this typical creature moves ever towards that Colony which has floated the latest loan—not, as the words mply, that he flies from one pawnbroker to another to borrow money on his own account.

But it is against the working men of the towns—the one-third—that Mr. Fortescue looses his shaft. The other two-thirds—the labourers of the country—he tells us, toil that the townspeople may play. 1s it to be credited that these two-thirds have no voice, no page 81 representation in public affairs, to protect the resources of the Colonies and conserve the best interests of the community? There seems to me to be an ellipsis in the critic's reasoning: and I think it would bother him to explain how the typical working man, who will not leave the large towns for work, is to flit from loan to loan, seeing that works constructed out of loans are, for the most part, railways, roads, &c., in the country.

I fancy he has been misled by the indubitable fact that the mining population of Australia is a migratory one. The typical Australian miner is apt to go to the scene of the last "rush "in gold or silver. So has he gone in the past to the diggings of Ballarat and Sandhurst, and the Thames River in New Zealand. So is he going now to the newly-developed silver mines of Tasmania. A good show of tin or copper will draw him. But, if a married man, he is slow to change his Colony. He has his home in some part of Australasia: there his family remain while he engages in the pursuit of mineral wealth, and to that home he returns, unless very substantial inducements are offered to him to make his domicile elsewhere.

Upon this point I can speak from my experience as Minister of Railways and Mines in Tasmania. In that capacity I have seen public works delayed because labourers from other Colonies would not be attracted by the offer of employment at good wages. Those labourers would not flit to the scene of loan expenditure. But men have poured into the Colony by thousands to work in the silver-fields of Mts. Zeehan and Dundas, albeit there was no loan money to be expended upon them and no employment given by the Government.

Mr. Fortescue discounts Australia's resources in another way:

The Australians are prepared [he says], not to say determined, to leave a vast extent of their territory untouched and unprofitable sooner than admit another race that can turn it to account; in other words, to cancel a considerable portion of the assets on the security of which they have borrowed, and are borrowing, millions of money.

Let me say at once that I do not altogether disagree with the views he has expressed upon the question of coloured labour. Although I, in common with the majority of Tasmanians, consider it essential that the evils inseparable from the domestication of large numbers of Chinese amidst a British people should be as far as possible minimised, I think the extreme measures adopted at the Sydney Conference of 1887 were certainly not justified by then existing circumstances, and would be difficult to justify by any circumstances. And it stands on record that the Premier of Tasmania, page 82 as a member of that Conference, lodged his protest against these more severe measures; while, if I remember rightly, the representative of Western Australia declined to vote for them.

There are, however, other coloured races besides the Chinese by whom the northern portion of Australia might be cultivated. I cannot see the difficulty that Mr. Fortescue does in regard to the employment of Indian coolies in the sugar-cane fields of Northern Queensland. There are also the Pacific Islanders; and there are the aborigines, who may be sufficiently civilised in the course of time to take to husbandry. I have little doubt that, when experience and local exigencies shall have taught their lesson, if that lesson be that field-labour is impossible to the European, the cry against coloured labour in those tropical regions will be hushed.

But Mr. Fortescue overstates his case. He assumes that Europeans cannot work in Northern Queensland in any outdoor pursuit—and this is assuming too much. Miners find it practicable to live and labour in the Cairns and Herberton and other northern localities; they are to be found thereaway in considerable numbers: and the resources of that portion of Australia are, as far as minerals are concerned, being developed—witness that marvel of gold mines, Mt. Morgan. And Europeans are now working in small numbers in the sugar industry, while the planters are, as an experiment, importing Italian labourers, who will, it is hoped, be able to do field-work in the north with perfect safety.

Neither is the case as regards coloured labour on the sugar plantations fairly put. There is no allusion to the fact that the prohibition of Kanaka labour has not yet come into operation, although the issue of new licences to import Pacific Islanders ceased on December 31, 1890.

There is no need to fear that Queensland will neglect her resources in this direction, or that South Australia will leave her northern territory undeveloped, and so the occasion for cancelling Australian assets ceases to present itself.

Mr. Fortescue cannot tolerate the mention of those resources—"those blessed words, 'boundless resources,'" as he playfully remarks. He also toys in a like frisky manner with the realised private wealth of Australia. He says:

I have before me the Budget statement of that worthy but incoherent financier Mr. McMillan for 1890. It consists of a rhapsody, over some impossible statistics as to the so-called "realised" private wealth of the Colony (omitting, of course, some £60,000,000 worth of registered mortgages).

page 83

Here is another instance of that peculiar method to which I take exception. I can imagine Mr. McMillan chuckling at the impossible application of his statistics by his critic, and the assumption that a property on becoming mortgaged ceases to exist. Mr. Fortescue does not condescend to examine Mr. McMillan's statistics or give any proof of their impossibility. He does not tell us to what extent they are affected by the omission of his sixty millions. He does not pretend to show that these sixty millions have been twice exhibited as assets; and it is only in the improbable event of their having been credited to both mortgagor and mortgagee, or that they may not legitimately be credited to cither, that there is any sort of force in his contention. All is vague as it is wild—two or three sneers and an obiter dictum—and yet he tells us that the investing public give ear to him!

What Australian resources are, the evidence of Australian progress shows clearly enough. I say nothing of the many millions of acres of unalienated land—agricultural, pastoral, and mineral—which yet await settlement and exploitation, and which are indubitably assets more than sufficient to cover the whole sum of Australian indebtedness. I will not refer here to the assets in permanent works, directly and indirectly reproductive. I will endeavour to show rather, but briefly, what has been the economic development of such resources as have been operated upon by the people.

Exports and imports, with an aggregate value of £94,742,703 in 1878, rose to £122,862,355 in 1888; exports in the latter year being £57,605,474, against imports £65,256,881. The average of exports per head for Australia in 1888 was £15 18s. 10d., against £719s. 1d. for the United Kingdom and £3 14s. 5d. for Canada. In 1889 exports and imports increased to £131,749,505.

But let me show an example of fairness to our hostile critics and point out that, for purposes of comparison, the Australasian intercolonial trade should be deducted from this total. This gives us £40,481,672 as the imports of 1889, £35,902,379 as the exports, £76,384,051 as the total; and favourable comparison is still possible.

Bank deposits in Australasia on March 31, 1890, amounted to £108,278,943, and savings-bank deposits to £15,482,770, giving total deposits of £123,701,713 (more than two-thirds of the total debt), and the average deposit amount to the credit of each depositor in the savings banks of Australia is £25 7s. 4d., against £18 7s., the English average.

The public revenue of Australasia increased from £20,607,308 page 84 in 1880-81 to £28,626,889 in 1888-89—that is, by £8,019,581, while the interest payable upon the total debt of 1888-89 was £7,084,041. And the revenue continues to increase. Mr. Fortescue's contention that the population does not increase in the same ratio as the debt, does not concern the investing class if the increase in the general wealth be in that ratio and the means be available for meeting liabilities: and his argument that the debt increases relatively to the multiple of the revenue never had much force, and seems now in" Guileless Australia," to have been dropped. I suppose that the most prejudiced critic of Australasian affairs, assuming that he knows anything about them, will admit that other charges of administration do not increase relatively to the increase in interest on loans, and that the revenue which, without undue strain upon the taxpayer, provides in eight years an increase more than sufficient to pay the whole amount of interest duo on the loan account, is sufficient.

I would add that a stronger ease can be made out if we compare the revenue of 1873, £12,200,000, with that of 1888, £28,626,889—the increase during that period being £16,364,889, or 133 per cent., while population increased from 2,103,000 to 3,678,000, or by 75 per cent.

It is true in part, as is alleged, that taxation has increased. Taxation has increased in every Colony of Australasia, except New Zealand and Tasmania, during the period 1880 to 1888. In Victoria, from £2 6s. 7d. to £3 9s. 1d. per head. In New South Wales, from £2 6s. 5d, to £2 10s. 5d. In Queensland, from £3 1s. 2d. to £4 3s. 8d. In South Australia, from £1 18s. 7d. to £2 6s. 6d., and in Western Australia, where taxation per head was highest and debt per head lowest, from £3 13s. 7d. to £4 5s. 1d. It is true also that in all the Colonies taxation per head is higher than in the United Kingdom. But it should be borne in mind that the Australasian taxpayer receives a very considerable equivalent in the form of low railway fares and freights, and also in improved trade facilities, through roads, harbours, &c., for which he is willing to pay thus indirectly, and it is only a matter of account whether he contributes to the revenue in this manner or by heavier payments for railway accommodation.

As an illustration of the people's willingness to pay for value received in this way, I may quote my experience as M.H.A. for West Devon in Tasmania. The maximum road rate imposed by law was 1s. in the pound. Very many of my constituents were willing to have that maximum raised to 2s. 6d.

page 85

The improvement in value of the private estate of Australasia, largely due to the expenditure of loan moneys upon public works, is a good index of the growing wealth of those Colonies—e.g. the value of rateable property in Victoria increased from £69,221,039 in 1874 to £187,558,511 in 1889, or by £118,336,872, i.e. the increase was equal to about three times the debt of that Colony. And this estimate was made for purposes of taxation be it remembered, and, if it erred, would have erred on the side of moderation.

The total private wealth of Australasia is estimated by the Government statist of New South Wales at £1,129,000,000, or £300 per head of population. Dr. Giffen, in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society for March, 1890, estimates the wealth of the United Kingdom for 1890 (including public and private wealth) at £10,000,000,000, or £270 per head.

Now exception may be taken to the method by which the Government statists of New South Wales and Victoria arrive at their average of private wealth. They take for a series of years the deaths recorded, and the values of the estates of those deceased, and obtain an average for the whole population. But this rough-and-ready system takes no account of the fact that the average age of the survivors may be different from that of those dying in a given period. I only mention this by way of proving that I want to argue my case out fairly; but if, accepting this objection, we discard the figure of £300 per head as too high, we ought still, in fairness, to substitute another figure not very much lower, and that would probably be not far short of, and, perhaps, in excess of, Dr. Giffen's rate for England—£270.

But I will endeavour to illustrate in a more striking manner what Australasian resources and capacity are. I will take one only of her industries as an example, and very few words are required to present my ease. The capital invested in sheep-farming alone is computed at £'300,000,000, or 50 per cent, more than the national debt of all Australasia. The last wool-clip (the destination of most of which is England) is valued at £20,000,000, or over 2?, times the amount of interest which Australasia has to pay on her loan account.

Do not these facts justify Australasia in a belief in her resources? Should they not satisfy the British creditor that the assets which constitute only a portion of his security are increasing in value? Should they not refute the covert statement of Mr. Fortescue that Australia is on the brink of bankruptcy, or Mr. David Christie Murray's crude remarks about Australian insolvency?

Mr. Christie Murray has been dubbed a "globe-trotter," and been page 86 hurt by his characterisation as such. How does the case stand with him? He "did" Australia, that requires years of study, in a few months. In an unhappy hour he came across Mr. Hayter's statistics, saw "copy" in them, and has floundered from one statistical pitfall to another whenever he has attempted to apply them.

In his "Antipodeans" (the Contemporary, September, 1891) he generalises about Australia thus:

There is no country in which so high a condition of general comfort, so lofty a standard of proved intelligence, and such large and varied means to intellectual excellence exist side by side with so much turbulence, so lax a commercial morality, and such overcharged statistics of drunkenness and crimes of violence.

But, animated by misplaced confidence in those statistics, he will not stop at generalities, as does the more cautious Mr. Fortescue. Not satisfied with dealing this vague blow at Australian commercial morality—as to which his very brief experience can have given him little or no information—he tells us of the terrible proneness of Australia to insolvency:

Everybody is in a hurry to be rich [he says]. In 1888 there was an insolvency to every 1,500 of the population of Australia, including Tasmania and New Zealand. Even in the disastrous 1879 we could only show half that in the United Kingdom, and the normal average is less han a quarter of the Colonial record.

Here we have a comparison made between two wholly incongruous groups of figures. In the first place, no account is taken of the fact that, while in the United Kingdom there are thousands who are independent of trade fluctuations, and millions who are beneath insolvency, inasmuch as they have never known any other condition, in Australasia nearly everybody is largely dependent upon mutations in prosperity, and possessed of sufficient means to make it worth the while of creditors to proceed against him. In the classification of occupation of insolvents in Victoria for 1888 we find the largest entry against farmers (62), and the next largest against labourers (57); artizans and people of the artizan grade contribute very largely to the return, while merchants account for four only.

But, apart from this, comparison is impossible by reason of the change which took place in the Bankruptcy Act of the United Kingdom in 1883, and because large companies and syndicates in England have saved the majority of practical insolvencies from the declared list. Since 1883 the official figures in England have been page 87 compiled on an entirely different basis from those of 1879, the official record of insolvencies being much smaller than the real record (see "Inspector-General's Report for 1891").

The only way to show the solvency or otherwise of Australasia is to piece the economic statistics for all the Colonies together, as Dr. Giffen did for Ireland (in the Nineteenth Century, March, 1886), and then judge fairly what burden the group can bear. I have only-given some leading points that seem to corroborate the opinion that Australasia would bear this test creditably.

Now as to Mr. Fortescue's charges against the administration of Australian finances—the bogus surpluses, the false balance-sheets, and the fictitious returns that he speaks of as proofs that the Australians have the integrity of the British race. I am sorry that the British integrity is not of a higher order. I think I can show that the Australian standard is.

Mr. Fairfield (see "A Plea for Liberty") is the parent or foster-parent of these charges. In the "Seamy Side of Australia" he was quoted as follows:

It was subsequently admitted by Ministers (Victoria) that the surpluses of that (1888-89) and of previous years had been mainly arrived at by the strange but time-honoured bookkeeping expedient of crediting the revenue with all moneys received during the financial year, and carrying certain expenditure or debits to futurity.

In his later paper Mr. Fortescue attempts to fortify his indictment by the following secondary evidence. He says:

Again, during the general election in New South Wales, a few weeks ago, it was clearly proved that an item, £200,000, being the price of a sale of Government land, had, quite innocently, been allowed to figure on the credit side of the Consolidated Revenue Account, although the sale had never taken place and the money had never been received. A judicious telegram in reference to the matter was sent to London from Sydney, and the whole affair was hushed up. How wide is the range of Australian simplicity!

Then, from that repository of misleading statements, Mr. Fairfield, he gleans: (1) That for years past (in Victoria) large sums had been expended without the sanction of Parliament, improperly withdrawn from the debit side of the public accounts and carried forward for subsequent adjustment; and (2) that the Treasurer was authorised by Parliament to raise loans of £5,600,000 in all, in order to " square his accounts."

And then he favours us with a master-stroke of his own, which runs thus: page 88

The Victorian Treasurer is accustomed to make himself a present, in his loan account statement, of six months' interest; and Victorian Treasurers, so far as I can gather, have been for some years trying to "jump over their financial shadow" in this simple way.

There is an unusual amount of timidity about the "so far as I can gather," and one might well be excused for wishing that he had added, "and so far as I can understand," for, whether by accident or design, there is much of this which is rudis indigestaque moles, and none of it which fairly presents the case dealt with.

First, for the New South Wales item, as to which we find Mr. Fortescue lending a credulous ear to the Opposition witness, and making a misstatement that appears absolutely inexcusable. It was cried out from the housetops of Sydney by the Parliamentary Opposition that the Treasurer had improperly estimated as an asset £200,000, the value of certain Crown land, which was, and is, available as an asset of that or greater value. This land is part of the new Centennial Park, and the Treasurer prudently refrained from realising upon it, because, owing to the improvement effected by this beautiful park, the value was certain to increase. There was no concealment about this—no shadow of attempt to mislead. The insinuation that the Treasurer sought, or had occasion, to impose upon anybody in regard to it is uncalled for. The assertion (unreservedly made) that a judicious telegram was sent to hush this up is a ridiculous figment of the writer's imagination. The thing was not of a nature to be hushed up. The only person to whom such a telegram could have been sent was the Agent-General, and I have the assurance of that gentleman that he never received any telegram of the sort.

Mr. Howard Willoughby (Nineteenth Century, August, 1891) has ably and sufficiently explained away the charges against Victorian Treasurers. Unfortunately Mr. Fortescue does not appear capable of discriminating between loans expenditure and expenditure from current revenue, or, if he himself comprehends the difference, he does not wish his readers to do so. His case against the Treasurer for obtaining Parliamentary sanction for a loan of £5,000,000 to square his accounts is absurdly and unfairly put. The Treasurer did not ask for this authority to square his ordinary expenditure with the revenue, hut to raise money for the cost of public works already sanctioned and chargeable to the loan account. Every Treasurer in Australasia does the same—all the world is at liberty to know it; and it would puzzle the ingenuity of Mr. Fortescue to find any other and better system by which it could be done. The charge that large page 89 sums have been expended out of revenue without the sanction of Parliament, and improperly withdrawn from the debit side of the public account, is put as unfairly as it could be. This, as Mr. Willoughby points out, is railway expenditure, controlled by a commission that is largely independent of Ministries and Parliament: the expenditure is not unauthorised by Parliament except in as far as it exceeds the amount voted, and no part of it is "withdrawn" from the debit account, although, owing to delay in making out the annual statements of receipts and disbursements, some expenditure has not been shown in the year wherein it was incurred. This was the explanation of the inflated surplus of one year; but surely Mr. Willoughby is correct in saying that, "if the surplus from one year was inflated, so was the expenditure of the next, and the two inflations killed each other."

But Mr. Fortescue is imbued with the strange idea that, for the Victorian or Australian Treasurer, there is neither a day of reckoning nor a critical Opposition ready at any moment to point out crucial errors in finance or any administrative sin calculated to damage the credit of the Government. He seems to think that the debit carried forward is expunged from the ledger, and this peculiar idea is admirably illustrated by his allegation that the Victorian Treasurer is accustomed to make himself a present in his loan account statement of six months' interest—i.e. if there be anything in the word "accustomed," he pays interest for six months of every twelve, and carries on the balance to the Greek Kalends.

What are the facts? The Victorian Treasurer, and other Treasurers of Australasia hold, or held, that interest is payable when it falls due, and should be debited to that year in which the duo date of the payment occurs. So, if interest fell due on January 1, having accrued during the preceding six months, it would, where the financial year ends on December 81, appear as expenditure of the year in which it was paid, and not in the year during which it accrued. But whether that practice be absolutely correct or not, the Treasurer can only "jump over his shadow" once for each loan, and thereafter he must find himself paying and duly charging to each annual account twelve months' interest; and throughout Mr. Fortescue ignores the fact, if he be cognisant of it, that there is a rigid scrutiny of Australasian public accounts by an Auditor-General (in Victoria, and in South Australia, two Commissioners of Audit), who, absolutely independent of Ministers, is the servant of Parliament, and can only be removed by a joint vote of the two Houses.

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Upon such fallacies and casuistries as these is it sought to base charges eminently damaging to Australia. Let the British investor, for whom such tender care is expressed, only examine the case for himself, and see how flimsy and unsupported it is.

Australian public works are unremunerative Mr. Fortescue tells us. Quoting Mr. Fairfield again, he says:

He (Mr. Fairfield) infers from this that "public works constructed on State Socialistic principles never do become productive." I should prefer to state, more modestly, that Australian public works have so far shown small signs of being productive. So far then as regards the actual investment of the Australian loans, the outlook for the British capitalist does not seem very bright.

He states that the Railway Commissioners of Victoria were instructed to efface surplus railway revenue by reducing freights and fares—a misleading assertion, in that, if any instructions of the kind were issued, they must have applied only to the surplus after deducting all charges, including interest on loans expended in construction, for we find that for the period referred to Victorian railways, like those of New South Wales, paid over 8 per cent, upon loan moneys expended upon them.

But, says Mr. Fortescue, your returns from Victorian railways are fictitious, because you do not reckon in the cost of construction £3,000,000 granted free of interest to the railway system of the Colony. I can quite appreciate his failure to see the weakness of this argument; for has he not held up New Zealand as a model to Australia because £10,000,000 of her national debt were incurred for war expenditure? He evidently thinks that war is a better investment for the British capitalist than lasting public works which benefit mankind: and how shall he understand what Victoria has done by her free gift of £3,000,000 out of revenue to her railways? Victoria, in this instance, has practically refunded to her taxpayers £8,000,000 which she might have wasted or held to swell successive surpluses; she has strengthened the security upon which her creditors depend, and to all intents and purposes has made those millions a sinking fund for the liquidation pro tanto of her debt.

But Mr. Fortescue is in the densest of fogs upon this railway question. He cannot understand Mr. Willoughby's argument that while interest is regularly paid on Victorian loans the creditors are not affected whether Victorian railways are managed for the benefit of those that use them or otherwise. I will add to his bewilderment by quoting the opinion of one of the foremost authorities page 91 upon trade and railway statistics in the world. He, in reference to Mr. Fortescue's papers, says:

The charges are not intelligible. The points are too small. For instance, the railways are said not to pay a rate of interest equal to what the Australian Government has to pay for its loans. But the difference is ½ or 1 per cent, only at most, and this means that Australia has £7,000,000 of interest to pay, or thereabouts, and the railways only earn about £5,000,000. What if the statement were true? The railways might still be a good investment. The Government of India was in a like position for many years, and did not come out badly. The Russian Government is in a like fix. The thing is incidental to railways in a new country, and does not mean anything bad at all. It might be worth the while of Australians to have a deficit of £2,000,000 a year pro tem, on the public railway account for the sake of the incidental advantages.

This heavy armament should silence the popguns of Mr. Fortescue's battery.

But I may add a word to carry the above argument to its logical conclusion. Not only may it pay a country to work a railway system which produces directly less than the annual cost, it may, and does pay in Australia to construct works which give no direct return at all. Take, for example, a road made by the State into new agricultural country, and, after construction, maintained by local authorities out of rates. That road, costing, say, £800 per mile, will induce settlement to the extent of 1,280 acres at least per mile, or eight farms of 150 acres each. Those farms will be peopled by some forty persons, who will contribute to the revenue in taxation at least £100 a year, or 12½ per cent, upon the cost of the mile of road. There would be other indirect contributions to the national wealth; but direct return, in the absence of toll-bars, there would be none. This has been proved in regard to roads, and may be shown hereafter in regard to irrigation expenditure, which, so far, is only of a tentative character.

As to the future of irrigation as a reproductive agency, what has been done at the Australian Irrigation Colonies, Mildura and Renmark, justifies a very much less pessimistic view than Mr. Fortescue's. The Bishop of Ballarat, who recently visited these new fields of industry, pronounced the progress made amazing. From these Colonies raisins of excellent quality have already been sent to this country, and consignments of oranges, lemons, apricots, and other fruits, together with wine, olive oil, and other products, are, in due course, to follow. It seems somewhat premature, then, to speak of Victorian expenditure upon irrigation as waste.

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But Mr. Fortescue does not rest satisfied with his sneer at Australian resources: he is exceedingly dubious as to the soundness of the administration of such resources as exist. He tells us:

Those blessed words "boundless resources" have cost the British investor countless millions. That foolish and confiding person listened for years to similar pleas and representations from the Argentine borrower. I do not compare Australian with Argentine borrowing, but I contend that, in the case of all countries that pawn their future with the British investor, the question is not one of natural resources alone. There is also the question of the development of those resources; the question of administration and of management, &c.

Only remarking, by the way, that Mr. Fortescue does compare Australian and Argentine borrowing, notwithstanding his denial, and that, by implication, he says that Australia's boundless resources have lost to the British investors countless millions. I proceed to quote another passage of his:

The Labour Party is supreme throughout the Australasian Colonies, and there can be no hope of sound administration while that supremacy lasts. The question that remains is: Will that supremacy be overthrown before it meets its natural death in bankruptcy?

Fortunately for Australasia, her critics very freely contradict each other, and not infrequently contradict themselves. Thus, while Mr. Christie Murray says that the Antipodean Press is entitled to rank amongst the best and ablest in the world, and that the journals of Melbourne and Sydney are models of what newspapers ought to be, Mr. Francis Adams informs us that "the Bulletin is the one really talented and original outcome of the Australian Press," which is very much as if we said of the Press of London that Modern Society is its one valuable product. But we must make allowances for Mr. Adams's peculiar appreciation of the Bulletin—he was a writer for it.

And we find Mr. Adams entertaining widely different views from those expressed by Mr. Fortescue about the power of the people. Not that Mr. Adams has much, if anything, good to say of the People (with a big P); perhaps he loves them all the more because, according to him, they are so bad. He has certainly libelled them without stint. He describes them as having the taint of cruelty; as feeling the murderous desire to shoot or stab, rather than to spar up and strike with the fist; as pure Positivists and Materialists; as of loose habits in conjugal matters, and much else that is equally untrue. But yet these erring creatures of the masses are dear to his heart. It is page 93 against the well-to-do and leading men of the Colonies that his rancour is more especially directed—" the little cliques that gather round the Governors" (in which, perhaps, Mr. Adams and the Bulletin were not much cultivated), and "the old slave-owning official families, whose brutality is shown by the administration of hideous and unrepealed statutes;" these come in for the scorpions while the people only receive the lash of his whip.

I confess I do not know what Mr. Adams means by "the old slave-owning official families;" but this writer is frequently too profound for me. I do not understand the sense in which Hobart can be described as a pendant of Melbourne, although Mr. Adams thus describes it, and, I suppose, has some idea why he does so; and when I read the opening paragraph—the argument—of "Social Life in Australia," I fancied another Captain Cuttle was uttering one of his nebulous proverbs, and that a phantom Bunsby had thrown light upon the question in hand by the epigram, "The bearings of this observation lays in the application of it."

"The administration of hideous and unrepealed statutes," I understand to refer to the application during the critical time of the last Australian strike of an Act of George IV. directed against conspiracy; and, if so, those who love good order should applaud the employment of this measure. The offence which is charged against the mythical class of slave-owners is, in fact, none. There might have been cause for censure if repealed statutes had been administered, but Mr. Adams takes pains to tell us that the statutes were unrepealed.

Mr. Fortescue, at all events, should applaud this thing which Mr. Adams reviled. He should recognise in the strong and successful action taken by the Governments of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria against a turbulent minority that endangered the trade, the social security, and the general well-being of those Colonies, a sufficient guarantee that government "by the people for the people" in Australia is not necessarily misrule.

It is no new thing that the votes of the men of labour control Australasian Parliamentary elections. A franchise which is everywhere liberal, and in some Colonies that of manhood suffrage, has put the people as much in power as they can very well be. But that power has been, and will be, I am sure, exercised with moderation and for the general interest. It is true that in the recent general elections of New Zealand and New South Wales several Labour candidates have been returned; but this circumstance is known to be the result of reaction after the great strike, and may page 94 never occur again; and if it should recur, and even larger numbers of Labour candidates be elected, I believe that the government of the Colonies would be in no way impaired thereby.

And now for Mr. Fortescue's suggestion of possible repudiation. Mr. Willoughby has rejected this as "the babble of the bar and cynicism of the club," and urged that the Australians have the integrity of the British race. Mr. Fortescue's comment upon this is that they have proved their integrity by the publication of balance-sheets which are false and returns which are fictitious, and he substantiates his charge by the following proofs:

I have heard Colonial politicians—not, I grant, of the highest stamp-speak, in conversation, of repudiation as within the range of practical politics. "Why," they said in effect, "should the colonists be the slaves of the British capitalist? "

Let me point out further that the recommendation of the Victorian Railway Committee, that freehold land required for future railways shall be virtually confiscated, does not inspire me with confidence as to the impossibility of Australian repudiation.

Then he quotes from a New Zealand paper:

Perhaps no politician of a high class does favour national repudiation: but we have not many politicians of that class. The major part of our politicians are sick for office, and do not permit many scruples to stand in the way of its attainment. Repudiation has been, and is, more than whispered among a certain class of Australian politicians, and the word has been publicly spoken in New Zealand.

And he concludes:

Further, creditors as a class are not popular. Any man of the world, however ignorant of Australian finance, could guess from the furious abuse heaped on the Mother Country by a section—and that no unimportant section—of the Australian Press that Australia is heavily in her debt. In our foolishness we have looked to Australia for the love of a child towards her parent: we find the hatred of the mortgagor towards the mortgagee. We can get no more, and we may get less. Loyalty cannot be bought, but confidence may be betrayed and sold.

Is this convincing? What is the value of this babble of politicians not of the highest stamp, and probably of the lowest? These men will never be the leaders of public opinion or the directors of a people's destiny.

And what is there in that recommendation of the Victorian Railway Commissioners which has inspired Mr. Fortescue with such doubt as to Victorian integrity? He does not say that the recom- page 95 mendation has been adopted; but let that pass. It only amounts to this, that against any compensation duo to the owner for land taken for railway construction there shall be a set-off of the increment of value arising to the estate of such owner out of that railway.

Perhaps Mr. Fortescue will not see the equity of this, his views upon the land question generally being, to put it mildly, anomalous: for we find him saying that "there is eternal tinkering of the land laws on the part of most of the Governments in the direction of land nationalisation, or some scheme of an equally disturbing kind," whereas there has never been any legislation whatever in the direction of land nationalisation in any Colony of Australasia. He has been led away, I suppose, by the graduated land-tax, which, although it may break up large estates and place peasant proprietors or tenants on the land instead of sheep, has no semblance to land nationalisation, and no tendency to reduce the value of land.

Mr. Fortescue says Australians abuse and hate the Mother Country because they owe her money. One might suppose that, if repudiation were contemplated, Australians would bear their obligations with greater equanimity, and that the presence of this resentment indicated their intention to pay. As a fact, there is not the abuse or the hatred, or the idea of repudiation, that is either hinted or affirmed.

Mr. Adams (Fortnightly Review, September, 1891) has discovered from some recondite sources another reason for this alleged dislike of the Mother Country by the youth of Australia, of whom he says: "All he knows or cares for England lies in his resentment and curiosity concerning London." And Mr. Adams on this point is just as much worthy of credence as Mr. Fortescue, neither more nor less.

As to repudiation, has Australasia any such example as might tempt her to follow in this direction? Apart from any sense she may have as to the propriety of paying her debts, is she justified in the belief that repudiation will profit her? The instances of a nation attempting this financial stroke are fewer even than the threats or forebodings of it. In the United States, during the period of the civil war, and when American resentment was greatest against England, there were threats of repudiation openly spoken by "politicians not of the highest stamp;" but these were threats only. Spain and Portugal are, I believe, the only nations that have seriously sought to relieve themselves of their embarrassments in this way, and the consequences to these have been trade ostracism page 96 and exclusion from the great financial centres that are the fountain-heads of commerce.

It is undoubtedly the destiny of the Australasian Commonwealth to become a rich and powerful State or congeries of States. It is, I am sure, the purpose of her people (with the possible exception of Mr. Fortescue's lower-stamp politicians) to be, and remain, faithful to her national obligations. And it is obvious that it is only by honestly meeting her liabilities that she can realise in anything like full measure the brilliant promise of her youth. Australasia may break away from the Mother Country politically; she may hoist the flag of a republic; but she cannot break away from England in her trade relations: she must remain dependent upon the markets of the world—but principally those of Great Britain—in regard to that interchange of commodities whereby, alone, her great resources can be turned to account and her extensive requirements supplied. Her creditors are her best customers, and will remain her customers even when Australasia's debt shall have been paid off.

Mr. Fortescue, determined to push his repudiation theory to its uttermost length, has recently supplemented his arguments (in the Nineteenth Century) by pointing out in a letter to the daily press two instances of repudiation that have already occurred in Australasia: (1) The refusal of South Australia to contribute to the New Guinea Guarantee Fund; (2) the failure of a harbour trust in New Zealand. Both these examples are as forcible-feeble as most of those hitherto employed. What are the facts? South Australia declined to contribute to the fund guaranteed by Queensland for the administration of New Guinea, because she had no concern with, or interest in, that new region, and, moreover, because there was no obligation, legal or moral, upon her to so contribute. Where does repudiation come in here? As for the other example, it would be just as sensible to say that Great Britain would repudiate because some corporation or corporate body of England stopped payment as to assume that New Zealand would do so in the analogous case put.

But Mr. Murray comes in at this point (the Contemporary, September, 1891) with his evidence as to Australian criminality. Admitting that "the standard of adult education is higher than in any other country in the world excepting Prussia," and that "in this regard the Colonies take rank with any country in the world; "admitting also that "the ordinary traveller of ordinary culture meets very much the same kind of people he meets at home, and will, in the main, find himself in the kind of moral and intellectual page 97 quarters to which he has been accustomed," he assails Australians in the following terms:

The figures for insanity, alcoholism, suicide, and crimes of violence are sadly large. In Victoria one person in 105 of the population was in prison some part of the year 1888. In the United Kingdom, for that year, the average of convictions in proportion to population was 3.64 per 1,000. In New South Wales it was 8.59, and in the whole of Australasia it amounted to 6.15, although South Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania showed a joint average of only 3.81.

It is a contention very commonly offered to the traveller that the young Colonial does not drink spirituous liquors at all. The figures would hardly seem to support this statement, for, whereas the annual consumption of spirits in the United Kingdom is .59 (the gallon) per head of population, it is 1.15 in New South Wales, 1.32 in Victoria, 1.46 in West Australia, and 1-59 in Queensland.

Sparsely as the country is populated, there is as much blasphemy to the square mile as serves for the people of Great Britain. ... A teamster in a tight place will shoulder a novice out of duty with a "Let me get at 'em," and will at once begin to curse so horribly that for very shame's sake the dumb creatures in his charge will move.

Here we have Mr. Murray exercising the profound credulity of the "globe-trotter," and giving some excellent samples of his system of applying for purposes of comparison one set of undigested statistics with others wholly ungenerical.

I would first observe that, if there were any warrant for these charges, the brunt of them would fall upon people born in the United Kingdom rather than upon the Colonial born. In a carefully prepared statement for Victoria in 1884 we find 16,871 charges against people of the United Kingdom, as compared with 7,441 against Victorians and 1,386 against other Colonials. In 1889 the Victorians arrested were 17.53 per 1,000, as against 46.04 English, 53.49 Scotch, and 84.94 Irish born. Catlum non animum mutant qui trans marc currunt.

Then it should be remembered that crime and drunkenness might naturally be expected to be proportionately larger in Australia by reason of the greater proportion of adult males to the total population.

Next I note that, in employing Mr. Hayter's figures, Mr. Murray does not employ the necessary qualifications given in Mr. Hayter's notes—e.g.:

A person arrested more than once during the year, or arrested at one time on several charges, is counted as a separate individual in respect to page 98 each arrest or charge, and this, except when the contrary is stated, must be borne in mind by those consulting the following paragraphs and tables.

And having failed in this important particular, he proceeds to compare the Australian statistics, which show all the charges for all courts, with the statistics of the United Kingdom, which exhibit only the committals to superior courts and differ in other respects.

Now much in this connection depends upon the relative constitution and powers of the lower courts, and the dividing lines between serious and less serious offences; and in these particulars statistics exaggerate the extent and importance of Australian crimes and offences. That very many of the offences which load the Colonial charge-sheet are of a very trivial character is confirmed by the fact that, of 11,891 persons imprisoned by Victorian magistrates during 1889, 1,014 were sentenced to from eight to fifteen days, and 6.608 (or 55 per cent.) to seven days and under.

How Mr. Murray finds that one out of 105 persons in Victoria was in prison during some part of 1888 I cannot divine. An eminent statist of this country is equally at a loss to discover how this is made out, and I cannot help thinking that Mr. Murray's statistics upon this point are of his own conception. But, without wasting time upon this ill-considered statement, I may safely say that Mr. Murray has failed to prove his allegation that there is more crime in Australia than in the United Kingdom.

As to the charge of drunkenness, Mr. Murray starts with a grave error. He puts the consumption of spirits in the United Kingdom at .59 of a gallon per head, whereas the actual consumption is one gallon per head (see statistical abstract for the United Kingdom). And then he overlooks the fact that spirits are not the only form of alcoholic drinks, and that the consumption of beer and wine in the United Kingdom far exceeds that of Australia. It is, I believe, impossible to estimate accurately the quantity of beer consumed in the United Kingdom, but an approximate estimate recently made showed the consumption of alcohol (beer, wine, and spirits) to be 4½ in the United Kingdom as compared with 3½ in Australia.

But Mr. Murray specially contradicts the contention that the young Colonial does not drink spirituous liquors at all. This contention is, however, correct. Speaking generally, the young Colonial is of exceedingly temperate habits. As Mr. Murray observes, "In all up-country places men drink tea. They drink it all day long, and at every meal, in amazing quantities." Australasians page 99 consume 75 per cent, more tea per head than the people of the United Kingdom. They are the largest tea-drinkers in the world, but they are not at the same time consumers in quantity of alcoholic drinks. The old hands—the men of British or Irish birth—do drink intoxicating liquors; the Colonials, as a rule, do not do so habitually, if at all.

As to the charge of blasphemy, how is it possible to argue with one who believes that bullocks blush and fly from curses? Mr. Murray has, I imagine, not endeavoured to "fill his life" by bullock-driving, or he would have known that a novice, even with the most copious supply of blasphemy, cannot always get a team to move, while the experienced hand can do so by goad and voice, though he shout milk-and-water platitudes at the unwilling beeves. As a fact (pointed out by "Australasian" in the Daily Chronicle), there is infinitely more Billingsgate to be heard in London than throughout the length and breadth of Australasia, and a much greater probability of its being uttered in the presence of women.

Mr. Adams has something to say in the same strain, but having applied the bane he is ready with the antidote. He is severe upon the Melbourne people only to discover that, after all, they are not very different from the people of the Mother Country. He remarks:

The truth is that, in Melbourne, where much that is typically Australian is to be found, much also is a mere replica at second hand of the older civilisation. The closeness to England is the cause of this.

"A replica at second hand" is a too pleonastic phrase to be readily intelligible, nor can it be seen at the first glance why of Australian capitals Melbourne should be pronounced as peculiarly close to England: but it is plain from this statement that the Melbourne community, in Mr. Adams's opinion, very much resembles an English one.

Recent experience has somewhat cruelly contravened one of Mr. Adams's criticisms. He says that

Those who have to do with the introduction of "high-art shows" of whatever sort to his (the Australasian's) notice have in almost every case lived to keenly regret it.

What about the reception accorded to Madame Bernhardt, and the £50,000 she has remitted home out of the proceeds of her Australian tour?

Would that Mr. Adams had uttered nothing worse than pleonasms! It is to be deplored that he permitted himself, in the course page 100 of a general libel upon Australians, to cast a slur at one of the mighty dead, at a statesman and orator who was honoured by his Sovereign, respected by all public men who knew him, and beloved by the people amidst whom he lived a life of honourable labour and charitable works. The slur aimed at this able, eloquent, and philanthropic man merely recoils upon him who cast it.

I do not suppose that Australasia requires any advocacy of mine. The most envenomed stings of her gnat-like critics and calumniators cannot prevent, if they can retard, the fulfilment of her splendid destiny. But a just resentment has urged me to make this protest, and I can only hope that my rejoinder, which deals only with the more salient points of the attacks, will operate in some degree as an antidote to the baneful articles that have called it forth.

I will close my paper with the remarks of Lord Hopetoun, Governor of Victoria, upon Australasia's latter-day critics that appeared in the Times' telegraphic column of November 13 last:

These travelling scribes are received here as visitors and are treated well, but the kindness shown them is not repaid, for the Australians are declared to be little better than savages, their finances are described as rotten, and their loyalty as worthless. . . . This is not a proper portraiture of a nation. These articles have little weight with educated people, but others might believe from them that our feeling is one of resentment towards Great Britain, and our only desire is to dip into the pockets of the British investor and repudiate him when nothing more is obtainable. Such misleading statements are not likely to promote a friendly feeling, and might lead to a dissolution of the present happy partnership.