Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/12

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PREFACE.

enough to believe that I have fulfilled my aim in so far as the contrarieties of the case will permit.

As to the scope of the work, it records the careers of the majority of the eminent Australasian colonists who survived to see the inauguration of responsible government in 1855, and who have died in the interval of thirty-seven years which has elapsed since that epoch-making era. It also includes the biographies of living persons, and thus contains the class of information which is to be found in the usual run of biographical dictionaries regarding deceased worthies, in addition to the more recent data respecting living persons which are afforded by such publications as the English "Men of the Time." The extent of the information presented will be best gathered when I state that the "Dictionary" comprises nearly two thousand biographies, including those of the governors of the several colonies, the prelates of the Anglican and Roman Catholic communions, the heads of the principal religious denominations and of the several universities, as well as notices of all politicians, with a few unavoidable exceptions, who have held Ministerial office in the Australian colonies, New Zealand, and Tasmania since the year 1855. The principal members of the Civil Service and the explorers, authors, scientists, musicians, and actors who have won distinction in the colonial arena have been dealt with as adequately as circumstances permitted; and the work also includes lives of a number of the pastoral, mercantile, and industrial pioneers of the various colonies, as well as of those who have distinguished themselves in the domain of sport and athleticism.

There are one or two special points to which I should like to draw attention. In the first place, the titles of honour and office given to the several subjects of biography are those which they are entitled to bear in their respective colonies, though, by a strange anomaly in the constitutional formularies of a country which will mainly go down to history in connection with the glories of its colonial empire, the most commonly borne title in the last-mentioned portion of her Majesty's dominions—that of "Honourable" — is not conceded recognition outside of the colony in which the public services of which it is the reward have been rendered. If therefore the present work should do anything to "imperialise"—if I may use the word—a title to which there is really no valid democratic objection, and to promote its recognition and that of the good service which it typifies in every part of the empire, I shall take pride in having contributed even in this humble way to the disappearance of the last vestige of that hateful doctrine of colonial inferiority which comes to us from the dark, but unfortunately not yet very distant, ages of Colonial Office ineptitude and insular presumption.

With regard to the incidence of this title of "Honourable," some confusion may arise in the minds of English, and even Australasian readers. Broadly speaking, the Australasian public man is entitled to bear the title of "Honourable" within his own colony during his actual tenure of office as a member of the Upper House or as a member of the Ministry of the day