Page:The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.djvu/283

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DICTIONARY OF AUSTRALASIAN BIOGRAPHY.

a distinct colony. The six Port Phillip representatives voted for the motion, but the only member among the thirty representatives of New South Wales proper who gave in their adhesion was Mr. Lowe. Not discouraged, Dr. Lang drew up a petition, which was numerously signed, and sent home to her Majesty. Lord Stanley gave a favourable reply, but separation was not consummated until the year 1851. The services rendered by Dr. Lang were recognised by the Victorian Parliament, who in 1872 voted him a sum of £1000. He was also a warm advocate of the separation of Queensland from New South Wales. His interest in the Moreton Bay district dated back to the years 1848 and 1849, when he introduced there at considerable personal expense about six hundred immigrants. His services in the cause of separation were acknowledged by the Queensland Legislature. He was also the promoter of the land order system established in that colony. He was always strongly opposed to the transportation system, the agitation in regard to which lasted from 1846 to 1851, Earl Grey, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, persisting in his determination to force the system on the colony. Ultimately, however, the order in Council declaring New South Wales a place where convicts might be sent was revoked. Dr. Lang was elected member for Sydney in 1850, defeating the transportation candidate. In 1849 he addressed a letter to Earl Grey on the subject of his misgovernment of the Australian colonies during the three years he held office, couched in language which gave great offence, and which openly threatened separation from the mother country and the formation of an Australian republic In Sept. 1851 he was elected at the head of the poll for Sydney, John Lamb and W. C. Wentworth being his colleagues, but he resigned almost immediately and went to England. During his absence a new Constitution Act was passed, containing a clause rendering ministers of religion ineligible for Parliament, and he was thus precluded from entering the Legislature for a time. This clause was repealed in 1857, and at the general election in 1859 he was again returned for Sydney. After the introduction of responsible government he was elected three times for Sydney West, twice at the head of the poll. He retired from the Parliamentary arena in Nov. 1869. Among other measures advocated by him during his political career were the extension and equalising of the representation (in 1843), the establishment of a uniform postage rate of twopence (in 1844), triennial Parliaments, a single chamber Legislature, cheap and efficient railway communication, and permanent discontinuance of State aid to religion. In 1839 he visited New Zealand and wrote to Lord Durham urging the Government to take possession of those islands. During his long connection with Australia he visited England nine times. In 1846 he was examined before a committee of the House of Commons on the question of transportation. Dr. Lang was a voluminous writer. He is the author of a history of New South Wales, which ran through four editions, the first issued in 1834, the latest in 1875. His other works are—"Origin and Migration of the Polynesian Natives" (1834); "Transportation and Colonisation" (1837); "New Zealand in 1839: Position and Prospects of its Inhabitants"; "Religion and Education in America" (1840); "Cook's Land, Australia" (1847); "Phillip's Land" (1847); "Freedom and Independence for Australia" (1852); "The Coming Event" (1876); "Aurora Australis," a series of poems (1826). He was also a ready pamphleteer, and wrote on a variety of subjects. "The career of Dr. Lang," writes Mr. Blair in his admirable "Cyclopaedia," "embraces a period of very great interest to Australians. He saw the foundations of a nation laid, and was an instrument in the work. He was witness of the wonderful progress and prosperity of the colonies, and did not pass away until he had seen the handful of settlers ripen into a community numbering nearly two millions and the continent explored and settled throughout the eastern half. He lived through the viceroyalties of nine Governors of New South Wales, commencing with Sir Thomas Brisbane and ending with Sir Hercules Robinson. He was a man of indomitable energy, of liberal views, of considerable ability, of great public spirit, and utterly careless about pecuniary advantage. He achieved a position among the early colonists of Australia which will not readily be forgotten." Dr. Lang died in Sydney on

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