Australia and the Empire/Robert Lowe in Sydney

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search




In attempting to give, in the compass of a short book, some general account of the interdependent relations between "Australia and the Empire," I think I may lessen my reader's labour, as well as my own, by opening with two retrospective sketches. In the first, which takes us back some forty years, I propose to give a brief, but hitherto unwritten narrative of the public life in New South Wales of one of the most brilliant of contemporary Englishmen. And this may be not unfitly followed by a description of the England of a quarter of a century ago, as seen by the distinguished Australian statesman who may be said to have commenced his public career in Sydney under the ægis of Lord Sherbrooke, and who is at the present time once again Prime Minister of New South Wales.

So quickly do events succeed one another in the nineteenth century, so multitudinous are our printed records, and so inexorable is the law by which bygone mental impressions are obscured by fresh ones, that the memorable Australian career of Robert Lowe seems already to have been relegated to the shadowy realm of ill-remembered tradition. One has only to ask one's best-educated friends, whether Englishmen or Australians, a few questions concerning "Robert Lowe in Sydney," to discover that this is no exaggeration. The present writer, in his search for evidence on a disputed point in early—or rather "mediæval"—Australian history, was somewhat astonished to learn that one of the most intelligent officials of the British Museum was quite unaware of the fact that Lord Sherbrooke had ever resided, much less been a public man, in the Colonies. It would, of course, be hardly possible to find an Australian, in any corresponding social position, so entirely ignorant of Lord Sherbrooke's career in New South Wales. But if catechised it would probably be found that his knowledge is exceedingly dim and shadowy, and could be summed up by saying that once upon a time Robert Lowe, now Viscount Sherbrooke, was a member of the old Sydney Legislative Council.[1]

Robert Lowe, "Barrister-at-Law, and Fellow of Magdalen," arrived in Sydney in 1842, during the governorship of Sir George Gipps. The early Colonial Governors were "advised" by a Council, and the representative principle had just been partially introduced into the constitution of this body in New South Wales. This was effected in 1842 under the régime of the late Lord Derby, then Lord Stanley, who, as Secretary of State, succeeded in passing the "Constitutional Act for the better government of New South Wales." The Council consisted of thirty-six members; six officials, six Crown nominees, and twenty-four elected on a property qualification, six of whom were for the province of Port Phillip, now the independent colony of Victoria. This, the inauguration of the parliamentary system, was an exciting time both for the Governor and for the colonists. The Rev. Dr. Lang, one of the six members for Port Phillip, who has been truthfully described as "the greatest Scottish-Australian public man," gives a sketch of this early Sydney Parliament which is worth preserving:—

"As a General Election and a partially representative Legislature were new things under the sun in Australia, and as the crisis at which the first election took place was a peculiarly trying one for the colony, the interest excited in all quarters was intense, and the result was by no means unsatisfactory. Indeed, for general ability, for extent and variety of information available for the business of legislation, for manly eloquence, for genuine patriotism, and for energetic and dignified action, I question whether the first Legislative Council in New South Wales has ever been surpassed by any Legislature out of England in the British Empire."

To justify this high eulogium Dr. Lang proceeds to enumerate half a dozen leading names, including that of Robert Lowe, whom he characterises as "a barrister of super-eminent ability and of brilliant oratorical powers." How came the newly arrived Fellow of Magdalen, it may be asked, so quickly to find his way into the Sydney Parliament? When Sir George Gipps, the first Governor of New South Wales, who was " hampered," as he would have said, by a body of Representatives, contemplated the results of the first elections in Australia, he might well have been appalled. The political capacity and debating power in two members alone of the "Opposition," William Charles Wentworth and John Dunmore Lang, far exceeded all that could be brought against them by the entire Ministerial benches, officials and nominees combined. Sir George Gipps, though utterly self-willed, and therefore often impracticable, was a clever man, and by no means undiscerning as a judge of the capacity of others. In the young English barrister, who had so recently stepped upon the shores of Port Jackson, the much-harassed Viceroy thought he could detect an intellectual gladiator capable of holding his own even against Wentworth and Lang. Accordingly, on November 10th, 18-13, his Excellency nominated "Robert Lowe, Esq., Barrister-at-Law," to a seat in the Legislative Council. But the new member, as the sequel will show, was not of the material out of which the pliant placeman is manufactured. On August 20th, 1844, a memorable debate took place in the Sydney Legislative Council. On that evening Dr. Lang brought forward his celebrated motion for "the separation of Port Phillip from New South Wales, and its erection into a distinct and independent colony." With the exception of the five other members for Port Phillip, he had only one supporter—and that was Sir George Gipps' new nominee. With characteristic egotism Dr. Lang merely records the fact, and pays but scant tribute to the independence of mind that could have prompted such a vote, or could have supported it by so memorable a speech as Robert Lowe delivered that evening. I will endeavour to supply the Doctor's deficiency, by quoting the opening sentences of an address that was alone sufficient to raise the level of the debate from a mere provincial wrangle into the rare region of statesman like deliberation and discussion.

"As a general rule," began the new nominee member, "the interests of the Colonies are not consulted by frittering them away into minute particles, but by combining as large a territory into a single State as could be effectually controlled by a single Government, I cordially agree in the abstract truth of the motto prefixed to the article in the newspaper of this morning that ' Union is Strength'; and I would extend that principle to the whole Colonial Empire of Great Britain. I hold and believe that the time is not remote when Great Britain will give up the idea of treating the dependencies of the Crown as children to he cast adrift by their parent as soon as they arrive at manhood, and substitute for it the far wiser and nobler policy of knitting herself and her Colonies into one mighty Confederacy, girdling the earth in its whole circumference, and confident against the world in arts and arms." This truly Imperial outburst was uttered, be it observed, wellnigh half a century before the Imperial Federation League was dreamt of. Although, as a colonist, I cannot see my way to adopt any of the schemes that have lately been propounded for the more complete fusion of Great Britain and her Colonies, I think this eloquent sentence which Robert Lowe uttered so many years ago, in the old Legislative Council of Sydney, forms a fit and noble motto for all of us, whether Englishmen or colonists, who are loyal to our beloved Sovereign, and faithful to the obligations and traditions of our common race and heritage. As such I have adopted it as the motto of this book.

After giving utterance to this lofty Imperial aspiration, the gifted orator, taking up the special point of Dr. Lang's motion, went on to say:—

"Neither can I agree that the separation [of Port Phillip] would be otherwise than injurious, in some extent, at least, to New South Wales. It implies the loss of a fertile and wealthy province already paying much more into the Treasury than it drew out of it; and I am also fearful that a separation might be attended with that animosity and ill-feeling which are so apt to prevail between neighbouring States, and that the result might be a war of tariffs and restrictive duties, which I hold in utter horror and aversion; but, still compelled by the force of Truth and Justice, I am bound to say that these considerations come too late."

On August 28th, exactly eight days after the delivery of this speech, Robert Lowe sent in his resignation as a nominee member of the Legislative Council of New South Wales. But he was already a man of mark, destined yet to play a leading part both as a journalist and a politician in the Colony, and soon to be acknowledged on the public platform as one of the most influential and powerful speakers on all the great questions then agitating the Australian public mind. Released from his anomalous position in the Council, Robert Lowe, like many an ambitious politician similarly placed, determined to influence his fellows and "educate his party" by means of the newspaper press. On November 30th, 1844, appeared in Sydney the first number of the Atlas, a weekly journal whose principles he formulated and whose policy he practically controlled. The literary ability of the new journal was undoubtedly high, for among the regular contributors there were, in addition to Lowe himself, a number of aspiring young men who subsequently attained to the highest positions in Australia—such as the Hon. William Forster, Sir Henry Parkes, Sir Archibald Michie, and the late Sir James Martin.[2] All of these, as well as their leader, were at that terribly aggressive "missionary age" of twenty-five to five-and-thirty and were, of course, prepared not only to set Sir George Gipps and the local Executive to rights, but to readjust and rectify mundane affairs generally. The Atlas began its career as an open enemy, not only of the Governor of New South Wales, but also of the entire system of Colonial Government which emanated from Downing Street. In kindly handing over to me some bound volumes of this remarkable Colonial newspaper, which teems with personal attacks upon the old Sydney Governor, whose memory is honoured by a bust and memorial tablet in Canterbury Cathedral,[3] Lord Sherbrooke, deprecating the bitterness of a long-past conflict, wrote:—

"It was always a great regret to me that I had been obliged to oppose Sir George Gipps so strongly, as he had been personally most kind."

To some rigid natures this softened confession of the veteran statesman may seem uncalled for, but it will appeal to those who, with increasing years, learn to doubt and mistrust themselves as well as others.

It may be seriously questioned whether any Government in the world was ever more persistently and artistically bespattered with printer's ink than was that of Sir George Gipps, for at least two years after the first publication of the Atlas. The great bulk of the weighty leading articles and pungent paragraphs were from Robert Lowe's own pen. He it was who alone, amongst this brilliant band of young journalists, had what has been called a "rounded creed." Rightly or wrongly, as befits the leader of a party, he had made up his mind (and was ready to make up the mind of everybody else) on all the problems that perplex, divide, and distract humanity. It is needless to say that the much-harassed Governor was unceremoniously dragged to the bar of public opinion and pilloried, with cruel regularity, every Saturday morning. Many of the matters upon which these ardent reformers differed from the Colonial Executive of the day were only of local concern, and have long since been settled and forgotten.

Strange to say, I find in a slender volume of verse, recently published in London, entitled Poems of a Life, by Lord Sherbrooke, several of the contributions that originally adorned the poets' corner of the Atlas in the years 1844-45; but often in a somewhat softened form. In one of the very earliest numbers poor Sir George Gipps was thus confronted by that dread "power" which, according to its chief invoker, was so speedily to overwhelm him:—

"It is now pretty well agreed," wrote the editor, "that public opinion is the power which does and ought to rule mankind. The most splendid fabrics of human policy—the Papacy of Hildebrand, the Aristocracies of Venice and England, and the Empire of France, have crumbled into dust before its silent power."

The "local application" of this asserted law of human development, so Sir George Gipps was curtly informed, was to "dissolve the Council and let the country select a new organ which will represent its opinions; and then obey it. If you dare not dissolve, and will not obey—Resign."

This drastic remedy was further enforced by a set of characteristic verses entitled "The Tyrant's Lesson," in which the same writer, under the pseudonym of Machiavelli, imparted to the poor Colonial magnate some very sinister advice:—

"Keep thy people in slavery; straiten their flocks,
 Be miser of desert and niggard of sand,
Extort the full price of the Government rocks.
 And the gum-tree that shelters the fountainless land.

Thus ignorant, drunken, impoverished and tame,
 With nought that is manly, enlightened, and free.
With nought of the land whence they sprang but the name.
 Perchance they may fawn on a ruler like thee."

After reading such gentle effusions as these, Sir George Gipps must have felt that the great "power of public opinion," so far as his late nominee member was its interpreter, was thoroughly antagonistic, not only to him personally, but to the entire system of government then in vogue in the Colony.

But it was in dealing with the wider question of the relations existing between England and her Colonies that Robert Lowe's pen found its fullest scope. It should be borne in mind that he wrote before the era of "responsible government" in the Colonies. The outlying possessions of England were then governed, or rather misgoverned, by despatches from Downing Street, which, as Lowe pointed out, were not the work of the Secretary of State, or even of the chief permanent officials, but emanated from "the doubly-irresponsible, because utterly unknown and obscure. Clerk."

The account he gives of the manner in which our whole Colonial Empire was governed forty years ago can only be applicable now to the straggling remnant of Crown Colonies.[4] For the evils under which New South Wales was then, according to the Atlas, deeply groaning, the remedies suggested were (1) Local self-government, and (2) Representation in the British Parliament. The former has long since been achieved, and has worked, like other mundane contrivances, with more or less success. In defence of the latter measure, the chief panacea of our present-day Imperial Federationists, Robert Lowe addressed an argument which had much more weight before the Colonies achieved autonomy. "If," he wrote, "the Colonial Secretary were to be called to account, in the face of the House and the country, for the freaks and misconduct of his clerks, he would then quickly discover that however competent one person may be to administer the patronage, one person cannot manage the affairs of forty Colonies. A division of labour would ensue as soon as responsibility was really felt, the reign of clerks would terminate, and that of responsible ministers would begin."

To my mind, at least, it seems that what I may call the unwieldiness of a common Parliament at Westminster for so enormous and widely-divided an Empire, far more than outweighs such arguments in its favour. This is strongly emphasised just at present, when a large party in the State loudly declare that a single Parliament cannot perform the legislative work of these two small contiguous islands. I believe that on this point they are wrong; but the evil is in our one-sided development of the Parliamentary system. If ever we are to have a Council of the Empire it will certainly have to be conducted more on the principles of the old Councils of the German Confederation, for which even Prince Bismarck—that honest hater of Parliaments—had a good word. I would like Lord Sherbrooke's opinion on the great Chancellor's views, and will, at the risk of the digression, quote Bismarck's words for the benefit of the Imperial Federation League:—

"The gift of oratory," remarked the greatest statesman of modern times, "has ruined much in Parliamentary life. Time is wasted because every one who feels ability in that line must have his word, even if he has no new point to bring forward. Speaking is too much in the air and too little to the point. Everything is already settled in committees: a man speaks at length, therefore, only for the public to whom he wishes to show off as much as possible, and still more for the newspapers who are to praise him. Oratory will one day come to be looked upon as a generally harmful quality, and a man will be punished who allows himself to be guilty of a long speech. We have one body," he continued, "which admits no oratory, and has yet done more for the German cause than almost any other—the Council of the Confederation. I remember that at first some attempts were made in that direction. But I put a stop to them. I said to them something like this:—'Gentlemen, woe have nothing to do here with eloquence and speeches intended to produce conviction, because every one brings his conviction with him in his pocket—I mean his instructions. It is so much time lost. I propose that we confine ourselves here to the statement of facts.' And so it was; no one again made a long speech. We get on so much the faster with our business; and the Council of the Confederation has really done a great deal."[5]

Be sure if our Colonial orators were thus to have their mouths stopped they would not want to come from the uttermost parts of the earth to Westminster; nor under any working scheme of Imperial unity should it be necessary, except occasionally for consultative purposes. On any general question of Imperial policy the representatives of Melbourne, Ottawa, or Sydney, should have their "instructions," which they could telegraph in the fewest possible words to the central authority, thereby saving both time and money as well as a wearisome journey, and a still more wearisome flow of words. But I admit that to keep the various parts of the Empire in touch with each other, it would be well to hold consultative councils of delegates from its various sections, something like the Church Congresses, and like them these Councils should meet each time in a different centre.

Some cynic has said that "the last infirmity of noble minds" is theology. Certainly, to judge from Robert Lowe's contributions to the Atlas, he, in the years 1844-45, gave no inconsiderable amount of thought to that remarkable religious revival in England, generally known under the name of "Puseyism." As an antidote to the sacerdotal doctrines of Newman, Pusey, and Keble, whom he appears to have equally detested, we find him expatiating, week after week, on the theological and philosophical excellencies of Dr. Arnold of Rugby.[6] Like many Liberal Churchmen of half-a-century ago he failed to realise that the amazing development of modern physical science would shatter any creed raised on a quasi-rationalistic basis, like that of the so-called "Broad Church." It is therefore not to be wondered at that he failed to foresee that the Church of England would owe its enormously enhanced position in the present day more to the teaching and example of Pusey than to that of any other man of our age; whereas the influence of Dr. Arnold, who was not only an equally excellent man, but from his own standpoint as true a Christian and as firm a Churchman, has all but entirely passed away. It would be amusing, but perhaps not edifying, to quote some of the comments Lowe indulged in on the leading "sacerdotalists" whose baneful influence he could trace in the public conduct of the three dominant Bishops then in Australasia—Broughton,[7] Selwyn, and Nixon.

But I cannot refrain from pointing out that Robert Lowe, by these "liberal expositions," appears to have made a notable "convert" in the person of Sir James Martin, the late Chief-Justice of New South Wales, who was then on the literary staff of the Atlas. He it is of whom Mr. Froude gives such a flattering picture in Oceana, declaring that "if Sir James Martin had been Chief-Justice of England he would have passed as one of the most distinguished occupants of that high position." Sir James was by birth an Irishman, and baptized a Roman Catholic, but, from his intimate connection with the Atlas, he seems to have imbibed some of his early leader's freedom of theological speculation, for he lived all his later life outside the pale of that Church, steadily refusing to be reconciled with it even in his last hours. He was buried some two years ago in Sydney, by Dr. Barry, the present Primate of Australia, with the rites of the Anglican Church, though I am not aware that he was ever formally received into that communion.

It is also pleasant to be able to mention one instance in which Robert Lowe turned his "theological bias" to practical political account. In defending a once notorious criminal, Lowe, quite within his rights as an advocate, had pleaded that the murderer was either a lunatic or not a free agent; and the leading journal in the Colony, the Sydney Morning Herald, to speak metaphorically. held up its hands in pious horror. This was somewhat awkward, as Lowe was offering himself at the time as a candidate for the Legislative Council. He at once wrote to the Herald, and demanded to know in what particular his speech at the trial had impugned "the first principles of Christianity," and "what those principles of Christianity are to which you consider those doctrines to be opposed?"

The astute reader will at once notice the dark and dreadful trap, but the editor, who was emboldened by some remarks which had fallen from the judge at the trial, accepted Lowe's challenge, and rambled on about Freewill and Necessity; rashly maintaining that if the former were denied to man, the Christian theory became a mere farce. The editor's statement is very pious and very commonplace, but Lowe's retort was novel and refreshing, and is perhaps unequalled in the brief annals of Australian polemics. It begins thus:—

"To the Editors of the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Gentlemen,—When I asked you to point out the doctrine of Christianity to which my speech was opposed, I expected to be referred to something held by Christians in common, and not to the doctrine of the Wesleyan sect, for it may be, gentlemen, that I am not a Wesleyan Methodist, and, not to keep you in further suspense, the fact is that I am a member of the Church of England. You are not ignorant of this, but you probably are ignorant of the Articles of that Church."

He thereupon "subjoined a copy" of the Tenth Article, and referred the unhappy editor to the Eleventh, Twelfth, and Seventeenth, which "show clearly that though you may consider the foundation of the whole system of Divine government to be man's free agency and consequent responsibility, the Church of England, whose Articles I have repeatedly subscribed, does not."

After repeating what he had said at the trial, as to the hereditary taint in the murderer's family, with a scientific lucidity that Dr. Maudsley might envy, he wound up his letter in the following slashing and effective style:—

"It was an aspiring wish of the Arian Milton to justify the ways of God to man, but it is a wish that can never be accomplished; the existence of evil will meet the presumptuous speculator at every turn and fling him back into the shallow nothingness of his nature. Dangerous it were, says the eloquent and judicious Hooker, for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High, whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of His name, yet our soundest knowledge is to know Him, not indeed as He is, neither can we know Him, and our safest eloquence concerning Him is our silence, when we confess without confession that His glory is inexplicable. His greatness above our capacity and reach. He is above and we upon earth, therefore it behoveth our words to be wary and few.

"And now, gentlemen, I have done with you. I ask you for principles, and you give me inferences. I ask you for Christianity, and you give me Methodism. You are now at full liberty to inter this slander by the side of his deceased brother of last week, and as you seem rather at a loss for something to urge against me at the present time, I will take the liberty of suggesting a few topics myself. I ride a very ugly horse: that clearly proves me to be an atheist, for who else could be so insensible to the beauties of the noblest animal of the creation? I live in a very small house, which clearly shows I must have a very contracted mind; and I am sometimes known to play at billiards, which shows a strong, though, it may perhaps be expedient in candour to admit, not quite fully developed propensity for gambling.—I am, Gentlemen, your obedient Servant,"

"Robert Lowe."

Robert Lowe was the foremost advocate, during all the time he was in Sydney, of a national unsectarian system of public education, as opposed to the old denominational system which formerly prevailed. I propose to deal separately with this great subject of public education in a subsequent section. But no sketch, however brief, of Robert Lowe's career in Sydney would be at all adequate which failed to recognise his unwearying services as an educational reformer. To understand the "Education Question" in the time of Sir George Gipps, it is necessary to glance for a moment at the condition of affairs under his predecessor. Sir Richard Bourke, incomparably the ablest of the early Governors of Australia. Sir Richard's career does not, I regret to state, come within the scope and compass of the present work, for he belongs to what may be called "ancient" or pre-Parliamentary Australian annals. But it would be well for all, English and Australians alike, to bear in mind what a number of admirable "re-forms"—in the true sense of the word, as being constructive rather than destructive in character—Sir Richard Bourke effected without the aid of either patriotic orators or public meetings. He practically established freedom of the press in New South Wales; and, as the inscription on his statue in the Domain, Sydney, declares with more historical accuracy than is usual, "He established religious equality on a just and firm basis, and sought to provide for all, without distinction of sect, a sound and adequate system of national education." And, be it remarked, he effected these reforms in the spirit of a farseeing statesman, for his personal predilections were, as those who have read the Life of his friend Bishop Jebb, of Limerick, may remember, entirely with his own religious communion, which he thus deposed from its pride of place. In his earnest endeavour to introduce what is known as the Irish national system of education into New South Wales, Sir Richard Bourke failed. In the attempt he was warmly supported by Dr. Ullathorne, the justly respected Roman Catholic Vicar-General, afterwards Bishop of Birmingham, who, it may be presumed, favoured the national unsectarian system as a direct attack on Anglican prerogatives in the colony. Whatever may have been the cause, Dr. Ullathorne's support of unsectarian education is worth bearing in mind when we come to the subject of the State schoolmaster.

It was, however, owing to Dr. Ullathorne's support, which roused the effective bigotry of Dr. Lang, that Sir Richard Bourke's statesmanlike measure was wrecked. Subsequently, under the vigorous tutelage of Robert Lowe, Dr. Lang learnt that he had done a very foolish thing in opposing Sir Richard Bourke, and had simply played into the hands of Dr. Ullathorne's co-religionists. Dr. Lang repented in sackcloth and ashes, and from that time became a rabid "Nationalist" on the education question, and "a devoted disciple" of Lowe. In his entertaining but oppressively egotistical History of New South Wales appears the following suggestive passage:—

"I have already observed that one of the great questions which engaged the attention of the first Legislative Council, during the year 1844, was the question of education; on which there had been a Select Committee appointed in the earlier part of the session, under the chairmanship of Robert Lowe, Esq., now member of Parliament for Kidderminster. That Committee had reported strongly in favour of the National system: and I endeavoured on the occasion, as a member of the Committee as well as of the Council, to atone as much as possible for the opposition I had given to the establishment of Sir Richard Bourke's system in the year 1835."

Despite all his good intentions Dr. Lang was unable to undo the evil of his former rash and bigoted opposition, and the result was that no national system of education worthy of the name was carried into law in New South Wales, until Sir Henry Parkes passed the Public Schools Act of 1867.

I would not like this unqualified censure of Dr. Lang to stand without adding that despite the grave error of judgment displayed in his early career to the wreckage of a carefully matured and statesmanlike system of public education, there is no public man in my opinion, with the solitary exception of Wentworth, who has played so important a part in the "making of Australia"; and I venture on this assertion while fully conscious that Dr. Lang's mental endowments and political capacity were of a distinctly commoner type than those of the subject of this brief memoir, or of his great Australian rival.

Public feeling at Sydney in 1846 was at fever-heat. Sir George Gipps had publicly notified, six years before this date, that criminal transportation to the Colony had ceased. But although an overwhelming number of the colonists had hailed this new departure in the policy of the Home Government with intense delight, there was a small but influential minority who were grimly dissatisfied. Mr. Gladstone, who was then for a short time Secretary of State for the Colonies, had forwarded a somewhat enigmatical despatch to Sir George Gipps with regard to the renewal of transportation. This led to a state of the wildest public excitement in the colony, and at the monster meetings which were held in Sydney no speaker was listened to with more delight, and certainly none was more deserving of attention, than Robert Lowe.[8] In fact, from the years 1844 to 1850 no colonial public man was more active or more influential than he. On all the great questions of the hour he was on the platform, as in the press, a vigilant upholder of the rights of the people, and a particularly keen critic of the Colonial Office. At a public meeting held on January 20th, 1848, at Sydney, Earl Grey's proposal to "amend" the Constitution of New South Wales, in view of the separation of Port Phillip, was criticised with great trenchancy by Mr. Lowe, He detected an anti-popular flavour in everything that emanated from the Liberal Colonial Secretary, and on this occasion, as indeed on all others, he entirely carried his hearers with him.

In 1850 Robert Lowe received the well-merited honour of being elected to represent Sydney in the Legislative Council of New South "Wales, but the following year he resigned his seat, and returned to England, and began his great English Parliamentary career.

Viscount Sherbrooke, it is true, spent only some eight years of his life at the Antipodes, but those years were of the very prime of his manhood. By his commanding talents and political capacity, he, in that brief space of time, divided with Wentworth the honours of the Senate and the emoluments of the Bar. As a colonial public man he experienced that most exhilarating of all feelings, the consciousness that his heart throbbed with the great heart of the people. And yet, if one turns to his public utterances, one sees that he never descended to mere clap-trap, and rarely appealed to any but the nobler feelings of our common nature.

Few public men, English or colonial, can, if at all self-critical, look back upon any eight consecutive years of their life with more satisfaction than Lord Sherbrooke may regard those passed under the Southern Cross. Singled out almost on his landing by a particularly astute ruler for the coveted honour of a place at his council-table, the brilliant young English barrister, on the first opportunity, showed that he regarded the interests of the people amongst whom he had come to live as of paramount importance. It was not the way, as other distinguished exiles well knew, to place and pension; but it should give to Robert Lowe, a high name and an enduring recognition in the annals of Australia.

  1. In what purported to be a summary of the history of the "First Centenary of Australia" (National Review), Mr. Henniker Heaton, M.P., expatiated on Tawell the "Quaker Murderer," and on the "Rum Hospital," but did not even mention the name of Robert Lowe!
  2. Perhaps a better proof could not be adduced of the literary ability of these contributors to the Atlas than the prominence justly accorded to several of them in Mr. Douglas Sladen's recently published anthology of "Australian Poets" (Griffith, Farran, and Co.)
  3. The inscription reads thus:—"In the adjoining cloisters are interred the remains of Lt.-Colonel Sir George Gipps, of the Royal Engineers, late Governor-in-Chief of New South Wales and its Dependencies, who died the 28th February 1847, aged 56 years, after an honourable and useful career of thirty-nine years in the Military and Civil Services of his country. He returned to England from the above colony impaired in health, and shortly afterwards expired in this city. Beloved, honoured, and regretted by all who knew him."
  4. See Appendix C, "The Colonial Office and the Foreign Nobleman," p. 262.
  5. Bismarck in the Franco-German War, by Dr. Busch, vol. ii. pp. 299-300.
  6. He even reprinted in extenso the once famous article from the Edinburgh Review, on "Oxford Malignants," by Dr. Arnold, to the amazement, one would think, of the remote Colonial reader.
  7. In the aisle of Canterbury Cathedral, near the great west door, and adjoining the memorial to Sir George Gipps, is the tomb with its recumbent figure of this the first and, with the exception of Bishop Selwyn, the greatest of Australasian prelates—Primus Episcopus Sydneiensis, et Australiæ Metropolitanus. So repose the remains of the two men who, in Robert Lowe's time, were the official head of Church and State in Australia
  8. See Appendix A.