Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/231

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LAURIER

connection between the high moral standard of the court of the sovereign and the literature of the age, then I can say without hesitation that Queen Victoria has conferred, not only upon her own people, but upon mankind at large, a gift for which we can never have sufficient appre- ciation.

Queen Victoria was the first of all sovereigns who was absolutely impersonal — impersonal po- litically, I mean. Whether the question at issue was the abolition of the Corn Laws, or the war in the Crimea, or the extension of the suffrage, or the disestablishment of the Irish Church, or Home Rule in Ireland, the queen never gave any information of what her views were upon any of these great political issues. Her subjects never knew what were her personal views, tho views she had, because she was a woman of strong intellect, and we know that she followed public events with great eagerness. We can presume, indeed we know, that whenever a new policy was presented to her by her prime minister she discussed that policy with him, and sometimes approved or sometimes, perhaps, dissented.

But that is not all. The most remarkable event in the reign of Queen Victoria — an event which took place in silence and unobserved — the most remarkable event in the reign of the late queen was the marvelous progress in Colonial development, development which, based upon local autonomy, ended in colonial expansion.

What has been the cause of that marvelous

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