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1. Intercolonial tariffs, and coasting trade.
2. Railways, roads, canals, &c., running through any two of the

colonies.
3. Beacons and lighthouses on the coast.
4. Intercolonial penal settlements.
5. Intercolonial gold regulations.
6. Postage between the said colonies.
7. A general Court of Appeal from the courts of such colonies.
8. A power to legislate on all other subjects which may be

submitted to them by addresses from the Legislative Councils and Assemblies of the other colonies; and to appropriate to any of the above objects the necessary sums of money, to be raised by a percentage on the revenues of

all the colonies interested. “ As it might excite jealousy if a jurisdiction of this importance were to be incorporated in the Act of Parliament, which has unavoidably become a necessary part of the measures for conferring a Constitution on this colony, in consequence of the defective powers given by Parliament to the Legislative Council, your Committee confine themselves to the suggestion that the establishment of such a body has become indispensable, and ought no longer to be delayed ; and to the expression of a hope that the Minister for the Colonies will at once see the expediency of introducing into Parliament, with as little delay as possible, a Bill for this express object.”

In this suggestion nothing was definite except the list of federal subjects. There was no hint of an opinion as to the shape which the Assembly ought to take; and we must suppose either that the Committee had not considered the matter, or that they were satisfied with the scheme already proposed by the Home Government. One thing is clear; however, that Wentworth himself did not at that time contemplate a real national unity for Australia, or indeed anything more than a General Assembly to secure uniform legislation on a few matters of common interest. In the course of the debate on the Constitution, he took occasion to ridicule the scheme propounded by Dr. Lang of a “great federation of all the colonies of Australia, of New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia ; each State to have a separate local government and sending members to Congress to form a great central government." These words, according to the report, were greeted by the House with "shouts of langhter”-directed in part, no doubt, at Dr. Lany's republican ideas of " cutting the painter.” An elaborate scheme of Federation would certainly have been premature; but to a prophetic eye it need have had nothing of the ridiculous.

VICTORIAN CONSTITUTIONAL COMMITTEE.—The Committee appointed in Victoria in September, 1853, to draft a new Constitution for that colony, also dealt with the question, but in an even vaguer way. Its report contained these passages :

“From the great extent of Australia, and the widely differing circumstances of its several colonies, your Committee do not think it essential for local legislation that uniformity of institutions should

prevail. They have followed, as far as principle permitted, the Bills proposed in New South Wales and South Australia.

“But they do feel most strongly that there are questions of such vital intercolonial interest that provision should be made for occasionally convoking a General Assembly for legislating on such questions as may be submitted to it by the Act of any Legislature of one of the Australian colonies."

This report was dated 9th December, 1853, when the report of Wentworth's Committee had been available for some five months; but in place of Wentworth's list of eight subjects, it only proposed to give the General Assembly power to legislate on questions “submitted to it” by the legislatures.

LORD JOHN RUSSELL'S REPLY.-The Home Government, however, in enacting the Constitutions, did not think proper to make any provision for a General Assembly. The Constitution Acts (18 and 19 Vic. c. 54 and c. 55) were passed in 1855, and in the despatch accompanying them to Australia Lord John Russell, then Secretary of State for the Colonies in Lord Palmerston's Ministry, wrote :-“I need scarcely say that the question of introducing into the measures lately laid before Parliament clauses to establish a federal union of the Australian colonies for purposes of common interest has been very seriously weighed by Her Majesty's Government; but they have been led to the conclusion that the present is not a proper opportunity for such enactment, although they will give the fullest consideration to any propositions on the subject which may emanate in concurrence from the respective legislatures."

There is no reason to suppose that Lord John Russell had changed his opinion as to the desirableness of a federal union; but Earl Grey's adventures had taught him that devising colonial constitutions, even with the best intentions in the world, was thankless work for an English statesman. Two of the Australian colonies had expressed opinions in favour of a General Assembly, but there had been no con

e—and indeed no conference-on the subject between the colonies, and no definite scheme was before him. The colonies had, by dint of much remonstrance, obtained recognition of the right to frame their own constitutions; and the Home Government naturally preferred to await more definite propositions.

currence

(4) AUSTRALIAN EFFORTS, 1854-1863.

In its next stage the movement began to take a more definite shape. Already in 1852 Dr. Lang had propounded an elaborate scheme of federation on the American plan (“Freedom and Independence for the Golden Lands of Australia"); but his bellicose tone and his clamour for separation from the mother-country robbed him of influence. In 1854 a series of thoughtful letters in the Sydney Morning Herald, over the signature of “John Adams,” dealt convincingly with the need of union, and discussed many of the details. The writer of these letters was the Rev. John West, then residing in Tasmania, but afterwards editor of the Sydney Morning Herald. years later the Herald returned to the theme, discussed the difficulties and the advantages, and recommended that the Home Government should take action by passing a law enabling the colonies to establish a federation. (Leading article, 23rd October, 1856. In Wentworth's Memorial the article is wrongly attributed to the Melbourne Argus.) And in the following week, on 29th October, 1856, Deas-Thomson, who had for many years been Colonial Secretary under the old official system, and who then represented the Parker Government in the Upper House, spoke hopefully in the House of the near probability of some federal arrangement. There were seven great questions, he said, which ought to be submitted to a representative Federal Assembly; namely, a uniform tariff, the land system, the management of the goldfields, postal communication, intercolonial railways, intercolonial telegraphs, and coast lighthouses. WENTWORTH'S MEMORIAL.- These hints were not lost upon

Wentworth, who was then living in England, and whose farewell words when leaving Australia in 1854 had been :-“Whatever may be my destiny, believe me that my latest prayer shall be for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Australia, and for its rapid expansion into a nation, which shall rule supreme in the southern world.” (Sydney Morning Herald, 21st March, 1854.) He lost no time in showing not only that these words were sincere, but that his convictions of the importance of Australian union were deepening. He prepared a Memorial to Mr. Henry Labouchere, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and also the draft of a short Enabling Bill; and at a meeting of the "General Association for the Australian Colonies," held in London on 31st March, 1857, with Wentworth himself in the chair, the Memorial and the Draft Bill were adopted. For the Memorial and correspondence see Votes and Proe., Leg. Ass. of N.S.W., 1857, i.

The Memorial emphasized the need of a Federal Assembly, and the inconvenience resulting from the want of it, and illustrated the “clumsy contrivances” that had to be resorted to where intercolonial action was necessary. It was “not to be wondered at that a strong feeling of discontent should be growing up among the inhabitants of these colonies; from their being compelled to resort to such indirect, tedious, and illegal expedients in substitution of that federal authority without which their several Constitutions must continue incomplete as regards all measures and undertakings which require the joint action and co-operation of any two or more of them.” It referred to Earl Grey's scheme, to the report of the Constitutional Committee, to Deas-Thomson's recent speech, and to other indications of opinion, and besought the Government to anticipate graver inconveniences by taking action at one. A Federal Assembly could only originate in an Imperial Act of Parliament, which might either constitute such a body directly, or give to the Legislatures of any two or more colonies a permissive power to form a federation themselves. The latter course—the passing of a permissive Act—was what the Memorialists thought "the most desirable, if not the only course which can now be adopted." They expressed the opinion that “a complete equality of representation, as between all the Australian colonies, should be insisted upon, without reference to the extent of their population.” They also suggested that to prevent jealousy the Federal Assembly might, in the first instance, be "perambulatory.”

The Bill which was subjoined, and which contained only five short clauses, was merely an “Enabling Bill,” with a few constitutional outlines thrown in. It empowered any two or more of the Legislatures of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, and Tasmania, to send four persons to form a Convention " for the purpose of creating a Federal Assembly.” The only rules laid down by the Act for the constitution of the Assembly were—(1) that when created it should have power to amend its own constitution; (2) the extent of its legislative powers was defined, practically on the basis of Deas-Thomson's speech; (3) the Federal Assembly should be summoned by the Governor-General (or Senior Governor), and its Acts were to be subject to the Royal assent; (4) the Federal Assembly was to appoint its own president, and fix its own expenses and the salaries of its officers; (5) the necessary expenses were to be apportioned by the Federal Assembly among the several colonies, and were to be provided for by the several Legislatures; (6) any colony which did not join at the outset might afterwards join the Federation, and have the right of sending the same number of representatives as should be fixed for all the other colonies.

It is to be noticed that this Bill, whilst it provided for equal representation in the preliminary Convention, did not expressly bind the Convention to establish equal representation in the Federal Assembly; though the provision as to the representation of colonies which might afterwards join seemed to contemplate equal representation. It is also to be noticed that the Convention was empowered actually to establish a Federal Assembly, without further reference to the Imperial Parliament; and in the constitution of that Assembly it was to have a free hand, subject only to the conditions already mentioned. The use of the term “Federal Assembly” in place of “General Assembly” marks a distinct stage in advance, as showing that the national aspect was becoming more prominent. The scope of the legislative power of the Assembly was also enlarged, being defined to extend to tariffs, lighthouses, gauges of connecting railways, navigation of connecting rivers, intercolonial telegraphs and postage, the upset or minimum price of land, management of the goldfields, coinage, weights and measures, defence, a court of appeal, penal settlements, and any other matter which might be submitted to it. On the other hand it was not to have any power of raising revenue for itself, but was to rely on contributions levied from the Legislatures of the colonies.

This notable scheme met with a discouraging reception from Labouchere, who, in acknowledging the Memorial, admitted the inconvenience arising from the want of means of joint action, but said that after weighing the reasons for and against the scheme, he had "arrived at the decided opinion that Her Majesty's Government would not in reality promote the object of the Memorialists by introducing such a measure as that of which the outlines are given in the

as

Memorial, notwithstanding its purely permissive character." He thought that the colonies would not consent to entrust such large powers to an Assembly thus constituted, or to be bound by federal laws imposing taxation or involving appropriation; and even if they did consent to establish such a system, the result would probably be dissension and discontent. He would not think himself warranted in making such a proposal-merely permissive though it was—unless he were himself satisfied that it was founded on just and constitutional principles, and also that it was likely to be acceptable to the colonies concerned. He promised, however, to send copies of the correspondence to the several Governors, and to give his best attention to any suggestion which he might receive from the colonies in reply; and meantime he hoped that even if a federal scheme should prove impracticable and premature, much might be done by negotiation and concerted legislation.

Under the circumstances, Wentworth could do nothing but express his regret at the delay which the reference to the Governors would cause, and his hope that the reference would be made as soon possible, that the opinions of the several Legislatures might be obtained.

Disappointing as Labouchere's decision may have seemed, the justness of his criticisms can to-day hardly be disputed. There were very slight indications that the colonies asked for a General Assembly at all--merely the reports of a couple of committees, the opinions of one or two statesmen, and some newspaper extracts. And there were no indications at all that the basis outlined in the Bill had any sanction from Australia. Nor is it certain that the colonies would have taken advantage of the Act if passed. In view of the extent to which colonial rights of self-government had already been conceded, postponement for further consideration by the colonies was no more than prudent.

VICTORIAN SELECT COMMITTEE.-- Meanwhile the question of union was already being considered in Australia. In January, 1857, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Charles Gavan Duffy, who had recently arrived in Victoria, obtained the appointment of a Select Committee of the Legislative Assembly of that colony “to enquire into and report upon the necessity of a federal union of the Australasian colonies for legislative purposes, and the best means of accomplishing such an union if necessary.” The Committee held five sittings, at only two of which a quorum was obtained-either from a want of interest in the question, or perhaps, as Mr. Rusden suggests in his History of Australia, from a suspicion that Mr. Duffy, like Dr. Lang, was aiming at a separation from the mother-country. Its report, which is a most interesting one, was not brought up till September. The Committee were unanimous as to the ultimate necessity of a federal union. As to the time of accomplishing it they differed; but they were all agreed that it was “ not too soon to invite a mutual understanding on the subject," and they added that “most of us conceive that the time for union is come.”

On the best means of originating the union they were also unanimous. No single colony ought to dictate the programme of

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