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At the end of the year 1857, the Philosophical Institution took up the question of the exploration of the interior of the Continent, and appointed a committee to inquire into and report upon the subject. In September, 1858, and as soon as it had become known in Victoria that John McDouall Stuart had succeeded in penetrating as far as the centre of Australia, the sum of £1,000 was anonymously offered for the prosecution of exploration, on condition that a further sum of £2,000 was subscribed within a twelvemonth. The amount having been raised within the time specified, the Victorian Parliament supplemented it by a vote of £6,000, and an expedition was organised, under the leadership of Robert O'Hara Burke, with W. J. Wills as surveyor. The promotion of this exploratory scheme was merely a matter of emulation between Victoria and South Australia as to which colony should be first to cross the Continent from sea to sea. The undertaking was planned upon a large scale, and no pains were spared to secure success. The expedition, however, ended in disaster; its leaders-Robert O'Hara Burke, W. J. Wills, and an assistant named Gray—lost their lives. No one can deny the heroism of the men whose lives were sacrificed in this ill-starred undertaking ; but it is admitted that the leaders were not bushinen, and had no experience in exploration. Disunion and disobedience to orders, from the highest to the lowest, brought about the worst results, and all that now remains to tell the story of the failure of the undertaking is a monument to the memory of the explorers, from the chisel of the late Charles Summers, erected on a prominent site in Melbourne. The anxiety of the Exploration Committee of the Royal Society, ind of the Australian public, regarding the fate of Burke and Wills, led to the despatch of several relief expeditions by Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia. That sent out by Victoria was led hy Alfred W. Howitt, a son of William and Mary Howitt, and resulted in the finding of John King, camel-driver to the Burke and Wills expedition, and sole survivor of the four who had crossed the Continent. Howitt was again sent out, shortly after his return with King to Melbourne, to disinter and bring back the bodies of Burke and Wills, which received a public funeral on the 28th December, 1862-one of the most impressive spectacles ever witnessed in the capital of Victoria.

During the seven years in which Sir Henry Barkly held office, some radical changes were made by the Legislature, not only in its own constitution, but also in the laws of the Colony. Manhood suffrage and vote by ballot were instituted, and the property qualification for Members of the Assembly was abolished. Large areas of land were thrown open for selection, the maximum area for each selector being fixed at 640 acres, and State aid to religion was abolished.

In March, 1863, an Intercolonial Conference was held in Melbourne to discuss the existing tariffs and various other matters of intercolonial concern. The suggestion which led to the meeting was

made by Sir Dominic Daly, Governor of South Australia, and delegates from all the colonies, with the exception of Western Australia and Queensland, were present. The reasons urged by those colonies for not sending delegates were, that the former was precluded by its geographical position from entering into any arrangement that the colony would be likely to agree to, and that in the latter no Parliamentary authority had been given for the holding of such a conference.

The Conference discussed the tariff, and questions of a kindred character, including drawbacks and ad valorem duties ; inland intercolonial Customs duties and their distribution; transportation from the United Kingdom to the Australian possessions; a permanent immigration fund, to be provided by Act by each Colony, upon an equitable basis ; improvement of internal rivers in Australia for purposes of navigation and irrigation ; coastal lighthouses, and other maritime questions affecting the shipping interest; fortnightly ocean-postal communication; Anglo-Australian and China telegraph; legal questions, including the law of bankruptcy, of patents, of joint stock companies, of probates and letters of administration ; a Court of Appeal for the Australian Colonies ; and a uniform system of weights and measures. Concerning the tariff and kindred subjects, the following resolutions were passed :—"That the basis of a uniform tariff should be determined for the Australian Colonies, and also for Tasmania; that the ad valorem inode of levying duties upon goods was open to many objections, and that it ought not to be continued ; and that the following tariff be adopted by the Conference :-Spirits (imported), 10s. per gallon ; wine, in wood, 2s. per gallon; in bottle, reputed quarts, 8s. per dozen ; reputed pints, 4s. per dozen ; ale, porter, and beer, in wood, 6d. per gallon ; in bottle, reputed quarts, ls. per dozen ; in bottle, reputed pints, 6d. per dozen ; malt, 6d. per bushel ; hops, 3d. per 1b. ; tobacco, manufactured, 2s. per lb. ; unmanufactured, ls. per lb. ; sheepwash, 3d. per lb. ; cigars and snuff, 4s. per lb. ; tea, 6d. per ib. ; sugar, refined and candy, 7s. per cwt.; unrefined, 5s. 6d. per cwt. ; molasses and treacle, 3s. 6d. per cwt. ; coffee, chicory, cocoa, and chocolate, 3d. per Ib.; opium, manufactured, 20s. per lh. ; unmanufactured, 10s. per lb.; rice, 4s. per cwt. ; dried fruit, nuts, and almonds, 10s. per cwt.; candles, 1d. per lb. ; oils, whether of natural or artificial origin, and fluids used for burning or lighting purposes, 6d. per gallon; and salt, 40s. per ton,” It was further resolved that the members of the Conference should undertake to urge upon their respective Parliaments the adoption of such tariff; that the tariff which had been agreed upon, after the fullest deliberation, ought not to be altered by any one colony, nor until after the proposed alteration should have been considered in a future Conference; and that drawbacks should be allowed on the following articles, viz. : wines, hops, tea, sugar, rice, coffee, chicory, cocoa, and chocolate.

On intercolonial Customs duties and their distribution, it was resolved that Customs duties ought to be paid to the revenues of those colonies by whose population the dutiable articles were consumed ; and that the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia ought to co-operate with each other to secure to each colony the revenue to which it was legally entitled, either by the distribution of the Customs revenues collected by all at stated periods ratably, according to their population, or by some other mode which miglit be considered equitable and practical.

As to transportation, it was resolved that a committee, consisting of Messrs. Cowper, O'Shannassy, Meredith, and Blyth, should prepare an address to Her Majesty, which address was afterwards adopted. It set forth that the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the subject of transportation had caused apprehensions in the ininds of the inhabitants of the Australian Colonies lest some portion of their territory might be selected as a site for a new penal settlement. The address, after reviewing the experience of the colonies, protested against the system, and implored Her Majesty to refuse her sanction to any proposal for reviving transportation to any part of her Australian possessions. It was further resolved that four copies of the address should be engrossed, for transmission to Her Majesty severally by the Governors of the colonies represented.

As to immigration, it was resolved that it was of the highest importance to the prosperity and future greatness of Australia that a healthy How of immigration should be encouraged and promoted, chiefly from the United Kingdom ; and that, in pursuance of a common interest, the Legislatures should severally make provision (as had been done by some) for permanent legal appropriation, so that they might accomplish this object. Further, that the decision arrived at with regard to any alteration in the tariff should apply with equal force to that affecting the immigration policy.

As to improvements to the rivers in the interior, it was resolved that the obligation of carrying into effect the necessary works for rendering navigable the great rivers of the interior should primarily devolve upon the l'espective Governments having jurisdiction over those rivers.

As to lighthouses and maritime objects, it was resolved that legislative action should be taken by the colonies represented, to prohibit vessels proceeding to sea from any port in the colonies unless under the command of masters holding certificates of competency. It was also resolved to make provision for granting certificates by competent authority, to ensure necessary qualifications; and to make uniform provision upon the subjects of salvage, buoyage, and the management of lifeboats. Further, that the system of maintaining coast lighthouses should be reconsidered, and that a joint commission should be appointed to consider and report generally upon the entire subject.

As to fortnightly postal communication with England, it was resolved that it was inexpedient, in the present state of the question, to consider the proposal for the adoption of a fortnightly postal service with the United Kingdom vid Suez.

As to electric telegraph communication with England, it was resolved that it was not then expedient to discuss the proposals brought under consideration with reference to the projected Anglo-Australian, Indian, and China Electric Telegraph.

As to legal questions, it was resolved, inter alia, that it was desirable that the bankruptcy laws should be assimilated; and that a uniform system of weights and measures should prevail throughout the Australian Colonies.

Sir Henry Barkly's successor was Sir Charles H. Darling, who governed Victoria during an exceedingly troubled and contentious administration--from 1863 to 1866. The interval between these years represents a period of angry and protracted conflict between the partisans of the opposed fiscal policies of Protection and Freetrade. The cause of the former was espoused by a large majority of the people and of the Legislative Assembly, while that of the latter found vehement adherents in a large, influential, and wealthy minority of the inhabitants of the Colony and in the Legislative Council. Bill imposing numerous Customs duties of a protective character passed the Lower House, and was rejected by the Up

pper.

The measure was then tacked on to the Appropriation Bill, and the Council again threw it out. The Government then proceeded to collect the duties on the authority of the Lower Chamber alone; and, as funds were not available for the payment of the Public Service, the Governor gave his approval, and the Executive Council borrowed money from one of the banks, confessing judgment as soon as the loan reached £40,000. The Supreme Court of the Colony pronounced the collection of Customs duties on a mere resolution of the Legislative Assembly to be illegal ; and, in another session, the Tariff Bill, severed from the Appropriation Bill, was again passed by the Lower House, and again the Council threw it out. This was followed by a dissolution, and the new Legislative Assembly contained fifty-eight Protectionists to twenty Freetraders; and a third time the measure was passed, and a third time rejected by the Council. The Ministry had no option but to resign, upon which the leader of the Opposition, Mr. Fellows, formed an Administration, but Sir Charles Darling would neither see the Chief Secretary nor grant him a dissolution. Meanwhile the salaries and wages of every person in Government service had fallen into ten weeks arrears. Then Sir James McCulloch, the late Chief Secretary, returned to office, and a third session of Parliament was held in which the Tariff Bill was passed in all its stages, and sent up to the Council with a preamble asserting the absolute and exclusive right of the Legislative Assembly to grant supplies. The Upper House objected to this, as being inconsistent with the letter, as well as the spirit of the Constitution Act, and a conference was agreed upon ; and the obnoxious portions of the preamble having been withdrawn, the measure passed through all its stages, as did also the Supply Bill, and the deadlock was removed. The conclusion of the crisis was precipitated by the recall of the Governor, on the ground that he had not maintained that strict neutrality during the political crisis which, as a constitutional administrator, it was incumbent on him to observe. His departure was made the occasion, on the part of his political friends, of a great public demonstration. Subsequently, also, the Legislative Assembly voted £20,000 of the public money to Lady Darling, as a solatium for her husband's recall. The Bill for the appropriation of what is historically known as the "Lady Darling Grant" did not, however, meet with the approval of the Upper House. A futile attempt was made by the Assembly to force the measure through the Upper House by means of a “tack," and this brought about another deadlock. Au this juncturé, news arrived from England of the death of the late Governor; and on the motion of Mr. Fellows, an annuity was voted to Lady Darling, all parties generously concurring, and thus averting a second crisis in the political conflict, the course of which was coeval with Sir Charles Darling's sojourn in the colony.

The Right Hon. J. H. T. Manners-Sutton (afterwards, by the death of his father, Viscount Canterbury) assumed the reins of Government on the 13th August, 1866, and held office until the 2nd March, 1873. During his term of administration there were no less than six changes of Ministry in less than seven years; but these do not seem to have affected the general prosperity of the colony. The fiscal policy of the country had been settled ; there was a subsidence in the fury of party warfare ; the revenue was on the ascendant grade ; manufacturing enterprise experienced great expansion ; the railway system of the province was being steadily developed, and things trended on the whole towards progress.

In the months of June and July, 1870, an Intercolonial Conference met in Melbourne, at which representatives from the colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia were present. The most important questions considered by the Conference, as set forth in the Report, were :-A free interchange of the natural products and manufactures of the respective Colonies, a uniform tariff, a Custom's Union, and a distribution of the revenue derived therefrom upon the basis of population. The delegates from the different colonies were, however, unable to fix a basis of agreement with regard to a list of articles involving freetrade on the one hand, and discriminating duties on the other; though they were in perfect accord upon several other questions of considerable importance. Despatches from the Imperial Government having intimated the intended withdrawal of the troops stationed in Australia, the Conference took into consideration the course to be pursued under the altered circumstances in which the colonies were about to be placed, and it

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