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3. CHAPTER III

VISIT TO AMERICA AND EUROPE—SAN FRANCISCO, ITS HOSPITALITY— ALBANY—NEW YORK—PRESIDENT ARTHUR IN SOCIETY AND AT THE WHITE HOUSE—GENERAL GRANT AS A SPEAKER—WASHINGTON FESTIVITIES—ENGLISH INVITATIONS WHILE IN AMERICA; ONE FROM THE POET TENNYSON—ARRIVAL IN ENGLAND—MR. GLADSTONE, MR. BRIGHT, LORD GRANVILLE, THE PRINCE OF WALES, AND OTHER PUBLIC PERSONAGES—THE ROYAL ACADEMY DINNER—TRIP TO THE CONTINENT—THE KING AND QUEEN OF THE BELGIANS—FROM BRUSSELS TO BERLIN—LUNCHEON WITH THE CROWN PRINCE AND THE CROWN PRINCESS AT POTSDAM—RETURN TO LONDON—AT BUCKINGHAM PALACE—A PRIME MINISTER'S ABSENCE FROM HIS POST.

IN the latter part of 1881 I was overtaken by a serious illness which rendered it necessary, on the advice of two medical men, Dr. Fischer and Sir Alfred Roberts, that I should seek an entire change. Parliament was prorogued on December 20, after the despatch of a large mass of business, including the constitutional provision for the Government services during the financial year of 1882. The Administration had entered upon the fourth year of its existence.

Under these circumstances I started on a journey to America and Europe, apparently with the unanimous consent of Parliament and the goodwill of the people. The two Houses gave me a farewell banquet, and the citizens, under the presidency of the Mayor, gave me


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another; and I heard no expression of dissent in any quarter.

I left Sydney with my daughter on December 29, 1881, in the Royal Mail steamship Australia commanded by Captain Cargill. The voyage was pleasant and without any noteworthy incident. We called at Auckland and at Honolulu, and, between these places, the weather being fine, we loitered with slackened steam at Samoa for three or four hours, where the natives came on board in large numbers for purposes of curiosity and trade. Most of them, both male and female, swam off to the vessel. Nearly every passenger purchased some article—fan, basket, or mat—of native manufacture, and our brief stay was full of varied interest. We entered the Golden Gate early on the night of January 24, and anchored off the lights of San Francisco at midnight.

I had no suspicion of the welcome that awaited me, or that I should be treated other than as a stranger. My notions of the city of San Francisco were not very favourable, and I decided not to leave the ship until the morning. I was preparing for bed when a deputation came on board to take me on shore. I, however, adhered to my decision to remain on the ship. In the morning my new friends came back and drove me to the Palace Hotel, where the suite of rooms which had lately been occupied by General Grant were secured for me. I was surprised to find myself treated as a person of importance. My name appeared to be well known as that of one holding a high place in the public life of Australia. But in addition to this supposed


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claim to public notice, I was recognised as the originator of the Trans-Pacific Steamship Service, and it soon became known that I had authority from the Governments of Victoria, Queensland, and New Zealand to open negotiations with the authorities at Washington for the repeal or reduction of the duties on Australian wool. Nothing could well exceed the hospitality of my entertainers, which was extended to Miss Parkes equally with myself. Every forenoon during our stay a carriage was at the hotel door to drive us out, and visits to all interesting localities were arranged for us. Of course we were taken to see the sea lions, and General McDowell organised an excursion to show us round the harbour. Every evening we were entertained in some private family or taken to the theatre. We were told that we should be franked across the Continent to New York, but nothing was said beyond these simple words. When the day of our departure arrived, and we reached the railway station, I was astonished to find that a Directors' carriage had been attached to the train for our convenience. To enable those who have not travelled in America to understand what a ‘Directors’ carriage' is, I will briefly describe ours. We entered a beautifully furnished drawing-room heated by steam tubes (it was the depth of winter); a passage led from this to a spacious dining-room; off the passage were two bedrooms, each containing a double bed and every convenience. Beyond the dining-room was the kitchen and scullery. There were a first-class cook and waiter appointed to the carriage, and the table was served with as much


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ceremony and as choice provision as we should look for in a leading hotel in London or Paris. By some arrangement between the Companies we were permitted to connect our carriage to any train, which enabled us to make stoppages to suit our pleasure or convenience. Hence we broke the long trans-continental journey by a delay of two days at Chicago and similar stoppages at Niagara and Albany. A deputation of two gentlemen accompanied us from San Francisco to Council Bluffs, who anticipated all our little wants on the way, and paid us every polite attention; at this point we were met by another deputation from New York.

At Albany, the capital of New York State, the Legislature had just assembled, and Governor Carnell invited me to his dinner to members of the two Houses which happened to take place on the evening of my arrival. The streets were covered with several inches of frozen snow, and the Governor placed his sleigh at our service during our short stay. We had two or three drives round the city, and we visited both the House and the Senate while sitting. A member of the Senate was in the midst of an animated speech, indulging in much action, when the Speaker's bell or hammer (I forget which) signified that his time was up; and he dropped into his seat with an unfinished sentence on his lips. It was something quite new to me, but with my recollections of long-winded oratory fresh upon me, the practice seemed to present itself in attractive guise. I met Mr. Carnell afterwards in New York, and he struck me as a man of great capability and much reserved force of character. It is no part of my purpose


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to indulge in descriptions of places or of natural scenery, or I could occupy many pages upon the features of this, to me, memorable journey.

While in San Francisco the officers of the State troops had desired me to hold a Reception to enable them to be presented to me. They attended in full force, and afterwards gave a champagne supper, the military band playing in the courtyard of the hotel all the evening and concluding with ‘God save the Queen.’ Soon after leaving the city of the golden gate, I had received an invitation to dine with the members of the Lotos Club in New York, and another invitation to address the members of the Chamber of Commerce on Australian interests. So that I arrived in New York with my hands to some extent already engaged.

I was driven direct to the Windsor, where a suite of rooms was prepared for myself and Miss Parkes. The Mayor, several members of Congress, leading members of the mercantile community and of the learned professions, with their wives, called upon us during the first couple of days; and invitations to dinners and evening parties flowed in upon us in a rapid stream. One of my earliest dinners was at Washington, given by Mr. Justice Field, to celebrate the birthday of his brother, the distinguished jurist, Mr. David Dudley Field, whose acquaintance I had formed in Sydney some years before. My deep respect for Mr. Dudley Field led me to undertake the long journey in acceptance of this invitation, making the occasion contributory in some measure to a more extended visit intended to be made a little later, for the purpose of


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opening negotiations with the Government on the subjects of the Trans-Pacific Steam Service and the duties on Australian wool. Standing in Mr. Field's drawing-room, I noticed a tall, portly gentleman in plain evening dress enter and engage in conversation with gentlemen near the door. ‘Who is that?’ I enquired of some one. ‘Don't you know?’ was the reply; ‘that's the President.’ ‘The President of what?’ I involuntarily asked. ‘The President of the United States,’ was the quiet answer. Looking back at the incidents over the waste of ten years, I do not think my mind had actually formed a conception of the elective Sovereign of 60,000,000 of people, when General Arthur came up to me, and I was introduced to him. At dinner the President sat on the right of the chair, and I sat next but one to him, and I had some snatches of conversation with him during the evening, and I met President Arthur several times afterwards, and again in New York in 1883. On this last occasion he had come from Washington to act as pall-bearer at the funeral of an old friend connected with the public press. He had rooms in the Fifth Avenue Hotel, not even on the first floor. There was no sentinel at his door, nor even a liveried messenger to announce visitors. He came out into the waiting-room to see me, the Secretary of State, Mr. Frelinghuysen being with him. A diplomatic body from the Morea were waiting to obtain an audience, and he personally named a later hour to see me when he had ‘fixed up’ the diplomats. We needn't go to monarchical England for a contrast to the simplicity of the court of Arthur as I saw it in New York. I had


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been present at a review of the Connecticut troops when the Governor of that little State appeared on the scene in full uniform and mounted, with two stylish equerries in attendance. Speaking of this review, there was present an African regiment which appeared to be equal in step and drill to the white contingents. At Mr. Justice Stephen's dinner I became acquainted with Chief Justice Waite, Mr. Stanley Matthews, Associate Justice, and other celebrities.

The New York Chamber of Commerce has been in existence 123 years. My invitation was in the following form:

Sir Henry Parkes, Prime Minister, &c. &c.

Chamber of Commerce, New York,

February 3, 1882.

Sir,—I have the honour to hand you the enclosed preamble and resolution unanimously adopted by this Chamber, at its monthly meeting held yesterday.

With great respect,

Your obedient servant,

GEORGE WILSON, Secretary.

Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York.

Founded A.D. 1768.

New York.

At the monthly meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, held February 2, 1882, the following preamble and resolution, offered by Mr. Cyrus W. Field, and seconded by Mr. James M. Brown, were unanimously adopted:

Whereas, Sir Henry Parkes, of Sydney, New South Wales, and Prime Minister of that Colony, is now on a visit to this country, and is expected in this city on the 15th instant, and

Whereas, the cultivation of friendly relations and commercial


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intercourse with the colonies of Australia is a matter of public concern—therefore

Resolved, that Sir Henry be requested to meet this Chamber on the 15th instant, at 1 P.M., to enable its members to pay their respects to him, and to enable him to give to them such information in respect to the relations of Australia with this country as he may think interesting to them.

(A true copy) GEORGE WILSON, Secretary.

On presenting myself I was warmly welcomed by the President and other members, and after an interchange of views on some prominent questions, I addressed the Chamber for about an hour. I pointed out the principal conditions of the Australasian system and its relations to other parts of the world, giving such facts as seemed necessary to show the progress of settlement, the growth of industries, the volume of trade, the social and educational state of the population, and the probabilities of the future. I then described the limits of New South Wales, its condition and its prospects, dwelling upon the advantages of regular communication with the United States and the sound policy of removing the import duties on the fine wools of Australia which went so largely into the woollen manufactures of America. My speech appeared to be well received, and application was afterwards made to me for permission to publish it; but as I had spoken without notes, I had myself to be content with the newspaper reports. I afterwards, on invitation, visited Boston, where I spoke on the same subjects to large audiences.

On February 18 I was the guest of the Lotos Club. Considerably over one hundred members were present,


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and the chair was occupied by Hon. T. Jefferson Coolidge, at the present time His Excellency the American Minister at Paris. As explained to me, the gathering included the great journalists, the artists and musicians, many of the leading members of the professions, and was altogether thoroughly representative. In reply to the toast of my health I spoke amidst much cheering for nearly an hour. I thought it best to take up a bold position. After dwelling upon the vast strides which the great Commonwealth was taking in wealth, science, and material prosperity, I ventured to warn Americans against the danger of losing sight of the stern maxims of the founders of the Union. I then passed on to the ties between England and her noble offspring, and expressed the hope, amidst loud cheering, that they might grow stronger and closer, under the nurturing influence of justice and peace and kindred aspirations. When I sat down the whole company sprang to their feet and sang the National Anthem of the old country, and they sang it as I had never heard it sung before. There was a spontaneity and a genuine warmth in their popular rendering of ‘God save the Queen’ which made it abundantly clear how these American hearts beat towards England and their scattered kin in England's colonies. During my stay in America I had several opportunities of learning the sentiments of influential citizens in their private intercourse on international subjects. One leading merchant, the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in a large city, expressed himself as strongly attached to the principles of the British Government, and was eloquent in his admiration of


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Queen Victoria; and in other instances I heard similar feelings earnestly expressed. A great lawyer with a world-wide reputation frequently gave utterance to his belief that the English-speaking peoples throughout the world would yet come together in the peace-interwoven bonds of one grand empire. Among no class did I ever hear a word of hostility to England; but then I did not come in contact with the class known chiefly for its anti-British hatred.

I was entertained at the palatial offices of the Equitable Insurance Company, where the gathering included ex-President Grant, Councillor Depew, and many distinguished men. General Grant, who sat next to me, had occasion to speak, I think in reply to the toast of his own health. I was very curious, as his fame had reached me as that of a silent man. He did not rise from his seat, but spoke for six or seven minutes with quiet fluency, and in clear finely-cut sentences of common sense, making a complimentary reference to Australia and to myself. The company seemed delighted and cheered the General very warmly. Afterwards I went down in the same lift with the great soldier and statesman; a little news-boy with a bundle of papers under his arm squeezed rudely up against him, but the ‘Saviour of the Nation,’ with the faintest break of a smile on his face, puffed away at his cigar. ‘I am only a simple citizen like the rest,’ he had said to me an hour ago. A day or two later I sent him some papers about Australia, and received in acknowledgment the following letter:




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New York City, February 16, 1882.

Dear Sir,—Please accept my thanks for the volumes you have been kind enough to send me by the bearer of this note. I accept also the inscription which you have been so kind as to write in one of those volumes, and will preserve it in memory of Sir Henry Parkes, and my first meeting with the first official of the new empire springing up in the Southern Hemisphere. I hope our first meeting will not be the last, and that you will live to see the development which New South Wales and all of Australia is so abundantly capable of.

With great respect,

Very truly yours,

U. S. GRANT.

The Hon. Sir Henry Parkes.

Dinners were given to me at several of the clubs and by private citizens in New York, among others by Mr. Henry Day, an eminent lawyer, and by Dr. Hammond, who had held a distinguished post on the Medical Staff of the Federal Army. I met at these hospitable tables Mr. Hamilton Fish, formerly Secretary of State, General McClellan, Mr. John J. Astor, Mr. Evarts, late Secretary of State, General J. R. Hawley, Mr. George W. Childs of Philadelphia, Mr. Jay Gould, Mr. Vanderbilt, and many others.

I made my second visit to Washington late in February, being specially introduced to Colonel Berret, on whom I relied for advice and information, and to whose courtesy and attention I was much indebted. Miss Parkes accompanied me on this journey. We stayed a day at Philadelphia, on the way, to dine with the Hon. John Welsh, where among many eminent persons we met Professor Francis Wharton, LL.D., and


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several Judges of the Supreme Court. I had letters to the English Minister, Mr. Lionel S. Sackville-West (now Lord Sackville), who showed both my daughter and myself the utmost courtesy. The Minister took me to the Department of State, and in the absence of Mr. Frelinghuysen, introduced me to the influential Under Secretary, Mr. Bancroft Davis, who, I was assured, was the Department. I suspect this conventional repute was merely a compliment to Mr. Davis's great ability and experience in dealing with the business of the vast Department. I found Mr. Bancroft Davis a gentleman exceedingly agreeable, who evidently possessed a large knowledge of public affairs. We spoke very fully on the two questions with which I was principally charged—the maintenance of mail communication by a direct line of steamships between Australia and the United States, and the American import duties on Australian wools, and he appeared to me, as did indeed the Secretary of State, whom I afterwards saw, to view both subjects with a frank and open mind, certainly with no adverse prepossessions. I had many interviews with members of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the questions so much occupying my mind, and I was surprised to find the large number who not only took a deep enquiring interest in Australian progress, but who evinced a distinct leaning to the policy of free trade. A member of the House took my copy of the current number of the ‘Congressional Record,’ and marked the names of those who held these views, and the extent of the list much surprised me. At an evening party given by the Secretary of State and Mrs.


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Frelinghuysen, I met General Sherman, General Sheridan, and other heroes on both sides of the great Civil War. I well remember General J. T. Morgan, of Alabama, and his wife and daughters, who called upon us at our hotel the following day. The General had bravely fought in the Confederate cause, but his conversation afforded abundant evidence of the genuineness of the reconciliation which had followed in the terrible path of the war. Among others to whom my gratitude is due for civilities during our pleasant days at Washington, I must not omit the name of the Honourable George B. Loring, the Minister for Agriculture. Mr. Loring spared no pains to make me acquainted with the organisation and ramifications of his instructive department, and I gathered from him much valuable information.

I was taken to the White House by Colonel Berret, who was an old personal friend of the President's. We passed on unquestioned until we reached the reception room of the President, which we entered without ceremony. It was early, and General Arthur had not come. At the end of the room there was a group of three or four men in energetic conversation; on a sofa opposite to us were seated two ladies in morning dress, and the third was on her feet in lively chat, the three being in open possession of sketching materials; wandering about the room was an old couple in countryfied habiliments, with an awkward-looking lad about twelve years of age. ‘Who are those gentlemen?’ I enquired of my companion. ‘Oh,’ said he, ‘that showy-looking one is a congressman; the others


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some of his constituents who want a job done. ‘Well,’ I again enquired, ‘who are the ladies?’ The answer was, ‘They are some ladies who want to draw the President's portrait.’ ‘Who are the old people and boy?’ I asked. ‘They are only some country people,’ he replied, ‘who want to shake hands with the President.’ General Arthur came in quite unannounced: he instantly recognised me from meeting me at Mr. Field's dinner, and shook hands very cordially. We conversed for some minutes on the topics of the day, when I asked for an appointment to introduce my special business in connection with Australia. I happened to say that I should not need more than twenty minutes of his time. ‘Twenty minutes!’ he exclaimed; ‘why, I have not had twenty minutes to call my own since I came here.’ He appointed four o'clock in the afternoon for me to see him again. I went back to the White House punctually, but President Arthur's room was more crowded than it was in the morning. I saw him a day or two afterwards, and fully explained the object of my mission to Washington.

We proceeded from Washington by way of New York to Boston. From this city I had received the following invitation, and we had friends in the Brookline quarter who had invited us to make their house our home:—

Merchants Association, Boston,

February 14, 1882.

Sir Henry Parkes.

Dear Sir,—I do not know if you propose to visit Boston, but I can assure you that this is the centre of the wool trade. Boston's market is the largest in the country; here are the


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largest mills, corporation offices, &c. Concluding that you will come here, and hoping that it may be convenient, I herewith send you a cordial invitation to be present at the next monthly dinner of the Association, which will take place on Saturday, February 25. Any address that you would make then would be fully reported, and would attract, I assure you, the attention of the men you most desire to reach. The membership of the Association is composed of the commission houses in dry goods, woollens, clothing manufacturers, wool dealers, &c., and a great many mills are represented. On behalf of the committee I can guarantee you a cordial reception and an influential audience.

Hoping that you will arrange so as to be present, and requesting a reply at your earliest convenience,

I am, with much respect,

Your obedient servant,

HERBERT RADCLYFFE.

Chamber of Commerce.

I arrived in sufficient time to dine with the Boston Merchants' Association on February 25. The card for the dinner announced, ‘The subject for consideration, after the eatables, will be American trade with Australasia.’ There was a large assemblage of mercantile men, and the proceedings were marked by evidences of much public spirit and enterprising intelligence. I spoke for nearly an hour, advocating the removal of the import duties on Australian wool, and the sound policy of supporting the line of steam communication already established between San Francisco and Sydney. I dwelt upon the advantages which America derived from the Trans-Pacific Mail Service, which was maintained by a subsidy to which she did not contribute a single dollar; and then passing on to the subject of the duties, I pointed out that while New South Wales


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in particular threw her ports open to the products of the United States, she imposed heavy duties on the admission of Australian wool, which was indispensable to the manufacture of her finest woollen fabrics. The large and influential gathering appeared to be in unison with the views I endeavoured to enforce. During my visit to Boston I had many conversations with gentlemen interested in the Australian wool trade, as the gentleman in whose charming house I stayed was a large importer of our finest staples, and introduced me to many of his friends.

While in Boston I visited Cambridge and the Harvard University, and with many others looked anxiously at the house of Longfellow, where the poet was lying on what proved to be his deathbed. I had a letter of introduction to Mr. Longfellow, and, not knowing at that time the serious character of his illness, I sent my letter to the old English-looking house, and received in acknowledgment a note in a lady's handwriting, and signed by the poet, regretting that under the injunction of his medical attendants he could not see me. The signature must have been among his latest. The poet died on March 24.

No one gave up more of his time to Miss Parkes and myself while we were in America than Sir Roderick W. Cameron (whose acquaintance I had formed in Sydney) and members of his family. Sir Roderick was the pleasant medium of many introductions, and his personal knowledge of Australia and intelligent interest in her progress were of much use to us. We naturally lost much by the hurry we were always in. In Canada


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for example, our visit was straight to Ottawa and back. I should have much liked to have seen something of Ontario, which appeared to possess so many features in common with New South Wales, and the following letter from the Governor, addressed to Sir Roderick Cameron, shows that my visit would not have been unwelcome:—

Government House, Toronto,

February 14, 1882.

My dear Cameron,—As in all probability you will meet with Sir Henry Parkes (Premier of New South Wales) pray tell him how sorry we all were in Toronto, that passing so near to our city he failed to pay us a visit.

Our Legislature here is in Session, as is the House of Commons in Ottawa, and from the very prominent part he has taken in the legislation and government of New South Wales, a visit to these Parliaments might interest him. Did I know his address in the States, I should write him myself, but if you do see him, tell him how glad I would be to welcome him to Government House, where, after remaining for some time, he might go on to Ottawa and enjoy himself there.

I remain,

Very faithfully yours,

JOHN BEVERLY ROBINSON.

We went to Ottawa on the invitation of the Marquis of Lorne, and were his guests for three or four days. The Dominion Parliament was in Session, and Lord Lorne invited Sir John and Lady Macdonald and other leading men and their wives to a dinner and evening party to meet us. But beyond two or three visits to the House of Commons, and inspections, with the Governor-General, of schools and public institutions in the city, we were denied, by our limited time, the


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advantage of learning much of the country. To add to our disadvantage the ground was covered with a thawing snow. We could not even stop a few hours to look at Montreal.

On returning to New York we had to prepare for our trip across the Atlantic. Our passages were engaged on the White Star steamship Germanic commanded by C. W. Kennedy, Esq. We had a large number of passengers, and the voyage on the whole was favourable. Captain Kennedy, with whom I travelled again from Liverpool to New York in 1884, was as fine a specimen of the true British sailor as I ever met.

I arrived in Liverpool on March 20. Sir Saul Samuel and Mr. Sheriff Ogg were there to meet me. On the following morning I proceeded with them to London. The country all the way looked charming, and the neatly-kept fields and winding lanes, the comfortable farmhouses and country mansions, presented a picture of new delight to the inexperienced eyes of my Australian daughter. Mr. Ogg, an Australian merchant, whose house became the home of Miss Parkes and myself in London, had lately been chosen one of the sheriffs. His hospitality during our stay in England was unbounded. If I dwell briefly on the reception I met with, I trust I shall be credited with the desire of showing the cordial recognition of the importance of the land I was supposed to represent, and not with that of recording the respect paid to me personally. Before I left America I received several invitations to


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dinner in London and a flattering invitation to Farringford from the Poet Laureate. Two days after my arrival I was entertained by Sir Daniel Cooper, who had invited to meet me, the Earl of Kimberley, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, the Duke of Manchester, the Marquis of Tweeddale, Sir Archibald Alison, Sir Lintorn Simmons, Sir Alexander Galt, Mr. Chenery, editor of the ‘Times,’ and a number of other distinguished men. During the next several weeks I was the principal guest at many similar dinners, given among others by Mr. Gladstone, the Earl Granville, the Earl of Carnarvon, Lord Sherbrooke, and the Lord Mayor. I first met Mr. Gladstone at Lord Sherbrooke's. When leaving Sydney I obtained some letters of introduction from the Governor, Lord Augustus Loftus, one of which was addressed to Mr. Gladstone. I sent this letter through the post and received an acknowledgment from the Prime Minister's private secretary, from which I quote the following: ‘Mr. Gladstone is obliged to you for forwarding to him Lord Augustus Loftus's note, though any letter of introduction regarding yourself was not necessary. I am to say that Mr. Gladstone hopes during this very week, notwithstanding the extremely busy nature of it, to have the pleasure of seeing you next Friday evening at Lord Sherbrooke's.’ I met Mr. Gladstone accordingly on the sixth day from my landing at Liverpool, and, as Lord Sherbrooke told me afterwards, he placed me on the right of the great statesman to enable us to engage in conversation. We talked for nearly two hours, chiefly on Australian topics, and I recollect very


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vividly his animated enquiry as to whether many of the young men of the country entered the Church. I had the privilege of conversation with Mr. Gladstone several times afterwards in different places, one of which was his official residence in Downing Street, where I was received at dinner and, before leaving England, at breakfast. At Mr. Gladstone's I met the Duc d'Orleans, Mr. Henry Irving, Dean Church, Viscount Baring, Sir Thomas Acland, Mr. E. Lyulph Stanley, and others.

I think I may say that I never lost an occasion where I could serve the cause of Australia in the many public situations in which I found myself. I believe the dinner of the year next in importance to that of the Royal Academy is the great dinner of the Institution of the Civil Engineers. This dinner took place at Willis's Rooms on April 1. Among the numerous guests were the Duke of Cambridge, Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, Lord Bramwell, the Earl of Derby, Sir Hardinge Giffard, Sir Astley Cooper Key, the Earl of Northbrook, Earl Percy, Count Bylandt, Sir Frederick Campbell, and many celebrated men. Lord Armstrong was in the chair, and among the great engineers present were, Sir John Hawkshaw, Dr. Siemens, Sir John Fowler, Sir J. W Bazalgette, and Sir Andrew Clarke. I was set down to respond to the toast of ‘The Colonies,’ and delivered the following short speech:—

The manner in which this toast has been proposed, and the cordial manner in which this distinguished company has received it, go far to fill me with fear that I shall very inadequately respond to-night for the colonies. But the toast


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means the prosperity of some eight millions of men and women who are just as much the subjects of their Sovereign as any men or women living within these shores. The gentleman who proposed this toast said, if I caught his words correctly, that the colonies were doing much to prepare themselves for their inheritance of self-government when the day arrived for them to receive it. We have lived under the delusion for nearly thirty years that we possessed self-government. At all events we have exercised all the rights and privileges which self-government confers. Out of the eight million colonists, at least seven millions of us are as free to govern ourselves as the people of England are free; and certainly there are no braver, no truer, no more loyal subjects of the Queen than the men and women who inhabit our colonies. I can say little for the great countries forming the Dominion of Canada. I have visited Canada, but have only been able to take a glance at that country under circumstances not very favourable to observation. I know nothing practically of the colonies of Africa, and am not sorry personally that I know little of them. The colonies with which I am familiar by forty years of experience are the six colonies forming Australia, and I venture to say in this great and intelligent company that in Australia the British race have before them an experiment in working out British institutions under circumstances more favourable than in any other part of Her Majesty's dominions. We are removed from all possible hostility from other nations. We live on a rich and capable soil, varying so much as to be capable of producing everything which Europe can produce, and almost everything of tropical growth. And we live in a climate favourable to the advance of our race and favourable to the long continuance of life. We can have no enemies if we are wise enough to be peaceable amongst ourselves. We are free from all the errors of the older civilised states of the world, while we have just as much as you possess of the rich inheritance of all scientific achievements and literary performances—in one word, the inheritance of all the glories and all the learning of the old land from which we have sprung. We have


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now planted—with the consent, I presume, of all portions of the Empire—free institutions amongst us, and we have all the advantages to which I have briefly adverted to guide us in the right use of those institutions; and whatever dim stories may reach the ears of Englishmen, we are anxious to preserve the true spirit of those institutions, and to unite ourselves firmly and permanently to the old land which we hold in so much reverence. But I venture to say here before distinguished members of Her Majesty's Ministry, and before other distinguished men who may be in their place in a short time, that the more we are left alone the more closely we shall cling to our august mother; that the softer the cords the stronger will be the union between us and the parent country. I for one have no anticipation of the day when there will be any desire for change amongst us from the position we now occupy as part of the grand old Empire which I believe is destined to carry freedom to all parts of the habitable globe. I would like to say one word more pertinent to the special character of this great gathering. Australia is a vast and as yet an almost untried field for the labours, the enterprise, and the triumphs of engineering genius. Our harbours have to be made, so far as artificial means are necessary, to fit them for commercial purposes. Our rivers have to be spanned with bridges, our vast territory has to be pierced with railways, our coasts to be lighted, and in some places to be guarded from the ravages of the ocean. In every direction there are rich fields for the Civil Engineers of England, and if this is the first time that the toast of ‘The Colonies’ has been proposed at your annual meeting, I can see no reason why it should be the last. It seems to me that if any special class of Englishmen have an interest in the outlying portions of the Empire which are called the Colonies, it must be the Civil Engineers of England. It seems to me that on an occasion of this kind the toast is singularly appropriate. I shall not detain you longer on behalf of the Colonies, especially of those which I may, perhaps, be permitted to say I fairly represent. I thank you most sincerely for the manner in which you have recognised their importance.


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One word only in addition. The next very few years, the next decade, will give to that group of Australian colonies an importance, an attitude of national grandeur, which will surprise England, and will surprise the world. Their growth will be amazing, but, as I have already intimated, I for one firmly believe that the great desire is that that growth should be in union with the Empire.

On April 28 I received a complimentary banquet at Willis's Rooms, which was described as ‘one of the most brilliant colonial gatherings ever held in London’; about 250 gentlemen were present, including representatives from nearly every part of the Empire. His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh occupied the chair, and was supported by the Earl of Kimberley, Viscount Sherbrooke, the Lord Mayor (Sir J. W. Ellis), Sir John Rose, Sir Donald Currie, Sir Henry Barkly, and a large number of members of the House of Commons. I give my speech in full as reported. One passage in it gave rise to some carping criticisms at the time; but writing ten years afterwards (1892) I adhere to the sound sense of the words: ‘No mistake can be greater than for Englishmen who stay at home to think that they can instruct the colonies in the work of colonisation.’ Lord Kimberley, who followed me, offered a kind of mock apology for appearing as ‘a representative of a used-up old country’; but I cannot admit that there was anything in my words to justify his lordship's unreasonable taunt. Neither then nor at any time had I attempted to undervalue the greatness of the mother-country. But there are no professors of the axe and spade in the noble work of preparing the untrodden wilderness for the habitation


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of man. Those who accomplish the work must devise the methods for themselves in the midst of the toil. And the maxim applies not only to the new conditions in the physical world, but to every step in the untracked path of Empire in laying the foundations of the future nation.

Your Royal Highness, my lords and gentlemen,—I suppose there is no human life so desolate but that to the sense or the memory it possesses riches far more precious than gold or silver. My life has certainly not been amongst the most sunny or the most tranquil. I say nothing of the burden of labour, for labour is a source of pleasurable satisfaction. Nor do I speak of the trials or difficulties, because they are necessary to test the stuff of which men are made. But my life has been chequered by great mistakes, and by false estimates of men and things, which I do not wish to forget, and which I only remember with many bitternesses of feeling. It is, then, no wonder that this great welcome at your hands to-night almost unnerves me. Conflicting memories crowd upon me; I am reminded of responsibilities and duties unfulfilled, and altogether I am overpowered by what to me a month ago was a most unexpected warmth of welcome in this great city of London. Admitting, then, that my services, whatever they may have been, have not been perfect, I think I may interpret this splendid recognition of those services as implying that, after that winnowing which keen observation and adverse criticism apply to a public life, there is sufficient grain to justify the reception which you have so cordially awarded me. His Royal Highness has been good enough to remind you of a time which, of course, is present to my mind to-night. There is sitting on my right a distinguished statesman who formed my acquaintance I do not know how many years ago—I should not like to tell even this company—but when I was an unknown and struggling young man; and perhaps I may be permitted for a moment to tell you, what I am sure will not be disagreeable to Lord Sherbrooke,


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and will be new to some colonists, that the first real constitutional battle fought in Australia was fought in Lord Sherbrooke's person. It was this, and you will appreciate it when I explain it. In our infant representative system the people of Sydney were weary of a personal combination that held the representation of the city, and we seized upon Mr. Robert Lowe—not that we loved him over much—but because we thought he was the man to fight our battles. Mr. Lowe had already committed himself to another candidate, and altogether declined to become ours, but in spite of this refusal we elected him for the city of Sydney, and this certainly was the first time in Australia when the citizen spirit came out irrespective of all other influences. It was very gratifying to me when I arrived in London to find among the first men to call upon me was Viscount Sherbrooke, and I have great pleasure in telling you that Lord Sherbrooke does not appear to have forgotten his connection with Australia.

There are in this company many distinguished men connected with the colonies of Great Britain, and so far as I can form an opinion they have with a generosity which surprises me suppressed all feeling of rivalry and of personal jealousy, and have come here to-night—I hope I am not too sanguine in this estimate—to give me a welcome in the name of the whole of the colonies. His Royal Highness was slightly in error in saying that I had been in office fifteen years. It is, I think, very nearly that time since His Royal Highness found me in office in Sydney. But in New South Wales, as in England, men do not continue in office for ever—and they are obliged to stand aside occasionally for other men. We do not always think they are better men. I suppose, in England it is never doubted that the succeeding men are the better men. But I have been Colonial Secretary for upwards of nine years, and I have been Premier altogether nearly seven years. It is twenty-eight years since I was first elected to the local Legislature, and, of course, with twenty-eight years of Parliamentary life, and nine years of


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official life, admitting my sins, as I freely do, I should be a much worse man than I believe myself to be if I had not offended a great number of people. I do not believe, in this world, in people who have no enemies, and although I have gone through some twenty-four elections, I never was allowed to walk over the course. I am rather proud of that, because hitherto I have always been prepared to fight when there was occasion for it, and it did not matter whether the occasion was created by me or by others. Well, after that length of service—and I suppose it is length of service which has so identified me with the colonies that I now receive this welcome at your hands—I say, after that lengthened period of service, it cannot be otherwise than deeply gratifying to me that, never surrendering my opinion, never fearing to face odds, never stopping to calculate consequences, I have still succeeded so well, with all my faults, as to stand here to-night and be greeted with your warm applause.

During my time I must, of course, have dealt with many questions that determine sides in political warfare. I have been the principal actor who dealt with the vexed question of public education. It has fallen to my lot to deal with that subject on two separate occasions fourteen years apart, and I certainly dealt with it in a way to awaken the opposition of a large and powerful section of the community; but I think I dealt with it by the assistance of Parliament so as to give satisfaction to nearly every family in the land, and certainly in a manner which is supplying a sound primary course of instruction to every child in the colony. It was my duty to deal with the question of the amendment of our representative system. It has been my duty to carry measures to establish local self-government, and one of the last measures which were dealt with at my hands was the Bill to regulate the traffic in intoxicating drinks. This question alone suggests hosts of enemies, and again I say, if in dealing with these prickly things I come out with a tolerably whole skin, I cannot help thinking that I must have performed some


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enduring service. But I shall say little more of my personal experience or of the colony I represent. You have been told by various voices that New South Wales is a Free-trade country. In connection with this I desire only to say that in my efforts—whether in power or in opposition, whether as a Minister or a member of Parliament, or a citizen—I have striven, often amidst mistakes, to keep steadily in view the example of the mother-country, not slavishly copying all that the mother-country was doing—and I hope I shall offend no one by saying that I should be sorry to copy all that the mother-country is doing—but trying to lay hold of those great foundation principles which are at the centre and the bottom of the Constitution, trying to be warned by the divergencies which have taken place from those central principles, trying to preserve the purity of our infant Parliament, and to keep it clear from the entanglements of the Executive Government, and trying to raise our Civil Service to a position of purity and integrity, so that no consideration except a question of merit should weigh in cases of promotion. I have tried to emulate the best parts of the public life of the mother-country, and if it be that the commercial policy of New South Wales is more in accordance with the commercial policy of England than that of some of the other colonies, it is that, to my mind, it is undeniable that every man in acquiring property by his labours has a right to expend that property in what suits him best without the interference of any legislation whatever. The principle seems to me a very simple one, that if labour—whether of brain or muscle—is turned into money, the possessor of that money has a right to spend it in his own way to procure what he likes best, and, whether mistaken or not, to secure what he thinks most conducive to his own happiness. That then, is the principle which I have tried to enforce in the legislation of New South Wales, and events show that the electors of the country coincide with me in believing that principle to be sound. I shall pass away now from New South Wales and speak of Australia as a whole. It


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is due to those distinguished gentlemen who represent the different colonies that I should open up no question of controversy, and I trust in the few words I have said that I cannot be accused of doing so. We are content with the result in our case. I hope they will be content with the result in theirs. But if I may be permitted, I will, for the moment, assume the representation of the whole of the Australian colonies. I am sure I shall not be misunderstood. I only wish to speak of all rather than of a mere section. I can say nothing of value of the other colonies, of which I have no personal knowledge, but I would like to say a few words about Australia. The colony of New Zealand—which, in speaking generally, I think should always be classed with the Australian colonies—contains an area of 105,342 square miles. Add that to the great island continent known as Australia, and we have the great area of country of 3,127,588 square miles—a territory which you will see at once may be said to be equal to the United States, or to the vast possessions of the Canadian Dominion. I think there is a little excess in both those cases, but no excess worth speaking of. It will thus be seen that, in the language of the poet, ‘life has ample room in Australia.’ When I first went out to New South Wales the population of this vast territory was no more than 200,000. I have seen it expand to very nearly 3,000,000, which is the population of to-day. At the end of 1880 the population was returned at 2,750,000, but at the present moment it closely approximates, as I have said, 3,000,000. In this country our trade in thirty years rose from a value of 6,000,000l. sterling to 63,000,000l. In the year 1871 the total value of our trade stood at nearly 64,000,000l. sterling; in the next ten years it rose to 94,000,000l. sterling. The average of our trade for every inhabitant is 12l. higher than that of Great Britain, five times higher than that of Europe as a whole, and five and a half times higher than that of the United States. In thirty years the gold extracted from our earth amounted to 292,000,000l. sterling. In 1870 our wool crop amounted to 193,000,000 lbs., in 1879 it was 392,000,000 lbs.


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In 1880—that is the last year up to which our returns are properly made out—the shipping entered and cleared at Australian ports was 85,000,000 tons. The trade for every inhabitant was of the value of 35l. 2s. 7d.—I am speaking of the whole of the Australian colonies; and the debt, 33l. 0s. 8d. per head, but this debt—this joint debt, I should say—has been incurred for works of a remunerative character, for works essential to opening and settling the country. Hence, then, we have as an asset against our loans not less than 6,000 miles of railway, besides docks, lighthouses, bridges, and works of that description, all necessary to the population of a new country, besides the works of military defence, to which allusion has been made this evening. It will thus be seen that our debt has been contracted for great national purposes—for works which are to a large extent clearing their way, and will be in a few years a source of income. I have sometimes heard that the security of the public creditor is our territorial lands. The security is a population capable of paying fair taxes, and the lands would be of no value at all unless we succeeded in settling an industrious population upon them to turn them to account. The machinery of government often is as costly for a million of people as for two or three millions, but the revenue justly derived from two or three millions would, of course, be double or treble that obtained from one million; so that the way to pay our way is to get an industrious population, and the way to get that is to make the country fit to live in, by steadily meeting the necessities of civilised life, and that the Australian colonies are fast doing. In Australia, at the present time, we have no fewer than 1¼ million of horses, 8¼ millions of horned cattle, and certainly not fewer than 75 millions of sheep, and, though agriculture has not made equal advance with pastoral occupation, we have some 6½ millions of acres under agricultural crop. Hence, then, you see at a glance the importance of these Australian colonies. Fifty years ago the poet Campbell wrote some lines on the departure of emigrants to New South Wales, which do not appear to be very well known,


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but they are very prophetic. I remember these lines occur:—

Delightful land! in wildness even benign,
The glorious past is ours, the future thine,
As in a cradled Hercules, we trace
The lines of empire in thine infant face.

Well, this young Hercules has left his cradle, he is advancing to the position of empire which is assigned to him, and depend upon it he will go on growing and gaining strength. If the period over which I have travelled has shown a surprising advance, the period which is coming upon us will exhibit a still more surprising advance. I for one believe that the time is fast approaching when we shall cease to speak of England and her colonies. The time is fast coming when these giant children of the mother of nations will assert power and importance for themselves; but as they grow in strength I for one firmly believe that they will grow in reverential love for the Sovereign and for England. We shall have to throw into disuse the word colonies, for a grand world-circling British Empire will arise, resting upon a hundred isles, lighted by the stars of both hemispheres, containing within its limits the higher developments of its hardy races; and this new Empire, embracing the outlying countries and the old land, must be united on terms of a just and an enlightened equality. We cannot go on with the mother-country looking upon us as mere outlying plantations; we must be parts really and substantially of the Empire. We are entitled to be so by the soundness of our loyalty and the soundness and wisdom displayed in helping ourselves. No mistake can be greater than for Englishmen who stay at home to think that they can instruct us. Those of the British population who emigrate, as a rule show by their very act of emigration that they have more determination, more enterprise, more self-dependence, than those who remain often to lament their narrowed-down existence in the country of their birth. Those who are born of them in the new countries as a rule are free from all the conditions that young men are subject


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to at home—they are freer from poverty, more independent, more accustomed to maintain their own, and, above all, they are attached to the soil of their birth; and the two classes make up a population as steady, as intelligent, and as helpful as any in the world, and while we claim no merit above our fellow-countrymen at home, we shall not long be content with a position inferior to theirs. I therefore say, and I say it unhesitatingly, on the part of the Australian colonies, that we are loyal to the backbone, and in spite of hostile tariffs, in spite of local jealousies, which arise out of emulation, in spite of all these things, the ties of blood and of national interests will yet draw us together, the artificial barriers now existing will be broken down, and we shall be one, one in principle and sentiment, and one in our desire to advance civilisation and to work in unison with the mother-country. I have nothing more to say. I thank you for the manner in which you have received the toast. I hope that in the few words I have said I have said nothing to displease anyone. I hope I have been sufficiently plain to make my interpretation of the sentiments of the colonies clear to you, and I trust that whatever the warmth of the welcome I receive in England may be, there may be nothing in the course of my future life in Australia to make any of you regret the share you have taken in it.

On the following day I attended the great banquet of the Royal Academy, and, looking down the official list, I find I was the only Australian present. At the principal table, on the right and left of the President (Sir Frederick Leighton), there were no fewer than thirteen Royal personages, including the King of the Netherlands and the Prince of Wales. The effect to me was strange to see the great ruling men of the day, Granville, Carlingford, Carnarvon, Kimberley, Bright, Forster, Cairns, Cranbrook, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, squeezed, as it were, to the corners of the


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table. The Prime Minister (Mr. Gladstone) was absent. The seat assigned to me was number twelve at table D. On my right and left were Mr. Woolner, R.A., and Mr. Oscar Dickson; opposite were Mr. Mundella, Professor Tyndall and the Lord Advocate. I was charmed by the beautiful ease and grace of the President's oratory. Earl Granville and Mr. Lowell, who was in the diplomatic gathering, also spoke with admirable taste.

After the company had risen, I was walking with Mr. Woolner in one of the saloons with the object of examining some of the pictures, when the Duke of Edinburgh came to me and said: ‘My brother desires to see you, Sir Henry.’ I walked back with the Duke, and the Prince of Wales came out from the courtly circle surrounding him, and, shaking hands very cordially, at once spoke in acknowledgment of some little attention I had shown to his sons in Australia. His Royal Highness then proposed that we should take a walk among the pictures. I went with the two Princes first to the portrait of the Duke's little daughter, and then to Mr. Gow's picture, ‘A Jacobite Proclamation,’ which I had proposed to buy for the Art Gallery at Sydney. The Prince took a chair, and sitting down before it, carefully examined the picture for some minutes; and rising, he pronounced his opinion in favour of the purchase. I telegraphed the opinion of the Prince of Wales to Sydney, and in reply I was requested to buy the picture. I met His Royal Highness on several other occasions in London, and he struck me as possessing in a remarkable degree what I should


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venture to describe as the princely faculty of doing the right thing and saying the right word.

On May 5 I left London with Mr. Woolner and my daughter for the Isle of Wight, to visit the great poet at Farringford. Mr. Hallam Tennyson met us with the carriage at Freshwater, and the poet himself received us at the door of his beautiful home. We arrived only in time for dinner, and afterwards we retired early to rest. On the following day we had long chats full of anecdotical and critical interest. The poet, his son Hallam, my daughter, Woolner, and I had tea on the lawn, among the laurels. After dinner Tennyson read ‘The Northern Farmer.’ On the 7th, after breakfast, we walked over the hilly down to the Beacon, about 700 feet above the sea, returning in time for luncheon; in the afternoon we strolled down to the beach. After dinner the great poet read ‘The Ode on the Death of Wellington,’ which brought out with much effect the sympathetic force and emotional inflections of his voice. The lines:—

Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?
Here, in streaming London's central roar,

were rendered with a fine enquiring fervour and a tremulous pause. Then pealed out:—

Let the sound of those he wrought for
And the feet of those he fought for
Echo round his bones for evermore.

And again in tender and solemn apostrophic strain:—

O, good grey head which all men knew,
O, voice from which their omens all men drew,
O, iron nerve to true occasion true,
O, fall'n at length that tower of strength
Which stood four-square to all the winds that blew!




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And with the breath of heroism in every syllable the oft-repeated lines were spoken:—

Not once or twice in our rough island-story,
The path of duty was the way to glory!

We talked much about Australia, and indulged in gossip about celebrities of present and past times. And so my second golden day faded into soft slumber and rest.

On the 8th I had another morning stroll with the poet. In the afternoon, Tennyson, Woolner, Miss Parkes, and I drove down to Alum Bay, where we took a boat and pulled round the Needles and into a sea-cave which seemed to be familiar to our host. We returned a little late for dinner. In the evening the poet read ‘Guinevere’—forty-one pages in the Library edition of 1873. The reading occupied about thirty-five minutes. While assembled on the lawn in the forenoon we had received the post from London with the ‘Times,’ containing the account of the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Burke, and the shock had cast a shadow of grief over the whole day. The morning of the 9th brought the close of our delightful sojourn at Farringford. In the morning, Woolner and I had another stroll with the Poet Laureate through the woods and fields. After an early luncheon our little party returned to London viâ Cowes and Ryde, Mr. Hallam Tennyson seeing us on board the steamer.

On the morning of the 10th Miss Parkes and I breakfasted with the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon in Portman Square, where I first met Mr. J. A. Froude.


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I had been in communication with Lord Carnarvon for some years, first, while he was Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Derby Ministry, when I had occasion to write to him confidentially in connection with the annexation of Fiji, afterwards in London and at Highclere Castle; and I had profited by his rich stores of information and the just views of public affairs which emanated from his finely-balanced mind. He was regarded in many respects, by the best-informed men in the colonies, as a true friend of Australia.

Soon after reaching London I renewed my acquaintance with the personal features of Parliament. Twenty years had made startling gaps where I last saw the figures of Lord Palmerston, Sir George Lewis, Lord John Russell, Mr. Cobden, Mr. Disraeli, and Mr. Bernal Osborne. I recollect a friend telling me of his impression when, after the long sea voyage from Sydney, before the advent of the electric cable, he strolled into Westminster Abbey, and read for the first time that Lord Macaulay was dead!

I went to the House of Commons from Sir Daniel Cooper's dinner a little before midnight. Having made my way with some little difficulty to the glass-door near the stairs which lead to the Strangers' Gallery, I could see Sir William Harcourt speaking, and I knew the subject was the Closure resolutions of the Government. I handed my card to the officer in charge of the door, and asked him to be kind enough to send it in to Mr. Bright, whom I could see sitting on the Treasury Bench next to Mr. Gladstone. I stood waiting two or three yardsaway with my eyes fixed on some object which had


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attracted my attention when a gentleman in black with his hat set firmly upon his head, came up and looked at me for a moment with surprised eyes, and then said, ‘Don't you know me?’ It was Mr. Bright himself; but, though I had been in his company several times in 1862, I did not at first recognise him. He seemed of smaller stature, and his hair, instead of being dark as I knew it, was white, and there was a subdued look of power and suffering in his face. He did not look the same as he did sitting in the House. Such was the change which twenty years had brought to that noble personality. Mr. Bright escorted me to a seat in the Speaker's Gallery, and expressed a hope to meet me again soon. I heard Mr. Bright himself in the same debate, and I listened with surprise arising from very different feelings to the singularly bitter but brilliant attack made upon him as soon as he sat down by Mr. Sexton. I was surprised that Mr. Bright's great services in the cause of Ireland should be so completely forgotten, and I was surprised at the unexpected display of eloquence and power by his assailant. I mentioned the attack to Mr. Gladstone a day or two afterwards, and his reply was, ‘Mr. Sexton is a very able man.’

My engagements were so numerous that I did not see so much as I desired to see of the proceedings of Parliament. But I heard Mr. Gladstone make his Budget speech—probably the last Budget speech from him. There was none of the oratorical mastery of arrangement, and none of the wealth of illustration which marked his former financial efforts; the qualities


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that struck me were clearness of statement and direct business skill in details. The speech did not make much stir either in the House or in the Press.

I frequently met members of the House of Commons at social gatherings—Mr. W. E. Forster, Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. P. H. Muntz, Mr. Courtenay, Sir Wilfrid Lawson, Sir David Wedderburn, and many others—and with some I had short conversations of much interest. The subjects which were most frequently started were popular education, the Temperance cause, the working of payment of members, and the action of the Irish in Australian politics.

My daughter and I visited Birmingham as the guests of the Mayor, Mr. Avery, to be present at the opening of the Central Free Libraries by Mr. Bright, who also was the guest of the Mayor. Miss Parkes and I were driven in the same carriage with Mrs. Avery and Mr. Bright to the Town Hall, which enabled me to observe the almost reverential respect with which the great tribune was regarded in the streets. The speech to the vast audience in the Town Hall was shorn of the fiery splendours of early days—was gentle and subdued in tone almost to a fault; but it was received with a storm of affectionate cheering. He told a charming story of a student of ‘Paradise Regained,’ at a fishing village where he had once gone to enjoy his favourite sport; and it might have been almost inferred from other of his words that he preferred the lesser of Milton's great poems to the ‘Paradise Lost.’ After the great meeting we went through the new buildings, where a brilliant gathering had collected, including Mr. Chamberlain,


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and where their distinguished member seemed to make himself quite at home.

We returned to London in the same carriage with Mr. Bright, and we deeply enjoyed the quiet humour and choice anecdotical turns of his conversation. I met him very often and always felt that I was in a purer atmosphere when in his company. His third colleague in the representation of Birmingham at this time was Philip Henry Muntz, whom I well remembered in the agitations of the first Reform Bill in 1831–2. Both are now gone, with Thomas Attwood, George Frederick Muntz, Joshua Schofield, William Schofield, and poor old Richard Spooner, who used to appear to my boyish mind the oldest man in the world.

I had made up my mind to spend a few days on the Continent—I knew it could only be a few. I had letters from Earl Granville to Lord Lyons, Lord Ampthill, and Sir Savile Lumley. We started for Belgium on June 4; dined at Brussels and journeyed to Antwerp the following day; were much surprised at the excellence of the quays and docks constructed under the influence of Leopold II. We spent an hour in the grand cathedral, looking at Rubens's pictures.

On the 6th we went on to Ghent, where we inspected Van Hoequerden & Co.'s cotton factory, employing 140,000 spindles and 1,000 looms. On the following day at Liège we visited the Sclosson ironworks, and were shown over a fire-arms factory where every stage in turning out a rifle was exhibited. We were entertained at luncheon by the manager of the John Cockerill ironworks, and had the operations of that vast


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establishment carefully explained to us, from the mine to the finish of the marketable article. We also visited the Val St. Lambert Glassworks as well as other places.

On the 10th we had luncheon with the King and Queen at the Laeken Palace. His Majesty expressed himself as much interested in the progress of the Australian colonies, and in the course of conversation he pointed out some embellishments of the Palace which were ordered by Napoleon. M. Frère-Orban, the Prime Minister, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs were present. On the following day we paid a visit to the field of Waterloo, passed through the museum of relics in charge of Sergeant-Major Cotton's niece, gathered some rosebuds and clover blossoms from the plain so richly fertilised by heroic blood, and returned to Brussels with Byron's majestic lines pealing upon our ears:—

There was a sound of revelry by night,
And Belgium's capital had gathered then
Her beauty and her chivalry, and bright
The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men;
A thousand hearts beat happily.
And there lay my rosebuds and blossoms of red clover.

We spent the following day in the Charleroi district, giving most of our attention to the extensive glassworks. On the 13th we left Brussels by early train for Berlin. The journey in many respects was full of interest to the tourist, but that is a kind of interest which hardly belongs to these pages. Contact with Custom-house officers on entering France or Germany;


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the marching of soldiers along rural roads and across fields; the harnessed dogs compelled to bear their share of work in small waggons; the new manufactories springing up in green country places; the strange motley crowd in Cologne Cathedral, might be made to do handsome service in a book of travels. But I must pass on.

We arrived at Berlin at 10.30 P.M., and drove straight to the Kaiserhof. From our hotel we might almost throw an apple into Prince Bismarck's courtyard. On the following morning I called upon Lord Ampthill, who was extremely courteous and obliging during our whole stay in Berlin. The same day we received an invitation to lunch with the Crown Prince (the late Emperor Frederick) and the Crown Princess, at the Neue Palais. Our first day was spent in driving over the city and looking up one or two old acquaintances.

On the 15th we went by train to Potsdam. The Imperial carriage was waiting for us at the station, and we drove at once to the noble mansion in which Frederick the Great indulged his architectural fancies. Count G. Seckendorff received us; some ladies and gentlemen were in the saloon to which we were conducted, among whom was Prince Christian. In a short time the Crown Prince came in, followed in a minute or two afterwards by Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess (England's Princess Royal). They both made us feel at ease by the absence of ceremony in their manner and conversation. At luncheon I sat on the right of Her Imperial Highness, and my daughter


  ― 101 ―
was placed on the right of the Crown Prince. In the conversation of the Princess I was surprised and delighted by her accurate knowledge of things in Australia. She spoke of her brother, the Duke of Edinburgh, and told me a singular anecdote connected with the attempt upon his life at Sydney. ‘Poor boy!’ she called him in telling this little harmless story, which of course cannot be retold by me. She knew much about the Maori race of New Zealand and made many enquiries concerning them, which led me to enquire whether she had met with Mr. Domett's book ‘Ranolf and Amohia,’ which I said gave the best description of the Maori wars, sports, and usages of any work I knew. As the book was unknown to Her Imperial Highness, I asked her if she would allow me to send it to her, and she replied that she would be glad to receive it. On returning to London I found the book was quite out of print—even the author could not furnish me with a copy; but a second edition was in the press. When the second edition was published, I sent a copy to the Crown Princess, which was acknowledged by the following letter:—

The Crown Prince's Palace, Berlin,

January 19, 1884.

Dear Sir Henry,—I am desired to inform you that the poem by Mr. Domett, ‘Ranolf and Amohia,’ kindly sent through Count Münster, duly arrived here and was presented to Her Imperial Highness the Crown Princess, who commands me to thank you very much for the book.

Their Imperial Highnesses the Crown Prince and Crown Princess are glad to offer you their photographs, and I am very proud to be desired to forward the enclosed to you.




  ― 102 ―

With kindest messages to you from their Imperial Highnesses, I beg you to believe me, dear Sir Henry,

Yours very sincerely,

G. SECKENDORFF.

The late Emperor Frederick, as I saw him at Potsdam in 1882, seemed to present in personal characteristics a resemblance to the Marquis of Hartington. That seeming unconsciousness of position—that inbred nonchalance and proud self-dependence which chafe at the conventional conditions of life, struck me as common to both. I do not mean that there was a likeness in countenance and manner between the two persons, but a resemblance of type in the two characters. Each seemed most true to nature and himself when least concerned with the obligations of rank and society. Nothing could be more affable than the conversation and personal bearing of the Crown Prince. We were taken through a saloon like an immense sea cave, and through a gallery where armour and arms were collected; and many rare treasures of the palace were shown to us. Before leaving, we were driven to points of historical interest in the park, and then back to the railway station.

Our remaining two days in Berlin were employed in visiting the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory, the Industrial Art Museum, a large torpedo factory, and the Picture Galleries. We reached Paris at 8 P.M. on the 18th, and went to the Hôtel Continental.

During our short stay in the French capital, Lord Lyons placed his carriages and himself largely at our disposal. We dined at the British Embassy and occupied


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the Ambassador's box at the Opera. He went himself with me to wait upon the Prime Minister, M. de Freycinet, and did whatever he could to make our short stay pleasant.

Returning to London, I had a long conversation on the 23rd with Mr. Gladstone in his room at the House of Commons, in the course of which I told him that he had often been charged in Australia, both in the newspapers and in speeches, with being indifferent, if not inimical, to the preservation of the connection between the colonies and England. He was visibly surprised at what I told him, and said I was authorised to say that he had never at any time favoured any such view, and that I might challenge any person making the charge to produce proof in support of it. I have been an observer, from a distance, of Mr. Gladstone's public life for many years, and I certainly never read any report of his speeches or any writing of his, which would give the semblance of truth to this imputation. Our conversation embraced other topics, such as the elements that enter into political life in the colonies, the success of secret voting, and public education.

Our holiday in England drew rapidly to a close. We were presented at Court and invited to a ball and a State concert at Buckingham Palace. A few more festivities in London and in the country, including a visit to the Elswick Works and to the beautiful house of Lord Armstrong, and it was all over. We found ourselves on the good ship John Elder, under full steam for the Cape and Australia.

I cannot conclude this chapter without recording


  ― 104 ―
my opinion that this journey was ill advised. It was most agreeable to me, and it is possible that it may have been of advantage to the colony. But having considered the question carefully since, and in the light of fuller knowledge, it appears to me that the Prime Minister of an Australian Government cannot with justice and constitutional propriety take himself away for a period of weeks and months from the proper sphere of his continuous duties and obligations. There could hardly be a stronger case than mine. I had been in office over three years; my work had been incessant and very heavy. My health was completely broken down by a serious illness; two medical men gave their opinion that a sea voyage was absolutely necessary for my restoration. To all appearance I had the consent of both Parliament and people. The two Houses, including all parties, gave me a banquet at Parliament House; the citizens of Sydney, under the presidency of the Mayor, gave me a banquet at the Exchange. A resolution was placed on the business paper of the Assembly for a grant of money to meet the expenses of my journey, which was only withdrawn at my own request. Besides all this I had, before quitting my sick room, written to my colleagues proposing to resign, leaving His Excellency the Governor to commission Sir John Robertson or another of my colleagues to reconstruct the Ministry, a course which would have been perfectly constitutional and proper under the existing circumstances, for the Government undoubtedly possessed the confidence of the Parliament and the country. The reply I received from Sir John


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Robertson, speaking for himself and the other Ministers, begged of me not to take the course I proposed, offering to give me any official assistance in their power, and finally informing me that, if I resigned, they in a body would resign with me.

Still I think I ought to have remained at my post at all hazards, or else retired regardless of consequences. In my case my long absence had a mischievous effect upon the Ministry and upon the state of feeling in Parliament. The ground is too delicate for explanations to be indulged; but the weakening influences which found play in my case would find scope for equal activity in any other. But the unjustifiability of the step lies in close compass. When a political personage is commissioned by the Crown to form an Administration, it is never for a moment contemplated that it is within his commission, even as a remote consequence, that he may forsake his post and speed away on a journey to the other side of the globe. It is impossible for him, while absent and at a distance, to discharge the solemn functions which he has undertaken, yet these can be transferred to another only by the Crown, and only by the same process that assigned them to him. Such a proceeding on the part of the Prime Minister of England could not even be mentioned or thought of.

In these Australian colonies, where all is new, we stand in too much danger of inroads upon the constitution and constitutional usage for Prime Ministers to set the example of violating, ignoring, or neglecting the grave responsibilities inseparable from the trust reposed in their hands.

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