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The Question of Federal Sympathy.

In the nationalisation of any territory for the purposes of the Federation, most unquestionably a factor to which full value should be attached is the present and past relation of the people of the district to the whole Federal movement. Submitted to this test, there is no place in the whole of Australia that can make the same emphatic and satisfactory response as Bathurst. It was, as we have already said, the energies, and the money, and the public spirit of Bathurst men that took the question of Federation when it was virtually a dead issue and gave it new and vigorous vitality by the People's Federal Convention held in the city in 1896. Moreover, by the very method pursued by Bathurst in the organisation of that Convention, it placed the Federal movement in such a position that the people of the several provinces became the propelling and guiding agents, and not the politicians. The force of the impulse communicated by Bathurst has never been lost. On the contrary, the impulse has gained volume and potency till, at each successive stage of the movement, the popular voice has become more plainly the determining power. Before the People's Convention, the movement was one for the politicians to juggle with—to use or not for the ends of personal ambition as they pleased. That body made the issue the dominant one of Australasian politics, and to it, and to it alone, is ascribed, even by the very politicians whom it compelled to march along with it, the resurrection and the revivification of the Federal Ideal. To the magnificent service thus rendered to the cause of national unity, there is no parellel in the records of other communities. The Bathurst people thus have proved their Federal sympathy in a way and a degree to which no other of the towns competing for the distinction of the Federal territory can approximate. Bathurst proved its loyalty to the Federal principle when to be federal was to be deemed to be erratic and to be the target for derision; and it has the gratification of knowing that other centres which were foremost in ridiculing the preliminaries of the Federal Convention, are now loudly professing the Federal feeling whose mere existence they laughed to scorn four years ago.

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