Eloquent summary by a correspondent of the Spectator of the stakes and the achievements of Victorian political culture.
This appreciation also congratulates the political elites for not giving too much away to democracy in quest for control of political power.
You will make the necessary allowance for party spirit and party spite, in discounting the alarm of the Conservative Press. This great commercial city in which I write, with its property as securely fenced by law as the Queen’s Crown, and its popu- lation trained in the use of the noble, free institutions which they carried from the mother-country, is as little likely to be the scene of any excess under the cover of law, or in defi- ance of it, as the capital of the Empire ; and when the history of to-day is sufficiently remote to be judged without passion or pre- judice, I am persuaded it will bear comparison with the great struggles for political or commercial liberty in England. The experiment of working Parliamentary Government along with manhood suffrage, without the personal presence and incommuni- cable authority of the Sovereign, is full of difficulties. In all the Colonial Parliaments there have undoubtedly been occasional embroilments and mistakes, but certainly not greater embroil- ments or graver mistakes than occurred in the great Parliament of which they are only copies, at a far later period of its history than they have reached. The duties they had to perform were often of the most exacting character. They had to govern a. people gathered hastily from the ends of the earth, to frame laws for novel and unexpected contingencies ; at one time to control a too vivacious prosperity, at another to sustain the community under the languor of unaccustomed depression ; sometimes to- resist unreasonable demands powerfully backed, at others to regu- late clashing rights face to face in angry hostility : and I think that those who have been in any degree concerned in the task need not be ashamed of how their duties have been performed, and our future history will bear the same relation to the past as the
history of your own or any other civilised community does. C.