Turner on 1864 election

The amount of fiery talk, the scorn of opposition, the derision of warning, the glowing pictures of “a paradise for the working man,” which irradiated the speeches of aspiring legislators during the general elections of 1864 and 1865, came as a startling revelation to the industrious but prosaic business men of the colony. In the early sixties no educated man, no one with a rudimentary knowledge of the history of his mother-country, or of the operations of commerce and exchange, would have cared to pose as an advocate of Protection to native industry, which was so soon to sweep all before it at the polls. If they “thought about it at all in the intervals of business, it was as a gloomy memory of desperate times in the old land, where its monopolistic tendencies drove the labouring classes to the verge of revolution: where it was a synonym of the most hateful form of the oppression of the capitalist, and was broken down and routed by the Parliamentary champions of the working man. Not a few of the colonists who had achieved prosperity in the land of their adoption had sad memories of the state of despair to which the starving operatives in the manufacturing centres of England had been reduced in 1842 under Protection, and of the rioting, bloodshed and bitterness which had accompanied its overthrow. But here, at the Antipodes, it was not the grasping capitalist who led the clamour to resuscitate the rule of Protection, but the artisan and the labourer, who had otherwhere been its irreconcilable opponents.


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