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3-190 (Original)

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addressee author,male,Deniehy, Daniel Henry,32
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Deniehy, 1884
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Few more interesting spectacles could be presented to the eye of the political observer than Mr. William Forster's experiment in the formation of a Government. 
[101] Called to office evidently by the advice of those who hoped he would be neither able nor willing to undertake the task, he makes an attempt in which we believe he will have the sympathies and the good wishes of every man with an iota of fair play in his composition. Clearing the administration stage completely of the combatants who have hitherto filled it, and have been engaged in bitter conflict from causes, some reaching as far back as the old mixed Legislative Council, and some dating with the era of responsible government, Mr. Forster's aim is to try if the new institutions cannot be worked by new men, entirely unconnected hitherto with political warfare, and almost unidentified with party or faction. No man could so fairly attempt this as Mr. Forster himself, for whilst a damaging opponent both of the Governments of Mr. Donaldson and Mr. Parker, he signalised himself as one of the most uncompromising and indomitable denouncers of Mr. Cowper's corruption, nevertheless the while keeping himself aloof from any party or clique in the Assembly. He might be "crotchety," as some astute members of the House were wont to regard him; he might be "idiosyncratic," in the loftier phrase of the newspapers. But one thing was certain, that the measure or the motion before the House, on its own merits, and not as the issue affected anybody concerned with it, was what Mr. Forster dealt with, and dealt with alone. "Sworn to no master," as once went the motto of a leading local journal, "of no sect was he." In the hands of Mr. Cowper, as well as of Mr. Parker, responsible government has been in point of fact a failure. With the former infinitely more so than with the latter. From, the very beginning, Mr. Parker's administration was looked upon as a sort of resurrection of Mr. Donaldson's, masked and disguised. It had not only to contend with a powerful opposition, with the prestige about it which clever men have who have never tried their hands at defence, while acting in attack, but it had the public opinion of the country against it. There was no recovering the first false step of Mr. Donaldson. Election after election showed that the principles upon which it was believed the Government, wished to rule, far more than the men who composed it, were unacceptable to the country at large. When Mr. Parker and his colleagues retired and Mr. Cowper and his friends took office, no fairer chance ever yet presented itself for the completest and most beneficial success in any country under parliamentary rule. The preceding Administration, instead of presenting a close, active, and vigilant opposition, seemed at the same time worn out, and convinced that the day for the policy they had throughout their colonial history been identified with had passed away. Almost every man of mark departed at once, and those who did not closed their political career with the dissolution of the recent Assembly. Mr. Cowper came in with the prestige of the victorious Liberal party entering into their long denied political inheritance. He came in with large popular confidence. Though still, by a very large portion of those who supported him, because of his identification with progress politics, the private character of the man, his sincerity and truth, were doubted, and doubted, as events have shown, with good cause. He came into power with a tremendous working majority - one which showed itself prepared not only to enable him to carry his measures of political reform, but even to back every act of his administration; ready, because of his connection with former struggles and the great things he was expected to initiate, to condone almost anything, truly with the charity that covered a "multitude of offences!" On he went; but his career to the close of the last session of the late Assembly was as pitiable and as wretched as it is possible to conceive of any course of administration. The ablest and most energetic of an opposition which gradually formed and threw itself into action was composed of men who had fought in the front ranks in order to help Mr. Cowper on to power. But they had recoiled, shocked and incensed, at finding the very privilege they had struggled to place in his hands made use of for purposes not only corrupt, but so mean and so base as could only belong to a man who with every dishonesty lacked the intellect and the courage to be greatly and boldly bad. Electoral reform was carried through the recent House. Mr. Cowper embodied in the measure, besides its benefits, a pet idea of so cutting up into small constituencies the country, as to give the various electorates the quality, as far as he could, of mere parish vestries; thus regulating the return of the members far more on a narrow basis of the municipal principle than a national one, and so trying to ensure that no man of a greater mental calibre than himself would be returned. Even this did not do; and though the country at the first general election sent into the Legislature no very remarkable new men, they sent in a great many who showed at a very early era of their parliamentary life that they thought Mr. Cowper no model man and no reliable leader. [102] [103]
Nevertheless so many difficulties, from an absence of any principle of party cohesion, were found in the way of replacing the honourable gentleman, that, for want of better, himself and his colleagues were allowed to go on, and every grace and indulgence given to enable them to proceed. All did not do, and after a brace of Ministerial crises, during a very short parliamentary existence indeed, we have Mr. Cowper really out, and Mr. Forster's drama about to come before the political footlights, the curtain still down, but a cheery overture playing. There will be perhaps one interesting fact shown in connection with the new Government. We shall have a clear and certain chance of seeing this phenomenon very much talked about but never yet very plainly described - of factious opposition. 
Mr. Forster has belonged to no distinctly marked side, and his colleagues are altogether new men, with no career, like poor Mr. Plunkett, before the epoch of free institutions, and no damning taint of having, like Mr. Hay or Mr. Murray, been constituent elements of former Governments. We shall therefore see how the gentlemen who have recently dropped the reins and those who have driven in their machine, now that there is nothing for recrimination or revenge, will comport themselves in the presence of the first Ministerial impersonation of Novus Homo.