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3-192 (Original)

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author,male,Deniehy, Daniel Henry,32 addressee
Newspaper Article
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Newspapers & Broadsides
Deniehy, 1884
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Our Caesar did not wrap his robe about him with decency when he fell. He might have done so with impressive dignity. He infused a deeper woe into the catastrophe than the career promised or spectators had a right to expect. The defeat on the Education Bill, Mr. Cowper made to involve not only his ministerial abdication but the close of his existence as a public man. The dying scene was not worthy of the materials that the retiring patriot and war-wearied and worn-out public servant had at his command. [108]
There was stuff at hand for something artistically pathetic and memorable. A model might have been left for the native youth on such occasions as hereditary senatorial properties, like a mace or a speaker's chain. The thing might have been done so as to have furnished the subject of a picture in the genre of Copley's "Death of Chatham," with an absence, of course, of the deeper tragic element and fine imaginative promise hinted in the main figure, with foreground that, if ever the Liberal Chief was wanted for any of those affairs which connect themselves in Mr. Parkes' mind with "sacrifices on the altar of one's country," the retiring leader will, like a marked halfpenny, turn up again. 
But the artistic sense, as well as another sense, that of common propriety, was wanting. Mr. Cowper, then, instead of doing the great Roman properly, made that august individual at once bully and whine, and tell spiteful fibs to boot. In his adieu he was pleased to tell his successors, whoever they might turn out to be, that they would find something more than common sense and common honesty necessary. No doubt; for a governing statesman, with the destinies of a growing nation entrusted to his keeping, a little sense is wanted that is not very "common;" something broader, deeper, and of longer range than Mr. Cowper's intellect or Mr. Cowper's education could help him to do; a sort of thing very different from that which placed the National domain in Mr. Robertson's hands, or raised Mr. Weekes from the sale of smoothing irons and Britannia metal tea-pots to that place where intelligence is required, by a sort of fiscal alchemy, to make gold and silver for public uses. Something more than honesty, too. Mr. Cowper is not a good logician, and when he used the accumulative formula, he doubtless meant, scarcely a thing extra so much as something which could effect what some other thing could not. 
No doubt the honourable gentleman meant that the requisite was that which men too far committed to action to be scrupulous use when the better material is ineffective. If so, while he loves and cherishes his patriotic anxiety for the country's welfare, Mr. Forster has only to come to his predecessor and succedendum that will fill the cavity long enough for practical purposes. [109]
But for one thing, we should have thought it scarcely worth while to allude to Mr. Cowper's valediction in the Assembly, or to the terms of the address in which he thought fit to intimate his resignation to the electors of East Sydney. The real secret of that gentleman's retirement is pithily enough put by our contemporary, the Sydney Morning Herald, - his consciousness that his occupation was gone, that the time of shams (for him, at all events) had expired. And this perhaps furnishes a key to the principle upon which the ex-Minister's farewell remarks hinged themselves, and suggests why the quality of them was of so thin a fustian. Amongst the other delineances of an impotent vexation and a mortification which must talk, though it has nothing to say, Mr. Cowper alludes in his address to the attacks of "a venal press." If the honourable gentleman really cared to attach precise meanings to the phrases in his "long farewell," which certainly we do not believe, this, assuredly, as our Irish friends have it, "beats Banagher." It is a sublimity of impudence which it was left for a "People's Minister" at Botany Bay to arrive at. Till the very hour of Mr. Cowper's resignation, with the exception of an occasional grumble, such as that of the Illawarra Mercury at the Oxley escape and the Chamber's collusion; and stray suggestions from the Goulburn Chronicle, that really decency must be sometimes consulted, the whole rural press of the Colony did nothing but sing peans in honour of Mr. Cowper. His talents, his purity, his sacrifices, his services, were as a burthen that went up weekly or biweekly in all directions like the roar of many waters. Did any man dare to doubt Mr. Cowper's virtues or Mr. Cowper's talents? Though that man might have been baptised at the political font of Joseph Hume and been confirmed by O'Connell, - though he had fought with Kossuth and fasted with Mazzini, though he held doctrines too wildly democratic for an American "caucus," - though he might be ready to go to the stake for the five points of the Chartist's " Charter," yet he was no "Liberal." [110] And in the metropolis, the case was, with the exception of the Sydney Morning Herald, which gave opposition mild and intermittent enough to suit any Minister, precisely the same. Latterly, even the Freeman's Journal, which has been supposed to be the organ of a party which has always mistrusted Mr. Cowper for the narrowness and meanness of his bigotry, took it into its head to chant a Magnificat three times a week in honour of the "Popular Minister." It is well known that Mr. Cowper spared nothing at his disposal to buy wherever the press was purchasable. We use the word "buy" advisedly; there are more ways of arranging a bargain than on a mere pecuniary basis. We know not if Mr. Cowper's ideas are really final ones. The pathos of the whole thing may, after all, have been got up for a purpose. When the main principle of a man's life is found to be a dishonest one, unfortunately, even for the honesty which circumstances force upon him, he gets no mstances force upon him, he gets no credit. It is suspected that he may dodge even Fate herself; and so thoroughly are we convinced that trickery and deception are the guiding principles, the very ethics, of Mr. Cowper's nature, that we should not be at all surprised to find him very shortly indeed bowing himself back where he has so recently said farewell. The coffin must be well nailed, the pit sufficiently deep, and the superimposed tombstone, - we care not what lies are engraved upon it - pretty heavy that will ensure the satisfactory political sepulture of Charles Cowper.