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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 157 pages of information about Great Britain and Her Queen.
scene of his triumphs to a savage, fanatic foe as was now the case—­this was evil enough; but that our beloved countryman, a true knight without fear and without reproach, should have been betrayed to desertion and death through his own magnanimity and our sluggishness, added a rankling, poisonous sense of shame to our humiliation.  That the same year saw further electoral privileges extended to the humble classes in England, beyond what even the last Reform Bill had conferred, which might prove of advantage afterwards, but was an imperfect consolation at the time.  Another grief fell upon the Queen in this year in the early death of Leopold, Duke of Albany, a Prince whose intellectual gifts were nearly allied to those of his father, but on whom lifelong delicacy of health had enforced a life of comparative quietude.  His widowed bride and infant children have ever since been cared for tenderly by his royal mother.

[Illustration:  Duchess of Albany. From a Photograph by A. BASSANO, Bond Street, W.]

CHAPTER VIII.

OUR COLONIES.

[Illustration:  Sydney Heads.]

If now we turn our eyes a while from the foreign and domestic concerns of Great Britain proper, and look to the Greater Britain beyond the seas, we shall find that its progress has nowise lagged behind that of the mother Isle.  To Lord Durham, the remarkable man sent out in 1838 to deal with the rebellion in Lower Canada, we owe the inauguration of a totally new scheme of colonial policy, which has been crowned with success wherever it has been introduced.  It has succeeded in the vast Canadian Dominion, now stretching from ocean to ocean, and embracing all British North America, with the single exception of the Isle of Newfoundland.  In 1867 this Federation was first formed, uniting then only the two Canadas with New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, under a constitution framed on Lord Durham’s plan, and providing for the management of common affairs by a central Parliament, while each province should have its own local legislature, and the executive be vested in the Crown, ruling through its Governor General.  It had been made competent for the other provinces of British North America to join this Federation, if they should so will; and one after another has joined it, with the one exception mentioned above, which may or may not be permanent.  The population of the Dominion has trebled, and its revenues have increased twenty-fold, since its constitution was thus settled.

The same system, it may be hoped, will equally succeed in that wonderful Australasia where our colonists now have the shaping of their destinies in their own hands, amid the yet unexplored amplitude of a land where “in the softest and sweetest air, and in an unexhausted soil, the fable of Midas is reversed; food does not turn to gold, but the gold with which the land is teeming converts itself into farms and vineyards, into flocks and herds, into crops of wild luxuriance, into cities whose recent origin is concealed and compensated by trees and flowers.”

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