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An Autobiography

Preaching, Friends, And Writing
My life now became more interesting and varied. A wider field for my journalistic
capabilities was open to me, and I also took part in the growth of education, both spiritual
and secular. The main promoters of the ambitious literary periodical The Melbourne
Review, to which I became a contributor, were Mr. Henry Gyles Turner (the banker), Mr.
Alexander Sutherland, M.A. (author of "The History of Australia" and several other
books), and A. Patchett Martin (the litterateur). It lived for nine years, and produced a
good deal of creditable writing, but it never was able to pay its contributors, because it
never attained such a circulation as would attract advertisements. The reviews and
magazines of the present day depend on advertisements. They cheapen the price so as to
gain a circulation, which advertisers cater for. I think my second article was on the death
of Sir Richard Hanson (one of the original South Australian Literary Society, which met
in London before South Australia existed). At the time of his death he was Chief Justice.
He was the author of two books of Biblical criticism-- "The Jesus of History" and "Paul
and the Primitive Church"--and I undertook to deal with his life and work. About that
time there was one of those periodic outbursts of Imperialism in the Australian colonies--
not popular or general, but among politicians--on the question of how the colonies could
obtain practical recognition in the Legislature of the United Kingdom. Each of the
colonies felt that Downing street inadequately represented its claims and its aspirations,
and there were several articles in "The Melbourne Review" suggesting that these colonies
should be allowed to send members to the House of Commons. This, I felt, would be
inadmissible; for, unless we were prepared to bear our share of the burdens, we had no
right to sit in the taxing Assembly of the United Kingdom. The only House in which the
colonies, small or great, could be represented was the House of Lords; and it appeared to
me that, with a reformed House of Lords, this would be quite practicable. An article in
Fraser's Magazine, "Why not the Lords, too?" had struck me much, and the lines on
which it ran greatly resemble those laid down by Lord Rosebery for lessening in number
and improving in character the unwieldy hereditary House of Peers; but neither that
writer nor Lord Rosebery grasped the idea that I made prominent in an article I wrote for
The Review, which was that the reduction of the peers to 200, or any other number ought
to be made on the principle of proportional representation, because otherwise the
majority of the peers, being Conservative, an election on ordinary lines would result in a
selection of the most extreme Conservatives in the body. My mother had pointed out to
me that the 16 representative Scottish peers elected by those who have not a seat as
British peers, for the duration of each Parliament, were the most Tory of the Tories, and
that the same could be said of the 28 representative peers for Ireland elected for life. So,
though the House of Lords contains a respectable minority of Liberals, under no system
of exclusively majority representation could any of them be chosen among the 200. I had
the same idea of life peers to be added from the ranks of the professions, of science, and
of literature, unburdened by the weight and cost of an hereditary title, that Lord Rosebery
has; and into such a body I thought that representatives of the great self-governing
colonies could enter, so that information about our resources, our politics, and our
sociology might be available, and might permeate the press. But, greatly to my surprise,
my article was sent back, but was afterwards accepted by Fraser's Magazine. This was
 
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