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Robert Lowe in New South Wales, 1842-1850

Knight, Ruth

Description

On a windy morning in October 1842, a tall white-haired young man gazed through half-closed eyelids at Sydney's spectacular harbour and at the city where he was to spend the next seven years of his life. A quarter of a century later he was to be hailed some as the greatest man in England, by others as the most hated. Yet in 1892, the year of his death, his name was but dimly remembered. The seeds of fame and obloquy, as well as oblivion, lay in the career he was to launch on the shores of...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorKnight, Ruth
dc.date.accessioned2015-09-18T01:37:14Z
dc.date.available2015-09-18T01:37:14Z
dc.identifier.otherb1293168
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/15553
dc.description.abstractOn a windy morning in October 1842, a tall white-haired young man gazed through half-closed eyelids at Sydney's spectacular harbour and at the city where he was to spend the next seven years of his life. A quarter of a century later he was to be hailed some as the greatest man in England, by others as the most hated. Yet in 1892, the year of his death, his name was but dimly remembered. The seeds of fame and obloquy, as well as oblivion, lay in the career he was to launch on the shores of Port Jackson in 1842. The enigma is not why Robert Lowe failed to reach the heights for which he felt himself eminently fitted, but how he attained the position he did, with the glaring defects of personality that were his. The physical handicaps he overcame in his youth were nothing to the psychological handicaps of his maturity. In the initial four years of his stay in Sydney, as he began a career in politics which was to carry him to high government office in England, he displayed, perhaps more strikingly than he was ever to do again, the elements of greatness within him. The situation and the problems that he faced revealed him at his best, and while his weaknesses were plainly visible, they did not threaten to overwhelm him until, with the advent of a new governor and the passage of time, the situation and the problems subtly changed. In the brief time he was there, the infant Legislative Council of hew South Wales managed to establish itself as the ruling force. It was his good fortune both to be carried along on the wave of near-independence engulfing the colony as well as to figure materially in the direction and speed of that movement. It is perhaps too much to say that without his presence in the Council chamber events would have been different; it is not presumptuous to assume that they would have been slower in coming. In 1840, by order of the British government, transportation of convicts to New South Wales had ceased. In 1842 an act of Parliament replaced the nominated Legislative Council with a partially representative one, which began at once a rapid and steady encroachment upon the royal prerogative as administered by the Governor. By the end of the decade, the Council had ensured that any future governor would be little more than a figurehead and that both power over officers of the government and control of the colony's economy would in the future rest, not with the Governor or the Colonial Office, or even ultimately with Parliament, but with the local legislature. Perhaps the noblest moment in Lowe's Australian chapter occurred in 1845 and 1846 when he led the battle cry for constitutional rights and urged the colonists to risk their all as "the price of freedom." The rest — the successful struggle with Wentworth for leadership of the Council and the great Philippics on the land question — was the logical outcome of his belligerent attitude during the last year of Gipps's rule. The denouement — the happy ending — occurred in 1848 when together with Wentworth he led the polls at Sydney. The part he played in agitating for the demands of the Council and in hastening their realization cannot be underestimated. In that decade no other single figure stands out more vividly both as antagonist to Gipps and the home government and as protagonist in the struggle for responsible government.
dc.format.extentix, 327 l. : pls
dc.language.isoen
dc.subjectRobert Lowe 1842-1850
dc.subjectpolitical biography
dc.subjectNew South Wales
dc.subjectpsychological handicaps
dc.subjectpolitics
dc.subjectcolonial economics
dc.subject.otherSherbrooke, Robert Lowe,
dc.subject.otherNew South Wales Politics and government 19th century
dc.titleRobert Lowe in New South Wales, 1842-1850
dc.typeThesis (Masters)
local.description.notesThis Thesis has been made available through exception 200AB of the Copyright Act.
local.type.degreeOther
dc.date.issued1962
local.contributor.affiliationDepartment of History
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5d70ebbd0289f
dc.date.updated2015-09-14T06:26:42Z
local.identifier.proquestYes
local.mintdoimint
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