CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

Nunc Dimittis

This noble and gigantic confederation has been formally dissolved. It has accomplished its great task. On 29 December 1853, the last Order in Council was abrogated and Australia is free.
John West, Launceston Examiner Editorial, 25 April 1854


"THE DECLARATION of Australian independence in a Launceston Examiner editorial, the result of the most important colonial agitation in modern times was as significant to John West, and the Australias, as was the declaration of Independence to the Americas and John Adams. Almost eighty years before, John Adams, like John West, had been a spokesman for colonial independence against seemingly overwhelming imperial forces, and whereas John West's confederated aim to create a civil society in Van Diemen's Land from what had been a penal colony was achieved by moral means only; the price of the America's nationhood was paid in significant blood shed by force of arms.

John West's abolition campaign extended his colonial horizons to the new pastures of Victoria, the old colony of New South Wales and the province of South Australia. He debated with their leading public figures, experienced their cultural, political and religious disparities, and comprehended the Australias potential for nationhood. He was to conclude: A lesson has been taught, which will never be forgotten. It is that the colonies isolated are powerless, united, invincible. It is on this account, we are in favour of a strong federal government to regulate those affairs which are common to all.

The subsequent production of his colossal intellect, his essays on Federation entitled Union of the Colonies, were crafted from his understanding of the political systems of a world of whose history he had a vast knowledge, to educate a politically naive new Australian public."


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