Australian Access Federation

You are here: Home Corpora Corpus of Oz Early English 3-083 (Text)

3-083 (Text)

connection failed.

3-083-plain.txt — 2 KB

File contents

The independent bearing of the colonial labouring population, in short of the whole of the employed classes, is often commented upon. A labourer in Australia is indeed a very different personage from one in the mother country, and he is not long of knowing the fact. There never was and never can be any fixed scale of relative consideration for one class as compared with another in society, when this depends so much on the proportion of the numbers that offer as compared with the vocations that await them. The atmosphere we breathe is not more necessary to society than the labourer; but in order to appreciate fully either the one or the other of these necessaries, society should be made to feel some stint in the supply. This, in the dealings of a bounteous nature, is never the case with the first, and but rarely, in old countries, is it the case to any trying extent with the second. An English gentleman, therefore, might be disposed to regard the license and bearing of the mechanic and labouring classes of colonies as somewhat subversive of social landmarks, and a feature altogether disagreeable in the colonial landscape.
This feeling gradually gives way with the effect of habit and of a less prejudiced view, and the independent position of such classes then assumes a more advantageous light.  The picture is not free from exceptionable aspects. But, generally speaking, the consideration awarded to all classes must be regarded in the light of an extension of the sphere of society, that involves with it many good and improving features. After some experience of colonial life, one certainly feels, on returning to the mother country, that in this respect the range of society is narrowed, that the social edifice is constructed more selfishly, that it is certainly more defective as regards social destinies; and that we are surrounded by features and circumstances ever painfully reminding us, that the lesser half of our fellow-men lives in a superabundant enjoyment at the expense of brains and sinews, the nightly and daily toil, the scant rewards and plenteous sufferings, of by far the larger portion of humanity.