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IN all probability the incoming mail will enlighten us upon the dark question, of Colonial representation. At all events we shall know, and within a very short time, first, whether the Memorialwas duly forwarded, next the remarks of the Go vernment upon the prayer of it, and lastly, the decision of the Home Govern ment as to its acceptance or rejection. In all probability it will in principle be accepted, but modified to meet the excep tional condition of the colony. We glean from Cape of Good Hope papers, that the Government there prTo pose to substitute, and with the concur rence of the present Legislature, a new form of representation; the great dis tances between the extreme limits of the colony, making it inconvenient for mem bers to attend the annual meeting of the Colonial Parliament. Having to travel over bush roads and tracks by land, and in coasting vessels by sea, is a severe task even on the most patriotic and ambitious. The new system proposes to divide the whole colony into electoral districts, giving the popular interest 18 votes, adding three only as Crown nominees;
and to constitute the whole one chamber, as is the case in Holland. It does not say for what length of time the popular re presentatives are to hold their seats, but we presume it will be for stated periods. Frequent elections are much to be depre cated in young communities, and no doubt whilst preserving; the. principle of popular representation, as far as human wisdom and experiences canprovide against its evils, the parties interested, namely, the present House of Represen tatives and the Governing powers at the Cape will devise proper checks and balances. We may safely assume that the mother country is disposed in all cases to give an autonomy to any of her colonial depen dencies seeking it. The conditions pre cedent are so well. known, that the con cession becomes a mere matter of official routine. Our limits are `so rprescibed ~that we have not space to bring fully before our readers, the fact that, the Jamaica Le gislature has actually:abdicatedits powers, and that the Island has again become a Crown colony-or that the frequent changes of men and measures in the sister .colonies, and the consequent fre q;uent appeals to popular feeling have caused much social disturbance, and com mercial embarrassment. We now come to consider the condition of our own colony, and we shall to the best of our judgment, give our opinion, as to the course that will be followed by the Imperial Government in reply to the demand for a Representative Constitution. Geographically it resembles the Cape of Good Hope, and we believe that the form of representation, if the prayer is granted, will be on the same principle. We must however bear in mind that there are many features in our social system, not known in any of the other dependencies of the Crown, which will require excep tional provisions. First our population, which according to the last )Police returns amounted to 20,300 is but limited, next-out of that number there are no less than 7,000 male adults, of the convict class, independent of probation prisoners, who will shortly be added to the number. We believe that the register considerably exceeds 9,000 arrivals since the first introduction of convicts in 1850, that the gross number has not been decreased by more than 500, and that a number of the 9000, are re stored to civil rights, forming a large proportion of Householders, many of them in good circumstances, and credit, and claiming a right to express their opinions on all public questions, on equal inrmn with the free class.
On one point both classes are all but unanimous, that the present form of Government does not work well, that the Executive Couincil outnumbers the popu lar or rather nominee members by two to one, and that as the. Governor, as repre sentative of the Crown appoints thenm, they may be fairly assumed to be influ enced by the governing powers. Indeed we know that, one of them is well known as a Govvernment man, another takes no part in public matters, and but- two are independent of Government House influ ences. In a small, and a poor community like ours it will be difficult to find me.n, on the one hand indifferent to Courtly in fluences, and on the other independant of popular impulses. It will be the duty too of the Imperial Government to make ar rangements for the management of the Convict element. We much doubt if the Home Government will part with, or de legate that management to the Colonial Legislature-it is not improbable that they will institute some public work of general utility to give the bond class em ployment, and if they continue the Im perial subsidies towards the support of the Clergy and the Police, they will retain the control over the funds, until the Con vict element shall have been absorbed into the generalmass of the population. The conclusion we have arrived at on the ful lest consideration of all the information we possess is, that, the number ofpopular members will be increased, and that, as far as circumstances will permit, the new element will be the expression of popular opinion. It is to be hoped that under the. new system whoever is appointed to carry it out, will bring to its consideration-a mind unbiassed by party or personal feelings-will make it his duty to reconcile conflicting; interests to smoothe down class feelings -to discou rage distinctive pretensions-to ignore back-stair influences-to provide em ployment for the convict element-to promote a healthy immigration-to open up communications with the more remote and more productive districts of the colony-td see that our ill-famed coasts are properly surveyed, and generally to initiate and encourage the development of our Colonial Industries-and to pre pare the Settler population for the dis charge of their future palitical duties, by giving them some voice in the disposition and management of the labor at the com mand of the Government. No apology can be needed for again and again drawing the attention of the settlers of this colony to its natural productions avail able for exportation. It is most desirable and important to know thoroughly, and clearly, what are the raw materials that can be pro cured or produced with facility and profit because it is to the exportation of raw materials to the manufacturing markets of the old world, that this colony, and indeed every colony, must look as the only firm and certain source of progress and prosperity. .. he manufacturing industries succeed the more primitive occupations of husbandry and grazing, by the increase of population, and the consequent cheapness and permanence of skilled labor. In new countries, the high price of labor, and migratory habits of the population, render the establishment of manu facturing industries impossible. The natural productions of this colony ex ported, arelimited to wool, copper, sandalwood, a- little gum and a few horses-and even in these things there is displayed but little of ?that energy, perseverance, and spiritthat is
necessary to ensure success in the most prom ising undertaking, but which is doubly needed in circumstances of difficulty. It cannot be denied by any one who has moved much about the colony that, it at this moment possesses many natural productions, which by the prudent and judicious outlay of capital and labor, could be converted into sources of wealth to individuals and prosperity to the community. Take for instance the timber trade. All are ready to admit its commercial value, and none deny that it might be made by proper management a large and valuable export, em ploying great numbers of hands, and increasing the consumption of other productions of the colony; and yet how languidly is it prosecu ted-the very slip-shod manner in which the trade has been, and is conducted, contradicts in the strongest manner possible the assertions made in favor of it. Associated as it is with insolvency and ruin, how can it be expected that capitalists of other countries will venture their money in an undertaking bearing such a character. Yet practical, clear, hard headed men of business, conversant with the timber trade, are positive that it is -capaple of being conducted with. profit and advantage-the same observations apply to many other articles. In a previous number we drew attention to the remarks made by the Jurors of the Inter colonial Exhibition on some of the exhibits of this colony, and we do so again this week in the hope that, it will lead to greater attention being paid to the only means within our reach of improving our material condition, and re covering from the depression that is felt at present in every department of trade, and among all classes. We could draw no very flattering picture of the condition of the colony in monetary matters, but we will not do so, we feel sure the resources of the colony if laid hold of and turned to account are more than sufficient to enable her to recover. It is to be hoped if some disadvantages attend the breaking up of a system that undoubtedly af forded temporary assistance to the colony, it will stimulate the settlers to avail themselves to a greater extent than they have done, of the natural resources of the colony. The Juror's remarks on our Jarrah timber (Mahogany) Eucalyptus marginata, are scant, but nevertheless decisive as to its value and utility. It is, observes the report:-" one of the best timbers grown in the colonies, is used for railway sleepers, and much prized for this purpose in India, as it is well known to iesist the attack of the white ant; it is also used for piles, and will stand for an interminable length of time-without giving any indication of decay.- We have proofs of its durability from a pile exhibited that has stood the test for twenty-five years without the least sign of decay. It grows to an immense size, attains a great height, and is very plentiful. It is also used for furniture, and stands well, as it is very close grained and takes a fine polish." This is certainly strong testimony in its favor, and sooner or later it may be expected to pro duce the effect ofincreasing the demand. We understand that what is principally wanted to give an impetus to the trade, are agents in the other colonies. Well it will be for those in the trade to see to this. We find the following interesting and sug gestive notice of Pome of our mineral produc tions :-" The Central Committee;" Western Australia-" exhibit crude yellow, red and umber colored ochres usfil as paints; the latter burns into a good red pigment. Mr. P. Wallcott exhibited a most interest ing series of bitumens, resins, inflammable amber, like mineral peat, and chalk. 'The inflammable substance, is of a dark browh color, resinous fracture and soluble in alcohol. The Bitumen, or asphaltum is free from sulphur compounds, and is therefore of value if occur ring in quantity. One of the resins closely resembled copaline; on distillation, it yielded an oil like oil of amber; the specimen was marked amber. A second, also marked amber, seems to represent a transitional change from the former, which again seems connected with the specimens marked peat, which consist of sand grains, coated and cemented by a peaty substance soluble in potash, all these are found in beds near the coast." We should much like to hear of attention being paid to some of the articles enumeiated, as there is but little doubt that many, or at least some of them, might be turned to account and utilized. Under the heads of "Barks and Tanner's materials," we find the following:-" The bark of this shrub"-Primelea Clavata "was sent by Pemberton Walcott Esq., of Warren River West Australia. The species is not unfrequent in that part of Australia. The bark is extremely tough, and largely employed by the natives for their nets, fishing lines, and kindred objects. The exhibitor is of opinion that the bark could be profitably collected for textile fabrics." The following gratifying notice is given of another source of industry peculiarly applica ble to this colony, and in which we could far outstrip the sister colonies, but which is strangely neglected." Dried fruits, a new arti cle in colonial exhibits, especially deserves prominent notice as being in itself one of great consumption, and which hitherto has formed one of the chief features in our imports. This industry, being a new one, was represen ted only to a small extent, but in sufficient quantitiy to convince the Jurors of the per fect adaptability of our colonies to produce an article equally well dried and fresher, and therefore more valuable than the imported articles. The finest samples came from Wes tern Australia." The italics are ours. It would be easy for us to enlarge upon this in teresting topic, point out the many advantages we possess for the successful carrying on of this business, but we cannot command space sufficient and must defer it. We cannot close our short notice of this most interesting Report, without recording the feeling of shame we experienced at the humble position this colony occupies in it. How in significant Western Australia appears by the side of her well developed sisters. We feel sure, this disadvantage we labor under, does not so much arise from natural defects, as from indifference and carelesness. We trust that all whoread the Report will be stirred up to make some effort to improve our position, and to take a more leading place in the next Austral Exposition. We are indebted for a perusal of the Report to the Rev. J. G. Bostock, whose exhibit of rare specimens of natural history, was honored with a Medal.