OH, THE MESS WE’RE IN NOW, SAMUEL!

The Future Land Policy of New South Wales

by Samuel Cook (1870)

In this colony no question has been more largely discussed than that relating to the administration of the public lands. There is none out of which more political capital has been made — none in regard to which cant has been more potent. Men have magnified small grievances, and shrunk from providing a remedy for great ones. They have mourned over others which were merely the creations of fancy or the subterfuges of ambition. Politicians have fought, and the country has suffered. Noise and clamour have often drowned the voice of reason and prudence. The ordinary common sense which marks success in the affairs of everyday life has not presided over our councils. Thus the public estate has been maladministered, and a system has been adopted unsuited to the requirements of a British colony — based on principles inconsistent with sound political economy — in a large degree unfavourable to the preservation and development of those civilising influences which are characteristic of English society, and, in some of its details, vicious in its tendency.

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