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It is an old and reasonable custom in commencing an undertaking
like the present to say a few words in explanation of its plan and
purpose. In this instance it is the more necessary as the present
venture is in many respects a novelty in these Colonies. It is true.
that several previous attempts have been made to acclimatise
periodical literature in the form of Monthly Magazines, but these
have been chiefly devoted to Fiction and light literature, and
have consequently been brought into direct and unequal competition
with our abundant supply of English periodicals, and with our
own excellent weekly papers. This, together with the practice
of dealing too exclusively with local topics of no intrinsic interest,
has probably contributed in no small measure to their uniform
want of success.

The conductors of the Melbourne Review will, as far as
possible, avoid these presumed causes of failure. Though a certain
amount of space will be reserved for Poetry and Belles-lettres,
the main portion of its pages will be devoted to subjects of a more
solid character and of more permanent interest: thus, articles on
Philosophy, Theology, Science, Art, and Politics will form the
leading feature of the Review. It is moreover intended, and
this will form one of its distinctive characteristics, to admit con-
tributions of ability on any of these questions, no matter from
what school of thought they may emanate;-the soundness of this
eclectic principle having been demonstrated by the marked success
of the only two English periodicals that have adopted it, the
Contemporary and Fortnightly Reviews.

The social and intellectual development of Victoria is now sufficiently advanced to render such a periodical as has been indicated a desideratum to the daily increasing class of thoughtful

men and women, who it may be presumed are. hardly satisfied with the necessarily brief and partisan treatment of important questions by the daily or even the weekly press.

There are moreover good grounds for believing that we have amongst us many persons holding original and valuable opinions, for the expression of which there is at present no fitting organ, who would gladly avail themselves of such an opportunity as will be afforded by the pages of the Melbourne Review.

In referring to the undue prominence given to local matters of no general interest as one of the causes of failure of previous Australian magazines, it must not be supposed that it is intended to exclude from the pages of the Melbourne Review articles on local subjects-provided they derive their value from their style and treatment, rather than from their containing allusions to places and names familiar to the Colonial reader. A principal source of interest in the Review will be owing doubtless to the fact that subjects of general and world-wide interest will be treated of from a Colonial standpoint, and by writers of Colonial education and experience.

It is gratifying to be able to announce at the outset that the conductors have already secured the literary assistance of gentlemen of widely known ability in their several provinces, whose names will be recognised as ample guarantees for the value of their contributions. It is due, however, to the several authors to state that they are responsible for their own articles only, and are not necessarily in accord with the general tenor of the Review, which seeks to cover the widest possible range of cultivated thought.

The conductors hope to receive the cordial support of all who desire to foster an original Australian literature, and who will not refuse a kindly recognition of such literary talent as may exist amongst them; to their friendly consideration the present appeal is addressed, and to their criticism the first number is now submitted.

9 MAY 1936



THE relation of the State to the religions of the people is not a burning question in Victoria. Burning questions are those which require for their solution sharp and sudden methods. Questions of public policy are usually best solved by gradual methods. But they are sometimes left without solution too long. And then corruptions and abuses gather about them, and their condition becomes so bad that they cannot wait for gradual methods. Statesmen must either solve them at once, as readily as possible, even if it be roughly, or else they must keep their hands off them altogether. If a way of solution is not found, they become more and more burning until they solve themselves at last in a general conflagration.

Roman Catholic Emancipation was a burning question in the United Kingdom in 1829; Parliamentary Reform in 1832; the Corn Laws in 1845. All of these were dealt with promptly, and received either a full or a partial solution. Slavery was a burning question in the United States before the last decade. No statesman succeeded in solving it, and so it solved itself in conflagration. Church and State in Germany is a burning question now, and will very soon be so in England.

But Church and State in Victoria was never a burning question. And yet we imported from the mother country all the elements of the difficulty. Civil and religious and ecclesiastical matters have been for centuries closely interwoven in the laws of England, and these laws we brought with us to this country. The making of bishops, dioceses and provinces were matters of consideration in the councils of the earlier colonial governments. Indeed in some respects it seemed as if we were were destined to reproduce the Church and State disease in an aggravated form. Religious bodies were much more evenly balanced in Victoria than in England, and it was evident from the beginning that no one of them could have a monopoly of State honours and emoluments here. And so it seemed at first as if the poet's prophecy which promised us

"Creeds with chartered priesthoods unaccurst"

was about to be strangely falsified. It seemed as if we were not to have one chartered priesthood, but several. Indeed it seemed as if




the case was about to be even worse than that. For a chartered priesthood may not always be a mere tool in the hands of the State. It may be independent of the State as a teaching body, and therefore, as long as its charter suffers it to be virtuous, it may be a power for good. The property of the English Church is mostly corporate and not State property, and that fact no doubt has given an element of independence to the English priesthood, and has made it necessary for statesmen to consult them in matters of ecclesiastical legislation, and so their faith and doctrine have been kept hitherto from sinking into mere government by-laws. But the churches of Victoria were without corporate property, and therefore the chartered priesthoods of Victoria could only have become a mere army of mercenaries, subject at all times and in every way to the dictation of a purely secular government.

We have no doubt that if State Aid to religion had continued for a few generations, such abuses and corruptions would have grown up in connection with it, that all good citizens, and especially those who value religion, would have risen up together to demand its abolition. But by that time vested interests would have built their nests in it, and it would have wound itself in and out of our institutions, and got so bound up with our national life, that it would have been very difficult indeed to touch it. And then Church and State would have become a burning question in Victoria.

But fortunately for our future history, the danger was foreseen and a method of averting it was discovered, while gradual methods were still the easiest as well as the best. That method had been adopted in the United States long before, and has worked successfully there for near a century now. Statesmen in that country had said from the beginning-let the State withdraw from all official connection with churches. Let churches work out their own purposes by whatsoever lawful means they consider the best. Like all other corporations, let them have the protection of the laws and all reasonable facilities of action, but no State privileges and no State responsibilities. Let them be "free churches in a free state." Let those who believe in the efficacy of religious ministrations, maintain those religious ministrations. Let priesthoods and ministries who claim to possess spiritual powers, come to an understanding with the people who believe in those spiritual powers. And let that understanding be effected without the interference of secular government or secular laws. Let the State no longer undertake to provide religious instruction for the people, and let the teachers of religion

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