[Editor: This review of Alfred Deakin, by Walter Murdoch, was published in The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld.), 10 December 1927.]
“Alfred Deakin,” by Walter Murdoch. Published by Constable and Company, London and Sydney.
Australians who love their country and care for its political traditions will welcome the opportunity which is now being offered them of obtaining at a popular price the brilliant sketch which Professor Murdoch wrote of the Hon. Alfred Deakin. Though he insisted that it was only a sketch, it is in effect a very satisfying biographical study of a man who devoted exceptional talents to the advocacy of federation and after the accomplishment of his object played a notable and noble part in shaping the destinies of the new Commonwealth. The book was originally published at 18/6 and arrangements have now been made whereby the public may secure copies for 8/6.
The hope is that the book will thus be brought within the reach of many who will enjoy the privilege of becoming more intimate with the career of a true patriot who has been described as “The most polished orator Australia ever heard, the most widely-read and philosophic of her citizens, and the most sincere and effective advocate of her development as an important and responsible unit within the British Empire.”
Adequately prepared for the task by his training as barrister, journalist, and member of the Victorian Parliament he threw himself with devotion into the work of inducing his fellow Australians to realise the value of federation, and though he had no actual hand in the framing of the Constitution he was in the forefront of the men who fought for its recognition and who gave flesh and blood to the structure. It has been said that his work in the first twelve years of the Commonwealth are the history of that period, a tribute that sufficiently indicates the extent to which he stamped himself upon the events of those highly controversial days.
To him also is credit given for actually conceiving most of the legislation of those early years during which he was three times Prime Minister, and he would inevitably have achieved more than he did but for his altruism which gave him implicit faith in all men, to his own undoing on more than one occasion. As Professor Murdoch has put it the country will ever hold dear the memory of this man whose high ideals, swift intelligence, far sight, boundless energy, and conquering eloquence were united in an ardent and selfless devotion to the common weal.
Had he not been so keen a politician and patriot, he might have acquired a name as a writer and critic. There are samples in this book of his brilliance with the pen which reveal rare powers of analysis and discernment, expressed in language drawn from “the well of English pure and undefiled.”
The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld.), 10 December 1927, p. 7
Also published in:
The Week (Brisbane, Qld.), 16 December 1927, p. 2
common weal = common wealth, common good, general good, general welfare, especially of a nation, state, or other politically-defined area; a nation, state, or other politically-defined area established and/or governed for the common good or general welfare of its people, especially a entity in which the supreme authority or sovereignty is vested in the people (also spelt: commonweal)
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]