My Life in Two Hemispheres/Chapter 25
Why I became a Minister—Remonstrance of the goldfield members against some of the Ministers—Conspiracy among the civil servants—The "No Popery" rumours—Debate, and fall of the Ministry—Letter from Edward Butler—The second Haines Government and their policy—Representation of minorities—Fall of the Government—Second O'Shanassy Government—Principles of Reponsible Government insisted on—Letter from the Chief Secretary, New South Wales—New Reform Bill amended and read unanimously a third time in the Assembly—The measure rejected in the Upper House—Letter from Mr. Bright on the independence of colonies—Mr. Disraeli on the same subject—Industrial projects—Letter from W. K. Sullivan—The New South Wales elections—Dalley and Deniehy—Henry Parkes invited to settle in Victoria—Letters from John Dillon, Edward Whitty, Cashel Hoey, Chief Justice Stawell, Archbishop MacHale, and T. B. MacManus—Lord Palmerston and Mr. O'K—— —Edward Whitty' s arrival in Australia—Letter from B. C. Aspinall—Death of Whitty The Land Convention and Land League—Cabinet quarrel on the Governor's speech—My serious illness—Departmental reforms—Resigned office—Misrepresentations, letter to the Argus—Generous conduct of the electors at Villiers and Heytesbury—Letter to Mr. O'Hagan—Debate on my resignation in the new Parliament—Mr. Nicholson authorised to form an Administration offers me a place in it, which I do not accept.
The inducements to accept office in the new Government were strong, even imperative. I belonged to a group of friends who were disparaged because they did not succeed in Ireland. I was eager to show that we were not unfit to bear the burthen of a State. Here was a country freer than anything but separation would have made Ireland. The Imperial Government could not appoint or dismiss a clerk, nor apply a shilling of the public revenue to any purpose until it was voted by the local Parliament. In such an Australia I might aim to show what could be accomplished in such an Ireland.
Before a brief honeymoon of office was over we had to encounter some of its troubles and disasters. During the adjournment, and while the new Ministers were at their elections, a skilful and vigorous effort was made to reconcile the Ministers who had gone out and the men who had voted against them, but had refused to join O'Shanassy. Among our supporters there was natural dissatisfaction, for several who thought themselves entitled to office had been overlooked.
Dr. Owens wrote me on behalf of the goldfield members, whom he considered himself entitled to represent, "that they were altogether opposed to the bigotry with which the Government had been assailed, but that they could not take cordially to Ministers like Foster, so justly detested by the miners for his past policy; Greaves so constitutionally unreliable, and Home so insignificant. The first popular Ministry ought to consist of widely different elements." Some of the younger men came to me to say that they were not surprised O'Shanassy went off with the old colonists, but how I came to estimate so ill the respective value of men was a perplexity to them. One of the ablest of these men, a journalist, was willing and anxious to accept a place in the Cabinet—without a portfolio or department—as a recognition of his political status, and I strongly urged on my new colleagues to gratify him. But what was sometimes called the "old fogy" element in the Government was dead against him, and his admission would have led to two retirements. Two retirements from the first Government would have been fatal, and I had no choice but to acquiesce.
Suspicion is a sentiment never long absent in democratic communities. Washington was suspected of desiring to turn the Republic he had founded into a Monarchy; Hamilton was suspected of conspiring to ape in the new country the imperialism of Chatham. One of the handiest weapons to employ against the new Adminstration was that I was an Irish rebel, hostile to all peaceful government, and that I was such a bitter Papist that I would never be content till the Pope was proclaimed sovereign of the Australias. The new Chief Secretary had appointed Captain Standish, a gentleman whom I had never seen and probably never heard of before, to be Chief Commissioner of Police, and it was alleged in a Sandhurst newspaper that he was my nephew. Johnny Fawkner, who was called the father of the colony, because he had arrived in the second boatful of immigrants from Van Dieman's Land and outlived his compeers, exhorted his Austral Felicians to rise up against this danger. Whatever he found attributed to John Mitchel in British journals he transferred to my account; and a letter which Mr. Archer, an English gentleman, wrote to Frederick Lucas, having got published in the Tablet after Lucas's death, was republished in Melbourne, with exuberant commentaries. Mr. Archer assured Mr. Lucas that the Bishop of Melbourne heard a rumour that he was coming to Australia, and was persuaded it was the work of Providence to send him there. Mr. Fawkner assumed as a fact admitting of no dispute that when Mr. Lucas died I was put in his place, overlooking the fact that the date of Mr. Archer's letter showed that it was only despatched from Melbourne about the time when I was arriving in Australian waters. I did not condescend to make any answer to these amenities, and many ignorant persons accepted them as gospel. Several of the other Ministers were fiercely bombarded on different grounds, and the majority of the Colonists certainly arrived at the conclusion that they would not do.
Our troubles were complicated by discovering that the permanent officials knew so little of the ethics of Responsible Government that they had formed a secret committee to aid the re-election of their late masters. One of the conspirators betrayed the remainder, and when the correspondence was carried to the Government I found that the chief officer of my department, who appeared the most zealous and deferential of officials, was an active member of the cabal. I sent for him and told him I had been pleased with him, and was unwilling that any ill should come to him through me, but his duty was to be absolutely faithful and obedient to his superiors, and that if he did not separate himself altogether from these illegitimate proceedings he would certainly be dismissed. The Government might be defeated when Parliament met, but that would not save him; some of us would infallibly soon return to office, and still hold him responsible. He expressed profound regret, and as he came several times under my authority in later Administrations I am confident he meddled no more in illegitimate politics.
When the elections were over the Attorney-General and the Commissioner of Customs were found to have lost their seats, and the former assured me that the story was industriously promulgated in his district that, though he professed to be an orthodox Protestant, he was, in fact, a Papist and Jesuit in disguise. I consoled him with the reflection that Edmund Burke had been assailed with the same inventions. The anti-Irish sentiment was not new. Before I arrived in the colony, or sailed for it, the Argus complained of the number of Irishmen in office, though they were all good Protestants, and some of them had been baptized in the Boyne water. When Parliament met a vote of No-Confidence was immediately carried against the O'Shanassy Government. They defended their position with great vigour and considerable success, but the end was predetermined, and they promptly retired. I spare the reader any synopsis of this debate, but Edward Butler sent me enthusiastic and no doubt extravagant applause of one of the speeches:—
"I read your speech three times over with unabated delight and enthusiasm. Most assuredly nothing like it has ever been heard in an assembly in this part of the globe. It is as a keen blade flashing and cutting amongst the rude clubs of savages. Yet I expected something like it, for I knew of old that you never were so vigorous as when personally assailed. That speech, I think, will bear you interest in the vindication of both character and intellect."
This ignominious defeat of the first popular Administration was pronounced by enthusiastic Conservatives to be not only a decisive victory for Conservative opinions, but a fatal, if not a final, overthrow of the Progressive Party. But the interregnum was brief. After a single session, protracted to over nine months, the reformers returned to office, and under some form, sometimes as a naked democracy, sometimes in coalition with men of more sober views, they have exercised power from that period to the present.
The history of the interregnum may be briefly told. The new Government consisted of Mr. Haines and a couple of his original colleagues and three or four men who had been leaders among the Opposition before which Mr. Haines had fallen. They were greatly strengthened by the adhesion of Mr. Michie as Attorney-General; a debater so skilful and accomplished that I constantly compared him in my mind to Mr. Disraeli, with whom, under favourable conditions, he could have maintained a not unequal fight.
It was certain in a Democratic community like Victoria that Democratic changes would be effected, and this Conservative Government determined to concede the measures which were inevitable, confident that they could regulate them more considerately than their probable successors. But this is always a dangerous experiment. If the people have not confidence in the intentions by which the promoters of a reform are moved, it is necessary to make larger concessions than would content them from the natural spokesmen of their opinions. The programme of the Government was to postpone all serious questions, such as that of the Public Lands and Civil Service, till the Legislative Assembly was brought into closer harmony with public opinion, and with that view they proposed to extend the franchise, to increase the number of members, to reduce the duration of Parliament from five to three years, and to secure its independence by prohibiting any salaried officer from sitting in either House. The Opposition assailed this programme as stinted and meagre. I, on the contrary, admitted that if the measures proposed were discreet and liberal they would prove adequate and satisfactory; but I warned the Government that while the Land Bill was postponed they must forbid a system which had hitherto prevailed of selling the territory in principalities to squatters. The proposed extension of the franchise, it was insisted, did not go far enough, and it retained unjustifiable privileges in the interests of the wealthy. The merchants and lawyers, for example, who resided in the suburbs would have votes where they resided, and would have other votes in Melbourne from their warehouses or chambers. The Opposition insisted on the arrangement which in these times is called "one man one vote," but it is a fact of curious significance that though the proposal was renewed on every suitable occasion during the forty years which have followed, it has not yet become law in that democratic colony. The measure had another provision to which some of the supporters of the Government and several of the Opposition took exception; it recognised the right of minorities to be represented, and proposed to provide for it by three-cornered constituencies, or by constituencies with five representatives, of whom an elector could only vote for three. I recognised this as a just proposal, and separated from the bulk of the Opposition by giving it my cordial support. Mr. O'Shanassy took the same course, and the supporters of the Government who had been murmuring their apprehensions now burst out with the objection that the proposed arrangement would doubtless give an undue advantage to Catholics. In the existing Chamber Catholics were entitled by population to seventeen members, and they had only seven, the utmost the proposed change could give them was some approximation to the number they were entitled to, but, to bigots, that seemed an alarming calamity. The desire that Parliament shall be the exponent of the whole people, not merely of a majority, is true Democracy. But Democracy commonly abandons that position and allies itself with the selfish interests of a single class. Mr. Haines, who was not at all a bigot, but a High Churchman, who probably thought a Puritan more objectionable than a Papist, was alarmed at the clamour, and proposed a new and, as he affirmed, less dangerous manner of applying the system, the cumulative method by which an elector could distribute his votes either on the whole number of members the constituency elected, or on one or more at his discretion. But the Minister who hesitates makes as fatal a mistake as the woman or the fortress who parleys. There were speedily three sections opposed to the Government measure. The squatters, who believed that the extension of the franchise would ruin their interests, and that the minority clauses would not compensate them for this danger; a section who thought that the minority principle was too complicated to be understood by the people; and Puritans, who seemed to believe that it was wicked to give the Catholics the full representation to which they were entitled. The schedule by which it was proposed to apply the principle was defeated by a considerable majority on the motion of Captain Clarke, who had been a member of the first Haines Government. In the Victorian Legislature, whatever party was in office, power has been promptly resigned when any incident demands it, and Mr. Haines a second time set the example of this practice by sending in his resignation. His party were deeply discontented, some of them greatly exasperated, by this unexpected stroke, which would inevitably throw power into the hands of the Democratic Opposition. It was certain Mr. O'Shanassy would be head of the Government, but who were to be his colleagues in his second experiment was a subject of universal interest.
The men selected had capacity and experience, but the popular element was as wanting as in the first. I occupied the office of President of the Board of Land and Works, and as there were four departments united in it, Railways, Roads and Bridges, Public Works, and Water Supply, it was determined to ask from Parliament power to appoint a vice-president to share the inordinate labours, and I resolved, when the necessary Bill became law, to offer the office to Mr. Brooke, one of the ablest of the Democratic Party. But this was not enough, and Mr. O'Shanassy largely lost the support of the democracy.
The Governor desired to swear in to the Executive Council all the members of the new Administration. I pointed out that the English practice was when a man was sworn in to the Privy Council that he retained the office for life unless he was removed for some misconduct. The Governor was of opinion that it would be more convenient that when Ministers retired from office they should retire from the Executive Council also. Some of my colleagues thought the question of no importance, but I was of a different opinion. I asked the Governor if he had sworn in Mr. Haines when he returned to office a second time. He said he had not. I rejoined that he had adopted the proper practice on that occasion, and that I respectfully declined to be sworn into the Executive Council, being already a member of that body. The subject was dropped and never revived. I consulted the Prime Minister of New South Wales and was rejoiced to find that he agreed with me on the question.
"C. S. Office.
"My dear Sir,—I was glad to have a line from you. The very course you recommend to be taken regarding the Executive Council was that suggested by me in reference to the late Ministers.
"When Sir William Denison sent for me, the only point upon which I had any difficulty was this—and he at once told me that though he had no power to dismiss from the Executive Council, he would only summon the members of my' Cabinet. This is, of course, virtually adopting the principle of a Privy Council. The matter has been referred to the Secretary of State—in the meantime, the late Ministry retain their offices and their titles, but to the deliberations of the present Ministry they are not invited. I could not have gone on upon any other principle. I am as you may imagine fully occupied—the city has re-elected me in a most gratifying manner, and my friend and treasurer also.
"Murray and Martin will also be returned unopposed, and though the me with a tremendous opposition when the Assembly meet I am not alarmed. I have stood fire before to-day, and I know I have many friends as well as opponents in the Assembly.aristocracy are very fierce and threaten
"We have just completed a despatch for the Secretary of State upon this very matter, in reference to his instructions generally and recommending most important alterations in them. I will show him your note.—Believe me yours faithully,"Charles Cowper."
On another point we had a more serious difference with he Governor. The Opposition Press affirmed that we were making improper magistrates: the statement was quite unfunded, but at the next meeting of the Executive Council the Governor informed us that before issuing commissions to any new magistrates he felt it his duty to take the opinion of the Chief Justice on the men proposed. This was not Responsible Government, and my colleagues authorised me to draw up a minute on their behalf to the Governor on the subject, which I did, and we heard no more of the matter.
The first task the Government undertook was to carry to a successful issue the question of electoral reform, which had failed in the hands of their predecessors. Two Bills were introduced, one extending the number of members to ninety, and framing electorates as far as it was practicable to contain four thousand electors each. The increase of the population, and the difficulty of furnishing sufficient members for select committees justified this change. The measure appeared to give general satisfaction, and after undergoing the most careful scrutiny and some modifications in committee, had its third reading passed unanimously. The other was a Bill regulating elections. It had been found necessary to make the representation of minorities an open question in the Cabinet. The Bill did not provide for it, but it was arranged that an independent member should move the necessary clauses, and the members of the Government who approved of the principle were at liberty to support it with all their strength. When the Reform Bill, as the first measure was called, went to the Upper House it was encountered with a decided resistance. Some declared that ninety members selected on the basis of population alone would destroy the squatters, and endanger many serious interests; others foresaw in this proposal the first plunge into the muddy waters of American democracy, and Mr. Fellows, who had transferred himself to the Upper House, insisted that the measure should be postponed till an Elections Regulations Bill providing for the representation of minorities had been passed.
I shall not embarrass this narrative with names unless when they are names of cardinal significance. It is enough to say that the man of greatest wealth in the House (who was Commissioner of Customs in the new Government) warned them that rejecting this Bill was not the way to protect property, but the way to inflame public opinion against it and to lead to an immediate dissolution of Parliament to be followed in all probability by a more democratic assembly. But remonstrance was in vain: the measure was rejected by a narrow majority; the Government withdrew the second Bill and prepared for a general election. Before the Session terminated the Chief Secretary announced that a new Session would speedily open, when the Reform Bill would be again sent to the Council to enable them to consider more deliberately whether they would reject a measure dealing exclusively with reform in the Legislative Assembly, and which had been unanimously adopted by that body. If it did, it might be necessary to consider serious changes in the constitution.
The Session closes with a respectable imitation of a Whitebait Dinner, except indeed that the Australian Ministers, instead of enjoying the good things in secret, invite their Parliamentary supporters in the Lower House to share these festivities, which are commonly as joyous and exuberant as a schoolboy holiday festival.
When the recess arrived I found a huge accumulation of correspondence and agenda which occupied my leisure as long as I had any, and overflowed into the succeeding Session. The character of the writers make some of the letters of permanent importance.
In the middle of this century English opinion got entangled in the strange fallacy that the colonies were a burthen to the empire. The British troops were in the end withdrawn in succession from Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, where the British flag was left flying without a, single soldier to protect it. A little later Lord Granville refused an offer of the Government of Victoria to raise, clothe, feed, and pay a regiment, which should receive its officers and instructions from the Horse Guards, on the sole condition that it should not be withdrawn in the time of war from the province which had created it.
Mr. Bright was so vehemently anti-colonial that he thought himself justified in mooting to a Minister of the Crown in Australia the proposal to prepare for separation. Here is his letter to me.
After speaking of his health and pursuits, and of the American war, and the Trent incident in the tone usual to him he concluded:—
"The prospect of War has often made me think of your distant colonies. You have trade with America, and you have valuable cargoes in the sea between your continent and this island. Privateers would shut up your commerce, and you would be subjected to grievous evils arising from a war in which you had no interest, and about which you were not consulted.
"I do not know how long the tie between England and the Colonies would stand the strain of a war with the United States, but if I were a Colonist I should be tempted to ask myself, how much I gained from a nominal connection with the Government of the English oligarchy to compensate me for the calamities brought upon me by the war into which they were recklessly plunging me. A fair inquiry of this nature might create a further secession, and one more reasonable than that which now astonishes the world. They who wish this empire to continue united should value peace.
"The Anti-reformers here abuse your representative system—everything is evil that is not restrictive and monopolist in politics but I hope you are going on well, and that you have no reason to regret that you left our House of Commons. With many thanks for your kind letter.—I am very truly yours,
It was widely believed in Australia, and it has sometimes been insisted on in England, that the anti- Colonial sentiment was a craze of the Liberals. But unhappily it was a craze from which neither party escaped. In the "Life of Lord Malmesbury" a letter of Mr. Disraeli is published which exhibits that statesman under an awful fit of the disease:—
"The Fisheries affair is a bad business. Pakington's circular is not written with a thorough knowledge of the circumstances. He is out of his depth—more than three marine miles from shore. These wretched colonies will all be independent too in a few years, and are a millstone round our necks."
I did not sympathise with Mr. Bright's policy. Cutting off the colonies to lighten the progress of the empire seemed to me like cutting off the wings of a bird to disembarrass its flight. George III. shook off the millstone of the North American colonies with a result we are all familiar with, and if Mr. Disraeli or Mr. Bright had given effect to his conviction he would have done a work as disastrous.
William-K. Sullivan was at this time one of the most original and laborious chemists in Europe, and he was moreover an accomplished man of letters. He wrote to me proposing to come to the new colony and devote himself to the organisation of science and theof new industries. He held at the time, under Sir Robert Kane, the first appointment in the Museum of Irish Industry, and he was afterwards promoted by the Imperial Government to be President of the Queen's College in Cork. The same spirit that stimulated Berkeley to seek a career in India, and Arnold to meditate one in Ireland, moved the generous soul and eager spirit of Sullivan. He wrote to me frankly of his wishes:—
"Now that you are in power I think you could do many things which would benefit the colony in an educational point of view, and let me candidly add I would be very glad to assist you. My proposal is this Establish a Chair of Chemistry in the University of Melbourne, and establish in connection with it a technological collection or museum in which would be brought together specimens of all the raw laterals, mineral, vegetable, and animal, produced in the colony. Specimens illustrative of the processes and products of those branches of manufacture which have been introduced into the colony or which might be introduced with advantage—models of machinery, especially of mills, mining machines and tools. In connection with this department you might have an office for the registration of patents; and a short report might be annually published informing the public of the discovery of any new resources in the colony, the locality of each kind of mineral raw material, the patents registered, and an epitome of the chief European discoveries bearing upon colonial industries.
"I believe I could do all this better than any one else you could get, inasmuch as I have devoted more time to such matters—indeed it is I made the chief part of the recent collections for the Scotch Museum at Edinburgh, and it is the system of labelling and description carried out by me at this museum which is now being adopted in all the other technological museums. Further, if you could allocate a certain sum, say £3,000 or £4,000, I could take out a collection of models of mining machinery, windmills, flour mills, machinery for the preparation of fibres, &c., together with specimens illustrative of the processes of manufacture such as does not exist in any museum here after an expenditure of twice or thrice that sum.
"You can scarcely believe the simple questions that are sometimes demanded by persons in Melbourne, and upon the most commonplace branches of manufacture, such as soap, leather, &c. I have received at least twenty such. Now, there ought to be the means of having such questions answered on the spot—nay, more, such knowledge ought to be forced upon every one whom it concerns.
"It is not classics or paleontology (and no one has a higher appreciation of such subjects than myself) that will increase the material prosperity of an infant colony—you must have the foundations and the skeleton of the building before you can ornament it."
This was a bold and practical scheme, and if Huxley, whose gifts were not rarer than Sullivan's, had made the same proposal, he would have been received in Victoria with enthusiasm, and to me the coming of Sullivan would have been a happy stroke of fortune for the new community; but after consultation with some of my colleagues I found the generous offer could not be accepted because Sullivan was a Catholic, and his appointment would have been the subject of endless misrepresentation.
In New South Wales a general election had brought into Parliament some young men of my own race, in whose career I had large hopes. The most conspicuous of them were W. B. Dalley and Daniel Deniehy. Dalley was a politician and a man of society, and Deniehy, though by profession an attorney, was a recluse and an accomplished man of letters. He was ill and absent during my visit to Sydney, but I had read some of his speeches and essays with much sympathy. I take an extract from his acknowledgment of my congratulations to indicate the sort of Irish-Australians I aimed to confederate in the new country in pious memory of the old one.
"Perhaps you will pardon my delay in answering your kind letter of congratulations when I assure you that the sovereign circumstance of pride and pleasure connecting itself with my return to the local Parliament is the receipt of that letter, the generous and graceful things it contained for a man so young and so obscure as myself, from one I have long learnt to love and honour more than any words at my command can express. But I have also to excuse my delay in acknowledging a letter, which, I trust, my children will yet show (when you and I are 'quiet in our graves' as what one of the greatest and truest men Ireland has had in these latter days was pleased to say to their father when putting his foot on the threshold of public life)—because of a species of nervous illness which has haunted me for the last three weeks, making me dread the very sight of pen, ink, and paper, and throwing even my business communications with home into disorder.
"I think the cardinal service—the permanent, the historical and statesmanlike benefit you can render Australia will be the federation of the provinces. Social as well as political reasons call for this urgently; and I know no one as fitted as yourself to execute this great work. How can I express to you with what pleasure, what readiness, what a sense of performance of the highest duty, I shall co-operate—humbly and within my own little sphere?
"I know not if I ought to congratulate you on your accession to ministerial honour and responsibilities. I should have liked to see you some years longer independent in the House, a learner and observer among men and facts purely Australian, and then Premier of Victoria. Would to God, my dear Mr. Duffy, we had you here! I think the man who undertakes to tell the world the story of your life will overlook one of your highest services to your country if he omits to tell how, by ineffably fine sympathies and continuous guiding and teaching for holy ends, you moulded into noble and vigorous forms the intellect and spirit of the young men of Ireland. I have been told by the few who really knew anything of you while you sojourned in Sydney—that you looked largely to the young native men of Australia to shape wisely and beneficially their country's destinies, even at this almost rudimentary stage of our national existence. O, dearest Mr. Duffy, the service you rendered young Irishmen is what you also, and you alone, could afford my countrymen here. In Victoria, I believe, you have as yet no native youth—and one great element of beneficence is removed from your pathway there. May we not hope sometime—ere long I hope—to have you in Sydney with us? Taking up politics as a solemn duty under the circumstances of oligarchic obstruction peculiar to this older province of Australia, but with tastes and feelings gravitating towards literature and art rather than politics—small politics too, with the coarse squabbles and the vile and vermicular intrigues perpetually dribbling through them—how I should be heartened and directed—how perpetually should I be refreshed with thoughts of the great coming benefits for the suffering section of humanity yet to fly hither—if I had Mr. Duffy as my leader!"
Henry Parkes, with whom local politics had not gone satisfactorily, informed me that he was about to retire from Parliament, and probably from New South Wales. I was eager to serve a man whom I greatly esteemed, and willing to fortify the popular party in Melbourne by so effective a recruit. My colleagues were willing also, and I made him an offer, which afforded him an immediate opening into public life in Victoria. It is disastrous to such arrangements to have them prematurely disclosed, and I was much chagrined at reading in the Sydney papers paragraphs announcing what had been done. I promptly made inquiries, which elicited the following reply from Parkes:—
"I have no doubt the blame—whatever it may be—of their publication rests with myself. Your letter advising me to settle in Melbourne, and tendering your aid in my difficulties, was among the first substantial offers of friendship I received. That circumstance, added to the value I set on your friendship for its own sake, induced me, perhaps indiscreetly, to show the letter to several of my friends. You will readily conceive how some of the gentlemen may have concluded that in my circumstances the offer would be accepted, and accordingly set it down as a settled thing.
"I am anxious to know Melbourne with my own eyes and ears—to see one of your principal and oldest goldfields, or rather the social result as developed on the spot—to acquaint myself somewhat with the state of colonisation in your interior; to learn something from the private conversation of your public men, especially with reference to the Australian future. If in following out these objects I can combine with them a run through Tasmania, I shall, of course, gain an additional pleasure."
A note from John Dillon described the condition of public affairs in Ireland, in which he said he had to endure in silence wrongs and sufferings which he could do nothing to redress. He added:—
"In the midst of this hopeless gloom the news of your success comes to your old friends like a ray of light. When our enemies attribute our failures (individual and collective) to our want of capacity and energy we have but one answer, and it is a conclusive one. We point to men of Irish birth or blood who are prosperous and distinguished everywhere but at home. We claim as ours the first soldier of France, the first soldier and statesman in Spain, the Commander-inChief of the American Army (the son of an Irish physician), and we owe it to you that we are able to add that the genius of our people is asserting itself in the distant Continent of Australia. For this reason (if our old friendship did not supply a sufficient motive) I would watch your career with keen and anxious interest."
Edward Whitty reported from London with manly frankness his failures and his successes:—
"My political novel was rejected by every publisher in London—too political and too strong. Smith and Elder said: 'Write a regular novel and we'll give you money for it.' I did, in about six weeks, and it will be advertised next week. It is plucky and melodramatic, and will be a hit, they say. I hope so."
The second novel was "The Friends of Bohemia," which became a favourite with some of his most noted contemporaries, though the public have never understood it.
About this time Cashel Hoey wrote:—
"18, Denbigh Street, Pimlico,
"May 17, 1858.
"Your last two letters have filled my heart and filmed my eyes. God bless you, and be with you always. Though touching thirty, I would give a year of my life to see you again, and I begin to believe that it is not quite so improbable as I have always supposed since we parted. But first let me congratulate you on your return to office. I cannot describe to you the thrill of delight with which I read the telegrams of the Times in a little village inn in Hampshire last Sunday week, and among all your old friends here especially Brady, Swift, French, Father Doherty, Maguire, MacMahon any good news about you is always heard like a piece of personal good luck, and your impressions are just as fresh as if you only left yesterday.
"Dizzy is in sovereign luck, you see. He looks as strong and as inscrutable as a sphinx. On the eve of the Tenant Right debate I wrote him a long private letter, urging him to have an Irish policy. I told him I had been your lieutenant, and that when you were going you had given me great hopes that whenever he returned to office certain questions in which we were interested would be sure to receive a straightforward and statesmanlike consideration. I advised him—I. To bring up the Maynooth grant at once, as they were talking of doing. II. To give the Catholic University a charter, as they did to the Canadian one. III. To deal with these Belfast riots with extra vigour. IV. To keep a sharp eye on the Irish legal patronage, and not allow the Orange lot there to outrage public opinion in any indecent way. V. To ask Napier to push his Land Bills, and promise to introduce them next session. I told him that his Foreign and Indian policy commanded the respect of the Catholics, and that if he dealt in any reasonable way with certain questions as above in which he would not violate any party consistency, he could strengthen his arm greatly in Ireland. I showed him then that Ireland was really the only field open for large electoral operation."
A little later Hoey wrote to me of some significant facts in Irish politics:—
"I know what delight it will give you to hear that Disraeli has not forgotten his promise to you, and is really bent on legislation in the right direction for Ireland. I have written to him twice just what I thought you would say if you were here. He has not answered my letters directly—that I did hardly expect—but he has acted upon them, and in such a way as to leave no doubt on my mind of why he has done so. D. sent for the Irish members, and had the interview with them, about which you will see a debate reported and in the course of it alluded to a certain confidential communication which he had received. Mark Whiteside's speech. The present Government know no distinctions of politics or creeds in Ireland -- would, in fact, give office to Young Irelanders—inquire into no gentleman's antecedents—and Dizzy's declaration that their policy towards Ireland is to be 'just, generous, and conciliatory.' He has since privately intimated, in answer to a query of Monsell's on behalf of the Bishops, his intention of giving the Catholic University a charter, and both Lord Derby and he have announced that they will introduce a Landlord and Tenant Bill next session. Of course it will be Napier's. I send you letter I. I will send you II. and III. shortly. I honestly believe—though it may never be known to the world—that this good is due to his memory of your conversation with him, and to my application of existing circumstances in that direction. I wish you would write to him, and add your weight to the influences now working upon his mind; and if you have any Imperial business of a bold, liberal, statesmanlike character such as the Union of the Colonies, in which the Home Government has an issue, now is your time to push it. All these fellows are working like men of genius and ambition—for the future. I never saw such a victory of brains, pluck, and experience as theirs has been. When they came in they could not rely on onethird of the House—now it is child's play to them to beat Palmerston to rags night after night."
"Boulogne-sur-Mer, July 1$, 1858.
We were planting new towns, and I determined to name some of them after men who had served the country, and I began with an old antagonist become Chief Justice, and Stawell is now a thriving and prosperous township. I communicated my project to Sir William, and asked him to name the streets in the settlement called after him. This was his reply:—
"Melbourne, May 26, 1858.
"My dear Sir,—I most cordially approve of your intention—carried out, it will produce, in my opinion, more beneficial results than may at first sight appear probable.
"With reference to the streets I have felt some difficulty in giving only to them the names of men who have done much for the country, whilst the town is called after myself.
"I trust that in avoiding this difficulty you will not deem me to have exceeded your permission if I propose to mark the streets with names of branches of my own family.
"Pray accept my best thanks for your courtesy and consideration, and believe me, yours faithfully,
The Archbishop of Tuam acknowledged some slight service I had been able to perform at his request:—
"Tuam, February 12, 1859.
"My dear Sir,—It is high time to acknowledge your very kind letter, for which, and the manifestation of that kindness practically, I feel greatly obliged. It is fortunate that those of our countrymen who never would put themselves under obligations to a home government of whatever political complexion for any favour, which is but too openly bought by the sacrifices that are required in return, may look with hope and confidence to that distant and more favoured land where office enlarges the opportunity of developing the policy which led to its attainment. We have not been unwatchful of the fluctuations of parties in your vast continent, and, as far as we can judge them, there promises to be a large preponderance in favour of that policy which has for its aim the welfare of the people. For such an encouraging prospect the country is mainly indebted- to you and Mr. O'Shanassy. It shows what a few earnest men can achieve, and if but the tithe of our Catholics in Ireland of station were to be equally zealous and strenuous in their exertions, those severe grievances which you felt so keenly and exposed so eloquently when in Ireland would not have remained to this day in all their destructive vitality. Accept once more my best thanks regarding Mr. Burke, and believe me, my dear sir, with sincere respect, your very faithful,
"✠ JOHN MACHALE."
My old friend, T. B. MacManus, who was then engaged in commercial pursuits in San Francisco, and had become an American citizen, was seized with the desire of testing the rights of his new nationality against the authority of Sir William Denison, by whom he and his comrades had been so scurvily treated, but I did not think that this was the way to plant our race securely in Australia, and I discouraged the adventure.
"San Francisco, September 12, 1857.
"My dear Duffy,—I want you to forward me files of some papers foreshadowing your policy.
"I need not tell you with what interest I look on O'Shanassy's and your movements in regard to the future of the Australian federation. I often wish to be among you, and the d——l sometimes puts it in my head to take a dash down at all risks. How would it be if an Irish rebel (now an American citizen), with his full papers, chanced in the pursuit of business to visit her Britannic Majesty's possessions in Australia? Of course as an Irish rebel Sir William Denison would consign him to the chain gang and the ' Cascades/ but then as a citizen Uncle Sam would be compelled to demand his release. This is a question that your old friend could realise, and perhaps make practical some of our day dreams on the banks of the old Blackwater thirty years ago. "I am now in this State over six years, and it is no egotism on my part to say that I have the universal goodwill of every class in it, from the Governor to the miners. I am in as good and vigorous health as you ever saw me. Should you ever meet with one James Aikenhead, of Launcestown, V. D. L., cherish him. He comes up more to my idea of a sincere, true, and able man than any I have met in my career. Had I time I would write more particularly and more fully. You must take this as a rambling letter written on board of ship; but I am, you will be glad to learn, in as much pristine vigour (if not more so) than you ever knew me, and ready and willing for the old cause.—I am, dear Duffy, as I have been, ever most faithfully yours,
"T. B. MacManus."
The applications for appointments were very numerous, scarcely a ship came into Port Phillip Harbour that did not bring me letters of introduction from political associates in Ireland, or personal associates in the House of Commons. This was to be expected, but it seemed to me unreasonable that men like Mr. Whiteside and Mr. Monsell who when in office had large patronage, and when not in office large influence, should send their protégés to Australia. With one case I was utterly disgusted.
A scandal about old Palmerston had been recently glanced at in the Society papers which somebody sent me from London. A National schoolmaster named O'K——, who considered himself ill-used, sent his wife to the octogenarian to represent his wrongs. Cupid had grown old, but even in his ashes lived his wonted fires. A scandal ensued. The O'K—— were Irish Catholics, and great pains were taken, and most unsuitable instruments employed to avert exposure by the interposition doubtless of some of the official Whig Cawtholics. Mr. O'K—— was despatched to Australia with letters of introduction to me, which in an ordinary case would have been very effective. He was about five-and-thirty, shrewd-looking and rather gentlemanly for a country schoolmaster. "You are the plaintiff," I said, "in the recent case arising out of the Palmerston scandal?" "Yes," he said. "Tell me the facts of the case." "It is a very long story," he replied. "No matter, I have leisure just now." "I would rather not go into the case; I have no objection to state that I was induced to withdraw the prosecution on an understanding that my children would be provided for, our passage to Australia paid, and 100 given me in hand." "Well," I said, "one of two things: you have made a charge against a public man which has broken down, or you have taken a money compensation for abandoning the defence of your wife's honour and your own. In either case I decline to become responsible for you in any manner." Mr. O'K—— departed, and I do not know what became of him.
A painful letter from Edward Whitty announced that I might expect his immediate arrival in Melbourne.
"Jan. 11, '59.
"Since I wrote to you I have lost my wife and twins and a baby—all under very terrible circumstances. My own health greatly broken with mental misery, and to-day a consultation of doctors decides that it would be death to me to go back to pen work in London—consumptive symptoms showing themselves—and what they advise is a voyage. Accordingly (as my two remaining children are safe in my sister's care) I think I shall be off to see you by next ship. Even if I were well, I crave the great change. You seem to be strong out there.
I trust you are as happy as ambitious men can be. I wish I were there fighting for you in my own way."
When I announced the news to Aspinall he bethought himself immediately how he could best welcome and aid our friend, but he could not altogether refrain from the irony and burlesque which he loved so well.
"I was glad to see your handwriting to-day, glad also to see the news it conveyed. It was like meeting two old friends together.
"I have already sent to Higinbotham (Argus) and will see Franklyn (Herald). No stone shall be unturned, or should be, I ought to say; for I have no doubt the papers will compete for him, not he seek employment from them.
"The only question is which of us is to be his host in the first instance, and Mrs. Aspinall and I are clean against you on that point. His poor wife was at our marriage. We spent our honeymoon with them—we have a right to him. Besides which, if he comes to you he will be branded by his rivals as a Duffyite. Now, thanks to my insignificance, he cannot be called an Aspinallite. So, from my place he starts with no stigma upon him beyond being an Irishman which we may hush up. But I must call and see you to settle this point."
But Whitty was already in the grasp of death. He contributed for two or three weeks to the leading journals, but his health totally failed, and he retired to country quarters, where he died in the house of his kinswoman, Mrs. Whyte, wife of the head-master in the training school of Melbourne. His friends asked me to take charge of the correspondence which was still arriving from Europe, and it furnished a painful revelation of the tragi-comedy of Bohemian life. He lies buried in the Kew cemetery, Victoria, where Barry Sullivan claimed the right of erecting a monument at his sole cost.
Wilson Gray came to consult me on what ought to be done to control the dominant squatters. I reminded him of what we had done in Ireland on behalf of the tenantry with such effect, holding a conference or convention representing the country effectually. He consulted his friends, and after correspondence with notable men throughout the country, a convention on the land question was held in Melbourne. Invitations were sent to the goldfields, to those who had taken part in democratic meetings in recent times, and to the local secretaries of the Duffy Qualification Fund. An assembly of well-informed men, most of them young and vigorous, was got together. They deliberated for several days and adopted a series of principles chiefly under the influence of Wilson Gray, some of which were extreme and impracticable, but which greatly increased the public knowledge and interest in the land question. Before they separated they desired to thank the land reformers in the Government and Parliament for their help and sympathy, and I advised my colleagues and supporters that we should invite them to meet us in a committee-room of the House. This was done, to the consternation of many timid persons, and I told the deputation that as a General Election must follow the Reform Bill, the best way they could promote their opinions was by getting some of themselves elected to Parliament. This sentiment was sharply censured, but after a time nearly a moiety of the delegates became members of the Legislative Assembly. After the convention they established a Land League, which thereafter took an active part in public affairs. I was in general sympathy with it, and helped it occasionally with a little money.
In the Government I gradually found my opinions were not in a majority, and that there was apparently a jealousy of the individual position I occupied in public life, as a man of a certain experience and knowledge. We were tending the infancy of a State which in time would become immense in its power and resources, and I was constantly, perhaps sensitively, anxious to base it on the experiences of the mother country. Some of my colleagues had been municipal councillors, and scarcely realised the difference of the new position they occupied from the old. An incident which seemed trifling at the moment, but involved serious and permanent consequences Occurred. The Indian Mutiny and the frightful stories of massacre which accompanied the first reports, raised a keen feeling of sympathy in the colony. The Legislature voted £25,000 for the relief of the injured and distressed, and the Corporation of Melbourne sent an address of sympathy to the committee managing a fund for the same purpose in London. The committee transmitted their thanks to the Mayor of Melbourne, uniting in a strange salmagundi with him and his colleagues, the Government of the country, as persons to whom the public gratitude was due. The Mayor brought the document to the Chief Secretary, and Mr. O'Shanassy, who was unfamiliar with official practice or etiquette, promised to return thanks for both. When the Governor's speech for the closing of Parliament was being drafted, Mr. O'Shanassy proposed to introduce a paragraph thanking the committee on behalf of the Government of Victoria and the Corporation of Melbourne. I pointed out what a grotesque position the Government would occupy if the administration of the colony was bracketed with a Corporation of no capacity or importance. All our colleagues took part in the controversy, and the feeling was decidedly against the proposal. Mr. O'Shanassy, who considered himself committed to it, at length fiercely broke in with the statement that if the paragraph were not retained in the speech he would not remain in the Government. I replied that this was a summons to abject submission, and that I answered it by stating that if the paragraph were retained in the speech I would not remain. After a moment's pause I said, " As you are the head of the Government, it is my duty to give way, and I verbally offer my resignation, and I will retire and put it into writing. I immediately did so, and returned to my department to remove my private papers. In half an hour I was followed by Mr. Chapman, the Attorney-General, who came to express the unanimous wish of the Cabinet that I should return; they had induced Mr. O'Shanassy to withdraw the paragraph, and no more would be heard of it. Under these circumstances I returned, but the incident caused a silent alienation never altogether abated.
When my election was over and the business of the administration began, I was attacked with a fit of dysentery, which brought me to the very edge of the grave, and of which I find the following notice in my diary:—
"I have certainly endured all the pains of death in my last illness, having been left to die, and having expected and desired death. All things became indifferent to me, but the desire to make amends for any wrongs I had done. I have realised and perfectly remember the condition of lunacy, for the real and the imaginary had a place side by side in my memory, and I could not separate them. The plot of the last novel I had read mixed with the experience of my life inextricably; the events of the one holding their place as distinctly as the other. Night after night I had the sensation that an avalanche of ice fell into my abdomen, and the killing cold thrilled me to the marrow. I realised for the first time with painful surprise and terror that the will was powerless over the muscles, not a limb would move, not a finger at the most intense desire to do so. These were doubtless opium dreams."
The danger was so alarming that the doctors in attendance despaired of my recovery, and my death was actually announced in Parliament. But by the care of my family and friends, I was pulled, through the difficulty, and commenced the most serious labour of my life.
There was a large staff of engineers, architects, and surveyors in the department of Land and Works, and I determined to bring appointments and promotions under strict regulation by establishing a competitive system, and the professional officers at the head of each branch were united in a board for this purpose. The State had suffered much loss by the laches of contractors who gave bonds for the due performance of their work, not one of which had ever been enforced. It was now required that instead of bonds a proportionate deposit should be made, and that this practice might not preoccupy too large a share of the contractor's capital, the Board were prepared to accept Government debentures bearing interest at 3 per cent. The railways so long projected were now vigorously commenced; they had been postponed on account of my illness, but contracts were now accepted, and the great work begun. No appointment hereafter would be made by favouritism or solicitation, but given to the man who proved himself best entitled to it. By a curious chance the great permanent offices in my department had become vacant since I had come into office. I had to appoint the SurveyorGeneral and the Secretary for Public Lands, the Commissioner of Roads and Bridges, and the Secretary of the same department, and it was notorious that I had not bestowed one of those offices for political or private friendship, but upon gentlemen who had no other claim than long service or proved and special fitness in each case. But the most signal reform was letting in the light of day on business hitherto transacted in private. The ministers of the Crown in their departments disposed of as much of the public property in a twelvemonth as Parliament itself, and disposed of it at their entire discretion, sometimes ignorant of the facts, and always ear-wigged by interested persons. In my own case I had to determine the granting or refusal of disputed preemptive rights, the compensation for land required for public purposes, or for injury inflicted on private property; the position of public buildings, the direction of public roads, and the like, all of them of serious practical importance, and I now made the great change of causing all this business to be transacted in a Court of Land and Works open to the public and reported by the press, a reform which has continued in operation for nearly forty years.
From the beginning the Government were assailed by persistent abuse of which Mr. Ireland and Dr. Evans were the main objects. It seemed destined to be overthrown, but as a dissolution of Parliament was in the air, it happened, as it commonly does in such circumstances, that no one would take the responsibility of precipitating that event. Among the measures promised the next session, was a Land Bill opening the country to selection, for which it was my duty to be responsible. I had taken up in public and private the ground that the alluvial land possessed by the State must be reserved for the people, agriculture, not pasturage, being the highest purpose to which it could be applied; I was also of opinion that a generous system of deferred payments was a condition without which the mass of the industrious classes could not get on the land. I had reason to fear that these sentiments were not universal among my colleagues, and when we got into recess I was constantly thwarted in the design of carrying my principles into action. I was urged over and over to sell masses of agricultural land which I thought ought to be kept for selectors. At length it was plain that I would not be aided in doing what I had undertaken to do, and I immediately tendered my resignation. When I left the Government, the controversy which sprang up in the Press was stimulated by communicated paragraphs suggesting that the difference was not a public, but a personal one, and that the Government would probably be strengthened by my resignation, as it would put an end to the no-popery cry which was raised only because there were two Catholics in the Government. As the meeting of Parliament was several months distant, and the General Election would cause the question to be debated on many platforms, I found it necessary to publish a letter on the subject, and I will confine myself now strictly to the explanation I gave when all the parties concerned were alive to contradict me if it were possible.
"It was my intention," I wrote, "to have preserved the strictest silence on the subject of my retirement from office till the time came for the usual explanation in Parliament, but as each of the morning papers has been furnished with a version of the transaction, identical in spirit, and plainly coming from the same source, and as this version was not true, I was reluctantly compelled to depart so far from my original intention as to briefly contradict it. You stated, on what no doubt seemed to you adequate authority, that the circumstances which led to my resignation were 'of a personal and not of a political character;' … but the alienation of feeling which led to my resignation was of an origin not personal but purely political.
"When I returned to the department of Land and Works in September last, immediately after my illness, I found the public mind filled with the idea that the Government intended to throw an immense mass of agricultural land into the market at once; and I discovered, with painful surprise, that such was actually the policy of some of my colleagues. I represented to the Cabinet in the strongest manner the objections to this course, and finally I succeeded, by a bare majority, in negativing it. This decision and the policy upon which it was founded, which I have since felt bound to systematically carry out, has been a source of constant heartburning from that time forth. It led, I regret to say, to the loss of a friendship I very much valued—that of Mr. O'Shanassy. …
"I trust you are right in concluding that one probable advantage of my retirement will be to abate the iniquitous sectarian warcry, which some persons have endeavoured to raise against the Government. But when you bring this advantage into such sudden contact with the fact of my retirement, you suggest an inevitable suspicion that they may stand towards each other in some occult way in the relation of cause and effect."
When the period of the General Election approached, I revisited Villiers and Heytesbury. Since my first acquaintance with the constituency, they had elected me on three occasions without any contest or expense. But it was a subject of curious speculation how the Irish electors would regard my separation from Mr. O'Shanassy. The leading men were farmers and shop-keepers chiefly, with a road engineer or two; intelligent and vigorous, but without much:>f what is called culture; but I have never in any position of life met men who conducted themselves more thoroughly in the spirit of gentlemen. I was received as usual without any reference to my retirement from office, preparations for a contest were vigorously carried on, and in the end I received the old support, which was the more valuable because it was equally exhibited in every centre of population in the two counties. When the election was over, and I was ready to leave for Melbourne, the leading members of my committee came to me and said, "We are in dismay at your quarrel with Mr. O'Shanassy. To our people in Australia, it will be as fatal as the quarrel of Flood and Grattan in Ireland, and we entreat you not to consider it as final, for your real destiny and duty is to act together." It was a keen satisfaction to me to know I had trusted them as much as they trusted me. After my arrival in Belfast I received a telegram announcing that a meeting had been held at the Chamber of Commerce in Geelong, the Hon. Mr. Strachan in the chair, at which it had been determined to offer me the representation of West Geelong, on behalf of reformers who distrusted the O'Shanassy Government. It was a great compliment, but I replied that I could not desert a constituency which had treated me with such generous fidelity.
I reported my retirement in what, at this distance of time, seems to me a philosophic mood; at any rate it was neither dispirited or despondent:—
"Melbourne, May 16, 1859.
"My dear O'Hagan,—Since my recovery from death's door in September last I have been meditating a letter to you. But during the sitting of Parliament the charge of a heavy department, and the late hours in the House, deprived me of all leisure. Now, however, I have abundance, for Parliament is up, and I have resigned my office. I will not trouble you with local politics at the distance of half the world's circumference, but I may predict that some day I will return to office; and meantime the only sacrifice is that of income—I certainly have not lost character or influence.
"I confidently hope to go home for a year in about three years, and then to return and be content with Australia for the remainder of my life. There are half a dozen friends in Ireland I long to see again, but the sky and soil here suit me far better. I grow my own peaches, figs, grapes, and walnuts, in addition to all the home fruits, and have become a great horticulturalist dividing my time between politics and the pruning knife."
The General Election proved fatal to the Government, several ministers lost their seats, and their supporters were reduced to a handful. One of the earliest questions to be dealt with when the House assembled was my resignation. I stated the grounds of it, and justified the policy I had pursued. Mr. O'Shanassy in reply made a suggestion which did him fatal injury in many generous minds. He told the story of my proposed resignation at an earlier period on the Governor's speech, and said he had no doubt, from the tone of the Dublin Nation on the same events, that what I objected to was not the ridiculous combination of Cabinet and Corporation, but sympathy with the sufferers in India, whose sufferings he had seen minimised if not mocked at in the Dublin Nation. I had as little control of the Nation as of the Times, and this was regarded as a felon stroke by one Catholic against another in a community so ready to believe ill of any of them. The Government was quickly swept away, but before it abandoned the Treasury Benches, Mr. O'Shanassy had to answer the serious charge of having taken possession of, and read, a private telegram addressed to Mr. Henty, a shipowner, who had lost a steamer by what he believed to have been the fault of the Government. Mr. O'Shanassy's defence was that the Attorney-General had advised this course—a circumstance that proved highly prejudicial to both gentlemen. Mr. Nicholson was authorised: to form a new Administration, and one of his first steps will illustrate how small an effect Mr. O'Shanassy produced in relation to me. Mr. Nicholson, accompanied by Mr. Wood, his Attorney-General, called on me to invite me to join the new Administration. It was to consist of picked men of the democratic and moderate parties, and its main business was to settle the land question. This was indeed the chief business of Parliament, and the work for which I was most anxious. With Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Wood I was perfectly willing to act—the one was the father of the ballot and the other had already been my colleague in office; but I inquired the names of the gentlemen he proposed to unite in the Administration, and when he specified them I considered it impossible, as indeed it afterwards proved impossible, that they would agree to a satisfactory settlement of the land question. I said if I entered the Government alone, I would find myself in a constant minority, and probably be driven to resign, and I did not want any more resignations; I would be happy to join if Mr. Nicholson enabled me to bring in two members of the Liberal party along with me, and I suggested Mr. Anderson and Mr. Brooke. Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Wood thought this would be impracticable, but promised to consult their colleagues and let me know. Finally they reported that I might bring in one colleague with me, but my experience in the late Government warned me against the consequences, and I declined. I went in to opposition, designing to maintain a friendly neutrality towards the new Administration as long as their policy justified it.
- Mr. Foster, as it appeared later, was the scapegoat of the Governor's policy, which he could not resist successfully in a Crown Colony where a Governor was still supreme.
- A note I wrote to the Bishop of Kerry, in reply to his congratulations, was published in Ireland and reprinted in Victoria at this time, from which I may quote a sentence:—"A curious fate and experience mine have been, to be howled at in both ends of the earth, by parties more asunder than the Antipodes, on diametrically opposite grounds of complaint! Yonder for betraying the interests of religion; here for being its slave and missionary. I wonder if I had stopped at the equator, would they have done me the justice in those latitudes of admitting that I belong to neither Antipodes of opinion?"
- We have an Irish Colonial Secretary, an Irish Attorney-General, an Irish Solicitor-General, an Irish Surveyor-General, an Irish Chief Commissioner of Police, an Irish President of Road Board, an Irish Commissioner of Water Supply.—Argus, March 31, 1855.
- The Conservative Party were effectually served by a satirical journal named Melbourne Punch. Mr. Melbourne Punch expressed his sentiments on this transaction in an imitation of a popular negro song—
"It's no more the making of the laws,
'Tis lay down the schedule and the clause,
There's no more work for poor old H——
He has given up his party and his cause.'
- During my illness it was necessary to appoint a Vice-President of the Board of Land and Works, and when I returned to my office I found to my serious embarrassment Mr. O'Shanassy had bestowed the office not on the gentleman for whom I had intended it, but on another person much less competent.
- Letter to the Argus, March 16, 1859.