Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/190

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176
THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.

in which they had found themselves on arrival. The agitation on both sides was vigorously maintained for many years, and it was not until the various colonies had banded themselves together as an "Anti-Transportation League," that the home government was compelled to surrender and find some criminal depot nearer home. In November, 1849, the colonists at the Cape of Good Hope refused to permit the landing of a cargo of convicts from the "Neptune." John Mitchel gives a lengthy and humorous account of the "boycotting" that ensued, in his "Jail Journal." In June of the same year the "Harkaway," with another cargo of convicts, was refused permission to land them in Sydney. The excitement in Sydney on that occasion was unprecedented. An immense public meeting was held, at which the Ven. Archdeacon McEncroe (a popular Irish priest) declared amidst general applause that, rather than submit to the treatment they were then receiving from the Imperial Government, they would follow the example of the American colonists of 1776 and proclaim their independence. As an evidence of the reluctance with which the Imperial authorities abandoned the transportation system, it may be stated that it was not until the beginning of January, 1868, that the last convict ship quitted the shores of Australia.

In 1843 a liberal concession was made in the matter of representative institutions by the supplementing of the. nominee Legislative Council with representatives elected by the various districts of the colony. Twenty-four members were chosen in this manner and twelve were nominated by the Crown. As years rolled on and the colony settled down into a compact community, a still further extension if of political privileges was demanded, and eventually this also was conceded in the shape of a full measure of respon-