Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/192

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178
THE IRISH IN AUSTRALIA.

manner, were their distinctive virtues on their first consignment to the guardianship of the law. In many illustrious cases, a long and dangerous residence in the most depraved penal settlements was unable to extinguish those noble characteristics."

And the testimony of Sir Roger Therry, who, being an eminent Australian judge of the Supreme Court, is entitled to speak with authority on such a question, is equally explicit and conclusive:

"Very many Irishmen were transported for the infringement of severe laws, some of which are not now in force, and for offences for which a few months' imprisonment would at present be deemed an adequate expiation. In a country where abundant means rewarded industrious habits, I these men became prosperous."

As an example of the truth of this latter remark. Sir Roger mentions the case of Edmund Cane, who had been a snug farmer in Ireland, but was transported for complicity in an agrarian disturbance. Cane was assigned to a settler, and became invaluable as superintendent of his master's estate. "From his skill in agriculture, and his good temper in the management of the men. Cane, after having served his seven years' sentence in the settler's employment, became manager of the whole property and received a liberal salary, which was not paid in money, but in cattle and horses. After twenty years of service he thus became a wealthy man. Shortly before his death, his old master had born unto him a son, and Cane was complimented by being appointed godfather to the boy. The old man made a will bequeathing the whole of his property, the accumulated earnings of twenty years and upwards of arduous toil, to the lucky little bantling, who is now the leading gentleman in