Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/156

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most original that was ever devised or undertaken by either man or woman; and the object, the labour, the design, are beyond all praise."

It goes without saying that Irish immigrants, as a class, and Irish immigrant girls in particular, had their detractors and calumniators in almost all of the Australian colonies. In every quarter of the globe there will surely be found some representatives of that prejudiced and insignificant faction, to whom the name of everything Irish is hateful, and whose chief delight it is to concoct vile charges against the faithful sons and daughters of St. Patrick. At the time when emigration to the colonies was in full swing, these ill-conditioned slanderers did their little best to poison the minds of their fellow-colonists against the Irish immigrants. They were never weary of reiterating sweeping charges of incapacity, dishonesty, and immorality against the Irish girls who were passengers in the immigrant ships. In Melbourne their perpetual mud-throwing prevailed so far as to cause the city council on one occasion, in a moment of weakness, to carry an address to the Queen praying for an immediate stoppage to the immigration of Irish girls. But this unworthy act on the part of the municipal rulers of Melbourne was promptly neutralised by the action of Archbishop Goold and the late Sir John O'Shanassy, who convened a public meeting, at which the reckless assertions of the bigots were shown to be a wilful contradiction of facts and experience. A counter-memorial to the Queen was adopted by that large assemblage of representative citizens, who further pledged themselves to the protection and encouragement of the Irish girls as a highly virtuous and deserving class of immigrants. The discomfiture of the cowardly slanderers was complete when Mr. Edmund Finn,