Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/163

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149
IRISH IMMIGRANTS IN THE COLONIES.

health to the infirm, a gleam of pleasure to many a solitary cabin, and a sense of solace and companionship to many a lonely fireside."[1]

The Irish emigrant to Australia, who systematically abstained from intemperance and cultivated habits of industry, always attained to success and frequently arrived at affluence. Thousands of such instances might be quoted. On the other hand, it is equally true that some of our emigrant countrymen fell victims to the ever-open public-house and the prevailing sociable conviviality of the colonies. Drinking there is quite a common practice, and what is familiarly known as "shouting" was at one time almost universal, though of late years this peculiarly dangerous evil has been considerably diminished in extent. To "shout" in a public-house means to insist on everybody present, friends and strangers alike, drinking at the shouter's expense, and, as no member of the party will allow himself to be outdone in this reckless sort of hospitality, each one "shouts" in succession, with the result that before long they are all overcome by intoxication. By reason of their characteristic temperament and their superabundant sociable qualities, Irishmen were peculiarly liable to tumble into this pitfall, and whenever they did fail in the colonies, in nine cases out of ten the failure was clearly attributable to this baneful source of temptation in their path. In the middle of 1852, when people were hurrying from all quarters of the globe to the newly-discovered Australian gold-fields, Patrick O'Donohoe, one of the transported men of '48, acted like a true disciple of Father Mathew, and, from his place of exile in Tasmania, addressed an earnest exhortation to his

  1. Lecture on "The Irish Character," by Mr. James Smith.