Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/166

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such a moment, too, the jealous mind, without any real ground of jealousy, converts remote suspicion into certain conviction, and so on through the whole range of the human passions. Indirectly, intoxication is the cause of crime by producing poverty, for in this country habits of inebriety constitute the main cause of poverty, as no man here is necessitously poor who does not spend in intemperance those means by which he should support his family. Poverty in its turn begets crime, and thus from intoxication, as from a parental source, both derive their existence."

These are wise and weighty words, but happily they are not applicable, at least to any appreciable extent, to the Irish-Australians of to-day. Mr. Justice Therry spoke at a time when colonial society was in its incipient stage of development, and when the more animal type of Australian was in the ascendant. Things have changed considerably since then; civilising influences have been at work; settled and well-organised communities have usurped the place of the wild bush; the higher rational life has the most devotees, and the Calibans are only a small minority of the population.

Through giving way to drink, many a clever Irishman has been constrained to earn a livelihood in some menial subordinate position, entirely out of harmony with his intellectual gifts and attainments. Cases of this kind are very deplorable, and are also at times productive of very comical developments. One of the most amusing scenes ever enacted in a colonial court of justice was the direct result of placing an educated Irishman in an office that is ordinarily filled by an illiterate person. In its early days, the best classical scholar that Melbourne possessed was an Irishman rejoicing in the rolling name of Daniel Wellesley