Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/211

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197
FOUR OF THE FAMILY.

ings of an emigrant than if he had merely shifted his residence from Sussex to Cumberland or Devonshire." It is a great pity that this clerical orator did not accompany those to whom he addressed these delusive words. Had he done so, he would have discovered the enormous gulf that separates theory from actuality, and would have been furnished by experience with material for an additional chapter to his well-known treatise on "Logic." Had he voyaged to the antipodes with the Wakefield pioneers, he would have come in contact with a great many things "revolting to the feelings of an emigrant." However, until the bubble burst, all went merry as a marriage-bell. The association progressed splendidly in public confidence, the prospectus of the new colony was everywhere perused, and the scheme was puffed into a feverish existence by the promises of promoters and the frenzy of reckless speculators.

The first practical step towards the formation of the new colony was taken in May, 1836, when a heterogeneous collection of surveyors, clerks, architects, engineers, teachers, lawyers and clergymen, was despatched to the new land of promise. All these accomplished gentlemen were devout believers in the Wakefield theory, but they would have been the last people in the world chosen by a common-sense leader for the rough-and-ready work of pioneer colonisation. As they afterwards learned to their cost, it would have been far better for them if they had had less book-knowledge and more hand-skill before starting on their wild-goose expedition to the other side of the globe. They found on landing, that the place of which they had heard and read such glowing accounts, was wholly unfit for purposes of settlement. All their delicious old-world dreams were rudely dispelled by the hard realities that stared them in the face. They set