Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/215

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FOUR OF THE FAMILY.

the eyes, of his aged parents, besides offering unthought-of advantages to his little ones. That this is no exaggerated statement is proved by facts within the personal knowledge of the writers of the address. "We are happy to state that a large portion of the Irish labourers who have arrived in this province, have, within a period of a few years, been enabled to withdraw themselves from the labour market, to become proprietors of land and stock, and employers of labour. The man who on his native soil was a careworn, toilworn being, living in a wretched hovel, without a chance of improving his circumstances, ill-clad, hungry, hopeless, with no motive for exertion, no work for more than half the year, getting a pittance of sixpence to tenpence a day, yet paying a high rent for his miserable holding, and competing to the death for its possession—this man of despair, transferred to a land of peace, with hope before him to stimulate his energies, and lead them into a right direction, here at length finds his services valuable and well remunerated; and learning for the first time in his life the luxury of feeling that he too can earn something to save, and that he occupies a higher position in the social scale, unfolds qualities that never seemed to belong to the national character."

This inspiriting address was signed by the Hon. Major O'Halloran, President of the St. Patrick's Society; Mr. K. E. Torrens, Collector of Customs, Vice-President; Sir George Kingston; the Hon. Captain Bagot, M.L.C., and a number of other representative Irish colonists. Its publication in Ireland naturally induced many intending emigrants to select South Australia as their future home, but the Imperial authorities seemed to still cling to the old unfortunate Wakefield idea that this particular colony must be kept socially superior to all the rest. Acting under this exces-