Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/224

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town; Mitchel and Martin were allowed to live together at Bothwell; O'Donoghue was assigned to New Norfolk, and O'Doherty, being an incipient doctor of medicine, was retained in Hobart, where his professional services were utilised on the staff of St. Mary's Hospital. The men of '48 were thus carefully dispersed through the island in a manner that prevented anything like social friendly intercourse, except on those rare and stolen occasions so sympathetically described: by Mitchel in his "Jail Journal." "I do complain," wrote Meagher, "that having separated us by so many thousand miles of sea from all that was dear, consoling, and inspiring to our hearts, they should have still further increased the severity of this sentence by distributing us over a strange land, in which the best friendship we could form would compensate but poorly for the loss of the warm, familiar, gay companionship we so long enjoyed together."[1]

The exception to the general rule was Smith O'Brien whose stern and uncompromising adherence to what he conceived to be the right course under the circumstances, precluded him from giving a pledge of any sort to the colonial representatives of the British authorities. The Tasmanian Government had therefore no option but to specially guard their iron-willed State prisoner, and they treated him like another Napoleon. Maria Island, a lonely, cheerless spot was made a prison for his special benefit, and the vigilance with which he was guarded, was redoubled and rendered more painful than ever to the high-born captive after an unlucky and unsuccessful attempt to escape. Smith O'Brien did eventually, and after protracted suffering. accept a ticket-of-leave like his comrades in exile, and

  1. Meagher to Duffy. Nation Correspondence.