Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/225

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211
FOUR OF THE FAMILY.

it is greatly to be deplored that he could not see his way to do so in the first instance, as his refusal was ii source of considerable pain, humiliation, and annoyance to himself, and of no little embarrassment to the colonial authorities. After five years' banishment, Smith O'Brien, Martin, O'Doherty, and O'Donoghue received a conditional pardon from the Crown, the proviso being that they must not set foot within the United Kingdom, an unworthy disqualification that was subsequently removed. Meagher, McManus, and Mitchel had, in the meantime, succeeded in escaping to America, and were in consequence not named in the Queen's proclamation of clemency. The delicate question, as to whether the mode in which Meagher and Mitchel effected their escape from Tasmania was in harmony with the conditions on which they enjoyed a comparative degree of liberty, has been a subject of discussion for many years. That the point should be a debatable one is solely due to the different interpretations placed upon the spirit of the parole. Meagher and Mitchel believed, and their belief is shared by the majority of their countrymen, that the requirements of honour and of conscience would be satisfied by giving fair notice to the local authorities of their intention to surrender the comparative liberty which had been extended to them, and by affording these said authorities an opportunity to take them into custody if they were so disposed. Smith O'Brien put the case very clearly in his speech at the banquet given in his honour by the Irishmen of Melbourne, on July 22nd, 1854,[1] when he was passing through that city, after his

  1. On this occasion Smith O'Brien was presented with a splendid vase of native gold, the gift of the Irishmen of Victoria "as a trifling testimony of our appreciation of the disinterestedness and devotion by which your past