Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/246

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two wrists tied with cord, and his breast pressed closely to the tree, so that flinching from the blows was out of the question, for it was impossible for him to stir. Two men were appointed to flog, namely Richard Rice, a left-handed man, and John Johnson, the hangman from Sydney, who was right-handed. They stood on each side of Fitzgerald, and I never saw two thrashers in a barn move their flails with more regularity than those two man-killers did, unmoved by pity, and rather enjoying their horrid employment than otherwise. The very first blows made the blood spout from Fitzgerald's shoulders, and I felt so disgusted and horrified, that I turned my face away from the cruel sight."

After nearly a decade of attempted wholesale Protestantising through the agency of the lash and the dungeon, a cheering and most welcome ray of light to the sorely-afflicted Catholics appeared on the horizon. Their pitiful condition had been made known in the centre of Catholicity, and relief was at hand. In 1817 there arrived in the settlement at Sydney the Very Rev. Jeremiah O'Flinn, with the jurisdiction of an archpriest—the first ecclesiastic who came to Australia with a direct commission from Rome. But he soon found that something more than a Papal commission was necessary for his protection in a despotically-ruled penal colony. It had struck him before sailing from Ireland that it would be well to obtain a permit of some sort from the British Government, and he forwarded an application to that effect; but he made the mistake of not waiting for a reply, and this mistake was the source of all his subsequent misfortunes. He, in fact, regarded this permit as a mere formality, and, asking a friend to forward it to him when it was prepared, he set sail in the first ship for Australia.