Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/254

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in human flesh. Unceasing work at high pressure almost ruined his health, and he was forced to return to Ireland. After an interval of comparative repose, he was nominated to a vacant bishopric in the United States; but, acting on a providential inspiration, and with the approval of the then Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Murray, he declined the proffered well-earned promotion, and accepted the hard lot of an humble missionary amongst his exiled countrymen in Australia. Years before, he had seen in Clonmel, Tipperary, a prison-van full of unfortunate fellows about to be transported to the antipodes. Running into a neighbouring bookseller's shop, the thoughtful priest soon emerged with three dozen Catholic prayer-books, which he threw into the van as so much spiritual bread upon the waters. Years afterwards, he had the supreme satisfaction of seeing several of these identical prayer-books in the houses of prosperous settlers in the far interior of New South Wales—a remarkable transformation of that dismal and discouraging scene in Clonmel, when he first saw the men and handled the books. Apart from his conspicuous services on behalf of the moral and spiritual elevation of the Catholic prisoners that were: sent to Australia, Archdeacon McEncroe will long be remembered for the prominent part he played in the establishment of the leading charitable institutions of Sydney. He was also the founder of the Sydney Freeman's Journal, a high-class literary weekly newspaper, which, together with the Melbourne Advocate, has for many years ably and consistently upheld and defended Irish and Catholic interests in the southern hemisphere. During his lifetime; he was himself the chief, the most scholarly, and the most extensive contributor to its columns. One of its editors was a distinguished member of an Irish literary and patriotic