Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/282

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longs the credit of successfully negotiating the first public loan (eight millions) that the young colony asked from the capitalists of the old world. He was mainly instrumental in securing the simplification of official oaths, and the recognition of the equal rights of all classes of colonists, irrespective of religious belief. As an Irish-Catholic leader, it could hardly be expected that he should escape calumny and misrepresentation. At the very outset of his public career, the report was industriously circulated that he was working to become President of an Australian republic, and that he was in reality a Jesuit whom the Pope had allowed to marry, a a convenient cloak for the concealment of his diabolical designs. The Orange Society in Melbourne assumed a first a very aggressive and deliberately offensive attitude and it required the exercise of all O'Shanassy's personal influence, together with that of the zealous and patriotic Father Geoghegan, to prevent bloodshed. Collisions between the insulted Catholics and the overbearing Orangemen were not unknown; and at one Twelfth-of-July demonstration serious rioting was the result of a premeditated display of Orange banners and emblems from the upstairs windows of the hotel, in which the disciples of King William were toasting the "pious and immortal memory." Impulsive Irishmen indignantly heard the news, and hurrying to the scene from all quarters, surrounded the hotel, and succeeded in forcing admission. In the meantime Father Geoghegan had been informed of the disturbance, and, dashing into the hotel, he endeavoured to separate the combatants, who were by this time fighting in close quarters. One scoundrel deliberately fired at the heroic priest. Providentially, he missed his aim, but the bullet struck and wounded David Hurley, who, with O'Shanassy. had just rushed in to the protection of the Soggarth Aroon