Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/296

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the wishes of its framer, would have opened up the country in all directions, and planted a prosperous agricultural population on the soil. But, unfortunately, the monopolists' gold and the cupidity of the people whom the Act was intended to benefit, defeated in a measure the statesman's magnanimous design. Bribery was resorted to on an extensive scale, with the result that a large part of the finest agricultural land in the colony—the western district—fell irrevocably into the hands of the monopolists. In the east these unworthy influences were less actively at work, and the success of the Duffy Land Act was unequivocal in that quarter. Describing, in April, 1877, a tour through the vast and still undeveloped province of Gipps Land, which occupies the south-eastern portion of Victoria, Sir Gavan Duffy thus spoke from the platform:

"I travelled from Briagolong to Maffra, and thence to Cowwar, a district justly called the granary of the East; I afterwards visited Bruthen and Lindenow Flat, at the other end of the electorate, which rivals the Farnham Survey in fertility, and in all these places I had the inexpressible pleasure of being assured by legions of prosperous farmers who possess the soil, that they obtained their homesteads under what has been named the Duffy Land Act. All the unaccustomed toil of a long journey was repaid by the picture I had imagined long ago, realised under my eyes — the picture of happy homes possessed by a free, manly, yeoman proprietary. And why have we not Maffras and Lindenows in the West as well as in the East? Because the very class for whom we legislated, sold their inheritance for some paltry bribe."

As a leading member of the three O'Shanassy Ministries, Sir Gavan Duffy proved himself an administrator of the first