Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/298

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But for that insurrection Mr. Hoey is no more responsible than the hon. member for Williamstown, because he was then a boy at school or a lad at college. I never set eyes upon him till 1850, when the Nation, under altered circumstances, had to apply itself to what it was possible to hope to accomplish then—the disestablishment of the Irish Church and security of tenant-right for the Irish tenants. One day in that year I had the good fortune to secure the co-operation of three young men—none of them being over twenty years of age, Mr. Hoey being the youngest—as writers for the Nation. Mr. Cashel Hoey was one; another was Mr. Edward Butler, who was last week sworn as Her Majesty's Attorney-General in the colony of New South Wales; and the third was Mr. James Doyle, who died in the employment of the identical journal which is now assailing Mr. Cashel Hoey."

This speech was throughout a masterly defence of the policy of the Duffy Ministry. It represents one of the highest flights of political oratory recorded in the pages of any "Hansard." It proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that no Victorian government administered its patronage or conducted the national affairs in a more honest and unexceptionable manner than did the Cabinet presided over by Sir Charles Gavan Duffy. But it was thrown away on the bigoted majority who selected "abuse of patronage" as the most convenient excuse for ejecting an Irish-Australian statesman from power. A subsequent parliament made some amends for this unjust and contemptible conduct, by electing Sir Charles to the high office of Speaker of the Legislative Assembly—a position which he continued to fill with great credit to himself and to the general satisfaction of the House, until he determined to re-cross the equator, and spend the