Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/299

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A GROUP OF STATESMEN.

evening of his busy public life in peaceful retirement and the cultivation of that literary leisure which is denied to the active politician.

In any review of Sir Charles Gavan Duffy's Victorian career, it would be an unpardonable oversight to omit some reference to his unique and sparkling lectures, which, after having amused and instructed large audiences in theatres and public halls, continue, in their published form, to amuse and instruct later generations as well. Theirs is not the temporary interest of the superficial address, but the abiding popularity of the thoughtful essay. Hence their happy incorporation in the literature of the colonies. "Why is Ireland poor and discontented?" was a trenchant analysis of those preventible evils that transformed one of the fairest and most fertile spots in God's creation into an island of misery, destitution, and periodical famine. This lecture was eminently serviceable in dissipating the many erroneous impressions concerning Ireland and Irish affairs, that were current in the mixed Australian community of the time. "The National Poetry and Songs of Ireland" was a congenial theme to the early friend and familiar of Thomas Davis, and it is needless to say it was treated with sympathetic force and feeling. "Popular Errors Concerning Australia" was addressed to a London audience, and it was efficacious in dispelling a host of strange delusions that pervaded the British mind with respect to the political and social status of the colonies. "Something To Do" was the suggestive title of a lecture that took a comprehensive and statesmanlike view of the possibilities of future colonial development, and clearly indicated the means by which these possibilities could be turned into potent realities. The sound advice then given has since been partially adopted in several