Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/303

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289
A GROUP OF STATESMEN.

careful to point out that it was not in his opinion the true remedy for the evils that afflicted his native land: "In closing, allow me to say that I am not one of those who look to systems of emigration as likely by themselves to prove in any considerable degree an efficient corrective of the evils of this country. Such systems can plainly be made vastly advantageous to the parties emigrating; and whenever, upon really overcrowded estates, it is desired to procure larger accommodation for men (and not for cattle), emigration can be made the means of serving the parties who remain behind, by facilitating such re-arrangement of farms as may be necessary for the purpose. In the case of an individual proprietor, whose estate is not sufficiently extensive to afford the means of living to all the population who now occupy it, it is plainly the only remedy that, as an individual, he can use. Single-handed, he cannot stimulate general trade or manufactures so as to absorb his people, but he can help them to emigrate. I am anxious that it should not be inferred from this, that I join in the cry of over-population. Overpopulation was accounted the great source of evil in Ireland when she numbered little over two millions of inhabitants. If her present eight millions were reduced back again to two, it would be a remedy for over-population strong enough to satisfy the most drastic practitioners; but what would it do, after all, but put the country back a century? I believe her disease is constitutional, and that other remedies than emigration are required for its eradication. I believe, however, that emigration may be made a most effective topical cure for certain topical sores."

Wilson Gray sailed for Australia almost simultaneously with Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, and, very soon after his arrival in Melbourne, he was found in the front rank of the land