Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/304

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reformers— the democratic party that had for its watchword the expressive phrase, "Unlock the lands." When the Victorian Convention met in Melbourne in 1857, with the object of securing a reform of the land laws, Wilson Gray was chosen one of the delegates from the metropolis, in company with three brother Hibernians—Michael Keeley and Stephen Donovan, city councillors, and James Doyle, one of the men of '48. At its first meeting the Convention elected Wilson Gray as its president, and it had no reason to regret its decision, for during a session of three weeks he guided its deliberations with gentlemanly tact and skill. Liberal land legislation was not secured without a protracted struggle with interested wealthy monopolists, but the ultimate success of the people was due in no small degree to the impulse given to the movement by that historical body—the Convention—and to the stirring addresses of its president, Wilson Gray. An agricultural constituency—the county of Rodney—gratefully returned him to Parliament, and he entered that higher sphere with fond hopes of advancing the popular cause. The crooked ways of politics, however, did not accord with his simple honest nature, and it would perhaps have been much better if he had continued to fight outside the Parliamentary arena. The measures on which he had set his heart were not passed into law; politicians on whom he had relied for co-operation proved faithless; and so, with a heavy heart, the popular tribune resigned his seat, bade farewell to Victoria, and made the distant colony of New Zealand his home for the remainder of his life. He never again interfered in politics, but, accepting the position of District Judge of the province of Otago, gave himself up to the conscientious discharge of his official duties until his death on April 4th, 1875. His