Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/305

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
291
A GROUP OF STATESMEN.

statue has an honourable place in the Trades' Hall of the capital of Victoria, and his portrait hangs on the walls of the University in the principal city of New Zealand. As illustrating his extreme conscientiousness, it is a fact that he insisted on going circuit whilst almost too ill to walk. At Lawrence, the last town in which he sat, he was carried from his bed to the court, and having performed his last judicial act, was carried back, never to rise again. As a judge he had a great detestation of mere technical defences, of which the following is a humorous instance in point:

There was a case in which a plea of infancy had been put forward. He wanted to know why such a plea had been advanced, and asked if there was no other defence to the action, which was one for goods sold and delivered. The facts were explained to him, showing that the technical defence was set up on the ground that the plaintiff was not morally entitled to recover, if he were legally. The next case on the list was an action for calls due. After hearing the evidence, the defendant's counsel raised a large number of nonsuit points—the company had not been properly registered, the calls not duly made, &c. Turning to the defendant. Judge Gray said: "I want to know why all these technical defences have been raised. Why do you not pay as other shareholders have done?" The defendant replied: "Well, I have never had any objection to pay with the rest; but when the secretary of the company called on me, he said I was a puppy, sir! A puppy!" "Oh," quietly remarked the judge, "another plea of infancy, I see. I must nonsuit. Call the next case."

Sir Robert Stout, Premier of New Zealand, thus admirably sums up the career of a man, of whom Irishmen all the world