Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/309

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A GROUP OF STATESMEN.

honest, practical, open-handed charity, his deep attachment to the land of his birth, and loyalty to the faith of his fathers, Michael O'Grady was a typical Celt of the first order, and he died all too early, at the age of fifty-four.

One of the foremost Irish orators of Australia at the present time is the Hon. Nicholas Fitzgerald, the son-in-law of the late Sir John O'Shanassy, whose mantle, it is admitted by colonists of all classes and creeds, has fallen on no unworthy shoulders. For more than twenty years, Mr. Fitzgerald has been an active and leading member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, occupying a place in the front rank of its debaters, and contributing greatly to the promotion of useful legislation by his keen logical insight into the measures devised by successive governments. Gifted with a fine presence and a voice of unusual power and flexibility, he is at his best when addressing a vast gathering of his countrymen and countrywomen on some subject that appeals to their national sympathies. Few will forget it, who witnessed that grand and cheering spectacle on New Year's Day of 1885, when ten thousand Irish-Australian men and women assembled in the heart of the city of Melbourne, to see the first stone laid of a new central Hibernian Hall, and to hear from the eloquent lips of Mr. Fitzgerald such noble sentiments as these: "Yet another object of the Hibernian Society has to be told, and without it our rules, however sound, wise and benevolent, would have their completeness tarnished. I need hardly say I refer to the duty enjoined on our members to cherish the memory of Ireland. We, men of Ireland, claim no monopoly of patriotism, but we do say no country is more loved by its people than our dear old Ireland, whose brave generous children have at all times regarded their country with a loyal love