Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/311

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297
A GROUP OF STATESMEN.

Wentworth, an Irish surgeon who received an official appointment in the early days of the colonies, he visited England in the dawn of early manhood, studied at the University of Cambridge, and published in London his "Statistical, Historical and Political Description of New South Wales"—a work that did excellent service in dispelling the ignorance that prevailed in the old world with regard to the actual conditions of life in the newly-settled southern continent. On returning to New South Wales he threw all his efforts into the struggle for the liberty of the press, and, having achieved this first great victory, he established the Australian newspaper, and entered with patriotic earnestness and vigour on his career as a reforming journalist. In carrying out his mission of freedom, he necessarily came into collision more than once with the military autocrats of his time, whose sole desire it was to maintain and to perpetuate the gross abuses of irresponsible power and that detestable system of governmental despotism, against which Wentworth directed a galling, unceasing fire of rebuke, denunciation, and sarcasm. As an orator too, the mother-colony of Australasia has never had his equal. The leader of the Patriotic Association, Wentworth, by voice and pen, laboured unceasingly for the recognition of the right of his countrymen to the possession of the self-same privileges as were enjoyed by the subjects of the British Empire in other parts of the world. How he succeeded in his patriotic endeavours is best shown by his own nobly-pathetic summary of his career in a speech to the electors of Sydney towards the close of his public life, when an unprincipled combination made a desperate effort to prevent the return of the veteran statesman to the legislature of which he was the father, the emancipator and the guardian: