Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/313

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299
A GROUP OF STATESMEN.

add—Who gave to those who deserted them the liberty of the press, trial by jury, and the constitutional right of electing their own representatives. (Tremendous cheers.) You may put it out of my power to serve you again; you cannot erase from memory the services of the past. I can truly say the love of my country has been the master passion of my life. No man's heart has ever beat with a more ardent love of his country than mine, and it is on my native soil that I here stand. From boyhood up to manhood, I have watched over its infant growth as a mother over her cradled child. Its welfare through life has been the object of my devoted love and affection, and now, when my days are in the autumn of their cycle, that welfare is the object of my highest hopes and most hallowed aspirations."

His unscrupulous opponents on the same occasion industriously circulated the report that Wentworth had spoken disparagingly of the land of his forefathers, and this was his indignant reply to that malevolent aspersion:

"It has been said that I have misrepresented and slandered the Irish race. Why, some of the best blood in my veins is Irish, and who will venture to tell me that I am bold enough or base enough to calumniate the land of my fathers?"

It is a pleasure to place on record the fact that the people of Sydney did not at this juncture exhibit the proverbial ingratitude of the fickle populace towards its noblest and most unselfish benefactors. Wentworth was returned at the head of the poll.

The Australian Patriot's last service to his country was the framing of a constitution based on the British model, and extending to the colonists the amplest measure of political freedom. Though marred considerably in its pro-