Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/314

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gress through the legislature of New South Wales, and still further varied from its original purpose by the Imperial Parliament, some of its best features were retained and have worked admirably ever since. The only regret in after times was that Wentworth's statesmanlike proposals were not more closely adhered to. But it was his fate to be systematically thwarted by little-minded men who could not sympathise with his breadth of vision, understand the generosity of his nature, or rise to the loftiness of his aims. The peroration of his final parliamentary speech on the bill for the introduction of the new constitution is well worthy of quotation, as a typical specimen of the Grattanesque character of the eloquence of Wentworth:

"Sir,—I will trouble the House with but a few more observations. This is probably the last occasion—at all events, the last important occasion—upon which this voice may be heard within these walls; and the time cannot be far distant when this tongue will be mute in death. In the short interval which must elapse between me and eternity, on the brink of which I now stand, I would ask what low motives, what ignoble ambition can possibly actuate me? The whole struggles and efforts of my life have been directed to the achievement of the liberties of my country; and it is with this constitution, which I now present for its acceptance, that this achievement will be consummated. Sir, it has not only been my misfortune, but it has been the misfortune of all my countrymen, that we have not lived in troublous times, when it became necessary by force to repress domestic faction or treason, to repel invasion from without, or perhaps to pour out our chivalry to seek glory and distinction in foreign climes. This is a privilege which has been denied to us. It is