Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/323

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309
NOTABLE IRISH-AUSTKALIANS.

seem to be of the same opinion, for, in one of his historical essays, he says: "It is certain that Mr. Stawell, who, as Attorney-General, long continued to direct the public affairs of the colony, was a man in many respects singularly well qualified for his office. Of a vigorous intellect, indefatigable industry, and clear integrity, he only wanted more sympathy with the mass of the community and less of that love of victory at all costs which is the weakness of strong men, to be an eminent ruler." Soon after this troublous epoch, Victoria received her new constitution, and Sir William Stawell entered the first Parliament as member for Melbourne, in company with his countryman and old opponent in debate. Sir John O'Shanassy. He at once resumed the Attorney-Generalship in the first responsible government that was formed, an office that was soon to be exchanged for the exalted one of Chief Justice, which he filled with honour and credit for well-nigh thirty years. In Mr. Justice Molesworth and Mr. Justice Higinbotham, both Dublin men, he had two accomplished colleagues on the bench of the Supreme Court. The former is a judicial authority of the highest standing, and he is said to be the only judge in the colonies whose decisions have invariably been upheld by the Privy Council. The latter is the idol and the champion of the working classes. As a visible testimony of their gratitude and esteem, they have erected his statue in the Trades' Hall, one of the most unique and extensive buildings in Melbourne, and a striking illustration of what the organisation of labour can accomplish. In the days when Mr. Justice Higinbotham was an active politician, and a democratic leader in parliament during a grave constitutional crisis, the fiery eloquence with which he espoused the popular cause, and resisted what he conceived to be the unjust and tyrannical