Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/326

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and suspicious member an answer that, if it did not remove his doubts, made him look supremely ridiculous, and squelched the stupid anti-Papal agitation amidst universal merriment. "Nothing was yet determined," said Mr. Ireland, "as to the material, but the Minister of Public Works was strongly suspected of meditating the use of Roman cement."

Daniel O'Connell once publicly complimented a young Mr. Plunkett as "the man who had liberated the county of Roscommon," meaning thereby that the young man to whom he referred had been chiefly instrumental in inducing his native county to follow in the footsteps of historic Clare, and send a Catholic representative to the House of Commons. In after years that young man became the Hon. John Hubert Plunkett, Q.C., Attorney-General of New South Wales, a position he filled for a quarter of a century under circumstances that are thus described in the representative organ of the colony, the Sydney Morning Herald: "As Attorney-General under the old régime, Mr. Plunkett was both grand jury and public prosecutor, and it is something, indeed, to say that in those days of irresponsibility, Mr. Plunkett showed not only great ability, but the highest independence and impartiality. Nothing could have been more high-minded or public-spirited than his official conduct." In one conspicuous instance he vindicated the outraged majesty of the law with a spirit and determination that brought him some temporary odium, but which, when angry passions gave place to quiet thought, won him the respect and admiration of every honest man on the Australian continent. In these early days, the unfortunate aborigines were treated as worse than dogs by the white men who had dispossessed them of their hunting-grounds,