Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/348

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sophers and friends, his sweet home, overlooking the waters of Port Jackson, is the happy refuge of all poor workers in the field of art or letters. Mr. Deniehy has attained the subtle critical faculty of a De Quincey, with conversational powers as brilliant as they are profound. His grasp of subjects is wonderfully extensive, while his rare and highly cultured intellectual faculties dart into every nook and cranny of a topic, convexing its hidden recesses into sharp and vivid relief." His future would perhaps have been far brighter and happier, had he eschewed politics and devoted his splendid abilities to his practice at the bar. Retiring after a few years from public life, he took up his versatile pen, established the Southern Cross, and in its pages, and those of other Sydney journals, poured forth that graceful, scholarly series of critical, historical, descriptive, and satirical papers, the perusal of which induced an English author-statesman[1] to exclaim: "Had Deniehy lived, he would have become the Macaulay of Australia, the first of critics and essayists." But fate had willed it otherwise; the once bright and powerful intellect went out in deepest gloom, and the once favourite pet of the populace was found one morning in the streets of an inland city, and carried, like another Edgar Allan Poe, to a public hospital to die, in his thirty-fifth year. Truly a sad ending to a career that opened with such exceptional sunshine and promise.

Deniehy, then a young man of twenty, spent the opening months of 1848 in the land of his forefathers, and became acquainted with the leaders of the Young Ireland party, with whose views he was in enthusiastic sympathy. In one of his most interesting sketches, he describes John Mitchel as le

  1. The late Lord Lytton.