Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/356

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the evidences of such prosperity—such level prosperity, such level comfort; no great heapings of wealth, but then no great poverty—I asked what share Irishmen could fairly claim in the development of this great continent, in the discovery of its hidden wealth, in the enterprises of commerce, and in maintaining its peace and prosperity; and I found on inquiry that foremost amongst the explorers who opened up the central regions of Australia were Irishmen—I found that many of the wisest heads and most respected members of the legislative assemblies were Irishmen, that they were luminaries on the bench and leaders at the bar, and that men for places of trust and positions of responsibility were chosen from the ranks of the Irish. These Irishmen—why do they come here? They come from our native country. And in what spirit do they leave it? They leave it because they have no home in the land of their birth, because they have no scope for the exercise of their mental and physical energies. And it is for a home and a livelihood that they cross the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, and enter the Heads of Sydney, where they see, as though inscribed above their rocky portals, the words, 'Ye who enter leave despair behind.' They were poor and unappreciated at home; but they come here, and what is the result? They prove themselves to be most valuable citizens—good, loyal, hard-working members of your great progressive communities."

These reflections of a shrewd and much-travelled observer received ample corroboration at the recent Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London, in which Irish art and industry in the colonies formed no inconsiderable portion of a brilliant and effective display, and at which representative Irishmen from the various divisions of the colonial empire