Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/49

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

age is deplorable. They listen with ready ear to the false or exaggerated tales of interested parties, jot down everything indiscriminately in their note-books, never go to the trouble of verifying in person the correctness of what they hear, or of seeing things as they are with their own eyes: and thus are circulated broadcast over the English-speaking world many infamous libels and disgraceful falsehoods. All that literary carpet-baggers of this description have in view is the obtaining of materials sufficient to till a stipulated number of pages, and they are never particular as to the nature or quality of the material, so long as they get enough of it to suit their immediate purpose. This will account for more than one unfavourable reference to the Irish in Australia in latter-day books of travel, but the foregoing remarks will serve to show how densely stupid and utterly unreliable are all such gratuitous opinions, founded on chance remarks in casual conversation with bigoted or prejudiced individuals, speaking with no standing or authority. There is one prominent sinner in this respect, from whose recognised position in the literary world much better conduct might reasonably have been expected. Some years ago the late Mr. Anthony Trollope, the well-known popular novelist, paid a flying visit to the antipodes, and, on his return to Europe, published a bulky volume entitled "Australia and New Zealand," in which the following passage occurs:

"One cannot walk about Melbourne without being struck by all that has been done for the welfare of the people generally. There is no squalor to be seen, though there are quarters of the town in which the people no doubt are squalid. In every great congregation