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COLONIAL IRISHMEN.

TO THE EDITOR. Sir,—As a colonial Irishman of thirtyfour years' standing, I claim the privilege of making a few comments on the cable message in your issue of this evening, re a contribution to the London Press by Mr Wise, formerly Attorney-General of New South Wales. The gentleman in question is evidently fond of making sweeping assertions, and therefore his statement that "corruption is unknown among colonial politicians" may be taken with a alight pinch of salt. Those who have perused the pages of the New South Wales * Hansard' for the past decade or so will be inclined to credit Mr Wise with (he possession of a very powerful imagination on the subject of corruption. As regards his wholesale attack on colonial Irishmen, it may be attributed, in the first place, to a lively recolleotion of more than one defeat at the hands of the class he abuses; and, secondly it is not unreasonable to suppose that his head has become turned a little by mixing in London society of the Torycum-Unionist school. Mr Wise is not the first colonial

Democrat who has ripened into a patrician through being brought into contact with what is known as the " upper crust" ; and it is doubtless to please his new patrons that he now employs his pen in vilifying a large section of his fellow-colonists. If those who form the subject of his denunciation are the worthless peoplo ho represents them to bo, how, in the name of common sense, is it that Her Majesty has thought fit to confer distinctions on so many of them ! Take Victoria, for example, and we find the following list of colonial Irishmen who have been rewarded for their political or judicial services to the land of their adoption:— Sir John O'Shannasy, Sir Charles Gavan Duffy, Sir Charles Macmahon, Sir Redmond Barry, Sir W. F. Stawell, Sir Bryan O'Loghlen, Sir Francis Murphy, Chief Justice Higinbotham, and many others. In the palmy days of the Victorian Legislature Irishmen held leading positions in the Assembly and Council; and though there have been a few rows in that Parliament from time to time, I do not remember an instance in which my countrymen were the aggressors. Those who are acquainted with the history of Victoria will bear me out when I assert that colonial Irishmen have in that colony maintained their own, not alone in politics, but in the learned professions and on the Press.

I am not so well posted in th? affairs of New South Wales, but I believe that colonial Irishmen have also taken a foremost stand in public matters there. The fact that th» first Australasian statesman—the late Right Hon. W. B. Dalley—elevated to the dignity of a Privy Councillor was a Roman Catholic Irish native is a feather in the cap of tho rave so bitterly maligned by the former Attorney-General of New South Wales. Coming to New Zealand, the pages of 'Hansard'will not disclose a single case in whioh Irish members have made themselves " conspicuous by disorderly oonduofc." That

the House is presided over by a colonial Irishman with firmness, judgment, and discretion is a question beyond dispute, and to his tact and impartiality may be attributed the proud position which our General Assembly holds among Australasian legislators. I am not quite sure that the remarks of Mr Wise merit so much attention. If they were made in Sydney, where that gentleman is valued at his true price, no one would notice them, but the Home cable gives them an importance which they would not otherwise deserve, and hence this letter. If Mr Wise's London patrons were acquainted with the sort of estimation in which that gentleman is held by the great majority of the people of New South Wales, they would realise the applicability in his case of Gilbert's lines : Storks turn out to be but logs, Bulla are but itflited frogs. —lam, etc., Thomas Bbacken. Dunedin, July 4. i^—■—■*———■

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890704.2.40.1

Bibliographic details

COLONIAL IRISHMEN., Evening Star, Issue 7950, 4 July 1889

Word Count
660

COLONIAL IRISHMEN. Evening Star, Issue 7950, 4 July 1889

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