Early Years. Charles Gavan Duffy 12 April 1816 – 9 February 1903 8th Premier of Victoria (19 June 1871 – 10 June 1872) Died: 9 February 1903 (aged 86) Nice, France Spouse(s) Emily McLaughlin, Susan Hughes Duffy Born in Dublin Street, Monaghan Town, the son of a Catholic shopkeeper.
Even before being admitted to the bar, Duffy was active on the Irish land question, Duffy became a leading figure in Irish literary circles. He edited Ballad Poetry of Ireland (1843) and other works on Irish literature.
Politics, literature and law were Duffy’s primary interests
Charles Gavan Duffy was one of the founders of “The Nation” and became its first editor; the others were Thomas Osborne Davis, and John Blake Dillon.
All three were members of Daniel O'Connell's Repeal Association and would later become to be known as Young Ireland.
The paper, under Duffy, transformed from a literary voice into a 'rebellious organization'
As a result of The Nation's support of Repeal, Duffy as proprietor was arrested and convicted of seditious conspiracy in relation to a Monster Meeting planned for Clontarf, Co. Dublin.
He was released after an appeal to the House of Lords. In 1850 he formed the Tenant Right League to bring about reforms in the Irish land system and to protect tenants' rights.
In 1852 he was elected to the House of Commons for New Ross.
In 1856, despairing of the prospects for Irish independence, he resigned from the House of Commons and emigrated with his family to Australia.
Printed first at 12 Trinity Street, Dublin, on 15 October 1842, until 6 January 1844, the paper was afterwards published at 4 D'Olier Street from 13 July 1844, to 28 July 1848, (when the issue for the following day was seized and the paper supressed) and at Lower Abbey Street on its revival in September, 1849.
A radical newspaper in 1843 it published what was to become one of the most famous examples of 19th century Irish nationalist poetry, “The Memory of the Dead”, about the 1798 rebellion, by John Kells Ingram
Who fears to speak of Ninety-Eight?
Who blushes at the name?
When cowards mock the patriot's fate
Who hangs his head in shame?
He's all a knave, or half a slave,
Who slights his country thus;
But a true man, like you, man,
Will fill your glass with us.
Women also wrote for paper, and published under pseudonyms (such as Speranza - Jane Elgee - Lady Wilde, Oscar Wilde's mother).
Its original triumvirate of founders followed differing paths: Davis died, aged 30, in 1845. Both Dillon and Duffy became MPs in the House of Commons. Duffy eventually emigrated to Australia where he became a state premier, before being knighted as a Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George (KCMG).
Like other radicals, Duffy regarded unlocking the colony's lands from the grip of the squatter class as his main priority, but his 1862 lands bill was amended into ineffectiveness by the Legislative Council.
The historian Don Garden wrote: "Unfortunately Duffy's dreams were on a higher plane than his practical skills as a legislator and the morals of those opposed to him."
In 1871 Duffy led the opposition to then Premier, James McCulloch's plan to introduce a land tax, on the grounds that it unfairly penalised small farmers. When McCulloch was defeated on this issue, Duffy became Premier and Chief Secretary.
Victoria's finances were in a poor state and he was forced to introduce a tariff bill to provide government revenue, despite his adherence to British free trade principles.
An Irish Catholic Premier was very unpopular with the Protestant majority in the colony, and Duffy was accused of favouring Catholics in government appointments. In June 1872 his government was defeated in the Assembly on a confidence motion allegedly motivated by sectarianism.
He then resigned the leadership of the liberal party to Graham Berry.
The Repeal Association was an Irish mass membership political movement set up by Daniel O'Connell to campaign for a repeal of the Act of Union of 1800 between Great Britain and Ireland.
The Association's aim was to revert Ireland to the constitutional position briefly achieved by Henry Grattan and his patriots in the 1780s, but this time with a full Catholic involvement that was now possible following the Act of Emancipation in 1829, supported by the electorate approved under the Reform Act of 1832.
On its failure by the late 1840s the Young Ireland movement developed.
Repealer candidates contested the United Kingdom general election, 1832 in Ireland. Between 1835 and 1841, they formed a pact with the Liberals. Repealer candidates, unaffiliated with the Liberal Party, contested the 1841 and 1847 general elections.
After being feted in Sydney and Melbourne Duffy settled in Victoria. With his political and literary reputation, he was a romantic figure, particularly for the Irish community. For this reason he was feared and hated by many in the English and Scottish Protestant establishment, especially when he indicated his interest in politics.
A public appeal was held to enable him to buy the freehold property necessary to stand for the colonial parliament and he was immediately elected to the Legislative Assembly for Villiers and Heytesbury in the Western District in 1856
With the collapse of the Victorian Government's Haines Ministry, during 1857, another Irish Catholic, John O'Shanassy, became Premier and Duffy his second-in-charge. Duffy was Commissioner for Public Works and was President of the Board of Land and Works and Commissioner for Crown Lands and Survey.
Nothing like this had occurred anywhere in the British Empire, with Irish catholics serving as Cabinet Ministers.
The adoption of physical force was propelled by death and destruction resulting from the 1845 Irish potato blight, government inaction, and the evictions of tenants from the land by some landlords.
The final impulse came with the French Revolution, in the year 1848, followed by popular uprisings across Europe which saw both governments and monarchies toppled.
William Smith O'Brien, the leader of the Young Ireland Party, having to choose between armed resistance or an ignominious flight launched an attempted rebellion in July 1848, in immediate response to British repression and the introduction of martial law.
Opposed by some of the Catholic clergy, who had been consistently hostile to Young Ireland and the Irish Confederation, O'Brien's failure to capture a party of police barricaded in widow McCormack's house, who were holding her children as hostages, marked the effective end of the revolt.
Though intermittent resistance continued till late 1849, O'Brien and his colleagues were quickly arrested.
Originally sentenced to death, this sentence was later commuted to transportation to Van Diemen's Land,