DEATH OF MR. LALOR, M.L.A.
Mr. Peter Lalor, M.L.A., the late Speaker of the Legislative Assembly, died on Satur- day evening about 7 o'clock, after a long illness. He had been suffering for some years from diabetes, and became so un- well in 1887 that he was compelled to retire from the chair in the Legis- lative Assembly. Afterwards he visited San Francisco, but, though the voyage to and from that port benefited, him considerably, his health was never restored. On the con- trary, he was more or less confined to his house from the time he returned, and his medical advisors, Mr. Fitzgerald, Dr. James Robertson, and his son, Dr. Lalor, were unable to arrest the decline which had unquestionably set in. A few weeks ago he entirely lost strength, and his end was seen to be fast approaching. On Saturday fore- noon he was visited by Mr. G. H. Jenkins, clerk of the Legislative Assembly; and one or two other very intimate friends. In the afternoon he passed into a comotose state, and died as before mentioned in the evening.
'Mr. Lalor was born in Queen's County, Ireland, in 1827, so was 62 years of age, His father, Patrick Lalor, was a landed proprietor of that county, and re- presented it in the House of Commons for many years. The subject of our memoir was educated at Carlow College, and afterwards at Trinity College, Dublin. His brothers heartily supported the "Young Ireland" cause, but he himself took no part in it. When he was 25 years old the report of gold discoveries in this colony attracted him here, and he landed in Melbourne in 1853.
His studies had been directed towards civil engineering, and for a brief period after his arrival here he was employed in connection withthe construction of the railway from Melbourne to Geelong. He soon relinquished that employment, and went to the gold-fields,
first trying his fortune at the Ovens, where he stayed several months. Thence, early in 1854, he proceeded to Ballarat. There he met with fair luck; Mr. Gillies, the present Premier of Victoria, was his " mate" ; and his prospects seemed bright about the time of the outbreak of the disturbances between the diggers and the authorities. Mr. Lalor's con- nection with the Eureka Stockade affair of December, 1854, was the most striking episode in his life, he having been the chief leader of the insurgents. Consequently, it is necessary to give some particulars concern- ing it. In order, however, that these details may be thoroughly intelligible some preli- minary circumstances must be mentioned. Much of the following information has been derived from Mr. Wither's excellent History of Ballarat, published in 1870.
Gold was discovered at Ballarat during the latter half of 1851. An immense rush soon set in. The Mount Alexander rush speedily fol- lowed, and the finds of gold there caused even more excitement than those at Golden Point, Ballarat. Melbourne and Geelong were almost emptied of their male inhabitants ; and not long after the news reached Europe, the waters of Hobson's Bay were almost hidden by sailing vessels at anchor, which had brought hither immigrants from all parts of the civilised world. Most of these gold hunters were young adventurers. The whole structure of society here was completely dis- organised. Governor Latrobe, in a despatch to the Imperial Government in December 1851, said it had really become a question how " even the functions of Government could be carried on." The district of Port Phillip, had been created into the colony of Victoria in July, 1851; and the Victorian colonists had a Parliament of their own, consisting of one House, the old Legislative Council. This House comprised 30 members, of whom 20 were elected and 10 nominated by the Crown. In 1851 the Government promulgated the right of the Crown in the gold, and issued licenses to the diggers. Further discoveries of gold were made, and the Government, with a view to allaying the gold fever and to meet the increased expenditure, increased the license fee from £1 10s. to £3 per month. At this time the Parliament was representative only to a slight extent, and the masses on the gold-fields had no voice in the elections. As a rule, they were bold, self-reliant, young men. Very many of them were men of education and character. They had not the slightest influence on the policy of the Government,
and they had reason to complain of the conduct of the authorities with whom they were brought into contact.
Their chief grievance was connected with the licenses they were forced to take out. Not only was the fee large, and the tax un- equal in its incidence, but the conduct of the gold-fields officials entrusted with the duty of seeing that the tax was paid was, in too many instances, insolent and atrocious. One of the conditions of the license was that the document must be produced whenever it was demanded by any Government officer. Tak- ing advantage of that provision, many of the gold-fields commissioners and their subor- dinates in the police force were accustomed to harass the diggers night and day, and to ill-treat and persecute them in an unbear- able manner. Digger-hunting used to be the chief occupation and the delight of officials. In their raids they would cap- ture 50 or 6O diggers who had not licenses about them, chain them together like a gang of felons, and deal with them in a capricious manner. Some of the officials were corrupt as well as tyrannical. The Argus of October 21, 1854 (after the disturbances between the diggers and the authorities had begun), re- marked :-." Upon the whole we must indeed do the residents upon our gold-fields the justice to say that they have endured the wrongs to which they have been subjected with marvellous patience, and we are only astonished that long ago, and even before this, serious breaches of the peace have not occurred. The whole system of administration on the gold-fields is based on a wrong princi- ple, such as should find no place in a com- munity of British subjects. The Gold Com- mission has proved itself very inefficient, frequently corrupt, almost always despotic and oppressive. The taint has affected even the magisterial bench, and the cause of justice has too often been under the influence of friendship or bribery. ... It is easy to see how the numerous elements of corrup- tion which exist on the gold-fields would operate upon a magistracy appointed without regard either to ability or character, and having too little to fear either from public opinion or official con- trol. We are not prepared to say how far it has been merited, but we know that a charge of this nature has been current for some time respecting the authorities at Ballarat. More than once we have heard it remarked that money can do anything there ? ' The agita- tion against the gold-fields licenses began at Bendigo in 1853, and was quickly taken up at Ballarat, and a Reform League was formed amongst the diggers on the various gold-fields for the redress of grievances. The authorities failed to appreciate the position. In October, 1854, the Government ordered the police to go out hunting for unlicensed diggers two days a week.
We now come to one of the approximate causes of the Eureka rebellion. In the latter half of 1854 a digger named James Scobie was killed in a scuffle at the Eureka Hotel, on Specimen-hill, kept by one Bentley. The house was one of very bad fame, and Bentley was considered by the diggers to have been a participator in the murder. At length, he and others were charged with the murder and arrested ; but, when brought before the police court, con- sisting of Mr. Dewes, P.M., and Commis- sioners Rede (afterwards sheriff) and John- ston, they were discharged. Messrs. Dewes and Rede were for their discharge, but Mr. Johnston protested strongly against. This was generally deemed to be a miscarriage of justice. Mr. Withers observes:-."This acquittal aroused the population more than any single official act since the gold discovery, for the general belief was that Bentley was guilty, and that the police magistrate corruptly urged the acquittal, because he was under pecuniary obligations to the prisoner (Bentley). This opinion as to Dewe's embarrassments with Bentley is still held. Dewes fell before the popular storm, and went to British Columbia, where he justified Victorian condemna- tion by committing embezzlement, and he ended his life by suicide in Paris. An
indignation meeting was held at Ballarat on October 17, close to the spot where Scobie was killed. At this meeting a committee was appointed, of which Peter Lalor was one, to raise money to defray the cost of a further prosecution of Bentley. The Camp authorities, dreading that the meeting might lead to an attack on Bentley's hotel, sent a body of police to act as a guard over it. Some youth threw a stone at the lamp in front of the building, breaking the glass. That act of violence, seemed to be the spark that was wanting to kindle the conflagration. Ayell of indignation broke forth, or cries of
'Down with the house," and "Burn it." The latter suggestion was acted upon, but who kindled the fire is a mystery to this day. Yet the man who did it was seen to set about the deed with the greatest deliberation. The Argus correspondent at Ballarat at the time said:-"The cool, resolute manner in which everything was carried on resembled the proceedings of the Porteous mob." Bentley got away on horseback to the camp. Three persons were arrested, charged with this act of incendiarism, and were committed and imprisoned. The jury, however, recom- mended them to mercy, and expressed the be- lief that the outrage had been provoked by the improper conduct of the Ballarat offi-
A mass meeting was held on Bakery-hill on November 11, 1854, to demand the release of the alleged incendiaries. It likewise passed resolutions affirming the right of the people to full representation, manhood suffrage, the abolition of the property qualification for members, payment of members, short Parlia- ments, and the abolition of the Gold Com-
mission and the diggers' licenses. Bentley, in the meantime, had been re-arrested on the advice of the Attorney-General, Mr. (sub- sequently Sir William) Stawell (subsequently Chief Justice, and now Lieutenant-Gover- nor), for the murder of Scobie, and con- victed. He was sentenced to three years on the roads. A commission was appointed to inquire into the Eureka Hotel affair, and that body (consisting of Mr. E. P. Sturt, Dr. M'Crea, and Mr. F. A. Powlett), in their report, condemned the misconduct of Mr. Dewes, P.M. The Reform League sent a deputation to Melbourne in November to demand the release of the three alleged incendiaries from Sir Charles Hotham, who had assumed ofiice as Governor in June, 1854. The demand was refused, but His Excellency promised re- forms, and intimated that they had already begun. The Ballarat diggers, however, had lost all confidence in the authorities, and began to drill at night, and prepare arms and ammunition. More soldiers were
sent up from Melbourne to Ballarat, On November 28, 1834, a detachment of the 12th Regiment, on arriving at Ballarat, was attacked. Several soldiers were wounded. The diggers followed the troops to the vicinity of the camp, when the mounted police made a sortie, wounded several men, and drove back the crowd. All that night the diggers kept fires burning, discharging firearms, and yelling. Shortly afterwards, another attack was made upon a detachment of the 40th Regiment. These attacks on the military were condemned by the colonists generally outside of Ballarat, and even by the larger portion of the residents on the gold-
On November 29 a meeting of about 12,000 men was held at Ballarat. This is said to be the first public meeting that Mr. Lalor addressed. He moved one of the resolutions submitted and passed. It called a meeting of the Reform League for the following Sunday to elect a central committee. On that Sunday he was lying wounded, and concealed under a pile of slabs. At the meeting on November 29 the "insurgent flag " was hoisted on the platform. It represented the Southern Cross constellation. One of the resolutions passed at the meeting declared the license-fee to be an unjustifiable imposition, and pledged those present to burn their licenses. A bonfire was soon kindled accordingly. Another resolu- tion protested against "the common prac- tice" on the part of the military and the police of firing on " the people," without the previous reading of the Riot Act, and declared that, it the Government officials continued to act thus unconstitutionally, thoe meeting could not be responsible "for similar or worse deeds from the people." At this meeting, in fact, the rebellion was for- mally inaugurated.
The last digger hunt in Victoria took place on November 30, 1854, under the direction of Commissioners Rede and Johnston. It was a sort of skirmish. The police, supported by the whole military force available, advanced upon the Gravel Pits, as the Bakery-hill diggings were called, and cleared the ground of a swarm of diggers there. At certain parts of the main road, the diggers made a stand and received the force in a fire of stones and gun- shots. The troops took some prisoners and returned to camp. Soon afterwards, the Southern Cross flag was hoisted on Bakery- hill, and, according to Mr. Withers, "the diggers knelt around the flag and swore mutual defence, implored the help of God, and then began to drill. Peter Lalor was chosen commander-in-chief of the insurgents, and issued warrants and manifestoes." Mr. S. Irwin, in a letter to the Ballarat Star some time afterwards, said, speaking as an eye-witness :-"A mass meeting was held on Bakery-hill, where Lalor, gun in hand, mounted a stump, and swore in his followers. The method of swearing in was by uplifting the right hand, and was very impressive as taken by the hundreds who encircled their leader. Immediately after the swearing in, the names were taken down, and the men formed into squads and drill. The drilling was kept up with but little intermission to a late hour, and was now and then renewed up to the capture of the stockade." The oath was as follows :-" We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties." Carboni Raffaello, who took a prominent part in the movement, and pub- lished an account of it, states, referring to the proceedings of Novembor 30 - " I went up to Lalor, and the moment he saw me he took me by the hand, saying-"I want you, Signore; tell these gentlemen (pointing to old acquain- tances of ours who were foreigners) that if they cannot provide themselves with fire arms, let each of them provide a piece of steel 5in. or 6in. long, attached to a pole, and that will pierce the tyrants' hearts. Peter, of course, spoke thus in his friendly way as usual, towards me. He was in earnest, though." Lalor had a Minister of War named Black, who issued orders for arms, ammunition, and im- pressment. As soon as the news of these doings reached Melbourne the Government sent up more troops with four field pieces.
The Eureka Stockade was at first intended more as a screen, behind which the diggers might drill, than as a fortification. Such as it was it was occupied by the insurgents on Saturday, December 2. It comprised about an acre, rested on a gentle eminence, and was rudely enclosed with slabs. It was situated on the old track from Melbourne, now called Eureka-street, and between Stawell and Rodier streets. At the time of the fight, several holes had been sunk to a small depth on the site and in its immediate neighbour- hood. Pikes were forged in the stockade, and several companies of riflemen and pike- men were formed. Captain Thomas, who was in command of the troops, Sir Robert Nickle, Commander-in-Chief, not having then arrived on the scene, determined to take the stockade by surprise on the morning of Sunday, December 3. It was fortunate they did so, as the diggers had not time to complete their organisation. On December 5, two days after the capture of the stockade, a force of 800 men arrived at Ballarat from Melbourne, under the com- mand of Sir Robert Nickle; and the insurgents had not expected an attack pending the arrival of the reinforcement. A Government officer at the camp thus described the attack: " Before daylight on the 3rd December, a force consisting of 276 men of all arms, including a strong body of cavalry, mustered quiety and left camp with the purpose of attacking the stockade. At early dawn they reached the neighbourhood of the site, and the advanced men were fired at by the sentinel posted within the stockade. The order to attack was now given, and the detachment of the 40th Regiment, led by Captain Thomas, the chief officer in com- mand, made a quick advance upon the double breast-work which formed the
stronghold of the insurgents. After several volleys had been fired on both sides the barrier of ropes, slabs, and overturned carts was crossed, and the defenders driven out or into the shallow holes with which the place was spotted, and in which many were put to death in the first heat of the conflict, either by bullets or bayonet thrust. The foot police were first over the barricade, and one climbed the flagstaff, under a heavy fire, and secured the rebel flag. After burning the tents within the enclosure and in the immediate vicinity, the troops returned to camp, and carts were sent out for the dead and wounded. The latter thus obtained immediate medical aid. They were covered with blood, and mostly shot in the breast. The number of insurgents killed is estimated at from 35 to 40, and many of those brought in wounded afterwards died. Of the troops three privates were killed and several wounded, one of whom died. Two officers were wounded, and one, Captain Wise, died. Among the arms taken in the fight were pikes of a rude con- struction, made on the spot, and furnished with a sort of hooked knife to cut the bridles ot the cavalry." It may be added that a pistol, loaded with quartz, pebbles, and powder, was picked up in the stockade.
Mr. M'Combie, in his History of Victoria, writes:--"It was Sunday morning, and a very great portion of them (the insurgents) were away, and those who remained had dined late, and some no doubt had drunk -deep, . . . The rebel leaders fought well, Mr. Peter Lalor having been wounded in the breach and left for dead in the stockade, and several others cut down at their posts. . . . There were 125 persons taken in the stockade." Raffaelo, referring to the moment of attack, says : - "Peter Lalor was now on the top of the first logged-up hole within the stockade, and, by his decided gestures, pointed to the men to retire among the holes. He was shot down in his left shoulder at this identical moment. It was a chance shot." Raffaello also gives a list of the killed and wounded, signed " Peter Lalor, Commander in-chief.", According to this list, 14 of the in- surgents were killed at the time, eight were wounded and subsequently died, and 12 were wounded and recovered. A large proportion of the names are Irish. The dead were at once burried in the cemetery, the bodies of the insurgents being placed in rough coffins, hurriedly made.
It was stated, many years afterwards by a correspondent of the Ballarat Courier, that Lalor, after escaping from the stockade on the night of December 3, arrived on the following night at the residence of the Rev. P. Smyth, a small wooden cottage, which stood near the site of the Roman Catholic presbytery, subsequently erected in Victoria- street. " The necessary preparations having," stated the correspondent, "been made for the reception of the wounded man, the ampu- tation was successfully performed in this building, in the presence of three doctors (one of whom was quite recently in Ballarat) and three other persons. Owing to the bullet, or bullets, being embedded close in to the shoulder-joint, some difficulty was ex- perienced by the doctors, and the operation was rather prolonged. The patient recovering consciousness while the doctors were still at work, and noticing one of them (Dr. Doyle, who was in a rather delicate state of health) showing signs of faintness, remarked in a firm voice, ' Courage! Courage ! Take it off! ' The injured limb having been removed, was carefully rolled up in carpet and put in a place of safety until opportunity could be found to dispose of it, the heat of the weather rendering it imperative that this should be done as speedily as possible. The extremest caution was necessary, however. A reward of £200 was offered for such information as would lead to the apprehension of the wounded man. Some erstwhile 'fire-eaters' had now become ardent admirers of camp rule, and numerous spies were about. At this time an alluvial lead had been worked, coming from the Black-hill, along the course of the present Indicator, and the holes here suggested the best means of disposing of the amputated limb. One of the deepest having been selected, and the arm having been placed in the centre of a closely-packed bundle of blood-stained car- pet, blankets, sheets, &c, was safely con- veyed thither during the night by two per- sons, and consigned to the bottom of the shaft. One of the two persons was M'Grath, a schoolmaster, and the other still lives in the locality. The hole where the bundle was deposited would be close to the rear of where St. Paul's parsonage now stands, and there is little doubt that the remains lie there till the present day, never having been discovered. The servant employed by Father Smyth at at the time was an Armenian, named Johannes M'Gregor¡us, but such was the secresy observed in regard to the whole busi- ness that I do not think he had the least idea of what was transpiring."
About a week or 10 days after the stockade was stormed Carroll, who was a carrier, brought from Geelong to Ballarat a load of goods. As he was pushing a tent on the Black-hill Flat, about 500 yards from the present Ballarat post-office, a woman named Mrs. Hayes called him and told him that a man inside wanted to speak to him. He went inside, and in an inner compartment found a man lying down, bathing his wounded arm, or rather stump, with a sponge. The man, who he learned from Mrs. Hayes was Peter Lalor, the colonel of the rebellious diggers, asked him if he came from Geelong, and on his replying that he did, inquired if he knew a Miss Dunn, who taught a school at St Mary's, Geelong. Carroll said he did, as several of his children were taught by her. Lalor asked him to take a letter to her, which he did on his next trip. She gave him a letter to take back, which he delivered to Lalor, who then asked him if he would take him to Geelong. He agreed, and they started the following Sunday. Lalor said there were some balls in his arm that the Ballarat doctors had not extracted, and he wanted to go to a surgeon at Geelong. Carroll concealed him as well as he could by boughs and a tarpaulin, and by keeping as much as possible in the bush reached Geelong in two or three days un- noticed. He camped outside the town till night came on, and then drove to his own house in Kirk's-place, Little Malop-street. He sent two of his children to show Lalor where Miss Dunn lived.
The authorities at the time deemed one Vern, a German, who had taken a prominent part in the rebellion, to have been the leader of the insurgents. Both he and Black, Lalor's Minister of War, escaped, and re- wards were offered for their apprehension. For Vern £500 was offered, and for Lalor and Black £200 each. One of the proclamations
runs as follows :-
" Whereas two persons of the names of
LAWLOR and BLACK
late of Ballarat,
did, on or about the 13th day of November last, at that place, use certain
TREASONABLE and SEDITIOUS LANGUAGE,
and incite men to take up arms with a view to make war against our Sovereign Lady the Queen,
NOTICE is HEREBY GIVEN
that a reward of £200 will be paid to any person or persons giving such information as may lead to the apprehension of either of the abovenamed parties."
"Lawlor" (Peter Lalor) was described in the proclamation as follows:-" Height, 5ft. 11in. ; age, 35 ; hair dark brown, and shaved under the chin ; no moustache ; long face ; rather good-looking; and is a well-made man." At the time, however, Lalor was only 27 years old. Mr. Withers thus describes him as he appeared in those days:-"The insurgent commander at the time of the stockade collision was in the prime of early manhood, and his brown hair, blue-grey eyes, broad face, and rather heavy eyebrows were those of a handsome presence. Full 6ft. in stature, broad-chested, and generally well proportioned, and possessing a rather impul- sive temperament, he was just the man to embody the physical force spirit of the move- ment." Lalor had many narrow escapes from capture, but not one of the three alleged ringleaders, for whom rewards were offered, was apprehended.
Martial law was proclaimed at Ballarat. At Melbourne large meetings were held, at which resolutions were carried with enthusiasm, condemning the proceedings of the Executive, and demanding an immediate settlement of the differences between the Government and the diggers, and a general amnesty. At the same t¡me,
disapproval of the armed resistance offered by the diggers was expressed. Four days after the historical Sunday, a commission was appointed to investigate thoroughly the grounds of the agitation. This commission, in its report, recommended many reforms, which were carried out. One of them was the substitution of an export duty on gold for the obnoxions license-fee. Partly influenced by the state, of public feel- ing in the metropolis, the Government speedily released Ballarat from martial law. On April 1, 1855, 13 of the prisoners taken at the stockade were tried in Melbourne for high treason, and acquitted. That verdict was equivalent to an amnesty to all impli- cated in the rebellion. Before, however, the Government had repealed the proclamation offering a reward for Lalor's capture, he at- tended a Government land sale at the Ballarat Police Court, and bought some allot- ments, giving his name in the usual way. The matter was reported to headquarters, and the rewards were withdrawn in an early number of the Government Gazette. A general amnesty was proclaimed, and, ulti- mately, the Government compensated persons who had stood against as well as for it.
The new constitution was proclaimed in November, 1855, and, pending the Royal assent to the act, five representatives of gold- fields had been added to the old Legislative Council. That was one of the reforms re- commended by the Gold-fields Commission, appointed immediately after the fight at Eureka. Mr, Lalor was one of those chosen to represent the Ballarat dis- trict. It is scarcely necessary to say that he was always ready to defend the course he pursued in 1854. In January, 1856, in the old Council, Mr. J P. Fawkner moved that the sum of £1,500 be appropriated for the funeral expenses of Sir Charles Hotham-who had died on the last day of 1855-and for the erection of a monument to him. Mr. Lalor then said that he "was quite willing to defray the funeral expenses, but objected to the erection of a monument. The memory of the 30 individuals who met their deaths at Ballarat would be a standing monument to the memory of Sir Charles Hotham." When the first Parliament was elected under the new constitution, Mr. P. Lalor was returned to the Lower House for Grenville, and he was subsequently elected for South Grant.
He was also appointed by the Government as inspector of railways, which office he held until the Officials in Parliament Act de- prived him of the right to retain it. At the outset of his Parliamentary career he showed that he was no de- magogue. For many years he acted, as a rule, with the Constitutional party. In 1856 an Electoral Bill was brought in, which proposed to renew the property qualification of electors of the Assembly. Manhood suf- frage, however, was demanded by a party in the country. Mr. Lalor voted for the pro- posal in the bill, and brought a storm upon himself. In January, 1857, he wrote to the Ballarat Star defending his vote, and stating that he did not believe in Chartism, or com- munism, or republicanism, but was opposed to a "tyrannical press, a tyrannical people, or a tyrannical Government." Again, in 1857, he was condemned by the Land Convention held to oppose the Land Bill then before Parlia- ment, he having supported the measure. He continued to represent South Grant until 1871, when he lost his seat. During the greater portion of the 15 jears that imme- diately preceded his rejection by South Grant, he filled the position of Chairman of Com- mittees, showing great aptitude for the duties devolving upon him in that capacity. He suffered a second defeat at North Mel- bourne during the election of 1871, and re- entered the House in 1875, his old con- stituency having again taken him into
In the short lived Ministry formed by Mr (subsequently Sir Graham) Berry in August, 1875, Mr. Lalor filled the position of Com- missioner of Customs and Postmaster- General. He took an active part in the stone- wall contest against the M'Culloch Govern- ment, which succeeded that administration. When Mr. Berry formed his second Govern- ment in 1877, Mr. Lalor returned to the Customs department. He was perhaps the most extreme member of that ex- treme Government, which will always be known as the Black Wednesday Ministry. The general election of 1880 resulted in the retirement of the Berry Ministry, and the accession to office for a few months of Mr. Service. The new Parliament only lived from February to July of 1880, and during that time Sir Charles MacMahon was Speaker, Sir Charles Duffy, who had pre- viously occupied the Chair, not having sought re-election in his constituency. Mr. Lalor was nominated, but Sir Charles MacMahon was elected by 44 votes to 39. After the next general election, in the same year, the radi- cals were in the ascendant, and nomi- nated Mr. Lalor for the Speakership. Mr. Service did not oppose the nomina- tion. Mr. Lalor's fitness for this high post was soon generally admitted, and in the next Parliament, which met in 1883, Mr. Service, who had again assumed the reins of government, proposed Mr Lalor's re-election to the Chair. He was again chosen as Speaker in the following Parliament.
Neither as a politician nor as a Minister of the Crown did Mr. Lalor achieve any marked success, although he waa always regarded as an authority on consti- tutional subjects. In the capacity of Minister he now and then distinguished himself by unusual conduct. For instance, in December, 1877, the second Berry Minis- try being in office, and Mr. Lalor being Com- missioner of Customs, a reduction of the duty on maize was submitted by the Oppo- sition. Mr. Lalor then voted against his colleagues. Again, in 1878, he opposed his chief, Mr. Berry, on an item in the Estimates. It was a sum of £1,228, being a refund of duty paid upon machinery imported for a paper mill at Geelong, Mr. Berry's district. This item was challenged by the Opposition, and Mr. Lalor intimated that it was placed on the estimates of the Customs department by the Treasurer (Mr. Berry) without his (Mr. Lalor's consent), and that he was opposed to the refund. Mr. Lalor, however, was one of the best Speakers that the Assembly has ever had. Thoroughly acquainted with Parliamentary forms and usages, and vigilant to secure the observance of them, he sometimes came into collision with the more unruly members, but " the House," as a whole, was ever ready to uphold his decisions, and always treated him with the utmost deference, conscious that he added dignity to a dignified office. When in the session of 1886 Mr. Lalor announced that sickness com- pelled him to request leave of absence, the House manifested its sorrow in an unmis- takable manner. He was permitted to absent himself from duty for some weeks, and only re-appeared at the prorogation ceremony, when he appeared to be very ill indeed. He was suffering from dia- betes, which was developing badly, and members on both sides were glad that the time had arrived when he could have a thorough rest. During the recess in the first six months of 1887 he improved in health, and, though far from well, took the chair on the opening of the session. Hle performed the duties of his high office, it is true, but neither with the power nor tact of old. Mem- bers saw with pain that his vigour had waned, and his rulings lacked the lucidity and de- termination which made them unquestion- able before. The failing had its effect on the demeanour of the House, for the turbulent spirits found themselves without the strong check so necessary to the preservation of order. By and by the hon. gentleman again had to retire, this time never to re- enter the chamber. His exit one evening was the occasion of a startling demonstration of sympathy for him in his distress and weak- ness, and very soon afterwards the House was afforded an opportunity of giving practical effect to its feelings towards him. The Premier (Mr. Gillies), after consulting his wishes, came down with a bill to give him a grant of £4,000 to enable him to face the few remaining days of his life without care as to his financial position, and also to place him in a position to meet engagements which no honourable man would think of dis- regarding. Unfortunately, however, the proposal was made a party question, and was fought over with exceptional bitter- ness. The Opposition declared that Mr. Lalor's health was not so bad as to
compel him to retire, and that he was being pushed aside to make room for Mr. M. H. Davies (then a member of the Government) to ascend to the Speaker's chair. The one answer was that Mr. Lalor's medical advisers were unanimous in recommending him to resign, and finally the calm wisdom of the majority prevailed, and the bill was passed. It received extraordinary treatment in the Legislative Council, where it was passed quickly through all stages, the Clerk being in- structed to enter on the records that the House was unanimous in taking that action. Mr. Lalor immediately afterwards resigned, and Mr. M. H. Davies was elected to the Chair after an exciting contest. The ex-Speaker then visited California, and returned early in the current year so improved by the trip that he intimated his intention to take his seat in the Legislative Assembly as a private member. He re-appeared, however, only on one occa- sion, and that was to vote against the Electoral Districts Alteration Bill, which de- prived the constituency of Grant of one of its members. After that he was not seen in Parliament. Some years ago the hon. gentle- man was offered the honour of knighthood, which, however, he declined. He was a widower, and leaves but one son--Dr. Lalor, of Richmond. His only other child was Mrs. Lempriere, who died a few years ago, and from that time he was never himself. One of his brothers, now deceased, was a journalist in Ireland ; another is an officer in the Customs department in England ; and Mr. F. Hanlon, of the Mines department in this colony, and the Rev. James Kennedy, S. J., of Richmond, were his cousins.