|Title:||McMahon Glynn, Patrick to Glynn, Ellen, 1887|
|Collection||Patrick McMahon Glynn_Letters to his family (1874-1927) [Gerald Glynn O'Collins]|
|Sender||McMahon Glynn, Patrick|
|Origin||Kapunda, South Australia, Australia|
|Destination||Gort, Co. Galway, Ireland|
|Genre||becoming a politician, family|
April 2nd 1887.
My dear Mother
The blessed rain, which certainly in the words of the nuns' old
song, has gone to Spain, or rather went to Spain, some months ago,
is coming on at last. Today, with its yellow dust all over the sky, is
about the last of summer. After a spell of autumn, today brought us
back to midsummer and will probably blow us into winter. But I
want to write of something else.
I find on looking back a little that I promised letters to Thomas,
Joseph, Mary Agnes, James, Elizabeth, and am in arrears with them
all. My best plan, therefore, is as usual to get rid of all liabilities by
writing to you. The papers must have shown you that I stood for
and am returned to Parliament. It is said to be a great victory for
principle. The way of it was this. Some who believed in my views
pressed me to stand. Personally I would have preferred being out of
it, as my leisure is little already and Parliament would take me to
Adelaide 3 days in the week for 5 months of the year, but many
regarded it as a duty on my part to stand, so I did. The sitting
Member who was to stand again was Jenkin Coles, an able administrator,
wealthy, formal Catholic, a friend, but a thoroughly unscrupulous
candidate. He feared to ask for even a farthing addition to the
land tax, and of course had me described, according to the people his
agents tried to influence, as a socialist, a revolutionist, a papist, an
adventuring lawyer, an athiest, and anything else that went down.
Weil, people thought if I asked to raise the land tax to even a penny I
would fail. I asked for 2d and succeeded. Its something like carrying
Middlesex on Home Rule principles 6 years ago. I ran Coles, who went for everything that appeared popular, within 36 for top place, and beat him everywhere except one, Eudunda, where the German
vote is strong and the voters are practically pledged never to vote for
a lawyer. Even there, had I been a little better known, he would have
been second; but about that I cared nothing. In one place, Morgan,
where the people are mad for an irrigation scheme, which my
opponents supported and I opposed, I topped the poll. The fact is,
the majority of the electors are not such curs as candidates think
them. At all events, principle has made [its] way this once.
As it will doubtless please you to hear it (though, indeed, I am
little affected by transient reputation now, but perhaps its absence
might be disagreeable) I may mention that my speech to the electors
at Kapunda was in the opinion of many the greatest success as a
speech ever made here. (The yellow heavens seem to be sinking down
as I write). Indeed I have been even called the greatest orator in the
colony. Well, the nuisance of it is to have raised too big expectations
in that line for the future. The fact is, when the occasion is a great
one, a man should do something. But really I must pass over the
kindly encouragement of enthusiastic sympathisers, which I only now
think of as being of interest to you all.
You may wonder why I declared for payment of members. Experience
has shown me that there cannot possibly be worse corruption
—that is the corruption of trimmers and representatives of property
—than there is at present here. I was latterly neutral on the question
in the Press, and gave way to those who very truly think without
payment of Members there is little chance for the land question.
The election cost me about £200; a big sum, but it can't be
helped. My committee appointed paid agents, though I at first
indicated disapproval of it, and I had to pay. Bills still come in like
autum[n]al leaves at home, but they may for any notice that will be
taken of them. Nothing shows you what people are made of so well
as a contested election. Then the meanness and scoundrelism of too
many voters is displayed and the honesty of others. Every vote that
was given to me in Kapunda was, I am certain, given honestly. So
the people are not so bad when dealt with straight.
Next week, being Easter, I may run over to Melbourne for a
few days. Members of Parliament travel free on all lines throughout
the colony — all lines under the State I mean, which is nearly all —
and an express leaving here at 3.30 p.m. arrives in Melbourne at 10 a.m. next day. It pleased me very much to see by your last letter that your
health was better. By the way, a letter of condolence I wrote to Mrs.
Blaquiere at Rosemount, Howth, was returned, the family having
There is little of news outside my everlasting self that I can send
you from here. Johnny Wallsh has not written for some time, and the
others, except Fanny Glynn, are not much in the way of writers.
None at home should act after my bad example, as, indeed, I have
the excuse that the pen is in my hand seven or eight hours a day on
an average. I hope Joseph likes the law now that he has a trial of it.
The drudgery of an office is not very sweet, but in this life few things
are perfectly agreeable. So Mrs. Reilly, Mrs. O'Farrell, the Franks,
and other old friends, are gone. I'm afraid that Moore did not know
what he was writing about when he talked of
Friends the beloved of my bosom were near
That made every scene of enchantment more dear, etc. etc.
I rather think the returned emigrant finds too many gone and
scattered. There is a sad deamess in the old haunts & places—for
their memories. It would not be what one dreams of, to go to New
Quay and find Paddy and his boat gone.
Parliament does not assemble until about June. Joseph says the
French College priests often ask if I am Attorney-General yet. He
may say I'm not likely to be. Even with the legal ability given, which
is not quite certain, my place is in opposition to any government that
does not take up my principles in the main, and therefore, in all
probability will for many years remain in opposition. People trust
me, and I'll endeavor as my father would have done, to justify their
I scarcely think of anything else to mention just now. You must
sometimes hear me speak in the leading articles. But political subjects
are generally rather dead. I hope James is more settled now
than he used to be. Should I see any of my cousins, I will write soon
again, and for the present, with love to you all, ask you to excuse.
Your affectionate son
P. Mc. Glynn
P.S. Tell Agnes I got the slippers safe. I am quite swell in them
compared to in the airy make-believes I used to wear before.