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'An Architect of Freedom : John Hubert Plunkett in New South Wales 1832-1869' by John N. Molony
Australian National University Press, Canberra. First Edition 1973.
Hardcover with d/j, 313 pages.
In quite good condition, ex-library with stamps etc, front endpaper has cut at bottom edge.

"John Hubert Plunket was born at Mount Plunkett, County Roscommon, Ireland. He entered Trinity College, Dublin, in 1819 and in 1826 was called to the Irish bar. He practised as a barrister with success, and fought for Catholic Emancipation.

In 1831 he was appointed Solicitor-General of New South Wales. The then attorney-general, J. Kinchela, was so extremely deaf that Plunkett had to undertake most of his duties.

Early in 1836 Kinchela retired, Plunkett took his place and immediately worked to bring about a new church and schools act. He was determined to establish equality before the law, first by extending jury rights to emancipists and then extending legal protections to convicts and assigned servants. Finally he attempted to legally protect aboriginals, and twice charged the perpetrators of the Myall Creek massacre with murder, eventually securing a conviction.

His Church Act of 1836 disestablished the Church of England and established legal equality between Anglicans, Catholics, Presbyterians and later Methodists."

"This is a very interesting book giving an insight into the Catholicism of a man who sensed that he had been enabled, rather than disadvantaged by his faith at a particular moment of political history. He was conscious that opportunities were open to him that had not been available for earlier generations of Catholic lawyers.

The book further advanced my understanding of colonial Attornies-General. I was surprised to read that the Attorney General could act as a Grand Jury in his own right. For example, Plunkett acted as a Grand Jury against cattle-stealers and against a conspiracy of six men “all of substance” who conspired to parcel out land at advantageous prices to themselves." ~Amazon
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