Life of John Boyle O'Reilly/Chapter 16

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


"Boyle's Log"—No Memory for Dates—A Western Publisher's Offer—Speech of Welcome to Justin McCarthy—Poem on "Liberty"—He Defends his Democracy—"The Exile of the Gael"—Speech at William O'Brien's Reception—Crispus Attucks—The British in Faneuil Hall.

ABOUT the middle of June he made another and shorter canoe cruise on the beautiful Merrimac River, paying a brief visit to the home of his friend, Richard S. Spofford, on Deer Isle, thence continuing his voyage down to Newburyport and Plum Island. There, at the summer residence of his friend, Rev. Arthur J. Teeling, he spent a quiet, happy week with occasional visits from his fellow-canoeist, Edward A. Moseley, Father Teeling, and others.

On the wall of the staircase he wrote a journal which he entitled:


Alone in the Domus Tranquilla.

June 17, 1886.—Came in canoe—three days' run. No books—no newspapers—no bores. Thank God, and Fr. Teeling!

June 19—2 p.m.—Still alone—five tranquil and delicious days—fishing, shooting, canoeing—am now waiting for my eels to fry—and one flounder, which I caught with fifty sculpins. Dear old Ned Moseley is coming to-night to stay to-morrow.

June 21.—Red Letter Day. Alone in Domus Tranquilla—twenty years ago to-day I was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment by the English Government. Had I not escaped in 1869, they would to-day open my cell door and say, "You are free!" This is a good place to celebrate the day—alone—thinking over the changes—the men—the events of the twenty years!

Evening, June 21.—Celebrated day of sentence by a delightful dinner in Domus Tranquilla; Fr. Teeling, Miss Teeling, Miss O'Keeffe, and J. B. O'R. Presented with twenty roses, "one for each year of the sentence."

June 22.—Attended school exhibition—paddled up and down. In the evening Fr. Teeling came and stopped all night; a delightful evening's chat.

June 33.—Alone again—not a soul on the Point—raining and chilly—longing for home and the dear ones there—will start for Gloucester in the canoe on Tuesday morning and go home by rail.

God bless dear Domus Tranquilla and its occupants! May they all enjoy as charming and invigorating a stay in it as mine has been!

John Boyle O'Reilly.

It will be seen that he writes "June 21" as the date of his sentence, which is incorrect. The real date was July 9. I find similar chronological mistakes made by him on matters wherein men of prosaic minds would have been prosaically accurate. In regard, for instance, to the founding of the Papyrus Club, he makes a similar mistake when he dates his poem, "Alexander Young's Feast," as having been read "at Park's, where the club first met in 1870." The fact was, his memory was unreliable in the matter of dates, and such, to him, unimportant details. On this subject he once wrote to a friend in the following amusingly frank strain:

You grieve me about the biography. I am so tired of it, and it is such a hopelessly mixed biography, with every kind hand taking a whack at it. I read it in each new phase with a new sensation of horror and admiration. I will not send you any part of the Oriental story—and I lay upon you the Geasa (which is a spell from the remote darknesses held by all seers of the Gael) not to search for it elsewhere. And, as for your "necessary dates," all such things are unnecessary. Dates are only fit for clerks, and facts are the opposite of truths. Facts are mere pebbles; unrelated accretions of the insignificant.

If you want necessary truths—here, I am a man. I have written a poor little book of poems, and I have sent it out to be chopped into mince-meat.

Seriously, I do not like the biographical notice. I know how kindly your thought was, but if you had to read so many "stories of your life "that you yourself got mixed on the truth and the fabricated, you would hate it as I do.

In September, 1886, he wrote his "Three Graves," and in the same month his ringing cheer for the victory of the American yacht Mayflower:

Thunder our thanks to her—guns, hearts, and lips!
Cheer from the ranks to her,
Shout from the banks to her—
"Mayflower!" Foremost and best of our ships.

In this month also appeared the last collection of his poems, the little volume, "In Bohemia," previously referred to. Small as it is, there is enough in it to have given the author a place among the foremost poets of his age, had he never written anything else.

An unexpected recognition of his literary fame came to him in the form of the following communication from a short-lived periodical, entitled Literary Life, printed in Chicago, by a publisher with the average publisher's appreciation of literary values:

Dear Sir:
We desire you to contribute a short article of from 1000 to 2000 words for Miss Cleveland's Magazine, Literary Life, on any subject of interest to our readers. Our terms for this series of articles is one cent a word. You may possibly consider this a small remuneration, but as Literary Life is a young magazine it will, we think, grow into a better market for writers in the near future. While devoted to the cause of literature in the West, we know that to succeed in an eminent degree we must enlist the services of the ablest writers, and hence address you this letter. Please let us have your article on time for our October issue. Payment will be made on receipt of article.

Out of respect for literary people, and to expose humbug and meanness, O'Reilly published this flattering offer in his paper, with his sharp reply:

I cannot see why you should appeal to the charity of literary people for the benefit of your magazine. If your letter is not an appeal for charity it is a humiliation and a disgrace to the literary profession.

He added this comment:

The Elder Publishing Company have advertised their magazine by using the name of Miss Cleveland as its editor, and by dazzling accounts of the enterprise of the firm in undertaking so expensive an arrangement. To buy articles from "the ablest writers" (generous flattery) at the rate of $10 a thousand words, is the unseen part of the publishers' dizzy extravagance. The average payment for such an amount of literary work, from respectable publishers, is $40 to $75. Literary Life is "a young magazine," and if this be its method of living it is to be hoped that it may be spared the burden of old age.

Justin McCarthy, M.P., the distinguished Irish patriot and author, delivered an eloquent address on the "Cause of Ireland," in the Boston Theater, on Sunday evening, October 10. A reception and banquet were given him, the next evening, in the Parker House. O'Reilly presided and made the following speech of welcome to the guest:

Gentlemen: You have confided to me the sweetest duty of my life—that of welcoming in your name, as our guest and friend, a gentleman whose genius and character have won the respect of the world, one who has held high, among strangers, the ancient name and honor of the Irish race.

In the name of the Irish-American citizens of Boston and Massachusetts, Mr. Justin McCarthy, I express to you the deep pride we feel in the fame and eminence you have achieved in the high and arduous field of letters, the admiration we cherish for your genius, and the gratitude and affection we offer for your unselfish loyalty to Ireland. You are one who need not stand on national or race lines in receiving a welcome. Wherever men are cultured and intellectual, your welcome awaits you. But for your own gratification we place you on the line of nationality and race—a line that we ourselves are voluntarily obliterating and writing anew as Americans. We are done with Ireland, except in the love and hope we and our children have for her. Were Ireland free to-morrow, we would continue our lives as Americans. Our numbers and interests are so great and so deep here that, paraphrasing the words of your distinguished national leader, we can't spare a single Irish-American. But, nevertheless, we leave others to greet you as a cosmopolitan, as a poet, as a novelist, as a historian; and we speak the welcome of the heart, because we Irish-Americans are proud of you as an Irishman. We know how hard it is for one living under the British Crown to be at once an Irish patriot and a successful man of letters. Men of other professions may harmonize their callings with this deadly sin, and succeed; but the author is allowed no concealment; he lives by his individuality, more than other professional men; between the lines he cannot help telling the secret of his own profound convictions; he must either write himself or a lie—and lies are failures, and shall be forever.

Impoverished and oppressed, Ireland is no field for literary fame or fortune. Poor Ireland is a fruitful mother of genius, but a barren nurse. Irishmen who write books must gravitate to London. Ireland deplores her absentee landlords; but she has reason as deep to deplore her absent men of genius. England has gathered brilliant Irishmen as she would have gathered diamonds in Irish fields, and set them in her own diadem. She left no door open to them in Ireland. She threw down the schools and made the teacher a felon, in the last century, to insure that Irishmen should read and write English books, or give up reading and writing altogether. She frowned the name of Ireland out of Goldsmith's " Deserted Village "; she emasculated Tom Moore; she starved out Edmund Burke till he gave her his life-long splendid service. She seduced many able Irishmen and hid them away under English titles of nobility, so that their very names were lost—forgotten; as the brilliant grandson of Brinsley Sheridan is lost in Lord Dufferin; as Henry Temple was forgotten in Lord Palmerston; or as Margaret Power of Tipperary was transformed into the illustrious Countess of Blessington. This is the bitterest pang of conquest. The conqueror does not utterly destroy. He does not say to the victim, "I will kill you and take all you have." He says, "You may go on living, working, and producing. But all of good, and great, and illustrious that you produce are mine and me; all of evil, and passionate, and futile you produce are yours and you!"

This was the spirit that swept from Ireland all the honor and profit of such illustrious sons as Berkeley, Steele, Sheridan, Burke, Balfe, Wallace, Maclise, Macready, Hamilton, Tyndall, Wellington, Wolseley (a voice—"And O'Reilly") and the hundreds and thousands of Irish men and women who have won distinction in letters, art, law, war, and statesmanship.

Honor and emolument, pay and pension, were only to be earned by Irishmen at the price of denationalization. The marvel is that under such a system Ireland could go on producing great men. "National enthusiasm is the great nursery of genius." When you destroy national enthusiasm and pride, you have killed a nation. To destroy Ireland as a nation, she must not only be conquered, she must be obliterated. Her people must be swept away and the land filled with Englishmen. And even then the latent life in the soil, the traditions, the sacrifices, the buried patriotism, would come out like an atmosphere and be breathed into the blood of the newcomers, until in a generation or two they would be as Irish and as distinct as the original Celtic people. Irishmen cannot become provincials. Everything about them indicates distinct nationality. They may consent to change, as we are doing in America, joyfully and with pride; but the Irishman in Ireland can never be made a West Briton.

The world knows it now. No matter what odds are against Ireland, she must win. "Depend upon it," said Burke, a century ago, speaking of the Americans, "depend upon it, the lovers of freedom will be free." Twenty years ago the illustrious Englishman who is now the leader of the English people, no matter who may be the Prime Minister,—the great and good man who has proved to the world that Irishmen and Englishmen can forget and forgive and live as loving friends,—this noble statesman who is bent on strengthening England by the friendship of Ireland—Mr. Gladstone—twenty years ago, defending a reform bill, said to the Tories, what he says to-day for Ireland, "You cannot fight against the future. Time is on our side! "How profoundly Ireland is moved by her love of freedom is proved by such men as Justin McCarthy, tested by their ability and illustrated by their poverty. Sir, we know that you are a poor man; and we love and honor you for your poverty, for we know that it is the price of your principle. Instead of being the governor of a great British province, or of sitting in high imperial office, with the title of Lord or Earl, as so many purchasable and weaker men have done, Justin McCarthy comes to America, with the simple title of his own genius,—and we recognize it as a prouder coronet than that conferred by king or kaiser. In his young manhood, he came to where the two roads met, the one leading to affluence and title and the friendship of his country's oppressor, and the other to the poverty and trial and the love of his own oppressed people; and without hesitation or regret he went down into the valley with the struggling masses. This is the test of a noble man.

"Then to side with Truth is noble, when we share her wretched crust.
Ere her cause bring fame and profit, and 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses, while the coward stands aside,
Doubting in his abject spirit, while his Lord is crucified.
And the multitude make virtue of the faith they have denied."

Justin McCarthy has not only written "The History of Our Own Times," but he has done much to make it. On his leaving home for America, the leader of the Irish people, Mr. Parnell, spoke of him as "the most distinguished Irishman in the world." Mr. Parnell can afford to praise; but he could only afford to praise one man in such terms. For all the triumphs of his genius, we honor Justin McCarthy; for his unselfishness, we respect him; for his poverty, we reverence him; but for his love of Ireland, and his devotion to the national cause and the welfare of her people, we love him. And I ask you, gentlemen, to drink, "Long life and happiness to Justin McCarthy!"

It was the rare privilege of O'Reilly to be appreciated and loyed during his life as few men have ever been loved. The praise which he received never spoiled his simple, manly nature. Men could speak to him and write of him from the fullness of their hearts without fearing to be mistaken for flatterers, or to sow any seed of vanity in his healthy mind. So it was that such words of frank praise as the following could be written of him while he was yet among us. The first extract is from the Boston Post's kindly essayist, heretofore quoted in these pages, "Taverner":

Boyle O'Reilly's speech of welcome to Justin McCarthy made me almost sorry that I had not come to my Americanism by the way of "Sweet Erin." His heart is so warm, his words so well chosen and charming, his feelings so true, and all that he says or writes so instinct with human earnestness, that he always carries his audience with him. He is one whom children would choose for their friend, women for their lover, and men for their hero.

Probably no man among us has had more of real romance and adventure, more of patriotic sacrifice and suffering, more of heroic achievement in real life than he, from which he draws his inspiration. To very few is it given to be the poet or patriot above his fellows, and he is both.

It was a strange juxtaposition that gave him, an Irishman, proscribed and outlawed from England, the opportunity of welcoming in America, from a place of honor, a man who stood in Parliament, one of the foremost statesmen and historians of the British empire. Few, if any, could have made the address O'Reilly made; no man not born with the heritage of Irish blood could have compassed its peculiar poetry; no man not in the enjoyment of political freedom could have equaled its proud independence. He was as good an American as he was an Irishman, and linked freedom and poetry. His quotation from Burke, "the lovers of freedom will be free," suggested the words of another poet, Swinburne:

"Free—and I know not another as infinite word."

He has shown the kinship of nature, for not only does American pride inspire in his Irish heart, but his poetry and fervor have fairly made Irish blood tingle in the veins of a true Yankee.


To the Editor of the Post:

I cannot say that I am an admirer of "Taverner," and his work, as a rule. But will you allow me to express my thorough appreciation of his reference to one of Erin's dearest sons—Boyle O'Reilly—in your issue of to-day?

I don't know where one could look, even in Thackeray, for so perfect a pen-picture of the manly man. It was my great pleasure to know Mr. O'Reilly somewhat intimately for several years; and it has often been my still greater pleasure to speak most warmly of him; but in the future, in referring to him, I shall only quote "Taverner's" description, "He is one whom children would choose for their friend, women for their lover, and men for their hero. "

Was the sans peur et sans reproche, which has characterized another

knight for centuries, worth more than this? C.

And here is another graceful tribute from a brother poet on the occasion of "In Bohemia" reaching its second edition:


Singers there are of courtly themes—
Drapers in verse—who would dress their rhymes
In robes of ermine; and singers of dreams
Of gods high-throned in the classic times;
Singers of nymphs, in their dim retreats,
Satyrs, with scepter and diadem;
But the singer who sings as a man's heart beats
Well may blush for the rest of them.

I like the thrill of such poems as these—
All spirit and fervor of splendid fact—
Pulse and muscle and arteries
Of living, heroic thought and act,
Where every line is a vein of red
And rapturous blood, all unconfined.
As it leaps from a heart that has joyed and bled
With the rights and the wrongs of all mankind.

James Whitcomb Riley.

The unveiling of Bartholdi's great statue of "Liberty" took place in New York Harbor, on October 28. O'Reilly wrote for the New York World, on this occasion, his poem "Liberty Lighting the World." In it he propounds, in capital letters, the creed of Liberty:

Nature is higher than Progress or Knowledge, whose need is ninety enslaved for ten;
My words shall stand against mart and college: The planet BELONGS TO ITS LIVING MEN!

The independent attitude taken by O'Reilly in his journal toward the un-American policy of Secretary Bayard left the editor open to misconstruction as an enemy of the Administration, if not a virtual opponent of the Democratic party. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially in regard to the last of these charges. His Democracy was as much a part of him as the blood in his veins. He opposed the un-Democratic conduct of men like Secretary Bayard, Minister Phelps, and others whom President Cleveland had unwisely placed and retained in high office. O'Reilly criticized his party because he was loyal to it; a time-server would have flattered it, right or wrong.

But because of this misunderstanding, it happened that at a Republican meeting in Lynn, in October, 1886, the Pilot's remarks on Secretary Bayard were quoted by ex-Governor John D. Long and Mr. Henry Cabot Lodge. The former said, "I have been listening with very much interest to the address of your next representative in Congress, and to his candid speech. I do not find the difficulty that he seems to find in interpreting the utterance of that brave, true, conscientious Irishman, John Boyle O'Reilly, the editor of the Pilot; and, while he writes for the Democratic party, you would find that those are not his true sentiments; that he is with us and would vote for that which would protect the honor of the country and the honor of our flag, even with Blaine at the head." O'Reilly replied:

Mr. Long did not, we believe, mean to be offensive, but he was so. How could he place such adjectives as "brave, true, conscientious" before the name of a man whom he believed to be writing for one party words that "were not his true sentiments," while he was secretly in sympathy with the opposing party? It was hasty speaking, Mr. Long; but that is not sufficient explanation. It was taking a liberty that surprised us from such a source. However, it gives the editor of the Pilot an opportunity for saying that he has known the Republican party to be attentive to Irish-American views only since it lost power, and wanted to regain it. For twenty years it had power, and during that time "the honor of our flag," so far as it was involved in the imprisonment of American citizens in Ireland, without trial or charge, was deliberately and offensively ignored. He knows that up to a year or so ago the usual Republican phrase for citizens of Irish birth or extraction was, "the dangerous classes." He knows that, because in the City of Boston, where the majority of the population is now, or is rapidly becoming, Irish-American, the Republican Legislature has trampled on the first principle of our government—local self-government—admittedly to prevent these citizens from exercising their rightful powers. He knows that the Republican machine has been annually used to prevent the naturalization of aliens. These are a few of the local reasons why Mr. O'Reilly is not a Republican.

O'Reilly presided at Justin McCarthy's farewell lecture in the Boston Theater, February 27, and five days later delivered his own great lecture on "Illustrious Irishmen of One Century," before an audience of 3000, in Grand Army Hall, Brooklyn, N. Y. Justin McCarthy was on the stage and received another graceful tribute from the lecturer.

On St. Patrick's Day, 1887, the poet read his "Exile of the Gael," before the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, on the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the association. It is a noble tribute to the expatriated children of Ireland, its best passage being that in which he tells what the exiles have brought with them to the new country:

No treason we bring from Erin—nor bring we shame nor guilt!
The sword we hold may be broken, but we have not dropped the hilt!
The wreath we bear to Columbia is twisted of thorns, not bays;
And the songs we sing are saddened by thoughts of desolate days.
But the hearts we bring for Freedom are washed in the surge, of tears;
And we claim our right by a People's fight, outliving a thousand years.

In introducing the poem, he uttered one of his pithy sayings: "We can do Ireland more good by our Americanism than by our Irishism."

In response to a request from the New York World, O'Reilly wrote his poem "The Press Evangel," for an anniversary number of that journal, which had then attained a daily circulation of a quarter of a million copies.

Queen Victoria celebrated, in 1887, the jubilee anniversary of her accession to the throne. "Why should not Ireland jubilate over Queen Victoria's benignant rule?" asked O'Reilly.

According to the eminent statistician, Mulhall, quoted by Mr. Gladstone recently in the House of Commons, the following figures attest the blessings enjoyed by Ireland during the past glorious fifty years:
Died of famine,
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1,225,000 persons.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3,568,000 persons.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4,185,000 persons.
The bulk of the exiles came to America, where they have produced, according to the same statistician, wealth to the amount of $3,275,000,000. Let us do Her Avaricious Majesty the justice to say that the last item will strike her soul with genuine regret. For the rest, Irishmen should be as thankful for the reign of Victoria as they might be for the plagues of Egypt.

William O'Brien, M.P., paid a visit to America in May, being warmly received throughout the United States, and having his life attempted in Canada. On his arrival in Boston he was given a public reception in the Boston Theater, on Sunday evening, May 29. Nearly 5000 people were present. John Boyle O'Reilly presided and introduced the Irish patriot in the following speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen: This immense meeting of the people of Boston is the first note of the American celebration of the Queen of England's jubilee. It is a meeting of welcome and honor—and also of indignation and protest. We honor a distinguished and devoted patriot, who came to this continent in the interests of a poor and oppressed people, and who has told in burning words their woeful story to every heart in two English-speaking nations, appealing against their oppressor, not in passion or violence, but in the spirit of true reform, of argument and public morality. We protest, as Massachusetts citizens, against the legalized degradation of men, by which a single aristocrat has power to sweep from their homes hundreds, aye, thousands of industrious and virtuous people and banish them from their native land forever. We protest, as Americans, against a ruler on this continent, in the adjoining country, who tramples upon the law of the land, who smiles approbation upon passionate mobs, bent upon outrage and murder— who openly congratulates the country he rules because lawless violence has suppressed the rights of public meeting and free speech—who has no other answer to a criminal charge against himself than hisses and yells and paving stones and pistols. Not in one Canadian city, nor on one sudden and unexpected day, was this resort to anarchy and mob rule allowed and approved, but in many of the chief cities of Canada, one by one,—day after day.

We tell this ruler that it is our interest and duty, as Americans and lovers of liberty and order, to protest against lawlessness and revolution on this continent in every country north of the Isthmus. We tell him that when a ruler breaks the law and depends for his defense on the bludgeons and revolvers of a besotted mob, he has taken the manacles off anarchy; he has appealed to the flames for protection; he has let revolution loose!

We want no mobs or revolutions in America,—and least of all revolutions in the interests of privilege and caste and foreign power. Boston knows the difference between mobs and revolutions. Her history tells her that a mob is a disease, while a revolution is a cure; that a mob has only passion and ignorance, while a revolution has conviction and a soul; that a mob is barren, while a revolution is fruitful; that the leaders of a mob are miscreants to be condemned, while the leaders of a revolution are heroes to be honored forever.

Here in Boston, 117 years ago, a crowd of citizens attempted to drive out of the streets the foreign soldiers, whose presence was an insult and outrage. The leader of the crowd was a brave colored man named Crispus Attucks, who was the first American killed by an English bullet in the Revolution. The Tories said then, and they kept saying it still, that that crowd of patriotic citizens was a mob; and that Crispus Attucks and Maverick and Gray and Patrick Carr, who were killed with him, were rioters and criminals. But the State of Massachusetts says: "Not so! They were heroes and martyrs, and this year a monument to their deathless memory shall be raised on the spot where their blood was shed." Compare this result with the pro-slavery mobs of half a century ago—the well-dressed and respectable mobs of Philadelphia and Boston—the mobs composed of "our first families."

Half a century ago a pro-slavery mob howled down the eloquent voice of Birney in Cincinnati, and threw his presses and type into the Ohio River. About the same time a Philadelphia mob burned the hall of the Abolitionists in that city; an aristocratic first-family mob publicly flogged the benevolent Amos Dresser in the streets of Nashville; a respectable Beacon Street mob dragged William Lloyd Garrison to a lamp-post in Boston. Where are slavery and pro-slavery now? And on which side are the leaders and the respectable people of the pro-slavery mobs now? The seed sown by Garrison and Birney and Wendell Phillips was God's own seed, and it took only a quarter of a century to bring it to God's own harvest. The seed sown in Ireland and in Canada by the devoted Irish leaders will ripen in less time.

The American Abolitionists were lawless men, according to the statutes. The Irish Nationalists are not even lawless according to English statutes until a new and atrocious statute has to be invented to make them so. In their resistance to this lawless law every American heart is with them. "I pity a slave," said Wendell Phillips, "but a rebellious slave I respect." The rebellious slave always succeeds—the future fights for him. Let us suppose for a moment that the riotous Boston of fifty years ago has returned; that a howling mob is rushing up Washington Street yelling for the blood of Garrison and Phillips. With the light of the last half century upon us, let us suppose that into this hall, into this great meeting, those hunted men should rush for protection—Garrison and the young Wendell Phillips—bareheaded, wounded, stricken by stones, followed by curses and revolver shots. What a welcome would await them here! How the great throbbing heart of Boston would cover and shield them like a mother! How the manhood of Boston would respect and love them! What a shout of horror and indignation would arise to warn their brutal and cowardly aggressors!

We are here to welcome one who embodies the spirit of Garrison and Phillips; one who went unarmed and clear-eyed to face the danger, to attack the wrong-doer in his high place, for the sake of the poor and oppressed; one who represents in perfection the manly and moral side of a great question and a brave nation; one who has come to us wounded and breathless from the fury of the mob, in whose ears still ring the death-yell and the crack of the revolver; a man who is the very type and idol of his nation—the fearless editor and patriot, William O'Brien.

The Massachusetts Legislature having voted to erect a monument in Boston, in honor of Crispus Attucks and the other victims of the Boston Massacre, a vigorous attempt was made by certain gentlemen of Tory proclivities to prevent the carrying out of the measure, by showing that Attucks and his comrades were "rioters" and "rebels." The Massachusetts Historical Society petitioned Governor Ames to refuse his sanction to the bill, and made a bitter attack on the memory of the Revolutionary martyrs. O'Reilly, true to his democratic instincts, ranged himself on the side of those who desired to honor the colored patriot and his humble fellows, and with voice and pen defended the cause until it was carried to a successful issue. His great poem, "Crispus Attucks," was written in the following year, on the occasion of the dedication of the monument.

On the 21st of June, the British Americans of Boston celebrated the Queen's Jubilee by a banquet in the cradle of the American Revolution, Faneuil Hall. On the preceding evening an indignation meeting of citizens, opposed to this desecration, assembled in the same building, and passed resolutions of protest against the celebration, in Faneuil Hall, "of a reign of tyranny and crime." Addresses were made by Mr. E. M. Chamberlain, Rev. P. A. McKenna, Mr. Philip J. Doherty, and others. As he says in his own report of the meeting:

Mr. O'Reilly had attended the meeting without thought of taking part. In the rush up-stairs, when the doors were opened, he went with the stream; and almost before he could take breath he was rushed forward till he found himself presiding over the meeting, with the hall quivering with excitement and cheers, the air filled with waving hats and handkerchiefs. When order was restored, he said:

Fellow-Citizens: I did not come here to-night to make a speech. I came here as a citizen to listen to men, speaking in a protest that I wished to keep out of, because I know there are men small enough and mean enough to say that I could only speak in that protest from the obvious motive of being an Irishman.

I stand here now in a desecrated Faneuil Hall, in a hall from which we were barred out until the dread of public indignation made them open the doors,—in a hall which those fellow-citizens outside (referring to the out-door meeting still in progress) repudiate and refuse to enter. There is even a larger meeting outside Faneuil Hall to-night than there is in, and the men there say, "We will never go into Faneuil Hall again."

I do not speak as an Irishman. I would as soon speak, God knows, against the Czar of Russia if they jubilated in his honor, with the prisons and mines of Siberia filled with Poles; I would as soon come here in the interests of negroes, if their rights were attacked in any part of the Union.

I come, as a fellow-citizen of yours, to protest against the murder of a tradition. Men say, when their selfish interests are in the market. "It will not do Faneuil Hall any harm to hold this royalist meeting within its walls." They say, "We take no sentiment out by the violation of a tradition."

But I say those men do not understand the meaning of the awful words "violation" and "pollution." They would say the same things against the violation and pollution of those dearest and nearest to them—that no injury had been done to them by the crime. There is no crime so terrible as pollution. There is no death so awful and so hopeless as the death of violated honor.

Faneuil Hall could stand against the waves of centuries, could stand against fire, could stand even against folly, but it can never stand against the smoke of its own violated altar. I do not wish to bar the doors of this hall against the royalists. We have let them in by the order of those whom we have elected to represent us; and if we open the doors we must bear the burden. On our heads is the shame. I say now, that after the fumes of their baked meats and after the spirits of their royalist speeches intended to desecrate and destroy a holy tradition—after that, this is not Faneuil Hall.

I speak for myself so honestly and faithfully to my own conscience that I know I must represent the hearts of many men in Boston, and I say that hereafter we must remember against this pile what has been done in it.

Well, let the Englishmen have Faneuil Hall. (Voices: "No, no!") I say you cannot prevent it. (Voices: "We will; we can!") No, no, the opposition is too late. The opposition would be undignified, and would be unworthy of us. The man who would raise a finger against an Englishman to-morrow in Boston, is unworthy to be present here to-night. There is a greater opposition than the opposition of paving-stones and bludgeons. Let that be Lansdowne's method. It is not ours. It isn't worthy of Boston. It isn't worthy of the Faneuil Hall of the past.

But I say for myself—what I came to say—that after to-morrow night I trust we shall have a hall in Boston, into which men may go for sanctuary, and causes may go for sanctuary; as in the olden time, a hunted cause, or a weak man running from the King's oppression, running even from the law officers, if he could lay his hands on the sanctuary he was safe for a time. And all hunted causes in America and in the world have come here. Kossuth came here from Hungary, O'Connor came here from Ireland, Parnell came here from Ireland. Here is a hall made holy with great men's words and spirits. We must have a hall unpolluted by the breath of Toryism and royalty in Boston. And I say this as one humble man, who was always proud to come and speak here—that I will never enter the walls of this hall again. I will never, so help me God, I will never—may my tongue cleave to my mouth if I ever speak a word for man or cause in Faneuil Hall again.

I do not know that there is any man any more formally prepared to speak to you than I have been; but I would, in this instance and in this cause, call on any Boston man to speak and know that he would have to speak.

No single act or utterance of O'Reilly's life was so harshly criticized as this. He was accused of seeking to proscribe free speech. He was told sneeringly that Boston could survive such a catastrophe as that of O'Reilly and Father McKenna declining to speak in Faneuil Hall again; that their refusal would not affect anybody half so much as it would themselves. He replied, "That is true; and no one knew it so well as the men who made the resolution. They did not speak boastfully, but humbly and sorrowfully; it is their loss wholly. The gain of raising the Union Jack in Faneuil Hall is the gain of flunkeys and Tories in Boston, just as it was in the last century."

It was not necessary for him to repudiate the charge of intolerance. In joining those who protested against the desecration of Faneuil Hall he had acted as an adopted citizen, to whom Revolutionary traditions were as dear as they should have been to all citizens of Revolutionary descent. It would undoubtedly have been better if to these latter had been left the whole duty of protesting. They failed to look at the matter in the same light as he did. There is always a strong leaven of Toryism in the old rebel town of Boston. It was shown in the strenuous opposition to the erection of the Attucks monument; it was displayed again by members of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, who objected to the erection of tablets commemorating the patriot soldiers who died in that fight; one high officer of the association asserting that it would be a falsification of history to glorify, from an American standpoint, an event which was really an English victory.

As a matter of policy it would have been wiser to have wholly ignored the British-American admirers of Queen Victoria. They were not a representative body of any standing. There were among them few English-born men, and none of any repute in the community. They were, for the most part, Canadians or Nova Scotians of the more ignorant class, with a few Scotchmen, and a sprinkling of North of Ireland Orangemen, all loyal subjects of Queen Victoria, and all equally ready to trade their loyalty at a moment's notice when there seemed to be a probability of political gain thereby. They were reinforced by the usual crowd of No-Popery fanatics, and their introduction into American politics, a year or two later, did not tend to elevate the standard of political virtue. They were given undue prominence by the notice of an earnest patriot like O'Reilly.