Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/141

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
103
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

He was advised to go to Boston, and accordingly did so, arriving on the 2d of January, 1870, and bearing letters of introduction to Mr. Thomas Manning and Dr. Robert Dwyer Joyce; he had no other friends or acquaintances in all New England. Mr. Manning invited him to the hospitality of his house. Dr. Joyce, himself a rare poet, and a genial, kindly man, took a warm interest in him from the beginning.

One of the most prominent and ablest of the young Irish-Americans of Boston at that time was Patrick A. Collins, a lawyer just entering on his professional career, an orator of mark, and a man of affairs with a promising future. He was a friend of Joyce, and soon became a friend of O'Reilly. The two consulted earnestly over the matter, and agreed that 0'Reilly was altogether too bright a man to be wasted in the barren career of a public lecturer, or the still less satisfactory field of politics. The first thing to be done was to secure for him the comparative independence which comes from steady employment. The Boston Manager of the Inman Line Steamship Company at that period was an Irishman, Merrick S. Creagh, an intimate friend of both Collins and Joyce.

On their recommendation, O'Reilly was given a situation as clerk in the company's office, filling the place with perfect satisfaction to his employers for four or five weeks. At the end of that time Mr. Creagh received a communication from the general office at home in England, to the effect that information had been received that he had in his employment an escaped convict named O'Reilly. The company did not desire this young man retained any longer in their service. Some zealous Briton had doubtless sent this information across the Atlantic. Mr. Creagh could do nothing but obey his orders.

In the mean time, O'Reilly had made himself fairly well known to his fellow-countrymen in Boston. He lectured before a large audience in Music Hall, on Monday evening, January 31, on "England's Political Prisoners," and won the immediate regard of his bearers. His hand-