Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/169

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

strange fact that nobody prizes a newspaper for its abstract value until it is about a century out of date. It would seem that newspapers are like wine; the older they are, the more valuable. If we go into a library piled with books, old and new, we may find it hard to select one to suit our taste. But let a man lay his hand on a newspaper of a hundred years ago, with its stained yellow pages and its old-fashioned type, and he is interested at once. He sits down and reads it all through, advertisements and news and editorials—only, fortunately for the people of the olden times, there were very few editorials written then. And why does he do this? Because he recognizes the true nature of the newspaper. He sees in the yellow paper and small page what he probably fails to see in his splendidly printed daily or weekly newspaper of today. He realizes as he reads that the newspaper is indeed the truest biography of a day. Its paragraphs and articles are a mosaic of men's daily actions; and his heart feels the touch of the wonderful human sympathy that makes us brethren of the men of all climes and all ages.

But I will not generalize further. I was led into this train of thought by a something that I know will be interesting to every man here, and to thousands of those who are not here. A short time ago I held in my hand a Boston paper printed seventy-six years ago. It was the first daily paper ever printed in Boston—please to remember, the first daily paper ever printed in Boston. It was called the Boston Daily Advertiser, a name which has a highly respectable representative to-day. And why, gentlemen, did this old paper interest me; and why do I say it will interest you to hear of it? Because the editor of this paper, the first daily of Boston, was an Irishman; and not only an Irishman by birth, but a man who was a fugitive from his native land, because he had been a friend of Napper Tandy, and a United Irishman. This talented Irish exile, whose name was John Burke, had been expelled from Trinity College, Dublin, because the Government found that he was the author of a Series of articles on republicanism which had appeared in the Dublin Evening Post. Buckingham tells us, in his "Reminiscences," that the paper published by this Irishman was one of unusual ability, moderation of language, and broadness of view. I will read you a short extract from his opening address, which will touch many a heart here to-night, and which will show what sort of man was this John Burke:

"I call you fellow-citizens! for I, too, am a citizen of these States. From the moment a stranger puts his foot on the soil of America, his fetters are rent to pieces, and the scales of servitude which he had contracted under European tyrannies fall off; he becomes a free man; and though civil regulations may refuse him the immediate exercise of his right, he is virtually a citizen; .... he resigns his prejudices on the threshold of the temple of liberty; they are melted down in the