Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/170

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great crucible of public opinion. This I take to be the way in which all men are affected when they enter these States; that I am so will be little doubted when it is known how much I am indebted to their liberality; I shall give better proof of it than words; there is nothing that I would not resign for your service but my gratitude and love of liberty."

These words were written seventy-six years ago by an Irishman, and although men of our race, and of the religious belief of our majority, have lived down many prejudices and many injustices since then, there still remains a mountain to be removed by us and our descendants. But with the help of an enlightened and unprejudiced press, we can succeed where our forerunners failed; and to the daily press of Boston—especially to that able paper which bears the name of the first of the family—I offer the words of John Burke, the first editor of a daily paper in Boston.

Such was O'Reilly, the editor, lecturer, and rapidly growing leader of the Irish-American people. In private life he was an earnest student, yet, at the same time, one who could and did relax with boyish abandon. His bachelor's den on the top floor of a lodging-house in Staniford Street became the nightly resort of a group of young men of kindred tastes. Dr. Robert Dwyer Joyce, the Irish poet, was the oldest member of the nameless club, to which also gathered Charles E. Hurd, the scholarly journalist; Edward Mitchell, Dr. Dennett, and two or three other congenial spirits, to smoke and read and discuss, and sometimes dismember, the newest works from their own and other pens. Out of this informal coterie grew the almost equally informal, but famous literary and social organization, the "Papyrus Club," of which more anon.

He had been over two years and a half in Boston when he vacated his bachelor's den, and took upon himself the responsibilities of married life. In the Pilot of August 24, 1872) appeared the modest announcement: "Married, on Thursday, August 15, the Feast of the Assumption, in St. Mary's Church, Charlestown, by Rev. George A. Hamilton, Mr. John Boyle O'Reilly, of Boston, to Miss Mary Murphy, of Charlestown." The romance of love thus happily culminating had existed for over two years. The young poet first