Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/192

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same nativity, that all may hear that he died in a manner worthy of the cause in which he fell, and of the country which gave him birth."

O'Reilly's reputation as a poet was fully established by this time. The Atlantic Monthly for December, 1875, contained his poem "Macarius the Monk." Scribner's for the same month had "The Last of the Narwhale," a nautical story in his old vigorous vein.

All this time, amid the press of daily editorial duties, the manifold calls of public life, and the steady pursuit of. literature, O'Reilly had time to listen to any story of wrong done to the humblest of his countrymen, and to espouse the cause of the wronged man until the injustice was repaired. Was it a sailor refused enlistment in a government ship "because he was an Irishman," or a victim, half of circumstances and half of prejudice, like Thomas Cahill, extradited from Ireland on a false charge of murder in Massachusetts, or a shop boy confronted with the offensive shibboleth, "No Irish need apply" —O'Reilly was ever ready to take up as a personal quarrel the cause of the injured one. And when he did so, the quarrel did not end until the offender had amply repented. He literally followed his own creed of the brotherhood of mankind, and carried out his mission of helping the helpless ones among his brothers.

Early in February, 1876, Mr. Donahoe's misfortunes forced him to suspend. He had lost a fortune in the fires of 1872. The failure of insurance companies prevented his partial recovery from that disaster. He. had, furthermore, indorsed heavily for a friend, who failed in business, leaving him responsible for the sum of $170,000. The paper was prosperous, but its gains were insufficient to meet those tremendous losses. Property which he held had sadly depreciated in value, and business depression prevailed everywhere, until the shrinkage on his real estate left no equity beyond the mortgage. He was indebted to the extent of $300,000, of which some $73,000 was due to poor depositors. In this crisis he was compelled to make an assignment.