Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/223

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185
HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

wished to have him silenced. Wiser counsels prevailed. He was allowed full freedom of speech and he talked himself out. O'Reilly, who refused no man a hearing, demanded only a coherent formulation of his principles by Kearney. In a cogent editorial of August 17, he wrote:

Because the Pilot is a workingman's paper, because eighty per cent, of our readers are in the truest sense "honest, horny-fisted sons of toil," we feel bound to ask Dennis Kearney two questions: First. Does he believe that profanity and abuse are argument? Second. Where are the facts or issues upon which he came to the East to agitate the workingmen?

The workingmen of this country need wise leaders. There are half a score of burning questions for their consideration and action. Has Dennis Kearney any message to deliver on any of these subjects? The workingmen are all divided on their issues. In another column we give sixty remedies proposed by workingmen to the Hewitt Committee, ranging all the way from the abolition of labor and property to the abolition of money and government. On which of these, or on what else are the workingmen to agree?

Let us say to Dennis Kearney that he had, and has still, if he have brain and principle, a rare and splendid opportunity. There is no grander fame than that of a trusted leader of workmen. This is the country for the production of such leaders. Labor is free, and respected, and enfranchised. Turn to the study, man, before it is too late. Seize the deep wishes and hopes; take hold of the strong lines; be wise, and powerful, and gentle. Be faithful, and able to lead the masses to better laws and greater happiness. Be Rienzi, if you can; be Masaniello, if you fail; but for the honor of toil, be even a decent Wat Tyler or Jack Cade. Remember, Kearney, it is no enemy who speaks. Every word we say here will reach the eyes or ears of a million workingmen.

In their name, for their interests, we condemn your intemperate course. You commit a crime when your furious and blind utterances hold up the cause of Labor to derision.

On the 30th of November, 1878, O'Reilly began a serial story in the Pilot, entitled "Moondyne Joe," the latter part of the name being dropped after the issue of the following February 1. It was published in book form, under its new title, by Roberts Bros., in 1880, and has reached twelve editions. The book, "Dedicated to all who are in prison," since so widely read and generally admired, evoked on its appearance some remarkably harsh criticisms from ultra