most remarkable tribute, in its way, paid to O'Reilly's poem on Phillips, was the invitation gravely extended to him by the city government of Boston to write another poem on the same subject for the memorial services held by the city in the following April!
A great mass meeting of Irish-Americans was held in the Boston Theater on Sunday evening, February 17, 1884, to hear an address from John E. Redmond, M.P. for New Ross, County Wexford. Rev. P. A. McKenna, of Hudson, Mass., opened the meeting and introduced John Boyle O'Reilly as chairman, who commenced his address by saying:
I am compelled to remember that the last time an Irish member of the English Parliament addressed a Boston audience, an illustrious man filled the place that I now occupy,—a man of true heart and eloquent lips, whom we looked upon dead in Faneuil Hall the other day. We laid flowers beside his beautiful dead face that evening; but from this, the first great meeting of Irish-Americans since his death, we can take another tribute and lay it on his grave in the Granary burial-ground, an offering that will be richer and sweeter than floral tributes—our love, our sorrow, and our gratitude. You remember, when he addressed the leader of the Irish National party on a Boston platform a few years ago, how he impressively said: "I have come to see the man who has made John Bull listen."
One man needs men behind him to make John Bull listen, and Parnell has had a few men—but all of them true men and young men—from the beginning of his national agitation. A great man has said, "Give me nine young men and I will make or unmake an empire." Parnell has had less than nine men at a time, rarely more than twice nine, but they were all young men. Ireland is now showing the world that her young men cannot only lead regiments, but compel senates. It is remarkable that never before in the history of nations has there been a great political national agitation, a great intellectual movement against an oppressive government, impelled and controlled by young men. It is a wonderful thing that hardly a single man who leads or is foremost in the movement of the Irish National party has yet seen forty years, and many of them have not seen thirty years. An easy task, it may be said, they have undertaken; but not so. They have undertaken a task of ultimate statesmanship—that of winning with the minority, and they have won. Ireland has learned the golden lesson that what she lacks in the weight of her sword, she must put into its temper.