Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/345

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES

son to a lamp-post in Boston. Where are slavery and pro-slavery now? And on which side are the leaders and the respectable people of the pro-slavery mobs now? The seed sown by Garrison and Birney and Wendell Phillips was God's own seed, and it took only a quarter of a century to bring it to God's own harvest. The seed sown in Ireland and in Canada by the devoted Irish leaders will ripen in less time.

The American Abolitionists were lawless men, according to the statutes. The Irish Nationalists are not even lawless according to English statutes until a new and atrocious statute has to be invented to make them so. In their resistance to this lawless law every American heart is with them. "I pity a slave," said Wendell Phillips, "but a rebellious slave I respect." The rebellious slave always succeeds—the future fights for him. Let us suppose for a moment that the riotous Boston of fifty years ago has returned; that a howling mob is rushing up Washington Street yelling for the blood of Garrison and Phillips. With the light of the last half century upon us, let us suppose that into this hall, into this great meeting, those hunted men should rush for protection—Garrison and the young Wendell Phillips—bareheaded, wounded, stricken by stones, followed by curses and revolver shots. What a welcome would await them here! How the great throbbing heart of Boston would cover and shield them like a mother! How the manhood of Boston would respect and love them! What a shout of horror and indignation would arise to warn their brutal and cowardly aggressors!

We are here to welcome one who embodies the spirit of Garrison and Phillips; one who went unarmed and clear-eyed to face the danger, to attack the wrong-doer in his high place, for the sake of the poor and oppressed; one who represents in perfection the manly and moral side of a great question and a brave nation; one who has come to us wounded and breathless from the fury of the mob, in whose ears still ring the death-yell and the crack of the revolver; a man who is the very type and idol of his nation—the fearless editor and patriot, William O'Brien.

The Massachusetts Legislature having voted to erect a monument in Boston, in honor of Crispus Attucks and the other victims of the Boston Massacre, a vigorous attempt was made by certain gentlemen of Tory proclivities to prevent the carrying out of the measure, by showing that Attucks and his comrades were "rioters" and "rebels." The Massachusetts Historical Society petitioned Governor Ames to refuse his sanction to the bill, and made a bitter attack on the memory of the Revolutionary martyrs. O'Reilly, true to his democratic instincts, ranged himself