Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/346

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on the side of those who desired to honor the colored patriot and his humble fellows, and with voice and pen defended the cause until it was carried to a successful issue. His great poem, "Crispus Attucks," was written in the following year, on the occasion of the dedication of the monument.

On the 21st of June, the British Americans of Boston celebrated the Queen's Jubilee by a banquet in the cradle of the American Revolution, Faneuil Hall. On the preceding evening an indignation meeting of citizens, opposed to this desecration, assembled in the same building, and passed resolutions of protest against the celebration, in Faneuil Hall, "of a reign of tyranny and crime." Addresses were made by Mr. E. M. Chamberlain, Rev. P. A. McKenna, Mr. Philip J. Doherty, and others. As he says in his own report of the meeting:

Mr. O'Reilly had attended the meeting without thought of taking part. In the rush up-stairs, when the doors were opened, he went with the stream; and almost before he could take breath he was rushed forward till he found himself presiding over the meeting, with the hall quivering with excitement and cheers, the air filled with waving hats and handkerchiefs. When order was restored, he said:

Fellow-Citizens: I did not come here to-night to make a speech. I came here as a citizen to listen to men, speaking in a protest that I wished to keep out of, because I know there are men small enough and mean enough to say that I could only speak in that protest from the obvious motive of being an Irishman.

I stand here now in a desecrated Faneuil Hall, in a hall from which we were barred out until the dread of public indignation made them open the doors,—in a hall which those fellow-citizens outside (referring to the out-door meeting still in progress) repudiate and refuse to enter. There is even a larger meeting outside Faneuil Hall to-night than there is in, and the men there say, "We will never go into Faneuil Hall again."

I do not speak as an Irishman. I would as soon speak, God knows, against the Czar of Russia if they jubilated in his honor, with the prisons and mines of Siberia filled with Poles; I would as soon come here in the interests of negroes, if their rights were attacked in any part of the Union.

I come, as a fellow-citizen of yours, to protest against the murder of a tradition. Men say, when their selfish interests are in the market.