and Mr. John Stuart, were given a public reception at the Hollis Street Theater, Boston, on the evening of January 29. O'Reilly, who was one of the speakers, said (I quote the reported synopsis of his speech):
He was glad of the opportunity of standing on the platform with an Englishman like Mr. Stuart, and declaring that between Irishmen and such Englishmen there was no quarrel. He was reminded by Mr. Stuart's speech that there were two Englands, one composed of a few thousand people and the other of tens of millions; but the thousands had all the glory and the power and the wealth, while the millions had all the darkness, the crowding, the suffering, and the labor. He was reminded of the Jewish boy in England sixty years ago, who, when a Jew had no rights or standing in the nation, resolved to become a great and powerful man., But the upper class, who held all the avenues to distinction, would have nothing to do with him. They rejected him; and he retaliated. He wrote a book—a terrible book for them; and he called it "The Two Nations." He painted in burning words the luxurious dwellers in the castles, and the degraded and overworked slaves in the outer night of ignorance, poverty, and labor. The upper nation, the castle dwellers, the aristocrats, who had grown inhuman with irresponsible power, recognized at once the" danger of allowing this man to be their enemy. His book was a threat, and they saw it. He was adopted into their ranks, and he accepted their honors. Step by step he compelled them to elevate him, a poor literary hack-writer, until in the end of his days they pressed a jeweled coronet on his withered brows, raised him to the supreme seat among their titled ranks, rechristened him, whose name was Benjamin of Israel, by a lordly title, and showered on him such golden honors as his poor old frame could hardly stand up under. That was the aristocrats' bribe to an able man to tie up his tongue and his pen from exposing the wickedness of their power and defending the rights of an outraged nation.
An Author's Reading was given in aid of the Longfellow Memorial Fund at Saunder's Theater, Cambridge, Mass., on Monday evening, February 28. Among those who participated were Julia Ward Howe, Edward Everett Hale, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, William Winter, Louise Chandler Moulton, John Boyle O'Reilly, George Parsons Lathrop, Charles Follen Adams, and Charlotte Fiske Bates.
O'Reilly's appearance on the occasion was thus happily referred to in the Boston Transcript:
But the man of all present who struck fire was Boyle O'Reilly.