who is your guest this evening—Captain Joshua James. I do not know how to proceed when I come to speak of such a man—brave, simple, modest, unconscious of his heroism—who has again and again been rewarded and honored and medaled for deeds of extraordinary courage and self-sacrifice in the saving of life on the coast."
After graphically describing the latest exploit of Captain James and his crew, he said:
And when they returned to their home that day, what had they accomplished? They had rescued from the sea twenty-eight men in twelve hours, a record that has never been surpassed for bravery and endurance on this coast. The brave men who dared to face all this hardship were Captain Joshua James, Eben T. Pope, Osceola James, George Pope, Eugene Mitchell, Eugene Mitchell, Jr., George Augustus, Alonzo L. and John L. Mitchell, Alfred and Joseph and Louis Galiano, Frank James, and William B. Mitchell. The eloquent orator who preceded me seemed to exclude all but Anglo-Saxons from sympathy with this bravery. I do not care whether a man is an Anglo-Saxon or not, if he be a hero. Carlyle says that a hero makes all but petty men forget the bonds of race and class. From the hero all small limitations fall away. His note meets a response in every man's heart.
And as to Anglo-Saxons, let me speak for the men of Hull—the men who pulled the oars in Captain James's boat—for I have the honor to know every one of them as an old friend. I know that the Jameses themselves are Dutchmen by blood; that the Mitchells are Austrians; that the Popes are Yankees; that the Augustuses are from Rome, and the Galianos also are Italians. But what of their blood and their race? These brave men are neither Dutch nor Irish—they are Americans. And the men of Hull are types not only of Massachusetts, but of America. A section of Hull is a section of the nation. We are gathering and boiling down here all the best blood of Europe—the blood of the people. Not to build up an Anglo-Saxon or any other petty community, but to make the greatest nation and the strongest manhood that God ever smiled upon.
O'Reilly remembered his life-saving friends, a year later, when an opportunity arose of his being serviceable to one of the heroes. Thanks to his masterly presentation of the case, the following letter was favorably considered by the National Life-saving Service Department. It is addressed to Hon. Edward A. Moseley: