Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/383

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

2. I do not believe that the cause of this prejudice is the religious instruction in Christian schools, because the most prejudiced are least religious or Christian. Part of the prejudice is inherited from less intelligent times; part comes from the exclusiveness of the Jews as a race, and the largest part from the marvelous success of the Jewish race in business. In this country, I think, the anti-Jewish prejudice is not at all religious. From personal experience, I should say it was wholly racial and commercial.

3. It has been my fortune to know, long and intimately, several Jewish families in Boston and New York, and many individual Jews during my lifetime. Their standard of conduct is the same as Christians, but their standard of home life and all its relations is the highest in the world. I know three men who are my ideals of mercantile honor, integrity, and business character: one is a Christian and two are Jews.

4. I do not know how to dispel the anti-Jewish prejudice except by expressing my own respect, honor, and affection for the greatest race—taking its vicissitudes and its achievements, its numbers and its glories—that ever existed.

His last poem, "The Useless Ones," meaning the poets, was published in the Pilot of February 1:

Useless? Ay,—for measure:
Roses die,
But their breath gives pleasure—
God knows why!

This poem had been read, in his absence, by his friend Benjamin Kimball, at the dinner of the Papyrus Club, in December. O'Reilly dined with his club for the last time on February 1, 1890, when he read some aphorisms in rhyme, of which two have been preserved by Secretary Arthur Macy:

A man may wound a brother with a hiss;
A woman stabs a sister with a kiss.



I judged a man by his speaking;
His nature I could not tell;
I judged him by his silence.
And then I knew him well.

On Sunday evening, February 16, he made his last appearance as a lecturer in Boston, his subject being