Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/397

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

Hundreds of prelates and priests echoed the sentiment throughout the country. I can select but a few from the multitude of messages received at that time. Ex-President Cleveland wrote from

Marion, Mass., August 13.

I have heard with sincere regret that John Boyle O'Reilly is dead. I regarded him as a strong and able man, entirely devoted to any cause he espoused, unselfish in his activity, true and warm in his friendship, and patriotic in his enthusiasm.

Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts, telegraphed to Mrs. O'Reilly:

Washington, D. C., August 12.

Accept my profound sympathy in your great loss and the great public loss. Your husband combined, as no other man, some of the noblest qualities of the Irishman and the American.

His parish priest, who best knew his spiritual side, Rev. J. W. McMahon of St. Mary's Church, Charlestown, said:

I have always had a great admiration for the man ever since he came to my parish as a member. As for his career before that time that, too, commands my respect and admiration. He was a single-minded, open-hearted man—a man who loved liberty for itself, and who wished everybody to have a fair chance. He was a good husband, a good father, a good Catholic and a good man.

Generous praise for his life's work and sincere grief for his untimely death were bestowed by the fellow-authors who had known and loved him. The venerable Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote:

Beverly Farms, Mass., August 12.

John Boyle O'Reilly was a man of heroic mold and nature; brave, adventurous, patriotic," enthusiastic, with the perfervidum ingenium, which belongs quite as much to the Irish as to the Scotch. We have been proud of him as an adopted citizen, feeling always that his native land could ill spare so noble a son. His poems show what he might have been had he devoted himself to letters. His higher claim is that he was a true and courageous lover of his country and of his fellow, men.