Page:Life of John Boyle O'Reilly.djvu/409

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HIS LIFE, POEMS AND SPEECHES.

wrong. Nay, he could rise, not only above the prejudices of his race and the traditions of his nation, but above even the scruples of his religion, and that is the hardest thing for man to accomplish in this world.

This man, a Roman Catholic on New England soil, in daily association with the sons of Puritans and Pilgrims, the sons of men who hated the Papacy as the instrument of Satan, and whose descendants have not entirely got beyond the narrowness of their forefathers, could yet describe in fitting terms, showing the appreciation of his mind and soul for the achievements of the founders of New England.

So that it is not only Ireland and America that may mourn his death, it is humanity, civilization, our common Christianity.

What honor shall we pay to such a man? It will be honor enough, though I doubt if we can, to take all the virtues and all the achievements of his life into our own souls.

Then spoke a representative of the race for which O'Reilly had zealously worked and written and spoken, Mr. Edwin G. Walker, the colored lawyer and orator. Said he:

With his pen John Boyle O'Reilly sent through the columns of a newspaper that he edited in this city, words in our behalf that were Christian, and anathemas that were just. Not only that—but he went on to the platform and in bold and defiant language he denounced the murderers of our people and advised us to strike the tyrants back. It was at a time when the cloud was most heavy and more threatening than at any other period since reconstruction. At that time our Wendell Phillips was stricken by the hand of death, and then it was that some doubted that they would ever be able to see a clear sky. But in the midst of all the gloom we could hear Mr. O'Reilly declaring his determination to stand by the colored American in all contests where his rights were at stake.

The last speaker was Hon. Patrick A. Collins, the orator and patriot who had stood beside O'Reilly for twenty years in the long fight for Ireland's cause. He spoke as follows:

"For Lycidas is dead ere his prime
* * * and has not left a peer."

Even in this solemn hour of public mourning it seems hard to realize that we shall see him no more. Men who knew us both will expect from me no eulogy of Boyle O'Reilly. You mourn the journalist, the