Article image
Article image
Article image
Article image
This article displays in one automatically-generated column. View the full page to see article in its original form.


There has just passed over to " the J great majority," of ■ whom we are all destined to form a part, an Irishman who has lived a remarkable life, and whose name was a .household word m America-Violin Boyle O'Reilly. His career, which was,, abruptly and unexpectedly terminated at the early age of fort3^-six years, was a singularly romantic one, and is thus sketched by the-Londou' eorresipondftnt of a contemporary :—"Born at Dowth Castle, County Meath, of rich parents, he, at eighteen years.of age,--«ntei«d" the Hussars, and might have been a General now had he stuck to his profession. Instead, he became a Fenian, and m 186(1 was sentenced to twenty years' penal servitude. When m Millbank Prison, O'Reilly spent his time m working out geometric problems on the floor of his cell. He was ultimately sent to Western Australia to complete jhi's" term of imprisonment, and must be, remembered by many m the colony to; this day. How this extraordinary person managed to escape to America, and became editor pf the " Boston Pilot," you know. lt;a hoyel ' Moondyne' was widely read all over jthe world, and till Mr ',Bbidrewood' Brown appeared on the scene came next to Marcus Clark's famous novel as "an Australian romance." To this we add that Mr O'Reilly was a poet of a very high order, and as such ivill have a permanent place m American literature, many of his poems have, indeed, the true ring of genius—as, for instance, " The Ciiase of the Amber Whale," afid others, «,nd a- number of patriotic songs which have been published over his signature. We do not know if the'collected edition of ;his poems is purchasable m the colony, but if not we fancy it would pay 'an enterprising bookseller to supply the omission. As to his escape from imprisonment m Western Australia it may be remembered, by those who can carry their recollection back so far, that this was effected by means of a schooner specially despatched by friends m the United States for this.purppse; and as to his connection with the f Bjoston Pilot," it may be added to the information given above that that influential paper was at one time the conjoint property, of the Eoman Catholic Bishop of that diocese and Mr O'Reilly, but we believe- of latte years became the exclusive property of the latter. Unlike most journalists and literary men, Mr,O'Reilly had found his profession a lucrative one, and purposed retiring to Ireland m a few months to pass the remainder of his days with his fam'lyupon a property;>hich he only recently went over'to his native land to select, and that he was to have been joined by a sister who has for some years past been residing m New Zealand. But " Phommc propose, vuds Dieu dispose," and all that remains is to pay th« last tribute of respect to one whose memory deserve? a niche m the Walhalla of distinguished Irishmen. It is sad to learn that his sudden end was the result of an accident, ilt seems that he had been suffering from insomnia, and had had recourse to chloral. He was warned that the action of the drug might not always be the $ame,.ati,d ion no account to overdose himself.' This, nevertheless, unfortunately lie eventually did, and was found the next morning dead m his bed. f*The death of John Boyle O'Reilly" (says the "Tablet") "has been a subject of great regret. Testimonies to his worth were borne on every side, and by people of all parties and shades of opinion. It would be impossible to quote even a tithe of them. The following paragraph, therefore, from the New York " Sun " may be taken as a sample:—'The death of John Boyle O'Reilly m the prime of his powers is more than a great loss to literature and journalism; it takes away one of the manliest and most engaging figures of the time, a man of rich physical and intellectual gifts and of * singular personal Charm. A true son and patriot of Ireland and America, a hater of all tyrannies, snobberies, and shams; a poet of robust imagination ar.d virile style ; an editor with a great constituency, an orator, a lecturer, and an athlete—his achieve-, ments covered many fields of activity, and his influence was widespread. He will be long renieiiibered aKridr long mourned m the country of his birth and of his adoption; but only those' who have had the happiness to enjoy his friendship can fully understand of what a rare and generous spirit his death has bereaved the world.' Testimony of a similar kind has been abundant."

This article text was automatically generated and may include errors. View the full page to see article in its original form.
Permanent link to this item

Bibliographic details

JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2543, 14 October 1890

Word Count

JOHN BOYLE O'REILLY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2543, 14 October 1890