O'Reilly and O'Brien

Justin McCarthy
Chapter XII | Start of Chapter

Two of the Fenians who were actually condemned to death afterwards won credit and distinction in peaceful pursuits. One of these was John Boyle O'Reilly, whose death-sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life, and who was transported to Western Australia. He contrived to escape, and made his way to America. He settled in Boston, rose to great distinction as a journalist, an author, and an orator, and was made welcome in Boston's most cultured literary society at a time when Emerson, Longfellow, and Oliver Wendell Holmes were still living. The other, James F. X. O'Brien, has been for many years a respected member of the House of Commons, and a devoted adherent of the Irish National party. Mr. O'Brien had the curious distinction of being the last man in these countries on whom the now abolished sentence of death with drawing and quartering included was passed.