Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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O'REILLY, John Boyle, author, born at Dowth Castle, County Meath, Ireland, 28 June, 1844. At the age of fourteen he learned type-setting, and afterward became a reporter for various English journals. He returned to Ireland in 1863 and enlisted in the 10th Hussars. He had meantime joined the Fenian society, and his entrance into the English army was with the object of spreading disaffection among the Irish soldiers. His connection with Fenianism was discovered in 1866. His propaganda of revolutionary principles had been successful, and several Irish regiments, known to be ready to participate in a rebellion, were, in consequence, scattered through the most unhealthful parts of the British possessions. O'Reilly was tried for high treason, and sentenced to be shot. The sentence was commuted, and he was confined in different English prisons. When in Dartmoor, aided by other Irish prisoners, he collected and buried the scattered bones of the French and American prisoners of war who were shot in 1814 in 1867 he was sent to Australia. He was one of those excluded from the amnesty granted to the political prisoners in 1869. He escaped from the western coast of Australia in an open boat, was picked up by Captain Gifford, of the American ship "Gazelle," and landed in Philadelphia on 23 November, 1869. He lectured and wrote for the journals for a time, followed the Fenian raid into Canada in 1870, and described its incidents for the Boston journals. The same year he became connected with the Boston "Pilot," of which he is now (1888) editor and principal owner. He founded the Papyrus club in Boston. He has appeared as a lecturer, has contributed to periodicals, and has published in book-form "Songs of the Southern Seas" (Boston, 1873);" Songs, Legends, and Ballads" (1878); "Moondyne," a novel (1879); "Statues in the Block" (1881) ; and "In Bohemia" (1886). He has in preparation "The Country with a Roof," an allegory dealing with certain faults in the American social system, "The Evolution of Straight Weapons," and a work on the material resources of Ireland.
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