Papers (1865-1887, undated) including correspondence, a diary, book of poetry, printed poetry, newspaper clippings, a photograph, dictionary, etc.
Cashman, who worked as a law clerk in Dublin from 1862 to 1865, eventually immigrated to the United States. He worked as a journalist in Boston, wrote verse for the Boston Pilot, Donahoe's Magazine, and other publications, and became a partner in a printing firm there. O'Reilly (June 28, 1844-1890), son of William David and Eliza Boyle O'Reilly, was born in County Meath. Prior to becoming involved in political activities in the 1860s, O'Reilly worked as a reporter for English newspapers. He settled in Boston in 1870, where he edited the Pilot and published works of poetry and fiction.
Both men participated in the Irish Republican Brotherhood (Fenians), a secret revolutionary society committed to winning Irish freedom from English rule through use of force. O'Reilly was arrested in 1866; Cashman, the following year. In October, 1867, Cashman and O'Reilly, along with other political prisoners, were transported to a penal colony in Fremantle, Western Australia, aboard the convict ship HOUGOUMONT. With the assistance of a Catholic priest, Patrick McCabe, O'Reilly escaped in February, 1869, aboard the whaling bark GAZELLE, commanded by Captain David R. Gifford of New Bedford, Massachusetts. It is unclear how or when Cashman left Australia, although family tradition claims that Cashman escaped with O'Reilly.
This collection reflects the political and literary activities of Denis B. Cashman and his friendship and literary collaboration with Irish poet John Boyle O'Reilly.
For additional information concerning O'Reilly, see James Bernard Cullen, ed. and comp., The Story of the Irish in Boston (Boston: James B. Cullen & Company, 1889), pp. 207-213; and Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1978).
Of particular importance is the diary kept by Cashman between October 15, 1867, and January, 1868. It contains details of Cashman's incarceration at Millbank Prison near London and the prisoners' voyage to Australia. Some entries pertain to the Wild Goose, a newspaper edited by Cashman and published by the prisoners while on the HOUGOUMONT. Also included in the diary are poems by O'Reilly, Cashman, and John Flood.
A small book of poetry, apparently in Cashman's handwriting, contains transcriptions of verse written by a variety of poets.
The collection contains a few pieces of correspondence (1865-1887), including letters from Mrs. Cashman concerning family matters (Jan., 1867). A letter of Cashman (Feb., 1868) briefly describes his adjustment to prison life and activities of other prisoners. A letter of Cashman's son, Willie (1878), written on stationery bearing an engraving of the College of Ottawa, briefly mentions his schoolwork there.
Additional items include examples of Cashman's published poetry, a photograph of Cashman taken in Australia, a newspaper clipping discussing O'Reilly's escape from Australia, and a copy of Cashman's book Life of Michael Davitt (Boston: Murphy & McCarthy, 1881).
Researchers are requested to use the photocopies of the manuscript material in this collection.
Gift of Dr. Alfred Sheehy
Gift of Sullivan, C. W. III
Processed by S. Morgan, June 1983
Encoded by Apex Data Services
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.