[Footnote 4: See the “Life and Times of Wendell Phillips,” by G.L. Austin, Boston, 1884.]
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By Charles H. Taylor.
There are but few other men at the present moment in whom the citizens of Boston are more interested, for a variety of good reasons, than the HON. HUGH O’BRIEN. His name must be added to the roll of Bostonians, who have distinguished themselves by the services they have rendered to the city. Now placed at the head of this great municipality as Mayor, a glance at his life shows that he has won his way to that position by the exhibition of qualities, such as all self-educated men possess. His private and public life fully illustrate that true merit is sooner or later appreciated and rewarded.
Born in Ireland, July 13, 1827, he was brought to America when five years old. Boston became the home of his childhood, and has always been his place of residence. Ever since he graduated from the old grammar school on Fort Hill, he has been swayed by Boston ideas and influences. The excellent ground-work of his education obtained in that school soon became enlarged and increased through the efforts of young O’Brien to add to his stock of information on all conceivable subjects. To accomplish this he haunted the Public Library, and eagerly read everything of a useful nature—history, biography and statistics having a peculiar fascination to him. During this time he had also entered the office of the Boston Courier to learn the printer’s trade, at the age of twelve years. He made rapid progress in that important art. From the Courier he went to the book and job printing office of Messrs. Tuttle, Dennett & Chisholm, on School street, where he became foreman at the early age of fifteen. After several years service there, he started the publication of the Shipping and Commercial List, with which he still maintains a connection, and has always been its principal editor.
Any young man desiring to advance himself intellectually and socially in life could not have had a better schooling than that afforded by the newspaper work which Mr. O’Brien has done. Added to all this labor, there was the ambition of this young man to succeed. He had a distinct aim in life, which was always to be an honored and respected member of his craft and of society. He is, therefore, found diligently at work absorbed in business and intellectual pursuits. Various literary societies and philanthropic projects have always found in him a sturdy supporter.
What would be the future of such an energetic and ambitious young man was easily predicted by his friends and acquaintances, and the predictions have been verified. It was believed that he would succeed in life, become a very useful member of society, and “make his mark in the world,” as the saying goes. These things have come to pass. And why? Because the young man equipped himself early with the weapons with which to fight the battle of life. And he never dropped those weapons; therein is the secret of his success. Many young men begin life aright; how sad that they do not continue in the right path!