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Mr. Edward Leadbeater's sister, Alicia, arrived in America with her husband and son, Henry, the same year in which her brother married Miss Freneau. Alicia had married Mr. Patrick O'Reilly, a merchant, who, in the great financial crisis attending the downfall of Napoleon First, had become seriously involved, and, meeting with little sympathy from their relatives, the young couple emigrated to America. Shortly after their arrival Mr. O'Reilly visited the island of Cuba, where he had relatives, but died of yellow fever almost immediately upon his arrival there. One of the principal streets of Havana is named after the family of the Marquis O'Reilly, formerly Governor-General of Louisiana when under the Spanish rule, and afterwards of Cuba.
There was a little romance in the history of Alicia and her husband; both having drawn upon themselves the great displeasure of their relatives, each being the first to marry into the religion peculiarly obnoxious to their respective families. Alicia's husband was a Catholic, while she belonged to the Church of England, and her family let her feel the weight of their displeasure, while his were even more greatly displeased. That he should unite himself to a heretic, and one of that hated religion that had been the cause of their losing their extensive possessions, titles, and religious rights, was a crime not to be forgiven.
The family of Alicia's husband had suffered greatly from the penal laws, but they were stanch in their faith; their sons, for generations, had been sent abroad to study, and many of them preferred to settle in foreign lands rather than return to a country in which their religion was held in opprobrium, and in which they had been denied their commonest rights, the possessions and titles of their ancestors, which were the earldom of Cavan and marquisate of Breffney.
Two of the relatives of Alicia's husband had held
the archbishopric of Armagh. The one, Hugh O'Reilly, whose signature is even now seen on the manifestoes of 1741 as Hugo Armacansis, headed the Confederates of Kilkenny when the chiefs of Ulster rose in arms to contend for their rights and religious liberty, and to secure the lands of their ancestors of which they had been despoiled by the confiscation called the "Plantation of Ulster," by which James the First seized on the hereditary possessions of the Irish chiefs and transferred them to his followers.
The other, Daniel O'Reilly, was private chaplain to Maria Theresa, of Austria, and so won her good will that she used her influence with the Holy Father to have him, upon his desire to return to his native land, appointed Archbishop of Armagh. The Empress, however, retained his brother Andrew in her service, appointing him first to the command of her advanced posts in northern Italy and of the fortress of Lecco on Lake Como. She passed him through all the military grades in the Austrian army save that of Field Marshal. Andrew signalized himself in the service of his adopted country, and at the battle of Austerlitz by his bravery and skill saved the last of the army from total destruction. As Governor of Vienna, Count O'Reilly had the difficult task of capitulating honorably with Napoleon.1
The late Mr. Henry O'Reilly had in his possession a letter written on vellum from Count Andrew O'Reilly to his brother Daniel, after the latter's return to Ireland as Archbishop of Armagh. Other relics
1 Napoleon remarked as he entered Vienna, "It is strange that on each occasion in November, 1805, as on this day — on arriving in the Austrian capital, I find myself in treaty and in intercourse with the respectable General O'Reilly. It was the dragoon regiment of O'Reilly's command, le Troisième Chevaux Légères, that by their brilliant charge at Austerlitz saved the remnant of the Austrian army, December 2, 1805."
2 Lord Edward Fitzgerald was related to this family. It is said that the White House, Washington, was modelled from his residence. The house of Talbot de Malahide is connected with it by marriage.
Mr. O'Reilly had in his possession, amongst which were a set of etchings to which is attached a history. A grand-uncle, for the great misdemeanor of acting upon his rights as a Catholic priest to say mass, saw, as he was passing through the streets carrying these etchings, placards being posted around for his apprehension, to which a reward was attached. Thinking his best safety lay in flight, he started for the shore, and made arrangements for his passage to a place of safety. During the passage, the sailors were conversing about the reward, and fearing they suspected him, the priest acknowledged his identity, and threw himself upon their protection. He was not mistaken in his countrymen; they landed him out of danger, with the etchings under his arm, and he made his way to Antwerp, where he became president of the university of that city.
Other members of the family went to other countries, in all of which they rose to distinction. There is a pretty legend in the family which runneth
"At the time of the invasion of Ireland by the Danes, Brian O'Reileigh, as the name was at that time spelled, of Balaraharnahan, was sent out in command of a scouting party by the commander-in-chief of the Irish forces, and at the hour of noon on a very warm day in August stopped to rest on the margin of one of the enchanted lakes of Kilkenny. Enraptured with the romantic scenery and placid waters spread out before him, he lingered long after his allotted time, and the first thing he knew he was surrounded by a large Danish force. Remembering that an old fairy, a particular friend of his family, resided in that vicinity, he called on her for assistance. She appeared to him, and showed him the only way by which he could escape - a narrow pass through the
"But,' said she, if that be guarded, there is nothing left for you save by the strong arm.1 Fight your way through, and the fairies will befriend the destiny of the O'Reileighs to the latest generation.'
"He found the pass defended by countless myriads of Danish spears, but he went through by force of the strong arm, losing scarcely a man.”
It will be seen from the legend that the name has seen some changes from the first, and Henry O'Rielly changed it yet further, as in early days, the Irish names not being so well known as at present, he was constantly called as if the ei were double e. It was to avoid this pronunciation that he spelled his name contrary to the usual way, reversing the letters e and i. Probably it was for a similar reason that Philip Freneau left the letter s out of his name, as Americans would in all probability sound it as it was spelled, "Fresneau."
On account of the death of his father, Mr. Edward Leadbeater went to Ireland to settle up the estate, but finding that it would cause a greater delay than he had anticipated, he returned to America to put his affairs in order for a prolonged absence; but before he had succeeded in doing so, he fell ill, and died in the spring of the very year in which Philip Freneau died. His death is recorded on the same page with his marriage, and was the last entry made by Philip. His marriage and death read thus:
"Agnes Watson Freneau, second daughter of Philip Freneau and Eleanor Forman, was married to Mr. Edward Leadbeater, merchant of the city of New York, Nov. 25th, 1816, by the Rev. John Croes, in the twenty-third year of her age."
1 The name O'Reilly in the Irish language signified "strong arm," and the crest of the arms of the family consists of an arm and hand holding a sword. The arms are preserved in the family and some of the old plate was engraved with it.