Conclusion to Irish Settlers in America

From A History of the Irish Settlers in North America by Thomas D'Arcy McGee

« Appendix VI. | Contents

Appendix VII.

SUITABLY to close this record of the Irish race in America, it only remains to append some statistics of the actual position of that holy religion which they have been so widely instrumental in establishing. Other races have contributed forms of speech and of law; but that which, in the lifetime of a nation, wears well and wears longest, is the religion which dictates the use of the one and restrains the abuse of the other.

While we write these supplementary pages, in the month of May, 1852, the second National Council of the Catholic Church in the United States has just closed, at Baltimore. It assembled at the residence of the Ab-legate, the Most Reverend and Illustrious Francis Patrick Kendrick, Archbishop of Baltimore, on Sunday, the ninth day of this month, and proceeded to the cathedral, where the council was formally opened. Eight Archbishops, twenty-six Bishops, and one mitred Abbot, accompanied by their several Doctors of Theology, attended; and the city was so crowded with lay spectators, that it was with some difficulty the procession could proceed to and from the cathedral.[1] How different, in the numbers and cares, was this holy assembly from that which in 1791 the then Bishop Carroll convened in the same city! Then one Bishop, three Vicars, the President of the St. Sulpice's, and sixteen priests, made the Catholic Council of these States. In 1829, one Archbishop and five Bishops composed the first Provincial Council; in 1833, the number of Bishops had increased to nine; in 1837, it was the same; in 1840, at the fourth Provincial Council, there were with the Archbishop twelve Bishops; at the fifth Provincial Council, in 1843, there were fifteen Bishops, and one Vicar; at the sixth, in 1846, there were twenty-two Bishops with the Archbishop.

Province of Baltimore.—Most Rev. Francis Patrick Kendrick, D. D., Archbishop of Baltimore, consecrated June 6, 1880; Right. Rev. Ignatius Reynolds, D. D., Bishop of Charleston, consecrated March 19, 1844; Right Rev. John McGill, D. D., Bishop of Richmond, consecrated Nov. 10, 1850; Right Rev. Michael O'Conner, D. D., Bishop of Pittsburg, consecrated August 15, 1843; Right Rev. Richard V. Whelan, D. D., Bishop of Wheeling, consecrated March 21, 1841; Right Rev. Francis X. Gartland, D. D., Bishop of Savannah, consecrated Nov. 10, 1850; Right Rev. John Nepomucene Neumann, D. D., Bishop of Philadelphia, consecrated March 28, 1852.

Province of New Orleans.—Most Rev. Anthony Blanc, D. D., Archbishop of New Orleans, consecrated Nov. 22, 1835; Right Rev. Michael Portier, D. D., Bishop of Mobile, consecrated Nov. 5, 1826; Right Rev. John J. Chanche, D. D., Bishop of Natchez, consecrated March 14, 1841; Right Rev. John M. Odin, D. D., Bishop of Galveston, consecrated March 6, 1842; Right Rev. Andrew Byrne, D. D., Bishop of Little Rock, consecrated March 10, 1844.

Province of New York.—Most Rev. John Hughes, D. D., Archbishop of New York, consecrated Jan. 7, 1838; Right Rev. John McCloskey, D. D., Bishop of Albany, consecrated March 10, 1844, Right Rev. John Fitzpatrick, D. D., Bishop of Boston, consecrated March 24, 1844; Right Rev. John Timon, D. D., Bishop of Buffalo, consecrated Oct. 17, 1847; Right Rev. Bernard O'Reilly, Bishop of Hartford, consecrated Nov. 10, 1850.

Province of Cincinnati.—-Most Rev. John B. Purcell, D. D., Archbishop of Cincinnati, consecrated Oct. 13, 1833; Right Rev. Martin J. Spalding, D. D., Bishop of Louisville, consecrated Sept. 10, 1848; Right Rev. P. P. Lefevre, D. D., Bishop of Zela, in part, coadjutor and administrator of Detroit, consecrated Nov. 21, 1841; Right Rev. Amendcus Rappe, D. D., Bishop of Cleveland, consecrated Oct. 10, 1847.

Province of St. Louis.—Most Rev. Peter Richard Kenrick, D. D., Archbishop of St. Louis, consecrated Nov. 30, 1841; Right Rev. Mathias Loras, D. D., Bishop of Dubuque, consecrated July 28, 1837; Right Rev. Richard P. Miles, D. D., Bishop of Nashville, consecrated Sept. 16, 1838; Right Rev. John P. Henni, D. D., Bishop of Milwaukie, consecrated March 19, 1844; Right Rev. James O. Vandevelde, D. D., Bishop of Chicago, consecrated Feb. 11, 1849; Right Rev. Joseph Cretin, D. D., Bishop of St. Paul's, consecrated Jan. 26, 1851.

Province of Oregon City.—Most Rev. Francis N. Blanchet, D. D., Archbishop of Oregon City, consecrated in 1845; Right Rev. Magloire Blanchet, D. D., Bishop of Walla Walla, consecrated Sept. 27, 1849. The See of Nesqualy, administered by Archbishop Blanchet, and those of Fort Hall and Colville, administered by Bishop Blanchet, are now vacant.

Diocese of Monterey.—Right Rev. Joseph Alemany, D. D., Bishop of Monterey, consecrated 1850.

Apostolic Vicariate of New Mexico.—Right Rev. John Lamy, D. D., Vicar Apostolic of New Mexico.

Apostolic Vicariate of Indian Territory.—Right Rev. John Miege, D. D., Vicar Apostolic of the territory east of the Rocky Mountains.

In this interval of little more than half a century, the number of Bishops had increased over twenty-fold, and the number of pastors and churches had proportionately multiplied. The number of the faithful must have increased more than a hundred-fold, from Bishop Carroll's conjectural census of 1785, when he (erroneously, as we think) placed them at twenty-five thousand. Exceedingly difficult it is to form a correct estimate of the total Catholic population in the Union at any given time, even the present.[2] The clergy and bishops return only the numbers as they appear on their registries of births or marriages, and we have no proof that these registries are quite correct, or are kept by every missionary priest. With some personal experience of the most densely settled province of the American church, we venture to state that it is almost impossible to obtain a near approximation to the true aggregate of Catholics. At the present writing, we have no hesitation in declaring our own estimate to be nearer four than three millions. This, of course, includes a large number of minors, born and baptized abroad, and a considerable number of nominal Catholics, whose negligent lives leave no record of the faith behind, except a hurried death-bed repentance.

By direction of his Holiness Pope Pius IX., the first National Council was convened, by Archbishop Eccleston, at Baltimore, on Sunday, May 6th, 1849. The Archbishop of St. Louis, Most Rev. Peter Richard Kendrick, and twenty-four Bishops, assembled on this occasion. Archbishop Eccleston presided, for the fourth and last time, over his august peers,[3] in that most important conclave. The fathers there assembled recommended, in their wisdom, the division of the church in the United States into six provinces, namely, those of Baltimore, New Orleans, New York, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Oregon city. The following year this division was approved of by the Holy Father, and, as will be seen from the list of the second Council, four Archbishoprics were created, in addition to those of Baltimore and St. Louis. Under this religious government exists a numerous and active clergy, whose numbers are, however, incommensurate to the numbers of the laity, everywhere scattered. A notice of each Catholic province will enable the reader to judge of the diffuse multitude of the faithful:

I. "The Province of Baltimore" has for its suffragan sees Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Charleston, Savannah, Richmond, and Wheeling. It contains three fourths of a million of Catholics, has about three hundred churches, and an equal number of clergymen. In educational and charitable institutions it is, perhaps, the richest province, that of New York not excepted. It is governed by the Archbishop Kendrick, translated to Baltimore, from Philadelphia, in 1851. The present suffragans, in the order of the sees given above, are Bishops Neumann, O'Connor, Reynolds, Gartland, McGill, and Whelan.

II. "The Province of New York" comes next in point of influence and institutions, while it exceeds that of Baltimore in numbers. Its suffragan sees are Boston, Albany, Buffalo, and Hartford. It contains, at least, one million of Catholics, has three hundred and fifty churches, and about the same number of clergymen. It is governed by Archbishop Hughes, consecrated in 1838, whose suffragans are Bishops Fitzpatrick, McCloskey, Timon, and O'Reilly.

III. "The Province of Cincinnati," whose missionary state makes its exact statistics more variable than those of the two just mentioned. It contains six or seven hundred thousand, has over three hundred churches, a somewhat less number of clergymen,—but has a hundred clerical students in its colleges. Its suffragan sees are Louisville, Detroit, Vincennes, and Cleveland. It is governed by Archbishop Purcell, consecrated in 1833, whose suffragans are Bishops Spalding, Lefevre, St. Palais, and Rappe. One third, or, perhaps, more nearly one half, of its Catholics are French or German, and have clergymen who speak familiarly their own languages.

IV. "The Province of St. Louis," like Cincinnati, is difficult to estimate. It may be set down at four hundred and fifty thousand. It has two hundred and sixty churches, and an equal number of clergymen, and many well-endowed institutions. Its suffragan sees are Nashville, Dubuque, St. Paul's, Chicago, and Milwaukee. The Archbishop Peter Richard Kenrick was consecrated in 1841. The Bishops are Loris, Miles, Henni, Vandevelde, and Cretin. It has also a large proportion of German and French Catholics.

V. "The Province of New Orleans" contains about three hundred thousand; it has above a hundred and fifty churches and clergymen. Its suffragan sees are Mobile, Natchez, Little Rock, and Galveston, of which the respective Bishops are Most Rev. Anthony Blanc, and Right Reverends M. M. Portier, Chance, Byrne, and Odin. Nearly one half of the Catholics in this province are of French and Spanish origin.

VI. "The Province of Oregon City" is divided into the diocese of that name, of Nesqualy, Walla Walla, Fort Hall, and Colville. The Most Rev. Francis N. Blanchet, and the Right Rev. Magloire Blanchet, are the only Bishops at present. The whole province, as is to be expected in so primitive a country, is in a missionary condition. There are thirty churches, and forty clergymen at present employed there.

An important addition to the church in the United States is the new diocese and probable province of California, at present under the first Bishop of Monterey, Right Rev. Joseph Alemanny. There are forty thousand Catholics, and the number is rapidly increasing. Forty churches and as many clergymen administer to the wants of this population, chiefly old Spanish settlers and Irish miners. The clergy are nearly all from the regular orders, Jesuits, Franciscans, or Dominicans. The Bishop, consecrated in 1850. was himself of the order of St. Dominick. There is a Diocesan college at Santa Ynez, a Jesuit college at Santa Clara, a Catholic school at Los Angelos, under the direction of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart; at St. Catherine's, a female school, under the Sisters of St. Dominic, and another at the Pueblo San Jose, under the direction of the Sisters of Notre Dame. There are also eight day schools in the diocese. The recent emigration of Irishmen to California has, of course, much increased the resources of the diocese. Judging from the support they have given to their Bishop, and the fervor with which they celebrated the festival of St. Patrick, they seem to be truly zealous and steadfast in their faith.

In addition to these statistics of the number and government of the Catholics in the United States, a few words may be said as to their position, public duties, and prospects. They are certainly rising in respectability and influence in proportion to their numbers. They have newspapers at Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Pittsburg, St. Louis, and New Orleans. There are extensive Catholic publishing-houses in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. At present, the Catholic press is very active, chiefly in reprinting London publications, or translations from foreign languages. Each of these publishing-houses has, within a few years back, issued several editions of the Holy Scriptures, in admirable typography.

Catholics of the old Maryland colony, of French, Spanish, or German origin, are, perhaps, less exposed to temptations, and, in the education of their children, more favored, by their isolation, than Irish Catholics are. The hardest labor of the Irish settler is not in the woods or the mines, but in forming the character of his children. A busy materialist state of society, a country without traditions, the demand for more labor, which imposes the responsibilities of life upon the merest youth, are all so many obstacles and distractions in the labor of Catholic education.

A few reflections on the relations of the first and second Irish generations in America are very respectfully submitted to the Catholic reader who is, or may be, the parent of children born in the United States:—

The first Irish generation in America can be traced very easily from the side of the emigrant-ship to the interior. In every six-house hamlet, in every town and city, we find them. They can be told by their faces, habits, speech, and old religion; for. wherever they are, the cross is the sign under which they conquer. But their children, born twenty and thirty years ago, in this land, where are they? If we look lor them in our churches, we do not find them. If any Catholic clergyman, of thirty years' standing, will take up his old register, and call out the names of the baptized, how many will rise in the congregation to answer him, or claim their places? Few, very few, we fear.

In our patriotic societies, in our public undertakings as a class, they are absent from us. They are where they ought not to be; but where they should be, there they are not to be found.

It must be a proper subject of inquiry to know where the second generation breaks off from the first, why they break off, and where they go after they leave us.

We know a family, of which the parents were born, reared, and married in Ireland, and the sons and daughters born, reared, and married in the United States. We must consider the circumstances that formed and fashioned the parents, and those under which the children are to grow and live, marry, and be given in marriage. The case of that family is the whole subject. Every one knows some such family.

Ireland is a country with two thousand years of history; America is but two hundred years old. Ireland has been three hundred years under the yoke of the heretical kings of England; America laid the foundations of her freedom with those of her population. This country and its constitution have grown up together, and here all forms of faith are free.

These are the apparent political differences; the points of social contrast are finer and more numerous. The new continent is not more unlike the old island than this state of society is unlike the other.

In an old crowded island, population rises class above class. One man owns the fee of the soil, another leases it, a third cultivates it. A few thousand proprietors own Ireland, and its people have existed recently by sufferance upon that soil. Property and power naturally went together, and the laws as well as the land were absolutely controlled by the will and interest of this privileged Protestant minority.

The middle-men, of course, looked up to "their betters," and imitated their example. The rich farmer aspired to be "a gentleman." He hoarded up his money and educated his children to that especial end. The trader, who made a few thousands, bought a pigeon-box in the country, and learned to write "J. P." after his name. The middle class, seldom or never recruited from below, was thus vitiated from above, leaving Ireland an inclined plane, with the central parts cut out and cleared away.

The poor, the people, governed absolutely by their gentry, were deprived of any general system of public instruction. Up to 1834, there were no national schools open to the children of the poor. This class, therefore, seventy-five per cent, of the whole, grew up in a wild, untutored state of nature. There was but one place where, and one party from whom, they received instruction; the place was the parish chapel, the party the parish priest. By the sign of the cross we were saved from savagery. It was the star in our sky and the spring in our soil. Oppression such as our nation has endured would have made us thorough savages, if religion had not kept the souls stirring and alive in the breasts of our fathers and ourselves.

Even that holy religion has been made a source of additional oppression to us. Henry VIII. was elected King of Ireland in 1541. He is the first of our English line of sovereigns. (The usual supposition that Henry II. was so is a gross historical error.) From his days until Lord John Russell, no generation of Irish Catholics has enjoyed the exercise of its religion in peace.

If, therefore, young friends, you should at any time wonder why your parents are so rigid in their faith,—if the zeal of the old and poor, who travel through storm and snow to the early morning mass, astonishes you,—if their hatred of all the forms of Protestantism surprises you,—remember that for three hundred years all Ireland has been leading a life of martyrdom. Lands, suffrages, power, we might have had, if we only apostatized; we chose poverty, famine, and flight, but we kept—thank God, we kept!—the teachings of our saints unviolated and entire.

But not alone did the clergy keep the people Catholic; everything in the island conspired to the same end. Imagine yourself upon a hill in Ireland, with the mists rolling from the scene. Look down; at your feet bubbles a holy well, which was once a primitive baptismal fount. Look up; a round tower points its index finger to the sky; to the left a Celtic cross, with the circle, emblem of eternity, uniting its arms, stands by the wayside; to the right is a churchyard, where an emigrant family kneel in prayer above the dead, before they turn their faces to the far west, never, never to return!

From this island, this garden girdled by the blue ring fence of ocean, where the air broods with a holy heaviness, and the land weeps man's perverse inhumanity,—from this solemn and prolific nursery of men, your ancestors have swarmed out upon the world. Ah! young men, be not too quick to jest or gibe at their antique terms of thought or speech. When America is two thousand years old, she may make a comparison. It is not wise, it is not manly, it certainly is not noble, to mock the weakness of our patriarchs, the American founders of our race.

Suddenly thrust out of the bottom of an ancient society, by political pressure, Irish men and women awake, and find themselves in America. The cry of "land" calls them all on deck. Land! what land is this? Its parti-colored forest trees, its shining new houses, its steaming harbors, its busy trading-people, with pale, care-knit brows, and lips compressed like oyster-shells,—how strange, how wonderful is all this to the man who whistled to his wooden plough along an Irish field, or the girl accustomed to gather her cows behind the hawthorn, and fill the evening air with "MA COLLEEN D'HAS CRUITHA N'MA BHO!" while she filled her pail with milk!

The wonder wears away, and knowledge comes painfully, and in bits, through experience. It is a hard school, this school of emigrant experience. It may be likened to a crowded corridor, in which there is no turning back. From the front to the back door, from manhood to death, there is no pause, no return. The vanishing backs of our predecessors before us, the eager faces of our cotemporaries round us, are all we see, or can see. Some in this crowd may have their pockets picked, or their ribs broken, or their corns trampled; but on they must go, with ribs broken or whole, pockets full or empty. The rich and poor, the weak and strong, the native and the stranger, are all thrown mercilessly upon themselves, in the common school of American experience.

But for the inexperienced emigrant large allowance should be made by all the rest. He starts with no stock of native traditions. He was not reared in the neighborhood. His knowledge, such as it is, being suited only to a totally different latitude, is rather a burden than a benefit to him. An East Indian suddenly left on a cape of Labrador would not pass more visibly from one condition of being to another, than the Irish emigrant who finds himself new landed in America.

With us, Catholics, there can be no doubt that the family is everywhere, and under all circumstances, an institution of Divine origin. Its laws are part of the sacred Scriptures,—its bond and warrant is a sacrament of our holy religion. But, as a matter of fact, there is equally no doubt that the family ties are weaker in America than they are in Ireland.

In Ireland, every son was "a boy," and every daughter "a girl," till he or she was married. We have all known "boys" and "girls" of five-and-forty. There was a meaning in this, absurd as it looks: they were considered subject to their parents till they became parents themselves; their allegiance was due to "the heads" of the old house until they were called to preside over the fortunes of "houses of their own."

In America, in consequence of the newness of the soil, and the demands of enterprise, boys are men at sixteen. There are, in fact, no CHILDREN in America. They are all little old men and women, cut down or abridged. They seem like some pigmy generation of the past, come back to criticize the present. They all work for themselves, and pay their own board. They either live with the "boss," "governor," or "old man," or elsewhere, as they please. They may have respect,—they must have some natural deference for parents; but the abstract Irish reverence for old age is not yet naturalized in America.

Over half a dozen of these keen, hard, worldly young Yankees, an Irish father is to preside. They are born, they are doctored, they go to the public school. They are called "Paddies," perhaps, by Darius, and Cyrus, and Habakkuk, of the Plymouth rock dynasty. They come home, and they want explanations. Yes. they want explanations; and here is, precisely, where the second generation breaks off from the first. If the first can explain itself to satisfy the second, the second will naturally stick to its pedigree; but if not, the family tie is snapt, and our children become our opponents, and sometimes our worst enemies.

You have seen two equals attempt an explanation. If it is not full, frank, and satisfactory, they part worse friends than before. They explain, and are enemies ever after. So with the American child of Irish parents; in the word "explanation" are included disobedience, sorrow, apostasy and death!

Many emigrants do not know the extent of this responsibility. While they are talking disrespectfully of Ireland or their Irish neighbors, their children are swallowing every word. They are holding a grand inquest upon them, in the corner! Take care of what you say. They are taking notes of it, in tenacious young memories, from which it never, never will be effaced!

We ask parents to think of three things which cannot be too well remembered by a people situated as we are in the United States:—

One is, never to laugh or approve of "the smartness," as it is called, which your children pick up in the streets. Another, never to refuse them an explanation connected with your religion and your country; the third, never to speak lightly, before them, of what you wish them to respect or to practise.

The "smartness" of the streets consists in a few out-worn phrases, in a certain impertinent self-assurance, in swearing, smoking cabbage cigars, and still worse dissipations. If you applaud the first signs of such smartness, how can you tell where it will stop? If you applaud it, how can you hope to escape the consequence of your own folly? Many an Irish father and mother began to observe these things in laughter, who lived to weep heart-wrung tears of tribulation over them in the end.

Again: try to give them or get them reasons to justify yourselves, your religion and your country. Beg, borrow, or steal, explanations. For example, your boy is called by this young Puritan, Darius, "a Paddy." He wants to know what a Paddy is. Tell him; tell him all you know. Tell him of that great Saint, whose festival is our national holiday; of how, from a shepherd and a slave, he became the founder of a kingdom of souls; how mountains, cathedrals and cities, have rejoiced in his name; how, not to mention earlier celebrities, Patrick Sarsfield and Patrick Henry, the Irish soldier and the Virginia orator, were proud to bear it. Send him into the world well armed with facts, strong in his faith, proud of his principles, above every cowardly compromise, and from that sacred struggle bid him return, as the Spartan mother bid her son return,—"Come back victorious, or come back no more!"

On the third topic, of unguarded speaking before children, it is needless to enlarge.

We meet every day the apostate children of Irish parents, sons of emigrants, and themselves the worst enemies of emigrants. We see them afraid to profess their religion, because they do not know its doctrine and its history, its sanctity and its glory; ashamed of their origin, because ignorant of Ireland and of themselves. We see them marry strange wives, and wed their beliefs or no beliefs into the bargain; we see them desert the eternal portals of God's church, to trim and temporize among the schismatical spawn of yesterday, to ally themselves to sects that swarm in the spring like gad-flies, and die annually out. Why do we see these sights? Admit that evil grows wild, while good needs cultivation; admit that good parents will sometimes have bad children, does that account for all—all?

This generation of Catholics will not probably lose many of its members. We have now in our midst churches, a clergy, and a hierarchy. We have some useful institutions, the effects of which are entirely conservative of the ancient faith.

Sooner than we suspect, a severe test may be put to our principles. In Europe and America the men of this age are fast dividing into two universal parties, or two camps. Those who were neutral last year are decided now; those who are neutral now will he enlisted next year. The modern mind has been filled with a new morality, and new theories of duty, which it is inclined to put into operation. It thinks it can do without pope and property, executive and obedience. It proposes to erect new institutions on the shifting basis of aggregate private judgment; to confiscate and distribute property; to elect and inspire its teachers from the plenitude of its own untaught fancies. All who are not besotted beyond redemption, with these theories, must choose the other side, the conservative side of this contest. The debatable land is being rapidly narrowed; their pickets drive in ours, and, it is to be feared, a great contest is at hand throughout the nations, now so closely connected as to present the appearance of a cooperative populace, and a close federation of parties, naturally foreign to each other. No one can contemplate the approach of this contest without anxiety, for much suffering and much evil will be transacted in its progress. But if it must come,—if the christianized Celts, who resisted and overcame barbarism a thousand years ago, and resisted and repelled the Lutheran schism three hundred years ago,—if the christianized Celts of Italy, Spain, France, Ireland and America, must arise and arm once more for the law of God and the deliverance of men, the second Irish generation in America will not be wanting in the hour of need.

Now and then there is a part for us to perform, from which none, not even the church itself, can release us. There is an education of the pulpit, an education of the schools, and an education of the fireside. To teach our children reverence in an irreverent age, this is the great task for Irishmen in America.

It matters little if you leave them houses or land, if you leave them not reverence. If they devour books and digest them, they will sink into mere materialists, or empty sceptics, without reverence. Get yourselves in positions in which you can command respect,—be citizens, and good ones,—be Catholics, and good ones; and then you will command the homage of your children, and be to them fit teachers of sacred reverence.

We have brought into America great numbers, much poverty, willing spirits, able arms, and the Catholic faith. The last census found us to be above three millions. The second generation are, at least, as many more. Men of our nation have, from the beginning, helped to plant the free institutions which keep this an open country for us. We are no intruders here; we are not here by the tolerance of any party; by the laws of the land, and by virtue of our own labors, and those of our nation, we stand free and equal among the favored inhabitants of this confederacy.

Let us understand our duty and our position in America. The clearance of this continent, partly effected by Irish hands, is the greatest work of these latter days. It is the only new feature in the world's face. Wonderful revolutions and inventions we have had enough; but the most lasting change among men is the apparition of a new world in the western waters. Felling forests and planting men, scattering cities through a continent, and covering savage seas, rivers and lakes, with navigated ships, this is the great transpiring act of human enterprise. We live in the times of our Theseus and Hercules, in the golden and adventurous age of the West. Two great families of men are in the American field, the Teutons and the Celts. The English and Germans are of Teuton origin; the Spanish, Irish, French and Scotch, of Celtic origin. Each, after its own peculiar genius, is doing its share of the New World's work.

Numerically the Irish are increasing upon all the other divisions of the population; morally and religiously, also, they are beginning to grow upon the earlier emigrants. We have only to be true to our creed, our country, and our children, and the European legend, which called America Ireland it Mikla, will be translated from the realm of legends into the world of realities.

Gentlemen "of the second generation," do not accept English accounts of the country of your ancestors. Do not mistake every miserable Farceur for a representative of Irish character. Read the history of your ancestral island, by McGeoghegan; study its present character in Banim, Griffin, or Carlton, in the "Collegians," or "the Poor Scholar;" study its music in Moore; study its creed here where it has raised its altars. If you want to know what education has made of the men of your race, look at Burke, Curran, and O'Connell; if you want to know what oppression may bring to it. read the police reports of any great city. Cast up the account of your fathers with the world, set forth what they owe it and what it owes them, and tell me, do you not find a balance in their favor? You are heirs to their history; you are concerned in their character; you have no choice but to acknowledge and stand by us, or to pass through apostasy to a cheerless and unprincipled prosperity.

Youth is the age of generous resolutions, and, in the filial duties, its inclinations are generally right. If the first generation will be wise and gentle and exemplary, the second will be dutiful, faithful, and honorable; the first must be right, if it would have the second do right; the first generation must use its citizenship, and live up to its religion, if it would have the second made up of good men and women, good sons and daughters, good citizens, and good Catholics.

If this book should chance to fall into the hands of one who has withdrawn himself, in youth, from filial obedience, and has grown up in a selfish separation from the interests of his race, to him we say, there is no character but a common character for so marked a people as ours. A jay in the dove-cot, or a red rose among violets, is not more strongly contrasted than a Celt, even of the second generation, among the children of the Teutons. He is at war with nature who is at war with his own kindred. He stands in an unsafe place; he is trying the impossible experiment of a separate existence. Let him pause and examine; and when his mind has surveyed the past of our people in its brightness and its darkness, its degradation and its heroism, without doubt he too will feel that it is a proud privilege to be ranked among the laborious missionaries of Providence, THE IRISH IN AMERICA.

« Appendix VI. | Contents


[1] The following is a list of the prelates in attendance at the National Council, with the dates of their several consecrations, so far as ascertained:—

[2] The total stated in the Metropolitan Catholic Almanac for 1852—1,980,000—is about one half of the true total! It was made up from the data described in the text, and therefore shows the number returned to the editor, rather than the actual whole. The compiler of that most useful almanac is, therefore, free from all blame in this respect. In 1836, the Right Rev. Dr. England, in a report to the Propaganda, says, on this subject:—"Of the population acquired by immigration and by cession (of territory), we may estimate at least one half to have been Catholics; and supposing the children to have adhered to the religion of their parents, if there were no loss, we should have at least four millions of Catholics from these sources, without regarding the portion which was Catholic fifty years ago, and its natural increase, and the many converts and their descendants."

[3] He died at Georgetown, D. C., April 22d, 1851.