How the Bishop saved the Colony

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER IX (4) start of chapter

Had the intended rising taken place the consequences would have been awful; but happily, through the vigilance and prudence of Bishop O'Donnell—he had been appointed Vicar Apostolic in 1794—the conspiracy was defeated. Having been apprised of what was contemplated, he at once informed the General in command of the danger impending, urging him to deal with the soldiers, and undertaking himself to deal with the misguided civilians who had been involved in the guilty project. The necessary steps were taken, the contemplated rising was effectually prevented, and Newfoundland was saved from a scene of horror and bloodshed that would have formed a dark blot on the page of its history. The Protestants regarding Bishop O'Donnell as their preserver, under Providence, naturally felt towards that prelate an intense feeling of gratitude; and the British Government, whose representative but nine years before wrote him the miserable letter just quoted, recognised his great services by a pension—a very small one it is true—which was continued to his successors for some time. 'How often,' remarks the friend to whom I am indebted for the recollection of this important incident in the life of the good Bishop, 'have the clergy of the Catholic Church, as in this instance, heaped coals of fire on the heads of their opponents, and rebuked the blind intolerance of the persecutors of their faith!'

The Irish in America, first published in 1868, provides an invaluable account of the extreme difficulties that 19th Century Irish immigrants faced in their new homeland and the progress which they had nonetheless made in the years since arriving on a foreign shore. A new edition, including additional notes and an index, has been published by Books Ulster/LibraryIreland:

Paperback: 700+ pages The Irish in America

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