The Native-American Party

John Francis Maguire
CHAPTER XXIII (13) start of chapter

From an article on 'The Philadelphia Riots and the Native American Party,' written by Archbishop Spalding, this extract may be quoted:—

For more than ten years previously the 'No-Popery' cry had been raised, from one end of the Union to the other; from the cold and puritanical North, to the warm and chivalrous South. The outcry resounded from the pulpit and the press; its notes were fierce and sanguinary; they were worthy of the palmiest days of Titus Oates and Lord George Gordon, both immortal for the relentless and burning hatred they bore to their Christian brethren of the Roman Catholic Church. Can we wonder, then, that it produced similar results? When we reflect how long that bitter outcry continued; how talented, and influential, and untiring were many of those engaged in raising it; how many different forms and complexions it assumed—now boasting of its zeal for the purity of religion, now parading its solicitude for the preservation of our noble republican institutions threatened with destruction by an insidious foreign influence; when we reflect how very unscrupulous were the men engaged in this crusade against Catholicity, how many glaring untruths they boldly published both from the pulpit and the press, how many base forgeries—subsequently admitted to be such—they unblushingly perpetrated in the full light of day, and with the intelligence of the nineteenth century beaming in their faces; when we reflect that all this warfare against Catholics was openly conducted by a well-concerted action and a regular conspiracy among almost all the rich and powerful Protestant sects of the country, with the avowed purpose of crushing a particular denomination; and that this conspiracy was kept alive by synodical enactments, by Protestant associations, and by the untiring energy and relentless zeal of perhaps the richest and most powerful sect in the country, which ever appeared as the leader of the movement:—when we reflect on all these undoubted facts, can we be any longer surprised at the fearful scenes which lately set the stigma of everlasting disgrace on the second city of the Union?(40)

A strange commentary on this fierce hostility and deadly strife does the position of the Church in Philadelphia offer to-day. As many as five-and-twenty churches, crowded with devout congregations; noble institutions of every description, and intended to minister to every want; a Cathedral of unrivalled grandeur and beauty, reminding one much of St. Peter's; a vast and orderly flock, rising every day in independence and in wealth; and, to crown all, a learned and pious Bishop, who had been a Protestant! Persecution is not a wise game for those who play it; for it almost invariably happens that the persecuted have the best of it in the long run. So does Providence dispose.

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:

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