Abbildungen der Seite

prophecy, as he says, I deem it proper to have put on record such matters as are due to my reputation, and to my country, at a moment like the present. I shall be somewhat tedious, but I bespeak your patience, for I wish to say all, and it may not be so convenient at another time. I shall use no term of reproach or bitterness, in reference to matters of recent occurrence, on which too many here have already been uttered. No man deplores more deeply the melancholy results of intemperate discussion, whether on one side or on the other, in a sister capital, than I do; and for months past it has been my study to avert similar scenes in this city. From the moment when a new party was commenced, based on the principle of hostility to a particular religion and to foreigners, even the naturalized, I anticipated the results with the deepest apprehension, for the peace of the community and the honour of the country. Not that I dispute the right of men, in the abstract, to form themselves into combinations on any principle, which their duty to their country sanctions ; but topics of this description were, as I conceived, too exciting in their nature. From a very early period

I prevented the only papers which affect to represent Catholic interests, from opposing either the principles or the progress of the party. When the private interests, or enterprise of individuals urged them to establish newspapers, intended expressly to oppose the progress of “Native Americanism,” and to uphold the constitutional rights of foreigners, of all religions, I peremptorily refused to give either patronage or approbationforeseeing, as I imagined, to what point such antagonism must lead. I even caused certain articles to be published, which should fall under the eyes of a large portion of my own flock, and which might caution them against the temptation of retaliating insult, in arraying themselves in opposition to the principles of this new party. I caused them to be thus reminded that, if those principles were wrong, time and the good sense of the community would be the best remedy ; while Catholics, and above all Irish Catholics, were entirely unfitted to apply a corrective. I had the consolation to witness the good effects of this advice, so that boys and young men could march, even in the night, through streets almost entirely

occupied by Irish Catholics, with fife and drum before them, and with illumined banners bearing such inscriptions as that of "No POPERY,” as a public and political device. It is not for me to say whether the Native American party had, or had not, a right to adopt such devices, and display them through such a population. But even supposing they had the right, was there not something due to the weakness of poor human nature ?—to the religious rights and feelings of men under our Constitution ?—to the peculiar susceptibility of the Irish, and especially in reference to this identical subject, which reminded them of the hereditary degradation from which they thought to have escaped when they touched these shores ?

I am grateful to Almighty God, that notwithstanding these injudicious exhibitions, no accident or disturbance has occurred during the progress of the movements which have placed you in your present honourable station. And I would to God! that under all provocation, a similar forbearance had been practised in Philadelphia. Yet, notwithstanding all my solicitude and efforts, so feverish and morbid, so bewildered and diseased, had the

public mind become, in certain quarters, on the subject of POPERY, that a lie of not more than five lines, circulated through any of our papers which might desire to create riots, would have been sufficient to have produced the most fearful results.

My name and character were assailed in every public meeting of your special constituents. I was abused as a politician ;-as a meddler with the laws;—as an intriguer with parties; and a man not only capable, but actually designing to invade the liberties of the country. The fearful crisis, which I claim the merit of having prevented, in this city, but which has left its melancholy stigma in another city, equally dear to me, has rendered these calumnies against my character so important, that I now meet my accusers in the triumphant manner which you will see, before the close of this communication. But before I enter further upon my subject, I must tell you a few words respecting myself, which, being of so little importance to the public at large, I shall make as brief as possible. It is twenty-seven years since I came to this country. I became a

citizen, therefore, as soon as my majority of age and other circumstances permitted. My early ancestors were from Wales; and very possibly shared with Strongbow and his companions, in the plunder which rewarded the first successful invaders of lovely, but unfortunate Ireland. Of course, from the time of their conversion from Paganism, they were Catholics. You, sir, who must be acquainted with the melancholy annals of religious intolerance in Ireland, may remember that, when a traitor to his country, and for what I know, to his creed also, M'Mahon, Prince of Monnaghan, wished to make his peace with the Irish Government of Queen Elizabeth, the traitor's work which he volunteered to accomplish was to root out the whole Sept of the Hughes." He did not, however, succeed in destroying them, although he “rooted them out;" proving, as a moral for future times, that persecution cannot always accomplish what it proposes. In the year 1817, a descendant of the Sept of the Hughes, came to the United States of America.

He was the son of a farmer of moderate but comfort

He landed on these shores friend

able means.

« ZurückWeiter »