Waterford County Museum, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, Ireland. Charity Reg: 17397
Tel: +353 (0)58 45960 Email: info@waterfordmuseum.ie
Shopping Cart
Articles Photos

Stories from Old Newspapers

 The Irish in America by John Francis Maguire

This book which is in our reserve museum collection was published in New York in 1868. He made the journey in 1866.Maguire was a writer and politician, founder and editor of the Cork Examiner. The local connection is that he was MP for Dungarvan from 1852 to 1865. In 1870 he joined the Home Rule Party.

His book The Irish in America covered topics such as the Irish view on slavery, problems encountered by the arrival in America, the perils of living in cities, the journey out, etc. He comments on the positive traits of the Irish – a love for life, a sense of loyalty, a strong work ethic. However, he was concerned at their overindulgence of alcohol.

What is interesting about the book is the inscription written inside which says: ‘James Breen Esq, with the respects and fond regards of his friend, Jas. A. McMaster. New York 1868’.

James Alphonsus McMaster was born in 1820 in Duanesburg New York, the son of a Presbyterian minister. He entered the seminary to study as an Episcopalian minister, however, while there he converted to Catholicism, influenced by the writings of John Henry Newman. He added Alphonsus to his name in honour of Alphonsus Liguori founder of the Redemptorists. He went to a seminary in Belgium but left before taking holy orders.

The New York Freeman’s Journal which was owned by the Catholic diocese had a large Irish-American readership. In 1848 McMaster purchased the paper. He was very opinionated and was obnoxious to work for and expected his staff to share his predjudces. The New York Times said – ‘he had bold things to say and he said them without fear’. However, this outspoken attitude infuriated Archbishop Hughes. This came to a head when McMaster published an editorial on the Bleeding Kansas controversy (A series of violent confrontations in Kansas between 1854 and 1861 over the legality of slavery in the proposed state of Kansas. About 200 people were killed as a result.)

McMaster wrote that if a person shot and killed the abolitionists; Horace Greeley, Theodore Parker and William Lloyd Garrison, it would be a ‘great relief’ to many people throughout America. McMaster supported slavery and the secession. In 1860 he urged Americans ‘not to throw away their future and all bright aspirations of American liberty, for the sake of four million black slaves’.

In 1854 he wrote an attack on Thomas Francis Meagher. The latter assaulted McMaster with a whip in the street one day for refusing to withdraw his remarks on Meagher’s character. McMaster fired his revolver at Meagher but missed. They were both arrested but later freed on bail. Each agreed not to press charges against the other. His editorial assault on President Lincoln in 1861 resulted in his arrest and imprisonment for 11 months. McMaster died in Brooklyn in 1886 aged 66.

John Francis Maguire (1815-1872)

Upcoming Events

More Upcoming Events

Latest News

More News

Latest Articles

Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list and get all the latest news for free via email. Simply enter your email address in the box below and press the 'Join' button.

Make A Donation

Waterford County Museum is a non profit voluntary museum. We would be grateful for any financial donation large or small.

Social Media

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Blogger Follow us on Youtube
Waterford County Museum 2014. All rights reserved. Please read our Terms of Use
Website By: Déise Design