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Can anyone help with a snappy pointer to a history of early Catholic emigration to America?


Malcolm Redfellow

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On a parallel thread, I've got stuck looking for an overview of Irish Catholic emigration in the Colonial period.

My present grasp doesn't go much beyond Charles Carroll, as a well-off landowner, emigrating from the County Offaly to Maryland in 1706 — and, of course, George Calvert founded and intended Maryland as a refuge for Catholics. Charles Carroll's grandson of the same name was the one Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Emigration from Ulster (i.e. mainly Protestants), after the War of Independence, patriotically went elsewhere. Catholics nobly filled the gap. But what do we know about the earlier times?
 


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On a parallel thread, I've got stuck looking for an overview of Irish Catholic emigration in the Colonial period.

My present grasp doesn't go much beyond Charles Carroll, as a well-off landowner, emigrating from the County Offaly to Maryland in 1706 — and, of course, George Calvert founded and intended Maryland as a refuge for Catholics. Charles Carroll's grandson of the same name was the one Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Emigration from Ulster (i.e. mainly Protestants), after the War of Independence, patriotically went elsewhere. Catholics nobly filled the gap. But what do we know about the earlier times?
There was lots of Emigration post Cromwell and it was not all Catholic as it combined many people who were opposed to him when he came to Ireland who then left after he had been in Ireland. These will be made up of a combination of all as those who were Royalists and those who wanted Ireland independent and those who lost out economically and didn't fancy Connaught.
 

The Owl

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No help to you at all Malcolm, never gave it a thought. Fascinating though, so will you do me a huge favour and if you come up with anything, post it here so I can learn more. I just kinda assumed that the Irish Catholic during this harsh time were dragged off in chains, rather than voluntarily emigrated.
 

Kev408

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On a parallel thread, I've got stuck looking for an overview of Irish Catholic emigration in the Colonial period.

My present grasp doesn't go much beyond Charles Carroll, as a well-off landowner, emigrating from the County Offaly to Maryland in 1706 — and, of course, George Calvert founded and intended Maryland as a refuge for Catholics. Charles Carroll's grandson of the same name was the one Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Emigration from Ulster (i.e. mainly Protestants), after the War of Independence, patriotically went elsewhere. Catholics nobly filled the gap. But what do we know about the earlier times?
Read this: http://www.dit.ie/media/documents/psai/PatrickIrelandPSAIpaper82.pdf

Both Protestants and Catholics fought during the (American) War of Independence, the vast majority against the British colonialists. Indeed, the 1798 Irish Rebellion at home was organised by Irish Presbyterians and Catholics alike - the evolution of the concept of Catholicism versus Protestantism had not even begun to evolve at that time. It's always interesting to note that the United Irishmen were founded in Belfast whilst the Orange Order was founded in Dublin (at different times, obviously)!

Anyway, you need to do more research on the basics as your assertion that Ulster Protestants 'patriotically' went elsewhere after the War of Independence is unfounded. As far as I know Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants had, again in the vast majority, Irishness and anti-British colonialism at their very core.

The link I provided above is very unbiased as all historical sources should be.

Edit: the link is mainly about Protestant emigration but offers some insight.
 
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Malcolm Redfellow

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Kev408 @ 12:41 am

Sorry: that "patriotically went elsewhere" was an attempt at irony.

I was hoping to suggest that, after US Independence, (mainly) Presbyterian emigration from Ulster tended first to Canada, later to the Antipodes.

I'm warmed to see it wasn't just my ignorance of any immediate citable reference text on early Catholic emigration to the colonies. There must have been some — and by no means "all in chains". We know of the many exiles who went to France and Spain: a few must have ventured across the Atlantic.

I was hoping that someone, somewhere had done the due diligence on the sources and produced a digestible account. The raw data may be there — for example the 34,326 (I think that's the total) entries listed on Dr Carson Gibb's Early Settlers of Maryland database. Many, probably most of those would be "either as servants or convicts. Maryland received more indentured servants than any other colony" — and indentured servants were usually there by choice.

The Catholichistory.net site isn't greatly helpful:

The earliest significant group of Catholic immigrants to British North America in the colonial era was the party of Englishmen who arrived aboard the Ark and the Dove to settle Lord Cecil Calvert’s colony of Maryland… Most Irish colonials were Scots-Irish Presbyterians, but several thousand Cathlic [sic] Irish also came and settled throughout the colonies; many were indentured servants in the southern colonies, where there was no organized Catholic Church.
 

ocianain

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On a parallel thread, I've got stuck looking for an overview of Irish Catholic emigration in the Colonial period.

My present grasp doesn't go much beyond Charles Carroll, as a well-off landowner, emigrating from the County Offaly to Maryland in 1706 — and, of course, George Calvert founded and intended Maryland as a refuge for Catholics. Charles Carroll's grandson of the same name was the one Catholic signatory of the Declaration of Independence.

Emigration from Ulster (i.e. mainly Protestants), after the War of Independence, patriotically went elsewhere. Catholics nobly filled the gap. But what do we know about the earlier times?
According to the accepted storyline Catholics were the first ones here from Europe, even Eric the Red was Catholic, as was Columbus of course. Most of the American Continent was settled by Catholic Europeans, the exception being the English colonies (26 in all, 13 on the continent). Most of "America" was Catholic, it was either Portuguese, Spanish or French, the Louisiana Territory was French of course, the city of St. Louis is a very old Catholic See. Florida, the Gulf States, Texas the whole West really, was Spanish...in spite of this it is generally held "America" is a Protestant English country....go figure!
 

Malcolm Redfellow

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ocianain @ 8:17 pm:

With considerable respect, Jordan & Walsh's White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America touches peripherally on Ireland, as part of the export of ne'er-do-wells and unfortunates (as well as the genuinely wicked) from the whole archipelago.

Then there are a whole swathe of titles which (sadly) misrepresent the nature of slavery: from memory —
  • Hoffmann: They Were White and They Were Slaves;
  • Masterson: White Slavery In Colonial America;
  • O'Callaghan: To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland;
  • Akamatsu: The Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indenture and Contract Labor Among Irish Immigrants..
Others may add to the list.

The problem I have (apart from the common sensationalism — the last I listed there being, to my mind, the worst offender) is the conflation of "indentured labour" with chattel slavery. They were never the same, or comparable.

Yes, servants were treated appallingly, by modern standards. Nailing a miscreant's ears to the pillory is not pleasant to consider — but it was the punishment inflicted on many, servants or not. Ben Jonson was branded. Under the Commonwealth branding and mutilation of the tongue was meted out to preachers and Quakers. In 1703, Daniel Defoe went to the pillory for three days for publishing a "seditious libel". Captain Thomas Cochrane was sentenced to the pillory in 1814 for stock fraud (his fame and popular reputation saved him — Patrick O'Brian uses the episode for his Aubrey-Maturin sequence).

Even so, indentured servants were not slaves: most signed up — perhaps with questionable "willingness" — as a way of paying their passage. Calling them "slaves" may make a good title, but it devalues the horror of slavery. Sadly, some of the authors who do so may have a hidden agenda to "de-racialise" black slavery in the Americas.

I've just had a tip about Donald Harman Akenson: Ireland, Sweden, and the Great European Migration, 1815-1914. Despite the time-scale in the title, the opening apparently has some sidelights on Catholic emigration. One story refers to William Stapleton, born in Tipperary, through Royalist loyalty lost his lands in the Civil War, rose to be Lt-Colonel and governor of Monserrat (and employed fellow-Catholics in his administration), was created a baronet in 1679, and died fabulously wealthy.

Akenson follows that with the account of Captain Anthony, in Kinsale in 1636, trying to drum up recruits for indenture in Virginia, only to find the Dutch had beat him to it, and the locals (cute Corkmen, no doubt) preferred to go to St Christopher on better terms. A four-to-six year term as an indentured servant, with a cash reward of £10-12 in cash or kind, was seen as a way of entering "a chronically labour-short market".
 

Bleu Poppy

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Would it be arguable that there must have been significant folk memories of Irish Catholic emigration to the Colonies / States to form the background for the basic plot of Gone with the wind ? A book written and published at a time when there was significant prejudice against the Irish in America but features a strong character of indisputable Irish Catholic stock, blessed with a West of Ireland surname, whose family home and plantation is named 'Tara'.
 

ocianain

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With considerable respect, Jordan & Walsh's White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves in America touches peripherally on Ireland, as part of the export of ne'er-do-wells and unfortunates (as well as the genuinely wicked) from the whole archipelago.

Then there are a whole swathe of titles which (sadly) misrepresent the nature of slavery: from memory —
  • Hoffmann: They Were White and They Were Slaves;
  • Masterson: White Slavery In Colonial America;
  • O'Callaghan: To Hell or Barbados: The Ethnic Cleansing of Ireland;
  • Akamatsu: The Irish Slaves: Slavery, Indenture and Contract Labor Among Irish Immigrants..
Others may add to the list.

The problem I have (apart from the common sensationalism — the last I listed there being, to my mind, the worst offender) is the conflation of "indentured labour" with chattel slavery. They were never the same, or comparable.

Yes, servants were treated appallingly, by modern standards. Nailing a miscreant's ears to the pillory is not pleasant to consider — but it was the punishment inflicted on many, servants or not. Ben Jonson was branded. Under the Commonwealth branding and mutilation of the tongue was meted out to preachers and Quakers. In 1703, Daniel Defoe went to the pillory for three days for publishing a "seditious libel". Captain Thomas Cochrane was sentenced to the pillory in 1814 for stock fraud (his fame and popular reputation saved him — Patrick O'Brian uses the episode for his Aubrey-Maturin sequence).

Even so, indentured servants were not slaves: most signed up — perhaps with questionable "willingness" — as a way of paying their passage. Calling them "slaves" may make a good title, but it devalues the horror of slavery. Sadly, some of the authors who do so may have a hidden agenda to "de-racialise" black slavery in the Americas.

I've just had a tip about Donald Harman Akenson: Ireland, Sweden, and the Great European Migration, 1815-1914. Despite the time-scale in the title, the opening apparently has some sidelights on Catholic emigration. One story refers to William Stapleton, born in Tipperary, through Royalist loyalty lost his lands in the Civil War, rose to be Lt-Colonel and governor of Monserrat (and employed fellow-Catholics in his administration), was created a baronet in 1679, and died fabulously wealthy.

Akenson follows that with the account of Captain Anthony, in Kinsale in 1636, trying to drum up recruits for indenture in Virginia, only to find the Dutch had beat him to it, and the locals (cute Corkmen, no doubt) preferred to go to St Christopher on better terms. A four-to-six year term as an indentured servant, with a cash reward of £10-12 in cash or kind, was seen as a way of entering "a chronically labour-short market".
To Hell or Connaught by, Peter Beresford Ellis is another recommend. With all due respect I believe attempted conflation/differentiation of/between indentured servitude and slavery is nothing but a pedantic exercise, pointless, as in reality it was a construct to rationalize white slavery. As Ellis points out in his book, expulsion to Barbados was a virtual death sentence, while indentured servitude in the colonies was quite another. Regardless, there was not a large migration of Irish Catholics to the American South or the Northern Colonies, though I do wonder about Irish migration via Catholic footholds like, Quebec, Arcadia pre-expulsion, the Louisiana Territory including New Orleans, Florida etc.

See: http://www.amazon.com/Celtic-Culture-Invented-Southern-Literature/dp/1589803302/ref=cm_cr-mr-title for a wonderful examination of Celtic influence on Southern Literature, author learned Irish and Welsh to write this book and it covers everything from waves of immigration, Irish language changes and how this helps identify when immigrants arrived, source materials (great source of books to read), even a examination of the sub-text of Gone With the Wind. It's a great book!
 
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