June 20th 1872
In the provincial Chapter of 1872 on the 20th June it was decided that Fr. Pius and Fr. Laurence should go to America and elsewhere if they thought proper to collect by lecturing, begging and every other legitimate means funds to pay off our debts in Dublin and if possible build the Church of our College there. The feeling of being thus exiled, although it was my own proposition worked queerly upon me – human respect, the parting with friends, the possibility of never returning, the thankless nature of the works, the mortifications to be endured, – all came upon me with tremendous force; but the aim and object and my intentions seemed to balance all and make me put on a cheerful countenance.
June 21st 1872
Fr. Laurence came today and he seemed surprised but pleased at the proposal. It looks as if we both can very well agree and make as pleasant a business as possible of what we have to do. The remainder of the evening was spent in writing the Acts of the Chapter in Latin.
June 22nd 1872
I went to Liverpool today and took berths for myself and Fr. Laurence in the “Java” (to sail on July 6th.) and I had no adventure worth recording except that I reached Sutton in the evening without one.
June 23rd 1872
Today I preached my last sermon in England for some time. The Religious assembled after Vespers and we had a bit of a Gaudeamus at which we all sang – I gave them ‘Ten Thousand Miles Away’.
June 24th 1872
I had great objections about going back to Dublin again. I wished to start off on my mission at once and avoid the botheration of leave-taking and goodbyes and the embarrassment a new Rector would feel at my presence. However I was persuaded to the contrary by Fr. Provincial and accordingly ‘off to Dublin I did go’ and thus arrived this morning. I encountered some lady friends at St. Paul’s and there was the ‘weeping and gnashing of teeth’. There was a crowd around me and when I saw the state of excitement I sang ‘And then the ladies fair – in despair – tear their hair – but the (three words indecipherable), I care says the poor tragic boy’.
June 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th 1872
These days I spent visiting friends and relations in Connaught. There was nothing particular occurred. I had plenty of dinners, ……3 music and divarsion.
June 29th 1872
Came to Dublin accompanied by my sister Maggie whom I deposited at Coutleys (?3) for a few days. The next three days were employed in writing and being visited and assisting at the Thesis of the students.
July 3rd 1872
I went out a visiting and then joined Fr. Laurence and Fr. Dominic at a dinner in Bryan Darcey’s at Blackrock. Got home …..3 and good wishes for my journey and came home later
July 4th 1872
Went out a roving, dined at home. Gaudeamus.
July 5th 1872
Left Mount Argus in company with Fr. Pancras, Fr. Author and Bro. John. At Kingsbridge I met many friends who came there to see me off. Mr. Molloy gave me a 1st Class and Fr. Pancras a 1st Class return for Cork, where I arrived at 8 p.m. Fr. Pancras accompanied me intending to see me off. We had a pleasant evening at the Walshes’.
July 6th 1872
I spent all the morning writing letters to some of my many friends and bidding them goodbye. Visited the nuns at St. Marie of the Isle and arranged to say Mass there tomorrow. Decided to go by the 11.30 tender to the ‘Java’.
July 7th 1872
Said Mass at St. Marie’s – …. the nuns and got them a holiday. Went up then and accompanied by Fr. Pancras, Mr. Walsh and Mr. McMahon got to Queenstown at about 11.00. At 11.30 ‘The Jackal’ took us all out to ‘The Java’ which we entered at 12.00. After we found our cabins and put our things in order and had deoc a dorrus. We met one of the mates a rough looking fellow and I proposed Michael John Brennan as a candidate for cabin boy. “Let him give three cheers and jump overboard at once” said this roughneck. It came about that I said I was a good sailor. “Umph, yes – a man that can eat when and what he likes, sleep when he likes, drink what he likes and do what he likes on board – I say he may very easily be a good sailor.” This day being Sunday was kept in a dull Scotch fashion. The Walshes returned to Cork about 1.00 and Fr. Pancras stayed with me and lunched with me on board. We had a good long chat but were not able to say much as both of us felt the parting and he was now the last link. We looked out for Fr. Laurence when the tender made her last appearance and we had a good mind to go below and hide, but we saw him on the little deck and he came on board in good time. Pancras went off with Dick Walsh and the tender accompanied us for some time. We got out of the harbour about 4.00 and then sat down to dinner. Fr. Laurence and myself had some amusement in our stateroom as such a thing was not lawful in the saloon. We are nicely placed and have a prospect of a pleasant voyage. I roved about the vessel to take stock of the passengers and found one face I knew Mr. Hazelton, who travelled with me in the ‘Batania’ about 2 years ago. I sniffed a parson some distance taking great care of a lady ‘his grat’. He seemed a friend of the Captain and sat at the head of the Captain’s table when the latter was absent. I made enquiries about some Miss Mastersons recommended to my care by Mr. McDonald of Old Bawn and found they were not known. Met the Head Steward who seemed a nice fellow.
July 8th 1872
I was up pretty early this morning and read my letters and tore them in bits and set them afloat ‘for a life on the ocean wave’. About the ringing of the third bell for breakfast Fr. Laurence gave signs of being sick. He was (?) in the berth last night and now seasickness was coming on unmistakably. there are about 80 passengers in the cabin part – mostly gentleman who do extensive (?) with Europe. There is one party consisting a pretty comfortable looking gentleman with grey moustache and a younger assistant, hampered with 3 or 4 ladies, tall thick, average age, squeaky voices and well able to fill the deck chairs when properly smothered in shawls. There is a young lady of the party who whimpers and wears tall heels. The gentlemen as far as I could judge from their tame appearance, seem to be all married and a little afraid of their wives after a European skedaddle. There are two young Oxford men at our table just beginning their travels and nice decent fellows they are. They become very popular and it is amusing to hear some of the Yankees and myself stuffing them with imaginary dangers. Beside us on the left sits a Mr. Farrel. a New Yorker raised in Cork and an extensive wholesale merchant in Walker St. On the other side sits another Paddy who hails from St. Louis’ but gift not his name. Poor Fr. Laurence is sick and must get the steward to his room to give him a morsel of food. The run of the ship is 254 miles ?7. The faithful steward (I find he’s a Catholic) found the Misses Mastersons in the steerage and brought over on our deck for me to make their acquaintance and talk to them. I find them nice simple country girls, and I persuaded the steward to take some extra care of them, which he does most excellently indeed. I made a few more acquaintances and looked on at a American game of poka or poker at cards, which is a game that (three words indecipherable). .Tried some Beggar with. Fr. Laurence but he was not well enough to enjoy it.
July 9th 1872
Dull rainy day. Ship’s run 316 miles. I had to poke about all day – find no one to play chess or whist. Those who can play are sick and those who cannot seem to be in the majority. I look on at the American games of cards but as they are all gambling games I don’t join them. Fr. Laurence is still on the broad of his back.
July 10th 1872
Brisk morning, fine breeze – lively going. More sick in consequence and very few at breakfast. I never felt better in my life. I went over near the steerage passengers and saw a man with a vernacular face who doffed his cawbeen to me. “Well my good man”, says I, “Are you an Irishman”. “Faith I am your reverence, and isn’t it Father Pius I’m talking to?” “It is”. He meet me at Ballyjamesduff Mission 6 years ago and seemed to think I had grown very portly during that time. Run 251. All passengers lounging about half sick and half well. Day gets calm towards the close.
July 11th 1872
I had a long talk with the Captain this morning. He is a Puseyite and does not like the Puritans. I asked for leave to say Mass next Sunday. He told me it was against the Rules of the Company to have any service on board except Church of England, because if other services were allowed, Mormons, Jumpers, (one word indecipherable) and hoc genus omnia wpuld pick up a habit of confusion. However he would not refuse me and granted the permission but I was only to publish the matter among my own co-religionists. I could say it in the ladies saloon, when all were at the Protestant service and invite the steerage passengers over. My Catholic friends in the Saloon were delighted. They never heard Mass on board before and never knew anything more than the Rosary and a little sermon in the steerage. This put them in great glee and I got a bottle of Champagne on the head of it from one of my neighbours. Run today 292 miles. The afternoon was calm and beautiful although we were in the 40” longitude called by seafarers “the dirty forties” as there is generally a storm there. It is amusing to watch the effect upon passengers of a calm and a squally day. The calm day makes the seasicked appear on deck like moles coming out of the earth. They look glad and rejoice at the vapours of cabin and seasickness being dispelled from them. They smile at everybody and then smile at themselves and feel extremely happy. When it is squally you see one stretched here another there – some trying to walk down sickness and others grunting at meals and service days and nights. I at length got a party for whist – a little Jew (Jacobo) was my partner and a capital little fellow he was. I had a tough game of chess with Fr. Laurence which he won. He dined in the saloon today and seems recovering.
July 12th 1872
It was too rough on deck for saying my office so I said it in one of the parlours or cabins. As I could get no one to play anything I asked a Yankee, whom I saw playing chess yesterday if he would play with me. He did and I beat him three games running. He played again with me and I beat him twice. He took no games and then I played with Fr. Laurence and I won also. I sent word to the Yankee to come and see us play and he told me afterwards he was so ashamed of the beating I gave him that he did not go into the saloon all that evening. He used to beat everyone in the place where he lived and felt it hard to be (?) up. No other Yankee would play. I never seen so few chess players on board. After dinner I played a few bars on my flute. We were laughing and chuckling at the parson. He would play nothing but go about in a most sanctified way looking disedified. He spoke to nobody and read one of Scot’s novels. He would then go and lie alongside of his wife on deck wrapped up in shawls whereat we all laughed. At length the Parson plays bezique four handed, there being three ladies and great is the giggling at all the declarations. I think his wife is seasick. The run today was 335 miles.
July 13th 1872
Rain and fog and then rain and fog, then nothing, then fog and rain. We are on the banks of Newfoundland where there is always a chill and a haze. Run 290 miles – I had a chat with the Captain. The Catholics never expected that he would grant me permission. Several Whist parties appeared now at the tables and chiefly English. The Americans, who played, played right well though. Whilst waiting for my party the Yankee (a Mr. Crowell) challenged me to chess again. He got beaten. I guess I’ll have no more challenges. He became my partner at Whist and we won two rubbers in great style. Eternal whistling on account of the fog.
July 14th 1872
This is Sunday. I said Mass at 11.00 o’clock in the Ladies’ Saloon. There was a nice recess for the altar with a mirror over it. To see the Catholic Steward (to whom I gave directions for hanging the curtains and fixing a table) putting in the nails and ordering a sub-steward was a study. It reminded me of the big Franciscan who gave extra blows to the nails for the decorations for the 1st Feast of the Immaculate Conception and when asked why he did so said, “We want to celebrate our victory over the Dominicans”! This steward is 19 years in the Cunard service and never heard Mass on board until today. He gathered up my congregation for me from the steerage. I had altogether about 40. Fr. Laurence held the chalice at and after the consecration. I was rather nervous as the steamer was not over steady. Still we got through in good time. I preached them a short sermon on the Gospel of the day and the devotions terminated. There was one Protestant present. The Captain said that if I published a service in my vestments they might all come for curiosity, and he might get into a scrape. Several expressed themselves disappointed at not having heard of it until it was over, especially the Jews. We had about a dozen Jews on board and they were all very friendly to me. They used to call me doctor and salute me on deck. The day was Scotchly kept and of course very dull. The run was 323 miles. After dinner Laurence and myself went on deck and happened to sit opposite the young lady of the tall heels whose father sat within parental inspection distance. The youngest of the Oxford men came on to the other side of her and was doing the gallant. She was rather awkwardly placed to be sure; but American ingenuity was a match for the situation. She put up her parasol on the side the father sat, which was not the sun side, and gave a most amorous glance with an invitation to sit down beside her to the American. Fr. Laurence and myself thought it was time to go and I don’t think I ever saw Fr. Laurence chuckle so hugely during our game of Bezique than he did over this beautiful performance.
July 15th 1872
Beautiful morning. We saw three or four whales sprouting the water up very high. I thought them rather small. After my office on deck I had a long chat with three or four Jews. I find they are mixing English with their Hebrew in the service. They think the Catholics right if the messiah has come and one Jew said very sadly “After all you believe in some thing that is: we in something that is not and may not be whilst we live”. I find them rather poorly informed and leaving all their Theology to Rabbis and minding only profit and loss themselves. Just as we had finished dinner we heard a shot, the vessel stopped and all ran on deck, it was a pilot. These American pilots cruise about for three or four days to get the job of bringing a steamer into harbour. When the pilot came there was a scramble for newspapers but no news worth reading. We had dense fog – great whistling. In the evening there was some fun in ‘the fiddler’ or smoking room. My little Jew friend Jacobo played a flutina, and a great many sang songs in chorus. It was comical to observe the Yankees during the singing. There was a square table where they had been all playing cards, and all the feet round about were put on the table and they reclining on the backs of their chairs. The run was 309 miles.
July 16th 1872
This was a foggy morning and delayed our arrival by nearly a day. I had a talk with the jews; saw a shark; played some whist; lounged about; run of ship today 262 miles.
July 17th 1872
There was a second pilot boat came alongside yesterday but was too late. I was up this morning at 5.00, half choked for want of air. We are now in New York bay with a full view of Jersey City. I thought myself melted with the heat and began to look for one of my legs, which I found on the floor not disjointed from the other. We had to go into Quarantine for a few hours till the Doctor examined us and reported “All well”. We met a Mr. Hogan just as we landed and he very kindly saw our luggage passed through the Custom House. When the officer was examining Father Laurence’s things and saw so many dozen of new unworn stockings he began to get more cautious (whether expecting a bribe or doing straight duty, I will not say) and I said “I say, Laurence, he takes you for a smuggler”, and then as if ashamed of himself he chalked the baggage and let us go. Mr Hogan took us off to New York and a hotter day I never remember in my life before or since (I am now writing from notes two months later). The perspiration ran off me in bucket fulls and I envied the inhabitants of the tropics who wear nothing behind and nothing before with sleeves of the same. We took up our quarters in Mrs. Dunne’s, 346 West 17th Street, and made arrangements to have this place as a house of call during our stay in the states. The family is composed of Mrs. Dunne, with two old maiden sisters, two maiden daughters and a little girl for a granddaughter. Her son died lately and we were able to get two good bedrooms and a sitting room very handily.
Remainder of July 1872
The weather was so close – the thermometer being generally 95 or 100 in the shade that we were not able to go out till evening for fear of sunstroke. At 12.00 o’clock at night the heat was sometimes over 80. In attempting to write the perspiration used to go through three sheets of blotting paper and dissolve the letters my pen formed. We were able however to get the name of the Archbishop of New York upon our paper and also to secure the commitance and good will of the Bishop of Brooklyn to our work when we should be able to carry it on in this part of the country. We took an occasional walk to the Central Park where Darbys and Joans had their secret confabs under the shadows of the trees to such an extent that we thought it prudent to retire from sauntering there, and shaped our evening rambles to Castle Gardens where the multitude of lamps prevented the billing and cooing of the Park. Our course of life during the month was somewhat as follows. We arose when we felt inclined, said Mass in the drawing room when we were so inclined, breakfasted, read the Herald, played chess and snored about half naked until dinner time, dined, indulged sometimes in a cigar, lolled about sweating most fearfully and played chess or bezique until about sunset when we ventured out for a stroll. We were getting so weak at length that we thought it better to go northwards and try to get some cooling air and find our muscles in working order. Accordingly after various procrastinations and delays we set off for Saratoga by the Hudson River Steamer on August 20th. I never was so disappointed in my life as I was with the trip up The Hudson. People, who have been in America, now tend to ask me in Europe “Were you up the Hudson?” We would talk again about American lakes, rivers, and steam exploits and guess and calculate a bit, but “Were you up the Hudson?” used always to bring me to a standstill. “Oh the lovely verdure, the Autumnal hues, the classic remembrances! (consisting of Corlear, Vanter Van Twiller, Rip van Winkle, and the Katskite Mts.) “Were you ever up the Hudson?” Again when talking to my old companions and going over my travels in America, I would be told “you lost it – you were never up the Hudson” Now at length I did go “up the Hudson”, and a more disappointing journey I never took. You see nothing but raw uncultivated banks with some stunted trees and scarcely an excuse for calling a few distant misty hills “scenery” (a word which may mean anything), a few towns as guiltless of the picturesque as near all American towns are. We reached Albany in fine time and put up at Stannix Hall for the night. Here the keys of the rooms were checked by young flattened pokers to prevent them being put into any pocket smaller than that which Dietrick Knickerbocker assigns to the Dutch (some words in Dutch indecipherable) of New Amsterdam. This being the first time I put up at a Hotel, conducted after the American system, (which means that you are to pay for your board whether you eat there or not) I wished to get a few wrinkles from Fr. Laurence as to how they were to be dealt with. His theory and practice was simple and very cute. He put up at an American Hotel when he had a good appetite, at a European (where you pay for what you consume) when he had a bad or indifferent one. Moreover he generally ordered all the (?) things mentioned in the bill of fare for each of his three meals and slightly tasting each, in this way he made sure that they could not gain much by him if he did not gain anything by them. Waiters went off puzzled and came back buried in a cloud of plates and little dishes whereat he chuckled hughely and bruised my corns. In this way he got the reputation of being ‘a smart man’ and is well served, for fear if not for love, with an eye to the spoons by the head waiter.
August 21st 1872
Today I went to see Dr. Conroy, the Bishop of Allbany and he received me very cordially, gave me all the requisites permissions, and sent me away blessing my stars. We started for Saratoga and fell in with a French Canadian priest, settled hereabouts, who was not received well by the bishop and wondered at our being so. We passed Troy where all the priests are now on retreat. Thereby hangs a tale. There is a river called the ‘Mohawk’ and over it, nearly a mile long, a ricketty bridge. The bridge is judged unsafe and passangers have to keep their seats in ‘the cars’ over it at their own risk. You are told of this agreeable part first as you enter the bridge and then you resign yourself to a probable burial in the deeps without benefit of shrift. We got over it safely and reached Saragota in good time. Just as we turned out to look at the place we met three priests, Frs. Kieran, Filan, and Gallagher of Philadelphia who were here for their holidays. The two latter were from my diocese, the former from Laurence’s so we were at home with them at once and invited to their Hotel.
Saratoga N.Y. August 22nd 1872
Saratoga is famous for its mineral waters, which fizz up out of the ground in every variety. A great number of people come here every season to sell their daughters and improve their health. There are a great many hotels built for the accommodation of visitors and it bids fair to being a famous place. We went about and heard from the visitor-priests that the local pastor was likely to turn turk.
August 23rd 1872
I went today and engaged the town-hall for next Sunday week. I gave orders to have tickets printed for my lecture and spent the remainder of the day putting my plans of my first Campaign into working order. The Philadelphian priests went off today and we joined one who was left behind at Congress Hall Hotel to watch a set of masqueraders going to a ball. It was a poor and I think a stupid business.
August 24th 1872
We both went out together today and began to dispose of tickets, etc. We met with a young fellow named Coghlin. We got his father to accompany us. Coughlin Senior is a (?) and he amused us greatly at the expense of a certain Peg who never gave anything to anybody and gave me 5 dollars because I spoke Irish. We called on the priest Fr. McManing this evening and he received us kindly enough – I am to preach for him and Fr. Laurence to sing Mass tomorrow. Coughlin said ‘My son Denny is a good boy and he’d be a bastard if he wasn’t.
August 25th 1872
There is a huge man here dictating, named Judge Conolly. He talks much but gives us nothing. His daughter is a dying thing and disposed to be as liberal as her father. A Ballymote girl who is a waiting maid in the Hotel undertakes to sell tickets for me. I preached this morning and the priest, though not over disposed to favour us, gets on nicely – like a man slowly recovering from smallpox.
August 26th and 27th 1872
Passed by in our usual manner and (?) work – no incident worth recording except that the Honourable John Murphy who was once a prize-fighter and now the possessor of a Hall and other sporting concerns, and a Senator of new York, gave me the handsome donation of $50. We meet several other decent people in the Village but found none of the visitors any good.
August 28th and 29th 1872
Ditto. – I went on one of these days to Ballston and got $25.
September 1st 1872
I preached a short sermon at last Mass today and in the evening gave my first lecture. The subject was ‘The Destiny of the Irish Race’. The Pastor was to have introduced me but he did not come in time. Fr. Laurence and myself got on the platform and I introduced myself. I had an audience of about 700 and after my lecture, which lasted about an hour, was over they seemed to go away in good humour with me and themselves.
September 2nd 1872
We gathered up the stray dollars, which were due to us and found that the proceeds exceeded $500. We had to pay Hotel expenses out of this to the American Hotel – $3 per day for each and sundries so that I only carried away about $360.
September 3rd 1872
We started this morning for Montreal by way of Lake Champlain. This is a thousand times grander than the Hudson. We saw some live eagles or vultures and a lot of small black birds not much bigger than bees infesting the borders of this lake. We remarked that the fellow passengers were much tamer than Yankees.
Montreal, Canada September 4th 1872
This morning at about 2.00 o’clock we arrived in Montreal. The journey by water was easy enough but the bit of railroad we got upon was the most bumpy and uneven I ever travelled. We put up at a Hotel for the remainder of the night or rather beginning of the day and when we had our breakfast set ourselves to the work before us. Our first journey was to Sadlier the bookseller to whom I had an introduction from Mrs. Sadlier of New York. I ‘guessed” he would be posted on the state of ecclesiastical politics in the city. I found I was right. The city belongs (ecclesiastical speaking) to the Sulpitians:, they are lords of the soil and legal possessors of the churches. They were established here in missionary times before the wigwams grew into palaces and possess now the most valuable portions of the town and nearly all the churches. The Bishop of Montreal is a kind of Satrap, Grand Vizier, or purpled shoeboy to their High Mightiness, the Sulpitians, and gets so much a year for doffing his robes and imposing hands upon such as they submit to him and approve of. They teach the Ecclesiastics, they possess the parishes, they (The Seminary) do everything and the Bishop, a nice mild gentleman does the journeywork. It is the only modern instance of the Old Father Abbot who kept a few bishops in his scullery for ordination and confirmation purposes. I heard, moreover, that his Lordship has been trying by Roman strength to emancipate himself and has partially succeeded. I heard again that the Irish of the city were in the hands of the Sulpitians and I must pay court to their High Mightiness if I am to succeed. Mr. Sadlier then took us to the Seminary and we met there a venerable Abb who said – ‘Ye mus firs go to ze San Patricia and when ye get hospitalite there ye may come here.’ He bowed and scraped and sent us off. We went to St. Patrick’s then: the Rector or P.P. there was a Fr. Dowd. Laurence told me he was more Turkish than Christian with regard to beggars and though born within a hen’s race of Collon, Co. Louth, had been transformed into a strange hominas since he came here. We called and found he was not at home. We followed him to a St. Anne’s and he hummed and hawed and objected; but at length said if the bishop gave leave for a lecture then he’d have no objection, and indeed we might share a potatoe and a corner of the house with him whilst we were in Montreal. It is next to a mortal sin for a priest to live in a hotel here. He was full sure at the time that the bishop would not give the requisite permission. We went to the Bishop’s and found La Grandeur was away at the hospital, sick.. We saw the V.G. He happened to be one of those Canadian priests whom I befriended in Rome in 1867, and as soon as we recognised each other, he burst out in the most gushing welcome, offered us rooms in the Episcopal palace, and got his carriage round and took us off to see the Bishop, who gave leave for a Lecture with a winking permission to beg and do the Sulpitians. Dowd was surprised when we took our traps to St. Patrick’s. We then went to make arrangements for the lecture. I first called upon my old schoolfellow, Owen Devlin. He was delighted to see me, came with me and engaged the Hall and helped me out in the minor parts of my undertaking. I then saw Mullarkey (another Kilmactigue man), an overgrown shoemaker on a gigantic scale and he promised to assist. I found out a couple of cousins besides and altogether felt at home in Montreal. Loftuses, Howleys, Tanseys, Mullarkies, Devlins and others, helped us on every day and the hall of St. Patrick’s was well filled on the night of the Lecture. It came off on September 12th and together with some more begging and the help of Owen Devlin it gave us $750.
Dowd would not announce the Lecture, still I preached there and Laurence sung Mass and the people saw us and heard us and gradually came to know us. There were very few incidents during our campaign worth recording except one shopkeeper who began to discourse me and say that the coming of Irish priests today was a nuisance. I told him that if it was, it was not his business to correct it but to take care that he was just to his customers and stick to his last. I was delayed for another sermon on September 15th in St. Anne’s and I lectured in the evening in St. Patrick’s. I was going to Quebec next but Barney and Owen Devlin recommended us to get there on a Saturday and preach on a Sunday so that we might be advertised. We then went to –
Ottawa, Upper Canada
Owen Devlin got us free passes over the Grand Trunk Railway from Montreal to Toronto and back again. He gave us his subscription, sold tickets besides, and entertained us hospitably in his house. I never meet so sincere and practical a friend. We set off for Ottawa on the morning of September 17th and got there only 2 hours after the time the train was due. This was considered a great effort on the part of the Grand Trunk Railway, which is the laziest and worst conducted line I have ever travelled over. When we got to Ottawa I enquired for my cousin James Brennan, and at length found him. He is the ‘Boss’ of a little Hotel called ‘Chicago House’, is married to an oldish woman and doing pretty well. We had something to eat there, set up our lodgings and then went to see the Bishop. He gave us the requisite permissions and we begged the place out on the 18th and 19th September. Here is the Parliament House of Canada and the members are better accommodated than is our House of Commons. We scraped up about $200 here and then set out for Quebec. The Ottawa people were very nice and friendly. They wished me to come and lecture for them sometime and I promised to do so at my own convenience. On the evening of the 19th September we set out for Quebec. We had to stop at Prescott some time about midnight for a train that was a couple of house late. Fr. Laurence was nicely housed in a sleeping car for Toronto when I told him his mistake. We had to lie about on hard benches in a waiting room and Fr. Laurence says that I snored loud enough to disturb all the passengers until a Frenchman politely sat in my place when I got up to prevent further snoring. We get to Montreal on the morning of the 20th September and Devlin got us free passes on the boat to Quebec and back, meals and state rooms included.
Quebec, Lower Canada
We reached Quebec on the morning of the 21st September. I left the steamer and went off to St. Patrick’s where I said Mass. I saw the P.P. (a Rev. Fr. McGauran from near Collooney – my own diocese) after breakfast and told him the object of our visit, just as Fr. Laurence came in. He received us very frigidly and tried to get rid of us but I was not to be balked. We went to see the Archbishop and got his signature and approbation and then McGauran was reluctantly obliged to give us a (?) kind of hospitality, which he did with as ill a grace as ever I saw or experienced. With a great deal of trouble we managed to arrange for a Lecture in The Catholic Institution on Wednesday evening 25th September. We got the tickets out and fell to work as briskly as we could. Here cabs are cheap and we hired one each for the day – cabmen are called carters here – and went our rounds. Quebec is a fine old town with a fortress reputed to be impregnable: but now, since the British Army withdrew, rather badly garrisoned. We were told that the Quebec boys took the citadel with snowballs last winter. There is a Cathedral (French) and a University (?), all under Catholic superintendence. I dined twice with the University dons and found them very pleasant nice fellows. I saw one day an old French priest, very queer, who never says Mass from scruples. He was smoking a clay pipe and had two delightful pets crawling up his back, one was a white rat with red eyes, about 40 years old, and the other a Racoon or big, clumsy, ugly kind of grizzly rat. I found the French Canadian very stingy but the Irish always generous. I met a respectable gentleman one-day who gave me a couple of dollars, and hearing him speak (though he bore an Irish name), I asked him if he were born in this country – ‘Oh Glory be to God, your reverence,’ he exclaimed ‘I escaped being a Canadian by three months.’ He was three months old when his mother left Ireland with him. Fr. Laurence had a great variety of guides here. One was half drunk, another half-cracked, and a third half-witted. The best of all was one who used to stand with Laurence at the corner of a street and tell him the name of every respectable Catholic who passed by. Fr. Laurence would stop said Catholic, or sometimes pursue him at a quickened snail pace until he caught him and then say ‘I am Fr. Kieran and aren’t you Mr. So and So!’ ‘Yes I am, how did you know me?’ ‘Oh, from a friend’s description’. ‘You must be very sharp” and he fumbled for his pocket book and gave him a donation. Laurence pursued this kind of gathering for two or three days and did very well. We both laughed heartily at this novel way of begging. My Lecture came off on the 25th and was reported in some of the papers. It took Thursday to pick up the payments and then I sent a instalment of money to Ireland, altogether up to this £300. I left in the evening of the 26th for Toronto and Fr. Laurence went for a day’s fishing up somewhere near the North Pole. His vehicle was a plank, with two wheels at each end of it and a seat in the middle for himself and driver. He caught, I believe, some 150 fish and gave them to Fr. McGauran to pay for our board.
I got to Toronto on Saturday 28th September and had an interview with the Archbishop. He was very kind, promised us a collection in his diocese but not just now. However he asked me to lecture on Temperance in his Church on tomorrow evening.
September 29th 1872
I lectured for nothing in Toronto and next day I met Fr. Laurence who had just returned from the North Pole. As nothing was to be done here we went on to meet the Archbishop at Niagara and see after a foundation he promised us there. We had a view from various points of the great Falls and stayed away in a curious sort of wood house for a day or so this way.
October 1st. 1872
On the next day October 2nd we wandered round again and inspected the whole place with His Grace. In the evening we started for :-
October 2nd 1872
We went to The City Hotel, kept by a German, and was stuffed into one small room with 2 big beds in it. We objected to the accommodation and the ‘Serman cum in and mit his hants showed us that (4 words on discipherible)’. We bundled off to another Hotel and were here better accommodated. We called upon the Archbishop the next day and fond him in bed. He has too many irons in the fire himself at present and can’t let us work. If we come next April he will. In the meantime we have leave in his diocese outside Buffalo City. We go off in the evening to Dunkirk where we arrive about 7.00. We got a hearty welcome from our Fathers here and resolve to work up for a lecture.
October 4th 1872
We went (7 of us) out cruising on Lake Eire. I had to do the chief part of the rowing in my boat and Fr. Laurence in his. One of the oars broke in the other boat and we tied it to ours and had great work to tow it in after us. My pocket book got wet here and I lost half the notes I had taken for the composition of this journal.
October 5th 1872
We put the tickets in hands and prepared for our work. I preached morning and evening on Sunday 6th October. Monday we set out selling tickets. I came across a genteel young widow with a cornstalk of a young overgrown daughter and had a merry interview. Fr. Basil was with me and told me she was a blue. She discoursed me elegantly on women’s superiority and said that Eve showed herself nobler than Adam in that little affair of apple eating in Paradise – ‘Because she ate for the sake of knowledge and Adam from the sheepish notion of pleasing his wife.’ ‘Showing,’ said I, ‘that when husbands have wives too fond of knowledge they should never accompany them in their adventures or share the spoils of their dangerous rambles”. I felt I had not answered her but only gave her a knock. She touched upon several points of she-Philosophy and all I could do was to turn her theories into ridicule, which was the only way of stopping her tongue. I next called upon an overgrown tailor, I think, and his daughter did us the honour of sitting forenenst us in the drawing room and handed us wine – a very rare thing in America. When she came near me, I perceived that she was very genteel inasmuch as she was clad like a goddess, that is to say in almost transparent and scant drapery, and that her cheeks had just received a thick coat of red paint, which she had not time to tone down on the borders to a flesh colour. This girl I found was one of the most edifying of the few genteel Catholic young ladies in the parish. Alas, poor Yorick!. My next trudge was among the “rale ould” natives, those who had not yet sacrificed the brogue of their tongue by the razory Yankee dialect. Here I found the style of the cabin life at home, but the little wooden houses had each a parlour and a carpet into which nobody got entrance except very respectable visitors. In one place I sat down to chat, there was a mother and an old maiden daughter and two orphan children of a sister dead. This old maiden girl supported the whole of them by washing and hard work and did it well too. I sat some time interested in their several stories and when I got up to go away the crone said ‘Oh then, but ye are the fine looking man, may the Lord preserve ye from all temptations of the divil.’ I had to wait till I got round the corner before I could thoroughly enjoy the comic and yet earnest manner of the old woman.
October 9th 1872
I finished canvassing my district today and I must say I never met a meaner, stingier or more niggardly people than those of Dunkirk. Fr. Laurence was so disgusted at the paltry shifts and lies in order to avoid buying a ticket, that he walked four miles out a bleak road puffing his indignation against the wind before he could get himself back to his usual composed level of equanimity. Next day I stayed at home and ransacked the library where I picked odds and ends of information. Next day I lectured in the Columbus Hall. The audience was the thinnest I had yet, numbering about 150, and when Fr. Laurence saw it so small he proposed that I should go down and give them their money back. Well, we were certainly not in love with the Dunkirk people and gave our Fathers to understand the same. Were I Provincial, I would abolish this house.
October 11th 1872
We left Dunkirk today by the Eire railroad. There was a delay of 4 hours in starting the train and during that time I saw Bishop Ryan of Buffalo on his way to St. Louis. He looked very thin and small and shabby. He had a scuffed hat on and his railway ticket stuck in the band thereof. Oh murder! if a Cardinal flunkey from Rome only saw his Lordship, I would not like to be answerable for his life. Such is ecclesiastical pomp in this here Republic. We got to Annesville at quarter past ten p.m. Slept at a Hotel and called upon the priest Fr. McNab next morning.
October 12th 1872
Fr. McNab is a nice young man, much given to smoking. We were just taking a weed after dinner when two grey nuns from Buffalo marched in to beg also. We had some repartee and divarshion over the division of the parish, etc., and as it was decided I should preach and make a collection in the Church tomorrow the place aux dames principle had not much weight with me.
October 13th 1872
Fr. McNab slept a little beyond his time and told me his difficulty was that he had to hear the confessions of the nuns who lived over the way (Sisters of Mercy) before Mass. ‘Oh! is that so,’ said I, ‘get them to kneel in a row and say to the first – ‘same as last week?’, ‘Yes, Father!’, ‘All right go to communion, and proceed thus through the whole rank.!’ This tickled his fancy immensely and tickled the fancy of the nuns also. I preached and lectured and collected here $125.
October 14th 1872
We set out for Corning and met a queer (?) of an old priest, Fr. Colgan. I believe he washes and shaves whenever he expects the bishop and gets his shoes polished once a week. We could not get working here until about November 20th so we went on to Elmira. We called upon Fr. Clarke here, and he was willing enough we should try our luck: but from the fact of the town having been recently divided in four parishes and there being a Church in process of erection in one quarter and a Holy Fair or bazaar going on in another, we prudently retreated to the Railway station and took Pullman car for New York, where we arrived on the morning of October 16th. Here we rested for a day or two writing letters, etc. On
October 17th 1872
we went to hear Fr. Tom Burke lecture on the Volunteers of ‘82, and smelt powder from his remarks on a lecture which James A. Froude delivered last night. This promises to be a nice dual and we shall hear the result. Burke certainly is the finest orator even I heard, once or twice I felt lifted out of my seat by some of his glorious flight of oratory. What amused me first was; when he came on the platform and the audience was cheering and cheering he was cooly settling his scapular and putting a jug of water out of the way of his feet. When he said anything to amuse, the muscles of his arch countenance seemed to emit sparks.
October 19th 1872
Froude is to lecture this evening but I cannot wait as I must be off to Albany to look after begging work. I arrived in Albany October 19th.
Albany October 19th 1872
On October 19th I called to see the Bishop but he was not at home I then saw his Coadjutor, Dr. McEnerny, who approved of our questing but said we were to act in each parish in accord and with the consent of the Pastor thereof. The priest I met was a Fr. Walworth. He is a double X. Having tried his hand as a religious, a missioner and other clerical pursuits and failed, he has at length taken up, as sourly as can be, the position as spiritual guard of the souls and temporal shearer of the wool of the flock yclept S. Mary’s. He was gruff, stiff, and stubborn, determined that he would not aid, help, assist or allow me to do anything within his parish. We marched off then to St. John’s and there found a French Canadian priest – Fr. Bayard – I suppose a relation of the ‘Chevalier sans peur et sans (?)’ and he was the very reverse of the last Turk. ‘Thank God,’ I exclaimed, ‘that I have met a Christian priest.’ We got the usual permissions. I preach and Fr. Laurence sings tomorrow. Fr. Bayard took me (Fr. Laurence arrived in the evening) to a French Hotel and we fond ourselves settled down very comfortably for our campaign.
October 20th 1872
I preached to day at St. John’s and we got our begging affair launched. Fr. Walworth spoke against us from the Altar on the principle of the man who put a cow into the pound for looking over his fence. We went in the afternoon to visit the Little Sisters of the Poor and promised to say Mass for them occasionally. The remainder of the week was spent begging from door to door with pretty fair success. On the three last days we had the 40 Hours at St. John’s. We helped the priests in the Confessional and I preached on Friday and Sunday. This last sermon was reported in the Catholic Reflector and I sent a few copies off to Europe. I called upon Fr. McGinn and found him as bad as Walworth. Poor us we must do what we can.
November 1st and 2nd 1872
I said Mass at the Little Sisters and we went on as usual. I had engaged the Martin Hall, an Opera House, for the 11th but finding the time too short we postponed the Lecture and the house not being disposable until the 29th we fixed upon that day as the Lecture Day.
November 3rd 1872
November 3rd a Sunday: I said mass in the Cathedral by way of an introduction to the parish. I did a pretty good week’s work now except that the 5th (election day) was an idle day and we stayed at home. Elections are very curious things here. They have tremendous beating of drums and blowing of rams horns, and torchlight processions, in which hundreds march to the strains of music, dressed in red glazed caps and red cloaks with big flambeaux over their heads looking for all the world like Pandemonium coming into order. The bigness of the processions denotes the amount of popularity which each of the rival candidates possesses. Grant and Greely are the candidates for the Presidency. The newspapers all over the country take sides in the contest and each sheet of print blackens most atrociously the candidate not in their interest. All this paper fight and demonstration business goes on for some months before the election. Speeches are also made by stump orators on both sides in which opponents are besmirched with odious epithets. On the day itself people, who have votes, go to the poll like railway travellers getting their tickets, but quietly and orderly, papers are dropped into boxes. These are counted and the numbers proclaim the successful candidate. Grant is reelected and the party squabbles in the newspapers cease. Greely’e wife dies and poor Horace himself goes down the hill of life. During this week I had a variety of guides. One was a dark sulky unwilling man, the next was an openfaced genial goodnatured man and the third was a dandified politician. Quinn the goodnatured man was well received and I get on well with him. He kept the grandees for last and expected a haul I prophesied not from experience. Begging of a genteel person is in this wise : You ring the bell, a servant ushers you into a drawing room, you wait five minutes or more whilst my lady is a dressing and a cleaning of herself. She comes down savouring of eau-de-cologne and keeps you in elegant discourse for 15 minutes. Then having heard your mission and approved thereof with most gracious smile she tells you that ‘all such things are done at the business place of her husband and really she never soils her fair hands with such a poor business as an act of charity’. You take your hat amid many good wishes for your success and depart – I was going to say in peace – but I declare it is quite the reverse of a pacific disposition that hurries you to the next grand house to another grand reception. That is the general rule but there be occasional exceptions. When poor Quinn had gone through 7 or 8 of these grand performances he began to think of Our Lord’s words – ‘it is easier for a camel etc.’
November 10th 1872
I preached in the Cathedral today and Fr. Laurence preached in St. John’s. Another week’s work in the way of begging and disposing of tickets for the lecture. It is a slow thankless harrowing sort of occupation and how often am I inclined to sit down and pitch it up. Courage however it must be done. To be going up and down stairs going into rooms, full of washtubs, smells, dirty women, unkempt children, with the suds, pots, beefsteak for dinner, cat, dog, wet clothes, brushes and shoes all in glorious confusion, to get 50 cents in one place, a dollar in another and nothing in another and to be all day long breaking your shins and getting out of breath and, and, sick and tired of yourself and the whole world, and when one day like that is over to have to begin another. Yet a cheque for £200 or £500 looks very nice and makes Rectors and other big folks smile a smile and order the beggar some sweet words – but only the poor fellow himself knows what trouble it cost. It is not for ourselves ‘sic vos, non vobis, midificatis aves’, and this is my only mainstay.
November 15th 1872
Went to see Fr. Burke of St. Joseph’s. He is perky, small, dapper square, oily sleek, polished, smart, mercurial, snappish, snobbish kind of a manikin. If he had a curly tail stuck to him he could pass for a Patagonian lady’s lapdog. He had a new school to build and he had been in Ireland – Amen. He was born in Swinford Co Mayo, God help us, and never was forty yards from a cow’s tail until he came to this country allons – and he did not care much about that place, and he was not so well received – Amen. My cousin asked him to dinner and treated him well – allons. He could not countenance our begging in his parish, as he had to get money himself. However I asked might I sell tickets for my lecture same as any other mountebank or circus fellow and then the little sparrow of a man raised himself on tiptoe, looked patronizing at me, swelled out his little gills, and in a most wonderful up heaving of heart, said ‘Why, yes.’ He also condescended to allow me to preach in his Church on next Sunday. I went away with a very curious compound of feelings struggling for existence in the shape of words in my stomach – they died in embryo, unless this paragraph be considered as their accoucheur. I found it difficult to procure a guide in this part of the city. However I did a trifle in one of the foundries by means of a young fellow named Hopkins from St. John’s parish.
November 17th 1872
Sunday 17th: preached in St. Joseph’s; found Fr. Burke more consequential than ever and throwing out nasty remarks which he thought witty but which I considered impertinent. ‘Hum haw’- ‘you monks build palaces wherein to keep a vow of poverty’- ‘Hum, haw, -’ ‘better for people to come out to this free country than be building round towers to puzzle posterity at home’ – and more of that ilk. ‘Hum haw,’ ‘I did not think you’d go sell the tickets yourself’ – ‘Hum, haw,’ – ‘it is usual to leave them in stores and not go yourself.’ etc. I said quietly that people who live in glass houses must not throw stones and that I was my own agent so far but if he would take the office I should be happy to employ him. He asked me over to dinner and we became a little more at home with each other, my contempt growing in inverse ratio to his attempts at being (?) We looked about us one of these days for some convenient place in which to say Mass. Fr. Walworth would not let us say Mass in the convent in his parish, and the Christian Brothers having an altar and a chapel, one of the priests lent them vestments and we used to say Mass there regularly about 7.00 o’clock. On Monday went through another foundry and a lot of men working at a hospital. On Tuesday Fr. Laurence and myself were taken by a Mr. Ryan and a Mr. Lloyd out to a Mr. James Devine’s. This Devine kept a grand hotel on the Troy Road. He treated us to champagne and gave me five dollars when we returned home.
November 17th 1872
I did not go out today, as I had no very definite arrangements until the afternoon. About 12.00 o’clock Fr. O’Connor from the Cathedral came to visit me. He had a cigar and a chat and then when rising to go said, ‘Well the bishop sent me to say he has withdrawn all the faculties for Mass and collecting which he gave you, but he will be glad to see this evening at 3.00 or tomorrow morning at 9.00’. I was thunderstruck. ‘What is the matter?’ I said, ‘What have we done?’ “Well some of the priests are complaining and I think it will be alright as soon as you see the bishop.’ Laurence and myself wore very long faces at dinner and did not know what to think. We were guessing and imagining until we were tired and could not make it out. I went to see the bishop at 3.00 and was admitted into his room. Fr. Luddon was present at the conference. To make a long story short the Bishop told me he had nothing of a personal nature against myself or companion but from a complaint lodged with him that day he thought it better to summon me and apologised for so doing. The plaintiff was Fr. Walworth. Never did a more fiendish case come before me. He (Walworth) told the Bishop that we were a bad pair, that we said Mass in a forbidden place in his parish out of sheer disobedience, that we lodged at a disreputable place in his parish, that we begged there against his will and that we were stirring up the Irish portion of his flock against him and doing ever so many harmful things in the city. I told the Bishop that these were a series of the most malignant falsehoods. I did not know that the Bishop forbade Mass (and it seems he did but I was not told of it) to be said in the Brothers’ Chapel. A priest sent me there and got me vestments. The Hotel I stopped at was kept by a French Catholic and priests stopped there regularly and I never saw a better conducted establishment. The bishop’s own curates dined and stopped there occasionally. ‘Who’s the proprietor?’ ‘Henri (?), my Lord.’ ‘Oh, poor Henri, sure I know him very well.’ ‘But remember’ said the Bishop, ‘I am only giving you Mr. Walworth’s words.’ ‘As to the other charges I never asked for a cent in his parish and I never spoke down of his parishioners to my knowledge’. The Bishop then asked for my papers and I showed my letter to him signed by himself. He handed it over to Fr. Luddon and said ‘Look here the Archbishop of New York and several other Archbishops and Bishops have signed this letter as well as I’. He then motu proprio renewed my permissions and expressed sorrow and regret for all the trouble he gave me. I thanked him and perceived from this showing of the letter that Walworth had been making us out impostors as well. The Bishop asked me to call on Walworth and bring him to a sense of his misdeeds. I said I would and then got him to renew formally my letters. It seems a circular was in course of preparation for the various churches to say that we had no longer any license in the diocese. I told Luddon. ‘This is (?) justice. I was first hung, then tried and then acquitted.’ I called on Walworth then and I don’t think I ever gave any poor devil such a scolding. I began by telling him that the Bishop sent me and gave him a version of what his Lordship told me. He screwed his old lips together and said in a spiteful tone ‘I’d have you in the State prison before this if I could get a hold of you.’ ‘Well,’ said I ‘I could expect nothing better from rotten branch of a religious order lopped off to wither in a decomposing state of hatred and malignity.’ I then opened fire on him in his own parlour and he got so frightened that he shrunk into a corner. I said then ‘Mind how you make free with names. You have maligned me and a respectable gentleman who keeps a Hotel in your parish. You won’t hear the end of this till you rue it.’ ‘I am sure,’ I said, ‘ if there be one grain of the notion of what charity is (for charity itself you are perfectly free from) remaining in you, you will bitterly regret the injury you have done a fellow priest and a stranger who never was guilty of anything towards you except a violent effort to speed you out of his memory.’ With that I started off and left him dumb. I then told out landlord and he took a lawyer with him and interviewed the hyena, who ate his own words and proved as cowardly as he was mischievous. I then spoke to his parishioners and certainly the Irish of his parish were soon worked up into a flaming cauldron. The reason he said anything about Henri was that he saw him walking with me through his parish and therefore he must be showing me to his parishioners. The fact being that the poor man walked with me once, of a Sunday morning, to serve my Mass at the Little Sisters Convent. Such is a plain account of a Turkish priest and as I said to him I never met a thing dressed in priest’s clothes as full of venom and devilment in my life and I hope I shall never see the like again. N.B. This fellow’s nephew shot his own father in cold a blood a few months afterwards, and was condemned only to a few years servitude!!
A Wild Goose Chase
November 22nd 1872
As I remarked further back I arranged with Fr. Colgan of Corning to preach in his Church and get a collection in November. Sunday 24th was arranged for and I wrote to him about ten days ago to remind him of it and get him to announce it the Sunday before. On Friday 22nd I started for New York and got to 346 N. Seventeenth St., at 8.00 in the evening. Next morning I was called upon by Captain Richard Wolloughan, whose ship the Bessie Rogers, was run down by a steamer as she lay at anchor in the Sound. His account of the transaction and of the dodging of the offending party to get out of paying damages was very graphic. Dick dined with me and we talked about the people at home. In the evening young Arthur Molloy came and supped with me and accompanied me across the Ferry to New Jersey where I started at 8.00 p.m. by the Erie Railroad for Corning. I arrived in Corning at 6.00 o’clock on Sunday morning. There was snow on the ground; the Pastor was yet in bed. I went up to his room when I heard him stirring and fancy my surprise when he told me there was to be no collection for me till after Christmas and that he had written to me to say so some ten days ago. Here I was now after coming a couple of hundred miles and spending several dollars for nothing. I never got his letter, of course, and I question whether he ever wrote it. I said Mass at 8.00., preached at half past ten and was tired of this old bear’s society before dinner was over. I went to my room and took to reading until evening when a very nice gentleman, a Catholic young doctor, came to help us to take our grog. With his assistance the evening passed pleasantly enough. I had no server and could not say Mass the next morning. I went back to Albany by a cross Railroad. The train was two hours late and I was travelling from 12.00 o’clock until ten at night without anything to eat since 8.00 o’clock that morning. There was no place of refreshment along the line. The conductor telegraphed and got me at the next station some bread and cheese and a glass of water. When I came back to Albany, cold and hungry and disappointed, I tell you I was exactly in the humour of having a tooth drawn. Such is the life of a poor beggar kicked about without consideration. To add to my chagrin Fr. Burke, the dandy, said I made use of his name to get respectable parishioners of his to guide me. I was so disgusted at this that I could not trust myself to call upon him but told Fr. Laurence to tell him it was not the case. He insinuated then that I had told a falsehood by saying the person who told him so would not tell a lie. Glorious Pius – a beggar, a rebel, a vagabond, a swindler, an impostor, and now a liar. I looked in the glass and found it so – Did I? I am getting developed certainly. I wonder what will be the next adventure. We went on with our preparations, advertisements, selling tickets, etc. for the lecture. On
November 29th 1872
I lectured on ‘The Lessons to be gathered from Irish History”. Fr. Baynard introduced me and I held forth for about an hour. The shorthand writer was there and took it down for the Catholic Reflector. Next day we were picking up some stray dollars. On Sunday December 1st. I said Mass and preached in St. John’s. The next two days we were gleaning and made altogether about $2000 in Albany. Expenses being deducted we had over $1600 left.
December 4th 1872
We returned again to 346 West 17th Street where I found letters and papers. I sent £250 home, kept some for the wet day. Wrote letters, sent off newspapers containing my lecture and otherwise idled for the space of a few cold days and nights.
December 7th 1872
Called upon Archbishop McCloskey and he would not give permission to beg.
During the rest of December we simply lay up. The snow was several feet deep and the cold piercing. We could do nothing so, like Laplanders, we kept under cover and consumed our oil.
New York 1873
If anybody living in a Christian climate, where the snow never impedes traffic or business, were to ask how could an active man lie up and pace between the fire and the bed for a whole month I should not be at all surprised. I know that people who are great idlers often wonder how active people can rest. I shall give one day, as a specimen to whosoever shall decide to read this faithful journal when I shall lend him a read and when it shall be confiscated after I am dead. On New Year’s Day then – 1873 – let it be known to all whom it may concern that I arose at 7.00 o’clock; said my prayers and Matins. Mass at 8.00 o’clock. I then read the ‘Herald’ and took my breakfast at 9.00 o’clock. Read letters from Europe then and afterwards wrote a chapter of a book which I am preparing for publication but which I have not christened yet. About 1.00 o’clock Fr. Laurence and myself played chess – He beat me. We had dinner at 3.00 o’clock. We finished our chess and smoked a cigar then and at 5 went out, wrapped up like Laplanders, for a walk. We saw the Vth Avenue Theatre on fire, and got home on the borders of 7. Captain Richard Wooloughan called to see us and played (?) till supper at 8 o’clock. We then said office, got cigars and grog and played a good game until near 11.00 when we said our prayers and went to bed. Multiply this day by 30 adding a fraction of vanity here and there and the result will show that though in a foreign country we don’t forget how to amuse ourselves and make the call outside whenever our enjoyment inside (?). The thermometer is several degrees below zero in nearly half the States.
We continued this sort of life until we perceived some signs of a thaw and a little sunshine towards the 12th January. We called then on the Bishop of Brooklyn to see if he would allow us to work in his diocese. He was rather gruff this time; but, after a good deal of parleying, he said he would not refuse us but we must come at some other time, which he was unwilling to fix. I began to look about for some work now and pitched upon Philadelphia as a place wherein to try my fortune. For this place I accordingly set out on the 16th January
I arrived in the Quaker City about 5.00 o’clock p.m. and found the first cabman, who saluted me with the handle of his whip, to ask me for a drive in a rich Limerick brogue. I got in and went off to Fr. Gallagher’s residence. He is only a curate to the V.G. and therefore has no house of his own. He carried me off the to the Immaculate Conception Church in Front and Canal Streets and deposited me in the safekeeping of Fr. Filan. I was scarcely seated here when my brother Pat marched in. He is getting on really well here in Philadelphia, has money saved, but is not yet in independent circumstances. We had a good long talk over his history of five years since I saw him last. He has acquired all the Yankeeisms in his speech and thoroughly despised our do nothing and gain nothing system of going on in the old country.
January 18th 1873
Fr. Filan and myself called upon some of the priests today by way of introduction. I found from V. General Walsh that I was talked about at the Bishop’s. The bishop is laid up in bed and not able to see visitors. I must therefore go and see V.G. Carter, who is his factotum. He is reported to be crusty, crisp, sharp and snappish, and, being an American and convert (shade of Walworth!) not disposed to favour Irish beggars. To him I must go and to him I went. Filan introduced me and his V. Generalship was smoking and didn’t offer us a cigar. He talked to me and made some objections, but on the whole was very gentlemanly and nice. He gave me leave to Ecclesiasticate for a fortnight and make the best I could by lecturing. Well we went off half contented enough, but half a loaf is better than no bread.
January 19th 1873
We engaged Concert Hall for three lectures to be delivered on the 27th, 29th and 31st. Put the tickets in the hands of a printer, sent for Fr. Laurence to New York, called upon a few more priests and returned to Fr. Filan’s.
January 20th 1873
I preached for Fr. Filan and found my voice so bad that I could not come out as well as I would. It was only now I perceived the effects of the cold I caught some time ago in New York. Tuesday evening I lectured on the ‘Life and Times of Pope Pius IX’. It was a very successful lecture and pretty well attended. Monday was a dies non. We were rushing about and did not get our tickets yet. Fr. Laurence came in the evening. I went to the Mrs. Ellis. Her husband and only son died since she came out here, and now I saw an Irish gentlewoman earning her bread and working hard then, after the manner of all people cast friendless on American soil. In coming home one of these evenings, the snow being slippery, just as I stepped off the car, I got a trip and my spectacles fell off and were trampled beneath horses’ feet in five minutes. Fortunately I had another pair in my wallet, which I got repaired the next day.
January 22nd 1873
Today we set up in Girard House as being more central for our operations. . I got a guide, a tight spare little northern man, McGillian. He was very devoted and we did good work the first day. On the second day we went to dine at Fr. McAnany’s and had a pleasant evening with 8 or 10 of the leading priests of the town. Next day I was laid up with a cold and could scarcely do anything. Fr. Laurence though worked favourably and did over $100 some days. I met two terrible turks in my travels today. Both were rich and both refused me in the stiffest manner possible. Their names were Devine and Kiernan. ‘Twas very remarkable and gave rise to some jokes among the priests. My little northern gave Devine a good scolding and turned away in disgust from such a miser, vowing that he would never receive a penny of his money. Things go on quietly now until Sunday when I heard that a certain Fr. O’Reilly of St. John’s lectured my guide and forbade him to go with me through his parish anymore. I called upon the ecclesiastic on Monday and found him storming and raging. He said he would get me stopped. I went to the V.G. and he laughed and told me not to mind him. ‘You see,’ said he, ‘how your own countrymen treat you.’ I could not help feeling the prod. Confound my moneymaking countrymen here, especially if they be priests. My little northern was from Tyrone and he tried to persuade me that the Tyrone people were the best in Philadelphia. ‘Well,’ said I, ‘let us try them today.’ We went to one house and a sour faced old (?) opened the door and would neither give us anything or let us see her companions. She was Tyrone. The next house we met two girls and they were fine open faced good-natured looking bodies. They gave me a dollar each, he nudged me. ‘Where are ye from,’ said I. ‘From the county of Sligo, Father.’ Poor McGillian began to look blue. The next good people we met were from Donegal. We now went to a place where there were four girls, one of them a German. They gave me a dollar each, except one, and she with great difficulty gave me half a dollar. I heard him speak, and said ‘Are you from Tyrone?’ ‘Yus sur Au am.’ Poor McGillian was ready to faint. Well, we went to another place where there were two, the elder one said I was an impostor and plucked the gown of the younger one who felt disposed to give something. McGillian was getting mad and said ‘do you think I’d go with an impostor? – look at the gentlemen.’ No, she did not care. “I suppose you come from the County Tyrone,’ said I. ‘Yes, I come from Strabane.’ If McGillian was stabbed he could not feel worse. The young one gave a dollar notwithstanding. McGillian said ‘I can’t stand this – for God’s sake come home, for I cannot walk, or don’t ask anybody else where they are from. Sure you won’t tell my wife or she’ll cast it up to me all the days of my life.’ We went to his house and the first thing he did was to tell his wife himself. My cold sent me home and I was not able to do much except a little among the servants in the hotel. I got upwards $40 from them.
January 27th 1873
Monday 27th, the day of my first lecture was a most fearful day for snow, sleet and rain, and wind. ‘Twas a day like that in which Tam O’Shanter rode homewards :
“The wind blew as ‘twould blown its last,
The rattlin’ showers rose on the blast:
The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed;
Lord, deep and long, the thunder bellowed;
That night a child might understand,
The devil had business on hand.”
The attendance was small. I appeared on the platform in my habit, was introduced by Fr. Filan and lectured on the Ecclesiastical phase of the History of Ireland. There was no reporter, so the lecture did not get into print. My second and third Lecture had better success and were to be reported and printed in the “Catholic Guardian.”
February 1st 1873
Today Fr. Filan had a telegram to say that Fr. Morrin, my cousin up the country , was unwell and wants a priest to supply. I volunteered to go and set off on this day Saturday. I had a grand journey on the cars up the Lehigh Valley, one of the finest in the States. It was grand to see the sides of the hills, as the train ploughed up the valley, covered deep with snow and the green firs standing out like as many dark specs on the mountain side. I got to Hagleton at about half past five and found that the newspapers there had me advertised for a preachment tomorrow, and made me out in polysyllables a star of no mean magnitude. I rode on a sleigh, for the first time, over to Fr. Morrin’s, a distance of four miles, and found him just recovering from a severe attack. I stayed there this night and on Sunday,
February 2nd 1873
I said two Masses for him, in two different Churches and preached a short sermon, as well as helping the candles at each. I was in time to preach in Hagleton at the last Mass and we had a great and packed churchful. I have arranged for a Lecture here in the 17th.
February 3rd 1873
I started for Reading to see Fr. Filan junior. When I got there he was gone on to Philadelphia. I stayd there one night and went to Philadelphia the next day. I picked up some stray dollars.
February 5th 1873
I arrived in New York, sorry enough that I had ventured out to work in such severe weather. We did not make much in Philadelphia, the time was short, the weather bad and I was sick, and even Fr. Laurence was laid up for a day or two. Thermometer below zero is no small matter for your face and ears.
February 10th 1873
Seeing a Lecture advertised to be delivered by Mark Twain, Fr. Laurence and myself got to the hall to hear him. The Lecture was on “The Sandwich Islands”, the Yankee drawl, the weird humour, the shrewd remarks were enough to make the thing interesting notwithstanding the utter lack of oratory in the speaker. He pitched out his sentences as if they were hot potatoes, which got into his mouth by mistake. His jokes were cut as if everybody was expected to see them except himself. He looked so queer when people laughed as if he were perfectly innocent of its cause and could by no means share in it.
February 14th 1873
February 14th I started for Hagelton where I am to lecture on next Monday. The journey up the Lehigh Valley in the show was pleasant enough and the society of priests I met was pleasant enough, but the sleigh riding on Sunday to Beafer Meadows was a caution. I had a little boy with me to show me the way and I drove. When we left the town the snow began to pelt us in the face, my spectacles were soon clouded. I took them and gave them to the youngster, the snow then beat my eyes nearly out of my head, and at length I was obliged to shut my eyes and let the horse go were he pleased. I was packed up in my great big coat and had other comforters on me in the way of furs and sealskins. When I got to the Church I had to take off my wrappers, put on an old soutanne, say Mass and preach, and come back 4 miles in the same snow before I could get any breakfast – then preach at last mass, etc. Hard life enough if it continued. Nothing occurred of interest till one evening as we were returning from Fr. Morrin, I thought I saw something like a black spot on the snow. As we came nearer we saw it was a man. My fellow priest was for passing by; but I said he might get frozen, as he would in a few hours and I told him step out and see what was the matter. He found it was a Catholic doctor in a state of intoxication as he returned from a sick call. The priest took him up and, as we spied a house about a quarter of ahead, he wished to help him to walk that far. Easier said than done. The drunken doctor would fall on all sides. I said, ‘Fr. Shields, let him fall as often as he likes in the soft snow and it will help to sober him.’ The next thing I saw was a pair of coat tails vanishing from sight and a pair of legs kicking in the air, and Fr. Shields in a fit of laughter. By the time the ceremony was performed for the fiftieth time and they had reached the shanty the doctor was sober enough to know his presence and feel ashamed of himself. He was pitched into the house and we sped home. Fr. Filan of Philadelphia joined us here and took me off with him to his brother’s in Reading and here we celebrated a High Mass for the repose of the soul of their old P.P. Fr. John Finn. We had some fun for a few days, singing Irish songs and besporting of one another in a variety of ways. Another snowstorm came on now and I was not able to get back to New York till the 22nd.
March 14th 1873
I started for Dunirk where I promised to preach on St. Patrick’s Day. There was snow on the ground until we reached Salamanca when a few blades of grass became visible and finally a field or so looking like a man who had awakened from a restless sleep or a drunken fit and was in danger of poking out his own eyes whilst wiping them with his knuckles.
March 17th 1873
We had green rosettes prepared by nuns and worn over our surplices today. I preached on St. Patrick, and promised to hear all the grannies in the Parish in Irish before the end of the week.
March 19th 1873
On St. Joseph’s Day Fr. Joseph took me for a drive to Fredonia. The roads were nearly a foot deep in mud and I did not enjoy the ‘joultin’ of the car. I saw the wisdom of making the wheels so thin on this side of the Atlantic. We called to see a Mr. Dodderwich, a German and a brewer of Lager beer. There be three brothers of them. The one we saw is over six feet high and weighs, as he say himself, 300 lbs. in the morning and 310 before he goes to bed. He is the picture of health and good fellowship and drinks 100 or 120 glasses of beer every day. I was at the house talking to the alte frau when Fr. Joseph came to say that Dodderwich would not give him his horse unless the ‘big priest wat shpakes Sherman com round to the Prewery and see him!’ I came and we talked ‘Sherman’ and drank, ‘Mein Gott’, half a dozen glasses of the ‘pest peer’. Our Fathers have taken to drinking wine instead of beer latterly and when I went over to the brewery and told the Dutchman (sic) that we both made and drank beer at home he said ‘Ach, mein Gott in himmell, see what fine stout mens she be and the vaders up here been so starved as herrings, when they trinks not beer, take one five glasses more Fr. Shoseph.’ On the 20th Fr. Joseph and myself started for New York (he was on his way to a Mission in New England). We arrived there on the 21st March, four hours later.
Exploring April 1st 1873
The winter now looks near to end. The snow is melting, the ice on the Hudson is breaking up and everything begins to look like spring. This is what I say one morning and the next morning I can scarce look through the window to see a new fall of snow on the ground. However there is a thaw and the roads are becoming impassable notwithstanding the efforts of the Lazzaroni to pick the iced snow off. I make up my mind to go and look for new fields of labour and accordingly on 1st April I take the train for the New England States much in the same Spirit as Paddy Carey set out for Dublin ‘to see if I’d chance for to get a job there.’ My first halt was at Newhaven, where I expected to find some of our fathers giving a Mission. I was invited by every priest I met to dine with them and I fixed on Fr. Hart an old acquaintance. We had a pleasant chat until 4 o’clock when I set off for Hartford to see the Bishop of the diocese. The man who drove me out to his Lordship’s (a distance of two miles) would not take anything for the trip. I found the Bishop at home but so full of building, etc., that there was no room here for my sickle. I supped there and stayed for the night. Just as I got to bed I found myself attacked again in the stomach same as I was in Philadelphia. I had really, as the Italian priest said to the American doctor, ‘a dollar in my womb’ (dolor in ventre). I had to walk up and down my room from 11 o’clock until six next morning. I could neither sit down or lie down. Such a night of agony I never spent, and then it was so long. If I had only a spoonful of brandy I would have been all right. There was not such a thing in the house, however, and I began to think teetotalism akin to Manichaeism, because it maintains that spirits and wine are malum per se. I was in a very curious mood the next morning. I walked off, after a slight breakfast to the train and my bag felt so heavy and my interior as if filled with broken scissors and jacknives. When I got to the station I saw a shabby looking Yankee selling ginger beer, and other such airy drinks. I crawled up to him and asked him could he go off and buy me a little bottle of the best brandy. I must have looked very ill for he seemed to think I was going to faint. He went and bought it for me and when I offered him 25 cents for his trouble, he not only would not take it but invited me into his little place, gave me a chair to sit on and a glass of cider, after my sip of brandy, all for nothing. Well the waiters in the hotels I found to be the same and I must say the real Yankees are the decentist fellows ever I met. I arrived about midday April 2nd at Springfield, found the Bishop O’Reilly at home. He promised me some work in his diocese at a future time. I went off then, not yet recovered though a little better and got to Boston in the evening. I put up at the American house, found a darkey waiter whose name was Dawson, a Catholic, who took good care of me. I went to bed early and found myself well next morning.
April 3rd 1873
Called upon the Bishop, he signed my papers and gave me leave to lecture here a fortnight after Easter. Made a few calls and came back to my hotel.
April 4th 1873
Started back again to New York where I resolved to stay until I could get to Boston again. Things went on in a quiet way, except that the American Provincial paid us a visit until April 26th when I started again for Boston.
Boston April 26th 1873
I arrived here, to carry out my work, about 6 o’clock on Saturday evening April 26th. I felt very lonely, as I sat in the Jesuits’ parlour, waiting for Fr. Fulton who was in the confessional. A sense of dreariness I could never account for came over me and I moved about looking at pictures and trying to compose myself. Fr. Rector came in and his reception of me was pretty cordial. He did not encourage my working but said that I and my companion were welcome to his hospitality whilst we stayed in Boston. I met a young secular priest named Donnelly here and on Sunday morning, as we were both going into the library, I thought I saw the smile and the face before. I said ‘Did you pass through Maynooth on your way to Dublin on the 11th September 1858 ?’ !Yes,’ he did. I met him in (?) Hotel, just as I had left Maynooth to go and join the Passionists. I found he was more a stranger than I was . We spoke for some minutes and I never saw him since till this day in Boston, and yet I recognised him.
Feast of St. Paul of the Cross April 28th 1873
The Jesuits gave a glass of wine today in honour of St. Paul of the Cross. I went out with young Donnelly and got introduced to his brother, to Mr. Donahoe, and to one or two more priests. Mr. Donahoe hired the Boston Theatre for me – Amen – I was never in a theatre in my life and now I go about to invite people there. I put my tickets in hands and await the printer’s good pleasure.
April 29th 1873
On the 29th I went to hear Wendell Phillipe lecture in Tremont Temple. He is a very fine orator and as he took Froude to pieces for his historical faults, he never once mentioned Fr. Burke. Fr. Laurence arrived here from New York on the 30th and we both went a-visiting and making friends.
May 1st was a very hot day. We dined at Fr. Griffin’s and I gave him a letter for Fr. Paul Joseph in Rome whither he is bound. Arranged to go to work on Monday.
May 4th 1873
I preached in St. Francis of Sales’ Church and after Mass a girl called to see me. Her name was Ellen Flaherty from the Parish of Gurteen. She brought me a few dollars and said ‘Well Father, that was the finest sermon I heard since I heard yourself in Ballymote.’ ‘My,’ said I, ‘have they not good preachers out here’. ‘I believe they are, sir,’ said the simple girl, ‘but I suppose they don’t like to speak out for fear of hurting the people’s feelings.’ After many disappointments I succeeded in securing myself a guide on Monday morning, and set to work selling tickets in one division of the city, whilst Fr. Laurence went to work in another. The week’s work had not many incidents worth recording. They are putting a new law into force. A law that forbids any kind of liquor or drink to be sold except cider and teetotal drinks. I see they are all in a state of agitation. Several respectable men are caught and fined. Because some people get drunk therefore there must be no wine sold to a decent man. Because a man cut his throat with a razor therefore I can’t be allowed to but one to shave. Splendid reasons and law-makers these New England Puritans!
Sunday and I preached in St. James’s in Albany St. About the middle of this week Fr. Laurence called upon Fr. Lyndon the V.G. He said, ‘haw, he could not approve haw, of our going round haw, unless the Bishop renewed his leave haw,’ We called upon the Bishop next day, and he not only renewed our leave but gave us the faculties of the diocese and when I told him my tickets were already sold for the Lecture, he said, ‘Well there, give another.’ Just as we get to the bottom of the stairs we met Fr. Lyndon. We told him how we faired up with the Bishop, and then he puffed himself out to the dimensions of an overfed bullfrog, as to his face, and said ‘haw, he would think of it haw.’ He was the only priest in Boston who did not encourage us. (?) He is very rich, drives two thoroughbred horses, has his grey hair dyed and beautifully cultivated, and dresses like a fat but respectable tailor. His eyes are small and sunk like those of a fat pig, and he has scolded beggars in times gone by until his flock were scandalised and gave for spite, when they were forbidden to give for charity. We had a very good week of it.
Sunday 18th I preached at the Cathedral and dined with the Bishop. I like him the more every time I see him. On Monday I sent off to Fr. Dominic the sum of £200, which we had gotten together since we came to this city. Every day of the week is much like another. I was passing through Hudson St. one day and saw the true Milesian name of Shanahan on a door. Here’s an Irish house I said to my guide and we knocked and rung and were admitted. As soon as I got into the parlour I found myself face to face with a clumsy, awkward lump of a woman. An idea of her may be had thus :- I imagine a big heap of mashed turnips, propped up into human shape, surrounded by an ill-fitting gown that somebody would pitch at it from over the street, crown this with the but of a large beetroot for face and let the whole be thatched with an exaggerated mop, and you have a notion of Mrs. Shanahan. She spoke with a Cork brogue long enough, and tough enough, and strong enough to hang a jackass on. We converse as follows: Fr. Pius, ‘Good day, Mrs. Shanahan.’ Mrs. Shanahan, ‘Good day, surr, but I think you came to the wrong place.’ Fr. Pius, ‘How so, Mrs, Shanahan?’ Mrs. Shanahan, ‘Bekays I’m a Prodeshan.’ Fr. Pius, ‘You a Protestant Mrs. Shanahan, why I never heard one of your name a protestant before.’ Mrs. Shanahan, ‘I’m Prodeshan, and all my friends too are.’ She sat here and tried to look as if she were related to three parishes. ‘I’m sure you ought to be a Catholic,’ I said mildly. She folded her arms and looked Lutherishly content as she sang out, ‘No but you ought to be prodeshan, and the Pope Prodeshan, and everybody Proteshans.’ ‘Well, now look here, Mrs. Shanahan.’ Mrs. Shanahan rises and looks defiant. ‘Ye need’nt attempt to conwince me, surr, I can’t be conwinced, surr, I’m too enlightened for that at all.’ ‘Your light does not shine before men, Mrs. Shanahan,’ said I as I took my hat and got to the door. I kept quiet till I got to the next Catholic house and then I sat down and fairly exploded with laughter and as I recited the adventure I had with the ‘enlightened’ creature the laughing became quite infectious. On Ascension Thursday we dined with the Redemptorists and found them very nice, simple, good men.
May 25th 1873
Sunday May 25th I gave my first lecture in Boston Theatre. The subject was ‘Education in Ireland’. I had a fine housefull and put them into good humour, although the subject of my talk was rather philosophical.
May 26th 1873
I read the newspapers this morning and they were all favourable – a thing I did not expect as I hit rather hard at the ‘godless’ system which prevails in this country. On Monday also I had a fine day’s begging and selling of tickets. Mr. Lavia became afraid at first, but finally I got him to start with me in South Boston and in one day I got $190 or nearly $200 if I count what was promised and came in afterwards. During the day’s travels I came across a crusty old fellow named Toland. He is a watch and clock maker, minus the soft (?) of Sam Slick. As I entered his shop I met a Father McNulty of Dorchester; we spoke about the lecture, he left, shaking hands and then I turned to Master Toland. “Aw don’t think as aw con do much for ye the day’ was his first salute, whereby I perceived he came from Tyrone. He looked at my tickets and talked against priests in general and their money seeking propensities and then looking in my face said, ‘Well how do I know but that yer a fraud?’. At this I bundled up my tickets and said. ‘You saw me speak with a respectable parish priest here in your own shop and you saw we were friendly, how then could you call my genuineness in question?’ ‘Woll, A’m a little doff’ ‘That,’ said I bowing and taking of my hat ‘is not a complaint than can be cured by impertinence,’ and then I strode out of his place. On a certain day during this week, after calling three times and missing a Mr. Manning, we encountered him on the street. He refused in a mean way to give anything and made my guide with (?). I said ‘Never mind, God will make up for that before long’. We had not gone 100 yards when a Presbyterian met me, asked me if I would accept of a donation, and on learning that I would, gave me five dollars.
June 1st 1873
I lectured a second time in the Boston Theatre, on ‘Home Rule’. The lecture was very satisfactory and the newspapers were again complimentary. As I was returning to rest on the night of the 2nd I called to the room of a secular priest, who is staying here, and Fr. Fulton made a sign to me that he was losing his mind. I went off then and just about 1.00 o’clock a.m. I was awakened by a knock at my door. It was the poor mad priest, who came in his nightgown and drawers and (according to his own notions) a great number of devils in pursuit. I did not like being awakened as I had to travel and wanted my rest, but there was no escape. I had to help him and say all the prayers of the Breviary and Ritual with him. He then wanted to arouse all the Fathers, because he thought the house was being set on fire. With difficulty I kept him from doing this. At length I got out of bed and lit my gas and then he began to rave most wildly. He got into my bed, got out again and at last put my blanket and quilt over his head and ran off for the (/). The sight of him, in this guise, was so ludicrous that I had to laugh outright. He roused up Fr. Chavlier, and after recovering my bedclothes, I went to bed again and he did not trouble me more.
Lawrence Mass. June 3rd 1873
On June 3rd. I posted off £170 to Fr. Dominic and then I went to see after the other towns of this diocese as the Bishop gave me a letter of recommendation to each of his priests. My first journey was to Lowell. Fr. John O’Brien, an old, smug, comfortable gentleman, told me it was against his principles to allow his congregation to help any but their own and the began to visit the sins (?) of his neighbours, the Oblates, upon my head. I called upon Fr. Crudden ( a rich old buck) and did not find him at home. I went then to the Oblates, who were building a Church; notwithstanding this, the Superior, Fr. Gavin, offered to do all in his power to help me. Only for the Regulars I’d find it hard to get on. I then found that Wendell Phillips was about to give a lecture for the Sisters of Charity on June 15th., and as I did not like in intrude myself, I packed off to Lawrence. When I was getting off the train, a shabby little man dressed in black ‘com’ up and talked to me in very broad Derry or lowland Scotch. I asked him after a while, if he were a priest and he said ‘Yes aw om, ma name is Fawther Ore.’ I told him my mission and he did not offer me much assistance. I called at the Augustinians and found them very kind indeed. The Prior invited myself and Fr. Laurence to stay at their place whilst we should be in Lawrence.
June 4th 1873
Father Gilmour and myself went out and hired the hall for a Lecture on ‘The Peculiarities of Irish Character’ to be given on the 15th. On the next day I went out to dispose of tickets. Fr. Laurence had not yet come from Cape Cod. The guide whom the Prior procured for me is a Mr. McKeerin. A smart clever little man who has made enough money to keep himself and his wife. We did a good’s day work today and Lawrence promises fairly. We got into Fr. Orr’s parish and fond another illustration of the strange mistake some priests make who shut up the fountains of charity. He tells his people to give to nobody but himself. The other priests say ‘give to whomsoever you know has a good cause.’ The other parish has a splendid Church and a generous people, this parish has a poor Church and the stingiest people ever I met. I told one of the curates what I got in a day and he said ‘You are fortunate, that is more than I would get if I went out.’ They who give, give and never miss it, they who give not, keep and never bless it. In my rounds I came across strange scenes: poverty, sickness, crime and sorrow. Today I came across a scene I should not like to behold repeated. We entered a neat looking house and saw the place was dirty, unkempt and shattered and poverty stricken. A fine looking handsome man, with round black moustache and a sad expression of countenance stood in the middle of the floor with a child on his left arm, holding another by the right hand and gazing upon the sleeping form of another upon a sofa. We told him our mission. He said, ‘Father, I would gladly help you but my heart is broken, there lies my wife drunk and she has not been sober for the last 3 days. I am obliged to stay at home from my work and mind my poor children. I married her for love against the wish of my friends and this is what I have earned for myself.’ With that he fell rather than sat in a chair. We departed sadder, if not wiser, men. We were not far down the street when a blazing woman overtook us and began to call the whole street to task. It was ‘the wife’ just recovering from ‘a drunk’ and ready to get drunk again just because her husband told the priest of her. She was a young woman, well developed and handsome only that her eyes were flaming red and her hair was of the same fiery hue. I think if a match came near her she would go on fire – ‘poor husband’. We had scarcely recovered our equanimity after this scare, when a tall raw-boned woman gazed at us in the street, made two or three wry faces, and then fell flat in a fit on the ground. Poor McKeevin ran off and I called two women to lift her and put her in a chair. Scarcely had we recovered from this when a very ludicrous scene arrested out attention. We went into a respectable looking house and the lady asked us to be seated. There was a piano there and other signs of gentility. ‘Mary played,’ and ‘Mary sang,’ and Mary did everything. The mother than called out ‘Mary’ and Mary came down with two big black things which looked like coal-sacks in her hands. She was a buxom young thing of some sixteen summers and her hair fell in graceful ringlets over her shoulders. ‘Here,’ cried she, ‘is a pair of pants (trousers) I was making for Fr. Harnett.’ Father Harnett is a very fat man and the legs of the embryo trousers were certainly wide enough. This amused me hugely but the crowing part was when the mother took care to explain as follows – ‘Yis Father, when the tailor gave them out to Mary he towld her to have a wide fall and when Mary said she did’nt know the meanin o’that he towld her come to me for to explain, and I explained the matter to her and don’t you think, Father dear, them will make a good fit?’ I need scarcely say that these trousers were the chief topic for our after dinner fun. After exhibiting the trousers ‘Mary’ went to the piano and played and sang, most beautifully, ‘the Last Rose of Summer’. Such is a good specimen of American life. No matter how accomplished they may be, they never think it beneath them to earn their bread. When they become too grand for work, goodbye charity, goodbye hope, and in many cases, goodbye faith. I had one very hard day. I did not make more than $40 the whole day and as I was coming home in the evening an old woman sent for me to speak Irish with her. I was not in the best humour to speak agreeably in my language at the time. I went into a roast of a place and the granny sat in the midst thereof. She talked a good while about her departed husband and children and then gave me $10. That made up my day most unexpectedly. I sang Mass on Corpus Christi and preached in the evening. During the day we went thro’ one of the Cotton Mills in which Lawrence abounds.
June 13th 1873
On Friday 13th I went off with Fr. Gilmore to Salem to try and pitch my tent for a campaign. Both P.P.s were away. I met Fr. Masterson and he was very kind and asked me to stay with him. I hired a Hall and put my tickets in hands. Called to see Fr. Higgins, a Tuam man. He was afraid to announce my lecture lest his boss (who was about to retire) would blame him. I telegraphed to the Bishop and he will announce it on Episcopal authority.
June 15th 1873
On Sunday 15th sang Mass and Fr. Laurence preached. It was a very nice sermon and the first time I heard him. I lectured in the evening on the ‘Peculiarities of Irish Character’ and I believe it was the funniest lecture I ever gave in my life.
Salem June 16th 1873
We got to Salem on Monday 16th June and found the tickets there before us. We could not however procure a man each for a guide. I went out and by the help of the priest’s servant got a hobbledehoy, between a man and a boy, to take me around a portion of the place. We went on towards Gallows Hill where they used to burn the witches in the old puritan times. There we did a trifle and at length stumbled across a clumsy, good-natured fellow, named John Flynn from Tullinagloy in my own parish. He was servant to Stevson my old schoolmaster and he nearly wrung my hand off and promised to be my guide thro’ the city. I came home now satisfied that I could get at my work.
June 17th 1873
I sent home £130 today and that makes £500 since the 1st May. On Thursday about a dozen priests walked in, just an hour before dinner, without any warning whatever and dined on poor Masterson. This seems to be a usual thing with the clergy out here. Our work goes on nicely but the place is not very large and accordingly we got through it in a very short time. I met several Devines here and they all proved themselves well worthy of bearing such a name.
June 20th 1873
On the 20th I set of for Lowell in order to organise a lecture there. Here I found Frank Plunkett of Ballaghaderrin established as M.D with a fine practice and one of the richest Catholics in Lowell. Fr. John O’Brien very gruffly refused to announce my lecture or help me in the least. Fr. Crudden said he would be negative (N.B. These gentlemen are very rich and are scandalised at the Oblates who do so much for the people.) The Superior of the Oblates of course is everything I could wish. I dined with Dr. Plunkett and he came with me to hire the Hall for the 2nd (?)
June 21st 1873
‘As I was a-walking along, I perceived a great big Newfoundland dog keeping me company. He used to wait for me outside every house I entered and kept along with me on the road. I asked my guide where he came from and he told me he belonged to the P.P. in whose house I was staying. At dinner, whilst making remarks about the queer kinds of pets there be in the world, such as rats, white mice, etc., I said, ‘You could civilize anything, even an old maid, by petting.’ I heard a dish break and the sweep of a gown out of the room immediately, and looking up I saw the priests stuff their handkerchiefs in their mouths. Our waiter is an old maid! Nothing of great importance occurred during the rest of the time. We found the priests very sociable and very attentive and disposed to help us in every way. I must contrast two doctors. One came in with a swell face, a swell bosom, swell whiskers, and a swell smile, on the day after I arrived in Salem and wanted to know, ha! about this lecture, ha! he was lately married an heiress and thinks himself qualified to be a snob accordingly. He magnificently asked me for at least 10 tickets and left me under the impression that he was about to do something handsome. When I walked by his house he called me in to see his wife and mother-in-law and kept me there in insipid conversation for half an hour. The end of it was, he sent me back 6 or 8 of the 10 tickets and the price of the rest. His name is Dr. Gaffney. Dr. Fitzgerald did quiet differently. He took enough for his family, came to visit us, asked us all to his house after the lecture, treated us splendidly and thanked God the day had come when he could be kind to the clergy, who were his friends in the days of his adversity and before he had practice. I lectured on ‘Ireland past and present.’ on the 24th June and we spent the evening pleasantly afterwards – but, how different are evenings here as compared with evenings at home.
Lowell June 25th 1873
We started for Lowell on the 25th June and got there shortly before 12.00. We went up to the Oblates where I expected hospitality and they had only one room. They had neither wine or beer at dinner and looked so cold that we were glad there was not enough room for us. We went then to see Fr. Crudden (he is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars) and he had no room but recommended us to a hotel called the ‘American House’. We went here and settled for rooms and board for a week and then tried to go to work. The hotel was a nice place enough, except a wooden girl, who used to be coming into our rooms at all times and doing things in the most stupid way. She was from County Clare and could never be made any smarter. We had to complain of her and when the matron called her to order she got angry and scolded and gave up her service. One day Fr Laurence brought his key into my room and we were both enjoying a glass of wine together when it came into my head to make a prophecy. ‘That wooden girl will be in here directly axin’ ye for the kay.’ I had scarcely said the words when she opened the door and gave a vacant laugh, then walked over to the middle of the room and gave a vacant laugh, hen to the window and looked perfectly stupid, then turned towards Fr. Laurence and said, ‘Plaze yer reverance, where did ye lave yer kay.’ I thought Laurence would burst with suppressed laughter. It seems Fr. John O’Brien, an Irish priest, from the County of Clare, took the trouble last Sunday of telling the people that they were not to give us anything because we had not his leave. N.B. I asked him twice and his nephew (who is acting parochus) once and was refused, even though I showed them the Bishop’s special letter. It did not interfere much with our work. It had no effect on sensible people but it had upon the factory girls and other wealth minded business and stingy people. I met one woman and she said, ‘our clergy towld us to give yez nothin!’ ‘Do you obey every thing yer clergy tell ye as well as you do that?’ said I. She looked kind of foolish I guess. I met a man named Geary in the street and he began to abuse me, and out loud made out I was an impostor and that Fr. John O’Brien said so. ‘May the Lord forgive Fr. John O’Brien,’ said I, ‘where is your house my good man? I want to know where it is in order that I may pass it by’ and people began to pity me and say he was a drunken fellow. Another man came up and remonstrated with me and then he went after me to get a ticket. I refused him at first, but at length gave him one and then said ‘Perhaps you would like to know whether I have authority to be here or not.’ I showed him the Bishop’s letter then and told him that all the other priests in the city respected that letter and the bearer of it except Fr. O’Brien and his nephew. He got furious then against the O’Briens and went bellowing about them up the street and swearing that he would never believe anything said off the altar again. We spent our evenings in Dr. Plunkett’s and had some pleasant chats about old times and the old folks at home. It is a pity his wife is sick or we might lodge with him. On Saturday I asked Fr. Crudden to announce my lecture. He said he had painted the benches and wanted a collection for that and therefore he could not mention the lecture, but that he would speak to the Sunday school teachers and get them to publish it in his parish. These rich, stinking secular priests of Lowell are simply disgusting.
June 29th 1873
On Sunday June 29th we said Mass at the Oblates’ Church and got them to announce our Lecture. We dined at Plunkett’s and himself and young Val Dillon and we two drove off to Lawrence for the evening. We called at the Augustinians and found them as nice and kind as ever. A perfect contrast to the Lowell folks. We had a beautiful drive, as a shower came, which allayed the dust, and got home about 9.00 o’clock. We heard then that the O’Brien’s had again thundered against us, and made the curate do the same, who said to the people ‘I am ordered to say, etc.’ Father Crudden said that as the people gave to Barnum’s Show and the Circus, and to Lecturers coming round, they might as well not forget their Pastor. That’s how he behove. And our cause – (a quotation in Italian is here given which is indecipherable) as Galileo said of the earth.
July 2nd 1873
I lectured on ‘Home Rule’. I asked only Drs. Plunkett and Golding, and Lawyer McEvoy and the Oblates on the platform. Plunkett and the Oblates were there punctually, and also Fr. Crudden’s curate. McEvoy came late but ascended when he could. Plunkett swot for three hours because he had to introduce me and never made a speech in his life. He got over it. The lecture was a success and we did not do badly considering the opposition we met. I thought of starting for new pastures on the next day but Plunkett persuaded me to wait and that he would accompany me to Portsmouth on Saturday. The 4th of July, a holiday would also be in the way. We took a drive in the evening out to a very nice spot called ‘Willow Dale’, the Doctor and I in a carriage, and Fr. Laurence and Val on horseback. There was a settlement of barns and boats here, the former for picnickers to drive in, and the latter for recreation on a nice lake. We could get nothing to drink but cedar and I saw a placard up – ‘Fried potatoes for sale – ten cents a horn’ – which being interpreted means ‘Whiskey ten cents a glass.’ We got a horn of fried potatoes, ordered supper and took boats for a nice excursion on the lake. We landed in a wood and had scarcely re-embarked – Fr. Laurence’s hat was in our boat – when a very heavy shower fell on us. I had an umbrella and Fr. Laurence put his coat on his head.
July 4th 1873
The 4th July was celebrated in this way. At half past three in the morning shots were fired from all the cannons, guns and pistols in the city. The boys began firing squibs and never stopped all day long. There were three young varmints firing under my window and I could have wrung their heads off. At break of day there was a procession of fantastically dressed people called Antiques and Horribles. At 8.00 o’clock an open-air concert. At 10.00 o’clock a procession of all the societies in the city and trades. Some of the former and a great many of the latter were dressed in uniform and rode on horseback. I just say I never saw more awkward looking squads aping military antics. However, they were all hardworking artisans. There was a trotting race, which I saw for the first time. A balloon ascent, which proved a fiasco. Just as they were about to start a gust of wind came and burst the big bladder. There were some boat races on the river and all went home to fire squibs and make merry and go to bed. An American paper thus defines the 4th July Anniversary ‘Huess, its an annual safety-valve for our national cussedness.’ I must give an instance of Yankee gentility before I close this chapter. I was one day in a milliner’s shop, and whilst waiting for the lady of the house (who is a Catholic and a relation of mine) I took up the wire framework of the new Grecian bend. I began to look at it and asked my friend ‘Is this the framework of a new headdress?’ A tall thin raw-boned Yankee lady put one of her glasses to her eye and eying me said ‘No, I guess it is for the other end. ‘I did not pretend to understand for she never laughed nor imagined she had said a queer thing. They are a peculiar people, as Jam Slick would tell us.
Exploring July 5th 1873
On the morning of the 5th July I set out for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and called upon Canon Walsh (the only Canon in the States.) He was very hospitable but his city is small and his church is in process of completion and I could not expect to do anything here. The Portsmouth people have a custom of gathering all the natives of the place, who may be scattered through the States, and their children and grandchildren, once every 20 years ‘to have a fine time’ as they say. They march about and play tunes and have a big dinner and speeches in the evening. On the evening of the 5th July they were to have fireworks. The Canon and Fr. Barber, and the Canon’s sister and I went to see the fireworks. They were very poor but I enjoyed a charlatan who was selling ‘Yankee Notions’ or gimcracks and trying to outsell a pleasant fellow in the next stall. He advised people to eat his pepper in spoonfuls – ‘Guess I’ve known a man who ate my pepper; he grew so fat they had to demolish a doorway to let him out. He then took to Baker’s bread, but that was too (?) after moi pepper, so he let a moonbeam shine down his throat and lived on that and my pepper alternate weeks.’ ‘Good folks, don’t you mind that ‘ere peanut fellow, as (?) to shout me down, he does. Why a wild Injun bought some of his nuts (nobody else would) and such a (?) did they kick up in his mouth that his tongue came out through one cheek and his brains through the other. Eh he wore a sight to look on were that Injun.’ After a whole lot more of these hyperbolic phrases he thus ended. ‘Now I’ll give my blessing on to you; may you all live as long as the old maid, who wore out three sets of false teeth, half a dozen artificial eyebrows, and a wig made of squirrels’ tails. Say amen. Old one yonder, I don’t mean you.’
July 6th 1873
On Sunday 6th July I said Mass and did no other duty. A father Waldron , a convert and native of Portsmouth came here for the celebration and preached to his Protestant friends of whom a crowd assembles in the Church. He was rather genteel and Fr. Walsh was given to punning. At dinner there was mention made of a lady. ‘Oh yes!’ said Waldron, ‘I remember she was of Maine origin.’ ‘Therefore you could not be intimately acquainted with her.’, said Walsh, and the pun being Irish Waldron did not see it.
July 7th 1873
I started on the morning of July 7th for Portland, the bishop’s residence, found his Lordship at home. He did mot come up to Fr. Buckley’s opinion of him, but he came very near it. Buckley said ‘Bacon is an Episcopal snob.’ He was very polite and bowed me out with a conditional promise very gracefully; but, although he knew my train came in at 1.00 and that I could not possibly have dined, he never asked me had I a mouth on me, and I left him as thirsty and hungry as I met him. I went to a hotel had my dinner and took the steamer for St. John’s, New Brunswick. The voyage was very pleasant, so cooling after the dreadful heat of the New England States, and they are nothing to the other States. The steamer was crowded, ladies lying about upon mattresses on the various floors and gentlemen on the lower decks. I was fortunate enough to get a berth. I said to one of the officers. ‘Why can’t you accommodate these people better?’ ‘Didn’t expect so many, sir.’ ‘Whereto and why are they going?’ ‘Guess they be a running away from the heat, sir!’ And so I found they were. We got to St. John’s at 3.00 p.m. July 8th.
St. John, New Brunswick. July 8th 1873
When I landed here, another priest and myself took a cab to the Bishop’s. It was funny to be paying and getting silver and coppers again and to see Queen Victoria’s head upon a variety of things. The Bishop was not at home but came in about 7.00. He received me kindly, offered me hospitality in his palace and made up for the gintleman of the ‘Maine’ origin. I arranged for my first Lecture, sent off a telegram to Laurence and went to bed.
July 9th 1873
Oh this air is delicious! I was up at 6.00 this morning July 9th. Said Mass at the convent (Sisters of Charity) and enjoyed the air. I took a stroll thro’ the city about 10.00 and the air was so cool and balmy. I felt as if I was taking a bath. It is a wonder to man while all the New Yorkers don’t come here for the summer months. The air is like Ireland and the people are well off and thriving. The Bishop took me for a drive into the country today, and asked me to give the retreat to the clergy on Thursday 17th of this month. I consented, as I need a retreat myself. On the evening of the 10th there was an exhibition at the Christian Brothers Academy and the Bishop asked me to make a speech at the end. He whispered that a sour Presbyterian enemy of ours was behind me. I spoke and the sight of the sour old Presbyterian, who was once a parson and now edits a paper, fired me up. I laid into his principles in style and here is the comment I saw in his paper the next morning: ‘The Bishop made his remarks but the Rev. Pius Devine, a Passionist preacher, from St. Paul’s, Harold’s Cross Dublin, whose face beamed with Irish humour, at the Bishop’s request, made a very happy, discriminating and eloquent speech etc. He was heartily cheered.’ I cannot get these papers to fight me, (?). I say Mass every morning for the Sisters of Charity, who are a branch of Mrs. Seaton’s Sisters, but with a Christian head-dress. We don’t go round here disposing of tickets in consequence of certain circumstances, viz.; that the Bishop has people going round every day to get money for his schools. Here we find nice people, with whom we can spend a pleasant evening. They are Dublin people and of course the same as at home, hospitable, homely, polite and agreeable.
July 13th 1873
Sunday 13th July I said mass at the Sacred Heart Convent and discoursed the nuns about their Sisters in Roehampton and elsewhere and about grand nuns of aristocratic notions being cousins of Pontius Pilate and not of Jesus of Nazareth. I preached in the Cathedral today and Fr. Laurence preached in a (?) church or chapel of ease. We spent the evening at Mr. Furlong’s, and there were a large company there.
I lectured on Ireland and Christian Education. My audience was very small, not more than 300 in consequence of a rascally pack of showmen, who came to town and set up a circus ( (?)for three nights) just when I am lecturing, as if the devil missioned them. During the day I met a deaf little fat old nun in the Sacred Heart convent,. I spoke to her and she said she could not hear me, I then made signs as if speaking the dumb alphabet and she shook her cap-frills and said ‘I’m not as bad as that!’ ‘Oh,’ said I, ‘you are not dumb.’ This I shouted through one of the frills, which terminated at her left ear. ‘The tongue is the last part that dies in a woman.’ ‘You are wicked,’ she cried. (She is French Canadian). ‘What do you want a tongue for?’ ‘I give instructions.’ ‘Do you preach?’ ‘I instruct in Catechism.’ ‘That’s preaching, do you know what Dr. Johnson’s opinion of a woman preaching?’ ‘No!’ with evident stretching of ears for a compliment. ‘He says, ‘a woman preaching is like a dog standing on its hind legs. The thing is ill done but the wonder is that it is attempted at all!’ ‘Oh you are a wicked’, repeated three times with shaking of a fat fist.
July 15th 1873
Hearing that there was an Indian encampment in the neighbourhood I asked Fr. Michaud to take me out to see it. Four priests entered the carriage and we betook ourselves to the Wigwams. These are huts built of timber and covered with bark, of a conical shape. There were two wigwams where we went. 6 or 7 squaws (women), old and young, sat upon the grass making baskets. They set up a kind of shout when they saw us. Fr. Michaud saluted them in their own language and the said Padlias (priests) and the old squaws came down and shook hands with us before we got out of the carriage. They were all very ugly; one of them was fat and about 40 years of age and seemed to have some white blood in her. She was not quite as ugly as the older squaws but ugly enough to frighten a donkey from a creel of thistles. There was a little squaw about 17 and her hair was arranged in a most delightful way thus (drawing?). How it could stick out so straight is a wonder. The hair was as black as jet and her face was fat and voluptuous looking. We were scarcely talking to the squaws when a great big man marched out of the wigwam. He was dressed in shoes, trousers, shirt and waistcoat. He was over six feet high, his hair stuck out like the young squaw. He had a bit of a moustache and had the appearance of being half sober after a fit of drunkenness. He walked down to where we were, his lips were drawn down at the corners, his eyes flashed fire, his face was screwed into wrinkles of devilment and such an embodiment of savagery I never imagined. He did not belong to this tribe (the Micmae) but came from Nova Scotia. You could almost see the devil in his scowling countenance. Fr. Michaud said ‘Oh, you bad boy, why drink like that?’ ‘You damned priests, you drink, no one see – you drink, ugh!’ he said several other savage things and looked savage. We walked away from him. I went examining the handiwork of the squaws, and the savage then lay down on the grass. He looked like an infuriated tiger. He got up, after a while, and came up to us and scowled again. He said in a fierce tone. ‘Indians kill you, white men, bye and bye. Ha. Kill you.’ One old thin squaw got near him and took him away. The other creatures were quite shocked, and they all took pains to explain to us, in their poor English, that he was a drunken fellow and did not belong to their tribe. He was a Catholic as as they, however, and, I dare say, will be sorry when he is out of his drunken fit; but the savage is in his heart and underlies all his outward compliance with customs. A wild man of the woods is awful in story, but I tell you he is more terrible in the flesh than a tiger, and it is fearful to think that such a wild beast has an immortal soul. I shall never feel so much when I hear of Indians being exterminated again, and I really believe it is next to impossible to civilise them. Here was this brute, a Christian and a Catholic, and brought up so from his youth, turning savage of the worst kind as soon as drink made him lose partial command of himself. I say partial as he did not stagger a bit and only they told us I should not have thought he had been drunk at all. I shall not visit Indians in a hurry again. This evening I was to lecture in Carleton, a place beyond the St. John River. I hired a vehicle to take me there and got to the priest’s house about half past 6.00. Fr. Laurence came up afterwards. 8.00 o’clock came and the prospects of a hall looked blue indeed. There was not a soul to be seen of any possible audience except two or three frowsy fellows lounging against the paling. Laurence said ‘Oh no lecture tonight.’ I felt down about it and as the convent was near looked that way for consolation. I saw a big fat nun sitting at the door and reading. I went over and after a polite bow thus accosted her ‘Will you be kind enough to divide yourself into four or five ordinary people and come over and fill a bench for me?’ She was good humoured (all fat people are) and laughed so heartedly at the suggestion that I went into the convent, told the sisterhood some anecdotes and forget my disappointment until the priest came to say that there was a fair house and I might as well hold forth. I did so and we had a splendid drive over the Suspension bridge on our way home.
July 16th 1873
Next day, July 16th, I lectured in Portland. I had a power of clergy then as they are now assembling for the Retreat. The Sisters get behind a door to listen to me, and when during my lecture, I asked ‘did any one ever hear of a person who lived a good Catholic during his life, send for a parson at the hour of his death!’ ‘Never’ shouted a great big fellow in the audience.
July 17th 1873
This day twelvemonths I landed in New York. I well remember the heat of that day, and how my blood boiled in my veins, and how I melted, and how I drank such quantities of Claret and ice water, and how I could not shake my thirst, and how I felt as if a torch light procession of mosquitoes passed continually through my interior. How different is the climate of New Brunswick. You feel inclined to wear a topcoat in the evening only the air is so balmy and comfortable. We have not done, during the past year, half as much as I expected and yet we have not been idle whenever we could work. I am sure that those priests who beg without leave or licence can make far more money than we, still as I began in an orthodox way I intend so to continue unless bishops turn Turks. We started from St. John this morning for Memramcook. This is the seminary where the Clergy make the retreat when the students are on vacation. The country leading to it is very beautiful. It forms a gentle slope on two sides of a river for 100 miles. The country is beautifully planted and nearly as well cultivated as any part of France. The people are nearly all old French or Acadians. They are very numerous, although Longfellow writes :
‘Still stands the forest primeval, but under the shade of its beanches
Dwells another race, with other customs and language.
Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic
Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers from exile
Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosoms.’
The French here are very prolific. Families consisting of from 14 to 24 children. A sad comment on the present state of crime in France, where families go not beyond 2 or 3 as in New England. In nearly all the respectable parlours here there is a portrait of Evangeline, whom Longfellow has immortalised. The air is cool and balmy; the college is in a beautiful solitude. The towns along the railway have Indian names such as ‘Mattenumkeay’, ‘Pensaquia’, ‘Magaguadaice’, ‘…. Macadray’, ‘Quispamses’, ‘Navigawark’, ‘ Pussekeag’, ‘Apohaqui’, ‘Plumwinep’, ‘Petitcodiae’, and several others. It sounds so funny to hear an Acadian talk of a church as Notre Dame de Madewasqua. They retain a good many old names but here several new ones, French and English according as the place has been settled. We saw several Indian Wigwams on our way. (Diagram) This is the shape of them. We began our retreat at 5.00 o’clock this evening. It is a beautiful place for spiritual exercises and Fr. Laurence and myself thought it would do us no harm to take a Spiritual bath after our year’s knocking about. The clergy number 21 and some of them had to travel two days to get here. This diocese is as large in extent as Ulster and Connaught put together and it has only 30 priests. The population however is not very great but then it is so scattered as to oblige some priests to go 50 miles on a sick call.
July 19th 1873
On Saturday July 19th Fr. Geoffion, the Superior of the College, asked me to preach on Sunday for his people. I said I could not preach anyway respectably in French, on such short notice, that I would be obliged to write my sermon, have it corrected, and commit it to memory, a feat I guess I could not perform between that and morning.
(Pius here records his conversation in French with the superior. The writing is difficult to decipher, so it is not included in this typescript)
There, as nearly as I can remember, are the words I used. I meant to say ‘I am glad of an opportunity of doing something in my line without seeking for money by it.’ And I think I said it very well and better than I could in English. A hint is never lost on a Frenchman. (Here again is a French quotation, difficult to decipher)
On Sunday 20th July I went down after giving my lecture to the priests at 9.00, to preach in the parish Church, which is some distance from the College at 10.00. The Mass began at 10.00, Fr. Geoffion went out at the end of the Kyrie and told them who I was and my Mission and the reward they would have if they gave me something. I went out in my full habit, after the sexton, and held a little box, which I emptied now and again into my biretta, (which was carried in my hand.) They are nearly all Acadians. Their dress is very simple and graceful and all alike. The men dress in a good broadcloth frock, the women all in black with a black straw hat and a black veil. I never saw a congregation of women – not even in Roman full dress – so graceful and modest. There were only three in the whole Church who wore the abominations of this age – Chignon, saddle-bonnet, and Grecian bend – the ladies were not very beautiful but had a nice pleasing type of countenance, the men were all good looking. When my collection was counted I had $65 dollars, and some came after the sermon and gave me something. I literally went round with my hat and fared well amongst the Acadians. Taken by surprise they gave over £13 sterling. I though of the words of Longfellow “Solemnly down the street came the parish priest, and the children (?) in their play to kiss the hand he extended to help them. Reverend walked he among them; up rose matrons and maidens, hailing his slow approach with words of affectionate welcome.’ On the 22nd I concluded the retreat and we all went off for the station, a distance of about two miles, on Acadian wagons.
En Route July 22nd 1873
My intention now was to go to Prince Edward Island and thence to Nova Scotia. Fr. Conolly the V.G., asked myself and Fr, Laurence to his place at Grande Digne Shediac for a few days, to wait for the steamer to Prince Edward. I could take a few dives in the sea. We accepted the invite. He was very kind; his residence is nicely situated on the seacoast. The scenery is what a poet might describe. We took some fine baths in the sea while rusticating here. The Acadians never have trees near their houses and as I was making this remark we saw a farmhouse very snugly situated in a clump of trees. ‘There,’ said I, “is a Christian farmhouse, why don’t they all build like that.’ ‘That is an Irishman who is settled there’ said Conolly. On the 23rd and 24th our time passed by in a sea bath, a little reading, a little talking, a little dining, and a little idling. We went to an Indian encampment and there found a lot of squaws and an old fellow in the midst of them. One old squaw was making a canoe of bark and another was helping her. We went into a wigwam or two and there was neither a stool nor a table, nothing but a few cups and some bedclothes bundled up in a corner. They sleep on the ground with their feet to the fire, which is in the centre of the wigwam. They are very dirty creatures and very simple.
July 25th 1873
On the 25th we started for Prince Edward Island. There were a good many Indians on board the steamer. It takes as much time to go across as it does to go from England to Ireland. The shore of Prince Edward Island presents a very nice appearance. The lower part near the water is all red sandstone, and the upper is covered with verdure and pine trees at this season of the year. We landed at Summerside. The priest gave us hospitality. We find this Island is all settled but the people are not very rich. The whole Island contains 40,000 Catholics.
July 26th 1873
On July 26th I started off in my stagecoach for Charlottetown, the residence of the Bishop, 40 miles distance. I never got such a bumping in my born days: one of my shins had the skin stripped off and I am painfully reminded of my latter end for want of a cushion. I got into the town at half past 12.00 and met Dr. McIntyre, the Bishop. He received me kindly dined me and offered me hospitality but when he explained his condition I did not press my suit. Fr. Laurence I left behind in Summerside.
July 27th 1873
Sunday 27th I preached in the Cathedral on the Mammon of Iniquity, and wished I had some of it to deal with (?) For some few months I have been bothered with priests asking me questions and people telling me tales of a gentleman who figured in the van of our march. He lectured, begged, wore clerical garments, got drunk, ran after priests’ servants with carving knives, and disported himself otherwise unclerically. He had a strong brogue, said he was some time among the Passionists, and changed his name once or twice. He was in Charlottetown and behove himself badly. He was seen at Mass here on this Sunday morning and the Bishop and myself took a drive to where his Lordship suspected he was lying up. As we drove up to the door sure enough I saw before me an ex-Passionist, who was once my companion, and who used to be scandalized at anything in the shape of levity or fun. Here he is now with a (?) face, a shattered reputation, homeless, friendless, and a wanderer. I spoke kindly to him and so did the Bishop; but he made out he was not quite as bad and that he was maligned etc., etc. He would answer no questions as to his position. The people of this city bought him a suit of clothes, when he was in rags. He advertised three lectures here and it was only when the Bishop threatened to put him in prison that he agreed to withdraw his advertisements and make himself scarce. Poor fellow ! His has been a strange life.!! As I was riding through this Island one day a rugged urchin, about 8 years of age, ran after the vehicle. He kept on for some time and at length shouted out, ‘Wile ye give me a chew of tobaky !’ The driver gave him a ‘chew’ and the imp took it up and chewed it. I find also a great many descendants of Scottish Highlanders, who speak Gaelic and I am told there are villages where English is not known.
July 28th 1873
On Monday 28th Fr. Laurence arrived and made arrangements for a fishing excursion tomorrow. I made arrangements to cross into Nova Scotia. I took the Steamer at 1.00 o’clock at night and was half seas over to Picton when I awoke in the morning. I called to a Fr. McDonald’s in Picton. Half the priests here are McDonalds. I saw Gaelic books here, (?) and prayer books and songbooks. The priest and his sister spoke Gaelic and their English had a brogue, although they are the fifth generation born here. It is wonderful how these Highlanders keep their language. The Irish don’t. I arrived at 7.30 p.m. in Halifax.
I went on to the Glebe House (as they call the Archbishop’s residence) and found his Grace was away in his countryseat. The V.G. and the clergy received me very kindly and hospitably. I heard a great many speak in praise of Archbishop Conolly’s hospitality and good fellowship and therefore looked upon myself as having anchored in a cosy and pleasant harbour.
July 30th 1873
On the morning of the 30th I said Mass in the Cathedral and whilst we were at breakfast the Archbishop walked in. I was introduced to him and he was very gracious in his various enquiries, looked business thro’ as the Governor General, Lord Dufferin, is about to land in the State. After breakfast his Grace was engaged. I made an effort to reach his room and met a priest who told me he was engaged. I heard him calling for a priest, and told the latter on his way Gracewards to tell his high Mightyship that I wanted to see him. His high Mightyship departed without giving me an interview. Left word with the V.G. that he’d be obliged to me if I cleared out of the place and that he could not give me the permission to beg. He is making a new front to his church and building an orphanage and about to give a big spread to the Governor and nobilities and magnificoes of the place and therefore he wants all the money he can get, therefore Pius awa !. Well I felt ‘kinda like in a cold shower bath I guess’ when this announcement was made. If his Grace had condescended to speak to me and hear my story he could have talked me out of the city without any trouble but my dander was riz now and I mildly remarked, like Pharoah’s daughter in Zozimus :
‘And turning to her maids she said in accents mild
Tar an ages, girls ! which of yez owns the child’
‘Will not his Grace allow me to give a lecture in a public hall upon what subject I please and give me the privilege of selling my tickets therefore like any other mountebank ?’ I sent my paper to him for signature and awaited his answer. The paper came back unsigned with a negative permission, that I might do as I liked. I took the hint and asked the V.G, where I might lodge. He referred me to the Halifax Hotel, gave me a letter of introduction to a young Conolly who kept a book store and told me I should stay for dinner and was welcome to say Mass there when I chose. The V.G. was very nice – Dr. Hannen is his name – but the other priests got cold. The Archbishop toadies the big swells, and they toady him and the spirit of flunkeyism reigneth then supreme to the utter disgust of the sensible Catholics of the city. The Archbishop was a Capuchin, had a vulgar appearance, a mouth like a big oyster opened sideways, just the remains of a Cork brogue, and prefixes his observations, which are often witty, by the eloquent expression ‘begorra’. On the strength of Dr. Hannen’s letter of introduction, I suppose, young Conolly was very gracious. He gave me his day, introduced me to the Major (who promised to be chairman), hired the Hall and set my advertisements and tickets into motion. The subject I chose to lecture on is ‘Burns, Moore and Byron’ – that will suit all and they are from the three nations and no nationalism prevails. My work is now afloat and I telegraph for Laurence.
August 1st 1873
August the first: out selling tickets. Conolly got me a good guide a Mr. de Lewis. Fr. Laurence arrived on Saturday evening. We said Mass at the Convent on Sunday August 3rd. We weren’t asked to preach or dine at the Glebe House. The V.G. (God bless him) provided a boy to guide Fr. Laurence. I met nothing strange in my travels except a woman afflicted with the St. Vitus’ dance.
August 6th 1873
On the day of my lecture August 6th the Archbishop giveth a big dinner to the Magnificoes. None of the clergy came to the Lecture. The mayor refused the invitation saying that anybody was welcome in that city but an Irish priest, and he was the son of an Irishman. He’d see the Archbishop and his Lords to Jerico before he’d desert a respectable Clergyman from the Green Isle. The dinner began at 8.00 0’clock and the Mayor began his introductory speech at the same hour. The lecture was very well attended. There was a good many Scotchmen ‘Och mon O lak to hear about Burns’. Still, lecturing in the Provinces is poor work. The entrance fee is only a quarter and the population not large. It is like the Scotch proverb:
“Muckle screetchin and no woo’
As the deil said when he shore the soo (sow)”
There is however some woo’ but not very much. I booked myself for St. John’s, by way of Annapolis, and the train took me through the richest and nicest part of Acadia :
“———- on the shores of the Basin of Mines
Distant, secluded, still, the little villages of Grand Pie
Lay in the fruitful valley.”
When we came to Grand Pie, the boy shouted out Gran – jnee, I looked intently at the villages, Longfellow’s words running in my head and I set my eye on a house which I made out to be Evangeline’s fathers. It corresponded so well to these words:
Somewhat apart from the village, and nearer the Basin of Mines,
Benedict Bellafontaine, the wealthiest farmer in Grand Pie,
Dwelt on his goodly acres; and with him directing his household,
Gentle Evangeline lived, his child and the pride of the village.”
I carried Longfellow with me and read and compared notes, then put down my book and got into a brown study, wondering if all the heroines of stories and songs and ballads were, like the “Meeting of the Waters” – sorry affairs enough except in poetical imagination and verses. I come over several heroines, Annie Laurie, Flora McDonald and found myself quietly humming Miss McLeod’s reel, when two young ladies, ‘gigglets’ they might be called so much did they giggle, entered the car. One of them, a short plump one, (?) a young lady who sat between me, and introduced her companion – a tall, raw-boned, stupid faced thing, with awful red blazing hair in artificial curls, and her mouth open nearly to her ears as she laughed – as Mis McLeod ! I would not have recorded such an incident nor minded it only for the curious turn my musings had taken at the time. Then I fancied some half-witted Highland piper falling in love with this fright and skirling off the reel, whilst all the people in the car were a footing of it and after a while I went off to sleep and Miss McLeod had decamped before I awoke. In the boat I met a Canadian M.P. who gave me $4. I arrived in St. John at half past 8.00. Said Mass next morning at Convent and started at 9.00 on August 8th for
Fredericton August 8th 1873
The scenery along the banks of the St. John River is very beautiful. There were some fierce looking hills, nicely wooded declivities, and country dwellings on its sides whilst its body sends forth various limbs as you advance. Scenery is all very fine; but, what about dinner ‘a man cannot dine upon air. We had dinner, and being Friday there was some salmon for first course. I wanted some for second course and so did other Catholics and there was none. The steward told me he had some meat, I told him I did not eat meat on Fridays. He had no more fish. I said I would only pay him half fare and advised all the Catholics to do the same and he might get a little more fish next Friday. I paid half fare and he took it, but the others had not courage to cut him down. I arrived in town and was hospitably received by Fr. McDevitt.
August 9th 1873
On Saturday 9th we took a stroll to an Indian camp and I was paddled, and paddled myself, for the first time in an Indian bark canoe. It is a nice light thing (drawing) ribbed inside and lined with cedar. There is no rest for the paddle which is thus (drawing) and strange an Indian can drive his canoe with the spoon end of the paddle and steer her by touching her side with the handle. He can go faster than a boat. I met an old Indian about 70 and I tried to get some of the traditions of the tribe out of him. He seemed stupid, but a good old man. I said ‘I suppose you are thinking of going to heaven soon.’ He replied, ‘Ahaa: papoose long like that (laying his right hand on his left elbow) go heaven, old man like me do many bad things.’ On Sunday I preached at last Mass and I saw a whole lot of squaws squatted before the front bench. When I got into a passion the squaws looked awfully frightened. I had a grand lecture in the Church in the evening and I saw some squaws there and my friend the old Indian of the Camp. I learnt from him that they call priest ‘Padlias’ and nuns ‘Padlias squeek’. I thought squeek was not a bad tern for the feminine gender. Fr. Laurence and myself went out on Monday to try and get something to shoot. I got nothing but a little bird about the size of a sparrow which I killed ‘to (?) ‘. There was a crane but we could not get within shot of him except once and then the sun was in my eyes. On Tuesday August 12th I started of for :
St. Stephen August 12th 1873
I met few adventures on the road till I arrived at my destination and there I was cordially received by a fine old Irish Gentleman, Fr. Quinn. He made arrangements whereby I can circumnabulate this place tomorrow and the day after. On August 13th I start off in company with a Mr. Cummins and have pretty good success. I cross the bridge to Calais in the State of Maine and get on there very well also. There is one town here divided by a narrow river, one side of it is called St. Stephen and the other side Calais, one is under the Union Jack and the other under the Stars and Stripes, one had greenbacks and (?), the other gold and silver etc. It’s a queer study here to compare the Yankees and Blue noses. The Yankees I see are beaten. They have better stores, better people, better trade, better everything on the Canadian side of the stream, all caused by the imports on the American side. They must sell cheap on the Yankee side and to do so they must smuggle. It is very often the law rather than the violation thereof the river presents convenience for escaping justice and the English found, in former days, that this was a bad city for soldiers, inasmuch as they used to swim across or step on logs to cross to the States and then be free from military yoke. The people on both sides are very friendly. Some trades keep a shop on each side so as to avail themselves of the advantages of both governments. I find there is a Canadian inferior currency here also, on account of the frequent dealings with Calais; but it is not receivable in the Post office or Telegraph Office.
August 14th 1873
I was over ib Calais, but finding that this, the Eve of the Assumption, is a fast here and not in St. Stephen, I crossed the river for my dinner and felt myself the more justified as I had done my work in Calais.
August 15th 1873
August 15th is not a Holiday of Obligation in this diocese of St. John. The Yankees beat the Canadians in one thing and that is ingenuity. Here’s a specimen. A Yankee wanted to sell a great quantity of certain wares, which he thought would suit the Irish population, if he could only get them to know of their existence. He hit upon a plan. He got the Bishop’s Pastoral containing the Dispensations for Lent. He printed this on one side of a page and his wares on the other and distributed this curious composition gratis and sold some things thereby. On the 16th of August I went on to :-
Woodstock August 16th 1873
Where I met Fr. Laurence. It is rather a small place; but, so out of the way, that a strange preacher of any kind seldom gets there. I was consequently a sort of wonder. I preached on Sunday 17th in the morning and lectured in the Church in the evening, when the chief members of my audience were Protestants. The thing went off very well and got me $111 in gold. There were not many inducements for staying here, so we made up our minds to start for new pastures on Monday August 18th.
August 18th 1873
The train, which took us to Macadam junction, went at the rate of ten miles an hour and stopped suddenly in the middle of a wood. I went out to see what was the matter and found several Railway officials tying up something that broke. ‘What’s the matter?’ said I, ‘I can testify that the accident was not occasioned by furious driving.’ Thereat there was a general grin and the head fellow made several apologies – all grounded on the badness of the road, and the difficulty of bettering it. We got across the border and into the United States about 1.00 o’clock. Our baggage was examined and we pulled on to Bangor, Maine. Here we were again amidst Yankees. The first evidence here of it is that you must pay 5 cents for a newspaper and hear the headwaiter saying to his subordinates; ‘lay a napkin on to him.’ We slept that night in Bangor and reached Boston on the evening of August 20th. I started for Springfield on the 21st and found the Bishop was away and the priest begging himself. No go here. I went out with two priests and saw a grand trot, then started off for the evening train and got to 344 West 11th Street New York (determined to work there) at half past 11.00 that night.
New York August 21st 1873
I mean this to be a new chapter in every possible way. I give it a new page ( the last page not being written out to the end), which looks, I believe, a respectable sort of thing in writing history or any other minor stuff of that ilk. New York deserves this Chapter to be new and well written (if possible) on sundries accounts. New York is the largest city in America – ergo – New York is the wickedest – ergo – New York is the centre of American civilisation – ergo – New York was once governed by Wonter van Tuiller – New York had Knickerbocker for a historian – New York was supposed to be my residence for the last year. I have begun work therein, made my debut, and as it is Sunday and I have no book out of which I can read, I must fall back upon my head out of which I can write – nonsense.
When I returned from my excursion in the provinces and found the weather was not so very hot I resolved to go to work here at once whether the bishop allowed it or not. I’ll pay him the compliment of going to ask but that’s all. I first sat down and deliberately and of malice aforethought took a glass of something refreshing and smoked von cigar, mein Gott. I then went among some of the leading clergy to feel the Archbishop’s pulse through his clerical members. It beat high in some, low in others, according to circumstances. I came back under the impression that his name on my paper was quite enough: still I thought it mean to act on it and resolved to visit him and have it out. Fr. Laurence came home on Saturday 23rd.
August 25th 1873
On Monday August 25th I called upon his Grace. He is away on retreat in Troy. On the next day we went over to Brooklyn and the Bishop then said he would give us his answer after we had got the Archbishop’s. A week idle – just as well – I have a fierce attack of English Cholera and find myself unfit for work.
September 1st 1873
On Monday September 1st I call upon the Archbishop – not at home – I call again on Tuesday. He gives me no Episcopal leave to beg but hints that I won’t be much hurt if I go on. We go to Brooklyn – not at home – I go again on the third and find him. He grumbles a good deal and says, at last with a smile, “Well I won’t say quite out ‘go ahead’,” – “All right, my Lord, I’ll take the hint.” This is all the leave I got and it is just as lucky perhaps. I divided the city, by the map, into two halves, East and West, and gave Fr. Laurence his choice ! He takes the East and his reasons are that I have some cross priests in my district. Father Laurence meets a kind priest or two and sets to work on the 4th. I am not yet well; but I call on Father McAleer of St. Columba’s 25th Street. He is a venerable looking old man with a terrible ‘scummer’ against Passionists and especially Italian ones. In course of conversation he finds that I am not an Italian and that I don’t like humbug and then he comes to terms. I am to preach for him next Sunday and to lecture on the Sunday after. He calls in his curate to make him cognisant of this arrangement and says ‘Here’s a Passionist father, but he not of the same persuasion as the gentlemen in Hoboken.’ I go to work, get tired very soon – very weak – very (?) – go to visit Jesuits – bordering parish – get their consent – well disposed for work – very – Out on Friday and Saturday for a couple of hours and find I had better become more known and stronger.
September 7th 1873
Sunday September 7th I preach in Fr. McAleer’s Church and get publicised ‘with objections’ and so after 14 days I begin to work. After getting through a week’s hard work at begging in New York it is time I should give my ideas on the subject. The Bishop is opposed to beggars and the priests can do very much as they please in the matter without getting particularly into disgrace. You feel however in coming before one of the Reverend dignitaries of New York as if he wished in his heart and soul you were at the bottom of the Hudson and that he could believe then with a clear conscience that the Catholic Church in general and New York in particular would be benefited by the event. There is one clergyman in particular who lectures his people continually and preaches that they are not to give anything to strangers – all to himself. His people are very nasty in consequence. I called upon his Reverence (his name is Fr. Donelly) and he very dryly and politely bowed me out of his office and refused anything like sanction or permission. I found the other neighbouring clergy pretty fairly inclined to a negative toleration. When I got through the people they were very good and did not seem to care whether bishop or priest approved of me as long as they could feel sure in supposing I was an Irish priest. All the people are well disposed if they have the means except Donelly’s people. I did not go into his parish; but when I met a frequenter of his Church in another parish I was always greeted with – ‘Our clergy tells us to give nothing to nobody as comes around.’ I used to ask them did they go to Fr. Donelly’s and was answered yes – then, when I found out an illustration of the old truth that those priests who preach narrowness of charity, generally succeed in extinguishing that virtue altogether. I change my tactics and instead of walking off silently I waited for an opportunity of sending him a bit of my mind. I was not long in search of it. I met one day a prim old maid who seemed a factotum up there and she said her lesson without a mistake. I said to her ‘Well you tell Fr. Donelly, with my compliments’ – handing her my card – ‘that it would be much more to the profit of his congregation if he preached the Gospel and left matters of that kind to Jews, peddlers and swindlers.’ One day I was going through a tenement house. By the way, nearly all the working people and small traders of New York live in tenements. These tenements are 6 stories high, have four families generally on each floor, and the smells and food that greet your nostrils as they all are engaged preparing their various dinners, is anything but savoury. Well, as I was going through one of these houses – a poor place indeed, – I came across a Dutch woman and she was a Protestant. I told her my mission in German and when she told me she was a Lutheran I was about to retire. She then begged to accept of a donation from her. I did, and coming down from two wretched and Catholics (Irish) who live over her and getting nothing, she opened her door and said ‘Ach she does not much business up there’. Several Germans gave me a donation and on the whole made a credible impression on me.
September 14th 1873
On Sunday September 14th I lectured in St. Columba’s Church W. 25th St. on ‘Ireland and the Church’. There was a very poor attendance; but, when I saw reporters taking down my words, I imagined I had a big one and talked big accordingly.
September 15th 1873
On the 15th I was walking my rounds and requested to call upon a Mr. McManus, a retired butcher of many dollars. He was out. I called again and found on old gentleman – it was twilight – reading a newspaper chiefly by the red hue of his nose. He stormed and fumed against Irish priests for putting down Fenians, and swore that he would never give a cent for the building of anything in Queen Victoria’s dominions except a Fenian Camp. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘as you won’t give me anything to build a new Church perhaps you’d have no objection to assist me in pulling down an old one.’ It was no use he would not. I called upon a row of genteel Irish people on the 16th and got nothing. I called at length on one and he gave me $25 dollars. That made up for the rest. Irishmen who own tenement houses I find the stingiest and most uncharitable in New York. I suppose it is because they are accustomed to screw down their poor tenants for rent that they lose all ideas of charity and pity. Among the foreigners I find great varieties – speaking to them in their own language generally helps me to their purses. The Germans give some, the French give a little, but the Italians – I verily believe these are the meanest people in God’s creation. I never got a cent from an Italian. I tried them in all shapes and forms – no use. Accursed Italy! Why does God spare you for your blasphemies and sacrileges? They have an awful reputation here also. A priest said to me one day. ‘Well now I have only one objection to the Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. Suppose he took it into his infallible head to send a lot of Italian pastors to the different Churches in new York, don’t you think such an importation of lazy scoundrels would endanger the faith and morals of the country?’
September 19th 1873
September 19th was a wet day. I stayed at home, as the Lord gave us a holiday, and sent off a cheque for £110 to Fr. Dominic. That makes £1350 altogether since we came out. I wish it was 10 times as much. One week is very like another in this humdrum work. Up stairs, down stairs, into rooms like kennels and rooms like parlours, meeting squalid girls and women feeding babies at every twist and turn, nose polluted by queer odours. Once I met a charitable gentleman and he gave me a handsome donation. ‘Hello’, said I, ‘you are the best Dutchman I met in New York. How come you to be so generous!’ He laughed a queer laugh and said ‘Meine frau ist Irish’. Hans acknowledged that his virtue in giving was due to his wife.
September 21st 1873
On Sunday September 21st I preached in St. Bernard’s and lectured a second time in St. Columba’s. The audience is a little better this time. I pitched in to the Fenians and Fr. Laurence says that I looked the maddest man in New York, whilst doing so. Another week of hard work and little for it. There is a panic in the money market. Rich men cannot take money out of banks and poor people cannot get paid. Little woo’ for us.
September 28th 1873
On Sunday 28th I say Mass in St. Bernard’s and Fr. Laurence preached. This is a parish church and as it was 40 Hours Adoration we were nearly smothered and covered with perspiration. Monday morning I find myself with a cold in my head: it is now Thursday and I am not rid of it. October is a dangerous month here. This month began by finding me in poor health and Fr. Laurence ‘striking ile’ on a new railway and making a small fortune.
October 4th 1873
However on Saturday 4th I spent a day with the Franciscans in 31st Street. I found the same roughness and uncouth manners which designated them in Dublin. The poor lay brother nearly got his head in his fist because he mistook one brand of wine for another. Both brands were written in German and the poor brother is Irish. Yet I found them truly kind and hospitable. Just like their brothers in St. Isidore’s, Rome. A spruce English parson called once and asked to see the Very Rev. Fr. Guardian. ‘Eh!’ said a big lay brother, ‘is it Kelly ye mane ?’ ‘I believe he is the Very Rev. Fr. Kelly!’ ‘Umph I’ll see.’ he went down the corridor a bit, kicked a door open and shouted to another rough Franciscan inside ‘He, Murphy, is Kelly in?’ ‘How the devil do I know?’ replied Murphy, and the dose was so strong that the Puseyite had gotten round the corner for a place to faint by the time the lay brother reappeared. At dinner we were of all countries, Germans, Irish, Hungarian, Italians and Americans. Each one spoke the language of his neighbours as well as he could and at length it became a Tower of Babel. We agreed then on Latin and in that language the recreation was carried on. The Hungarian said they never ate any breakfast in his country. ‘Oh’, said I, ‘I never knew before what gave your country such a name!’ Only three saw the abstruse pun. Fr. McAleer was running down all things Roman and Italian and a dark faced Italian lost his temper and reasoned, in no mood or figure that I was acquainted with except a priest cousin to a knife point against him. Mac said that the Bambino at Ara Coeli was a little wooden nigger and had a better tabernacle than the Blessed Sacrament. The Italian, ‘Tis not so. He is not black, but colour lika me !’, pointing to his own face, which was dark enough in all conscience. ‘Yes, just so, that’s what I meant!’, replied Mac: and the joke was too deep I thought, but could not stop laughing at the floundering of the poor monk. I preached the panegyric of St. Francis in the evening.
During my rambles in search of dollars I came upon specimens of character too numerous to paint. One day I sat down between an Irish lady and her daughter (a young American girl of 9) and found the latter rather forward, still inclined to be petted. Mama began to tell me some of the child’s naughtiness when the little morsel spoke as follows: – ‘Now Mama you just shut up, or I’ll tell the father something about you’. Yes I will, you need not be winking, I will.’ Mama shut up and no mistake. ‘By the living Tar !’ cried Fr. Laurence when I told him.
October 5th 1873
On Sunday October 5th we dined with Fr. Healy in 14th Street. Next week a very fair one. some tough work and little for it. New York is in a bad way for business. There is a Protestant Alliance holding a sham council here at present. A gentleman met me in Broadway one day and shook hands with me as Dr. Simpson, one of the Evangelicals. I had to disabuse him and you’d imagine he held a hot potato when he found the hand belonged to a priest. Events succeed one another with great sameness in our present work. The only variety we have is like the man who used to have ham and eggs for breakfast on one day and eggs and ham by way of a change on the next. One thing I remark about New Yorkers is that none of them is above his business. I one day ordered a half dozen of wine, a young man took the order and the son of the ‘top’ or junior partner carried the basket to our lodgings.
November 9th 1873
On November 9th I preached in Sullivan Street. On November 22nd. I preached in St. Bernard’s and got a Collection. Fr. Laurence sent home £200 on October 17th. I sent off £100 on October 31st. Fr. Laurence sent off £100 on November 24th and I have another £100 which I shall send, please God, the day after tomorrow, – making £1850 – of which £600 was got in New York since September 1st., and I am writing now on 30th November
November 30th 1873
I am writing now on the 30th November. I fear however we cannot do much until after Christmas. Business has never been worse and everybody seems discouraged. I had notions of going home for the Winter, but we can hibernate here. The month of December was not so bad after all. I went amongst the servant girls and occasionally dropped on an odd genteel Catholic family in brownstone houses. The girls were very good, gave their dollars and half-dollars easily, except an odd (?) old maid who kept a well-filled stocking somewhere, on the lookout for an aged widower to help her to spend it by constituting her stepmother to his children.
December 8th 1873
On December 8th I lectured in St. Thomas’s Church 31st Street. The poor Franciscans were very kind to me, I suppose because they are poor. I got very little from Genteel Catholics. Indeed, with a fair exception, they are a sorry lot in New York in the way of charity. In one grand place the lady went off to consult her mother and sent me word by the maid that they could not afford anything. I looked at the grand drawing room and several naked goddesses displayed their marble charms therein. I said ‘If they would only pawn a few of these naked women they could afford to be charitable’. Another made me call half-a-dozen times and was engaged the last time in conversation and could not see me. Another grand lady went off to get me something and sent me back my visiting card covered with a 25-cent shinplaster. So on of all the rest. Here and there an odd one gave me $10 and $20 but the majority were less charitable and generous than their chambermaids.
December 25th 1873
Christmas Day I preached in St. Bernard’s and Fr. Laurence and myself dined with the parochial clergy. We paid a few visits among our friends on some of the holiday evenings and rag out the old year with a half day’s work in the collecting way on New Year’s Eve. I have made up my mind now to start for Jamaica and thence go thro’ South America, early in January. I have written home to that effect and only await a letter from the Provincial to set me a-going. Fr. Laurence does not care to come with me, both because he dislikes a long sea voyage and because he does not speak Spanish. A year and a half of my penal servitude is well nigh up, so out with this Auld Year and in with the New.
January 1st 1874
New Year’s Day is a peculiar festival in New York. The festival consists in this. Each mansion, which can number any circles of friends, lays out a table containing wines, whiskies, and various other refreshments, and the ladies of the family preside as dispensers of hospitality. The gentlemen will go a- visiting at an early hour of the day and continue all day calling on their friends in threes and fours. They go from house to house until the small hours in the morning and are then generally fit to be carried home in wheelbarrows. On the next day the gentlemen stay at home and ladies go a-visiting. The latter sip weak tea in public and something warmer behind the door. I paid four visits and wished to see how the thing worked. I thought it a regular wild Yankee unsocial business and certainly would not wish to see it introduced with any well-regulated community. The first two days of the year are consequently idle days to all and we only looked at the ceiling and curled our thumbs as we waited for the Yankees getting sober enough to be bled. I did nothing worth mentioning during the first few days of this month, except to collect some money, which was due to me.
January 4th 1874
On Sunday 4th I staid at home all day, on Monday I went as far as the corner and the day looked so threatening that I came back. Today we heard of the death of Fr. Laurence’s father. I spent the evening at Mr. O’Mellia’s and we had bagpipes, fiddles and piano with some vocal chords of native music.
January 6th 1874
I am 36 years complete today and I celebrated my birthday by saying Mass for Fr. Laurence’s father and keeping quiet the rest of the day. The next day was wet. Thursday and Friday I did two capital days’ work, on Saturday I worked half a day and gave up my U.S. begging for the present. On Sunday I paid some farewell visits and walked about the city with young Val Dillon who spent the evening with me and was joined by half-dozen of our New York friends. Monday I went out leave taking, and hang me if I ever do the like again. My friends were sad, the female item in the circle wept, some copiously and some sparingly, the male items squeezed my hand, looked sad and made me some presents. The end of it was that I felt something like a couple of tears starting at my toes on the way up to my eyes. They did not get that far, either the distance being too far or their strength having become exhausted. I leave true genuine friends among the Dunnes with whom we have lodged so long, especially Biddy, who has been a sister and a mother, an attendant and a nurse to us ever since we entered the house. When I offered to pay them what I owed them, I got $50 as a donation. God’s blessings attend them all.
January 12th 1874
I took my berth on board the ‘Ethna’ (bound for Jamaica) on the 12th., and as her time to leave new York was half past 12.00 on the 13th I intended to start at 1.00 o’clock in order to put all my things in order. Father Laurence as usual delayed me 5 minutes beyond the time and chuckled hugely (uti nos exit) at my impatience. I ordered Maggie to play the rogue’s march for I was getting down in the mouth, and Biddy came over to stop the performance. I started with Father Laurence in a cab, called at Mr. O’Hare’s and he came with us to the boat. There I found Mr. O’Neill, Mr. O’Mellia, Johnny Noonan, and Dot waiting to see the last of me. We had to wait until 3.00 o’clock. Goodbye New York, Goodbye.
My voyage on the ‘Ethna’ was very pleasant indeed. Captain Drakeford took me for his best friend. I saw near him at table, had to help him thro’ his grog and cigars and kept him in fits of laughter with some of my best yarns. One day he thought to outgain me. He said he saw land thro’ the porthole (he didn’t a bit) and nobody else saw it. ‘Don’t you see that cow yonder on shore’. ‘Oh yes !’, cried I, ‘I see her and she is grinning at us for being such a parcel of fools as to believe our Captain’s yarns.’ The whole saloon was in a roar and he vowed he would never try to spin a yarn in my presence again. I found the Purser a capital chess player. Knew all the gambits perfectly. He and I beat all and came out evens in the end. We had a party at Whist every evening consisting of the Captain, the Purser, the Chief Engineer and myself. None of the passengers played either Whist or Chess, except a German Jew and a Jamaican. The German Jew was settled in Jamaica: he was thick and grizzly and chunky, ate his dinner like a hog, and talked on political economy like a sage. He reminded me much of the German Doctor in Wilkie Collin’s Poor Miss Finch. He played Chess right well, but if he lost a knight or bishop, without an equivalent, he gave up the game at once. The Jamaican played a good game also. He beat me the two first games but could not get a single game afterwards. He was a very nice gentlemanly fellow. His name is (?). The weather was wet and ugly but the thermometer was rising, and all the amusement we had was confined to four or five: There were several Cuban passengers, but they were not good companions and we did not care about taking them into our circle.
January 17th 1874
On Saturday 17th, notwithstanding thunder, lightening and rain, the thermometer rose to 80. On Sunday 18th we crossed the Tropic of Cancer and directly changes took place in our habiliments. Off went topcoats, heavy coats and underclothing of an extra kind. The sailors all went barefoot and the Captain slept in a hammock on deck. We had a bit of a storm but the weather was hot nevertheless. The thermometer rose to 88. On Monday we coasted along Cuba. The shore was rugged and stair like, with plenty of green foliage and coconut trees. We came in sight of Jamaica on Tuesday morning and our steamer had to stop for a little boat out of which climbed a nigger, as black as the ace of spades. He was barefoot and clad in a ragged oilcloth. This was the Pilot! The Captain put him on the bridge and in two minutes the fellow appeared rigged out in a grand suit of white linen, with an officer’s cap, a pair of earrings, which could do for bracelets hanging down to his shoulders.
Kingston, Jamaica January 20th 1874
On Sunday January 20th we arrived in Kingston, Jamaica. I found out from fellow passengers that the beautiful island is in a retrogressive state. At the liberation of the Negroes from slaves, they were allowed to squat in some places and in others not. Whenever the Negroes are allowed to squat, (as in Jamaica) things go from bad to worse every day. They have no energy and as long as one of these worthy gentlemen can provide himself with a yam, a stick of sugarcane and a cigar, he will roast himself in the sun and consider himself offended, if asked to work. The style of dress in Jamaica struck me as peculiar. Nigger men (swells) wore white trousers, white shirt, red cap, and no shoes. Women swells a gown, which might fit anything, so loose, was it, and a broad grin. The working people, nothing from waist upwards or calves downwards. Youngsters under ten went as our first parents did before the fall. I arrived on shore and a blackish half bred, who was half tipsy, volunteered to show me the way to the Jesuits. I found Fr. Hathaway was Superior. He knew me in London and recognised me in a minute. I found from him that there is nothing whatever to be done in my line here. The planters scattered about the island will not even pay their church rents and the Negroes have nothing. I ate yam for the first time here: it is very like an overgrown potato, but somewhat sweeter. The rum here is capital.
January 21st 1874
On Wednesday January 21st. I said Mass at half past six, and a little nigger served for me. He put on shoes when coming to serve and nearly tumbled against the steps in consequence. Breakfast was served up by the ugliest old Negro woman ever I laid eyes on: the portions of her extremities which projected above and below her scant raiment would turn anybody’s stomach and her fearful dugs, badly concealed as they hung down her waist, reminded one very much of an old sow. I could not eat till she left the room. After breakfast I ran down to see when I could start for some other part of the world. I intended at first to go to Trinidad, Rio and Buenos Aires, but Father Hathaway and his companions proved to me that it was better to try the Pacific Coast first. A steamer lay in the harbour bound for Panama and I went down to see when she would start. I got there ten minutes before 8 o’clock and had a splendid race with two niggers before me and five after me, to get my luggage transferred from the ‘Ethna’ to the ‘Tasmanian’. I found the society on board splendid – a Mr. Heuer a German, a Captain Thacpoole of the 78th and a naval Captain Jacob. We had high jinks, yarns, songs, music, and a regular gaudeamus. We found the Carribean sea very stormy and the ship rolled terribly as she carried us on to the Isthmus of Panama.
The Atlantic side of this Isthmus has a wee town called Colon, which the Americans will persist in calling Aspinwall. Colon is Columbus, of whom, and a native, is a fine bronze group as you enter. Aspinwall was the chief of the Company, which made the railroad across. The line cost a life per sleeper in consequence of the swamps and fevers. The foliage is most luxurious here and the Tropical plants fill the air with sweet balmy odour. The heat here is not near as great as it is in New York in summer: besides, there is always a breeze from the sea which counteracts, or at least relieves, the oppression of heat. I called upon the priest here – an Italian Fr. Nigra – and he gave me a notion of the place. Poor, wretched, ragged hangers on people the streets and the houses. I drank a bowl of coconut milk, went off with his reverence to reconcile a pair of Jamaicans (husband and wife) and I think we succeeded. He wants me here in Lent to preach a little Mission and see if peradventure I might succeed in getting one third of his flock to their Easter duties. We got on the cars at 1.00 o’clock to cross to the Pacific. The distance is somewhere about 48 miles and the transit takes four hours. The fare is $50 or £10, and by the intercession of the priest I got it reduced to $10. The route is the pleasantest and most picturesque I ever went through. We stopped here and there at some Indian villages and bought from them eggs, fruit and bread, and Credat Judaeus Bap’s pale Ale!. We got into Panama at 5.00 o’clock, and a very official looking gentleman, arrayed in all the glory of Dundreery Whiskers, offered to put all the passengers and their effects into sundry vehicles, of which he had the charge. He was for the Grand Hotel. I said I did not want to go there, but to another place whereof the priest in Colon had given me the address. ‘All righte, go in here (the omnibus) and he will take you.’ Arrived at the Hotel the omnibus would not go any further and when I insisted upon being carried the other fellow coolly said he would send a small boy to show me. I would not leave the buss and he carried me downtown again and up in another one. After my three jaunts I found there was no law or policeman or magistrate to appeal to, so I had to get out and jog along under the guidance of a nigger to my lodging. I was told there I could not get my baggage unless I paid a dollar. I brought a young man with me and got it for half a dollar. I was as mad as I could be at this swindling, and madder still when I found that in this Hotel there was a woman kept on each story for the accommodation of the gentlemen passengers who stopped there, and that my blackmailer was her pimp and touted for the lassies. The officers told me all this. I reported the matter to the clergy and said I never heard of anything like that except in Italy. The tout I found out was an Italian – the proprietor (to whom the (?) paid a tax) a Frenchman. This is an old Spanish Catholic City and out of a population of some thousands, I saw 100 at Mass. This is a Catholic Country – alas! alas!. (Here follows an Italian phrase, which can’t be deciphered.) May God purge those nations until they be purified! The prayer of their disgusted coreligionist – Pius. I am nicely accommodated a Dona Simona Chari’s and recommend every priest who passes Panama to put up there. There was a little nigger boy, who ran messages for me, and I suppose in compliment to my reverence, he actually wore a little torn shirt one day, next day he wore a pair of drawers also (this was Sunday), and on Monday he went in breeks without shirt. A woman who wore bare shoulders etc., very far down and showed a coppery carcase actually put on a scapular! Possibly if I remain here a few more weeks I may be obliged to sent for a tailor. In the church on Sundays (and even week days) these same half naked squaws wear their Spanish mantilla, which is very picturesque and modest indeed.
January 26th 1874
On Sunday 26th I went with the V.G. – a Padre Giovane – to the Steamboat office on order to get a reduction in the fare to Lima. The fare then is $160 – most fearfully and enormously dear – a passage was offered to me for £100. The beauty of the thing is that I had only $95 in the world and had to pay a bill and extras out of that. $85 would take me back to New York and I was tempted to return, especially as there was a splendid steamer just about to start. Still I did not like to return and cowardice is not a thing I feel at the sight of difficulties. I thought of Guyaquil, about half way to Lima, and took passage in the ‘Valdivia’ for Guyaquil, for which I paid about $60. When leaving Panama I should get my traps down to the tender by the Italian rascal and Co. – no other mode of conveyance – and was determined the scoundrels would never see the colour of my money again, and I told them so. They grinned a diabolical grin. I hired a darkie and a boat and took myself and the two officers across to the steamer for one dollar. Weren’t the flunkies mad when they saw us on board before them and evidently without their assistance? I said, ‘Well, my good men, roguery never does a man good, and I shall take care that as much infamy as possible will come to you as a punishment for your fraud, extortion and other villainies; now, you mind my words.’ They were silent and felt that I had found them out. I saw three Californian miners on board carrying belts and big revolvers and bowie knives stuck in them. They looked fierce but proved very quiet. Our journey by the ‘Valdivia’ was very pleasant. The Captain and officers were extremely kind to me and I found some good fellows among the passengers.
On the Pacific Ocean.
Well has this Ocean been so called; or, as the Germans more significantly name it ‘(?)’ – ‘Still Sea’ literally. There was scarcely a wave worth looking at and the motion of the vessel was like a small lake in a summer breeze. The Atlantic, in the same latitude, rages and foams and tosses the biggest steamer like a cockleshell. We had a good many South American Spaniards with us. I played chess with them and beat them all round, then I beat them in pairs and then in three. I then gave odds, of Knights and Castles, and one beat me with the odds of a Castle. Some of them could not sleep at night after getting thrashed. It was great fun to see the hidalgos with their plumes plucked. We had a Yankee family consisting of father, mother and two children (girls) of 7 and 5 years of age respectively. Some of the gentlemen played with the little girls, who were nice quaint things, and one day a Spaniard, who spoke English, said to the elder, ‘I cannot get things washed on board would you mind washing for me.’ ‘Guess I will, if I can earn a dollar or two.’ The face he made at the business nature of this remark would suit John Leech for Punch. It just marks the difference between the two races. Here we are now on a fine seaboard, where there are plenty of harbours and what have the descendants of the Spaniards done for the last 300 years? The Steamboats are English and French. There is not a single town with a respectable house in it till you get as far as Guyaquil. Little hamlets, consisting of a few huts built of bamboo and covered with mud on their sides and palm leaves on their roofs. The inhabitants are lazy, listless, idle and ignorant, superstitious and irreligious e.g in one town (Esmeraldas) I was told that only one couple were married! Yet to see the little officials, as they swagger on board at each port, clothed in uniforms on that day and going barefoot all week, jabbering flummery Spanish and smoking dirty cigars is enough to make a dog strike his father. I went ashore at one village named S. Buenaventura, and Oh great was the stink thereof! A dirty village in Connaught would be respectable compared with this.
February 1st 1874
In Esmeraldas I was taken ashore by Senor Flores, the governor on Sunday 1st February. I thought I could get to say mass. The Church was there, but the priest was away in the country and all the vestments were locked up. The governor gave myself and companions a splendid breakfast and had us rowed back, in his own boat, to the steamer again. My face got burnt fearfully by the sun, so much so that the skin peeled off and a new skin is coming on. This evening we found we should cross the Equator at midnight. I suggested that we should have the old ceremony of shaving performed on all who never crossed before. The officers entered into the idea. One of them dressed up as Neptune with a crown and a long beard. I carried the Trident and off we marched thro’ the ship, waking those who were asleep and shaving them with a big sword a yard long. It used to be sharpened on a piece of the rigging. Some of the steerage people were frightened out of their lives. After the ceremony we had champagne and soup and I played them some tunes on the flute. We did not go to bed until 2.00 o’clock a.m.
February 3rd 1874
On Tuesday 3rd we arrived in the harbour of Guyaquil and I put on my habit, sandals and all, as we are obliged to wear these things in this part of the world. We could not go on shore because we were not in until after six in the evening. This is a tremendous place for red tape – circumlocution. Next morning Wednesday, February 4th, the swell of officers came on board and graciously permitted us to disembark. I made the acquaintance of the English Consul, a Mr. Smith, a recent convert, before I went on shore to try my luck in Guyaquil.
Guayaquil, Ecuador February 4th 1874
This city built on the border of the Pacific Ocean, and watered by the river of that name, is not, but ought to be the capitol of Ecuador. Quito, as being the more ancient and perhaps the more central, is the capital. It is a week’s journey (150 miles) from Guayaquil, in consequence of their being no roads except a mule’s track through the forest and up the sides of mountains. Quito is 3,500 yards above the level of the sea; and although almost on the Equator, the thermometer seldom rises above 50 Fahrenheit. Guayaquil is on the level of the sea and its average thermometer, all the year round is 80, it goes often higher but seldom lower. There is no Winter here, of course, but the year is divided into the dry and rainy season, called respectively ‘El Verand’ and El Inviernd’. Although I have made it a rule to cram nothing into this queer nondescript journal from guidebooks or histories ( a rule which I have faithfully kept up to the present) I think I had better put down for my own information a few scraps of what I have read about this remarkable part of the world. Quito was a Kingdom about the time the piper played before Moses. It was taken by some stronger savages than those who held it in 300 A.D. It belonged to these half civilised people until 1475 when Huainacapae called the Great, Inca of Peru conquered it. However such grandees as existed then proclaimed a daughter of the conquering King, Queen, and the Inca settled the matter by making her his wife and then joined Peru and Quito together. His two sons, Huascar and Atahualpa, the latter by the Queen of Quito and the former by the Empress of Peru, were given each a half of the old King’s possessions. Huascar was satisfied for four years and then wanted the whole. Atahualpa conquered and reigned over the whole, as Emperor or Inca in 1531. Two years afterwards Pizarro, (a wretch for whom no name can be evil enough) under the cover of a hospitable reception which the Inca gave him, seized him, imprisoned and after a mock trial had him executed – yes, Atahualpa a most honest and upright pagan was executed on the 29th August 1533, in order that Christian Spain might reap the fruit of this treachery and blast the country with cuss for 300 years. In 1824 the natives – about 1,000,000, chiefly or nearly all a mixture of Indians, Negroes, and Spaniards, shook off the Spanish yoke and formed themselves into a Republic. They have had several civil wars since, and suffered from fires, pestilence, buccaneers and pirates; but are now a promising little country and the President gloried in his last message, that they are the only true Catholic government in the world. They are all Catholic but of a very funny kind. In a city of 15,000 inhabitants about 50 men make their Easter Communion; but they would fight for their faith. Like Paddy ‘Glory be to God, your Reverence, I might shoot an Orangeman or get drunk or some little thing like that, but I would not ate mate of a Friday nor let anyone say a word agin the clargy.’
I landed her at 10.00 o’clock on Wednesday 4th February. The English Consul and a Mr. Wilson (both recent converts) escorted me to the Bishop. He is away on his visitation. We called on the V. G. – not at home. They look blue now till somebody thinks of a Mgr. Marriot, the Rector of the Seminary and son of an Englishman. We call there and my two friends depart. After a short palaver I am received, the V.G. consulted. I am authorized and told when his Lordship returns he will give me a donation himself. There is no room in the Seminary and the Palace shut up and somebody dead in it; so I go to the Jesuits and there I am hospitably received, as I always am by this body. The next two days I spend in going round buttonholing canons and special friends of my friends to get up a respectable heading for a list of subscriptions. I succeed in getting names to the amount of $100 or so. I visit the Franciscans, Dominicans, Servites and the remains of the Augustinians, consisting of an old man. They were all very kind to me and asked me to eat and drink in their houses when I chose. On Friday I was surprised to see all eating meat. I find there is a dispensation here by virtue of the Bolla Crociata.
February 7th 1874
On Saturday 7th I took a regular day at the begging. My guide is a long time mulatto of a dark copper colour named Andres. His hair is curly, so he is of a Negro origin. He wears thin trousers, a thin black jacket and a sombrero of dark blue stuck on the side of his head. He and I must cut a curious figure thro’ the city. We called upon big wigs. They all live on the upper story. The houses are all built in quadrangles (diagram), and only two stories high for fear of earthquakes. The lower stories contain a multitude of small shops and poor people. The upper contains one grandee and his belongings. The rooms are very large and some of them have as many as three hammocks with ladies swinging in them and gentlemen out in the veranda smoking cigarettes. The yellow women are very good looking and plump, the younger ladies are generally white and not at all graceless. They have an arch twinkle of the eye, the softest way in the world of throwing themselves into chairs and hammocks. As a rule they don’t know where Ireland is at all. One lady said ‘Hi, si, una parte de Ingleterra’ to enlighten her mother. I was coming up from the Dominicans Church one evening and a little Negro girl ran after me and wanted to know if I would be giving Confirmation on the next day. They never saw our habit here before and a good many people think I am a foreign bishop. The priests here wear a long light cloak and the bishop’s is about the length of our mantle. A Senor Merrot asked me to say mass in his private oratory on Sunday morning. I did so and a whole congregation was there assembled. A nice pale young lady talked very imperfect French to me and the father looked on and listened as if it was the greatest treat in the world. She looked very white and pale and when she came nearer to me I perceived a powder like flour on her cheeks. I suppose she will come out yellow after her marriage. On Sunday evening we took a walk into the country. All the students of the College (Jesuits) were assembled and the Rector began to scold them as they were drawn up to hear and look at this gigantic monk, ((?) the biggest man in this town by long chalks) and said ‘Look here, Rev. Father, we have generally 40 boys in our College for the last 14 years and not one of them ever had courage enough or religion enough to become a religious. They are all for this world.’ I looked at them and their swarty faces wore an expression of most peculiar queerness. It seemed to say – ‘that’s so, and we are rather proud of ourselves for it and intend to persevere.’ I made the Fathers laugh when giving my ideas of them in Spanish. I paid a visit this evening to a Manchester man, a commercial traveller who supplies all this coast with wearing apparel, and comes all the way from England to get orders. Ther’s enterprise and energy! When will Spaniards be like that? I find here that all the religious are imported. The secular clergy – darling boys – are recruited from the natives. People have no idea of time here. Half their days are spent in idleness. I must remain here until the 19th as there is no steamer South before then. The way of entering a grandee’s house is thus. Myself and my hidalgo walk up the big wide stairs together. Within one step of the top he stoops down and knocks on the floor, then rises up to his full length and shouts ‘Deo Gratias’ ! Upon this a yellow woman pokes her head out of a door and then communication is set on foot with the interior. They are very polite and very observant of ceremonies here. I, being a barbarian, am allowed my own way – I have already a pain in my back from the number of bows I have to make and the skin is taken off the back of my hand from the multitude of kisses imprinted thereon.
February 9th 1874
Monday morning February 9th I promised to say mass for a gentleman and his family. At six o’clock a drowsy looking fellow appeared in the College with my card. He made a great fuss about my saying the mass ‘para la virgen’ in the Church. I thought he meant to offer it up for a Virgin then and there present and said ‘si’. When I was vested the frowsy fellow came into the sacristy and made another hullabaloo about the Virgin. Father Ramirez came to the rescue and I then perceived the meaning of it. A big ugly picture of the Bl. Virgin and Child was put up on the altar, where I said mass, to my great distraction. The frowsy fellow knelt and heard the mass for the family and then went home satisfied. I have not had so distracted a mass for a long time. Such are Spanish customs! My gawky Don, a veritable Quixote, appeareth not for 2 or 3 days and I am obliged to remain idle. I got sick of diarrhoea one day and by starvation got rid of it. At length I got a boy ‘muchacho’ and he is a frolicsome young varmint. He cuts capers and frisks everywhere. I buy materials for a tropical habit and mantle, sing mass in one place, say it in two or three other places and at length find myself able to do a few hours work in the day.
February 18, 1874
On Ash Wednesday 18th February I called upon the bishop, got his name and donation and shortly afterwards I took my passage for Callao. I would have gone away sooner, could I get a steamer. I did well enough here and am satisfied that the descendants of the Spaniards are not so rapacious as were their forefathers. They hate Spain thro’ and everything belonging thereto.
Lima – Peru February 19th 1874
On Thursday 19th February I took my passage on board the ‘Oroya’ (an English Steamer of course) for Callao en route to Lima. The coast, after we left Guayaquil, looked very barren and wild
February 21st 1874
We reached a place called Paita on the morning of Saturday 21st. This little town consists of a few huts and looked about the most parchest spot of the world I have ever seen. It rains here once in 7 years and then vegetation sprouts over the surrounding hills. The mules which carry produce for exportation from the interior are so starved that it is recorded they ate up the green paling of an Englishman’s garden, having mistaken them for grass. When the Captain of the Port came on board I heard a commotion. An American, named Blastail, who travelled with us and was a very agreeable companion, was taken prisoner for having murdered somebody in this place about a fortnight ago. We were all surprised and I am sorry to say the general opinion was that if he did not do the deed he helped in it. The poor murdered man, a Scotchman, went out to bathe with three more (one of whom was Blastail) and never returned. He was found murdered and robbed upon crags above the bathing ground and his companions made off. One of them foolishly returned here and is now a prisoner.
February 23rd 1874
We got into the harbour of Callao, without any other incidence of consequence, on Monday 23rd. at half past one. We got ashore by small boats and took the train for Lima, where I arrived at a quarter to five. The Superior of the Jesuits in Guayaquil told me to go to S. Pedro and that I would get hospitality there. I went there and met a wooden Jesuit, who knew nothing and said the Superior would not be at home until half past 8. He escorted me to the Archbishop’s and, as I had a letter of introduction to the Secretary, I though all would be right. I showed my papers to his Grace, who, by the way, is a little old hedgehog of a man almost bent in two, and he examined them and then coolly said he did not know one of the bishops, whose names were on my paper. He did not know me either and the Secretary did not know the Rector of the Jesuits. I was then told I should get the English Minister or Plenipotentiary to certify my identity, to apply for all (?) there in a formal written document to them (?) why then I was bowed out. By the meerest chance in the world I asked, when just going down the steps, if there was an English or an Irish Jesuit in the city. ‘Oh si, Don Jorge’. I was shown off to this gentleman’s residence – the Rev. Mgr. George Strongitharm, nobody here could pronounce his surname, and before I could talk and before he had finished reading my papers he walked over and pulled a book nicely bound in Moroccan as an Oscott premium, and asked me if I had not written it. It turned out to be ‘The life of Fr. Ignatius’. Well, Well. We found each other out very soon and he dined me etc.
February 24th 1874
On Tuesday February 24th myself and Mgr. Strongitharm went off to the Palace. Mgr. went into his Grace first and told him a great many good things about me. I was brought in then and received graciously. The Secretary then appeared and spent a long time deciphering my signs. He did not give the Archbishop a poke in the ribs like the Hottentot King who examined Stanley’s revolver, but he looked very wise. My letters were scanned again and his Grace took down a volume containing the names of all the Bishops and Generals etc. in the Church. He found one General’s name there and that on my paper corresponded; still he examined and cross-examined. He then looked at my Latin petition and said I wrote Latin elegantly but a good student might do that. At length he asked Don Korge would he sware to my identity. The Don said he would and was sworn there and then. We chatted a while then and were ushered into a large room where four or five of us set too and smoked most heartedly for a good hour. We two were then shown into another large apartment where we found a notary public with a wig on and a young scribe. A big document was then dictated by the Notary and drawn up by the scribe, setting forth the reasons wherefore Don Geiorge could swear to my identity. He swore again and wrote his name. The Secretary wrote his and after this long delay we were told to come next day and that his Grace would make out The Decree. Such a ‘Circumlocution Office’ in the Tropics! I dined with the Ramos family in company with Dom George and we strode off in the evening to visit a Mgr. Rocca. He is a very nice man and spoke French and Italian perfectly. I then went to S. Pedro where I have a brick floored room, 30 ft. by 20 ft. and 16 ft. high, – large enough to be a barn. S. Pedro is an old building, which was a Jesuit College before the suppression. No Jesuit is allowed in this republic, and consequently the old place, consisting of two large quadrangles, is scarcely inhabited, except by a couple of Oratorians. The Church is very beautiful and full of gorgeous ornaments and old pictures. The climate here is much milder than in Guayaquil althou’ the sun is almost vertical at noon. His majesty is on the way north just now, as my shadow is cast south at midday. The women wear both in the street and in the Church a mantilla, which only lets their eyes and nose be seen. They are nearly as bad as Turks; but from what I can see I don’t think their beauty is verty transcendent.
February 25th 1874
As I had nothing to do from my mass until 12.00 o’clock, I went out and bought a copy of Don Quixote in Spanish. I never could read the book in English so here goes for a feed. I bought also a Spanish copy of Cardinal Wiseman’s Fabiola. I called upon Mr. Jermingham, the English Minister to this court and he gave me a letter to the Gobierno.
February 26th 1874
Thursday 26th called upon His Grace today again – nothing for me. I find now that the gentleman whom I thought Secretary was only the sub, and that the real Secretary received my letter of introduction (or rather dug it out of his waste papers today). I must come tomorrow again. I went off to the Government Palace and got my claims put in. At length on Friday, the fifth day I receive a document from His Grace certifying my identity and giving me leave to say mass and hear confessions. No leave to beg. I must put in a special plea for that and wait five days more I suppose. On Saturday 28th through the influence of an official I (?) Government licence to beg, signed sealed and delivered and a nice document it is. I brought it to his Grace to get him to endorse it. He said ‘tres . bien’ but told me I must send in a petition and come on Monday for an answer. Well I was pretty nearly as mad as I could be. I complained to the Secretary about being kept idle more than a week and all by ecclesiastical red tape. He shrugged his shoulders and I must submit. I have great difficulty in finding a guide. Don Jorge does his best but can’t get one. All of a sudden a discontented lay novice from the (?) comes to offer his services. His eye has been nearly knocked out by a companion. I engage him for Monday and he forthwith flung off his habit and appears before me on Sunday in secularibus. On Sunday I visited the Discalced Franciscans (who are the only community which keeps rule in the city) ate some grapes three came back and dined with the Rams.
March 2nd 1874
On Monday March 2nd I started off with my guide and did a sort of a day’s work at the begging. I called at the Archevechi and was told to come tomorrow at 3 o’clock. Did anyone ever know the like of that! The worst of it is my Government paper is there. There has been a terrible crisis in Lima and Government cannot pay its officials. Poor news for me. Yes, I’ll get the whole concern off my stomach! I was told to come, day after day, and it was only on Thursday 5th, exactly 12 days after I arrived here that I was able to get the Episcopal lines !!! I suggested to some of the Canons that they might, in the case of sede vacanti, send to Massacheuettes for a machine which could sign its name better and be a cheaper bishop. It would not have children to support and endow, like some Peruivan gentlemen we (several words indecipherable). I went to work however and got $100 one day.
March 4th 1874
On Wednesday 4th I was walking along with my guide and met a lady swathed in mantilla and accompanied by a grenadier looking man. I thought I knew the face, and she knew me. It happened to be Lucrezia d’Ingunza, one of the pupils of the Ste Union, whom I guided spiritually in London 10 years ago. She is married to a Colonel Balbuena, and I spent a pleasant evening with them. They took me about and exhibited me to her friends, who are many here.
March 5th 1874
Thursday 5th – with Ingunza’s again. Saw the place for a bullfight and some curiosities – made a little money also. On Friday I did a fair day’s work and counted $260 as my gains for the last five days. On Saturday I wound up the city. Sunday I spent with the Ramos and Monday I went off to Chorrillos. This is a watering place where quality live in retirement and would be quality in expense. I found a great many of them absent. The wife of the President sent me down $5 by her son. On Tuesday I left Lima for Callas (the Seaport) intending to do a trifle among stray Irish there. I found them the sorriest lot of Irish I ever came across. They are exceedingly degraded and have no priest to look after them. I went after the big rich ones and they came up to $2. The poor were more generous. I sent off £80 to Fr. Dominic. Went to see Mr. Petrie, who reduced the passenger money to Valparasio for me. I dined with Mr. Wilson, the English Consul here. He and I visited a hospital where stopped an Irish Sister.
On Wednesday 11th March I started on a voyage to Valparaiso on board the ‘Atacama’. The Captain I found to be an Irishman named Harris. He was very kind to me and even more so than Drakeford of the ‘Etna’. I was his right hand man. We made up a party at Whist (in the Captain’s room) every evening and during the day I played chess. I beat everybody except a Mr. Jones, who came on board for one night only and we came off two games each.
This coasting along the Pacific is very curious. The bare barren looking mountains, which overhang the sea, the scorched villages which nestle in each little bay, the (?) natives which appear in the boats as we enter their territory, all contribute to give the Coast of Peru, Bolivia, and Chile a most battered miserable appearance to a stranger. The country is barren on the coast and a desert stretches along a portion of it, but it is rich in mines of copper and silver. There are some towns along the coast, which have to wait upon the Steamers for water. And an enterprising English Steamer is making a little fortune by carrying water alone.
March 15th 1874
On Sunday 15th we went on shore to visit a city ruined by an earthquake about 4 years ago. We saw a steamer, which was carried up the land and left by a wave one and a half miles from the coast stuck on the side of a hill. Her crew was saved. On St. Patrick’s Day we had a glass of Irish whiskey at lunch and I gave the sailors something for themselves. On the next day we heard of the loss of the Tacna, a steamer belonging to this company, which coolly turned upside down in the ocean, after she got out of Valparaiso.
March 20th 1874
On Friday 20th some priests and nuns came on board. One of their reverences was sent to my cell. I found he was the General of the Sacred Heart Order. He and I played a game of Chess and I came off best. On Saturday 21st we arrived in Valparaiso at 4.00 o’clock. I went on shore directly, posted off in a cab to the railway and had my ticket for Santiago at 5.00. I find the railway carriages here all built after the English pattern. The journey to Santiago was very wearing. We get in there at half past ten and I was tired enough when I got to bed in Hotel De Sur. Here I stayed and on Sunday morning 22nd said mass at a little Church over the way.
Santiago March 22nd 1874
Having a letter from Mr. Higgins (the Consul for this place in Guayaquil) for his cousin the Interdente here – a Mr. Vicuna McKenna – I thought I was on the pig’s back and therefore made no provision for a disappointment. Hence I found myself here with only a few dollars in my pocket and no friend to look to. I was down enough in the mouth about that, fearing Mr. McKenna might be away somewhere. I called to his residence, saw his wife (who received me kindly and asked me to breakfast) and left my card and letter of introduction for his inspection, intending to return again at 1.00 o’clock. I came at the time, and he had been and gone and told me to be at the Interndencia (corresponding to our Major’s office) tomorrow. I called and after some waiting was admitted to his presence. He turned on me, said he would give me neither money or leave to beg, and if I begged without his leave I was liable to be taken up – getting into a rage does not express the passion he got into. He said he had been imposed upon before and would not again etc. Not content with this, he scolded me before a whole crowd assembled in the antechamber, and thus I marched out, after bowing to the attendants, the most humbled, friendless, and helpless man in Santiago. My bill was mounting up and my friends running down and hope was now cut off of begging even enough to carry me away from here. I have not even enough to take me to Valparaiso and buy a steamboat passage. My only hope in the way of friends having failed me, what am I to do? I resolved to go and see the Archbishop. I went there saw the V.G. (his grace is ill) submitted my papers. I got full faculties in five minutes for everything I anted. I then told them of Major McKenna. ‘Nevr mind him’ said the V.G. ‘go over to the Jesuits, with my compliments, and they will tell you how to evade his edict’. Some hope now. I go to the Jesuits, find the Rector very kind, and am promised a room in their College during my stay, if they can make out one. The Edictum of McKenna has no reference except to street beggars, I can do as much as I like in private houses. When I got back to the Hotel, an Irishman, the only genuine one in the city, (McKenna is only of Irish descent) walked into my room and promised to help me all he could. Things are getting brighter.
March 24th 1874
Tuesday 24th I call upon the Rector of the Jesuits – he has no room but gives me a letter to the Franciscans. I go there, see the superior, (who knew my habit at once) and am promised a room during my stay. Brighter still. I go back to the Hotel, settle my bill and have just one dollar and a half left.
March 25th 1874
Wednesday 25th I go to S. Francisco, say mass at half past seven, get a nice cell allocated to me and a chance of a good guide. This has been my hardest trial yet, and I came through depending on a spalpeen of a bastard mongrel Irishman. I fear the name of Mckenna will stink in my nostrils henceforth and for evermore; eh!
March 26th 1874
Not having the fear of Don McKenna and his police before my eyes, and having procured a guide, I set out on the afternoon of the 26th to beg. The first person I called upon was the President of the Republic Sr. Federigo Errazuriz. He was not in. I called round again, after a few more visits and found his lady – a nice sweet, amiable, gentle creature. She said she heard of my arrival in the place (from McKenna perhaps) and after a nice chat she went off to her coffers and fetched me five gold pieces of $10 each; apologising, in the sweetest Spanish lisp I ever heard, for the smallness of the donation, and saying that if her husband was in he would give me more. I verily believe that if I met McKenna at that moment I’d have pulled his nose. I went on and found my other visits pretty successful – in about two hours I made a fine day’s work. It is so nice to be getting donations in silver and gold – especially in gold. Brightest! At last I raise my head. N.B. I spoke Spanish most fluently today. Next day I visited the Archbishop and found him a nice charitable old man. My work was pretty successful until Sunday when I went into the country to say mass and drink wine made in the place. On Monday and Tuesday I did hardly anything, as all the good people were making their souls and the bad never excel in charity. I found Holy Week was no time for my work; so I set down to do like the good people. Holy Week in Santiago is something very sacred. No cabs run from Holy Thursday until Saturday and the shops are shut. On Good Friday we had a procession in which (?) of the passion in life statues were carried about on men’s shoulders. These statues were dressed in tinsel and seemed to me abominable. Still all the world and his wife was there; and we paraded the streets through an immense crowd until 7 o’clock in the evening. I was making up my mind to leave Santiago by Monday but one of the Fathers persuaded me to stay a little longer. On the three last days of Holy Week I help a couple of the Fathers to officiate in the Sacred Heart Convent. I meet two North American and one Maltese nun there who spoke English. No newspaper comes out here from Spy Wednesday until Easter Tuesday. On Holy Saturday the boys dress up a big statue of straw and other combustible materials, like an English Guy Fawkes, filling his nostrils and entrails with powder, hoist him to the top of a hill and then blow him to atoms with powder. The statue is yclept Judas. ‘Tenemos buen Judao sto ano zha isto (?)’ is very frequently heard in the streets. Whilst the preparation for this explosion is going on we slipped into April here without any noticeable change. All Fools’ is kept on Holy Innocents’ Day I find. I have not visited the sights here yet, but will next week.
April 6th 1874
On Monday I went with Fr. Amagata to see the Cervo and so behold the town. It is a high hill 200 feet and ornamented all along the way up along a zig zag road. I think it a little overdone. The city is very fine indeed, like a bowl in the centre of barren mountains, and fills up a beautiful valley with its house haciendas and chacaras. My guide did not come today and as I did not see my way to doing more in the city I resolved to start tomorrow for other parts.
Valparaiso April 7th 1874
On Tuesday April 7th I set out, by train, for Valparaiso (vale of Paradise) and arrived there at half past 12.00. I went to the Franciscan Convent, was well received and lodged, and made volpine designs upon the pockets of the inhabitants for tomorrow. Knowing there were a good many English and Irish here I intended making a haul and sending my profits home to Dublin with a fine flourish of successful satisfaction.
April 8th 1874
Wednesday April 8th, I set out with a guide, a poor miserable looking felllow, to circumvent the town. I marched along the main street and found the people very mean. I’d be kept a quarter of an hour talking in grand houses and then get 20 cents for my time. ‘This won’t pay’ quote I. One or two did very well. I gave up the day in disgust and wended my way home. I could not help it, as my guide got a fit in the street and was not able to go any further. When I was returning I saw a comfortable looking butcher’s shop with the name ‘Madden’ over it in big golden letters. ‘Here’s a paddy’ thought I and entered accordingly. Mr. Madden was not in but his two men-at-arms were. I chatted with them delivered my message and left my card, threatening to return in half an hour after visiting another friend. When I came back I saw a blackish looking fellow, with a goatee, fumbling with my card. He asked if he might have it and they said yes. He went off then and in five minutes came back and asked me would I accompany him for a few minutes. I did not like the cut of him nor his way but I said – ‘to be sure’. He conducted me off to a palatial looking place, guarded by soldiers, and brought me before a respectable looking man behind a table, who spoke – tanquem potestatem habens – to me and led me into the following conversation. The Senor – ‘You have begged here’ – ‘Yes, sie I have’. ‘What authority have you for doing so?’ ‘The Archbishop’s’, producing my paper. ‘Nobody is allowed to beg here without the leave of the government.’ ‘The Archbishop told me that such a leave was not necessary.’ ‘The Archbishop, sir, has made a mistake’. ‘That is not my fault, sir.’ ‘Well, you cannot beg without our leave else you will find yourself in a scrape.’ ‘Whom have I the honour of addressing!’ quote I. ‘The Intendente, Sr. Eschaurren.’ ‘Well, then Mr. Intendente can’t you give me leave and make the matter all right.’ ‘No, sir, you must get the president’s leave first and then I shall sign it.’ ‘Ho, ho, get Jupiter to blow out a candle and then Mercury to snuff it, I don’t think that can be law.’ ‘That is law, sir, and you must go to Santiago and go thro’ the formalities else I cannot and will not allow you to do anything in your line here.’ ‘I am much obliged to you, sir, but I am happy to inform you that I can live without your assistance – good afternoon.’ My pipe was thus put out. The clerical and secular branches of the government are quarrelling here and I was to be made the field of their fight; which being interpreted means – go to prison for three months and then go your way, and as I did not choose either to get into prison or be a martyr for a queer principle, I chose to leave the city and try my fortune elsewhere. I visit some friends in the evening, picked up a few dollars, reported the Intendente, and made preparations to be off tomorrow to the next city for the Cordilleras. Now, what can we say of the union of Church and State! I must confess I was once a staunch upholder of that theory, but experience has shown me that the greatest misfortune the Church can ever meet is, to be united with any modern state. The State, as I have seen in all South America (with one exception viz. Ecuador) under pretence of protecting the Church tries to make it its slave. The state must prescribe the bells to be rung and the fees to be paid. The State does everything except administer the Sacraments. And this great high and mighty potentate, the State, means some petty fogger of a beggar who lives upon his salary and has to be hand and glove with secret societies in order to keep his place. I’d have to go to Santiago, spend four days extra and perhaps be refused leave in the end – most likely I would be refused – and thus lose time and have to pay all my savings to get to Buenos Ayres by the Straits of Magellan. I saw one day a smart looking fellow on horseback with a placard pinned to his chest and I ask who he was. ‘My, that’s a licensed beggar!’ said my friend. ‘Does he beg for any Church or Orphanage?’ ‘Oh, no, he begs for a livelihood.’ Basta, fancy Fr. Pius on the back of a horse, scouring the plain of Chile, with a placard stuck alongside his signs, and then you will see reason why he should take himself away as soon as possible from his present moorings in Valparaiso.
S. Felipe – Foot of the Andes April 9th 1874
On Thursday morning, April 9th. I started off from Valparaiso for S. Felipe. This I knew to be the nearest respectable town to the Andes and I guessed I might make a part of my expenses there besides hiring mules advantageously for the carrying of me across. I arrived at the town, by train, at half past 11.oo and went straight to the Franciscan Convent. I was kindly received; and after a few turns in the cloister with the guardian, a respectable solemn priest beckoned me towards him. I was told he was the Commissary General. Who did he prove to be! Fr. Isaias Nardocci, a priest cousin of Fr. Salvian’s, my old Master of Novices. Why we nearly eat each other. Was I not at home here! Such queer coincidences! He is merely passing by here and so am I – and we meet!!.
April 10th 1874
On Friday April 10th I set out with a Fr. Manuel for a begging tour in the town. I did not make much and I failed to secure a (?)
April 11th 1874
April 11th as I had nothing particular to do and as I could not begin the mountain journey until Monday next, I took a run into Valparaiso, to see if there were any letters for me and but some little things I wanted. I found no letters; but I get general news from papers down to March 14. It is now nearly three months since I left New York and I never heard a word from home or from then since. I am as much out of the world seemingly as if I were in the African desert. I came back to S. Filipe on Sunday morning April 12th and as I had no business on hand, I viewed the country and came to a few general conclusions. This Chile is full of fertile valleys, cows, mines and cabbages. All these are managed by Englishmen and worked by natives. Occasionally educated natives take leadership parts but John Bull bamboozles them thus : The natives become Intendentes, Officers etc. and wear gaudy uniforms. John Bull takes off his hat, bows to them, makes the money, slaps his breeches pocket and grins at the uniforms behind the officials’ backs. However, I must say that Chile is at least a hundred years ahead of all the South American republics I have yet seen. I have to wait till I cross the Andes for another specimen. On Sunday I sent for a cab to fetch me to the station in order to get to a little town called Sor Andes for the crossing of the Cordilleras; but not a cab came because the sixteen cabs which run in this town were all engaged by pleasure parties. I must therefore wait till tomorrow the 13th, just three months from the day I left New York before I can get a chance of going to the foot of the mountain and engaging my compliment of mules for the crossing.
Las Cordilleras de Los Andes April 13th 1874
On Monday April 13 I came by rail to a nice village snugly nestled and choked with vines at the foot of the Andes. The village itself is called Los Andes. Here I called upon the Parish priest – a Spaniard over flowing with friendship and hospitality – and by a letter of introduction, put my passage across the mountains into his hands. A fellow in S. Felipe asked me 60 dollars for mules and a guide, and I would have closed with him, only that he came out at last saying I should procure my own saddle etc. A man came to the priest’s house to settle and I never saw such haggling in my life as the Curé and himself had. He asked $30. The Curé was cutting him down to $25. I said ‘let him have it and (?) me out well.’ The man then wanted to edge in some extra payments sideways; whereat the Curé lost patience and ordered him off. He caved in through the interference of a third party, just as a crown was gathering around the priest’s door. It was agreed that tomorrow afternoon I set out with mules, guide and all things necessary for four days journey on mule back. The people here told me the mountains were very cold and that I might possibly meet snow. I gave them some notion of North American Winters and I believe they took me for a lineal descendant of Baron Muchausen. This evening April 13th, a very important event took place. I cannot say wherein its importance consisted. It did not pull down a Kingdom or build up a cabal, it did not cost a life, it did not change a person’s vocation, nor rescue a brother man from the peril of an impending death, it was not exactly of the nature of modern sensational stories, it did not place the obstacle which ruffles the running of true love, nor did it remove the impediment which kept two poor souls from rushing into each others’ arms. It did not do anything of all these and yet it was a very important event. ‘What was it?’ Well then, if you must know, I mended my breeches – saving your presence! Don’t turn up your nose and say humbug. I did mend my breeches and it was an event of great importance. Is it nothing to burst one’s trousers over that part which no one likes to present either to a friend or to an enemy? Is it nothing to feel an additional opening of the tear, every time you stoop or sit on a chair? Is it nothing to long stitch it of an evening and find this (?) ripping open as you fulfil your morning devotions and feel thereupon more inclined to curse than to pray? Is it nothing to think of going on horseback over hundreds of miles with your posterior liable to exposure! If all this is nothing, then mending breeches is nothing. But if (?) of all this is important!! – Yea; and I mended them well; for I pieced and quilted over in my “best needle-manship the guilty, gaping, unmannerly rent and so fortified my seat of honour that I fear not the hardship of the saddle nor the possible exhibition of my (?) Yea: I say. Then is the mending of a pair of breeches of consequence to a man far away from the sympathy of his friends and thrown upon – not that contained in the (?) but upon his own resources. When I was young I practised a little of my trade – tailoring not excepted and I can offer you, gentle reader (if perchance this page meet such a thing) that these accomplishments are more important than playing the piano, especially in South America.
April 14th 1874
On Tuesday 14th I got up early and a balmier or a more beautiful morning I scarcely remember. I said Mass and went about with a Franciscan Father to purchase some little things, such as warm gloves, for three or four hours! Winter, I was about to encounter. We dined at 12.00 o’clock and then recreating I asked the P.P. if I could not procure food and drink on my route. ‘Nada, nada’ (nothing) shouted the disappointed Curé. ‘You will die of starvation on the way unless you lay in a stock – cooked and all – and now there is no time. Wait till tomorrow, I’ll give you all the wine you want anyhow.’ I would not wait; I must get to Mendoza by Sunday time enough to say Mass. I bethought me of a Frenchman who kept a hotel on the town. I asked the Curé about him and he told me (strange to say of a Frenchman) that he was a very good Christian and minded his duties well. We went to him anyhow, and his fine smiling honest face greeted us – as only a Frenchman can greet – told us he’d have a full supply of all ready and packed in an hour’s time. The mules came at 2.00. The French provisions came too. I had a fine stout black mule for my support, my maso (or guide) had a chestnut one, and the baggage mule was a young she one and black. They break in the mules by carrying baggage before they trust a passenger’s life to them. I was on the mule’s back in a jiffy – my habit tucked up and my mantle flowing, like a young dragoon’s, on the beast’s tail. My guide moved off lugging the(? ) mule after him with a cord.; and after bidding goodbye to the clergy, I started after. I went up the town in a good trot, to overtake my guide and show off a bit. Lord, Lord little I knew what was to come after. In a three hour’s ride I found my legs so sore that I could not bear a trot. At 7.30 (5 hours in the saddle) we got to a place called Llovas (Fears) and there put up for the night. I have written this at the end of my third day so far. I am tired and want to go to bed and I shall describe my first night in the bush tomorrow. Well, tomorrow may never come to me. No matter there is not much lost and what is it in a small book. About 7.00 o’clock when it was fairly dark, my guide, whose name is Senor Ferandez, but whom I call Fernando, turned into a shed. There were four walls like a pound and two of those at right angles had an awning of sticks and straw projecting about 10 feet. Here we stopped and I soon perceived it must be our lodging for the night. There were apparently two families in the place, of the genuine Creole breed, or peons as they call them here, for I saw two beds with posts, and half a dozen small beds with little varmints of black headed dirty faced children in them strewn on the ground. I talked with the two men as one of the women went to make us supper from the contents of my wallet. She made a slop thing, called Casuela, enough I thought to feed a dozen. I took a little and a glass of wine, and Fernando and one of the men finished the whole mess which remained. Fernando asked soon if I like to retire, and on my giving a nod he proceeded straightway to make my bed. The bed consisted of three skins, which accompany all South-American saddles, and the saddle I rode on for my pillow. The litter was placed a few yards from the family sleeping establishment, all in the open air, and I lay down in my habit with my mantle for a coverlet. Bye and bye one of the inhabitants of the wigwam threw an additional rug over me. I slept, yes, about two hours in fits and starts and before day broke got up, shook myself, called my man and bid him get ready for marching. I washed my face in a little river and wiped it in my mantle. The boy made a cup of coffee in a horn and I drank some of it and broke my fast with a bit of bread. We were off at 7.00 o’clock, when only half the family were up. My bones ached pretty well; but, when I rested in the evening and sat at the base of a rock near a mountain torrent in Juneal, just at the foot of the Grand Cordillera, when pain and ache had partly vanished, and my office was finished, the humour of my night’s rest came upon me and gave birth to the following parody on ‘To ladies’ eyes’ :-
To sleep upon the ground, boys: all very fine, all very fine:
It makes a splendid sound, boys: all very fine, all very fine.
When saints do so for heaven: all roll their eyes, all roll their eyes:
Their saintship gets a leaven, which makes it rise, which makes it rise.
But when it’s by a peasant, to get some rest, to get some rest,
He cannot make it pleasant, and do his best, and do his best,.
I slept upon the ground, boys, in open air, in open air,
And snoring all around, boys, guess who were there. guess who were there?
Two dogs lay down beside me, and near the twain, and near the twain,
Lest anything betide me, my chamberlain, my chamberlain.
Two married pair were sleeping along the wall, along the wall,
And nests of babies creeping, between us all, between us all.
Three walls the whole enclosure, an open space, an open space,
Was left for our composure, to hide our face, to hide our face.
Till breaking of the day, boys, with open eyes, with open eyes,
While all the drones did play, boys, I watched the skies, I watched the skies..
They took my mule and fled, boys, and firmly vowed, and firmly vowed,
I’d never take a bed, boys, in such a crowd, in such a crowd.
The next house on our way was twenty-five miles distance. We were to have breakfast at 10.00, but Fernando said it was not worthwhile as we would get to a nice house and place at 12.00 and might then have our meal comfortably. The fact of it was that we were marching until 2.00 o’clock, when starved and tired and half dead, I dropped rather than alighted from the back of my mule at Juneal. Here we must stay all night as the great Cordilleras have to be scaled at early morn to avoid the winds, which sweep over them in the daytime and afternoon. Our journey up to this was along a river, which tumbles over rocks and precipices. Our route lay in this wise, – a narrow path paved by the mules hooves ran along the back of the river, sometimes on level ground, but more generally on the brink of precipices, hundreds of feet high, and two or three times this day we crossed hills by zigzag roads high enough to make respectable mountains in Ireland. At Juneal there is a deep valley, and all round it you see mountain peaks some 15 and 20 thousand feet high. We had gotten into it by descending a steep pass, how to get out of it we shall see tomorrow. After dinner I strolled off to riverside and at the foot of a rock I read my office, mused and poetised, whilst they were getting me a bed and a room in the mud cabin. The houses are mud. My state apartment here consists of four mud walls, a mud roof, a mud floor; it is 10 feet square and no windows. A dirty woman lays a mattress on the floor and puts sheets and a quilt on it. In shutting the door I could see no sign of a bolt, so I asked the dirty woman if I could bolt it in anyway, and she said, ‘Yes, with this’, handing me a stone. I managed to get the stone wedged in behind the joint and retired to my second night’s rest which was a perfect luxury compared with the last night.
April 16th 1874
On Thursday April 16th I made the most wonderful and terrible journey in my life. There are two heights to be got over before one comes to The Cordillera or great pass of the Andes. They are almost perpendicular and each about 3000 feet high. The zigzag road has no protection whatever. It is not even a road, it is a clumsy path and no animal but a mule, or a goat intent upon suicide would attempt it. Had I known how things were, I should never have dared this fearful journey. The first hill we began to climb about 4.00 o’clock in the morning and got over it at 5.00. There was a small plateau then before we reached the terror of the Andes, the Portillo; which is so called because the path is paved with loose stones that slip at every step, and because it is so steep. We got over it about 6.00 and there was a beautiful round of winding paths, and saw a clear lake at this place 7000 feet above the level of the sea. It was grand to look about one and see the peaks, which bemused us last night on a level with your feet. The air was sharp and cool and the sun was beginning to gild up the snow tipped peaks still higher than where we stood. Well we began to ascend the Height at half past seven and climbed on till the earth itself seemed to vanish from beneath us. The top is a ridge and into it, about 20 feet from the summit, is cut a path about 4 feet wide. We went along this for about ten minutes. I dared not look into the abyss, but I did not venture another. We reached at length the top, which was about 30 feet square and no more. Here we stood 12,400 feet above the level of the sea. A blast of wind, the slipping of a foot, the breaking of a girth, and we were dashed headlong into eternity. I’ll never forget the state of my sensations as all this crowded upon my mind in the most dangerous pinnacle of the mountain. I got off my mule and made Fernando do the same. I gave the poor fellow, who was shivering, a horn of brandy and myself the same. I recommended my soul to God and began the descent on the other side. This was not so steep; and as we had met the sun at the top, and felt ourselves getting warm again, we did not mind it much. When we got well into the level, we encamped at a little stream’s side and made our frugal breakfast. No house for 50 miles, except a shed at a place called Puente del Inca, a sort of mineral or spa with a natural bridge. We reached after a long and tiresome journey through a sterile dried up valley between two awful ridges of mountain and Puente de Vaca, a sort of resting place, at half past 5.00. I was just 13 hours in the saddle; and not being accustomed to rides I can only say that I was sore from head to foot, hungry and thirsty besides. We got a nice dinner. I got a bed also – a real genuine bed with posts – and went to rest myself therein at 8.00.
April 17th 1874
Friday 17th – three hours along the brink of precipices and one more Cordillera – a young one – to ascend brought us to the top of the last ridge we have to cross. It is not very high, but it is 80 miles wide and all a desert. I heard about travelling through a desert. Well, it is worse than mountains. The sun’s rays, refracted from the hot air sand, the bleak outstretch all around, and the slippery nature of your path combine to make you as uncomfortable as could be. I here knew what thirst was in earnest. We had wine with us; but I did not care for it, it did not seem to quench the thirst a bit. I’d have given all the wine and the mule besides for a glass of water, pure and simple water and could not get it. My boy, who is never hungry, or thirsty or sleepy in the saddle but all three with a vengeance when out of it, never thought of taking a supply of water with him. We came to our oasis called Uspullata, at half past 4.00 and there put up for the night. We fell in with several fellow travellers here and three of them were nice gentlemen enough. I flung myself on a seat and asked a woman if they had any wine. I was afraid to drink much water and had not patience to wait till our things were unpacked. She brought me wine and water and Oh dear! didn’t I enjoy that nasty horrid wine. I did not know it was bad until my thirst was slaked. There were no beds here but I got a room and Fernando fitted up a bed with the saddlecloths and the house lent us sheets and a coverlet. I slept soundly until 3 o’clock and then got up to see how things were. This was Saturday April 18th.
April 18th 1874
I find, upon enquiring that there are 30 leagues or about 80 English miles between me and Mendoza, and I must get there tomorrow in time to say mass. Two-thirds of the way is a desert and the other third a mountain gorge. It was too dark at three to find the mules so we had all to wait around a fire in the yard until about 6.00 o’clock. We set off then at a brisk pace. We reached a deserted mine about 10.00 and then breakfasted. At half past one we descended another height and had now left the last Cordillera. Before doing so we had a fine view of the immense plain that lay outside the ridge of mountains on whose top we stood. We were not yet freed from mountains though as we had to follow a torrent, twisting and turning for about 10 leagues, with mountains on each side all the way. At 4.00 o’clock we reached the last halting place and now I found myself 40 miles exactly from Mendoza. We dined, rested and I said my office and then at 6 o’clock, half an hour after sunset, started to travel all night and get into Mendoza in the morning. I understood from Fernando that there was a house about half way to Mendoza and there I thought of refreshing myself about 11.00 and resting a couple of hours. The lad however does not know that there is such a thing as truth, for he never tells anything but lies, and deceived me here until we were six leagues off. I then found there was no house until we came within two leagues of our destination. About 10.00 o’clock I made the best of a bad bargain. I got off my mule, Fernando made me a bed on the roadside on which I lay and threw my mantle over me. He set fire to a parched bush and we managed to sleep a few hours. It was past 12.00 when I awoke and now I must perform the rest of my journey, about 20 miles, fasting. At six o’clock Sunday morning, April 19th, I reached S. Franciso’s Church, as tired and cold and hungry and thirsty and as near death by complete exhaustion as ever I was in my life. I had been twenty-two hours in the saddle – a day and a night with hardly any rest. I said Mass immediately and had to catch the altar to genuflect. I got a cup of coffee afterwards, went to bed and arose a little refreshed about 12.00 o’clock noon. Thus have I come to an end of the 5 most laborious and adventurous days I ever passed in my life.
Mendoza – Rep. Argentina
April 19th 1874
Mendoza is a town of some pretensions, but of very little more. 12 years ago it was totally destroyed by an earthquake. One of the Franciscans, a P. Ventura, gave me a description of it. About 9.00 o’clock in the evening the earth seemed to rise several feet high then gave one sudden shake and all the city was silent. Every house and every edifice was flattened to the ground and about 20,000 people buried in the ruins. The city now looks very mean. The houses are all mud, one story high, and get shaken every three months. People must try to keep in the state of grace here.
April 20th 1874
On Monday 20th April I went out with a Fr. Leonard to visit some people and see about how to get to Buenos Aires. The P.P. and V.G. gave me all faculties and all I visited seemed very polite and placed their houses at my disposition – a Spanish compliment that means less than a French one. I went the to the Corrcos or Mail and engaged a seat for next Monday, certainly and possiibly for Saturday to take me to the train at Pio Quarto. I don’t think I can do much in the begging line here as the city has not yet recovered itself from the great earthquake. I went into the country on Wednesday to say mass at a month’s mind. The shaking of the cab tired me so much that I perceived I was not yet fully recovered from my Transandine Expedition. On Thursday I procured a guide and started out to beg. No go. They have all excuses and promises and nothing. I went to view the ruins of the old city and a more extraordinary sight never met my eyes. The houses in the olden time were built of adobes or large sun dried bricks and some of real bricks ladrillas. They were only one story high and the streets were narrow. The shock, the great one, for there were several small ones reaching over 9 or 10 days, lasted two seconds and in that time all the sidewalls fell into the street and filled them up. The other walls fell as they might, burying everything beneath them. I saw one Church (S. Augsutus) and the ruins gave me a notion of how useless man’s power is against a small effort of nature. The walls here were of real brick and 12 feet thick, yet there they lie shattered into large cube blocks higgledy-piggledy jumbled together, as if they were pebbles pitched out of a sack. I met some who lost all their substance, some who lost all their children, one who lost only his wife and winked at a new one, others who were buried for a day, others who had their companions taken away. I am told that a survivor to look over the flat ruins on the day after the fatal event could scarcely live from the emotion. The new city is built just like the old and of the same material but the streets are wider. I found by my trials on Friday and Saturday that there is nothing to be got here.
April 25th 1874
Saturday 25th April, feast of St. Mark, is a kind of Rogation Day. I saw the procession and it was a wretched affair – Cross and acolytes, a dozen of boys, one priest in soutanne, P.P. and two curates in cope and dalmatics, about 20 pious women in mantas and there went the whole concern. They droned the litanies until they came to S. Francisco and then ended the ceremony with a high mass. I went one day to get my tonsure shaved and I found the grand part of the city abounded in two barbers, who live opposite each other. One was a Jew and the other a Turk. They are both converts and abuse each other occasionally by calling each other Judio and Turco respectively. The Turk shaved my tonsure and showed me his Christian books in Arabic. I found him a very decent kind of fellow.
The Pampas April 26th 1874
Sunday 26th was a pure Scotch Sabbath with me. I did really nothing but say mass. The flat plains of La Plata are something like the Prairies of North America. They extend in all directions and have no vegetation but a rough grass, which is occasionally burnt in order to grow up more tenderly. There are two modes of conveyances across the Pampas till one meets the train in Pio Quarto, a distance of 132 leagues; one is the Silla de Posta which contains two people, the conductor and one passenger, the other is the Mensageria, something like the French Diligence. I took the post-car and came to take my seat therein on Monday April 27th at 10.00 o’clock a.m. We were not ready to start till 12.00. The style was this. The conductor (who is a respectable man) and I sat in the one seat with a roof over us, four horses came up mounted by four postillions , two chains were hooked to two saddles, and two ropes to two more, the leaders were two yards before the wheelers and off they galloped as hard as ever they could. There is no such thing as driving at all. At every three leagues or so we changed horses and galloped off most furiously again. Our rate of going was 9 English miles an hour, the road was a track and nothing more, when we met a river we ran through it and I have seen the water over the wheels. I enjoyed this very much; nothing but everlasting plains lying round one like a land ocean (if I may use the expression); the slight undulations forming earthy waves was something to rush through in this original way at the rate I mention. I saw the Conductore charging his revolver and preparing it. The postillions all carried long knives in scabbards. Sometimes they may be attacked by Indians and sometimes by Christians. As a rule the journey is pretty safe. At the end of our first day’s journey we came across a Mensayeria full of travellers, amongst whom was an Italian priest, just imported, who could not speak Spanish. I sat with them to our meal about six and found they were in favour of a married clergy. I took the other side against the table grew very fierce in my condemnation of the opposite. One man got up and said in fair English ‘Its a damn sight better for a priest to marry and have children decently than to have a lot of different persons without’. ‘It’s a damn sight better still,’ said I, ‘to do neither the one or the other.’ The speaker was a German who learned English in the States. When they heard me speak German and French and English and Italian – one shouted ‘Diablo hablor todes los idomes del mondo.’ They then began to have a great respect for me, and took off their caps and sirred me and listened to everything and argued no more. I saw they were teasing the poor Italian to an inch of his life and saying all sorts of queer things about him in Spanish. We had nice clean beds here, six in a row, all in the open air with a veranda.
April 28th 1874
About 2.00 o’clock on Tuesday 28th all were astir and a large fire of sticks gave us some light. I peeped out from under my coverlet and saw a lady with a yellow face and a white garment taking her flight from the bed between myself and the German. That had been her nest for the night and I did not know it, neither did he. ‘Mein Gott in Himmel’ said the Teuton and I had to smother my face as best I could. We were off at 3.30 and it was beautiful to meet the rising sun in the pampas. At ten we came to a spot and had some breakfast, at 1.00 we came to another where my conductor entered. I over heard him conversing with the keeper and telling him, with all the coolness imaginable, that I was the ‘Archbishop of the United States.’ At this the old fellow said Caramba and nearly kicked his wife into a hurry to get me some lunch and a chicken was condemned to death at once and I think there was a plot hatching is his brain for the assassination of a young pig. His hospitality was declined. He was a tall man – a rare thing here – of very peculiar expression and I found upon enquiring that he was of a Patagonian father. I charged my conductor with his new way of paging me, and he said ‘God bless you, sir, these people know nothing about religious and habits, and seeing your badges, and your fine tall figure they take you for a personaje (somebody in particular) and when I say you are an Archbishop I escape a whole crown of questions and get you attended to with immense care and respect.’ The only incidents we meet upon the plains were, a crowd of ostriches s running for there bare life, a crowd of quanaios, a crowd of Llamas, and immense flocks of parrots. The parrots are awfully noisy, they never stop screeching and Don Pasqual, my Conductor, said they continue so even in their sleep. The most annoying sight to me was the Garuncho, a bold kind of eagle. At every league or so, one of them would perch himself within 20 yards of us raise his head aloft and inspect us. He had no notion of being afraid, not he; and if you attempted to chase him he’d give a ha, ha, ha, ha, raising his head at each until his topknot reached his back. I fired at one with the conductor’s revolver, and he actually made off. He was to far for a shot but the sound frightened him. They have grand droves of horses and cattle all through the pampas. They go in troops of 50 or so following one who carries a bell tied to its neck. In the wild plains the postillions had to gallop off with lassos to catch horses for the carriage. The dexterity with which they throw the rope, which has a slipknot, around the free horse’s neck and make a prisoner of him is very interesting. The postillions themselves (the two we kept always excepted) were generally ragged boys. They seem to live in the saddle and can stoop to the ground and catch a rope and tie it to their saddle girth whilst the horse is in full gallop.
April 29th 1874
On Wednesday 29th we came to three mud hovels and found they were occupied by the passengers of the Mensagesia which left Mendoza a day and a half before us, and which we now overtook. All the rooms were taken and filled with ladies! and beds. I had to get my bed make in an outhouse, which looked very bare and wretched. Two cocks and four hens and three other passengers formed the sleeping members of this community. A ragged boy came to chase the poultry, as not been fit company for my reverence. I asked him were there any rats there. ‘Oh, plenty’. ‘Do they feel well affected towards Christians?’ ‘Oh, yes sir, especially, priests.’ I lay down and was soon lost in sleep and forgot about how sore my sides were becoming. We were off early next morning and no incident occurred as we came to Rio Quarto, where the train begins to work, except what we heard about an Italian. (By the by, the Italians are hated here by the natives, and one told me an Italian was so mean that he could live for a fortnight on the smell of a herring.) The Italian was a hurdy-gurdy man and had annoyed these villages considerably by grinding his tunes up and down their streets. At last, one fine morning, his body was found in the river without a head and the head was found packed in macaroni inside the gurdy. No organ grinder has come here since. We took the train in Rio Quarto for Rosario, whic is a town on the Paraguay River (Parana River?) afterwards is called Rio de la Plata, where we arrived at 9.00 o’clock on Saturday evening May 2nd.
May 2nd 1874
On Sunday morning I went to the parish Church, and the Cura, who is a Spaniard gave me leave to say mass. The steamboat for Buenos Ayres left at 12.00 and I was driven to it at half past 10.00. It was well I was for I got a cabin for the night. Half the rest, even 1st class passengers, had to sleep on deck. I met several English here, as well as on the railway, and we spent some of the time pleasantly enough. The Argentines consider the steam horse as too dangerous for their management yet a while; hence all the engineers etc. are English. We went down this beautiful river, which gradually widens to four leagues, until morning when we turned into a little rive r that took us to a village called Talita. Here we took the train again and in an hour and a half arrived in the Capital Buenos Ayres.
Buenos Ayres May 4th 1874
It is some satisfaction to find myself, after 12 days hard journeying across the continent, once more in view of the Atlantic or at least within hail of it. I went to the Franciscan Convent, and on the strength of a letter of introduction from the Guardian of Mendoza, was offered hospitality. So here I am May 4th 1874.
May 5th 1874
On May 5th (?) St. Pius’s Day and now the octave of St. Paul of the Cross. I was able to say Mass comfortably, and after a long search, discovered the mass of St. Paul in one of the Franciscan missals. I was in a doubt now as to how I should establish myself here. I heard there was a Canon Dillon here, who was a distinguished Ecclesiastic and so forth and I hesitated (remembering McKenna etc.) as to whether I should climb to Episcopal patronage through him or by my own unaided wit and letters. I went in search of him anyway, before I came to a decision, and curious were my impressions of Buenos Ayres in my first ramble through the streets. I procured a map and went by potholes and (?) in search of his reverence. I failed to find him. He had lately changed residence and one knew where tidings might be had of him and another when somebody knew somebody else who could tell where he was last. In my hunt I came across an English Seminary (I heard Dillon was professor in the Seminary) and thought I’d find him or some tidings of him there. I called, spoke English to the first youngster I met and he looked queer. Then I spoke Spanish and found that Canon Dillon was not known in that Establishment, neither was the Seminary in which he once professed. I knew it was in the same street and perceived then after the usher was called that they were a parcel of heretics. I hunted off elsewhere and saw the Cathedral and Archbishop’s house. In I went almost mechanically and in 3 minutes was shown into the presence of His Grace the Archbishop. His secretary and chaplain were there and the former studied in Rome and knew my habit. I told my object, displayed my credentials and was told I had all the faculties at once in the diocese and that I might go to the Secretaria where new papers would be furnished me.. I went there and had only to leave my name and call tomorrow for faculties. They gave me Canon Dillon’s address. I went and found him and then perceived he was a real fine fellow, educated in All Hallows, who worked his way by sheer talent and integrity to the head of the clergy of this diocese. He behaved like a true Irishman – and that is saying enough. So I had nothing to do now but plan my campaign and settle on a guide. This is no easy matter in South America. The Canon essayed to find me one, and in the course of these days thought he had got one, this fellow failed to meet his appointment and, and when we met him, looked so dubious and indifferent that I thought it safer not to rely on him; so I found a old Spaniard at last and took him to start on Monday.
The people of Buenos Ayres are very different from the rest I have met. They seem to be more enlightened and possess more of the European spirit, but in fact I think this is paying them too high a compliment. One thing I can mention. I have travelled always in my habit, signs, sandals and all. In other cities, people would look at me, then at my feet, then at my signs, take off their hat and walk past. Here they run out of doors, stop short in the street, stick their noses nearly under my chin and begin spelling the white letters of the sign. They are the most unmannerly set I ever met in that way. I was often inclined to give one of them a box on the nose. One day I was speaking to a gentleman in the street and a snobbish fellow with a cigar walked up to spell my signs. He said to me in Spanish ‘What are these things for, sir?’ ‘To teach the Argentines the alphabet of good manners’. I replied in a sarcastic tone. He looked and walked off and my friend could scarcely contain himself. I was rude, to be sure, in answering him thus, but I was really annoyed by the prying curiosity. Another day as French waiter in a hotel was running along in his shirt sleeves, with a bottle of Bordeaux in each hand, he began to spell J.E.S.U., X.P. – diable he slipped on an orange peel, down he tumbles and the two bottles of rosy wine poured their liberated contents along the sidewalk. I grinned a sardonic guffaw of delight. The Germans don’t make such fools of themselves. Four Italians ran up to me, on seeing my signs, wanted to kiss my hands and said they had brothers in the Order in Italy. I talked to them in Italian and one of them asked me was I (?) Genoesi. I was so disgusted that I told them I had business of importance in the first English bookshop I met. These are the little incidents, which crowd upon my idle days here. Now I had better give a description of the city and so forth, like a regular tourist. Here goes:
The city is a chessboard to begin with and the pieces in the game are not all black and white. It is built on the border of a river, as well the little boys and girls and National schools know, called the Rio de la Plata, or Silver River. Such a misnomer I never knew: there is no silver in the river and its colour, so far from being a silvery hue, is very like the yellow Tiber. The harbour! dear me if I could only describe it. I read a book written by a man who travelled here some 30 years ago and he complained of the landing place. The fact of it is, a large flat some miles square comes between the city and the river, and when the tide is in this is covered with water and looks like a lake. Horses and carts continue all day wading through this in order to unload ships. So it was in the time of the Spaniards and so it continues to the present day. A good ditch and Dutch Dyke of a couple of miles would make a fine quay and secure a splendid area of building ground. An English company offered to do it for the sake of the land but no – as the Italians say – facciamo come pecerogli antichi tiravano a calgoni colle girelle’. ‘Let us do as the ancients did, they pulled up their breeches with pullies!’ The streets are pretty well paved but the sidewalks are sometimes two or three feet higher than the roadway. A few of the houses reach 3 stories in height and the spirit of advertising manifests itself by going about seeking dead walls whom it may devour. These are some of the drawbacks. Its paper money went so far down in the market some years ago that the nation stepped in and stemmed the cataract just as the dollar reached 4 cents above zero. The peso or dollar here is 4 cents American, and the peso feurte, hard dollar, or pataeon is the same as the dollar of the United States – 500 paper dollars equal 20 Christian ones. The citizens of Buenos Ayres are all nationalities but the civilised gaucho rules the roast. A Gaucho is a native or a descendant of a Spaniard and Indian who inhabits the interior. He is a hardy stalworth fellow, dressed in poncho and chiripa: that is, his head is run through the middle of an ornamental blanket for a topcoat, and he has another wrapped round his legs which gives him a Turkish appearance from the waist – which is bound by a broad ornamental belt – downwards. The Gaucho lives in the saddle when working and feeds on a peculiar kind of roast-beef called asado, which I must confess, is the most toothsome kind of meat I ever ate. In Buenos Ayres a priest is seldom saluted in the streets, and in this the city is an exception to other South American cities I have visited.
May 11th 1874
I was ready to start on Monday May 11th but the day came wet. I heard one of the fathers practising on a flute and asked an introduction. I gave a few Irish airs, and next evening my room was invaded by a dozen Franciscans who brought the flute with them and seemed enchanted with the Irish and Scotch airs. They never heard any before. It would charm the heart of a (?) to view their countenances as I toottled the ‘Rakes of Mallow’ and ‘The Flowers of Edinburgh’ in my best style, which is not very finished. Here I saw how absurd our fashionable people are in despising our native music. These gentlemen were nearly all musicians and knew Verdi and Rossini by heart, (four were Italians) yet they preferred out Celtic strains even when so indifferently rendered.
May 12th 1874
On Tuesday myself and Don Miguel sallied forth and did a fair business among the natives. They are not so polite as the Chilenos. We happened to call into two houses and one gave lingo saying a strong man like me ought to work for his bread and not beg – the Lord knows I work hard enough – and was fearfully impertinent. He was an Italian and a neighbour of his behaved in like manner – he was an Italian also. Well, I saw Don Miguel was sorely perplexed and then I began to say ‘Well’, we shall call on the next Italian I see and if he gives me something I’ll have him put in the museum as a curiosity.’ No go, the Italians are here very well off but they hate the sight of a priest and the Italian priests, who are here, are chief ringleaders in scandalizing. What does that accursed nation do for the Church of which they hold the reins!. The next three days are very middling. I find the natives here don’t care to contribute to anything, which has not a local claim on them. A wet day comes and I have to go out in shoes but I come home a regular Dorothy Draggletail with my habit in mud up to my knees. The Franciscans go on retreat and shut their front door. I have a great difficulty in going in or out and I look out for new lodgings when Canon Dillon offers me his house. We arrange that I shall install him as Pastor of the Irish on Pentecost Sunday and then give a retreat for the English-speaking people on the following week. The Franciscan edify me exceedingly and I go to the Canon’s on May 20th where I occupy a room. I dine with some Irish people then and find myself better into my work.
May 24th 1874
On Pentecost Sunday May 24th I preached at the High Mass in S. Roque. In the evening at 6.30 I preached the first sermon of a week’s mission to the Irish in this city. The opening was very well attended. I afterwards attended a levee at the Archbishop’s and was introduced to the President of the Republic (Sarmiento) and other nobs. I passed a pleasant hour there talking to new friends and looking at fireworks.
May 25th 1874
May 25th – Veinte cineo de Mayo is the great day here. It is like the 4th of July in the United States. On that day in 1810 they began to free themselves from the Spanish yoke. The day was celebrated by a grand salvo of artillery in the morning – a Solemn Te Deum at 1.30 at which all were obliged to attend in uniform. One General refused to attend and he was taken prisoner. The Corpes Dipolomatico were all there in uniform and the whole clergy and laity, paraded afterwards round the grand square. They had various receptions and a display of fireworks in the evening. The day went off pleasantly enough and gave way to routine on the morrow. One day I called at the Irish convent and a lot of Ballymahon girls were there who cried for joy at seeing me and gave me donations besides. Most of the Irish are from Westmeath and Longford and they have turned out greater graziers than the swells who sent them from their homes and now feed bullocks on where they were bred and born. The Irish in the country are ‘Camp’, as they call it, are all very well off, and rich in flocks and herds.
May 30th 1874
On Saturday 30th, whilst I was hearing confessions in S. Roque when the bells of S. Francisco went off jingling as if a hundred mercurial devils were playing tattoos on them. I could not hear, and when I went to preach I could not be heard from those bells. They were preparing for a feast of a nigger saint tomorrow – hence all the bells. No confessions or work to speak of but bells and rockets and drums.
May 31st 1874
On Sunday May 31st, Trinity Sunday, I concluded my mission. The first ever given in Buenos Ayres and people said they never saw so many men in the Church before as were at my concluding discourses. I went out on Monday and Tuesday collecting and did very well. On the latter day June 2nd I sent off a draft to Dublin for £120, the fruit of my savings in a temporal line in this city. Chiefly Irish contributions.
The Camp – Lujan – La Chosa June 3rd 1874
The country parts of Buenos Ayres, which are chiefly occupied by Irish, are called The Camp – from the Spanish Campos. The whole country is a dead flat, growing grass, thistles, cows, sheep and horses. The Irish seemed (?) to settle here many years ago and now have splendid properties, in lands, as well as flocks and herds. Lujan is a small village containing, as usual in South America, a plaza with a church in the centre of the town. Here lives the Irish Chaplain Fr. O’Reilly. The natives form the staff of the town and the Italians are the ‘drawers of wood and the hewers of water’(Now I was not drunk when I wrote this sentence, neither did I mean to perpetrate a joke – so it happened by accident like the peopling of America according to Washington J. Irving. ) I found the Church for the Irish was 3 or 4 leagues away and that an Irish Estanciero named Brown was the gentle man who lived next to the Church. We set off across the country, running down various thistles, brambles and bushes, and grinding much grass to snuff on way (there be no roads here) and got to Mr. Brown’s in time for dinner. The look of ‘the Camp’ is very like an Irish bog but it lacks two grand properties of its original, it has no heather, and it does not move. It has a species of lapwing, or fillibeen (which they call here ‘tero-tero’) and it is the noisiest and squeakiest of all bird-kind. – not accepting the wild parrots. Mr. Brown is a Barony of Forth (Wexford) man. He possesses a league and a quarter square of land and flocks and herds immeasurable. He is the richest estanciero in these parts. He has a very nice place and has brought up a fine family. Myself and Fr. O’Reilly lodged with him and found his hospitality and treatment simply princely. My plan of acting on this visit to the camp is, to give a little mission of three or four days at each central point, and collect alms when I find people assembled. It is impossible to visit all, as every house is about 9 miles from another and there is only camp or wild field between.
June 4th 1874
On Thursday June 4th, Corpus Christi, I preached at the Chapel of La Chosa (the hut) to a congregation of Irish and started my mission. 5th and 6th brought bigger crowds and on Sunday I had quite a Congregation. It is curious to see the way of coming together and dispersing. men, women, boys and girls came all on horseback, some of them 10, 20 and 30 miles, went to confession and communion, heard an instruction and sermon, then gave me an offering and then jumped into their saddles and galloped off home. They went like the radii of a circle from the Church and seemed more at home in the saddle than they were on the ground. In this way, in four days I got 8,000 dollars – 320 gold dollars or £64. I hear confessions six hours one day and helped the poor things a bit on their way to heaven. Altogether I like this way of working. It is not mercenary and I do some spiritual good on the way. The Archbishop has given me most ample faculties for my mission, which is considered as much needed.
Mercedes June 8th 1874
The Vincentians are established in Lujun and I dined with them before myself and the P.P. started for Mercedes, where we got by rail at 4.00 o’clock or so on Monday the 8th June. There are two Irish priests in Mercedes, Fr. Lynch the Chaplain and Fr. McNamara who has a nice college for the Christian education of Irish Catholic boys and their preservation from native contamination. I found Irish Sisters of Mercy here and said Mass for them and talked yarns. Sufficient notice was not given of my coming and I thought I should lie up till I could multiply the ordinary Sunday congregation, which assembles in the Parish Church of the village, into a larger body. I heard, however, of an Irish funeral, went to it and had a congregation out of it and a publication besides, for the next day June 10th. Few came however on the first two days; but I sent word out to the French and Italians (who had no chaplain here) and I had several of both to confession amongst the Irish and thus kept myself busy. Some Spaniards came also – so I heard in four languages generally every day. I wound up on Sunday, the 14th, and invited those who wished to contribute to meet me in Fr. Lynch’s house and they came there and made me up the sum of about £50 in half an hour or so. The Cura and his brother (a priest also) came to visit us in the evening.
June 15th 1874
On Monday 15th Father Lynch and myself set out, across camp, for Chivilcoy 40 miles off. We got to a Mr. Monoriphis for breakfast, to a Mr. Ledwith’s for dinner and a night’s rest, and left next morning for the town. We came to a Mr. Carney’s for breakfast and he tackled the horses and drove us on to Chivilcoy. We called at a couple of other Irish Estancieros on the way and got to our destination at 5.00 o’clock Tuesday evening. Word had gone before me and people await.
Chivilcoy June 17th 1874
I began my little mission here on Wednesday 17th June and heard and communicated and preached to my little congregation. I was kindly invited and agreeably lodged in the house of a Mr. Hearn (who is married to a daughter of Mr. Brown) a rising you Irishman who does credit to his faith and country. On Thursday 18th I wound up my mission and as I knew the Irish priests were assembled in Buenos Ayres for a month’s mind, I set out by train on the 19th and got to the city at 1.00 o’clock. I met all the Irish priests and we had a talk.
Fortin de Areco June 20th 1874
I left Buenos Ayres on Saturday morning with Fr. Large Michael Leahy for the Fortin – this was its name when it was a small fort commanding the frontier against the Indians. Now when it is a large place they call it Carmeu d’Areco. Carmeu is Spanish for Carmel. The Church in the little town is dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The grand statue of Our Lady is dressed as a Carmelite Nun and wears a pair of beautiful earrings! The earrings are the most valuable part of the statue. I saw also an image of Our Lord carrying his Cross in which he was dressed in a black velvet soutanne and wore a nice tie and a paper collar! The Spanish South American ideas of art and decoration are certainly peculiar, not to put too fine a point upon it. We went off on Sunday 21st to a Mr. Maguire’s and I officiated in a chapel there. My usual day’s work now is in this wise. I rise at 7.00 and travel 12 miles or so, across camp or plain, to a Church in the wilderness where I arrive about 9.00. Just then people begin to appear on horseback at the horizon and by 10.00 I have some 10 or 15 persons (who have come 12 or 20 miles) for confession. I hear on till 11.30 or 12.00 and then say mass and preach. After that the priest announces my collecting mission and I take what I get in the sacristy. I breakfast at about 1.00, and they get another sermon about 2.00 or 3.00 o’clock and get home before dark. From 4.00 to dinnertime I take a fowling piece and shoot partridge, plover, owls, hawks, sparrows and all sorts of things, even badgers and foxes have I shot. We dine then and have music afterwards. Sometimes an estancieros’s daughter plays. The Irish are all fond of music. I have my flute with me. We have songs and music until about ten, when I go to rest and am up next day for about the same routine. Fasting and praying and travelling in this way are very severe on health. On Monday I finished at Maguire’s and we came back to Fortin. There I found the priest very greasy and servile in his manner. He was a Neapolitan. Wednesday found me in Dowling’s Ranchos. We had some rifle shooting here and I was best shot until a young man named Mullen came on the third day and got inside me at a range of 700 yards. I went next to a Mr. Allen’s place it is called Killallen and there is a Church there.
June 27th 1874
I arrived at a Mr. Carey’s on Saturday 27th. He is married to another of Mr. Brown’s daughters. There I met little Tessy again, who plays nearly all-Irish airs and several polkas on a concertina as big as herself, and she only seven years of age. I call her the fairy. I officiate at James Kenny’s and had a fair crowd. Wound up there on Monday and then off to his mother’s, Mrs. Kenny – she is a great old general. Here we had pistol shooting with a revolver. I broke two bottles at 20 yards and nearly killed an old woman by a ball that glanced off from the stick on which the bottles were plugged. On Tuesday I said Mass etc. at Venite Cineo and myself and Fr. Leahy started off about 2.00 for Arecifes.
Arecifes June 30th 1874
In our drive across the camp we were overtaken by a storm. The lightening illuminated the darkness brought on by the clouds and the thunder pealed every 5 seconds. The water came down as if we were in the Tropics. Thanks to a top-coat young Kenny lent me and a good rug, I arrived in Arecifes, with nothing wet except my clerical hat. I was able to get my breakfast on Wednesday 1st July at 12.00. We went on then to a Mr. Harrington’s, where Fr. Flannery has built the nicest chapel in the camp and I had the best congregation and the best collection I came across yet in his unfinished new chapel. On Friday 3rd July I gave a station in Harrington’s house and that evening we set off for
Salto July 3rd 1874
On my way to this little town we had travelled 6 leagues when we asked for a guide in Arecifes. A horse soldier knew the pass over the river and taking his lasso or rope, came to show us across it. He galloped on before us and when we came to the river he yoked his lasso to the pole of our carriage and we went down one bank, the water came over the wheels in the river and up the next bank most precipitately. It was near sunset now and we had yet four leagues to go or 12 miles. We made one of them before sundown and then, no moon, we lost the sort of road there was and had a prospect of being obliged to sleep out all night in the frost. We took a star to steer by and after a while a cloud came over that star. Just then we found a road and in ten minutes lost it again. We now saw a light and making for that found it was a house, the very house we were looking for. Fr. Leahy shouted out ‘Ave maria’ and after a long time some one answered ‘sin pecado coneebida’ ! All right we were pointed out another star and steering by that through the wild plain we got a Mr. William Murphy’s at 7.00. His amiable wife got us dinner in a short time. Early next morning we went to Salto and found but few people. On Sunday July 5th there was an immense crowd. Lots had followed me from place to place.
July 5th 1874
On Sunday afternoon, July 5th, we made for the Fortin again and stopped at Hugh Mullin’s for the night. His son is the (?). and a very nice sensible young man. He plays the fiddle and is altogether the most gentlemanly young Irishman I met in the Camp. Monday morning I went to the Fortin Church and met my last congregation.
July 7th 1874
On that evening we posted to Mercedes when I took the train to Buenos Ayres on Sunday 7th. I have just now sent home £500 from South America and 300 of that was got in the Camp from the Irish. I keep my expenses to the States about £150 and begin a retreat for the Sisters of Mercy on the evening of the 7th. I lodge at a Mr. Maguire’s over the way, near the convent and feel old times come back on me again. I put on my sandals again and go off to visit the Archbishop. He was very kind and gave me all sorts of faculties. On Thursday 9th there was some sort of a fiesta or commemoration. It was meant to remember some battle or other of which the people had no notion except that they were to hear and see fireworks and keep themselves idle or on the alert for new mischief. On Friday I took my passage for Rio Janeiro and New York. The nuns’ retreat kept me busy enough and old Mr. Maguire says: ‘I wonder, in the world, what them ladies want with so much praichin – sure they have no opportunity of doin’ much harm anyhow.’ On Sunday 12th I preached in S. Roque to a very fine congregation and on the same day there appeared a valedictory address from me to my Irish friends in one of the papers. On Wednesday the 15th July I wound up the nuns’ retreat and on the same day start for Rio Janeiro on board
‘The Boyne’ July 15th 1874
Frs. MacNamara and Dillon, and Mr. Casey, the banker, came with me to the tender. This little thing took me out to ‘The Boyne’ and next morning, when I thought we were at Monte Video, I found we had not moved at all, so ‘there we lay, all the day, in the Bay of Biscay O’. We got to Monte Video on Friday 17th at 6.00 o’clock in the evening and no one went ashore. I saw the city only from the ship and was glad when we got under way again on the morning of the 18th. I find a nice set of companions on board here. The Captain (at whose table I feed) is a right good fellow, and we have now two captains more. One of the old school who says ‘peppaw, sugaw, gingaw’ and other analogous ‘aws’ but is a thoroughbred old gentleman. His name is Packe and he has retired from the service and settled down as a sheep farmer in the Falkland Islands. The other Captain is a naval officer and of the modern school. The rest of the table is made up of commercial men and a snobbish agent of the company. We get on well together and on one or two evenings I played and sang for them whereon a Yankee sent ten bottles of champagne afloat down our throats. I had some good chess with a Captain and Chief Engineer. The Engineer came off a little best but by a mistake of mine and was so proud of beating me, which I never expected, that he would not play anymore. We had Whist and also (?). On Sunday we kept the Sabbath most religiously by loafing about. On Monday 20th we got some whiffs of tropical heat and on Tuesday about 7.00 we steamer into the harbour of ‘Rio Janeiro’.
Brazil July 21st 1874
The entrance to Rio is one of the finest I ever saw. The beautiful row of conical hills rising from a mountainous height and all encircling a splendid harbour, whose mouth is about a mile and which must be 30 in diameter, forms a magnificent spectacle. The harbour is grander than that of Queenstown in Ireland and the natural breakwater far more picturesque. We entered Rio early in the morning of Tuesday 21st just in the wake of the American Steamer ‘Ontario’ which is to take me to New York. During the day, some of us went on shore, the two captains and myself forming a party, and I related to them what I read of Rio in an old English book. ‘In the city of Rio de Janeiro there be 16 different stinks in each breath of air whereof each be distinctly perceptible to a well-organised nose.’ We scarcely landed when the full force of the observation struck on our olfactory perceptions. We counted 2 or 3 new stinks at every street corner and examined thirty before we came to the end of our journey. It is now midwinter here and the gentlemen wear top-coats because the thermometer has gone down to 60!! – our summer heat. What must it be in summer? The Brazilians wear all black coats and chimney hats – inside the Tropic of Capricorn – whereas you never see such a hat in the same latitude on the other side. The Brazilians are a mixture of Indians, Negroes, and swarthy Portuguese. I began to learn their language but found it destroyed my Spanish and then I perceived it was unnecessary as they could understand my Spanish and I could understand them well enough for all practical purposes. No wonder they have yellow fever and all other sorts of diseases here. I could not stand their stinks and finding that the ‘Ontario’ did not start till the 26th, I resolved to stay on board the ‘Boyne’ until the 23rd, and then to lodge on board the American ship. On the 22nd I saw the Emperor Dom Pedro II walking about inspecting some coal yards. He is a fine looking man, with a grey beard. Wears a black military uniform, a naval cocked hat, a gilt hilted sword and sash. He is 58 years of age and has been on the throne 53 years. His daughter, Countess D’Eu, is heir apparent and they expect her to be (?) of a young imperial prince or princess every day. On Thursday 23 I was carried across in the English ship escorted by the Chief Officer to the America. The contrast between both officers was something to rich not to make a note of. The English Chief officer was in grand uniform, covered with gold lace and gold buttons and looking very magnificent. The first mate of the America, who received us on board, was drawn up in an old shirt and trousers and a wide-awake hat and covered with perspiration and dust. He guessed and spat and the Englishman stuck him half up “propah”. When we had gone thro’ the ship and taken a brandy smash and had a chat we came to know that the Yankee got about twice the wages and had to do twice the work of the Englishman. I loafed about for the rest of the day and when I turned into my berth at 8.00 o’clock I heard a knocking at my door and Dr. Atwood and Captain Rice invaded me and asked me over to spend the morrow with them on board the ‘Calderon’. I went on board at 8.00 o’clock on the 24th and three or four of us went ashore. I wanted to get leave to say mass on next Sunday and was sent about from post to pillar. El Reverendissimo Dom Miguel could be seen at 4.00. Another Reverend at 3.00 and another at some other time. An American resident collared a Reverendissisimo in the street and introduced me and told him what I wanted and he said he would look at my papers and make out the judicial decree in two days, if I only would call at his office at 3.00 that afternoon. I wished them all in periclo, or further off where they might face worse and returned first to the ‘Ontario’ and then crossed over to the ‘Calderon’ where I dined and spent the evening pleasantly. On Saturday I stopped on board and loafed all day.
July 26th 1874
On Sunday 26th we were to start at 10.00 a.m. I got a boat and arrived ashore at 7.00, went straight to a Benedictine Church and said I must say Mass. ‘Could I wait a little?’ ‘No, I could not my vapor was going and I must go too.’ ‘Would I see Dom Abbate?’ ‘I had no objection but if his Domship could not come to see me I could not wait. Here are my papers and if you send me to sea without allowing me to say mass you are guilty.’ The Abbot then passed through and I got leave to say mass and was accommodated with server and all in 5 minutes. I was back to my ship at 9.00 and wasn’t the American resident amused when he heard how I took a Church by storm and made a knot of Brazilian red-tape which I flung in among the stinks. Goodbye to Rio de Janeiro at 10.00 and we are off out to sea again with a fine favourable breeze and a good lot of passengers who are likely to make the voyage agreeable. I saw the fort in which a Bishop is impriboned by this catholic government for four years because he laid his anathema on the Freemason’s – satis.
On Sunday 26th July, at 10.00 o’clock, we set out on our month’s voyage to New York. I had but a short time to look about me and found myself amongst the following set of passengers. The Captain (?) is a man who keeps very much to himself and his charts. The Doctor (Wilson) who acts also as purser is the presiding genius and the fairy enchanter of the ship. He is of Irish extraction, of quaint humour, of fine personal appearance, and his stock of yarns is inexhaustible. We have a Captain Smith and a Lieutenant Breed of the American Navy and we all form a Christian Y. M Association, which means a company who meet together every evening for the playing of Euchre and imbibation of grog. There is a genius on board also who was raised in Ireland and came to the States in his infancy. He is an unmitigated bore, an awful pedant, and a most fearful mumbler of big adjectives and monosyllables. ‘Dear me,’ said I one evening, ‘what a disgusting bore that is.’ ‘Yes,’ said the Doctor, ‘about as disagreeable as a sore arse.’ I don’t think I ever heard a simile – queer as it was – which expressed the feeling better. Gregson(?). We passed the time in reading, playing Euchre and telling yarns until we came to Bahia on Wednesday 29th. There was ugly surf in the way of the boat by which some of our officers went ashore, and the steamer, which took them of to us, had lost her steam half way. They had to row over to us and with great difficulty caught us. The cigars here are very cheap but they have the flavour of boiled cabbage. Boats come alongside, selling parrots, monkeys, and marmosets (a small kind of monkey). On Friday we got to Perriambuco, which is a very nice seaport (barrin’ the stinks) and is defended by a coral reef, in the shape of a breakwater. We got some new passengers on board here, amongst the rest, a Brazilian who spoke English. The Brazilians are a very (?) race of men, nearly all coloured or blackish, small (?) and fearfully impertinent. This young cut got into a chat with me and began to deny infallibility and put the State before the Church. One may imagine what followed. I asked how much time he gave to study religion and he said ‘Ach! I go to mass sometimes when I expect to meet my girl.’ They are a miserable set of men. Next day I came on deck and saw my puppy acquaintance wrestling with a countryman of his (both lawyers). I could not help laughing at the fun so I went up, caught the pair of them, swinging them round and not only knocked them down but knocked two down by their feet and two more by laughing at the catastrophe. Word went round the ship that the big priest had floored 7 Brazilians at one sweep.
July 21st 1874
On this Friday 21st we got to the point of South America which is nearest Europe. We saw a sea fight between a swordfish and a whale, and it was terrible. The whale spouted water higher and higher; we saw the swordbill of the other ascending the air and then descending. The water was tossed as if in a storm and at length the spouting ceased, the water took a new hue, we perceived that the battle was over and the whale was killed. Some natives observed the fight and went off in a catamaran, or sea raft, to make a prize of the whale. The steamer went so fast that we lost sight of the result of their day’s cruise.
August 2nd. 1874
On Sunday August 2nd we got within 2 degrees of the Equator. On Monday we were within a few miles of it for the greater part of the day. At 2.00 o’clock we were on the line and ran along it for some time.
August 4th. 1874
On Tuesday August 4th we came in sight of land and began to enter one of the mouths of the Amazon. We read in geographies about the Amazon, the greatest river in the world and so forth – but let us for a moment form an idea of this great river. One mouth is 180 miles wide, the one we entered is 70, and in the very midst of this two is a little bit of an island just as large as half of Ireland. A most luxuriant foliage springs from the very waters edge, and parrots, cockatoos, and monkeys gambol and screech in the trees. We got as far as Para’ on Wednesday morning August 5th. Several passengers went ashore but I did not because I did not relish the smell nor care to put myself into the jaws of yellow fever without necessity.
August 6th. 1874
On Thursday 6th we crossed the Equator at 12.00 noon. There was no fun on board as the only people to be shaved were Brazilians. A Mr. brown, president of telegraphs came on board then and brought a monkey with him who makes us all laugh at his funny antics. The next three days were very calm and very hot; we went all about the deck looking for a cool spot but could not find one. On Saturday a bell rang quickly, and every man on board was a-hurry carrying buckets. It was a great start to us all; but it turned out to be a fire drill, or a test as to how they were to be ready in a second in case a fire broke out. On Sunday 9th we fell in with a splendid breeze which cooled the atmosphere and made existence somewhat tolerable.
West Indies August 10th. 1874
On Monday, 10th, we passed Barbados at 11.30 o’clock, and as the night was dark could see nothing but the light. On Tuesday 11th we passed the Island of Sa. Lucia at 10.00 o’clock but it was not very near us. At 12.00 we passed the French Island of Martinique. It is a beautiful piece of land, some sixty miles long, green and flourishing and powerfully remindful of the Green Isle. It is historical too. We could see from the deck of our ship the lucet snug villages with their little churches and red tiled roofs, same as in France, and the Captain pointed out the house in which was born the unfortunate and celebrated Josephine wife of Beauharnais, the divorced Empress of the first Napoleon, and the grandmother of the Third. Queer recollections came over our minds as we discussed the points of history in which she figured, and gazed on the little white monument jutting out of the tropical trees which records her life, her glory, her misfortunes and her death. Sic transit gloria mundi.
August 11th. 1874
On Tuesday 11th we came in sight of Sta. Lucia and on Wednesday passed S. Kitts, S. Juan and one or two smaller islands. We got to St. Thomas at 5.00 o’clock on Thursday 13th. This island is small and barren but its city is built on three little hills facing the harbour – thus (diagram) and no carriage ever invented can travel up its narrow streets. It belongs to Denmark and I told a Danish soldier who was on guard that I hoped I was the first Irishman who bowed to their authority since the battle of Contra. ‘Ven wass dat?’ ‘In the 10th Century.’ ‘Ach mein Gott!’ I went ashore here, as there were no stinks and had a very pleasant few hours there. Everything is cheap here as the Danes have a free port and no duties. On the evening of the same day we started for New York direct. Nothing of consequence or worth mentioning accrued during this time except that a Scotchman (Mr. MacMillan) and myself played chess for six days, had several drawn games, and came off even in the end.
August 16th. 1874
On Sunday 16th August the Captain asked me to give service. I did. There were several Catholics on board, some of them Canadian ladies who sang splendidly. I gave prayers as follows: 1. Morning prayers from Garden of the Soul, 2. Litany of Jesus, 3. Hymn – ‘Jesus the only thought of Thee’, 4. The seven Penitential Psalms, 5. Adeste Fideles – sung, 6. Epistle and Gospel, 7. Sermon, 8. Te Deum in English, 9. Litany of the B.V.M. – sung, 10 General Blessing. I had my habit and cross on for the occasion and every one on board – except the needful stokers – were present. The Captain was delighted and said he never heard a better service in his own Church. Towards the afternoon a terrible storm came on. Some young ladies (Catholics) on board had been flirting a little with fashionable young officers, and when the storm came on they all came round me, to get absolution in case they might be going down. When the storm was over they began flirting again and I gave a fine yarn at their expense at supper the burden of which was;
‘When the devil was sick, the devil a monk would be.
But when the devil was well, the devil a monk would he.’
The ship was full of rats and several of the passengers had their shoes eaten. On the whole I passed a very pleasant voyage and arrived in New York at half past 11.00 on Wednesday August 19th – after an absence of seven months and six days. I found everybody well at 17th Street and Fr. Laurence away in Rockaway. I went about and visited a few friends, read a heap of letters, and wrote this journal up to the present moment. I may write a little more by and by if I feel so disposed.
Out West – Cincinnati Ohio September 7th. 1874
I stayed in New York until September 7th. The time was employed chiefly in buying a lending library for Buenos Ayres, visiting friends and letting the weather cool before I began another campaign. On Monday 7th September I started for the West and on the 9th arrived in Cincinnati, Ohio. This is a beautiful city, the centre of the west, called by some the Queen City and by others Porkopolis, from the quantity of pigs slain and transported from the place at certain seasons of the year. I went over to Kentucky and enquired after my brother Fr. Cyprian, and then the weather being so hot I delayed my march further for a few days. I went to see the Exposition here on Saturday the 12th, preached at our Retreat, where I lodged, on Sunday 13th and am meditating a new roving expedition. There is nothing to be done here as my own Fathers have just built a new house and have pretty well scoured the city out.
September 14th. 1874
On September 14th, Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and the 17th anniversary of my entering the Congregation of the Passionists, I said Mass in the morning and preached in the evening to a very large congregation. I visited Archbishop Purcell on the same day and shaped my future course. Cincinnati is a very large city but the chief inhabitants are Germans. It is nestled in the cradle of hills, washed by the Ohio River on the inside and by Grand Lager Bar saloons on every other. The States of Ohio and Kentucky are very mountainous, farms half cleared skirt the railroads and signs of prosperity and advancement mark every step. The soil seems richer here than in the States of New York and Pennsylvania. Out here you see the roughness of Western ways. You can’t get a glass of wine with your dinner, but nearly everybody drinks rascally whiskey in holes and corners. In the neighbourhood of Cincinnati they make beautiful wine, which you can get for 75 cents a gallon; but nobody cares to drink it, except a few priests. They will have whiskey, which sets them half drunk, and mad afterwards. I heard of a priest getting sunstroke so I waited till a slight cool came and then on September 16th set out for –
Indianapolis September 16th. 1874
Here I arrived at 7.00 o’clock in the evening. I went to the first Hotel I saw and stopped there for the night. This is a queer city. It is built like a square with an oval in the middle and two diagonals, which they call Avenues – this (diagram) – almost like a Maltese cross. It is the Capital of Indiana – the (?) State – which is very nearly the same size as the whole of Ireland. On Thursday 17th I called on Fr. Fitzpatrick, the only Irish priest in the city. The rest are all Dutchmen, except the bishop and V.G. who are French. Father Fitz said the bishop would not give me leave to do anything but that if he did, he himself would give me a collection on Sunday. I went to his Lordship and, with great difficulty, got leave to try my luck in the city for the next three days. It was like extracting teeth. The 18th I go out and do a good day’s work and meet some who knew of me. On Saturday I do very little. On Sunday I lectured in the evening and took up a collection amounting to $50. I got $150 altogether here and went off on Monday to St. Louis.
St. Louis, Mo. September 21st. 1874
I travelled through the State of Illinois on Monday and was struck by the height to which cultivation was carried. This State is far more civilised than the States of New York and Pennsylvania. This happened from the old French times and by way of the Mississippi. The bridge over the Mississippi into St. Louis – State of Missouri is the funniest I ever saw – a gigantic river spanned by a gigantic structure, over which passes the train on one story and the carriages on a higher and under which majestic steamers can swim without lowering their funnels. I stopped at a Hotel for the night and on next morning – 22nd. – struck out for the Cathedral (not knowing a soul in the city). The first priest I met at the door was a F. MacEvoy, who knew me in Dublin, received me cordially and offered me hospitality if I should remain anytime. I called next on the Archbishop who gave me all permissions. Then came two wet days. Then came Sunday when I preached in the Cathedral morning and evening. Then came Monday, which I lost looking for a guide, then came Tuesday 29th which I lost getting a guide and making a few dollars. I did very poor work during this week. I never met a town of its character and population so stingy. Some refuse, a few give a little (grumbling all the time) none give well. The place is over-run with local beggars – nuns and monks and all sorts – and three or four strange ones were also in the field. Besides this the people are not in the habit of giving. They have their old French ways in something, and the Archbishop, being a good financier, by his system of banking, was able to build all their Churches himself. On Sunday I preached in the evening and secured a paid guide for Monday. Monday I did something fair among gravediggers and employees of a Cemetery. Tuesday was a wretched day; on Wednesday I pitched the begging to Jericho, and went and dined with the Bishop and told him he had the meanest diocese I met in America. I stayed at home on Thursday as they were all at the Grand Fair and on Friday I drove round and visited a convent of Carmelites, who gave me a most frozen reception. They were very proper and sanctimonious and never lifted the curtain, nor asked myself and F. Mac, if we had a mouth on us, after we coming six miles to visit them. They kept us a quarter of an hour waiting before they came to the gateroom and, on the whole, edified me hugely. ‘Enclosed nuns,’ said a cynical priest, ‘are women who hate one another all day long for love and honour of God.’ On Saturday I resolved to go out to Iona Mountain with Fr. Hennessy and give a little mission. I was asked to give a mission in the city but I could not get assistants from the Superior of the Province F. Dominic.
Iona Mountain October 10th 1874
This is a wonderful curiosity. There is iron enough here to do all of America for the next 100 years. The mine belongs to four families – all Catholics and the company has built a house and Church here for the Pastor. On Sunday 11th October I began a mission, which was very well attended – three-quarters men and one-quarter women. I gave mass and sermon in the morning then heard confessions of women. Sermon in the evening and confessions of men. During the day I went out and visited the mines and saw how iron is manufactured. On the next day I drove out, on the worst roads I ever saw or felt, to see the granite quarry. I saw a huge pile of granite, like an elephant, and several rocky like boulders on its back. The greatest curiosity of its kind I ever saw. On Wednesday another priest came to help us in the confessional and just then the housekeeper got drunk and we did not get any decent dinner in consequence. On Thursday 15th I concluded my little mission and then went and begged in the mines. I got about 120 dollars altogether out of this place and some 30 more due – better than St. Louis. We could not catch the 5.00 o’clock train so we had to wait till 2.00 o’clock in the morning and then start for St. Louis where we arrived at 6.00 o’clock.
October 16th 1874
It was a wet, ugly day and I had been travelling all night. I took a little sleep, shaved and went to see the Bishop. I then said goodbye to some of my friends. Father McEvoy invited some priests to meet me at dinner and just as we were in the middle of it the housekeeper and servant kicked up a row. They refused to obey and were packed off out of the house. Thank God we Passionists have no women.
Chicago Ill. October 27th 1874
I set out on Saturday October 17th for Chicago. When the train reached Springfield Ill., a lady and gentleman walked into the train and he asked me would I allow her (his wife) to sit beside me? I said yes. He then asked to take care of her to Chicago about 200 miles away. They were both Catholics and only a fortnight married. He was a commercial traveller and took his young wife that far and was now sending her home and await his return. I said I was not brought up to taking care of ladies, but that I would not hurt her myself or let anybody else do so until we reached Chicago. I found upon talking a bit that she is a Mrs. Johnson and that her husband’s sister is married to Cellini ! It was highly amusing to find that accident brought us thus together. We talked a long time about home affairs. When we got to the end of our journey the mother-in-law was there to take her home and I got rid of my charge and went off to Burke’s European Hotel.
October 18th 1874
On Sunday morning October 18th I asked my way to the nearest Catholic Church. It happened to be St. Mary’s. I walked there and asked for the Pastor and who did he prove to be but a Fr. Noonan, an old Maynooth man, who knew me perfectly. He gave me leave to say mass at once and than asked me to preach at the last mass. The bishop is away and could not be seen till the morrow. After dinner he drove me through the city and I must say the new part, built over the traces of the great fire, is the most beautiful and magnificent crowd of palaces I ever saw. The streets are wide and the pavements are smooth and solid, the architecture is noble and the bustle is immense. That has been done in less than 3 years. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow did some good accidentally. On Monday October 19th I visited the Bishop. He is rather a snob and somewhat stylish. He gave me several reasons why I ought not to beg and when I gave several reasons why I ought and wrung a left-handed permission out of him; he ate it up again by saying that he did not wish me to make use of it. I got faculties for ecclesiastical things of course. I went out then and tried some friends whose addresses John Durkan gave me and found that begging in this city was like writing an epistle in a running stream.
Milwaukee October 21st 1874
I stopped at an Irish Hotel Burke’s, for sleeping purposes only, in Chicago and when starting for Milwaukee I told them to send my trunk to the station. There are two lines to Milwaukee and myself was sent to one depot and my luggage to the other. Paddy forever. Another Paddy sent my trunk after me and it arrived in Milwaukee five hours later. The train I went by runs along Lake Michigan and gives a nice prospect. I stopped at a Hotel and the next morning called on the Bishop Dr. Henni. He is a nice old Dutchman. He told me the state of things. He has only two congregations, half-Irish, in the city and there were two of the local clergy begging of these. The rest were all Dutch and ‘mein got, they gives nothing.’ He gave me a glass of wine, faculties for his diocese and I started off to visit my uncle Martin in Foxdale Wisconsin. It was very hard to find him out. I had not seen him for 29 years and now I had not only to see him but his wife and family of four daughters and three sons. I spent two pleasant days then, talking over the history of our native parish, and the fortunes of nearly all our relations to the 14th and 15th degrees of kindred. He has a nice farm and does all his work by machinery. One man and four horses can till an American farm of 40 acres. There are several Irish settlers round here; but a Father Athanasius visited here and begged four years ago. I thought it as well to let them alone. I had intended to go to St. Paul Minnesota and then West by Omaha; but I heard it was cheaper to go back to Chicago and go straight from there. Accordingly I came back to the beautiful city on Saturday 24th. I preached at St. Mary’s on Sunday 25th, met a Paulist Father then and gave him a flea in his ear for the way his community received me in New York. On Monday 26th I set out for the far West –
Across the Rocky Mountains October 26th 1874
There may be a reason for calling these things mountains and for calling them Rocky; but I confess I could not see it. It is on this principle of Lucus a non lucendo certainly. They may be called, with more piety, long tedious stretches of rising ground. Travelling through the plains of Illinois until we crossed the Mississippi at Clinton produced nothing new or beautiful. Iowa is very like Illinois, but it has less trees. On Tuesday 27th we crossed a splendid bridge over the Missouri and arrived in Omaha, Nebraska. We just escaped a terrible accident about midnight. Rains had fallen very deeply and washed away the soil from under the rails, the consequences was that a fright train, which was the first across that way, was smashed to pieces. We were delayed 10 hours in consequence and passed by the wreck by a new set of rail laid across it. I’ll never forget the sense of horror, which the sight of the broken train presented. I saw here a prairie fire. It extended several miles and was burning fiercely although’ the wind was not high. If the wind was high I am told the light is terrible. Various kinds of Indians came to the train when it stopped. They were painted most fearfully and offered to exchange furs and buffalo skins tanned for guns and pistols. They did not understand money. In passing throu’ Wyoming Territory, Thursday 29th, the ground was covered with snow, about three inches deep. In passing through Utah we began to perceive some mountain cliffs. There is scenery and precipices and all the appearances of real genuine mountains all through Nevada, and the Sierra until we reached the middle of California. It is curious to watch the state of the hills where the miners have been digging for gold or washing away the soil by a hydraulic process. Gold and Silver are current here and the green backs sell very well. The hills and valleys have Irish names and rowdy titles – one town is called ‘You Bet!’ and the fruits which are offered for sale show that California is the richest state in the Union in its internal resources. The journey from Chicago to San Francisco, when we arrived at 2.00 o’clock on Sunday November 1st lasted 5 days and 10 hours. The accommodation of Pullman sleeping cars made it pleasant enough and I was less tired on landing in California than I would be after travelling by night from Dublin to London via Holyhead. The only drawback I found was 3 noisy and screeching babies which were in my car as far as Omaha. The rest of the way I was accompanied by a silent Virginian and a simple French couple to whom I told most outlandish yarns.
San Francisco, Cal. November 1st 1874
I was just 6535 miles from Dublin now, more than a quarter the circumference of the globe. On Sunday morning, after a few hours sleep, I went to the nearest Church (I put up at the Lick House) St. Patrick’s and got to say mass in a convent. I went then to see the V.G. – Fr. Prendergast, as the bishop was away and I was kindly received in the Cathedral House and asked to dinner. On Monday one of the clergy took me out for a drive and showed me the city and its surroundings. I saw a beautiful park made on sand banks and nicely laid out. On the Pacific coast I saw a number of large seals sunning themselves on a rock. The greatest curiosity to me was the Chinese quarters. You will see Wah Lun, Ting Fo, Hi Bok, Ho Lee, and a whole lot of hieroglyphics over their shops. They all dress in their own peculiar costume and plait their pigtails with great care. My notion is that there must be great difficulty in distinguishing one Chinaman from another, they look so much alike. They are partial slaves, owned by companions, and don’t seem inclined to run away and be free, which they might do if they liked. On Tuesday November 3rd I called upon the Archbishop who had just returned from his confirmation trip in the country. He is a Spaniard and full of formalities. He received me very coldly and said I must put my request on paper, then leave the city and that he would put the matter before his Council. I wrote my document left it with him and have to come tomorrow for an answer – South American and Spanish Red-tape over again! I waited for an answer until dinnertime and then His Grace went to dine without saying anything to me and the V.G. excused himself from inviting me on account of the queerness of the bishop. So I was turned out at mealtime, talked frigidly to, refused everything, treated worse than if my visiting place had been an Indian Wigwam instead of a bishop’s residence. I moved off then in a very rebellious mood, determined to do my best in spite of their teeth. I took council with an old Jesuit and he advised me not; besides the Steamer leaves for Australia on the 10th and if I wait for the next (Dec. 5th) I imperil my life unnecessarily in the equinoctial gales which come about the 21st. I found then that I had only just money enough to pay my passage to Australia without anything for extras, and told the bishop that, thinking that he would either give me something himself or leave to beg what I wanted. He told me to telegraph to Ireland for what money I wanted and have it sent to me by telegraph!! I went off in disgust then to the V.G. and he started a list for me and the other clergy followed suit. I thus secured enough in a few hours and increased the Bishop’s popularity by relating his treatment of me.
November 5th 1874
On Thursday November 5th I took up my lodgings with the Jesuits. On Friday I set out for the country in search of my brother John. His post office has been abolished and I had great difficulty in finding where he was to be found. I took my ticket to Galt, a station 120 miles from S. Francisco and near Sacramento. When I got there I enquired and after a long search, and sundry guesses I got a buggy and went off 7 miles to his residence. There I found himself and his happy looking wife. He has a large farm of 320 acres and lives in a respectable shanty. He was very glad to see me and said I came opportunely and they had just had a son about 2 months ago and I had to baptise him. No Church or priest nearer than 20 miles. On Saturday morning November 7th I baptised the youngster and was godfather myself, Mrs. Harris (not Sairey Gamp’s friend) being godmother. I sent this document to the priests, giving reasons for my epikeia, –
Die 28 Augusti 1874 natus est die 7 Novembris (ejuisdem anni) baptizatus est, Authurus Jacobus Devine, filius Joannis et Cath. Toomey (conjugum) a me Pio Devine, Sac. Cgns. Pass. D.N.J.C. Sieipientibus a Sacro fonto Pio Devine et Nora Harris.
I got back to San Francisco on Saturday evening. On Sunday I preached morning and evening in St. Joseph’s. On Monday I took my ticket by the Steamer ‘Cyphrenes’ for Sydney, Australia. We set sail on Tuesday November 10th at 12.00 o’clock.
On The Pacific Again November 10th 1874
On Tuesday November 10th I set out for Australia in the Steamer ‘Cyphrenes’. We had a great number of passengers and the ship is rather small; consequently, we have to bunk four in a room. My companions are, a Scotch Presbyterian person (stationed in New Zealand), a Methodist parson and a shopkeeper from the Sandwich Islands. One of the parsons and the shopkeeper got sick, so they take the lower berths, and I and the Scotchman have to go aloft. There is an English parson on board, named Tomlinson. There is also a fourth, who keeps the charter of regular travelling parsons; namely, being burdened with a sick wife to whom he must be constantly attending. Tomlinson is a jolly fellow, plays whist and chess, and is generally a favourite. The other men of God read solemn books and wear long faces. Yea, verily they are saved. There is a young Cambridge man on board named Hoare. He plays Chess. There is a Mr. Wilkins a natty, tidy little fellow, with small red whiskers. The rest are players and actors of various kinds. There is a ventriloquist, Davies, a small man with an immense wife and a daughter who promises to reach the dimensions of the mother in a few years. By the way little Wilkins is very attentive unto her. We have an Irish playing party and a menagerie party. There is a huge vulgar actress named Pomeroy, who sat opposite me, swore and cursed so fiercely that I left the table. There is an affected gussette to whom some of the softer of the passengers pay court. There is a nice handsome blonde to whom nearly all the gentlemen attend. There is an elephant on board, some hogs and a whole lot of other things. The deck is very narrow, and seems made for suicidal purposes. There are scarcely any seats, and the other comforts of the ship seem to be of a piece. We start with a beautiful calm sea and make an average of 240 miles a day for some time. We get up a newspaper on board, called the Cyphrenes Chronicle, which is published on Wednesdays and Saturdays. It is very well conducted and most of the passengers send in a conundrum or an article of some kind. On Sunday November 15th we had service on the quarterdeck by a brace of Parsons. The Church of England man read the service proper and the Methodist preached.
. November 17th 1874
Tuesday 17th November was a calm beautiful day; there was not a ripple on the fair face of the grand Pacific Ocean. A little boy pointed out to me some of Mother Casey’s chickens in the evening. Surely enough about midnight the sea began to rise. We had a very respectable storm for three days; almost as good as you could meet on the Atlantic, and many were the wry faces and exclamations of lady passengers. In one day’s travelling we made only 94 miles, about the worst I ever remember in all my sea journeys. On Friday November 20th we arrived outside the bar at Honolulu, Sandwich Islands.
Sandwich Islands, Honolulu. November 20th 1874
All we generally know in Europe about the Islands is, that upon one of them was murdered Captain Cook, (?) or (?) and that they afford matter for an amusing lecture for Mark Twain. These islands are however a Kingdom, with a King and royal flunkies in gold lace. They are fertile in tropical plants. The natives generally speak a kind of English; but their own language is regulated and grammaticated. Everybody speaks Hawaiian. There are two bishops here, a Catholic and a Protestant. I got ashore on Saturday November 21st. and was glad to be able to say mass on such a great feast of our Order. I find the Steamer is starting at 7.00 p.m. tomorrow Sunday, so I have time to say mass again before I go. I lodged at the bishop’s for the night. He is a Frenchman and has been here several years. there is a Father or Dr. O’Connor here, who seems an Ens Vagabuum, a good-natured boaster and a man who stops everyone he meets for a chat, although he is but a month in the town. Honolulu has a big hotel, a theatre and several churches. Among the English-speaking people, the Yankees preside. There are some Irish here, two have good shops, but they all speak Hawaiian. The women wear long loose gowns from neck to heels without an attempt at a waist. Their hair is a little curly not woolly, their colour a dark yellow, and they go barefoot generally. Women ride on horseback straddle-legged like men and wear spurs and boots occasionally. No one thinks of walking here, all ride. The climate is, of course, tropical and the beautiful luxuriant foliage is very refreshing indeed to the eye after a sea voyage. On Sunday I said Mass at 5.30 and was on board at 7.00 o’clock. The natives will dive for a sixpence in the ocean and bring it up from the bottom in 20 feet of water. They are almost amphibious. I could not help humming the ‘King of the Cannibal Islands’ all the time I remained here. Yet the natives, and domesticated Europeans, deny that the Islanders ever ate each other. I find that on my return to the ship I am better accommodated. The parsons have been sent to another room and Tim Cohan one of the actors, is just in with me. Off we go at 9.00 o’clock for Sidney.
November 28th 1874
On Saturday the 28th we cross the Equator about half past 8.00. The officer of the ship thought we could not do so until 11.00. At 12.00 Neptune, dressed up in trident crown and beard and drawn on a car, was attended by various courtiers, who laid the wardrobe of the actor under contribution for grotesque dressed. Wheeled to the quarterdeck, the usual interrogations were gone through, and all lads who had not crossed the line before were shaved with a razor made of tin and edged like a claw. In the ceremony went several who had never crossed before and those who were shaved in the morning resolved to form another party in the evening. The ladies dressed up this time and shaved those gentlemen who escaped. I was asked to compose an address of Aphiodite to the Captain and gave them the following:
In Neptune’s Court in good old days,
We had a splendid law, Sir;
That all who crossed his grand highway
Should feel upon their jaw, Sir.
The gentle touch of Neptune’s hand
With lather and with razor,
Or, (not obeying his command),
A fitting forfeit pay, Sir.
No beardless boy or shaving man
Or lady small or great, Sir.
Dared venture on a smuggling plan
This law to violate, Sir.
But, if they did, a high decree
Said ‘On the very day,’ Sir.
The varlets trebly shaved he be
And double forfeit pay, Sir.
Today his majesty’s great law
Was carried out right fair, sir.
But in the event there was a flaw
Which I’m sent to repair, Sir.
Some of this household, goodly elves,
Before they left their mothers
Forgot they should be shaved themselves
‘Ere going to shave others.
Let’s summon them and make them feel
The keenness of this edge, Sir.
And if their bearded chins don’t squeal
We’ll trim them like a hedge, Sir.
When this is done we’ll let them go
To wash themselves from paint, Sir,
Nor heed we grumblings, if they grow
Into a fool’s complaint, Sir.
The first person shaved was a cockney and he was lathered most outrageously, and then he got into a passion about the spoiling of his coat and necktie. It was most grotesquely humorous to see him gesticulating his queries from under and talking them from over a life preserver hung on his neck like a horse collar. That night he spilled the water, which washed the paint off all over his bed and had to sleep on the floor. Next morning one of the passengers, an actress of dubious mental sanity and equally uncertain character, thrashed him on deck with her horsewhip, because she found one of her dresses spotted with shaving paste. The sorrows of Dilkins didn’t end here but the remainder of them were of a trifling character. On Sunday I said prayers and preached in the steerage. On Monday we found one of our party asleep at mid-day and we impeached a jury, held an inquest on him and had him carried to a grave before he awoke. Thus ended November – Thermometer 90.
December 1st 1874
On Tuesday 1st December we had a ball on the quarterdeck. I did not care much about the round dances but I admired the ‘Lancers’ and ‘Sir Roger de Coverley’. On Wednesday 2nd we had a little concert in the steerage, given by a company of strolling actors. Saturday 5th December was a funny day. We had a fine entertainment on the quarterdeck in the evening, given by our players and a ball afterwards. At 12.00 o’clock we crossed the 180 of longitude and, consequently, the next day instead of being Sunday 6th was Monday the 7th December. Some people who never read geography were greatly puzzled, and I was delighted as instead of the long office of the Second Sunday of Advent I had only the short one of St. Ambrose today. The tropics were of course very hot but as soon as we got into the Temperate Zone the water became cool again. On Tuesday 8th we were as far down as 30 South and within two days voyage of New Zealand. The albatrosses came out to meet our ship and caused us some amusement.
Auckland, N.Z. December 10th 1874
We coasted along New Zealand for the greater part of a day and steamed into the harbour at Auckland at 10.00 o’clock on Thursday December 10th. The natives here are pretty well civilised and a fine looking race of people. They are all tattooed in various colours. The women are only tattooed about the lips. The Chiefs own the country to a great extent and Europeans are very often lessees. They are very cute and won’t sell their property. I went straight to the cathedral, on my arrival, and found Fathers McDonnell and O’Dwyer there. The bishop (Dr. Croke) is away in Ireland. I remembered F McDonnell, having met him in Highgate, in company of Bishop Pompalier some 13 years ago and I knew him at once. I recollected that there was a F. O’Hara a native of my own parish here, and I asked for him. He lives 9 miles from the city, they telegraphed for him and he came in about an hour’s time. We had a good long talk, dined together, took a good drive through the city and otherwise made the best of it. They have a fine climate in New Zealand; it is now summer (December) and we were so refreshed by strawberries and other delicacies of the season after our month’s voyage. There are some very nice buildings in Auckland and it bids fair to be a very flourishing seaport in a few years. The ‘Cyphrenes’ was starting at 5.00 for Sydney, so I came on board of her accompanied by four priests. We lost some of our best passengers here and only took on 3 or 4 in their place. Off at 6.30 for Sydney.
December 11th 1874
I forgot to remark that on the 9th December we had a great day looking at the Transit of Venus. We had only small telescopes fixed in the Sextants. I was the first to see the planet on the Sun, it was just 10 minutes to 2.00 p.m. The Captain saw it five minutes later. It looked like an oval black ball. It got off about 5.25 p.m. Our instruments being small we could not be sure of the first and last contact. We were better off than the New Zealanders as they saw nothing on account of the clouds. They were very much interested in our account of the Transit and felt disappointed themselves. On the 11th a heavy squall began with a head wind and it continued 3 days. Great was the rolling of plates and people during the time. One fat woman rolled out of her berth and broke all the furniture of the stateroom. Another lady wept all day and hugged a lapdog, which she feared might go over. She is a childless lady and a Catholic. I quizzed her and smoked a cigar into the little dog’s face, when I caught him. He would run whenever he saw me afterwards. We had a few concerts notwithstanding and when the sea calmed down on the 15th everyone was looking new and perky and delighted. On Thursday 17th December we sighted the Australian coast.
Australia Sydney, New South Wales December 17th 1874
I had a curious notion of Australia before I came here, and I dare say, a good many have the same notions yet. I thought it was all one big province. Instead of that I find it divided into several colonies. People her always say ‘The Colonies’, ‘How do you like the Colonies’, ‘Since I came to the Colonies’. There are 7 of them altogether, and they all have home rule. Well I had better tell how I came to the ‘Colonies’. The harbour of Sydney is one of the finest in the world. You’d never think there was a harbour (and in fact Captain Cook passed it by and went to Botany Bay) at all until you got in and then a honey combed piece of water dotted with islands and hedged in with hills feast your eyes till you ride up in the Steamer to the very wharf. When I got ashore I took a cab (all Hansom here) and went in quest of a boarding house. No room and referred to another – no room. Knocked at a third and the lady got a young man to give me his room for a few days and sleep himself on the sofa. I found on conversation that she is a Miss McGuinn from Cashel, niece of F. Denis McGuinn. Well she cried with joy when she found out who I was. Her sister is a schoolteacher and stopped here also. Such queer coincidences do I meet! I went to see the bishops – there be two Archbishops Drs. Polding and Vaughan – non est inventus. The young Archbishop does all the duty and has all the charge and is now away up the country.
December 18th 1874
December 18th – roasting hot until a South wind blew up about 3.00 and refreshed the town by blowing all the sand off the streets into the eyes of the passers by. Sydney is a beautiful city, well built of stone with fine macadamised streets. Could not see either bishop today. December 19th – saw the old Archbishop and got leave to officiate, etc., and am put off to a conference with the young Archbishop for business. On Sunday 20th I said mass at the cathedral and in the afternoon went to see Roger Bede Vaughan the Coadjutor. He was very pompous and dressed most Archiepiscopally. He did not at all favaw any mission nor think it proaw that an Irishman should aw beg aw in the Colonies. He gave me leave in scriptis to say mass and patronizingly condescended to bow me eawt aw. That day I visited the Marists and met F. Kirke there. I was invited to lodge with them during my stay in Sydney. I was asked to preach in 3 or 4 places, and that same evening got an epistle from Wogeaw Bede aw, forbidding me to pweach anywhere in the Archdiocese aw ! I say my prayers and keep quiet. Why I should be allowed to say mass and not preach is something beyond my comprehension. The beauty of it is that I am within a few shillings of an empty pocket and not disposed to violate ecclesial rules.
December 23rd 1874
On Wednesday 23rd we had a very hot day and then came a hot wind – called here a ‘buster’ – like the Italian sirocco which nearly paralysed human life. On Christmas Day I sung Midnight Mass for the Marists Brothers and sang the last mass in the Church (St. Patrick’s). On Saturday I went to an Irish picnic, and met several gentlemen there to whom I told my tale. On Monday I went out with a Mr. Freehill and a Mr. McMahon to beg and got 10 or 12 pounds in a couple of hours. I can now get myself a suit of light clothes and pay my fare somewhere else. I have been asked to give a lecture and I may hopefully do so after I pay a visit to the country or ‘the bush’ as it is called here. On one evening I presided at a meeting in favour of the Sisters of Mercy. One of the French Marists was very nervous at my opening my mouth there since Wogeaw had fawbidden any pweaching. So servile is the nature of some! On the last day of the year I went out to do a little shopping (as ladies say) before taking my departure for another part of ‘the Colony’. I met one of my fellow passengers on board the ‘Cyphrenes’. He invited me to dine with him and there I met several other voyageurs, including Wilkins.
This year ends very strangely with me. I take a ticket on board a little coasting steamer for Newcastle and Maitland, to see if Dr. Murray, an Irish Bishop will be kinder to me than my fwiend Wogeaw. The little craft is crowded. We start at 11.00 p.m. and their is no room to sleep. I got by chance a mattress and lay it on the floor to take a little rest. I then go on deck to get some fresh air. Then I sit musing. I am 11,000 miles from home, I am pretty low in pocket, and I am thoroughly disgusted with begging and of opinion that I’d start straight home by the next steamer, if I had sufficient money. Lonely, sad, and friendless I take a (?) before 12.00 as I might fast in order to say mass tomorrow. I just look at the fine blue sky above me and at the ocean around me, recommend myself to the One Only friend that never deserts one and then begin the New Year by an uncomfortable sleep and fantastic dreams, with a slight inclination to seasickness.
1875 January 1st 1875
At six o’clock on New Year’s morning I reached F. Ryan’s at Newcastle. I knew him in London and gave a mission for him. The bishop, Dr. Murray, whom I knew slightly in Dublin, happened to be sojourning here. His Lordship received me very kindly, commiserated me on my hard reception in Sydney, and although he could scarcely venture to impose a new tax upon his people, he did not wish to refuse me altogether. Finally we arranged that I should give some missions in the diocese and go on much in the same way as I did in Buenos Ayres. This plan pleases the clergy also and becomes adopted at once. I am very cordially lodged and fed and feel as if the New Year opened a new leaf in my campaign. The bishop has asked me to give the three days retreat to the Dominicanesses in Maitland (the See); I, of course, consented. I may probably stay here till about Easter, but the Bishop who is not well goes to Tasmania for a month or so. On our journey up to Maitland I observe some curiosities in the way of birds. The laughing jackass, a queer bird, with an enormous beak, is given to eating snakes and laughing. A lot of these queer birds will flock together on a tree, then one descends and catches a snake by the gills and flies up with him, he lets him fall wriggling to the ground and they all commence a grand ha, ha at the poor reptiles misfortunes. He is then dispatched and gobbled. I met a magpie bigger than ours who can whistle ‘There’s nae luch about the house’; imitate sentimental singing, call names, curse, and look wise at you.
January 2nd 1875
On Saturday evening January 2nd I put the nuns on retreat. On Sunday January 3rd I preached in the Cathedral of Maitland, dined with the bishop, who left that day for Tasmania, and continued the retreat until January 6th Feast of the Epiphany, when I enter on my 38th year. I concluded the nun’s retreat today and on January 7th I go to
Newcastle January 7th 1875
On Sunday January 10th I open the little mission in Newcastle. The order was this ; 6.00 o’clock mass and instruction, 9.00 o’clock instruction for children, 7.00 o’clock instruction and sermon followed by Benediction. There was a pretty good congregation at the start and it went on increasing till the end. I am on the fidgets now about letters, which must be following me from the States. On Friday 15th they reach me and nothing is decided about the prolongation of my leave of absence. I write home to say that if my present work pays, if my health keeps up, and if other bishops are kind I shall continue here. If any of these three conditions fail I start homewards.
January 17th 1875
On Sunday 17th I concluded the mission and got £50 at a collection. This pays very well so far. On Monday I went down town and got my hair cut and tonsure shaven by a German barber. The thermometer must be about 120. It was near 100 in the sun up at the presbytery and of course down town it must be 20 higher. I lodged £63-3-0 in Mr. McDermott’s bank. He is of the McDermott of Ballyfarnon, but a Catholic.
Lambton January 19th 1875
This is a coalmining place possessing about 3000 inhabitants, 26 conventiclers and 56 parsons. Only 3 of the clergy are ordained Revs. – the priest, English Church, and Presbyterian – all the rest are like Goldsmith’s chest of drawers. In the omnibus there was a drunken man who would talk. He asked me a lot of questions, his wife put her paw on his mouth, he said ‘what is a tongue for but to talk with! At length after getting a few short answers from me he rolled his eyes to heaven and exclaimed ‘Lord, if there be omnibuses carrying souls to hell, how crowded they must be!’ This sent us all off in a roar; and although he was a nuisance he happened to make good sport. I began a mission here on Tuesday evening January 19th. I had a very good gathering all along and plenty of work in the confessional at night. On Sunday January 24th (Septuagessima) I had to say two masses and preach morning and evening. I got an attack of Diarrhoea in the morning and never felt a day so severely. I got through however and the people made me up £22-10-00. On Monday I felt quite (?). I fear this missionary work in such hot weather will hurt me. However, I have nothing to do till next Sunday, so I run off, on a Steamer, to Sydney. This is a most extraordinary city in the world for hats. No two gentlemen wear the same kind of hat. The hats have all sorts of shapes (diagrams) etc. and most of them wear white turbans tied round them. The habits of the people are very like Republicans and their government is very much the same. It is dangerous here to look into a person’s genealogy too sharply as some of their prominent men have been the sons of convicts, or convicts themselves. Many are the yarns, which can be told concerning them. The men are generally good-looking; but the women are pale and not so well featured. They look clean and nice in consequence of dressing in white; but when they come to confession, after walking up a hill of a hot day, Lord it stinketh. I went to the School of Art in Sydney, where my fellow passengers were playing. I was quite delighted with their entertainment. Priests are the only people who have a uniformity of hats. I got a clerical hat, all shaped and ventilated, and when I got on board a steamer, to return again to Newcastle on Wednesday night 27th, I left my hat outside my berth. In the morning it was gone and I had to get home in a white hat of F. Ryan’s. I put some money in the bank – my deposit amounts to £96.
Gresford – The Patterson January 31st 1875
Began my next mission in Gresford It is 27 miles from Maitland (up the bush). The country or ‘Bush’ is partly cleared of timber and produces tobacco, grapes, wheat, corn, and seldom vegetables in consequence of the heat. There are big estancieros (as my Spanish friends would say) called here Squatters. They possess large tracts of land and have innumerable flocks and herds grazing thereover. Small proprietors (say of 1000 acres or so) are called cockatoo settlers. There are tenants of a certain species after (?) And then come sheep labourers. The soil is here pretty dry except when floods come and they are frequent visitors. The Church here is a very nice clean tidy structure and accommodates from two to three hundred. F. O’Neill, the P.P., lives about 2 miles from the Church. He lodges with a Donegal man, named Doohan, who speaks very imperfect English. I had to ride from the Church to the house three or four times a day on horseback, and in one of the rides Doohan accompanied me. He was out here when neither Church nor priest was to be seen and said, ‘Ach, yer reverence, when I saw no priest, no mass, and no religion I began to think that God almighty stayed at home entirely.’
February 1st 1875
My Mission proceeds and a good number attend – all come on horseback. It was rather amusing at first to se ladies in riding habits, long and black, whips, and nice hats making it to confession. I think the dress very becoming for Church purposes and very nice and modest. On February 3rd I baptised a convert (there is another under instruction and waiting for me in Newcastle) and on the 4th had a lot of scallywags up to confession. On Friday February 5th I wound up the little mission (with papal blessing) at 7.00 o’clock in the evening. The order of the Mission was. In Church at 9.00 o’clock to hear confessions, mass at 10.30, sermon at 11.00. Home at 12.00, dinner at 1.00, back to Church at 5.00 o’clock, confessions, sermon, Benediction, home again at 8.00. Night work could not be done as the people had 12 and 20 miles to ride home after the evening discourse. On Saturday February 6th I received £28 as the sum of their contributions to Harold’s Cross. I returned on Saturday (29 miles) to Maitland, slept at the bishop’s and on Sunday morning Quinquagesima (February 7th) I galloped out to Lochinvar (7miles) with F. McGrath.
Lochinvar February 7th 1875
Here we find a little bit of a town in the midst of a winegrowing country. I was galled from my fast ride under a hot sun and could not well sit down for part of a day. I had a good congregation at the 11.0 o’clock mass. We put up at the Red Lion Inn, kept by a Mr. Walsh and began our spiritual labours. On Monday 8th we rode out amongst beautiful vineyards and visited several Irish, a Frenchman and a German. They all have vineyards and make wine. Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras) we dined with a French family and were agreeably entertained. On Ash Wednesday we were so particular that we ate nothing until dinner at 1.00 o’clock and would not touch a drop of milk for the world. We went out for a ride (myself and F. McGrath) and after some hard galloping on a hot day (the Thermometer was 105 in the shade), visited a few farmers and drank glasses of their best wine. At length we had a good race and came in, with dry throats and smoking horses to a house in which, like the Cana, people there was no wine. We were offered a drink of milk and I drank two glasses which F. McGrath drank three. It was only next day we found out how beautifully we kept Ash Wednesday by drinking a dairy dry! Why does the Church allow wine and not milk? I wonder was it this beautiful resolution which made the old parish priest of some ignoble parish in the Northern Hemisphere forget the ‘Memento homo’ when giving the ashes and say to each person ‘What I should say to you is at home in my breeches pocket’, because he had forgotten in that geographical region the slip of paper on which he wrote his ‘Memento’. I finished my mission here on Friday evening and on Saturday morning February 13th went off to Murrurundi – 100 miles – by train.
Murrurundi February 13th 1875
Into the train came a few nicely decorated Spinsters, at Scone I think, and one of them looked so proper, prime and thin that I thought her a tract distributor who was on her way to cast out antidotes against my preachments. I found afterwards that she was a charitable good young Catholic lady – Miss Evens – who was on her way to spend a week playing the harmonium for my congregation. The town is nicely situated; around it is an amphitheatre of hills or ridges and the trees on their summits look like the mane on a mad horse. There are no mosquitoes here and the air is purer than I have met yet in the Colony. I began a mission here on Sunday 14th (1st of Lent) and had a very good attendance. The order of the day was much the same as elsewhere, and in my intermediate hours I took an odd shot in the bush at such wild animals as I could meet. We closed here on Friday and the people gave me £45. Father Finn, the worthy and hospitable P.P. took me off to Scone. During out rambles and visits I pick up scraps of information. The natives, who are supposed to be the lowest in intellect in the world, are not so bad as reported. They have an idea of a Supreme Being but their practice in religion is rather in the direction of fetishism. Their priests are necromancers and they charm portions of their rivers by enclosing their blood in an earthen vessel and sinking it to the bottom. They live in tents of bark and subsist on the possum, bear, and what fish they can catch. They are very short and ugly. The white portion of the population is, many of them, of dubious origin, the children of old convicts or ‘Lags’, or per chance the ‘old (?)’ themselves. The Irish Lags are a better race than the English because they were banished for respectable crimes, such as, taking firearms, trying to shoot a landlord, a faction fight. The English lags were originally thieves and pickpockets. It is very dangerous to enquire into the genealogy of New South Welshmen.
Scone February 20th 1875
This is a small, scattered hamlet in which I gave a short mission of three days. It is dependant on Murrurundi. We had small congregations and nothing to do in the Church from 10.00 to 5.00 o’clock in the evening, so we rode and dined until we tired each other out. On Wednesday 24th I wound up the mission and we went back to Murrurandi where I promised to give a lecture, for the benefit of the public hospital, on Thursday evening February 25th. Some of the leading men asked me to give it and I consented. On Thursday I lectured and there never was so great an audience then before. My subject was ‘Modern Literature’ and when I gave the newspapers and trashy novels a touching up, the effect was delightful. On Friday we took horses and guns and went out bear shooting. I shot two bears after riding to the summit of a mountain and then, it being poor sport, gave it up. The rains came down in torrents and after we descended the ridge of mountain bush and got wetted to the skin, we had enough of bear shooting. It takes four shots to bring down an ordinary bear.
Maitland February 28th 1875
I was to have given a fortnight’s mission here and do a few weeks more around, preach in Holy Week, and make my fortune in fact. Man proposes and God disposes. On Sunday 28th February, in the presence of 2 bishops and a good congregation, I gave my opening discourse. The rain came down in torrents, the river rose (the Hunter) and the whole country was covered with a flood (in some places 60 feet deep) on Monday March 1st. We are all prisoners and cannot go out. Fortunately the Bishop has enough provisions for the water siege. On Tuesday 2nd March I rode down through the town, to see the nuns, and the water in the High St., came up to the saddle. I had to gather up my feet on the horse’s back. Then I saw the houses deserted and some covered with water to the roof. The people were living in the upper stories and public institutions. This is the second flood in two years. This flood ends the mission, and my work in this colony. I must now, as soon as the flood abates, make my way home. I saw a great difference here between how the poor are treated in Ireland and ‘The Colonies’. Directly the government heard of the distress caused it sent an order to supply all wants. This comes of Home Rule. On Saturday March 6th I set out for Sydney on my way home. I called at Newcastle to meet Dr. Forrest, whom I considered a coarse and clever man. I preached again on Sunday, settled my accounts in the bank and found myself worth £208. Started on Tuesday 9th for Sydney, got there by Steamer at 5.00 o’clock and was off the next morning to Goulburne.
Golbourne March 9th 1875
I arrived at Golbourne in the afternoon and was cordially welcomed by the Bishop. He could not give me the necessary permission then; but could at a later time. He wishes for a foundation. He has a beautiful house and college. He asked to give a three-day mission, by way of preparation for St. Patrick’s Day. I began it on Passion Sunday the 14th and it was well attended indeed. The people here never heard a mission before, and one of them, meeting a priest returning from his station, said ‘Begorra yer Rev., this missionary gentleman is trimindious, when he began his Sermon, after a prayer, he took off his coat and laid into us in style’. I wound up on St. Patrick’s Day in the morning and got £50 for my trouble. I assisted in the evening at a banquet and made a speech. All who spoke made speeches so solemn, that you’d think they were going to be hanged. I gave some yarns and the cheers were deafening. On Thursday 18th I set out for Yap (54 miles) in the Bishop’s carriage again. Just now I feel facing home in earnest. In the 19th I set out by coach from Yap for Albany – great was the banging I got, two days and a night, over a bad road and I the only passenger. I passed through a small post-town called Garryowen. Spoke to the mother-in-law of the Claimant, passed by ‘Wagga Wagga’ and got to Albany – the boundary town between New South Wales and Victoria – at 5.00 o’clock.
Albany March 21st 1875
I preached on Palm Sunday and on Monday went to visit Fallon’s famous vineyards and cellars. I started for Melbourne and got there at 10.00 p.m. I put up at a hotel and next morning I met at breakfast Mr. Wilkins (one of my fellow travellers from S. Francisco) going by the same Steamer as myself. I went about the city with a Dr. Bleasdale, on the next day with a F. Nulty, saw all their public institutions, and took my passage for Brindisi by Suez in the ‘Ceylon’.
Home Voyage March 25th 1875
I looked at the passengers, as I got on board and found them very reticent. Could not speak to each other without an invitation. How different among the Yankees. As it was Holy Thursday and the Steamer started at 9.00 o’clock, the Archbishop (Dr. Gould) gave me leave to say a private mass in the Cathedral before starting. The train took us along way and we steamed out of port at a quarter past 2.00 o’clock. We called into Adelaide on Saturday, but as we stayed only a few hours. I could not see much. I visited the priest and saw the city, which is very finely laid out. Four people have talked into conversation! We got into King George’s Sound on 1st April. Here I saw the boomerang thrown splendidly and the natives in scant costume performing a variety of feats with wooden spears. On Sunday April 4th I preached in the Saloon, after the service was (?) on charity. We got into the Tropics shortly after and there was nothing remarkable until we reached the line except a frisky matron who got drunk.
Ceylon April 15th 1875
We got to Ceylon on the 15th April. The most remarkable thing I saw here was little bulls drawing gigs at a furious pace. The native dress is a rag round the loins, a comb in their long hair and an umbrella. The women wear a small jacket extra but their dugs protrude below it and reach their waist. We went as far as Bollawallah and there saw their spices. One tree was cloves at the top, cinnamon in the bark, and camphor in the root. A native cut me off a strychnine nut and then flung it into the river explaining with a yell of delight ‘Alligator eat him and den die Oh ho!’ On Sunday 11th and 18th I preached morning and evening. I saw in Ceylon a man charming a snake with something like an Irish Bagpipe. The snake was in a basket (a huge reptile) and dodged his head round as if dancing to the music. Of course we had to give some rupees for the sight.
Bombay April 19th 1875
On Monday April 19th we arrived in Bombay, we had just time to take a ride through the town and look at the natives. The Pancies are very grand and the antics of caste are very curious. One wears a red turban, another a white, a third has a yellow star on his forehead, a fourth has another star, a fifth is a badge (pillgin) and wears green with spangles etc.
Aden April 29th 1875
A lot of East Indian natives came on board here and I found them very nice fellows. We got to Aden on April 29th, late in the evening. It is a very barren dried up place. We took a drive through the town and fortifications and got on board the ‘Delhi’ at 12.00 o’clock at night. We started for home then at 4.00 in the morning through the
Red Sea April 30th 1875
The only curious thing in the Red Sea was trying to find out where the Israelites passed. Every scholar had a different opinion. We passed under the shadow of Mount Sinai where the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, and got into Suez at 7.00 o’clock in the morning of the 3rd May.
Egypt May 3rd. 1875
We crossed from Suez to Alexandria by train. A portion of the way it was all desert, and when we got into the valley of the Nile the crops were most abundant. The Egyptian villages are all built of mud, one story high, and not fit for pigs. The natives look very queer in their fez. The women wear a veil from their nose downwards. Alexandria seemed to me a contemptible place and almost made me lose my reverence for St. Mark, Origen, and St. Athanatius. St. Clement too got his share. May 4th I have left Africa and am bound for Europe by the ‘Sumatra’.
Italy May 7th. 1875
We arrived at Brindisi, which 9 out of 10 Englishmen and all Frenchmen will persist in misspelling. We saw Mount Ida and Sappho’s Leap as we coasted along Greece. I started at 9.30 a.m. on Friday May 7th for Rome, by way of Foggia and Naples. I reached Naples at 10.00 o’clock p.m. and started, after running round the bay, sniffing the odour of Lazzaroni and decayed vegetables, and taking a squint at Mount Vesuvius. I reached Rome at 9.00 o’clock at night and had to sleep in a hotel as our house was shut. I got to SS Giovanni e Paolo on Sunday May 9th. I stood at the door after having gone right round the world. The General was away, holding chapter in some part of Naples, so I had to wait till he came back. I went out through Rome a few times; but the profanation of sacred things was too much for me so I stayed at home till the 17th, when I got my audience of the Holy Father. He is looking older and rather shaky, his voice however and amiability have not diminished. That same evening I left Rome and travelled straight on to Paris through Mount Cenis Tunnel. There was beautiful air in the Tunnel. I got to Paris on Wednesday evening 19th and stayed there a couple of days. I got to London on the 22nd, to Sutton on the 31st and finally arrived at North Wall by a cattle boat on Thursday June the 3rd. Thus ended my voyage round the world.