When Irish were treated like many Muslims today in America


I have been surprised by the amount of comments on my piece comparing the anti-Muslim and anti-Irish comparisons in this country.

I have been particularly amazed that some have claimed that the Irish suffered no such discrimination in their day.

I am indebted to Judy McNamara who sent me in the following report from a Brooklyn newspaper in 1844 on how nasty and vicious the treatment of the Irish was.

The Know Nothings were the natives who wanted to drive the irish back to where they came form. How viciously they tried to to that is revealed in the following report.

Read this and weep and think now of today's circumstances where another community is experiencing this kind of hatred

From the Brooklyn Eagle April 5th 1844
Serious Disturbance Last Night—Outrageous Conduct of the Native Americans—
The Military Called out-The attempts of the so-called ‘Native American’ party, to provoke collisions with the adopted citizens [Irish] were but too successful last evening.

At the appointed time, the Democrats organised, and after listening to speeches from the Hon. Mr. Murphy, Mr. Campbell, & c., adjourned and retired to their homes. Meanwhile, the Native orators were indulging in violent and abusive language toward the fellow citizens; and their auditors— most of whom were armed with bludgeons— responded vehemently thereto.

Finally a person—whose name we have not been able to learn—closed the proceedings by stating that he had just received a note from a particular friend, urging it as a duty on the meeting to see the delegation from the Sixth Ward safely home, and adding that trouble was anticipated. He proposed, therefore, that they escort the Sixth Warders down, “and if the Irish attempt to interfere,” said he, “we’ll eat them without pepper or salt!”

Several persons who heard these and other similar expressions, among which was a threat to demolish the Catholic Church, in Court street, thought it their duty to convey the intelligence to the parties threatened, and this led to the assembling of some forty or fifty of the latter on the corner of Dean and Court Streets, near the Church.

The meeting by this time had broken up, and several hundreds of them, joined by a delegation from New York, started for the Sixth Ward—yelling and shouting as they went. They passed up Fulton to Boerum Street, down Boerum to Atlantic, up Atlantic to Smith, down Smith to Wyckoff, and down Wyckoff to Court.

Shortly after entering Court Street, one of their torches was blown out, and the bearer endeavored to gain admission to gain admission into a house occupied by an Irish family, for the purpose of re-lighting it. This was refused—nobody but the woman and children being in. A gang immediately collected about the premises, and such exclamations as these were uttered—“Break open the door—break open the windows—tear down the shantee—throw the damned Irish bitch into the street.” An entrance was at last effected, and the torch re-lit.

Shortly before this occurrence took place such expressions as ‘That church must come down—the church must be gutted—damn the Irish”—were frequently muttered . While passing the hotel of Mr. Dougherty—where the Democrats hold their meetings—someone shouted, ‘Let’s go at that—let’s tear that down!” & c. On passing the Catholic Church, they played a dead march, uttered groans, and imprecations against the building and the Irish, and renewed the shouts of ‘Tear it down!’ ‘Gut it!’ & c.

Some stones, we are told, were likewise thrown, but for this we cannot vouch.On reaching the corner of Dean and Court Street, a number of adopted citizens (forty or fifty) were discovered, armed like the Natives with bludgeons, and prepared to resist any attempt at violence.

As the rear guard came up, some stones were thrown at the persons congregated as above, which brought down a shower of missiles in return, and the procession moved off briskly toward Atlantic Street. This was the commencement of the battle proper; though we should have stated before that the Natives, on reaching Smith Street, made a temporary halt in front of their ward house, and were addressed by a Mr. Fay, who said that a threat to tear down that house had been made, and added, “If the Irish want to do that now, let them come on! I think we are strong enough to sweep their hovels.” This, however, did not provoke any disturbance.