Hugh Quigley [Rev.]

1818-1883; b. Dec. 1819, in Tulla, Clare; ed. at local hedge-school [taught by Master Walsh, nick-named Sean Cam/Shawn Kaum] and a classical school in Killaloe run by a certain Master Madden; worked with Ordnance Survey, Dublin; entered Maynooth Seminary on scholarship by examination, but refused oath of allegiance at Maynooth and transferred to St. Mary’s, Youghal; completed doctorate at La Sapienza Univ. [but see Clare People - infra] in Rome; ordained in Glasgow; ministered in Yorkshire and returned to ireland in 1847, where he tended to famine victims and participated in Young Ireland politics;

migrated to America in 1849 on invitation of Bishop Hughes (NY); took legal action against anti-Catholic ‘nativism’ in schools in New York State; missionary to Chippewa Indians around Lake Superior; issued novels, The Cross and the Shamrock (Boston 1853), a novel counselling Catholics on the keeping the faith in America; and [anon,] Prophet of the Ruined Abbey (Dublin 1863), another set in Co. Clare in 1830s-40s and dealing with agrarian unrest and future revolution; encountered ecclesiastic opposition and served unofficially among Union soldiers in the Civil War; worked with Catholic miners and farmers settled in Erin Prairie;

moved to Wisconsin, pastor in 1868, then Colorado before settling in San Francisco, 1878-81; working with miners at Eureka; published The Irish Race in California (1878), encouraging Irish migrants to settle in that state; suffered declining health and returned to Albany, NY; d. 30 April 1883, in Albany, with friends and bur. St. Mary’s, Troy; there is a biography by Johanna Schwartz. DIW IF SUTH RIA

[ There is an entry by Deirdre Bryan in Dictionary of Irish Biography (RIA) - online. ]

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  • The Cross and the Shamrock; or, How to Defend the Faith. An Irish-American Catholic Tale of Real Life, descriptive of the temptations, sufferings, trials and triumphs of the children of St Patrick in the great republic of Washington. A book for the entertainment and special instruction of the atholic male and female servants of the United States (Boston, Patrick Donahoe [1853]) [see details].
  • The Prophet of the Ruined Abbey, or, A Glance of the Future of Ireland: a narrative founded on the ancient ‘Prophecies of Culmkill’, and on other predictions and popular traditions (NY: E. Dunigan and Brother 1855), 293pp.; Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: Duffy 1863), vi, 247pp.[see details].
  • Profit and Loss: A Story of the Life of the Genteel Irish-American, illustrative of Godless Education (NY: T O’Kane 1873), xi, 458pp. [serialised 1872].
In translation
  • Le prophète du monastère ruiné; ou, L'avenir de l'Irlande, tr. de l'anglais avec l'autorisation des éditeurs par M. William O'Gorman [pseud.] (Paris, Putois-Cretté 1859) [trans. of The Prophet of the Ruined Abbey, ].
  • The Irish Race in California and on the Pacific Coast: with an Introductory Historical Dissertation on the Principal Races of Mankind, and a Vocabulary of Ancient and Modern Irish family Names (SF: A. Roman & Co. 1878); Do. [facs. edn.] (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger 2010), 576pp.

Bibliographical details
The Cross and the Shamrock; or, How to Defend the Faith. An Irish-American Catholic Tale of Real Life, descriptive of the temptations, sufferings, trials and triumphs of the children of St Patrick in the great republic of Washington. A book for the entertainment and special instruction of the atholic male and female servants of the United States (Boston, Patrick Donahoe [1853]); Do. [...[ by the author of The Cross and the Shamrock (Dublin: James Duffy & Sons [c.1890]), 255pp. [dated from pub. list bound in at end], and Do., as The Cross and Shamrock [... &c.] By a Missionary Priest [new edn.] (Dublin: James Duffy & Co. [c.1900]), xvi, 240pp. Internet: The Boston edition of 1953 is available at Gutenberg Project [online] with a link from Liverpool U. [online].


See Dedication & Preface under Quotations - infra.

The Prophet of the Ruined Abbey, or, A Glance of the Future of Ireland: a narrative founded on the ancient ‘Prophecies of Culmkill’, and on other predictions and popular traditions (NY: E. Dunigan and Brother 1855), 293pp.; Do [another edn.] (Boston: P. Donaho[e] 1860), 293pp.; Do. [another edn.] (Dublin: Duffy [printed by Moore and Murphy] 1863), vi, [2], 247 [1]p. Note: COPAC cites Preface dated New York, Aug. 1855 and makes reference to a listing in NUC National Union Catalogue [NUC/USA] which cites an 1854 edition. [Ref. Brown, item 1440.]

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Dedication & Preface to The Cross and the Shamrock (Boston 1853)

To the faithful Irish-American Catholic citizens of the whole Union, and especially to the working portion of them, on account of their piety, their liberality, their patriotism, and their steady loyalty to the virtues symbolized by the “Cross and the Shamrock,"—on account of their attachment to the land of St. Patrick, and to the religion of her patriot princes and martyrs,—this work, written for their encouragement and instruction, is respectfully inscribed by

Their humble servant,
And devoted friend and fellow-citizen,

The Author


‘There are moments when every citizen who feels that he can say something promotive of the welfare of his countrymen and of advantage to his country is authorized to give public utterance to his sentiments, how humble soever he may be."—Letter of Archbishop Hughes on the Madiai, February, 1853.

‘There may be, in public opinion, an Inquisition a thousand times more galling to the soul than the gloomy prison or the weight of chains."’—National Democrat, March, 1853).

When we know this to be literally true, and find our poor, neglected, and uninstructed brethren in danger accordingly, how can any thing that can be said, written, or done, to alleviate their condition, or to remove prejudice from the public mind, be counted a work of supererogation?

2d. The corruption of the cheap trash literature, that is now ordinarily supplied for the amusement and instruction of the American people,—and that threatens to uproot and annihilate all the notions of virtue and morals that remain, in spite of sectarianism,—calls for some antidote, some remedy. In every rail car, omnibus, stage coach, steamboat, or canal packet, publications, containing the most poisonous principles and destructive errors, are presented to, and are purchased by, passengers of both sexes, whose minds, like the appetites of hungry animals, will take to eating the filthiest stuff, rather than want food for rumination. It is for the philanthropists of the present day, and for those who are paid for making such inquiries, to trace the connection between the roués of your cities, your Bloomer women, your spiritual rappers, and other countless extravagances of a diseased public mind, and between the abominable publications to which we allude.

3d. Our people are not generally great readers of the trashy newspapers of the day; and in this respect they show their good sense, or at least have happened on good luck: it is therefore our duty to supply them with cheap and amusing literature, to entertain them during the few hours they are disengaged from work. And what reading can afford the Irish Catholic greater pleasure than any work, however imperfect, having for its end the exaltation and defence of his glorious old faith, and the vindication of his native land—his beloved “Erin-go-bragh"? Impress on his susceptible mind the honor and advantage of defence and fidelity to the Cross and the Shamrock, and you give him two ideas that will come to his aid in most of his actions through life. We are ashamed here of the cross of Christ, when we see it continually dishonored and trampled on by heretics and modern pagans, in their scramble for money and pleasures. On the other hand, the poverty, humiliation, and rags of old Erin, of the kings, saints, and martyrs, scandalize us; and from these two false notions the degradation and apostasy of many Irishmen commence. Hence they no sooner land on the shores of America than they endeavor to clip the musical and rich brogue of fatherland, to make room for the bastard barbarisms and vulgar slang of Yankeedom. The remainder of the course of the apostate is easily traced, till, ashamed of creed and country, he ends by being ashamed of his Creator and Redeemer, and barters the inheritance of heaven for the miserable and short enjoyments of this earth.

fourth, and a leading motive in the publication of this work, is to record the manly defences which the people among whom the author lives have made of the creed of their fathers, and to enable them to refute, in a simple, practical manner, for the edification of their opponents, the many objections proposed to them about the faith. By placing a copy of this work in the hands of every head of a family in the congregation in which he presides, the author thinks he will have done something towards the salvation of that parent and his house, by showing him how he may educate his children, and save them from those subtle snares laid to rob them and him of happiness here and hereafter; for, without true religion and virtue, there is neither enjoyment nor happiness even in this world.

But are the principles sound, and the estimate he has formed of American character and the conduct and motives of the sectarian parsons correct? There may be, and undoubtedly there is, great variety in American character; and, so far, what may be true of the people of one state or county, may not at all be applicable to those of the rest; but as far as regards sectarianism and its slanders of the church, and the low character, intellectually and morally, of the parsons, ministers, dominies, and preachers, with few honorable exceptions, it may be said, in the words of the poet,—

Ex uno disce omnes.’

‘They are all chips of the same block;’ and the description in the following pages of their attempts to proselytize, seduce, and corrupt, is not at all exaggerated, as thousands of candid American Protestants can testify. Perhaps the sectarian dominies do not see the sad consequences that are infallibly produced on the minds of their hearers, after they come to detect the frauds and falsehoods which the parsons inculcate on them when children; but they are in the cause, and morally responsible for that doubt, irreligion, and downright infidelity which are the well-known characteristics of the male and female youth of our great country, and which threaten such disastrous consequences to society.

Yes, dominies, you are responsible for all the extravagances of modern times, for the irreparable loss to virtue and society of the noble youth of your country. You hate the church of God because she is a witness against you. The priest, the nun, and the recluse are objects of your malice; for they are living examples of what you call impossible morals, and refuters of the code of low virtue you practise and preach. The faith of the Catholic laity, too, you endeavor to destroy, in order more securely to deceive your hearers, and to secure your children, your wives, and yourselves, that bread which you eat by the dissemination of error, contradiction, and contention, and which you are too lazy to “earn by the sweat of your brow."

Finally. This work is submitted to the reader by one who will be well pleased if it affords the former any pleasure or amusement during one or two of such few hours of leisure as it took the latter to write it. Regarding style, method, and arrangement of the matter, the author has no apology to offer, except that the work has been written in great haste, and by one who, in five years, has not had a single entire day for recreation or unoccupied by severe missionary duty. Let not the critics forget this.

Available at Gutenberg Project - online; accesssed 21.09.2023.

Chapter V: The O’Clerys

The O’Clery family was an ancient and honored one in Ireland. Princes, chieftains, and warriors of the name were renowned before Charlemagne or Alfred ascended the throne, or before any of the petty princes of the heptarchy ruled over the barbarous Saxons. Like all the royal and noble houses of Europe, the O’Clerys, after ages of glory and prosperity, had their hour of decline and decay also. But it was a question whether the virtues of this renowned house were more brilliant or conspicuous in the zenith of its glory, or in its fallen or humbled state. The Irish church founded by Saint Patrick never wanted an O’Clery to adorn her sanctuary or to record her victories. The annals of the Four Masters will stand to the end of the world as a proud monument of the services rendered to the Irish church and to history by these illustrious annalists; and when the deeds of the most renowned knights and chieftains of this royal house shall have been obliterated by the merciless chisel of time, the authors of the Four Masters’ Annals will become only brighter among the shining stars that adorn the literary firmament of old Ireland.
 The martyrology of the Irish church can attest the virtues of constancy and patriotism with which the O’Clerys bore their share of the wrongs of Erin and of her faithful sons. Whether or not the subjects of our narrative, the poor emigrant orphans, had any of this royal and noble blood flowing in their veins, is a thing that we cannot genealogically vouch. But that they were not degenerate sons of Erin, or faithless to their allegiance to the glorious old church of their fathers, we trust this history will amply demonstrate. At all events, the uncle of our hero, Paul O’Clery, held a very high station in the Irish hierarchy. Having, with eclat, finished his ecclesiastical and literary primary studies in the colleges of his native land, he subsequently repaired to Rome, where he won with distinction the title of “doctor in divinity and canon law,” and carried the first premium from many French, German, and even Italian competitors. Hence, soon after his return from abroad, on account of his learning, as well as his tried virtues, he was appointed the vicar general of the diocese of Kil——, a promotion which, far from exciting the envy, gained the unanimous approval, of the diocesan clergy. During the horrors of the general landlord persecution of the Irish Catholics, (for it is nothing else than a persecution of Catholics,) the O’Clerys found their name on the roll of the proscribed, and got notice to quit the homestead of their fathers. The principal cause for this proscription by the landlord was, that Dr. O’Clery, in the newspapers, exposed the system of cruel and barbarous extermination which took place on the extensive estates of Lord Mandemon—a gentleman who said he thought it far more honorable, as well as profitable, to have his princely estates in Munster tenanted by fat cattle than by Irish Papists. His lordship had also the mortification to learn that all the meat, money, and clothing he had employed for the last five years could not make one single sincere convert to his rich “law establishment.” When the “praties” were dear, and the crops failed, there were a few, to be sure, who would profess themselves ready to “ate the mate” on Friday; but as soon as plenty returned, the “new lights” went out, or returned to ask pardon of God, the priest, and the people; and Lord Mandemon and his soup were pitched to the “seventy-nine devils.” This failure, this result, so often before seen and felt, and so certain to follow, was, in his zeal for proselytism, attributed by his lordship to Dr. O’Clery’s zeal and learning. For, whenever or wherever he went among the peasantry to preach to them in their own sweet and loved dialect, the “jumpers, the new lights, and the soupers” disappeared like the locusts from Egypt when exorcised by the magic rod of Moses. Hence the hatred with which the O’Clerys were persecuted. Hence, also, the oath of Lord Mandemon, that he would never return to his home in England till every Papist on his estates was rooted out. This oath was kept by his lordship, probably the only true one he ever swore; for in less than a fortnight he fell a victim to the cholera, and expired on board the Princess Royal steamboat on her return to Liverpool.
 Arthur O’Clery, father to the subject of our tale, sold out a second farm he held near Limerick, turned all his effects into money, bade adieu to his beloved brother, Dr. O’Clery, who was averse to his emigration, and, in the autumn, set sail from Liverpool for New York, in the ship Hottinguer. He had all his family with him: they were comfortably provided with all necessaries, and, besides, had one thousand pounds, in hard cash, to start with in the new world. They were not long out at sea, when, owing to the crowd on board, the lack of proper arrangements, and room, or ventillation, as well as on account of the cruelly of the inhuman captain, ship fever and cholera broke out on board.
 The number of bodies consigned to the ocean from that unlucky vessel was from five to ten daily, and among the victims of the plague was Arthur O’Clery. He was the only one of the cabin passengers who was attacked by the epidemic, which, in the ardor of his charity, he contracted while attending on, and ministering to, the wants of the poor steerage passengers.
 Sad and impressive was the scene when the Rev. H. O’Q——, a young Irish priest on board, in the middle hold of the ship, where O’Clery had been removed by order of the captain, called on the six hundred surviving passengers to kneel while he was administering the rites of the church to the benefactor of them all. Never was a call on the piety and faith of any number of men more cheerfully obeyed. Instantaneously that mixed, nondescript crowd—Irish, English, Scotch, Welsh, Dutch—Catholic, Protestant, infidel—fell on their knees, and, if they did not pray, they paid that outward homage to Religion which sometimes the most indifferent and irreligious cannot resist paying her. Infidelity is a great coward, as well as a false guide. In her hour of ease and satiety, she pretends to scorn the threats and judgments of the Most High, and, like Satan in his pandemonium, to make war on Heaven; but no sooner does the roaring of the thunderbolt shake the earth, or the vast abyss open its devouring throat to swallow her unhappy victims, than she hides her head in the caves of the earth, or, flying to some secure place, abandons her votaries to the forlorn hope of trusting to the weakness of their own minds for resources to extricate themselves from the evils that threaten them. It was so on board the ill-fated Hottinguer. Those who, under the influence of the security offered by the prosperous sailing of the few first days, were bold, independent, and defiant of danger, no sooner did they see their comrades thrown overboard, after a few hours’ sickness, than their hearts failed within them, their tone of defiance was turned into despair, their mockery of religion ceased, and that priest of God, whom they ridiculed, insulted, and despised for the first few days, was now respected, confided in, and regarded by them with sentiments bordering on religious homage.
 Fervently did that priest, who thanked God that he was on hand, pray, not that God would restore him to his wife and children,—for all hope of recovery was now gone,—but that, in accordance with the anxious desire of the dying man, he should have the privilege of burial in a Christian, consecrated tomb.
 “Pray, father,” said he, “that, if it be God’s holy will, I may be buried in a consecrated soil. It seems to me a sort of profanation, that the cruel fishes and those monsters of the deep, which we see leaping around the vessel, should devour my flesh, united with, and I hope sanctified now by, the flesh and blood of my Lord.”
 The priest did pray, and the people joined in that impulsive prayer of faith, and that prayer was heard; for, though O’Clery breathed his last on board, and, by the captain’s orders, the sailors—poor fellows!—were standing around his berth, prepared, as soon as the last breath left him, to throw him overboard, yet he lingered for three days after; and they reached quarantine before that pure soul quitted its tenement of clay and winged its flight to heaven. The wife and her children had the body conveyed to shore and interred in the Catholic cemetery of New York, where a neat marble monument could be seen with these words inscribed:—
 “Pray for the soul of Arthur O’Clery, whose body lies underneath. Requiescat in pace. Amen.”
 It was thus that the O’Clerys were deprived of their good and virtuous father, and the widow of her husband; but this, as already has been partly seen, was but the beginning of their woes; for, after their arrival in New York, an individual, who, during the voyage, ingratiated himself with the family by his attention around the sick man’s bed, joined them at their lodgings. But in a few days they found him gone one morning, after their return from mass at Barclay Street Church, and with him the canvas bag, containing the thousand pounds in gold and Bank of England notes left by them in a trunk. Thus were six persons, strangers and destitute in a great city, reduced from competency to poverty at “one fell swoop” by the villany of a pretended friend and associate.
 “O Lord, pity me! One misfortune never comes alone,” groaned the now poor and afflicted widow O’Clery, when she was informed by little Bridget that the “trunk was broke open,” and all the things ransacked “through and fro.”
 She soon saw that all she had was gone, and concluded that Cunningham, as he was absent from breakfast contrary to his wont, must be the thief. The police got immediate notice; advertisements were issued, and rewards offered, and in a day or two after Cunningham was arrested; but as none of the money was found on his person, and as there was no direct evidence of his guilt, the magistrate discharged him. The articles of dress in her well-supplied wardrobe were detained, in payment of her board bill, by the hotel keeper where she lodged in New York; and with the few shillings that remained in her purse, she, with her children, took passage on one of the Hudson River boats, hoping to make out certain acquaintances of her husband, whom she heard were settled in the vicinity of T——. The rest has been already told—namely, how she took sick and died after great sufferings; how her children were left destitute, and next to naked; how they were now reduced to the rank of paupers, and secured within the precincts of the county house.
 “Of all the things which we brought from home with us, we have nothing of value now left, Bridget,” said Paul, “but this silver crucifix, which belonged to my grandfather. Glory be to God. Let us be glad that this has been left,” said he, kissing it with religious affection. “This is all we have now left. Let us defend it.”

Available at Gutenberg Project - online; accesssed 21.09.2023.

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Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction (Dublin: Maunsel 1919), lists Rev. Hugh Quigley, ‘A Missionary Priest,’ worked among Chippewa Indians and miners in California (1818-1883) with titles: The Prophet of the Ruined Abbey, or, A Glance at the Future of Ireland (1863); Profit and Loss, or, Life of A Genteel Irish American (1873), inculcates Catholic piety.

John Sutherland, The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction (Harlow: Longmans 1988); Rev.H[ugh], ‘A Missionary Priest’, 1818-83; b. Co. Clare, ed. Rome and ord. there; worked in American higher education system, resigned to live among Chippewa Indians and California miners; d. Troy, New York; novels include The Cross and the Shamrock, ‘An IrishAmerican Tale’ (1853); The Prophet of the Ruined Abbey (1863), 18th c. romance; Profit and Loss, or the Life of A Genteel Irish American (1873).

Clare People (Clare Library) styles him a ‘legendary figure in American history’; son of namesake; b. Dec. 1819, in Tulla, Co. Clare; ed. by headgeschool teacher called Master Walsh and nick-named Sean Cam [DIB Shawm Kaum]; also under Madden in Killaloe; worked with Ordnance Survey, Dublin; notes difference in further accounts of his education:

’One is that he went to Rome where he studied for the priesthood and graduated with first class honours and received the Gold medal from Sapienza University. Another version is that he studied at St. Mary’s Seminary in Youghal, County Cork and on graduation was ordained in Glasgow.’

[Clare People:] Further mentions his early involvement in plans for the 1848 Young Ireland Rising and his disappointment at poor organisation; he held the opinion that ‘stealing was not a sin when it was necessary to feed starving children’; clash with authorities; left Ireland and received a doctorate in theology in Rome in late 1847; invited to the New York diocese by Bishop Hughes; initiated construction of Catholic churches; won lawsuit concerning use of Bible in public schools; engaged in construction Catholic churches; worked with Chippewa Indians near Lake Superior and afterwards with the miners of California; Bibl., The Cross and the Shamrock (1853 in Boston), The Prophet of the Ruined Abbey, written a year later in 1854 (published 1863 in Dublin), Profit and Loss (1873 in New York) and The Irish Race in California and on the Pacific Coast (1878 in San Francisco); d. Troy, NY, 30th April 1883; bur. St. Mary’s Cemetery, Troy. Thanks expressed to Johana [sic] R. Schwartz, Calif. [Available online; accessed 22.09.2023.]

Note - Hugh Quigley (1819-83) is somewhere called the ‘Rector of the Univ. of St. Mary’ in Chicago. [poss. in Stephen Brown, Ireland in Fiction, 1919]. There does exist a University of St. Mary of the Lake - being the home of Mundelein Seminary, the major seminary and school of theology for the Archdiocese of Chicago and the largest Catholic seminary in the USA - but there are no allusions to it in other biographical notices.

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(1): Hugh Quigley [1895- ]. author of Housing and Slum Clearance (Methuen 1924); ed., Lanarkshire in prose and verse : an anthology [The County anthologies, 2] (London: E. Mathews & Marrot 1929), xviii, 148pp., map; The Highlands of Scotland (Batsford 1949), and other works; Passchendaele and the Somme: A Diary of 1917 (Naval and Military Press 2017).

Namesake (2): Hugh Quigley, born 1849 Perth, Lanark, Ontario, Canada died 1935 East Grand Forks, Polk, Minnesota; son of Anne Frances (Quigley) Butler and Thomas Hugh Quigley; m. Philomene Ducharme [Wikitree - online].

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