Mitchell, George H.
Autograph Letter Signed Baltimore, August 3, 1855, to James Shaw, Jr., Philadelphia

folio, two pages, in very good, clean and legible condition, accompanied by original mailing envelope

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“Dear Friend Shaw,

                 Here I am, rusticating a short distance from Baltimore, enjoying myself lustily, and intending to do so while I may remain. I find the cause progressing finely here, although it is in the very hot bed of Catholicism (Roman) as you can scarcely turn without overturning a Jesuit, or setting your foot upon their property.

               The Irish here are as “green” as you find them everywhere else. I heard a tale the other day about one, whether it be true or not, is left for you and me to determine.

                An Irishman having started on a gunning excursion came to a tree, and seeing what he imagined to be a bird, fired, afterward on going to look for his game, found a little tree frog at the root, and picking it up said “och, fother – el – dol! What a beautiful bird ye were, before I shot the fithers off ye entirely.”

                But for a fact an Irishman just over coming to my Uncle to get work, in conversation said they raised corn in Ireland to a very great extent, and that he understood how to cultivate it, on turning round and seeing a field of fine corn growing near the house enquired in good faith, and seriously asked “sure Misther is thim beans ye are growing there”

                … On Monday I start for Washington, where if I should stay more than a day you may hear from me from there, if not then not.

                  … Write me if possible so that I may get it before Monday. Mail me if you please a copy of the Aug. number of the “Friend” & I will try and oblige you some time in the way of papers &c. if you have anything that you think will interest the cause here, and I can be the means of forwarding the interest I shall be pleased to receive & make such use of. If I can attend to anything for you I am willing …”

     

                The “cause” to which Mitchell refers was apparently that of the newly-renamed American Party, formerly called the “Know Nothings,” an anti-Catholic (as well as anti-slavery) movement which sometimes led to violent confrontation; just days after this letter was written, in Louisville, Kentucky, 22 people died in an anti-Catholic riot during a hotly contested race for Governor.