At Peace with All Their Neighbors: Catholics and Catholicism in the National Capital, 1787-1860

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Georgetown University Press, Oct 1, 1994 - History - 320 pages

In 1790, two events marked important points in the development of two young American institutions—Congress decided that the new nation's seat of government would be on the banks of the Potomac, and John Carroll of Maryland was consecrated as America's first Catholic bishop. This coincidence of events signalled the unexpectedly important role that Maryland's Catholics, many of them by then fifth- and sixth-generation Americans, were to play in the growth and early government of the national capital. In this book, William W. Warner explores how Maryland's Catholics drew upon their long-standing traditions—advocacy of separation of church and state, a sense of civic duty, and a determination "to live at peace with all their neighbors," in Bishop Carroll's phrase—to take a leading role in the early government, financing, and building of the new capital.

Beginning with brief histories of the area's first Catholic churches and the establishment of Georgetown College, At Peace with All Their Neighbors explains the many reasons behind the Protestant majority's acceptance of Catholicism in the national capital in an age often marked by religious intolerance. Shortly after the capital moved from Philadelphia in 1800, Catholics held the principal positions in the city government and were also major landowners, property investors, and bankers. In the decade before the 1844 riots over religious education erupted in Philadelphia, the municipal government of Georgetown gave public funds for a Catholic school and Congress granted land in Washington for a Catholic orphanage.

The book closes with a remarkable account of how the Washington community, Protestants and Catholics alike, withstood the concentrated efforts of the virulently anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic American nativists and the Know-Nothing Party in the last two decades before the Civil War.

This chronicle of Washington's Catholic community and its major contributions to the growth of the nations's capital will be of value for everyone interested in the history of Washington, D.C., Catholic history, and the history of religious toleration in America.

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At peace with all their neighbors: Catholics and Catholicism in the national capital, 1787-1860

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The little-known and surprising story of Catholic presence in and contributions to the building of early Federal City (Washington) and the new government is told clearly and carefully by Warner, 1977 ... Read full review


A Chapel for Worship
The College and the Church
Terra Mariae
For Nation and Town
The Church
A Church So Crowded
St Patricks St Peters St Marys and More
The Nations Capital
Daniel Carroll of Duddington
The Passing Storm
Time of Wonder Time of Trial
A Final Test

To Force a City
A Residence Not to Be Changed

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Page 47 - I AB do swear, That I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure as impious and heretical, that damnable doctrine and position, That princes excommunicated or deprived by the pope, or any authority of the see of Rome, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects, or any other whatsoever.
Page 42 - Declared and sett forth) that noe person or persons whatsoever within this Province, or the Islands, Ports, Harbors, Creekes, or havens thereunto belonging professing to believe in Jesus Christ, shall from henceforth bee any waies troubled, Molested or discountenanced for or in respect of his or her religion nor in the free exercise thereof within this Province or the Islands thereunto belonging nor any way compelled to the beleife or exercise of any other Religion against his or her consent...
Page 144 - This embryo capital, where Fancy sees Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees; Which second-sighted seers even now adorn With shrines unbuilt, and heroes yet unborn. Though nought but woods, and Jefferson they see, Where streets should run, and sages ought to be.
Page 35 - England, and that for that end, they cause all Acts of Roman Catholic Religion to be done as privately as may be, and that they instruct all the Roman Catholics to be silent upon all occasions of discourse concerning matters of Religion; and that the said Governor and Commissioners treat the Protestants with as much mildness and favor as Justice will permit. And this to be observed at Land as well as at Sea.
Page 35 - Commissioners tht in their voyage to Mary land they be very carefull to preserve unity and peace amongst all the passengers on shipp-board and that they suffer no scandall nor offence to be given to any of the Protestants...
Page 13 - With a long list of Syren devils — Balls, treats, and visits — arts cajoling, Will set their wits and senses rolling, Till on the rocks of tempting beauty, They shipwreck honor, truth, and duty. "No, let us to the woods repair, For peace and innocence dwell there; There, in the times beyond the flood, When men were frugal, wise, and good, Beneath an oak, or beechen shade, The best of human laws were made; They wanted then no central station — Their Federal Hall the whole Creation. Then let...
Page 88 - Charity to negroes is due from all, particularly their masters. As they are members of Jesus Christ, redeemed by His precious blood, they are to be dealt with in a charitable, Christian, paternal manner; which is at the same time a great means to bring them to their duty to God and therefore to gain their souls.
Page 12 - That a district of territory, not exceeding ten miles square, to be located as hereafter directed, on...
Page 58 - I am prepared to admit that he is one of the finest writers, one of the most accomplished scholars, and when not in too great a hurry, one of the most accurate thinkers in the country.
Page 7 - States. Thus it will be calculated for every Class of Citizens ; — as Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, the easier Branches of the Mathematics, and the Grammar of our native Tongue, will be attended to no less than the learned Languages.

About the author (1994)

William W. Warner is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1976; reissued by Little Brown, 1994) and Distant Water: The Fate of the North Atlantic Fisherman (Atlantic Monthly Press, 1983) which was nominated as a distinguished work of non-fiction by the National Book Critics Circle. He formerly was assistant secretary for public service at the Smithsonian Institution.

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