On March 28, 1842 Walt Whitman became the editor of the “Aurora,” a two penny paper published from 162 Nassaur St., in the “Printing-House Square” area, so named because this and other Democratic papers huddled near the headquarters of Manhattan’s powerful Tammany Hall.
Here is a page from an excellent book on Whitman, “Walt Whitman’s America” by David S. Reynolds, discussing Whitman’s “strange dance on the nativist question that would characterize his later journalism and his major poetry.”
John Hughes, the Manhattan bishop who pushed for public funding of Catholic schools, was, in Whitman’s words, “a false villain, who uses his pontifical robes to cover the blackest, most traitorous heart in the broad limits of the American republic.”
When Mike Walsh too his Spartan gang to disrupt an Irish rally and stone Hughes’ home, Whitman said: “Had it been the reverend’s hypocrite’s head, instead of his windows, we could hardly find it in our soul to be sorrowful.”
He was outraged that Tammany Hall served the “course, unshaven, filthy, Irish rabble…
[S]hall these dregs of foreign filth—refuse of continents—scullions from Austrian monasteries—be permitted to dictate what Tammany must do?”
But he did denounce the Native American Party and asked that government treat the immigrants “kindly.” “Let us receive these foreigners to our shores, and to our good offices.”