THE SINS OF JOHN HUGHES D.D.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT? The Abuse of the Irish Immigrants toward the small Colored population of 11,000 in N.Y. C., not slaves, they were free since July 4th.1827. (there was no ghetto which could maybe afford at least some protection) story, between 1840 to 1864....Historically accurate. it is extremely violent: from street gangs, Civil War & burning of the COLORED CHILDRENS ORPHANAGE by the Irish; the burning killing and rioting within N.Y.C which came to be known as the Conscription Riots....Underneath a wonderful love story of bravery & courage, patriotism and honor. The 69th Regiment, leaving N.Y.bound for Bull Run. the battle and its repprecussions on the nation...All my screenplays are originals . When produced it will be EXPLOSIVE. "THAT was my Intention from the very start" It ends with the All Black 20th Regiment Volunteers, (1000 men), going off to war, the Regimental band playing DIXIE 1864...Freed by President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclaimation 1862..Now Americans, as citizens, participants to save the Union. JUDGE DALY says to FREDERICK DOUGLAS on the dais, of the Union Club 823 Broadway, after Mr. Douglas delivered his stirring words to see them off ...Mr. DOUGLAS, PRESIDENT LINCOLN told me... that was his favorite song........FADE OUT.....END
Much was written from researching original sources of the period. Benjamin Matthews aged 5 was the first child to die, He died of neglect.."Ms. Julia said I was going to a good place, because I was a good boy....and my Mommy & Daddy will be waiting for me."...This was the typical cry, the cry of an orphan.....many children died of neglect suffered, before entering the Orphanage...They died of Consumption...Today known as TB... The children all in attendance would sing to them before their passing...They were taught to have a firm belief in God...Before they left at 12 they could all read write and calculate math...They had a chance... as black, a slim one at that..... There were no trade schools for them. The Orphanage, established by 26 ladies of the elite class in N.Y who begged, & borrowed tirelessly for funds...all went up in smoke, burned by an Irish mob of thousands...238 children left homeless. The destruction went on for 4 days....Most agree John Hughes could have stopped it.... instead of the troops called back from Gettysburg to stop it, a week after the great battle was fought there... You be the Judge...That's what the story is about...POLITICS & SURVIVAL, coupled with extreme prejudice on all levels. As Julia Hemings, the wife of Seamus Mc Mann said...pinned on her dress as she hung herself...I lost my son, my husband, they destroyed my faith in God, my profession as teacher and nurse, at the orphanage I so loved...I am now worthless, just another Nigger whore, stripped naked. Many of the blacks. coloreds as they were known in those days, moved to Brooklyn, a separate city then, traumatized from events, including Doctor James McCune Smith, 20 years , The Physician at the Orphanage, the First black medical doctor in the United States.
BACKGROUND & CHARACTERS:
The Production opens up August, 1863 in the Residency of an ailing Archbishop Hughes , he would die at year's end; It's less than a month after the July Conscription Riots , he is being Interviewed by Horace Greeley,editor and founder of the N.Y. Tribune an influential newspaper.
It's one very long scene that sets the structure of the storyine. The scene reviews the very stormy and eventful adminstration of Archbishop Hughes from 1840-1863. The storyline in retrospect, then opens beginning with events in the early 1840's The Irish Catholic immigrants and Church (one million between 1840-1854) are threatened by the Nativists.."This population, Protestants having existed from the time of the Revolution and before"
Archbishop Hughes is very aggressively pushing for educational tax breaks, along with a cirriculum that is prejudicial against Catholics. In short Hughes has been subtlely threatened with the burning of Catholic Churches...The Irish with the election of Fernando Wood from Democratic Tammaney Hall...also Control Both Fire Department and Police Department....Politics in its "rawest form" John Morrissey the Hall's enforcer, plans and executes a very violent raid on the HQTS of the Gang the "Plug Uglies"...Planned and executed meticulously the"SONS of IRELAND" gang kills them all maybe 30-50 with clubs, hatchets, axes, crowbars, knives and pistols, a very violent scene...Then burn the premise. The incident covered up, because the Irish is sending message, they are in control.
Morrissey finesses Irish Union control of the Docks at the expense of the Colored dock workers...To some in a subtle way, the sequence of scenes very raw it points out the political appitude of the Irish to understand and employ the political leverage they have.
The understory takes shape with Seamus Mc Mann, getting off the boat. He is carrying a Hurling bat, similar to a baseball bat, called a Caman. Hurling an ancient Irish game, his bundle of belongings tied to the bat. He played for County Sligo, and the All Ireland team....Thus beginning a soulful sad tale ..there are no story winners in this turbulent time... The fortunes of Seamus and other characters caught up in the beginning of the Civil War, viz.. the 69th All Irish Regiment....The story's progression leads us to his wife Julia Hemings, a colored decendant of Thomas Jefferson, through his consort Sally Hemmings... very sensitive , intelligent we suffer through her indignities because she is colored. Julia a Teacher and Nurse at COA. The Colored Orphnage Asylum. Julia is a protoge of Dr. James McCune Smith, they both attended Colored public School #2. Dr. Smith the Asylum's physician, he is the first Colored Physician in the US. Because of discrimination he was forced to go to Europe, Glascow Scotland. He graduated first in his class, with a medical degree....The story's anti climax is the burning of the COA by the Irish mob probably estimated at 30,000. The US troops, 10 days after the battle of Gettsburg were called to put down what N.Y. Governor Seymour termed an Insurrection. "It's brutle." How many died..Estimates run between 200 to 2,000 "There was an official coverup....Many said Hughes could have stopped it before it started.
List of Characters:
Archbishop Hughes; (Archbishop of N.Y. 1840-1863); Horace Greeley (Editor and founder of N.Y.Tribune.) Hank Raymond (Editor and Founder of N.Y.Times) Abraham Lincoln; William Seward (N.Y. Governor, U.S. Senator, Presidential Candidate, and Secretary of State under Lincoln, friend and political mentor of Hughes) Thaddeaus Weed (a political mover and shaker in N.Y. closely connected to Seward and Hughes) General McDowell (Commander of the Army of North Eastern Virginia...defeated by Gen Beauregard at Battle of Bull Run.."first land battle of Civil War") Colonel Michael Corcoran (Commanding officer of the 69th Regiment N.Y. ...wounded and taken prisoner for 11 months at the battle of Bull Run..a Union loss); Governor Seamour and various N.Y.C. Mayors; Judge Charles Daly.(Judge of the Supreme Court of N.YC....He was an intimate with "Everybody of political and military importance." in addition a law professor at Columbia. He sponsored the formation of the 69th Irish Regiment.) Marie Daly (wife of Charles Daly. Marie kept a diary that became famous..."The Diary of a Union Lady"...First hand accounts of personalities & events from 1861-1865 that I drew upon heavily in recognition, her accounts and gossip were very valuable source material...Marie presented the new formed Irish Regiment with their colors; a moving force behind the flag's design) Father Bernard O'Reilly Jesuit Priest. He was THE first "Battlefield Chaplain of the Civil War" as character Bobby Dunn said "If a Congressional Medal of Honor was given to the losers..meaning the North lost the battle, Bernard would be first in Line..Marie Daly a very caustic person of politicians and Generals, no one was held in higher regard than Bernard with the exception of her husband who was quite the personality of the time.; The aforementioned Dr. James Mc Cune Smith. The physician at COA 20 years (Fortunately not in attendance that day when it was burned down..By miracle all 238 children escaped through the back door thanks to the heroics of Paddy McCaffery & John Davenport along with fictional character Seamus McMann...Benjamine Matthews, a special place in my heart...Aged 5 he was the very first to die at COA, from Concumption, a disease today known as TB.."his dying words above" Reverand Cornish (who's Uncle Samuel Cornish owned the first Black Newspaper "The Colored American") Margaret Roosevelt (one of the 26 founders and benefactores of COA.....Historically the Grandmother of Teddy Roosevelt)
Fictional Characters: Seamus Mc Mann, Julia McMann, Bobby Dunn, Lydia Dunn... ALL who wonderfully and seamlessly integrated into the story.
The Guys of the KNICKERBOCKER ATHLETIC CLUB: first organized baseball Club...played by the Wall Streeters... their facility in Staten Island...Teammates of Seamus, Attorney Bobby Dunn and Father Bernard O'Reilly, Jimmy Roosevelt and E Gordon Bennett Jr. Wall Streeters & a Yachtsmen. (Bennett, along with his boat commissioned by Lincoln for war service)
First hand reports of the Conscription Riots,of Employees still alive from Brooks Brothers 100 year Catalog published in 1918. Their facilities totally destroyed...A historic fact, not part of the story...Abraham Lincoln was assassinated wearing a Brooks Brothers Overcoat... Today America's oldest retailer of fine clothes.
My Screenplay an ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY... My 5th.
TOMAS. . Godspeed