An anti-Catholic cartoon, reflecting the nativist perception of the threat posed by the Roman Church's influence in the United States through Irish immigration and Catholic education. The "Propagation Society" is probably the Catholic proselytizing organization, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
At right, on a shore marked "United States," Brother Jonathan, whittling, leans against a flagpole flying the stars and stripes. "Young America," a boy in a short coat and striped trousers, stands at left, holding out a Bible toward Pope Pius IX, who steps ashore from a boat at left. The latter holds aloft a sword in one hand and a cross in the other. Still in the boat are five bishops. One holds the boat to the shore with a crozier hooked round a shamrock plant.
Pope: "My friend we have concluded to take charge of your spiritual welfare, and your temporal estate, so that you need not be troubled with the care of them in future; we will say your prayers and spend your money, while you live, and bury you in the Potters Field, when you die. Kneel then! and kiss our big toe in token of submission."
Brother Jonathan: "No you dont, Mr. Pope! your'e altogether too willing; but you cant put 'the mark of the Beast' on Americans."
Young America: "You can neither coax, nor frighten our boys, Sir! we can take care of our own worldly affairs, and are determind to "Know nothing" but this book, to guide us in spiritual things." ("Know nothing" is a "double entendre," alluding also to the nativist political party of the same name.)
First bishop: "I cannot bear to see that boy, with that horrible book."
Second bishop: "Only let us get a good foot hold on the soil, and we'll burn up those Books and elevate this Country to the Same degree of happiness and prosperity, to which we have brought Italy, Spain, Ireland and many other lands."
Third bishop: "Sovereign Pontiff! say that if his friends, have any money, when he dies; they may purchase a hole, for him in my cemetery, at a fair price."
Fourth bishop: "Go ahead Reverend Father; I'll hold our boat by this sprig of shamrock."
The Gale catalog lists another, smaller print issued by Currier in 1853, entitled "The Propagation Society--More Freedom than Welcome."