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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part I - Scots in the Settlement and Development of The United States
Scots in Politics


IN American politics the Scottish race has been represented by Thomas H. Benton, John C. Calhoun, Jefferson Davis, James G. Blaine, Thomas A. Hendricks, Joseph E. MacDonald, John Bell, Alexander H. Stephens, Samuel Randall, J. C. Breckenridge, John G. Carlisle, Simon Cameron, the Livingstons, of New York, William B. Allison, John B. Gibson, Matthew S. Quay, Calvin S. Brice, Marcus A. Hanna, Whitelaw Reid, J. Sterling Morton, Wayne McVeagh, Chauncey Mitchell Depew, Robert Todd Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, Adlai E. Stevenson, Stephen B. Elkins, Daniel S. Lamont, Arthur P.. Gorman, William McKinley, and countless others.

Robert Patterson (1743-1824), who emigrated to Pennsylvania from County Down, Ireland, in 1768, was a teacher and fought in the Revolution. He was for thirty-five years professor of mathematics in the University of Pennsylvania after 1779, from 1810-1813 Vice Provost; and was the author of many mathematical and philosophical works. He was appointed by President Jefferson Director of the Mint in 1805, an office he filled with great credit.

Daniel Webster (1782-1852), New Englandís greatest statesman, was descended from the New Hampshire Scots. The two intellectual giants, Benjamin Franklin Wade (1800-1878) and Joshua Giddings (1795-1864), the great anti-slavery leader, were both of Scottish origin. Wade's parents were so poor, states his biographer, that he received a great part of his education at the knee of his Scotch Presbyterian mother. He was for eighteen years after 1851 a United States Senator from Ohio, whence he removed from Massachusetts, and was one of the founders of the Republican party.

The paternal grandfather of John Caldwell Calhoun (1782-1850) was James Calhoun, who emigrated from Donegal to Pennsylvania in 1733. His father, Patrick Calhoun, surveyor and pioneer, had a distinguished career in the Revolution. His mother, Martha Caldwell, was daughter of an Ulster Presbyterian emigrant to Virginia.

Henry Clay, "the great Pacificator" (1777-1852), was born in Virginia of Ulster-Scottish parents. He was Secretary of State under President Adams, Speaker of the House, and three times candidate for the presidency. He was a member of the Conference of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812-1815. The recent anniversary of this treaty, signed December 24, 1814, marked a hundred years of peace between English-speaking people, and was appropriately celebrated throughout the world.

Hugh Maxwell (1787-1873), a native of Paisley, Scotland, Collector of the Port of New York, 1849-1852, under the administration of presidents Taylor and Fillmore, achieved a notable career as a lawyer in New York. He was Assistant Junior Advocate General of the United States Army in 1814. In recognition of his services as District Attorney of the City of New York, 1819, he was presented by the merchants of the city with a costly silver vase, which may now be seen at the New York Law Institute. It is Maxwell that the poet Fitzgreen Halleck lampoons as "MacSurll."

Walter Lowrie, a native of Edinburgh, entered the Pennsylvania State Senate at the age of twenty-seven, and seven years later was elected to the United States Senate. In 1824 he was Secretary of the Senate. In 1837 he became Secretary of the Foreign Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, holding the office for thirty-two years, until his death in 1868. He was founder of the Congressional Prayer Meeting and the Congressional Total Abstinence Society.

Three members of President Lincolnís cabinet were of undoubted Scottish ancestry. Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873) was the ninth generation from Thomas Chase and sixth generation from Aquila Chase, who came to Massachusetts in 1640. His mother, Janette Ralston, was also of Scottish blood. He was Governor of Ohio; Secretary of the Treasury. 1861-1864; and as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States presided at the impeachment trial of President Johnson. The financier, Hugh B. McCulloch (1808-1895), was born in Kennebunk, Me., and was descended from one of the Scottish settlers who came over with Rev. Boyd in 1718. He was Comptroller of the Currency (1861-65) and succeeded Chase as Secretary of the Treasury (1865-69), serving under presidents Lincoln and Johnson; and was again Secretary of the Treasury (1884-1885), under presidents Garfield and Arthur. Simon Cameronís grandfather fought with his clan at Culloden and under General Wolfe at Quebec, soon afterward settling in Pennsylvania. Senator Cameron (1799-1889) named his residence at Harrisburg "Lochiel," and his brother, James Cameron, was called from retirement on the banks of the Susquehanna to become the first colonel of the 79th New York Volunteers, the "Seventy-ninth Highianders," and was killed while gallantly leading his men in the first battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. Simon Cameron was United States Senator for Pennsylvania from 1845 to 1861 and from 1872 to 1877. He was Secretary of War 1861-1862 and Minister to Russia 1862-1863.

Originally a Jackson Democrat, he led his state into the Republican party in 1856. His son, James Donald Cameron, was Secretary of War under President Grant until he succeeded his father in the Senate, March, 1777. He was Senator until 1891.

James Gillespie Blame (1830-1893) was a great-grandson of an UlsterScot, Ephraim Blame (1741-1804) an officer of the Pennsylvania forces in the Revolution and a friend of George Washington. The great statesman Ďs mother was a Gillespie. He was of humble birth, rising from the post of village schoolmaster to Speaker of the House of Representatives, United States Senator, twice Secretary of State and candidate for the presidency. He was probably the greatest debater of his day, and as Secretary of State crossed swords successfully with Prince Bismarck on the Samoan question. Like most strong men, he made many devoted friends and followers and some implacable enemies.

General David B. Henderson was born in Aberdeenshire about 1840 and died in 1906. He came to Iowa with his parents as a child, fought through the Civil War and was twice wounded, losing a leg at Corinth, Miss. He was one of the strong men of the Republican party; was United States District Attorney; served for more than twenty years in Congress; and succeeded Thomas B. Reed as Speaker of the House.

James Wilson, first United States Secretary of Agriculture, was born in Ayrshire, August 16, 1835, and came to America in 1852. He was appointed, March 5, 1897, by President McKinley to organize the new Department of Agriculture and continued under presidents Roosevelt and Taft until his retirement in 1913. His great service to American agricultural education cannot be overestimated.


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