Check all the Clans that have DNA Projects. If your Clan is not in the list there's a way for it to be listed. Electric Scotland's Classified Directory An amazing collection of unique holiday cottages, castles and apartments, all over Scotland in truly amazing locations.

Click here to get a Printer Friendly Page

The Scotch-Irish in America
The Making of the Ulsterman. By Rev. Dr. John 8. Macintosh, Philadelphia, Pa.


In a county Down churchyard, where the plain forefathers of the hamlet slept, we sat, three of us, all clergymen, one bright forenoon in July some fifteen years ago.

Bright—bright is indeed word most poor and wholly dishonest to portray one of those all-rare, ideal days that now and again visit the old isles of seagirt Britain; days altogether exquisite and truly un-equaled which some of us have known on the majestic coast of Northern Ireland; days when the confessedly unique beauties of the Antrim shores are dazzlingly unveiled by a very flood-tide of brilliancy, wherein rocks and grassy fields, and waving corn and murmuring sea, yes sky and air, are glorified and made enchanting.

We looked across the silver streak of the shimmering sea that lay between the fatherland of the Scottish "Lowlands" and the "school-lands" of Ulster; we saw the fishing boats on the Galloway shores; we occasionally caught a flash of light from some window-pane, and we saw whence the "planters" came to Ulster, and how.

We ourselves were the very living story; we three told the three lands of the Scotch-Irish, the three lives, the three tales; for one of us was a Lowlander from old Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and the second was a typical Ulsterman from the egg-like hills of Down in Ireland, and the third was a Scotch-Irishman born on the banks of our own Schuylkill—cousins all by race, so near in likeness and yet so far off and distinct that each was a type of his own branch of the common stock.

There we were, a very evolution in history.

We thought, and talked; we fought good-naturedly, each for the superiority of his own branch, and laughed with kindly merriment at our own and our brothers' follies. But the great racial facts were unquestionable; of one blood were we, yet of three lands, three houses, three histories. The Ulsterman was not a Lowlander any more than the Scotch-Irishman was simply an Ulsterman. The Ulsterman is Scot, and yet by no means just the Scot of the Lowlands : the Ulster-man is Irish, and yet wholly other than the Celt of Connaught; new and fresh is he, and newer and fresher still the Scotch-Irishman of this land.

The Ulsterman has had but surprisingly little place in literature-It has been truly said by an English traveler, "With one or two exceptions, we can not recall any books in which the Ulster character is described." Yet the bold, bluff folk that lie between the Giant's Causeway and the Mourne Mountains have a history, a character, a humor, a folk-lore, and a future strangely interesting and largely unique. This hardy race, who are the people of liberty and law, of utility and order, will certainly carry you back to their forefathers, because of their Norse daring, their Pictish hardiness, their Saxon sagacity, their tough British endurance, and the Lowlander's painful thrift, deft management, clear-grained reality, outspoken truth, stubborn self-will, defiant straight-forwardness, unyielding patience, and far-sighted common sense; but they also make you see that they have somehow grown away and distinct from their nearer and farther "forbears," and now stand out the clean-cut and truly "kenspeckle" Ulstermen.

The question comes with force to us, What made the Man of Ulster differ thus markedly from the Man of the Lowlands, to whom he is most closely joined by all those bands that seem to insure unchanging likeness? So far as I know, no one has ever tried seriously to answer this singularly interesting racial question. I confess the boldness of the trial, but it belongs to my blood to dare the dangerous way. And I propose, with your permission and your comradeship, to walk from Lowlander to Ulsterman and from Ulsterman to Scotch-Irishman. This pathway of history may show us what made them to differ. Our study is, then, The Marks and the Making of the Ulster-man.

In skillfully managed nurseries and gardens, trees and flowers of value are made pass through three stages of special care. First there is the Seed-bed, then there is the Plantation in the "hardening-off" ground, and then there is the final Transplantation to the chosen spots where they grow and fruit and flower. This real "plant of renown" has been just thus treated by the divine Husbandman of humanity. The Lowlands of Scotland were the seed-bed ; the rocky hills and not overrich valleys of Ulster were the veritable "hardening-off" ground, where the plant grew "strong and stocky;" and this broad land of ours has been the "resting place," where the God-sown, God-grown plant has matured and fruited and filled the land.

Look for a few moments on the seed-bed of our race. That seedbed is the Lowlands of Scotland.

What an all-wondrous work-field of the God of history it is! What ages of divine toil unfold as we gaze; what upheavals of old landmarks, and what strange re-settlements of invaders and invaded; what curious Mendings and re-blendings of both allied and antagonistic races; what steady play of peace and war; what free blood-sheddings and marvelous weddings; what strange speech and diverse tongues — Norse, Saxon, Frisian, British, Erse, and Norman — till at last sounds the fresh, strong, early English!

This seed bed lies water girt; the fact is significant. For those waters at once open gates and barriers of defense—give us the history, the education, and the prophecy of the mingling folks that at last made their home in the south of Scotland and in the north of England. Let us set the district and its boundaries clearly before our eyes. If you look on the map of Scotland you will mark how two great sea-arms cut the country into a northern and southern part. These two great water ways are the Friths of Forth and Clyde. If you look on the map of England you will mark two other sea-arms that sever the upper part of England from the midland and the south; these two water ways are the Humber and the Solway. Between the Forth and the Clyde and the Humber and the Solway lie the old Stathclyde and Northumbria. To the right and left of the Strathclyde and Northumbria are the Irish and the German seas. Across these seas and up those channels came the freshest, boldest, richest, and most varied blood of Europe's kings and vikings, heroes and saints, scholars and singers, rovers, traders, tillers, and hunters—the very pick of pioneers. They were the first Scots from Dalriada in the north of Ireland; they were the Norsemen and the Dane, the Saxon and the Frisian, the Belgian, and later the Norman-French. They found within that water-girt, Strathclyde and Northumbria, the remnant of that splendid older race, whence was Arthur, of the Round Table, and the ancient Briton of the Strathclyde—man of faith and fancy, of unyielding toughness and ever-starting life, and the woman of home grace and poetic power, of song and self-sacrifice. It has, until later years and more thorough search, been told that the old Briton died out or fled into the hidings of the Welsh hills. But the facts are other; and as Freeman and Skene, with now a band of young race-students have made clear, the old race was not blotted out; many were forced from the sea borders to the inland parts, but many men and more women stayed, or were held by the invaders to serve as the serf's or become the mothers of a new folk. For some years I have been working over the tales, the worship, the folk-lore, the dress, the habits, the words of home and religion and common life, the described features, and the still surviving forms and faces and hue of eyes and hair to be found of old, and to this day, in the Strathclyde, and on both sides of the Borders, and I hold it to be beyond fair question that by none of the invasions of these parts, not even the Danish and the Norman, were the old Britons of the Arthur myths and sagas either destroyed or driven out. That rich and worthy old race formed the stock; into it were grafted the young, fresh, and, in many respects, nobler branches, and the new shoots and the later fruits are the Lowlanders of Scotland. Here is where the Celtic blood comes into our veins, and not from a later hour and from Ireland. For the large enrichment ever brought by the Celt we must thank the Briton of Arthur, and not the clansmen of the O'Neil.

This Lowland race, Briton and Norman, and Saxon and Dane, gave the world a new man, the Border soldier, the pioneer, the sea-rover, the inventor, the statesman, the revolutionary, the singer in Robert Burns, and the romancer in Walter Scott. And nothing in the witching tale of folk-building and folk-breeding do I know more wonderful than the God's long toil in making that Lowland people. As Skene shows (vol. iii., p. 15), at the time of Alexander III the population of Scotland was composed of six chief races, Picts, Britons, Scots, Angles, Norsemen (including Danes and Norwegians), and the Franco-Normans, " forming a people of very mixed descent, in which the Teutonic element was more and more predominating." In the Lowlands " the native base of this Brito-Scoto-Anglo-Norman people was the Romano-Briton." Freeman, in his history of the Norman Conquest, and in his story of "The English People in Their Three Homes," shows us "that we adopted, assimilated, absorbed alike the conquerors and the conquered into the very essence of our national being."

But through and through the old Briton survived till the final fusion, so all-important to us, in the one rich-blooded Lowland folk. To that rare blood the scholarly Scot from Dalriada, the pliant, large-limbed Pict, the poetic Celt, the shrewd, acquisitive Anglo-Saxon, the patient Frisian, the daring Dane, the breezy Jute, the organizing, systematic, feudal Norman, brought each his contribution. Who the Dalriad Scot and the large-framed, ruddy-faced Pict of Galloway were originally we can not yet tell, but what they were in soul features has been made clear as daylight—they were a Christianized people, loving books, using schools, marked by free speech, by arts and song. They show many points of closest affinity with the original Briton; fused with the Briton they were so open to the influences of Teuton and Norseman that Germanic speech and society, thrift and industry, firm rule and personal independence, soon become their common property and features. The old British speech begins to fade out; the folk-speech from Northumberland to the Clyde and the Forth is northern English or "Lowland Scotch;" and the future man of Bannockburn and Derry Walls and King's Mountain is beginning to appear. He is the man with the blood of the sea-rover mixed with that of the home-man, with the blood of the borderer and the soldier, mixed with that of the scholar and thinker, with the blood of the trader and farmer, mixed with that of the statesman and the lawyer. These combining and contrasting features soon began to show themselves. From that 25th day of April, 1057, when Malcolm Canmore was crowned at Scone near Perth, till the death of David, the first feudal king of Scotland, the combined contrasted features are slowly getting into harmony and order, and about the opening of the thirteenth century the Lowlander more and more shows himself. For about two centuries he settles, strengthens, solidifies.

During this "fixing" period the Lowlander is tested and hardened and purged by battles with soil and weather, battles with southern English and northern Gael, battles with poets and princes. During that fixing period he wrestles with poverty and politics, and confessions and theology, and at last, tinder the sealing and finishing hand of Knox, he stands forth the man fitted to look every rival in the face, and hold his own in war or peace, mid arctic snows or torrid heat. Behold him the Scot of to-day—shrewd and thrifty, free and fearless, resolute and revolutionary, clear-thoughted and defiant in conscience.

He multiplies and he fills the little Strathclyde from end to end. The place grows too straight for him. There is no field for his energies. As in the days of hardy Caleb, the cry is for room.

Common is the saying, and not more common than true, blood will tell. The blood of the Scot begins to tell. Rover and viking and pushing pioneer of the earlier days reappear, and wherever there is fighting and honor, and gain and open pathways to leadership and glory, the adventurous Scot is found. Europe begins to know the old raiders' grandsons as the " Scotch Guardsmen and Scotch Archers" of France, such as was Crawford and Leslie and Quen-tin Durward; as the "Scotch Brigade" of Holland; as the "Pikemen" of the great Gustavus, and as the vanguard in many a European host. The schools and colleges and seminaries of France, Germany, and Italy find not a few of their keenest intellects from the old Borders. In the Hanse towns, and from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, every busy center and trading town knows the canny Scot.

But be has before him the newer, and finer, and more world-marking career as colonizer; and the hour of his transplantation has come.

Stand upon the cliffs of Donegal; look sharply and knowingly at the rocks beneath your feet! Do you not recognize them? Have you never seen them before? Dive down deep beneath those rolling surges that thunder against the grim buttresses of the coast. Search with the geologist's eye the seabed. You will find that another solid roadway runs from shore to shore, as from Staffa to the Causeway. That solid roadbed is the very rock of the old Grampians. And as the firm stone of the two lands are one beneath the sea, so across the sea the same hard, strong reliable race is to stretch—the Lowlander becomes the Ulsterman.

Every experienced horticulturist knows the danger of delaying the transplantation or "pricking off" of his seedlings. The great Husbandman makes no such mistakes; his eye is ever on the dial plate. In that seed bed of the Strathclyde were to be found the sires and grandsires of the world's mightiest colonizers—the true twin brothers of the Puritan. It is very worthy of notice by us that the Englishman was transplanted hither ere he grew to be the unchangeable "John Bull;" and the Lowlanders, out of whom were to come our Scotch-Irish, were moved across to Ulster ere they became fixed for ever as the Sawneys of to-day. Some folks migrate too soon; and some move too late; the vanguard from the Lowlands started just at the true moment for the doing of their own plainly marked divine work. It has been well said by a writer in the Quarterly Review for October, 1889: "For two generations"—before James the First— "increasing intercourse with Calvinistic churches on the continent, the discipline of adversity applied by high commission courts and bishops, and above all by the growth of education and the spread of Bible reading had favored the growth of that serious and high-minded enthusiasm which makes the Puritan epoch. It is difficult to understand how a single habit of reading the Bible should have transformed the life of a nation. We must compare with it the still more sudden and complete changes produced by like causes in Scotland, where the English speaking population were converted in a few years from a lukewarm conformity to Roman Catholicism to a fervent attachment to Calvanism. There, as in England, the growth of education favored the growth of the new opinions. Protestantism and the popular forms of government were understood to be kindred forces ; there, as in England, the movement was felt most strongly among the lower and middle classes. The more logical and uncompromising character of the Scottish national character agreed with the stricter forms of German and Swiss Calvinism; and the same phenomena which produced the Puritan party in England made the Lowland Scotch a Puritan Nation." Just at the critical moment, when the finality of the Scotch was threatened, just at the moment when he could become another and yet remain essentially the same, the uprooting of the promising sapling comes, and God oversees the transplanting.

The plantation of the Scot into Ulster kept for the world the essential and the best features of the Lowlander. But the vast change gave birth to and trained a somewhat new and distinct man, soon to be needed for a great task which only the Ulsterman could do; and that work—which none save God, the guide, foresaw—was with Puritan to work the revolution that gave humanity this republic.

Now into the right or the wrong of England's way of settling war-wasted Ulster by planting groups of colonists, I will not enter; here I take simple historic fact—thus 't was done. And well was it for the world, and first for Ireland, that 'twas done.

One of the greatest facts in history is the plantation of Ulster; the sixteenth of April, 1605, should be for us all memorable, by all historic, ancestral and constitutional rights, for that sixteenth day of April was, as all the state papers show, "The Day of the Great Charter."

On that day was given forth by the English court that charter under which the "Undertakers" were authorized to start a movement, the end of which the world sees not yet.

But it is a bright and sunny day of middle May which is in many respects the still greater day, for that May day was the landing of the Lowlanders to restore Ulster and largely remake history. We journey to Plymouth Rock and tell of the. landing of the Puritans; and none too often nor too fondly. But let us not forget that the Ulsterman has his day, and that America has a right to know and keep the day, the May day of the Ulster lauding, for that too lives in the very heart of this land.

By that landing, the seat of a new empire has been found. New empire? Yes, empire; for imperial by all proofs and tokens was that race that came to Ulster to change it from savage wilds to smiling fields and busy towns.

As is broadly believed, and as Buckle has proved, province and people are ever closely linked.

What, then, the environment for this great evolution in history? The dominating life at the center is a man; every inch of him the offspring of the northern sea rover and of the Strathclyde home maker— the child of waves, and hills, and rocks. And he stands now in a land singularly suited to him—a province of strangely varied scenery, a coast almost unrivaled, save in the Norway and Iceland of his Norse sires; a province of rolling hills and deep glens, of wide-spread moors and farstretching loughs, of sunny lakes dotted with fairy islets, of silvery streams where the salmon leap and the trout frisk; a province which bars out the northern seas by the bold strengths of the Causeway and shuts off the southern Celt by the ramparts of Mourne Hills; a province dented deeply to the north with Carrick Lough and Swilly Bay, and to the south by the sea arms of Carlingford and Sligo; a province strikingly resembling the old home in the Strathclyde, but gifted with softer skies, and balmier breezes, and warmer seas that shall tend to soften, and mellow, and sweeten the overhardness of the Lowlander.

In Ulster now stands the transplanted Scot, the man of opportunity, of utility and order, the man of law and self-respect and self-reliance; with a king's charter in his hand, with a king's smile upon him, with the cheers of England's hopeful civilization encouraging him, and before him a war-wasted country to reclaim and to hold. War-wasted country! Yes; savage feuds and forays had left it a dismal desert! Quaintly the old Montgomery Manuscripts tell the tale— they found the lands "more wasted than America when the Spaniards landed there"—between Donaghadee and Newtownards—"thirty cabins could not be found, nor any stone walls, but ruined, roofless churches, and a few vaults at Grey Abbey, and a stump of an old castle at Newton." From the Calendar of State Papers for Ireland during the years 1608 to 1610, we learn that Ulster was then the most savage part of Ireland!

But there stands the soldier of the world's vanguard of civilization, the organizing son of sires always leaving their marks in a finer life and larger prosperity, the daring son of daring invaders, who were always victors; and the brave pioneer faces the desert and its dangers with hardiness, with fertility of resource, with industry and thrift.

And now the forces changing the Lowlander into the Ulsterman begin to work. What are these forces? Whence came they? And what changes did they work? Why is the transplanted Scot not just like the old Scot? What are the discriminating marks of the Ulster-man, and how did he gain them? These are questions that must be answered. I know no one who has seriously set himself to the thinking of them out; and it is high time to try the task.

Our American term—the Scotch-Irish—is not known even in Ulster, save among the very few who have learned the ways of our common speech. The term known in Britain is the Ulsterman; and in Ireland, it is the "sturdy Northern," or at times the "black Northern." What changed the Lowlander, and what gave us the Ulsterman? In this study I have drawn very largely upon the labors of two friends of former years—Dr. William D. Killen of the Assembly's College, one of the most learned and accurate of historians, and the Rev. George Hill, once Librarian of Queen's College, Belfast, Ireland, than whom never was there more ardent student of old annals and reliable of antiquarians. But more largely still have I drawn on my own personal watch and study of this Ulster folk in their homes, their markets and their churches. From Derry to Down I have lived with them. Every town, village and hamlet from the Causeway to Carlingford is familiar to me. Knowing the Lowlander and the Scotch-Irish of this laud, I have studied the Ulsterman and his story of rights and wrongs, and that eagerly, for years. I speak that which I have seen, and testify what I have heard from their lips, read from old family books, church records and many a tombstone in kirk-yards.

I. The transplanted Scot begins as a chartered and favored colonist. He had expectations, large expectations of special favor; and he had a right from given pledges to entertain these expectations. This point has been but seldom stated; and never been marked and emphasized, as the facts of the case and the needs of the after-tale call for. You can not measure aright his burning sense of wrong at a later day ; you can not understand his methodized madness till he shows his broken treaties and dishonored compacts. He had the right to expect the backing of England, the fullest enjoyment of his hard-won home, the co-equal privileges of citizenship, the largest possession of freedom in both church and state. This statement can be easily verified to the fullest from the family history of many old Ulster family histories, from the Montgomery and Hamilton MSS, from state papers, and from a proclamation inviting settlers for Ulster and dated at Edinburgh, 28th of March, 1609.

This chartered and favored colonist, the destined maker of a new state and the father of a fresh manhood for the struggling world, faces bravely the many hazards he had already measured and braced himself to meet. A man of destiny, he was a true pioneer like our own Scotch-Irish in this land. There is wide difference between the mere pioneer and the pioneer-colonist; we know that there are men who can be only scouts and advance-frontiersmen and men, again, who can be both scouts and settlers. The Ulsterman was the latter. He joins dash and daring to self-poise and self-dependence. The two cities of Ulster, Belfast and Derry, are the evidences of the transplanted Scot; Belfast is self-made and Derry is self-kept. Picked men they were, these favored colonists. Doubt, I know, has been expressed on this very point. But the doubt has sprung either from ignorance or sectarian bigotry or race hatreds. I have made it my work to search out, so far as, meantime, I could reach authorities, the facts of the case. In the calendar of state papers for Ireland—1615-1625—we have among many other clear statements the official report of Captain Pynnar, who, sent by the government to inspect the Ulster settlers, tells in plain, honest words exactly what he then found. We have further the accounts in the register of the Privy Council of Scotland of the great care taken in the selection of the "undertakers." We know that King James, than whom when he chose there was no more canny Scot to be found, gave his own personal oversight to the plantation. We know that the Duke of Lennox, under the royal eyes, drew from Dumbartonshire, that the Earl of Abercorn from Renfrewshire, that Hamilton, Montgomery, and Boyd from Ayrshire, and that from Gallowayshire and Dumfriesshire, Crawford, Cunningham, Ochiltree, and MacLellan carefully selected colonists for the new venture. In one of the letters of Sir Arthur Chichester, Deputy of Ireland, we read as follows: "The lord Ucheltrie arrived in Ireland at the time of our being in Armagh, accompanied with thirty-three followers, gentlemen of sort, a minister, some tenants, free-holders, and artificers." In another communication to government the keen-eyed deputy says: "The Scottishmen come with better port (i. e. manifest character), they are better accompanied and attended"—(than even the English settlers). Just as to these western shores came the stronger souls, the more daring, and select, so to Ulster from the best parts of lower Scotland came the picked men to be Britain's favored colonists.

II. The Ulsterman was a stranger among strangers. This is the second of the forces working on the transplanted Scot. Though he had come again to the home of one of his ancestors, the Dalriadan Scot who gave to Scotland her abiding name, still was in very sooth a stranger among strangers; and he was the stranger brought in by the even hated Englishman. He was an alien to the alien Celt. Who, what, whence were the resistless Scots of Dalriada coming so early into the Strathelyde, no ethnologist has yet shown; but we know enough to affirm they were not of the South-Irish Celts. The indubitable strain of Celtic blood in the Ulsterman of the Plantation was brought to, not taken from Ireland.

This fact, that the Ulster colonist was a stranger, and the favorite, for the time, of England and her government, wrought in a two-fold way; in the Ulsterman and against him. It wrought in him at once the sense of ownership, the belief in his agrarian rights, the firm faith of heritage, the idea of coparceny as existent between the undertaker and the colonist; and out of these faiths grew the thought that the land was the settler's own on fulfilled conditions; that tenure was a fixity; that a home had been pledged if that were made and held against all comers and accruant profits were shared with his chief. The roots of Ulster tenant-right run far back and go deep.

Again, the fact that he was the royal colonist wrought in him the pride, the contempt, the hauteur and swaggering daring of a victorious race planted among despised savages. What at a later day was seen here may be seen down all the stretch of Ulster history. I have myself seen it, and heard time and again he would "lord it" ower the mere Eerish. And the rulers of that hour both cultivated that feeling and enforced it. The Celt of that day had nothing to make him winsome or worthy of imitation. Romance and sentiment may as well be dropped. We have the hard facts about the clansmen of the O'Neill. The glory and the honor were with England. The times were big with the fresh British life. The men and women of that age and the age just closed are mighty by their witching force of greatness in good and evil. It is the era of Britain's bursting life and greatening soul. Song and statesmanship, the chiefs of the drama, and the captains of daring are telling mightily on our forefathers in England and in Ulster. The new "Plantation" itself is full of enchantment when contrasted with the old state of internecine war. Let the historian wave his magic wand, and let the dead live, and the yesterday be our own to-day. We are in the old Down-lands, fair lands of the circling sea, and rolling hills and silvery streams; and right before us are hoary ruins. It is the Grey Abbey. It is a genial day of early July, 1605, and four men and three women drink from the old well. They are worth more than we can give a swift glance, for they are the fathers and mothers of history, There is Con O'Neale, wild, wicked, funny Con MacNeale, MacBryan Feartagh O'Neal, and round him gathers the very richest romance—that wild dash on the easy English garrison in the clachan at the Laganford, now known as Belfast—that all adroit whisking off from the sleepy soldiers of every winebutt—the arrest of the raider and his imprisonment in Carrick castle—the arts and wiles of the jailer's daughter under the tutelage of Tom Montgomery—the flight to London—the amusing meeting with royal Jamie. Beside Con stands his friend in need, the bluff, half-smuggler captain Tom Montgomery, who made love to the jailer's daughter, Annie Dobbin, and carried off both Con and Annie as his own wife. Beside Tom rests on his strong staff Hugh Montgomery, of the noble house of Eglinton, that soldier of fiery soul but rarest forethought, whom Prince Maurice, of Orange, had trusted as a very right arm. And the fourth man is the ancestor of the great Dufferin; he is one James Hamilton, the brainiest of them all, who came from a Scotch Manse and from the side of a great souled Presbyterian minister to be one of the world-makers in his deep-stamping of Ulster life and Ulster men.

And their wives; yes, they too are worthy; that jolly, mischievous Annie Dobbin, without whom there would have been no freed Con O'Neal in London making compact before King James with both Montgomery and Hamilton for the earliest settlement of Down. With her is Mistress Hamilton, that gentle mother to her loved folks. And noblest perhaps of the three is the mother of Ulster industry, the "clever and capable" Lady Montgomery, who built the water-mills to do away with "quairn stanes"; who overlooked her own model farms; who encouraged and guided the growing of flax and potatoes; who went around teaching spinning and weaving, both of flax and wool; who began the weaving of " the Ulster break in; "and who lent money to the struggling till they were able to stand alone—let her live forever—" the mother of Ulster manufacture."

But these proud and haughty strangers, with high heads and their new ways, were hated us aliens and harried from the beginning by "the wild Irish."

The scorn of the Scot was met by the curse of the Celt. The native chiefs and their clansmen did not distinguish between the government and the colonists; nor had they right, nor did the colonists give them any cause. The hate and the harrying of the Irish were returned, and with compound interest, by the proud Ulsterman. I neither approve nor apologize : I simply state what I find. To him the "redshanks" of the "wild Earl" of Tyrone were exactly as the redskins of our forests to the men of New England and the Susquehanna and the Ohio. The natives were always ''thae Eerish!" and the scorn is as sharp to-day on the tongue of a Belfast Orangeman as two centuries ago. It has been said that the Ulster settlers mingled and married with the Irish Celt. The Ulsterman did not mingle with the Celt. I speak, remember, chiefly of the period running from 1605 to 1741. There had been in Ireland before the "plantation" some wild Islanders from the west of Scotland, whose descendants I have found in the Antrim "Glynnes;" they did marry and inter-marry with the natives; but King James expressly forbade any more of these island-men being taken to Ulster; and he and his government took measures that the later settlers of the " plantation" should be taken "from the inward parts of Scotland," and that they should be so settled that they "may not mix nor inter-marry" with "the mere Irish." The Ulster settlers mingled freely with the English Puritans and with the refugee Huguenots; but so far as my search of state papers, old manuscripts, examination of old parish registers, and years of personal talk with and study of Ulster folk—the Scots did not mingle to any appreciable extent with the natives. I have talked with three very old friends, an educated lady, a shrewd farmer's wife, and a distinguished physician; they could each clearly recall their great grandfathers; these great grand-parents told them their father's tales; and I have kept them carefully as valuable personal memoirs. These stories agree exactly with all we can get in documents. With all its dark sides, as well as all light sides, the fact remains that Ulsterman and Celt were aliens and foes.

III. Hence came constant and bitter strife.

This feud made race fights, and they were bitter and bloody. And it was that kind of man-making war where every man must be scout, and picket, and keeper of the pass—general and private all at once. Our own story makes us too familiar with that sad, but man-making state of things. There is one sweetly fair spot in New England, where a very special training gave us very special men—we know them as the Green Mountain Boys; there is a range where Sevier wrought that made the King's Mountain men; Ulster made at once Green Mountain and King's Mountain men out of the peaceful Lowlander, transplanted to Ulster. For years Scotland had been at peace. That peaceful Scot would not have done for our opening struggles; so the transplantation comes, and the Scot must, in Ulster, keep watch and ward. They must keep the pass. It is useless for Prendergast, Gilbert, and others to deny the massacres of 1641. Reid and Hickson and Froude, the evidence sworn to before the Long Parliament and the memories of the people, prove the dark facts. The sword and the sickle went together in Ulster. Soon the hardy settlers had their trained bands; and we have documentary evidence that, fifty years after their lauding, December 3, 1656, they could put into the field forty thousand fighting men—many clad already in the distinctive garb of Ulster the "breakin," which was a kind of a shepherd plaid made of homespun. Already you see the peaceful Lowlander is falling behind the armed and aggressive Ulsterman. The old warriors are revived in their sons, and the forerunners of the revolutionary soldiers appear in Down and Antrim.

The fourth force changing the transplanted Scot was

IV. The necessity for self-adaptation. There gradually arose in Ulster stronger reasons for finding out or making some modus vivendi with the native Irish. If they could not be quite warred out or worn out or worked out, then the colonists must discover some by which they could fully hold their own with the Celt and yet be relieved from the necessity of perpetual battle. They began to try to adapt themselves to wholly other conditions from those known in Scotland. Their shrewdness was now exercised in a new direction—the power of so far changing their fixed habits as to live alongside an alien and largely hostile race, make them serviceable, and gain from them the largest amount of help possible. The very causes that were at work on the Puritan to change him from the stolid and uncompromising John Bull into the pliant Yankee, full of his smart notions, are found in Ulster changing the overstiff Scotchman into the Ulsterman, who joins the bull-dog tenacity of the Briton to the quick-wittedness of the Celt. Under this force the Ulsterman is gaining what soon will mark him very strongly—plasticity, versatility, nimbleness, and above all, staying power.

These four changing forces work for a time together on the settlers of the plantation, and then they are joined by another force of a somewhat different nature, but a force of the utmost value to the Ulsterman.

V. Fresh fusions. There come to Ulster two sets of colonists belonging to allied and yet distinct races. The transplanted Scot is joined in Ulster by the Puritan and the Huguenot. While along the shores of Down and Antrim, and by the banks of the Six Mile Water and the Main, the colonists are almost wholly from the Lowlands of Scotland ; upon the shores of Deny and Donegal, and by the banks of the Foyle and the Bann, were planted by the action of the same far-seeing James Stuart, bands of English colonists. Large grants of land in the escheated counties of Ulster were bestowed upon the great London companies, and on their vast estates by the Foyle and the Bann were settled considerable numbers of fine old English families. The Englishman may be easily traced to this very day in Derry, and Coleraine and Armagh and Enniskillen. Groups of these Puritans dotted the whole expanse of Ulster, and in a later hour, when the magnificent Cromwell took hold of Ireland, these English colonists were reinforced by not a few of the very bravest and strongest of the Ironsides. To this very hour I know where to lay my hands on the direct lineal descendants of some of Cromwell's most trusted officers, who brought to Ireland blood that flowed in the purest English veins. The defiant city of Derry was the fruit of the English settlement, the royal borough of Coleraine, the cathedral city of Armagh, the battle-swept Enniskillen, and several towns and hamlets along the winding Bann. Among these English settlers were not a few who were ardent followers of George Fox, that man "who in many respects was Cromwell's equal, and in some his master; these Friends came with a man of great force of character, Thomas Edmundson, who bore arms for the Parliament, and has left behind him a singularly interesting diary. The Friends came to Antrim in 1652, and settled in Antrim and Down; hence come the Pims, the Barclays, the Grubs, and Richardsons, with many another goodly name of Ulster.

The name of this Irish province was spreading over Europe by the second decade of the 17th century as the "shelter of the hunted;" and soon the Puritan and the Quaker are joined in Ulster by another nobleman of God's making —the Huguenot from France. Headed by Louis Crommellin they came a little later and settled in and around Lisburn, founding many of the finest industries of Ulster, and giving mighty impulse to those already started. And still later, following the "immortal William" came some brave burghers from the Holland and the Netherlands. Thus Ulster became a gathering ground for the very finest, most formative, impulsive and aggressive of the free, enlightened, God-fearing peoples of Europe.

Under the influences of the Puritan, the Huguenot, and the Hollander, the Ulsterman began to show a new side to his activity ; he grew a busy trader, a man of business, a man of commerce. Ulster became a very hive of busy industries and activities. The coast-traffic with Scotland was weekly increasing, large trade sprang up with England, and soon the Ulster products and the Ulster merchants and skippers were known in the ports and towns of France and Holland. The men of thought and strong convictions are becoming the pushing men of affairs.

These five forces, his chartered rights, his strangerhood, his fierce feuds, his call to self-adaptation, and his marrying and mixing with Puritan, Quaker and Huguenot—were all willingly accepted and gladly yielded to as either beneficial or unavoidable in his new situation. They left the Ulsterman largely modified inside the sweep of the three-quarter century from his planting, but they left him still the favored and on the whole well-contented colonist?

But the sky now begins to darken. To those natural or desirable forces, modifying and transforming were now, alas, to be introduced unnatural and repulsive and iniquitous influences, and forces as unjust, unwise and unexpected, as they were irritating and ultimately infuriating.

The dark and wicked forces change the Ulsterman from the contented colonist to the exasperated emigrant.

The Ulsterman an exasperated emigrant. There had been known in Ulster what has been called beautifully and with a sad lingering regret at its too early vanishing—"The Golden Peaceable Age." It was the age of Usher and Echlin as bishops, and of Chichester as deputy. But the clouds rose on the horizon; and the master of the coming tempest is one of those greatest and smallest of men ever being thrown up out of the deeps of English life. He is Thomas Went-worth, that strange, strong, weak man, friend and foe at once, of England's best, dramatic life of lights and shadows which even Browning has only skimmed—Wentworth, who for title "sold his soul, his true and proper self, that might have been England's chief, Wentworth, . . . "whose single arm

"Rolled the advancing good of England back
And set the woeful past up in his place,
Made firm the fickle king in aught he feared
To venture on before; taught tyranny
Her dismal trade, the use of all her tools
To ply the scourge, yet screw the gag so close
That strangled agony bleeds mute to death—
How he turns Ireland to a private stage
For training infant villanies, new ways
Of wringing treasures out of blood and tears.'

Wentworth started the Ulsterman's grievance; it was a black day for Ireland, and blacker still for England. The world is hearing a vast deal of the "Irish Question." That political porcupine, in its later form, came forth to the light in Ulster; and it was selfish English statesmen and most despotic churchmen started it. Though, at this hour, the Ulstermen, as a body, refuse to join with the Nationalists of to-day, Ulster and its wrongs and fierce revolt are the beginning of the later land and folk fights. The Ulsterman was the brewer of the storm. He became the " Volunteer" for freedom.

But he was right to let the fiercest hurly-burly play; the air was made foul and stifling; he was a-stifling, and the tempest only could give him life breath.

From 1633, when Wentworth opened his star chamber of despots and his high commission courts of persecuting prelates, till 1704, when the sacramental test grew unbearable, Ulster was distracted by English tyrants and Laudian prelates. Cavalier and churchman sowed the wind; and at Marston and Yorktown they reaped the whirlwind.

The wrongs of the once-contented colonist were five-fold: 1. He was wronged by the State. 2. He was wronged by the Church. 3. He was wronged in his home. 4. He was wronged in his trade. 5. He was wronged in his very grave.

1. By the State. As Limerick is the city of the violated treaty, so is Ireland the laud of broken compacts and dishonored promises. England wonders at the restlessness of the Green Isle. Nations have long memories. And disbelief that has grown for generations into settled no-faith can not change into smiling and contented assurance of hope in a decade. But of all parts of Ireland, Ulster for a half century has the longest tale of lies and deceptions to present; and the dark catalogue belongs to English parties and politicians. From 1633 to 1714 you have nothing but promises and falsifications; the promise made when England was afraid, or her plotting parties had something to gain; and the falsification, with scoffing laugh and galling sneer, when the fright was gone or the greed was glutted. No wonder the exasperated emigrant said at Carlisle, "I believe England least when she swears deepest." He was the son of a Derry Presbyterian, and he knew how England rewarded her saviors.

2. By the Church. Working with Wentworth in the state was Laud in the church. There had been an Usher and an Echlin, and there was the "golden age of peace," when there seemed the nearest approach of presbyter and prelate in generous trust and respect known since or before; but these great souls of sweetness and truth passed, and after came Bramhall and King, and Taylor, who kept all his charity for books and great-sounding periods. For years I was the minister of the very parish which was central in and denominative of the same Jeremy Taylor's see. I know the memories he has left there, and I can well recall the words of one of my oldest elders as he came to me one sabbath after a sermon, in which I had quoted some words of Taylor on "Holy Living," "Weel, menisther! yon auld Jeremy Tayleur may hae kenned guy weel himsel aboot holy leevin; but he garred my forbeers acqueut themsels mair wi' holy deein!" The Jacobite bishops of distracted Ulster divided their time pretty equally between cowardly plotting against the Whig rule and the pitiless robbing of the non-conformists of all religious freedom. No one has put this sad tale into plainer nor more honest words than my friend, the Rev. Dr. McConnell, the eloquent rector of St. Stephen's, Philadelphia, who at our banquet said: "In the early years of the last century there were living here Scotch Presbyterians whose ears had been cut off by Kirk's lambs, whose fathers had been hanged before their eyes, who had worn the boot and thumbkins while Leslies stood by and jeered, who had been hunted from their burning homes by that polished gentleman and staunch Episcopalian, Graham Earl of Claverhouse, who had been brow-beaten by Irish bishops and denied even the sympathy of the gentle Jeremy Taylor, who had been driven from their livings, fined, imprisoned, their ministerial office derided, the children of the marriages which they had celebrated pronounced bastards."

3. He was wronged in his home. Here State and Church joined together. Landlords and bishops made common cause to spoil the Ulster yeomanry. As the thrifty and toiling farmer improved his lands he was taxed on his invested capital by the ever swelling rent till he was rackrented; and then if he would not pay the legalized robbery he was mercilessly evicted. His father and he had made a waste a garden while the proprietor idled; then by law the idler claimed the fruits of hard toil; and English law wrung the "pound of flesh" forth, and suffered no Portia to plead for the defrauded. Added to these agrarian wrongs, were the denial of education, the shutting of schools, the barring of college by sacramental tests, and the legalized filching of great endowments for common education.

The right of free and independent voting was refused, and a gag law of the worst kind maintained.

The baptism of his children was made a laughing-stock, and the legality of marriage by non-episcopal clergy officially denied. I have seen calm men, not many years back, grind their teeth as they spoke of this bastardizing of the non-conformists' children. Do you wonder at this intense, burning exasperation?

4. He was wronged in his trade. Ulster was on the very high road to the finding of one chief cure for Ireland's troubles; that is, the diversion from too prevalent farming life of part of her population to trade, business, and manufactures. One reads with wonder of the rapid growth of Ulster industries and trade inside some thirty years, but the admiration changes to hot anger as you see the young life strangled by selfish and jealous interference on the part of English traders and statesmen. The Letters of Lord Fitzwilliam, and Dobbs's History of Irish Trade, tell one of the saddest tales. Act after act was passed forbidding the exportation of wool, of horses, of cattle, of butter and cheese, and dead meats. Ireland was excluded from the Navigation Act, shipping was ruined, and business failed.

5. As if all these wrongs in life were not enough to heap on a man singularly high-minded, brave, loving right and hating a lie, he was wronged in death. He was wronged of a grave. For him no sacred "God's Acre," if his own beloved minister was to read simple words of Holy Writ and utter from the heart the spirit-born, free prayer. Why, even in my own late hour, I have seen the passage of a coffin through the gates of a church-yard that belonged to a common parish, and that had been originally donated by Presbyterian owner, barred, in the name of God and true religion, against a Presbyterian minister, by a self-styled guardian of hallowed ground.

And the Ulsterman who endured all this shame and wrong and open robbery, was the very man who had made and who had kept the land. He had made it. When he came 'twas a war-wasted desert; when he was driven to our shores from it, he left behind him homesteads and fertile fields.

He had kept it, and Derry is the proof. Derry, whose salvation belongs not to Walker, but to the Rev. James Gordon and his Presbyterian "boys;" for Gordon led to the closing of the gates, and Gordon led the ships to the breaking of "the boom" and the relief of the garrison.

Yet, after that very siege and that very defense, guarding and saving Saxon freedom for the world, the men and the party that were the real saviors of the country and the keepers of the pass, were wronged and wronged, till their hearts blazed with justest anger against an ingrate crew of English liars and tricksters.

The Ulsterman's sense of uttermost wrong grew month by month more strong and fiery, until the old, long-surviving loyalty to England died out, and was replaced by the calm, settled, and fearful hatred felt toward England by the robbed and outraged man whose active, educated conscience, told him that he had "his quarrel just."

When his righteous anger was, in the opening years of the eight-eeth century reaching its whitest heat, Holland began to tell upon him, but more movingly still the stirring American colonies. The transplanted Scot is now ready to become afresh a colonist as the transplanted Scotch-Irishman. What a changed man is he, however, over against his old rulers and leaders. Before, however, he leaves the shores of Antrim, and the hills of Down, and the shadow of Derry walls, for the Forks of the Delaware, the woods of the Susquehanna, and the hills and dales of Virginia and Tennessee, let us plant him over against the Lowlander that still was the untransplanted Scot.

How like, yet how much unlike! How like; in both Lowlander and Ulsterman is the same strong racial pride, the same hauteur and self-assertion, the same self-reliance, the same close mouth, and the same firm will—"the stiff heart for the steek brae." They are both of the very Scotch, Scotch. To this very hour, in the remoter and more unchanged parts of Antrim and Down, the country-folks will tell you: "We're no Eerish, bot Scoatch." All their folk-lore, all their tales, their traditions, their songs, their poetry, their heroes and heroines, and their home-speech, is of the oldest Lowland types and times.

In both Lowdander and Ulsterman there is the same shrewd hard-headedness, the same practical sagacity in affairs, the same tough purpose, the same moral firmness, the same stiffness in religion. In both there is the same grim, caustic humor, reflective and suggestive rather than explosive or broadly told; the same cool self-measurement and self-trust—each clearly and honestly knowing just what he can do and going quietly to the doing, neither asking nor wanting help. But the dour Scot and the sturdy Northern have grown to be two distinct men. Yes! the Ulsterman is best called by our own phrase, the Scotch-Irishman; he lays his hands on both, yet stands on his feet apart from the Scot and the Celt. He has the toughness of the one and the dash of the other ; but while the Scot has the toughness of the oak—breaking, not bending—the Ulsterman has the toughness of the yew; he has the dash of the Celt, but while the dash of the Celt is the leap of the wild horse, the dash of the Ulsterman is the rush of the locomotive—there's a hand on the lever. Than the untransplanted Scot —

1. The Ulsterman has larger versatility. He is more plastic. He adapts himself more quickly to strange places and folks. There is in him more "come and go." The Scot is dour; he is sturdy. He has gained through his exportation and his enforced fight for existence in an alien mass strangely large powers of self-adaptation. He is more thoroughly and speedily responsive to outside influences; the environment tells more rapidly and completely on him. In a few years the Ulsterman will become Londoner, New Yorker or Philadelphian; but the Lowlander is Scot often for life.

2. The Ulsterman is less insular; he is less the man of a land— he is the man of a nation; he is less traditional, less provincial; he is not an islander, but an imperialist—not Scotch nor Irish, but rather British; he is cosmopolitan rather than countrified.

3. He is more human, less clannish; more genial, less reserved; more accessible, less suspicious of strangers; more neighborly, less recluse. He has more "manners" than his Scotch cousin, though he makes no pretensions to the polish and suavity and fascination of his Celtic neighbor, whom the dogged Northern thinks "too sweet to be wholesome." He has more fun than the Lowlander, but he dislikes the frolics of the Celt. While the Scot is stern, he is sedate; while the Irishman is poetical, he is practical. The Scot is plain; the Celt is pleasing; the Ulsterman is piquant.

4. He is more fertile in resource; his colonist life taught him to be ready for any thing; he is handy at many things; he is the typical borderer, pioneer, and scout. He will pass easily from one work or trade or business to another; to-day farmer, to-morrow shop-keeper, and third day something else. But with all this readiness to change, he is ever firm, "locked and bolted to results," with a singularly large gift and power for organization and association.

5. He is more the man of common sense than of metaphysical subtlety, practical rather than severely logical; he studies use rather than reasons, faces common things more than philosophies, deals with business more than books.

6. He is democratic rather than monarchical, loyal to principle rather than to persons, attached to institutions rather than families or houses; he sees through the Stuarts quickly, and follows the new house of Orange because it will serve him in his political struggle.

7. His pugnacity is defensive rather than offensive; his heraldic device is rather "the closed gates" of the threatened town than the old Scot's " spurs and bared blade."

So he stood on the American continent a distinct man and exasperated immigrant; in him wrought the forces of outraged right, of revenge, of hope, of self-assertion, and of sympathy. When our war broke out, he leaped to the front; and as he takes his place for life and death, the joint outcome of forces working in him are seen in the marked and characteristic features of the Scotch-Irishman—he is the daring pioneer; he will be owner of his home, fearing no landlord's frown ; he is the enemy of all church establishments ; ho is the hater of English tyranny; he is American of the Americans.

With the Puritan, and Huguenot, and the Hollander, he is thoroughly one in opposing a state church and all interferences with conscience; but he differs in his detestation of the old home government. They were outraged in one sense, but he felt wronged beyond all restitution in every sense, and his heart turned wholly against those who had made the iron go to the inmost of his soul. England never lost such hearts as the hearts of the men and women who had themselves, or whose fathers and mothers had kept the pass at Derry and Enniskillen.

There is a peculiarity in the patriotism of our Scotch-Irish. This land is his only true land and his one country. We do not say, we have no need to say, as some have found need of late to say, that we are Americans; we have proved it. We are all, Puritans, Cavaliers, Hibernians, Hollanders, Huguenots, Germans, Frenchmen, patriots, but it seems to me that the Scotch-Irishman sings "America" as few-others can. He lost his fatherland in Scotland; Ireland was not allowed to become a motherland to him, and so his great, strong heart has given itself up, almost without now a memory, to those western shores with a fierce, fond joy.

It is well nigh impossible for even myself to fancy what the flying Ulsterman found in this land. As one of them wrote in 1741: "At last God has granted us rest, enlargement and opportunity." Like strongest spring long held down and leaping into fullest play when suddenly set free, the Ulster immigrant let loose his long fettered powers and there was none to say what dost thou?

He had reached a land where not pedigree but powers, not classes but character, not rank but rights, fixed a man's place and opportunities—a land where no church would dare brand his children nor bar them from fullest privileges in school or college; a land where his marriage was sacred, his vote was free, and his grave inviolable. These privileges he had long lost.

Once more they became threatened. Freedom's war begins.

God's moment to let the Scotch-Irishman loose in all his yet untried strength has come, and the oppressed man leaps to the front place in the gap to bar the old oppressor; the martyr for conscience takes his champion stand beside the fresh world-flag—"A free church and a free state;" the landlord's quondam slave will win a free ballot and a safe homestead; the lover of learning, robbed for years of school and college, will wage fiercest battle till he stands secure with free school in every district and an open college to all comers; and the expatriated and exasperated Ulsterman will never surrender the struggle till the old wrongs are lost in his new and abiding rights.

Thus he wrought and thus he fought in our revolutionary days of danger and of death; so in the succeding years has he toiled, and to-day, flushed with heightening success, heartened by a thousand vie tories, trusted across a grateful continent, ready for every call of friend and country, thankful to his God and watchful of his guidance, he stands with all the toughness of the Lowlander, all the training of the Ulsterman, all the triumphs of the Scotch-Irishman, to say calmly, grandly—"my past is my pledge to the future."

And as he was found at Derry, as he was found in Valley Forge, as he was found on the Brandywine and the King's Mountain, so today and forever when his country shall call he will be found, the first to start and the last to quit.


Return to Book Index Page

 


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus

Quantcast