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The Scotch-Irish in America
Proceedings - Part 1

Pittsburg, Pa., May 29, 30, 31, 1890.

President, Robert Bonner, New York City, N. Y.
Secretary, A. C. Floyd, Columbia, Tennessee.

The Congress was called to order at 10 a. m., Thursday morning, May 29th, in Mechanical Hall of the Exposition Building, by President Bonner, who said:

The Congress will now come to order, and will be led in prayer by the Rev. Dr. Hayes.

Dr. Hayes:

Let us unite in prayer. Our Heavenly Father, we recognize Thee as the Father, the Creator, and the Preserver of all Thy creatures. We thank Thee that Thou hast made us rational and intelligent beings. We bless Thee for all that Thou hast done for us, and by us, and through us. We recognize Thee as the God of nations and races, as well as individuals. We thank Thee for what Thou hast done for us as a race; for the courage, the zeal, and the consecration which Thou did'st breathe into our forefathers; for all they were enabled to accomplish in other lands and in this land of freedom. And when we come together in this Congress we invoke Thy divine benediction upon us, and as we look each other in the face, and call to mind the deeds of our forefathers, may our hearts grow warm to each other, and may this nation be made closer and more earnest. May Thy divine blessing rest upon all the members of this Society, the officers, and all these sympathizing friends gathered here to-day, and all who shall unite with us in this interesting service, and may Thou guide us by Thy counsel in our deliberations unto the end. We ask all for Jesus's sake—amen!

Dr. Hayes then introduced Mayor H. I. Gourley, as follows:

Mr. President, and Gentlemen of the Scotch-Irish Society of America:— It gives me very great pleasure, on behalf of our Local Committee, to extend to you, through this Society and all its kith and kin, a very cordial and hearty welcome to this great work-shop of America, which has been made so, to a great extent, by the race to which we all are proud to belong. It is my pleasure and it has been my duty to ask our worthy Mayor, H. I. Gourley, filling an honorable place, and filling it honorably in this city, to address a few words of welcome on behalf of the city. I take pleasure in introducing Mayor Gourley. (Applause.)

Mayor Gourley said :

Gentlemen of the Scotch-Irish Congress:—In briefly addressing you, I might speak of the countries from which you inherit your name, I might refer to the land rendered illustrious by the heroic achievements of William Wallace and Robert Bruce, and made immortal by the poetic genius of Robert Burns, but time will not permit; I might perhaps speak of that Emerald Isle in the midst of the deep blue sea a thousand leagues away, and tell you of an oppressed, but liberty loving people, but such is not within the province of my duty.

You come here to-day, gentlemen of the Scotch-Irish Congress, from all parts of our common country, you meet together in this great center of a nation's industry, in order that you may gaze upon each other, look into each others faces, renew former friendships, and establish friendly relations with many who have hitherto been unknown to you. You will no doubt look back over the years that have passed away, and review the history of those who, by conspicuous achievements, have honored your race and distinguished your name. You meet together, I take it, not only as Scotch-Irish, but as Americans (applause and cheers), who experience an undying pride in that imperishable glory which attaches to American citizenship.

Your ancestors loved liberty and law. Your fathers belonged to the patriotic army led by the immortal Washington during a mighty revolution, which gave birth to a new nation and made an epoch in the world's history. During those stormy days when the sun was oft-times overcast and the moon was sometimes turned to blood, the people of your race never faltered. (Applause.)

"If defeated every-where else," said Washington, "I will make my last stand for liberty among the Scotch-Irish of my native Virginia." (Cheers and applause.)

What your fathers helped to establish, I know you will help to foster and maintain, to the end that our nation shall not only challenge the admiration of the world, but continue to occupy a position in the vanguard of human progress, destined soon to usher in the "golden era of humanity and the universal monarchy of man." (Applause.)

Gentlemen, on behalf of the people of Pittsburg, whom I have the honor to represent in the capacity of Chief Executive, I welcome you to our city. (Applause.) I greet you on behalf of the banker and merchant, the manufacturer and mechanic, and lawyer, the teacher and the student. On behalf of three hundred thousand people devoted to all the diversified industries and occupations, I bid you a cordial welcome. (Applause.)

Our churches and school-houses, our court-house and jail, our station-houses and lock-ups are open to you (laughter), and if you should be so unfortunate as to be detained in the latter, our police magistrates will see that you receive a speedy hearing and swift justice. (Applause and laughter.)

Especially, let me ask you to visit some of our wonderful manufactories. In glass, in iron, and in steel, Pittsburg is doing a marvelous work. Her industries in these respects exceed any thing that can be pictured by the most vivid imagination. Go and see for yourselves, and thus obtain a more complete knowledge touching the varied products of our manufacturers, which constitute potent factors in the gradual advancement of a great nation, and in the progress and development of the human race.

Gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention, and I sincerely trust your meeting in our city may be profitable and pleasant to you and to our people. (Applause.)

Dr. Hays then introduced Governor Beaver, as follows:

Mr. President:—We all think here that Pittsburg is a very great place. Our worthy Mayor has given us an exceedingly large view of it. But we also believe that Pennsylvania is a Scotch-Irish state—the greatest Scotch-Irish state in America, in fact, and it is the result of the pluck and daring of the Scotch-Irish people. We are now going to ask our worthy Governor to say a word on behalf of the state, and I know very well he will do it justice, for the reason that while he may not be purely Scotch-Irish himself, he has a better half who is Scotch-Irish through and through, and who will give him inspiration for the occasion. (Applause.)

Governor Beaver said:

Ladles and Gentlemen:—The position which I occupy in this presence is somewhat anomalous. You have already been welcomed to Pittsburg in a manner which has evinced the cordial good will of its people, and which has been generous and hearty in the extreme. According to Pittsburg authority there is little outside this busy city in Pennsylvania which is worth the welcome, and hence my embarrassment. (Applause and laughter.) There was a time, I confess, in the history of our goodly commonwealth, when the welcome extended to the Scotch-Irish was neither cordial nor sincere, and in some localities some significance might attach to the welcome extended by the chief executive to the descendants of that sturdy race, but here it is not necessary. The significance of such a welcome is lost, because you have made this region what it is. It is yours already by discovery and conquest. You own it. You have made it. (Applause.) All the influence which it possesses and exerts is due to the Scotch-Irish, and it is therefore like "carrying coals to Newcastle" to welcome you here. (Applause.)

As Dr. Hayes has very truly said, the one kind of blood which does not mingle in my veins is Scotch-Irish. There is not, so far as I know, a drop of Scotch or Irish blood in my pedigree, and yet I am free to say that, to a large extent, I am the subject of the molding influences of the Scotch-Irish race. (Applause.) As I once said to an Irish society in Philadelphia, I inherit all my Scotch-Irish blood through my children. (Laughter.) The days of my boyhood were spent in a Presbyterian congregation, in one of the most beautiful and secluded valleys of Pennsylvania, composed of the most sterling and spirited Scotch-Irish people. The Campbells, the Wilsons, the Flemings, the Barrs, the Wills, and others, were among the original settlers of the valley. Boy as I was, I recognized their decision of character, their sterling qualities and sturdy virtues, but could not recognize then, as I clearly do now, the source whence all these valuable qualities came. The unconscious influence of such surroundings and associations are greater than we sometimes acknowledge.

A year or two ago we celebrated the founding of the Log College in Eastern Pennsylvania. It was established in a Quaker settlement in one of the three original counties founded by Penn. The celebration was an occasion of much interest, especially as showing the determination of the Scotch-Irish to educate their own children, in their own way, under their own supervision. The educational influences to which I was in large part subjected were in that other log college which was founded by John McMillan in one of the counties adjoining Allegheny. The influences of that institution have manifested themselves for nearly a century along these two rivers which unite at the very point on which we stand, and along all the tributaries of the great Father of Waters, and have made to a very large extent this western country of ours what it is. Whenever you go to one of the great assemblages of the churches composed of Scotch-Irish people you will find the influences of Washington and Jefferson College predominating to a very large degree. In my day, and among the college men of my generation, the names of Brown, Smith, Williams, Patterson, Jones and Frazier were recognized as those of men descended from the Scotch-Irish and Irish and Scotch, whose learning and personal influence told powerfully upon the lives and characters of their students.

Further on in my life, I came under the molding influences of the Scotch-Irish race to a greater degree. My wife is a descendant of the Scotch-Irish, who needs only to point along her ancestral line to the McAllisters, the Thompsons, and the Nelsons, to be recognized as one of your sort. You will not wonder, ladies, under these circumstances, that I am, to a great extent, a Scotch-Irishman, and ready to acknowledge the molding influences of the Scotch-Irish race. (Applause.)

It has been said, and, I believe, truthfully said, that the Scotch-Irish of Pennsylvania—and what is true of them is true also of the race throughout the entire country—have not done their duty to their posterity in preserving the records of their lineage and achievements. There is, however, reason for this. You do not expect a man who is in the fore-front of battle to write history. He is making history. It is not his province to write it. (Applause and cheers.) The Scotch-Irish people of this country have never stopped at the frontiers. Mountains and rivers, which seemed to others insurmountable difficulties, have only been incentives to them. They have pushed forward to the fore-front of the fight of conquest and civilization. They have not halted in their march, and hence they have not had time to write history. They have not had time to stop and tell who their fathers were, and what their fathers did, because they have been constantly following in the line of the achievements of their fathers. But, now that frontiers have been abolished, and that the returning tide of population and achievement is coming back to us from the Pacific, it seems to me that it is well for you to stop to consider and to determine what your fathers have done, and what influence they have exerted, in making our great country what it is, and in letting the world know the history, (Applause.)

The influences and the achievements of Puritan, Pilgrim, and Independent we're confined to a little space, and have made themselves felt because of this confinement and the disposition to tell the rest of the world what was being done. New England has made much of her lineage and has carefully preserved it. Whilst her people have been making history, she has been industrious in writing it. This, among other reasons which I can not stop to enumerate, accounts for her preponderating influence in the historical literature of the country.

The Scotch-Irish, when they landed in Pennsylvania, found scant welcome to those parts which were settled, and, to a certain extent, civilized. When they came to the eastern part of the state, they found it inhabited and occupied, to a great extent, by the Quaker element, which naturally enough held Penn's original settlement. Mountains and rivers were not, however, insurmountable barriers. They found good land in the Pequa Valley; they crossed the South Mountain and settled the Cumberland Valley. The Blue Ridge was no insurmountable barrier, and Sherman's Valley gave them a lodging place. The Tuscarora was crossed, and Juniata and Mifflin counties opened their beautiful and secluded valleys to their enterprise and determined efforts. They halted for a time at the Alleghanies, but only for a time. These were scaled and crossed both in Pennsylvania and Virginia, and this hardy people occupied Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and made the slopes and meadows on both sides the Alleghanies the home, the magnificent heritage, of the Scotch-Irish people. We see the influence which they set at work along this great valley, north and south, and feel their results, and it seems to me that as you gather here from other states, it behooves you to tell the world what the influences were which founded these communities, built these great cities, established these great institutions of learning and industry, which are truly a blessing to the world to-day, and which may, and we trust will, continue so for all the generations to come. (Applause.)

It seems to me also that the coming together of all these descendants of the Scotch-Irish race is of great benefit in another way. The prejudices of the Scotch-Irish, as you know, are strong. They are a clannish people, and as you, come together from North and South to re-establish the family lines, the clan lines, the race lines, which were to a greater or less extent interrupted and broken during our late civil convulsion, you should realize your opportunity and the importance of firmly establishing cordial relations in your great family. I found myself this morning seated on this platform beside a distinguished citizen of Alabama. Many others whom I have had the privilege of meeting since I came here are from the South and from the West, and it has occurred to me—and the thought grows as I dwell upon it—that if this Congress were to do nothing else, it would be of inestimable benefit to this country if it were to establish these family lines and race lines running north and south, and obliterate the sectionalism which was once a menace to this country, making its different sections so dissimilar in laws, interests, and institutions that they were practically foreign to each other. The great problem of this generation, so far as our own country is concerned, is unification, not in name only, but in deed and in truth. As we consider the importance of this subject, and the significance of the fact that your first meeting was held in Tennessee last year, and that the second is now in session in Pennsylvania, I know of nothing which can more powerfully tend to weld into one homogeneous whole these diverse sentiments, feelings, interests, and institutions than the influence which this Congress can bring to bear upon the people represented here, and through them upon all parts of the country. If this be in any degree the purpose and intent of your coming together, and if your meeting has in any measure this tendency, surely I can warmly and patriotically bid you welcome and wish you God speed in your deliberations and success in your efforts. Divided families, divided churches, diverse sentiments, alienated feelings—truly here is a great field upon which the pertinacity of the Scotch-Irish may exert itself.

In conclusion, Mr. President, let me say to you and to those whose honored representative you are, that if there be any thing in Pennsylvania outside of Pittsburg worth having or worth enjoying, you have only to ask for it and, so far as my ability goes, you shall have it. You are welcome to Pennsylvania, ladies and gentlemen, and I trust that your stay in this goodly state, and especially in this prosperous city, will be one long remembered by all the members of your society and representatives in this Congress. (Applause.)

President Bonner:

Mr. Mayor and Governor:—I sincerely thank you on behalf of the Scotch-Irish Society of America, for your very cordial welcome.

While listening to Governor Beaver's most admirable address, which he found inspiration in delivering from his Scotch-Irish wife, to whom he referred, I could not help thinking, as he spoke of the molding influences of his wife, of a very expressive Scotch-Irish phrase—"It is so seen on him."

A few years ago, On the occasion of a visit to Kentucky, General Ekin, whose head-quarters were at Louisville, called on me one morning and invited me to go to church with him. On our way to church, in speaking of Pittsburg, I said to him, thinking that I was giving him a piece of interesting information, that I understood that the leading element in twelve of the churches of Pittsburg was Scotch-Irish. The general, who is a native of Pittsburg, smiled and said that the leading element in nineteen, instead of twelve, of the Presbyterian churches in Pittsburg was Scotch-Irish. The fact is, that Pittsburg has become so noted for the number of her churches and the hospitality of her citizens with Scotch-Irish blood in their veins, that we felt, in coming here, that we were coming to a city akin to the birthplace of our fathers. Your cordial welcome has confirmed that feeling, and, in the name of the Society, I again thank you for your generous welcome to Pittsburg and to Pennsylvania. (Applause.)

Dr. Hays then read the following report, and moved its adoption or reception by the convention.

The Report of the Local Committee to the Scotch-Irish Society of America, in Session at Pittsburg, May 29, 1890.

The Local Committee, appointed by the citizens of Pittsburg to invite the Scotch-Irish Society of America to hold its next annual meeting in this city, would report as follows:

The citizens of Pittsburg and vicinity, of Scotch-Irish extraction, having heard of the successful organization of your Society in Columbia, Tenn., one year ago, and having understood that you would not be averse to holding your next meeting at the very heart and center of the Scotch-Irish population of this country, held a meeting and agreed to extend a hearty invitation to you to do so, and appointed a committee of seven, consisting of Colonel W. A. Herron, Colonel John W. Echols, Rev. T. H. Robinson; D.D., Rev. Nevin Woodside, Rev. Geo. W. Chalfant, J. McF. Carpenter, Esq., Rev. James Allison, D.D., and Rev. I. N. Hays, to confer with your officers, and to make all necessary arrangements for your accommodation and entertainment while you might sojourn in our midst.

This Committee went to work at once to map out the work to be done, and to appoint the necessary committees.

The details of the work to be done was committed to a special Executive Committee, consisting of Colonel John W. Echols, Secretary of the Local Committee, and Chairman of the Executive Committee, with Colonel W. A. Herron and the Chairman of the Local Committee. To Colonel Echols very much credit is due for his continuous and laborious efforts put forth to make your meeting in our midst a success.

We desire, in this most public manner, to extend its sincere and hearty thanks to His Honor, Mayor H. I. Gourley, H. P. Ford, Esq., President of Select Council; G. L. Holliday, President of Common Council; Samuel Hamilton, Esq., Chairman of Citizens' Committee, and all others who so generously aided us either by their efforts or contributions.

You, having seen fit to invite us here, to name three of the speakers on the occasion who would, to some extent, represent the Scotch-Irish of this vicinity, we have invited our worthy Congressman, Hon. John Dalzell, to give us an address upon the Scotch-Irish of Pennsylvania; His Excellency, James E. Campbell, Governor of Ohio, to speak of the Scotch-Irish of Ohio; and we had invited Rev. Samuel J. Niccolls, D.D., LL.D., of St. Louis, who was a native of Pennsylvania, to give us an address on the religious impression made by the Scotch-Irish on the inhabitants of the great Mississippi Valley. We are sorry to say that owing to pressing engagements, Dr. Niccolls will not be with us, and we, therefore, ask that a brief but most excellent paper on the settlement of the Scotch-Irish in Pennsylvania, prepared by one of our most worthy and honorable citizens, Ex-Chief Justice Daniel Agnew, be read in the place of the one which was to have been prepared by Dr. Niccolls. As our venerable Ex-Chief Justice is far advanced in years, and, owing to physical disability, and a failure of voice, is not able to be with us, we have asked Prof. G. N. Sleeth to read this paper for him.

Fully realizing the fact that your Society is neither partisan nor sectarian, and, therefore, could not hold distinctively religious services under its auspices, we have, nevertheless, taken it upon ourselves to arrange for an old-time Scotch-Irish religious service to be held in this place, on Sabbath evening after your sessions have closed. At this service, Dr. John Hall, of New York, will preach the sermon, and others will participate. The object of this meeting will be to give this generation some idea of the kind 'of religious services our forefathers of some two hundred years ago were accustomed to attend. These services will, of course, be somewhat novel, but are expected to be deeply interesting and solemn. To this service you are all most cordially invited.

Let this grand Congress of the best blood of this Nation come to a close by recognizing the God of our fathers, and communing with those grand old heroes, who stood for all that is truest and best and grandest in that civilization which owes so much to that thoughtful, sturdy, iron-sinewed race to which we all feel so proud to belong.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

I. N. HAYS, Chairman of the Local Committee.

The report was received and ordered to be placed upon the minutes.

The President then introduced Rev. Dr. Mcintosh, as follows:

Last May, at our meeting at Columbia, Tennessee, Dr. Hall stated that Dr. Mcintosh was so much in love with America that he came over to this country to be born. But Dr. Hall omitted to state that Dr. Mcintosh went back to Ireland to marry " the girl that he left behind him." Dr. Mcintosh's subject is, "The Making of the Ulsterman;" but I think he is of too gallant a nature to ignore the making of the Ulster woman.

Dr. Mcintosh then addressed the Congress on "The Making of the Ulsterman." (See Part II, page 85.)

President Bonner:

Our very efficient Secretary, Mr. Floyd, who has had the laboring oar in the organization and building up of our Society so far, will now read telegrams received, and make some announcements.

Secretary Floyd then read the congratulations of the Mayor of Belfast, Ireland, and the greetings of Davy Crockett's grandson, appearing among the letters and telegrams published at another place in this volume.

Dr. Hays then made several announcements as to the meetings being open and the public being invited, after which Secretary Floyd announced the business meetings, etc., and the Congress took a recess until 3 o'clock p. m.

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