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The Scotch-Irish in America

Executive Mansion, Washington, April 1, 1889.
A. C. Floyd, Esq.,
Columbia, Tenn.

I am in receipt of your letter of the 20th inst., inviting me to be present at the Scotch-Irish Congress at Columbia, Tenn., on the 8th of May next. I regret that my engagements will prevent my acceptance; but beg you will accept for yourself, and convey to the members of the Association, my sincere appreciation of your courtesy, and my best wishes for the success of your meeting.

Very truly yours,

New York, April 13, 1889.
A. C. Floyd, Esq. ,
Secretary, etc

I desire to acknowledge, with thanks, the cordial invitation I have received to attend the Scotch-Irish Congress, to be held at Columbia, Tennessee, on the 8th of May next.

I regret that prior engagements will prevent my acceptance of your courteous invitation.

Yours, very truly,

New York, May 3, 1889.
Mr. A. C. Floyd,
Sec'y Scotch-Irish Congress,
Columbia, Tenn.

Upon my return from an extended trip through the South, I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your favor, dated April 25th.

I regret exceedingly that business engagements, already made, so engross my time at the date of your Congress, that I shall not be able to give myself the satisfaction of attendance. I cordially appreciate your earnest invitation, though unable to accept it, and, as my best alternative, have taken pleasure in providing a car for the Rev. Dr. John Hall, Mr. Robert Bonner, and several other gentlemen, who will doubtless be at the meeting.

Regretting that circumstances forbid my being with you, I remain, Very sincerely, yours,

War Office, London, February 1, 1889.

I have received, with much gratification, your Excellency's letter of the - alt., inviting me to attend the Scotch-Irish Congress, to be assembled at Columbia, Tennessee, on the 8th of May next.

I regret very much that the pressure of my official duties precludes the possibility of my proceeding to the United States at that season of the year. I am compelled to decline the honor of the flattering invitation which your Excellency has conveyed to me in such courteous terms.

I have the honor to be, sir,
Your Excellency's obedient servant,
His Excellency, R. L. Taylor,
Governor of the State of Tennessee.

Philadelphia, February 21, 1889.
Mr. A. C. Floyd,

I thank you for the invitation of February 16th, to attend the Scotch-Irish Congress to assemble at Columbia, Tenn., on the 8th of May next. I should greatly enjoy meeting the men and women whom your invitation will doubtless draw to your beautiful city, but regret that my engagements will not permit me to be present.

No racial element has had more important, and, I think I may say, healthful influence, in shaping the destinies of our Republic than the Scotch-Irish. This is especially true of the great belt of middle and border states. The very backbone of these commonwealths has been drawn from the heathered hills of Scotland and the green slopes of Ulster. The thistle and the shamrock have found the free Republic of the West a congenial environment, and have flourished here most vigorously.

I trust that, in the future, those chief characteristics, grace and grit, which have made them so valuable a force in the formation of our young commonwealths, may continue without enervation or waste.

I trace my lineage on my mother's side to a New England family of early settlement; but my paternal name and blood are drawn from a Scotch-Irishman of Ulster, who, with a Scotch wife, emigrated to America in the ninth decade of the last century. As such, I feel proud of my ancestral descent, and extend to you hearty sympathy, and through you to all whom you represent, in your effort to commemorate the worth, works, and imperishable influence of our Scotch-Irish ancestors. Very truly, yours,

Memphis, Tenn., May 7, 1889.
Mr. Thomas T. Wright.

I regret very much that I can not attend the Scotch-Irish Congress at Columbia. Business engagements of an imperative character detain me in Memphis, and will keep me here during the days when it will be in session.

I am quite alive to the value of such a gathering from a historical point of view, and as a means of vindicating the high position in usefulness of the Scotch-Irish almost ever since the foundation of the American colonies. They came first into history as a result of the settlement of Scotch immigrants in Ireland during the reign of the first James, and from that hour to this have been distinguished, above all things, for the courage of their convictions. They have always been tenacious as Protestants and lovers of individual liberty. Even in the church organizations, as Presbyterians, while adhering to "the faith once delivered to the saints," they have, on occasions, openly declared dissent, and in a spirit that even the British government in dealing with them has always recognized, have been ready to maintain it to the death. Thus founded in protest against what they believed were "errors of faith and practice," contending for the right of private judgment, and asserting their opposition to prelacy, and, therefore, kingly government, they were practically republicans. King James himself acknowledged this when, in a moment of anger, excited by the demands of the Presbyterian divines, he said, "No bishop, no king." The Scotch-Irish, therefore, came to this country the ready servants of republican liberty. Hence, when revolution impended, they, on the 20th of May, 1775, at Mecklenburg, North Carolina, made the first and most daring declaration of independence.

In heart and conscience they had always been independent, and they valued liberty above life. The names of the delegates present at the convention that adopted that declaration are nearly all of them Scotch-Irish. Polk, Alexander, Barry, Downs, Graham, Irwin, Morrison, McClure, Wilson, and Patton, are all Scotch-Irish names.

Thus, the race whose deeds are to be celebrated at Columbia by the Congress held this week, were first in the race for liberty on this continent, and their subsequent bearing during and after the Revolutionary war has proven that they have been worthy of that liberty. The men of Mecklenburg were influential in the settlement of this state were, indeed, its founders, and in celebrating the Scotch-Irish race, we also celebrate the men who established the government of the Watauga Association and made the Volunteer State. They fought under Sevier, were the companions and comrades of James Robinson in the Mero district, fought the Indians under Jackson from the Tennessee river to the Florida everglades, defeated the British at New Orleans, and compelled the Spaniards to give up Florida, thus ending forever the claims of Spain to the Mississippi river. They were subsequently conspicuous in the Texas revolution and in the Mexican war; and in the civil war, now fast becoming but a memory, they were among the first for gallantry, as the names of John C. Brown, Porter, Bates, McNeil, and others, attest.

Blended and fused with the great mass of a population whose power of assimilation is a marvel of our time, the Scotch-Irish are losing their distinctiveness on this continent. It is, therefore, well that their history should be recovered and eliminated from all other histories, and thus be held sacred by their descendants, for there is much of incentive in example. And what nobler example of high moral qualities, of courage and endurance, can be found anywhere than with the Scotch-Irish, who, believing in the right of private judgment, have always contended for a government resting on a basis of consent.

Very respectfully,

Liverpool, March 30, 1889.
A. C. Floyd, Esq.,
Secretary to the Scotch-Irish Congress, Columbia, Tenn., U. S. A.

I am in receipt of your invitation to attend the Scotch-Irish Congress in your city on the 8th of May next, and I very much regret I can not avail myself of it, as I am about to start for a trip to Australia, India, China, and Japan, and do not expect to reach America till next spring. I am, dear sir,

Very truly yours,
A. Mcdowell.

"Battle Hill," Jackson, Miss., March 2, 1889.
Mr. A. C. Floyd,

I beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 23d last, extending invitation to the Scotch-Irish Congress, to meet in Columbia in May.

I am glad to see that such an organization is effected, and I am sure it will be of great use in keeping our esprit de corps among the members of a race which is exceeded by no other in the number of distinguished men in all lines who have made our country illustrious. The characteristics of the race are of the best. Steadfast, stalwart, true to conviction, tough brained but tender hearted, the men have always been who are called " Scotch-Irish."

I have to say what I said in a published speech in Derry last summer: "I have always been proud to call myself an Ulsterman, proud that I am a born Derryrnan, a son of the men that starved and prayed and fought, but never surrendered."

I deeply regret the appointments for my work are such that I am unable to accept your invitation for this year. Meanwhile, I hope, at another meeting to come up with the tribes. Very truly, yours,
Bishop of Mississippi.

United States Senate, Washington, D. C, December 28, 1888.
Mr. A. C. Floyd,
Columbia, Tenn.

Your letter, inviting me to deliver an address before the Scotch-Irish Congress on the 15th of next May, has been received. I am greatly pleased with the suggestion of this Congress and its purposes, and am honored by your invitation to address it. The political situation forbids my making any positive engagement so far ahead, but it is my intention to accept your invitation, should the calls of duty here not prevent.

When this session of Congress shall have expired, and I can see what the next year promises, I shall communicate with you again. Very respectfully and
Truly yours,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C, April 6, 1889.

A. C. Floyd, Esq.,
Columbia, Tenn.

I thank you for your cordial invitation to be present at the Scotch-Irish Congress, to be held at your city on the 8th of May next. It would afford me real pleasure to honor the memory of the Scotch-Irish emigrants who came to this country and did so much to elevate and strengthen the character of our people. In my remarks in the House of Representatives, February 2, 1886, on the death of Vice-President Thomas A. Hendricks, I referred to his father, and to his uncle, who was governor of Indiana and senator from that state in the U. S. Congress in 1822 to 1825 and in 1837:

"They were Scotch-Irish pioneers, belonging to a race of men of splendid physical form, courage, and endurance, and renowned for their mental vigor and strength of character. These pioneers were the ancestors of many distinguished families of the South and West. Wherever these brave men fixed their abode, the land brought forth abundance and the people prospered."

It is, therefore, with regret I am constrained to deny myself the pleasure of being with you on that occasion.

I hope you will have a successful meeting, and that its results may be beneficial to the welfare and glory of our common country.

Yours truly,

Brooklyn, March 19, 1889.
A. C. Floyd, Esq.,
Secretary Scotch-Irish Congress.

Only previous engagements could hinder me from accepting your kind invitation, for which I thank you. Had the invitation come a little earlier, I could have accepted it, but now I am harnessed for other service. Most appropriate is it that the people come together and celebrate the achievements of that wondrous and magnificent race, the Scotch-Irish.

Again thanking you for the courtesy of your letter, I am, Yours, etc.,


German Theological Seminary,
Dubuque, Ia., April 6, 1889.
Mr. A. C. Floyd,
Secretary of Scotch-Irish Congress.

I find it impossible to avail myself of the honor and pleasure of attendance at the Scotch-Irish Congress, to convene on the third prox., to which your favor of February 16th so courteously and cordially invited me.

At first, I had hoped to so arrange former engagements as to be able to attend, but I find this impossible. Few things would have given me such true and permanent pleasure as this first organization of a much-needed association. All classes and races have their racial organizations; but in this country, the greatest and most energetic race in the land has hitherto contented itself with the preservation of its identity and unifying power, which pertain to great achievements, in peaceful arts, the discoveries of science, moral leadership, and heroic deeds at the formative epochs of national history.

The Scotch-Irish race is, indeed, sui generis, if not altogether unique; for, while possessed of strongly marked individuality, it nevertheless freely coalesces with all who seek whatsoever things are true, honest, just, lovely, and of good report. This race has the strong will, religiosity, and shrewdness of the Hebrew, the philosophic profundity of the German, the political sagacity and conservatism of the English, and withal, when needs be, the audacity of the French. What wonder that such a race has occupied so large a place in the history of our country? When, in this land, were not the ablest of divines, the bravest of generals, the wisest of statesmen, not found among the well-trained families of this race? Surely, it is time that the sons of such a race confederate themselves in closer ties of visible kinship. With such an ancestry and history, justice to the storied dead, and self-respect of the living, demand such an organization of the Scotch-Irish race in these United States as your letter indicates.

That the forthcoming convention may prove worthy of the great occasion and of the thoughtful hospitality that invites it, is the sincere wish of
Yours, with much respect,
A. McClelland.

Public Ledger Building, Philadelphia.
Mr. A. C. Floyd,
Secretary Scotch-Irish Congress, Columbia, Tenn.

When I wrote you in March, it was under the impression that the date fixed for the assembling at Columbia, Tennessee, of the " Scotch-Irish" Congress, was May 15th inst., as printed on the official letter-head. Finding subsequently that the actual date is May 8th, I am obliged to forego the pleasure of accepting your welcome invitation, which I very much regret.

The occasion is one of exceeding interest in many states; but great as that interest is elsewhere, it can hardly equal that of the people of Pennsylvania, where the pioneers of the "Scotch-Irish" immigrants found their first resting-places in their adventurous movement, which led them later on to Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, as well as into the then almost unbroken wastes of Southern and Western Pennsylvania. Every-where along that southern line of our state, especially west of the Susquehanna and throughout the Cumberland, Juniata, and Ligonier valleys, they have left the indelible characteristic marks of their early presence, just as they have among the eminent families of Kentucky and Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. Their course as pioneers is traceable by a track across that broad expanse of territory almost as distinct, in an ethnological point of view, as are the rock strata that mark the coal and iron bearing veins across a geological horizon.

The characteristics referred to are well understood by all students of the course of migration into the wild forest lands of America by the streams of colonists colonists of the widely varying sects and races from European countries in the early days of our history. Distinct as the Puritan, or the Pilgrim, or the Cavalier, or the Catholic, or the Quaker, or the German Lutheran and Moravian, or the Huguenot, were the " Scotch-Irish," or, as I would prefer to put it, the Irish and the Scots, who came into Pennsylvania to help to populate it and the adjacent provinces (now states) to the south and west. They were high-spirited people, moved by lofty motives not so much proselytism in their particular religious faith, as by the purpose to find a region in the new world where they could assert their right to decide what form of government they would live under the right to choose for themselves their own rulers, whether for their political security or the welfare of their souls. They were, to an uncommonly large degree, men and women, too with a robust vigor of intellect, in full keeping with the stalwart muscular development which was the physical characteristic of a large proportion of them. They were earnest and brave people, full of energy, of self-assertion of their own right to free thought and free action, and full of the energy and high purpose that make patriots; yet comparatively exempt from the fierce fanaticism of the mere propagandist. They were born pioneers of the wilderness and leaders of other men. In all of the five or six contiguous states south and west of the middle line of Pennsylvania, the names of these Irish and Scotch pioneers and of their descendants shine with luster in histories and annals as among their noblest patriots, statesmen, soldiers, scholars, and men of renown.

It would be to make a catalogue of leading family names in broad regions of those states to attempt to individualize, for it could not fail to be invidious if only some were named. Their history and their work and their enduring influence should be written in a large way; and if this should be an outcome of the Columbia "Scotch-Irish Congress," it will be a valuable result, and a most instructive history to the whole country.

I do not know, of course, what other reason there was than the promise of the most genial weather, that decided the choice of May 8th for the date of the assembling of the Congress; but either by intent or by happy coincidence, your committees have come close to a notable anniversary in the annals of the pioneers of the Scotch-Irish immigrants into the American colonies. It was on the ninth (9th) of May, 1729, that the good ship " George and Ann" set sail from Ireland to bring to Philadelphia the McDowells, the Irvines, the Campbells, the O'Neills, the McElroys, the Mitchells, and their compatriots, who penetrated to interior Pennsylvania, and thence went west and south. With these were the high-bred and brave Margaret O'Neill and Margaret Lynn. I am not so sure of the ship that brought the Breckinridge company, whether the one just named, or the "John of Dublin," or some other; but I find recorded that, on the 22d of May, 1740, fourteen heads of families went to Orange Court House, Virginia, under the leadership of Alexander Breckinridge; that Breckinridge there made oath that he "had imported himself from Ireland to Philadelphia," together with John, George, Robert, Smith, and Letitia Breckinridge; and thence to this colony (Virginia). Among these heads of families "imported from Ireland to Philadelphia" were John Trimble, David Logan, James Caldwell, and, I think, John Preston. In fact, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania furnished the gateway, the first resting place, and the course of "Scotch-Irish" adventure and enterprise, as they moved west and south.

We of Pennsylvania may, therefore, fairly ask the Columbia Congress to bear that fact affectionately in mind; and that, while you are celebrating the merits and virtues of distinguished and eminent western and southern families, that Philadelphia has her annals richly illustrated with Meades and Moylans, Breckinridges and Barrys, Waynes and St. Clairs, Allisons, Armstrongs, and Fultons, McKeans, McClures, McKibbens, and McCooks; with Thomas Fitzgibbons, James Mease, Sharp Delaney, and stout old Blair McClenaghen, with others of the leaders of the "Friendly Sons of St. Patrick," renowned among Philadelphia merchants and patriots of the revolutionary days. With great respect,


British Embassy,
Rome, February 13, 1889.
My Dear Mr. Wright :

I am very much gratified by the kind invitation which you have sent me to attend the forthcoming Congress ; but as I am now on my way home, after four years' absence from England, it would, I regret, be out of my power to cross the Atlantic.

With renewed thanks for the honor you have done me, believe me, my dear Mr. Wright,
Yours sincerely,

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