Presbyterian Church in Ireland web site Ulster Settlers in America The Very Reverend Howard Cromie, BA, B. D., M. A., D. D.,



Chapter 111

They Planted the Kirk

We use the term "Kirk" advisedly because its im­mediate connotation is Scottish Presbyterian. The Ulster-Scots were Presbyterians almost to a man, and they brought their religion with them.

  It is sometimes claimed that Presbyterianism in the American colonies sprang mainly from Scottish Presbyterianism. This is a generalisation which is certainly not accurate unless the term Scottish is specially defined. L. J. Trinterud states "The Presbyterians of Scottish origin who came to America during the colonial period were mostly from North Ireland. Few came direct from Scotland. Scotch-Irish Presbyterianism, while trans­planted originally from Scotland. had been modified, in many ways by its experiences of poverty and persecution in Ireland". ("The forming of an American Tradition". page 15).

  It could be argued that Presbyterians were better fitted to bring Religion to the frontier and into the wilderness than were Anglicans or Roman Catholics, had they been there in the same numbers, in that Pres­byterians are not so tied to the necessity of a fixed building with its altar and other furnishings associated wish a more elaborate liturgical form of worship. Pres­byterians could remember well the free and often im­promptu services held in the hills and glens of Scotland in the covenanting days and in the barns and hidden quarries of Ulster in the days when they were being persecuted for their faith. In such circumstances there was a strong sense of the immediacy of God's presence in those furtive and impromptu services.

  Something of the same spirit was recaptured when in the frontier situation Presbyterian "Circuit-Riders" arrived in "the desolate places" to call the scattered settlers together fur a service whenever they could find a suitable place, either undercover or in the open air. Esmond Wright describes them thus: "Armed with the Bible, and with their meager belongings packed in saddle-bags, youthful clergymen rode from community to community along the frontier. holding services often in barns, often in the open. In time, however, little churches, constructed of logs were built in the forest clearings. Before the end of the eighteenth century there were hundreds of Presbyterian congregations dotting the great region from the Susquehanna in Pennsylvania to Northern Georgia. By 1763 all the colonies except Rhode Island had a Presbyterian Church or Churches.30

  The founding of all these congregations was the direct result of the missionary vision and pastoral concern of the Church. Dr. Schlenther says. “Pastors were ordered by the Presbyteries and Synods to leave their congregations and to take extended tours among the Scotch-Irish settlements. Young men who wanted to enter the ministry of the Church were not ordained until they first had made a visit to the frontier.

  "Of course, the initial move was taken by the settlers themselves, for the most part. They moved into the wilderness without clergymen, but they had their Bibles, their catechisms and their Confession of Faith. The supplying of permanent or visiting ministers to these scattered and isolated communities was never fully satisfactory and the quality of clergy willing to brave the wilderness was not always of the highest. One minister wrote back to Britain. "As to the affairs of Christ in our part of the world, there are a great many congregations erected and now erecting, for within the space of five years bygone, near to two hundred families have come unto our parts from Ireland, and more are following. They are generally Presbyterians. So, it would appear. that the Glorious Christ hath great designs for America, tho' I am afraid not to be effectuated in my days . . .There are not above 30 ministers and pro­bationer preachers in our Synod (This was during the 1720's) and yet six of the said number have been grossly scandalous. Suspension for 4 Sabbaths hath been the greatest censure inflicted as yet... One Mr. Robert Laing who left Scotland.. . is to be censured at our Presbytery of New-Castle upon the first Wednesday of August ensuing for washing himself upon the Lord's Day: he is the first from Scotland grossly scandalous in our parts”.31

  No doubt Presbyteries had a lot more "grossly scandalous" problems to deal with than the one just men­tioned. While many Ministers and Licentiates emigrated to America with the highest motives there must nave been also some "rogue elephants" among them who were glad to find in the New World a way of escape from the Old. Where that was the case their past usually caught up with them and the American Presbyteries dealt with them accordingly.

  Life on the frontier was both rough and tough and it required ministers with particular qualities of endurance. The Rev. John McMillan was a Princeton graduate and of Scotch-Irish descent. He exercised an active and effective ministry in Western Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Tennessee. On one occasion he and the Rev. Joseph Patterson were on their way to a Pres­bytery meeting in Pittsburgh. Breaking their journey they went into an inn for refreshments. Dr. McMillan pro­posed a prayer and a blessing when two glasses of whisky were set before them. Patterson's blessing was rather lengthy so McMillan reached for one glass and drained it, then he did the same with the second. When the prayer finally ended Patterson, opening his expec­tant eyes, saw only two empty glasses. Then said his friend McMillan to him, "My brother, on the frontier you must watch as well as pray”.32

Another well-known figure on the frontier was the Rev. John Elder, a native of County Antrim and a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, he emigrated to the New World. There he became minister of the Presbyterian Church at Derry in Pennsylvania from 1736 to 1771. It is said that when John Elder entered the pulpit he carried his rifle with him and kept n close beside him while the men of his congregation stacked theirs under guard at the entrance to the church or hung them on the wooden pins around the interior of the church building.33

  Presbyterianism certainly took deep root wherever the Scotch‑Irish settled. Pittsburgh was a typical example where the first three ministers of First Pittsburgh con­gregation were all Scotch‑Irish. As the Rev. H. D. Lind­sey put it: "Pittsburgh is Presbyterian through and through … The man you meet on the street is a Presbyterian, and if not a Presbyterian he is a United Presbyterian, and if he is not a United Presbyterian he is an Associated Presbyterian, and if not an Associated Presbyterian he is a Reformed Presbyterian, and if you have missed it all along the line he hastens to assure you that his father is a Covenanter".34

  Of the hundreds of Presbyterian ministers who left Ulster for America, perhaps the most celebrated is Francis Makemie who is referred to as "the Father of American Presbyterianism". He was born in Ramel­ton, Co. Donegal, was a graduate of Aberdeen Uni­versity, licensed and ordained by the Lagan Presbytery and sailed for Barbados in 1683. From there he pro­ceeded to Maryland. There, and along the Elizabeth River in Virginia, he spent himself in establishing mis­sion stations among the Scotch‑Irish families who had settled in those parts. He built up a number of congregations in that area and settled them with ministers of their own. He then proceeded to bring together these congregations along with those of Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania by forming the Presbytery of Phila­delphia, the first Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America.

  Mackemie goes down in history, however, not only a, the founder of organised Presbyterianism in America but also the man who challenged the ecclesiastical establishment in America.

After the adjournment of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, October 27, 1706, Francis Mackemie set out on a journey on horseback-his normal way of travelling-to meet with the ministers of Boston. On the way he stopped at Mew York where he was invited by the Puritans of the city to preach for them. The Consistory of the Dutch Church offered the use of their building, but their kindness was frustrated by the refusal of Governor Cornbury to allow it. Mackemie was then invited to the private house of William Jackson in Pearl Street where he preached on 20th January, 1707. Within a few days he was arrested on a warrant by Governor Cornbury on the ground that he had preached without his permission.

  Eventually his case was heard the following June, and he was acquitted under the Toleration Act of 1688. Nevertheless, Makemie was required to pay the costs, of the prosecution as well as the defense amounting to what in those days was the large sum of £83-7-6. This trial says Professor Briggs `followed by the bitter pursuit of the acquitted man on the part of the wrath­ful Governor, was the culmination of a series of tyrannical acts which aroused the entire puritan body of the Colonies and Great Britain to action". 35

Francis Makemie

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Francis Makemie holds a place of honour among those who cherish civil and religious liberty. Henry Van Dyke expressed it well when he wrote:

Oh who can tell how much we owe Thee
Makemie, and to labours such as thine
For all that makes America the shrine
Of faith untrammeled and of conscience free?
Stand here, gray stone and consecrate the sod
Where sleeps this brave Scots-Irishman of God.

  Dr. W. F. Marshall points out that by 1760, "in less than forty years after the arrival of the Ulster' settlers there were 300 congregations to add to the handful that had been established before their coming. … A Pennsylvanian minister writing in 1744 said that `all our congregations except two or three are chiefly made up of people from Ireland'. Makemie founded the first Presbytery. The Rev. John Hampton, from Burt, was the first Moderator of the first Presbyterian Synod. The Rev. John Rodgers, whose father was an Ulster­man from Derry City, was the first Moderator of the first General Assembly. The Rev. Robert Smith, born fn Derry City, was the second Moderator. The Rev. George Duffield, son of an Ulster emigrant, was the first Clerk of the first General Assembly. Nearly 300 ministers of Ulster extraction, are known to have served in the ministry of American Presbyterian Churches in the period 1680-1820"'. So it was that the Kirk was firmly planted in American soil.


Chapter IV

They Erected the School

Ever since the days of John Knox, when in his Book of Discipline, he laid down the ideal of a school in every parish and a high school in every large town, Presbyterians have set high store by education.

Albert Maisel says that no small part of the credit for the influence of the Scots and the Scotch‑Irish in the establishment of the U.S. Republic, and ever since, must be given to their reverent striving for education. The Presbyterian religion with its emphasis upon his­torical knowledge for the interpretation of its doctrine, demanded a learned ministry. Thus they took with them a highly educated body of ministers and dominies. And they continued to train the brightest of their sons for leadership.37

So it was that wherever the Scotch-Irish settled they proceeded right away to plant the Kirk and erect a School. They insured that at least the basic three 'Rs', the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic were taught. Books were at a minimum, so the Bible was the usual daily reader. The Shorter Catechism, too, was used for memory work and was normally recited by the whole school on Saturday mornings. Esmond Wright gives this description of these frontier schools. “The equipment of these early schools was very meager - they were rough log‑cabins, with benches and tables made of split logs. Pens were made from goose quills, but there were no black boards, slates or pencils. In the beginning the log churches served also as school houses, but as stability and prosperity came, better church buildings were erected and new buildings were then constructed to be used as schoolhouses. However, primitive the provision, the principle was clear. In the colonies, as at home, a learned ministry was the cornerstone of Presbyterianism”.38

  Pride of place as the pioneer of higher education among Presbyterians in America must go to the Rev. William Tennent. After Makemie, Tennant is regarded as Ulster's most important contribution to the Church in Colonial America. Tennent was an Ulsterman, a cousin of James Logan who had made such an impact on life in Pennsylvania and who may have been in­fluential in William Tennant's decision to emigrate. Certainly Logan facilitated him when he went to Penn­sylvania, by giving him a fifty acre strip of land at Neshaminy Creek, where he built his school, a plain simple building twenty feet square. That was in 1726.39

  L. J. Trinterud in his book The forming of an Ameri­can Tradition writes: "As a scholar and teacher William Tennent. Sr., was unique and without equal in the Synod. He himself educated his four sons, three of whom were to become men of great force and in­fluence.

  Tennant was brought up in Armagh and was a grad­uate of Edinburgh University in 1695. Returning to Ireland he was received as a probationer of the General Synod of Ulster in 1701. His wife was Katherine Ken­nedy, daughter of Rev. Gilbert Kennedy, a well known Presbyterian minister. Their marriage rites in 1702 and the baptism of their eldest son, Gilbert' in 1703, were both performed by Presbyterially ordained ministers. Then on the 1st of July, 1704, he was ordained as a Deacon by the Bishop of Down and two years later as a Presbyter at Lisburn. For the next ten years, Tennent ministered within the Church of Ireland. Then in the summer of 1718, he set sail with his wife and family of four sons and one daughter for Philadelphia. There he petitioned the Presbyterian Synod to be re­ceived as a minister. The Synod required him to give a written statement of his reasons for "dissenting from the established Church in Ireland". In answer he gave seven reasons-six referring to Episcopal polity and one to Arminianism. According to the ministers of the Synod, the Moderator was ordered to "give him an exhortation to continue steadfast in his now holy pro­fession”.40

  Certainly there can be no doubt that Tennent re­mained "steadfast". He became minister of the Pres­byterian Congregation at Neshaminy Creek in 1726 and built his school there the same year.

  The life of the early settlers was both difficult and rough and so it was that Tennent became very con­cerned about the low spiritual level of Church life in many areas. It was mainly with the aim of giving a sound foundation of training to young men who might later go into the ministry or take up positions of leader­ship in the community that Terment decided to start his "Log College". It was not in any official sense a col­lege, in that it had no charter and gave no degrees. It was really an academy in which Greek, Latin and the Arts and Sciences were taught, as well as Theology. William Tennent taught all the classes himself and preached every Sunday. His preaching was of such a nature that it earned for him the title "Hell Fire Ten­nent". He and his son Gilbert, were leaders in the 18th century religious movement known as "the Great Awakening".41

  In November, 1739, George Whitfield, the English preacher visited Tennent and his Log College. In his journal he described Tennent as "an old grey-haired disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ". Of the College he wrote: "The place wherein the young men study is in contempt called The College! It is a log-house, about twenty feet long and near as many broad, and to me it seemed to resemble the schools of the prophets". Whitfield was invited to preach at Neshaminy Creek and his reference to it in his journal is significant. "About twelve o'clock came thither and found some 3000 people gathered together in the meeting yard ... and afterward we went to old Mr. Tennents who entertained us like one of the ancient patriarchs . .. All that can be said of most of our universities is that they are all glorious without. But from this despised place seven or eight worthy ministers of Jesus have lately been sent forth; more are almost ready to be sent; and the foundation is now laying for the instruction of others”.42

  Undoubtedly it could be claimed that Whitfield was seeing `the Log College' through rose coloured glasses for the College certainly had its defects. Nevertheless it is beyond dispute that the Log College had remark­able and distinguished alumni. Three of Tennents sons as well as Samuel Blair, John Blair, Samuel Finlay. Charles Beattie and John Rowland came through its classes. J. B. Woodburn says of the Log College: "It did a great work and helped to lay the foundations of American intellectual life. As the demands of the country multiplied. the College was moved to a better locality and developed into the "College of New Jersey" which afterwards became Princeton University “.43

John Blair and Samuel Finlay, both former students of the Log College, became Presidents of Princeton. Finlay, who was born in Co. Armagh, had founded Nottingham Academy before going to Princeton. Samuel Blair founded Fagg's Manor Classical School in Chester County in 1739. As well as that it was Scotch-­Irish men who founded Jefferson College, Hampden Sidney College, the University of North Carolina, the University of Pennsylvania and Washington and Uni­versity of Virginia. The founder of Lafayette College was of Ulster stock; the first President of Bowdoin and the first President of what became the University of Nashville were of the same race. No wonder Dr. Hogg of New Jersey, said in 1928, "Ninety per cent. of the primitive religious, educational and university work done in America was done by the Scotch-Irish”.44

Another school of a very different kind was that formed in the Scotch-Irish settlement at New London. This became famous as the New London Academy and was founded in 1744 by Dr. Francis Alison, who was born in Co. Donegal. He was a graduate of Glasgow University and emigrated to Philadelphia about 1735. After two years as a private tutor he became minister of the Presbyterian Church at New London, where he founded his school. The Synod became so impressed with the school that the Church decided to approve it as a place of training for the ministry, Because of the financial support given by the Synod, it was agreed that free education should be given "in the languages, Philosophy and Divinity to all who chose to attend. Dr. Alison later moved in 1755 to become Vice Provost of the College of Philadelphia. When the University of Glasgow conferred on him the degree of D.D., he was the first American to be so honoured by a European university?' Out of Alison's little school deve­loped Newark College from which grew the University of Delaware.  

One of the most important influences in the educa­tional fife of America during the eighteenth century was the philosophical teaching of Francis Hutcheson of Glasgow University. He had a host of friends and followers in America as in Scotland. He was propounding in Glasgow a theory of the right of resistance to tyranny forty years before 1776. Dr. Francis Alison was dictating passages from him to his students in 1759 and 1760. His writings were set books at Yale.

Hutcheson was an Ulster-Scot. He was born in Co. Armagh, the son and grandson of Presbyterian mini­sters. He was a graduate of Glasgow University and later became professor there. Wright says: "He believed in Federalism, even in Britain in 1689: he believed in the right of resistance. He went even farther-to the idea of colonial independence, religious liberty, the happiness of the greatest number and the welfare state. He wrote in a Scottish context, but what he said was highly relevant to colonists ripe to revolt”.46

With revolution just round the corner, it is easy to see the tremendous significance of such ideas being promoted in the field of education throughout the schools and colleges of America.

Please click on photographs for a larger image

Princeton University Church Liberty Bell Declaration of Independance
Independance Hall  Philadelphia Poster of Period American Presidents of Ulster Decent

Chapter V

  They Supported the Revolution

  When reference is made today to the American War of Independence people naturally think first of America as they know it now-it is now, a vast highly developed country stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans: In fact at the time of the outbreak of the Revolution, it was a string of largely indepen­dent colonies along the eastern seaboard. There were thirteen of them stretching from Maine in the north, to Georgia in the south. They are represented by the thirteen red and white stripes on the American flag, being the thirteen original States in the Union. While all thirteen of them were British, and so this gave them a common bond, nevertheless, each colony was master in its own house and often because of differences in culture, outlook and way of life, frictions developed between them.

  For this reason the British Government reckoned they had nothing to fear when they passed certain laws and imposed certain taxes which were resented by many of the colonists. They made the mistake of assum­ing that the colonies would never agree among them­selves sufficiently long to present a united front against Britain. In any case the one loyalty common to all these colonists was the English crown. As Geoffrey Gorar points out in his book The Americans-a study in national character-"Until a bare thirteen years before the Declaration of Independence and the out­break of war, the allegiance of the colonists to Eng­land seems to have been unquestioned. In local matters they were mostly self-governing, but they considered themselves loyal subjects to the King of England, on a par with his subjects everywhere. Between 1763 and 1776 this allegiance was destroyed for a significant number of the colonists by a series of arbitrary and highhanded acts on the part of George III and some of his ministers, which placed the colonists in an inferior position compared with other subjects of the King, in that taxes were levied on them, troops quartered on them, and their commerce interfered with, without their consent. These departures from English practice were resisted in the name of English principles: when the recognised legal methods of obtaining redress were rendered fruitless by the blind obstinacy of the King and his ministers, the colonists, still acting on English precedent took to arms to defend the rights of English­men ”.47 Taking up those arms, however, was to mean for many colonists the 'throwing off' of all allegiance to England and the English crown.

  It is easy to see the conflict of loyalties experienced by many colonists and why it is reckoned that perhaps a third of the colonists remained loyal to the King after the Declaration of Independence. So it was that from their numbers, thousands of soldiers were recruited to fight on England's side against the insurrectionists, as they would have reckoned Washington's forces to have been. These loyalist supporters were found mostly in the predominately English colonies of New England and Maryland and Virginia.48

  From where then did the strong ground of swell of support for the Revolutionary War come? Professor J. G. Leyburn, of Washington and Lee University. holds that whereas the sentiment of English settlers was naturally divided between the ties with the mother country and the colonial cause, the Scotch‑Irish (mind­ful of their civil and religious disabilities in Ulster) were firmly on the side of independence. "They provid­ed", Professor Leyburn says, "some of the best fighters in the American Army. Indeed, there were those who held the Scotch‑Irish responsible for the war itself”.49

We have seen already something of the tremendous influx of Ulster Scots into the American colonies. They had been driven there, says Sir Winston Churchill in his History of the English Speaking Peoples, as Scotch Irish refugees whose "industrial and commercial endeavors at home had been stifled by the legislation of the English Parliament. They formed a strong English hating element in their new homes".50 This was strong language from Churchill, some would say too strong. Nevertheless as J. B. Woodburn puts it, "When the war broke out, these emigrants had scarcely settled down, and were eager to join the insurgents against the Government that had forced them to leave the land of their fathers. They joined forces with their country men who had settled in the New England states early in the century and enlisted willingly under Washington".51

  President McKinley said of the Scotch-Irish in 1893: "They were the first to Proclaim for freedom in these United States. Even before Lexington, the Scotch-Irish blood had been shed for American freedom. In the forefront of every battle was seen their burnished mail and in the rear of retreat was heard their voice of constancy”.52 Commenting on this statement, W, F. Mar­shall says: "There was very little "burnished mail" in Washington's ragged army, and the General's lip would have curled at such flowers of rhetoric in such a connexion; but he would have been the first to admit the truth below the rhetoric‑the courage, the steadfast loyalty, the unshakeable determination and fighting quality of his soldiers of Ulster origin and descent. The reference by President McKinley to the Ulster blood shed before Lexington is explained by the fact that the first encounter between British and Americans was not at Concord and Lexington but on the Alamance river in North Carolina on May 14th 1771, between the Ulster-Irish of that region and a British force under Governor Tryon".53

  Bancroft the American historian states quite firmly, "The first voice publicly raised in America to dissolve, all connection with Great Britain came, not from the Puritans of New England, nor from the Dutch of New York, nor from the Cavaliers of Virginia, but from the the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians."54

  Before the official Declaration of Independence was issued on 41h July. 1776, Scotch-Irish communities were issuing their own local Declarations of Independence- One of the most important was the Meeklinburg Declaration of Independence signed at Charlottetown, North Carolina On May 31, 1775. This is often referred to as a prototype of the official Declaration. The Mecklinburg Convention was summoned by Thomas Polk, whose forebears came from Ulster and the Resolutions were drafted and proposed by Dr. Ephraim Brevard, who was of Huguenot-Ulster descent 55 Those Mecklinburg Resolutions were of major signi­ficance in the formulations of the official Declaration, but they were also carrying to a further stage an earlier and more local Declaration.

On the 4th June, 1774, the Scotch-Irish of Hanover in Lancaster County, in Pennsylvania. came together under the chairmanship of one of their number, Col. Timothy Green. The result of that Assembly was the issuing of "the Hanover Resolves". These were as follows:

1. That the recent action of the Parliament of Great Britain is iniquitous and oppressive.

2. That it is the bounden duty of the people to oppose every measure which tends of deprive them of their just prerogatives.

3. That in closer union with the colonies lies the safe­guard of the liberties of the people.

4. That in the event of Great Britain attempting to force unjust laws upon us by the strength of arms, our cause we leave to Heaven and our rifles.

5. That a committee of nine be appointed who shall act for us and in out behalf as emergencies may require.

  The committee consisted of Col. Timothy Green, Lames Caruthers. Josiah Espy, Robert Dixon, Thomas Coppenheffer, William Clark, James Stewart, Joseph Barnett and John Rodgers. 56

  The people of Hanover and Paxton areas were solidly behind the revolutionary movement and the story of their historic past is cherished and kept alive by those who today are members of Paxton Church, the oldest Presbyterian Church building in continuous use in Pennsylvania and the second oldest in the United Slates.

Bancroft tells of yet another Declaration of Independence issued by the Scotch-Irish of New Hampshire and this also preceded the official Declaration. So it was that President Theodore Roosevelt referred to these early Scotch-Irish Declarations by saying: “The West was won by those who have been rightly called the Roundheads of the South, the same men who before any other declared for American independence". Froude, another American historian says: "All evidence shows that the foremost, the most irreconcilable, the most determined in pushing the quarrel to the last extremity, were the Scotch-Irish whom the Bishops and Lord Donegal and company had been pleased to drive out of Ulster”.57

  This explains the statement by Lord O'Neill when, as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, he said. "The

American War of Independence was lost by the English not on the battlefields of America but in the homes and farmsteads of Ulster. This explains, too, why the American War was referred to as a `Presbyterian Re­bellion, ".

  Dr. W. F. Marshall says, "Prior to the election of the first Congress, the only assembly that covered the whole country, or was in any sense representative of it was the General Synod of the Presbyterian Church. In 1775 it met in Philadelphia, side by side with the new Con­gress of the States. Congress seemed to hesitate, but a Pastoral letter issued by the Synod to all its congre­gations is reckoned to have been the chief cause which led the colonies to resistance at that time. It is re­corded, moreover, that the Governors of the central and southern colonies informed the home Government that the Presbyterian clergy were to blame for the on- come of the Revolution and for inflaming the people towards rebellion. Now since the great majority of Presbyterian clergy and people were either of Ulster origin or Ulster descent, we have here the clearest of testimony to the enthusiasm of Ulster Americans for the War effort".58

  Dr. Campbell, who was minister of First Armagh and Moderator of the Synod of Ulster in 1773, wrote: 'The Presbyterians of Ulster condemned this war as unjust, cruel and detestable. They beheld it with an­guish and with horror, as the most wanton, unprovoked despotism. Their friends and relations abounded in the different provinces of America and they heard with pride that they composed the flower of Washington's army, being carried on by a native love of liberty, to encounter every danger for the safety of their adopted country”.59

  The issuing of the Declaration of Independence is regarded as the most important and decisive event in the history of the United States of America. The original document is in the handwriting of an Ulster. man, Charles Thomson of Maghera. It was first printed by an Ulsterman, John Dunlap of Strabane. It was first read in public by the son of an Ulsterman, Colonel John Nixon. And the only signature on it for a month was the name of a man whose ancestors were Presbyterians from County Down, John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts.

  In the American Continental Congress which issued the Declaration of Independence, the President was the same John Hancock of Co. Down origin, whose name is still revered in Massachusetts as its State Governor. The Secretary of the Congress was Charles Thomson From Maghera, an Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia Whom John Adams described as `the life of the cause of liberty”.

  Of the names subsequently added to the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Marshall draws attention to the following: William Whipple-his parents came to Maine from Ulster in 1730. Robert Paine-his grandfather came from Dungannon. Thomas McKean-his father was born near Ballymoney. Thomas Nelson­ his grandfather came from Strabane. Matthew Thorn­ton-his father sailed in one of the five ships in 1718 and settled in New Derry. George Taylor-his father was an Ulster minister. Edward Rutledge-like his great brother John, he was the son of an Ulster emi­grant. This is a remarkable representation and further investigation would probably make it larger.60 As it stands it is quite sufficient to show Ulster's involve­ment in the Declaration of Independence.

  In the early years of the war the odds seemed heavily loaded against the Americans. The first action to give real encouragement to their flagging spirits was the defeat of General Burgoyne at Saratoga in October, 1777. "There the Ulster-Scots , hardy and skilled marks­men, took a leading part in the capture of the British army". After the battle General Burgoyne said to Mor­gan, "Your Scotch-Irish rifles are the finest in the world".

It was a long drag of a war. Because of the fact that the British army was much better equipped it was Washington's policy to avoid head-on confrontations. Rather he sought to horde the British forces with light­ning attacks, hit-and-run skirmishes which were aimed at wearing down their resistance. The result was that at times Washington had great difficulty in keeping his own forces together, especially since many of them were volunteers and at certain seasons felt the need to return to their farms. For this reason, too, it is diffi­cult to assess the actual number of men who served in Washington's army, for many of them re-enlisted several times. We are obliged to depend largely on the assess­ments of eyewitnesses.

  One American writer of the period asserts that up to the coming of the French, Ireland had furnished troops in the ration of 100 to 1 of any other nation.61 This seems to be an exaggerated figure. The evidence of Joseph Galloway seems more like reality. Galloway had been a delegate to the first Continental Congress but finally came out strongly on the side of the British and sailed soon afterwards for England. He was summoned to appear before a committee of the House of Commons at Westminster to report on the American situation. Charles Hanna in his book The Scotch-­Irish gives the full transcript of the questions and answers. To the question "What were the troops in the service of Congress chiefly composed?" he replied. "The names and places of their nativity being taken down, I can answer the question with precision-there were scarcely one-fourth natives of America-about one half Irish-the other fourth were English, and Scotch".62

  Major-General Robertson was interviewed by the same Committee and when a similar question was put to him he replied: "I remember General Lee, the American general, telling me that half the rebel army was from Ireland".

  This explains why Lord Mountjoy said in the House of Commons, "We have lost America through the Irish". It oho explains Horace Walpole's famous jibe to the cabinet: "I hear that our American cousin has run away with a Scotch-Irish parson".

  There is no doubt that Washington placed particular reliance on the loyalty of the Scotch-Irish. At one stage when the war was going heavily against him he remarked, "If defeated everywhere else, I shall make my last stand for liberty among the Scotch-Irish of my native Virginia":

  An example of the loyalty of the Scotch-Irish to the Revolutionary cause is seen in the case of the Rev. Charles Beatty, who had four sons in the American army and one in the American navy. Charles Beatty himself had served as chaplain to the Pennsylvanian men sent out under Benjamin Franklin to defend the North Western frontiers of the colony against Indian attack. Franklin made this report regarding Beatty: "We had for our chaplain a zealous Presbyterian minister, Mr. Beatty, who complained to me that the men did not generally attend his prayers and exhortations. When they enlisted, they were promised, besides pay and pro­visions, a gill of rum a day, which was punctually served to them, half in the morning and half in the evening; and I observed they were punctual in attend­ing to receive it: upon which I said to Mr. Beatty -"It is perhaps below the dignity of your profession to act as steward of the rum; but if you were to distribute it out only just after prayers, you would have them all about you". He liked the thought, undertook the task, and with the help of a few hands to measure out the liquor, executed to satisfaction, and never were prayers more generally and more punctually attended. So that I think this method preferable to the punishments in­flicted by some military laws for non-attendance at Divine Service".

  One of the greatest episodes of the war was the battle of the Cowpens. The hero of that battle was a Presby­terian elder, Daniel Morgan, who was born at Ballinascreen, Co. Derry. With a small force of Scotch-Irish he inflicted on the British a crushing defeat." Afterwards Congress recognised the victory by giving General Morgan a gold medal. General Pickens, another Presbyterian elder, a sword of honour and Colonel Howard a silver medal.

 During the war, British Agents encouraged the Indians to keep up pressure on the colonists along the frontier. In this way the Indians aided the British cause by deflecting the frontier colonists from joining Wash­ington's forces. When Washington needed help how­ever, the Scotch-Irish on the frontier were not lacking. In 1780, when the British had overrun Georgia and South Carolina and were proceeding to crush North Carolina in the same way. They pushed as far as the foothills of the Alleganies, where the Scotch-Irish had settled the area. Despondency filled the hearts of the patriots. The situation seemed well nigh hopeless when Washington wrote. "This is a dark hour, and I don't know what is to become of us".

Then it was that a group of Scotch-Irish militia, under the leadership of five colonels all elders of the Church, made a lightning march of four days from the Shenandoah Valley. Then followed the historic battle of King’s Mountain, when they defeated a British force of twice its size, killing the British commander and taking nearly. 1,000 prisoners. Washington and Jefferson both regarded this battle as the turning point of the War .65

  Roosevelt said of King's Mountain: "'the victory was of far-reaching importance and ranks among the de­cisive battles of the Revolution. It was the first great success of the Americans in the south, the turning point in the southern campaign, and it brought cheer to the patriots throughout the Union. Its immediate effect was to cause Cornwallis to retreat from North Carolina”.66 It was also the first step towards the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown.

  The success of the battle of Yorktown, it may be argued was due to the failure of supply ships to arrive in time, but it was also due in no small way to the charge of General Wayne and his Scotch-Irish troops.

General Anthony Wayne was born of Ulster parents in Pennsylvania. His grandfather had fought under King William at the Boyne.

  Wayen’s greatest moment of glory was the storming and taking of Stony Point on the Hudson river. The fortress was regarded as impregnable, but Wayne proposed to take it by storm. Washington was anxious not to risk unnecessary loss of life so he asked “Wayne can you do it”? Wayne replied, "I'll storm hell, if you’ll only plan it General”.67

  Throughout the whole of the war the commander and organiser of the American artillery was General Henry Knox. He was a New Derry man whose father came from Donegal. Knox was regarded as the most illustrious soldier of the Revolution after Washington, who esteemed him more highly than any other man in his Army. W. F. Marshall relates how that: "In that most moving scene at Frances Tavern on 4th Decem­ber, 1783, when Washington said farewell to his officers, Henry Knox was the first officer to get the farewell greeting, and both men were in tears. He was the Sec­retary for War, in Washington's first cabinet".

Marshall provides a list of 25 generals, all of Ulster origin who served with Washington's forces, and who helped to form the backbone of the American army, Their courage was proverbial like that for example, of the famous Pennsylvania line which was Scotch-Irish almost to a man. It was little wonder Plowden wrote: "Most of the successes in America were immediately owing to the vigour and courage of the Irish emigrants”.

When General Lee was asked which race made the best soldiers he replied: "The Scotch who came to this Country by way of Ireland. Because they have all the dash of the Irish in taking a position and all the stubbornness of the Scotch in holding it".68

  Nobody can deny that the Ulster Scots played a worthy part in supporting the Revolution and carrying it to a successful conclusion. In his address to the Scotch-Irish Congress Dr. Mackintosh said of them: "At Derry, at Valley Forge, at King's Mountain and at Brandy-Wine (they were) the first to start and the to quit".69