Irish Presbyterians are indebted to the Rev. Howard Cromie, M.A., B.D.,
for this topical and important study. It is topical because this is the
year in which the United States of America celebrates its bi-centenary. It
is important because it reminds us of the impressive part played by Ulster
Presbyterians in the birth of the nation and the subsequent development of
Are you Irish or Scotch-Irish! I was asked this question half a century
ago in Princeton. I was thus for the first time made aware of this
American way of expressing a distinction with which I was familiar under
other categories. The correct answer, I was at once aware, was to say
"Scotch-Irish". To have answered "Irish" -as in a different context, I
might have done - would have given the wrong impression that I was a Roman
Catholic most likely from the South. To say "Scotch-Irish" was to say that
I was an Ulster Presbyterian. It was then that I began to take an interest
in the contribution made by Ulster Presbyterians and Presbyterians of
Ulster origin to the success of the American Revolution, the founding of
the United States, and the subsequent development of that great nation.
In this study Mr. Cromie tells the story in brief, but most interesting
fashion. We are reminded of the Presbyterian movement to the New World in
search of religious freedom, how it was found and maintained.
We learn how the Scotch-Irish and their descendants pioneered the
frontier, planed the kirk, erected the school, supported the revolution,
and provided the leadership.
Scotch-Irish leadership is found at every level of society right up to the
White House. At least ten Presidents were of Ulster origin and others had
some Ulster connection.
Here is an inspiring and encouraging story. It is Competently researched
and attractively told. It is to be hoped that it will be widely read by
Scotch-Irish and Irish, oven by Scotch and English. But most certainly this is a story which should be
known by every member of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
I have the honour in commending it to you most heartily
I have been encouraged to write this short account of Ulster Settlers in
America because of the major contribution they made to tile life of that
great nation in its early formative years.
The Story of the Ulster Settlers is not nearly so widely known as it
should be among our own people If through reading this brief outline there
is stirred a greater awareness of the strong ties between ourselves and
our American cousins, then perhaps we shall have a greater appreciation of
the American Bicentenary celebrations and we shall have more enthusiasm
for saying, "Happy Birthday. Uncle Sam!"
In preparing the material for thus account I have consulted many sources
and where possible I have sought to acknowledge these, but inevitably
there have been many instances where such acknowledgment has not been
possible. My regard for the late Rev. Dr. W F. Marshall is obvious through
my frequent references to his little classic "Ulster Sails West'.
Roseberry once said: "I love Highlanders and I love Lowlanders, but
when I come to the branch of our race which has been grafted on to the
Ulster stem, I take off my hat with veneration and with awe". While I
respect Lord Roseberry’s comment, my aim is not the stirring of a narrow
racial veneration, but to so draw attention to events and episodes which
arc worthy of being remembered that we may draw inspiration from them as
we face the challenges of the present and the future. The study of history
is wholesome when it acts as a spur to nobler action if the reading of the
following pages has this effect l shall be satisfied that tile writing of
them was not in vain.
What is nobility? Our forebears knew
The kingly strength behind the axe's hew,
Which fashioned from a new land’s native wood,
The timbers upon which our country stood.
They knew the price their treasured freedom cost,
And prized it nears than royalty well lost.
Each man was prince within his own small sphere,
And made his children every one a peer!
E. J. RITTIER.