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The Scotch-Irish in America
Proceedings of the Third Congress at Louisville - Proceedings

Louisville, Ky., May 14, 15, 16, 17, 1801.
President, Robert Bonner, New York City.
Secretary, A. C. Floyd, Columbia, Tenn.

The Congress was called to order at 10:30 a.m. Thursday morning, May 14, in the Masonic Temple, by President Bonner, who said:

The Congress will now come to order. We will be led in prayer by the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of Louisville.

Dr. Hamilton:

Almighty God, our Father, who hath ever taught us to be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make our requests known unto Thee, incline us now to seek Thee, and teach us how to pray. We know not what is good for us, but Thou dost. Grant unto us grace to submit ourselves to Thy will in all things. We thank thee, O God, for Thy great goodness in bringing so many of us safe from distant places to meet in this place. We thank Thee for light and strength, and for work to do and the ability to do it. We thank Thee most of all for the knowledge of Thee as our Father in Jesus Christ, as our Guide and Protector in this world, and as our everlasting Rest and Hope in the world beyond. We beseech Thee right deeply to bind our hearts close to Thee, and we thank Thee for thy watchful presence over us. Grant unto all of us that love which pass-eth all understanding, to keep our hearts and minds pure through Christ Jesus. Let Thy blessing rest upon this meeting which begins to-day, we beseech Thee. Let this meeting stimulate us to do better things for Thee, O God, and our country, than we have ever done before. Let this meeting be full of profit to ourselves, and to this community, and the communities which we represent. Bless abundantly, we beseech Thee, our own country. Bless the President of the United States, and all who are joined with him in authority; all Governors of States, and all who hold office anywhere throughout this whole land. And now, our Father, we beseech Thee to look in tender compassion upon our infirmities; help us to serve Thee in this life through the honor and glory of Thy name, through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

Mr. Helm Bruce then introduced Gov. Simon B. Buckner, as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen: As on former occasions the Governors of great commonwealths have welcomed within their borders the members of the Scotch-Irish Society in Congress assembled, so on this occasion Kentucky will evince a like appreciation of her distinguished guests, recognizing the debt she owes to the brain and the brawn of the Ulster-man and his descendants; and I am proud for my State that we have with us to-day to deliver Kentucky's welcome one whom all Ken-tuckians delight to honor; a man who, as the Chief Executive of the State, has known no favor; one whose public and private life have been as pure and as spotless as the robe of a vestal virgin; one whose career as a soldier and a civilian has been marked by that trait which is dearest to Scotch-Irish hearts, I mean an uncompromising fidelity to principle and an unflinching performance of what he conceives to be his duty. Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor to present to you the Hon. Simon B. Buckner, Governor of Kentucky.

Governor Buckner said:

Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen: Less than two centuries ago two streams of immigration coming from the old land entered this country by way of Philadelphia and Charleston. They were a very sturdy race of people, who stopped at no difficulties. They didn't stop to reside in the new civilization that had already been established at those points; but moving forward to the frontier, they sought new fields to conquer, and, with an enterprise characteristic of their race, they pierced both through the peninsula and the Alleghanies, and crossed the valley into the field of Tennessee. While our country was engaged in the contest for freedom, for liberty, this sturdy race not only participated in that conflict; but whilst independence was achieved in the East for this entire country, they were chiefly instrumental in conquering an empire to add to the country. From the first settlement at Watauga, when the frontiersmen were threatened by military advances, these sturdy sons under Campbell and Shelby advanced into the interior of South Carolina, and at King's Mountain hurled back the advancing tide and returned to the point from which they had started. It has been demonstrated that this race, justly constituting the force which conquered this country, has added to this empire a country five times the extent of that which it would have been but for their enterprise. It has been demonstrated by Mr. Roosevelt, in his charming work called the "Winning of the West," that but for this race the independence which was achieved would have been limited to the summits of the Alleghany Mountains, composing but a small, almost infinitesimal part of the United States. We, in this country, Mr. Chairman, are especially grateful to this people. We owe to their energy and their enterprise the homes which are now our happy abodes. I esteem it a peculiar pleasure that as Governor of this Commonwealth, which owes so much to the Scotch-Irish race, I have been selected to extend to you a welcome to our country. It is not an enforced hospitality; we feel that any one of Scotch-Irish descent—a descendant from that race, akin to those to whom we owe our homes—is not only welcomed here as a guest, but has a right to partake of the hospitalities of our homes. I extend to you all, ladies and gentlemen, a hearty welcome to the soil of Kentucky, and we deem it a particular favor and a special honor that we are permitted to-day to receive you as our guests at our own home.

Mr. Bonner:

Mr. Governor: On behalf of the Scotch-Irish Society of America, I thank you most heartily for your cordial welcome to the good old State of Kentucky, a State which for many reasons I especially love. Kentucky is noted the world over for three things—the beauty and accomplishments of her daughters [applause] ; the bravery and brains of her sons; and, what interests me particularly, if you will permit me to refer to it, the speed and endurance of her horses [applause]. In those respects she holds a pre-eminent position, but it is not alone in those positions that she holds the pre-eminence. Our Kentucky Vice-president, Dr. Hervey McDowell, of Cynthiana, assured me this morning that there were more Scotch-Irish in Kentucky than in Ulster itself. I only regret that some one more capable of giving expression to our appreciation of your kindness had not been called to occupy my position. I feel somewhat in the position of a countryman of mine. About fifty years ago, journalism in this country was in a very primitive state. In receiving advertisements the great consideration was the cost of setting the type, a thing that is entirely ignored now. The first insertion was always at an extra cost; for instance, the man to whom I refer wanted to advertise for the position of a gardener. He asked the clerk after taking out his advertisement what the cost would be; the clerk told him it would be fifty cents for the first insertion, and twenty-five cents for the two subsequent insertions. "Well," he said, "I will have it in for the two subsequent insertions."

Now, I am somewhat in that position. I wish that the first little address, that it is my privilege to make, could be omitted. I know it would be a great relief to me, and I think it would be a relief to you, so that we could come at once to the two subsequent addresses that we are to hear.

The question is frequently put to me: "What is the object of your Society?" And I have committed one or two thoughts to paper in answer to that question. In the first place, I wish to emphasize the fact that it is not our purpose to cultivate or in any way encourage sectarian or political feeling. In all such matters we aim, as a Society, to preserve a wise and masterly inactivity. People of all denominations are eligible to membership. Whatever our respective opinions may be as to either religion or politics, or however zealous we may be ill advocating them elsewhere, we neither introduce nor discuss them here. In corroboration of this fact, I may state that a year ago, when the Rev. Dr. John Hall, of New York, delivered an address on "The Ulster of To-day" before our Society at Pittsburg, the Rev. Morgan Sheedy, a Roman Catholic priest of that city, wrote him on the following day a friendly and appreciative note, in which he said: "Permit a stranger to you to thank you most cordially for the words so truthfully, so honestly, and so eloquently spoken of the people of Ireland, irrespective of geographical, race, or religious lines."

Now as to the leading object of our Society, I do not know of any way in which I can better illustrate it than by reading extracts from two letters that I have recently received. The first letter is from a lady in Hartford, Conn., who is a member of one of the most prominent families of that city, and a niece of Commodore Perry, of Lake Erie fame. She writes as follows:

I have always been exceedingly proud of my Scotch-Irish blood. It goes more to the "making of men" than the blood of any other race in the world, in my opinion. I don't believe a Scotch-Irishman could ever imagine himself defeated in any sort of contest—religious, mental, or physical—and he has not often been found in that predicament. Among the sailors of New England of that blood, I beg to mention my five uncles, brothers of my mother. Com. 0. H. Perry, of Lake Erie fame; Capt. Raymond H. J. Perry, who commanded one of the vessels under Com. McDonough on Lake Champlain; Com. M. C. Perry, "who crowned a life of naval distinction and glory by opening the ports of Japan to the commerce of the world;" Lieut. James Alexander Perry, who died at the age of twenty. He was a midshipman at the time of the battle of Lake Erie, wanting a little of being twelve years old; he acted as Com. Perry's aid, was slightly wounded, and was voted a sword by Congress; is said to have been the youngest recipient of a national sword of honor in the world. My youngest uncle, Nathaniel Hazard Perry, a Purser in the Navy, was too young to take any part in the war of 1812.

The second letter, which is in the same line, is from a well-known New York lawyer, Douglass Campbell, a son of the late Judge Campbell, of the Supreme Court of New York. After describing himself as a Scotch-Irishman by descent, he says:

My ancestor, James Campbell, a cadet of the House of Auchenbreck, was out in the Monmouth Rebellion with his kinsman, the Marquis Argyle. He escaped and went to Londonderry, where he was a Major during the famous siege. He died there, and his two sons, James and John, went early in the next century to Londonderry, in New Hampshire. From there they removed to Cherry Valley, New York, in 1741, forming part of that remarkable Scotch-Irish colony which played so great a part in the Revolution. They there built the first church, and established the first school-house, west of the Schenectady, where English was taught.

I notice that Scotch-Irishmen always build churches and school-houses wherever they go.

But, as I have said, the leading object of our Society, and I think you will agree with me that it is a most laudable one, is to bring out and place on record such facts as are given in these letters, in order that the Scotch-Irish race may occupy their true place in the history of the country, and that their achievements may serve as an example and a stimulus to their children and their children's children for all time to come.

We will now have a Scotch-Irish march arranged especially for the occasion, by the Rogers Goshen Band, of Indiana.

Music by the band.

Mr. Bonner:

I now have the pleasure of introducing to you a distinguished citizen of Illinois, the Hon. A. E. Stephenson, who will speak to us on "The Bench and Bar." (See Part II., page 79.)

Mr. Bonner:

We are now to have the pleasure of listening to Prof. George Mac-loskie, of Princeton College. (See Part II., page 95.)

Mr. Bonner:

Before we adjourn we have some announcements to make, that will be read by Dr. Macintosh on behalf of the National Society, and by Mr. Helm Bruce on behalf of the Local Society.

Dr. Macintosh:

We are desirous, in every way in our power, to become united forces in this country, and we believe, that just as Pennsylvania is the Key-stone State of the great national heart, so this Scotch-Irish Society will become the great key-stone of that national life. We have on the platform with us a distinguished representative of the Presbyterian Church, the Moderator on the south side of the line, the Rev. Dr. Bryson, to whose eloquent words we shall listen at no distant meeting of our Congress. You will have the pleasure of listening to Dr. Bryson this evening. I hold in my hand a letter from the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church on the north side of the line, that has been sent to Dr. Murphy, to whom allusion has already been made, from which letter it is our duty, both to the Congress and to the distinguished clergyman who sent it, to present the following extract: "If the Scotch-Irish Congress did not come in such close proximity to the General Assembly, which claims my entire time this year, I should be very glad to attend its meeting. I am not a member, but I suppose I am entitled to the honor of being a Scotch-Irishman from the very first, at least from the days of Derry. Please give my congratulations to the Congress for their past success, and my earnest hope for the future of the principles of civil and religious liberty for which every true Scotch-Irishman must stand."

Well, sir, it is some consolation that if we can't have with us the present Moderator of the General Assembly on the north side of the line, we shall at least have with us one who could have been the Moderator of that Assembly; I refer to my friend, Dr. John Hall, of New York, who will speak to us this evening. I have been asked, on the part of the Atlanta Society, to present the following telegram, which has been forwarded from the President of that distinguished Society, which, so far as delegation goes, is certainly the banner Society of the Congress. The telegram reads as follows: "Tender our compliments to and express our pride in the National Scotch-Irish Congress. Urge them to come to Atlanta in 1892. J. N. Craig, President of the Atlanta Society."

I have to announce that a business meeting of the enrolled members of the National Society will be held in this hall at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. In addition to the enrolled members of the National Society, the qualified delegates from those State Societies which, by a compliance with the Constitution and By-laws are affiliated with this Society, will also join in this business meeting. This is a meeting for the discussion of work and details, and cannot, of course, be interesting to the general public, and it is, therefore, to be understood as a private meeting; the work that is there to be conducted lies in the administration of the Society's affairs, and preparation for our next year's work, but I want the audience to observe that the general meeting will be held this evening at 8 o'clock, and to notice particularly that the evening meeting will not be held in this hall, but in the Polytechnic Hall, Fourth Street between Green and Walnut. The Assistant Secretary will be found by the side of that placard by the side of the Hall, on the right hand side as I look at it, who will take memberships, furnish books, and sign railroad certificates. You all know how important it is ' to have your railroad certificate signed properly in order that you may avail yourself of the reduced rate for the return trip. He will be found in the Hall here and in the Polytechnic Hall half an hour before and after each meeting; at other times he will be found at the Louisville Hotel. Now I want the delegates and others to pay particular attention to the necessity of having their railroad certificates properly signed. At previous meetings of the Congress, as you know very well, Mr. President, there hag been the greatest misunderstanding about that.

We want the Scotch-Irishmen and Scotch-Irishwomen to join in our meetings of the forenoon and evening. I have already announced the speakers for the evening; Rev. Dr. Bryson and Rev. Dr. John Hall. There is another matter that I think it is advisable at this point of our proceedings to call attention to—that is, to the service that is to follow the close of the regular Congress meeting, which will end on Saturday evening; that is to say, a religious service on the next Lord's day. It is of some importance to make it distinctly. We are not sectarian, but we are religious. We recognize every man's conscience and every man's right to worship God in his own way, but we believe every man has a conscience and that he ought to take care of it. The sermon will be preached by Dr. John Hall—and you will find full notice in the papers concerning this service—on next Lord's day at 8 o'clock at the Auditorium.

One word more, this Assistant Secretary, a very important person indeed, will look after all details of whatever kind they may be, and not our General Secretary, Mr. A. C. Floyd.

By Mr. Bonner:

Mr. Helm Bruce, Secretary of the Local Society, has some announcement to make.

By Mr. Bruce:

Ladies and Gentlemen: I desire to detain you just a moment, to call attention to one or two matters referring to the details of this Congress, We have had considerable difficulty in determining just what delegates, either Scotch-Irishmen or Scotch-Irishwomen, were in the city, and as to whether or not they were all located at hotels or boarding-houses or private houses. Now it would be a great accommodation to us, if every one, man or woman, who has no location at present would report that fact to a gentleman who will be located in the corner of the room right back there, immediately after this meeting; and I will say for the benefit of those who may not have received the information otherwise that we have made arrangements with the Peweo Valley Hotel to open for especial purpose of accommodating the guests "of this Congress. This is a hotel that is situated in Pewee Valley, which may be called a suburb of Louisville, being only a few miles out of the city on the Short Line railroad. There is a double track nearly all the way between here and there; transit is very rapid; the trains run very frequently during the day, both morning and afternoon, and they will run a special train at night to accommodate those who may be detained late in this city. I think you will find the accommodations there extremely pleasant, and I would be obliged if all who have not located themselves will explain that fact, as I said a moment ago, to the gentleman sitting back there in the rear of the room at the table, and let him know whether or not they would care to go to the Pewee Valley Hotel.

Now, that matter of business being disposed of, it gives me very great pleasure, on behalf of the citizens of Louisville, to say that, influenced by the fact that so many ladies have come to the city as visitors, either as members of the Scotch-Irish Society of America, or as wives and daughters and friends of the gentlemen members; and influenced further by the fact that there are a great many of our citizens, both ladies and gentlemen, who are not Scotch-Irish, but desire to see more of our friends socially, to get better acquainted than they can get by seeing you sitting here in these seats, we have arranged for a reception at the Galt House this evening after the adjournment of the evening session, the hours being from 10 to 1 o'clock to-night, and so as to be thoroughly understood as to how the invitations are extended to that reception, I desire to explain it, and to be as plain as possible. All visiting members of any Scotch-Irish Society, either National or State, and all resident members of a Scotch-Irish Society, and their wives and daughters, and the ladies of their families, or such ladies as they care to bring with them, and visiting members of the Scotch-Irish Society, and friends of Scotch-Irish visitors who have come to the city on account of the Scotch-Irish Congress, although not formally enrolled as members, are invited and are expected. There have been some special written invitations sent out, and some confusion has resulted from the fact that our own members do not understand why they did not receive these invitations. We have sent these invitations to no members, because we did not know which of our members would be here, either of the State Society or National Society; we were, therefore, afraid to attempt to send written invitations to any of them, fearing we would omit some; therefore, we have issued a general invitation to the members of the Scotch-Irish Society, and the special invitations have only been sent out to the citizens of Louisville who are not members of the Society.

Mr. Bonner:

The Congress now stands adjourned to meet this evening at 8 o'clock, at Polytechnic Hall. I want it understood that the public generally are invited.

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