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Sketches of North Carolina
Chapter V - Origin of the Scotch-Irish

To find the origin of the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian settlements in Virginia and North Carolina, we must go back to Scotland and Ireland in the times of Elizabeth and her successor, James. Elizabeth found Ireland a source of perpetual trouble. The complaints from the ill-fated island were numerous, and met little sympathy at the court of England; right or wrong, Ireland must submit to English laws, and English governors, and English ministers of religion; and last, though not least in the estimation of the Irish, the English language was, under sanction of law, about to supplant the native tongue, and the last work of subjugation inflicted on that devoted people.

The Reformation in England had been accomplished partly by the piety and knowledge of the people at large under the guidance of the ministers of religion, and partly by the authority of the despotic Henry and his no less despotic daughter. The tyranny of the crown for once harmonized with the desires of that great body of the people so commonly overlooked, and even in this case entirely unconsulted; it pleased Henry to will what the people desired. In Ireland the Reformation was commenced by royal authority, and carried on as a state concern; the majority of the nobility and common people, as well as the ministers of religion, being entirely opposed to the designs of the sovereign, their wishes were as little consulted as the desires of the people of England. The chief agent employed in this work was George Brown, consecrated Archbishop of Dublin, March 19th, 1535. Immediately after his consecration be proceeded to Ireland, and in conference with the principal nobility and clergy, required them to acknowledge the king's supremacy. They stoutly refused, withdrew from the metropolis, and sent messengers to Rome to apprise the Pope of the proceedings. In May, 1536, a parliament was assembled for the purpose of taking measures for acknowledging the king's supremacy in religion, he being considered head of the church in England and Ireland instead of the Pope of Rome. The principal argument of the archbishop was, "He that will not pass this act as I do, is no true subject to his majesty:" this prevailed, and the king was proclaimed head of the church, and all appeals to Rome forbidden. Commotions and bloodshed followed the order for the removal of the images, which was made in 1538; and as the people and clergy were strongly in their favor, the order was evaded.

The first book printed in Ireland was the Liturgy, in 1551, by Humphrey Powell. In 1556 John Dale imported the Bible from England, and in less than two years sold seven thousand, being excited to make trial of the sale of Bibles by the avidity of the people to read the present sent over by the Archbishop of York, a Bible to each of the two cathedrals, to be kept in the centre of the choirs, open for public perusal.

Henry found the Irish a source of vexation, and delivered to his children the inheritance of a restless, dissatisfied people. Elizabeth pursued the policy of her father, with his vigor, and subdued Ireland to the laws, and ostensibly to the religious rites of England, and delivered it. to James I., in 1603, pacified as she hoped, and as James fondly yet vainly imagined. The few privileges that were left to the Catholics were used by the priests and nobility to promote rebellion, and aggravate James, who had opposed the Catholic forms more from political interest than religious scruples. A conspiracy formed by the Earls of Tyrconnell and Tyrone, of the province of Ulster, against the government of James, in the second year of his reign, in expectation of aid from the courts of France and Spain, was discovered in time to prevent its execution. The earls fled, and left their estates to the mercy of the king. Soon after, another rebellion or insurrection raised by O'Dogherty was crushed, its leader slain, and another large portion of the province reverted to the crown. In consequence of these and other forfeitures, nearly the whole of six counties in the province of Ulster, embracing about half a million of acres, were placed at the disposal of James. This province had been the chief seat of disturbances during the time of Elizabeth, and was Iast becoming desolate or barbarous. With the hopes of securing the peace of this hitherto the most turbulent part of his kingdom, James determined to introduce colonies from England and Scotland, that by disseminating the Reformed faith he might promote the loyalty of Ireland. In the fulfilment of this design he planted those colonies from which, more than century afterwards, those emigrations sprung, by which western Virginia and the Carolinas were in a great measure peopled. The frequent attempts made, in the reign of Elizabeth, to plant colonies of English and Scotch in Ireland, in the hope that those doctrines of the Reformation, as odious to the crown as the people that professed them, might mould the Irish mind and heart to greater attachment to the English crown, had been conducted on a small scale, and attended with little success. The project of James was grand and attractive, and in its progress to complete success formed a race of men, law-loving, law-abiding, loyal, enterprising freemen, whose thoughts and principles have had no less influence in moulding the American mind, than their children in making the wilderness to blossom as the rose.

Sir Arthur Chichester, on whom the king had conferred a considerable estate in Antrim, was appointed Lord deputy of the kingdom, in February, 1603; and by his sound judgment, sense of religion, and experience in the affairs of men, contributed not a little to the success of the royal enterprise. He had six counties in Ulster carefully surveyed, and the lands divided into sections of different magnitudes, some of two thousand acres, some of fifteen hundred, and some of a thousand. These he allotted to different kinds of persons: first, British undertakers, who voluntarily engaged in the enterprise; second, Servitors of the crown, consisting of civil and military officers; third, Natives whom he hoped to render loyal subjects. The occupants of the largest portions of land were bound, within four years, to build a castle and bawn, that is, a walled enclosure, with towers at the angles, within which was placed the cattle,—and to plant on their estates forty-eight able-bodied men, eighteen years old or upwards, of English or Scottish descent. Those who occupied the second class were obliged, within two years, to build a strong stone or brick house, and bawn; and both were required to plant a. proportionable number of English or Scottish families on their possessions, and to have their houses furnished with a sufficiency of arms.

Under these and various other regulations, the escheated lands were disposed of to one hundred and four English and Scottish Undertakers, fifty-six servitors, and two hundred and eighty-six natives; these gave bonds to the State for the fulfilment of their covenants, and were required to render an annual account of their progress. Nearly the whole of the county of Coleraine was allotted to the corporation of the city of London, on condition of their building and fortifying the cities of Londonderry and Coleraine, and otherwise expending twenty thousand pounds on the plantations; and the county is now called Londonderry, in allusion to that circumstance. In 1610, the lands began to be generally occupied. The northeastern parts of the province were occupied principally by emigrants from Scotland, on account of the proximity of the places, and the hardy enterprise of the people the southern and western parts were settled by the English. Great difficulties attended the settlement, arising principally from the plundering incursions of the irreclaimable natives. A contemporary writer says: "Sir Toby Canfield's people are driven every night to lay up all his cattle, as it were, in ward; and do he and his what they can, the Wolfe and wood-kerne, within culiver shot of his fort, have often times a share. Sir, John King and Sir Henry Harrington, within half a mile of Dublin, do the like, for those forenamed enemies do every night survey the fields to the very walls of Dublin." The country had grown wild during the troubles of the past reign, and was covered with woods and marshes that affected the healthiness of the climate; this, together with the difficulties arising from the opposition of the native Irish, and the wild beasts that abounded in the desolations, greatly retarded the emigrations, and gave a peculiar cast to the emigrants.

The Reverend Andrew Stewart, minister of Donabhadee from 1645 to 1671, son of Rev. Andrew Stewart, who was settled minister of Donegore in the year 1647, wrote "A short account of the Church of Christ as it was amongst the Irish at first:—among and after the English entered:—and after the entry of the Scots." He says, "of the English not many came over, for it is to be observed that, being a great deal more tenderly bred at home in England, and entertained in better quarters than they could find in Ireland, they were unwilling to flock thither, except to good land, such as they had before at home, or to good cities where they might trade; both of which, in those days, were scarce enough here. Besides that the marshiness and fogginess of this island were still found unwholesome to English bodies." He also adds: "the king had a natural love to have Ireland planted with Scots, as being, besides their loyalty, of a middle temper, between the English tender and the Irish rude breeding, and a great deal more likely to adventure to plant Ulster."

He thus describes the progress of the plantation:—"The Londoners have in the Lagan a great interest, and built a city called Londonderry, planted with English. Coleraine also is builded by them; both of them seaports, though Derry be both the more commodious and famous. Sir Hugh Clotworthy obtains the lands of Antrim, both fruitful and good, and invites thither several of the English, very good men, the Ellises, Leslies, Langfords, and others. Chichester, a worthy man, has an estate given him in the county of Antrim, where he improves his interest, builds the prospering mart of Belfast, and confirms his interest in Carrickfergus, and builds a stately palace there. Conway has an estate given him in the county of Antrim, and builds a town afterwards called Lisnegarvay, and this was planted with a colony of the English also. Moses Hill had woodlands given him, which being thereafter demolished, left a fair and beautiful country, when a late heir of the Hills built Hillsborough. All these lands and more were given to the English gentlemen, worthy persons, who afterwards increased, and made noble and loyal families in places where had been nothing but robbing, treason and rebellion."

Of the Scots nation there was a family of the Balfours, of the Fortresses, of the Graliamcs, two of the Stewarts, and not a few of the Hamiltons. The Macdonnells founded the earldom of Antrim by King James's gift,--the Hamiltons the earldom of Strabane and Clanbrassil, and there were besides several knights of that name, Sir Frederick, Sir George, Sir Francis, Sir Charles his son, and Sir Hans, all Hamiltons; for they prospered above all others in this country, after the first admittance of the Scots into it."

Con O'Neill, who possessed great extent of lands in Down and Antrim, being engaged in a rebellion, was apprehended and laid in the king's castle; the Deputy intending to have him suffer capitally, expecting to gain a large portion of his lands, which fell to the king. His wife, indignant that her husband should be confined and appointed to an ignominious death, goes over to Scotland and lays her claim before Hugh Montgomery of Broadstone, promising him, if he would get her husband's pardon from the king; to be content with a third part of their estate, and cheerfully to yield two-thirds to him under the king's grant. Montgomery entered into the scheme, and having a boat in readiness, and his wife carrying to him, in his prison, ropes in two cheeses, O'Neill effected his escape to Scotland. Montgomery then applied to Mr. James Hamilton, who had relinquished his fellowship in Dublin College, and was in high favor at the English court, to assist him in obtaining a pardon for O'Neill from the king, promising him half of his two parts of the estates. The pardon was obtained; and grants were issued from the king to each of these gentlemen for a third part of O'Neill's estates. Both were made knights but as Montgomery was an inheritor under the king in Scotland, and his vassal, he obtained the precedency. Hamilton, however, so managed the matter as to obtain the better share in the possessions.

Mr. Stewart says,—"These two knights, having received their lands, were shortly after made lords—Montgomery of Ards, and Hamilton of Claneboy. But land without inhabitants is a burden without relief. The Irish were bone, the ground was desolate, rent must be paid to the king, tenants were none to pay them. Therefore the lords, having a good bargain themselves, make some of their friends sharers, as freeholders under them. Thus came several farmers under Mr. Montgomery, gentlemen from Scotland, and of the names of the Shaws, Calderwoods, Boyds, and of the Keiths from the north. And some foundations are laid for towns and incorporations, as Newton, Donaghedee, Comber, Old and New Grey Abbey. Many Hamiltons also followed Sir James, especially his own brethren, all of them worthy men; and other farmers, as the Maxwells, Rosses, Barclays, Moores, Barleys, and others, whose posterity hold good to this day. He also founded towns and incorporations, viz., Bangor, Holywood, and Killileagh, where he built a strong castle, and Ballywalter. 'These foundations being laid, the Scots came hither apace, and became tenants willingly, and sub-tenants to their countrymen (whose manner and way they knew), so that in a short time the country began again to be inhabited."

The progress of the plantation was slow; and by order of the Crown, frequent inquiries were made into its advancement. The last was made in 1618; by that it appeared that one hundred castles, with bawns, had been built; nineteen castles without bawns, forty-two bawns without castles or houses; and one thousand eight hundred and ninety-seven dwelling houses of stone and timber; and about eight thousand men of English and Scottish birth, able to bear arms, were settled in the country. The appointment of Sir Arthur Chichester, as Deputy, was made in 1605; the survey was speedily commenced: the lands began to be generally occupied, in 1610, by the emigrants from Scotland and England; and by 1618, against all the opposition of the native Irish, and the unfavorable circumstances of the country, a population, with some eight thousand fighting; men, were gathered upon the escheated lands.

The race of Scotchmen that emigrated to Ireland, retaining the characteristic traits of their native stock, borrowed some things from their neighbors, and were fashioned, in some measure, by the moulding influences of the climate and country. In contra-distinction from the native Irish, they called themselves Scotch; and to distinguish them from natives of Scotland, their descendants have received the name of Scotch-Irish. This name is provincial, and more used in America than elsewhere, and is applied to the Protestant emigrants from the north of Ireland, and their descendants. The history of this people from this period, 1618, till the emigration to America, which commenced with a discernible current about a century after the immigration from Scotland, is found in the "History of Religious Principles and Events in Ulster Province." Their religious principles swayed their political opinions and in maintaining their forms of -worship, and their creed, they learned the rudiments of republicanism before they emigrated to America. They demanded, and exercised, the privilege of choosing their ministers and spiritual directors, in opposition to all efforts to make the choice and support of the clergy a state, or governmental concern. In defence of this they suffered fines and imprisonment and banishment, and took up arms at last, and, victorious in the contest, they established the Prince of Nassau upon the throne, and gave the Protestant succession to England.

Emigrating to America, they maintained, in all the provinces where they settled, the right of all men to choose their own religious teachers, and to support them in the way each society of Christians might choose, irrespective of the laws of England or the provinces,—and also to use what forms of worship they might judge expedient and proper. From maintaining the rights of conscience in both hemispheres, and claiming to be governed by the laws under legitimate sovereigns in Europe, they came in America to demand the same extended rights in politics as in conscience; that rulers should be chosen by the people to be governed, and should exercise their authority according to the laws the people approved. In Europe they contended for a limited monarchy through all the troubles of the seventeenth century; in America, their descendants defining what a limited monarchy meant, found it to signify rulers chosen by the people for a limited time, and with limited powers; and declared themselves independent of the British crown.

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