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Scotch-Irish race : an address delivered before the Scotch-Irish Society of America / by J. Proctor Knott. Knott, J. Proctor (James Proctor), 1830-1911. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images University of Kentucky, Electronic Information Access & Management Center Lexington, Kentucky 2002 b92-260-31825920 Electronic reproduction. 2002. (Beyond the shelf, serving historic Kentuckiana through virtual access (IMLS LG-03-02-0012-02) ; These pages may be freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Scotch-Irish race : an address delivered before the Scotch-Irish Society of America / by J. Proctor Knott. Knott, J. Proctor (James Proctor), 1830-1911. Robert Clarke, Cincinnati : 1889. 20 p. ; 24 cm. Coleman Cover title: Scotch-Irish Congress, 1889. Address of Hon. J. Proctor Knott. Microfilm. Atlanta, Ga. : SOLINET, 1995. 1 microfilm reel ; 35 mm. (SOLINET/ASERL Cooperative Microfilming Project (NEH PS-20317) ; SOL MN05063.08 KUK) Printing Master B92-260. IMLS This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. Scots-Irish History. The Scotchi rish Race. ANd ADT)R11-SS DELIVERED BEFORE THE Scotch-Irish Society of America. BY HO.N. J. PROCTORKNOTT. CINCINNATI: ROBE:RT CLARKE & CO., PRINTERS, 1889. This page in the original text is blank. ADDRESS DELIVERED BY EX-GOVERNOR PROCTOR K.NOTT, OF KENTUCKY. Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlenten:-As we are assembled to honor the memories of our Scotch-Irish ancestry, and to devise, if possible, some means of gathering up, and crystallizing into the inore enduring form of written history, the le-endary memorials of their deeds, it has occurred to me that the proceedings of the present Con- gress might be zippropriately prefacedl by a brief inquiry into their origin, the cliaracteristics which distinguished theli from otherpeople, and what they did to entitle them to the respectful recollection of coming generations. That office I will, therefore, attempt to dis- clharge!; and, in undertaking it, f will en leavor to do precisely as I think they would have nie do, if they could come to me to-day from their consecrated grav,2s and (ldictate the present utterances of my tongue-speak of them as they were; tell tile truth, as I understand' it, of their frailties, as'of their virtues "Nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice.' When Agricola marshaled his legions on the north bank of the Firth of Solway, eighteen lumdlred years acro, he looked out upon a coun- try, lying hevond the parallel of latitude wlli(d) 1 inns tile S'u thlernlmllost . . r, , boundary of Alaska, and embracing about thirty thousand, five hun- lred square miles of territory, as cheerless, perhaps, in all its aspects, as any that ever provoked the ambition or teml)te(l the cupidity of a Roman conqueror. Directly in his front, and as far as the site of the present city of Dtmfnries, stretched a tangled labyrinth of swanmpy woods, inlterlaced by a matted network of creeping undergrowth. To the westward, as far as St. Patrick's Channel, lay a rugged and almost inaccessible dis- trict of roughly wooded, rocky hill lands, trenched by turbulent streams, and abounding in lovely lakes. Northward, beyond the present limits of Dumfries, to the narrow isthmus of low lands lying between the Firths of Clyde and Fourth, and eastward to St. Abb's Head, extended a similarly lbroken region, covered with a growth of scrubby timber, interrupted here and there by barren ridges and AD)DRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. dreary moorlands. What are now the fertile and flourishing counties of Ayr an(l Renfrew, was then a sterile and uninviting waste, while the unbroken umbrage of a primeval forest shut out the sunlight from the rich plains of Berwick. North of the isthmus of Clyde and Forth, lay the vast sea-girt wilderness of Celyddon, the Caledonia of the Romnans, extending away to the wave-washed rocks of Cape Wrath and John o Groats- a bleak, inhospitable region, with its craggv shores fretted by firths and lochs, and its surface corrugated by an interminable maze of misty mountain ranges, with their barren crests and towerilln cliffs, ifiter- spersed with rushing torrents and roaring lynrns, lonely tarns and soli- tary glens, desolate corries and densely wooded straths, while its east- ern boundarv, from the mouth of the Tay to Moray Firth, was a suc- cession of extensive marshes and sterile hills, made more forbidding by the icy blasts which swept over them from the northern ocean. Yet some of the remote ancestry of many of the courteous and cultured audience before me, as well as some of my own, had made their cheerless homes in this rude and repulsive region for enturies before the foot of the Roman invader first pressed its indigenous heather; while others of' them might have been lound, perhaps, in the wandlering clans which went c ver fromn the northern part of Ireland in the earlier centuries of our era, as allies of their Caledonian kin- dred in their predatory inroads upon their southern neighbors, and finally settled along the western coast, from Cantyre to Sutherland. Thev were not as elegant in manners, nor as elevated in morals, how- ever, as might possibly be inferred from the intelligence an(l refinement of many of their deseeludants of the present period. On the contrary, they were as savage as their surroundings were wild and inhospitable, an(l were regarded by their neighbors not only with a well grounded terror, but with far more di-"ust and abhorrence than we (1o our thieves and tramps. The very names, indeed, by which their nation- ality has been dlesianate(l in history were never assumed by themselves, but were mere terms of reproach applied to them by the victims of their rapacity, who, out of revenge for the manifold injuries they rahd suffered from their predacious hands, denounced the fierce and trucu- lent tribes who occupied the eastern, as well as the greater portion of the interior and southern sections of the territory, as pietich orpdts, while they called the roving bands who went over from the north of Ireland scitite, signifying, respectively, in the vernacular of the early Briton, robbers and vagabonds, the two terms being subsequently latinized by the Romans into Picti and Scolti. Nor was the country occupied by them known by its present 4 ADDRESS OF 1ION. PROCTOR KNOTT. name for many generations after their first appearance in authentic history; not, in fact, for over two hundred years after the nominal union of the Scots and Picts under Kenneth McAlpine in 843, when the centuries of sanguinary strife between those two branches of the Celtic race in North Britain finally terminated in their complete coali- tion, and the united kingdom was called Scotland, after the dominant power. And even then, its inhabitants, notwithstanding the introduc- tion of Christianity amoong theni as far back as the middle of the sixth century, were still as barbarous in many respects as their fierce fore- fathers, who, more than thirty generations before, in a heroic struggle for their wild independence, met hand to hand the trained legionaries of imperial Rome upon the bloody slopes of the Grampian Hills. Their lack of progress was not so much their fault, however, as their misfortune. Their history during that long period. as it was for centuries after and had been for generations before, was that of a con- stant, unremitting, and perilous contest for sheer existence. Coim- pelle(l to supplement their meager domestic resources with the preca- rious spoils of the chase, they were obliged, in order to eke out their scanty means of subsistence, not only to encounter the daiigers of a capricious and tempestuous climate, but to pursue their quarry fre- quently through hostile territory, across mountain torrents, through guarde(l passes, and along the treacherous brinks of precipitous cliffs hundreds of feet in height. Besides, they were in a perpetual state of war, when pillage and arson vent hand in hand with slaughter, and the sword of the victor knew neither a(ge nor sex. Harried by san- guiniary feuds with neighboring clans, whichi hereditary hate or a mnu- tual desire for plunder or revenge frequently kept alive from genera- tion to generation, and almost constantlyenoaged in defemlin- them- selves fromn the cruel incursions of the powerful and rapacious nations around themii, they had no time for intellectual culture or moral im- prove ment. Under such circumstances, their advancement in the scale of social being was necessarily retarded to the lowvest possible degree. It is a marvel, indeed, that even the lowest grade of civilization could have existed among them at all, for without some settled assurance of the permanency and peaceful enjoyment of the acquisitions of indi- vidual industry, popular progress is an impossibility. With no feel- iDg of certainty, on leaving his home in the morning for the perilous avocations of the day, that he would not return in the evening to res- cue the charred remains of his butchered family from the smoldering ashes of his ruined dwelling, the savage Celt had neither the incentive nor the opportunity to accumulate more than was necessary for a ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. squalid subsistence from day to day, or, at most, a beggarly account of portable chattels, which might be readily removed on the approach of danger. Wealth was, consequently, a thing unknown among them, and commerce, the great evangelist of civilization, a stranger in their midst. For centuries, they knew of but two methods by which property might be transferred-robbery and barter-approving as well as practicing the principle that- "He may take who has the power, And he may bold who can." While of any thing like a standard of value or medium of exchange, thiey were so utterly ignorant that there was not so much as a word in their language signifying money, until they had learned the nanmes, as well as the uses, of current coins from the Anglo-Saxon. And it is a singular fact that, even down to the present generation, many of their descendants seem to have acquired no true conception of the value of a dollar, as we rarely meet with one of them who does not appear to think it is worth about five times as much as it reallv is. To such apparently inauspicious surroundings, however, may be plainly traced the development of those peculiar characteristics which have distinguishe(I the Scottish race from all other people, and which, though mo(lified in many respects by the intermingling of other blood, as well as by a more enlightened intelligence and a broader civiliza- tion, are still discernible, to a greater or less degree, in their descend- ants of the present day. The constaut exposure of the hardy Gael to privation and peril of every description, naturally tended to develop his physical courage to the highest pitch of savage heroism, as well as the habit of self- reliance, under the most trying exigencies, whether in the chase, amid the dangers of his native solitudes, or steel to steel with his dearest foe upon the battle-field. These as naturally inspired him with a con- fident pride in his own manhood, and an indomitable spirit of personal independence, which impelled him to the instant resistance of any en- croachment upon his individual rights, and rendered him peculiarly impatient of all governmental restraint imposed upon him without his own consent. Neino me impune lacessit, became the controlling senti- ment of his being, and the guiding principle of his conduct, as it has since become, with singular propriety, the motto on his national coat- of-arms. While he may have been taught that royalty was hereditary in the blood, he nevertheless had a vague sort of notion, even in the hazy twilight of barbarism, that the ultimate repository of political power was in the people, as is clearly evident in the ancient Celtic custom of 6 ADI)RESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. meetin r in popular assembly upon the death of the ruler and electing hiS successor from among his sonls, or some collateral branch of his family, as the public interest might seem to require. As the legitimate outgrowth of these strongly developed traits, we find that there has always been less respect for self-assumed author- ity, an(l, consequently, more frequent rebellion against the hered- itary claims of kingly power aruoug the Scotch, than any other people oin the face of the globe, as well as the still more striking fact that throughbout their hundreds and hundreds of years of sanguinary war- fare, they were never completely conquered. A clan might be ex- terminated, but it fought until the stiffening hand of its last expiring warrior was not able to strike for freedom or revenge. Overrun they might be, as they often were by the superior force of an invading foe, but upon the slightest removal of the immediate pressure, they were in arinm again, reasserting their wild traditional liberties. But the same causes which made them brave and self-reliant, also made them cautious, cunning, suspicious, and selfish, while the cruelties they s) often suffered themselves, not only rendered them indifferent to the sufferings of others, with whom they had no connection by blood or affinity, but stimulated a disposition to revenge which fre- quently inanitested itself in acts of the most cold-bloodled and brutal atrocity. Nevertheless they were human, and felt the ,anme yearning for society and symnp)athy, Which universally pervades the human breast, h wever savage or depraved. For the gratification of that sentiment, whether influenced by their own inclination oIr not, they were coinpelled by the circumstances surrounding them to resort mainly to their own hearthstones. There the mother and children, under an ever-present sense of their de;epend- ence ui pIn his protection and counsel, gathered around the husband and fhther, as their hlero and their oracle, with rnin-led emotions of love, gratitude, veneration, and pride; while lie, in return, regarded the proteges of his prowess with those feelings of tenderness natural to the sacred relation lie sustained toward then, deepened an(l intensi- fied bv a realization of their absolute dependence upon his strength and their confidence in his courage. The strong feeling of domestic affection thus naturally engendered, strengthened bay time and the constant necessity of mutual assistance, ripened, at length, into a degree of filial and fraternal attachment rarelv witnessed outside of the ancient Gaelic household. Cherished by each member of the family through life, and sedulously inculcated around the fireside of each offshoot from the parent stein, to be again transmittedt under similar surroundings to a still remnoter generation, ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. these ties of consanguinity eventually became the common bond of the clan, whose chieftain exercised his prerogatives by common consent, as the lineal representative of the original stock, or was chosen, if occa- sion required, from the worthiest of their blood. In the light of such circumstances, it is easy to see how that pe- culiar sentiment of clannishness, which bound the ancient Celt to his kindred of the remotest degree, and which has brought us together to- day, became hereditary in our blood. Nor is it more difficult for us to explain that apparent paradox in the character of our earlier an- cestry, namely, the Passionate fealty of the clansman who esteemed it a privilege to die for his chief, while his lax allegiance to royalty suggested nothing improper in the murder of his kiDg. His chieftain was of his own tribe and kindred, bone of his borie and flesh of his flesh; the embod- iment of the dignity of his family, and the defender of its honor; the cheerful companion of his hardships, and the grateful partaker of his humble hospitality; the friend whose dirk was at his service in his private feud, and the leader whose flashing claymore was his beacon in the red storm of battle-ever first at the rendezvous and the fore- most in the foray. The king, on the other hand, was frequently a stranger to his blood, the descendant, perhaps, of some hereditary foe to his house, claiming authority over him without his consent, and by a title colntrary to the traditions of his race or repugnant to his own sense of right. He consequently entertained a miuch higher regard for the sovereign of any other nation, who would let him alone, than for the ruling monarch of his own, whose reign was generally turbulent and disas- trous, frequently terminating in the tragic death of the prinice himself at the hands of his rebellions suibjects. It has been indignantly asserted, indeed, by an English writer, though with evident exaggeration, that the Scotch had barbarously murdered forty of their kings, while half as many more had made away with themselves to escape the pains of torture or perished miserably in strait imprisonment. But however that may have been, it is quite safe to assert that, whenever they es- poused the cause of one of their princes, a large majority of his fol- lowers were generally influenced by other motives than loyalty to his person or partiality to his government. When, by whom, or in what manner, feudalism, with its various ranks of nobility, wvas introduced among the Scottish people, is a mat- ter about which there has been considerable controversy among histo- rians, but the weight of authority seems to support the opinion that it was inaugurated in the latter part of the eleventh century by Malcolm Canniore, when, with the aid of Edward the Confessor, he recovered 8 ADDIUESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. the scepter of his father-immortalized as " the gracious Duncan " in the sublimest pages of dramatic literature-and extended from time to time by his successors, as opportunity presented, until it became finally established throughout the entire kingdom. But whatever may be the facts in that regard, it is quite certain that, while the introduc- tion of the feudal system produced many and marked changes in the political constitution of Scotland, the power exercised by the nobility in the administration of public affairs was never due so intich to their legal rank as to the influence of the strong feeling of clannishness among the masses of the people with whom they were immediately connected by the ties of blood or marriage, and which, from repeated inculcation and long heredity, bad become inherent in their very natures. But while their politics-if we except their unvarying fidelity to the leader of the elan-seems to have set as loosely upon them as their tartan plaids, their religion appears to have been ingrained with every fiber and tissue of their being; and their singular veneration for ec- elesiastical authority, when compared with their lack of reverence for political power, especially when disassociated from the ever dominant influence of the family tie, has frequently been regarded as a striking inconsistency in their character. A little reflection, however, should satisfy us that an inconsistency in national characteristics is, in the very nature of things, an impossibility; and it is bv no means difficult to see how this peculiarity sprung naturally from tile same surround- ings which developed the traits I have already mentioned. Compelled by the necessities of their condition t-) be much alone amid the solitudes of their native hills, where the dark and lonely dells around them, and the craggy cliffs towering away into the far blue lift above them, with their fantastic shadows mirrored in the deep, still tarn below them, constantly conspired to ineite in theni tile pro- foundest feelings of superstitious awe; their rude imaginations l)ecalne impressed by the viewless presence of a vast, invisil)le, intangible, mysterious being, whose character they invested with the same savage attributes as their own. They saw his terrible chariot in the black mass of whirling clouds, and heard his angry voice in the roaring storm. They caught the gleam of his vengeful weapon in the light- llning's bolt that shivered the gnarled oak, anid saw the outpouring of his omnipotent rage in the rushing torrent that dashed the granite buttress of the Inountain from its base; and when the wintry night wind shrieked its wailing dirge around their lonely hovels, they told their children, in the subdued tones of ignorant awe, of his wrath which they could not appease, and his power which they could not with- 9 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. stand. It is not at all wonderful, therefore, that when St. Columba came to them with the priceless truths of Christianity, they should hail him with joy ats the messenger of peace from their fierce, nhyste- rious deity, nor that they should seize with savage avidity upon the promises of the Gospel, while understanding little or nothing of its doctrines. Nor is it any more remarkable that the Culdees, who embraced the earliest ecclesiastics among the converts of St. Columba, speedily spread throughout the whole of Caledonia, where tLey maintained an unquestioned supremacy in all matters of religious faith and practice, an(l, perhaps, preserved many of the traditionary customs and articles of belief common to an earlier period of the Roman Church until centuries later, when they were reformed or suppressed in a more ad- vanced state of civil and ecclesiastical government. For it should l)e observed that these rude ministers of religion were not a body of for- eign clergy thrust upon the people against their will and contrary to their prejudices, but were of their own kith and kin, often as actively engaged in the secular affairs of the clan as in the offices of their more sacred calling, the functions of chieftain and abbot of a monastery being not infrequently united in the same person. Described as a kind of presbyters, who lived in small communi- tics, elected and ordained their own rectors or bishops, and traveled over the adjacent country )reaching and administering the sacraments of their religion, some claim to have discovered in their crude svstem of ecclesiastic polity the protoplasm from which the Presbyterian Church of Scotland was ultimately evolved. But be that as it may, being educated at home, understanding no language but their own, and lhaving but a limited intercourse with other nations, they retained not onlv tVie traits and prejudices peculiar to their own race, but mmuch of the p)ainness and simplicity of the primitive ages in their forms of worship, mingled, no doubt, with much of their former superstitions. They consequently obtai-led all unbounded influence over the minds of their savage parishioners, who were not only bound to them by the ties of blood and familiar association, but who confidently expected, through their niistration, to secure the never-ending pleasures of a blissful paradise, from which their less deserving enemies would, for- tunatelv, he forever excluded. It should he carefully borne in mind, however, that the race to which the later ancestry of many of us belonged was a composite one- a race in which the blood of the rude Caledonian was mingled with that of the sturdy Saxon and the turbulent Norman. Early in the seventh century, the Northumbrians, under King Edwin, pushed their 10 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. conquests on Scottish soil to the estuary of the Forth, where they erecte(l the fortress which gave its name to the present metropolis of North Britain; but in consequence of their disastrous defeat at Dun- Nechtan, sixty-eight years later, the dominion of the invaders shrank again within the waters of the Tweed, never to be re-asserted beyond its northern bank. Nevertheless, the lost territory continued to be occunied by its Anglo-Saxon population, which was subsequently aug- mented from time to time by slight accessions from Northumberland and its adjacent counties in the north of England, whose inhabitants, from somewhat similar circumstances, hadl acquired many of the nmoral traits and social customs ot their more northern neighbors. Iln adldi- tion to this, the tide of immigration which followved the marriage of Malcolm Canmore with the Saxon Prineess Margaret, and continued with increasing activity through the succeeding reigns of their sons, Edgar, Alexander, and David, not only changed the civil and ecclesi- astical instittutibns of Scotland, but carried with it, among thous:u(ls of lesser note, the founders of many of those illustrious houses which have figured so conspicuously in its subsequent annals. It must not be supposed, however, that the hereditary peculiari- ties of the original Celt disappeared with his tradlitionary customs, upon the introduction of Anvlo-Normnan jurispru(lenee, with its accompany- in- civilization, from the South. On the contrary, until the twelfth century, the only language spoken north of the two friths Was the all- cient Gaelic, while throughout the Lothians and the districts further south, it was lleardl as frequently as the Anglo-Saxon; and as a large majority of tji, ininigrants were mnere military adventurers employed in the service of the Scottish kings, they no doubt intermarried with the daughters of the laud, as the soldiers of Cromwell afterward (lid in Ire- land. Thus the blood of the Sassenlach, in processof time, became largely transfused with that of their Celtic predecessors, transmitting the lead- ing characteristics of each of the confluent races, mutually modified by each other, as an inheritance to the common posterity of both. Consequently, he who chooses to thread the intricate mazes of their history back to the period when that transfusion l)ecanme gen- eral, will invariably find in the mixed race of Middle and Southern Scotland, side by side with the rugged coJmmon sense, plainness of speech, frugality, and thrift of the Anglo-Saxon, an(l the aggressive selhfassertion of the imperious Norman, the predomiinant traits of their Caledonian ancestry centuries before; the same imnnetuous courage, often amounting to an utter recklessness of personal peril ; the same self-appreciation, impelling theni to resent the slightest aggression upon their private concerns; the same relentless disposition, frequently 11 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. exhibiting itself in acts of remorseless cruelty or implacable revenge; the same impatience of all restraint inconsistent with their own sense of right, drawing them into repeated and bloody rebellion ; the same romantic reverence for the family tie, influencing, to a greater or less degree, all their relations to church or state; the same stubborn adhe- sion to a religion, whether under prelatic or Presbyterian auspices, recognizing the immediate interposition of an omnipotent providence in all their temporal concerns, and frequently inspired more by a dread of his vengeance than an appreciation of his mercies, and the same ulnquestioniDg confidence in the guidance of their spiritual leaders, especially when bound to them by the ties of kindred. The thoughtful student will observe, moreover, that in the great revolt against the parent church, in the sixteenth century, the over- throw of its supremacy among such a people could lead to but one re- suilt, so far as their ecclesiastical relations were concerned, and that was the ultimate establishment of precisely such a system of church polity as took place upon the triumph of the Reformation in Scotland. How much the lust of power and the jealousies of ambition may have had to do in bringing about that result, it is needless now to inquire. WVithout pausing, therefore, to consider the intricate and controverted details of that long and angry contest between the crown, assisted by the magnates of the established church on the one side, and the nobil- ity, aided by the spirit of clanship which pervaded their Multitudes of retainers, and the an-tive influence of numbers of the native clergy, who felt the same potent spell of family names and associations, on the other, which culminated in the downfall of the papal hierarchy in Scotland, it is sufficient to say that, when the moment for the final catastrophe arrived, the man for the hour had also eome; one who, with a single blow of his stalwart arm, hurled the venerable but tot- tering fabric from its base, and proceeded at once to rear upon its ruins a superstructure better suited to the genius of his race. That man, I scarcely need say, was Knox-the living, breathing incarnation of the highest virtues of his people, though not wholly exempt from many of their no less striking vices. Familiar with all their peculiar characteristics, passionately (levoted to their interests and their honor, the impersonation of a lofty and intrepid zeal, tem- pered by a deliberate and self-reliant judgment, with a commanding inh- tellect, profoundly versed in all the learning of the age and thoroughly in sympathy with its quickening progress, inspired by an ardent love of religious freedom, and burning with a bitter scorn for all forms of self-assllmed authority, he seemed almost to have been specially de- 12 ADDRI SS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. signed for the great work of ecclesiastical reconstruction of which he was, by common consent, the acknowledged architect. Detesting prelacy an(l papacy alike, he conceived a scheme some- what after the design of Calvin, with whose views he was deeply ;i- hued, which, though not fully executed in his lifetime, resulted in the development of a system of church government based upon the fun- damental principles of representative democracy-a system in which no minister or other ecclesiastical functionary could be foisted upon a congregation without its own consent, nor its humblest member be de- prived of any right within the cognizance of tile church, without the privilege of appealing to the highest tribunal known to its jurisdiction, a tribunal composed, like the lowest court in the system, of representa- tives chosen by the free suffrages of the people constituting the conI- gregations respectively. Izn short, a popular government in ecclesi- astical affairs, in which the will of the majority, regularly expressed through its legally constituted agencies, was the supreme controlling power. I will not pretend to say that the people, under this form of church government, were more pious or orderly in their daily walk, or that their ministers were anv more correct in their religious teaching, or more faithful in their sacred calling, than they had been under the system which they had just demolished ; but it can be safely asserted that its effects upon the destinies of the Einglish speaking people, if not ultimately upon those of the general mass of mankind, are beyond the possibility of adequate conception. We may admit, if you please, that its laity for generations were left to grovel in the lowest (lepthls of ignorance, superstition and vice, while its clergy were narrow-minded, grasping, tyrannical, insolent, intolerant and cruel. We may concede all that its most malignant enemy has said in denunciation of the Presbyterian Church of Scot- land for more than a century after its establishment, and even agree that the colors in which the repulsive picture has been drawn should have been ten-fold darker. Yet its influence in promoting the spirit of democracy, which lingered in the Scottish heart from the rudest ages of its savage independence, will entitle it to the highest nmeed of gratitude and admiration as long as human liberty has a votary among men. We not only find in it the germ of our own free institutions and the original type of our own magnificent form of civil govern- ment, but the sacred flame from which the beacon fires of freedom have been kindled every-where. It spurned with bitter contempt the impious pretensions of princes, and taught the true dlirnlitN of man. Its very existence was a perpetual rebuke to every claim of hereditary 13 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. power, and a constant illustration of the great truth that men are Ca- pable of governing themselves. The choice of its official agencies by the free suffrage of the congregation was a practical assertion of the vital principle underlying all republican institutions, that " govern- ments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed," while its presbyteries and assemblies demonstrated the fact that the will of popular majorities can be conveniently and safely exercised through their own chosen representatives. But it miiankind is thus deeply indebted to the mere passive example of the Scottisit church, how much more is due to the intrepid zeal and tireless vigilance of' its clergymen in the dlarkest period of its history. To show this, I have but to use the words of a distinguislhed English writer, who delighted to excoriate their faults with the burning lash of indignant (lenunciation: " Much they did to excite our strongest aversion; hut one thing they achieved which should make us honor their memory and repute them the benefactors of their species. At a most hazardous moment they kept alive the spirit of national liberty. What the nobles and the crown had put in peril, that did the clergy save. By their care the dying spark was kindled into a blaze. When) the light grew dim and flickered oin the altar, their hands trimmed the lan)l and fed the sacred flame. This is their real glory, and on this they mav well repose. They were the guardians of Scotch freedom, and they stood to their posts. Where danger was they wvere foremost. By their sermons, by their conduct, both public and private, by tile procee(lings of their assemblies, by their bold and frequent attacks up"on persons, without regard to their rank, nay, even by the very in- solence with which they treated their superiors, they stirred up the minds of men, woke them from their lethargy, formed them to habits of discussion, and excited that inquisitive and democratic spirit which is the only effectual guaranty the people can possess against the tyranny of those who are set over them. This was the work of the Scotch clergy, and all hail to them who did it. It was they who taught their countrymen to scrutinize with a fearless eye the policy of their rulers. It was they who pointed the finger of scorn at kings and nobles, and laid hare the hollowness of their pretensions. They ridiculed their claims and jeered at their mysteries. They tore the veil and exposed the tricks of the scene which lay behind. The great ones of the earth they covered with contempt, and those who were above them they cast down. Herein they did a deed which sLr)uld compensate for all their oflenses, even were their offenses ten times as great. By discoun- tenancing that pernicious and degrading respect which men are apt to pay to those whom accident, and not merit, has raised above them, 14 AD)DRESS O1' 1ON. PROCTOR KNOTT. they facilitated the growth of a proud an(l sturdy independence, which was sure to do good service at a time of need." The seeds thus sown from the pulpits and assemblies of the Scotch church in the latter part of the sixteenth century not only produced an ample harvest from the rugged but congenial soil upon which they fell, hut were cherished in the bosoms of the Scottish people, who carried them to other lands, where they brought forth abundant fruits, to Lne dismay and ultimate overthrow of those who threatened their liberties. Soon after his accession to the English crown, King Jarnies I., true to the instincts of the most perfidious family that ever (disgraced the throne of a civilized people, having secured the flight and outlawry of the earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel upon a cunningly devised pretext of some treasonable conspiracy between them, seized upon their vast estates, comprising nearly eight hundred thousand acres in the fertile province of Ulster, in the north of Ireland, upon which he commenced the plantation of a Scotch and English colony in the year 1609. The fertility of the soil, the favorable terms upon wXhich it was proposed to be let to immigrants, and the advantages offered to thenm by a variety of other circumstances, soon lured a number of his countrymen to this promising plantation, whither they were followed from time to time by others of their kindred until they became event- ually the predominant element throughout the province. Thus were the descendants of the ancient Scots brought back to the identical scenes from which their savage ancestry had emigrated nearly two thousand years before; and thus originated the name Scotch-Irish. But notwithstanding the suffix to their national patronymic, the irreconcilable difference in religion between them and the native in- habitants, together with other prejudices naturally resulting from their peculiar relations to each other, presented such ail obstacle in the way of a coalition of the two races that the colonists and their descendants for generations, if, indeed, they have not to the present time, remained thoroughly Scotch in all their leading characteristics. They carried with them to their new homes not only the personal traits peculiar to their race, but its political and religious prejudices as well as its ecclesi- astical polity. They built their churches, organize(l their presbyteries, established their schools, and pursued their respective callings with a thrifty industry which soon transformed the province of Ulster from the wildest and most disorderly to the best cultivated and most pros- perous portion of Ireland- It must not be supposed, however, that they were permitted to enjoy any very protracted period of repose during the century and a ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. half immediately following their advent into Ulster. Whether the en- forced flight of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, and the subsequent confiscation of their estates were justifiable or not, such circumstances were natu- rally calculated to incite the deepest indignation of their neighbors, re- tainers, kindred, and friends, even granting them to have been less passionate and turbulent than we have reason to believe they were at that period of Irish civilization. We, ourselves, with all our moral culture and Christian refinement, could but feel an insuperable repug- nance to a colony of strangers, diflering from us in politics and re- ligion, thrust by the government into our midst against our wills, and placed in possession of the property of our leading citizens, forced to flee from their homes to save their lives, upon a charge which we be- lieve to be not only unjust, but unfounded. It is not surprising, there- fore, that the animosity of the native inhabitants toward their new neighbors should manifest itself in repeated and bloody deeds of vio- lence. But little more than five years had elapsed, indeed, before a con- spiracy was detected, which is said to have had for its object the seiz- ure of the British fortresses and the extirpation of the foreign settlers in the province. And in less than three decades later, the jealousies and enmities growing out of the plantation of the colony showed themselves in one of the most sanguinary tragedies that ever stained the annals of a civilized land, in which the Scots in Ulster were treated with the most diabolical cruelty, which, in turn, was retaliated by a fearful and ferocious revenge. They fared but little worse, if any, at the hands of their hostile neighbors, however, than at those of the government, under whose patronage they had settled in their new homes. Presbyterian and Papist alike were disfranchised by its infamous test oaths, which neither could conscientiously take, and both were punished with the samne relentless rigor for non-c3nf)rmity. Their houses of worship were repeatedly closed, their congregations dispersed, their members perse- cute(l, and the peo!le, irrespective of age or sex, tendered an oath re- pugnant alike to their judgments and their consciences. Yet the young and more intrepid leaders of the Scottish church assembled their flocks at noon-day in the open fields, and in secluded chambers in the small hours of the night, in vast crowds, and in little groups, every-where denouncing the tyranny under which they languished, and exciting their hearers to a more enthusiastic pitch of sectarian zeal. It is true, there were periods in which, by special indulgence or through official indifference, they were permitted t0 worship in their own chosen way; yet it is easy to see how even an occasional interfer- 16 ADDRESS OF 11ON'. PROCTOR KNOTT. ence with that cherished privilege increased their attachment to their church, while it fed their hereditary hatred to the English crown, and made them hail with supreme satisfaction the downfall of the detesta- ble d(vnasty of the Stuarts. Among the scenes which closed the ignoble career of the last of that disreputable house, there was one which not only exhibited the leading tiaits of the Scotch-Irish character in the strongest possible light, but which will challenge the admiration of mankind as long as our language- shall be spoken, or the memory of heroic deeds cherished among the children of men. On the second day after his arrival in the city of Dublin, with a body of foreign mercenaries at his heels, the cowardly fugitive from the British throne signalized his return to the territory of his lost dominion by issuing a proclamation to his former subjects of the Catholic faith, gratefully acknowledging their vigilance and fidelity, and enjoining such of them as had not already taken up arms in his service, to hold them in readiness until it should be found necessary to use them to his advantage, and by conferring the ducal rank upon Tyrconnel, who had disarmed the Protestants throughout a large pxertion of Ireland, and assembled an army of thirty thousand foot and eight thousand horse for the assistance of his follen master. These, with other circumstances, gave rise to wild and exciting rumors, which rapidly spread throughout the province of Ulster, to the effect that it was the intention of the desperate Stuart to extirpate the Protestant religion, and re-establish the authority of the Roiman church by fire and sword. The effect, especially among the Scottish population, may be easily imagined. Their miiiisters were everv-wvhere heard exhorting the people, in words of rude but burning eloquence, to arise in defense of their faith and their firesides; while their women adjured them, by all thb sacred associations of the family tie, to defend themselves and their homes with the last drop of their blood. The grim courage and determined self-reliance of their race were thoroughly aroused, their religious enthusiasm excited, and their tin- dying animosity to papal power inflamed to the highest pitch of frenzy. Betrayed by their governor,.abandoned by the commanders of the small force which had been sent by the government for their protec- tion, with no military experience themselves, and but a limited supply of the m.unitions of war, they improvised an army of seven thousand men, with one of their preachers, assisted by a couple of faithful and courageous officers of the king's service, at its head, and hastily en- trenched themselves behind the fortifications of Londonderry, where, for one hundred and five days, they withstood a siege in which they 17 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. exhibited a sublimity of courage and fortitude without a parallel in human history since the fall of Jerusalem before the conquering arms of Titus Vespasian. After more than three months of continuous battle, aggravated by the horrors of disease and famine, during which their heroic women, often with weapons in their hands, stood side by side with their brave defenders in everv scene of danger and distress, the mem- orable contest around the walls of Londonderry was brought to a close with eight thousand of its besiegers slain and more than half its de- vote(l garrison in their graves. But George Walker, the faithful pas- tor of Don-,ghmore, whose pious eloquence inspired the spiritual fervor of his brethren from the pulpit, and whose genius and courage directed their perilous (luties on the ramparts and in the sortie, sur- vived the siege, an(l, bidding, adieu to the shattered fragment of his commanid, now worn by disease and wasted by famine, followed the fortunes of William of Orange to the bloody banks of the Boyne, where he fell, side by side with the Duke of Schomberg and Caille- mote, the heroic Hugnuenot. But the Scottish Presbyterians, whose deeds in the heroic defense of Londonderrv resemble more the fabled exploits of Homeric fiction than the transactions of modern warfare, fared but little better at the hands of the new government than the Irish Catholics who besieged it. So far from having any of the restrictions upon their freedom of religion removed, they were left almost as completely under the ban of those fatuous and despotic enactments in derogation of reli-ious liberty, whichi so long disgraced the jurisprudence of Great Britain, as their neighbors of the Roman faith, who had been so recently in re- hellion against the crown. They still remained under the denuncia- tion of the penal laws against non-conformity, without even a legal toleration, until 1720, while they were excluded from all offices of honor, profit, or trust under the government, by the rigorous require- ments of the oath of supremacy, and the still more obnoxious provis- ions of the Test Act, until 1780. In addition to these irritating circumstances, they were subjected to a variety of vexatious burdens, which influenced large numbers of them to quit the province of Ulster, and seek more peaceful and pro- pitious homes in the colonies of America, whither they brought with them an undying hatred to the British crown, and a bturning desire for some suitable opportunity for its gratification. That opportunity was soon presented, anal if any of them failed to avail himself of it with promptness and pleasure, it was not from any lack of in- 18 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTOR KNOTT. clination, but because he was prevented by circumstances beyond his control. They came often in groups of families, neighbors, perhaps, in the homes they had left in Ulster, and located themselves, generally, in the colonies of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and the Carolinuas, where, as their fathers had done in Ireland, they organized their congregations, set up their neighborhood schools, and by a sedulous attention to their own affairs, set an example of industry, economy and morality, the in- fluence of which is still visible in the intelligence, thrift, refinement and orderly deportment which distinguish the communities in which they settled. The part played by this remarkable race in preparing the popular mind of their adopted country for independence, as well as in the bloody contest which terminated in that glorious result, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to overestimate. Whether the 'Mecklen- burg declaration was really the work of Ephraim Brevard and his asso- ciates, or only the clever after thought of some obscure person whose name history has failed to record, it embodied the cherished sentiments of every genuine Scotch-Irishman in America. The tide of immigra- tion which brought them to our shores set in near the beginning of the century, reached its flood near the period when Washington and many of his illustrious compatriots were born, an(1 continued without retiring ebb until the final break between the colonies and the mother country. Wherever thev went, they repeated, with feelings of bitter hate, the story of their wrongs, and taught by precept and by example, in sea- son and out of season, the sublime doctrine of civil an(l religious free- dom which had been burned into their very souls by generations of cruelty and oppressions. Wherever they went they transfused the community around them with their own deathless spirit of democracy; anIl when the tocsin sounded for the mighty struggle, they sprang to the front and offered their blood as a joyous oblation to the God of battles upon the altars of their faith. They craved none of the Dead Sea fruit of a selfish ambition; they sought none of the barren laurels of an empty fame. They wvere plain, earnest, determined men, who wanted results-results which would secure to their children and their children's children, the priceless patrimony of freedom-and for that they rushed to the fiery front of battle, reckless as to who might lead them so he led to victory or to death. Would you know their names In every walk of private useful- ness and public honor; in every avenue of active enterprise and popu- lar progress; in every department of literature, and in every branch of science; in every theater of honorable ambition; in the pulpit and 19 20 ADDRESS OF HON. PROCTER KNOTT. at the bar; on the field and in the cabinet, on the bench and in the halls of legislation; in the chambers of our highest courts, and in the presidential chair, they and their sons have written them in imperish- able characters upon the brightest pages of our country's history. Go read them there. The children of the race are now scattered throughout all this broad continent, mingling like drops of water in the mighty ocean, with a vast and wondrous people gathered from many lands; but wherever they may be, they and their descendants will cherish with affectionate veneration the honor of their ancient sires, and keep the sacred. fires of family love brightly burning on their domestic altars as long as a drop of the old Scotch-Irish blood shall trickle through their veins; and should the grasping hand of consolidated wealth, the wild fury of communism, or the insolence of foreign power ever menace the fair fabric of constitutional liberty erected by their fathers, they will rush to its defense, with the same intrepid devotion with which their rude ancestors followed the slogan of the clan.