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that article he states that a British agent had just arrived in New
York, whose mission was to argue that American history, as
taught in our schools, was responsible for much of American
antipathy to England, and to aid in eliminating from our text-
books such passages as were objectionable to England.

"Instead of too much American history," writes Mr. Murray,
"being taught in the schools, the subject receives hardly more
than elementary treatment. We are assured on the authority of
General Lee that fully half the Continental army was derived
from Ireland, yet we find no mention of that and other equally
important facts in our school histories of the United States.
What we want is, not less American history in American schools,
but a great deal more."

It is now ten years since Mr. Murray wrote these lines and
a great many other British agents must have arrived in the mean-
time, judging from the progress which the British Alliance idea
seems to have made in many quarters, especially amongst certain
newspaper men, book publishers, Government attaches and those
who have made money through unjust and illegal privileges.



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 1 5

In 189.2 the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia issued the
History of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Hibernian
Society from March 17, 1771, to March 17, 1892. The work
contains 570 large octavo pages and is filled from cover to cover
with historical facts of the highest value to the Irish race. To
our mind this is the most important book ever published in Amer-
ica, and we think that at least a million copies of it should be
printed and placed in every school and library in the land. But,
we are sorry to say, it has never been put upon the market at all
and was only printed for private circulation. But as it is it will
accomplish great good, because it will always be a fountain of
truth to future historians. It took eight years to produce, and
reflects the highest credit upon its writers and compilers, chief
of whom was Mr. John H. Campbell.

In his preface Mr. Campbell truly says his volume will be
of great value to the student of history and will show to the public
the patriotic part which the Irish-Americans of Pennsylvania
took in gaining the liberties of our country.

"Rank injustice," he writes, "has been done to Pennsylvania
for her share in the Revolution by Bancroft and other American
historians. The services of such men as Wayne, Hand, Cad-
walader, Moylan and many other distinguished citizens of Penn-
sylvania have been slighted or glossed over and no justice at all
has been accorded to the Irish-Americans who formed such a
large percentage of the State's population."

From these and other facts which we could produce it is
plain that a regularly organized efifort is on foot to Anglicize
America, and that, aided by money and social influence, it is
bound to assume greater proportions in the near future unless it
is speedily and permanently checked.

To help to bring about such a check and to do justice to the
memory of our countrymen who helped to drive England from
these shores and found this great Republic is the object of this
history of their part in the noble work.

The Irish Catholics of America have freely spent millions to
establish schools for the proper education of their children —
especially from a religious point of view. The history of Ireland
and of the Irish race in America — of the great sacrifices they
have made since the days of St. Patrick for creed and country —
should form the principal subject of instruction in these schools.

Love of God and country can never be divorced in the Irish
heart, and the Irish Catholic who denies his country is even a
greater recreant than the Protestant pervert who betrays it. Such
a man is only a Catholic in name — a mere hypocrite who pretends



l6 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

to Catholicity for "worldly motives, and is entirely void of that
gratitude which all Catholics should hold for Ireland.

Although the Irish race are mainly Catholics, and with God's
help will always remain in that faith, they are fully alive to the
worthiness and patriotism of their many Protestant fellow-coun-
trymen, and of the great body of the American people who differ
from them in religion. While steadfastly practicing the tenets of
their own faith, they more than freely accord to others the right
to do the same, holding that liberty of conscience should be
enjoyed by all.

It is in this spirit that we approach the task of writing the
history of the Irish in the American Revolution. We seek only
to do justice to the memories of the heroic Irishmen and Irish-
Americans who fought, suflFered and died in the cause of Amer-
ican liberty and independence.



CHAPTER II.

BEFORE THE REVOLUTION.

Westward the course of Empire takes its way ;

The four first acts already passed,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day —

Time's noblest offspring is the last.

The poem, of which the foregoing are the concluding hnes,
was written fifty years before the Declaration of Independence
by an Irishman who resided in America as early as 1729. He was
a Protestant Irishman and clergyman, and, as Verplanck writes,
never had that ill-governed and injured country a purer or more
devoted patriot, while his writings are full of practical good
sense, unbounded charity and the warmest affection for his coun-
try. He was no Scotch Irishman, though a Protestant, but a
genuine Irishman ; born on the soil. His name was George
Berkeley and he was born at Kilcrin, near Thomastown, in the
County of Kilkenny, Ireland, on March 12, 1684.

Such was the high estimation in which he was held in Ire-
land that, in 1749, while he was Protestant Bishop of Cloyne and
the leading publicist of his time, the general body of the Irish
Roman Catholic clergy, in a formal address, returned him their
sincere and hearty thanks for certain of his publications, assur-
ing him they were determined to comply with his advice in all
particulars, and adding "that every page contains a proof of the
author's extensive charity, his views are only towards the public
good, and his manner of treating persons in their circumstances
so very uncommion that it plainly shows the good man, the polite
gentleman and the true patriot."

To realize what an exceptionally good man Bishop Berkeley
really was it must be remembered that at the time at which he
earned this panegyric the Protestant Church in Ireland was
steeped in infamy. Stone, its Primate, was then at the head of
the Irish Government, and Dr. Taylor, an English and Protestant
historian, tells us that "this profligate prelate scrupled not to
employ the most detestable means to efifect his political designs.
To procure partisans in Parliament he is said to have gratified
the sensual desires of the young members with the most unlimited
indulgence. His residence became in fact a tavern and a brothel."

In his fortieth year Dr. Berkeley, sick of such surroundings,
conceived the project of founding an university in Bermuda on so
liberal a scale that its benefits would extend all over the British



1 8 " THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

possessions in America. Dr. Berkeley at that time held the rich-
est church preferments in Ireland and had the fairest prospects of
advancement to the first literary and ecclesiastical dignities of
that country, or even of England.

All these, with a self-sacrifice which excited the wonder and
derision of Swift, he was prepared to resign for a bare mainte-
nance as Principal of the American University. He even pointed
out the means whereby the Government could get the money for
the project, namely, by the sale of lands in the Island of St.
Christopher, which had been ceded to England by the treaty of
Utrecht, but which had been totally forgotten until he called atten-
tion to it and enabled the Government to realize ninety thousand
pounds sterling by his enterprise.

Having obtained a charter from the Crown, and a promise
of twenty thousand pounds from the funds which he discovered,
Berkeley sailed from Gravesend on September 17, 1728, and
arrived at Newport, Rhode Island, on the twenty-third of Jan-
uary following. While in Newport he became convinced that
he had erred altogether in his choice of Bermuda, and he applied
for an alteration in his charter empowering him to select some
other place on the American continent for the site of the univer-
sity, which would probably have been fixed in the city of New
York.

But in the succeeding year all his bright hopes were shat-
tered by a court intrigue, and the large sum which had been paid
into the British Treasury from the funds pointed out by Berkeley
was seized by Sir Robert Walpole, the Prime Minister, to pay
the marriage portion of the Princess Royal. This was the man-
ner in which the "mother country" helped her colonies in Amer-
ica to establish their educational institutions.

Berkeley's residence in Rhode Island, which extended two
years and a half, gave a general stimulus to literary and scientific
exertion and made a deep impression on the formation of the
character of the future nation. He became personally acquainted
with all who had any literary taste or acquirement, especially
among the clergy, with several of whom he formed a close inti-
macy, and continued to encourage and patronize them by every
means in his power during his whole life.

He minutely examined into the state of public institutions in
New England and the middle colonies, and after his return to
Ireland rendered them several important services by his pen and
his influence.

Having observed the serious inconveniences under which
American students labored from the want of books and the
defects in early classical education, shortly after his return he



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. ig

sent out to Yale College a large and choice collection of the
best works ever sent to America and valued at five hundred
pounds, which for scores of years formed the most valuable part
of the public library. He accompanied this present with a deed
of gift of his farm of ninety-six acres in Rhode Island, to be held
by the trustees for the encouragement of learning, directing it to
be appropriated to the support of three scholarships, to be
bestowed upon the best classical scholars of each year. The
Berkelian scholarships and prizes thus established have been reg-
ularly awarded since 1733, and the list of those who have received
these honors includes the names of some of the most distinguished
graduates of Yale. The farm was rented by the college in 1762
for a period of 999 years, and the Dean's Bounty, as the fund is
called, still remains to help keep up the college and extend its use-
fulness.

Dr. Berkeley was a liberal benefactor also to the library of
Harvard College, and the King's College (now Columbia Univer-
sity) of New York, on its establishment some years after, was
deeply indebted to him for assistance and support.

It will thus be seen that the three principal universities of
America had their foundations laid by an Irishman, whose identity
as such has been deliberately laid aside and whose benefactions
are now only referred to as the gifts of an eminent English divine.

In this regard his name has not been forgotten. The name of
Berkeley is honored not only in New Haven, where a memorial
window in the Battell Chapel has been placed, and where his
prizes are annually bestowed, but also in other seminaries far
and wide throughout the land. A school of divinity at Mid-
dletown, Conn., and the State University of California bear his
name, while his aid in the formation of the Redwood Library of
Newport and his gift of an organ to Trinity Church are not forgot-
ten. In 1886 a memorial chapel was dedicated to him at Newport
and is a fitting tribute to the memory of the distinguished man
whose influence was so closely identified with the history of the
town.

But his name is rarely associated with Ireland, the country
of his birth and education, where he lived an honored and useful
Hfe, loved by all classes of his Catholic fellow-countrymen.

Is it not wonderful that President Eliot, of Harvard, one of
the recipients of his bounty, never heard of this distinguished
Irishman, nor gave him any credit for the formation of American
character, while he was only too ready to acknowledge the Hes-
sians and the Portuguese, who came hither only as hirelings to
welter in the people's blood and devastate their lands.

Of the early days of Maryland, too, a similar story can be



20 THE ir-.ISH IN THK AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

told. George Calvert, its founder, was Secretary of State under
James the First, but being converted to Catholicity through the
persecution of the adherents of that faith in Ireland, he resigned
his office and was raised to the Irish peerage as Baron Baltimore,
taking his title from the seaport of that name in the County of
Cork. He was also granted a large tract of land in the County
of Longford, and lived there some years.

His object in resigning his seat in the Cabinet was to devote
himself to the founding of a colony where every man would be
free to worship God according to the dictates of his conscience.
His first attempt in this direction was in Newfoundland, but he
was forced to abandon that country owing to its severe climate.
He then apphed for a grant of land in Northern Virginia, now
Maryland, but he died before the charter was signed, and it was
issued to his son, Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, in 1632.

Cecil Calvert carried out the principles of his father in found-
ing the colony, and placed his brother, Leonard Calvert, in com-
mand of the colonists, all of whom were Catholics and many of
them Irish. They set sail from Cowes, accompanied by two
Catholic priests, on November 22, 1633, and landed on the coast
of Northern Virginia on March 27, 1634. Leonard Calvert
founded St. Mary's at the point on which he landed and was pro-
claimed the first Governor of Maryland. His claim to the terri-
tory was disputed by William Claiborne, of Virginia, and a long
conflict and much bloodshed resulted until 1658, when the prov-
ince was restored to Lord Baltimore.

Owing to the early death of the first Lord Baltimore there is
scarcely any historical record of his share in the colonial admin-
istration of Maryland, but the little that tradition has preserved
respecting him speaks volumes in his praise.

"We know," writes Julian C. Verplanck, the American
author, lawyer and statesman, a man as liberal as he was able,
"that he displayed the most perfect good faith in all his transac-
tions with the natives, and that it was to him that Maryland was
indebted for such a liberal code of religious equality that the prov-
ince soon became the refuge, not only of the Catholics who fled
from Ireland and England, but of the Puritans who were driven
from Virginia and of the Quaker? exiled from New England.

"It was at a period when even the speculative idea of reli-
gious rights was nearly unknown. Now and then the faint and
feeble voice of some obscure scholar or philosopher was raised
for toleration — that weak and imperfect substitute for liberty of
conscience — but it was raised, sometimes from the walls of a
cloister, oftener from the depths of a dungeon, and rarely reached
he ears and never touched the hearts of the mighty ones of the



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 21

earth. Even on this v^estern shore, what, at that period, v^as to
be seen in the English colonies on each side of the infant colony
of Maryland? In New England the Puritans, just escaped from
the prison and the stocks and the scourge at home, had hardly
taken breath before they set themselves to persecute and punish
and banish the Quakers and the Baptists. These very Puritans
of New England, whenever enterprise or commerce brought them
to Virginia, found themselves again heretics and there felt the
heavy arm of the established church.

"The founder of Maryland, in thus rising above the errors
of his own age, and probably sacrificing the prejudices of his own
education, had no higher view than that of establishing an hunible
colony on a distant shore, where a few of his countrymen might
find rest and peace and worship God after the manner of their
fathers or the conviction of their own minds. In this his prayers
were heard and his wishes granted. But, meanwhile, he was
unconsciously becoming the instrument of a still nobler purpose.
He was unwittingly laying the foundation of a State destined to
become one of the earliest members of a great republic. He was
preparing a race of republican Catholics for the toils and dangers
of the struggle for independence, and for the duties and privileges
of self-government; a race jealous of their own rights and
respectful to those of other men; a race which was to give the
Church such men as the learned, pious and liberal Archbishop Car-
roll—to the State such men as his illustrious relative, Charles
Carroll of Carrollton. He was laying the sacred corner-stone of
that great edifice of civil and religious equality which was des-
tined gradually to take in the whole circuit of this land - -a land
where every man's religion is protected and no man's religion is
preferred ; where, although piety does not rear her mitred head
in courts and palaces, she finds her true and living throne in the
hearts and conscierices of men."

This is a beautiful tribute to Catholicity, and its glowing
truths contain confirming evidence that the centuries of religious
persecution which the Irish people patiently bore, and over which
they finally triumphed, was conducive to, and almost entirely cre-
ative of the great boon of religious liberty which the United States
now enjoys.

In the face of such evidence who but a bigot can deny the
all-powerful influence of the Irish race in the establishment and
formation of this Republic and her glorious institutions ?

Verplanck's high opinion of the tolerant spirit of the early
Maryland Catholics is fully sustained by all impartial historians
and statesmen — especially those who wrote or spoke in the early
part of the nineteenth century. John Pendleton Kennedy, one of



22 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

the most distinguished authors and statesmen of his time, in his
discourse before the Maryland Historical Society in 1845, thus
alludes to the two hundred Catholics who first settled in Maryland
under Lord Baltimore :

"All the world outside of these portals was intolerant, pro-
scriptive, vengeful against the children of a dissenting faith.
Only in Maryland, throughout the wide world of Christendom,
was there an altar erected and truly dedicated to the freedom of
Christian worship."

The Catholics of Maryland were so tolerant of the views of
others that they 6ven fined one of their own co-religionists for
speaking harshly to two Protestant servants who had read aloud
a passage from Smith's sermons calling the Pope Anti-Christ and
the Jesuits Anti-Christian ministers.

The act for religious liberty passed by the Catholics of Mary-
land in 1649 contained a clause authorizing the imposition of a
fine of ten shillings for abusive expressions between the parties —
such as idolater, popish priest and Jesuit on the one side, and
heretic, round-head and similar epithets on the other.

It is sad to relate that subsequently, when the Protestants
got the upper hand in the colony, these liberal enactments were
not only declared obsolete, but all the old forms of religious intol-
erance were quickly re-established and prosecuted with the utmost
rigor. They not only persecuted the Catholics long established in
the colony, but as early as 1708 they passed an act imposing a
poll tax of twenty shillings on Irish servants for the publicly
avowed purpose of "preventing the importation of too great a
number of papists into the colony."

But so great was the influence of Irish Catholics even at that
time in Maryland, this restrictive tariff, nor a far more rigorous
one which was adopted in 171 7, had no eflfect in stopping Irish
emigration.

The Irish continued to come in spite of all acts, and it was
well for the future of America that they did, for they not only
spread the liberality of their views, but they increased rapidly in
wealth and numbers, and by the time the Revolution was approach-
ing, wielded such a power in the colony that their influence turned
the scales against England, and was the chief means of establish-
ing liberty and independence.

Foremost among these Irish families were the Carrolls. all of
whom threw their influence on the side of independence and at
least three of whom played particularly distinguished parts in the
subsequent conflict — so much so that their names to-day are sec-
ond only to those of Washington and JeflFerson.

The Carrolls sprung from one of the most distinguished fam-



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOI.UTION. 23

ilies in Ireland. The first of them to come to Maryland was
Charles Carroll, who was a clerk in the office of Lord Powis, in
the reign of James the Second, and who left Ireland on the acces-
sion of William and Mary in 1689. Before he was two years in
Maryland he was appointed judge and register of the land office
and receiver of the rents of Lord Baltimore. His son Charles
was born in 1702 and died in 1782, after having lived for eighty
years as one of the most prominent men in the colony, and leaving
his son Charles, the signer of the Declaration of Independence —
the man who, with his cousin John, the first Catholic Bishop of
America, was destined to write his name in large letters on the
history of this Republic.

In his eighth year Charles Carroll, the signer, was sent to
France to receive an education which was denied him in the home
his people had founded. He spent seventeen years abroad, nine
studying under the Jesuits in France and eight learning law in
London. He returned to Maryland in 1765 and found the public
mind in a ferment over the fundamental principles of civil and
religious liberty. In a province founded by Catholics on a basis
of religious toleration, the education of Catholics in their own
schools had been prohibited by law. Not only were Roman Cath-
olics under the ban of disfranchisement, but all persons of every
faith and no faith were taxed to support the established church,
which was the church of England.

Carroll immediately joined in the discussion as to the right
of taxation for the support of religion, which had already extended
from the Legislature to the public press. Over the signature of
"The First Citizen," he attacked the validity of the law in a series
of articles in the Maryland Gazette. The church establishment
was defended by Daniel Dulany, leader of the colonial bar, whose
ability and learning were acknowledged by all classes. Neverthe-
less, he cam.e out only second best in the discussion with Carroll,
while the latter received the thanks of public meetings all over the
province and became at once and in reality the first citizen.

It is not our intention, nor is it necessary, to dwell at length
on the honors which were heaped upon Charles Carroll of Car-
rollton during his long and eventful life of ninety-five years, or
on the great services which he unassumingly rendered to this
Republic. The Anglomaniacs, virulent as they are, have not been
able to cast a shadow over his life or work, or lessen in any way
the great reputation which he left behind.

Like all great men Carroll was unassuming and modest and
never put forward his personality except in cases of great emer-
gency or where it was absolutely necessary. One of these occa-
sions arose at the time he was in the act of signing the Declaration



24 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION,

of Independence, when he was taunted with the remark that he
could sign v/ith impunity — there were so many CarroUs. Quick
as a flash down went the two words "of Carrollton" after his
name, and he thus committed not only his name but his vast
wealth and his very life to the fortunes of the Revolution.

The following letter, written by John H. B. Latrobe, Car-
roll's biographer, to the chief editor of Appleton's Cyclopedia of
American Biography, shows what manner of man Charles Car-
roll, the signer, was :

"After I had finished my work I took it to Mr. Carroll, whom
I knew very well indeed, and read it to him, as he was seated in
an arm-chair in his own room in his son-in-law's house in Balti-
more. He listened with marked attention and without a comment



Online LibraryJames HaltiganThe Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies → online text (page 2 of 67)