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Men, then of the Second New Jersey Regiment of the Line, and
in 1877 was appointed Commissariat-General of the Continental
Army, serving as such on Washington's staff until the close of
the war. He was a member of Congress in 1784- 1785 and died
in Flemington, N. J., on July 24, 1800.

WALTER STEWART, a cousin of Charles, was born in
Londonderry, Ireland, about 1756. He came to America before
the Revolution, and when resistance to England was determined
upon he raised a company for the Third Pennsylvania Battalion
and was commissioned its captain January 6, 1776. He was ap-
pointed Aide to General Gates on May 26 following and served
in that capacity until June 17, 1777, when he was commissioned
by the Supreme Council of Pennsylvania Colonel of the State Reg-
iment of Foot. He took command on July 6, 1777, and led it at
Brandywine and Germantown. By resolution of Congress his reg-
iment was annexed to the Continental army, becoming the Thir-
teenth Regiment of the Pennsylvania line. On January 17, 1 781, it
was incorporated with the Second Pennsylvania, under Colonel
Stewart's command. He served with credit until the end of the
war, winning a high reputation for gallantry and efficiency, and
retired from the service on January i, 1783, with the rank of
Brevet Brigadier-Oeneral. Alexander Hamilton, in a letter con-
cerning the battle of Monmouth, June 28, 1778, says that Colonel
Stewart and Lieutenant-Colonel Ramsey were, with General
Wayne, always foremost in danger and were amongst the first
to oppose the enemy. General Stewart was an intimate friend of
General Washington, who was godfather to his eldest son. He
was said to be the handsomest man in the American army and
was known as the "Irish Beauty." After the war he engaged in
business in Philadelphia and was quite successful, although losing
heavily in the Robert Morris failures. He continued to take
an interest in military affairs and was Major-General of Militia
in 1794. He was one of the organizers of the Hibernian Society
in 1790 and was its Vice President from that time until his death
on June 14, 1796.

GENERAL WILLIAM THOMPSON joined the Friendly
Sons in 1778. He was born in Ireland about 1725 and came to
America in his early manhood, settling in Carlisle, Pa. Like
Washington, he was a skillful surveyor and served as captain of
a mounted troop in the French and Indian wars. He was
awarded three thousand acres of land for his services, but when
he went to Richmond in 1775 to complete his title he was ordered
to take the oath of allegiance to the King before his surveys
would be received. This he refused to do and lost his lands, but



194 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOIvUTlON.

preserved his honor. "When a battalion of eight companies was
recruited in Pennsylvania, after the fight at Lexington, Thomp-
son was placed in command with the rank of colonel. They were
the first troops that were raised by the Continental Congress —
the foundation of the United States army — and we take pride in
the fact that their commander was an Irishman and that the vast
majority of the troops themselves also belonged to that nation-
ahty. Colonel Thompson and his troops arrived at the American
camp in Cambridge, Mass., before August 14, 1775, and on No-
vember 10 following they drove back a British landing party
at Lechmere Point. Thompson was made a brigadier-general on
March i, 1776, and on March 19 he relieved General Charles
Lee of the command of the forces at New York. In April he
was ordered to Canada to reinforce General John Thomas with
four companies, which were afterward increased to ten. He met
the remnant of the Northern army on its retreat from Quebec
and assumed the chief command while General Thomas was sick,
yielding it up on June 4 to General John Sullivan, by whose or-
ders, two days later, he made a disastrous attack on the enemy
at Three Rivers. He was there taken prisoner, and in August
returned to Philadelphia on parole, but was not exchanged until
October, 1780. During all this time he chafed under his en-
forced inactivity and quarrelled with Thomas McKean, whom he
accused of neglecting to secure his exchange. He did not live
to see the close of the war in which he sacrificed so much, dying
at Carlisle, Pa., on September 3, 1781. The Pennsylvania Packet,
of September 15, 1781, thus records his death : "Died on the third
instant, General William Thompson, at his seat near Carlisle.
Commanded the first regiment raised in Pennsylvania. When
he joined the army before Boston the rank of First Colonel in
the service was assigned him. In the attack on Three Rivers he
was made prisoner. Captivity long and embittered. Univer-
sally lamented. Most respectable funeral known in Carlisle."

GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON was elected a
member of the Friendly Sons of St, Patrick on December 18,
1 781. He was adopted as an Irishman and accepted the medal of
the society with singular pleasure. He was present at three meet-
ings, and among his correspondence are found many letters on
various subjects addressed to members of the Society. He was
entirely free from prejudice towards Irishmen or Catholics and
always manifested a deep interest in their welfare. He early
recognized their devotion to the cause of American liberty and
honored them for the great sacrifice which they made in its be-
half. He found them true Americans as well as true Irishmen,
and gave them the most honored positions in his gift. He had



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. I95

Morgan and Hand leading his rifles, Knox at the head of his artil-
lery, and Moylan commanding the cavalry. Through his influ-
ence Montgomery was appointed to the chief command of the
Northern Army, John Dunlap to his life-guard, Edward Hand to
be his Adjutant-General, Andrew Lewis to be a Brigadier-Gen-
eral, Stephen Moylan and John Fitzgerald to be his Aids, Ephraim
Blaine to be his Quartermaster, John Barry to be head of the
navy, and Anthony Wayne, William Irvine, Richard Butler, Dan-
iel Morgan, Walter Stewart, and William Thompson, Generals.
These were all Irishmen or Irish-Americans, were personally
well known to him, and were among the bravest and most efficient
officers of the Continental Army. The following letter, addressed
to one of the clubs which were organized in Ireland to show the
sympathy of the Irish people in the struggle of the Americans
for liberty, is additional proof of Washington's high estimate of
Irish character and devotion :

"To the Yankee Club of Stewartstown, in the County of Tyrone,

Ireland :

"Mount Vernon, January 20, 1784.

"Gentlemen: It is with unfeigned satisfaction that I ac-
cept your congratulation on the late happy and glorious Revolu-
tion.

"The generous indignation against the foes to the rights of
humane nature, with which you seem to be animated, and the
exalted sentiments of Uberty, which you appear to entertain, are
too consonant to the feelings and principles of the citizens of the
United States of America not to attract their veneration and
esteem, did not the affectionate and anxious concern with which
you regard their struggle for freedom and independence entitle
you to their more particular acknowledgments. If, in the course
of our successful contest, any good consequences have resulted
to the oppressed people of Ireland, it will afford a new source of
felicitation to all who respect the interests of humanity. I am
now, gentlemen, to offer you my best thanks for the indulgent
sentiments you are pleased to express of my conduct and for your
benevolent wishes regarding my personal welfare, as well as with
regard to a more interesting object, the prosperity of my country.

"I have the honor to be, with due consideration, etc.,

"GEORGE WASHINGTON."

ANTHONY WAYNE joined the Friendly Sons in Septem-
ber, 1774, and was one of the most regular attendants at their
meetings while his duties allowed him to remain in the vicinity
of Philadelphia. Though born in Pennsylvania he was thoroughly
Irish in his disposition and always sought the company of Irish-



196 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

men. Much stress is laid by Anglo-American historians on the
fact that Wayne's grandfather was an Englishman and that his
father, Isaac Wayne, though born and brought up in the County
of Wicklow, Ireland, had nothing in common with the people of
his native land. But we would remind them that some of the best
Irishmen who ever lived were the sons of English parents.

Wayne's grandfather went to Ireland when a very young
man and lived there over thirty years. All his children were
bom and brought up there and it is only natural to infer that he
must have imbibed many of the kindly Irish feelings of the patri-
otic people around him. In 1722 he came to America and pur-
chased 1,600 acres of land in Chester County, Pa. His family at
this time consisted of his wife and four sons, the youngest of
whom was named Isaac. All the sons became farmers on their
father's estate and on his death the land was divided between
them, Isaac receiving 500 acres within two miles of the village
of Paoli. Isaac Wayne, born and raised to manhood in the
County of Wicklow, became one of the leading men in Chester
County, and was many times its representative in the Provincial
Legislature. He was also a prominent militia officer and fre-

?uently distinguished himself in expeditions against the Indians,
n early life he married a lady who is described as having great
force of character, and one son, Anthony Wayne, and two daugh-
ters, were the result of the union. Isaac died in 1774.

His son Anthony, was born on January i, 1745. on his fath-
er's estate, and was educated in the Philadelphia Academy, in
which he remained until his eighteenth year. In his twenty-first
year he established himself as a land surveyor at his home in
Chester County, but soon after the peace of 1763 he accepted the
appointment as agent of a company formed to colonize Nova
Scotia, from which the Acadians had been ruthlessly driven by
England and scattered over the face of North America, their
property being torn from them and their families being separated
m the most heartless manner. Wayne remained there only a
short time, returning home in 1767 and resuming his business of
land surveying and farming. At the beginning of the Revolution
he organized a volunteer corps and in January, 1776, Congress
conferred upon him the command of one of the four Pennsyl-
vania regiments required for the Northern Army. The regi-
ment was speedily raised and equipped. With Wayne at its head,
it marched to Canada and joined General Thompson's brigade
at the mouth of the Sorel River towards the end of June, 1776.
We will not here follow the military career of Wayne, which
was one of the most brilliant in the War of the Revolution, as
that will be described in the various battles through which he



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOI.UTION. I97

passed and in which he took a leading part. He remained in the
North until May 15, 1777, when he was transferred to Washing-
ton's headquarters and given the command of a brigade, which,
as Washington remarked on the occasion, "could not fail under
his direction to be soon and greatly distinguished." And well
did he fulfill that prophecy in his subsequent career. General
Wayne took a deep interest in the welfare and comfort of his
men, and in return received their warmest love.

Even when the Pennsylvania Line was forced to revolt
against intolerable hunger and nakedness, when they could no
longer withstand the terrible privations to which they were sub-
jected by neglect, they said to Wayne : "We love you ; we respect
you. Often have you led us into the field of battle, but we are now
no longer under your command." They avowed their willingness
to support the cause of freedom, for it was dear to their hearts,
if they could only get food and clothing. If ever a mutiny was
justified it was this one of the Pennsylvania Line. For over a year
they had received no pay, they had neither shoes nor hats, their
famished bodies protruded through their tattered clothing, for
three days at a time they had not a particle of food, there was
over six feet of snow upon the ground and the temperature was
many degrees below zero. It was beyond human nature to en-
dure these conditions, and it was against them, and not the cause
of American independence, that the revolt was made. Sir Henry
Clinton found this out when he sent emissaries among the revolt-
ing soldiers to seduce them from their allegiance with offers of
food and money. "See, comrades," said one of the leaders, "he
takes us for traitors. Let us show him that the American Army
can furnish but one Arnold and that America has no truer friends
than we." They rejected his offers with disdain, seized his emis-
saries and delivered them into the hands of Wayne, who had them
tried and executed as spies.

The revolting troops marched towards Philadelphia, the seat
of their own Government, with a view only of having their
wrongs rectified. Wayne, with Colonels Richard Butler and
Walter Stewart, two Irish officers who were greatly beloved by
the men, accompanied them, but soon after they reached Prince-
ton measures of relief were adopted, the soldiers were satisfied,
and more than two-thirds of them re-enlisted and continued to
fight the battles of their country. The relief which they were
denied while in their own camp at Morristown was quickly found
when they were headed for Philadelphia, 1,300 strong, to ask
questions at the point of the bayonet.

On September 20, 1777, at Paoli, Pa., Wayne's troops were
surprised by the British under cover of darkness and many of



igS THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

them massacred while they slept. He was tried by court-martial
for negligence. After a thorough examination the court "found
that Wayne was not guilty of the charge, but that on the night
of the 20th of September he did everything that could be ex-
pected from an active, brave, and vigilant officer, under the orders
he then had, and do therefore acquit him with the highest honor."
The finding was at once approved by Washington. In a letter
from Wayne to Sharp Delaney, his friend and fellow-member of
the Friendly Sons, dated Mount Joy, May 21, 1778, he says: "I
have received a hint from a friend that some gentlemen of the
Committee of Congress, who were in camp, were not acquainted
with the circumstances of the court-martial held on me and that
some catiffs had attempted to place it in a very unfavorable point
of view. The whole of the proceedings are in the hands of Rich-
ard Peters, Esq. You will do me a particular favor to show it to
some of these gentlemen — for from what I can learn it has not
been transmitted to Congress — although all others are regularly
sent up."

Wayne continued in the army until the treaty of peace was
signed, when he returned to Philadelphia after having planned
and fought for more than seven years in the continuous service
of his country. Soon after his return he was elected a member
of the Council of Censors, a supervising body over all the acts of
government — legislative and executive — and was also a member
of the Pennsylvania Constitutional Convention. He then resolved
to retire to private life, and for a short time was free from the
cares of public office. After St. Clair's defeat by the Indians on
November 4, 1791, President Washington again called Wayne to
duty and placed him in command of the Army of the West, to
be raised to subdue the Indians. The army was raised by Oc-
tober 16, 1793, when General Wayne began his march. He win-
tered near the present site of Cincinnati, and in the following
August he marched into the Indian country, defeating and driving
the Indians before him until they were compelled to sue for peace.

The Indians never would have given deliberate battle to
Wayne, but for the full confidence they had in English promises
of support, which the latter at first intended to keep, but which
they quickly abandoned when they saw the strength and efficiency
of Wayne's army. At the battle of Fallen Timbers, where the
Indians met their Waterloo, the British Governor incited them to
fight, but when the battle came he left them deliberately in the
lurch and closed the gates of his fort against them. John R.
Spears, in his life of Wayne, says that England was deterred
from inflicting another war on this country by his victory at
the Fallen Timbers and the brilliant display he made. "John



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. I99

Jay," he writes, "had been sent to London to negotiate a treaty,
a chief object of which was to secure to the United States the
territory defined by the treaty of 1783 and the evacuation of the
American frontier posts that the British had been holding in de-
fiance of that treaty and had, indeed, strengthened as if intending
to hold them forever. When Jay opened negotiations, Greenville,
the British Commissioner, who had heard of the skill of Wayne's
Legion, stipulated first of all that there should be no overt act
of war between the two nations during the negotiations. And
when he heard how the bayonet had done the work at Fallen
Timbers, he promptly agreed that the British would abandon
the forts they had held so long."

Wayne's return to Philadelphia was triumphal. All business
was suspended and he was conducted by the militia and people
through the streets amidst martial music, the ringing of bells,
the roaring of cannon, and the acclamations of the people. He
returned to the West as sole Government Commissioner for
treating with the Northwestern Indians and as a receiver of the
military posts which the British Government were at last com-
pelled to give up after vainly endeavoring to incite the Indians
to continue their hostilities.

Wayne's appointment to this position was most appropriate
and it was due to him as the brave soldier whose valor and abil-
ity won the country from the English and the Indians. More-
over, as one writer remarks, "he knew the English on the bor-
der, with their allies, the Indians, and they knew him," and there
could be no possible room for any misunderstanding between
them. After a prompt and faithful discharge of all his duties,
while descending Lake Erie from Detroit, he was attacked by
the gout. He was taken ashore at Presque Isle, now Erie, Pa,,
and died there on December 15, 1796, facmg death with all the
old fortitude which he had so manv times exhibited on the battle-
field. At his own request he was buried at the foot of the flag-
staff of the fortress, so that he might rest beneath the shadow of
the flag for which he fought so valiantly and so well. His re-
mains were removed by his only son, Isaac, in 1809, to the ceme-
tery of St. David's Church, Radnor, near Philadelphia, where a
monument was erected to his memory. In his will he named
Sharp Delaney, "his much esteemed friend," as one of his ex-
ecutors. He left only two children, a son and a daughter. His
great-grandson, William Wayne, who was born on December 6,
1828, joined the Hibernian Society in 1882 and from the first
evinced much interest in its affairs and aided materially in the
publication of its history, to which he contributed much valuable
information. He was the grandson of General Wayne's daugh-



2O0 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

ter, Margaretta, his real name being Evans, but he changed it
to Wayne by order of court in 1853.

One of the most interesting Irish families in Philadelphia
during the Revolution was that founded by WILLIAM WEST,
an original member of the Friendly Sons, and for two years their
president. Mr. West was bom in Sligo, Ireland, came to Phila-
delphia before the Revolution, and became a prosperous dry goods
merchant. He was the father of five sons and three daughters,
one of the latter being married to David Hayfield Conyngham.
William West was one of the few friends of Dr. Franklin who
had faith in his lightning rod and caused one to be attached to
his dwelling. He died in 1783 and his will contains the names
of no less than eight members of the Friendly Sons as witnesses
and executors, a fact which presents an interesting picture of the
intimate relations existing between the members of that worthy
organization. His son, Francis West, jr., joined the Friendly
Sons in 1783, his uncle, Francis West, of Sligo, Ireland, being
then alive. In 1843 ^^e Hibernian Society secured, through
Francis Hopkinson, the long forgotten records of the Friendly
Sons of St. Patrick, and twelve days later, on June 29, 1843,
Francis West, jr., the last survivor of the noble band, was gath-
ered to his fathers at the ripe age of eighty-one years. The late
Samuel Hood, author of the "Sketch of the Friendly Sons," pub-
lished in 1844, obtained much of his information from Mr. West.
Christ Church Memorial Record describes Mr. West as "a ten-
der and beloved husband, a fondly affectionate and cherished par-
ent, a good citizen, a generous, humane, kind-hearted iTian."
His brother, John West, was also a member of the Friendly
Sons and was in partnership with him in the dry goods business.
Both were members of the First City Troop.

William Hodge West, another brother, was the warm
friend and companion of the distinguished Irish-American in-
ventor, Robert Fulton, whose parents were natives of Kilkenny,
Ireland. Mr. West was one of the first to recognize the genius of
Fulton and backed up many of his projects with financial aid
when few had confidence in his ability.

William West, jr., was the nephew of William West, and
son of Francis West, who emigrated from Ireland and settled in
Cumberland County, Pa. Towards the close of the Revolutirnary
War William West, jr., undertook the perilous task of bringing
from Martinique a prize ship containing clothing and ammuni-
tion, of which the army under Washington was mucli in need.
He purchased the prize, but on his passage to Philadelphia he
was captured by the British and placed on one of the prison
ships in New York, where he was detained sixteen months and



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 20I

subjected to the most inhuman treatment at the hands of his
barbarous captors. Previous to his capture he was Captain in the
Third, and Ala j or in the Fourth Pennsylvania regiments, and sub-
sequently was appointed Deputy to James Mease, the Clothier-
General of the army. When peace was concluded he removed
to Baltimore, where he estabHshed a mercantile house, taking into
partnership his cou&in, James West, a brother of Francis and
John West. His sister married Colonel George Gibson, father
of John Bannister Gibson, a member of the Hibernian Society
and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.



THE HONORARY MEMBERS 01^ THE FRIENDLY SONS OP ST. PATRICK.

The honorary members of the Friendly Sons were in all
cases the warm friends and companions of the regular members,
and were as punctual in their attendance at the meetings as the
others ; in fact they belonged to the same set and the provision in
the rules for ten honorary members was made to escape the prin-
cipal rule that members should be of Irish birth or descent.
Richard Bache, who was elected an honorary member on Sep-
tember 17, 1772, was at one time in partnership with Colonel
John Shee and was married to Sarah, the only daughter of Ben-
jamin Franklin. He took an active part in the Revolution and
was Postmaster-General of the United States from 1776 to 1782.
Though an Englishman, his relations with the members of the
Friendly Sons were very intimate. Throughout the history of
the Society he was constantly associated with them and took a
prominent part in their proceedings.

William Bingham, who was one of the later honorary mem-
bers, was born in Philadelphia about 1750 and graduated from
its college at the age of eighteen. During the Revolution he was
agent of the United States at Martinique and afterwards mem-
ber of Congress and United States Senator from Pennsylvania.
He was one of the wealthiest men in the Colonies, which fact
gave him position and influence.

General John Cadwalader, one of Washington's most trusted
friends and military advisers, was elected an honorary member
soon after the inception of the organization. Though not an
Irishman he was of Celtic origin, his grandfather being a native
of Wales. He was one of the most regular attendants at the
meetings and took a deep interest in all that transpired. His
great-grandson. Dr. Charles E. Cadwalader, kindly furnished Mr.
Campbell with the particulars of his life and thus truly wrote
in transmitting them : "The association of himself and the mem-



Online LibraryJames HaltiganThe Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies → online text (page 21 of 67)