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until I had ceased to read, when, after a pause, he said: 'Why,
Latrobe, you have made a much greater man of me than I ever
thought I was ; and yet, really, you have said nothing in what you
have^ written that is not true.' * * * In my mind's eye I see
Mr. Carroll now — a small, attenuated old man, with a prominent
nose and somewhat receding chin, small eyes that sparkled when
he was interested in conversation. His head was small and his
hair white, rather long and silky, while his face and forehead
were seamed with wrinkles. But old and feeble as he seemed to
be, his manner and speech were those of a refined and courteous
gentleman, and you saw at a glance whence came by inheritance
the charm of manner that so eminently distinguished his son,
Charles Carroll, of Homevvood, and his daughters, Mrs. Harper
and Mrs. Caton."

Seated in the same arm-chair, looking back over his long and
honored life and calmly waiting for the final summons of the Most
High, Charles Carroll' of Carrollton thus proclaimed the greatest
blessing which he experienced in a career as filled with divine
favors as it was distinguished :

"I have hved to my ninety-sixth year; I have enjoyed con-
tinued health; I have been blessed with great wealth, prosperity
and most of the good things which the world can bestow — public
approbation, esteem, applause — but what I now look back on with
the greatest satisfaction to myself is that I have practiced the
duties of my religion."

Thus it will be seen that he had always risen above the temp-
tations of this life and all its frail vanities and sought the realiza-
tion of the divine truths which were implanted in his youth.

John Carroll, his cousin — the grandson of the same grand-
father — was the counterpart of the illustrious signer, with tl-io
addition that he was an anointed priest of God, unburdened with




CHARLES CARROLL. OF CARROLLTON.



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 2$

family cares and entirely free to devote himself to the cause of
God and humanity.

The agitation in America for resistance to the Crown of Eng-
land enlisted his earliest and heartiest sympathies. Having, like
his cousin, been compelled to go abroad for his education, John
Carroll came back to his native land in 1774, a priest of the Jesuit
Order, The condition of the Catholics in Maryland had been so
unhappy for many years that the Carrolls had applied to the King
of France for a grant of land beyond the Mississippi, in the terri-
tory of Louisiana, where they might establish a new refuge for
their persecuted fellow-Catholics. The true English civilization
had extended itself into Maryland with such virulence that they
had made up their minds to leave it in despair until another means
of relief presented itself in the struggle for American liberty.
Father Carroll threw himself with his whole heart into the patri-
otic cause, which was at the same time to his people the cause of
liberty of conscience and freedom of thought. He was pious,
learned, eloquent and patriotic and represented a powerful family
in Ireland and in Maryland, being, moreover, a devoted priest of
the great Order which was strongly entrenched in landed estates
and the affection of the people. No greater power of combined
wealth, intellect and enthusiasm existed anywhere in America than
the union of the Catholics and Jesuits in Maryland in the person
of John Carroll.

This opinion of the character of Father Carroll and of the
power his family and countrymen wielded in America previous to
and during the Revolution is not our own. It is quoted literally
from Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, a book easily
within the reach of American writers and college professors who
plead ignorance with regard to Irish and Catholic influence in
America — an ignorance which we firmly believe is only pretended
and used as a subterfuge behind which bigotry still hides.

The services of Father Carroll were highly prized by the
leaders of the Revolution, both civil and military. Washington
became especially attached to him and Franklin loved him as a
son. With the latter, Charles Carroll and Samuel Chase, Father
Carroll was sent to Canada in February, 1776, to secure the
co-operation of the French Roman Catholics with the American
cause. Being a priest, the greater portion of the work of the
mission fell into the hands of Father Carroll, and so well did he
succeed that the Indians refused to further assist England in her
enslavement of the American colonies.

While on this mission Mr. Franklin became ill through over-
exertion and anxiety. Father Carroll returned with him and
nursed him with a care that established their life-long friendship.



26 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

During the struggle for independence Father Carroll rendered
important services to his country by writing letters to friends in
every part of Europe, thus securing sympathy and support in
places where Americans v/ere unknown.

At the close of the war the Catholics of the United States
petitioned the Pope to free them from the ecclesiastical authority
of the Vicar-General of London and to appoint a superior over
them who would owe allegiance to the government of their coun-
try alone. The Papal Nuncio at Paris consulted with Dr. Frank-
lin, and, at the latter's request. Father Carroll was appointed
superior of the clergy of the United States, his selection as bishop
and archbishop following in the natural course of events.

When Washington was chosen President of the United States
he was presented with a special address by the Catholics under
Father Carroll. This highly pleased the Father of his Country,
and in his reply he plainly pointed out the duty of Americans
toward Irishmen and Catholics. "I hope," he said, "to see Amer-
ica among the foremost nations in examples of justice and lib-
erality. Your fellow-citizens will not forget the part you took in
the accomplishment of their Revolution, or the important assist-
ance they received from a nation in which the Catholic faith is
professed."

Thus Washington himiSelf put the stamp of his approval on
the services rendered to America by Father Carroll and his fellow-
Catholics. Afterward, when it pleased God to call Washington
to Himself, the Congress of the United States indorsed this
approval by selecting John Carroll, the bishop of a formerly pro-
scribed faith and the grandson of an Irishman — above all the
other clergymen in America — to deliver his panegyric in the
National Capital.

Such historic facts as these can not be wiped out no matter
how ignorant college professors may become or how prejudiced
writers may be made by the use of English money or influence.

With the encouragement and assistance of the leading men
Father Carroll continued his work as a Catholic missionary. For
many years he was the only bishop in America, but under him the
Church advanced with giant strides. By leaps and bounds its
adherents have since become so numerous and influential that it
is now referred to as a peril by Anglomaniacs ; and a peril to them
and to all evil-doers and bigots of every description it will remain.
It is a peril that will save this country from the doom of Godless
commercialism at present hanging over it, and bring it back to its
original principles of common justice for all.

Archbishop Carroll lived until 1817. He accomplished won-
derful work in behalf of his church and country and died as he



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 2/

lived — SO filled with humility and reverence that when his last
hours came he asked to be laid on the ground to die.

Besides the Carrolls and their immediate connections, Mary-
land abounded in other Irish families, such names as Collins,
Brady, O'Brien, Whalen, Burke, Connolly, Lynch, Hennessy, etc.,
being prominent throughout its length and breadth.

Protestant Irishmen, also, were numerous in the colony and
took a leading part in the movement for independence. The Rev.
Patrick Allison, a native-born Irishman, the first pastor of the
Baltimore Presbyterian Church, was one of the principal organ-
izers of the Sons of Liberty, and was afterward appointed Chap-
lain to Congress when that body was forced to leave Philadelphia
by the British and hold its sessions in Baltimore.

Maryland supplied nearly 14,000 soldiers to the Continental
Army during the Revolutionary War, and it is safe to say that
nearly one-half of these were of the Irish race, judging from the
frequency of distinctly Keltic names. Rawling's Maryland Rifle-
m.en and Brown's Maryland Artillery were mainly composed of
Irishmen aiid Irish-Americans. Side by side with the other Mary-
land Regiments they made a wonderful record for bravery m
action and loyalty to the American cause in the darkest hours of
the conflict. Maryland vindicated the true principles of civil and
religious liberty established by her Catholic and Irish founders.



CHAPTER III.

THE EARLY DAYS OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Leaving Maryland for a while we turn to other sections of the
country and find the spirit of the Irish race actuating the people
everywhere. From the very opening of the eighteenth century
the "Case of Ireland Stated," a work published in Dublin, in 1698,
by the Irish philosopher, William ]\Iolyneux — and which was
publicly burned by the common hangman on the order of the
English Government — was closely studied in the American col-
onies, until, in 1765, it had become a text-book on their duties
to themselves and the Englishment Government. John Dickinson,
too, afterward an honorary member of the Friendly Sons of St.
Patrick, of Philadelphia, devoted the tenth of his "Farmer's Let-
ters" to a powerful statenient of the abuses of the English Gov-
ernment in Ireland, and even Lecky tells us that the Americans
had continually before their eyes the hereditary revenue, the scan-
dalous pension list, the monstrous abuses of patronage in Ireland,
and they were firmly resolved not to suffer similar abuses in
America.

The English system in Ireland was simply extending itself
to America, but it was accompanied by that spirit of resistance
which the Irish people, even in their most forlorn times, never
failed to utter — that divine remonstrance against wrong that still
keeps her, though crushed in. slavery, an unconquered and uncon-
querable land. Both this spirit and the resistance it voiced were
hastening the day of England's retribution on this continent.

In a private letter written by General Huske, a prominent
American who was residing in England in 1758, he thus exposes
the outrageous system of English appointments in his country :

"For many years past niost of the places in the gift of the
Crown have been filled with broken Members of Parliament, of
bad if any principles, pimps, valets de chambre, electioneering
scoundrels, and even livery servants. I can point out a chief jus-
tice of a province appointed from England for no other reason
than publicly prostituting his honor and conscience at an election ;
a liverv servant that is secretary of a province ; a pimp, collector
of a whole province, who got the place for prostituting his own
wife to the man in power."

The influence of Irishmen in Pennsylvania has been felt
since its earliest days. James Logan, who was born in Lurgan,
County Armagh, on October 20. 1674, came over with William

28



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 29

Penn as his secretary in 1699. He resided with Penn "in the
slate-roof house" on Second street, and continued there after Penn
returned to England in 1701. He became provincial secretary,
commissioner of property and receiver-general of the colony. He
was the business agent of the Penn family and wielded great influ-
ence. Though a Protestant he was a man of the most liberal mind.
Even Penn himself, writing to him from London in 1708, reproves
him for his great liberality. "There is," he writes, "a complaint
against your government that you suffer public mass."

Logan was one of the leading literary and scientific men of
his time. He made many translations from the classics and cor-
responded with the most noted men of Europe. He was noted
for the justice and honor of his character and treated the native
Indians so kindly that their leading chief assmned his name. In
the early part of the eighteenth century, owing principally to his
nationality and tolerance, Irishmen came in great numbers to
Pennsylvania. An article in Potter's American Monthly for
March, 1875, says a very large emigration from the north of Ire-
land took place between 1720 and 1730. They at once pushed
to the frontier of Chester County and settled there. They were
a brave and hardy race. Many of the names of those emigrants
are not distinctively Irish owing to the fact that the Penal laws in
Ireland compelled them to change their names and assume cog-
nomens foreign to their nationality, such as White, Black, Taylor,
Smith, etc.

In the History of the Hibernian Society of Philadelphia, to
which we have already alluded, an abundance of evidence is pre-
sented to prove that more than half the population of Pennsylva-
nia v/as of Irish extraction previous to and during the Revolution,
and the book abounds in quotations from reputable historians to
sustain this fact. Gordon, in his history of Pennsylvania, states
that from December, 1728, to December, 1729, the emigrants to
that province were as follows: English and Welsh, 267; Scotch,
43; Germans (Palatines), 243 ; Irish, {5,655.) |l

Thus it will be seen that the Irislh outn'um.bered all the other
foreigners combined more than ten to one. William Willis, in his
introduction to the Genealogy of the McKinstry Family, published
in Boston in 1858, writes: "The first immigration of the Irish
people to this country was to the Middle States and Southern Col-
onies. As early as 1684 a settlement was formed in New Jersey,
and in 1690 small groups were found in the Carolinas, Maryland
and Pennsylvania. But it was not until the reigns of Anne and
George the First that large numbers, driven by oppressive meas-
ures of government, were induced to seek, even in the wilderness,
better homes than their old settled region could give them. Gor-



30 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

don says that emigration to America, from 1728 on, drew more
than three thousand people annually from Ulster alone. The prin-
cipal seats of these emigrations were Pennsylvania and the Middle
States. New England was found not so favorable to their farming
and other interests. By Proud's History of Pennsylvania we find
that before the middle of the eighteenth century nearly twelve thou-
sand emigrants arrived annually from Ireland for several years."

"From these statements," writes T\Ir. Campbell in his History
of the Friendly Sons, "it may be seen that so far as Pennsylvania
is concerned the Anglo-Saxon is not the foundation stock of her
people, and England can not be truly regarded as the mother coun-
try. It was doubtless the presence of such large numbers of Irish
settlers among her population that led to her strenuous resistance
to the exactions of Great Britain before the Revolution, and her
firm support of the cause of independence. At any rate the disaf-
fected and Tory parts of her people came from classes who were
not Irish."

This is another proof that the Irish people were the main fac-
tors in bringing about the Revolution and in supporting it with
their lives and fortunes after it was inaugurated. Knowing of old
the worth of English promises, with the broken Treaty of Limer-
ick and the innumerable massacres of their own defenseless people
yet fresh in their memories and still crying to Heaven for ven-
geance, it is not wonderful that they applied themselves with vigor
and determination to put an end to that merciless rule in this coun-
try which relentlessly oppressed them for centuries and finally
drove them from their homes.

In answer to the present-day fiction that the early settlers in
Pennsylvania were Scotch-Irish Mr. Campbell punctures that
bubble in very short order. "They were Irish to the backbone,"
he writes. "The Donegals, Tyrones, Derrys and other like local-
ities of Pennsylvania w^ere Irish names, not Scotch, and were
bestowed upon them by the early settlers, who regarded themselves
as true Irishmen, no matter how some of their descendants may
now regard them as Scotch.

"Take the history of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the lead-
ing Irish organization prior to and during the Revolution. Most
of them were what now would be considered as Scotch-Irishmen,
and yet they organized an Irish society, not a S<.'Otch one; they
met on St. Patrick's Day, not on St. Andrew's Day ; and though
originally composed of Presbyterians and Episcopalians, v/ith but
three Catholics among their number, yet so far were their thoughts
from any idea of illiberality that they chose one of these Catholics,
General Stephen ]\Ioylan, who was certainly not Scotch-Irish, to
be their first President.



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 3I

"The St. Andrew's Society, of Philadelphia, was organized
twenty-two years before the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and yet
these Scotch-Irish members of the latter society organized a dis-
tinctively Irish organization to keep alive the memories of Old
Ireland. We can imagine them smiling if, in their day, some over-
zealous orator claimed them to be more Scotch than Irish."

These words, written fifteen years ago, after eight years'
study of the Irish in America, thoroughly dispose of the Scotch-
Irish claim.

Dr. Thomas Addis Emmet, grand nephew of the immortal
Robert, in his book, "Ireland under English Rule," recently
published, also destroys the tradition of the Scotch-Irish
settlers, from whom so many Americans are in the habit of boast-
ing descent. "The Presbyterians," he writes, "who settled in Ihe
north of Ireland after the early part of the eighteenth century,
had come chiefly from the central portion of England. They, like
Cromwell, hated the Scotch, and would never have accepted the
term Scotch-Irish for themselves. These Presbyterians, having
become thoroughly Irish, a little more than a hundred years ago,
originated the United Irishmen at Belfast, and were :he first to
urge tolerance for their Roman Catholic fellow-countrymen."

Colonel John C. Linehan, of New Hampshire, one of the best
authorities on the early Irish settlers of New England, and to
whose writings we will refer at length later on, treats the Scotch-
Irish claim as a farce. In an article in the Granite Monthly,
which he entitled "Early Scotch Settlers from Ireland," he laughs
the idea out of existence, putting all such claims in this ridiculous
guise : "One of the most notable of the modern Scotch writers
was the late John Boyle O'Reilly, who was born in the Scotch
part of the County of Meath. He was, as his name indicates, a
most intense Scotchman because he was born in Ireland."

The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, of Philadelphia, was organ-
ized on March 17, 1771. It sprang from an association of mer-
chants of Irish birth or parentage, who were accustomed to meet
weekly for social enjoyment as early as 1765, and who called
themselves the "Irish Club." It was at one of these meetings at
the beginning of 1771 that it Vv^as proposed to give perpetuity to
the club by forming a society from its members to be called the
Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. From this humble beginning arose
a society that was destined to wield a mighty power in the land
and embrace within its membership many of the leading men of
the time. To show the wide influence it exercised we need only
mention the fact that from its roll of mem.bership, and that of its
successor, the Hibernian Society, it suppHed 799 officials and pub-
lic men of the very highest order to the city, State and nation.



32 THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.

This is no careless statement. The name of each one, with his
official station, is printed in the book. We are sorry we can not
reproduce them, but we print the following summary to show the
important services they rendered:

Presidents of the United States, 3 ; Cabinet Officers, 8 ; Dip-
lomatic representatives, 9 ; Army officers of the highest rank, 69 ;
Naval officers, 21; Members of Congress, 33; Judges, 35; City,
State and National officer?. 141 ; editors, authors, publishers of
newspapers, magazines, etc., 89 ; total, 399.

Of other prominent Irishmen and Irish-Americans who dis-
tinguished themselves in Pennsylvania, but not mentioned in this
list, we might mention the Rev. Francis Allison, a distinguished
scholar and first vice-president of the University of Pennsylvania,
who emigrated from Ireland in the year 1735. The Rev. William
Linn was bom in Pennsylvania in 1752, whither his grandfather
had emigrated from Ireland, and where he had lived in the wilder-
ness until more than one hundred years of age. Hugh William-
son, the noted physician, patriot and historian, was also born of
Irish parents in 1735. He, while on a visit to London, was the
first to announce the destruction of the tea in Boston Harbor, and
he boldly warned the Privy Council that civil war would follow
coercion in the colonies.

Speaking of the Revolutionary era Spencer, in his History of
the United States, says : "No complete memorial has been transmit-
ted of the particulars of the emigrations that took i)lace from
Europe to America at the period, but from the few illustrative
facts that are actually preserved they seem to have been amazingly
copious. In the years 1771 and 1772 the number of emigrants to
America from Ireland alone was 17,350. Almost all of them emi-
grated at their own charge, a great many of them consisting of
persons employed in the linen trade, or farmers possessed of some
property, which they converted into money and carried with them.
Within 'the first fortnight of August, 1773, there arrived in Phila-
delphia 3,500 emigrants from Ireland."

From these figures it is safe to say that the rank and file of
the patriot army was largely recruited from men of Irish birth
who were only too glad to repay England for the cruelties which
had driven them from their native land. It was no wonder that
Plowden, the Irish historian, should write : "It is a fact beyond
question that most of the early successes in America were imme-
diately owing to the vigorous exertions and prowess of the Irish
emigrants who bore arms in that cause." Neither is it astonish-
ing that Lord Mountjoy should rise in his place in the House of
Lords and solemnly declare that England lost America by Ireland.
We could write pages of testimony to this effect, but a few



THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 33

more extracts will sulfice for our purpose. The Rev. Henry Hugh
Breckenridge, a chaplain in Vv'ashington's army, wrote a political
satire upon the war, in which he made the clown an Irishman —
not from any disrespect or prejudice, but for the reason that
the Irish character was best understood in the community.
His efforts to make the character English, Scotch or Amer-
ican, he says, were dismal failures. "But," he writes in his
preface, "the ]\Iidland States of x^merica and the Western parts
in general being half Ireland, the character of the Irish clown
will not wholly be misunderstood. It is so much known among
the emigrants here, or their descendants, that it will not be thrown
away."

Lecky, in his History of the American Revolution, speaking
of the composition of the American army, says : "One of the
most remarkable documents relating to the state of opinion in
America is the examination of Galloway, late Speaker of the Penn-
sylvania House of Assembly, by a Committee of the Houseof
Commons on June i6, 1779. Galloway was asked the following
question: 'What, in the service of Congress, were they chiefly
composed of — natives of America, or were the greatest part of
them English, Scotch or Irish ?' Galloway answered : 'The names
and places of their nativity being taken down, I can answer the
question with precision. There were scarcely one-fourth natives
of America; about one-half Irish; the other half English and
Scotch.' "

The muster roll of the famous Pennsylvania Line, which
bore the brunt of battle throughout the gallant struggle and was
mainly composed of men of the Irish race, corroborates these
figures and proves the truth of our assertion that more than one-
half the American patriot army had Irish blood in its veins. So
also does the statement of Colonel John Parke Custis, the adopted
son of Washington, which welled up from his grateful and patri-



Online LibraryJames HaltiganThe Irish in the American revolution, and their early influence in the colonies → online text (page 3 of 67)