THE VALLEY ULSTERMAN:
A CHAPTER OF VIRGINIA HISTORY *

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For the casual or careless reader of the history of this Commonwealth, its record is largely that which New England has published to the world. The historian from that highly intellectual section of our common country, who has colored with no inappropriate pigments the picture which he has painted of American genius, valor and glory, has presented as the two most conspicuous figures upon his canvas the Puritan of Plymouth Bay and the Cavalier of Jamestown; and if the form of the New Englander looms considerably larger upon the view in the painting thus depicted than the true perspective of history would seem to justify, it cannot be complained that the presentation of the Virginian is lacking in brilliancy of color or in distinguished proportions.

That many southern writers on a lesser scale have followed the example of the Plymouth Bay historian, only reversing the relative size and prominence of the two figures, is no reflection on their zeal, their ability, or their patriotism.

But from the foreground of any true picture that shall be painted, in due proportion and with fittting colors by the hand of the perfect artist, haply "far off in summers that we shall not see," must inevitably loom up a third figure yet, heroic and splendid in its dignity and strength, if inferior in importance to these other two. Though Virginian, intus et in cute, it is yet a puritanical figure in one sense, if the strict adherence to religious tenets and a conformity of life thereto be Puritan; but it is essentially cavalier in the largest and broadest sense, in that he whom it represents held in the old world by adoption, as in this new world by inheritance, the creed propounded by James, Earl of Loudon, at the signing of the Covenant in Grayfriars Churchyard, Edinburgh: "We know no other bonds between a king and his subjects than those of religion and the laws; and if these are broken, men's lives are not dear to them. Threatened we shall not be; such fears are passed with us."

It is with a due recognition of the proprieties, and in feeble vindication of that history of his state and country, which has been more largely wrought by him than written of him, that I venture to-night, in response to your generous invitation, the task of outlining upon the canvas that heroic form which, worthily delineated, should impart an additional glory and splendor to the pictured panorama of Virginia's embattled and emblazoned deeds. Here, in this colonial city, where the imagination conjures from beneath mouldered marble and out of moss grown graves the long dead actors of our colonial history, the men who forgathered with Norborne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt, best beloved of Virginia's cavalier Governors, and the women who smiled and waved their perfumed farewells to the westward-bound Knights of the Golden Horseshoe--here, in the home of the Cavalier, and from those early days, thence-forward, of all that is best and bravest which he stood for, I invoke from the shadows of the historic and glory-haunted past the Scotch-Irish Ulsterman of the Virginia Valley,--the stalwart and sombre sentinel of liberty upon the outposts of American colonial civilization.

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NOTES

* The facts herein set out are derived from Mackenzie's History of Scotland; Waddell's Annals of Augusta County; Waddell's Scotch Irish of the Valley of Virginia; Brock's Virginia and Virginians; Historical Papers of Washington and Lee University; Cooke's History of Virginia, and Appleton's Encyclop: of American Biography.



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