Notes to The Scotch-Irish in America

Henry Jones Ford

[1] It appears from the following, in the weekly edition of the London Times, September 22, 1911, that the legendary history of the Coronation Stone still receives credence:

"Archdeacon Wilberforce, preaching at Westminster Abbey on Sunday, said that it fell to his lot during the preparations at the Abbey for the Coronation to guide to the Coronation Stone a well-known antiquary who had made a study of its history.

"The antiquary was convinced that it was the stone on which Jacob rested his head when he had the vision of angels at Bethel, and that from that night it was considered sacred and carried from place to place. He believed it was that stone that Moses struck, and that it was carried by the Israelites during their 40 years of wandering. He pointed to a big cleft in the back from which the water gushed out. He also indicated two rusted iron staples deeply sunk, one at each end, by which it was carried. He traced the stone to Solomon's Temple, and from thence, after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, to Spain, thence to Ireland, thence to Scone, and from Scotland to Westminster Abbey.

"Mr. E. S. Foot writes from 13, Marlboroughplace, St. John's-wood: 'The late Dean Stanley, in his Memorials of Westminster, pages 594-5-6, sets out the authorities, Professor Ramsay, Director of the Geological Survey of England, and his colleague, Mr. Geikie, who, after minute investigation, were satisfied that the stone is old red sandstone, exactly resembling that which forms the doorway of Dunstaffnage Castle, which exactly agrees with the character of the Coronation Stone itself. "The rocks of Egypt, so far as I know [Mr. Geikie], consist chiefly of mummulitic limestone, of which the Great Pyramid is built. I have never heard of any strata occurring there similar to the red sandstone, of the Coronation Stone."

[2] In Appendix A will be found an account by a contemporary observer of conditions just before the Ulster Plantation that gives the facts without romance.

[3] After this chapter had been written a valuable history appeared entitled The Ulster Scot, by the Rev. James Barkley Woodburn of Castlerock, County Derry, Ireland. This work may be commended as a fair and well-informed history of Ulster.

Mr. Woodburn, however, makes a statement in regard to racial origins with which I am unable to agree. He holds that there is little or no racial distinction between the Ulster Scots and the Irish people in general and that "the Ulsterman has probably as much Celtic blood as the Southerner." In support of this averment he argues that the regions of Scotland from which the Ulster plantation drew settlers were predominantly Celtic. Mr. Woodburn's argument was the subject of thorough consideration by the Rev. Professor James Heron of the Assembly's College, Belfast, in an address delivered at that institution on April 9, 1910. This address, which makes a thorough and complete analysis of this intricate subject, will be found reproduced in Appendix C of this book.

[4] The founding of Neshaminy Church has been dated as far back as 1710 by church historians. The evidence has been examined by William W. H. Davis, president of the Bucks County Historical Society, and he concludes that the church could hardly have been in existence much before 1726 when William Tennent became pastor. The assertion that the church dates to 1710 rests upon the fact that Bensalem church, of which Paulus van Vleck was pastor in 1710, had a branch at Neshaminy; but Mr. Davis holds that this branch had no connection with the Warwick Township church, of which Tennent became pastor. See Davis, History of Bucks County, Vol. I, pp. 300, 302.

[5] Dr. Herbert Friedenwald in his monograph on The Declaration of Independence, ascribes the legend of the ringing of the Liberty Bell, when the Declaration was adopted, to "the fertile imagination of one of Philadelphia's early romancers, George Lippard." The story was first published in a work entitled Washington and his Generals or Legends of the Revolution, by George Lippard; Philadelphia: G. B. Zeiber & Co., 1847. It is written in a style of turgid melodrama, disregarding the actual facts.

In giving a fancy picture of the debate in Congress on July 4 Lippard says: "Then the deep-toned voice of Richard Henry Lee is heard swelling in syllables of thunder-like music." But as a matter of fact Lee was not present, having left Philadelphia on June 13, because of sickness in his family. On July 4 he was attending the Virginia convention. Lippard relates how "a flaxen-haired boy, with laughing eyes of summer blue" waited at the door of Congress for a message to be given by "a man with a velvet dress and a kind face." Meanwhile in the belfry stood "an old man with white hair and sunburnt face," anxiously waiting for the message that the Declaration of Independence had been adopted. He was almost in despair when "there among the crouds on the pavement stood the blue-eyed boy, clapping his tiny hands, while the breeze blowed his flaxen hair all about his face. And then swelling his little chest, he raised himself tiptoe, and shouted, a single word—Ring!"

This account, which by its style and matter plainly announces itself to be fiction, is the original version of the ringing of the Liberty Bell. It has since been taken into popular history and the mythical legend was widely propagated through the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, in which year a new edition of Lippard's work was issued and vigorously pushed.

[6] The report of the Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish Society for 1898 contains a paper by the Hon. John B. McPherson of Dauphin County, now a member of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, giving particulars of the strength of the Scotch-Irish element in the Pennsylvania judiciary. An address by Governor James E. Campbell of Ohio, contained in the report of the Scotch-Irish Congress of 1890, gives many particulars of the prominent part taken by the Scotch-Irish in organizing and developing the Western States.

[7] A great mass of information is contained in the published proceedings of the Scotch-Irish Society of America, organized in 1889, under the presidency of Robert Bonner of New York. Its first congress was held at Columbia, Tennessee, in May, of that year. Subsequently congresses were held at Pittsburgh, Louisville, Atlanta, Springfield, Ohio, Des Moines, Lexington, Va., Harrisburg, Knoxville, and Chambersburg, Pa. Ten volumes of proceedings were issued by this Society, making an expressive exhibit of the achievements of the Ulster breed in America.

The only Scotch-Irish Society known now to exist is the Pennsylvania Scotch-Irish Society, which was organized in the fall of 1889 as a branch of the National Society. It holds annual meetings, the transactions of which are published in a series of reports containing much information on Scotch-Irish history.

[8] See Life of St. Cuthbert, chap. XI, sec. 18. The designation "Niduari" appears to be derived from the river Nith, which bounded Galloway on the east.