Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2000-03 > 0953477265
From: "Edward Andrews" <>
Subject: historical myths was RE: One Small Step Forward
Date: Sun, 19 Mar 2000 14:47:45 -0000
With Charles on manufactured history, and the interesting book about Salem
NY. I feel that one of my history lessons is coming on. If you don't like
them Press delete now.
As well as the Trevor-Roper essay from "The invention of Tradition", there
are more wider ranging articles in The Manufacture of Scottish History ,
Donnachie & Whatlay, and part of the opening chapter of Tom Devine's
Magisterial The Scottish Nation 1700 to 2000, covers this fact.
Because, as Linda keeps on telling us, this is not a Scottish list, I
probably have kept my thoughts on this particular issue to my self (and
perhaps the SCOTLAND list.)
The reflection about the myths of history brings me back to thoughts about
the Salem book.
I mentioned the problem about Rutherford in an E-mail, and received a very
gracious private reply from Cordelia. I recognise that the book was posted
as a genealogical source, not as History, I was not going to say anything
more. Given that we are now looking at historical myths, we would be none
the worse of a consideration of the underlying problems of the story.
Personally I tend to doubt that Dr Clerk was being charged with refusing
to take the oath by kissing the Bible. I may be wrong, but I have never
heard of that as a practice in Ireland. I suspect that the person who wrote
the account was not familiar with the byways of Seceder history, and
therefore simply did not understand just where they were.
I really should have kept the peace, but I didn't think that I would be
writing an historical review of it.
There were very few - if any Presbyterians of any kind in Scotland who
would have supported the Jacobite cause. The Stewarts, especially the later
Stewarts were no friends of Presbyterianism.
However, the (Whig) government considered the rebellion an excuse to
embarrass the Tories, and to attack the Scottish Episcopal Church. They
therefore enacted the Burgess Oath.
Those with tender consciences however claimed that this involved the
acceptance of the established Church. Thus the Seceders split into the
Burghers and Anti-Burghers.
While Clerk was a Burgher. I suspect that his objection was to the actual
oath which there was in Ireland. This Oath was set up in 1719, under the
Toleration Act where dissenters who took an oath of civil allegiance and the
usual declaration against 'popish' doctrines were exempt from attendance at
the Parish Church, allowed to worship freely, and to hold some parish
I suspect that Clerk refused to take this oath. I have no other record of
even the Burghers who came along having this problem so I doubt if the
question of kissing the book was the real reason for the problem.
It is interesting that we read of New light. The Auld Licht, New Licht
argument in Scotland which was a uniquely Seceder dispute was to do with the
relationships between Church and state set out in the Westminster
What is being produce as the "New Light" was in fact the arguments which
eventually led to the setting up of the Non Subscribing Church.
Neither of these issues would have had very much meaning for someone
writing in New York in 1896.
We must be aware that writers of local history - who usually are not
professional historians - tend to write reports of historically distant
ideas in terms which mean something to them.
I would ask the Americans among you why it is that you pay so much
attention to the rather late arrivals off the Mayflower in 1620? It is of
course because of Unionist Propaganda during the war between the states. It
was necessary to identify American History with the North, rather than the
All History has its myth, its fiction and its distortion.
Linda has made the wise discussion to keep St Patrick's day, and Tartan Day
firmly off this list. Those of you who are looking for your ancestors often
can't see either what is wrong with the harmless stories, or what a view of
history will do to help you in your search.
Unless we can see history as another country, then we will have
difficulties. We had a question about the possible problems about people
researching McGregor names with the proscribing of the clan in 1617.
If you get yourself back to records before 1617, then you have a problem
perhaps. We have to remember however that there is a big difference between
our anonymous society today, and the local society of the past when everyone
knew each other. I would very much doubt that people were running around
changing records. Can you tell me what the practical results of the ban
When you think about things in real life many of the problems disappear.
Always remember that no matter how they are written up in some book, that
our ancestors were people just like us, however people blessed by often
never having been more than a few miles from where they were reared, with no
telephone, or electricity, where the fastest way of communicating was a man
on a horse.
St. Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
Visit our Web site http://www.btinternet.com/~stnicholas.buccleuch/index.htm
> Wow! I like! So the Scots actually ditched the Irish motherland,
> eh? I wondered
> how that had all got forgotten. Then you had the Saxon rewrites
> of the 19th
> century (whereby it was "proven" all the lowlanders were Saxons and not
> Celtic at all) ...geez, its no wonder the past is kind of foggy.
> McCauley's description of King George in a kilt has always been a favorite
> of mine -- comparing him to George Washington in a loincloth carrying a
> tomahawk. Now...that's a really funny mental picture -- George in a
> I wonder if he had spindly legs?
> Did you hear that the American flag, which George had a big part
> in designing,
> looking amazingly like the Washington family heraldry back in Washington,
> Durham? Apparently so.
> Linda Merle
|historical myths was RE: One Small Step Forward by "Edward Andrews" <>|