Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 2000-04 > 0956328373
From: "Edward Andrews" <>
Subject: RE: Test Act in Derry
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 15:46:13 +0100
> Would it be (possibly) correct to conclude that the 1718 emigration from
> Londonderry, to Boston of five shiploads, was a result of the Test Act of
> 1704? Delayed, of course as tensions, repression grew?
> This 1718 bunch is recognised as one of the earliest large group
> emigrations, by Ulster Scots to North America.
> Steve Anderson
The connection between the Test Act and the beginnings of emigration to
America has been thought of in the past.
Dickson - the standard for emigration at this time, certainly allows that
the disadvantage of Presbyterianism subsequent to Glorious Revolution was an
influence on the people who immigrated - especially if "the Minister
Sponsored it" Dickson p 5 (1966 1st ed). In 1718, the ministers certainly
did sponsor it.
However while there is about one page given over to the religious question,
there are about 12, analysing the economic situation.
When I was a student in Derry in the late 1960s I worshipped and on
occasions preached in 1st Derry, I well remember the memorial to those who
were excluded by the Test Act It was in the Vestibule, on the left as you
went in the door.
St. Nicholas Buccleuch Parish Church Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland
Visit our Web site http://www.btinternet.com/~stnicholas.buccleuch/index.htm
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, 19 April, 2000 07:38 PM
> Subject: Test Act in Derry
> A recent "Ireland of the Welcomes" announced a new publication DISCOVER
> DERRY by Brian Lacey who combines his roles as archaeologist and
> historian. Part one of the book treats on the eary history of Derry
> while Part two explores Derry's most interesting buildings. "The
> infamous walls," says the review, "are a truly unique feature of Derry
> by European standards and are equalled nowhere else in Ireland."
> O'Brien Press, ISBN 0-86278-596-0, p/b IR 9.99.
> Mr. Lacey is also featured as one of the contributors in the 1999
> publication DERRY AND LONDONDERRY, HISTORY AND SOCIETY, with his
> contribution of "County Derry in the Early Historic Period."
> SIEGE CITY: THE STORY OF DERRY AND LONDONDERRY also by Mr. Lacey was
> first published in 1990 and reprinted more recently in 1998. This is a
> general, comprehensive history of the city and would be the book for
> most genealogists to start with. The text is wonderfully illustrated
> with drawings, woodcuts and photographs. The treatment of Saint Columba,
> The Grianan of Aileach (4.5 miles to the west of Derry - looks similar
> to Newgrange) and the account of the gold hoard found in the late 19th
> century are memorable and have renewed my desire to visit Donegal and
> Derry in the next year or so.
> For me, though, Derry is the Siege and the early source of Ulster
> emigration to North America in the generation following the Siege.While
> the generality of contemporary historians place a greater emphasis on
> economic causes as the chief motivation to emigrate, there is still a
> strong acknowledgement of religious reasons and freedom of conscience as
> major contributing causes.
> A couple of passages in Lacey's eighth chapter caught my eye in his
> account of the Test Act. The typical generalizations of the historian
> meld with the specific and individual accounts so much prized by the
> "In 1704 'An Act to prevent the further growth of popery', commonly
> known as the test act, required that all holders of public offices in
> Ireland, both civil and military, had to qualify by taking the sacrament
> of communion in their local Anglican parish church. As a direct
> consequence of this act, twenty-four Presbyterian members of the
> thirty-eight man corporation in Derry had to resign, having refused from
> principle to qualify in the manner prescribed." This corporation was
> known as The Irish Society and had been established by the London
> companies to manage the affairs of the city. It was surprising to me to
> find out the Presbyterian composition of the corporation was so large.
> Lacey then goes on to say that "those who had been obliged to resign had
> been influential in the civic life of Derry. Of the ten aldermen
> involved, six had previously held the office of mayor, while the
> remaining four had served as sheriffs and two of the fourteen resigning
> burgesses had also served as sheriffs. Of the twenty-four who resigned,
> fifteen were elders in their congregation."
> The above is nearly the exact position of Alderman John Cowan who had
> brought 100 men from St. Johnstown to the defense of Derry. Not only an
> Alderman of the City, he had also held the office of High Sheriff. In
> addition, he was an elder from his congregation in Raphoe. It's
> remarkable, the merging of the particular and the general and a feature
> of Lacey's writings. His use of colorful detail energizes the
> historical account and makes it interesting and informative.