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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2008-07 > 1216045338

Subject: Re: [S-I] Ephemera: one reason for leaving Ireland pre famine
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 14:22:18 +0000

Hi John, the opinion on the reason for migration in the 1700s is not MY reason. If you scour the Internet and your library down the street, you will learn I have published an article or a book on this topic. The opinion is that of a published author, actually several. Leyburn is sufficient. So those dissenting need to debunk HIM, not ME. Or dislike him, not me. I am simply repeating his opinions, which seem sound to me, like a teacher or parrot, if you prefer

Those who came in the 1680s to Maryland are not generally considered 'Scotch Irish", though we use these terms -- now -- and we have very little documentary evidence of what people called themselves. However according to David Dobson "Scottish Emigration to Colonial America 1607-1784", most of those who arrived in Maryland (or Chesapeake Bay area as he terms it with Virginia), few "Scots" arrived in the 17th century willingly They were hauled off by Oliver Cromwell -- shiploads of Scotish prisoners of war, around 1650, the same time he hauled similar boatloads to New England. Then Covenantors were deported there from 1669 to 1686. You can find their names in the registers of the Privy Council of Scotland as well as petitions from merchants and ship masters regarding the task of shipping them over.

He also details Scottish criminals sent there after the Restoration in 1670. Again, these are identified in the Scottish records. You had some indentured servants com ing in the 1600s but as the Navigation Acts limited American colonial translatic commerce to ENGLISH ports, neither Irish or Scots ports could legally transport anyone to or from Maryland. These acts didn't ban Scottish (not Scotch Irish) indentured servants.

Nonetheless the Chesapeake was a den of illegal trading in the 1600s, so Dobson believes several Scottish merchants and their agents were established in the area and they brought over Scots, not Scotch Irish. He identifies many. When I gave a lecture on Cape Cod a number of years ago on Scots and Scotch Irish migration to New England, drawing my material from various works by Dobson, primarily, two people in the audience heard me name individuals known to have come to Cape Cod from Scotland -- who were their ancestors and they believed they were Ulster Scots. This was rather amazing, except it was Cape Cod where you might suspect to find descendents. The point is that "Scotch Irish" is an American ethnic group that formed AFTER the 1600s, probably well in to the 1700s, if not the early 1800s -- so people self-identified several hundred years, perhaps, after the ancestors came, with a contemporary term. It does not mean your ancestors came from Ireland. So if you spend al!
l your
time looking for them in Ireland you will not find them because they were in Scotland. It pays to understand the history surrounding the migration of Scots to these colonies.

Dobson also mentions that there were many opportunities in colonial AMerica for Scottish school mastesrs and tutors. Not Irish but a handful may have come. We're talking 'big picture'. Finding one Irish tutor who came doesn't impact Dobson's statements. We need to understand the difference between the tree and the forest. In the 1600s Scotland was one of the intellectual capitals of Europe, so it had excellent schools and an excess of scholars. Ireland was a backwater, so Irish people sent their children to Scotland or England or, if Catholic, to various schools on the Continent. That's why there were a lot of Scots tutors, but not Irish. There were a lot more Scots tutors than Irish.

He says Maryland had relatively few Scottish immigrants in the 17th century and does show that despite the Navigation Acts, Scotland did trade directly with Maryland and Virginia before 1707 (and the Act of Union). There were definitely Presbyterian settlements in the area -- but that doesn't mean their inhabitants came from Ireland. There are definitely cases of Irish ministers coming to America to serve congregations in the 1600s but the congregations were largely if not entirely Scots and English. Not Irish. Not a forest. Individual trees.

Various groups of Irish DID leave Ireland before the historical Scotch Irish. These include Irish Methodists, largely leaving from parts of Ireland not in Ulster (founded the American Methodist church) and Irish Quakers, settling in the Middle Atlantic colonies, esp. Pennsylvania. The SI were NOT the first group of Protestants to leave Ireland, by far. However they were the largest, and therefore they dominated the evolution of ethnicity in America, subsuming others. So descendents of Quakers and Methodists may self identify as Scotch Irish -- which they are -- in the USA -- but that doesn't mean their ancestors came from Ulster.

There is no doubt that the Ulster Scots suffered in the late 1600s, but they did not suffer as the Scots did. They did not suffer even as they did in the 1640s. They had immense paranoia, justifiably, that conditions would decay to equal that of Scotland's in the 1680s or of their own in the 1640s, but it did not. WHile it is true that by contrast Maryland may have seemed a wonderful haven, there were very few ships leaving, so unless they could swim or build their own boat (which they learned was rather hard), they had to stay put and deal with their sufferings and their paranoia. This is where the 'feeling very oppressed' part comes in. There is a difference, which we need to be aware of, between 'feeling very oppressed' and being burnt alive in barns and thrown off bridges-- this did happen in the 1640s in Ireland (while the Scots Covenantors were severely persecuted in the 1680s). However there is a difference between being thrown out of office and being tied to stake !
and dro
wned in the sea, right?

There is no doubt they would have loved to have come and that a handful did come. Documenting the handful is a full time job for some people. You think that 'hiding in the bushes', there are many more, but your own sources indicate few came as you recount:
> - The emigration to Somerset largely subsided in 1690's because of the
> improved prospects for Ulster Scots in Ireland after the Battle of the
> Boyne.

Leyburn and other historical books explain that the Ulster Scots were largely 'screwed' (pardon the term) after the Glorious Revolution. Instead of being rewarded for their labors and loyalty, they were subjected to the Penal Laws and, as dissentors, considered to be the same as Catholics. Again they were justifiably very unhappy, very paranoid, and getting increasingly hungrier due to the collapse of the wool trade, etc. They would have died in place of hunger had the act of union not opened up trade routes which brought ships to the Irish ports from America, needing ballast for the return trip. Without the shipping trade, they would have had to swim or make their own boat, like the Eagle Wing people.

If you read Agnew's book on Belfast Merchants (largely extracted in our archives with all the genealogies), you get the impression of how small Belfast was in comparison to London and how difficult it was for Belfast to gather togther the funding to build or buy ships and finance trade. It usually took several rich individuals to finance a ship, while in London, single merchants often financed the whole ship if not several. So without the Act of Union and the opening of the trade routes, there would be no ships to lug people or anything else anywhere. Required London, and to an extent, Scottish financing. That occured in the early 1700s after the Act of Union. This is probably the single reason the bulk emigration occured in the 1700s (not the 1600s) -- ships arrived from America in Irish ports after the act of union. They were legal then. Pirating and illegal trade is much riskier and took place in much lower volumes. Not for bulk shipment of 100,000 immigrants.....

So don't make the mistake so many others have of assuming if Frances M came to America, he was met at the shore by a congregation of people from Ulster. No.....not that there were surely a few there, but largely in the second half of the 1600s, there were Scots here but not so many Irish. The Irish but for Cromwell's victims, criminals, merchants and their families and hangers on, pirates, tutors, a few indentured servants (who somehow managed to get shipped from somewhere -- despite it being illegal for Scots and Irish to trade with the American English colonies), etc, came in bulk in the 1700s and 1800s. Not the 1600s.

BTW Dobson is doing more research on evidence of Ulster Scots in Scottish records because he has realized how badly neglected this has been. You can get his books at They are among the very best and very readible accounts of migration to the American colonies. Even if your ancestor was Irish, not Scots, you get a better picture of the colony -- who lived there and why. This helps you avoid the error of confusing the tree (Frances M) with the forest (100,000 Ulster Scots landing in Philly).

So with Dobson's continued research, our picture of Ulster migration will be updated. Those of us in America tend to try to use Amercian records to research our immigrants. Dobson extracts from Scottish and Irish sources. So you might find something different in his research than you found here in Amerikay.

Maybe he'll even debunk contemporary understanding of these period. In that case he will debunk Leyburn and others (not me). My ego and pocketbook will not be impacted. Leyburn's will not either as it may take 50 years for the results of modern research to 'trickle down' to the bottom of the pond, where we lurk, gobbling down whatever comes our way......

My own theories, due to lack of funding, are all unproven, so I must hide behind the trousers of the fellas who stayed in gradschool and are respectable enough to get academic jobs <grin>. This is important to understand. We can all have theories and beliefs that we hold very very very strongly but unless they are backed up by solid research that has been peer reviewed, we're talking about intellectual capital that's in the junk bond category: ie it may be worthless for finding ancestors. We need to understand the difference between a definitive source and a windbag. I'm a windbag. Leyburn is definitive -- but that may change and he'll end up a Seaton...<grin>. I'll still be a windbag, through it all. So don't say "Linda Merle maintains that...." -- this is laughable. It's "Linda Merle said Leyburn said that...." (and then maybe 'but she is wrong and made it up'!!)

Some time ago we had a thread of 'freebees at google." Is it time for a new one?? In my recent hard disk nightmare (last week) my greatest fear was losing my PDF farm of downloaded google books. Takes long to find them. Now I need a utility to search through a whole directory of PDF files. Anyone know of one? Other than the google website <grin>. I do use it.... I do have a backup but my DVD drive can eat DVDs as quickly as my drives fail......... My copy of Windows was destroyed by a now defunct CD drive, I learned last Thursday....sigh. Computer woes........ And if I put these old Zip disks in the new Zip drive it might destroy the new Zip drive....arrgg.....

Linda Merle

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