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Journal of Transatlantic Studies

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 158–176 | Cite as

Selective remembrance: Scottish sensibilities and forgotten Irish contributions to reformed Presbyterianism in America

  • Rankin SherlingEmail author
Article

Abstract

It has been fashionable for scholars to focus upon the Scottish identity of Covenanters in America. Indeed, Covenanters, themselves often focus upon and celebrate their ‘Scottishness.’ Yet, Covenanting in America owes much — indeed, its existence — to Ireland and to Irish immigrants. This piece explores that forgotten history and its implications for Covenanter identity and for the state and future of scholarship surrounding Covenanters in America.

Keywords

Covenanters immigration Protestants Scotch-Irish identity Ireland 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Daniel Wickberg, ‘What is the History of Sensibilities? On Cultural Histories, Old and New’, American Historical Review, 2007, 662.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The term ‘Covenanter’ is contested. There are and have been several groups claiming to be ‘true’ Covenanters or the heirs of the Covenanters. It has also been used by some Presbyterians as a term of derision. In America, however, the battle over the name ‘Covenanter’ was less intense than in Scotland or Ireland. This chapter will use the term Covenanter and Reformed Presbyterian interchangeably. For a good, concise discussion of the term ‘Covenanter’ and some of its claimants, see Emily Moberg Robinson, ‘Scottish Covenanters and the Creation of an American Identity’, Journal of Presbyterian History, Spring/Summer, 2005, 68, n. 5.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    In this circumstance they have ironic historical bedfellows: Irish Catholics in nineteenth-century America. For a discussion of the manner in which Catholicism separated Irish Catholics from American society and affirmed their own identities, see Donald Harman Akenson, The United States and Ireland (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973), 36–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Scholars have noted this tendency to remember vividly the sufferings of the Covenanters even amongst more mainstream American Presbyterian revivalists in the Second Great Awakening. As with the Covenanters themselves, examples of the faithfulness of Scottish Covenanters during the ‘Killing Times’ were used by Presbyterians in the Second Great Awakening to ask whether Presbyterian listeners ‘were worthy to lay claim to this heritage of sacrificial faith….’ Leigh Eric Schmidt, Holy Fairs: Scotland and the Making of American Revivalism, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI and Cambridge, UK: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2001), 41.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Robinson, ‘Scottish Covenanters’, 55–6.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    For the purposes of this paper, the term ‘Irish’ will refer to immigrants who were born in Ireland. This will be controversial in some circles because some Irish Protestants consider themselves ‘British’, and some Irish nationalists think it impossible for a Protestant to be Irish (all Irish being Catholics in that line of thinking). In my work on Irish Presbyterians it has become clear that there are distinctions between Presbyterians in Ireland and their Presbyterian cousins in Scotland and America. It is my contention that these distinctions were created by unique Irish conditions and reactions to those conditions, hence giving Irish Presbyterians (aside from the place of their birth) Irish characteristics even though they retained Scottish characteristics as well. While largely ignored or unrecognised, these Irish Presbyterian characteristics, nonetheless, were imported to America. For a discussion on the problems of nomenclature with regard to Irish Presbyterian immigrants in America (and their descendants), see Michael Montgomery, ‘Nomenclature for Ulster Emigrants: Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish?’ Familia, no. 20, 2004, 16–36; andGoogle Scholar
  7. 6a.
    Donald Harman Akenson, The Irish Diaspora: A Primer (Toronto: P.D. Meany, 1996), 252–56.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    He writes, tersely, ‘The Reformed Presbytery of Ireland was placed in a critical position with reference to the Irish insurrection [of 1798], and their troubles proved advantageous to the Church in America in the way of receiving ministers and members.’ William Melancthon Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America (Baltimore, Hill & Harvey, 1888), 77.Google Scholar
  9. 8.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 33.Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 261.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 75–6.Google Scholar
  12. 11.
    J. C. McFeeters, The Covenanters in America: The Voice of Their Testimony on Present Moral Issues. Reasons for the Hope and Work of The Reformed Presbyterian Church (Philadelphia: Press of Spangler & Davis, 1892). Could the Rev. McFeeters’s own sense of himself as an heir to the Scottish Covenants have had a role in his failure to address this important aspect of American Covenanting?Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    Adam Loughridge, The Covenanters in Ireland: A History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland (Belfast: Cameron Press, 1984), 43.Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    And this is American Covenanter history from ‘the Irish perspective’, if Loughridge’s book can be taken as such.Google Scholar
  15. 14.
    David M. Carson ‘A History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America to 1871’, University of Pennsylvania, 1961.Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    Robinson, ‘Scottish Covenanters’, 54–70; and Emily Moberg Robinson, Immigrant Covenanters: Religious and Political Identity from Scotland to America (Santa Cruz: University of California, 2004).Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    William Lyons Fisk, The Scottish High Church Tradition in America: An Essay in Scotch-Irish Ethnoreligious History (New York: University Press of America, 1995).Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    Apparently, the only modern scholar to have noted and then emphasized in print the strong connection between Ireland’s Covenanters and the Covenanters in North America is Eldon Hay. This is an important step, but his work is limited in some senses because his study is limited to Covenanters in Nova Scotia. Eldon Hay, The Chigneto Covenanters: A Regional History of Reformed Presbyterianism in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, 1827–1905 (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996).Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    McFeeters’s book is an example of the near exclusive focus upon faithfulness to the Scottish Covenants. See J. C. McFeeters, The Covenanters in America, 1892. Nineteenth-century writers stress this faithfulness to the Scottish Covenants time and again. For further examples, see the many testimonies of American Covenanters about their Irish ministers inGoogle Scholar
  20. 18a.
    William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit; or Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-Five, (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1869), vol. IX.Google Scholar
  21. 19.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 464–68.Google Scholar
  22. 20.
    An area heavily settled by Presbyterian immigrants from Ireland. Lancaster County is situated right across the border from New Castle, Delaware, a place of Irish Presbyterian settlement from the 1680s or before. Irish Presbyterians and their descendants began to spill over into Pennsylvania before the turn of the eighteenth century. Furthermore, most of the Irish immigration (which was highly Presbyterian) in the first three or four decades of the eighteenth century used the entrepot of the Delaware River, which runs from New Castle to Philadelphia. This area, therefore, would have been heavily Irish Presbyterian. For a discussion of a number of Irish immigrant ships in this area in the early eighteenth century, see Patrick Griffin, The People with No Name: Ireland’s Ulster Scots, America’s Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World, 1689–1764 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 92–7, 159–60.Google Scholar
  23. 21.
    The Covenanters justified their drawing of swords, using warlike language. ‘Our drawing the Sword, is to testify to the World, that we are one in Judgment with them [the Scottish swearers of the Covenants], and that we are this Day willing to maintain the fame defensive War in defending our Religion and ourfelves against all Oppofers thereof, altho’ the Defence of thefe fhould coft us our Lives…’ Later, they actually declare a defensive war. ‘We find ourfelves under a Neceffity from the Word of God, and from a true covenanted Reformation, and our baptifmal Vows, by this our Testimony, in the Name of the Lord Jefus Chrift, to declare a defenfive War againft all Ufurpers of the Royal Prerogative of the glorious Lamb of God;’ See, Alexander Craighead, ‘Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solomn League; A Confeffion of Sins, and Engagement to Duties; And a Testimony: As they were carried out at Middle Octarara in Pensylvania [sic], November 11, 1743,’ Reprinted 1748, pp. xix, 44. (Anonymously printed; This pamphlet can be found in the un-catalogued pamphlet collection of Union Theological Seminary, Belfast, Northern Ireland.)Google Scholar
  24. 22.
    ‘Renewal of the Covenants, National and Solemn League; A Confession of Sins, and Engagement to Duties; And a Testimony: As they were carried on at Middle Octarara in Pennsylvania, November 11, 1743.’ Together with a Preface. Reprinted in the year MDCCXLVIII. Even five years after the events, no publisher is named nor what city it was printed in, and the author’s name is not attached. While the pamphlet was published anonymously, members of the Synod of Philadelphia, to which Craighead had formerly belonged, along with others suspected Craighead of its authorship at the time of publication.Google Scholar
  25. 23.
    Interestingly (or ironically), Cuthbertson came to America after serving as a minister for one year in Ireland. So, he too deserted Ireland’s Covenanters in favour of America’s. William L. Fisk, jr. and John Cuthbertson, ‘The Diary of John Cuthbertson’, 1949, 442.Google Scholar
  26. 24.
    The nineteenth-century historian of Covenanters in America, William Melancthon Glasgow (whose history is still the most in depth look at the history of Covenanting in America) loses McDowell after 1761. Avery thorough article on Reformed Presbyterian-ism in the 1889 Encyclopaedia Britannica also knows nothing of him after that date, stating that he returned to New England in 1761 and that ‘his further history is not known’. There is an interesting sketch of a Rev. Alexander McDowell, native of Ireland and graduate of Harvard, who was pastor at Coleraine, Massachusetts, who was dismissed for intemperance in 1761. This man is found in the McConnell Fasti and is possibly the same Alexander McDowell. The Alexander McDowell in the McConnell Fasti also matches some of the history that Glasgow reports. However, there are some dates that clash between McConnell, Glasgow and Blakie. See Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 63, 588–89; Supplement to Encyclopaedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Sciences, and General Literature, 9th ed. (New York: JM. Stoddart, 1889), vol. IV, 338–40Google Scholar
  27. 24a.
    Alexander Blaikie, History of Presbyterianism in New England: Its Introduction, Growth, Decay, Revival and Present Mission (Boston: Alexander Moore, 1881), 120–21Google Scholar
  28. 24b.
    James McConnell and Samuel G. McConnell, Fasti of the Irish Presbyterian Church 1613–1840 (Belfast: The Presbyterian Historical Society, 1951).Google Scholar
  29. 25.
    This is according to William Melancthon Glasgow. Historian of Covenanting in Ireland, Adam Loughridge, writes that McClelland ‘had been brought up in America’. He then contradicts Glasgow by claiming that McClelland was minister at Cullybackey, near Ballymena in County Antrim, Ireland. Loughridge implies that McClelland left for America after this term was up - putting McClelland in America after Glasgow does, but more importantly this later arrival puts him closer in time to the events of the early 1770s. Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 63–4, 579; Adam Loughridge, The Covenanters in Ireland: A History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Belfast: Cameron Press, 1984), 23.Google Scholar
  30. 26.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 63–4, 579.Google Scholar
  31. 27.
    Loughridge, The Covenanters in Ireland, 23.Google Scholar
  32. 28.
    Not all of these Irish Presbyterians were Covenanters. See Jean Stephenson, Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, 1772 (Rev. William Martin and His Five Shiploads of Settlers) (Strasburg, VA: Shenandoah Publishing House, 1971), 19Google Scholar
  33. 28a.
    R.J. Dickson, Ulster Emigration to Colonial America, 1718–1775 (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966), 254.Google Scholar
  34. 29.
    Sprague, Annals, vol. IX, ‘Reformed’, 27.Google Scholar
  35. 30.
    While this paper focuses on Covenanter ministers from Ireland, the fact that Paxton, Pennsylvania, was the place from which came the representative to ask the Irish presbytery for ministers and where the presbytery was organised suggests (circumstantially) that the laity were heavily Irish-born as well. This is Lancaster County, also home to Octorara, where Craighead led Covenanters in the 1740s to renew the Scottish Covenants. Paxton, Pennsylvania was notoriously ‘Irish’ at that stage in American history. This is the place from which the infamous murderers of the Conestoga Indians, the ‘Paxton Boys’, took their name. Benjamin Franklin referred to its Irish Presbyterian inhabitants as ‘the Christian white savages of Peckstang and Donegall’. Patrick Griffin, The People with No Name, 170. Also see, Benjamin Franklin, A Narrative of the Late Massacres in Lancaster County’, 1764.Google Scholar
  36. 31.
    Sketches of Ecclesiastical History in Two Books (Belfast: J. Smyth, 1815), 96.Google Scholar
  37. 32.
    Jean Stephenson, Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, 1772, 17–24; and Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 572–74.Google Scholar
  38. 33.
    Sprague, Annals, 1869, vol. IX, Associate Reformed’, v.Google Scholar
  39. 34.
    The collapse of this presbytery, like that of the Irish presbytery, was, in no small part because of the actions of Irishmen, Linn and Dobbin.Google Scholar
  40. 35.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 595.Google Scholar
  41. 36.
    William Martin had been suspended for intemperance, but was restored to his ministerial duties in 1793 and made a member of this committee, which was affiliated with the Reformed Presbytery of Scotland.Google Scholar
  42. 37.
    There was one Scot, Cuthbertson, involved in the creation of the first presbytery.Google Scholar
  43. 38.
    This characterisation is from the pen of the Rev. Samuel B. Wylie, one of the early fathers of the Reformed Presbytery of America and who was also forced to flee Ireland for fear of the British government. See Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit, vol. IX, ‘Reformed Presbyterian’, 5. Rev. Gilbert McMaster was also a friend of James McKinney and a fellow Irish-born minister who laboured America. McMaster, wrote that McKinney ‘committed no treasonable act; and while he abhorred the measures that goaded so many of the best men of the country - men not inferior in love of country to the purest of patriots of any land - to unite in order to break the British yoke, yet he did not identify himself with the United Irishmen. His views were more extensive than theirs, and his principles of higher bearing. But orderly as his views and principles were, they still furnished a pretext for prosecution, which might, as in the case of some of his brethren, have consigned him to the prison house for years, or even to the grave. From the arrest of the minions of oppression he narrowly escaped’, Sprague, Annals, vol. IX, ‘Reformed Presbyterian’, 1–6. McKinney’s loss was felt deeply by the struggling Irish presbytery and yet another blow befell them with the death, in the same year, of one of their ministers. See, Loughridge, The Covenanters in Ireland, 28.Google Scholar
  44. 39.
    Sprague, Annals, vol. IX, ‘Reformed Presbyterian’, 6–7.Google Scholar
  45. 40.
    Covenanters were not permitted to hold membership in secret societies, but McKinney, Gibson, Wylie, Black (and no doubt others) were clearly supporters of the United Irishmen and their goals. A reading of Sprague and of Glasgow demonstrate this. Glasgow and some of the testimony found in Sprague’s Annals repeatedly state that these men were not members of the secret society as it would have been against Covenanter principles. John Black and Samuel B. Wylie, however, were young men and not yet ministers. If any of these ministers were likeliest to join, it would have been these two. Furthermore, David A. Wilson makes the case that not all claims of non-membership can be taken at face value. ‘In 1798, the Federalist [and therefore anti-United Irish] journalist John Ward Fenno published a list of seventeen leaders of the organisation. It included long-standing Irish-American radicals such as Matthew Carey and his brother James, comparatively recent arrivals from Ulster such as John Black …. The accuracy of the list, however, is problematic. Mathew Carey, along with James, angrily denied that he had anything to do with the society; his private correspondence, however, tells a different story. ‘The accusation made by John Ward Fenno’, concluded Edward Carter, ‘was probably correct. Carey was a leader of the American Society of United Irishmen’. Similar denials by the schoolteachers John Black and Samuel Wylie must be taken with a grain of salt; both men were clearly supporters of the movement, but could have put their careers in jeopardy by admitting to membership in the hostile atmosphere of 1798’. See David A. Wilson, United Irishmen, United States: Immigrant Radicals in the Early Republic (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1998), 43–4. (Emphasis is mine).Google Scholar
  46. 41.
    Martin was suspended or dismissed several times for intemperance during his time in America. This was certainly the case in 1777 and 1785. After a tumultuous career in South Carolina fighting the British and his own denomination, he was finally deposed from office for his fondness for whiskey and for owning slaves in 1801. A fighter and a very brave man, he was described as ‘a large, fine-looking man, a proficient scholar, an eloquent preacher, and an able divine’. Martin’s fellow Irishman, James McGarragh, was also deposed from the ministry in 1801. McGarragh was eventually re-admitted as a private member and, although a classical school teacher, he died in ‘great despondency’ in South Carolina in 1816. See Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 572–74, 594–96.Google Scholar
  47. 42.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 561–62.Google Scholar
  48. 43.
    There was one minister in America in the 1790s who was not Irish. This was Alexander Macleod, a Scotsman licenced by the young American presbytery in 1799.Google Scholar
  49. 44.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 716.Google Scholar
  50. 45.
    Sprague, Annals, vol. IX, ‘Reformed Presbyterian’, 61. Reilly is spelled differently in various sources as Riley, Reily and Reilly.Google Scholar
  51. 46.
    William Melancthon Glasgow broke down the nativities of all the Covenanter ministers who had ever served in North America up to 1887. By reconfiguring and tallying his nativity numbers we are able to find the percentage of Irish-born in the Covenanter ministry in America. Glasgow’s ministerial nativity breakdown is as follows: Ireland-90; Pennsylvania-74; Ohio-42; New York-21; Scotland-14; Indiana-10; Vermont-10; South Carolina-9; Illinois-8; Iowa-4; Nova Scotia-3; Virginia-3; Michigan-2; Alabama-1; Missouri-1; Syria-1. Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 745. Glasgow’s figure of 90 includes three Irish-born ministers who laboured in Canada but not the USA. Also, Glasgow does not include three others who laboured in the USA after 1887. These three were found in Loughridge’s Fasti of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland (Belfast: Presbyterian Historical Society, 1970). They are George Benaugh, Alexander Patterson Gillespie and John Martin Littlejohn. Since Glasgow’s figure of 90 includes three ministers who did not labour in the USA, but only in Canada, we can subtract those and then add three more that Glasgow could not or did not account for to get the American (US) ministers from Ireland up to 1900. So, the number of Irish-born Covenanter ministers in the Thirteen Colonies/USA from the 1740s up to 1900 remains at 90. However, since I do not have a total minister count up to 1900, we will use Glasgow’s numbers to calculate percentages.Google Scholar
  52. 47.
    These numbers are especially remarkable and valuable given the state of the historiography of the Irish in America, which is decidedly mute on Protestants after 1800. Most historians seemed to have assumed that Irish Protestant immigration to America stopped or slowed dramatically shortly after 1800. While it is now recognised that Protestant migration from Ireland did continue, few scholarly efforts have been made to describe it. As recently as 2006, Irene Whelan could accurately write ‘we know little or nothing about those [Protestant Irish] who left [Ireland for America] after 1800’. Aside from historians who have consciously avoided studying Irish Protestants for ideological reasons, there is another major factor in creating the state of historical ignorance surrounding Irish Protestants in America. The state of American sources in the nineteenth century, specifically the US census, has made it particularly hard to separate Irish immigrants by denomination. While the study of Catholics has been made easier by the systematic record keeping of the Catholic church, there has been very little systematic recording of Irish Protestants. Considering that state of things, the data on Irish Covenanter ministers becomes increasingly valuable. It demonstrates the continued influence of Irish-born ministers upon a Protestant denomination in America up to 1887. Therefore, further investigation of the Irish-born Covenanter ministry in America might help to unlock aspects of Protestant Irish in America that historians of the Irish in America have yet to bring to light. See, Irene Whelan, ‘Religious Rivalry and the Making of Irish-American Identity’, in Making the Irish American: History and Heritage of the Irish in the United States, J.J. Lee and Marion Casey, eds. (New York: New York University Press, 2006), 282. See also Donald Harman Akenson, The Irish Diaspora: A Primer, 217–69.Google Scholar
  53. 48.
    Glasgow’s data runs out in 1887, but at least three more Irish Covenanter ministers arrived in America between 1887 and 1900. Therefore, from 1740 to 1900 at least 93 Irish-born ministers immigrated into either British North America/Canada or the Thirteen Colonies/the United States. Five of these laboured in both the USA and Canada. Three more ministered in Canada, alone, and the remaining 85 confined their North-American efforts to the Thirteen Colonies/United States, alone. So, despite the fact that historians of the Irish in America have claimed that Irish Protestants were much more likely to immigrate to Canada rather than the USA in the nineteenth century, the vast majority (90 of 93) of the Irish-born Covenanter ministerial contingent in North America up to 1900 ministered in the Thirteen Colonies/United States. For an excellent, if damning, analysis of Irish-American historiography and its failure to consider Protestants, see Donald Harman Akenson, Being Had: Historians, Evidence, and the Irish in North America (Toronto: P.D. Meany Publishers, 1985), 37–75.Google Scholar
  54. 49.
    The 13 Irish-born ministers were: James McKinney, William Gibson, Thomas Donnelly, John Black, Samuel B. Wylie, Gilbert McMaster, John Reilly, Robert Wallace, John Cannon, Robert Gibson, Campbell Madden, James Blackwood and Hugh Walkinshaw. The five eminent ministers who were not Irish-born were: Alexander McLeod, James Renwick Wilson, John Kell, Moses Roney and John McKinley. Sprague, Annals, vol. IX, ‘Reformed Presbyterian’.Google Scholar
  55. 50.
    Alexander McLeod, a Scot, was the only non-Irish moderator. The other moderators were James McKinney, William Gibson, Samuel B. Wylie, John Black, Thomas Donnelly, Matthew Williams and Gilbert McMaster. See Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 779.Google Scholar
  56. 51.
    All these numbers were tallied and reconfigured from Glasgow’s own lists. There was no meeting and no moderator in the years 1810, 1813, 1815, 1820, 1822, 1824, 1826, 1829, 1832, 1835, 1837, 1839, 1842, 1844, 1846, 1848, 1850, 1852, 1854, 1858 and 1860. Most of the years in which there was no moderator, therefore, were in the years in which Irish ministers in the American church would have been densest, which indicates that their leadership in the nineteenth-century church could have been even greater than suggested in the text. See Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 779–81.Google Scholar
  57. 52.
    ‘Minutes of Reformed Presbytery of America, from 1798 to 1809, and Digest of the Acts of the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, from 1809 to 1888’ (Philadelphia: Jas. B. Rodgers Printing Co., 1888), 211–15.Google Scholar
  58. 53.
    23 of 90 Irish ministers in America (not including three Irish-born who worked in Canada).Google Scholar
  59. 54.
    Donnelly was not a refugee of the United Irish rebellion, but having immigrated in 1791 he can still be considered a refugee of the tumultuous Irish 1790s which helped to produce the United Irish rebellion of 1798.Google Scholar
  60. 55.
    Wilson, United Irishmen, United States, 99.Google Scholar
  61. 56.
  62. 57.
    What, then, was particularly Irish about these Covenanters - and indeed what is Irish? A definitive, and possibly even an adequate, answer lies beyond the scope of this article. Yet, some peculiarities in the Irish situation bear mentioning. Presbyterianism and Covenanting come from Scotland, so all Irish Presbyterians and particularly Irish Covenanters had something of Scotland within their culture and religion. However, Ireland will have left its mark, particularly in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, for the Covenanter religion is, first and foremost, a religion of confrontation with the state. Across the longue dure´e of eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries it was Ireland and America, not Scotland, where that battle was fought in the public square. In Ireland, the politicisation of religion remained emotionally charged with the fires of the French Revolution through the nineteenth century’s mounting crisis of Protestant identity over and against a Catholic majority. Scotland, meanwhile, lay in relative political tranquility. It makes sense, then, that the outsider consciousness of this peculiar people would be more firmly embedded in America from Irish, rather than Scottish, roots. These are suggestions for now, but in future work, based partially upon the research presented here, I will focus on Scotland and the immigrant Irish Protestant identity in America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; it will deal with this topic of identity much more closely.Google Scholar
  63. 58.
    Sprague, Annals, vol. IX, ‘Reformed Presbyterian,’ 53.Google Scholar
  64. 59.
    Fisk, The Scottish High Church Tradition in America, 1996, ch.1. See also, Akenson, God’s Peoples, 1992, for a discussion of the concept of covenant and chosen peoples.Google Scholar
  65. 60.
    See, Akenson, The Irish Diaspora: A Primer, 27.Google Scholar
  66. 61.
    Thomas Sproull, Reformed Presbyterian Church in America: Sketches of Her Organic History from 1774 to 1833 (written in 1876 and 1877), edited and corrected by Reid W Stewart (Point Pleasant Limited, 2005), 29.Google Scholar
  67. 62.
    Glasgow, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, 269–71.Google Scholar
  68. 63.
    ‘Letter from the Irish Synod’ in The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, W Sproull and B. Willson, eds, Combined Series, Vol. XXIV, 1886, 16–17.Google Scholar
  69. 64.
    Ibid., 17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Board of Transatlantic Studies 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HistoryQueens UniversityKingstonCanada

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