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The Irish Contribution to America

The Irish have been coming to this country for fully 300 years.  In Hotten’s list of emigrants who arrived in Virginia between 1616 and 1623 we find a number of distinctively Gaelic names and we know that the Irish began to come to New England a few years after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.  The Irish have been in Maryland since 1634, and there were Irishmen in Manhattan Island now a part of the imperial city of New York as early as 1650.

In 1728 over 5,000 Irish emigrants arrived in Philadelphia, and during the year 1729 the classification of European emigration to the Province of Pennsylvania was as follows:   English and Welsh, 276; Scotch, 43; Germans, 243; Irish, 5,655.  During the first two weeks of August, 1773, according to the official record, 3,500 exiles of Erin arrived at the Port of Philadelphia alone.   The population of Pennsylvania in 1701 was only 20,000, and in 1749 it had increased to 250,000, largely  due to Irish emigration.  Over 25,000 Irish emigrants came to this country during the year 1771, 1772, and 1773.

(Ed note:  the next paragraph is omitted due to the lack of clarity and missing portions.)

Froude and Leck have both directed attention to the volume of Irish emigration to the American Colonies during the first 70 years of the eighteenth century.  The emigration began afer the ruin of the woolen manufacture by the English legislation of 1699.  According to Hely Hutchinson, within two years after that date 20,000 Prebysterians left Ulster for America.  During the eighteenth century three times as many Catholics as Protestants came from Ireland to America.

When the American Revolution began there was a very large Irish element in New England, the Carolinas and Maryland, New York, Virginia and New Jersey, but Pennsylvania was more distinctively Irish than any other colony.  An Irish Catholic, Thomas Dongan, was Colonial Governor of New York from 1683 to 1688. the Carrolls came from Ireland to Maryland in 1689, and they played a glorous part in American history.  Charles Carroll of Carrollton and Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore contributed more than their share to the success of the American Revolution, and no man realized that as fully as did George Washington.  The Clintons of New York also played a very important part in civil and military affairs during and after the Revolution.

Six months before the skirmish of Lexington two Irish-Americans — John Sullivan and John Langdon of New Hampshire – captured the arms and ammunition of Fort William and Mary, which were used with good effect on the British at Bunker Hill.  General John Sullivan and his brother, James Sullivan, afterwards Governor of Massachusetts, and William Sullivan, Governor Vermont, (Ed note, unable to verify as being a governor — the next section of the published article is missing, see above, and remaining text difficult to read, providing readable portions) were the sons of a Limerick schoolmaster, ….Joseph Reed of New Jersey, Washington’s private secretary and …was the son of an Irish…British Government official……….and General Stephen Moyian, the Murat (sic) of the Continental Army, was born in Cork.

General Daniel Morgan, the hero of Cowpens, according to some authorities, was born in Derry.  He is represented in a splendid painting in the rotunda of the Capitol of the Nation, dressed in a white hunting shirt.

Twelve of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence were Irishmen and the sons of Irishmen.  John Hancock of Boston, the first Signer of that immortal document, was of Irish descent.  He and Charles Carroll were the two wealthiest  men in America at that time.

General Anthony Wayne of Pennsylvania was the son of Irish parents.  His victory over the British at Stony Point, on the Hudson, was one of the greatest achievements of the Revolution.  Henry Knox, one of Washington’s greatest generals, was also the son of Irish parents.  General Andrew Lewis of old Donegal was one of the great figures of the Continental Army.

John Barry, the first commodore of the American Navy, was an Irishman from Wexford.  He, and not (John) Paul Jones, was the Father of the American Navy.   The late Martin I. J. Griffin made Barry’s fame secure for all time.  Admiral Stewart of the War of 1812, and grandfather of the late Charles Stewart Parnell, was protégé of “Saucy Jack Barry.”  The O’Briens of Machias, Maine, the stalwart and daring sons of a Corkman, were the organizers of the Sons of Liberty, and they were instrumental in winning the first naval battle of the Revolution.

Ramsay in his history of the United States say:  “The Irish in America were almost to a man on the side of independence.”

Joseph Galloway, an American journalist, was examined before a special committee of the English House of Commons.  Edmund Burke whose speech on American taxation is known to every American schoolboy, was a member of that committee.  Mr. Galloway when questioned as to the nationality of the Continental  Army replied: “The … ..places of their nativity being …….one half were Irish and the other  fourth were principally Scotch and English.”  (Lonergan’s note – See the Royal Gazette, October, 1779)

In 1829 Parke Custis, the adopted son of the immortel Washington, said that up to the coming of the French, Ireland furnished to the Continental Army in the ratio of 100 to 1 of any other nation whatever.  “Then honored,” said he, “be the good old services of the sons of Erin in the War of Independence.  Let the Shamrock be entwined with the laurels of the Revolution and truth and justice guiding the pen of history inscribe on the tablet of America’s remembrance eternal gratitutde to Irishmen.”

It is well to remember that 10 of the Presidents of these Untied States have had more or less of Irish blood in their veins.  Jackson, Buchanan and Arthur were sons of Irish parents.  Madison, Monroe, Polk, Cleveland, McKinley and Roosevelt were part Irish and Wilson‘s grandfather was an Irishman by birth.

The parents of Andrew Jackson, the hero of New Orleans, came to this country from county Antrim, Ireland, in 1765, and he was born in North Carolina in 1767.  He was elected President of the United States in 1828 and re-elected in 1832.  Andrew Jackson was one of the most remarkable men that this country has ever produced.  His name and fame are part and parcel of American history.

Three monumnets stand in St. Paul’s churchyard on lower Broadway, New York city, erected to the memory of three famous Irishmen – Richard Montgomery, who died for American liberty; Thomas Addis Emmet, who for 20 years was head of the New York Bar, and Dr. William J. McNevin, the foremost scientific chemist of his day.

Let us also bear in mind that eight of the framers of the Constitiution of the United States were of Irish blood and two of those were Catholics, and that the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of Philadelphia contributed $500,000 for the maintenance and support of Washinton’s ravage and ragged army at Valley Forge………..believe that had the American Revolution failed this country would most probably be a province of the British Empire today, and we would be British subjects, and instead of having 110,000,000 people we would have like Canada, 8,000,000 people.