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Scotland's Mark on America   By: (1866-1948)

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With a Foreword By JOHN FOORD

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The Scottish Section of "America's Making" New York, 1921


It has been said that the Scot is never so much at home as when he is abroad. Under this half jesting reference to one of the characteristics of our race, there abides a sober truth, namely, that the Scotsman carries with him from his parent home into the world without no half hearted acceptance of the duties required of him in the land of his adoption. He is usually a public spirited citizen, a useful member of society, wherever you find him. But that does not lessen the warmth of his attachment to the place of his birth, or the land of his forbears. Be his connection with Scotland near or remote, there is enshrined in the inner sanctuary of his heart, memories, sentiments, yearnings, that are the heritage of generations with whom love of their country was a dominant passion, and pride in the deeds that her children have done an incentive to effort and an antidote against all that was base or ignoble.

It is a fact that goes to the core of the secular struggle for human freedom that whole hearted Americanism finds no jarring note in the sentiment of the Scot, be that sentiment ever so intense. In the sedulous cultivation of the Scottish spirit there is nothing alien, and, still more emphatically, nothing harmful, to the institutions under which we live. The things that nourish the one, engender attachment and loyalty to the other. So, as we cherish the memories of the Motherland, keep in touch with the simple annals of our childhood's home, or the home of our kin, bask in the fireside glow of its homely humor, or dwell in imagination amid the haunts of old romance, we are the better Americans for the Scottish heritage from which heart and mind alike derive inspiration and delight.

It is as difficult to separate the current of Scottish migration to the American Colonies, or to the United States that grew out of them, from the larger stream which issued from England, as it is to distinguish during the last two hundred years the contributions by Scotsmen from those of Englishmen to the great body of English literature. We have the first census of the new Republic, in the year 1790, and an investigator who classified this enumeration according to what he conceived to be the nationality of the names, found that the total free, white, population numbering 3,250,000 contained 2,345,844 people of English origin; 188,589 of Scottish origin, and 44,273 of Irish origin. The system of classification is manifestly loose, and the distribution of parent nationalities entirely at variance with known facts. That part of the population described as Irish was largely Ulster Scottish, the true Irish never having emigrated in any considerable numbers until they felt the pressure of the potato famine, fifty years later. There is excellent authority for the statement that, at the outbreak of the Revolutionary War one third of the entire population of Pennsylvania was of Ulster Scottish origin. A New England historian, quoted by Whitelaw Reid, counts that between 1730 and 1770 at least half a million souls were transferred from Ulster to the Colonies more than half of the Presbyterian population of Ulster and that at the time of the Revolution they made one sixth of the total population of the nascent Republic. Another authority fixes the inhabitants of Scottish ancestry in the nine Colonies south of New England at about 385,000. He counts that less than half of the entire population of the Colonies was of English origin, and that nearly, or quite one third of it, had a direct Scottish ancestry.

These conclusions find powerful support in the number of distinguished men whom the Scots and the Ulstermen contributed to the Revolutionary struggle, and to the public life of the early days of the United States... Continue reading book >>

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