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The People with No Name

The People with No Name: Ireland's Ulster Scots, America's Scots Irish, and the Creation of a British Atlantic World, 1689-1764

Patrick Griffin
Copyright Date: 2001
Pages: 256
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    The People with No Name
    Book Description:

    More than 100,000 Ulster Presbyterians of Scottish origin migrated to the American colonies in the six decades prior to the American Revolution, the largest movement of any group from the British Isles to British North America in the eighteenth century. Drawing on a vast store of archival materials,The People with No Nameis the first book to tell this fascinating story in its full, transatlantic context. It explores how these people--whom one visitor to their Pennsylvania enclaves referred to as ''a spurious race of mortals known by the appellation Scotch-Irish''--drew upon both Old and New World experiences to adapt to staggering religious, economic, and cultural change. In remarkably crisp, lucid prose, Patrick Griffin uncovers the ways in which migrants from Ulster--and thousands like them--forged new identities and how they conceived the wider transatlantic community.

    The book moves from a vivid depiction of Ulster and its Presbyterian community in and after the Glorious Revolution to a brilliant account of religion and identity in early modern Ireland. Griffin then deftly weaves together religion and economics in the origins of the transatlantic migration, and examines how this traumatic and enlivening experience shaped patterns of settlement and adaptation in colonial America. In the American side of his story, he breaks new critical ground for our understanding of colonial identity formation and of the place of the frontier in a larger empire.The People with No Namewill be indispensable reading for anyone interested in transatlantic history, American Colonial history, and the history of Irish and British migration.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4289-6
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Maps
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  5. INTRODUCTION Identity in an Atlantic World
    (pp. 1-8)

    Between 1718 and 1775, more than 100,000 men and women journeyed from the Irish province of Ulster to the American colonies. Their migration represented the single largest movement of any group from the British Isles to British North America during the eighteenth century. In a first wave beginning in 1718 and cresting in 1729, these people outnumbered all others sailing across the Atlantic, with the notable exception of those bound to the New World in slave ships. By sheer force of numbers, this earliest generation of migrants had a profound influence on the great transformations of the age. Even before...

  6. CHAPTER ONE The Transformation of Ulster Society in the Wake of the Glorious Revolution
    (pp. 9-36)

    In the summer of 1689, war came to the northern Irish port town of Derry. A few months earlier, thousands of Protestants from the surrounding countryside began fleeing into the walled city on the River Foyle after Derry’s inhabitants refused to allow the quartering of a regiment of Irish Catholics and Scottish Highlanders in their midst, and as the army of the deposed English king, James II, attempted to subdue the countryside. The troubles had their origins in England the previous year. Fearing that James planned to reestablish “popery” in a Protestant kingdom, members of England’s Parliament had urged William...

    (pp. 37-64)

    The transformation of Ulster in the years after the Glorious Revolution presented the province’s Presbyterians with a paradox. During the years when the tight-knit church came under pressure from the Ascendancy, Ulster became the preeminent linen-producing region in the British Isles. At the very moment dissenters encountered new economic possibilities within a broader Irish society, the policies of the Ascendancy pressed men and women to rely more heavily on church structures set apart from the institutional life of the kingdom to order their lives. Ulster’s Presbyterians tried to make sense of such contradictions by taking stock of the state of...

  8. CHAPTER THREE “On the Wing for America”: ULSTER PRESBYTERIAN MIGRATION, 1718–1729
    (pp. 65-97)

    In 1729, as Ulster’s Presbyterians prepared for another assault on a Test Act that denied them a full measure of God-given rights, the British government noticed a troubling trend at work in Ireland. Lord Carteret, lord lieutenant of Ireland, wrote a number of Irish officials that he “Regret[ed] to hear that such great numbers of Protestants have left the North of Ireland.” From 1718 to 1719, thousands of men and women from Ulster sailed for America. At first, the movement drew little attention from either the Irish or British government. When another wave crested by the late 1720s, however, administrators...

    (pp. 99-124)

    As the ships that had left Belfast and Derry entered Delaware Bay, their passengers were, a contemporary noted, “inexpressibly happy.”¹ To be sure, once they had, as one migrant put it, “Discovered Land on the Continent of America,” they also experienced a mixture of relief and excitement. After weeks at sea, the steady traffic plying the Delaware to and from the growing city of Philadelphia must have been a welcome sight.² On passing Reedy Island, where the bay narrowed to the river, they first caught a closer glimpse of their New World. On both sides of the river, they beheld...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE “Melted Down in the Heavenly Mould”: RESPONDING TO A CHANGING FRONTIER
    (pp. 125-156)

    At the moment some of Ulster’s migrants pushed to impose the Confession, a young Irish-born minister, Gilbert Tennent, began proclaiming a searing message of salvation. Moving throughout the Middle Colonies, he thundered about the “Terrors of an enraged God,” a stern judge who would, Tennent warned, “tear you in Pieces, except you repent.”¹ At the heart of the appeal of the “New Side” lay an attack on “the general and lamentable Security that prevails so exceedingly among the children of this generation.” Ministers such as Tennent decried the false security that comforted most, indeed nearly all, of Pennsylvania’s Presbyterians. The...

  11. CHAPTER SIX “The Christian White Savages of Peckstang and Donegall”: SURVEYING THE FRONTIERS OF AN ATLANTIC WORLD
    (pp. 157-174)

    During these formative years, patterns of adaptation had emerged that had profound implications for the subsequent experience of Ulster’s New World settlers. Chief among these was ongoing movement. By 1750, the upper and lower ends of Pennsylvania’s frontier had become migration depots, as thousands moved to, from, and through the southeastern section of the colony. As places like Donegal became more settled, some of the sons and daughters of original settlers struck out south for the back parts of Virginia. Others crossed the mountains to take their chances on Indian lands to the west and north. New arrivals from Ulster,...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 175-222)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 223-238)
  14. Index
    (pp. 239-244)