« VorigeDoorgaan »
The late Dean Wickham and Mr. Godley have produced prose versions of the Odes which touch perfection in their scholarship and elegance of style. It is no exaggeration to say that they contain in them as much poetry as the most poetical of the metrical versions. We almost regret that Mr. Godley has made the great refusal of metrical garb. His poems in Oxford Echoes and elsewhere show him to be richly endowed with just that kind of literary artistry which might have fitted him to cope with the 'curiosa felicitas' of the Latin lyrist.
We thankfully record our gratitude to those who have delighted us with a rare orchid or splendid jewel here and there. But we must protest against such as, in the interests of compression, have crushed basketfuls of choice exotics into a shapeless
Nor can we commend those who use the Odes as little more than pegs on which to hang their own wares. Nearly all the translators admit (as we have observed) that the Odes are not capable of reproduction, yet they are not deterred from attempting the impossible. A medieval philosopher proudly vaunted his faith in the words · Credo quia impossibile.' We would suggest as a motto for the numerous transplanters of the Odes 'Reddo quia impossibile.'
R. Y. TYRRELL.
THE ULSTER SCOT IN THE UNITED
In the eighties of the last century, just before entering political life, Mr. Roosevelt wrote a remarkable book, entitled The Winning of the West.' The region treated of in his inspiring and vigorous pages was not, however, the later West of common parlance, with its cattle ranches, gold mines, grizzly bears, and bad men, but the West of the preceding century, those fat, rich States which lay just behind that section of the great Appalachian chain commonly known as the Alleghanies. For this very reason, perhaps, though the book took its place at once as a standard work in the United States, it seems to have reached few British readers. Some sense, possibly, of the atmosphere in which its scenes are laid was requisite for a full appreciation of what was indeed something of an epic, written as a labour of love by an author then singularly well equipped for doing justice to so fresh, attractive and stirring a subject. To the few in this country who had breathed the atmosphere and knew the scenes it treated of, the book was an unqualified delight. Yet there is some reason to believe it never found its way into Ulster; and this is singular, since it was incidentally an eloquent and glowing tribute to the notable part which the expatriated Scotch-Irish had played in the making of the United States. The very
fact indeed that it was not written from an Ulsterman's point of view, or by an author connected with that stock, or with any design whatever upon a Scotch-Irish public on either side of the ocean, should make such a tribute the more significant.
Now the 'American-Irish' of ordinary current speech, otherwise the Catholic Irish element of to-day, are, as a type and community, a product of the nineteenth century, chiefly associated in the American mind with populous centres, and certainly more with politics than with pioneering. The ScotchIrish American, on the other hand, belongs emphatically to the eighteenth century, and emerged from his pioneering labours, as Mr. Roosevelt declares, 'an American of Americans.' Of the causes of these great and lamentable flights of Irish Presby
terians across the Atlantic the author said nothing, and possibly knew little. He was not inditing a record of the Scotch-Irish, but of the perilous laborious advance of the white man across the Appalachian ranges and the creation of those great States beyond now broadly known as the 'Middle West'; and the Ulster immigrants happened to be the breed that took a foremost part in the enterprise.
It seems almost imperative, however, that a word or two should be said of the generally-forgotten but deplorable proceedings which in a brief space expelled a sufficient number of the hardy Scotch Protestants who had settled in Ulster to fight the American wilderness with such effect as vitally to influence that country's destiny. So far as Englishmen or Americans know anything at all of the planting of the six counties of Ulster under James the First, there is, I conceive, an inclination to picture the original colonists as entirely or chiefly Scotsmen. A glance over the Statutes of the Ulster Plantation, with the full lists of the Undertakers, shows the confiscated lands of the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, and the numerous lesser chiefs involved in their rising, to have been about equally divided between lowland Scottish and English; the former coming mainly from the counties of Dumbarton, Dumfries and Renfrew, and the latter, curiously enough, less from the northern than from the southern half of England, Norfolk and Suffolk being conspicuous. This may account for the statements made in contemporary letters that the English, for climatic reasons, could not stand the transfer as well as the Scots, while from their higher conceptions of comfort they were less contented and successful as settlers. The grants, for which nominal head-rents were paid, consisted of uniform tracts on three scales of 2,000, 1,500, and 1,000 acres respectively, with obligations to erect 'a castle or house of stone surrounded by a bawne,' or walled yard, suggestive of the Border Pele Tower and Barmykin. About a third of the land was precisely specified as demesne, the balance to be planted with tenants from England or the Scottish lowlands, in proportionate and specific numbers, whose houses were to be erected adjoining the bawnea needless injunction one might fancy ! Heavy bonds of performance were given by the grantees. The whole business was thoroughly carried out as we know, and proved materially a complete success. The area at disposal was nearly four million acres; but large portions of this were distributed between the church, the university, the free grammar schools and a few other beneficiaries, while the City of London had all or most of the county called by its name. Lastly, a certain number of the dispossessed natives, the meer Irish' as the Statutes have it,
were replaced, but mostly on small holdings and on the poorer lands.
In spite of the massacre of 1641, by which many thousand settlers, at the lowest estimate, lost their lives, the Ulster colony must have made amazing strides, and that, too, without any serious assistance from later immigration. For at the opening of the eighteenth century some 30,000 of its people sailed for America, and altogether within thirty years thrice that number, mainly Scottish Presbyterians, shook the dust of Ireland off their feet. For by this time they were more numerous in the NorthEast than their English fellow-colonists, chiefly Episcopalians. One would expect in such a situation to write “co-religionists,' but this would be indeed the climax of irony, seeing that religious intolerance was a leading factor in the prolonged and disastrous leakage.
The first stimulus to Protestant emigration was the destruction of the Irish woollen trade through the jealousy of English manufacturers, and the Ulster exodus, estimated at 30,000, was merely her large contribution to the general stampede of English, Scottish, or Huguenots, from all over Ireland which it occasioned. But the protracted and even more serious drain which followed was less the fault of England, whose statesmen indeed made languid protests, than of the precious Parliament in Dublin. To be quite fair to that eloquent assembly, the final blame rests with its Upper House, or, to be yet more concise, with that astonishing group of well-endowed persons, its bishops, who with brilliant exceptions are surely the most complacently preposterous figures in modern history. But it is enough here that they were the chief instruments in retaining the Presbyterian two-thirds of the British garrison in Ulster under humiliating civil and military disabilities. One would hesitate to quote the glowing periods of Mr. Froude in unsupported evidence on contentious points of Irish history. But there is nothing contentious in this. All are agreed, and he puts a common truism, as might be expected, more trenchantly than the rest.
In 1719 a slight concession was wrung from the Dublin Parliament giving the Presbyterians legal permission to erect, and worship in, their own chapels. The Irish prelates who swooped down in many cases from London, Bath, or Paris to oppose it 'were panic-stricken, that the men who saved Ireland from Tyrconnel, who formed two-thirds of the Protestant population of Ulster, were free to open chapels of their own. Though they were incapacitated from holding, public employments, though their marriages were invalid, though they were forbidden to open a single school, or hold any office in town or country above the rank of a petty constable, their mere existence as a legal body was held
as a menace to the Church. Vexed with suits in the Ecclesiastical Courts, forbidden to educate their own children in their own faith, treated as dangerous to a State which but for them would have had no existence, and associated with papists in an Act of Parliament which deprived them of their civil rights, the most enterprising of them abandoned the unthankful service. And then recommenced that Protestant emigration which robbed Ireland of the bravest defenders of the English interest, and peopled the American sea-board with fresh flights of Puritans.' But it was not the already occupied sea-board that they peopled; so we purpose here to continue the story so far as the limitations of space admit of.
It is not so much the truculency of the dominant religious faction which provokes astonishment, for that was characteristic of the period everywhere, but the political fatuity of this particular exercise of it. Moreover, the Ulster Presbyterians were after all dissenters but in a technical sense, not as English nonconformists who had broken with the Establishment of their country. These people were hereditary members of a communion that was recognised by King and Parliament as the Established Church of Scotland, enjoying, like that of England, the remnant of the pre-Reformation Church endowments. In Scotland Episcopalians then, as now, were dissenters. But they suffered in the eighteenth century under no disabilities, though for the most part Jacobites; whereas the Ulster Presbyterian was a staunch whig, and supporter of the reigning family! Even the Irish Parliament viewed this drain on Protestant Ireland with anxiety. Indeed, commissioners were appointed to inquire into the cause ; which, for an Assembly whose sense of humour was traditionally its strongest point, is excellent. However, it got its information in Blue-book form, and did nothing for sixty years. Meanwhile, as has been stated, 100,000 Ulster Scotsmen left the country within thirty years. For the succeeding forty there was a small but continuous outflow till the further great flights of 1772-4, of which anon.
Now the drift and distribution of the Scotch-Irish emigrants from the very first was as unusual as it proved consistent, but was accounted for in great part by the sentiments they carried with them. Most of the American Colonies south of New England, save the later one of Pennsylvania, either preserved the Anglican establishment or had a strong Anglican flavour in their governing classes. This alone, though there were no bishops, was enough to intimidate these Presbyterian exiles. Nor had New England, so late in the day, any great tracts of unoccupied lands worth having. Yet more, she was herself a group of militant theocracies, and would have given but dubious welcome to a rival form of