The Civil War in North Carolina

Reminiscences and Memoirs of North Carolina and Eminent North Carolinians

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the Crown officers; it was 1780 before a repeal of the Test Act was obtained, however, and not until 1782, were marriages solemnized by Dissenters pronounced valid, and consequently, between 1713 and 1782, the tide of emigration to America was constant and full. The records of the English Rolls Office mention this as resembling "a contagious distemper," and the President of the Proprietary Council of Pennsylvania, James Logan, in 1729 voiced "the common fear that if the Scotch-Irish continued to come, they will make themselves proprietors of the province." It is estimated that from 1729 to 1750 about twelve thousand annually came from Ulster to America--a few went to New England.

        "The tide of emigration into South Carolina, settled on the fertile lands of North and South Carolina, and meeting the influx from Pennsylvania, flowed in a health-giving body, over beyond the mountains into what is now known as Kentucky and Tennessee. They have left their name and mark in almost every State of this Union. Chambers, in his "Irish and Scotch Settlers in Pennsylvania," rightfully claims for these people a tendency to reform and elevate public sentiment and morals, being men of intelligence, resolution, energy, and of a religious and highly moral character, devoted to religious and civil freedom. They brought with them the Westminster Confession of Faith, with its catechisms and its Directory of Worship, endeared to them by years of fierce trial and persecution. They certainly were not the cut throats andvillians supposed to have emigrated from England by legal compulsion, nor yet was their heroism and attachment to liberty, of the "Bob Acres" stamp, as charged by a writer in the North American Review, of April, 1874.

        It is to these same men that we are indebted "for the germs of our civil liberties," for, as Bancroft says: "The first public voice in America for dissolving all connection with Great Britain, came not from the Puritans of New England the Dutch of New York, nor the Planters of Virginia, but from Scotch-Irish Presbyterians."

        The subject of this sketch, Alexander Craighead, was certainly educated in all the elements considered necessary for the discipline of a Presbyterian Clergyman, to which sacred calling he was licensed in 1734. He was an earnest, and fervid preacher, a zealous promoter of revivals, a great admirer and friend of George Whitefield, whom he accompanied in some of his tours.

        As early as 1743 he evinced his ardent love of personal liberty and freedom of opinion by publishing a pamphlet that was denounced as calculated to "foment or encourage sedition or disatisfaction with the civil government that we are now under, or rebellion, treason, or anything that is disloyal," and history records the fact that upon complaint made to the Synod of Philadelphia, in the name of the Governor, against this pamphlet, they declared their abhorrence of the paper, and inasmuch as it was published anonymously, the Synod denied any knowledge of Mr. Alexander Craighead being the author thereof. It was evidently premature in its denunciation of George II. as an unchristian king.

        On November 11, 1743, at a meeting at Middle Octorara in Pennsylvania, after various religious services, Mr. Craighead and his congregation renewed "the covenants, the national and solemn league," and after formally denouncing George II. as an unfit king, then and there swore, holding their swords in their uplifted hands according to the custom of their ancestors and of soldiers ready to conquer or die, to keep their bodies, property, and consciences, against all attacks, to defend Christ's Gospel and the national liberty, from foes within or without. This movement greatly troubled the political as well as the religious waters, for in 1745 we find that Governor Morris, in his message to the Assembly, denounced certain people for their aspirations and machinations to obtain "Independency."

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