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The Plantation of Ulster

It was during the reign of good Queen Bess -- the proud Elizabeth of all England -- that through treason, tyranny and rebellion, the Province of Ulster, especially the counties of Down, Londonderry, and Antrim, Ireland was reduced to the lowest extreme of poverty and wretchedness, while its moral and religious state was scarcely less deplorable.

Soon after the accession of James I (1603), O'Neill, the Earl of Tyrone, and O'Donnell, the Earl of Tyrconnel, were falsely accused of having arranged a plot against the government. An accusation being at those times tantamount to a conviction, compelled those thus arraigned to fly the country, leaving their extensive estates (about five hundred thousand acres) at the mercy of the king, who at once confiscated them. A subsequent supposed threatened insurrection, promptly suppressed, gave occasion for another large forfeiture, and nearly six entire counties in the Province of Ulster were sequestrated and subjected to the disposal of the crown. Any country passing through such an ordeal of turbulence could not be otherwise than almost depopulated, with resources wasted and the cultivation of the soil in a great measure abandoned. And such was the true condition of Ulster. To repeople the country it was determined to invite the settlement of Protestants from England and Scotland, and hence liberal offers of land were made for colonists to occupy this wide and vacant country, the better to preserve order, to establish more firmly the British rule, and to secure loyalty. The project was easily embraced, companies were formed, and individuals without organization were tempted to partake of the advantageous offers of the government. A London company -- among the first to enter upon the new acquisition -- established itself at Derry, and gave such character to the place as to cause it to be known and called the city of Londonderry.

The principal emigration, however, was from Scotland. Its coast is within twenty miles from the county of Antrim, Ireland, and across this strait flowed from the northeast a large population, distinguished for thrift, industry and endurance, and bringing with them their Presbyterianism and rigid adherence to the Westminster standards. This was the first Protestant population that was introduced into Ireland, and the Presbyterians of Scotland who thus furnished the largest element have maintained their ascendancy to the present day against all the persevering efforts of the government church.

The Province of Ulster, in consequence of this influx of population, greatly revived and continued for some years to advance in prosperity. In time the throne of England was controlled by bigotry and despotism. Persecutions of an oppressive nature began in Ulster in 1661, and every expedient was tried to break down the attachment of the people to the faith of their fathers; yet, as is ever the case, persecution only attached the people the stronger to Presbyterianism.

From Ireland the tide of persecution rolled to Scotland. The latter Stuarts, -- Charles II. and James II. -- blind to the dictates of justice and humanity, pursued a system of measures best calculated to wean from their support their Presbyterian subjects who were bound to them by national prejudice and had been most devoted to their kingly cause, and to whose assistance Charles II. owed his restoration to the throne. Sir James Grahame, better known as Claverhouse, was sent to Scotland with his dragoons upon the mistaken mission of compelling the Presbyterians to conform in their religious worship to that of the establishment: and from 1670 until the accession of William and Mary the Covenanters of Scotland worshiped in hidden places and at the peril of their lives.

The attempts of the Stuarts to destroy the religious system so universally established and so dearly cherished by that devoted people was steadily pursued by persecution as cruel and as savage as any which have disgraced the annals of religious bigotry and crime. Many were treacherously and ruthlessly butchered, and the ministers were prohibited, under severe penalties, from preaching, baptizing or ministering in any way to their flocks.

Are we related?

Here are the GEDmatch Kit #s for my father and mother:

GI: A909282
CL: A216073

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