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BOORS AND THE BOOK WORLD.
NEW YORK, SUNDAY, MARCH l&r 1919. . . I TWELVE ' . - SECTION I PAGES Copytighl, 1919. thf Sttn Printing and Publishing Aitociation. FIVE jf Irishmen in Our Revolution Some Surprising Facts Dug Up by Michael J. O'Brien Respecting Gaels Who Fought for American Freedom T MAY say," remarks J-. I. C Clarke in his introduction to O'Brien's A Hidden American Jlistoni, "lie Michael .1 Phase of establishes unc(iiivoealIy that 38 per cent. of the Revolutionary army that won American independence was Irish." This, of course, is enough to carry any dialectician on the sub ject of Ireland, pro or coil, further into the hook. The "hidden phase" meant in Mr. O'Brien's title is the part the Irish not the Scot eh -Irish, or the Peruvian-Irish or the Estho-niau-Irish, hut the regular Irish took iri General Washington's great drive. How II r. O'Brien, who is the his toriographer of the American Trish Historical Society, arrives at his per centage is briefly described in one of the 500 pages of his volume: "I have not examined all of the muster rolls, but have selected a num ber indiscriminately from each of the original thirteen Colonies. . . . 1 have made a careful calculation (1), by counting the'total number of sol diers in each unit, and (2), by a sep arate count of those of undoubted Irish birth or descent. In some com panies 1 find the extraordinarily high percentage of 75 per cent. Irish while, on the other hand, it must be s:iid that in other companies the per centage runs as low as. 10, and in .some N'ew England regiments a fid .seme of those raised in the old Dutch districts of New York arid the Ger man settlements in Pennsylvania no Irish names at all .appear. But on averaging them all up I have deter mined that 55.80 per cent, of the sol diers of the. Kevolutionary army were Irish. To tiiose must be added sonm small percentage of those of non-Irish names, and not recorded as Irish ; and it is proper also to consider the Irish proportion of those scattering bodies not attached to the regiments of the line. If we take the conservatively " low figure of, 2 per cent, as representing these ele ments we arrive at a total of 37.83 per cent., or .substantially 3S per cent." In his laborious search for contemporary opinion on the number of Irish in the Kevolutionary army Mr. O'Brien discovered, in the Library of Con gress, some original issues of the Royal Gazette, published in New York in 1779. These contained the testimony, given before a Parliamentary com mittee of inquiry, of Joseph Galloway, a loyalist attorney from Maryland. In answer to a question as to the composition of the rebel army Galloway said : . - - "The names and places of their nativity being taken down I can answer the question with pre cision. There were scarcely one-fourth natives of America; about one-half Trish : the other fourth were English and Scotch." They Fought Like Fifty. 1 Another bit or contemporary evidence used by Mr. O'Brien is the testimony of General Kobertson on June 8, 1770. and printed in the Parlkimcntarii Itegistcr. Edmund. Burke said to Kobertson: "How are the provincial corps composed: whether mostly of native Americans, or from emi grants from various nations of Europe'?" General Kobertson answered, in part: "I re- KEPRODUCEO BY ANNA FRANCES LEVINS tr Facsimiles of despatches from Dublin ancf Philadelphia in New York "Packet" of June ig, 1783. Illustration in "A Hidden Phase of American History." , half the rebel army were from Ireland." Mr. O'Brien dryly suggests that the mistake of these guesses was natural, as enough' Irishmen to make up 58 per cent, of an army would surely appear like 50 per cent, in a fight The contention, frequently heartfj! thatthcrc was little Irish emigration to America before the Revo lution except from the north of Ireland is taken up boldly by Mr O'Brien. There is no way to ar rive at the facts, he says, except by digging up the passenger- ship arrivals from Ireland in that period. From the newspapers of 1771-74 he com piled a, list of the Irish-ships' arriving' at New York and Philadelphia: "Of 57G sailings : . . during these four years only 247, or about 4:5 per cent., were to and from thoiv northern ports where the 'Scotch-Irish' emigrants would naturally embark, and 329, or 57 per cent., were to and from those parts of Ireland where the 'old Irish' are admittedly the predomi nant clement.' Mr. O'Brien, who says that evi dence or this character on this subject has never be oil presented before, submits that it is indisput able; and he adds a guess which is likely to find some assent in Ulster, "that not even the mast en thusiastic advocate of the Scotch-Irish theory can claim that the entire population of Ulster was of Scotch descent." Also, an emigrant from Donegal Very small ! Howdyc eat cm I Skins an' all !), as Irish a count- as there is in Ireland,, would sail from Lctter r.umy or Londonderry, north of Ire land ports. Mr. O'Brien's research, makes him- conclude that between 1767 and 1774 America received 32,640 "Scotch-Irish" immigrants and 63,360 "plain Irish" immigrants. Kellys, Burkes and Sheas. Well, then, says the interested reader, there must have been a large number of Kellys, Burkes and Sheas in the Revolutionary army. Mr. O'Brien, anticipating this yearning for concrete information, presents It fully. On the rolls of the Revolution ary army there were 695 Kellys, 221 Burkes and 73 Sheas. There were 494 Murphys, 322 Ryans, 266 Sulli vans and 231 O'Briens. There were 88 separate and distinct John "Kellys. Mr. O'Brien docs not as sume that every Patrick on the rolls was an Irishman, admitting that there was a fondness for that name among some of the Highland Scots, but he adds that when a Patrick ap pears on the rolls it is usually in con- nection with a surname .strictly in digenous to Ireland: "One cannot be mistaken, for ex ample, as to the racial origin of the 42 Patrick Kellys, the 34 Patrick Murphys; the 35 Patrick Sullivan and Patrick Ryans, or the 43 Patrick Keiliys." In an appendix of 130 pages "Mr. O'Brien presents the" names of the officers of the American army and navy of the Revolution who were of Irish birth or descent; and also the , muster roll of the non-commissioned officers and enlisted men who bore the twelve Irish names most common. The author quotes General Wash ington's order for the celebration of St. Patrick's Day in 1780: "The General congratulates the Army in the ery 'interesting Proceedings of the Parliament of Ireland, and the -Inhabitants of that Country, which have been lately communicated, not only as they appear calculated to remove those heavy and tyrannical oppressions on their Trade, but to restore to a brave and generous people their ancient Rights and Freedom, and by their opera tion to promote the Cause of America. Desirous of impressing on the minds of the Army Transac tions so important in their nature, the General di rects that all Fatigue and Working Parties cease for to-morrow, the 17th, a day held in particular regard by the People of that Nation." General Washington added his hope that the celebration - of the day would not be marred by disturbances. Mr. O'Brien has been careful to set down, in hundreds of footnotes, the authorities for his statements, particularly when they refer to mat- tcrs which have been in contrOversey. He has not spared the bayonet in attacking alleged distorters of facts abouj the early American Irish, and he takes particular delight in showing, by means of the arm' rolls, the slips that were made, even in Government publications, by writers whose esti mates of the Irish population in America before the Revolution were ridiculously small. A HIDDEN' PHA8E OF AMERICAN HISTORY. Bt ,r..jn(WxJiejcenf rrJ4 .trilVJS,JPfi ,thay&,bftaiU S?Mm from ! Donegal How 're, .the .praties 1.