Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Part 5 of Land and Loot

CONNECTION BETWEEN SCOTTISH MERCHANTS AND COLONIAL BANKING

The History of Warfare: Culloden 1746 - The Last Highland Charge

These questions and the other intriguing connections between George Smith, Northwestern Mutual and Aberdeen and Banff Scotland lead one to wonder about the history of Scottish emigration during the 18th century.  Many Scots came to America in a wave which began after the 1746 battle at Culloden, where the Stuart loyalists (called Jacobites from the French word for “James”) were crushed, resulting in the Disarming Act of 1746 by which Scots were forbidden to have weapons, render military service or wear their Highland plaid kilts.  Many of the estates of the clan chiefs were confiscated, breaking feudal ties and replacing it with a landlord/tenant relationship.  The first wave of emigrants from the Highlands were the clan chiefs and tacksmen—middlemen or brokers between the landlords and tenants.  They were relatively wealthy, often Catholic or Episcopal, with a tradition of Jacobitism.[1]

According to Duane Meyer,

... the British in the 18th century were remarkably successful in pacifying former enemies.  The two prime examples of this facility are their relations with the French Canadians and with the Scottish Highlanders. In 1755, at the outset of the French and Indian War, the British were so suspicious of the French settlers of Nova Scotia that thousands of Cajuns were abruptly scattered to other English colonies, thereby bringing great hardship on the people and also creating the historical background for Longfellow’s “Evangeline.”  Only twenty years later, the French Canadians were sufficiently loyal to the British government that they refused all invitations to join the American rebellion, even after France entered the conflict on the American side.  Not even the clever appeals of America’s best diplomat, French-speaking Ben Franklin, could persuade them to attack the forces of George III.  According to Canadian historians, the Quebec Act played a major role in pacifying the French Canadians.  By establishing the Catholic Church, the British government secured the friendship and support of the clergy....

Similarly, the British had effected a conciliation with the Scottish Highlanders during approximately the same period of time....

In Virginia, Loyalists were referred to as “the Scotch party.”...John Witherspoon of Princeton, who gave dedicated support to the revolutionary cause, included in a sermon of May, 1776, an appeal to Scottish-born Americans to support the rebellion.  He observed that so many Scottish people were faithful to the King that the word Scotch was becoming a term of reproach in America.[2]

In addition the Board of Trade in 1775 adopted a policy to encourage enlistment in the Royal Regiment of Highland Emigrants.  If the revolution were quelled, they would receive 200 acres of land for each family man plus an extra 50 acres for each additional family member—free, based on a contract with Duncan McArthur in Boston in December 1775.  This contract attracted recruits from New York and Nova Scotia.[3]

Most of the Scots in America arrived in the Carolinas, which was named after the Stuart King Charles, and became merchants and administrators such as colonial agents.  Others settled in Virginia, such as Neil Jamieson, a Lowlander from Glasgow, who:

... owned a network of stores and warehouses on the Virginia rivers, where he exchanged European goods for tobacco, crying on the trade in his own vessels.  In partnership with various Scottish merchants, he owned the ships which carried the tobacco of Virginia to Glasgow and the naval stores and foodstuffs of North Carolina to London and the West Indies.  Jamieson was independent only in the sense that he was the possessor of considerable real property in Virginia on his own account.  But in trade he was the fourth partner in the Glasgow firm of Glassford, Gordon, and Monteath....He also possessed a partner’s share in some warehouses at Richmond belonging to the Glasgow firm of Henderson, McCall, and Company.[4]

Other Glasgow firms mentioned by author Ian Graham are John Hamilton and Company, “one of the largest businesses in the Albemarle region of North Carolina, if not the entire South”; James Brown and Company; Jamieson, Johnstone and Company; and John Glassford, Shortridge and Gordon.  This region was a “commercial appendage” of Virginia where the Glasgow merchants also “succeeded in absorbing the cream of the profits.”  According to ads appearing in the Virginia Gazette in the five years before the revolution, approximately two dozen Glasgow firms operated more than 60 retail stores in Virginia alone.  There were 20 Glasgow-owned stores in Maryland and the Albermarle area. Photo Reprint The landing of his majesty's forces, under the command of the Rt. Honbl. ye Earl of Albermarle, on the
According to Graham:
The Scots, especially the Lowlanders, showed amazing energy and enthusiasm in taking advantage of that section of the Treaty of union which opened the colonies to their commercial enterprise.  In the first seventy years thereafter, they developed a trading empire stretching from the West Indies and Florida to Quebec and Nova Scotia.  Their shipping routes stretched out from Glasgow like the ribs of a fan....Trade and immigration went hand in hand.  The settlement of emigrants was in itself a commercial enterprise.

When the American Revolution began, few of these Scottish merchant class were considered to be patriots of the new nation.  Most either returned to Britain, emigrated to Canada (Nova Scotia, Montreal or Toronto primarily), or left the Carolinas where they were treated with great suspicion.  Many even fought for the Loyalist cause.  Those Scots who were patriots were primarily of the tenant class, usually called “Scotch-Irish” or “Ulster Scots.”  Nevertheless, because of the overwhelming association between the “greedy” Scottish merchants and their propensity for loyalty to the mother country, many other Scots were suspected of disloyalty if not treason.  For example, on December 18, 1776, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a resolution instructing Governor Patrick Henry to require “natives of Great Britain who were partners with, agents, storekeepers, assistant storekeepers, or clerks for any merchant in Great Britain” except those who could prove themselves loyal, to leave Virginia within 40 days.  Many of the Tories who left opened stores in New York or Pennsylvania, but they were unable to sell their property prior to departure.  Some tried to return several years later to collect debts or liquidate real estate interests.

When Scottish emigration resumed after the American Revolution, the destination switched from the Carolinas and New York to Canada, especially Ontario and Nova Scotia.  Prince Edward Island received the discharged Royal Highland Emigrants who had fought for the Crown against the Americans.  “The prewar Highland immigrants to Nova Scotia were intensely loyal to the Crown.”   

What impact, if any, did Scottish investment have in other parts of the United States, specifically in Houston, Texas?



[1] A good account can be found in Duane Meyer's book, The Highland Scots of North Carolina (Chapel Hill:  Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1961).
[2] Graham, Colonists, p. 150.
[3] Graham, Colonists, p. 153.
[4] Ian Charles Cargill Graham, Colonists from Scotland:  Emigration to North America, 1707-1783 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1956), pp. 121-22.

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