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Radical Orthodoxy: Irish Covenanters and American Slavery, circa 1830–1865

  • Daniel Ritchie
Abstract

This article analyzes the views of Reformed Presbyterians (Covenanters) in relation to the subject of American slavery. Popular mythology, especially that propagated by the exponents of Neo-Confederacy, would have us believe that all those who criticized the system of chattel slavery that existed in antebellum America were either secularists or adherents to heterodox religious opinions. In order to debunk this myth, this article seeks to demonstrate the solid antislavery credentials of this theologically conservative group of Presbyterians by examining the writings of various Covenanters on chattel slavery. As this agitation against slavery took place in a context of significant internal strife between the Covenanters over the issue of the civil magistrate's power circa sacra, this paper will consider how the antislavery arguments of Thomas Houston and John Paul diverged in order to suit their respective positions on civil magistracy. Related to this is the Covenanters' critique of the US Constitution, which Reformed Presbyterians rejected owing to its proslavery sentiments. Hence this article provides us with an important insight into antislavery ideology and developments within Reformed theology in relation to the state during the nineteenth century. Finally, consideration will be given to understanding the complex response of the Reformed Presbyterians to the American Civil War and to debates between the Irish Covenanters and their American brethren on the proper reaction to the conflict.

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1 John Young to William H. Seward, September 13, 1865, Dispatches from the United States Consuls in Belfast, Record Group 59, T368, Reel 4, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

2 Miller, Kerby A., “Ulster Presbyterians and the ‘Two Traditions’ in Ireland and America,” in These Fissured Isles: Ireland, Scotland and British History, 1798–1848, eds. Brotherstone, Terry, Clark, Anna, and Whelan, Kevin (Edinburgh: John Donald, 2005), 264.

3 Moore, Joseph S. and McGaughey, Jane G. V., “The Covenanter Sensibility Across the Long Atlantic World,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 11, no. 2 (2013): 126.

4 Noll, Mark A., “Revival, Enlightenment, Civic Humanism, and the Evolution of Calvinism in Scotland and America, 1735–1843,” in Amazing Grace: Evangelicalism in Australia, Britain, Canada, and the United States, eds. Rawlyk, George A. and Noll, Mark A. (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995), 104. For an example of their influence on Ulster society, see the obituary of Thomas Houston in the Witness, March 31, 1882.

5 Hall, Gerald R., Ulster Liberalism, 1778–1876: The Middle Path (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011), 25.

6 See Thornwell, James H., The Rights and Duties of Masters. A Sermon Preached at the Dedication of a Church Erected in Charleston, S.C., for the Benefit and Instruction of the Coloured Population (Charleston, S.C.: Walker & James, 1850), 14; Dabney, Robert L., A Defence of Virginia, [and through her, of the South,] in Recent and Pending Contests Against the Sectional Party (New York: E. J. Hale & Son, 1867), 145.

7 Loughridge, Adam, The Covenanters in Ireland: A History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland, 2nd ed. (Belfast: Cameron Press, 1987), 3435.

8 Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth and Genovese, Eugene D., The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholder's Worldview (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 499.

9 Sloane, James R. W., Review of Rev. Henry J. Van Dyke's Discourse on “The Character and Influence of Abolitionism,” A Sermon Preached in the Third Reformed Presbyterian Church, Twenty-Third Street, New York, on Sabbath Evening, December 23, 1860 (New York: William Erving, 1861). This pamphlet was favorably reviewed by the Belfast Covenanter as “a very masterly argument in refutation of the doctrine that slavery has any sanction in the Word of God—and as an eloquent and noble plea in behalf of the oppressed” (Covenanter, February 1861, 56).

10 Steele, Stephen, “‘Houston, We Have A Problem.’ Thomas Houston: Covenanter and Evangelical,” Reformed Theological Journal 26 (2010): 61.

11 McKivigan, John R., The War Against Proslavery Religion: Abolitionism and the Northern Churches, 1830–1865 (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1984), 163.

12 Ulster Times, September 10, 1840. His surname was sometimes spelled “Stuart.”

13 Northern Whig, January 16, 1845.

14 Belfast Commercial Chronicle, November 20, 1848.

15 Belfast Commercial Chronicle, October 27, 1845.

16 Banner of Ulster, October 27, 1864; cf. Covenanter, November 1864, 357–358.

17 [Kennedy, James], Tekel. The Reformed Presbyterian Church and the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Weighed in the Balance of Truth (Londonderry: The Sentinel Office, 1858), 2122.

18 Steele, “‘Houston, We Have a Problem,’” 56.

19 Covenanter, November 1843, 282–284; Covenanter, January 1857, 1–6.

20 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, February 1847, 1–3; Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, April 1855, 284.

21 There is an allusion to the “Send Back the Money” controversy in the minutes of the Eastern Reformed Synod, though the Free Church is not specifically named. The Free Church's policy of fellowship with the American Presbyterians may have caused to the Irish New Lights to lift our humble testimony against those Churches, and against all other Churches that hold communion with them, or connive at their wickedness” (Abstract of the Proceedings of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its Sessions in Ballymoney, Londonderry, Belfast, and Ballymena [Belfast: Banner of Ulster Office, 1845], 27). It may be significant that the Scottish Reformed Presbyterian, William Symington, was supposed to speak at the Free Church Anti-Slavery Society (which opposed the policy of the Free Kirk leadership), but was unable to do so. Diary of William Symington, May 9, 1847, Symington Papers, New College Library (hereafter, NCL), Edinburgh, SYM 1.3. The Free Church leader, Thomas Chalmers, had earlier been instrumental in securing Symington a Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Edinburgh. William Symington to Thomas Chalmers, November 22, 1838, Chalmers Papers, NCL, Edinburgh, CHA4.279.9; Diary of William Symington, November 22, 1838, Symington Papers, NCL, Edinburgh, SYM 1.2.

22 In Ireland, the Old and New Light Covenanters diverged over the question of whether or not the Westminster Confession authorized the civil ruler to punish heretics. See Robert L. W. McCollum, “John Paul and his contribution to the Shaping of Presbyterianism in the Nineteenth-Century” (M.Th. diss., Queen's University Belfast, 1992), 167–169.

23 Covenanter, August 1857, 207; Covenanter, July 1865, 200.

24 Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its meeting in Cullybackey, 1863 (Londonderry: James MacPherson, 1863), 15.

25 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, October 1854, 128–129.

26 Cf. D. Ray Wilcox, “The Abolition Church: The Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America and the Antislavery Movement in the United States of America” (master's thesis, University of Northern Colorado, 1948), 129.

27 For a thorough discussion of this see Sherling, Rankin, “Selective Remembrance: Scottish Sensibilities and Forgotten Irish Contributions to Reformed Presbyterianism in America,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 11, no. 2 (2013): 158176.

28 David M. Carson, “A History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America to 1871” (Ph.D. diss., University of Pennsylvania, 1964), 14; see pages 15–47 for more. “Cameronian” is a reference to the adherents of the early Covenanter minister, Richard Cameron.

29 McBride, Ian R., Scripture Politics: Ulster Presbyterians and Irish Radicalism in the Late Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 78. For the most recent discussion of Covenanter involvement with the United Irishmen, see Joseph S. Moore, “Irish Radicals, Southern Conservatives: Slavery, Religious Liberty and the Presbyterian Fringe in the Atlantic World, 1637–1877” (Ph.D. diss., University of North Carolina, 2011), 288–345.

30 Roulston, William J., “The Abolition Church: The Covenanters and the Fight Against Slavery in Nineteenth Century America,” Bulletin of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland 36 (2012): 16; Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 22, 47–48.

31 Reformation Principles Exhibited, by the Reformed Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (New York: Hopkins and Seymour, 1807), 126.

32 Roulston, “Abolition Church,” 16; Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 55.

33 McBride, Scripture Politics, 78.

34 James McKinney, An Act of a Committee of the Reformed Presbytery, for a Public Fast, with the Causes Subjoined. At Portglenone 7th Nov. 1792, at which time and place the Court, being met, and Constituted by Prayer (n.p., 1792), 6–7.

35 Cf. McBride, Ian, Eighteenth Century Ireland: The Isles of Slaves (Dublin: Gill & MacMillan, 2009), 274275; Rodgers, Nini, “Green Presbyterians, Black Irish and some Literary Consequences” in The Black and Green Atlantic: Cross-Currents of the African and Irish Diasporas, eds. O'Neill, Peter D. and Lloyd, David (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2009), 38.

36 This was reprinted in Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, January 1864, 12.

37 Wylie, Samuel B., Memoir of Alexander McLeod, D.D. (New York: Charles Scribner, 1855), 30; Robinson, Emily M., “The Covenanter Diaspora: Presbyterian Rebellion in the Atlantic World,” Journal of Scotch-Irish Studies 2, no. 4 (2008): 38.

38 Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 64; Reformation Principles Exhibited, 78.

39 Reformation Principles Exhibited, 128–129; Alexander McLeod and John Black to Irish Presbytery, June 22, 1802, Reformed Presbyterian Records, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (hereafter, PRONI), Belfast, CR5/5A/PTE54/2007; Minutes of Irish Reformed Presbytery, August 14, 1806, November 11, 1807, November 10, 1808, March 1, 1809, November 7, 1810, Reformed Presbyterian Records, PRONI, Belfast, CR5/5A/PTE54/2007; Matthew William and John Black to Irish Presbytery, May 23, 1809, Reformed Presbyterian Records, PRONI, CR5/5A/PTE54/2007; Irish Presbytery to American Synod, November 7, 1810, Reformed Presbyterian Records, PRONI, CR5/5A/PTE54/2007.

40 John Alexander, Causes of Thanksgiving. Gracehill, Oct. 18, 1821 (n.p., 1821), 3–4.

41 Alexander McLeod and Samuel W. Crawford to John Alexander, May 1827, American Correspondence, Reformed Presbyterian Historical Library (hereafter, RPHL), Knockbracken, no. 3; William Symington to Irish Synod, June 27, 1828, Scottish Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 12; Abstract of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at a meeting held in Moneymore, July, 1828 (Belfast: J. Smyth, 1828), 9.

42 James Dick to American Synod, July 13, 1830, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 5.

43 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland. A Meeting held in Coleraine, July 1830 (Belfast: H. Lanktree, 1830), 3; James R. Willson to Irish Synod, July 8, 1830, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 4.

44 Alexander McLeod and Samuel W. Crawford to John Alexander, May 1827, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 3.

45 Emily M. Robinson, “Immigrant Covenanters: Religious and Political Identity from Scotland to America” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, 2004), 250–276.

46 Wylie, Samuel B., The Two Sons of Oil; Or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry Upon a Scriptural Basis (1803; Philadelphia: Wm. S. Young, 1850).

47 For an overview of the schism, see Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 93–104.

48 Robinson, Emily M., “Sacred Memory: The Covenanter use of History in Scotland and America,” Journal of Transatlantic Studies 11, no. 2 (2013): 147; Robinson, “Immigrant Covenanters,” 275–276; Glasgow, W. Melancthon, History of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in America (Baltimore, M.D.: Hill & Harvey, 1888), 91.

49 Robinson, “Immigrant Covenanters,” 251.

50 Johnston, Nathan R., Looking back from the Sunset Land or People Worth Knowing (Oakland, Calif.: n.p., 1898), 9.

51 American Christian Expositor, January 1832, 364.

52 Kabala, James S., “‘Theocrats’ vs. ‘Infidels’: Marginalized Worldviews and Legislative Prayer in 1830s New York,” Journal of Church and State 5, no. 1 (2009): 8687.

53 Baird, Robert, Religion in America; Or, An Account of the Origin, Progress, Relation to the State, and Present Condition of the Evangelical Churches in the United States. With Notices of the Unevangelical Denominations (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1844), 257.

54 Wilson, Joseph M., The Presbyterian Historical Almanac, and Annual Remembrancer of the Church, for 1862 (Philadelphia: Joseph M. Wilson, 1862), 249, 267.

55 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at a Meeting held in Moneymore, July 1836 (Belfast: Ulster Times Office, 1836), 912.

56 Robert Wallace to Thomas Houston, December 15, 1835, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 8.

57 Gilbert McMaster to Clarke Houston, March 15, 1837, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 10.

58 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its Sessions in Ballymoney, Londonderry, Belfast, and Ballymena (Belfast: Banner of Ulster Office, 1845), 2728; cf. Second Report of the General Committee of the Sustentation Fund, and Juvenile Missionary Association, in connexion with the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Church, for 18 Months, Ending May 1, 1849, and Published by Order of Synod, at its Annual Meeting in Cullybackey, the 18th July, 1849 (Ballymoney: Collins & Lithgow, 1849), 5961.

59 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod, in Ireland, at its Meeting in Belfast, 1848 (Ballymena: George White, 1848), 15.

60 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its Meetings in Ballymoney, July, 1851 (Ballymoney: James W. Lithgow, 1851), 11; Minutes of Belfast Eastern Reformed Presbytery, September 28, 1855, Reformed Presbyterian Records, PRONI, Belfast, CR5/5B/5/1.

61 Samuel M. Willson and Samuel Sterritt to Irish Synod, June 9, 1856, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 18.

62 John Paul, Causes of Fasting. Maghera, Nov. 11, 1807 (n.p., 1807), 12.

63 John Paul to Scottish Synod, May 12, 1815, Reformed Presbyterian Records, PRONI, Belfast, CR5/5A/PTE54/2007. In his personal diary the Scottish Covenanter, William Symington, later praised Wilberforce for being “singular[ly] devoted to abolition of slavery.” Diary of William Symington, May 19, 1838, Symington Papers, NCL, Edinburgh, SYM 1.2.

64 Thomas Houston, The Races: The Evils Connected with Horse-Racing and the Steeple-Chase and their Demoralizing Effects (1853) in Works: Doctrinal and Practical of the Rev. Thomas Houston, D.D, Knockbracken, 4 vols. (Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, 1876), iv, 329.

65 Simms, Samuel, Britain Still a Horn of the Beast (Banbridge: Chronicle Office, 1878), 45.

66 Covenanter, March 1831, 100.

67 Covenanter, April 1831, 132.

68 Covenanter, May 1831, 187–188.

69 Covenanter, September 1831, 329; cf. Coffey, John, “‘Tremble Britannia!’: Fear, Providence and the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1758–1807,” English Historical Review 127, no. 527 (2012): 844881.

70 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at a Meeting held in Moneymore, July, 1831 (Ballymena: George White, 1831), 10.

71 Daniel O'Connell held a similar view. See Kinealy, Christine, Daniel O'Connell and the Anti-Slavery Movement (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011), 36.

72 Covenanter, March 1831, 101–106; cf. Evans, Chris, “Brazilian Gold, Cuban Copper and the Final Frontier of British Anti-Slavery,” Slavery & Abolition 34, no. 1 (2013): 128; Morgan, Kenneth, Slavery and the British Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 190; Julian Hoppit, “Compulsion, Compensation and Property Rights in Britain, 1688–1833,” Past & Present 210 (2011): 115–120; Catherine Hall, “Troubling Memories: Nineteenth-Century Histories of the Slave Trade and Slavery,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 21 (2011): 148–152.

73 Green, William A., British Slave Emancipation: The Sugar Colonies and the Great Experiment 1830–1865 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976), 120121, 124.

74 Willson, James R., An Address on West India Emancipation, Delivered on the First of August, 1838, before the Union Anti-Slavery Society of Philadelphia (Philadelphia: Merrihew and Gunn, 1838), 5.

75 Covenanter, September 1834, 239; cf. Wolffe, John, The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers and Finney (Nottingham: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 197.

76 Kidd, Colin, The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600–2000 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 40.

77 Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery of America 1798 to 1809; and Digest of the Acts of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod 1809 to 1888 (Philadelphia: Jas. B. Rodgers, 1888), 36. For a fuller account see Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery, February 18, 1801 in Our Banner, October 16, 1876, 392 (this is a transcription of manuscript notes that belonged to the Reverend Thomas Donnelly).

78 Roulston, “Abolition Church,” 17.

79 Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery, March 12, 1801 in Our Banner, November 15, 1876, 435.

80 Extracts from the Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, in the United States of America: A.D. 1818 (Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1818), 29.

81 McKivigan, Proslavery Religion, 26.

82 Reformation Principles Exhibited, 139; Covenanter, May 1831, 158–159.

83 Glasgow, History, 375–379, 393–398; Robinson, “Covenanter Diaspora,” 40.

84 Covenanter, February 1831, 76–77; cf. Covenanter, January 1862, 25–26.

85 Birney, James G., The American Churches, The Bulwarks of American Slavery, 3rd ed. (Newburyport, Mass.: Charles Whipple, 1842).

86 Abstract of the Proceedings of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its Sessions in Ballymoney, Londonderry, Belfast, and Ballymena (Belfast: Banner of Ulster Office, 1845), 27.

87 Roth, Randolph A., “The First Radical Abolitionists: The Reverend James Milligan and the Reformed Presbyterians of Vermont,” New England Quarterly 55, no. 4 (December 1982): 540, 558561.

88 John Black to Irish Synod, July 1832, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 22; Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery of America 1798 to 1809, 91; Wylie, Memoir, 359–360; Evangelical Witness, April 1823, 424–425; American Christian Expositor, April 1832, 482–483.

89 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, May 1849, 436. Willson was the first president of the Union Anti-Slavery Society of Philadelphia (Our Banner, January 1884, 18).

90 Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 193–198; Roulston, “Abolition Church,” 22.

91 McKivigan, Proslavery Religion, 72.

92 Whyte, Iain, Zachary Macaulay 1768–1838: The Steadfast Scot in the British Anti-Slavery Movement (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2011), 235.

93 Covenanter, November 1837, 287–290.

94 Lowance, Mason, ed., Against Slavery: An Abolitionist Reader (London: Penguin, 2000), 70.

95 Wylie, Memoir, 509.

96 Peter H. Wendover to Thomas Jefferson, January 30, 1815 in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, 9 vols., ed. Looney, J. Jefferson (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), viii, 228.

97 Thomas Jefferson to Peter H. Wendover, March 13, 1815 in Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement series, viii, 340–343; Thomas Jefferson to Peter H. Wendover, March 13, 1815 in Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, viii, 344. Jefferson appears to have been primarily referring to McLeod, Alexander, A Scriptural View of the Character, Causes, and Ends of the Present War, 2nd ed. (New York: Eastburn, Kirk, and Co., 1815). In this pamphlet, McLeod condemns the American Constitution for non-recognition of God and for toleration of slavery (see pages 53–58).

98 Covenanter, April 1831, 147–148.

99 McLeod, Alexander, Negro Slavery Unjustifiable. A Discourse (1802; 10th ed., New York: Alexander McLeod, 1860), 8; cf. Alexander Shields, Some Notes or Heads of a Preface Preached at Distinckorn- Hill, in the Parish of Gaastoun, by Mr. Alexander Shields, Preacher of the Gospel, 25 April, 1688 (n.p., 1688), 19; Gribben, Crawford, “Samuel Rutherford and Liberty of Conscience,” Westminster Theological Journal 71 (2009): 355373.

100 Houston, Thomas, The Christian Magistrate: A Discourse (Belfast: Stuart & Gregg, 1832), 1618, 90–91.

101 Paul, John, A Review of the Rev. Thomas Houston's “Christian Magistrate,” and a Defence of the Principles of Civil and Religious Liberty. Part II (Belfast: Stuart & Gregg, 1832), 95.

102 Northern Whig, December 19, 1844.

103 John Paul, Persecution and the Slave Trade. Dr Paul's Speech when a Testimonial was Presented to him by his Friends in Ballymoney, 9th December, 1844 (n.p., 1844), 1–4.

104 McLeod, Negro Slavery, 8, 33–35. For an excellent historical analysis of the Reformed distinction between judicial laws of common and particular right, see Ross, Richard J., “Distinguishing Eternal from Transient Law: Natural Law and the Judicial Laws of Moses,” Past & Present 217 (November 2012): 79115.

105 Paul, Persecution, 3.

106 Wylie, Two Sons of Oil, 91–92.

107 Paul, Persecution, 9n.

108 McLeod, Negro Slavery, 33–34.

109 See Houston's comments in a debate at the 1833 Synod. Guardian and Constitutional Advocate, July 23, 1833; cf. Minutes of the General Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Session Seventeenth, held in the City of Pittsburgh, October, 1834. With an Appendix Containing Two Overtures: I. On the ‘Jury Act,’ II. On the Magistrate's Power, Circa Sacra (Newburgh, N.Y.: C. U. Cushman, 1834), 3135.

110 Cf. Noll, Mark A., America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 392.

111 Rice, C. Duncan, The Rise and Fall of Black Slavery: A History of Black Slavery, the Slave Trade and the Abolition Movement Throughout the Atlantic World (New York: Harper & Row, 1975), 14.

112 Brogan, Hugh, The Penguin History of the United States of America (London: Penguin, 1990), 205.

113 Kidd, Colin, “Conditional Britons: The Scots Covenanting Tradition and the Eighteenth-Century British State,” English Historical Review 117, no. 474 (2002): 1175.

114 Johnston, Looking Back, 184. Garrison and Johnston were in correspondence with one another, with the former writing on one occasion that “The only abolitionism I have ever advocated is embodied in the 58th chapter of Isaiah—in the Golden Rule—and in the Declaration of Independence . . . I am for breaking every yoke, and letting the oppressed go free. I am for doing unto others as I would be done by . . . Hence my religion forbids me having any complicity with slavery, and my patriotism compels me to inscribe upon my banner the motto, ‘No Union with Slaveholders!’” (William Lloyd Garrison to Nathan. R. Johnston, October 15, 1860, Garrison Letters, Boston Public Library, no. 233). Earlier, Garrison had written to his wife referring to “Rev. N. R. Johnston, our Covenanter friend.” William Lloyd Garrison to Helen E. Garrison, August 26, 1858, Garrison Letters, Boston Public Library, no. 186.

115 James R. Willson to Thomas Houston, 1836, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 9; Abstract of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at a Meeting held in Londonderry, July, 1835 (Ballymena: George White, 1835), 12.

116 Covenanter, July 1835, 187; Covenanter, November 1861, 307–308.

117 John Newel to American Synod, April 28, 1863, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 22.

118 Houston, Thomas, The Covenanter's Narrative and Plea: Exhibiting the Error, Schism, Radicalism, and Slander of Dr. Paul, and other Separatists from the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Belfast: Wm. Moore, 1841), 28.

119 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, August 1851, 870–871.

120 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, November 1854, 159–160.

121 Roberts, William L., The Reformed Presbyterian Catechism (New York: R. Craighead, 1853).

122 Treaty of Peace and Friendship Between the United States of America, and the Bey and Subjects of Tripoli, of Barbary,” in The Public Statutes at Large, of the United States of America, from the Organization of the Government in 1789, to March 3, 1845, 10 vols. (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1848), viii, 155; cf. Covenanter, November 1861, 307–308; Folayan, Koya, “Tripoli and the War with the U.S.A., 1801–5,” Journal of African History 13, no. 2 (1972): 261.

123 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, January 1855, 198–199; Covenanter, May 1861, 134–135.

124 Jefferson and Washington were both slaveholders who professed desires to see the system ended. Deyle, Steven, Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 2627; Bernstein, Richard B., Thomas Jefferson: The Revolution of Ideas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 49.

125 Covenanter, January 1861, 19.

126 Kolchin, Peter, American Slavery 1619–1877 (London: Penguin, 1995), 7980.

127 Carwardine, Richard J., Evangelicals and Politics in Antebellum America (Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1997), 1516; McKivigan, Proslavery Religion, 163; Our Banner, January 1884, 39.

128 Stewart, James B., Abolitionist Politics and the Coming of the Civil War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2008), 9.

129 Thomas Houston, The Judgment of the Papacy: And the Reign of Righteousness (1851) in Works: Doctrinal and Practical of the Rev. Thomas Houston, D.D., Knockbracken, 4 vols. (Edinburgh: Andrew Elliot, 1876), i, 339; Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, December 1850, 748. The Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod viewed its passing as a mournful disappointment” (Abstract of the Proceedings of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its Meetings in Ballymoney, July, 1851 [Ballymoney: James W. Lithgow, 1851], 13). The Old Lights concurred; see Russell, William, Causes of Fasting: Published by Appointment of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, by Synod's Committee, and Submitted to the Consideration of the People under their Pastoral Care (Belfast: Banner of Ulster Office, 1851), 1213; Covenanter, November 1861, 308; Covenanter, January 1862, 24.

130 Foner, Eric, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (New York: Norton, 2010), 9293. James McPherson questions the constitutional accuracy of the findings in this case (Battle Cry of Freedom: The American Civil War [1988; London: Penguin, 1990], 174175).

131 Covenanter, January 1861, 19–22.

132 Deyle, Carry Me Back, 59–60.

133 John Crozier to Irish Synod, 1861, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 21.

134 James M. Willson to Irish Synod, 1859, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 20; Monitor and Missionary, January 1855, 202.

135 Cf. Roth, “Radical Abolitionists,” 541.

136 Robinson, “Immigrant Covenanters,” 252; Robinson, “Covenanter Diaspora,” 39–40.

137 Willson, James R., Tokens of the Divine Displeasure, in the Late Conflagrations in New York, & Other Judgments, Illustrated (Newburgh, N.Y.: Charles U. Cushman, 1836), 345. For background information on these events, see Carwardine, Evangelicals and Politics, 57; Stewart, Abolitionist Politics, 9, 14; Tise, Larry E., Proslavery: A History of the Defense of Slavery in America, 1701–1840 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1987), 263264; Prince, Carl E., “The Great ‘Riot Year’: Jacksonian Democracy and Patterns of Violence in 1834,” Journal of the Early Republic 5, no. 1 (1985): 119.

138 Covenanter, October 1836, 240.

139 Covenanter, March 1838, 87–89; cf. Dillon, Merton L., The Abolitionists: The Growth of a Dissenting Minority (New York: Norton, 1979), 9397.

140 Moses Roney and Thomas Sproull to Thomas Houston, October 17, 1834, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 6.

141 Wolffe, Expansion of Evangelicalism, 89; Staiger, C. Bruce, “Abolitionism and the Presbyterian Schism of 1837–1838,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 36, no. 3 (December 1949): 391. Elwyn Smith, however, has argued that the schism cannot be reduced to slavery (The Role of the South in the Presbyterian Schism of 1837–38,” Church History 29, no. 1 [March 1960]: 4463). George Marsden argues that slavery was an important factor in determining the nature of the schism, but it was not the primary cause of the division (The Evangelical Mind and the New School Presbyterian Experience: A Case Study of Thought and Theology in Nineteenth-Century America [1970; Eugene, Ore.: Wipf & Stock, 2003], 59103).

142 J. B. Johnston and James M. Willson to Thomas Houston, May 28, 1845, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 13; cf. McKivigan, Proslavery Religion, 74–93.

143 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, May 1849, 436.

144 Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Eastern Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, at its Meeting in Cullybackey, July, 1858 (Londonderry: The Standard Office, 1858), 20.

145 Covenanter, January 1861, 22–23.

146 Covenanter, April 1858, 88.

147 Nelson, Isaac, Person and Work of the Holy Spirit: A Discourse Delivered to the Presbyterian Congregation, Donegal Street, on Sundays, 23d and 30th October, 1859 (Belfast: George Phillips & Sons, 1859), 24.

148 Covenanter, August 1859, 227.

149 Northern Whig, April 12, 1858; Long, Kathryn T., The Revival of 1857–58: Interpreting an American Religious Awakening (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998), 103105.

150 John Crozier to Irish Synod, 1861, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 21.

151 Covenanter, June 1861, 165.

152 Covenanter, March 1838, 87.

153 See Dew, Charles B., Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2001).

154 For discussion on slave breeding and an overview of the relevant historiography, see Smithers, Gregory D., “American Abolitionism and Slave-Breeding Discourse: A Re-Evaluation,” Slavery & Abolition 33, no. 4 (December 2012): 551570.

155 Covenanter, January 1861, 21–22, 26; cf. McPherson, Battle Cry, 102–103.

156 Abraham Lincoln to Alexander H. Stephens, December 22, 1860 in The Works of Abraham Lincoln, 8 vols., eds. Clifford, John H. and Miller, Marion M. (New York: Newton & Cartwright, 1908), iv, 290291.

157 Covenanter, January 1861, 21–23.

158 Extracts from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at its Annual Meeting, held in Belfast, June, 1861 (Belfast: James Johnston, 1861), 1819.

159 Covenanter, November 1861, 310–311, 317; Covenanter, June 1862, 185; Covenanter, October 1862, 311–314; Covenanter, December 1862, 382; Covenanter, January 1863, 1–2; Hernon, Joseph M., Celts, Catholics & Copperheads: Ireland Views the American Civil War (Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1968), 57; Beckert, Sven, “Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War,” Journal of American History 109, no. 5 (December 2004): 14081410; Woodward, E. L., The Age of Reform 1815–1870, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1939), 301302.

160 Extracts from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at its Annual Meeting, held in Londonderry, 30th June, 1862 (Belfast: James Johnston, 1862), 6.

161 Alexander McLeod, Lectures Upon the Principal Prophecies of the Revelation (New York: Whiting and Watson, 1814), 344–345.

162 Covenanter, October 1861, 280–281; cf. Covenanter, May 1861, 139.

163 Covenanter, October 1861, 278; Covenanter, February 1862, 46; Covenanter, February 1863, 61; cf. Alexander H. Stephens, “Speech Delivered on the 21st March, 1861, in Savannah, known as ‘The Corner Stone Speech,’ Reported in the Savannah Republican,” in Alexander H. Stephens, in Public and Private. With Letters and Speeches, Before, During, and Since the War, ed. Henry Cleveland (Philadelphia: National Publishing Company, 1866), 721–723; Stephanie McCurry, Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard: Harvard University Press, 2010), 11–13.

164 Aileen Black, Gilfillan of Dundee 1813–1878: Interpreting Religion and Culture in Mid-Victorian Scotland (Dundee: Dundee University Press, 2006), 79; Isaac Nelson, The American War in Relation to Slavery. A Lecture Delivered to the Presbyterian Young Men's Society, Donegall Street. Belfast, 24th November, 1863 (Belfast: Alex. Mayne, 1863).

165 Covenanter, July 1861, 206.

166 Covenanter, August 1861, 216.

167 Covenanter, October 1861, 280–281; Covenanter, November 1861, 309; Covenanter, January 1862, 29; Covenanter, February 1862, 156; Covenanter, September 1862, 289.

168 Covenanter, October 1862, 323.

169 Covenanter, December 1862, 363; Covenanter, February 1863, 61; Extracts from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at its Annual Meeting, held in Belfast, 29th June, 1863 (Belfast: James Johnston, 1863), 24.

170 John Newell to American Synod, April 28, 1863, American Correspondence, RPHL, Knockbracken, no. 22; cf. Foner, Fiery Trial, 240–242.

171 Covenanter, December 1861, 345; Covenanter, February 1862, 47; Covenanter, April 1862, 116–120; Covenanter, September 1862, 289–290; Covenanter [Philadelphia], March 1862, 210–213; Covenanter [Philadelphia], July/August 1862, 378–381.

172 Blackett, Richard J. M., Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2001), 2122; Sexton, Jay, “Transatlantic Financiers and the Civil War,” American Nineteenth Century History 2, no. 3 (2001): 32.

173 Covenanter [Philadelphia], July/August 1862, 380–381.

174 Covenanter, March 1864, 87.

175 Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, May 1864, 153–154; cf. Covenanter, March 1864, 89.

176 Covenanter, June 1864, 182–185.

177 Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, July/August 1864, 205.

178 Banner of Ulster, June 30, 1864.

179 Banner of Ulster, July 28, 1864.

180 Anti-Slavery Reporter, September 1, 1864, 220.

181 Shanks, George H., Freedom and Slavery: An Explanation of the Principles & Issues Involved in the American Conflict; And the Duty of the People of Britain in Relation to that Momentous Struggle (Belfast: William McComb, 1863); Banner of Ulster, May 10, 1864.

182 Carwardine, Richard J., “Lincoln, Evangelical Religion, and American Political Culture in the Era of the Civil War,” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 18, no. 1 (1997): 55.

183 Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, October 1864, 189–190. For more on Reformed Presbyterian efforts to promote constitutional reform, see Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 224–245; see page 235 for evidence that some Covenanters did vote in the 1864 presidential election, but without official approval.

184 Melanchthon, History, 128–129.

185 Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, July/August 1863, 227–229. When it was discovered that an oath was no longer required of draftees or volunteers, the Synod repealed its sanction of the oath. Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, July/August, 207; Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 211–213. At the close of the conflict, the American Synod denied it had ever sanctioned an oath which involved identification with the immoral Constitution or Government of the United States. Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, July/August 1865, 225.

186 Covenanter, September 1863, 231–232; Covenanter, December 1863, 331–334.

187 Covenanter, April 1865, 103–105; see especially the Irish Synod's letter to America in Covenanter, August 1865, 252.

188 Covenanter, August 1865, 248–249. For a discussion of British reaction to Lincoln's assassination, see Blackett, Divided Hearts, 213–243.

189 Covenanter, May 1865, 154; cf. Noll, America's God, 426–427. For immoralities associated with theatres, see Long, Revival, 78.

190 Original manuscript of the Second Inaugural Address 4 March 1865, April 10, 1865, Lincoln Papers, Ms43613, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

191 Foner, Fiery Trial, 327.

192 Covenanter, May 1865, 155.

193 Extracts from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland at its Annual Meeting, held in Londonderry, 26th June, 1865 (Belfast: James Johnston, 1865), 21; Covenanter, August 1866, 215.

194 Extracts . . . 1865, 11; cf. Covenanter, October 1864, 326–329; Covenanter, June 1865, 189; Covenanter, August 1865, 248–250.

195 Banner of Ulster, July 13, 1865; cf. Carson, “Reformed Presbyterian,” 213–223.

196 Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, January 1866, 18–19.

197 Covenanter, October 1861, 279.

198 See Noll, Mark A., God and Race in American Politics: A Short History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), 60101; Bebbington, David W., The Dominance of Evangelicalism: The Age of Spurgeon and Moody (Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 212218; Stout, Harry S., Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the Civil War (New York: Penguin, 2006), 458; Gundlach, Bradley J., “‘Wicked Caste’: B. B. Warfield, Biblical Authority, and Jim Crow,” Journal of Presbyterian History 85, no. 1 (2007): 2843; Noll, Mark A., “Theology, Presbyterian History, and the Civil War,” Journal of Presbyterian History 89, no. 1 (2011): 69, 12–13.

199 Kidd, Forging of Races, 25.

200 Smyth, Thomas, The Unity of the Human Races Proved to be the Doctrine of Scripture, Reason, and Science. With a Review of the Present Position and Theory of Professor Agassiz (New York: George P. Putnam, 1850).

201 Monitor and Missionary Chronicle, July 1850, 670–671; Blackett, Richard J. M., Building an Antislavery Wall: Black Americans in the Atlantic Abolitionist Movement 1830–1860 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1983), 8587, 99. Iain Whyte has recently argued that Smyth was not opposed to eventual emancipation and should be viewed as a moderate of the Old South (“Send Back the Money!”: The Free Church of Scotland and American Slavery [Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 2012], 4546).

202 Thomas Houston to Thomas Chalmers, September 14, 1846, Chalmers Papers, NCL, Edinburgh, CHA4.324.44.

203 Smyth, Thomas, Autobiographical Notes, Letters and Reflections, ed. Storey, Louisa C. (Charleston, S.C.: Walker, Evans & Cogwell Company, 1914), 12, 352.

204 Shields, Alexander, A Hind Let Loose; Or, An Historical Representation of the Testimonies of the Church of Scotland (1687; Calton: William Paton, 1797), 439; Rutherford, Samuel, Lex, Rex: The Law and the Prince. A Dispute for the Just Prerogative of King and People (Baynard's Castle: John Field, 1644), 91. Rutherford recognized that servitude existed among the Jews as a “penal evil,” but maintained that it was “contrary to nature, and a punishment of sin.”

205 A True and Exact Copy of a Treasonable and Bloody-Paper called, the Fanticks New-Covenant: Which was taken from Mr. Donald Cargill at Queens-Ferry, The Third Day of June, 1680 (Edinburgh: Andrew Forrester, 1680), 5; Moore, Joseph S., “Covenanters and Antislavery in the Atlantic World,” Slavery & Abolition (forthcoming 2013). One account claimed that 200 Covenanters were sent to Jamaica. See Thomson, John H., ed., A Cloud of Witnesses for the Royal Prerogatives of Jesus Christ: Or, the Last Speeches and Testimonies of those who have Suffered for the Truth in Scotland, since the year 1680 (1714; Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson & Ferrier, 1871), 529.

206 Houston, Judgment of the Papacy, 356; cf. Covenanter, June 1865, 176.

207 Ahlstrom, Sydney E., “The Scottish Philosophy and American Theology,” Church History 24, no. 3 (September 1955): 268269; Noll, America's God, 94.

208 Holmes, Andrew R., “Presbyterians and Science in the North of Ireland before 1874,” British Journal for the History of Science 41, no. 4 (December 2008): 547; Album for the Collegiate Part of the Royal Belfast Academical Institution, 1815 to 1837, Royal Belfast Academical Institution Records, PRONI, Belfast, SCH/524/1A/6.

209 Wilcox, “Abolition Church,” 60.

210 Covenanter, May 1831, 187; American Christian Expositor, November 1831, 268; Robinson, “Immigrant Covenanters,” 261.

211 Extracts from the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod of Ireland, at its Annual Meetings, held in Londonderry, 30th June, 1862 (Belfast: James Johnston, 1862), 20.

212 Cf. Noll, Mark A., The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys (Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 234240.

213 Ritchie, Daniel, “Reformed Presbyterian Criticism of the 1859 Ulster Revival's Impact on Worship and Church Order,” Confessional Presbyterian 7 (2011): 6364.

214 Holmes, Andrew R., “Covenanter Politics: Evangelicalism, Political Liberalism and Ulster Presbyterians, 1798–1914,” English Historical Review 125, no. 513 (April 2010): 344345, 358.

215 Houston, Races, 329; Alexander, Causes, 1821, 6; Clarke Houston and John Alexander, Causes of Thanksgiving, Gracehill, September 25, 1823 (n.p., 1823), 5n.

216 Houston, Races, 330n, 371.

217 Causes of Fasting and Thanksgiving, or the Signs of the Times; in which the Evils and Dangers of the Present System of Tithes and Regium Donum are Specified, and some Late Improvements in Church and State Pointed out by the Eastern Presbytery of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Belfast: James Wilson, 1835), 32; cf. Quinault, Ronald, “Gladstone and Slavery,” Historical Journal 52, no. 2 (June 2009): 369.

218 Rodgers, Nini, Ireland, Slavery and Anti-Slavery: 1612–1865 (Houndmills: Palgrave MacMillan, 2007), 7980; Stavely, William, An Appeal to Light; Or, the Tenets of Deists Examined & Disapproved; and the Authority of the Holy Scriptures Asserted and Vindicated (Belfast: n.p., 1796), 60n.

219 Brooke, Peter, Ulster Presbyterianism: The Historical Perspective 1610–1970 (2nd ed; Belfast: Athol Books, 1994), 109; Valerie Wallace, “Exporting Radicalism within the Empire: Scots Presbyterian Political Values in Scotland and British North America, c. 1815–c. 1850” (Ph.D. diss., University of Glasgow, 2009), 23, 75; cf. Houston, Covenanter's Narrative, 2n.

220 McLeod, Negro Slavery, 44–45; cf. Davis, David Brion, Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006), 256.

221 Whyte, Iain, “‘Can We Come Out of Sin ‘By Degrees’?' The Contribution of Andrew Thomson and John Ritchie to the Anti-Slavery Movement in Scotland 1820–1840,” Records of the Scottish Church History Society 30 (2005): 119141.

222 Reformed Presbyterian, January 1863, 17.

223 Noll, God and Race, 122–123.

224 William Lloyd Garrison to Helen E. Garrison, May 12, 1858, Garrison Letters, Boston Public Library, no.178. In an earlier letter, Garrison praised the Reverend J. R. W. Sloane after an antislavery meeting as “a Covenanter, who made a most impressive speech of a most radical character” (William Lloyd Garrison to Helen E. Garrison, New York, May 13, 1857, Garrison Letters, Boston Public Library, no. 169).

225 See J. R. Willson's comments on his interaction with Garrison and Phillips: Covenanter [Philadelphia], March 1846, 242.

226 See Cunningham, William, The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation (1862; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1967), 318321.

227 See Wylie, Two Sons of Oil, 76–77.

The author would like to thank Dr. Andrew Holmes, Dr. Joseph Moore, and the anonymous peer reviewers for reading earlier drafts of this article. All mistakes in fact or interpretation are the sole responsibility of the author. The research for this article was conducted while the author was an AHRC doctoral candidate at Queen's University, Belfast.

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