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Wolfe Tones America Tour
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Wolfe Tones Tour Of America 2010 By Brian Warfield
Thanks to all for a great tour of America.  We always have a great time, it's hard work, a lot of traveling, but exciting, fulfilling and rewarding. I hope everyone had a great St Patrick’s day. You know that we have spent almost every St. Paddy's away from Ireland since we started back in 1963. We have celebrated it in England, France, Australia and Canada.
 
I remember one year in Toronto we played in a banqueting hall owned and run by an Italian Guy who new little about the Irish.  About an hour after doors had opened he ran out of drink before we even started the show! "It is unbelievable, I never sold this much in a year" he said. "You better get more from somewhere" I said to him, it's St Patrick’s day and there will be a riot if you don’t get more stock fast. You better beg, borrow or steal but get some beer before we go on stage." He took the advice, got all he could but it was not enough to drown the shamrock on the night and he ran out of beer before the night's end.  Well I think he will never forget the Irish and St Patrick’s day!
 
We spent most St. Patrick's Day's in the USA and many of them in New York with friends watching the parade. It was a tradition that many people from the old neighbourhoods would congregate at the same spot every year and meet their old friend's, their childhood pal's and neighbours who had dispersed to many different locations for many and various reasons. I fondly remember these early years with the McCrory’s, originally from Tyrone and Fermanagh, watching the great parade. Mrs. Mc, who was our American mother, would cheer excitedly as her county came up 5th Ave, Food and drinks were passed around generously,  a corned beef sandwich and a beer or a drop of the hard stuff. Great times, great days.

The Irish In America By Brian Warfield Of The Wolfe Tones
I was asked by one of our mailing list members if there was proof that the Irish constituted over 50% of the revolutionary army he had heard me mention at one our shows in New York.  He told his friends in the Firehouse who not all being Irish listened to the story with suspicion and disbelief and of course poked fun at the idea. Well I hope this little piece of information will suffice and convince all that the statement is true and with solid foundation.
 
I was also asked about Irish and Scots Irish what it means and why and what is the difference. There is a tradition that the early colonies where mainly peopled by English blood but it relies on very scanty evidence. The Irish had a large presence at every stage of the development and progress of the early colonies, and of course were a major force at the time of the revolution. The Anglo Saxon has hijacked the early history of The Colonies mainly because they were the ones who wrote it and of course they gave very little credit to any one else, least of all the Irish.
 
The Historic truths are contrastingly different. They also tagged the Irish into two groups the Irish and the Scots-Irish graded by religion and region from which they emigrated.  Almost all from Ulster were classified as Presbyterian and pro English and all from the other provinces were Catholic and Celtic and anti-English. This generalisation of the Irish does not take into account the early relationship between Ireland and the colonies or the political reasons why people of all provinces left the land of their birth. Splitting a nation of people by bloods infused into Ireland was not used to describe people of any other Nation...imagine if it was used to describe the English, there would be many hyphenated prefixes and very few stand alone Englishmen.
 
Statistically the Presbyterian who are the ones who can claim Scottish Scots-Irish background to James I plantation are less than 10 % of the population of Ireland. The Catholics of Ulster outnumber them so it shows that the belief that Ulster is Scots-Irish has little foundation. So to conclude that all migration from Ulster across the centuries were Scots-Irish has scanty historic evidence.
 
There were many influences into Ireland, Viking, Danish, Norwegian, English, Norman, Scottish, Welsh but all answer to the name of Irishmen. The tag of Scots-Irish was used firstly by Irish Loyalists supporting England during the war to distinguish themselves from the masses of Irish who fought against the crown. It surfaced again when the hungry exodus of the 1840s and 50's poured millions of impoverished people from Ireland on to the shores of North America and those already settled wanted to distance themselves from the poor Irish by using the label Scots-Irish.
 
The society that helped Washington during the revolution was known as the friendly sons of St Patrick and not the friendly sons of St Andrew and St Patrick. They gave the sum of 103,500 pounds sterling to relieve the pressure on the revolutionary army at Valley Forge. The president of the society was Stephen Moylan, an Irish Catholic, Washington’s Aide de Camp and distinguished General in the Continental Army. The Pennsylvanian Line was known as the line of Ireland, not the line of the Scots-Irish, it couldn’t be, they were all Loyalists. They were all proud to be called an Irishman regardless of religion and would have been insulted by any other term.
 
Now lets look at all the Irishmen who played a part in the American revolution and the debt owed to Irishmen regardless of their religious beliefs. At the hearing before the committee at the house of commons in 1799 enquiring into the composition of the rebels, John Galloway, a former delegate to the continental congress who had turned loyalist was asked about the composition of Washington’s army, he replied I can answer that with precision. There were scarcely one-fourth natives of America , about one-half Irish the other fourth English or Scottish. Major General Robertson testified before the same committee that General Lee told him that half the rebel Army were Irish, a fourth was English and Scottish . Lord Mountjoy informed the English Parliament after they received the news of the surrender of Cornwallis that "England has lost America through the exertions of Irish emigrants".
 
The total white population at the close of the war was 3,175,000 of which 1,141,990 were Irish who it was said at the investigation that almost all were supporters of the revolution. 841,800 were English and it was said 3 fourths of them were loyalist.s 427,000 were Dutch or Scandinavian, 761,280 were Welsh, Scots and French.  There was also a black and native American population un-quantified at that time.
 
There was a reluctance from the very beginning for natives of America to enter into the service of the rebellion. They had been forced out by heavy fines. For a few months only, the regular army were English, Scottish or Irish, mostly the latter.  It was said that four fifths of Americans would have preferred a union with England rather than independence.
 
An official report from Serle to the Earl of Dartmouth, 25th September 1776, stated that great numbers of emigrants were in the rebel army particularly Irish. Sir Joshua Pell, an English army officer recorded in his diaries that "the rebels consists chiefly of Irish redemptioners and convicts the most audacious rascals existing". The pioneering rebel generals were Irish, Thompson and O’Sullivan and Irwin, none of these reports or testimonies refer at any time to a people called Scots-Irish
 
That’s convincing evidence that the Irish had played a primary role in the War of independence and all testified that half the army were Irish. George Washington, Parke Curtis, Washington’s adopted son revived the memory of Irish services and said “The Shamrock should be intertwined with the Laurels of the revolution.  “Americans!” he exclaimed, "recall to your minds the recollection of this historic time when Irishmen were your friends and when in the whole world we had not a friend beside." 
 
Eternal gratitude, he said was therefore due ... “the rank grass had grown over the grave of many a poor Irishman who had died for America , ere the flag of Lilies floated in the field by the Star Spangled Banner”.
 
Brian Warfield 2010

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