Ulster Scots Sail into Boston Harbor, 1718

Map of Boston, circa 1722

"On August 4, 1718, five boats, containing about seven hundred Ulster Irish Presbyterians, arrived in Boston Harbor. They had been assured beforehand that they could purchase a parcel of land in the city, but when they arrived city leaders informed them they would need to join the Puritans’ Congregational Church to reside in Boston. A few of them did, but the rest refused to change religion. At Governor Samuel Shute’s suggestion, the Presbyterians moved to twelve square miles of land in Casco Bay, Maine, and eventually settled Worcester, Massachusetts, and Londonderry, New Hampshire.

"The arrival of these new settlers caused some concern. Alluding to grain shortages in the city, Thomas Lechmere complained in 1718, “These confounded Irish will eat us all up, provisions being most extravagantly dear and scarce.” The Boston Town Records in 1723 noted that “great numbers of people have lately been transported from Ireland into this Province, many of which by reason of the present Indian war and other accidents befalling them are now residents in this town. . . . If due care [is] not taken, they may become a Town Charge or be otherwise prejudicial to the well fair and prosperity of the place.”

Excerpt from Irish Boston, 2nd edition, by Michael Quinlin
Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
Publication Date: October 1, 2013 


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