The ensuing hour brought a dozen others, the most substantialfreeholders in the community, nearly all of them members of the church,as well as men of influence in public affairs. A few drank only cider orbeer, but most of them quaffed full cups of the spiced, apple-seasonedtoddy with evident appreciation, and ate the cakes, apples and nutswithout stint.
The conversation around our Yule fire, to which I had listened with sucheager absorption, had caused my budding convictions to bloom in an hourinto fully expanded principles. I had caught the fever of patriotismrunning like an epidemic through the land. Were not we of Scotch Irishrace and Presbyterian faith pledged already to the cause since the firstblood shed for American liberty was the blood of the Scotch IrishPresbyterians, spilled at the battle of Alamance, when the stern NorthCarolina "Regulators" had risen, like Cromwell's "Ironsides," againstthe tyranny of their royal governor? The "Boston Tea Party," therefore,found quickest sympathy among the Scotch Irish of the Southern andMiddle States, and the earliest and grimmest of the resolutions sent upto the several assemblies, urging that Massachusetts be sustained, andkingly tyranny determinedly resisted, came from the towns and countiessettled by these people. "Freedom or death" was the consuming sentimentin the hearts of many Scotch Irish Americans for months before thetypical orator of that race thrilled a continent by speaking thoseimmortal words, "Give me liberty, or give me death." 2b1af7f3a8