'Choice grain into the wilderness': our British origins
0 comment Thursday, August 7, 2014 |
As we watch from afar the apparent decline of the British people, it often occurs to me that most Americans are very cavalier about it; it's very popular among the 'mainstream' Republicans and self-described 'conservatives' who congregate on certain of the big web forums to sneer at the British, and to perversely cheer their setbacks. It's all very much of a piece with their Francophobia, and their general disdain for people across 'the pond'. After all, our ancestors were smart enough to get out of there, and to set up a 'democratic' government here, so why should we care what happens to the Euros? It's survival of the fittest, and if they're too weak, let them be conquered and overrun. Such is the attitude of some.
All this while, of course, we Americans are being conquered by stealth by Latinos and Moslems and whoever else can cross the finish line into our wide-open country.
But I often wonder why most Americans, even those of older generations who were taught actual history in school, are so blase about the fate of Europe, specifically Britain, which after all, is our mother country.
This yahooish attitude is something I do not remember in my younger days, and my memory reaches back to the 1950s. I honestly do not remember, in my wide travels around this country, so much hostility and sneering pretensions to superiority on the part of many Americans. Educated and cultured Americans once valued our European heritage; almost everyone aspired to visit Europe and to experience the cultural and historical sites there; almost everyone had a consciousness of having European origins. Now suddenly it's the thing to look down one's nose at Europe, especially the British and the French. Where did this attitude originate? My best guess is that it, like much of the 'conservative' attitude these days in America, is simply a knee-jerk reaction against what they perceive as the liberals' Europhilia. So many Republicans and 'conservatives' think that only liberals admire or like Europe. And because Europe's ruling ideology is socialist, that is enough reason for them to hate the people. Needless to say, this is an ignorant attitude; our government does not reflect the attitudes of the American people, nor does our media; yet Americans are prone to judge all Europeans by their liberal governments and their leftist media.
But aside from our political differences with our British and French cousins, why are many Americans indifferent to their own European origins, and our kinship with Europe? Some of it, I think, is a result of a pro-patriotic, anti-British bias which was understandable in our early history, when our forefathers fought two wars against their British brothers.
Still, much of the Anglophobia seemed to have been forgotten by the time of the two World Wars, in which we fought alongside our British cousins, and viewed them as our staunchest allies. Now, the attitude seems to have changed to one of bitterness as many resent the fact that 'we bailed the British out; we saved them from the Germans'.
But all that notwithstanding, the fact is, Britain is our mother country; our culture, our language, our folkways, our religion, our view of the world, derives more from Britain than any other country. And they are of the same blood as our Founding Fathers. Blood IS thicker than water, and no amount of neocon/liberal "proposition nation" hogwash can change that fact.
Another factor in modern American callousness towards the British is that many Americans lack knowledge of their ancestry and roots; so many Americans that I have encountered have only the vaguest notion of their origins; many seem not to care. I suppose it is commendable in a sense that many people consider themselves 'just American'; I certainly consider myself an American, first and foremost, as I say in my profile. I do have an assortment of European ancestors, from Holland, France, and a few from Germany, but by far, the majority of my colonist ancestors came from Great Britain. It's been my good fortune that my family is aware of our roots, but many people are unaware, and uninterested in knowing.
I suspect that many Americans who are unaware of it have English/British ancestry; many of them simply think they are 'just Americans' when in fact they have a lot of British blood. If only more Americans knew their genealogy; but I've found that some people are interested in family history and some are profoundly indifferent, or even hostile to finding out. I find that latter attitude strange, but there we are. However, to any who care about the American heritage, history, and culture, which is vanishing quickly, I recommend studying your family tree; it's very gratifying to know who you are in the larger scheme of things. It's fascinating to learn of your ancestors' place in history: where they were born, what they did for a living, where they fit in. It brings history alive to know where your forefathers were and what they were doing when the events in the history books were unfolding.
I think there is a conscious effort to sever people from their roots; this new 'multicultural' regime is served by having us disconnected from our ancestors and our blood ties; in the brave new 'global village' we are not to belong to nations, especially nations which are extended families, based on genetics and blood. So we are all encouraged to be deracinated, atomized 'world citizens' with an allegiance to some watered-down, vague ideal like 'freedom' and 'equality', and not to a place or above all, a kin group.
For some reason, we are informed via Census information that most white Americans claim German ancestry.
How did this come to be, I wonder, that the great majority of white Americans claim to be of German origin? I realize there was a wave of German immigration in the mid-19th century. My few German ancestors came in the 1700s to join the Germanna colony in Virginia, but they quickly assimilated into the British stock of that area. Many of the later German immigrants remained clustered with other Germans, and continued to speak their own language. This pattern was true in Texas; many German colonists came in the 19th and 20th century, founding towns like Fredericksburg and Shiner and Boerne; my father tells of how some Texas towns were still largely German-speaking during his childhood in the Depression era. So perhaps the descendants of the later German settlers clung to their identity, with the result that many Americans today claim German as their primary ancestry.
Similarly with Irish ancestry; I've rarely met an American who does not claim Irish ancestry (and Cherokee Indian ancestry,too). Did the Irish and the Germans truly outnumber the descendants of the old English stock? Or did they merely intermarry with them, leaving a greater cultural imprint because of their more recent arrival?
If the majority of American whites have German ancestry, or Irish, for that matter, how do we account for the fact that English/Welsh/Scottish names are much, much more common in America? What names do we consider quintessentially old-fashioned American surnames? Smith? English. Jones? Welsh. Johnson? English, or Scottish, or possibly Scandinavian. Wilson? Scottish or English. Davis? Welsh. Evans? Welsh. Jackson? Scottish or English.
It does seem to call into question the idea that German or Irish descent is more common, based on the evidence of surnames alone.
This link indicates that
at the beginning of the Constitutional Government approximately 800 surnames�practically all of which were of English or British origin�contributed about one-third of the entire population of the United States...'
A look at the chart on this page is very informative.
Compare the most common names in 1790, and note that almost all, if not all, were British: English, Scottish, or Welsh. Then note the appearance in the 1990 lists of names like Garcia, Martinez, Rodriguez, Hernandez, Lopez.
These names were absent from the lists of 200 years ago, yet it appears that before too long they will be the most common names, challenged by various other third-world names.
Here is an excerpt from an old Harper's Magazine article, no author's name given, from the turn of the last century:
Thus...the people of New England were homogeneous in character to an unparalleled degree, and they were drawn from the very sturdiest part of the English stock. In all history there has been no other instance of a colony so exclusively peopled by picked and chosen men. The colonists knew this and were proud of it, as well they might be. It was the simple truth that was spoken by William Stoughton when he said, in his election sermon in 1688, "God sifted a nation that he might send choice grain into the wilderness."
The population of New England was as homogeneous in blood as it was in social condition. The Puritan migration we are here considering was purely and exclusively English; there was nothing in it at first that was either Irish, Scotch, or Welsh, nothing that came from the continent of Europe.
It began in 1620 with the founding of Plymouth. It reached its maximum between 1630 and 1640, when the first settlements were made in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. After the meeting of the Long Parliament in 1640, the Puritans found so much work cut out for them at home that the emigration to New England virtually ceased. By this time, 21,000 Englishmen had settled in New England, and this population "thenceforward multiplied on its own soil in remarkable seclusion from other communities for nearly a century and a half."
[quote from Palfrey, New England, introduction]
During the whole of this period, New England received but few immigrants, and "it was not till the last quarter of the eighteenth century that those swarms began to depart [from New England] which have since occupied so large a portion of the territory of the United States."
[...]In view of these facts, it may be said that there is not a county in England of which the population is more thoroughly English than was the population of New England a the end of the eighteenth century. From long and careful research, Mr. Savage, the highest authority on this subject, concludes that more than ninety-eight in one hundred of the New England people at that time could trace their origin to England in the strictest sense, excluding even Wales. Every English county, from Northumberland to Cornwall, from Cumberland to Kent, contributed to the emigration; but the great majority came from Linconshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex in the east, and from Devonshire and Dorset in the southwest.
[...]These 21,000 English Puritans...have now increased to nearly 13,000,000. According to most careful estimates, at least one-fourth of the whole population of the United States at the present moment [circa 1900] is descended from these men. " [Emphases mine]
Despite what the census statistics show, I think there are still many of us who are descended from those 21,000 Englishmen; many of us simply are not aware of it. That 'choice grain' sent into the American wilderness is still growing, although there are now tares among the wheat.
This piece by Steve Sailer
It's Official: British (a.k.a. America's Founders) Not Diverse At All
debunks the now-established PC propaganda that Britain was always 'a nation of immigrants' or a 'mongrel nation' as some malicious multiculturalists would have it. And the homogeneity of Britain carried over to the early settlement of the colonies in New England, as indicated by the above excerpts.
It is often claimed by Southern partisans, with whom I am in sympathy, by the way, that most of the South was settled by 'Celtic' peoples, Scots-Irish and to a lesser extent, Welsh.
However, Steve Sailer mentions, in the above-linked article, that Brian Sykes' book on the genetics of the British Isles indicates there was scant difference between the Anglo-Saxons and Celts:
Sykes writes: "Overall, the genetic structure of the Isles is stubbornly Celtic." (Interestingly, this means that the Irish and the English are largely the same�and Sykes is unable to discern any difference at all between the Ulster Catholics and Protestants, or "Scotch-Irish", as they are known to American immigration history).
Sykes points, out, however, that the term "Celtic" is something of a misnomer...'
Still the 'Celtic' identity of the South is an idea that has caught on. I remain skeptical of that idea, however, because of my familiarity with the genealogy of many Southern families. And it would seem that just looking at the surnames most common throughout the Southern states, at least before they were extensively invaded, we would find a predominance of English/Welsh names with a lesser number of Scottish names. A perusal of the names of the early Jamestown colonists, and of records of most Southern states in the next century or two, would likely show mostly English/Welsh names. So I am skeptical of the 'Celtic' culture of the South; I think it is a fanciful, romanticized idea that caught on, in part because the English in particular have been stereotyped as a cold, aloof people, while the 'Celts' have been portrayed as fiery-natured and warm, though given to belligerence and rebellion. I think this is an oversimplified portrayal of both the English and the Scots. I know that Grady McWhiney in particular, along with Forrest McDonald, did much to popularize the "Celtic Thesis" of the South's origins. I respect the work McWhiney did as a historian, but I am not convinced of his 'Celtic origins' idea.
As someone who has both Southern Cavaliers and New England Puritans in my family tree, I am familiar at firsthand with the differences in the culture of North and South; I simply think McWhiney and many others overemphasize the idea of different genetic origins. If Bryan Sykes is correct, the Celtic-Anglo Saxon divide is not so wide as thought.
Too often the Norman strain is discounted when analyzing the British people and their character and culture; I've noticed how very few want to own any Norman ancestry. Many people speak and write of the Normans as if they invaded idyllic England in 1066, and after ravaging the countryside, and setting up a tyrannical government, just receded into the mist. Surely people must realize that the Normans left many descendants in the British Isles and here in the United States and in Australia as well; the Normans did not disappear into the sunset. They are our ancestors too, and in the case of my family, they were the majority. And the Normans, though imperfect, were a capable, adventurous people who are often stereotyped as a sort of medieval European Klingon race; just watch a movie like 'Ivanhoe' and you will see the Normans as black-clad, sinister thugs. It's not surprising few people want to claim their Norman ancestry, based on the image of them in fiction and popular imagination. Most people want to be 'Celtic' or Anglo-Saxon, but the poor Normans are the red-headed step-cousins in the British family tree.
My point is: many Southerners think that their better qualities, their fighting spirit and independence, derive only from Scottish ancestry; can we not give our Norman forebears some credit? The Normans were the big guys on the block for centuries; we can take pride in them. Enough apologizing for the successes of our forefathers; we have glamorized the loser and the underdog for too long.
I often think that maybe our present-day Anglo-Americans and Anglo-Australians and even the 'indigenous British' as the PC brigade calls them, will be viewed by future generations much as those Norman baddies are viewed now: the Normans are depicted as oppressors and baddies, while the people they conquered (and in many cases, civilized) were the poor downtrodden underdogs, much as American Indians and Mexicans are now seen as the victims of the dominant white settlers. I wonder if the future owners of America, who may be partially descended from old-stock Americans, will disavow their 'Anglo' blood? I rather think they will. We will be the bad guys in the history books, if there are any, and if there are any literate people to read the books. We will be the ancestors nobody wants to claim; we will be the ones whose names draw hisses and boos.
I find the possibility of Europe's conquest by Islam and by various exotic immigrants in general to be a sad prospect, even if I had no blood ties to the countries in question; all of us are culturally descended from Europe, and most especially from Britain. If we in the West had a natural sense of kinship and solidarity, as we had for centuries, we would not be such easy prey for the invaders. Divide and conquer is the age-old formula; our enemies have successfully divided us, and continue to do so, as Western people turn on each other and side with the invaders, or simply refuse to take a side. Many in America prefer to pretend that we are a special, isolated people in the world, who just sprang up from nowhere. But we owe much of our vaunted ideas on freedom to our British forebears and heritage; we can't pretend that we "just growed", like Topsy.
If only we in the West had sense of our history and our roots, I think we could once again be the strong people we were. We cannot or dare not write off Europe, and pretend that we do not need them, nor they us. I don't care to contemplate a world in which Islam has swallowed up Europe, and taken control of their nuclear weapons; who will stand with us then? What friends or allies or kin will we have then? Our duplicitous Saudi friends? Backstabbing Mexico?
As Europe goes, so go we; we cannot ignore or turn our backs on Europe, especially on our British cousins.
If our Western civilization is swallowed up, I expect a 'Mad Max' kind of future for the West; I sincerely hope to be proven wrong by future events.

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