Friday, March 17, 2017

St Patrick's Day, New York, 1766 - A toast to the Sons of Liberty and William of Orange

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A friend sent me a link today to a long Facebook article about the origins of St Patricks Day. Some I was already familiar with, but this extract was interesting:

"In 1766 the New York Gazette reported on a notable March 17th celebration at the house of a gentleman by the name of Mr. Bardin. Among the toasts raised on the evening were; "the prosperity of Ireland", "Success to the Sons Of Liberty in America" and "The glorious memory of King William of Orange”."

The same extract is referred to in numerous other sources, like this one from 1902 which lists 20 resolutions, so it appears credible enough. I briefly blogged about the Sons of Liberty last year (post here), a pre-Revolution movement seemingly masterminded by a Thomas Young whose parents were from Donegal and who had arrived in America in 1718. It shouldn't be a surprise that families who had endured and survived the Siege of Derry, and later emigrated, brought their stories and memories with them. It is entirely credible that they would have commemorated William of Orange, although I would suggest for different reasons than we might assume today. There are numerous references during the 1700s and 1800s to the melody Boyne Water being played at St Patrick's Day events. 

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