Wednesday, January 31, 2024

'The Colrain Resolves, 31 January 1774' - short film released today.

On this day 250 years ago, the Scotch-Irish community of Colrain in western Massachusetts committed their post-Boston Tea Party resolves to paper. I was delighted to be involved in this new short film, made by Blue Eagle Productions for the Ulster-Scots Agency. The film is below – to see the shorter 2 minute trailer, head over to the Agency's Facebook page here.

The narrative for the film is closely based on the 1885 book The Early Settlers of Colrain, Massachusetts, by Charles H McClellan - online here. All of the characters in the film are from McClellan's book, with some additional biographical information of each person from other sources too.

The film tells just one small, hyper-local, but important, story. From 1774-76 there were dozens of similar communities across the 13 colonies who produced their own equivalents of these Resolves too.

Far away from the usual 'greatest hits' approach of familiar celebrity Americans – like the multiple Ulster-American Presidents, or the Born Fighting approach of war heroes and battles – there is a much deeper and emotive tale of the grassroots Scotch-Irish population. Unwelcome, marginalised and pushed to the edges of society, and far away from formal influence and power, they stood their ground and shaped the new nation. Values and ideas sustained them. 

The people of 1776 were the heirs of 1688 – the Prince of Orange's Declaration, Revolution, and Bill of Rights which ended a tyrannical monarchy in Great Britain and Ireland, became their American triple template. The people of Colrain might have thought "We did it before. We can do it again".

The values that these Scotch-Irish communities lived for transcended the limitations of ancestry and ethnicity. They became the values and rights aspired to by all Americans. The America 250 website is here.

• “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
 ― Friedrich Nietzsche