The Cumberland and the Shenandoah valleys are virtually one, although bisected by the somewhat erratic Potomac river. But settlers had penetrated into the southern regions long before they came into the northern part in any considerable numbers. As early as 1726 the people known as Scotch-Irish had entered the valley in large numbers. Evidence of this migration is preserved by a substantial Presbyterian church a few miles from Staunton, the birthplace of ex-President Wilson, that was built about 1740, and which has had an unbroken succession of pastors from near that date until the present day. The religious zeal of these people is attested by the fact that, as there was no sand for mortar to be had nearer than about ten miles, the women of the congregation transported it on horseback. The Presbyterians are still the most numerous religious body in the valley. Next in order come the Methodists. Others can also, among them many Germans. So numerous did they soon become that the government considered it advisable to have the laws printed in their language. Strange as it may seem, the Mennonites have a flourishing school for girls at Harrisonburg. A considerable of cavaliers also settled in the state after the Cromwellians got possession of the English government; these gave an aristocratic flavor to Virginia which has perdured to the present day. Soon after 1700 the Scotch-Irish began to arrive in Pennsylvania in large companies. About 1720 one of them founded the oft-mentioned Log College in Bucks county, near Philadelphia. Soon they had progressed as far inland as Harrisburg, "but the Cumberland valley received the greatest number." The population of Pennsylvania has been given elsewhere; that of Virginia was somewhat over 747,000 in 1790. But the increase in the northern state was much more rapid than in the southern, and by 1820 they were about equal.
Recent historians of the Keystone State estimate that well nigh half of its social fabric has been built up by Presbyterians; and aver, furthermore, that there is hardly a state where the influence of Calvin is not felt. Was this potent influence due to their national character or to their creed? On the other hand it has been written of the Germans that while they have been slow, self- centered and conservative, they have also been honest, industrious and thrifty, while they have been on the right side of most of the moral questions or have come out on that side. Most of their governors, of whom there have been at least eight, have been as progressive as any. On the whole, while the Germans have not played a conspicuous part in the political life of this country, they have rarely been involved in public scandals and corruption. How the Presbyterians came to be so numerous in southwestern Pennsylvania and northwestern Virginia. is accounted for by Douglas Campbell in his well-known work, "The Puritans in Holland, America and England." "The Scotch-Irish were Presbyterians, and their form of government was not favored in New England. Pennsylvania was the home of toleration for all religious sects, and thither these immigrants naturally flocked. How many we shall probably never know. In 1727 six ships loaded with families from Ulster landed at Philadelphia in a single week, and throughout the whole of the eighteenth century the arrival of two or three a day was not unusual. Five thousand Irish are said to have come over in 1729, and for twenty years following as many as twelve thousand came over every year." During this whole period a Scotch-Irish Quaker, James Logan, was the governor of the Province. He disliked these Presbyterian immigrants and alarmed by their numbers, sent them to the western border of the Province to protect the Quakers in the east against the incursions of the Indians in the west. Although the canny governor was conscientiously opposed to fighting, when the situation became such that it could not be avoided, he sent the men to do it whom he considered best qualified for the task. Much of the territory in the western region was claimed both by Pennsylvania and Virginia, and the people did not know to which to look for protection; consequently they were constrained to depend upon themselves.
The first constitution of Pennsylvania remained unchanged for more than a hundred years, that is until 1790. In that year the legislature was enlarged by the addition of an upper house, probably to bring it into harmony with Congress. The place of the Supreme Executive Council was taken by the Governor, who was to be elected by the people. Office-holders were still required to believe in the existence of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments, but belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures was no longer enjoined. In the Constitution of 1790 a negro could vote, but not under that of 1838. It may be mentioned, in this connection, that under the present constitution of Ohio, the Ordinance of 1787 to the contrary notwithstanding, the colored man does not have the right of suffrage. Pennsylvania seems to be one of the few northern states in which only taxpayers can vote. For a long time after the organization of the state, this restriction existed in Ohio also.
Pennsylvania was the most liberal of the original American commonwealths. But the liberal opinions of the people had their limits. For a long time many of them were not willing to pay for the education of their neighbors' children, while a smaller number were not even willing to pay for the education of their own. Here again we come upon the sempiternal question of taxation. About 1885, Thaddeus Stevens made a speech before the legislature of the state in which he said, among other things, that the languishing and sickly condition of Pennsylvania's colleges was certainly not due to poverty; "yet she has scarcely one-third as many collegiate students as cold, barren New England. The reason is plain, she has no free schools." Albeit, the Pennsylvanians were never so reactionary as the Bostonians, who would not admit girls to the public schools until after 1790. Miss Crandall found, about 1830, that the people of Canterbury, Connecticut, were "agin niggers," or even against one, and that a girl, if she was treated as if she were white. The citizens of the "Nutmeg State" claim, however, that they were the first in the Union to set apart a fund for the maintenance of public schools. This fund, which amounted to more than a million dollars, was realized from the sale of lands in the "Western Reserve," or the "Land West of Pennsylvania." The first payment was made in 1797. Few people, at this day, are aware that a conflict familiarly known as the "Pennamite or Yankee War" existed for nearly forty years, although it cannot be said to have raged, even it the militia was called out, between Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The families who suffered most in the "Massacre of Wyoming," an event which inspired Thomas Campbell's well known poem, were mainly immigrants from the eastern state.
A deed of exceptional and permanent importance was done in the last years of Principal Nisbet's reign. After the trustees had decided to move to new quarters they purchased a full square in the town for about one hundred and fifty dollars and began the erection of a building upon it. But before it was completed it was destroyed by fire. This calamity ultimately proved to be a blessing in disguise, although the disguise was for a considerable time so complete that the blessing was not recognized. "Subscriptions for a new edifice began to come in from all sides." Thomas Jefferson gave a hundred dollars, and Count de la Lucerne, the French minister, after whom a county in Pennsylvania is named, headed a subscription list. Upon another list appeared the names of seventeen Congressmen. The plans for the new building were drawn by Peter Charles L'Enfant, the government architect, making it probably the only college building in the Union that can boast of such a distinguished intellectual paternity. The result was "West College," a fine example of colonial architecture, which is as durable as the everlasting hills, for it is built of the same material, although it was not taken from the hills, and the danger of destruction by fire is now extremely remote. No single illustration can adequately represent the grace, symmetry and simplicity of "Old West."1 About a third of a century later, an equally substantial, less ornate, but none the less commodious structure was erected on the campus, and is now known as East College. It is 130 feet in length and about 40 feet in depth. West College is 143 feet long, with a depth of 50 feet at the ends and 46 in the center. Both buildings are virtually four stories high, as the ground on which they stand is as "level as a floor."2
But just as there is no mule without its kick, at least potentially, so there is no landscape without its blemish.. So Dickinsonians have the misfortune to see their real estate bisected by a railroad. Although it is not a source of danger to pedestrians, equestrians, or automobilestrians, a railroad train prancing back and forth before your front door is not a welcome sight. The inhabitants of Carlisle are among the few Pennsylvanians who almost hourly have to witness an iron horse parading up and down their main street. It is not easy to see how the difficulty could have been avoided, or how it can ever be removed. The real estate problem is likely to give Dickinson's trustees, ere long, a good deal to think about. The unsophisticated but inquisitive pedestrian on the streets of Carlisle who observes that its main thoroughfare is called High street, will wonder what is meant by "high" in this connection, as it is no higher than the other streets. If he should ask some substantial citizen for an explanation, he would doubtless be told that it is a reminder of the original highway through the valley, and that "high" in this connection has no more to do with elevation than it has in "high hopes," "high finance," or "high jinks." In the matter of streets Carlisle is thoroughly democratic, as they are all on the same level.
1 "We have here the superiority in taste of a traveled Frenchman over a homebred Englishman. Penn was the founder of Philadelphia; the plan of Washington was formed by Major L'Enfant." John Davis, "Travels in the United States of America During the Years 1798, 1799, 1800, 1801 and 1802." It is hardly fair to Penn to speak of him an a homebred Englishman. He was a good deal more then that. Major L'Enfant probably got few of his ideas from travel. It is, however, to the credit of Davis that he was not prepossessed in favor of his countrymen. Nearly all American cities built on a level terrain have followed the plan of Philadelphia, though perhaps not designedly. College architecture in America was always utilitarian rather than esthetic.
2 In one beautiful spot in front of the Lee mansion (at Arlington) is the grave of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, engineer, artist and soldier, who, under the guidance of Washington and Jefferson, designed the plan of the city of Washington. The setting is a wonderfully appropriate place for his grave. If L'Enfant could see the view from his final resting place he would know that dreams come true.