THE ASSIMILATION OF THE WELSH IN CENTRAL NEW YORK THE process of Americanizing the immigrant is a phenomenon which never ceases to intrigue foreign observers and to interest each generation of citizens. St. John de Crevecoeur, who lived in 1770 along the lower Hudson, wrote that the 'American' was a 'new man' shaped by the free institutions under which he lived. 'Here individuals of all nations are melted into a new race of men, .1 It is unlikely that Israel Zangwill, a Jewish immigrant, borrowed the title of his play, the Melting Pot (1908), from the obscure writings of Crevecoeur, but from his own experience and aspirations he noted 'how the great Alchemist melts and fuses them [immigrants] with his purging flame! Here shall all unite to build the Republic of Man and the Kingdom of God." A study of the Welsh settlements in central New York is interesting in its own right but it can also tell us a good deal about the process of acculturation and assimilation. We can observe this immigrant group over a span of 175 years in both a rural and urban setting. The record is fairly abundant although hidden behind the formidable language barrier of Cymraeg. Fortunately, almost all the Welsh are bilingual, and scholars with a command of the Welsh language have analyzed this subgroup at different times.3 Welsh emigration was stimulated by bad harvests which plagued the rural areas of Wales between 1789 and 1802. As a result small bands of farmers left the land, some heading for America.4 Pennsylvania was the main attraction, partly because more ships called at Philadelphia than at New York in that period. Furthermore, William Penn had earlier encouraged hundreds of Welsh Quakers and Baptists to settle the Welsh Tract. No doubt a region bearing 1 Michel Guillaume St. Jean de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer (Everyman's Library edition, n. d.), p. 43. Quotedin Oscar Handlin, (ed.), Immigration asa Factor in American History (Englewood Cliffs, 1959), p. 150. This work is a convenient source for selections from commentators on the melting pot thesis. The best study remains Paul Demund Evans, 'The Welsh in Oneida County' (M.A. thesis, Cornell University, 1914). Emrys Jones, now of the University of London, utilizes the methods of cultural anthropologists in his analysis of Utica Welsh, 'Some Aspectsof Cultural Change in an American Welsh Community', Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (London, 1952), pp. 15-41, hereafter cited as 'American Welsh Community'. For comparative purposes, see Daniel Jenkins Williams, 'The Welsh of Columbus, Ohio: A Study in Adaptation and Assimilation' (Ph.D. thesis, Ohio State University, 1913). 4 I rely for some information on my article, 'The Welsh in Oneida County in New York State', Transactions of the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion (London, 1961), pp. 115-24. A useful account is Erasmus Jones, 'The Early Welsh Settlers of Oneida County, N.Y. The Cambrian, IX (February 1889), 38-40; ibid., IX (March 1889), 78-80.