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Remarks or the Nationality of the Scats.
haviour, and her ladyship is virtuous, and truly regards him? -LEVITY.
Araminta appears so fond of almost every pretty fellow that the sight of a smart young shopman is sufficient to induce her to purchase articles that she had no occasion for; yet no sooner does she depart than the shopman is forgotten, and perhaps the commodity laid by her for a twelvemonth.—This is Levity.
A certain veteran general, whose locks are silvered over with age, hardy as he is, and inured to watchful counsels, and to winter campaigns, dresses like a boy; hates to be told either of his age, or to talk of military matters, and even behaves like a boy, we had almost said like a coxcomb. To what is this owing but to_ LEVITY.
An author respectable in his line, but who never had an ear to harmony, will needs turn musician at fifty; and he will sing in company with a voice that might scare an owl, and “grin like the head of a brass viol. This is like the rest, but,LEVITY,
Aurelia, possessed of every personal and mental charm that can attract the notice of the sensible and refined part of mankind, plays the coquette with numbers. Not content with choosing a worthy lover, or a constant friend; possessed of abilities to attract the notice of the deserving, she is a candidate for the admiration of fools. What then obscures her good qualities, and even raises a laugh upon the vacant face of ignorance? What but her unaccountable Levrty.
When we find the age in which we live preferring flimsy fashion, and flimsy productions of the pen, to those of solid worth and real utility; to what can we attribute this but to false taste ? and from whence does this false taste originate, bnt from a rediculous and blameable, though a modish Levity.
REMARKS ON THE NATIONALITY OF THE
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR, There is scarcely a country in Europe where the feelings of patriotism, or the admiration for departed heroes are carried to so great extent as in North Britain. From the earliest dawn of her history till thejpresent time, they seem to have pervaded the souls
Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.
of her inhabitants, from the palaee of the noble to the humble cottage of the peasant, and from the child as yet only acquiring the simple rudiments of knowledge, to the venerable sire, whose hoary years were unable to blot out his early impressions. They were treasured in the mind from the dawnings of chrildhood, and instead of being weakened, rather rooted more firmly in the recollection, by the silent arm of time.
The bards whose immortal strains have for ages been echoed in the mountains of Caledonia, speak the same sentiment. The simple peasant learns to admire and to love the
of those illustrious names, and to let fall the fond tear of sympathy, as he listens to the fate of his gallant countrymen, who laid down their lives to protect their native land from slavery and dependance. This spirit seems to have been the same in every age, from the divine strains of the Son of Fingal, till the enchanting airs which have fervidly passed along the lyres of Ramsay and of Burns. They sung of their native land, the feats of heroes, and the pangs of disappointed love. Their wild romantic notes were not to be reduced to the trammels of rule, but like the minstrels of nature, they sought inspiration amidst her noblest scenes, and sung as they felt.
Enthusiastic to an extreme degree, the inhabitants distened with rapture to the music of the bards, and as they recited the strains, so were they warmed to the deeds which they related. They took delight, during their hours of toil, in musing on these repositories of ancient renown; and by repeating to their children what they themselves had learned, the offspring acquired the passion of their fathers, and thus spread the unfading verses from one generation to another. Till later times, the bards soon became unknown, and the authors of many of these celebrated productions are long forgotton; but the verses themselves remained in the remembrance of the people long after the hands that composed them, were mouldering in the dust. They preserved the memory of ancient deeds which might otherwise have fallen into neglect, and have kept up a spirit which seemingly bids defiance to the efforts of time to extinguish.
It is to these ancient ballads and songs that we are in a great measure to look for the nationality of the Scots. Wherever they have prevailed in a high degree, the effects have been the same, from the snow-clad summit of Lapland to the mountains of Switzerland and Caledonia.' From being learned in youth when every passion is naturally ardent, and from breathing in
Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.
the simplest guise the purest sentiments of patriotism, the heart is strongly attracted, and the scenes we have been accustomed to celebrate, become endeared by ties which are only known to those who feel them. It is not to those prolific countries where ease and luxuriance reign, that we are to seek after these feelings; we are not to turn our eyes to the beaming clime of India, nor yet to the southern countries of Europe. We are not to imagine that fertility, and riches easily acquired, can endear a man to his country; but we are to turn our eyes to those territories whose frowning aspect forbids the luxuriance of nature, and whose rugged mountains and bending caves strike terror into an enemy, reigning solemn and undisturbed in all the silent grandeur of nature. It is there that the great virtue patriotism is to be found in intensest operation, and it is observed that in the plains this becomes weaker, till in some southern nations it
appears to be nearly extinct. It is here also that those ancient songs which attach man to his soil, have been principally composed ; and it is here, in consequence of the affection which the natives bear to their country, that the invader's arm has been successfully arrested. In Tyrol, where the feelings of patriotism prevail to a high degree, we have seen a resistance to the arms of France which is altogether astonishing. Oppressed by an enemy who had with ease reduced far more powerful states to his dominion, this gallant people took up the arms of liberty, inspired by their national ballads to a love of freedom, and still more to a love of their country, they opposed with wonderful valour and success, the gigantic power which threatened the existence of their country, they did that same which the Scots under the immortal Wallace had done several centuries before, and proved the extreme hazard of attempting the subjugation of men fighting in the sacred cause of liberty.
To return, however, to the Scots. We shall find that in this country, in spite of the Union, and notwithstanding the efforts of government to destroy peculiarities, and to blend the two countries together, a high degree of nationality still exists; an ardent desire to preserve ancient customs, and to draw such a line of distinction, as may clearly point them out to be a different nation from England. To trace this kind of local attachment, would be a highly amusing attempt, þut to what cause it may be attributed we are not well able to decide. The partiality of one generation would certainly operate in the same way upon another, and the recollection of ancient hostilities would surely
Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.
freserve a prejudice, which could only be weakened by a long series of years.
But such sentiments betwixt the British nations are now happily buried in oblivion, and we only trace their remains in a national prejudice, which however dangerous it might have at one time proved, we are now certain is harma less.
We can observe a striking difference in the natives of both countries, which clearly proves them to have been at one time a distinct people. Each has its peculiarities; each a strong prepossession in favour of itself, but the influence of prejudice does not act precisely in the same manner in both. 'For while an Englishman admires his own country, he despises others; his own is by him regarded as the model of perfection, and he looks with a contemptuous eyc on other nations. The Scotchman on the other hand, while he gives the natural preference to his own, is not blinded to the merit of others: with an idea that the bravest soldiers in Europe are drawn from his countrymen, he willingly admits them to be surpassed in other qualifications by other nations. Only admit that Scotland has never been subdued, and that the Scots are unparalelled for their military cona duct, and a Scotchman will forgive almost any thing which may be urged against his country. But give an insinuation that is has ever yielded to the power of an invader, and it affects him to the heart ; his pride is instantly awakened, and he is ready to repel what he conceives the greatest insult against his native land, It is this which has rendered the name of Dr. Johnson so generally odious to the Scottish nation; for while the literary attainments of this great man are allowed and admired, he is sel, dom the subject of conversation without having his character brought under the lash of sarcasm and obloquy. Among the many prejudices indeed which he maintained against North Briz tain, none could be more erroneous and contrary to truth, than what he alledged concerning the conquest of Scotland. The great scholar was biassed in his judgment, and perhaps not well pleased to read of the success with which this country opposed adversaries who had brought England under the yoke. He could not have been ignorant that the country never was really subdued, but willing to make it appear that this had happened, heselected Cromwell and the Duke of Cumberland as the Conquerors, while the former powerfully aided by the Scots themselves, subdued a small party who still acted for the unhappy: Charles. And while the latter dispersed at Culloden a handful of
Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.
rebels, he was pleased to dignify these conquests, wherem the Scots had an almost equal shore, as the subjugation of the country. But he should not be too harshly dealt with on this account; what he stated was the result. of blinded prejudice, and this we well know, often obscures the judgment of the greatest men.
Another point wherein the surly dactor offended the pride and nationality of the Scots, was the rash and inconsiderate denial which he gave to the Poems of Ossian, and to the literature of the Highlands. So soon as these immortal poems made their appearance, he felt a disposition to call them in question, and the Scots, proud of their divine bard, were every where ready
oppose his assertions. A literary warfare was therefore maintained with great spirit by them, and by their opponents whe were mostly the doctor's countrymen. This however has not tended to render the former sceptical on this mysterious point, for having produced more powerful arguments in favour of the poems, than their adversaries could bring against them, they have begun to regard the doubts of the English as more apparent than real, and as arising more from a prejudice against Scotland, than from a conviction of their solidity. I do not here intend Mr. Editor again to stir up the Ossianic controversy; or to make your work the vehicle of a lengthened and unavailing dispute, but I mean to point out the inference which our countryinen have drawn from the unwillingness of their English brethren to give them what they conceive their full share of merit. The Scots have often been accused of pride, selfishness, and of a stinted disposition. They have long heard these accusations without repining, and have at length turned them to a purpose which gives them at least a fair claim to the first of these qualities. They now impute the sarcasms of the English to a jealousy of their own superior merit, and imagine the taunting of that people, to proceed from the source of ugenerous envy. "This notion has of late years
been carried to a ridiculous extreme, and more than any thing else has helped them to support the obloquy, and by flattering their vanity has increased their pride. Instead of retaliating upon their Southern friends, they hear the whole with patience, and in a few years may perhaps regard it as a compliment. I am not vain enough to entertain the same opinion as my countrymen, or to imagine that the observations of the English could be dictated by such a passion as jealousy—but in what I have seen, I think we are borne out in maintaining