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Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.

year 1745.

They continued in Scotland a longer time than in most other nations, especially in the Highlands, where the bonds of clanship remained in full force till the civil rebellion in the

It was when the country was threatened by a foreign adversary that these bodies united for mutual defence; at all other time's they were distinct, under their own commanders, and often at variance with each other. This animosity was often nearly fatal to their liberties, as we have the best opportunities of knowing, and proved disastrous to Scotland, in her dreadful struggle for freedom, against the fraud and violence of Edward the First.

The warfare which for ages raged in the kingdoms, was prinpally confined to the borders. The aim of the English sovereigns was to deprive Scotland of independence, and bring it under their own dominion. The exertions of the Scots were devoted to preserve it, and in revenge to harass their enemies. For ages did this spirit continue, the two nations regarded each other with mutual hate. Some of the noble families in one country became hereditary enemies to those in the other : war was not carried on according to the more humane tactics of modern times, but conducted with all the horrors of pillage and destruction, which prevailed in these barbarous days. After the Union had consolidated the two kingdoms, those horrors of course dissappeared, but these transactions were long of being effaced from the recollection of the people, who even when united could scarce regard their former enemy as their friend. It is here we mean to depict the remains of this spirit among the Scots; a spirit in its present state of existence which can nover be hurtful to Britain, and which it is to be hoped will not speedily decay.

Great Britain has often been called the land of liberty, and if we impartially examine other nations, we shall scarcely find one wherein so great a degree of national liberty exists.' It is not that uncontrolled licentiousness which would equalize mankind, depress characters of the highest merit to a pitch with the meanest, and level distinction. It does not consist in a law. less declamation of rank, and in that empty display of equality which is ignorantly mistaken for independence of spirit, but in such an equalization as to maintain freedom on just principles, and in such a restraint as to curb insolence without debasing one man to a physical scale below another. This is indeed libe erty, and as Britons we should ever hold it sacred in our re

Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.

collection. If vanity on any occasion be warrantable, it is in exulting in this national privilege, the cause of our glory, and che pride of our constitution.

Ii is not to this however that I mean to call your attention, but to the remembrance of that liberty which in former days the Scots sealed with their blood. They exult in the glory which they acquired in former times, and venerate the memory of their ancient heroes more ardently than they do those illustrious names who have shone in a later day. Even at present when these distant ages have rolled away, they speak more feelingly of the deeds atchieved by their forefathers, than of transactions which are fresh in the memory of all. These warriors who in former times bled for liberty, have more charms in their recollections. Their

memory is embalmed in the hearts of their countrymen, and bowever much the latter may pretend to admire the characs ter of those who appeared in modern times, it is admiration withont love.

Nor indeed is any thing beside to be expected what they have atchieved is not individually for Scotland, nor have the Scots alone been concerned in the undertaking; it was a work of various nations, performed for universal benefit, and perhaps conducted by a foreign chief. When these men arose, their liberty was not apparently at stake; they followed him to the tield not only for themselves, but for the general good.

It has been well remarked that there are few Englishmen who, are not proud of owning Nelson as their countryman, and we might safely assert, that there is a still less proportion of the Scots, who are not gratified by being of the same country which gave birth to Sir William Wallace. But on the very same principle the affection of the two nations to their heroes is disa tinct: although five hundred years have elapsed since the latter appeared, he is probably fresher in the memory of the Scottish people shan the immortal Nelson is in that of his counryinen. Many are those of the latter who never heard of his name; but few, very few of the former, but are conversant with the name and history of Wallace. The Englishman boasts with reason of the liberty his country enjoys, more than the North Briton is heard to express; but he does not speak with affection of those who strove to prevent it being snatched away, They seem departed from his memory, and foreign to his thoughts; he does not boast of what in former times he was, but what he is at rtement; he has few records of his ancient independence, for it

Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.

was seized when in embryo from his country. A multiplicity of adversaries invaded it at different times, and brought it under their dominion. It made a gallant defence indeed, but was doomed to fall under the successive tyranny of the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans. Had it proved successful against these invaders, those who rescued it from their grasp would have been honoured and admired, but when it fell ander their sway its ancient glory was eclipsed in the beam of another. Its defenders were neglected, for it was a conquered nation, and because they failed to preserve it, are neither honourably recorded in the annals of the country, nor admired with affection in the remembrance of the people.

When the Romans turned their arms to the shores of Britain, they found the Southern and Northern districts inhabited by different nations. After an arduous struggle, it is well known that the former fell under the dominion of that enterprising people, who panting after universal conquest, attempted to reduce the whole island. Their tide of success was arrested for once in the mountains of Caledonia, and notwithstanding the resources of the empire, they were compelled to forego a task which experience proved fruitless and unavailing. It was then that the thirst for liberty among the Caledonians first appeared, and it was here that that military character was developed which has shone with undiminished lustre ever since. The successful resistance to a power which had humbled every other is remembered with pride by the Scots, and it was the main topic of which Robert Bruce laid hold to encourage his desponding followers. The subsequent resistance against the incroachments of England and of the Danish invaders, is cherished with no less satisfaction. To have opposed enemies so vastly superior in power to themselves, was a circumstance too honourable for them not to disclose, accordingly we find it the boast of the Scots, who even at the present day are not overcautious in holding it forth to their English brethren, when conversation turns on national subjects. It is these circumstances among others which have acquired them the reputation of pride and nationality; nor has the conduct of the Scottish soldiers during the late war tended in any degree to remove this selfish disposition. There. are indeed few Scotchmen who ever entertain a doubt regarding the superiority of their countrymen in the art of war over all others. It is the principal thing in which they claim pre-eminence, and

1

Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.

gárds with

if this be granted, they are not in general very solicitous about urging their superior pretensions to other arts or sciences. It is this indeed which gives greatest offence to foreigners in their conversation, and no where are they more anxious to display this disposition than before the English.

Amidst all his nationality and prejudice however the Scotchman has a love and prepossession in favour of the English character; and notwithstanding the disgust often excited in the mind of the latter, by the foibles of the former, the Englishman re

respect the character of the north Briton. By some unaccountable cause, the Scots in general have conceived a great dislike to the Irish, and can neither esteem nor respect that nation, and by an equally strange fatality, the same people are despised and ridiculed by the English. It would be no easy matter to explain the cause of the Scottish prejudice against them; but we may presume to account for the sentiments of the English, by imputing them, to Ireland being as it were a province of their country, and an acquisition obtained in former times by conquesta They never made any great effort to resist England, and never defended their liberty with such invincible obstinacy as the Scots. It accordingly fell to the English nation as the reward of their valour and ambition, they ruled the country with the rod of cona querors, and annexed it by force to their own dominions.

Had South Britain overcome Scotland in the same manner, they might have had the same feelings for the characters of the Scots. But an Englishman knows that in the midst of enemies who subdued his own country, the North remained free, and that the whole energies of England were often exhausted in vain in the attempt to reduce it to subjection. This cannot fail to impress him

with favourable sentiments regarding the energy of the Scottish character; but when he reflects on the admiration in which their civil and military conduct is held by the world, and that to this country his own is indebted for the first sovereign, who consolidated them into one, he sees no room for any

other ideas than for those of respect.

Among the many instances of Scottish pride, none is more rea markable than the dislike they bear to such expressions as the English army-English parliament, &c. &c.—they are disgusted at the appellations, and study never to employ them but in direct reference to objects purely English. On all other occasions British is the term adopted, when it relates to the three kingdoms,

Remarks on the Nationality of the Scots.

poet Gold

and to no particular division. The expression indeed, however trivial, is in itself evidently improper ; although the English very modestly employ it in preference to one which denotes the whole country. This peculiarity is not confined to any one class of the nation, but pervades the whole even the works of the more enlightened authors: I have been struck in this respect with the dissimilarity in Scottish and English authors, as well as in the modes of expression adapted by the people in general. It is particularly alluded to by the illustrious Burns, who possessed as great a share of national feeling, as perhaps any man who ever appeared. “Alas! have I often said to myself, what are the boasted advantages which my country roaps from the union, that can counterbalance the annihilation of her independance, and even her very name! I often repeat the couplet of my

favourite smith,

States of native liberty possessed,

“ Tha' very poor, may yet be very blest." Nothing can reconcile me to the common terms, “ English Ambassador, English Court, &c. and I am out of all patience to see that equivocal character Hastings tried by the Commons of England."--Burns' Letters.

We take notice of this statement to point out the nationality which still exists in Scotland, and to demonstrate the pride with which they are often accused, and from which they are always willing to be exempted. It is in vain however for our countrymen to deny the charge. It appears

circumstance of their character, and seems at all times to have prevailed. When Dr. Johnson made his tour in Scotland, he was never at a loss to find accusation against the inhabitants, for when other sources failed, he readily found it in their poverty and pride. Other travellers have often made the same remark.

The national poetry we have already observed has been the principal means of keeping up the remembrance of ancient deeds.

They almost all relate to Scottish history. Even the strains of the Caledonian muse, in modern times have been chiefly exerted to perpetuate the recollection of former days, and to hand down to posterity the fame of departed warriors. Burns, when he composed his poems seems to have had Scotland alone in his view. They all relate to Scottish manners, and are rendered more ata tractive, by being presented in that delightful simplicity he was

in every

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