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Fraser's Scottish Annual
Scottish Patriotism

By Hon. George W. Ross, LL.D., M.PP., Premier of Ontario

THE love of country so openly avowed by Scotch-men for the ''land of brown heath and shaggy wood," is a traditional rather than a personal sentiment. It appeals to the past more than to the present. When a Scotchman calls for an expression of Scotland's chivalry, he is far less likely to cite the actions of recent years than the events of centuries ago. The "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled," are for the time being greater than any of their successors, although many thousands since have shown equal courage. If he calls for a song, it is "Sing to me the auld Scots songs, the songs my mither sang," or " Should auld acquaintance be forgot." And it is here that veneration for the past—a veneration sanctioned by centuries of achievement in ''Arms in Art and Song," which is so strong a characteristic of Scottish character, asserts itself.

To be born on Scottish soil is to be the heir of all its traditions, the legatee of all the virtues of its sons. If he is not a man of letters himself, or if he has not made for himself a name among his fellows, what of it? Has he not "forbears by the thousand who can more than make up the deficiency? His social status may not be high, or his calling one of distinction, what of it?

"The honest man though e'er sae poor,
Is king o' men for a' that.''

In every emergency he calls upon the past, knowing that the history of his race will be a passport to recognition and esteem. Who wouldnot love a country with such a history?

The patriotism of the Scotchman partakes also of the poetry of nature as well as the romance of tradition. When Sir Walter Scott wished to show that Scotland was from the beginning of time consecrated to Freedom, he said:

"The foot of slave her heather never stained,
Nor rocks that battlement her sons profained.''

The heroic Griogalaich makes an appeal to Nature in proof of his determination to overcome his enemies:

While there are leaves in the forest,
Or foam on the river
McGregor despite them,
Shall flourish forever."

Perhaps the people of no country so fully reflect in their lives the rugged character of the land which gave them birth as the natives of Scotland. The firmly planted mountain bared to the northern winds, and calm and unshaken by storms or tempests has in its essential features been reproduced in the calm and unwavering courage of Scotch character whenever confronted with opposition or adversity, and so has the blooming brae sides and the rippling brooks, and the sun-kissed hills. There may be sternness and apparent indifference in the solitude of her glens, but just beyond the shadows here and there is a sunny nook guarded by a milk-white thorn and cheered by the music of the max-is whose song is one perpetual chorus of happiness and hope. Who would not love a land that has ii- printed upon its people its own qualities of strength and courage and brightness?

And shall we lose these qualities because in the order of Providence those hills are now far away or because only by imagination we can look upon the scenes of childhood? Rather shall we not transfer to the land of our adoption the sweetest memories of the old land and reproduce here amid the lakes and valleys of Canada the qualities which make Scotland so famous among the nations of the earth.

"Time but the impression deeper makes,
As streams their channels deeper wear."

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