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Fraser's Scottish Annual
Scottish Character: Its Leading Traits


THE vertebral column of the Scotch national character is sturdy independence. The Scotchman likes to exercise his right of private judgment, and to maintain his own opinions and convictions. His views of life are, generally, derived from the teaching of our Lord and His apostles. He regards the Bible as a lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path. Hence, he is generally a man of good principles and of a truly religious life. He is marked by his spirit of devoutness and reverence, and by his attachment to those great doctrines of evangelical religion which John Knox preached so courageously, and which the Westminster divines have embodied in the Westminster Confession of Faith and in the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of our Presbyterian Church. He is shrewd, reflective, and cautious, or canny. Heis marked by great intensity of character. We speak of the "perfervidum ingenium Scotorum," and by this phrase we mean that the Scottish character and disposition is very intense. The typical Scotchman is very earnest and energetic, and puts his whole soul into everything that he does; He obeys the inspired injunction: "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might," (Ecci. ix. 10). He throws this intense energy of character into the pursuit of literature, or philosophy, or science, or art, or commerce,or agriculture, or war. He is not easily discouraged, but perseveres to the very utmost. His motto is "He wha tholes, overcomes." He is industrious, thrifty, fond of money, and yet conscientious, liberal and generous. He is courageous in facing and overcoming his country's foes, and courageous likewise in the arena of moral conflict as he finds it in his own life. He is reticent and self-contained, but behind this reticence aud self-restraint there flows the perennial and inexhaustible fountain of poetic sympathy and genial humour. He is fond of travel and adventure, and there is no spot an earth where he may not be found causing even the wilderness to blossom as the rose. He is conservative, or opposed to changes, and ever clings to the good old customs, traditions and institutions of his native land. He is also intensely patriotic. Wherever he may go, he always cherishes a deep and undying love for Bonnie Scotland. Sometimes, he wishes that he were back again to " the land of the mountain and the flood," "the land of the purple heather and the trailing mist," and then he sings

"Oh, why left I my hame,
Why did I cross the deep?
Oh, why left I the land

Where my forefathers Bleep?
I sigh for Scotia's shore,
And I gaze across the sea,
But I canna get a blink

O' my ain countrie!"

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