Archive for the ‘Scottish History’ Category

Family Friend on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys

Family friend, Anne-Mary Paterson, author of Pioneers of the Highland Tracks, is going to be on Michael Portillo’s Great British Railway Journeys this Wednesday.  If she isn’t on in person, she will have contributed in the Dufftown to Aviemore segment.

Robbie Burns–The Slave’s Lament

This poem came up during last night’s celebration. There was discussion about Scotland’s part in the slave trade and that Burns almost worked in a plantation. Burns probably have supported the occupation movement since he was for the underdog and downtrodden. Doggone mentioned the the Selkirk grace in her comment to the previous post, which was our opening grace:

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Anyway, this poem came up and I thought I would add it to my commonplace book and put it out there for others to appreciate:

The Slave’s Lament


It was in sweet Senegal that my foes did me enthral,
For the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:
Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
Torn from that lovely shore, and must never see it more;
And alas! I am weary, weary O.

All on that charming coast is no bitter snow and frost,
Like the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O:
There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
There streams for ever flow, and there flowers for ever blow,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:

The burden I must bear, while the cruel scourge I fear,
In the lands of Virginia,-ginia, O;
And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:
And I think on friends most dear, with the bitter, bitter tear,
And alas! I am weary, weary O:

Wild Dancer commented:

recommend christine Kydd’s version on youtube (on The Complete Songs of Robert Burns: Volume 1) and for the history see the scottish archives listing

You just take the Shetland Bus…

This cryptic title should appeal to Richard T (even though he is Orkadian) and I’m hoping another commentor: Jon.  I decided to add a link to his North Coast Fjords & Stables where he raises Norwegian Fjord Horses.  As I said in my link, if I can have Midwest Highland Cattle Association….).

For those not in the know and wondering if the Shetland Bus is some form of submarine Routemaster or Greyhound, it refers to the clandestine special operations group that made a permanent link between Shetland, Scotland, and German-occupied Norway from 1941 until the German occupation ended on 8 May 1945. From mid-1942 the official name of the group was “Norwegian Naval Independent Unit” (NNIU). In October 1943 it became an official part of the Royal Norwegian Navy, and was renamed the “Royal Norwegian Naval Special Unit” (RNNSU).

The unit was operated initially by a large number of small fishing boats, and later augmented by three fast and well-armed submarine chasers – Vigra, Hessa and Hitra. Crossings were mostly made during the winter under the cover of darkness. This meant that the crews and passengers had to endure very heavy North Sea conditions, with no lights, and constant risk of discovery by German aircraft or patrol boats. There was also the possibility of being captured whilst carrying out the mission on the Norwegian coast.

Of course, the reason for having Norwegian Fjord horses is different from Highland Cattle and only relates to the Shetland Bus since it had something to do with Norway. But, what the heck. I’m glad to give a plug for all of them.

And the Hielands of Scotland beckon…


The Scottish Tartans Museum

Alas, this is in Franklin, NC, USA, but it’s the thought that counts!

You can find the Museum’s Website here:

This is different from the Scottish Tartans Authority

The Sources of US history

The United States, and the Western Hemisphere for that matter, did not spring up tabula rasa, but have roots in European History. In the Case of the United States and Canada, that history is closely tied to English, Scottish, and to some extent French History. The two strongest roots being English and Scottish in the US (Canada and Louisiana have closer ties to the French history). The problem is that Scottish history is pretty much neglected in the US, which is a shame.

Not that I wasn’t somewhat aware of Scottish contributions to North American History. My friend, Neil Oliver, forced this into my attention with his excellent works on Scottish history. What is really hammering the point home though is that I am reading Arthur Herman’s How the Scots Invented the Modern World. Herman’s book is an enjoyable read and a very edifying work on Scottish history from the Reformation forward. What I particularly like about it is how he links Scottish and World history, with an emphasis on North American.

Of course, there is a comment about John Witherspoon moving to New Jersey to take the job at Princeton that I found quite amusing:

Reading the handwriting on the wall, Witherspoon accepted an offer from the American Colonies he had declined befor: to become president of the College of New Jersey in Princeton. In that guise, he will reappear in the next chapter…But in 1768, his departure marked the final triumph of the Moderates and their vision for an enlightened Church of Scotland.

Of course, the Next chapter would be the American War for Independence and John Witherspoon was a fundamentalist of the extreme right wing variety who was highly influential in the Independence movement. Naturally, I thought that Scotland did not have much of a loss when it sent Witherspoon to the Colonies. That move was far more detrimental to North American politics in many different ways. Of course, Witherspoon, as were others in the North American Independence movement were far more influenced by Scottish than English history. One commentor has mentioned that the rebellious nature of US politics comes from the Scots, Scots/Irish, Irish, and Border Country than English politics. This would be because of the unsettled nature of those people during this period. After all, the last actual battles on British soil took place during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion.

Whether I am totally in agreement with that last comment needs to be seen.

But, it stands for certain that many of the concepts that are present in US history have roots in the history of Britain, whether English or Scottish. In my opinion, Scottish history is far too neglected in the North American curriculum. I strongly suggest that anyone interested in this topic read the books below.

Neil Oliver, A History of Scotland
Arthur Herman, How the Scots Invented the Modern World