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Chronicle of the hundredth 
birthday of Robert Burns 

James Ballantine , 



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CHRONICLE 



THE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY 



ROBERT BURNS. 



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CHRONICLE 



THE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY 



ROBERT BURNS. 



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CHRONICLE 



OF 



THE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY 



OP 



ROBERT BURNS. 



COLLECTED AND EDITED 

BY JAMES BALLANTINE, 

AUTHOR OV THB " OABSBLUHZIB*B WALUET," &C. 



A. FULLARTON & CO., 

EDINBURGH AND LONDON. 



MDCCOLIX. 



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PREFACE. 



" He'll hae miafortunes great and sma*, 
But aje a heart aboon them a* ; 
He'll be a credit till us a\ 

We'll a' be proud o' Robin." 



The celebration of the hundredth birthday of Robert Bums, on the 25th day of 
January, in the year 1859, presented a spectacle unprecedented in the history of the 
world. 

The extent and variety of the materials necessary to chronicle the incidents of 
such a day may be judged of by the following analysis of the meetings herein 
.chronicled : 

Scotland, ..... 676 

England, ..... 76 

Ireland, . .10 

Colonies, ..... 48 

United States, .... 61 

Copenhagen, ..... 1 



Total, . 872 

The utmost enthusiasm pervaded all ranks and classes. Villages and hamlets, 
unnoticed in statistical reports, unrecorded in Gazetteers, had their dinners, suppers, 
and balls. City vied with clachan, peer with peasant, philanthropist with patriot, 
philosopher with statesman, orator with poet, in honouring the memory of the 
Ploughman Baixl. The meetings were no less reniavkable for their numbers than for 
their unanimity of sentiment ; the number of speakers at each meeting being greatly 
dVer the average on other public occasions, and far beyond what the space of this 
Chronicle can record. 

Many noble poems and eloquent orations have been omitted. It was not easy 
to see and resolutely keep the way to this necessaiy condensation. The deter- 
mination is told by the book itself, which chronicles only Robert Burns. 



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PREFACE. 



The Editor, for his own satisfaction, takes this opportunity to chronicle the 
efficient aid afforded by his friend, SheriiF Gordon, and the assistance received 
from the practical co-operation of his friend, Mr. Jolin A. Fullarton, one of the 
members of the publishing firm by which the work was projected. No men ever 
entered on a genial task with greater harmony. No labour of love was ever carried 
out with more thorough kindliness. And it is to be hoped that the volume will carry 
down to a remote period a faithful memoiy and expression of the gratitude of the 
human heart to one who gave utterance to its truest and happiest feelings. 

J. B. 

Edinburgh, IGth May, 1859. 



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CONTENTS. 



SCOTLAND. 

Page 

EDINBURGH, 1 

GLASGOW, 39 

AYR, 92 

DUMFRIES, 116 

ABDIE— ZETLAND. 141—420 

ENGLAND. 

LONDON 421 

ALNWICK— WREXHAM, 428-491 

IRELAND. 
ARMAGH— TRALEE, 492—511 

COLONIES. 
ABERFOYLE— YAAS, 612—548 

UNITED STATES. 
ADRIAN— WEST FARMS, 549—605 

COPENHAGEN 606 

GENEALOGICAL TABLE OF THE ANCESTORS, DESCENDANTS, AND 

COLLATERAL RELATIVF^ OF ROBERT BURNS, facing 606 



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THE 



BURNS CENTENARY. 



EDINBURGH. 



TiiK Hundredth Anniversary of the birth of 
HoBBRT Burns was by all classes in Edinburgh 
regarded as a holiday. So far as the weather 
was ooucerned, the day corresponded pretty 
closely with that on which the poet was born — 
the '^Januar' wind'* blowing with the strength 
and energy of a hurricane. About two o'clock, 
without concert, but with one accord, shop- 
keepers began to shut up; and within little 
more than an hour after, crowds were in all 
parts of the town to be seen proceeding to the 
various places in which the Centenary Festivals 
were to be held. Long lines of cabs and car- 
riages extended from all the entrances to the 
Music Hall, and groups of spectators gathered 
at every door, or promenaded George Street, 
observing the arrivals. Nothing could have 
been more cordial or general than the enthusi- 
asm that prevailed at all the meetings ; at the 
great gathering in the Music Hall especially 
the tone was admirably struck by Lord Ard- 
millan, to whose hearty manly eloquence as a 
speaker, and tact and good-humour as a diair- 
man, the complete success of this chief festival 
was in no slight degree indebted. Here and 
at the Com Exchange and Queen Street Hall 
all the proceedings passed off with the greatest 
edcUf while lesser celebrations, of which we 
have no note^ numbered by scores; and in no 
case have we heard of any untoward occurrence. 
The monument to the poet at the Calton Hill 
was florally decorated for the occasion — the 
dome, pillars, and base being wreathed and en- 
circled with evergreens ; and in the course of 
the day many persons paid to this memorial of 
genius the hcnnage of a visit. 



THE MUSIC HALL. 

A great banquet took place in the Music 
Hail in the evening. Tables were laid out for 



seven hundred persons, besides which the gal- 
leries and orchestra were crowded with ^ve 
hundred ladies in full dress, who took their 
places at an early hour, and remained till 
nearly the conclusion of the proceedings. 

Lord Ardmillan presided, and he was ac- 
companied to the platform by the Lord Pro- 
vost, the Lord Justice-Clerk, Lord Ivory, Lord 
Neaves, Colonel M*Laverty, Captain Carnegie, 
Rev. Dr. Robert Lee, Air. Adam Black, M. P., 
Sir William Gibson-Craig, Professor Blackie, 
Mr. D. O. Hill, Secretary, R. S. A., Mr. 
James Ballantine, and Professor Campbell 
Swinton. Sheriif Gordon and Air. R. Cham- 
bers acted as croupiers. 

Among the gentlemen in the body of the 
hall were Sir W. Dunbar, M. P., Bishop Gillis, 
Mr. Hepburn, as representative of the Cale- 
donian Society of London, Sir John Richard- 
son of Lancrigg (the Arctic navigator, and in 
hb youth a frequent visitor at Burns' house in 
Dumfries), Mr. Gray of Preston (who, as a 
playmate of his children, knew the poet, and 
who came from Preston to be present on this 
occasion), the Provost of Leith, Sir W. Baillie, 
Professor Simpson, Mr. A. T. Boyle, Mr. Rus- 
sell (Scotsman), Bailie Forester, Bailie Grieve, 
Bailie Johnston, Treasurer Russell, Councillor 
F. Richardson, Councillor Mossman, Councillor 
Cassels, Councillor Hill, Councillor Wood, Coun- 
cillor Hay, Councillor Marshall, Bailie Lindsay 
of Leith, Professor Dick, Mr. A. Morrison, Dr. 
Schmitz, Mr. John Ritchie, Mr. Maurice Lo- 
thian, Mr. F. Russell, Mr. G. Lorimer, Mr. C. 
Maclaren, Mr. Edmonston, Professor Kelland, 
Professor M'Dougall, Colonel M*Niven, Sir 
William Forbes, Bart., Mr. Cosmo Innes, Mr. 
E. F. Maitland, Mr. David Laing, Mr. William 
Tait of Priorbank, Mr. David Rhind, Mr. John 
Archibald Campbell, Dr. John Renton, Mr. 
Williamson (Kinross), Mr. John Philip, R. A., 

A 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Mr. George Harvey, R. S. A., Mr. John Steele, 
R. S. A., Mr. Horatio M'CuUocli, R. S. A., 
Mr. Kenneth Macleay, R. S. A., Mr. James 
Drummond, R. S. A., Mr. W. B. Johnston 
(Royal Academy librarian), Mr. James Archer, 
R. S. A., Mr. William Brodie, R. S. A., 
Mr. Allan Eraser, Mr. Howden, Dr. W. T. 
Gairdner, Mr. Gillon, Rev. Mr. Boyle, Rev. 
Mr. Torrance, Mr. J. C. Smith, Mr. M*Ewan, 
Mr. Oliver G. Miller (Dundee), Mr. Peter 
M*Kenzie (Glasgow), Mr. P. S. Eraser, Mr. 
Hunter (New Mains), &c. There were also 
present as guests of the meeting. Miss Burns, 
granddaughter of the Poet, and three daughters 
of his friend the late Mr. George Thomson. 

After dinner, before and after which grace 
was said by the Rev. Dr. Robert Lee, 

The Chairman rose amid loud cheering, and 
said — I cannot, in mere words of form, propose 
to you the toast with which it becomes us, as 
good subjects, to commence our proceedings. 
This is tiie centenary of a day when, within 
the "auld clay bigging" of a Scottish cottage, 
the peasant-bard of our country was born; and 
now that each returning summer brings royal 
visits of condescending kindness to Scottish 
cottages, I am sure that you will join me in 
dedicating loyally, thankfully, and joyously our 
first enthusiastic pledge to the health, happi- 
ness, and prosperity of the Queen. (Great 
cheering.) Whether we take a retrospect of 
the years which have passed since the birth of 
Burns, or try to number our national blessings, 
or mark the present aspect of the times, and 
anticipate the bursting on other lands of the 
storm with which the little cloud on the hori- 
zon may be charged, we have great reason to 
be thankful to Divine Providence that our be- 
loved Queen is, by the personal virtues of her 
pure and amiable character, an illustrious ex- 
ample to her subjects, and that in her wise and 
benign sway we have the best security for so- 
cial order and national tranquillity, and the 
surest guarantee of personal and constitutional 
freedom. (Cheers.) Thus it is that, from the 
stateliest castle to the humblest cottage of our 
happy land there prevails one universal feeling 
of devoted loyalty to the Throne; and that, 
with the deliberate conviction of our judgment, 
and the earnest affections of our hearts, we 
unite loyally and lovingly in a bumper to the 
Queen. (The toast was drunk with great en- 
thusiasm.) 

The Chairman then gave, in succession, 
"The Prince Consort," and «The Prince of 
Wales and the rest of the Royal Family." 

The Chairman again rose, and called for a 
bumper. — 1 rise to propose to you " Tlie Arms 
of our Country" — not the heraldic arms, bla- 
zoned though they be with the historic glories 



of departed ages; but the two brave and power- 
ful arms with which Britain now guards her 
shores, maintains her rights, and achieves her 
triumphs — the Navy and Army. It is in no 
narrow or exclusive spirit tliat at this Scottish 
festival we rejoice to think that Scotsmen have 
ever been, and now are, in the front rank of 
our defenders on sea and shore. In the navy, 
where a Prince of the blood royal b now train- 
ing for service and developing his promise of 
distinction, there are leading Scotsmen too nu- 
merous to mention; and I am happy to see 
present my honourable and gallant friend, pe- 
culiarly qualified to represent his noble profes- 
sion, as he adds new lustre to a name heredi- 
tarily distinguished in the annals of naval w^ar. 
In the army our eyes turn to the daring veteran 
whose Scottish arm now bears aloft the stan- 
dard of victory in the East, and to that deter- 
mined Scottish brigade who so brilliantly ac- 
complish the plans of a leader worthy of their 
confidence. (Cheers.) On this occasion there 
is a peculiar propriety in the toast ; for in every 
phase of the soldier's life — at each step in the 
course of conflict, victory, and returning peace 
— some tones from the harp of Burns come 
thrillingly to ouf feelings. In the unflinching 
stand from which attacking foes recoil, scat- 
tered like waves from a rock ; in the desperate 
onset which sweeps the enemy from the field, 
how has there run along the Scottish line the 
sound — first murmuring low, then swelling like 
thunder — of that noblest of martial odes, — 
« Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled." (Enthu- 
siastic applause.) In the hour which crowns 
the triumph, and closes the career, as "victory 
shines on life's last ebbing sands," how finely, 
with a touch at once powerful and delicate, 
does Bums describe the dying hero : — 

" Nae cauld faint-hearted doubtinga tease him; 
Death comes — wi' fearless eye he sees him, 
Wi' bluidy hand a welcome gi'es him : 

And wlien he fa's, 
His latest draught o' breathing leases him 

In faint huzzas.'' 

And, once more, when the fruits of victory are 
reaped in honourable and lasting peace, who 
can forget — who even that has not seen Mr. 
Eaed's illustrations can forget — ^Burns* pictilre 
of " The Soldier's Return "— 

" When wild war's deadly blast was blawn, 

And gentle peace i-eturning, 
Wi' mony a sweet babe fatherless, 

And mony a widow mourning; 
I left the lines and tented field 

Where lang I'd been a lodger, 
My humble knapsack a' my wealth, 

A puir but honest sodger. 

(Cheers.) 



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EDINBURGH.— MUSIC HALL. 



** A lual light heart was in my breast, 

My hand anRtained wi' plunder, 
And for fair Scotia hamo again 

I cheeiy on did wander. 
I thoagbt upon the banks of Coil, 

I thought upon my Nancy, 
I thought opon the witching smile 

That caught my youthful fancy. 

" At length I reached the bonny glen, 

Where early life I sported, 
I passed the mill and trystine thorn 

Where Nancy oft I courted. 
Wha spied I, but my ain dear maid, 

Down by her mother's dwelling, 
I turn'd me round to hide the flood 

That ill my een was swelling.'^ 

May many such returns be soon witnessed, 
and may peace, and home, and love be the re- 
wards of the brave! The toast is " The Navy 
and Army," coupled with the health of Captain 
Carnegie and Colonel M*Laverty. (Drunk 
with great enthusiasm.) 

Captain Carnegie, in reply for the Navy, 
remarked that, while the Navy could claim a 
monopoly of Dibdin as a poet, and a large 
share of Campbell, he could not find anything 
specially connected with the navy in the career 
of Bums. The fact was that he wrote not ior 
one class but for all; he struck. every chorl in 
the human heart that ever beat, whether under 
a black coat, a red coat, or a blue coat. 
(Cheers.) 

Colonel M'Lavbrty replied for the Army, 
and referred to the influence of Bums on the 
soldier, in all circumstances, and especially on 
the Scottish soldier. He also remarked that 
the people of Belfast, in his native county of 
Antrim, were at that moment celebrating the 
centenary of the poet with the same cordiality 
and enthusiasm as in this country. (Cheers.) 

The Chairman again rose amid cheering, and 
said — Let us now oflfer our best wishes to the 
Lord Provost and Magistrates of this city — 
*'Edina, Scotia's darling seat.^' I am rather 
amazed to And myself in this chair. In the 
first place we had hoped and longed for the 
presidency of Lord Brougham, from -whom I 
have had the honour of receiving a most in- 
structive and valuable letter, which has been 
printed and handed to every one present that 
it may be deliberately considered, and then 
retained as a memorial of the occasion and of 
the writer. Not, indeed, that any special me- 
morial of that learned, eloquent, and distin- 
guished man can be required, for the extended 
intelligence and the enlarged liberties of his 
country are his appropriate and enduring me- 
morial. (Cheers.) Then, in the absence of 
Lord Brougham, I expected to see the Lord 
Provost in the chair ; but as he has done me 
the honour of supporting me in a chair which 



he was so well entitled to occupy, I take the 
earliest opportunity of proposing his health and 
that of the Magistrates; and sure I am the 
toast deserves, and will receive, your hearty 
adoption. (Dmnk with Town Council honours.) 

The Lord Provost, in acknowledging the 
toast, said — For myself and my colleagues in 
the Magistracy I beg to thank you for the hon- 
our which you have been pleased to confer 
upon us. While this day brings along with it 
associations which are dear to every lover of 
his country, it is invested with a peculiar in- 
terest to the inhabitants of this city as the place 
which was visited by our great national poet 
during the prime of his active manhood, and 
where his genius received an additional impetus 
from coming into close contact with many of 
the master-spirits of his day. (Cheers.) It 
was here that he published the second edition 
of his works, and his genius broke forth into 
full eflulgence — an edition which contains pre- 
fixed to it one of the finest of his prose compo- 
sitions — I refer to the dedication which he then 
made of his works to the members of the Cale- 
donian Hunt, where he gives expression to that 
noble spirit of self-reliance and pride of coun- 
try for which he was so remarkable. " I was 
bred," he says, " to the plough, and am inde- 
pendent. I come to claim the common Scottish 
name with you my illustrious countrymen, and 
to tell the world that I glory in the title." 
(Cheers.) It was in this city that, by the kind 
influence of the amiable and accomplished Dr. 
Blacklock, he was induced to change his resolu- 
tion to emigrate, and was thus preserved to his 
country. I rejoice to know that, on this day 
set apart to commemorate his genius, such is 
the enthusiasm felt by the inhabitants of this 
metropolb, no apartment could be found sufli- 
ciently capacious to contain the numbers of 
those who are ready to do him homage. (Ap- 
plause.) 

The Chairman then rose amidst enthusiastic 
cheering, and said — Though I am deeply con- 
scious that I shall very inadequately present to 
you the great toast of this evening — especially 
as I am a most unworthy substitute for the il- 
lustrious man whom we had hoped to see in 
the chair — I shall, without prelude, address 
myself to the subject which has evoked these 
simultaneous gatherings in every part of the 
world. One hundred years ago, a Scottish 
peasant was born, who in his life was first flat- 
tered and tempted, then scorned and neglected, 
by the great, and whose world-wide fame now 
craves a demonstration altogether without pre- 
cedent. There is a pretty impromptu by James 
Montgomery — with the manuscript of which I 
was favoured by Mr. Watson in Princes' Street, 
whose store of literary memorials, and especially 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



of Burns' memorials, is very extensive and in- 
teresting: — 

"He passed tlirougli life's tempestuoas nigbt 
A brilliant trembling Northern Light, 
Through after years he shines from far 
A fixed un setting Polar Star.'' 

To that star, clear and bright, after the lapse 
of a century — ^a glorious light and yet a beacon 
light — all eyes are now turned. No poet of 
any age or country has obtained the same posi- 
tion in popular admiration and affection as 
Burns. Truly it is said by Wilson — a noble 
and appropriate eulogist of such a man — 
(cbeers) — " Bums was by far the greatest poet 
who ever sprung from the bosom of the people, 
and lived and died in humble condition." As 
the embodiment of popular genius, the champion 
of popular independence, and the type of pop- 
ular elevation, his memory — not the memory of 
his faults and hia follies, but the memory of his 
matchless genius and his noble spirit — ^is cher- 
ished close to the heart of every Scottish man. 
(Loud and continued applause.) In my own 
county of Ayr, to my connexion with which I 
owe the honour of my present position, this 
feeling is greatly intensified. His memory 
there is inscribed on every feature of natural 
scenery, and associated with every phase of do- 
mestic life. Everything there around us is im- 
pressed by his genius and vocal with his name. 
(Cheers.) We seem to hear it in the song of 
every bird and the murmur of every stream, in 
the sough of the night -wind that rocks the 
raven's nest at Alloway Kirk, and the rippling 
of the moon-lit waves breaking on the coves of 
Culzean; our breezes whisper, and our rocks 
repeat, all nature echoes, and the heart of man 
owns it with responsive throb. There, in a 
lowly cottage, on "the banks and braes o' 
bonny Doon," dwelt his worthy father — ^he who 
is so touchingly and beautifully described in 
" The Cottar's Saturday Night," as reading to 
his gathered household from "the big ha' Bible," 
and ofifering the family prayer, so impressive in 
its simple solemnity — 

*' That He, who stills the raven's clamorotis nest, 
And decks the UI7 fair in flowery pride, 

Woald, in the way His wisdom sees the best, 
For them and for their little ones provide; 
But chiefly in their hearts with grace divine preside." 

In that cottage Burns was born. Within a 
week of his birth the "auld clay bigging" 
was partly blown over in the night, and be- 
neath tlie midnight storm and howling wind 
and flashing light, the infant poet and his 
mother were carried to a neighbouring hovel 
for protection — ^meet ushering into life of the 
tempest-tossed soul of Burns — fit emblem of the 



startling combination of tlie wild and the tender, 
the terrible and the homely, which swayed his 
heart and inspired his muse. Since Ayrshire 
contains not merely Uie spot of his birth but the 
scene of his youth and his prime, of his sports 
and his toil, of his loves and his friendships — 
the scene of his nascent thoughts and springing 
fancies, where his young genius tried her early 
wing — and 

'* As he walked in glory and in pride, 
Following his plough upon the moantain side," 

his great heart swelled with its high aspirings 
— ^amid such scenes an Ayrshire man may be 
forgiven an intense and peculiar feeling on the 
subject. (Cheers.) But Bums belongs not to 
Ayrshire alone, but to Scotland; and, in & 
sense, not to Scotland alone, but to humanity. 
In every part of the habitable world where 
Scottbh enterprise has penetrated, and the 
Scottish tongue is known, and Scottish hearts 
beat with manly feeling and patriotic emotion, 
his works are universally felt to be a great 
popular treasure — ^liis fame a great popular 
heritage — his genius a great popular impulse, 
as it sheds gladness on the humble home, and 
cheers the social board, and inspires the dream 
of young ambition, and revives the courage 
of sinking hope. (Loud cheers.) To the 
Scottish peasant Burns represents and illus- 
trates all that he prizes most: his order en- 
nobled ; his humble lot dignified ; his unuttcred 
aspirations expressed in words that set his heart 
on fire; his country honoured by the genius 
of the cottage-bom. But there have been 
other peasant-bards; and it is not alone to his 
humble birth, his rural toils, and his Scottish 
dialect, that the name of Burns owes its popular 
spell. The true power of the charm lies in 
three qualities, characteristic alike of the man 
and of his poetry — sensibility, simplicity, and 
reality. He was the poet not of fiction but of 
tmth. Hb joys and tears, his passion and his 
pathos, his love and his pride, the reckless 
mirth of his jovial hours, and the remorseful 
sadness of his subsequent reflections — all are 
real — the product not of hia fancy, but of his 
experience; and as he clothes in language of 
modest and nervous simplicity his natural and 
earnest thoughts, his words find an echo in the 
heart. Under all the forms of affectation, 
whether it be of thought, or fancy, or feeling, 
or style, the charm of poetry breaks and the 
power of genius withers; and of all true poetry 
the inspiration should be drawn, like that of 
Bums, fresh, clear, and gushing, from the 
fountains of natural thought and feeling. 
Burns, though the best of song-writers, was 
no mere song-writer. Had he never written a 
song, his poems would have made him im- 



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EDINBURGH,— MUSIO HALL. 



mortal; had he written an epic or dramatic 
poom, the author of "The Cottar's Saturday 
Night,** and of " Tarn o' Shanter/' could not 
have failed ; and in any view he must rank, not 
merely as the greatest poet of humble station, 
but as one of the greatest poets whom the world 
has produced. (Cheers ) In my humble opin- 
ion there is more genius in Burns' songs thaii 
in volumes of our modern poetry. Sometimes 
in sublimity, sometimes in pathos, sometimes 
in graphic description, sometimes in elevated 
sentiment, sometimes in exquisite humour, and 
always in tender and passionate emotion. Burns 
is without a rival. (Loud applause.) I^t petty 
fault-finders and carping cavillers object as they 
may — (vehement and renewed cheering) — the 
true test of the power of Burns' poetry is, that, 
like what is recorded of his society, criticism 
is disarmed by intense emotional impression. 
There are deep springs in the human heart, 
often covered and hidden by the rubbish and 
debris which the tide of life deposits as it rolls 
along; other poets pass over the surface and 
pierce not the interposed earthiness; but these 
hidden springs are stirred by the power of a 
spirit like Burns, and Nature, evoked from her 
deep and rarely-reached recesses, owns the 
touch of a master-spirit, and bursts forth re- 
sponsive to the call of true genius. (Loud 
cheering.) I should trespass too long on your 
time if I once began to quote in illustration of 
this peculiar character of Burns' poetry. What 
heart does not feel that " The Cottar's Satur- 
day Night," "The Vision," the "Lament," and 
the address " To Mary in Heaven," with others 
too numerous to mention, are poems of the 
rarest and highest order? What can be finer, 
wild and startling as it is, than the "Address to 
the Deil," and the picture of the great enemy 
as — 

** Whylcs, ranging like a roaring lion, 
For prey a' holes and cornei-s tryin' ; 
Whylcs on the strong-winged tempest flyin', 

Tirlin' the kirkg; 
Whyles in the human bosom pry in*, 
Unseen thou lurks I " 

(Great cheering.) " Tarn o' Shanter," to any 
one well acquainted with the Scottish dialect, 
is magnificent. (Great cheering and laughter.) 
It is scarcely possible to refrain from quoting; 
but I must forbear. Notwithstanding the 
supernatural ingredients so admirably wrought 
into the tale, it has all the air of a reality. 
Every Scotsman, especially every Ayrshire-man, 
with a mind above the clods of the valley — 
(loud cheers) — can close his vision on exist- 
ing objects, and in his mind's eye can see Tarn, 
and the Soutar, and the landlady, and the 
parting cup, and the ride in the storm, the auld 



haunted kirk, tlic accumulated horrors on the 
table, the dance of witches to the unearthly 
music of the demon-piper on the bunker, the 
furious rush of the startled legion with Cutty- 
sark at their head, the crisis of Tam's fate at 
the keystane of the brig, and the gray mare 
skelping hame without her tail! (Laughter 
and applause.) In the midst of this wild 
description, where horror and humour prevail 
by turns, how beautiful is the vanity of earthly 
pleasure touched off: — 

" But pleasures are like poppies spread, 
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed ; 
Or like the snow-fall in the river, 
A moment white — then melts for ever; 
Or like the borealis race, 
That flit ere you can noint their place ; 
Or like the rainbow's lovely form, 
Evanishing amid the storm." 

But wonderful as " Tam o' Shanter " is, our ad- 
miration is increased by the extraordinary fact 
that the whole poem was w^ritten, not in Ayr- 
shire, where he was in the midst of the scenes, 
but at EUisland, and between breakfast and 
sunset of one day. Among the many specimens 
of the broad and hearty humour of Burns, I 
may mention " Meg o' the Mill," " Tam Glen,*' 
" Death and Dr. Hornbook," where rare caustic 
humour alternates with a power almost sublime ; 
and " Hallowe'en," where the rustic sports of 
that now almost forgotten festivity are charm- 
ingly described. Think of the adventure of 
" Eechting Jamie Fleck "— 

" Who whistled up Lord Lennox' march 
To keep his courage cheerie; 
Although his hair began to arch, 

He was sae fley'd and eerie : 

Till presently he hears a squeak. 

An' then a grane and gruntle. 

He by his shouther ga'ed a keek, 

An' tumbled wi' a wiutle 

Out-ower that night 

He roared a horrid murder-shout 

In dreadfu' desperation 1 
And young and auld came rinnin' out, 

To hear the sad narration ; 
He swore *twas hilchin Jean M'Craw 

Or crouchie Merran Humphie, 
Till, stop ! — she trotted through them a', 

An' wha was it but grumphie, 
Aflteer that night I " 

(Laughter.) Or call to mind the scaring of 
Leezie on the brae — a sketch in which the 
graphic and humorous spirit is relieved by a 
bit of exquisitely beautiful description : — 

^^ A wanton widow Leezie was, 
As canty as a kittlin; 
But, och 1 that night, amang the shaws, 

She got a fearfu' settlin' I 
Slie through the whins, and by the cairn, 
And owre the hill gaed scrievin, 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Where three lairds' lands meet at a barn, 
To dip her left sark sleeve in, 

Was bent that night. 

Whyles owre a linn the burnie plays, 

As through the glen it wimpl't, 
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays; 

Whyles in a wiel it diinpl't: 
Whyles glittered to the nightly rays 

Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle ; 
Whyles cookit underneath the braes, 

Below the spreading hazel. 

Unseen that night. 

Amang the brackens, on the brae. 

Between her and the moon. 
The deil — or else an outler quey 

Gat up an' gae a croon : 
Fuir Iieezie's heart maist lap the hool. 

Near lav'rock-height she jumpit; 
But missed a fit, and in the pool 

Out-ower the lugs she plumpit, 

Wi' a plunge that night." 

Or what say you to his epigram on a certain 
lawyer ? — 

*' He clenched his pamphlets in his fist, 

He quoted and he hinted. 
Till in a declamation-mist, 

His argument he tint it; 
He gaped for't, he graped for't. 

He land it was awa', man. 
But what his common-sense cam' short, 

He eked it out wi' law, man." 

(Great laughter.) I cannot pause to give 
specimens of the tender and passionate poetry 
of Burns. His songs abound in stanzas of 
surpassing beauty, chiefly inspired by his love 
to Bonnie Jean, his good and £uthful wife — 
a love which was, I think, his deepest and 
tenderest feeling. His famous lines, said to 
be addressed to Clarinda, and containing the 
stanza adopted by Byron as the motto of the 
« Bride of Abydos," 

" Had we never loved so kindly. 
Had wo never loved so blindly, 
Never met, or never parted. 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted," 

were not, I believe, meant for Clarinda, but 
for Bonnie Jean, whose image was never long 
absent from his heart. His best letters, to 
my mind, were those to Mrs. Dunlop, not 
those to Clarinda; and his most tender and 
touching songs were inspired by Bonnie Jean. 
He walks by the burn-side at night and sings — 

**As in the bosom of the stream 
The moonbeam dwells at dewy e'en. 
So trembling, pure, is tender love 
Within the breast of Bonnie Jean." 

He plods his way across the hills from Ellis- 
land to Mossgiel, and love prompts the charm- 
ing song to Jean, "Of a' the airts the wind 
can blaw." When Lapraik's verses are sent 
him, his heart chooses — 



" There was ae sang amang the rest 
A boon them a' it pleased me best. 
That some kind husband had addressed 

To some sweet wife ; 
It thrilled the heart-strings through the breast, 

A' to the life." 

He sees in fancy the genius of Coila, and Jean 
recurs to his mind as alone rlvalliug the ce- 
lestial visitant — 

*' Down flowed her robe— « tartan sheen. 
Till half a leg was scrimply seen, 
And such a leg — ^my bonnie Jean 
Alane could peer it; 
Sae straight and taper, tight and clean, 
Nane else came near it" 

(Great cheering and laughter.) And then, 
with all his high aspirings, and all his love 
for social pleasures and even social excesses, 
where does he place the scene of his highest 
duties and his dearest joys ? 

" To make a happy fireside clime, 
For weans and wife. 
That's the true pathos and sublime 
Of human life." 

(Loud applause.) Had this man not a hearjt, 
and a heart with some rare qualities — sen- 
sitive, passionate, and tender? (Enthusiastic 
and long-continued cheering). I believe that, 
next to the blessing of a conscience divinely 
enlightened and divinely cleared, the greatest 
happiness permitted to man in this life, is 
the happiness of loving and being beloved. 
(Cheers.) The heart is the true spring of 
happiness, as Bums himself well says — 

" It's no in titles nor in rank, 
It's no in wealth like London bank 
To purchase peace and rest. 
It's no in books, it's no in lair. 
It's no in making mickle mair, 
To make us truly blest 
If happiness have not her seat 
And centre in the breast, 
We may be wise, or rich, or great, 
We never can be blest. 
Nae treasures, nae pleasures 
Can make us happy lang ; 
The heart aye's the part aye 
That makes us rij^ht or wrang." 

Of the moral character of Burns I must say 
a word. Let us not be misunderstood. I am 
no hero-worshipper, no unqualified eulogist of 
Burns. I protest against the thought that for 
what is morally wrong an excuse can be found 
in the rarest talents; and deeply should I 
regret if any word fell from me tending to 
lower the standard of character, or loosen the 
obligations of religion and morality. There 
are few sadder subjects of contemplation than 
a noble generous spirit like that of Burns, 
manly, tender, and true, full of the love of 
nature, of country, and of liberty, yet floating 
rudderless and helpless on the tide of life, till 



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EDINBURaH.— MUSIC HALL. 



dashed on the fatal rocks which have wrecked 
so many of his countrymen. His lot, indeed, 
was east on evil times, — on times peculiarly 
perilous to such a temperament as his. The 
tone of morality in his day was not pure or 
high ; the tone of religion was cold, and hard, 
and low. To the prevailing devotion of his 
day, generally cold, frequently ascetic, some- 
times hypocritical, there was an antagonism in 
Burns* nature. (Loud cheers.) Genuine, prac- 
tical, and loving piety might have charmed 
and won him. If, instead of the stern or the 
cold preachers who repelled his feelings and 
stimulated his opposition, there had met Burns 
a pastor in whose large and genial heart dwells 
love and sympathy as well as faithfulness, who, 
true to his own convictions, recognises in others 
the riglits of conscience, whose preaching and 
whose life presents religion in her most at- 
tractive aspect, and whose imperishable me- 
morial will be read in the statistics of dimin- 
ished crime, in the testimony of reclaimed 
children, and in the records of converted 
souls, who can tell what impression might 
have been made on him ? He was not so 
fortunate. To him was rarely presented the 
instructive illustration of the influence of true 
religion on human character. That influence 
comes in no hai'sh or ascetic spirit, it diverts 
no noble aim, it extinguishes no honourable 
ambition, it quenches no pure fire of genius, 
no flame of virtuous love, no generous senti- 
ment or kindly feeling, but, entenng with 
searching power into the heart, out of which 
are the issues of life, it expels from the 
" dome of thought ** and the fountain of feel- 
ing the dark spirits of evil, it raises man to 
his true dignity, and directs his faculties to 
their appropriate aims. We must deplore and 
condemn much in the character and in the 
writings of Burns; we must lament that the 
spirit in which he wrote the " Cottar's Satur- 
day Night" did not always prompt his pen 
or guide his life ; but there was much to 
deplore in the character of the times in which 
he lived. Time has not passed in vain over 
the influence of Bums. Shakspeare says — 

'* The evil that men do lives after them ; 
The good is oft inten-ed with their bones." 

The popular enthusiasm of Scotland has re- 
versed the process. From the grave of Burns 
it has resuscitated the buried good, — and the 
evil now only lives that the lesson and the 
warning may be learnt. As a mountain tor- 
rent» depositing its earthiness as it flows, 
comes after a long course to reflect the face 
of heaven on its bosom, time has cleared and 
mellowed the influence of Bums — (applause) 
— like an old and rich wine, the coarse and 



impure particles have subsided, and we now 
rejoice only in the pure and generous quali- 
ties which remain. I do not seek to disguise 
or to palliate his faults— but who among us is 
without faults? Charity, which hopeth all 
things and thinketh no evil, ought to be our 
monitor. (Applause.) Let us "gently scan 
our brother man" — let us judge ourselves 
severely, and others leniently — let us gather 
the good we can, though it be intermingled 
with evil — let us use aright the more favour- 
able appliances which surround us — let us 
strive ourselves to cultivate a purer morality, 
and adorn by our lives a sounder religious 
profession ; but let us admire in Burns what- 
ever is worthy of admiration, and honour his 
genius as it deserves. Those who object to 
this demonstration must remember that the 
power of Burns over the popular mind of 
Scotland is a great fact which cannot be 
ignored. (Enthusiastic applause.) Bums has 
lived, and has wTitten, and has a hold upon 
the heart of Scotland. (Renewed cheering.) 
It is well to qualify our praises, and to incul- 
cate the warning lessons of his life. But surely 
it is not the part of wisdom or of virtue so to 
repudiate such a man as to consign to the cause 
and the friends of mischief a name and fame so 
attractive and so potent. (Long -continued 
applause.) Let us rather deal with the power 
of Bums' name as science has dealt with the 
electric element. Science has not stood afar 
ofl*, scared by each flash, mourning each shiv- 
ered tower; science has caught and purified 
the power, and chained it to the car of com- 
merce and the chariot of beneficence, and 
applied it to the noble purpose of consolidat- 
ing humanity — uniting all the world by the 
interchange of thought and feeling. On this 
day Burns is to us, not the memory of a 
departed, but the presence of a living power 
— (-enthusiastic cheering)7— the electric chain 
which knits the hearts of Scotchmen in every 
part of the world, stirring us not only to ad- 
miration of the poet's genius, but to the love 
of country, of liberty, and of home, and of all 
things beautiful and good. Therefore, I call 
on you to pledge me, not in solemn silence, 
but with our heartiest honours, to " The Im- 
mortal Robert Burns." (The chairman, whose 
speech was delivered with great power and 
fervour, resumed his seat amidst volleys of 
cheers.) 

Song — " There was a lad was bom in Kyle " — Mr. 
Stewart. 

Mr. James Ballantfne (Secretary), then read 
the following verses, composed by himself for the 
occasion. 

burns' centenary banquet. 

I dreamed a dream o' sitting hei-e, 

Delighted wi' our canty cheer, 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



While aaogfl ftiul ttpeecbes charmed the ear 
And heart bj turns. 

When, lo, as frae some heavenly sphere, 
Descended Burns. 

He strode straught forward to the chair, 
And sat him down by Craofurd there, 
When shouts o' welcome rent the air 

As ne'er were heard, 
And proved the love that Scotland bare 

To Scotland's Bard. 

He rose — his foi-m towered proud an' hie, 
Fire flaughteJ frae his eoss-hawk e'e — 
Syne, wi' a gesture bauld and free, 

He leant him back, 
And in deep tones o' melody. 

Thus Robin spak. 

*' Dear friends and brither Scots, guid e*en ; 
Hech, sirs, it seems but like yestreen 
Since first frae Ayrshire's pasturas green 

I daured to stray, 
And to Edina, Scotland's queen, 
X made my way. 

*' A touch strikes fire frae flint or steel, 
A spark gaurs granite mountains reel. 
Ana kindness shown a rustic chiel, 

Far frae his hame, 
Soon made his grateful bosom feel 

A kindred flame. 

*• But threescore years an' ten hae fled, 
And a' those genial friends are dead 
Wha that young ploughman's footstepf led 

Through palace ha's, 
And his poetic fancy fed 

Wi' kind applause. 

*' Yet those kind friends o' auld lang syne 
Still live within this breast o' mine, 
For a' their generous virtues shine 

In memory's sky. 
And I wad fain a wreath entwine 

Round days gane bye. 

*• Glcncaim, my patron, friend, and brither, 
The world scarce e'er saw sic anitherj 
His godlike form and soul tliegither, 
When seen an' felt. 
Ye had a kind o' hankerin' swither 
Ye should hae knelt 

" Then Erskine, wha could cowe the whole age 
For wit an' lair, for fun an' knowledge ; 
Wi' Blair and Stewart, Kirk and College, 

Weel skilled to lead; 
And Creech, wha charged nae fee or tollage 

On my winged steed. 

" And then the genuine Man o' Feeling, 
Sic fostering love to me revealing. 
His eloquence to a' appealing, 

Soon made weel kenned 
The thoughts that born in humble shealing 
Made man my friend. 

'* And thus did friendship's sacred flame 
Light up my rugged path to fame ; 
And ploughman Kab, wha's muirland hame 

Was cauld and drear, 
Auld Reekie, canty, couthy dame. 

Was first to cheer. 



" The first kind blink o' opening Sirring, 
That set the birds to churm and sing, 
Aye set my iftncy on the wing, 

To wander on. 
And gaured me aim my harp to string 

In uniaon. 

^* When Summer cam', in sun and showers, 
And clothed the earth wi' leaves and flowers. 
How sweet to wander leeaome hours, 
'AndBOthink'tlang,* 
While hills and dales, and woods and bowera, 
Burst forth in sang. 

" When harvest filled a' hearts wi' cheer. 
And reapers' mirth rang loud and clear, 
Ilk lad had aye his lassie near 

To geek an' gab wi' — 
And wadna Robin lookit queer 

Wi'nanetoblabwi'? 

" For Love and Beauty aye were themes 
Of a' my highest hopes and dreams, 
And slee side keeks, or glowing beams, 

Frae maidens' eyes. 
Aye wanned me up, wi' gowden gleams 
. 0' summer skies. 

"And Beauty still, I'm proud to see, 
Here blinks on me wi' kindly e'e. 
As gin she cam' to tell to me 

I did nae wrang 
In reining the unbridled glee 

O' aul4 Scots sang. 

"When mountains wore their snawj hood. 
And Winter howled through leafless wood, 
I lo'ed to mingle wi' the cloud. 

On rugged height, 
And wank wi' sang the Patriot's blood, 

For freedom's right 

" I kenned the pnir man's eident life, 
I shared his cares, and soothed his strife; 
And tho' whiles sorrows, dark and rife, 

Might grieve or stound hion, 
Joy cam', like light, when weans and wife 

A' clustered round him. 

"Bvganes hae been, let byganes gang; 
That ever Scotland meant me wrang 
Was never sung in a' my sang. 

But when we parted 
I felt a queer mysterious pang. 

And dee'd sair hearted. 

"Then fare-je- weel, Auld Reekie dear. 
And ilka tnne each coming year 
Your sons and daughters meet me here 

They'll ken me better, 
And own a spirit true and clear 

In every letter. 

"But, hark! the cup that memory's quaffin', 
Amid the universal daffin'. 
While Freedom's sun-bright flag is wawffin' 

Afar and near, 
And Time's auld clock is telegmphin' 

My Hukdredth Year." 

Sheriff Gordon, in rising to propose the 
health of Lord Brougham, was received with 
loud and continued applause. He said — Lord 
Ardmillan, ladies and gentlemen, of all who 



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EDINBUBGH.-^MUSIC HALL. 



9 



are here to-night, there is not one probably, 
except myself, who may hesitate for a moment 
to regfret the absence of Henry, Lord Brougham. 
Right gladly, too, could I have seen the hearts 
of this vast assembly, like boughs of the wind- 
stricken forest, swayed to and fro by the resist* 
less impulse of his living words. But I doubt 
if in his own presence, had I then been privi- 
l^ed to speak of him, I oould have ventured 
to have given full utterance to all my honest 
admiration of his great-hearted and many- handed 
life. (Cheers.) And yet it is possible perhaps 
that even as I had looked upon him face to 
face, there might have touched me one spark of 
his own impetuous and irrepressible fire, which 
has now for more than half-a*century flamed 
in the forehead of his country's story. (Ap- 
plause.) He is not with us, but depend upon 
it, and indeed we are sure, that his sympathies 
are not far away from a meeting which means 
to appreciate the sturdy independence and the 
blunt honesty of a nature on which the shadows 
of hypocrisy or duplicity never fell — (cheers) — 
a meeting which means to commemorate the 
victorious progress of an inborn vigour, which, 
against the barriers of social condition, ay, and 
even of individual temperament, held on its 
earnest way till glory filled the furrows of its 
plough — and a meeting which means to wreathe 
with green gratitude the wonderful achieve- 
ments of that JEolian sensibility which, placed 
in the window of a peasant's breast, vibrated 
to every whispering air or stirring breeze, or 
even stormy giut, which moves man's strange 
and chequered life, and gave back the ex- 
qaisite melody, of which the undying echoes 
have been, and will be, wafted over **a' the 
airts the wind can blaw" till time shall cease 
to be. (Loud cheering.) Brougham is not 
with us, but I see him now, the Demosthenes 
of Britain, as he sits on the shore of the bright 
Mediterranean and revokes across its tideless 
mirror the magnificent renown and the terrible 
ruin of which the colossal annals, from the pil- 
lars of Hercules to the blue Symplegades, strew 
the whole margin of its waters. (Applause.) 

"Thy shores are empires, changed in aU save thee, 
Assyria, Rome, Greece, Garth Age, what are they? 
Thy waters wasted them while they were free, 
And many a tyrant since.'* 

(Cheers.) And I hear him murmur to this un- 
changeable witness of the awful vicissitudes of 
nations and kingdoms — '<Does then the past 
always teach us the future ? for if the free and 
brilliant race who conquered at Marathon,, the 
Bannockburn of Greece, and if the majestic and 
proud people who survived Cannie, the Flodden 
of Italy, are now crumbled into littleness al- 
most worse than nothingness — shall I fear or 



may I hope for my own grand countr}'?" 
(Applause.) But it is not for the sea, but for 
us ourselves, his countrymen and his fellow- 
citizens, to answer his query, and I think we 
may bid him be of good cheer ; or at all events 
I think we may tell him with a cheerful pride 
that there has not often lived in the world any 
man who more truly than Henry Brougham, 
looking back with an undimmed eye through a 
retrospect of fourscore years, can track the 
steady and large improvement of his country 
by the very footprints of his own luminous and 
indefatigable career. That very spirit of in- 
domitable vitality, of which, as active yes- 
terday when he wrote that long letter with 
his own hand as in the vehement ardour of 
his prime, he scattered the seeds so broadly 
among us, has ripened, under his guidance, 
into not only abundant and general, but 
healthful and invigorating, harvest both of 
thought and of action. But I suspect that the 
pilgrimages of many generations of men must 
begin and end before there can be fairly esti- 
mated or properly fixed the precious value and 
the vast extent of what, directly and indirectly 
in every comer of the commonweal, the energy 
of his efforts and the influence of his example 
have done or helped to do. Remember that I 
cannot now justify this large eulogy, or even 
illustrate it, by particular incidents in his ca- 
reer. I cannot be a miniature painter. I can- 
not even give you his portrait in colours. I 
must rather try, however roughly and imper- 
fectly, to put before you, as it were, in a model 
of sculpture, the muscular massive outline of 
the image of that individual force and that in- 
dividual activity which has made itself felt 
throughout the length and breadth of the Bri- 
tish empire. I set before you an avenging 
giant with a hundred arms, but I must leave 
you to select what head of the hundred-headed 
hydra you wish to bring down, which the hun- 
dred arms of Brougham were ever ready to at- 
tack and destroy. (Applause.) I do not dwell, 
therefore, upon the manifestations, I dwell upon 
the reality, the intensity, and the eflicacy of a 
power which, on memorable, momentous, and 
even vital occasions, has photographed so vivid- 
ly the existing wrong, and has telegraphed so 
unmistakably the coming right. (Cheers.) 
And I will draw the general conclusion, that 
when a man has spoken and written as 
Brougham has done, whether his cause was 
right or wrong, he has done so with a glowing 
consciousness of enormous mental strength — 
(cheers) — and knowing his strength, the ques- 
tion is. How has he used it ? And I say that 
he has used it invariably, perseveringly," and 
enthusiastically, and witli a glorious success, 
for the intellectual expansion, for the social 



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10 



THE BURNS CENTENAEY. 



amelioration, and for the political elevation of 
his fellovr-men. (Continued cheering.) He 
has invaded tyranny in all its citadels, and 
shaken all its arsenals, and settled the sunshine 
of the standard of freedom both upon the 
heights and down in the valleys of humanity. 
He has torn bigotry into very tatters, and let 
in the comfort of the light of common sense 
even through the densest theological atmosphere 
— (cheers) — and he has warred with ignorance 
under every shape and in every recess, and 
planted, and watered, and cherished, till its 
fruits were ripe and mellow for the taste and 
nourishment of all, the blessed tree of general 
knowledge. I do think that the man who has 
done all this may well hope, and need not fear 
for his country, which by its whole life shows 
that the lessons of Brougham have entered 
deeply into the convictions, the aspirations, and 
the daily habits of its people. And therefore 
I shall, in all our names, bid the currents of the 
ocean carry to that old roan eloquent, upon the 
shore of the great inland deep, our heartiest 
thanks and good wishes, and our belief that 
when he obeys the doom to which we all must 
yield, even if no temple, or column, or memo- 
rial tomb shall mark his resting-place, he needs 
none of them who shall be known in after times 
as a man who can feel on his deathbed that, 
largely by his means, man his brother in his 
native land stands at this hour more erect and 
free before God and his fellow-man. (Loud 
and long cheering.) 

The toast was drnnk with enthasiasm. 
Song — "John Anderson, my jo" — Miss Cole. 
Solo on the Violoncello on fayoarite melodies of 
Bnrns — Mr. Hausmann. 

Lord Neayes, in proposing " The Biogra- 
phers of Burns, and Mr. Robert Chambers," 
said — It has been said that a hero is nothing 
without a poet to celebrate his achievements ; 
and it may be added that a poet is not wholly 
himself without a biographer to commemorate 
his character and conduct. Some poets there 
may have been so fortunate as to afford few 
materials for a biography — who, blest with a 
decent competence, and exempt from violent 
passions, have retired to the secluded contem- 
plation of nature, or have looked at the world 
through the loopholes of some calm retreat 
where they might behold the perils of life 
without partaking of them — 

"With friendly stars their safety seek, 
Within some little winding creek, 
And see the storm ashore." 

(Cheers.) But with those who are cast forth 
upon the billows and breakers, the rocks and 
quicksands of human existence, who, with feel • 
ings as quick and passions as powerful as their 



genius, are exposed to all (he trials and temp- 
tations that flesh is heir to; above all, with 
those who, with manly souls and genial dis- 
positions, have known the heights and hollows 
of worldly fortune, the task of the biographer 
is necessary not only to make us know the 
poet, but to make us know his poems. With 
all its imperfections, there is no literary work 
more delightful than Johnson s Lives, and there 
has seldom been a life more deserving of com- 
memoration than that of the great man in 
whose honour we are now met. (Loud cheers.) 
I shall not attempt to enumerate all his bio- 
graphers, for their name is Legion. I shall 
select four names out of the list as specially 
deserving notice. The services of Dr. James 
Currie, as the first great biographer of Burns, 
were nearly as valuable as they were meritori- 
ous and disinterested. I do not enter on the 
controversy whether Currie was too forward 
to do what another great man forbade — 

" To draw his frailties from tlicir dread abode, 
The bosom of his Father and his God.*' 

If he erred in this respect, it was not through 
want of charity or from bad intention, and any 
accusations there admitted have since been an- 
swered by anxious and ample vindications, 
which have enabled the cooler hands of our 
own day to hold the balance impartially. We 
now know the man as he was, with roany 
errors that in hun were unhappy, and in us 
would be unpardonable, but with virtues 
at the same time that far outweigh all his 
faults ; with a deep feeling of piety, an ardent 
patriotism, a wide philanthropy, a tenderness 
of heart that embraced even the beasts of the 
field and the birds of the air, a lofty love of 
independence, a scorn for everything sordid 
and base, and a sincere self-abasement for his 
own fsLults. (Cheers.) But Currie was espe- 
cially useful in helping men to form a true 
estimate of Bums' genius and works. Even in 
Scotland Burns was then imperfectly appreci- 
ated. But in England he needed an interpret- 
er to introduce him. Currie discharged that 
office successfully, and thereby at once did 
honour to the Scottish name, and rendered 
good service to English literature. Towards 
the end of the last century there seemed at 
one time a great risk that all manly and noble 
poetry would be extinct. By the influence of 
some silly women and sillier men, a school 
arose under the name of the Delia Cruscan, of 
the most sickly and senseless sentimentality, 
while, on the other hand, a return to the old 
style of Pope and Dryden was hopeless. At 
this juncture there arose two men especially 
qualified to regenerate the public taste, and 
give it a truer and firmer tone than it had long 



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EDINBURGH.— MUSIC HALL. 



11 



exhibited. Yrom the seclusion of an English 
village Cowper published his " Task " in 1785, 
and in 1786 there appeared in the obscure 
town of Kilmarnock a volume of "Poems, 
chiefly in the Scottish Dialect," which needed 
only to be known in order to be admired. 
These two men were very diiferent, and were 
suited to reach very different minds ; but they 
agreed in this, that they were men of manly 
intellects and noble hearts, and it was impos- 
sible that where their poetry could penetrate 
there could be any room for affectation or 
imposture. (Applause.) The diffusion of a 
relish for Burns was in this way a safeguard 
against false taste, and a preparation for what- 
ever of genuine nature or feeling we have since 
welcomed in the poetry of the present century. 
Nor would it, perhaps^ be a bad thing if some 
of the poets of the present day would revert 
to those models, and imitate, without copying, 
the native force and straightforward simplicity 
— ^the intelligible; feelings and the transpai*ent 
diction — by which they are so eminently char- 
acterized. (Cheers.) It should never be for- 
gotten as to Currie, that while he devoted to 
bb friendly task the time and strength which 
might have been occupied in his profession, he 
generously gave up to Burns' femily the whole 
profit — a very considerable sum — ^which was 
thus realized. (Cheers.) The next names I 
shall couple together — Lockhart and Wilson — 
wjio have both done justice to our great bard ; 
and the eulogy of Wilson is one of the noblest 
pieces of criticism in the language. These 
men, adorned with all the learning of classical 
studies, and accomplished in all the arts that 
confer literary skill, recognised fully, by an 
instinctive sympathy, the merits of him who 
had ** followed his plough upon the mountain 
side;'* and they gave him their admiration, not 
as a sentiment of relative wonder due to a show 
or a prodigy, having reference to his origin and 
position, but as a tribute of just praise to an 
equal — ^to one who, in his own department, 
was absolutely and abstractly, both in senti- 
ment and in expression, an unrivalled master 
of his art. (Applause.) I now come to the 
last of the list — one who, in closing the pro- 
cession, has done his work so fully and so ex- 
haustively, that he seems to have made it im- 
possible that he can have a successor. Our 
friend and fellow-citizen, Mr. Robert Chambers 
— (cheers) — has brought to bear on this task 
that power of industry and skill of research 
which in other departments, and particularly in 
Antiquities and in the Domestic Annals of 
Scotland, have rendered such services to his 
country. In preparing his Life of Burns, 
every source of information has been visited, 
every track that promised any advantage has 



been followed up, every document has been 
collected that could throw a ray of light on the 
truth. We have thus, I think, a perfect history 
and representation of the man, while the occa- 
sion and motives of all his poems have been 
admirably illustrated. Altering a well-known 
quotation, we may say — 

" Quo fit at omnis 
Yotiva pateat veluti depicta tabella, 
Vita viril" 

Alas! we cannot say as Boswell did in his 
picture of Johnson, '' Vita senis;" and we 
must remember this fact. I do not in all 
things assimilate Johnson and Burns, yet it 
has been pointed out that they strongly re- 
semble each other. Both were men of manly 
and courageous minds, of strong passions and 
kindly affections — both were lovers of truth 
and lovers of independence. Johnson was as 
superior to Bums in strength of moral principle 
as Burns was superior to him in poetical power. 
But Johnson had his own share of faults and 
infirmities ; and if Johnson had died at the age 
of thirty-seven, and we had minutely known 
his life when he was the companion of Savage, 
and often passed the night on the streets of 
London without a lodging, we might have seen 
some of those traces of temptation and evil 
communication which can so seldom be escaped, 
and could scarcely have detected the features 
of the venerable moralist who was afterwards, 
from his desk, as from a teacher's chair, to in- 
struct and to ameliorate mankind. To Mr. 
Chambers we owe, with reference to Bums, a 
full and final development of the truth, and we 
can there learn the lesson to forgive and avoid 
his errors, to admire his virtues, and to cherish, 
as we now seek to do, the memory of his genius. 
(Cheers.) I ought to add that Chambers, like 
Currie, has literally made his work a labour of 
love, and generously surrendered the profits of 
his great exertion to promote the comfort of 
those of Burns' surviving relatives who needed 
assistance. (Loud cheers.) 

Mr. B. Chambers thanked the company for 
the kind notice that had been taken of his 
name as a biographer of Bums. He feared it 
might be held presumptuous in him to have 
entered a field in which he had had such dis- 
tinguished precursors; but it must be attributed 
to Bums himself and to the growth of his fame. 
From his earliest years he had felt the keenest 
interest in Bums and his poetry. There was 
indeed no name of the past whidi he had been 
accustomed to regard with so much veneration 
and love as that of Robert Bums. There were 
some men who objected to him and his writ- 
ings; but he never could understand what 
constitution of mind these men were of. 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



(Cheers.) He believed that of all men living 
he had inquired into Bums' life and character 
with the most minuteness, and the result was, 
he still retained the same love and regard for 
the name of Robert Burns that he ever did 
in his earliest youth. (Cheers.) Then the 
fame of Burns had been progressive. Burns 
was not now in the same position with the 
British public that he was in the year 1820. 
He had advanced as Shakspeare had done. 
In his (Mr. Chambers') early days, Burns was 
comparable to Shakspeare in the days of Bowe 
and of Pope. The earlier biographies gratified 
all the curiosity that there was then about him. 
But as time went on, and gave us no other 
Burns, and as we took a wider view of the 
character of his writings, the publio became 
more and more in love with them, saw more 
and more beauties in them, and more and more 
intensely appreciated them as they saw that 
they were so completely unmatched. Then it 
was they found men making pilgrimages to the 
country which had been beautifully and appro- 
priately called the land of Burns ; they found 
that every surviving acquaintance of Bums had 
become a notability ; all the facts, places, and 
circumstances adverted to in his writings, be- 
came matter of keen interest. It had, there- 
fore, appeared to him that it was necessary that 
they should look more narrowly into the life 
of Burns. He had made that his task, and if 
in executing that task to the best of his humble 
ability, he had contributed to gratify the in- 
terest of the present or any future generation 
regarding our marvellous national poet, he 
should have been amply rewarded for many 
laborious nights and days. (Loud cheers.) 
Glee — "Willie brewed a peck o' maut" 
The Chairman then announced that he had 
received a letter from the Dean of Faculty, 
stating that, in consequence of severe indispo- 
sition confining him to bed, it was out of his 
power to take part in the proceedings. The 
Dean added that he deeply regretted that he 
was thus prevented from being present on such 
an occasion, that he cordially sympathized with 
the objects of the meeting, and that he was 
deeply disappointed in being compelled to re- 
linquish the very flattering and agreeable task 
of proposing the toast of the Peasantry of Scot- 
land. Lord Ardmillan proceeded to say — That 
toast I now give to you. I propose the foun- 
tain from which the stream flowed in which we 
all are rejoicing. I propose — I will not say 
exactly that body of the people of Scotland 
from which he sprung, because I think he sprung 
rather from the body that may be called a little 
higher in social position than the peasantry; he 
sprung certainly from a small farmer in Ayr- 
shire, but, at all events, giving it the largest and 



widest meaning, he sprung from the people of 
Scotland. (Cheers.) I am not now called upon 
to repeat what has been so well said by others 
around me of the influence of Bums' poetry 
upon the people of Scotland. Undoubtedly 
that is an influence which subsists at tliis mo* 
ment; it affects them in their homes, it af- 
fects them at their social meetings, it affects 
them in their public convocations, — it affects 
the heart and mind of Scotchmen not in Scot- 
land only, but throughout the whole world at 
this day. (Loud cheers.) That influence may 
have been injurious in some quarters and at 
some periods; but, looking to its present power, 
it cannot be anything but a generous, noble, 
virtuous sentiment that comes so home to the 
hearts of men at every stage of their lives and 
in every part of the globe. (Cheers.) And, 
therefore, with every warm wish for the pros- 
perity, for theVdvancement, for the advantage, 
and for the elevation of the peasantry of Scot- 
land, I propose this toast. No good can befall 
them that I do not wish them ; no good can 
happen to them that they do not deserve ; no 
good can be theirs which Burns would not have 
desired — (eheers)~^no good can be theirs that 
we, on the centenary of Burns' birthday, should 
not earnestly, and with our whole hearts, wish 
them. (Loud applause.) Therefore, I propose 
the Peasantry of Scotland — may every good 
alight on them — ^may they retain the noble pa- 
triotism of Bums — may they retain the love of 
liberty of Burns — ^may they retain the noble 
heart, the free feelings, the fervent affections of 
Burns — may they, with firmer principles and 
more self-denial, and more self-control, vindi- 
cate their character as rising even superior to 
what Bums would have desired of them. 
(Loud applause.) 

The toast was drank with the greatest enthusiasm. 

Song-^*' Highland Mary "—Miss Cole. 

The Chairman then said — I understand 
that we have now present among us in this 
great assemblage the only man who saw the 
day which this day celebrates — one man alone, 
when generations have been swept to their 
graves, lives to be present now who lived when 
Burns was born. There is a man in this room 
who is now more than 100 years of age — (loud 
cheers) — who was alive when the poet Bums 
was bom, and who personally knew that im- 
mortal man. He is here in this room, Mr. 
Walter Glover, who was the carrier between 
Dumfries and Edinburgh in the days of Burns, 
who has seen Burns, whose eye has met the 
eye of Burns, whose voice has met tlie voice 
of Burns, whose ear has heard the words of 
Burns. (Loud cheers.) 

Mr. Walter Glover, who is in his lOlst 
year, having been bora in the summer of 1758; 



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EDINBURGH.— MUSIC HALL. 



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who, when carrier betweeD Dumfries and Edin* 
burgh, knew Burns well; and who now resides 
at Craigmillar, then ascended the platform 
amidst loud cheers. The old man, to the 
amazement of the audience, recited "Tarn o' 
Shanter" from end to end, in a strong voice 
and with ** due emphasis and discretion." 

Mr. Black, M.P., proposed the health of << The 
Chairman," which was most cordially received. 
He said they had all been witnesses to the admira- 
ble manner in which he had performed his duties. 
(Cheers.) But admirable as his conduct had been, 
it had not surprised them. It was just like him . 
(Applause.) It was like what they might have 
expected from one who had discharg^ed in so 
satisfactory a manner all tlie duties of life from 
his boyhood till he had risen to the high emi- 
nence which he had now attained — an eminence 
which he had reached not from the power of 
great family connexions or from accidental cir- 
cumstances, but from treading in the footsteps 
of Jeffrey and Cockburn, and Moncrieff and In- 
glis, and other ornaments of the bar. He had 
risen by his own great talents, by his incorrup- 
tible honesty, and by his great legal attain- 
ments, to the high and responsible situation 
which he now filled with much credit to him- 
self and with the greatest benefit to his coun- 
try. He (Mr. Black) did not use the language 
of eulogy, but he spoke the words of truth and 
of soberness when he said that both as a man 
and as a judge he had secured the universal 
confidence and respect of hb countrymen, who 
sincerely trusted that he would be long con- 
tinued a blessing to his country. (Protracted 
cheering.) 

Song— "Of a' the airte"— Mr. Hunter. 

Tlie Chairman briefly acknowledged the 
toast and the very kind manner in which it had 
been proposed and received ; and mentioned 
that he had just received a telegraphic message 
from Newcastle, stating that the chairman and 
all present at the meeting there in honour of 
Bums desired to concur with their meeting in 
all possible honour to tlie memory of the bard. 
(Cheers.) He (the chairman) had before him 
a great and enthusiastic meeting of Scotchmen 
with all their hearts warmed on this great oc- 
casion; he had before him a mountain-tlaisy, 
sent to him by a working-gardener in tlie 
neighbourhood, grown at this early season, 
which recalled one of the sweetest images of 
the poet ; he had before him one of the many 
bowls of Robert Burns — a bowl full only of 
the recollections of his genius, and his affec- 
tionate, loving, noble disposition, emptied of all 
that his attackers and assailers could object to. 
(Cheers.) In these circumstances, he might 
well feel proud of the position which he now 
occupied. He could only return his best thanks 



to the company, and in no language could he 
do so 80 appropriately as in the knguage of 
Burns himself. He was there on the kind in- 
vitation of the committee to preside — an invita- 
tion which he was deeply gratified to find the 
meeting had adopted. He might return, then, 
the kind of invitation that Burns once returned 
when asked to dine with a friend. He could 
not go, and his reply was: — 

" But Mauoliline race, or Maachline fair, 
I should be proud to meet you there; 
We'se gie ae nlght^s discharge to care, 

If we forgather, 
And hae a swap o' rfayniin'-wAre 

Wi' ane anither. 

(Loud cheers.) 

*'The four-gill-chap, we'se gar hi in clatter, 
And kirsen him wi' reekin' water; 
Syne we'll sit down and tak* our whitter, 

To cheer our heart; 
And, faith, we'se be acquainted better 

Before we part 

*' Awa* ye Belfish war'ly race, 
Wha think that bavins, sense, and grace, 
Eyen love and friendship should give place 

Tocatoh tbeplackl 
I dinna like to see your face, 

Nor hear your crack. 

*' But ye whom social pleasure charms, 
Whose hearts the tide of kindness warms, 
Who hold your being on the terms, 

* Each aid the others,' 
Come to my heart, come to my arms, 

My friends, my brothers I" 

(Prolonged cheers.) 

Solo on the violin by Mr. Howard. 

Captain Oarnegik then proposed ** The La- 
dies." The probability is, he said, that there 
is no one individual of the male sex in this hall 
who has not at some time of his youth, ih the 
inmost recesses of his hearty drunk the health 
of somebody or another ; but, if he did so, he 
did it to the total exclusion of the public. 
(Laughter and cheers.) Now, his Lordship 
has made me a universal lover. (Renewed 
laughter and cheers.) He has desired me to 
toast the whole sex.. I can be no longer par- 
ticular or personal — I must be general. My 
task, and the difficulty of it, is therefore in- 
creased tenfold ; but as no man yet has ever 
been able satisfactorily to propose the health of 
the ladies, I can only say that, as success is im- 
possible, I hope I shall fail with as much dig- 
nity as possible, and wrap my mantle round me 
with the least possible disgrace. In the early 
part of this evening I had the pleasure of ad- 
dressing you on another subject, and I was 
compelled to say then that I could find no con- 
nexion whatever between Burns and the naval 
profession ; but in regard to the toast which I 



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14 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



have now to propose, all those excuses have 
vanished. (Cheers.) I have no longer any 
reason for saying that Bums is not with me. 
Nine-tenths of his poems are amatory — ^nine- 
tenths of his poems are devoted to the adora- 
tion of that sex who have oome here in such 
numbers to do honour to the memory of that 
poet who wooed not one of them but their 
wliole sex in the most bewitching tones. Now, 
gentlemen, Burns has got me into a scrape, 
and Burns shall be made to get me out of it. 
It is impossible to describe the attraction of 
women better than Bums has described them. 
It would be the highest presumption on my 
part, particularly on this night and at this mo- 
ment, to endeavour to describe the better part 
of the creation in terms which can by any pos- 
sibility come to be equal to the smallest of 
Burns'; I shall therefore take refuge under 
his ®gis, and propose that we should drink to 
the Scotch lasses as Burns describes them. 
(Cheers.) We can pay them no higher com- 
pliment. I wish we could. If you want his 
description, open his book. Tou cannot turn 
over a page without finding some remarkable 
stanzas expressive of his admiration of them. 
If you are not satisfied with that description — 
circumspice ! (Loud cheers.) Turn if you 
please from the black letter of the book to the 
book of Nature, and you will find you cannot 
sliow your respect for that sex which has hon- 
oured us with their presence here to-night, in 
any way more than by drinking their healths 
as Burns' own lasses. ^Loud applause.) 

Tiie toast was dronk with great enthusiasm. 

Professor Blagkie, after some introductory 
remarks, said — It is with the greatest pleasure 
that I rise to propose "The Memory of Sir 
Walter Scott." There are six great names in 
Scottish history round which all true Scotsmen 
must gather as the proudest symbols of their 
nationality — two in the political world, Robert 
Bruce and William Wallace; two in the world 
of Christian heroism and devotedness, Patrick 
Hamilton, the first Protestant martyr, and John 
Knox, the founder of our National Church ; two 
in the literary world, Robert Bums and Walter 
Scott. To which of these truly representative 
men we are most indebted for the inheritance 
of our great birthright of national feeling it 
were foolish to inquire; enough that they have 
all contributed to make us what, by the grace 
of God, w^e are — a free, an independent, a 
thoughtful, a sober-minded, and a conscientious 
— ^an earnest, determined, and persevering — 
and, so long as we cherish these virtues, a 
prosperous and an invincible people. I value 
Walter Scott for many things; but for nothing, 
certainly, more than this, that he was a 
thoroughly national, and an eminently Scottish 



writer; and with all this strong tincture of 
nationality; he was at the same time so widely 
human, and so generously catholic, that he has 
made Scottish character and Scottish scenery 
known and beloved wherever the common Brit- 
ish language is understood, from the Ganges to 
the St. Lawrence. There is no doubt a certain 
class of shallow witlings besouth the Tweed 
who would gladly have the whole British world 
refashioned after their own Anglican ima^e; 
to whom, of course, anything like the assertion 
of an independent type and characteristic 
feature in Soottbh men is an abomination. 
And yet these very pert and priggish persons 
are delighted with nothing so much, when they 
perform their autumnal visit to Scotland, as to 
find our Grampians not exactly like their own 
Malvern Hills, and our Highland lochs not 
simply a mere northern repetition of th^ 
Westmoreland meres. (Cheers and laughter.) 
But if it is right and pleasant that there should 
be various types of landscape in the various 
districts of our island, it is no less right and 
pleasant that there should be various types of 
men inhabiting those districts; and therefore 
it is right that the style of human being called 
Scotsman should glory in his national peculi- 
arities, as a lion glories in his mane, and not 
submit his strong shaggy exterior to be clipped 
smooth according to any London or Oxonian 
model of pithless proprieties and conventional 
gentilities. Therefore, let us rejoice in Walter 
Scott, not merely as a great painter of men and 
nature, but as pre-eminent in the truthful 
portraiture of Scottish men and Scottish man- 
ners. No doubt he has not done justice to one 
class of Scottish men — to our Guthries and our 
Ren wicks, and our whole glorious army of 
martyrs, who are, with good reason, more to us 
than St. Jerome or St. Augustine, or all the 
saints in the calendar put together; but that 
was his misfortune no doubt, not his fault; be- 
sides, religion is always a somewhat delicate 
matter, with which, in a divided country, a 
poet is often wise not to intermeddle. With 
this single exception, however, there is no 
Scottish writer more thoroughly Scottish, in his 
whole tone, temper, and habits, than Sir Walter 
Scott; none to whom a Scotsman, by whom 
his nationality is prizeil, lies under greater ob- 
ligations; none who has more just claim to be 
specially remembered in this national recogni- 
tion of the great lyric poet of the Scottish 
people — Robert Burns. There is scarce a not- 
able hill or crag in the country on which he 
has not stamped his name; not a birch-fringed 
amber-fiooded stream which does not murmur 
more sweetly, or rush more fiercely to the stir- 
ring notes of his lyre. Scotland lies painted in 
his pages as truly and as significantly as the 



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EDINBURGH.— MUSIC HALL, 



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\roody Zacynthus or the rocky Ithaca in Homer. 
There b everywhere in Scott's poetry to me a 
breath as of the bracing mountain air, and a dis- 
tinct smell of heather — qualities which are 
not only essentially Scotch, but pre-eminently 
healthy. And this brings me to the second 
point which I should wish to bring forward in 
connexion with the bard of ^' Marmion " and 
" The Lady of the Lake." Scott is character- 
istically, both in his prose and in his verse, a 
healthy poet; and this is a quality which, both 
in prose and verse, but especially in verse, 
ought to be ranked a great deal higher than 
now-a-days seems in certain quarters to be 
fashionable. I could name poets of consider- 
able note within the present century whose 
works can be accurately defined no otherwise 
than as the musical utterance of a sublime dis- 
ease; with which one may be pleased after a fash- 
ion, as with the piteous cries of the Sophoclean 
Philoctetes left on the desert isle; but after all 
it was an ugly sore; and one has permanent 
delight in the warblings of a happy bird, not in 
the screamings of a wounded Titan, into what- 
ever curious harmonies they may be worked up. 
It is not at all an indifferent matter whether a 
great poet be a healthy and therefore a happy 
man. The business of poetry — the special pre- 
rogative of genius — is not merely to stimulate 
and to excite, but to harmonise and to recon- 
cile; and no one who does not know the bless- 
ing of a reconciling and harmonising temper in 
his own mind can communicate that greatest of 
all blessings to the souls of his fellow-men. My 
notion unquestionably is, that if a man can give 
nothing to the public but musical wails, and 
lamentations, and denunciations, he had better 
hold his tongue. (Laughter.) We have enough 
of misery in the world without applauding per- 
sons as great poets for whisking up into 
sparkling foam the bitter waters of their own 
diseased emotions. And yet it is precisely be- 
cause he does not do this that certain persons 
are constantly rei)eating that Walter Scott is 
great only as a novelist, but very poor as a poet. 
Certainly a volcanic poet, in the style which 
the French Revolution was quick to raise up, 
he was not; and those people who prefer the 
turbid sublime of a volcano to the clear benefi- 
cent glory of the sun, or the cheerful blaze of 
the domestic hearth, may laud Byron and write 
down Scott with perfect consistency. But for 
my part I prefer the steady splendour of the 
familiar luminaries of the sky, and the fireside, 
to Titanic convolutions of eruptive smoke, and 
the fitful glare of distempered lightnings. 
(Cheers.) Walter Scott was not a poet of this 
troubled class, and may be compared fitly not 
to a seething ocean of passion, but to a cup of 
mellow wine. He will not be the chosen poet 



of those young ladies, to whom the " horrible 
murder " and the ** shocking accident " is the 
most delightfid paragraph in the newspapers. 
As little will he please those to whom neither 
poetry nor sermons, nor even novels, in the 
present age, are palatable without a cei'tain 
amount of misty metaphysics and super-subtle 
theology. - This metaphysico-theological tend- 
ency also is one of the sublime diseases of the 
present time; to which, as a necessary transition 
stage, in its proper place, a reasonable man can 
have no objection; but poetry is not that place 
at all, certainly not the most fitting place. It 
is the misfortune, perhaps, of metaphysicians 
and theologians to be ever tormenting them- 
selves and others with fruitless attempts to solve 
the insoluble. But be this as it may; it never 
can be the business of any sane poet to be con- 
stantly striving to jump out of his skin, and 
vainly struggling to give a body to that which 
is essentially bodiless. (Applause.) It is the 
business of the true poet directly in a rich life, 
various with concrete reality, and indirectly in 
musical expression, to enjoy all that is enjoyable, 
and to help other men to do the like. Had 
Walter Scott been infected with the modern 
rage for mixing up metaphysics with poetry, he 
never could have set forth with such graceful 
luxuriance those vivid and sunny pictures of 
Scottish nature which only the morbidly fretful 
and the inanely ambitious will despise. I have 
only another word to say in conclusion, and it 
is this. A great deal of critical fencing has 
taken place among notable men abroad, and in 
this country also, about the two great schools 
of art, the classical and the romantic. I have 
no wish to tax your patience at present with 
any curious definitions on this subject; but this 
I will say, that in the best and deepest sense of 
the word, Walter Scott is the most classical of 
modern poets, and that precisely by virtue of 
the thorough nationality and broad healthy- 
minded popularity which was so eminently 
characteristic of his genius. If there is one dis- 
tinction between ancient Greek poetry as a 
whole, and moderu British poetry, and spe- 
cially the poetry of the last fifty years, it is this, 
that while the ancient poet was essentially the 
spokesman of the people, the modern poet is 
too apt to use his verse as a vehicle to vent his 
personal feelings, and spin his own peculiar 
speculations. Hence the perfect freedom of 
classical poetry generally from all those favour- 
ite characteristics of much of our modern 
poetry, which are only various phases of emo- 
tional self-indulgence, and pampiered individu- 
alism. Pindar, ^schylus, and Sophocles spoke 
to the people; performed, in fact, in their 
works part of the regular public life of the 
nation to which they belonged; and therefore 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



they are never overstrained or transcendental in 
their style. Therefore, they are always dear 
and true, sober and sensible, moderate and 
judicious. For an appeal to the normal stand- 
ard of healthy human feeling, as it exists in the 
great mass of what is called the public, is 
always the great God-ordained corrective of 
the private crotchets of the individual thinker, 
poet^ philosopher, or theologian. This appeal 
the Greeks always had without seeking it. 
This Walter Scott, with the wise instinct of a 
thoroughly healthy nature, always sought, and 
never failed to find. Therefore, while ignorant 
of the Greek language, he everywhere mani- 
fested a soul in healthy freshness, in breadth of 
popular sympathy, ' and in frank hilarity, con- 
taining the best elements of what we most ad- 
mire in the great classic writers of antiquity. 
He is in fact more like Homer both in style and 
manner than any writer that I know, ancient or 
modern. In Homer there is no dim-groping the- 
ology, no self-torturing metaphysics, no unreal 
supersensualism; but only and everywhere 
Greek nature and Greek life, Greek men and 
Greek women, Greek grace, Greek cheerful- 
ness, and Greek eloquence. So in Walter 
Scott, while we are everywhere kept far from 
the dim region of intangible speculations and 
laboured subtleties, we are nowhere divorced 
from the invigorating influences of Scottish 
nature and Scottish life, Scotch sobriety and 
Scotch humour, Scottish hills, Scottish heather, 
and Scottish mountain air. (Loud cheers.) 

Part song — " Scots wha hae." 

Professor Campbell Swinton then briefly 
proposed " Scottish Art and the Royal Scottish 
Academy/' which was acknowledged by Mr. D. 
O. Hill/ 

Song— "My Nannie's Awa"— Mr. Smith. 

The Chairman then proposed the Secretary, 
Treasurer, and Committee, alluding particular- 
ly to the exertions of Mr. A. T. Boyle and Mr. 
mllantine in connexion with the arrangements 
for the banquet. 

The whole company, standing, and hand in 
hand, then sung ^'Auld Langsyne." After 
Miss Cole, Mr. Howard, Mr. Hanter, and 
others who led the singing, had ooncluded. 
Lord Neaves sang an additional stanza, in 
capital style and amidst warm applause, the 
company renewing the chorus with increased 
enthusiasm. 

There was an excellent orchestra, led by Mr. How- 
ard, who himself sang several of Bums' songs in ad- 
mirable style ; and Mr. James Sinclair, Unicom Pun 
saivant, dressed in a court costume of Bams' time, 
performed the duties of toast-master with great effect 
and success. 

The following letter from Lord Brougham to Lord 
Ardmillan was circulated amongst the company:— 



LKTTER FROM LORD BROUGHAM TO LORD 
ARDMILLAN. 

My Lord, — ^It is altogether unnecessary to say 
how very deeply I lament the disappointment of 
my hopes tliat I should have been able to attend 
this interesting festival. Such celebrations are the 
discharge of a duty, the payment, as it were, of a 
debt to departed genius; they afford occasion for 
indulging m mutual congratulations, and display- 
ing honest national pride. But also they should 
by all means be turned to good account, in the op- 
portunity which they give of drawing practical in- 
ferences from the subject-matter of our contempla- 
tions. To two of these inferences I take the great 
liberty of directing your attention, in order that 
this celebration may oe productive of some useful 
result. 

After his great poetical genius, there is nothing 
so remarkable in Bums' history as the extraordi- 
nary refinement of his sentiments, and even of his 
taste, from his earliest years, the effect certainly 
of his education having been greater than falls to 
the lot of the peasantry, even in Scotland. But it 
is impossible to read the accounts of his family, 
and nis description of, and correspondence with, 
his friends of the same age, and the same humble 
station, and not be struck with the manner in 
wliich they were all raised above their condition 
by the ordinary education of the parish schools, 
and the taste for reading and for contemplation to 
which it gives rise, beside its effects in forming 
industrious and temperate habits. It led in him 
further to the greater cultivation of his faculties, 
and tlie nursing and unfolding of his genius ; and 
we have an unquestionable riglit to affirm that but 
for this education he in all likelihood would have 
passed through the life of an humble and unknown 
peasant, and that his genius would never liave been 
known either to himself or the world. The exist- 
ence of genius must ever be an accident; but as 
it cannot be confined to any class of the commu- 
nity, the chances of its appearing, that is, of its ex- 
istence being known, must needs be in proportion 
to the numbers placed in circumstances that shall 
nurse and nnfold it. Thus beside the ordinary and 
everyday effects of this education, we have its ne- 
cessary tendency to mature and to disclose i-are 
capacity of the highest order — all tliat is called 
genius; a Watt to alter the whole face of the 
world by the changes which his profound science 
and matchless skill produced, eacn cliange an im- 
provement, and adding to the happiness of man- 
kind; a Bums whose immortal verse makes the 
solace and the delight of his countrymen in every 
age and every country where their lot may be cast« 
These are of coui'se very rare examples ; but it is 
fit to dwell upon tlie common and universal effects 
of the system in raising the character of our peo- 
ple, distinguisliing tliem wherever they go for in- 
telligence and usefulness; for thoughtful and there- 
fbre prudent habits. The testimony is general and 
it is striking, which is borne to them in these re- 
spects, not only by calm observers free from all 
national prejudice, like M. Biot, father of the Na- 
tional Institute (whose work on our Scotdi system 
I am j)ubli8hing with notes), but by the employere 
of labour in all parts of the worm, both old and 
new. It is truly gratifying to reflect tliat wher- 



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EDINBURGH.— MUSIC HALL. 



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ever a native of Scotland goes he bears this char- 
acter along with him, and §nds his claims to respect 
acknowledged as soon^as he declares his country, 
not like the old Roman appealing to the fears 
awakened by the sound of the barbarous tyrant^s 
name, and silencing the voice of justice or pre- 
venting its course, but representing the humane 
and enlightened nation which has faithfully dis- 
charged its highest duty of diffusing knowledge 
and promoting virtue. 

The inference to be drawn is, that what cannot 
in any way be treated as the ground of empty 
boast, should not be made the ground of exultation, 
foolish and unprofitable. Our duty is to maintain 
and to amend the system by all well-considered 
measures, so that it may not only be perpetuated 
but improved. There, as everywhere else, time 
has produced some defects and disclosed others. 
By our experience in both these respects we are 
bound to profit — securing the independence of 
teachers ; placing them under the inspection which 
the law originally intended to be effectual; pro- 
vidmg for their removal when incompetent, and 
for their support when disabled by age or infirmi- 
ty ; apportioning their advancement to their merits ; 
and raising to tueir just place in society such as 
are distinguished bv their useful labours; nor ever 
forgetting that to this body of men there once be- 
longed one of the most powerful preachers and 
eminent leaders of the National Church. Tliat a 
firm resolution to work for the attainment of these 
objects may arise out of this celebration, to which 
it is so peculiarly appropriate, would not seem to 
be entertaining too sanguine a view. 

But it is also fit that we should, on this occa- 
sion, consider in what language Bums* poems, at 
least by far the most celebrated, and the most 
justly celebrated, are written. It is the language, 
the pure and classical language of Scotland, 
whien must on no account be regarded as a pro- 
vincial dialect, any more than the French was so 
regarded in the reign of Henry Y., or Italian in 
that of the first Napoleon, or Qreek under the 
Roman Empire. Nor is it to be in any manner of 
way considered as a corruption of the Saxon ; on 
the contrary, it contains much of the old and gen- 
uine Saxon, with an intermixture from the northern 
nations, as Danes, and Norse, and some, though a 
•mall adoption, from the Celtic. But in whatever 
way composed, or &om whatever source arising, 
it is a national language, used bv the whole people 
in their early vears, by man^ learned and gifted 
persons throughout life, and in which are written 
the laws of the Scotch, their judicial proceedings, 
their ancient histoiy, above all their poetry. 
Its SaxoB origin may be at once proved by the 
admitted fact, that Barbour, Chaucer's contempo- 
nuy, IB more easily understood by an Engnsh 
reaaer at this day than the Saxon of the father of 
English poetry. The merits of the Scotch lan- 
guage are attested, as regards conciseness, bv the 
brevity of the Scotch statutes compared with the 
English, and as regards clearness, by the fact that 
there has been much more frequent occasion for 
judicial interpretation of the latter than of the for- 
mer. Bat the peculiar value of the language arises 
from the ^reat body of national poetry entirely 
composed m it, both in very remote times, and in 
those nearer our own day; and there can be no 



doubt that the English language, especially its 
poetical diction, woald greatly gain by being en- 
riched with a number, both of words ana of phrases, 
or turns of expression, now peculiar to the Scotch. 
It was by such a process that the Grreek became 
the first of tongues, as well written as spoken. 
Nor can it be for a moment admitted that the 
Scotch has less claim to this partial adoption, than 
the Doric had to mingle witti the Ionian ; or the 
^olic with the Attic. Indeed of ^olic works 
there are none, while there is a whole body of 
Scottish classics. Had Theocritus lived before 
any poet like Pindar made frequent use of the new 
Doric, his exquisite poems, so much tmged with 
Sicilian, must have given that dialect admission into 
the pure Greek. Lideed Pindar, himself Boeotian, 
and naturally disposed to use the old Doric, has 
recourse to the new, for its force of expression, 
probably as much as he would have done, had he 
like Theocritus been a Sicilian; as Moschus did, 
who belonged to those colonies of Asia Minor, the 
origin of the language and literature of Greece. It 
must be allowed that when we refer to the free 
admission of various dialects into the classical lan- 
guage of Greece, we should bear in mind the pecu- 
liar fastidiousness of the Attic taste, and its scru- 
pulous rejection of all barbarisms, and all solecisms 
— aU words in languages not purely Greek, and all 
terms of expression arising from a corruption of 
that pure tongue. 

It is a great mistake to suppose, as some have 
done, that the interest excited in all minds by the 
associations of early years, forms the only ground 
of desiring to retain in certain compositions the 
language familiar to us in childhood. The charm 
imported by such associations is unquestioned; but 
it IS not the only merit of the language, which may 
have other claims to being preserved independent 
of that. Thus Scotchmen will beyond all doubt 
feel a greater interest in Bums* poetry, because it 
is in the language used by those who cherished 
them in childhood, and which themselves first 
spoke. But so they will feel a greater interest 
than foreigners in the songs which they knew at 
the same period of life, in whatever language com- 
posed, an interest wholly independent of the lan- 
guage ; and yet there may be m the merits of the 
hinguage itself, strong cUims to being preserved 
and adopted. A Sicilian might feel the charm of 
Theocritus* verse, because it reminded him of the 
pastorals, the national songs of the peasantry, from 
whence, indeed, it was in a great part taken ; and 
he might delight in that verse all the more for the 
language in which it was composed. But others, 
as Pindar and Moschus, who could have no feeling 
of local associations, could adopt that language in 
their lyrics and pastorals, if not preferring it, yet 
uniting it to their own, because of its peculiar ad- 
aptation to the subjects of their composition. 

The events which brought about the general dis- 
use of the Scotch language, first, the union of the 
Crowns, but infinitely more, that of the kingdoms, 
have not extinguished the great works in which it 
is preserved. It stands in very different circum- 
stances from the Italian in this important respect. 
The accident of the great writers, especially the 
poets, being Tuscans, in all probability prevented 
the dialect of Venice from being the classical lan- 
guage of Italy, and its great beauties make men 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



lament that it is not partially adopted into the 
more expressive but harsher Tuscan, the preva- 
lence of which has kept all poets of eminence from 
using any other. Scotland stands Tery differently 
in this impoi*taut particular; for the greatest of 
modem lyric poets has used the Scotch alone. 
Assuredly, had either Dante or Petrarch been 
Venetians, the Tuscan would have divided its so- 
vereignty with the dialect of Venice. The acci- 
dent of all the great writers of the fourteenth cen- 
tury being Tuscans had the same effect in preventing 
the other languages from keeping its ground, which 
political dianges had in discouraging the Scotch ; 
yet it can hardly be doubted that, if Ariosto or 
Tasso, at a much later period, had used the Vene- 
tian, it would hav« gained an ample share of esti- 
mation ; and if to this had been added the impor- 
tant circumstances, that all the Italian national 
poetry was confined to the shores of tlie Adriatic, 
as all the British luis ever been to the country 
beyond the Tweed, the inevitable consequence 
would have been a great softening of the Tuscan 
by the sweeter Venetian, at once to improve the 
language, and to prevent two several tongues being 
used by the same people. 

Would it not affora means of enriching and im- 
proving the English language if full and accurate 
glossaries of approved Scotch words and phrases, 
those successfully used by the best writers, both 
in pro.se and verse, were given with distinct ex- 

Elanation and reference to authorities ? This has 
een done in France and other countries, where 
some dictionaries accompany the English, in some 
cases with Scotch synonyms, in others with varie- 
ties of expression. It may be hoped tluit the ver^ 
learned person who is preparing an important phi- 
lological work of the same description, may incor- 
porate with it the flowers at least of our northern 
Doric. Two of our most venerated names, those 
of Playfair and Stewart, may be cited ; they were 
wont to express their desire to borrow some Scotch 
words as of great scientific use. In the judicial 
proceedings of Parliament we have, at least of late 
years, discountenanced all attempts at translating 
Scotch technical expressions into English. Let it 
be added, that the greatest poet after Bums whom 
Scotland has produced (there wants no mention of 
T. Campbell), was wont to lament the inability of 
using his mother tongue with the mastery which 
he had so happily gained over a foreign language. 
I have to apologise for this intrusion upon the 
meeting ; but only for the length of the letter, and 
its inferiority to the subject. — Yours faithfully, 

Bbougham. 
Cavmbs, January 17, 1659. 



THE CORN EXCHANGE. 

The "grand citizen banquet" in the Com Ex- 
change, under the auspices of the Total Absti- 
nence Society, came off with great eclat. The 
decorations of the Exchange were tasteful and 
brilliant, and the tout ensemble of the prepara- 
tions waa flcarcely less striking than what was 
presented on the occasion of the celebrated 
Crimean banquet which was held in the same 



pbioe two yean ago. Numerous flags and ban- 
ners waved from every available spot on the 
Wklls and ceiling, while from arch to arch of 
the roof were suspended enormous garlands of 
evergreens, intermingled with artificial flowers. 
Along both sides of the hall temporary galleries 
were erected capable of accommodating four 
hundred individuals. At the south end an 
enormous platform, for the speakers and special 
guests, and fitted up with tables for two hun- 
dred, was raised high above the floor of the 
hall ; and at the north end, opposite the prin- 
cipal platform, was a smaller erection, on which 
was stationed the band of the 16th Lancers, 
who performed the overture "Fair Maid of 
Perth " during the assembling of the audience. 
The fronts of the platforms and galleries, as 
well as the pillars which support the roof, were 
ftll tastefully draped with red and white cloth, 
and festooned with evergreens. On the wall, 
at the back of the speakers' platform, were the 
letters "B. B." illuminated with variegated 
lamps, and surrounded by a laurel wreath, on 
either side of which were placed banners bear- 
ing the Edinburgh and Scottish arms. Twelve 
parallel tables stretched the whole length of 
the area of the Exchange, at which those hold- 
ing tickets for that part of the building were 
served with tea, presided over by about an 
hundred and fifty ladies. A spacious gasalier 
was suspended in the centre of the hall, and, 
along with numerous smaller brackets, all taste- 
fully decorated, threw a flood of light upon the 
vast assemblage beneath, and completed the 
brilliant efi*ect of the scene. Every corner was 
filled long before the hour announced for the 
proceedings to commence, and even the pas- 
sages were choke full. There could be no fewer 
than fifteen hundred persons present The ar- 
rangements, however, were on the whole very 
satisfactory. Mr. Duncan McLaren occupied 
the chair; and among those on the platform 
were the Lord Provost, Bailie Grieve, Council- 
lor Fyfe, J. B. Gough, Esq., John Dunlop, 
Esq. (Brockloch), Rev. A. Wallace, Dr. Brodie, 
J. W. Jackson, Esq., Dr. Menzies, Andrew- 
Scott, Esq., David Low, Esq., Thomas Enox, 
Esq., William Logan, Esq. (Glasgow), John 
Knox, of Greenlaw, Berwickshire, &c. 

After tea had been partaken of. 

The Chairman said— Ladies and gentlemen, 
— The hall is so large, the difliculty of speak- 
ing is so great, that no speaker can hope to be 
heard unless very great silence be observed. 
(Applause.) I have to explain first of all, tliat 
although this meeting is not the one that was 
first advertised and brought before the public 
of Edinburgh, it was not started in any rival 
spirit to the meeting in the Music Hall. (Hear, 
hear.) But its promoters thought that at no 



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EDINBURGH.— CORN EXCHANGE. 



19 



meeting in honour of a man who was pre- 
eminently the man of the people should the 
door be barred against the people by a large 
price being charged for admission. (Applause.) 
On that ground, and with these feelings alone, 
this meeting was projected; and the committee 
soon found that they had struck the right 
chord; and when the tickets were all disposed 
of, and thousands could not obtain admission, 
then other meetings were organised, until this 
evening there are four large meetings in the 
four largest halls in Edinburgh to celebrate the 
centenary of Robert Bums. (Applause.) It is 
not for me to depict the character of that dis- 
tinguished individual in all its parts. His 
merits as a poet speak to the heart, I am sure, 
of every one present; and anything that is to 
be said upon that subject will far more aptly 
come from the learned Lord Neaves, who is to 
address you this evening — (applause) — than 
from the humble individual who now addresses 
you. I will only say that the poetry of Burns 
has sunk into the character and hearts of the 
people of Scotland. Every one knows more or 
less of it. Every one knows so much of it, that 
I have no doubt whatever that if, by some ex- 
traordinary event, the writings of Burns were 
to be all burnt, they could be reproduced 
from the memories of the people of Scotland. 
(" Hear, hear," and applause.) The power of 
his writings is something extraordinary. They 
have, as it were, been woven into the thoughts 
and feelings of the people. His whole char- 
acter seems to have been imbued with the most 
intense love of country — with the most ardent 
patriotism. I know many people blame us for 
coming here to celebrate the Centenary of 
Burns, because, as they justly say, he was not 
an immaculate character. Few men, unfortu- 
nately, are so; and I don't suppose that those 
who originated this meeting did so with any 
view of justifying much that he wrote or did. 
All have their own opinions on these questions, 
and it is not necessary for me minutely to 
analyse bis character. We are here to do hon- 
our to him as the great poet of Scotland — the 
man of all others by whom Scottish poetry is 
best known, — whose name and fame are better 
known throughout all the countries in the 
world to which Scotchmen and Englishmen 
emigrate than any man of modern times, with 
the exception of Shakspere. (Applause.) No 
doubt, ladies and gentlemen, many things could 
be pointed out which are deserving of severe 
criticism; but, when we consider the character 
of the man, we must consider it in reference to 
the times in which he lived. (Applause.) We 
must not measure a man like Bums by the 
gauge of the customs and sentiments of the 
present day alone. FoV example, if, in the days 



of Burns, some great meeting had bee^ called 
to celebrate the heroes whom he idolized and 
almost worshipped — ^I mean Wallace and Bruce 
— (applause) — ^had a meeting been called for 
such a purpose when Burns lived and was in 
the zenith of his fame, I ask you, would it have 
been possible to have called 2,600 persons to- 
gether in a hskll like this, where they had no- 
thing stronger to drink than tea and water? 
(Renewed applause.) Those who read the 
contemporary history of that time know that, 
much as he is blamed for some parts of his con- 
duct — for the bacchanalian sentiments to be 
found in many of his songs, and for the effect 
which these in some instances have produced, 
he must be measured by the men amongst 
whom he lived; and if you look at contempo- 
rary history and inquire into the customs which 
then prevailed, by reading the lives of men who 
lived in those times — take, for example, the 
glimpses which are given of life in Edinburgh 
at the beginning of the present century in that 
interesting work of Lord Cockburn's— you will 
find that men far more elevated, in a worldly 
point of view, than Burns — men most dis- 
tinguished on the bench and at the bar — in- 
dulged as much, I fear some of them even 
more, in those bacchanalian orgies for which 
Burns became, unfortunately, so distinguished. 
(Cheers,) . Other three meetings are held in 
this city to-day of the same character as this. 
In all of them the utmost propriety of conduct 
will be observed; and from all of them the 
parties will go home, I have no doubt, without 
anything occurring that will require the cen- 
sure of the public of Edinburgh to-morrow. 
(Cheers.) This state of things could not have 
existed in any town in Scotland during the last 
century, and such considerations should oblige 
us to make very great allowances in judging of 
the cliaracter of Burns. (Cheers.) There is 
one part of his character which I should like to 
notice — ^the deep and heart-felt sympathy which 
he had for everything calculated to elevate man 
— (cheers) — ^his ardent love of liberty; his 
sympathy with every just and good cause; his 
utter abhorrence of everything like obsequious- 
ness, or falUng down and worshipping the rich 
and the great, in whatever society he was placed. 
(Cheers.) When he came, for example, to this 
great city to have the second edition of his poems 
published, he was taken into the highest circles. 
He was almost idolized; no man could have 
been more noticed and petted (if I may say so) 
than was Bums. (Hear.) And yet, from aU 
that we know of that period of his life, we have 
every reason to believe that he took his place 
amongst the highest of the land, standing erect 
and calling no man master. (Cheers.) He 
tells us himself in a short sketch of the early 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



period of his life which is preserved, that the 
first books which he ever read after he left 
school were the Life of Hannibal, and the Life 
of Wallace by Blind Harry ; and that the effect 
of the reading of the last of these works upon 
his mind was extraordinary. He says — ** The 
story of Wallace poured Scottish prejudices 
into my veins which will boil and run over 
until the floodgates of life shut in eternal rest." 
(Cheers.) This was unquestionably the case. 
This may be regarded as the key to his char- 
acter. To his mtense love of country as a 
Scotchman, his intense admiration of his patriot 
hero, and of all those who, like him, stood up 
in defence of liberty, we are no doubt indebt- 
ed for that beautiful and heart-stirring song, 
« Scots wha hae wi' WalLioe bled." (Cheers.) 
In no circumstance of his life did he forget 
that self-respect to which he was entitled from 
his talents and genius. When he came to 
Edinburgh, he met with an amount of kindness 
which, I think, has been greatly under-rated. 
(Hear, hear.) Many people say he did not get 
justice from the more distinguished men who 
lived in his time. My impression is that he 
could hardly have expected to meet with greater 
attention, greater respect, or greater patronage 
(as it was then called) than he did when he 
came to Edinburgh. (Hear, hear.) After re- 
ferring to what had been done for the success 
of Bums' second edition of his works by the 
gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt, who sub- 
scribed for one hundred copies, at a guinea 
each, and to the fact that 2,800 copies were 
subscribed for at lower prices, Mr. McLaren 
said — ^In the dedication to that edition of his 
works we do not find that fawning, flattering, 
cringing to the great which we find in the 
dedications of many works of that period by 
distinguished literary men. In that dedication 
he says, in words never to be forgotten — "I 
was bred to the plough, and am independent." 
(Cheers.) That was Burns' idea of independ- 
ence. Bums was one of the people. He knew 
that to every man health and strength, united 
with industry, gave real independence, for by 
these he could earn his bread; and that inde- 
pendence he would not have exchanged for the 
most dbtinguished position which the world 
could give. (Applause.) That is the kind of 
man with which the people had to deal; and 
hence the ardent love of liberty which is to be 
fouud woven into the very heart of all his 
poetry, and which has done so much, in my 
opinion, to nourish and cherbh the love of 
liberty which exists to so great an extent 
amongst the people of Scotland. (Great 
cheers.) I believe that, next to the spirit that 
was infused into this country by the Cov- 
enanters (to whom we can never be sufficiently 



grateful), to Bums we are more indebted than 
to any other single individual for cherishing, 
and preserving, and increasing that intense 
patriotism and love of country and that love of 
liberty which characterise Scotchmen, not only 
in their own country, but in every other country 
in the world to which it may be their fortune 
to go. (Great cheers.) 

The Lord Provost then addressed the as- 
semblage, and was received with loud cheers. 
He said — Often since the close of the short but 
brilliant career of our great national poet has 
the day of his birth been celebrated by his 
countrymen in proud remembrance of his ge- 
nius. An epoch has now been reached which 
more emphatically than hitherto marks and 
brings the event to our remembrance. (Ap- 
plause.) Let me congratulate you on your as- 
sembling as you now do, in order to mingle 
your homage along with that oflered by your 
fellow countrymen to the memory of one whose 
genius has shed a halo of glory around our na- 
tive land and her people. (Loud cheers.) The 
source of the intense admiration cherished to- 
wards Burns by his countrymen is to be traced 
partly, perhaps chiefly, to the vivid delineation 
given by him in his writings of our national 
character, and of the virtues which made the 
peasantry of his country in his day stand out 
in bold relief, as distinguished from those of 
every other country in the world. (Applause.) 
No poet ever identified himself more fully with 
his class than did Bums. The lofty tone of 
self-respect maintained by him, and in which 
he invariably spoke of his brother man, sus- 
tained that elevation of thought and of action 
amongst his class, of which he was the tme ex- 
ponent. He furnishes in himself a noble speci- 
men of the spirit of self-reliance, which is so 
strongly inculcated in his writings. (Cheers.) 
He enjoyed the inestimable blessing of the edu- 
cation which, in bygone times, was furnished to 
the people of Scotland by their parish schools, 
and which has done so much to form our na- 
tional character. (Applause.) It was there 
that he imbibed a thirst for knowledge, and 
such was the value attached by him to its ac- 
quisition that he established — and it is believed 
he was the first who established in Scotland — 
a village library, and who evinced a desire to 
difluse, in this form, a taste for reading amongst 
the humbler classes of his countrymen. (Cheers.) 
But there was another fountain whence he de- 
rived the education which no school can give, 
and without which all other instruction is com- 
paratively valueless: I refer to the example 
which he was privileged to enjoy under the 
parental roof — (applause) — which lighted up 
the flame of piety that glows with solemn fer- 
vour in what we all admit to be his greatest 



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work, « The Cottar's Saturday Night"— (ap- 
plause)— ^f which I know that I express your 
sentiments when I give utterance to the ardent 
wbh that, perpetuated and handed down, as 
it is sure to be, to all succeeding ages, it may 
ever be found exerting a benign influence on 
the people of our country — an example which 
makes the memory of the sire as dear to us 
as is that of his gifted son. (Great cheer- 
ing.) Who can tell the amount of good which 
has not only been sustained but produced by 
the tone of religious and moral sentiment — the 
scene of pure domestic bliss depicted in that 
immortal work! (Applause.) The sentiments 
there expressed must have been felt before they 
were described ; and bitter, therefore, the an- 
guish at a departure from them. If we turn 
to his lyrical compositions, which form an im- 
portant and valuable portion of his writings, 
how strongly are all our best feelings and emo- 
tions evoked when listening to his songs, known 
to us from childhood, and the more admired 
the longer they are known. (Great applause.) 
Who does not know some exile whose fond re- 
collections of country and of home have been 
soothed and sustained by the songs of Burns, 
whose works find a place in the library of 
every Scotchman who leaves his native land ? 
(Cheers.) The source of our admiration of 
Bums, however, has its rise from a foundation 
deeper than any feeling which is merely na- 
tional. While to his countrymen his deline- 
ations of character have an interest and value 
which one would think could scarcely be ap- 
preciated by those who are unacquainted with 
our Temacular and unversed in our national 
usages, we find that in all lands where his 
works are known they have- commanded the 
same homage as at home — (cheers) — and for 
this reason — ^that they are delineations of the 
human mind, and therefore they secure a sym- 
pathy which is universal and has no limits. 
(Applause.) Hence it is that his works, when 
translated into other languages, are almost as 
much appreciated by others as by ourselves — 
the sentiments and feelings which they convey 
being intelligible to all. Where will you find 
patriotism described in colours so glowing as in 
the works of Bums? — (applause) — ^where are 
pure love and disinterested afiection — ^where is 
manly independence more warmly inculcated — 
and when are we induced more ardently to 
long after the possession and the exercise of 
the nobler affections and duties, than in rising 
from a perusal of those of his writings which 
bear on these all-important topics. (Loud ap- 
plause.) The subject immediately described 
may be an individual, and that individual a 
countryman of his own, and the scene may be 
in his own country ; still the sentiments to 



ii^hich he gives utterance being those of the 
human heart, find an echo in every breast. 
(Cheers.) It is, I know, unnecessary for me 
to say to you that these remarks do not apply 
to his entire writings, amongst which are to be 
found some which we could wish had never 
been written ; and others which, though they 
may be palliated, cannot be excused even by 
the vitiated taste of a bygone age. Casting 
aside the dross which is to be found in the 
works of Burns — as, alas ! it is to be found in- 
termingling itself with the works of almost 
every writer of his time — we this day fix our 
exclusive attention on those emanations of his 
genius where all t^at is best in our common 
nature is so beautifully and faithfully depicted 
— ^where the domestic altar, love of country 
and of his brother man, manly independence, 
and unsullied integrity, are held up to our ad- 
miration and respect. (Loud cheers.) At the 
age of thirty-seven he closed a life of varied 
enjoyment and sufiering, which has left behind 
it many lessons. Moren than sixty years have 
elapsed since he was consigned to an early grave. 
His fame survives — a fame which, we believe, 
will never die, because he gave utterance to 
thoughts that are immortal. (Great cheering.) 
Mr. Thomas Knox was the next speaker. 
He said — ^Mr. chairman, ladies and gentlemen, 
allow me to say in all sincerity that I never 
stood up to address my fellow-citizens more 
conscious of the difficulty of the task I had un- 
dertaken than I do now; and I am only sus- 
tained by this conviction, that no man ever 
does his best, in the best spirit, before an Ed- 
inburgh audience, without having the best con- 
stmction put upon his efforts. I feel that this 
is indeed a rery great occasion, and that it 
may well task our powers, for it is no other 
thui the celebration of the hundredth birthday 
of Scotland's national bard — Robert Bums. 
In the words of the great-hearted Robert 
Nicol— . 

**Tbis is the natal day of him 

Who, born in want and poverty, 
Burst fix>m his fetters and arose, 
1h& freest of the free ; 

"Arose to tell the watching earth 
What lowly men could feel and do, 
To show what mighty heayen-like souls 
In cottage hamlets grew.*' 

It seems to me that we sometimes speak of 
Bunw as our national bard without adequately 
realizing how transcendently glorious the title 
is ; for only think how big that soul of his 
must have been whose influences fill up the 
great spaces of a century — I might even say of 
the wide, wide world of civilization itself; for 
where is the habitable nook of creation that 



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the enterprising and daring feet of our country- 
men have ever trodden, that have not also been 
penetrated and gilded by the sunlike rays of 
his resplendent genius ? Wherever Scotchmen 
go, he goes — dwell, he dwells — sorrow, he sor- 
rows — ay, laugh, and he laughs ; and it is because 
of this moral ubiquitousness of Burns that he 
is emphatically our national poet, and that we 
now celebrate his centenary" in a manner that 
has never been before, and may never be again. 
If I were asked to define in one simple and sig- 
nificant word the great, supreme characteristic 
of Robert Bums, I would call it — universality. 
And as this definition. must include every phase 
of his life and literature, perhaps there are 
some present in this vast gathering who expect 
me to take up particularly certain parts of both. 
I will only remind you that I have conducted, 
as I hope, an honourable controversy with 
Burns for upwards of twenty years, and that I 
would be a poor dull pupil in the school of his 
mental independence had I not dared to do so, 
and did I not dare to say so now. If, how- 
ever, more than this is expected of me, here 
I must disappoint you, for I wish on this 
occasion only to refresh my memory and yours 
with the crowning virtues of the bard. I have 
said that universal love was his supreme charac- 
teristic, he loved all mankind, without reference 
to creed, country, or colour, with an uncon- 
strained exuberance of heart and soul all his 
own. All men who ever came near his works 
have felt this, and have given him love for love. 
Like a great magnet his nature has attracted 
all varieties of human sympathy towards itself. 
Mr. Knox here graphicilly told an occurrence 
in a hotel where a man of colour was reading 
Bums and laughing most immoderately. Though 
he (the Ethiopian,) confessed not to know all 
the Scotch words, yet he so felt and understood 
those great broad strokes of humour, those 
" touches of nature " which make the " whole 
world kin," that he loudly laughed. And a 
• company of gentlemen also laughed at the 
sight of his great black shining fkce, showing 
teeth as white as a mouthful of snow. So in 
this distant hotel the Ayrshire magician was 
conjuring with equal facility rich humour and 
glee from the hearts of black and white. We 
believe no poet ever gave such overflowing ex- 
pression in his verse to the great idea of uni- 
versal brotherhood as did Bums. He wrote 
out, and sang out, the divine gospel " that God 
hath made all men of one blood to dwell Jipon 
the face of the earth" with his whole heart and 
soul. Every separate theme upon which he 
wrote was intended to give force and further- 
ance to this supreme idea of his life. When in 
moods of satire or of independence, when patri- 
otic or pathetic, still he twanged out from the 



strings of his great heart the same sublime 
truth. No matter the subject he began with, 
it would certainly end with it. Allow me to 
give one illustration — 

"Does hanghtv Gaal invasion threat? 

Then let the loune beware, Sir, 
There's wooden walls upon oar seas. 

And Tolnnteers on shore, Sir. 
The Nith shall rin to Corsinoon, 

The Criffel sink in Solway, 
Ere we permit a foreign foe 

On British g^and to rally I 

** Oh let na not, like snarling cnra 

In wrangling be divided ; 
Till, slap ! come in an unco loan, 

And wi' a rang decide it 
Be Britain still to Britain trae, 

Amang oarsels anited ; 
For never bat by British hands 

Maun 'British wrangs be righted I 

''The kettle o' the kirk and state 

Perhaps a clont may fail in't ; 
Bat deil a foreign tinkler loan 

Shall ever ca' a nail iu't 
Oar fathers* bluid the kettle boaght, 

And wha wad daar to spoil it ; 
By heavens! the sacrileg^oos dog 

Shall fael be to boil it! 

*' Tlie wretch that wad a tvrant own. 

That wretch, his trae-bom brother. 
Who'd set the mob aboon the throne. 

May they be carsed together ! 
Wha will not sing, God save the King, 

Shall hang as high's the steeple ; 
Bat while we sing, Grod save the King, 

We'll ne'er fobost the people ! " 

So you see that the last line is made all of a 
sudden to give overwhelming prominence to 
the foremost aim of his heart and life — ** We'll 
ne'er forget the people;" and the people an- 
swer — " We'll ne'er forget the poet—-Bum8 ! ** 
These verses, though sixty-five years old, are 
young as yesterday, and have a most comforta- 
ble blood-heat about them. Bums knew no 
blood-royal on earth intrinsically different from 
the ruddy blood of honest men and honest 
women everywhere — always with him 

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

"God hath made all men of one blood" was 
the burden of his gifted soul. He knew that 
every mother's love is the same, every father's, 
every sister's, every brother's, — every lover's 
love the same, whether in lofty hall or lowly 
cot. The power and beauty with whieh he 
proclaimed this conviction showed the inten- 
sity with which he felt and cherished it, and 
the world - response of this centenary day 
proves the depth of his insight into the great 
throbbing heart of humanity. We believe his 
writings have done much to make a proper fu- 



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EDINBURGH.— CORN EXCHANGE. 



23 



sion of all classes of society. It were an im- 
possibility, indeed, to despise the great order 
of industry from which he sprung, and which 
he so grandly represented. That order of in- 
dustry is made properly aspiring and confident 
by those words of Nicol's — 

" Barns, thoa hast given us a name 

To shield as from the taunts of scorn ; 
The plant that creeps amid the soil 
A glorious flower hath borne. 

** Before the proudest of the earth 
We stand witli an uplifted brow ! 
Like us, thou wert a toil-worn man, 
And we are noble now I " 

Tlie rich and the poor are now harmoniously 
seeking a truer and happier platform on which 
they can meet and co-operate for the great ends 
of life on earth. — ^I glory in this day, not only be- 
cause of Burns, but because it serves to remind 
us all of that great idea of universal brotherhood 
for which he lived and sung, and which, amid 
the conventionalism and artificialism of high 
civilization, we are all so apt to forget* This 
day proves that nature is too strong to be 
partitioned off by sectarianism and convention- 
alism. Nature loves fusions, and loathes isola- 
tions. Nations, too, are strong by the fulness 
of their class-fusions, and weak in proportion 
to the extent of class-isolations. We are all of 
one blood to-night, let us strive to realize this 
great truth more and more, not only poetically, 
but practically. Let the wrongs of all men be 
ours, their rights ours, their elevation ours, 
their joys ours, their sorrows ours, and by so 
making one indivisible humanity everywhere, 
life shall become for all a more glorious inherit- 
ance. It was in looking through all those shams 
and pretensions which alienate man from man, 
that made him pen his most immortal poem, 
** A man's a man for a' that." Mr. Knox here 
recited • with great effect the whole of that 
inspiring poem, and then said — Since the Bard 
fell asleep, what mighty forces have leapt into 
the world's arena, impatient almost to fulfil 
his prophetic longings. The penny-postage 
unseals its myriad-lips to proclaim his prophecy, 
" It's coming yet for a' that." The printing- 
machines, with their ceaseless energies and 
enterprises, chorus out by night and by day the 
beautiful strain — ** It's coming yet for a' that." 
The railways, bounding and careering along the 
valleys of Great Britain, along the valleys of 
Europe, ay, along the valleys of every con- 
tinent in the world, merrily whistle the strain, 
"It's coming yet for a' that." The fleets of 
steamships scudding along the highways of the 
sea, beat paddle-time as they bear to every shore 
the same millennial music, '' It's coming yet for 
a' that.** And the Electric Telegraph, impatient 



with the progress of its great compeers in 
civilization, speeds a lightning-footed courier 
from city to city, shore to shore, and continent 
to continent, proclaiming the same heaven-born 
message to all the world, 

** It's coming yet for a' that, 
When man to man the warld o'er, 
Shall bi-ithei-s be for a' that." 

In the name of our National Bard — Robert 
Burns ; in the name of his and our " dear auld 
mither," Scotland; in the name of universal 
humanity ; and in the name of our universal 
Father-God, Amen, so let it be, even so let it 
universally and quickly be ! (Loud and pro- 
longed cheering, with waving of handkerchiefs.) 

The Chairmaj^ read a letter from Lord Ard- 
millan, apologising for the unavoidable absence 
of that nobleman. He also stated that the Lord 
Provost had been authorised to apologise for 
the absence of Lord Neaves. 

The Rev. Alex. Wallace of Glasgow then 
addressed the large audience. He said, — This 
is, in some respects, one of the most remarkable 
nights in the history of Scotland. The country 
is stirred to its very depths; and not only so, 
but a sympathetic chord is struck which vibrates 
in the breast of every Scotchman on the face 
of the earth. (Cheers.) What is it that has 
led to such a national demonstration on the 
part of a people not easily moved to such meet- 
ings as the present ? The gatherings in every 
town and village to-night, from John o* Groat's 
to Maidenkirk, are not sectional or party 
gatherings, but national. They breathe the 
spirit of an entire people; for Robert Bums 
was the most intensely national poet that ever 
lived. (Cheers.) The Supreme Giver of all 
good gave Scotland a rich and a rare gift, — we 
may never see the like of it again, — in that im- 
mortal genius which, when it rose to the high 
purpose for which it was given, men felt, — as 
they feel still, and must ever do so long as 
human hearts can feel the power of genius, — 
that this gift was truly the " touch of nature 
that makes the world kin." His " native wood- 
notes wild " were so sweet, so simple, so full of 
nature, that men felt that a voice was given to 
feelings which they had all experienced, but 
which they could not utter, and that new life, 
and beauty, and attraction, were thrown around 
the most commonplace objects, and the most 
familiar incidents of everyday life. It is but 
simple justice to our national poet to say, that 
his brilliant genius should be looked at apart 
from the dark cloud through which, alas ! that 
genius often shone and struggled into glorious 
light. The splendour of his genius made the 
dark spots of his life all the more visible. We 
would look upon these through tears, — the 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



bliuding tears of pity and regret; but we can- 
not remain insensible to that genius wliich has 
sung, as poet never did before, the joys and the 
sorrows of the poor man's lot, and given a voice 
at the same time to noble sentiments which 
make the poor proud of him as their poet — ^for 
he is emphatically the poet of the poor — (cheers) 
— ^but by the power of his genius he binds to- 
gether the rich and the poor in one common 
sentiment, so widely and practically acknow- 
ledged to-night, — 

" The rank is but the guinea stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that." — (Loud cheers.) 

His best effusions were written when ''he 
walked in glory and in joy behind his plough 
upon the mountain side." The toiling thou- 
sands of this and other lands have reason to be 
proud of that genius which has beautified the 
rough byways of labour. And so they are. 
They have ever looked upon his genius with 
grateful admiration. They stood true to him 
when be was cast off by those from whom 
better things might have been expected. 
(Cheers.) If we are to speak of faults at all 
to-night, and if there were great genius and 
great faults on the one side, were there not 
others to blame ? I ask you to look back upon 
the social character of those times, so far as 
drinking was concerned, when he came from 
the " plough stilts " to take up his abode with 
a friend from Mauchline, in an apartment in 
Baxter's Closs in the Lawnmarket, rented at 
three shillings per week. The drinking habits 
of Edinburgh killed poor Fergusson; and was 
there no danger for Burns, whose conversational 
powers were even a greater wonder than his 
poetical genius ? (Cheers.) Where were Scot- 
land's nobility and gentry, — where was her 
middle class, — when the life of her greatest 
poet became a sad tragedy? There are few 
things so tragic as the last days of Scotland's 
greatest poet. Scotland received a gift which 
she may never receive again ; and if there is to 
be blame, let a large portion of it rest where it 
ought to lie, — at the door of Scotland's in- 
temperance at that time, wliich made it a 
terrible risk for a man to be endowed with 
genius such as Burns possessed. Notwith- 
standing all his faults, we owe much to him. 
(Great cheering.) The fact that we have a 
distinct peasant literature that has sprung from 
the lowly cottage homes of our country, which 
has been nurtured amid the many-sided trials 
of the poor man's lot, which has gladdened his 
fireside, and made him proud of his land — a 
literature which has given a name and a glory 
to every stream, and glen, and river, and 
ancient ruin, and old feudal keep, and lofty 
mountain, from the far north to the banks of 



the Tweed — a literature which, so far as it lias 
been embodied in song, is as varied as every 
mood of the human soul keenly alive to the 
beauties of nature, and strung to every emotion 
of joy or of sorrow in the heart of man — a 
literature which is at once the burning purpoee 
of the patriot, the war song of freedom, or the 
voice of artless love, or the low key-note of a 
mother's affection, as, with a simple song, she 
hushes the babe to sleep — ^the fact, we say, 
that we have such a distinct peasant literature 
is an honour to which few countries besides our 
own can lay claim, and, but for the genius of 
Bums, she would have had but few claims to 
such an honour. (Cheers.) There are distinct 
national causes to which we can trace such a 
literature as this. There is first of all the deep 
interest which our reforming forefathers took 
in the education of the people, the practical re- 
sult of which was the establbhment of our par- 
ish schools. No man ever took a deeper interest 
in the education of his children than did that 
most worthy man William Bums, the father of 
the poet. He drudged hard and stinted him- 
self of ease and comfort, that he might give his 
children the blessing of a good education. 
Then, again, there is a quiet thoughtfulness, a 
shrewd inquisitiveness, a native enthusiasm, a 
dogged perseverance, or, if you will, a " dour- 
ness," in the Scotch character, that nothing will 
overcome. We have noted examples of this in 
the case of Hugh Miller and David Livingston 
— (cheers) — and Bums was not a whit behind 
them in all these qualities. (Renewed cheers.) 
He tells us that he had a ''sturdy stubborn 
something " about him, and he reached the lofty 
height to which, when a boy, he aspired on the 
harvest field. 

" E'en then a wish, — I mind its power, — 
A wish that to my latest hour 

Shall strongly heave my breast, — 
That I for pair auld Scotland's sake 
Some usefu' pUn or beak could make, 

Or sing a sang at least. 
The rough buir-thistle, spreading wide 

Among the bearded bear, 
I turned the weeder-clips aside, 

And spared the symbol dear." — (Load cheers.) 

Again, is there not even something in the ex- 
ternal features of our country that awakens a 
strong national feeling of patriotism, evokes 
the spirit of a peasant literature, and fires the 
genius of its " native wood-notes wild?" Who 
can follow the silvery Tweed, or pass up the 
soft green vale of Yarrow, or track the Teviot, 
the Till, the Nith, or the Clyde, or gaze upon 
the glorious panorama of Highland lakes, and 
glens, and mountains, such as Loch Linnhe, and 
Glencoe, and the everlasting giants of Argyle, 
without saying to himself, "there is no won- 



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EDINBURGH.—CORN EXCHANGE. 



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der our forefathers fought for such a land as 
this?" 

" Oh, Caledonia I stern and wild, 
Meet nurse for a poetic child." 

Burns was most favourably situated in this re- 
spect. He grew up amid the beauties of nature 
on the banks of the Ayr and the Doon — and no 
one ever loved nature more intensely, or could 
describe it in its varied phases better than he 
did. Take for example his description of a 
stream, 

Whyles owre a linn the bumie plays, 

As through the glen it wimpl't; 
Whyles round a rocky scaur it strays; 

Whyles in a wiel it dimpl't; 
Whyles glittered to the nightly rays, 

Wi' bickering, dancing dazzle; 
Whyles cookit underneath the braes, 

Below the spreading hazel, 

tfnseen that night. 

He loved nature, however, chiefly in connection 
with the interests of living things. Many pas- 
sages in proof of this will at once occur to your 
own minds. And then, what country teems 
with more soul-stirring associations than our 
own dear Scotland ? The history of our coun- 
try — whether we turn to its struggles for civil 
or religious freedom — contains all those stir- 
ring elements which cannot fail to kindle into 
proud enthusiasm the peasant in his moorland 
home, as well as the dweller in lordly hall. 
(Cheers.) There were materials lying pro- 
fusely at hand in the records of our national 
history to fire the soul of the peasant bard, 
and pour the burning tide of rapture into his 
song. Bums felt this, and hence his patriot- 
ism, his love of freedom and independence, 
which burst forth in such strains as '* Scots 
wha hae wi' Wallace bled," and his "words 
that breathe" in the prayer for Scotland — 

** Ob, Scotia ! my dear, my native soil, 

For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent ! 
Long may thy hardy sons of rustic toil 

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet con- 
tent! 
And, oh I may Heaven their simple lives prevent 
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile i 

That, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, 
A virtuous populace may rise the while 
To stand a wall of fire around our much-lov'd isle!" 

(Cheers.) In addition to all this, there are the 
hallowed home influences of humble cottage 
life in Scotland, whidi, whatever these may be 
now, were, generally speaking, in former times 
most favourable to the development of a pea- 
sant literature, and could not fail to beget a 
noble spirit of independence and self-reliance. 
No cottage home in broad Scotland enjoyed 
these hallowed influences more than the one 
over which William Burns was the presiding 



father and priest. Step into that little farm- 
house in the neighbourhood of Ayr, and, in the 
long wintry nights, you see a delighted circle 
gathered around the fireside ; and an elderly- 
looking man — ^not old, but old-like from many 
harassing cares, and from severe toil, that racks 
the joints, and makes the hair prematurely grey 
— ^is instructing his children, amongst whom 
are his two sons, Gilbert and Bobert. He 
reads from some useful book, or converses witii 
his two boys " as if they had been men." But 
hark! there are rapid footsteps outside, and 
then a knock at the door. All eyes are turned 
to it, and a young man, frank, joyous, and 
warm-hearted, enters, to the great delight of 
all. This is Murdoch the schoolmaster. He 
brings books with him ; and what, think you, 
can he read in such a dwelling? Is it the 
*' Farmer's Almanack " many weeks old ? No ! 
but the noblest eflusions of some of our best 
poets, or the record of some of the most stirring 
events in Scottish history. The evening would 
be closed by family worship, so beautifully de- 
scribed in "The Cottar's Saturday Night :"— 

*' The cheerful supper done, wi' serious face. 
They round the ingle form a circle wide : 
The sire turns o'er, with patnarchal grace, 
The big ha' Bible, ance bis father's pride ; 
His bonnet reverently is laid aside. 
His lyart haffets, wearing thin and bare ; 

Tbose strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, 
He wales a portion with judicious care ; 
And ^Let us worship Godl' he says with solemn air." 

Whatever influence these causes might have in 
developing the poetical genius of Bums, or in 
giving rise to our peasant literature, we can 
never forget that he was born a poet, that he 
was a poet by nature, that the gift which was 
in him was not the result of art, but a gift of 
nature, as much as is the song of the linnet or 
the lark. He poured the rich melody of his 
genius over broad Scotland, because, like the 
birds, he could not but sing. There was in him, 
by nature, what could not fail to attract and 
delight, and make him a power amongst the 
people. In that humble homestead in which 
he was reared, conjugal love and all the gentle 
minbtrations of the home afiections brightened 
the stem face of poverty, strengthened every 
noble sentiment, and cheered the drudgery of 
ceaseless toil. No man knew better, or could 
better describe, the home influences of humble 
cottage life. He knew the straits, the privations, 
the joys and the sorrows, the independence and 
the worth, the manly virtues as well as the 
weaknesses, that were to 1>e found in the cot- 
tage homes of Scotland ; and nowhere does his 
marvellous genius appear to greater advantage, 
— ^nowhere does it shine with greater brightness 
and purity, than when he starts into life those 



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scenes and feelings which appeal to the common 
heart of man. This is the secret of his power, 
especially with the mass of the people. They 
love him notwithstanding all his failings. They 
look upon him as a brother, because the best 
effusions of his genius have enshrined in the 
bosom of living sympathy their own experi- 
ences, and much which, in point of endurance 
at least, was peculiar to themselves. What 
poet lives so familiarly amongst the people as 
he does ? They fondly speak of him as their 
own Robin, or Rabbie, when they would char- 
acterize the more pathetic effusions of his muse; 
whilst they speak of him as Rab, or '' an unco 
Rab," in reference to his more wild and reck- 
less fancies. (Laughter.) Nowhere is his 
genius more appreciated than at the fireside of 
labouring men, and that very class of toiling 
men, of whom Scotland may feel justly proud, 

"Who make her lov'd at home, rever'd abroad." 

(Cheers.) I well remember the thrilling effect 
produced in a humble home circle, when but a 
mere child, when some of his noblest effusions 
were repeated by a pious father, who could do 
this as but few could do it. (Hear, hear.)- 
Tiie homely jingle was new and attractive to 
the ear, but the scenes, the sentiments, and 
the incidents, >could move to tears, or shake 
the sides with laughter. You have but to 
witness the effect produced in any circle, or in 
any great promiscuous gathering of the people, 
by the singing of one of Burns' songs, in which 
manly independence, or the love of freedom, or 
patriotism, or conjugal affection, or the purity 
of virgin love, are set forth, to be convinced of 
tiie power and vitality of his genius, and of the 
hold which he has upon the hearts of men. 
(Cheers.) The popularity of his best lyrics 
does ^ not arise from the music to which they 
have been wed, as is the case with many songs, 
but from the inherent power of genius itself. 
Take away from his writings all that is objec- 
tionable, all that in his last hours he would 
have blotted out, and which he would have 
consigned, could bitter regret have done it, to 
the deepest shades of oblivion — ^take away all 
which the best of men and his firmest admirers 
regret should ever have been written, — and 
after this is done, there will still remain much, 
very much, that will endear his genius to the 
common heart of man, and which that heart, as 
long as it beats in unison with noble sentiment, 
will not willingly let die. (Cheers.) I need 
not say that I am speaking of the genius of 
Burns in its brightest and purest moods ; and, 
though, we have but mere fitful snatches of 
these, surely there is enough to call forth our 
grateful admiration and our deepest pity. Had 
this not been the case — ^had there not been in 



his writings the stamp of imperishable genius — 
that sympathetic something which makes the 
world kin, which appeals to the universal heart 
— the name of Bums would have perished. It 
would have been draggeil down into oblivion 
by the baser part of his life and writings. As 
time passes, the impure sediment wiU sink, but 
the pure stream of genius itself flowing above 
that, and looked at apart from that, will ever 
be regarded with grateful admiration, and will 
remain a " thing of beauty and joy for ever.** 
It is well that the Scottish people, generally 
speaking, have had the good sense and the 
charity to look at their national poet in this 
discriminating way. The diamond is still the 
diamond, notwithstanding the baser materials 
in which it is embedded, and in which it shines. 
I am anxious not to exaggerate in any way on 
an occasion when there is so much danger of 
this ; and whilst we express our admiration of 
the genius of our national poet, let us feel as if 
we were invited by the bard himself to stand 
by hb grave and read the epitaph which he 
composed for himself — 

" Is there a whim-inspired fool, 
Owre fast for thought, owre hot for rule, 
Owre blate to seek, owre proad to snool? 

Let him draw near; 
And owre this grassy heap sing dool, 

And drap a tear. 



The poor inhabitant below 

Was quick to learn, and wise to know, 

And keenly felt the friendly glow. 

And softer flame ; 
Bat thoaghtless follies laid him low, 

And stained his name." 

In the words of an eloquent living writer — 
''Alas! hb sun shone as through a tropical 
tornado, and the pale shadow of death eclipsed 
it at noon. Shrouded in such baleful vapour, 
the genius of Bums was never seen in clear 
azure splendour enlightening the world; but 
some beams from it did, by fits, pierce through, 
and it tinted those clouds with rainbow and 
orient colours, into a glory and stern grandeur, 
which men silently gaze on with wonder and 
tears.'* Notwithstanding all these drawbacks, 
his genius has wreathed around the brow of old 
Scotland a garland of poetic beauty imperish- 
able as her own heathery glens, and sweet and 
simple as her own "Mountain Daisy," to which 
that genius has given a deathless fame. (Pro- 
longed cheers.) 

[The speaker was frequently interrupted by the 
extraordinary enthusiasm of the audience, and when 
he resumed his seat was greeted 'with a storm of 
applause.] 

A choice selection of Bums' songs, sung by Mr. 
John Johnstone, Mr. William Kerr, Miss Acquroff, 
and a choir of the Edinburgh Abstainers' Musical 
Association, filled up the intervals between the difl^r- 



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EDINBURGH.— QUEEN STREET HALL. 



27 



ent addresses, and were received with the utmost 
enthasiasm hy the vast audience. Mr. Melyille (of 
the Theatre -Roj'a?) recited "Man was made to 
Mourn," and " MAvy in Heaven," with much feeling 
and effect. Mr. A. Laurie presided at the pianoforte, 
and the performances of the band of the 16ui Lancers 
added much to the entertainment of the evening. 
The proceedings were brought to a conclusion about 
half-past eleven o'clock, by the whole audience join- 
ing with the utmost spirit in the parting song of 
"Anld Langsyne." 



QUEEN STREET HALL. 

At six o'clock the Trades' Delegates held a 
fruit soiree in Queen Street Hall, where was 
assembled an audience that filled every corner 
both of area and galleries. The only decora- 
tions consisted of a plentiful array of ever- 
greensy tastefully arranged around the platform, 
and a few flags hung in conspicuous positions. 
One or two portraits of Burns were placed in 
front of the galleries, and, in addition, a hand- 
some bust of the poet occupied one of the 
niches at the back of the platform. A bust of 
Sir Walter Scott occupied the corresponding 
niche on the other side. On the motion of 
Councillor Ford, the chair was taken by Pro- 
fessor George Wilson, who was heartily cheered 
on making his appearance. On the platform, 
besides a number of the Delegates* Committee, 
were Councillor Ford, Mr. Gorrie, Advocate, 
Mr. John McLaren, Advocate, Mr. McDonald, &c. 

The Chairman, in introducing the business 
of the meeting, said — ^We are met to-night to 
commemorate the birthday of a mighty man of 
genius, who entered on his earthljr life this day 
one hundred years ago. I did not look forward 
to taking a prominent place in the festivals on 
this occasion, although I deeply sympathise 
with the spirit that prompts us to commemorate 
the birthday of Bums. The Chairman, after 
explaining ihst he had given the preference to 
the invitation of the Trades' Delegates over 
those which he had received from other quar- 
ters, on the ground that he was the Professor 
of Industrial Science, then proceeded — ^We are 
met together this night, not to criticise Bums, 
not to judge Bums, not to apologize for Bums 
— ^no, not even to praise Bums. He is now in 
the land of the great departed, and when we 
consider that, we shall be slow to call him, 
whom the Merciful Judge has already judged, 
before our unauthorized tribunal to judge him 
anew. If you think that in that world of spir- 
its they know what happens here, you will be 
reluctant to call before you him who has been 
already judged ; and if, on the other hand, you 
believe that no message goes from this earth to 
that other spirit world, except by those who 
themselves have also put off the mortal flesh, 



you will the more feel that, as he cannot hear 
our praises, as little should he be called before 
us to hear his faults. You will also agree with 
me that we should be sparing of judgment, and 
that we need not ofler laudation; yet, let me 
say that it is not because we are afraid to sub- 
mit him to criticism. All know the incident 
that happened when his grave was opened to 
lay his widow beside him. When his moulder- 
ing remains were exposed, they took up that 
wondrous example of divine architecture — his 
skull — and, perhaps unadvisedly — I will not say 
irreverently — they tried whether their hats 
would fit it. And that very skull, though bare 
of the flesh that once covered it, and the noble 
locks that had curled around it, was too big 
for their hats. Let us be warned by that; 
let us not try to cover Burns' head with our 
caps. (Applause.) Let us not seek to show 
that his organ of veneration ^as not so big as 
ours — ^that his organ of benevolence was not so 
large — or that his organ of self - approbation 
was larger than ours. Ah me ! he was gifted 
beyond most of us ; and let us cheerfully con- 
cede this, and waive aught of judgment. And 
yet we might submit him to judgment, and not 
be afraid to praise him. We are not here to 
be partakers of other men's sins. It is not the 
faults of Burns that have brought us together ; 
no, it is the superabounding excellence of his 
virtues that has compelled us to come here to- 
night. No man denies that he had his faults ; he 
would rise himself from his grave and condemn 
us if we did. Nevertheless, he was a shining 
star. In that noble poem which was read 
to-day in the Crystal Palace, Burns is called 
a " star-soul," and the fitness of the word will 
be acknowledged. I would have said he was 
a "burning and a shining light," did I not 
fear that I should be called irreverent in 
quoting Scripture about him. Yet he was a 
star, and "dwelt apart;" and, as a star, so 
as a sun. You know that our sun has spots 
in it — great blanks of darkness, great areas 
out of which no light comes. There are some 
who judge Bums as an astronomer would treat 
the sun, if, when he was asked about it, he 
said there were only spots of darkness in it. 
You do not judge so. As the sun heats as 
well as illuminates, I ask you if Burns has not, 
from our earliest childhood forward to man- 
hood, been alike a source of intellectual light 
and moral heat, though we do not refuse to ac- 
knowledge that there are spots of darkness in 
him. (Applause.) Thus, my friends, we are 
met together on his birthday to realize as much 
as possible of the feeling that we experience 
when we meet together on the birthday of a 
member of our own family still living, where 
we do not think of counting our father or 



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28 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



mother, our sister or brother's faults, but, hav- 
ing had large experience of their virtues, dwell 
on them, and think of tkero. And let me re- 
mind you that this is the birthday of a dead 
man, and that it therefore the more becomes 
us to recall his virtues and not his faults. (Ap- 
plause.) He is no party to our calling him, 
and might answer like the Hebrew prophet 
when invoked by the first king of Israel. At 
least let us remember that we have him not 
before us, and that it is not our right to make 
his faults rauk before his virtues. (Applause.) 
There is a seemliness, nevertheless, in our com- 
memorating his birthday, for I ask you if it is 
not the case that Burns lives amongst.us to a far 
greater extent than many a man whose heart is 
still beating, and whose blood is still flowing in 
his veins ? He lives so, inasmuch as he was 
that great thing — a poet. And what does that 
mean? It means that he could create what 
others could not ; it means a man who can see 
a grander light about all things than other men 
can see, can hear a sweeter sound in all music 
than they can hear, can feel a deeper loveliness 
in all that is loveable than they can feel — who 
can, in fact, day after day, feel and realise what 
other men experience only at short seasons 
and at brief intervals. And then this Burns, 
who was a marvel of genius — who had the power 
to see what other men could not see, was no 
poet-laureate with a liberal pension — (hear, hear) 
— ^no titled lord occupying his leisure hours 
with verses — no idolized youth with his collar 
turned down — (laughter and applause) — but a 
hard-worked ploughman, ** following his plough 
upon the mountain side," who could only steal 
an evening of pleasure to lighten the hardships 
of his daoly toil, by thrashing so mafiy more 
sheaves in the barn ; one whose bread was 
scanty and coarse, whose sleep was short — who, 
in bearing on his shoulders the burden of a 
Scottish peasant's life, had enough to bear, and 
yet who rose to be a higher light than the most 
idolized and most regal Scotsman of them all. 
(Applause.) 

We are all poets in some degree. The child 
who thinks it can climb the rainbow, who be- 
lieves that the moon can be clipped into stars, 
or who looks into its pillow, and sees won- 
drous things there, is a poet ; every child 
who reads the Arabian Nights, who believes 
in Aladdin's lamp^ or who goes to a pantomime, 
is a poet. And in later years we are all poets — 
love makes us poets. (Applause.) Every man- 
lover is a poet ; every gentle sweetheart is a 
poet; every mother bending over her suckling 
child is a poet ; every son comforting his old 
mother is a poet. There is a poetry in all our 
lives, if we can feel it ; and if we cannot, no 
Burns or any one can teach us it. But we want 



some one to sing it for us, and this Burns did ; 
and how did he do it ? He so sang that wc 
not only enter intensely and sympathizingly 
into all his feelings, but he sang in the very 
way that we ourselves would have sung had 
we had the power. Think of this — ^that he 
has sung our native land into greater glory in 
the earth because it is the birth-land of Burns. 
(Applause.) There is not anywhere over the 
civilized world where men are able to appreciate 
genius, or worth, or reality, a nation which does 
not say that Scotland, in producing a ploughman 
like Burns, who did not pretend to speak more 
than the feelings of his own countrymen, but 
spoke them with the poet's power, must be a grand 
land. And he sang our Scottish tongue into a 
repute that it never had before, and secured 
for it a longevity that otherwise it never would 
have had, so that he would be a bold man who 
would predict the time when that mother speech 
will die, since Englishmen learn it for nothing but 
to read the songs of Burns. Such is his power 
over the language of our hearts and the lan- 
guage of our country, that Scotsmen scattered 
over every part of the world are on thb day 
assembled as we are now; and I have just 
learned that, at this very moment, my dear 
brother will be presiding at a meeting like this 
in far-distant Toronto. (Applause.) And you 
know that Bums not only sang so as to please 
our perhaps too partial ears, but he has so 
sung that generous England has listened to his 
songs, and said he is an Englishman, and that 
he shall have a hearty toast in every English 
town. In Ireland, too, you may go through 
its length and its breadth, and if you can sing 
a song of Bums you will be welcomed. All 
through Anglo - Saxondom, from the frozen 
North to^^ the Gulf of Mexico, and thence 
to the Tierra del Fuego, it b the same ; and 
wherever the language of Burns b understood, 
there hb poems are listened to and his songs 
are sung. When we remember all this, I 
think we may very lightly bear the blame of 
those who say that we are doing a wrong 
thing in commemorating hb birth by meetings 
such as thb. (Hear, and applause.) What did 
Burns sing of ? He proclaimed in noble words 
a catholic patriotism, an intense love for his 
mother-land, which yet should be compatible 
with the recognition that men of other lands 
should also love them with a similar love. 
There b a selfish sectarian patriotism, a feeling 
which I can compare only to the affection of 
the cat which lingers around the fire and the 
hearth-rug, where it is comfortably warmed, even 
when those who gave it a home have all passed 
away. But it was another patriotism that 
Burns sang of, which buried its own roots in 
the soil of " Caletlonia, stem and wild," but 



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EDINBURGH.— QUEEN STREET HALL. 



29 



all the ivhile waved its broad leaves in sym- 
pathy with the kindred trees of other lands. 
Yes ! if he was a lover of his own country, it 
was no blind love. He knew our Scottish land, 
and loved it for its own sake. Think of the 
stories he has preserved in song, which would 
otherwise have been forgotten ; think of that 
most magnificent war ode, " Scots, wha hae ;" 
think of the affectionate way in which he re- 
fers to what others might call weeds — to the 
*' mountain daisy," the sweet hawthorn, the 
thistle, and the harebell ; think of his feelings 
towards the lower creatures, to the " coweridg 
beastie," to the "chittering bird,*' to the 
"wounded hare," to the "old mare;" in a 
word, how on every living thing he bestowed 
his affection and his S3rmpathy. Still more did 
he love his fellow-men. What in very truth 
killed Bums was, that he could not get love 
to respond to his own. There was deep loy- 
alty in him. Veneration for higher worth and 
modest self-respect sound from every line of 
"A man's a man for a' that." (Applause.) 
The learned Professor proceeded, in glowing 
language, to allude to some of the sorrow- 
ful traits in the life of Bums, in which re- 
spect he paralleled him to Scott, Southey, 
Moore, Byron, Keats, Shelley, Chatterton, and 
other poets. From the lives of all these men 
there was a deep lesson to be learned ; and an 
obligation lay on all to profit by the story of 
those, who learned in suffering what they 
taught in song. And as we cannot make 
amends to the dead, let us be careful not to 
treat our living poet« as our forefathers treated 
Burns, who when he asked for bread got a 
stone; and not even that till dead. The Chair- 
man concluded by a comparative sketch of the 
careers of Bums and James Watt, and the re- 
spective influence which each had, as types of 
the poetical peasant and the scientific artisan, 
exercised on his own and the present genera- 
tion. 

Mr. GoRRiB then addressed the meeting, 
and said — I confess that, in rising to say a few 
words on this festival night, I feel as if I were 
trying to speak where a thousand voices already 
filled the air. You are all quiet and attentive; 
but a secret sympathy tells me, as it must tell 
you, that the eulogy of Scotland'^ bard is at 
this moment ringing round the world. It is 
not only the tongue of auld Scotland that strag- 
gles to utter thoughts too deep for utterance ; 
but pass with me in imagination to what quar- 
ter of the globe you choose, and there you shall 
find the sons and daughters of the old country 
engaged in enthusiastic celebrations. The 
sound of revelry is rising from Canadian cities 
— the memory of Burns is being fondly re- 
called beneath the soft beauty of Australian 



skies — and this night, the Scottish soldier, rest- 
ing from war, shall sing the songs of his coun- 
try's bard by the bivouac fire on the banks of 
the Ganges. Then why need I attempt to 
address you when the thousand voices, now 
treating of the same theme, can but faintly ap- 
proximate to what Scotland means to say on 
this the hundredth anniversary of the poet's 
birth ? It seems to me that it is not of Burns 
alone, nor of his poetry, that she would speak, 
but that she takes this man and the produc- 
tions of his wondrous genius as a type of her 
nationality — a nationality which even now grows 
dim in the hearts of the people, and in another 
hundred years may be fed entirely by the songs 
of Burns. I shall leave it to others then, to enter 
upon a critical estimate of the poet's works ; I 
shall leave it to those who feel the subject 
agreeable to them to i)oint the finger at the 
follies of his life, and with your permission 
shall say a few words upon two prominent 
qualities which the poetry of Burns has cher- 
ished in the hearts of Scotchmen — ^I mean in- 
dependence of character and love of country. 
But first, as to the time and circumstances 
when Bums appeared. When, as we have just 
heard sung, the first blast "blew handsel in on 
Robin," [the rain and wind at this moment 
drove with great violence against the windows 
of the hall, when the speaker said,] and the 
elements to-night seem also to be keeping the 
centenary ; let them lash on, it is, the best il- 
lustration we can have of the wild, dark, and 
stormy career of the poet! When Burns was 
bom, Scotland, although she had been united 
to England for half-a-century, was as much a 
separate nation, with a distinct language, dif- 
ferent laws, and peculiar customs, as if the 
articles of Union had never been penned. The 
blood was scarce dry on the field of Culloden. 
In the Lowlands the feeling against the Union 
had mellowed down into a keen attachment to 
native institutions. The Scottish language was 
universally spoken in the hall of the noble, 
from the pulpit, from the benchr as well as in 
the cottage. But by the time Burns arrived 
at manhood the influence of England had al- 
ready wrought great changes, and every one 
felt it was destined to effect more. The pea- 
santry were still intensely Scottish ; and it was 
thus that Burns' poems and songs were re- 
ceived by them with so much enthusiasm. 
They expressed the feelings of the nation in 
the common language. He gave a voice to the 
patriotism, the humour, ay, and the deep reli- 
gious sentiment of the people. He clothed in 
deathless song their loves, their sports, their 
customs. He shed a richer glory over the ro- 
mantic scenery of their native land, and, above 
all, in every line there breathed a spirit of ster- 



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30 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



ling independence which formed a striking con- 
trast to the prevailing characteristic of the 
higher ranks of the period. Scotland needed a 
poet to embody in song the life of the nation be- 
fore a foreign element had weakened and changed 
its conditions. And, obedient to the great law, 
when the time was ripe for the man, the man ap- 
peared, ripe, ready, and specially gifted for the 
work. He sprang from that class of the people 
which best suited his mission, a class which has 
given to Scotland some of her greatest ornaments, 
but which now, under the influence of what is 
called " progress," is being blotted from the old 
country. While from association and sympathy 
he was a peasant, he had received the education 
of a farmer*s son. The one fitted him to be the 
poet of the people, the other to wed their aspi- 
rations and emotions to immortal verse. In very 
early youth he cherished the idea which he was 
fated to work out. 

" E'en then a wish, — I mind its power, — 
A wish that to my latest honr 

Shall strongly heave ray bi'east, — 
That I for puir auld Scotland's sake 
Some usefu' plan or beuk. could make, 

Or sing a sang at least." 

Let us take, then, the quality of independence 
of character which breathes through Bums' 
poetry, and in teaching which he has deserved 
well of posterity. Without Burns, I believe, 
we would not have had so much manly inde- 
pendence among all classes in Scotland. Mo- 
ralists might write essays innumerable, but 
they would struggle in vain to teach by any 
dissertations, however eloquent, what Burns 
gives in a couple of lines, with a power which 
brands the sentiment upon the brain for ever. 
He strove to "preserve the dignity of man with 
soul erect." Burns was not capable of under- 
standing that spirit of humility which rejoices 
in cringing to some fellow-mortal merely be- 
cause he is rich, and who probably has little 
claim to respect. He held the true Christian 
theory of the dignity and brotherhood of man, 
and longed for the time when "man to man 
the world o'er, should brithers be for a' that." 
The feeling of independence which he cherished 
and displayed was something entirely different 
from any mere envy of rank. To those in high 
station who were worthy of his regards, he paid 
them with a poet's heartiness ; but he had no 
respect for mere rank and mere station when 
dissevered from worth. Here also his position 
in society stood him in good stead. The class 
of whom his father was one were the salt of 
Scotland. They had stood by Wallace in the 
war of independence. They were ever ready 
at the call of their country — they were in the 
thick of the Reformation — they were in the 
thick of the Covenanters' struggle, and they 



have been deep in all the bloodless contentions 
which have since agitated Scotland. They 
were actuated by a high sense of duty, permit- 
ting none to come betwixt them and their 
privileges. Whether it was an English loldier, 
a Romish priest, a persecuting Prelatist, or an 
interfering landlord, they each and all received 
the same stem rebuff. If they were invited to 
stretch their consciences in sacred matters at 
the bidding of their superiors, they knew how 
to resist it with scorn — ^if in civil matters, they 
were ready to take the consequences of refusal. 
They were scrupulously jealous of their inde- 
pendence in another particular — had you offered 
to place one of those genuine old world Scotch- 
men upon the poor-roll, it would have broken 
his heart ! He knew how to labour hard and 
live sparingly, but he knew not how to de])end 
upon others for his daily bread. Mr. Gorrie 
then took up the second subject with which he 
proposed to deal, namely, that the poetry of 
Bums had done much for Scottish nationaJity. 
The poet was born amid scenes peculiarly fitted 
to fire the patriotic ardour of his soul. Every 
inch of the soil which he trode in youth was 
classic ground. Ayrshire was the land of 
Wallace before it was the land of Burns. It 
was the land, too, of the Covenanters ; and the 
remembrance of the liberty, civil and religious, 
which had been thus achieved, acted powerfully 
upon the whole population of the west. The 
land of Wallace ! and 

" At Wallace' name what Scottish blood 
But boils up in a spring-tide flood ! 
Oft have onr fearless fathers strode 

By Wallace' side 
Still pressing onward, red-wat shod, 
Or glorious died ! " 

The blood of the poet, like that of every 
true Scotchman^ fired at the very name of the 
Great Patriot. He tells us how he used to 
visit and muse amid the scenes of Wallace's 
dangers and triumphs, and how he longed to 
sing a song worthy of the man and his work. 
I would the practice were as universal now as 
then, of recalling the life and labours of one 
who preserved Scotland from the yoke of bond- 
age, and thus made her what she is in her free- 
dom, her prosperity, and her great aspirations. 
I would it were more common than it is, to tell 
the children of the land — they who must in 
future bear up the country's banner — the 
legends of that elder time when their fathers 
struck for freedom. But I presume they are 
now taught the " philosophy of sport " — taught 
the nature and attributes of a soap-bubble, or 
why a fly can walk along the ceiling. It is 
good to do the one, but not to leave the other 
undone. It is good to teach them the works 
of Greek and Latin poets, but teach them first — 



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EDINBUBGH.— DUNEDIN HALL. 



31 



** Scots wbA liae wi' Wallace bl«id.*' 

Bums, I say, bas done much for Scotland and 
Scottbh nationality by thus becoming a voice 
to her patriotism. He kindled his torch ere 
the fire had burned low, and now it passes 
from hand to hand down the ages, lighting 
afresh the patriot's zeal. And God help the 
country where patriotism is no more, and the 
science of money-getting reigns supreme ! God 
help the people who have no thought to be- 
stow upon the history of their native land, or 
on the achievements of the great men of their 
race! Their seeming prosperity may go on 
widening and deepening till the whole world 
gazes with admiration and envy, but it is a 
prosperity which is rotten at the core, and will 
one day crumble into a terrible ruin. I|is not 
based upon those everlasting foundations which 
alone can insure permanence to prosperity ; it 
is reared upon a false political economy; and 
when the storm comes, as come it shall, the 
nation shall find that it has built its house upon 
the sand. Yes, initiate your children, if you 
choose, into all the mysteries of science — make 
them walking cyclopsedias of knowledge, and 
forget to tell them how the blood of patriots 
and martyrs was poured out that the bright 
legacy of freedom might be handed down un- 
sullied and unimpaired — forget to tell them 
that, next to loving God, their duty is to love 
their country with all their soul and strength — 
to treasure its traditions — to extend its fame 
— to guard its privileges, and to widen its free- 
dom — ^forget all this, then, 1 say, God help the 
nation, for its doom is already written : — 

" Oh, Thoa t who poured the patriotic tide, 

That streamed through Wallace's undaunted 
heart, 
Who dared to nobly stem t3rrannic pride, 
Or nobly die the second glorious part, 
(The patriot's God peculiarly Thou art, 
Hifl friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward I) 
Oh t never, never, Scotia's realm desert ; 
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard, 
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard I " 

I thank thee, Burns, for those lines ! It is in 
such strains he gives a voice to Scottish patriot- 
ism ; and on this the centenary of his birth 
the Genius of Scotland seems to appear, and 
mutely plead that the voice may not be raised 
in vain. I am afraid we all think too little of 
auld Scotland, and lay too few plans for her 
sake. I am afraid there are some among us 
who even act a more ungrateful part — who 
ridicule the spirit of nationality, and exult in the 
humiliation of their country ! It is of these 
things that the Genius of the land struggles to 
speak ; but the heart is too big for utterance, 
and she can only call up before us visions of 



the past, and point silently and sadly to the 
future. The future ! May we so labour that 
the future shall be no less glorious than the 
past — so labour that when the next centenary 
comes, Scotchmen may look round upon a re- 
generated land, and seeing, boast the memory 
of their sires, and utter a blessing over our 
graves. (Mr. Gorrie, who was warmly ap- 
plauded throughout his speech, resumed his 
seat amidst loud applause.) 

Speeches were then delivered by Mr. John 
M*Laren, advocate, and Mr. Eraser, one of the 
Trades' Delegates Committee. At this part of 
the proceedings the meeting was visited by 

The Lord Provost, who stated that he had 
been at the meetings held in the Music Hall 
and the Com Exchange, and was much grati- 
fied at.being able to attend this one also. 

Mr. Simon Glover, a contemporary of Burns, 
and who is now upwards of 100 years of age, 
made his appearance on the platform during 
the evening, and was enthusiastically received. 
He gave a very interesting description of the 
manner in which he became acquainted with 
Burns; and also recited the poet's poem of 
"Death and Dr. Hornbook." 

Several of Burns' songs were sung during the even- 
ing; and Mr. Macdonald gave some readings from 
his poems. 



DUNEDIN HALL. 

The "Working Man's Festival" in Dunedin 
Hall was crowded by an audience numbering 
upwards of 2,000 individuals, while many were 
unable to gain admittance. Mr. Donald Bonald 
Macgregor presided. The building was deco- 
rated with ^gs and evergreens, and had a very 
fine appearance. A superb band from the 
Castle was in attendance. On the platform, 
beside the Chairman, were Councillors Alex- 
ander, Redpath, Jamieson, Anderson, &c., and 
a perfect galaxy of female beauty. After tea 
had been served. 

The Chairman then rose, and having con- 
gratulated the meeting on its numbers and 
heartiness in the cause, proceeded as follows — 
William Burns, the father of our great national 
poet, was driven at an early age from the 
parental roof, in consequence of family misfor- 
tunes, which had their source in the forfeiture 
of the Dunnottar estate in Kincardineshire in 
1716, by the attachment of the Keith Marischal 
family to the cause of the exiled Stuarts. He 
came to Edinburgh, and for many years worked 
hard as a gardener when employment could be 
had, at times in difficulty and trouble enough ; 
but still, by self-denial and economy, managing 
to spare something for the support of his aged 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



parents. He afterwards removed to Ayrshire, 
where he took a lease of some seven acres of 
land near the bridge of Doon, and commenced 
business as a nurseryman. On this piece of 
ground, with his own hands, he built a clay 
cottage, and in December 1757, brought to it 
Agnes Brown, his young bride, the daughter 
of a small farmer in Oarrick. It was in this 
humble cottage, exactly one hundred years ago 
this day, that Robert Bums, their eldest child, 
was bom, and it is this event which we are 
now met to commemorate, an event which is this 
day being celebrated not only in every city, 
town, and vilUge, and hamlet throughout Scot- 
land, ay, and England too, but in every land, 
and in every clime where the Anglo-Saxon 
language is spoken, or an adventurous spirit 
has carried one of Scotia's sons. (Great 
Applause.) And well may the whole Scottish 
nation celebrate the birth of Bums, for Scot- 
land herself is this day exalted and glorified in 
the fact that, sprung from the bosom of her 
people, and living and dying among the chil- 
dren of toil, she has produced a poet whose 
genius has pictured, in undying words, all that 
is lovely and loveable in her daughters, all that 
is manly and independent, noble and devout, 
in the character of her sons. (Hear, hear.) 
In Robert Burns we recognise the true repre- 
sentative, so to speak, of lus countrymen. His 
genius searched into the hearts of those among 
whom his life was spent, and gave utterance to 
the nobilities he found there. The simple piety 
which erected a family altar in every household, 
speaks to us in the " Cottar's Saturday Night" 
— ^the pure unselfish love of our lads is expressed 
in such sweet strains as '' My Nannie O," and 
** Of a' the airts the wind can blaw,'* rising into 
the sublimity of chastened tenderness and love 
in the " Ode to Mary in Heaven " — our slow 
to give, but fast to hold, friendship in <' Should 
auld acquaintance be forgot '* — our pride even 
in our honest poverty, our independence, 
manly but not boorish, the peasant casting no 
glance of envy on the peer, is pictured in 
" A man's a man for a' thfet " — while Scottish 
patriotism as it existed in the time of Burns, as 
we are proud to know it exists among us still, 
thrills through our every vein, as if we heard 
the trumpet's call to battle for freedom and our 
hearths, in " Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled." 
(Great cheering.) Robert Burns is truly, par 
excdlence, the poet of the Scottish people. 
His songs are with us in our every mood, are 
associated with us in our every memory, that 
takes us back to the days of langsyne, to the 
days of our boyhood and our youth, to friends 
who liave passed away, and to joys that return 
no more. His songs lighten the toil of labour, 
and bring balm to the spirit oppressed with the 



world's care. Robert Bums lives in the heart 
of the Scottish nation, and there will he be en- 
shrined while the plough turns up the soil of 
auld Scotland, or the sound of the hammer is 
heard in her cities and her hamlets. (Applause.) 

However humble and lowly the household 
in which Burns grew up to manhood, it was 
not without its advantaiges. William Bums, 
his father, was one of those of whom Scotland 
may justly be proud — a model of humble intel- 
ligence and worth — a man ready to make all 
sacrifices for the education of his children — a 
man of whom Mr. Murdoch, the poet's teacher, 
said, << I have always considered William Bums 
as by far the best of the human race that I 
ever had the pleasure of being acquainted with, 
and many a worthy character I have known." 
An afectionate husband, a kind father, repress- 
ing every evil and encouraging every heaven- 
ward influence, we behold him and his family 
at their simple evening devotions, so exquisitely 
pictured in the "Cottar's Saturday Night," and 
he lives in our veneration and love for ever. 
(Great applause.) 

Robert Burns was barely thirteen when he 
commenced a life of hard toil, and with a stout, 
willing heart did he put forth his young strength 
to help his loved father on the little farm lie 
had taken, for the sake of keeping his family 
together under his own roof tree. ' At fifteen 
he was chief labourer on the farm, and relieved 
his fiither from holding the plough ; and in this 
capacity he remained untU his father's death in 
tlie spring of 1784, when being then in his 
twenty-sixth year, he and his brother Gilbert 
took the farm of Mossgiel, in the parish of 
Mauchline, whither the whole Burns family re- 
moved. The farm-house of Mossgiel, which still 
exists pretty much as when it was inhabited by 
Bums, is a humble dwelling, mainly two rooms, 
a kitchen and a parlour, with a kind of garret- 
closet entering by a trap stair from tlie lobby. 
This little garret was the chamber of the poet 
and his brother. It had a small window of 
four panes in the sloping roof, and under the 
window a small deal table. Here he transcribed 
the verses he had composed in the field, his 
youngest sister often slipping up to search the 
drawer for them. Burns was not a farmer in 
the modern sense of the word, but the douce 
guidman who held his own plough. The 
plough was drawn by four horses, driven by a 
help or gaudsman, as he was called. His 
gaudsman at Mossgiel was one John Blane, who 
related, in illustration of the poet's humane 
disposition, that one day tlie plough having 
turned up a field-mouse, he chased lind was on 
the point of killing it, when he was called back 
by the tender-hearted Bard, who not only saved 
its life then, but immortalized it by an ode to 



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EDINBURGH.— DUNEDIX HALL. 



33 



the ** Wee sleek it, eowVin' timid beastie," — one 
of the earliest and one of the sweetest he has 
written. (Great applause.) After two years 
of hard work on Mossgiel, getting from it 
barely his wages as a ploughman of £1 a- year, 
Bums became disheartened, and had well-nigh 
emigrated to Jamaica; but a volume of his 
poems having been published at Kilmarnock, 
and realized the, to him, large sum of £20, he 
abandoned that idea, and in November of 1786 
made his first journey to Edinburgh. Here the 
genius of Burns quickly made him known and 
welcomed by all classes. Among the first 
places Burns visited — ^places of intei'est to him 
— were the house of Allan Bamsay, on entering 
which he reverently took off his hat, and the 
humble grave of Bobert Fergusson, where he 
knelt and kissed the sod, afterwards erecting a 
tombstone to his memory — still to be seen in 
Ganongate Kirkyai-d. (Great applause.) It 
was at this time that Walter Scott, then a lad 
of sixteen, employed in his father's house, had 
an opportunity of becoming acquainted with 
Bums; he met liim in the Sciennes, at the 
house of Dr. Ferguson, whose son, Sir Adam, 
tells us that the poet's attention was arrested 
by a picture in the room representing a soldier 
lying dead on the snow, his dog sitting in misery 
on one side — on the other his widow with a 
child in her arms. These lines were written 
underneath : 

" Gold on Canadian hills or Minden's plain, 
Perhaps that parent wept her soldier slain; 
Bent o'er her babe, her eyes dissolved in dew. 
The big drops mingling with the milk he drew, 
Qave the sad presage of his fatare years — 
The child of misery baptized in tears." 

Burns read the lines aloud, but before he got 
to the end of them his voice faltered, and his 
big black eye filled with tears. He asked if 
any one could tell him who had written the 
lines. The philosophers were silent, but the 
lame boy modestly told him it was one Lang- 
home, and mentioned where they occurred. 
The poet looked at the lad with kindly interest, 
and in a serio-comic voice said, " You'll be a 
man yet, sir.** (Great applause.) Although 
Robert Bums associated with the greatest and 
wealthiest of the land, he never resorted to the 
meanness of overlooking the child of honest 
poverty. One day, walking down Leith Walk 
with a modish friend, he met an old Ayrshire 
acquaintance very poorly dressed, and stopped 
to have a crack. His dandy friend told him ho 
was surprised he had stopped to speak to such 
a shabby-looking fellow. "What!" said the 
manly bard, " do you think it was the man's 
clothes I was speaking to — his hat, his coat, 
and his waistcoat? N"©, it was the man within 



the coat and waistcoat; and let me tell you, 
that man has more sense and worth than nine 
out of ten of my fine city friends." (Applause.) 
This visit of Burns to Edinburgh was perhaps 
the happiest period of his life. He mingled 
with a society comprising undoubtedly the first 
names of the day in philosophy, literature, and 
science, and enjoyed with his friend, Alexander 
Nasmyth, the landscape painter, many a ramblo 
in the magnificent country around. Arthur 
Seat being a favourite resort, he would lie down 
on the top of this romantic hill, and for hours, 
poet-like, gaze delighted on a view stretching 
from far beyond the May to the huge Ben 
Lomond guarding the couch of the weary sun 
in the far west. 

By the Edinburgh edition of his poems. 
Bums netted something like ;£400, about half 
of which he generously advanced to his brother 
Gilbert, who struggled on at Mossgiel, and 
with the remainder he stocked, in 1788, the 
farm of EUisland, on the Nith, between five 
and six miles from Dumfries, and to this farm 
he brought his wife, and set up house late in 
the same year. EUisland, turning out no 
better than Mossgiel, the poet, in 1789, got an 
appointment as an exciseman, ^50 a year, out 
of which he had to find his own horse, and for 
which, as one part of his duties, he had to ride, 
on an average, 200 miles a-week, 

" Searching anld wives* barrels, 
Och hon the day ! 
That clartv barm should stain my laurels ; 

But — what'U ye say ? 
These niovin' things ca'd wives and weans 
Wad move the veiy hearts o' staues." 

I give the lines, as they show the motive for 
accepting the uncongenial ofiice, and do the 
bard honour. (Great applause.) Two years 
later, having reason to expect promotion in the 
Excise, he gave up the farm altogether and re- 
moved to Dumfries, where he remained until 
his death, which occurred 21st July 1796, at 
the early age of thirty-seven. (Sensation.) Of 
this part of his life I cannot bring myself to 
speak. No man can read of it with dry eyes ; 
and we are met, my friends, not to weep, but 
to rejoice. Sufiice it to say that they were 
years of sorrow and anxiety beyond what com- 
monly fall even to the lot of man. The ex- 
pected promotion never came — the poet's free 
political opinions even jeopardising the poor 
situation he held, and alienating many friends. 
Burns never would consent to write poetry for 
money ; and hence we cannot wonder that he 
left his widow and five children very slenderly 
provided for. The poet's death- bed was soothed 
by the conviction that his countrymen, after 
his death, would be kind to them for his sake. 
c 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



He bequeathed them to liis country, and she 
has shown herself wortliy of the trust. (Great 
applause.) 

We cannot help wishing that some of his 
great friends had been more true to Burns, and 
more energetic on his behalf; that in his case, 
at least, politics had been overlooked, and that 
the rulers of the nation had honoured them- 
selves in honouring him, although perhaps we 
are wrong to expect much in that way in times 
of Sedition Bills, imprisoning of newspaper 
editors, and prosecutions of Thomas Muir, 
Skirving, and others. But whatever views we 
may take of the doings of the great men in 
power — the titled, the wealthy, the philoso- 
phers, the clergy, and the critics of that time — 
we are bound to say this, and we say it with 
pride — the working-men of his day with their 
wives and their sons and daughters — the men 
who, like himself, had earned their bread by 
the sweat of their brow, and knew what it was 
to toil, and to bear, and to suffer — were ever 
true to him ; and their successors of the present 
generation, whether it be their lot to whistle at 
the plough, or, far from the light of heaven, to 
dig out the hidden treasures of the earth, to 
tend the loom, or wield the hammer ; whether 
watchers of sheep or diggers for gold in far 
Australia; pioneers of civilization in Africa 
or America ; fishermen on our rivers, or sailors 
on the ocean ; old warriors at the ingleside, or 
Scotchmen, worthy of the country of Wallace 
and of Bruce, avenging, 'neath India's burning 
sun, their murdered and outraged kindred, this 
day hail Robert Burns as their poet and their 
brother, and proclaim that hb memory shall be 
hallowed and enshrined in their hearts for 
ever ! 

One word as to the various festivals now be- 
ing held in honour of our great national poet — 
and they are as varied in their character as are 
his poems : there is the great festival in the 
Crystal Palace, which was held at noon to-day, 
and has been attended, I learn by telegram — 
kindly sent me by the directors — by 15,000 
persons ; there is the St. George's Hall banquet 
in Liverpool, for which 3,500 tickets have been 
issued ; there are the great demonstrations in 
our own city, in Glasgow, Ayr, and Dumfries, 
in Dundee, Aberdeen, and all our great towns, 
the hearty gatherings in every country village, 
and in every Highland clachan. Dinners there 
are, and suppers, sheep's heads and haggises, 
washed down by Edinburgh ale and whisky- 
toddy. Masonic lodges, enthusiastic enough, 
but ungraced by the fair ; and social gatherings 
like our own, where Scotland's bonnie lasses 
grace tlie festive boards, and prove that spirits 
are not indispensable to happiness and mirth 
when we have their pleasant smiles and gracious 



presence. Tea we have from China, coflee 
from Arabia, sugar from the Indies, and fruit 
from Spain and the sunny south ; bread from 
the metropolis of the Land o' Cakes, songs "by 
Burns himsel', sung by lads and lasses he would 
have loved to listen to ; stringed music from a 
generous-hearted German admirer of the Bard, 
and matchless wind music from our Sussex 
brothers, the " braw, braw lads" from the Castle. 
Surely this evening shall be one, not only of 
honour to the memory of Robert Burns, but of 
happiness to every one I have the privilege of 
addressing — a happiness enhanced when we re- 
member that the surplus funds are to be de- 
voted, through the medium of the Royal In- 
firmary, to the alleviation of human suffering 
and woe. (Great cheering.) 

The song, par exceUenoe, of the evening, entitled 
'* Ye sair wrought sons o* daily toil," (written expressly 
for the occasion by Mr. John Brown.) having been 
sung with excellent taste by Mr. Bishop — the Chair- 
man then introduced Miss Somerville, who sang with 
pathos and feeling "My Nannie's Awa." She was 
well received, and was succeeded by Mr. Bhiels, who 
sang *' Bonnie wee thing," followed by Mr. Smith, 
who gave great effect to *' A man's a man for a' that," 
the immense assemblage joining with hearty good 
will in the chorus. Tlie part songs of " The Birks of 
Aberfeldy," and " Banks and Braes " came next, and 
after a tune from the Band, Mi-. Manderson, (a blind 
gentleman,) recited with humour and correctness the 
tale of " Tam o' Shanter." 

The Chairman here repeated a few original verses, 
written by Mr. Manderson, showing a considerable 
degree of poetical talent. Several other songs wei-e 
sung — and a vote of thanks to the Chairman was 
moved by Councillor Anderson, which was warmly 
responded to. After which the Band gave dismission 
to the meeting by playing " Auld Langsyne." 



GLOBE HOTEL. 

A number of gentlemen dined together in 
the Globe Hotel in Hill Place, and spent the 
evening in the most agreeable manner. The 
chair was occupied by Mr. James Burn, of 
Elder Street, who proposed the toast of the 
occasion. Aft^r some introductory remarks he 
said : — It may be argued that Burns was not a 
poet like Homer, Virgil, Shakspeare, Milton, or 
many others we might name, and that his ex- 
perience of men's social habits and modes of 
thought was confined to a very narrow circle. 
I grant such to have been the case, but though 
he could only survey the world of life from a very 
humble position, the extraordinary quickness of 
his perception more than compensated for his 
want of worldly education. And we must bear 
in mind that much of the wisdom he has left 
for our inheritance was the produce of in- 
spiration rather than the result of worldly 
experience. Burns possessed the magic power 
of acting upon the living sympathies of man's 



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EDINBURGH.— DRUMMOND STREET HALL. 



35 



nature, from kings to beggars, and lie con- 
tributed most to our happiness when he told us 
the things we knew, but could not express. 
The impulses of men's minds are the secret- 
springs of their actions; and though all our 
{Missions aud feelings are very simple things, yet 
simple as they appear, gentlemen, how few 
there are who can describe them as they really 
exist. Burns' power of imagery and truthful- 
ness of description was of the highest order; 
but it is in dwelling upon the mysteries of 
human thought and action in the daily con- 
cerns of life in which he excels. If in a sad 
hour of reflection he sang the melancholy lay 
that '^ Man was made to mourn," he has cheered 
our hopes and gladdened our hearts with his 
picture of happiness in humble life in his " Cot- 
tar's Saturday Night." Whether he strikes 
the lyre to love or patriotism, we are made to 
feel the force of his magic power ; in the one 
case his flame is the pure devotion of the heart, 
and in the other we have the ardour, courage, 
and determination of a man who would rather 
die in the defence of his country, than live on 
the ruins of her liberty. In the dialogue of the 
" Twa Dogs," the ploughman shows a keen in- 
sight into the affairs of men in the various ranks 
of society, and in the true spirit of the poet and 
the philanthropist he never fails to plead the 
cause of suffering humanity, and claim for the 
sons of toil the rights of freemen. Who that has 
read the inimitable " Death and Dr. Hornbook " 
can ever forget the journey of the half-drunken 
man as he floundered on his way home in the 
dead hour of night ? How graphically he de- 
scribes the different conditions of his mind as 
reason or whisky prevails, and how the courage 
of the toper and the superstition of the man 
battles for mastery ! How playful the wit, how 
droll the humour, and how keen and cutting 
the satire when exposing the evils of quackery I 
We love Bums for his kind aud generous 
sympathy with our nature, we admire him for 
his manly independence, and we are pleased 
with his sparkling wit and rollicking humour. 
In his moments of gladness he plays with our 
susceptibilities until he inoculates us with his 
own thoughts and feelings. The imagery, the 
wit and pathos, combined in ^' Tarn o' Shanter," 
makes it one of the most unrivalled productions 
in our own or any other language; and if 
Bums had never written another line, this 
poem would have immortalized him. Gentle- 
men, I am convinced that no man can truly ad- 
mire a poet until he has felt him ; this is the 
great secret of Bums, the different states and 
conditions of his own mind are communicated 
to his readers, and whether our souls are tinged 
with melancholy dver the dear departed shade of 
his ** Mary in Heaven," carried away by the full- 



flowing tide of friendship in " Auld Langsyne," 
or dwelling in the misty delights between the 
late and early " wi' a wee drappie in our e'e," 
we are made to feel that the poet is a living part 
of our own nature. The ploughman bard had 
a mission independent of that of ministering to 
men's lighter enjoyments; he wielded the club 
of satire with the arm of a giant, and he made 
men feel the force of ridicule who were imper- 
vious both to reason and common-sense. Some 
of his satires upon the canting Piiarisees and 
saintly sinners of his time were well directed, 
and, what is of no small consequence, they are 
as applicable to certain mistaken Christians, or 
double dealers, now as they were seventy years 
ago. We have often heard the poet found fault 
with for the manner in which he lanipoonefl the 
unco gude, but the conduct of the parties he 
flagellated was a greater reproach to religion 
than could have been inflicted upon it by its 
worst enemies. Upon more than one occasion 
some of the able Ciiristians of his own country 
have endeavoured to brand his name with in- 
fidelity ; this day has proved how far they have 
succeeded. My opinion is that Burns' idea of 
religion was far exalted above the narrow- 
minded, sectarian bigots he so justly exposed. 
I must confess, gentlemen, that I am not one 
of those who join in the insane cry that Burns 
was badly used by his countrymen while living. 
His literary career was of short duration, aud 
the public had not suflicient time to sit in judg- 
ment upon his merits as a poet; and it must be 
remembered, too, that the newspaper press, the 
great organ of public opinion, was then only in 
a state of helpless infancy. No man in the 
present day, with anything like Burns' talents, 
could long go unrewarded; and we have good 
proof of what his countrymen would have done 
for him, if they had known the living man as 
well as they have since known the poet. 



HOWLET CLUB. 

The members of the Howlet Club, having 
resolved to celebrate the Burns Centenary, met 
in Bourgeois' Hotel, and after an excellent' 
dinner, most ably presided over by Mr. J. 
M'Intosh, spent such a "nicht wi' Burns "as 
will be long remembered by those who had the 
gratification of being at this happy meeting. 



DRUMMOND STREET HALL. 

On Tuesday night the Loyal Sir Ralph 
Abercromby Lodge of Oddfellows, M U., a 
number of brethren of the sister lodges, and 
other friends, assembled in their Lodge-room, 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Drummond Street Hull, to celebrate their »ix- 
teenth anniversarj', anil in honour of the cen- 
tenary of Burns. John Middleton, M.D., the 
surgeon of the lodge, presided, supported right 
and left by ex-Baron-Bailie Robert Ritchie, 
C.E., Dr. Murray Thomson, Messrs. John Dal- 
gleish, Andrew Thomson, James Wilson, P.O., 
Hugh Cameron, P.O.S., William Scott, P.G.M., 
&c. Past Grand Walter Henderson, and Past 
Secretary A. Fraser, officiated as croupiers. 
The Chairman, in an eloquent speech, gave the 
toast of the evening, "The memory of our 
illustrious bard, Robert Burns." The toast was 
most enthusiastically received, and in com- 
memoration of the bard's connexion as poet- 
laureate of the Freemasons, "The Lodge 
Canongate Kilwinning," was given with real 
" Canongate honours." Various appropriate 
toasts and sentiments followed, and the hilarity 
of the evening was much enlivened by songs, 
recitations, glees, &c. 



FRUIT SOIREE. 

A fruit soiree, under the auspices of the 
Dean and Water of Leith Mutual Improvement 
Society, took place in the Free Dean Church 
Schoolroom, on Tuesday evening, in order to 
afford to the inhabitants of the neighbouring 
village and district an opportunity, at a moder- 
ate cost, of paying respect to the memory of our 
great national bard. The schoolroom was quite 
crowded. Interesting addresses were delivered 
in the course of the evening, on the life, genius, 
and character of Robert Burns ; and some of 
his finest songs were sung, and recitations of 
some of his poems given. The entertainment 
went off with great spirit. 



STUDENTS' MEETING. 

About forty legal and medical students from 
the counties of Dumfries, Ayr, and Galloway, 
attending the Edinburgh Univei'sity, celebrated 
the centenary of the nativity of Robert Burns 
by dining together in the Turf Hotel, Princes 
Street, The duties of the chair were very ably 
performed by Mr. William Shaw, Stranraer; 
Mr. James Roy and Mr. A. D. Muir officiating 
as croupiers. 

The cloth having been removed, the Chair- 
man, who was received with great cheering, 
briefly proposed the usual loyal and patriotic 
tmists, all of which -were received with the 
utmost enthusiasm, the whole company singing 
the National Anthem after the toast of the 
Queen. 

The Chairman again rose to propose the 



toast of the evening, and said, — You are all 
aware that patriotism is a valued characteristic 
of the people of Scotland. (Cheers.) There 
is not a man within whose veins the blood of a 
Scottish ancestry flows who would suffer the 
slightest imputation to blot the fair fame of his 
native land. (Great cheering.) It was patriot- 
ism which brought us here to-night ; it is our 
love for our native land, because it is our ad- 
miration of the immortal genius of a native of 
Scotland. It is for the purpose of still more 
indelibly impressing upon our minds the im- 
mortal memory of Robert Bums, the plough- 
boy of Ayrshire; and I am sure a sincere, 
grateful, and loving tribute will be devoted at 
the shrine of his immortal genius. (Continued 
cheering.) It was on this day one hundred 
years ago that Robert Burns was born. It 
was at a period not much later, when but a 
youth, and following the team, " the Genius of 
poetry first threw her inspiring mantle around 
liim." Then came, as you all know, what he 
has left behind — poems and songs which have 
made his name immortal — poems which sang 
and still sing, the loves, the joys, and the sor- 
rows of " Auld Scotland." It is a pleasing duty 
to reflect on some of the finer traits in the poet's 
character. In all his history he was actuated 
by uprightness. In his friendships he was sin- 
cere, and he was the life and soul of the social 
circle. 

" Tlmt man to man, the world o'er, 
Should brithei-B be," 

was one of his favourite maxims, and he never 
deviated in the most minute degree from its 
proper observances. Of course, we dare not 
deny that he had weak points : but take into 
consideration the preponderance of good — 
could there be found in the motley throng 
which struts its little hour upon the chequered 
stage of life, the single instance of a man, who 
has not for a time allowed the passions implanted 
within him as it were to overcome the better 
rules laid down for our self-government? Our 
insufficient knowledge of ourselves is the cause 
of this, and why then should anathema be cast 
at the fame of Robert Bums, because the same 
failings clung to him which ding to us? 
(Cheers.) It would, therefore, be uncharitable 
to parade before you those worldly pleasures 
which 

^' Hoveling and blazing with illasive light, 
Mislead Uie amaxed night wanderer from his way. 
To bogs and mirea." 

We cannot but sincerely regret that many of 
our fellow-countrymen, actuated with feelings 
not distantly related to hypocrisy, have thought 
tit to make the weaknesses of our poet a reason 



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EDINBURGH.— HOLYIiOOD. 



37 



wliy his centenary should not be celebrated. 
We have, however, reason and judgment as 
M'ell as they, and reason and judgment have 
dictated the course we have to pursue. Who 
could forget the sad history of Burns and his 
Highland Mary t Suppose a summer's night 
when all around enchanted was in nature's 
sweetest dreams, while Burns with his dearest 
]Mary sat among the whispering wood beneath 
the fragrance of the fair flower, and enchanted 
by the echoing music of the never drumlie 
streams which encircled the Castle of Mont- 
gomery. He was there, brought by sincere 
and ardent affection, but he did not know he 
was to take his last farewell* The green birk 
waved carelessly overhead, while he clasped 
her to his bosom under the fragrant shade of 
the hawthorn. But the stream of life may 
cease to run when least expected. There were 
the youthful lovers indulging in the sweetest 
dreams of future prospects, and they saw each 
other no more. (Sensation.) Gracefully and 
feelingly did he sing the rural scenes and fire- 
side pleasures of his country. That section of 
his poems abounds in sublimity — summer is as 
it were made more sunny, while dark and dreary 
winter is made brilliant by the sunshine of his 
genius. (Great cheering.) The scene depicted 
in " The Cottar's Saturday Night," one of the 
finest, if not the finest of all his productions, 
when carefully read is not easily forgotten. 
The picture of nature given in this poem is as 
enchanting as it is wonderful. The last day of 
the week arrived, and the weary cottar is re- 
turned to his ingleside, his toil is forgotten in 
the felicity of his little ones. The little infant 
IS his tender care, while his own good example 
is his children's only heritage. Truly this is a 
noble poem. After having adverted at some 
length to the poems of Burns, the Chairman 
concluded as follows — But while we admire his 
genius and respect his memory, we cannot, we 
dare not forget, that he was sadly neglected 
during his life, and our forefathers having ne- 
glected him, shall we not do what we can now 
to wipe out the stain ? (Cheers.) Now then, 
gentlemen, shall I test your enthusiasm. Now 
let every feeling be evinced at the mention of 
the name and memory of Burns. Though he 
be gone (it is hoped to a better world), his 
spirit still hovers around us. Let heartfelt re- 
sponsiveness be the reception of the toast. 
Drink to the groat and good — the noble spirit 
and the independent mind — commemorate the 
centenary of Bobert Burns — the immortal Bard 
of Scotland! (The toast was drunk with great 
cheering, and unbounded enthusiasm prevailed 
for several minutes.) 

Naraerons other toasts followed, and the greatest 
hilarity prevailed daring the evening, and the com- 



pany, after having sung " Auld Langsyne," broke up, 
niglily delighted. 



LOWER MUSIC HALL. 

The Free Masons, Free Gardeners, and mem- 
bers of other corporations, in order not to be 
behind their neighbours in paying a tribute of 
respect to the memory and genius of Scotland's 
favourite bard, availed themselves of the preva- 
lent kindly feeling towards tlie great poet, and 
held a ball on Tuesday night in honour of his 
centenary. This festival was exceedingly well 
attended by ladies and gentlemen in full dress. 
The programme, which was strictly adhered to, 
included all the popular and favourite dances of 
the present day, with a superabundance of quad- 
rilles, mazourkas, waltzes, and schottisches. Mr. 
Macaulay, with the aid of a first-rate band and 
an efiicient master of ceremonies, conducted the 
charming symposium with great and deserved 
success. The Barony Broughton Flute Band 
were also in attendance, and played well several 
lively strains. After the banquet in the upper 
hall was over, a few gentlemen not tired out 
with the feasting and toasting then brought to 
a close, joined the company in the lower hall, 
and soon were engaged in tripping it on the 
light fantastic toe. In the course of the evening 
Messrs. Stewart and Hutton danced the High- 
land fling in costume, in a very superior style. 
There was also a sailor's hornpipe in character; 
and several songs were sung with great taste 
and feeling — ^but we have only space to men- 
tion Miss Bruce's beautiful interpretation of 
"My Nannie's Awa." Dancing was kept up 
till an early hour on Wednesday, when all sepa- 
rated in an orderly manner, evidently pleased 
with their night's enjoyment. The whole ar- 
rangements, under the auspices of Mr. Hutton, 
were admirably conducted; everything passed 
off in a quiet and orderly manner, for which the 
company are entirely indebted to the zeal and 
active efforts of that gentleman. 



HOLYROOD. 

On Tuesday evening a number of gentlemen 
assembled to celebrate the centenary in the 
house of Mr. Robert Finlayson, Watergate — 
John Fulton, Esq., of Nettlehurst (Ayrshire), 
in the chair; and Mr. Garratt discharged the 
duties of croupier. The usual loyal and pa- 
triotic toasts having been given, the chairman 
proposed the toast of the evening — " The Im- 
mortal Memory of Burns," in an able and elo- 
quent speech. The toast was drunk with en- 
thusiasm. Mr. Dreghorn proposed the health 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



of the " Sons of Burns." Several other toasts 
followed, and the party broke up in high 
spirits. 



SUPPER AND BALL. 

The employees of Messrs. Schenck and 
M'Farlanc held a supper and ball in Mr. 
Dewar's class-room, South Bridge, on Tuesday, 
in honour of the centennial anniversary of the 
birth of our great national poet. Several ap- 
propriate speeches and songs were given in the 
course of the evening, and dancing was kept up 
till far on in the morning. 



TAM O' SHANTER CLUB. 

The Tam o' Shanter Club met in Souter's 
Inn, South Back of Canongate — Mr. Wm. 
Darling in the chair, Messrs. James Brown and 
William Dalglish, croupiers. After partaking 
of an excellent supper, the chairman gave a 
feeling address, and the " Memory of the Im- 
mortal Bard" was given by Mr. Brown with all 
the honours. The evening was spent with 
songs and recitations. 



ABBEY BREWERY WORKMEN. 

The workmen (amounting to the number of 
about two hundred) in the employment of Wil- 
liam Younger & Co. assembled on Tuesday to 
celebrate the centenary of Robert Burns in the 
large barn within their work, which was beau- 
tifully decorated for the occasion with bay 
leaves, holly, and evergreen. On one side of 
the place, "R. B.," the initials of the poet, 
" Speed the Plough," &c., were exhibited ; on 
the other, "V. R.," and other devices; at the 
back of the chairman was observed "William 
Younger & Co.," elegantly done with flowers; 
while at the back of the croupier a bust of the 
bard, surrounded by seventy dazzling lights, 
added great beauty to the place. A sumptuous 
dinner was given to the workmen by their em- 
ployers, which was handsomely got up. Amongst 
other dainties was the haggis, a dish that is 
every Scotchman's brag. Andrew Smith, Esq., 
occupied the chair, and Mr. Cuthbert acted as 
croupier. The chairman began by giving the 
usual loyal and patriotic toasts — " The Queen," 
Avhich was followed by the "National An- 
them;" the "Army and Navy," which was re- 
sponded to by John Younger, Esq. A variety 
of Burns's songs were sung — " A' the Airts," 
"Afton Water," "The Birks o' Aberfeldy," 
" Bruco's Address." Mr, Cuthbert, in an ele- 



gant speech,- gave "The Memory of Burns,'* 
concluding amidst great cheers. "William 
Younger & Co." was next given, and the song 
of "Willie BrewM a Peck o' Maut" was then 
sung. Mr. Bruce also delivered a neat address 
on the genius of Burns; he also gave "Tlie 
Travellers," which was responded to by Mr. 
Greenlaw, who also gave a poetical production 
of his own on our poet. " A Man's a Man," 
" Ye Banks and Braes," " I am a Young Man," 
and many other songs, were sung. " Auld Lang- 
syne," concluded the celebration. The party 
then broke up, greatly delighted with the treat, 
next day showing that the evening's amuse- 
ment was able to bear the morning's reflec- 
tions. 



RAINBOW HOTEL. 

Among the msaiy private celebrations of the 
great centenary in Exlinburgh, we have to re- 
cord a very successful one which took place in 
the Rainbow Hotel, where between flfty and 
sixty gentlemen sat down to dinner, presided 
over by Mr. Henry Kerr, watchmaker; Mr. 
James Gow acting as croupier. After due and 
loyal honour had been done to the usual preli- 
minary toasts, the Chairman gave the toast of 
the evening, " The Immortal Memory of 
Robert Burns," in a speech characterised alike 
by great judgment and a true appreciation of 
the poet's genius and character. His remarks 
were frequently and deservedly applauded, and 
the toast was drunk with all the honours, in the 
most enthusiastic manner. The roost popular 
of the poet's songs were sung in the course of 
the evening — a glee party from one of the 
musical associations in town lending their 
valuable assistance. "Tam o' Shanter" was 
recited with much spirit by Mr. Henderson. 
Mr. Douglas delivered an eloquent address on 
" The Genius of Bums;" and several toasts in 
connection with the poets and poetry of our 
native land were given and warmly responded 
to. " The bonnie lassies" were not forgotten, 
and although " a man's a man for a' that," his 
happiness is never complete without them. 
However, notwithstanding their absence, the 
meeting was a great success, and assisted, in 
however humble a way, to throw a stone on the 
great cairn which was that day reared to the 
poet's memory. They "a* were proud o' 
Robin." 



THE EDINBURGH BRECHINERS. 

I A large company of gentlemen resident in 
1 Edinburgh, connected with Brechin and neigh- 



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GLASGOW.— CITY HALL. 



39 



bourliood, celebrated the centenary of Burns 
by a dinner in the Cafe Royal. The chair was 
occupied by Mr. John Hendry, and Mr. A. M. 
Davidson acted as croupier. After the usual 
loyal toasts, the Chairman, in an admirable 
sf>eech, proposed the toast of the evening — 
" The Immortal Memory of Burns," which was 
received with rapturous enthusiasm. Mr. Da- 



vid Black then read, amidst great applause, 
some verses composed by him for the occasion. 
The "Sons of Burns," "The Pea^ntry of 
Scotland," "The Daughter and Nieces of 
Burns," and various other toasts were given. 
Several of the Bard's choicest songs were sung 
in the course of the evening, and altogether the 
meeting was one of great enthusiasm. 



GLASGOW. 



CITY HALL. 

The grand Glasgow demonstration took place 
in the City Hall. About five o*clock p. M. the 
company began to assemble, and a few minutes 
thereafter the body of the hall was filled. The 
place was magnificently decorated. In front 
of the organ there was suspended a large screen, 
painted to represent various scenes and objects 
connected with Burns. On the right side was 
the familiar *• Brigs o' Doon," " The Ayr Mon- 
ument," " the Auld AUoway Kirk," and the 
cottage in which he wiis born. On the left 
side of the painting was " The Mausoleum at 
Dumfries," with its local scenery. On the ex- 
treme left was represented the Edinburgh Mon-' 
ument with the Craigs and Arthur*s Seat in 
the background. In the centre of this compo- 
site landscape was represented a bronze statue 
of the poet ten feet high. The attitude is 
taken as he appeared when " following his 
plough in glory and in joy," with his eyes bent 
on the ground as if he were musing. Above 
tills characteristic painting, which, we believe, 
is the work of Mr. Bowie," 26 Bothwell Street, 
are the shield, mottoes, and crest of the poet. 
At each side the flags of Scotland, England, 
France, and America drooped in mingled care- 
lessness, and were supported by the shields of 
Scotland and Glasgow. On either side, hang- 
ing from the organ, and every appropriate place, 
were flags of all designs and colours, which 
beautifully undulated in the gentle upper cur- 
rent of the hall. Conspicuous in front of the 
platform was the splendid portrait of Burns by 
Mr. Macnee, which was displayed to the best 
advantage. On the wall at each end of the 
chairman's table were two busts of Burns, the 
one the classic model of St. Fillans, and the 
other that of Mr. Currie. The former was 
kindly lent by Mr. Thomas Brown, and the 
latter by Mr. A. Balloch. In the same line 



with these busts, ran on either side along the 
whole length of the hall those of Wilson, Scott, 
Motherwell, Ramsay, Shakspeare, Milton, By- 
ron, Dryden, Pope, and othera of the great 
and good. The spaces between the pillars of 
the galleries were draped with crimson cloth, 
fringed with evergreen, and on these, in white 
letters, were inscribed some of the poet's most 
popular and most successful lines and poems. 
In two of the spaces were two whole verses 
from "The Cottar's Saturday Night." The 
whole appearance of the hall was brilliant in 
the extreme. 

While the company were assembling, the ex- 
cellent band of the Sherwood Foresters dis- 
coursed several pieces of music. The -gallery 
was laid out with a service of cake and wine 
for the ladies, who were to enter after dinner. 

The gentlemen took their places on the plat- 
form in the following order : — Sir Archibald 
Alison, Bart., chairman — supported on the right 
by Colonel Burns, Sir David Brewster, Samuel 
Lover, Sheriff Trotter, and Principal Barclay ; 
on the left by the Lord Provost, Judge Hali- 
burton, R. Monckton Milnes, M.P. ; R. Mon- 
teith of Carstairs, and Dr. Norman M*Leod. 
The gentlemen at the second table of the plat- 
form were : — Bailie Houldsworth ; Mr. Lowe, 
of the Critic ; C. R. Brown ; Blanchard Jer- 
rold ; Wm. Burns, Esq. ; A. Smollett, M.P. ; 
Bailie Fowler ; James Cairns, Esq. ; Bailie 
Bix>wn; Bailie Wilson ; Bailie Gemmill; Coun- 
cillor Arthur ; D. M. Lang, Esq. ; Councillor 
Clark ; J. Cutler Ferguson, Esq. ; James Mer- 
ry, Esq. ; Andrew Mitchell, Esq. ; Robert 

Burns Begg ; ^^ggf jun. ; and Colonel 

Mellish. 

The gentleman composing the third table on 
the platform were : — J. Ross, jun., Esq. ; W. 
B. Faulds, Esq. ; Robert Gunn, Esq.; A. Den- 

nistoun, Esq. ; Smith, Irvine ; Moses 

Provan, Esq. ; John Crawford, Esq. ; D. M*Cub- 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



bin, Esq. ; R. J. Currie, Esq. ; A. J. Syin- 
mington, Esq. ; Dr. Morton ; John M'Nab, 
Esq. ; George Coats, Esq. ; Charles Rogers, 
LL.D., Stirling; J. T. Rochead, Esq.; Officers 
of the Sherwood Foresters ; Haliburton Hume, 
Esq.; Dr. Laurie; Provost Grey; Dr. Burns; 
J* B. Dill, Esq. ; J, Muir Wood, Esq. ; Dr. 
Strang, City Chamberlain; P. Rintoul, Esq.; 
George Troup, Esq.; Dr. Drummond; Adam 

Sim, Esq. ; Paterson, Esq. ; Andrew 

M*Laggan, Esq.; &c. The croupiers were: — 
Robert Dalglish, Esq., M.P.; Walter Buchanan, 
Esq., MP.; Henry Glassford Bell, Esq., Advo- 
cate ; Peter Cunningham, Esq. ; Alexander 
Baillie Cochrane, Esq. of Lamington. 

Blessing being asked by Professor Barclay, a 
very capital and recherche dinner — served up 
by Mr. Sl*Lerie — was disposed of. Dr. M*Leod 
returned thanks. 

The Chairman then rose and said, — Before 
we begin the proper business of the evening, 
allow me to make two observations in reference 
to the conduct of tlie business. We have ascer- 
tained that no voice, however powerful, can be 
heard from the other end of the room, and 
therefore, when the croupiers are to give toasts, 
they will be requested to move up to the plat- 
form, in order that what they say may be heard 
by the whole company. (Applause.) Another 
observation I have to make before we begin is 
this, it is important that the toast of the even- 
ing, "The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns,'* 
should be given with all the honours. It is 
usual on occasions of the health of dead per- 
sons being drunk to give the toast in solemn 
silence; but, gentlemen, Burns never will be 
dead, his spirit is immortal, and we will give 
him with all the honours. (Loud cheers.) 
Gentlemen, in order that he may be thus 
given, after the speech in which I will have 
the honour to propose it, I hope you will rest 
for a minute or two till your glasses are all 
filled with champagne, in order that the toast 
may be befittingly honoured. (Cheers.) Allow 
me, also, in reference to the arrangements of 
the meeting, to make one other request. There 
are a number of stewards here present who 
have been appointed to the agreeable duty of 
ushering in the ladies who are in attendance 
to hear this meeting. I request that those 
gentlemen who have been selected for this 
duty will now retire to the other end of the 
room, that they may perform in a proper way 
their agreeable functions. (Applause.) 

The ladies* stewards accordingly retired, and in a 
minute or two ushered in a most brilliant assemblage 
of the fair sex, who, on taking tlieir places in the gal- 
leries, were greeted with loud and long-continued 
cheers. 

The Chairman then rose to give the usual 
loyal and patriotic toasts. 



The C11.4IRMAN (who was received with loud 
cheers) said,- -The first toast, gentlemen, of 
this evening, and the first in all the numerous 
assemblies who are met together on this occa- 
sion, and at this hour, in honour of Bums, is 
our most gracious Sovereign, "The Queen." 
(Hear, hear.) Reigning, as she does, in the 
affections of all her subjects, and distinguished as 
her rule has been by every public and private 
virtue— (cheers) — there is no assembly of Britons 
in any part of the world among whom her 
name is not at all times received with enthusi- 
asm. (Cheers.) But there are peculiar reasons 
why in this country, and on this occasion, it 
should be hailed with more than ordinary feel- 
ings of loyalty. Viewing, indeed, with equal 
eyes, as sovereign of all, her varied subjects 
from the Equator to the Arctic circle, her con- 
duct has always been distinguished by that 
impartiality which was her first duty. Yet we 
are entitled to hope that she views with peculiar 
interest the country of her royal ancestors, 
through whom she has ascended the throne of 
Britain — (cheers) — that her heart is with the 
land of the mountain and the flood, and that 
she gladly escapes from the toils and the cares 
of Royalty to seek refuge in the seclusion of 
her Highland home, amidst the blue hills, and 
dark forests, and sounding cataracts of Cale- 
donia. (Cheers.) But in addition to this, 
there is another and a still stronger reason 
why, on this day, we should drink our Sov- 
ereign's health with enthusiasm. We are as- 
sembled to celebrate the centenary of the birth 
of Burns, and you will soon show with what 
feelings it will be hailed. (Cheers.) But, 
coeval with his birth, there was another event 
arising in a distant hemisphere — the birth of a 
mighty Eastern empire — the growth of which 
during an entire century has been commen- 
surate with that of the fame of the Poet, and 
which has, at its close, attained as colossal a 
height among the nations of our earth " as his 
has done in the land of song. (Cheers.) And 
now both have been accomplished on the cen- 
tenary of our national bard, I have the happi- 
ness to give, for the first time from this chair, 
the health of "Queen Victoria, Sovereign of 
Great Brit<iin and the Indies." I cannot form 
a warmer wish for the countless inhabitants of 
those vast realms, than that the Government of 
the Queen and her successors may be regulated 
by this maxim, announced in her noble address 
on ascending the throne: "It is your prosperity 
which is our strength ; it is your loyalty which 
is our security ; it is your gratitude which is 
our happiness." (Loud cheering.) 

The toast was drunk with the usual honoura. 

Queen^s Anthem by vocalists. 

The Chairman then proposed in succession 



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" The Prince Consort and the rest of the Royal 
Family" and ''Her Majesty's Ministers/' which 
were duly responded to. 

The Chairman then said — The neit toast 
on the list is one not indeed immediately con- 
nected with poetry, but to which no assembly 
in this country will ever fail to respond with 
enthusiasm — ^that of " The Navy and Army of 
Great Britain." (Cheers.) I trust that the 
cloud which has lately overspread the political 
horizon in Europe may be dispelled, and that 
the peace of the world may be long undisturbed. 
(Hear, hear.) But if it should prove otherwise, 
and our warriors by sea and land are again 
to be called into action, I feel assured that 
they will uphold and extend the ancient mar- 
tial fame of their country. (Cheers.) Those 
who have within four years brought to a glori- 
ous conclusion two mighty wars in far distant 
hemispheres, need not fear any adversary ; and 
the conquerors of the Alma, of Inker mann, of 
Delhi and Lucknow, may safely be intrusted 
with the honour of their country. (Applause.) 
Nor let it be said that those sentiments are 
foreign to this night's festivities — for who was 
so intrepid and ardent a patriot as Burns? — 
(cheers) — and who shall say what influence the 
immortal lines "Scots wha hae wi' Wallace 
ble<l," have had in rousing the heroic spirit of 
his countrymen? (Cheers.) His gallant son 
— ray friend, Colonel Burns, adorned witli the 
Burmese medal, is beside me, a living example 
of their inspiring ' influence. (Cheers.) The 
spirit elicited on the mountains of Scotland has 
led his countrymen to victory amidst the snows 
of the Himalaya. I trust that your reception 
of this toast will animate our warriors by sea 
and land to continued efforts in behalf of their 
country — for glory is the soldier's idol — na- 
tional gratitude is his best reward. (Cheers.) 
And I know that words which have been spoken, 
and cheers which have been heard in this place, 
have resounded over the world — smoothed the 
pillow of sufiering in the hospitals of Scutari — 
and lightened the bed of death in the charnel 
house of Lucknow. (Loud and long-continued 
cheering.) 

Tlie toast was dmnk amid load cheers. 
Organ — Rule Britannia. 

Colonel Mbllish, in reply, said — On this 
occasion, tKe fighting part of the community 
is principally represented by the militia, and 
therefore I have the honour of rising to return 
tlianks for the toast which you have just so 
warmly received. With reference to the Poet, 
in whose honour we are this day assembled, I 
may remark that the countrymen of Robert 
Burns have lately and most brilliantly partici- 
pated in the many gallant achievements of the 
British navy and army, and have thus shown 



that they arc of the same stamp as those who 
bled with Wallace, and were led on by Robert 
Bmce, and whose spirit is still to be found 
among their descendants, ready with strong 
hands and with stout hearts to do their duty to 
their country. (Applause.) 

Song — "There was a lad was bom in Kyle" — Mr. 
John Muir. 

The Chairman then rose, amid loud cheer- 
ing, and said — I have now to propose to you a 
toast which I know will be received with en- 
thusiasm, the toast of the evening — " The Im- 
mortal Memory of Robert Burns." (Tremen- 
dous cheering, continued for several minutes.) 
In approaching this great subject I know not 
whether to feel more impressed with the low- 
liness of the origin from which our great na- 
tional poet sprung, or the colossal magnitude 
of the fame which he has since attained. 
(Hear, hear.) On this day one hundred years 
— 25th January, 1759 — a child was born in a 
cottage near the now classic Kirk of AUoway, 
in Ayrshire, intended apparently for a humble 
lot, and to be gathered at length to his fathers 
unknown, unsung, in this simple churchyard, 
wh€»re <*his rude forefathers of the hamlet 
slept." (Cheers.) But this child was destined 
to immortality — (continued cheering) — nature 
had given him the patent of true nobility, the 
passport to eternal fame; and while all, or 
nearly all, cetera porary reputation have already 
passed away, his alone is hourly on the increase, 
and now shines like the fixed stars with imper- 
ishable lustre. (Loud cheers.) It has come to 
embrace not only his own countrymen but all 
who can admire genius and venerate lofty feel- 
ings in every country of the civilised globe. 
In every city and village of Scotland, in not a 
few in England and Ireland, multitudes are now 
assembled to celebrate his genius, and wherever 
the English language is spoken, in Europe, 
Asia, or America, one universal chorus of ad- 
miration is resounding in honour of our pea^ 
sant-son. (Cheers.) His fame has been like 
the swelling eddie, which rises round a pebble 
thrown by a child — the child of nature — into a 
stream ; but that stream has descended to the 
ocean and become a mighty wave^ which has 
rolled across the Atlantic, and broke, and 
will for ever break, on the American and 
Australian shores. (Hear, hear.) Vast as is 
this assembly which I now address, it is but 
the representative of millions in the East and 
in the West, in the North and in the South, 
who are now found together in the expression 
of common feeling; and the pulse which now 
throbs so violently at the very name of Burns 
under this roof, is beating also at the same 
moment in the extremities of the earth, afar 
off in Australian and Transatlantic wilds. 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Whence is this moral prodigy in which we all ] 
participate, yet at which we are still surprised? I 
It is to few men only, and those in ages far 
distant from each other, that Nature has given 
the passport to immortality, and when she has 
done it, it is not on the great or the affluent 
that she in general has beittowed the gift, but 
on the most humble and suffering of the human 
race. (Applause.) She gave it to the Bard 
of Chios — as a blind and needy supplicant he 
wandered through the isles of Greece. She 
gave it to him of the Mantuan lake as he 
mourned the loss of his IHtle freehold under the 
shadow of his wide-spreading beech-tree. She 
gave it to the exile of Florence as by the waters 
of the Po he sat down and wept. She gave it 
to the prisoner of Ferrara as in the gloom of 
his dungeon he mourned a hopeless love. She 
gave it to the Republican of England, after he 
had, poor and unbefriended, 

" dazzled by excess of light, 

Closed his eyes in endless night.'* 

But where was she to find a worthy recipient 
for such a gift among the aged civilisation and 
national jealousies and political passions of 
Europe in the close of the eighteenth century ? 
She looked for him in the halls of princes, but 
she found him not there. She looked for him 
in the senates of nobles, but she found him not 
there. She looked for him in the forums of 
commerce, but she found him not there. She 
looked for him in the solitude of nature, and she 
found him beside the plough, with his eye fixed 
on the mountain daisy, which spread its humble 
beauties beneath his feet. (Loud cheers.) It 
was in this very circumstance — ^the lowliness of 
his origin — that the secret of his ultimate great- 
ness is to be found. (Hear, hear.) The child 
of nature, he told us, like Homer, or the He- 
brew poet in the book of Job, what he saw 
and what he felt, uninfiuenced by the great- 
ness, unbought by the wealth, undeterred by 
the criticism of the world. Mr. Pitt said at 
Lord Liverpool's table, shortly after Bums' 
death, that "since the time of Shakspeare poetry 
had never come so sweetly from the hand of 
Nature as in his rhyme;" and that was literally 
true, and true just because Nature had been 
his only teacher. Self-taught, untutored, he 
poured forth in unpremeditated lays "the short 
and simple annals of the poor," but in their 
short and simple annals he found means to 
descend to the inmost depths of the human 
heart, to ascend to the loftiest heights of human 
feeling. "The Cottar's Saturday Night" is the 
most perfect picture that ever was drawn, not 
merely of individual life, but of the race of 
man, inferior to none in the world in virtue 
and firmness — thepeasantry of theland. (Cheers.) 



" Auld Langsyne " has become the national air 
of Scotland — the expression of the love of 
home and of the scenes of infancy to the entire 
civilised world. (Loud cheers.) "Scots wha 
hae wi' Wallace bled " is already the war-song 
of the bold and the patriotic in every country 
of the earth — (hear, hear) — and the passion of 
love in its purest form was never so finely ex- 
pressed as in his immortal lines to Highland 
" Mary in Heaven." 

" That sacred hour can I forffet? 
Can I forset the hallowed grove. 
Where, on Ayr's winding banks we met, 
To lire one day of parting love ? 

Ayr gurgling kissed her pebbly shore 
I^neath the wild wood's thickenincf green. 

Where fragrant birch and hawthorn lioar 
Twined amorous o'er th' enraptured scene. 

The flowers sprang wanton to be prest, 
The birds sang love on every stpray, 

Till too, too soon the glowinp west 
Pit>claimed the speed of winged day. 

Still o'er these scenes my mem'ry wakes, 
And fondly broods with raiser care; 

Time bat the impi-ession deeper makes. 
As streams their channels deeper wear." 

(Loud cheering.) All the world has joined in 
admiration of these exquisite lines; but our 
wonder at them becomes greater when we 
recollect that they were written by the poet on 
the anniversary of Mary's death, after he had 
concluded the labours of the'harvest field, when 
resting on some corn sheaves, with his eye fixed 
on the evening star, whose growing light " pro- 
claimed the speed of winged day." (Cheers.) 
To us, and to Scotchmen in every part of the 
world who can appreciate the fidelity of his 
pictures, the poems of Burns poasess a |)eculiar 
and indescribable charm: they recall scenes of 
early youth, long unseen, but still unforgotten, 
and realize in waking hours the beautiful words 
of the poet in the Soldier's Dream: — 

** I flew to the pleasant fields traversed so oft 

In life's morning march, when my bosom was 
young; 
I heard my own mountain goats bleating aloft. 
And knew the sweet strahis which the corn 
reapers sang." 

(Loud cheers.) But the universal admiration 
with which the poems of Burns have been 
hailed, not merely in his own country, but over 
the whole civilized world, prove that, great as 
his graphic powers were, they were the least of 
his varied gifts. (Hear, hear.) It was the 
depth of his feeling, his warm expansive love 
for all mankind, the touching pathos which 
shone forth in his pieces, which everywhere 
went to the heart. His tenderness extended 



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43 



even to inanimate objects. The hares, the field 
mouse, the mountain daisy have been celebrated 
in his songs. Above all, he possessed in the 
highest degree that great quality without which, 
in the trial of^Time, all others are but as tink* 
ling brass — a due appreciation of the dignity of 
human nature, and a firm determination to 
assert it. (Loud cheers.) To him we owe 
those noble lines now become as household 
words in every land of freedom : — 

" The rank is but the guinea stamp; 
The man's the gowd for a' that." 

(Cheers.) To this quality also he owed many 
of the misfortunes with which his life was em- 
bittered. Had he condescended to flatter the 
great — to conciliate the affluent — to fawn upon 
the multitude — he might have earned ease and 
comfort in life; but he disdained to do any of 
the three. Therefore he was neglected by his 
cotemporaries — therefore we are now raising 
statues to his memory. (Cheers.) Gentle- 
men, it is said that Bums was a Radical. I 
know he was; but I do not respect him the less 
on that account. (Cheers.) I wish we had 
more Badicals like Burns. (Continued cheer- 
ing.) Most men of his ardent and poetic tem- 
perament are inclined to those opinions, espe- 
cially early in life, and were so most of all in his 
day. They see in others the generous feelings 
of which they are conscious in themselves. It 
is well they are so; they would miss their mis- 
sion if they were not. Genius is the moving 
power of the moral world. Experience is the 
fly-wheel which regulates the movements of the 
mighty machine: without the first it would 
stand still; without the second it would be torn 
in pieces. It is by the counteracting influence 
of the two, as by the antagonist action of fire 
and water in the material world, that the equi- 
librium of nature is preserved; and thus is 
secured at once the life, the progress, and the 
stability of nations. (Hear.) But if Burns 
was a Radical, he was not less a patriot. He 
was no advocate for domestic broils or foreign 
interference, he respected every man in his own 
position, but did not seek to change it; for 
what said he to the Dumfries Volunteers, of 
whom he was a member ? — 

*' Be Britain still to Britain true, 
Amang oarsels united ; 
For never but by British hands 
Maun British wrangs be righted.'' 

(Loud cheers.) A more serious charge brought 
against Burns is that his life was sometimes 
irregular, some of his poems effusions which, 
however admired at the moment, his warmest 
friends must now lament. Gentlemen, in 
reference to this charge I will not repeat the 



common excuse that his frailties were those to 
which men of ardent and poetic mind have in 
all ages been most subject. I disdain any such 
apology. I recognize no exemption from moral 
responsibility in the sons of genius. I know 
rather that from him to whom much is given 
much also will be expected. But I say he was 
a son of Adam, and let him that is without sin 
among you throw the first stone. (Cheers.) I 
would answer in the words of Bolingbroke, when 
reminded of the faults of his great political an- 
tagonist, Marlborough — " Yes, I know he had 
faults; but he was so great a man that I have 
forgot what they were." (Loud cheers.) And 
I would recommend his detractors to imitate 
his example, to expiate passing faults by lasting 
benefits to the species, and like him to cause 
the spots on the sun to be forgotten in the 
lustre of his rays. (Cheers.) But one great 
moral truth I extract from the fate of Burns, 
and that is that no lasting fame is to be acquired, 
even by the brightest genius, save that which 
is devoted to the purposes of Virtue; for the 
few poems of Bums which we now lament have 
long since passed into oblivion, and those on 
which his immortal fame is rested are as pure 
as the driven snow. And, as such, they will 
form an unseen bond which willfor ever unite 
Britons and their children in every part of the 
world — a bond which w^ill survive the maturity 
of colonies, the severance of empires ; and " Auld 
Langsyne " will hold together the wide-spread 
descendants of the British empire, when grown 
into independent states — 

** Tho' seas atween them since hae row'd." 

Gentlemen, I have detained you too long ; and 
I conclude in the words of the Poet — 

" A last request permit me here 
When yearly ye assemble a', 
One round, I ask it with a tear, 
To him the Bard that's far awa." 

The learned Chairman then resumed his seat 
amidst tremendous cheering. 

The toast was drunk with all the honours, tlie 
whole company rising to their feet; and ladies, as 
well as gentlemen, waving their handkerchiefs, and 
making every demonstration of enthnsiasm. 

Song — " Highland Mary " — Mr. Stembridge Ray. 

Colonel James Glencairn Burns, who was 
received with enthusiastic applause, said — I 
humbly thank my God that He has spared me 
to live and see this glorious day, a day on which 
so many thousands in almost every part of the 
globe are paying homage to the genius of the 
Bard of Scotia. (Cheers.) My mother told 
the late Mr. M*Diarmid of Dumfries that my 
father once said to her — '* Jean, one hundred 



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44 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



years bcnce thoyll think mair o' me than they 
do now." How truly hia prophecy has been 
fulfilled the proceedings here and elsewhere 
amply testify. I feel most grateful to you for 
the opportunity you have afforded me of being 
present at this, one of the most influential of 
these gatherings, presided over, as it is, by the 
celebrated and talented author of the History 
of Europe — (ap])lause) — supported by such 
well-known and distinguished men as Judge 
Haliburton, Principal Barclay, Sir David 
Brewster, Mn Monckton Milnes, and Mr. 
Glassford Bell. In no place will the day be 
hailed and celebrated with more enthusiasm 
than in the far East, where I spent so many and 
such happy years. In proof of this I may quote 
a few lines written by my old friend Oolonel 
George Anderson Vetch, the author of many a 
Burns' birth-day ode. In a poem of his, entitled 
•* The Exile in India," he says:— 

*' The music of Scotia is sweet 'midst the scene, 
But All I could you hear it when seas roll between 1 
'J'is then, and then only, the soul can divine 
The rapture that dwells in the songs o' lang syne." 

(Cheers.) As a leal and true Scot, and a warm 
admirer of the genius of the Bard, I have joined 
in doing honour to his memory. As his son, 
permit me to return you my most sincere thanks 
for the same. (Renewed cheering.) 
Band — '* The Campbells are coming." 
*Mr. Dalglish, M.P., proposed "Lord Clyde 
and his Companions in Arms." He said — It is 
fortunate for me that this toast requires not 
the eloquence of the learned chairman to make 
it come home to every heart. Sir Archibald 
Alison has told us to-night that, in addition to 
her title of Queen of England, her Majesty has 
also to add that of Empress of India. It is to 
our gallant army in the East that the Queen 
owes that proud addition to her title. (Cheers.) 
I think, gentlemen, it would be wrong in me 
to detain you with any detailed statement why 
you should receive this toast with all the hon- 
ours. It is enough to say that owing to the 
undciunted bravery of our soldici^s, and the 
skill of their commanders, the most treacherous 
mutiny has been suppressed, and India has 
been retained for Britain. But, gentlemen, on 
this occasion, I think there is a claim upon you 
to drink this toast with redoubled enthusiasm, 
for the gallant army which now fights our bat- 
tles on the plains of Hindostan is commanded 
by a man born in Glasgow — by a citizen of 
Glasgow. You are all aware how, soon after 
his arrival in India, he organized with great 
care an army that has since done incomparable 
deeds. I need not speak of his defence and 
successful relief of Lucknow, of his return to 
Cawnpore, where he retrieved the disasters of 



the day before, of his final success and capture 
of Lucknow, and the success which has attended 
his combinations ever since. But we have also 
other men connected with Glasgow who have 
taken a share in the glories of our Indian cam- 
paign. I need hardly allude to a gallant colo^ 
nel, son of our excellent chairman — (cheers) — ' 
having lost an arm in the cause of his country, 
and who has since been more successful in 
another field of fight, and gained the hand of 
one of our loveliest citizens. (Applause.) I 
need hardly allude to the gallant Kerr, who, 
almost the only European, and in command of 
a body of native troops, alone with a regiment 
of native troops achieved such deeds of heroism 
and valour, that he has been decorated with the 
Victoria Cross. (Cheers.) Our talented towns- 
man, Mr. Macnee, has also a son who carried 
the colours of his regiment at the capture of 
Gwalior. These, gentlemen, Glasgow has a 
right to be proud of, and I trust you will drink 
this toast with all the honours. 

The toast was dnmk amid loud cheers. 

Band — " See the Conquering Hero comes." 

The Yery Rev. Principal Barclay was re- 
ceived with loud cheers. He, in a few words, 
gave both Houses of Parliament. 

Walter Buchanan, Esq., M.P., replied. 

Mr. Henry Glassford Bell, in pro- 
posing " The Poets of England," said — Every 
one has felt that it is not always on those oc- 
casions when he is most anxious to say some-* 
thing worthy of being listened to, that he is 
best able to satisfy his own wishes. I confess 
that to-night I feel my mind almost over- 
powered when I reflect on the grandeur of the 
devotion — not national only, but world-wide — ^ 
that is being paid to the memory of one man. 
I question whether such an amount of grateful 
and affectionate remembrance was ever before 
so concentrated and so extended. The question 
naturally occurs — Whence all this gratitude? — 
honourable alike to him who occasions and him 
who cherishes it; surely no unworthy senti- 
ment, since it ascends to the Creator through 
the person of one of his created. Whence this 
gratitude ? Simply because that Scottish peas- 
ant added more than most men to the stock of 
human happiness, by throwing wider open the 
gate of human knowledge. (Cheers.) The 
most valuable of all knowledge is knowledge 
of ourselves, and it is that the poet teaches. 
Great as the benefactor of his species is who 
extends the confines of science, not less great 
is he whose finer eye looks with a clearer percep- 
tion into all the subtle mechanism of the human 
heart. (Cheers.) Robert Burns invented no 
steam engine, but he knew the secret source of 
tears and smiles ; he discovered no new planet, 
but he called up thoughts that twinkled in the 



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GLASGOW,— CITY HALL. 



45 



soul like stars, for he touched, as with a fiery 
finger, every latent emotion until it sparkled 
into light; he made us no richer in worldly 
wealth, but he taught us how divine a thing 
human love may be ; he taught us the nobility 
of earnest patriotism and unflinching manliness; 
he taught us how these, or any of these, may 
make the darkest life resplendent with a gleam 
of inward lustre. (Cheers.) Hence comes it 
that thousands of his fellow- men, who never 
saw him in the flesh, have to-day met in every 
quarter of the globe to do him honour ; hence 
comes it that 

- the might 



Of the whole world's good wishes with him goes ; 
Blessings nnd preyerSf in nobler retinue 
Than soeptred king or laarelled oonqueror knows, 
Follow this wondrous potentate ! " 

In Scotland all this feeling is intensified by the 
consciousness that Burns was essentially, and, 
from his cradle to his grave, our countryman — 
a Caledonian. The country to which other great 
men have belonged seems oflen to have been 
an accident of birth. There appears no reason 
why Shakspeare might not have been bom in 
Scotland, and Beattie or Campbell in England. 
But Bums never ! He was a concentration of 
the genius of Scotland. His patriotism is 
Scotch — 

" Wha for Scotland's king and law 
Freedom's sword will strongly draw, 
Freeman stand, or freeman £a', 
Let him on wi' me I " 

(Loud cheers.) His delight in the beauties of 
external nature was Scotch — 

** Their groves o' sweet myrtle let foreign lands 
reckon, 
Where bright beaming snmmers exalt the per- 
fiime; 
Far dearer to me yon lone glen o' green breckan, 
Wi' the bam stealing under the lang yellow 
broom." 

His loves were Scotch, and his happiest mo- 
ments with the objects of his love were in the 
midst of Scottish scenery — 

" Ye banks and braes and streams around 

The Castle o' Montgomery, 
Green be your woods and fair your flowers, 

Your waters never drumlie ; 
There summer first unfauld her robe, 

An* there the langest tarry, 
For there I took the last farewell 

O' my dear Highland Mary." 

(Applause.) His noble independence was 
Scotch — 

*' Is there for honest povei-ty 

Wha hangs his head and a' that? 
The coward-slave, we paKS him by — 
We dare be poor for a' that." 



(Loud cheers.) His earliest and his latest 
aspirations were Scotch — 

" E'en then a wish, — I mind its power, — 
A wish that to my latest hour 

Shall strongly heave my breast — 
That I for puir auld Scotland's sake 
Some usefu' plan or beak could make, 

Or sing a sang at least." 

Shall Scotland not be proud of her peasant 
poet — 

•' Who murmur'd to the running brooks 
A music sweeter than their own ? " 

(Cheers.) Show me a song-writer from the 
days of Anacreon to the days of Beranger, who 
comes within a thousand miles of him. (Im- 
mense applause.) All social and friendly 
gatherings do good to the hearts of care-worn 
men ; but we have assembled here to-night 
with a nobler motive than to eat and drink and 
be merry. We have assembled to do justice to 
the better parts of our own nature, by de- 
claring our veneration for a true bard who died 
in poverty, but who has made us heirs to the 
priceless riches of his own eflulgent mind. I 
leave the theme with reluctance; but it has 
already been descanted on with an eloquence 
that has charmed us all, with a copious grace 
and beauty peculiar to the rich, genial, and re- 
fined mind of an Alison. (Applause.) The 
toast I have the honour to propose is, "The 
Poets of England." I do not know whether it 
is meant to be limited to the living poets ; if so, 
their number, I fear, is small, taking the word 
poet in its true though stricter sense. But I 
think it may be understood to comprehend all 
those poets who shed, about fi ve-and-t wen ty 
years ago, so brilliant a light over the literary 
horizon. Their bodily presence has been taken 
fVom us, and it is a somewhat sad thought for 
those who, like myself, have been privileged to 
look upon their thoughtful forehccads, and to 
hear their living voices, that nothing mortal 
now remains of a Byron, a Coleridge, a Words- 
worth, a Southey, a Shelley, a Rogers, a He- 
mans, and a Landon, but the mouldering dust 
in their graves. Yet, though dead, they still 
speak to us solemnly and sweetly ; none with 
more solemn sweetness than Wordsworth, be- 
cause none with a truer and purer human love 
and understanding. The sacred key was in- 
trusted to the keeping of them all, by which 
the deeper heart of man is unlocked; and the 
electric thrill emanating from them diffuses it- 
self through all lands — 

" One touch of nature makes the whole world kin!" 

(Applause.) Of living poets I must not pre- 
tend to speak; but, as Wordsworth, in his beau- 
tiful sonnets on personal feelings, says he will 



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46 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



mention two female portraitures '' pre-eminent- 
ly dear" — 

** The Ren tie lady wedded to the Moor, 
And heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb/' 

so I shall venture to name two poets as stand- 
ing conspicuously out among all our living 
minstrels, and sending abroad from their re- 
sounding lyres richer and nobler melodies than 
any of their compeers. You will not doubt 
titat I mean Alfred Tennyson, and the high- 
minded lady, Mrs. Barret Browning. (Cheers.) 
Their styles are altogether different, each 
marked by its own originality ; but in the works 
of both there is a repertory of dignified and 
graceful thoughts, of deep and glowing feelings, 
of suggestive and lofty imaginings, which have 
worthily won for them a place far up the 
sacred mount. Of them, and of all wh% labour 
at the same delightful tasks, we say with uni- 
versal voice — 

'* Blessings he with thcmf and eternal praise, 
Wiio gave us nobler loves, and nobler cares; 
The poets who on earth have made us heirs 
Of truth, and pare delight, by heavenly lays ! " 

(Loud applause.) Permit me to couple with 
my toast the health of an English poet now 
present, whose English heart is not the less 
sound that it has in it some Scotch affections, 
which insi>ired him with a poet's yearning to 
do honour with us to Scotia's Bard. Mr. 
Monckton Milnes — (applause) — so well known 
for his more recent exertions in the cause of 
legislative and social improvement, has written, 
among other effusions of great energy and 
beauty, " Memories of many Scenes." I hope 
that to-night will enable him to add to them a 
fresh memor}' which he may deem worthy of 
cherishing, and that he will at least believe 
that "poor auld Scotland," whilst it remem- 
bers departed, welcomes living genius. (Pro- 
longed applause.) 

Band— "The Roast Beef of Old England." 

Mr. Monckton Milnes was received with 
cordial applause, and said — ^Nurtured in the 
love and admiration of Burns, and accidentally 
connected with the fortunes of his family, I 
accepted the proposal to act as one of the arbi- 
ters of tlie merits of the poems composed in 
his honour, and for myself, the distinction of 
being your guest to- day. Many of you will 
Imve seen the poem to which the prize has been 
adjudged, and have, I hope, not considered it 
unworthy of the occasion; but it becomes me 
here to say a word respecting the unsuccessful 
candidates for the crown, many of whom have 
f)roduced works of deep feeling and noble ex- 
pression, and all of whom appeared impressed 
with the real greatness of the character it was 



proposed to them to celebrate. (Cheers.) In 
the phrase of one, tliey all recognised 

" The glorioos and poetic peasint 
Driving his laurelled plough." 

In the words of another, they appreciated the 
character of the people who read by turns 

** The Psalms of David and the Songs of Ban:s." 

(Cheers.) Two impressions, indeed, which seem 
to me altogether erroneous, prevailed in mauy 
of the poems — the neglect of the poet by his 
contemporaries, and the connection between 
his poetic gifts and the sorrows and discomforts 
of his life. Now, I believe that the worth of a 
poet never received a more rapid acknowledg- 
ment from a nation than Scotland has given to 
Bums, from the first letter of Dr. Blacklock to 
the celebration of this hundredth anniversary. 
I am equally convinced that the poetry of 
Burns was the joy and sustenance of an exist- 
ence not otherwise favoured by fortune. True, 
the lights of the poetic temperament cast their 
shadows, as they will always do: true, there 
was in him that earnest melancholy, which is 
ever the reverse of the true metal of genuino 
humour. But without his poetry. Bums must 
have been as much an exile from his native 
land as Dante, whereas, with it, ho b identified 
with his country as Shakspeare. With it, the 
incidents of his common and private life have 
become the events of a century; the songs 
composed for the merriment of an obscure 
tavem club have set millions of tables ringing 
with delight; the natural outpourings of his 
affections have become the stimulus and the 
interpreter of youthful passion in ten thousand 
breasts; and the religious bickerings of a re- 
mote province have been made vocal with the 
most stirring trumpet-tones of civil and reli- 
gious liberty. I remember being in Prussia 
some fourteen years ago, when the Censor of 
the Press condemned a spirited translation of 
" A man^s a man for a* thaV* as hostile to the 
order of society, and calculated to set class 
against class. I should be very glad to have that 
censor here to-night, and to ask him whether 
this, and the thousand other festivities now tak- 
ing place, exhibited hostility and ill-will to 
mankind? (Cheers.) You have done me the 
honour of connecting my health with the poets 
of England. When Burns was writing, the 
poetry of England was mainly represented by 
the languid grace of Cowper, and I do not know 
how much of the great revival which fol- 
lowed may be attributed to the influence of 
your bard. I wish I could anticipate any such 
phenomenon in our days. We have, indeed, a 
laureate w^hom we can boldly match with any 
of \m predecessors, yet I am conscious that the 



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tendency of the time is rather to enjoy and rest 
\ipon the poetry that has gone before it than to 
add to the imaginative store of the world. 
Perchance it must be so. Few thoughts have 
not already been expressed in as good music as 
words can supply, and our business may be 
rather to appreciate and apply them — just as 
Burns took up the screed of some old ballad 
that touched his fancy, and transformed it into 
a poem for his own, and for all time. (Cheers.) 
Those, indeed, who desire to combine the plea- 
sures of the composition of verse with the 
duties of active life will rejoice to remember 
that Burns made an excellent and diligent ex- 
ciseman, as Wordsworth an accurate stamp- 
distributor; and instead of lamenting that such 
men were so employed, they will delight in 
every combination of rare talents and honest 
toil. Who shall say whether, if the outward 
circumstances of the life of Bums had been 
those of comfort and repose, his wonderful 
powers might not have been obscured and con- 
tracted? But be this as it may, I am sure that 
the passionate admiration which brings together 
the multitudes of this evening would not have 
been excited. The sorrows of the great have 
ever been the aliment of the veneration of man- 
kind; and the victims of misfortune in high 
places have even attained supernatural powers, 
without any very close scrutiny into their char- 
acter and conduct. But the time comes when 
even the "sad stories of the deaths of kings" 
fail to move the popular imagination; and yet, 
even then, the heart of a nation is stirred to its 
depths by the recollection of suflTering genius, 
and something of a sacred halo surrounds the 
poet who has endured and striven like a man. 
(Great applause.) 

Song, ** John Anderson, my jo," by Mr. Robson. 

Mr. A. Denniston, writer, Greenock, rose 
and said — The toast I have the honour to pro- 
pose, " The Scottish Peasantry," though at first 
it may appear a very humble one, yet, on such 
an occasion as this, it rises into dignity — I had 
almost said sublimity — ^and is second only to 
the toast of the evening. But it will take a 
more ingenious man than I pretend to be to 
define correctly what particular class of persons 
is included in the subject of my toast ; and I 
must be content to consider all those to be pea- 
sants who live and labour on the soil — to whom 
the plough is the chief instrument of industry, 
much in the same way as the steam-engine is 
the main instrument of the engineer. It was 
in this relation that Bums said of himself, 
" The genius of Poetry found me at the plough, 
and threw her inspiring mantle around me." 
And nothing can be more fitting in an assem- 
bly like the present — met to do honour to the 
memory of Bums — than to honour also the great 



class to which he belonged. (Cheers.) It is 
a chief glory of our country that we have such 
a class of men among us. And whether we 
look to our aristocracy, our merchants, our me- 
chanics, or our ploughmen, we may well chal- 
lenge a comparison with the whole civilized 
world. The leading characteristics of our pea- 
santry are the same now as in Burns* time, for 
we see in them the same great features of char- 
acter — the same intelligence, the same indepen- 
dence, the same love of liberty, the same public 
spirit and patriotism, the same respect for reli- 
gion. Nor is it the least remarkable feature in 
their character their high appreciation of the 
character and works of Robert Burns. Other 
countries have great names and great works. 
England has her Shakspeare and her Milton — 
but as a poet of the people how deeply has our 
national mind been impressed with the poetry 
of Burns ! To that feeling I do not hesitate to 
ascribe much of that lofty spirit of religion and 
patriotism for which our peasantry are so re- 
markable. - Yet even in this assembly I may 
be permitted to touch very gently a subject in 
connexion with the peasantry of Scotland, 
which I admit is somewhat tender. The time 
is surely come when we have seen the last of 
that process of extermination and expatriation 
of our peasantry which has been going on for 
half-a-century. (Applause.) We have room 
enough indeed for all our population, and let 
me express a hope that our great landlords 
have ceased to prefer sheep, and cattle, and 
wild beasts, to an industrious and God-fearing 
population. To the foreigner, as well as to the 
native Scotchman, there is no sight in our be- 
loved land half so melancholy as that seen from 
the top of many a Highland glen, when one 
gazes on the green pastures and still waters that 
flow beside those roofless cottages and desolate 
homesteads of our humble peasantry who have 
been shipped off like convicts to a foreign shore. 
We may say with our poet — 

*' Man's inhumanity to man 
Makes countless thousands mourn." 

And with another poet we may add — 

"Princes and peers may flourish and may fade, 
A breath can make them, and a breath has made; 
But a bold peasantry, their country's pride, 
When once destroyed, can never be supplied." 

The toast was drunk witli great applause. 

Mr. Muir gave, with most powerful effect, "A 
man's a man for a' that," which elicited a most en- 
thusiastic encore, and was again sung even with re- 
newed power and beauty, the audience standing and 
joining in the chorus. 

Mr. Blanchard Jerrold gave "The Poets 
of Scotland." He said — Your couiniittee have 
confided a very difficult task to very weak 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



hands : still I must do my best to recommend 
to you the propriety of filling a cup to " the 
beaded brim," in honour of the poets of Scot- 
land — in honour of your unacknowledged legis- 
lators, who have set forth gentle laws in noblest 
harmony. (Cheers.) To the great leader you 
have already done honour : well, we must re- 
member the Ramsays and Fergusons, whom 
Burns, with unafiected modesty, declared he 
had studied as his models. (Cheers.) But we 
know that the south wind upon his cheek, the 
daisy under his ploughshare, the rough burr 
thistle at the point of his weeder-clips, were 
his teachers. He was born to sing; and model 
or no model, music must have come from him. 
(Cheers.) A rough ride over the wildest Gal- 
loway moor stirs fine harmony in him, A com- 
mon alehouse inspires the Jolly Beggars ; and 
a common grief bursts into the plaintive notes 
of Auld Langsyne. It was the ambition of 
this great and stormy soul to sing at least — 
and he sang it greatly. (Great cheering.) 
And did he not give a braver national spirit to 
your literature ? Did he not give a new charm 
to the purple heather? Did he not warm 
anew the national heart, and inspire voices to 
sing nationally ? In his wake come troops of 
Scottish poets. Here are Scott, Hogg, and 
Allan Cunningham, (whose worthy son is 
amongst us this evening, and whose health we 
drink,) — (cheers)— and Campbell, and Aytoun, 
and Charles Mackay. Theser names call to our 
minds utterances that have quickened the pulse, 
and warmed the heart, and refined the soul of 
thousands. (Immense cheering.) Nor may 
we forget, this evening, the gentle lady who 
has dimmed many eyes with the story of Auld 
Robin Gray. We drink to "a nest of singing 
birds " — the memory of whose songs shall give 
a zest to the grape, as we lift it to our grateful 
lips: The Poets of Scotland, and my friend, 
Mr. Peter Cunningham. (The toast was drunk 
amid great applause.) 

Mr. Peter Cunninqham, who was received 
with great cheering, said — My friend the Hon. 
Member for Pontefract (Mr. Milnes), has told 
you, in language such as I cannot imitate, why he 
accepted the office of judge of the prize offered by 
the Crystal Palace Company. I will tell you why 
I refused that position ; it was because I felt I 
was not competent to be a judge, and I felt that 
if a proper committee had been constituted, a 
lady should have been on the committee. 
(Cheers.) I am sure that with woman on the 
committee, we should have gained a Burns prize- 
poem with a little more of the touch of feminine 
beauty in it, beautiful as the poem is. I have 
slender claim to return thanks for the poets of 
Scotland. My father was a Scotch poet, and 
was, moreover, a Scotch peasant. (Loud cheers.) 



To him I owe everything; and my brothers, who 
fought in the East, like the sons of your chair- 
man — to him they owe everything. The des- 
tiny of the children of AlUn Cunningham has 
been cast very much like the destiny of the 
sons of Burns. My friend, Colonel James 
Glencaim Burns, derives his name from a Cun- 
ningham ; and my father has been one of the 
best friends the poet had, for he wrote Bums' 
life, and wrote it well. My dear friend, Colonel 
Burns, left his native Dumfries, and became a 
scholar in Christ's Hospital like myself. The 
two sons of Burns went to India and came back 
with honour. Three of the sons of Allan Cun- 
ningham wentthere too, and acquitted themselves 
with honour to their country. (Loud cheers.) 
I have this claim also to return thanks for the 
poets of Scotland, that I have shaken hands 
with Sir Walter Scott, and for twenty years I 
sat with Archibald Hastie, and drank to the 
immortal memory of Scotland's Poet out of 
Burns' own punch-bowl. I have perhaps an- 
other claim to reply to tiiis toast. I have sat 
with Thomas Campbell, the |>oet of Hope and 
Hohenlinden, and drank whisky-toddy, very 
well brewed, from that silver bowl given to the 
great poet by the students of this university. 
I have also sat and drank with the Ettrick 
Shepherd from a silver bowl given to him by 
a true-hearted Scot, and honoured and prized 
by the Shepherd as it deserved to be. There 
is a genealogy in song. Our friend,. Mr. 
Monckton Milnes, will recollect how beauti- 
fully that idea is expressed by Dryden, who 
says that Chaucer was the poetical fatlier of 
Spenser, and Spenser of Milton. There h 
a hereditary descent in song as natural as 
'^ Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob." 
(Laughter and cheers.) Allan Ramsay was the 
poetic father of Robert Burns, and Robert Bums 
the poetic father of the Ettrick Shepherd, Allan 
Cunningham of Edmondstone, Aytoun, and 
Charles Mackay. In a belief that a genius for 
poetry never dies, I return thanks, too imper- 
fectly I feel, for the poets of Scotland. (Ix>ud 
cheers.) 

Organ— "In the Garb of Old Gaul." 

Mr. MoNTEiTH, in proposing " The City of 

Glasgow and its Civic Rulers," said — ^After the 

intellectual feast which we have enjoyed, the 

merit at which I have to aim must be that of 

brevity. This is the more incumbent on me, 

because I suspect that not a few here partici- 

])ate in an impression experienced by myself, 

both when I knew of the toast assigned to me, 

and when just before our meeting I found that 

I was to address you very much earlier than 

was at first intended. My feeling was that my 

I toast, though one most interesting to the ma- 

I jority here — vitally interesting to myself — was 



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49 



not at first sight in perfect harmony with the 
high themes of this great festival, and, as al* 
ready said, the feeling assailed me again on 
finding myself suddenly advanced to a still 
more prominent place in our proceedings. Yet 
may I not plead something in mitigation of 
sudi a judgment t Is it not the fact that all of 
us in thb city are in the habit of holding our- 
selves more bound up with Robert Burns than 
Scotland's capital, or most of the many places 
rejoicing at this moment to do him honour ? 
(Hear.) Bums was a Scotchman, and dear to 
all Scotchmen ; but he was out and out a west- 
oountry man. ** 0' a' the airts the wind could 
blaw" he was bound dearly to "lo'e the west" 
— and we are the west-country capital. (Cheers.) 
And, gentlemen, if this is our feeling, shall we 
suppose that there is nothing in this vast scene 
of industry that would interest in turn such a 
thinking brain and such a fervent heart as those 
of Bums ? Poet he was ; but, I boldly assert 
it, too much of the poet not to find themes to 
crowd on his fancy, and stir his soul, amid this 
world of human energy, this sea of human en- 
terprise^ these triumphs of human intelligence. 
(Hear, hear.) Trae it is that '< God made the 
country, and man made the town." But man 
himself is ihe work of God, and man is here 
with all his being in intense development, with 
all his passions, hopes, fears, and capacities. 
Robert Bums loved the face of nature, whether 
mighty mountain or humble meadow ; his mind 
covdd never long sever its musings from such 
scenes as the Iwaes of Doon or the birks of Aber- 
feldy ; but wherever there is man, man's heart 
with its joys and sorrows, there is the poet's 
field. This truth has come out more and more 
in those later times, and countless authors have 
fcrnnd that there is more genuine gold of poetry 
to be found, by search, among the haunts of 
the living artizan, than among vague dreams of 
Arcadia itself. Tennyson has not paused to 
ask whether the melancholy wilderness of brick 
called London were a poetic subject or not ; 
but he has written of ** the miles and leagues 
of lights, and the roaring of the wheels,** and, 
when he had done so, was it not surely poetry? 
Another has dared to put the cotton mill itself 
into verse — the subject of all subjects which 
shallow pedants have thought the very type of 
horror and of prose — and has told of its look, 
its sounds, and its denizens :— 

*'Froin out the sombre wall come forth 
Marmurings of wheel on wheel, 
Like low winds muttering from the north — 

lliere he tofls with careful zeal. 
Self-mored the vast machine rolls on — 
Efloh hour an age's work is done ; 
The myriad threads like one are whirPd, 
And those faint fingers clothe the world.'* 



(Loud cheers.) Yes, Robert Burns Would have 
found poetry in our streets, and poetry among our 
people* The ploughman- poet of Ayr would have 
found souls akin to his own among the skilled 
mechanics of the Clyde. And was Burns only 
the poet ? Was Robert Burns not a Scotchman ? 
was he not a patriot f Was it possible, then, that 
he could have trod these streets without honest 
pride in what " puir auld Scotland " has here 
accomplished ? — accompUshed in her ungenial 
climate, beside this petty river of a far off" ster- 
ile land ? (Cheers.) Well, then, my toast is 
not so uncongenial as we might just at first 
have feared. No — Bums, I repeat it, would 
have found himself at home here both as a poet 
and patriot, and these made up nigh one-half 
of his being. How vividly would not such a 
mind have pictured the successive scenes which 
make up our civic history — the old church and 
straggling street overhanging not the Clyde, 
but the humble Molendinar — when Glasgow 
had as little dreamed of skirting and bridging 
the Clyde, and swallowing up Broomielaw and 
Partick, as she now does of including Greenock 
and Ayr — ^then he would come down in mind 
to the dawn of commerce such as it was, that is 
to say, I fear, nothing more respectable than 
the sturdy privateering in which we embarked 
in the latter half of the seventeenth century — 
then when viewing the pomp of architecture, the 
public monuments, the not less dazzling contents 
of warehouse and of shop, might he not recall 
out of the odd corners of some of his reading 
how old Wodrow groans in spirit over the year 
1709, and tells how "the Lord hath been 
frowning " — " remarkably frowning " is his phrase 
— ^"over the city this year, in that Glasgow 
has lost full J10,000 by losses in the Dutch 
trade." (Hear, hear.) Then he would recol- 
lect the generation immediately preceding him- 
self, and the first Glasgow vessel that crossed 
the Atlantic, I think, in 1718, humble forerun- 
ner of how many stately successors ! That was 
the great tobacco epoch, the time of our West 
India Princes, who trod the crown of the cause- 
way at the Cross in those incredible scarlet 
cloaks, and were monarchs of all they surveyed. 
(Cheers.) But I have come down to Bums, 
our time, this day a hundred years ago, with- 
out thinking of dear old Bailie Nichol Jarvie. 
What, is he not as real to us, at least, as any 
bailie or provost that has ever walked amongst 
us? Ah ! what would the dear old man say could 
he but see now all that lies around within a 
radius of a mile or two from where our chair- 
man is sitting ? Above all, what would he say 
to the waters of fiir Loch Katrine, piercing hill 
and crossing valley to reach his own Saltmar- 
ket? Those waters, distilled from the very 
heaths and hills of his own " ne'er-do- wecl" 



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cousin, the M*Gregor ! (Loud cheers.) How 
he would have invoked his lionest conscience, 
and turned for sympathetic wonder to the con- 
fidential Matty. (Cheers.) We must close 
the vista, only remembering that a hundred 
years ago — the first year of Robert Bums — 
Glasgow took the first step towards deepening 
the Clyde, the first step in that long but trium- 
phant course — ^how long and slow we may cal- 
culate by the fact that many a man amongst us, 
who would be much surprised to be called old, 
has waded as a boy across our river where now 
are crowded the tall ships which bring the 
world's wealth from every climate to our doors. 
I will only add one word to this historic sketch, 
but it is one that brings vividly past and 
present before us, and in conjunction with 
what I have just stated regarding our naviga- 
tion, suffices to make the time of Burns' birth 
and boyhood a sort of centre to our career. 
It was when he was just about five years of age 
that Watt exhibited here to us his first model 
of the steam engine. Think of that little won- 
der ninety five years ago, and all that surrounds 
us now as its consequence. (Cheers.) But 
enough of a tone of thought which may seem 
to contain too many elements of an unprofita- 
ble pride. If since then we have grown a 
giant*s growth, if it be, as is most assuredly 
true, by our industry and enterprise more than 
by any other cause that Scotland has reached 
her present height of material success, that her 
population has outgrown her bounds, and has 
welled forth upon the world, carrying "Auld 
langsyne," and the sweet name of Robert Burns 
to earth's farthest shores — ^great and cheering 
is the thought. But does nothing remain for 
us to do ? Is there nothing which we have to 
undertake, in a spirit of hope, indeed, but at 
the same time of humility ? Are our literary, 
our moral, our philanthropic triumphs on a par 
with those of our practical science and our 
commerce ? Dare we say that the physical or 
intellectual condition of all this busy mass of 
human life is as clear a triumph as are our 
steamers and our milb ? Great indeed are the 
strides which have been made under the auspi- 
ces of enlightened wealth, and a municipal gov- 
ernment at once intelligent and generous, and 
a population readily stirred to honourable ef- 
fort. Our university has for a long time linked 
on to its own proper academic honours the fame 
of the great men whom a generous youth have 
known how to crown and to adopt as their own. 
Art has opened her galleries in which the people 
may enjoy the same feast with the richest and 
the most accomplished. Our hoary Cathedral 
begins again to glow with the hues of sacred 
beauty. Our School of Design brings the skill 
of pencil and of pallet within the reach of the 



humblest grasp, and is among the foremost, if 
not the foremost, of such institutions in Great 
Britain. Public gardens afford the charms of 
tree, and shrub, and glade, where but lately 
there were none but waste places for the me- 
chanic to stroll in with his family, or the school- 
boy to sport. Material improvement begins to 
invade the noisome dens of vice and disease; 
and long ago the cause of the school reformatory 
was affected here when almost unheard of else- 
where. But we must advance. (Cheers.) 
Our people must be made foremost in educa- 
tion, in sobriety, in all virtue. The common 
school must rise in character, our Alma Mater 
must grow in honours, and embrace at once a 
field of knowledge, and a proportion of the 
population commensurate with the enlarged 
horizon of human science, and the aspirations 
of an active-minded people. She must become 
to us what the &mous universities of the mid- 
dle ages were to their respective countries. 
Thus we shall impel forward our native land in 
higher things than the mere multiplication of 
wealth. And at last when habits have univer- ' 
sally refined, and knowledge has increased, and 
laws have slowly ripened under the care of our 
wisest and our best — ^if amid so many present 
evils one can indulge in such varied hopes — 
then, under these happier auspices, in these 
circumstances of diminished suffering and temp* 
tation, of exasperations softened and healed, 
and of innocent enjoyments multiplied, may 
another Bums arise ! (Cheers.) May such 
another hero of song appear among Scotia's 
sons, whether among the peasants of her fields 
or the artizans of her cities — (cheers) — ^to ex- 
hibit all that the man whom we celebrate here 
to-night was meant to have been. By that 
time may the name of Robert Bums himself 
have lost in men's memories much of that which 
still hangs around it to obscure its lustre — ^may 
the miserable detail of grievous error be for- 
gotten — ^may some of those words which his 
better self despised be dropped into oblivion 
by an affectionate posterity. Thus time, the 
healer, may do his beneficent work both for the 
poet and his worshippers, and admiration, wiser 
though not less ardent than that which now 
prevails, perform the most graceful of duties to 
an honoured name. Then will Bums, the frail 
but noble son of genius, and that other of whose 
advent I have dared to dream, whose brow will 
bear on it the stamp of reason dominant over 
passion, and a conscience unsullied by vice, will, 
perchance, be handed down together to latest 
times as one inheritance of glory to our land — 
an undying theme for love and sympathy and 
wide acclaim, unmingled with that which now 
must still be heard, the reluctant tone of sor- 
row and rebuke. (Loud cheers.) 



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GLASGOW—CIXy HALL. 



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The toast was drank with applanse. 

The Hon. the Lord Provost, who was re- 
ceived with cheers, said — I have to thank you 
most heartily for the very cordial way in which 
the toast now proposed has been received. As 
chief magistrate of this city, I can assure this 
meeting that all the various gentlemen who 
take an interest in the management of the city 
have only one object in view, and that is the 
moral and religious improvement of the peo- 
ple, along with the manufacturing and com- 
mercial prosperity of the city. Mr. Monckton 
Milnes referred to what Burns might have sup- 
posed if he had seen Glasgow. I cannot follow 
him in his beautiful poetical fancies, but I may 
say that I have no doubt the poet would have 
been proud of Glasgow for its great progress 
not only in manufactures and commerce, but 
in the arts and sciences. And I think that, to- 
night, we have a strong proof that there is 
something of a poetical feeling still existing in 
Glasgow. (Cheers.) Amid all our cares and 
anxieties of business, we find time to commem- 
orate to-night the birth of a man dear to us all, 
and whose poetry often cheers us all in our 
leisure hours. (Cheers.) It is often said that 
the hearts of merchants are so seared, and so 
set upon the acquiring of wealth and distinc- 
tion, that they are apt to forget the nobler 
feelings of human nature, and forget that they 
have feelings to gratify of a higher kind than 
any that are excited by honour and wealth. I 
think that this night the citizens of Glasgow 
have shown that they cultivate nobler feelings 
than these; and as chief magistrate of the city, 
I cannot help feeling gratified at the successful 
issue of a meeting of this kind. And I am 
perfectly sure that every one of my colleagues 
has the same feeling as myself, when I say that 
I rejoice in such a meeting as' this. (Cheers.) 
I just conclude by thanking you for the honour 
you have done us ; and I can assure you that 
all who have any charge of civic matters have 
no other object in view than the prosperity and 
improvement of the people. (Cheers.) They 
may, in many instances, not carry out their 
views in tlie way that the masses expect them 
to do, but I am quite sure they have an ardent 
desire to do so, and I am quite satisfied that in 
the course of a few years there will be such so- 
cial improvements in our city as^will astonish 
many who now hear me. (Cheers.) 

Mr. Bailie Cochrane of Lamington, who 
was received with loud cheers, said — ^Ladies 
and gentlemen, as you have so cordially re- 
sponded to the toast of the "Poets of Eng- 
land," and also of "The Poets of our own 
Country," it is most suitable that on such an 
occasion we should also drink to the poets of 
Ireland ; and although, assuredly, I am not the 



person capable of doing justice to such a toast, 
still, if Irish traditions be correct, this toast 
should at all times be proposed by a Scotch- 
man ; for I find th^t in various works Ireland 
not only asserts she bestowed sovereigns and 
also the name of Scotia on our native land, but 
also that we are indebted to her for all our 
Highland airs. We are told that when the 
inhabitants of Munster and of Leinster expelled 
the Bretons, the legislative bards, as they were 
called, then took shelter in the wilds and fast- 
nesses of Scotland. A legislative bard is not a 
position well defined in our constitution. We 
possess poets; we possess legislators; and we 
possess gentlemen who are both poets and 
legislators, like my gifted friend Mr. Monckton 
Milnes ; but, although I have heard him make 
many admirable speeches, I have never heard 
them set to music ; nor can I believe that he 
will move his important amendment on the 
Reform Bill in the Spencerian metre. (Cheers.) 
But it does not require any assurance to per- 
suade us of the extreme beauty of the Irish 
melodies. The lyrical power has happily not 
expired with Cor mac and O'Carolan — ^the names 
of Sheridan and of Moore, of Sheridan's illus- 
trious granddaughters, of Goldsmith, of Lever, 
of Morgan, of the author of the "Angel's 
Whisper" and of "Rory O'More," our honoured 
guest of this night, Samuel Lover — all these 
testify that the cunning has not departed from 
the land, and that the fire of Irish talent still 
burns like the inextinguishable lamp of Kildare*s 
shrine. (Cheers.) But there is one bond of 
union between the minstrelsy of the two coun- 
tries — that is, the feeling of independence and 
of patriotism that each awakens. Moore and 
Lover are dear to Ireland, as Bums is to Scot- 
land, and who shall say what an efiect these 
great men may have had on the destinies of 
Sieir respective countries? For instance, there 
was a time, a century ago, when our nationality 
was endangered, when Scotland had been con- 
verted into that battle-field "Where those who 
conquer do not win, and they must lose who 
gain," — (loud cheers) — the nation felt that a 
stranger was in the land, and his cold hand 
was laid on its heart. Ay, at that time there 
was danger, not for our national, bu(^ for 
our mental, independence, for a feeling sprung 
up in the south hostile to our progress ; but in 
spite of all jealousies and antipathies, Scotland 
marched on England, not in military array, but 
in the less dazzling march of mind and of intel- 
ligence ; and this march — the echo of which is 
sdll heard throughout the land — this march was 
preceded by Robert Burns. (Cheers.) Yes; 
and there is another point of sympathy between 
the lyrical poets of the two countries. In most 
cases we find that the poet is neglected during 



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his lifetime. Mr. Lover has done a great and | 
a good work for Ireland in collecting those im- 
mortal lyrics which, but for him, might in time 
have been lost. What a long list of names is 
there of those who, like Carolan, died neglected. 
What shall we say of the last days of Richard 
Brinsley Sheridan? Alas! all nations can 
testify, 

" How Dations, slowly wise and meanly just, 
To buried merit raise the tardy bust." 

(Cheers.) Who was it erected a monument to 
Robert Ferguson many years after his death ? 
Why, a brother poet — Robert Bums! The 
band of genius possesses its noble army of 
martyrs. See Camoens dying in a garret; 
Tasso in a madhouse; Milton in poverty; 
Otway choked with the morsel of food doled 
out in charity ; Chatterton, always the melan- 
choly Chatterton, most so in his death. Yes, 
and afterwards justice is done to departed 
genius. Tasso is crowned on his deathbed; 
Petrarch in the Capitol; and now Burns is 
crowned by the one unanimous cry of love and 
admiration, which echoes far and wide. When 
Mr. Lover returns to Ireland, if he is asked, as 
Macduff asks Rosse, " Stands Scotland where 
she did?" he will, in hb own powerful lan- 
guage, describe the grand scene he has wit- 
nessed ; he will tell how 

" The friends we have tried 
Are by our side " 

this night in the persons of the honoured sons 
of our immortal poets, and how we may antici- 
pate, as Robert Bums anticipated the day, 
** When man to man, the wide world o*er, diall 
brothers be." (Great applause.) 

Band—" Roiy O'Mow." 

Mr. Samuel Lover, who was received with 
loud and prolonged cheering, said — Sir Archi- 
bald AUson, Ladies, and Gentlemen — Before I 
attempt to allude to the subject matter of the 
toast you have just heard, I must first give 
expression to a feeling that has been struggling 
at my heart all this night, increasing in warmth 
and magnitude as the evening has progressed ; 
and that feeling has been one of more than a 
fulness of joy — an overflow of joy — at the glo- 
rious sight I have seen to-night of a nation's 
pride in her poet. (Cheers.) That I have 
been invited to this banquet to-night, and for 
such a purpose as to speak on the part of the 
poets of Ireland, I look upon as the highest 
honour of my life. (Cheers.) It is an honour 
every man might be proud of, and this medal I 
wear as steward of this meeting, I look upon 
as an order of poetic merit which I shall 
treasure as long as I live. I cannot but 
remark upon the singularly handsome compli- 



ment paid me by the tune which accompanied 
the toast— (the air was "Jioiy (/Merer) The 
dying eagle, when he saw the arrow that struck 
him, winged with one of his own feathers, felt 
his death more keenly; but I feel my life 
stronger within me when I find a compliment 
winged and pointed in a shaft of my own 
quiver. (Cheers.) I look upon the union of 
that air with that toast as very much after the 
fashion of certain ready and rapid alliances 
made upon this side of the border. Milton 
talks of music married to immortal verse, but 
now has music been married to a handsome 
Scotch compliment; and I can assure you, 
ladies and gentlemen, that Rory (yMore is 
not the man to object to a Scotch marriage. 
(Laughter and great cheering.) Mr. Bailie 
Cochrane has alluded to the legislative bards 
of Ireknd ; he repudiates them, and says that 
he thinks there are no such thing as legislative 
bards. Neither do I; but I do believe that 
legislators have some regard for the bards, 
because they constantly call upon us Ui pay the 
piper. (Laughter and cheers.) With respect 
to the poets of Ireland, Ireland is as proud of 
her poets as Scotland is, and Great Britain 
ought to be well pleased and regard it as one 
of the happiest circumstances attendant upon 
the triumphal march of her language, when it 
became the vehicle of thought and expression 
for such men as Goldsmith, and Sheridan, and 
Moore. (Cheers.) That the poets of Ireland 
should be remembered here does not surprise 
me, because there is much in common between 
the people of the two countries. They are 
both of Celtic origin, both gifted, as all the 
Celtic races are, with the gift of song, both 
clinging affectionately to national observances, 
both exulting in national glory, both rejoicing 
in a generous and hilarious hospitality, both 
sending round the shells of joy, often filled 
with mountain dew — that dew that falls so 
plentifully in the evening, but does not always 
evaporate fast in the morning. (Great laughter 
and cheers.) Ladies and gentlemen, there is 
an old saying that states that an Irishman has 
leave to speak twice for another man*8 once. 
But the minutes are so precious that really I 
feel that, though an Irishman with that privi- 
lege, I must speak only once, and that as briefly 
as possible. But before I sit down I wish to 
express once more the feeling of delight this 
evening has given me in its glorious celebration 
of a glorious name, this grandest example I 
have ever seen in my life of the pleasures of 
memory. (Cheers.) It has been of late in 
these utilitarian days common to ridicule na- 
tionalities, to think lightly of those dear re- 
membrances that every man of warm sympa- 
thies must wish to cherish, and it has been too 



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much the fashion to look upon poets as merely 
the ornamental app^idages of society rather 
than things to he honoured and rememhered. 
But if any man of so cold a nature will not 
listen to a generous argument on the subject^ 
if they will accept of nothing less than an argu* 
ment of stone walls, let me refer them back to 
the history of Greece, and point to her decay. 
The Acropolis has crumbled, the Parthenon is 
in ruins, the domination of her heroic chiefs 
has passed away, the conquests of Aiexander 
are but as dust, while Homer and Sophocles 
hold their sway as strongly as ever in the 
human mind? (Loud cheers.) No, let us 
never give up our poetical memories. What 
should we be without these endearing remem- 
brances? Where is the man that has not some 
sacred place in his heart for dear memories, and 
who would not be solitary and desolate without 
them ? The ship, in mid-ocean, without com- 
pass, quadrant, or chronometer, would not be 
more utterly isolated and desolate than the 
man without some tender recollections in his 
heart. No, let us never give up our heart- 
memories, or forget our poets. I hope and 
believe tlie time is coming when those evil feel- 
ings will be dispersed, and when poets will be 
cherished as dear things, and if any are scepti- 
cal, I should like to show them this meeting, 
and I think that it, in the shape of an argu- 
ment, would be what is called a dencher. 
(Laughter and cheers.) Better times are com- 
ing, and it is a good sign that in the present 
Government of Great Britain, we find two 
bright names in literature, the names of Mr. 
Disraeli and Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. In 
your country you have had a charming example 
lately of literary merit rewarded by a coronet. 
And in what does Lord Macaulay excel ? In 
history. And what is history but memory on 
a grand scale? I say, then, in conclusion, 
cherish your memories and love your poets: 
and on the part of the poets of Ireland, with a 
full heart and a brimming glass, ladies and 
gentlemen, I salute you. (Great cheering.) 

The Hon. Judge Hauburton proposed the 
next toast — " The Scottish Clergy." In doing 
80^ he said — I have accepted the invitation to 
appear here to-night with peculiar pleasure. A 
hundred and fifty years have elapsed sinca my 
fiimily left the borders of Scotland to seek 
their fortunes in the wilds of America, and I 
am the first of that family that has made his 
appearance in his fatherland — (cheers) — and 
that you have been so good as to call me here 
to-night, as your guest, overpowers me in a 
way that I cannot well express. I have been 
honoured by being requested to propose a toast, 
which, I am sure, every one who hears me will 
receive with a most cordial and affectionate re- 



sponse, since it is the clergy of Scotland. When 
it was first proposed to me to give this toast, I 
confess that I was considerably embarrassed. 
It did not appear to me particularly appropriate 
that so venerable, so pious, so zealous, and so 
learned a body as the Church of Scotland 
should be given by the humble author of Sam 
Slick. (Laughter and loud cheers.) I thought 
perhaps that it might have been given more 
appropriately by one nearer home and better 
able to do justice to such a subject, but a mo- 
ment's reflection taught me that nothing was 
required of me but to propose it, because it 
was a toast that spoke for itself, as the clergy 
had their bond of union with the country in the 
feelings, and sympathies, and hearts of the 
people. Nothing, therefore, remained for me 
to do but to propose it, for their eulogium is 
like that beautiful inscription, sublime from its 
simplicity, in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral 
— the inscription to the immortal architect who 
raised it — H monwnerUtun qucerit, drcunupke, 
(Cheers.) In like manner, the eulogium of 
the clergy of Scotland is best found in the 
character of its people, in the institutions they 
have fostered, in that comprehensive system of 
education they have encouraged which has made 
Scotland pre-eminent among the nations. Hav- 
ing said thus much, I should feel that I have 
done all that is reqmred of me; but the clergy 
of the Church of Scotland are not the whole 
Scottish clergy, for there is a very large body 
of Scottish clergymen whom they have sent 
abroad, as learned, as pious, as laborious, as 
self-denying, and as useful as any, in Brit- 
ish North America. The Hon. Judge pro- 
ceeded to describe the arduous labours and 
trials of the Scottish clergy in the vast territory 
of British North America, covering as it did a 
ninth part of the surface of the globe, and pro- 
ceeded to say — It is easy to draw delusive 
pictures, as I saw one drawn the other day by 
a skilful artist, who, addressing the working 
classes of Glasgow, bade them go to the country 
where they would have a vote in the representa- 
tion, with the safe^guard of the ballot-box — 
where there were no taxes, and where they 
would have a happier home in the wilderness. 
These are such very pretty pictures, that it is a 
pity they are fanc^ sketches, and not realities. 
(Laughter and cheers.) The poor settler that 
goes to that country, you hear from when he 
succeeds ; but do you ever hear from the hun- 
dreds who perish by the way, who carry a 
broken heart, broken hopes, and a broken con- 
stitution to the grave? You hear not from 
them ; all you know is that they have gone to 
America, and that they have not written, or 
that their letters have not readied. I am de- 
lighted to see here the venerable and learned 



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head of the University of Glasgow — a uni- 
versity so renowned through the world — which 
has produced so many statesmen, poets, judges, 
lawyers, and able men — and I am delighted 
also to see the Rev. Dr. M'Leod, whose ac- 
quaintance I had the honour and pleasure of 
making on the other side of the Atlantic, 
where the amenities of his manner, and the 
eloquence of his pulpit oratory, will long be re- 
membered by the population through whom he 
passed. (Cheers.) I am delighted to see him 
here, further, because he can bear witness that 
wherever there are Scottish clergymen, you 
find under their care a body of men dis- 
tinguished for moral and religious feeling — for 
frugality, industry, and general respectability. 
(Cheers.) I atn glad to see them, further, be- 
cause it tells me that by the end of a century 
there has been time enough to weave that 
cloak of charity which we are told covers a 
multitude of sins. (Cheers.) If that cloak 
had not been woven by this time I would think 
little of the clerical or lay weavers of Glasgow. 
I beg leave to propose to you the Scottish 
Clergy, present and absent, those here and 
those in North America. 

The toast was received with great approbation. 
Organ—" Luther's Hymn." 

Rev. Dr. M*Leod, of the Barony, in replying 
to the toast, said — I have the honour to ac- 
knowledge the toast which has been so kindly 
proposed and accepted. The clergy could not 
have their merits tried by a more discriminating 
judge than the honourable gentleman. Yet I 
for one would not have objected had the duty 
which he has so eloquently performed been as- 
signed to an illustrious Mend of his, who, if 
less venerable, is, if possible, better known over 
the world than himself, and is everywhere ad- 
mired for his accurate knowledge of men and 
manners — ^his keen perception of character — his 
most excellent wit and genial humour; and 
who, if he could not, perhaps, spare the weak- 
nesses of the clergy, would certainly not forget 
their virtues — ^I mean his distinguished friend 
the Clockmaker. (Laughter and cheers.) It is 
now more than ten years since I enjoyed the hap- 
piness, to which the Judge has so kindly alluded, 
of receiving a shake of his hand in Halifax, and 
a welcome to Nova Scotia. I now in Glasgow 
reciprocate that welcome to old Scotia; and 
where could Old and New Sootia more appro- 
priately meet than when commemorating Robert 
Burns? (Cheers.) There are two things which 
alone make Bums to me sufficiently memorable. 
The one is — his noble protest for the indepen- 
dence and dignity of humanity, as expressed, 
for example, in that heroic song, '< A man's a 
man for a' that." The other is — his intense 
nationality — a chivalrous sentiment, springing, 



like a plant deeply rooted for ages in the soil, 
and bearing fruit which nourishes the manliest 
virtues of a people. (Cheers.) Few men in 
this respect have done for any country what 
Burns has done for Scotland. He has made 
our Doric for ever poetical. He has saved for 
us the exquisite old melodies of Scotland. His 
lyrics gave their music life, and their music 
gave his lyrics wings. Everything in our land 
touched with the wand of his genius will for 
ever retain the new interest and beauty which 
he has imparted to it. Nobly has he redeemed 
his early poetic pledge to " gar our streams an* 
bumies shine." Never will the "banks and 
braes of bonnie Doon " cease to be " fresh and 
fair," nor the " birks of Aberfeldy " to hang 
their tresses in the bright atmosphere of his 
song. So possessed are even busy railway 
directors and rough mechanics by his pre- 
sence and power that they send " Tam o* 
Shanter" and "Souter Johnie" as locomotives 
roaring and whistling through the land that is 
called by his name and immortalised by his 
genius ! (Cheers.) How marvellously has he 
wielded the hearts of Scotchmen throughout 
the world ! Without him, they would, no 
doubt, be united by the ordinary bonds of a 
common country that cannot anywhere be for- 
gotten — ^a common tongue that cannot anywhere 
be easily mistaken — and by mercantile pursuits 
in which, we presume, Scotchmen cannot any- 
where be wanted. But such ties alone would 
be like the cold hard cable that connects the 
Old and New World beneath the Atlantic. The 
songs of Bums are the electric sparks which 
flash along it; and "though seas between us 
may be cast," these unite heart to heart, so 
that as long as they exist Scotchmen can never 
forget " auld acquaintance," nor the " days o' 
langsyne." (Cheers.) And yet, Sir, how can 
a clergyman, of all men, forget or fail to express 
his deep sorrow on such an occasion as the 
present for things that Bums has written, and 
which deserve the uncompromising condemna- 
tion of those who love him best. I am not 
called upon to pass any judgment on him as a 
man, but only as a writer ; and with reference 
to some of his poems, from my heart I say it — 
for his own sake, for the sake of my country, 
for the sake of righteousness more than all — 
would God they were never written, never 
printed, and never readi (Hisses, answered 
by loud cheers and renewed hisses, which were 
again silenced by cheering.) And I would 
rejoice to see, as the result of our festivals in 
honour of Burns, a centenary edition of his 
poems from whicli every thing would be ex- 
cluded which a Christian father could not read 
aloud in his family circle, or the Christian cottar 
on his " Saturday night " to his sons and daughters ! 



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(Hisses, ivhich were again drowned in cheers.) 
Surely, Sir, thus righteously to condemn what- 
ever is inconsistent with purity and piety, while 
it cannot lessen one ray of his genius, is the best 
proof we can afford of our regard for his memory, 
and the best sacrifice we can offer to his departed 
spirit. But whatever some of his admirers 
here may say, yet of one thing I feel assured, 
that the poet himself, if he heard my words, 
would now agree with me — (cheers) — for if he 
is cognizant of what is done upon earth, such 
a judgment must be in accordance with his 
most solemn convictions and most earnest 
wishes. (Loud applause.) 

Mr. J. P. Trotter, advocate, proposed 
" Colonel Bums and other existing Relatives of 
the Poet." In doing so, he said — I cannot 
help remarking that it is a matter of much 
congratulation to this assembly that, at a time 
so fsLP removed from that in which the poet 
lived, we are still privileged to honour him in 
the person of his son. Two sons of Burns — 
one of whom sits at this table — ^still live, to 
witness to-night one of the most remarkable 
tributes that since the world began has ever 
yet been paid to genius — ^to listen to the simul- 
taneous lifting up of the voice of a whole na- 
tion to proclaim the glory of one man, and that 
man their father. It has been said, and I think 
with much truth, that when we hold inter- 
course even with the remote descendants of 
great men, we are carried back through the 
links of a long chain of associations, until we 
almost seem to hold intercourse with themselves; 
but it is our privilege to-night to hold intercourse 
not with one of the remote descendants of 
the immortal bard, but with his own son, with 
one whom he has often folded in his own living 
arms, often gazed on with his own loving eyes. 
(Applause.) In proposing the health of Colonel 
Bums, it is not my purpose to dilate on his 
personal merits, though his honourable career 
throughout life affords ample materials for my 
doing so; but thb at least I must be permitted 
to say, that much of that fine geniality of dis- 
position, that kindly warmth of heart, that 
overflowing sympathy with all that concerns 
the interests of humanity, which so strongly 
characterised the father, have been reproduced 
in the son. (Applause.) And if there be one 
feeling which more than any other throughout 
life has marked the character of Colonel Bums 
it is his love for the virtues and his admiration 
for the genius of his glorious sire. To speak 
of his father's memory, to sing his father's songs, 
to listen to his father's praises, I know to be the 
greatest delight of his heart. It has been my 
privilege to visit our honoured guest and his no 
less honoured brother, at their delightful resi- 
dence in Cheltenham, — an abode over whose 



portal might with much propriety be written the 
words "Let brotherly love continue" — and I 
have often thought how it would have glad- 
dened the heart of their father if he had been 
permitted to see his sons, after lives honourably 
passed in the pursuit of an honourable profes- 
sion, spending the evening of their days in the 
enjoyment of each other's society, living under 
the same roof, engaged in the same pursuits, 
and devoted to each other with an affection so 
warm as only to be transcended by that still 
stronger love which they mutually bear to the 
great name of their father. (Cheers.) Of the 
other existing relatives of the Poet I shall only 
say that they all bear about them that impress 
of worth and of talent with which the poet him- 
self was so strongly stamped, and which marks 
and verifies their distinguished lineage. To 
use a familiar Scottish phrase, they are all 
come of a good kind ; and there is much mean- 
ing in that phrase; there is much influence in 
what we commonly call blood ; and that which 
characterises the blood of Bums is strong intel- 
lectual vigour and high moral integrity, or as 
he himself so well expresses it, " The pith o' 
sense and pride o' worth." This is the charac- 
teristic of the whole race. It was this that 
shone out so pre-eminently in that great pat- 
tern of a Scottish peasant, that bright exem- 
plar of a high-minded Christian man — William 
Bums, the poet's father. It was this that 
marked before an admiring world the bright 
career of a man whose death in India some 
years ago a whole nation united to deplore, as 
a whole nation now unites to honour his illus- 
trious relative — I mean, Sir Alexander Bums, 
the poet's cousin; and it is this which will con- 
tinue to characterise all who have the honour 
to spring from the same illustrious root. 
(Cheers.) 

Dmnk with all the honours. 

The Colonel was again received with great 
applause. He said — I have to thank my friend 
Trotter very heartily for the way in which he 
has introduced the toast, and' you for the 
hearty manner in which you have responded to 
the toast of "The Sons and Relatives of the 
Bard." I may as well here enumerate them, 
as far as my knowledge extends. There are 
my brother William Nichol and myself; my 
two daughters, Mrs. Hutchinson, with her two 
children, in Australia, and Annie Bums, now 
in Edinburgh; and my late brother Robert's 
daughter, Mrs. Everett, with her daughter, in 
Belfast. These are the direct descendants. 
My uncle Gilbert left a large family, of whom 
survives one daughter (Ann) and three sons 
(William, Thomas, and Gilbert). The three 
brothers have many olive branches. For the 
survivors of my late dear aunt, Mrs. Begg, I 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



leave my cousin Robert to thank you himself. 
(Applause.) 

Mr. Robert Burns Bboo, nephew of the 
poet, also responded to the toast, and said — I 
did not expect to be called upon to speak just 
now. I am unaccustomed to public speaking, 
and I cannot let my voice reach this immense 
assembly. All I can say is, that I have met 
with many kindnesses in the world, and I be- 
lieve they are all owing to my connection with 
' Burns. I owe the honour of being here as a 
guest to-night solely to that, and I brieve to 
an acquaintance many years ago with the late 
Sheriff Steele. I may, however, be idlowed to 
say that I should like very much to live another 
hundred years to see such a sight as this. 
(Applause.) I would like to see the same beauty 
assembled together, and the same learned men 
assembled here. I thank you kindly. (Cheers.) 
The hand then played **Dancaii Gray," and Mr. 
Robeon sang " Behind yon hills." 

Mr. William Burns said, — The toast which 
I have the honour to propose — *^ The Centen- 
ary Celebrations all over the world" — is one 
that, standing by itself, and in the hands of an 
accomplished speaker, might well form a theme 
second only to the immortal memory itself. 
Under present circumstances, however, the 
duty imposed upon me is of a humble descrip- 
tion, namely, to say a few words to you as to 
the origin and progress, and the present posi- 
tion of this movement for a general celebration 
of the centenary of the birth-day of our great 
national poet, and to call upon you to recog- 
nise, in the warmest possible manner, kindred 
meetings wherever these may be held, dther at 
home or abroad. When, not long ago, a few 
humble admirers of the poet and lovers of the 
man, met together for the purpose of concert- 
ing a festival celebration in Glasgow on the 
occasion of the centenary of Bums, I must con- 
fess they had no conception of the result that 
was to follow from their labours. They were 
ignorant at that time of the deep fountain that 
was to be opened in the heart of the public. 
Their idea on the subject was that a great 
meeting might be held in Glasgow, aa a con- 
venient locality, as had been done some years 
before on the banks of the Doon, towards which 
the worshippers of the poet — men eminent in 
literature both in Scotland, Ireland, and else- 
where, might congregate. Under that impres- 
sion, they proposed to give the celebration in 
the City Hall, Glasgow, the designation of na- 
tional, a designation which, it may be observed, 
it still retains. Probably that designation is 
not now absolutely correct. Still, it may not 
be thought altogether inappropriate, consider- 
ing the magnitude of the meeting itself, and 
keeping in view that, whether national or not, 



it lias been the mother of such a large project 
Strange as it may appear now, when we see the 
dimensions to which this movement has attained, 
it was stated that the people of Edinbui^ 
would look on the movement with a certain 
degree of disfavour. (Signs of impatienoe.) 
But these speculations were dissolved by a pro- 
cess over which no individuals or set of indivi- 
duals had any control, because a chord had been 
struck in the heart of the people which very soon 
vibrated, not only throughout Scothind, but 
through England and Ireland, and far away over 
the ocean, wherever the name or songs of Bums 
were known. (Renewed interruption.) Very 
soon, in place of the people of Edinburgh meet* 
ing the movement with opposition, they ent«^ 
into it with the utmost enthusiasm. (Con- 
tinued signs of impatience.) Their example 
was followed by every town and village in the 
country. (Interruption and hisses.) I may 
mention one circumstance which has been made 
known to me unce I entered the hall, and it is 
that the idea of a centenary celebration was 
first ventilated and brought under notice on the 
very spot where the poet himself was bom. 
(Applause, and more signs of impatience.) I 
shidl at once propose the toast, which I am glad 
to see you are all so anxious to drink. (Drunk 
with enthusiasm.) 

Mr. Buchanan, M.P., then said — The toast 
which I have to propose is ** Our guests," and 
I am sure those gentlemen who have honoured 
us with their presence to-night will not think 
that I am behaving in the least degree unhand- 
somely or dbrespectfuUy to them, if I do not 
make any remarks in proposing the toast. I 
am warned of the lateness of the hour, and that 
it will be necessaiy to get on as quickly as pos- 
sible ; and, when it is considered that most of 
those gentlemen whose names I am about to 
mention, have already addressed you, it will be 
seen that it would be quite unnecessary for 
me to make any remarks. I will only say with 
what pleasure I see present here to-night the 
venerable Sir David Brewster. (Loud cheers.) 
His fame as a man oi science stands so high, 
not only in Scotland, but throughout Europe^ 
that I need say no more, but only beg that you 
wUl join with me in drinking the health of Sir 
David Brewster, Judge Haliburton, Mr. Monck- 
ton Milnes, Mr. Blanohard Jerrold, Mr. James 
Lowe, the venerable Principal of the Univ^^y, 
Dr. Macleod, and Mr. Peter Cunningham. 

The toast was drank amid kmd applause. 

Song— "The Riga o» Barley"— Mr. Stemhridse 
Raj. 

Bailie Houldsworth said the toast he had 
to propose was, " The Festival Committee." He 
did not think it necessary at that late hour to 
say much on the subject. They had worked 



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hard to provide the audience with a most 
splendid banquet; and whenever a public de- 
monstration was required in the dty of Glas- 
gow, to pay honour to any man of genius, 
whether poet, historian, man of letters, or man 
of science^ warrior or statesman, they should 
only hope that they might find a good working 
committee to carry out the arrangements as 
successfully as on 4^e present occasion. 

Organ — ^** Here awa*, there awa»." 

Dnink with honoiirs. 

Mr. C. E. Brown, in reply, said — Mr. Chair- 
man, were I to use the ordinary, stereotyped 
phraseology, and say that the committee of this 
— the Initiatory Festival — ^never expected such 
a pleasing recognition of their services, I would 
simply be committing great injustice. I have 
been connected with many committees, but 
never experienced such sealous and cordial co- 
operation. (Applause.) But Sir, even though 
the toast had been entirely overlooked in 0ie 
programme, the glorious success which has 
crowned our efforts would, of itself, have been 
esteemed a fitting reward. Being the first cen- 
tenary festival, the correspondence which en- 
sued may truly be characterised as immense; 
yet, all throughout, we- indeed felt that ** the 
labour we ddight in physics pain." (Loud 
cheers.) So far as I am personidly concerned, 
I have been richly remimerated by being put 
in possession of quite a treasure-trove of valu- 
aUe letters from some of the most distinguished 
men of the time. In conclusion, Sir, the com- 
mittee^ through me, would venture to express 
the hope that this great festival may not termi- 
nate in a mere ovation to the memory of the 
mighty dead, but that, sooner or later, the 
embodiment of some such monumental struc- 
ture, as is shadowed forth in the tableaux to my 
right, may soon grace the metropolis of western 
Scotland — a structure really worthy of the 
Bard, of Glasgow, and of Scotland. (Pro- 
longed cheering.) 

Song— "Of a' the airts"— Mr. John Mair. 

Dr. BoBQERS, after some preliminary obser- 
vations, said — To Britain ijie periodical and 
newspaper press has been very much what 
Robert Bums was to his native Scotland, it has 
exposed practices^ degraded error, and upheld 
the truth. A grand popular educator— -our 
national printing press has done more for the 
suppression of war and the promotion of peace, 
on the strict principles of justice, than have 
achieved all the standing armies in the world. 
The iron steam-press and the leaden type are 
more the emblems of Britain's greatness than 
are the same materials converted into artillery, 
or manu&etured into rifle- balls. And if our 
printing-press is preserved intact, and its liber- 
ties unimpaired, then Britain and the world 



shall only perish together. The periodical and 
newspaper press of Britain has become a repo- 
sitory of the national talent, and national en- 
terprise. As in the army — here every man 
finds his own level — the scribbler returns to 
his original insignificance, while the man of 
power is sure to obtain his proper place. Had 
Bums lived in these days of press ascendency, 
he too would have found better occupation than 
Uiat of expending his energies in gauging casks 
at Dumfries, or wasting his burning* words on 
those who knew not how to appreciate his 
greatness. Tet he has, with all his disadvan- 
tages and misfortunes, played his part right 
nobly, for while those things we would have 
withdrawn shall be forgotten, the rich treasury 
of virtuous patriotism and ennobling sentiment 
of his songs, and many of his poems, shall be 
put forth by the printing-press of every future 
age. Within a few days hence, every news- 
paper of the kingdom — ay and of Canada and 
the United States too— shall contain narratives 
of orations in honour of his memory, such as 
never before were rendered to any oth^ man. 
Surely this is not infatuation nor idolatry, as it 
has been termed ; but a tribute due to great 
genius and k thank-offering to Providence for 
Uie bestowal, 1 conclude by proposing << The 
Press," and in the closing words of our bard's 
dedication to his poems, I would add, ^^may 
tyranny in the ruler and licentiousness in the 
people ever find it, as heretofore, an inexorable 
foe." (Loud applause.) 
Band — " Annie Laurie." 

Mr. LowB (Editor of the Critic), said, that 
an anecdote occurred to his memory as germane 
to the present business, which was true, and 
had the still greater advantage of having never 
been related publicly before. When Her Ma- 
jesty first took up her abode in what Sir A. 
Alison has termed her "Hieland Home," the 
conductors of the London Morning papers 
deemed it to be consistent with their duty to 
send a reporter after her to report her goings 
out and her comings in. These genSemen 
were one morning engaged in following her 
Majesty at a respectful and loyal distance, when 
they became conscious that the Queen was 
speaking about them to the factor of the Duke 
of Athol, who happened to be in attendance 
upon her. This person, a certain Captain Dal- 
gliesh, was in the habit of meeting them of an 
evening 4it a convenient bothie, where, over a 
social tumbler, they were wont to solace the 
cares of life, and on this evening they were not 
a little curious to know what the Queen had 
said about them. For a long time, the old gen- 
tleman fenced the question; but, giving way at 
length to their importunity, he replied, " Weel, 
if ye maun ken, she wasspeering whilk was the 



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lurnd mon for the TeemsJ' (Laughter.) And 
BO it ia, whatever is to be done. Whether our 
military friends are lighting a battle, or our 
clerical ones preaching a sermon; whether our 
parliamentary friends are meeting their consti- 
tuents, or you are holding a Bums festival, one 
man is sure to be present, and that is "the 
lurnd mon for the Teems," He is an institu- 
tion among you. He is the chiel among you 
taking notes — and faith he prents 'em. (Laugh- 
ter.) Sometimes he is a very unwelcome guest, 
on account of his habit of speaking the truth, 
and sometimes, as to-night, he is a very wel- 
come guest. With regard to the toast which 
they had drunk at that late hour of the even- 
ing, and after the eloquent speeches which had 
been delivered, he should, in offering his grate- 
ful thanks on behalf of himself and his brethren 
of the press, confine himself to one observation. 
It was impossible to pronounce absolutely as to 
what might or might not have been the case 
under a state of circumstances which had never 
existed ; but, if the great man whose memory 
they were met to celebrate had lived in a time 
when a press flourished in any way analogous 
to that which now existed, it might not be too 
much to say that his lot in life would have 
been far different. (Cheers.) The press, and 
above all, the literary press, not only creates a 
taste for reading, but points out what is best to 
be read. (Applause.) To Scotland was un- 
doubtedly due the credit of having created the 
modern book-trade — (hear, hear) — but England 
may justly claim the invention of the modem 
press. (Cheers.) Busy men have no time to 
judge for themselves, and are compelled to take 
their opinions from the critics ; and yet, harshly 
as those critics are ofttimes spoken of, it is not 
to be denied that they have been instrumental 
in raising the social position of the writer. 
(Hear, hear, and cheers.) Where one dopy of 
a book was sold fifty years ago, a hundred are 
now disposed of. Had journalism been in 
Burns' time as it is now, it would not have been 
to the " noblemen and gentlemen" of the Cale- 
donian Hunt that he would have had to look 
for patronage. (Loud cheers.) Borne upon 
the wings of the press, his name would have 
gone forth to wherever the English language 
was known — (renewed cheering) — and it might 
have been that, with a better appreciation of 
his genius, his grateful country would have 
found some occupation for him more congenial 
than that of an exciseman. (Vehement cheer- 
ing.) With regard to the toast to which he 
responded, it needed neither ghost from the 
grave, nor journalist from London, to vindicate 
the honour of the British press. The Scotch, 
and above all, the Glasgow section of this press, 
was second to none in the ability and intelli- 



gence with which it dealt with the topics which 
it handled — (cheers) — and he should have been 
better pleased had the duty which he was per- 
forming devolved upon one of his brethren in 
that city. It had, however, pleased the Com- 
mittee to lay it upon him, and in all sincerity 
of spirit he thank^ the company for the honour 
whieh they had paid to the profession to which 
he had the honour to belong. (Applause.) 

Mr. Samuel Lotsb then said — At a very 
short notice I am called upon to propose a 
toast; but it is one that no man could possibly 
be asked to propose without feeling that a great 
compliment had been paid and a great privilege 
granted to him. That toast is " The Lasses." 
(Cheers.) Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems a 
sort of practical pun that the lasses should be 
proposed by a Lover. (Laughter.) But I 
hope the ladies that are here will believe thai 
an Irish lover is never deficient in paying his 
homage to what has well been called the most 
beautiful half of the human race. (Cheers.) 
Ladies, in your smile exbts the poet's inspira* 
tion, and in your smile exists the poet's reward. 
There never was a poet yet that didn't worship 
woman — (hear, hear) — and pre-eminently the 
bard whose name we have met this day to 
honour, worshipped "the lasses oh!" (Loud 
applause.) But the greatest poet in the world, 
whatever might be his power — and the power 
of making love was very great in Robert Burns; 
but no man can make love by himself. He 
must have a lady to help him — (laughter) — and, 
I must say, that from all my experience, very 
good helps they are. (Renewed laughter.) 
Shakspeare has comprised under one head 
the lunatic, the lover, and the poet ; and when 
I first became a lover, I felt convinced that 
Shakspeare was right in saying that a lover 
was a lunatic— (laughter) — ^for I was perfectly 
mad. (Much laughter.) But that took place 
a long time ago — about half a century — ^but I 
began very young. (Roars of laughter.) And 
Mr. Chairman, ladies, and gentlemen — for I 
wish to call as many witnesses as I can to this 
fact — I found madness so delightful that I 
think I never have been right in my senses 
since — (great laughter) — but if ever I have 
had a lucid interval, it has only been to sigh for 
Bedlam again, and call upon Cupid for my 
keeper. (Cheers.) A very interesting docu- 
ment has been placed in my hand to read to 
you to-night. It is an additional verse to 
" Green grow the rashes, O," composed by 
Robert Bums, the son of the great Robert 
Bums. The lines were presented by Mr. Alex- 
ander Maclagan, author of ' Poems and Songs,' 
to be repeated* In reading it I shall give as 
much attention as I can to your Scottish dia- 
lect, and if I make mistakes pray forgive a 



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stranger. Mr. Lover then read the following 
verse, which was received with applause; the 
talented reader's manner in setting off the 
Scotch words creating considerable amuse- 
ment: — 

" Frae man's ain side God made his wark 
That a' the lave sarpasaes, O ; 
The man hut lo'es his ain heart's hlnid 
Wha dearly lo'es the lasses, O !" 

Mr. Lover concluded by saying — ^After this, of 
course, it would be trespassing on you to say 
one word more than to give the toast, and I 
hope that my fair hearers will believe me when 
. I say that never had they a truer, or a warmer, 
or a more faithful lover than the one that ad- 
dresses them. (Loud cheers.) 

Mr. Egbert Bubnb Beoo stud — The toast 
which I am to propose to you, is the health of 
our distinguished Chairman, Sir Archibald 
Alison. (Cheers.) You all know the Chair- 
man well. As a historian his fame resounds 
throughout all Europe. He writes a history of 
heroes, and I understand he is the father of 
heroes. (Loud applause.) And though last, 
not least, he has been the excellent Chairman 
of thb splendid meeting. '^ Health and happi* 
ness to Sir Archibald Alison." (Cheers.) 

The hand played '' Scots wha hae." 

The Chairman, in reply, said — At this late 
hour of the night the first merit of speaking 
will be brevity. I shall therefore only say that 
I deeply feel the more than kindness with which 
you have received the feeble efforts I have made 
to-night to do honour to our immortal bard ; 
and tiie recollection of this night will never be 
erased from my mind. (Cheers.) 

Mr. David M'Cubbin proposed " The Crou- 
piers," which was drunk with enthusiasm. 

The vocalists sang " Auld Langsyne," the choras 
beinff g^ven by the company standing, accompanied 
by the band and organ, wnich concmded the pro- 
gramme. 

The proceedings, which commenced a few minates 
past five o'clock, did not terminate till about half- 
Mst eleven, by which time many persons had left the 
oall, and many of those who remained had become 
rather confased in their jollity. 

[We may mention that in the course of the evening 
there was handed round for inspection, the veritable 
silver-mounted snuffbox which belonged to the bard 
when he was in the Excise, the somewhat worn in- 
scription being ** Robert Bums, of the Excise." This 
interesting relic is now the property of Mr. Keid, of 
Port-Glasgow.] 



THE MERCHANTS' HALL. 

Tuesday evening — ^bringing the echoed cry, 
« UbiquSy et ab omnibus" of the great celebra- 
tion of the birth of Scotland's noblest and im- 
mortal bard — ^was characterised by a grand 



festival got up under the auspices of the Ayr- 
shire young men resident in Glasgow — who are 
*^ jamais arriere," (never behind,) in any loyal 
or patriotic demonstration — in the Merchants' 
Hall, which was gaily decorated with flags and 
wreathes of evergreens, and presented to the 
eye a very animated aspect. The honest men 
(as the immortal bard hath called them) have, 
in a way worthy of all praise, celebrated the 
Burns festival. The company present num- 
b«^ nearly 600, and were, during their as- 
sembling, welcomed with strains of music from 
the band of Mr. M'Cann. 

The chair was ably occupied by John M'Ga- 
vin, Esq. ; and amongst the gentlemen on the 
platform were Thomas Brown, Esq. ; George 
Troup, Esq. (of the Daily Bulletin); Thomas 
Bishop, Esq. (great-grandson of the poet); 
Messrs. Robert Toung, Wm. Roxburgh, Jas. 
Forrester, Wm. Lockhart, Thomhili, John 
McGregor, David M^ure, James Young, John 
Craig, Wm. Walker, jun., John Walker, Thomas 
Amot, Wm. Gilchrist, John M*Turk, William 
Smith, John R. Wylie, J. R. Pickering, Gavin 
Laurie, James Middleton, David Clure, jun., 
&c. &c. 

Divine blessing having been implored by Mr. 
Gilchrist, the company partook of an excellent 
tea, and abundance of good creature comforts. 
Thanks having been returned by singing two 
verses of Bums' poetry appropriate for the oc- 
casion. 

The Chairman read a letter of congratula- 
tion from the *' Auld Langsyne Society of New 
York," and proceeded to address the meeting : 
Ladies and Gentlemen — ^Although I can boast 
some experience in presiding over social meet- 
ings, yet I wish some one else had occupied the 
chair this evening. I make this statement with- 
out any affected self-depreciation. On all ordi- 
nary occasions I might deem myself quite able to 
perform the requisite duties of a chairman; but 
to-night, met as we are to celebrate the cen- 
tenary of the birth of Scotland's greatest poet, 
I feel that certain powers are required-^powers 
to which I lay little claim. For the last half- 
century and more, some of the most eloquent 
tongues have discoursed of Burns, and some of 
the ablest writers have criticised his genius and 
his life ; and for me, therefore, to attempt any- 
thing more than what may simply suggest itself 
to all of you, would be out of place. The first 
thought which occurs to me in connection with 
the present meeting is this — ^the impartiality 
with which the inheritance of genius falls to 
different classes of men. Not to the high and 
noble alone is the award, but out of all classes 
the sons of genius have been elected. The 
structure of the world's greatness is the com- 
bined contributions of every class, an arrauge- 



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60 



THE BUIINS CENTENARY. 



ment which only could give stability and com- 
pactness to the whole. The loves, the joys, the 
sorrows, and the wrongs of the humblest grades 
have found fervid utterance through the genius 
of their own fellows; and the utterance of these 
experiences have become in many instances the 
brightest pages in the national literature. The 
poorest amongst us, as well as the most exalted, 
can thus claim a share in the nation's glory, and 
find themselves affiliated by spiritual as well as 
by material ties to the true greatness of the 
land of their birth. Another thought that 
strikes me in connection with the meeting is — 
what a solemn possession b that of poetical 
genius! How wide and deep-reaching in its 
influence ; how permanent in its duration ! 
AUied to no material wealth nor civic dignity 
— its possessor, it may be, poor and despised — 
it yet breathes on the heart of a nation, and 
directs and controls, to a large extent, its social 
and political destinies. The poet himself may 
be weak and wandering, but the children of 
his brain are strong and immortal. Empires 
pass away, but the songs of the bards remain. 
We Icnow little or nothing of old Troy, and the 
glories of the Csesars have waned for long cen- 
turies, but the works of Homer, of Virgil, and 
of Horace are read in our schools, and have 
operated on every succeeding civilized people. 
And so will it be with our poets and their 
works; for whether our country continue to 
rise or to fall, the works of our British bards will 
be known in all ages. Our meeting this even- 
ing, and the countless assemblies that are being 
held throughout our own country, as well as in 
other lands, in honour of Bums' birthday,, be- 
speak the powers of his genius — ^tell us how 
deeply his writings have moved the heart of his 
countrymen, and foreshadow their permanent 
influence. How changed, in many respects, is 
the state of Scotland since Burns was bom; 
how changed in its material resources, its agri- 
culture, its manufacturing and commercial in- 
dustry; how altered even in its social habits 
and political status; and yet the writings of 
the poet are ever young and ever fresh. We 
listen to his songs with unwearied pleasure; we 
read his descriptions of Scottish life with the 
delighted feeling of their beauty and their 
truth; and though the interval has widened 
our sympathies as a nation, we yet enter with 
enthusiasm into his intense nationality. It 
seems to me as if Burns had been born to be 
the poetical historian, so to speak, of Scotland. 
(Applause.) The old forms of Scottish life had 
begun to fade, and a new dispensation of social 
and political life liad begun to dawn. In the 
transition hour the ploughman of Ayrshire was 
endowed with the power to paint the passing 
figures, and make them live for ever. I ques- 



tion if now such a poem as Hallowe'en or Tarn 
o' Shanter could have been written, and I doubt 
if Bums himself could now have penned Bmoe's 
address on the field of Bannockbnm. Our 
habits are altered to a great extent, our feel- 
ings of nationality are modified ; like a dissolv- 
ing view we only see the outlines of these old 
pictures, but Bums saw them in more clear 
light, felt them with poetic force, and has 
imaged them before us in the real shapes and 
colours of the very things themselves. There 
is a distinctness, an individuality in the crea- 
tions of Burns, about which there can be no 
doubt; the characters stand out from the pages, 
full of life ; you see them, you fancy you -have 
been long familiar with them, you know their 
look, their walk, their dress; they are the *'old 
familiar faces" of your boyhood, and they mingle 
themselves with your intellectual being — an 
unfading imagery. (Applause.) The beauti^ 
fui episode in the history of the poet that pro- 
cured for him the notice and friendship of Mrs* 
Dunlop, exhibits this very clearly. That lady, 
the lineal descendant of Wallace, was one of 
the first amongst the higher classes who recog- 
nised the merits of Bums, tokd it was his nahW' 
alnesi that attracted her attention, and secured 
for him one of the most valuable friendships 
which he ever enjoyed. I do not pretend to 
be a judge, but to me this power of writing, so 
that you can see the object clearly and distinctly 
before you, seems to be one of the highest ; I 
confess that I cannot enjoy poetry of that mys- 
tic kind that requires a great efibrt to guess at 
its meaning, and which sometimes leaves you in 
doubt even after you have done your best to 
decipher it, whether you really understand it. 
With the perasal of the pages of Bums there 
mingles no such incertitude; whatever chord he 
strikes, it is with a bold steady hand, and the 
response is free and spontaneous. He breathed 
not a foreign atmosphere, but the air around 
him; he looked at the men and objects by 
which he was surrounded ; and they were 
murrored back from his own soul with all the 
realities of life, of form, and of figure. Besides, 
through his writings there runs a strong vein 
of common sense, evincing that the poet had 
in him capacities of the most valuable kind, 
that would have fitted him for the most impor- 
tant positions in the world. (Applause.) His 
conversational powers are known to have been 
of the highest order, and his prose writings are 
marvels of composition when looked at in the 
light of his opportunities of culture. That 
there are a few of the poet's writings which are 
objectionable, I suppose few are prepared to 
deny ; I, for my own part, would cut off un- 
sparingly his praises of drink and his drinking 
songs, and possibly one or two others ; but we 



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GLASGOW.— MERCHANTS' HALL. 



61 



can look at tliese now as reflecting, not the 
sober judgment of tbe man, but the colour of 
the times in which he lived; and as time moves 
on, these will be viewed more and more as 
historical illustratioDs of Scottish life in the 
eighteenth century, rather than incentives to 
imitation. I have ventured these few observa- 
tions on the poet ; I should wish your indul- 
gence in making a remark or two about the 
man. Bums has been a subject of study to 
some of the highest intellects of the present 
century; the people have taken up their re- 
spective sides in the controversy, and still the 
fierce debate goes on. Whilst on one side the 
fire of his genius, it may be, has blinded the 
one party to his faults; on the other, the very 
same genius has tended to distort the vision 
so as to exaggerate his failings. I think 
that, in referring to the life of such a man as 
Bums, we ought never to overlook the sin- 
gular constitution of the man, and the pe- 
culiar circumstances in which he was placed. 
Take, for instance, that weakness which is most 
frequently dwelt on, and which cost him so 
much — his jovial habits — and say how far he was 
the sinner, and how far he was sinned against. 
I daresay no one in this meeting will accuse me 
of leniency to the use or abuse of drink, but 
to me it seems no marvel at all that Burns 
should have sometimes fallen before such a 
temptation. Consider his impulsive spirit, and 
the occasional physical depression to which from 
boyhood he was more or less subject ; take into 
account the customs of the times in which he 
lived, the imperiousness of those customs, re- 
membering that drink was held to be the sym- 
bol of friendship, having mingled itself with the 
most pleasant experiences, as well as the most 
solemn occurrences of life, and say what was the 
likely result of such an ordeal operating on an 
organism such as that of our national poet. I 
do not know how you may conclude in your 
judgment, but to me it would have seemed 
more strange if Bums had escaped. I cannot 
resist the temptation of saying that at least the 
strong condemnation of Bums seems to me to 
come with a bad grace from any man who now, 
with clearer light and less temptation, supports 
those customs which proved so disastrous to the 
poet. (Applause.) Whilst we condemn any 
habit in others, I think we should as far as pos- 
sible mingle with our reproof the spirit contained 
in Bums' own immortal lines: — 

** Then gently 8CAn your brither roan, 

Still gentler sister woman: 
Though they may gang a kennin wrang, 

To step aside is human. 
One point must still be greatly dark, 

The moving why they do it ; 
And just as lamely can ye mark 

How far perhaps they rue it." 



(Applause.) I sometimes speculate what Burns 
might have been if he had lived under better 
influences. Had he lived, for example, in our 
own times, when the facilities for physical and 
intellectua] enjoyment are so largely increased 
compared with what they were sixty to one 
hundred years ago, when his great powers would 
have had more ample scope — ^flowing in chan- 
nels more akin to his better nature. Had he 
had platforms from which to pour out the elo- 
quence he possessed, or the field that the press 
now ofiers to talent, there can be little doubt 
that his life would have been a brighter and a 
happier one. We know his aspirations were 
after a higher order of enjoyment for his hum- 
ble brethren — (applause) — and that in his best 
days he evinced this by his connection with 
that society in Tarbolton, of which he was the 
founder and the principal support, and by the 
use he made of the slender opportunities he 
had. But all such speculations are idle, except 
in so far as they may indicate our own duty. 
No Scotchman can look back to the closing 
years of our greatest national poet without feel- 
ing that his country might have done better for 
such a man — might have smoothed his rugged 
fortune, and brightened his dosing days. The 
lesson speaks of the past, but it speaks also to 
ourselves. It has been said that it requires a 
centuny to produce such a man as Bums, and 
so even now there may be born such another in 
our native land ; and the question may be put 
practically to us, how will you treat him? 
With the proud swell of independence in his 
heart, will he be left in his days of weakness to 
brood over the neglect of his countrymen ; or 
will the kindly eye visit him, and the kindly 
hand assist him? If we have not so learned, 
then we have mistaken the lesson, and our pre- 
sent meetings are but hollow show. (Applause.) 

Songs were then sung by Miss O'Connor, Mr. 
Locke, and Mr. Imrie. 

Thomas N. Brown, Esq., next addressed 
the meeting, and said — ^When the clouds which 
hung lowering and portentous over the fortune 
and the fate of our national bard burst asunder 
in the blaze of his Edinburgh fame, we find 
Bums writing to Gavin Hamilton in these 
terms: — "I am in a fair way of becoming as 
eminent as Thomas k Kempis or John Bunyan, 
and you may expect henceforth to see my birth- 
day inscribed among the wonderful events in 
the Poor Kobin and Aberdeen almanacs along 
with the Black Monday and the battle of Both- 
well Bridge." The poet's earliest patron must 
have been eminently gratified to learn the con- 
quest Bums had made of- the Slite of Edin- 
burgh society. What swift and sudden con- 
trast of situation did that epistle disclose to the 
warm-hearted Mauchline writer! But a few 



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62 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



months ago and the name now on all lips, 
whether of the great, the learned, or the fair 
in the Scottish capital, seemed likely to become 
a name more intimately associated with a negro 
plantation than a nation's minstrelsy. Few 
better knew or better appreciated the powers 
of the bard than Gavin Hamilton, yet it is pro- 
bable even Gavin Hamilton inly smiled at the 
half jest, half earnest association of his name 
with the world-famous names of a Kempis and 
Bunyan. Nor need we marvel that he should 
have done so. Friendship veils faults and ex- 
aggerates excellencies; but the most compre- 
hensive and far-reaching sagacity is needed 
fully to appreciate genius ; — only to anointed 
eyes does genius reveal itself. Over the me- 
thods by which it works the common under- 
standing is unable to cast a plummet. To 
single out from among the mass of men all liv- 
ing for their generation, and all destined to die 
with their generation, the one man of whom it 
may be truthfully predicted this man is not for 
an age, but for all time, is a task to which few 
are equal. The heart knoweth its own bitter- 
ness, and often genius alone knoweth its own 
greatness. In that seemingly random selection 
of names by which to illustrate his future celeb- 
rity. Bums very exactly foreshadowed the char- 
acter of his renown. Thomas k Kempis and 
John Bunyan, the mystic of the middle ages 
and the marvellous dreamer of Elstow, are 
found alike in the mansion of the noble and 
the shelling of the peasant, but as the people's 
prophets are they specially honoured. The 
songs of Burns resound in castle and in hall, 
but as the poet of the people the memory of 
the bard is encircled with a wreath that shall 
be green for ever. Since the day those three 
ragged and straggling volleys from the carbines 
of the gentlemen volunteers of Dumfries an- 
nounced all that was mortal of Burns had been 
committed to its kindred dust, the fame of the 
bard has so grown and broadened on the po- 
etical horizon, that all must feel how little such 
assemblies as this, or even such a day as thb, is 
needed to diffuse or perpetuate his renown. 
(Cheers.) That voice which, a hundred years 
ago, rose in lowly cadence in yon auld clay 
biggin' by the banks o* bonny Doon, is heard 
on every wave and sounds on every sea. Fame 
so universal can receive but little expansion. 
Indeed all now left to even the most enthusi- 
astic admirers of our national bard is simply 
to cast a few insignificant pebbles on the migh- 
ty cairn already towering to his glory from 
out the rock of humanity. (Applause.) But 
though the memory of the poet cannot possibly 
profit, we may profit much by this centenary. 
If the homage this night offered to his shade 
be not a hollow mockery, it is imix>ssible it 



should fail to exert at onoe a potent and salu- 
tary influence upon modern society. The sin- 
cerity of that homage will be best discovered by 
interrogating ourselves whether it is simply a 
fashionable idol we follow the multitude to hon- 
our, or Robert Bums as he lived, laboured, loved, 
sung, and suffered, to whom the incense of our 
admiration spontaneously arises. On the hon- 
est answer to that question it depends whether 
it is a star among the stars of mortal night, or 
merely a will o* the wisp risen from out the 
fens of death, to which we have surrendered 
ourselves. I know there are those ready to 
tell us that in doing honour to Burns we lift 
our eyes rather to a baleful meteor than a light 
from heaven. But on a night such as this we 
have little taste for either quarrelling or argu- 
ing with these good people. If it affords them 
any gratification to think and speak as badly as 
possible of their brother man, then by all means 
let them cherish their antipathies. Only this 
caution we give them, and give them in the 
kindliest spirit— have a care not to confound 
envy, malice, and uncharitableness with holy 
zeal. (Cheers.) During the last few weela 
some things have been said and some things 
have been written of our national bard which 
indicate that malice with its mask, and venom 
with its dart, are not yet wearied with assail- 
ing his reputation. The tirade of one of the 
most self-complacent of the clergy of the Scot- 
tish metropolis— a report of which I presume 
most of those I am now speaking to have seen 
in the newspapers — ^is worthy of no serious an- 
swer. It would be doing the Church of Scot- 
land the grossest injustice to suppose that rev. 
gentleman any representative of her sentiments 
respecting this centenary. What motive 
prompted his outburst of impotent spleen, it 
would be difficult to determine. But in pres- 
ence of such an ebullition of rage these words 
of the wise man flow to our lips, and commend 
themselves to our judgment — "Answer not a 
fool according to his folly." (Cheers.) I 
shall not disgust and outrage this audience by 
any recapitulation of that rev. gentleman's 
abuse. Even had the abuse been merited, we 
might have anticipated a preacher of that char- 
ity which covereth a multitude of sins, would 
not have so rudely violated 

*' The spell bv nature bound 
Around the voiceless dead — 
The spell that softens censnre's sound, 
Ana guards the dreamless bed." 

(Cheers.) But this, it appears, would have 
been expecting too much in such a quarter. 
Very well. Be it so. We are, after all, not 
greatly alarmed at the reverend man being so 
very irreverent as to lose his temper. The 



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GLASGOW.— MERCHANTS* HALL. 



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city where, in other days, a Blair, a Blacklock, 
and a Dugald Stewart did homage to Coila's 
bard, and where, in our own day, a Wilson, a 
Miller, a Chambers, and an Aytoun, have been 
prompt to offer him the profoundest homage, 
whether of their genius or their toil, is not to 
be disgraced by the diatribes of a Nisbet. 
(Loud applause.) History tells how the temple 
of Ephesus was fired to render a fool famous. 
Has the Doctor of Divinity taken a hint from 
the ancient incendiary ? (Laughter.) Pity it 
is we cannot congratulate him on his success. 
His utmost virulence is, after all, but a tooth- 
less satire. The Bard of Rydal Mount sung of 
Burns as him who walked in glory and in joy 
behind his plough upon the mountain side. 
'' Nisbet's drunken ploughman *' is but a poor 
companion picture to that noble image of the 
hierophant of Scottish song the genius of 
Wordsworth has enshrined in all hearts. And 
with your leave, friends, we shall turn the rev. 
gentleman's picture to the wall, more in pity 
than contempt for the bungling draftsman. 
(Loud cheers.) It is difficult for ordinary hu- 
manity to comprehend the pleasure certain sple- 
netic natures find in depreciating the good and 
great by evoking on every occasion, whether 
in season or out of season, the foibles and the 
frailties with which that goodness or that great- 
ness may have been associated. Once for all, 
we tell these people they may save themselves 
the trouble of setting the errors of Burns in 
array before us. Little, very little, of the evil 
he did was done in a comer. Quite as well as 
these candid friends can reckon it, we know the 
sum of his iniquity. But what then? Are 
we, therefore, because Bums was no << faultless 
monster," are we to refuse to mingle our voices 
in a nation's anthem to incomparable genius, or 
eye askance the spontaneous tribute of the 
children of our people to his transcendent 
worth? (Cheers.) Verily, verily, we envy 
not the men who offer us such counsel. And 
before bidding these cynics a long good night, 
we beg of them not to part company with us 
under any misapprehension. Let them not sup- 
pose, because we love and honour Bums that, 
therefore, we are ready to call good evil and 
evil good, put bitter for sweet and sweet for 
bitter. No, no! The distinction between 
right and wrong is still realizable by us. We 
can therefore distinguish between the merits 
and the shortcomings of the Bard so greatly 
beloved. In honouring genius we offer no 
tribute to vice. But while this is so, we have 
no notion in laying our votive wreath on the 
shrine oi Bums that we are under any obliga- 
tion to pause there to deliver a homily upon 
human firailty simply to keep some moody soul 
from becoming the victim of his own misan- 



thropy. (Laughter and cheers.) The period 
has not very long since gone by — its echo 
rings through Scotland to this hour — when our 
Scottish forefathers were inspired with an all 
but universal passion for what they called "tes- 
timony bearing." Few things were then done 
or said that at all either ruffled their spirits, or 
jarred with their preconceptions, against which 
a testimony was not uplifted. To exonerate 
their consciences, they deemed it necessary to 
denounce nearly every shade of opinion not 
found in exactest harmony with their own — 
testimony not borne in most precise and specific 
phrase, duty had not been done. Not until 
the heresy had been raked fore and aft, with 
all the force and formality of a modern indict- 
ment, could the inward monitor rest in peace. 
The passion for testimony bearing has passed 
away. A man or a body of men is not now 
supposed to have homologated a heresy, simply 
because they have not been heard denouncing 
it from the housetops. Cannot the same ra- 
tional rule of action and the same temperate 
mode of judging be extended to scenes and oc- 
casions such as this ? The rule once fairly re- 
cognized, none would have the hardihood to 
assert that in honouring genius there was any 
indifference to virtue. Until the world is a 
much better world than it is now, there will 
always be a sufficiently numerous class to re- 
member the errors of those whom fame has 
eternized in her long and lasting scroll. Small 
harm, therefore, as we think, can come of it, if 
to-night we agree to forget the spots in the 
splendour of the luminary on which we gaze. 
An age which seriously contemplated a statue 
to King Hudson will not be the worse but the 
better for having, on this 25th day of January, 
paused in the mad whirl of business and of 
pleasure to look for a little on a glory and a 
success altogether sequestered from the mere- 
ly material glory and material success after 
which it wonders. In this stock-jobbing era, 
with the tone of the eternal melodies all but 
silenced in the din of the scramble for scrip, it 
b for our souls' health that we should occasion- 
ally look on other triumphs than the triumphs 
of upholstery. There are so many circles in 
which man is valued rather by what he has 
than what he is, that some people have a very 
great difficulty in recognizing any merit not 
found enjoying a fortune of something like a 
thousand a-year. (Laughter.) I hope I shall 
not be so misunderstood by any present as to 
have it supposed I either envied' or was the 
enemy of any man enjoying that modest com- 
petency — quite the contrary. The assurance 
of our bread and butter, which a thousand a 
year brings with it, is not to be lightly esteemed. 
But it is one thing not to undervalue wealth. 



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and quite another thing to make of it the only 
passport to honour. (Cheers.) Much of the 
disquietude and unrest which the proud and 
sensitive soul of Burns endured sprung from 
the consciousness that to be poor was to be de- 
spised. His own stem independence did much 
to wipe away this reproach of the lot of the 
lowly. '* A man's a man for a' that" taught 
the Scottish peasant to stand erect. That lay, 
in the hearts and on the lips of our country- 
men, the spaniel-like spirit of abject submission 
to the behests of "their betters" which ere while 
had characterized them, was clean gone for 
ever. (Cheers.) This revolution, methinks 
not unfit to compare with the labours of a Wal- 
lace and a Knox, was the work of Bums. 
(Cheers.) How utterly unworthy of him should 
we prove ourselves did we forget its worth. 
Certain good but timid folks have a fear lest 
this centenary should be found to foster a spirit 
of man worship, and, dreading any services 
that might even in the remotest degree be sup- 
posed to develop that inverted religion, shrink 
from offering to our national bard the homage 
they inly cherish. I dread not the result those 
timid friends contemplate with so much terror. 
Even were it demonstrated that their alarm 
was not wholly groundless t-here would remain 
for me this consolation — man worship is at 
least an improvement upon mammon worship. 
(Loud applause.) A too enthusiastic admira- 
tion of genius is not the sin that most easily 
besets a great commercial city. A very appro- 
priate illustration of the fallacy of such a fear 
just occurs to me in connexion with an illustri- 
ous countryman, whose name has only to be 
mentioned to secure for it the warmest reception. 
I refer to Dr. Livingstone. (Great cheering.) 
When it was first proposed to honour the 
quondam cotton spinner — (laughter) — with our 
burgess ticket, official gentlemen looked grave, 
shrugged their shoulders, shook their heads, 
and went about during many days, living em- 
bodiments of how not to do it. Do you ask 
whence all this reluctance to confer honour 
where honour was due ? Why, simply because 
though the greatness of Dr. Livingstone's dis- 
coveries could not be denied, the smallness of his 
salary was equally indisputable. (Loud laughter.) 
To give a burgess ticket to a man whose in- 
come, it could be proved, had been little more 
than £70 a-year, was to outrage the feelings of 
the snob people. (Renewed laughter.) We 
hope these gentlemen are not so ineffably dis- 
gusted with the Bums centenary as to be unable 
to forgive their countrymen and fellow-citizens 
for this day's fuss about a man whose salary, 
as an exciseman, never exceeded the salary of 
Glasgow's youngest honorary burgess. (Cheers.) 
Possibly even this centenary may do these 



gentlemen a servioe by enabling them to dis^ 
cover that sometimes the "pith o' sense" and 
" pride o' worth " are found with still less of 
the world's gear tlian is represented by either 
the ganger's income or the missionary's stipend. 
(Cheers.) The celebration at which, in common 
with our countrymen, we are this night assist- 
ing, is a grave and solemn rebuke to that merely 
material estimate of humanity, which forgets 
" the rank is but the guinea stamp," or fails to 
remember that in the eye of the veriest outcast 
there is a spark strack from His light, of whom 
the sun is but a beam. (Loud cheers.) Looked 
at from this point of view, this centenary be- 
comes rather the propagandist of a forgotten 
truth than the herald of a baleful superstition. 
It is altogether foreign to my intention now 
either to attempt to analyze the character, or 
moralize over the fate of Burns. But, perhaps, 
you will pardon me one rapid glance at his brief 
and brilUant, if alto somewhat sadly tragic, 
career. (Cheers.) Few lives in their every 
vicissitude, whether of glory or of gloom, are 
so transparent as is the life of Bums. His me- 
moirs were written before the art of biography 
had been made subservient to the theory of the 
hero worshipper, and, in their perfect unreserve^ 
seem a page torn from the primitive records of 
the race — a recovered echo of an earlier world. 
The child, the youth, the man, are there before 
us, and for all purposes, whether of guidance 
or of warning, we have, or at least may have^ 
a perfect conception of the bard from the day 
the glee of childhood was first turned to tears 
by ^< a factor's snash," until the day when the 
floodgates of life shut in eternal rest. His 
biographers, thus spreading out before us in 
minutest detail, the most trivial equally with 
the most momentous incidents of his terrene 
pilgrimage, what wonder if the passions of time 
and of earth should be sometimes found stain- 
ing the white radiance of eternity. (Cheers.) 
Given the heaven -piercing imagination, the 
penetrative intellectual glance, the heart a-glow 
with the most celestial, yet the most seductive 
of human passions-— with a fatal weakness of 
will quite unequal to grapple with the titanic 
forces it had been its function to hold in check. 
If to these there is added a total lack of any 
pre-established harmony between circumstances 
and character, we shall have some faint con- 
ception of the secret of vicissitude, and the 
source of the many -coloured splendour and 
gloom which alternately irradiated and be- 
clouded the brief day of Burns. The adverse 
fortune of his sire brought with it to the bard 
a heritage of woe. The severe depression of 
circumstances in which life's morning was 
passed, so disturbed the delicate sensibility of 
his spirit that he never afterwards recovered the 



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natural elasticity and serenity of soul, which, 
had fate been more propitious, would inevitably 
have been attained. As illustrating, better 
than any words of mine can illustrate, this 
gloomier phase of the poet's spirit, a letter 
written from Irvine to his lather, some seven 
years before he was known to fame, may not 
be unaeoeptable to you : — 

" To Mb. William Bdbnesb — Lochi^a. 
"Honoured Sir, — I have purposely delayed 
writing, in the hope tliat I should have the plea- 
sure of seeing you on New-year's day ; but work 
comes so hard upon us that I do not choose to be 
absent on that account, as well as for some other 
little reasons, which I shall tell you at meeting. 
My health is nearly the same as when you were 
here, only my sleep is a little sounder; and, on the 
whole, I am rather better than otherwise, though 
I mend by very slow degrees. The weakness of 
my nerves has so debilitated my mind, that I dare 
neither review past events, nor look forward into 
futurity; for the least anxiety or perturbation in 
my breast produces most unhappy effects on my 
whole frame. Sometimes, indeed, when for an 
hour or two my sphrits are alightened, I glimmer a 
little into futurity; but my principal, and indeed 
my only pleasurable employment, is looking back- 
wards and forwards in a moral and religious way. 
T am quite transported at the thought, that ere 
long, perhaps very soon, I shall bid an eternal 
adieu to bXL the pains and uneasiness and disquie- 
tudes of this weary life; for I assure you I am 
heartily tired of it; and, if I do not very much 
deceive myself, I could contentedly and gladly 
resign it. 

* The soul, uneasy, and confined at home, 
Rests and expatiates in a life to come." 

" It is for this reason I am more pleased with 
the 15th, 16th, and 17th verses of the 7th chap- 
ter of Sevelation, than with any ten times as 
many verses in the whole Bible, and would not ex- 
change the noble enthusiasm with which they in- 
spire me for all that this world has to offer. As 
for this world, I despair of ever making a figure in 
it. I am not formed for the bustle of the busy, nor 
the flutter of the gay. I shall never again be ca- 
pable of entering into such scenes. Indeed, I am 
alt<^gether unconcerned at the thoughts of this life. 
I foresee that poverty and obscurity probably await 
me, and I am m some measure prepared, and daily 
preparing to meet them. I have but just time and 
paper to return you my grateful thanks for the 
lessons of virtue and piety you have given me, 
which were too much neglected at the time of giv- 
ing them, but which I hope have been remembered 
ere it is yet too late. Present my dutiful respects 
to my mother, and my compliments to Mr. and 
Mrs. Muir; and, with wishing you a merry New- 
year's day^, I shall conclude. — I am, honoured Sir, 
your dutiful Son, 

Robert Burns." 

And yet in the very midst of this moody mel- 
ancholy, beneath whose torpedo touch his most 
cherished aspirations withered, the master pas- 



sion of his soul, like a great victorious summer's 
sun emerged from the deep shadows of the 
thunder cloud, bursts forth in supernal power 
and splendour. (Cheers.) No circumstances, 
however adverse, could quench the wish of 
which he so grandly sung — 

"A wish, — I mind tis power, — 
A wish tliat to my latest hour 

Will strongly heave my breast. 
That I, Tor puir auld Scotland's sake, 
Some usefu' plan or beuk could make, 

Or sing a sang at least." 

(Loud cheers.) It may be, as has been re- 
marked by one who has cast a profounder 
intellectual glance upon the works and the life 
of Bums, than any contemporary critic; it 
may be, the poems of Burns are but little 
rhymed fragments scattered here and there in 
the great unrhymed romance of his existence ; 
£or dear to us as are the poet's lays, it is im- 
possible to deny that the man was greater than 
his works. (Loud cheers.) Yet who among 
us all can read or sing these incomparable lyrics 
without feeling their soul elate, their bosom's 
lord sit lightly on its throne, and a glory not 
of earth shed over this mortal scene. (Applause.) 
Whoever wishes to sound the depths of the 
Scottish heart must give their days and nights 
to Bums. A philosophy profounder than the 
philosophy of the schools, and a poetry with 
grace and beauty altogether beyond the reach of 
art, are his — or, rather, we should say, are the 
imperishable legacy he has left us his country- 
men. We hope we shall not be accused of any 
desire to set class against class, when avowing 
that the works of this solitary peasant bard 
have done more for Scotland than all her ooro- 
nated nobles put together. (Applause.) While 
teaching labour to forget its stoop. Burns knew 
better than any of labour's modern mentors how 
to rebuke the demagogue : — 

" The wretch who would a tyrant own, 
And the wretch, his true bom brither, 
Who would set the mob aboon the throne, 

receive from him the same energetic denuncia- 
tion. (Cheers.) Statesmen, we have some- 
times thought, might do themselves a service by 
occasionally devoting a leisure hour to the 
productions of the Ayrshire Ploughman. Pos- 
sibly, the Duke of Argyle and Lord Panmure 
had still been Cabinet Ministers, had they, in 
the critical hour their chief was yet undecided 
upon tinkering British law under Gallic inspi- 
ration, only whispered in the ear of Lord Pal* 
merston — 

" The kettle o' the kirk and state, 

E'en though a clout should fail in't, 
Deil a foreign tinkler loon 
Shall ever oa' a nail in*t." 
E 



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If, while tlie British Cabinet was deliberating 
upon the answer to be given to that unlucky 
French despatch, Lord Palmerston had for- 
warded to the Foreign OiRoe of France a copy 
of the patriotic stanza, the reputations of States- 
men on both sides the channel had probably 
been less tarnished to-day. It is not the first 
time the lays of Burns have startled European 
absolutism. A beautiful French translation of 
"Is there for honest poverty," in Saturday's 
Citizen, reminds us of the terror which seized 
the House of Hapsburg, when Ferdinand Fried- 
ligrath turned the soul-stirring lyric into the 
language of Luther. "A Man's a Man for a' 
that,** done into German, was too much for the 
Austrian Kaiser, and accordingly a dungeon 
was the reward of the bard who had dared to 
give the sedition of the Scot a German tongue. 
Some theologians, from whom we had expected 
greater wisdom and better temper, have, it 
appears, been inquiring, on Sabbath last, what 
superlative fascination lay in Burns, that hon- 
ours Milton, Dante, Goethe had never received 
were so profusely lavished on his memory. A 
genial English litterateur shall answer. The 
philosophy of the universal love of Burns is 
thus beautifully expounded by Leigh Hunt in 
this week's Spectator, "What," he asks, "is 
the reason of this difference between the fond 
love of the memory of such a man as Bums 
and the no love at all for those other great 
men, Shakspeare himself not excepted! for 
personal regard mixes little with our astonish- 
ment at Shakspeare's genius — ^perhaps because 
of the very amount of the astonishment, and 
because we know little personally about him. 
The reason is, that Burns we do know ; that 
we are astonished at him, but not enough to be 
oppressed with the astonishment ; and that he 
fulfils all the other conditions necessary to uni 
versal regard. He is allied to the greatest 
minds by his ^genius, to the gravest by his 
grave thoughts, to the gayest by his gay ones, 
to the manliest by his independence, to the 
frail by his frailties, to the conscientious by his 
regrets, to the humblest ranks by his birth, to 
the poorest among them by his struggles with 
necessity ; above all, to the social by his com- 
panionship, and to the whole world by his 
being emphatically a human creature, 'relishing 
all sharply, passioned as they.' " 



Praise to the man ! — a nation stood 
Beside his coffin with wet eyes, 

Her brave, her beautifal, her good, 
As when a loved one dies. 

And still, AS on his funeral day, 

Men stand his cold earth-couch around. 

With the mute homage that we pay 
To consecrated ground. 



And consecrated ground it is — 
The last, the hallowed home of one 

Who lives upon all memories, 
Though with the buried gone. 

(Cheering, amid which Mr. Brown resumed his seat) 

Geobob Tboup, Esq., of the Daily Bulletin, 
afterwards addressed them,>and rose amid much 
cheering. He said — ^Mr. Chairman, ladies, and 
gentlemen, — This meeting has been drawn to- 
gether, I believe, under the auspices of the 
Ayrshire Society; and though, like others, I 
have seen 'Uhe banks and braes o' bonnie 
Doon," and even "the streams around the 
Castle o' Montgomery," still I cannot make 
out any special claim to a connexion with Ayr- 
shire; but when I was requested to take a part 
in your proceedings, it occurred to mc that I 
might make some sort of plea for leaving the 
more gigantic, though I don*t say more attrac- 
tive meeting in the City Hall, for a part of the 
evening, on the ground that if I had not the 
first, 1 have at least the second geographical 
recommendation on this centenary of Robert 
Bums. (Cheers.) I quite admit all the charms 
of Ayrshire, but it cut one letter from the 
poet^s name, which really was not Bums, but 
Bumes, and our eastern spelling is the better 
of the two. His father was one of the men of 
the Meams, one of the many for whom the 
Meams has not found a home, though I some- 
times think that our craggy cliffs, Scotland's 
walls against the German ocean, from which, in a 
clear morning of summer, the sun seems to rise 
from a sea of silver covered by crimson and 
ruby tints, and shines down upon the thousand 
happy and pleasant homesteads in the fertile 
valley of Strathmore until he draws the purple 
curtains of the Grampians around him as day 
turns into evening — I think the Mearns might 
have formed a very fitting home for the infancy 
of a great poet, had not Ayrshire, by a mere 
accident of course, turned out to bo the birth- 
place of Robert Bums. (Laughter and cheers.) 
The Burneses were long ago farmers in Kin- 
cardineshire, and some branches of the family 
continued till lately; perhaps they continue 
still to occupy large farms there. A vein of 
genius mns through some families; and al- 
though circumstances have led me to hear the 
greatest orators of our age in their happiest 
moods, yet I can remember none whose lan- 
guage was more marked by all the character- 
istics of genius, than the late provost Bumes of 
Montrose— a genial, kind, and warm-hearted, 
old gentleman when I knew him; but one 
whose age was full of fire, and whose conversa- 
tion soon turned into eloquence. He was a 
cousin of Robert Burns, and one of hii sons is 
now, I believe, presiding at the Montrose 
festival. We missed another in those dark 



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67 



days when a fell revolt swept over India — for 
no more able diplomatist^ no more gallant 
soldier, has been produced in the Indian 
service than Sir Alexander Burnes; alike an 
accomplished scholar, and a skilful warrior; 
brave, chivalrous, and daring, he fell the first in 
the Cabul massacre, the victim of that wreck 
which he had predicted, but could not prevent. 
(Loud cheers.) Another brother, who has been 
long in the Indian service, like Sir Alexander, 
has given us some works that will continue to 
be valued in Indian literature ; and the fate of 
that gentleman's sou formed one of the sad 
incidents in the horrors of thb Indian mutiny. 
He carried with him for many weary miles 
through Oude, a little English girl, whose pa- 
rents were both killed in their flight. They 
reached, as he thought, a place of safety, but 
they were given up to the rebels. The child 
died in Lucknow, and her guardian, the young 
officer,- was murdered during the siege of the 
Besidency at Lucknow, while Inglis was de- 
fending his desperate post, and Havelock, and 
Outram, and Campbell, and their men, were far 
away beyond the Ganges. (Loud applause.) 
There are remarkable circumstances in the 
celebration of this evening. Try to go back in 
thought a hundred years — ^back to the small 
cottage on the roadside beyond Ayr. The 
family then was very small, indeed, for Robert 
was the eldest son, and he was very young. It 
cannot be denied that the Meams gave Ayr- 
shire a good citizen in William Burnes — a 
splendid specimen of the &rmer class in Scot- 
land during the last century; or that Ayrshire 
gave William Burnes a good wife in Agnes 
Brown; and to these happy facts we are in- 
debted for all that is good and noble in Burns' 
poetry. (Loud cheers.) But a hundred years 
ago when William Burnes was a gardener, and 
rented seven acres of land, that he thought to 
make a nursery, how vividly were the linos of 
one ballad verified — 

" Oh, little kenned my ain mother 
That day when she cradled me, 
llie lands that I wad travel through, 
Or the death that I wad dee." 

Agnes Brown could not dream a hundred years 
ago, this evening, that now, in all the parishes, 
and towns, and villages of Scotland — in the 
fairy temple more magnificent than the Caesars 
ever owned, built for a home of art, and liter- 
ature, and science in London — over the length 
and breadth of all the Anglo-Saxon land of 
America^ in cities densely peopled now that 
then were nameless wilds — ^in the cities, and at 
the diggings, and on the pasture-walks of the 
then unknown Australia — on the fiirms of 
Southern Africa, and in its rapidly rising towns 



— above all we may now remember in the 
camps beside the watch-fires on the Nerbudda, 
the Jumna, the Gogra, and the Ganges — from 
Victoria on the island that forms the gate of 
China, to Victoria on the island that dominates 
the western coast of America — wherever our 
language is spoken, meetings without a parallel 
before in number would be assembled to honour 
the memory of the helpless infant to whom she 
fondly clung. (Loud applause.) Robert Burns 
has been represented as a ploughman — the 
peasant bard, and the poet of the agricultural 
labourer; but no man toiled through greater 
difiiculties to keep his family around and with 
him than William Burnes. It is one of our East- 
em customs ; and he had learned it and more 
that was good and noble in his life on the farm 
of Clachnahill, where the poet's grandfather 
lived — a large fiirm, and now one of the best 
cultivated in Scotland. As his family grew up, 
William Burnes became rather a large than a 
small farmer, for it would seem that the small- 
est of the farms he held in succession contains 
nearly a hundred acres, although none of them 
were good, and he wanted capital to make them 
better. Robert Burns has been accused of in- 
temperance. Well, it was not the crime of his 
youth: j£7 a-year bounded his expenditure for 
clothes, and all else besides upon the farm of 
Lochlea. A man who has his bed and board 
free and confines all his other expenditure to 
£1 a-year, will not be often intemperate. It 
was not in Edinburgh, to an oflensive extent, 
that he earned this character, for we have the 
testimony of Professor Dugald Stewart that he 
met him often, and heard nothing of that. He 
was fond of company — he was tortured by dis- 
appointments — ^he was weighed down by trials 
— he was weakened out, and he died soon per- 
haps from those years of weary toil on Lochlea ; 
and he may have fallen a victim to the snares 
that society had set, and society is often pleased 
to retain yet, for the best and the most gifted of its 
sons. He was taken from following the plough 
to be the companion of divines and lawyers and 
judges, the nobles and the literati of Edinburgh, 
wlien that city was more brilliant than circum- 
spect in its upper thousand. Tliey kept him 
there for a time, and then, according to their own 
free and proffered testimony, when he was dead 
and gone, and could make no reply, according 
to their own volunteered testimony, they threw 
him an excisemanship, and tossed him into the 
midst of its temptations. I do not undervalue 
the class who are honoured by the dying years 
of the immortal bard being spent in the employ- 
ment which they follow, but was an exciseman- 
ship the place for Robert Burns? (Cheers.) 
He was toa independent — too outspoken — too 
much a Radical, though ever a constitutional 



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Radical — to win the favour of the great. 
(Cheers.) He could not bow and cringe and 
bend a supple knee to the guinea stamp, though 
he honoured tlie gold; so all that Scotland 
could ofier to its noblest poet was an excise- 
manship — ^salary fifty pounds a-year, to keep a 
man and horse, with a deduction of fifteen 
pounds when the man grew sick. I do 
not adopt, defend, and vindicate the reckless 
satires of Burns. I ascribe them not to the 
teaching in the honoured home of William 
Bumes and Agnes Brown. (Cheers.) That 
produced the Cottar's Saturday Night, and 
much beside that the world will not let 
die. (Renewed cheers.) I ascribe them 
to the miserable opinions and practices then 
springing up in the Church of Scotland — 
notorious to us all — and let the Church take 
some part of the blame — ^if her teachers set to 
point the truth, pointed often to error's down- 
ward path. And while I will not adopt, and 
will not defend, all that Burns writes, I wish 
here to say that he was no hypocrite. (Cheers.) 
Old gentlemen should remember — old and very 
particular gentlemen, who have lived through 
life on four hundred aryear, without a will o' 
the wisp gleam of genius ever sparkling on 
their whitey-brown line of thought to lead them 
astray — they should remember, while knowing 
their need of the prayer — 

" Let not the errors of my youth. 
Nor sius remembered be," 

(Cheers) — that Burns had no old age, — scarcely 
a manhood — ^he died at 37. He left the world, 
but left behind him traces of genius so brilliant 
that they will never be forgot. The thousand 
gems of songs he gave the world will sparkle 
for ever, while language is needed on the earth. 
His songs of the affections — ^the better class of 
them — ^have never been excelled by the most 
classical lyrist in any tongue. There are others 
objectionable ; but let me say scarce so objec- 
tionable as boys and young men read at high 
class schools, and at College, as part of their 
daily work. Surely we all know that " Green 
grow the rashes?" Nobody here — ^the most 
starched-up and proper bachelor in the world — 
could safely deny that '' bonny are the lasses *' 
— (laughter) — and I don't know that it could 
be generally proved, upon a rigid inquiry, that 
there may not have been periods, in many men's 
lives, so bewitched, and stupid, and unpractical, 
that 

" Warly cares, an' warl^ men, 
May a* gae tapsalteunc." 

(Renewed laughter.) And I do not know that 
there be many in the world who could tell you 
well how truly he sung of smitten hearts when 



his own was wrung in sorrow; for we have 
not an uninspired composition that tells the 
mourner's tale, when the coffin of her he loved 
is on the treasel, like that which says — 

". Oh 1 pale, pale now those rosy lips, 

I art hae kissed sae fondly; 
And closed for aye the sparkling glance 

That dwelt on me sae kindly. 
And mouldering now in silent dmt. 

The heart that lo'ed me dearly; 
Bat still within my bosom's core 

Shall live my Highland Mary.'* 

(Cheers.) I have said elsewhere that Robert 
Burns was an artist, and his pictures were 
songs — a generous, gentle-hearted, kindly art- 
ist, as all who read his poem with the lines — 

*' The best laid schemes o' mice and men 
Gang aft agee ; " 

his lines to the Mountain Daisy, his sorrow o'er 
the Wounded Hare, his verses of the heart, the 
weary heart tired of hope deferred, 

" When wild waf s deadly blast was blawn, 
Au' gentle peace returnin* " — 

will testify. (Cheers.) His poetry is often 
|x>etry because it is good-hearted and natural. 
I admire the noble politics of the farmer, sitting 
in the ben of Lochlea, whoae penetrating eye 
saw clearly and thoroughly the line of politics 
that should actuate every British heart, if we 
would wish those who come after us to be the 
citisens of a great empire capable of saying to 
the world, by its power and its strength, he at 
peace, or capable of crushing the wrong-doer 
and his wrong. 

" Be Britain still to Britain tnxe, 
Amang oursels united; 
For never but by British hands 
Maun British wrangs be righted." 

(Cheers.) I admire his patriotbm, and the 
noble war hymn that has pealed o*er many a 
red and well-fought, well- won field since then. 
Dibilin had a pension for his naval songs; Burns 
had an excisemanship for Scots wha hae wi' 
Wallace bled. But its spirit and its words 
clung to bleeding men when this Roncesvalles 
field was won — inspired weary men in the mar- 
vellous charges of Waterloo; and wh^i our 9dd 
— the best regiment, morally and physically, in 
any service, dashed through a narrow window, 
man after roan, into the fiery furnace of 
Secunderbagh, and after hours of struggling, 
took red retribution for the cruelties and the 
wrongs of Cawnpore, be sure that glorious war- 
song was like baim to the dying hearts whose 
closing eyes were never to look again on the 
hills they loved well. And I admire the proud 
independence of the man. He deemed the song 



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a trifle — a vive la hagateUe — ^that was to nerve 
millions of sinking hearts. He found many of 
his countrymen not like the rock from which 
the prophet struck crystal streams, but bowing, 
soft, and yielding, like the sand which the sea 
sweeps o'er. He touched the bank of mud with 
the wand of genius, and it was covered with 
the holly bushes and the evergreens of a sturdy 
independence. He taught his countrymen the 
art of being independent, though poor, when he 
sang— 

** Is there for honest poverty, 

Who hangs his head and a' that — 
The cowai*d slaye we pass him by, 
And dare be poor for a' that." 

(Applause.) And, sir, I dare not pronounce the 
name, or breathe the word in this meeting, yet 
when he told us " the rank is but the guinea 
stamp," itnd added '' the man's the gowd for a' 
that," he founded for us proceedings in other 
places and at other times — ^that was one well- 
{fpring of a movement that I should not name. I 
shall never speak again at a centenary of Bobert 
Burns' birth. We can never meet more for the 
purpose we have met to-night. It will be 
celebrated next time by our grandchildren and 
our great-grandchildren, and we shall all be 
forgotten on the earth. But we can go out 
now again to our several duties in the world, 
with a warmer love to the land he loved dearly; 
and, in our hearts, a warmer wish for its pros- 
perity and its social improvement and progress. 
On our different ways we can have no better 
guide than the poet*s prayer: 

" Stranger, go, Heaven be ihy guide, 
Qao' the bedesman of Nithsidc." 
(Great applause.) 

Mr. BoBBRT Young then said — ^We have 
now come to the conclusion of a long pro- 
gramme, and, if I can judge aright, I am sure 
we have all spent a very happy evening — 
(cheers) — one, I am certain, we will all be de- 
lighted to designate as one of the most in- 
tellectual and truly great meetings ever we 
have had the pleasure of being at. All of us 
must feel under a deep debt. of gratitude to 
those gentlemen who have addr^ed us. I 
have, therefore, much pleasure in proposing 
that we give them our warmest thanks for the 
very excellent display of talent with which we 
have been treated this evening. (Loud ap- 
plause.) I am quite sure I express the senti- 
ments of this meeting when I say we all wish 
tiiat they may be long spared to occupy the very 
high position which their oratorical abilities 
entitle them to. It may be considered quite 
superfluous for me to utter any eulogium upon 
the character of our chairman ; but I cannot re- 



frain from congratulating this meeting upon 
their having secured to preside at this celebra- 
tion of Bums' Centenary the services of what . 
the Poet terms " the noblest work of God," an 
honest man; and I have not the slightest doubt 
that the chairman, whose whole life has shown 
disinterested effort to elevate the condition of 
his fellow-men, will feel as much gratification 
and pleasure in occupying his present position 
here to-night as if the company had numbered 
amongst them at least a dozen titles, and the 
tickets cost one guinea each. (Loud cheering.) 

With the exception of Miss Aitken'8 renderings, 
the ramaining part of the programme was masical-— 
the vocalists being Miss 0'(>)nnor, Messrs. Locke, 
Moir, and Walker. Tlie reading of the "Cottar's 
Saturday night " was much admired, and loudly ap- 
plauded. " Auld Langsyne " brought the programme 
to a pleasant termination, after wnich the company 
separated, to meet again in the " mystic mazes of the 
dance " — ^festivities which were kept up to a suitable 
hour. 



THE BOYAL HOTEL. 

A select party of between forty and fifty 
gentlemen sat down to a sumptuous Scotch 
dinner in Carrick's Boyal Hotel, George-Square. 
James Hedderwick, Esq., Editor of the Citizen, 
and author of " Lays of Middle Age," occupied 
the chair, supported by Bailie Harvey, Daniel 
Macnee, Esq., B. S. A., Duncan Smith, Esq., 
of Messrs. Charles Tennant & Go's., Bobert 
Somers, Esq., Editor of the Morning Joumaly 
Thomas Davidson, Esq., Charles Griffin, Esq., 
Dr. Johnstone, &c., &c. James B. Gartley, 
Esq., officiated as croupier, supported by 
Councillor Allan, Alexander Smith, Esq., 
author of ^'A Life Drama," James Pagan, Esq., 
of the Heraldy Patrick Alexander, Esq., James 
Beith, Esq., &c., &c. Among the company 
were Walter Alexander, Esq., William Cross, 
Esq., author of " The Disruption," &c., P. B. 
Junor, Esq., George E. Ewing, Esq., sculptor, 
David Kemp» Esq., &c., &c. The room was 
festooned with laurel, and otherwise tastefully 
decorated. A handsomely framed copy of the 
engraving from Mr. Macnee's admirable por- 
trait of Burns, graced the wall; and in a 
niche, relieved on a background of crimson 
drapery, was a beautiful statuette of the 
poet, prepared for the occasion by Mr. Ewing. 
After the introductory toasts. 

The Chairman (Mr. Hedderwick), who was 
received with great applause, said — I have now 
to ask you to do honour to the sentiment which 
has brought us together this night. To pro- 
pose in adequate terms ^' The Memory of Bobert 
Burns" would, even under ordinary circum- 
stances, be a difficult task. On this, however, 



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his first centenary birthday, when so many 
are assembled in this and in other cities, and 
in this and in other countries, to commem- 
orate his brief tragic life, and to do honour 
to his immortal name — and in the face of the 
solemn reflection, that not another centenary 
birthday of the poet can occur until all, or 
almost "all the breathers of this world are 
dead,*'— I feel that the duty I have undertaken 
to discharge is greatly increased in magnitude. 
Bums was himself peculiarly sensitive to anni- 
versary impressions. It was on the anniversary 
of their last parting on earth that he addressed, 
in strains so fervid and memorable, the image 
of his "Mary in Heaven." (Cheers.) Thb 
tendency to connect past events with certain 
periodic returns of time, has a deep foundation 
in human nature, and is especially a character- 
istic of Scotchmen. Indeed I' do not recollect 
in the history of any other country or race so 
universal a poetic revival as that which is tak- 
ing place at this moment throughout Scotland, 
and among Scotchmen throughout the world. 
For months past city has been calling unto 
city, and town answering unto town. The 
manner in which this Burns' movement has 
spread has reminded me of the time so vividly 
depicted by another illustrious Scotchman, Sir 
Walter Scott, when the "fiery cross" was borne 
from village to village, and when everywhere a 
cry was taken up, and a common enthusiasm 
kindled. (Applause.) And what, in this mo- 
dern instance, has been the object ? Why, the 
sole object of this remarkable patriotic rising 
has been to give expression to a memory and a 
sentiment! Surely, such a spectacle is not 
without significance, or rather, I should say, is 
not without some deep and beautiful meaning, 
occurring, as it does, in the midst of an in- 
tensely industrial age. To my mind it shows 
that, amid all the din of machinery, the ear of 
mankind, is still exquisitely awake to every 
appeal of the affections. It shows that the 
fresh and tender spirit which dwells in the 
heart of the child never wholly dies within the 
bosom of the man. It shows that all of us, 
even the strongest — the most worldly — the 
most money-seeking — ^have yet, if we would 
but confess it, a certain soft warm something, 
not always guessed by the world, beating under 
our left waistcoat pockets. (Applause and 
laughter.) How else could it be, that he who 
has given the most delicate and earnest utter- 
ance to the gentler and nobler feelings of our 
nature, should have left behind him such a 
name to conjure with? (Cheers.) "Spirits 
are not thus finely touched but to fine issues ;*' 
and in the multitudinous meetings of this night, 
I believe that some little is being done to expe- 
dite the time 



** When man to man the warld o'er, 
Shall brithera be and a' that" 



(Loud cheers.) Gentlemen, when I reflect that 
wherever apy half-dozen Scotchmen are as- 
sembled, there this night must be a Bums' 
festival, I find myself haunted by a fear that, 
great as our national poet undoubtedly was, 
the language of eulogy may reach such a pitch 
as to defeat its end. Great reputations are at 
all times liable to be assailed by the intelleets 
which they dwarf. (Hear.) Shakspeare himself 
has not escaped. Some of you may remember 
a lively sketch by John Leech, in which that 
celebrated humorist represented a "young 
hopeful " — one of those gentd in peg-tops, who 
put a cigar into their mouths to conceal their 
lack of beard — (laughter) — exclaiming, with the 
air of a literary aspirant whose verses had ap- 
peared in a provincial newspaper, " Haw ! it's 
my opinion that Shakspeare is a very much over- 
rated man." (Much laughter.) Now, what if 
a reaction should ensue in connection with this 
Bums' centenary, the result of a too exuberant 
apotheosis ? (Hear, hear.) To be confidential 
with you, I had some notion of trying to throw 
a little shade into the picture. I begpiin to muse 
upon the weaknesses and the aberrations of 
genius. Like Wordsworth — but in a more 
critical mood — 

" I thoQght of Chatterton, the marvelloas boy. 
The sleepless soul that perished in his pride ; 
Of him who walked in glory and in joy, 
Behind his plough upon the momitain side." 

My purpose was to be calm, unimpassioned, 
and somewbat more censorious than the Poet 
of the Lakes; but, I may as well confess to 
you at once, that it melted before the fire of 
Bums' genius. (Cheers.) I found that an 
attempt had been made a long while ago to 
tone down what was conceived to be a " Bums 
mania." The example was not encouraging. 
It began and ended with an old woman. 
(Laughter.) Mrs. Dunlop, the early patroness 
of Burns, had a venerable housekeeper — a kind 
of female Caleb Balderstone, zealous for the 
honour of the family, who ventured to remon- 
strate with her mistress upon the impropriety of 
her cultivating an acquaintance with a person 
of so low a condition in life. In order to put 
her respected domestic into a more charitable 
frame of mind, Mrs. Duulop handed her a 
manuscript copy of "The Cottar's Saturday 
Night," desiring that she should read it. 
This she of course did, and her answer was one 
which greatly delighted the author when it was 
reported to him: — "Awed," said she, "that's 
verra weel, and I dinna wonder at folks o' 
quality being astonished; but as for me, I've 



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seen the same thing in my ain faither's house 
mony a time, and he eouldna hae described it 
ony ither gate." (Laughter and cheers.) Like 
this worthy old Scotchwoman I completely 
failed in my scheme of moderating the enthusi- 
asm for Bams. I had, in fact, no alternative 
but to blend what loyal voice I could in the 
universal chorus. (Applause.) To say truth, 
the time is past for attempting to lower the 
position of Burns among the immortals. (Hear.) 
At the outset I find myself confronted by a 
success which I cannot gainsay, and for which 
I dare only try to account. The enthusiasm 
which now prevails is not a thing of yesterday. 
It began during his life. It turned the heads 
of the ''Tarbolton lasses," and the ''belles of 
Mauchline." It shook the rafters of many a 
masonic lodge and jovial hiwf in various parts 
of Ayrshire. On the wings of the Kilmarnock 
press it spread over all Scotland, penetrated the 
high places of learning in classic Edinburgh 
''throned on crags," and broke in tears and 
penitence over the poet's grave at Dumfries. 
(Loud cheers.) I say penitence, not because I 
consider that the contemporaries of Burns were 
particularly to blame for his life of struggle, 
but because his countrymen, touched by his 
early death, thought bitterly on what he had 
suffered. It is not, I hold, the business of any 
age to seek out and elevate its men of genius. 
8uch enterprise would be Quixotic, and liable 
to all the errors of caprice and fashion. Genius 
of the highest kind can never indeed be known 
until proved by its own immortalness. (Cheers.) 
But if*, from inevitable causes, Bums found 
Scotland a poor enough land to live in, it at 
least proved for him a sufficiently glorious land 
to die in. (Hear.) Ten thousand people 
thronged to his funeral. Every scrap of his 
burly hand-writing became a treasure. The 
public sorrow took visible shape in stone and 
marble. Not a favourite haunt of his but be- 
came immediately and for ever classic. Why, 
the very stool on which he had sat while cor- 
recting his proof-sheets in Edinburgh was ele- 
vated into an object of respect ! (Cheers.) I 
suppose it has long since been broken up into 
snuffboxes. (Laughter.) Thirty-eight years 
after hb death — a longer period than his whole 
life had been — ^his mausoleum was opened to 
admit the remains of his " bonnie Jean," and 
forthwith the phrenologists were at his cranium, 
to ascertain whether genius like his were in any 
way measurable with callipers. (Laughter.) 
When, in the doom which overtakes all things 
human, his household goods came to be scattered, 
how marvellously had their value risen ! An 
old fender on which he had been accustomed 
to toast hb toes, while crooning, it might be, 
his immortal " Vision " in the flickering hearth- 



light, brought twenty fold its original cost. 
The top of a superannuated shower-bath, which 
had been employed to drench away a poetic 
rheumatism, was run up to a fabulous sum. A 
dilapidated coffee-pot, a pair of bellows sorely 
afflicted with asthma, and other such lumber, 
commanded prices which, had there only been 
more of them — and they might easily have been 
multiplied — ^might have supplied funds suffi- 
cient to pension all his relations for life. 
(Laughter and cheers.) But perhaps the piece 
of household furniture which excited most at- 
tention was an eight-day clock. As that article 
was neither made in London nor in Paris, I 
should not like myself to put a price upon it. 
It was the production of a Mauchline artist. 
I am not aware that Mauchline has been at any 
time famous for docks. (Laughter.) Perhaps 
a liberal valuator might have been inclined to ap- 
praise it at — say thirty shillings. But that clock 
had been often wound up by the hand which 
penned " The Jolly Beggars," " Tam o' Shan- 
ter," « The Cottar's Saturday Night," " Soots 
wha hae wi' Wallace bled ! " "My Nannie O," 
and " Auld Langsyne." (Cheers.) I will not 
say, too, that it had not many a queer story to 
tell about "The wee short hour ayont the 
twal!" (Laughter.) At all events, it was 
ultimately knocked down, not at thirty-shil- 
lings, but at thirty-five pounds, the purchaser 
considering himself fortunate, as the limit he 
had fixed was sixty! (Loud cheers.) From 
that time the Burns' furore has certainly not 
abated. Fifteen years ago it exploded in the 
vicinity of Ayr. On that occasion 80,000 of 
his countrymen assembled in commemorative 
festival. (Hear.) The object was to give a 
national welcome to his three sons — then all 
living, and in Scotland. At the head of that 
mighty gathering was Lord Eglinton, the noble 
representative of that house of Montgomerie, on 
which the great peasant-poet had conferred im- 
mortality in song. (Cheers.) There was the 
stately and fervid Professor Wilson, who so long 
occupied a brilliant place in the literature of 
Scotland; and who, had he been alive, would 
have been filling not the least conspicuous of 
the Bums' chairs this night. (Cheers.) There, 
too, although disabled by hoarseness, was that 
other John Wilson, who, through England and 
America, had sung the songs of Scotland, in all 
their uproarious humour and deep tearful pathos, 
as no other man could; and who, had he been 
spared, would have been enjoying, at this hour, 
not the least glorious of his " Nichts wi' Burns.*^ 
(Great applause.) Vast, however, as was the 
enthusiasm then displayed, how incalculably 
is it at this moment eclipsed! What chance 
should I have in attempting any nice balance oi 
the poet's merits, in the midst of such an out- 



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burst of hero-worship ? With what face could 
I hint at failings prompted and palliated by the 
manners of the peasantry and people amongst 
whom his lot was cast ? (Cheers.) How would 
his own tender pleading rise up against me, 
that, *' to step aside is human ? " (Hear, hear.) 
Above all, might I not be stunned and shamed 
with the argument that Bums is in his grave — 
that "after life's fitful fever he sleeps well," 
and that the object of our meeting this night is 
not to discuss the frailties of the man, but to do 
honour to the genius of the bard ? (Immense 
cheering.) The world, gentlemen, is not easily 
moved. Its plaudits are what many sigh for, 
and what not a few die for. (Hear.) As Sir 
Walter Scott says, " I love a hackneyed quota- 
tion." I may, therefore, be pardoned for quot- 
ing the familiar lines of Beattie : — 

" Ah, who can tell how hard it is to climb 
The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar I " 

Yet one hundred years ago " there was a lad 
was born in Kyle," whose circumstances were 
humble — whose lot was one of hard labour — 
who had not even the advantage of length of 
life — and who yet, with matchless ease, and 
merely, as it were, by letting out his broad and 
massive nature upon the world, vaulted into 
fame, and whom a grateful nation is proud, at 
this day, to rank among its most illustrious 
dead. (Applause.) What spell did this man 
possess to exercise an influenoe so potent? 
Go into the fields, and observe any plough- 
man at his toilful and monotonous occupation, 
and ask what chances that man has of mak- 
ing his name ring through the world, and 
down through the " corridors of time ? ** Such 
was the position of Burns, and yet what a tri- 
umph has been his ! — a triumph infinitely ex- 
ceeding that of all the alumni of all the uni- 
versities of his time! (Loud cheers.) The 
"auld clay bigging" in which he was born 
glows in the illumination of his childhood. 
His " priestlike father," his schoolmaster Mur- 
doch, the Annies and Nannies of his early love, 
the " rough, rude, ready-witted Rankines " of 
his jovial hours, the country gentry who courted, 
and the few titled people who patronized him, 
live in the light of his genius. If he even 
paused to pity a poor horse, or hare, or mouse, 
or daisy, or to spare " the symbol dear" of auld 
Scotland by turning his weeder-clips aside, the 
thing became from that time immortal. (Cheers.) 
How poor now do the crowns of our dead kings, 
and the glory- wreaths of our departed conquer- 
ors, appear beside the holly with its " berries red " 
which Coila bound around his brows! (Cheers.) 
How are the images of our great ones fading — 
those who walked under triumphal arches, and 
passed between houses " peopled to the chim- | 



ney-tops" — and how are the stalwart limbs, 
the rounded shoulders, and the great dark lu- 
minous eyes of the poor A3rrshire ploughman, 
and despised Nithsdale gcMger, enlarging upon 
the canvas of the past ! (Loud applause.) L 
cannot account for all this, except upon the 
principle that Burns was made of finer clay 
than falls to the ordinary lot of mortals. All 
of you, I daresay, remember how, in his youth, 
he picked the nettle-sting from the hand of a 
<< bonnie sweet sonsie lass " — how that nettle- 
sting became a Cupid's dart in his fiery fiuicy 
— and how love and song had a simultaneous 
birth in his heart. The presence of my distin- 
guished friend, Mr. Macnee, reminds me with 
what charming grace and felicity he many 
years ago transferred that romantic incident to 
the canvas. (Great applause.) That, gentle- 
men, was but the beginning of a susceptibility 
which rendered him sometimes the slave and 
sometimes tlie victim of all outward impressions. 
But with all this exquisite tenderness Bums 
was every inch a man. '< He had misfortunes 
great and sma', but aye a heart abune them a\*' 
What wonder that we should " a' be proud o' 
Robin 1 ** (Cheers.) What wonder that we 
should love the scenes hallowed by his song ! 
(Hear, hear.) Never shall I forget the first 
time I gazed upon the <' banks and braes o' 
bonny Doon." It was when all Ayrshire was 
alive with the excitement and the splendours 
of a great medieval pageant. How beautiful 
to me was the quietude of that sylvan scene I 
The chivalrous procession is passed. The no- 
ble jousters have '' folded their tents like the 
Arabs ;" he who was the Lord of the Tourna- 
ment occupies a vice-regal chair ; and one who 
figured there in an humbler capacity is seated 
on an imperial throne. (Hear, hear.) What a 
change in the twenty years which have elapsed ! 
Yet to this day that sweetly-wooded stream 
wears the same aspect of tender beauty which 
it did then, while its *' little birds" chant forth 
the same melodies of almost unutterable sad- 
ness. So, too, will it be when those now high 
in worldly position shall be only dimly known 
in history, and when a new generation of 
Scotchmen shall assemble in grander halls, and 
with illustrations borrowed from a new raoe of 
poets, to celebrate the second centenary of 
Burns. (Cheers.) Let us not, however, on 
so joyous an occasion as this, wax melancholy. 
Our national poet was a man of divers moods ; 
and when Professor Wilson tells us that he has 
heard " O Willie brew'd a peck o* maut " sung 
after a Presbytery dinner, with the deep bass 
of the moderator mingling in tlie chorus, shall 
we be greatly to blame if, for a brief space, we 
participate in the spirit of his more joyous mo- 
ments? (Great merriment.) At the same 



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time, if any of you should shout to the waiter, 
" Goy fetch to me a pint o* wine/' I trust it 
will only be that he may drink '^ a service to 
his bonny lassie ;" or if, ^together, we should 
agree to '' tak a cup o' kindness yet," I trust it 
will not be, any more than with Burns, for the 
vulgar love of the liquor, but only " for auld 
langsyne/* (Cheers and laughter.) Gentle- 
men, had it been possible to assemble all the 
admirers of Bums under one roof, you would, 
I daresay, have been listening at this moment 
to higher eloquence than mine. There was, 
however, no help for it but to break the mass 
into sections. Here are we, then, as I said at 
the outset, but one of a mvJtitude of gather- 
ings, all animated by a kindred emotion. I 
have too lively a recollection of the fable of the 
Frog and the Ox to seek to measure this meet- 
ing with the colossal demonstrations taking 
place elsewhere. Nevertheless, when I look 
around this table, and see the select and choice 
spirits whom I have the honour to address, I 
do not, I confess, altogether despair of exciting 
just the least possible sensation of envy on the 
part of some of our friends who may perhaps 
have soared higher and fared worse. (Hear, 
hear, laughter, and cheers.) At the same time, 
let us not be uncharitable: let us rather rejoice 
that the unfortunates who could not by any 
possibility gain admission here, have overflowed 
until they have filled all our other public halls! 
(Great laught^ and applause.) Nothing but 
the intense humanity of Bobert Bums could 
have given such numbers to this movement. 
(Hear.) But what need that I should attempt 
to analyse his merits ? What are words when 
overtopped by the majesty of circumstance? 
How can I presume to add one stone to a cairn 
already towering to the heavens ? In the uni- 
versality of this commemoration there is an 
eloquence which enfeebles all speech, and a 
glory which dims all display. (Cheers.) Suf- 
fice it that we, as Scotchmen, feel a debt of 
gratitude to him who was the first to popularize 
the sentiment of *< daring to be poor," the first 
to cause the truth to be widely and proudly 
recognized among his countrymen that, apart 
from the accidents of fortune, *^ a man's & man 
for a' that." (Cheers.) As our own Camp- 
bell has said, 

" His lines are mottoes of the heart." 

Who, let me ask, has imparted such purity to 
love, such warmth to friendship, such dignity 
to labour, such courage to misfortune, such fire 
to patriotism, such sovereignty to moral worth? 
(Great applause.) Even, too, in his first great 
gush of poetry, when, at Mossgiel, he put forth 
those racy and brilliant epistles to his brother 
bards, and those scathing and merciless satires 



on the "unco guid " which we are apt to con- 
sider somewhat irreverent, we find him ex- 
claiming — 

"All hail, Religion I maid divine 1 
Pardon a Muse sae mean as mine. 
Who in her rough imperfect line, 

Thus £ires to name thee; 
To stigmatize false friends of thine 

Can ne'er defame thee ! '' 

(Cheers.) Irrespectively of the fioods of song 
on which Burns has floated into all hearts for 
ever, a certain halo of greatness surrounds his 
name. Wonderful as his poems are, they ap- 
pear only as broken lights of the man. All 
who came in contact with him seem to have 
been profoundly impressed with the force and 
brilliancy of his intellect. The dashing Duchess 
of Gordon had never met with a man whose 
conversation " carried her so completely off" her 
feet :" the clever Mrs. Biddell — ^herself an au- 
thoress—declared that "poetry was actually not 
his forte.*' (Hear.) Taking him, then, for all 
in all — ^taking the influence of his life, and the 
moral of his death — ^I believe that Scotland is 
infinitely the better for Bums having lived. 
(Cheers.) His ambition was to do something 
for his country, and, if he could do no better, 
to " sing a sang at least." The efiect of what 
he actually achieved has been to make love 
sweeter, integrity bolder, hypocrisy more abash- 
ed. (Applause.) The efiect has been to link 
the Ayr, the Lngar, and the Doon, with the 
Tweed and the Yarrow, as haunts of the Scot- 
tish muses through all time. (Cheers.) The 
efiect has been to bind Scotchmen more to 
Scotland, and to make the Scotch abroad more 
intensely Scotch than even their countrymen 
at home. Our Scottish nationality — there is 
no use to deny it, or to struggle against it — is 
becoming year by year merged in the common 
nationality of England. (Hear.) As, however, 
the waters of the Ohio retain their distinctive 
colour for miles and miles after their junction 
with the Mississippi, so, in like manner, must 
the Scotch as a people continue to be tinctured 
with their picturesque and heroic past. (Ap- 
plause.) Burns stands, as it were, proud in 
his peasant garb, at the confluence of the two 
nations as, in many essential characteristics, our 
noblest representative man. (Cheers.) Let 
but Scotchmen continue to be nurtured in the 
manly spirit of Burns — then, in his own lofty 
words — 

" Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, 
A yirtuous populace may rise the while, 
And stand a wall of nre around their much-loved isle.'' 

(Loud applause.) Gentlemen, on this the hun- 
dredth anniversary of our poet's birthday, let 



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us rise up> and, with full hearts and full glasses, 
do honour to his genius. Here, within these 
walls, we are comparatively few in number, but 
let us be great in enthusiasm. If, indeed, at 
this moment the shade of the bard is hovering 
over his beloved Scotland, let not ours be the 
least audible of the myriad voices everywhere 
swelling with the same burden. Let us, in a 
word, drink as it deserves to be drunk — not 
with the silence of a recent bereavement, but 
with the enthusiasm due to a completed re- 
nown, and to a glory which is still ours — " The 
Immortal Memory of Burns." (The toast was 
drank amidst cheering again and again re- 
newed.) 

The Croupibr proposed " The Lord Provost 
and Magistrates.** 

Bailie Haryet replied in neat terms. 

Mr. Thomas Davidson then gave, in a very 
able and eloquent address, ** The Sister Arts of 
Painting and Sculpture," to which Mr. Macneb 
gave a brilliant response, relieved by a variety 
of illustrative anecdotes which kept the company 
" in a roar." 

Councillor Allan proposed, in an effective 
manner, " The members for the City." (Ap- 
plause.) 

Mr. Jambs B. Gartlt then rose and said — 
May I invite you now to extend somewhat 
the sphere of your thought and sympathy, and, 
in like manner as we are accustomed, in circles 
perhaps more strictly social than even thb one 
— all comfortable and jolly as it is, and will be, 
1 hope, for some considerable length of time — 
to drain a loving bumper to the well-known but 
always acceptable toast — "Absent Friends*' — 
may I ask you now to send your thoughts 
abroad over earth — to gather, as it were, into 
the fold of your affections those who, though 
not with us in body, are assuredly so in spirit. 
(Cheers.) For, upon such a night as this, I can 
well imagine the existence of an electricity of 
the soul, needing no instruments whereby to 
disseminate its influence, asserting itself wher- 
ever Scottish hearts beat^-one universal feel- 
ing, pulsing to a common centre — that centre, 
this day of all the days in this or any year; 
and this country, of all countries, placed, though 
it be, on the very confines of what was once 
"The World." In asking you to spare a 
thought at this time to our "Brother Scots," 
wherever they may be, I only ask you to show 
that your admiration of the great man whose 
praises have been so truly and so eloquently 
pronounced this evening, is a real, a sincere ad- 
miration, and that the teachings of his genius 
have had due effect upon your hearts. If ever 
man loved his kind. Bums was that man; but 
in a most special manner did his large true 
heart glow and yearn towards his own country 



and his countrymen. (Cheers.) And so is it, 
I am proud to say, with all true Scotchmen. 
Indeed, we are held rather notorious for our 
tendency to band together — to give the "all 
hail*' with peculiar fervour to those of our own 
soil, whether met here or elsewhere — our 
" danishness" as it is aomcivhat sarcastically 
called, stinks in the offended nostrils of some 
of those not within the favoured pale. Let the 
reproach continue — I hail it as a badge of hon- 
our ! (Cheers.) I wonder what character the 
manifestation of an entirely opposite feeling 
would confer upon us — of that genteel and 
polished indifference, for instance, that allows 
no claim of country or of brotherhood ever to 
ruffle the insipid surface of its prixed equani- 
mity; or, perhaps, of that exceedingly ener- 
getic spirit of world-embracing humanity, to 
which mere home interests are as nothing and 
vanity. Those are, indeed, heart-thrilling lines 
of our bard, and most delightedly do I agree 
with the spirit of them, and with my whole 
heart 

'* Pray that come it may, 

As come it will for a* that, 
That sense and worth, o'er a* the earth, 

Kay bear the gree an' a' that— 
When man to man, the warld o'er, 

Shall brothers be an' a' that." 

— (Cheers) — but let us, like Bums, begin at 
the beginning — let us lay the foundation of this 
general brotherhood, by cultivating, sincerely 
and strenuously, the feelings of brotherhood 
for those among whom heaven has placed us, 
and to whom we are bound by a common pride 
in a beloved country. I confess I have no fiiith 
in that merely cosmopolitan spirit, that too 
often leads men to overlook equally the means 
of happiness lying in their immediate vicinity, 
and the misery clinging round their very knees, 
and with straining eye — " distance lending en- 
chantment to the view" — to look afar for ob- 
jects upon which to lavish their ostentatious 
cares. On the contrary, I believe that from 
that heart only, where the home affections burn 
most brightly, purifying and elevating all else 
within it, can the true spirit of an enlightened 
patriotism take its rise — and, in like man- 
ner, and in due gradation, only from a heart 
thus wisely patriotic, can there issue forth that 
genuine, self-sacrificing philanthropy, whose 
gracious office it is to shed gradual light upon 
the dark comers of the earth, and to substitute, 
by virtue of a kindly continuity of effort, the 
amenities and refinements of civilization for the 
atrocities of barbaric life. (Cheers.) Most 
right and natural do I therefore esteem it to be 
that every leal Scottish heart should hold pecu- 
liarly dear everything Scottish. Is the secret 
of this love difficult to discover or to explain ? 



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Is it not to be found mainly in the fact of the 
glorious heritage to which we all so proudly lay 
claim — that heritage of grand, imperishable 
memories, gained for us by the unstinted sacri- 
fice of so much noble blood ? Those, surely, 
whose fathers, in days long past, foiled the 
world-famous legions of Rome, held the field a 
Bruce led them to, greatly died for their reli- 
gion, when nought else would do, have some 
cause, so long as they themselves blur not the 
glowing scutcheon, to look proudly into each 
other's eyes, while hand is laid in hand for the 
strong grasp of manly affection. (Cheers.) 
But if the far past gives ample reason for that 
pride of country which so knits together Scot- 
tish hearts, more recent, as well as present 
times, give forth no contrary evidence. I need 
not to call up before you any array of celebrated 
names or celebrated deeds. I trust that, with- 
out incurring the hateful charge of being vain- 
glorious, I may safely say that Scotchmen have 
never been behind when discoveries were to be 
made, difSculties to be overcome, or dangers to 
be dared. They have always been at least 
fiurly abreast — " shoulder to shoulder" — ^in the 
generous rivalry of fame. That assertion leaves, 
I trust, untouched all other just claims. My 
toast has reference to our "Brother Scots" 
both at home and abroad. As to those ^'at 
home," the mere fact of their being so dwarfe 
considerably their claim upon our sympathy as 
compared with that of those who have 

*' Ta'en anither shore, 
An* owre the sea." 

Confessedly we are somewhat given to travel 
— ^nay, are often severely twitted with being 
unduly so. A love for the " sweet South" is 
said to be sadly prevalent among us, and on 
this score many a laborious joke has been crack- 
ed at our expense. I do not know that we 
should greatly gfrieve at tliis. I think that, 
wherever we go, we generally give at least as 
good as we get ; and I do not find the North 
to be wholly unattractive to those bom nearer 
the sun. One thing is certain, that, go we far 
or near, we never ignore or become forgetful of 
the country we have left. A Scotchman, un- 
mindful of Scotland when in a foreign land, is 
a monster the world ne'er saw. Among what- 
ever scenes he may .find himself placed — ^how- 
ever g^nd, however various in all the aspects 
which beauty or sublimity may assume — 

" Still dearer to him yon lone glen o' green bracken, 
Wi* the hum stealing under the lang yellow broom " — 

and oflen the weary sigh is heaved^ at the 
thought that he may neither listen to the sweet 
lulling murmurs of the one, nor refresh his 
jaded spirit in the cool seclusion of the other. 



To such, how dear the poetry of Burns ; and 
how has that poetry kept alive, in exiled Scot- 
tish hearts, Scottish loves and Scottish remem- 
brances ! (Cheers.) Think of the lorn groups 
who, on some such occasion as this — ^it may be 
in the wild Australian bush — on the sultry 
Indian plains — ^by the banks of a Zambesi, or 
'mid the solemn hush of some great forest of 
the western world — sing, with broken voice 
and suffused eye, such strain as " Auld Lang- 
syne," their affections all the while tremblingly 
returning to the land and the friends left be- 
hind, to whom they, too, for the time, feel as 
if they would fain return. (Great applause.) 
I feel very sure, therefore, that, in many a re- 
mote nook of earth, this day is being celebrated 
with a depth of feeling to which we cannot at- 
tain. Exile alone can confer it. But one 
thing we can and must do— we must now, in 
all respect, in all affection bear upon our very 
heart of hearts, a warm and loving thought of 
those of our countrymen who, in distant lands, 
maintain their country's renown, either by the 
example of useful, honourable lives, or by the 
sterner attestation of warlike deeds in hard- 
fought fields. If ever Scotland had reason to 
glory in her sons, and to know that they still 
keep their proud position in the van of enter- 
prise, she has that reason now. We have a 
Livingstone — impersonation of heroic endu- 
rance and generous self-sacrifice ! — at last un- 
ravelling the long mystery of the great African 
continent — (Cheers) — single - handed, doing 
more to achieve the elevation of the African 
race, and the final extinction of slavery, than 
all the proud squadrons we have ever sent to 
lie rotting off yon doleful coasts — an Elgin, 
opening up to us a new world — ^penetrating, 
laying bare, at last, all the secrets and the won- 
ders of Zipangu and the '' far Cathay ;" and 
last, though far, far from least — a Colin Camp- 
bell — Baron Clyde — with iron grasp wresting 
an empire from the ruthless and bloody hands 
that had madly dared to seize it, and then, in 
the calm dignity of a noble success, giving to 
the again unruffled brow of a grateful sove- 
reign the regained diadem! once more un- 
dimmed — ^lustrous with a new and priceless 
glory ! (Loud cheers.) These three glorious 
Scotchmen are the foremost men of all their 
time — ^to them, and to their gallant companions, 
Scotland willingly confides the preservation of 
her fame. But it is for us now, while drinking 
the toast I have the honour to propose, and by 
no means forgetting those nearer to us, to 
think — and let us do it with swelling hearts — 
of those brave men away in the burning East- 
em climes ; and while we most willingly give 
to each and all their due meed of praise, let it 
not be thought shame, if, at this moment, we 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



specially and fervently remember our beloved 
countrymen, who, in this great warfare, have 
borne so distinguished a part. Surely, surely, 
you need no one to teU you their deeds — 
through it all, 

" Bold, soldier featured, undismayed, 
They strode along ! " 

In our own good Doric, then, let us drink with 
special reference to Lprd Clyde and the army 
in India, 

" Blither Scots at hame an' far awa ! " 

The toast was drunk with every demonstration 
of enthusiasm. 

Mr. RoBKBT SoMERS rose amid applause, 
and said — I have the honour to propose a toast 
most congenial to the great object of this day's 
celebration, and sure to be received with rap- 
ture in any company of Scotchmen, " The 
Literature of Scotland.*' (Loud cheers.) To 
say that the literature of a country is the flower 
of its civilization would not be enough, for 
when 

" You seize the flower, its bloom is shed ;" 

while literature is that better and glorious part 
of national life which is immortal. (Cheers.) 
I will say of the literature of Scotland^ — ^not as 
an apology, for apology is unneeded, but as a 
fact of its history worthy to be noted — that it 
has had to contend against greater difficulties 
than the literature of almost any country in the 
world. Not only has it been cultivated for the 
most part on a little oatmeal, not only has it 
lacked the encouragement and facilities aflbrded 
to literary eflbrts in other lands, but it has had 
the double task to perform of developing itself 
in the language of a neighbouring kingdom, 
whilst embalming in enduring characters its 
native tongue. (Cheers.) Without the former 
the literature of Scotland would have been 
<< bound in shallows;" without the latter it 
would have lost its distinctive character as 
a national literature. As a proof how the 
countrymen of Burns — " the Scots wha hae wi' 
Wallace bled" — have fought this two-handed 
battle, I wUl merely mention two facts. The 
highest models of English composition, by the 
verdict of England herself, have been the writ* 
ings of Scotchmen. (Hear, hear.) For more 
than half a century the works of Hume and 
Robertson were the standard classics of the 
English language, and in our own time *' the 
weU of English undefiled" has been found in 
the productions of a Macaulay and a Miller. 
(Cheers.) Whilst the sons of Caledonia have 
thus handled the English bow, how have they 
wielded their own claymore? The novel of 
Waverley, written for the most part in what 



was the Court language of Scotland in days 
when we had a king " at hame," and " Tarn 
O' Shanter," carved in the Doric of our peasan- 
try, will live as long as any production of the 
immortal genius of Shakspeare. (Loud cheers.) 
Gentlemen, I have the best apology for being 
brief in the remarks with which I introduce 
to you the toast of " The Literature of Scot- 
land.** The subject is too extensive for ex- 
position, and it speaks too eloquently to our 
hearts for praise. If he, " the Bard that's now 
awa'," and whose memory we have met to 
honour, had been here amongst us this evening, 
you can imagine the right good will with which 
he would have responded to this patriotic and 
inspiring toast. I will simply propose to you, 
therefore, " The Literature of Scotland," and 
permit me to connect with it the name of Mr. 
Alexander Smith — a poet who in our day 
worthily upholds the honour of the Scottish 
muse, and sheds a renown on his native city. 

The toast was received with great cordiality, 
and Mr. Smith in a few words replied, and 
urged subscriptions to the funds for the Misses 
Begg and for Mrs. Thomson of Pollokshaws. 
The hint was adopted in so far as the latter was 
concerned, and upwards of £10 subscribed 
around the table. 

Mr. Cross, in an able address, gave the 
" Other Demonstrations of the day." Mr. T. 
Anderson gave "The Sons of Burns;" Mr. 
Wemyss gave " The Ladies;" and " the nicht 
wi' Burns" at the * Royal,' which had been 
enlivened by amateur vocalisation of the most 
exquisite kind, was brought to a happy and 
successful termination. 



TONTINE READING ROOM. 

About 150 members and friends dined in the 
Tontine Hall — Councillor Martin in the chair, 
supported by David Smith, Esq.; William 
Robertson, Esq., banker; George Fleming, 
Esq.; William Milkr, Esq.; David Gilmour, 
Esq.; Thomas Ramsay, Esq.; David "Walker, 
Esq.; Wm. M*Ewan, Esq.; and Thomas Ro- 
bin, Esq. John Millar, Esq., croupier, sup- 
ported by James Allan, Esq. ; Wm. Peat, Esq. ; 
Captain Mackay; J. King, Esq.; Alexander 
Osborne, Esq. ; John O'Neil, Esq. ; Wm. Mil- 
lar, jun., Esq. 

After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, 
The Chairman, in proposing " The memory 
of Burns," said — In introducing this toast, it is 
not necessary that I attempt anything like a 
biograp|iical notice of the poet; neither is it 
necessary that I should stimulate the action of 
your memories, or please your mental sight with 
visions of the " Auld Clay Biggin'," near " Al- 



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GLASGOW.— TONTINE READING ROOM. 



77 



lo way's Haunted Kirk," of the Mossgiel farm, 
of the Dumfries dwelling-place ; or of the poe- 
tic ploughman, farmer, or gauger cliiel, in his 
wanderings to and fro in the land. (Applause.) 
For, thanks to the genius of the poet, and of 
some o£ the ablest biographers, the facts of his 
life, or at least the outlines of his history, are 
universally known, especially in the land of his 
birth. It needs not either that I tax your 
patience with any elaborate criticism on the 
genius or writings of Burns ; for in so doing I 
might be guilty of the sin of presumption in 
seeking to cope with the Chairmen of other and 
greater centenary meetings than our humble 
gathering. Yet, still, in offering our tribute of 
respect and admiration, I must, in brief form, 
show cause why we should delight to honour 
our countryman after this manner. We delight 
to honour Bums, for he is the representative 
poet of Scotland. (Loud applause.) From the 
age of Thomas the Rhymer and Blind Harry 
the Minstrel, till these late days of James Hed- 
derwick and Alex. Smith, no poet has occupied 
so prominent a place in the national mind as 
Robert Burns. (Hear, hear.) Pre-eminently 
has he displayed that highest attainment of 
poetry — the power of imparting a sense of 
reality to the scenes of imagination. Almost 
at the first glance of the man, or of his writ- 
ings, you see broadly imprinted all the charac- 
teristies of the great poet. What breadth and 
niassiveness are manifested in his writings! 
Indeed no quality of his mind compounded so 
much with the stalwart mould of his frame as 
the strength of his understanding. This quality 
coloured and affected all his movements. His 
most imaginative pieces have a breadth, a vi- 
gour, and an intensity that place them in marked 
contrast to the productions of, shall I say, all 
our poets ? For these qualities, what poem will 
stand comparison with " Tarn o* Shanter," whose 
characters, incidents, thoughts, sentiments, and 
imagery are all vigorous and real ? (Hear, 
hear.) It is a poem, indeed, that bears the 
impress of a genius, which, with length of days 
and proper direction and development, might 
have rivalled the Bard of Avon. (Cheers.) 
Again, he has portrayed Scottish manners, 
habits, and customs with such marked indivi- 
duality of character, and such intensely national 
feeling, that though you search the world over 
you shall find no poems or songs with such 
pure and distinctive national characteristics as 
are displayed in the writings of Burns. He is 
intensely Scotch ; even what some call the bar- 
barous Scotch dialect, he has immortalized. 
Indeed, in his hands the capabilities of the 
Scottish language seemed to increase and ex- 
pand. It was known to be vigorous before, 
and neither destitute of melody nor pathos. 



But, with the master-touch of Burns, it assumed 
a power and expressiveness, yet, withal, a 
sweetness, tenderness, and beauty which it had 
never evinced before. How the racy vigour of 
his verses would be emasculated if the language 
were changed ! Thus, then, for these reasons 
Burns is our representative poet, and as the 
representative poet of our country, shall we not 
honour his memory ? Again, Burns deserves a 
nation's grateful homage, for, more than any 
man has he been instrumental in nurturing the 
love of country and maintaining the national 
spirit and honour. (Applause.) Thoroughly 
imbued with a patriotic and national spirit, and 
with a high appreciation of all those great and 
righteous qualities which exalt a nation, he 
eagerly and earnestly, by the power of his 
poetic might, sought to produce and maintain 
the like feelings in the breasts of his country- 
men. There is diffused all over his poetry a 
yearning desire to influence for good the liberty, 
prosperity, and greatness of the nation — ^to as- 
sociate with the name of Caledonia every senti* 
ment and feeling of admiration, respect, and 
reverence — to give still deeper root to that 
deep-seated and holy feeling, the love of coun- 
try — and to kindle into still brighter glow the 
sacred flame of patriotism, so that Scotland 
might command — if so it could be — still greater 
reverence and love, and at least maintain her 
proud position amongst the nations. He knew 
wherein consisted the glory and strength of 
kingdoms, when, musing on the Cottar's Satur- 
day nighl^ he ejaculates — 

"Ob, Scotia I my dear, my native soil, 

For whom mv warmest wish to Heaven is sent ! 
Long may thy hardy sons of rastic toil 

Be blest with health, and peace, and sweet con- 
tent! 
And, ob ! may Heaven tlieir simple lives prevent 
From luxury's contagion, weak and vile ! 

Then, howe'er crowns and coronets be rent, 
A virtuous populace may rise the while, 
And stand a wall of fire around their much-lov'd 
isle!" 

(Loud applause.) But not only in the solemn 
contemplation of such hallowed scenes as " The 
Cottar's Saturday Night," but also in his hu- 
morous sketches, is there a pith and power 
that faileth not to quicken patriotic zeal. This 
man, then, who has done so much to boil up the 
Scottish blood into a spring-tide flood of free- 
dom and patriotism, deserves well of his country, 
and of the honours which are this day paid to 
his memory. But it is in his songs that the 
fame of Burns will chiefly rest, and in which he 
has exerted the greatest influence. He has 
embalmed in immortal verse the various traits 
of character and habits of the Scotch people, as 
also the remarkable events of their history, 
which are certainly suggestive of poetry and 



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song. What are those characteristics ? There 
is an exalted spirit of freedom and independence 
— there is a native valour, which is oftentimes 
evoked and displayed in deeds of dauntless 
daring — there is a passion which young men 
and maidens fondly designate love, with the 
depth, the intensity, the sincerity, and the ten- 
derness of its characteristics, as manifested in 
the nature of Scotchmen — ^there is a geniality 
and breadth of humour which cheers and glad- 
dens the social circle — ^there is a love of truth 
and high integrity of character deep-seated in 
the Scottish heart — there is an earnest religious 
sj>irit, which has not only been productive of 
great events, but also renders sacred the hearths 
and homes of even the lowest of the people, 
and which brings contentment, and peace, and 
joy, even to honest poverty, by a confident 
trust in the kindness and wisdom of Provi- 
dence ; all these Burns has embalmed in his im- 
perishable lyrics. What Scotsman's spirit is not 
roused by " Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled ?" 
Or what man of sense or sterling worth glows 
not with noble pride at the rehearsal of '* A 
man's a man for a' that ? " What sentimental 
or right-hearted youth is not uplifted when that 
glorious eulogy is sounded in his ears, — 

" Green grow the rashes, O I 
Green grow the rashes, 1 
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend 
Are spent amang the lasses, O." 

In geniality of spirit, also, and broad humour 
— characteristio of the lyrics of Scotland — 
what can surpass "Willie brew'd a peck o' 
maut," or " Sic a wife as Willie had ? '' Often- 
times has he breathed a religious spirit and 
uttered forth sentiments of the purest and most 
elevating character, expressed with a dignity, a 
sweetness, and beauty that is unsurpassed. 
Doubtless we cannot say that in all things he 
was perfect, and that in all things he was pure. 
His noble nature had frailties and stains of sin ; 
and sometimes also he has led the muses 
through scenes of an immoral and degrading 
character. But let us deal gently with the 
dead, for I make bold to say, that had Bums 
foreseen that these questionable productions of 
his that were thrown off in his thoughtless 
moods, would be fraught with much mischief 
to "Dear Auld Scotland," he would have 
sought to bum them, as well as the grey goose 
quill that penned them out. Nevertheless, 
with all his faults, he is chief among the lyric 
poets of Scotland, and has enabled Scotland 
pre-eminently among the nations to assume the 
title of the " Land of Song." Strange would it 
be, if, with all these claims, his country should 
have refused the tribute of her admiration and 
love ; but it is not so. She loves him well. See 



her quote his sayings in the midst of listening 
senates, and crown him with unfading laurels 
in the halls of literature. See her maidens 
breathing their dearest, their warmest, their 
loftiest emotions in his sympathetic strains — 
and see her sons fanning the flames of indepen- 
dence and patriotism to a more intense and 
steadier ray by the inspiring tones of his im- 
mortal song ; and see the innumerable gather- 
ings which are this day being held throughout 
the land in honour of his memory! I^t us 
then join, and reciprocate the feelings of "a 
brither poet," when he said — 

'* For warld's gear I dinna care, 
My stock o' that is unco sma' ; 
Gome, friend, we'll pree the barley bree 
To his braid fame that's noo awa'." 

The toast was dmuk with great enthusiasm. 

Thomas Bobin, Esq., in an eloquent speech, 
proposed " The Poets of Scotland." David 
Smith, Esq., in a speech of considerable length, 
portrayed the beauties of English poetry in 
proposing "The Poets of England." John 
O'Neil, Esq., did ample justice to " The Poets 
of Ireland." 

The following toasts were also proposed: — 
"The Tontine Beading Boom, coupled with 
George Fleming, Esq., President," by Alexan- 
der Osborne, Esq. ; " The City of Glasgow and 
its Civic Bulers, coupled with Councillor Mar- 
tin," by James Allan, Esq.; "The Lassies," 
by P. Bennie, Esq.; " The Genius of Bums," 
by B. Boberton, Esq.; "The Belatives of 
Bums," by Wm. Peat, Esq. ; " The Press," by 
William Millar, Esq.; "The Strangers,** by T. 
Bamsay, Esq.; "The Charitable Institutions 
of our City," by William M'Ewan, Esq.; "The 
Chairman,*' by W. MiUar, jun., Esq.; "The 
Croupier," by Captain Mackay. 

Through the course of the evening many of Bums' 
finest songs were sung by James Smith, Esq., D. 
Walker, Esq., H. Morison, Esq., John Fulton, Esq., 
Adam Letham, and other members of the company. 



TBADES* HALL. 

A masonic banquet (under the auspices of 
the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow) was 
held in the Trades' Hall — Brother Donald 
Campbell in the chair, ably supported on right 
and left. After partaking of a substantial re- 
past, 

The Chairman then said — Bight Worship- 
ful Warden and worthy Brethren — In rising to 
propose the toast of the evening, I feel the 
difficult and the arduous duty which devolves 
upon me; and I trust you will extend to mo 
that fraternal indulgence which is so indicative 



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GLASGOW.— TRADES' HALL. 



79 



of our craft, when I claim your deepest sym- 
pathies for the peculiar position in which I am 
placed this evening. (Cheers.) Although, 
brethren, in the absence of Sir Archibald Ali- 
son, as Substitute Provincial Grand Master of 
Glasgow, I was requested to take the chair 
and preside on this great and auspicious occa- 
sion, still it was an understood arrangement 
that this toast — ^the toast of the evening — 
was to be given by some brother more distin- 
guished in literature, poetry, and eloquence than 
I am. But it was not until the last day that 
I was made aware of the duty that was to 
devolve upon me this night, the more especially 
when I reflect that, at the present moment, the 
first orators of the day are engaged in paying 
a simihir tribute to the genius of our depsu'ted 
brother, (Applause.) The song (''There was 
a lad was bom in Kyle") which has just pre- 
ceded my toast was, as you no doubt are well 
aware, one of the earliest effusions of our 
brother, and alludes to his birth, which took 
place on the 25th of January, 1759, exactly 
one hundred years ago. Born of poor, hum- 
ble, but industrious and honest parents, on the 
banks of the Doon, closely adjacent to the 
" Auld Bjrk of AUoway," both of which places 
have been rendered so famous by his poetical 
descriptions, as to give the whole district the 
hallowed appellation of the '' Land of Burns." 
It will, my brethren, I am sure, be considered 
out of place were I to attempt any sketch of 
liis life, the more especially so when that has 
been done so often, and by so many distin- 
guislied and able biographers. But, brethren, 
there is no' biographer, however exalted be his 
position in literature, poetry, or eloquence, that 
I will yield the palm to in honouring the name 
of Brother Robert Bums, alike distinguished 
for the manliness of his sentiments, the richness 
and elegance of his language, the minuteness 
of his descriptions, and the glowing and excit- 
ing enthusiasm with which he depicts the beau- 
ty of the scenery of his native land. (Cheers.) 
What words so thrilling as the song 

"Ye hanks and braes o' bonnie Doon, 

How can ye bloom sae fresh and fair; 
How can ye chant, ye little birds, 

And I sae weary, fa' o* care ! 
Thoa'U break my heart, thon warbling bird, 

That wantons thro' the flowering thorn, 
Tlioa minds me o' departed joys, 

Departed—never to retnm I " 

(Loud cheering.) Or the fine feeling and the 
deep pathos of his other song — 

**' Ye banks and braes and streams around 
The castle o' Montgomery, 
Qreen be yonr woods and fair your flowers, 
Your waters never drumiie t 



There simmer first unfauld her robes, 

And there the laneest tan*y; 
For there I took the last fareweel 

O' my sweet Highland Mary." 

(Bene wed cheering.) Although our brother 
was unfavoured by the fickle dame Fortune, 
and had a hard struggle through the world, 
and aware as he was that he could not boast of 
high ancestral blood, yet still he was possessed 
of a large share of honest and upright pride, 
combined with a modest and unassuming man- 
ner ; but he could not brook the insolence of 
the haughty, as is displayed by the keen, tlie 
cutting, the caustic weapons with which he 
was armed, and which is so graphically illus- 
trated in the song of 

" A man's a man for a' that." 

(Applause.) To the credulity and superstition 
of Jenny Wilson, an old woman who resided in 
the family, are we indebted for some of our 
brother's best pieces. Her mind teemed with 
stories of death-lights, spunkies, water-kelpies, 
warlocks, and witches, and by their revelation 
readily gave the turn to the youthful poet's 
mind; and our great regret is that he was pre- 
maturely snatched by the hand of death from 
amongst his admirers, for had he been spared, 
he would in all probability have greatly added 
to his present rich collection, one of which — 
« The Tale " of Tam o' Shanter— is most inim- 
itable, and its recitation at the hour of mid- 
night, in Uie precincts of the bridge, might 
conjure up scenes of horror in the reciter's 
mind. (Cheers.) Or, again, we find our 
brother pursuing other strains, for what Scots- 
man can hear the ** address of Bruce " without 
feeling a glow of pride mount his cheeks, the 
words are so inspiring, and breathe so much 
liberty and independence — 

*' Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled; 
Scots wham Bruce has aften led ; 
Welcome to vour ^ry bed, 
Or to glonous victorie ! " 

(Cheering.) The theological controversies 
which raged so fiercely about 1787 tempted 
Bums to espouse the cause of his landlord, 
who was opposed to the minister of Mauchline, 
and so interested did he become that he brought 
his genius to bear upon the point in his satires 
the "Holy Fair," the "Ordination," and "Holy 
Willie's Prayer," pieces alike distinguished for 
their severity as for the bright genius which 
they display ; but the publication of these 
raised him up many opponents, who have with 
unmerited perseverance held him up as "the 
most immoral Ad dissolute of men;" but al- 
though he was tempted to vent his wrath in 
these satires — his mind was still virtuous ; for 



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THE BUBNS CENTENARY. 



who can read " The Cottar's Saturday Night " 
iivithout being delighted at the beautiful pic- 
ture there portrayed of the evening worship 
by the ingleside of the venerable man at the 
close of his week's labour and toil, surrounded 
by his family, pouring forth his adorations to 
the Most High. (Loud applause.) It is in 
vain, brethren, that I attempt to delineate the 
works of our departed brother ; they nobly 
speak for themselves. It is not in this land, 
hallowed by his name, or even over Britain's 
wide fields alone, that his poems are respected 
and admired, and his songs warbled by the finest 
and the sweetest voices; nor over the scorching 
and the burning plains of India — the confines 
of the trackless forests of the Western World, 
but wherever civilization has taken root, there 
is re-echoed on the breeze the breathings of 
his muse. (Loud cheers.) His merits as a 
poet are universally acknowledged — his obe- 
dience as a son was exemplary, his affection to 
his family and those connected with him by the 
nearest and dearest of ties most endearing. 
And if, in the social circle, faults may be at- 
tributed to him, let us, in the knowledge of his 
undying fame, only remember that human na- 
ture is not infallible, and that mankind are 
liable to err. (Cheers.) And let us reflect 
how much the world has been indebted to him 
for the gi'eat and salutary influence which he 
exercised over the minds of all, and regenerated 
the poetry of our country by the high-souled 
genius which his writings displayed. (Renewed 
cheering.) Having, brethren, thus made some 
remarks on our departed brother, as a man and 
a poet, I have now to advert to him as a brother 
of the mystic tie. From the records of St. 
David's Lodge of Tarbolton, we learn that 
Brother Robert Burns first saw the light on 
the 4th July, 1781, and was passed and raised 
on the 1st October of the same year. He was 
initiated by Mr. Alexander Wood of Tarbolton; 
and, from the fact of his having been the means 
of enlightening the poet, the probability is that 
his name will live in the remembrance of the 
craft, while others, possessing far higher titles, 
honours, and distinctions in the neutral world, 
are alike forgotten and unremembered. (Loud 
cheers.) Brother Burns has always been asso- 
ciated in name with the St. James' Tarbolton 
Lodge, and I think it necessary to explain how 
it is. The Lodges St. James and St. David 
were both held in Tarbolton, and the members 
saw fit to make a junction of the two. Such 
was accordingly done under the appellation of 
the St. David's. Some years after Brother 
Burns' admittance some matters in connection 
with the internal government caused them to 
be disjoined, and Burns left it, and associated 
himself with those who resuscitated the St. 



James's, most probably from the dreumstanoe 
that those who seceded were his own personal 
friends, and with whose opinions he coincided, 
and with which, while resident in that part of 
the country, he ever remained in close oonneo- 
tion. He was, at the period of hb initiation, 
23 years of age, and took a warm interest in 
everything relating to the craft; he became 
eiq>ert and zealous in the ceremonials of the 
Lodge, and the first person brought by him 
from the darkness of the neutral world into 
masonic light, was Matthew Steel, a musician, 
who was wont to accompany a noted character, 
^' James M'LachUn," in his excursions over the 
country. Bums never appeared to have at- 
tained a higher rank in the Lodge than that of 
depute-master — ^it being seemingly the practice 
then, as it is now, of having one of the landed 
proprietors as the nominal head. During his 
sojourn at Edinburgh, while publishing his 
poems, he made repeated visits to the Lodges 
there, and was enthusiastically received; and 
in consequence of his rare attainments was 
made poet laureate of the Canongate Kilwin- 
ning Lodge — (cheers) — of which honour he 
was very proud. Many of you must have seen 
engravings from the beautiful picture painted 
by Br. Stewart Watson, the present highly- 
esteemed Secretary of that Lodge— -the scene 
of which is laid in the St. John's Chapel, and 
is familiar to every mason. Burns is seen 
standing on two of the steps in front of and 
leading up to the altar, with his right hand 
placed on his left breast, clothed with his 
apron, on the flap of which is his fellow-craft 
mark, the Master, at that time Br. Alex. Fer- 
guson, of Craigdarrocfa, being about to encircle 
the wreath of laurel around his noble brow. 
(Cheers.) The figures in the picture are beau- 
tifully and chastely grouped, and it is the more 
prized as almost the whole of the figures are 
from warranted portraits. While lately at 
Eyemouth in the discharge of a duty for the 
Supreme Chapter of Scotland, I learned that 
Burns had been made a Royal Arch Mason, 
and communicated the same to that body in 
my report of the visit. Since then more ample 
information has been obtained by a zealous 
brother in Edinburgh, the facts of which he has 
now placed in the hands of the public. In his 
own Lodge he was the able acting head ; and 
from his wit, his intelligence, his zeal, and his 
capability of expressing his ideas with elegance 
and propriety, he was universally beloved and 
admired by the craft. The ciiairman concluded 
by giving "The immortal memory of Robert 
Burns," which was pledged as only brethren 
can. 

The roinainder of the proceedings were spent very 
pleasantly in toast, song, and sentiment 



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GLASGOW.--KING»S AKMS HALL. 



81 



KING'S ARMS HALL. 

A grand celebration, under the auspices of 
" The Literary and Artistic Club,* was held in 
the King's Arms Hall, Trongate. Covers were 
laid for upwards of 200 gentlemen — the hall 
being taxed to the utmost extent of its capacity. 
The chair at the head of the table was one 
which was at one time in possession of the 
father of '' Bonnie Jean," and many a time has 
the poet sat in it in his courting days. It folds 
up like a desk, and in it Burns is reported to 
have written the song of " Com Rigs." It 
passed into possession of the poet's family, and 
was ultimately raffled for ^7, and gained by the 
late Mr. Buchanan ; and was courteously placed 
at the disposal of the committee by Mrs. Bu- 
chanan. After the chair was placed an em- 
blematical painting, presented by Mr. David 
Haire, of Messrs. Hugh Bogle & Cd., Gordon 
Street^ consisting of a bust of Burns being 
crowned by Britannia with a laurel wreath. 
Behind is a figure emblematic of Time prevent- 
ing the curtain of oblivion from falling over the 
Poet. In the foreground, the figure of Fame 
reclines, supported by Music, Agriculture^ and 
Poetry — the latter dedicating an " ode " to the 
immortal genius of the Bard. Among the in- 
teresting relics in the room was a song in the 
poet's own handwriting, which he sung, at the 
Kilmarnock Kilwinning Lodge in 1786, and 
presented by him to William Parker, R.W.M. 
of the lodge. It is the property of Mr. Gabriel 
Neil. There was also one of^ the original sub- 
scription sheets for the Kilmarnock edition of 
the poems, in which is written after one of the 
names the expressive remark, '' the blockhead 
refused it." Mr. Hugh Macdonald, author of 
*' Rambles Round Glasgow," supported right 
and left by Mr. Robert Bums Thomson, and Mr. 
James Thomson, gi*andsons of the poet, Coun- 
cillor James Taylor, Mr. William Simpson, "the 
Crimean artist,'* Mr. John Mossman, sculptor, 
Mr. Robert Buchanan of the Sentinel, Mr. 
Henry Andrews of the Theatre Royal, Mr. 
David Howie of Messrs. Hugh Bogle & Co., 
Mr. James Waterson of the Renfrewshire Inde- 
pendent, Dr. M*Intyre,. Mr. Duncan M'Alpine, 
Mr. James Easton, Mr. Andrew Rutherglen, 
and Dr. Robb. Mr. WilUam W. Scott of the 
Daily Bulletin, officiated as croupier, supported 
by Mr. John Baird, architect, Mr. John Bal- 
lardie, Mr. Lloyd Jones, Mr. George Webster 
of the Theatre Royal; Mr. Thomas Gildard, 
architect ; Mr. Dobie Macleod of the Morning 
Journal, Mr. James Chisholm, Mr. Thomas 
Brown, and Mr. James Murphy. In the body 
of the hall we observed Mr. Frederick Die- 
trickson of the Mail, Mr. James Sutherland 
of the Mail, Mr. William Syrae of the Daily 



I Bulletin, Mr. Milne Donald, Mr. William Wal- 
lace, Dr. E. Milner, Mr. William Skirving, Mr. 
James Eadie, pliotographic artist ; Mr. William 
Cowan, Mr. Mungo C. Graham, Mr. Duncan 
M*Laurin, Mr. William Taylor, Mr. Gordon 
Smith, Mr. William Gentles, Mr. William Kyle, 
C.E.; Mr. Robert Hutchison, Mr. William 
Love, Mr. Wallace Russell, Mr. J. Pritchard, 
sewed muslin manufacturer; Mr. B. Massey, 
engraver; Mr. R. E. Westwood, Mr. John 
Edgar, sculptor ; Mr. William M*Cormick, Mr. 
A. C. Hunter, A. L. Dowie, Mr. David Adam 
of the Guardian, Mr. Alexander M'Donald, 
jeweller ; Mr. George Lawson, sculptor ; Mr. 
J. W. Gatherall, Mr. William Swanston, Mr. S. 
Barr, jun., Mr. James Buchanan, Mr. Stephen 
E. Trough t, Mr. Duncan Brown, Mr. William 
Stevenson, Mr. John M*Intyre, Mr. F. D. 
Duncan, Mr. William M'Lintock of Lochinch, 
&c., &c. 

Grace having been said, an elegant and re- 
eherche dinner was provided by Mr. M'Rae, 
and after the removal of the cloth, the Chair- 
man gave the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, 
which were heartily responded to. Mr. Cahill 
replied for " The Army and Navy." 

The Croupier gave the Lord Provost, 
Magistrates, and Council, coupled with the 
name of Councillor Taylor, who replied. 

The Chairman then rose, amid loud applause, 
to give " The Memory of Bums." He said : — 
Mr. Croupier and Gentlemen — I must now crave 
a special bumper to the toast of the evening 
— " The Immortal ^Memory of Robert Burns," 
on this the hundredth return of his natal day. 
The celebration in which we are privileged this 
night to share is one of the most remarkable 
which the world has ever witnessed. Literary 
history has no parallel to our ovation. Never 
before was departed genius so enthusiastically, 
so universally honoured. There is something 
impressive, something positively sublime in the 
contemplation of the wide-spread and far- ex- 
tending series of social groups which are at 
this moment doing homage to the memory of ^ 
our poet. Scotland, in all her towns and vil- 
lages, ay, and in her most solitary farms and 
shielings, is even now speaking with love and 
pride of the minstrel who is gone ; while ten 
thousand roofs are ringing with the music of 
his matchless melodies. Nor is the homage 
confined to our "auld respeckit mither." Eng- 
land sends back a warm response, and from the 
sister isle there is an echo of kindred tone. 
The Atlantic cable is mute ; but this -night the 
eastern and the western worlds are united by 
the golden chain of fellow-feeling, and ** though 
seas between us braid may roar," we can almost 
fancy we hear the voices of our brethren beyond 
the great deep re-echoing to our call the name 
F 



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82 



THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



of Robert Burns. In the far land of gold, also, 
our countrymen will be gathered ; and amidst 
the red fields of Ind the tartan'd heroes of old 
Scotia will this night be singing with tearful 
eyes the much-loved lays of Coila's bard, and 
dreaming with weary hearts of their far-away 
friends and the home they may never see again. 
It has been said that the sun never sets upon 
the dominions of our Queen, and if such be the 
case, then the name and fame of Robert Bums 
will this night roll in one continuous swell all 
round this vast globe which we inhabit. 

Why, it has been asked, is Robert Bums 
thus popular — thus widely honoured above all 
our country's other poets? Why, for instance, 
has the myriad-minded Shakspeare, the greatest 
of all earthly poets, never received such popu- 
lar demonstrations of homage as this which is 
now being rendered to Burns ? Why has not 
similar, nay, infinitely higher, honours been 
paid to Milton, that old man eloquent, who has 
so gloriously bodied forth the forms of things 
unseen, and given to airy nothings a local habi- 
tation and a name ? The reason, I think, Js 
not far to seek. They win our highest admi- 
ration — an admiration not unmixed with awor- 
Burns commands our sympathy and love. 
Sliakspeare and Milton seem to us as semi- 
deities, standing upon an eminence apart from 
ordinary mortals; Burns comes amongst us 
almost as a friend and companion — ^no matter 
how humble or how poor we may be, he would 
meet us over the table, or take our arm in a 
country walk, and open his heart to us, and 
tell us of his joys and his sorrows, his hopes 
and his fears. He would let us into the 
secret of his loves, and his very sins in his 
hours of remorse would not be concealed, 
lago said ** he would not wear his heart upon 
his sleeve for daws to peck at." Robert Bums 
was not an lago. He dared to show his heart, 
and, despite a few specks or flaws, a noble^ 
manly, and loving heart it was — we can see it, 
swelling at times with passions wild and strong, 
again bursting with honest indignation, and anon, 
at sight of woe to man or beast, melting as with 
the tenderness of woman. Yes, Bums is the 
most loving of all poets, and therefore the most 
loveable. ** Why is it,** asked a &ther of his 
little daughter, " Why is it, Mary, that every- 
body loves you?**" "Well, I do not know, 
father," was the reply, " unless it is because I 
love everybody.** The child had caught the 
real philosophy of the matter. Love and sym- 
pathy begat kindred feelings. Love and sym- 
pathy pervade the writings of Burns in a larger 
measure than those of any other poet that I know 
— and hence, in my opinion, one main cause of 
his extreme popularity. To others we yield 
respect and admiration — to him our kindliest 



afiections are surrendered. Nor are these feel- 
ings confined to his fellowman. They overflow 
even upon the flowers of the fields and the wild 
denizens of nature. He has a tear for the daisy 
which falls before his plough, a sigh for the 
poor little mouse whose wee bit housie he has 
unwillingly consigned to ruin. How beautiiiil 
and how pathetic are some of the passages in 
the poems which he composed while toiling 
upon the furrowed lea : — 

"Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower, 
Thou'st met me in an evil hour, 
For I maun crush amang the fitour 
Thy slender stem ; 
To save thee now is past my power, 
Thou bonnie gem. 

Alas I it's no thy neighbour meet, 
The bonnie lark, companion sweet, 
Bending thee 'mang uie dewy weet, 

Wi' spreckled breist, 
Willie upward springing, blythe to greet 

The purpling east." 

But it is not the mere flower that the poet 
mourns. In his mind's eye he sees in the 
crushed daisy a type of the village maiden be- 
trayed and losty and also of his own sad des- 
tiny : — 

"Even thou that moum'st the daisy's fate — 
That fate's thy own — ^no distant date — 
Stem Ruin's ploughshare drives elate 

Full on thy bloom. 
Till thou beneath the furrow's weight 

Sinks ti' the tomb." 

The same human element pelrvades the lines to 
the mouse. It is not a mere mouse, but a "fel- 
low-mortal" that^he is sympathizing with: — 

"I'm trnlv sorry man's dominion 
Has broken nature's social union, 
And justifies tha ill opinion 

That mak'8 thee startle 
At me, thy poor earth -bom companion 

And fellow-mortal." 

And, again, a sort of prescient glimpse of his 
own sad fate is associated with the " wee, pant- 
ing, timorous beastie,'' turned out to thole the 
cranreuch cauld: — 

"Still thou art blest, compared wi' mel 
The present only toucheth thee : 
But och! I backward cast my e'e 

On prospects drear! 
And forward, though I canna see, 

I doubt and fear." 

A similar feeling of sympathy with the lower 
animals runs through many of his pieces, evinc- 
ing, in the most striking manner, the subtle 
tendernesses which mingled with the sterner 
and more lofty emotions in the big burly bosom 
of the peasant-bard. 

Robert Burns is peculiarly the poet of the 
people — ^the poet of the working-man. Bom 
to a life of poverty and toil, he knew by sad 



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GLASGOW.— KING'S ARMS HALL. 



83 



experience the many woes and hardships which 
are incident to a lowly condition of life. Other 
poets have written about the poor — ^written as 
from an elevation and down to them. His 
voice ascended from the depths of society, from 
the huts where poor men lie. He knew their 
feelings, and he gave them earnest utterance; 
he knew their virtues, and he boldly proclaimed 
them to the world ; he knew their manners, 
their customs, and their various modes of 
thought, and he pictured them with a master 
pen. He taught the working-man to respect 
himself, and he compelled the worlds of rank 
and fashion to regard the children of toil. with 
a more reverent and sympathizing spirit. There 
are passages in Bums which none but a poor 
man could have written — ^passages which none 
but the hewers of wood and the drawers of 
water can fully appreciate or comprehend. 
Such passages are to be found in the '^Twa 
Dogs," '*Man was made to Mourn," in" The Cot- 
tar's Saturday Night," in several of the "epis- 
les," and, above all, in that noblest and best of 
songs, *^ A man's a man for a that" — a song 
which makes the peasant proud of his hodden 
grey, which lends him courage to look with a 
dauntless front upon the arrogance of mere 
rank and title — and which, even in the darkest 
hour of adversity, sends a thrill of ecstasy 
through his frame which makes the very bonnet 
rise upon his brow. Had Robert Burns never 
written another lay, he would have done much 
to ennoble, much to encourage, much to con- 
sole the peasantry of his native land — ay, and 
of every land where its noble sentiments found 
fitting utterance. Well might Robert Nicol, a 
kindred spirit, exclaim in an address to Burns — 

" Before the proudest of the earth 
We walk with an aplifted brow ; 
Like ns thon wert a toilwom man, 
And we are noble now." 

I have said that there are passages in Burns 
which only working-men can adequately com- 
prehend, and which could only have sprung 
from a heart which had known the iron crush 
of adversity. Listen to the rich man's dog : — 

" I've noticed on oar laird's court-day, 
And mony a time my heart's been wae ; 
Poor tenant bodies scant o' cash, 
How they mann thole a factor's snash. 
He'll stamp and threaten, cnrse and swear, 
He'll apprehend them, poind their gear, 
While tney maun stand, wi' aspect humble, 
And hear it a', and fear and tremble." 

Snch scenes the poet must often have witness- 
ed ; and it is even said that his own noble- 
minded father was on more than one occasion 
subjected to the torture of such petty tyranny 
as is here depicted. It is in '^ Man was made 



to mourn," however, that the very gall of *an 
insulted and sorrowing son of poverty and toil 
is poured forth. With how much of bitter em- 
phasis have I not heard an ^* idle hand" read- 
ing that saddest of all Bums' poems : — 

" See yonder poor o'er-labonred wight. 

So abject, mean, and vile. 
Who begs a brother of the earth 

To give him leave to toil ; 
And see his lordly fellow-worm 

The poor petition spurn ; 
Unmindful though a weeping wife 

And helpless offspring mourn." 

It is indeed a sorry sight, and one scarcely 
wonders that under such circumstances the un- 
happy wight may almost be tempted to question 
the decrees of Providence. Burns gives the 
sentiments which in such circumstances might 
be expected to burst from the over-strained 
heart, with a powerful emphasis : — 

" If I'm design'd yon lordling's slave — 
By nature's law design'd, 
Why was an independent wish 
• E'er planted in mv mind ? 

If not, why am I subject to 

His cruelty and scorn ? 
Or why has man the will and power 
To make his fellow mouiii ? " 

Yes, Bums was indeed the poet of the poor. 
In his writings, their sentiments, their feelings, 
and it may be their prejudices, find the most 
earnest utterance ; and therefore it is that his 
volume — always a well-thumbed one — is ever 
found in the poor man's scanty library. But 
Burns had another mission — a mission requiring 
the exercise of sterner qualities. In his days, 
even as.in our own, hypocrisy and cant abound- 
ed in the land, while the genus * quack' at the 
same time imposed as grossly «ipon the credu- 
lous and unsuspecting, and with as brazen an 
effrontery as in our own day and genera- 
tion. Burns set himself earnestly to the un- 
masking of the pretenders, wherever they came 
in his way. Gifted with strong capacities for 
satire, and a broad side-shaking humour, he 
was peculiarly adapted for the task. He rent 
their robes of seeming truth asunder, and 
showed the rottenness within — the whited se- 
pulchres collapsed under his well-aimed thrusts, 
and revealed the uncleanness which they con- 
tained. In " Holy Willie's Prayer," the " Ad- 
dress to the unco gude," the " Holy Fair," and 
** Dr. Hornbook,*' are embodied some of the 
most telling — some of the most efiectivc — 
touches in modem satire. How he skinned the 
wretches ! How he anatomised the conteniptible 
creatures, is only to be learned from a perusal 
of his works. And yet there is a dash of kind- 
ness — a genial spirit of fun — throughout his 
most savage attacks. In *^ Hornbook" there is 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



even more of humour than satire. A more 
truthful description of an individual under the 
influence of the " malt" never was penned than 
that which is embodied in the introductory 



" The clachan yill had made me cantjf 
I wasna fa', but just had plenty ; 
I stacher'd whyles, but yet took tent aye 

To free the ditches ; 
And hillocks, stanes, and bushes kent aye 

Frae ghaists and witches. 

The rising moon began to glower 
The distant Cumnock hills out-owre ; 
To count her horns wi' a' my power, 

I Bet mysel' ; 
But whether she had three or four, 

I couldna tell." 

Tliat Bums occasionally overstepped the bounds 
of good taste in these satirical effusions must 
be admitted. In satire, as in conversation, 
people ai'e often tempted to go farther than 
they ought, or than they intended. That these 
satires did good service, however, there is no 
denying. The vices which he lashed — and 
they are of the most hateful — cant and bigotry 
and ignorant self-conceit, still exist amongst us, 
and ever will, I am afraid ; but since his day 
they talk as it were with abated voice, and 
walk through society with a less presumptuous 
presence. 

Burns was a thorough patriot. To the back- 
bone he was a Scotsman. For Scotland and 
everything Scotch he entertained the deepest 
affection. He loved his native land ; he revered 
her poets, and he gloried in her heroes. Her 
honest men and bonnie lasses were the favourite 
theme of his song ; her banks and braes, her 
woods and lakes and streams, were the scenes 
which he best loved to paint. He waxes elo-' 
quent on ''Scotch drink;" of the parritch, 
** Scotia's halesome food," he talks in kindliest 
terms ; while he has thrown a halo around the 
haggis which can never grow dim. He has 
elevated it, indeed, almost to a regal dignity : — 

** Fair fa' your honest sonsie face, 
Great chieftain of the pudding race; 
Abune them a' ye take your place, 

Fainch, tripe, or toairm ; 
Weel are ye wordie o' a grace 

As lang's my arm." 

On the influence of the haggis, old Scotia*s 
favourite dish, he is equally emphatic: — 

'• But mark the rustic, haggis fed. 
The trembling earth resounds his tread; 
Clap in his walie nieve a blade, 

He'll mak it whissle; 
And legs and arms and heads will sned 
Like taps o* thrissle." 

But Bums was more than a mere Scotsman. 
His love, it is true, began at home ; but it em- 



braced all mankind in its far-stretching sym- 
pathies. The cause of liberty all over the world 
was his motto, and to his own worldly disad- 
vantage he feared not to give it expression. 
When a poor dependent ganger at Dumfries, 
he was even called to account for daring to 
nve voice to the liberality of his sentiments. 
During the American war of independence, 
Bums was at a party where the health of the 
** heaven-born " minister, William Pitt, was 
proposed. The f oet refused to taste the cup, 
and starting up, exclaimed, << I'll give you 
the health of a nobler and better man, that of 
George Washington, one of the noblest and best 
of freedom s champions." On the breaking out 
of the first French revolution, and when the 
friends of liberty all over the earth were turn- 
ing their eyes to the French capital, as towards 
the dawn of a better day. Bums, in hb capacity 
of exciseman, was engaged in the capture of a 
smuggling vessel. His portions of the prize 
were four brass carronades, and these with a 
letter of sympathy he transmitted to the patriots 
of France. That revolution, as we are all aware, 
went down in blood, but in its origin it was 
regarded as the herald of liberty to the Gallic 
people, and the poet of liberty lent it his aid 
accordingly. Afterwards, when the war broke 
out between this country and France, Bums 
had the boldness, I might even say the rash- 
ness, to propose as a toast, at a public dinner — 
*' May our success in the war be equal to the 
justice of our cause." For these and other 
noble indiscretions Burns was called to account 
by his superiors in the Excise, and his hopes of 
promotion were for ever destroyed. I mention 
them merely to show, that although a warm 
lover of his country and his country's people, 
Robert Burns had a heart of sympathy for the 
patriots of every land, and that he was in solemn 
earnest when he prayed that — 

'* Man to man the warld o'er 
Might brithers be and a' that.'* 

We have heard much of the errors of Bums, 
and even in our own day he has been denounced 
from the pulpit as a curse rather than a blessing 
to his country. Now, I am prepared to main- 
tain, that in his capacity as a song- writer he 
has done more to refine and ennoble the Scottish 
people than any reformer, lay or clerical, that 
ever existed. In the very year that Robert 
Bums was born, a collection of Scottish songs 
was published by an assiduous gleaner, called 
David Herd. Honest David gathered his songs 
among the people in farm houses, and smiddies, 
and taverns, and indeed wherever they were to 
be obtained. His book may therefore be re- 
garded as a reflex of Scottish taste at the period 



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when our poet entered upon the stage. One- 
half of the contents are of the most impure, the 
most gross, and, in many instances, of the most 
silly and worthless description ; while the other 
half is in a great measure composed of the 
merest doggerel and trash. What a change has 
been wrought by the lyre of Bums ! Now, we 
have the noblest book of song which the world 
can boast. Every shade of feeling and senti- 
ment — ^from the deepest pathos to the broadest 
humour — finds fit and musical expressions upon 
its glowing pages. The gross and unwholesome 
rubbish of other days has been superseded by 
efiusions of the truest genius — ^lays that are cal- 
culated to refine and to elevate, and which have 
refined and elevated the hearts and the souls 
of the Scottish people to an extent which it is 
difficult to estimate. For this we are in a great 
measure indebted to the poor ploughman of 
Coila — ^the depressed and heart-broken gauger 
of Dumfries. In his lays the mother finds a 
lullaby for her child, the lover a winning lilt for 
the lassie of his heart; in them the poor man 
finds consolation and strength, the soldier fresh 
courage on the red field of death. When we 
are merry we can revel in the mirth and hu- 
mour of Bums ; when we are sad, his words of 
sorrow and of pathos are ever at our command. 
In every mood of mind, in every change of cir- 
cumstance, the mighty master of the lyre afibrds 
us either a solace or an enjoyment. 

Of the life of Burns — that brief but glorious 
span of smiles and tears — it needs not that I 
should speak. Every one knows of his early 
toils and struggles— of his early loves, and of 
his early wooings of the muse. Every one 
knows of his firsA bold venture into print — of 
his lionising visit to Edinburgh, the plaything 
of a day to rank and fashion — and of his sub- 
sequent disappointment and neglect. The last 
sad scene of the tragedy — for every life is a 
tragedy — and that of Bums was emphatically 
so — ^is one of the most melancholy which it is 
possible to contemplate. Neglected and poor, 
and for his very ipdependence of soul despised 
by the rich and great, the curtain fell. In the 
very noon of life, the sun of his genius was 
darkened ; ere half his harvest was gathered, 
the reaper was called hence. The angel they 
entertained — so sourvily entertained — ^was not 
appreciated until he had for ever departed. It 
is now upwards of threescore years since all 
that was mortal of Robert Burns was consigned 
to the dust. Since then his &me has continued, 
and is continuing, to extend. With the gather- 
ing years his honours continue to gather. With 
the good and the trae his name and his memory 
are now more dearly cherished than at any 
former period. So it is now, and so it will be 
a century hence, when the myriads who are 



this night doing honour to the poet are sleeping 
in the narrow house. 

" Time will the impression deeper make, 
Afl streams their channels deeper wear." 

The toast was drunk amid tlie greatest enthusiasm. 
Band, in masterly style, Burns' "Song of Death." 
Mr. Shiels then sung, " There was a lad was horn in 
Kyle," which was followed by " A man's a man for 
a' that," from Mr. James Thomson, and '* Tannahill's 
Lament for Burns," by Mr. Gordon. 

Mr. Egbert Buchanan having read origi- 
nal Lines on the Centenary of Burns, Mr. 
GEORaB Webster, of the Theatre Koyal, read 
"Tam o* Shanter" in a capital and character- 
istic style, and was loudly and deservedly ap- 
plauded. 

Mr. John Baird gave " The Memory of the 
Poetical Predecessors of Burns,*' which was 
duly honoured. Band — "The flowers of the 
forest." Mr. S. Barr, jun., then sung "The 
Lass o' Patie's Mill," and Mr. James Caldwell, 
" Here awa, there awa." 

The Croupier, in proposing " The Poetical 
followers of Bums," said — ^Mr. Chairman and 
getitlemen, I observe that a great many of the 
centenary programmes contain the general toast 
of "the Poets of Scotland,** without the dis- 
tinction which we have drawn between those 
who went before and those who have come after 
the era of Robert Burns. I think that, upon 
the whole, it is desirable that there should be 
considerable variety in the programmes ; and I 
am glad that ours is singular in this respect, as 
I am inclined to believe that the division of the 
toast into two is at once natural and appro- 
priate. A great many Scotch poets flourished 
before the birth of Burns, and a great many 
have come after him, though he has been dead 
for little more than sixty years. The older 
poets merged in his advent, and from him the 
recent ones have proceeded. (Applause.) Like 
an isthmus of land uniting two continents — or 
rather like a lake into which a river falls and 
from whence it flows — ^he is the connecting 
link between the toast given by Mr. Baird, and 
that which is to be proposed by me. He stands 
among the others a perfect giant, and Scotland 
can never have another Burns. Therefore I 
think that we acted wisely in drawing a line ot 
distinction between the influence exerted on 
our national bard himself by his poetical prede- 
cessors, and the influence which he has exerted 
upon those who have followed in his wake. 
When Burns departed from this earthly scene, 
a portion of his poetic spirit seems, like the 
mantle of Elijah, to have fallen upon a few 
noble men, who have since distinguished them- 
selves as sweet singers in the region of Scottish 
poesy. These men cannot be compared to their 
great prototype, but they drank deeply at the 



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inspiring well of his genius, ftnd they walked in 
the same path that he did, at however remote a 
distance behind him. I do not refer to the 
hundreds of drivelling poetasters who have 
made the printing presses of Scotland gproan 
with the sheerest doggerel which they sacrile- 
giously published in imitation of the glorious 
poems of Burns, but to those sons of song 
who possessed true genius, who were really and 
truly imbued with 

" The vision and the faculty divine," 

whose utterances were encircled by a halo of 

" The light that never was on sea or shore, 
The consecration and the poet's dream." 

(Cheers.) The undying fame which Bums 
achieved stimulated hundreds to attempt to fol- 
low m his footsteps, whose names have already 
sunk into merited obliyion ; but his works in- 
fused into others a portion of his spirit; and 
there have been a few really entitled, from the 
position they attained, to claim a special bum- 
per on an occasion such as this. Even a man 
who has no music in his soul, can hardly read 
the songs of Robert Bums without attempting 
to sing them ; how then could a man with a 
single spark of the poetic element in his com- 
position pemse his poems without feeling his 
heart on fire as if ready to burst forth into the 
gushing cadence of poetry. Can it be won- 
dered at that such men as Robert Tannahill, 
Hector M*Neil, Robert Nicoll, or Allan Cun- 
ningham, should have experienced the divine 
afflatus when they basked even in the reflected 
rays of such a brilliant orb as the Ayrshire 
Bard. All these men were native poets, and 
to the manner born, and might have written 
spontaneously as sweet efiiisions as they did 
even had Bums not preceded them, but it is 
undeniable that his works went far to foster 
their poetic tastes, and induce them to give 
expression to their thoughts and feeling in the 
sublime language of verse. Bums towers a 
mental giant above them all, but we must not 
overlook the modest little fern, because it grows 
beneath the wide-spreading branches of the 
stately oak. The songs of Robert Tannahill 
and Hector McNeil, and the ballads of Allan 
Cunningham, are as undying as the language ; 
and it is no exaggeration to assert that " Jessie, 
the flower o* Dunblane," and " My Boy Tam- 
my," are fitted to be placed side by side^ as 
they are likely to be co-eternal with ^ Bonnie 
Jean," and " John Anderson, my jo." While 
we can never forget the bard who composed 
his strains when following the plough in the 
fields of Ayrshire, or galloping in search of 
smugglers along the wild coasts of Galloway, 
neither can we forget the pensive bard of 



Paisley, who gave birth to so many tender 
lyrics at the loom, or when wandering with hb 
flute at his lips on the " Braes o' Glenifier," or 
** Amang the Broom Bushes by Stanley Green 
Shaw." (Cheers.) Alas! poor Tannahill! 
How bitter his life, and how melancholy his 
end! Scotland has been reproached for ne- 
glecting Bums and leaving him in poverty. 
Is Scotland not more culpable for her neglect 
of her next greatest lyrist, although the crime 
is seldomer lud to her i^harge ? Bums possessed 
a manly, rollicking, independent spirit, and did 
not covet the pity or sympathy of his country- 
men so long as he compelled their admiration t' 
but Tannahill was a flower grown upon a more 
slender stem. His nature was soft and gentle, 
and he was ill able to bufiet the blows of 
misfortune, or bear up against his country's 
ingratitude. Now, then, that he has passed 
away so sadly, let us afiectionately cherish his 
memory, for of all our Scottish song writers, 
after Bums, Robert Tannahill is essentially and 
assuredly the sweetest, the purest, and the best. 
More prominent than he, however, among the 
group comprised in my toast, bulks the broad, 
burly form of the Ettrick Shepherd. (Ap- 
plause.) With the exception of Bums and Sir 
VValter Scott — ^whose memory is to be specially 
drank — I look upon James Hogg as the great- 
est literary Scotchman of any age, and certainly 
he was a more extraordinary and remarkable 
man than either of the two I have named. I 
certainly do not mean the shepherd of Profes- 
sor Wilson's Noetes Ambrosians, but the veri- 
table Shepherd of Ettric^ as he lived and as he 
wrote. His life forms one of the finest exam- 
ples of the persevering, industrious, and ener- 
getic student on record. Till he attained the 
age of eighteen he had received no education, 
and when he died, in his sixty-fifth year, he left 
behind him almost a library of poems, tales, 
romances, ballads, songs, and miscellaneous 
writings. A pen so voluminous must have 
written some things unworthy of the writer, 
but his works contain many beautiful gem^ and 
some of the finest sentiments ever breathed. 
Some of his compeers possessed more of the 
reasoning faculty than the Shepherd, but in the 
domain of fancy, or rather the imagination, he 
stands unrivalled — ^his '' Bonny Kilmeny " being 
perhaps the finest thing of its kind in any lan- 
guage. As a song-writer, Hogg is also most 
superior. A geniid freshness pervades his pro- 
ductions which is positively infectious. Where, 
for example, will you find heartier and healthier 
love songs than *< The Kye comes hame" and 
''Auld Joe Nicholson's Bonny Nannie^" a 
sweeter plaint than << Flora McDonald's Fare* 
well," or more inspiring war strains than 
"Donald M'Donald," " Cam* ye by Athol," or 



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GLASGOW.— KING'S ARMS HALL. 



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** Gome o'er the stream, Charlie, and dine wi* 
M'Lean." The writings of the Ettrick Shep- 
herd are, I regret to say, a mine of undiscov- 
ered treasure to many, but I believe that Scot- 
land will yet do greater justice to his genial 
and immortal memory. When he was alive he 
was a kind and an amiable man. Once he 
made a pilgrimage to Paisley expressly to visit 
TannahUl. We can fancy the pleasure of this 
meeting of the bards. It was an event in Tan- 
nahill's life — a green spot which he remembered 
with joy to the last. Had Robert Burns not 
previously mingled his strains with the life- 
blood of the people of Scotland, my conviction 
is that the creations of James Hogg would have 
occupied the vacant place in the heart-history 
of the nation, as the effusions of an inspired 
peasant who had been chosen the representative 
man of the literary genius of his country. And 
that shepherd lad who was born in the forest 
of Ettrick, and nursed amidst old legends and 
fading superstitions, who battled his own way, 
by the vigour of his genius, to fame and im- 
mortality, would, after all, have been no feeble 
substitute for the greater bard bom on the 
banks of Doon — 

" He wko walked in glory and in joy, 
Following his plough upon the mountain side." 

(Loud cheers.) Of the other successors of 
Bums, little need be said among so many of 
their admirers to secure for my toast an enthu- 
siastic reception. It is not altogether to the 
memory of the departed that I ask you to 
drink, but also to the health of those who are 
still alive who may be embraced in my toast, — 
to such men as Thomas Aird, James Ballantine, 
Alexander Smith, and James M'Farlan, and 
our own Hugh Macdonald. (Tremendous ap- 
plause.) However, it is great and comprehen- 
sive enough if it includes only the mighty dead 
— ^if the men may be said to be dead who in 
their writings still live and speak to us in 
** thoughts that breathe and words that bum." 
(Cheers.) Like the blood of Abel, which, 
though he was dead, yet spoke— these intelleo- 
tual athlet® hold daily converse with us when 
we sing their songs or pore over their pages. 
Their noble voices come ringing down the tide 
of time like a swell of music on the wind ; and 
their grand and glorious thoughts commingle 
with the rough asperities of our everyday life, 
and smooth and enliven our journey through 
this lower world. Their welcome words are as 
those of an ever-true friend, whose familiar 
tones always induce joy, while their ideas, so 
far above ours, tend to elevate us nearer their 
place in spirit-land. (Cheers.) This world is 
bright and lovely — very lovely ; and its beau- 
lies are soothing to the care-worn spirit of man. 



When the troubled and restless soul is con- 
fronted with the everlasting hills, man's stormy 
littleness is rebuked by their calm serenity. 
The loveliness of a summer landscape, with its 
trees and flowers, its rivulet and little cascade, 
tends to produce a holy calm in the human 
breast. These beauties, however, are material 
and transient, and their influence is unendur- 
ing, for 

*' This world is all a fleeting show, 
For man's illusion given." 

But in the works of the great spirits who have 
penned our national poetry, we And the revela- 
tion of a superior intelligence, and can hold 
communion with the country beyond the g;rave. 
In their intellectual society, the attractions of 
nature to our mental eye fade away, and we 
are lifted above the world to enjoy higher, holler 
feelings, which confer a truer bliss. Well may 
we meet to celebrate the memories of those 
who are so dear to us, because they have raised 
us above this earth, and well can we afford to 
despise the detracting voice of the canting 
hypocritical bigot. We care not though a few 
members of the clerical profession may preach 
against this centenary celebration, for we know 
that more benefit is to be derived from the 
sublime teachings of the poets than from the 
meagre and inane ideas of those clergymen now 
engaged in preaching against it, whose mental 
calibre is far below mediocrity, poets though 
some of them profess to be. (Great applause.) 
The names of Bums, Tannahill, and the Ettrick 
Shepherd, are immortal ; but the only chance 
these men have of being remembered would be 
to have their virtues carved on their tomb- 
stones — (hear) — or their names ignominiously 
enshrined in such works as those of Burns — side 
by side with " The Calf," or " Daddy Auld." 
Members of churches though we be, we can in 
this instance treat the teachings of our spiritual 
advisers with supreme contempt, and we will 
not fail to place certain laymen in the same un- 
enviable category. (Hear, hear.) Directors 
of temperance societies have declared, 1 under- 
stand, that they would be no parties to cele- 
brating the centenary of a man whose " bac- 
chanalian songs had sent more men to hell than 
his < Cottar's Saturday night' had sent to 
heaven;" but we can well afford to hear the 
censure of spirits such as these poor contemp- 
tible worms of the dust — 

" Whose worthless nievfu* of a sowl, 
May in some future carcase howl, 
The forests fricht; 
Or in some day-detesting owl, 

May shun the licht.'' 

(Loud cheers.) Let us hope that many more 
poetic successors to Bums will arise to illustrate. 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



in melting melody, tlie manners and customs 
of our native land. It is unnecessary that we 
should wish for immortality to the writers in- 
cluded in my toast, for circling round the 
grand central sun found in the works of Burns, 
they will be lasting as this nether sphere, and 
their hallowed influence will, I am sure, be 
remembered with pleasure amid the bright 
glories of eternity. (Hear, hear.) I ask you 
then, while you cherish the name of Bums, to 
drink to the memory of his 'departed, and the 
he<alth of his living, successors. 

The toast was heartily drunk. Band — ** Castles i' 
the Air." Mr. James Waterston sung *' Gloomy 
Winter's noo awa'j" and Mr. Yoang, "Lock the 
door, Lauriston." 

Mr. B. E. Westwood proposed " The Me- 
mory of Sir Walter Scott," which was warmly 
received. Band — ** Braw Lads o' Gala Water." 
Mr. Thomas Brown sung in fine style ** Jock o' 
Hazeldean." 

Mr. Robert Buchanan gave " The General 
Literature of Scotland," which was duly drunk. 
Band— "The Kail Brose o' Auld Scotland;" 
after which Mr. Robert Burns Thomson, grand- 
son of the Poet, sung " Scots wha hae." 

Mr. Lloyd Jones gave " The Literature of 
England," which was warmly responded to. 
Band— " Black-eyed Susan." The Chairman 
then sung " The Flower Gatherers," and the 
glee party " Life's a Bumper." 

The Rev. H. W. Crossket proposed the 
next toast — " The Literature of Ireland" — and 
made a most eloquent speech in support of it ; 
making special reference to the names of Oliver 
Goldsmith and Dean Swift. During the de- 
livery of his speech, which was imbued with 
many noble and brilliant sentences, Mr. Cross- 
key ^^'as loudly and repeatedly applauded. 

The toast was drunk amid liearty cheering. Band 
— " St. Patrick's Day." Mr. Wm. Henry then sung 
"The Irish Emigrant;" and Mi*. Joikjs, "Widow 
Machree." 

Mr. Gordon Smith proposed "Painting, 
Sculpture, and Architecture," which, having 
been drunk, the band played Mendelssohn's 
" Wedding March ;" after which, Mr. William 
Simpson and Mr. John Mossman replied. Mr. 
William Gentles then sung "Afton Water." 
" The Surviving Members of Bums' Family" 
was then given by the Croupier, and heartily 
responded to. Band — " Bide ye yet." Mr. 
Robert Burns Thomson replied. 

The other toasts were : — " The Commercial 
Interests of Glasgow," by Mr. David Haire. 
Band—" The Rock and the Wee Pickle Tow." 
Song — " I gaed a Waefu' Gate Yestreen," by 
Mr. Sheils. " The Agricultural Interest," by 
Councillor J. Taylor. Band — "Speed the 
Plough." " Corn Rigs," by Mr. T. Brown. 



" Music and the Drama," by Mr. J. Dobie 
Macleod, to which Mr. George Webster and 
Mr. S. Barr, jun., replied. Glee — "Willie 
brewed a peck o' maut." " The Press and Mr. 
James Waterston of Paisley," by Mr. Andrew 
Rutherglen. Band — " Up in the morning 
early." Song — " My tocher's the jewel," by 
Mr. Barr. "The Ladies," by Mr. Thomas 
Gildard. Band~" Here's a health to all good 
lasses." Song — " The kye come hame," by the 
croupier. "The Chairman," by Mr. James 
Easton. Band—" All good fellows." Song — 
" Last May a braw wooer," by Mr. Thomas 
Brown. "The Croupier," by Mr, Thomas 
Brown. Band — " Willie was a wanton wag." 
Song—" Duncan Gray," by Mr. William Pin- 
don. The proceedings were oonduded by 
"Auld langsyne," from the company. The 
services of the band, under the leadership of 
Mr. M'Lewee, were most efficient. Mr. Glead- 
hill presided at the pianoforte. The company 
separated at a suitable hour. 



STUDENTS* MEETING. 

The students of the University of Glasgow 
held a banquet to commemorate the Burns 
centenary. Upwards of sixty gentlemen were 
present; and so great was the demand for 
tickets, that three times that number could 
easily have been disposed of, had sufficient 
accommodation been found. W. F. Steven- 
son, Esq., M. A«, divinity student, presided, 
and was supported right and left by Mr. Bruce 
B. Begg, nephew of the poet, Messrs. Cameron, 
Lang, John M*Leod, Norman M^Leod, and 
John Gillespie, divinity. J. S. G. Cogbill, 
Esq., M.D., demonstrator of anatomy, officiated 
as croupier, and on his right and left sat Messrs. 
Taylor, Christie, Schmidle, Alston, J. Paul 
Allan, R. L. Allan, Lennox, Robertson, and 
Kerr, medical. Grace having been said, supper 
was served in first-rate style by Messrs. Fer- 
guson & Forrester. After supper, the usual 
loyal and patriotic toasts having been disposed 
of, the Chairman proposed the toast of the 
evening — " The Immortal Memory of Bums." 
Burns had no education, and none of the ad- 
vantages we now enjoy, and yet he had attained 
the very highest pinnacle of fame as a poet. 
(Cheers.) All honour to his memory ! (Drunk 
in silence.) The Croupier, in giving "The 
Lord Rector, Sir E. B. Lytton," remarked 
that students of all political sections rejoiced 
that such a distinguished man as Sir Bulwer 
Lytton occupied the Rectorial chair. (Ap- 
plause.) Mr. George Paterson, of the Liberal 
Association, replied. Mr. George Mather re- 
cited Burns' "Address to the Haggis" in an 



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animated manner, and the company joined in 
singing *^Ye Banks and Braes." Mr. John 
Cameron gave the "University," and Mr. J. 
W. King read " Tam o' Shanter." Mr. James 
P. Allan proposed "The Clergy,*' to which 
Mr. H. M. M'Gill, who said that John Knox 
was an ancestor of his, replied; and Mr. George 
Mather, "The Sister Universities," to which 
Mr. Maximilian Schmidle replied for the Uni- 
versities of the Continent, Mr. John Cheyne 
for the other Universities of Scotland, and Mr. 
James Bryce for the English Universities. The 
Croupier, in giving " The Surviving Represen- 
tatives of Burns," said that the descendants of 
our national poet had done honour to their 
great progenitor. (Cheers.) Mr. B. B. Begg 
replied in appropriate terms. Mr. J. C. Bryce 
sang, "Blythe and Merry was she,** and Mr. J. 
M'Leod gave "Poetry." "Literature, Art, and 
Science," was ably proposed by Mr. Ralph 
Abercromby ; Mr. J. B. Russell responded. Mr. 
N. M*Leod gave " The Colonies," Mr. Simon 
M'Gregor responding, and Mr. R. L. Allan, 
medical, "The Legal Profession," Mr. Alison 
responding. Mr. James Christie, in giving 
" The Societies of the University," referred in 
complimentary terms to the political, literary, 
missionary, medical, and temperance societies. 
Mr. Gavin Lang, Secy, to the Conservative 
Club, replied. Mr. H. M. M'Gill gave " The 
Medical Profession." The Croupier, in re- 
sponding, said all the three learned professions 
arose from the frailties of human nature — ^the 
lawyer from men's litigiousness, the doctor 
from their ailments, and the clergyman from 
their sins. (Laughter and applause.) Mr. 
John Hadden proposed " The Press,** and paid 
a high compliment to Professors Allen and 
William Thomson. Mr. N. S. Kerr replied, 
and gave "The Ladies," or, as he preferred 
calling it, "The Lasses," with which he begged 
to couple the name of "Jean Armour Bums — 
" Bonnie Jean." The toasts of the " Chairman ** 
and *' Croupier" having been given and warmly 
responded to, the assembly broke up at an early 
hour, after singing " Auld Langsyne." 



VICTORIA ROOMS, BUCHANAN 
STREET. 

The centenary of Bums was celebfated in 
the above rooms by the Committees of various 
Temperance Societies and their friends, Mr. 
Melvin presiding, supported by Mr. J. P. 
Burns, Mr. Morrier, Mr. Thomas Smith, Mr. 
M'Nab, and others. After a service of tea, the 
company enjoyed a rich treat from the follow- 
ing musical artistes, viz., Madml. Vaneri, Miss 
Smith, Miss Gilles, and Mrs. Alexander (who 



presided at the piano-forte), and by Mr. Kelly 
and Mr. M'Nab, who was exceedingly humor- 
ous. The enthusiasm of the meeting was kept 
up till about half-past ten. In the course of 
the evening Mr. Brown read an able paper on 
the genius and character of Burns, which was 
received with great applause. The meeting 
separated highly pleased with the entertain- 
ment, the company joining in chorus in " Auld 
Langsyne.** 



MECHANICS* HALL, CALTON. 

The members of the Calton, Mile-end, and 
Bridgeton Mechanics' Institution, and their 
friends, celebrated the occasion by a dinner in 
the Mechanics' Hall. The chair was filled by 
the president of the institution, William John- 
stone, Esq., and the hall was filled to overflow- 
ing. The usual loyal toasts over, the Chair- 
man gave the toast of the evening. He dwelt 
in appropriate and succinct terms upon the 
genius of Bums, and the ray of glory he^had 
thrown around his native coui^try. The toast 
was drunk with all the honours. The follow- 
ing toasts were also given and warmly re- 
sponded to: — "The Surviving Members of 
Bums' Family," by Mr. Fisher; "The Memory 
of Burns' Friends,'* by Mr. Lithgow ; " The 
Peasantry of Scotland," by Mr. Noble; "The 
Poets of Scotland," by Mr. R. Houston, &c., 
&c. The meeting was highly successful, and 
most creditable to the institution. 



THE CROW HOTEL. 

The Crow Hotel had a grand device over 
the entrance, consisting of an illuminated arch, 
based on the letters " R. B." and surmounted 
by the figures " 1759," with a colossal crow in 
the centre. In the background were a bust of 
Bums, Tam o* Shanter, Souter Johnny, and 
various other figures, beautifully grouped, and 
interspersed with variegated lamps, forming 
altogether a novel and brilliant spectacle. We 
understand there were nearly 100 gentlemen 
dined in the Crow, in difierent companies, 
where, amongst the other good things, the 
" great chieftain o* the pudding race," made in 
Mrs. Cranston's well-known style, was the most 
prominent dish. 



ALBION HOTEL. 

Aparty of gentlemen, numbering about40, met 
in the Albion Hotel to celebrate the centenary 
of Robert Bums. The chair was ably filled by 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Mr. Walker, and Mr. Russell, jun., officiated 
as croupier. After partaking of a sumptuous 
dinner, served up in Mr. Ritchie's usual first- 
class manner, the cloth was removed, when the 
Chairman, in a few neat and appropriate re- 
marks, gave the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, 
which were heartily responded to. The Chair- 
man then, in an eloquent and spirit-stirring 
manner, gave '^The Immortal Memory of 
Robert Burns,** which was enthusiastically 
drunk. Song : << There was a lad was born in 
Kyle," by Mr. Cairns. The company were 
agreeably enlivened by appropriate music, 
which was sung by several of the gentlemen. 
The meeting separated at a seasonable hour, 
highly delighted with the evening's entertain- 
ment. 



UNITED TRADES* FESTIVAL. 

This festival, which took place in Mr. Bell's 
large hall, Trongate, under the auspices of the 
Council of United Trades, may be taken as the 
chief of those less aristocratic gatherings so 
numerous in every district of the city. At 8 
o'clock, p. M., nearly 300 working people had 
assembled in the hall — one grand feature of 
the entertainment being, that the fair sex were 
admitted from the beginning. Mr. Adam 
Mitchell, president of Council, having been 
called to the chair, an excellent tea was served 
up. The Chairman addressed the meeting. 
Mr. Campbell next addressed the meeting, and 
read an original poem on the Bums* Centenary, 
which elicited the heartiest applause, when Miss 
Grant followed with a song, and Mr. Bennet 
with a recitation. After a service of fruit, Mr. 
Little rose to propose the toast of the evening, 
" The Memory of tlie Immortal Burns.*' Se- 
veral songs were now sung in first-rate style, 
and Mr. J. Little recited " Tam o* Shanter," 
amid the loudest plaudits ; when, as a finale, 
the whole company sang "Auld Langsyne," 
and then retired highly pleased with the night's 
proceedings. 



THE FRANKLIN HOTEL. 

A soiree was held in the above hotel in hon- 
our of Burns' Centenary, which was crowded 
to excess — ^Mr. W. C. Cameron in the chair. 
On the platform were Messrs. Faulds, Jeffrey, 
Graham, Paterson, Dow, Campbell, and others. 
After an excellent tea, the Chairman, in a suit- 
able and eloquent speech, proposed ** The Me- 
mory of Bums." An excellent staff of smgers 
was in attendance, and kept the meeting in a 
high state of merriment and hilarity. Messrs. 



Faulds, Stout, Woodside, Jefirey, Campbell, 
and Brown, addressed the meeting through the 
course of the evening. Mr. Pigot, professor of 
music, presided at the harmonium, and Master 
C. Pigot performed a variety of Scottish airs 
on the cornopean. — After three times three to 
the memory of Bums, Tannahill, and Fergus- 
son, and a hearty vote of thanks to the chair- 
man, the meeting broke up at the " wee short 
hour ayont the twal." 



ANN STREET, BRIDGETON. 

A grand banquet took place in Mr. Laird's 
Hall, Ann Street, Bridgeton. George Miller, 
Esq., presided, and Charles Wright, Esq., offi- 
ciated as croupier. About two hundred and 
fifty sat down to dinner, after which the Chair- 
man gave the usual loyal toasts, and '^The 
Immortal Memory of Bums,** which was warm- 
ly applauded. The following toasts were af- 
terwards given : — " The Surviving Members of 
Burns* Family," " The Land of Bums," " The 
Poets of Scotland," « The Town and Trade of 
Glasgow," and "The Chairman." The pro- 
ceedings, which were much enlivened by excel- 
lent song -singing, passed off very pleasantly. 



MAIN STREET, BRIDGETON. 

The Main Street Total Abstinence Society 
held their meeting in memory of the birth of 
"Scotland's Ploughman Bard" in the New 
Hall, John Street, Bridgeton. The hall was 
well filled. After tea, the Chairman, Mr. A. 
King, commenced the proceedings with a short 
address. The meeting was afterwards ad- 
dressed by Mr. James Mitchell, of the United 
Kingdom Alliance, and Mr. George Mitchell, 
and Mr. Robert Court. The proceedings were 
varied by readings and songs. The speeches, 
recitations, and songs had dl of them special 
reference to Burns. 



BUCHANAN'S TEMPERANCE HOTEL. 

A meeting of the members and friends of 
the Glasgow Dumfries-shire Mutual Improve- 
ment Society was held in Buchanan's Tem- 
perance Hotel, Clyde Place, to celebrate 
the Centenary of Burns. Mr. Brown, Presi- 
dent of the Society, was in the chair. After 
partaking of that excellent beverage "which 
cheers but not inebriates,*' the chairman de- 
livered a most excellent address, in which he 
showed how becoming it was in the natives of 
Dumfries-shire to celebrate the Centenary of 



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GLASGOW.— DRUMMOND'S HOTEL. 



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the birth of him who was so closely associated 
with Dumfries while in life, and whose dust 
lies in St. Michael's churchyard. In the course 
of the evening, Mr. Kobert Pattie read an able 
paper on the Poetry of Scotland, dwelling more 
particularly on Burns. He was received with 
great applause. The evening was further 
enlivened by admirable songs, speeches, and re- 
citations from Messrs. Glencross, Rogerson, 
Cameron, M*Eenzie, &c. Mr. Reid recited an 
original poem on Burns, composed expressly 
for the occasion. The enthusiasm of the meet- 
ing was kept up till half-past twelve, when the 
company joined hands in chorus in ''Auld 
Langsyne," and then separated, highly pleased 
with die entertainment of the evening. 



DRUMMOND'S HOTEL. 

A select party of friends assembled in Drum- 
niond's Hotel, to celebrate the Centenary of 
Burns' birthday — Mr. Merry occupied the 
chair. A blessing having been asked, the com- 
pany busied themselves in discussing the very 
substantial and excellent supper prepared by 
their host. Among more recherche viands, the 
national ''haggis" had the foremost place; and 
on its '' sonsie face " being presented the coun- 
tenances of the audience wore the most happy 
aspect imaginable. The Chairman gave an ad- 
dress on the genius and writings of Burns, and 
Messrs. Stewart, Holmes, Paterson, and Fer- 
guson, addressed the company on kindred to- 
pics throughout the evening. The vocal part 
of the proceedings was well sustained by Messrs. 
Phillips, J. Stewart, Howie, and Laing, while 
several of the ladies sung some of Bums' sweet- 
est songs, in excellent style. After spending 
a most delightful evening, and singing '' Auld 
Langsyne,** the company separated^ not with- 
out regret. 



FLAX-DRESSERS AND ROPE-MAKERS. 

Above sixty of the flax-dressers and rope- 
makers of Glasgow supped together in the 
Royal Albert Hotel. The chair was filled by 
Mr. Archibald Thomson, supported right and 
left by Messrs. James Lindsay and Mr. Henry 
Wales, jun. The duties of croupier were dis- 
charged by Mr. James Carrick, supported by 
Mr. Hugh M'Cormack and Mr. Peter Orr. 
After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts the 
Chairman, in an eloquent speech, proposed the 
memory of Burns, craving him as one of the 
craft. Many excellent and appropriate toasts, 
songs, and sentiments were given, and the 
evening's enjoyments were brought to a close 



by the whole company singing "Auld Lang- 
syne." 



MODEL FARMERS' CLUB. 

The Model Farmers' Club, determined not 
to be behind their numerous neighbours in 
devotion to the memory of Bums, celebrated 
his centenary birthday by dining together in 
the Tontine Hotel — ^Mr. William Crawford in 
the chair, .and Mr. Robert Ramsay acted as 
croupier. About forty gentlemen sat down to 
an ample repast, which reflected credit on Mr. 
Logan's taste as a purveyor. 



TINPLATE WORKERS. 

A numerous party of the Glasgow Tinplate 
Workers' Society celebrated the Centenary of 
Scotland's Prince of Poets, Robert Burns, in the 
Thistle Hotel, 222 Buchanan Street. After a 
splendid supper, including a real Scotch " hag- 
gis," served up in grand style by mine host, 
Mr. Dunn, and after the usual and other toasts, 
song, sentiment, good feelings, and harmony, 
were the order of the evening. All were highly 
pleased with the evening's entertainment, and 
each man parted with the idea that " a man's a 
man for a' that." 



WAVERLEY HOTEL. 

A number of friends met at supper in the 
Waverley Hotel, George Square, to celebrate 
the Centenary of Burns. The duties of chair- 
man and croupier were ably discharged by 
Messrs. Caldwell and Moffat. After the usual 
loyal and patriotic toasts, the chairman pro- 
posed the toast of the evening — " The Immor- 
tal Memory of Bums.** Appropriate addresses 
were also delivered by Messrs. Honeymau, 
Milne, and Harkness, and the evening was en- 
livened by songs from Messrs. Mackay, Spence, 
Millman, Campbell, and Clark. Other toasts 
followed. 



ROYAL GALLERY. 

A most enthusiastic meeting was held in the 
above place to celebrate the Centenary of Ro- 
bert Bums. In the absence of Mr. Chisholm, 
Mr. Robert Ferguson was called to the chair, 
being supported right and left by the following 
gentlemen — J. Gait, Esq., James Law, Esq., J. 
TumbuU, Esq., J. Greenlees, Esq.,T. Ferguson, 
Esq., W. Rankin, Esq., J. M'Glaslian, Esq., 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



with Messrs. Ewing and J. M'Adam, jun. The 
most favourite songs of Burns were tastefully 
executed by Messrs. Haddow, M'Adam, and 
Ewing, while readings of "Mary in Heaven" 
and " The Twa Dogs " were given in excellent 
style by Messrs. Rankin and M^Glashan. The 
usual good things of life were done justice to 
by the assembly, and song and sentiment flowed 
on till an early hour in the morning, the whole 
winding up with dancing by a select party, an 
excellent quadrille band being in attendance. 

During the evening the usual loyal and pat- 
riotic toasts were given, with " The Memory of 
Robert Burns," by Mr. Ferguson, chairman. 



GORBALS TOTAL ABSTINENCE 
SOCIETY. 

The hall of this Abstinence Society was most 
taste&lly adorned, — ^no fewer than four coun- 
ties — Dumfries, Ayr, Renfrew, and Lanark — 



contributing to its adornment with flowers, 
shrubs, and evergreens. Behind the chair was 
a large portrait of the Bard, wreathed with 
laurel; and the walls were covered with apt 
quotations from his works. 

Archibald Livingston, Esq., President of the 
Society, occupied the chair, and was surround- 
ed on the platform by the stafi^ of ofliee-bearers. 
The meeting was exceedingly select, and tickets 
of admission to the hall were obliged to be re- 
fused to hundreds. The chairman ably des- 
canted on the occasion of the centenary meet- 
ing, whilst Mr. J. P. Crawford and Mr. James 
Nicholson gave addresses on the poetical genius 
and manly character of Burns, replete with 
feeling, poetic fire, and generous enthusiasm 
towards the peasant-prince and poet -king of 
Scotland. The great feature of the evening 
was the appearance of Miss Aitken, whose re- 
ception was most warm and enthusiastic, and 
great was the delight with which all seemed to 
enjoy her reading of " The Cottar's Saturday 
Nighl." 



AYR. 



The " Auld Toun " has seldom witnessed such 
a day as the twenty-fifth. From a very early 
hour of the morning flags were displayed on 
all the most prominent buildings in the town. 
From the Fort, from the Wallace Tower, from 
the harbour, and from many private residences, 
the bravery of bunting was not awanting ; and 
the occasional booming of a cannon broke the 
stillness which pervaded the streets till about 
ten o'clock. After that the town began to 
waken up in earnest; an occasional band of 
music brought thousands out of doors, and sent 
hundreds to every available window in High 
Street, Sandgate Street, and Cathcart Street, 
where a view of the procession could be had. 
About twelve o'clock, the lodges — Royal Arch, 
Ayr Kilwinning, Ayr Operatives, and Ayr St. 
Paul's — ^proceeded to the rendezvous at the 
Academy, where they were met by a deputa- 
tion from Mother Kilwinning, and representa- 
tives from some of the trades. The brethren 
present must have numbered from three to four 
hundred, their appearance being in every way 
worthy the occasion, and reflected credit on the 
masters and wardens of the several lodges. We 
do not remember ever seeing so much taste 
displayed on Freemasons' aprons, or so univer- 
sal an adoption of masonic jewel* — ^many of the 
former showing an elaboration of needlework 



in masonic emblems that would not have dis- 
graced the fair artistes' "samplers." After 
being properly arranged, they proceeded by 
Cathcart Street, Sandgate Street, and High 
Street, to the Old Church. On reaching the 
Kirk Port the junior lodge halted and took 
open order, and the lodges entered the church 
according to seniority. Br. the Rev. Francis 
Rae, Assistant-Chaplain of Ayr St. Paul's, and 
Minister of Wallacetown Church, opened the 
proceedings of the day by public worship, thus 
most appropriately inauguratij^g the Centenary 
of Scotia's Poet. Br. Rae was accompanied to 
the pulpit by the Rev. Brs. Crawford of Cross- 
hill, 'Buchanan of Ayr, and Thomson, Edin- 
burgh, — and in conducting the devotions of the 
day employed language most eloquent and ap- 
propriate. Br. Nicol, of tl\e Lodge Operative, 
ofllciated in the precentor's desk. The Breth- 
ren occupied the area of the church, the gal- 
leries being filled by the public, whose anxiety 
to get admission had to be checked, the con- 
course being so immense that no building could 
have contained a tolerable fraction of them. 
A considerable number, however, secured their 
seats ; and after singing a few verses of the 
90th Psalm, the whole congregation joined in a 
most solemn and appropriate prayer, which ex- 
pressed in fervent, beautiful, and most apposite 



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AYR.~MAS0N1C LODGES. 



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language, the feelings suitable to the day, and 
the purpose for which they were assembled. 
The prayer of Solomon at the dedication of the 
Temple was then read from 1 Kings viii. 22, 
two verses of the 58th Paraphrase were sung, 
and the benediction closed the service. On 
leaving the church, the procession, accompanied 
by an immense concourse of people, proceeded, 
with bands playing and colours flying* along 
High Street, AUoway Street, and by the 
High Road to Burns' Monument, where it was 
met by the Provincial Grand Master for Ayr- 
shire^ Sir James Fergusson of Kilkerran, Bart., 
who liad only an hour before arrived from Ed- 
inburgh. On passing the Poet's birthplace the 
procession walked uncovered, and when they 
arrived at the Monument they defiled into the 
grounds. It was a matter of great regret that 
the arrangements did not admit of the many 
thousands outside being allowed to join the 
masons within the ground, or that there had 
not been a platform erected in the square before 
the Inn. Thousands who had assembled were 
thus prevented from hearing the address to the 
masonic body ; but the unsettled condition of 
the weather previously, and the high wind at 
the time, rendered it impossible to accommodate 
the great crowd, whose presence was hardly to 
have been calculated upon. 

On arriving at the Monument, the different 
lodges marched round it uncovered, headed by 
the Provincial Grand Master, Sir James Fer- 
gusson, Baronet. Having formed on the side 
of the Monument looking towards the Cottage, 
Brother the 

Bev. William Buchanan, Chaplain of Ayr 
St. Paul's Lodge, ascended to one of the niches 
in the building, from which he spoke as fol- 
lows: — Right Worshipful Sir, and Brother 
Masons, — ^I should have been much better 
pleased to have taken a silent part in your public 
proceedings to-day, and left it to some older 
and better known member of the brotherhood 
to address you ; but as I have been desired by 
the united lodges of Ayr to speak a few words, 
it would ill manifest my good feeling, and be a 
poor example of the obedience which one of 
the youngest of the fraternity should pay to 
his seniors were I to decline. (Cheers.) I am 
sure I very much wish that I could say some- 
thing at all worthy of this great occasion ; that 
I could give expression in any degree to that 
profound enthusiasm which now holds you in 
subject silence — an enthusiasm which you this 
day share with countless thousands of our own 
and other lands — an enthusiasm which, borne 
on the wings of the wind from the far woods 
of Canada, from the distant mines of Australia, 
from the burning plains of India — from North, 
from South, from East and West — seems to 



concentrate around the spot where now we 
stand — a spot which for full fifty years has ex- 
cited the interest and deeply moved the inten- 
sest feelings of some of the best and noblest of 
their species — and which for centuries to come 
shall continue to be a place of thoughtful pil- 
grimage to voyagers from every shore as the 
native seat and chosen shrine of Sentiment 
and Song. His would be an impassive heart 
indeed which did not kindle now with the 
glow of an honest and irrepressible emotion, 
which did not open up to all the inspiration of 
this place and time. For what is the spec- 
tacle which we see presented ? Is it empty 
honour paid to a mere empty name? Or is 
it idolatrous homage given to a mortal like 
ourselves — the abject servility with which 
the degraded satellites of some intellectual 
despot worship the errors and the frailties, or, 
if you will, the follies and the crimes, which 
they dare not question, and may noC whisper ? 
I deny it. I believe that Robert Burns, if he 
himself were here, would be the first to reject 
such odious homage, even if it were offered. He 
who saw so clearly and sung so boldly was not 
the man to bend in ignoble sycophancy before 
any, and he too would be the last to exact 
from others the fulsome flattery which he never 
himself could have stooped to pay. (Applause.) 
But I deny that any such flattery -is offered by 
the crowds of civilized men who meet every- 
where this day to celebrate his birth. It is 
true we have no sympathy with those odious 
reptUes that ddight to batten on the corrup- 
tion of the sepulchre, and find pleasure only in 
raking the ashes of the dead. We love the 
memory of Burns, and do not think it neces* 
sary, or becoming, or profitable, or even good 
and wise, to drag from the kindly oblivion of 
the tomb what it is the regret of all men, and 
would not have been the least regret, I am sure, 
of himself, if he had been here to speak it, ever 
should have had a being. But never on that 
account the more do we presume to impugn the 
eternal and immutable principles of Righteous- 
ness and Truth, or pretend to say that hb evil 
was good, or that any vice changed its nature 
and became a virtue merely because it hap- 
pened to have belonged to him. (Applause.) 
God forbid it; and God forgive the men, if 
such there be, who thus unjustly and unwar- 
rantably accuse us. I will not here question 
their motives or their courage ; but I must take 
leave to tell them that their abounding zeal 
might find far fitter objects of attack than the 
unretuming tenants of the grave ; and that if 
they wished to signalize their prowess, they 
could far more usefully work off a portion of their 
superfluous energy in assailing the cunning and 
deceit, the cruelty and wrong, whose living hn- 



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THE BURNS CENTENABY. 



personations desecrate now as they once did 
before, as, alas, they desecrate always, the very 
temples of the living God Himself! (Great 
cheers.) As to all the other unmeaning charges 
brought against us they are scarcely worth a 
reference. Impiety! Is admiration a crime? 
Is gratitude a sin ? I look around me on this 
scene ; I have gazed upon it at every season 
and in every mood-^when spring was clothing 
it in budding beauty, when summer had arrayed 
it in flowery pride, when autumn threw over it 
its sober vestment, and when, as now, winter 
muffles it in weeds of sorrow ! At every time 
my heart has throbbed with overmastering 
feelings as I thouglit on the wondrous wisdom 
of Him who made it as it is, and whose power 
and goodness it so declares. But must I, in 
deference to any dull or churlish materialist 
who may choose for the occasion to ape the 
airs of superior wisdom or assume the garb of 
superior sanctity, forget the noblest work of 
all — more evidence of wisdom and of power 
than rock, or hill, or wood, or river — the 
wonderful and subtle Thought of that single 
Man, which, going forth upon the landscape, 
can change of a sudden to my vision all these 
sights themselves — with a lay of sorrow sud- 
denly fling the pensive sadness of decaying 
years over the brightest scenes of life's young 
spring, or anon by a note of love and ecstasy 
transform the very weird wilderness of Winter's 
desolation till it rejoices and blossoms like the 
rose? (Cheers.) Impiety! — ^No, no. If there 
be room for such a charge at all, it must lie 
against those who keep all their admiration and 
thanksgiving for the inanimate and insentient 
portion of the Creator's works, and studiously 
exclude from their contemplation and regard 
his last, and best, and most glorious produc- 
tion — the thinking, being, living spirit he has 
breathed in man. (Cheers.) It was that spi- 
rit, freer than those winds, fuller than those 
waters, more regal than those woods, ay, and 
grander than those hills, which we admire in 
Burns — that spirit which asserted its superior- 
ity to all the hindrances of accident and cir- 
cumstance and time — which, beginning its 
course in yonder humble hamlet, continued it 
long enough to raise a memorial in this classic 
pile beside which we stand ; ay, and which has 
achieved for itself in the hearts and affections 
of the Scottish nation — of the civilized world — 
a testimony and a title that shall continue^ 
long after yon hamlet and this mausoleum, true 
to the perishable materials which form them, 
shall have crumbled into ruins, and been swept 
away by Time's resistless tide. (Cheers.) God 
gives many wonderful blessings, but he confers 
none greater upon a people or an age than a 
man of genius, a true poet of nature— one 



whose light, shone in upon our inner being or 
diffusing over external nature of its own beauty 
and beneficence, awakens us to ecstasy or thrills 
us with delight, as we are told the ancient 
statue of Memnon was wont to become vocal 
and responsive when struck by the beams of the 
rising sun. (Cheers.) Such a man was given 
to the world this day one hundred years ago, 
and we rejoice gratefully in the boon. (Cheers.) 
He was no Godhead or Infallibility before 
whom we are to bow down and worship. He 
was no Prophet, flashing awful radiance on the 
secrets of the Eternal Mind, or holding up his 
fiery torch against the future's dark and 
troubled sky. He was no Apostle commis- 
sioned to guide us into unknown truth, and 
competent, therefore, to assert, and authorised 
to assert, a superiority to all human plans, and 
pursuits, and passions, and things. It was of 
the very essence of his mission that he should 
appeal to nature — ^to our nature — ^not that our 
nature should appeal to him. It was by pro- 
found submission to that nature, and entire sym- 
pathy with it in its every mood, and even whim, 
and frailty, too, that he acquired such power 
to sway it. (Cheers.) He had no special re- 
velation, no extraordinary communing with the 
Almighty ; but as a delineator of human pas- 
sion — as an utterer of human sentiment — as a 
sharer of human vicissitudes— of hopes — of fears 
— of joys and sorrows — and as an accurate expo- 
nent of each varying phase — he may have had his 
equals, but, as far as he goes, I know no mere 
man that has ever surpassed him. (Cheers.) He 
spoke and wrote as he thoilght and felt himself; 
and because he thought and felt like a man, he 
is received as a true impersonation and re- 
presentative of our erring but still noble nature. 
(Cheers.) He speaks its speech — ^he rejoices 
with it when it rejoices — and gives winged 
words to its gladness — he weeps with it when 
it weeps, and in sorrowful measures he bids its 
tears to flow. While one victim on earth shall 
have to sigh repentant over a villain's treachery, 
never can be forgotten that mournful cadence 
which these very banks and braes o' bonnie 
Doon have for long and for ever made their 
own. While old married love owns a happy 
fireside, " John Anderson, my jo " will be the 
chosen jubilee ditty of many an aged pair ; or 
while young married ardour half repines at 
temporary absence, it shall soothe itself to 
patience with that croon which seems to 
breathe the very balmy softness of the zephyr 
which it celebrates : — 

*' Of a* the airts the wind can blaw, 
I dearly lo'e the west." 

While the fears of sui)er8tition live to be 
laughed at as they deserve, ." Tam o' Shanter " 



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must ooniinue a masterpiece of raillery and a 
mine of humour ; and while devotion burns its 
holy fire upon that grandest, purest, and best 
of altars — the household hearth — men shall 
listen with bared head or on bended knee to the 
all but seraphic fervour of the Cottar's prayer, 
and drink in with a holy joy the all but angelic 
music-of the Cottar's evening hymn. (Cheers.) 
Now, brothers, to conclude, it was this intensely 
human element in Burns which made him such 
an enthusiastic Mason. (Cheers.) For what 
after all is Masonry but a formal recognition 
of the great brotherhood that should unite 
mankind ? (Cheers.) We carry out the idea 
as far as we can to all who will acknowledge 
such a bond — ^to them we feel peculiarly at- 
tached: — 

" With Bccresy roand for the mystical boand, 
And brotherly love for the centre." 

(Cheers.) Bums loved our Brotherhood, and 
shed on it immortal honour. We look back 
with pride to .that year 1781 when he was 
made in the lodge St. David, Tarbolton, and 
this day we are proud to hail his as a noble 
name "to Masonry and Scotia dear." (Cheers.) 
May we all be enabled to learn the lessons 
which his life is so fitted to teach — to kindle 
with the same noble efibrts and aims, which, 
amid all his errors, kept his heart unsophisti- 
cated, his purpose lofty, hb integrity unsullied 
— to avoid those evils which, in his own repen- 
tant words, "laid him low and stained his name" 
— and here passing the sign of silent recogni- 
tion and sympathy to every craftsman, join in 
those noble words of his which every true 
Mason and every right man may so cordially 
repeat : — 

** That Freedom, Harmony, and Love, 

Unite as in the Grand Design, 
Beneath \he Omniscient Eye above, 

The glorious Architect iJivine. 
That we may keep the unerring line, 

Still rising by the plummet's law, 
Till order bright completely shine, 

Should be the prayer — o' ane an a' ! " 

(Enthusiastic and prolonged cheering.) 

P. G.M. Sir Jambs Fergusson, in a few 
words, which were loudly cheered, then ex- 
pressed his satisfaction at having had this op- 
portunity of meeting that day with his Brethren 
of the Craft — an opportunity of which, along 
with Professor Aytoun, he hoped to avail him- 
self more loyal at their festive celebration in the 
evening, when he intended joining them after 
the dinner in the County hall. 

The Lodges then proceeded to their several 
hails, and the chaplains having been escorted 
home, this part of the day's proceedings ter- 



minated. We cannot but compliment the 
town's people on the perfect orderliness and 
cordial good humour which seemed to reign 
throughout. We never saw such harmony and 
glee, as well as such politeness and propriety 
everywhere. Drunkenness, swearing, or brawl- 
ing were out of the question — there were no 
such things. And we may here add, that such 
continued to be the characteristics of the d#y 
up to the very last ; the Captain of Police in- 
forming us, that he has usually twice the num- 
ber of cases on an ordinary market day, which 
falls here on Tuesdays, which he had on Tues- 
day last. We rejoice to chronicle such a fact, 
which is not the least gratifying circumstance 
connected with our Poet's ovation, in the town 
and neighbourhood which are proud to claim 
him for their own. 



THE COUNTY HALL. 

The banquet in the County Hall commenced 
about half-past 4 o'clock, and came off with 
much eclaU The chair was taken by Sir James 
Fergusson, Bart., of Kilkerran, who was sup- 
ported on his right by Rev. Mr. Wallace, 
Newton ; Mr. Cathcart, of Auchendrane ; Mr. 
Cooper, of Failford ; Major Campbell, of Nether- 
place; Mr. A. Finnic, Newfield; Mr. Dal- 
rymple, of New Hailes ; Mr. Boswell, of Gar- 
allan; Mr. Gemmell, Frankville; and on the 
left by Sir Edward Hunter Blair, of Blairquhan, 
Bart. ; Bailie Fullarton, Ayr ; Mr. Somervell, 
of Sorn; Mr. Baird, of Cambusdoon; Mr. 
Shaw Kennedy, of Kirkmichael ; Mr. Baird, of 
fiosemount ; and ^fr. Dixon, 'Belleisle. 

Professor Aytoun, Croupier, was supported 
on the right by Professor Trail, of Edinburgh ; 
Mr. Finnic, of Newfield ; Mr. Begg, Dundy van 
(gfrandson of the late Mrs. Begg) ; Dr. Graham, 
Girvan; Captain Graham, 9th Foot; Mr. 
Dunlop of Doonside; Captain Calvert, Ayr; 
Mr. Lade, Rozelle ; and Mr. Brown, Glasgow ; 
and on his left by Evan Allan Hunter, Esq., 
W.S., Sheriff Clerk of Ayrshire ; Rev. Mr. 
Charteris of St. Evox; Sheriff Robison, Ayr; 
Mr. George Baird of Strichen ; Bailie Pater- 
son, Ayr ; Dr. Hunter, Rector Ayr Academy ; 
Rev. Dr. Hume, Incumbent of All Souls, Liver- 
pool ; and Dr. W. Rankine, of Glenlogan. 

Li the body of the room were a large 
proportion of our most influential townsmen ; 
representatives from almost every district of the 
county ; gentlemen from various parts of Scot- 
land, and a few from across the Border. The 
accommodation being insufficient to admit of 
the entire company taking their places at the 
tables during dinner, the members of committee 
magnanimously gave up their seats to the 



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strangers and adjourned from the robing-room 
to the hall when the cloth was drawn. This, and 
indeed all the arrangements were highly credit- 
able to those actively interested in the organisa- 
tion of the festival, whose promoters are deeply 
indebted to Messrs. Bone and M'Neight the 
Secretaries, and Mr. Gavin Qemmell the Trea- 
surer — three gentlemen who have devoted more 
time and expended more labour in maturing 
the details than can well be conceived by any 
but those who have had practical experience of 
the difficulties inseparable from the carrying 
out of such undertakings. Busts of Bums, 
Scott, Byron, and Mrs. Begg, were displayed 
in niches in the walls, but were too highly placed 
to be seen to advantage. Respecting the latter, 
fresh from Mr. D. Harvey's studio, a companion 
bust was sent for exhibition in St. George's 
Hall, Liverpool, on Tuesday, and in alluding to 
it, the Liverpool Mercury says — " It has been 
pronounced by the Misses Begg, and by all 
who knew the deceased, to be perfect, so far as 
likeness is concerned ; and as a work of art it 
recommends itself favourably to the notice of 
all." A band of eight performers, under the 
efficient leadership of Mr. Adams, Glasgow, 
discoursed appropriate music in excellent style. 
The only vocalist present was Mr. Scotland, 
also from Glasgow. Although unknown here 
previously, we only echo the opinion of all who 
heard his spirited rendering of some of our 
standard national songs, when we say that he 
deserves a wider reputation. All his pieces were 
enthusiastically re-demanded. The appoint- 
ments of the table did every credit to the re- 
nowned host of the Ayr King's Arms, who, 
notwithstanding the awkwardness of serving up 
dinner in a building so far from his own pre- 
mises, succeeded to admiration in having every- 
thing in the best season and first style. The 
chair occupied by Sir James Eergusson, was 
recently manufactured by Messrs. Wilson & 
Co., from the remains of the old oak printing- 
press which gave the first edition of Bums' 
poems to the world, in Kilmarnock, and which 
has long been in the possession of Mr. T. M. 
Gemmell, who handsomely placed it at the dis- 
posal of the committee on this occasion. 

The Chaibman having proposed the loyal 
toasts, and the health of the Lord-Lieutenant of 
Ireland, which was drunk with all the honours, 
and one hearty cheer, in addition, for Lady 
Eglinton, and several letters of apology for 
non-attendance having been read, 

The Chairman then rose and said : — ^It is 
my duty and my privilege to-day to occupy 
the foremost place, and to be in some sense the 
spokesman amongst those who have assembled 
in the County town of Ayrshire to commemo- 
rate on this its hundredth anniversary, the birth 



of Robert Burns. (Cheers.) It may seem 
affectation on my part to say, although I do so 
in very truth, that I am oppressed by the sense 
of the importance of the occasion, by the con- 
sciousness that in this great central meeting 
here, hard by the place of his birth, to us it 
belongs to give words to the sentiments with 
which the heart of every Scotsman who loves 
his country at this hour is full, which are find- 
ing utterance in one great swelling voice 
throughout our country, from sea to sea, re* 
echoed and answered by our kindred from afar, 
even from the ends of the earth. (Cheering.) 
For it is no small thing that in our lifetime, 
within the scope of our opportunities, it has 
fallen to our lot to be intrusted with the cele- 
bration of him by whose voice spoke the soul 
of Scottish poetry, and whose name is enshrined 
everlastingly in that national love which his 
genius and pathos have awakened. But wholly 
unequal as I am to do justice to this occasion, 
I have felt that to shrink from the proud and 
enviable office that has been o£fered to me, 
would be to confess my inability to unite with 
my fellow-countrymen in their great unanimous 
rejoicing. (Cheers.) I know that I speak in 
the presence of the living poet of Scotland — 
(loud cheers) — whose glorious lines cause every 
cheek to glow with pride and pleasure — of him 
who has drunk deep at the fountain whence 
Bums derived his inspiration—who has restored 
to us so many of those noble old Scottish lays 
from the perusal of which Burns imbibed no 
little of his genius. I speak also to many upon 
whose ears must linger the burning words of 
the panegyrics of Eglinton, of Wilson, and of 
Aytoun, delivered on the banks of the Doon at 
the first great celebration in honour of the poet's 
memory, and whose hearts must have been struck 
in their tenderest chord by the written praises 
of Wilson, of Jeffrey, of Carlyle, of Wordsworth, 
and of Montgomery. I know, however, that 
the memory of Burns b not the property of 
poets or of men of literature alone, — ^his name 
is a heritage of all the natives of the country 
which gave him birth. (Cheers.) Uncultivated 
as I am in the study of poetry, and coming here 
simply as a country gentleman, to join in the 
celebration in which my countrymen take so 
much interest, I know that the few sentences, 
plain and prosaic perhaps, yet sincere and ear- 
nest, in which I shall mark our grateful task of 
to-day, will find a response which they have 
not excited, because it will be the ofl&pring of 
that undying gratitude which is laid up for the 
name of Bums to all generations. (Cheers.) 
I think that this centenary celebration is greater 
than any which has taken place before. The 
meeting which I now addr^ is not so large aa 
that which assembled on the banks of the Doon. 



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It b not even graced by so many men who have 
rendered themselves famous by their success in 
science, in poetry, or in art. But it is the great 
central meeting of a vast number of meetings, 
held in every town, and village, and hamlet, 
throughout the country, and in different parts 
of the world. The demonstration of to-day 
makes me feel proud of being a Scotchman. 
(Cheers.) There are two ways in which love 
of country can be shown. One is productive 
of evil — ^that which leads us to look with envy 
and jealousy on our neighbours, and grudge to 
sister countries that honour and fame which 
justly belongs to them ; which leads us to look 
only to Scotland, and to forget that Scotland 
is only one of a confederacy of nations, with 
common interests and common glories. This 
is not the sentiment which is foremost in the 
breasts of Scotchmen to-day. It is a love of 
country which would only show itself in a de- 
sire that Scotland should ever be foremost in 
the race of honour and glory; a sentiment 
which would lead Scotchmen to be proud of 
their native land; a sentiment which led Bums 
to breathe a wish — 

" That I for pnir aald Scotland's sake 
Some usefu' plan or beuk could make, 
Or sing a sang at least." 

If we pay homage, then, as well we may, to his 
genius as our National Poet, it should be in no 
narrow-minded spirit; but with a feeling which, 
while leading us to recognise and celebrate his 
transcendent genius, should not make us blind 
to the merits of others. It is as the poet of 
Scotland that I call upon you to do honour to 
Bums this day; and let not our children's chil- 
dren, to whom Bums' songs will be as dear as 
to us, have cause to wonder at the littleness of 
the minds of those who, while regarding the 
shell in which the pearl was hidden, forgot the 
brightness of the jewel, (Cheers.) What, 
then, are the characteristics of Burns which 
are to be treasured and preserved ? It is pre- 
eminently as the poet of Scotland that we have 
to oelebrate him, as the man through whose 
native genius and minstrelsy the glories of her 
scenery — the brightest pages of her history — 
the resources of her language — but above all, 
the humble, lowly virtues that <' bloom unseen," 
the massive, yet sterling qualities of her sons, 
have, been chiefly known and appreciated. To 
him, from his earliest aspirations for fame to his 
last dying strain, love of his country was ever 
foremost : — 

" Ob, Scotia ! my dear, my native land. 
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent 1 " 

That sentiment, from first to last, pervaded 
everything he wrote. Hence it is that he is 



loved above all Scottish poets — more than 
Scott, whose reputation is more world-wide 
than Scotch ; and more than Campbell, who is 
more of a national poet. Burns is the poet of 
Scotland, leaving all competitors far behind in 
the noble race. (Cheers.) Why is it that he 
is so dear to us ? Because there is no man in 
this country — ^be he high or low, be he simple 
or educated — to whom the words of Burns do 
not come home, and touch his heart in its in- 
most core. The place of his birth ; the scenes 
of infancy he loves to dwell on ; the associations 
of home, that strike a kindred chord in all our 
breasts; — these, wliich inspired his noblest lays, 
link our hearts to our country. (Cheers.) It 
is this tie to our soil that gave music, even 
voice, to Bums' muse — as it has nerved the 
arm and steeled the heart of many a Scotch 
soldier. I believe that in none is attachment 
to their native soil more deeply implanted than 
among Ayrshire men ; and how much of this 
feeling do we owe to Burns ? Many a Scotch 
soldier has been heard in his last momenta 
crooning over some song of the national bard ; 
and I have heard one Scottish soldier — whose 
name will not soon die in Ayrshire — ^breathe 
out his one sole sigh of regret almost in his 
parting hour — "I shall never see Ayrshire 
again." As the old Boman poet has described 
the dying Greek, even in death, looking back 
upon fair Argos, so has Campbell said : — 

*' Encamped by Indian rivers wild, 
The soldier resting on his arms, 

In Bai*n8' carol sweet recalls 
The songs that blest him as a child. 

And flows and gladdens at the charm 
Of Scotia»8 woods and waterfalls." 

(Cheers.) It has been well said by a Scottish 
statesman that ** to record the names and pre- 
serve the memory of those whose past achieve- 
ments in science, in arts, and in arms, had con- 
ferred benefits and lustre upon our kind, has in 
all ages been regarded as a gratification and a 
duty by wise and reflecting men.** And even 
in cases where matchless genius excludes the 
possibility of imitation, and we wonder while 
we admire, by the thought of what others have 
accomplished, the effort may be awakened 
through which, though in humbler measure, 
the path of success and honour may be trod- 
den. If this be tme in the profession of arts 
and arms, it is equally tme in poetry. Bums 
by his touching strains has awakened a poetic 
chord in many humble bosoms. I have been 
much gratified to-day by having put into my 
hands some lines written by an humble work- 
ing man in Ayrshire — Klines which show how 
deeply he is imbued with the spirit which ani- 
mated Bums. I will read a few stanzas in 
illustration : — 



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*' We meet to oonsocrate that day, 
Before it disappears, 
To fill a niohe within the aisle, 
Whore sleep the buried years. 

" Aald Scotland rear'd him 'mong the homes 
Of honest, toiling swains, 
By sounding woods and winding streams, 
And flower-enamelled plains. 

"There Nature's hand first stirr'd the chords 
Of masio in his soul, 
And taneht him from his *■ moorland harp * 
To muLe that music roll. 

**In life, his worth was litUe prised — 
A thoughtless race forgive — 
The man of ^nins had to die 
That he might truly Iwe. 

**Like childless mothers crushed with grief, 
The muses droop'd their head, 
When they beheld their noblest son, 
The Prince of Song, was dead. 

"In vain they look through all the years 
To see if one returns : 
The Fates declare they cannot give 
A ieoond Robert Bums. 

"Then let us hail the hundredth time 
That sacred day returns. 
That gave to Scotland and to man 
Their Hero Poet— Burrs." 

(Cheers.) From such feelings as animate that 
man — irom such feelings as animate us tcMlay 
— I contend that nought but good can spring; 
and thus the great movement to-day, and the 
desire to celebrate the memory of Bums, is not 
confined to the soil where he dwelt and was 
known, but is celebrated wherever Scotchmen 
cherish the tongue and the traditions of their 
race. (Cheers.) There is one thing wliich 
should not fail to be remembered, and that is 
what Burns owed to Scotland. Selfish politi- 
cal agitators have of late attempted to sow dis- 
content between the various classes of our fel- 
low-countrymen, and reference is often made 
to the neglect which Bums suffered in his life- 
time. But it should be remembered that in no 
country could a man of Bums' humble position 
have been sure of that education, without which 
the fire of his genius would have burned in 
vain. Let it be remembered — what is too 
often forgotten— that in this country for three 
hundred years the means of education have 
been within the reach of the poorest of our 
fellow-countrymen. This is a boast which 
Scotland can fairly make; and although the 
task before us of suiting national education to 
the wants of the day is still attended with 
great difficulties, let the fact be known, that 
one who rose from the humblest position in the 
country to be the great poet of Scotland, owed 
his education to that system to which I have 
referred. (Cheers.) The great attraction 



which Bums has for his fellow-men — for all 
who can read and have souls to appreciate the 
spirit of true genius — is the mann^ in which 
he is enabled to draw from the humblest ob- 
jects in nature strains of the highest poetry. 
The simplest rustic knows that from the moun- 
tain daisy Burns drew Inspired strains; that in 
the meanest of animals he saw the marvellous 
hand of Providence ; that he has celebrated in 
his noblest lines the humble, honest life of a 
Scotch countryman; and has sung in verses 
that can never be forgotten the praise of hon- 
esty and domestic worth. (Cheers.) And it 
is precisely because he has written in words 
that none can fail to understand, that he is so 
deservedly popular and so justly beloved. 
(Cheers.) Unlike Tennyson, the poet-laureate 
of England; unlike Shakspeare, whose pages 
are a well of English undefded, and whom I do 
not seek, were it possible, to depreciate, for he 
is the classic of his country, to whom all men 
come for wisdom and information ; but unlike 
the poet of any other country, who is intelligi- 
ble only to the wise, and cultivated, and learned, 
Bums appeals to the simplest heart that beats 
in the breast of man. (Loud cheers.) While 
he writes in strains which may bear comparison 
with the noblest poets of other lands, his words 
strike a chord of music in the breast of the 
most simple ami unlettered. I feel, then, that 
while all that is worthless or perhaps idle in 
his poems is fast forgotten, those glorious effu- 
sions of which no one can ever tire are only 
now becoming known and thoroughly appreci- 
ated. (Cheers.) I marvel much at the idle 
malignity of some who have set themselves 
against the feelings of the great mass of their 
fellow-countrymen on this auspicious occasion. 
I have read of sentiments as expressed by them 
which I am certain will find no audience here. 
I have read such remarks by ministers of the 
gospel, who of all men are those who should 
look upon their brethren's failings with charity 
— (hear, hear) — ^who would depreciate if it were 
possible the outburst of enthusiasm which has 
reached its climax this day. I saw in a news- 
paper only this morning the words of a minister 
in Edinburgh, spoken from his pulpit, in which 
he says he considers the homage about to be 
paid to Bums both foolish and wrong, and then 
he proceeds — ^'^ England would not do so for 
her Milton — Germany would not do so for her 
Goethe— Italy would not do so for Tasso or 
Dante; but Scotchmen are about to do this for 
a man who was far beneath any of these sons 
of genius. I cannot but regard this conduct, 
in every view of it, as both foolish and wicked." 
(Disapprobation.) I shall only say that I hope 
I know the clergy of Scotland too well to think 
that this sentiment can be held by many of 



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them. (Cheers.) The clergy are well repre- 
sented among us to-day; and I know that 
others would be here were they not engaged to 
take the chairs at the dinners in their own par- 
ishes. (Renewed cheering.) Therefore, I do 
not fear to be misunderstood, when I say that 
I am ashamed that a Scotch clergyman should 
have so misunderstood the feelings of his coun- 
trymen ; and merely to show the ignorance 
which has dictated these unfortunate words, I 
would only remind you that there have been 
celebrations like these before — that in the last 
century at Stratford-on-Avon there was a cele- 
bration, at which the wise and talented met to 
do honour to the memory of Shakspeare ; and 
if the gentleman who spoke these words had 
read such a common book as ^'BoswelFs Life of 
Johnson," he would have known what I have 
stated. He might have known, also, that all 
Germany assembled at Mayence to inaugurate 
a noble statue to the memory of Schiller. Had 
they not done so — ^had they not appreciated 
the genius of their countrymen, it would even 
then have remained for Scotland to show that 
she could better appreciate the genius of her 
sons — (cheers) — and had England and Ger- 
many been behind in honouring Shakspeare 
and Schiller, Scotland nevertheless must have 
shown that she would not be behind hand in 
paying her debt to Robert Bums. It is our 
peculiar right and privilege in Ayrshire to show 
how much we value the poet. What Stratford 
was to Shakspeare — what Weimar was to Schil- 
ler and to Gbethe-— that is Ayrshire to Burns. 
This is a spot dear to us, and beautiful indeed, 
yet, but for the genius of Burns it would have 
been comparatively unknown ; but now it has 
gained world-wide fame. (Cheers.) It may 
be objected that this tribute has come too late. 
Late it has come, but it has come with hearti- 
ness and power. In our own time, extended 
education, increased facilities for circulation, 
and a more cultivated state of society, have of- 
fered to the author a wider field than writers 
of other days enjoyed, and hence many a poet 
and romancer has reaped the laurels of a world- 
wide fame, which came but as a posthumous 
honour to his predecessors. We have yet many 
instalments of honour to pay to our peasant- 
poet, little noticed and rewarded as he was by 
our grandsires; but now that his and their 
generation have passed away, and the exact 
position of Bums among our poets is recognised 
and defined, we may well remember how strong 
are his claims upon the admiration and grati- 
tude of his countrymen. He holds the first 
place in popular favour — in the estimation of 
all who have a heart and a soul to value and 
appreciate him — of the scholar and the critic — 
of the simple and unlettered. His memory 



lives and shall live with us; and to-day we 
bring an ofiering to his shrine — a nation's gra- 
titude and love. (Loud and long-continued 
cheering.) 

The Croupier, who was most enthusiasti- 
cally received, then said — ^'Twas a wild night 
like this, a hundred years ago, when the wind 
howled as it does now, and the sleet was beat- 
ing as it has done this evening, on the casement 
of the cottage within which was heard the 
feeble cry of a babe just brought into the 
world wherein it was to find so much fame, and 
to suffer so much misfortune. (Cheers.) It is 
with unmingled satisfaction that I have joined 
the demonstrations that are being made, not 
only in this his native district, but all over 
Scotland, beyond the Border, in America, I 
know, and in Australia I believe, in honour of 
our greatest, of our self-reared, of our most 
popular poet. (Cheers.) The universality of 
these demonstrations is, in itself, quite sufiScient 
justification for our being here this evening. It 
is the verdict — I cannot say the universal ver- 
dict of mankind — but still that of the immense 
majority, with comparatively few dissentients, 
that we ought to be here now — (hear, hear) — 
and I may say it is well that there is a common 
ground upon which men of all sorts, men of all 
shades of opinion, can come together to inter- 
change kindly sentiments, and warm, mutual 
good feelings, if it were only over the grave of 
the illustrious dead. (Cheers.) I have heard 
it said— and you have alluded to it well, Sir — 
that in meeting together in this way we are 
perpetrating idolatry and man-worship, and that 
we are attempting to pass over, or rather to 
varnish, frailty in the person of an individual 
man. Sir, I am no idolater. I am no man- 
worshipper. I am not here to varnish over 
frailty. I am not here to defend it ; but I say 
to those men who have made the accusation, 
that if they would judge him in a more kindly 
spirit they would act more in accordance with 
the dictates of Christianity. (Hear, hear.) 
Should they not remember that all of us, even 
the best, in' the eyes of the Creator are but 
sinners — that " in the course of justice none of 
us should see salvation *' — (hear, hear) — and have 
we not the highest authority for saying that 
he who breaks even the least of the command- 
ments breaks the whole of them? If Burns 
was frail, and no one attempts to deny it, do 
we not know what penitence he showed before 
his death ; and where penitence exists, who 
shall dare to say ^Hhat the evil he has done 
lives after him V* (Cheers.) We are here. Sir, 
to-night, specially to pay honour to the dead, 
thereby paying honour to ourselves and the 
country which has produced this illustrious 
man ; and although it may be that speaking of 



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those who are no more, we might assume some- 
what of a melancholy tone, yet we must remem- 
ber that in their works these great men yet 
live and speak to us — 

'* Even in their ashes burn their wonted fires:" 

therefore, we need not hesitate on this occasion, 
when we are all met here cordially and kindly, 
to cherish a feeling of gratification, nay even^ I 
may say, of glory that our land has produced 
such men, without supposing that we are 
mingling the dark foliage of the yew and the 
cypress with the wreaths of the amaranthus 
and the rose. (Cheers.) And now, Sir, I 
must address myself to the more immediate 
subject of my toast. It is now, as nearly as I 
can remember, about seventy-five years ago 
that Bums, then in the zenith of his fame, when 
in Edinburgh, whither he had come from Ayr, 
was regarded as a phenomenon ; for since the 
death of Allan Ramsay true poetry had perished, 
and his was the first breath that revived it. It 
was at a meeting in Edinburgh, at the house of 
an eminent and accomplished citizen, that Bums, 
attracted by some lines written at the foot of a 
picture, asked who was the author of them, 
when he was told by a boy who was then pre- 
sent that they were composed by Langhome, a 
poet who is now nearly forgotten. The poet 
rewarded his youthful informant with a cordial 
smile ; and this is the sole record of the only 
interview between Burns, then in his prime, 
and the youthful Walter Scott. (Cheers.) The 
anecdote has been told more than once, and it 
is to be found in some of the biographies of the 
poet ; but I confess to you. Sir James, that it 
has for me a deeper interest than tradition, 
from the fact that it was told to me by one still 
living, who well remembers being present at 
that interview — one who was then very young, 
and was staying in the family of Scott, but 
is now far advanced down the vale of life, 
one near and dear to me, — I mean my own 
mother. (Cheers.) Well, Sir, Burns passed 
away ; these things remind us of the rapid 
fiow of years. For a time that boy who had 
so spoken with Burns was studying the bal- 
lads of his native country, and collecting 
the many traditions that were afloat at that 
period on the Border : — ^the same studies that 
had engrossed the mind of the youthful Burns. 
Scott was in a different station of life and had 
received more direct educational advantages 
tiian Burns ; but a long period elapsed before 
he produced anything original of merit ; for he 
was one of those great men, and possessed that 
attribute which the great alone possess — that 
they do not consider themselves from the very 
first as being prodigies of genius. It is late 
before that revelation dawns upon them ; others 



perceive it before they themselves are aware of 
it. (Applause.) They are like Aladdin in the 
cave, who did not know that the fruit that was 
hanging on the fairy trees, and which he could 
pluck and handle at will, were the richest of 
jewels, but thought they were common glass; 
and so it was with Scott for a long time* His 
dreams, his aspirations, and all that burnt within 
him he thought common and plain. He was 
not aware for a long time of the inestimable 
value of the treasures that he bore within him. 
Master of a mine more rich than that of Gol- 
conda, he knew not of his precious heritage. 
At last he discovered the secret, and then, one 
by one, came forth those wonderful poems that 
for a long time entranced the public, and won 
for him such unrivalled fame. I need say 
nothing of these. I need not describe the 
headlong ride of William of Deloraine, in the 
'' Lay of the Last Minstrel," or that magnificent 
picture of Melrose Abbey by night, or the 
opening of the Wizard's Tomb. Neither need 
I recall the celebrated scene in the magnificent 
romantic poem of Marmion, wherein he paints 
that most heroi<^ noble, and chivalrous period 
of Scottish history, when a favourite king led 
forth the assembled nobles to die for their 
country at Flodden. (Applause.) At a later 
period appeared that wonderful representation, 
" The Lady of the Lake/' that has made that 
district of country a place of pilgrimage to 
strangers from afar, and has attracted them to 
the Highland hills even from the shores of the 
sunny Mediterranean. All these, and many 
more such works, he produced, and tJbe world still 
wondered and still asked for more ; until, all at 
once, he changed his note, and became the 
prose poet of the day, and in simple prose gave 
to us such a series of wonderful representations 
as the world never yet had seen. (Cheers.) 
Not Cornelius Agrippa, if he had the gift, 
could have shown in the magic mirror soenes 
more life-like or truthful than those which the 
great magician gave forth to the admiring 
world. Look at his characters ; see how true 
they are — how truthful and faithful to nature, 
and how loveable in every feature. Look at 
those depictions of Edie Ochiltree, of Dandie 
Dinmont, of David Deans, and of his sweet, 
patient, kind, loveable Jeanie. (Cheers.) Saw 
you ever such characters, unless perhaps in the 
pages of the immortal Shakspeare ? And fur- 
ther, throwing back the clouds which hang 
between us and centuries that have long 
gone by, he brought up before us phantoms 
as realities from ages long gone by — pic- 
tures from under an Eastern sun — the palm- 
tree, the fountain in the desert, and the 
generous Saladin resting at noonday by the 
side of the Scottish Crusader, the valiant 



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Knight of the Leopard. Or he took us, most 
willing spectators, to the lists of Ashby-de-la- 
Zouche, and gave to our vision, in his swart 
panoply of mail, the gigantic form of Richard 
of the Lion-heart. (Cheers.) But I will not 
detain you longer with these remarks. I must 
apologise, for I find that the subject has almost 
carried me away. (No, no.) Well, we had this 
great man among us, very faintly in my own 
recollection ; for I had but once the honour of 
speaking with him, and of feeling the pressure 
of his hand. But he became the darling of the 
nation, not only the honour of Scotland, but 
the glory of all Great Britain. A princely for- 
tune appeared to be his. Everything went 
well with him. He reared a splendid mansion 
on the banks of the Tweed, wliich he loved so 
well. When his Sovereign came down to 
Edinburgh, the first of his dynasty who had 
▼isited Scotland, Sir Walter Scott was the 
chosen representative man of the nation to 
welcome and receive him. That was, perhaps, 
the culmination of his fortune ; and then came 
reverse. At once, as if by some tremendous 
blow — ^by a'^ commercial disaster as great and as 
fatal as any of those we have had the misfor- 
tune lately to witness, and which passed like a 
hurricane across the landf^— Sir Walter Scott was 
hurled irom the proud worldly position he oc- 
cupied. He became a bankrupt. Then disease 
and ill-health came; and his wife, the long 
partner of his cares and joys, died. His family 
were dispersed — his sons were parted from his 
aide, — and his best-beloved daughter had left 
the land of her birth ; and he, the great man, 
now becoming an old roan, was left in solitude 
and in sorrow. Yet did his heart not break. 
What had been his delight in the days of his 
prosperity, became his duty in the days of his 
adversity. Nobly he faced misfortune, — ^nobly 
he set himself down to the work, resolved that 
he would do his duty to the last, and maintain 
unstained that honour which had been trans- 
mitted to him through so many ancestors. He 
worked on to the last — overworked that noble 
brain — ^yet, with such success, that before he 
laid his head down on his death pillow he knew 
that his debts would all be paid ; and then he 
turned his face to the wall and died — as great 
if not as happy in his death as ever he was in 
his life. (Hear, hear.) And so they laid him 
in Dryburgh Abbey, by the banks of that 
Tweed, the murmur of whose waters was ever 
so delightful to his ear. There we have a new 
place of pilgrimage, which, as soon as the turf 
was grown over his head, has attracted the feet 
of many pilgrims from all parts of the world, 
and which will attract the feet of many thou- 
sands more. (Cheers.) So lived and died the 
great man of whom I have spoken — the man 



whose name will rank the highest among the 
many who have created the literature of thb 
our century. Transcendant as a poet — unri- 
valled in the field of romance — a patriot with 
as warm a heart as ever beat for its country — 
honourable, true, upright, sympathetic endur- 
ing — is it any wonder that the Scottish people 
should revere and cherish his memory? He 
needed no monument, for he has raised for him- 
self a monument of glory and renown beyond 
the power of architecture to counterfeit — a 
monument which can only fall into ruin 
when the British language has disappeared — 
nay, not even then, for although we undoubt- 
edly have the best right to congratulate our- 
selves that such a man was reared and moved 
among us, his works are the property of the 
whole world, for they have been translated into 
every European speech; and the memory of 
Scott is as safe from decay and oblivion as is 
that of Homer or Shakspeare, which will last 
till language is no more. (The accomplished 
Professor sat down amid plaudits again and 
again renewed.) 

The Chairman, in the absence of Mr. Stir- 
ling, M.P., gave " The Memory of Professor 
Wilson." 

Shbbiff Robison, in proposing " The Peas- 
antry of Scotland, from whom Bums sprung," 
said — Gentlemen, the three last toasts have had 
reference to the memory of three individuals 
who were all great in their time, and whose 
names their literary productions have crowned 
with immortal fame. (Cheers.) The toast 
which I have now to propose relates both to the 
past and to the present, to a bygone as well as 
to a living generation, and comprehends a not 
insignificant portion of the people of Scotland, 
even if mere numbers are only considered ; but 
far more, when regard is had to those qualities 
or traits of character which have ever eminently 
distinguished it as a class — a staid and solid 
cast of thought, uprightness of personal deport- 
ment, an honest industry in the pursuits of life, 
and, pervading all, a deep-seated sense of re- 
ligion — (cheers) — ^which, if it has sometimes 
merged into severity, and darkened as it were 
with a cloud, although only in detached patches, 
the fair landscape of the social picture, has 
nevertheless, on the whole, and in its grand re- 
sults, been favourable to virtue, and to the 
maturation of those principles and feelings which 
have conduced to a quiet, peaceful, contented, 
and happy life, thrifty and frugal habits, the 
desire of independence, a submissive obedience 
to civil rule withal, but not incompatible also, 
when circumstances have required, with a vigor- 
ous resistance to oppression, and the exhibition 
of heroism in the defence of civil and religi- 
ous liberty. (Long and continued cheering.) 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Burns, the son of a peasant, Soott, bom of more 
gentle blood, were thus so much distanced in 
respect of their social condition, that apparently, 
except for the link of literary brotherhood, they 
could never have been brought together, and 
must have remained for ever apart as they were 
bom, the peasant and the gentleman still. But 
how beautiful is the picture of their union, and 
how impressively does it enforce the truth of 
the moral aphorism, that literature dissolves all 
the coveted distinctions of rank and wealth, and 
confers a distinction nobler far than either — 
which neither the one can purchase nor the 
other bestow. (Cheers.) So that these our 
countrymen, Burns and Scott, the peasant's son 
and the well-bom gentleman, although separ- 
ated widely in the social distinctions of the 
world, by reason of their literary eminence, 
stand shoulder to shoulder on the pedestal of 
fame — the object of their country's admiration 
and pride; and, like twin stars, seem destined 
to shine for ever clear, bright, and dazzling in 
the firmament of literary glory. (Continued 
cheering.) Gentlemen, the reflective mind is 
disposed to pause awhile for contemplation be- 
neath the blaze of such refulgent light, and the 
sentiment inspired even by the briefest medita- 
tion is an exalted sense of the worth and value 
of our Peasantry and Gentry, whose ranks have 
contributed to literature two such immortal 
names as those of Biliras and Scott. The toast 
I have to propose is " The Peasantry of Scot- 
land." (The. toast was received with loud and 
enthusiastic cheering.) 

Songs—" A man's a man for a* that,*' followed by 
"Tam Glen "—Mr. SootUnd. 

Professor Traill, in proposing "Alfred 
Tennyson and the Poets of EngUmd," spoke 
as follows: — This large assembly of the ad- 
mirers of the genius of Bums will, I trusty 
pardon me for calling their attention to this 
small manuscript — ^the ori^nail of his admirable 
song " Wilt thou be my dearie." It was given 
by the Poet's own hand, on the morning after 
its composition, to his intimate friend, Mr. 
James Watson, then a mercantile man at Dum- 
fries, from whom it came into my possession. 
It is not merely as an autograph of our great 
National Bard that I now produce it; but be- 
cause it contains a variation from the printed 
song, that appears very creditable to the muse 
of Burns; as it proves that after years of con- 
nubial life, our Poet's "ain Jeanie" inspired 
one of the most impassioned and exquisite of 
his love songs. The stanza to which I allude 
stands thus in the manuscript: — 

" Lassie, say tlioa lo'es me ; 
Or if thou wilt na be my ain ; 
Say na thoa'lt refase me : 
If it winna, canna be, 



Thoo for thine may clmse me. 
Let me, Jbahib. qaickly die, 
Tnistinff that thoa lo'es me, — 
Jbahib Jet me quickly die, 
Tmsting that tnoQ lo'es me." 

I, for one, shall ever regret that this allusion, 
which gives a fine individuality to the song, 
appeare not in the printed copies. 

As to the toast— Where Scotlaod's sons meet 
this day to celebrate the Hundredth birthday of 
our immortal Bard, the poetic genius of Eng- 
land will not I am sure be forgotten. It is but 
justice to own the high intellectual luxury we 
have derived from the splendid creations of a 
Chaucer, a Shakspeare, a Spencer, a Milton, a 
Dryden, and a Pope ; and although we do not 
presume to state that any living Poet rivals 
those mighty masten of English verse, yet there 
exist Poets in England who have delighted the 
present generation, and who will please genera- 
tions yet unborn. In the toast committed to 
me, the name of one of the most popular of them 
is prefixed to the general tribute to his contem- 
poraries. We therefore dedicate this bumper 
to '' Alfred Tennyson and the living Poets of 
England." (Loud cheera.) 

Dr. HuMB, in proposing << The Poets of Scot- 
land," said — ^I feel extreme gratification at 
being present with you on this great occasion. 
To-day is the day of a hundred years; and of 
all those present, not one will see this anni- 
versary again ; — ^but no matter — we have done 
our duty. (Cheers.) If any other place in 
the world had held this commemoration, and 
Ayr had not done so, the part of Hamlet would 
have been omitted, and your town would have 
been disgraced for ever. (Laughter and cheers.) 
The Poet, whose fertile muse has immortalised 
your hills and streams, your castles and your 
cottages, is remembered with great propriety in 
the scenes which he has made classic ; yet^ I am 
one of those who think there is a frequent and 
very needless narrowing of Bums' fiu&e, by 
calling him merely an '< Ayrshire Poet.** In 
England, we distinguish between *<Kentbh 
men," and " men of Kent;" and in like manner 
every poet of Scotland is not necessarily a 
Scottish poet. Bums was both; and the uni- 
versal appreciation of his ability warns us that 
we should not to a county '* give up what was 
meant for mankind.** (Cheers.) The com- 
mittee have paid me a high compliment in in- 
trusting to me a subject so interesting and so 
important as that announced on your list^ either 
part of which, — ^the sentiment or the associated 
name — stirs me, as Sir Philip Sidney would 
have said, 'Mike the sound of a trumpet.** 
(Laughter.) Professor Traill, a Scotchman by 
birth and residence, has proposed to you the 
Poets of England. And he is well fitted to do 



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103 



so; for he resided long on our side of the 
Border, and, as the Irish say, has left many a 
hearty welcome behind him. (Cheers and 
laughter.) I, from England, have to speak of 
your Scottish poets; and I first determined to 
say little or nothing on the Shakspearian prin- 
ciple — ^that ^* good wine needs no bush." But 
I b^ to assure you that I am not unacquainted 
with the literature and poetry of " the North 
Countrie." (Cheers.) I am Scottish in name 
andlineage, and early associations; and I knew, 
literally, hundreds of Scottish poems before I 
had numbered eight years. (Applause.) It is 
not a little remarkable that while no men are 
more matter-of-fact than the natives of Scotland 
— I dare hardly say prosaic — (Laughter) — no 
comer of the British Empire possesses a larger 
selection of popular poetry. Only a por- 
tion of it has been gathered, tliough there 
have been many industrious gleaners in the 
field : yet, such as it is, it chailenges a com- 
parison with the rich stores of Germany and 
Spain. Of the writers of some of the most 
popular pieces nothing is known. They ex- 
pressed the ideas and emotions of a whole 
community rather than their own ; and while 
the verses were handed down by oral recita- 
tion, the minstrels themselves were forgotten. 
(Hear, hear.) But there are Scottish poets, 
not a few, who have left names, and these im- 
perishable ones, behind them. The ancient 
Wyntoun, and Barbour, and Blind Harry, 
made poetry the vehicle of history ; and it is a 
pity that their quaint and suggestive lines are 
not more extensively known. Dunbar, who 
wrote more than three centuries and a-half ago, 
claims a very high place ; and so does another, 
a century later, the elegant and accomplished 
Drummond of Hawthornden. The beauty and 
interest of many of their writings are concealed 
from the multitude by the nature of their lan- 
guage. Much of it is wholly obsolete ; and it 
has been thought necessary to translate some 
of the older Scottish poems into Latin, which 
is a fixed language, that we might not altogether 
forget the former condition of our own lan- 
guage. (Hear, hear.) For about a century a 
cloud enveloped the Scottish muse ; but she 
emerged from it, leading the humorous Allan 
Ramsay, with his ** Evergreen" in the one hand, 
and his " Gentle Shepherd" in the other. His 
writings were current during the infancy of 
Burns, and those of Fergusson during his boy- 
hood and youth, and upon models like these 
his taste was formed. It is the privilege of 
kings to create dignities, but none of them can 
create a man of genius. The Latins are right 
— -poeta ncueitur fwnjh. But royalty in Scot- 
land has more than that to boast of. More 
than one who occupied the throne of this an- 



cient kingdom has written respectable verses ; 
and James I. has recorded in detail his impres- 
sions of an English noble lady who afterwards 
shared his throne. The King's Quhair is a 
monument more durable than brass or marble, 
and contrasts favourably with the acts of those 
of whom we can only say — 

** Their bones are dast, 
Their swords are rust, 
.Their soals are with the saints — we tmst." 

(Laughter.) The dialect in which the Scot- 
tish poets of last century wrote b not so for- 
bidding as some of our southern friends imagine. 
It is substantially the English language in an 
older form. It carries us back one or two 
stages towards the primitive Saxon forms ; for 
in the eleventh century Scotland was Saxonised 
by fugitives, as England was Normamsed by 
conquerors. But it presents a great similarity 
to the language of the northern shires of Eng- 
land; and here, as well as in parts of the 
United States and the north of Ireland, Scot- 
tish verses are written almost as readily as in 
this country. (Cheers.) It is sometimes said, 
both with truth and delicacy, that the elder 
Scottish muse ** wears her kilt too high ;" — 
(laughter) — ^but the generous critic remembers 
that she learned the fashions of a less fastidious 
time than ours; and, like the postdiluvian 
fathers of mankind, he casts the mantle of 
charity and oblivion over her defects. (Cheers.) 
We are occasionally told, too, in high places, 
that the whole of a man's writings must be re- 
pudiated, because he or they sometimes fall short 
of the standard of high morality. I need not 
strike. Sir James, where your own trenchant 
blade has demolished the enemy. (Applause.) 
I would merely say that this is confounding of 
the general and the special ; it is the establish- 
ment of a Draconic code in literary criticism. 
Shall we reject the wheat because it is found 
only in connection with chaff? Shall we refuse 
to gather the golden ore because it is mingled 
with dross and alloy ? No ! no ! During the 
last three centuries we have learned the im- 
portant lesson that ^ destruction' is not quite 
synonymous with ^reformation.' It was the 
business of the poets, or < makers' as they were 
called, to produce ; let it be ours not only to 
appreciate but to winnow and to purify. 
(Cheers.) But, in speaking 1)f the poets of 
Scotland, I am impelled this day to make a 
claim, and to offer an explanation. The claim 
is that the men of England were among the 
first to appreciate the bard whom you are de- 
lighted to honour ; that the first collected edi- 
tion of his works was edited in what b jocularly 
called " Our Village" on the banks of the Mer- 
sey ) — (laughter) — and that several of our local 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Liverpool poets sung his requiem. It is true 
that 

" The rank is bat the guinea stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that : '' 

yet it is something that, though you in Scotland 
knew the ring of the genuine metal, we in Eng- 
land assisted in placing the mint mark upon it, 
and sending it current throughout the civilized 
world. (Cheers.) And my explanation is, 
that a prophecy, Uke a great many other pro- 
phecies, has failed in fulfilment. In Ros<M>e'8 
beautiful lament, which was published with 
Currie's memoir, the following is the closing 
stanza : — 

" Bear high thy bleak majestie hills. 

Thy sheltered valleys proudly spread, 
And, Scotia, pour thy thousand rills, 

And wave thy heath with blossoms red ; 
But, never more shall poet tread 

Thy airy heights, thv woodland reign, 
Since he, the sweetest bard is fled, 

That ever breathed the Scottish strain." 

(Cheers.) What! no poet in Scotland after 
1796 ! Even in the presence of the genius loci, 
and almost under the poet's paternal roof-tree, 
we cancel the sentiment. Of all such finality 
articles of faith we read our recantation. In 
saying that for the last sixty years the Scottish 
muse has never been silent, and that seldom has 
she sung more sweetly, '* I tell you that which 
you yourselves do know." Instead of a single 
star, however brilliant, we can point to a glori- 
ous constelktion, to a perfect galaxy, in pre- 
sence of which the light even of Bums is paled 
but not extinguished. In lyrical composition, 
and in the painting of popular customs and 
popular feelings in common language, he stands 
foremost still ; but in other departments which 
he cultivated little, he has been passed by. 
(Cheers.) Since Bums passed from the scene, 
the mighty wizard has given forth his enchant- 
ments both in poetry and prose; — Campbell 
has nourished and described the ** Pleasures of 
Hope ; " Wilson has sung of the " Isle of 
Palms;" and the Ettrick Shepherd has tuned 
his reed. But time would fail me to tell of all 
the poets, minor only by contrast with major 
ones ; like the lesser prophets, they are not in- 
ferior in quality — ^the only objection is that 
they have not written enough. (Cheers.) Let 
me, however, oofhe nearer to you still. It has 
been said that the poet of Scotland is present ; 
and there is a volume of panegyric contained 
in that short sentence. I have never seen him 
before ; but I am delighted to find that» like 
the Jewish lawgiver, ** his eye is not dim, nor 
is his natural force abated." In short, he looks 
like a man who has work in him yet. (Cheers 
and laughter.) He is a delightful companion, 



either in prose or in verse ; but on his shoulders 
the mantle of poesy sits with peculiar grace. 
Like old Timotheus, he has touched the lyre in 
every mood, and has carried his hearers, with 
bounding pulse, along with him. He has sung 
the beautiful lays of your own heroic ages, 
and has stereotyped the glories of your Scot- 
tish cavaliers. (Cheers.) He has told once 
more the sorrowful tale of Flodden : and has 
shown the mother city of your nation covered 
with glory by her greatness of soul under un- 
paralleled disaster. He has had the manliness, 
the bold honesty, to brave popular prejudice, 
and to tell it to tread lightly on the ashes of 
the illustrious dead. He has Rescued from the 
embers of party feeling the memory of two of 
''the gallant Grahams," the chivalrous Mon- 
trose and *' Bonny Dundee," and he has de- 
monstrated to Scotland that she is richer in 
valour and virtue than even she herself be- 
lieved. Who, I ask, has done all this, and far 
more than this ? Your own Aytoun ! (Cheers.) 
No! the lyre is not yet silent either in city 
or in field. The poetic vein is not yet worked 
out. No man can afiUrm with truth that in 
this respect 

" The flowers of the forest are a' wede away." 

(Loud cheers.) And as we are here to-day 
to show that a prophet is not always without 
honour even on his natal soil, and also to la- 
ment, if not remedy, the errors of the past, I 
call upon you to crown the goblet once more. 
Let us unite with enthusiasm the memory of 
the dead and the merits of the living. In one 
word, let our pledge be ** The Poets of Scot- 
land, and Professor Aytoun.** (Loud cheering.) 

The Croupier replied in a felicitous man- 
ner. 

Mr. Baird of Cambusdoon then proposed 
" The Convener of the County ** — Col. Ferrier 
Hamilton — whose gentlemanly deportment and 
urbanity of manners well qualified him for the 
honourable office which he held. (Cheers.) 

Mr. SoMBRVELTi of Som proposed <*The 
Clergy," coupled with the name of the Bev. 
Mr. Charteris. (Cheers.) 

The Rev. Mr. Charteris retumed thanks. 
He said — I thank you, in name of the clerical 
profession, for this expression of your regard. 
That it devolves upon me to return thanks for 
" The Clergy," is due, I presume, to respect for 
the old adage — ^the Latin of which I need not 
quote — " Honour to the old, and work to the 
young!" With many obvious disadvantages, 
the application of this adage in the present in- 
stance has at least one good efiect, for it gives 
to a young member of the body an opportunity 
of thanking you for honours which older and 
abler men have won. (Cheers.) As I can 



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claim no share in the good deeds of which Mr. 
Somervell has spoken, I may therefore be per- 
mitted, without breach of modesty, to accept 
as deserved your tribute to my profession. 
The toast has been said by its proposer to in- 
clude ''all denominations;" and I believe that 
all Protestant clergymen are actuated by sin- 
cere desire of doing good ; and are as mlling 
to stand by the bed of the afflicted poor, as to 
sit at the tables of the rich and titled. (Cheers.) 
With reference to Mr. Somervell's last remark 
on my presence here this evening, I would only 
say one word. I do not soil my admiration of 
the genius with approval of the erring man ; 
but as it b the work of our profession to note 
the weaknesses of humanity in ourselves and 
others, we need not live long to learn that if 
all of us had lus sometimes fatal facility of ex- 
pression, there would be many words not less 
reckless than those we condemn in Bums; 
and that it would go hard with the character 
of the best, if all the changing impulses, the 
light and shade of our human heart, were 
daguerreotyped like his I (Long and continued 
cheering.) 

Mr. £lias Cathcabt proposed ^< The health 
of the Chairman," which was very enthusiasti- 
cally pledged, to which Sir James, in eloquent 
terms, replied. 

After other additional toasts had been given, 
the meeting separated. 



THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS. 

In the evening a Centenary Soiree took 
place in the Town Buildings. Long before 
the hour of meeting the rooms were crowded 
with a large assemblage, among whom were 
acme of the most influential townsmen. The 
Ayr Musical Association (led by their old con- 
ductor, Mr. William Shaw), had volunteered 
their services, and a musical programme — 
thanks to the zealous diligence of Mr. Harvey, 
painter, whose exertions, and those of his 
brother amateurs, deserve all praise — was an- 
nounced of a highly Inviting description, which, 
It is but justice to say, was executed in a man- 
ner superior even to the high expectations that 
were formed. Altogether, the various musical 
performances were of a very superior descrip- 
tion, and most appropriate to the occasion. 
The services consisted only of confectionaries 
— of the best kind, however — provided by Mr. 
Girdwood, and fruit, but a more jolly and 
boisterously good-humoured company never 
** met and never parted " within the walls of 
the Town Assembly Rooms, or any other. 

The Rev. William Buchanan took the chair 
at half- past seven o'clock, and was accom- 



panied to the platform by the Rev. Robert 
PoUok, Kingston Church, Glasgow ; Rev. Mr. 
Markland, Gratmore; and the Riev. Ij/Lr, Barker. 
The Rev. Mr. Crawford of Crossbill joined 
them in the course of the evening in full 
Masonic costume, having left for a little the 
Masonic dinner in the Corn Exchange Hall, 
and an apology was read from Rev. Mr. Wal- 
lace, Newton-on-Ayr, regretting that a sudden 
illness which had prevented his officiating on 
the preceding Sunday did not admit of his being 
present to address them. The Band having 
played the *' Old Hundred " while the company 
stood, the Rev. Mr. Barker opened the proceed- 
ings with a brief and most appropriate prayer. 

The Chairman, on rising to give a brief 
introductory address, was loudly cheered. He 
said — ^Any man might be proud of presiding on 
such an occasion over such a company. I 
should, indeed, have been glad that some other 
of your townsmen, better known, had occupied 
the chair, and left me to take only a subordinate 
part in your proceedings, but if I have no other 
qualification I have this at least, that I give 
place to no man living in sincere and hearty 
admiration of the many noble qualities, and 
the transcendent genius of the gifted being 
who was ushered into life this day one hundred 
years ago. (Great cheering.) My honourable 
friend. Sir James Fergusson, said to-day at the 
Monument, that a man should be careful how 
he appeared in print on the same subject twice 
in the same day. I have, already, appeared 
to-day in print upon the centenary in the 
newspaper leader ; and I will appear a second 
time, in connection with the Masonic demon- 
stration : were I to speak at great length now, 
therefore, I should incur even a worse danger 
than the popular young Baronet was afraid of, 
for I should have to run the gauntlet of criti- 
cism a third time. (Laughter and cheers.) If 
I decline to do so, it is from no great appre- 
hension of being betrayed into sameness and 
self-repetition, for the subject is one susceptible 
of great variety of treatment, and almost end- 
less diversity of view. (Cheers.) But previous 
public exertions to-day already, and previous 
exertions which are not so public, have con- 
siderably taxed my strength, and you do not 
need to be told that though my spirit b very 
willing, my flesh is rather weak. (Hear and 
cheers.) I mean at a later stage of the even- 
ing to read a metrical eloge upon the Bard, 
which comprises what I have to say respecting 
his poetry, in language more terse, and in a 
style more appropriate to the occasion and the 
theme, than any prose I could use would be. 
(Cheers.) I may, however, just in a sentence, 
say how wonderful has been the sight most of 
us have recently come from witnessing— a sight 



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remarkable, indeed, in itself, as being an ova- 
tion to the memory of a poet, such as the me- 
mory of a poet never before received ; bat a 
sight scarcely less remarkable for the absence 
of all those drawbacks which too often, unfor- 
tunately, accompany great gatherings of the 
people. (Cheers.) Not only was there an 
absence among the thousands through whom, 
with my brother- Masons, I processed to-day, of 
all that could offend the ear of the most delicate, 
or the sight of the most fastidious, but there was 
the presence of such cordial good humour, such 
frank, manly, agreeable openness among men of 
every class of life, that, upon my honour, I never, 
among all the gatherings I have seen, witnessed 
anything to resemble it. (Great cheering.) 
And you, to-night, my friends, are only re- 
flecting in your own pleased looks and happy 
demeanour, the same unanimity and fervour, 
and friendly feeling which marked the larger 
and more miscellaneous concourse elsewhere. 
(Cheers.) Most delightedly do I state the 
fact; most delightedly do I declare that it 
would not, in my belief, have been the least 
pleasing part of the day's ceremonial to the 
Bard himself, if he could but have seen it — the 
Bard whose ardent wish it was to promote 
good- will and kindness amongst mankind^ whose 
lays have done so much to knit more closely 
the ties of friendship, of country, and of kin- 
dred, and whose sentiment points to a happy 
future, which we all most fervently hope to see 
daily more and more realized — 

** When man to man, the warld o'er, 
Shall brithere be, and a* that." 

(Load cheering.) 

The Rev. Mr. Pollok said — Tou are all 
aware that this is a very great night in the 
course of the growing fame of the departed, 
yet living. Bard of Ayrshire. This is truly the 
most interesting of all the nights, for a hundred 
years past, which have been enjoyed by thou- 
sands of his ardent and devoted admirers, who 
have so often met to revere his memory and 
celebrate his praises. It is also the greatest 
night in the whole history of old Ayr herself, a 
town which shall ever form the bright and re- 
nowned centre of the vast undefinable circle of 
countless friends now everywhere assembled, on 
land, and even on sea, over all the regions of 
civilized humanity, to do justice and homage to 
true departed worth. (Cheers.) What mental 
eyes are now turned to Ayr and its environs ! 
The eyes of thousands who would fondly be here 
and enjoy the charms and feelings of our present 
associations ! What thousands of tongues now 
quote the immortal stanzas in which Auld Allo- 
way, the banks of the Doon, the Stinchar, the 
Girvan, the Ayr, and the Lugar, occupy the first 



place? (Cheers.) We Uierefore occupy thb night a 
most honourable and enviable position ; and cold, 
insensible and unfeeling must his dull heart be 
who can pass through Ayr and its environs and 
never feel the awakening and tender emotions of 
poetic fire, even though a poesy-inspired infant 
had never cried at Auld Ailoway on the morn- 
ing of the 25th of January, 1759, or the lad 
bom in Kyle had never sung the " banks and 
braes o' bonnie Doon," for here nature herself 
has given so much richness and variety to her 
works that every rightly formed heart must 
feel her charms. (Cheers.) It has been my 
privilege and delight to visit and revisit theae 
spots for forty years past, and if every time 
recalls old embdmed associations, fancy, ever 
playful and inventive, awakens some new and 
enchanting reflections. What visitant can pass 
over the old time-worn brig, which under the 
fostering care of future admirers may yet see 
another centenary, but Bums and his ''Twa 
Brigs" rush not into his memory ? I never pass 
the head of the High Street but the parting of 
Tarn o' Shanter and Souter Johnny is delineated 
before my fancy, even though there were no 
interested sign-board there recalling the scene. 
(Cheers and laughter.) Every sacred pUce 
here forms its own images and puts forth its 
acts of homage, and though your eyes cannot 
see the man who has immortalized it, you see 
the spot where he moved and spoke, laughed 
and wept, toiled and half-starved, and at other 
times rejoiced in nature's blessings — in a word, 
they realize, as far as possible, him whom from 
our hearts we would fondly wish to see. 
(Cheers.) How highly privileged, therefore, 
are you folk of Ayr, ever dwelling amidst such 
assocuited scenes ! And yet, my friends, there 
is a spot still more dear to me— a verdant, fair, 
and poetic region embalmed in the pure and 
early recollections of my childhood and youth, 
which also lies within the Land of Bums. 
There first my mind and heart studied and felt 
the simple attractions of the unadorned beau- 
ties of nature, whose impressions can never 
leave me to the latest period of my life. I 
spent the days of my childhood and youth on 
the banks of the Ayr, whose lofty rocks, dark 
shadowy woods, rapid meandering streams, and 
deep banks, none can surpass for a combination 
of the wild and the beautiful, the romantic and 
the sublime. If nature has given you an eye 
to scan the beautiful, go there and gaze on her 
fidr unaffected features. Tou will find her 
simple and alluring, pure and perfect — true to 
herself and true to you ; and there often the 
Bard of old Coila sat enchanted and enthralled 
under the power of her charms; and, therefore, 
he says in his letter to the Bonnie Lass o' Bal- 
lochniyle: — **I had roved out, as chance di- 



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AYR.— ASSEMBLY ROOMS. 



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reeled, in tbe favourite haunts of my muse on 
the banks of the Ayr, to view nature in all the 
gaiety of the vernal year : not a breath stirred 
the opening crimson blossom or the verdant 
spreading leaf; it was a golden moment for a 
poetic heart ;" and in his Mary in heaven : — 

" That sacred hoar can I forget? 
Can I forget the sacred grove, 
Where by the winding Avr we met 
To live one day of parting love? " (Cheers.) 

I have seen and oonversed with Mrs. Bums, 
formerly Jane Armour, when on a visit to her 
relations in Mauchline. I have talked and 
''blethered" with the noisy polemic Jamie 
Humphrey, I have discussed religion and poli- 
tics and joked with Adam Armour, Jean's bro- 
ther, and I have seen the man reputed to be 
holy Willie, and I attached no importance to 
these incidents at the time. (Cheers.) They 
were merely the passing events of my thought- 
less youth ; but now, when every scrap of an 
old letter that has any connexion with Bums 
or his posterity is printed and circulated through 
tbe wide world, I am beginning to feel myself 
a man of some importance ; important to you 
and important in the eyes of a kind Providence 
who hajs connected such events with my early 
history. (Cheers.) Of holy Willie I can tell 
you very little, for very few were at that time 
disposed to wear the solemn but unenvied title ; 
but my young fancy pictured him as a tallish, 
lank, reserved man. (Cheers.) Jamie Hum- 
phrey I knew better as the keeper of a small 
toll above Failford, which I often passed. He 
was at this time an old wora-down man, but 
kindly and afiable, ready to speak and be spoken 
to by a passing traveller, to give and to get the 
news of the day, very much corresponding to 
Bums' epitaph : — 

" Under these stanes 
Lie Jamie's banes ; 
O death, it's my opinion, 
Tboa ne'er took sacb a bletherin' " — 

I add no more. (Laughter and cheers.) I 
think as far as my memory serves me it would 
be in the summer of the year 1817, Mrs. Burns 
was on a visit to Mauchline and called at 
Haughholm, where 1 was residing then. She 
was then a stoutish, gtnme woman, of darkish 
complexion, a&ble and easy in manners, and 
although Bums* fertile and enamoured f&ncy 
has arrayed her in all the charms of the sing^u- 
lar beauties of the West, it did not appear that 
she woul(\ ever have had such charms for me. 
(Laughter and cheering.) Her visit was, how- 
ever, most interesting to me, as I was then 
reading Bums and other poetical works with 
very great avidity. I viewed her as a most 



singular being, whose history and close relation 
was entwined with the development of a man 
of true and singular genius. I knew much 
more of Adam Armour than of any of these. 
He was Jean's brother. They had a striking 
fitmily likeness, as all the Armours had. He 
was rather a little man, at least not above 
middle size, a flush of red sat on his cheeks, 
his eyes and complexion were dark, what we 
usually call a ** black-aviced*' man. As he had 
occasion to call sometimes on Mr. Ingram at 
Haughholm, I got acquainted with him, for he 
was then the builder of an extension of Barskim- 
ming house. I found him very fond of discus- 
sion on knotty points of Calvinism, the politics 
of the day, and Bums himself was a favourite 
theme. There was one point on which he felt 
not a little, and I once teazed him on it. The 
Cumnock boxes came at this time into great 
reputation, and those made of the wood of Al- 
loway Kirk were most popular, and brought the 
highest price, and every effort was made to get 
that wood, which was soon exhausted. It was 
supposed by some wiseacres about Mauchline that 
the wood of a certain piece of furniture in their 
own auld Kirk might be equally popular, asso- 
ciated as it had been with a solemn event in 
the history of the Poet ; that if any one could 
get it, it might turn out a very profitable spec. 
(Laughter.) It was reported at the time that 
Adam had put himself, by some means, in pos- 
session of the repenting-stool; but, alas! he 
had soon cause to repent that he had ever built 
his hopes on that foundation, for he found that 
his brother-in-law had told the truth in his 
poetic strains when he says, <<The best laid 
schemes of men and mice gang aft agee." The 
stool was all worm-eaten, and good for nothing ; 
and I told him he might have foreseen that, 
since so much conruption had sat on it. (Great 
laughter.) I am happy to say his contract at 
Barskimming turned out better. It was an ex- 
cellent paying job, with which he was highly 
pleased, and he used to say jocularly to Mrs. 
Ingram that by the time it was finished he would 
be ready to die. And it was rather remarkable 
that he did die suddenly and unexpectedly about 
that time. Adam was a most devoted admirer of 
the Poet. I shall add only one other contempo- 
rary and friend of Bums, which I do foraparticu- 
lar reason. Your worthy and talented chairman 
has introduced me as the bosom friend of the 
author of the <^ Course of Time," which leads 
me to express an opinion of Bums and his 
works. I have spent many nights at Moor- 
house, slept with Robert PoUok, and at times 
talked the half of the night away, and I knew 
well his opinion of Bums. I may mention that 
when students there were six of us formed a 
society for criticbing authors, reading essays. 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY, 



and engaging in literary discussions. We 
could not at first agree what should be the 
name of this society, when it was agreed to 
take a letter from the name of each of the six 
members — three PoUoks, and Williamson, Marr, 
and Wright — and of these was formed Polwat, 
and we called ourselves " The Polwat Society." 
I recollect the opinion that was then formed of 
Burns. That Shakspeare, the prince of Na- 
ture's poets, draws a perfect picture, which he 
never sullies by one single touch of his own 
finger. He can be a witch or a monarch, an 
lago or a Moor, a Desdemona or a Shrew, and 
you never see the man himself. Byron must 
ever be the hero of his piece. He is Childe 
Harold, Don Juan, and his loves and domestic 
adversity must mingle their sombre features in 
almost every portion of his works. Burns pos- 
sesses the power of telling a transaction as if 
he saw it. His descriptions are true to life, 
clothed in words familiar to all, which secures 
his works universal esteem. Take the descrip- 
tion of Caesar with his braw brass-lettered col- 
lar, or Luath with his honest, sonsie, baws'nt 
face, his white breast, his black glossy back, 
and his gausie tail swirled o'er his hurdles, and 
you think you see them. About twelve years 
ago, a very severe stricture was made on Burns 
and hb works by an old friend of mine, the 
Rev. G-eorge GilfiUan of Dundee, and in that 
philippic he drew a horrific picture of the clos- 
ing scene of the last days of Burns, in which 
he did, as I then supposed, great injustice to 
departed worth. The whole matter appeared 
to me to be a most reckless, heartless, unfeel- 
ing, and unmanly attack on moral character, 
quite uncalled for even though it had been 
substantiated ; and it was so far met and re- 
pelled at the time by the friends and admirers 
of the poet. I do hold that the works of Bums 
are public property : a man may speak of them 
and him as he pleases, responsible, however, to 
the tribunal of public opinion. Every human 
production has its blemishes, but an unsubstan- 
tiated attack on moral character none can jus- 
tify. I am happy to find, however, that Mr. 
Gilfillan has lately announced a change of opin- 
ion. (Hear, and cheers.) It was the misfor- 
tune of Burns to live in an age and among 
society who spoke with pleasantry and levity 
of solemn things, perhaps in some cases with 
no ill intention, as when he said to a lady 
whom he visited, when very unwell, toward 
the end of his days — ** Madam, have you any 
commands for the other world ? " On that oc- 
casion he spoke also seriously in the prospect 
of his death. I mention in connexion with 
these things that about five years ago, when 
preaching in Dumfries, I met with a lady who 
was a contemporary and intimate friend in 



Burns' family. She was a hearer of mine on 
that occasion. I was introduced to her on re- 
tiring from church, and called on her after. 
The following reference is made to her by 
Burns, recently before his death, in one of his 
last letters to Mrs. Bums: — ''I am happy to 
hear by Miss Jess Lewars that you are well. 
My very best and kindest compliments to her 
and all the children. I will see you on Sun- 
day. Your affectionate husband, Robebt 
Burns." Jess Lewars was at this time about 
eighteen years of age. When I saw her she 
was a fine-looking old woman, in the perfect 
use of all her faculties, and of active, lively 
mind, the widow of a respectable lawyer, sur- 
rounded by a daughter, and a son following 
the same profession. Her name was then Mrs. 
Thomson. She showed me some interesting 
manuscripts which she had had in her posses- 
sion from before the time of Burns' death. 
They were written on herself. She was often 
in the family, and was present at his death. I 
embraced this opportunity to ascertain, so far 
as possible, from this eye-witness, who was 
well educated, intelligent, and had moved in a 
very respectable circle of society, what was her 
opinion of Bums* views and feelings on the 
prospect of death, and in his last moments; 
and I found that though Burns was grievously 
tortured by rheumatism, pale and emaciated by 
indigestion, and agitated by palpitation of the 
heart, though he was deeply concerned about 
leaving his wife, with five young children, in 
poverty, and about to add a sixth to the num- 
ber, — ^though all these and other cares pressed 
hard on the peace of his last moments — ^yet she 
maintained that he was calm and resigned; 
and that it was her own ardent wish to die 
with the like fortitude and triumph. In a 
word, he seems to have died in the character 
and spirit of these beautiful lines, which he has 
embodied in one of his last epistles to Mrs. 
Dunlop, his earliest patroness : — 

"When pleasure fascinates the mental sight, 
Affliction purifies the visual ray, 
Religion hails the drear, the untried night 
That shuts, for ever shuts, life's doubtful day.'' 

When I look, Sir, to the Rev. Dr. Lawrie, the 
Rev. Mr. Skinner, Dr. Moore, Dr. Blacklock, 
Professor Dugald Stewart, and others, the early 
friends and patrons of Burns, I certainly do 
not think myself out of place this night, but I 
esteem it an honour and privilege to support 
your worthy chairman in conducting this large 
and respectable meeting. (The Reverend Gen- 
tleman sat down amidst great applause.) 

The Rev. Mr. Markland said : — I do not 
rbe up to make a formal speech, — I had a 
speech ready had it been needed, but your 



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AYR.— MASONIC DINNER. 



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programme has been so well filled up as not to 
admit of the insertion of my name, so you 
must accept of the will for the deed. Three 
points have been adverted to to-night in rela- 
tion to the poet Burns, on each of which I 
would make one remark. In the first place, 
whilst his poems only brought to himself d^900, 
large sums have been realized from them since. 
In the second place, Shakspeare is unrivalled 
in tragedy — perhaps Burns would not have 
equalled him in that walk — but it is hardly 
fair to institute a comparison between them, as 
Bums was not spared to write a tragedy. In 
the third place, the expression, ^' Madam, have 
you any commands for the other world," ad- 
dressed by the poet to a lady — an invalid, like 
himself, seeking health — upon entering her 
room, was, in my opinion, a beautiful sally of 
wit, uttered in all seriousness at the time, with 
a mind conscious that it was approaching the 
portals of the other world. (Cheers.) £bving 
read a few verses composed for the occasion, 
the Rev. gentleman concluded by saying, — I 
now proceed to discharge the duty which has 
devolved upon me — that of proposing a vote of 
thanks to our Chairman for his worthy conduct 
in the chair. (Loud and prolonged cheering.) 

The Chairman briefly thanked Mr. Mark- 
land and the audience. His friend had spoken 
very kindly, and they had received their Chair- 
man's name very cordially. Whatever some 
might think of his (the chairman's) politics, and 
whatever he (the chairman) might think of 
theirs, he could say very sincerely to them all 
— ^Whigs, Radicals, and Tories — ^that if they 
were half as well as their Chairman wished, 
God knows, thev would not be ill off. (Re- 
newed cheering.) 

Mr. Clabkb then proposed a vote of thanks 
to the Strangers, which was briefly acknow- 
ledged by Rev. Mr. PoUok, who expressed the 
high delight which he had enjoyed that evening. 

The Chairman, in the course of the even- 
ing, read an Ode, which was much applauded 
during recital, and followed by prolonged and 
enthusiastic cheering. 

Mr. Wight, in neat and appropriate terms, 
expressed the delight of the company for the 
great pleasure they received from the efibrts of 
the Ayr Musical Association, and called for a 
vote of thanks, which was given in repeated 
rounds of applause. The Association played 
their acknowledgments in a fine selection of 
Scotch airs. The Chairman then called for the 
gentlemen of the meeting to give three cheers 
for the Ladies who had honoured them with 
their company— a duty which they performed 
in such a truly entliusiastic style, as showed 
that they were tremendously in earnest ; and 
after singing '^Auld Langsyne," one of the 



merriest companies broke up shortly after eleven 
o'clock, the band playing " G-od save the Queen." 



MASONIC DINNER. 

The Freemasons dined together in the Corn 
Exchange at 5 o'clock. The Hall was deco- 
rated with large and tastefully-arranged arches 
of evergreens, banners, &c. Br. the Rev. 
Robert Thomson, Edinburgh, ofiiciated as chair- 
man; and Brs. the Rev. Francis Rae, Ayr, and 
the Rev. James Crawford, Crossbill, officiated 
as croupiers. The company was honoured for 
a time with the presence of Brs. Sir James 
Fergusson, Bart., and Professor W. £. Aytoun, 
who were received with full masonic honours, 
and cordially harmonised with the brethren. 

The Chairman having given << The Queen;" 
'' The G-rand Lodges of England, Ireland, and 
Scotland;" the "Army and Navy;" the Crou- 
pier (Rae) proposed ^<The British Legislature" 
in a very neat speech. 

The Chairman then rose and proposed the 
toast of the evening, in a long and eloquent 
speech, in which he referred to the important 
subject in language at once poetical and philo- 
sophical. When in yonder lonely, homely cot, 
there was bom a peasant's son, little did his 
mother or the fond father think, as they saw 
the young stranger for the first time, when the 
gossip keekit in his loof, and said — 

" This waly boy will prove nae coof, 
I think we*U ca' him Robin " — 

little did hb parents think what honours were 
in store for their son Robin — ^little did they 
think what would be done that day one 
hundred years after, in honour of the illustrious 
memory of their infant son, whose genius was 
to become the boast and renown of not only his 
beloved native land, but of all lands whose 
freedom had not found a grave, and even there 
the liberty-inspiring sentiments of his patriotic 
songs would cause again liberty, though dead, 
to spring to life and vigour, as strong as his 
own native instincts and impassioned soul. 
(Cheers.) At the singing of his sublime and 
bold national hymn, " Scots wha hae wi' Wal- 
lace bled," do we ever think that there could be 
found men who would not feel as if inspired by 
some spirit of resistless power, which would 
make them, in the cause of their country, rights, 
and liberties, as strong as the resistless tides of 
the raging sea, in defence of all that is held 
holy, sacred, good, and great in Britun. (Loud 
cheers.) Though the prince of Scottish poets, 
we offer him neither incense, flattery, nor sacri- 
fice; that is only the work of die heathen 
philosophical world, of the poor selfish wor- 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



shippers of the Goddess of Reason. But our 
proceedings here this day, as we believe it is 
the same everywhere else, is to pay a debt of 
honour, a tribute of respect and gratitude, to 
the memory of the greatest of our Scottish 
poets, and in doing so we above aU give Qod 
all the thanks and praise, that he gave us not 
only freedom, but it was doubly given, when, 
in language which will last as long as any 
literature was written in characters of fire, the 
seintiUations of a bright and burning patriotism 
which has given us the hme of great patriotsi 
Wallace and Bruce, to be a theme of admiration 
and imitation to all the noble youth, of not only 
Scotland but of the world, who are the base, 
because they are the strength of the land as 
bold peasantry, and as Xenophon said, that he 
was worthy of as much honour as those whose 
great deeds and battles he recorded — ^for if the 
hero had none to record his feats of arms, what 
would it signify to posterity, for they would 
be all in a state of ignorance if they were left, 
unnoticed and unknown, to ** waste their fra- 
grance on the desert air." Not only did Burns 
immortalise by his verse the glorious memory 
of our greatest patriots, but he has attained in 
his simple but sublime Muse the true tone and 
feeling of a great and free people ; and if the 
remark of a certain philosoplier is to be held as 
worth anything, we must see him in a yet 
stronger and more enduring light. If the 
power to make the songs of a country be de- 
clared to be equal, if not superior, to the 
power to make that country's laws, then see 
what a power Robert Bums has had, and still 
has, and will have, on each and every system of 
legislation in this country. And wherever his 
songs are known they will be admired, as they 
are most deservedly in the wide dominions of 
Britain, and in many other lands whose greatest 
minds are, with us, united in paying a tribute 
to the renown and memory of a poor but honest 
poet, who held the plough with the one hand 
while he held the pen of poetic inspiration with 
the other. While he wrought on the earth he 
was led by a power seldom given to mortal man. 
Bums was no hypocrite. He was a really 
honest man. He gave the true photograph of 
his soul in his poems. He hid nothing. He 
told fearlessly his hopes, his fears, his griefe, 
his joys, his loves and hatreds, his faith and his 
follies. But if he had been a crafty, ambitious, 
worldly man, he would have adopted more 
closely his own advice in one of his poems, to 

*' Keep Bometbing to ycnsel' 
Ye wadna tell to ony." 

This he did not. He gave, because he was 
both able and willing, the workings and the 
waywardness of his heart; yet, in doing so, it 



was more from the result of unhappy circum- 
stances than of designed mischief or intended 
evil. But it Is the &ct of his inborn indepen- 
dence of character that is the key to that com- 
plexion of poetry which alike gives the tone to 
the good and the bad of his poetry. We need 
not enter into any string of quotations of the 
sentiments from the poems and letters of Bums. 
They are no doubt better known to you than 
myself, and I will conclude by calling on you 
to drink a flowing bumper to the honoured 
memory of our greatest National Bard, Robert 
Burns. 

Br. D. Anderson proposed the health of the 
Clergy, to which the Croupier replied. 

Br. J. Davidson gave "The Provincial 
Grand Master for Ayrshire, Br. Sir James 
Fergusson." 

Air, " Will ye no come back again ? " Song by Br. 
LiTingston. 

Sir Jambs Ferousson acknowledged the 
compliment. 

Br. William Frain gave "The Living 
Poets," which was repil^ to by Professor 
Aytoun. 

The Rev. Br. Rae proposed the Ladies. 

Air, " A vrshire Lasses." Song, " Duncan Gray." 
—Br. Dunlop fittingly replied. 

Other toasts followed ; and having proposed 
the Chairman, that gentleman replied, giving 
the health of Brs. Rae and Crawford. 

Br. Watson, R.W.M., of the Ayr Royal Arch 
Lodge, in the course of the evening read an 
Original Ode to the memory of Burns. 



"THE COTTAGE" DEMONSTRATION 

Was a great success, and must have been 
highly gratifying to those members of the 
Burns Club who agreed to hold a commemora- 
tive festival in the ^'auld clay biggin." The 
Hall (which was beautifully decorated with 
evergreens, and quotations from Bums' works, 
painted on calico) was crowded in every part, 
but such was the enthusiasm of the company, 
numbering upwards of eighty, that the too 
limited accommodation was forgotten in the 
feelings of pride with which all were animated 
in having had the privilege of participating in 
the Centenary celebration on the spot of the 
Poet's birth. Let men say what they will, 
there is such a thing as the spirit of the spot' 
Where the memories and associations of a hun- 
dred years thicken and cluster, there must be 
additional vitality. By this very circumstance, 
unquestionably, must the celebration at Al- 
loway have been rendered peculiarly sacred 
and absorbing. The Rev. P. H. Waddell, 
Girvan, presided, supported on either side by 



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AYR.— "THE COTTAGE" DEMONSTRATION. 



Ill 



Messrs. George Gilfillan, George Morton, John 
Struthers, H. Girvan, D. CampbeU, Walter 
Stewart, C. B. Rowan, T. Gray, Dr. Burns, 
&C. Robert Story, Esq., of the Audit office, 
Somerset House, London, "the Northumber- 
land Poet," discharged the duties of croupier, 
supported by Messrs. R. Goudie, sen., Geo. 
Tod, Wm. Brown, A. Weir, Wra. Ibbetson, 

Sheffield ; Little, Edinburgh ; T. Duncan, 

Glasgow ; Dr. Wield, &c. &c. 

Apologies for non-attendance were read from 
Dr. Ghas. M'Eay, Rlustrated London News; 
Dr. Waller, Dublin; Kenny Meadows, Esq., 
artist; Wm. Maccall, Esq., of the London 
Critic ; and Mr. Carruthers, editor of the In- 
verness Courier. 

The orchestra was ably occupied by Mr. 
Harvey's band. The company, at six o'clock, 
Greenwich time, pledged a bumper to the me- 
mory of Burns — a similar mark of respect hav- 
ing been paid at the same hour in the London 
Tavern, and other festive meetings throughout 
the country. 

On the removal of the cloth, the usual loyal 
toasts were given. 

The Chairman, who was greeted with im- 
mense applause, then rose and said: — ^Mr. 
Croupier and Gentlemen — In other circum- 
stances some apology would have been required 
for the brevity with which the preceding toasts 
of this evening have been proposed : but not a 
man nor gentleman, I am sure, in her Majesty's 
service ; not a lord, nor an earl, nor a prince of 
whatsoever degree in the empire, but will ex- 
cuse that brevity ; her Majesty herself, if she 
were present, would understand it, for she is 
too much a woman, and too much a Queen, not 
to know that the royalty of genius cannot be 
kept too long waiting. The truth is, gentle- 
men, that in the company and presence of men 
like Shakapeare and Burns, all ranks, all dis- 
tinctions, all orders whatsoever vanish. For my 
own part, I see nor hear for the moment any 
earthly conventional intrusion. The bodies of 
men themselves seem to disappear, and be ab- 
sorbed in that universal, peerless, pervading 
sovereignty of the human soul ! Before that 
alone I stand ; with that alone I hold commu- 
nion. Yet for the very recognition of that 
sovereignty, bodies themselves are required. 
It is now one hundred years ago since the wife 
of a peasant, on this very spot, was made happy 
in the birth of a son, blessed beyond many a 
mother in Israel, triumphed at the behest of 
nature, and remembered no more the anguish 
for joy that a man was born into the world — 
with clouds of glory, of inspiration, and of 
poetry wrapped thick about his head, uncon- 
sciously to her — who was destined to be known 
thereafter to his country, to the world, and to 



mankind, as Robert Bums. (Cheers.) To 
commemorate that birth, gentlemen, and on the 
very spot where it was accomplished, in storm 
and uproar, with pain and difficulty, are we 
this night, in grateful wonder and with fraternal 
sympathy, assembled. To myself it seems the 
wonderful event in my own life, wonderful and 
gratifying, as the birth of a first-bom, that I 
should have the honour of presiding among 
you; but the fact that I believe in a gospel 
which teaches the revelation of the Deity — 
which teaches myself, at least, to recognise and 
venerate the likeness of the Deity in all His 
rational creatures — to recognise, ay almost to 
adore it in a man like Robert Bums, with what- 
ever imperfections may adhere to the tabernacle 
of clay ; and the fact that I have been honestly 
preaching that, both in Ayrshire and elsewhere, 
may have something to do with it ; certainly, 
gentlemen, in the faith of such a gospel I live, 
and the faith of such a gospel I preach, and the 
honour of such a gospel, transforming and in- 
spiring, I believe to be as safe this night in 
your hands, and under the shadow of this roof, 
as in the hands of the most solemn assembly of 
divines, or in any pulpit in Christendom — 
(cheers) — ^here, where we have met, with bro- 
therly accord, by the very threshold where he 
came into existence, to make the night for ever 
sacred to ourselves, and to thank the Everlast- 
ing Father, for having made such a man. 
(Cheers.) I have been charged of late with 
being out of my senses about Robert Burns, 
and of exceeding the limits of propriety and 
truth in my eulogies of him. Be it so. I am 
not more out of my senses than all Ayrshire — 
than all Scotland — than the world ; and, as for 
eulogies, gentlemen, what eulogy could I pro- 
nounce — could you, or I, or all of us pronounce, 
that would have half the eloquence of that 
ecstatic homage which a whole nation is now 
paying, with reverently bared brow and defer- 
ential attitude, to the outline of his spirit in the 
clouds ? Scotland, gentlemen, was never more 
in her senses than p.t this moment: after a 
slumberous dream of fifty years, incredulous 
admiration has awoke thb day to realise the 
fact of her own divinity. Eulogy, my friends! 
the uttermost of eulogy that we could speak 
would be but as the voices of children in a 
choras of the winds. The universe of our 
nationality — ^the intensest nationality that ever 
existed — ^is now full of him. Every man now 
breathes, every man now sees and hears him ; 
and we are all but the individual pipes that 
send up the harmonious acclaim of love and 
admiration of his genius to the stars. It is not 
to pronounce eulogy, gentlemen, nor to do any 
other idle or merely gratuitous work, that I 
am before you to-night — ^no ! but to look into 



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the very face of Bums, and tell you how I love 
him ; to ask you to look into his face, and lov- 
ingly and truly understand him; to look 
gratefully and affectionately in hb face, and 
thank G-od for having made him. (Cheers.) 
Yes, gentlemen, I say to thank God for having 
made him ! (Cheers.) It is said of Linnasus, 
the great high-priest of the floral world, that 
when he first saw a field of British whins in 
bloom, he fell fast upon his knees to thank God 
for having made anything so beautiful: and 
well he might, for, common as it is, it is the 
most perfect combination of fragrance, of gold, 
and of verdure in the world, and for ever in 
season. "Love,** they say, "and the whin, 
are never out of season ; winter and summer 
they are always true ! " (Cheers.) And when 
or where is Burns out of season ? From Cali- 
fornia to Japan, from Australia to the wilds of 
Canada, wherever Scotchmen are — that is ev- 
erywhere — and to-night, on the 25th of Janu- 
ary, 1859, he is as much in season, nay, a thou- 
sand times more, than he ever was since his 
name was known. To himself belong^ the 
perpetual green, to him the perennial gold; 
to himself the pervading sweetness — a sweet- 
ness richer than whin or the blossom'd rose 
can boast ; to him the bonnet-load, the headful 
of golden melodies — where the bee may sit and 
suck, which the humming-bird with burnished 
plumage may toy and kiss, and the butterfly 
with quaking wings and luxurious eyes may 
settle on and inhale; under whose strong hand 
the woodlark and the linnet, the blackbird and 
thrush, may sing, safe and melodious, till the 
whole land seems musically bewitched; to him, 
abo, belong the lances and the thorns, of which 
let all fools and intermeddling dunces beware ! 
(Cheers.) Yes, gentlemen, he is for ever in 
season, for ever fresh, for ever golden, for ever 
true and strong. Thank God, will you not; 
or let me thank him for having made such a 
man! (Cheers.) But how, in reality, my 
friends, does God make such men — ^men like 
Moses, like Homer, like Shakspeare, like Burns? 
Of common dust ? Yes ! but of the concen- 
trated essence of common dust, sublimed and 
purified for five hundred or a thousand years. 
These are not stray births, nor mere accidental 
creations. (Cheers.) They are grand, because 
they represent the grandeur of generations — 
they are great, because the vital element of a 
whole people is concentrated in their veins. 
Hebrew, Greek, or Anglo-Saxon, they were 
great first as the representatives of their own 
people, before they were great as types of man- 
kind. All the most characteristic elements of 
national greatness are accumulated in them, 
heaped upon their heads, or intensified in their 
constitutions ; and so they become wonders to 



the world as the incarnate spiritual essence of 
immortal millions. Of the adamant and crystal 
of the Jewish mind God made Moses with that 
eye of his, where was the very body of heaven 
in its clearness ; of the lustrous marbles of tlie 
Archipelago he fashioned the head of Homer ; 
the fictile clay of England, the finest, the best, 
the most impressible and retentive, he set upon 
his potter's wheel, and off came the mask of 
the myriad-minded Shakspeare ; and from the 
unmolten iron of the northern hemisphere, full 
of heat and fire, full of rage and love, fiill 
of music and electricity, he selected the most 
precious portion, and cast into the furnace of 
human passion seven times heated, ay, with the 
concentrated heat of five hundred years, and 
out came Robert Burns— (cheers)-l-glowing, 
fiashing, blazing hot — (cheers) — ^ringing, echo- 
ing, reverberating with song, glancing and co- 
ruscating with wit and humour — (cheers) — as 
musical as the bells of Moscow, as clear as a 
jubilee trumpet, as divinely authoritative as the 
horns of the priests at the downfall of Jericho I 
(Great cheering.) Yet there are mortals, in 
other respects reasonable enough, and entitled 
to respect from qualities in themselves tliat 
constitute respectability, who cavil at tliis work- 
manship of the Deity ; who are not satisfied 
with his performance — who would like to ope- 
rate on the eye of Moses, to remodel the bust 
of Homer, to cancel the mask of Shakspeare, to 
touch the heart of Robert Bums ! What, sir, 
would these insatiable intermeddlers have? 
No Moses, no Homer, no Shakspeare, and no 
Burns at all ! That would be the practical re- 
sult of their intrusive labours. For Moses, 
Homer, and Shakspeare we have less concern 
to-night. They hitherto have spoken, and will 
for ever speak for themselves. But how of 
Burns? In what respect would such inter- 
meddlers with the divine workmanship improve 
him ? The sum of their objections and their 
regret seems to be that he was not a Covenants 
er or a Puritan; and this they would have 
rectified by some addition to his constitution 
which the Almighty Maker himself did not see 
necessary. We may grant this, and do grant 
it. He was not a Covenanter, had not the ele- 
ment of religious zeal, self-sacrificing, in his 
constitution; but he had another element, 
equally valuable in its own place, for whose 
divine excess he was no more responsible than 
a Leyden jar is for an overcharge of electricity. 
(Cheers.) All honour to our covenanting fore- 
fathers — men of whom the world was not 
worthy — ^heroes of liberty and martyrs of the 
faith, who knew both how to live and die. 
(Loud cheers.) But, with all tlie elements of 
heroism and self-sacrifice which were in them, 
and by which they became world-famous as 



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AYR.— "THE COTTAGE" DEMONSTRATION. 



113 



types of their race, they were not precisely 
what we call poeta — prophets and martyrs they 
might be — but poets they were not. Now, 
you cannot have everything at once ; God, I 
perceive, does not accord that, either to men 
or angels, in life or history. Nay, in the crea- 
tion of a man like Bums, he does not even 
consult our wishes or listen to our prayers at 
all. To the elements of genius, intellect, in- 
telligence, imagination in him, God added the 
vehemence of passion and the distraction of de- 
sire, and the man became a Poet — not a Cove- 
nanter, not a Puritan ; no! but an impassioned 
psalmist, headlong, almost ungovernable — 
snatching up the affections of a whole nation, 
and hurrying on with them to immortality. 
(Cheers.) And such a man was needed, I say; 
as much needed in the Divine economy of the 
universe as any hero, any prophet, any martyr, 
any Puritan that ever lived — and specially 
needed at the very crisis when God was pleased 
to call him into exbtence. Scotchmen before 
that were known to be patriots and covenant- 
ers, self-devoters, self-sacrificers for liberty and 
conscience ; Wallace, Bruce, Knox, and Cam- 
eron had already lived ; and such a band of heroes 
the world had never seen spring from the soil of 
any one country before, — Judea alone excepted. 
But they were never known to be the deposi- 
tories of a passion that was almost self-destroy- 
ing, as reckless and vehement, as musical and 
profound as a tornado, till Bums appeared — 
nay, the world itself was not supposed to be 
capable of producing a phenomenon of intensity 
and power like him. Till he was bora, no such 
man was known ; and since his disappearance, 
no other such for a thousand years need be 
expected ; and do you wonder that he should 
have shot like a meteor through our hemisphere? 
or do you quarrel with the trifling aberrations 
or flery comscations of his path? Understand, 
then, that such things are attendant on the 
passage of the Deity among mortals! The 
nations must look for electric shocks when 
God makes his way amongst them ! (Repeated 
cheering.) On the same small field of criti- 
cism, regrets are often heard that he did not 
employ his gifts to some sacred purpose, such 
as writing prose poems, el^ies, and hymns — 
like Montgomery, Watts, or Hemans. — All 
honour to them in their places. But on the 
same principle men may wonder and complain 
that the boiling springs of Iceland are not tile 
drains — (cheers)---or that the sea of Galilee is 
not a fish pond — (cheers) — or that the river 
Jordan is not a canal. (Cheers.) You cannot 
have both in the same personality. God made 
the Geysers, Smith of Deanston made the tile 
drains; God made Galilee, Solomon made 
Heshbon ; God made the Jordan, the Earl of 



Bridgewater made the canals! That is the 
difierence! (Cheers.) You cannot alter it, 
and you would not exchange it. Even if you 
would, God will not permit you. In his divine 
liberality he gives you the Geysers, gives you 
Galilee, gives you the Jordan ; which you must 
gratefully accept at his own hands, and be 
silent. The song-writer and the psalmist are 
equally divine; and your cavilling or objecting 
on that score is only a proof of ignorance or 
inexperience. (Loud clieers.) But what, after 
all, it is exclaimed, is this Burns in reality? A 
song-writer! Yes, a song-writer! as if that 
were nothing. Why, gentlemen, what is a 
song? 'Tis the very coining of the heart in 
love or rage, in joy or sorrow, into links of 
golden melody, to reach and bind all other 
souls of men together — such and no less — the 
breathing of ecstatic ether on the world, — 
handicraft for a god ! (Cheers.) The man 
that has written one good song is immortal — 
has contributed an inheritance to the world. 
Sappho lives in virtue of a single song — has 
made herself immortal by one such outpouring. 
What then shall we say of him who, besides all 
other glorious doings, bequeathed some 260 of 
these imperishable breathings to his country 
and the world without fee, without reward; 
who coined himself away in melody, and died 
of song? Why, gentlemen, he swallows up 
poor Sappho, lyre and all — (cheers) — ^like the 
amorous sea; and having dedicated this im- 
mortal gift to the honour of his country — I 
may say to the very redemption of his country 
— he is just as much entitled to the gratitude, 
to the love, and to the worship of his country, 
as any martyr, any prophet, any lawgiver, or 
philosopher, that ever existed. (Cheers.) But, 
gentlemen, he was more than a song-writer — 
grreat as such distinction is ; he was the philo- 
sopher, the prophet, and the martyr too. The 
philosopher he was, in the highest sense, of 
humanity itself with all its passions ; the pro- 
phet he was of a higher faith and a truer life 
for his countrymen and for mankind, than any 
they bad hitherto known ; and a martyr he was to 
the independence of intellect and the lofty pre- 
rogatives of genius, sacrificing himself for the 
great truth of man's inherent nobility — (cheers) 
— ^and in these respects, gentlemen, he was as 
much entitled to our veneration and our grati- 
tude as Knox, Cameron, or Chalmers. (Cheers.) 
As a minister of the gospel, when on this topic, 
I have yet another word to say: — Robert 
Burns was not a clergyman. No, Sirs; but he 
was the reformer of the clergy — (cheers) — the 
sternest rebuker of their ignorance and profli- 
gacy; for this, I, at least, will always thank 
and honour him. (Cheers.) But it was in a 
still higher sense that I regard him as the pro- 

H 



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phet of hb generation. At the time of his 
appearance what was the moral condition of 
Europe? Our religious friends forget this. 
Why, all Europe was sunk in atheism, flooded 
with tlie shallow and abominable irreligion 
of Voltaire, or shaken with the profounder and 
more potent scepticism of Hume. Against this 
flood, by God's all-wise inscrutable appoint- 
ment, a standard was unconsciously, almost 
heedlessly lifted by a peasant lad. Drawing 
his inspiration from the trees, and the rocks, 
and the rivers, and the lakes, and mountains 
of his native land, but chiefly from the heart 
itself that was burning and yearning for utter- 
ance like a volcano within him, and fashioning 
such inspiration into musical words, he rolled 
back the deluge of unbelief with songs and 
fables such as men had never before heard, 
saying, in the name of God, '' Hitherto shalt 
thou come, and no farther!*' (Cheers.) Why, 
gentlemen, as believers in Christianity, and as 
ministers of the gospel, we owe infinite obliga- 
tions to him. (Cheers.) And now for his 
personality — What was he? What like was 
he? How did he live? And how did he die? 
God is no respecter of persons, gentlemen, and 
I have no right to be; neither do I speak it 
as in the spirit of senseless or illiberal boasting 
against any class ; but I confess honestly that 
a thrill of gratitude to God pervades me when 
I remember he was a son of the common people, 
and of no exclusive rank — (cheers) — that he 
was in fact born a peasant ; that God took him 
witli all the elements of his existence out of the 
bosom of thepeople^(cheers) — that he was theirs, 
and drew the very inspiration that glorified him 
from the soil on which he trod and laboured. 
(Cheers.) Yes, gentlemen, he was one of our- 
selves; but, like the fabled demigod of old, 
when he touched his mother earth again, he 
became instinct with vitality and strength. 
(Cheers.) The fire of poetry in him shot up- 
wards from his very feet out of the ground ; 
and from head to foot he was full of it ! As 
for his look, his noble brow, his deep, dark, 
eloquent eye, and sweet melodious lips — ^these 
were his own inalienable characteristics; but 
in other matters he was like the rest of us — a 
brother man and mortal. (Cheers.) "In a 
licht blue coat o' his mither's making and dye- 
ing, ay, and o* his mither's sewing in thae days; 
and his bonnie black hair hinging doon and 
curling oVr the neck o't ; a buik in his han' — 
ay, a buik in his han' an whiles his bonnet 
aneath his tither ockster, and didna ken that 
he was bare-headed ; gaun about the dykesides 
and hedges ; an idler, ye ken — an idler just, 
that did little but read; and even on the 
hairst-rig, it was soup and soup, and then the 
buik — (cheers) — soup and soup and then the 



bnik! (Prolonged cheers.) He wasna to 
ca' a very bonnie man; dark and strong; 
but uncommon invitin' in his speech, uncom- 
mon. (Cheers.) Ye couldna hae cracked 
wi' him for ae minute, but ye wad hae 
stooden' four or five!" (Cheers.) So have 1 
heard him described by an aged eye-witness— 
(now no more) — of the first reading of bis 
" Holy Fair," across a chair- back at Mauchline, 
when he was in * great glee* — and I doubt not 
it is as true as any photograph. (Cheers.) 
And how did he live, gentlemen? On this 
most delicate, painful, and sadly controverted 
topic, if you consult his enemies, those who 
hated or did not understand him, whom he had 
chastised and who smarted under his inflictions, 
you will be told that he was a reprobate and 
dangerous man ; and eavesdroppers about Dum- 
fries and elsewhere will strive to corroborate 
this, for miserable notoriety — perhaps for gain 
— that he was a slave to drink, a slave to pas- 
sion, and a slave to profanity. If you consult 
those on the other hand who did know, and did 
love, and did understand him, they will not 
deny some errors ; for the beloved of their re- 
collections was a man ; but they will assure 
you at the same time, perhaps with tears of 
affection, that he was a second father to his 
father's orphan family, that he taught younger 
brothers and sisters to read and write, that be 
prayed night and morning for them with a 
devotion and fervency they never elsewhere 
heard; that he was a kind master, a true 
friend, a compassionate man, a loving husband, 
and most indulgent father. (Cheers.) This 
you will hear on the other side, and can judge 
for yourselves between them : both accounts 
cannot be true ; and I know to which account 
my own faith unhesitatingly, instinctively in- 
clines ; and for the other, let it go down, as it 
deserves, into perpetual oblivion I (Cheers.) 
And now, gentlemen — How did he die ? Ah, 
sirs, there lies the question and the mystery ! 
He did not die — he is not dead — ^he scarcely 
sleepeth — he is at this moment as much, and 
perhaps more, a vital essence and living power, 
than when he was with us in the flesh! 
(Cheers.) No, gentlemen, he is not dead, and 
cannot die. The ague fit that freed him from 
the bonds of clay, let loose his spirit on the 
world, and gave it wings of fire that will bear 
it triumphant wherever there are sympathetic 
souls in the universe. (Cheers.) Not dead is 
he, but only disembodied and difiused; -and 
the gift of life that was then concentrated in 
himself has since become the inheritance of 
mankind ! (Cheers.) To the great and good, 
my friends, there b no death ; for tliem that 
love, and for them that think, there is only 
immortality, and perpetual, honoured remcni- 



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AYR.— REFORM MEETING. 



115 



brance. Nor is this an apotlieosis, or mere 
heathen deification of some deceased brother 
mortal, and the raising of his image for idola- 
trous worship to the clouds : no, sirs, it is a 
spiritual resurrection, a rising again from the 
dead of a soul as deathless as our own, and the 
breathing again of its own undying life among 
the men that remain and wonder. (Cheers.) 
To your feet, gentlemen, — ^to your feet ; and 
observe the toast we pledge. To Bums, to 
Robert Burns, the illustrious, the immortal! 
(The delivery of this speech was received with 
a vehemence of appreciatory enthusiasm, and 
the toast itself pledged with a sort of rapture 
that cannot be described. The cheering was 
lusty and long continued, and the toast was 
drunk with all the honours.) 

Song — "There was a lad was bom in Kyle" — Mr. 
Qirran. 

The Croupier here recited with great effect 
and amid loud cheering, some Commemorative 
Stanzas, especially written for the occasion. 

Mr. OiLFiLLAN gave " The Poets of Eng- 
land," in connection with the health and pros- 
perity of Mr. Story. 

Song— "Ever of Thee Vm fondly dreaming"— Mr. 
Btaffod, teacher, AUoway. 

Mr. Stort returned thanks. 

Mr. Qeoroe Morton proposed " The Me- 
mory of Professor Wilson." — About fourteen 
or fifteen years ago, on the banks of yon clas- 
sic river, and within a stone-cast or two of the 
place where they were assembled, a great and 
glorious demonstration had taken place in hon- 
our of him, the centenary of whose birth they 
were met to celebrate. Up to that day Scot- 
land had remained indifferent to the claims of 
her poetic genius. But at length she had nobly 
roused herself to wipe away the stinging sar- 
casm that she was hardly just to the merits of 
her bard. Upon that occasion men of all ranks, 
classes, and distinctions had congregated in one 
great living mass to worship at the shrine of 
genius. (Cheers.) In a pavilion suitably erect- 
ed for the purpose, a great meeting had been 
held which was presided over by a nobleman 
who was an honour to their county, as well as 
country — who was foremost in every patriotic 
work, and was now reaping the reward of his 
labour and philanthropy in being chosen to 
rale over thousands. He (Mr. Morton) was 
not present upon that occasion, but he could 
well conceive the enthusiastic burst of applause 
which greeted the announcement from the 
chair — ** Christopher himself is here." So, Sir, 
Christopher w(U there in all the dignity of his 
person — ^in all the nobility of his soul — in all 
the warmth of his feeling — ^in all the beauty of 
eipression which ever characterised him, and 
hundreds that day had the delightful privilege 



of listening with rapture to the noble senti- 
ments to which he gave utterance. 

" How like a lion in quiescent might 

The noble-souled old Christopher appears ; 
The martial glory of internal light 
Smiles beautiful amid his ripening years." 

(Cheers.) He is not here now, however, neither 
does his presence grace the festive board on 
this day of general rejoicing over the land. 
He has passed away. But all of him is not 
gone. We have still left behind the essence of 
his mighty mind. Although his noble lion- 
like form has been cut down, and we shall see 
him no more, he lives, ay, lives. He .lives in 
the grateful recollection of his country — he 
lives in his contributions, many and varied, to 
the pages of Blaekwood-^he lives as a Poet- 
he was great as a critic, — he excelled as a Pro- 
fessor of Ethics ; — he lives, as one has facetious- 
ly said, as a rollicking writer of chastened fun 
and frolick, — he lives, especially in his Noctes 
his fame is imperishable. 

*^ Thou art a monument without a tomb, 
And art alive still while thy book doth live, 
And we have wits to read and praise to give." 

(Great cheering.) 

Song— "The Flowers of the Forest"— Mr. Gilfillan. 

The Croupier gave " The Poets of Scot- 
land." (Rapturous applause.) 

gong — " Gae, bring my gnde auld harp ance mair" 
— Mr. Girvan. (Admirably sung.) 

Other toasts, prefaced by excellent speeches, 
followed, and the proceedings terminated by 
singing " Auld Langsyne." 



REFORM MEETING. 

The soiree of the Ayr Working Men's Re- 
form Association came off in the Tiieatre, with 
Colonel Shaw, of the Queen's Indian Army, in 
the chair. In beginning his address, the Chair- 
man requested the audience to note the fact 
that his name appeared upon the bills as the 
" President of the Ayr Reform Association." 
This circumstance, said the speaker, gives you 
the point and pith of this commemorative effort ; 
it is as the Reformers of Ayr that we have met 
together to-night. We have not come together 
for the purpose of doing homage to Burns' 
private character, no, nor even to his genius: 
we have assembled for the purpose of do- 
ing justice to the reformer who, more than 
seventy years ago, went for '< manhood suf- 
frage" — singing "a man's a man for a' that/' 
Permit me, at the hazard of seeming somewliat 
tedious, yet, in justice to myself and to the 
noble-minded, virtuous, and honourable work- 



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ing men with whom I stand associated, to be 
distinctly dear and very unmistakable upon tliis 
point. I say, was Bums a Mormon, or was he 
an angel of purity ? We have nothing to do 
with these questions. Was he a sybarite of in- 
temperance, or was he a model of sobriety? 
We have nothing to do with these questions. 
Did he abase — not to say profane — ^his God- 
given genius, or were his poems, every one of 
them, the effusions of a seraph ? I repeat it, 
we have nothing earthly to do with these ques- 
tions; we are commemorating the great Re- 
former who, more than seventy years ago, went 
for " manhood suffrage '* — singiAg " a man's a | 
man for a' that." In Burns' day the times were 
dismally dark. Socially, politically, and morally 
speaking, our country was at that time in a low 
and very melancholy condition. Why, it was 
then thought the only real and right hospitality 
to make a guest dead-drunk; and no one with 
tiie least pretension to the name of gentleman 
ever went to bed sober. The song of the poet 
— inexpressibly sweet and beautiful when, like 
the bird in the morning, it soared towards 
heaven — became steeped in the predominant 
rage. But we may not enter on this topic; I 



re|>eat it once more; we are assembled Co do 
justice to the mighty genius who, in so dark an 
age, sang the glorious song, " A man's a man 
for a' that ; " and as it will now be sung — ^The 
chairman sat down amidst a burst of applaujie, 
and the song indicated by him was then sung. 
A glee party and a pianist were in attendance. 
No fewer than thirty songs were sung ; and, 
these being contributed by both nude and 
female reformers gratuitously, were highly cal- 
culated to evince the possibility of the working- 
classes deriving enjoyment from chaste, refined 
and elevated poetry, when married to music by 
a high style of vocal proficiency. — A working 
man of Ayr (indeed the Secretary of the Reform 
Association) delivered an address upon Scot- 
land's sons, in which Livingstone, Hugh Miller, 
and Watt were happily and effectively men- 
tioned. — The whole of the proceedings were of 
a character to show that, if others are offering 
an idolatrous homage to the shade of departed 
genius, the sons of toil are able to enter upon 
the subject in a spirit of high moral discrimina- 
tion. There is no danger to any country where- 
in such is the case. 



DUMFRIES. 



The centenary of Burns was celebrated in 
Dumfries with demonstrations of the most im- 
posing character, and with an enthusiasm 
which, for extent and intensity, is quite unex- 
ampled in the history of the town. 

The Burns Club had taken the initiative by 
resolving to hold a public dinner on the cen- 
tenary of the poet, and to make such arrange- 
ments suitable to the character of the festival 
as would ensure its complete success. The 
general public speedily followed the movement. 
The Mechanics' Institution agreed to lay the 
foundation-stone of their new hall on the 2dth 
of January. A most imposing and majestic 
series of triumphal arches, twelve in number, 
were designed by a townsman, Mr. Mein, joiner, 
and well executed. The day was universally 
observed as a holiday in the town and neigh- 
bourhood, large numbers being present from 
the country. 

At twelve o'clock the procession, which was 
of extraordinary extent, and presented an ex- 
ceedingly brilliant and imposing appearance, 
left the Academy grounds, where it had been 
niarshalled four abreast, and, accompanied by 
seven bands of music, passed through the 



principal streets of Dumfries and Mazwelltown. 
It was headed by the Magistrates and Town 
Council of Dumfries, followed by the Magis* 
trates and Town Council of Maxwelltown, the 
water commissioners, the merchants and trad- 
ers, the various incorporated and other trades, 
the Celtic Society in Highland costume, tlie 
operatives in Nithsdale and Kingholm Mills, 
railway labourers, drapers' assistants. Early Clos- 
ing Association, members of Mechanics Insti- 
tute, and Freemasons — the whole being brought 
up by a body of carters on horseback. Almost 
all the bands played Scotch music; and all 
along the route the windows were crowded 
with interested and enthusiastic spectators. 
All the trades carried their appropriate em- 
blems and insignia, and the " siller gun," gifted 
to the Seven Incorporated Trades by James 
YI., was borne by their oldest freeman. In 
passing the house in Bank Street, where Burns 
once resided, and the house in Bums Street 
where he died, solemn and appropriate music 
was played. The foundation-stone of the new 
hall was laid with all due masonic honours by 
R. W. O. M. Stewart, Provincial Grand Master ; 
and an appropriate address was afterwards de- 



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livered by Dr. W. A. F. Browne, President of 
the Institute. The procession then returned 
to the Academy grounds, >vhere an address on 
Burns was delivered by Mr. Washington Wilks, 
of the Carlisle Examiner. 



THE ASSEMBLY ROOMS. 

At four o'clock on Tuesday, fully 220 gen- 
tlemen dined together under the auspices of 
the Burns Club, in the large hall of the Assem- 
bly Rooms, which was very neatly decorated 
with wreaths of evergreens, the large windows 
being hung with pink curtains. At the upper 
end of the hall were placed the two fine club 
portraits of Burns and his Bonny Jean. The 
hall has undergone a marked improvement by 
the introduction of gas. The three large crys- 
tal chandeliers have been r^noved, and beauti- 
ful gilt brandies placed at each end of the 
room ; and all round are handsome gilt brackets, 
with gas jets. Below the orchestra a row of 
ten gas lights has been placed, which has a good 
effect. The tables for the dinner were laid out 
by Mr. Clark of the Commercial Hotel with 
great taste. 

The chair was occupied, in the unavoidable 
absence of Sheriff Napier from the sudden 
death of his son, by Dr. W. A. F. Browne, one 
of Her Majesty's Commissioners in Lunacy for 
Scotland. J. M. Leny, Esq. of Dalswinton, 
James Mackie, Esq. of Bargaly, M.P., Thomas 
Aird, Esq., of the Dumfries Herald, and W. 
Bell Maodonald, Esq. of Rammerscales, dis- 
charged the duties of croupiers. The Chairman 
had on his right hand Colonel Burns, the eldest 
surviving son of the poet ; Colonel M'Murdo of 
Mavisgrove ; Dr. Bamage of Wallacehall ; Mr. 
William Gordon of Castlehill; Mr. Robert 
ScoU of Castledykes; Mr. Walter Scott of 
Maudiester ; and on his left Provost Leighton, 
Dumfries; Rev. David Hogg of Kirkmahoe; 
Mr. A. Barrie, Dumfries; Mr. John Thorburn, 
Dumfries ; Mr. H. Fuller, Editor of the New 
York Mirror ; M. George Francis Train, New 
York ; Col. Hyslop of Lotus. Supporting the 
croupiers were — Captain Noake, Dumfries ; Dr. 
Adam, late of Dumfries, now of Boston, Lin- 
colnshire ; Mr. Strachan of the National Bank, 
Dumfries; Mr. Jeffray, Braehead ; Mr. Smith, 
junior, Dalfibble; Mr. Dudgeon of Cargen; 
Mr. Johnston, Bank of Scotland; Sir Wm. 
Broun ; Dr. Grieve, Dumfries. The Rev, Mr. 
Hogg acted as Chaplain. 

The cloth having been withdrawn, the punch 
bowl and jugs of the Club were placed before 
the Chairman, who mellowed the national 
beverage into a perfect whole. 

The Chairman then rose and said : — I think 



before proceeding to the ordinary business of 
the evening, it is incumbent upon me to ex- 
plain why I am here — why so humble an indi- 
vidual should attempt to act as a substitute for 
our respected Sheriff, — for one whose name in his- 
torical literature as well as his hereditary name 
recommends him to you. (Cheers.) He has 
been visited by severe affliction — so severe as to 
render it impossible that he should attend here 
on this occasion, or think of any such duty. I 
heard this with consternation, and I did not 
consent to the proposal so kindly made t6 me 
by the Burns Club, that I should take the chair 
here, until all other resources had failed, and 
until the other three gentlemen who had been 
appointed croupiers had been appealed to, and 
in the hour of need were, I am sorry to say, 
found wanting. I believe Mr. Leny will have 
some explanation to offer on the subject of 
Sheriff Napier's absence; and for myself, I 
trust that, under the circumstances, you will 
extend to me such support and forbearance as 
you can. (Loud cheers). 

The Chairman, after a brief pause, then rose 
and said : — Gentlemen, I have to propose the 
Queen. Three sovereigns chiefly occupy my 
mind at the present moment. One is James I. 
of Scotland, the captive of Windsor, the author 
of the Kin^s Q^a%rf one of our first poets in 
point of time, though in some respects also first in 
merit. The second is James IV. of Scotland, 
the patron of poets, and minstrels, and luters, and 
of whom it was said that he was a sore patron 
to the crown, like his predecessor David, who 
was a sore saint to the crown. An anecdote of 
some local interest has lately come to light re- 
garding this prince. Professor Aytoun, in 
illustration of James lY.'s musical propensities, 
has made known that on the 7th September, 
1503, the crooked vicar of Dumfries sang before 
this gracious monarch at Lochmaben. (Laugh- 
ter.) The third sovereign at once suggests 
itself to you— I mean our gracious Queen — 
(loud cheers) — one who has shown her love for 
Scotland by preferring it as a place of peace, 
repose, and relaxation, and vho is said to love 
its music and its scenery. (Cheers.) She is 
not only the sovereign of a dominion on which 
the sun never sets, but of a realm in which the 
sound of song and minstrelsy never ceases — the 
sovereign of the most loyal and contented peo- 
ple that ever the sun shone upon — not only the 
mother oi princes, but may we not also say the 
mother of poets ? The toast was received with 
loud cheers, and all the honours. — Band — 
« The National Anthem." 

The Chairman then gave the Prince Con- 
sort, the Prince of Wales, and the rest of the 
Royal Family. All the honours. — ^Band — 
" Rule Britannia." 



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The Chairman then proposed the Army 
and Navy, and said : — There was a time 
-when every army had not only its harper 
— that they have yet — but its bard, whose 
function it was to sing their high achievements. 
Then there came a time when even bards and 
harpers thought it incumbent on them to wear 
the sword and shoulder the musket, and tradi- 
tion says that when our poet (Burns) walked 
up the High Street of Dumfries, wearing the 
grey kerseymere breeches, the coat of blue 
turned up with red, and the great bear-akin 
cap of that celebrated corps, the Dumfries 
Volunteers, he looked very unlike a poet, and 
even very unsoldier-like. (Great laughter and 
cheers.) There has now come a period when 
our bards are more disposed to turn the sword 
into the reaping-hook, or into the strings of the 
lyre. I think this is to be regretted. There is 
no time at which the poet should despise our 
brave defenders by sea and by land, and cer- 
tainly not at the present time. (Loud cheers.) 
At all times, let us be assured, the best way to 
enjoy the blessings of peace is to be ready, aye 
ready for war. I beg to associate with this 
toast the name of Colonel M*Murdo, a name 
that is dear in the annals of Burns. The toast 
was drunk with all the honours. 

Colonel M^MuBDO : — I rise on behalf of the 
united services, to respond to the toast which 
has been just now given. (Cheers.) The 
affairs of Europe are at present in an unsettled 
state, and there is no knowing, front time to 
time, what may arise. The smallest collision 
between the great European Powers at present 
may lead to a war the termination of which no 
one can foresee. It is becoming a received 
opinion in some quarters that we should abstain 
from all hostilities, and have no connection with 
the quarrels of continental nations, that, in 
fact, we must maintain peace at all hazards. 
That, gentlemen, may or may not be correct, 
but for my own part, I do not think it is pos- 
sible, that, standing as we do a nation the 
first in Europe, we can abstain from entering 
into war should circumstances arise to demand 
it. I think it is simply impossible, and I hope 
that the Government of this country will keep 
our army and navy in a most efficient state, 
prepared for all emergencies, and should we be 
drawn into the vortex and obliged to mix in 
the quarrels of Europe, then, with a clear con- 
science, and trusting in God for tlie result, we 
may go at it, and look forward to the result 
with confidence. (Cheers.) With respect to 
our army I have no doubt at all that it will 
continue to maintain the high character that it 
has done on other occasions, and particularly in 
the war so successfully brought to a close in 
India, whore the British character has stood 



out in bright relief to the aduiiration of the 
whole world. (Loud cheers.) 

Mr. Jjee song here with great beauty of ezpreMion, 
''Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled." The effect on 
the audience was quite electrifying, and the song wib 
nnanimoasly redemanded. 

The Chairman then said: — The meeting 
would notice the presence on this occasion of a 
number of gentlemen whom they must all re- 
joice to see. He would speedily s))eak to them 
of the aspirations of the poet, of his being raised 
to a heaven of his own creation, of his living in 
an ideal state of existence. Let them recollect, 
however, that there was a higher and holier 
state than any represented in the dream of the 
poet, — that there was a real heaven, — ^that 
there were laws and conditions upon which it 
was to be reached, — and that the pointing out 
of those laws was intrusted to a class of men 
who were set for that dignified office. There 
were ministers he rejoioed to say of various 
denominations who, in the case of Bums, could 
see glory through a cloud — (cheers) — and could 
see those qualities that dignified the man, even 
though he were a fallible man. (Cheers.) The 
presence of clergymen on that occasion sJiowed 
how much they sympathised in a national cele- 
bration like this, and though, so far as he could 
see, those clergymen now present chiefly he- 
longed to the Established Church, homage to 
Burns, he was glad to say, was not confined to 
any particular sect or form of faith. In proof 
of this he would mention an incident of recent 
occurrence, which showed that the spirit now 
abroad had penetrated even to the altar. Last 
Sunday week in the town of Dundee a clergy- 
man had spoken to his congregation to the fol- 
lowing effect : " They were about to celebrate 
the anniversary of a great and illustrious man, 
to pay respect to those qualities which raised 
him above the rank of ordinary men and en- 
dowed him with powers that were certainly 
intended for the benefit of mankind, and be 
thought they were right in so doing." The 
individual so speaking was said to be the Bev. 
G. Gilfillan — (cheers) — a name intimately con- 
nected with the literature of Scotland, and who 
was now engaged in an enterprise which would 
have done credit to Samuel Johnson, and which 
in extent exceeded all Samuel Johnson's works, 
— he referred to his publication in a form ac- 
cessible to aU classes of an edition of the poets 
of Great Britain. (Cheers.) He begged now 
to give " The Clergy," coupled with the name 
of the Rev. Mr. Hogg. (Cheers.) 

The Rev. Mr. Hogg : — I was not aware till 
this moment that the toast now proposed was 
to be given, and I frankly state that I am not 
at all prepared to reply to it. If, however, 
you will accept the will for the deed, I beg to 



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DUMFRIES.— ASSEMBLY ROOMS. 



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return you my sincere thanks for tlie honour 
you have conferred upon us. And if you will 
permit me to say a single word in reference to 
our meeting to-day, I would here observe that 
the time has, in a great measure, gone past 
when prejudice was manifested with regard to 
our great national bard. (Cheers.) I firmly 
believe that, with reference to' many ministers 
in the Church of Scotland, and indeed the 
clergy of Scotland of all denominations, there 
at one time existed much prejudice, much mis- 
representation, and much misunderstanding in 
regard to Burns. (Loud cheers.) I think 
that we of the present day have great cause to 
rejoice that that prejudice is being removed, 
although at the time to which I refer it would 
have been considered anything but a subject of 
rejoicing. Many have accused the national 
bard of want of religion. I do not think he 
wajs an irreligious man at heart ; but we must 
remember the character of the times in which 
he lived, and the style of Scottish poetry which 
immediately preceded him. (Loud cheers.) 
And I rejoiced to see the other day in a news- 
paper a letter from one who had been an old 
servant with Burns at Mossgiel, in which he 
says that the much maligned Poet had family 
worship morning and evening while he was 
there. (Cheers.) Now, Sir, I will venture to 
say that is more than can be said of many who 
have accused Bums of a want of religion. 
(Loud cheers and laughter.) There is one 
point to which I will refer for which the clergy 
are much indebted to Bums, and it will be in 
the minds of every one present. It has refer- 
ence to matters connected with the most sacred 
solemnities of our church. There b a certain 
weed which amateur gardeners find very trou- 
blesome ; it is no sooner eradicated than it al- 
most reappears to laugh in your face again. It 
is called the bishop-weed. (Laughter.) Burns 
found a bishop- weed in the church : he found 
it in such scenes as those which are described 
in his Holy Fair — (cheers) — and in that poem 
he levelled a shaft against it— the shaft of sa- 
tire — which put an end for ever to scenes that 
were a disgrace to humanity — a shaft which, 
though then levelled at a particular quarter, 
has been pointed throughout the whole world, 
and has produced such an effect that I may say 
nothing even analogous to the same scenes can 
now be found in this country. For this, I, for 
one, hereby acknowledge my obligation to 
Burns. (Loud cheers.) 

The Chairman: — ^We have been honoured 
with the presence of the Chief Magistrate of 
Dumfries, and I have now the honour to pro- 
pose his health. I have also to congratulate 
him, as I have already done to-day, on the 
splendid spectacle which the town over which 



he presides has this day presented, and, so far 
as I could see, the orderly, happy, and con- 
tented aspect of all the people. (Loud cheers.) 

The Provost returned thanks, alluding 
briefly to the pleasure he felt in having taken 
part in the inauguration of the Mechanics' In- 
stitute Hall and the drinking fountains, and 
remarking that it would be his proudest ambi- 
tion, as he was sure it was that of his brother 
magistrates, to do everything in the future, as 
they had endeavoured to do in the past, that 
would tend to maintain the prosperity of Dum- 
fries. 

The Chairman then rose and said — May I 
now request your calm and serious attention 
for a moment. I have to draw your attention 
to what may be called — not the toast — but the 
commemoration of the evening. There have 
been in Great Britain three great anniversary 
meetings or celebrations such as this. One 
thousand years after the good and great Alfred 
died — the " tmth-teller " as he was called — 
who founded schools and universities that still 
remain, — who commenced the translation of 
the scriptures, — who established trial by jury, 
— who gave a principality for a book,— who be- 
moaned the ignorance of his people, — and gave 
honours and place and power to those of them 
only who could read (the anticipation or fore- 
shadowing, you will observe, of our own com- 
petitive examinations) — and who, lastly, spent 
much of his time in the composition of works 
of history and poesy, which have descended to 
us, and were intended to ameliorate the condi- 
tion of the people — ^in regard to this man a 
few of the descendants of the race he had en- 
deavoured to enlighten testified their acknow- 
ledgment and their gratitude in a jubilee. 
They cared little that he was a king, and had 
fought and conquered in fifty battles; they re- 
membered chiefly that he was a poet and phi- 
losopher, who had spent and been spent and 
did the utmost he could do for the good of his 
people. And they had their stately proces- 
sions, they met in festivity, and they founded a 
noble school in the town of his birth. Two 
hundred years after William Shakspeare went 
" with shining morning face," I doubt not 
" unwillingly," to the grammar-school of Strat- 
ford-upon-Avon, after he had raised our lan- 
guage to the rank of a classic tongue, partly 
by developing its powers, but chiefly by mak- 
ing it the vehicle of the noblest thoughts man's 
mind ever conceived, after he had given poetry 
the dignity of history and ethics, and spoken 
to all men in all time through the highest and 
holiest sympathies of our nature, some of his 
countrymen renewed the expression of their 
admiration in pageants and song, and banquets, 
and ultimately in the purchase of the house in 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



which he was born, as a museum for relics of 
his life, as a national monument of his genius. 
(Cheers.) And now, a hundred yean after the 
birth of the greatest poet, the most manly na- 
ture that Scotland ever bore, whose genial and 
fervid utterance has embalmed our land's lan- 
guage — ^not as a vulgar idiom, but as a copious 
tongue — who has given expression to all that 
is earnest and impassioned, hearty and home- 
like and social in our lives and customs — whose 
fame, tried by time and criticism, remains a 
boast and a glory in our history — to him now 
we offer homage. (Cheers.) You will observe 
the resemblance which subsists between these 
events. Three men love and labour for and 
elevate their fellow-men. Long ages after they 
have fallen asleep, when the mist of prejudice 
has cleared away, and we stand in the sunshine 
of truth, their work is acknowledged; atone- 
ment, perhaps, is made for neglect and injus- 
tice, edifices arise as monuments, the hom- 
age of grateful hearts is recorded. (Cheers.) 
But you will remark the difference in these 
events. While the royal poet's requiem was 
sung in his native village only, while, alas, the 
commemoration of William Shakspeare was left 
in the hands of his brethren of the buskin, an- 
tiquarians, and literary men, the Centenary of 
Robert Burns is national — (cheers) — ^it is uni- 
versal — (renewed cheering) — ^for in every land 
where his native tongue is spoken, his lyrics 
sung, his genius appreciated, from Indus to 
the Pole, there is this day expressed in various 
fashion, but I verily believe earnestly and cor- 
dially, honour to his immortal name. (Enthu- 
siastic cheering.) Why, gentlemen, do we do 
this? Why is it that an excitement prevails 
unheard of, almost inexplicable — that our halls 
will not contain those who press forward to 
offer homage, that not only Scotsmen, but all, 
wherever they may be, who have Scottish 
hearts, or understand Scottish feelings, who 
sympathize with the best feelings common to 
mankind, participate in this impulse ? 

It is not that he was perfect, that he was a 
man of vigorous unbending will, of high-toned 
prudence, or that he was exempt from the fail- 
ings of our race, that we do this, but, in our 
appreciation of human character, we under- 
stand best, and approach nearest, and we love 
most those natures that are most like our own. 
(Loud cheers.) There is, and there ought to 
be, the sympathies and relations of weakness 
as well as of strength. (Renewed cheering.) 
Upon one side of hb character. Burns was the 
reflection of the manners and habits of the time^ 
of those with whom he associated, of those 
whom he naturally imitated; but upon the 
other side we find bold and gentle and gener- 
ous aspirations, deep feeling, and intense sus- 



ceptibility, and that broad humour which so 
often accompanies these qualities. Bums' 
range of poetic vision was around him, it was 
essentially humane, it might be called praetieal, 
it concerned itself with the doings, the joys, 
the sorrows, the sins, and the destinies of man, 
but it penetrated into the deepest reoeesesof 
the soul, '^the native feelings strong, the guile- 
less ways." (Cheers.) 

It is not because this man was a peasant that 
we regard him as a great poet: had he been of 
that royal and poetic line which so long ruled 
this mountain land, and which he loved so well 
— ^had he been nurtured in academic groves, 
and imbued with science and philosophy — ^had 
his genius awoke and seen the Vision amid the 
glories of art, the fairest scenes, the brightest 
skies, instead of at the plough and in the '<auld 
clay bigging," as it did, he would still have 
been what he was — a master. (Loud cheers.) 
Whoever examines his correspondence with 
Thomson, will be astonished at the prolificness 
of his mind; but beyond thb, there is evidence 
in his letters, in his correspondence, in his Tarn 
o' Shanter, of an unexhausted capacity, not the 
result of taste and criticism, but of powers of 
which he wa.^ evidently conscious, greater than 
any he ever manifested, and which, had his life 
been spared, would have asserted supremacy. 
(Loud cheers.) Had he produced nodiing but 
the '' Cottar's Saturday Nij^t," which I trust 
is not a picture of the past, he would have taken 
place in the same rank with Chaucer and 
Spencer, and his fame would have rested up(A 
a narrower, although as elevated a basis. (Loud 
cheering.) 

It is because this peasant-poet — ^I love to 
dwell upon the name, though he belongs to all 
classes — rose up amid great difSculties, yet I 
think in circumstances ^vourable to elevation 
of sentiment — not as a parish wonder, not as 
seeking fame in a limited and unlettered eirde^ 
but towering above his companions in the gran- 
deur of innate strength and of self-culture^ sud- 
denly becoming the compeer of the wise, and 
the learned, and the polished; and, as suddenly, 
by that marvellous adaptation whidi he pos- 
sessed, assuming their habits of thought as well 
as their manners — displaying with great sensi- 
tiveness, perfect simplicity and naturalness, and 
deep originality of thought — ^teaching in the 
high phices, and among the noble and the 
mighty, the rights and privileges as well as the 
powers of genius, the brotherhood of man, and 
the virtues and the beauty of lowly things. 
(Cheers.) He was not merely the guest — he 
was, and was felt to be, the equal of Erskine^ 
Blair, Home, and Gregory. (Cheers.) 

And again, we do this homage to Bums 
because he was a man who stood forth in bold 



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outline, in diversity of gifts, in nobleness of 
purpose, the representative of the most charac- 
teristic and best qualities of the national mind. 
He gave expression in our common language, 
and in exquisite beauty, to sentiments which 
every man feels burning within him, crying for 
utterance, and moulding his whole nature. He 
has given us words in which to woo our brides, 
to vindicate our patriotism, to cheer the social 
hour, to cement our friendships — hymns to 
proclaim the love, and peace, and beauty of our 
homes. (Prolonged cheering.) Burns' songs 
are the speech of the human heart. We think 
his thoughts, we speak his words, in our stern- 
est as well as in our tenderest moods, and these 
now household words elevate and sanctify what 
would otherwise be rude and common. Songs 
live longer than history, are mightier than wis- 
dom ; and we believe this grand recognition of 
Burns' power is attributable chiefly to his lyrics. 
(Cheers.) 

Lastly, we do this because this man, bold, 
independent in a critical time, at painful sacri- 
fices, was the defender of rights, perhaps too 
zealously, then little understood — of that free- 
dom of thought and opinion which was dreaded 
and discouraged — sometimes ptmished — and of 
tliat universal participation in the blessings of 
knowledge, which was regarded, but is no 
longer regarded, and will never again be re- 
garded, as subversive of the peace and order 
of society. As poet — patriot — as one of the 
worthiest sons that Scotland ever produced — I 
propose the Immortal Memory of Bums. (The 
toast was drunk in solemn silence.) 

The Band played " Farewell, thoti Fair Day," and 
Mr. Stewart sung with mach expression and feeling, 
" There was a Lad was born in Kyle." 

Colonel Burns, who, on rising to reply, 
was received with deafening cheers, and spoke 
under much emotion, returned thanks for the 
very gratifying manner in which the name of 
his father had been received, and in particular 
to their Chairman for the most eloquent eulo- 
gium he bad made on his character. When the 
poet once told his wife in a state of despon- 
dency that he would be more thought of a 
hundred years hence than then, little could he 
have thought that such a celebration should 
have taken place as Scotland had that day wit- 
nessed. Even before the lapse of fifty years 
after that saying, a festival was held at Ayr in 
commemoration of his memory, but that de- 
monstration was limited in its nature, while 
this, as their Chairman had truly said, was 
universal. (Loud cheers.) 

The Chairman rose to propose The Memory 
of the Widow and of the eldest Son of Bums. 
In doing so he said : — ^Let us picture a quiet 
comfortable parlour in a modest house in Dum- 



fries ; let the time be the gloamin' of a pensive 
autumn night; there is a cheerful fireside; a 
stalwart, massive man is balancing himself upon 
the hind legs of his chair at a folding-desk be- 
tween the fire and the window ; and there flits 
a matronly flgure, not so busied in domestic 
matters but that she can pause amid the minis- 
trations which made that home so happy and 
cheerful, and sing sweetly, artlessly, the fervid 
or pathetic words fresh from the mint of fancy, 
and pronounce whether the words were ''rough" 
or pleasing to her sense of melody. Beside the 
rapt dreamer who rocks to and fro, there is a 
boy of keen and intelligent aspect, who is proud 
to grasp the hand of his companion in walks of 
business or hours of inspiration, on the Dock or 
at far off* Linoluden, and who questions his sire 
about lessons in Csesar. That boy of promise 
ripened into manhood and displayed great 
mental power. His voice is but now silent. 
This is the wife and eldest son of the poet — 
''the Uss that he lo'ed best"— that "bonnie 
Jean," who loved and venerated her noble 
partner, who never saw fault nor foible in him ; 
who, when he died, gathered her children 
around her, refused aggrandisement that they 
might grow up amid home memories and under 
the shadow and shelter of her influence — who 
preserved his room and small library — oh, 
beautiful sui)erstition of love ! — as he left them 
— who during the evening of a calm and happy 
and creditable life " never changed nor wished 
to change her place." (Loud cheers.) Poets 
love and marry abstractions. They endow fair 
forms with all the grace of virtue and excellency 
and worship their own creations. It is certain, 
however, that they often secure as suitable com- 
panions as those who are no poets. Words- 
worth's " phantom of delight ** proved to be a 
prudent, plain housewife; and she who was 
" seen in the dewy flower and heard in tuneful 
birds,** proved a gentle and considerate help- 
meet, who shared the burdens, worshipped the 
genius, and wept the fate of Burns. (Great 
applause — ^Duly honoured.) 

" Of a' the airts the wind can blaw," by Mr. Wilson 
— sang with exquisite feeling. 

Colonel Burns briefly returned thanks. 

The Chairman thereafter gave The Health 
of the Sons of Burns. He said : Let us turn to 
those whom this banquet has brought from those 
it could not bring. We have with us one who 
bears the name of Burns, whose veins are filled 
with the same noble blood, whose heart throbs 
with hereditary geniality of feeling, who has 
heard him, seen him, lain in his bosom, and 
who, though he may retain no vivid recollection 
of his sire, must have felt the magic and mystery 
of that light-giving eye which seems to have 
sunk once and for ever into the memory of 



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Walter Scott, giving him, in the words of one 
of the biographers of Burns, 'Miis ordina- 
tion." We have William Nicol Burns with us. 
James Glencairn Burns has consented, as was 
naturally his duty, to appear elsewhere, at 
another demonstration. (Cheers.) These, I 
may call them, twin sons of the poet, stimulated, 
it may be, by the fame of their father, but in 
the strength of their own integrity and talent, 
have successfully fought the battle of life, 
cheered in distant lands by the songs of their 
father, meeting everywhere his fame, his friends; 
have acquired rank and position in the service 
of their country ; have added honour, if possible, 
to the name of Burns. (Cheers.) Let us re- 
collect the solicitude of Burns as to his family 
— and what father has not felt it ? — let us re- 
mark that, in writing as to the illustration of 
one of his songs, he says, " There's a wee, ill- 
deedie, rumble-gairie urchin of mine now mak- 
ing a felonious attack upon the cat's tail, whom 
I have named Willie Nicol," — (great laughter 
and cheers) — and let us remark that the "wee 
ill-deedie laddie" is beside me — (cheers) — has 
lived to see a whole people rise this day with a 
unanimity never before witnessed, to proclaim 
his father their national poet, their greatest 
countryman; and you may understand, ay, 
and envy the feelings of exultation which are 
now his. I know you will drink with me to 
his and his brother's long life and happiness ! 
(Cheers.) May they live — I was about to 
quote Shakspeare, but I will quote myself — to 
see another centenary ! (Great laughter and 
prolonged applause, in the midst of which the 
toast was received with all the honours.) — The 
Chairman added to the amusement by observ- 
ing: A kind friend of mine, I suppose in grati* 
tude for something I have done to-night, has 
proposed that I should be chairman at next 
centenary. (Renewed laughter and cheers.) 
I can only say, gentlemen, that I shall be so 
with le^ reluctance than on the present oc- 
casion, and I shall then come, I faithfully 
promise, perfectly prepared. (Laughter and 
cheers.) 

The band—" Wandering Willie." 

Colonel Burns said — I beg to thank you 
very sincerely for the honour you have done 
us in drinking so cordially my brother's health 
and mine. We were brought up in humble 
life, but we have attained in our profession the 
rank of field officers. (Cheers.) I would ask 
what is the cause of this ? I do not hesitate 
to reply, the genius of Robert Burns. (Cheers.) 
Two distinguished Scotsmen, Sir James Shaw, 
London, and Sir John Reid, one of the direct- 
ors of the East India Company, and at one 
time governor of the Bank of England, gave 
my brother and myself our cadetj»hips in the 



Indian army. We went out to India, and tlte 
fame of our father pursued us in good fortune. 
(Loud cheers.) While I was only an ensign 
the adjutancy of my regiment became vacant, 
and the HighUnd Society of Madras asked of 
the commander-in-chief the appointment for 
me. His Excellency could not then accede to 
the request, and the appointment was given to 
an officer much my senior. On the appoint- 
ment, however, of the army of the Deecan at 
the time of the Pindaree war. Sir Thomas Hys- 
lop conferred on me the temporary appointment 
of Field-assistant-quartermaster-general. The 
fame of Burns did still more for us. I was 
afterwards placed on the general staff in the 
commissariat, to which my brother had been 
appointed some time previously by the Marquis 
of Hastings. After a long residence in India 
we have been spared in the providence of God 
to come to spend the evening of our days in 
our native land. (Tremendous cheers.) And 
I can say this, that wherever the sons of Bums 
have appeared — even at this late period— 
whether in England, in Scotland, or in Ire- 
land, they have always been received with the 
most affectionate enthusiasm as the sons of 
Burns ; and even Americans, wherever we have 
met them, have exhibited almost as much en- 
thlisiasm in responding to the names of the 
sons of Burns as our own countrymen. (Loud 
cheers.) 

Mr. Lee sung *^ Willie brew'd a peck o* mauf," 
which was warmly applauded. 

At this stage of the proceedings, the Chair- 
man intimated that a deputation had been ap- 
pointed to proceed to the great meeting in the 
Nithsdale Mills to show that meeting that, 
though separated by place, they were one in 
sentiment, and to express the best wishes for 
their enjoyment. The deputation, consisting 
of Colonel Bums, and Messrs. William Gordon, 
Robert Scott, and W. R. M*Diarmid, thereupon 
left amid loud applause. 

Dr. Adam then proposed " The Literature of 
Scotland." He felt much difficulty, he said, in 
rising to propose the toast, inasmuch as it was 
only that afternoon, after a journey of nearly 
four hundred miles, undertaken on purpose 
that he might be present at this meeting, that 
he was asked to propose the toast. At a large 
meeting like this, intended to do honour to tlie 
memory and genius of Scotland's national Bard, 
it seemed to him that, as Scotchmen, we should 
all feel proud of our nationality. The lapse of 
time, the rise and fall of kings, the w^ars of fac- 
tions, the clashing of rival sects of religionists, 
and even the Treaty of Union itself, — all had 
failed to deprive Scotland of her distinctive 
nationality* And why was this ? It was bo- 
cause our nationality was not a myth, it >>as 



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no mere idle whim, or passing fancy. It was 
stamped on the aspect of our soil ; it wa9 in- 
terwoven with our manners and customs ; it 
lent a tinge to our superstitions and traditions ; 
it gave a character to our music ; and was 
based on all the tenderest emotions and deepest 
affections of the human heart. Possessing such 
elements of undying vitality, it was indestruc- 
tible and imperishable. But we should, on the 
present occasion, feel specially proud and grate- 
ful that we possessed a National Literature, 
and also a language of our own in which its 
masterpieces were written. Our dear !Doric 
was no provincial patois, no vulgar corruption 
of the English tongue ; but it was a distinct 
language by itself — made up of several of the 
great dialects of Europe — ^for in it the Celtic 
and Teutonic had blended their rugged force 
and picturesque charm with the softer sounds 
of the Norman. Ramsay, Tannahill, and Fer- 
guson had elevated it by their lyrics; but 
among the creators of our national literature, 
there were two names which shone pre-eminent 
far above all other names — those of Robert 
Bums and Walter Scott. (Applause.) Burns 
came, in his burly peasant strength, like a pro- 
phet of old, with a message to deliver, and with 
a heart longing to give utterance to its thoughts. 
From the fulness of his inspiration he sang his 
•^wood-notes wild," and the tones thrilled a 
chord in every breast where our language is 
spoken, and have made his fame world-wide — 
as is testified by the great assemblages which 
have met this evening in all parts of Britain 
and America. He sang, in that dear mother- 
tongue of ours, of friendship, love, and war, 
giving a voice to all the subtle emotions of the 
heart, which had never before found vent in 
speech. Thus he ennobled our Doric, and em- 
balmed it against decay — 

" First the banks of Doon beheld it; 
Then his own land formed its span ; 
Now the wide world was its empire, 
And its home, the heart of man." 

(Applause.) The streets of this town, which 
he trod so often, and the lovely scenes around 
us where he loved to wander, have been ren- 
dered classic by his genius; and prouder far 
should you be of that little nook of ground in 
St. Michael's churchyard, wherein rest his re- 
vered ashes, than of all the .wealth of your 
town and all the beauties of your shire. 
(Great cheering.) It was unnecessary to speak 
at length of Scottish literature, or to run 
over the long and brilliant bead-roll of the 
philosophers, metaphysicians, theologians, and 
poets who had helped to create it. The lyrical 
and. heroic poetry of Scotland was unequalled 
for its tenderness and force. Scotland had 



still bards ; and this evening there was present 
one of the greatest of her living poets — one in 
whose works the deepest pathos was found 
united to the loftiest imagination and the sub- 
limest imagery. Ho alludeil to Mr. Thomas 
Aird, — a gentleman whose high standing and 
character rendered him a fitting representative 
of Scottish Literature. He begged to propose 
^* Scottish Literature, coupled with the name of 
Mr. Thomas Aird." (Great cheering. Drunk 
with all the honours.) 

Mr. AiBD— I may well say, gentlemen, that 
you have done me too high an honour, but 
since it is your pleasure to be generous, it 
would ill become me to bandy words with you. 
I appreciate your kind compliment, and accept 
it most gratefully* (Cheers.) 

Mr. Wilson sang with touching pathos ** My Nan- 



nie's awa'." 



Dr. Ramaob of Wallaoe-hall proposed the 
" Biographers of Burns." He said — It is only 
right on an occasion such as this, when we are 
met to do honour to the memory of Burns, that 
his biographers should not be forgotten; for, 
however imperfectly we may consider them to 
have performed the important task they under- 
took, still I think that you will agree with me 
when I say that we owe them a debt of grati- 
tude for the zealous efforts they have made to 
place before us a fair and honest representation 
of Burns as a poet and as a man. We must 
recollect that it is no easy matter to write the 
life of such an individual, and to bring him 
before us in his unity or individuality. To do 
so successfully, it is not merely necessary that 
we should have a narrative of those leading 
events in his history which are patent to the 
whole world — even though they may have ex- 
ercised an important influence in the formation 
and development of his character — ^nor yet must 
we have merely a dry catalogue of his virtues 
and of his vices drawn up in regular order, and 
as in the per contra of a ledger. All this may 
be done with care, with accuracy, nay, even 
with perfect truthfulness, and yet I venture to 
affirm that, as it was once proposed in the play 
of Hamlel^ Hamlet might be left out. Some- 
thing very different from this is required in 
writing the life of an individual. Every one 
here present is conscious to himself that there 
is an inner life within him, hidden deep within 
the recesses of his breast, covered over care- 
fully with the crust of the world, jealously 
guarded from the pryings of the curious ; and 
till this inner life is laid bare, thoroughly under- 
stood and explained, it is impossible that the 
life of any individual can be truthfully delin- 
eated. It is only occasionally that you can 
catch a glimpse of the true lineaments of char- 
acter. The wind does not always enable even 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



the straw to point the direction' that it is set- 
ting. The fire may smoulder in duH apd lan- 
guid embers; it is only when the passing 
breeze sweeps across them that they begin to 
glow, to sparkle, and to indicate the vital ele- 
ments within. So it is with the life of man ; 
and the difficulty with which the biographer 
has to contend is to catch and interpret rightly, 
the passing glimpses wliich reveal the real char- 
acter and the real workings of the human mind. 
He must photograph or daguerreotype the ever- 
changing phases of character as they appeared 
iii the individual while he lived, and moved, 
and had his being among us. When this is 
done successfully, it is then, and not till then, 
that we have a true representation of the man 
as he strutted and fretted his little hour upon 
the stage of life. It is his success in this life- 
like drawing of character that makes us forget 
whatever of mannerism or affectation may be 
found to mar the beauties of our great country- 
man Carlyle. Tacitus and Thucydides paint to 
the life, by one or two characteristic strokes, 
the individual whom they wish to place before 
the mind's eye. To what then may we liken 
a biographer? He is like to a skilful artist, 
who places a picture in such a light as brings 
out all its beauties, some of which may never 
have been observed before; or he may be com- 
pared to a diamond-cutter, who cuts and sets a 
diamond with such artistic skill that, when the 
sun shines upon it, new beauties flash upon tlie 
eye — beauties which weire equally there in its 
crude and unpolished state, but which the cun- 
ning hand of the artist alone has enabled us to 
see. Am I then speaking paradoxically when 
I affirm that every new biographer may place 
Bums in some new light, every commentator 
and every illustrator may point out new beauties 
in his poems, and discover new traits of char- 
acter which never caught the eye before? 
(Cheers.) Why, even since we entered these 
walls, have we not had a beautiful example of 
the correctness of the views which I have been 
attempting thus imperfectly to bring before 
you in the happy, nay, brilliant illustrations 
which our Chairman has given us of Burns and 
his poems? (Loud cheers.) How many new 
points has he hit upon which never caught our 
attention before ! What striking views of the 
Poet's character! What graphic pictures has 
he held up before our eyes! But so it ever 
will be when a man of genius and of talent — 
he will forgive me for so characterizing him in 
his presence; but I know that I am only giving 
expression to the feelings that per\'aded the 
breast of every one who listened to his elo- 
quent and heart-stirring address — when a roan 
of talent turns his attention to any subject, 
however hackneyed, and however much the 



world may think it exhausted. Tliere is no- 
thing which he touches that he does not adorn. 
But, in continuance, I beg you to consider how 
much has been done for Shakspeare in tfaii 
respect. How many new beauties and bov 
many new points have been hit upon, in these 
latter times, which escaped the notice of those 
who first directed their attention to his worb. 
Even at the present moment a noble Lord— 
whom Scotland is proud to recognise as one of 
her sons, who, like Lord Clyde and the Lord 
Bishop of London, has raised himself by hit 
talents and by hb industry from a comparatively 
humble position to rank with the noblest of the 
land, I mean Lord Chief-Justice Campbell,— is 
now employed in bringing out a small work to 
prove, from the numerous allusions to legal 
customs in Shakspeare's works, that he must 
have in his early years belonged to the legal 
profession. Here is then an apt example of 
the truthfulness of the views which I have beai 
attempting to press upon your attention. Some 
of the more ardent admirers here of that great 
poet may smile that I should venture to even 
(if you will allow me to use a Scotch word) 
Burns to Shakspeare. Nay, I do Shakspeare 
no wrong ; they are twin-brothers — alike, but 
not the same. Are they not both of them 
what Thucydides calls a xr^^« ts att — a pos- 
session, not for one age, but for all time. Bums, 
however, labours under disadvantages, from 
which others are free. Burns was cut off ere 
he had almost reached his prime. He died 
before he had time given him to correct and 
to make a selection of such portions of hia 
works as his mature judgment and his more 
serious thoughts might have led him to con- 
sider worthy of being handed down to perpet- 
uate his name. His works, without the last 
finish, must now remain for ever as they are. 
They are imperfect, but the imperfection which 
attaches to them is the same that attaches to 
some mighty masterpiece of ancient sculpture 
—the Torso of Hercules for instance. Maimed, 
mutilated, imperfect, but matchless, it has been 
the wonder of past ages, and will continue to 
be an object of admiration for ages to come. 
(Loud cheers.) For any one to think that he 
could improve such a piece of work, would be 
the same as 

**To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, 
To throw a perfame on the violet, 
To smooth tne ice, or add another hue 
Unto the rainbow." 

(Cheers.) Such is the nature of the imperfec- 
tion that attaches to the works of Burns. No 
one would dare to add to, or to take away from, 
the words which are known to be the genuine 
expression of the mind of Burns. After your 



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iadulgent patience, I should consider myself un- 
pardonable if I did more than indicate, i% ike 
most general terms, one or two of the principal 
biographers who have written the life of Burns. 
All of you have read, I doubt not, more than 
one life of Burns. Mackenzie, the Man of 
Feeling, was the first to set the stone a<rolling, 
by a paper in the Lounger, written with great 
feeling and truth. It struck the right note, 
and with prophetic vision claimed the title for 
Bums of ' National Poet,' an honour which his 
country has since fully ratified. Dr. Currie 
writes hb life with great simplicity, and with a 
kindly feeling which wins every heart. Though 
he may not have penetrated much beneath the 
surface, he, as well as Walker, has collected 
ample materials to enable us to form our own 
judgment respecting the character of the poet. 
I confess that I am old-fashioned enough to like 
the simple, unafiected style of Currie, who 
makes no pretensions, but who loves the Poet 
as a man, and who touches with tender liand 
upon his failings. Allan Cunningham's life is 
more pretentious, enters more minutely into his 
history ; but I do not know that he has been 
more successful than Currie in giving us an in- 
sight into the true character of Bums. It is, 
however, very pleasantly written. But of all 
bis biographers, I consider Lockhart to have 
been the most successful. He has aimed at 
reaching the inner man by catching character- 
istic features, sayings, actions, and habits. 
Without these, biography is a mere abstraction 
of qualities and results, not a picture of the in- 
dividual man. I cannot close this short state- 
ment respecting the biographers of Burns with- 
out alluding to the papers of Wilson and Car- 
lyle, which, it is needless to say, will amply 
repay your perasal. Chambers has written a 
popular work, which is very pleasant reading, 
and he has gathered up a considerable quantity 
of gleanings which had been omitted by pre- 
vious writers. (Cheers.) 

Song—" My Naaiiie, O,"— Mr. Thomson. 

Mr. Carruthers of Inverness then gave 
the next toast, '' English Literature," — a sub- 
ject, he said, so vast and compre||ensive, that 
he was not only startled when he saw that the 
committee had assigned it to him, but he felt, 
as they all must do, that on an occasion of that 
kind, it could only be dealt with in a very 
vague and desultory manner. Dr. Adam ap- 
peared to feel restrained in treating even of 
Scottish literature; bu( if they crossed the 
Border, and called up the long file of immor- 
tals from Geoffrey Chaucer to Alfred Tenny- 
son, — ^if they attempted to separate them into 
classes, — ^the poets, the historians, the divines, 
the philosophers — those who deal in trath, and 
those who deal in fiction — ^it would be obvious 



that the slightest effort at a critical estimate or 
analysis would that evening be utterly impos- 
sible. They could, however, make known their 
reverence and affection for them all ! (Cheers.) 
He remembered that at one of those morning 
parties which the late Mr. Samuel Bogers so 
bountifully and gracefully threw open to the 
humblest lovers of literature and art, some dis- 
cussion arose on the subject of English litera- 
ture. Colonel James Bums was present ; and 
he would recollect, as he (Mr. C.) did, the 
alacrity with which the old poet hastened up 
stairs to his library, and bringing down a vol- 
ume of Hume's history, read aloud words like 
these, " Such a superiority do the pursuits of 
literature ]K>ssess over every other occupation, 
that he who attains but a mediocrity in them, 
merits the pre-eminence above those that excel 
the most in the common professions." The 
enthusiasm of the retired student and devoted 
man of letters was seen in this declaration; 
and it was made by Hume at a time when the 
literary character stood low, when patronage 
had been withdrawn, or only extended to politi- 
cal partisans and pamphleteei*s, and when there 
was not a public numerous and enlightened 
enough to compensate or reward authors. 
Hume might have carried the parallel farther : 
he might have ascended from the ** common pro- 
fessions" to the heights of science, and con- 
trasted these with the heights of literary 
genius. " Shakspeare is wonderful," said Dr. 
Chalmers, ^* greater even than Newton." And 
why? Because, as he (Mr. C.) conceived, 
science was rather the careful induction of 
facts than the display of individual creative 
power. (Cheers.) One man builds upon the 
discoveries of others, carries tliem a step high- 
er, — and perhaps, as in the cases of Galileo and 
Newton, achieves some great result. Literary 
genius of the first order b creative, self-operat- 
ing. All that Newton discovered we should 
probably have known ere this had he never ex-* 
isted. The grand theory of gravitation had 
been indicated by Halley, though it required 
the higher geometrical knowledge of Newton 
to demonstrate the great truth. But if Shak- 
speare had not existed, there would have been 
no Hamlet, no Lear, Othello, or Macbeth ; all 
that teeming world of his creation, with which 
they were so familiar, would have been lost for 
ever. The intuitive wisdom, the weighty tmths, 
the felicitous phrases which had come to be 
part of the daily speech of almost all people, 
could have been produced by no other brain. 
We can take up, continue, and improve upon 
the fruits of Newton's genius, as had been done 
by Sir David Brewster and others in optics ; 
but who could take up, continue, or improve 
upon the genius of Shakspeare or Milton? 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



(Cheers.) Mr. C. then gave a Vi'ief survey of 
the progress of Englbh literature, from tlie 
brilliant Elizabethan period to the present day. 
It was generally found, he said, that any great 
course of public events — any commotion or ex- 
citement which lifts the hearts of a whole peo- 
ple, stirs the national genius and permeat^ its 
literature. In the reign of Elizabeth there 
was a combination of such causes. There was 
the Reformation awakening all minds. Truth 
propagates truth: puts light to light. The 
mantle of mystery was removed not only from 
religion, but from literature. The classics 
were diligently studied. Italian literature was 
imported, and translated. The sentimenta of 
chivalry still lingered in the country — "high 
thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy," as de- 
fined by Sir Philip Sidney, himself the beau- 
ideal of courtesy and chivalrous honour. There 
was also the spirit of mercantile enterprise and 
curiosity, excited by the discovery in the pre- 
vious century of America and the West Indies. 
Our seamen had ceased to feel alarm for what 
the poet called " the stormy spirit of the Cape.*' 
Drake and Cavendish had circumnavigated the 
globe, the English flag was seen on all seas, tiie 
Spanish Armada was scattered. The whole 
rose up before the imagination like a brilliant 
panorama ; and from the middle of the reign 
6f Elizabeth to the close of the Protectorate, 
we had the masters of literature and philosophy 
— Shakspeare, Bacon, Spenser, Raleigh, Hooker, 
and Milton. Having shortly characterised these, 
Mr. C. traced the declension of imaginative 
literature after the period of the restoration. 
The drama became inextricably associated with 
sensuality and profanity, partly caused by the 
reaction from the gloomy austerity of the Pro- 
tectorate, and partly by the character and 
tastes of the Court. This license and disorder 
did not, however, aflect Milton in his retire- 
ment, irradiated by visions of Paradise ; it did 
not deprive England of divines like Jeremy 
Taylor, Barrow, and Tillotson, or historians like 
Clarendon or Burnet; it did not check the 
physical science of Newton, or the speculative 
pliilosophy of Locke. There was no lack of wit, 
with something higher, in Cowley and Butler ; 
there was little original invention, but old 
patriotic Daniel De Foe, having tried innumer- 
able schemes — a true-born Englishman, never 
giving in — embodied that happy conception of 
the shipwrecked Crusoe and his solitary island, 
and made his name immortal. Bishop Butler 
propounded his ethical system, still one of our 
best barriers against infidelity, and Steele and 
Addison by their charming essays corrected 
the grossnoss and follies of society*. Careless, 
happy Dick Steele, whom Mr. Thackeray has 
drawn so admirably ! — ^lie with his light touch 



and airy grace charmed all readers. He drew 
oittlliies and suggested plans — such as the 
Spectator Club — and told pathetic and roman- 
tic little stories; and Addison followed with 
his inimitable pencil, filling up Steele's outlines, 
adding serious reflection, sentiment and criti- 
cism — now a hymn and now an Eastern apologue 
— and thus insensibly, as it were, reforming the 
public taste and morals. But the greatest 
name of the age was that of Swift. While 
Pope was- condensing and polishing his ooup- 
let% Swift flung himself into the stream of 
public aflairs, buffeting about on all sides. The 
character and. writings of the famous Dean had 
been made the subject of much controversy of 
late. Mr. Thackeray had passed a severe judg- 
ment on him, while their townsman, Mr. James 
Hnnnay, an able scholastic critic, had taken the 
other side. Having dwelt on the- striking 
peculiarities of Swift*s character and genius, 
Mr. C. pointed to the sceptical but profound 
David Hume, who threw out dogmas for the 
learned, while rough, imperious, kindly old 
Samuel Johnson sat as literary dictator, and 
James Boswell penned notes for his mar- 
vellous biography. Johnson was greater, as 
Burke said, in the pages of Boswell than in his 
own works. The dwarf, according to Bacon, 
can see farther than the giant when mounted 
on the giant's shoulders, but here we have the 
giant on the shoulders of the dwarf, and, when 
let down appearing no bigger than some of his 
contemporaries — nay less, in the eyes of the 
present generation, than even Goldsmith, who 
looked up to Johnson as a schoolboy on the 
fourth or fifth form looked up to his master. 
But Boswell merited the gratitude of them all. 
What a gallery of living portraits he had 
drawn ! — each presented not only in his habit 
as he lived, but as he spoke and acted, loved or 
hated. And Johnson was great also in h's 
own strong sense, and his manly, noble nature. 
In his sonorous sentences are bursts of fine feel- 
ing and imagination, and sound principles of 
criticism which, though occasionally narrow in 
spirit, are clearly and forcibly enunciated. He 
(Mr. C.) dtyre not venture on the quaternion of 
novelists — Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, and 
Sterne. They have not been surpassed, but 
they have been superseded in popularity by die 
glorious fictions of Scott and other works of a 
pure character and tendency. The poetry of 
that period illustrated the fact that true genius 
is never imitative. Notwithstanding the in- 
fluence of the Pope school, Thomson, Young, 
Akensirle, and Gray, struck out paths of their 
own, and there were other names. Travellers 
entering Italy by the Pass of the Simplon, with 
all their admiration of the magnificent Alpine 
scenery, confessed to a secret pleasure in de- 



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scendmg to the sunny plains, the regions of the 
vine and fig-tree ; and most readers had felt a 
similar sensation on exchanging the epic ma- 
jesty of Milton, the higher dramas of Shak- 
speare, or the page of the philosophical historian 
for the gentle description, the quiet pathos, and 
moral beauty of the poetry of Goldsmith, Col- 
lins, and Beattie. The American war, with the 
eloquence of Chatham and Burke, gave a new 
impulse to the public mind, and then came 
Cowper and Burns — the true regenerators of 
the public taste, the poets of nature and feel- 
ing. While Cowper and Burns triumphed, 
enthroned at the firesides of the people of Eng- 
land and Scotland, we had the shock of the 
French Revolution. All wrongs were to be 
redressed, all factitious distinctions were to 
cease, virtue and talent were to be omnipotent. 
How that dream ended they all knew — but it 
was not all a dreapti. That heart must have 
been cold indeed which did not throb with 
exultation when the blood-cemented towers of 
the Bastile fell. And before the bright vision 
faded it had sunk deep into many ardent and 
generous minds. Burns kindled at the glory — 
Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge were fas- 
cinated bj it, and in the national tumult and 
excitement, the old conventional and artificial 
style of our imaginative literature disappeared. 
A few eminent men — as Crabbe, Rogers, and 
Campbell — still, however, adhered to its exter- 
nal form. Crabbe, as one of his friends wittily 
said, was ** Pope in worsted stockings." But it 
was Pope grown old, and, as if tired with lash- 
ing Whig Ministers and Grub-street authors, 
he had taken to parish business. As to Rogers 
and Campbell, the small classic temples of Me- 
mory and Hope will always remain in the land 
and always find admirers. But Campbell, like 
Bums, had the true poetic energy. His refine- 
ment, bordering upon fastidiousness, was adven- 
titious : it was but the fiame that played round 
the altar ; the sacred fire burned within. And, 
speaking in Dumfries, it might appropriately 
be mentioned, that Campbell's steady friend 
and afilectionate biographer. Dr. Beattie, was a 
native of that neighbourhood. Having dwelt 
on the rich abundance that characterized the 
literature of the nineteenth century — unprece- 
dented since the Elizabethan period — Mr. C. 
said that, though the great lights of the last 
generation were now all gone, English litera- 
ture in the present day held a commanding and 
distinguishcKl position. There was vast acti- 
vity in all departments of intellect, — unwearied 
research in physical science, a revival of specu- 
lative philosophy which seemed to be laid asleep 
with Dugald Stewart, and a spirit of inquiry 
and investigation that had no parallel in our 
literary annals. He instanced Tennyson, as 



our representative living poet ; the great histo- 
rians Macaulay, Hallam, Grote, and Carlyle; 
the ascendency which the department of fiction 
had gained by the works of Thackeray, Bulwer 
Lytton, and Dickens, and by several lady au- 
thors, the worthy descendants of Miss Edge- 
worth and Miss Austen. There never was a 
period when our authors were animated by 
higher or purer motives; they had discarded 
that badge of servitude, patronage, and he 
hoped they would soon gain the only protection 
they desired — an international law of copy- 
right. A deep responsibility rested with our 
popular writers. Their influence had been 
multiplied to an almost inconceivable extent by 
the increase of readers, and the issue of cheap 
editions. The humblest student can now en- 
joy the rich inheritance of the past, as well as 
the novelties constantly poured forth b}' the 
press. Some person had said of Porson, the 
eminent scholar, that with all his Greek he did 
not know so much as an Athenian cobbler. 
But a British cobbler of the present day could, 
for a few pence, sit down to an intellectual 
banquet such as no Athenian philosopher or 
opulent citizen could, in the proudest days of 
Attica, command at any price. Into all those 
foreign lands and distant regions where the 
songs of Burns were sung with such enthu- 
siasm, English literature had penetrated. We 
had become the moral pioneers of the world. 
This was a noble destiny, and he would echo 
Milton's simple but majestic words, " Let not 
England forget her ancient precedence in teach- 
ing nations how to live." (Loud cheers.) 
Tune — ** Tliere was a lass and she was fair." 

At this point of the evening's proceedings a 
deputation from the Nithsdale Mills dinner was 
introduced. Mr. Dykes, as spokesman of the 
deputation, said he was proud to be able to re- 
port that the party in the Nithsdale Mills had 
enjoyed themselves very much. It gave thom 
great pleasure as working men to see a meeting 
of what might be called the aristocracy of the 
town doing homage to one who belonged to 
the class of working men. And this ought to 
induce working men to endeavour to accomplish 
whatever of good was possible to them in their 
own sphere, for every one could do something 
to acquire an honourable reputation among, his 
fellowroen. (Cheers.) The deputation, after 
remaining for a short time, retired amidst ap- 
plause. 

Captain Noake then rose and proposed " A 
happy meeting to all celebrating the Centenary 
of Bums this evening, the world over." He 
said : Before asking you to join with me in the 
toast, permit me to ofier a few words on the 
cause of this universal gathering, in which we 
see embodied the very heart of Scotland — ^in 



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which England joina — in which we see thou- 
sands and tens of thousands in Cauada, tlie 
United States, and Australia; and twos and 
threes on shipboard, in the bush, the barrack- 
room, and the bivouac. What is the influence 
that maices 

'* Man and man, the warld o*er, 
As britfaers be, and a' that?" 

(Cheers.) Let us look back a century, and 
mark the tone and tastes of society, and the 
social and moral condition of the great body of 
the people. And then look in, as on this night, 
on that tender plant at Alloway, on which the 
cold, and chilly, Janwar^ wind is blowing in all 
the bleakness of unsheltered poverty. Then 
mark its growth. How vigorously it strikes its 
roots downwards ! How it grows upwards, and 
waxes strong above its fellows ! How the very 
rain-drops, from its wide-spreading branches, 
are drunk in by a thirsty and admiring nation ! 
Then let us gradually shorten our view, and we 
shall see the falling, but living, leaves, of that 
stately tree, giving light, and strength, and a 
healthy vigour, to the mind of its country ; im- 
planting in its heart a feeling of self-respect 
and independence; exalting its patriotism ; re- 
fining its love; giving a higher and purer 
tone to its song ; and raising its language in the 
estimation of the nations. (Cheers.) And 
now, its lofty towering top shines, as a glorious 
beacon, to bind the wandering, pioneering 
Briton, to the hills, the homes, the hearths of 
his father-land. (Loud cheers.) The scholar 
may award to Milton the topmost niche in 
Fame's golden temple, but, with bated breath, 
we traverse with him those awful regions which 
he explores. He may place Sliakspeare on its 
very pinnacle, and we admire and wonder as he 
lays bare to our view the deep, mysterious 
workings of the human heart. Still, the people 
pass them by, and hoist on the shoulders of the 
heart and the afiections *' the sweet songster of 
Scotland " who binds, with silken bands, to his 
triumphal car, the fond, endearing associations 
of home, (Cheers.) And he sings his hymn 
of victory, in the gush of the purest feeling, 
and in the tender, simple, language of our child- 
hood. This is that mighty influence ; felt as 
deeply as it is enduring. And its sphere ex- 
tends with each succeeding generation, and like 
the ripple on the water, it rolls on, and onward, 
on the crest of time, till the very centre — where 
now rests that noble heart which gave it birth 
— shall be, like ancient Sparta, known but in 
name. (Tremendous applause.) We do not 
love Burns for the sweetness of his song alone, 
but, also, for the wisdom of his teachings ; and 
for having conveyed his instructions and re- 
proofs in the most simple, and, at the same time, 



the most powerful language that man com- 
mands : the language of ** native poetry." He 
saw the degradation of his own class, and he 
taught, and is ever teaching them the dignity 
of honest labour; and for which so many manly, 
generous, happy hearts, this night the worid 
over, have met to pay their homage. (Cheers.) 
He also saw iniquity in high places, and as the 
great prophetic teacher of his age, he lifted up 
his voice against the lordly oppressor, against 
tiie fiery controversialist, the bigot, the self- 
righteous, the superstitious, and against the 
cant and follies of the day — (cheers) — some- 
times with sage-like gravity, sometimes with 
unsparing severity, often with playful irony, 
but never with bitter poison on his tongue. 
(Cheers.) In what nobleness, and manly 
beauty, he appears when contrasted with the 
modern critic and satirist, — the hireling, — 
who bean about with him the reputation of the 
dead — ^that he might exhibit them to an audi- 
ence at a price, — and there, like a Purgatonal 
gladiator, probe, — and stab, — and murder them ; 
then lift them up all bleeding; spurn them with 
a kick of hate, or, with a demoniac smile, 
gather them beneath his sooty wing for future 
torment at his hand. (Laughter and cheers.) 

For pelf, 
The miffbtv mind, that doth all knowledge grasp, 
And hold tne reading world in wonderment. 
The brightest intellect hath stoop'd so low 
As with the sponging dronkard to be matched. 

What a delightful contrast! Bums, though 
poor, was too honest, too manly, to be an hire« 
ling, to pander to our follies and our vices; 
Bums was an honourable man, and well may 
you as Sootchmen be proud of him. 

The lofty mind, with honour for its hedge, 
Will never stoop, how low its poverty. 

(Cheers.) In how many public meetings, but, 
more especially, in how many family circles, 
will Woman pay her grateful homage to the 
memory of Burns this evening, who, as her 
champion, is chief among ten thousand. He 
did not go forth to fight in her cause, armed 
and accoutred, like the knight-^rant of old, 
with lance and buckler ; but he attacked man's 
rugged nature with the sharp, two-edged sword 
of poesy and song ; he fearlessly stormed the 
outworks of his usurped superiority; he skil- 
fully sapped the foundations of the ramparts of 
his pride; he stormed and won the breaches 
made in the afiections ; and he planted the flag 
of love in the very citadel of the heart. (Loud 
cheers.) It is true that woman emerged from 
her domestic thraldom at the dawn of the Re- 
formation and of Letters in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and she has been gradually rising to her 



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present portion. But no man from that day 
to this has advocated her cause so earnestly, or 
battled for her so successfully, as Burns. She 
is now not only loved by her lord, as being the 
mother of his children, but she is intrusted to 
teach and to educate them, and she is esteemed 
and revered as man's chief companion and his 
dearest friend. (Cheers.) How man^, this 
evening, the world over, have felt a pride, and 
have been happy in that pride, as we have 
been, in singing that prince of patriotic songs, 
" Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled." Why, the 
very gentlest of Scotland's daughters in her 
teens cannot read that song without feeling her 
heart kindle with a patriotic flame — a flame 
that death only can extinguish — and though 
her sex prevents her from vindicating the liber- 
ties of her country, still her ardent wish and 
prayer is, that her future first-born may be a 
son, that from her glowing breast he may drink 
in the milk of living freedom, and grow up to 
be a mam, such as I see now before me, — ^inde- 
pendent, bold, and free ; bearing to the utmost 
confines <»f our globe that tone of manly thought, 
and that ^liberty to which Bums has contributed 
so much to mature. (Cheers.) Nothing shows 
the sterling beauty, the holy fire of that song 
so clearly as that, while it was written for Soot- 
land alone, it is now sung from the Lizzard to 
the Tweed by the very people it was intended 
to disparage ; and it will be sung while ever 
liberty 8ha.ll hold her reign in Britain ; and in 
ages hence, should her shrine be trodden down 
by the oppressor, that song will rouse our sons 
to burst their chains, and to dare such deeds 
that even the spirits of the men of Bannock- 
bum will hover on trembling wing to gaze 
upon them. It is the gem in the casket of our 
heroic lyrics^ and time but adds brightness to 
its lustre, for wherever our hardy race shall 
wend their way, there will they teach their 
sons that noble, that ennobling precept — 

" To stand as freemen, 
Or as freemen fa,\" 

(Cheers.) Permit me to name one other poem 
as exercising an influence on tliis universal, 
this happy gathering, and which is enshrined 
in every feeling heart, it is " The Cottar's Satur- 
day Night,** that universal sermon, hymn, and 
prayer. It requires no sophistry or laboured 
oratory, no priest in saoerdotal stole or broi- 
dered vestment, to give it a seeming sanctity, 
to impress the humble mind with awe. No, — 
it stands forth grand in its simplicity, and beau- 
tiful in its truthfulness, that those who run may 
read. 

*'The Sire turns o'er with patriarchal grace 
The big ha' Bible, 



Waling its pages witli jncJicioug care, 
And 'Let as worship God!' he says with solemn 
air." 

(Cheers.) The poet well knew the home re- 
collections, the fond associations, linked with 
the family Bible. Those who gathered round 
it, where are they? And to many of us, he 
who waled its pages for our instruction lives 
but in memory. There are volumes contained 
in those heart-searching words, "the big ha* 
Bible.*' 

"Tlien kneeling down to Heaven's eternal King, 
The saint, the father, and the husband pi-ays, 
That thus they all may meet in future days 
Together hymning their Ci^eator's praise." 

Who can read this without emotion ? Can the 
young, and not feel an ardent desire that they, 
too, at some future day, may follow that bright 
example? Can the good man read, and not 
feel his hand strengthened in his work ? And 
can the unthinking read, and not heave the 
sigh of regret as the still small voice whispers 
to his conscience, *<dost thou do likewise?" 
Who can tell how many family altars have 
been raised and sustained by the influence of 
" The Cottar's Saturday Night?" (Loud ap- 
plause.) It is a living picture of a holy family, 
traced by the finger of inspiration on the tablets 
of the human heart; it is a scene photographed 
on every hearth, from the home of the peasant 
to the palace of the peer; it is a hymn sung on 
every hill, and we hear its echoes in every val- 
ley; it is a truthful tale of Scottish life and 
virtue, transited into every European language 
and spoken in every tongue; and by the bright- 
ness of its example, it may, haply, carry light 
to the darkened home, into which the Word of 
Life dares not enter. (Continued cheering.) 
As a spring emanating from die ardent breast 
of a lowly Scottish ploughman, it has spread 
its accumulated waters from shore to shore. 
And now — ^like a mighty river — ^it i*olls on 
through other lauds, bearing truth upon its 
crested wave, and in the deep bosom of Ua 
waters, the most noble, the most sublime, aspi- 
rations of the patriot and the man. Each suc- 
ceeding verse comes surging in upon us, until 
we are lost, — absorbed, — overwhelmed, — and 
we stand subdued in the presence of the great 
source of the inspiration of song, from whence 
a ray of patriotic fire kindles in the breast, and 
in awe we say : — 

" Oh, Thou ! who poured the patriotic tide 

That streamed thro' Wallace's undaunted heart, 
Who dared to nobly stem tyrannic pride, 
(The patriot's God peculiarly Tbou art, 
His friend, inspirer, guardian, and reward !) 
Oh I never, never, Scotia's realm desert ; 
But still the patriot, and the patriot bard, 
In bright succession raise, her ornament and guard!'* 
I 



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What givcg to Burns the mighty power? 
His song — the charm, that in one hour, 
A world lifts its glad voice to say,— • 
"2to is the poet's natal day I" 

What but the language of his lay, 
The same in which we learned to pray, 
And lisp our morning hymn of praise; 
The language of our childhood's days. 

Our mothers soothed us when we wept. 
And, in it, blessed us ere we slept; 
And lovers, when they meet and part. 
Speak in this language of the heart. 

And when we feel affliction's rod, 
In simple strains we nlead with God ; 
In simple strains the hoary liead 
In death's last hour is comforted. 

Tlie gallant Captain sat down amidst enthusiastic 
applause. 

Mr. Wilson sung with great Uste "O let me in tliis 
ae night," and " I winna let ye in, Jo." 

Mr. Mackir, M.P., proposed "The Peasantry 
of Scotland.** The honourable gentleman, in 
doing so, said : — The toast which I have the 
honour to propose is intimately connected with 
our earliest reminiscences of the life of the Poet 
Burns, and carries us back to the days when he 
whistled o'er the lea, and when, doubtless, even 
while holding the plough, he composed some of 
those heart-stirring songs which are familiar to 
us all as household words; which are dear 
equally to the fireside of the Peer, the Com- 
moner, and the Peasant; and which, by the 
very vigour of their native manliness, bring the 
whole world together, as it were face to face, 
and man to man, pointing and proving the 
never-to-be-forgotten moral, that whatever our 
rank or station in life may be, be it high or be 
it low, an honest man's the noblest work of 
God, " a man's a man for a' that.** (Cheers.) 
And verily among the peasantry of Scotland are 
to be found the names of many who have done 
life's work with an energy, with an honesty, and a 
nobility of purpose which might well put to the 
blush those who can boast of longer pedigrees 
and longer pui*ses. I see him now, in my 
mind's eye, the herd laddie in the wilds of 
Minnigaff, poring over his one sole treasure, a 
rudely carved alphabet, pursuing knowledge 
under circumstances of extreme difficulty, yet 
still pursuing it, self-taught — and again I see 
him honoured amongst the honourable, trans- 
lating the letter which the native Indian 
Prince sent to King George the Third, the 
translation of which had puzzled and baffled 
all the Oriental scholars of the day— a monu- 
ment perpetuates his memory and his name, 
and tells the passing traveller on the Galloway 
road that the herd laddie from the wilds of 
Minnigaff, the self-taught in infancy, was none 
other than Dr. Alexander Murray, Professor of 
Oriental Languages in the unixersity of Edin- 



burgh. (Loud cheers.) Need I name Hogg tlie 
Ettrick Shepherd? 1 do so but to say that 
he has immortalized the scenery around St. 
Mary's Loch, the banks and braes of Yarrow, the 
peasant class to which he belongs, and himself, 
and the roost ardent of his admirers might 
safely rest his reputation upon the simple, 
natural true-ringing, heart-reaching, words of 
the song which begins, — 

"Come all ye jolly shepherds who whistle thro' the 

glen, 
I'll tell ye o' a secret that courtiers dinna ken. 
What is the greatest bliss that the tongae o' man 

can name ? 
'Tis to woo a bonnie Inssie when the kye come 

hame." 

(Laughter and great applause.) Is there a 
peasant in Dumfries-shire but feels the glow of 
pleasure, the blush of honest pride manUe from 
cheek to brow, when he hears the name of the 
sweet singer, the blind poet, Thos. Blackloek, 
and claims him for his own. And the time 
would fail me to tell of Beattie and Ferguson, 
and Ley den, and Lowe (what Gallovidian is there 
who has not heard of Mary's Dream?) and Hugh 
Miller, and Allan Ramsay, and Tannahill, and 
Telford, all bom in the peasant rank of life, AL 
men who have approved themselves nature's 
noblemen, and have thereby ennobled tlie 
class to which they belong. And generally, 
I think that it may be predicated truly and 
fairly of the peasantry of Scotland collectively, 
that they do their duty cheerfully, honestly, 
and faithfully by their employers; that tliey 
do their duty, the highest IkmisI of man, in that 
station of life to which it has pleased God to 
call them. (Applause.) Then, Sir, when I 
look around and see the many evidences of the 
material prosperity which has been recently 
developed in the agricultural world ; when I 
think how much of this is the creation of the 
peasantry, I ask myself the question, have the 
employers of that labour done all they could to 
make the social condition of the |)easantry keep 
pace with the prosperity thus developed in the 
country side? (Cheers.) And I am afraid the 
answer must be given against us, that we have 
left undone much which we might have done 
to supply the wants, physical, moral, and social, 
of the peasantry within our own spheres. For 
instance, might we not long ere thb have tried 
to find a substitute for those hiring fairs — fairs 
which ^ave their counterpart only in the "Mops" 
and "Roasts" of which our friends in England 
are beginning to be ashamed? But why do I 
say this? Not to provoke discussion, not to 
start a debateable subject u]K>n such an even* 
ing as this, but to pave tlie way for the sugges- 
j tiou, that, if those gentlemen in this room, who 
I like myself are more immediately connected 



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'vith the agricultural interest, leave it with the 
intention of trying to do something in the 
future to ameliorate the social condition of the 
peasantry within our home sphere and circle, 
then we shall be paying the most graceful, the 
most handsome, the most practical compliment 
to the memory of the Peasant Poet, the ** lad 
who was bom in Kyle." Then the Centenary 
of the birth of Burns will not have been cele- 
brated thb day in Dumfries fruitlessly and in 
vain. (Loud and continued cheering.) 

At the request of the Chairman the Secretary 
of the Club here read the poem for which the 
prize was awarded by the directors of the 
Crystal Palace at their celebration of Burns' 
Centenary. 

Mr. AiBD then proposed ** The Fine Arts." 
Tliey were now, he said, met to pay a special 
tribute to poetry, and ho was sure they would 
extend their loyal good wishes to the whole of 
the charming sisterhood. Each of them had 
their own distinctive features, but Beauty based 
upon Utility was the common soul of all of 
them, and if any man loved poetry, he was 
compelled, by the constitution of his nature, 
more or less to love all the arts. By the con- 
sent of critics, he might say of mankind, poetry 
had been placed foremost of the band. The 
reason was obvious. From the flexibility and 
infinite variety of her medium of words, poetry 
could embody in a moment the subtlest and 
most complex emotions of the human mind, 
and could express flux and reflux, transition 
and progress. After an illustration of this, 
drawn from one of the ancient poets, Mr. Aird 
apologized for travelling out of Kyle on such a 
night. Very well : Burns in his " Twa Dogs,'* 
alluding to the fashionable follies of the young 
buck of his day, says : — 

•* Or by Madrid he takes the route, 
To toram guitars, and fecht wi' uowte." 

Let them mark the power of the word "nowte." 
Had the poet said that our young fellow went 
to Spain to fight with bulls, there would have 
been some dignity in the thing ; but think of 
him going all that way to " fecht wi' nowte." 
(Laughter.) It was felt at once to be ridicu- 
lous. Such was the power of the single word 
" nowte," as chosen by Burns. It conveyed at 
once a statement of the folly and a sarcastic 
rebuke of the folly. Such were those single 
decisive strokes, as from a sledge-hammer, 
which sent the Bums broad arrow deep and 
fur ever into the very heart of the matter. 
Such a feat as the word "noi^te" had thus 
achieved was beyond the reach of any other of 
the fine arts. (Cheers.) But again : take that 
extraordinary picture in "Tarn o' Slianter:" — 



"Even Satan glowei'd and fidg'd fu' fain, 
And hotch'd an' blew wi' might an' main/' 

Now their own David Wilkie could have made 
a funny picture of that. He could have done 
the "glowerin" very well; but he could not 
have done the " fidgin' fain," far less could he 
have managed the "hotchin'." (Cheers and 
laughter.) And here by the way he (Mr. Aird) 
might ask any English friend present to try to 
translate "hotchin"' to himself: a queer cir- 
cumlocution he would make of it. (Cheers 
and laughter.) Such was the peculiar power 
of poetry beyond that of the other fine arts. 
It would have been very pleasant to himself to 
say a few words about Painting, Sculpture, and 
Architecture ; but he must not detain them at 
such an hour. With regard to Music, he need 
not remind such a meeting that it was an art as 
well as a science. How powerful it was, and 
how popular it was, their fine orchestra had 
given proof sufficient. In all other essential 
respects, Burns was a great poet ; but it was 
mainly by his marvellous faculty of marrying 
his songs to the divine old music of Scotland 
that he had won his unparalleled sovereignty 
over the human heart; and he (Mr. Aird) 
might be permitted to add that it was this 
irresistible marriage of the two immortals that 
had mainly caused such a demonstration in 
placing the stone of consummation on the 
monumental century of their poet's fame. 
(Cheers.) The Fine Arts were the natural 
handmaids of Virtue; and the man who re- 
spected and cultivated them aright, was there- 
by respecting and cultivating his own intellec- 
tual, moral, and religious nature. (Cheers.) 

Mr. Bell Macdonald of Rammerscales gave 
" The Nameless Song and Ballad Writers of 
Scotland." He pointed out the peculiar con- 
struction and influence of the song, observing 
that though it was perhaps a simpler piece of 
composition than the melody, it required a great 
deal more polish. He eulogised our national 
ballads as conveying a more accurate and truth- 
ful picture of the customs and feelings of the 
times in which they were written, tlian any 
history could do — alluding particidarly to those 
of 1715 and 1745 — though it was true that 
now and then a song or ballad might have 
strayed into our collections which were in reali- 
ty not worthy of a place in this department of 
national literature. He said that the spirit for 
producing as fine compositions in the ballad- 
style as had ever been written, had not yet dis- 
appeared from amongst us, and mentioned es- 
pecially the beautiful though unacknowledged 
words by the Rev. Dr. Park of St. Andrews, 
to the old burden of " O an' I were whar Gadie 
rins, at the back o' Bennochie," and a very su- 



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perior composition of this class which not long 
ago had appeared in Punchy entitled " Kinreen 
o' the Dee," a pibroch heard wailing down 
Glentanner on the exile of three generations, 
the subject being " The Clearances in the High- 
lands." In allusion to the occasion of their 
meeting, he expressed the great gratification 
that he felt in being present, and said be could 
never forget the high honour which Colonel 
Burns had conferred on him on the anniversary 
of his father's birth last year, on which occa- 
sion, in common with many other guests, he had 
the pleasure of enjoying his splendid hospitality. 
Colonel Burns brought out his father's punch- 
bowl and glasses, and though there were guests 
present of much higher rank than himself, the 
Colonel paid him the compliment of asking him 
to make the punch and the speech of the 
evening. (Cheers.) Mr. Macdonald conclud- 
ed an able speech by giving the toast, which 
was duly honoured. 

Mr. M'Monne, Dumfries, sang with much taste 
*' Up in the morning early," wliich was re-demanded 
wiUi load applause. 

Mr. Strachan then, in an able speech, 
gave " American Literature." He said he 
thought it well that on this occasion the labours 
of those of the same race as ourselves who, 
across the Atlantic, are doing so much for the 
cultivation of literature, should not be forgot- 
ten. After an allusion 'to the early American 
writers and authors, such as Benjamin Frank- 
lin, Jonathan Edwards, and others of a later peri- 
od, whom he characterised as rather belonging 
to our own literature than that of America, he 
went on to observe that recently, perhaps be- 
ginning with Washington Irving, the literature 
of America had assumed a distinctive character 
as separate from that of our own — character- 
istics, indeed, not very easily defined in so 
many words, but not less marked or more 
readily recognisable than an American himself 
among any number of our own countrymen ; 
and among such writers he alluded to Channing, 
Cooper, and particularly, as more markedly 
American, to Emerson, as well as to Hawthorne, 
Haliburton, Herman, Melville; and among 
poets to Bryant, Willis, Reade, Poe, and Long- 
fellow — the last of whose books was probably 
more read in this country than those of any of 
our own living poets. With much admiration 
for many of these authors he could not but 
notice in the works of fiction which America 
produced, an exaggeration of tone and unre- 
ality of character, together with a wildness of 
imagination which seemed to indicate a peculiar 
development of mind that delighted itself with 
prying into the secret sources and inner work- 
ings of the dark or night side of human nature, 
and which possibly too indicated in some cases 



a peculiarity of physical temperament. He re- 
ferred to the " Scarlet Letter" of Nathaniel 
Hawthorne, which was perhaps rather to be 
considered as a psychological study, than a 
story of common life, and particularly to the 
works of Poe, whose powerful delineations and 
love of ideal beauty had a sort of fascination 
over many minds, in illustration of this. The 
speaker concluded by saying — The Americans 
are heirs with us of a glorious inheritance, for 
they speak the language in which Shakspeare 
and Milton wrote and our own Burns sang — 
in which Burke and Pitt, Fox and Sheridan, 
and Brougham have spoken. And we know 
already that they can use it well. And who 
can doubt that in the future a literature shall 
be developed worthy of the language which 
they inherit, destined to make our mother 
tongue the speech of a great and powerful 
people who shall bear westward still the toroh 
that was lighted at our own firesides, and to 
whom British literature will be a fountain un- 
sealed, to soften the asperities of an advancing, 
and perhaps more material civilization by the 
amenities of a more ancient literature that em- 
bodies the noble thoughts and heroic deeds of 
the race from whence they sprang. (Che^^) 
And, Sir, sure I am that even now from across 
the broad Atlantic there are many hearts sym- 
pathising with us in the tribute which we this 
day ofifer to the memory of our own great bard; 
and not a few are, one cannot doubt, celebrat- 
ing the day as heartily as ourselves, and re- 
calling more joyously than perhaps even we can 
do, those glorious words of his that picture 
forth so beautifully the pleasant memories of 
their fiithcrs' land. (Loud cheers.) Mr. Stra- 
chan coupled the toast with the name of Mr. 
Fuller of New York. The toast was received 
with prolonged cheering. 

Mr. FuLLEB rose to return thanks and was 
very warmly received. He said: Mr. Chair- 
man and brother Scots — 

" If there's a bole in a> your coats, 
I rede you tent it, 
A chield's amang you takin' notes. 
And, faith, he41 prent it 

(Laughter and cheers.) I came not here to 
make a speech, but rather to report the speeches 
which you make here to-night. The instru- 
ment with which I am accustomed to speak is 
the quill, and I shall probably astonish you by 
saying that my account of this day's proceed^ 
ings will reach nearly five millions of readers, 
for in our country we don't publish editions of 
newspapers by the ten thousand, but by the 
five hundred or six hundred thousand. I am 
here, gentlemeh, a stranger in a strange land, 
and yet, strange as it may seem to you, 1 feel 
quite at home. (Cheers.) I have come 3,500 



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miles across the broad Atlantic, a pilgrim to 
the tomb of Robert Bums. (Cheers.) I do 
not come here to represent America, although 
I am a member of a Burns Club in the city of 
Now^ York; but I come here from my own 
volition — from a spontaneous anxiety to bring, 
as it were, a wild-flower from the far West to 
lay upon the shrine of the Immortal. (Loud 
cheers.) I slept last night in a city which they 
told me was founded a thousand years before 
Christ was bom, — the city of Carlisle, — and 
before retiring to my bed, with the spirit of 
antiquity upon me, I read in the book of Job, 
and I thought as I read — What is a hundred 
years? What is the lif(»>time of my own 
young republic, compared with the duration 
of the temples, the castles, and the cathe- 
drals that I see around me? What is the 
generation of man? or in the sublime lan- 
guage of the Hebrew bard, What is man 
that God should be mindful of him ? Every- 
thing seemed, so far as human existence was 
eonoerned, Inrief, transitory, feverish, flitting 
away. Yet in my own land this day, there is 
everywhere commemorated, from the snow-clad 
hills of Maine to the golden streams of Cali- 
fornia, from the fir- fringed heights of Oregon 
to the orange groves of Florida, the name of a 
poet whose fame is immortal — ^the name of 
Robert Bums. (Cheers.) There is a Burns 
Club in every city and town of the Union, and 
though you are five hours in advance of them 
in point of time in your celebration to-day, we 
can imagine that about this hour hundreds and 
thousands of people are convening in the far 
west around the festive board to commemorate 
the memory, and honour the genius of Robert 
Bums. (Cheers.) Your poet was born in 
Scotland : he lived and died almost within the 
horizon that lies around us. He scarcely visited 
England. He never went out of the island ; 
yet to-day he is one of the best known men 
that ever lived — (cheers) — and taught, as I 
was, to love and revere his memory in child- 
hood,-— for the songs of Bums were the cradle 
hynms that my mother used to sing to me, — 
studying him as I have from my youth up, I do 
not hesitate to say that I consider him the 
greatest poet that ever lived, and I tell you 
that your little dty of Dumfries stands this 
night upon the very top of the world. (Cheers.) 
Though invited to attend the celebrations in 
London and Edinburgh, and though having 
personal reasons to be in Glasgow, or remain in 
Liverpool to-night, I felt that this was the place 
where every true lover and admirer of Burns 
should assemble. It was here that that glowing 
eye took its last farewell look of the sun, and 
here that his dust reposes, and may it repose till 
the resurrection mom. You have a sacred trust, 



gentlemen, and many a pilgrim from the New 
World will yet come to pay his homage at that 
shrine. (Cheers.) I have been interested, excit- 
ed, delighted by all that I have seen and heard 
to-night. If I were to say briefly to you what the 
people of America think of Burns, I would say 
they think and feel precisely as your eloquent 
Chairman has expressed it. We look upon 
him as immeasurably above the lesser race of 
English, Scotch, American, or European poets, 
and far be that day frOm us when the theolo- 
gical telescope shall be used to descry spots on 
the sunshine of his genius. (Cheers.) I be- 
lieve that Robert Burns was one of the most 
religious as well as patriotic of poets. (Loud 
cheers.) He hated and despised cant, — he 
hated the god of the priest, who is a mere ty- 
rant, — but the Divine, the All-loving Father of 
the Universe he adored. He hated and de- 
spised the reb'gion of the fanatic, but the reli- 
gion of Christ, the grand religion of nature, was 
in him. In proof that he was a religious man, 
let me quote one verse from his epistle to a 
young friend : 

" When ranting round in pleasure's ring, 

Religion may be blinded, 
Or if she trie a random sting, 

It maybe little minded; 
But when on life we're tempest driven, 

A conscience but a canker ; 
A correspondence fix'd wi' Heaven 

Is sure a noble anchor." 

(Loud cheers.) The poetry and songs of Burns 
have nerved the soldier in the day of battle ; 
they have bid the heavenward flame of devotion 
arise in the house of God ; and where is the 
young man who, in the blissful rapture of 
•Move's young dream," does not borrow the 
golden chalice of Bums to carry the libation of 
his heart to his mistress's lips ? Everything he 
touches he has immortalized. Even old Nance 
Tinnoek, who is not mentioned in his works 
more than once, has been embalmed and pre- 
served like a fly in amber. (Great laughter, 
and cheers.) Bums was a lover, and that 
made him a poet : he worshipped at the shrine 
of woman : — woman 

" Whom God created with a smile of grace, 
And left the smile that made her on lier face." 

The lowly maid to whom was addressed 
"Mary in heaven," will shine for ever as an 
aeriol of his genius. Where is the queen that 
will outlive in story the loves of Bums, com- 
memorated in such lines as these: — 

" Let Bourbon exult in his gay gilded lilies, 

And England triumphant display her proud rose; 
A fnirer than either adorns the green valleys 
Where Devon, sweet Devon, meandering flows." 

(Cheers.) After relating an anecdote of our 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



soldiers in the Crimea singing Annie Laurie in 
chorus on the eve of an engagement in illustra- 
tion of the power of song, Mr. Fuller quoted a 
saying of his friend C. Mackay the poet, that 
before we can estimate the effect which that 
simple but noble song, " A man's a man for a' 
that," has produced in raising the dignity, and 
patriotism, and loyalty of Britons, and indeed 
all throughout the world wherever it was 
known, we must try and estimate the value of 
one day's sunshine in ripening the corn. In 
conclusion, said Mr. Fuller, I will simply ex- 
press my gratitude to the gentleman who did 
me the honour of mentioning my name in con- 
nection with this toast, and I thank you all for 
the cordiality with which it was received. 
Though I do not take t!ie compliment to my- 
self, yet I accept it for my country, I can 
assure you that Scotsmen are in that country 
found to be a very intelligent, industrious, en- 
terprising, thrifty people. I had the good for- 
tune to be born a New Englander, my ances- 
tors, two brothers, having gone over in the 
* Mayflower,' and we have always considered it 
a great compliment as New Englanders to be 
called the Scotsmen of America. Mr. Fuller 
sat down amidst much applause. 

Mr. Thos. Lindsay of Liverpool sang: *'Saw ye 
Johnnie coinin'?" 

Mr. Lent rose amidst entlmsiastic cheering, 
and said that in proposing their Chairman he 
had a double duty to perform — a double, not a 
divided duty. Reference had been made to 
the absence of Sheriff Napier, originally se- 
lected, as they knew, to be their diairman, and 
who would have been proud and happy to pre- 
side over this meeting, where so much of heart 
and feeling had been exhibited, for he was pre- 
pared to enter into all their feelings, and make 
tliis, as it had been, a very happy occasion. 
He (Mr. Leny) was certain they would all sym- 
pathise in the deep distress arising from the 
melancholy event by which Sheriff Napier had 
been prevented from taking the chair. His 
excellent friend Dr. Browne -had generously 
come forward at a critical moment, and had 
admirably discharged the duties of the chair. 
(Cheers.) He (Mr. Leny) had known Dr. 
Browne for twenty years : he had found him to 
be a scholar and a gentleman, a kind-hearted 
man, and unceasing in his work of humanity ; 
and it was gratifying to see that his eminent 
merits had been recognised and demanded for 
the service of his country in the highest capa- 
city that could have been selected. (Loud 
cheers.) 

Dr. Browne briefly acknowledged the toast, 
and proposed " The Croupiers" — to which Mr. 
Leny simply bowed and waved thanks. 

The Chairman could not allow the meeting 



to break up without calling their special notice 
to the way in which Mr. M'Diarmid, Secretary 
of the Bums Club, had got all the arrange- 
ments of that successful meeting carried out. 
After an affectionate reference to the memory 
of the late Mr. M'Diarmid, who had been the 
life and soul of so many of their Bums meet- 
ings, Dr. Browne called for a special token of 
thanks to Mr. Wm. M'Diarmid. (Heartily re- 
sponded to.) 

Mr. M'DiABMiD replied, and proposed tlie 
Committee, and Mr. Sinclair, bookseller, espe- 
cially, as entitled to the best share of their gra- 
titude for the success of the arrangements^ 

Mr. Sinclair briefly acknowledged the com- 
pliment. 

The meeting was breaking up (about 10 
o'clock), when a young American gentleman, 
Mr. George Francis Train, a friend of Mr. 
Fuller, detained a good many of them, and 
gave them an energetic address in praiso of 
Burns. 

The demonstration in the Assembly Rooms 
was in every respect a great success. The din- 
ner was suppli^ by Mr. Wm. Clark of the 
Commercial Hotel, and was served in a style of 
elegance. The homely dislies of Scotch fare — 
cock-o'-leekie, haggis, sheep's head, &c. — ^were 
duly represented on the festive board. The 
musical arrangements were under the charge of 
Mr. Harkness, who had engaged a small but 
effective stringed band, conducted by Mr. All- 
wood of London, a violinist of great ability. 
The vocalists were Messrs. Wilson of Dalkeith, 
Lee of Irvine, Thomson and M'Morine of Dum- 
fries, and Lindsay of Liverpool. Mr. Thomas 
Cooke of Edinburgh acted as accompanist on 
the piano. 

Extracts from the speech of Sheriff Napier, 
who was prevented by indisposition from being 
present at this meeting. 

Scotland, throughout the length and breadth 
of the land, has declared it to be a national 
duty, and the nation's pleasure and delight, 
to commemorate the great and glorious fact 
of the birth of Burns, to proclaim with exul- 
tation throughout the whole land, that this 
day, one hundred years ago, Robert Bums was 
born: 

" And Or^d answers, from his misty shroud, 
Back to the AUsa Craig, that calls' to him alond." 

But it is not only from the banks of the 
Doon to the banks of the Nith, and the shores, 
of the Solway, that this voice has gone forth. 
It has been heard, from the Spey to the Tweed: 
ay, and from the Tweed to tjje Thames. The 
sister kingdom, England, the land of Shak- 
speare, is at this moment re-echoing the feeling. 



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DUMFRIES.— ASSEMBLY ROOMS. 



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and has indoi*sed the sentiment. Nor is this all, 
gentlemen. I quote from an English news- 
paper: — ^**It is pleasant (writes the London 
correspondent of the • Manchester Guardian '), 
to listen to the note of peaceful preparation for 
such brotherly celebrations as the hundredth 
anniversary of Robert Burns' birthday, on the 
25th, promises to call forth. Not alone in the 
poet's own town of Dumfries, nor in Scotland, 
nor in England, only, but in the United States 
(at New York and Boston) ; in Canada (at 
Montreal); in Malta, in Australia, in New 
Zealand; nay, even in Paris, I hear of ban- 
quets in contemplation for the great day.*' 
Now, gentlemen, I do say, that this universal 
sympathy of feeling; this wild-fire spread of 
enthusiasm, is the best possible proof — proof 
not to be gainsaid — that the object thereof 
deserves that it should be so ; is the best pos- 
sible proof that this Scottish ploughman is in- 
deed one of Nature's marvels; and that to 
resist the unfading influence of his genius, 
which has even crossed the Atlantic, would be 
to resist one of the finest impulses that can 
affect our human nature. 

It seems to me, gentlemen, that even in the 
midst of what we are well entitled to call the 
unanimous feeling of Scotland, an erroneous 
idcia has gone forth, — a querulous note has 
arisen. I have heard it asked, what is all this 
about ? Why this frantic joy ? Is the poetic 
temperament so great a virtue, so rare a gift in 
Scotland, that we must fall down and worship 
it ? Have we not many great poets ? Camp- 
bell and Soott, are not they too among the 
prophets ? And as for poetry in general, have 
we not most excellent poetry, — ^most musical, 
most melancholy, ay, and most mirthful, grow- 
ing on the very hedges? Why are we sum- 
moned to bend the knee, not indeed to Baal, 
but to Bums ? 

Now, gentlemen, there is a great fallacy 
here. This is not a fervour or fever of poetry. 
We are not here assembled to admire and won- 
der that a ploughman should have been en- 
dowed with a gift of poesy, vouchsafed to very 
few men, and to no other ploughman ; that in the 
thousand moods of this pUughKxnfs whuiUy we 
find displayed the fire of Pindar, the glee and 
gaiety of Horace, the elegiac tenderness of 
Tibullus, the epigrammatic point and power, 
Trithont the grossness, of Martial, the hish of 
Juvenal, and, to come nearer home, the philoso- 
phy of Shakspeare. No. It is because all this 
T<ut power of the poetic temperament has been 
concentrated by Bums upon his native coun- 
try; and that he is the first great poet who 
ever did so ; if, uideed, he be not also the last. 
The pamoHy then, which the land of Bums is 
now displaying, is the patrioHe passion; not 



merely poetic; it is the love of our country, 
and of our homes ; and the birth of Burns is 
that horn of the moon upon which we Scotch- 
men are now hanging our bonnets. 

Nor in this, gentlemen, are we overreaching 
ourselves. We have the verdict in our favour 
of the sympathy of the civilized world. When 
the brown eyes of Bums first marvelled at the 
light of day, a great boon was conferred upon 
Scotland by Providence. God created the 
lyre of Burns, as he created all things in hea- 
ven above, and the earth beneath, and the wa- 
ters under the earth; and he did so, benefi- 
cently and in his infinite wisdom, for the good 
of Scotland. 

Gentlemen, we have of late years heard 
something about those grievances of Scotland, 
which consist in the fanciful danger of her na- 
tional individuality becoming merged and lost. 
Do not Bums and Scott guard it for ever? 
Are they not better than two unicorns ? Some 
crude comment upon an old charter seal, not 
very long since, did, for a moment, frighten 
some of the nobility and gentry of Scotland out 
of their propriety. The unicorn was on the 
wrong side of the heraldic shield ! He had no 
crown on his head! A fig for the armorial, 
monster. For the eternal preservation of the 
national individuality of Scotland, I say we 
have Burns and Scott ; and so, not only may 
the heraldic lion chase the heraldic unicorn 
round about the town, but he may dine upon 
hb haunches, and pick his teeth with his horn, 
— so far as Scotland either cares or need care. 

The muse of Bums, is, par excellence^ the 
mtue of Scotland. A hundred years have 
passed since his birth — more than half-a-cen- 
tury since his death — and that muse is not de- 
tlm>ned. Every leaf of his chaplet, every berry 
of his holly wreath, is peculiarly his own. He 
knew his own destiny, and he has recorded it, 
personifying his muse: 

*' All hail I my own inspired hard ! 
In me thy native muse regard ! 
Nor longer mourn thy fate is hard, 

Tims poorly low ; 
I oome to g^ve thee such reward 

As we bestow I 

And wear thou this! she solemn said, 
And bound the holly round my head : 
The polished leaves, and berries red 

Did mstlinff play; 
And like a passing thought she fled 

In light away.'' 

And let us glory in the recollection that 
this is the favoured locality to which more 
especially belongs that irresistible burst of 
patriotism which the genius of Bums gave 
out, ringing through the agitated land like 
the trumpet of victory, — ny, and at that 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



fearful crisis too, when the bravest perchance 
amongst us trembled as he armed. A reassur- 
ing battle-cry, heard even above the patriotic 
eloquence of the senate, and the clang of arms 
in the camp, then went forth from the Scottish 
peasant Burns, from out this very locality, and 
borrowing its poetic fire from the surrounding 
scenery so familiar to us aU, — a bugle note 
that is resounding yet ; that is as valuable to 
the independence and salvation of our country 
now, that she is gazing at Cherbourg, as in tlie 
days when she watched Toulon, — a deathless 
lyric of patriotic devotion, cheering as a war- 
rior*s voice, and terrible as an army with ban- 
ners. 

^^Doea haughty Gaul invasion threat? 

Then, let the loons beware, Sir: 
There's wooden walls upon our seas, 

And volunteera on shore, Sir ! 
The Nith shall run to Corsincon, 

And Criffel sink in Sol way, 
Ere we permit a foreign foe 

On British ground to rally ! 

O let us not, like snarling tykes. 

In wranglinff be divided ; 
Till slap come in an unco loon, 

And wi' a rung decide it. 
l)e Britain still to Britain true, 

Amang oursels united ; 
For never but by British hands 

Maun British tcrangs be righted,^' 

And now, gentlemen, let me touch upon a 
topic which some, perhaps, would be inclined to 
avoid, but which I deem it a positive duty to 
face. Even in that ancient national paper, the 
Caledonian Mercury, there recently appeared 
a letter, from an anonymous correspondent, 
casting, or attempting to cast, a sad wet-blanket 
upon this national commemoration. It was by 
way of a warning to all Scotland, to change 
our hand and check our pride, and abstain from 
this public demonstration. The burden of his 
homily really just came to this, * Bums sinned, 
— forget his worth. — ^Bums suffered, — forget 
his birth.' There, we have put it into poetry 
for him. And who is this freezing censor? 
The man in the iron mask ? The wandering 
Jew ? No, gentlemen, I'll tell you who it is. 
It is the man who travelled from Dan to Beer- 
sheba, and cried. All is barren ! I pity that 
man. Would he reject a golden nugget be- 
cause some soil adhered ? I pity the man who, 
because Burns partook of the common lot of 
sinning mortality, would stand, even for an 
instant, between the immortality of Burns and 
the gratitude of his country. There b one 
sin which never beset Burns. The sin of 
hypocrisy. The failings of no mortal man 
have ever been made more patent to the world 
by himself than the failings of Burns ; and con- 
sequently they have been grossly exaggerated 
by others. Over and over again has he 



peached upon himself. He carried them on 
hb sleeve for daws to peck at. But it waa in 
no vaunting or vicious mood that he did so. 
Let such ungrateful censors read Burns' own 
paraphrase of the sad an 1 truthful text, — 
humanum est errare, and take it home to them- 
selves: 

** Then gentlv scan your brother man, 
Still gentler, sister woman ; 
Though ihey may gang a kennin wrang, 
2b siep aside is human. 

One point must still be greatly dark, — 

The reason why they do it ; 
And just as lamely can ye mark 

How far perhaps they rae it. 

Who made the heart, *tis He alone 

Decidedly can try us ; 
He knows each chord, — its various tone, 

Each spring, its various bias : 

Then at tlie balance let's be mute, 

We never can adjust it ; 
What's done, we partly may compute. 

But know not whaVs resisted." 

What a reproof is here, gentlemen, to that 
querulous voice in the CidedoDiaQ Mercury. 
If it were true — and most emphatically I say 
it is not true — that such and so great were the 
failings of Bums, that his country must not 
exult in his fame, and dare not rejoice in his 
birth, — sad would be the story, great would b© 
the loss to Scotland. The best of her house- 
hold gods would be shivered; and in her 
Temple of Fame a niche would be empty, 
there b none else to fill. Ay, gentlemen, I 
say, let Scotland go into the deepest mourning, 
if she dare not sing lo PjEAN over the birth of 
Burns. If it be true, that while England is for 
ever rejoicing in the birth of her Shakspeare, 
Scothind must stand sour and silent by the 
cradle of Burns, — if that indeed be true which 
Nature never told, — 

**0h tell it, then, nor loudly, nor elate, 
The doom that bars her from a better fate; 
But, sad as aneels for a good man's sin. 
Blush to record, and weep to give it in.'* 

But once more, I say, gentlemen, it is not true. 
No sin that ever beset Scotland — and she has 
her share — ^no evil that ever sprang in her soil, 
— ^no crime that ever darkened her annals, can 
be traced to, can be imputed to, either the 
precept or the example of her immortal bard. 
The belief in the crime of witchcraft, — a bdief 
which not many years before the birth <^ Bums 
at once maddened and debased both the clerical 
and the judicial mind in this country, — a belief 
which has left a dark stain of blood upon the 
land which the sponge of Time cannot wipe 
out, — that infernal belief was neither created, 
nor promoted, nor prolonged by the scene in 



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DUMFBIES.— NITHSDALE MILLS. 



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Alloway kirk. But under the genial> gentle, 
holy influence of the " Cottar's Saturday Night," 
the germs of faith, Hope, and Charity, have 
burst into unfading flowers, mellowed into 
eternal fruit, in the bosom of many a thought- 
less benighted being, in the heart of many a 
reckless rustic, — ^ay, gentlemen, in many a heart 
tliat, haply, might not have been moved nor 
awakened by the persuasive tears of a Ramsay's 
pleading, or the rousing terrors of a Guthrie's 
tornado. 



NITH8DALE MILLS. 

The town's dinner took place in the sheds of 
large mills, the property of Messrs. Scott, manu- 
facturers. These sheds were very well adapted 
for the occasion. Upwards of 1,000 here sat 
down to dinner, and when dinner was over, 
ladies were admitted to reserved seats, and the 
passages became crowded. The scene at this 
dinner-party was certainly worth going a long 
journey to have seen. The place was illuminated 
with many lights. The people were enthusiastic 
beyond all control, and the interest was 
heightened by the fact that the mausoleum and 
the remains of Burns were contiguous to the 
place of meeting. 

Mr. John Hamilton, F.R.A.S., Editor of 
the Morning StoTy having been called upon to 
deliver the sentiment of the evening, **To 
the Memory of Burns," said:— Mr. Chairman, 
juid I may say fellow - townsmen, I think I 
ought to be a little concerned at my own pre- 
sumption. I have been requested, and I rise 
to perform a task which a gentleman of distin- 
guished ability had consented to have under- 
taken ; and if he, as we may imagine, naturally 
availed himself of professional engagements to 
evade a too serious responsibility, far more should 
I, for that task is no other than to propose that 
those who are here, and who belong to this 
town, and who are therefore more deeply in- 
terested than others in the matter, should 
reverence the memory of that wonderful man, 
the centenary of whose birth we this day cele- 
brate. But by some one must the effort be 
made, and the chief consolation 1 have in 
endeavouring to do so, is the assurance that it 
will be done in another assembly of your 
neighbours in a way that wiU make amends for 
every defect of mine. And yet I may as well 
confess that if I am to do duty on this occasion, 
I am glad that my voice should be raised, to 
use a Parliamentary expression, in tliis rather 
than in another place — ^in your House of Com- 
monsy so to speak, rather than in your House 
of Lords. I prefer the more popular to the 
more aristocratic assembly ; and why ? Because 



the topic is Burns, and Burns belonged to the 
people. From the people did he spring — 
among the people did he live — with the people 
did he die; and here are the people come 
together to perpetuate his fame. And not 
alone in Dumfries are the people doing so, but 
all over Scotland, and in many places in other 
parts of the United Kingdom, is there a cele- 
bration at this time in remembrance of the 
People's Poet ; yet it is peculiarly in Dumfries 
where the celebration may be kept sacred and 
festive to hb name, for, if in this town he was 
not bom, we know that in this town he spent 
the last days of his life. If we who are Duni- 
friesians cannot exhibit the cottage which held 
his cradle, we can point to yonder churchyard 
that contains his tomb. To what object, in- 
deed, is the eye of the stranger most directed 
when he takes up his abode among the hospi- 
table habitations of the Queen of the Soutli? 
Why, not to that placid river, however refresh- 
ing, which has just been overflowing its banks, 
nor to that gentle vale, however rich, that 
encircles our ancient boundaries. Dumfries 
has its rising institutions, it has its old his- 
tory, it has its peculiar character, and there 
is no doubt that it is now distinguished for 
its many improvements; but the sojourner 
from other towns and other countries asks not 
after these until he has inquired for that which 
IS more deeply interesting to human feeling, 
that is to say, for the grave of Robert Burns. 
And with pride and pleasure you conduct the 
footsteps of the traveller to that mausoleum 
where the inspiring Coila b seen casting her 
holy mantle over the Ayrshire peasant at the 
plough. With what result? Why, the name 
of Bums has become the same as the name of 
his country. Does not the name of Greece 
suggest the name' of Homer ? — the name of 
Switzerknd that of Tell ? — the name of Eng- 
land tliat of Shakspeare? — the name of the 
American Republic that of Washington ? Well, 
go mix with the educated people of every na- 
tion in the world, utter the word Scotland in 
their hearing, and they will understand that 
you mean the land of Bums. While Dum- 
fries, then, is the inheritor of his ashes, Scot- 
land is no less the inheritor of his fame, and of 
mankind we may traly say that it is the inheri- 
tor of his inspiration. But how is this ? Here 
is a striking and an extraordinary occurrence in 
the world of mind. Last year a small speck of 
light was seen in the far-distant region of our 
solar system ; soon afterwards it was discovered 
to be a comet ; and as the days passed on and 
the nights became shorter, the comet grew in 
size and brilliance until it made itself the most 
prominent object in the nightly heavens, and 
almost surpassed anything of the kind that 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



ever had been seen before. Do we call it a 
miracle ? Do we say it was a marvellous phe- 
nomenon? It was not more so than that a 
young south-country ploughman, undisciplined 
by scholastic education, and having no personal 
intercourse with the most cultivated intellects 
of his time, and unacquainted with the vast 
resources of private or public libraries, — ^I say 
the appearance of the comet, which excited the 
wonder of the world, was not more remarkable 
than that this young ploughman should, within 
a tew years, and almost unconsciously to him- 
self, have become the author or the creator of 
what we may call a new classic literature, and of 
writings destined to secure for him a name 
which the great schoolmen of all ages might 
have sacrificed their lives or have exchanged a 
world to possess. Of his great fame there can 
be no doubt, but how has it come about? 
Why Iiave the reading public of every clime as 
much knowledge of the man as they have of 
hb country ? It must be because the language 
of the peasant poet finds a cheering response in 
every human heart. It must be because liis 
writings have a character which makes them as 
endurable as the rocky coasts or the everlast- 
ing hills of the land in which they were writ- 
ten. But how Jiappens it that the words of 
Bums are endurable? How happens it that 
they are immortal words and never can perish 
from human recollection ? We need not travel 
to Moscow or Athens for a reply. Is not Na- 
ture everything but eternal ? Well, then, the 
words of Burns are the words of Nature. 
Such is the explanation. It is with poetry as 
it is with painting and sculpture, and with all 
the other fine arts — ^that is, we must write and 
we must model from Nature if we mean to 
attain success. Does any man want to under- 
stand the genius and influence of the Scottish 
Poet ? Or is there any one anxious to become 
his imitator ? Then to such writers I say take 
your draft from Nature, never go beyond it; 
never seek to improve upon it; don't refine 
upon Nature, don't dress it up, don't daub it 
over with Dutch pink or Prussian blue ; and by 
all means think not to make the altar of Nature 
more sacred by your religious toys, or its living 
soul more attractive by your emblems of party 
spirit, or its beautiful form more graceful by 
your waving skirts of crinoline, — I say if you 
want to know how Robert Burns has become 
universally influential, and how it is he was so 
much greater than other men, or if you want 
to make some approach to his genius, then open 
wide your hearts, receive ye the Holy Spirit of 
Nature, and make the best use of it you can. 
And there is another question. If Nature be 
the all-pervading element in the writings of our 
poet, in what way do we see Nature exhibiting 



herself and asserting her supremacy in these 
writings? This is, indeed, the same question 
as to ask how the teacher of the people should 
endeavour to teach — ^in what way and by what 
methods, so that it may be a teaching that is 
altogether natural and perfect. Why, in the 
first place, it is a great point for the teacher 
of the people to speak in the language tliat 
can best be understood by that people— in the 
language that is their own, that is peculiar 
to themselves, that b more forcible and em- 
phatic, as far as they are concerned, than any 
other language. Well, Burns not only wrote 
for us in our simple and homely South-country 
dialect, but he seems to have done what Shak- 
speare efifected for the English language — he 
refined and perfected our mother Scotch — he 
gave it a more commanding and a literary ex- 
istence — he probably saved it from decay, and 
at all events he made its sounds sweeter than 
the sweetest notes ever struck from liarp or 
heard in public hall. Next, the teacher of the 
people should write the songs of the people, and 
get them adapted to the music of the people, for 
it has often been said, as we all know, that he 
who makes the ballads which a nation shall 
accept) does more to influence that nation and 
act upon its character and history, than all its 
statesmen and all its parliaments. Now, in 
some countries that I could mention, the peo{)Ie 
have really no songs they can call their own ; 
but in Scotland the songs of the people have 
been written — they are sung in every home 
and every hall, in every cottage that rises on 
mountain or plain, and in every concert that 
brings any assembly of our fellow-citizens to- 
gether. They have been written, I say, and I 
do from my heart thank God that they were 
written by Robert Burns, because, in tlie third 
place, the teacher of the people should have 
no selfish thought, no pandering principles, no 
mean, cowardly, beggarly, or grovelling incli- 
nations. No, no; our darling poet had none of 
these* He could not have them: they were 
not in his nature. Heaven only suffered him 
to be tempted by what may be called manly 
vices ; and as such was the character of Bums, 
it therefore happens that to sing his songs is to 
sing of independence and courage, of love and 
contentment, of friendship, of kindness, of home^ 
and of country. And his poems, in other re- 
spects, display the noblest and most religious 
emotions, with scathing and scalping attacks 
upon hypocrisy, and a courageous way of op- 
posing the works of darkness, that is to say, by 
turning the devil into ridicule and contempt. 
Bums, then, had all the qualifications of a na- 
tional teacher and an immortal bard. His voice, 
as I have said^ was simply the voice of Nature 
itself, and the only serious fault of some of his 



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DUMFRIES.— NITHSDALE MILLS. 



139 



productions is that to Nature's truth he was 
but too true. Yet it is a fault we must forgive, 
for it has even been imputed to tlie sacred 
writings themselves. But I may be reminded 
that the teacher of the people should have a 
fourth qualification, that is to say, that he 
should have an entirely spotless reputation. 
But who are they that say so ? Not those, I 
imagine, who have the wisdom to perceive that 
when it l>ecame necessary to have a teaclier 
who should be entirely free from bljime, it was 
equally necessary that a miracle should be per- 
formed, and that the divine and human natures 
^ sliould be joined together. No ; we are told 
so by those whose own eyes, I suppose, have 
nothing in the shape of a mote in them, and 
which are so clear that they can even discern 
the spots that are said to have been discovered 
on the glorious luminary of day. Why, since 
coming down here, I have been told by an old 
lady acquaintance that Burns was far from 
being unco guid. " My dear old friend," said 
I, '' don't you go to the kirk and confess you 
are a great sinner ? " She answered, " Aweel, 
I hae dune that mair than ance." ^' Then tell 
me,** I asked, "If you are unco guid your- 
self?*' Now the truth seems to me to be, as 
far as I can understand this matter, that there 
is not a man of us, here or elsewhere, who has 
received any sort of commission at all to cast 
one stone at the coffin of a deceased fellow- 
mortal, far less at the dust and ashes of him to 
whom a town, and a nation, and a world have 
to pay an eternal debt of gratitude. Oh yes, 
Burns, I suppose, had his faults. He who de- 
scribed to us the saintly father of the cottage 
liome, — ^he who told us of the countless thou- 
sands that have to mourn by reason of man's in- 
hnmanity to man, — ^he who fixed it a settled point 
for ever that a man is a man in spite of every- 
thing, — ^he who made Auld Langsyne deathless- 
ly and inexpressibly charming, — and he whose 
groans tore and rent his breast at the grave of 
his Mary who had gone to Heaven, — ^yes, even 
he, we are obliged to confess, had his faults, 
and I fear there are yet in existence a few 
miserable beings who wont forgive or forget 
them. Oh yes, he had hb faults; and though 
one can have no wbh slightly to regard any 
form of evil, yet it seems to have been good for 
ourselves that our Poet proves the truth of the 
generally received doctrine that all mankind 
have fallen from their first estate, for if he 
had altogether been free from human weak- 
ness, and as a consequence had, like Elijali, as- 
cended to the cloudis in a chariot of flame, we 
frail mortals who remained below might have 
rendered to him something like divine honours. 
Of a brilliant young English poet it has been 
taid^ that he only wanted the faith of the 



Christian to have induced the people to havo 
recogubed him as more than man ; but with 
greater truth may we say that a faultless Burns 
would have been mistaken for an incarnate 
Deity. But Burns, with all thy faults, we love 
theestill ! Alas that in the order of Nature he 
should die ! But the skill of art has preserved 
to us the features of that countenance which 
was destined to moulder in the clay. See what 
it is like ! [The speaker pointed to a beauti- 
fully executed painting of the Poet behind the 
Chairman's seat.] Look at that earnest and 
brotherly face when it was young and healthy, 
when the brow was unoppressed, when the eyes 
were penetrating, when it was altogether manly, 
and meditative, and guileless ! Oh Heavens ! 
how we can gaze upon it all day and grieve to 
think that it is gone. Have we not heard of 
the over-affectionate Queen who embalmed the 
body of her deceased Prince, that it might not 
be taken to the churchyard, but kept in her 
room, where she could always look upon those 
features that were once warm with life ? She 
thought her husband was not dead, — she 
thought he could not die. But Bums is dead. 
Wo know fuU well that the greatest son of our 
mild and stern mother, Caledonia, was, many 
years ago, taken away from us and entombed ; 
and now the thistle blooms over hb grave. And 
long, long may Dumfries fulfil the mission that 
has been assigned to her, to preserve his ashes 
in peace. As was said over the dead body of 
Patroclus, so may I say to you in Dumfries — 

" Oh, guard these relics to your charge consigned, 
And bear the mei-its of the dead in mind 1 
How skilled was he in each obliging art, 
The mildest manners, and the greatest heart." 

(Cheers.) Yes, friends, townsmen, fellow- 
countrymen, let us preserve the remains and 
do justice to the genius of him whose writings 
will exbt till time shall be no more ! And rise, 
now, from your seats, for I have the great hon- 
our of asking you to stand up and drink in 
solemn silence to the memory of Robert Bums, 
the Bard of Scotland. (At this call the vast 
assembly rose and presented a silent, but im- 
posing spectacle.) 

Many other toasts were given in the course 
of the night, the most conspicuous of which 
was, " Our National Poets," by Mr. Wabbing- 
TON WiLKS, who delivered a brilliant oration, 
which was heard in every part of the temporary 
building. 

But the most interesting part of the whole 
proceedings was the appearance of Colonel 
Burns, the son of the poet, who presented him- 
self at the meeting. He was received with 
most rapturous demonstrations, and his health, 
as well as that of his brother, was the occasion 
of these demonstrations being renewed. 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Colonel Burns, in rising to respond, was 
full of emotion. He only uttered a few words 
of thanks, his heart being too full to permit him 
to say anything more. His appearance was 
venerable, and his oountenanoe very like the 
countenance of a Bums. 
- The Chairman, it may be added, sat in the 
arm-chair in which Bums himself had so often 
reclined when full of care and oppressed with 
sorrow. 



BAKERS' DINNER. 

The journeymen bakers of Dumfries and 
Maxwelltown were unable to join the other 
trades at the Nithsdale Mills banquet on ac- 
count of its occurring on the evening of the 
market-day, but they had a snug little dinner 
of their own in the Hammermen's Arms Inn on 
the evening of Saturday, the 29th ult. The 
company numbered 36, and included several of 
the employers. Mr. Rae occupied the chair, 
and Mr. Herries was croupier. After enjoying 
a capital dinner, creditable in every respect to 
Mrs. Fallas's establishment, toasts suited to the 
great occasion were given, and diversified by 
numerous songs. The utmost harmony pre- 
vailed, and the choms of the song (we need not 
say what that song was) died away as ' the auld 
Mid hammer strack eleven.' 



CRICHTON INSTITUTION. 

On the evening of the Bums Centenary 
Festival, a large portion of the inmates of the 
Crichton Institution assembled together in the 
Drawing-room, and celebrated the occasion by 
a banquet. After the usual loyal toasts, one of 
the patients gave the toast of the evening — The 
Immortal Memory — in appropriate and pleasing 
tenns. The following toasts, interspersed with 
songs and recitations, were also given: The 
Sons of Bums ; The Lyric Poets of Scotland, 
coupled with the health of H. S. Riddell; The 
Peasantry of Scotland. An extempore concert 
and a few dances wound up the evening's en- 
joyment. A prize having been offered fbr the 
best poem on the Memory of Burns, some pieces 
of merit were produced on the occasion, and 
read during the proceedings. 



tures in the day's proceedings was the Concert 
of Vocal and Instrumental Music which took 
place in the Theatre in the evening. The 
programme embraced Sir Henry Bishop's 
beautiful opera of Bums' "Jolly Beggars," 
many songs of the national bard's composi- 
tion, reels and strathspeys by a band of 
amateurs, and a choice selection of concerted 
music. About 700 persons were present. The 
boxes presented a brilliant appearance, being 
filled with a splendid array of beauty and 
fashion, all the ladies being in full dress. The 
Concert was under the auspices of the Dumfries 
and Maxwelltown Mechanics' Institution, and v 
under the management of Mr. C. Harkness. 
It began at nine o'clock, by which hour the 
various festive reunions in town had been nearly 
brought to a close. The concert closed at 
twelve o'clock, with the appropriate song and 
chorus of " Auld Langsyne." 



CONCERT IN THE THEATRE. 

In all the rejoicings of the day the ladies of 
Dumfries had played no very prominent part, 
save as spectators, and to them undoubtedly 
one of the most interesting and attractive fca- 



BALLS, &c. 

At night a masonic ball took place in the 
Masons* Hall. Over the door in Queensberry 
Square were three large arches in evergreens, 
with a lamp and splendid gilt crown in the 
centre. The inside of the hall was also beauti- 
fully decorated. At the upper end above the 
R.W.M.'s seat, was the wowl " Wisdom," done 
in green leaves, and above that the full masonic 
emblems. At the lower the "Royal Arch" 
was also done in green leaves. Along the wall 
on the left, within wreaths, were the words "To 
the Memory of Bums," neatly done in leaf- 
work. On the opposite side, under the Senior 
Warden's seat, was the word " Strength,** with 
the level ; and under the J. W.*s seat the word 
" Beauty,** with the plumbs all nicely done with 
leaves. The roof was also tastefully festooned. 
On the panes of the centre and end windows 
were prettily painted all the masonic emblems. 
These decorations were all made by the masons 
themselves, under the superintendence of Mr. 
James Payne. On the outside of the hall, fiu^ 
ing the Council Chamber, were two very fine 
transparencies, lighted up with gas at night, and 
mnning the whole length of the building. On 
the upper were the words "Burns as a Mason;" 
and on the lower the "Compass and Square, 
Love, Moon and Seven Stars, Hope, the All- 
seeing Eye, Fratemity, and the Sun.** The 
festivities began about nine in the evening, 
and were prolonged until an early hour. — Tlie 
Carters also had a ball in Mr. Martin's Academy 
in the evening. 

The youthful part of the population amused 
themselves after dark with the discharge of 
squibs, Roman candles, and other pyrotechnic 



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ABDIE— ABERCHIRDEB. 



141 



displays, and there was a bonfire in Queens- 
berry Square. 

One of the most gratifying features of the 
day^s proceedings was the general sobriety and 
good order that pervaded the town. Of course 
there was a good deal of merrymaking at night, 
but it was not of a noisy kind; and we are in- 



formed by the superintendent of police for the 
burgh that next day there was not a single case 
of drunk and disorderly for trial before the 
magistrates — a particularly creditable fact-, con- 
sidering the crowded, not to say excited, state 
of the town. 



ABDIE. — A public supper took place in con- 
nexion with the Burns centenary on Tuesday 
evening in the parish school-room of Grange 
(which was kindly granted by the Heritors for 
the occasion,) when, owing to the arrangements 
of the committee, an audience of nearly two hun- 
dred assembled to do honour to the memory of 
their immortal ploughman bard. The chair was 
ably filled by Mr. Kellock, Lindores; Mr. David 
Dunn, Grange, acting as croupier. The usual 
loyal and patriotic toasts having been heartily 
responded to, the Chairman in his usual masterly 
and felicitous manner introduced the toast of 
the evening, in which he characterised Bums 
as the poet of all nations, creeds, and classes. 
And in the course of his address, by an apt 
simile, he divided literary men into four classes 
— first, those possessed of creative power, genius 
and energy; second, those possessed of debat- 
ing qualities and logical accuracy; thirdly, that 
class who, though not possessed of high intel- 
lectual powers, yet can make themselves useful 
in any sphere; and, fourthly, that class who 
speak and write merely to please, who, like the 
ladies' lap-dog, amuse others that they may eat 
the crumbs that fall from their table. But the 
gigantic intellect of Burns could act the part of 
each or all combined; by the spirit of genius 
he entered into the deepest recesses of the 
human breast, and there he laid one hand, and 
with the other pointed to the object that he 
wished us to contemplate till we are lost in 
ecstaey and admiration; for who ever painted 
nature in truer or more feeling colours than the 
Ayrshire bard! And when that independent 
and tender sympathising spirit of his felt 
aggrieved or trampled on, who was his rival in 
satire ? as some of his poems abundantly show. 
But his follies and failings are not what we are 
met here this evening to harrow up, but rather, 
in the words of the poet, 

" O give hi« eiTors to the dust, 
And be to peerless genius just.'^ 

Who has seen his equal ? and where is his rival 
at writing poetry which is adapted and suited 
to all grades and classes of society, from the 
monarch on the throne and the nobleman in the 
palace, down to the peasant, the mechanic, and 



the ploughman? Who like him hath clothed 
their ideas in such natural, beautiful, and cap- 
tivating language as to attract and fascinate 
every one who reads them ? Whose songs is it 
that are sung in every public hall, in every gilded 
drawing-room, in every parlour, in every thatch- 
roofed cottage, and in every bothy throughout 
the land ; ay ! throughout the world ? It is the 
lays of the great, the powerful, the noble, the 
gentle, the loving, the tender-hearted, the never 
to be forgotten, but ever to be admired Ayr- 
shire bard, Robert Burns, to whose memory I 
now call upon you all to rise to your feet and 
devote a bumper with all the honours. 

The toast was received with the highest en- 
thusiasm, and responded to by Mr. Pringle. 

The harmony and good feeling of the even- 
ing was greatly enlivened and enhanced by the 
lays of Burns as sung by Mr. Spence, New- 
burgh, and Mr. Morris, Lindores, and others. 

Taken altogether, we have never spent an 
evening with more pleasure or satisfaction, both 
in regard to the object which brought us to* 
gether, and the order, harmony, and decorum 
which characterised the entire proceedings. 

ABERCHIRDER. — The Centenary was 
celebrated here by a social meeting convened 
under the auspices of the Marnoch Vocal Music 
Association. The invitations extended to up- 
wards of two hundred, while the choir itself 
numbered fully fifty, and the accommodation 
afforded by the Free Church School- room was 
found to be comfortable and sufficient for this 
goodly company. The proceedings commenced 
shortly after six o'clock by a service of ex- 
cellent tea, with substantial accessaries, €ui 
libitum, the treat being enhanced by the pleas- 
ant and efficient manner in which the assistants, 
male and female, discharged their voluntarily 
undertaken duties. The Minister of the parish 
was called to the chair, said grace, and the 
Rev. Mr. Moir returned thanks. At intervals 
during the evening, basketfuls of enticing fruit 
were liberally supplied. Ciiarming as all this 
was to those who love to look on smiling faces, 
and join in agreeable conversation, the crown- 
ing triumph of the occasion consisted in the 
ufibrts of Mr. Christie, the parochial school- 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



master, and his attached band of well-trained 
singers. Never in our village, we can truly 
say, has so much justice been done to the songs 
of Bums and others, as was done on this memor- 
able twenty-fifth of January. Sixteen favourite 
songs, beginning with " Auld Langsyne,** — " a 
glorious fragment," as the great bard himself 
termed it before he improved it to its present 
shape, were vocalized in full harmony, amidst 
the sustained delight and surprise of the en- 
tranced listeners. 

It is worthy to be recorded that the meeting 
was also the means of gladdening the hearts of 
the poor; for the old wives were summoned, 
next day, to receive each a service of the good 
tea that remained, together with an allowance 
of bread, liberally furnished by our local bakers, 
Messrs. Grant and Kilty. 



ABERDEEN.— Here, although the demon- 
strations may not have been of so ** loud " a 
character, nor the tone of speech so highly 
pitched as in the sister cities, yet the celebra- 
tions and meetings were not, on that account, 
the less hearty and earnest. Not a few of the 
merchants kept half- holiday, several of the 
schools extending the same privilege to their 
pupils. 

The St. Andrew's Society. — The most 
important meeting of the night was that under 
the auspices of the St. Andrew's Society, held 
in the Royal Hotel. The elegant room was 
finely decorated with the flags of different na- 
tions ; and the dinner was served, under Mr. 
Robertson's superintendence, with much splen- 
dour and taste : the meeting, indeed, combined 
the advantages of a private party with tiiat of 
a considerable number of guests. Covers were 
laid for eighty, and the places were filled. The 
chair was occupied by Lachlan M'Kinnon, Sen., 
Esq., Advocate, President of the above Society; 
William Jopp, Esq , and George Thomson, Esq., 
Dean of Guild, being the croupiers. 

Among the gentlemen present were — The 
Lord Provost; Professor Geddes; Councillors 
Nicol, G. Jamieson, and J. Jamieson ; Mr. A. 
Davidson of Desswood ; Major Forbes, C.B. of 
Inverernan ; Mr. Westland, banker ; Captain 
Duff, paymaster; Mr. Adamson, sharebroker; 
Mr. Carnegie of Redhall ; Messrs. Chivas, 
Milne, and Manson, bankers; Mr. R. Catto 
and W. Reid, sliipowners ; Mr. B. Moir, mer- 
chant ; Messrs. L. M*Kinnon, Jun., P. Cooper, 
Ruxton, Kennedy, Barron, Jopp, C. Duncan, 
Cattanach, Leask, Rutherford, R. Ligertwood, 
and Duguid, Advocates ; Mr. M*Aulay, Inland 
Revenue; Mr. Ross, shipbuilder, from Hong- 
kong ; Mr. J. F. White, grain merchant ; Mr. 
Griffith, Scotti.sh Provincial Assurance Co. ; 
Mr. Willet, C. E. ; Mr. Mathews, architect; 



Mr. W. B. Ferguson, Deeside Railway; Mr. 
J. Keith, merchant ; Mr. Fletcher, accountant; 
Mr. W. L. Thomson, merchant ; Mr. J. Aiken, 
Jun., shipowner; Dr. Sutherland; Mr. Adam; 
Mr. M'Combie; Mr. W. S. Fisher, and Mr. 
W. Anderson, local poets, &c. 

After partaking of a sumptuous repast, in- 
cluding a number of the favourite Scotch dishes 
— not forgetting the veritable haggis — the lopl 
and national toasts were given in succession 
from the chair, and warmly responded to. 

With the toast of the Army was coupled the 
name of Major Forbes, the hero of Kooshab^ 
who returned thanks amid loud cheers. 

The toaat of the "Lord Provost, Magistrates, 
and Council" was given from the chair. In 
doing so, the Chairman said— In proposing this 
toast, I can only repeat what I said in tliis 
place some weeks ago, that Provost Webster is 
a man of so great and varied attainments, and 
such exuberant eloquence, that whether in 
the reception of Royalty, or in hospitality to 
distinguished strangers, or in activity in get- 
ting up Music Halls and Music Bells, he is 
equally at home and equally happy. (Cheers.) 
When he comes to vacate the Chair, it will be 
a very difiicult mattef, indeed, to fill it after 
him ; but I trust he will take a leaf out of the 
book of some of his distinguished predecessors, 
and not be in a hurry doing so. (Drunk witli 
cheers.) 

The Provost (who on rising was warmly 
received), said — ^Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, 
I have to thank you for a very great kindness. 
This is the evening on which Scotland is to 
celebrate the festival, to testify the profound 
gratitude and reverence with which it cherishes 
the memory of Robert Bums. It appears to 
me that it is the duty of every one who repre- 
sents the public of Scotland, by holding office, 
especially when conferred by the choice of the 
community, to add any weight and influence 
they possess to the value of that testimony. 
Gentlemen, among the pre-eminent claims 
which Burns has to the gratitude and to the 
reverence of his country, this is, with reference 
to the object of our present meeting, the great- 
est — that not merely is he the most manly and 
tender of poets that ever lived, but also the 
most national and patriotic. (Cheers.) We 
know he gloried in the name of Scotsman. 
We know from himself that, from the moment 
the genius of his country found him at the 
plough, it was his greatest wish to sing of the 
loves, the rural scenes, the joys and pleasures 
of his native land, in his native tongue. The 
same wish thrilled^ his iieart to the latest hour 
of his life. It colours every j>age of his various 
works, and finds vent in such sublime lyrics as 
our national otic of "Scots wiia hae/' (Cheers.) 



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Well, then, gentlemen, may Scotland repay that 
life-long love of Burns for her, by the profound 
affection in which she holds him. This evening 
has been chosen by our countrymen in Scotland, 
and all over the world, to demonstrate these 
feelings towards him ; and I hold that I and 
the municipality of Aberdeen were indebted to 
the Society with which you are connected for 
allowing us to be associated and take part with 
you to-night, and to show that Aberdeen is 
sensible of the debt of gratitude which all Scot- 
land owes to the memory of Robert Burns. 
(Applause.) I have again to thank you for 
what I feel at this fitting opportunity, which 
should be welcome to all occupying any place 
of weight in Scotland, for testifying the pro- 
found reverence, gratitude, and adSection which 
Scotland owes to the memory of Burns, for 
having for ever associated her name with his 
own deathless fame. (Loud cheers.) 

The Chairman then rose to propose the 
toast of the evening, and said — ^Notwithstand- 
ing a determination in my own mind to throw 
to the winds all modesty and speak up — 
(laughter and applause) — I feel that my cou- 
rage is fast departing from me — (applause and 
a laugh) — and I come to the toast, the senti- 
ment of the evening, with fear and trembling ; 
but it must be so — and I now call upon you 
uprising to drink to the immortal memory, the 
undying genius of Robert Burns. (Cheers.) 
Wherever Scotchmen do congregate this day — 
and in what part of the world are not Scotch- 
men to be found?— their talk will be of Robert 
Burns; and in Scotland itself— ay, and England, 
too — in all our towns and villages are our 
country men assembled thb evening, much in 
the same way as we are assembled just now^ to 
do loud homage to his name, to protest, as it 
were, against our fathers' ungenerous treat- 
ment of him, and to proclaim with one accord 
that we have faith in the genius, admiration 
of the poetry, and respect for the character 
of the Great Peasant. (Loud cheers.) The 
genius of Bums is well seen in this, that 
he was able to overcome the want of edu- 
cation, or at any rate great defects of edu- 
cation, and the rude habits of the peasant's 
life. He was able to rise superior to the de- 
pressing influences of incessant bodily toil and 
sordid poverty which beset him all his days, 
and to write and speak on all subjects which 
he touched upon with a natural ease and 
humour, a spirit and independence, a power 
and pathos, which have never been surpassed, 
and in a way to excite the admiration of the 
highest and lowest of his countrymen — nay, 
rather, to challenge the admiration of the whole 
world; and a true test of his excellence is 
found La thiif, that his fame is increasing day 



by day, 'and year by year, continually. (Loud 
applause.) Burns, so to speak, emerged from 
deep obscurity by natural intuition into the 
broad light of day, and played his part, up to 
a certain time at any rate, equally well with 
the lads of Tarbolton, the belles of Mauchline, 
the peasantry, the dominies, the writers of Ayr, 
the literati and the ladies of Edinburgh, the 
lairds, the farmers, and the excise authorities 
of Dumfries, and all the eminent men — ay, and 
women, too — with whom he came in contact in 
course of his life. (Applause.) But it is prin- 
cipally since Burns' death that a right appreci- 
ation of his talents has been entertained ; and 
most of the eminent men of our day seem fond 
of analysing the genius, and descanting upon 
the writings, the poetical writings of this young 
and unlearned man. (Applause.) And some 
of them conclude that he got little beyond the 
threshold of his powers — that he ratiier mis- 
spent his time and his powers in writing his 
numerous lyrics, however sweet and beautiful 
they are — and that, if he had been properly 
cared for, and his life preserved, his muse was 
capable of winging a higher and nobler flight 
than ever she attempted or attained. Of 
course, as we now know Burns, we cannot 
place him in the temple of fame on the same 
pedestal with Shakspeare or Dante, Goethe or 
Scott. These were greater poets than he — or 
at least they lived and accomplished greater 
things; and, as I understand, the lyric must 
ever yield precedence to the tragic or epic 
muse. But even as it is, I have heard Burns' 
"Elegy on Matthew Henderson" well compared 
with the "Lycidas" of Milton; his ** Address 
to the Deil " not unfavourably contrasted with 
the idea and description of Satan in '' Paradise 
Lost ;" his Cantata of the " Jolly Beggars " is 
said to be superior in force and fire to the 
great camp scene in Schiller's " Wallenstein ; " 
his " Tam o' Shanter " has never been equalled 
for wild humour and imagination. I hold it to 
be inimitable. No proper parallel can be drawn 
between it and Dryden's celebrated " Ode on 
Alexander's Feast," as some have attempted. 
His "Cottar's Saturday Night," bating some 
redundancies, is one of the most perfect poems 
in the English language. We could less easily 
spare the " Cottar's Saturday Night " from 
Burns* poems than any of his other produc- 
tions. It and " Tam o' Shanter " alone would 
make the fame of any poet. His " Vision " is 
the most eloquent, perhaps, of all his writings. 
I like it exceedingly ; and, indeed, the poetry 
is very fine in all his epistles and satires. (Ap- 
plause.) But it is a^ a lyric poet that Burns 
possesses such distinguished merit. In that 
field he never had a superior nor a rival. Fer- 
guson before him, and Tannahill and Hogg, and 



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some others since his time, have written some 
beautiful songs; but it is universally allowed 
that none of them have approached to Bums 
in the number and perfection of his songs. It 
is, certainly, as a lyric poet that he is most 
popular with Scotchmen. (Applause.) The 
Chairman, after apologizing for the imperfect 
manner in which he had proposed the toast, 
concluded by reciting, amid applause, the 
"Bard's Epitaph." (The toast was drunk with 
great enthusiasm.) 

The following toasts were also given: — 
"The Poets of Scotland," by Professor Geddes; 
" The Poets of England and Ireland," by the 
Dean of Guild; "The Immortal Memory of 
that truly great and good man, Sir Walter 
Scott, " by Mr. Cooper; "The Sons of Burns," 
by the Chairman; "The Peasantry of Scot- 
land," by Mr. Adam; "Our Local Poets," 
by Mr. Jopp ; " The Press," by Councillor J. 
Jamieson ; " The Biographers of Bums," by 
Dr. Jamieson; "The Health of Professor 
Geddes," by Mr. Adam. 

The Band of the Royal Aberdeenshire Highlanders 
coptribated their share to a most pleasant and entho- 
BiAstic meeting. 

We may mention that the dinner ticket was very 
tastefully got ap. Besides indicating, in the usual 
ivay, the object of the meeting, it embraced a neat 
likeness of the poet, with representations of Tarn o' 
Chanter, the Twa Dogs, the Doon Monument, &c., 
executed by Messrs. Keith & Gibb, Lithographers; 
and Mr. Robertson, much to the satisfaction of the 
company, allowed them to retain this appropriate 
memento of the festival. 

The Speculative Society.— The members 
of this literary society, chiefly young tradesmen 
in the city — with commendable tact and fore- 
sight, devoted the tenth of their series of lec- 
tures, which fell due on Tuesday night, to 
" The Life and Writings of Burns," and were 
fortunate enough to secure Mr. William Caden- 
head, author of "Flights of Fancy," &c., to 
discourse from this theme. The lecture was 
delivered in Kev. Mr. Arthur's Church, George 
Street, to a numerous and respectable audience, 
who testified their approbation of its merits by 
frequent applause. 

At half-past nine, the members and friends, 
including ladies, assembled in the Music Hall 
Buildings, and there held a festival in honour 
of our National Bard. Mr. W. H. Martin 
efficiently presided, supported by Mr. J. Nicol 
and Mr. A. Fletcher as croupiers. The Chair- 
man ably gave the toast of the evening, and 
amongst the other speakers were the Croupiers, 
and Messrs. Brodie and Brander, &c. There 
were plentiful services of cake and wine, a 
number of the poet's choicest songs were sung 
by Messrs. Copland, Anderson, Ac., and a 
choir, and about twelve a ball commenced, 
which was carried on with much spirit till 



morning, — Mr. Duprey, leader of the Theatre- 
Boy al, conducting the music. 

Tradesmen's Supper.— A party of Trades- 
men, to the number of fifty, met in Mr. Sroitli's 
Salmon Hotel, 13 Exchequer Row, on Tuesday 
night, for the purpose of celebrating Robert 
Burns' centenary by a supper, which was served 
by the host in a very neat and efficient manner. 
After the cloth was removed, the usual loyal 
toasts were given from the chair, which was 
occupied by Mr. James Fyfe; Messrs. David 
Milne and John Wood acting as cronpiers. 
During the evening a number of other toasts 
were given and responded to, and the company 
were enlivened witli a good many of Bums' best 
songs ; altogetKer the evening was spent most 
harmoniously. 

Operative Shoemakers. — The Operative 
Shoemakers held a Soiree and Ball in Dr. Bell's 
Schoolroom, Frederick Street, when upwards 
of three hundred assembled to add their mite 
of honour to the name and genius of Burns. 
At half-past eight o'clock, p.m., Mr. Adam Low 
was called to the chair, and after intimating the 
object of the meeting, the programme, &o., the 
stewards, a number of very active young men, 
served the company with bread and tea in abun- 
dance. Then followed appropriate speeches, 
music (vocal and instrumental), from members 
of the body and visitors. To add to the plea- 
sure and harmony, Mr. H. Nimmo, from the 
Mechanics' Hall, along with an amateur young 
lady of the company, sung a duet with excel- 
lent efifect and delight to the audience. At 
twelve o'clock the stewards again added to 
their former abundance by serving a large 
quantity of first-class oranges. During a short 
interval preparations were made for the ball, 
when about sixty couple entered the dance, 
which was kept up with spirit until a late hour 
in the morning, when all separated in the high- 
est of glee in a very becoming manner. We may 
state that, by careful management^ there is a 
surplus of £h on the meeting, which is to be 
given to the following: — £\ to the descendants 
of Burns; £\ to the Infirmary; ;^I to the 
scholars in Dr. Bell's Schools as prizes. 

A Musical Entertainment, constituting a 
spirited interpretation of Burns, was given in 
Sinclair's Hall, by Mr. Francis Beattie and 
assistants. 

At the Bon- Accord Temperance Society's 
Festival, the hall was crammed in every paru 
Mr. Fordyce, President of the Society, occu- 
pied the chair. Addresses on the life and 
character of Burns were given by Mr. Buch- 
anan (who exhibited a much-admired model of 
Burns' house), Mr. Dickie, and Mr. C. Wisely. 
A selection of the poet's songs Was also sung, 
and the meeting was an excellent one. 



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The M^ons. — ^The Mason Lodges in the 
city met in their Hall to celebrate the Centen- 
ary of Bums' birth-day, when a party of up- 
wards of eighty sat down to supper, under the 
presidency of Br. J. Rettie, Prov. G. S. Warden. 
Enlivened by the singing of a number of the 
choicest of Bums' songs, the Brethren spent 
a very pleasant evening; made ail the more 
agreeable by the reflection that Bums himself 
was a keen and zealous Mason, and one who 
thoroughly understood and appreciated the prin- 
ciples that should actuate all ** Brethren of the 
mystic tie." The hall was tastefully decorated. 

The Juridical Society. — The members of 
this Society, to the number of forty, supped 
together in Mr. Machray's, St. Nicholas lAne 
— ^Mr. J. F. Lumsden in the chair, and Messrs. 
Davidson and Brown acting as croupiers. The 
usual loyal and other toasts having been duly 
honoured, " The Memory of Bums" was given, 
and responded to with strong feeling. ** The 
L^al Profession," &c., followed, and a number 
of excellent songs were sung by Messrs. Mach- 
ray, MUne, Allan, and others. Altogether the 
evening passed off most pleasantly. 

LoTAL Robert Burns Lodge of Odd- 
Fellows. — The Brethren of the above Lodge 
sat down to an excellent supper, in their Hall, 
41 Queen Street, to celebrate the centenary of 
the*' Peasant Bard," from whom it takes its 
name. P. P. G. M. John Logic (a warm ad- 
mirer of the poet) occupied the chair, the 
duties of which he discharged with great tact 
and ability. Prov. G. M. James Reid, of the 
Star of the North Lodge, acted as croupier ; 
and the proceedings were much enlivened by 
P. P. G. M. William Gellan and others singing, 
in first-rate style, a number of Bums' most 
popular songs. Altogether, a pleasanter even^ 
ing conld scarcely have been spent. The mel- 
lowing influence of the Poet's writings fell 
kindly on the whole company, who, for the 
occasion at least, seemed to anticipate the 
•* good time coming," when 

" Man to man tlic warld o'er, 
Shall hrithets be, an' a' that." 

Neptune Lodge. — ^The Brethren of the 
Neptune Lodge assembled in the Queen's 
Hotel in the evening. Col. Gordon very kind* 
ly favoured them with two pipers, who played 
before them from the Hotel to the Lodge, 115 
Union Street — blue lights being displayed be- 
fore the procession. On entering the Hall 
they found a number of the Brethren assembled 
from other Lodges, with whom they spent a 
very pleasant evening. 

The Abbbdeem Joiners' Mutual Im- 
provement Association. — The members of 
this body, with a few of their friends, met in 



the Lemon Tree Hotel, and partook of an ex- 
cellent supper, provided by Mrs. Ronald. Mr. 
Andrew Valentine occupied the chair; and 
Mr. George Adam acted as croupier. After 
supper, the usual loyal toasts were drunk ; and 
the chairman, in a speech which drew forth 
rounds of applause, proposed the toast of the 
evening, " The Memory of Burns." After 
which, a number of the Bard's pieces were re- 
cited, and several of his songs sung with good 
taste and feeling. Votes of thanks having 
been proposed to the chairman and croupier for 
the efficient manner in which they had dis- 
charged the duties of their respective offices, 
the party separated at eleven o'clock, highly 
pleased with the evening's entertainment, and 
gratified with the opportunity thus afforded 
them of publicly expressing their admiration of 
the genius of Scotland's greatest bard. 

The Upholsterers and females in the employ- 
ment of Messrs. J. Allan & Sons, met on the 
Burns' night to tea and supper in Mrs. Sheriff's 
Hotel, and under the genial presidency of Mr. 
A. Allan — Mr. Cattanach, the oldest upholster- 
er in Aberdeen, acting as croupier — spent a 
very pleasant evening. The toast list included 
the usual loyal and patriotic toasts. " The 
Memory of Burns," also the health of the re- 
spected firm — "J. Allan & Sons"— and of 
" Mrs. and Miss Allan" — were drank with en- 
thusiasm. During the evening several neat 
speeches were delivered, and verses composed 
for the occasion recited. The viands supplied 
by Mrs. S. were excellent. 

The Broadford Operatiyes. — Upwards 
of a hundred of the mechanics and operatives 
employed at Richards & Co.'s Works, Broad- 
ford, met in the Odd-fellows' Arms Inn, Queen 
Street, to celebrate our bard's centenary. Mr. 
John Smith, engineer, was called to the chair, 
and Mr. George Anderson, painter, acted as 
croupier. The chairman, in a very able speech, 
illustrated Bums' worth, who, although dead, 
yet liveth. The health of " The Queen and 
Royal Family** was drunk amidst great ap- 
plause, and the apprentices belonging to the 
work, who had formed themselves into " The 
Broadford Choral Society,'* sung the National 
Anthem. The toast of the " Immortal Bums" 
was dmnk in solemn silence, when the band 
strack up " A man*s a man for a' that." With 
each toast of the evening there was a song from 
the Choral band, whose training does them 
great credit. There were also several recita- 
tions from Burns' works, by Messrs. Anderson, 
Joss, Ross, and M'Intosh, &c. The meeting 
was throughout a most harmonious one. 

A number of the Overseers and Flax-dress* 
ers in the employment of Richards & Co., 
Broadford Works, celebrated the centenary of 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Burns with an excellent supper, preparefl by 
Mrs. Phinn, Upperkirkgate. The room was 
tastefully decorated with evergreens surround- 
ing the portrait of the bard. The chair was 
occupied by Mr. John Craig, who gave a gra- 
phic sketch of the poet's life, and was supported 
by Mr. Youngson, croupier. After supper the 
chairman gave the toast of the evening, " The 
Immortal Robert Burns,*' which was drunk 
with all the honours. The company were en- 
livened with a selection of the poet's finest 
songs, sung in excellent style by Messrs. 
M*Leod, M'Donald, Thain, N. Anderson, and 
others ; and the spirit of the meeting was main- 
tained with great glee beyond the *' wee short 
hour ayont the twal," 

Fifty gentlemen's coachmen and livery stable- 
men in this quarter celebrated Burns' cente- 
nary in the Hall, 14 Castle Street — Mr. J. 
Taylor, chairman, supported by Messrs. Miller 
and Marsliall, croupiers. Everything was in 
the best style, and the hours flitted away fast 
and pleasantly. 

FooTDBB did itself the honour of celebrating 
the centenary by a social meeting and ball. 
The meeting was held in the large premises 
belonging to the Messrs. Hall, which were 
tastefully decorated for the occasion with flags 
and appropriate mottoes, and was presided over 
by these gentlemen. The party, amounting to 
500, met at half-past seven, and the duties of 
the evening commenced with the whole assem- 
bly joining in singing the Hundredth Psalm, 
after which refreshments were served. With a 
few pertinent remarks, the Chairman proposed 
** The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns," 
which was pledged in whisky-punch by the 
company, while standing, in solemn silence. 
Before resuming their seats, '< Should auld 
acquaintance be forgot" was sung, the chorus 
being reiterated till the rafters rang. Enlivened 
by songs and recitations from the poet's works, 
which were admirably given by amateurs, the 
evening passed rapidly away. At eleven o'clock 
the fiddlers struck up " Hearts of oak," and the 
dancing, which then commenced, was carried 
on with unabated vigour until half-past four 
o'clock, and finished with three cheers for their 
entertainers, when that ill-natured loon neces- 
sity put an end to pleasure, in order to prepare 
for the coming day's work. The whole arrange- 
ments were under the direction of a committee 
of young ship carpenters, and did great credit 
to their taste and judgment, leaving nothing to 
be wished done that was not, and certainly 
nothing to be wished undone which was done. 

On the evening of Burns' centenary, Mr. 
Campbell, Bellfield; Mr. Brown, Megray; Mr. 
Connon, Elf Hill, and other gentlemen, enter- 
tained at dinner, in the Stonehaven Hotel, about 



twenty aged and retired farmers and crofters 
of the town and neighbourhood. Mr. Camp- 
bell occupied the chair, and Messrs. Brown and 
Connon, croupiers. Many a battle was fought 
over again tliat evening; many a ''drouUiy 
simmer" and stormy winter long ago was re- 
called to mind when the jolly old rustics were 
young and in their prime. Conclusion — ** Should 
auld acquaintance be forgot," and parting ^'richt 
merrilie." 

In honour of the centenary -a number of 
Messrs. Stewart, Rowel, Stewart, & Co.'s 
workmen met at supper in Gilliert's St, 
Nicholas Hotel. Mr. Chalmers presided, and 
Mr. L. Savage was croupier. An address in 
memory of Burns was delivered by the chair- 
man, and the after speeches were interspersed 
with songs, glees, and recitations from the worics 
of the bard. The evening was a happy one, 
Mr. Gilbert's good things giving every satisfac- 
tion. 

The workers in the employment of Mr. 
Edmond, bookbinder, were entertained at supper 
by that gentleman, when the memory of Bums 
was done due honour to, and a fine spirit of 
kindred feeling was displayed between master 
and servants. Many of Robin's songs were 
sung, and a dance concluded a pleasant meeting. 

Bon-Accord Literabt Association.— The 
above Association held their Festival in honour 
of the Burns Centenary in the large Hall of 
the Union Row Academy, which had been 
tastefully decorated for the occasion with ever- 
greens, pleasingly interspersed with banners, 
bearing the following inscriptions : — " Scots 
wha hae," "A man's a man for a' that," "The 
Cottar's Saturday Night," "Tam o* Shanter," 
"Success to the Bon -Accord." The chair 
having been taken by Mr. William Bruce, at 
half-past eight o'clock, that gentleman, in a 
neat speech, introduced the business of the 
meeting, which consisted of readings from 
Burns, varied with recitations, and songs from 
an efficient choir, under the conductorship of 
Mr. Melvin. A vote of thanks having been 
given to the Chairman for his services, at half- 
past eleven o'clock the room was cleared for 
dancing, and the mirth and fun kept up till 
about four o'clock, when the meeting separated, 
highly delighted with their evening's enjoy- 
ments. At suitable intervals the company 
were ser\'ed with fruit, wine, and cake, &c. 

We may notice, that the city bells were rung 
at intervals in the afternoon and evening, and 
the vessels in the harbour displayed their col- 
ours. A humble but very popular and hearty 
mode of celebration may also be mentioned. 
Mr. Fidler had two silver jugs attached to hia 
fountain at the top of the Quay, and this bdng 
pretty generally known, it is calculated that. 



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ABERDEEN (Old)— ABERDOUR. 



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between nine a. m.» and six p. m., about ten 
thousand partook of a cooling draught from 
the jugs — ^in many cases drinking to auld Scot- 
land's favourite bard. We are informed the 
tankards suffered no injury, although the well 
was '< mobbed** the whole day, and used at tlie 
rate of fifteen persons and four horses per min- 
ute! The day was bright, sharp, and sunny 
throughout. 

ABERDEEN (Old).— The Centenary was 
celebrated in thb place by a select ball in the 
Town-house, got up under the auspices of the 
Convener Court of the Incorporated Trades, 
and of the various Friendly Societies in con- 
nexion with the town, and conducted by Pro- 
vost Gordon and Convener Stables, assisted by 
a committee of stewards. The national and 
civic flags belonging to the town were dis- 
played in the Hidl along with facsimiles of 
poems in Bums' handwriting. The motto, 
"The Land o' Bums," was also prominently 
exhibited. These, in connection with the new 
appearance of the Hall, which has just under- 
gone a thorough repair and decoration — being 
beautifully painted in the walls and roof in 
panelled oak, with tasteful scroll-work— had a 
very imposing efiect. Immediately after the 
hour of assembling, the Hall was completely 
filled with the youth and beauty of the city, 
along with several parties from the neighboiur- 
ing district, who had been invited to be present. 
The dancing was kept up with great spirit and 
vigour till long after 

"The wee short hour ayont the twal.'^ 

During the evening, several of the poet's most 
choice songs were sung by the ladies and 
gentlemen present, and were received with 
great applause and enthusiasm. The party 
were honoured by an address from Mr. Adam 
of the Heraldy in which, after various happy 
illustrations taken from the life of the poet, he 
expressed his opinion that, if departed spirits 
were gifted with the power of knowing what 
was going on in this nether world — the idea 
by which Bums was inspired when he wrote 
his poem, " To Mary in Heaven " — ^he doubted 
not but he would look with as much satisfac- 
tion and pleasure on the gay assembly then 
before him as he woukl do on other demonstra- 
tions of a more extensive nature. He con- 
cluded by introducing Mr. Morrison, of the 
Scottish North-Eastern Railway, and request- 
ing him to favour the company with a recital 
of some piece relative to the occasion. Mr. 
Morrison then gave, with great feeling, tlie 
beautiful verses to the memory of Burns by 
Fitzgreen Halleck, of !New York, on viewing 



the remains of a rose brought from Alloway 
Kirk in autumn, 1822. 

WooDSiDB. — The centenary of Bums, our 
national bard, was celebrated at Woodside by 
a soiree held in the Free Church Schoolroom, 
under the management of a joint committee of 
the Newhills and Woodside Mutual Improve- 
ment Societies. The room presented a lively 
appearance, being decorated with evergreens 
and national colours, amongst which were in- 
terspersed several appropriate mottoes and 
quotations from the works of the Bard, two 
portraits of whom occupied conspicuous places 
on the walls. On account of accommodation 
the committee were compelled to limit the 
number of tickets to three hundred, but had 
they issued twice the number we believe they 
would have been disposed of, so great was the 
demand for them. The chair was taken at 
half-past seven by Mr. A. Troup, who happens 
to be a member of both societies. A blessing 
having been asked, tea was served up by the 
young ladies of both localities, which service, 
we are happy to observe, included the oaten 
cakes of old Scotia. After tea, the chairman 
opened the proceedings with an appropriate 
speech, after which the following gentlemen 
spoke in their tums:— Messrs. A. Wilson, jun., 
A. J. Hodge, A. Duguid, W. M'Kechnie, W. 
Murray, jun., and J. Troup; the first three 
of whom were from Newhills, the remainder 
being from Woodside. Five pieces of original 
poetry were read, two of which were anony- 
mous contributions from the Newhills Society, 
The other three were read by their authors, 
Messrs. Fullarton, G. Philip, and Fisher, one 
of our local poets, and who also delivered an 
excellent speech. The speeches and poems had 
all special reference to Bums. The following 
songs were sung throughout the evening: — 
"Mary, dear departed shade;'* "Scots wha 
haej** "A man 8 a man for a' that;" "Willie 
brewed a peek o' maut;** "Thou hast left mo 
ever, Jamie;" the first two of which were sung 
by a choir. An instrumental band was in at- 
tendance, including Mr. Cheyne, who performed 
some excellent solo Scottish airs on the flute. 
The company seemed to enter into the spirit 
of the evening's proceedings, keeping it up till 
considerably past "the wee short hour ayont 
the twal," when they separated after singing 
" Auld Langsyne'^ and the National Anthem. 

ABERDOUR. — Bums* centenary was cele- 
brated in the Aberdour Hotel by a goodly 
company of the young and middle-aged, male 
and female, with abundance of tea, cake, wine, 
and toddy. All went merry as a marriage-bell, 
with song and sentiment, and many a chorus, 
vocal and instrumental; and while in the ace 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



of tasting wine to the memory of " Scotland's 
Patriotic Ploughman Poet," not a heart present 
but beat with a purer and more exalted sym- 
pathy, while the sparkling eye denoted a clearer 
vision of the sublime and beautiful. Such a 
meeting of Scotland's true sons and daughters 
was never witnessed heretofore in the ancient 
barony of Aberdour. The chair was filled by 
Mr Goodsir, merchant — Mr Rattray, croupier. 



ABERLADY.— The Centenary of our great 
National Poet was celebrated here by a public 
dinner in Aberlady Inn. The Chairman (Mr. 
Tait), in giving the toast of the evening, dwelt 
at considerable length on the peculiar qualities 
and characteristics of our great Poet's writings, 
particidarly his songs, which, being united to 
our beautiful national melodies, were, he said, 
especially destined to carry down the Poet's 
fame to remote generations. Many appropriate 
toasts were given, and songs sung, and the 
evening was passed with great enthusiasm, har- 
mony, and decorum. 

ABERLOUR. — Here there were a supper 
and ball in the Hall of the Aberlour Hotel. By 
eight o'clock, an assemblage of ladies and 
gentlemen, to the number of about sixty, con- 
vened, and shortly after sat down to a sump- 
tuous and elegantly arranged supper, consisting 
of all the delicacies of the season. 

The chair was occupied by Dr. Gerrard, and 
Mr. Grant, Schoolhouse, officiated as croupier, 
both having lady patronesses and young ladies 
as supporters. 

After ample justice had been done to the 
good things on the board, and the usual loyal 
and patriotic toasts had been disposed of, the 
Chairman called for a special bumper to the 
toast of the evening — The memory of our 
National Bard. In his remarks in connection 
with the toast, he especially referred to the fact 
of our country having perhaps never witnessed 
a demonstration so generally entered into, or 
more enthusiastically carried out — a demonstra- 
tion not confined to Scotland, but held wher- 
ever Scotchmen are to be met with, or Scottish 
]>oetry is understood. He characterised the 
demonstration as a debt, too long due, as an 
eloquent and powerful protest, if not against 
the obloquy cast upon Burns, at least against 
the neglect with which he had, during his 
lifetime, been treated. He wbhed to view the 
Poet apart from the man, and, while uphold- 
ing the singular merits of the former, he denied 
our right to constitute ourselves strict judges 
of the latter. He believed that many of those 
who are apt to censure Bums' works, are in- 
duced to do so from the opinions of others, with- 
out reading for themselves. While he could 



not pretend to justify much in Bums' poems, 
more especially in his satires, he held that in 
this species of writing great freedom of lan- 
guage is allowed, and that Burns' strong spirit 
of independence led him to leave upon record 
what a more polished or less fearless author 
would have modified. So full and so truthfully 
did Bums enter into and honour the affections 
of his countrymen in describing their manners 
and customs, rejoicing in their enjoyments and 
sympathizing with their cares and sufferings, 
that his name was a household word in both 
hall and cottage; many have acknowledged 
that, until they began to read Burns, poetry 
had no charms for them, but that a taste for 
poetry had been acquired, and a source of in- 
tellectual pleasure opened up by them. He 
briefly touched on the poet as a patriot, as ''A 
man's a man for a' that," as an admirer of 
nature, as an unrivalled portrayer of domestic 
life, and as a satirist, giving a few quotations of 
his style in each. He concluded by requesting 
all to join in the manifestation of love and 
gratitude which had this night been taken up* 
and echoed <'frae Maiden Kirk to John o' 
Groats," to the imperishable memory of Scot- 
land's Poet — Robert Burns. (The toast was 
dmnk with every manifestation of feeling and 
respect.) 

After supper the ladies were beginning to 
get impatient to take a more active part in the 
proceedings, and, having decorated the gentle- 
men with handsome rosettes, appended to eadi 
being choice and appropriate references to some 
of Burns' verses, the hall was cleared for danc- 
ing, which was kept up with unabated spirit 
till " three short hours ayont the twaL* The 
music, supplied by Signer Bernaschina and his 
talented son Andrea, a youthful prodigy in 
music, was of great excellence, and gave the 
utmost satisfaction. Appropriate tunes were 
played after the several toasts, and some of 
Burns' best songs were sung. 

ABERUTHVEN.— The Aberothven Musical 
Society dined together in the Aberuthven Inn 
on the 20th, in celebration of the birth* 
day of Robert Burns — Mr. J. Sinclair in the 
chair. The dinner was got up in excellent 
style, and included all the rarities of the season. 

The cloth being removed, the Chairman gave 
the usual routine toasts, and Mr. G. Robertson 
then gave ** Our Forefathers;" after which Mr. 
J. M*Kenzie gave the toast of the evening. 
No apology, he said, was needed for him whose 
centenary we are met to celebrate. One hun- 
dred years have gone since he was ushered into 
existence in the <^auld clay biggin'" on the 
*' Banks o' the Doon," and for upwards of 60 
of those vears he has been in the land of the 



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de{>arte<L It is not the errors of Burns that 
bring va here to-night. No; it is the mighty 
genius of the man, joined to the truthfulness of 
his character. Bums would have condemned 
any man who would have sought to gloss over 
his J&ults, and set him down as a hypocrite, un- 
worthy of his confidence or friendship. After 
briefly reviewing the career of Bums, and quot- 
ing from many of his lyrics, he said— But, after 
all, it is to the democratic sentiment which per- 
vaded Burns, and which gives to him his gi*eat- 
est renown, that we owe the noblest and the 
greatest of aU liis effusions. The thoughts that 
arose in his mind when traversing the place 
where " Bruce shook his Carrick spear," was but 
a prelude to that burst of heroic poetry that 
issued from the wilds of Galloway, and which 
makes us think and feel that we too could bleed 
in the cause of our country. But the complete 
embodiment of hb democratic sentiments ap- 
pears in that magnificent song, ''A man's a man 
for a' that." There was no lack of music, either 
vocal or instrumental, every man being a musi- 
cian. Songs, duetSy trios, glees, followed each 
other, till Forbes appeared, when adjournment 
became necessary. 



ABINGTON.— In honour of the Burns 
Centenary, a public supper was held here, 
attended by a large number of the inhabitants 
of the vilkge and neighbourhood. The chair 
was occupied by Mr. Loudon McQueen, builder, 
Abington, and Mr. Macrosty, teacher, acted as 
croupier. The Chairman, in giving the ** Im- 
mortiEd Memory of Bums," referred to the pro- 
minent features of Burns' poems and writings, 
and gave a very graphic account of the early 
stru|^gles and difficulties of the great bard on 
hb road to eminence, and the great effect his 
writings have had on his countrymen. Other 
toasts and appropriate songs and recitations 
from Bums were given during the evening. A 
8ong^, composed for the occasion by Mr. Eobert 
Hastie, was sung with great enthusiasm by the 
company. At the conclusion of the supper a 
grand hnH was held, which was numerously at- 
tended, and all present gave indications of be- 
in^ highly pleased. 

ABOYNE.^The inhabitants of this parish 
and surrounding district joined the rest of their 
brethren in commemorating the natal day of 
8ootia'a Immortal Bard. A festive meeting 
was held in the large Hall of the Huntly Arms, 
Aboyne, when between seventy and eighty 
gentlemen sat down to an excellent dinner, 
prepared in Mrs. Cook's best style. The end 
of the Hall was decorated with a beautiful 
wreath of evergreens surrounding the name of 
the great Bard. Dr. Gerard^ the Provost of 



Charleston of Aboyne, ably discharged the 
duties of the chair. Mr. Ogg, banker; Mr. 
Neil, farmer, Wreaton; and Mr. Hurry, Aboyne 
Gardens, acted as croupiers. Amongst the 
parties present we observed — The Rev. Alex. 
Young, Aboyne; the Bev. Andrew Christie, 
Glentanner; Mr. Gray, parochial schoolmaster; 
Mr. Macintosh of the Excise; the Members of 
our Town Council ; also, a deputation from the 
Charleston of Aboyne Lodge of Freemasons, 
headed by their Depute-Master, Mr. Middleton, 
graced the occasion. The brethren appeared in 
their sashes and other Masonic insignia, paying 
a tribute to their great departed Brother. After 
dinner, the usual loyal and patriotic toasts were 
given, as also better health to the most noble 
the Marquis of Huntly, the Lord of the manor. 
The Chairman gave the toast of the evening in 
eloquent and glowing terais, paying a just 
tribute to the genius of Scotia's dearest Bard. 
A number of other toasts were given and re- 
sponded to, and several original pieces of poetry 
were recited during the evening. The whole 
proceedings passed off in a roost harmonious 
manner. A ball was held in the Mason Hall, 
where the young folks showed their apprecia- 
tion of Burns in their own way. Original 
pieces of poetry by Messrs. Niel, Ogg, and 
Hurry, were read to the meeting. 

AIRDRIE.— The Centenary of our National 
Bard was celebrated in the Town Hall by a 
grand pubh'c dinner, at which upwards of 60 
gentlemen were assembled, including a number 
of the most influential inhabitants of Airdrie. 
An excellent quadrille band was in attendance, 
and performed several national airs during the 
evening with great merit. After the dinner a 
number of ladies were admitted. The chair 
was occupied by Sheriff Strathern, and James 
Kidd, Esq., acted as croupier. The chair was 
supported, among other gentlemen, by the 
Rev. B. C. Brown, Airdrie; John M*Kenzie, 
Esq., Dundy van; J. Daizeil, Esq.; Bailie 
Hendry; J. M'Donald, Esq., Procurator-fiscal 
for the county; Dr. Robertson; and on the 
right and left of the croupier were Bailies 
Eddie and Taylor, Councillor Forester, Trea- 
surer Aitken, &c. 

In addition to this demonstration, there were 
a number of masonic and other festivals held in 
the town. 

AIRTH. — The centennial celebration of the 
birth of our national poet was observed here 
by a public dinner in the Crown Inn. The 
meeting was most successful, upwards of 30 
sitting down to dinner, and the whole afiair 
passed off with ecUU and enthusiasm. The 
\'iands, &c., under which the table groaned, re- 



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fleeted the utmost credit on ]Mn. Walker, the 
venerable and excellent hostess, and a magnifi- 
cent "haggis" displayed its "honest sonsie face" 
in honour of the occasion, and occupied a dis- 
tinguished position. Mr. Tosh of Newok ably 
filled the chair, and Mr. Armstrong of Airth 
no less efiiciently discharged the duties of 
croupier. After the usual loyal and patriotic 
toasts, the Chairman claimed a bumper to the 
"Immortal memory of Scotia's bard," which 
was responded to with the utmost enthusiasm, 
honour, and respect. Many other toasts were 
proposed and duly honoured in the^ course of 
the evening, among which were " The Relations 
of Burns," by Mr. Walker; "Burns' contem- 
porarles;" " TannahiU, and the other song- 
writers of Scotland;" "The Scottish vocal- 
ists," by Mr. Murdoch; "Giencaim, and the 
other patrons of Bums ; " " The minor poets 
of Scotland;" "The poets of the present 
day ; " " Progress of agriculture ; " " Educa- 
tion and its accessories ; *' " The Chairman," 
&c. Several recitations were given from the 
writings of the poet, and many excellent songs, 
glees, &c., sung; and, what with the inter^ 
change of sentiment and song, joke and re- 
partee, the " hours flew by on angel wings " till 
warned by the approach of Forbes Mackenzie, 
"the hour appointed Tam maun ride," the 
happy party broke up, after singing in chorus, 
with tremendous enthusiasm, " Auld Langsyne." 
Several other private social parties were 
held throughout the district in honour of the 
interesting event. 

ALEXANDRIA.— Perha9» the wost ibrmal 
centenary celebration was that held in the 
Odd Fellows' Hall, Alexandria, by the en- 
gravers of the Dalmonach Printing Company, 
at wluch Mr. Adam Bums presided, and Mr. 
Henry Parkinson discharged the duties of 
croupier. The evening's proceedings there 
were commenced by the company doing ample 
justice to a most substantial supper, after 
which, on the doth being removed, the Chair- 
man rose and proposed the usual loyal toasts, 
which having been duly responded to, he 
called upon the audieaee to fill their glasses up 
to the very brim, as the toast which he was 
now to have the honour of proposing was one 
of no ordinary kind. He was convinced that 
if Bums had not been imbued with a deep reli- 
gious feeling, he never could have written 
" The Cottar's Saturday Night," and they had 
good reason for supposing that his repentance 
for his errors was inspir^ by the same divine 
sincerity that formed the leading characteristic 
of his great genius. He begged, therefore, to 
propose "The Poetical Greatness of Bums." 
The toast was most enthusiastically drunk. 



Mr, T. Brown sung " Rantin' Rovin' Robin," 
after which Mr. John McLean rose, and in a 
neat speech, full of feeling and most appro- 
priate sentiment, proposed " The health of 
Burns' surviving relatives," to which Mr. T. 
Brown replied. Mr. Peter Strachan proposed 
" The memory of Bums," in a few words ex- 
pressing the mingled feelings of pride and 
pleasure he felt at being in any way instru- 
mental in handing down from " sire to son** the 
memory of Scotia's darling child of song. Mr. 
Henry Parkinson proposed "The Scotch Poets/' 
in an able speech. Mr. Robert Bell made an 
appropriate reply, and the party separated at a 
seasonable hour. 

ALFORD (Yale of). — Amongst the many 
meetings held on the 25th, in honour of the 
memory of him who sang Scotland as a nation 
of " honest men and bonnie lasses," the January 
wind did not blow a more happy, more singu- 
lar, or more honourable company together to 
any host than Mr. Milne, New Inn, had at his 
house, where Bums' birthday has been kept 
for upwards of thirty years. A subscription 
dinner was proposed; Mr. Milne's reply was — 
Bring as many as you please ; I maintain my 
prerogative; the ex{)ense shall be mine alone. 
The guests assembled by four o'clock, sat down 
to a sumptuous and well-prepared dinner (for 
which Mrs. Milne is famed), enjoying them- 
selves until an early hour in the mornings, 
almost exhausting Bums' songs, &c., and still 
"The landlord's laugh was ready chorus," with- 
out the motive which b said to call it forth. 

ALLAN (B&IDGE of). — Tlie hundredth an- 
niversary of the birthday of the national poet 
was celebrated here by the Curling Club and 
their friends. Sixty gentlemen sat down to 
dinner in the large hall of the Westerton Arms, 
which was beautifully and appropriately deco- 
rated with evergreens for tlie occasion. The 
chair was occupied by Mr. James Hogg of the 
Stirling Journal and Advertiser, and Mr. John 
Halliday, author of the "Rustic Bard," per- 
formed the duties of croupier. The chairman 
was supported on the right by Dr. Dade, Mr. 
Greenhorn, Mr. LyalJ, and Mr. Alexander, and 
on the lek by Mr. Somers, Mr. Archibald, Mr. 
William M'Laren, Mr. Miller and Mr. Mitchell. 
The croupier was supported right and left by 
Mr. Niven, Mr. McLaren, Mr. Simpson, Mr. 
Gillies, &c. 

After the doth IumL been removed, the 
Chairman gave in succession "The Queen,** 
"The Prince Consort, &c." "The army and 
navy." 

A bumper having been called for, the 
Chaibbcan rose and said : — Gentlemen — ^Let ua 



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ALLAN (Bridge of). 



151 



now join witli all those leal and true-hearted 
Scotchmen, who are met this day, in draining 
a bumper to the immortal memory of Robert 
Bums. Were 1 to consult my own feelings I 
should have preferred that the toast be drunk 
without preface and without honours. On this 
occasion, so tragic in many respects are the 
associations- called up, that solemn silence- 
deep, thoughtful, awe-inspiring silence — would 
have been, in my opinion, the right tri- 
bute to the poet's memory. But it has been 
ruled otherwise by those who have a right to 
be heard and obeyed in these matters. And 
after all it is perhaps better. It is a birth and 
not a death we are met to commemorate. It 
is the occasion on which that ever to be remem- 
bered '^bkist o' Januar wind" greeted the in- 
fant Bums, and not that more melancholy occa- 
sion when **the awkward squad" fired their 
straggling volleys over his grave. At present we 
have to deal more with the banks of the Ayr than 
the banks of the Nith ; with what is living than 
with what is dead of Bobert Burns. (Cheers.) 
I do not wish to anticipate what may be said by 
my friend the Eustic Bard on the " mission and 
influence" of the poet whose hundredth birth- 
day we are this day met to celebrate; but I 
cannot refrain from embracing the opportunity 
of saying a few words, since something must be 
said, not indeed in justification of our assem- 
bling here to-day — I do not need to do so to 
such an assembly — ^but to show that the homage 
which we pay to the memory of Burns b both 
intelligent and deserved. We are not here to- 
day to pay any blind homage to genius. We 
raise no altar, we make no sacrifice, we give no 
worship to intellect alone. (Applause.) No, it 
h not only that Burns was an intellectual giant, 
towering far above any of his compeers in that 
dreary, drinking, dicing, godless eighteenth 
century, but that he used his great powers, like 
a genuine honest Scotchman as he was, in the 
first place for the good of " Scotland, his auld 
respected mither," and in the last place for the 
good of mankind at large. (Cheers.) The 
maker of a country's songs has been placed by 
a quaint old thinker on a higher platform than 
the maker of a country's laws. If, then, there 
be any trath in the aphorism at all. Burns is 
the greatest Scotchman that ever lived. In 
him, and when I say in him, I mean in that 
noble legacy of song he has left us, we see all 
that is noblest, purest, and best in ourselves. 
There we see accurately mirrored all the joys 
and woes of our existence ; there we find ex- 
pression for all our feelings. The thoughts we 
breathe are clothed for us by our national poet 
in words that burn. No poet of any age or 
country was ever so intensely national as Bums. 
It was for Scotland, though not for Scotland 



alone, that he laboured and sang. And look 
what he has done for us. He purified the 
stream of Scottisli song that before his time 
was coarse and indelicate to a degree only 
known now to the students of that branch of 
literature; in his own original writings he 
fanned the "lowe o' weel-placed love" till it 
burned with a pure and holy fiame ; — (cheers) 
— he stirred to a brighter glow the altar fires 
of domestic devotion ; he shed a glory round 
the struggles of honest poverty, and by showing 
that true nobility of soul belonged to no spe- 
cial rank, but that it was shared in by the 
lowly peasant as well as by the high-born peer, 
he has done more than any other British roan 
to improve the condition, the moral and intel- 
lectual condition, of the working classes of this 
country. Were it for nothing else than this, 
Burns is worthy of our highest admiration. It 
matters not what his detractors may say — (pro- 
longed cheering)-— we are still living under the 
moral influence of Burns. Go forth into the 
world, mingle with your fellow-men as I my- 
self have often done. See them at the plough, 
in the workshop, by the desk, or in the studio ; 
there while they lift up their head and wipe, as 
I have seen them do, and as I have often my- 
self done along with them, the sweat of honest 
labour from their brow, there, in all its childlike 
simplicity, and dove-like tenderness, and lion- 
like courage, will you find the spirit of Robert 
Burns. (Cheers.) But this is not all, nor 
nearly all. Go back with me in thought to 
days anterior to those of our national poet ; see 
the character of the popular literature at that 
time; examine espedaUy the literature most 
read by the peasantry of our country then, and 
you wUl be able fully to appreciate the great 
good which Bums achieved for Scotland. Be- 
fore the purifying fire of his genius, the licen- 
tious muse of his country cowered her wings 
and shrunk abashed, and such productions as 
" A cock-caird fu* cadgie," " Loudon Tam" and 
" Leper the Tailor," gave way to ** Bruce's Ad- 
dress," "The Cottar's Saturday Night," and 
" Mary in Heaven." The souls who had drunk 
at these pure fountains could not go back again 
to wallow in the mire. For once old Adam 
retired before young Mehincthon ; the new poe- 
try was too much for the old ribaldry — (cheers) 
— and the peasantry of the country, — though 
not the peasantry alone — drank of tlie purify- 
ing waters and thanked the poet whose rod had 
caused them to flow. It is to do honour to the 
memory of the man who has done all this for 
us that we are met here this day. But we are 
called upon on this occasion to do something 
more than honour the memory of Burns. It 
must be remembered that Bums appeared at a 
critical time in our history. I have already re- 



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ferred to the condition of our popular literature 
when Bums arose. This was bad enough in 
all conscience, but the moral condition of the 
country was still worse, and still worse than 
either was the religion of the time. Many of 
the ministers of the gospel were professed 
atheists, and it is still on record that some of 
them were found drinking themselves drunk, 
not in tlie temple of Nisroch their god, but in 
the temples set apart for the worship of the 
ever living Jehovah. Hypocrisy was deemed 
then — as, alas, it is too often now ! — a virtue. 
Burns set himself resolutely against this. With 
courage in his heart, and scorn flashing from 
bis deep dark eye, he approached the temple 
where these vices, these counterfeits of true 
religion were enshrined, and tearing aside the 
veil which concealed them, showed the people 
of this country the real character of the idols 
whom they worshipped. (Cheers.) In doing 
this he did a service to the cause of genuine 
Christianity; he fulfilled the mission he was 
sent to accomplish, and we therefore meet here 
to-day to acknowledge with gratitude the 
goodness of the All-bountiful for bestowing 
upon us in our hour of need the gift of such 
a man. (Great cheering.) Burns stands be- 
fore us now, the Representative Scotchman. 
One who like David of old was a godsent hero 
— not free from faults certainly any more than 
the men by whom they were surrounded, but 
full of high thought, fine feelings, and having 
souls attuned to the harmony of those eternal 
melodies a part of which they themselves sang 
so sweetly. I do not know, gentlemen, that I 
need say any more. I know that to commend 
the toast to you I did not require to say so 
much. It was my intention once to have said 
something of the detractors of Bums — detract- 
ors did I say? calumniators were the better 
word. (Immense applause.) It is better, 
however, on this occasion, to pass these by with 
that contempt which their narrow-mindedness — 
their ignorant and culpable narrow-mindedness 
— deserves. Nineteen hundred years ago, there 
were scribes and Pharisees who assailed with 
their calumny a greater than Burns. They 
have got their reward, and there can be no 
doubt that to the scribes and Pharisees of our 
own day a similar reward will be meted out. 
(Cheers.) In the meantime all that I would 
say to them is this ; '< What are ye that judge 
another? If you yourselves be without sin, 
then cast a stone at Bums." (Hear, hear.) 
Gentlemen, Burns had a noble soul, he scorned 
all hypocrisy. Let us imitate him in this as in 
all his other virtues. If we be not tempted 
like him, let us be thankful for the mercy, but 
do not let us exaggerate and dwell upon the 
faults of a brother beloved. As he himself has 



told us, and the teaching is tliat of a higher 
even than he : — 

" Then gently scan yonr brother man, 
Still gentler sister woman. 
For tkoogh we ^ang a kenning wrang, 
To step aside is human. 

Then at the balance let's be mate, 

We never can adjust it; 
What's done we partly may compute, 

But know not what's resisted." 

(Cheers.) But such thoughts as these are for- 
eign to the occasion. We are not met to talk 
the scandal of the tea-table, but to celebrate 
the birthday of the poet who loved us so well, 
and whom we have all taken to our hearts. 
Let no unworthy thoughts then intrude whilo 
we pay honour to this king of men. Were it 
otherwise, we were unworthy of the gift which 
Heaven so bounteously bestowed on us, and 
which was, alas! withdrawn from us all too 
soon. Could the wheeb of time be rolled 
back how would we run to administer comfort, 
consolation, healing to the wounded, weary 
soul that animated the frame of Robert Burns ! 

'' It might not be ! 
That heart of harmony 
Had been too rudely rent ; 
Its silver chords, which any hand couid wound, 
By no hand could be tuned, 
Bave by the Maker of the instrument, 
Its every string who knew, 
And from profaning touch His heavenly gift withdrew." 

(Cheers.) Peace to the dead ! Joy and glad* 
ness to the living ! Bums has passed away, but 
his works still remain. They are ours, they 
are the legacy of the race wherever the English 
language is spoken; and we, now a hundred 
years after his birth, are assembled to do 
honour to one who shed a lustre upon our 
country, whose name has become a liousehold 
word among us, and who has done more to 
raise the humbler cksses in the social scale than 
any other man of our time. Let us then, as L 
said at first, along with all our leal*hearted 
countrymen everywhere, pledge with all the 
honours, a bumper to the memory of the poet 
who has done so much for us, and whom all 
honest, upright, independent Scotchmen love 
so well. (Prolonged cheering.) 

The toast was drunk amid g^reat cheerinar. 

Song by Mr. Kennedy, " There was a lad was bom 
in Kyle." 

Numerous toasts were then given and duly 
responded to. 

The company then sung " Auld Langsyne,** 
and thus terminated one of the most successful 
meetings ever held in Bridge of Allan. 

ALLOA. — ^Banqubt in the Assembly 
Boom. — The banquet given in the Assembly 



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ALLOA. 



153 



Room, under the auspices of the Masonic body, 
was a great success, and the room was com* 
pletely filled by a most happy and enthusiastic 
company, numbering upwards of 150. It had 
been tastefully and beautifully decorated for the 
occasion with evergreens and artificial flowers, 
while round the walls were hung paintings, 
engravings, flags, and a number of ancient 
relics. The meeting was held under the pre- 
sidency of W. Downing Bruce, Esq., F.S.A., 
of Garlet and Elilbagie, and of Lincoln's Inn, 
Barrister-at-Law, who was supported right and 
left by R. O. Amot, Esq., writer; the Rev. P. 
Stewart, M. A., Oamock ; Charles Penney, Esq., 
jun., Bellvale Chemical Works, Glasgow; Mr. 
James Fairlie; Mr. John Younger, brewer, &c. 
The croupiers were Mr. Watson, writer, Mr. 
W. McQueen, and Mr. 8. N. Morison. Behind 
the Chairman, and within a floral arch com- 
posed of evergreens and flowers, was suspended 
the sword of King Robert the Bruce, kindly 
forwarded by Lady Elgin from Broomhall. On 
the right of the sword was displayed a full- 
length portrait of the Earl of Elgin, and on the 
left a portrait of Sir Edward Bruce, his Lord- 
ship's ancestor, who was a second son of Sir 
David Bruce, laird of Clackmannan, and through 
which descent his Lordship is Chief of the 
family of Bruce in Scotland. Above was placed 
a portrait of the poet, and on either side a por- 
trait of James the Sixth of Scotland, and 
Charles the First of England. In the niches 
around the room were placed various suits of 
armour, consisting of helmets, breast -plates, 
gauntlets, &c., sent for the occasion by Mr. 
Bruce of EJlbagie. At the east end of the 
room was placed a cast from the skull of King 
Robert Bruce, for whom Burns entertained a 
more than common veneration. The room was 
also decorated with various banners, belonging 
to Alloa St John's Lodge. The floral decora- 
tion of the Assembly Room was highly credit- 
able. By a few minutes past four o'clock the 
company occupied their seats around the table, 
the number who sat down being about 130 to 
140. A blessing having been asked by the 
Rev. P. Stewart, A.M., of Carnock, the com- 
pany partook of an excellent and substantial 
dinner, the Scotch haggis occupying a pro- 
minent place on the tables. Dinner having 
been concluded, thanks were returned by the 
same Rev. gentleman. 

After the usual loyal toasts, the Chaibman 
rose and said: — Gentlemen, in rising to call 
your attention to the events we are assembled 
to commemorate, I feel oppressed with a sense 
of my own unworthiness to fill so exalted a 
position as you have called upon me to occupy 
to-night, i am aware that no language I can 
find can be adequate to set forth the merits of 



that unrivalled poet, of that real true-hearted 
Scotsman who, one hundred years ago to-day, 
first opened his eyes upon a world which should 
henceforth cherish his name among its choicest 
recollections. If I could catch one spark of 
that heavenly fire with which he was so prodi- 
gally endowed, if I could borrow some of his 
charm of language, some of his grace and power 
of expression, I might then set forth, in lan- 
guage worthy of the theme, the immense obli- 
gation that Scotland, that the whole civilised 
world are under to Robert Bums. Nor am I 
less impressed with the responsibility of my 
position when I consider the importance and 
solemnity of the present celebration, and the 
world-wide magnitude it has assumed. Those 
who, like myself, have been summoned to pre- 
side over the mighty gatherings that are this 
night taking place stand in a most responsible 
position. We have not to give expression to 
our own feelings merely, we are the spokesmen 
of a nation's love and admiration, appointed to 
stand, as it were, between the living and the 
dead, and to give utterance to the sentiments 
that are stirring in every honest Scotsman's 
heart, towards the most illustrious of Scotland's 
departed sons; and, gentlemen, does it not 
kindle in us a glow of sublime enthusiasm when 
we consider the universality of this magnificent 
demonstration? How grandly it shows the 
unity of Scotland's sons, the innate affinities 
which bind them into one great brotherhood. 
There is scarcely a vilUige in the land which is 
not, on this remarkable evening, holding high 
revel with the Poet, singing his songs, and 
listening to the praises of his genius, and not 
alone throughout Scotland, but everywhere 
where Scotchmen are located — and where, I 
ask, throughout the wide world, where dangers 
are to be dared or glory is to be won, are they 
not to be found first among the foremost? 
Everywhere is this day being kept as a day of 
festivity, held sacred to joyful though chastened 
recollections. In the metropolis of the south 
there is a celebration on a scale befitting the 
dignity of that city; and on tlie continent of 
Europe, in Ireland, in Canada, in the United 
States, in far-off New Zealand, in Australia, 
men are keeping the Bums centenary with a 
fervour equal to that which is distinguishing 
the anniversary at home. Nay, even under the 
burning sun of India our gallant fellow-country- 
men, who have been cheered by the matchless 
melodies of the bard when in the bivouac, or 
inspired by them with fresh courage when on 
the battle-field, seek an evening's relaxation 
from the toil of war to think of home and 
Robert Burns; and in the distant threshold of 
that teeming empire, which has at length in this 
our time been opened to the ingress of Western 



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civilization by the masterly address, patient dar- 
ing, and superior statesmanship of a worthy repre- 
sentative of Scotland's most illustrious King — 
I mean the Earl of Elgin — the Bums centenary 
is being celebrated with true Scottish warmth 
and generality. It is hardly possible to help 
pausing to inquire into the nature of a fame 
which has inspired so wide-spread and unprece- 
dented a demonstration. Is it that Burns is so 
sweet and fascinating a poet that this ovation 
is offered to his memory ? Not entirely. His 
amazing popularity is mainly to be attributed 
to his broad, deep, all-embracing, and profound 
nationality. While in liis life we witness pro- 
minently exemplified the best characterbtics 
and the most common failings of his country- 
men, in his works their solid good qualities, 
their higher tendencies, and their brightest and 
purest aspirations are reproduced. Every single 
characterbtic of the Scottish mind may be best 
described in words selected from the works of 
Bums, its tenderness, its sociability, its fond- 
ness for humour, its play of fancy, its depth of 
imagination, its directness of purpose, its scorn 
of hypocrby, its warm devotional feeling, and 
its stem irrepressible spirit of independence. 
Passages of hb poems will readily rise to the 
mind of every one here present, illustrative of 
these several moods, and perhaps most vividly 
delineated of all is that spirit of stubborn inde- 
pendence which may be regarded as the ground- 
work of all that is best in our character as a 
national protest against tyranny of every kind. 
I believe the immortal 

" Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled, 
Scots wham Brace has often led/' 

to be the most powerful and spirit-stirring lyric 
ever penned, while the very soul of individual 
independence breathes in every syllable of that 
immortal strain which, setting the tinsel of 
rank and the accident of wealth in their true 
light, preaches the kingship of man as man — 

** Is there for honest poverty 

Wha hangs his head and a' that ? 
The coward-slave, we pass him by — 
We dare be poor for a' that. 
For a' that, and a' that, 

Oar toils obscure, and a' that, 
The mnk is but the guinea stamp, 
The man's the goad for a* that." 

Burns, who made it his boast that he was bred 
to the plough, and was independent, lifted the 
very peasantry of Scotland to an equality with 
the kings of the earth elsewhere, and the senti- 
ments which were before vaguely stirring the 
minds of his brethren, he first seized on with 
intuitive power, gave them a voice and a lan- 
guage, and revivified within them the hearts of 
hb toiling fellow-countrymen. While the love 



of Bums resides in the soub of the people, thu 
country can never retrograde, can never sink 
into efieminacy, can never lose the high posi- 
tion it has won against such overwhelming odds 
in the strife of nations, for no one can love 
Bums' works without loving what b noble, 
what is generous, what b manly, what b truth- 
ful and exalting. Gentlemen, standing before 
you as I do this evening, not merely as chair- 
man of this meeting, but as master of the Alloa 
St. John's Lodge, recollecting the auspices 
under which this gathering b held, and seeing 
around me so many of my masonic brethren, I 
cannot omit an allusion to what was a distin- 
guished feature in Bums' career, his genuine 
devotion to masonry. A heart like his, per- 
petually yearning to draw the bonds of human 
brotherhood closer — an intellect like hb, cease- 
lessly thirsting for more light upon the abstruse 
problems which encircle humanity — could not 
fail to seek early admittance into the order, 
which joins the search after occult knowledge 
with the liveliest exercise of practical friend- 
ship. To that order he solicited and gained 
admission, in the bloom of hb manhood, and to 
that order he remained a devotedly attached 
adherent to the day of hb death. It b but 
fair to state that his devotion to the mystic 
brotherhood, like virtue, brought with it its 
own recompense, for to that order he owed 
some of the brightest friendships and nearly all 
the success he obtained through life. It may 
interest my non-masonic friends to know that 
Burns was first initiated into the mysteries of 
the craft at Tarbolton when in the twenty- 
third year of his age. So congenial to his 
enthusiastic disposition was the performance of 
the customary exercises of masonry that for 
years he was scarcely ever absent from a lodge 
meeting. He was raised to a post of dignity 
and honour in the craft, and in the course of 
one of his poems he alludes, with much com- 
placency, to the fact that he 

" Oft honoured with supreme command, 
Presided o'er the Sons of Light" 

Distinguished men from afar would vbit hb 
lodge to see how the poet performed the duties 
of the chair, and Professor Dugald Stewart, 
amongst others, has left on record a testimony 
of the pleasure he experienced on observing the 
tact, discretion, and ability with which the poet 
went through the duties of that arduous post. 
When Burns first went to Edinburgh, hb ma- 
sonic character made him at once free of the 
world of literature and fashion, for nearly all 
the men of rank and the literary men then resi- 
dent in the capital were ardent masons. With- 
in the circle of the fraternity his rare poetical 
gifts were at once most warmly acknowledged. 



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The Canongate Kilwinning elected him their 
Poet Laureate, and a full length portrait of the 
bard la now placed above the seat of honour 
reserved for him by the side of the ma^iter's 
chair in the interesting hall of that ancient 
lodge. For myself, when I remember the en- 
thusiasm with which the immortal bard devoted 
himself to advance the interests of the craft, I 
feel myself more and more encouraged to 
follow so eminent an example, and you who, 
while professing your admiration of Burns, yet 
shrink from associating yourself with the fra- 
ternity to which he was so proud to belong, I 
would urgently advise you to free yourselves 
from such inconsistency, and seek the earliest 
opportunity of becoming in form and reality 
what every true Scotsman must be in heart, a 
sincere mason. It would give me great plea- 
sure to be able to ascertain tliat Burns had 
ever any dose relations with this locality. It 
seems that he only once paid a flying visit to 
our county. It may be remembered, however, 
that there is a property, at no great distance 
from this, the name of which he has handed 
down to immortid remembrance. You will at 
once recognise the song from which the follow- 
ing verse is taken — 

** Come take a share wi' those that bear 

The budget and the apron, 
And by that stoup, my faith and houp, 

And by that dear Kilbaoib, 
If e'er ye want, or meet wi' scant, 

May I ne'er wat my craigie." 

Bums' trip to this part of Scotland was, as a 
reference to his works will show, undertaken 
in the summer of 1787, in company with Mr., 
afterwards Dr. Adair, and the following notes, 
which I will read, are Mr. Adair's brief jot- 
tings of the tour: — "The travellers rode by 
Linlithgow and Carron to Stirling. From 
Stirling, says Mr. Adair, we went next morn- 
ing through the romantic and fertile vale of 
Devon to Harvieston, in Clackmannanshire, 
then inhabited by Mrs. Hamilton, with the 
younger part of whose family Bums had been 
previously acquainted. During a residence of 
about ten days at Harvieston, we made excur- 
sions to visit various parts of the surrounding 
scenery, inferior to none in Scotland in beau- 
ty, sublimity, and interest, particularly Castle 
Campbell, the ancient seat of the family of Ar- 
gyle ; and the famous cataract of the Devon, 
called the Cauldron Linn, and the Rumbling 
Bridge, a single arch thrown by the Devil, if 
tradition is to be believed, across the river, at 
about the height of a hundred feet above its 
bed. . . . The ladies at Harvieston ex- 
pressed their disappointment at his not express- 
ing in more glowing language his impressions 
of the Cauldron Linn scene, certainly highly 



sublime, and somewhat horrible. A visit to 
Mrs. Bruce of Clackmannan, a lady above 
ninety, the lineal descendant of that race which 
gave the Scottish throne its brightest ornament, 
interested his feelings most powerfully. This 
venerable dame, with characteristic dignity, 
informed me, on my observing that I believed 
she was descended from the family of Kobert 
Bruce, that Robert Bruce was sprung from her 
&mily. Though almost deprived of speech by 
a paralytic affection, she preserved her hospi- 
tality and urbanity. She was in possession of 
the hero's helmet and two-handed sword, with 
which she conferred on Burns and myself the 
honour of knighthood, remarking that she had 
a better right to confer that title than some 
people. You will of course conclude that the 
(4d lady's political tenets were as Jacobitical as 
the poet's, a conformity which contributed not 
a little to the conviviality of our reception and 
entertainment. She gave us as her first toast 
after dinner * Awa Uncos,' or away with the 
strangers." Who these strangers were you 
will readily understand. The venerable lady 
referring, of course, to the Hanoverian family. 
These glimpses of the poet moving about 
amongst the principal inhabitants of the locali- 
ty are extremely interesting. The travellers 
returned to Edinburgh by Queensferry. At 
DunfemiUne they visited the famed Abbey and 
Abbey Church. At the last place a waggish 
and somewhat irreverent scene was enacted. 
Mr. Adair mounted the cutty stool as a peni- 
tent, while Burns from the pulpit addressed to 
his friend a ludicrous reproof of exhortation, 
parodied from one which had been administered 
to himself years before, when he along with 
seven others mounted the seat of shame to- 
gether. In the churchyard two broad flag 
stones marked the grave of King Robert the 
Bruce, for whose memory Burns had more 
than common veneration. He knelt and kissed 
the stone with sacred fervour, and heartily exe- 
crated the worse than Gothic neglect that 
then prevailed of the first of Scottish heroes. 
The song "How pleasant the banks o' the 
clear winding Devon" is the only poetical re- 
miniscence of this visit, bequeathed us by the 
poet. There is another local relic which ought 
not to be passed over on this occasion. I al- 
lude to the manly, noble letter written by 
Bums from Dumfries, in 1793, to John Francis 
Erskine, the late Earl of Mar, in allusion to the 
false report of the poet's dismissal from the 
Excise, for the freedom with which he had 
expressed his political opinions. And now, 
gentlemen, I fear I have trespassed too long on 
your attention. But when the subject is one 
so dear to the Scotsman's heart as that of 
Bums, the temptation to be prolix is almost 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



irresistible. Burns is pot, like most other great 
poets, a cold abstraction, in whose personal his- 
tory we cannot feel more than a limited interest. 
Tlie brief tragic story of the life of the Scot- 
tish Bard goes direct to our hearts. We follow 
the poet from his lowly Urth in the humble 
cottage on the roadside not far from Ayr, 
through the loves and disappointments, the 
joys and sorrows, and struggles of his youth, 
till that dark hour when, in the bitter gloom 
of his misfortunes, he had resolved to seek in a 
distant land those means of subsistence which 
seemed to be denied him at home. When the 
subsequent treacherous gleam of sunsliine cross- 
ed his path, and he seemed to be entering on 
the high road of temporal prosperity, with the 
temple of fame opening its shining gates to the 
proud tread of the peasant poet, we watch his 
splendid and dazzling career with feelings of 
interest and concern. In the dismal struggle 
that ensued, our hearts overflow with sympathy 
for the sufferer, sinking under accumulated 
disappointments, and writhing under the con- 
sequences of those errors of conduct, which the 
very brilliancy of his genius had led him into. 
When the strong man sank in solitude and 
suffering, struck down in the very prime of his 
manhood, how it would have cheered him on 
his melancholy deathbed to have foreseen that 
his country would have been kind to his fail- 
ings, and just to his memory, and would keep 
the centenary of his birth in a way that no 
other poet's centenary had been kept before. 
Gentlemen, I maintain that this great celebra- 
tion is most honourable to the Scottish people, 
as a proof of their hearty sympathy with all 
that is upright, manly, noble, and truthful in 
the character of one of the best, noblest^ and 
most famous of their representative men ; and, 
as a patriot, I can entertain no higher wish for 
my country than that the spirit which has 
prompted this great Burns Centenary of 1859 
may survive in this beloved land for ever, to 
stimulate all coming generations to high 
thoughts and heroic acts. Gentlemen, I now 
invite you to join with me in drinking, in 
solemn silence, to the memory of our great 
National Poet — ^Robebt Burns. (Mr. Bruce 
was loudly cheered throughout.) 

Various other toasts were given and several 
songs sung during the evening, and the prcH 
oeedings closed with " Auld Langsyne." 

Thb Banquet in the Rotal Oak Hotel. 
— ^Eighty gentlemen sat down to dinner in the 
large room of the Royal Oak Hotel, which was 
beautifully decorated for the occasion by Mr. 
Clark, seedsman. Four imitation Chinese lan- 
terns, which adorned the room, were much ad- 
mired, and the walls were decorated with nu- 
merous portraits of 'sons of song,' sent by 



Alexander Bald, Esq., and others, amongst 
which were — Sir Waiter Scott; Allan Cun- 
ningham ; Lord Brougham ; Professor Wilson ; 
the Ettrick Shepherd; Allan Ramsay; John 
Grieve, an Alloa poet, whose son is at present 
manager of a branch of England Bank at Man- 
chester ; Thomas Campbell, the ''Bard of 
Hope;" Lord Jeffrey; Bust of Professor Wil- 
son ; and Tarn o' Shanter and Souter Johnny, 
by Mr. Forrest. Behind the chair, a beautiful 
oil painting of the land of Bums, the property 
of the late Mr. David Christie; and, at the 
other end of the room, oil paintings of Falstaff^ 
Shakspeare, Homer, Byron, and a large bust of 
that great poet, and other pictures, the pro- 
perty of the host. John Tait, Esq., Sheriff of 
the county, presided, supported on the right by 
W. B. Clark, Esq., Sheriff-Substitate, and the 
Rev. Thomas Murray ; on the left by Mr. Blair, 
Glenfoot, and Mr. Andrew Mitchell. The 
croupiers were Mr. Moir, Senior Magistrate of 
the burgh, Mr. M<Nellan of Solsgirth, and Mr. 
Spence, Procurator-Fiscal. 

In giving the toast of the evening, *' The 
Immortal Memory of Robert Bums," the Chair- 
man adverted to the excellent letters written 
by Burns to his (the chairman's) fitther and to 
John Francis Erskine, late Earl of Mar, as 
proofs of the poet's powers as a writer of prose 
— ^the combination of talent in Burns being 
quite extraordinary. Bums, he said, had a 
horror of hypocrisy, and some of those persons 
against whom his satire was directed were, he 
believed, not much to be commended. It was 
impossible to say that Burns had no feeling of 
religion. The beautiful sentiments of the 
*' Cottar's Saturday Night" disproved it, as also 
his prayers in the prospect of death, where he 
expressed deep penitence for the sins he was 
conscious of. Mr« Spence proposed ''The 
Sons of Burns." « The Memory of Sir Walter 
Scott" was proposed by Mr. M'Watt, writer, 
in a speech of much eloquence. Dr. Syme, in 
proposing "The Clergy," remarked tiiat he 
considered rev. gentlemen had not rightly in- 
terpreted the motive of the people of Scotland 
in the present celebration ; but if the clergy 
had not done justice to the people, that was no 
reason why the people should not do justice to 
themselves. The Rev. Mr. Murray replied. 
On the score of duty he had no hesitation in 
coming to the centenary gathering ; but, after 
giving his consent to come, he wavered on the 
ground of expediency ; but, on further reflec- 
tion, he resolved to cast expediency aside, and 
do what he considered his duty. Mr. James 
Symmers, Rector of Alloa Academy, proposed 
« The Modern Poets of England." 

Mr. Drtsdalb's Mbetino.— On Tuesday 
evening the 25th, a meeting was held in the 



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ALLOA. 



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Phrenological HaU, Mill Street, for the purpose 
of celebrating the centenary of the birth of 
Scotland's greatest poet, Robert Bums. The 
meeting was called at the request of our worthy 
townsman and philanthropist, Mr. Drysdale; 
and, without any pretensions to public benefit 
or greatness, it was what may be termed a pri- 
vate select party, and consisted of both males 
and females, an arrangement, by the way, 
which was rather exceptional, but was no bar- 
rier to the true interests and social happiness 
of the meeting. £xactly at eight o'clock, the 
chair was taken by the host, Mr. Drysdale. 
At the end of the table was placed a correct 
cast of the skull of tlie poet, which the chair- 
man took up, and gave the audience an elabo- 
rate phrenological development of it. He said 
that Bums had a very large head, nearly 24 
inches in circumference, the faculties were all 
fully developed, especially those that are more 
immediately required to produce a trae poet, 
and proved that, if society had been a little 
more refined in its moral tastes, and with a 
little more education, Bums would have been 
the greatest moral reformer, as well as the 
greatest poet, of the age in which he lived. 
The croupier was then called upon to say a few 
words, and, on rising, he gave a very humorous 
description of his forefathers, and concluded by 
paying a high tribute to the genius of Bums. 
" Tam o' Shanter *' was then read by Mr. 
Silver, and the " Address to the deil" by Mr. 
Russell. A very humorous conversation then 
took place about the character and geographi- 
cal position of the deil ; but, fearing lest Uiey 
should be led into bad company with his Sa- 
tanic majesty, they left that gentleman to shift 
for himself. During the course of the evening, 
a number of Burns' songs were sung in excel- 
lent style by Mr. Laurence McLaren, Mr. 
M'Lauchlan, and a few of the ladies. Mr. 
Mitchell was present, and played several fa- 
vourite pieces on the organ-accordion. The 
proceedings were concluded by singing " Auld 
Langsyne." 

«« Thb GATHERiNa o' THB Bards." — This 
interesting meeting, which took place in the 
house of our respected townsman, Mr. John 
Crawford, author of " Doric Lays," &c., on the 
evening of the centenary of the birth of our 
groat National Poet, Robert Bufns, came off 
with the greatest eclat — highly honourable to 
that gentleman, and creditable to every one 
connected with it. The company, all of whom 
did not belong to '' the bardie clan," several of 
Mr. Crawford's intimate and more highly re- 
spected friends being present, met at seven 
o'clock, and sat down to a repast which would 
have done honour to the halls of the first aris- 
tocracy in tlie land. As a. matter of course, 



the host occupied the chair, supported on the 
right by Mr. David Taylor, St. Ninians, and 
on the left by Mr. Alexander M'Lauchlan, 
Bannockburn, while the duties of croupier were 
very efficiently discharged by Mr. David 
McNeill, — ^the youngest of all the poets who 
were present — supported on the right by Mr. 
Andrew Marshall, jun., Alva, and on the left 
by Mr. Alexander Johnstone, Alloa. The 
room in which the meeting took place was 
tastefully and appropriately decorated ; banners 
that have braved both the battle and the breeze 
being hung round the walls, giving it all the 
appearance of an old baronial hall. On a 
pedestal, at the chairman's right, with a wreath 
of holly round his brow, stood the bust of the 
bard, the first centenary of whose birth was 
that day being celebrated, and whose praises 
were being sung by thousands in every quarter 
of the civilized world. Behind the chair, above 
the mantlepiece, were displayed on the wall 
two large swords, the blades of which were 
crossed. The one is a relic of Flodden Field 
and the other a relic of Killiecrankie. Between 
the hilts of these hung a portnut of ' Bonnie 
Prince Charlie,* and betwixt their points, in a 
frame, was exhibited a horse-«hoe found on the 
glorious field of Bannockburn. Over the whole 
hung an old straw bonnet which belonged to 
the song-celebrated Duchess of Athole. A fine 
plate of " The Cottar's Saturday Night,'* and 
a beautiful portrait of the "literary Earl of 
Buchan," along with portraits of the poets 
Thomas Campbell, Professor Wilson, Allan 
Cunningham, &c., &c., adomed the walls. At 
the croupier's back was an old fiag on which 
was painted the armorial bearings of the 
illustrious family of Abercromby ; and suspend- 
ed from the ceiling was a beautifully executed 
representation of a dove, with an olive leaf in 
its mouth. A snuff-mull belonging to " High- 
land Mary's" father, initialed "J. C," was, 
along with an ancient helmet and other very 
interesting curiosities, also exhibited. The 
table groaned under the weight of the favourite 
national dainties with which it was loaded. 
From a " Highlandman's coggie," found at the 
battle of Sheriffmuir, rose, ** like a distant hill," 
at the head of the table, the <^ hurdles " of a 
monster ** haggis,*' kindly provided by Robert 
Moubray, Esq. of Cambus, and in which was 
«tuck a pin made out of the wood of the '* Red 
Well Buss," which was cut down a few years 
ago, bearing a card on which was printed these 
lines: — 

^^ Fair fa' yoar honest sonsie face, 

Tho* a' should gang a-gley, 
Great chieftain o' tlie puddin' race, 

ImDioi-tal thon shalt be I " 

Fish, fowl, venison, &e., were in abundance, all 



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of which came from localities celebrated in 
Scottish song. Ample justice having been done 
to the good things provided, th« cloth was re- 
moved, whereupon the chairman proposed the 
following toasts» all of which were enthusiasti- 
cally responded to : — " The Queen," (which 
toast was drunk in wine from an ancient and 
ornamental drinking horn which belonged to 
the sapient King James YL, and which was 
allowed to stand on the table the whole of the 
night) — "The British Constitution;" "Lord 
and Lady Abercromby ; " " Robert Bald, Esq., 
the world-renowned mining engineer." Mr. 
Teirney then proposed, in appropriate terms, 
"The House of Ardgowan." The chairman 
then placed upon the table a large punch-bowl 
which belonged to Burns, and which was pre- 
sented by him to Mr. John Dowie, Edinburgh; 
after which he produced a quantity of whisky 
kindly sent by Mr. Moubray, "of real auld 
Cam bus stuff," brewed, as the labels said, when 
the Devon was a clear-winding stream ; also a 
quantity of rare old aqua from Andrew Mitchell, 
Esq. Besides these he brought forward a jar 
of real Kilbagie, which was presented to him by 
Andrew Jameson, Esq., in the bung of which 
was stuck a pin made from the " Buss aboon 
Traquair," bearing a card, on which was printed 
these lines :-^ 

" Here is a jar o' precious stuff 
That iveel deserves a double puff; 
Nae better drink can weet the craigief 
As Robin says, than ^ dear Kilbagie.* '' 

A quantity of these having been mixed in the 
bowl, toddy was brewed, after which the chair- 
roan rose and proposed the toast of the evening 
— " The Immortal Memory of Burns " — read- 
ing at the same time a poem written by him- 
self for the occasion. He then requested the 
croupier to sing " Rantin rovin' Robin," which 
request having been complied with, the toast 
was drunk in a manner becoming tiie occasion. 
Numerous poems and songs, written in special 
honour of the centenary, were then given, the 
recitation of which took about two hours, and 
an able and eloquent tribute was paid to the 
memory of the poet by Mr. Johnstone in a 
very neat speech. A long poem and song from 
the inspired pen of the Rev. Henry Scott Rid- 
dell, the " last of the border bards," author of 
"Scotland Yet," and some of our finest love 
songs, as an apology for his inability to be pre- 
sent at the meeting, was then read by the crou- 
pier and much admired. 

ALMONDBANK.— We had no public de- 
monstration to commemorate the centenary in 
our quiet little village; but in the evening a 
few kindred spirits met to do honour to do|>arted 



genius. Mr. Bennet occupied the chair, and 
his felicitous remarks, and profuse and happy 
quotations from the writings of the poet, kept 
the company in a high state of hilarity. Mr. 
Fenwick contributed much to the pleasure of 
the party by singing some of the bard's best 
pieces. Speeches and recitations by several 
others, showed that each had oome to do his 
beet in the promotion of each other's comfort 
and enjoyment. The party separated about 
the wee short hour, well pleased with one 
another, and promising to meet again on a like 
occasion at next centenary, should time and 
opportunity be afforded! 

ALYTH Tuesday night last will be a 

memorable night here. Nothing so unanimous 
was ever " kent" to come off. There were three 
grand entertainments, and as the last got up one 
demands special attention, we advert to it first. 
We beg to question if the centenary of Burns 
can show many others of a similar nature. The 
place of entertainment waa Anderson's Hall, 
atMl the company was exclusively ladies, forty 
in number. They quickly set to work, and 
formed themselves into a numerous, hearty, and 
happy tea-party. When tea was over, the 
gudemen were admitted, and then compliments 
were most cordially exchanged. The appro- 
priate toasts were drunk with acclamation, 
songs were sung, dances were dancefd, three 
times three were given, and the rest of the 
sport was kept up to a late hour, and all 
appeared in the happiest mood. We congratu- 
late the ladies on the success that crowned 
their noble efforts, and we add, well done Mrs. 
£jnmond and your fair assistants. 

Pabtt Second. — Passing down town, the 
second party on the list is composed entirely of 
respectable tradesmen. The instrumental band, 
after parading the streets, their instruments 
playing merrily, and their banner flying aloft, 
halted at Morris's Inn, the place of cnt^tain- 
ment. They then took their seats along with 
the company — about seventy in number — and 
partook of a supper, the superior quality of 
which has raised Mr. and Mrs. Morris in the 
esteem of all who participated. Mr. Robert 
Munro, shoemaker, occupied the chair, ably 
supported on right and left. The cloth having 
been removed, the Chairman delivered the 
introductory address, selecting for his subject 
the universality of the Burns jubilee. He then 
proposed the usual loyal toasts, which were re- 
sponded to with three cheers. The speakers 
were Messrs. David Robb and John Lun%ii. 
The former gave the toast, "Poetry;*' and the 
latter gave -the toast of the night, " Bums.** 
Songs, recitations, readings, &c., followed, 
while sounds of rapturous applause arose at 



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ANDREWS (St.). 



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every interval. (We have been reluctantly 
compelled greatly to abridge the report of this 
most interesting meeting.) 

Pabtt Third. — ^This other happy party met 
in Mrs. M'Kenzie's Hotel. Mr. Japp presided, 
and delivered an address replete with manly 
feeling and exquisite allusions to the occasion. 
His toast was *< Burns," and we need not say 
how it was received. The next toast of im- 
portance was given by Mr. Peterkin. He pro- 
posed the ** Bums Family." It is needless for 
us to expatiate on the manner in which this 
well-chosen toast was handled by the speaker. 
He is peculiarly qualified for it, and he did his 
best. The rest of the speakers were the Bev. 
Mr. Ramsay, and Mr. Smith, Alyth; Messrs. 
Halket, of Ballindoch, and Scott, of Lochbank. 
Mr. Ramsay made a well-arranged and well- 
received speech. A number of local toasts were 
proposed from the chair, and by others present, 
all of which were done honour and justice to. 
The singers were Messrs. William Galloway 
and Robert Chalmers, both exceedingly well- 
qualified gentlemen. A well-selected band of 
musicians were present, and added their ex- 
quisite skill to the glorious hilarity. At seven 
o'clock the ladies were admitted, when all 
received a service of fruit. Dancing was then 
resorted to some time before eleven o'clock, 
which was kept up with enthusiasm tUl an early 
hour in the morning. We ought to have stated 
before this that this party sat down to dinner 
at five o'clock, to which they did justice in a 
very practical way. It was a first-rate dinner, 
for which Mrs. M^Kenzie received a special 
vote of thanks. The croupiers were Messrs. 
Smith, Moir, and Peterkin. Forty-six gentle- 
men were present. 



ANDREWS (St.).— The centenary was cele- 
brated here on Tuesday evening, with ''all 
the honours." The Town Hall was granted by 
the Magistrates for the festival, and if, instead 
of 180, the number present, it could have hold 
500, it would have been filled in every part, as 
the demand for tickets a few days previous 
sufficiently proved. At half-past seven the 
company assembled in the upper hall, and 
shortly after took their places in the supper- 
room, which was tastefully decorated for the 
occasion. Professor M'Donald occupied the 
chair. He was supported by Bailie Aikman, 
Councillor Bruce, Messrs. Barr, Berwick, 
Downie, C. Stewart; Bailie Lees, Councillors 
Watt and Gibson, Messrs. Scott and R. Pater- 
son. The croupiers' chairs were occupied by 
Messrs. James Duncan, farmer; George Rae, 
architect ; and Peter Thomson, printer. 

The Chairman, in proposing the toast of the 
evening, said: — *Tis now one hundred years 



ago, on a fearful stormy night, on the eve of 
the Poet's birth, that his father was hastening 
for assistance to Ayr, and in dashing through 
the ford which the rain had so greatly swollen 
as to check foot passers crossing, when old 
Burns, with his characteristic kindness to a 
woman wistfully sitting by the torrent, turned 
his steed and carried her across, and then pro- 
ceeded on his important errand. Judge of his 
astonishment when again reaching home he 
saw the same woman sitting in his ain ingle 
comer, most anxiously waiting the expected 
event. She was a spaewife, and when the 
baby was placed in her lap, uttered the famous 
prediction which in after years Bums made 
into song. 

Under the parental guardianship of a kind 
intelligent father. Burns acquired much of his 
education in arithmetic, and with some assist- 
ance from a young scholar, after the custom of 
the period, instructing the neighbouring fami- 
lies, residing altemately with each in succes- 
sion, and also with attending for a short time the 
parish school at Dalrymple, near the faery land 
of Cassilis Dunans, and subsequently at a small 
school nearer home. Burns, after the labours 
of the field or barn, not only received all his 
instruction, but was able to snatch some hours 
for his favourite reading and the muse. With 
the severe taskmaster Necessity, early cast on 
a life of activity and observation, Wilson de- 
clares, " There was not a boy in Scotland at 
the time better educated in his knowledge of 
mankind." 

When he was only nine years old, there 
was a garrulous old gossip living in the family 
from whom he learned many stories of ghosts, 
brownies, witches, &c., &c., which were no 
doubt the source of many of his high flights of 
fancy. By ^fteen Robert held his father's 
plough, and along with Gilbert did all the la- 
bour of the farm, in the sad prospect of the 
rapid breaking up of their kind father. These 
impressions may have saddened the spirit of 
Burns, and in some degree roused the painful 
reaction of his after life, too often churlishly 
obtruded in order to disparage the ardour of 
his brilliant genius. We do not exculpate his 
failings, but point to the undying blazonry with 
which he has adorned rural life in our native 
land. On this night, consecrated to commemo- 
rate the centenary of our greatest National 
Bard, let churlish sanctimonious pride withhold 
its censorious reference to his failings, and 
viewing only his bright genius emerging like 
the Phcenix from the ashes that only concealed 
its brilliance, let us join the universal accents 
resounding from every corner of the land, 
" To the memory of Burns" (with silent hon- 
ours, standing). 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



ANNAN. — ^The first Centenary of our Na- 
tional Poet was celebrated here on Tuesday. 
The day was gusty, with occasional sharp 
showers of rain in the morning; but before the 
hour appointed for the assembling of the trades 
and others, in front of the Town Hall, the 
weather became dry and a little brightened. 
The day had been looked forward to with 
anxious hopes by all; and great preparations 
had been made to solemnize the centenary in a 
manner becoming the celebrity of the Bard; 
the shops in the town were cloeed at noon, and 
generally it was observed as a holiday. The 
banks were closed all day, and the factory 
suspended work at noon. As Uie hour of 
meeting, one o'clock, approached, the place 
of rendezvous gradually became more and 
more crowded. When all the various trades 
and others who were to take part in the pro- 
cession had arrived from the several houses of 
call, the Marshal, Mr. Richard James, performed 
his office by arranging the order and the course 
of the procession. 

At two o'clock the procession moved from 
the front of the Town Hall, in the following 
order: — The Academy scholars and masters, 
the Magistrates and Town Council, professional 
gentlemen and others not in trade, hammer- 
men, millers, and bakers; weavers, gardeners, 
squaremen, shoemakers, carpenters, tailors ; the 
brethren of the St. Andrews and Caledonian 
Lodges; and the ploughmen and carters on 
horseback. The procession was four abreast, 
and had three bands of music. Eacli trade 
had its own emblematical banners, flags, and 
symbols. There would be five hundred in the 
procession it is calculated. The course of the 
procession was along Bridge Place, Port Street 
— returning by the same way — ^then up Bull 
Street, Wellington Street, Johnstone Street, 
Thomas Street, Lady Street, along Bank, 
Ednam, and Murray Streets, again on to the 
High Street, Church Street, Cumberland Ter- 
race, Closehead, when the procession returned 
to the Town Hall. The masons there formed 
in a body, and proceeded to lay the foundation 
stone of the new mansion house of James 
Saunders, Esq., at Solway Place. The stone 
was laid amidst masonic honours. Thereafter 
the several trades returned to their houses of 
call to dine. 

The squaremen, millers, bakers, and masons, 
to the number of about 130, dined in the Buck 
Inn. The shoemakers, numbering 54, dined in 
the Star Inn. The gardeners, in number 16, 
at the Commercial Inn. The ship-carpenters, 
about 40, at the Old Bush Inn. The tailors at 
the Bums' Tavern. The weavers at the Anchor 
Inn. The ploughmen and carters at the Crown 
and Thistle Inn. 



There was also a public dinner in honour 
of the bard in the Queensberry Arms. Provost 
Palmer in the chair; Mr. Downie and Bailie 
Kerr, Croupiers ; being supported by Mr. D. 
Steel, Mr. Dixon, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. W. Ir- 
ving, Capt. Ewart, Capt Hudson, and Mr. 
M'Jerrow. The company numbered about 
fifty-ftve. 

After the usual loyal and public toasts the 
Chairman proposed '*The Memory of Robert 
Burns, the Immortal Scottish Bard," in a moat 
eloquent address which was illustrated in a 
striking manner by a number of appropriate 
quotations from the works of the poet He said : 
— We have met this day to celebrate *he first 
centenary, and do all the honour we can to the 
memory of Scotland's great National Poet — the 
immorUi Robert Bums — and in whatever as- 
pect we look at him, as a man or as a poet, all 
must come to one conclusion that Robert Bums, 
the Ayrshire ploughman, was a magnificent 
specimen of humanity. (Applause.) I ques- 
tion much, nay I fearlessly assert, that no em* 
peror, kaiser, king, conqueror, statesman, phi- 
losopher, poet, since the world began was ey& 
more enshrined in so many human hearts, or 
whose memory ever received the same amount of 
homage one hundred years after his birth, as h 
this day given to that of an Ayrshire ploughman. 
I do not stand here to say that Bums was ^It* 
less, far from it; he had the same passions, 
frailties, and failings as other men ; he was in 
that respect just like the people around him, 
but let us tread lightly over his ashes, and 
every man as he passes strew a handful of 
daisies on his grave. '* Love was his first in- 
spiring theme." To the fair part of crea- 
tion he was all tenderness. His brother Gil- 
bert says, Robert was a most extraordinary 
creature, for his bosom was continually lighted 
up with some goddess or other. With what 
ecstatic delight he must have grazed on his first 
love; 'twas she that first kindled the latent 
spark in his bosom, when it burst into a blaze 
of imperishable song. She was his partner on 
the har'st-rig, and we may readily conceive 
how Bums would endeavour <* to mitigate by 
nameless gentle offices her toil." In one of hij 
letters he describes her as a bonny sweet sonoy 
lass, and he cannot understand why his heart 
beat such a furious rattan as they lingered be* 
hind the other shearers at mealtime, and he 
picked the cruel nettlestings out of her little 
fingers. It is easily understood; it was bis 
** first and passionate love." Wliere^ I would 
ask) have we on record an example of such pure 
and holy youthful affection as that of the Poet 
and his Highland Mary f His wail for his dear 
lost Mary is one of the most pathetic things in 
any language. After quoting his **Mary in 



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ANSTRUTHER. 



ICl 



Heaven " with much feeling, the speaker went 
on : Tenderness and pity have always appeared 
to me to be the most distinguishing features of 
Burns' character and genius ; examples of this 
are profusely scattered through all his works, 
so many precious gems, as it were, cast at our 
feet, that it becomes difficult to select. His 
heart glowed with a gush of tenderness o'er all 
God's works. After some quotations from the 
"Mountain Daisy," "Lines to a Mouse," &c., 
in proof of this, he said. But Burns' piety ex- 
tends much further than all this ; ay, even, I 
would say, to the sublime, for he pities even 
the "Deil himself." (Laughter and cheers.) 
In satire Burns was a perfect master ; here the 
lightnings of his genius fell with most scath- 
ing effect, and for this he has been stigmatised 
as a scoffer at things sacred ; but I cannot hold 
with this opinion. We must remember that in 
his day p^emical controversy ran high, and 
there was a deal of cant and unco guidism, much 
more than in our day; Bums' keen and pen- 
etrating spirit saw through all tliis at a glance, 
and he takes up the garment of hypocrisy, 
tears it in perfect tatters, and flings it from him 
with a smile of derision and contempt. There 
are many striking examples, but the theme to 
me is not congenial, and I forbear. Let who 
will gainsay, I hold that Robert Burns in his 
heart of hearts was amply imbued with religious 
feeling and principle. Of this many evidences 
might be quoted Uiroughout his works; — what 
a halo he throws around the &mily altar as seen 
in his "Cottar's Saturday Night!" When 
Bums chooses to moralise and give sage advice, 
who so able as he ? The epistle to his young 
friend Andrew Aitken is a perfect model in this 
way. Sturdy independence was a very strong 
feature fn his character; he even contemplated 
beggary, the last alternative, with a sort of grim 
pleasure. When he made his meteor-like ap- 
pearance in Edinburgh, where he was courted 
and caressed by all classes — ^feted, feasted, and 
lionised — ^to all this abuse of adulation he pre- 
sented a calm, dignified, and unembarrassed in- 
dependence, — standing up for his class, for man 
as man, without adventitious vice. In female so- 
ciety his manner was winning, respectful, defer- 
ential. Now the stately and coroneted dames of 
the northern metropolis hang with rapture over 
his burning words as he proclaimed and defend- 
ed the virtues of the lowly maidens of Scotland. 
(Cheers.) It is held by many eminent critics. 
Sir Walter Scott, Byron, Campbell, and Lord 
Jeffrey, and many others, that his "Tarn o' 
Shanter ^ is the crowning glory of his poetic 
genius. I agree with this opinion. There are 
met and blended together with the hand of a 
perfect master, humour, pathos, sublimity, terror, 
and superstition. 



" All the gloom, the crandeur, and the glee 
Of witches holding hellish revelry." 

Burns was a true patriot. The love of his dear 
Scotland was a most distinguishing feature 
in his character, and his works breathe his 
thoughts. In his more mature years we find 
him amidst a terrific storm of thunder and 
lightning and torrents of rain among the wild 
hills of Galloway, heedless of the elemental 
war that was raging around him ; away in 
spirit with the Bruce on the hills of Bannock- 
burn, charging the ranks of the usurper 
Edward, driving them from the field, and 
achieving for ever the glory of Scotland's inde- 
pendence. (Cheers.) And where is the Scots- 
man whose soul has not been stirred to its 
utmost depths by his magnificent burst of 
patriotism in the last two stanzas of his " Cottar's 
Saturday Night r* (Cheers.) Gentlemen, the 
subject is^ inexhaustible. I might go on to 
characterise some of his finest songs, for he 
was the especial favourite of the lyric muse; 
and I call him the prince of song. I might 
descant on his prose works, which are by many 
considered more wonderful than his poetry. 
In every city and town, and most of the hamlets 
of Scotland, in the cities atid towns of England, 
and even across the wide Atlantic, in cities 
whose sites were waving forests at his bii*th, 
all, all are this day vieing with each other in 
doing honour to his taeoaoty. And as century 
after century rolls along, his name and his 
memory will be as fresh and green in the 
hearts of unborn millions as it is at this hour ; 
his fame will last while the language endures. 
(Loud cheers.) Let me now call upon you all 
to drain a bumper to his memory, and let this be 
done with all reverence in solemn silence stand- 
ing. The toast was apfMropiiately received. 

The evening was enlivened by several of Burns' 
songs being song by Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Fergason, 
and others. 

In the evening a concert and ball were held 
in the Mechanics' Institute Hall, Lord Street, 
Mr. Waugh chairman at the concert. The 
hall was filled. The performers were almost 
wholly amateurs. The Chairman delivered an 
oration introductory of the songs to follow, and 
spoke in an enthusiastic manner on the lyrics 
of our great bard, which had been a source of 
endless delight and instraction to all classes. 
The speech was received with much applause. 
The songs which followed were selected with 
care, and were sung in a very superior manner. 
There were also other balls in the town. The 
day was spent generally in a very happy 
manner. 

ANSTRUTHER.— The hundredth birthday 

L 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



of our national bard was celebrated here with 
great eclat The shops were shut at five P. M. ; 
and though we cannot boast of processions, 
masonic or otherwise, yet we have not been 
behind in the number of meetings or in social 
glee. The teetotalers had a meeting in the 
Free Church Schoolroom, attended by 200; 
another party met in the Parochial School, 
numbering 100; and a third sat down to a 
supper in the Town Hall, at which between 
fifty and sixty were present. At all of these 
the name of Burns was celebrated in speeches, 
songs, recitals, &c. &c. We may give a slight 
sketch of the supper. Provost Greig occupied 
the chair ; and Messrs. Ollphant and Jamieson 
acted as croupiers. The usual loyal toasts were 
given from the chair : — " The Queen ;" " Prince 
Consort and Royal Family;" " The Army and 
Navy;" "Her Majest/s Ministers." These 
were interspersed with songs — " The National 
Anthem," " Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled." 
Mr. Oliphant, in an able and enthusiastic 
speech, proposed "The Memory of Bums." 
He portrayed vividly his character as a man, 
a poet, a philanthropist, a patriot, and a father. 
His fame — the fame of a peasant bard — was 
not bounded by the narrow limits of his native 
land. It was world-spread, and would spread 
yet wider in ages to come. The toast was 
received with genuine enthusiasm, accompanied 
by a torrent of cheers. 

The supper, excellent in all its details, was 
furnished by Mr. Menzies, of the Royal Hotel, 
who displayed great taste in the arrangements, 
which were on a very extensive scale. 



ARBROATH.— Considering that no ofiScial 
recognition of the hundredth birthday of the 
poet was made by the Magbtrates of the town, 
the amount of enthusiasm displayed on the 
occasion was surprising. The stillness of the 
cold grey morning, and the slumbers of hun- 
dreds of the inhabitants, were rudely broken 
before yet the third hour had chimed, by the 
loud report of cannon, which at the east and 
west ends of the town were fired off, to inti- 
mate that about that time on the morning 
exactly a century ago the poet was bom. What 
Burns had to do with powder and shot is not 
very readily understood, and the untimely 
artillery-practice served only to alarm sleeping 
citizens. The day was observed as a holiday 
at the banks, and a number of the shops and 
public ofiices were closed early in the after- 
noon, and numerous festive commemorative 
gatherings took place in various inns, hotels, 
and coffee-houses in town. In the afternoon 
some of the masons and fishermen joined, and 
marched in procession through several of the 
streets, bearing flags, and accompanied by 



music. We subjoin reports of most of the 
public meetings which took place, but in addi- 
tion to those, there were many private families 
within whose circles the memory of Burns was 
warmly pledged, and the songs Burns sang 
have, through the influence of the proceedings 
of Tuesday last, struck the tendrils of their 
music and their poesy deeper than ever into 
the great heart of Scotland and Scotchmen. 

Soiree in the Corn Exchange. — This was 
the most public entertainment in town, and 
was organised by the Drapers' Early Closing 
Association. The attendance was excellent, 
and the demand for admission so great, that 
accommodation for all applicants could nottJb^ 
obtained. Dr. David Arrott occupied the chair, 
supported by the Rev. Joseph Henderson of 
the Abbey Church, and at a later hour of the 
evening, by the Rev. W. F. Irvine, parish 
minister. After tea, the Chairman (who was 
received with much cheering) delivered a short 
address. One hundred years ago, he said, 
Robert Burns was born, and now, after the 
lapse of that time, his name was known over 
the whole civilized world. Nothing in the 
circumstances would have given him (the chair* 
man) greater pleasure than to have addressed 
the meeting a few words on the character and 
works of our great national poet, but as the 
Rev. Mr. Henderson had previously chosen 
Burns as the subject of his address, he would 
not detain them by any lengthened remarks. 
There were some narrow-minded objectors to 
the claim of Bums on the affections of the 
people of Scotland; but the number of such 
was small, and their puny voice was not heard 
amid a country's loud acclaim. (Loud cheers.) 
After referring to the many meetings of a kind 
similar to this held all over the country, the 
Doctor spoke of the selections from the poet*s 
works to be produced to the meeting. These, 
he said, did not perhaps constitute his highest 
claim to immortality, and he might safely say 
that the stock would be found better than the 
sample. (Applause.) He hoped all present 
would be pleased with the proceedings. A 
meeting like this none of them would ever wit- 
ness again, for they could never see a second 
Bums' centenary. In conclusion, he expressed 
a hope that all would so conduct themselves as 
that they might all their lives have pleasant 
recollections of the meeting, and never to their 
dying day have cause to regret that they 
assembled on 25 th January, 1859, to do honour 
to the memory of Bums. 

The Rev. Joseph Henderson, who was 
received with loud applause, then addressed 
the meeting. He said — ^It affords me very 
great pleasure to join in this national demon- 
stration. I feel when standing here as if form* 



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ARBROATH. 



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ing fvart of that great Scottish heart which is 
at this moment bating so high at the thought 
of its illustrious poet. (Cheers.) Seven cities, 
it is said, contended for the honour of being 
regarded as the birth-place of Homer, who 
sang so well of the early heroes of Greece, and 
entwined around his own brow the laurel- 
wreath of an undying fame. And well may 
Scotland be proud of the Ayrshire bard. (Loud 
Applause.) Great men, you are aware, are 
often unknown in life — they have to bear the 
frowns of an adverse fortune — they have to 
mingle with the masses as they pass onward to 
the unseen ; and perhaps it is well that it is so, 
for we are thus taught that true genius depends 
not upon human aid, but is the inborn gift of 
heaven. (Cheers.) Thus was it with him who 
wrote of the wrath of Achilles, and the woes 
of Troy. But the world at length found out 
the worth of its old blind bard, whom it had 
suffered to pass away into the deepest oblivion. 
I have seen a picture of his apotheosis, as it is 
called, in which the nations are represented as 
gathered together to do him reverence, and the 
very gods acknowledging him as worthy to be 
received into their number. And have we not 
an illustration of the same thing in him whose 
memory we are this evening assembled to re- 
call? (Cheers.) Bums was neglected in his 
lifetime; he never got much beyond the "auld 
clay biggin'" in which he was born; he had 
hut little reason to thank the rich or the great 
for any encouragement which he received at 
their hands; and at length, after that stern 
life-battle of his, he sunk into what many still 
€»11 a dishonoured grave. But truth can never 
die. The gold is sure to be discovered at some 
time or other. The sun may be concealed 
during a winter^s day, but his beams will ulti- 
mately dispel the clouds and mists, and pour 
their light over the surface of the globe. Scot- 
land has at length arisen to do justice to her 
])oet, and to tell the world of her gratitude for 
the minstrel who, a hundred years ago, came 
to sing to her the sweetest songs to which she 
has ever listened. (Loud cheers.) I know of 
no greater triumph of genius than that to 
which this day bears witness* The whole land 
from city to hamlet is bringing its tribute to 
the shrine of the illustrious dead. The plough- 
man, around whom the muse cast the mantle of 
poesy, is being acknowledged as the greatest of 
^ Auld Scotia's sons." (Cheers.) I have heard 
of many who look with no friendly eye upon 
this centenary of the poet. I have heard of 
individuals who, from the pulpit even, have 
uttered anathemas against it. Now, as a 
minister of religion, perhaps it is necessary 
that I should state to you why I am here; and 
I frankly say that I have come to do honour to 



one who has well earned for himself a lofty 
niche in the temple of fame. (Loud applause.) 
I feel that I have nothing to do with Burns* 
sins. For these he has had to give an account 
at a higher tribunal than that of public opinion. 
I am free to judge for myself, and I have come 
undeterred by the bigotry or the malice of 
others. (Cheers.) We think not of the moral 
character of Newton, as we admire him for 
that discovery of his which revealed to the 
world a law binding suns and planets together, 
and giving its form to the tear-drop which 
courses down the mourner's cheek; we think 
not of the moral character of Scott, as we 
thank him most heartily for those tales of his of 
the olden time, when the crusader buckled on his 
armour for the distant field, and the Highland 
chieftain gathered his clan around him for the 
bloody fray. Here, then, we have one of the 
world's real heroes, as Carlyle calls him, and 
let us therefore give to him the • tribute which 
is his due. Here we have the true, the 
beautiful, the good in sentiment, and let us 
look upon it and render ourselves familiar with 
it. It seems to me that we ought to bury a 
man's vices with him, and let his virtues alone 
live after him. It seems to me that we ought 
to receive with thankfulness the good which he 
leaves behind him, and throw the wide mantle 
of charity over his faults and failings. Scot- 
land has not assembled her best and bravest 
to-day to offer a sacrifice to sin. She forgets 
that her poet was a sinner, and looks upon him 
simply as one who explained to her her own 
tniest and holiest feelings. She drops a tear 
over hb grave, and there glories in him as the 
expounder of that great heart of hers, with its 
joys and sorrows, which no one else could ever 
comprehend. It seems to me that the secret 
of Burns' popularity is to be found in his being 
so true to nature. It is not fancy pictures 
which he brings before us, but those drawn 
from real life. It is not abstract truths which 
he introduces to our notice, in which nobody 
thinks he has any interest, but such as are to 
be found in one's everyday experience. He 
holds up to us his own heart in those songs of 
his, with its stormy passions and its warm affec- 
tions, and we feel how very like it is to our 
own. He appears before us as the weeping, 
laughing, erring, struggling minstrel, and we 
are led to regard him as a brother, telling us 
of our own chequered history. (Applause.) 
Most of writers resemble those early travellers 
who used to give beads, and amber, and but- 
tons, and the like to the natives of uncivilized 
countries, in order to gain their favour. They 
deal out their own trifles, their own fancies, 
their own philosophies; but these having 
nothing in common with man's nature, can 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



never win their way to his heart. But he was 
no dealer in toys or such-like commodities, 
this poet of ours. He was no monger of false- 
hoods this man that we have now before us. 
He goes through the outer covering of human- 
ity, and lays his hand upon its very life. He 
pushes aside all dignities, and honours, and 
priesthoods, arid lordhoods, and all other hoods 
whatsoever, and tells us these are neither the 
man nor any part of him — '*Tl)e rank is bat 
the guinea stamp, the man's the gowd for a' 
that." He says to us, these poems I have 
written for you, and we receive them as a 
God's truth, for we find that they are in 
accordance with our own natures. (Applause.) 
Who is there who does not feel his soul stirred 
to its very depths by the mention of "Auld 
Langsyne ? " It seems to gather the light of 
other days around us. It carries us back to 
the time when under the old roof-tree we knelt 
to receive a parent's blessing, or went hand in 
hand with a brother through youth's opening 
morn. Who is there who does not enjoy the 
domestic scene in the "Cottar's Saturday 
Night," and feel as if once more in the midst of 
that little circle around his father's hearth, 
when the hoary sire took down " the big ha' 
Bible," and said, let us worship God? Who is 
there who does not mourn with the poet by 
th^ grave of his dear departed Mary, and 
laugh with him amid the boisterous glee of his 
own Hallowe'en ? (Cheers.) There is another 
element I conceive in Burns' poetry, subordi- 
nate, however, to the former, which goes to 
increase his popularity amongst us. It is not 
only full of nature, but it is full of Scottish 
nature. It was the genius of Scotland who 
threw the mantle of inspiration around him, 
and told him to weave the web of song. 
Homer, and Dante, and Shakspeare, and Milton, 
are more men of the wide world; but Burns, 
in all his thoughts and affections and sympa- 
thies, belongs entirely to the "land of the 
mountain and the flood." These may have a 
greater number bringing incense to their 
shrines, but this other has the truest and most 
heartfelt worshippers. Foreigners may not be 
able to comprehend this sorrowing, sinning, 
smiling bard of ours; but where is there one 
with soul so dead throughout the length and 
breadth of this country who does not weep 
with him when he weeps, and rejoice with him 
when he does rejoice? It is our own woods 
and mountains and streams which he has ren- 
dered for ever classic. It is to us he speaks — 
t\\e descendants of those who bled with Wal- 
lace, and whom Bruce often led to victory. 
(Cheers.) Let but one of those lays of hb be 
sung in the ears of the Scottish exile, far 
from home and fatherland, and immediately 



the big tear begins to trickle down his cheek, 
visions of better days arise before him, and he 
thanks heaven that he belongs to the land of 
Burns. Bums again, then, I say, is a poet true 
to nature — ^he is the expounder of the holiest 
and best affections of his countrymen; and 
hence hia name will never be forgotten so long 
as ScoUand possesses the same warm beating 
heart as at present; and therefore it is that we 
are now assembled to entwine another wreath 
in his great unfading crown. (Cheers.) A 
hundred years ago! what changes have taken 
place since that birthday dawned upon the 
world. The poet fought his hard life struggle, 
and then was gathered to his fathers. The 
French revolution shot up its volcanic fires, 
filling all Europe with consternation and dis- 
may. India has grown into a vast empire^ and 
is now all but united under our good Queen's 
rule. Science and art have advanced until at 
this moment man's knowledge and resources 
seem almost boundless as his own immortal 
mind. (Applause.) A hundred years onward — 
but here we stop. We let the veil hang over 
the future, to be lifted by time itself. Let us 
look beyond Bums in eternal things. Let us 
be followers of Him who lived man's life best 
in the world, and left His footprints on the 
sands of time, that we might track them on to 
life and immortality. (Loud applause.) 

During the evening a yariety of Barns' songs were 
sang by Miss Locke, from Dunfermline, whose render- 
ing of the pathetic ballaci, ** My Nannie's awa," was 
very beautiful and effective, as indeed were all the 
songs she sung, the audience on every occasion eiv- 
ing her a cordial encore. The other singers were Mr. 
Sturrock and Mr. Machan, who performed their re- 
spective parts to the best of their ability. Mr. G. R. 
Thomson, with considerable emphasis and broad hu- 
mour, recited " Tam o' Shanter," and in the course of 
the evening the Chairman read the Crystal Palace 
Prize Ode, which was read at almost every meeting 
of a public character in town. The whole concladt» 
with ** Auld Langsyne," sun^ by the audience hand in 
hand ; and the soiree was quite a success. An excel- 
lent band of music was in attendance. 

Panmurb Lodge of Free Masons. — From 
thirty to forty brethren sat down to dinner in 
their Lodge -Room, White Hart Hotel — the 
R.W.M. Kidd officiating with his wonted tact 
and ability, assisted by his wardens and office- 
bearers. After dinner the B.W.M. gave the 
usual loyal and other toasts, accompanied in each 
case by appropriate remarks, and thereafter pro- 
posed the toast of the evening, **The Immortal 
Memory of the Poet, Robert Bums," and in doing 
so, went over, in a neat and excellent speech, tlie 
prominent facts and features in the history of 
the poet. The toast was received and respond- 
ed to in a spirit characterbtic of Scotchmen 
and brother masons. Toast, song, and senti- 
ment succe^ed, interbpersed with recitations 
and readings from the works of the bard. 



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ARBROATH. 



165 



" Tam o* Shanter " and other pieces were 
given, and in this department Brother Thom- 
son rendered effective service. In the course 
of the evening, the beautiful Crystal Palace 
Prize Poem was read with good taste and feel- 
ing by Brother Arrott. The instrumental band 
played appropriate airs during dinner, and in 
the interval of the toasts. The musicians — 
composed of brethren of the Panmure Lodge 
— showed great taste in the selection and exe- 
cution of the tunes. Brother Cloudsley added 
to the comfort of the party by producing a 
good Scotch dinner suitable for the occasion ; 
and after spending a happy evening, and all 
the company joining in singing " Auld Lang- 
syne," the Lodge was closed at an early hour. 
The St. Thomas Lodge met at supper in Mr. 
Wilson's Inn, Bakers* Wynd. 

The Guildry and Trades' Incorpora- 
tions. — ^A select party of the members of the 
Guildry and Trades' Incorporations, presided 
over by Bailie Anderson, dined in the White 
Hart Hotel on Tuesday at five o'clock, in com- 
memoration of the birth of our national poet. 
After the usual loyal toasts had been given, 
the Chairman, in a few appropriate remarks, 
introduced the toast of the evening. He at- 
tributed the deep hold that Bums' poetry had 
taken in the hearts of his countrymen to his 
noble spirit of independence, his strong nation- 
ality and love of country, and, more than all, 
to the fact that Bums drew his inspirations 
from the deep bosom of nature, and welled 
them forth from his own warm heart pure as 
he received them. The toast was drunk with 
^hree times three and one cheer more. In the 
course of the evening recitations were given 
and songs sung, interspersed with speeches, 
toasts, and sentiments. The dinner was served 
in Cloudsley's usual capital style, and among 
many good things, a noble haggis graced the 
table. 

Gathbring in the "Star."— The centenary 
was celebrated in Mr. John Callum's Star Inn, 
when a company of about fifty sat down to a 
very substantial and well-appMnted supper, 
the "Chieftain o' the puddin' race" being 
among the other old Scotch dainties. Mr. 
David Kinnear, mill -manager, occupied the 
chair; Mr. John Hean and Mr. J. Allan, 
croupiers. After the usual loyal and patriotic 
toasts, the Chairman gave the toast of the 
evening, and delivered a most interesting and 
well-arranged address, the principal parts of 
which were based on a personal visit to " The 
Land of Bums." The chief incidents were 
narrated in a tasteful, humorous, and instruc- 
tive manner, highly creditable to his judgment 
and tact as chairman, and to his taste and ap- 
preciation of poetry and that which awakes it. 



Mr. Hean followed with a few appropriate re- 
marks, reading suitable selections from the 
works of Burns. Addresses were also given 
by Mr. William Gibson, clothier, Mr. Good- 
fellow, &c., and various of the principal songs 
of the poet were very tastefully sung, those of 
Mr. Swirles, jun., and Mr. Boath deserving 
special notice. The company continued to 
enjoy themselves until an early hour, all being 
highly gratified by the evening's entertainment. 

The Railway Employes. — In the Royal 
Hotel, a party of between thirty and forty of 
the draftsmen, overseers, and other employes 
in the locomotive department of the Scottish 
North Eastern Railway, sat down to a rich 
and admirably served dinner, with Mr. Yarrow 
in the chair, and Mr. T. Wood croupier. After 
the removal of the cloth, the Chairman gave the 
usual loyal toasts, and then, with much feeling 
and warmth, proposed the " Memory of Burns," 
concluding hb remarks by reciting some well- 
arranged verses composed by himself for the 
occasion. Songs, toasts, speeches, and recita- 
tions followed, and during dinner. Bums' "Ad- 
dress to the Haggis,'* was given by the croupier, 
before that interesting delicacy was partaken of. 
The evening was spent in a most harmonious 
and friendly manner. — Another body of the 
workmen in this department assembled in 
Mr. Gardyne's Inn, Millgate Loan, under the 
chairmanship of Mr. John Thyne, where they 
had supper, and exchanged deputations with 
the meeting in the Royal. Others of the rail- 
way officials, to the number of seventy, had a 
meeting in Keptie Street, presided over by 
Mr. James Allan, station-master. After sup- 
per, song and toast followed, and the whole 
concluded with a few hours' dancing. 

Arbroath Total-Abstinence Society. — 
The committee of this Society, and a number 
of friends, met in Millar's Temperance Hotel 
on Tuesday evening. After an excellent tea, 
addresses were delivered on the life, genius, 
and poetry of the bard, by the President, Mr. 
James Stevenson, and Messrs. Fairweather, 
Hood, NicoU, and Stewart. The remainder 
of the evening was enlivened by singing a 
number of the poet's most popular lyric gems, 
such as " Scots wha hae," " Highland Mary," 
"To Mary in Heaven,'' "The Land o' the Leal," 
"Duncan Gray," "My Tocher's the Jewel," 
" Green grow the Rashes," &c. The meeting 
broke up a little before midnight, not one of 
the party requiring 

" To plant his staff wi' a' his skill 
To keep him sicker." 

Fishermen's Total-Abstinence Society. 
— Upwards of forty of the members of this 
Society supped together in their Reading- 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Room, Newgate Street, — ^Mr. J. Carey, Presi- 
dent, in the chair. After a hearty supper, 
carefully prepared by the wives and sweet- 
hearts of some of the fishermen, the memory of 
Burns was pledged in a harmless beverage; 
songs were sung, and some verses composed 
for the occasion by Mr. J. Watt, were read by 
the author. 

Private parties were numerous. Almost 
every house of entertainment in town had its 
Burns' party ; but it iivould be impossible, and 
altogether unnecessary, to give a description of 
their proceedings. Previous to the occasion 
the authorities swore in a large number of 
constables, but the inhabitants were so busy 
celebrating the praises of their independent 
favourite bard that they had not time, however 
willing they may have been, to enter into 
mischief or create any disturbance of the peace; 
so the services of the " specials " were not re- 
quired, and for the time the garlandic leaves 
of the oak superseded the use of the more 
material portion of that valuable decorative 
and peace- preserving tree. 



ARDROSSAN.— In Ardrossan there were 
five meetings of a more or less public and 
private character. 

Public Soiree. — The public soiree was 
held in the Industrial School-room, Glasgow 
Street, which was kindly granted by the 
teacher and the committee for the occasion. 
The place was crowded to excess, the tickets 
being all disposed t>f early in the day, and the large 
number of ladies who graced the meeting with 
their presence gave the room a most animated 
appearance. Mr. Guthrie occupied the chair. 
Tea was served at seven o'clock, and on the 
tables being cleared, the whole company joined 
in singing, ''Ye Banks and Braes o' Bonny 
Doon,*' l^ by Mr. Russell. The Chairman 
then addressed the meeting on the homage 
which the poet was entitled to claim from man- 
kind, the universality of the homage which was 
being paid to Robert Burns, the reasons for 
this, and concluded by referring to the efforts 
of detractors to blacken more than was neces- 
sary his cliaracter. Other addresses were de- 
livered by Mr. Allison on some moral aspects of 
the centenary ; by Mr. Emslie on the loves of 
Burns; and by Mr. Duncan Stewart on Pa- 
triotism, as illustrated by Bums, all of which 
were warmly appreciated by the meeting. 
Another, and not the least important feature 
were the number and variety of the songs of 
Burns which wej'e sung by Messrs, Boyd, Cur- 
rie, Russell, Ward, M'Gilvary, Wliite, and 
Gilfillan — all of which were well sung, and 
a few of which, towards the close, were per- 
mitted to be encored. Messrs. Smith, Alli- 



son, and White, delivered recitations. In the 
course of the evening, a ** reeking Scotch 
hagg^" was brought in, and the great chieftain 
of the pudding race was hailed witli three 
tiroes three, and occasioned considerable mer- 
riment. The whole proceedings were wortliy 
of the occasion, and those present are deeply 
indebted to so many townsmen, who so will- 
ingly afforded them an opportunity of cele- 
brating the centenary of the bard, in a happy 
and rational way. Mrs. Weir's service of tea 
was highly creditable — ^firuit was dispensed in 
abundance, and the haggis was duly appreciated. 
With votes of thanks the meeting separated 
about ten o'clock, all joining in singing with 
clasped hands " Auld Langsyne,** — ^led by Mr. 
Currie. 

Public Dinnbb. — A dinner in honour of 
the occasion was held in the Eglinton Arms 
Hotel. About forty gentlemen sat down to 
a most excellent and beautifully set dinner. 
Robert Maxton, Esq., in the chair; William 
M'Jannet and Robert Young, Eaqs., croupiers. 
The Chairman, in giving the toast of the even- 
ing, <' The Memory of Bums,'* spoke of him as 
nature's own poet, and the National Bard : 
glanced at his early life and straggles, his sub- 
sequent fame, and ultimate poetic glory which 
had increased as years rolled on, UU now his 
name and songs had become household words ; 
noticed with regret his being stigmatised as an 
infidel; did not believe him to be so, and 
would only say to those who upheld the charge^ 
"Let him who is without sin cast the first 
stone." Bums had stood the test of the sever- 
est critic, that of time. This night they were 
met to bear testimony to his unequalled genius, 
and he hoped all would pledge a bumper to his 
memory — responded to amid great appkuse. 
Mr. Young followed with *' The Sons and sur- 
viving Relatives of Bums," on giving which he 
indulged in a few interesting personal reminis- 
cences of an evening spent with the son of 
Burns, and a conversation with the late Mrs. 
Begg. 

Several other toasts were given, interspersed 
with songs by Mr. Davie, Messrs. Robert and 
John Young, Mr. Maxton, Mr. Rodger, and 
Mr. McDonnell, and music from a band in 
attendance. The meeting broke up about 9 
o'clock, every one gratified. 

Burns' Club. — The Ardrossan Burns Club 
met in the Masons' Lodge. Mr. J. M'Auslane 
in the chair, supported by Mr. Thomas Wallace 
and Mr. Jas. M'Millan. Mr. James Heald 
discharged the duties of croupier. The Chair- 
man submitted an excellent programme, con- 
taining toast, song, and sentiment, which was 
entirely confined to Bums. The Chairman, in 
an excellent speech, proposed the toast of the 



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ARMADALE— AUCHINBLAE. 



167 



evening — the Memory of Robert Bums. After 
some characteristic observations, he reminded 
the meeting that an hundred years had passed 
away, aud mother Nature, in her abundance, 
had not given to intellectual Scotland such an- 
other precious gift as that which she left in that 
straw-roofed cot, on the banks of the Doon, 
this very day of the month. In the year 1759 
was bom Robert Bums, the greatest poet that 
ever sprung from the ranks of labour in any 
country in the world ; and in conclusion said, 
tliat if ever man worked out his soul for hb 
country, it was Burns. The Chairman next 
gave James Glencairn Burns, which was re- 
ceived with a hearty cheer ; and Mr. Thomas 
Wallace, in a few neat remarks, gave the Me- 
mory of Jean Armour. This meeting was, 
like some others, fortunate in having present a 
connection of Highland Mary, who gratified 
the company with some reminiscences of his 
relative. The Croupier gave — ^Mrs. Thomson ; 
Mr. Hunter — ^the Memory of Mrs. Begg; Mr. 
John Paterson — the Memory of Gilbert Burns, 
accompanying it with a most eloquent and 
instructive address, showing that the character 
of Bums had reached us through perverted 
channels, but hoped that this Centenary move- 
ment would put him in his proper place on the 
page of history. In this feast of intellect the 
outer man was gratified by the appearance of 
three enormous haggbes, to which ample justice 
was done. The company, numbering thirty- 
five, then reluctantly took off their several 
ways, after spending a pleasant night with the 
man of a thousand years. 

BoTs' DiNNEB. — To impress upon the minds 
of the rising race the occuiTcnce of the first 
Centenary of Bums, a number of gentlemen of 
the town entertained nearly sixty boys to a 
very sumptuous dinner in Mrs. Jamieson's 
Hall, in the afternoon of Tuesday. Master 
Jas. Stevens occupied the chair, and Masters 
Kerr and Barclay ofiiciated as croupiers. 
Messrs. Boyd, Gilfillan, M*MiUan, and J. 
Hogarth, superintended. The arrangements 
and the whole affair passed off greatly to the 
credit of the juveniles. The Chairman made a 
few neat remarks on the occasion of their meet- 
ing, and many songs and recitations were given 
in good taste. It had a most pleasant appear- 
ance, and too much cannot be said of the 
admirable conduct of all the boys, who, whilst 
really enjoying themselves, were neither rude 
nor mischievous. We daresay they will long 
remember the meeting with much pleasure. 

A party of the employ^ on the Railway 
met in the evening in Mrs. Jamieson's. Mr. 
James Bruce occupied the chair ; and with song 
and sentiment pa»ed the evening. 



ARMADALE. — The schoolroom being finely 
adorned with evergreens, consisting of crowns 
and arches, &c., a large meeting, under the aus- 
pices of the Mutual Improvement Society, as- 
sembled on Tuesday evening to celebrate the 
centenary of Bums. Mr. Gardner, teacher, and 
president of the Society, occupied the chair, and 
discharged the duties in a very efficient man- 
ner, with his usual ability. He was supported 
on the right by Mr. Matthew Wilson, treasurer, 
and Mr. Alex. Naysmith. Mr. John Waddell, 
vice-president, acted as croupier, supported by 
Mr. W. Gibb, secretary, and Mr. James Liddle. 
An excellent supper and dessert were supplietl 
by Mr. John Wilson, innkeeper. The usual 
loyal toasts being given, Mr. Gardner then 
delivered a very learned speech upon Burns as 
a poet, and his fame. We are sorry that space 
will not allow us to give this excellent speech. 
Mr. Walter Gibb then gave an address upon 
'' The Rise and Progress of the Society." Mr. 
Wilson returned a reply, by a lengthened 
speech on behalf of the ladies. Mr. Jas. John- 
ston gave an address upon ^'The Rise and 
Progress of Armadale." Wines, fruit, and 
other refreshments, were amply supplied in 
their turn. A fine musical box from Mr. John 
Jefilrey, enlivened the meeting; and songs, 
from a number of the admirers of Bums, dis- 
played the vocal powers of the singers. The 
table was removed at ten o'clock, and a fine 
ball finished up the evening's entertainment till 
an early hour next moming. 



• AUCHENCAIRN A public . dinner was 

held in the Commercial Hotel, where close on 
two score of the most respectable gentlemen in 
the district assembled. The Rev. Mr. Wark, 
parish minister, presided, and Dr. Skene acted 
as croupier. After the loyal toasts had been 
drunk, the Chairman, in a most appropriate ad- 
dress, gave the toast of the evening, "The 
Memory of Bums," which was drunk in solemn 
silence. The evening was enlivened with a full 
quota of the Poet's most striking songs and 
sentiments. The dinner, prepared by Mrs. 
Watson, would have gratified the most fastidious 
palate. The dinner apartment was most taste- 
fully decorated with laurels by Mr. Middleton, 
gardener to Colonel Johnstone of Balcary. 



AUCHINBLAE.— The inhabitants of the 
parish of Fordoun determined not to be behind 
their neighbours. Between fifty and sixty 
gentlemen sat down to an excellent supper in 
the Kintore Arms Hotel, on Tuesday, to cele- 
brate the hundredth anniversary of our great 
poet, Bums. Owing to the unavoidable ab- 
sence of our Baron Bailie, Mr. Dingwall, Mr. 
Clark, farmer, Honeybank, ably performed the 



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THE BUKNS CENTENARY. 



duties of chairman, supported on the right by 
Mr. Malcolm, schoolmaster, and on the left by 
Messrs. hegg and Murray, merchants. Mr. 
Garland, Cairnton, and Mr. Bruce, auctioneer, 
acted as croupiers, supported by Messrs. Kydd, 
Cairnbeg; Sherret, Glenfarquhar ; Hutcheou, 
Montrose, &c. After the usual loyal and pa- 
triotic toasts had been given and responded to, 
the Chairman, in a very appropriate speech, 
gave *'The Immortal Memory of Bums;" 
after which Mr. Smart sung *< Robin was a 
rovin' boy," which was received with great ap- 
plause. Altogether, the meeting was the b€»t 
we have seen in Auchinblae for a long time, 
and every one expressed himself highly pleased 
with the evening's entertainment. We cannot 
conclude without complimenting Mrs. Hunter 
for her elegant supper, which gave great satis- 
faction. Forbes Mackenzie having made his 
appearance, the company, with much regret, 
was compelled to separate. 

AUCHINLECK.— -The afternoon of Tues- 
day last was observed as a gala day here. Both 
the Auchinleck brass band and the Thistle 
flute band turned out about three o'clock, and 
after mustering at the Cross, they perambulated 
the streets, along with all that liked to join in 
the procession, with several flags bearing ap- 
propriate mottoes. They played alternately 
till near five o'clock, when upwards of 100 sat 
down to a plenteous repast in the Boswell 
Arms Inn. Mr. M'Gregor, inspector of poor, 
occupied the chaic, supported right and left by 
Mr. Brown, merchant ; Mr. Irvine, station mas-* 
ter ; Mr. Begg, foreman. Common Works, &c. ; 
Mr. Kennedy, schoolmaster, acted as croupier, 
supported by Mr. Wallace, overseer; Mr. 
M*Turk, &c. After the usual loyal and con- 
stitutional toasts were given and duly respond- 
ed to, the Chairman, in giving the toast of the 
evening — the immortal Memory of Robert 
Burns — said : — ^Burns and his poetry is a topic 
the most prolific and engrossing. It seems it 
cannot be exhausted, and it never tires or clogs. 
Whence, then, is its captivating charm and fas- 
cination? It springs alone from his gigantic 
genius and the pre-eminent stamina of his 
vigorous mind, which was truly the mould and 
measure of his exqubite strains. The man is 
father to the poet. The mere knack of rhyme 
is easily attained; and who has not, at some 
stage of his life, attempted the dear deceitful 
vein, and might I not say with Bums himself, 
" and thus with me began love and poetry ?" 
But the great mass of men are men of ordinary 
minds, and many are doomed to be mental 
pigmies, whose natural progeny must be dwarfs 
— mere abortions of imbecility, or sickly bant- 
lings of mediocrity, for it is a truth not to be 



controverted, that no man will become a star of 
the first magnitude, in any walk of literature 
or science, who does not far exceed, essentially, 
the common standard of humanity, as was emi- 
nently the case with Bums, justly denomiDated 
the Shakspeare of Scotland. The constituent 
elements and staple of his genius and charac- 
ter, as you must all know, were, in a supreme 
degree, inUUeetf sennbilUy, and maginaHmt 
which pervade alike his poetry and prose, and 
unto which all his other qualities may be re- 
solved. His humour was happy, subtle, and 
grotesque; his satire was keen, cutting, and 
smooth as oil, but to the victim of it, it was the 
oil of vitriol. His love of the " sex" was in- 
tense, and almost uncontrollable, ''for his 
heart," as he said himself, ^* was completely 
tinder, and was eternally lighted up with some 
goddess or other ; " and his adoration of High- 
land Mary exceeded even that of ''bonnie 
Jean," and he loved her, he said, to distraction— 

'' My Mary, dear departed shade, 

Where is thy place of blisBful rest ? " 

Again — 

** Eternity will not efface 

Those records dear of transport past ; 
Thy image at our last embrace, 
Ah I little thonght we 'twas our last." 

This is the language of a disembodied spirit, 
peering in at the portals of heaven, wholly 
divested of the earthly clogs of mortality. His 
independence, too, was a huge pyramid of gra- 
nite, unheeding alike the sunshine or the storm, 
and was one of the most glorious features of 
his character. Well can I imagine Bums star- 
ing with his great lamping eyes at the poor, 
mean, insignificant thing, with such a soul of 
unutterable contempt as would shrink it up like 
a seared leaf. I shall now only mention some 
of his most celebrated productions ; and " Tarn 
o' Shanter," by the verdict of his best critics, 
stands the foremost. Tarn himself is a droll 
chap. 

** The swats sae ream'd in Tammie's noddle ; 
Fair play, he minds nae deils a boddle." 

Tarn grew quite enamoured of the infernal 
crew, and seemed actually to join in their fran- 
tic orgies, 

** Till first ae caper, syne anither, 
Tarn tint his reason a' thegither, 
And roar'd out — Weel done, Cutty Sarkl 
And in an instant a' was dark.'' 

Burns' Address to the Deil is a moat wonder- 
ful and ludicrous piece ; and one of the verses, 
for humour, tenderness, and couthU fcuniliariiy, 
cannot be sur|>assed — 



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AUCHLEVEN— AUCHTERARDER. 



169 



" But fare yoa weel, auld Nickie-ben I 
Oh ! wad ye tak a thought an' men', 
Ye aiblins might — I dinna keu — 

Still hae a stake ; 
I'm wae to think upo' yon den, 
Ev'n for your sake ! " 

The Jolly Beggars, too, original and dramatic, 
and for droll variety of character, is truly 
unique — 

** Ae night, at e'en, a merry core 

O' randie, gangrel bodies, 
In Poosie Nancy's held the splore. 

To drink their orra dnddies ; 
Wi' quaffing and laughing, 

They ranted and they sang; 
Wi' iumping and thamping, 

The vera girdle rang." (Cheers.) 

The Cottar's Saturday Night is another of his 
most esteemed productions, beautiful, religious, 
and patriotic, and in the opinion of some, the 
very first of all his noble effusions. How graphic 
is the foUowing picture : — 

" The cheerful supper done, wi' serious face, 
They round the ingle foi-m a circle wide : 
The sire turns o'er, wi' patriarchal grace, 

The big ha'-Bible. ance his father's pride : 
His bonnet reverently is laid aside, 

His lyart haffets, wearing thin and bare ; 
Those strains that once did sweet in Zion glide, 
He wales a portion with judicious care, 
And * Let us worship God I ' he says, with solemn air." 

Thus I might go on, not to the crack of doom, 
as Shakspeare says, but to the stroke of the 
good hour of Forbes M'Kenzie, and not ex- 
haust his beauties. Therefore, take his whole 
works, for there are no exceptions, and less 
will not suffice. But I feel I am trespassing 
on your time, and I will therefore propose, 
with all the honours, The Immortal Memory 
of the Peasant Poet, and Scotia's darling Bard, 
Robert Bums. The toast was drunk amidst 
great applause. 

A number of other toasts were given, and 
the company having sung ** Auld Langsyne," 
the meeting separated. 

Afterwards, about forty couple assembled in 
the Parish School-room, which was kindly 
granted for the occasion, and had a ball, led by 
Mr. M'Alpine from Mauchline. It was kept 
up with the greatest hilarity till four o'clock in 
the morning, when all separated in high de- 
light. 



AUCHLEVEN. — On Tuesday last, this 
little village showed its enthusiastic esteem for 
Scotland's Bard. In the course of the evening 
ploughmen, tradesmen, and others, were as« 
sembled at Mr. John Tough's, where they were 
heartily entertained with tea and fruit. The 
evening was spent in rustic glee, reciting, sing- 



ing, and reading many of the poet's favourite 
pieces till near << the wee short hour ayont the 
twal," when all harmoniously joined in the 
heart-inspiring strains of "Auld Langsyne." 
The party dismissed much satisfied with the 
evening's enjoyment. 

AUCHTERARDER.— Tuesday, the 25th of 
January, will long be a red-letter day in Auch- 
terarder. The morning dawned rather threat- 
ening, the wind " blawin' as it wad bkwn its 
last,'* but there was little rain till evening. 

About ten o'clock the different roads leading 
to the town became busy with gathering crowds. 
At 12 o'clock the shops were all shut, and it 
became a regular holiday. The brass band 
met at half-past one, and accompanied a depu- 
tation of the Weavers' Society to the house of 
Mr. James Clement, deacon-convener of the 
society, and played him up to their hall of meet- 
ing. They then went to the Masons' Hall, and, 
accompanied by one of their number, bearing a 
sword, marched to the house of George Hally, 
Esq., R.W.M., and escorted him to the hall. 
By this time our lang town was in a moving 
mass, strangers running in all directions where 
they knew a town's acquaintance, asking when 
Tarn o' Shanter was to start, and where he was 
to start from. A little before two, Robert 
Mailer, Esq., appeared at the hall window, and 
announced the order of procession as follows : — 
The Bhickford band in the front, followed by 
the general inhabitants; then the members of 
the Bums Centenary Committee, with a splen- 
did banner got for the occasion, with the Scotch 
thistle on both sides, and this inscription on it — 

** O turn the weeding-hoe asidCi 
And spara the symbol dear." 

Then the Auchterarder brass band headed the 
Weavers' Society, who marched two and two in 
full dress, with their colours waving in the 
wind. The flute band headed the Masons, who 
likewise marched two and two, with the insignia 
of the craft. The procession moved to the 
foot of the town, where the front ranks opened, 
letting the societies pass through ; then marched 
to the top of the town in the same order as 
they went down. From that they returned to 
the Masons' Hall, where Mr. P. McLaren 
ascended a platform, and sung, over the heads 
of the congregated thousands, << A man's a man 
for a' that " in fine style, getting a hearty round 
of applause at the conclusion. The procession 
then formed in the same order, and marched 
off to the Castletown Mills. When they ar- 
rived at the Crieff Road, it was almost impos- 
sible to get turned off, owing to the crowd 
gathered round the old building serving for 
" Alloway's auld haunted kirk." At last they 



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got all turned off the main road, where we shall 
leave them and look for Tam o' Skanter, We 
found him at the Railway Inn, 

" And at hig elbow Souter Johnny, 
His ancient, trusty, drouthy cronny/* 

The " grey mare Meg " was brought to the 
door, when Tam and Johnny appeared at the 
threshold to take leave. It was the signal for 
a round of applause such as has seldom been 
heard in that quarter of the town. The leave- 
taking was to the very life, the landlord appear- 
ing with the bottle, from which they could 
scarcely get separated, some of the bystanders 
saying it was *^ like taking the very flesh from 
the bones." Tarn's canter through the town 
was a perfect ovation. Every door and window 
was full; but as 

"Kirk Alloway was drawing nigh, 
Whaur ghaists and howlets niclitly cry," 

the anxiety of the crowd to see the difierent 
characters at this important spot almost defeated 
itself. But 

" Tam vestured forward on the licht, 
And, wow, he saw an unco sichtl'* 

The witches all played their part well, to the 
stirring strains of AtUd Niekie Ben, Tam 
roared out " Weel dune. Cutty Sark!" and it 
was scarcely uttered, 

" When out the hellisli legion sallied." 

The chase to the key-stane was a very difficult 
affair, as more witches joined than those that 
were seen in Alloway Kirk. 

" But Nannie far before the rest 
Hard upon noble Maggrie prest, 
And flew at Tam wi' furious ettle, 
But little wist she Maegie's mettle I 
Ae spring brougrht affher master hale. 
But left behind tier ain grey tail: 
The carlin' caught her by the rump. 
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump!" 

The procession by this time had arrived at 
the large hall granted for the occasion by 
George Hally, Esq. 

This hall was flnely decorated with ever- 
greens and Gala tartan. The evergreens were 
got from Lieutenant-Colonel Hunter, and Wil- 
liam Stuart sent a load of heather. Messrs. 
William Halley, Robert Wright, George Os- 
wald, and Robert Macdonald, deserve the 
greatest credit for the taste displayed in the 
decorations. Owing to the praiseworthy exer- 
tions of Serjeant Hope and Mr. A. M'Ewan, 
our own officer, not a single accident happened 
throughout the day. 

Tiie punctuality of mine host of the Railway 
Inn (Mr. A. Wilson) cannot be too highly 



praised. Covers were laid for 250, which were 
all occupied. The dinner was particularly well 
got up, both for its variety and quality; and 
prominent among the diflerent dishes, the 

" Great chieftain of the pudding race, 
Whose pin would help to mend a mill," 

was on the table. 

Exactly at five o'clock, the chair was occu- 
pied by George Hally, Esq. ; supported on the 
right by Robert Butter Malcolm, Esq., of the 
S. C. R. Perth; and on the left by James 
Smitton, Esq., banker, and A. Campbell, Esq. 
of Gksgow. The croupiers were John Faidi- 
ney, Esq., Kirkton; Robert Mailer, Esq., 
writer ; and Josiah Smitton, Esq., manu* 
facturer. Mr. Wylie, teacher, Trinity Crask, 
asked a blessing, and Mr. Ogilvie, teacher, re- 
turned thanks. The proceedings of the even- 
ing were conducted with the utmost decorum, 
which was the more remarkable considering 
that about three-fourths of the audience had 
never been present at a public dinner before. 
All grades of society mingled freely together, 
each rendering his quota to the entertainment, 
verifying the words of the immortal poet — 

" The rank is bat the guinea stamp; 
The man's the gowd for a' that." 

The loyal and patriotic toasts were proposed 
by the chairman, and heartily responded to by 
the audience. We may mention that Messrs. 
James Clement and Ai^drew Christie returned 
thanks for the toasts of the Army and Na^y. 

The Chairman then rose and proposed the 
toast of the evening — ** The immortal memory 
of Robert Bums." He spoke as follows:— 
When we consider the spirit with which the 
celebration of the centenary of the poet*s birth 
has been taken up, it may well be designated 
the most remarkable demonstration of our time. 
It is being celebrated in every town, city, and 
village in Scotland, where the name of ButtA 
will be on every tongue, and where his songs 
will be sung amid the appkuse of enthusiastic 
thousands. England, also, and Ireland, Ca- 
nada and the United States of America, have 
taken it up with such an amount of enthu- 
siasm that even Scotland can scarcely hope 
to surpass; and although the Atlantic tele- 
graph cable lately laid by the energy, capita), 
and skill of two great nations, is now silent 
and dumb, there is a cable of poetry and 
song, laid nearly a hundred years ago by a 
simple ploughman, which neither the length, 
the depths, nor the storms of the Atlantic can 
ever sever, and through which this day the 
electric sparks flow, making hearts in America 
beat warmly and in unison with those in Scot- 
land. Nor is this great improvement confined 



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to a class; for, although it is to a large extent a 
democratic one, yet it has been gone into by 
peer as well as peasant, and dukes and earls 
have been proud to have their names enrolled 
in the committees for the organization of the 
centenary festivab. The question b naturally 
suggested, what is the spirit that prompts all 
this? Is it because Bums was a great poet, 
or that he wrote better songs than any other 
man of his own or subsequent times? Not alto- 
gether: there have been greater than he to 
whom no such honour was tendered, or ever 
will be. France, Germany, and Italy have had 
their great poets. England has had its Shak- 
speare and its Milton; Ireland its Goldsmith 
and its Moore; and Scotland its Scott and many 
others ; but as true types of the national mind, 
none of them will bear comparison with our 
national bard. It is because he so thoroughly 
identified his own proud heart with the proud 
heart of his people — ^it is because he was a 
peasant, who taught other peasants to hold up 
their heads and stand erect in the presence of 
all men, however great or grand they might be 
— ^it is because he taught the humble sons of 
labour to value their personal independence 
above all the gifts of fortune, wldch a sacrifice 
of such independence might have procured 
them — it is for these reasons Burns has taken 
so noble a place in the history of literature. 
Bums was a democrat in the purest and high- 
est sense of the word. He did not wish to 
lower the aristocracy, but he wished to exalt 
the people by their virtues. He taught the 
Immblest that the penny-fee of honest industry 
was a greater treasure than tens of thousands 
if gained by knavery, or extorted by unfair 
means from the sinews of the poor by a grind- 
ing of their faces. His great song, ** A man's 
a man,*' is the keynote of his fame, and has 
done perhaps more for the elevation of the 
multitude than all the poems, books, or articles 
ever written in our language. It is for this 
great and leading characteristic of his genius 
that the people have resolved to do him honour. 
We admit he had faults, but who b without 
them ; and it is becoming to manifest our ap- 
preciation of the poet's lessons of charity, 

" To gently scan our brother man, 
And gentler sister woman ; 
Though they may gang a kennin wrang, 
To step aside is human ; " 

and to cast a stone at his memory seems parri- 
cidal ingratitude, and as great an outrage against 
propriety as to forget the grandeur of the Psalms 
in the too vivid remembrance of the temptation 
to which David yielded, and for which he suf- 
fered a life long contrition. And Burns, we 
have reason to believe, repented and obtained 



forgiveness; and we have no doubt that in 
some measure he has realized hb own hopes — 

" And gien auld cloven Clootie's haunts 
An unco slip yet, 
An' snugly sits amang the saunts, 
At Davie's hip yet." 

I think, therefore, the most fastidious, forget- 
ting "Holy Willie" and "The Holy Fair," 
ought to agree with the rest of the world that 
the man who wrote " Tam o' Shanter," " The 
Address to the Daisy," "The Cottar's Saturday 
Night," "The Address to a Young Friend," 
" A man's a man for a' that,*' and a hundred 
other songs that have never been equalled in 
our isles, deserves the fervid national recogni- 
tion that is this day being bestowed upon him. 
It b now one hundred years since the great 
poet of the people was bom ; it b sixty-three 
years since he died. During the interval, his 
name has been the chief literary glory of his 
country ; his songs have become the most inti- 
mate and familiar expression of the sentiments 
of the nation ; and high above all his contem- 
poraries and predecessors towers the fame of 
the sturdy ploughman, the sweet singer, the 
independent son of toil, who told the world- 
inspiring language that he dared to be poor — 
that the rank was but the stamp upon the 
guinea — that the man, the true man, who 
would not stoop to any kind of meanness or 
baseness, was the gold, and, in one terse im- 
mortal phrase, that "A man's a man for a' 
that." The Chairman's speech was delivered 
with much fervour ; and the toast was drank 
by the large company in solemn silence. 

We may say, in conclusion, that this was the 
greatest demonstration ever witnessed in Auch- 
terarder. 

AUCHTERMUCHTY.— Thb much-talked- 
of event was celebrated here, in common with 
almost every town or village of any importance 
throughout the "Land o' Cakes," in a most 
enthusiastic manner. There were two in-door 
entertainments, besides a splendid out-of-door 
demonstration, consisting of a torch-light pro- 
cession. But what constituted the chief part 
of the evening's amusement was the reproduc- 
tion of the ludicrous tragedy of "Tam o* 
Shanter, or the Witches' Dance of Alloway 
Kirk." This was performed by a corps of 
witches, dressed after the most approved witch 
fashion, a bona fide " Deil,*' having the tail, 
horns, and all the other appendages necessary 
to that august personage, and last, though not 
least, the luckless hero, "Tam," on his far-famed 
"Maggie.'* Thb weird assemblage accompanied 
the procession through the streets, and halting 
at several of the principal thoroughfares, repro- 



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duced the scene in the '^ liaunted kirk " with 
startling effect. According to. the example 
shown him there, " Auld Nick" seated himself, 
and shouldering his pipes, supplied music to 
his beldame followers, who danced with great 
spirit, amid a profuse display of squibs and 
rockets. On th^ present occasion, "Cutty 
Sark" sustained her reputation as a "supple 
jade and Strang.** During the procession, a 
heavy rain came on, and Tam o' Shanter the 
second, experienced just such a night, minus 
the thunder and lightning, as did his predeces- 
sor. At the return of the procession to the 
parish school, a large number, principally of 
the working-classes, sat down to supper — Mr. 
George Webster in the chair. After the edibles 
were discussed, Mr. William M*Ewan rose, and 
in an excellent speech, gave the toast of the 
evening, " The Memory of Bums,'* which was 
drunk with great enthusiasm. Mr. M'Ewan of 
the Fifeshire Advertiser was also present, and 
spoke. Yarious other toasts were given ; and 
our excellent instrumental band, which was 
present, played several of Burns' favourite airs. 
A vocal band was also in attendance, and sang 
some of his finest songs. The evening was 
spent in a very happy manner, till near the 
close the potent influence of "John Barleycorn" 
began to display itself, breaking up the order 
of the meeting. After ushering in the 26th, 
the meeting broke up. 

The Magistrates and others also met for 
supper in the Town Hall — Provost Crombie in 
the chair. The viands were supplied by Mrs. 
Kier of the Commercial Inn. After the com- 
pany had cheered the inner man, the Chairman 
rose and gave the usual loyal toasts, which were 
drunk with all the honours. He then proposed 
" The Memory of Bums," which was enthusi- 
astically responded to. During the evening 
several songs were sung, which served to en- 
liven the proceedings. 



BADENSCOTH The farmers in this rural 

district, with special reference to the celebra- 
tion of the centenary, turned out with upwards 
of twenty ploughs, including one of Howard's 
wheel ploughs, belonging to Charles Chalmers, 
Esq. of Monkshill ; and, to testify their ap- 
preciation of the qualities and quaUfications of 
Mr. John Symon, V.8., Gordonston, prepared 
his ground for receiving the seed. Gordonston 
then became the scene of a ball^ which was 
numerously attended. 



BALBEGGIE.— The centenary of Burns 
was celebrated here by a supper in the school- 



room. Thirty-two ladies and gentlemen were 
present. The chair was well filled by Mr. 
M'Donald, clothier; and Mr. Peter McLaren 
ably discharged the duties of croupier. The 
viands were various and substantial, including 
the indispensable Scotch haggis, in the cutting 
up of which the croupier, amid loud cheering, 
addressed to it the humorous apostrophe — 

" Fair fa' yonr honest, aonsie face, 
Great chieftain o' the padding race," &c. 

After the company had enjoyed an excellent 
supper, and the usual loyal and patriotic toasts 
had been disposed of, the Chairman, after an 
able and manly speech, proposed the toast of 
the evening, " The Memory of Robert Burns, 
Caledonia's immortal ploughman Bard." The 
toast was drunk by the company standing, and 
with every mark of deep feeling. Songs, 
speeches, and recitations, agreeably intermin- 
gled, then became the order of the evening. 
Many of the best songs in the Scotch language 
were sung by Mr. A. Drummond and other 
musical amateurs, both ladies and gentlemen, 
in a very happy and effective manner, and were 
rapturously applauded. Mr. Wedderspoon, 
teacher, Airntully, delivered a talented and in- 
structive speech, on the contrast between the 
present day and a hundred years ago; and 
Mr. Cuthbert, senior, delighted the meeting 
with an address on " Libert/s a glorious feast." 
Other speakers also contributed to increase the 
pleasure and profit of the evening. The " Ad- 
dress to the Deil" was recited by Mr. John 
Ower; and " Tam o* Shanter" was given in 
fine style by Mr. D. Carr, who prefaced his 
recitation by an elegant and comprehensive 
speech, which was much appreciated. AH 
seemed to have come to the celebration deter- 
mined to be pleased and happy, and much in- 
nocent mirth and good humour prevailed 
throughout the evening. The health of the 
Ladies, the Chairman, the Croupier, and other 
toasts, having been proposed and responded to, 
the company sung " Auld Langsyne" in an en- 
thusiastic manner, and separated considerably 
after the "wee short hour ayont the twal," 
highly delighted with the evening's proceedings. 

BALLANTRAE.— The district of Stinchar 
and the Duisk was not behind the more thick- 
ly populated districts in doing honour to the 
birthday of our National Poet. The place of 
meeting was Mr. Drynan's Inn, Ballantrae; 
and notwithstanding the inclemency of the day 
the room was completely filled. Rigby Wason, 
Esq. of Corwar, was chairman ; supported by 
Alexander Cathcart, Esq. of Knockdolian; 
Capt. Kennedy of Bennane; John Murdoch, 
Esq. of Tasmania; James M'llraith, Esq. of 



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Aucbenflower ; Rigby Wason, Esq., jun. ; 
Eugene Wason, Esq., &c., &c. The Rev. Mr. 
Wallace of the Free Church Manse, Barr, and 
Mr. Brackenridge, were croupiers. After the 
usual complimentary toasts, Mr. Wason said — 
We have now^ gentlemen, come to the toast of 
the evening, and it is only necessary to pro- 
pose the toast to ensure its most cordial recep- 
tion. No poet has ever exercised a greater 
influence on the minds of the people than 
Robert Bums, eclipsing in this respect poets of 
a far higher order of intellect, such as Shak- 
speare and Milton ; and this widely difiused in- 
fluence (proved by the numerous meetings 
which are this day held throughout the civilized 
world to celebrate his birthday), is the best an- 
swer to those who point to the admitted &ults 
in the Poet's character as reasons why these 
meetings should not take place. Now, I would 
not wish to say that all these ** Holier than 
thou men," or those who would wish to be 
esteemed as such, have been actuated by mo- 
tives of fanaticism, or hypocrisy, or of igno- 
rance ; but this I will say, that never did fa- 
naticism, or hypocrisy, or ignorance appear in 
a more mean or degntded shape than in point- 
ing to the failings of a National Poet, disgrace- 
fully concealing the fact that such failings were 
the failings of the age in which he lived, com- 
mitted by every man, from the duke to the 
peasant, and tarnishing the illustrious names 
of a Fox and a Pitt, each of whom, probably, 
drank more in twelve months than Burns did 
during his lifetime ; yet, when did we hear of 
these would-be Purists objecting to Pitt and 
Fox dinners on that account ? Not only has 
the Poet's influence been so extended, but it 
has been of the most beneficial character on all 
the higher feelings of our nature — surpassed, 
indeed I may say equalled by none, except, 
perhaps, by John Knox. We are not met this 
day to celebrate the birthday '< of some faultless 
monster which the world ne'er saw," but of the 
author of the domestic religion of " The Cottar's 
Saturday Night," of the philosophical wish, " O 
wad some power the giftie gie us, to see our- 
selves as others see us,*' of the endearing lines, 
" Auld Langsyne," of the first of patriotic war 
aongs, " Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled," and 
of those of unsurpassed boldness and honesty, 
** The rank is but the guinea stamp, a man's 
a man for a' that." And not only of these but 
of many others with which you are all well ac- 
quainted, and which have exercised, and will 
continue to exercise, the most beneficial in- 
fluence over every rank in society, in every 
country where his language is known, or who 
have the good fortune to possess a translation 
of his works. 

The Rev. Mr. Wallace begged to direct 



the attention of the company to '< The Cottar's 
Saturday Night." He would not undertake 
to pass a eulogy on this celebrated production, 
Qor would he think of analysing it and detail- 
ing its contents. But there were one or two 
things he would like to single out, and for a 
moment or two fix the mind of the audience 
upon them. First of all, it was very striking 
with what exactness Bums caught the leading 
features of Christianity, and with what com- 
prehensiveness, beauty, and simplicity of lan- 
guage, in a single line he stated it, *'How 
guiltless blood for guilty man was shed." 
From this, as from a centre, the whole system 
of gospel truth may be evolved. Again, with 
what truthfiilness and beauty does Bums de- 
scribe and enforce the nature of true worship. 
Stamping with the foot of his rejection all 
ritualistic and ostentatious forms, he translates 
the very spirit of our Master's words into the 
language of poetry — 

" Compared with this how poor Religion's pride, 
In all the pomp of method and of art, 
When men display to congregations wide 
Devotion's every grace, except the heart!" 

Let me once more solicit your attention to 
Bums' appreciation of Scotland's character and 
glory— 

** From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs, 
That makes her lov'd at home, revered abroad ; " 

And to the warm affection he cherished for 
his^ country — 

" O Scotia I my dear, my native soil, 
For whom my warmest wish to Heaven is sent." 

And now let me add a general remark. What- 
ever was the evil connected with Burns during 
life, and undoubtedly to it we ought not to be 
blind, any more than to trath of any kind, that 
evil was local, personal, temporary. The good, 
Sir, resulting from this single poem is, and will 
be, great, general, and permanent. Wherever 
Scotchmen go, and that is wherever there is 
earth to tread on, or seas to navigate, or trade 
or commerce to pursue, or war to wage in de- 
fence of their country, there will this poem 
carry a testimony to what was the character of 
the Scottish peasantry in Bums' days ; and by 
the fact of doing so it will tend to perpetuate 
that character in the persons of their descend- 
ants. 

Appropriate songs were sang by Messrs. Neil, 
Calderwood, Kelly, Wilson, Shaw, &c., Mr. Neil lead- 
ing the music department in his usual masterly style. 



BALLATER The Burns Centenary was 

quietly, but very heartily celebrated here. 
Several parties met in Mr. Ross's Hotel, and 
passed the evening very pleasantly with songs 



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and speeches, in connexion with the event; 
and other social parties mot in the village to 
pass a friendly hour. 

BALMORAL.— The tradesmen of Balmoral, 
along with a few of their friends, assembled 
together at Inver, in order to celebrate the 
Centenary of our immortal Bard. After a 
most substantial dinner, prepared by Mrs. 
Leys at the Inn, the table was covered with 
punch bowls, "reamin' fu','* when, following 
the usual complimentary toasts — which, as 
may be imagined, were here received with 
great gusto — "The Memory of Burns" was 
given from the chair in an appropriate speech, 
and received with the utmost enthusiasm. 
Throughout the evening, many of the songs 
of Bums were sung witli hearty glee and good 
taste. " Tam o' Shanter " was recited by Mr. 
Wallace with very good effect; "The Whistle," 
by Mr. Henderson, deserves creditable mention; 
as also the "Address to a Scotch Haggis," by 
Mr. Yalentine. These were appropriately in- 
termingled with suitable speeches by various 
gentlemen of the party. Mr. Beaton, the over- 
seer of the workmen at Balmoral, in a few fit- 
ting words, proposed the " Health of Dr. Rob- 
ertson, of Indego," which was very heartily 
responded to by the company. After sundry 
other toasts, and the singing of " Auld Lang- 
syne," the party separated about eleven o'clock, 
highly gratified with the evening's entertain- 
ment. 

BANCHORY.— Tlie people here held a half- 
holiday, the earlier portion of wliich was de- 
voted to an eloquent lecture, delivered in the 
Congregational Chapel, by the well known 
scholar, Francis Adams, Esq., LL.D. The 
lecture was a thrilling one. He gave his opin- 
ion of Burns in these words: — This is in many 
respects a most memorable day in Scotland. I 
may say, in the language of our poet, 

** I*ve seen yon weary winter-sun 
Twice thirty times return, 

and yet 1 have never beheld a public demon- 
stration at all resembling the present. On 
tliis day — on this honoured day—the Scottish 
])eople, whether at home or scattered over 
Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, will, with 
universal acclaim, salute Robert Burns as their 
national poet. . . . Whatever is beautiful, 
and whatever is dreadful in nature around her, 
were rendered familiar to his imagination; he 
became conversant with whatever is awfully 
vast or elegantly little. The plants of tlie 
garden — the fowls of the air — the creatures of 
the woods — the minerals of the earth — and the 
meteors of the sky, concurred to store his mind 



with an inexhaustible supply of natural im- 
agery, and hence his unrivalled skill in giving 
the genuine hues of nature to his descriptions, 
in expanding the mind with new ideas, and in 
gratifying his readers with a copious diversity 
of illustrations. In this respect, the Ayrshire 
poet, it appears to me, surpasses all the great 
poets both of ancient and of modern times. It 
IS true, some of the didactic poets, such as 
Yirgil and Thomson, may describe rural objects 
with more minuteness and accuracy of detail. 
But then, on the other hand, they want his 
lofty imagination and deep-toned expression of 
feeling. Here the Ayrshire peasant shows his 
superiority; they are too scientific to be truly 
poetic. He understands the true essence of 
poetry better than they. He fills the mind 
with large appearances; they cramp and fatigue 
it by a display of minute objects sftid circum- 
stances. To a familiarity with inanimate na- 
ture he added a most accurate acquaintance 
with all the modes of human life around him, 
from " the jolly beggar with his towzie drab " 
up to his ** Honour ; " and this knowledge cm- 
braced everything imaginable relating to the 
pursuits, the hopes, the fears, the superstitions 
of the Scottish peasantry; and (what seems 
more remarkable), whether by reading or con- 
versation, he had formed a wonderfully correct 
estimate of character, in the higher grades of 
society, A'om which he was debarred by his 
position. No poet was ever better acquainted 
with the vices and virtues of the human heart 
in every imaginable situation of life. . . . 
He set about his work enthusiastically, ear- 
nestly, and confidently; and when any work is 
undertaken in such a spirit, who need wonder 
at its success? His "Vision," "Death and Dr. 
Hornbook," "Address to the Deil," " The Holy 
Fair," " Tam o* Shanter," and the war-song of 
Bannockburn, are far above a comparison with 
any productions of the same stamp, whether 
in ancient or modem times. What strikes a 
scholar most forcibly in them is their origi- 
nality. Whoever has been in the habit of study- 
ing methodically the literature of many lan- 
guages, and tracing it to its fountain-head, will 
admit his disappointment at finding so little 
that is new, either in design or execution, in 
the works of later poets. Almost uvery writer 
copies closely from his predecessor, merely 
adapting the thoughts and the imagery to the 
tastes and habits of his own time. But where 
shall we find anything resembling, for example, 
" Tam o* Shanter,** either in the boldness of 
the conception or in the originality of the im- 
agery ? And here, by the way, I must adopt 
the present opportunity of recording the judg- 
ment of the most learned divine, I verily be- 
lieve, which Britain can at present boast of^and, 



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moreover, himself a very distinguislied poet — I 
mean the Very Rev. Dr. Mil man of London. 
Talking with hira on the beauties of this poem, 
he agreed with me that, although there is no- 
thing more rare in poetical composition than a 
new simile or comparison, more especially on 
so trite a subject as the evanescent nature of 
human enjoyment, all the four similitudes in 
the following wonderful passage are original to 
the best of his knowledge:-— 

*^ But pleasures are like poppies spread, &c." 

Burns in his compositions displays a versatility 
of talent of which the world has scarcely seen 
an example, especially in his lyrical poetry, 
wherein his performances are of the most varied 
character, from the solemn hymn and spirit- 
stirring war-song down to the Bacchanalian 
catch and the delicious love-song. Though I 
have no scientific acquaintance with music, I 
think I have sufficient skill in these matters to 
be entitled to say that the amatory odes surpass, 
in the simple expression of natural affection, 
everything of the kind which has oome down to 
us from antiquity. Such are " Green grow 
the rashes, O," and the "0, Phillis." The 
catches or drinking songs of the Greeks and 
Romans are as spirited and exciting as can well 
be imagined, and yet they cannot well surpass 
his " John Barleycorn " and many more effu- 
sions of the same stamp. The war-song on 
Bannockbum touches a chord in the heart of 
every Scotchman, and that is enough. A 
stranger, or a cosmopolite (so to speak), I 
should think, might fancy that some of the war- 
songs of Campbell and the ** Marseillaise ** of 
the French contained fully as strong an ex- 
pression of martial energy as the << Scots wha 
hae,*' &c.; but what of that? It is indispu- 
tably the national war-soug of Scotland, and 
that is enough. It is to us what the war-songs 
of Alcffius must have been to the ancient 
Greeks. In his hymns and psalms I think I 
recognise the genuine spirit of piety ; that is to 
say, they contain a felicitous combination of an 
intellectual with a devotional conception of a 
Supreme Beings such as iu the hymn beginning 
with — 

" O, thou Great Being, what thou art 
Sarpaases me to know, 
Yet sure I am that known to Thee 
Are all thy works below." 

Here, again, I feel that I cannot, with any 
propriety, shirk the question, ** Was Burns an 
irrdigious and immoral writer?" To this I 
answer deliberately that the stanza just quoted 
proves that he entertained both a rational and 
devotional conception of the Divinity ; and in- 
numerable passages might be taken from his 



other works, both in prose and vei*se, all breath- 
ing a lofty spirit of morality. His own declara- 
tion of his creed in his letter to Mrs. Dunlop 
has been often quote<l, and is well known ; and 
I repeat, he was a man who would have scorned 
to conceal the sentiments of his heart. That 
Bums, then, was deeply imbued with a sense of 
religion and honour I am fully persuaded, and 
to admit that his works have an immoral 
tendency would be to cast a foul suspicion on 
some of my most virtuous and religious friends 
upon earth — ^both clergymen and laymen — 
who, like myself, have been devoted admirers 
of Bums. Those who judge harshly of Burns 
are generally cold-blooded formalists in reli- 
gion, and these are not the persons to sit in 
judgment on him on whom (assuredly for some 
noble purpose) his Great Creator had bestowed 

** The thrilling frame and eagle spirit of a child of 
song." 

My own estimate of Bums* moral conduct dur- 
ing *' the few and weary days of his sojourn 
here below " may be given in a few words. He 
had his sins and his follies; alas! who is there 
among us that has not ? But it is my deliberate 
opinion that, to the best of his ability, he always 
did justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly 
with his God ; that if he saw a fellow-creature 
an hungered, none could be more prompt to 
give him food, — if athirst, to give him drink, or 
if in prison, to minister to him. Is not this the 
true spirit of Christianity ? Let us join, then, 
in the prayer of Wordsworth, who himself had 
a deep sympathy with nature, and the poet of 
Nature — 

" Sweet Mercy ! to the gates of heaven 
This minstrel lead, his sins forgiven ; 
The raefal conflict, the heart nven 

With vain endeavour, 
And memory of Earth's bitter leaven 
Effaced for ever. 

But why to him confine the prayer, 

When kindred thoughts and yearnings bear 

On the frail heart the purest share 

With all who live ? 
The best of what wo do and are. 

Just Ood^ forgive I 

But here I shall be asked, '' What do you say 
in defence of the profanity and obscenity con- 
tained in 'Death and Dr. Hornbook,* 'The 
Holy Fair,' and 'The Jolly Beggars?'" To 
this I answer, he was a great master in writing 
satire, which, along with comedy, had always 
been written in that style. Burns was a citizen 
of the world, and painted life as it existed in 
his days, and in the only way it had ever been 
painted. If Burns had lived in our days he 
would have done differently, or, what is more 
likely, would not have ventured on the task of 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



turning the follies of the age into ridicule. Let 
it not be forgotten, if Burns be coarse in the 
language of his satire, that Pope, Dryden, and 
Swift were more so; tliat Shakspeare and 
Chaucer were worse than they; that Rabelais, 
the great master of modern satire, surpasses all 
who have succeeded him in the coarseness of 
his tastes, he having copied the example of the 
great comic and satirical authors of antiquity, 
such as Horace, Lucian, and Aristophanes. Are 
all these to be condemned to destruction, along 
with the comparatively pure works of the Ayr- 
shire bard, who probably fancied, in his sim- 
plicity, that he was doing no harm as long as 
he copied only the usages of the ''good old 
times ? " This would be, indeed, to commit sad 
havoc among the works of the Immortals ! Let 
it never be forgotten that these authors, from 
the great master of broad humour in Athens 
down to our native poet, though they give us 
many things which the tastes of the present 
age would resile from, were all, or most of them, 
the friends of virtue, both public and domestic, 
and that their works abound in passages re- 
splendent with the grandest moral and religious 
truths. All fancied it to be their mi&sion to 
hold up the mirror and reflect the minor vices 
and follies of their contemporaries. Coarse- 
ness in speaking or in writing was a thing that 
concerned the manners rather than the morals, 
and, so to speak, merely affected the surface of 
character. In this respect it was akin to filthi- 
ness in personal habits. It did not follow, be- 
cause a man had a foul skin or spoke coarsely 
at times, that he was corrupt to the core. In 
short, the heart might be clean, although the 
skin was foul. . . . Burns wrote to please 
and instruct the common people of Scotland. 
He despised the opinions of small bodies of 
men, and addressed himself to the feelings and 
understandings of the million. They heard his 
voice, engraved his words on their hearts, and 
it is they that now rise to do him honour. If 
not many nobles of the land join in our demon- 
strations to-day, this only shows their want of 
taste. He was never ashamed of his own 
" order," and why should he ? Though he was 
born and lived a peasant, he felt that he was 
one of the nobles of nature. An ancient poet, 
who flourished about nineteen centuries ago, in 
pronouncing an eulogium on his great pi*ede* 
cessors, says of Homer that '' he will live while 
Tenedos and Ida shall stand, and while Simois 
shall roll its rapid waters to the sea" — that is 
to say, as long as the natural scenery celebrated 
in his deathless strains shall subsist. In a like 
spirit I venture to predict that the name of 
Burns will live in Scotland, and in the hearts 
of the Scottish race, while the present order of 
things shall endure — while the lowly daisy, the 



green hawthorn, and the long yellow broom 
shall continue to blossom on 

'* The banks and braes o* bonnie Doon ; " 

that, while there is a true Scottish heart in the 
land, it will join proudly in singing the 

" Scots wha hae wi' Wallace bled; '' 

and be melted into tenderness by the lofty ex- 
pression of that grand moral truth — 

*' What makes the fireside a happy clime 
To weans and wife ; 
That's the tme pathos and sablime 
O' human life.'' 

Thb Dinner.— The dinner took place in a 
wooden building, abundantly decorated with 
evergreens inside, and displaying a couple of 
flags over the roof, adjacent to the Douglas 
Arms Hotel. 

Dr. Adams occupied the chair, and Mr. 
Hall, railway contractor, was croupier. Among 
those present were — ^Rev. Mr. M'Connachie, 
Strachan; Rev. Mr. Logic, Roman Catholic 
Clergyman ; Rev..Mr. Bruce ; Captain David- 
son, Inchmarlo; Mr. J. Adams; Dr. Dun- 
can; Mr. Burnett; Mr. Dean, locomotive 
superintendent, Deeside Railway ; Mr. J. Hun- 
ter ; Mr. Grant, Burnett Arms Hotel, &c., the 
company numbering in all towards two hun- 
dred. 

The Rev. Mr. M'Connachie said grace ; and 
a substantial dinner, furnished by Mr. Wright, 
having been discussed, 

Rev. Mr. Logic returned thanks. 

The Chairman then, in felicitous terms, 
gave *^ the Queen." Drunk with ail the hon- 
ours, the Banchory instrumental band playing 
the national anthem, which was also sung in 
excellent style by Captain Davidson and Mr. 
T. Davidson. 

The other loyal and patriotic toasts followed 
from the chair, the brief remarks that intro- 
duced each being in the most happy way made 
to bear reference to him they had met to com- 
memorate. "The Army and Navy" was re- 
plied to by Captain Davidson. 

The Chairman then gave the toast of the 
evening — "The immortal memory of Bums, 
with all the honours." He said, having already 
spoken his sentiments upon the subject, he had 
only a little further explanation to make in 
connection with the toast. Some might think 
it a mournful toast, but they were met to cele- 
brate the birth of Bums, not his funeral. 
Therefore he asked them to drink the toast 
with all the honours. Suppose the •* childie" 
bom — and they all knew about the domestic 
surroundings of such an event — (laughter)— 
Agnes Brown or Burns receives it into her 



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BANFF. 



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ftrms. There is no mother on earth but fancies 
that her son is to become a hero. Man comes 
into the world a helpless creature, but there is 
a bosom that beats warm to him — no object so 
tenacious of its heat and warmth as the bosom 
of a mother. (Applause.) Doubtless Agnes 
Brown thought her son, too, would be a gallant 
lad ; but did she or could any one expect that 
this child, born in a clay cottage — that the name 
of this youth would be more distinguished and 
better remembered than that of the prime min- 
ister — ay, than that of the monarch of the day. 
(Loud cheers.) The Chairman, in concluding, 
adverted to the obligations under which Burns 
— the most triumphant national poet the earth 
has ever produced — has laid various classes in 
Scotland. The toast was drunk with all the 
honours. 

" The Sons of Burns," « The Clergy," and 
various other toasts were proposed. 

In the evening a spirited ball came off in the 
building where the dinner took place. 



BANFF. — In Banff, after noon, business was 
generally suspended, banks, warehouses, and 
workshops being all but universally shut. About 
two, a procession was formed, consisting of a 
num^ous body of the Masons of St. John's 
liodge, the Hammermen, and a miscellaneous 
addition of other trades. Preceded by a band, 
they walked the streets during the afternoon, 
and created no little excitement. They carried 
various trades' flags, and one bearing the 
motto, " Honest Poverty." Little else was to 
l>e seen outside except preparations going on 
for the evening meetings. 

The "Grand Festival," under the auspices 
of the Council, took place at six, in St. Andrew's 
new Mason Lodge, Castle Street, which was 
admirably fitted up for the occasion. The 
attendance compriseid 290, and included a great 
lK>rtion of the most respectable inhabitants. 

Provost Duncan having taken the chair, 
amid applause, tea was served in a style not 
unworthy of the most fashionable drawing- 
room. Tlic Provost, in a very happy introduc- 
tory speech, stated the grounds on which the 
Council felt themselves bound to take up the 
carrying out of this meeting, the arrangements 
for which had been almost completed by a 
committee before the Council were applied to ; 
and if there were wanting any proof that the 
community in general sympathised with the 
view the Council had taken, they had only to 
look around them to tliis large and respectable 
meeting for sufficient testimony of it. (Ap- 
plause.) 

After a few songs had been sung, Provost 
Duncan said he had a letter from the Rev. Dr. 
Bremner, regretting his inability to attend, in 



consequence of being called out of town on a 
business engagement, and introduced the Rev. 
Mr. Grant, Boyndie, who had kindly under- 
taken to give a short address. 

Mr. Grant said he might truly say that it 
had not been in the annals of Scotland that a 
like or more general response was given to the 
expression of the nation's feelings on any other 
human subject almost, or to any other man, 
than is this day awarded to the memory of her 
national bard. There is scarce a city or town, 
village or hamlet, "from Maidenkirk to John 
o' Groat's," in which the people are not assem- 
bled to honour the once existence of him who 
wrote and sung so graphically and sweetly of 
what thrills and speaks home to the breast of 
every leal-hearted honest man. (Applause.) 
Who amongst us does not well remember hav- 
ing, in times of youth, listened to the words of 
Robert Burns, as speaking to them of Scot- 
land's rights, Scotland's sympathies, her habits, 
customs, and associations, more especially 
among the class on whom her stability is so 
much dependent — the peasantry of the land. 
(Applause.) Nor did he fail to utter senti- 
ments worthy of one whose mind was actuated 
by that which is only right. The "Cottar's 
Saturday Night" has in it what shows that, 
while he would ridicule abuses, and oppose 
fanaticism, and bring discredit on oppression, 
he still had respect and reverence for what 
has dependence on a due sense of trust in a 
Supreme Power. (Cheers.) The scene of tho 
patriarchal sage opening up the big ha' Bible 
to read from out of it to his family ere the 
duties of the week were concluded, is in clear 
and ample support of this. We fear not to 
place the entire portrait of this part of the 
Cottar's Saturday Night's devotions in contrast, 
both for simplicity and pathos, with anything 
else that has been written by man of what has 
long formed the characteristics of the inhabit- 
ants of our fatherland. (Applause.) And who 
has told us more beautifully of the rustic pas- 
toral wishes and feelings of our people than 
Robert Burns ? Who has extolled their inno- 
cent pleasures and enjoyments more freely, to 
an extent which has made deep impression, not 
merely when their native hills and dales were 
around them, but when their children have 
emigrated from their homes and country, and 
have toiled under a tropical sun, or lived in 
still more inhospitable regions, either when 
engaged in mercantile pursuits, or when facing 
an enemy to be crowned with victory, as they 
— and particularly our own Highlanders — have 
always been. By the watchfire in meetings of 
Scotchmen in all lands, the language of Burns 
has opened a door to the heart that either has 
stimulated to further deeds of daring, or bound 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



the hearers together by strong and brotherly 
tica. Mr. Grant alluded very touchingly to 
the power of our national music — which was 
often coupled with the words of their poet — 
instancing what it had done in inciting our 
heroes in the relief of Cawnpore, and concluded 
by reading with great taste, '^ Man was Made 
to Mourn." 

"A Man s a Man for a' that," by Mr. For- 
rest, some instrumental music, and **Afton 
Water," by Mr. Smith, was succeeded by an 
address by tlie Rev. Mr. Gregor, Macduff, in 
the course of which he said, — Without any train- 
ing, without dignity of birth, without patron- 
age, from the midst of lowly life, of poverty, 
ill health, and hard toil. Burns strode into the 
world's arena, threw down his gauntlet, and 
challenged to mortal combat all that was false 
and hollow; he stepped into the circle of card- 
playing, marriage-trafficking ladies, and cold- 
hearted ^'fine gentlemen," tabled his patent 
of nobility — kingship registered in Heaven's 
Ciiancery. All men, from the peer to the 
peasant, looked up and saw a true '' king of 
men," and bowed the head in homage. We, 
too, bow in homage to. the same. He came 
before the world a wonder, a prodigy, a giant, 
with a heart glowing with love for everything 
that was great, and good, and noble, and burn- 
ing with hatred at everything which savoured 
of meanness, cant, and hypocrisy. He spoke, 
and every ear was open. How did Burns gain 
this power? Because he wrote what was right. 
A great writer has laid this down as an axiom, 
" The proof of a thing's being right is that 
it has power over the heart, that it excites 
us, helps us." Judge him by this standard, 
and no man ever wrote more things true, and 
beautiful, and touching, and right, than he who 
walked 

" In glory and in joy, 

Following his plough along the mountain side." 

Theological disputes (Mr. G. continued) were 
fierce and bitter. Burns entered into them 
with all the ardour of an earnest honest soul. 
His keen eye pierced through the hypocrisy 
and cant, and isms, and ologies in which the 
simple faith in Clirist had been wrapped up. 
He saw that the form had been, but in too 
many cases, set up for the real substance. 
Bitter dogmatism had been substituted for 
humility, faith, and love. Burns came down 
with his sledge-hammer of satire, and smashed 
the calf to shivers, to the horror of its devout 
worshippers. His " Holy Fair" is a true pic- 
ture. *• Holy Willie's Prayer" does not con- 
tain Burns' opinions, but the opinions of the 
ultra-Calvinistic party. As ])ieces of satire they 
are exquisite, and it is said had good eflect. 
For these he has been set down as a blasphemer, 



and at the time he gave them to the world, he 
incurred the odium of many a blaokooat. He 
was feared and hated; and, because his pen 
could not be stopped, the cry of " Religion in 
Danger" was raised. Let me say that, in my 
opinion, danger does not come to religion from 
men like Bums, but from its friends who are 
becoming such adepts at the arithmetic of con- 
version. 

The singers were much applauded. Mr. 
Joiner's powers in caricature quite electrified 
the audience. Votes of thanks were proposed 
to the Provost for his conduct in the chair, to 
the Council for their aid in getting up the 
meeting, to the speakers, and to the singers 
the whole company joining in '^Auld Lang- 
syne" as a finale, and separating about half- 
past ten. 

The members of St. John's Mason Lodge, 
their friends, and several ladies, sat down to 
supper in the Lodge. 

The Chairman (Mr. Bairnsfather, R.W.M.) 
proposed **The Memory of Burns." He gave 
some interesting reminiscences of the poet 
which had come to his own knowledge. He 
was acquainted with a lady who was at school 
with the poet, and received from him a copy of 
the first edition of his poems, which she kept 
till the day of her death. Her daughter a now 
in Banff, and was through indisposition pre- 
vented from attending the supper. 

Several songs were sung, and toasts were proposed, 
and the evening's amueements were terminatea by a 
dance. 

The Hammermen, after their afternoon pro- 
cession, had tea in the Ship Tavern, a party of 
about thirty, being presided over by Mr. 
Stevenson, blacksmith, Mr. Roger, moulder, 
acting as croupier. Several toasts followed; 
Messrs. Still and Roger gave each readings 
from Burns, and Mr. Paton recited some pieces 
of poetry of his own composition. The pro- 
ceedings were much enlivened with numerous 
songs by Messrs. Joseph Chapman, George, 
William, and John Allan, and instrumental 
music by Messrs. John Chapman^ John Allan, 
and Thomas Watson. 



BANKFOOT.— On the evening of the 25tli, 
a party of twenty partook of an excellent sup- 
per in Mr. Reid's Athole Tavern — Mr. Patton, 
Obnie, in the chair; Mr. Millar, New Inn, 
croupier. 

After the usual routine toasts, the Chairman, 
in a few appropriate remarks, introduced tiie 
toast of the evening, " The Memory of Bums," 
which was duly honoured. Owing to the sud- 
den getting up of the affair (it being agreed 
upon only late on the night previous), there 
was no regular programme; but every one 



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called upon showed a creili table wiliingness to 
add his roite to the entertainment of the even- 
ing. We had some excellent recitations and 
readings from Bums, while Mr. D. Gow gave 
a number of his songs in bis best style. A 
gentleman present read an elaborate essay on 
the comparative merits of a vast coterie of 
poets and poetesses, which concluded with a 
high eulogium on the genius of Burns. On 
the toast of " The Living Poets " being drunk, 
it brought our village poet to his feet, who 
gave us a few verses suitable for the occasion. 
After a vote of thanks to Mr. Pat ton for his 
excellent conduct in the chair, the whole party 
joined in singing "Auld Langsyne," and broke 
up at eleven o'clock, to prevent Mr. F. Mac- 
kenzie from coming in, and breaking up the 
harmony that prevailed throughout the even- 
ing. We must add, in justice to Mrs. Reid, 
that the supper was everything that could be 
desired, every one present being highly pleased 
with the arrangements. 



BAN*NOCKBURN.--The inhabitants having 
agreed to celebrate the centenary of our great 
national poet by a torch-light procession and a 
soiree, and having made the necessary arrange- 
ments, notwithstanding the very unpropitious 
state of the weather, a large muster of the 
inhabitants, accompanied by two instrumental 
bands, and two pipers in the ''garb of old 
Gaul," paraded the town, and returned to their 
place of muster, the town-hall, in which ar- 
rangements for the soiree had been completed. 
The chair was taken at seven o'clock by Alex- 
ander Wilson, jun., Esq. On the platform we 
observed a great many of the most influential 
inhabitants of the place, along with the mem- 
bers of the Bannockbum Eclectic Society, and 
sa selection of the best singers in the neighbour- 
hood. The instrumental band was also in at- 
tendance, and opened the proceedings by play- 
ing the national air, ''Scots wha hae;^ they 
also contributed to the entertainment of the 
meeting. After partaking of a substantial tea, 
the more peculiar business of the evening was 
commenced by an address from the Chair, in 
which the generosity and genius of Bums were 
exhibited, and the patriotism, humour, pathos, 
and high literary excellence of his poetry de- 
scribed. The speech was one of great power, 
and exhibited a thorough acquaintance and 
sympathy with the writings of the poet, as 
well as a profound respect for his memory as 
a man and a patriot. The other speakers and 
their subjects were — Mr. Charles Liddle, on 
"Scottish Nationality;" Mr. Henry Stirling, 
on "Genius;" Mr. Andrew Liddle, on "Poetry 
and Poets ;" Mr. Thomas Forfar, on "Burns 
as a Reformer and Patriot ;" Mr. Charles Jen- 



kins, on '* The Personal Character of Bums ; " 
Mr. James C. Hunter, on "The Genius dis- 
played in the Poem, Tarn o* Shanter;" and 
Mr. J. M'Donald, on "The meanness of at- 
tacking the Memory of the Poet." Tlie sing- 
ing was of a very superior description, and 
each address was followed by songs selected 
from the writings of the poet, illustrative of 
the sentiments expressed by the speaker. The 
company, which was very numerous and highly 
respectable, after giving hearty votes of thanks 
to the Chairman, and others actively employed 
in the proceedings, broke up at a late hour. — 
The surplus funds have been appropriated by 
the Bannockbum Eclectic Society, as managers 
of the soiree, for purchasing books to be dis- 
tributed as prizes to the scholars attending the 
public school at the next annual examination. 



BARRHEAD The centenary festivals in 

honour of the Poet Bums, which have excited 
here so much interest and enthusiasm, passed 
over with great success, and were in every re- 
spect up to the anticipation of the most sanguine - 
of the Poet's admirers, and were highly credi- 
table to the place and the occasion. The fa- 
vourite meeting of the inhabitants was the 
soiree held in Arthurlio Street Church, every 
available space of which was filled by a highly 
respectable audience, and was one of the finest 
meetings ever held in this place. The decorum 
was above all praise, and the interest in the 
proceedings was kept up till the close. The 
meeting was ably presided over by Mr. John 
Lindsay, a literary jewel— .a working man — 
loved by all for his quiet unostentatious dig- 
nity of character ; and though he was sur- 
rounded by gentlemen of higher social position, 
yet he was called unanimously to the honour- 
able post he occupied on this occasion, and 
was acknowledged to be "the right man in the 
right place." 

The centenary dinner, which took place in 
Arthurlie Inn, was presided over by A. Graham, 
Esq., of Capellie, Francis Heys, Esq., acting 
as croupier, both of whom discharged the on- 
erous duties devolving upon them with the 
greatest efificiency and urbanity. About forty 
gentlemen sat down to a sumptuous dinner, 
provided for them by Mr. Gillies. The Chair- 
man, after the removal of the cloth, proposed 
the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, which being 
done, he proceeded by giving the toast of the 
evening — "The Memory of Burns" — in a 
speech of considerable length, in which he dis- 
played eloquence and mind, and which was a 
fitting and noble tribute to the bard. Mr. 
Peter Cunningham, Mr. John Cunningham, 
George Heys, Esq., and Henry Heys, Esq., 
also spoke at length on the centenary occasion 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



in words sparkling with genius and biilliancy 
of thought — all of them doing honour to the 
great event of January 25 th, 1859 — the first 
centenary of Scotland's bard. Several other 
toasts were proposed and responded to; and 
the meeting, as a whole, was another testimony 
that tlie Ayrshire Ploughman is the Poet of 
the nation, and that his memory is safely en- 
shrined in the hearts of the people. 

The male portion of the workers connected 
with Messrs. J. &, R. Cogan's weaving factory, 
Barrhead, met in the house of Mr. David 
Mackie, on the evening of the 25th, in honour 
of the above occasion. After partaking of 
an excellent dinner, the cloth being removed 
and the usual loyal toasts having been warmly 
responded to, the Chairman, in a neat and 
appropriate speech, proposed the toast of the 
evening, "The Memory of Robert Burns." 
Other toasts suitable for the occasion were 
proposed and acknowledged. A number of 
the bard's most popular songs were sung, and 
a few pieces recited, in fine style, by several 
gentlemen present. Altogether the meeting 
was a most happy one, and the arrangetnents 
reficcted great credit on the landlord, Mr. 
Mackie. 

BATHGATE.— Bathgate, too, has been pay- 
ing its meed of honour to the immortal memory 
of our national poet. A hundred gentlemen 
sat down to dinner in commemoration of that 
event, in Robertson's Hotel. The chair was 
ably filled by Thomas D. Weir, Esq., of Bog- 
head, supported on the right and left by Pro- 
vost M'Kinlay, and the Rev. James Scott of 
the U. P. church; while the croupier's chair 
was as ably filled by Bailie Tho.nas Young, 
supported by Messrs. John Wallace and John 
Spiers. After doing ample justice to the viands 
set before them, and the removal of the cloth, 
the Chairman gave in succession, " The Queen," 
"Prince Albert," "The Army," and "The 
Navy," which were drunk with great enthusi- 
asm. The Chairman then gave "Provost 
M'Kinlay and the Magistrates of Bathgate." 
To this Provost M^Kmlay replied in a few 
sentences. Mr. Cochrane, of Broxburn, then 
sung, " A man's a man for a' that." 

The Chairman then called on Mr. Inolis, 
Rector of the Academy, for a toast, who, on 
rising, spoke as follows: — It is not in Kyle, 
not in Scotland, not in Europe -alone that 
the name of Bums is this evening celebrated, 
but in every region where the pulse of Scotch- 
men beats warm for the " land o' cakes." In 
tiie tented plains of Hindostan, amid the 
alarms of war and the distempers of a sickly 
clime, the brave defenders of our country, as 
they recall their school-boy days, or the more 



exciting interests of youthful manhood, join in 
hearty chorus, with a pathos we can never 
know, singing — 

" Should auld aoquaintance be forgot. 
And never brought to mind; 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And the days o' auld langsyne.' 

On the banks of Ontario the pining emigrant, 
whose heart yet lingers amid the scenes of 
happiness and virtue he has left in tlie land of 
his birth, exclaims with rapt emotion :^- 

" From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs, 
That makes her lov'd at home, peTer*d abroad ; 
Princes and lords are bat the breath of kinm, 
An honest man's the noblest work of GkM." 

From pole to pole, and from Pekin to Van- 
couver's Island, the centenary of Bums will 
command a burst of exultation, because it em- 
pliatically tells us that there are talents and 
energies in the lowliest walks of Scottish life 
which, when developed, are capable of con- 
ducting to immortal renown, and because it 
proclaims that the portals of distinction are 
open alike to the son of peasant and of peer. 
Even now, amid the soaring peaks of Fame's 
lofty eminence, where our bard has long been 
enshrined, a sound like the booming noise of 
distant tiiunder rolls down its craggy sides, 
and echoes in the valleys below, Excelsior, 
Excelsior. Burns was truly a natural genius, 
and, in paying a tribute to his memory, we are 
but laying our ofi*ering8 on the shrine of Nature. 
No doubt his education was superior to what 
generally falls to the lot of those who whistle 
at the plough, but he drew his inspiration not 
from academic groves, but from living objects 
and natural afiections. 

** Tlie simple bard, rough at the rustic plough, 
Leaiiied his tuneful art from every bough." 

His hearty, homely, unaffected mode of expres- 
sion — his wit, keen and sparkling — his broad, 
native humour, which moves an outright, invol- 
untary laugh — his vivid and glowing imagina- 
tion — his bold and striking images — the prac- 
tical maxims, and fine moral reflections drawn 
from simple incidents — the fulness and force 
with which he expresses the natural passions 
and emotions of the human heart— his unex- 
pected turns of thought which we not inaptly 
term ready- wit, and which are recognised as 
scintillations of poetic genius, entitle him, in my 
estimation, to be ranked, in point of intellectual 
endowments, amongst the foremost of Nature's 
gifted sons. He has made us look with a more 
kindly eye on the " hamely fare " and the 
"hodden grey;" on the horny hand, and the 
broad Scotch dialect — the language of our 



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granddires. He has added dignity to honest 
industry, and divested poverty of half its ills. 
The dominant element of his nature evinced 
itself in the two prominent features of a warm, 
full heart, and a manly, independent mind. 
These qualities in combination gave its deep 
tinge to his patriotism, and prompted him, when 
yet a boy, to follow the sound of the drum with 
the martial spirit of a Wallace or a Bruce. To 
my eye, these are the leading colours that ran 
through the whole web of his life and poetry. 
At a time when select expression and harmo- 
nious numbers were held in higher repute than 
sense and sympathy. Burns, impelled by a fervid 
temperament, strove to pour into the w^arm 
hearts of his countrymen the burning emotions 
his own could no longer contain. He aimed 
not to please the coy ear of a learned criticism, 
nor to inhale the sickly breath of a squeambh 
taste; but to cheer the heart of languid toil by 
sentiments expressed in the homely garb of 
rustic life, and thus — 

" To soothe the labourer's weary toil, 
For humble gains ; 
And make the cottage scenes begaile 
His cares and pains." 

He never affects a superiority in taste or social 
refinement over thos6 among whom he lived. 
With what touching tenderness he portrays 
their sacred friendship! with what refreshing 
gusto he enters into their boisterous merriment 
— with what burning indignation he broods 
over their wrongs! His life-touches are not 
the chiselled elegance of literary sculpture, but 
the breathing breast and the speaking eye; the 
warm streams of afifection, that well-up in every 
heart, and render sacred the homes of virtue 
and innocence. The lively sympathy of his 
nature linked him, as if by a golden chain, to 
all life and happiness. Yes, cold though our 
dime be, and rugged though our shores be, we 
stand here to glory in the fact that Burns, above 
all men, has let the world know that there are 
in Scottish hearts sympathies as warm, and emo- 
tions as strong, as ever glowed in human bosom. 
Every verse of Burns is instinct with energy. 
He cultivated but little the trifling art of deck- 
ing out what he had to say in mincing and 
modish words ; but conscious only of the force 
of his sentiments, he threw them plump out, as 
they rose rough and round. No writer more 
thoroughly impresses the reader with the con- 
viction that he simply wrote what he liked and 
how he liked. As in literature, he never shaped 
his tone or views to court a favour or avert a 
frown, so in actual life he never condescended 
to become the weakling of the great in order to 
purchase their sufferance or indulgence. His 
spirit rose above the temptations to such mean- 



ness, and, recoiling within itself, wrung from 
him the stem resolve 

" Ere my poor soul such deep damnation stain, 
My borny fist assume the plough again ; 
My piebald jacket let nie patch once more, 
I've lived on eighteen pence a- week before. 

Fain would I draw the mantle of charity over 
the foibles of genius; but truth constrains me 
to admit that, while there is in Burns much, 
yea, very much to admire, there is also some- 
thing to deplore. The tear of pity falls as we 
mourn over the vice that laid him low. We 
can only wish that his votaries may have sense 
to choose the good and refuse the evil. Hav- 
ing offered these few remarks, I beg to propose, 
with all the honours, the " Immortal memory 
of our great national poet, Robert Burns.'* The 
toast was received with enthusiastic applause 
by all the company. 

A number of appropriate toasts were given, 
and the evening was enlivened by many songs, 
which were well sung, the great majority of 
which were the composition of Burns, and which 
were enthusiastically cheered. After a harmo- 
nious and happy meeting, which was kept up 
as long as Forbes Mackenzie would allow, they 
broke up seemingly well pleased. 

We observed in one of the windows of the 
house of Mr. George Cuddie, wheelwright. 
High Street, a very good representation of 
Burns, dressed in his " hodden grey " and 
Scotch blue bonnet, at his plough, with his 
grey horse before him, when he turned up the 
mountain daisy. This he is represented as 
contemplating, while standing between the 
stilts of the plough. Over it is printed his 
beautiful lines on that occasion: — 

"Wee, modest, crimson-tipped flower, 
Thou'st met me in an evit hour. 
For I maun crush amang the stour 

Thy slender stem ; 
To spare thee now is past my power, 

Thou Donnie gem." 

This is the workmanship of his friend, John 
Stark, who lives with him. The whole was 
illuminated during the evening. 

Masonic— The brethren of the " myotic tie " 
had also a meeting and supper in their respec- 
tive lodge rooms, to commemorate the centenary 
of Broker Burns. These lodge rooms were 
very tastefully decorated, and illuminated with 
very neat devices, which showed great taste 
among the brethren. 

BEATTOCK.— The admirers of Bums, to 
the number of forty-five, met on the 25th to 
celebrate his centenary at Beattock Bridge 
Hotel (Miss Ramsay's). The company chiefly 
consisted of inhabitants of the parish of Kirk- 
pat rick- Juxta. The hall was ornamented with 



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THE BURNS CEXTENAllY. 



evergreens and holly in a splendid style; a per- 
fect host of pictures, illustrative of Bums' 
poetry and career, lined the walls, and the fine 
taste displayed in their arrangement elicited 
warm approbation. The dinner was complete 
and sumptuous. The chair was taken by Mr. 
King, Marchbank Wood; and the croupiersiiip 
was confided to Mr. James Little, Palisknowe. 
After dinner the usual loyal toasts were given 
with taste and tact by the Chairman, as was 
also The immortal memory of him who, though 
he led no army to conquest, had garlanded 
" auld Scotland's " time-withered brow with 
richer laurels tl)an the gifts of princes, and en- 
riched her with truer wealth than the proudest 
merchant-vessels were ever freighted with — 
patriotism, leal-hearted neas, honour, and inde- 
pendent feeling. The Sons of Bums, by Mr. 
Walter Wight. The Land we Live in, and the 
Peasantry of Scotland, by Mr. Peter Hutchcson. 
The Railway, by Mr. Dinwoodie. After which 
" The Twa' Dogs '* was capitally recited by 
Messrs. James and William Little. Mr. David 
Henderson delivered an address on '^ The early 
life of Bums;*' and the Crystal Palace prize 
poem was read by the Chairman. During the 
evening the song and laugh and gleeful talk 
prevailed, and in songs especially the company 
were excellently served by Messrs. Hutcheson, 
Watson, Graham, Somerville, &c., whose exer- 
tions were warmly applauded. "Auld Lang- 
syne " was feelingly sung, and the happy even- 
ing was spent ere the half of the merriment of 
heart was done. 



BEITH. — Tuesday was a gala day here. 
There were several meetings, and banners were 
displayed from an early hour. The banner 
belonging to the Burns' Club had upon it six 
busts of Burns, 4tnd the Union Jack in corner. 
The workers of Messrs. Cumming, Melville, & 
Co., also displayed a banner with busts of 
Burns; and the instrumental band paraded the 
town repeatedly, notwithstanding the incle- 
mency of the weather. Of the several meetings 
we have only received a report of that held by 
the members of the Robert Burns Curling Club, 
held in the Commercial Ina, Mr. James Miller, 
stationer, occupying the chair, Mr. William 
Kerr officiating as croupier. After partaking 
of an excellent supper, and the usual loyal and 
constitutional toasts dbposed of, the Chairman 
gave in excellent style, the " Memory of Burns," 
which was warmly received. The rest of the 
evening was spent in toast, song and recitation. 
The appearance of a well-filled haggis created 
1)0 little merriment, and Mr. Andrew Millar's 
hornpipes were greatly applauded. Altogether, 
the meeting was a most pleasant one. 



BELNA CROFT.— Upon the evening of the 
25th, a small but happy party assembled at the 
above place, to do their best in honour of the 
memory and genius of their native bard. The 
raemorj of Burns having been given from the 
chair, Uie toast was drunk in silence; next fol- 
lowed an excellent recitation of his ** Cottar's 
Saturday Night," by Mr. Michie, jun., Tour- 
nouman. Having he& favoured with the pre- 
sence of Willie Bhiir and his celebrated violin, 
some of the bard's favourite airs were played 
o\et with graceful and thrilling efiect. Through- 
out the evening, several of Bums' songs and 
others were sung by Mr. M^Dougall, merchant; 
Mr. Gordon, Balmoral; and Mr. Miohie~ftc- 
companiments being given by Mr. Bhiir; Tlie 
whole proceedings of a very merry and happily 
spent evening came to a close at a late but 
respectable hour. 

Besides the above, almost every viUage and 
hamlet in this quarter had its festive celebration, 
whilst in the larger places the meetings were 
numerous and varied. We have not space to 
give detailed notices of minor celebrations, and 
must content ourselves with thb general refer- 
ence to them. 



BERVIE. — Our ancient royal burgh, we are 
proud to say, has not been behind places of 
greater importance, as we had no fewer than 
four banquets in honour of the hundredth birth- 
day of our national bard. 

The principal meeting took phice in the 
Crown Hotel, where a number of the gentlemen 
of the town and neighbourhood met at supper, 
under the presidency of Dr. Lewios, who was 
supported on the right by the Rev. Mr. Glegg, 
minister of the parish, Mr. Kidd of AUardyce, 
Mr. Reid, and Mr. Aymers, &c. ; and on the 
left by Bailie Glegg, Mr. Stewart, Mr. Ander- 
son, and Mr. 8choley^ &o.; while the duties of 
croupier were ably discharged by Mr. Logie 
Knox, on whose right and left were Mr. Brown, 
Mr. MoUison, Mr. Brown, jun., Mr. Legg, &c. 
After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, the 
Chairman, in proposing the toast of the even- 
ing, spoke as follows: — Gentlemen, in ap- 
proachiag the object of our gathering this 
evening, I confess to feeling the greatest diffi- 
dence, as well as a consciousness that my hum- 
ble powers are perfectly unable to do anything 
like justice to the subject of the toast I am 
about to propose. Exactly one hundred years 
ago was born Robert Bums, to honour whose 
memory we are met here to-night, and in our 
meeting together we are committing no sole- 
cism, as we are only following the example of 
the most distinguished of our countrymen, not 
only in Scotland, but throughout the whole 
civilized world. And we, dwellers in Kincar- 



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BERVIE. 



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dineshire, are specially called upon to take the 
initiative in this movement^ as our county has 
the high honour of having been the home of 
his humble but honest ancestors. In reviewing 
the momentous events that have happened since 
Burns lived, it is impossible to over-estimate 
the advances that as a nation, and as indivi- 
duals, we have made in everything pertaining 
to the happiness and welfare of mankind ; and 
in the passage of these events through our 
minds, the idea can scarcely fail of occurring 
to us ally that had our immortal bard only lived 
one hundred years later than he did, his lot 
and position would have been a very different 
one from what it actually was. It is a melan- 
choly fact, that men are to be found from whom 
better things might have been expected, who 
have lately been doing their worst to blacken 
his memory, and tarnish his fair fame, and al- 
though some of the hard things said of him 
may be true, yet they can never rob him of his 
poetic genius; and the name and memory of 
Robert Burns will be honoured and cherished 
by the people of Scotland when the name and 
memory of his most exalted detractors will be 
buried in oblivion, and sleeping in the grave 
which contains their mortal remains. (Ap- 
plause.) No one has a right, nor is it fair, to 
judge of Burns' character, or of any other man's 
who lived in his time, by the standard of to- 
day, and any one who does so cannot but pass 
an unfair verdict. The habits, and intellectual 
— I had almost said moral — acquirements of 
individuals are so different in different ages, 
that no roan possessed of ordinary intelligence, 
unless he had a selfish or bigoted end to serve, 
would ever dream of committing such injustice. 
It is also a mistake to suppose that Burns was 
what he is often represented to have been — an 
unpolished diamond. His epistolary coiTespon- 
dence enUrely refutes this assertion, and proves 
that he was a man possessed of a very fair 
amount of education, and that his knowledge, 
even of the classical literature of Greece and 
Bome, was not so defective as that of many a 
roan who has had far greater advantages. He 
was not perhaps what a pitiful conventionalisro 
would style a gentleman, but he was, every 
inch of him, a true man, which is far higher — 
and he seems to have been unintentionally 
painting his own character, when, in his manly 
and independent spirit, he sang — 

** The rank is bat the guinea stamp, 
The man's the gowd for a' that.*' 

(Great applause.) Yes, gentlemen. Burns, 
with all his failings, even independently of his 
great poetical powers, was a noble -hearted 
man. But of course the object we have in 
view this evening is principally to do honour to 



his memory as our nationtil bard — and no poet, 
living or dead, with all the advantages pos- 
sessed by the men who have lived and flourished 
since his day, has been able to strip him of 
that glory. This simple statement is the high- 
est panegyric that can possibly be passed upon 
him, and the most brilliant eloquence could find 
nothing more telling with which to eulogise his 
true poetic genius. (Cheers.) Till literature 
declines and dies, the poetry of Robert Burns 
will be cherished and gloried in by the sons of 
Caledonia — lie it read at home, on the burning 
plains of India, the scorching shores of Africa, 
or on the ice-bound lakes of Canada, the heart- 
stirring notes of " Scots wha hae wi* Wallace 
bled," the homely fervour of the " Cottar's Sa- 
turday Night," or the thrilling story of " Al- 
loway's auld haunted kirk," will never fail to 
awaken an electric echo in the breast of every 
truo and patriotic Scotchman. (Applause.) Gen- 
tlemen, I ask you to rise from your seats, and, 
standing, to drink in solemn silence to the 
memory of the illustrious dead. 

The Croupier, in proposing the healtli of 
"the Clergy," remarked that he had always 
very great pleasure in drinking to the health of 
that body. At the same time, he could not 
but regret the attitude they had assumed on 
the present occasion; and, while he thought 
that the clergy of Scotland were always wor- 
thy of being remembered at meetings like the 
present, still he held that Mr. Glegg, with 
whose name he begged to couple the toast, 
was specially entitled to have his health drunk, 
with all the honours, for the manly and 
straightforward course he had pursued on the 
present occasion. The toast was most enthu- 
siastically received, and drunk with all the 
honours. 

The Rev. Mr. Gleoo, in the course of a 
very excellent reply, stated that, while there 
were many of Burns' poems which he could not 
but condemn, still his belief was, that in writ- 
ing some of them, he was only paying back in 
kind the treatment that he (Bums) thought he 
had received at the hands of roen whoro he 
considered (of course it was for him to judge) 
had acted roost unjustly towards him. 

After a number of toasts and songs, the com- 
pany separated just as Forbes Mackenzie's hour 
began to strike, having spent a most delightful 
evening. The vocal and instrumental perform- 
ance of Mr. Greig and Mr. Young was very 
much admired; and deservedly so, as their 
rendering of the Bard's songs was a perfect 
treat. 

The working men of our Burgh celebrated 
the centenary birthday of our National Bard 
by a supper and ball. The supper, a very 
sumptuous one, took place in the Salutation 



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THE liURNS CENTENARY. 



Inn, under the able servitude of Mr. and Mrs. 
Anderson. The chair was taken at 8 o'clock 
by Mr. James G. Gibb — ^Mr. Davidson, Coun- 
cillor, and Mr. Lindsay, acted as Croupiers. 
The toast of the evening was introduced by the 
Chairman in an eloquent and comprehensive 
address, which was received with the utmost 
entliusiasm. About 9 o'clock the junior por- 
tion of the guests adjourned to open the ball, 
when 

" With feathered feet the lads and lasses a' 
Assembled in their dresses braw, 
An' danced till tliey were like to fa', 
The Reel o' Tullochgonim." 

Tlie ball was conducted with the utmost order 
under the able management of Messrs. Jar vis 
and Duncan, to the inspiring strains of music 
. under, the able leadership of Mr. W. Davidson, 
assisted by Messrs. J. Davidson and Webster, 
Bervie; Greig, Kinneff; and Young, Lau- 
rencekirk; who joined the orchestra at an 
advanced hour in the evening. The elder 
guests remained in the Salutation, and with 
songs and toasts continued to enjoy a night 
with Burns to their heart's content, and joined 
heartily in the chorus of " Willy brewed a peck 
o' maut." The number at supper was upwards 
of sixty, that at the ball, including partners, 
about 130. 

BERWICK (North). — Here the festival 
centenary was held with great Sdat. The 
Freemasons, joined by most of the Bluejackets, 
with innumerable flags, headed by a band of 
music, proceeded from their Lodge-room to the 
parish school, which was tastefully decorated 
with evergreens, and accompanied by a crowd 
of the inhabitants enthusiastically cheering. 

The Right Worshipful took the chair. Past 
Master Blair gave the opening address, and 
" Caledonia and Caledonia's Bard," which was 
received with enthusiastic cheering. Many of 
the songs of Burns were sweetly sung, and 
several of his poems recited. The room was 
densely crowded, there being upwards of 300 
present. 

BIGGAR.— The Centenary of Burns was 
celebrated here, as elsewhere, with enthusiasm : 
business was suspended about raid-day, and at 
the " darknin* " a bonfire was kindled on the 
site of the Auld Cross Knowe, which was a 
great attraction for the juvenile population. A 
public meeting was held in the Crown Inn; 
and the Lodge Biggar Free Operatives gave a 
torchlight procession, followed by a supper and 
ball. There were also numerous private din- 
ner and supper parties in the town and neigh- 
bourhood. 



BLAIRGOWRIE.— The morning of Tues- 
day, 25th January, dawned bright and beauti- 
ful on Strathmore. This day, long looked for- 
ward to by Scotchmen in all parts of the 
world, had now come round, and Blairgowrie 
prepared to celebrate the centenary of the birth 
of Scotland's own poet in its own way. 

Banquet in McLaren's Hotel. — ^A party 
of about forty gentlemen belonging to the 
town and district met in the hall of McLaren's 
Hotel, about four o'clock p.m. The hall was 
decorated with evergreens, arranged upon 
the walls in various tasteful figures. The 
Instrumental Band was in attendance, and the 
music added greatly to the effect and enjoy- 
ment of the meeting. Alexander Robertson, 
Esq., banker, occupied the chair, supported 
on the right by J. L. Campbell, Esq. of 
Achalader, Allan Macpherson, Esq. of Blair- 
gowrie, and James Young, Esq., Chief Magis- 
trate; and on the left, by Robert Geekie, Esq. 
of Rosemount, Colin McGregor, Esq., and 
James Dallas, Esq., solicitor. John Baxter, 
Esq., Ashbank, officiated as croupier, supported 
on the right by Alexander Buchan, Esq., and 
on the left by William Fyfe, Esq., Keith Bank. 
Grace having been said by the Chairman, the 
company sat down to a sumptuous dinner, 
served up in Mr. McLaren's best style. It is 
quite unnecessary to particularise tlie various 
dishes, but the rapidity with which the {bona 
fide) Scotch "Haggis" disappeared, at once 
evinced a keen appetite on tbo part of the 
guests, and |>aid a high compliment to the cook. 
The cloth having been removed, the Chairman 
proposed " The Queen," in a neat speech, in 
which he eulogised Her Majesty's many vir- 
tues. She was an example to all her subjects, 
but especially so to those of her own sex. The 
toast received all the honours. 

Music — " God Save the Qaeen." 

" The Prince of Wales," " H. R. H. The Prince 
Consort, and the other members of the Royal 
Family," were then given from the chair. 

Music — *^ Britannia the Pride of the Ocean." 

After the usual loyal toasts, the Chairman 
proposed " The Memory of Robert Bums, 
Scotland's Immortal Bard," and said: — We 
have this evening met to pour out libations to 
the memory of a nation's poet. Every city, 
every town, and almost every village in our 
native land has, with the greatest enthusiasm, 
united to commemorate the first centenary of 
Burns, the Bard of Scotland, and to do honour 
to his memory. (Cheers.) This day one hun- 
dred years ago the poet's tiny bark was launched 
upon the tide of Time — ^liis birth and parent- 
age being obscure, his youth passed in seclu- 
sion. 

An old Latin writer, many hundred years 



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ago, said, ^' The poet is born, not made/' So 
was it with Burns — ^he was born a poet; it was 
not by study nor by education he became one; 
but there, in rural solitude and retirement, 
'* far from the busy hum of men," did he light 
his rustic torch at the Muse's flame. By the 
lonely hill-side, by the murmuring stream, by 
the open meadow, and along the green vale, 
did he feed his glowing fancy and elevate his 
sweetest thoughts. (Cheers.) What to ordi- 
nary minds appeared common-place and tame, 
was to the mind of ttie young poet clothed 
with loveliness and beauty. Then it was, when 
surrounded by all that could elevate the soul 
and purify the heart, that Burns drunk deq) at 
the fount of nature's poetry. 

As the poet himself says, at the plough the 
poetic Genius threw her inspiring mantle over 
him. Then he seized the lyre, and threw his 
liands across its magic strings. Thousands 
stood entranced — the melody of the music 
found a response in every heart: the learned 
and unlearned, the noble and the ignoble, the 
rich and the poor, all alike enchanted, confessed 
the poet's genius, and all alike, however varied 
their tastes, acknowledged the mighty influence 
his melody had upon their souls. Like a tran- 
sient meteor, the poet flashed and blazed forth. 
His appearance was as sudden and his splendour 
as bright. But, alas! like a meteor, too, his 
disappearanco was as speedy, and his end 
as soon. Caressed by some, worshipped by 
others, and admired by all, the poet stood 
forth, for some time, the envy and the delight 
of his country; but evil times were at hand. 
Misfortunes overtook him, friends deserted him, 
wave after f.ave of adversity rolled over him, 
and at last, even hope, that sweet charmer, left 
him, and in midtime of his days he was cast a 
shattered wreck upon the shore. 

'' 81iort had been his passage to the friendly tomb." 

Now the people paused; then it was they 
thought of the apathy and indifference with 
which they had left their favoured child of song 
to struggle, single-handed, with his foes — foes 
from without and from within. But the last 
struggle was over — the poet's last battle had 
been fought. Regrets were unavailing, and the 
tribute of a nation's tears sang the poet's last 
requiem. 

The magic harp was now unstrung, never 
again, it is to be feared, to be touched by such 
a nifuster's hand, and the hapless poet left the 
music of his song to warble its sweetest melody, 
as a memento of his joys and of his sorrows, 
to generations yet unborn. The melody of 
that music undulates along the stream of time ; 
and we, as well as our forefathers, have felt its 
sweetness and enjoyed its harmony, and the 



result of which is our present meeting to do 
honour to his memory. 

After giving an illustration of the difficulty 
those who were not true bred Scotchmen 
had in understanding the true meaning of the 
poet, the Chairman said: — I have to request 
that we unite in solemn silence in drinking to 
the memory of the immortal Bard of Scotland, 
Robert Burns. (The toast was drunk in 
solemn silence.) 

Musio — " Auld Langsyne." 

Among other toasts, the memory of Scott, 
^ogg, and Tannahill were eloquently given; 
and at the request of the Chairman, Mr. Dickson 
sang ^'Auld Langsyne," the company joining 
in chorus. At that verse, 

"And here's a band my trusty friend," &c, 

the company rose en mease, grasped each other's 
hands, and joined in a chorus that made the 
hall ring again. Then followed a cheer — a 
hearty hurrah — a cheer such as will not likely 
be joined in by any individual member of that 
company again for a long time. That cheer 
gave utterance to emotions such as seldom stir 
the heart. For the moment Burns was for- 
gptten. It was the reunion of the hearts of 
the whole Saxon race, scattered as it now is, 
carrying the triumphs of intellect and of man- 
hood wherever dry land rises from the "vasty 
deep/' 

The company separated at ten o'clock, after 
spending a very happy evening. 

Soiree in the Malt Barn. — The demon- 
stration in the Malt Barn, Hill o' Blair, was 
perhaps the most successful soiree ever given 
in this town. Between four and five hundred 
were present, drawn from all ranks of society. 
The Barn was finely decorated with evergreens, 
and lighted with gas put in for the occasion. 
Allan Macpherson, Esq., occupied the chair, 
and the speakers the platform, which was also 
graced by the presence of a number of ladies. 
The Westfields Flute Band was in attendance, 
and delighted the audience by performing a 
variety of tunes. There was a service of tea, 
during which the band performed. The Chair- 
man then delivered the following address, 
which was listened to with the deepest atten- 
tion : — 

Ladies and Gentlemen, — The programme of 
this evening's entertainment which has been 
placed in my hands — the bill of intellectual 
fare, if I may be permitted so to call it — is so 
varied, so extensive, and so attractive — ^not for- 
getting the more substantial elements of good 
I cheer, for which apparently so liberal provision 
' has been made — that I feel, that in detaining 
I you with many remarks on the subject of this 
I extensive reunion, I should only be attempting 



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to forestall, in a very inadequate and imperfect 
manner, the subject-matter of the no doubt 
carefully prepared addresses which are to form 
an important element in this evening's enter- 
tainment. I shall therefore content myself 
with expressing my pride and pleasure in hav- 
ing been called upon to preside at so large an 
assemblage of inhabitants of this town and 
neighbourhood, met together for the purpose 
of doing honour to the memory of a poet whose 
works are perhaps more universally read, appre- 
ciated, and sympathised with by every rank 
and degree of men, in every quarter of the 
globe where the Anglo-Saxon race is settled, 
than those of any other poet whom the world 
has ever seen. In celebrating the hundredth 
anniversary of the birth of the Poet Burns, 
we are only doing what b this moment being 
done in almost every populous locality in the 
world where the British language is spoken, 
and in several where it is not. In doing 
honour to the mempry of one who may be 
called emphatically The PeopU*» Poet, we are 
also doing honour to ourselves, by thus illus- 
trating our belief in, and respect for, the great 
principle which pervades the entire range of 
Burns' poetry — the inncUe dignity of human 
nature, unaided by birth, fortuney or rank, 
(Cheers.) Able addresses were also delivered 
by Messrs. Mitchell, Davie, Bridie, and Stevens. 
Messrs. Rennieand Hume sung a number of 
songs in first-rate style, and a glee party gave 
variety to the entertainment by singing various 
pieces. ''Auld Lang.syne" was sung by the 
whole company standing with the greatest 
enthusiasm. Mr. W. Steven proposed a vote 
of thanks to the Chairman; and after several 
other votes of thanks, the large meeting sepa- 
rated about eleven o'clock greatly delighted. 



BLAIRINGONE.— Up to the evening of 
Monday, the 24th, our little village seemed 
to lag behind in the almost universal prepara- 
tions for celebrating the centenary of Robert 
Burns, our national poet. But, on that even- 
ing a few of the more energetic inhabitants of 
the village made arrangements for getting up a 
bonfire, and for at least drinking a bumper to 
the memory of the poet. Through the liberality 
of the Lord of the Manor, George Wylie, Esq., 
the affair swelled on their hands, and accord- 
ingly, on the 25th, the male villagers and 
others united for a demonstration ; first, round 
a roaring fire on the Head i' Hicht, within view 
©f the banks of the " Clear winding Devon," 
whose praises have been sung in immortal 
strains by Burns, and then by sitting down in 
the school-room, forty-four in number, to a 
sumptuous dinner, in which the haggis, " warm, 
reeking, rich," figured conspicuously. The 



duties of the chair were discharged by Mr. 
Marshal, teacher, and Mr. Henderson, manager 
of the Lambhill Colliery, acted as croupier. 
After the cloth was removed, the Chairman, in 
a few suitable remarks, proposed the toast of 
the evening — The memory of Burns — which 
was drunk in solemn silence. The health of 
G. Wylie, Esq., of Arndean and Blairingone, 
was then proposed by the Chairman, and re- 
sponded to with rapturous applause. Other 
toasts followed, many of the songs of Bums 
were sung, and, after aitTevening of much quiet, 
social enjoyment, the company parted, towards 
the " wee short hour ayont the twal," by sing- 
ing " Auld Langsyne." 



BO'NESS.— The celebration of this event 
took place on Tuesday evening, 25th, in the 
Town Hall, which was fitted up and tastefully 
decorated with evergreens, &c., for the occasion. 
The enthusiasm which prevailed among the ad- 
mirers of Bums, in anticipation of the hun- 
dredth anniversary of his birth, was by no means 
damped by the storm of wind and rain which 
blew in a perfect hurricane about the time of 
meeting; it rather imparted an additional zest 
to their feelings, for it appeared as if the very 
elements were disposed to unite in the celebra- 
tion of the memorable event, and to produce a 
somewhat faithful representation of that *' Blast 
o' Januar' win* which blew hansel in on Robin." 
The chair was taken at eight o'clock by Mr. 
William Miller, Marchbank Cottage, Bo'ness, 
when upwards of a hundred gentlemen sat down 
to dinner. Mr. Steele, of Bo'ness Foundry, 
acted as principal croupier, the other tables 
being respectively presided over by Messrs. 
Smith and Kirkwood. The Chairman was sup- 
ported on the right by John Begg, Esq., Kin- 
neil Iron Works, (after the return of that gentle- 
men from the Falkirk celebration,) and on the 
left by James Webster, Esq., factor to His 
Grace the Duke of Hamilton, &c. After the 
usual loyal and patriotic toasts were disposed 
of— 

The Chairman rose, amid thunders of ap- 
plause, and said — Mr. Croupier and Gentlemen, 
— You are all aware that the object of our 
meeting here to-night is one of no ordinary 
character; that it is one in which thousands of 
our fellow-countrymen are simultaneously and 
heartily engaged, viz., in celebrating the cen- 
tenary of the birth of our own poet, Robert 
Burns; one whom Scotland is proud to number 
among her sons, and one whose very name 
makes the hearts of Scotchmen thrill with 
emotions far more easily felt than described. 
(Cheers.) We trust, nay, we are confident, that 
the spirit of respect and admiration which is 
now being so widely displayed by a British 



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public, alike by the occupant of the castle and 
the cot, Is not to-night awanting here towards 
the memory of the great and illustrious bard 
whom we hesitate not to stamp as the €hief 
of our native poets; whose works will not cease 
to be remembered and admired long after we 
have all passed away to that land so graphically 
describecl in these beautiful lines — 

" Where there's nae sorrow there. Jean, 
There's neither cauld nor care, Jean ; . 
The day is aye fair, Jean, 
In the Land o' the Leal." 

Robert Bums, like many others who have risen 
to eminence in our country, had not his origin 
from among the nobles of the land, but certainly 
from a highly respectable, if more humble class, 
and from a class who largely constitute the 
great strength of this and other lands; he was 
the eldest son of William Burns and Agnes 
Brown, both possessed of an amount of intelli- 
gence superior to those around them, and dis- 
played great anxiety that their family should 
have the best education within their reach. 
Nor did they forget the importance of example 
to the young. One of the visitors of the 
family of Burns writes thus, " there we enjoyed 
a conversation wherein solid reasoning, sensible 
remarks, and a moderate seasoning of jocularity 
vrere so nicely blended as to render it a treat 
to all parties present Mrs. Burns, too, was of 
the party as mu<^ as possible, but still the 
household affairs would draw her hence, which 
as she could with haste despatch, she'd come 
again, and, with a greedy ear, devour up this 
discourse, and particularly that of her husband. 
That worthy woman, Agnes Brown, had the 
most thorough esteem for her husband I ever 
knew, nor do I wonder she so highly esteemed 
him, for I myself have always considered 
William Bums as by far the best specimen of 
the human race I have ever had the pleasure of 
being acquainted \^ith, and many a worthy 
character I have known," The means of ob- 
taining education were at the time of the poet*s 
youth neither so ample nor so varied as at the 
present day, but he had what we might term a 
very inquiring mind, and obstacles which would 
have retarded the progress of many a scholar 
were surmounted by him without difficulty; 
consequently his infofmation at a very early 
period of his existence was far beyond his years. 
He had also very early to take part in the 
labours of the field, at which he was also a pro- 
ficient; and we find him in his fifteenth year 
taking part in the harvest field, coupled on the 
rigs as a partner to what he terms a bonnie, 
sweet, sonsie lass, and thus with him began love 
and poetry. Of her he writes— 

"As honnie lasses I hae seen, 
And many full as hraw, 



Bnt for a modest, gracefti* mien 
^ The like 1 never saw." 

With regard to his numerous works, you are 
all aware they are of such a style and magni- 
tude as to render anything like a review on our 
part to-night thoroughly impossible. Yet we 
may be permitted, in passing, to look at a few. 
Can we look at the Cottar's Saturday Night 
without seeing that it is truly the work of a 
master mind; that it is a picture which only 
genius, inspired by the finest of feelings, could 
produce; that there is in it sufiicient to im- 
mortalise the name of the poet, even although 
it had been his only production? Can we look 
at " Scots wha hae wi* Wallace bled" without 
feeling the spirit of patriotism rise within our 
breast? (Cheers.) Do we turn to his <' High- 
land Mary " without seeing that the language 
there* is sublime and really heartfelt ? Do we 
read his epitaph, written on the death of his 
father, without seeing the paternal feeling that 
existed in his bosom t In short, can we look 
at any part of his works without admiring the 
genius and that noble spirit of independence of 
which his compositions are full, and without 
seeing that they are not to be surpassed in 
genuine pathos and tme poetic fire? (Great 
cheers.) 

The toast was received in the most enthusi- 
astic manner, after which " There was a lad was 
born in Kyle ^ was sung with admirable effect 
by Mr. Gardner. 

In reply to the toast of the '' Existing relatives 
of Bums," Mr. Begg, nephew of the Poet, re- 
turned thanks in the following terms: — Mr. 
Chairman and gentlemen, 1 feel deeply grate- 
ful for the kind manner in which this toast has 
been proposed, and also for the warm reception 
it has met from you all. The spectacle pre- 
sented this day over the whole world, wherever 
the English language is spoken, is one of deep 
interest to every inteUigent mind, but in our 
own land it is one of unprecedented grandeur. 
In every town and hamlet over all Scotland, 
wherever perfect fi*eedom exists among the 
people, crowds of intelligent and active spirits 
simultaneously and voluntarily assemble, ani- 
mated by no selfish or party cry, summoned by 
no legal and resistless power, proposing no 
grievance for redress, aiming neither at per- 
sonal nor national aggrandisement, but with 
one mind seeking to offer homage to the me- 
mory of a poor and unfortunate, but honest 
and independent man, who died more than 
sixty years ago, and laying the priceless trea- 
sures of their love at the shrine of departed 
genius. This hearty admiration of a poet such 
as Burns could not be really felt except by 
honest men, and if proof is wanted that the 
heart of the nation is still sound and untainted 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



by the pestilence of dishonesty and overtrading 
that stalked lately through the land, such proof 
is here; and every shout this day raised in 
memory of honest exertions and pure and lofty 
thoughts, IV ill help to clear the moral atmo- 
sphere of the taint of that corruption. Amongst 
the great mass of people of all ranks and in all 
quarters of the globe whose hearts are to-day 
beating in unison with yours, filled with love 
and admiration for tlie name and memory of 
Burns, perhaps none, excepting those of kindred 
genius with himself, can have such keen delight 
in contemplating this great national outburst of 
feeling as the living relatives of Bums. Like 
some great and all gootl men, he nourished, 
during the whole of bis life, a warm attachment 
to his kindred, and they, on their part, re- 
turned his love with a depth of feeling ap- 
proaching to devotion. They admired him for 
his genius, but, above even that feeling, they 
loved him for his worth. His circle once was 
small and confined within the limits of his 
humble home; now, it is confined by no limits 
but those of the globe itself, and his tender- 
ness and i>ower compel all who can think and 
feel to own tliemselves his kindred. There is, 
and there ought to be, a just feeling of pride 
in illustrious descent from noble ancestors, and 
in blood relationship to the great and good. It 
increases a man's self-respect, and erects a 
higher standard of excellence for his imitation. 
It makes him also, if he thinks at all, more 
careful to avoid all contaminating influences, 
lost he bring disgrace on himself and reflect 
discredit on an honourable name. You and all 
true-hearted Scotsmen would hold the relatives 
of Burns beneath contempt if they were not as 
proud of their relationship to him as if they 
could boast descent from kings and conquerors. 
Although many will fail to sympathise with 
pride of birth, there are few who will not feel 
regret at the failure of an illustrious line. This 
doom seems to be almost the universal fate of 
men of genius, and especially of poets. Burns 
is no exception to the rule ; for his name, in 
direct descent from him, ceases with the exist- 
ence of the present generation, unless the two 
surviving widowed sons of the poet should yet 
take unto themselves wives. With great poets 
this doom is less to be regretted, since the 
world at large inherits the fruits of their life's 
labours, and as their fame is deeply engraven in 
the hearts of the people, they do not require 
descendants to perpetuate their name. The 
relatives of Burns are proud to recollect that 
they owe every mark of public sympathy they 
enjoy solely to their connection with our great 
national bard, and they feel the more grateful 
to you for the graceful and spontaneous manner 
in which you thus honour them, that they have 



no claims whatever to public recognition apart 
from the existence of that relationship. For 
my part, I have always felt that it has been to 
me an open-sesame to the hearts of my country- 
men, and, in consequence of it, all of us have 
experienced kindnesses and derived advan- 
tages for which we cannot be sufficiently grate- 
ful and for which we are altogether unworthy. 
I feel deeply grateful to your committee for 
their kindness to me in asking me to be pre- 
sent on this occasion, and, in the name of the 
whole of the relatives of Burns, I would desire 
to express their gratitude for the kindly feel- 
ings manifested to-night on their behalf. (Dur- 
ing his speech, and at its close, Mr. Begg was 
cordially applauded.) 

After the programme had been exhausted, 
there were a considerable number of other 
toasts, songs, and readings, which added in no 
small degree to the hilarity of the meeting. 
Among them we may mention two original 
poems written for the occasion by Peter T. 
Johnstone and Mrs. Cairns respectively, both 
of which had considerable merit. The Instru- 
mental Band contributed greatly to the general 
happiness throughout the whole of the evening. 

A respectable and happy gathering of the 
admirers of the " Rantin' Rovin* Boy," was held 
in the Parish School here, which Mr. Stephens, 
with his usual urbanity and kindness, readily 
granted for the purpose. The company con- 
sisted chiefly of working men, with their wives 
and sweethearts, who were determined to take 
part in the great demonstration of respect for 
the memory of " Robin that's awa," which has 
been manifested in such a variety of ways by 
their ** Brither Scots frae Maidenkirk to Johnny 
Groat's.'' The bills announcing the meeting 
were published only a few days previous to the 
occasion ; nevertheless the tickets, which, to 
suit the pecuniary circumstances of all parties, 
were fixed at one shilling each, were all bought 
up early on Saturday the 22d, and although at 
the hour of meeting, 

*' The win' blew as »twad blawn its last, 
The rattliu' show'rs rose on the blast," 

Nothing could cool the ardour of the ticket- 
holders, who 

" Skelpit on tliro' dub an' mire, 

and filled the place of meeting so rapidly, that 
before seven o'clock, the time for commencing 
proceedings, ever}' seat was occu^ed, and once 
fairly within doors, 

" The win' withoat might rair and rustle, 
They didna inin' the storm a whistle." 

Several courses of refreshments, provided by 
Messrs. Paris, Arkley and Harrison, were served 



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during tlie evening, but the real enjoyment of 
those congregated — upwards of two hundred — 
was derived from a selection of readings from 
the works of the immortal bard, interspersed 
with a variety of his unrivalled songs. Mr. 
Alexander Nisbet, sub-inspector of waggons, 
Monklaud Railway, occupied the chair in a very 
efficient manner. The proceedings commenced 
with a song and chorus, the words and music 
of which were composed for the occasion by 
two gentlemen of Bo'ness. After which the 
Ciuiirman gave a rapid sketch of the life and 
characteristics of Burns. 

After singing '' Auld Langsyne," hand in 
hand, in full chorus, and with great glee, and 
having voted thanks to the parties who had 
been more actively engaged in getting up and 
maintaining the demonstration, the company 
separated a little after midnight, delighted 
with the whole proceedings, and with each 
other, and 

" Each took off bis several way 
Kesolired to meet some other day." 



BONHILL. — Od the evening of the cen- 
tenary of the birth of Bums a company of 
about twenty-four gentlemen connected with 
Messrs. M'AIlan's Printfield at Dillichip, sat 
down to dinner in Bonhill Inn. Mr. Robert 
Latham occupied the chair, and Mr. Archibald 
Jardlne officiated as croupier. The usual toasts 
Yvere given, and great enthusiasm prevailed 
when the Chairman drew attention to the toast 
of the evening, " The immortal memory of 
Robert Bums." During the evening a number 
of Burns' songs were very effectively rendered, 
and all seemed to derive much pleasure and 
enjoyment from the success with which the 
meeting was carried on. The purveying de- 
partment, by Mrs. Buchanan, was all that could 
have been desired. On the same evening, and 
for the same purpose, the Journeymen Bakers 
of the Vale of Leven met in the house of Mr. 
John M*Gregor, Bonhill. Mr. William M'Adam 
occupied the chair, and Mr. James M'Farlane 
officiated as croupier. The company having 
partaken of an excellent supper, a number of 
toasts appropriate to the occasion were given, 
including, of course, the memory of the Pea- 
sant Bard, and cordially responded to. The 
evening was spent in a very pleasant manner. 

BONNYBRIDGE.— A soiree, in honour 
of the immortal Ayrshire ploughman, was 
held in the New School-room here, on Tues- 
day evening, the 25th. A. Oliver, Esq., oc- 
cupied the chair. Tea having been served, 
the Chairman gave an able address on the 
**Life and genius of Bums," which was at- 



tentively listened to, and warmly applauded. 
Mr. J. Cuthbert, the respected teacher of the 
school, next gave an address on "Poetry,*' 
which was well received. The company were 
highly entertained during the evening by the 
excellent singing of the following amateurs. 
Miss Bell and M'Lean from Dennyloanhead ; 
M. Lennie, Esq. of Woodlee ; Mr. Somerville 
from Greenhill ; and Messrs. Dick and Ander- 
son of Bonnybridge. The proceedings were 
enlivened by favourite airs on the violin by 
Messrs. Scott, Forrester, and Maq^herson, who 
contributed much to the enjoyment of the 
evening. Notwithstanding the small bills giv- 
ing notice of the occasion, the attendance was 
numerous, and the company broke up at a late 
hour of the night highly pleased with the en- 
tertainment. 

BOTRIPHOTE.— The Burns' centenary was 
celebrated under tlie auspices of the Young 
Men's Mutual Instruction Society, and in con- 
nexion with the celebration of the second anni- 
versary of this Society. Notwithstanding the 
inclemency of the weather, by seven p.m. the 
old school-room, which was very tastefully 
decorated with holly and other evergreens, was 
crowded by a respectable and numerous audi- 
ence. Mr. A. Carmichael presided, and intro- 
duced the proceedings of the evening by an 
able address on Burns. Wines, fruits, and 
sweetmeats were frequently sent round. In a 
word, the affair went off in a splendid manner, 
and all present spent a very happy evening. 



BOWDEN. — A party of the admirers of our 
national poet met to commemorate his cente- 
nary in the Crown Inn here on the 2oth. Mr. 
Haliburton was called to the chair, and Mr. 
M*Iver acted as croupier. An excellent supper 
was provided by Mr. Nicol, with a haggis 
placed as centre dish, which well sustained the 
title as " Great chieftain o' the pudding race.'' 
After supper, the Chairman, in a short but 
impressive speech, proposed the toast of the 
evening, " The Memory of our National Poet, 
Bums;" after which Mr. M*Dermont sung 
" There was a lad was born in Kyle." Mr. 
James Thomson, from Hawick, next gave an 
animated and affecting address on the memory 
of Burns, when Mr. Robt. Suddens sung "My 
Nannie O" with great taste and feeling. 
Messrs. M*Iver, Henderson, Fisher, &c., sung 
several excellent songs, which were much 
applauded. Mr. Thomson, Bowden, sung a 
beautiful piece, entitled, " A lament for the 
death of Burns.'' Mr. Henderson, Faugh-hill, 
sung " O' a' the airts the win' can blaw." Mr. 
Jas. Thomson recited several excellent pieces. 
Amongst others, **A monody on the death of 



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THE BURNS CENTENARY. 



Burns," " Verses by Fitzgreen HaUeck on wild 
rose of AUoway," and •* Tam o' Shanter." 

After spending a very happy evening, the 
meeting broke up, the utmost good humoiHr 
and harmony having prevailed throughout. 

BOWLING. — On Tuesday evening, upwards 
of forty gentlemen — ^principally connected with 
the Excise branch of the Civil Service — sat 
down to a sumptuous dinner in the Sutherland 
Arms Hotel, for the purpose of doing honour 
to our great national poet and their illustrious 
brother-gauger, by commemorating the cente- 
nary of his birthday. Collector Campbell of 
Greenock, dressed in the Highland costume, 
occupied the chair, and Mr. Dawson, distiller, 
Glasgow, acted as croupier. Amongst those 
present were Mr. Stewart, factor to Lord 
Blantyre; Captain Rankin, of the steamer 
Stork; Messrs. J. M<Eay and J. M'Nab, Dum- 
barton; Messrs. Place, Davidson, Edmiston, 
Glasgow ; Speak, Thornton, Tait, &c. 

The cloth being removed, and the usual 
loyal and patriotic toasts having been given and 
duly honoured, the Chairman, in an appropriate 
and characteristic speech, proposed the toast of 
the evening, " The Memory of Burns," which was 
drunk in solemn silence. A number of other 
toasts were also proposed, and most enthusiasti- 
cally responded to. The intervals were agree- 
ably occupied with music by amateur musicians, 
and the entertainment was kept up till a late 
hour, all seemingly well pleased with the even- 
ing's enjoyment. The dinner and other arrange- 
ments reflected great credit upon Mr. and Mrs. 
Moncur. 

BRACO, or Ardogh. — The annual dinner 
of the Ardoch Curling Club was held in 
Anderson's Inn here on the centenary of Burns' 
birth, when a most sumptuous dinner was par- 
taken of; after which the memory of Burns 
was drunk with great spirit, several of his 
songs sung in first-rate style, and the night 
spent in the most agreeable and brotherly man- 
ner. 



BRAIDWOOD.— A ball, in honour of this 
national event, was held in the evening, in