BY THE EARL OF ROSEBERY K.G., K.T.
could scarcely be a more opportune publication for
Scotsmen than a record of the valour of their historical
regiments. This war has revealed and developed the
strong and undying soul which animates them, and
maintains through generations and even centuries a
corporate and jealous pride. Whether in the kilt or the
trews, or on the ' beautiful grey horses ' admired by
Napoleon, they appeal irresistibly even to the most
pacific natures in Scotland, and that is half the secret
of the unmatched recruiting returns from the ancient
kingdom during the present war. United as clans, proudly
conscious of the battles on their colours, holding their
traditional reputation as a sacred trust, they are a
brotherhood of honour on which the country confidently
relies in peace and in war.
spirit, the name, and the tradition are wholly Scottish.
But it must be remembered that the men are not all of
that race. Many come from all parts
But once in the regiments, and while in the regiments,
they become Scotsmen by adoption and grace, as proud of
their corps, as jealous of its honour, as any lads from
the Lothians or Inverness. That is one great value of
these historical regiments, they embody and assimilate
recruits from all Britain, and give them the succession
and the prestige of those heroes who have gone before.
Scottish regiments began in all sorts of ways. The Scots
were poor, warlike, and adventurous, with few
temptations at home to a military career. One, for
example, served much abroad in the seventeenth century.
Returning home, they followed Dumbarton’s drums, as the
old song has it, and became permanently British. Another
famous regiment was much employed about the same time in
harrying (under orders) the Covenanters in their mosses.
The Covenanters in their turn, when that tyranny was
overpast, were formed into a regiment of their own under
the Scottish Parliament, and earned fame at once which
they have enhanced ever since. And so on ; in a short
note like this it is not necessary or possible to
details will be given in the ensuing pages. Surely it is
well when we have a wolf, or rather jackal, at our
throats to garner up from history the description of our
ancestors conquering nobler enemies. This is not to say
that the Prussian soldier is not, as regards valour, a
brave combatant. But he is directed by men who have
placed themselves outside the pale of humanity, and
shares their responsibility. Let us hope that once more,
and soon, it may be given to a Scottish regiment to
storm, as in Aytoun’s spirited verses, an island on the
indulge myself with only one significant extract; it
regards the Scots in Belgium during the Waterloo
campaign. The natives admired the English, but always
returned to the Scots with, ‘But the Scots, they are
good and kind as well as brave; they are the only
soldiers who become members of the family in the houses
in which they are billeted; they even carry about the
children, and do the domestic work.’ The favourite
proverbial form of compliment was, ‘Lions in the field
and lambs in the house.’ That is exquisite praise. The
unhappy Netherlands can now compare these Scottish
soldiers with the wild beasts who have desolated their
country and ravaged their homes.
I am heartily grateful
for this stimulating book.
Electric Scotland Note: This is a microfiche scan of
this book so not the best quality but certainly readable
if you go full screen. To be able to ocr the
Preface I had to save the three pages as a jpg file to
deskew the pages and thus enable the ocr process. We
believe this is a wee gem of a book and for those
interested in our Scottish regiments well worth reading.
We provide the book in pdf format for you to download.
Scotland for Ever