ALTHOUGH Scotland is a
small country, it is no exaggeration to say that its influence in the
world has been in inverse geometrical proportion to its size and
population. For centuries the country was extremely poor and
economically unproductive. The natural consequence was that many
thousands of her ablest sons passed over to the Continent, there to
carve out careers for themselves. Some idea of the extent of this
migration is shown by the statement of William Lithgow, that in his time
Poland was a mother and nurse “for the youth and younglings of Scotland,
who are yearly sent hither in great numbers,” and that “thirty thousand
Scots families” were living “incorporate in her bowells” (Rare
adventures and painefu! peregrinations, London, 1632, p. 422). Large
numbers entered the service of France, Russia, and Sweden, many rising
to positions of the highest eminence and trust.
On the plantation of Ulster in 1609 and following years, large numbers
of Scots emigrated to that province, and from there in later years many
thousands crossed to the American colonies. One of the main causes of
this second emigration was the Irish insurrection of 1641, which was in
fact an outbreak directed mainly against the Scottish and English
settlers in Ulster. Another contributing cause was the petty oppressions
and restrictions on trade imposed by the English government.
In Scotland proper, the seventeenth century was also a period of storm
and stress and ecclesiastical persecution, with the inevitable result of
a constant emigration to the colonies, where hopes were entertained of
greater freedom and liberty of conscience.
In their new homes on this side of the Atlantic a people who had endured
such suffering and persecution were little inclined to submit to further
oppression, and hence it was that among their descendants were found the
leaders in the struggle for American independence. Their leadership in
the causes which led to the Revolution has been w'ell put by Bancroft in
the following words: “The first voice publicly raised in America to
dissolve all connection with Great Britain came not from the Puritans of
New’ England, nor the Dutch of New York, nor the planters of Virginia,
but from the Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.”
In literature Scotland can point to such names as Barbour, Henryson
(“the Scottish Chaucer” ), Dunbar, Gawin Douglas, Sir David Lindsay,
Drummond of Hawthornden, Arthur Johnston, George Buchanan, Allan Ramsay,
Robert Fergus son, Burns, Thomson, Blair, Smollet, Scott, Henry
Mackenzie, Falconer, Tannahill, Jeffrey. Hogg, Allan Cunningham,
Tennant, Motherwell, Campbell, Miss Ferrier, Joanna Baillie,
“Christopher North, ’ Galt, Ayflun, Michael Scott, Mrs. Oliphant, George
Macdonald, William Black, John Davidson, R. L. Stevenson, Andrew Lang,
Sir J. M. Barrie, S. R. Crockett, etc.
In history (omitting the old chroniclers) she has David Calderwood,
Archbishop Spottiswoode, Sir James Dalrymple, Bishop Burnet, Principal
Robertson, David Hume, George Chalmers, John Pinkerton, Malcolm Laing,
Patrick Fraser Tytler, Sir Archibald Alison, John Hill Burton, W. L.
Mathie-son, Hume-Brown, etc.
In philosophy, David Hume, Thomas Reid, and Adam Smith have profoundly
influenced intellectual Europe and America. Other great names in this
field are Lord Karnes, Dugald Stewart, Thomas Brown, Sir James
Mackintosh, Sir William Hamilton, Professor Ferrier, Thomas Carlyle, and
Arthur James Balfour.
Science is represented by such names as Napier of Merchiston, the
Gregories, Simson, Joseph Black, Sir David Brewster, J. D. Forbes, James
Clerk Maxwell, Lord Kelvin, Peter Guthrie Tait, Balfour Stewart, Sir
William Ramsay, and Sir James Dewar. In British geology Scotland can
claim most of the greatest names: Hutton, Playfair, Hall, Murchison,
Miller. Lyell, Ramsay, Croll, Peach, Horne, Gregory, and the two Geikies.
In medicine and surgery there are the Gregories, Cullens, Monros,
Hunters, Bells, Simpson, Liston, Syme, Lister, etc., and in engineering
and steam navigation, James Watt, the Rennies, Telford, Symington, Henry
Bell, the Stevensons, Macquorn Rankine, and Arrol.
In art the names of Jameson, Nasmyth, Allan, Thomson, Raeburn, Wilkie,
Dyce, David Scott, Roberts, Phillip, MacCulloch, Fettes-Douglas, Sir
George Reid, and J. Y. Cameron are high in the roll of fame. Scottish
music and song are renowned the world over, and in the domain of
theology, as becomes the mother-land of John Knox, Scotland has long
held a leading place.
The founders of the Bank of England (Paterson) and of the Bank of France
(Law) were Scotsmen, and Scotland has given to England two lord
chancellors (Erskine and Campbell), a lord chief justice (Cockburn), two
archbishops of Canterbury (Tait and Davidson), and two archbishops of
York (Maclagan and Lang). The late editor-in-chief of the great Oxford
English Dictionary, Sir James Murray, was a Scotsman, and so also is one
of the two assistant editors, Craigie. Lastly, the names of Scottish
heroes are “writ large” on every page of the naval and military history
of the United Kingdom.
To some, the collections in the Library relating to Scotland will appear
to be complete or very nearly so. Such, however, is far from the fact —
the gaps are many and serious. Particularly is this true of local
history and genealogy, and of the publications of the early book-clubs —
the Abbotsford, Bannatyne, Maitland, and Spalding Clubs. As they stand,
however, the Library’s resources form an excellent foundation on which
to build up a collection worthy of the country whose influence 011 the
settlement, formation, and progress of the United States has been
adequately recognized only within recent years.
This list includes, besides separately printed books and pamphlets,
papers in the transactions and proceedings of scientific societies, and
important articles in magazines. Not everything of this latter class has
been included, as the time at my disposal did not permit of an
exhaustive search for titles. Nevertheless, I do not think that much of
importance has been overlooked.
— George F. Black.
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