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American Lemon Loaf

This week Americans, the world over, will be celebrating American Independence Day on the 4th of July. Taking part in the celebrations will be many of Scots descent whose forebears settled in America. At the time of the American War of Independence Scots were to be found fighting on both sides but this week we wish to recall the two Scots who signed the American Declaration of Independence.
The first is the Rev John Witherspoon who was born near Haddington, East Lothian , in 1722 and who died in New Jersey in 1794. John Witherspoon was a theologian, educator and revolutionary, and was the only clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence.He was said to have more charisma than George Washington himself! His first political action in Scotland ended in failure. In 1745 he marched with a group of fellow students to try and prevent the capture of Edinburgh by the Jacobite army. His band were swiftly captured and disarmed and taken as prisoners to Doune their Jacobite captors. He escaped from the castle by means of a rope made from rags. The young student then became a Kirk minister and as his fame spread many nations sought his service but he choose to accept an invitation from America to be Principal of Princeton College, a post he took up in 1768. He soon threw himself wholeheartedly into the American revolutionary struggle for Independence. He seems to have had the ability to find the right phrase for the right time. When a colonial orator argued that the colonists were "not ripe for independence" Witherspoon replied "In my opinion sir, we are not only ripe for independence, we are rotting for it." 21st century Scotland is in the same position! John Witherspoon is buried at Princeton and is honoured with a colossal statue in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.
The other Scot to sign the Declaration, James Wilson, came from the other side of the Forth from John Witherspoon and was born near St Andrews, Fife, in 1742. He died in Pennsylvania in 1798. He left university without a degree, studied accountancy for a short time, then emigrated to New York where he quickly became involved in political agitation. He taught Latin, then turned to Law and became very prosperous. His later career saw him involved in banking, land speculation and other commercial enterprises. He was a very able chiel and is seen by many in America as the 'Father of the Constitution' as many Scottish legal terms are in the American Constitution and this is attributed to Wilson. He later became a member of the United States Supreme Court and was the first Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania.
A recipe with an American flavour is appropriate for the week which includes the 4th of July and American Lemon Loaf fills the bill. Once again we are grateful to 'The Anniversary Cook-Book of the Dumfriesshire Federation SWRI 1922 - 1992' for this week's recipe.
American Lemon Loaf
Ingredients : 4 oz ( 100 g ) margarine; 5 oz ( 150 g ) castor sugar; 8 oz ( 225 g ) plain flour; 1.5 teaspoons baking powder; 1 egg; 1 lemon; 1/2 cup milk
Beat margarine and sugar to a creamy consistency. Add beaten egg and grated rind of lemon. Add flour, baking powder and milk gradually. Put into one large or two small loaf tins. Bake at 180 deg C, 350 deg F, gas mark 4, for 3/4 to 1 hour. Squeeze lemon. Add 4 dessertspoons sugar and pour over loaf when ready. Hae a braw Independence Day.

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