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The Scot in England
Chapter XII - "Scots Wha Hae For England Bled!"


It has been said that the genius of the English plutocracy lies in its ability to make the most of its subject races, and this polyborine trait is certainly discernible in the wars which have promoted the growth of the British Empire as we know it to-day. English literature is heavily seasoned with noble tributes to the prowess of the Sassenach in battle. It is he who has kept bearded and bloodthirsty foreigners from invading this green and pleasant land. It is he who has chased unruly races across snowy wastes and blistering desert sands. It is he who has braved the battle and the breeze in fighting-ships. It is he, in short, who has fought and bled to keep the old Flag flying over troublesome territory. The humour of these pretensions is disclosed by an examination of the record of our genial partners in the theatre of war. We shrink from saying so, but the bald truth is that when they fought alone, they were invariably beaten. The Romans walked all over them, making them hewers of wood and carriers of water. In AEthelred's day, the wall-eyed Danes came over the sea and trounced them. In the eleventh century William the Norman gave them such a fearful hammering that they called him William the Conqueror, and were tremendously proud if they could claim kindred with his soldiers. When they recovered from that disastrous invasion they spilled a lot of blood and squandered a good deal of borrowed cash [Edward I and Edward II borrowed 420,650 4s. 9d. from Italian moneylenders—and never paid it back! When pressed for repayment of the loans, they confiscated the ledgers of their creditors.] fighting poor little Scotland; but they got more than they gave in that long reign of terror, both on land and on sea. In the reign of King James IV, their proud sea-dogs were made to look positively silly by the little Scottish navy. In 1489 five English ships sailed proudly into the Firth of Forth and began to plunder Scottish shipping. King James, with a nice judgment, sent Sir Andrew Wood against the raiders. Sir Andrew had two ships, but he tackled the English, beat them, and took their ships into Leith. King Henry VIII went into one of his dramatic rages over it, and, swearing lustily, called for that eminent English naval strategist, Stephen Bull, and bade him sweep the scurvy Scottish navy off the face of the sea. More, he was to bring Sir Andrew Wood back to England, dead or alive.

The great English Admiral took three of England's biggest men-of-war north to the Firth of Forth and proceeded to teach Sir Andrew Wood a lesson. The Scottish Admiral went out to receive it with two ships, The Yellow Carvel and The Flower, and the upshot of the battle that followed was that Stephen Bull and his three men-of-war were herded into Dundee. King James was a sportsman. He was so sorry about the way old Sir Andrew Wood had humiliated the English navy that he sent the captured ships back to Henry VIII as a gift—and Henry took them! That was the last time that English sea-dogs pitted their skill and courage against thos of Scotland—naturally.

We already know what Scotland, with her handful of population, did to England in land fighting up till the time of King James VI. The shadow of Flodden passes by, of course, but Flodden was fought on English soil, and there never was a battle that displayed more vividly the fighting capacity of the Scot and his willingness to lay down his life for a good cause. Even after that terrible set-back, it was no time at all until another Scottish army had humbled England. It was the one composed of Covenanters, and led by Alexander Leslie. It marched into England, smashed the English army at Newburn, and remained on English soil until, by the Treaty of Ripon, peace was declared. All the time that this Scottish army was in England—it consisted of 500 mounted men and 22,000 foot soldiers—it received 40,000 a month from the English Exchequer! [The presence of this victorious Scottish army in England makes a huge jest of the Englishman's well-known boast, that England has never known the foot of a conqueror since 1066.] Alexander Leslie was a business man as well as a great military commander.

English historians claim that the Scots were eventually beaten by Cromwell; but that is not quite true. Man to man, beard to beard, Cromwell's soldiers were never the equal of Scotsmen as fighters. The man who proved that Englishmen will submit to a dictator as humbly as any other race was simply lucky in Scotland. At the crucial stage of his barbarous campaign against the Scots, he was opposed by David Leslie, and the Scottish commander, by superior strategy, had him cut off and faced by certain defeat at Dunbar. We know what happened. A corps of whey-faced and long-winded clerics converged on Leslie—if the truth were known they had probably had a chat with Cromwell—and they gave the man no peace until they had harangued him into leaving his impregnable position to meet Cromwell's cavalry on the level ground. The Scots on that occasion were beaten by English cart-horses and Scottish donkeys.

Not until England began to get the benefit of Scotland's military and naval genius, and Scotland's ferocity, did she blossom out as a real fighting nation. The curious fact has never been noticed by English historians, and the Scottish people are so excessively modest that they would naturally shrink from mentioning anything that redounded to the credit of their ancestors. It has been our unpleasant duty to develop this opaque patch of British military history, and we are obliged, after considering the result, to push Jock Tamson forward. His name is not nearly so well known in British military annals as that of Tommy Atkins, but we shall see that it has meant a good deal to England.

To begin at the beginning of England's modern military history, it is worth noting that the theory of the strategy she employed so successfully in Europe was laid down by the great Scottish military genius, Sir David Dundas. With rare judgment England seized those ideas, and Sir David's Rules and Regulations for His Majesty's Forces, and Rules and Regulations for the Cavalry, became the official manuals for the British Army. They guided our troops to victories right up to the beginning of the era of mechanical and chemical warfare.

England began to utilize Scottish fighting material after the Union of the Crowns was consummated but for some reason or other the great English historians overlooked the fact. The Seven Years War is a case in point. Whoever heard of Scottish soldiers in connection with it? What English child would believe that it was not a glorious parade of English arms? Well, the war ended, as we know, in the Treaty of Ryswick in 1697. Six years before that happy termination of the conflict, however, there were eight battalions of Scottish infantry in the Netherlands and only seven English battalions. In the second year of the war England had increased the number of her battalions to fourteen, but the Scottish battalions numbered eleven. In the third year of the war the number of English battalions stood at fourteen, but the Scottish battalions had been increased to thirteen. In the last year of the war there were twenty-five English battalions in the war zone and fifteen Scottish battalions—surely a proportion out of all reason, considering the small population of Scotland. Still, it was a good thing that the Scots were there in such numbers, for, as things turned out, they hung on and won the war after their allies had wilted.

The Scots did not get credit for bringing victory out of defeat. They were merely pawns in the hands of the military caste who ruled England, and they continued to play that subservient role in the military operations of England on the Continent and elsewhere. Seldom have finer soldiers been treated in such a cavalier manner. On our own soil, as the years passed, the cool contempt of the military bureaucrats towards Scotland was demonstrated again and again. One of the first things the Government at Westminster did after the Union of Parliaments had been achieved was to place all the Army contracts for Scottish regiments with English tradesmen. Prior to the Union, of course, Scottish soldiers had been equipped with clothing and weapons by Scottish tradesmen. [The casual attitude of the military bureaucrats to-day towards the Lowland regiments of Scotland—the finest fighting forces in these islands—is merely a continuation of the old tradition.]

That was bad enough, but our friends across the border followed it up by strengthening many of their own wobbly fighting units with Scottish recruits, and became quite proud of regiments that were largely composed of raw-boned men who spoke broad Scots and Gaelic! The 47th Lancashire Regiment, raised in 1741, was a case in point. The English were very proud of that old regiment. No wonder! It was raised in Scotland. So were the 55th Westmorlands, in the year 1756. The Second Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment, raised in 1782, was entirely Scottish. Such regiments as the 11th Foot, of Devonshire; the 7th Royal Fusiliers, of the City of London; and the 38th Staffordshires, were all stiffened up with Scots.

But let us get on with England's wars. Dettingen, Fontenoy, and Ticonderaga take us past the middle of the eighteenth century, and remind us that Scottish regiments fought with great distinction for the Empire in those days; but we may pass them by with a word [At Dettingen, in 1742, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, commanded by Sir Andrew Agnew, were the spearhead of the British forces, and their fine fighting qualities were noticed by James Wolfe, who took Quebec with Scottish soldiers. At Fontenoy (1745) the Black Watch smashed the famous French cavalry and covered the retreat of the British troops.] and proceed to the first great conflict connected with the expansion of our modern Empire —the war against the French in North America.

The key to victory in that great struggle was the ancient French city of Quebec, perched far above the majestic waters of the St. Lawrence River. The city was strongly fortified, and its defender was General Montcalm, whose military genius was infinitely superior to that of the British commanders of that day. The British troops, 8000 strong, commanded by General James Wolfe, came up the river in the summer of 1759, and disembarked near the Isle of Orleans. The stage was set for the battle that was to change the destinies of the two leading Powers of Europe. Everything had worked smoothly, because the difficult task of bringing the troops up the great river, and keeping the coast clear after they had been disembarked, was in the hands of Admiral Sir Charles Saunders, a very capable and determined Scot.

Displaying questionable strategy at the outset, Wolfe attacked the French capital without studying it sufficiently. He was repulsed from the impregnable heights with a loss of 400 men. Warned by that defeat, he remained on the river, under the protection of Admiral Saunders, until September. The truth is that Wolfe was getting jumpy; but the months of inaction had given him opportunities to study the remarkable position of the city he had set out to capture, and he learned, from one of his Scottish officers, that there was a path up the beetling cliffs, at the spot now known as Wolfe's Cove. Time was pressing the British Commander, for winter comes early on the St. Lawrence River, and his supplies were running out. He decided to take his troops up the sketchy path under cover of darkness.

The well-known story of the famous assault, as written for our school histories, depicts General Wolfe as the resourceful hero who carried through the daring project. The Scottish soldiers who took part in it have been pretty well ignored by English historians. It was a Highland officer, General Simon Fraser, who guided Wolfe and the Fraser Highlanders up the cliffs in the dark; and it was Fraser who, when the creeping, kilted men were challenged on the Heights of Abraham by a French sentry, replied in French—thereby giving the British soldiers their chance to silence the French outposts.

In the morning, Montcalm, already beaten by corrupt French politicians, saw the Plains of Abraham swarming with kilted men. Wolfe gave his attention to the right wing of the army; the left wing was commanded by General James Murray, a Scot. Montcalm came to the attack with his battalions of half-trained men, but he was confronted by hardbitten Highlanders. Our musketry broke the French ranks, and then, taking to the broadsword, the Frasers turned the battle into a rout. Montcalm was killed. [Montcalm was one of the greatest military geniuses, and one of the noblest characters, that France has produced. He is the only man who defeated the British on four different occasions. He had Wolfe's plan of attack figured out, but was crippled by Governor Vaudreuil. Well might his tomb bear this moving epitaph: ' 'Le destin en lui derebant La Victoire, L'a recompense par Une Mori GlorieuseI"] Wolfe was killed. The command of the British Army was taken over by General Murray, and it was this gallant Scot who completed the campaign that ended in the downfall of the French in the New World.

The next war in which British soldiers defended British honour—and property!—was the short and merry tussle with Surajah Dowlah in 1764. In dealing with that troublesome Indian potentate, the British War Office displayed one of its rare outbreaks of genius, for it left the campaign in the hands of a Scotsman, Sir Hector Munro, who demonstrated, in very short order, that wild men from the Indian hills can be tamed by wild men from the hills of Argyllshire and points north.

Scotsmen were not so prominent in the next war into which the country blundered—the American War of Independence. It was precipitated by a wrong-headed English King, aided and abetted by stupid English jingoes, and its vast operations, on land and sea, were conducted almost exclusively by Englishmen. A Scotsman exposed the inefficiency of the British Fleet. [John Paul Jones was the Scot in question. With much smaller ships he repeatedly outwitted and out-fought British men-of-war, eventually crossing the Atlantic and successfully raiding the English coast.] On land the English commanders, Burgoyne, Howe, and Cornwallis, made such a ghastly mess of things that their clumsy tactics make painful reading even to-day. Highland regiments captured Fort Washington, then Howe nullified the victory by hanging back and going into winter quarters. It was just the respite that General Washington needed to whip his army together again. Burgoyne, on his way down from Canada to join Howe, was defeated at Saratoga Springs, largely because he had ordered Fraser's Highlanders to retreat. The only credit which came to British arms in that war of arrogance and stupidity was the splendid showing made by the Scottish regiments, even under notoriously bad generalship. The Scots Guards, for instance, never encountered a single defeat, and they were in hot actions at Brooklyn, Brandywine, Fort Washington, Germantown, and Catawba River. If the men in command had been as worthy of their uniforms as the Scottish soldiers were, the American War of Independence would have had a very different result for British prestige and British power.

Having lost the American Colonies, our statesmen and militarists handed themselves some bouquets, in the form of titles, and then proceeded to wear themselves out promoting little wars that were necessary to the maintenance of our honour. We had to rush to the defence of Gibraltar; but the danger of losing The Rock was averted by General Elliott, who did not belong to Weston-super-Mare. Then came the fearful reverses to the British Army in France in 1794, when, in that terrible retreat from Nimeguen, General Dundas and the Black Watch saved our troops from complete annihilation. We had five years of uneasy peace, then trouble broke out in Mysore. Tipoo Sahib was on the rampage. He was eventually bottled up in Seringapatam, his capital city, and the task of bearding him was given to Major-General Baird, a Scot. Baird led Highland regiments to the attack, and the fact that he meant business was shown by the speedy way he went about his job, for within six minutes after giving the Highlanders the word to go, he saw the British flag fluttering on the walls of Seringapatam.

Those were little wars, mere military hors d'oeuvre leading up to a struggle in which England's very existence was threatened. The shadow of Napoleon Bonaparte was sweeping across Europe. It had touched Africa. French troops were in Egypt. The threat against England was plain. The British Fleet, loaded with troops, sailed for Aboukir Bay, and there, in the face of French fire, General Sir Ralph Abercromby and Major-General Moore, both Scots, succeeded in landing their troops. They struck immediately at Alexandria, and there the battle-scarred veterans of the Black Watch stood firm against French cavalry. Sir Ralph Abercromby was killed, but another Scot, General Hutchinson, took his place, and a few months later the French troops, numbering 13,000, surrendered. The Scots had won the first round with Napoleon. [In 1797, following the defeat of the Spaniards off Cape St. Vincent, the British Fleet mutinied. Admiral Adam Duncan, of Dundee, who was keeping his eye on the Dutch Fleet, had only two ships left, but fooled the Dutch by signalling to an imaginary fleet. Shortly afterwards he smashed the Dutch in the Battle of Camperdown.]

The shadow of the Corsican lay blacker than ever across Europe, however. He was quite convinced that he was a superman—as a matter of fact, his methods were those of the high-pressure American salesman—and he stuck his hand into his waistcoat very dramatically and declared that Great Britain's power must be broken. Allons! There was, of course, the difficulty of getting at England, [Napoleon's plan to land a huge army in England was frustrated by the vigilance of Sir Robert Calder, an Elginshire man, who commanded the British squadron detailed to watch the French armada. He bottled the French Admiral up at Ferrol, and kept him bottled up.] so Napoleon, after failing in his plan to land troops in Kent, evolved his Continental System, by which the Continental countries were forbidden to import English goods. Spain stood it for a while, then rebelled. It was the spark that set Europe on fire. Great Britain, not too reluctantly, moved to the support of Spain, and the Peninsular War began.

The chief interest which this campaign holds for the British people lies in the fact that it threw into prominence two great military geniuses—Arthur Wellesley and Sir John Moore—and that it demonstrated that Napoleon's sales-manager methods could be beaten by something better—real military genius. Wellesley's great day was yet to come—at Waterloo. The Peninsular War belongs to Sir John Moore, for it was glorified by his courage and his dazzling strategy. Indeed, one may search the pages of military history and not find a more classic example of intuitive skill in handling an army than was exhibited by Sir John Moore, of Glasgow, in his dramatic retreat to Corunna. Viewed from the broad angle of its relationship to the frightful struggle that followed, it stands out clearly as a set-back from which Napoleon never recovered.

The Corsican's plan was to advance rapidly into Spain with a vast army and wipe the British troops out of the Peninsular. His divisions poured over the mountains. Sault was at Saldana. Napoleon himself was hurrying inland from Madrid with 40,000 infantry and cavalry. Other French generals with well-equipped divisions were converging on the little British Army. It was a grim display of power and remorseless speed.

Sir John Moore matched his wits against those of Napoleon, and proved himself the cleverer tactician. He struck quickly at the French lines of communication, then retreated with deliberate skill and speed, keeping out of the range of the vast pincers that reached out for him, and cunningly leading the vast French armies far from their bases. From first to last, the execution of the withdrawal was a classic example of courage, skill, and endurance. Invincible Scottish regiments fought the rearguard action as the little British expeditionary force was guided out of the reach of Napoleon's ponderous machine. The retreat was accomplished in the dead of winter, under incredible hardships, but it was the master-stroke that changed the whole trend of the struggle against Napoleon. While he was pursuing the phantom-like British Army, word came that Austria had turned against France. Like a disgusted sales-manager who has seen his whirlwind campaign fall short of its objective, Napoleon left for Paris, leaving Sault to deal with Sir John Moore.

Sir John led his gaunt men into Corunna. Somebody had blundered at the War Office. There were no transports waiting to carry the weary troops to safety. Sir John turned his face to the foe. Corunna was hurriedly fortified. The French launched their formidable attack. It was really a battle between picked French troops and seasoned Scottish troops that followed, and the cold steel of the Highlanders brought victory to this country. Victory!—but tragedy as well, for in the savage engagement Sir John Moore received a mortal wound and, with a few calm words, died. Thus ended the career of one of the few able military commanders this country has ever produced, and one of the most humane and exalted characters that have ever served in the Army.

We buried him darkly at dead of night,
The sods with our bayonets turning,
By the struggling moonbeam's misty light,
And the lantern dimly burning.
No useless coffin enclosed his breast,
Not in sheet or in shroud we wound him;
But he lay like a warrior taking his rest,
With his martial cloak around him.

The scene of war shifted again. The year was 1815. Napoleon, stealing away from Elba, had set France on fire again. He had come back to his hypnotized army, and the hour had come, as he put it, "to measure himself with Wellington". The culmination of the long struggle between Napoleon and Great Britain came, with a vast crescendo of clashing arms and a shambles that stunned Europe. Waterloo!

There have been a great many nonsensical things said about the famous battle, and not the least nonsensical of them was the Duke of Wellington's statement that it was won on the playing-fields of Eton. There is a certain type of Briton who does believe that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton, simply because that type of Briton finds it difficult to believe that a war not won by public school men of the right sort would be a vulgar conflict.

Waterloo was a vulgar conflict—a conflict in which the best troops of France belaboured the best troops of Great Britain at close range. It was no fit place for the young gentlemen of Eton, because staff-officers did not count at all. It was a case of batter and smash, with the odds in favour of the troops that could stand up longest under gruelling punishment. Men looked into the whites of one another's eyes. Wellington himself was up with the veterans, swearing like a trooper, and had to jump a hedge. Napoleon had to shake himself out of his Man of Destiny pose, and urged his troops forward with the dramatic zeal of a cheer-leader at an American college football game. There was no strategy worth mentioning. The armies just faced each other on the slopes, like neat plantations of trees, and hammered away till the French troops threw up the sponge. In short, Waterloo was an exceedingly vulgar battle, and Eton may be thankful for the fact that her sons had very little to do with the beastly business.

The men who broke Napoleon's heart that day and sent him reeling towards Paris and oblivion had hair on their cheekbones and heather in their voices. They faced the best men that Napoleon could call up, and broke them. One fact emerges from the smoke of the battle—the turning-point came with the desperate hand-to-hand fight around the farmhouse of Hougomont. Napoleon's brother, Jerome, was sent to take this strategic point. He poured men against it. The Black Watch and the Gordons were holding the line left of the road leading to Brussels. The troops to the right and left of them gave way. [Wellington made no secret of the fact that he had trouble with the English regiments. General Allan, his private secretary, quotes him as saying that he owed the victory entirely to the admirable conduct of the old Spanish infantry (these were the troops, largely Scottish, who had served so gloriously under Sir John Moore in the Peninsular), and that the other English regiments were unsteady and alarmed, and had to be handled severely in order to prevent them from leaving the field altogether!] It was at this crucial moment that the Highlanders were ordered to charge. The Scots Greys moved up, passed through the opened ranks of the infantry, and to the skirl of the bagpipes and the wild cry of "Scotland for ever!" the famous charge that broke the French attack was under way. With the Gordons hanging to their stirrups, the Scots Greys thundered into the French column, shattering it. The tide had turned. Well might Sir Denis Pack ride up like a madman, shouting: "Highlanders, you have won the day!" They had. Napoleon was beaten, but he made one more desperate attempt to retrieve himself. The famous French Guards were sent into the shambles. The very earth rocked with the force of their assault; but the British lines, with Scottish regiments in the key positions, stood firm as the Rock of Appin. It was then that Wellington decided to advance his whole line, and, cursing at Lord Uxbridge, who did not see the genius of this masterstroke and tried to hold things back, the Commander-in-Chief drove his weary men forward—to victory.

The Duke of Wellington was Irish. He went into politics, and like most men with military minds, made a proper ass of himself when dealing with peace-time problems. It was during this unhappy period of his life that he said so many foolish things, and the most foolish of all was his statement that the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton. He should have known that Eton would never see the humour of it.

With Napoleon out of the way, England waxed rich and mighty. All sorts of sharp business men made fortunes in our expanding export trade, and with more money than they knew what to do with, and no idea that their descendants would have to pay income taxes, they established themselves in the fine big empty mansions that are such an intriguing feature of our landscape—and newspaper advertising—to-day. The dear old colonies, with the help of the United States, emptied these mansions by building factories and supplying their own needs; but before that happened, England—that is, the word that had come to mean Great Britain—had to fight a good many times for her struggling outposts. The fighting was done largely by Scots.

While the clouds of Waterloo were piling up, for instance, England was obliged to unsheath the sword in Nepal. Lord Minto, General Auchterlony, and Sir John Malcolm were the men in charge of the campaign, and when they called off their troops the Nepal durbar had formed a new opinion of Scottish soldiers and England had added the rich hill territories of Simla, Mussoorie, and Naini Tal to her Indian Empire.

A far bigger task awaited Scotsmen in India, but in the meantime the middle and upper classes of England (formerly Great Britain) settled down comfortably to forty years of peace and prosperity. The tocsin of war sounded again in 1854. Something had gone wrong in the Crimea—something that involved England's honour. Mr. Gladstone rumbled. The Times thundered. The upper classes became exclamatory, and agreed that the time had come to teach Russia a lesson.

The Crimean War was really a story of gallant Scottish soldiers in the field, capable Scottish Admirals in the surrounding seas, [Admiral J. W. Dundas commanded the Black Sea Fleet, and Admiral Sir Charles Napier, another Scot, commanded the Baltic Fleet. Napier was treated scandalously by the Admiralty. He was succeeded by Admiral the Hon. R. Dundas, another Scot, who smashed the great fortress at Sveaborg.] and muddling, half-hearted politicians at home. Sir Colin Campbell, of Glasgow, was the Commander-in-Chief of the Highland Brigade, and with this superb fighting machine—it included the Black Watch, the Camerons, and the Sutherland Highlanders—at his disposal, proceeded against the Russians.

We have always been thrilled by Sir Colin's tactics, for in those days Army commanders had to expose themselves to danger. Instead of sitting in comfortable quarters far from the scene of the fighting, issuing terse orders and stabbing viciously at maps with bronze paper-cutters, they had to lead their men to death and glory. Sir Colin Campbell was the last of the British Generals who pursued that old-fashioned policy, and he did it artistically, inspiring great artists to paint stirring scenes in which shouting men, neighing horses, and bullet-riddled flags are gloriously mixed up. Personally conducted battles, so to speak, with Sir Colin up in front waving a sword. Forward!

The enemy, forty thousand strong, and supported by 106 guns, had made himself comfortable on the left bank of the Alma. It was necessary to "shift him", as the Scots say, and he was shifted. The British troops, who formed the left wing of the advance, were outnumbered twenty to one. Faced by such odds, they began to falter. It was at this critical stage of the advance that Sir Colin Campbell showed his mettle, and the mettle of the regiments he loved.

"Forward, the Forty-second!" came his order.

To the skirl of the bagpipes, the Highland Brigade moved forward against twelve Russian regiments! It seemed to be asking too much of the Scots, but they continued to go forward. They forded the Alma, halted for a while on the face of the heights, then moved forward again, waiting for the word. It came at last. The long line of bayonets gleamed, away went the Highlanders, and they did not stop until they had routed the Russians and sent them flying helter-skelter towards Sevastopol.

The war was not yet won. At Balaclava the Sutherlands had to face Russian cavalry, and they reduced it to a disorganized tangle of horses and men. Then came the dismal siege of Sevastopol, which subjected our soldiers to unspeakable hardships and finally exposed the lukewarm and lackadaisical attitude of the piddling politicians in London towards the conduct of the war. It was almost more than the country deserved when the Russians evacuated Sevastopol in September of 1855, and many a man at home would have liked to have seen the Highland Brigade turned loose in the House of Commons with fixed bayonets. Never, in all her history, has England been more gallantly served by Scottish soldiers than during the Crimean War.

England had learned, by this time, to rely on Scottish Generals and Scottish soldiers, so when real trouble developed in India—and it did in 1857, when the pampered Sepoy regiments mutinied at Meerut, old Sir Colin Campbell was asked to take things in hand. It took time to get out to the Bay of Bengal in those days, of course, and before the hero of the Crimea got there a lot of things had happened. The massacre at Delhi was one of them, and if there had been any doubts in English minds about the gravity of the Sepoy insurrections, that cold-blooded murder of helpless women and children wiped them away. The whole of India was a smouldering volcano, liable at any moment to erupt and wipe out the handful of British people then living in the country. Delhi was really recaptured by John Nicholson and the army of Sikhs he raised. Nicholson was the first man to step over the broken walls of the city, and in doing so he was killed.

Meanwhile, murderers were running amuck in the country, and the English people gasped with horror when the news came that Nana Sahib had murdered 122 women and children at Cawnpore. An avenging arm was reaching across India, however. General Havelock was on the way to the scene of the horror. He left Calcutta with the 78th Highlanders, and when the dusky rebels saw his kilted, hard-bitten men, the word flew around that the wives of the men murdered in Delhi and Cawnpore had appeared. They were wives from hell, as the Sepoys found out. It was said, by witnesses of the attack on Nana Sahib, that some of the Scots were crying with sheer emotion when they plunged their bayonets into the disciplined gangsters who had massacred the British women and children.

Scots had come to grips with the most dangerous uprising that the Empire has ever faced. General Havelock and Sir James Outram marched on to the relief of Lucknow; the Seaforth Highlanders cut their way through the Sepoys with cold steel, and, fighting desperately all the way, cleared the road to the Residency. There, as we know, Havelock and Outram were besieged for six weary weeks, but the Campbells were coming. Sir Colin's pipers were heard at last outside the walls:

Louder, nearer, fierce as vengeance,
Sharp and shrill as swords at strife,
Came the wild MacGregor's clan-call,
Stinging all the air to life.

A hole was battered in the walls of the city, and the British troops passed through. The Sikhs, with most of their officers shot, hesitated. Sir Colin Campbell broke the dangerous spell. "Colonel Ewart, bring on the tartan!" the old boy yelled. The tartan came on, like a mob of madmen. From building to building they raced, hacking mercilessly with their bayonets and over the insane din of the slaughter squeale the mad pibroch of battle.

It was a great dramatic moment in military history when Sir Colin Campbell, Sir James Outram, and General Havelock shook hands in the Residency; but the most desperate phase of the Indian Mutiny had yet to come. Sir Colin knew it, and he acted quickly. The garrison was hustled away to Cawnpore before the surrounding hordes of maddened Sepoys suspected that the move was in contemplation. General Havelock, racked by disease, worry, and fatigue, died on the road. Outram carried on. The crisis of the Mutiny was approaching. Time was precious. Sir Colin drove his weary men towards Cawnpore. They reached the Ganges at last, halted, then, led by the Highlanders of the Forty-second, scattered 25,000 Sepoys with the bayonet.

Lucknow remained—and the humbling of that citadel of sedition proved to be the most desperate battle of the whole Mutiny. Again it was a case of Scots against Sepoys, in the ratio of one to ten; but the veterans of the Black Watch, the Sutherlands, and the Camerons fought with berserk fury, and when they paused to wipe their bayonet, Lucknow was won. With its fall the Indian Mutiny fizzled out.

The Indian Mutiny, of which it may be said that it was scotched by Scotsmen, was the last of a series of dangerous wars in which our country had been engaged. Fifty-seven years were to pass away before the Empire was threatened seriously again, but in that long interval of comparative peace we had to defend our rights in China, the Soudan, Afghanistan and South Africa. In all of these campaigns 'Scotsmen bore the brunt of the fighting, but the fibre of the race received its supreme test in the Great War. This is what we gave to England during that life-and-death struggle: [In applying to official Scottish sources for the total number of Scotsmen who were killed in the Great War, we made the astounding discovery that the figures are not available, and that they have never been compiled. The names of all Scotsmen killed in the Great War are preserved in the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, but to get the total figures it would be necessary, we are informed, to take up residence in Edinburgh for several weeks in order to go through the Honour Rolls in Crown Square and count the names therein. Surely it is time that the Scottish people knew, from official sources, how many of their countrymen died in the Great War.]

Sir Douglas Haig, of Bemersyde, Commander-in-Chief of the British Armies in France, and the most promising generation that was ever reared on Scottish soil.

Yet the blood runs strongly still. The breed goes marching on. New generations fill the places of those who went out, with high faces, into the Great Storm. Scotland For Ever!

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts.
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will,
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield!


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