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Tartan Day 2004
(Click the links below to listen to our tribute)

Once again it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Scots Independent's website 'The Flag in the Wind' tribute to Tartan Day. Whether you are enjoying Tartan Day in America, Canada and now in Scotland's long-time ally in the Auld Alliance France or home here in Scotland, we howp at ye hae a braw day.

Last year the shadow of the Iraq War hung over Tartan Day and the fall out from the war and the threat of International Terrorism continues to cast a long shadow as recent events in Spain prove. But celebrating Tartan Day is a celebration of Freedom and Democracy, the very opposite of the terrorist aim.

Tartan Day in America, Canada and France marks the day on which the Scottish nobility appended their seals to the letter to Pope John XXII asserting Scottish Freedom on 6 April 1320. The famous Declaration of Arbroath has rung down the centuries reminding us of the eternal value of Freedom. The Scottish poet John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, summed up the desire for Freedom in his 14th century masterpice 'The Brus' -

                                A Fredome is ane nobil thing!
                                Fredome makis man to have liking,
                                Fredome all solace to man givis:
                                He lives at ease that frely livis!
                                A nobil hart may have nane ease,
                                Na ellis nocht that may him please,
                                Gif Fredome failye; for fre liking
                                Is yarnit owre all other thing.

- these words lie at the very heart of Tartan Day.

Our skeilie webmaster Alastair McIntyre of Electric Scotland has spent the last few months in the USA and Canada and has kindly agreed to contribute some thoughts on the Scottish influence on both countries to the 2004 Tartan Day Tribute.

Scottish Influence in America and Canada
by Alastair McIntyre of Electric Scotland

If you should look at the various declarations you'll see that both the USA and Canada are celebrating Tartan Day to honour the contributions of emigrant Scots to their countries, states and provinces.

What does that means exactly? Well it's really just that. Hundreds of thousands of Scots emigrated to these countries from Scotland, either due to Highland Clearances or simply that they sought a better life elsewhere. These Scots made a huge contribution to their new countries and this is a way of celebrating this and recognising their contribution as well as touching base with Scottish roots.

Tartans and Pipes are still a powerful symbol of Scotland and you just need to go to any of the hundreds of Highland Games held each year in both the USA and Canada to see how popular these events are. You'll see more Scottish flags flying, kilts worn, pipes playing at any one event than you'll see in the whole of Scotland.

There is a real sense of pride in being of Scots descent and this goes all over both countries. I've just spent 2 months in Kentucky where there are huge amounts of descendants of the Scots and Scots-Irish. You can sense the pride when they tell you they are a descendant and even in the poorest places they aspire to get a kilt and learn to play the bagpipes.

  • A quote from American President Woodrow Wilson, "Every line of strength in American history is a line colored with Scottish blood."

  • More than 100 governors of pre- and post- Revolutionary America were of Scottish birth or descent.

And here is a picture of myself and Deb at the St. Andrews Day Dinner in Ashland, Kentucky

Homer Meadows, Colin Grant-Adams and Jim Stapleton Honors on the Haggis

Martin Smith Piping in the Haggis

I had a truly great time at this event and each month the local Scottish historical society meets to share information and trade stories.

Down in Southern Georgia you'll find the Odom Genealogical Library where some 135 Scottish Clan Societies in the USA hold their archives. Each year they hold their "Scottish Weekend" where clans come to update and check on their archives and you'll even find representation from the Society of Antiquarians in Scotland. The library produces the Family Tree newspaper through the good offices of their editor, Beth Gay, another Scots descendant. The paper reaches some 500,000 people of Scots descent throughout North America.

Excellent shot of Beth Gay the editor of the Family Tree Newspaper

Lots of kilts on show

And the murdering of the haggis was a great entertainment :-)

"The Reverend Malcolm MacDonald, a native of Whitton, Quebec, a descendant of the early Scots settlers and of the first church established in the area, says:
"‘The Book of Books was the library they opened, and the Church of Jesus Christ was the first institution they established and that in their homes, and the Gospel of Christ was the philosophy they espoused.’ "
"The most casual observer and historian must admit that these early settlers played a leading part in setting the course in which the Nation travels today.
"I am indeed grateful that we are privileged to stand in the stream of a noble, spiritual, national and cultural tradition, which has flourished in Scotland for centuries, and for some 150 years established firmly on this North American Continent, in both Canada and the United States.

I next went to Prince Edward Island where they tell me over 60% of the population have some Scots blood in them and even the official government cencus says that 38% of them are of Scots descent. The sense of history on the island is everywhere.

From the book "Past and Present of Prince Edward Island" by MacKinnon I found this paragraph...

This year 1803 is a notable one in the history of Prince Edward island, for that was the year when the "Polly," the ship so famed in this province, cast anchor in these waters, having brought a large number of passengers from Scotland, to settle on Lord Selkirk's estate. About this time he brought in all some eight hundred people to Prince Edward Island. They were of the finest class of emigrants that ever left the shores of Great Britain. They settled in what is known by the general name of The Belfast District. The descendants still occupy the land and homes which their forefathers occupied and made. They were an enterprising and energetic people, and transmitted their vigorous dispositions to their children and their children's children. Descendants of the "Polly's" passengers have been distinguished in almost every walk of life. They are to be found in every part of Canada and the United States upholding the good name they inherited, and making their island home known and respected where ever they may be. They have produced many men who have distinguished themselves in every profession, trade and walk of life. In the days when Prince Edward Island boasted of her fleet of sailing ships, the men of Point Prom and the other sections peopled by the descendants of these immigrants, were found commanding ships in every sea. There was scarcely a house that had not sent out one or more master mariners, and they were of the best. Lord Selkirk did well for this island when he brought these immigrants to her shores.

Here is where the Selkirk Settlers came ashore and there is a small park and graveyard there which honours those settlers.

And the now famous College of Piping in Summerside on PEI

I am now in Kimberley, British Columbia and even here you can find folk of Scots descent proud to say they have Scottish blood in them. In today's climate you can find Ann Miller (Stewart) from Rothsay selling log cabins. You can find Paul building an Internet cafe whose parents are both Scottish. You can even find a local building entrepreneur who's pround to say his great grandfather was from Scotland and married a girl from the Ukraine. Even Randall Walford, the local lawyer, is proud to say his mother is from Scotland.

Now in BC and amongst the lovely scenary you find more Scots

Ann Miller from Rothsy and Billy Robb from Glasgow

Paul building his Internet cafe and note his Scotland jacket! And Monty who's great grandfather was a Scot.

To round it off I am staying with a Scots emigrant from Scotland, Billy Robb, know locally as "Oor Wullie" who has an internet business,, and proud as anything to be from Glasgow. He does say that when he attends Highland Games he gets a wee bit emotional when the massed pipe bands play at the end of the games.

I hope that somehow the local Scots at home can find a way to touch base with these Scots descendants all over the USA and Canada and not just in showcase events in New York or Washington. How for example should we touch base with the 100,000+ who turned out for the Springtime Tallahassee Parade was Saturday 3rd of April in Florida. You'll note from the pictures that they are promoting their Highland Games and Celtic Festival on 30 October 2004 and that the Talahassee St Andrews Society is parading. Note the number of Kilts and Pipers and Flags!

Pipe Band

I for one have always felt that the Scottish Executive and Scotland in general lack real vision when it comes to communication with the estimated 50 million people of Scots descent all over the world. For example just look at the number of people there are of Scots descent in the cities of Canada...

Canadians of Scottish Descent by City - 2001 Census of Canada

City (Metro Area)

Total City Pop.

Scottish Origin

% of City Pop.

Toronto, Ontario 4,647,960 517,115 11%
Montreal, Quebec 3,380,645 94,705 3%
Vancouver, British Columbia 1,967,480 311,940 16%
Calgary, Alberta 943,310 189,055 20%
Edmonton, Alberta 927,020 164,665 18%
Ottawa, Ontario 795,255 142,390 18%
Quebec City, Quebec 673,105 9,335 .01%
Winnipeg, Manitoba 661,730 117,920 18%
Hamilton, Ontario 655,060 125,490 19%
Halifax, Nova Scotia 355,940 96,305 27%
Victoria, British Columbia 306,970 79,275 26%
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 222,635 42,735 19%
Regina, Saskatchewan 190,015 37,275 20%
St. John’s, Newfoundland 171,105 13,520 8%
Saint John, New Brunswick 121,340 29,610 24%
Charlottetown, PEI  57,295 24,090 42%

Note 1:  The foregoing figures represent the Metropolitan Area population of Canadian cities as listed in the 2001 Census for Canada. Prepared by W. Neil Fraser, Chairman, Clan Fraser Society of Canada

Now that's almost 2 million people and even then we know that there are even more than are officially reported as in PEI three local historians are positive that over 60% of the island has Scots blood in them even though the census says just 38% are of Scots descent.

One could write volumes about the Scots who made it over to these shores but suffice it to say that the Scots are alive and well and living in the USA and Canada.

If you would like to read about just some of the contributions made by these Scots you might like to read...

"The Scot in North British America"
"Scots around the World"

And to learn something of the process of settlement you might like to read a section from "The Founding of Cavendish" at

Celebrating the Pipes (by Gordon Duncan)

Be Waukrife, Scotland!
by W D Cocker
Read by Marilyn Wright

Click here to listen to this in RealAudio

This poem appeared in the March 1931 issue of the Scots Independent. W D Cocker was born in Glasgow and worked there as a jounalist on the Daily Record, but his poems mostly evoke the Stirlingshire farms of his mother's family.
                                        Wae's me ! auld Scotland's in a dwam ;
                                            The Lion Rampant's lost his smeddum,
                                        An' coories like a frichtit lamb,
                                            Puir dwaibly cratur, wha would dread 'm ?
                                        Be waukrife, Scotland ! Up an' roar,
                                            An' get ye into fechtin' fettle ;
                                        Dinna be blate, in days o' yore
                                            Ye were na feart to show your mettle.
                                        Ower lang ye've tholed the Saxon rule,
                                            A "Union" that but meant suppression,
                                        Ye've learned, in bitter days o' dool,
                                            What England gets by that concession.
                                        They've ryped your pooch, an' taxed ye sair,
                                            They've taen the last bite frae your mooth ;
                                        They've strippit puir auld Scotland bare,
                                            An' spent the siller in the sooth.
                                        Wi' alien croods your toons are thrang,
                                            Your industries hae dwined awa',
                                        Your sons ayont the seas maun gang,
                                            Or thowless-like the "dole" maun draw.
                                        An' what's cam' ower the glens an' hills,
                                            Whaur bonnie crofts the e'e did cheer ?
                                        To mak' a sport for feckless fules
                                            They've laid bare for droves o' deer.
                                        Gude kens, we wish the Empire weel,
                                            We'll no' ding doon the Constitution,
                                        Gin we're respeckit - wha the deil
                                            Thinks Scotland's sons want Revolution ?
                                        But yet oor ain affairs we'll redd,
                                            An' guide oorsels. Then dinna swither,
                                        By Wallace an' the bluid he shed,
                                            For Scotland's richts, let's staun thegither !

Tartan Day and the Declaration of Arbroath
by Peter Wright, Chairman of the Scots Independent Newspaper

Peter and Marilyn Wright
Peter and Marilyn Wright

Tartan Day celebrations in America and Canada have been centred round one of the most important dates in Scottish history - 6 April 1320 - the date when the Scottish nobles appended their seals to the letter to Pope John XXII, on behalf of the Community of the Realm, asserting Scottish Independence at Arbroath Abbey.This year will also see Tartan Day celebrations in Scotland's long-time ally France and perhaps most appropriately the Burgh of Arbroath itself. Arbroath plans a week of celebration from 3-10 April 2004.

The Declaration of Arbroath, is a document of historic importance not only to Scots but to the world. It marked the emergence of Scotland as the first Nation State in Europe in the modern sense and the seeds of democracy by declaring that a ruler could be removed if he failed the people.The Arbroath Letter was to inspire another historic document - The American Declaration of Independence

In the splendid Saltire Society reprint 'A Scottish Postbag - Eight centuries of Scottish letters' (2003) the joint editors, Paul H. Scott and the late George Bruce,  wrote of The Declaration of Arbroath :

'The document known as the Declaration of Arbroath, the most important and best known in Scottish history, was a letter, if of a specialised kind. It was a diplomatic communication from the barons and 'whole community of the realm' of Scotland to Pope John XXII, remarkable for both its eloquence and persuasiveness and for the boldness and originality of its ideas. Long before such conceptions were found elsewhere in Europe, it spoke for the whole community and asserted the ideas that the independence of the nation was worth defending for its own sake and that rulers exist to serve the community and not the reverse.'

The crux of the Declaration lies in the following words -

'But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert. He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Maccabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully. Him, too, divine providence, his right of succssion according to our laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made him our Prince and King. To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.' ( Part of a translation  by Sir James Fergusson from the Latin original.)

These words have rung down the centuries. In any other country in the world, a document such as The Declaration of Arbroath would be marked by a National Public Holiday, but not in a Scotland, still tied to rule from outwith her own borders. Hopefully the celebration of the date in other countries will help convince Scots that Scottish Freedom should be regained and the words of 1320 honoured.

The Declaration of Abroath - Jim McLean
(read by Peter D Wright)

In Thirteen-Twenty Scotland said,
Should England dare our soil to tread,
The blood will flow in rivers red,
Before capitulation.
No more will Scotland bow the knee,
To foreign prince who e're he be,
For come what may we'll aye be free,
From English domination.

Chorus :

Here's to the men who took the oath,
The Declaration of Arbroath,
Freedom and right, our cause is both,
To save us from damnation.
Out with traitor, out with foe,
Give the Saxon blow for blow,
And freedom's brightest star shall glow,
Above the Scottish nation.

Its not for honour that we sigh,
Nor glory makes us long to die.
But liberty is Scotland's cry,
No English subjugation.
Our fathers didn't die in vain,
For while a hundred men remain,
No English king shall o'er us reign,
Stand up for Scotland's nation.

Too long we've played the tartan fool,
Too long we've bowed to English rule,
Too long we've cringed before John Bull,
Afraid of confrontation.
So heed the words from Bruce's pen,
Scotland must be free again,
Stand up a hundred Scottish men,
Who'll honour the Declaration.

Rouget de Lisle ( 1792 )

Click hear to listen to the song

You can hear it sung by Mireille Mathieu as a 5Mb download in MP3 format

                                                  Allons, enfants de la Patrie,
                                                  Le jour de gloire est arrivé;
                                                  Contre nous, de la tyrannie
                                                  L'étendard sanglant est levé,
                                                  L'étendard sanglant est levé.
                                                  Entendez-vous dans nos campagnes
                                                  Mugir ces féroces soldats?
                                                  Ils viennent jusque dans nos bras
                                                  Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes.
                                                                 Aux armes, Citoyens!
                                                                 Formez vos bataillons!
                                                                 Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons.
                                                   Nous entrerons dans la Carrière
                                                   Quand nos aînés n'y seront plus;
                                                   Nous y trouverons leurs poussières,
                                                   Et la trace de leurs vertus.
                                                   Et la trace de leurs vertus.
                                                   Bien moins jaloux de leur survivre,
                                                   Que de partager leurs cercueils;
                                                   Nous aurons le sublime orgueil,
                                                   De les venger ou de les suivre.
                                                                  Aux armes, Citoyens!
                                                                 Formez vos bataillons!
                                                                 Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons.
                                                   Amour sacré de la Patrie
                                                   Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs
                                                   Liberté, Liberté chérie,
                                                   Combats avec tes défenseurs;
                                                   Combats avec tes défenseurs;
                                                   Sous nos drapeaux, que la Victoire
                                                   Accours à tes mâles accents,
                                                   Que nos ennemis expirants
                                                   Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire.
                                                                 Aux armes, Citoyens!
                                                                 Formez vos bataillons!
                                                                 Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillons.

Footnote - This marching song of the French Army of the Revolution became the National Anthem of France. We print it to celebrate both the French National Day, Bastille Day on 14th July, and to commemorate the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France.   

Footnote - I write the text of the 3rd part of this hymn that is officially always in use to day. There were 4 or 5 other parts written by Rouget de Lisle at the origin, but after the  Révolution, they have been forbidden. The 3 parts I wrote here, are always officially the French national anthem. Sincerely yours,
Jacques-Yves Hespel-Van de Walle.

Speech delivered by General de Gaulle at Edinburgh, 23rd June 1942

I do not think that a Frenchman could have come to Scotland at any time without being sensible of a special emotion. Scarcely can he set foot in this ancient and glorious land before he finds countless natural affinities between your country and ours dating from the very earliest times. In the same moment, awareness of the thousand links, still living and cherished, of the Franco-Scottish Alliance, the oldest alliance in the world, leaps to his mind.

When I say "Franco-Scottish Alliance," I am thinking, firstly, of course, of that close political and military entente which, in the Middle Ages, was established between our ancient monarchy and yours.

I am thinking of the Scottish blood which flowed in the veins of our kings and of the French blood which flowed in the veins of your kings, of glory shared on past battlefields, from the siege of Orleans, raised by Joan of Arc, to Valmy, where Goethe recognised that a new age was dawning for the world.

In every combat where for five centuries the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight side by side with men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous than yours with its friendship.

Yet in our old alliance there was more than a common policy, more than marriages and fighting deeds. There were not only the Stuarts, the Queens of France and Scotland, Kennedy, Berwick, Macdonald, and the glorious Garde écossaise. There were also a thousand ties of spirit and soul. How could we forget the mutual inspiration of French and Scottish poets, or the influence of men like Locke and Hume on our philosophy? How could we fail to recognise what is common to the Presbyterian Church of Scotland and the doctrines of Calvin? How could we hide the influence which the great Walter Scott has exercised over the receptive mind of French youth? How could we ignore all the exchanges of ideas, feelings, customs, and even words so frequent between two peoples joined by a natural friendship, a friendship of which a visit to Edinburgh affords such ample proof?

This friendship and understanding which Frenchmen have found in Scotland throughout history are to-day more precious than ever. Undoubtedly, they are mingled at the present time with the joint aims, efforts, and ideals which go to make up the alliance between France and Great Britain. But I think I can say, without giving cause for offence, that although mingled, they are not lost in the mingling, and they retain their special character, just as in a bouquet a single flower still keeps its own perfume and colour.

That the soil of France enfolds lovingly the thousands and thousands of Scots whose blood was shed with that of our own soldiers during the last war, I can affirm. The monument to their memory on the hill of Buzancy has, I know, never been more frequently bedecked with flowers than since the new invasion. If the roses of France are bloodstained to-day, they still cluster round the thistle of Scotland. For my part, I can say that the comradeship of arms, sealed on the battlefield of Abbeville in May-June, 1940, between the French armoured division which I had the honour to command and the gallant 51st Scottish Division under General Fortune, played its part in the decision which I made to continue the fight at the side of the Allies to the end, come what may.

We live at a time when every friendship counts, especially those which have lasted longest. That which you extend to us in the difficult task my comrades and I have undertaken affords comforting proof that, like your forefathers, you know where the real France stands and you have kept your faith in her future. We, like our forefathers, will know how to repay.

And that is why, in thanking you for the truly touching reception which you have given me here, I close by quoting the old motto of the Compagnie écossaise: Omni modo fidelis.

Statue of Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn
Statue of Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn

"Scots Wha Hae"
By Robert Burns
Sung by Gaberlunzie

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victory!
Now's the day an' now's the hour
See the front of battle lour
See approach proud Edward's pow'r
Chains and slavery!

Wha would be a traitor knave?
Wha would fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn and flee!
Wha for Scotland's king an' law
Freedom's sword would strongly draw
Freeman stand and freeman fa'
Let him on wi' me!

By oppression's woes and pains
By your sons in servile chains
We will drain our dearest veins
But they shall be free.
Lay the proud userpers low!
Tyrants fall in ev'ry foe
Liberty's in every blow
Let us do or dee!

Gordon has produced a CD "Scotland, a wee country wi' a BIG impact on the World" which he's kindly let us use for this Tartan Day celebration. It's 45 minutes playing time. Click here to listen to it (5.5Mb)


If you'd like to monitor Scotland's continued fight for Independence visit the
Flag in the Wind each Friday for up to date analysis and comment.
Should you want to learn more about Scottish History and Scots around the world then visit

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Greentrax and Gordon Duncan for the pipe music and Gaberlunzie and Gill Bowman for the songs.



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