The chapters composing this book have gradually been evolved
from a lecture on Scotland's Place in the World's History, delivered by
the author to the Scottish Patriotic Association at Glasgow in
February 1902. The first part of the lecture was expanded into a series of
twenty - seven articles which appeared in the Scottish Patriot from November
1903 to January 1906. These have now been carefully revised and enlarged to
form the bulk of Volume I. The rest of the lecture has, as the result of
considerable research, been similarly expanded to form Volume II.
As practically the whole of the second volume deals with the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries in their various Scottish interests, it
is necessary to explain that, in apportioning space to the several periods
dealt with, the principle applied has been that of mental perspective, the
view-point being that of Scotland’s importance not only to her own
children but to the British Empire and to the modern world of thought and
energy in general. Hence more attention has been devoted to historically
recent events than to earlier occurrences of equal intrinsic interest or
importance. Thus, in the earlier periods, the picturesque elements treated
once for all by the master hand of Scott have been for the most
part omitted. For similar reasons, the work of Scotsmen in the continental
countries of Europe (so fully dealt with by Hill Burton, Fischer, and
Michel) is only incidentally touched upon, while the part played by Scotsmen
in British colonial enterprise, in view of its greater perspective value to
modern thought, receives probably fuller notice than has hitherto been
accorded to it in any single publication.
A constant endeavour has been made to place facts before the
reader in a fair and truthful light, but at the same time the author, by
writing admittedly from the standpoint of a keen sympathiser with the
general trend of Scottish history, believes that he has been able to offer a
more faithful presentation of the unity of purpose running through the whole
course of the life-story of the Scottish people than if he had attempted the
practically impossible task of writing uniformly with the cold “aloofness”
of abstract justice. The ultimate purpose of the book is to aid patriotic
Scots in offering reasons for the faith that is in them, and to add some
impetus to those recent movements which make for a revival of the
better features of Scottish life and character.
The usual historical authorities and books of reference have
been freely consulted, but the author feels bound to express his special
indebtedness for constant suggestions to John Hill Burton’s History of
Scotland, and to Rev. Thomas Thomson’s History of the Scottish People. So
far as more recent publications have been borrowed from, acknowledgment is
generally made in the text, but more explicit recognition is due to Mr. (now
Professor) J. H. Millar’s Scottish Literature, to Mr. AV. D. M‘Kay’s Scottish
School of Painting, and to The Highland Brigade: Its Battles and
Its Heroes, by Messrs. James and David L. Cromb.
For valuable help in revising particular chapters, the author
has to express his warm thanks to the following gentlemen, whose special
knowledge and advice have enabled him to ensure a degree of accuracy
otherwise unattainable :—
Rev. Dr. Robert Laws of Livingstonia (chapter on Africa);
Prof. Magnus Maclean, D.Sc., F.R.S.E-(chapters on Science and Invention);
Henry Dyer, Esq., D.Sc., C.E., ex-Principal of the Imperial College, Tokio
(chapter on the East); Hon. T. D. Wanliss, late member of the Parliament of
Victoria (colonial chapters); A. M‘Farlane Shannan, Esq., A.R.S.A. (chapters
on Painting and Sculpture); John Bell, Esq., Doctor of Music (chapter on
Music and Song); Dr. W. S. Findlay, M.A., Bellshill (chapter on
Medical Science); Rev. James Dewar, Motherwell (Chapter XXXV.); and Mr.
Alfred Davidson, B.Sc. (chapter on Science). In the work of proof-reading
his colleague, Mr. Wm. M'Pheat, M.A., has rendered valuable assistance.
CHAS. W. THOMSON.
Larkhall, November 1909.
Volume 1 |