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Scotland's Share in Civilizing the World
By Rev. Canon MacKenzie (1899)


This lecture was not originally intended for the press, much less for a book. It was intended merely for an ephemeral "rough and ready" story of Scotland's contributions to the world's welfare, and to be told at a Scottish society's evening entertainment. As years have passed since it was first told, the story has been gradually lengthening by adding new events up to date, yet retaining its original simple and unadorned style. It has been told to several Scottish SocietiesóCaledonian, St. Andrew's, Sons of Scotland, and Gaelicówithout charge; and numerous requests have been made to have it printed for the honour of Scotland. It is a wonderful story, but its sensationalism or eloquence consists only in stubborn facts, supported by authorities considered to be reliable. It was first delivered before the St. Andrew's Society, Cobourg, Ontario; and lest, from its somewhat ambitious title and corresponding facts, it might seem that I was claiming too much for Scotland, I endeavored to do justice to both Ireland and England, by delineating in the same lecture, their respective national characteristics, and showing the share which each of these nations has had iii advancing the world's moral and physical welfare.

Being accustomed, as a preacher, to having a text from which to speak, I selected as my text the British Coat of Armsóthe Harp and Shamrock for Ireland, the Lion and Rose for England, and the Unicorn and Thistle for Scotland; and I found to my surprise that these various national emblems had a wonderful adaptation to express the character, the history, and the influence of the nations they severally represent. But as time passed the one lecture grew into three.

The lecture on Ireland I have read both in public and in private to intelligent and patriotic Irishmen, and have requested them to tell inc critically and impartially what they thought of it. Their reply in every instance amounts to thisóI have done justice to Ireland.

The lecture on England I have not yet read to Englishmen; but I am positive that a hearing of it might lead to the opinion that I was giving to the Lion of England far more of the good things than the Lions fair share; or as some witty newspaper man said of my lecture on Scotland, "I claim for England everything in sight." I have given to England the credit for her achievements in the arts of peace and war. I have noted with admiration her poets, and prose writers, her scientists, inventors, painters, architects, sculptors, and her vast, industries in iron, steel, and clay; her worldwide commerce, her far reaching Christian missionary operations, and her innumerable benevolent institutions at home. But great and increasingly great though England's enlightening and civilizing influence be, there are some things which she claims, or seems to claim, which patriotic Scotch folk cannot grant her. What these things are can only be briefly mentioned. We cannot allow her to speak of and virtually claim everything great and good pertaining to Britain, as if it were merely English. Hence we protest with increasing indignation against her speaking of the English army, the English navy, the English Parliament, the English government, the English flag, the English crown, and of braid Scotland as if it were only a part of England. Who does not know that such talk is contrary to the Articles of Union of the two Kingdoms in 1707, in which it was expressly stipulated that thenceforth England and Scotland united should be known and named Great Britain; and therefore while the Union lasts there can be no such thing in existence as an English army; navy, parliament, crown, or flag. With equal propriety we might speak of the Scotch army, navy, parliament, crown, and flag; which kind of talk would of course be scouted as ridiculous. This lecture is intended to show, that many if not most of the great discoveries in science and inventions in art, resulting in modern civilization, are fue to Scottish genius, industry, and perseverance. Such things ought to be called British instead of Scotch, and would be so called were it not so common for the English and other nations to ascribe them simply to England.

Very few people know to what extent the civilized world is indebted to Scotland for all that we include in the term civilization. A glance at the contents and press notices of this publication may afford some idea of Scotland's share promoting the world's welfare; and that far more can be said to her credit than is usually ascribed to her in Scottish literature, or mentioned in speeches at the anniversary meetings of Scottish societies. As the work was too large to be all given as a public lecture, only about a third of it, has been used for that purpose.


Chapter 1 - Scotland's Character represented by the Unicorn
Chapter 2 - Scotland's Character represented by the Thistle
Chapter 3 - The Particulars
Chapter 4 - Scotch Inventions/Discoveries, Horticulture, Veterinary Schools/Colleges, Medical Science
Chapter 5 - Age of Iron and Steam, Chemistry, Civil Engineering
Chapter 6 - The Steam Engine, The Locomotive Engine, Light
Chapter 7 - The Steamboat, Steam Derrick and Crane, New York Elevated Railroad
Chapter 8 - Baloons, Kite, The Bicycle, Georlogy
Chapter 9 - Military Affairs
Chapter 10 - Stereotype. Societies, Watches
Chapter 11 - Electricity
Chapter 12 - The Cable King
Chapter 13 - Scotch Physique and Oatmeal, Scotch Missionary Societies, Education
Chapter 14 - The Fine Arts
Chapter 15 - Textile Manufactures, Travellers, Explorers, Scotch Temperance
Chapter 16 - Her love of Liberty

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