31 MAY 1930, Page 16

Que d' Eseossois, de rats, de poux, Ceux qui voyagent

jusqu' au bout Du monde, en rencontrent partout.


PERHAPS there was such a wandering stock as the Scottish. Its wanderings are as inveterate as they are ubiqui- tous. They are as old as the Middle Ages ; Louis XI had already his Scottish anthers. - But it was after the Reformation, and during the seventeenth century, that the real 'expansion of Scotland began. The Scottish' Calvinists, born in a poor country but used to swordsmanship; became the gallant iondottieri of the Reformed religion : they fought in the armies of the Lion of the North ; and perhaps it was -their service with the great Gustavus 'that led to their settlements in Sweden, East Prussia, the Baltic Provinces and Russia. It is said that Immanuel Kant was of Scottish descent ; and what a gallant story is that of the brothers Keith—George, the tenth Earl Marischal, who was Prussian Ambassador at Paris and Madrid, and so great a favourite with Frederick the Great that when he succeeded to his Scottish estates he was recalled

to Berlin by the King's personal entreaties; and the even more

wonderful Marshal Keith, who foUght in the Fifteen, served in the Spanish army, became a Russian Geneial (and fought for Russia in Polish,. Turkish and Swedish wars), was made a Field-Marshal of Prussia, and fell fighting for his adopted country in one of the early battles of the Seven Years' War. Scotland flooded into Northern Ireland ; and the " Scoto-. Irish " were some of the finest stuff that went to the making of the United States in-the eighteenth century. - Then there is the story of the Scottish wanderers and missionaries in Africa, the purest salt of their country, men such as Mungo Park of Selkirk and DaYid Livingstone, whose life was epic and crusade and pilgrimage all in one. "Your national_ charaCter, like your theology;'? said General Smuts last year, addressing an audience of Scotsmen, " has left an ineffaceable impress on South Africa." The story does not stop in Africa.

regio in terris Scotico non nota.labcrre ? Canada is made of Scottish stuff : New Zealand is really Nova Scotia : India has its tale of Scottish missionaries and administrators. There never was such a dispersion.; and yet nobody ever seems to have told its history. Seeley wrote a famous Expansion of England. N'Vho will -write The Expansion of Scotland?

* *. * * * Not that Scotland, as a nation, lacks a gift of historic memory. On the contrary its memory is deep and tenacious. In 1518 there was a battle fought at Flodden, in the North- West corner of Northumberland. Wandering near Flodden, some two years ago, without any map to follow,- I- was hard put to it, when I enquired of the country-folk; to get any help whatever in discovering the site of the battle. " Yes, there had been a battle, once upon a time : it was fought somewhere over there." There seemed to be no local memory : the silent, forgetful English had almost forgotten that anything of the sort had happened. I went next year to Selkirk,' which good step from Flodden. I saw there, in the centre of the town, a statue of a sixteenth-Century trooper, peering "under his steel cap intently to the South, and on its base were just three

words, " 0 Flodden Field." Just three words—but what a wealth of deep and poignant memory they hold. The Englith had forgotten the battle they won. • The Scots remembered- the battle they lost.

a * * * * * * This may seem sheer panegyric ; and a Scotsman himself

would admit that sheer panegyric, even of' Scotland, was a " wee bit " of an exaggeration. (Why, by the way, do the Scots love dhninutives so much ? I am told that the people of Aberdeenshire can achieve a quintuple diminutive, and talk of a " wee bittock lassikin." It puzzles me. I always thought that the use of diminutives, such as you get in Apuleius, was a mark of the decadence of a language. Is the Scottish language decadent ?) Well—if we are in danger of exaggeration in this matter, there are two guides who will put us right—one a Scotsman and one an Englishman : the great Sir Walter and the great Dr. Johnson. There is. a' passage in Rob Roy :=" Discretion, prudence, and foresight," wrote Sir Walter of the Scots, " are their leading qualities :

these are only modified by a narrow-spirited, but yet ardent patriotism, which forms as it were the outermost of the concentric bulwarks with which a Scot fortifies himself against all the attacks of a generous philanthropical principle. Surmount this mound,- you find an inner and still dearer barrier—the love of his province, his village, or most probably his clan : storm this' second obstacle, you have a third—his attachment to his own family. . . . And what is worst of all, could you surmount all these concentric _outworks, you have an inner citadel, deeper, higher and more efficient than them all—a Scotsman's love for himself." Dr. Johnson had a plain way of dealing with the Scots (though he never went so far as Sir Walter), - and he made many plain statements about them. " Why, Sir," he said once, in a literary dis- cussion, " I 'should not have said of him, had he been an Englishman, what I will now say of him as a Scotchman- that he was the only man of genius his country ever 'produced." I do not believe that the writer of whom he was speaking (and I leave my readers to guess who he was) was a man of genius ; on the contrary, I think he was only a versatile 'scholar, who could turn out a Manilian sort of Latin poem or a rechauffe of political theory with equal facility. Nor, again, do I believe that Scotland has produced only one man of genius. I can count three. ; , * * * * *

Perhaps these words I have " called into existence " (or, should I say " recalled " ?) will suffice, as Canning said in another connexion, " to redress the balance." But I have often thought in connexion with Scotland—of the obyerse side of her gallant, wandering habit. Scotland has depopulated herself. Partly-this is the result of the long Scottish, Yolks wanderung ; partly, I am inclined to think, it is the result of what I should call Scottish" over-education." That is a terrible term to use ; and I have little time for its defence. It was a brave thing when Scotland, somewhere about 1696, instituted a national system of parochial schools ; and four Scottish uni- versities have thriven on that brave basis in a population of only four millions. But so many scholars were produced by this system that there was, no room for them at home ; and the result was that Scotland became, on the one hand, a scholar-exporting country, and, on the Other hand, a country with too few of those solid manual workers of whom it is said in the Book of Ecclesiasticus, " they will maintain the State of the world, and all• their desire is in the work of their craft." It is a great question in the balance of any nation's life—and it is a question which is being raised all over the world to-day—How many of your people can you afford to train for the intellectual or clerical professions; 'and how many do you need for yotir txisic occupations of those of whom it is said, 'in the same book, all these trust to their hands, and every one is wise in his work : without these cannot a city be inhabited, "and they shall not dwelt where they will,` nor go up and down" ? Scotland has given her answer to this' question ;• and the answer raises some other questions. Scotsmen ' have dwelt' where they would, and gone up and down. In the process their country has' lost some of the very' marrow of its bones : a vacuum has been created, particularly in the region round the Clyde ; and other stocks, from across the water and even from far Eastern Europe, have rushed into the vacuum. It is a grave and serious matter. Is there not a possible cause,' and a possible Cure; which may be expressed in an old

motto, Spartam nactus es, hanc exorna ? . . But here provocation has reached its limits, and it is time for the shepherd to " twitch his mantle blue " (or the tail of

his coat)—and fly. To-morrow to fresh woods and pastures new "—but there will never be woods or pastures dearer to the writer than the bonny holms of Yarrow and the meadows by the Tweed where Thomas the Rhymer strayed. Only an Englishman can really love Scotland as Scotland