Contemporary Scottish Studies: First Series

Contemporary Scottish Studies: First Series

Contemporary Scottish Studies: First Series

Contemporary Scottish Studies: First Series

Excerpt

"Let the Scotsman be content, as I think he generally is, to be a Scotsman," enjoined the Prime Minister (Mr Stanley Baldwin) recently. But it all depends on what connotation is attached to the term "Scotsman," as to whether such contentment is desirable in the interests of Scotsmen themselves and their country, and European arts and affairs generally--or, merely, as some of us think, in the interests of Englishmen and of those Anglo-Scots who have sold their birthright for an (admittedly substantial) mess of pottage. To determine this it is necessary to examine the ethos of Scotland to-day; to enquire into the contemporary and, generally, post-Union contribution of Scotland to world culture; to institute comparisons between the stock-conceptions of things Scottish to-day and the qualities which manifested themselves in Scotland before the Union--even to consider anew what really is the chief End of Man and, more particularly, the best possible destiny that Scotland can secure, or, at least, plan and purpose for itself. There is an anecdote of Big Mac, who declared, "One thing I do thank God for--I'm a Scotsman," and Little Dick, who retorted, "That shows a nice forgiving spirit anyhow." For other reasons than perhaps actuate the majority of my countrymen I can heartily enough second Big Mac's sentiment, but, on the other hand, I am not of a forgiving disposition, and there are many directions in which I would fain make sure of being able to accommodate the Deity with a better grace than I can yet command. These essays are part and parcel of an endeavour to encompass that object.

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