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STATUE TO HIGHLAND MARY AT
'HE Burns centenary celebrations were brought to an
auspicious close on Saturday, 1st August, when Lady Kelvin unveiled a statue of Highland Mary at Dunoon. This worthy memorial was promoted by a committee under the
zealous chairmanship of Mr. Colin Rae Brown. Contributions were invited from Burns lovers the world over, and the appeal
met with generous response. The cosmopolitanism of the Burns influence is manifest from the fact that the nobility joined with the proletariat to crown the movement with
The statue is erected on the Castle Hill, the site being generously gifted by Mrs. Bouverie Campbell Wyndham. None better could have been chosen. The statue occupies a commanding position, and is surrounded by scenes hallowed by associations with the early childhood of Highland Mary, for, within a mile from where this monument is raised, Mary Campbell is said to have been born, at the farmhouse of Auchamore. The statue is the work of Mr. D. W. Stevenson, Edinburgh. He has been very happy in this bronze realisation of the heroine that Burns has enshrined in sweetest song. The figure is that of a modest country maiden. She is shown in the dress of the period and of her class. is kilted at the knee, affording a glimpse of petticoat, and her feet are shod with buckled shoon. Round the neck, and crossing the bodice, is a kerchief, and a plaid falls in ample folds down her back, one of its fringed corners being gracefully caught on the left arm. The body is slightly bent forward on the right foot, and the left hand, held close to the bosom, clasps a Bible—a pretty touch, meant to symbolise an incident at the memorial meeting at the Fail Water, when Burns presented her with a Bible. In her right hand she carries a satchel. She is depicted gazing across the stretch of water in the direction of the Ayrshire coast. The sweet, homely face is lit by a smile. The statue, which was cast by Messrs. Singer & Sons, Frome, Somerset, is reared on a pedestal made of Ballochmyle stone. The pedestal, a handsome structure, was designed by Mr. R. A. Bryden, Glasgow. It is intended to adorn the front of the pedestal with a representation in bronze of the “ Parting of Burns and Highland Mary.”
The proceedings on Saturday began with a reception by Lord and Lady Kelvin in Dunoon Castle. Her ladyship was presented with a magnificent bouquet of flowers by Miss Mary Doig, and Mrs. Colin Rae Brown presented her with a purse containing contributions of 45 guineas in aid of the statue fund. The party afterwards proceeded to the Castle Hill. Only a limited number were admitted to the scene of the ceremony; but an enormous crowd lined the roadway below. Admirable order was kept by a staff of police under the charge of Chief-Constable Fraser and Superintendent Fraser. The sun shone brilliantly, and the spectacle was one to be remembered.
Among the party within the reserved enclosure were Lord and Lady Kelvin, Mr. Colin Rae Brown, Mr. Philip L. Clunn, president of the London Burns Club; Provost
Cooper, Dunoon; Bailie Doig, the Hon. Wm. MacCulloch, Auckland, New Zealand ; Mr. James Stewart, president of the Auckland Burns Club; Mr. Bouverie Campbell Wynd ham; Rev. David Macrae, Dundee ; Mr. Archibald Munro, Edinburgh ; Mr. Milligan and Mr. Wm. Martin, Glasgow ; Mr. Eugene Wason, ex-M.P. ; Mr. Wm. Birkmyre, ex-M.P. ; Provost Mackay, Bailie Davie, Mr. Hugh Lauder, and Mr. George Dunlop, Kilmarnock; Mr. J. B. Loudon, Mayor of Coventry ; Provost Milloy and ex-Provost M'Kirdy, Rothesay. Representatives were present from a number of Burns Clubs. Letters of apology were received from Sir Noel Paton, Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid, and others.
Lord Kelvin said that Mary Campbell, the Highland Mary of Burns, required no monument. Her memory was cherished wherever on this earth the English language had permeated. Many years after her death, Burns said these touching words—“My Highland lassie was as warmhearted and charming a young creature as ever blessed a man with generous love." This precious treasure, this inestimable blessing, Burns possessed only for five months after their memorable betrothal on the 14th May, 1786, on the banks of the Fail. In October, Mary nursed a sick brother. The brother recovered; the sister died. Who could tell what a far-reaching benefit to the Poet's life was thus lost? The daughter of a revenue cutter and a Dunoon sailor, she had a name known through the whole world. It was right that in Dunoon Mary should be remembered, born, as she was, within a mile of the spot where the statue was to be pre. sently unveiled. (Applause.) It seemed to him that nothing more appropriate could possibly have been designed, and that it was right that Dunoon should do this thing, not in order to increase the fame of Robert Burns, for that were impossible—not to prevent the name of Highland Mary from being forgotten, for that were also impossible—but in order to show that Dunoon was proud that it was the birthplace of one so worthily celebrated in song by the National Poet of Scotland. (Applause.)
Mr. Colin Rae Brown said he was glad that Lord Kelvin had given them that short but brilliant address, because it absolved him from the necessity of entering into some details which otherwise he might have done. But he would wish to refer to this--that some journalistic scribes on the other side of the Tweed had been asserting that Highland Mary was a myth; that Burns had simply imagined such a person ; but, fortunately for the promoters of the movement, those who knew Dunoon very easily settled the question. He should like to say a few words regarding Mary Campbell's connection with Dunoon which should for ever set the matter at rest. That learned savant, Dr. Samuel Smiles, he met in Kensington the other day, and the Doctor said, “What about this Highland Mary? Do you believe there ever was a Highland Mary?” He replied most unquestionably he did. Mr. Archibald Munro, who had published a work giving details of Mary Campbell's travels from the cradle to the grave, was still with them. Mary Campbell was born at the farmhouse of Auchamore, to which anyone from the Castle Hill could walk in ten minutes. In 1773, when she was nine years
the farmer, her father, who had been in a revenue cutter, became the owner of a small sinack which carried coals between Ardrossan and Campbeltown. She went into service in the latter town at twelve
years of age, and at eighteen she went to Ayrshire to serve in the house of Gavin Hamilton. There she met Burns, and on that memorable Sunday, the 14th May, 1786, they had that farewell which had brought forth one of the most charming odes in literature that the world had ever known. They exchanged vows across the tributary of the river Ayr-a small stream called the Fail. In the course of the same year she went to Greenock on the way to Campbeltown, because in the latter town all her relatives resided. She carried with her two half Bibles which Burns had presented to her on the betrothal Sunday. Strange to say, these two Bibles, now in the Burns Monument on the banks of the Doon, were carried to America by relations of Mary Campbell. They were purchased for a considerable sum in 1841, and are, with a lock of her golden hair, enshrined in that monument. The last episode was quickly reached, because in the month of September, Mary Campbell returned to Greenock only to die. She was the forerunner of those noble women, the sisters of Britain—the modern angels of society. She nursed her brother in the sever, and carried him successfully through ; but alas ! she herself fell a victim to the disease, and passed away at the early age of twenty-two. No wonder that Burns should compose that marvellous ode, “To Mary in Heaven." (Applause.) Mr. Brown then .asked Lady Kelvin to unveil the monument.
Lady Kelvin having done so, a double quartette party, conducted by Mr. Gideon Duncan, sang “To Mary in Heaven.”
Mr. Philip E. Clun, president of the London Burns Club, said he had the honour to propose a very cordial vote of thanks to Lady Kelvin for the very graceful manner in which she had performed the ceremony of unveiling.
Lord KELVIN said he was requested by Lady Kelvin to thank them for the kind manner in which they had received the proposal of Mr. Clun. It had been a great pleasure to Lady Kelvin to be present. She felt it an honour to unveil the statue before the large assemblage which now saw it standing as a monument as lasting as the metal of which it was made—as lasting as the honour which Dunoon claimed of having been the birthplace of Mary Campbell. (Applause.) On the part of all present, he congratulated Mr. Stevenson on the completion of a work which, when better seen, they would all recognise as well worthy of the great and interesting commemoration for which it was intended. It certainly occupied a sp ndid position. They looked with interest at that face as it gazed across the Frith towards the well-loved banks of Ayr, as if in memory of that scene which Mr. Rae Brown had described so well. It was the monument of a young, lovable, and well-loved person cut off at the early age of twenty-two. Even at that age they could well imagine that the memory of “Mary in Heaven” had a most salutary influence upon the Poet. Her short life was to him a precious legacy, and hallowed his being so long as he was on the earth. His lordship asked the assembly to accord to Mr. Stevenson a hearty vote of thanks for the beautiful work of art he had that day given to the world. (Applause.)
Mr. STEVENSON returned thanks.
The Hon. Mr. MacCULLOCH, Auckland, New Zealand, in proposing a vote of thanks to “ The Donors of the Site,” said he expressed the