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UNITED HIGHLAND HAGGIS SUPPER.
SPEECHES BY THE GOVERNOR AND THE PREMIER.
COTTISH haggis, "warm, reekin', rich," was appropriately
enough the dish of honour at the supper given on the evening of the 21st, in the Freemasons' Hall, York Street, under the auspices of the Highland Society of New South Wales, the Thistle Club of New South Wales, and the Burns Anniversary Club, in commemoration of the centenary of Burns's death. There was a brilliant gathering, including Sir Patrick Jennings, Professor and Mrs. MacCallum, Professor Anderson Stuart, Professor Wilson, Professor Anderson, Mr. J. Currie Elles (great-grand-nephew of the Poet Burns) and Mrs. Elles, Mr. G. A. Wilson (chairman of Public Service Board) and Mrs. Wilson, Mr. Chief Justice Roe, of the Punjaub; Dr. and Mrs. M'Cormick, the Rev. John Ferguson (St. Stephen's), Dr. Graham, M.P., Major G. R. Campbell (commanding the Scottish Rifles), Dr. F. A. Bennett, Mr. John Rae, M.A., who proposed the toast of Burns at the centenary of his birth thirty-nine years ago; Messrs. G. Littlejohn, J. T. Walker, James Inglis, and about 300 others, including many ladies.
The Governor was received by a guard of honour, consisting of eighty-five men and four pipers from the Scottish Rifles, under Lieutenants Grieve and Machardy. The pipers played the Royal salute and escorted his Excellency into the room, followed by the Premier, Dr. MacLaurin, M.L.C., and Mr. Alex. Kethel, M.L.C. (chairman of the committee). As the Governor took his seat between Dr. MacLaurin (who presided) and Mrs. MacLaurin, the orchestra of the Permanent Artillery, located in the gallery, played the National Anthem. Immediately on the chairman's left, sat Mrs. M'Cormick and the Premier. The vice-chairs were occupied by Messrs. Alex. Kethel, Jas. Wilson, Robert Anderson, and Andw. M'Credie. Prominently displayed in the room was a bas-relief representing
Coila, the genius of music, crowning Robert Burns with a wreath of laurel, the work of Filans, a local sculptor; and a crayon copy, by Souter, of Nasmyth's famous portrait of Burns, surrounded by a wreath of laurel and heather. After supper, the "bill o' fare an' a' that" being under the careful supervision of Mr. Angus Cameron, the chairman read letters and telegrams of apologies from Mr. Alex. Brown, M.L.C., Colonel Goodlet, Mr. Monroe (Dungog), and Mr. D. O'Connor, M.L.C. Greetings were also received from "Crafton Scotsmen," Mr. Robert Kennedy, Theatre-Royal, Melbourne, the Highland Societies of Bathurst and Lismore, and the Caledonian Society at Adelaide. Mr. Macdonald Cameron (deputy-master of the Mint) sent what Dr. MacLaurin described as an exceedingly interesting relic, and probably the only specimen of Burns's signature in Sydney. It was officially attached to a permit for ten gallons of rum.
Dr. MACLAURIN, in proposing the health of the Governor, said he trusted that the day was far distant when any body of Scotchmen would fail to accord to Her Majesty's representative their warmest welcome.
Lord HAMPDEN said he was afraid that he had many more than the one defect of not being a Scotsman. It would be incongruous for him to speak to them of their great Poet. Burns had faults, but his genius lived, and remembering the times in which he lived, surely they could be blind to all his faults, and only remember the splendid legacy which he had left them. (Applause.)
Dr. MACLAURIN here explained that the day was being celebrated by sixty Burns and Scottish clubs throughout Australia and several hundreds of clubs in America and Great Britain. At eight o'clock they had sent greetings to the Dumfries committee on behalf of the societies of New South Wales, and expected that the cable would arrive while the ceremony was taking place at the Poet's grave. The profits of that gathering would be devoted towards founding a home for poor people at Mauchline. (Applause.)
Professor MACCALLUM next proposed "The Immortal Memory of Burns." Burns's greatness, he said, was not only acknowledged by his own countrymen. It was a fact for Scotsmen and the world. There was something strange in this, for never was a poet so heavily weighted in striving after immortality. His subjects were local, taken from his own experience and countryside. Nor had he a large and elaborate education. He was not a man of many books, but groped for knowledge to a large extent unaided. His disadvantages might be summed up in the saying that there were two classes of Englishmen who roused a Scotsman's wrath-those who said they couldn't understand Bnrns, and those who said they could. (Laughter.) From a more important point of view these disadvantages constituted the secret of Burns's greatness. It was Burns who more than anyone else had revealed the powers that lurked in popular
speech. Burns, if not the first poet in dialect, was at least the first genius who had employed dialect. He was, too, the Scottish poet. He did not belong to that type so frequently attributed to them that they began to think it was their own. The conventional Scot was a mere abstraction. The man whom they delighted to honour was headstrong, never prosperous, often in debt, irregular in his life, and a rebel in the Kirk. Burns was aglow to his finger tips, and that was why they felt him to be the spokesman of themselves, setting forth the deepest secrets of their own natures.
Mr. ALEX. KETHEL, M.L. C., supported the toast, as one of the oldest members of any Scots society in Sydney. Burns was more than a song-writer. He was a philosopher, prophet, and martyr. The toast was drunk in silence, after the band had played "Scots Wha Hae wi' Wallace Bled."
Mr. G. H. REID, who was received with great cordiality, said there might be some who would think it somewhat strange that the 100th anniversary of the death of their famous poet should be made the occasion of festivity, but he felt convinced that if Robert Burns could be heard on the matter he would entirely approve of the arrangement they had made. (Loud laughter.) Burns's influence was distinctly bright and sociable, and he judged that in spite of what Professor MacCallum had said. The same could not be said of many of their forefathers a hundred years ago. Then the great concern was how to keep body and soul together in this world, and how to unite them after the most orthodox fashion in the next. (Laughter.) As to the great poet he was a revelation to all mankind of a new species of Scot-a man with a heart as merry, a fancy as free, a genius as melting and musical as ever basked in southern sunshine. Their heaths and hills and glens, bathed in the glory of his immortal verse, revealed undiscovered springs of life and joy. The myths of Phariseeism and the clouds of genuine formality, which had for many years chilled and dulled Scottish life, were pierced by the flashes of his poignant wit, until the land blossomed forth in a new gladness of humanity. It was his master hand that unfolded Scottish life and manners to human admiration. Many great men had been born to Scotland before Burns and since, but he ventured to say that Scotland had its kindliest soul in him who had proclaimed it, as his toast proclaimed it, "The Land of Burns.” (Applause.)
The great kingdom
The Rev. JOHN FERGUSON replied to the toast. of Scotland was not a big place, but it was a great place to be born in, and had given to the world many big heads, great hearts, and ready hands. Their fair Scotia had pledged hands with civil liberty long ago, and they who were Scots when they wanted a tonic, crooned softly "Scots Wha Hae." She had also pledged her hands to religious liberty. Burns did well by the Kirk when he smashed hard the face of hypocrisy. She had pledged hands with culture, and right through, her voice had been raised for liberal education. The building up of men in spirit and mind had been her glory. She had glorified industry, and had sent forth the grandest samples of honest toil the world had ever seen. They had to live, and there were never any unemployed in Scotland. (Great cheering.) They
had always too much to do. "The dear old land, which they might never see again, the land of Bible, of catholicism, and oatmeal-Scotland for ever, and by Scotsmen never to be foresworn." (Applause.)
"The Land We Live In" was proposed by Dr. GRAHAM, M.P., and responded to by Mr. JAMES INGLIS.
At intervals the orchestra played selections of Scottish national music. Miss Maggie Stirling sang "The Land o' the Leal" and "O, Sing to Me the Auld Scots Sangs," and Mr. Robert Anderson recited “ Highland Mary."
DUNEDIN, NEW ZEALAND.
The Dunedin Burns Club's centenary gathering in commemoration of the death of Robert Burns was held in the Garrison Hall on the 21st, and was very largely attendedthe large hall being crowded in all parts. The president of the club (Mr. J. R. Thornton) occupied the chair, and was supported on the platform by the president of the Gaelic Society (Mr. D. C. Macdonald), the Mayor (Mr. N. Y. A. Wales), the Hon. T. Fergus, Dr. Stenhouse, Messrs. A. J. Burns, M. J Scobie Mackenzie, J. H. Morrison, and W. Swan. After the concert had been opened with selections on the bagpipes and an overture by the Engineers' Band,
The CHAIRMAN said-Ladies and Gentlemen,-I find that the framers of the programme have put me down for an opening address, but they have failed to consult the most important person connected with it—that is, myself. However, I can assure you that it is not my intention to shirk my duty nor to prolong it, but before I make any remarks I have to read to you a communication that has been received from an old friend of ours, and an admirer of Burns, who has not been able to attend this evening. The letter, which is addressed to myself, reads thus:
Dear Sir, I regret being unable to be personally with you to-night at the meeting commemorative of the centenary of the death of our great national poet-Burns. In spirit I am all with you. My first feeble display of admiration for the Bard was attending the great festival when comparatively a boy. In riper years, in 1847, I attended the natal banquet at Dumfries, and in many other places, both in Scotland and Ireland, as well as in New Zealand, I was almost annually present, and sometimes honoured in being asked to take a prominent part.
My principal object in sending this note is to supplement a want expressed in our daily papers: Whether Dunedin took part in celebrating the centenary of his birth in 1859. From the first year of the settlement, when the Poet's birthday came round there was a regular recognition thereof, whether publicly notified or not. In 1859 his birth centenary was.
celebrated by a supper in the Commercial Hotel, the chair being occupied by my old friend Thomas Birch. The felt want of the meeting was the absence of John Barr, of Craigielea, who regularly contributed an original poem in honour of the occasion. Unfortunately that year our native bard was absent, prevented by heavy floods from travelling from Warepa, so the meeting lost half its interest. His centenary poem was afterwards published; unfortunately I cannot send you a copy.—Yours, etc.,
JAS. M'INDOE. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I consider it the highest honour and the greatest privilege that I ever had conferred upon me to preside on such an occasion as this. You know we are only as part of a great commemoration that is being held all over the world. In Scotland, in England, in Ireland, north of the Mediterranean Sea, south of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Himalayas, south of the Himalayas, east of the Andes, west of the Andes, in the land of the Kangaroo, in the land of the Moa, there are commemorations going on all over the world. (Applause.) I therefore have, on behalf of the Burns Club, to thank those sons of Scotia, those daughters of Scotia, those sons of England, those sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle, who have come here to-night to join us in taking part in this commemoration. We are here to take part in the fulfilment of the prophecy made by the Poet many, many years ago. There is no doubt that at the time of his death he was well respected and well admired, but what do we find at the end of 100 years. We find celebrations such as this going on all over the world, showing that he not only touched the hearts of his own countrymen, but the hearts of men and women of every nationality into whose hands his poems have fallen. (Applause.) There are many reasons why these commemorations are being held. I can assure you that in any kind of literature with which I happen to be acquainted I can find nothing so true, so noble, as the sentiments that are to be found in Burns. (Applause.) In pathos he has not got an equal, in manliness no one can touch him, and in his portrayal of the endearing ties of family he is without an equal. I do not intend to detain you any longer, as if I do so I might be trespassing on the domain of the Hon. Mr. Fergus. Once more I have to thank all who are present, on behalf of the Burns Club, for their great kindness in attending this meeting to-night. (Applause.)
Dr. STENHOUSE recited the following threnody composed by himself, a copy of which was, it was mentioned, sent home, along with a wreath to be presented at the centenary celebration at Dumfries :
In manhood's prime, a hundred years ago,
A nation's tears bedewed thy dust below,
To-day, a world-and not a nation-stands