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The Highland Regiments and their Tartans

At the beginning of 1881, a rumour received currency that the War Office was about to abolish the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments, and to substitute some new uniform tartan. The rumour naturally roused the feelings of all Highlanders, and an agitation took place in which the Gaelic Society of Inverness took an active part. A brief narrative of this agitation, and our part in it, may be here given.

In 1877 a Committee on Army Organisation proposed by Colonel Stanley, War Secretary in Lord Beaconsfield’s administration, recommended that the connection should be more closely drawn between the line battalions of a brigade, and that “ this could best be effected by their being treated as one regiment, such regiment bearing a territorial designation, the line battalions being the 1st and 2nd; the Militia battalions, the 3rd and 4th, &c., of such territorial regiment, the depot being common to all, and being the last battalion of the Series.”

In 1880 it was found absolutely necessary to determine whether this proposal was to be adopted or not; and Mr H. E. C. Childers, who was then War Minister in the new administration, resolved to refer the matter to a small Committee. This Committee had instructions to consider such questions, as—

“1. The territorial designation which the regiment should bear, and whether it is desirable to re-adjust the combination of the present linked battalions, having due regard to the extreme inconvenience likely to be caused by such alteration.

“2. The record of victories on the colours.

“3. Arrangements for uniformity of clothing for the territorial regiments, including the Militia.”

The Committee which the Duke of Cambridge appointed to consider these matters, consisted of Adjutant-General Ellice, Major-General Radcliffe, Major-General Buhner, Major-General

Elkington, Major-General Sir Archibald Alison, Colonel 13. Macpherson, younger of Cluny (Lieutenant-Colonel of the 42nd Highlanders) ; Lieutenant-Colonel Briggs, 96th Regiment; and Mr George D. Ramsay, Director of Clothing.

While this Committee was prosecuting its labours, the rumour above alluded to spread over the land \ and the agitation was begun.

On 9th February 1881, the Secretary, Mr William Mackenzie, drew the attention of our Society to this rumour; and on his motion the meeting was formed into a Special Committee, with power to add to their number, to watch over the question; and power was given them to convene, if necessary, a public meeting, to which leading and representative Highlanders should be invited, in order to protest against the rumoured proposed change. The same meeting authorised Lord Archibald Campbell to sign on behalf of the Society a petition to the Queen and Mr Childers, which his Lordship was promoting. The petition was as follows:—

“To the Queen’s Most Excellent Majesty.—May it please your Majesty,—We, the undersigned, believing that we represent the national feeling of Scotland, humbly petition that the tartan dress hitherto worn by the various Highland regiments as distinctive of the districts in which they were raised, and in which dress they have fought with honour and glory in every part of the globe, be not changed, believing that such distinctive tartans add to the esprit de corps, and that such changes as are contemplated are contrary to the instincts of every true Highlander.”

On Thursday, February 20th, one of our leading members, Mr Fraser-Mackintosh, in his place in the House of Commons, asked whether alterations in the tartans worn by kilted and trews regiments were contemplated; and if so, whether full time would be allowed for the consideration of a matter so interesting to many, before finally adopting any alterations. To this question, Mr Childers replied as follows:—“In reply to my hon. friend, I can assure him and the House that so delicate a matter as any alteration with regard to the tartans of the Scotch regiments will not be decided upon without full consideration—(Hear, hear)— but probably he is not aware of the facts which have led to this matter becoming urgent. Since 1870 all soldiers have enlisted, not for one, but for two regiments, and since 1873 all officers have been appointed, not to one, but to two regiments, and they are liable to be transferred from one to the other at the will of the authorities. For instance, the 42nd and the 79th are two Scotch regiments, the men and officers of which belong to both. When the 42nd was abroad it was fed by drafts from the 79th to the extent of 452 men in four years; and now that the 79th is abroad vacancies in it have been filled by drafts from the 42nd to the extent of 159 men in one year. So, again, as to officers, two have recently been promoted from the 42nd to the 79th, and the whole body of officers will before long be subject to this liability of belonging to two regiments. It is evidently anomalous and unnecessarily costly that officers should be compelled to keep two sets of uniform, to say nothing of changing the uniform of the men, and we think that the time has come when this anomaly should be put an end to, and the two regiments have the same uniform. I understand that several of these cases are being satisfactorily arranged, and I can assure my hon. friend that we shall act with every consideration for the feelings of the officers and their men in whatever changes may ultimately be deemed necessary.”

On Monday, February 14th, a meeting of the Special Committee appointed by our Society on 9th February was held, when Mr Childers’ reply, above quoted, was considered, and the following resolution thereanent adopted :—

“The Committee having in view the unsatisfactory nature of Mr Childers’ reply to the question put to him by Mr Fraser-Mackintosh in regard to the proposed change in the tartans of the Highland regiments, resolves to organise a fuller meeting of influential representatives of Highlanders, to be held in Inverness on or before Friday, 4th March, for the purpose of considering the said proposal, and taking such steps as may be resolved upon with reference to the same.”

It was also resolved to largely augment the Committee by the addition of the names of prominent citizens; and Mr William Mackay was appointed its convener. In the first place a circular in the following terms was extensively circulated :—

“Clann nan Gaidheal an guaillean a cheile.

“Gaelic Society of Inverness,

“Inverness, 22nd Feb. 1881.

“Sir,—The proposal by Government to abolish the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments has caused great uneasiness, not only among Highlanders at home and abroad, but also among patriotic Lowlanders and Englishmen; and the Gaelic Society of Inverness have considered it their duty to appoint a Committee of their members to watch its progress. In consequence of the unsatisfactory nature of the statement made in Parliament by the Secretary of State for War, in reply to Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s question on the subject, the Committee have resolved to organise a public meeting for the purpose of considering the proposed change, and taking such steps in regard to it as may be resolved upon. The meeting is to be held within the Music Hall, Inverness, on Friday, the 4th day of March next, at one o’clock afternoon, and it is the earnest desire of the Committee that as many as possible of our leading and representative Highlanders should attend. The question to be considered is one which affects Highlanders in a special manner, and looking to the glorious part taken by the Highland regiments in the history of Britain during the past century, and the desirability of encouraging enlistments in the Highlands, it must also be treated as one materially affecting the future well-being of the Empire.

“There is perhaps no sentiment that enters so much into the character of the Scottish Highlander, or that has so powerfully influenced- his history as a soldier, as that embodied in the oft-quoted Ossianic precept, Lean gu dluth ri cliu do shinnsir; and hitherto it has been the unvarying policy of his leaders carefully to foster everything associated with his forefathers’ fame, or tending to preserve the history and traditions of the past. Guided by this policy, and knowing his men, Sir Ralph Abercromby, at the battle of Alexandria, incited the Highlanders with the simple but telling words, cMy brave IJighlanders, remember your country, remember your forefathersSir John Moore’s brief address to the clansmen who swept all before them on the field of Corunna was ‘Highlanders, remember Egypt:’ and during the memorable times of the Crimea and Indian Mutiny, the Highlanders’ deep-rooted reverence for the past and its associations were appealed to by Sir Colin Campbell, Sir Henry Havelock, and others, with a result of which history will not cease to tell. During Britain’s greatest struggles, the tartans which it is now proposed to abolish were worn by the Highland regiments and stained with the blood of their greatest heroes; but, notwithstanding this—notwithstanding that the distinctive tartans remind our soldiers of the clans and districts with which their regiments were originally connected, and the brilliant actions fought by those who wore them in the past, and that they have become as dear to them as the colours which they would die to save, and notwithstanding the alarm and discontent which, it is known, the proposal has caused among the officers and men of the regiments interested —the Secretary for War has declared in Parliament that in the opinion of the authorities the time has come for the abolition of those tartans. If this opinion is to be acted upon, there may be a paltry saving to the national exchequer; but the principal link which connects the glorious past of our regiments with the present will be broken, the individuality of the regiment will be destroyed, esprit de corps will be weakened, and the most powerful incentives to voluntary enlistment will be done away with. Our officers and men, although opposed to the change, are not allowed to petition. The people must therefore speak for them.

“I have been desired by the Committee earnestly to request jour presence at the meeting on the 4th March. In the event of your being unable to attend, may I ask you to have the goodness to favour me, at least three days before the meeting, with such a letter as the Committee can make use of, stating whether or not you disapprove of the proposed change.

“I have the honour to remain,

“Your faithful Servant,

“William Mackay, Convener of Committee, and Hon. Secretary of Gaelic Society.”

While the Gaelic Society was actively engaged in the agitation in the North, Highlanders in the South were no less zealous ; and on 17th February a most influential meeting was held at Stafford House, the London residence of the Duke of Sutherland, where an imitation of the fiery cross was sent round, and resolutions passed to resist any interference with the tartans. This meeting arranged for the presentation of the petition above quoted; and here it may be mentioned that among those who signed it were his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, 66 other Scottish noblemen, a large number of members of Parliament, the Provosts and Chief Magistrates of 124 cities and towns in Scotland, and upwards of 50 associations, and societies of Highlanders in Scotland and England. The total number of signatures obtained was over 16,000.

The petition was presented by Mackintosh of Mackintosh, a member of this Society ; and in reply to it, Mr Childers communicated the following letter to The Mackintosh :—

“War Office, 23d Feb.

“Gentlemen,—The petition which you have done me the honour to hand to me deserves all respect and attention, but I take this opportunity—the first which has presented itself to me— to state to you, and through you to those who take an interest in the subject in your petition, that the main designs attributed to us in connection with the uniform of Highland regiments have no foundation whatever in fact.

“It has never been my wish or intention either to abolish distinctive tartans or to substitute new-fangled patterns for the clan tartans now in vogue; and, least of all, to diminish the number of regiments wearing the kilt. On the contrary, I know enough of Scotland, and especially of Highlanders, to wish to see the number of battalions wearing these picturesque and popular uniforms increase, and whatever may have been the case in past times, when frequent changes in tartans took place, I am anxious to avoid perpetual alterations in the dress of the army, which for the most part only result in the benefit of tailors.

“But it became necessary to consider whether larger regiments should not be substituted for the inconvenient linked battalion system now in force. We consulted the Colonels of Scotch regiments, in order to see how, without making unnecessary changes, regiments with the same uniforms might be formed out of the existing battalions ; and I am happy to say that, when your meeting was recently held, we had arrived at a satisfactory conclusion with respect to all but two regiments.

“I hope, when I move the estimates next week, to be able to state that we have reached a complete solution of this intricate question; but, meanwhile, I am glad to be able to give these assurances to you and those whom you represent.

“I have the honour to be, gentlemen,

“Your obedient Servant,

(Signed) “Hugh E. C. Childers.”

On 25th February 1881, the War Office Committee, which, as already stated, included Sir Archibald Alison and Colonel D. Macpherson of Cluny, issued a unanimous report; and we cannot do better than quote from it such portions as bear directly on the Highland regiments, which we do as follows:—

“We have considered those recommendations of Colonel Stanley’s Committee (1877) which form part of our reference, and have taken evidence with regard to them from officers of experience, both in the line and the militia. We have also had the advantage of the opinions of Lieutenant-General Sir J. A dye, Surveyor-General of Ordnance, and of Lieutenant-General Sir Garnet Wolseley, Quarter-Master-General.

“The first point which has occupied our attention—in view of the proposals of Colonel Stanley’s Committee for the formation of territorial regiments being carried out—has been whether it is advisable to alter in any way the present combination of linked battalions, previous to their organisation in such regiments. As this organisation may be final, it is evidently of high importance to unite in the same regiment, battalions as closely allied as possible both as regards local connection and regimental feeling.

“There are several reasons for considering a readjustment of the present coupling of regiments as desirable. In some cases traditional sentiment, in others local considerations, or questions of clothing and uniform, point to the fact that certain alterations in the existing linking would be attended with advantage. Thus, the 43rd and 52nd, two regiments which formed part of the old light division in the Peninsula, and which are, perhaps, united by closer ties than any other regiments in the service, are separated, while, on the other hand, the 26th Cameronians, a Lowland and originally a Covenanter regiment, is linked to the strongly Highland 74th. As the 26th was originally raised for the purpose of opposing the Highlanders, it is manifest that its regimental traditions, and the feeling which these traditions always engender, must clash seriously with those of the 74th.

“Again, at present the 71st and 78th are linked together, the former wearing the trews and the latter the kilt. Such an arrangement added to the expense of the change of clothing when a draft proceeds from the battalion at home to that abroad, is unsightly on parade, and tends to keep up a feeling of separation between the two battalions, detrimental to the proper working either of the present linked battalion system, or to that proposal of territorial regiments.

“In Appendix No. III. will be found a scheme of re-linking, which it appears to us meets all the cases where it is urgently required, and has the following advantages:—It unites the 43rd and 52nd, and localises the Scotch regiments satisfactorily, doing away with the inconvenience attendant on the localisation of the 75th (a Scotch regiment) in Dorsetshire. It also brings together regiments willing to wear the same tartan, and in many cases having the same origin. It also adds one fresh battalion to those which have to be recruited in Scotland.

“On the assumption, however, that the present coupling of battalions continues, we have next considered the most suitable titles for the new territorial regiments. Our endeavour in this has been whilst abolishing all numbers (on the principle laid down by Colonel Stanley’s Committee) to maintain to the utmost everything that bears witness either to the local connection or to the honourable distinctions alike of the line and the militia, which united will form the new regiment. We hope by so doing to preserve, as little impaired as possible, that esprit de corps which is so marked and so valuable in the British Army. But we cannot conceal from ourselves that the fusing together of so many regiments hitherto separate, and the consequent alteration of titles and abolition of numbers surrounded with historical associations will inflict a shock on the feelings of the officers and men of those battalions which thus lose their cherished designations. We trust, however, that this may be temporary only, and that the hope expressed by Colonel Stanley’s Committee may be realised—namely, that in process of time an enlarged esprit de corps will grow up, and that the men of the territorial regiments will look back to the traditions of former campaigns with no less pride than their predecessors.

“On the subject of clothing we concur in the recommendation of Colonel Stanley’s Committee, that the uniform of all the battalions of the territorial regiment (whether line or militia) should be the same.

“In the case of Scotch battalions, the proper tartan to be adopted on the formation of the territorial regiment must be a matter for special consideration for each regiment. The question will be much simplified if the re-linking proposed in Appendix III. be adopted. This scheme has been framed after careful consultation with the Commanding Officers of the Scotch regiments, and special regard has been had in it to the strong feeling entertained by the men of various clans for their own special tartans. We have ascertained that if it be carried out the two battalions coupled together are willing in each case to adopt a common pattern for their tartan. It would, however, necessitate the kilting of four additional regiments, which would considerably increase the cost of their clothing. This increase would be counterbalanced if the ostrich feather head-dress now worn by kilted regiments were done away with. This head-dress is costly, and is never worn on active service. As it has no national origin, we recommend that it should be replaced by the true national head-dress-—the bonnet. The saving thus occasioned would more than cover the extra expense caused by the kilts. We would further suggest that all non-kilted Scotch regiments wlrch do not already wear the trews should adopt them.”

This table shows the linking of the Scottish regiments prior to 1881 :—

On March 3rd, the Army Estimates were introduced in the House of Commons; and on that occasion Mr Childers spoke at some length on the question of army organisation. Referring to the Highland regiments and the tartan question, he said—“ The special circumstances of some of the Scotch regiments require particular treatment. I will describe them with a little detail, as some most extraordinary misconceptions appear to exist about projects affecting them and their uniforms which never entered my mind. At present there are nine Highland regiments—the 42nd, 71st, 72nd, 74th, 78th, 79th, 91st, 92nd, and 93rd, wearing the kilt or trews; two double battalion regiments, the Royal Scots and Royal Scots Fusiliers ; and three single battalion regiments—the 26th, 73rd, and 90th, all localised in Scotland, and one, the 75th, localised in England. We propose to group these after a new arrangement in a manner which I will now describe. 1st, the 72nd and 78th will form the Seaforth Highlanders, kilted, and with the Mackenzie tartan; 2nd, the 92nd Gordon Highlanders will remain at Aberdeen, and the 75th will become its second battalion, and receive the same dress; 3rd, the 42nd will continue at Perth, and the 73rd, which is a Perthshire regiment, formerly the second battalion of the 42nd, will receive the same dress and form with it the Black Watch ; 4th, the 79th will have their dep6t at Inverness, and will be the odd battalion of the total 141 of the army ; 5th, the 91st and 93rd will form a regiment, with their dep6t at Stirling. They will be dressed in the kilt, wearing the tartan which, we understand, is common to the Argyll and Sutherland clans; 6th, the 71st and 74th will be combined at Hamilton as the Highland Light Infantry ; 7th, at Hamilton, also, will be the 26th and 90th, formed into a Rifle regiment. The other two depots — Edinburgh and Ayr — will remain unchanged. There will thus be nine kilted battalions, and two in trews, as against five kilted, and four in trews, as at present.”

This announcement on the part of the Minister of War was hailed by Highlanders everywhere with great satisfaction; and the agitation was at an end. Our meeting at Inverness was called for the 4th March (the day after Mr Childers made his statement), and there was, in the circumstances, little for it to do. It, how* ever, afforded an opportunity for the feeling in the North regarding the question to receive expression, and it is desirable that the same should be placed on record, which we accordingly do.

The meeting was .held in the Music Hall, Inverness, and there was a large attendance. Provost Fraser presided ; and on the platform were—Mr Horatio Ross of Rossie; Captain Chisholm, Glassburn; Dean of Guild Mackenzie, the Rev. A. C. Macdonald, Mr Charles Mackay, Mr William Mackay, solicitor; Mr Wm. Macbean, Union Street; Mr G. J. Campbell, solicitor ; Mr Colin Chisholm, Inverness; Mr Fraser, C.E., and Mr Wm. Mackenzie, members of tl:e Council of the Gaelic Society. Among those in the body of the hall were Dr Simon of Glenaldie; Dr Mackay, Ardross Terrace; Major Fraser; the Rev. Mr Fraser, Petty; Mr Robert Grant, of Messrs Macdougall & Co., &c.

Provost Fraser briefly explained the object of the meeting, which, he said, was called in compliance with the terms of a circular issued by the Committee of the Gaelic Society of Inverness. Although, he continued, it is a proper thing that we should not show the slightest indifference to so important a matter as a proposed change in the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments, I think it right to say that the matter about which we are met has been very much settled—(Cheers)— since steps were first taken in regard to it. The object of our wishes has, I may say, been almost attained. (Loud applause.) Such being the case, I think I may add that as soon as this matter was mooted—as soon as it was stated that the War Office contemplated certain changes in the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments—the authorities in Inverness did their very utmost to forward the object that this Society has in view, and to oppose the views that were attributed to the War Office. (Cheers.) I have had a good deal of correspondence on the subject with Lord Archibald Campbell, and that in a manner that should be satisfactory in the extreme to us —(Hear, hear)—as showing the intense interest that has been taken in the Highland regiments in high places throughout the country. I need not enter into details, but I must mention that, on the 27th February, Lord Archibald wrote me this letter—“ I would feel greatly obliged if you will let some one read out this letter to the Highlanders who may be present at your forthcoming gathering of the 4th March.” The letter referred to is as follows :—

“14 Beaufort Gardens, Brompton,

“27th February 1881.

“Gentlemen,—Though I have reason to think that our prayers have been heard by the War Office authorities, yet I cannot but rejoice to hear you are to gather together on the 4th of March at Inverness. There is, gentlemen, so much that is noble throughout the history of our beloved land, and so much that is worth copying in the conduct of the Highlanders in bye-gone days, that I feel you will not hold your meeting in vain. The movement begun here in London is not a political one. Our admiration for those who fought of old, down to quite recent times, consists in this—That the Highlander did not know much about or care in byegone days much about politics in the abstract. What lie did do, and care to do well, was the bidding of the respective chiefs. That made their conduct noble. They did not in byegone days discuss if their chief were on the right side or wrong side. At his summons they were at his side. Gallant days of most unselfish devotion ! We, I maintain, in our day ought to carry on the traditions that inspired such love and devotion, and do all in our power to perpetuate the touching, unquestioning, unswerving loyalty and devotion of the true Highlander. It matters little to which party you turn, the clansmen did their chiefs work nobly and well. It is this, gentlemen, that in my eyes hallows the tartan plaid of all the clans. The tartan plaid is the outward visible sign and symbol of days of the great and unquestioning loyalty and devotion of your forefathers. (Cheers.)

“I am, gentlemen, yours faithfully,

(Signed) “ Archibald Campbell.”

This letter, continued the Provost, is a very satisfactory one indeed, and one which should be acknowledged as valuable to us all. (Cheers.) Nothing could be more gratifying to us than the statement of the number of people who have interested themselves in this whole subject. There signed the petition to the Queen against the proposals that were attributed to the War Office, one Royal Duke—(Hear, hear)—66 Scottish noblemen, many Members of Parliament, 124 Provosts and Chief Magistrates, and from 16,000 to 20,000 other persons. (Cheers.)

Mr Wm. Mackay, solicitor, read tlie following report by the Special Committee of the Gaelic Society of Inverness :—

The proposal to tamper with the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments was received by all interested in these regiments and acquainted with their past history with profound regret and surprise; and the Gaelic Society of Inverness appointed a Committee to take such steps in regard to the matter as they might deem necessary. In consequence of the statement made in Parliament by the Secretary for War, in reply to Mr Fraser-Mackin-tosh’s question on the subject, the Committee resolved to organise this public meeting; and on the 22nd ult. a circular was issued, and the meeting was advertised in the newspapers. On the 23rd,

Mr Childers wrote to The Mackintosh, disclaiming the “ main designs” attributed to the War Office, but, as his letter was not considered entirely satisfactory, it was resolved still to hold the meeting. The statement made by Mr Childers last night in Parliament seems, so far as we can judge from the brief telegraphic report, to have been satisfactory, and it is pleasant to hope that there is now no necessity for taking the main steps for which this meeting was called. At this season the most of our leading Highlanders happen to be in the South, and, owing to the inclemency of the weather (all the railways leading to Inverness being to-day blocked in consequence of the snow-storm), a large number of noblemen and gentlemen, who take a deep interest in our movement, are unable to be with us to-day. Some of them have already taken part in the agitation in connection with the petitions which have been presented to the Queen and the Secretary for War. I have, however, received numerous letters, and as these strongly reflect the deep feeling which exists among all classes against any interference with the tartans, I shall, with your permission, refer to some of them, it being absolutely impossible, within the time at my disposal, to read them all.

The Duke of Montrose writes :—

“The idea of changing the tartans of the Highland regiments is repugnant to the feelings of every Scotsman, and I hope from the answer given by Mr Childers to Mackintosh of Mackintosh. that no alteration will be made.”

The Earl of Lauderdale writes :—

“From my heart I trust that the wishes of the gallant Highland regiments will be respected, and that the proposed abolition by Government of the distinctive tartans will not be carried into effect. The regiments have worn them 011 many a hard-fought field in all parts of the world, and in my humble opinion nothing is so likely to discourage enlistment amongst Highlanders as a change in their national dress, for every soldier has a proud recollection of the clan with which his regiment was formerly connected.”

The Earl of Errol writes :—

“I am happy to embrace the opportunity of recording my emphatic protest against the determination of the Secretary of State for War, as announced in Parliament, for the immediate abolition of the distinctive tartans as at present constituting the ancient and cherished garb of our National regiments.”

The Earl of Mar and Kellie writes :—

“I am entirely opposed to any such change, as 1 believe it is calculated seriously to impair that esprit de corps so essential to efficiency of our army. I have seen lately many letters in the public press taking various views as to the origin and antiquity of the clan tartans. It appears to me that such discussions are of little value as regards the question at issue. It is sufficient for me to know that the tartans now worn by the different regiments have distinguished them for very many years, and that both officers and men value them highly. And I believe the proposed change, dictated by petty economy, is not only distasteful to the army, but contrary to the feelings and wishes of all true Scotchmen.”

The Earl of Wliarncliffe writes :—

“I cannot attend your meeting on March 4th, but heartily sympathise with its object. As a Stuart by birth, and a Mackenzie by inheritance, I feel entitled to a strong feeling on the subject, and cannot express strongly enough my indignation with the pettifogging economy of the present War Office with regard to the dress of the Highland regiments.”

Lord Lovat says :—

“I heartily appreciate the object of your meeting, and my name is on the petition that was forwarded from Stafford House. I hate the idea of our Highland regiments losing their distinctive tartans, or their old names, or numbers, or any individual distinctions. These are the things that keep a regiment, officers and men, together, that rally them in the fight, and make them mindful of their regimental honour when at home. To a Highlander nothing is so dear as liis clan tartan. Whilst a soldier his regiment is his clan. If worth anything, all his feelings, and his hopes, and desires are with his regiment; and instead of doing away with all that makes his regiment dear to him, each thing that increases his esprit de corps should be encouraged.”

Lord Sinclair writes :—

“In acknowledging your circular of the 22nd, I most sincerely hope that the Highland regiments may never be deprived of the tartans worn by them with such pride in all parts of the world. I beg to express my cordial sympathy with the object of the meeting to be held at Inverness on Friday next, the 4tli March, and regret much the impossibility of attending in person on that occasion.”

Lord Middleton expresses regret at being unable to attend this meeting, and states that he is strongly against the abolition of the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments ; and Lord Archibald Campbell has addressed a spirited appeal, which has already been read to you.

Our northern Members of Parliament—Lochiel, Sir George Macpherson-Grant, and Mr Fraser-Mackintosh—have written strongly deprecating the threatened change ; and, as you are aware, Mr Fraser-Mackintosh has taken an active part in the agitation.

Cluny Macpherson, himself an old 4 2nd officer, and the father of the present Colonels of the Black Watch and the Sutherland Highlanders, writes that he highly approves of the object of this meeting, in which he takes the deepest interest.

Professor Blackie writes :—

“I shall deprecate in the strongest terms any abolition of the dress of the Highland regiments. The tartans are the bearers of historical associations ; and historical associations are the soul of the military character; whosoever tampers with the traditional dress of the Highland regiments weakens the moral force of the army, which, as Napoleon said, are two-thirds of the battle, lied tape and pipe-clay never yet made good soldiers.”

Dr Charles Mackay, tlie poet, and Dr G. F. Macdonald, London, write vigorously against the threatened change; the latter adding—

“A French general once said, *Happily the Highlanders are few or they would conquer the world.’ Truly they have emphatically the qualities which make the best soldiers. Yet a change was proposed such as would blow up the splendid edifice of our army from the very foundation. It has been my lot in life to travel much in various parts of the globe, and whether it be in the United States or the colonies, scarcely a Highlander can be found who does not retain his fond affection and natural pride in the garb which has ever led the van where deeds of prowess and daring have been the admiration and astonishment of the world.”

The officers who have communicated with me are unanimous in their disapproval.

Colonel Ross of Cromarty says :—

“Having had the honour in my youth of serving in one of our most distinguished Highland regiments, [ know well what a strong esprit de corps exists in them, and 1 should deeply deplore if anything were done so calculated to impair this feeling as the alteration of those historic old tartans which our Highland regiments have worn victoriously in every quarter of the globe.”

Colonel Duncan Baillie of Lochloy says :—

“I fully concur in the object of the meeting to be held on the 4tli of March, but I regret that I shall not be able to attend, as I am not permitted to sign a petition to the Secretary of State for War, being in command of the troops in this district. I trust that Mr Childers has reconsidered the question, and will not alter the tartan of our Highland regiments.”

Major Rose of Kilravock states:—

“ All I can do is to assure you of my utter disapproval of the proposed change in the regimental tartans, and of my entire approval of the Society’s patriotic resolution to ward off an innovation so unnecessary, so ill judged, and so distasteful to Highlanders of every rank and degree.”

Major Ramsay of Barra, Banffshire, “ cordially concurs in the views entertained by all Highlanders (he may say all Scotchmen) that the proposed alteration in the tartans of the Highland regiments should be resisted.”

Major Rose of Tarlogie “ thoroughly believes that it would be a great mistake in every way to abolish the. distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments,” and

Major Rose of Viewmount says :—

“ I can assure you that no person attending the meeting can more heartily condemn the proposed change than I do. . . .

I firmly believe that if the old regimental tartans are tampered with, the esprit de corps of all the regiments will be so broken that no amends made hereafter will heal the breach.”

Captain Hector Munro, younger of Foulis, says :—

“I fully sympathise with the object of the meeting, and no one would be more sorry than I to see the grand old tartans, with their traditions, snuffed out by red tapeism.”

Captain Douglas Wimberley, in a letter full of valuable suggestions, says : —

“I thoroughly sympathise with your object, viz., to preserve each of the Highland regiments intact and distinct, and having served for some years in the 79th, and being adjutant of the regiment, I well know how distasteful to both officers and men any approach to amalgamation was, is, and always will be. . . .

I hope that your meeting will be unanimous in sending a strong protest against any alteration tending to interfere with the individuality of the regiments we love and revere.”

Another officer still on duty says :—

“Being an officer in a Highland regiment myself, it is needless for me to state how totally I disapprove of such a change. Such an interference with the individuality of the Highland regiments means little short of the effacement of these regiments, the extinction of all esprit de corps, and the greatest degradation that the officers and men could be subjected to.”

Mrs Campbell, yr. of Lochnell, writes, in the absence of her husband, an enthusiastic letter, in which she states that Mr Campbell’s whole sympathies are with us.

Brodie of Brodie writes :—

“The object for which the meeting has been called has my full sympathy, as I think it is highly undesirable that the tartans of our Highland regiments should be in any way interfered with.”

Mr Mackintosh of Holme says :—

“I have much pleasure in assuring you that the object of the meeting has my entire sympathy. . . I may say, however, that I have been glad to observe from the later utterances of Mr Childers that the matter is likely to be settled as we could wish, without outraging Highland feelings, which I do not believe was ever really intended, but that the changes which seem to have been contemplated were resolved upon thoughtlessly and without consideration.”

Mr Malkin of Corrybrough states :—

“I should join with you in sincerely regretting that anything should be done to wound the just pride of the Highland regiments in their brilliant histories. I trust, however, that better counsels will prevail.”

Mr Macpherson-Campbell of Balliemore says :—

“The object of all true Scotchmen should be to preserve the national costume and the regimental tartans of the Highland regiments, and I entirely agree with the object of your meeting.”

Mr Dugald Stuart of Lochcarron states : —

“I am very pleased that there is a movement to protect our Highland regiments from invasion, and I trust and hope that we will succeed.”

Mr W. Thomson Sinclair of Freswick writes :—

“I will not lose this opportunity of expressing my disapproval of the Government threat to abolish the distinctive tartans of our brave Highland regiments, and hope that such a strong and spontaneous expression of natural indignation will be called forth against this attempt to meddle with the ancient tartans, as will in future prevent any tampering with the beautiful garb of old Gaul.”

Dr Cameron of Lakefield says :—

“I much regret that it will not be in my power to be with you in the body on the 4tli, but you may be sure I shall be heart and soul with you when you are met for so good an object.”

Mr Inglis of Newmore writes : —

“The object of the meeting has my fullest approval, and I trust that the result of the movement may cause the Government to re-consider their, in my opinion, unwise decision.”

Mr Robertson of Kindeace says:—

“I am pleased to have this opportunity of publicly expressing my deep-rooted conviction of the very undesirable step the Government have taken. I can only look upon it as the work of meddling civilians wiio know no esprit de corps, and fancy General Service suits all men, little understanding the feelings of a soldier, and certainly not those of a Highlander.”

Mr Henderson of Stemster, convener of the county of Caithness, states:—

“I cordially approve of the object of your meeting. So-called army reformers might pause in the changes so frequently made. . . I cannot understand how any body of men can over look the influence in regiments of esprit de corps, and what it has done on so many battle-fields, and there cannot be a stronger proof of the immense value of this feeling or sentiment than the fact that, though Highland regiments are frequently composed of recruits from other parts of the kingdom or drafts from other regiments, these Highland regiments have invariably maintained the same character as the finest soldiers in the world.”

Mr Douglas Maclean, Northampton, writes :—

“I fully agree with the object for which your meeting is called, and trust it may assist the movement in favour of the tartan. I hope that the intention of doing away with the linked battalion may remove the only reason for such an impolitic and most undesirable proceeding as the interference with the regimental tartans, which are not only loved and valued by the wearers, but highly honoured and prized by the whole nation, English and Irish as well as Scotch, and thoroughly respected by other nations.”

Mr Macdonald of Skeabost writes : —

“After the assurance given by Mr Childers, I think we may make ourselves perfectly easy that the talked-of change in the regimental tartans will not be carried out; yet, all the same, I think, you are quite right in having the meeting on the 4th, were it only to show the Government how very strongly and unanimously we feel on the question.”

Mr John Mackay of Ben Reay says :—

“I approve most heartily of the object of the meeting—the retaining unaltered the tartans of our kilted regiments. ‘ My heart warms to the tartan,’ is a saying as often uttered by the Lowlander as by the Highlander, and why? Because so many of the Lowland youths have enlisted into the Highland regiments, that the spirit of the Gael has through them been diffused throughout the whole of Scotland ; and thus the people of the Lothians, Tweedside, Annandale and Galloway are as proud of the kilted regiments as the Highlanders themselves, and as tenacious of their distinctive dress as the natives of the North. Hence, when a petition was brought to Dalbeattie the other day praying that there should be no change in the dress, the sheets were filled without any canvassing within twenty-four hours.”

Mr John Mackay, Hereford, says :—

“I am certain that the sense of your meeting will be thoroughly Highland, and strongly condemnatory of the intended action of the War Secretary. All Highlanders are agreed that the proposal is a thoughtless interference with their most cherished sentiments and most heroic reminiscences. ‘ Let well alone ’ must be the watchword of the Inverness meeting.”

Mr Mackintosh Shaw, London, author of the "History of Clan Chattan” and the “Clan Battle of Perth,” writes :—

“I am not sure whether, after Mr Childers’ letter to The Mackintosh last week, the meeting convened for the 4th inst. will be held. I trust, however, that it will be held, for that letter was not altogether satisfactory, and I think that Inverness should place on record its opinion of the tartans of the Highland regiments. ... I beg to express my entire disapproval of any change whatever either in the tartans, the names, or the numbers of the Highland regiments.”

Mr Sinclair Macleay, London, writes to say that we have his cordial support.

Mr Thomas A. Croal, Edinburgh, says :—

“I am glad to know that the heather is on fire on this absurd project of the War Office. Every member for a Scottish constituency should be called on to assert his independence on this question.”

Mr Dixon, Inveran, states : —

“I am entirely with you in opposing the abolition of the distinctive tartans of the Highland regiments. There is a distinct and peculiar history, fame, and glory connected with each particular tartan, and it seems to me a national duty to impress this most important fact on the Government, who appear to be most unaccountably ignorant of it, and I should rather say to ignore it.”

Mr John Scobie, Lochinver, Deputy-Lieutenant of the county of Sutherland, writes with reference to the threatened change:—

“I earnestly hope that every effort will be made to avert such an untoward and direful measure, which would certainly be most damaging in its effects in quenching that military ardour which has ever distinguished the Highland regiments in all parts of the world. Their hearts would be cold indeed if they did not warm to the sight of the tartan, and the stirring notes of the bagpipes. There could not be any greater discouragement to recruiting throughout the length and breadth of the Highlands and Isles of Scotland than the proposed change if carried out.

Mr Mollison, Dochfour, states :—

“Although not really a Highlander, I sympathise most thoroughly with the united and determined effort now being made to resist any interference with the distinctive tartans of our dauntless Highland regiments.....The very idea of such a change shows an ignorance of, and a want of sympathy with, the fiery zeal of the genuine Highland soldier, and must be resisted to the end.”

Mr William Chisholm, Barnyards, writes :—

“If our Government will be foolish enough to commit this sad mistake, I have no doubt it will create a good deal of bad feeling in all our Highland regiments, as well as all over Scotland.’'’

Mr Andrew Clunas, Glenmazeran, writes :—

“What a pity that any member of our Ministry should dream of abolishing any of the distinctive tartans of our brave Highland Regiments.”

Mr John Cameron, Tomchrasky, states that :—

“‘Like every Highlander,’ he entirely disapproves of any change in the direction suggested.”

Mr Mackinnon, Ostaig House, Skye, says :—

“t highly and heartily disapprove of the proposed abolition of tartans in our Highland regiments.” '

Mr Wm. Mackenzie, Dingwall, writes :—

“Like every other true Highlander, I deeply sympathise with the object you have in view.” And

Mr John M. Nimmo, Wick, writes in similar terms.

Mr Colin S. Macrae, W.S., Edinburgh, says :—

“I highly approve of the step you are taking, and have myself been at considerable trouble in forwarding petitions with the same object to London. The letter of Mr Childers published today looks as if the Government had yielded, but it appears to me that the Capital of the North is still bound to declare itself emphatically against tampering with our Highland regiments.”

Sheriff Nicolson, Kirkcudbright, writes :—

“I have already expressed my sentiments on the subject in question, and think it unnecessary now to say very little more. I think Mr Childers has got sufficient proof that the abominable proposal which he got credit for, but now repudiates, is utterly offensive to Scottish feeling, Lowland as well as Highland, and that the sooner any meddling with Highland tartans and traditions is abandoned the better for the British army. All this I feel beyond expression.”

I am glad to say that the clergy, who are not usually supposed to exhibit a martial temperament, have on this occasion strongly shown their Highland sympathies.

Thus the Rev. Alexander Macgregor, Inverness, writes :—

“The uncalled for movement on the part of Government to modify, and perhaps eventually to do away with, the distinctive tartans of our noble Highland regiments, has justly aroused, not only the universal disapproval, but likewise the heart-felt indignation of all the natives of ‘Tir nam beann, nan gleann ’s nan gaisgeach.’ ”

The Rev. Dr Clerk, Kilmallie, says:—

“I know not that any words of mine are needed to deepen the conviction so generally prevailing (I am glad to see) of the glaring impolicy of changing the long established and venerated garb of our Highland regiments. But let me say that I am old enough to have conversed with many men who suffered from the proscription of the Highland dress by the Government of the day in 1747, and I can never forget the terms in which they spoke of the deep sense of degradation felt by them when deprived of their national dress, nor the bitterness of their hatred of those who had so degraded them. . . Our regiments possess the feeling which actuated our clansmen. Their dress, their music, and every distinctive badge which goes to constitute their individuality are all associated in their minds with memories of gallant deeds and heroic endurance in the past. These memories tend much to stir them up to heroism in the present; and the breaking up of these associations is at variance with the lessons of history, as well as of the lawrs of the human mind, is unpatriotic, and opposed to common-sense.”

The Rev. Dr Maclauchlan, Edinburgh, writes : —

“I have no difficulty in saying that while, as a minister, the question of regimental tartans is not one that touches me much, yet as a question of national interest it does touch me ; and I believe that our English statesmen could not do a more foolish thing than to meddle, as they propose, with a matter of this kind in a way to offend all our national sympathies. I wish you all success.”

The Rev. Dr Masson, Edinburgh, says :—

“The Highland regiments have made their tartans their own by a history which is at once the pride of the Highlands and the inspiration of the Highlanders. . . The traditions and esprit de corps of the Highland soldiers are woven into the warp and woof of his tartans, and I protest that these ought not to be tampered with, except for reasons of the utmost weight and urgency.”

The Rev. Mr Campbell, Glen-Urquhart, says :—

“This is a matter in which every true Highlander ought to take a deep and personal interest, and use his influence in every legitimate way to prevent any change in the time-honoured costume so inseparably connected with the brilliant victories and immortal deeds of our heroic ancestors in every part of the world. . . . I highly approve of the object of your meeting.”

I shall not encroach more on your time by reading further extracts, but shall conclude by stating that the Provosts of the Burghs of Kirkwall, Tain, and Fortrose have written in their official capacities warmly approving of the objects for which this meeting is called. (Cheers.)

Mr Mackay added that the statement of Mr Childers, made since the report was drawn up, was satisfactory. Instead of five as before, we would now have nine Highland regiments wearing the kilt. Apparently the Goverment would have some difficulties in dealing with the 74th Regiment, but our hope should be that, in the modifications that were in view, as little change as possible would be effected. (Cheers.) Mr Mackay read the following telegrams just received :—

From the Provost of Thurso.—“Your circular intimation has given great satisfaction in the North, but the snow-block on the railway—(Laughter)—has made it impossible for Caithness to be represented at your meeting.” (Applause.)

From Mr Fraser-Mackintosh, M.P.—“Statement satisfactory (Mr Childers’.) Nine kilted, two trews, as against five and four. 79th only odd battalion. Headquarters, Inverness. (Applause.) Suggest now, as the practical outcome of this agitation, that your meeting recommend a new regiment, joined to the 79th, styled the Inverness Highlanders.” (Cheers.)

This, added Mr Mackay, if carried out, would give us ten kilted regiments instead of five. (Applause.)

The Chairman said, in looking at the interest taken in the subject throughout the kingdom, he almost felt a kind of regret that Mr Childers’ had taken the wind out of our sails—(Laughter) but if we had lost a great deal of enthusiasm, we had at least gained our object. (Applause.)

Captain A. M. Chisholm, Glassburn, said—Mr Chairman and gentlemen, I have come down from Strathglass expressly for the purpose of taking part in the proceedings of this day— (Applause) — and I do so with great pleasure, particularly in view of the fact that since this agitation—or rather “rising” of the Celtic spirit of the North—commenced, the War Office has made an announcement which all Highlanders will receive with hearty enthusiasm—(Cheers)—for not only are the five kilted regiments to continue to wear their distinctive tartans, but they are also to be strengthened by additional second battalions, with the exception cf the 79th ; and further, other four regiments, now wearing either the trews or ordinary trousers, are to be raised to the dignity of kilted regiments—(Hear, hear, and loud applause)—a distinction which I, as an old Highland officer, feel sure they will all highly appreciate. Let me for a moment glance at the new arrangements. To begin with my old regiment, the Freiceadan Dubh, you will observe that none of its distinctive features are to be obliterated, and that it is to be strengthened by restoring to it, as its second battalion, the 73rd Perthshire Regiment. (Applause.) This 73rd Regiment, I may mention, was originally the second battalion of the 42nd, but in the year 1786 it was formed into a separate regiment. At the resolution to restore it its ancient tartan, and link it with its parent stem, I for one rejoice. Let me next glance at the 78th and 72nd Highlanders—two regiments in which I feel sure the North will always manifest the deepest interest. The 72nd, whose original number was the 78th, was raised by Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth, and as it was largely recruited by the Macraes of Kin-tail, you will readily understand that I, being half a Macrae myself, and over and above a Kintail man, have always taken a warm interest in its welfare. (Applause.) In course of time it was deprived of its kilt and Mackenzie tartan, but I now rejoice to learn that both the kilt and Mackenzie tartan are to be restored to it, and that henceforth it will be linked with the gallant Ross-shire Buffs. Both these regiments were raised by the Seaforth family, and under the new order of things they will, as of yore, be called Seaforth’s Highlanders. (Loud cheers.) The 79th Cameron Highlanders, you will observe, is to have its headquarters at Inverness—a very fitting arrangement. The 92nd Gordon Highlanders will have their headquarters in Aberdeen, and will receive the 75th (originally a Highland regiment) as its second battalion. The 75th, of course, will henceforth wear the Gordon tartan kilt. The 91st Argyllshire Highlanders will no longer wear the trews, and is to be linked with the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, and both are to wear the tartan which is common to the clans of Argyll and Sutherland. The other two Highland regiments—the 71st and 74th—are to wear the trews as at present, but which tartan is not stated.* These, gentlemen, on the whole, are changes which I, as a Highlander—and, I am sure, Highlanders all over the world—hail not only with satisfaction, but with pride and gratitude; and I. think that Mr Childers and the War Office authorities deserve the best thanks of Highlanders for these praiseworthy steps to augment the number and generally strengthen the kilted regiments of the British army. (Loud cheers.) The primitive garment of the Highlander is preserved in the uniform of the Highland regiments. (Applause.) The tartan regiments are representative of the clans from which they originally sprang. The tartan embodies a clan name, and represents a district. (Applause.) It is the name, and not the number, of the regiments by which they are famed in history, and that name is the name of the tartan. The tartans are certainly much older than the regiments which have worn clan tartans. The 42nd tartan is 140 years old at any rate. (Cheers.) The first regiment on Britain’s battle-roll wearing the tartan was the 42nd Regiment—the old Black Watch. But, gentlemen,

The tartan worn by these two regiments is the Mackenzie, when I reflect on the happy culmination of this tartan agitation, I feel that it is now quite unnecessary for me to trespass further on your time, and I will simply conclude by moving the resolution which has been placed in my hands, viz.:—

“That this meeting (called to protest against the reported contemplated changes in the tartans of the Highland regiments) now record its satisfaction at the statement made last night in Parliament by the Secretary of State for War, and express its conviction that the decision now come to by the War Office, not to abolish any of the distinctive tartans, is alike politic and patriotic.” (Loud cheering )

Mr William Mackay, solicitor—I have been asked to second this as representing the Gaelic Society; which consists of upwards of 400 members scattered all over the world. If we had met yesterday, before Mr Childers made his statement, I have no doubt our resolutions would have been very different from what they will now be; but as Mr Childers has made a statement which we consider to be very satisfactory, we are very happy to be able to acknowledge it, and to hope that no change will ever be made in the future in the direction lately contemplated. (Cheers.)

The resolution was unanimously carried.

Dean of Guild Mackenzie, in a word, moved—

“That the resolution now passed be signed by the Chairman on behalf of the meeting, and that one copy thereof be forwarded to Her Majesty the Queen, and another to the Secretary of State for War.”

Mr G. J. Campbell, solicitor, seconded. The War Office, he said, raised a war-cry against the Highlanders, but the Highlanders raised their slogan in Parliament, and that slogan has been heard, and the War Office has been defeated. (Applause.) I think it speaks very well for the enthusiasm of the Highlanders on this important question of distinctive regimental tartans, that even after the War Office has given in, 500 or 600 of the leading citizens of Inverness and the country round come here to attend this meeting at the middle of the day, on a very bus}7 market day. (Applause.) I have no doubt that had the War Office not given in as they did, we would have had an attendance here of some thousands instead of 500 or 600. (Applause.) We could never allow the distinctive tartans to be taken away and the Highlanders stamped out.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

The Chairman—I am glad to see that we are so unanimous ; indeed, I never expected that we would be otherwise. I have now to propose, in terms of Mr Fraser-Mackintosh’s suggestion, that as a practical outcome of the agitation on this question, we should recommend that a new regiment be joined to the 79th Regiment, and that the body thus formed be styled “ The Inverness Highlanders.” (Cheers.) That is a proposal which I am sure will meet with the approbation of every one present. (Applause.)

The proposal was seconded by Mr Colin Chisholm, and adopted.

The Chairman—I move next that we accord a hearty vote of thanks to Lord Archibald Campbell. (Cheers.) The amount of correspondence which Lord Archibald Campbell has had all over the country in regard to the Highland regimental tartans has really been enormous. He has, as this shows, taken an intense interest in the tartan question from the beginning, and I am glad to have the pleasure of proposing a vote of thanks to him. (Cheers.)

Mr Horatio Ross said he had come to the meeting to listen and look on, and did not expect to be asked to make a speech. However, he had got on his feet, and would be happy to do his best. (Applause.) He had the pleasure of proposing a vote of thanks to a body of gentlemen who had taken a leading interest in the question as to a change of the Highland regimental tartans, and to whom they were on this account deeply indebted. (Applause.) For himself, he must say that when he heard that the War Office authorities were going to meddle—to tamper with— the regimental tartans to the extent of making them largely uniform, he really did not know whether his indignation or astonishment was the more profound. (Laughter and applause.) All soldiers clung fondly to, and were inspired by, traditions of their regiments, which distinctive uniforms and colours helped to keep continually before them, and among none of our soldiers was the feeling so strong as amongst the members of the Highland regiments. (Cheers.) To ask the officers or men of these regiments to give lip their tartans seemed to officers and men about as bad as asking Highland chiefs, like the Duke of Sutherland, and Cluny, and others, to give up theirs, and they had viewed the change recently contemplated with indignation, astonishment, and contempt. (Cheers.) The Highland regiments had ever given a good account of themselves. In the Crimean War they never retired without glory from any battle into which they entered. (Cheers.) And even as regarded the lamentable disaster in South Africa the gther day, it was something to be proud of that the small body of Highlanders there—viz., one company of the 92nd Regiment, stood at their posts like men to the very last, and died there as only the bravest of soldiers could do. (Cheers.) That showed that the old blood still ran in the veins of the men of our Highland regiments. (Cheers.) As to the question of the tartans, when he read an account of the meeting at Stafford House, and noted that the meeting had been attended by so many influential gentlemen deeply interested in the Highlands, he made his mind quite easy as to the result. He was quite sure that the War Office authorities and the Government would see that they had made a mistake. It was a mistake beyond a doubt, but if the authorities now tried to rectify the mistake that was all they could be asked to do. (Cheers.) He moved that the meeting accord a vote of thanks to the Duke of Sutherland, The Mackintosh, and others of the Committee at Stafford House. (Cheers.) He need say nothing to insure that motion being received with approbation by the meeting. And with regard to the meeting it was not absolutely required, as they had carried their point before they met, but he was very glad that they should have had a meeting notwithstanding. Here, in the capital of the Highlands, it would never have done had they not, whenever the proposal to change the tartans was mooted, given sign of their disapprobation. (Applause.) He was glad, he repeated, that they had come there that day, and he was glad also to see that the old spirit had not died out. Neither Highlanders nor Lowlanders had forgotten their old motto, “Nemo me impune lacessit.”

Provost Fraser—We are all glad to have Mr Ross with us. His presence is a token that the old spirit of which he speaks has not died out. (Cheers.)

On the motion of Mr Fraser, C.E., it was agreed to give a hearty vote of thanks to Mr Fraser-Mackintosh for the active part he took in calling attention to the tartan question in Parliament. Mr Mackintosh would do more if it were necessary, said Mr Fraser, but he did all that was necessary. (Applause.)

The meeting then ended.

While the meeting was assembling a piper in full Highland costume played at the entrance to the hall, and when the meeting was separating he appeared on the platform, and played “Let Whig and Tory a’ agree.”

The record of the tartan agitation may appropriately be brought to a close by quoting the following poems—the first by Lady John Manners, and the second by Mr William Allan, Sunderland :—


Dear to each soldier’s Highland heart
The tartan of his clan,
Symbol of glory and of pride
To every Highland man.
Whether he dwell ’mid Athole’s hills,
Or where the 'binding Tay,
By Birnam’s glens and forests fair,
To ocean wends its way ;
Or nearer to the Northern star,
Where snows the mountain crown,
And towering over silver lakes,
Stem peaks of granite frown.

In every country, far or near,
Where Highland men are known,
The tartan plaid is greeted still
With homage all its own.
Still to the pibroch’s stirring strains
On many a foreign shore,
The Highland clans press nobly on
To victory as of yore.
True to traditions of the past,
rue to their ancient fame,
May Caledonia’s children add
Fresh glories to her name.


O touch not the tartan our forefathers cherished;
Destroy not the emblem they fought in of yore;
Though chieftains and clansmen for ever have perished,
O leave us the badge which in honour they wore.
Alas ! though the might of the Highlands is broken,
Still dear to our hearts is their glorious fame,
The tartan ! the tartan ! we love as the token
Of men who were noble in deed and in name.

o touch not the tartan, ’tis honoured in story,
Old Caledon’s heroes beneath it have bled;
How often on terrible battlefields gory
Hath victory followed where Highlanders led.
From ties which are sacred, O who shall us sever?
The garb of tradition alone we shall wear :
The tartan ! the tartan ! we’ll part from it never—
A foeman is he who our anger would dare.

0 touch not the tartan, as Gaels we’ll retain it,
A vile foreign garment we’ll manfully spurn,
No cowards are we, so we’ll bravely maintain it,
While love, pride, and worth in a Highlander burn.
Arise ye bold Campbells, ye Camerons rally,
Ye Gordons and Sutherlands rush to the van;
Arouse in your thousands from mountain and valley ;
Y our slogan—the tartan and name of your clan!

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