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Paradoxe(s) victorien(s) – Victorian Paradox(es)

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William Findlay

I. Identité et image nationale

Almost afraid to know itself”? Unfolding of Scottish Identity in Victorian Times

William Findlay

Résumé

During the course of the nineteenth century, Scotland underwent a dramatic transformation from a predominantly backward, rural country, a junior partner in the political Union of the British Isles, to a modern, urban, industrial and commercial centre, which could proudly boast the title of “workshop of the Empire”. Yet, what price this “modernisation”, this triumphal progression towards great nation status? Did it come, as has been suggested, at the cost of Scotland’s own sense of national identity, in a slow submersion (or gradual sublimation?) of Caledonia in Britannia’s Empire and its rebirth as North Briton? De Profundis....?

Texte intégral

  • 1 Caims Craig, Out of History. Edinburgh, Polygon, 1996, p. 43.
  • 2 T. C. Smout, A Century of the Scottish People, 1830-1950. London, Fontana, 1987, 318 p.

1During the nineteenth century, particularly during the Victorian period, Scotland underwent a dramatic, in many ways, a total transformation. From a predominantly backward rural and agrarian country it evolved into a bustling modern urban and industrial nation, boasting the proud title of “Workshop of Empire”. From being one of the most feared and detested parts of the kingdom, a constant source of unrest and instability, it took on the mantle of Caledonia, Britannia’s devoted sister, a model of propriety and bastion of moral virtues. And from the relative obscurity of a parochial environment, Scotland rose to become a pillar of the Empire, her name a trademark of world repute and her voice respected in international affairs. During the Victorian period, it can be said, Scotland basked in its fifteen minutes of glory on the world stage. It is paradoxical then that as historians and commentators explore this moment of national greatness they should be struck by how much this rise to glory coincides with the disappearance of Scotland’s sense of national identity. As Scotland re-invented itself in the nineteenth century, it appears she did so to the detriment or the exclusion of much of her own past, or at least by refusing to envisage that any coherent interpretation of her past might usefully impinge on the ongoing business of the day. The Scottish past, it has been argued, was redundant, irrelevant or, at least, surplus to the needs of the times. Even historical writing shied away from exploring the nation’s own history and, we are told, this “historical failure of nerve” resulted in the “strange death of Scottish history”, condemning the nation to evolve in a limbo “out of history1 In its rise to Victorian greatness Scotland “lost its history and only gained a century”2.

  • 3 Michael Flinn et al (ed.), Scottish Population History from the 17th Century to the 1930s. Cambridg (...)
  • 4 Tom Nairn, After Britain. New Labour and the Return of Scotland. London, Granta, 2000, p. 227.

2Unquestionably the most striking aspect of Scotland’s nineteenth century transformation, and the one which goes deepest to the heart of this paradox, is demographic. Scotland’s population, which is believed to have doubled in size between 1775 and 1841, to stand at some 2. 6 million inhabitants, almost doubled in size again during the following sixty years3. To any society such rapid change inevitably poses massive challenges to the continuity of the transmission of national and cultural values and the rallying of social cohesion around them. In Scotland’s case, however, these challenges were further aggravated by two compounding factors which accentuated a trend, already visible, away from the traditional “Scottish” perspectives of old, towards a new modern “British” approach. In what has been termed a collective exercise in “self-colonization”, a forward-looking and “progressive” paradigm was mooted and adopted by a nation as its destiny, ... at once manifest, immutable, and in harmony with the sub-state institutions of Scottishness”4.

  • 5 Cf. T. M, Devine "Introduction: The Paradox of Scottish Emigration" p. 1, in T. M. Devine (ed). Sco (...)
  • 6 T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation, 1700-2000. London, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 469.
  • 7 M. Flinn et al (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 448. Flinn estimated that Scotland lost more than 50% of her nat (...)
  • 8 M. Anderson and D. J. Morse (eds), The People, p. 13 in W. Hamish Fraser and R. J. Morris (eds), Pe (...)
  • 9 Curiously, England, with an emigration rate of roughly 66% that of Scotland during the latter part (...)

3The first of these factors was that this natural increase in population was achieved against a backdrop of intense and sustained migration from and into the country. Indeed, outward migration was so intense during the whole of the period up till 1914 that, despite the overall modest numbers involved in comparison with other countries, Scotland, in fact, occupies second place in a European league table of proportion of population involved5. Overseas emigration alone is believed to have concerned some 2 million people in total with particularly high levels being attained during the later years of the century, making Scotland the “emigration capital of Europe”6. During the 1904-13 period, total outflow exceeded 600,000 people and was the equivalent of almost 13% of the nation’s inhabitants in 19117. Yet even this does not encompass the whole picture for there were also substantial movements of population taking place between Scotland and the other parts of the United Kingdom which cannot be easily quantified but were certainly significant8. Even if we take into consideration that a significant proportion of these migrants must have, in fact, returned to Scotland at some point in their lives, nevertheless the social disruption caused by this mass migration had inevitably profound implications for the construction and maintenance of Scottish society and a Scottish value system, particularly since the vast majority of emigrants were males between the ages of 15 and 259.

  • 10 Cf. The sections on The Catholic Irish, p. 486-500 and on The Protestant Irish, p. 500-507 in T. M. (...)
  • 11 This invisible trend has continued unabated since the First World War and the English have even ove (...)
  • 12 Dr. Kenneth E. Collins, Second City Jewry: The Jews of Glasgow in the Age of Expansion, 1790-1919. (...)
  • 13 R. H. Campbell, The Victorian Transformation, p. 93, in Rosalind Mitchison (ed), Why Scottish Histo (...)

4At the same time as this outward migration, the traditional system of transmission of social values, which engenders stability and cohesion, was further disrupted by an equally massive influx of inward migration. Even if, at present, reliable overall figures are unavailable, Ireland undoubtedly holds a predominant place among the various sources of this immigration. By the 1841 Census for instance, the Irish-born already made up nearly 5% of the Scottish population. Ten years later, after the ‘Famine’ this stood at more than 7%, and continued at a slower pace during the rest of the century. Between 1831 and 1914 more than a third of a million people of Irish origin are believed to have immigrated to Scotland, profoundly reshaping a nation which by 1911 had a total population of barely five million10. It is perhaps not surprising that such a massive and sustained influx of population should generate fears of national disintegration, of “invasion” by an “alien race” but, in fact, if the Irish were the most visible and the immigrants public attention most readily focussed, they were by no means the only ones. There was also a steady influx into Scotland of people born in England and Wales as well as other parts of Europe. The English-born, for instance, made up 1.5% of the Scottish population in 1841, and 3.55 in 1911 and were particularly attracted to Scotland’s cities11. Likewise, particularly in the 1880s and 1890s, a significant influx of immigrants from Europe also became the focus of attention12. All in all, by the latter part of the century, even though net loss was always less than natural increase, emigrants outnumbered immigrants in each decade13.

  • 14 Christian Civardi, L’Ecosse depuis 1528. Paris, Ophrys, 1998, p. 125.
  • 15 Population growth was spectacular. From just over 1 million inhabitants in 1700 it had reached 1,6 (...)
  • 16 Colin Kidd, “'The Strange Death of Scottish History' revisited: Constructions of the Past in Scotla (...)
  • 17 Neal Ascherson, Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland. London, Granta Books, 2003, p. 185.

5Secondly, even more significantly, internal migration, forced and voluntary, from rural parts of the country to other rural parts and towards the towns and cities constituted a process which ultimately reshaped the socio-cultural map of the country and seriously, possibly irreparably, undermined the traditional system of transmission of social values from one generation to the next. This uprooting of established society was most dramatic in the north and west of the country where the old social traditions of the clans were abolished in the name of improvement and economic realism. The “Highland Clearances” as they have been called did much to reshape the country into what we know today, with the wholesale displacement of population and the uprooting of traditions which went with it. By the beginning of the 1840s whole areas of the north of Scotland were literally transformed. The county of Sutherland, for example, was the most severely affected of all areas with 85% of its parishes converted to the new market-based economy14. Hence, while the total population of the country doubled in size during the 1831 to 1911 period, the percentage of people living in the Highlands fell from 17% to a mere 7%15. As has been pointed out, over and above the scale of the terrible human tragedy involved, this transformation constituted more than simply an adjustment to modern economic pressures; it marked the disappearance of Scotland’s traditional way of life. In the name of modernity and progress and with the blessing of Scotland’s own intellectual elite, who portrayed it as the natural supplanting of the “primitive Gael” by the superior “Teutonic lowlander”16 the historic balance of Scottish society was destroyed for ever. Whether or not one sees this phenomenon as a prolonged act of ‘ethnic cleansing’, a form of cultural genocide, it resulted indisputably in the destruction of Gaelic society17 and the replacement of a traditional, collectivist society by a cash economy and market forces: people and land had become exchangeable commodities.

  • 18 W. W. Knox, Op. Cit., p. 92-93.
  • 19 At the start of the century the same four cities accounted for a mere 11% of the total population. (...)
  • 20 The population of Greater Glasgow stood at just under one million by 1911. Cf. George Gordon, The C (...)
  • 21 Brian Dicks, Choice and Constraint: Further Perspectives on Socio-Residential Segregation in Ninete (...)

6In the ensuing turmoil rural Scotland gradually declined in favour of a new reality as the Central industrial belt and its great cities were born. This drive south was as spectacular as it was rapid with the Central Lowlands accounting for almost 50% of the total population by the end of the Victorian period when it had stood at a mere 20% in the early years of the century18. Captains of industry in their new role as “City Fathers” had taken the place of the laird at the head of the social hierarchy. This new urban Scotland developed at breathtaking speed for a country which as a whole was (and remains) so sparsely populated less than 2 inhabitants per acre at the end of the Victorian period. By the end of the century, it was amongst the highest urban concentrations in Europe with the four cities (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen) accounting for a staggering 38% of the population as a whole19. By then Scotland had the unusual distinction of boasting not one but two capital cities - Edinburgh the historic, official capital and Glasgow the industrial one - no mean feat for the stateless nation. Glasgow’s rise to greatness, in particular, was a source of immense pride and irrefutable proof of man’s ability to shape his own destiny, for it had risen from a small fishing village in the early 18th century to become the “Second city” of the United Kingdom and of the Empire by the end of the nineteenth20. With 20% of the total population of Scotland, it outnumbered the aggregate populations of Scotland’s seven next largest settlements21.

  • 22 C. Kidd, Op. Cit., p. 87.
  • 23 In the case of the Church this would lead to a severe crisis in 1843 over the questions of its rela (...)
  • 24 This has been seen as a master-stroke of the British state and English pragmatism, for it effective (...)
  • 25 R. Clyde, Op. Cit., p. 128, 186. Ian Donnachie, Enterprising Scot. p. 91, in Ian Donnachie and Chri (...)

7Yet, behind what might appear a simple if radical transformation of Scottish society through the redistribution and renewal of its population, other, deeper forces were at work. This metamorphosis, in fact, constituted the passing away of the old world and the ushering in of the new, the passing away of what Thomas Carlyle justly called the “Aristocracy of Feudal Parchment” and its replacement by the “Aristocracy of the Moneybag”, a modern English-speaking unionist-orientated society in which the new science of political economy shaped public discourse22. Surprisingly perhaps, in this process Old Scotland was never consigned to the dustbin of history, instead much of its romantic past was carefully recycled and attributed new meanings. The great institutions of the old state, the law, education and the church, which had all remained in tact after 1707 were quietly redefined and made historically “relevant” by “realignment” within the framework of the Union and the dominant Whig interpretation of progress23. Even the very symbols of the barbaric north, the kilt and clan tartans, which had been outlawed since 1746 was spectacularly rehabilitated as a fashion item by King George IV no less on his state visit to Edinburgh in 1822. In this, as in the raising of the Highland regiments after 175324, selected fragments of nationalist Scotland were reincarnated in the folds of the Union as integral parts of the British Empire. So dramatic was this new cultural transformation that it became perceived by many as the essence of Scottishness, as Scotland’s “plaided panorama”, while for others it constituted nothing less than a “tartan straitjacket”25.

  • 26 Asa Briggs, in his Introduction to centenary publication of Smile’s work, claimed that, “There are (...)
  • 27 Christopher Harvie, Scotland and Nationalism, Scottish Society and Politics, 1707-1994. London, Rou (...)
  • 28 Christopher Whatley, A. The Industrial Revolution in Scotland. Cambridge, Cambridge University Pres (...)
  • 29 For some historians, this Calvinist edge to the protestant work ethic tended to encourage the perce (...)
  • 30 Cf. Margaret Thatcher, Speech to Scottish Conservative Conference, 13th May 1988 when he stated tha (...)

8In any case, in keeping with this new trend Scottish contemporary writing, and in particular, that which sought to designate Scotland’s place in the new world order became, in many ways, a litany to these values and to the unique Scottish contribution to them. From the “Scottish Enlightenment” this contribution, it was believed, extended outwards through a long series of social and cultural practices which not only shaped the nation, but in turn were exported south of the border. Samuel Smiles and his doctrine of Self Help with its advocacy of the Christian duty of self-reliance, of struggle and self-creation is perhaps the most striking of this system which gradually became an integral part of the British national image in the second half of the century26. But many other “uplifting experiments” and social practices were indulged in before being in turn shipped south of the border. Mechanics Institutes, for instance, the brain child of two Glasgow University professors, John Anderson and George Birkbeck, spread throughout Scotland in the early years of the century before spreading to England after the publication of Henry Brougham’s Observations Upon the Education of the People in 1825. Savings Banks likewise, were the brainchild of the Rev. Henry Duncan of Ruthwell, Dumfries which spread throughout the country within the space of five years and had generated popular savings of some £3,000,000 by 1835. In the sciences and civil and mechanical engineering, in particular, Scots such as Charles Macintosh, the founder of Manchester’s rubber industry, Charles Tennant, of St. Rollox bleach works, the Fairbairn brothers, engineers in Leeds and Manchester, James Watt and Thomas Telford and many others, were all products of the distinctly rational and “applications” oriented approach27 of the Scottish university’s system28. The “Protestant ethic” of hard work and discipline seemed then to constitute the mark of the Scot for no country was more “Protestant” and no Protestantism more pure than Scottish “Calvinism”29. Indeed, so intimate was this link, and so resistant to the corrosion of time did it prove, that no less an expert on the question than Margaret Thatcher should claim that it was the essence and origin of her own doctrine, that it was Thatcherism before its time30.

  • 31 C. Whatley Op. cit., p. 1.
  • 32 W. W. Knox, Industrial Nation. Work, Culture and Society in Scotland, 1800 - Present. Edinburgh, Ed (...)

9In accordance with the sacred duty of improvement and with what were easily construed as the designs of the great chartered accountant in the sky, Scotland underwent a profound transformation during the course of the century as it set out in search of its own “economic miracle”31. And as it did so, it found no better socioeconomic model to aspire to (and no richer source of capital) than that of its “auld enemy”, England. Cross-border cooperation and Empire-wide joint-ventures became the order of the day as Scottish entrepreneurship threw itself wholeheartedly into its new economic role especially after the establishment of railway lines to Carlisle (1842) and London (1848). By the latter part of the century, the massive upsurge in Scotland’s economic growth was export led, constituting almost 10% of total Scottish production32. Ambitious Scots seemed to have little difficulty making a virtue out of the unabashed search for profits through endeavour in industry and trade along English lines. As J. M. Barrie so neatly remarked of his late Victorian compatriots, “There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make” and Victorian Scotland was unashamedly “on the make”.

  • 33 David J. Eveleigh, The Victorian Farmer. Princes Risborough, Shire Publications, 1991, p. 30.
  • 34 R. H. Campbell and T. M. Devine, The Rural Experience. p. 47 in W. Hamish Fraser and R. J. Morris ( (...)
  • 35 Three agricultural colleges (West, East and North of Scotland) were set up between 1889 and 1904. T (...)
  • 36 W. W. Knox, Op. Cit., p. 87.
  • 37 Idem p. 64. T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation... Op. Cit., p. 419.

10In the early part of the period, the search for profits focussed on agricultural production and, in particular, on the scientific management of the land and its resources which seemed to open up the perspectives of a “golden age” of Victorian farming as in England33. In Scotland however these innovations had to contend with a variety of local and regional contexts which were much more complex than south of the border. For a start the physical geography of the country itself inevitably produced marked variations in approach from one rural area to the next. To the north and west conditions, and therefore commercial opportunities, were much more difficult than in the Lowlands. Yet even here adapting an English model on a large scale gradually proved impossible given the variety of agricultural conditions within this small region34. Nevertheless, and not withstanding these limitations, this process of modernisation of agricultural production did get underway with far reaching consequences for Scottish society as a whole and the rural way of life in particular. Firstly, the old forms of industrial activity which had been an essential part of the ecosystem of country life gradually declined in importance, with the opening up of the country, especially after the expansion of branch lines to the rail network in the later part of the century. At the same time, the spread of commercialism and new markets far beyond the horizons of the local community, particularly after the introduction of refrigerated transport in the 1880s, played a powerful role in redefining relationships which had, for so long, been immutable. Thirdly, the almost biblical aura which the concept of “improvement” seemed to exude inside public discourse created a new commercial climate where scientific experimentation in agricultural production which ultimately and unintentionally destroyed the very foundations of traditional society35. The ancient hold which land had exerted on the people disintegrated so that by the last decade of the century only 10% of the people of Scotland still earned their living from the soil where 30% had done so previously36. Profits were still there for the making, but more often these became less linked to acreage and production than to the quality of its mineral rights they possessed37. Not surprisingly, as profits declined the traditional economic and political influence which the possession of land had bestowed shifted to the commercial and industrial sectors of the economy, leaving it with highly-disputed remnants of its social prestige.

  • 38 Henry Hamilton, The Industrial Revolution in Scotland. London, Frank Cass & Co., 1966, p. 1.
  • 39 The first railway was inaugurated in 1831, while the Edinburgh-Glasgow line opened in 1842 and the (...)
  • 40 During the period 1851 to 1901, in particular, the number of workers employed in the mining sector (...)

11Thus as agriculture declined, Scotland’s “industrial revolution” which had been gathering pace during the early part of the century moved into full speed during the Victorian period. The textile industry, Scotland’s main employer up till the 1880s, gradually transformed itself from a cottage base system to factory production. By mid-century this transformation had taken in epic proportions with Dundee boasting the world’s two biggest mills and factory complexes, in linen and jute respectively. Yet gradually King Cotton found itself under threat from other forms of industrial production and in particular iron and steel, heavy engineering and shipbuilding38, after the railway explosion from the 1840s and ending of the American Civil War39. To meet the needs of the expanding economy the country’s own resources of coal and iron were mercilessly exploited. Coal production, for example, which had stood at around 2 million tons in 1800, had reached 17 million tons by mid century and 33 million tons by its end (a rate of consumption which was ultimately to prove unsustainable)40. The great foundries which were set up and the innovations that they successfully employed rapidly made Glasgow one of the major centres of the United Kingdom with a quarter of its total output by the early 1870s. Superlatives had replaced comparatives in the minds of the Scottish business class with three of Britain’s largest engine manufacturers to be found in Central Scotland by the turn of the century. In the fifteen years between 1885 and 1900, steel production on the Clyde increased fivefold to reach more than one-third of British national production. Glasgow’s machine industry from sewing machines, to tractors, to locomotives to ships turbines made the Central Lowlands of Scotland proud of being “the Workshop of the Empire”.

12But undoubtedly it was in the field of shipbuilding that Scottish production forged a reputation all of their own. Here again the combination of pioneering manufacturing techniques and experimentation, a highly skilled workforce and a ready supply of high-quality raw materials lay at the heart of the legend of Clydeside. By the end of the Victorian period 30% of all naval constructions work was built on the Clyde, which boasted fully 20% of the total shipbuilding workforce for the United Kingdom. By that date Scotland had become, in the words of one historian, an “industrial nation”.

  • 41 R. H. Campbell, Op. Cit., p. 100-101.

13Victorian Scotland’s “economic miracle”, was, regrettably, as meteoric as it was short lived for it carried in itself the seeds of its own self-destruction. As R. H. Campbell has noted, the spectacular achievements of the Victorian period were largely a response to a set of peculiarly favourable circumstances and not one which rested on any mythical indigenous Scottish ability, “The Scots were simply fortunate; they never had it so easy again as in the nineteenth century”41. Yet as these “golden days” faded into the distance after 1914, it is curious to see how they became enshrined in a new mythical view of the Scottish genius, as somehow irrefutable proof of Scotland’s unique destiny. In the printed word as on the Internet, hymns to the genius of the Scots are abundant and display an unbridled arrogance only matched by their detachment from hardheaded reality. A recent work by James Buchan, for instance, claims to show How Edinburgh Changed the World, while Duncan A. Bruce explores The Mark of the Scots: Their Astonishing Contributions to History, Science, Democracy, Literature and the Arts and invites the reader to celebrate “the accomplishments of Scots and people of Scottish descent, from Immanuel Kant to Elvis Presley”! Arthur Herman, goes even further and claims to demonstrate to his readers How the Scots invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World and Everything In It. Arguably however the most popular of these exercises in bagpipe blowing is directed at the “auld enemy”. The old drinking toast, “Here’s tae us” has over recent years been increasingly recycled as a hymn to Scotland’s greatness. “WHA’SLIKE US?”:

“The average Englishman in the home he calls his castle, slips into his national costume ~ a shabby raincoat ~ patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow, Scotland.
En route to his office he strides along the English lane, surfaced by John Macadam of Ayr, Scotland.
He drives an English car fitted with tyres invented by John Boyd Dunlop of Dreghorn, Scotland.
At the office he receives the mail bearing adhesive stamps invented by John Chalmers of Dundee, Scotland.
During the day he uses the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell, bom in Edinburgh, Scotland.
At home in the evening his daughter pedals her bicycle invented by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, Blacksmith of Dumfries, Scotland.
He watches the news on T. V., an invention of John Logie Baird of Helensburgh, Scotland and hears an item about the U. S. Navy, founded by John Paul Jones of Kirkbean, Scotland.
He has by now been reminded too much of Scotland and in desperation he picks up the Bible, only to find that the first man mentioned in the good book is a Scot ~ King James VI ~ who authorised its translation.
Nowhere can an Englishman turn to escape the ingenuity of the Scots.
He could take to drink but the Scots make the best in the world.
He could take a rifle and end it all but the breech-loading rifle was invented by Captain Patrick Ferguson of Pitfours, Scotland.
If he escaped death, he could find himself on an operating table injected with penicillin, discovered by Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland, and given an anaesthetic, discovered by Sir James Young Simpson of Bathgate, Scotland.
Out of the anaesthetic he would find no comfort in learning that he was as safe as the Bank of England, founded by William Paterson of Dumfries, Scotland. Perhaps his only remaining hope would be to get a transfusion of guid Scottish blood which would entitle him to ask ‘WHA’S LIKE US’”?

  • 42 Tom Nairn, "The Three Dreams of Scottish Nationalism", in K. Miller (ed)., Memoirs of a Modern Scot (...)
  • 43 William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act IV, Sc. III.

14But this hymn to the greatness of past achievements contains an important underlying massage which can be easily overlooked: to imply that most English people do not know that these achievements were of Scottish origin in itself would suggest that there was nothing essentially or markedly Scottish about them in the first place. As the preceding survey clearly indicates, Victorian Scotland rose to greatness not by flaunting its distinctive national characteristics but by rendering them irrelevant or, or better still, by re-inventing them as integral parts of a “British” value system, by becoming, what Tom Nairn called, “a junior but (as these things go) highly successful partner in the general business enterprise of Anglo-Saxon imperialism”42, by cocooning itself in politically harmless romantic legends of past glories and “kailyard images” that set it “out of history”, images that bore little semblance to reality and no relevance to the problems of the hour. That is why the haunting words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth seem strangely apposite to the situation Scotland found itself in at the end of the nineteenth century when, to Macduff’s question, “Stands Scotland where it did?”, Ross replies, “Alas, poor country, - almost afraid to know itself!43.

15And yet, (Caledonian antisyzygy oblige?) for all these shared experiences the fact remains that Victorian Scotland never became, or even aspired to become, simply an extension of England. Some have suggested that this was its greatest failure. Below the surface, inside the ‘tartan straitjacket’ perhaps, the Scottish people continued to give meaning, or perhaps more accurately layers of meaning, to the nation’s distinctive traits and to cultivate their own particular sort of patriotism which recreated Scotland as a nation within a nation. By the end of the nineteenth century, the contours of Britishness north of the border had become more intricate and complex than the black and white English-British amalgam generated in the south. By 1900, Scottish people had created or had been forced to create, multiple axes of self-identification, Scottish AND British, Scottish OR British. On occasions, being Scottish might overlap with being British as in the celebration of Empire, at others they might appear complementary, yet at other times still they could be antagonistic (no more so than in the development of Scottish popular sports, the so-called “90 minute patriots” who swell the ranks of the “Tartan Army”). Perhaps, then, the paradox of Victorian Scotland can be said ultimately to swing full circle. But then, should we have expected anything else from a nation which seems so profoundly obsessed with the cultivation of its own contradictions?

Bibliographie

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Notes

1 Caims Craig, Out of History. Edinburgh, Polygon, 1996, p. 43.

2 T. C. Smout, A Century of the Scottish People, 1830-1950. London, Fontana, 1987, 318 p.

3 Michael Flinn et al (ed.), Scottish Population History from the 17th Century to the 1930s. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1977, p. 455. By 1911 it stood at 4.76 million.

4 Tom Nairn, After Britain. New Labour and the Return of Scotland. London, Granta, 2000, p. 227.

5 Cf. T. M, Devine "Introduction: The Paradox of Scottish Emigration" p. 1, in T. M. Devine (ed). Scottish Emigration and Scottish Society: Proceedings of the Scottish Historical Studies Seminar. University of Strathclyde, 1990-1991. Edinburgh, John Donald, 1992, 178 p.

6 T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation, 1700-2000. London, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 469.

7 M. Flinn et al (ed.), Op. Cit., p. 448. Flinn estimated that Scotland lost more than 50% of her natural increase in population to emigration during the 1821-1915 period.

8 M. Anderson and D. J. Morse (eds), The People, p. 13 in W. Hamish Fraser and R. J. Morris (eds), People and Society in Scotland. Volume II, 1830-1914. Edinburgh, John Donald, 1990, p. 17, suggest that emigration to other parts of the UK might have been as high as 50% of the total during the second half of the nineteenth century.

9 Curiously, England, with an emigration rate of roughly 66% that of Scotland during the latter part of the century, seems to have been much more obsessed with the fear of social breakdown and national disintegration than was Scotland. Cf. Eric Hobsbawm, Introduction: Inventing Traditions, p. 9-13 in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds), The Invention of Tradition. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1984, 322 p.

10 Cf. The sections on The Catholic Irish, p. 486-500 and on The Protestant Irish, p. 500-507 in T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation... Op. cit.

11 This invisible trend has continued unabated since the First World War and the English have even overtaken the Irish as the most substantial minority in Scotland, representing 8.1% of the total population. Cf. Murray Watson, Being English in Scotland. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 2003, p. 10.

12 Dr. Kenneth E. Collins, Second City Jewry: The Jews of Glasgow in the Age of Expansion, 1790-1919. Glasgow, Glasgow Jewish Archives Committee, 1990, p. 5-6.

13 R. H. Campbell, The Victorian Transformation, p. 93, in Rosalind Mitchison (ed), Why Scottish History Matters. Edinburgh, The Saltire Society, 1991, 117 p. R. J. Morris and Graeme Morton, “Where was Nineteenth Century Scotland?” Scottish Historical Review, 1994, Vol. 73, n° 195-6, p. 92 note that and estimated 2 million Scots emigrated to the new world between 1830 and 1914, a proportion of the total population one and a half times greater than that for England and Wales and, in fact, equal if not superior to that of Ireland when “internal” migration to England is counted. For T. Devine, “Scotland then emerges as the emigration capital of Europe ”. T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation... Op. Cit. p. 468.

14 Christian Civardi, L’Ecosse depuis 1528. Paris, Ophrys, 1998, p. 125.

15 Population growth was spectacular. From just over 1 million inhabitants in 1700 it had reached 1,6 million by 1800 and 4.5 million by 1900. Cf. Β. R. Mitchell and P. Deane, Abstract of British Historical Statistics. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1962, p. 6.

16 Colin Kidd, “'The Strange Death of Scottish History' revisited: Constructions of the Past in Scotland, c. 1790-1914”. The Scottish Historical Review, 1997 (April), p. 93-94.

17 Neal Ascherson, Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland. London, Granta Books, 2003, p. 185.

18 W. W. Knox, Op. Cit., p. 92-93.

19 At the start of the century the same four cities accounted for a mere 11% of the total population. George Gordon, Preface, in George Gordon (ed.), Perspectives of the Scottish City. Aberdeen, The University Press, 1985, p. v and G. F. A. Best, Another Part of the Island. Some Scottish Perspectives, in H. J. Dyos and Michael Wolff (eds.), The Victorian City. Images and Reality. Vol 1. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973, p. 391.

20 The population of Greater Glasgow stood at just under one million by 1911. Cf. George Gordon, The Changing City. p. 4, in G. Gordon (ed), Op. Cit.

21 Brian Dicks, Choice and Constraint: Further Perspectives on Socio-Residential Segregation in Nineteenth-Century Glasgow with Particular Reference to its West End, p. 93 in G. Gordon (ed.), Op. Cit.

22 C. Kidd, Op. Cit., p. 87.

23 In the case of the Church this would lead to a severe crisis in 1843 over the questions of its relationship to the civil power, a crisis known as the Disruption. Cf. Callum G. Brown, Religion and Society in Scotland since 1707. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1997, p. 19-22.

24 This has been seen as a master-stroke of the British state and English pragmatism, for it effectively incorporated the symbols of its enemy into its own identity. Between 1753 and 1815 an estimated 60,000 Highlanders joined “Highland regiments” where the wearing of the kilt was compulsory while in mainland Britain it was illegal since 1747. Cf. Robert Clyde, From Rebel to Hero. The Image of the Highlander, 1745-1830. East Linton, Tuckwell Press, 1995, p. 150ff.

25 R. Clyde, Op. Cit., p. 128, 186. Ian Donnachie, Enterprising Scot. p. 91, in Ian Donnachie and Christopher Whatley (eds.), The Manufacture of Scottish History. Edinburgh, Polygon, 1992, 189 p.

26 Asa Briggs, in his Introduction to centenary publication of Smile’s work, claimed that, “There are few books which have reflected the spirit of their age more faithfully and successfully than Smiles' Self-Help”. Samuel Smiles, Self-Help. London, John Murray, 1958, p. 7.

27 Christopher Harvie, Scotland and Nationalism, Scottish Society and Politics, 1707-1994. London, Routledge, 1994, p. 47-48 stresses the distinctiveness of the Scottish educational provision with quote from one informed observer, in 1899: “The Old English Universities have not the same function as the Scottish and Irish universities. The former teach men how to spend a thousand a year with dignity and intelligence, while the latter aim at showing men how to make a thousand a year under the same conditions”.

28 Christopher Whatley, A. The Industrial Revolution in Scotland. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 5.

29 For some historians, this Calvinist edge to the protestant work ethic tended to encourage the perception of personal wealth as a sign of righteous living and membership of the “elect”. Cf. T. Dickson, Capitalism: Class, State and Nation from Before the Union to the Present. London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1980, p. 114.

30 Cf. Margaret Thatcher, Speech to Scottish Conservative Conference, 13th May 1988 when he stated that, “I’m sometimes told that the Scots don’t like Thatcherism. Well, I find that hard to believe—because the Scots invented Thatcherism, long before I was thought of” and again, "Tory values are in tune with everything that is finest in the Scottish character. Scottish values are Tory values".

31 C. Whatley Op. cit., p. 1.

32 W. W. Knox, Industrial Nation. Work, Culture and Society in Scotland, 1800 - Present. Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1999, p. 86. Almost three-quarters of British companies founded for overseas investment were of Scottish origin. N. Ascherson, Op. Cit., p. 257-258.

33 David J. Eveleigh, The Victorian Farmer. Princes Risborough, Shire Publications, 1991, p. 30.

34 R. H. Campbell and T. M. Devine, The Rural Experience. p. 47 in W. Hamish Fraser and R. J. Morris (eds.), Op. Cit.

35 Three agricultural colleges (West, East and North of Scotland) were set up between 1889 and 1904. The quest for improvement also encouraged the spread of mechanical devices such as the threshing machine, the reaper and the milking machine. Cf. R. H. Campbell and T. M. Devine, Op. Cit. p. 48.

36 W. W. Knox, Op. Cit., p. 87.

37 Idem p. 64. T. M. Devine, The Scottish Nation... Op. Cit., p. 419.

38 Henry Hamilton, The Industrial Revolution in Scotland. London, Frank Cass & Co., 1966, p. 1.

39 The first railway was inaugurated in 1831, while the Edinburgh-Glasgow line opened in 1842 and the London line in 1845.

40 During the period 1851 to 1901, in particular, the number of workers employed in the mining sector rose from 48,000 to 132,000. Cf. Anthony Slaven, The development of the West of Scotland, 1750-1960. London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1975, p. 123.

41 R. H. Campbell, Op. Cit., p. 100-101.

42 Tom Nairn, "The Three Dreams of Scottish Nationalism", in K. Miller (ed)., Memoirs of a Modern Scotland. London, Faber and Faber, 1970, p. 44.

43 William Shakespeare, Macbeth Act IV, Sc. III.

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