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Scotland and the Scots, 1707-2007

Christian Auer

VII. Politics, radicalism and national identity

45. England, not Britain, 1893

Texte intégral

1In the following letter, Charles Waddie, the secretary of the Scottish Home Rule Association, complains to the Prince of Wales about a lecture that was delivered at the Imperial Institute (also see introduction to text 44).

2Extract of the response that was addressed to Charles Waddie on November, 26 1893. National Library of Scotland, Scottish Home Rule, Pamphlets, 3/2820/37, England not Britain, Correspondence with the Prince of Wales, 24 November 1893.

Your Royal Highness,

  • 12 William Edward Hartpole Lecky (1838-1903) was an Irish historian. He published the eight volumes o (...)
  • 13 Doctor of Civil Law.

I regret having to trouble you with a complaint against the Lecture delivered at the Imperial Institute on Monday last by Mr W.E.H. LECKY12, DCL13, and at which you presided. In the language of my correspondents “it is simply bristling with insults to Scotland”. Another writes, “see how thoroughly he ignores the first clause of the Treaty of Union of 1707”. Mr Lecky speaks of the British Empire as the sole possession of England; he speaks of the colonies as having been built up by Englishmen, and ends with this extraordinary sentence: “Again, whatever might be the humiliation of the future, England could not be deprived of the glory of having created this mighty Empire.”

This language has given the greatest offence in Scotland; our country and countrymen are entirely ignored, although it is notorious that Scotland has contributed far out of proportion to her population to the building up of the Empire. Scotsmen by their valour and their genius have won for themselves the first rank wherever the British flag flies. To a high spirited people like the Scots, such language as held by Mr LECKY gives more offence than any amount of material wrong. We have to suffer enough of the latter from the hands of Englishmen; they need not add insult to injury. […]

Scotland is the oldest monarchy in Europe; she has a history that any people might be proud of, stretching back till it is lost in the mists of pre-historic times. She has had a line of kings that for valour and ability are not to be surpassed by any kingdom in the world. Need I remind you that it is through direct descent from these kings that your family have a right to the British crown, and this was secured to you by the second article of the Treaty which Mr LECKY so unwarrantly sets aside. Britain and British are just as short words as England and English, and when applied to the Empire are correct legal language.

If the Imperial Institute is to be made a forum for Englishmen to insult Scots and Irishmen the sooner it is closed the better.

May I be permitted most earnestly and respectfully to solicit of you that you will use the influence of your high position to correct the abuse, and both by precept and example, secure that all her Majesty’s subjects will be treated with the respect to which they are entitled. I have the honour to be, your Royal Highness, your obedient, humble servant.

Charles Waddie,
Hon. Sec.

Francis KNOLLYS, on behalf of the Prince of Wales: “Mr Lecky had no intention of ignoring the great services which the inhabitants of that country [Scotland] have undeniably rendered towards the creation of this empire.”


12 William Edward Hartpole Lecky (1838-1903) was an Irish historian. He published the eight volumes of his History of England During the Eighteenth Century between 1878 and 1890.

13 Doctor of Civil Law.

© Presses universitaires de Strasbourg, 2013

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