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Re: A Dance called America

At 11:15 21/02/00 +0000, you wrote:
I've just been reading an intriguing book called the "A Dance called America" subtitled "The Scottish Highlands The United States and Canada" By James Hunter, Mainstream Publishing, Edinburgh, 1994, reprint 1999. ISBN 181558 807 8.
The book was subsidised and has such intriguing chapter titles such as "A hearty and intrepid race of men", "Such of them as did not die while going across the ocean" and "Stand fast Craigellachie".
The book starts with the American Revolutionary Battle of Moore's Creek, in which the author claims a Highland army defended Moore's Creek Bridge.  The book weaves in stories of Flora MacDonald, of Drumossie Moore fame, and her husband.  They speak of the Gaelic speaking communities and the book shows powerful Scottish influences on American Canadian history.  I wonder from such a small and poor nation on the fringe of Europe, what race of men could place such an imprimatur on the face of the world, be it real or imagined.  Fierce Australian miners, battle for American Independence, significant roles on forging the confederation of Canada, the West Indies scattered with Scots from Shirley Heights to Guyana and places I am sure have not come to our attention.  The principal road to Hong Kong, built by Sinclairs, called Sinclair, is an amazing legacy from a nation whose population hardly ever exceeded five million.

 Philip Sinclair has brought our attention to a book called "A Dance Called America" in
which the place of the Scots in the 'discovery' and 'development' of the New World is given
due prominence but attention should also be drawn to a host of other books which will also
be found in the Sinclair Library and Study Centre at Noss Head in Caithness.

These include:

                        The Scots in Sweden
                        The Scots Abroad
                        The Mark of the Scots

as well as recent publications concerning the Sinclair family which have already been given
due prominence in your pages.  However, a recent book "How Scotland Changed the World"
goes further and shows how (and I quote) "the tough alloy of Celtic, Nordic and Iberic races,
left alone by empire builders at the edge of the known world for thousands of years, forged
the strong family systems and moral character needed to stretch their influence to North
America - a land which they had known about since before the dawn of time".

The book goes further.  It shows how a Gillascop Scrymgeour (1370-1423) was the Royal
Bannerman for Scotland (a hereditary position held by the Scrymgeours) and that he
accompanied Prince Henry Sinclair (1345-1406)to the New World in 1398.  Henry was a grand nephew to Robert I whilst Gillascop was a great grand nephew of the same king!  Both the Sinclairs and the Scrymgeours were of Norse descent.

This is another reason why the idea of a Northern  Norse Commonwealth which would have
included: Scotland, Scandinavia, Henry Sinclair's 200 islands in the North Atlantic, Iceland,
Greenland, Markland, Helluland and Vinland begins to make sense and which was part of the  master plan envisaged by Queen Margrette and her premier 'jarl', Henry Sinclair, in order to combat the growing and pervasive influence of the Hansa - that league of German merchants who wished to dominate the lucrative trade of the North Atlantic.

I have always maintained that the Sinclairs (with their kin) had a strategy which transcended
national boundaries.  The jealousy of England, the machinations of Rome, the break-up of
the Kalmar Union (which had united Scandinavia) and the imprisonment of Henry II* by the
English (whilst he was taking the Scottish Crown Prince to France for safety) brought an
end to this "dream of empire" but not the end of the powerful part which people of Scottish
descent - many of them Sinclairs -continued to play in opening up  new lands (from New
Zealand to New Brunswick) and establishing democratic institutions  which are the envy
of the World.

Niven Sinclair

* Henry II was the son and heir of Prince Henry Sinclair who died in 1420 leaving his son,
William, a boy of 10, who was unable to take over where his grandfather had left off in
opening up North America.

Nevertheless, Earl William Sinclair eventually brought the Earldom of Caithness to the
Sinclairs and built  Rosslyn Chapel as an impressive monument to the spiritual awareness
of the Sinclair family which remains our most lasting legacy.