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Re: Clearances and other history
As a native Scot - as opposed to an exiled Scot - I am moved at how deeply
the wounds of the past still hurt. I should consider myself lucky that my
family was not 'cleared' but it is still worth noting that they folded their
hand in Caithness (after generations) to seek prosperity in Glasgow around
the time of the Agricultural Revolution in the UK - when it became clear
that the frugal land could no longer sustain the ambition of such talented
I am pleased that those who once felt ashamed of their Scottish roots are
now reclaiming their heritage and we in the Mother Country should do
everything we can to encourage this repatriation.
I think it is clear that the Gathering in 2000 was a big welcome home to
every Sinclair from furth of Scotland; and I suggest that genuine Highland
hospitality is worth 100 apologies from any Parliament.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John S. Quarterman" <email@example.com>
Sent: Tuesday, October 03, 2000 4:28 AM
Subject: Re: Clearances and other history
> I can't speak for others, but I haven't said an apology would be a good
> and I'm not thrilled by the motivation of the apology as proposed in the
> Scottish Parliament.
> More education on the subject would be a good idea.
> The misfortunes of American Indians at the hands of whites became well
> through books such as Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and those of blacks
> through books and movies such as Roots. Prebble and others have started
> a similar process about the Clearances, but it apparently hasn't proceeded
> very far yet.
> One can go too far in this direction, into political correctness or
> for the sake of attracting tourism.
> However if we are to understand the history of how our present world
> developed from previous years, there is much that would be of use to
> be known, both good and bad. For example, John Elliot's work with the
> Indians of Massachusetts and Oglethorpe's similarly peaceful dealings
> with his native neighbors are not well known. As your postings have
> illustrated, it is too facile to say that what distinguished Prince Henry
> was peaceful dealings with the natives of America. He wasn't the only
> one to act that way.
> Why does it matter? Well, it is too easy for a few known facts to become
> settled dogma, repeated automatically without thought. Good decisions are
> seldom made that way.
> And in this era of interventions in places as varied as Chechnya and
> Iraq and Sierra Leone, we would all do well to know what happened in
> eras of interventions. Let us not forget that one of the main motivations
> of the British colonial intervention in Africa was suppression of the
> trade. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Examining the old
> bricks may help prevent us from paving the same road again.
> What does this have to do with Sinclair history? If we are to understand
> what significance Prince Henry's visits to North America had, it might
> be useful to be able to compare them with other European visits to the
> same land. Saying he was not a conquistador is too facile. The Spanish
> who settled a long range of missions in present-day Florida, Georgia, and
> the Carolinas as early as 1565 (a century before the better-known ones
> in California) weren't conquistadors in the sense of Cortez, either.
> They were first Jesuits and then Franciscans, in missions, and they
> were generally peaceful. They did not in the end succeed, being driven
> out by the more warlike British colonists before Oglethorpe arrived.
> Not quite like what most people think of as the usual history of the
> Spanish in America.
> How was what Prince Henry did better, or at least different?
> Different from what and whom, and in what ways?
> I think there are answers to that question.
> Answers more comprehensive, interesting, and useful
> than "he wasn't Columbus."
> And of course it would be refreshing to be able to say in some detail
> that not every Scottish noble or landlord cooperated with the Clearances,
> and the contemporary Sinclair Earl of Caithness could make a good story.
> Finally, the Clearances remind us that we are not all closely related to
> nobility, nor do we need to be. As my Aunt Jane (who will be 95 at the
> end of this month) is fond of remarking, most of us descend from small
> farmers and merchants.
> Oh, veiled and secret Power
> Whose paths we seek in vain,
> Be with us in our hour
> Of overthrow and pain;
> That we -- by which sure token
> We know Thy ways are true --
> In spite of being broken,
> Because of being broken
> May rise and build anew.
> Stand up and build anew.
> --Hymn of Breaking Strain, by Rudyard Kipling
> John S. Quarterman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> >I have reread John, Dale and Rory postings. I still find myself moved
> >the sadness and suffering that must have overcome the transported. But
> >still I feel a touch of pride in Caithness's actions. The very idea of an
> >apology is an anathema to me. How do you say I am sorry for brutalising
> >your country. How do you say sorry for ending your way of life, abetted a
> >medieval one. What do we, generations later, have the right to accept
> >an apology on those long dead. I cannot justify any action by a
> >grandstanding petty Parliament. Dale is correct imperialistly twice we
> >spread the British Empire across the world. Is it not the role of man to
> >expand his national interests? Americas "sea to shinning sea" the
> >empire and others to numerous to mention. Communication made it possible
> >and now that we came communicate directly without goverment interference
> >we not in the position to reclaim the world. This world was inherited
> >our forefathers it is on loan from our children it is to them we owe the
> >correctness of our actions.
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