Montreal Daily Star, 26 January 1886, page 4

Burns Anniversary

A most successful celebration at the Windsor Hotel- Rev Mr. Barclay delivers an eloquent address upon Burns- Speeches by the President, Mayor Beaugrand and others- the musical programme

 

The falling snow last night did not check the enthusiasm of the Scottish citizens and their friends, and the celebration of Burns’ anniversary, arranged by the Caledonian Society, proved a success in every way.  Those entrusted with the arrangements this year made quite a departure from the usual style of celebration by combining a concert and at home, and an informal dance, and their efforts were rewarded with all the success due to their untiring exertions.  The meeting was held in the Windsor Hotel, and for some time before the commencement, the rotunda was gay with arriving guests, who gradually made their way to the large dining room.  Precisely at 8 o’clock the sound of the bagpipes announced the approach of the President and guests, who at once took their places on the platform.  The President, Lieut-Col Stevenson, wore the full Highland costume, and was supported by Mayor Beaugrand, Ald Stroud, President of St George’s Society; Mr D Barry, President of St Patrick’s Society; Mr Wm Hutchinson, President St Andrew’s Society; Mr Wm Dupuis, President of St Jean Baptiste Society; Mr McLeod Stuart, President of the Ottawa St Andrew’s Society; US Consul Anderson and others.

The President, in

Opening the meeting

Said that in view of the long and interesting programme, his remarks would be very few.  The Caledonian society was the oldest pioneer athletic association in the city, and he was pleased to see that its friend, Col Fletcher, was present with them this evening.  Its primary objective was to keep up the old Scottihs games, but its constitution provided for the celebration of St. Andrew’s Day and the anniversary of the birth of their national poet, Burns.  After alluding to the kindness of the Rev J Barclay for the address which he had prepared, and thanking the Young Men’s Reform Club for adjourning their meeting so as not to clash with this one, he asked the band of the 66th to play.  The band then played a selection of Scotch airs, and were loudly applauded.

Mrs Olivia Campbell-Schafer, of Albany, NY sang “Robin Adair” so acceptably that she was recalled and gave “Bonnie Scotland.”

Mr S Sackville Bain received a great deal of applause for his rendering of “There was a lad.”

Next on the programme was a violin solo by Miss Blanche Loeb, a young lady not yet in her teens, but whose execution was very ~~~~ her performance was frequently interrupted by applause, and she had to yield to the determined demand for an encore.

Mrs Schafer’s second song was “Whistle and I’ll come tae ye” and she was thoroughly successful in this most difficult song.

After Mr Bain had sung, “a man’s a man for a’ that,” the chairman called upon the Rev J Barclay to give

An address upon Burns

The reverend gentleman was received with applause, which broke out again and again during the progress of his eloquent oration.  He alluded to the celebration of Burns’ birthday all over the world, Scotchmen in every quarter of the globe uniting in thus honoring their national poet.  Only lately had a bust of the ploughman poet been placed in Poet’s Corner in Westminster, contributions having been received from his countrymen all the world over.  The early ambition of the poet had been to do something for his native land, to “sing a song at least,” out how little did he realize how well he would succeed.  There are some who look upon him only as a drunken sensualist, but with these we have no sympathy, preferring to judge the man by his own kind pitying eye.  And this without palli~~~g his sins and follies, but rejecting the narrow minded judgement which looks only upon the dark side of his character.  Like David, the life of Burns showed many a slip and sin, but like David, his repentence was sincere and his humiliation deep.  His devotion to duty was shown in the way in which he performed the work, which was toilsome and distasteful to him.  His loyalty was strong, but tempered with his feelings of friendliness to the working people, whom he perpetually tried to benefit.  Truthfulness was

Written upon his face

And his hatred of hypocrisy was seen in his “Holy Fair” and other writings.  His poverty did not touch his independence, while his admiration of genius in others was unsullied by any trace of selfishness.  If his  creed were not strictly orthodox, yet his faith in immortality was a living one.  His writings were many and varied in style, and full of pathos, of fire and of power.  But his great success was due to the “Spark o’ nature’s fire,” that underlay and shone through all his works.

After the applause which followed the address had subsided, the rest of the programme was given, and in response to many calls, Mayor Beaugrand was called upon by the chairman.

His Worship said that the common opinion of his fellow countrymen was that Scotchmen made admirable business men but did not understand how to amuse themselves.  Any of his compatriots who were present this evening would be disabused of that idea.  He had been much puzzled, while learning English, by the curious Scotch language, but later he had learned more of it and could appreciate it better.

When the musical programme was finished, the band struck up a march and the guests were conducted to the ladies’ ordinary where a very elegant repast was spread.  When this had been duly enjoyed, a return was made to the large room where dancing was kept up until midnight when every one went away thoroughly pleased with the evening.

 

 

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