Montreal Daily Star, 26 January 1892, page 5

 Caledonian Society’s programme

Songs and recitations from Burns- the Memory of Burns- a pleasant evening with the society

“Happy are we a the gather

Happy are we and an a’

Time will mak us a’ the blyther

Ee’r we rise tae gang awa.”

The above quotation from Burns was placed on the Caledonian Society’s programme at their Burns’ celebration last night.  It was a most appropriate verse and was symbolic of the gathering, as there was not one present who was not happy and thoroughly well pleased with the celebration.  Burns’ birthday is celebrated by Scotchmen all over the civilized world and the enthusiasm displayed in this city is a s genuine as could be wished for.  The Society made a new departure this year in changing the style of celebration, and judging by the appreciation of the audience, the change was acceptable.  It was a veritable Burns’ night.  Shortly after eight o’clock the sounds of the bagpipes were heard and soon Piper Mathieson entered the large parlors of St Andrew’s Home followed by Messrs. SC Stevenson, president; JM Campbell, Robt Reid, WW Robertson, Jas Harper, E Bain and Wm Rutherford.  The president extended a hearty welcome to all.  They were met to celebrate the memory of Burns, which was dear to them and which would last as long as the English language did.  One of the objects of the society was to cultivate a greater love for Burns and the study of his writings.  He wanted it to be eminently a social gathering.  The musical programme was then commenced with Mr. Robt Anderson the rising young violinist, playing some Scotch airs which fairly aroused the enthusiasm of the audience.  Mr. SS Bain received a well merited encore for his spirited rendering of “A Man’s a man for a’ that.”  His other contributions were “There was a lad was born in Kyle,” and “Scots wha hae,” both equally well sung.  Mr. JT Henderson sang in fine style “Behind yon hill where Lugar flows” and “The Birks of Aberfeldie.”  One of the principal features of the evening was Mr. Robt Reid’s recitation “Tam O’Shanter.”  It was exceedingly well rendered and not curtailed in any way.  Mr. Reid was deservedly applauded for his efforts.  Miss Bain’s numbers were “Wandering Willie,” and “Tam Glen” which were well received.  Recitations were given by Mr. E Bain and Mr. GP Harley.  Mrs. Finlayson officiated as accompanist.  An adjournment was made for refreshments and a pleasant half hour’s conversation.  The principal attraction during the second half was the kindly words spoken for the Scottish Bard whose memory is so sincerely revered.  Mr. Robt Reid led the discussion in a masterly manner, “To the Memory of Robt Burns.”  He stated that he was ready to take up the cudgels in defence of Burns against all insinuations, especially by the “unca guid.”  He spoke of the many conflicting elements in the life of which began in Ayr one hundred and thirty-three years ago and ended in Dumfries thirty-seven years later.  He quoted Carlyle and Longfellow to show how much Burns was appreciated, and also that he was indebted to his father for the best qualities of his nature.  To those who found fault with the irregularities of his life Mr. Reid said that charity was a Christian virtue.  His failings were the failings of a man in whom no meanness, lying, nor cowardice could be found.  He closed by urging his hearers to fondly cherish the memory of Burns.  Mr. James Harper followed with his tribute to him who was claimed by such men as Generals Arthur and Logan to be the world’s bard.  Mr. AN Sherran spoke principally on that trait of Burns’ character, patriotism.  If there was any country in the world which needed patriotism at the present day it was Canada.  The politicians were like a lot of dumb driven cattle.  The patriotism of Burns was early displayed. “Just fancy,” said Mr. Sherran, “a farmer sparing a thistle because it was the emblem of his country.”  Mr. WW Robertson was the last speaker.  He claimed that Burns inherited his character from his father and his genius from his mother.  His advanced liberal thoughts, would it have prevailed had he lived now?  Mr. Robertson thought not.  He was the ideal of manhood and it was the standard all the world over, Burns was a man of intense reverence, despite the fact that a Presbyterian minister had referred to him as “that bad man Robert Burns.”

After “Auld Lang Syne” and “God Save the Queen” had been sung it was “Guid nicht an’ joy be wi’ yea.”

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