Montreal Daily Star, 26 January 1900, page 11
A Nicht Wi’ Burns
An eloquent address by Prof McGoun on the Scottish Bard
An address on theBritish Empireby Prof Clarke Murray- the Concert
The one hundred and forty-first anniversary of Robert Burns was celebrated in a fitting manner last evening by the Montreal Caledonian Society.
The entertainment, which took place in the St Andrew’s Home, was entitled “A Nicht wi’ Burns.” In that phrase its character is well described, for the various speeches, songs, recitations and other parts of the programme had, for the most part, their inspiration in the well beloved bard of Auld Scotia. Mr William Seath, president of the Society, occupied the chair, while on his right sat Prof Archibald McGoun and on his left Prof J Clarke Murray.
To Prof McGoun had been entrusted the task of delivering the oration to the memory of Robert Burns. His speech was an eloquent and masterly effort, showing the deep study and keen appreciation of the works of the great poet. The speaker, who was frequently interrupted by applause, showed the reasons why Burns has gained such a hold in the hearts of his countrymen. It was the true instinct that made him break loose from the narrow, cramped, stifling atmosphere of the rude and harsh conditions of a society as he found it, and to seek the independence of thought and action, which is the inalienable birthright of every true man. Professor McGoun concluded by reading a beautiful little poem, the composition of Mr John MacFarlane ofMontreal, entitled: “Burns inAmerica.”
Prof J Clarke Murray spoke on “The British Empire,” and showed why Britons the world over should be proud to belong to it; the spread of liberty, enlightenment and civilization being the noble mission ofGreat Britainand her people. Incidentally, Dr Murray warmly praised the patriotic attitude of the people of the Dominion in the present difficulty inSouth Africa.
Those who contributed to the programme with music, songs and recitations were: Miss Nicholls, Miss Pringle, Miss Edna Clarke, Mrs Robert Reid, Mr S Dunn, Mr Robert Reid, Mr Cathcart Wallace, Mr Donald ofGlasgow,Scotland. Mr Reid, among other things, recited a most touching poem of his own composition, entitled “General Wauchope’s Farewell toEdinburgh.” A feature of the evening was the singing of many of “the auld Scots songs” by Mr Donald, a member of the company engaged this week at theAcademyofMusic. Mr Donald’s father, inScotland, is noted as a Burns enthusiast; and had commanded his son, in whatever part of the world he might find himself, to assist in the celebration of the poet’s birthday, and sing for those assembled to do honour to the bard. He fulfilled the injunction, and appeared before our Caledonian Society last evening where he fairly carried his audience by storm by the splendid manner in which he rendered the beautiful old songs. At the close of the concert dancing was begun, and continued until an early hour this morning. Refreshments were served during the evening.
Scottish song and music drew a large crowd last night to Drummond Hall, where the members of the Scottish Highland Society held a most enjoyable concert in honour of the birthday of Robert Burns. In addition to songs and recitations, the pipes were strongly in evidence, the inspiring tune of the “Cock o’ the North” evoking great enthusiasm. Those who contributed were Mrs Forrester, Mrs Crawford, Miss Bella Forbes, Messrs Geo. H McLeod, Alex Smith, Robt. Crawford and Robt.Anderson. At the close of the concert the large hall was cleared and until an early hour this morning dancing was indulged in.