Kossuth in Dunfermline. – About the beginning of June this year
(1856) several of the admirers of M. Kossuth, the late governor of Hungary,
invited him toDunfermline. The invitation was accepted, and June 24th fixed
for the day of his visit. We take the following from our notes at the time:
“Great excitement prevailed in the town and country around; a day or two
previous to the 24th was employed in erecting triumphant floral arches, flower
decorations, flags, bannerets and bunting. There were three triumphant floral
arches erected, viz.:- One of noble proportions and height was erected at
the townhouse, and there was displayed on it with unique effect the word “Welcome”
in burning fire! One at Mr. E. Beveridge’s, Priory House, having on it –
“Welcome Kossuth, and Freedom to Hungary.” The third and finest arch was
erected on the road at St. Leonard’s Factory, by the operatives; it was decorated
with four banners, having the inscriptions – “Kossuth”, “Hungary”, “Italy”,
“Poland”. In the High Street there were several banners with inscriptions
on them such as – “Hungary Independent”, “Italy Free”, “Poland Restored”,
“An honest man’s the noble work of God”, &c. All these being in settled
preparation for the great event, the 24th arrived, when Kossuth, along with
Madame Kossuth, left Edinburgh via Queensferry for Dunfermline. “The whole
way was an ovation”. On arriving near Dunfermline, the crowd was immense,
and the long and loud huzzas of the vast multitude, the ringing of the town
bells, and other demonstrations of joy exceeded all bounds. On getting into
his hotel, in Bridge Street, Kossuth addressed the people from an open window
amid great excitement. At eight o’ clock in the evening he delivered an address
in Queen Ann Street Church, to an audience of about 2,000 persons, relative
to Hungary Austria, Russia &c., and the part he had taken in the late
wars. After the oration, a set of damask table linen was presented to Mme.
Kossuth by the workers of St. Leonard’s Factory, through Mr. Dobbie, the manager.
Kossuth returned thanks for the handsome gift. Shortly afterwards, Mme. Kossuth
sent a letter of thanks to the donors.
The Freedom Of The Burgh Conferred on M. Kossuth.
Kossuth visited Dunfermline a second time on July the 14th, and was presented
with the Freedom of the Burgh on July 16th. On this visit he was taken to
the Abbey Church and adjacent grounds. He pondered awhile over the tomb of
his great countrywoman St. Margaret, at the east end of the Abbey (outside).
In the evening, he delivered a valedictory political oration to a large audience.
At his own request, this visit was unaccompanied with any popular demonstration.