In the afternoon, the Oakley Band entered the town, the Goldfrum Band following,
with an immense concourse of people. The oldest inhabitant does not recollect
such a scene – not a standing place was left along the whole line of Kossuth’s
progress. Every window was occupied by ladies in full dress; every house-top
and wall covered with spectators. The whole country, far and near, was deserted
by its inhabitants. Kossuth arrived from Edinburgh by way of Queensferry.
At the landing-place, he found that the village had turned out to greet him.
At Inverkeithing, banners were flying, a crowd assembled and the magistrates
in waiting to present him with an address; but he could not have anticipated
his reception in Dunfermline. Long before he reached the city, the Ferry Road
near the Triumphal Arch at the Spittal was packed with a dense crowd, stretching
into the fields on both sides. From there until he reached his hotel, nothing
was visible but a compact crowd. A crush ensued, and fears were entertained
that some serious accident would happen, from the narrowness of the streets
in several places.
Kossuth addressed the portion of the crowd who had managed to squeeze themselves
between Milne's Hotel and the Townhouse, where there could not have been assembled
fewer than three thousand.
The noble appearance of Kossuth, his graceful deportment, the air of high-bred
dignity with which, as he stood uncovered in his carriage, he saluted the
citizens cheering from their windows, his grey hairs and mild gentle look
of benignity, did more than all his eloquence to stir up the frenzy of enthusiasm
with which he was greeted.
“I stand here on sacred sod, near the last resting place of the hero who,
to use the language of the appeal, brought your ‘warfare of independence to
a triumphant issue’. My name is associated with that of Bruce, as it has been
associated with that of Washington – champions of freedom both, whose valour
was enhanced by success. I do not mean to place myself on the same pedestal
as these great men; but I must remind you of the means by which they were
successful. Washington succeeded because his enterprise was aided by French
vessels of war, because the French sent him 30,000 muskets and many millions
of livres, and because they sent him Lafayette and Rochambaud, with hosts
of gallant officers and engineers. What would we have done if the France
of today had sent us such allies! Bruce, no doubt unaided, fought his battle
of freedom, with his little army of brave Scots, of whom he might well have
Who will be a traitor knave?
Who can fill a coward’s grave?
Who so base as be a slave?
But what would have happened to him? What would have been your fate now
if, after the question had been settled by King Robert with his good battle-axe
on the field of Bannockburn, there had been a Russia to pour in her legions
upon your little surviving band of patriots? I have had the fortune to govern
a nation of fifteen millions, as noble-hearted a people, and as well deserving
of success in their efforts for independence, as any that ever fought in the
cause of freedom; and theirs was a gigantic struggle. Compared with it, the
American War was as nothing – the war you have just concluded was mere child’s
play. You and your allies have had to contend with only one of the combatants
pitted against us. Our enemies were victorious; we have had to mourn over
our fallen fortunes; and I, in a strange land, am compelled to do the work
of a common day-labourer to earn a bit of bread for my children. And why
has all this befallen? Simply because it pleased the Czar to pour his hordes
upon my people, and to crush them to the dust, while not on Christian government
bestowed a word of sympathy, or raised its voice against that violation of
the sacred rights of nations.
But let me think. Our struggle is but begun. Your sympathy may be for me
what the spider was to Bruce! Had Wallace not bled, Bruce would never have
conquered! We will renew the battle. Hungary has had her Wallace, she may
yet have her Bruce. The noble sentiments of your address, and its warm sympathy
for Hungary, cheer me; but I must confess that now the sky looks even gloomier
than it did. Instruction has been gained; illusions have passed away, but
duty remains. With me, thank God!
Your feeling address, gentlemen, yet touched upon another chord of my heart.
You speak to me of my sainted countrywoman Queen Margaret of Scotland. The
great poet – that darling of Scottish genius – who unconsciously warbled forth
notes unfolding to us the destinies of mankind, has said:-
Then let us pray, that come it may,
As come it shall for a’ that;
When man to man the world o’er,
Shall brithers be and a’ that!
But you remind me that the friendly intercourse of our Hungarian and Scottish
nations is so old as eight hundred years; recollections to be cherished of
the past connect me then with your ancient, but fresh and ever young city.”
At the conclusion of the lecture, Mr E. Boveridge said, it would be a sort
of desecration to pass a vote of thanks in the customary way, and therefore
moved that the meeting should offer the distinguished patriot their “gratitude,
affection and love”.
This motion was enthusiastically responded to, as were also some remarks
by Mr Morrison, who asked the meeting to express its sympathy with unfortunate