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Dunfermline Monthly Advertiser
July 1856 - report of Kossuth's first lecture given in Dunfermline, Scotland.
(Kossuth's words are italicised here and the text is not complete - highlights only!)

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K O S S U T H
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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.

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“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 asked

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!

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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.”

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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 Hungary.


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This newspaper report was found with the help of staff at the Carnegie Library in Dunfermline.
Old copies of newspapers are often to be found in your local library, sometimes on microfiche.
The library will have a copying facility of some kind.