Tartan Day

National Tartan Day:

As per the last post, it's national Tartan Day today.

BlackFive has a post on haggis. I've had actual haggis (he seems interested in whether anyone has or not), at the regimental dining-in of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, to which I was invited one year. The ingredients were traditional, but the spices were not: the good lady wife of the Major, who prepared the thing, wanted everyone to enjoy it. As a result, she spiced it up nicely, and it was a truly delicious meal.

There was also a dram or twa, but the majority of the drinking followed the evening in the form of toasts. These were done with Port wine, not Scotch whisky, as there were far too many of them for a man to drink with whisky if he wanted to go home in any kind of shape.

Eric asked in comments, below, why Scots were so eager to leave Scotland if it was such a great place. Well, Scotland was a very poor place -- I don't know that it was at all a great place to be. It is the men, rather than the land, that I celebrate. Many of them left because they had taken arms against the King of England, and needed somewhere to go after the failure of the last great Jacobite uprising.

In my own home state of Georgia, the settlement of Darien on the Altamaha river was founded by warriors of the Clan McIntosh, MacDonald, MacKay, some smaller clans, and their families. They were allowed to relocate there from Scotland, under arms, even though they had used those arms against the King. However, relocated to the south of Georgia, they were a useful buffer force to keep the Spaniards in Florida out of the English colonies to the north.

As a consequence of their presence, and performance in battles such as Bloody Creek, the state of Georgia was secured against Spanish incursions. Darien itself survived until the Civil War, when it was utterly destroyed by Union army forces under the command of the famous Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Most of you will know Shaw from the movie Glory, when he was played by Matthew Broderick. He was also the subject of a glowing biography written by Henry Cabot Lodge. You can read that here, if you're inclined. Lodge can be forgiven for forgetting to include mention of the burning of Darien, as well as other adventures, in his drive to focus on the purely heroic aspects of Shaw's career.

In memory of Darien, and the highlanders who secured the state of Georgia in her early days, the state filed for and received the Georgia district tartan in the registry kept by Lord Lyons. It closely follows the pattern of the McIntosh tartan, in memory of John Mohr McIntosh, who was the leader of the early settlers there.

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