AND A MESSAGE
JAMES A MACDONALD DD LLD
EDITOR TORONTO GLOBE
This book is not for sale but for distribution. A copy will be sent to anyone who may be interested in the perpetuation of the memory of the great Scottish Heroine.
Copyright, 1916, by SCOTTISH SOCIETY OF AMERICA
Designed, Printed and Engraved by JAMES WILLIAM BRYAN PRESS Washington, D. C.
This book is published and sent out to our Fellow Scots and all the world by
COL. BENEHAN CAMERON
Chieftain Clan Cameron, Raleigh, N. C.
JAMES A. MACDONALD, D. D., LL. D.
Editor-in-Chief, Toronto Globe, Toronto, Canada
C. G. VARDELL, D. D.
President Flora Macdonald College, Red Springs, N. C.
Representing the Scottish Society of America, and
JOHN GORDON GREY
Past President St. Andrew's Society of Philadelphia
Royal Tanist, and Past Royal Chief Order of Scottish Clans, New York
HENRY C. ANDERSON
Past President St. Andrew's Scottish Society, City of Buffalo, N. Y.
GEORGE AUSTIN MORRISON, JR.
Past President St. Andrew's Scottish Society of the State of New York, New York, N. Y.
HENRY B. F. MACFARLAND
Washington, D. C.
GEORGE HALL MOFFETT, ESQ.
President St. Andrew's Society of Charleston, S. C., Founded in 1729, Charleston, S. C.
AS long as the banks and braes of Scotland shall endure, as long as Scotland's sons shall delight to honor the great names of their land, as long as human hearts shall warm to the appeal of heroism and unselfish devotion, so long shall the name of Flora Macdonald stand high among the heroines of the world.
One cannot study the life of Flora Macdonald without being convinced that the bravery, loyalty and resourcefulness shown when she saved Scotland's “Bonnie Prince” from disgrace and death, were characteristics that remained with her through life and that above all her other excellent qualities, her complete and abiding trust in God was the mainspring of that nobility of bearing and calm resignation which never forsook her when the dark days came.
All who met Flora Macdonald felt the charm of her personality. Many of her distinguished friends testified to her generosity of soul. Frederick, Prince of Wales, paid her his homage; Bishop Forbes of Leith extolled her virtues; Dr. Johnson penned his tribute of praise, and Malcolm McKay declared that “for grace and dignity Flora Macdonald excelled all the women he ever beheld.”
It seems a far cry from Rome, the birthplace of Prince Charles, to the isle in the Hebrides where Flora Macdonald was born, yet the sad fate of the Stuart Prince and the heroic deed of the Highland girl are forever entwined in song and story. In 1722, the date of Flora's birth, her father, Ranald Macdonald, lived on his farm, Milton, in South Uist, and was tacksman of the surrounding soil. He called his only daughter, Fionnghal, the Fair One, and she grew up not only attractive and lovable, but wise beyond her years. Parents held her up as an example to their children, saying, “When will you resemble Flora of Milton?” With the children themselves, she was a recognized leader and a favorite everywhere. Her childhood home with its gleaming lakes, encircling hills, and neighboring ocean was the very place to influence this thoughtful girl—
FIONNGHAL NIGHEAN RAONUILL'IC AONGHAIS OIG.
AN AIRIDH MHUILINN
- “With high objects, with enduring things,
- With life and nature; purifying thus
- The elements of feeling and of thought.”
Flora liked nothing better than to listen to the folklore of the Western Isles as she heard it recited and sung by the bards, and she became well-versed in the literature of legend, poetry and proverb. Gifted with a sweet voice, she began to sing the quaint old Celtic songs, and later she added to her accomplishments by learning to play the spinet, or small piano.
Flora's father died when she was but two years old and a few years later her mother married Hugh Macdonald of Armadale, in Skye. Lady Clanranald, who loved Flora as though she were her own daughter, begged her company, and at the age of thirteen Flora went to live with Lady Clanranald and enjoyed for three years the tuition of a governess. Meanwhile, Lady Margaret Macdonald, wife of Sir Alexander Macdonald of the Isles, had become strongly attached to the bright, winsome girl, and when Flora was seventeen it was arranged that she should pay Lady Margaret a long visit. Both Sir Alexander and Lady Margaret became deeply interested in Flora's progress in her studies, and they now proposed that she should accompany them to Edinburgh, there to attend one of the best schools in Scotland.
At last Flora had the opportunity she had longed for and was entered as a pupil at the Seminary which was located just off the then fashionable High Street. She soon stood at the head of her classes and gave much of her time and attention to her favorite study of music, in which she was by
far the most advanced student. During her stay of more than three years in Edinburgh, much of her time was spent with Lord Macdonald's family, in whose hospitable home gathered the best society of this Northern Athens.
In company with Lady Margaret, Flora was a welcome guest at Eglinton Castle in Ayrshire, where she met the distinguished people of the day, for the Countess and her handsome daughters then ruled the social world of Scotland. Everywhere Flora won golden opinions by her intelligence, sweet disposition and modest, charming manners. She was often the center of an admiring group who listened with pleasure while she sang her rare Gaelic melodies, though not a word of that ancient tongue did they understand. Despite all of the attention she received in Edinburgh and later in London, she continued to be as simple and unassuming as ever, preserving at all times remarkable poise. Alexander Macgregor said of Flora: “In prosperity and adversity, she retained the same equable temperament of mind, the same calm spirit of resignation and contentment. Whatever fell to her lot (and many distressing things did), her frame of mind remained constantly unruffled and unchanged. While possessed of a keen, lively, sensitive nature, yet she was largely gifted with the power of exercising a complete control over her feelings and of appearing on all occasions cheerful, pleasant and entertaining.” There was also a modest but certain air of quiet strength and dependableness about Flora which gave those about her great confidence in her efficiency and made her well-nigh indispensable to her closest friends, the Clanranalds and Macdonalds. Lady Margaret prevailed upon Flora to remain with her in Edinburgh for more than a year after she had planned to return home. When she finally reached Ormiclade the whole countryside, old and young, had gathered at Lady Clanranald's to offer her their heartiest greetings. The old laird exclaimed in Gaelic: “Flora, my dear, I rejoice to see your comely face again. You are welcome back to the Isle of your birth, for the household was devoid of joy and gladness since you left it and even ‘Ceolag’ itself (the small piano) as if under lamentation was mute.”
Meanwhile a great excitement was sweeping through the length and breadth of Scotland. Persistent rumors were afloat concerning the purpose of Prince Charles to invade England and fight for his throne.
To regain the crown of his fathers was the dream of Prince Charles Edward's youth and the one supreme effort of his manhood. All are familiar with the story, how, without money, men or munitions, “Bonnie Prince Charlie had come over the water” and with high hope sent out a ringing call to the Clans. The world has never seen a finer exhibition of chivalry than the response of the Highlanders to that appeal. Life, worldly goods, and the fate of women and children were laid upon the altar of their loyalty
CHARLES EDWARD STUART—BETTER KNOWN AS
BONNIE PRINCE CHARLIE
to the Stuart cause. On that dark and bloody day, April 16, 1746, for the last time, for Scotland's sake, the tartaned Highlanders swept into battle. Ah, Culloden! Culloden! Who can voice thy bitterness and woe!
But the day was not wholly dark. It was granted to Scotland that out of the gloom there should flash forth a deed so full of high patriotism that so long as the true sons of the Gael shall foregather, it will be remembered with glad hearts and high-lifted bonnets. Think you that this honor was granted to some great chief in the forefront of battle, in the heat of the onrush, with uplifted claymore and high-sounding battle-cry? Nay, it was but a bit sonsie lassie, her hair yet bound with the blue snood of maidenhood, who offered her all, even life itself, to save Scotland's “Bonnie Prince.”
As Professor Blaikie has said, “It is not so easy to be heroic on the cool wave of human brotherhood as on the hot wave of political enthusiasm.” Scotland's last libation to political enthusiasm had been poured out on the battlefield of Culloden. The Stuart Prince, hunted from cavern to cavern, was even now in hiding near Ormiclade, the residence of the Clanranalds. His faithful friends met at Ormiclade by night to plan for his escape, but the fugitive was so surrounded by his pursuers that it seemed beyond human power to effect his rescue. In this extremity, Lady Clanranald appealed in behalf of those present to Flora Macdonald, saying, “We all know that you are the only person whom we deem at all likely to save him.” The generous sympathy of Flora's nature responded to the urgency of the situation. Yet
Flora was well aware that Government forces were searching every hill and dale, that more ships had joined in the patrol of every port and inlet, so that escape by land or sea could only happen as by a miracle. Furthermore, a fortune of £30,000 was offered to any man, woman or child who would betray the Prince, while imprisonment and death threatened those who should befriend him. Flora had to decide at once in the face of other difficulties; responsibility for the life of Scotland's Royal Prince would be upon her head; her own life was at stake; she must involve her dearest friends in danger, perhaps financial ruin and imprisonment; and finally she must withstand the serious objections of her only brother, whom she deeply loved. The idea that Flora was inspired to heroism by love for “Bonnie Prince Charlie” is absolutely unsupported by the facts, for it is stated on excellent authority that she had never met the Prince until she started on her mission to save him.
Everyone now depended on Flora to carry out her plan. At the very beginning, an incident occurred which she turned from seeming disaster to the greatest advantage. Returning by night from a conference with her brother at Milton, she and her servant, Niel MacEachainn, were seized by a guard of soldiers and, having no passports, were detained as prisoners for the night. Flora learned, to her great relief, that her stepfather, Captain Hugh Macdonald, commanded the troop and would arrive there early in the morning. Flora took the first opportunity to address her stepfather in the hearing of the officers and men, saying, “I would request that you give me passports that I may cross over to Skye and visit my mother during these troublesome times.” Captain Macdonald promised to send her the necessary passports as she enumerated them, one for herself, one for her servant, Niel MacEachainn, one for Betty Burke, an Irish spinning maid, whom she wished to take to her mother, and a permit for the boat and crew of six men.
According to Flora's plan, the Prince was to impersonate Betty Burke, the Irish spinning maid. Lady Clanranald ransacked her wardrobe to provide a suitable costume for the awkward, masculine wearer. At last, all being in readiness, Captain O'Neal, the inseparable companion of the Prince, guided Lady Clanranald, Flora and Niel to the wretched hut seven or eight miles away, where they found His Royal Highness, descendant of an ancient line of Kings, preparing a scanty meal. Lady Clanranald presented Flora as the loyal friend who was willing to sacrifice her life for his safety. The Prince expressed his appreciation in the genial manner which won him goodwill everywhere. Flora explained to the Prince that he must now assume the character of the Irish spinning maid for whom she had secured the passport, and in some doubt and amusement the Prince retired to try on, with O'Neal's help, his new garments. Anxious as they were, they had to laugh over his
PITCHER OF THE SILVER SERVICE PRESENTED TO FLORA
MACDONALD BY ADMIRING FRIENDS IN LONDON
IN APPRECIATION OF HER HEROISM
appearance, but the large hood and cape concealed his face and figure to some extent and the effect was all that could be expected. Then a difficulty arose. Captain O'Neal insisted on going with the Prince, who also in turn refused to be separated from his constant adherent. It was a trying moment. Then Flora spoke respectfully, but most determinedly: “Your Royal Highness must understand that as I procured passports for three persons, myself, my servant, and my mother's maid, the attempt of a fourth to accompany us without a passport, especially Captain O'Neal, who is known to every officer and soldier throughout the Island, would at once imperil the lives of us all.” The Prince and O'Neal yielded and her judgment was borne out the very next morning when O'Neal was arrested at the Ford.
It had been arranged that a boat and crew should await them at a certain place on the shore. On that fateful evening of the 27th of June, when Flora and her servant, Niel, joined the anxious Prince and in a drenching rain reached the shore, they saw to their dismay, several boats filled with armed men making straight toward them. Crouching down in the dripping heather, they expected every moment to be discovered and fired upon. To their wonder and relief, the patrol turned seaward and disappeared in the darkness.
At midnight, with a storm brooding, they embarked in an open boat on their perilous voyage of forty miles across the black waters of the Minch. They had to run the gauntlet of Government vessels scouring the channel in every direction. They nearly lost their lives in a fearful storm which threatened to swamp the boat. Driven helplessly before the wind, the sailors strained every nerve to keep afloat. The Prince encouraged the crew and, as the storm abated, enlivened them with his songs and stories until at last they saw the dawn and in the dim distance beheld the lofty headlands of Skye.
With hope renewed, they started to land, but nearing shore, they almost ran into a large party of the Macleod militia. Not a moment was to be lost. Desperately the crew pulled away from the beach. The militia having no boat, opened fire upon the fugitives. The bullets came thick and fast. Heedless of danger, the Prince stood up and cheered his men, at the same time bidding Flora to get down in the bottom of the boat. “The life of Your Highness is worth more than mine,” cried Flora, “I will not protect myself until you do.” The bullets riddled the sails, cleft the helm handle and grazed the steerman's fingers. By that time the Prince, Flora and Niel were down on the ballast, and there remained until they were beyond the reach of danger.
It was late in the afternoon when they finally landed at Kilbride, very near the residence of Sir Alexander and Lady Macdonald. Leaving the Prince in a cave by the shore, Flora and Niel walked to Monkstadt House. Flora was at once ushered into the drawing room. She found herself in the midst of a large company, all rising to greet her warmly, as they had not seen her since her long absence in Edinburgh, all but Captain Macleod of the militia, who began in a severe manner to ask her pointed questions, whence she came, who accompanied her, whither she was going. Flora, remembering her experience with the Macleod militia that morning, keenly surmised that Captain Macleod connected her visit at this time to some important cause. It was a moment which required all her self-possession. If she faltered, all was lost. Outwardly calm and smiling, she answered him
LADLE AND SAUCE BOAT OF THE BEAUTIFUL SILVER SERVICE OF OLD ENGLISH CRAFTSMANSHIP. BOTH OF
THESE PIECES AND THE PITCHER SHOWN OPPOSITE ARE NOW IN THE POSSESSION
OF MRS. E. K. JUSTICE OF GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA
so agreeably that his suspicious attitude soon changed to one of interest and pleasure in her conversation. Always guarded and far-seeing, Flora knew that the secret of the Prince's arrival must be told to Lady Margaret and a messenger sent to his hiding place. She asked her old friend Kingsburgh to break the news to Lady Margaret and dispatched Niel, and later, Kingsburgh, with food and messages to the Prince.
After midnight, Captain Macleod and his men having retired, Flora, Lady Margaret, Kingsburgh and Captain Donald Roy met in conference. Kingsburgh was to start for home early in the morning taking the Prince with him by a circuitous route. Donald Roy was to set out immediately for Portree, twenty miles distant, to secure a boat in which the Prince might cross over to the Isle of Raasay. Owing to the presence in the house of the Prince's enemies, Flora arranged to leave later and join Kingsburgh and the Prince on the way. Thus, the next morning, while Flora was chatting pleasantly with Captain Macleod in the breakfast room, her charge was being conducted almost under the officer's eyes on the road toward the residence of Kingsburgh.
Late that night, Kingsburgh and his guests, drenched through with the heavy rain, reached his house in safety. The Lady of Kingsburgh, like Lady Margaret, was overcome with fright when told that the Prince had arrived. She was sure that utter ruin, even death, would befall them for shielding the fugitive. However, Kingsburgh assured her: “My dear wife, we shall die but once and at any rate we shall give our lives in a good and noble cause.”
The next day the Prince enjoyed his first rest in a bed for months, took leave of his faithful friends, and accompanied by Flora and Niel, started for Portree. Flora thought it prudent at the time that the Prince should change his Irish maid's costume for the dress of a Highland farmer, and left Niel to attend him in the exchange while she walked on.
Arrived at Portree, they were met by the young laird of Raasay and Donald Roy, who had the boat ready for the trip over to the Island of Raasay. The rain was still falling in torrents when the Prince bade goodbye to Flora and thanked her for bringing him through the wall of fire which had surrounded him, hoping that when he should win his throne he might reward her loyalty with many honors. But the years passed by and the Prince neither won his throne nor expressed his gratitude.
The King's forces in much chagrin that, in spite of their vigilance, the Prince had escaped, now turned in vengeance upon those who had befriended him. Flora, disdaining concealment, was made a State prisoner and conveyed to London. There she excited the greatest interest and admiration and was visited and honored by the highest in the land. Frederick, Prince of
Wales, came to pay his respects. When he asked Flora how she dared to assist a rebel against his father's throne, she replied with gentle dignity, “I would have done as much for you, Your Highness, had I found you in like distress.” Prince Frederick was so impressed with her sincerity and charm of manner, that he exerted himself to ensure her every courtesy and comfort.
When Flora's liberation was announced, she requested the same favor for her fellow-prisoners from the Western Isles and did not rest until she had procured the freedom of all. On Flora's return to the Highlands, the joy
SILVER WAITER OF THE FLORA MACDONALD SILVER SERVICE. SHE WAS OBLIGED TO SELL HER TREASURED
SERVICE TO OBTAIN PASSAGE MONEY BEFORE LEAVING AMERICA. THIS WAITER
IS NOW OWNED BY W. G. DAVIS OF WILSON, NORTH CAROLINA
of her friends knew no bounds and her homecoming was made a triumphal progress.
On the 6th of November, 1750, occurred the wedding of Flora and Allan Macdonald, son of the Macdonald of Kingsburgh, who befriended the Prince. He is described as being one of the most handsome and powerful Highlanders in his clan and possessed of all the qualities which constitute the true gentleman.
One would think that every event in the life of this distinguished woman would be clearly known and commemorated, yet many people are unaware of the fact that Flora Macdonald lived for five years in America. She and her husband sailed with five of their seven children for North Carolina in 1774,
FLORA MACDONALD SHOE BUCKLES, NOW THE PROPERTY OF
THOS. H. BATTLE, ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA
confident that the New World would more than make up in life's rewards for the troubles and trials they had experienced in the Old.
The news of their coming had preceded them and demonstrations on a large scale were prepared to welcome the far-famed heroine. They were accorded the greatest distinction and cordiality by all classes of Highlanders in the colony, and with hopeful hearts they entered upon home-making in new surroundings. The house in which they lived temporarily at Cross Creek is still known as “Flora Macdonald's House.” Up the stream called Barbecue Creek stood the old kirk where the clansmen gathered for worship and on its membership rolls Flora inscribed her name. In Cross Creek, now Fayetteville, visitors are still shown “Flora Macdonald's Spring” and “Flora Macdonald's Tree.” Today, beside the dusty highway, a broken old stump lifts its head. The grass creeps over its wide-spreading roots and the wild flowers lay their dainty faces against its rugged sides. It was once a great oak and under its spreading branches the Scottish heroine took her stand on February 18, 1776, the dark day of the “Highland March Out.”
In the autumn of 1775, Flora settled at her new home, a large plantation which they named Killiegray. Here Flora thought to spend the rest of her days with her family in peace and quiet. But even before the Macdonalds arrived, the storm of the Revolutionary War was threatening, and it was difficult for latecomers to realize its significance. Hundreds of Highlanders who settled in North Carolina after Culloden were still haunted by the oath which they had been obliged to sign. This fearsome document which was not revoked until 1782 was calculated to keep back any Highlander who signed it from even the appearance of disloyalty. The oath reads:
I, . . . . do swear and as I shall answer to God at the great day of judgment, I have not, nor shall have in my possession any gun, pistol or arm whatsoever, and never use tartan, plaid or any part of the Highland garb; and if I do so may I be cursed in my undertakings, family and property; may I never see my wife and children, father, mother or relation; may I be killed in battle as a coward, and lie without
Christian burial, in a strange land, far from the graves of my forefathers and kindred—may all this come across me, if I break my oath.
When Governor Martin issued his royalist proclamation, Allan Macdonald was among the first to respond. Flora took the side of her king and native land as if by impulse and not from knowledge or reason. Quick to decide, nothing could swerve her from what she considered the right. A glimpse of her attitude is shown in a letter to a friend written from Killiegray.
February 1, 1776
Dear Maggie:—Allan leaves tomorrow to join Donald's Standard at Cross Creek, and I shall be alone wi’ my three bairns. Canna’ ye come and stay wi’ me awhile? There are troublous times ahead, I ween. God will keep the right. I hope all our ain are in the right, prays your good friend,
During the late months of 1775, Flora Macdonald's influence was felt throughout the Highland settlements. Descended from a family of heroes, whose deeds of valor had afforded themes for the immortal Ossian, there was a spirit within Flora that never turned back from hard and stern duty. It was this spirit that led her now at the time of crisis, to carry the “Fiery Cross” to her countrymen, summoning them once again to battle for their king. The clansmen came from far and near, gathering around the Royal Standard which had been set up in the town square. On the day of the march out, Flora, mounted on her white pony, addressed the troops in Gaelic as they were reviewed by General Donald Macdonald. She appealed to their love of the old land whence they came. It was their king who called them to arms. She rallied them by memories of Highland
COMMUNION CUPS USED IN BARBECUE CHURCH FROM 1775 TO THE
PRESENT TIME. FLORA MACDONALD WAS A
MEMBER OF THIS CHURCH
THE LONELY, NEGLECTED GRAVES OF TWO OF THE CHILDREN OF THIS BRAVE SCOTCHWOMAN IN RICHMOND
COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA
heroism and Highland devotion. The clansmen, wild in their enthusiasm, answered her in fierce Gaelic oaths of loyalty. When the troops prepared to march, she rode a little way out of the town and took up her position under the old oak. As the Highlanders passed in their tartans and feathered bonnets she called out to each clan its Gaelic battle-cry.
But neither Flora's patriotic fervor, nor the clansmen's ardor could save the Royal Highland regiment from the disaster of a few days later. On their march to Wilmington, the orders were to rush a bridge over Widow Moore's Creek an hour before dawn, and to attack the enemy on the opposite bank. At a sudden blast from the bugles and a wide skirl from the bagpipes, they made the rush in the dark. Their cry rang out on the night: “King George and broadswords!” But the clever American Patriots, among them Highlanders as good as the best, outwitted the Loyalists. In the night, the planks had been lifted from the sleepers of the bridge and the logs barked and greased. When the onrush came, the entrenched Patriots swept with their fire the bridge and the bank beyond. Confused, surrounded, defeated, some seven hundred or more Loyalists, including all their chief officers, were taken prisoners. The private soldiers were released under bonds not again to take up arms. Allan Macdonald and his son remained prisoners until eighteen months later, when they were released on parole, and according to the records were exchanged in New York, November, 1778, for American officers of equal rank in the hands of the British. Allan rejoined his regiment in Nova Scotia.
Throughout those terrible months of distress and fear Flora suffered all the anguish which war brings, but made no complaint. Owing to the part she had taken in the early months of the Revolution, she was made to endure the consequences, and the family of Kenneth Black with whom she lived after she left Killiegray, had to suffer also. Meanwhile, two of her children had died, and were buried at Killiegray. She could seldom hear from her husband, but at length a letter came, advising her to return to Scotland. She was loath to leave her dear ones in America and her heart was sad as she thought of those lonely graves of her children at Killiegray. However, she had the opportunity to secure passports for herself and her youngest daughter, Fanny, as far as Wilmington, and decided to venture upon the long journey home. They succeeded in getting to Charleston and there took passage on a British vessel for Scotland. At Wilmington, in order to meet her expenses Flora sold her precious silver, prized because of its beauty of old English craftsmanship, more prized because it was the gift of admiring friends in London, when as “the Prince's Preserver” she was the centre of popular interest.
The voyage from America to Scotland was marked by an engagement between the British vessel and a French warship. In the thick of the fight the British seamen appeared to waiver. At this, Flora sprang forward and incited the men to new courage and victorious effort. She suffered a broken arm for her daring part in the conflict.
In Nova Scotia, Allan Macdonald of the 84th Regiment was given his discharge in 1783 as an officer on half-pay. He rejoined his wife in Skye and they had a few quiet years together on the Kingsburgh estate. Flora died on March 5, 1790, and a funeral cortege of many thousands attended her when she was laid to rest, while the pipers played the “Coronach,” the lament for departed greatness.
The nobility of her character and the romance of her life lead hundreds from all quarters of the kingdom to visit her grave in the churchyard of Kilmuir.
In America as well, the memory of Flora Macdonald will be forever cherished by all true-hearted Gaels; for in America she revealed her wonderful personal power, her devotion to duty and her heroic fortitude even more marvelously than in Scotland.
Flora said of herself that she had fought for both the House of Stuart and the House of Hanover and had been worsted in the service of each. She thought her life in so far a failure. But the seeds of noble endeavor sown in Scotland and across the sea in America are today bearing fruit in a memorial which shall immortalize this great Scottish heroine. There is no finer instance of poetic justice than the establishment of the Flora Macdonald College in North Carolina.
A MESSAGE FROM DOCTOR MACDONALD
It is pathetic, as well as most interesting, that the Scotch people with all their love of clan and kin and their reverence for their heroes should have allowed the fact that Flora Macdonald had lived in America and had taken an active part in the opening scenes of the American Revolution to be practically forgotten.
It is with a feeling of very sincere joy that we bring to the Scotch people of the world the following extract from the speech of Doctor J. A. Macdonald, made in Fayetteville, N. C., May, 1914.
JAMES A. MACDONALD, D.D., LL.D.
EDITOR, TORONTO GLOBE
IN Dr. Foote's “Sketches of North Carolina,” not long ago I came upon this sentence: “Massachusetts has her Arabella; Virginia her Pocahontas; North Carolina her Flora Macdonald.”
In Dr. Johnson's sketches of his tour of the Hebrides in 1772 I read this prediction: “Flora Macdonald, a name that will be mentioned in history, and, if courage and self-sacrifice be virtues, mentioned with honor.”
On the striking marble statue of the heroine standing picturesquely on Castle Hill, in Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, this inscription in Gaelic is carved:
- Fhad ’s a dh’ thasas flur air machair,
- Mairidh cliu na h-ainnir Chaoimh.
“While the flowers bloom in the meadow the name of the fair maiden shall endure.”
Here in America, in the United States and in Canada, we of the Scottish race and tradition will be untrue to ourselves and to our blood if we are
unfaithful to the charge which history has committed to us. The name and fame of Flora Macdonald are part of our American inheritance, and touch with world-romance and world-renown our American history. It will be to our discredit and to our children's loss all over this continent if America forgets the few touches of wonder and of bloom that gave distinction to our life.
In commemorating Flora Macdonald's life in America, the rest of the United States and the Dominion of Canada look to North Carolina for a lead. It was here she lived. Her steadiness of character, the loftiness of her spirit, her fine devotion to duty, and the uncomplaining way she took the reverses and losses and sore disappointments that came to her life are all a part of the enduring wealth of North Carolina's citizenship.
And the rest of North Carolina has a right to look for leadership to this Scottish Society of America. This charge is ours to keep. It is our sacred trust. As your President during the past year I have faced this obligation, and have come to this annual assembly to ask you to face it, too. * * * * Her fame was world-wide for twenty years before ever she came to America, but we ought not to let the world forget that here she lived, that here, too, her gentle name is remembered and loved.
The most worthy memorial of Flora Macdonald would be an educational institution bearing her name, that would offer to hundreds of girls and young women in these Scottish communities the advantages of a college education, which Sir Alexander Macdonald, the Chieftain of Skye, gave to Flora herself when he sent her for three years to a ladies’ college in Edinburgh. Like very many Scottish girls in the Carolinas and Virginia and Kentucky and Tennessee and Alabama, she inherited good blood, good character and good ability but not even a competent portion of worldly wealth. War and the reverses of history have done for these Southern States what similar influences did for our forefathers in the shires and islands of Scotland. And what Macdonald of Skye did for his young kinswomen, our Scottish-American democracy might surely do for generation after generation of our young women, who, like her, have high ambitions and a worthy desire to fit themselves for useful lives and helpful service. Therefore, it is, I propose, a “Flora Macdonald College.”
During the past year I ventured to suggest to the authorities of the Southern Presbyterian College and Conservatory of Music at Red Springs that the name of that excellent institution be changed, that the college be adequately endowed, and that its scope be broadened so as worthily to bear the name of the Scottish heroine, herself a Presbyterian, a college graduate and a noble example of Christian womanhood. I find that already the executive authorities have taken action. They are resolved that the present enrollment of nearly
three hundred students shall be increased, that the high educational standard shall be maintained, and that the doors shall be closed to no worthy girl whose only bar is poverty.
The Red Springs College, with its fine buildings and beautiful surroundings, is chosen because it is in the very heart of this Flora Macdonald settlement, because eighty per cent. of its students are of Scottish ancestry, because its spirit and ideals are worthy, and because its endowment would go, not into unecessary bricks and mortar, but into personality and training and the upbuilding of character. To express my faith in this undertaking, and in the Scottish people of these States, and in you of the Scottish Society of America, I am prepared, as your President, to add to the endowment when it reaches $100,000, a contribution of $10,000, and still further to seek its assistance until the endowment shall be worthy of the cause, worthy of the Scottish traditions, and worthy of the “Flora Macdonald College.”
If any ask why I should join you in this matter and seek the co-operation of other Canadians, this is my answer: The Scottish people of the United States and the Scottish people of Canada, after these four generations of separation, may here and now join hands again in a labor of love, honoring to both, and loyal to what is noblest in our common Scottish heritage. As President of this Scottish Society I greatly desire that you and all your kith and kin should feel with us in Canada the common life-ties which bind us together and which hold us with cords finer than silk but stronger than death, true to the Lowland heath and the Highland heather.
More than that—far more. These vital ties of Scottish blood shall bind together our two nations on this continent in a union of life and interest and high purpose which in days to come, the days of strain and peril, will make North American civilization stand impregnable against the world. * * * * And so, on this historic ground of North Carolina, here where once they parted, I raise again, in its larger meaning and with its world significance, Flora Macdonald's own rallying slogan to the clans: “Clanna nan Gaidhael ri Guillibh a chiele”: Sons of the Gael, shoulders together.
THE ACTION OF THE SCOTTISH SOCIETY OF AMERICA
After considering Doctor Macdonald's proposition for a year and having examined most carefully into the standing of the Southern Presbyterian College, the Scottish Society of America at their regular annual meeting, May 18, 1915, adopted the following resolutions:
Whereas, The Scottish heroine, the Lady Flora Macdonald, is of our blood and lineage; and
Whereas, The five years of her life in America were spent in our midst; and
Whereas, After mature deliberation, we, the Scottish Society of America, do most heartily endorse the suggestion of our ex-President, Dr. James. A Macdonald, that the most worthy memorial of Flora Macdonald would be an educational institution named in her honor; and
Whereas, We have in our midst an institution in every way fitted for the purpose; be it
Resolved, first, That we, the Scottish Society of America, in annual assembly, do most earnestly request the authorities of the Southern Presbyterian College that they take steps to change the name of this great institution to “The Flora Macdonald College.”
Resolved, second, That we, the Scottish Society of America, esteem it not only our privilege, but our duty to take the lead in this movement to honor our great heroine and to make this College worthy, both of the name we propose to give it and of the educational traditions of the Scottish people.
To this end, we name $500,000 as the sum necessary to begin this work with dignity and insure its success.
Resolved, third, That a committee be appointed, at this meeting, to act with the College officials and other committees that may be appointed by other bodies, to prepare and send out a booklet, setting forth our purpose and voicing an appeal to the Scotch people throughout the world and to do all they can, in every way, to forward this work.RESULTS
The College authorities have granted the request of the Scottish Society of America and ordered the name of the College changed to Flora Macdonald.
Remember our Motto: Flora Macdonald and Half a Million.
Remember our Method: “Sons of the Gael, Shoulders Together.”
THE FLORA MACDONALD COLLEGE
FLORA MACDONALD COLLEGE, RED SPRINGS, NORTH CAROLINA
FOUNDED IN 1896
C. G. VARDELL, D.D.
PRESIDENT FLORA MACDONALD COLLEGE
WHAT is the character of the institution that attracted Doctor Macdonald so powerfully and commended itself to him so effectively, that he judged it worthy to bear the name of his clanswoman, the distinguished Flora Macdonald? In the spring of 1897, Dr. Samuel M. Smith, a very warm friend of Reverend C. G. Vardell, met him on the campus of Davidson College and said, with much concern in his voice: “Vardell, you are a fool. Just what kind of a fool you are I can't say just now. I will tell you this later. But you are a fool.” What was the trouble? Mr. Vardell had the reputation of being a live, wide-awake, progressive man with more than ordinary business sense—why then this criticism?
He had left an unusually pleasant pastorate in which he was much beloved and very successful and had undertaken a work that was, in the opinion of his friends, an utterly impossible task.
The Cape Fear Highlanders, with their ancient love of learning, smothered but not extinguished by the dire poverty brought on them by the War between the States, had determined to build an institution for the education of their daughters. This was in 1894. By the spring of 1896, they had fixed on three things: the place, Red Springs, a small town in Robeson County, North Carolina, practically the center of the Scotch country—here they acquired four acres of land; the money, $4,000 in cash and material, with which to erect buildings and provide operating capital; the man, Reverend C. G. Vardell, then pastor of the Presbyterian Church of New Bern, North Carolina.
The man's friends said to him: “You are foolish. It cannot be done. It is a little place and cannot give you the necessary backing. It is in the
THE ART COURSE HAS AS ITS
FIRST AIM THE INSTILLING
OF A GENUINE APPRECIATION
OF REAL ART AND A
TRUE SENSE OF THE ARTISTIC
SKILL IN DESIGNING AND
THE TRUE ELEMENTS OF
STYLE AND BEAUTY WITH
THE BODY IS THE TEMPLE
OF THE SOUL AND MUST BE
KEPT SOUND AND WELL
THE SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS
OF HOUSEHOLD AFFAIRS
IS TAUGHT AS WELL
AS THE CHEMISTRY OF FOOD
AND PRACTICAL COOKING
THE FLORA MACDONALD COLLEGE CURRICULUM MAKES FOR LIFE EFFICIENCY—A SOUND BODY, SKILLED AND COORDINATING HANDS AND BRAIN RULED BY HIGH IDEALS
THE ENTRANCE HALL AND ROTUNDA
THE DINING ROOM
country, and all the schools are going to the cities. You are going against the tide, and finally, $4,000 is no money.”
All these things were true. This, then, was the task—a small, practically unknown place, four acres of land, and $4,000—to provide an education that would satisfy keen Scottish minds and the rapidly advancing demands of modern education. It is small wonder that Doctor Vardell's friends thought him rash to attempt this seeming impossibility. It did seem impossible and the success of this work is one of the most wonderful and beautiful stories in the great educational revival in the South.
When asked why he undertook this work, Doctor Vardell says: “Well, you see the little place has a wonderful climate, the four acres of land are beautifully located and the keen Scottish minds were hungry for an education. The $4,000? Well, that is where faith came in. You see there was a problem in education to be solved. There were in the South at that time schools, such as they were, for the daughters of people who had much money; there were also schools, such as they were, for people who had no money; but there were no schools for that great class of people who had some money and wanted a good sound education for their daughters at a reasonable cost.
THE HIGHLAND FLING ON MAY DAY AT FLORA MACDONALD COLLEGE. THE TONIC OF THE OPEN AIR IS
THE DEPARTMENT OF MUSIC IS PREEMINENT IN ITS IDEALS AND PRACTICAL COURSES, AND THE SCHOOL
ORCHESTRA EXEMPLIFIES ITS QUALITY AND ENTHUSLASM
When we put in, as we did immediately, a four years’ course for graduation, I was assured that the girls of the South did not want that sort of education and that we would never graduate a student. Nevertheless, we did.
“Second, there was a problem in sociology to be worked out. Girls in the country and small towns were going to the cities to get, in many cases, a so-called education and practically in all cases a pronounced taste for city life. They were unwilling to return to their homes and live, thus accelerating the drift cityward—a very undesirable thing from a sociological standpoint.
“Our idea was to provide in a small country town a solid and well-rounded education, including the Household Arts, to bring the young women into close contact with a most carefully selected and highly cultured faculty, train them how to live effective lives, then send them back to their homes to carry their culture with them, stay and use their influence for the upbuilding of their community. How did we expect to do this on $4,000 and four acres of land? Oh, well! the future was there and the Good Lord of us all and the people—don't forget the people. They were Scotch and the best of the breed. Besides this, we had a good live idea, and a good live idea cannot die—and this did not. The thing has been and is being done, and the whole country is showing the effects of our efforts.
“There was also a third consideration: the most important fact in all social and economic progress is an adequate and active conception of God and the inevitable resulting feeling of our fellowship with and duty towards our fellowmen. The most important factor in carrying this conception to the world is or should be, the Church. This College always has had and always will have, as one of its prime objects the training of active, intelligent church
A TEAM THAT WINS ENDURANCE, RESOURCEFULNESS, SOUND BODIES, ACTIVE MINDS, AS WELL AS
and social workers, by giving them a noble and satisfying vision of the living and true God, and their splendid, and at the same time, unavoidable duties towards their fellowmen.”
Twenty years have passed—the little wooden house has become a stately brick building, fitted with all necessary appliances for good work. The College has its own waterworks and heating system and electric light plant. The four acres have been spread out to a hundred, and the $4,000 to a plant worth $165,000. The little faculty of six noble souls who drew together in 1896 have expanded to thirty efficient and enthusiastic workers; the student body, a little handful gathered from the nearby territory—better material was never found—has become a splendid body of two hundred and fifty young women, gathered from a dozen states.
The College has won for itself the enviable reputation of doing most thorough and effective work of the very best grade. In a word, Doctor Macdonald found at Red Springs a College with high ideals, a competent faculty, an enthusiastic student body and an untarnished reputation for the excellence of its work. To him was given the great idea of uniting the memory of the great Scottish herione, Flora Macdonald, with this present and living work. The College authorities have adopted his idea, the union has been consummated, and this institution now stands before the world as The Flora Macdonald College, and appeals to the Scotch everywhere to provide the endowment necessary to make it worthy of her name.
A WORD FROM THE LEADING EDUCATORS·STATESMEN AND
BUSINESS MEN OF THE SOUTH CONCERNING THE
FLORA MACDONALD COLLEGE AND ITS
A Noted Southern University President's Opinion of Dr. Vardell
With reference to Dr. Charles G. Vardell of the Flora Macdonald College, I take pleasure in saying that I have known him from his college days. He is brimful of enthusiasm, with unlimited capacity for work, and of unusual gifts in stimulating others to work with him. He has accomplished wonders at Red Springs and I cordially commend him and his enterprise as sure of success.
HENRY LOUIS SMITH,
President Washington and Lee University.
What a Leading Attorney Thinks of the School
You have built up a college, which is now a power for good, felt all over this upper Cape Fear country. Its influence for righteousness has reached everywhere, and will act and react, as all moral forces do until no one can tell the ultimate bounds. Your college has given a good education in all fundamentals and such extras as art, music, and other accomplishments, as fit your graduates for the active, useful and polished walks of life, without the frills and nonsense, costly in themselves, which go to make up so much of the curriculums of our present-day colleges.
C. W. BROADFOOT,
Doctor Vardell Considered by the President of the University of North Carolina One of Ablest Men in the State
I am happy to say that I consider Doctor Vardell one of the ablest men in educational work in our State. His ability as an administrator seems little short of genius; and his character and the rare combination of qualities required for the position he holds perfectly fit him for the even greater tasks that he has outlined for the future. I have absolute confidence in his success, not only in raising the big endowment that he plans, but in developing a great school fully adequate to the wonderful opportunities offered.
EDWARD K. GRAHAM,
President University of North Carolina.
In the Front Rank of Southern Educators, says President Currell of University of South Carolina
Dr. C. G. Vardell, President of the Flora Macdonald College, Red Springs, North Carolina, was a pupil of mine while I taught at Davidson College. He not only was a most excellent student, but was a recognized leader in college activities. His well-known success in his present field has placed him in the front rank of Southern educators.
W. S. CURRELL,
President University of South Carolina.
Doctor Vardell's Success Has Been Remarkable—Almost Phenomenal—But Wholly Deserved
Dr. C. G. Vardell's success as President of the Flora Macdonald College has been remarkable, almost phenomenal, and best of all, in my opinion, it has been deserved. He is a man of unusual ability, tireless energy, relentless persistence, splendid executive power and fine spirit. The institution that he has directed has done great service in this State in preparing and sending out into the home, and church, and school, hundreds of strong young women. It is the hope of all that know of his past work, that an adequate endowment for the Flora Macdonald College may be secured, that the good work that he is doing may be strengthened and the circle of it widened.
J. Y. JOYNER,
State Superintendent of Public Instruction for North Carolina.
A Prominent Insurance Company's President Bespeaks a Brilliant Future for Flora Macdonald College
Your letter of the 6th has just been received. In reply beg to state that I have known Dr. Vardell for a long time, and I regard him as a man of unusual ability; strong in character; strong in intellect; great in energy, and the work he has done at Red Springs is unparalleled in the South, and if he is given the means to carry on the work and to mature the plans, which he has, the Flora Macdonald College at Red Springs will stand pre-eminent in the South among colleges for women, and it will be a great credit to the Church and to the South. He has done more with the money that he has had at his command than any man in the profession that I know of.
GEO. A. GRIMSLEY,
President Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co.
Ex-Governor Glenn of North Carolina Considers Flora Macdonald College a Credit to the State
I have known the Flora Macdonald College from its start to the present day. Having but limited funds at its disposal, it has taken the wisest and most economic management to bring it to its present proportion, but through the wisdom of Dr. Vardell, it is to-day doing a great work, being up to date in its equipment and a credit to the State of North Carolina as one of the institutions engaged in educating our young women.
R. B. GLENN,
Ex-Governor of North Carolina.
President Vardell a Man of Great Energy and Accomplishment
It gives me much pleasure to recommend the Flora Macdonald College. President Vardell is a man of great energy and unselfish devotion to his work. He has succeeded wonderfully in building up this institution and he has accomplished a great deal for its section of the State as well as drawing students from other parts of the country. I have visited the institution, watched its work, and believe it to be worthy.
FRANCIS P. VENABLE,
Ex-President University of North Carolina.
U. S. Congressman Page Thinks Flora Macdonald Gives Greatest Value of Any College
I happen to know personally something of the work that is being done by Flora Macdonald College. Of all the Southern Colleges that I know, there is not one that is giving as thorough instruction and as fine equipment for duties of life at anything like the same cost as is this institution. It is reaching a class of young women that have heretofore been largely unprovided for in the educational system of the South. Its growth and development under the magnificent management of its president has been phenomenal.
R. N. PAGE,
Member of Congress.
This College Stands for the Sound, Solid Training of Young Women
It affords me much pleasure to commend the work being done by the Flora Macdonald College. Dr. C. G. Vardell has been president of this institution from its beginning, and I think the growth under his administration has been almost marvelous. The College stands for sound, solid training on the part of its students and is, I believe, entirely free from those mistakes that have been made by many of our institutions in the South for the education of women.
JULIUS I. FOUST,
President North Carolina State Normal College.
Ex-Governor Kitchin of North Carolina Strongly Endorses the School and Its President
I have watched with great interest the wonderful development of the Flora Macdonald College at Red Springs under your management, and I heartily congratulate you on its remarkable success. You have with signal ability rendered to the educational interests, not only of your section, but of the whole State, a service which is unsurpassed within my knowledge. Knowing you to be worthy in every respect, I extend to you my very best wishes in all of your undertakings.
W. W. KITCHIN,
Ex-Governor of North Carolina.
Doctor Vardell, Beloved by All His Pupils, Is Accomplishing a Wonderful Good in North Carolina
I have watched Dr. Vardell's work in building up the College at Red Springs with profound interest and great sympathy, and any one who witnessed the beginnings of things there, as I did, and sees the institution and plant as it now is, will know something of the wonderful work he has accomplished. Over almost insurmountable difficulties and often against adverse conditions and with opposition on the part of some, he has gone on with courage that is inspiring.
With it all, he has endeared himself to his pupils as he has stamped upon them and the institution itself a large measure of his own consecrated spirit.
He thoroughly deserves success. The institution has been so wisely placed that, with proper endowment and under his wise guidance, it will accomplish a tremendous good for the young womanhood of North Carolina, particularly those in this great Scotch settlement.
WM. J. MARTIN,
President Davidson College