Declaration, The [Radio Scotland]

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20200406For the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, Billy Kay presents a major series on one of the most iconic moments in Scottish and world history. Here, he explores the history of the period of the Wars of Independence and the reason why the nobles, barons, freeholders and the community of the realm of Scotland felt compelled to create the document in 1320. Composed originally in elegant Latin prose it is addressed to Pope John XXII in Avignon who is asked by the Scots to support the cause of their nation’s independence in the face of an overweening, bullying English neighbour. In doing this, it pulls at the heart strings of patriots around the world.
“For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Even more revolutionary is the Deposition Clause where they state that sovereignty lies with the Scottish people, and they can depose any King who refuses to defend their status as an independent nation. At a time when most believed in the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, this precociously democratic sounding rhetoric is quite remarkable: Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the king of England or the English, we would strive at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and we would make some other man who was able to defend us our king.
Testimony to the declaration’s enduring international renown comes in a wonderful story of a Scot experiencing it being quoted in Russian by a Border Guard in the wilds of the Caucasus Mountains!

For its 700th anniversary, Billy Kay celebrates the history of the Declaration of Arbroath

2020040620200411 (RS)For the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, Billy Kay presents a major series on one of the most iconic moments in Scottish and world history. Here, he explores the history of the period of the Wars of Independence and the reason why the nobles, barons, freeholders and the community of the realm of Scotland felt compelled to create the document in 1320. Composed originally in elegant Latin prose it is addressed to Pope John XXII in Avignon who is asked by the Scots to support the cause of their nation’s independence in the face of an overweening, bullying English neighbour. In doing this, it pulls at the heart strings of patriots around the world.
“For, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom — for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”
Even more revolutionary is the Deposition Clause where they state that sovereignty lies with the Scottish people, and they can depose any King who refuses to defend their status as an independent nation. At a time when most believed in the concept of the Divine Right of Kings, this precociously democratic sounding rhetoric is quite remarkable: Yet if he should give up what he has begun, seeking to make us or our kingdom subject to the king of England or the English, we would strive at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own right and ours, and we would make some other man who was able to defend us our king.
Testimony to the declaration’s enduring international renown comes in a wonderful story of a Scot experiencing it being quoted in Russian by a Border Guard in the wilds of the Caucasus Mountains!

For its 700th anniversary, Billy Kay celebrates the history of the Declaration of Arbroath

20200407From the elegance of medieval Latin rhetoric in programme 1, we are plunged into the very different milieu of modern Manhattan as the Tartan Day parade marches up 6th Avenue. Against the skirl of the pipes, we talk to Scots Americans about the campaign to have their culture recognised on April 6. This is from U.S. Senate Resolution 155, March 20, 1998.
“April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.”
While there is no direct evidence this is in fact the case, Billy will outline substantial circumstantial evidence which suggests that the two documents were connected through the influence there of the Scottish Enlightenment.
We will discover how the Declaration was kept alive in Scottish consciousness before it was finally printed in the 1680s and hear of its influence in the Union debate of 1707. In the 18th century, James Boswell quoted from it in his book about the Corsican freedom fighter, Pascquale Paoli, while in the university library in Leipzig during the Grand Tour, he comes across a copy of the Declaration and regales astonished scholars:
“My old spirit got up. I read them choice passages from the Barons’ letter to the Pope. They were struck with the noble sentiments, at the liberty of the old Scots and they expressed their regret at the shameful Union. I felt too, patriot sorrow - o infamous rascals who sold the honour of your country to a nation against which our ancestors supported themselves with so much glory! But I say no more but only, alas, poor Scotland! “

Billy Kay celebrates the Declaration of Arbroath and its legacy in America.

2020040720200412 (RS)From the elegance of medieval Latin rhetoric in programme 1, we are plunged into the very different milieu of modern Manhattan as the Tartan Day parade marches up 6th Avenue. Against the skirl of the pipes, we talk to Scots Americans about the campaign to have their culture recognised on April 6. This is from U.S. Senate Resolution 155, March 20, 1998.
“April 6 has a special significance for all Americans, and especially those Americans of Scottish descent, because the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6, 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.”
While there is no direct evidence this is in fact the case, Billy will outline substantial circumstantial evidence which suggests that the two documents were connected through the influence there of the Scottish Enlightenment.
We will discover how the Declaration was kept alive in Scottish consciousness before it was finally printed in the 1680s and hear of its influence in the Union debate of 1707. In the 18th century, James Boswell quoted from it in his book about the Corsican freedom fighter, Pascquale Paoli, while in the university library in Leipzig during the Grand Tour, he comes across a copy of the Declaration and regales astonished scholars:
“My old spirit got up. I read them choice passages from the Barons’ letter to the Pope. They were struck with the noble sentiments, at the liberty of the old Scots and they expressed their regret at the shameful Union. I felt too, patriot sorrow - o infamous rascals who sold the honour of your country to a nation against which our ancestors supported themselves with so much glory! But I say no more but only, alas, poor Scotland! “

Billy Kay celebrates the Declaration of Arbroath and its legacy in America.