Molly Guinness

Who knows what patriotism will feel like if Scotland becomes independent

If Scotland goes independent in September, who knows what patriotism will feel like. This may be a last chance to savour some of this magazine’s most passionate expressions of British pride. In 1828, this article laid out the difference between a ‘genuine Briton’ and a Liberal.

‘The disposition of a genuine Briton is to make up his mind upon what he ought to do, and having once determined that, to adhere to his resolution with a fixedness of purpose, which more frequently proceeds to the length of obstinacy, than deviates into vacillation and uncertainty. Now this is a character quite opposite to that of the Liberals, and much to be preferred before it; for while the Briton of the old school may possibly carry his principle to an extent which is not right, he of the new or Liberal school will most probably tumble through sheer weakness into what is wrong. In the Liberal there is a total absence of the sound healthy firmness, which is absolutely essential to eminent usefulness – he yields this; he concedes that; he compromises the other thing; he winds, and twists, and hesitates; and when he wants to accomplish a thing, chooses rather to do it by a trick or stratagem, than by candour and plain dealing. You are never sure of him; you are doubtful as to his object, and quite uncertain as to the means he will adopt. Even his principles he yields to circumstances, and he is particularly deferential to a vague impalpable something, which he is pleased to call the spirit of the age, but which, on investigation, appears to be nothing more than the affected tone of the weak trash which the press pours forth in such quantity. Your Liberal has cast away the anchors of the old law, and national feeling, and exclusive privileges of Britons, as mere prejudices, and useless shackles to his enlarged comprehension.’

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