On Liberty, Legacy, and the Power of a Name

Tartan Day
April 6, 2017tartan


A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.   -Marcus Garvey


“You have no reason to be proud of your ethnicity or heritage, being born is no achievement”. The words drip, like the blood of a fresh kill, off the predatory lips of Cultural Marxists. It is all the more infuriating due to the smug look on their faces as the spew this venom. This single sentiment has more to do with the destruction of liberty, and the American dream, than any other dose of poison injected into the body politic by these “Kevorkians of the culture”.

I am the father of two angelic little girls, and we are expecting my third child in August. I recently found out it is a son. He will be my my heir, and carry on my name, forming the bedrock of my legacy. As we discussed what to name him, I had time to reflect on our heritage and the last thousand years of our family history. It afforded me some time to reflect on what my son has already accomplished in utero, and what his mere existence represents, and what my hopes for him are.

There has never been a free society that did not honor their ancestry and heritage. There has never been a free society that did not respect and revere their culture, and consider it worthy of defending. There has never been a free society that did not organize around traditions and rituals. There has never been a free society that did not have an honor code. There has never been a free society that did not organize around a set of deeply held beliefs that were more important to its members than life itself. There has never been a free society that did not love their ancestors and their offspring, feeling a duty to respect the former, and provide a better life for the latter.

There is power in a name for those who follow the ancient traditions. My son’s name shall be Alexander Ramsey, after a family hero from the Scottish Highland Wars. Like me, Alexander was the son of William. William Ramsay was there in 1314,  avenging his friend William Wallace that glorious day at Bannockburn. Blood and steel met the tyrant that day and were victorious.  On April 6, 1320 William Ramsay signed his name on the founding document of Libertarianism, “The Declaration of Arbroath”.  Alexander carried on his fathers work, and in 1342, he drove the enemy out of their last bastion, Roxburg Castle, and freed his people. I am going to raise my son steeped in tradition and with any luck, he can carry on the work I have begun, and maybe our people will once again be free.

roxburgh
Alexander Ramsay Storms Roxburgh Castle


The Declaration of Arbroath was the first time in history that men declared the right of “popular sovereignty”, the idea that government is contractual and that leaders can be chosen by the people, rather than by the church, or someones opinion of “Gods will”. It was also a declaration of the Scots as a distinct national community. Regardless of the lies told by modern left libertarians, nationalism and libertarianism were born on the same day, and one cannot ever be a reality without each other. They were born together, and will rise and fall together. The idea of self rule as a national principle is the backbone of liberty. It has stood when all else failed, and there was usually a Ramsay nearby when it all went down, and it was always the tyrant who fell. Even if we went with them, we went chasing them to the bowels of hell herself.


“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.”
-From the Declaration of Arbroath


Freedom and independence did not come easy for the Scottish Patriots.  Much in the same way I prophecy our struggle will be a long one. It is my hope that Alexander understands his name as a calling, as my way of not just passing the torch, but telling him I hope he surpasses my achievements, and finishes the work I started, just like his namesake carried out the work of his father to completion. The name says, “I believe in you”. It says, “fear not my son, you can do the impossible”.


March To Bannockburn

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed,
Or to Victorie!

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front o' battle lour;
See approach proud Edward's power -
Chains and Slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a Slave?
Let him turn and flee!

Wha, for Scotland's King and Law,
freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Free-man stand, or Free-man fa',
Let him on wi' me!

By Oppression's woes and pains!
By your Sons in servile chains!
We will drain our dearest veins,
But they shall be free!

Lay the proud Usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow!-
Let us Do or Die! [8]

David II, son of Robert Bruce, was less a man than his father. In those days many thought the hope for their struggle was coming to an end. Then, a hero of their people arose, ultimately carrying them to the final victory. Sir Alexander acquired such distinction by his gallant exploits in defense of his country that, according to Fordoun, to serve in his band was considered a branch of military education required for all young gentlemen who meant to excel in the art of war. He built a guerrilla army, living in a secret hideout of crags and caves in Hawthornden, near Edinburgh. He and his men spent their days intercepting the convoys of the enemy, capturing their supplies, cutting off their stragglers, and seriously hindered their operations. He was one of the leaders of the force which, in 1335, inflicted a crushing defeat on the Flemish auxiliaries under the command of the Count Namur, on the Boroughmuir of Edinburgh.

In 1338, Black Agnes was besieged in Dunbar Castle. The English had large warships in a blockade, and the defenders were out of food and things were looking bleak. Alexander realized the large ships would take a bit of time to hoist their sails, and devised a plan. Filling up small fishing boats with weapons and provisions, he ran the blockade, entering through a small sea gate before the British had time to intercept. He rallied the troops inside, and they charged out the front gate, routed the English, and sent them home, in a humiliating defeat.

440px-Black_Agnes,_from_a_children's_history_book
Black Agnes Besieged


He even extended his inroads across the border, and, on one occasion, returning from Northumberland with much booty, he was encountered by Robert Manners near Wark castle. Pretending to retreat, he led the party into an ambush, when he attacked and totally defeated them, making their leader prisoner. By 1342, the supposedly impenetrable Roxburgh Castle stood as the last English Bastion. It was Alexander Ramsay who laid siege and took the fortress, and wrested precious freedom for his people away from the tyrant. 3 months later, to the day, he was attacked by his own allies, jealous of his success, and thrown into a dungeon where he perished, ironic considering the way some libertarians have treated me.

The name became popular in the family, and those who carried it distinguished themselves. Clan Ramsay became legendary freedom fighters, always there when their people needed them.

Dalhousie_2015
The Ramsay Clan’s Castle at Dalhousie, the longest continually held in Scotland.


Sir William Ramsay of Dalhousie, Alexander’s  son, conducted a body of men across the border, in August 1355, and pillaged the country about Norham, six miles above Berwick. Sir Thomas Grey of Chillinghame, the governor of Norham castle, attacked him on his return, but was drawn into an ambush and taken prisoner. Sir William’s elder son, Sir Patrick Ramsay of Dalhousie, had a charter from David II. of the lands of Kerrington, in Mid Lothian, and died in 1377. His son, Alexander, also had a son named Alexander (As I said,the name was a popular one in our Clan).

Among this Alexander’s exploits was successfully defending Dalhousie Castle from Henry IV. In fact, the attempt to attack our home ended with the forces of Henry IV fleeing from the Ramsay lands for their lives in terror. This Sir Alexander was later slain at the Battle of Homildon, 14 September, 1402. He had a son before he gave his life for freedom. His name? Alexander Ramsay. After the long captivity of James I, he received a letter of safe passage in order to escort him home in 1423. He was knighted during the coronation ceremony of James I the following year. On September 30, 1435, he commanded forces in the Battle of Pipeden, and defeated the English. His grandson, also Alexander, was slain in battle at Flodden in September 1513. John Ramsay had escaped execution by the enemies of James III in July 1482 at Lauder Bridge, by leaping onto the horse of the King himself, and making his escape.

The Clan continued, always there when their country or their liberty was in need of a champion. George Ramsay, grandson of the hero of Flodden, joined the cause of Mary, Queen of Scots, upon her escape, May 8, 1568. In 1600, Sir John Ramsay was the savior of James VI during the attempt on his life by the Earl of Gowrie. He stabbed the Earls brother to death with a large hunting knife when he tried to abduct James VI, then faced down the Earl himself, who had a sword in each hand, killing him as well, and saving the king.
Gowrie


When we do not have to fight, we tend toward the arts and the pen. Allan Ramsay is the most distinguished poet of Scotland, other than Burns, writing “The Gentle Shepherd” in 1725. It is a pastoral comedy, 5 acts,  and considered the best of its kind in any language, ever. He also established the first circulating library in Scotland. His 1730 publication, “Thirty Fables” is revered to this day. His eldest son was also named Allan, and was a distinguished artist, named official portrait painter of the king in 1767, holding the position until his death. James Ramsay was a surgeon in the Royal Navy. His experiences in the West Indies ignited the old flames of liberty, and in 1785  he became one of the first people to speak out against the African slave trade, publishing “Essay on the treatment and conversion of African slaves in the British Sugar Colonies”. He was embroiled in controversy for the rest of his life, but for our Clan, freedom is always more important than popularity, and we regard the unkind words of the wicked as a compliment.

allan-ramsay-statue-and-edinburgh-castle-keith-stokes
Allan Ramsay Statue, Edinburgh, Scotland


We came to America beginning in the early 1700’s, our lust for freedom drawing us here, and drawing us to be men among men in the American Revolution. William Ramsay helped found Alexandria, Virginia, and was a famed militia fighter during the Revolution. His wife, Ann, was praised by Thomas Jefferson for raising more than $75,000.00 for the war effort. His close friend George Washington was a pallbearer at his funeral in 1785. William’s son Dennis Ramsay was a Colonel in the Continental Army and distinguished himself in battle. Returning the favor shown his father, he served as one of the pallbearers at the funeral of George Washington a few years later.

Alexandria_Christ-Church-05


If I am blessed with another son, he will be named as my favorite Ramsay of the Revolution, David. A man after my own heart, a writer and a fighter. Another founding father, Benjamin Rush, described him as the best student of medicine he ever taught. While serving as a field surgeon, he was captured when Charleston fell in 1780. Not one hour from my current home, he was held as a prisoner of war for a year in St. Augustine, Florida. He served in the South Carolina legislature from 1776-1783, part of his term in captivity and on the battlefield. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress from 1782-1786, including the last year as President, during John Hancock’s year long absence. In the 1790’s he served 3 terms in the South Carolina Senate, one as its president. His work as a writer and historian was his largest legacy. “History of the Revolution in South Carolina” was the first book to receive a copyright in the United States, and “History of the American Revolution” is a classic to this day, with its call for active citizens to reform and improve their society and its institutions.

ramsay fuentes des onoro
Captain Norman Ramsay charges the French, Battle of Fuentes De Onoro, Spain, 1811


We have heroes on both sides of the War of Northern Aggression, and then another Alexander Ramsey appears. He was the first Governor of the Minnesota Territory, and second Governor of the State of Minnesota. He also served as a US Senator. In response to the slaughter of over 800 people, many women and children by the Sioux, he fought back and made Minnesota safe for settlers. His home is a tourist attraction in St. Paul, and is preserved with his belongings largely intact, just as he left them.

Alexander_Ramsey_House.jpg

Alexander will be born 700 years into our struggle for freedom. He will learn all of these stories, and many more, from heroes across the world. Otoya  Yamaguchi, Marcus Garvey, William Quantrill, Smedley Butler, Jim Bowie, Vaclav Havel, and so many more. So what’s in a name? Does the centuries of struggle and toil, of treachery and disease, mean anything? How many Alexander’s lay bleeding to death, hoping their sacrifice was not in vain? Does a boy who grows into a man with the understanding of this history need a king?

Every single human being on this planet is remarkable. You are the ones that made it. Regardless of race, your ancestors survived. Was it the middle passage and chattel slavery in the West Indies? Was it war with invading conquistadores, or with settlers, or settlers braving the disease and struggle against the British? Perhaps you escaped Communist China, or the Eastern Block, to come here and become an American. The important thing is that you realize your history is full of heroes. The ones who struggled, the ones who survived, and it all lead you to being in the United States, the greatest country on earth.

Those who demean ancestry and heritage, demean the very root of liberty. Alexander will view his life as a destiny, and fighting for the liberty of himself and others, as a duty. He will value liberty because he will know how much it costs, and how many Alexanders before him defended it. This is how you create a society of people who can self govern. They are a law unto themselves. Honor, duty, legacy, culture, pride, and heritage are the bulwarks against tyranny. No law or lack thereof will ever inspire men the way Alexander Ramsay inspires me. Now I must inspire my own Alexander, and we will both be better men because of it. America will be a better country, and a little more free. If everyone embraced the idea, and returned to their roots, we would all be free.

In 1998, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating every April 6, the date the Declaration of Arbroath was signed, as Tartan Day. A Senate spokesperson said, “The Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on 6 April 1320 and the American Declaration of Independence was modeled on that inspirational document.

Happy birthday Libertarianism. My gift to you, is yet another Alexander Ramsey.


         The Declaration of Arbroath

TO THE most Holy Father and Lord in Christ, the Lord John, by divine providence Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman and Universal Church, his humble and devout sons Duncan, Earl of Fife, Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray, Lord of Man and of Annandale, Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, Malcolm, Earl of Lennox, William, Earl of Ross, Magnus, Earl of Caithness and Orkney, and William, Earl of Sutherland; Walter, Steward of Scotland, William Soules, Butler of Scotland, James, Lor

Most Holy Father and Lord, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown.

They journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage tribes, but nowhere could they be subdued by any race, however barbarous.

Thence they came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to their home in the west where they still live today.

The Britons they first drove out, the Picts they utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, they took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the historians of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all bondage ever since.

In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken a single foreigner.

The high qualities and deserts of these people, were they not otherwise manifest, gain glory enough from this: that the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Lord Jesus Christ, after His Passion and Resurrection, called them, even though settled in the uttermost parts of the earth, almost the first to His most holy faith.

Nor would He have them confirmed in that faith by merely anyone but by the first of His Apostles – by calling, though second or third in rank – the most gentle Saint Andrew, the Blessed Peter’s brother, and desired him to keep them under his protection as their patron forever.

The Most Holy Fathers your predecessors gave careful heed to these things and bestowed many favours and numerous privileges on this same kingdom and people, as being the special charge of the Blessed Peter’s brother.

Thus our nation under their protection did indeed live in freedom and peace up to the time when that mighty prince the King of the English, Edward, the father of the one who reigns today, when our kingdom had no head and our people harboured no malice or treachery and were then unused to wars or invasions, came in the guise of a friend and ally to harass them as an enemy.

The deeds of cruelty, massacre, violence, pillage, arson, imprisoning prelates, burning down monasteries, robbing and killing monks and nuns, and yet other outrages without number which he committed against our people, sparing neither age nor sex, religion nor rank, no one could describe nor fully imagine unless he had seen them with his own eyes.

But from these countless evils we have been set free, by the help of Him Who though He afflicts yet heals and restores, by our most tireless Prince, King and Lord, the Lord Robert.

He, that his people and his heritage might be delivered out of the hands of our enemies, met toil and fatigue, hunger and peril, like another Macabaeus or Joshua and bore them cheerfully.

Him, too, divine providence, his right of succession according to or laws and customs which we shall maintain to the death, and the due consent and assent of us all have made our Prince and King.

To him, as to the man by whom salvation has been wrought unto our people, we are bound both by law and by his merits that our freedom may be still maintained, and by him, come what may, we mean to stand.

Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours, and make some other man who was well able to defend us our King; 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.

Therefore it is, Reverend Father and Lord, that we beseech your Holiness with our most earnest prayers and suppliant hearts, inasmuch as you will in your sincerity and goodness consider all this, that, since with Him Whose Vice-Regent on earth you are there is neither weighing nor distinction of Jew and Greek, Scotsman or Englishman, you will look with the eyes of a father on the troubles and privation brought by the English upon us and upon the Church of God.

May it please you to admonish and exhort the King of the English, who ought to be satisfied with what belongs to him since England used once to be enough for seven kings or more, to leave us Scots in peace, who live in this poor little Scotland, beyond which there is no dwelling-place at all, and covet nothing but our own.

We are sincerely willing to do anything for him, having regard to our condition, that we can, to win peace for ourselves.

This truly concerns you, Holy Father, since you see the savagery of the heathen raging against the Christians, as the sins of Christians have indeed deserved, and the frontiers of Christendom being pressed inward every day; and how much it will tarnish your Holiness’s memory if (which God forbid) the Church suffers eclipse or scandal in any branch of it during your time, you must perceive.

Then rouse the Christian princes who for false reasons pretend that they cannot go to help of the Holy Land because of wars they have on hand with their neighbours.

The real reason that prevents them is that in making war on their smaller neighbours they find quicker profit and weaker resistance.

But how cheerfully our Lord the King and we too would go there if the King of the English would leave us in peace, He from Whom nothing is hidden well knows; and we profess and declare it to you as the Vicar of Christ and to all Christendom.

But if your Holiness puts too much faith in the tales the English tell and will not give sincere belief to all this, nor refrain from favouring them to our prejudice, then the slaughter of bodies, the perdition of souls, and all the other misfortunes that will follow, inflicted by them on us and by us on them, will, we believe, be surely laid by the Most High to your charge.

To conclude, we are and shall ever be, as far as duty calls us, ready to do your will in all things, as obedient sons to you as His Vicar; and to Him as the Supreme King and Judge we commit the maintenance of our cause, casting our cares upon Him and firmly trusting that He will inspire us with courage and bring our enemies to nought.

May the Most High preserve you to his Holy Church in holiness and health and grant you length of days.

Given at the monastery of Arbroath in Scotland on the sixth day of the month of April in the year of grace thirteen hundred and twenty and the fifteenth year of the reign of our King aforesaid.

Duncan, Earl of Fife
Thomas Randolph, Earl of Moray
Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March
Malise, Earl of Strathearn
Malcolm, Earl of Lennox
William, Earl of Ross
Magnús Jónsson, Earl of Orkney
William de Moravia, Earl of Sutherland
Walter, High Steward of Scotland
William de Soules,
Sir James Douglas
David, Lord of Brechin
David Graham
Ingram de Umfraville
John de Menteith,
Alexander Fraser of Touchfraser and Cowie
Gilbert de la Hay,
Robert Keith, Marischal of Scotland
Henry Sinclair
John Graham
David Lindsay
William Oliphant
Patrick Graham
John Fenton
William Abernethy
David Wemyss
William Mushet
Fergus of Ardrossan
Eustace Maxwell
William Ramsay
Lachlan MacLean
William de Monte Alto
Alan Murray
Donald Campbell
John Cameron
Reginald le Chen
Alexander Seton
Andrew Leslie
Alexander Straiton

In addition, the names of the following do not appear in the document’s text, but their names are written on seal tags and their seals are present:[14]

Alexander de Lamberton
Edward Keith
Arthur Campbell
Thomas de Menzies
John de Inchmartin
John Duraunt
Thomas de Morham



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