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Darien

  • (Alan Reid)

    God preserve us, Provost Anderson, from this burning black disaster
    For the justice of the Lord is hard to thole
    He has wreaked an awful vengeance on our wild and reckless schemes
    His mighty finger flicks and scatters dreams afore his mocking gaze
    For Darien, Darien, Darien is dead

    The city's in a turmoil, there's a whirlwind o' rumour
    And there's panic in the eyes o' Christian men
    This thunderbolt is quaking every corner o' the land
    And honest guidmen wring their hands and raise their faces heavenwards
    For Darien, Darien, Darien is dead

    We trusted you, John Anderson, and a' your wealthy freends
    All your fine words, we've done danced aboot our ears
    Like a snowdrift in the desert they are vanished in the void
    It's a sair and bitter harvest that has brought us tae oor knees

    Two thousand souls departed, a nation's dream is gone
    And King William's loyal minions watched it die
    And every wave from here to there, another penny gone
    The coffers of old Scotland are bled dry and hope is barren now
    For Darien -

    The new world beckoned us
    Darien -
    There is no second chance
    Darien -
    We ventured into Panama
    Is dead
    With heart and not with head
    Darien -
    We trusted Providence
    Darien -
    It has abandoned us
    Now Darien is dead
    Darien is dead, Darien is dead, Darien is dead

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1972:] The Crown in 1695 authorized the establishment of a 'Company trading to Africa and the Indies', which might establish depots in any uninhabited place, or in places not possessed by any European sovereign. This project represented the Scottish desire for a colony, and for the expansion of trade; but it also received support from London merchants anxious to break the monopoly of the East India Company. [...]

    The money was readily subscribed, but the merchants of the East India Company, who had great influence in the House of Commons, took alarm. There were threats of impeachment; most of the English directors withdrew and Scotland put up 400,000 herself, about half of the whole national capital available. The king, saying that he had been ill-served in Scotland, offered every impediment he could, prevented the borrowing of money in Hamburg, the buying of ships in Holland, and the giving of aid by the English colonists. His hostility was due in part to his knowledge that Darien was claimed by Spain, about whose possessions he was trying to arrange the Partition Treaties. None the less three Scottish ships and two tenders sailed from Leith in July 1698 and, in October, founded the township of New Edinburgh; but fever, dissension, and English opposition ruined the venture, and the colony was abandoned after great loss of life.

    [...] Fort St. Andrew capitulated in March 1700.
    Scotland had lost 2,000 men and upwards of 200,000. The anger of the nation was intense, and it was not allayed by a letter sent by William to the ninth session of Parliament, which [...] explained that to have accepted the Company's right to Darien would have disturbed the peace to Christendom; he promised to support every measure which would promote Scottish trade, and especially repair the losses of the Company. (Mackie 254f)

  • [1991:] In the mid-1690s King William, partly to divert attention from the horrific events at Glencoe, gave his support to a scheme to establish an overseas trading company in Scotland. Initially all fared well but politics took over and in the end, real support from England and Europe was withdrawn. The Scots made a great effort to carry the project forward themselves. They narrowed the scheme to centre on the Darien Isthmus (Panama). It was a great idea but, denied support and experience in such a project, supreme enthusiasm was not enough to meet the extreme problems the Scots met. By March 1700 the scheme was abandoned, leaving many dead and the country in a severe economic situation. The Darien Disaster did much to help towards the Union of Parliaments in 1707. Alan's song imagines how news of the disaster might have been received in Glasgow. (Notes Battlefield Band, 'New Spring')

Quelle: Scotland

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