By Paul Kallina
Sunday, February 19, 2023
On August 21, 1893, a historic cemetery in Edinburgh, Scotland, became more
historic with the dedication of the Scottish-American Soldiers Monument (shown above). It featured the first statue of Abraham Lincoln placed outside the United States and the first of four Lincoln sculptures in the United Kingdom. Thirty years ago, the Lincoln Group of DC and the City of Edinburgh rededicated the monument in recognition of its centenary.
Located in Old Calton Burial Ground, the monument was the idea of U.S. Consul
General Wallace Bruce and his wife, Annie, who wanted a monument to Scotsmen
who served in the Union Army. The sculptor was Civil War veteran George Bissell of
Among those representing the Lincoln Group at the ceremony were LGDC president
Carolyn Quadarella, vice president Gayle Harris, and founder of the Association of
Lincoln Presenters Daniel Bassuk (dressed, of course, as Lincoln). Speakers included
Lincoln biographer Lord Longford and Dr. Ferenc Szasz , author of Abraham Lincoln
and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends. Attendees included U.S. Consul
General Bobette Orr and a U.S. Navy honor guard. Interestingly, the cast of "Our
Brutus," a play about John Wilkes Booth, then at the annual Edinburgh International
Festival, also attended. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, who participated in the
dedication in 1893, provided a bagpiper.
The Lincoln statue faces another monument a short distance away: an obelisk to the
parliamentary reformers, the Chartist Martyrs, who were deported to Australia in 1794.
The words of deportee Thomas Muir inscribed on the shaft provide an epitaph for
Abraham Lincoln as well:
I have devoted myself to the cause of the people, it is a good cause--it shall ultimately prevail--it shall finally triumph.
For a virtual tour of Old Calton Burial Ground and views of the Lincoln monument, see Cemeteries and Burials in Edinburgh – this site contains links for a virtual tour of Old Calton as well as for other historic burial grounds.
(Editor's note: Paul Kallina is a long-time Lincoln Group member and a former co-editor, along with his wife Carolyn Quadarella, of the Lincolnian newsletter.)
Photo credit: Wendy Swanson