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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:20 pm 
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A rare copy of the Declaration of Arbroath has been presented to the National Archives of the United States by the Scottish government's Culture and External Affairs Secretary Fiona Hyslop.

Ms Hyslop is currently on a short visit to Canada and the USA to promote Scotland's global capabilities and foster economic opportunities for the country in the important North American market.

The SNP MSP has met with political and business leaders in Ottawa, Toronto and Washington DC. While in the Canadian capital she attended the launch of the Canadian Parliament's Canada-Scotland Friendship Group at a St Andrew’s Day reception. The reception was held in the Canadian Parliament and hosted by the speaker of the senate, Noël Kinsella.

On St Andrew's Day, Ms Hyslop met with key political, business and cultural stakeholders in Washington DC to promote Scotland's global capabilities and foster economic opportunities for Scotland. Ms Hyslop addressed a large audience of US politicians, overseas diplomats, business leaders and professionals from the Washington DC and New York areas at a St Andrew's Day reception at the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

During a visit to the US Capitol Building in Washington DC, Ms Hyslop met with Congressmen Mike McIntyre and John Duncan from the Friends of Scotland Caucus to strengthen the relationship and explore opportunities to leverage the Caucus' connections to better promote Scotland's economic capabilities.

Ms Hyslop will also be an honoured guest at the 41st Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, which draws around 30,000 people to celebrate all that is great about Scotland in the city of Alexandria in Virginia. The city's close ties with Scotland date back to the tobacco trade of the 18th century. The Scottish Culture secretary will promote the best of Scottish food and drink at the Taste of Scotland reception and take part in the Scottish Walk Parade.

Yesterday, Ms Hyslop presented a rare copy of the Declaration of Arbroath to the US National Archives, in recognition of the historical links between the American Declaration of Independence, and Scotland's ancient constitutional document.

In 1998 the US Senate passed a Resolution designating April 6 "Tartan Day" in the USA to celebrate the inspiration that the stirring words of the Declaration of Arbroath gave to the founding fathers of the US constitution.

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.

The US senators stated in their Resolution: "… the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish Declaration of Independence, was signed on April 6 1320, and the American Declaration of Independence was modelled on that inspirational document."

The copy presented by Ms Hyslop is one of a special limited edition ordered by the National Archives for Scotland in 2000. The facsimiles were printed from a copper plate engraved by William Home Lizars about 1815. A special cotton paper was used to mimic the original document as closely as possible. For preservation reasons no further prints will be made from this plate. Print No. 7 out of a print run of just 100 has been presented to the US National Archives.

Most of the copies were bought by collectors and institutions. Only 25 of the prints remain available for sale through the National Archives for Scotland, a snip at £175.

Speaking at the presentation in Washington Ms Hyslop said:

"The Declaration of Arbroath is Scotland's greatest documentary treasure. It sought international recognition of our nation's independence and placed great emphasis on the importance of freedom.

"It is a great compliment to Scotland that the US has chosen to officially recognise the similarities between the US Declaration of Independence and our own Declaration of Arbroath.

"That is why I am so delighted to present this rare, limited edition print of the Declaration of Arbroath to the US National Archives. It is a fitting way to recognise and celebrate the close and deep ties between our two nations."

William J. Bosanko, Executive for Agency Services of the US National Archives, said:

"I welcome this opportunity to mark and continue the long and deep historic links between Scotland and the US, which are reflected in our respective archives."

George MacKenzie, Keeper of the Records of Scotland, added:

"The archives of Scotland and of the United States underpin our identities as individuals and as nations. We look forward to strengthening the professional ties between our organisations."

For more information about the Declaration of Arbroath and to view a high quality image of the document, visit the website of the National Archive for Scotland http://www.nas.gov.uk/about/090401.asp

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 9:17 pm 
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I think this is a great idea, & I’ll tell you why. When the Wallace Sword was transported to New York a few years ago, I was one of the outspoken voices against it. I demanded assurances from the Nat Wallace Monument that they could adequately insure such an artefact which was uninsurable.

They keep a copy in the monument, & I suggested they send that instead.

At a meeting subsequently with one of the people who advocated this transfer, I pointed out to him that, once the American public had seen the sword, they had no need to come to Stirling to see the original. If we had sent the duplicate, folk overseas would still have wanted to come here to see the original, in its original setting. With hindsight, he agreed with me.

Such will be with this facsimile of the Declaration of Arbroath. So many more people who had never heard of it, & see this, might organise their holiday to get a glimpse of the real thing. I think it’s a winner all round.

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