There is a connection between my namesake Sam Houston, Robert Burns, and King Robert The Bruce. As I was completing a painting of the first Scot king for Lord Elgin, featuring King Bruce's sword, I received a note from Allen Bruce of Georgia pointing out that I should ask Lord Elgin to show me that weapon, as it had been used to "knight" Robert Burns by Mrs. Katherine Bruce in Clackmannan on Burn's visit in 1787. I handled and photographed that huge sword when I visited Lord Elgin in 2006.
John F. Haining, Director of the Robert Burns International Federation, sent this note:
I have spoken to the Chief Executive of the Robert Burns World Federation Ltd and she is delighted to have been presented your wonderful painting of Robert Burns. I will present the painting to over 300 guests at our Annual Conference at Edinburgh on 4/5/6 September 2009 and it will thereafter be stored in our premises at Dean Castle, Kilmarnock. I intend writing an article on your painting for our Burns Chronicle which will be published during January 2010. It will be a special publication as it will be the official one for the Year of the Homecoming. -- John F. Haining
For more on King Robert The Bruce painting, click on the great sword.
Robert Burns / Immortal Poet of Scotland, and of the world
Scots! wha hae wi' Wallace bled, Scots! wham Bruce has aften led, Welcome to your gory bed, Or to victory! Now's the day, and now's the hour; See the front o' battle lour: See approach proud Edward's power - Chains and slavery!
Wha will be a traitor knave?
Robert Burns has a strong historical, as well as a modern day presence in Texas. I don't know about Muleshoe on the New Mexico border, or Cut 'N Shoot in East Texas, but every civilized city in Texas (even Dallas) has a Robert Burns dinner. Houston has two dinners, both sold out long before the events.
There's a reason. Our state was essentially 'pacified' and settled by Scots, back when the Comanche Indians considered the region to be theirs to plunder, and the Spanish-Mexican hacienda system was helpless to defend settlers. The works of Robert Burns were treasures of literate people who lived in earth-hovels and log shacks as they fought for their own land in the new world.
A few weeks after the fall of the Alamo, the outnumbered Texians advanced on Santa Anna's army at the battle of San Jacinto. As General Sam Houston attacked the much larger Mexican force, he yelled, "Now's the day, and now is the hour!"