We think na on the long Scots miles,
The moses, waters, slaps, and styles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.
The Federation History
In the summer of 1884 prominent Burnsians were attending the unveiling of a bust of Robert Burns in Poet's corner of Westminster Abbey. A casual remark of David Mackay to David Sneddon and Colin Rae Brown led to a preliminary meeting in London and to an inaugural meeting in Kilmarnock on 17th July 1885 to form the Burns Federation. Seventeen gentlemen sat at the meeting, fourteen from Kilmarnock Burns Club, two from Glasgow and one though originally from Greenock now resident in London.Following the institution at Kilmarnock a circular was sent out to the secretaries of all known Burns clubs and Scottish societies throughout the world:
The object of the Federation shall be to strengthen and consolidate the bond of fellowship currently existing among the members of Burns Clubs, by universal affiliation; its motto being- "A man's a man for a' that"
The members of every Burns Club registered as belonging to the Federation shall be granted a diploma admitting them to a meeting of all the clubs connected with the Federation, they being subject to the rules of the Club visited, but having no voice in its management, unless admitted a member of the Club visited according to local form. The Affiliation fee for each Club shall be One Guinea and for each Member's Diploma One shilling, these payments being final and not annual.
The Funds of the Federation, so accruing, shall be vested in the Executive Council for the purpose of acquiring and preserving Holograph Manuscripts and other interesting Relics connected with the life and works of the Poet, and for other purposes of a like nature, as the said council may determine.
The headquarters of the Federation shall be at Kilmarnock, the premier club in the movement, the town in which the first edition of the Poet's works was published and which contains the only properly organised Burns Museum in the United Kingdom.
The election of an Honorary Council comprising:-All the Presidents of the Affiliated Clubs, and other Gentlemen of eminence nominated by the Executive.
The election of an Executive Council to consist of the Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the leading Affiliated Clubs, and other eligible gentlemen, with power to add to their number.
Colin Rae Brown suggested that as the idea of a Federation had originated in London, London Burns Club should have the distinction of being No.1 on the Federation roll.
Over the years the constitution of the Federation has changed. As the times have changed so have circumstances, priorities, attitudes and requirements and the constitution has consequently been revised on several occasions.
The current aims and objectives are as follows:-
The main objectives of The Robert Burns World Federation Limited are to advance the education of the public, without distinction of sex or political, or religious opinions about the life, poetry and works of Robert Burns and in furtherance thereof:-
I. To encourage and arrange competitions among the general public,
students and/or school children and to stimulate the teaching and studying
of Scottish literature, history, art, music and language.