1Just as the Gaelic language is the best guardian of the faith amongst the many thousands of Gaelic-speaking Catholic Gaels in Canada.
Christianity. How long will these things be? How long will it be (we ask) before our blind and misguided fellow-countrymen—our brother Gaels— see eye to eye with us—with the faithful remnant of old Alba; with the many thousands of their expatriated Catholic fellow-countrymen in Canada ; and with the Gaels of Ireland, now so gloriously advancing in the common cause of Creidhimh agus Cainnt—of faith and language ? Our wish—our dream, if the reader prefers it—is for a united Gaeldom; for one faith, for one tongue, for the religion of our forefathers and for the language of our race—for the " sea-divided Gael," a great confederacy : new hopes, new aspirations—a new life and all that such entails. Who will assist us to achieve these great and glorious ends ?
There is one other topic on which we propose to make a few observations before bringing these remarks to a close. The Scottish Gael's attachment to the Catholic religion, long after the rest of the country had abandoned it, was accustomed to be ascribed by his enemies to his " superstition, stupidity and ignorance," just as at the present day you will hear foolish English people ascribing to the same cause the Irish Gael's attachment to the faith of his ancestors. This cool assumption of a superior intelligence on the part of English people is characteristic of the race. What they do not hold to is necessarily, in their opinion, not worth the having. The Catholic is "ignorant" and " superstitious " because he is not a Protestant. Than this very elementary form of reasoning, no greater proof, of course, could be adduced of the folly, shallowness and stupidity of the flippant blockheads who indulge in it. They seem to forget, too, that their own dull-witted and lubberly peasantry is probably the most uninteresting and intellectually unfruitful element in Christendom. That the Gael of Scotland remained Catholic because he "knew no better," is an assertion which is not only false to all history, but which is easily disproved by the statements of contemporary Protestant partisans themselves. Certainly, considering the intellectual state of the Gàidhealtachd under Catholic auspices, and the same thing under Protestant influences, no intelligent Gael of to-day, who yet is a Protestant, can afford to foul his own nest in so shameless and ridiculous a manner. Here is what one of these " memoralists " has to say on this very subject. Writing after the '45, and in condemnation of the prevalence of "Popery" in the Gàidhealtachd, he observes, "whoever knows them (the Gaels of Scotland), and speaks impartially, will acknowledge that there are not any people in our Island more smart and sagacious". Here is somewhat similar testimony. " There are not in any corner of Britain a people of quicker natural parts than they; and we know what fine geniuses they have produced." Another State paper contains the following significant passages: " There is hardly anywhere a more subtle people than they are; and one may find amongst them men who by the oddness of their way of living in their wild remote corners and un-acquaintedness with the manner of the world, seem to be simple, ignorant and blundering, and yet are cunning fellows, and full of address in their negotiations. Generally speaking, they are a people of exceeding good parts and capacity, and very lively. . . . Their wits not being broken with sore labour, are sharpened by discoursing with one another. . . . They are greatly addicted to enquire after news,
which they do at every person they meet with." Another informer writes in a similar strain, and adds that the Swedes and the Norse, whom he esteems remarkably intelligent, " are not so smart, nor of so quick parts as the Highlanders usually are ".
Such were the Gaels of Scotland under Catholic influences. The testimony above quoted is valuable inasmuch as it proceeds from quarters which were hostile to our forefathers' religion and language and to their manners and customs. It shows us a smart, lively, sagacious people of good parts, whose wits were sharp and whose intelligence was obviously great; who were much given to discussion and always eager for news. The Gael of Scott and other Protestant writers is a kind of monstrosity, a half-witted dolt crammed full of the most foolish and childish and degrading superstitions. It is for the Protestant Gael to say which is the true picture; and, Crois Chriosd orinn fèinIwe hardly envy him his dilemma.
[Chaidh an dàn so a leanas a sgrìobhadh le Alasdair Dòmhnullach, ris an abrar 'sa Bheurla Sandie Ashtree,a thug iomadh bliadhna 'na dhor-sair do na Manaich ann an Cille Chinmein Dh'eug Alasdair o chionn ghoirid, agus e gle aosmhor, agus fo mhòr spèis aig gach aon a chur eòlas air. Chaidh an dàn so a sgrìobhadh 'nuair a bha Alasdair a' fuireach anns an Eilean Sgarba.] Fonn:—
'Gheola dhubh air barr an t-sruth, 'S e 'gheola dhubh fo 'h-aodach, 'Gheola dhubh air barr an t-sruth, Gu fulangach ri gaoith. Oran Sgarba
'S i 'tighinn leis na litrichean, 'S i 'tighinn leis na daoine,
'S i 'tighinn leis na litrichean, Gach fios a tha ri fhaotainn. 'Gheola dhubh, etc.
Mac Pharlain's e 'ga stiùir dhuinn,
'S muir ghorm ri èirigh, 'S e 'tighinn a nall gu Sgarba leinn,
Gur earbsach bhithinn fèin as. 'Gheola dhubh, etc.
Tha Dughal òg cho misneachail, 'S deagh sgiobair 'nuair a dh'fheu
Gu n toireadh e gu cala sinn
Ged bhiodh e'n geall le seideadh. 'Gheola dhubh, etc.
As dar bhitheadh lan Mac Lachlainn Gur baigheach leam ri mo thaobh e
Cha bhiodh geilt no curam orm Le stiùir bhi 'n làimh an laoich ud. 'Gheola dhubh, etc.
Gur tric chaidh mise Lunga,
Leis a'gheola dhubh 'san togradh,
Bhiodh Maggie Brown gu furanach, Cur cuireadh orm daonnan. 'Gheola dhubh, etc.
Dar chaidh mi sìos gu Fladda, Bha catterich (?) 'na 'h-aodann,
Bha Dughal a' sìor àithn' orm, Na ràimh 'chuir n àite aodaich. 'Gheola dhubh, etc.
Who is "Righ na h-Alba"?
Dar chaidh mi Bhial na h-uamha, Bha gaoth à tuath 'si beucaich,
Na sruthan bha iad uamhasach. Na cuartagan ag èirigh. 'Gheola dhubh, etc. Dar chaidh mi suas gu Garbhallach Bha 'n fhairg' le feirg ag èirigh,
Thuirt Mac-an-Lèigh ged eòlach e, " Tha 'n Dòmhnullach 'na eigin ". 'Gheola dhubh, etc. Sin dar labhair Caristiona :
" Tha thuigs' agam mu dheighinn,
Cha ghabh mi fhèin mo storas,
Ma 'se 'n Dòmhnullach a gheilleas ". 'Gheola dhubh, etc. Ged's iargalta bharr cladaich e, Na gabhadh sibh bonn curaim,
Nach dean a' Gheola calla dheth, Le Alasdair 'ga stiùireadh. 'Gheola dhubh, etc. An àm bhi 'tilleadh dhachaidh leatha, Gu'm b'astarach mo dheidh,
'Dhol tarsuinn Coire Bhreacain, Cha'n fhaic i le beum sleibhe. 'Gheola dhubh, etc. Dar ràinig mise m' acarsaid,
Bha innte 'n òrd' mar teudan. 'Gheola dhubh, etc. who is "righ na h-alba"i
Upon the death, in 1034, of that great prince, Malcolm II., the direct male line of Kenneth Mac Alpin became extinct; but, as Bobertson observes in his Scotland under Her Early Kingsr "the rights of the royal race, originally inherited through the female line, were transmitted in the-same manner through heiresses to the two great families of Atholl1 and Moray, whose disputes for the crown were destined to become as fruitful a source of strife and bloodshed as the sanguinary struggle between their immediate ancestors, or the earlier feuds between the lines of Constantine and Aodh".
It must be remembered that, according to the rule of alternate succession hitherto observed amongst the Gaels of Scotland, and abundant traces of which we find amongst the Gaels of Ireland, the next king after Malcolm's death ought to have been chosen from the family of his predecessor, Kenneth III. Malcolm, however, determined to set aside the Gaelic rule of succession in favour of his own family, and, after the death of Boedhe (Kenneth's son), he conspired and accomplished the assassination of the latter's heir, whose name is unknown to history, but who, the last male representative of his race, was probably Tanist or heir-apparent to the throne after the death of his father, the above-mentioned Boedhe. Malcolm himself had no son, but the removal of his rivaVs heir left the succession to the throne open to his grandson Duncan, who, accordingly, in the year
JThe family which subsequently described itself as De Atholia. The Eobertsons of Struan are of this family.
Who is " Righ na h-Alba " ?
1034, ascended the throne of the Ard-Eigh of Scotland, immediately after the assassination at Glamis, in Forfarshire, of his grandfather King Malcolm.
Boedhe, however, left a daughter, Gruach, who, by her marriage with Gilcomgan, the son of Mal-bridge Mac Ruaidhri, Mormaer or, as the Irish annalists style him, King of Moray, carried the claims of her house, after the death of her brother, into that family.
In 1032 Gilcomgan, Mormaer of Moray, was surprised and burnt in his rath or fortress with fifty of his immediate followers, leaving, however, an infant son, Lulach (by his wife Gruach), who, after the death of Boedhe's son—at the hands or at the instigation of Malcolm II.—became the sole remaining representative of the line of Kenneth III. Gruach, the widow of Gilcomgan, eventually married Mac Beth (the slayer of Duncan and future King of Alba) who had succeeded Gruach's late husband, and his own cousin, in the Moray Mor-maership. Mac Beth, consequently, besides being husband to Gruach, became the guardian of the infant Lulach, and the representative, during the minority of the latter, of his claims upon the crown of Scotland.
Duncan, the heir and successor of his grandfather, Malcolm II., was the son of Bethoc (eldest daughter to Malcolm) by Crinan, lay-Abbot of Dunkeld, and, before his accession to the throne of the Ard-Eìgh, had been appointed ruler of the dependent province of Strath Clyde.
The murder of the youthful Duncan by his rival Mac Beth is too well known to require more than a few passing references. It is scarcely necessary to observe that the Shakespearian version of that
Who is "Righ na h-Alba"?
tragedy is, historically, highly inaccurate. The " meek and hoary Duncan" was really an inexperienced stripling. Mac Beth himself probably struck the fatal blow in " the smith's bothy " near Elgin, to which the ill-starred Prince had retired for a little much-needed rest and refreshment after his sore flight from the North, where his army had been hopelessly crushed by the Lochlannach jarl, Thorfin. The Shakespearian " thanes," borrowed, of course, from the historical romances of Boece and other later sources, were non-existent. Even the Scotland of Malcolm III. knew nothing of them; and in many other respects, which need not here be particularised, the historical details of the great English dramatist's great drama are open to serious historical objection.
Nor is it necessary, strictly considering the writer's purpose in composing this paper, to enter upon any discussion touching the personal and other qualities of Mac Beth. Suffice it to say that he seems to have been an excellent ruler, and that the " white-washers'" art cannot justly be said to have been exercised to any real and lasting effect so long as so promising a " subject" as the usurping Mormaer of Moray remains unexperimented upon. "The historical Mac Beth," says Mr. Eobertson, " appears to have been an able monarch . . . for his reign has been handed down in tradition as an era of fertility and prosperity—generally a sign of the ability of the ruler; and he is recorded with his queen among the earliest benefactors of the Culdee Society of Lochleven." St. Berchan observes of him:—
(foreigners) The liberal King will possess Fortrenn.
The red one was fair, yellow,1 tail; Pleasant was the youth to me. Brimful was Alba east and west, During the reign of the fierce red one."In 1058, Mac Beth was slain at Lumphanan in Aberdeenshire, whereupon Lulach the Simple became Ard-Righ of Alba. The son of the murdered Duncan, however (Malcolm), soon removed from his path the remaining obstacle to his accession to the throne. Lulach was betrayed into the hands of his enemy at a place called Essie, on the confines of Banffshire and Aberdeenshire, where his violent death put an end for a time to the struggle between the rival houses of Moray and Atholl.
During the long reign of Calum A'Chinn Mhòir (1058-1093), Moray remained comparatively quiet. "The deaths of Mac Beth and of his successor Lulach," says Mr. Robertson, " had crushed, without -extinguishing, the hopes of the rival family; but though their pretensions were again revived by Lulach's son, Malsnechtan, fortune continued adverse to the men of Moray, and a sanguinary and decisive victory" gained by Malcolm still further ■depressed the balance of power in favour of the reigning family. Malsnechtan, however, survived his overthrow to " die in peace " a few years afterwards (1085), "when," observes Mr. Robertson, " the title of ' King of Moray,' conferred upon him by the Irish annalist, implies (if correct) a partial independence; but as there can be no doubt about the foundation of Mortlach before the date of his death, the surrounding territory must have been
1Yellow-haired: yellow hair was much esteemed by the Gaels.
2Celtic Scotland, vol. i., p. 406.
by that time annexed to the crown; and the influence of the Moray family must henceforth have been confined to the westward of the Spey ".
Upon the death of Malsnechtan, in 1085, the Moray principality and the claims of that family to the throne of Scotland, passed to his sister whose name is unknown, and whose husband, Aodh, became, in right of his wife, Mormaer, or as he appears in charters of the period, " Earl" of Moray. Nothing is known of the parentage of this Aodh (a favourite and common name, as Dr. MacBain justly observes, amongst the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland), a circumstance which will be duly discussed in its proper place. Aodh seems to have made at least one attempt to establish his wife's title to the throne, but being badly defeated by Alexander I. (1107-1124) it is doubtless to that circumstance that we must ascribe the appearance of his name in royal charters belonging to the reign of Alexander, and to the early years of that of his successor David (1124-1153).
By the daughter of Lulach, Aodh, Mormaer of Moray, had a son Angus, who in the reign of David I. and after the death of his father, fought the disastrous battle of Strickathrow (1130), in which Angus himself perished, together with a great number of the men of Moray and the Mearns, his followers. The battle, which was fought in support of the hereditary policy of the Moray family, and the death of the Mormaer, are thus alluded to in the Irish annals : " Battle (1130) between the men of Alban and the men of Moray, in which fell four thousand of the men of Moray, with their King Oengus, son of the daughter of Lulag ; a thousand also of the men of Alban in heat of battle ". The event is also alluded to by the Saxon Chronicle which, under the same date, has the following: " In this year Anagus was slain by the Scots army, and there was a great slaughter made with him". Orderic Vital (quoted by Skene) further confirms this account in a narrative which has every appearance of truth. " Malcolm," he says, " a bastard son of Alexander (the late king), attempted to deprive his uncle of the crown, and involved him in two rather severe contests; but David, who was his superior in talent as well as in wealth and power, defeated him and his party. In the year of our Lord 1130, whilst King David was ably applying himself to a cause in King Henry's court and carefully examining a charge of treason which, they say, Geoffrey de Clinton had been guilty of, Angus Earl of Moray with Malcolm and five thousand men, entered Scotia (or Scotland proper) with the intention of reducing the whole kingdom to subjection. Upon this Edward, the son of Siward Earl of Mercia in the time of King Edward, who was a cousin of King David, and commander of his army, assembled troops and suddenly threw himself in the enemy's way. A battle was at length fought in which Earl Angus was slain, and his troops defeated, taken prisoners or put to flight. Vigorously pursuing the fugitives with his soldiers elated with victory, and entering Morafia or Moray, now deprived of its lord and protector,1he obtained by God's help possession of the whole of that large territory."
So far the history of the Moray Mormaership, and of the high claims connected therewith, present little difficulty in the way of their historical elucida- 1The italics are my own. The significance of this statement will subsequently appear.
tion. We now however approach a period of considerable doubt and obscurity, in dealing with which it will be necessary to proceed with the utmost caution and circumspection. Angus, Mormaer or Earl of Moray, was slain, as has already been said, at Strickathrow; and, dying without issue, the Mormaership failing heirs would of necessity revert to the people of Moray, in accordance with Gaelic law and immemorial custom, instead of returning to the King, as under the feudal system (which affirmed the sovereign to be the sole source of all honour), and had it been a feudal dignity, it must needs have done.It is asserted, however, by Robertson and Dr. MacBain that Angus had a brother Malcolm, who, upon the former's death in 1130, inherited the claims of the Moray family, and even continued the war against David for a period of four years after his brother's death and overthrow in Forfarshire. Frightened, however, by the magnitude of David's preparations, in view of the Moray Mor-maer's unseasonable obstinacy, the supporters of the latter, it is asserted, tiring of the war and becoming alarmed for their safety, treacherously delivered Malcolm Mac Aodh into the hands of David. " He was at once despatched," says Robertson, " to the castle of Roxburgh, and David, in the full determination of eradicating every trace of his enemies, declared the whole Earldom (of Moray) forfeited to the crown."1
1It is proper to observe here that the peerage of Moray created in favour of Randolph, the friend and supporter of Robert the Bruce, as that which was bestowed at a later date on Lord James Stuart, by Queen Mary, have nothing whatever to do with the title under discussion. It is necessary to bear this distinction in mind in view of what follows.
But before we proceed to discuss the authenticity of his version it is necessary that I should here interrupt the thread of my narrative in order to bring upon the historical stage yet another character, in the shape and person of the impostor Wymund, Bishop of Man. " The battle of Strick-athrow," says Skene, "was followed a few years after by one of the strangest incidents which occur in the history of Scotland at that period. It is obviously alluded to by Ailred in his eulogium upon King David, when, on telling us that 'God gave David the affection of a son amid scourgings, that he should not murmur or backslide, but should give thanks amid scourgings,' he adds : ' These were his (David's) words when God sent as a foe against him a certain spurious bishop, who lied and said he was the Earl of Moray's son,' and again, ' that the Lord had scourged with the lies of a certain monk that invincible king who had subdued unto himself so many barbarous nations, and had without great trouble triumphed over the men of Moray and the islands'. Wymund, whose extraction is obscure, but who probably hailed from Skye,1 upon being raised to the See of Man, appears to have allowed his ambition to get the better alike of his veracity as of a proper sense of what was due to his ecclesiastical status, for he boldly declared himself to be a son of Aodh Earl of Murray, assembled a band of iOn this point Robertson quotes Newburgh, who says Wymund was born at some obscure spot in England, and that he pretended to be a son of the Earl of Moray; but Newburgh (says Skene) seems to have known nothing certain about his earlier history. "Wymund himself says in his profession quoted by Stubbs : " Ego Wymundus sanctce ecclesice de Schid " or Skye —which possibly accounts for the following he subsequently got in Moray and the Isles.
followers, dropped the name by which he had hitherto been known in favour of that of Malcolm Mac Aodh, and declared war against the high King of Scotland. His claim (says Skene) appears to have been recognised as genuine by the Norwegian King of the Isles, and by Somerled the Celtic regulus of Argyll, whose sister he married. ' Every day (says William of Newburgh) he was joined by troops of adherents, among whom he was conspicuous above all by the head and shoulders : and like some mighty commander he inflamed their desires. He then made a descent on the provinces of Scotland, wasting all before him with rapine and slaughter; but whenever the royal army was despatched against him he eluded the whole warlike preparation, either by retreating to distant forests, or taking to the sea; and when the troops had retired, he again issued from his hiding-places to ravage the provinces.'"
It will be observed that in the foregoing account of Wymund's proceedings William of Newburgh gives us a particular description of the personal appearance of the militant Bishop.1 He is tail, so much so that he "was conspicuous above all by the head and shoulders". Consequently, if there was really a "Malcolm Mac Aodh" existing at that time who had been present at the battle of Strickathrow but who was now, according to Robertson and others, languishing in prison, the respective identities of the two men could have been easily established.
1 " His jovial countenance and ready eloquence, his stalwart frame and commanding stature . . . marked him out as a fit leader for an ignorant and excitable multitude, though scarcely in the capacity of a Bishop."—Robertson. (The italics in the above quotation are my own.)
Either we must assume that Wymund was the alter ego of the alleged Malcolm, which does not seem probable, or that the Moray and Isles men, knowing the Bishop to be an impostor, yet accepted him, temporarily, for what he was worth to forward their own political ends. It is not denied by the supporters of the Malcolm Mac Heth theory that Wymund attempted to impersonate a son of the Earl of Moray—Malcolm, to wit. Why, then, was not Malcolm, if he existed, taken out of prison and at once confronted with the impostor Wymund? It is obvious that a simple measure of this sort (the necessity of which the active, shrewd and fertile brain of David should surely have been the first to recognise) would immediately have pricked the Bishop's bubble. We do not read, however, that anything of the kind was done. On the contrary, the supposed Malcolm is kept jealously in prison (by Messrs. Robertson and MacBain); the King engages in a costly, dangerous and difficult war, which at one time seemed about to come near to costing him his throne, and the pretended Mormaer of Moray is suffered to go, literally, scot-free, plundering, burning and slaying, forming important and highly political matrimonial connections, and setting the whole country by the ears; whilst all the time the living person he is impudently impersonating is securely lodged in gaol! For what intelligible reason did David suffer affairs to come to so extraordinary a pass ? In view of the theories of the historians above mentioned we may well address to ourselves this significant and highly pregnant question. The answer to it, so far as it concerns David and the part he played throughout the Moray "rebellion" of Wymund, will certainly not be found in history.
The rest of the Moray career of Wymund and his subsequent fate must now be sketched in the briefest manner possible. After a fruitless invasion of Galloway, where he sustained a serious check, Wymund appears to have renewed his onslaughts upon Scotland proper, from his former coign of vantage in the Isles and the neighbouring countries. At last, however, he was taken prisoner (1134) and subsequently confined (1137)1 in the castle of Roxburgh, where, it is pleasant to think, the society of "Malcolm, the real Earl of Moray," may have conspired to mitigate in some measure the rigours and sorrows of captivity.
David died in 1153 and Malcolm, his grandson, reigned in his stead. The rule of this prince, however, was not at first popular with his Gaelic subjects, and in 1154 the Moray and Isles men again rose in revolt. Somerled, the Mormaer of Argyll, invaded Scotland at the head of a large army, and associated with him in this desperate enterprise were the two sons of Wymund by the sister of the Argyll ruler. " The civil war," says Skene, " had lasted three years when, in the year 1156, Donald, the eldest son of Malcolm (Wymund) was taken prisoner at Whitherne, in Galloway, by some of Malcolm's (the King's) adherents and delivered over to him, when he was imprisoned in the castle of Marchmont (or Roxburgh) along with his father. Somerled, however, continued the war, and Malcolm found it expedient to neutralise the
1 The King seems to have come to terms with Wymund, for instead of being straightway incarcerated "the Bishop," says Mr. Bobertson, " was bought off by a grant of Furness in Westmoreland, where for a short time the Bishop played the tyrant with impunity ". His misdeeds at Furness were doubtless the cause of his imprisonment in 1137.
support he received from those who still adhered to the cause of Malcolm Mac Aodh by coming to terms with him. Accordingly he liberated Malcolm (Wymund) in the following year (1157). William of Newburgh tells us that he (the King) ' gave him a certain province, which suspended the incursion he had instigated'. There is good reason for thinking that this province was the Earldom of Ross." The Earldom of Ross it undoubtedly was, and Skene's conjectures that the King may have made him a present of that title because it was connected with a " remote district over which the sovereign could exercise but little authority," and in the hope that his prisoner " might expend his turbulent energy there with impunity," seems probable enough, especially when we consider the Bishop's restless, aspiring and warlike character. Wymund's proceedings as Earl of Ross were, indeed, truly of a piece with that which we already know about him ; for William of Newburgh, the same authority, be it observed, to whom we are indebted for the leading facts in the career of this most singular adventurer, tells us that "whilst he was proudly proceeding through his subject-province, surrounded by his army like a King, some of the people who were unable to endure either his power or his influence, with the consent of their chiefs1 laid a snare for him ". " Obtaining," says Skene, " a favourable opportunity when he was following slowly and almost unattended a large party which he had sent forward to procure entertainment, they
1 This obviously implies that Wymund was what we should nowadays term an " outsider". If, as MacBain contends, " Malcolm Mac Aoidh " was first Earl of Eoss, his distinguished race and high claims should at least have preserved him from such barbarities.
took and bound him and deprived him of both his eyes and otherwise mutilated him." " Afterwards he came to us," says William of Newburgh, "and quietly continued there many years till his death. But he is reported even then to have said that had he only the eye of a sparrow his enemies should have little occasion to rejoice at what they had done to him." Such is Newburgh's account of the misfortunes which befel Wymund as Earl of Ross. Mr. Robertson, however, in order, presumably, to make his theory square with Newburgh's statements, suppresses the Ross creation altogether, and brings Wymund's public career to a close at Furness in Westmoreland !1 "At length," he says, " the people of the neighbourhood, whose patience was worn out by his exactions, watching their opportunity, seized upon him in an unguarded moment, and the luckless Wymund, to whom no mercy was shown, was deprived of his see and passed the remainder of his life, sightless and cruelly maimed, in the monastery of Biland. No sufferings, however, could subdue the reckless spirit of the man who was wont to boast with a laugh . . . that if his enemies had only left him as much sight as a sparrow's eye he would have shown them how little cause they had for triumph." It is instructive to turn at this conjuncture from Mr. Robertson in
1It is a pity that Mr. Robertson did not condescend to explain what Wymund was doing "proudly proceeding through his subject-province surrounded by his army like a King " in the capacity of a Bishop and in the neighbourhood of Furness in Westmoreland ! Why, also, if he was merely " bought off by a grant of Furness in Westmoreland," was the consent of chiefs necessary before the contemplated barbarities could be committed upon him ?
order to quote Dr. MacBain on the same subject. In the latter's Excursus and Notes to Skene's Highlanders, under the head of Mac Heth, we find the following: " Much nonsense has been written about Malcolm Mac Heth (Mac Aoidh), whose life-story is complicated by the fact that an impostor, Wymund, Bishop of Man, tried to act his part. . . . Earl Ed is one of David's seven earls and was, of course, Earl of Moray. He was married to King Lulach's daughter and was thus father of Angus, Earl of Moray, slain in 1130. Malcolm Mac Heth was another son of Aed and continued the war. . . . Malcolm Mac Heth was reconciled to the King in 1157 and made Earl of Ross. The impostor's share in the whole story is not clear." In a further note appended to his Excursus Dr. MacBain observes: " The first Earl of Ross was Malcolm Mac Heth. . . . His real due was the suppressed Earldom of Moray: he only got the (easter) Ross part of it. He seems to have behaved badly and probably plotted to get back the old earldom."1 The discrepancies existing between these two accounts— those, respectively, of Robertson and MacBain—
xlhave already referred to the reasons which probably prompted the Ceann Mòr dynasty to come to terms with Wymund the second time; but these reasons would certainly not hold good in the case of a captive Earl of Moray even although he should have been "bought off" with only "the eastern" part of his rightful territory. That Malcolm should have returned " Malcolm Mac Aoidh " to Moray after all the trouble and expense he had put his predecessor to in suppressing that Mormaership seems to me, at all events, incredible. The Moray men, moreover, whose passionate and persistent attachment to the family of their Mormaers under the most discouraging circumstances is one of the most remarkable features of early Scottish history, are hardly likely to have treated a genuine son of that distinguished house in the cruel and shameful manner described by Newburgh.
will be apparent to the reader at little more than a glance. The former says nothing about the Ross «arldom. The latter accepts it. Dr. MacBain's Allusion to the " bad behaviour" of Wymund as Earl of Ross is an obvious reference to the indignities practised on the luckless impostor by his hostile vassals, and as such cannot be regarded otherwise than as inconsistent with that part of Mr. Robertson's narrative which involves the important omission of the Ross dignity, and which concerns the misapplied quotation concerning the conduct and conversation of Wymund under the cruelties to which the Bishop (as Earl of Ross) had been subjected.
Before, however, concluding this branch of my topic, which I propose to do by adding some further observations that have occurred to me in the course of investigating this singular mystery, I now propose to discuss the grounds on which Mr. Robertson has constructed the singular theory so often referred to throughout these remarks. In a note to page 221 of his Scotland under Her Early Kings he says: "It is singular how Wymund has been confounded by nearly every historian down to the present day with Malcolm Mac Heth. Newbridge (or Newburgh) who relates his adventures at length, and also had often seen him in his blindness and captivity at Biland, merely says that he was born at some obscure spot in England and pretended to be " a son of the Earl of Moray. . . . It can be clearly shown that Wymund and Mac Heth were totally different persons. Malcolm Mac Heth . . . was captured in 1134,1 and con-
lBut he was not confined in Roxburgh Castle till 1137. What Wymund was doing between those dates has already been shown. Mr. Robertson's statement makes it appear that fined in Roxburgh Castle until 1157, when he was liberated by Malcolm IV. and attested1 one of the Dunfermlyn charters. Wymund could not have gone to Rushen at the very earliest before the year of its foundation, 1134 ; he was a monk before that date, and could not have been made Bishop until after the imprisonment of Mac Heth. From an entry in Wendover under 1151, 'eodem anno Johannes . . . factus est secundus antistes Monse insulse. Primus autem ibi fuerat episcopas Wimundas . . . sed propter ejus importunitatem privatus fuit oculus et expulsas,' it may be gathered that the career of Wymund was brought to a close at least six years before the liberation of Mac Heth, and the Bishop of Man, who probably enacted his singular vagaries about 1150, may have personated the son, the brother, the nephew, or the real claimant of the Earldom—or even that very claimant 2—but it is impossible to identify him with the
Wymund was sent to gaol as soon as taken, which was not the case. He was, as it were, enlarged on his own recognisances to come up for judgment if called on. He failed to behave properly and his original sentence was confirmed in 1137.
1As Earl of Boss.
2The question here naturally arises whom did Wymund impersonate? We have already seen that Newbridge says that the Bishop pretended to be "a son of the Earl of Moray". Ailred'a words are to a similar effect: " God sent as a foe against him (David) a certain spurious Bishop, who lied, and said he was the Earl of Moray's son ". It will be observed that Ailred makes no mention of Malcolm, the supposed brother of Angus and son of Mac Aoidh, either as an enemy of David or in any other connexion. Consequently Mr. Robertson's conjectures may safely be dismissed as superfluous. Somerled gave Wymund his sister in marriage, either believing that the latter was indeed the rightful heir of Moray, or that his pretensions as such, though spurious, yet would pass muster. Was there ever a legitimate son of Mac Aoidh who bore the name of Malcolm ? I am inclined to think not. The Irish annals simply say (under date 1130) solitary captive in Roxburgh Castle without attributing to one or both ubiquity." With regard to these remarks, it has to be observed in the first place that the Cistercian Monastery of Furness was founded in the year 1124, not in 1134, as stated by Robertson; consequently his assertion that Wymund " could not have been made Bishop (of Man) until after the imprisonment of Mac Heth," loses its point. The discrepancy of ten years between the real date of the foundation of the monastery and the one incorrectly ascribed to it is more than sufficient to cover the period
that a battle was fought between the men of Alban and the men of Moray in which King Angus fell. The Saxon Chronicle says that it was Angus, not Malcolm, as stated by Robertson, who was " all forsworn," and who was killed in battle. Oderio gives the same information, adding that Moray, now deprived of its lord and protector, viz., Angus, fell into the hands of the Scottish King—a remark which he neither could nor should have made had " Malcolm Mac Aoidh " been present at the battle and survived it, as Robertson imagined he did; for on his brother's death he would have at once become "lord and proteotor" of Moray, and in that capacity would have continued the war. It is possible that Mac Aoidh had either a bastard son called Malcolm, or a legitimate son so named who predeoeased his brother Angus. Wymund may have had some grounds in fact on which to erect his pretensions; but it has to be observed that cases in which bold and unscrupulous adventurers of the Wymund type have successfully passed themselves off as the living embodiments of purely imaginary characters are by no means infrequent in history, especially in times of obscurity and confusion and under disputed successions to crowns and other high offices. Wymund himself, since his extraction is obscure, may have been that very bastard. Skene thinks (p. 463) that Wymund designed to pass as a son of Angus, slain 1130, which of course is possible, if we regard the patronymic Mac Heth or Mac Aoidh merely as a kind of surname serving loosely to identify and indicate the olaims of the family to the Moray Mormaership and through it to the throne of Scotland. But in any event, every authority is agreed that Wymund was an impostor, whether connected with the family or not.
of Wymund's novitiate and his later elevation to the bishopric, and to bring this epoch of his adventurous life into chronological harmony with the subsequent events in the impostor's career. With regard to the entry in Wendover, it is obviously inaccurate, unless indeed we are to suppose that the Earl of Ross and the Bishop of Man, being different individuals, yet both committed exactions, and both suffered the loss of their eyes. But even so, the extract in question will not be found on examination to be of very much assistance to our credulity; for it informs us that it was whilst he was Bishop of Man that Wymund was expelled and deprived of his eyesight—a version of his "life-story" which is altogether opposed to the true facts of the case, and need not be further discussed.
By those who are of the opinion of Mr. Robertson and Dr. MacBain, a good deal has been made of the point that both Somerled and the Lochlannach King of the Outer Isles believed that Wymund was no impostor, or rather, that the person who came to them describing himself as Malcolm Mac Heth was indeed a son of the Earl of Moray. They say that Somerled would not have given him his sister in marriage and otherwise showed his confidence in the genuineness of his claims, had he not been perfectly satisfied that the person he was so honouring was truly the individual he represented himself to be. This view, however, strikes me as being more creditable to the hearts of those who support it than it can justly be said to be flattering to their heads. Somerled was an ambitious prince, and no more scrupulous, we may safely assume, than the vast majority of his political contemporaries in whom such a quality as oversensitiveness in respect of conscience was not, to say the least of it, conspicuously to be found. Somerled's position, the result mainly of his own almost superhuman exertions, was necessarily, besides being " new " in the sense of being of recent acquisition, somewhat precarious. He was between two fires, as it were. He had the King of Scotland on the one flank and the King of the Norwegian settlements (whom he had previously worsted in warfare) on the other, neither of whom, we may reasonably conclude, could have regarded his growing power and extending territories with either pleasure or unconcern. An alliance, therefore, with the representative or with one who passed, or, whatever his birth and the quality of his pretensions, was capable of passing as such, of the great Gaelic power of the mainland was an alliance eminently to be courted and favoured. The Moray "Mormaer " would prove a valuable ally, or failing that, a useful diversion; for it is not to be supposed that Somerled's great design of conquering Alba and of seizing the throne of the Ard-Righ for himself had not already taken shape, at all events as regarded its principal features and leading characteristics, in that bold and fertile mind. He, accordingly, received the adventurer with open arms; gave him his benison and his sister in marriage, supplied him with munitions of war and with men, and finally sent him about his business fondly hoping, no doubt, that in the event of his protèg&s falling in battle—no unlikely contingency—or his being despatched by his own followers, in consequence of his tyrannical and overbearing disposition, the reversion of the great Moray Mormaership, together with all its power and influence, might yet fall into his hands.1 To readers of English history the striking parallel presented between the achievements and career of the impostor Wymund, and those respectively of Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck in the reign of Henry VII., will at once be apparent. The resemblance is so striking as to suggest the thought that possibly these two adventurers, or what is more probable, their prompters, aiders and abettors, had this very case of Wymund in mind when, in a later period and in a different country, they were casting about for tools—for means and ways—whereby to accomplish their political ends. Lambert Simnel, the son of a joiner in Oxford, was the first of these adventurers. He impersonated the Earl of Warwick, who, at the time of Simnel's first appearance upon the stage of English history, was a prisoner in the Tower of London, but who, so the pretender and his friends asserted, had previously succeeded in making his escape therefrom. To prevent the English from becoming Simnel's dupes and followers, the ready-witted and astute Henry at once produced the real Earl, paraded him through the streets of the capital, and by these means effectually prevented his subjects from joining the standard of the impostor. Simnel, however, fled to Ireland (just as Wymund had fled to the Isles), where he was kindly received,
1 In some measure, Somerled was successful in securing this important reversion to his own house. He supported the children of Wymund, and on the collapse of the Moray power, the Lords of the Isles stand forth in Scottish history as the great protagonists of the Gaelic race—the original possessors of the soil of this country. With their final forfeiture in the reign of James V. the " Gaelic Tradition " suffered a temporary eclipse. But the " Celtic Benaissance " of our own days, if it means anything at all, means both here and in Ireland the renewal of this struggle, and, let us hope, ultimately, the long-delayed triumph of the Gael.
and his pretensions endorsed for obvious political reasons, if not because his Irish supporters believed in him. Eventually Simnel is taken, and instead of being executed is " bought off" by the gift of a post in the king's kitchen!1 The other adventurer, Perkin Warbeck, plays the same role, with the difference, however, that he pretends to be Richard of York (son to Edward IV.), whose murder is ascribed on what seem good historical grounds, to Richard III. Perkin also goes to Ireland to beat up recruits for his standard, and subsequently visits the Court of James of Scotland, where he is most hospitably received, his pretensions at first declared to be just even by the King himself, and a daughter of one of whose principal noblemen he marries ! Ultimately Warbeck, like Simnel, falls on evil days. He is captured by the King of England and lodged in the Tower, in which, had he not attempted to effect his escape, and thereby forfeited his life, he might yet be living, to end the story in the approved Gaelic fashion. The resemblance between these two cases and that of Wymund need not be further insisted on, in view of what has been stated above, but a nearer examination of their respective details could not but strengthen and confirm, I imagine, the singular impression to which the reader's attention has already been called.
1 The lenient treatment meted out to Wymund is ascribed by Bobertson to the impostor's ecclesiastical character and status which, considering David's and, indeed, all the Ceann Mòr dynasty's reputation for piety and regard for the Church, seems reasonable enough.
(To be continued.)
gaelic arts and crafts
III. APPLIED PRINCIPLES
Mr. Charles Moore in his recently published work on the Character of Renaissance Architecture asserts that there are but three "entirely consistent and distinctive styles "—the Gothic, the Greek and the Byzantine. "All other varieties of architecture may (he says) be broadly divided into two classes, the one consisting of buildings of transitional character, and comprising all organic and progressive types of Romanesque, and the other composed of styles made up of mixed elements now in process of organic fusion." Personally, I am inclined to agree with Mr. Moore, whose uncompromising and strenuous views, however, have perhaps inevitably exposed him to the attacks of a swarm of protesting critics. The popular feeling in regard to styles is undoubtedly one of universal toleration, architects being allowed to borrow from almost any source they fancy, provided the general effect be pleasing to the eye of a too often uncritical, uninformed and undiscriminating public. It is obvious, however, that this blending of styles and periods is open to serious objections and disadvantages from the point of view of art. The temptation to borrow becomes a kind of mania ; the eclectic faculty is too often exercised at the expense of purity and good taste, and with so little of the latter abroad, it is not surprising that architecture in this country, and all over the British Isles, should be at very low ebb. I am inclined to think, therefore, that any attempt to revive Gaelic architecture should proceed in accordance with the principles enunciated, with no uncertain sound, by Mr. Moore. We must have, consequently, not a blend or adaptation of Gaelic architectural forms, but a complete restoration—at all events at first. Obviously, the style itself must be re-established and stereotyped before the modern architect, who, too often, is but the " general builder" in disguise, can be suffered to play fast and loose—to perpetrate his favourite " blends "—with the real and unadulterated article. Buildings, sacred and profane, in which what are called "Celtic features" (sometimes on not very good grounds, I am afraid) have been introduced by the ordinary architects, are springing up amongst us, particularly in Ireland, where " the movement" is more lively and penetrating than, unfortunately, it yet is here in Scotland. Such " features " undoubtedly owe their existence amongst us to the Gaelic Renaissance ; but nevertheless they are not entirely commendable from the point of view of art, however satisfactory they may be as indications of the spread of the Gaelic cult. In too many cases they are but " features " at best. They are mere accessories or assistances to architectural effects whose dominating principles are drawn from the accepted sources of foreign art, and are generally introduced in what cannot but strike the critic as so tentative, experimental, sparing and even timid a fashion that they fail altogether substantially to affect, or even appreciably to modify, the non-Gaelic character of the buildings in which they appear. Moreover, in not a few cases, " features" have been introduced in the genuine belief, no doubt, that such are typically Gaelic; but which, to the discerning eye, are anything but Celtic. This proves, of course, that " the movement" which still is too much in the hands of literary men, politicians, and the non-commercial public generally, has not yet penetrated to all classes—especially to what are called the professional sections - of the community. In short, the Gaelic Revival does not yet " pay" those whose business pursuits are still necessarily concerned with another and an antagonistic, social and artistic system; and until it does embrace the whole Gaelic people, which assuredly it must and will do in no long space of time, we cannot reasonably expect sound Gaelic architecture or architects who have more than a nodding acquaintance with the history and principles of the same. Nowadays, the architect who is required to " build something Gaelic" regards the demand as something more or less in the nature of a freak, as a form of harmless but inconvenient eccentricity for which a little seasonable and facetious expostulation is the best and simplest .cure ; but which, if the worst comes to the worst (and he is obliged to do what his client whimsically demands), he feels competent to meet and satisfactorily dispose of by means of a hurried reference to MacGibbon and Ross, or to some other standard work of the kind. With rare exceptions, our architects have received no Gaelic training whatever, for the obvious and sufficient reason that, as a people, we entirely lack the educational means and machinery necessary to produce Gaelic architects; and unless a man's inclinations lead him to devote some of his not too abundant spare time to the study of Gaelic antiquities (which, of course, does not often happen), there exists absolutely no reason why he should go out of his way, as it were, to acquire a knowledge, which, as far as he can see, can be of no practical use to him, and to steep himself in the traditions of a past touching which he is not only necessarily profoundly ignorant, but to which, perhaps, he is not constitutionally inclined. Owing, unfortunately, to adverse political circumstances, most forms of human activity have passed from us; and if we are to undo the mischiefs of the years that have gone, we must frankly recognise that this is so. The Gaelic people, in this as in other fields, must themselves create the demand, of which the appropriate supply is ever the necessary and inevitable consequence. If they insist, as they have a perfect right to do, and as they must do, if the Gaelic Renaissance is to have the full effect desired by all patriotic and practical men, depend on it, the want of which I speak will soon be supplied. Architects will arise who will make it their business to study Gaelic architecture, and so to qualify themselves to act as builders for the Gaelic people. And when once the demand has been created and public opinion is strong enough amongst us to insist that only Gaels and Gaelic ideas and principles shall be employed, the erection of the educational machinery necessary to produce a recognised school of Gaelic architects will doubtless follow in the natural sequence of events, and in conformity with the simplest of all natural economic laws, namely, that of supply and demand.
For my own part, I am disposed to think that it is not altogether a misfortune that the progress of the Renaissance in the direction indicated by these observations has hitherto been slow, and out of all proportion to the strength and popularity of the movement elsewhere. It should be remembered that no concrete example of Gaelic domestic architecture remains to us, and that therefore this branch of our native art will have to be entirely re-created out of written descriptions of the houses, etc., in which our ancestors lived. The danger, therefore, of introducing "features" which, more often than not on very slender foundations and an entirely inadequate conception of the principles underlying Gaelic architectural art, are confidently declared to be " Celtic," is obvious. The present craze for composite architecture—for those weird and wondrous " blends " in which modern architect and layman alike rejoice—is a very real menace to the cause of pure Gaelic art. It is obvious that if our art forms are again to become popular amongst us, we must have concrete examples—the offspring of genius united to learning and experience—from which to draw our future inspirations. The process of putting the cart before the horse, as it were, of "adapting" and "blending" before ever we have sufficient existing grounds on which to erect that fashion, is fatal to true art. It produces a bastard style—a sort of irregular and undisciplined conglomeration of principles which cannot but be shocking and distasteful to the true believer—to the man or nation of just and nice taste. What we must hope for, therefore, is that as the Renaissance grows stronger and increases its hold alike on our professional classes as on the general public, architects will arise with genius and learning enough fully to appreciate the character of the momentous change which is taking place amongst us, and who will be adequately supported by the public in its corporate as well as in its individual capacity—for this is the most important thing of all—in their efforts to revive and re-establish upon a sufficient and sure foundation the characteristic principles underlying Gaelic architectural art. The nation "in being" is necessarily a self-contained entity. It must not only theoretically possess but actually exercise and control all the resources and accessories of a civilised community. A Renaissance which is merely confined to one branch of art, say, letters, is not a national Renaissance in the true sense of the word. It is merely a spasmodic and irregular effort on the part of a section of the public, which may indeed achieve the partial success aimed at, but which will be powerless to affect, much less to change or alter, the full stream of the national life. Our Gaelic enthusiasts should bear this in mind. They must make the movement as wide and as comprehensive as possible, regarding as valuable aids to their ends all fish that come to their net; and even going out of their way to persuade the very lame and the halt and the blind to partake of the fare which the national cause has provided.
My view is, that ecclesiastical architecture should precede domestic in the coming revival of Gaelic Arts and Crafts. We have undoubtedly firmer ground to go upon in respect of the former than, unfortunately, we have in regard to the latter. Besides, it was ever the temper of the Gael to consult the sacred interests of religion before indulging his love of comfort and display with respect to things mundane. It is but appropriate, too, that the first thoughts of his reawakened national conscience should be directed to the House of God, which in all his past trials and vicissitudes was so often a source of never-failing comfort and pious consolation to him—the place of all places on earth to which his oppressed spirit turned oftenest with the expectation of finding therein that peace and encouragement which the malice and wickedness of his enemies combined to deprive
him of elsewhere. The Gael's House of God should, therefore, I venture to think, be always and everywhere such as educated Gaelic opinion and piety should require, which his ancestors before him required, and the structural features of which the saints and scholars and the master-builders who preceded us have left on record. We cannot alter, much less demolish, of course, with a view to this end, our existing churches and cathedrals; but this at least we can and must do, if the Renaissance is to become that comprehensive and penetrating force which is essential to its unqualified success, namely, take care that for the future we eschew foreign models, and so build our churches and cathedrals that they may not only afford him an appropriate setting for his orisons, but be sources of inspiration to the Gael, as well as practical reminders of that piety, taste, genius and skill for which his ancestors were remarkable among the peoples of the earth.
There is no valid reason, however, why public bodies, individuals and societies should not also assist in this good and most necessary work. With regard to private houses, what is known as the Scots baronial style is still popular amongst us, though in too many cases but a bastard imitation of the true style is the result of the modern architect's well-meaning though misguided efforts to " modernise" the grand old models of the past, in which Scotland is so peculiarly rich. I have already shown that this style is fundamentally Celtic; and but little alteration in its leading and characteristic features would be required in order to make it purely Gaelic. This style of architecture is well fitted for large buildings of all kinds, private mansions, town halls, public offices, hotels and the like, which is abundantly proved by the number of such buildings now in our midst or in course of erection, in which some of the elements of this grand and beautiful style have been introduced. But little pressure, therefore, should be required on the part of the Renaissance in order to bring this style into full harmony with the principles underlying true Gaelic art, and so to create and establish a taste for native architecture. Our civic fathers, indeed the whole lay public, official as well as private, have a not less grave responsibility to discharge in this respect than has the ecclesiastical body itself, whose present opportunities I have already referred to. Both should see to it that they take suitable and adequate account of the Gaelic movement; nor should the Gaelic public relax in their efforts to bring their responsible heads into line with the movement, as well on this particular point of Gaelic architecture as on all others that embrace and concern and control the national life. In this way only can the Renaissance be justified of its principles, supporters and founders. Those whom it is necessary to teach must be persuaded that our movement is not for a few, but for all; that it is not to be confined to any particular branch of human activity, but that it aims to be as comprehensive as it needs must be general if it is to have enduring results. The public must be instructed to the effect that no partial success is intended by us; but that the flag will be kept flying until every citadel, every strength, nay even every temporary obstacle or barricade now in the hands of strangers has been captured and reduced, and the whole land and all its appurtenances restored to their original possessors, the Gaelic race. The deplorable state of art in England should operate to fire our own
people with the determination not to rest until they have completely revived our country's former pre-eminence as the western home of arts and crafts. The glorious past has left Scotland and Ireland rich in artistic resources, and it requires but colonisation anew in order to render this fair country at once prosperous and beautiful again. We have the means and the brains to repair the ravages of the past: let us not, therefore, lack the spirit and the determination necessary to the reconstruction of our national life. Let it not be said of us of the grand and venerable Gaelic race as was recently remarked by an eminent Englishman, Mr. Arthur Symons, of his own countrymen, in the following at once striking and melancholy passage :—
" What seems to be made evident by his exhibition (the Arts and Crafts) is that there is at present in England no instinctive feeling for decoration, for construction, or for any form of craftsmanship. We have only to go into an old-furniture shop to see how well English workmen could once make chairs and tables and cupboards, things which they can no longer make well unless they copy them from old models. We have only to cross Europe in the Orient express, and as we get nearer and nearer to the East, to look out of the carriage windows at every little station, and we shall see the peasants bringing their embroideries for sale, native industries still alive and effective. What the Servian peasants can do, we with our Art schools cannot do, it seems. Just as we have no architecture, so we have no craftsmanship. Painting is cultivated as an art, an exotic thing, a toy for rich people; but the arts that must arise, if they arise at all, out of the need of beauty in daily life, the arts of architecture and of handicraft, have either died out of our midst, or survive, like the large and small trinkets of the Arts and Crafts, for a mockery and a warning."
G. L. gaelic orthography
From time to time the subject of spelling reform flutters the scholastic dovecots of the Gael, and the throne of the grammatical Baal, which passes amongst us by the name of Leathan ri Leathan agus Caol ri Caol (and to which we all bow the knee), is contumaciously assailed. Prophets, too, arise, who denounce the " vagabond h " as a thing wholly superfluous and, grammatically, unclean ; and critics of more daring disposition, and with even less reverence for the hallowed mysteries of the past, boldly affirm that the last hope of the Gael consists in reducing his language to a cut-and-dried system of phonetics. Then, as such outbursts here, as elsewhere, have a knack of doing, the storm subsides ; the " reformers" (a gallant but somewhat irresponsible band) withdraw car tamuill, and Baal—not a whit the worse for his shaking—resumes his despotic and unconscionable sway.
Such, in brief, is a tolerable description of the various attempts that have hitherto been made to " reform " the Gaelic language—to bring it " up-to-date," as our moderns would say. Time was when " reform" was thought to lie in the direction of our adopting the same character as our kinsmen across the Moyle now use; but that " movement," never a plant remarkable for its vigour, soon lan-
guished, and now is, we think, fortunately, past all praying for. Next came the unknowledgeable critics. —occasional dead-sea fruit for the most part—pedants who had not Gaelic almost to a man, and the constant burden of whose querulous and uninformed refrain was "the Gaelic must die the death," because, forsooth, our language admits such reasonable compounds as bàta-smùid, slighe-iaruinn, and so forth. These captious critics were easily routed and dispersed. They were politely referred to their own language, which abounds in such compounds; and soon the place wherein they had flourished (generally the correspondence columns of Saxon newspapers) knew them no more.
But Baal, in the three-fold shape of the grammatical rule known as Leathan ri Leathan agus Caol ri Caol, the superfluous or " vagabond h " and verbal redundancies, is still in danger from time to time of having his gilded serenity somewhat unceremoniously disturbed by the stones of some grammatical iconoclast more daring and aggressive than the rest. His cult, indeed, if universally admitted, is not everywhere popular. There is a growing feeling abroad that his " benevolent despotism " tends to degenerate into absolute tyranny, and that his influence on our language is not for the best, since it operates—so it is asserted—to discourage its development. We propose, therefore, to bring the tyrant to task—at all events to make him give some sort of account of his. stewardship. The wholesome Gaelic plan was ever summarily to expel our kings and chiefs if unworthy of confidence. We promise to do our best to dislodge Baal and to send him about his appropriate business if on inquiry we find that his-presence amongst us constitutes a danger and a nuisance—if, on weighing him in the scales, we discover that he is flagrantly wanting.
Let us investigate the charge touching that "vagabond h". It is asserted (1) that students and others are apt to be discouraged by the extraordinary number of h's which a Gaelic sentence or passage of average length generally contains; (2) that there is no reasonable use or excuse for these h's since many of them are merely signs of aspiration —which sign could more easily and conveniently be indicated by a dot above the aspirated letter— whilst numbers possess no signification at all; and (3) that the written appearance of the language would be greatly improved by the elimination of the offending consonant wherever practicable.
Whilst discussion of the last head was more or less "raging" we wonder that it appears not yet to have occurred to any one concerned to put the matter to a practical test by the simple device of comparing an orthodox passage of Gaelic with one from which the alleged objectionable h has been politely expelled and his place usurped by the Irish dot. The following passage, selected at random from Caraid nan Gàidheal, will serve our purpose in making this suggested comparison :—
" Tha fhios aig daoine gur e aon de na laghannan sin ris an abair sinn lagh Nàduir air a shuidheachadh le Dia, ma ghiùlainear uisge ann am piob o'n tobar a's àirde ann am beinn, a sios troimh mhachraichean, agus troimh ghlinn, gu'n èirich e suas gu àirde na màthar-uisge as an d'thainig e. Nan tugtadh uisge ann am piob o mhullach Beinn Nibheis a suas o dhùthaich gu duthaich gus an ruigeadh e mach-raichean Shasuinn, 's nam biodh e comasach a'phiob
sin a thogail ceithir mile troidh ('s e sin àirde na beinne), dh'èireadh an t-uisge direach cho àrd anns a'phiob; ach na b'àirde na 'm fuaran o'n robh e 'teachd, cha'n direadh. Tha so air mhodh àraidh fior a thaobh uisgeachan na h-aibhne sin air am bheil sin a'labhairt—an abhuinn sin a tha 'deanamh cathair Dhè ro ait."
The same passage minus the " vagabond h " :— "Ta fios aig daoine gur e aon de na lagannan sin ris an abair sinn lag Nàduir air a suideacad le Dia, ma giùlainear uisge ann am piob o'n tobar a's àirde ann am beinn, a sios troimh macraicean agus troim glinn gu'n èirich e suas gu àirde na matar-uisge as an d'tainig e. Nan tugtad uisge ann am piob o mullac Beinn Nibeis a suas o dutaic gu dutaic gus an ruigead e macraicean Sasuinn, 's nam biod e comasac a'piob sin a togail ceiteir mile troid ('s e sin àirde na beinne) d'èiread an t-uisge direac co àrd anns a' piob; ach na b'àirde na 'm fuaran o'n rob e 'teac ca'n eiread. Ta so air mod àraid fior a taob uisgeacan na h-aibne sin air am beil sin a'labairt- an abuinn sin ta 'deanam catair Dè ro ait."
Does the latter rendering represent any substantial improvement on the former so far as appearance is concerned? That is the question for all of us to consider. For our own parts we are rather inclined to doubt it. The process of " dotting the i's " so frequently and in so generous a fashion, of retracing one's steps, as it were, to supply so many omissions, is laborious in the extreme ; and though the process tends to become less irksome
as the hand and eye acquire the necessary facility (the result of practice), yet it seems to us that the trouble and labour involved in stopping the pen to dot so many letters are not discounted by the enhanced appearance of the text, at all events in so high a degree as would, were it otherwise, inevitably incline us in favour of the suggested "reform". The A-less advocates base their case on two grounds. They say the substitution of the dot would improve the appearance of the written language and that it would "simplify matters for the beginner". They also seem to think that it would facilitate the writing of the language. With regard to the last contention our recent experience points to an opposite conclusion. The man who is in a hurry (and who is not nowadays ?) and who desires to write (literally) currente calamo is not likely to relish the being obliged to recover his ground, as it were, so frequently and in so lavish a manner in order to promote a very doubtful aesthetic improvement, and to facilitate the efforts of learners of Gaelic. Nor do we think that the suggested reform is to be recommended in the interests of students themselves. After all, aspiration, whether by dot or the usual sign of aspiration, is a very simple matter once it is acquired ; and dot and h are on common ground in so far as the mysteries of aspiration must be necessarily acquired by any one desiring to write or speak the language with facility, elegance and correctness. To those who know not Gaelic the written or printed appearance of the language may seem odd, owing, no doubt, in great measure to the frequent occurrence of the letter h in the Gaelic printed page or MS., but this charge of strangeness—of unfamiliarity—lies at the door of every other language so far as appearance is concerned. To those who do not know strange tongues they necessarily appear as " Greek," whether the characters in which they are written or printed be Latin or not. On the whole, therefore, we are inclined to regard the charge against our Baal as not proven with regard to this particular point of the indictment. We are, however, by no means wedded to this opinion, being in the happy disposition to change our minds on this or any other conceivable topic, provided, of course, we are offered good reasons for doing so.
With regard to the rule Leathan ri Leathan agus Caol ri Caol, we, at all events, regard it as singular, inasmuch as, unlike the rest of its tyrannical kind, it admits of no exceptions. Surely that must be a phenomenal rule which never is violated! And on the principle that perfection is rare, if not impossible, we suspect it. It has been said that this rule was "forced on us" by Ireland. If this be so, all we can say is that the rule itself must be a comparatively recent invention or evolution as neither the Book of Deer nor The Book of Armagh support it. We agree with Prof. Mackinnon in his remarks on this subject.1 He says : " The orthographical law now so rigidly adhered to was of old frequently disregarded where there was no phonetic principle to warrant its application; and I am inclined to think that the reason for its universal adoption in middle Irish was that the grammarians of the day mistook a phonetic law of wide but not unlimited application for a purely mechanical rule". Its value, viewed aesthetically and from the coign of vantage of the written or
1 Transactions of Gaelic Society of Inverness, article " The Fernaig MS.," vol. xi.
printed page, seems more than doubtful; but whilst protesting strongly against the abuse of this rule we wish to be understood as being no less firmly opposed to any system of pure phonetics. As Prof. Mackinnon justly observes : " The Welsh dialects and Manx are written phonetically, whilst Irish and Gaelic adhere more to the etymological system. The one system represents, more or less accurately, the pronunciation of the day; the other preserves the form of the word. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages, and I need hardly say that each system is only partially carried out. No language is written on a purely phonetic system; no language can be so, for no people pronounce alike; while, on the other hand, the basis of the orthography of all languages is phonetic, and no change in the pronunciation, however great, is able entirely to obliterate the evidence of the fact."1 Hear, also, what the late Dr. Stewart2 has observed on this subject: "A third principle in orthography is that no more letters ought to be employed than are necessary to represent the sound. There are probably few polished languages in which departures from this rule are not found in abundance. . . . Quiescent letters, both vowels and consonants, are not infrequent in Gaelic. Though these quiescent letters have no sound themselves they are not always without effect in pronunciation as they often determine the sound of other letters." Dr. Stewart, however, cannot be quoted as an uncompromising supporter of the rule in question, and with many of his observations on this head we are bound to agree. For instance, there is no
1Transactions of Gaelic Society of Inverness, article "The Fernaig MS.," vol. xi.
2Elements of Gaelic Grammar.
valid reason, as he truly says, why such words as abuich, gabhaidh, chromainn, should not be written abich, gabhidh, chrominn, which latter forms " fully exhibit the sound ". We agree. " Nothing," as he justly observes, " but a servile regard to the rule under consideration could have suggested the insertion of a broad vowel . . . where it serves neither to guide the pronunciation nor to point out the derivation." The views of Dr. Stewart are so luminously expressed and carry so much weight where learning, united to common-sense, are most appreciated that we feel that we cannot do better than reproduce his observations in extenso, more especially as our own opinions on the same subject are precisely those of this able and accomplished grammarian. "Another case," says Dr. Stewart, "in which the observation of this rule seems to be wholly unnecessary is when two syllables of a word are separated by a quiescent consonant. Thus in gleidheadh, itheadh, buidheann, dligheadh, the aspirated consonants in the middle are altogether quiescent. The vocal sound of the second syllable is sufficiently expressed by the last vowel. No good reason, then, appears for writing a small vowel in the second syllable. Thus far it is evident that the rule respecting the correspondence of vowels is wholly impertinent in the case of syllables divided by labials or by quiescent consonants. If we examine further into the application of this rule we shall find more cases in which it may safely be set aside. Many of the inflections of nouns and verbs are formed by adding one or more syllables to the root. The final consonant of the root must always be considered as belonging to the radical part, not to the adjected termination. The sound of that consonant, whether broad or
small, falls to be determined by the quality of the vowel which precedes it in the same syllable, not by the quality of that which follows it in the next syllable. It seems, therefore, unnecessary to employ any more vowels in the adjected syllable than what are sufficient to represent its own vocal sound. The rule under consideration has, notwithstanding, been extended to the orthography of the oblique cases and tenses, and a supernumerary vowel has been thrown into the termination whenever that was requisite to preserve the supposed necessary correspondence with the foregoing syllable. Thus, in forming the nominative and dative plural of many nouns, the syllables an and ibh are added to the singular, which letters fully express the true sound of these terminations. If the last vowel of the nominative singular is broad an alone is added for the nominative plural, as lamh-aw, cluas-am. But if the last vowel be small an e is thrown into the termination, as sùil-ean, sròin-ean. Now, if it be observed that in the last two examples the small sound of the I and n in the root is determined by the preceding small vowel i, with which they are necessarily connected in one syllable, and that the letters an fully represent the sound of the termination, it must be evident that the e in the final syllable is altogether superfluous.
" So, in forming the dative plural, if the last word of the root be small ibh is added, as shil-ibh, sròin-ibh. But if the last word of the root is broad, the termination is written aibh, as lamh-aiM, cluas-a, for the reason already assigned, is totally useless. These observations apply with equal justness to the tenses of verbs, as will be seen by comparing the following examples: creid-idh, stad- stad-am, creid-ibh, stad-aibh. The same observations may be further applied to derivative words, formed by adding to their primitives the syllables ach, achd, ag, an, ail, as; in all which e has been unnecessarily introduced when the last vowel of the preceding syllable was small, as sannt-ach, toileach, naomh-achd, doimhneachd, sruth-an, cuilean, cauch-ag, caileag, fear-ail, cairdeil, ceart-as, cairdeas.
" The foregoing observations appear sufficient to establish this general conclusion, that in all cases in which a vowel serves neither to exhibit the vocal sound, nor to modify the articulations of the syllable to which it belongs, it may be reckoned nothing better than an useless incumbrance. There seems, therefore, much room for simplifying the present system of Gaelic orthography by the rejection of a considerable number of quiescent vowels."
Some of our root-and-branch reformers boldly advocate the suppression of all quiescent consonants ; and though by this means some improvement might be effected in the appearance of the written language, yet it is doubtful if on the whole the change in question is entirely to be recommended. We hold that it would be highly undesirable to reduce Gaelic to the position of a system of cut-and-dried phonetics; and we know by experience how difficult it is to stay the axe once it has been laid to the tree, and how strong is the temptation to continue pruning long after the operation has ceased to be either healthful or sightly. Dr. Stewart's scholarly caution and moderation are nowhere more effectually exhibited than in connection with this subject. He says: " Almost the only quiescent consonants which occur in Gaelic are d, f, g, s, t in their aspirated state.
When these occur in the inflections of declinable words, serving to indicate the root, or in derivatives, serving to point out the primitive word, the omission of them might on the whole be unadvisable. Even when such letters appear in their absolute form, though they have been laid aside in pronunciation, yet it would be rash to discard them in writing, as they often serve to show the affinity of the words in which they are found to others in different languages or in different Celtic dialects. The aspirated form of the consonant in writing sufficiently shows that, in speaking, its articulation is either attenuated or wholly suppressed."
The subject of Gaelic orthography is also exercising the minds of our Irish kinsmen. In a recent number of Irisleabhar na Gaedhilge, Eoin Mac Neil! condemns the rule known as Leathan ri Leathan agus Caol ri Caol, whose arbitrary proceedings are as disagreeable to him as they were to his distinguished countrymen, O'Brien and Vallancey. Our sympathies, however, which certainly are so far with him, do not go the length of approving the phonetic system, which his observations lead us to believe that he contemplates. It may be true, as a critic in the Northern Chronicle recently asserted, that Gaelic is " disfigured by heaps of dead letters " —from the point of view, of course, of the literary and commercial man. We think, too, that if grammarians have a fault it is that they are inclined to attribute too much importance to the purely etymological aspect of languages ; but for reasons plainly and intelligently discovered by the late Dr. Stewart, and most temperately and learnedly urged by him, we hold that it would be a mistake to allow our "whole-hoggers " to have it all their own way. With certain other suggested reforms we take this
opportunity to say that we are entirely in sympathy. There is no reason, for example, why the preposition ann should be written double, as it often is, for no intelligible reason apparently, viz., ann an eòlas, etc. As Dr. Cameron Gillies justly observes in his Elements of Gaelic Grammar, "this seems to be writing the preposition not only double but even triple, for the double n of ann seems to be already a repetition; so that ann an is not unlike what is sometimes heard in English, ' he took it off of me'".
It is obvious, however, that unless there is a common agreement to effect these and other, no doubt, desirable reforms, Gaelic will continue to be written in accordance with the grammatical rules presently governing its literary construction. The written form of the language is now stereotyped, and every day that goes by without some organised effort being made on the part of the nation to give practical effect to reforms which have long been advocated by private individuals, tends to increase the difficulties in the way of attempting any possible improvement. It would be useless for us, as we hold it would be useless for any other publication, to set the ball a-rolling. What is required is a general agreement touching the reforms which are not only desirable but practicable, and a loyal and general acceptance of such changes as, on full investigation, shall be found to be expedient. For our own parts, we have done our best to discover our views with as little of prejudice as possible. It seems to us that Leathan ri Leathan agus Caol ri Caol is chief culprit; but we are quite prepared to discard the "vagabond h," to embrace the dot and even to assist in the slaughter of the aspirated innocents, if the consensus of educated Gaelic opinion points in that direction.
Some Moray Place Names85
Surely the Parliament of the Gael, the Mòd, which is (or should be) our Academy of Letters, as well as our social and political senate, is the tribunal best qualified to deal authoritatively and finally with these questions ? some moray place namesThe science of etymology is one of the most difficult and one of the most fascinating branches of polite learning. No science is more deceptive. The average place-name is a kind of Bodach an loin or Will-o'-the-Wisp, which the unwary and insufficiently equipped hunter no sooner imagines that he has at last laid firm hold on but it disappears in the surrounding mists of antiquity; or having cunningly tempted him from well-beaten paths and familiar ways, finally deserts him, leaving his victim to flounder out as best he may from the morasses and quagmires into which his incaution, and the impetuosity of the chase, have indiscreetly conducted him.
To the Gael of Scotland this is naturally a most interesting and attractive branch of learning. Our place-names are everywhere, showing what we once were, and indicating the ground which, if we are to resume our historical role of " predominant partner" in our own Scotland, must be recovered. There is no part of Alba where our place-names do not abound. The land to which we gave our name was ours, and the length, breadth and fulness thereof. A Celtic race is the appropriate possessor of Celtic soil, and so our ancestors thought. They
1 The Place Names of Elginshire, by Donald Matheson. iEneas Maokay, Stirling, 1905.
86Some Moray Place Names
Some Moray Place Names87
stamped with the indelible die of their language the mountains, rivers and glens which surround us. Hill answers to hill, mountain to mountain, and stream to stream, not in the common-place tongue of the shop-keeping nation, but in the romantic language of the Gael. It is but appropriate, therefore, in these regenerated days of " Renaissance," when the mind and heart of every true Gael is being re-born within him, that scholars should arise to interpret to us these place-names—to cleanse them of the corrupt accumulations of the years that have gone, and to bring this sadly debased and grievously depreciated coinage into respectable currency again.
But we must be careful. Every Gaelic speaker is not necessarily an etymologist. Neither is every one who has leisure, a copy of Dr. MacBain's admirable Dictionary, and a taste for antiquarian pursuits, a fit and proper person to go down in books as a dealer in the science of words—that perhaps most elusive and difficult of all branches of knowledge. We utter this caution advisedly; but not, regarding the work presently before us, of malice aforethought. We have heard Gaelic speakers questioned by foreigners as to the meaning and derivation of this or that place-name, and who, not being etymologists, have blundered most lamentably in their interpretations. On the other hand, we regard what is called a " good working acquaintance " with our language as an indispensable preliminary to the successful prosecution of etymological studies in this country. Obviously, a man should know well the grammar of a language before he proceeds to discuss its roots, its affinities, or its place-names. We hold, too, that he should be able to read, write and speak that language with tolerable facility before he sets up as an etymologist. He should als'o know, of course, the geography, physical characteristics and the history of the country whose intimate concerns he is ambitious to treat of. These things being granted, or rather thoroughly acquired, the budding etymologist may go to school again; and if he is diligent, persevering, painstaking and modest, his debut as an etymologist seven years afterwards may not be a failure.
With regard to the work before us, we regret to find that Mr. Matheson has not apparently fulfilled our preliminary condition. He does not know Gaelic as we hold he should know it; and we are inclined to doubt his history. It may seem an unkind thing to say of a man who has already published a book (and so admirably " got up" a book); but we suspect his credentials, and would counsel his withdrawal until at least he has found time to give some much-needed revision to his text. Far be it from us, however, to seek to wish to extinguish this promising northern light. Some of Mr. Matheson's work is good " preliminary canter ". He has courage too, though to be sure that is a quality which the man reckless is too apt to affect; and he possesses what artists call "insight" in no ordinary measure. Undoubtedly he has the constituents of the makings of an etymologist within him—at some future date which out of consideration for the feelings of our author we forbear from specifying—but will he allow the matured and cultivated genius to come out ? That is the question which Mr. Matheson must seriously consider, in the interests alike of his own reputation as author and future etymologist as of the public, which is craving for bread, but will not, and cannot, relish a diet of half-baked flour and stones.
The Isle ofWings
The Isle ofWings
the isle of wingsAn t-Eilean Sgiathanach has been more fortunate in its bards—a numerous and tuneful band— than in its historians and prose-writers. This latter " department" of Gaelic letters is a field perennially neglected by us; and to be obliged to fall back on sober English writers for written accounts of that charming isle, or of any other spot or place peculiarly Gaelic, seems both unseasonable and unappropriate. Skye, indeed, lives celebrated in deathless Gaelic song; and some may urge that the prose may safely be left to common-place English, which, as a medium for all that the ubiquitous "tripper" requires, in the fewest words, and at the shortest possible notice, is all-sufficient. This view is plausible, though hardly patriotic. The history, nay, any account of the Misty Isle which is ambitious to do substantial justice to that engaging subject, should be written in Gaelic—the language of its natives, and the language of its history and antiquities. To know the shortest cut to the steamboat pier, the style of architecture affected by the town hall or pump, the quality and brand of whisky purveyed at this or that wayside change-house—these, though useful informations to the commis voyageur orfear turuis, are not soul-sufficing. The Gael, at all events, requires something more and better. We look for song and story in the language of our race; for something of that delightful blend of prose and poesy, if we may make the suggestion, in which the Gaelic mediaeval
1 The Misty Isle of Skye, by J. A. MacCulloch. Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier, Edinburgh and London.
writers excelled. Our literature is almost too rich in song. We seem to have cultivated the bardic art and faculty almost at the entire expense of prose. And this is scarce a healthy sign. We live, alas! in mundane times—in days of briefest prose. More often than not we are summoned to a dinner or to a rout by " wire"; whilst those whose pleasures or negotiations reside in crowded cities parley with their friends the enemy in the gate of festivity, or drive their hurried bargains by dint of "'phone". And Gaelic must needs take notice of this change—not slavishly, and as one whose guiding maxim is "All things to all men," and one beyond, and " better " ; but reasonably, intelligently, and in sober measure. The field of Gaelic prose--history, sociology, antiquities and so forth—is indeed yellow to the eye; but as yet the. native harvesters are few and far between.
Such as it is, however, and as far as it goes, this English account of Skye is worthy of praise. It is a kind of cross between a guide-book and a more ambitious performance. Friend gossip has his garrulous say, of course; but his revelations are offensive neither as to style nor matter. Indeed, Mr. MacCulloch, as he well may be, is obviously in love with his theme; and writes as one having a due sense of its beauties, and not as the scribes at so much per page, to say nothing of the hour. "Eilean a'cheò," he says, "has been my home for nearly eight years. Each year I have come to love it better "—and so hence this effort. If eight years' acquaintance with Skye have done so much for Mr. MacCulloch, surely some of the natives might have been moved to do a little more ? Their silence, so far as Gaelic prose is concerned, strikes us as hardly creditable.
The Isle of Wings
/ Choluim Chille
Mr. MacCulloch's chapter on the "Historical and Literary Associations " of Skye, the last in' his book, and to which we turned first, is perhaps necessarily brief; but we have no reason to question its substantial accuracy, much less to find fault with the very sympathetic vein in which it is conceived. We notice in passing a slip or two. " Ferchar Maclntaggart" was certainly not first Earl of Ross, though no doubt first Earl of line. And it is a mistake, and confusing too, to speak of Celts and Scots as being of different race. Neither is there any good reason why Somerled's ambitions should be so cautiously referred to. He certainly did plot to overthrow the Ard-Righ; and it is a thousand pities that he did not succeed. His policy in Moray showed his hand as plain as the proverbial pike-staff; and on the suppression of that powerful Mormaership— if ever it really was one—his house succeeded to the Moray power and, what is more, took up the Moray tradition. The Donald (of the Isles) who fought and lost the battle of Harlaw invaded Alba in quest of a kingdom, and as the representative of the Gaelic tradition, though it may serve our turn to deny it, and to limit his just ambitions to the Earldom of Ross. Still, if the " Celtic Renaissance" is to have any "gumption" about it, it must set to work to recover all this, lost ground, otherwise the movement will lack what is essential to all national agitations, namelyi harmony and a definite object. " In him (Somerled) we see the saviour of the Celts (why not Gaels ?) from foreign domination; and his traditional scheme of making himself master of broad Scotland, mythical though it may be, shows what the Celts believed of him, and animated his later descendants in their hostility to the Scottish kings." These ideas niight be better expressed; but Mr. MacCulloch's nutshell history is here straight and much to the point.
We have left ourselves but little space in which to glance at sonìe of Mr. MacCulloch's other chapters. Those on " Folk-lore " and the " Crofting System " are probably the best. Our author too is evidently a keen and sympathetic admirer of nature, and his descriptions of the mountains of Skye should be read with profit and pleasure not only by those to whom a hill is merely something to "go up," with a view to accelerating digestion, dissipating an idle day or two or breaking a record, but by those who love "the eternal hills" for their own sakes, and for what they really are, namely, the most beautiful and the most mysterious of all the marvellous manifestations of God's wonderful handiwork. We cordially recommend this book as being the work of a writer who is not only in full sympathy with his theme but has been at evident pains to make himself informed. We should have liked, however, a chapter on the Bards of Skye, and regard its omission as little short of singular.
i' choluim chille
Is tiamhaidh, muladach, na smaointean a dhùisgear anns an inntinn an uair a ghluaisear tre làraichean aosmhor I Choluim Chille. Is firinneach a labhair esan aig an robh cridhe gu so a thuigsinn, agus cainnt a bu shnasmhoire gu 'chur an cèill. " Bha sinn a nis (deir an t-Ollamh Sasunnach) 'n ar
/ Choluim Chille
/ Choluim Chille
seasamh air an Eilean ainmeil sin a 'b àrd lòchran, fad linntean do Ghàidhealtachd na h-Alba, as an d'fhuair cinnich fhiadhaich, agus ceathairne bhorba sochairean eòlais, agus beannachdan na saorsa. Cha bu chomasach, ged a dh'fheuchtadh ris, an inntinn a thogail o na smaointean a dhùisg an t-àite so, agus b'amaideach an oidhirp, ged a bhiodh e comasach. Ge b'e ni a thàirngeas sinn air falbh o chumhachd ar ceud-fàithean; ge b'e ni a bheir do na shiubhail o chian, no do na tha fathast ri tachairt, làmh-an-uachdar air na tha làthair, tha so ag àrdachadh ar n-inbhe mar bhithean tuigseach. Gu ma fada uam-sa, agus o m'chàirdean an fheallsanachd reòta sin a dh'aomadh mi gu gluasad gu caoin-shuarach, eutrom, thar aon ait' a dh'fhàgadh urramaichte le gliosas, le fearalas, no le maise. Cha chulaidh fharmaid an duine sin nach moth-aicheadh a ghràdh d'a dhùthaich air a neartachadh air blàr-catha Mharatoin, no a chràbhadh a blàthachadh 'am measg làraichean briste I Choluim Chille."
Cò esan a bha riamh's an àite so, agus aig an robh cridhe, nach do mhothaich so ? Tha a' chuid a's mò de na leacan a nis gu dearbh air am f olach fo 'n ùir ; ach tha gu leòir fhathast r'am faicinn gu gliocas a tharraing uatha. Chi sinn an oidhirp a daoin' uaibhreach gus an ainm a chumail air chuimhne ; ach mo thruaighe ! cha 'n i 'n eachdraidh a tha air a gearradh air leac-lighe a chois-neas an cliù nach tèid as, no a dh'fhàgas an t-ainm neo-bhàsmhor—'s iad na h-ionracain a mhàin 'S e so a choisneas an cliù nach searg. Cha 'n 'eil gach cuimhne thalmhaidh ach gèarr. Bithidh gach teangadh a luaidheas ar cliù ann an latha no dhà balbh. Na lithrichean a tha air an gearradh air a' chloich a's buaine, no air a deargadh le peann iarainn air a' chreig a's maireannaiche, ann an linn no dhà cha bhi ann an comas nan sùl a's gèire a leughadh. Tuitidh an leac 'n a smùr, agus fàil-nichidh a' chreag fèin; ach cliù agus ainm nan Naomh a chaoidh cha chaochail.
'N an luidhe's a' chladh so, 's cinnteach mi gu'm bheil iomadh aon a bha suarach m'a chèile fhad's a bha iad beò—seadh, a' co-stri, 's a' cath an aghaidh a chèile—cinn-fheadhna threuna, le 'n ceatharnaich ghaisgeil, a sheas air an aon bhlàr-catha, agus, theagamh, a thuit le claidheamh nan ceart daoine 'tha 'nis 'n an luidhe 's an ùir r'an taobh. "'S i so gu deimhin," thubhairt mi, " Tir na di-chuimhne, far nach 'eil othail no stri." Ma bha leapaichean na h-uaighe riamh tosdach, sàmhach, 's ann an uaigneas fàsail I Choluim Chille.
Bho cheann iomadh linn bha 'n t-Eilean ainmeil so, far an robh a' cho-lion duine naomh agus diadhair urramaichte, agus a cho-pàirtich solus an t-Soisgeil do dhùthchaibh agus do rioghachdaibh eile, air 'fhàgail e fhèin gun eaglais, gun fhear-teagaisg suidhichte, no aoradh follaiseach, ged a tha àireamh mòr sluaigh a chòmhnuidh ann.1 Bu chianail an t-atharrachadh so do I, agus bu neo-chliùiteach e r'a aithris ; ach tha linn a's feàrr a' teachd mu'n cuairt. Tha e air innseadh gu'n dubhairt Colum Cille, tamull beag mu'n do chaochail e :—
1 Chaidh so a sgriobhadh's a' bhliadhna 1828.
94I Choluim Chille
"Imo chridhe, I mo ghràidh 'An ait' guth Manaich bi'dh geum bà ; Ach mu'n tig an saogh'l gu crich Bi'dh I mar a bha ".
Thàinig a' cheud chuid de'n fhàidheadaireachd gu h-eagnaidh mu'n cuairt; ach cò dhiù a bhios i gu bràth cho urramaichte 's bha i, tha e decair a ràdh. Ann an iomadh atharrachadh an t-saoghail chaochlaidich so, cò 's urrainn 'innseadh ciod a dh'fhaodas tachairt?
Mar so labhair an duine còir ainmeil sin d'am b'ainm Tormaid Mac Leoid, a chaochail anns na bhliadhnaichean a dh'fhalbh. Ach ged a bha e 'cur an fhàidheadaireach le Colum Cille an teagamh, cha'n ann mar sin a tha sinn fèin (a tha 'n ar Caitliceaich), a' ghabhail rithe. Cha'n eil teagamh againn nach 'eil miannach le Dia staid agus cor Eaglais naomh Chaitliceach na h-Alba—an aon Eaglais fhior a th'ann's an àm so, air aghaidh na dùthcha. Bha Eaglais na h-Alba da rireadh air an àm ud ann an deuchainn mhòir, agus fo gheur-leanmhuinn eagalaich—fo àmhghair theintich anns an dùthaich; gidheadh, cha robh i air a sgrios, do bhrigh gu'n robh Dia agus a Naoimh maille rithe, agus 'n a meadhon. Agus na rinn e air son 'Eaglais, ni e air son 'Eaglais a rìs, mar a gheall Colum Cille gu soilleir dhuinn. Cuin a bha Eaglais Chaitliceach riamh ann an teinn, no ann an àmhghar nach robh Esan 'n a meadhon gu a dion ? Is minic a bha 'n Eaglais mar phreas a' lasadh agus a rèir coslais an impis a bhi air a losgadh as— gidheadh bha ar Tighearna Beannaichte agus a Mhathair Naomh gun smal maille rithe. Ri na linntean a dh'fhalbh, bha mile an deigh mhile air an tearnadh nach " lùbadh an glùn do Bhàal," agus
/ Choluim Chille
cha robh na h-amannan sin ann's nach robh còrr dhuine dileas chum Creidimh agus dùthaich, agus diadhaidh, r'a fhaotainn an Alba. Anns na làithibh dorch' an 6^ Righ Seumas, an uair a bu mhulad-aiche cor na n-Alba—'nuair a bha sinn ann am braighdeanas, mar gu'm b'ann, cho cruaidh 's gu'n do chroch sinn ar clàrsaichean air na geugaibh seilich, 's nach dùraicheadh sinn leis a' mhulad aon de laoidhean Shioin a sheinn—an uair nach robh cothrom againn Aifrionn Naomh Choluim Chille 'èisdeach—cha do sgriosadh Eaglais Chaitliceach na h-Alba. Bha'm preas fada fada r'a theine; ach fada mar bha e, cha thrèig Dia agus a Naoimh-san e. Dh'èirich Eaglais na h-Alba as an luaithre theintich. Thogadh na eaglaisean a rìs, oir cha do loisgeadh am preas. O'n àm sin a nuas gu linn an 4mh Righ Uilleam, bha cogadh is co-stri gun fhios, gun tàmh an aghaidh na firinn ; ach cha do bhuaidhich geur-leanmhuinn agus laghannan neo-ghlic, eucorach, air muinntir Chaitliceach na h-Alba. Is iomadh geur-leanmhuinn loisgeach, cruaidh, fuilteach a rinneadh air an Eaglais. Ciod e eachdraidh na h-Eaglais ach eachdraidh air geur-leanmhuinn? Agus an Alba, an Eireann, agus an Sasunn, eadhon anns an Roinn-Eòrpa air fad, cia h-uamhasach na deuchainnean teinteach troi'n d'thàinig i! Cia liughad comunn a bha aon uair ainmeil mar Eaglais air an t-saoghal, a tha gu tur air an sguabadh air falbh! Agus iomadh eaglais a tha 'nis a' togail an cinn gu h-àrd—a tha ainmeil 'n an là agus 'n an linn fèin, sguabar air falbh bhàrr aghaidh an talaimh. Faodaidh Dia an coinnleir de fhior chreidimh 'atharrach o àite gu h-àite, a thoirt air falbh, mar gu'm b'ann, o aon tir, 's a shuidheachadh ann an tir eile; ach an solus priseil so— solus 'Eaglais fèin—cha mhuchar e a chaoidh. Tha
/ Choluim Chille
'n gealladh Choluim Chille againn gu'm biodh I mar a bha, mu'n tig an saoghal gu crioch. Is leòir sin. Agus nach thubhairt ar Tighearna Iosa Criosta e fèin mu dhèighinn 'Eaglais nach dean geataichean ifrinn buadhachadh orre am feasd? Mar sin, na biodh eagal oirbh : bithibh air deadh mhisneach sibhse uile 'tha air bheag chreidimh; oir—
"... mu'n tig an saogh'l gu crich Bi'dh I mar bha ".
Iain Mac an Abba.
Guth na Bliadhna leabhar iii.] AN T-EAEEACH, 1906. [aireamh 2 a' ghàidhlig agus na sgoilean
Aig a' chruinneachadh mhòr a thachair anns an Oban a chionn beagan mhiosan, thuirt fear de na luchd-labhairt a bha 'lathair, agus e a' cur an cèill na smuaintean a bha aige a thaobh inbhe agus suidheachaidh na Gàidhlig ann an sgoilean na Gàidhealtachd—thuirt e, tha sinn ag ràdh "this was not a question of preserving the Gaelic language but of educating the people of the Highlands through the medium of their own tongue ".Mar so labhair an duine so, agus a rèir coltais gun dùlan no gearan sam bith air an taobhsan a bha 'lathair. Theagamh, nach robh na briathran a labhair an duine so air an cur sios focal air fhocal, no mar bu choir dhoibh a bhi, agus gu'n robh feadhainn ann ris nach robh na briathran a' cordadh, agus nach robh idir glè thoilichte leo.
Ach biodh sin mar a bhitheas e, is cinnteach gu'm bheil mòran ann a tha 'beachachadh air a chùis so mar a bha an duine so a' gabhail rithe, agus a tha 'sealtuinn air a' Ghàidhlig mar mheadhon chum chriochan agus mar inneal-ionnsachaidh a mhàin.
1 Highland News.
98A' Ghàidhlig agus na Sgoilean
Is toigh leosan a' Ghàidhlig, deir iad; ach cha'n ann a chionn gur i ar cainnt fèin i, agus a chionn gur i suaicheantas ar dùthcha fèin ; ach do bhrigh gur i a' chainnt a's mò a labhar agus a's cumanta ann an Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba, agus a chionn gu'm bheil e soilleir nach fhaod iad dol air an adhart chum oigridh na dùthcha ionnsachadh as a h -aonais.
A nis, cha cheutach leinn idir idir a' bharail so ; agus o'n is cleachdadh leinn (mar is aithne gu maith d'ar luchd-leughaidh) ar n-inntinn fèin a chur an cèill gu soilleir, gu fearail; is èiginn duinn sin a labhairt mu'n chùis so gun eagal, 's gun fhàbhar sam bith.
Air tùs, is i Ghàidhlig ar cainnt fèin, a fhuair sin o Dhia; agus co dhiù tha e buannachdail dhuinn ar cainnt fèin a chumail suas no nach 'eil, is e dleasnas luchd-leughaidh Ghuth na Bliadhna, agus dleasnas nan uile sin a dheanamh gu cridheil, gu sunndach, agus gu h-eudmhor. Tha fios aig gach fear 'san t-saoghal gu lèir gu'm bheil a' Ghàidhlig 'n a cainnt fheumail, ro shean, fhogh-luimte agus airidh air spèis mhòir; ach saor o sin, agus ged a bhiodh i 'n a cainnt an-uasal, gun fheum, gun spèis air bith an sùil an t-saoghail; gidheadh bhiodh e fathast ar dleasnas solaimte a cumail suas 's a leantuinn suas, agus a cur air adhart le'r n-uile chridhe
" An leig sinn eachdraidh chaomh ar tir' A sgriobhadh de gach clàr, 'S a' Ghàidhlig chòir a chur a dhith Le linn nach tuig a gnàths' ? Ar cànain aosda, glòrmhor, binn, A dhùisgadh fuinn nam Bàrd, Am fan sinn diomhanach gun sùim 'Us daoi 'ga cur gu bàs 1"
A' Ghàidhlig agus na Sgoilean
Tha e air a ràdh le cuid gur e ionnsachadh no foghlum a' cheud ni agus gur i a' Ghaidhlig an dara cuspair. Is coma leosan co dhiù ma gheibh a' Ghàidhlig bàs no nach fhaigh, ma bhios "ionnsachadh" air a chuir air adhart air an dòigh a tha iad 'smuaineachadh 's 'gabhail rithe. "Is i a' Ghàidhig a' chainnt dhùthasach aig còrr is deich mile air fhichead de sgoilearan (deir iadsan); agus a chionn gu'm bheil so mar so, tha sinn a' sparradh oirbh feum iomchuidh a dheanamh dhi ann an sgoilean na Gàidhealtachd, agus do bhrigh nach fhaod sum dol air ar n-adhart as a h-eugmhais. Co dhiù a bhios sin 'n a ni maith no olc, beag no mòr, thaobh cumail suas na Gàidhlig mar chanain beò, cha'n urrainn sinn a radh ; agus is e ar barail-ne nach fhaod an dà cheist so a bhi air an cur air muin a' chèile. Is freagarrach do'n latha an t-olc a th'ann; agus tha sinn a' meas gu bheil ionnsachadh muinntir na Gàidhealtachd 'n a ni mòran ni's mò, agus ni 's cudthromaiche, do'n t-sluagh air fad na tha cumail suas agus sgaoileadh na Gàidhlig."
Is ann mar sin a tha mòran ann ar measg a' beachd-smuaineachadh mu'n chùis so; agus is èiginn duinn aideachadh nach 'eil am beachd sin a còrdadh ruinn air chor air bith. Tha sinn 'meas gur i a' Ghàidhlig a' cheud ni; do bhrigh gur i cainnt a tha 'n a comharra agus 'n a h-anam do mhuinntir no chinneach air bith. Agus ciod a buannaicheas e dhuinn an saoghal a' chosnadh, agus gun a bhi sealbhachadh ar n-anam fèin ?
Ach, gu sona co dhiù, cha'n 'eil feum againn a bhith sparradh air adhart na Gàidhlig do bhrigh gur i cainnt ar dùthcha i a mhàin, ged is fior gu bheil sinn gu tur deas, rèidh, sin a dheanamh air an aobhar ud fèin. Ach is ro fheumail a' chainnt ioo A' Ghàidhlig agus na Sgoilean
a' Ghàidhlig. Tha i anabarrach sean. Tha fogh-lum mòr, sgèimh, agus luachmhoireachd aice. Tha i ro fheumail do neach air bith aig a bheil miann air cainntean eile na Roinn Eorpa dh'ionnsachadh chum labhairt no sgriobhaidh. Tha i aig bonn de'n chuid a's mò de na cainntean a's cuirteile, agus a's foghluimte's an t-saoghal, agus a tha mairsinn aig an latha an diugh ; agus, ni na 's mò na sin, tha i mar iuchar dhoibh sin uile. Cha'n 'eil i idir 'n a cainnt do-lubaidh, bochd, neo-fhoghluimte, neo-shnasmhor, neo-choimhlionta; ach, air an dara làimh, tha i ro lubaidh, oileanaichte, ardmhodhail, làn, gu h-anabarrach briogh-mhor. A' chainnt so a bhuileachadh oirnn le Dia, agus a tha daoine foghluimte air feadh an t-saoghail 'ga moladh 's tha iad a' gabhail farmaid rithe a chionn 's gu'm bheil i cho aosmhor binn ; am bith sinn cho faoin, cho aineolach agus mi-thaingeil agus i a cur an neo-shuim, agus 'ga leigeadh dol gu bàs ? Nar leigeadh Dia !
" 'Si 'n canain Am beul nam Bàrd's nan eoin,
'S fearr gu càineadh,
O linn Bhabel fèin, 'Si's fearr gu moladh,
'S a's torrunnaiche gleus,
Gu rann no laoidh, A tharruing gaoth tro' bheul,
'S fearr gu comhairl' 'S gu gnothach chuir gu feum,
Na aon teang' Eorpach,
Dh'aindeoin bòsd nan Greug."
Tha fios aig gach creubh gu bheil neach air bith aig a bheil dà chainnt, mòran ni 's feumail agus ni 's foghlumaichte na esan aig a bheil an
Who is "Righ na h-Alba" ?101
aon chainnt a mhàin. Tha e moran ni's tapaidh, sgairteile na t-aon-chainnteach, agus tha an dòigh a tha aige chum sealltuinn thairis air an t-saoghal agus air gnothaichibh aimsireil is spioradail mòran ni's àirde, 's farsuinne na tha aig esan aig a bheil an aon teanga a mhàin; mar tha an duine aig am bheil a dhà-sbuil mòran ni's feumail dha fèin's do'n chinne-daoine gu lèir na esan a tha cam. Is ann air a' bhonn so a tha sinn a sparradh air aghart na Gàidhlig, agus ag iarridh a toirt a steach anns gach sgoil air feadh Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba, a chionn gur h-i ar cainnt fèin i, a fhuair sinn o Dhia, agus a chionn gu'm bheil i ro fheumail duinn; 'n a meadhon chum eòlais mhaith fhaotainn, agus 'n a sealbhachadh priseil, luachmhor, air an taobhsan aig am bheil miann chum dol a staigh do'n t-saoghal mhalairteach, no do na dreuchdan foghlumta.
Is e so, ma tà, à chrèud Ghàidhealach a thaobh ar cainnt fèin. Esan nach creid e gu h-iomlan, gu ceart agus gu daingeann, cha'n airidh e 'bhi 'na Ghàidheal, no eadhon fiuthal air an ainm aluinn bhoidheach sin. who is "righ na h-alba"? ii
On referring to the pedigree of the Moray Mor-maers, the reader will observe that it embraces two individuals whose names, and, consequently, whose filiation are not presently known. The first of these individuals is the wife of Lulach, Mormaer of Moray after the death of Mac Beth; the second being the husband of the daughter of Lulach—that Aodh, or as the name is frequently incorrectly written, Heth, who became "Righ na h-Alba" and Mormaer of Moray undoubtedly in right of his wife.
With regard to the first of these individuals, though it is unfortunate that her name, as that of her apparently sole female offspring, has not come down to us ; yet for the purposes of the present disJ cussion, our ignorance on this point is by no means to be regarded as invalidating conclusions hereinafter to be drawn from that alliance. The fact remains that after the death of Malsnechtan (1085) his nameless sister succeeded to the claims of the Moray family, and, marrying the above-mentioned Aodh, constituted her husband Mormaer of Moray, and the channel through which those hereditary claims and rights, justly associated with herself and her family, were eventually transmitted to her progeny. The son of the sister of Malsnechtan and daughter of Lulach, viz., Angus, " Earl" or Mormaer of Moray, by Aodh or Heth, succeeded to the Mormaership of that important province; and at the head of the men of Moray and the Mearns fell at Strickathrow (1130) fighting either in defence of his title to that Principality or, as the narratives of David's partisans would lead us to imply, in pursuance of an offensive movement on his part which had for its object the wresting of the crown of Alba from the representatives of the House of Atholl. Whatever, however, the precise circumstances which led up to, and caused, that fatal conflict may have been, there can be no reasonable doubt that the claim of Angus to the Moray Mormaership was in strict accordance with Gaelic law and custom. He was supported in his enterprise by the whole force of Moray, the men of which recognised him as their chief ; and the facts that the partisans of David invariably style him
" Earl of Moray," and that the men of the province of Mearns also threw in their lot with Angus, prove conclusively that there was no flaw in that title which after the death of his father he had justly and properly assumed.
Tì, therefore, as I maintain, Angus died unmarried, or, at all events, without legitimate heirs, the question of the parentage of his father, Aodh, becomes a matter of the first importance; for failing heirs male or female of his own (Angus's) body, the succession to the Mormaership and to the royal claims associated therewith must, in accordance with law and custom, have passed to the representative of the family of his nearest kinsmen— to the house, that is to say, from which his father, Aodh, was sprung. I have already detailed my reasons for believing (1) that Angus had no brother, and (2) that if he ever had one, the latter must have predeceased the Mormaer slain at Strickathrow. The pedigrees, however, make no mention of the alleged " Malcolm Mac Aodh," and, as I have already shown, the Irish annals are silent on the same subject. The natural inference from these circumstances seems to be, therefore, that either he never existed, or that he predeceased his brother at a period unknown, or at all events anterior to the battle in which Angus lost his life.
In discussing the important question of the parentage of Aodh, Mormaer of Moray, in right of his wife, it is highly unfortunate that this common personal name can afford us no clue whatever as to the filiation of the individual who bore it. It was and still is under its corrupted or Anglicised form of Hugh one of the commonest names in Gaeldom. But so much at all events we may take for granted namely: (1) that the Aodh or Hugh in question was a Gael, and (2) that he must have been a man of distinguished birth. With regard to the first of these two points, I hold that the name itself, in the absence of all proof to the contrary, may safely be regarded as sufficient indication of the racial complexion of the husband of the daughter of Lulach. With regard to the second, it is extremely unlikely that an individual of mean or obscure birth should have been suffered to mate with the heiress of Moray, whether we consider the importance of that Principality itself, or the high claims which were undoubtedly associated with it. And in discussing the question of the parentage of Aodh, as well as in drawing deductions from any theory that may be advanced in connection therewith, not only must these considerations be kept constantly in view, but it must also be remembered that the fittest helpmeet for the heiress of Moray must necessarily have been one who, by virtue of his exalted position and the strength and number of his connexions and following, was generally regarded by the men of Moray as one who would not only constitute himself a worthy and efficient protector of their representative and her possible heirs, but who would also be in a position to advance her claims to the throne. Under these circumstances, it appears to me that the most suitable husband for the daughter of Lulach was, her situation being as described, the heir, or at all events a near relative to one of the Scottish Mormaers, and if, as I believe, that selection ultimately fell upon a son of one of the neighbouring Mormaers, the strong reasons which could be urged in favour of such a union seem to me at all events to derive an additional degree of weight and probability by reason of the consideration last mentioned.
For my own part I am strongly inclined to believe that Aodh was a near relative, possibly a son, of that Ruaidhri, Mormaer of Mar, whose name appears in the Book of Deer as witness to a charter of the period. And in no other way consistent with probability and with the recorded facts of history, I imagine, can the claim which the family of Mar subsequently advanced to the Moray Mormaership be explained in a manner which can be regarded as even approximately satisfactory.
The first appearance in history of Ruaidhri, Mormaer of Mar, is in the capacity of witness to a charter by King Alexander and his Queen Sibilla, daughter to Henry, King of England, to the Church of the Holy Trinity at Scone in the year 1114. His next appearance is as witness to a charter by David confirming various grants of land to the Church of the Holy Trinity at Dunfermline, between the years 1124-1129 ; his third and last appearance, so far as is yet known, being that already mentioned in the Book of Deer, where, under date 1131, he appears as witness to a grant of land by Gartnait, sou of Cainnech, Mormaer of Buchan,1 and Ete (daughter to Gille Michael and Gartnait's wife), to the monks of the Abbey of Deer in Buchan. Ruaidhri, therefore, "flourished," so far as charter •evidence is concerned, from the years 1114 to 1131 inclusive. Clearly, however, he was alive some considerable time before the first mentioned of these dates, and it is quite possible that he lived for some years after his last recorded appearance. His period, chronologically considered, may therefore safely be regarded as perfectly consistent with the theory that the Aodh or Hugh who subse-
1 In right of his wife, the above-mentioned Ete.
quently became Mormaer of Moray in right of his wife was either the son of Ruaidhri or at all events a contemporary and near relation to that Mormaer; but before I proceed to discuss this question in greater detail it will be necessary for me to adduce some particulars relating to the complex and troubled history of this last-mentioned Principality itself.About the year 1228 an action was raised by Thomas Durward, the King's door-keeper and the representative of a rich and powerful Aberdeenshire family, against the Earl of Mar of the-time. A similar action was raised by Alan Durward in 1257, the ground of both disputes being-that the earls in possession were illegitimate, and that the legal representatives of the earldom (as it then was) were the Durwards in question. The dispute was referred to the Pope, who ordered inquiry to be made into the matter. The Durwards, however, whose claim to the earldom was no doubt based on representation through the female line, were unsuccessful in their claim. Earl William—the earl against whom the action of 1257 was brought—" remained in possession," and there cannot thus be any legal doubt of his legitimate-descent. In the course of these proceedings a charter dated 1171, and said to have been granted
1 According to Skene, Celtic Scotland, Angus succeeded to> the Mormaership on the death of his brother Malsnechtan in 1085. I am inclined, however, to think that Eobertson (Scotland under Her Early Kings) is right in regarding the Beth who appears as witness to the foundation of the monastery of Scone, temp. Alexander I., 1107-1124, as the Aodh or Heth who, whether he reigned or not as Mormaer of Moray, was certainly father to Angus, " Earl" of Moray. The date of Aodh's death is not known, and we appear to know nothing about Angus until his overthrow and slaughter at Strickathrow in 1130.
by King William the Lion to Morgund, Earl of Mar and predecessor of William, was produced in support of the family in possession, and no doubt this charter played an important part in determining the question in favour of the family of Earl William. " This deed," says Skene,1" was first made known by the learned antiquary, John Selden, who printed it in his Titles of Honour (p. 700) to illustrate his remarks upon the title of Thane. It is in the form of letters patent and not of a charter, and is addressed by William King of Scots to all bishops, earls, abbots, priors, knights, thanes and provosts, and all other good men of the whole land, as well cleric as laic. It then narrates that Morgund, son of Gillocher, formerly Earl of Mar, had come before the King at Hnidhop Burnemuthe, in his new forest on the tenth day of the calends of June, in the year of grace 1171, demanding his right to the whole Earldom of Mar, before the common council and army of the kingdom of Scotland there assembled: that the King had caused inquisition to be made into his claim by several men worthy of credit, who were barons and thanes of his kingdom, and who found that Morgund was the lawful son and heir of the said Gillocher, Earl of Mar; upon which the King granted and restored to Morgund the whole Earldom of Mar, in which his father Gillocher had died vest and seized, to be held by the said Morgund and his heirs of the King and his heirs in fee and heritage, with all pertinents, liberties and rights, as freely, quietly, fully and honourably as any other earl in the kingdom. . . . Further, on the same day and at the same place, after doing homage before the common council of the kingdom, the said Morgund demanded right should be done him for
1 Celtic Scotland, Appendix iv., vol. iii., p. 441.
io8Who is "Righ na h-Alba"?
the whole Earldom of Moray in which Gillocher, his father, had died vest and seized ; upon which petition inquisition having been made by several men worthy of credit who were barons, knights and thanes of the kingdom, they found that Morgund was the true and lawful heir of the Earldom of Moray; and because at that time the King was engaged in the heavy war between him and the English, and the men of Moray could not be subjected to his will, he was unable to do justice to Morgund, he promised that when he should terminate the war between him and his enemies and subjugate the rebels of Moray, he would well and truly recognise the right of Morgund and his heirs to the Earldom of Moray."
This, says Skene, is undoubtedly a very remarkable production, if genuine. Selden says : "I have it writ in parchment in a hand of the time, wherein it is dated, but without any seal to it". No suspicion appears to have attached to it until Mr. Chalmers, the antiquary, assailed it in 1819 in a paper contributed to the nineteenth volume of the Archceologia (p. 241). Mr. Chalmers gives his reasons for thinking this document spurious under nine heads, the majority of which, however, have been discounted by subsequent writers a good deal more accurate, if not more learned, than himself. Skene, however, regards the allusion to the war with England in 1171, whereas hostilities between the two countries did not break out until 1173, as " fatal to the authenticity of the document,"1 and