The church and the highlands

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denote particular functions or callings.

After the introduction of the feudal system, however, we find in Scotland, as in Ireland, an increased tendency shown to make use of titular distinctions in addressing persons of rank. The simplicity and dignity which characterised the early Celtic usage were largely departed from, and in their place we find springing up a more complex and arti­ficial social code, which the inevitable confusion engendered by the warring of the rival systems of government, served to render still more complex and involved. For many years, however, after the in­troduction of that system, the native nobility held their own; and it was not really until the extinction of the Celtic dynasty in the person of Alexander III., that the country may be said to have finally passed beneath the feudal yoke. Even the later Celtic sovereigns can scarcely be said to have held their courts, if we are to consider in that connection the native nobility alone, who, as Eobertson justly points out, held aloof from royal courts and hostings ; and so far from desiring and seeking the royal recom­mendation and favour seem to have cultivated an invincible repugnance to the feudal entourage of their


Arms and the Man

kings. The ancient Gaelic nobility of Scotland would seem, on the whole, to have deserved well of their Gaelic posterity. Feudal law and custom were infinitely distasteful to them; and much of the early known history of our country is but a record of their bloody endeavours to detach their sovereigns from their fatal attachment to foreign ideas, and to foreign principles of government.

In a future number of this publication we propose to continue our observations on the subject of our native Gaelic nobility, concluding them with some reflections on the present state of the Scottish aristocracy, with particular reference to those noble­men, etc., who can trace their original to a native source. In the meantime, we beg to take leave of our readers with an appropriate reference to the topic wherewith we began this paper, which is the subject of arms ; whereon the learned Keating, in his well-known History of Ireland has the following which, for the benefit of the uninformed, is now translated out of the original into English. " In the great assembly at Tara (in the reign of Ollamh Fodhla, 382) it was ordained by a law, that every nobleman and great officer should, by the learned heralds, have a particular coat of arms assigned him, according to his merit and his quality, whereby he should be distinguished from others of the same rank, and be known to any antiquary or person of learning wherever he appeared, whether at sea or on land, in the Court of his Prince, at the place of his own residence, or in the field of battle."

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