The church and the highlands



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1 There is in the Spanish National Library at Madrid a long memorial from Colonel Semple in 1620 to Philip III., setting forth his services, and saying that if his advice in 1601 had been taken, Scotland and England would have returned to the Catholic faith.

and Fernihurst; and later Prince Henry was to be delivered to Bothwell to hold for the King of Spain. The prayer of Bothwell was seconded by Fernihurst. Dumbarton, Broughty, Blackness and Hermitage were ready to be handed over, and victory was safe and sure in Scotland, and after­wards in England. Fernihurst, too, brought from Scotland a fine plan to reconcile Bothwell to his enemy the King. His heir should marry Huntly's daughter without a dower, the Barony of Colding-ham should be surrendered to Lord Hume, who claimed it; and all feuds should be forgotten, but he must be restored in his estates. Too late ! Too late! The Philips had let their opportunities slip one by one. Elizabeth was on her deathbed ; and before the Committee of the Spanish Council could report on the new proposals of Bothwell and Fer­nihurst in the name of the Scottish nobles, news came that jubilant James Stuart was speeding south as fast as horses could carry him, to enjoy as he might the heritage for which he had lied and paltered so long. The cause of Catholicism in Scotland was beaten by the chicanery of King James and Bobert Cecil. The new grouping of powers following religious division had deprived Scotland of her ancient ally France, whilst the Philips had been too lethargic, and the English Catholic exiles too jealous, to allow of the new combination with Spain desired by the Scottish nobles for the defence of their faith. For good or for evil the land of the North was thus tied for evermore to her more opulent sister, England.

Martin Hume.

EILEIN NA H-OIGE

Nam biodh agamsa mo raghuinn

Thaghainn as an Eòrpa Aite tuinidh 'n cois na tuinne

'N Eilein grinn na h-Oige. Lom e 'dhuilleach, lom e 'mhuran,

Lom e 'churachd eòrna; Air a luimead gur a lurach

Leamsa 'h-uile fod dheth.

Cha'n'eil ionad anns a chruinne

'S inntinniche òigridh. Sunndach cridheil fonn nan nighean

'S binne 'sheinneas òran. Ar cuid bhodach's iad 'tha frogail—

Mòr tha 'thogail còmh' riuth': Sùrd na caileig' air a chaillich,

'S mear an aign' 'tha foipe.

Euaim nam feadan feadh nan creagan,

Leinibh bheaga 'dannsa; Luchd na mara a' sàr-tharruing

Canabhas ri cranntaibh, Eubh nan gillean shios mu'n linnidh

Iad ag iomairt trang ann : Tràigh a's gile, cnuic a's grinne,

Ragha suidhe samhraidh.

Là na gaillinn gur a fallain

Gaoth na mara greanntaidh ; Gasd an sealladh muir a' stealladh

Sad mu mhullach bheanntabh ; Marcan-sìne bharr na Sgrìne

Nuas 'n a mhill's 'na dheann-ruith ; Muir gach ama 'caochladh greana

Eis na meallan geamhraidh.

Gasd am farum aig a bhannal

'Th' air an teanal thall ud ; Luachadh daingeann air na maidean

'Chuireas plaid 'an teanndachd ; Trom am buille, treun an ruighe,

Trang a bhuidheann bhaindidh; 'N clò 'n a shiubhal 'dol 'an tighead,

'Rann 'cur ruith gun taing air.
Thall mu'n teallach faic a chailleach

'Cur 'n a deannabh 'cuibhle. Fear-an-taighe's luath a lamhan—

Dubhan cam 'g a rìghleadh. Tigh a bhealaich's mòr an tathaich

'Th 'ann de dh-fhearabh's nìonag, 'S fear dha'm b'aithne le sàr-anail

'Gabhail rann na Feinne.
Piob 'g a spreigeadh, binn a fead leam,

'S cha b'e sgread na fìdhle ; Cridh' 'toirt breab as 'se'ga freagairt

Ann am beadradh inntinn'. Air an fheasgair bhiodh na fleasgaich

A' co-fhreasgairt tìm dhith ; Leam bu ghasda 'bhith 'n am faisge

'Dol an teas an rìghlidh.
Fir a' tarraing mach a cala

Gum b'e 'n sealladh eibhinn ; 'Togail chrannabh, buill 'gan snaimeadh

Ann an gramabh gleusta ; Siuil a' crathahd, chluinnt' am farum

Gus am faighte rèidh iad; 'S mach air chabhaig thun na mara,

'S cop ri 'darach, deudag.

Na lìn fhada's na lìn sgadain

Ann am badaibh rèidh ac'; 'H-uile h-ullachas 'dhìth culaidh

'Bhios a' ruith an eisg ac'. Dia na tuinne gur e'm bun e :

'De 'ni duin' as eugais ? Toradh mar' a cuile Mhoire—

'S e 'tha 'cumail èis bhuap'.
Gum bu laghach toiseach foghair

Corra thadhal dorghaich, 'Leigeil dhubhan thun a ghrunna

Muigh air iola eòlaich. Bodaich bheaga 'g 'ich' 'an graide,

Mucan creige 'corbadh, 'S beadag cudaige 'tighinn h-ugainn

Dha'n robh 'n criomadh seòlta.
'Tòrachd cobhartaich ri reothart

Muigh air oitir treud dhiubh ; Dh' aindeoin crosgag bhog na rosad

Gheibhte so-chur eisg ann. Nuas 'nar fochair gun dad dochuinn

Thigeadh socair leubag; 'S bioraich mhosach', 'thoill an crochadh,

'S tric 'bha crois dhiubh fhein ann.
Feasgar foghair 'draghadh mhaghar

Gum b' i 'n fhaghaid ghrinn i; Iasg a' riobadh, gun fhois tiota,

'Togail diogal inntinn'; Sliopraich slapraich aig na slatan

'Cumail cath nach tiom riuth'; Beairt 'g a bogadh's beairt 'g a togail,

'S beairt 'g an sgobadh innte.

'N àm na Calluinn' feadh nan carraig

Bhiodh na feara greòd dhiubh; Là gun dad aca 'gan ragach',

'S latha sgaid gu leoir ann. Fear a' pronnahd, 's fear a' solladh

'Tional pobull ghòrag; Tabh 'g a thomadh thun an tobhair,

'Sin 'g a thogail fòpa.
Fir 'nan deannabh 'tarraing eallach

Stigh '0 'n chala Hanna 'Dh-iasg na mara 'reir an ama

'Cumail thall na teanndachd. Smearaich thapaidh 'ruith 'n am feachdabh

Feadh nan leac 'an traingead, 'Tìreadh langa, dhaibh is aithne,

Air an sgalaidh's t-samhradh.
Bharr gach bearraidh, stigh gach bealach

Chithear deannan nìonag, Eallach connaidh 'cùl an droma

Nuas 'o n mhonadh Sgrìne. Bodaich throma 'n cas air sgonnan

Chasa-croma, 'sgios dhiubh ; Struth de'n fhallus air am malaidh

'Toirt air talamh striochdadh.
Luingeas bhioran aig na giullain

Air gach linn' an snàmh iad; Fear 'gan ligeadh, fear 'gan tilleadh

Air gach iomall bàghain. Sud an iorram nach dian ciorram,

'Chuireas mir'air àite;— Coimhling loinneil ud na cloinne,

Leam bu toil 'bhith'm pàirt riuth.

'H-uile h-eag am bonn nan creagan

Bothag bheag aig cloinn ann; Streathan shlige, blaighean phige,

Badan riobag, loinn leo: 'Buain nam bileagan 'bu ghrinne

Ann am mire soighneis, 'Togail luinneag air gach coileig

'Leigeil ruith le'n aoibhneas.
Ogain gheala feadh nam bealach

Gur e 'n teanal grinn iad : Sud iad agaibh feadh nan lagabh

Ann am baidean cruinn iad. Nall am mullach thar an tulaich,

Dhaibh is ullamh sìnteag ; 'Direadh chnoc, 'gearradh bhoc,

Saor 'o lochd's o mhìghean.
Ròn le 'chuilean air an t-siubhal,

Co nach ludhaig spèis dha, 'S e cho measail air an isean

Mu'n dian clibisd beud air. Ri àm cunnairt, sud air 'mhuin e,

'Falbh an t-sruth gu rèidh leis ; Gum bu tubaisdeach dha 'n duine

'Chuireadh gunn' air ghleus ris.
Sùlair amaiseach, a's t-earrach

Stigh 'an carabh tìr e, Tigh'nn 'an caise, 'sgiathan paisgte,

Fear nach caisgt' a chìocras. Thall's a bhos iad, cha'n'eil fois ac',

Sloistreadh crosd' gun sgìos ac'; 'Cromadh, 'tomadh fo na tonnan,

'Lionadh bhronnan shios iad.

Corr chas fhada, stob 'bun cladaich,

'Riochd 'bhith ragaicht' reòthta. 'N ann fo gheasaibh 'tha i 'seasamh ?

'M bi i 'feasd's an t-seòl ud ? Cailleach ghlic i, cha do chleachd i

Cluich 'an cuideachd ghòraich; 'Ragha suthainn 'bhith gun duine

'N cuid rith' 'grunnach lònain.
An sgarbh odhar, air tha fothail,

'Caradh fodha 'n clisgeadh. Dh-eoin na mara cha'n'eil fear ann

'Fhuair a char's an uisge. Aghaidh Staca ris na leacaibh

Chithear feachd ri fois diubh : Sud's an uisg' iad, ma ni mosgaid

Losgadh clis 'n am faisge.
'H-uile cinneadh muigh air linnidh

A ni imeachd tuinn deth : Bunabhuachaille a mhuineil,

Binn a bhurral ciùil leam ; Crannlach, 's learga bhraghada dearga,

Annlag fairg', eoin-bhùchain, Iall de lachabh'm fiath a chladaich,

Riagh de chearcaill umpa.
Ach b'e m' ulaidh-sa dhiubh uile

Tè gun lurachd gann dith— Bòdhag chuimir cheuma grinne

'Sheasadh ionad baintighearn'. 'S i 'tha furachail m'a culaidh,

Mu'n toir fliuchadh greann dith ; Coltas silidh a' bhith tighinn

Tillidh i 'n a teann-ruith.


122

Knox and the Rascal Multitude

Knox and the Rascal Multitude 123

'S tric a shuidh mi'm barr na beinne

'G amharc luingeas Ghallda Le'n cuid canabhas ri crannabh,

Gum b'e 'n sealladh greannmhor : Sgoth a' tilleadh, 'n ealta 'mire,

'Cromadh 'sireadh annlainn: Gum b'e 'sonas a'bhith fuireach

Anns an innis sheannsail.

'S minig 'theireadh fear 'an inisg

Gun robh 'n t-eilein stamhnte, 'H-uile duine, 'bh' ann a thuineadh,

Ann an ionad fainge : Ach's e 'chuir air barrachd lurachd—

Air gach tulach's gleann deth,— Dion na tuinne a' bhith uime

'Cumail 'muigh na h-anntlachd.

KNOX AND THE RASCAL MULTITUDE

The odour of Presbyterian sanctity will soon be strong in the Lowlands. At all events, there is shortly to be a great to-do about John Knox, and no doubt all the familiar engines of the " Reformed" religion will soon be drawn from their dusty re­positories, and paraded for our inspection.

A few years ago much might have been made of this species of impending religious jollification. But we fear that the engines above-mentioned have become a little rusty by now ; and even in the Lowlands the cult of the disingenuous " Reformer" is not so strong as it was. The zeal of materialism —what Heine called the "brutal materialism"of the northern nations—has somewhat consumed the zeal of the Presbyterian elect; so that the fatted kine of the " True Kirk of God " have merci­fully shrivelled to half their original proportions. We live, not in a reign of Presbyterian ecstasy, but in a time of religious backsliding. The "right" of private interpretation has produced its inevitable crop of misunderstandings and misinterpretations, so that where Lowlanders stood in (say) 1560 is now terra incognita to their more inquiring de­scendants. We should be sorry to say anything to interrupt the harmony of the threatened proceed­ings; but we venture mildly to remark that, ac­cording to report, the Presbyterian Church has " progressed " somewhat since the first " Confession of Faith" was put out. Possibly when our Low­land neighbours who are of the Presbyterian persuasion come to drink a health to honest John Knox, they may discover this fact for themselves, though to be sure the "unco' guid" are not commonly thought to be overburdened with brains, or unduly handicapped by a sense of humour. At all events, admirers of John Knox, and that worthy himself, have this much at least in common, that neither can be said to stand upon any ascertainable religious foundation.We do not suppose that the coming celebrations will be much observed in the Highlands. The hireling of Elizabeth, and the prime Tub-thumper of " the Kirk," was never much of a persona grata with us, however desperate the efforts that have

1

1 They believe in a superstition called negativism—the nega­tion, that is to say, of the teaching and doctrine of the Catholic Church. Knox cannot be said to have possessed a positive creed: his religion was merely a reflexion of his hostility to Borne, and a cloak and excuse for the same.

124 Knox and the Rascal Multitude

been made to propagate his cult in the glens. The so-called " Eeformation " was not a political process in which the men of our race were much concerned. We had not much stomach for it then; and we doubt if there is much inclination to regard it favourably even now. It is possible that a few panic-stricken individuals, wishing to pass for be­lated enthusiasts, may seek to create a diversion by bidding us beware of John Knox; but the en­deavour to persuade us of his existence by rattling his dry bones in our ears is not like to be attended with any astonishing results. So far as the High­lands are concerned, John Knox can scarcely be said to have lived; and even so far as the Lowlands are concerned, he is as dead (in all senses of the word) as Queen Anne. Why cannot they leave him alone?

"Although the Reformation was undoubtedly one of the most important events in Scottish history," says Gregory,1 " yet its progress is to be traced almost exclusively in the history of the Lowlands. At least, the history of the Highlands and Isles presents little that is interesting on this subject. It is not to be supposed, however, that the great Highland barons were slow to follow the example of their Lowland neighbours in seizing the lands and revenues of the Church. On the contrary, the deplorable state in which the High­lands and Isles were found to be, in a religious point of view, at the commencement of the seven­teenth century, was evidently owing to this cause. But in such proceedings the bulk of the Highland population, if we except the vassals of the Earl of Argyle, seem to have taken little interest; and

1 History of the Western Highlands of Scotland.

Knox and the Rascal Mtdtitude 125

many of them long continued to adhere, as a portion still do, to the worship of their fathers." So much for Gregory, a Protestant, and justly esteemed 1' one of the most level-headed of cian historians ". Hear, also, What another Protestant writer, Skelton, has to say on the same subject. " The new doc­trines failed to cross the mountain barrier, and in Highland glen and Western island the people con­tinued to worship as their fathers worshipped before the days of Knox."

Consequently, we feel ourselves the more at liberty to have our say concerning this John Knox, and the approaching celebrations which, in the Lowlands, are to be associated with his name. No doubt there are many Highlanders at the present day who are just as zealous Presbyterians (perhaps more so) as any that are to be found on the wrong side of the hills; but, after all, we need not stand on much ceremony if we venture to make some impression upon their religious understand­ings. Their defection is infinitely less excusable than the defection of the Gall, blameworthy in the extreme though his may be. The Anglo-Scot or Lowland half-breed naturally took a man like Knox to his psalm-singing bosom; but the High­lander's desertion of the faith of his forefathers is far less comprehensible, and much more inexcusable. The latter, at least, had not the former's excuse of identity of language and of race when he turned his coat and accepted the nostrums of his op­pressors, in lieu of the priceless heritage which the Church had left him. Consciences should be respected, no doubt, but a religious debacle of the kind that visited the Highlands during the latter pait of the eighteenth century is a phenomenon which invites plain speaking.

We have seen that at the time of its making] the so-called Reformation did not affect the High­lands. If any one doubt the truth of this assertion^ he has but to turn to the history of Scotland ana read for himself. Whilst Knox was engaged in tha congenial task of haranguing the rascal multitude! inciting them to violence, and rudely setting tha authority of his sovereign at defiance, the High! landers, regardless of all that was passing among the smug burgesses of the towns and cities, were] killing one another in prosecution of some of those] extravagant and contemptible feuds which renden much of Highland history fit perusal for swash! bucklers only or modern recruiting-peers. Affl isolation so complete, an indifference so profound,] cannot but excite wondering remark.

In truth, whether seduced by Moray, or the] bubble of her own slender political capacity and] foresight, we know not, but one cannot but regret that Queen Mary did not take advantage of so favourable a conjuncture to crush the religious and political insurrection which, unless she was posi-3 tively blind, she must have seen to be actually confronting her. Her failure to do anything of the kind, her vain shifts to pursue a temporising policy,] and to embrace that most foolish and disastrous o| all political subterfuges, the via media, as oppow tunists call it, stamp the Queen as politically incom-j petent. A vigorous attempt to unite the Highlands] at so important, nay vital, a conjuncture could now fail to have been attended with the most gratifying results, more especially as the religion de now was] as yet, even if realised or grasped, an abomination to the Celts, who would readily have flocked to Mary's standard to " ding down " the new-fangled Church, and to return John Knox to his approì priate sphere—the galleys.

We do not know that we are particularly con­cerned with the private character of John Knox. He may have been all that Nau and our established historians tell us concerning him; and touching such an infelicity, there need surely be no great hesitation in believing the worst that can be said of him. But it is by his religious and political fruits •that we judge him ; and as these were of nauseat­ing flavour, rank and abundant, we base our repug­nance to his character on these alone.

Apparently much may be forgiven a " reformer," if he take care to cloak his designs under a show -of piety—that " piety " being, preferably, such as is founded on hatred of "Rome". The charity which covereth a multitude of sins is nowhere more freely rendered or abundantly exercised than where it is exerted to screen a popular scoundrel from the just condemnation which is due to his acts. The treason and treachery of John Knox stand confessed before history, in a form and to a [degree as flagrant and shameless as any that are to be found,1 yet so strong is the popular delusion, so


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