The church and the highlands



Download 1.31 Mb.
Page45/61
Date08.12.2018
Size1.31 Mb.
1   ...   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   ...   61

" ' Tionail thugam mo theaghlach còir'

Tionail sluagh an t-saoghail uile De chlann rìgh, 's de dh'aon duine."
The pages of Guth na Bliadhna will be open to correspondence dealing with subjects within the scope of this Review.

Whilst the greatest care will be taken of any MSS. which may be submitted for publication, the editor declines to be responsible for their accidental loss.

MSS. must in all cases be accompanied with stamped and addressed envelopes.

Literary communications should be addressed to—

The Editor of Guth na Bliadhna,

The Aberdeen University Press Ltd., Upperkirkgate, Aberdeen.

Business communications should be addressed to the Managers, as above.
Guth na Bliadhna

leabhar i.] AN SAMHRADH, 1904. [aireamh 3.
FRANCE AND HER FORMER ALLIES

The grouping of principalities and powers in con­formity with the laws of political coalescence, or the operation of similar considerations tending to bring about their mutual estrangement, supplies one of the most interesting studies that the mind of man can possibly conceive. As a rule, it is policy and not sentiment which draws one nation to another, and finally unites them in alliance, offensive or defensive. At all events, nowadays, it is policy rather than sentiment which plays the nflfe of peace-maker between nations, whatever may have been the case in former times. Not that we are very firm believers in the theory which " ear-marks " certain nations as being those from whom inter-union or coalition might natur­ally be expected in consequence of a supposed identity of interests or similarity of blood. It seems to us that each nation is pretty well detested by its neighbours all the world over, and that there is none of which it might truthfully be said, " Here is the people that has no enemy ".

Still, undoubtedly, certain nations do tend to coalesce, and, where this tendency is observable, it is sentiment, rather than policy, which supplies the motive. History supplies us with not a few

A

2o8 France and her Former Allies

examples in which peoples have made alliances in the teeth of policy, or have refrained from im­proving some political advantage in deference to caprice founded upon sentiment. The alliances of to-day, however, are rather commercial under­takings than affairs of the heart. Sentiment admittedly plays a very small part in them, and so far from being the source from which they spring, is treated merely as a kind of histrionic after-thought, in which kings and presidents, after the politicians have concluded the real business, may safely be invited to do the hand­shaking, the speech-making, and the telegram-writing. And, after all, no fault need be found with " constitutionalism" on this head. Monarchism has been shorn of its power; but the king who can do no wrong is still a convenient political figure-head. Sometimes he is even a useful ballon d'essai, whose retention is excused by advanced politicians on the ground that, as a social and political figure-head, a king is better than a president. So that even a king in a constitutional monarchy may have his "mission"; may justify his existence by working for it, and may earn the bread he eats by benefiting the nation which he serves. How wonderful is the wisdom of our political system! How great is the humanity, and penetrating the care, of our rulers ! Even kings and princes are not overlooked, but are taught to make themselves useful just like ordinary citizens !

Sometimes, of course, policy unites with senti­ment in dictating alliances, which is the statesman's El Dorado.. Although it would be a mistake to assert that the English enjoy an absolute monopoly of this happy state of affairs, yet any impartial

France and her Former Allies 209

reader of their history cannot fail to be struck with the extraordinary number of occasions in which, according to his spokesmen, the English­man's heart has had the good taste to be in the very same place in which he happens to keep his money. It may be, of course, that this fortunate, if singular, conjunction is mere coincidence, or is the result of that deference and superabundant measure of regard which Providence pays to the Englishman; but, certainly, whatever the cause, the fact itself cannot fail to impress the reader as an agreeable and highly interesting feature of that history—the more so inasmuch as the histories of other peoples are sadly defective in this respect. That which happens but seldom, or comes unfore­seen, is often refreshing and inspiring in proportion to its rarity.

The history of Scotland is concerned with one great alliance only, and that alliance, as becomes us, was almost entirely political/ The agreement with France, which held good in this country for over four hundred years, was not the result of a union of hearts, but was based on the sternest political necessity. No doubt the alliance with France was followed by results which were social as well as political. Many of our nobles married French wives, and vice versa. Scotsmen went to Paris to acquire that " polish " which the disturbed state of society at home prevented them from obtaining in Scotland—at least such is the ex­planation of the social correspondence with France vouchsafed us by our historians, and though little flattering to our national vanity, yet possibly it is the correct oner The commercial advantages of the French Alliance, also, were by no means inconsiderable, for by it Scotland secured a ready

and profitable market for her native exports, receiving in return the wine and other useful] commodities of her rich and powerful neighbour] whose trade was consequently encouraged by tha connexion. Still, on the whole, the policy which] dictated the French Alliance was essentially aj selfish one. Both Scotland and France found] their account in it, which is the reason why iu lasted so long. To Scotland, the countenance and active assistance of France in our numerous] wars with England was a matter of the greatest] importance. To France, it was desirable that tha Scottish connexion should be preserved, in orden that the enemy's flank or rear might be oppor-J tunely attacked whenever a favourable conjuncture] presented itself. In spite, however, of the many] weighty reasons of state favouring the preservation] of this connexion, its essentially interested natura is revealed by history. On more than one occasion the French concluded treaties with England withl out taking the Scots into their confidence, andl if French perfidy was subsequently exposed, ana the injury redressed, we owe it rather to policy] than to sentiment that it was so. Again, when] James VI. ascended the English throne and tha old alliance (which long had been languishing]] came to an end, it is surprising how philosophically both parties accepted the situation, and coolly went their respective ways. Of course, we do not mean to affirm that all effects of the French connexion immediately disappeared. We know that tha tradition of the Great Alliance was a thing to] conjure with, at all events in Jacobite circles, for] many a day thereafter. French arms and French] gold were the constant day-dream of the exiled, adventurers, just as, alas ! they supplied the flimsy!

foundation on which the ill-informed heroes at home raised the doomed structure of their hopes and aspirations. Even nowadays the old tradition of the Great Alliance lingers amongst us. Is there not a Franco-Scottish Society in Edinburgh, which has a Scoto-Dutchman as its President ? Authors interested in etymology have written to prove that certain words still in common use among our English-speaking countrymen have French originals. The French Alliance is still a favourite theme with Scottish historical writers, and many a modern " villa-residence " testifies to that endur­ing imitation which is the most gratifying form of flattery.

Still, in spite of all, the old alliance with France has long been numbered amongst the hoary dead, and though sentimentalism may posture at the grave-head, yet the vast majority of our countrymen, assimilating the notions and doctrines of their political pastors and masters, recognise in the Frenchman of to-day merely another possible enemy, or, to put a seasonable interpretation upon their attitude, a fellow-labourer in the commercial vineyard, whose acquaintance experience has proved is worth cultivating—for the profit which his friendship may bring. The Grand Alliance is dead together with the principles which inspired it—and sleeps in its historic tomb. He was, perhaps, a soulless individual who saw the last of it unmoved (for grand and great to us it undoubtedly was)—such a one as we read of in history, who, when the palladium of our nationality (our Parliament) was removed to West­minster witnessed the spoliation unaffected, and even testified his shameless indifference in words that have come down to us : " There is the end of an auld sang ". For us, the Gael of Scotland, the true directors of its political destinies, and the true owners of its soil, the Grand Alliance was something more than a mere political connexion based on expediency, in spite of the fact that Edinburgh and the Lowlands supplied the Scottish political centre of its gravity. We clung to it with something more than the calculating tenaci-ousness of Saxon Scotland, and with the warm sympathies of our race, and quixotic attachment to lost causes, mourned for it after it had gone in a manner which was as irritating as it was incom­prehensible to our neighbours. Sentiment dies hard in the Highlands, and properly so. But even sentiment must have its period ; and in the official France of to-day the Highland Catholic will look in vain for those marks of piety and chivalry which endeared it to his ancestors.

To say truth, a great change for the worse has come over France of late. Republicanism may be, and indeed is, a form of government utterly re­pugnant to the Celt, who has never shown either his partiality or his fitness for extreme democratic principles ; but the attitude of official France, and of the vast majority of modern Frenchmen, towards religion is a species of depravity absolutely abhor­rent and incomprehensible to the Gael, who, in spite of all his faults and his often misguided and fantastic manner of worshipping his Maker, is, nevertheless, essentially religious.

We know of what we write, and embrace this opportunity of stating that we place neither credit nor reliance on statements whose obvious design is to excuse the French public to their co-religionists elsewhere. It is a homely saying, but a true one, nevertheless, that the proof of the pudding consists in the eating thereof. It stands to reason, there­fore, that if France were still truly, fundamentally and essentially religious, her government would necessarily bear that character, in spite of all the BIqcs and cliques in freemasonry. That her government is not only the reverse of religious, but takes a positive delight in oppressing and insulting religion and the religious, whenever and wherever it can, supplies the strongest possible proof that, morally, France is rotten to the core; whilst the indifference and supineness of thousands of French Catholics under the most provoking insults, and the most humiliating disabilities, proves them to be thoroughly contemptible. Either the French government is a monster of folly and iniquity, which exists in spite of the outraged conscience of a nation which has but to exercise the suffrage in order to destroy it, or it is agreeable to the majority of Frenchmen, by reason of whose support and approval it necessarily en­dures. Which is it to be? So far as France is concerned, we leave it to Frenchmen to decide, and we venture to remark that we do not envy them their choice of alternatives. For ourselves, however, our position is clear. We think that France has become the bond-servant of Atheism and freemasonry, and that the sooner her dwind­ling Catholic population convinces itself of that fact, and concerts active measures for its protection and preservation, the better it will be for Christen­dom at large. Its present condition is a scandal and a disgrace, and threatens to become a by-word among Catholics, and God-fearing people generally, all the world over.

The contempt and resentment of a people who are, numerically and politically, so weak as the


214 France and her Former Allies

Gaels of Scotland and Ireland may not be a matter of much moment to a callous monster and block­head like Combes. But every self-respecting person feels alarmed and grieved when his respectable neighbour thinks ill of him ; and the anger and contempt of Catholic Scotland and Ireland at the iniquitous measures against religion now being ruthlessly executed in France should strike even that people as alarming and discouraging in the extreme--the more so as both contempt and detestation hail from old friends.

Indeed, the religious persecution in France has completely estranged Scottish and Irish national sentiment. The old feeling for France, in both countries, is either dead or is fast dying, even amongst Protestants who, where rational, have at least the good sense to perceive that by these repressive measures religion in general is threatened and assailed. Protestantism can hope to gain nothing by the penalising of the Catholic religion in France ; for those who conduct this unholy campaign, from the apostate Combes down to the meanest and most insignificant jack-in-office, are professed Atheists, to whom all forms of Chris­tianity are equally obnoxious. The knowledge of this fact should serve, therefore, to unite the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland, whether Catholics or Protestants, in lively detestation of the events now being enacted in France, and in indignant repudiation of any means or measures calculated to foster or encourage the old sentiment of friendship between us. Let the dead past bury its dead. The French nation, judging by its official acts in regard to religion, has forfeited all claim to the respect and consideration of our race, and impelled by the same agency as de-

Sgialachd Gharaidh 215

stroyed the Gadarene swine, is now rushing blindly and furiously down the steep places of Atheism and freemasonry towards the sea of perdition which yawns to receive it.

SGIALACHD GHARAIDH

Ma ta bha na boirionnaich a bh' aig na Fian-taichean—na mnathan aca—gu tuiteam as a cheile le blonaig is le saill. Bha na Fiantaichean air ion 's a bhith air thogail. Cha robh fios ciod e *bha 'toirt do na mnathan a bhith cho trom 's cho reamhar, 's iad fhèin a bhith cho lag fann 's a bha iad. Bha na Fiantaichean a' dol do'n tràigh 'o'n chiad tràghadh gu letheach lionaidh -fhad 's a gheibheadh iad maorach ann.

'S i sgeilm-sa 'rinn Garaidh. " Leigidh mi orm gu bheil mi bochd an diugh, 's gheibh mi mach ciod e 'n seol-bidhe a th' aig na boirionnaich a bhith cho reamhar, 's a tha iad is sinne cho caol 's a tha sinn."

Chaidh na Fiantaichean do'n tràigh, is fead­hainn diubh gu tir-mor do Ghleann-Eilge, is feadhainn do'n fhearann 'tha mu choinneamh Chaol-Arcainn.

Bha Garaidh 'so anns an leabaidh 'se bochd. Chruinnich na boirionnaich, is dh'fhalbh iad do'n tràigh. Bha maorach beag anns an tràigh—'se maorach-Moire 'their sinne ris,—is lion iad an sguird leis a mhaorach a bh'ann an sin. Thug iad leotha ultach an sin de'n dubh-stamh, agus sgriob agus ghlan iad carraig an dubh-staimh. Bhruich iad am maorach; thug iad am biadh as; is phronn iad


2l6

Sgialachd Gharaidh

Sgialachd Gharaidh

217

carraig an dubh-staimh. Bhruich iad carraig an dubh-staimh, 's am maorach ann am measg a cheile, 's rinn iad miasan air. Agus 'se sin a nis am biadh a bh' aig na mnathan a bha 'gam fagail cho reamhar.- 'S fhad 'o chuala sibh gun robh smear-conaig an fheidh ann an carraig an dubh-staimh.

'Nuair a dh'ich iad sin, thug Garaidh an so smoisleachadh as, agus sios bha na boirionnaich air a mhuin, 's bha iad ag ràdh nan leigte 'bheo leis gun innste do na Fiantaichean am biadh a bh' acasan, 's nuair a gheibheadh na Fiantaichean a mach sin, cha-n fhàgadh iad maorach air traigh nan dubh-stamh ri cloich gun a thoirt as 'sa bhith 'ga bhruich. Bug iad an sin air Garaidh, 's rinn iad naoi gadan figheachain air a ghruaig, agus dh'fhuaigh iad ris an ùrlar ceann Gharaidh le naoi deilgnean daraich. Rug iad air a chlaidheamh aige fhèin gus an ceann a thoirt dheth. Thug e cruinn leum as, is lean craicionn a chinn agus a ghruag ris an urlar, agus dh'fhalbh e, 's cha robh mac bothaig' a bh' aig na Fiantaichean ann an Sleibbte nach do chuir e 'na theine.

Bha sneachd òg 'o 'n oidhche ann, 's chunnaic na Fiantaichean na bothagan 'nan teine, 's mach a ghabh Beatha, 's thug e 'n caolas air, 's chuir e 'n t-sleagh fo 'uchd, agus le 'chudthrom fhèin ann am miadhoin a chaolais, bhrist an t-sleagh, agus bhàthadh e, agus riamh 'o latha sin lean Caol-Reatha air a chaolas sin ; agus Caol-Arcainn—bhrist an t-sleagh le Area fo chudthrom, agus 'am miadhoin a chaolais bhàthadh e fhèin, agus 'o 'n latha sin tha Caol-Arcainn air a chaolas sin.

Thainig an so na Fiantaichean dhachaidh, 's cha robh bothag riamh a bh' aca nach robh 'nan teine.

"'Se," osa Fionn, "Garaidh dubh a rinn so."

Ach fhuair iad sràbh na fala 'bha 'cheann a' sileadh air an t-sneachd, agus lean iad sràbh na fala riamh gus an d'rainig iad bial uamha.

Bha Garaidh air a dhol a stigh 'an comhair a chàil, 's 'nuair a chaidh e stigh greis thionndaidh e aghaidh air ceann na h-uamha; agus ciod e 'rinn e ach gun d'rug e air calman, agus choisich e stigh astar beag eile, agus rug e air dà chalman eile. Chaidh e fhèin do cheann na h-uamha an sin; 's'nuair a thainig na Fiantaichean thun na h-uamha thuirt Fionn an so ri Aodh mac Gharaid : " Falbh agus thoir a mach d'athair as an uaimh ". Dh'fhalbh Aodh;'s nuair a chrom e thun na tràghad, thill e far an robh Fionn. " Tha lorgan m'athar," os esa, " a' falbh as an uaimh." " O falbh thusa," osa Fionn, '"s gum bu shuarach air miarailtean Gharaidh dhuibh a dhol a stigh 'an comhair a thòin." Chaidh Aodh a stigh, 's air dha 'dhol a stigh leig athair os calman, is thill Aodh an so a mach far an robh Fionn, agus thuirt e ris : " Nam biodh m'athairse 's an uaimh nach biodh calman beo innte." " 0 falbh thusa," osa Fionn, "'s bu shuarach air miarailtean Gharaidh dhuibh breith air calman beò innte." Chaidh Aodh an so a stigh, 's air greis dha 'dhol a stigh leig athair as na dhà còmhla. Thill Aodh gu Fionn, is thuirt e ris : " Ged a bheireadh m'athair air calman cha bheireadh e air a tri bheò."

" Falbh thusa," osa Fionn, " agus thoir a mach d'athair." Dh'fhalbh e sin, is fhuair e athair ann an ceann-shuas na h-uamha.

" Suithad a nis Aoidh," osa Fionn, " is thoir an ceann bhar d'athar le Mac-a'-Luin." " 'Bheil idir," os Aodh, "gin ann a bheir an ceann bhar m'athar ach mise."

" Cha-n 'eil," osa Fionn. " Bheir thusa dheth e, is gheibh thu d'iarrtas."

"Ma gheibh mise m'iarrtas," os Aodh, "cuirj thusa ceann m'athar air do shliasaid. "'H

Cha do dh-fhàg Mac-a'-Luin fuigheall beuma riamh 'chaidh m'a choinneamh. Nan cuireadh Fionn ceann Gharaidh air a shliasaid reachadh Mac-a'-Luin tromh shliasaid Fhinn, 's bha lionn! bho fheum an uair sin.

"'N ta," os na daoine, " cladhaichidh sinne fad agus liad cas Fhinn anns an tràigh. Cuiridh sinnj tri sailthean daraich air muin cas Fhinn, agus cuiridh sinn ceann Gharaidh air muin nan saill thean." Rinneadh sin, agus rug Aodh mac Ghar-j aidh air Mac-a'-Luin is tharrainn e e, 's chuir e 'ni ceann bhar athar, is chaidh e tromh na tri sailthean] gus na choinnich an tràigh barr Mhic-a'-Luin.j Ghabh Aodh an sin misg-chatha, is dh'fhaigh-1 neachd e de dh-Fhionn: " Co air a dhiùghlas mil mo chath?"

"Diùghlaidh," osa Fionn, "air an làn sin a tighinn a stigh."

Thòisich Aodh an uair sin air an làn air ciad! lionadh gu ciad tràghadh, is thuit a fhèin marbh] an sin air ciad tràghadh.

'S e sin an rud bu duilghe le Fionn a rinn e riamh—an gaisgeach a b'fhearr a bh' aige a churl mu làr.

A. McD.


NORMAN DAVIE

The necessity for grave and cautious narrative in connexion with the early history of our country is nowhere more apparent than with respect to thè] reign of David I., whose long tenure of the regal] authority and whose eventful life mark him out as one of the most interesting and important of our kings. Perhaps no reign has, on the whole, been more " scientifically " treated of, during recent years, than that of the first David. The importance of his reign, from the historical point of view, has been freely admitted, and science has united with letters to place the more prominent of the events associated with this period in as certain and con­spicuous a light as possible. The motives which inspired his conduct, the principles on which, allowing for some inconsiderable deviations—the unmistakable consequences of certain weaknesses and defects in his character—he invariably acted, have been traced with a fidelity, and exposed with a skill, which are highly flattering to science. The vain imaginings, false chronology, and worse reason­ing of the earlier historians have been unceremon­iously swept aside, and in their place we find ;nothing but well-balanced, well-ordered narrative, sober and eminently truthful in tone—the produc­tion of writers who have evidently been at great pains to make themselves thoroughly acquainted with their subject, and to advance nothing that will not stand the tests which modern criticism is in a position to apply to everything designed to pass for history. Authentic Scottish history, indeed, may safely be said to begin with the reign of David I., for though there is a sufficiency of material before that period out of which to construct a connected and fairly reliable narrative, yet so many of the essential 1 details are lacking, or are hopelessly obscured by collateral events and circumstances (which are in themselves of uncertain origin and debatable tendency), that however learned, sagacious, pains­taking, conscientious and intuitive the historian, his historical efforts must necessarily be largely in the nature of guess-work.

But, with the accession of David to the throne of Scotland, our historical doubts and disabilities largely disappear. The stage is cleared for the first time of the misty and semi-mythical person­ages with which, before that event occurred, it was inconveniently crowded, to the very obvious con­fusion of our senses, and to the marked undoing of our understandings. Even as Earl of Huntingdon, there is something refreshingly substantial about David; and the inscription on his seal, Sigillum Davit Comitis Anglorum Regine Fris, comes as a veritable ray of light athwart the well-nigh impene­trable gloom of the preceding centuries. Feudal though he was, Norman though he was, one cannot but be grateful to him for his substance; and though the gratitude may wear off, and resent­ment and indignation arise in its room, as the drama proceeds and the King's true political character is revealed, yet the weary, disconsolate and baffled historian of the preceding reigns is obliged to allow with a sigh that, even if only on account of his tangibility, posterity certainly owes something to David.

It is unlikely that the sons of St. Margaret and Malcolm the Great would have received their education in England had their parents survived their children's infancy. It will be remembered that at the time of the Scottish Queen's death, Edgar Atheling, the evil genius of his family, "gathered her sons and daughters together, and brought them secretly to England for the purpose of being privately educated by their mother's relatives "? This extremely injudicious step would



Share with your friends:
1   ...   41   42   43   44   45   46   47   48   ...   61


The database is protected by copyright ©sckool.org 2019
send message

    Main page