The church and the highlands

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inhabitants to fly to the woods, and leave their houses to the mercy of their oppressors." Even the daughters of kings and queens were not safe from the " lawless insolence" of the Norman invaders of England. Ead Hist. Novell., 7, 3, p. 56.

'Thus the sluagh, or hosting, was retained side by side with feudal service, and the Sheriff, a startling innovation on ancient Celtic custom, was only introduced by degrees. Even charters (which David introduced into Scotland) were but a natural and inevitable outgrowth of the Celtic custom of record­ing grants of land, etc., in the form of written memoranda, it might plausibly be argued. How often have we read of the " Celtic chief" who disdained to hold his lands by mere " sheep­skin," and, when requested to prove his right, pointed proudly to his sword as supplying the only title he could condescend (0 own! This action on the part of the " Celtic chief" has frequently been referred to as if the hero of the anecdote, in so basing his pretensions, was acting in accordance with pre­scriptive Celtic right and custom—a belief which is as groundless as it is absurd, as those best know who have given their attention to the subject of Celtic tenures, and are familiar with the very exact and strict terms on which cian lands were held. Our "Celtic chief," if, indeed, such he really was, must have been some unconscious but feudalised imitator of the " polished Normans," for in the 13th century, when Earl Warenne was called upon to produce the title by which he held his lands, he laid his sword upon the table, " nor [says Robertson, note to p. 285, vol. i.] can the few remaining holders of lands, which their ancestors possessed at the date of Domesday, show any other title than that of the great Earl".

be written to prove that much of David's handi­work was superficial, and that some of the changes which he affected appear more considerable on paper than they were so in fact. However much an innovator he may have been, however radical his reforms, he was, after all (by blood at least), a Celtic monarch, governing a people who were, and still are, principally Celtic. And though these circumstances are not to be taken as tend­ing in any way to lessen the importance of the changes which he made—much less as conspiring to alter or modify their revolutionary character-yet they deserve to be mentioned, inasmuch as they serve to show the insidious nature of the King's innovations, the often crafty manner in which they were introduced, their comparatively slow growth, the weakness and helplessness of the Celtic people under the species of national betrayal to which they were subjected, and the struggle between principle and a feeling of personal loyalty1 to one of a Celtic race of kings which the people and their leaders must have undergone before these so-called reforms were finally accom­plished.

But David's education at a foreign court not only did not spare his age—it did not spare his country and posterity. The mischiefs of Norman rule, of the practical absolutism and tyranny which feudalism favoured, were apparent enough, in their inceptive and rudimentary stages at least
1 Ailred says that David was " beloved by the Scots, and terrible only to the men of Galloway ". Some of the sanguinary events of David's reign hardly bear out this former assertion. Twice had David to fight for his crown and life against his loving Scots, who repeatedly rose against him and his successors in prosecution of their efforts to throw off the feudal yoke.

even in this King's reign; but the full bitterness of the chalice of which he but quaffed a little was reserved for his unfortunate successors upon the throne of Scotland. David, indeed, was the pattern upon which, without an exception, I believe, our royal "makers" of Scotland deliber­ately formed themselves. The novel principles of government which he introduced were precisely those which his successors sedulously set them­selves to extend and to amplify, if not for the mere sake of acquiring that deplorable chimera of absolute power at which undoubtedly they aimed, and which, in the end, involved them­selves in destruction, and conspired to undo their country as a nation, at least under the mistaken notion that by fostering feudalism and encouraging the plantations at the expense of the Gael they could hope to govern the country independently of the true owners of the soil, and of the highly constitutional and moderate system of government favoured by them. For my own part, I acknow­ledge myself here no blind admirer of what is known as the "Celtic system" of government; nor am I in any way concerned to show myself a supporter of that people at all costs and at all hazards. Doubtless, many of their institutions were defective, just as many of their actions have been reprehensible. The weakness of the Celtic system lay in its preference—amounting almost to a mania—for divided responsibility, and in its defective machinery for regulating the law of descent, and the acquisition and retention of landed property.1 But these two defects, grave

The weak spot in the Celtic system of government was its inevitable tendency to shed, much as a snake sheds its skin, such as were unable to claim recognised political rights, by reason

and important though they were, might have been remedied by a sovereign possessing half the ability and a quarter the resolution and courage which David undoubtedly possessed. His coming to Scotland and his accession to the throne were, politically considered, a misfortune
of their inability to establish the necessary degree of relationship between themselves and the Senior of their family. " The dis­tant kinsman," says Eobertson (vol. i., p. 250), "removed beyond the limit of the privileged branches of the family, was ever ready to dedicate his sword to the service of the Senior of his race, and was quartered upon the peasantry of the district as an Amas or Bannach, a member of the Arimannia or Hird; for he was always certain of a welcome in an age in which the numbere of such a following, useless unless for purposes of aggression, were the source and evidence of a chieftain's power. Expansion thus became a vital necessity, the very numbers of a kindred, which entailed the obligation, generally ensuring success in their encroachments on a weaker neighbour; and the same causes that impelled one German tribe on another, or precipitated them in one mighty wave upon the Eoman frontier, ensured a normal state of warfare amongst the Celts." Another weak spot in the Celtic polity was its system of alternate succession to the throne, which, however, was not purely elective, as is frequently supposed, but was subject to that principle in certain circumstances only— surely a truly admirable and statesmanlike provision on the part of a people who had already made considerable progress in the art of governing when, politically speaking, they were prematurely cut off. The object of this law was to guard against minorities, which have proved so disastrous in Scottish history, as well as in those of other countries. The almost feverish anxiety displayed by David on the death of his son to secure the acceptance of his grandson by sending him on tour through­out his Gaelic dominions shows that the King was perfectly conscious of this glaring defect in the feudal system; and much of the blood spilled after his death, in the course of his Scottish subjects' repeated attempts to throw off the feudal yoke, was due to his unfortunate disregard of this excellent principle*. Verily, time brings its revenges. The very moderate form of Socialism, which was the basis of the Celtic system, has long supplied the starting-point from which successive " Conservative " governments have launched their remedial legislative measures!

for his country, which even his patriotism— mistaken though it was—cannot atone for. He was the first feudal sovereign of Scotland; he was the first to grasp at absolute power. He inaugurated the policy, so faithfully, even system­atically, followed by his successors, and especially by the disastrous Stuarts, of alternately oppressing and caressing his Gaelic subjects. He deliberately turned his back on what was admittedly good and worthy to be preserved in the old, in order to strike novelty and dismay into a people who despised innovation and hated change. The splendour of his reign, its daring success, have blinded posterity, just as they turned the heads, of his successors upon the throne of Scotland. Beneath all the glory, all the apparent prosperity which attended David's political mission—a mission which has received the unstinted praises of suc­cessive generations of historians—will be seen the seeds of decay, the undoubted beginnings of events whose culmination was synchronal with the down­fall of the monarchy, and with the disappearance of Scotland as a nation.

David had excellent qualities of heart and head. His genius was bright and penetrating; and his devotion to religion,1 and the many charit­able actions recorded of him, reveal his private character in a most engaging and favourable light. It was his political education that was at fault, and for this the unfortunate circumstances of his youth were, no doubt, mainly to blame. It requires an exceptionally strong character—a character certainly many degrees stronger than we know
1 David's relations with the Church will be the subject of my next essay.


Norman Davie

David's to have been—to surmount the prejudices of youth, and to discard preconceived notions touching the art of government, in order to embrace a line of public conduct to which breeding and education—to say nothing of temperament—are alike opposed. David came to the Scottish throne practically a foreigner ; and if he did not rise superior to the common weakness of regarding as inferior that which is strange and unfamiliar to us, we must blame his early circumstances, and those who were responsible for them, rather than the King himself, especially as David had acquired the throne largely through the agency of those whose favourite principles of government he subsequently introduced and enforced, and whose instrument, if not whose puppet, he certainly was. For the Gael of Scotland, however, it cannot truthfully be said that the reign of this sovereign is likely to be held in grateful remembrance. By aggrandising the Lothians and enriching the south­ern portions of his dominions at the expense of the native population, he did our race an irreparable injury. He was the first King of Scotland who created the existing distinction between "High­lands " and " Lowlands," thereby laying the foundations of centuries of mutual strife and resentment, of bloody reprisals, confusion, and anarchy. The policy of David was, indeed, dis­astrous to the Highlands. It checked at once the political growth, and injured, if it did not positively destroy, the civilisation of Celtic Scot­land, which, with the reign of David, began to enter upon its downward course. The fearful state of anarchy existing in the Highlands throughout the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is directly attributable

Fuadach an t-Shluaigh 235

to the effects of David's mischievous system of rule, and to his own and his successors' unfortunate efforts to force feudalism on their Celtic subjects. Much has been said of late touching the " making of Scotland," by which euphonious phrase I suppose we are to understand the "making" of Lowland Scotland, though even there, despite the evidences of prosperity, there is little to encourage a lover of his country, and an admirer of the Divine maxim that man does not live by bread alone. But if the Highlands also are intended, the pitiable insufficiency, striking inappropriateness, and hollow mockery of the sounding phrase are at once apparent. From the accession of David down to the extinction of the last Jacobite rising in 1746, the history of the Highlands is a history of retrogression—a tale of bloodshed and rapine, anarchy and misrule; and from the defeat at Culloden down to the present day the history of the Highlands is a narrative of despair—a tale of poverty and woe, of blighted hopes and disap­pointed aspirations, of dwindling populations, and decreasing intelligence, of promises unfulfilled and expectations unrealised.

H. M.


" Cha till mi tuille ". Cha'n eil ann port a chluich-eas a phiob cho tiamhaidh ris a phort so, gu sonraichte, n'uair a tha am f ear-ciuil a toirt soraidh dhaimhsan a tha' cuir cùl gu brath ri duthaich an gaoil an aghaidh an toil. 'S ioma sealladh bronach a chunnaic an fheadhainn a thainig mar a thainig

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Fuadach an (Shluaigh


sinne anns gach cearna do'n Ghaidhealtachd, air tir-mor, cho mhath agus anns na h-Eileannan. Chaidh an sluagh a chuir air falbh as an duthaich ge b'oil leo, le uachdarain ghionach, shanntach, chruaidh-chridheach. Agus cha b'e leasachadh air a chuis gu'n robh Ard-luchd-riaghlaidh na rioghachd, cha'n ann gu dearbh a bacadh a leithid so do ghiulan, ach a brosnachadh nan uachdarain agus a toirt a h-uile cothrum dhaibh gus an ain­gidheachd so a chuir an ghniomh gu neo-thoirteil. Ach chi sinn ciod a b'aobhar do 'n droch-bheart so.

Mu dheireadh na h-Ochda-Linn-diag, agus aig toiseachd na Linn-so-chaidh, bha Breatunn a cogadh an aghaidh America agus an aghaidh na Frangach anns a Spainnd, agus ann am Flanders, air chor agus deachaidh stad a chuir air malairt eadar Breatunn agus na duthchannan ad. Ciod a thachair? Tha thath 's bhuil! Dheirich prisean bathair anns an duthaich. Mheudaich luach muilt-fheoil agus mart-fheoil agus ioma seorsa de mharsantachd eile. So agad cothrom nan uachdarain! " Cuiridh sinn air falbh an sluagh, ni sinn frith agus fasach dhe'n duthaich, fuadaichidh sinn an sluagh as gach gleann agus strath, as gach eilean agus machair, -agus nan aite cuiridh crodh agus spreidh, meanbh-chrodh agus feudail. Bheir sinn dachaidh cio­bairean gallda, agus caoirich mhora, agus ni sinn ar fortan, oir 'cha'n e h-uile latha 'bhios mòd aig Mac-an-Toisaich,' gheibh sinn a nis prisean mora"

Bha na h-uachdairain dileas do'n droch-bheachdsa. 'S gann gu bheil cearna dhe'n Ghaid­healtachd as nach d'fhuadaich iad an sluagh na' miltean. Chaidh na fogaraich thruaghe so thairis do dh' Astralia, do Chanada, do dh' Alba Nodha, do New Zealand, do Charolina agus do Staidean eile ann an America, agus tha an dachaidhnean aig an tigh an diugh nan lairaichean anns gach cearna do'n duthaich.

Gabhamid a nis dur-bheachd air a ghnothach so. Breithnaichaidhmid air doille, air aineolas agus air dorchadas-inntinn Ard-luchd-riaghlaidh na riog­hachd, a bha 'leasachadh a leithid do dhol a mach. Aig an àm air a bheil sinn bruidhinn, 's gann gu'n robh teaghlach anns a Ghaidhealtachd aig nach robh aona-mhac, agus coir uair dithis no triuir a leanailt an airm mar dhreuchd. Ach an deigh sin 's na dha dheth, 'n uair a bha iad a cogadh ann an armailt Bhreatunn, ann an tir-chein, agus a cogadh gu buadhar cuidachd, 'n uair a bha reisimeidean Gaidhealach a faighinn a leithid de chliu agus do mholadh thar chaidh airson an gaisgeachd, bha'n dachaidhnean ga'n losgadh thun a bhlair, an athair na sheann laitheann agus a mathair gaolach, am peathraichean agus am braith­rean ga'n fuadach a duthaich an sinnsireachd, ag eisdeachd ris a phort thiamhaidh "cha till mi tuille" 0! nach b'iad an sluagh gun tur ar luchd-riaghlaidh a bha 'leasachadh a leithid de dhiol a dhianadh air an t-shluagh. Nach math an airidh, gur gann a gheobhar an diugh gille Gaidhealach anns na reisimeidean Gaidhealach a fhuair a leithid de chliu 'n uair a bha gaisgeaich unnda. Cha'n fhaigh gu dearbh ach graisg lebidach nam bailtean mora, a tha tuilleadh's leisg airson cosnadh mur dhaoine onarach eile.

Neo-thaing dhaibhsan, mata, a dh'fhuadaich an sluagh as na glinn, agus as na h-eileannan, oir tha'n fheadhainn a dh'fhag an duthaichna na's cothrom­aiche an diugh, math dh'fhaodte, bhiodh iad, na'n robh fhathast aig an tigh. Ach c'aite bheil iadsan agus an sliochd a dh'fhuadaich an sluagh as an tir ? 'S gann gu bheil oighreachd air fad na Gaidheal-

238 Fuadach an t-Shluaigh

Fuadach an t-Shluaìgh 239

tachd ann an sealbh sliochd na feadhnach a chuirJ an sluagh air falbh as an tir. Chithear so anna gach siorramachd anns a Ghaidhealtachd—ann! an siorrachd Kois, Ionarnis, agus Arraghaidhealj Caite bheil sliochd nan uachdarean a bha ann am Muidart, ann an Arisaig, agus ann a Cnodart ann an Sleate, ann an Uibhist-a-chinne-Tuath, agus anm am Benabhaoil, ann an Uibhist-a-chinne-Deas, agus] ann an Erisgaidh, agus ann am Barraidh ? Dh'fhalbh! iad ! Thug iad an casan as ! Caite bheil sliochd! na feadhnach a chaidh fhuadach as Ghaidhealtachd?] Tha iad gu cothromach anns gach cearna de dhi Impireachd Bhreatunn!

Nach math agus nach buidh dhaibhsan gu'n! deachaidh am fuadach as an duthaich so ! Seadh'j ach thachair so mar a their na Romanaich " prseterj intentionem". Cha'n e math an t-shluaigh bha] miann nan uachdarean ach a mach fhein. Bha] iad cearta coma ciod a dh'eireadh ris an tuath! na biodh am pailteas de thiginn-a-stigh aca fhein! Seall, mar a thachair.

'S ann direach mar so a chraoibh-sgaoil Breatunni an Creideamh Catliceach anns gach cearna anns] labhairar a bheurla. Chaidh an sluagh fhuadach] a Eirinn, ach ma chaidh thug iad leo an Creil deamh do gach aite 's an deachaidh iad; ach cha] b'e so miann na feadhnach a chuir air falbh iad! Rach do Staidean America, do Chanada agus do] dh'Astralia fiach a faigh thu aon chreideamh] s'am bith is lionmhore na creideamh nan Eirion-3 nach.

. Feumaidh sinn aideachadh, gu bheil a reir coltais, cor na feadhnach a chaidh fhuadach, moran] na's fhearr, mar a 's tric, na cor na feadhnach a chaidh fhagail aig an tigh. Ged a tha gn leoin de dh'fhearan anns an duthaich so, miltean acaire fearainn fo fheidh agus fo mheanbh-chrodh, tha'n sluagh dol bàs le bochdainn fearainn.

Gus o chionn beagan bhliadhnachan, 's gann gu'n robh tighinn-beo idir aig na croitairean anns a Ghaidhealtachd. Bha mal trom, agus na dianadh a h-aon 's am bith fearas-taighe air croit, agus na'n togadh tigh ùr ^dha fhein, bha e an dara cuid an cunnart barlinn/sw) gu'n reachadh barrachd mail a chuir air. Ach a nis, taing do'n Fhreasdal, thainig atharrachadh mor air cuisean. Faodaidh iad fearas-taighe a thogaras iad a dhianamh air an criomag-fhearainn, faodaidh iad tighean ur a thogail dhaibh fhein, agus is ioma tigh grinn a chaidh a thogail o'n a fhuaras an t-shocair so, agus cho fad 's dhiolas iad a mal, cha'n eil comas aig uachdaran air thalamh aona chuid pris a mhail a thogail no barlinn a thoirt dhaibh.

Ach, mo thruaighe! Co a chunnaic riamh a leithid de dh'fhearann 's th'aca ri oibreachadh! mur a biodh iad dichioleach, trailleil, ga leasachadh le stamh, agus le rod is beag an toradh a bheireadh iad as an fhearann.

Dh'fhlabh an tuath as an tir. Chaidh a nead a chreach anns an deachaidh na gaisgaich arach a chuir Impireachd Bhreatunn ri cheile. Oir, c'aite am biodh ard-inbhe Bhreatunn an diugh mar a biodh dha' na reisimeidean Gaidhealach ? Co aige a bhiodh Innsean-an-arde-Ear, co aige a bhiodh Canada, co aige a bhiodh taomh deas Africa ?

0! doille agus dorochadas-inntinn ar n' Ard-luchd-riaghlaidh ! Gabhaidh mi dhanadas orm fhein, agus bheir mi comhairle thurail do mhuinn­tir na Parlamaid, agus their mi riuthe " Ma's miann leibh gu mair ard-inbhe Bhreatunn agus a h-Im-pireachd, thugaibh gu grad fearann dha'n t-shluagh anns a Ghaidhealtachd (oir tha gu leoir ann dheth);

agus araichaibh gaisgeaich a chogas air taomh Bhrea­tunn anns gach blar buadhach ". Thig an latha 'q uair a thilgeas na "Colonies" dhiu braighdeanas Bhreatunn direach, mar a rinn America roimh so. Ciod an taobh air am bi sliochd na feadhnach a chaidh fhuadach as an duthaich ? Am bi cuimhne aca air an diol a chaidh a dhianadh air an fheadh­ainn a thainig mar a thainig iadsan? Dh'fhalbh Impireachd na Greuge agus na Roimhe, agus falbh­aidh Impireachd Bhreatunn la air chor-eiginn. Gilleasba' Mac Dhomhnuil'ic Eobhain.


[By a Government Official] II.

The two great objections to agriculture as a panacea for the Highlands and Isles are climate and distance from profitable markets. No doubt, much might be done to obviate the latter—indeed not a little has already been effected in that direction by Government effort and private enterprise; but it has to be remembered that in proportion as these facilities improve, the corresponding facilities in the Lowlands (which, of course, are in a much more favourable situation as regards the principal markets) will likewise increase; so that whether the High­lands and Isles improve in this respect or not, the relative advantage will always be, as it now is, in the hands of the wealthy and highly trained agri­culturists of the Lowlands, who by reason both of temperament and training, are, as farmers, im­measurably superior to the Gaelic husbandmen of Scotland. But, as a matter of fact, the Highlands and Isles can never hope to compete at all success­fully with the farm-bred .inhabitants of the low coun­tries, whose principal industry has been agriculture for centuries past. They are too remotely situated from the great centres of population, too much broken up and intersected by frequent and tem­pestuous seas, and too poor and sparsely populated ever to make a great agricultural country, be the facilities of communication ever so good, the system of land tenure ever so favourable, and the backing of Government " departments " ever so persevering and lavish.

But there is yet another and perhaps a greater objection to agriculture as a panacea for the High­lands and Isles, which is climate. Now, no one who has not travelled in these countries (as the writer takes occasion to say that he has frequently done) can form any adequate notion as to the wretchedness (from an agricultural point of view, if not from that of mere personal comfort and con­venience and scenic beauty), of the really diabolical wretchedness, of this last. Especially in what is known as the Long Island, the weather, from the farmer's point of view, simply baffles description; and even throughout the Highlands and Isles in general the prevailing climatic conditions are un­favourable to agriculture in the extreme. If, then, to bad climate you add a sparsely populated country, an absence of capital, indifferent communications, foreign competition, a really deplorable want of elasticity in all the conditions and circumstances relating to an agricultural life, and—to judge of causes by their effects—a seemingly inherent distaste for this branch of industry, if not a positive inca­pacity for the same, how can you reasonably expect the Highlands and Isles to " enjoy their own again " by means of farming ? The idea is absurd, and it requires a member of Parliament, or one of the well-meaning but impotent and impractical folk mentioned above, to entertain it for a moment. As a judicious observer, writing in one of the public prints, sagaciously remarked: " People dispersed in separate hamlets, in a wide country without market towns of any considerable size or the same expe­ditious means of transport as obtain in the favoured Lowlands, have no means of converting their in­dustry to profit. If they are able to rear a scanty subsistence for themselves from the soil, they can scarcely in any case do more; and where the climate is indifferent, even that scanty subsistence is precarious. They have little or no inducement to rear more than enough in ordinary years, because they cannot hope to find a market for it at all proportionate to the effort required to raise even that little which they are enabled, by immense industry and untold care, to snatch from an inhospit­able climate and a stubborn and unfruitful soil For the same reason they cannot convert their industry in any way to profit. Perpetual poverty, therefore, must be the lot of these people; and, of course, they can neither afford to pay an adequate rent to the proprietor for the land they possess, nor pay any taxes so as to augment the revenue of the state."1

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