The church and the highlands



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1 This, however, proves nothing as a basis for constructing a theory of sovereignty; for the petty reguli of the various provinces and districts of Ireland are invariably styled righrean or "kings" by the Irish genealogists, though, of course, they were very far from possessing or even claiming sovereign rights and powers.

21 give here for the reader's convenience a short pedigree or "tree" of the Moravian Mormaera, beginning with Euadri son of Donald, the first "recorded" Mormaer of that province. Euadri

I I

Finlay

d. 1020 Malbride

MacBeth

1040-1058 Malcolm

d. 1029 Gilcomgain

Lulach d. 1058
Aodh or Heth Malsnechtan
Earl of Moray
remitted his exactions as sovereign in unsettled times and under a disputed succession to the throne of Scotland; whilst Malsnechtan son of Lulach remitted his as actual occupant of the Scottish throne, after the death of MacBeth.

The rest of the names in entry No. 2 in The Book of Deer do not call for extended remark. I regard Domnall son of MacDubbacin, and Cathal, as Mormaer and Toiseach of Buchan, respectively, t'aiunech son of MacDobarcon (which last name U probably a faulty rendering of the above-men­tioned MacDubbacin) I consider as next—next in order of mention, not of succession, of course— Mormaer of Buchan ; and Cainnech and Domnall as Mormaers in the sentence which brings the grants in entry No. 2 to a conclusion.

The succession to the Buchan Mormaership, from Bede the Pict down to Cainnech, and the names and titles of these who remitted their ex­actions or confirmed the grants of subordinate rulers may be conveniently summarised as follows. It should be borne in mind, however, that the affix of "Pict" to the name of Bede does not imply any racial change in the later succession to this dignity.

Dr. Stuart, however, evidently regarded Bede " the Pict" as of different race to that of the Mor­maers of a later date. " When Columba and Drostan appeared in Buchan," he says,1 "it is probable that the country was governed by an under-king of the Pktish race; and it is not unnatural that one writing at a later period, when the name of Pict had died out, should refer to the fact of his lineage as a distinguishing mark." But the change from
1 Preface, lxxv. The Booh of Deer.

Malcolm Mac Aodh or Heth Angus Earl of Moray


"Pict" to Gael is better expressed by Mr. Robertson, who observes, "From the opening of the tenth century, the ancient name of Pict, gradually dying out, was superseded by the more familiar appellation of Scot "}

When St. Columba came to Buchan the natives of that part of the country had evidently not yet discarded their primitive custom of painting their bodies; and it was doubtless the recollection of this circumstance that led to this ruler's being styled "the Pict" by the clerics of a much later age, to whom, of course, this curious practice was unknown, save through the channel of tradition.

" The office of the Mormaer," says Dr. Stuart, " was expressive of a more direct dependence on the Ard-righ than had been the case with the provincial ruler; but as the royal representative in the district over which he ruled, he naturally combined with his stewardship some of the functions of the earlier rulers, such as the leadership of the provincial subsidies in the King's host. It would be the policy of the supreme King to continue the administration of the provinces in the families of the former rulers, where that was possible ; and the natural tendency of Celtic institutions towards hereditary tenures (as instanced in the case of many of the thanes) would in time practically confine the office to the descendants of the first Mormaers, although, doubt­less, with the royal sanction." This theory touching the character of the office of Mormaer finds con­siderable confirmation in history ; for as Dr. Stuart observes, " it is thus that we can account for the numerous estates throughout Pictland held in demesne by the Kings of Alba, which appear in

1 Scotland under her early Kin^s, vol. i., p. 23.

the records of later times, out of which they founded monasteries and endowed churches ".

It is not a little singular, however, that the history of the most powerful of these Mormaerships, that of Moray, supplies us with evidence which cannot be taken otherwise than as invalidating this theory or at all events considerably obscuring it. The Moray Mormaers could hardly have been King's officials, inasmuch as that province was not annexed to the Scottish crown until the reign of David I. Dr. MacBain is inclined to think1 that the word Mormaer is the Gaelic rendering of a "Pictish" (i.e., previously existing Gaelic) appella­tion, now lost, like nearly everything else belonging to that mysterious people; and whilst believing that the theory of a separate Pictish nationality cannot be supported by a reference to the ascer­tained facts of history, I am inclined to think that possibly Dr. MacBain is here right. "Dubucan, Mormaer of Angus"2 (a.d. 939), is the earliest reference that we have to this dignity in a purely Scottish work; though in the well-known Annals of Ulster Mormaers are spoken of as a separate class as early as a.d. 917,3 by which time, as Dr. Stuart very justly observes, considerable progress had been made in the work of consolidating the Kingdom under the rule of a supreme head. " The royal lands," says Dr. Stuart, " appear to have been under the charge of a Maer or Steward, and when a new province was annexed to the crown, it was subjected to the government of an official called
1 See his admirable Excursus and notes to Skene's Scottish Highlanders.

5 Chronicles of the Picts and Scots.

3" But neither their King, nor any of the Mormaers, fell by him."

Mormaer or great Steward, coming in place of the ' King' who had formerly been to some extent an independent ruler; and it is only after the period of the national consolidation that the term of Mormaer occurs in the Annals, as applied to provincial rulers; while in Galloway and Lothian, which were not annexed to Alba till after the period of the Mormaers, no such officers appear." It seems probable, therefore, on the whole, that the word Mormaer is a later rendering of a pre­viously existing Gaelic appellation, though its application to the Moray rulers cannot be con­sidered otherwise than as singularly inappropriate and unfortunate inasmuch as they retained their independence to the last; and so much so that perhaps the greatest surprise which history could present us with would be to find these Princes in the capacity of officers or servants to their rivals the Kings of Alba, acting as " royal deputies" in their behalf, and " retaining the third part of the royal revenue and prerogatives". The official character of this dignity is, however, sufficiently apparent from the composition of the word itself, and in spite of the apparent discrepancy presented in the case of the Moray rulers, we may safely infer that the Mormaer was certainly to some limited extent at least a royal official, and that his title represented some compromise between an earlier independence (under a different appella­tion) and a partial subjection to the authority of the Ard-righ, brought about by conquest. For my part, I am inclined to believe that the earlier Mormaers were simply provincial (and practically independent) kings, who stood in the same relation to the Ard-righ as the provincial rulers of Ireland did with respect to their own supreme head. The introduction of the theory of a separate Pictish nationality into the history of Scotland is an unnecessary source of confusion, and as tending greatly to aggravate and multiply the difficulties we already labour under with regard to the earlier problems connected with our race is much to be deprecated. The so-called "Pictish" system of government was a transparent imitation of the Irish, to say the least of it; and the introduction (from Ireland) of the monastic principle of Church government into the Pictland supplies the strongest possible proof that the resemblance was as real as it was apparent. If, as some contend, the Pictish system of government, though resembling the Irish, yet was not the same, is it not a little singular that, when Christianity was introduced into " Pictland," the rulers of that country did not assimilate its constitution to native principles ? The Pietish power was then at its height; and nothing could have been easier than to stamp, as it were, the native Church with the Pictish hall-mark. The neglect of so obvious a precaution is, in the circumstances, highly significant; and is an important addition to the many irrefragable proofs which conspire to prove that the theory of a separate Pictish nation­ality is little short of myth.

The rule of succession exemplified by these entries is that known as " Pictish";1 but the alternate mode of succession—here very strikingly illustrated —was also observed in Ireland, and indeed uni­versally among the Celts. Continuous succession was practically unknown among the Gaels of Scot­land until the introduction of the feudal system,

1The so-called " Pictish " rule or system of succession seems to have been simply Celtic succession plus an overlayer of custom derived from aboriginal sources.

300 The Book of Deer: Entry No. 2

the supremacy or chiefship, in those early times,] being vested in the tribe of the land, and thq chiefship and dignity attached to it was usually confined to the male descendants of the tribe,] although the succession, if refused to a brother or uncle, passed over the more immediate heir to] settle upon a more distant but more powerful agnate. Thus, the apparent discrepancies pre-] sented in the following list, from the point of view' of the feudal system of continuous succession, cam supply no adequate ground on which to base a theory of interrupted or "foreign" succession.

mormaers of BuCHAN

Bede the Pict. Comgeall. Matain.

Domnall son of Girec. Cathal.

Domnall son of Ruadri. Domnall son of MacDobarcon. Cainnech.
Mormaers of Moray

Malcolm son of Malbride. Malsnectan son of Lulach.
King of Scotland (Alba)

Malcolm son of Kenneth (Malcolm II).

F. S. A

301


Guthan on Taobh Thall

GUTHAN O'N TAOBH THALL
" Fhtr-Dheasaiche Ionmhuinn,

" Fhuair mi bhur litir maduinn an dè, agus gu fior thug i mor aoibneas dhomh. 'S [taitneach a sgeul do na cridhichean Gàidhealach a tha 'g aidmheil a chreidimh a fhuair a sinnsreadh bho Chalum-Cille gu'm beil paipeir-naigheachd ac' la nis dhaibh-fhein; paipeir anns a leugh iad a chainnt's an deachaidh an creideamh a theagasg air thus air feadh nan garbhchrioch.

" 'S ged tha sinne air taobh eile a chuain, fada, 'fada 0 Thir an Fhraoich, tha a Ghaidhlig air ar teanganaibh, agus blath nar cridhichean tha an creideamh a fhuair sinn o na gaisgich a chaidh fhuadach bho'n dachaidh ghaoil air aobhar an dleasnas 's an dillseachd. Agus, bheannaich Dia, iad-fhèin's an sliochd Ios gum beil ann an Canada seachd Easbuigean do'n cinneadh; agus ged is sloinneadh Frangach a th'aig fear dhuibh, an t-Ard-Urramach Tearlach Eobhann Gauthier, D.D., Ard-Easbuig Baile'n-Righ, labhraidh e gu finealta a Ghaidhlig, cainnt a mhathar-sa. Anns an sgireachd so fhein, sgireachd Antigonish, tha againn air thùs agus air thoiseach an t-Easbuig Camshron, Gaid­heil a dhlùth 's a uachdar, a choisinn cliu dha'-chinnidh's dha chreidimh air feadh na dutha gu leir, agus maille ris ceithear fichead sagart's a tri, 's dhiubh so 's Gaidheil leth-cheud 's a h-ochd, agus bruidhnidh iad so uile gu leir Gaidhlig, ach aon fhear a thainig a Albainn I Bheir so dearbhadh [dhuibh air cho Gaidhealach 's a tha Albainn Ur, 's air cho laidir's a tha 'n Creideamh Caitliceach n'ar measg.

" 'S beag an t-ioghnadh ma tha ged a bheirea-maid failte chridheil do Ghuth na Bliadhna, agus cha'n'eil teagamh 'n uair a gheibh sinn a mach ma dheidhinn gun cuir moran a dh-iarraidh a phaipeir mar tha mise 'deanadh an drasda.

" Bhur caraid dileas,

" domhnuill M. MacEamuinn.

" Chukch op the Saobed Heabt, " Sydney, Cape Beeton, " Canada.

" Latha Bealltuìnn, 1904."
" Fhir-dheasachaidh,

"Tha cabhag orm failte a chuir air Guth na Bliadhna. Cuiribh sios m'ainm an drasd, agus cuiribh ugam, ma 's urrainn dhuibh, dusan eiseamplair gus a bhith ga fheuchainn do fheobhainn eile, gus an cuir iad eòlas air. Bu choir dhuibh iomad fear-gabhail fhaighinn ann Canada. A rèir chunntas-chuinn 1901, bha 2,228,997 Caitliceaich ann Canada. Dhiu seo, bhuinneadh 129,578 do dh'Alba Ur. De'n thuile seorsa, bha 142,207 ann Alba Ur de Ghàidheil. Tha leth co dhiu de'n aireamh seo 'nan Caitliceaich. Tha Caitliceaich eile gu leòr dhiu ann an Eilean Prionns' Eideard. Tha crathadh math cuideachd anns na mòr-roin-nean eile. Tha mar sin aireamh nach beag anns an tir-àiteachas seo, dha'm bu choir gabhail ri Guth na Bliadhna gu cairdeil. 'S Caitliceaich iad do fhriamh Albannach, agus 'sann gu math an t-sheann Chreideamh anns an t-sheann tìr fhathast a clo-bhualadh, gun teagamh, thig iomad copi thar cuan.

" Slàn leibh an drasd, agus buaidh's piseach air Guth na Bliadhna.

" Gàidheal Caitligeach Canadach."

" Dear Sir,

"It was with a very lively satisfaction and pleasure that I heard of the recent founding of your periodical in far-away Scotland—the land of glens, and bens, and heroes! Victory and long life to you, and to all who are engaged in the noble task of preserving the Faith, and in spreading the cult of the tongue of our forefathers! I fancy you will have a truly ' warm reception' in Canada, where are so many members of our Faith who know Gaelic and use it habitually. We all like to have news from the old country, even although it is the case with many of us that we have no actual ties connecting us with old Alba. Still the sentiment exists, and that is a powerful thing to conjure with, and one which should stand you in good stead this side of the Aiseag Mòr, as I sincerely hope you will discover before Guth na Bliadhna is many quarters older.

" About four years ago I made a visit to your Scotland—it was the first time that ever I had set foot on Scottish {your Scottish) soil—and right pleased was I with the kindly reception which I everywhere met with. Truly, although you may be a little slow-moving and old-fashioned, yet you have not forgotten your ancient hospitality. I was most kindly received by every one, who seemed to take a very great pride and pleasure in showing me what there was to be seen, and in satisfying my somewhat exorbitant curiosity respecting things which appeared to me novel or strange.

" And now for a little criticism—not as to your Review, which I think is admirable, but as to the attitude of some of you across the broad Atlantic. In many parts of Scotland which I visited whilst on my grand tour, I was surprised, and not a little

g

disappointed, to find that most of you were not at all enthusiastic about the Gaelic. To me, of course, this seemed strange, as I had come to Scotland expecting to find you all just as one gathers from reading history—full of fire and enthusiasm, ardent Celts, and, perhaps, if the truth must be confessed, still a trifle Jacobitical at heart! You see, our notions of what Scotland is are derived, not from actual experience, but from books, which, whether mistakenly or not, certainly give a stranger the impression that you have but to cry ' Prince Charlie !' to a Highlander and he will forthwith ' rise,' or at all events do something startling! No doubt my notions regard­ing Scotland were somewhat highly coloured in consequence of my reading; but, making all due allowances for exaggeration, I cannot help thinking that the attitude of many of you in Scotland re­garding your language and country leaves a good deal still to be desired. Too many of you are cool, or at all events only lukewarm, upon the most vital and essential points. If it could be proved that the language is a bar to material progress then there would be some excuse for what some of you think and do not hesitate to say. But with uo, as with you and the Irish—those noble fellows who preserve their Faith and nationality at all costs—experience shows that so far from being an obstacle to worldly progress the Gaelic language is a great assistance. If, then, you can make it of use to you whilst at the same time preserving your nationality, why uselessly and needlessly cast it aside? This neglecting—if not despising—of the Gaelic language, for purely selfish purposes, is to us Canadians a species of snobbery incompre­hensible and rank. We are proud to have our

Faith—we are proud to preserve our language. We are a free and independent people—true sons of the Gael who were driven across the Aiseag Mòr to make room for sheep and Saxon herds— and we do not understand the sort of timid, servile attitude of some of you in Scotland. But we have a way of accounting for this which, if not very flattering to some of you, is consolation to our­selves. ' These men, we say, who ignorantly despise the Gaelic and go about to prove themselves English­men, are not real Celts at all—they are merely the descendants of the men whom harsh laws and tyrannical landlords imposed on the Highlands when we were driven out.' It is surely true that the best blood has left the Highlands and is now to be found in Canada, where the national senti­ment is strong and the Gaelic is flourishing because we remember the days of our ancestors and follow hard on the heels of their customs,, as our own Gaelic saying urges us to do.

" But this was four years ago, and peradventure by now the weak of your flesh have girded up their loins somewhat, and are less obsequious and timid (and more intelligent, let me hope) than tkey were when I was in old Alba of the Swords. The noble example of Ireland—the Catholic cradle of our race—should surely have done something to stimulate and to quicken your feeble members. We hear a good deal of the Irish efforts, but com­paratively little (if anything) of yours; but now that Guth na Bliadhna has come, crying with a loud voice, though but in a wilderness, as it were, at first, without a doubt, in no long space of time, the Celtic Renaissance, thanks to your efforts, will be assured. Let me encourage you by saying that there are eyes, as well as hands, across the Aiseag

Mòr; and that your endeavours will strike a re­sponsive chord in every loyal Canadian's heart The freedom which we enjoy is perhaps incom­prehensible to you, who are hide-bound and tape-bound in a manner calculated to make a Gaelic Canadian more than laugh; but we have warm hearts and open minds. The sympathies of our race are lively within us ; we know your difficulties, and we appreciate them, and where the effort to overcome them is strenuous and continuous, rest assured that Gaelic Canada will be the first to cry ' Well done!'

" Remember, however, that I write, not as one having authority, but merely as one of many scribes who will doubtless not hesitate to wel­come you. What I say, however, is generally felt throughout Alba Ur. We want to see Scotland come into this movement, as zealously and as numerously as the Irish have done, and still are doing. We would like to see the ties between Scot and Irishman drawn tighter—too long have we been strangers one to another, and too long have the evils of a want of proper understanding between the two peoples kept us uselessly apart. I am glad to observe that Guth na Bliadhna at least is sensible of the importance of this union, and is already giving expression to the belief which evidently inspires its conductors—namely, that in the coming struggle for national existence Ireland and Scotland should stand side by side. Differ­ences of religion have hitherto to a great extent kept us apart—let us sink them where they con­spire to preserve the want of connexion and sym­pathy between us, and foment and encourage all that tends to draw us together. There are many thousands of Scots Catholics in Canada, between whom and their Irish co-religionists, here at home and abroad, there is a complete understanding and sympathy; and though it may be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a Scots Protestant to become a Nationalist, yet who can doubt but that when the hour comes and things now only faintly imagined or dreamed of are set in a clear light, being actually put to the test, the Scots Protestant, encouraged and edified by the example of his Catholic countrymen will draw near to the realisation of his dreams and hopes with the same lively feelings of joy, satisfaction and enthusiasm as will undoubtedly fill the breasts of his fellow-labourers under the glorious dispensation which, I trust in God, Providence has in store for them. For is not the key to the whole position the ultimate triumph of Catholicism, which implies the downfall of the existing condition of things %

" I apologise for this lengthy dissertation, whose only excuse is the interest I take in your affairs; and believe me to be (one amongst many) a well-wisher to Guth na Bliadhna, and

"A Canadian.

" Cape Bbeton, " Canada, Ist July, 1904."

[The above is a translation of another Gaelic letter received from Canada. We insert it in Eng­lish for the benefit of our English readers.—Ed.]

Guth na Bliadhna
leabhar i.] AM FOGHAE, 1904. [aireamh 4.

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.



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