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The Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Chapter VII - Lochaber No More


FOR a century and a half claymore and dirk have rusted all over the Highlands, where ben and glen echo the report of breechloading guns, and the gaff gleams and the reel whirrs by loch or river. But peace, too, has her cruelties ; and some of the misery once brought into mountain glens by fierce raiders came again through spectacled and moralising economists, who with more or less good intentions displaced, shuffled, and banished a population deeply rooted in love of their Lochabers. Dr. Johnson foresaw in part what would result from the change of patriarchal community to business relations between dependants of whose inveterate troubles he was ignorant, and chiefs whom he found on the point of degenerating into "rapacious landlords." Another tourist, a generation later, remarked that clan, loyalty hung much on the fact of the people being tenants at will, and that long leases would put an end to the old dependence. Johnson was not so shrewd in judging that the people would haste to expatriate themselves as soon as they saw a way open to lands "less bleak and barren than their own." The Celt's love for his home and his hatred for change made the course of improvement to run rougher here than in the Lowlands. And the Highland "improvements," for which the ground was cleared by bayonets, brought little good to many of the people. They found it harder to pay rent in money than in blood and affection. Their chiefs proved as often selfishly exacting as the clansmen ignorant and obstinate. The white-faced sheep that nibbled away the romance of the Highlands were more the charge or the profit of intruding Sassenachs. Since the price of wool went down, sheep have much given way to deer, that profit no one but the owners of high- rented shootings, and keep cottars sitting up all night to guard their poor fields, preserved for the sport of absentee lords or purse-proud strangers, whose worst service to the country has been turning the free son of the mist into a well-fed menial, broken in to touch his hat for the tips he levies in lieu of blackmail. It is stated that the demoralescent Celt does not so much object to deer forests, as barring out his old enemy the sheep farmer, and as bringing into the country a class of men who spend freely, sometimes in the way of bribes given to secure good sport among herds that to a sportsman of Colquhoun's stamp seemed almost as tame as sheep.

The Highlander asked for bread, and his masters gave him sometimes stones and sometimes sovereigns. Not that his old masters had done much better for him, minus the sovereigns. If the Highlands had once a golden age, that was, as in other quarters of the world, before the day of facts and figures. I had gathered some thorny points to prick the bubble of an ideal state of society before the coming of the Sassenach; but the reader will find this better done in the last chapter of Mr. Andrew Lang's Companions of Pickle, showing what tyranny and savagery held together in that good old time of romance. The late Duke of Argyll's work on the former condition of Scotland, though written with a natural bias, is not to be sneered at by sentimentalists. And if readers wish evidence at first hand they may take a tour with Pennant or any of the early observers, who will show them what it was to be counted among the live stock of a paternal chief.

The sentimental quarrel is with civilisation, which all along has proceeded by ascertaining and enclosing rights of property. Socialism, which to us sounds new, is of course old as the hills, that once, after a manner, belonged to a whole clan in their different degrees of advantage, till some other sept could effectually evict them by fire and sword. There never was a time when the leader of the conquering troop did not get the best of what was going. The land held in his name he was in the way of giving out in large portions to his captains and kinsfolk, the "tacksmen" of Highland farms, who in turn sublet small holdings to the inferior clansmen, rent being paid in kind or in service to superiors, often arbitrarily oppressive, as seemed their right. The shortcomings of this economy were made up for by plunderings of neighbours, a feature not usually put into the foreground of Arcadian pictures, but so common and so perilous as to keep a regular check on prolific population. There was a general community of interests, of manners, of sympathy which smoothed down social differences. The humblest clansman, born or adopted into the guild, expected to be provided for somehow or other, while the chief's power and dignity depended on the number of "pretty men" he could keep about him. When the resources of plunder and blackmail were cut off, the mass of Highlanders had to live by cultivating small patches of poor land, as they did wastefully, idly, and unprofitably, usually on the old system of "runrig," by which a joint farm was tilled in common, but each ridge had its own occupier. As a rule they were practically tenants-atwill, holding directly or indirectly from the head of the clan.

Badly off as they were, the tenants obstinately withstood almost all attempts towards a better state of things. The improvements that in a century changed the face of Scotland and multiplied its wealth, came from lairds won over to economic science ; they could hardly have been carried out but by men who had risen above prejudices and were in a position to risk capital in experiments. In the Highlands, more obstinately than in the Lowlands, there was a deadlock between the ignorant conservatism of the lower class and the enlightened self-interest of the upper, who were sometimes so imperfectly enlightened as to show grasping haste to be rich, whatever became of those born to dependence on their fathers. On the other hand, unenlightened selfishness, good neither for man nor beast, came as natural to crofter as to laird, among a race noted for what Matthew Arnold calls its "passionate, turbulent, indomitable reaction against the despotism of fact."

These seem to be moral and historical facts. Then come the considerations of a science in our day much decried for dismal. I am not going to enter into vexed economical controversies. The subject of the Highland clearances offers a good many considerations on both sides. Sentimental arguments are nearly all on the side of the evicted ; but the evictors have much to say for themselves. The slovenly agriculture of the clans had to be schooled sooner or later. The pigheaded prejudices of those backward cultivators appears in the fact that their now indispensable potato was almost forced upon them. The sheep farming that ousted scanty and precarious crops paid best on a large scale. There are mountain wildernesses fit not even for sheepwalks, where deer-runs make as profitable employment as may be. It proved often a kind cruelty that drove thousands from their half-starved life to a more roomy lot in pastures new. But for this movement the Highlands would have shared the full horrors of the Irish famine, felt here also to some extent after the potato disease of 1846. The landlord need not be blamed for taking in cash an equivalent of the services and the personal loyalty lost to him through operation of law. Small tenants often did him as little good as for themselves. The gist of the whole question, indeed, is whether the land thrives best in the hands of any one grade of occupier, or whether there is not more room for all when large, middle-sized, and small proprietors or tenants are mingled as in other walks of life. That question I leave to those who have much to say on it. But this may be said by the weakest statistician, that the changes introduced into the Highlands were often carried out with a haste and harshness specially painful in the case of a race so inapt at adapting itself to new circumstances, whose poor household gods, like Charles Lamb's, "plant a terrible fixed foot," and "do not willingly seek Lavinian shores." So, as one can now indulge Jacobite sentiment without practical treason to the House of Hanover, the reader may be invited to join chorus in the wail of "Lochaber no more so often raised in Highland glens.

That pathetic lament seems to date back to Dutch William's days, when it is suspected for the work of an English officer, though another account gives it a becomingly native origin. Emigration from the Highlands, voluntary or enforced, set in before Culloden. The Hudson's Bay Company had recruited its servants from hardy Orkneymen and Hebridean islanders. Between 1715 and 1745, while the ill-used Scots of Ulster were knitting a chain of British outposts along the Alleghanies, philanthropic General Oglethorpe took out a number of Highlanders to his Georgia colony; others settled in North Carolina and in New York ; and it is said that some of these exiles still kept up their Gaelic a generation ago, though it does not appear that the Stars and Stripes afford a pattern for tartans. When Aberdeen bailies connived at the kidnapping of children for the "plantations," arbitrary chiefs like old Lovat did not stick at getting rid of troublesome vassals by selling them into the same servitude, to which Covenanters and other rebels had been transported in the previous century. Pro- scribed rebels naturally sought refuge in the New World, where rebellion of another stamp would soon be in fashion ; then it is notable that these exiles were apt to take the side of the king defacto.

The exodus was accelerated after the crushing of the Jacobite clans, when travellers like David Balfour could often see an emigrant ship freighting with heavy hearts in Highland harbours, else little frequented. Pennant, who speaks of "epidemic migrations" in other islands, states that a thousand people had left Skye before his visit. Soldiers who had served in America spread through their native glens report of a distant land of milk and honey. Large bodies were led into hopeful exile by the tacksmen who had been their immediate landlords, or by the priests of the Catholic clans. Emigrant agents used arts of cajolery, and in some cases, it is said, carried off youngsters by fraud or even force. The American Revolution checked this migration for a time, then diverted its course to Canada. Towards the end of the century the movement could be spoken of as a "rage" or an undesirable "spirit" which deserved curbing by law. But till after that period the chiefs were seldom concerned to get rid of the vassals whose hereditary attachment still gave them consequence, and by whose hands they hoped to reap more solid advantages. One of Johnson's hosts spoke of emigration as deserting, a view which the sage of Fleet Street found quite reasonable. One of Burns's bitterest pasquinades attacks the Highland Society as concerting means (1786) to hinder some hundreds of Glengarry men in an "audacious" design of escape to Canada "from their lawful lords and masters."

It was prosperous sheep farming that gave a main impetus to the shifting of idle hands thrown out of employment; while the pacific settling down of the Highlands would increase the mouths to be fed, as in India, under the pax Britannica, humane war against natural checks on population has multiplied a people always tending to press upon their means of subsistence. The lamb was in Scotland not only an emblem but a pledge of peace. The substitution of sheep for more easily driven cattle had in half a century or so gone to quiet and scatter the Border clans, once as keen for booty and bloodshed as those of the Highlands; yet no minstrel bemoans the depopulation of Ettrick and Liddesdale. The Highlanders in historical times had small hairy sheep as well as flocks of goats; but their best stock used to be the small black cattle, whose blood they would sometimes draw to mix with oatmeal in seasons of scarcity, and might starve outright when those lean herds were raided by as hungry neighbours.

All through the eighteenth century the keeping of an improved breed of sheep in large flocks had been spreading northward from the Borders, largely displacing cattle in upland districts where such enterprising drovers as Rob Roy had not to be reckoned with. Into the Highlands this change would often be introduced by strangers placed upon forfeited estates, a fact not recommending it to the natives. Chiefs and lairds who followed the new system were at first laughed at as wiseacres like to lose their money ; but the clansmen found it no laughing matter when sheep were found to pay better than humble homes, and more and more small tenants had rough notice that their room was needed rather than their company. Scott tells us how his first acquaintance with the Trossachs was in leading a party of soldiers to evict a family believed unwilling to carry out a bargain made for their removal. Between the local Cams and the intruding Abels ill-feeling, quarrels, outrages could not but result, which in many cases went with little notice as but too like the state of society just passed away. In 1792 a number of hot-headed Ross and Sutherland men proclaimed at several parish churches that on a certain day all the sheep were to be driven out of these two counties beyond the Beauly River. Some two hundred men undertook to carry out this clearance, and went on for days driving off sheep in thousands till they were encountered by the sheriff with a military force, when most of the raiders took to their heels. A few prisoners, tried at Inverness, were sentenced to various punishments ; but public opinion was so strong on their side that they seem to have been helped out of jail, no great zeal for their recapture being shown by the authorities.

This is perhaps the most remarkable ebullition of a grudge hot all over the Highlands then, and not quite cool in our own day. Sheep-stealing on a small scale was common, the crofters and the shepherds retorting the blame on each other. Another sore point was the small tenants' cattle or ponies straying on to their old pastures and being impounded or chased off to destruction on rocky ground. A brighter feature of the revolution came through the placing of poor farmers on hitherto barren mosses which they were helped and guided in transforming to fertile land. But too many landlords, in their haste to be rich, acted with a disastrous want of consideration for those who had hitherto looked on them as an earthly providence, bound to make up for the deficiencies of nature, and who were naturally slow to accept Lowland conceptions of landed property.

To many a Gael his native land seemed no longer worth living in now that the "law had reached Ross- shire." As yet the landlords did little to help away their dependants to New World fields. One philanthropic nobleman, Lord Selkirk, distinguished himself by his zeal in colonising the wilds of Canada. He began by settling some hundreds of Highlanders in the comparatively mild climate of the St. Lawrence mouth. His more ambitious scheme was in the Red River valley. But his agents here served him ill ; his claims were disputed by the North-Western Fur Company; and the clansmen whom he sent to this remote wilderness found themselves in for a petty civil war, after half a century's want of practice. The colony was broken up by hostile force; but Selkirk, like a true Douglas, would not own himself beaten. He raised a small private army from soldiers thrown out of employment at the end of the British-American war of 18 12, retook his chief station, Fort Douglas, and there laid the foundations of what is now the flourishing province of Manitoba. About the time of his death in 1820 there entered the field another Scottish recruiter, Gregor MacGregor, the Venezuelan General, who proclaimed himself Cacique of Poyais in Central America, raising a loan on that title, granting lordships, commissions, orders of chivalry, issuing banknotes, and promising mounts and marvels to his future subjects. But imagination and paper money were the main assets of his enterprise; and the few hundreds he deluded, most of them from Scotland, reached the Mosquito shore only to perish of fever or starvation till rescued by the authorities of Honduras. The fate of this ill- conducted attempt, reviving memories of the older Darien disaster, must have gone to check emigration at a time when there was sore need of such a remedy.

The most notorious and far-spread clearing off of the population was that carried out in Sutherland in the second and third decades of last century. Nearly the whole of this county belonged to an infant Countess, who grew up to marry the rich English Marquis of Stafford, eventually created Duke of Sutherland. They resolved to improve their vast northern estate by giving up the interior to sheep, the inhabitants moved to a fringe of small holdings on the sea-coast, where a small farm could be eked out by fishery. The matter seems fairly enough stated by Hugh Miller, though a hot advocate on the popular
side:

Here is a vast tract of land, furnished with two distinct sources of wealth. Its shores may be made the seats of extensive fisheries, and the whole of its interior parcelled out into productive sheep farms. All is waste in its present state it has no fisheries, and two-thirds of its internal produce is consumed by the inhabitants. It had contributed, for the use of the community and the landlord, its large herds of black cattle; but the English family saw, and, we believe, saw truly, that for every one pound of beef which it produced, it could be made to produce two pounds of mutton, and perhaps a pound of fish in addition. And it was resolved, therefore, that the inhabitants of the central districts, who, as they were mere Celts, could not be transformed, it was held, into store farmers, should be marched down to the seaside, there to convert themselves into fishermen, on the shortest possible notice, and that a few farmers of capital, of the industrious Lowland race, should be invited to occupy the new subdivisions of the interior. And, pray, what objections can be urged against so liberal and large-minded a scheme? The poor inhabitants of the interior had very serious objections to urge against it. Their humble dwellings were of their own rearing ; it was they themselves who had broken in their little fields from the waste; from time immemorial, far beyond the reach of history, had they possessed their mountain holdings,—they had defended them so well of old that the soil was still virgin ground, in which the invader had found only a grave; and their young men were now in foreign lands, fighting at the command of their chieftainess the battles of their country, not in the character of hired soldiers, but of men who regarded these very holdings as their stake in the quarrel. To them, then, the scheme seemed fraught with the most flagrant, the most monstrous injustice. Were it to be suggested by some Chartist convention in a time of revolution that Sutherland might be still further improved, that it was really a piece of great waste to suffer the revenues of so extensive a district to be squandered by one individual that it would be better to appropriate them to the use of the community in general; that the community in general might be still further benefited by the removal of the one said individual from Dunrobin to a roadside, where he might be profitably employed in breaking stones; and that this new arrangement could not be entered on too soon—the noble Duke would not be a whit more astonished, or rendered a whit more indignant, by the scheme, than were the Highlanders of Sutherland by the scheme of his predecessor.

It is believed that the ducal couple were not fully aware of the suffering caused by their innovations. The poor Highlanders could not believe that it was intended to root them from their homes like weeds. They took little notice of warnings and summonses, till in many cases the agents of authority appeared to thrust them out by force, the most effectual method being to pull down or set fire to their wretched hovels, turning hundreds of families out to the mercy of the weather. Their heath pastures had been first burned off; and they were not always allowed time to save their small stock and crops. Violence hastened the end of many infirm old people; and even strong men, it is stated, lost their health through hardships that bred fever and other diseases. Except in one or two instances there appears to have been no attempt at forcible resistance, while the executors of such rough policy, provoked by the passive obstinacy of the evicted, often worked themselves up to a brutal temper of destruction. So violent were their proceedings that one of the Sutherland factors, Mr. Sellar, had in 1816 to stand his trial at Inverness on the charge of culpable homicide and fire-raising. He was acquitted ; and the work of eviction went on unchecked under a new agent, Mr. Loch, who in print defended this agrarian revolution, and gained the verdict of the voting class in his election to Parliament. Another factor concerned in those notorious evictions lived to tell in our time that he had received hundreds of letters from the colonies thanking him for apparent harshness that turned out a blessing in the end.

At the time the soreness was intense. Almost the only magistrates in the county were those large stranger tenants, oppressors as they seemed, who would take care to do themselves justice. The Established Church ministers were also on the landlord's side, as a rule, accused by the opposite party as having been bribed through the favour of the class to which they inclined to be subservient, and especially by advantages given to their glebes in the redistribution of land. This character of Erastian worldliness fastened upon the Old Kirk largely accounted for the success of the Free Church in the Highlands, the latter's sympathy having commonly gone with the people, who found an eloquent champion in Hugh Miller, ex-mason and Editor of the Witness. The best-known contemporary account of the Sutherland evictions is Donald Macleod's Gloomy Memories, letters written to an Edinburgh paper by another mason lad, who, like fellow-sympathisers, was practically expelled from the district for denouncing the landlords' agents. His book, reprinted at home and in Canada, and included in Mr. Alexander Mackenzie's History of the Highland Clearances, is very angry in its tone; but impartial judgment can hardly be expected from one who has witnessed such a sight as this.

Strong parties for each district, furnished with faggots and other combustibles, rushed on the dwellings of this devoted people, and immediately commenced setting fire to them, proceeding in their work with the greatest rapidity till about three hundred houses were in flames I The consternation and confusion were extreme; little or no time was given for removal of persons or property—the people striving to remove the sick or helpless before the fire should reach them—next, struggling to save the most valuable of their effects. The cries of the women and children—the roaring of the affrighted cattle, hunted at the same time by the yelling dogs of the shepherds amid the smoke and fire—altogether presented a scene that completely baffles description it required to be seen to be believed. A dense cloud of smoke enveloped the whole country by day, and even extended far on the sea; at night an awfully grand but terrific scene presented itself—all the houses in an extensive district in flames at once! I myself ascended a height about eleven o'clock in the evening, and counted two hundred and fifty blazing houses, many of the owners of which were my relations, and all of whom I personally knew, but whose present condition, whether in or out of the flames, I could not tell. The conflagration lasted six days, till the whole of the dwellings were reduced to ashes or smoking ruins. During one of these days a boat lost her way in the dense smoke as she approached the shore ; but at night she was enabled to reach a landing-place by the light of the flames.

The clearances carried out, the people had a fresh tale of sufferings to bear in addition to the want and sickness engendered by their removal. The bewildered tenants had hastily to build houses on their new allotments, often on unsuitable or unhealthy sites ; and it was some time before, on the whole, they began to find themselves unwillingly more comfortable than in their moorland hovels. They might have to shake down among new neighbours, all cramped for room on thin soil. On a rough and stormy coast, most of them had to be apprenticed to the trade of fishing, on which for the future they must partly depend ; and at first shellfish picked from the rocks might be their best diet. Even after they had learned to be bold and skilful fishermen, the herring and the harvest might fail together, as they did in one black season, bringing the bulk of the population to starvation but for charitable aid. It was small comfort to them to see the prosperity of the large Lowland sheep-farmers who had supplanted them. The Duchess of Sutherland made some generous attempts at clarifying the misery she had shaken up but her occasional visits could not instruct her fully as to the state of things, and she is said to have been hoodwinked and misled by the factors whom the people, rightly or wrongly, looked on as their real tyrants.

'Tis not the distant Emperor they fear,
But the proud viceroy who is ever near!

These "doers," indeed, were often to be pitied rather, who, perhaps against their own sympathies, had to set hand to what seemed the dirty work of absentee proprietors. The clansmen appear never to have quite lost their hereditary feeling for their superior, even during these few years when three thousand families were driven from 800,000 acres of land to make room for sheep, which in turn have largely been displaced by deer. [It ought to be remembered that in a later generation the Sutherland family sank at least a quarter of a million pounds in trying to reclaim thousands of acres that to a great extent ran back to their native wildness.]

Forty years ago the Economist stated that the same change had been worked on two millions of acres in Scotland, where fertile as well as unfertile land has been artificially made a wilderness, as the New Forest was by William the Conqueror. From Glentilt, from Lochaber, from Strathglass, from Glenorchy, from Gleneig, from Rannoch, and from many another beloved glen and strath, the people were pressed or driven forth by the pastoral invasion of strangers. Lairds who held out against the movement would often be impoverished, had perhaps themselves to emigrate; then their properties passed into the hands of new men, not so scrupulous in ridding the land of unprofitable human stock. In the course of last century owners grew willing to promote the emigration which they had formerly tried to check, and found it a cheap charity to ship off to America at their own expense the inconvenient dependants who now showed more reluctance to seek sunnier climes, stiffly sticking in their mud under a rainfall that on the coast is sometimes over 100 inches per annum. Visitors to Strathpeffer may see how the crofter has a fairer chance on the east side of the Grampians, that fence him against Atlantic clouds.

In the wet and windy Hebrides the same change has been pushed, but not so thoroughly in some parts, while in others very forcible means of eviction were used both by man and by nature. The people of the isles and on secluded stretches of the opposite coast are less touched by the spirit of the age, more like the Highlanders who fought for Prince Charlie. They are sprinkled, indeed, with mainlanders settled here, and with waifs of shipwreck and fishery. Interlopers and natives throve for a time through the kelp industry, whose decline left too many mouths with too little provision. Some islands have passed into the hands of philanthropic strangers, who spend large sums on ameliorating the condition of the inhabitants, often with the proverbial result of good intentions. Liberality seems to breed new hydra-heads of poverty among a people satisfied with a low standard of well-being, and bent on clinging limpet-like to a soil that will not support their increase. Family affection, close knitted, for Donald, "in the condensation of his focal circle," keeps sons trying to scrape a living from the patch of ground on which their parents could barely rear them. Thus each of the islands makes a petty Ireland, where periodic cries of famine go to justify the policy of clearance. The blame is loudly laid on landlords ; but it remains to be seen whether the tinkering of the Crofters' Commission will effectually solder all the "ifs" and "ands" that are offered to make a Highland Arcadia. The Commissioners have used a free hand, cutting down rents "with a hatchet," wiping off old scores of arrears and compulsorily marking out holdings of arable and pasture land, which should pay if Nature be a party to the arrangement, especially as the subdivision of holdings is forbidden, which did so much mischief by beating out the thin lot of semi-starvation. The Congested Districts Board has recently bought 70,000 acres in Skye, on which may be carried out such an experiment in State landlordism as under more favourable circumstances has not yet given new heavens and a new earth to less congested areas of the world.

The Crofters' Holdings Act of 1886 was taken as a treaty of peace, that seems not beyond danger of being broken between landlord and tenant. Already in some cases where a clean sheet has been made, arrears begin to gather again, so that we may soon hear fresh ugly stories of eviction and riot. Unfortunately, of late years newspapers, political agitators, and contact with more prosperous society have inflamed the grievances of the people to a chronic sullenness, smouldering up from time to time in inhuman outrages on cattle and futile resistance to legal proceedings, which are only too much of a return towards the good old times. The Celt, as wrong-headed as he is warmhearted, much agrees with that typical Saxon, Mr. Tulliver, in connecting lawyers with some Ossianic variant of Old Harry. If Donald had more sense of humour he would not make martyrs of men lightly punished for attacking sheriffs' officers in the exercise of their duty in very trying circumstances. So strong is clannishness still, that from all over Scotland, and beyond the seas, come help and sympathy for the outbreaks of abuse, outrage, and perverse stupidity, that seem the lees of the old devotion, refined to such a noble spirit by poets. But the Highlander of our time has not taken to Irish assassination, as at the date of a Campbell factor's murder by Alan Breck or James Stewart, or whom? and that remoter date when those early "improvers," the young Macdonalds of Keppoch, were killed by their own kinsmen for the crime of being able to teach their grandfathers.

Again, I have shirked all controversy as to land laws and systems of agriculture. But, turning to facts, we can see the effect of the evicting regime. Over the thoroughly cleared districts the people are as well off as in other parts of Scotland, in material circumstances at least far ahead of the dirty, starving, and quarrelling Highlanders described by Burt, Pennant, and Johnson. What they have lost in spirit, romance, loyalty, and other sentiments is not so easy to estimate. Their well-being has certainly come at expense of their numbers. While the population of Scotland has in a century nearly tripled itself, that of the Highland counties has in several cases remained almost stationary or even decreased, the people, too, as elsewhere, being more concentrated in towns and villages. The question is whether the landlords have not on the whole done no better for themselves than for as many of the people as could here find welfare.

A further question, for the nation, relates to the fact that this semi-civilised world of ours has not yet entered upon Herbert Spencer's golden age of mutual contract, since the most Christian and Catholic potentates are still fain to settle their disputes at a game in which Highlanders once took a willing hand. Should we not breed food for powder rather than sheep and deer? The idea seems to be that snug burgesses of the south might sit comfortably at home, thinking imperially and sentimentally, while those hardy mountaineers went out to fight for them with due applause from newspaper readers. Alas! the Gael, whether thriving or starving, no longer shows his ancestral readiness to go and be killed, at any king's or chief's bidding ; and his Free Church pastors do not recommend army life.

During the half-century or so after Culloden fifty battalions had been raised in the Highlands to serve the Guelphs more effectively than their fathers had served the Stuarts. Norman Macleod recalls that in the wars of the French Revolution, besides thousands of soldiers and scores of officers sent to the regular army, Argyll had three regiments of Fencibles and a company of volunteers in every parish. Since the beginning of those wars he counts up 21 generals, 48 colonels, 600 other commissioned officers, and io,000 soldiers as sprung from the poor island of Skye alone, where, a century ago, half the farms were held by half-pay veterans. Another writer asserts that 1600 Skyemen stood in the squares of Waterloo. But even some years before Waterloo half a dozen kilted regiments had been reduced to trousers for want of recruits; and in our day it is too seldom that the real Highlander has heart or mind to enlist, now that—

The land, that once with groups of happy clansmen teemed, Who with a kindly awe revered the clan's protecting head, Lies desolate, and stranger lords, by vagrant pleasure led, Track the lone deer, and for the troops of stalwart men. One farmer and one forester people the joyless glen.

This poet of course rather shirks the fact that the clansmen, if "happy," "kindly," and so forth, were like to be so at the expense of other "revering" clansmen and their ineffectually "protecting head." At all events, they have little reverence left for "stranger lords."

The resentful men who once made our plaided and plumed array have passed rather into the ranks of labour in Glasgow, London, and other large towns. Not a few of them indeed have gone into sea-service, as shown by the Royal Naval Reserve at Stornoway. Many have sought better fortunes in Australia, New Zealand, all over the world. I was at school with a Highland laird's sons, who for years went kenspeckle, like Lord Brougham, in a succession of shepherd's- plaid nether garments off the same web, sent home from the plains of Otago by a loyal ex-tenant. But for three or four generations the special promised land of Highlanders has been Canada, a region of hills, woods, rivers, and lakes, in which the Celt learns soon to feel at home ; and when he comes in sight of the Rocky Mountains he hails a new, a greater, a brighter Lochaber rising up to the gates of heaven, where whole clans of angelic pipers, tartan-winged, will welcome him at last with all their pibrochs played in one celestial chorus.

Across the Atlantic, the sea-sick and home-sick emigrants' troubles were not always over at once. They had often to suffer sorely from ill-laid plans, or from want of plans, throwing them on the charity of a new country. The new lairds, who were glad to get rid of them, thought they did enough in paying the passage of helpless glensmen thrown among bewildering scenes. But every fresh Highlander landed was a friend to those who followed his example; and in a country that has room for half a dozen Scotlands it would be a hale and hearty man's own fault if he did not soon clear out for himself a home and livelihood free from help or hindrance of chief as of factor. Their present prosperity is attested by the fact that "Mac" seems almost a title for Canadian statesmen, and by names of towns and counties scattered over the Dominion—Macdonald, Mackenzie, Dundas, Lennox, Inverness, Seaforth, Gareloch, Wallace, and of course Campbeltown. In travelling by train through Ontario the Scottish wanderer's heart may come into his mouth at the familiar sound of station after station. Clans have in some parts settled down together, the Catholic ones keeping their priests and least forgetting the language in which they continue to pray. Many of these exiles not only cherish their Gaelic but, it appears, the particular dialect of their original district, handed down to generations that never set foot on Scottish soil. To-day there is perhaps more Gaelic spoken in Canada than in all Scotland. There is also a clan of French-speaking Macs, descended from Highland soldiers who married and settled among the daughters of Heth.

Those Canadians who have given in to the conquering Saxon tongue make up for such defection by an earnest cult of bagpipes, kilts, and reels, flaunting red knees in a clime of blue noses, and lustily singing the songs of Caledonian Sion in what is now no strange land. The Dominion rears battalions of kilted warriors, that skirl defiance to the mosquitry of summer as to the snows of winter. Britain has lately been visited by a Canadian "Kiltie" Band, three score strong, making on Sassenach platforms such a revived show of tartan as is hardly to be seen in all the Highlands. One of them, belonging to the MacAnak clan, stood seven feet high, a hopeful sign of what the race may grow to in its new home, when Old Scotland has been given up to American millionaires, English tourists, and German waiters. Of such tuneful transatlantic Scotians one need not inquire too curiously whether "Annie Laurie" or "Robin Adair" would find themselves at home in kilts; but they ought to know what a blot on their fame is the tartan of the Gordons, my hereditary enemies, whose flagrant stripes brand them as no better, in their beginning, than Lowland evictors. One thinks twice about pursuing an ancestral feud against foemen seven feet high ; but I must say that if these minstrels were real Gordons, they might well chant masses for the souls of many a Celt who never had the chance to sing:

From the lone shieling on the misty island,
Mountains divide us and a waste of seas;
But still our hearts are true, our hearts are Highland,
And we in dreams behold the Hebrides.


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