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Carrick Heraldic Mottoes


APPENDED to all Armorial Bearings there is a Motto, having usually an allusion to the name or the crest. These mottoes are generally the most suggestive thing about a Coat of Arms, and a list of those belonging to our chief •Carrick families may be interesting to my readers.

Mottoes in French. The greatest of all the Carrick families are the Kennedys, and the Cassillis branch of them have for their motto—A vise la fin, consider the end; and this motto is a good one, whether in French or in English. Everybody should consider the end more than the beginning. Another French motto is that of the Hamiltons of Bargany —-Je ispere, I hope; or, as it was anciently written, Je ispear; and this motto is also wisely chosen; for so long as hope is left no one despairs.

Mottoes in Latin. Of these, perhaps the neatest is the Fergusson motto—Dulcius ex aspen's, Pleasanter from difficulties, in allusion to their thoroughly Scotch crest, which is a Bee upon a Thistle. Certainly, it says something for either bee or man to extract honey out of thistles. A motta with a similar meaning was adopted by John Snell of Colmonell, the famous lawyer, who had a good right to-choose Per ardua virtus, Valour comes through hardships. A cannier motto was chosen by the Boyds of Penkillr Prudentia me sustinet, Discretion will uphold me, a motto-which, unfortunately, the chief of the Boyds forgot when he joined the cause of the Stuarts in 1745. The Craufuirds of Ardmillan chose for their motto, Durum patientia frango, I overcome difficulty by patience, which is God's way as well as-man's. The crest of the Kennedys of Dalquharran, as also-of the Bargany Kennedys and the Bruces, was a hand grasping a dagger, with the motto Fuimus, We have been, which may either allude to the antiquity of the family, or the fact that they had come of a warlike ancestry. But perhaps the most original and outspoken of them all is that of the Shaw-Kennedys of Kirkmichael House—Malim esse probus quam haberi, I had rather be honourable than be called honourable, which is quite in harmony with Burns's well-known couplet—

The rank is but the guinea stamp,
The man's the gowd for a' that.

The only out-and-out Christian motto among those in Latin is that of the M'Adams, one of whom now lies a martyr in. Kirkmichael Churchyard—Crux mihi grata quies, The Cross to me is a pleasant rest, I notice, that although the crest of the M'Adams is engraved on the Kirkmichael Stone, this motto is not given; which it certainly ought to be. And, strange to say, I believe this is the only martyr's tombstone in Scotland which has a Coat of Arms on it; the reason, I daresay, being that few of our Scots Worthies had coats of arms to boast of.

Mottoes in English. The oldest English motto belongs to the family of the Cunninghams of Gienmore—Over,fork> aver. And this motto is certainly strange enough, and has just as strange an origin. It appears that when young Malcolm Canmore was fleeing before the murderous Macbeth, he was befriended by one of the Cunninghams, who fiid him beneath some straw in a barn, with a fork. When Malcolm became king, he bestowed on his preserver the Thanedom of Cunningham in Ayrshire, with a shake-fork for his crest, and Over, fork, over, for his motto. The Dalrymples of Stair have a rock for their crest, and Firm for their motto; while the Coatses of Auchendrane have an anchor for their crest, and Be firm for their motto. Finally, the Cathcarts of Carieton, whose fidelity to the Covenanting cause is well known, adopted a motto which would have gladdened the heart of John Knox himself—By grace are ye saved. It is rather humbling, however, and not at all to the credit of our Scottish gentry, that so few have had the boldness to adopt a purely Christian motto to be known by.


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