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Home Life of the Highlanders 1400 - 1746
Development of Highland Education
By Duncan MacGillivray, M. A., F. E. I. S.


THE early history of education in the Highlands is closely bound up with the fortunes of the Celtic Church, and with the arrival of Columba in baa the history of education as of religion begins. One of the glories of that Church was its abiding interest in the cultivation of letters. Wherever the Celtic monastery rose there also was found the college or school for training the youth in sacred and secular literature. The tradition thus established lasted long after the Columban Church had been merged in that of Rome, and to it Principal Lindsay in his Historij of the Reformation traces the passion for learning that has characterised the Scot throughout the centuries.

Adamnan’s life of Columba gives interesting but tantalisingly brief glimpses of the character of the education carried on. The three duties of the monastic community were reading, writing, and labour. Of Columba himself it is recorded that every moment of his waking hours was filled up with reading, writing, preaching, or labour of some kind. Reading included not only the study of the Scriptures in Latin and possibly in Greek, but also of the lives of the early Christian fathers and of Irish and Scottish saints. Nor was the native Gaelic neglected, for Columba, according to one of his early biographers, composed hymns in Gaelic as well as in Latin.

The fame of the Columban Schools spread far beyond the borders of the kingdom, and students were found coming to them from all parts of civilised Europe. One of the most famous of these educational pilgrims was Aldfrid, King of Northumbria, 685 A.D., who prior to coming to the throne had gone into voluntary exile "in the islands of the Sooth for the sake of studying letters." With the extension of religious houses, among the most notable of which were Applecross, Dunkeld, Kilmun, Deer, and Turriff, education spread rapidly throughout the land till in 710 A.D. a knowledge of letters was said to be general throughout Pietland.

With the coming of the Norsemen in 800 A.D. the glory of the Columban Church and Schools declines. The sea rovers swept stormfully across the mainland and through the Isles, and where they passed letters, art, religion, and government disappeared. lona itself, pillaged and ravaged again and again, was abandoned and the centre of religious life transferred to Dunkeld. With the fall of lona the Golden Age of Celtic civilisation comes to an abrupt and tragic close.

For almost three centuries, from 800 to 1060, we have hardly any contemporary records of the progress of events, and are dependent for our knowledge of the period upon the meagre and untrustworthy references of English and Irish annalists. With the accession of Malcolm Canmore history once more comes out into the light of day. The Celtic Church is there revealed in a state of decay, and while the traditions of lona with regard to education are to some degree still maintained, the new schools have none of the fervent life that marked those of an earlier age. The temporalities of the church had been in large measure seized by laymen, who assumed the name of abbot, and left the performance of the duties of their office to "tuichan" priests with minor revenues. Other abuses also had crept into the primitive Church, and the times cried aloud for reform. The change came mainly through Queen Margaret, the Saxon bride of Malcolm Canmore. Profoundly attached to the Roman form of church government, she set herself steadfastly to the work of bringing the church of her adoption into conformity with it. Before she died in 1093, the process of assimilation and absorption was almost complete, and Scotland was brought into line with the rest of Christendom. So far as education was concerned this was an undoubted gain, as it brought the hitherto isolated Celtic Schools into the main current of Western civilisation and under those broader influences which were then shaping continental education.

The Church Schools of the middle ages developed along the three main lines of church organisation. The unit of ecclesiastical government was the parish which generally represented the territory ruled by separate lords of the manor. Each territorial lord was required to erect a church, and to grant for its maintenance tithes from his estate. There is evidence to show that these parish churches had in a majority of cases, if not in all, schools connected with them. The parish school is thus a much older institution than is generally supposed, and dates back long before Reformation times, in which it is commonly said to have originated. Abernethy, Dunkeld, Dunblane, and Perth had parish schools whose reputation extended far beyond the bounds of their parish, and frequent references to them are found in contemporary records.

The second type of school originated with the introduction of the monastic orders of Rome. Through their efforts stately abbeys and monasteries rose all over the land, and frequently on the site of the old unpretentious Columban monasteries. These religious houses not only maintained schools within their walls, but founded others outside. These schools were not confined to the training of young ecclesiastics, but were open to all who had a craving for knowledge. Thus we are told that George Dawson taught within the priory of Beauly, "where there was a large library of books and manuscripts, and made himself very obliging in educating the children of the surrounding gentlemen." Priory schools are believed to have existed at Kingussie, Urquhart and Berneray, and Abbey schools at Fearn, Colonsay, and Kilmaronock.

The third type of Church School owes its origin to the introduction of diocesan episcopacy. As the parish was the unit of church work, so the episcopal see was the unit of church supervision. At first there was only one episcopal see, "Episcopus Scottorum," at St. Andrews, which was quite incapable of superintending the administration of the whole church. During the twelfth century the work of subdivision went on apace, and by the close of the century eleven separate bishoprics were recognised. In the course of time cathedral churches and chapters arose in each diocese, and in almost every instance cathedral and collegiate schools were founded in connection with them. The bishoprics of Dunkeld, Moray, Ross, and Argyll comprised most of the purely Celtic area, and scanty as are the records of the period, enough is known to be able to affirm that education in the Highlands did not differ materially in extent or quality from that general throughout the rest of the country.

Towards the close of the fifteenth century the intellectual life of Europe was stirred to its depths by the great revival of learning which, together with the inventions and discoveries of the period, opened up new worlds of thought and imagination to the masses of the people. In Scotland the new movement arrived late, and was soon lost in the stormy controversies of the Reformation. Yet the great increase in the number of schools and in the pupils in attendance prove that it was not altogether without effect. The new schools that sprang up testify to the growing power and sense of independence of the towns and burghs. Hitherto all the schools had been built and maintained as a department of church organisation, but now a new type appears, erected and supported by public funds, and independent of the Church. Burghs like Perth, Stirling, and Aberdeen set up Grammar Schools of their own which rivalled the old established church schools. For a time the Burghs left with the priests the management and control of the schools, but soon they claimed, and after a long and bitter struggle obtained, the right to manage their own schools and to appoint their own masters. In this struggle between the Church and the people there is already heard the rumble of the Reformation.

The Highlands, unfortunately, did not share in the general advance that marked the age. During the long Wars of Independence the tribes had thrown off the control of the oentral government, although a certain semblance of authority was still maintained under the sovereignty of the Lord of the Isles. With the deposition of this potentate in the fifteenth century the tribes split up into a number of separate clans, who waged constant and ferocious warfare upon one another. Under such conditions neither religion nor education could flourish, and it is not surprising to have it recorded that about 1490 Beauly had "the anely schule in oor North."

It was this condition of affairs that led Bishop Elphinstone, with the hearty approval of James IV., to apply in 1496 to Pope Alexander VI. for power to erect a University in Old Aberdeen. The papal Bull granting the request refers to the fact that the country in these northern parts is "intersected by long arms of the sea and traversed by high mountains; that the people who dwell there are rude men, ignorant of learning, and semi-barbarous." The city of Old Aberdeen, it goes on to say, is readily accessible to these wild regions, and therefore peculiarly suited for maintaining a university, "where all lawful faculties would be taught both to ecclesiastics and laymen." The buildings were completed and opened in 1500 under the name of King’s College out of compliment to James IV. In the four hundred years since its erection it has amply fulfilled the expectation of its founders, being pre-eminently the university for the North of Scotland Highlanders, as Glasgow University is for the Western Islesmen.

James IV. proved his interest in education in another direction by passing an Act in 1496 requiring all barons and freeholders, under a penalty of £20, to send their eldest sons or heirs, at the age of nine, to grammar schools, there to remain "till they be competently founded and have parfait Latin." They were then to proceed to schools of law that they might be qualified later on to dispense justice in their districts. This Act, which may be regarded as the first Compulsory Education Act, soon became inoperative owing to the troubles of the time, but it shows on the part of James an enlightened policy and a far-sighted wisdom beyond that of any contemporary ruler.

No provision seems to have been thought necessary for younger sons, whose wits, it may have been thought, would be sufficiently sharpened by the proverbial res angustae domi of Scottish noble families. That education, however, was not confined to the eldest sons is shown by the testimony of Don Pedro de Ayala, the Spanish Ambassador to the Court of James, who says: "There is a good deal of French education in Scotland, and many speak the French language. For all the young gentlemen who have no property go to France and are well received there, and therefore the French are liked."

A remarkable feature of the pre-Reformation period was the institution of "Sang Schools." At first confined to cathedral towns, and designed to train youths for the choral services that played so great a part in the church life of the time, they became by degrees more widely diffused, and were attended by all classes of the community. With the Reformation music and other arts savouring of Rome came into disfavour, and sang schools rapidly declined. When they survived at all, reading and writing seem to have been included in the instruction. In the Highlands the sang schools survived to a comparatively late period, for in 1733 the salary of the master of a sang school is charged against the revenues of the royal burgh of Tain. A still later echo of the sang school is heard from Tiree, where, according to the Statistical Account of Scotland, 1792, "an itinerant church music teacher teaches at so cheap a rate that it is believed that 800 or 900 will attend his classes. The people are so fond of music that men seventy years of age attend."

With the Reformation a new chapter in the religious and educational life of our country begins. Knox’s noble and statesmanlike scheme of national education with elementary schools in every parish, grammar schools in every notable town, and provision for the maintenance at them of poor but clever pupils, was thwarted owing to the greed and rapacity of the nobles. But all through the centuries it held up before the people an inspiring and stimulating ideal that proved a powerful factor in educational progress, and has come very near full realisation in our own time.

But whatever the Reformation accomplished for the rest of Scotland, it did little or nothing for the highlands and Isles. "The Reformation," says Dr. Norman MacLeod, "was marked in the Highlands by circumstances unfavourable to improvement, by the suppression of churches, by the appropriation of the revenues of the church by the nobles of the land, by the degradation of the clergy, who were left to languish in poverty, and by the extinction of every form of school." In many instances two, three, and four parishes were united into one, and their churches and schools left tenantless, so that wide tracts that had been subject to their civilising influence fell back into primitive barbarism. The Statistical Account of Scotland records that in Harris, "where, till within a few years back, there has not been, since the era of our reformation from popery, so much as one comfortable or even decent house for public worship, there were of old no less than 12 churches and chapels whose walls are still standing."

The restraining influence of the Church being thus weakened, the clans once more pursued their relentless feuds. James VI. did not feel strong enough to cope with the lawless clansmen, but no sooner was he King of the United Kingdom than he took active measures to reduce the northern part of his kingdom to law and order. In 1609, Andrew Knox, the warlike Bishop of the Isles, summoned a meeting of the leading chiefs at lona. Knowing that the Bishop had at his disposal a naval and military force large enough to enforce his commands, the chiefs obeyed the summons. Amongst those present at this unique Conference were Angus Macdonald of Islay, MacLean of Duart, Macdonald of Sleat, Maciced of Harris, Macdonald of Clanranald, MacKinnon of MacKinnon, MacLean of Coll, MacLaine of Lochbuie, Macquarrie of Ulva, Macfie of Colonsay, "togedder with the maist part of their haul special freindis, dependaris and tennentis compeirs and judiciallie." Here under the direction of the Bishop and sorely against their will they drew up regulations and statutes for the better government of the Highlands and Isles. These measures are still known as the Statutes of Icolmkill. The sixth of these provisions requires "that every gentelman or yeoman within the said Islandis or any one having thriescoer kye sall put at the leist thair eldest sone, or having no children maul theiril eldest docter to the scuilles in the lowland and bring them up thair until they may be found sufficientlie to speik reid and write Inghsche." The education of girls apparently became of consequence only when there were no heirs male. There was indeed a very general impression, not confined to the Highlands, however, that it was neither necessary nor desirable to educate girls. Martin, writing of the Western Isles a century later, states "that women were anciently denied the use of writing in the islands to prevent love intrigues; their parents believed that nature was too skilful in that matter, and needed not the help of education; and therefore that writing would be of dangerous consequence to the weaker sex."

The general effect of the Statutes of Icolmkill was to curb the power of the chiefs and to increase the controlling authority of the Government. The statute dealing with education was confirmed by an Act of the Privy Council in 1616, which bore "that the cheif and principal cause quhilk has procuirit and procuires the continewance of barbaritie, impietie, and incivilitie in the Isles of this kingdome has proceedit from the small care that the chieftanes and principal! clannit men has haid of the education and upbringing of thair childrene in vertew and learning." It was therefore ordained that all the principal clansmen should send their "bairnis" when nine years of age to be educated in the Lowlands, and that no person should inherit his father’s possessions unless he was able to read, write, and speak English.

In the same year the Privy Council took occasion, when framing a measure setting up schools in every parish, to attack the Gaelic language and to proscribe its use in schools. Probably because large parts of the Highlands still adhered to the old faith, Gaelic and Popery had come to be regarded as having some occult connection. Accordingly, this Act decreed "That the vulgar English toung be universallie plantit and the Irishe (i.e. the Gaelic) language which is one of the chief principal causis of the continewance of barbaritie and incivilitie in the Highlands may be abolishit and removit."

The policy thus initiated of seeking to kill out the Gaelic language by forbidding its use in schools has been steadily pursued by governments and their officials down almost to the present time. This fatuous and senseless policy has proved in the highest degree hurtful to the intelligent education of the Highland people, and hurtful also to the progress of the English language in their midst. As Dr. Norman MacLeod has said: "There is no corner in the world where pupils learn a foreign language before their mother tongue save only in the Highlands. In the Lowlands if teachers taught Latin and French to their pupils before they were able to read their mother tongue, they would be regarded as mad." But what would be madness every other where, has been defended as sound education in the Highlands.

This attack upon the native speech was not without its political consequences as well. It hardened the hearts of the Highlanders against the Sassenach, whom they regarded as a mongrel race of base mechanics, spiritless in their actions and effeminate in their habits. The Lowlander repaid scorn with scorn, and looked upon the mountaineers as fierce and savage depredators, full of pride, ignorance, and insolence. These mutual prepossessions, intensified by the contemptuous treatment of the native tongue of the Highlander, have been with difficulty eradicated.

In 1646 Parliament again enacted, but in more guarded and less offensive terms, that every Highland parish was to be provided with a school which was to be subject to the j uris-diction of the local Presbytery. The northern presbyteries in particular showed themselves most active in the work of planting schools. The case of Dingwall Presbytery may be taken as typical of what was going on all over the north. In 1649 this presbytery "considering the expediencie of plantation of schools, and the Act of Parliament made thereanent, thought fitt that the undermentioned persons should be required by the ministers of the several! paroehes where they reside to meete with the presbytery the next day for tacking course for the erection and plantation of schooles within the presbytery." Then follow the names of fourteen her.itors, who, with the members of Presbytery, may be regarded as Dingwall’s first school board. The general impression got from a study of these presbyterial records is one of intense admiration for the unceasing efforts of the church to keep open the avenues to knowledge. Heritors and people are but lukewarm in the cause, and when called upon to erect a school they all with one accord begin to make excuse. Thus Dores was without a public school in 1675, but "the heritors were in a feasible way if this deare year were by, to convene and stent themselves for ane public school for the whole parish." Glen Urquhart had no school in 1677, but "when the Laird of Grant came to the country they hoped to get his help and assistance by maintaining a school." The effectiveness of the Act of 1646 depended upon the power of the minister to persuade or coerce the heritors into erecting and supporting a school. Where ministers were energetic and forceful schools sprang up, but otherwise nothing was done.

In 1696 attention was directed in Parliament to the comparative failure of the Act of 1646, and a new measure was passed making the provision of schools and the maintenance of schoolmasters in each parish compulsory upon the heritors, and appointing officials, called Commissioners of Supply, to see that this was done. This Act is the legal foundation for the parochial school system which continued practically without a change till 1872.

Great as were the benefits which this Act conferred upon the country as a whole, it did little to meet the necessities of the Highlands. For one thing the massacre of Glencoe made the name of William detested in the Highlands, and any scheme coming from him or his government was sure to be received with suspicion and distrust. But apart from that cause, which time would have cured, no parochial system could ever meet the necessities of the Highlands. Legislators forgot that Highland parishes are as large as Lowland counties and German kingdoms. Parishes like Lochbroom, Lochalsh, Gairloch, and Glenelg are from thirty to sixty miles iii length, and from fifteen to twenty in breadth. What could one school do for such parishes, or for the parish of Harris, "which includes outside its own rugged boundaries seven other islands, four of them with considerable populations, not to speak of St. Kilda with its intervening ferry of fifty miles."

A new era begins for the Highlands with the founding of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge. In 1701 a few private gentlemen, deeply interested in the spiritual and educational needs of the Highlands, met in Edinburgh and resolved to institute a society for the purpose of "further promoting Christian knowledge and the increase of piety and virtue within Scotland, especially in the Highlands, Islands, and remote corners thereof." Wisely enough, they recognised that their efforts should be directed, in the first place, to the instruction of the young. Accordingly, they proceeded to set up schools for teaching reading, writing, arithmetic, and the elements of Christian knowledge.

The Society from the outset had the hearty support of the General Assembly, and letters patent were received from Queen Anne erecting it into a corporation with considerable powers and privileges. Its capital which in 1706 was £1000 had risen in 1781 to £34,000, and by that year it had under its control 180 schools with an attendance of 7000 scholars. From the business point of view, the Society was admirably managed. The president, secretary, and directors all gave their services free, and the total expenses of management did not exceed £100 a year. In any account of Highland education grateful recognition deserves to be made of the work of this Society. For over 150 years it kept the lamp of knowledge burning in remote districts which otherwise would have remained in educational darkness. The Society at the outset of its career made one grave mistake which seriously lessened the extent of its usefulness. Following the prevalent view of the time that the Gaelic language was the cause of the backwardness of the highlands, the directors forbade the use of the native tongue, and insisted that all instruction should be given in English. Fortunately this policy was reversed in 1767, and in 1781 the directors report that the change, far from interfering with the progress in English, had resulted in an increased interest in it and a more intelligent knowledge of it. Having once espoused the cause of Gaelic, they took it up with great heartiness, and in 1768 had the New Testament translated into Gaelic and widely distributed throughout the Highlands. Previous to this time the only version of Scripture common in the Highlands was a translation in Irish Gaelic, 3000 copies of which were, by Order of the General Assembly, circulated among the people.

Shortly before the middle of the eighteenth century the Society attempted to introduce a system of technical education. Schools were started providing courses in agriculture, woodwork, and ironwork for boys, and in spinning, knitting, weaving, and sewing for girls. But they were born out of due season and soon had to be abandoned.

it is deserving of note that some of the most distinguished Gaelic poets were teachers in the service of the Society. Dugald Buchanan, Ewen Maclachlan, and Alexander Macdonald are the most distinguished, but there were many others. The salary of these S.P.C.K. teachers was small, ranging from £10 to £20 per year, but the salaries of even the parochial teachers was fixed at a maximum of £11 2s. 2d. and a minimum of £6. In addition, there was usually a free house and a small glebe, but even with these additions the position of both the parochial and the Society schoolmasters was little above that of the crofters around them, and decidedly worse than that of the small farmers. The parochial teachers were invariably "college bred," their ranks being recruited largely from stickit ministers and students on their way to church preferment. The qualifications of the Society teachers were not so high, but they had to satisfy the directors "not merely upon reading and spelling English, writing, arithmetic, and church music, but also, and most particularly, upon their acquaintance with the evangelical system and their fitness for communicating the knowledge of it to others."

The rebellion of 1715 directed once more the attention of Parliament to the condition of the Highlands. The King recognised that it constituted a menace to his throne, and in 1721 he persuaded Parliament to vote for the support of schools in the Highlands a grant of £20,000 from the sale of Scottish estates forfeited after the rebellion. But in the history of Scotland greedy hands have ever been found ready to intercept money intended for church or school, and so it was in this case. Not one penny of the £20,000 ever reached the Highlands.

While the Government thus showed itself indifferent to the educational needs of the Highlands, the Church and the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge were unceasing in their efforts to supply schools and schoolmasters for the remote districts. But notwithstanding their utmost endeavours, the General Assembly records show that in 1758 there were 175 Highland parishes without schools. The Rev. Lachlan Shaw, writing in 1775, states: "I remember when from Speymouth through Strathspey, Badenoch and Lochiel to Lorne, there was only one school," and in Harris as late as 1794 it is recorded that there was only one small school for a population of 2,536.

It should not, however, be forgotten that the Highlanders possessed a literature of oral tradition, of singular beauty and power, that to a certain extent made up for the absence of formal education. From the earliest times the recital of national poetry, romances and tales had been the favourite recreation of the people. Where the Lowland peasant repaired to the village ale-house, the Highlander betook himself to the "Tigh Céilidh," and there around the blazing peat fire he listened to the ~Sqeuiac/tdan agus Bardaciul, the folk-lore and minstrelsy of his sires. In these were enshrined the history of the people, the exploits of the heroes, and the aspirations of the race. The educative influence of the Céilidh accounts for much in the history of the Highlands that would otherwise be inexplicable. This people, shut off from civilising influences by impassable mountains and trackless wastes, without schools or churches, and without any genuine form of ordered government, had nevertheless more of the polish of mind and elevation of sentiment which constitutes true civilisation than the same class in the south. In the Memoirs of a Cavalier, 1632-1648, the writer pays this striking tribute to the Highland levies of Montrose: "They are all gentlemen, and proud enough to be kings. The meanest among them is as tenacious of his honour as the best nobleman in the land." The high bearing of the Highlander, his pride of race, his courtesy and his chivalry, were largely due to the mirror of true knighthood constantly held up bef ore him in the poetry, history, and tales recited at the Céilidh. "Cuimhnich air na daoine bho’n d’ thainig thu" (Remember the race from which you are sprung) was the noblesse oblige of even the humblest Highlander.

The Act of 1696 providing for the erection of a school in every parish made no stipulation regarding the nature of the school buildings. In many instances the church was used as schoolroom; in others a granary, byre, stable, or broken-down hovel was utilised. Even the buildings specially erected for the purpose were as poor and comfortless as could be imagined. "Their walls were of turf or rough undressed stone, through the crevices of which the wind whistled and the snow and rain made their way. Their floors were the cold damp earth, rough and uneven as nature had left it. Their windows were irregular holes without glass." In many cases there were no desks to write at and no benches to sit on, the scholars sitting or lying on the bare floor, or on rushes or straw, which they themselves were required to provide. Even as late as last century a Commission appointed to enquire into the state of education in the Highlands reports on a. school in Argyleshire: "The state of the school is deplorable, a small building on the side of a hill, little attempt to level the floor, a fire in the centre of the room, and a hole in the roof for the smoke to escape; the roof seems falling to pieces, and the windows are broken." Another in Mull is thus described: "Uninhabitable; earthen floor full of hills and valleys; two windows without sashes; general aspect of dilapidation."

It is matter for regret that no pen has pictured for us the Highland schoolmaster amid the smoke of his peat fire "leading the bare-legged Celtic youth up the first steps of the ladder of knowledge." Yet from other records we are able to get some idea of the daily life of the schools. Till well on in the eighteenth century, the school day was intolerably long, beginning at five or six in summer and at sunrise in winter, and lasting till six in the evening, with a two hours’ break for meals. Saturday was a day of tasks like the others. Even on Sunday the children were under the yoke, and had to attend church, sitting round the schoolmaster "silent, hearkening modestlie and venerablie," so that they might be able to repeat on Monday the heads of the lengthy sermon.

Holidays during the pre-Reformation period were fairly numerous owing to the many saints in the calendar, but with the advent of the Reformation holidays and festivals were frowned upon. Needless to say, the boys did not share in this feeling, and they frequently struck against the loss of their privileges. Thus we are told that in Aberdeen in 1604 the boys on being refused an old time holiday took possession of the school by armed force "with swords, guns, pistols, and other weapons, spoiling and taking poor folks’ gear— geese, fowls, and other victuals"; and on another occasion we read of the boys barring out the masters and defying the whole force of Provosts and Baillies, who were compelled ultimately "to ding in pieces the door." In the eighteenth century the hours were reduced to six or seven daily, but the summer holidays seldom lasted beyond two or three weeks.

The great day of the year for the pupils was Shrove-tide (Fastern’s E’en), when every boy brought to the school a fighting cock, and on payment of twelve pennies to the master was allowed to enter his bird for the annual cock fight, the arena for which was the schoolroom. Gentlemen and persons of note in the neighbourhood were admitted on payment to the master of a small sum. The cocks slain in mortal combat became the property of the master, while the victorious birds were carried home in triumph by their owners. Those that shirked the combat, called "fugies," were tied to a stake in the school yard, and the sport of cock-throwing began. The boys paid a penny for each shot, but the penny was restored for every shot that hit the mark. When all were slain the master gathered the corpses, on which he and his family fared royally for weeks thereafter. The scholars and guests before departing were regaled with cakes and ale or whisky. It is astonishing that this degrading and cruel practice was not only permitted but actually encouraged and regulated by the school authorities. Even as late as 1792 in the records of Applecross, Ross-shire, the schoolmaster’s salary is given as £10, "with perquisites in the shape of cock fight dues, which are equal to one quarter’s payment for each scholar."

With the close of the eighteenth century a new chapter opens in the history of the Highlands. The rebellion of the ‘45, in which "a handful of mountaineers shook the throne of one of the most powerful kings in Europe," brought defeat and disaster to the Highlanders, but it was, after all, a blessing in disguise. Government took up vigorously the work of reforming the social conditions. Feudal tenures were abolished, hereditary jurisdictions were brought to a close, and the King’s writ was made to run freely through the wildest and most inaccessible tracts. The driving of roads, the building of bridges, and the leading of canals opened up the country to the commerce of the south. Henceforward in material, social, and educational advance its history is one with that of the rest of the country.


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