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The Scottish Gael

THE Scots' Highlanders are the unmixed descendants of the Celts, who were the aboriginal inhabitants of Europe, and the first known colonists of Britain. Slowly following the progress of refinement, and assimulating with their neighbors, it may soon be matter of unavailing regret, that their language, their singular manners, and peculiar customs, will have become extinct and unknown, save in the traditions of the people or the partial records of the historian.

This race, which for so many ages preserved inviolate its Celtic principles and original habits, has already yielded to the powerful advance of modern civilisation, and has apparently lost more of its distinctive features within the last century, than during all the previous lapse of time, from its first settlement in Britain. Tenaciously retaining their primitive language, social institutions, and established usages, and inhabiting a romantic and picturesque country, in which they so long preserved their independence, the Gael and their territories have become the objects of much curiosity, and the prominent place which they occupy in the national annals, heightens the interest which Scotland has so much excited.

After the union of the two kingdoms there was, indeed, a long period of indifference towards this country, and of consequent ignorance of its moral and political state, but emerging from this situation of apparent insignificance, it was destined to attract peculiar regard, and every thing relating to it became an object of the liveliest attention. Various causes contributed to effect this change. The rebellions of 1715 and 1745 forced on government the necessity of paying more attention to this part of the kingdom, more particularly to the Highlands, where the consequences of the battle of Culloden proved that, even at that late period, the Gael were deemed unworthy of regard, as members of the empire, no laws being thought applicable to them on the suppression of the rebellion, but those which were given by a brigade. [Culloden Papers.] It was soon, however, perceived, that from the mountains of Scotland could be drawn An inexhaustible supply of the best soldiers in Europe, and government quickly availed Itself of a resource so invaluable. Those who represented the exiled chiefs from the period of the forfeiture of their estates, until the act of grace restored their lands, and permitted them to return to their country, with that hereditary authority, which could not, while the spirit of clanship animated the people, be dissolved or impaired, many of them, without any other income than what was supplied by the benevolence of the clan, were able to raise numerous battalions, with whom they gloriously fought in support of that constitution which a principle of honor, mistaken loyalty, and the intrigues of France, had so lately led them to endeavor to subvert.

The most interesting part of the Scots' nation is the Highlanders, the descendants of the aboriginal Celts, who signalized themselves by a determined and effectual resistance, to the utmost efforts of the Romans, who had subdued the inhabitants of the Southern provinces. The nature of their country, wild and mountainous, protected by natural bulwarks, within which, fear and prudence would equally prevent intrusion, and which opposing a barrier to free communication with other parts, served to preserve them for so many ages as a distinct and independent people. Their simple patriarchal mariners and government did not lead to much intercourse with strangers, and, except cattle, there was little produce of their country, the disposal of which would have brought them into contact with others. Their habit led to no wants which could not be supplied within themselves. The sea, and numerous lakes and rivers, afforded an abundance of fish, the woods and mountains a variety of fowl and venison, and those who attempted agriculture found the valleys highly productive. Thus secluded, their traditions and songs celebrated the exploits of their own nation, and the locality of description fostered the spirit of independence, the lofty notions of their own unconquered race, and jealous pride of ancestry, so remarkable in the Highlanders. Hence they tenaciously preserved their primitive institutions, their costume, language, poetry, music, &.c., and remained for many ages little known to the 'rest of the kingdom. The more Southern Scots were, indeed, aware of their existence. The troops and hosts of hardy warriors that often swelled the armies of the king, and were sometimes brought down in hostility to his authority, apprized their countrymen that they were a considerable people. The fierce and overwhelming forays that necessity or revenge impelled them to make on the plains, informed their Lowland neighbors, in a more unpleasant way, of their vicinity to powerful tribes of different habits, and living under peculiar laws. The civil wars which they had at different times maintained on behalf of the Stewarts, kept alive the recollection of their existence, but it was not until after the remarkable events of 1745-6, that the Northern part of Britain became an object of serious attention to the ministry, and of much curiosity to all. This interest, at first chiefly arising from political causes, and the situation of the country, was not at that time well calculated to produce a favorable or unprejudiced view. The Highlanders were even at this period deemed little better than savages. The moderation and orderly conduct of the army of Prince Charles during its success, and the bravery and humanity displayed throughout the affair, that might have vindicated their character from such injustice, were forgotten in the stigma of audacious rebellion. The consequent abolition of the system of government so conducive to their independence, brought them under more particular notice and observation. The suppression of heritable jurisdictions, the previous formation of the military roads, and acts for disarming the people and discharging the services of watching, warding, hosting, and hunting, opened the Highlands to the investigation of the curious, and broke down the chief obstacle to the mixture of the inhabitants in other society the safeguard against the intrusion of strangers, and the great protection for their primitive simplicity of character.

The Gael, who had before this time been so little known, even to many of the more Southern Lowlanders, leaving their native hills, diffused a more intimate knowledge of themselves and their country, and by their abilities displayed in the various situations of life, have shown themselves equal to the natives of any portion of the kingdom, and worthy of the respectable station which they have acquired in society. With the loss of much of their distinctive character, they have had but too many opportunities of showing that their military ardor and prowess are yet unimpaired. All Europe has admired the achievements of the Scots' troops, and in the late war they "covered themselves with glory."

The history and antiquities of so singular a people opened a copious source of speculation and literary discussion, and the subject could not fail to be generally interesting. The publication of several works gave a stimulus to research, and excited the critical acumen of many writers. The proud and high-minded Highlanders repelled with indignation the slights they received, and the attacks that were so unceremoniously made upon almost every thing which they valued as national. Unfortunately, an acrimonious spirit in which some writers indulged begat an animosity but ill suited to calm inquiry. Abuse and recrimination took the place of serious investigation. The elucidation of historical truth was either altogether put aside, or made subservient to the defeat of an opponent, by turning his cause into ridicule; and thus both parties have sacrificed much of the weight that would otherwise have attached to their arguments. While facts were obscured or perverted, error and fiction accumulated, and impartial judgment and unbiassed decision were thereby prevented. Those works were more fitted for the perusal of the antiquary than the amusement of the general reader; but a powerful stimulus to the curiosity concerning Scotland has been given by the writings of Sir Walter Scott, one of the most illustrious of her writers whose works have indeed produced a new era in literature. Caled has offered an ample field for the creations of poetry and romance and by interweaving historical personages and events with the details of fictitious narrative, the gifted author has, in his combinations, preserved with much fidelity the truth of nature, and the people, thus portrayed by the magic pencil of genius, are presented under that view which most strikingly displays their national character. Whilst those and other volumes almost equally fascinating, illustrate Scottish life and history, exhibit the influence of peculiar institutions, and delineate the manners of the inhabitants, they are the most amusing compositions of the age, and by the varied beauties of their recitals, have charmed civilized society throughout the globe. The sublime and pathetic remains of Ossian and other bards display the ancient Gael in the most imposing colors, and draw forth our admiration by the dignity of their style, and the grandeur of their imagery. Ramsay, Burns, and other poets, embellish rural life, and raise our ideas of the talents and intelligence of the Scottish peasantry, but "the wizard of the north" has environed his subject with a halo of romantic glory, brightening the page of history, and rousing an enthusiastic attention to all that relates to this part of the island. In thus, however, expressing what all must feel, it is necessary to observe that novels of this class are not to be received as genuine history; they are not meant for the communication of strict truth, and the remark is only excited by noticing the authority which has been conceded to this class of composition. Highly as their authors, especially the writer above mentioned, are to be admired, and deeply versed as they undoubtedly are, in all departments of Scottish history, they are, nevertheless, obliged to sacrifice truth for the sake of effect, for which, at the same time, they are not to be censured. Sir Walter, in his various publications, has brought into view many of the ancient customs of the Scots, several of which have long been peculiar to the Highlanders; and the notes to his poetical works, and the recent illustrations of his prose writings, contain the history and description of many curious observances, as well as authentic details of interesting transactions. The present volumes, by elucidating in the sober language of history those manners so beautifully blended with fiction by the novelists, and those circumstances which are introduced with so much effect, and so materially add to the interest with which their works are read, afford some claim to the consideration of the public.

The numerous volumes extant on Scottish history and antiquities may appear to render the present undertaking superfluous, but no publication on the same extensive plan has yet appeared. In a general history particular information cannot be given, and should not be expected topographical works are partial tours and essays are superficial and controversial writings, of which the Northern part of the island has been a fertile source, are still less popular, and are often less satisfactory in every respect than the others.

Dr. Mac Pherson, in his "Dissertations," had a similar view to that which led to the production of this work; but his labors are limited, and he chiefly compares the Gaelic customs with those of the Germans My endeavor has been to illustrate, with impartiality, the manners of the Celtic race, to trace the language, the religion, form of government, and peculiar usages of the Scots to their origin; to show their identity with those of the aborigines of Britain, and their resemblance to those of the remaining branches of the Celtic race, and thence to prove their own descent, and the derivation of the singular manners which so long distinguished them, and to which they yet fondly cling. That all these emanated from the primitive inhabitants of Europe, I trust will be satisfactorily shown. It is justly observed by Dr. Henry, of the Gauls and Britons, that "whatever is said of the persons, manners, and customs of the one, may be applied to the other with little variation and few exceptions."

I am aware that some of the subjects on which I have ventured to write have been bones of contention between the learned; I have no wish to increase the list of disputants, and should not have obtruded my opinions, opposed, as they sometimes are, to those of others, if I could have withheld them with justice to my design. My reasoning may not always be satisfactory, but I hope it is not intemperate, and can aver that it is the result of long consideration and careful investigation. Most of the Scots' writers have unfortunately used their pens under feelings of heat and indignation, either as the prejudiced but zealous champions of Celtic, Gothic, Irish, or Saxon colonization, the strenuous advocates and pertinacious opponents of royal and noble genealogies, or the redoubted vindicators and assailants of national independence and ancient glory; yet, whatever warmth may be displayed by individuals, the researches of many in different departments have brought forward and preserved much matter, both curious and important. Numerous local historians, poets, and tourists, have recorded interesting facts, and many literary societies have elucidated national history by their own labors, and by their exertions to promote all kinds of research. Of these, and all other accessible sources of information, I have availed myself; in doing which, and in making personal investigations and inspections of existing remains in both countries, I have spent some years of unwearied labor, and I have been enabled to accomplish this undertaking, if not in a manner so complete as I could wish, yet in a style which may evince my desire to be as correct and satisfactory as possible. [Many drawings of Scottish antiquities and accompanying observations have been honored by the notice of different Societies, who have, in several cases, published them in the volumes of their Transactions, the fidelity of the sketches having been acknowledged by members who had themselves seen the objects.] The labor attending the research necessary for the proper execution of a work of so comprehensive a nature as this, can only be appreciated by those who have been engaged in a similar pursuit. The variety of authorities which I have consulted is indicated by the quotations and references, but numerous works were necessarily perused without obtaining any thing to repay the trouble.

The Celtic race were scarcely less celebrated for their acquirements in arts than for proficiency in military tactics. The studies of all laudable sciences, says Marcellinus, flourished highly in Gaul, being strictly cultivated by the sacred order of Eubages, Bards, and Druids. The former, searching into nature's highest altitude, endeavored to explain its operations; and the Druids, of a more refined imagination, were addicted wholly to questions of deep and hidden matters. The Celts, as will be seen throughout the present work, were by no means barbarous, in the common acceptation of the word, but were the inventors of numerous useful and ingenious contrivances, for which surrounding nations were indebted to them. "I am tired," says a learned writer on the language of this people, "of always hearing the Romans quoted, when the commencement of our civilisation is spoken of; while nothing is said of our obligations to the Celts. It was not the Latins, it was the Gauls who were our first instructers." [Julius Liechtlen. Tacitus' Life of Agricola, c. xxi] Some of the ancients had the candor to make the same confession. Aristotle declared that philosophywas derived by the Greeks from the Gauls, and not imparted to them.

So far is it from true that the Celtae were "totally unable to raise themselves in the scale of society," as the author of the "Enquiry" boldly asserts, that numerous individuals obtained high and well deserved honors in the Roman empire. The race was, in fact, remarkable for superiority of mental endowments, which is proved by the list of celebrated individuals of Celtic origin. Spain alone produced Seneca, Lucan, Collumella, Martial, Quintillian, Sec. whilst the Egyptians and other people, subjected by the Romans, furnished none of any note. The Gauls were truly "of sharp wit and apt to learn," and they were even excelled by the Britons,! the knowledge of whose priesthood was so profound, that the youth of the continent came hither to study and complete their education, by a course of no less than twenty years' probation. This learning was not confined to the Southern tribes, but equally pervaded those of the North. Coil, surnamed Sylvius Bonus, maintained a poetical correspondence with Ausonius. Celestias, Pelagius, St. Patrick, and others, who flourished in the fourth and fifth centuries, were Scotsmen, not to mention those who are believed to have lived about the period of the Roman invasion, and even before that event, if we can credit Bale, Leland, Dempster, &.c.

In the reign of Charlemagne the Scots were renowned on the continent, their learning and probity recommending them to situations of trust and honor. Hericus, in his Life of St Caesar, dedicated to this prince, says, the whole Scottish nation, almost " despising the dangers of the sea, resort to our country with a numerous train of philosophers." The professors of Paris and Padua were then Scotsmen, and Charles's preceptor, Aleuin, is also believed to have been one. Paulus speaking of Charlemagne, says he bestowed the honors and magistracies of the nation especially upon the Scots, whom he greatly esteemed for their fidelity and valor; and Eginhart writes, that the kings of Scotland were much devoted to him, which their letters to him, then extant, confirmed. [Vita et Gestae Karoli Magni, p. 138, ed. Francofurti.] Whether he sent to King Achadh, or Achaius, requesting the assistance of learned men, as some affirm, it may be immaterial to inquire, but that a friendship subsisted between the two nations is certain; and Charles himself, in a mandate concerning the Scots' church of Horiaugia, speaks of them as having obtained the particular favor and protection of the kings of France before his reign. The Scots were indeed most zealous and indefatigable missionaries, and taught the Christian religion to several nations, founding many churches and religious houses in Germany, France, and Italy itself, distinguishing themselves by their piety, and a strict adherence to the primitive rites from which the Church of Rome had departed.

Lest I should be classed with those vain and prejudiced Scotsmen, who are represented as maintaining what is called the national honor, against all reason and historical facts, fable and conjecture being thought the only support for their assertions, it may be well to adduce some proofs, in order to show that Scotland must have possessed very ancient documents, and men well qualified, as well as solicitous, to frame and preserve such records. The violent heat nay, rage, with which many Scots antiquaries have vindicated the former glories of their country, has often subjected them to reproach and ridicule, and has unfortunately detracted from the merit of their works.

It is generally believed that the Druids committed nothing to writing, and that, in fact, their profession forbade the use of letters; but while this is true, as far as respects their mythology and religious rites, there 1s every reason to believe that they composed books or tracts on other subjects. The bards, who were the professors and conservators of history, appear to have been under no restraint in committing their particular knowledge to writing; and it is reported that collections of the Brehon laws of high antiquity, and in their peculiar law language, still exist. At li, or lona, the chief seat of the Druidical order in Scotland, Columba is said to have burned a heap of their books; and in Ireland, St. Patrick was no less severe, committing, according to the Leccan records, no less than 180 tracts to the flames. The assertion so often repeated in the Ossianic controversy, that no Gaelic MSS. were in existence, was generally believed until the investigations of the Highland Society proved its falsity. If the reader consult the last Chapter of this work, he will be satisfied that the Scots had the use of letters in the most early ages; but as it seems here necessary, to show what reliance may be placed on the statements which are subsequently introduced, and to vindicate the authenticity of several of the authorities which it has been necessary to quote, some account of the early state of literature in the British Isles shall be given.

The bards occasionally wrote in the first ages of Christianity, but we are told they did not make it a practice to commit their poems to literary record before the fifth century, and the distractions which so long afflicted the country occasioned the loss, either by destruction or removal, of most of their productions; and hence Gildas, who wrote in the middle of the sixth century, for want of those "records left by his own countrymen, which were either destroyed by the enemy at home, or carried by exiles into other parts," was obliged to apply for the most part to foreign writers. Nennius, who flourished in 858, tells us he compiled his history "from the Roman annals, the chronicles of the holy fathers, and the writings of the SCOTS and English; also from the traditions of the elders, which, by many learned men and librarians, had been reduced to writing, but either from frequent deaths, or the devastations of war, were then left in a decayed and confused condition."

The remains of British history were collected by Walter Calenius, Archdeacon of Oxford, and were finally translated, interpolated, and published by Geoffry of Monmouth. The author of the Life of Ninian, Bishop of Galloway, says he made use of a book, "De vita et miraculis ejus, barbaria Scriptus;" and the Chronicon Rhythmicum, a Scottish record, was copied from "Chronica Scripta." The ancient tract entitled "De situ Albania," quotes British histories and chronicles, and acts and annals of the Scots and Picts. The original register of St. Andrews also quoted Pictish books; yetPinkerton maintains that those people did not know the use of letters, his proof being that all their churchmen and men of learning were either Welsh or Scots. It is sufficient evidence that the Picts were not thus illiterate, could nothing else be advanced, than that Nechtan, one of their kings, wrote to Ceolfrid, Abbot of Wearmouth, in 715, and translated his long letter into the Pictish language; and he was accustomed, we are told, to peruse and /meditate on the Scriptures. A fragment of Strathclyde Gaelic, which Lhuyd found, and pronounced of the sixth century, shows that the people of that district were equally educated with their neighbors. Adomnan's Life of Columba was first written in Gaelic, as were most of the books known to have been preserved at lona, several of which, in 1525, were removed to Aberdeen, but others were seen torn up for snuff paper at Inverary.

The existence of the historian Veremundus, who has been placed in the list of fabulous authorities by most writers, is ably vindicated in a work by Mr. Tytler. That he and others composed tracts on the national history is certain, if quotations from their writings, and allusions to them by early chroniclers is a valid proof. To find historians, therefore, who wrote 1200 or 1400 years ago referring to old records in the same terms now applied to their own works, surely proves the antiquity of writing. To what extent the ancient documents thus referred to may have been, cannot now be ascertained. John Fordun, in the middle of the 14th century, mentions old chronicles and historical annals which he had consulted It is, indeed, apparent that he transcribed from authentic materials, and the only desideratum is to know their extent and antiquity.

The general belief has always been that our ancient records were destroyed by Edward I. of England, but some late writers have opposed this opinion, denying the existence of such documents, and alleging that all those he carried away were returned after they had been examined for the purpose of supporting that king's pretended claim to the supremacy of Scotland. Chalmers says, "he did not destroy those documents, but is answerable for all the derangement and loss they sustained;" but his intentions respecting the Scottish crown, and conduct towards the country, justify a strong suspicion that no record inimical to his object was by any means likely to be preserved or restored. Sir George Mac Kenzie has observed that Edward assuredly did not return all the documents he had carried off, giving an instance in the release granted by Richard I. to William, which Rymer has published.

The destruction of national archives by the ravages of war and civil dissensions has been lamentable. The Reformation was peculiarly fatal to those preserved in religious houses. Duplicates of the renunciation by Edward III. of all claim to the sovereignty of Scotland, were deposited in each of the cathedrals, and of those only the one kept at Glasgow was saved.

The picturesque and singular dress of the Highlanders has been an object of particular remark. To those who seem to have assailed the antiquity of every thing peculiar to this people, more from sentiments of individual aversion than from a spirit of candor or love of truth, it has offered a prominent mark for the display of anti-Celtic feeling. The garb is, in the following pages, described and illustrated in all its varieties, as now and formerly worn; and while the arguments of those who assert its recent adoption are overthrown, the constant use of the Breacanfeile and Feilebeag will be proved from documents of unquestionable authenticity. It will be shown that the ambiguous terms in which this unique and graceful costume has been spoken of, cannot be applied to any other habit, and that the writers were at a loss to describe a dress so different from all others, and so difficult to be comprehended by those who only saw it at a distance, and were ignorant of its arrangement. This will appear the less strange when so few in the present day, after it has become in some degree familiar even to the inhabitants of "Cockaigne," understand its proper composition; and this not excepting many of the natives of Scotland itself. While, however, some authors have written in ignorance, many have done so from a feeling of prejudice and silly jealousy of the Scottish mountaineers; but it will be proved that this primitive costume, so well suited to the warrior, so well adapted for the avocations of the hunter and shepherd, has not only been the invariable dress of the Highlanders from time immemorial, but is to be derived from the most remote antiquity; and that neither their clothing, arms, language poetry, nor music, has been adopted from any nation whatever, but received from the primaeval people whence they sprang. Their country and pursuits rendering the belted plaid and kilt the most convenient apparel, they were not likely to lay it aside for any other. It is still less horobable, that had the Trius been worn before the adoption of the Feilebeag, the inhabitants of a cold climate would have denuded themselves of so essential a part of the dress of all other nations. Nor would a people so strongly attached to their primitive customs, and opposed to change, have become so partial to a dress introduced by strangers. All who ever settled in the Highlands, as far as we can ascertain, conformed to the manners of their adopted country.

I trust that I shall be found to have fulfilled all that was promised in the Prospectus. If any part has been treated superficially, it is the "genealogical dissertations," a subject to which incidental allusions only could be made in such a work. The materials I have, however, collected, are abundant and interesting, and will enable me, should such an undertaking meet with encouragement, to elucidate Clan History in a novel and interesting manner. The ignorance of heralds and genealogists has wofully mystified family antiquities; but my plan is not to derive families from the individual whose name is first found in a charter, or other document, as the laborious author of "Caledonia" has done, imagining he had settled their origin by this proof, as if persons of certain names, or even tribes, did not exist before the formation of certain parchment documents ! I would, for instance, submit whether the Grants, a clan of equal antiquity with the Mac Alpins, who are traditionally considered to be coeval with their native hills, did not more probably take their name from the well-known district in Strathspey, called Griantachd, the country of Grannus, or the sun, than from a certain person called Le Grand. The clan Chattan do indeed say that they are sprung from, or were connected with, the Cattans of the continent; but the Gordons, the Frasers, the Menzies, and the Ruthvens, have no tradition of their descent from the Gorduni, the Frisii, the Menapii, or the Rutheni, of Gaul, although the similarity of names seems of itself to infer a common origin.

I have endeavored to relieve the tedium of the antiquarian and descriptive parts with anecdotes, many of them original, illustrative of the different subjects, and I hope my selections may be thought judicious. I have, however, forborne to infuse humor into my recitals, notwithstanding it might have enlivened the drier parts of the narration.

The variety of matters which are discussed at length, or briefly alluded to in these volumes, will be seen from the Index, in preparing which I have bestowed much care, confident that to no work could it be more necessary. He who, for want of this useful appendage, has been compelled to go over a book in search of something, which perhaps after his trouble he may not find, will be able to appreciate this part of the work. The reader will find the Index a faithful assistant to almost every subject. The gracious permission to dedicate this work to his present Most Excellent Majesty, is a renewal of the distinguished honor intended me by its lamented predecessor.

The Highland Society of London, ever ready to promote objects of national importance, promptly declared their resolution to encourage my design.

In addition to what has been said on some subjects, the few farther observations which follow may not be inappropriate.

In page 97 are some remarks on the population of the Highlands and Isles. The whole population of Scotland will be ascertained by the census of May, 1831. It having appeared to me desirable to obtain an accurate statement of the numbers of the Highlanders, dividing them into clans or districts, I had the honor of corresponding with Sir John Sinclair and others, who entered into my views on the subject. Convinced that a census taken in this manner would be of national utility, in putting government in possession of the real strength of each clan, and thus enabling it to determine what regiments could, in case of emergency, be raised in certain parts, and recruited from the same district, I took the liberty of communicating my sentiments to Mr. Rickman, who was charged with the execution of the Population Acts of 1801, 1811, and 1831. My object was not deemed capable of being accomplished ; but the following letter from a gentleman long in the army, and on the recruiting service, will, perhaps, show that its adoption might have been attended with advantage.

"With respect to taking the census by clans in the Highlands of Scotland, I think it would be of importance in many points of view, but particularly with respect to military levies and national defence. When a regiment is raised from one clan, the men consider themselves as much at home, wherever they serve, as though they had not left their native valley. The youth enlist into such regiment with alacrity, and the more it distinguishes itself, and the harder its services, the more eager will they be to gain a name among their kindred. Had the 71st, 72nd, 73rd, 74th, and 75th regiments been the clan regiments of the MacDonalds, the MacIntoshes, the Grants, the MacPhersons, &c. the government had never found it necessary to change their dress, and wrap their thighs in a blanket, as the few Highlanders we had then in the 75th emphatically called breeches of white coarse cloth. I conceive, that although heritable jurisdictions have very properly been abolished, it would be advantageous to government to keep up among the Gael as much of the spirit of clanship as possible. If they have sacrificed so much to mistaken loyalty, what may not be expected from their devotedness to a better cause, if in the course of events it should require their support. In short, if the clan system had been more fully adopted during last war, I have no doubt there would have been at Waterloo! for every Highlander who fought there, at least two. and his Grace of Wellington can best tell what would have been their value on such an occasion. The plan alluded to would put the government in possession of the number of each clan, and in the case of raising local forces, or troops for general service, they would fix upon those chins whose numbers would enable them to complete their levies in the shortest time. Upon this point it would create a useful feeling among the chiefs, of retaining the tenantry upon their estates, for he that has nothing but sheep on his grounds could never expect a colonelcy.

I have been a great part of my life a diligent observer of the character and manners of the Highlanders, and I have uniformly found, that preserving them in a body is the only means of preserving their character from degenerating. The reason of this is clear; if a man commit an unworthy action while serving abroad, his friends at home are sure to be informed of it, and he looks upon himself as a banished man, who must never revisit his native land. I am, dear Sir, yours sincerely,


In support of the opinions here stated, it may be observed, that at Waterloo, of 454 Scotsmen in the 42nd regiment, their were only 17 men of the name of Campbell, and not one Gordon. The former join their friends in the 79th and 91st. The latter serve in their own clan corps, where also the MacPhersons chiefly enrol themselves. In like manner the Macrtes, Munroes, Rosses, &c. join the MacKenzies in the 78th, and the MacKays go into the Sutherland regiment; this, however, is no proof of the indifference of individuals to the feelings of clanship; they only, when entering this army, select the regiment where they can associate with those who are from the same parts of the country. The inference is, that were Highlanders able to serve in a battalion of their own clan, they would enter the service with more alacrity.

In stating that the sword which belonged to Gordon, of Bucky, is believed to be the oldest specimen of the basket hilt, I had not seen a weapon which has been an heir loom in the family of Sir Charles Forbes, of New, and Edinglassie, in Aberdeenshire. This curious sword is very broad, but not of great length, and bears an inscription, "The Cuttie of New. Alex Forbes, 1513." If the cliabh, or basket, is an original part, it appears to be the most early specimen.

The names of the letters given in the Gaelic Alphabet, are chiefly from the Dictionary published under the sanction of the Highland Society, and I have stated that the Irish idiom has been adopted. It is to be regretted that the learned gentlemen employed in this great work did not give the native appellations of the letters, several of which differ from those in the sister dialect. The compilers had not the same object in view which I have in speaking of the Tree system in the above place, but some more attention to the letters, the materials of which their whole work is composed, might have been more satisfactory. The subject of Letters and Language, discussed in the Introduction and last chapter, deserves a more extended dissertation than the present design could admit of. "There is room," says Gibbon, "for a very interesting work, to lay open the connexion between the language and marine of nations "

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