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The Celtic Monthly
A magazine for Highlanders. Edited by John MacKay


Volume I

Introduction to Volume I.

IN the circular issued, announcing the CELTIC MAGAZINE, we stated that it was to be a Monthly Periodical, written in English, devoted to the Literature, History, Antiquities, Traditions, Folklore, and the Social and Material Interests of the Celt at Home and Abroad: that it would be devoted to Celtic subjects generally, and not merely to questions affecting the Scottish Highlands: that it would aii'ord Reviews of Books on subjects interesting to the Celtic Races—their Literature, questions affecting the Land—such as Hypothec, Entail, Tenant-Right, Sport, Emigration, Reclamation, and all questions affecting the Landlords, Tenants, and Commerce of the Highlands. We will also, from time to time, supply Biographical Sketches of eminent Celts at Home and Abroad, and all the Old Legends connected with the Highlands, as far as we can procure them, beginning with those of Inverness and Ross shires.

We believe that, under the wiser and more enlightened management now developing itself, there is room enough in the Highlands for more Men, more Land under cultivation, more Sheep and more Shepherds, without any diminution of Sport in Grouse or Deer: that there is room enough for all—for more gallant defenders of our country in time of need, for more produce, more comfort, and more intelligence. We shall afford a medium for giving expression to these views. When submitting the first number of the Magazine to the public, we think it proper to indicate our own opinion on these questions at greater length than we could possibly do in a circular; but, while doing this, we wish it to be understood that we shall at all times be ready to receive contributions on both sides, the only conditions being that they be well and temperately written, and that no side of a question will obtain undue prominence—facts and arguments alone allowed to work conviction. Thus, Ave hope to make the Celtic Magazine a mirror of the intelligent opinion of the Highlands, and of all those interested in its prosperity and progress.

In dealing with Celtic Literature, Antiquities, Traditions, and Folklore, we must necessarily be Conservative. It is impossible for a good Celt to be otherwise than conservative of the noble History of his Ancestors—in love and in war, in devotion and daring. If any should deem this feeling on our part a failing, we promise to have something to say for ourselves in future, and not only give a reason for our faith, but show that we have something in the Highlands worth conserving.

In dealing with the important question of Sport, we cannot help taking a common sense view of it. We cannot resist the glaring facts which, staring us in the face, conclusively prove that the enormous progress made in the Highlands during the last half century, and now rapidly going on, is mainly due to our Highland Sports. A great amount of nonsense has been said and written on this question, and an attempt made to hold grouse and deer responsible for the cruel evictions which have taken place in the North. Arguments, to be of any force, must be founded on facts; and the facts are, in this case, that it was not grouse or deer which caused the Highland evictions, but sheep and south country sheep farmers. The question must be argued as one not between men and deer, but between men and sheep, and sheep against deer. We believe there is room enough for all under proper restrictions, and, to make room for more men, these restrictions should be applied to sheep or deer.

We believe that it would be a wise and profitable policy for Landlords as well as for Tenants to abolish Hypothee and Entail, and to grant compensation for improvements made by the latter. We are quite satisfied from experience, that the small crofter is quite incapable of profitably reclaiming much of our Highland Wastes without capital, and at the same time bring, up a family. If he is possessed of the necessary capital, he can employ it much more advantageously elsewhere. The landlord is the only one who can reclaim to advantage, and he can hardly be expected to do so on an entailed estate, for the benefit of his successors, at an enormous rate of interest, payable out of his life-rent. If we are to reclaim successfully and to any extent, Entail must go; and the estates will then be justly burdened with the money laid out in their permanent improvement. The proprietor in possession will have an interest in improving the estate for himself and for his successors, and the latter, who will reap the greatest benefit, will have to pay the largest share of the cost.

Regarding Emigration, we have a matured opinion that while it is a calamity for the country generally, and for employers of labour and farmers in particular that able-bodied men and women should be leaving the country in their thousands, we unhesitatingly assert that it is far wiser for these men and women to emigrate to countries where their labour is of real value to them, and where they can spend it improving land which will not only be found profitable during their lives, but which will be their own and their descendants freehold for ever, than to continue starving themselves and their children on barren patches and crofts of four or five acres of unproductive land in the Highlands. We have experienced all the charms of a Highland croft, as one of a large family, and we unhesitatingly say, that we cannot recommend it to any able-bodied person who can leave it for a more promising outlet for himself and family. While we are of this opinion regarding voluntary emigration, we have no hesitation in designating forced evictions by landlords as a crime deserving the reprobation of all honest men.

We shall also have something to say regarding the Commercial Interests of the Highlands--its trade and manufactures, and the abominable system of long Credit which is, and has proved, so ruinous to the tradesman; and which, at the same time, necessarily enhances the price of all goods and provisions to the retail cash buyer and prompt payer. on all these questions, and many others, we shall from time to time give our views at further length, as well as the views of those who differ from us. We shall, at least, spare no effort to deserve success.

The HIGHLAND CEILIDH will be commenced in the next number, and continued from month to month. Under this heading will be given Highland Legends, Old Unpublished Gaelic Poetry, Riddles, Proverbs, Traditions, and Folk-Lore.

Volume I

Volume II

Volume III
Northern Folk-Lore
On Wells and Water, An Account of some interesting wells in the Neighbourhood of Inverness and the North by Alex. Fraser (1878) (pdf)

Volume IV

Volume V

Volume VI

Volume VII

Volume VIII

Volume IX

Volume X

Volume XI

Volume XII

Volume XIII

Volume XIX

Volume X

  • October 1901
    As well as Gaelic poems and their translations there are also articles on MacLeans of Gallanach, Coll, Gaelic Mod in Glasgow, Simon Fraser, Tenth Lord Lovat, The Graves of the Keppochs, The MacLeans of Coll, Clan Colquhoun Society annual gathering at Luss, Neil MacLeod, last of the MacLeods of Assynt, Highland Home Industries, etc.

  • November 1901
    George MacKay, President of the Clan MacKay Society, Neil MacLeod last of the MacLeods of Assynt, Martial music of the clans, Clam MacKay gathering at Tongue, The Ossianic Ballads, Simon Fraser, 10th Lord Lovat, etc.

  • December 1901
    William C. MacLeod, Neil MacLeod last of the MacLeods of Assynt, The Martial Music of the Clans, The MacLeans of Coll, Kintyre on Emigration and Depopulation, Iain Lom and his Times, The Scot Abroad, A Mull Song, The Fledged Sporan - a tale of Terror from the Gaelic, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Death of John Cameron of Sutherland.

  • January 1902
    Charles M'Laren Liverpool, Albert Edward MacKinnon, The Song of Sleep, The Piper of Golf and Green, A Christmas and New Year Greeting, The Pledged Sporran, Clan Menzies Gathering, Martian Music of the Clans, The Marquis of Dufferin on the Races of Ireland, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Rognvald: Earl, Jorsala-Farer and Saint.

  • February 1902
    James Mead Sutherland, Am Bodach Glas (The Grey Spectre), Banais Anns A' Ghaidhealtachd, Gaelic Music in Scotland, The Pledged Sporran, Rognvald: Earl - Jorsala-Farer and Saint, The Haunted Castle, The Stewart Society, The Bagpipes in the Indian Highlands, London Argyllshire Association, The Martian Music of the Clans.

  • March 1902
    D. P. Menzies, FSA Scot of Menzieston, The isolation of Sutherlandshire, My Highland Home, Alexander MacPherson, The White Glave of Light, The Martial Music of the Clans, Banais Anns A' Ghaidhealtachd, Gaelic Music in Scotland, The Pledged Sporran.

  • April 1902
    MacLeod Stewart Ottawa Canada, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Applecross: Its church and monastery, John Sinclair, Shepherd Part III, Are the Benzies a sept of Clan Menzies, The Beatons or Bethunes, The Martial Music of the Clans, Comhradh Tirisdeach, How Allan-of-the-Straw founded a family - A tale of the MacLeans of Torloisk, The story of Jane MacRae, Sonnets on Schiehallion, The song of the Western Seas, Clan Forbes March.

  • May 1902
    Hugh MacLeod of Glasgow, Scottish Memories in the Midlands, Stories of Kintyre, Celtic Facts and Fancies, The Early Celtic Church, The Highland Hills, The Martial Music of the Clans, Gaelic Music in Scotland, Evening in the Hill Country, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National Music and Poetry, Bonnie Prince Charlie, An Leannan A Bh' Aig Domhnull Ruadh, Armorial Bearings of MacLeans of Dochharroch.

  • June 1902
    John G. Jarratt, Laoidh na Rioghachd (The National Anthem), Gaelic Music in Scotland, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National Music and Poetry, The Martial Music of the Clans, Leaving the Glen, What is my Tartan?, The Scot Abroad, The Story of Jane MacRae, To a Bunch of Scotch Heather, The Early Celtic Church, London Argyllshire Association, Unitas Celtica, The War Office and the Tartans.

  • July 1902
    Lieut.-Colonel John W. M'Farlan of Ballancleroch, Gaelic Music in Scotland, The Scot Abroad, The Dying Gael's Farewell to Strath Strathie, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, Tp John MacKay of Hereford, The Martial Music of the Clans, Gillecriosd, Highland Scenery and Climate in relation to National Music and Poetry, The Early Celtic Church, Highland Society of London, The Rant of Struan Robertson.

  • August 1902
    Duncan MacDonald, Merthyr-Tydfil, Dreams, The Martial Music of the Clans, In the Shadow of Ben Duirnish, The Cry Over the Waters, Clan Donnachaidh Society, The Fairy Man, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National Music and Poetr, In a Rosh-Shire Garden, A Gaelic Oath, The Early Celtic Church, A MacGregor Lament, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, Concerning Aunt Betsy and Some Others, The Clan Donnachaidh.

  • September 1902
    The Nicolson Institute Stornaway, Evicted, The Fairy Man, The Return of the Men to "Bonnie Strathnaver", The Martial Music of the Clans, Strathnaver: The Return, Skene as an Historian, Lady Lude of the "Forty Five", Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, Highlanders - United England Loyalists, The Early Celtic Church, Concerning Aunt Betsy and Some Others, Highland Scenery and Climate in Relation to National Music and Poetry.

  • War speech of a Highland chief
    From “The Celtic Magazine” February 1879 By Alexander  Logan

Volume XI

  • October 1902
    Sir Robert Menzies of Menzies - Baronet, King Edward's Coronation, Captain Ivory's Cave, The Highlands, The Fairy Man, Lament for Roderick "The Chisholm", Baron-Bailie Court of Lude, Highland Mod at Dundee, The Martial Music of the Clans, Highland Scenery and Climate, Concerning Aunt Betsy and Some Others, Duncan Ban MacIntyre, Emigrations from the Highlands during the Eighteenth Century, Armorial Bearings of MacLean of Dochgarroch, An Old Gaelic Saying.

  • November 1902
    Matheson of Shiness, Achany and The Lews, Sergeant Jim of the Gordons, Mackays and Mackintoshes in America, Highland Scenery and Climate, "Rarities in Caithness and Strathnaer, Histories of the Bagpipes, MacLean Lord of Dowart, The Martial Music of the Clans, Mod prize poem, The Eight Men of Moidart.

  • December 1902
    Captain Charles. H. MacLean, Scottish Clans Association of London, Lady MacKintosh of the '45, Lament to the Late Lieut-Gen. Sir Herbert MacPherson, The Martial Music of the Clans, MacKays and MacKintoshes in America, About Tomintoul, In the Westering of the Sun, Coming Home.

  • January 1903
    Alexander Murray, The Clan Fraser, Some remarks on Clan Tartans, The ending of a clan feud, The Martial Music of the Clans, The eight men of Moidart, MacLeans of Dochgarroch, A balad of Yule, The Distinctions of the Ossianic Poems, Brigadier MacKintosh of Borlum, Life in the Highlands in the olden times, Folklore of Sutherland, The MacLeans of Crossapol, Clan MacMillan Society, Our musical page.

  • February 1903
    Archibald Fergusson, A Highland Romance, Jennie Cameron of the '45, Gaelic names in Braemar, An Ode on the 300th anniversary of the Battle of Glenfruin, A favourite Sutherland Angling resort, The Pass of the Shadow, The MacLeans of Crossapol, The Anglicising of the Highlands, The Eight Men of Moidart, The Martial Music of the Clans.

  • March 1903
    The Camerons of Worcester, Rev. George H. Cameron of Russia, The anglicising of the Highlands, There is a voice that haunts me still, A Highland Romance, The Pass of the Shadow, Macara Clan, Glen Eagles, The Seven Men of Glenmoriston, The Wanderer, Place Names in Braemar, The Martial Music of the Clans, Some Traditions of the Beatons or MacBeths, Our Musical page.

  • April 1903
    James M M;Kay Ohio USA, The Highland Exile, How the Feud between the Camerons and MacKintoshes ended, The Anglicising of the Highlands, A Highland Romance, The Pass of the Shadow, The Late General Sir Hector MacDonald, In Saint Columba's Country, The Martial Music of the Clans, Reminisceses of Strathnaver.

  • May 1903
    AEnas Ranald McDonell 21st Chief of Glengarry, Fighting Mac, The Eagle, The House of Dreams, The Martial Music of the Clans, Some Notes on the Harris, General Hector A. MacDonald, The General MacDonald Scandel, The Anglicising of the Highlands, Sutherland Folk-Lore Tales, Pittsburg U.S.A. Pipe Band, Days of Yore at Arrochar.

  • June 1903
    Donald McDonald Chief Cape Highland Society, Tak' Me Hame, Ewen MacPhee the Outlaw, And the greatest of these is..., Legends of the Clan MacKay, Landing Haddook, Hector MacDonald Memorial, The Name Anderson, The Martial Music of the Clans, The Anglicising of the Highlands, Death of General Fraser, Highlanders in the Russian Caucasus, Some Notes on the Harris, Days of Yore at Arrochar, The Sangs my Mither Sung.

  • July 1903
    Rev. Robert Munro, The Martial Music of the Clans, GlenLyon, How Boy Beyond found the Golden Beam, The Pass of the Shadow, Our Musical Page, The Legend of Lorn, Clan Menzies Armorial Bearings, The Basileus of Britain, The Legend of Lianachan or a story of the "Grey Hag", The MacLeans of Crossapol, Donald Diabhul, Rhyming Place Names.

  • August 1903
    The Late Donald N Nicol, An Old Graveyard, Alice Cameron, Inverness-Shire, Legends of the Clan MacKay, Tour of His Excellency Field Marshall MacDonald, The Closing Doors, The Last Evening in the Highlands, Clan Menzies Armorial Bearings, The Duart Coat of Arms, Sithichean Shelia, The Martial Music of the Clans, The Pass of the Shadow, The "Colquhouns Peabroch", The "Nether Lochaber" Memorial.

  • September 1903
    The Late Rev. John MacKay, Colla Ciotach Mac Ghilleasbuig, Log of the "Columba", Death of MacDonald of Glenaladale, Pipers Two or A Reay Country Merry-Making, Dunrobin Castle, The Martial Music of the Clans, A Gathering of the Clans at Durban Natal, History of the Outer Hebrides, Gaelic Society of London, The Fortunes of an Exile, The Clan Munro, Sea Hunger, The MacLeans of Crossapol, An Elegy, Highland Hospitality, Wanganui Caledonian Society, M'Quistan or M'Eystein, The Mothers.

Volume XX

  • January 1912
    Alexander Fraser FSA Scot Toronto, Sketches of Highland Life and Character, The Marvel Child of Kircauldy - L. MacBean, The Clan MacLaren, Celtic Notes and Queries, Records of a Famous Regiment - The 93d Sutherland Highlanders, Muireach Fail, The Cave Picture and its Painter, The Late Mr. A MacDonald of Ord, A Tribute to Burns, The Clan MacRae Societyy, Our Musical Page, Lord Lovat of the '45.

  • February 1912
    The Late Lieut. C. A. MacAlister of Glenbarr and Cour, Sketches of Highland Life and Character, Gaelic Coinage, Caiptean Ruadh Ghlinn Liobhan, Gaelic Lament, Gordon Highlanders, The Late Dr. George Grant, The Highlander of Modern Fiction, MacMillan, Just a Minute, Records of a Famous Regiment - The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, The Clan M'Farlane Society, The Highlands, Notes on The Celtic Year, The Highlands as a Holiday Resort, The Story of the Bagpipe, MacPhail of Inverairnie, Storm among the Hills, Incidents in the Life of Dugald Buchanan, The Surname Douglas, Celtic Notes and Queries.

  • March 1912
    Mr Peter Mackay Glenure Argyll, Sketches of Highland Life and Character, Gaelic Proverbs, The Highlander in Modern Fiction, The Gaelic Leaving Certificate, Mr Donald Nicolson of Bearsden, The 93rd Sutherland Highlanders, Notes on the Celtic Year, Celtic Notes and Queries, Fionn and the Fidga, Solan Geese catching at St. Kilda, The Late Mr. D. R. MacGregor Melbourne, Highland Funerals, The Legend of Loch Maree, MacDonald Tartans, The Surname Galbraith, Our Musical Page.

  • April 1912
    Mr A. W. M'Lean - Lumberton North Carolina USA, Sketches of Highland Life and Character, Gaelic Proverbs, Mr L. MacBean of Kirkcaldy, Notes on the Celtic Year, A New Zealand Pioneer, The Clan Piper, The MacEwans of Ottir and Other Small Clans - The MacLays, The MacQueens, "Culloden, April 16th 1746, Who have the Largest Heads and Feet?, Pipers Three, Fionn and the Fidga, The Cummings, The Book of Deer, The Clan Stewart, Celtic Notes and Queries, Our Musical Page, Reviews.

  • May 1912
    The Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford, Sketches of Highland Life and Character, The Passing of the Titanic, Gaelic Proverbs, The Late Lieut. Donald Campbell R.N., To all Highland Hearts, The Religion in the Gaelic Language, The Tongue of the Gael, The Sons of Rob Roy, Celtic Notes and Queries, Fionn's Wars with the MacGregors, Notes on the Celtic Year, Death of a Notable Highlander, The Clan MacKay Annual Gathering, The MacLarens and the Appin Stewarts, Our Musical Page.

  • June 1912
    The Chief of the Clan MacPhail, Sketches of Life and Character, Scottish Clans Association, Stornoway and the Lews, The Religion in the Gaelic Language, The Land for the People, The Sons of Rob Roy, The Cape Breton and Nova Scotia Highlanders, Fionn's Wars with the MacGregors, Notes on the Celtic Year, Celtic Notes and Queries, Gaelic Proverbs.

  • July 1912
    Lieutenant-Colonel George J. MacFarlane, The Medical Book of Dunolly, Gaelic Proverbs, Memorial to Scotland's National Patriot, The War Song of The Hays, The Sons of Rob Roy, The Late Alexander Carmichael LL.D, Fionn's Wars with the MacGregors, Cameron's "Isle of Skye", Notes on the Celtic Year, The MacFadyens, Famous Highland Bowman, Celtic Notes and Queries, H. Cameron Gillies M.D., Our Musical Page.

  • August 1912
    The Late Mrs MacRae, The Late Major Catto, After Culloden, The Real MacKay Tartan, The Clan Davidson, Gaelic Proverbs, Fionn's Wars with the MacGregors, The Late Dr. George Henderson, The Irish Oireaachtas, A Song of the North, Reviews, Celtic Notes and Queries, New Bagpipe Music, The Gunns, Corrievreckan in Legend, Our Musical Page, Notes on the Celtic Year.

  • September 1912
    The Rev. John MacLean DD., The Clan MacLean, Tiree the Sanatorium of the West, The MacLean Gathering at Duart 1912, After Culloden, Magnus MacLean, The Adventures of Fionn at Connaught, Notes on the Celtic Year, Gaelic Proverbs, Celtic Notes and Queries, Our Musical Page.

  • October 1912
    Mr Donald MacKay of Edinburgh, After Culloden, To what Clan did Lord Clyde belong?, The Fernaig MS, Notes on the Celtic year, Clan Alpin's Vow, Beauly Priory and its associations, Gaelic Proverbs, Clan MacFarlane, The Adventures of Fionn in Connaught, Rev. Murdo Lamont, Celtic Notes and Queries, Our musical page, The days of the week in Gaelic.

  • November 1912
    Mr John MacLeod, After Culloden, Beauly Priory and its Associations, "Clann An Sgeulaiche (A famous family of Pipers), Our Highland Dances, Clan MacKay Society, New Celtic Lecturer for Glasgow, Royal Stewart Tartan, The Fernaig MS, Celtic Notes and Queries, The Adventures of Fionn in Connaught, Notes on the Celtic Year, The Clan MacLean gathering at Duart Castle, Gaelic Proverbs, Oran, Gaelic Music, The Campbells, Our Musical Page.

  • December 1912
    The Late Provost of Cambeltown - Mr H. D. B. MacTaggart, Beauly Priory and its Associations, Reminicenses of Bagpipes in many Lands, Celtic Notes and Queries, The Birth of Simon Fraser Lord Lovat of the '45, Death of Captain Douglas Wimberley of Inverness, Clan MacKay Society, The Clan MacFarlane in Glasgow, The Clan MacMillan, An Old Pipe Tune, Highland Snobs, The Alan Cameron Relics, The Adventures of Fionn in Connaught, Notes on the Celtic Year, Gaelic Proverbs, The Kilt Threatened, Patrick MacDonald's Collection 1784, Our Musical Page, Luathadh or Waulking.

The Study of Celtic Literature
By Mathew Arnold (1867) (pdf)

INTRODUCTION

The following remarks on the study of Celtic Literature formed the substance of four lectures given by me last year and the year before in the chair of poetry at Oxford. They were first published in the Cornhill Magazine, and are now reprinted from thence. Again and again, in the course of them, I have marked the very humble scope intended; which is, not to treat any special branch of scientific Celtic studies (a task for which I am quite incompetent), but to point out the many directions in which the results of those studies offer matter of general interest, and to insist on the benefit we may all derive from knowing the Celt and things Celtic more thoroughly, It was impossible, however, to avoid touching on certain points of ethnology and philology, which can be securely handled only by those who have made these sciences the object of special study. Here the mere literary critic must owe his whole safety to his tact in choosing authorities to follow, and whatever he advances must be understood as advanced with a sense of the insecurity which, after all, attaches to such a mode of proceeding, and as put forward provisionally, by way of hypothesis rather than of confident assertion. .

To mark clearly to the reader both this provisional character of much which I advance, and my own sense of it, I have inserted, as a check upon some of the positions adopted in the text, notes and comments with which Lord Strang-ford has kindly furnished me. Lord Strangford is hardly less distinguished for knowing ethnology and languages so scientifically than for knowing so much of them; and his interest, even from the vantageground of his scientific knowledge, and after making all due reserves on points of scientific detail, in my treatment,—with merely the resources and point of view of a literary critic at my command,—of such a subject as the study of Celtic Literature, is the most encouraging assurance I could have received that my attempt is not altogether a vain one.

Both Lord Strangford and others whose opinion I respect have said that I am unjust in calling Mr. Nash, the acute and learned author of Taliesin, or the Bards and Druids of Britain, a “Celt-hater.” “He is a denouncer,” says Lord Strangford in a note on this expression, “of Celtic extravagance, that is all; he is an anti-Philocelt, a very different thing from an anti-Celt, and quite indispensable in scientific inquiry. As Philoceltism has hitherto,— hitherto, remember,—meant nothing but uncritical acceptance and irrational admiration of the beloved object’s sayings and doings, without reference to truth one way or the other, it is surely in the interest of science to support him in the main. In tracing the workings of old Celtic leaven in poems which embody the Celtic soul of all time in a mediaeval form, I do not see that you come into any necessary opposition with him, for your concern is with the spirit, his with the substance only.” I entirely agree with almost all which Lord Strangford here urges, and indeed, so sincere is my respect for Mr. Nash’s critical discernment and learning, and so unhesitating my recognition of the usefulness, in many respects, of the work of demolition performed by him, that in originally designating him as a Celt-hater, I hastened to add, as the reader will see by referring to the passage/ words of explanation and apology ' for so calling him. But I thought then, and I think still, that Mr. Nash, in pursuing his work of demolition, too much puts out of sight the positive and constructive performance for which this work of demolition is to clear the ground. I thought then, and I think still, that in this Celtic controversy, as in other controversies, it is most desirable both to believe and to profess that the work of construction is the fruitful and important work, and that we are demolishing only to prepare for it. Mr. Nash’s scepticism seems to me,—in the aspect in which his work, on the whole, shows it,—too absolute, too stationary, too much without a future; and this tends to make it, for the non-Celtic part of his readers, less fruitful than' it otherwise would be, and for his Celtic readers, harsh and repellent. I have therefore suffered my remarks on Mr. Nash still to stand, though with a little modification; but I hope he will read them by the light of these explanations, and that he will believe my sense of esteem for his work to be a thousand times stronger than my sense of difference from it.

To lead towards solid ground, where the Celt may with legitimate satisfaction point to traces of the gifts and workings of his race, and where the Englishman may find himself induced to sympathise with that satisfaction and to feel an interest in it, is the design of all the considerations urged in the following essay. Kindly taking the will for the deed, a Welshman and an old acquaintance of mine, Mr. Hugh Owen, received my remarks with so much cordiality, that he asked me to come to the Eisteddfod last summer at Chester, and there to read a paper on some topic of Celtic literature or antiquities. In answer to this flattering proposal b of Mr. Owen’s, I wrote him a letter which appeared at the time in several newspapers, and of which the following extract preserves all that is of any importance :—

“My knowledge of Welsh matters is so utterly insignificant that it would be impertinence in me, under any circumstances, to talk about those matters to an assemblage of persons, many of whom have passed their lives in studying them.

“Your gathering acquires more interest every year. Let me venture to say that you have to avoid two dangers in order to work all the good which your friends could desire. You have to avoid the danger of giving offence to practical men by retarding the spread of the English language in the principality. I believe that to preserve and honour the Welsh language and literature is quite compatible with not thwarting or delaying for a single hour the introduction, so undeniably useful, of a knowledge of English among all classes in Wales. You have to avoid, again, the danger of alienating men of science by a blind, partial, and uncritical treatment of your national antiquities. Mr. Stephens’s excellent book, The Literattire of the Cymry, shows how perfectly Welshmen can avoid this danger if they will.

“When I see the enthusiasm these Eisteddfods can awaken in your whole people, and then think of the tastes, the literature, the amusements, of our own lower and middle class, I am filled with admiration for you. It is a consoling thought, and one which history allows us to entertain, that nations disinherited of political success may yet leave their mark on the world’s progress, and contribute powerfully to the civilisation of mankind. We in England have come to that point when the continued advance and greatness of our nation is threatened by one cause, and one cause above all. Far more than by the helplessness of an aristocracy whose day is fast coming to an end, far more than by the rawness of a lower class whose day is only just beginning, we are emperilled by what I call the ‘Philistinism’ of our middle class. On the side of beauty and taste, vulgarity; on the side of morals and feeling, coarseness ; on the side of mind and spirit, unintelligence,—this is Philistinism. Now, then, is the moment for the greater delicacy and spirituality of b-2 the Celtic peoples who are blended with us, if it be but wisely directed, to make itself prized and honoured. In a certain measure the children of Taliesin and Ossian have now an opportunity for renewing the famous feat of the Greeks, and conquering their conquerors. No service England can render the Celts by giving *you a share in her many good qualities, can surpass that which the Celts can at this moment render England, by communicating to us some of theirs.”

Now certainly, in that letter, written to a Welshman and on the occasion of a Welsh festival, I enlarged on the merits of the Celtic spirit and of its works, rather than on their demerits. It would have been offensive and inhuman to do otherwise. When an acquaintance asks you to write his father’s epitaph, you do not generally seize that opportunity for saying that his father was blind of one eye, and had an unfortunate habit of not paying his tradesmen’s bills. But the weak side of Celtism and of its Celtic glorifiers, the danger against which they have to guard, is clearly indicated in that letter; and in the remarks reprinted in this volume, — remarks which were the original cause of Mr. Owen’s writing to me, and must have been fully present to his mind when he read my letter,—the shortcomings both of the Celtic race, and of the Celtic students of its literature and antiquities, are unreservedly marked, and, so far as is necessary, blamed.1 It was, indeed, not my purpose to make blame the chief part of what I said; for the Celts, like other people, are to be meliorated rather by developing their gifts than by chastising their defects. The wise man, says Spinoza admirably, “de Humana impotentia non nisi parce loqtci cui'abit, at largiter de Humana virtute sen potential". But so far as condemnation of Celtic failure was needful towards preparing the way for the growth of Celtic virtue, I used condemnation.

The Times, however, prefers a shorter and sharper method of dealing with the Celts, and in a couple of leading articles, having the Chester Eisteddfod and my letter to Mr. Hugh Owen for their text, it developed with great frankness, and in its usual forcible style, its own views for the amelioration of Wales and its people. Cease to do evil, learn to do good, was the upshot of its exhortations to the Welsh ; by evil, the Times understanding all things Celtic, and by good, all things English. “ The Welsh language is the curse of Wales. Its prevalence, and the ignorance of English have excluded, and even now exclude the Welsh people from the civilisation of their English neighbours. An Eisteddfod is one of the most mischievous and selfish pieces of sentimentalism which could possibly be perpetrated. It is simply a foolish interference with the natural progress of civilisation and prosperity. If it is desirable that the Welsh should talk English, it is monstrous folly to encourage them in a loving fondness for their old language. Not only the energy and power, but the intelligence and music of Europe have come mainly from Teutonic sources, and this glorification of everything Celtic, if it were not pedantry, would be sheer ignorance. The sooner all Welsh specialities disappear from the face of the earth the better.”

And I need hardly say, that I myself, as so often happens to me at the hands of my own countrymen, was cruelly judged by the Times, and most severely treated. What I said to Mr. Owen about the spread of the English language in Wales being quite compatible with preserving and honouring the Welsh language and literature, was tersely set down as “arrant nonsense,” and I was characterised as “a sentimentalist who talks nonsense about the children of Taliesin and Ossian, and whose dainty taste requires something more flimsy than the strong sense and sturdy morality of his fellow Englishmen.”

As I said before, I am unhappily inured to having these harsh interpretations put by my fellow Englishmen upon what I write, and I no longer cry out about it. And then, too, I have made a study of the Corinthian or leading article style, and know its exigences, and that they are no more to be quarrelled with than the law of gravitation. So, for my part, when I read these asperities of the Times, my mind did not dwell very much on my own concern in them; but what I said to myself, as I put the newspaper down, was this: “Behold England's difficulty in governing Ireland!”

I pass by the dauntless assumption that the agricultural peasant whom we in England, without Eisteddfods, succeed in developing, is so much finer a product of civilisation than the Welsh peasant, retarded by these “pieces of sentimentalism.” I will be content to suppose that our “strong sense and sturdy morality” are as admirable and as universal as the Times pleases. But even supposing this, I will ask: did any one ever hear of strong sense and sturdy morality being thrust down other people’s throats in this fashion ? Might not these divine English gifts, and the English language in which they are preached, have a better chance of making their way among the poor Celtic heathen, if the English apostle delivered his message a little more agreeably? There is nothing like love and admiration for bringing people to a likeness with what they love and admire; but the Englishman seems never to dream of employing these influences upon a race he wants to fuse with himself. He employs simply material interests for his work of fusion ; and, beyond these, nothing except scorn and rebuke. Accordingly there is no vital union between him and the races he has annexed; and while France can truly boast of her “magnificent unity,” a unity of spirit no less than of name between all the people who compose her, in England the Englishman proper is in union of spirit with no one except other Englishmen proper like himself. His Welsh and Irish fellow-citizens are hardly more amalgamated with him now than they were when Wales and Ireland were first conquered, and the true unity of even these small islands has yet to be achieved. When these papers of mine on the Celtic genius and literature first appeared in the Cornhill Magazine, they brought me, as was natural, many communications from Welshmen and Irishmen having an interest in the subject; and one could not but be painfully struck, in reading these communications, to see how profound a feeling of aversion and severance from the English they in general manifested. Who can be surprised at it, when he observes the strain of the Times in the articles just quoted, and remembers that this is the characteristic strain of the Englishman in commenting on whatsoever is not himself? And then, with our boundless faith in machinery, we English expect the Welshman as a matter of course to grow attached to us, because ' we invite him to do business with us, and let him hold any number of public meetings and publish all the newspapers he likes! When shall we learn, that what attaches people to us is the spirit we are of, and not the machinery we employ?

Last year there was a project of holding a Breton Eisteddfod at Quimper in Brittany, and the French Home Secretary, whether wishing to protect the magnificent unity of France from inroads of Bretonism, or fearing lest the design should be used in furtherance of Legitimist intrigues, or from whatever motive, issued g.n order which prohibited the meeting. If Mr. Walpole had issued an order prohibiting the Chester Eisteddfod, all the Englishmen from Cornwall to John o’ Groat’s House would have rushed to the rescue; and our strong sense and sturdy morality would never have stopped gnashing their teeth and rending their garments till the prohibition was rescinded. What a pity our strong sense and sturdy morality fail to perceive that words like those of the Times create a far keener sense of estrangement and dislike than acts like those of the French Minister! Acts like those of the French Minister are attributed to reasons of State, and the Government is held blameable for them, not the French people. Articles like those of the Times are attributed to the want of sympathy and of sweetness of disposition in the English nature, and the whole English people gets the blame of them. And deservedly; for from some such ground of want of sympathy and sweetness in the English nature, do articles like those of the Times come, and to some such ground do they make appeal. The sympathetic and social virtues of the French nature, on the other hand, actually repair the breaches made by oppressive deeds of the Government; and create, among populations joined with France as the Welsh and Irish are joined with England, a sense of liking and attachment towards the French people. The French Government may discourage the German language in Alsace and prohibit Eisteddfods in Brittany ; but the Journal des Debats never treats German music and poetry as mischievous lumber, nor tells the Bretons that the sooner all Breton specialities disappear from the face of the earth the better. Accordingly, the Bretons and Alsatians have come to feel themselves a part of France, and to feel pride in bearing the French name; while the Welsh and Irish obstinately refuse to amalgamate with us, and will not admire the Englishman as he admires himself, however much the Times may scold them and rate them, and assure them there is nobody on earth so admirable.

And at what a moment does it assure them of this, good heavens! At a moment when the ice is breaking up in England, and we are all beginning at last to see how much real confusion and insufficiency it covered; when, whatever may be the merits,—and they are great,—of the Englishman and of his strong sense and sturdy morality, it is growing more and more evident that, if he is to endure and advance, he must transform himself, must add something to his strong sense and sturdy morality, or at least must give to these excellent gifts of his a new development. My friend Mr. Goldwin Smith says, in his eloquent way, that England is the favourite of Heaven. Far be it from me to say that England is not the favourite of Heaven ; but at this moment she reminds me more of what the prophet Isaiah calls, “a bull in a net.” She has satisfied herself in all departments with clap-trap and routine so long, and she is now so astounded at finding they will not serve her turn any longer! And this is the moment, when Englishism pure and simple, which with all its fine qualities managed always to make itself singularly unattractive, is losing that imperturbable faith in its untransformed self which at any rate made it imposing,—this is the moment when our great organ tells the Celts that everything of theirs not English is “simply a foolish interference with the natural progress of civilisation and prosperity;” and poor Talhaiarn, venturing to remonstrate, is commanded “to drop his outlandish title, and to refuse even to talk Welsh in Wales!”

But let us leave the dead to bury their dead, and let us who are alive go on unto perfection. Let the Celtic members of this empire consider that they too have to transform themselves; and though the summons to transform themselves be often conveyed harshly and brutally, and with the cry to root up their wheat as well as their tares, yet that is no reason why the summons should not be followed so far as their tares are concerned. Let them consider that they are inextricably bound up with us, and that, if the suggestions in the following pages have any truth, we English, alien and uncongenial to our Celtic partners as we may have hitherto shown ourselves, have notwithstanding, beyond perhaps any other nation, a thousand latent springs of possible sympathy with them. Let them consider that new ideas and forces are stirring in England, that day by day these new ideas and forces gain in power, and that almost every one of them is the friend of the Celt and not his enemy. And, whether our Celtic partners will consider this or no, at any rate let us ourselves, all of us who are proud of being the ministers of these new ideas, work incessantly to procure for them a wider and more fruitful application; and to remove the main ground of the Celt’s alienation from the Englishman, by substituting, in place of that type of Englishman with whom alone the Celt has too long been familiar, a new type, more intelligent, more gracious, and more humane.


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