Pray that Jerusalem may have
peace and felicity:
let them that love you and your peace
still have prosperity.
First verse of Hymn 82 in Church Hymnary, 4th ed.; Psalm 122 is invariably sung annually at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland at Edinburgh.
[T]he first of a succession of measures taken by the Scottish government specifically aimed at the extirpation of the Gaelic language, the destruction of its traditional culture and the suppression of its bearers.
Gaelic: A Past and Future Prospect. MacKinnon, Kenneth. The Saltire Society 1991, Edinburgh.
Whoever would understand one of the most important transactions in the History of the Scottish Highlands must read those six printed pages, containing the actual text of ‘THE BAND AND STATUTES OF ICOLMKILL.’ The purport of the BAND is that, at a Court held by Bishop [Andrew] Knox [of the Isles] in the sacred Island of Iona on the 24th of August 1609, nine of the Highland and Island chiefs, — viz., Angus Macdonald of Dunivaig in Islay, Hector Maclean of Duart in Mull, Donald Gorm Macdonald of Sleat in Skye, Rory Macleod of Harris, Rory MacKinnon of Strathordaill in Skye, Lauchlan MacLean of Coll, Donald Macdonald of Ylanterim in Moydart (Captain of Clanranald), Lauchlan Maclean of Lochbuy in Mull, and Gillespie MacQuharrie of Ulva, — had bound themselves by the most solemn oaths to future obedience to his Majesty and to the laws of Scotland.
The Statutes of Icolmkill.
They are nine in number as follows :–
- The ruinous kirks to be repaired, and a regular parochial ministry to be established and maintained, with the same discipline as in other parts of the realm, the same observance of the Sabbath and of other moralities, and the suppression in particular of the inveterate Celtic practice of marriages for a term of years.
- Inns to be set up in convenient places in all the Islands for the accommodation of travellers, so as to put an end to mere idle wandering and to the burden on the resources of poor tenants and crofters by the habit of promiscuous quartering.
- To the same purpose, all idle vagabonds without visible and honest means of living to be cleared out of the Isles; and the chiefs themselves to cease from capricious exactions upon their clansmen, and be content each with a household retinue of as many gentlemen and servants as his means will support, — e.g. MacLean of Duart with eight gentlemen, Angus Macdonald, Donald Gorm, Rory MacLeod, and the Captain of Clanranald, with six gentlemen each, and so proportionally with the rest.
- Still to the same purpose, all sorning and begging, and the custom of “conzie,” to be put down. [Sorning is the practice of extorting free quarters & provision. Conzie is the practice of billeting the lord’s soldiers upon the tenantry.]
- A main cause of the poverty and barbarity of the Islanders being “thair extraordinair drinking of strong wynis and acquavitie, brocht in amangis thame pairtlie be merchandis of the maneland and pairtlie be sum trafficquaris indwellaris amangis thameselffis,” all general importation or sale of wine or aquavitae to be stopped by penalties, with reserve of liberty, however, to all persons in the Islands to “brew aquavitie and uthir drink to serve thair awne housis,” and to the chiefs and other substantial gentlemen to send to the Lowlands for the purchase of as much wine and aquavitae as they may require for their households.
- Every gentleman or yeoman in the Islands possessing “thriescore kye,” and having children, to send at least his eldest son, or, failing sons, his eldest daughter, to some school in the Lowlands, there to be kept and brought up “quhill they may be found able sufficientlie to speik, reid, and wryte Inglische.”
- The Act of Parliament prohibiting all subjects of his Majesty from carrying hagbuts or pistols out of their own houses, or shooting with such firearms at deer, hares, or fowls, to be strictly enforced within the Islands.
- The chiefs not to entertain wandering bards, or other vagabonds of the sort “pretending libertie to baird and flattir,” and all such “vagaboundis, bairdis, juglouris, or suche lyke” to be apprehended, put in the stocks, and expelled the Islands.
- For the better keeping of these Statutes, and in conformity with the rule that the principal man of every clan is answerable for all his kinsmen and dependents, this present agreement to be a sufficient warrant to all chiefs and sub-chiefs to apprehend and try malefactors within their bounds, seize their goods for the King’s use, and deliver over their persons to the judge competent to be farther dealt with; the chiefs becoming bound not to reset or maintain within their bounds any malefactors that may be fugitive from the bounds of his own natural superior.
— Register of Privy Council of Scotland, Vol. IX, 1610-1613 (1889).
With regard to the “inveterate Celtic practice of marriages for a term of years,” Màrtainn MacGilleMhàrtainn observed eight-five years later:
It was an antient Custom in the Islands, that a Man should take Maid to his Wife, and keep her the space of a Year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he marry’d her at the end of the Year, and legitimated the Children: but if he did not love her, he return’d her to her Parents, and her Portion also, and if there happen’d to be any Children, they were kept by the Father: but this unreasonable Custom was long ago brought in disuse.
A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland, by Martin Martin, 1693.
INSTRUCTIONS FROM HIS SACRED MAJESTY TO THE ARCHBISHOPS AND BISHOPS OF SCOTLAND. CHARLES REX.
That you advert that the Proclamation authorizing their Service Book derogate nothing from our Royall prerogative. That in the Kalendar you keep such Catholick Saints as are in the English; that you pester it not with too many; but such as you insert of the peculiar Saints of that our Kingdom, that they be of the most approved; and here to have regard to those of the Blood Royall and such Holy Bishops in every See most renouned. But in no case ommitt Saint George and Patrick. That in your Book of Orders, in giving Orders to Presbiters, you keep the words of the English Book, without change, “Receive the Holy Ghost,” &c. That you insert in the Lessons ordinarly to be Read in the Service, out of ye Book of Wisdome, the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 Chapters; and out of the Book of Ecclesiasticus, the 1, 2, 5, 8, 35, and 49 Chapters. That every Bishop in his own family, twice a day, cause the Service to be done. That all A.Bishops and Bishops make all Universitys and Colledges within their Diocesses to use twice a day the Service. That the Preface to the Common Prayer, Signed by our hand, and the Proclamation authorizing the same, be Printed and inserted in the Book of Common Prayer.– Given at Newmarket, Oct. 8th, 1636, and of our Reigne the 11.
This posthumous work [Considerationes Modestae et Pacificae Controversiarum de Justificatione, Purgatorio, Invocatione Sanctorum Christo Mediatore, et Eucharistia] is a signal specimen and proof of a pacific temper, and a moderate mind: wherein, like a second Cassander and catholic moderator, he endeavours to compose, or at least to mitigate, the rigid and austere opinions, in certain points of religious controversy, both of the reformed and of the popish party. How greatly he regarded moderation, appears from that usual saying of his, that, if there had been more Cassanders and Wiceliuses, there would have been no occasion for a Luther, or a Calvin.
— Thomas Sydserf [Sydserff] (1581 – 1663), Bishop of Galloway.
When the Rev. Mr. Cowper [one of the ministers of Perth] was made Bishop of Galloway, an old woman, who had been one of his parishioners at Perth, and a favourite, could not be persuaded that her minister had deserted the Presbyterian cause, and resolved to satisfy herself. She paid him a visit in the Canongate, where he had his residence, as Dean of the Chapel Royal. The retinue of servants through which she passed staggered the good woman’s confidence; and, on being ushered into the room where the bishop sat in state, she exclaimed, ‘Oh Sir! what’s this? and hae ye really left the guid cause, and turned prelate? ‘Janet,’ said the bishop, ‘I have got new light upon these things.’ ‘So I see, Sir,’ replied Janet, ‘for whan ye was at Perth, ye had but ae candle, an’ now ye’ve got twa before ye — that’s a’ your new light.’
— History of the Life of Melville, Thomas M’Crie.
- That the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper should be received kneeling, and not in a sitting posture, as hitherto.
- That the communion might, in extreme cases, or to sick persons desiring it, be administered in private.
- That baptism also might, when deemed necessary, be privately administered.
- That children, or young persons, should be confirmed by a bishop — that is, make a personal avowal of the engagements entered into by god-fathers and god-mothers at the time of baptism.
- That the anniversary of the Nativity, of Christmas, the day on which our Saviour was born; Good Friday, or the Passion, when he suffered death for us; Easter, or the resurrection; Pentecost, or the descent of the Holy Spirit — should all be observed as solemn days.
— The Five Articles of Perth.
…in modern times, when the mere ceremonial of divine worship (and Presbyterians must allow this) is supposed to be of little consequence compared to the temper and spirit in which we approach the Deity, the Five Articles of Perth seem to involve matters which might be dispensed or complied with, without being considered as essential to salvation;
— Sir Walter Scott.
When Thomas J. Cardinal Winning, a leading cleric of the Catholic Church in Scotland, was asked in an interview whether given the chance he would repossess St. Mungo’s Cathedral for the Catholic Church once again through the European Court, he replied “No, no, no. The Catholic Church doesn’t buy stolen goods.”
It has actually come to the attention of many Scottish Catholics that such a court case could be taken up to allow St. Mungo’s to become the seat of the Archbishop of Glasgow once again. The argument often used against this is that Glasgow Cathedral would not be an ideal home for the Archdiocese, due to the mistreatment of the building which has aged poorly over the centuries. Currently, Historic Scotland are working to preserve the building and its Gothic stonework with the support of the Church of Scotland.
The religion of the Islands is that of the Kirk of Scotland. The gentlemen with whom I conversed are all inclined to the English liturgy; but they are obliged to maintain the established Minister, and the country is too poor to afford payment to another, who must live wholly on the contribution of his audience.
They therefore all attend the worship of the Kirk, as often as a visit from their Minister, or the practicability of travelling gives them opportunity; nor have they any reason to complain of insufficient pastors; for I saw not one in the Islands, whom I had reason to think either deficient in learning, or irregular in life: but found several with whom I could not converse without wishing, as my respect increased, that they had not been Presbyterians.
The ancient rigour of puritanism is now very much relaxed, though all are not yet equally enlightened. I sometimes met with prejudices sufficiently malignant, but they were prejudices of ignorance. The Ministers in the Islands had attained such knowledge as may justly be admired in men, who have no motive to study, but generous curiosity, or, what is still better, desire of usefulness; with such politeness as so narrow a circle of converse could not have supplied, but to minds naturally disposed to elegance.
Reason and truth will prevail at last. The most learned of the Scottish Doctors would now gladly admit a form of prayer, if the people would endure it. The zeal or rage of congregations has its different degrees. In some parishes the Lord’s Prayer is suffered: in others it is still rejected as a form; and he that should make it part of his supplication would be suspected of heretical pravity.
– Samuel Johnson, A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland (1775).