A Pure and Dignified Society

Illustration of the Old Market at Lynchburg, by James Wells Champney, from Edward King’s The Great South, Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Co., 1875.

Something of the old Scotch and English manners are still perceptible among the people in this part of Virginia; and there are bits of dialect and phrase which show how little the communities have been affected during the last century by the influences which have so transformed the populations of other sections of America. While England has gone on from change to change, and has even been capable of complete revolution in certain matters, Virginia has altered but little. Until now immigration has had no inducements to come and unlock the treasure-house of the grand mountains of the South-west, and so the people have lived under pretty much the same laws and customs that prevailed in England two centuries ago. Yet the absence of the rushing, turbulent current of immigration has had its compensating advantages in allowing the growth of families in which the hereditary love of culture and refinement, and the strictest attention to those graces and courtesies which always distinguish a pure and dignified society, are preeminently conspicuous.

Edward King, The Great South; A Record of Journeys in Louisiana, Texas, the Indian Territory, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, Hartford, Conn.: American Publishing Co., 1875.

Gu Bràth, Am Byth

Bruti posteritas cum Scotis associata
Anglica regna premet, Marte, labore, nece.
Flumina manabunt hostili tincta cruore
Perfida gens omni lite subacta ruet,
Quem Britonum fundet Albanis juncta juventus:
Sanguine Saxonico tincta rubebit humus:
Regnabunt Britones Scotorum gentis amici
Antiquum nomen insula tota feret;
Ut profert aquila veteri de turre locuta,
Cum Scotis Britones regna paterna regent.
Regnabunt pariter in prosperitate quieta
Hostibus expulsis, judicis usque diem.

John of Fordun, Chronica Gentis Scotorum, lib. III., cap. xxii., quoting a poem of Gildas.

[The posterity of Brutus in league with the Scots shall harrass England with war, toil, and death; the rivers shall flow discoloured with blood, and the perfidious nation shall sink subdued by every contest. The British and Albanian youth united shall overwhelm them, and the soil be crimsoned with Saxon blood. The Britons shall reign in friendship with the Scots; the whole island shall bear its ancient name, as the eagle which spoke from the old tower declares; the Britons and Scots shall rule over the kingdoms of their ancestors, and reign alike in profound peace, after the expulsion of their enemies, until the day of judgment.]

Feadan Dubh

THE BLACK CHANTER OF CLAN CHATTAN.

AMONG the many interesting historical relics carefully treasured at Cluny Castle in Badenoch—the Seat of the Chief of Clan Chattan—is the Black Chanter or Feadan Dubh, of the Clan, on the possession of which the prosperity of the House of Cluny is supposed to depend. Of the many singular traditions regarding it, one is that its original fell from Heaven during the memorable Clan battle—rendered familiar to general readers through the pages of Scott’s “Fair Maid of Perth”—fought between the Macphersons and the Davidsons in presence of King Robert III., his Queen, and Nobles, on the North Inch of Perth, in 1396, and that being made of crystal it was broken by the fall and the existing one made in fac simile. Another tradition is to the effect that this is the genuine original, and that the cracks were occasioned by its violent contact with the ground. Be the origin of the Feadan Dubh what it may, it is a notable fact that whether in consequence of its possession, or of their own bravery, no battle at which the Macphersons were present with the Bratach Uaine, or green banner, of the Clan, and the Chief at their head, was ever lost.

The following lines are inscribed upon the Chanter:—

Feadan Dubh Chlann Chatain
‘S fad o chualas
‘S buan a mhaireas
‘S mor ‘àdh.

It is related that before the Battle of Culloden an old witch, or second seer, told the Duke of Cumberland that if he waited until the Bratach Uaine and the Feadan Dubh came up he would be defeated. Ewen of Cluny was present at the Battle of Prestonpans with six hundred of his Clan, and accompanied Prince Charlie into England. On the Prince’s retreat into Scotland, Cluny with his men put two regiments of Cumberland’s dragoons to flight at Clifton, fought afterwards at the Battle of Falkirk, and was on his way from Badenoch to Inverness with his Clan to join the Prince when flying fugitives from Culloden met him with the intelligence of that sad day’s disaster. As Colonel John Roy Stuart (Iain Ruadh Stiubhart) the famous warrior-poet of the ’45 has it in his Oran eile air latha Chuilodair:—

Clann-Mhuirich nam buadh,
Iad-san uile bhi bhuainn,
Gur h-e m’ iomadan truagh r’a leughadh

which may be freely translated:—

(Clan Vourich of might!
When dire was our plight,
Would you had been there to aid us!)

The celebrity of the Highland bagpipe and the part it has played—so to speak—in the history of the Highlands and of our Highland regiments are well known. “As others with the sound of trumpets, so those with the sound of the pipes are inspired with ardour for the fight.” The potency of bagpipe music on the hearts of all true Highlanders is universally acknowledged. As regards the Gathering it was the piobaireachd’s shrill summons thrilling in the ears of our forefathers “the sad tale of their devastated glens, and their houseless friends which gathered them for the war by notes which had often sounded to hard-earned victory; speaking in strains which made their blood boil with glowing emulation, as they marched to the foe, and which pealing to survivors of the battlefield in notes re-echoed by the frowning crags, drowning by its piercing tones the loud waitings of the bereaved, and the woful shrieks of the despairing women, called in a maddening voice for speedy and unsparing retribution.”

To those whose dearest associations are connected with the blue hills and rushing torrents of the Highlands there is something, on the other hand, singularly heart-stirring in the Failte, or Welcome, on the strains of the bagpipe, and something inexpressibly touching in the plaintive notes of the Cumhadh, or Lament, especially when heard in after years or in the exile of a distant land. According to tradition the Black Chanter of Clan Chattan is endowed with magical properties. Towards the end of the combat on the North Inch of Perth, we are told that there was seen an aerial minstrel hovering over the heads of the Macphersons, who after playing a few wild strains on the instrument let it drop from his hand. The Macpherson piper secured this enchanted pipe, and even though mortally wounded poured forth the pibroch of the Clan till death effectually silenced his music. The Black Chanter was ever after held to ensure success not only to the Macphersons, but also to its temporary possessors, whenever lent to other Clans by the generosity of the Chief of the time. The Grants of Strathspey having received an affront through the cowardice of some unworthy members of that Clan and being dejected beyond measure, borrowed this magical instrument. Its bold war-notes soon roused their drooping energies and stimulated them to such valour that from that time forth it passed into a proverb that “no enemy ever saw the back of a Grant.” The Grants of Glenmoriston afterwards borrowed it in the same way, and it was only restored to “old Cluny” in the early part of the present century.

Here are some spirited and appropriate lines on the Black Chanter composed by Mrs. D. Ogilvy about half-a-century ago, and worthy, I think, of a permanent place in the pages of the
Celtic Monthly:—

Black Chanter of Chattan, now hushed and exhausted,
Thy music was lost with the power of the Gael,
The dread inspiration Macpherson had boasted.
For ever expired in Drummossie’s* sad wail.

Of old on St. Johnstone’s† dark meadow of slaughter
Thy cadences hurried the piper’s last breath;
The vanquished escaped amid Tay’s rolling water,
The conqueror’s pibroch was silenced by death.

That piper is nameless, and lost in like manner,
The tribes are forgotten of mighty Clan Quhele;
While Chattan, that bears the hill cat on his banner,
No time can extinguish, no ruin assail.

From the hand of a cloud-cleaving bard thou wert given
To lips that embraced thee till moveless and dead;
Since then never idly Macpherson hath striven,
Nor trust in his fortune been shaken by dread.

O mouth piece of conquest! who heard thee and trembled?
Who followed thy call, and despaired of the fight?
Availed not that foemen before thee dissembled,
For quenched was their ardour and nerveless their might.

The blast of thy pibroch, the flaunt of thy streamer,
Lent hope to each spirit and strength to each arm;
While the Saxon confronting was scared like the dreamer
Whose sleep is of peril, of grief, and alarm.

Led on by thy promise, what Chieftain e’er sallied,
Nor proved in his venture how just was thy vaunt?
At the spell of thy summons exultingly rallied
The faltering pulse of dispirited Grant.

Forerunner of victory! why didst thou tarry?
Thy voice on Drummossie an empire had changed;
We then had not seen our last efforts miscarry,
The Stuart had triumphed, the Gael been avenged.

Ah, fatal Drummosie—sad field of the flying!
The Gathering sank in the hopeless Lament;
What pibroch could stanch the wide wounds of the dying?
What magic rekindle the fire that was spent?

Proud music! by shame or dishonour ne’er daunted,
By murmur of orphan, by widowed despair.
The fall of thy country thy spell disenchanted,
With the last of the Stuarts it vanished in air.

Yet rouse thee from slumber. Black Chanter of Chattan,
Send forth a strong blast of defiance once more;
On the flesh of thy children the vulture doth batten,
And sodden with blood are the sands of Lahore.

As fierce as the tiger that prowls in their forest,
Those sons of the Orient leap to the plain;
But the blade striketh vainly wherever thou warrest,–
Black Chanter of Chattan, bestir thee again!

* Another name for Culloden.
In olden times the City of Perth was sometimes so-called from its patron, Saint John.

A. MACPHERSON.

Settling Ye Highlands

OVERTOUR FOR SETTLING YE HIGHLANDS (1664).

Seing all the principall theevs & recetters in the Highlands of Scotland does ather actuallie duell or constantly haunts & ar harboured in Glencoa, Ranoch, Brae lochaber, Glengarie & Lochaber & adjacent Glens, uher all depredations ar caried to ther disposed of & all Murtherers & persons guiltie of attrocious Cryms ar sheltered securly wt ther relations which plaices ar very remoatt from The head brughs of the shyres to which they belong.

1t Therfor yt a Garison consisting of tuo hundred men at least be plaiced at Jnnerlochay uher it shall be undertaiken by laying out 60 lib. ster: they may be conveniently lodged, & shall be easily provyded of all provisions at ye Cuntree vaitts.

2d The sojours would consist of highland men ayr to be levied or put in plaice of such as are most of their bussines being to goe out on pairties & to travell in the night for aprehending of theevs & recetters through deserts & Muntans & crossing rivers which ar utterly unknouen & rocks Inpracticable for such forces as ar now a foot.

3d That ye governor be a person of respect & Estait & Creditt so as his reputation will oblidge him to tack no base means to connive or transact wt any offenders  But that his deutie to his Matie & his Cuntrie will oblidge him to mack it his uork to Crush the thift & oppression uhich if authorised he may doe in a short tym  If he but will understand uher the Intric of it lyes.

4d Seing The reverence that is dew & reallie given to ye law is knouen to begett mor obedience then the force of such a number of men is able to doe Its overturd That the Governor be apoynted to be a Justice of Peace in the severall shyrs the forsds bounds belongs to, & lykwayes that the shyriffs of these shyrs viz. Pearth Argyll & Innernes be appoynted to give the Governor a Deputan from them uherby their power he may act legallie wt out Incroaching on yr priviledges but rayr comptible to ym for his respective decreets, so that he being armed wt these Legall pouesr togayr wt his Comission its not to be in the least doubted but will ever keep the Highlands from thifts & depridations, nor is ther any plaice in the Highlands that can so pirvaine any open rebellion uold be ther attempted lying equall be sea & land for all places & most of them in less then a nights merch or sailling to him.

5. That seing The Governours trouble & Chairges will be considerable for Intelligence & oyr Incident expenses, Its overturd that he have duble Capts pay The Companies to be only comanded by Livetennents under him. And Thus The King is at no more Chairge yn presently  The Cuntree will not be oppresst ut projects and the Highlands made peacable.

6. The Lau & Acts of Parlt ar still to be in force in order to Cheefs & Landlords, & this person alloued to persew them be lau upon all occasions.

7. That the Governor be by his Comission appoynted to mack severall circuitts to keep Courts which will contribut much uhen they see law brought to ther dors wt a force able to put it in execution, I mean shyriff Courts) & if a greater latitude be alloued its best.

8. That The Governor be appoynted to gett lists of all the Theevs & broaken men in the Highlands which he may easily gett & That his Maties Advocatt sumone them all to find Cation which many will doe Especiallie If it be thought fitt to Indemnifie them for bypast transgressions (except Murder) such as will not compear to be denounced fugitivs & a Comission to the forsd Governor to aprehend or destroy ym which he may doe if they keep Scotland.

9. That the severall shyriffs be appoynted (togayr ut the Magistrats of Brughs) to receave his prisoners & grant him receatts for them.

10. That ye forsd Governor shall by himself & give up the nams of such as he knowes to be cited to give in evidences agt such prissoners to be tryed befor the Justices & ther deputts.


The above is copied from the original (in the handwriting of the first Marquess) in the charter chest of the Marquess of Tweeddale. From 1662 to 1674 John Hay, second Earl, afterwards first Marquess, of Tweeddale occupied a very prominent place in Scottish politics, when he was distinguished for the moderation of his views. This paper is undated, but was found with papers dated about 1668, and there is little doubt that it must have been written just before an Act of Privy Council (of which Tweeddale was President) dated 22nd Dec., 1664, dealing with disorders in the Highlands.

The Scottish Historical Review, Vol. XII., No. 46, January 1915.

Examination and Conviction

“Dr. Archibald Cameron, Lochiel’s brother, Executed 1753.” Jacobite broadside, National Library of Scotland.

COPY of what Dr. [ARCHIBALD] CAMERON intended to have delivered to the Sheriff of Middlesex at the Place of Execution but which he left in the Hands of his Wife for that End.

On the first Slip of Paper,  dated Tower,  6th June, 1753.

BEING denied the use of Pen, Ink, and Paper, except in the Presence of one or more Officers (who always took away the Paper from me, when I began to write my Complaints), and not even allowed the Use of a Knife, with which I might cut a poor blunted Pencil, that had escap’d the diligence of my Searchers, I have notwithstanding, as I could find opportunity, attempted to set down on some Slips of Paper, in as legible Characters as I was able, what I would have my Country satisfied of, with regard to myself and the Cause in which I am now going to lay down my life.
As to my religion, I thank GOD I die a stedfast member, tho’ unworthy, of that Church in whose Communion I have always lived, the Episcopal Church of Scotland, as by Law established before the most unnatural rebellion begun in 1688, which for the Sins of these Nations hath continued to this Day; and I firmly trust to find, at the most awful and impartial Tribunal of the Almighty King of Kings, thro’ the Merits of my Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that Mercy (tho’ undeserved) to my immortal Part which is here denied to my earthly by an Usurper and his Faction, tho’ it be well known I have been the Instrument in preventing the Ruin and Destruction of many of my poor deluded Countrymen who were in their Service, as I shall make appear before I have done, if Opportunities of Writing fail me not.

On the second Slip of Paper.

In order to convince the world of the Uprightness of my Intentions while in the Prince of Wales’s army, as well as of the Cruelty, Injustice, and Ingratitude of my Murderers, I think it my Duty in this place to take Notice how much better Usage I might have expected of my Country, if Humanity and Good-nature, were now look’d upon with the same eyes as in the Times of our brave and generous Ancestors; But I’m sorry to observe, that our present Men in Power are so far sunk below the noble spirit of the ancient Britons, as hardly at this Day to be distinguished from the very basest of Mankind. Nor could the present Possessor of the Throne of our injured Sovereign, if he looked on himself as the Father and natural Prince of this Country, suffer the Life of one to be taken away who has saved the Lives and Effects of above Three hundred Persons in Scotland, who were firmly attached to him and his Party; but it seems it is now made a Crime to save the lives of Scotsmen.

As neither the Time nor the poor Materials I have for Writing, will allow me to descend to a particular Enumeration of all the Services I have done to the Friends of the Usurper; I shall therefore only mention a few of the most known and such as can be well attested.

In July, 1745, soon after the setting up of the Royal Standard, before our small army had reached Corayarick, it was moved by some of the Chiefs to apply to the PRINCE for a strong detachment of clans to distress Campbell of Invera’s house and Tenants in that Neighbourhood, which my brother Lochiel and I so successfully opposed, by representing to our generous Leader (who was always an Enemy to Oppression), that such Proceedings could be no way useful to his Undertaking, that the Motion was entirely laid aside, to the no small Mortification of the Proposers.

My brother and I likewise prevented another such Design against Breadalbin, to the great satisfaction of our Dear Prince: And on our Return from England to Glasgow–

Archibald Cameron.*

On a third Slip of Paper.

My brother and I did Services to the Town of Glasgow, of which the principal Gentry in the Neighbourhood were then, and are to this Day, sensible, if they durst own the truth; but that might be construed Disaffection to a Government founded on and supported by Lies and Falsehoods.

On our March to Stirling, I myself (tho’ I am like to meet with a Hanoverian Reward for it) hindered the whole Town of Kirkintullich from being destroyed and all its Inhabitants put to the Sword by my Brother’s Men, who were justly incensed against it for the inhuman murder of two of Lady Lochiel’s Servants but two Months before. Here was a sufficient Pretence for Vengeance, had I been inclined to Cruelty! But I thank GOD nothing was ever farther from my Nature, tho’ I may have been otherwise represented.

Mr. Campbell of Shawfield, likewise owes me some Favours done to himself and Family, which at least deserve some Return in my Behalf; and Lady Campbell of Lochnell, now in London, can, if she pleases, vouch for the Truth of some of the above Facts.

Archibald Cameron.

On a fourth Slip of Paper.–June 6, 1753.

I thank kind Providence I had the Happiness to be early educated in the Principals of Christian Loyalty, which, as I grew in Years, inspired me with an utter Abhorrence of Rebellion and Usurpation, tho’ ever so successful; and when I arrived at Man’s Estate I had the joint Testimony of Religion and Reason to confirm me in the Truth of my first Principles: Thus my Attachment to the ROYAL FAMILY is more the Result of Examination and Conviction, than of Prepossession and Prejudice. And as I now am, so was I then, ready to seal my Loyalty with my Blood: As soon therefore as the Royal Youth had set up the King his Father’s Standard, I immediately, as in Duty bound, repaired to it; and, as I had the Honour, from that time, to be almost constantly about his Person till November 1748, (excepting the short time his ROYAL HIGHNESS was in the Western Isles after the affair of Culloden). I became more and more captivated with his amiable and princely Virtues, which are, indeed, in every Instance, so eminently great, as I want Words to describe.

I can further affirm (and my present Situation and that of my dear PRINCE too, can leave no room to suspect me of Flattery), that as I have been his Companion in the lowest Degree of Adversity ever Prince was reduced to; so I have beheld him too, as it were on the highest Pinnacle of Glory, amidst the continual Applauses, and, I had almost said, Adorations of the most brilliant Court in Europe; yet he was always the same, ever affable and courteous, giving constant Proofs of his great Humanity and his Love for his friends and his Country. What great Good to these Nations might not be expected from such a PRINCE, were he in Possession of the Throne of his Ancestors! And as to his Courage, none that have heard of his Glorious Attempt in 1745, I should think, can call it in Question.
I cannot pass by in Silence that most horrible Calumny raised by the Rebels under the Command of the inhuman Son of the Elector of Hanover, which served as an Excuse for unparalleled Butchery, committed by his Orders, in cold Blood, after the unhappy affair of Culloden, viz.: “That we had Orders to give no Quarter, &c.” which, if true, must have come to my Knowledge, who had the Honour to serve my ever dear Master in Quality of one of his Aides de Camp; and I hereby declare I never heard of such Orders. The above is Truth.

I likewise declare, on the Word of a dying Man, That the last Time I had the Honour to see his Royal Highness, CHARLES PRINCE of WALES, he told me from his own Mouth, and bid me assure his Friends from him, That he was a Member of the Church of England.

Archibald Cameron.

On a fifth Slip of Paper.

To cover the Cruelty of murdering me at this Distance of Time, from the passing of the unjust Attainder, I am accused of being deeply engaged in a new plot against this Government; which, if I was, neither the Fear of the worst Death their Malice could invent, nor much less the blustering and noisy Threatnings of the tumultuous Council, nor even their flattering Promises, could extort any Discovery of it from me; yet not so much as one Evidence was ever produced to make good the Charge. But it is my business to submit, since GOD, in his Alwise Providence, thinks fit to suffer it to be so; and I the more cheerfully resign my Life as it is taken away for doing my Duty to GOD, my King, and Country: Nor is there any Thing in this World I could so much wish to have it prolonged for, as to have another Opportunity of employing the Remainder of it in the same Glorious Cause.

Archibald Cameron.

I thank God I was not in the least daunted at hearing the bloody Sentence which my unrighteous Judge, pronounced with a seeming Insensibility, till he came to the Words, But not till you are dead; before which he made a Pause, and uttering them with a particular Emphasis, stared me in the Face, to observe, I suppose, if I was as much frightened at them as he perhaps would have been in my Place. As to the Guilt, he said, I had to answer for, as having been instrumental in the Loss of so many Lives. Let him and his Constituents see to that; at their Hands, not at mine, will all the Blood that has been shed on that account, be required.

GOD, of his infinite Mercy, grant they may prevent the Punishment that hangs over their Heads, by a sincere Repentance, and speedy Return to their Duty. And, I pray GOD to hasten the Restoration of the Royal Family (without which these miserably divided Nations can never enjoy Peace and Happiness) and that it may please Him to preserve and defend the King, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of York, from the Power and Malice of their Enemies; to prosper and reward all my Friends and Benefactors, and to forgive all my Enemies, Murderers, and false Accusers, from the Elector of Hanover, and his Bloody Son, down to Samuel Cameron the basest of their Spies, as I freely do from the Bottom of my Heart.

Sic subscripsit,
Archibald Cameron.

I am now ready to be offered; I have fought a good fight, All Glory be to God.

* Mr. Cameron (as was his custom when interrupted) subscribed his name (as he told his wife) to make what be had written the more authentic; in case he should not have an opportunity of writing any more.

A Complete Collection of State Trials, Vol. 19, London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown, 1816.

A Strange Reflux

This contemptuous loathing lasted till the year 1745, and was then for a moment succeeded by intense fear and rage. England, thoroughly alarmed, put forth her whole strength. The Highlands were subjugated rapidly, completely, and for ever. During a short time the English nation, still heated by the recent conflict, breathed nothing but vengeance. The slaughter on the field of battle and on the scaffold was not sufficient to slake the public thirst for blood. The sight of the tartan inflamed the populace of London with hatred, which showed itself by unmanly outrages to defenceless captives. A political and social revolution took place through the whole Celtic region. The power of the chiefs was destroyed: the people were disarmed: the use of the old national garb was interdicted: the old predatory habits were effectually broken; and scarcely had this change been accomplished when a strange reflux of public feeling began. Pity succeeded to aversion. The nation execrated the cruelties which had been committed on the Highlanders, and forgot that for those cruelties it was itself answerable. Those very Londoners, who, while the memory of the march to Derby was still fresh, had thronged to hoot and pelt the rebel prisoners, now fastened on the prince who had put down the rebellion the nickname of Butcher. Those barbarous institutions and usages, which, while they were in full force, no Saxon had thought worthy of serious examination, or had mentioned except with contempt, had no sooner ceased to exist than they became objects of curiosity, of interest, even of admiration. Scarcely had the chiefs been turned into mere landlords, when it became the fashion to draw invidious comparisons between the rapacity of the landlord and the indulgence of the chief. Men seemed to have forgotten that the ancient Gaelic polity had been found to be incompatible with the authority of law, had obstructed the progress of civilisation, had more than once brought on the empire the curse of civil war. As they had formerly seen only the odious side of that polity, they could now see only the pleasing side. The old tie, they said, had been parental: the new tie was purely commercial. What could be more lamentable than that the head of a tribe should eject, for a paltry arrear of rent, tenants who were his own flesh and blood, tenants whose forefathers had often with their bodies covered his forefathers on the field of battle? As long as there were Gaelic marauders, they had been regarded by the Saxon population as hateful vermin who ought to be exterminated without mercy. As soon as the extermination had been accomplished, as soon as cattle were as safe in the Perthshire passes as in Smithfield market, the freebooter was exalted into a hero of romance. As long as the Gaelic dress was worn, the Saxons had pronounced it hideous, ridiculous, nay, grossly indecent. Soon after it had been prohibited, they discovered that it was the most graceful drapery in Europe. The Gaelic monuments, the Gaelic usages, the Gaelic superstitions, the Gaelic verses, disdainfully neglected during many ages, began to attract the attention of the learned from the moment at which the peculiarities of the Gaelic race began to disappear. So strong was
this impulse that, where the Highlands were concerned, men of sense gave ready credence to stories without evidence, and men of taste gave rapturous applause to compositions without merit. Epic poems, which any skilful and dispassionate critic would at a glance have perceived to be almost entirely modern, and which, if they had been published as modern, would have instantly found their proper place in company with Blackmore’s Alfred and Wilkie’s Epigoniad, were pronounced to be fifteen hundred years old, and were gravely classed with the Iliad. Writers of a very different order from the impostor who fabricated these forgeries saw how striking an effect might be produced by skilful pictures of the old Highland life. Whatever was repulsive was softened down: whatever was graceful and noble was brought prominently forward. Some of these works were executed with such admirable art that, like the historical plays of Shakspeare, they superseded history. The visions of the poet were realities to his readers. The places which he described became holy ground, and were visited by thousands of pilgrims. Soon the vulgar imagination was so completely occupied by plaids, targets, and claymores, that, by most Englishmen, Scotchman and Highlander were regarded as synonymous words. Few people seemed to be aware that, at no remote period, a Macdonald or a Macgregor in his tartan was to a citizen of Edinburgh or Glasgow what an Indian hunter in his war paint is to an inhabitant of Philadelphia or Boston. Artists and actors represented Bruce and Douglas in striped petticoats. They might as well have represented Washington brandishing a tomahawk, and girt with a string of scalps. At length this fashion reached a point beyond which it was not easy to proceed. The last British King who held a court in Holyrood thought that he could not give a more striking proof of his respect for the usages which had prevailed in Scotland before the Union, than by disguising himself in what, before the Union, was considered by nine Scotchmen out of ten as the dress of a thief.

Thus it has chanced that the old Gaelic institutions and manners have never been exhibited in the simple light of truth. Up to the middle of the last century, they were seen through one false medium: they have since been seen through another.

Thus it has chanced that the old Gaelic institutions and manners have never been exhibited in the simple light of truth. Up to the middle of the last century, they were seen through one false medium: they have since been seen through another. Once they loomed dimly through an obscuring and distorting haze of prejudice; and no sooner had that fog dispersed than they appeared bright with all the richest tints of poetry. The time when a perfectly fair picture could have been painted has now passed away. The original has long disappeared: no authentic effigy exists: and all that is possible is to produce an imperfect likeness by the help of two portraits, of which one is a coarse caricature and the other a masterpiece of flattery.

— Lord Macaulay, History of England, Vol. III, chap. xiii.

The Only Way of Accompting

John Campbell, 1st Earl of Breadalbane and Holland, Viscount of Tay and Paintland, and Lord Glenorchy, Benderloch, Ormelie and Wick.

The Earl of Breadalbane, a man of great power in the Highlands, and head of a numerous clan of the Campbells, was intrusted with a sum of money, which some authors call 20, and some 12,000 pounds, to be distributed among the chieftains, on the condition of their submission to the existing government, and keeping on foot, each chief in proportion to his means, a military force to act on behalf of government, at home or abroad, as they should be called on. This scheme would probably have rendered the Highland clans a resource, instead of a terror, to the government of King William; while their love of war, and their want of money, would by degrees have weaned them from their attachment to the exiled King, which would gradually have been transferred to a prince who led them to battle, and paid them for following him.

But many of the chiefs were jealous of the conduct of the Earl of Breadalbane in distributing the funds intrusted to his care. Part of this treasure the wily Earl bestowed among the most leading men; when these were bought off, he intimidated those of less power into submission, by threatening them with military execution; and it has always been said, that he retained a considerable portion of the gratuity in his own hands. The Highland chiefs complained to Government of Breadalbane’s conduct, who, they alleged, had advised them only to submit to King William for the present, until an opportunity should occur of doing King James effectual service. They also charged him with retaining, for his own purposes, a considerable part of the money deposited in his hands, as the price of peace.

My dear Lord, The money you mention, was given to purchase the peace of the Highlands. The money is spent—the Highlands are quiet, and this is the only way of accompting among friends.

Government, it is said, attended to this information, so far as to demand, through the Secretary of State, a regular account of the manner in which the sum of money placed in his hands had been distributed. But Breadalbane, too powerful to be called in question, and too audacious to care for suspicion of what he judged Government dared not resent, is traditionally said to have answered the demand in the following cavalier manner:— “My dear Lord, The money you mention, was given to purchase the peace of the Highlands. The money is spent—the Highlands are quiet, and this is the only way of accompting among friends.”

— Sir Walter Scott, Tales of a Grandfather, Second Series, Vol. I, 1842.