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encircled with a superstitious veneration; more refined state of society it would be and to guard the sanctity of his person, to utterly impracticable. It presents a picensure the success of his projects, to sustain the course of his fortunes, the banded ture of the most perfect despotism, exstrength of his clan was ever ready at a alted, it is true, by sentiment and feeling signal. This comprehensive, but amiable of no vulgar order, but still so completely despotism, had no memory of ancient conquest to inspire distrust, and few examples at war with every civilized institution, of present tyranny to embitter resentment. that it is impossible to regard it with raThe obedience of the tribe was unlimited; tional complacency, or to reflect without but the reciprocal duties of the chief were marked with all the precision of inveterate pleasure that it no longer exists. Yet usage. He held the allegiance of bis clan, we would not have our readers suppose by the condition of that extended affection for every member of it, and zealous regard which constituted its basis, or imagine us
us insensible to the generous enthusiasm to their interests, which belonged to the very idea of the parental relation on which cold and deaf to those soul-stirring feelhis authority was founded. He lived on ings that bound the Highlander to his habits of familiarity and friendship with all the individuals of his clan; he let' his lands paternal chieftain. The author has beauto them upon easy terms; he was constantly tifully illustrated the nature of this conattended by a certain number of his family; nexion, and in his concluding observation and in all the simple relations of a society anticipated us in the wish that a system thus constituted, the friendly and social principle displayed itself in a prominent so liberal and in such entire harmony manner, and veiled the austerity of that with the finest attributes of our nature, power of which it was at once the origin could be rendered compatible with the and the limit.
“ The more numerous clans were subdivi- interests of a great and civilized nation. ded into different branches, all acknowledging the autbority of the common head; “ In his chief he recognised the unwearied but each owning, at the same time, the in- benefactor of the tribe ; under his auspices termediate or derivative power of a chief- he enjoyed whatever comforts his habits tain, who was generally a cadet of the fami- and condition required; and to the same ly of the chief of the clan. To the chief- consecrated head he looked up as the guar tain, in time of war, was assigned the com- dian of his kindred, and the avenger of his mand of a company in the clan regiment,- wrongs. The entire relation betwixt the the supreme command being lodged in the chief and the clan, betwixt the sovereign chief. Little can, indeed, be said for the and the subject, was one of real and condiscipline of these rude levies--but their stant beneficence. Under this simple and heroism and devotion have become prover- benign system of government, intrigue bial. By a sagacious policy, the clans were and faction, and turbulence, must have in general kept in distinct bodies in the been unknown; or if they did chance to field,--the chief had his proper place in the rear their hideous shapes, must have been array,--and the order observed was such, instantly chased away by the unsophisthat every individual fought under the in- ticated indignation of obedient and dutiful mediate observation of his nearest friends children. To resist the authority of the and relations, whose esteem he was most chief, implied an odious combination of ambitious to secure. The courage and con- treason and of parricide : And instead of instancy of the clans have been commemo- volving the rebel in the doubtful imputations rated by a series of exploits, which form a of misguided patriotism, fastened on him prominent part in the history of the island; the stigma of a frightful revolt against the but the desperate enthusiasm of the clans. most sacred rights and feelings of kindred. men was ever roused to the highest pitch How could a contention for the sovereignty, when danger approached the person of their arise in a state where the title of the chief chief:- And many instances have occurred, was not derived from election, nor dependin which they have furiously rushed on cer- ant on accident, but fixed by the same im. tain death for his preservation. He who mutable law which, by giving priority in should have hesitated thus to act, would for birth to the parent, invests him with the over have been treated by his kinsmen as an natural government of his children? To outcast, and branded by his tribe as the dispute such a title, would have been to greatest of cowards and 'villains."
combat with destiny, to struggle against the
eternal laws of nature. There was nothing Such a system of government could
to humiliate, in that inferiority which was obtain only among a people scarcely ad- stamped by nature itself; nothing to hope vanced beyond the confines of barbarism, from an emulation, which transgressed her and it is only necessary to be acquainted an enterprise of ambition, the very naming
most sacred decrees; nothing to gain from with its outlines to perceive that in a. of which would have filled every mind with
instinctive horror. Hence the simplicity character, was cherished into a spirit of and energy of this singular system, which great ferocity by the circumstances of their struck the roots of authority deep in the af- condition, and the events in which they fections of the heart, and rested the whole were called upon almost daily to particischeme of government on the most power- pate. They levied war against each other ful passions of our nature. How precarious without waiting for, or regarding any other the state of the most gorgeous despot, sur authority than that of their natural leaders : rounded by the fickle and jealous minions of And the general government, which on such his tyranny, compared with that of the occasions they do not appear to have reHighland chief, who counted among his at- cognised, was compelled to overlook the tendants only the willing sharers of his ex- enormity of a civil war, levied without its ploits, and had no subjects whom he did sanction, and which in any other state of not recognise as his kinsmen and friends! society would have been considered as an How energetic the scheme of clan govern- act of rebellion. The pretext for these outment, when compared even with the more rages was generally the right of reprisal, or liberal institutions of an enlightened policy, of revenge ; but the love of "plunder apwhere power, instead of trusting to the pas- pears in many instances to have formed the sions, which can never betray, steers its true incitement. To the spirit of revenge discourse by a shifting balance of narrow and played by them on such occasions, of which sordid interests, and may be deceived and many examples are recorded, it would be undone by the slightest error in the various difficult to find a parallel in history." and perplexed combination! If a great nation possessing military discipline and science, The Highlanders were a proud people, could be governed on the patriarchal principle and even now, when civilization and reof the Highland clans, with its unity of pur- finement have in a considerable measure pose, enthusiasm of attachment, and entire devotion of spirit; the united power of the world, softened the prejudices on which it was tainted as it is every where with selfishness and built, they esteem themselves superior to faction, could not long withstand its energy; their Lowland neighbours. This feeling or arrest its progress to universal dominion.”
was cherished from the highest to the The paramount power of the chief was lowest member of the clan, the principal source of the evils arising
16 for be who valued bimself on bis ancestry, from the patriarchal government of the and who believed that he sprung from the faHighlanders. Sanguinary contentions milyof his chief, whom he considered as the between the clans, and lawless resistance first of men, could not brook an equality with
the Lowlanders,who seldom put a high value to the general government, were the na
on these imaginary distinctions. Necessity tural consequences of a system which in, compelled some even of the more distin. vested the head of every petty tribe with guished persons of the clans, to superintend uncontrollable and absolute power.
personally the operations of the most humble industry; and when these lofty spirits
had to submit to drive their cattle to the " It depended on the temper and character markets in the low country, they were often of the chiefs, whether the legislature of the treated with a degree of familiarity, which kingdom should be obeyed,—except by the must have been quite appalling to them. immediate application of force, within their Their pretensions were estimated by the isolated territories. The laws were of course rudeness of the Lowlander, not according disregarded, and the clans holding them to the length of their genealogies, but the selves but little responsible to them in the character of the immediate occupation in affairs either of war or peace, were often in which they were engaged. The dignity of a state of open disobedience and rebellion. the Baron of Thundertentronkch himself, -Their isolated situation, and the principle would be in some danger in a gin shop with of family attachment on which the clans graziers and butchers ; and one cannot were individually, united, rendered them wonder, if, in similar circumstances, the jealous of each other; and their rude and delicacy of a Highland gentleman was often imperfect notions of justice, led to frequent wounded, and his fiery spirit roused, by the encroachments to constant broils, and al- unceremonious grossness of his strange most unremitting hostilities. There is no
companions." thing accordingly for which they are more distinguished, than the frequency and vio
The barrenness of their country, and lence of their feuds, which were conducted in daring violation of the laws, if indeed their aversion to agricultural and manuthe legislature, which was too feeble to pro- facturing occupations, rendered it always tect from aggression, had any right to exact difficult to provide for, or dispose of, the an abstinence from retaliation. The warlike spirit of the clans was thus kept in perpetual superabundant population of the High, exercise ; and their native resolution of lands. To migration the invincible at
tachment they bore to their native moun- genius for government, that he was able to tains was
reduce to the obedience of the laws the an insurmountable barrier.
most daring and incorrigible portion of his When, therefore, the population of a dis. dominions, which had hitherto defied both trict increased beyond its means of sup- the policy and the power of the legitimate port, it was usual for the young men to that under his vigorous sway the lowlands
sovereigns. It is universally acknowledged, place themselves under the command of enjoyed greater security from Highland dea chief, selected from the family of the predation, than at any period recorded in head of the clan, and either engage history, prior to the year 1745, when a new
era was introduced, and the civilization of themselves in feuds at home, or issuing the highlands was accelerated by the misforth into the plains, acquire their subsist- carriage of an enterprise, which, if it had ence by the plunder of their peaceful their barbarism.--It must be owned, that
succeeded, would surely have prolonged neighbours.
usurpers, who owe their rise to violence, are Their affection for the Stuarts, which more dexterous in the use of its instruments, proved so disastrous to them, is ascribed and more efficient agents of a reform,
which violence alone can accomplish, than by the author to the military reputation peaceful and legitimate sovereigns; and this they gained under the gallant and accom- perhaps is the secret of all that is attractive plished Montrose in the service of and brilliant in their character.
" The Highlanders were of course deterCharles I.
mined enemies of the revolution settle
ment;-and King William, it is said, fully “ With the exception of some districts in occupied with his continental war, and with the west, the wholepopulation of the High- the affairs of Ireland, resolved to purchase lands was devoted to this hapless family. from the clans, that fidelity which he could The Highlanders became favourites, of not conquer. If we are to believe the course, with Charles II. who had sense anonymous writer in the Quarterly Reenough to feel the obligations of his House view,* he intrusted the Earl of Breadalbane to their steadiness and fidelity; and he con with 20,000l. sterling, to be distributed ferred on them the equivocal honour of among the heads of the clans, to secure chastising the covenanters, whom his frantic their acquiescence and neutrality. But this tyranny had driven to distraction and de- nobleman, it is said, managed his trust with spair. 'It is a bad feature, indeed, of their singular perfidy; and while he appropriated annals, that they have too often tarnished the greater part of the petty douceur to their honour by a blind attachment to des- himself, proceeded to silence the refractory potism; that their most brilliant exploits chieftains, by the most cruel measures ; have been performed with perhaps an and, in particular, by the terrific example of honest, but certainly a misguided zeal vengeance, which was exhibited in the against the liberties of the nation : and that tragedy of Glencoe, and which the writer one of their greatest achievements, the in the Review does not hesitate to charge on victory at Killicrankie, enabled an accom- Breadalbane. plished minion of tyranny to die in the “ The Highlanders, in spite of every efexultation of victory, after having been fort to subdue their spirit, still cherished steeped to the lips in the blood of a perse- their ancient prejudices, and their hostility cuted people, and achieving every crime to the protestant government established by which could entitle him to the appellation the revolution. It is said, indeed, that on of the destroyer of his country.
the accession of George the first, many of “ The honours which the Highlanders had their chiefs would willingly have acquiesced gained under Montrose were not, however, in the new establishment, which there without a sad compensation in the disasters seemed no prospect of subverting; and that inflicted upon them by the genius of a still an address of loyalty to the sovereign, submore able and sagacious captain. Oliver scribed by a great number of the leading Cromwell was not a man to be trifled with, men, was intercepted by the Duke of Arnor to permit their daring contempt of au- gyle, who saw a better prospect for bis amthority, or their undisguised devotion to the bition in the disaffection, than in the loyalty Stuart family, to escape without signal of the Highland clans. This singular docuchastisement. He estal lished garrisons at ment has been recently published,* and in Inverness, and other places in the Highlands such circumstances as renders its authen---made his disciplined troops penetrate the ticity highly suspicious. It is hardly credi. deepest recesses of the country-dismantled ble, that in the temper and spirit of the the castles of the chiefs--and compelled the Highlanders of those days, such an address clans to surrender their arms, and give should have been framed; and it is yet pledges of fidelity to his government.- more incredible, that, if it had existed, it Those even who detest the crimes of this nisurper, must respect his vigour and talents ** Vol. 14. p. 313. --and it is not the slenderest proof of his 1 “Quarterly Review, vol. 14. p. 313
should so long have escaped the many cu- he hastened to consummate with the most rious inquirers as to the events of that pe- brutal violence. Insanity alone could have riod. It is certain, at any rate, that if the excused this revolting transgression of all Highland chieftains experienced the mo- laws--but Lord Lovat had not this excuse to mentary feeling of loyalty expressed in this plead. He had a purpose in view, a purstrange document, it speedily evaporated: pose of the most vindictive depravity, to For no sooner was the fated'expedition of which he sacrificed every feeling of nature, the Earl of Marr undertaken, than it was and every law of honour. The unhappy keenly supported by their credulous and lady who could not become the victim of unwary enthusiasm. The character and his lust, was made the instrument of his reconduct of this unhappy enterprise, have venge. She was of the Athole family, already been criticised by a master in such against whom this youthful adventurer enspeculations :* and the events to which it tertained a deep grudge, wbich was exalted gave birth, have been detailed in different to the most desperate fury by their resistforms with great minuteness. The utter in- ance to his union with their young kinscapacity of Marr for the daring enterprise woman. By his barbarous treatment of which he had undertaken, soon became the dowager Lady Lovat, he exulted in bemanifest to his adherents, who had staked lieving that he had offered a deep and inextheir fortunes upon the result of his under- piable insult to her kindred. The quality taking; and posterity has confirmed the of this unparalleled outrage, stamps the judgment which was then pronounced. The character, and developes the inmost recesses obstinate, but indecisive battle of Sheriff- of this dark and crafty spirit. The bad moor, was fatal to the spirit of the clans, passions not only predominated in his chawho required success to sustain them in the racter, but they absorbed his every sense perilous adventure in which they had em- and faculty. Fle who could for a purpose barked, against a power which delay was of revenge not only subdue, but torture the ever strengthening, and which, if it was to manliest of passions, must indeed have be overthrown at all, must have been struck reached the dark sublime of depravity, and to the ground by a single blow. The enthu. had already given a sure pledge of the way. siasm of the Highland levies, unused to dis- ward tenor of his future life. cipline, and impetuous in all their move- “ It has been contended in palliation of 'ments, was not to be sustained through the this frightful outrage, that the forcible abprotracted course of a doubtful warfare; duction, as it is called, of women, was in and their spirit, as usual, melted away be these times a crime of almost daily occurfore obstacles upon which their ardour had rence; and that the records of Scottish never calculated, and with which their re- criminal jurisprudence are filled with dissources were inadequate to contend." cussions on this odious breach of the laws.
Even were this apology supported by the We extract the notice of Lord Lovat, fact, it seems rather to be a libel on the not only as an interesting account of the country which it pretends to characterise,
than a justification of the individual whom enterprises in which that profligate cha- it feebly essays to defend. The alleged freracter was concerned, but also as fur- quency of such legal discussions, while it nishing much information respecting the may show the turbulent and unprincipled
character of a part of the population, causes which stimulated his deluded coun- proves no less distinctly the horror with trymen in the rebellion of 1745.
which their crimes were viewed, and the
jealousy with which they were avenged by “ This too notorious person bad been the laws. But is Lord Lovat's a case of compelled many years before, to expatriate ordinary abduction ? Was his incitement to himself on account of offences which were the act a generous and romantic passion, scarcely less ridiculous than detestable spurning obstacles and braving persecution, which mingled the black ingredients of and which, even in the reckless generosity crime with the lighter elements of insanity, of its guilt, claims our sympathy, and comin such curious and whimsical proportion, mands our respect? This sordid transgressor that the force of either species of satire stands forward in all the harshness of unwould be exhausted in describing them. mitigated crime, without one alleviating He had professed himself an admirer of the circumstance to soften resentment, or prodaughter of his kinsinan and predecessor pitiate regard; he appears the spoiler of the former Lord Lovat ;--but when he found virtue, without the incitement of passion, that obstacles occurred to the accomplish- "the profaner of a hallowed intercourse, withment of his design, he turned round at once out taste or relish for its enjoyments, the with gay inconstancy to her mother, who cold and callous sacrificer of all that was chanced to be in his power, and, in spite of respectable in the honour of the other sex, her wrinkles and resistance, forced her into and all that ought to have been dear to his an involuntary marriage with him, which best feelings,--to an unmitigable, insatiate,
and remorseless spirit of revenge. *" See Lord Bolingbroke's letter to Sir Wil
66 The laws of his country did not look liam Wyndham.
upon his offence, which included the guilt of VOL. IV.-No. 1.
rape and rebellion, with a mild and for- and cunningly eluded by the discontented
they remained in a shy and suspicious es.
conferred upon " During the sullen period which interthe superior the property of the rebellious vened betwixt the two rebellions, and vassal, was but a poor contrivance, because which discovered the anomalous spectacle the superior, or chief of the clan, was not of a large body of the British people, neither likely to embark in any enterprise which thoroughly reconciled to the government, was not encouraged by the majority of his nor daring openly to spute its anthority, dependants. The maxim divide et impera, the Scottish Hghlands exhibited many exhow powerful soever in its application to amples of that untamed violence which, the politics of a sordid and degenerate race, without implying an open rebellion against was misapplied to the rude candour and in the laws, indicates a sad relaxation of their stinctive fidelity of the Highlanders; and a power. It was impossible during the period law which offered temptations only to the referred to, for any adventurer from the most despicable renegade, from the system Lowlands to attempt a settlement in a of their social institutions, could not have Highland district,--and instances occurred great influence among a people who existed of the most atrocious outrages, committed only in union, and whose every enterprise to prevent, or to chastise such an intrusion. was a conspiracy. It is acknowledged, also, But the Highlanders were not contented that the attempt of the legislature to termi- with repelling their countrymen of the nate, by an abrupt and sullen enactment, south from their own ancient habitations : the homage which the vassals had uniformly for they insisted on making the most uncepaid to their chiefs in the shape of services, remonious visits to the low country, for both civil and military, was followed only the purposes of plunder. They abandoned by the most contemptuous disobedience. - themselves to a system of depredation The mandate for disarming the clans, was, upon that part of the low country adjoining if possible, still more impolitic, for it was the Highland border; and among the noted obeyed only by the adherents of govern- characters who engaged in adventures of ment, whom it was not intended to affect, this sort, no one makes a inore conspicuous