An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707) eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707).
by the events of the seventeenth century, and the chiefs were no longer mere freebooters and raiders.  The Jacobite rising had weakened the Highlands, and the clans had been divided among themselves.  It was not a united opposition that confronted the Government.  Above all, the methods of land-tenure had already been rendered subject to very considerable modification.  Since the reign of James VI, the law had been successful in attempting to ignore “all Celtic usages inconsistent with its principles”, and it “regarded all persons possessing a feudal title as absolute proprietors of the land, and all occupants of the land who could not show a right derived from the proprietor, as simple tenants".[99] Thus the strongest support of the clan system had been removed before the suppression of the clans.  The Government of George II placed the Highlands under military occupation, and began to root out every tendency towards the persistence of a clan organization.  The clan, as a military unit, ceased to exist when the Highlanders were disarmed, and as a unit for administrative purposes when the heritable jurisdictions were abolished, and it could no longer claim to be a political force of any kind, for every vestige of independence was removed.  The only individual characteristic left to the clan or to the Highlander was the tartan and the Celtic garb, and its use was prohibited under very severe penalties.  These were measures which were not possible in the days of David as they were in those of George.  But a further step was common to both centuries—­the forfeiture of lands, and although a later Government restored many of these to descendants of the attainted chiefs, the magic spell had been broken, and the proprietor was no longer the head of the clan.  Such measures, and the introduction of sheep-farming, had, within sixty years, changed the whole face of the Highlands.

Another century has been added to Sir Walter’s Sixty Years Since, and it may be argued that all the resources of modern civilisation have failed to accomplish, in that period, what the descendants of Malcolm Canmore effected in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.  This is true as far as language is concerned, but only with regard to language.  The Highlanders have not forgotten the Gaelic tongue as the Lowlanders had forgotten it by the outbreak of the War of Independence.[100] Various facts account for this.  One of the features of recent days is an antiquarian revival, which has tended to preserve for Highland children the great intellectual advantage of a bi-lingual education.  The very severance of the bond between chieftain and clan has helped to perpetuate the ancient language, for the people no longer adopt the speech of their chief, as, in earlier days, the Celt of Moray or of Fife adopted the tongue spoken by his Anglo-Norman lord, or learned by the great men of his own race at the court of David or of William the Lion.  The Bible has been translated into Gaelic, and Gaelic has become the language of

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An Outline of the Relations between England and Scotland (500-1707) from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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