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).

Similar allusions will be found in the writings of Montgomerie; but such caricatures of Gaelic and the bagpipes afford but a slender basis for a theory of racial antagonism.

After the Union of the Crowns, the Lowlands of Scotland came to be more and more closely bound to England, while the Highlands remained unaffected by these changes.  The Scottish nobility began to find its true place at the English Court; the Scottish adventurer was irresistibly drawn to London; the Scottish Presbyterian found the English Puritan his brother in the Lord; and the Scottish Episcopalian joined forces with the English Cavalier.  The history of the seventeenth century prepared the way for the acceptance of the Celtic theory in the beginning of the eighteenth, and when philologists asserted that the Scottish Highlanders were a different race from the Scottish Lowlanders, the suggestion was eagerly adopted.  The views of the philologists were confirmed by the experiences of the ’Forty-five, and they received a literary form in the Lady of the Lake and in Waverley.  In the nineteenth century the theory received further development owing to the fact that it was generally in line with the arguments of the defenders of the Edwardian policy in Scotland; and it cannot be denied that it holds the field to-day, in spite of Mr. Robertson’s attack on it in Appendix R of his Scotland under her Early Kings.

The writer of the present volume ventures to hope that he has, at all events, done something to make out a case for re-consideration of the subject.  The political facts on which rests the argument just stated will be found in the text, and an Appendix contains the more important references to the Highlanders in mediaeval Scottish literature, and offers a brief account of the feudalization of Scotland.  Our argument amounts only to a modification, and not to a complete reversal of the current theory.  No historical problems are more difficult than those which refer to racial distribution, and it is impossible to speak dogmatically on such a subject.  That the English blood of the Lothians, and the English exiles after the Norman Conquest, did modify the race over whom Malcolm Canmore ruled, we do not seek to deny.  But that it was a modification and not a displacement, a victory of civilization and not of race, we beg to suggest.  The English influences were none the less strong for this, and, in the end, they have everywhere prevailed.  But the Scotsman may like to think that mediaeval Scotland was not divided by an abrupt racial line, and that the political unity and independence which it obtained at so great a cost did correspond to a natural and a national unity which no people can, of itself, create.


[Footnote 1:  Spanish and Venetian Calendars of State Papers.  Cf. especially the reference to the succour afforded by Scotland to France in Spanish Calendar, i. 210.]

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