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Morzis, Libri Tres. Hosniae, 1689, 4to, • 574. p To the history of this sentient and prescient weapon, I beg leave to add, from memory, the following legend, for which I cannot produce any better authority. A youn nobleman, of high hopes and fortune, chance to lose his way in the town which he inhabited, the capital, if I mistake not, of a German province. He had accidentally involved himself, among, the narrow and winding streets of a suburb, inhabited by the lowest order of the people, and an approaching thunder-shower determined him to ask a short refuge in the most decent habitation that was near him. He knocked at the door, which was opened by a tall man, of a grisly and ferocious aspect, and sordid dress. The stranger was readily ushered to a chamber, where swords, scourges, and machines, which seemed to be implements of torture, were suspended on the wall. One of these swords lo from its scabbard, as the nobleman, after a moment's hesitation, crossed the threshold. His host immediately stared at him with such amarked i.I. that the young man could not help demanding his name and business, and the meaning of his looking at him so fixedly. 'I am,' answered the man, “the public executioner of this city; and the inéident rou have observed is a sure augury that shall, in discharge of my duty, one da cut off your head with the weapon, whic has just now spontaneously unsheathed itself.” The nobleman lost no time in leaving his place of refuge; but, engaging in some of the plots of the period, was shortly after decapitated by that very man and instrument. Lord Lovat is said, by the author of the Letters from Scotland, to have affirmed, that a number of swords that hung up in the hall of the mansion-house, o of themselves out of the scabbard at the instant he was born. The story, passed current among his clan, but, like that of the story I have just quoted, proved an unfortunate omen.—/letters from Scotland, vol. ii. p. 214.
Those thrilling sounds, that call the might Of old C/an-Alpine to the fight.-P. 222.
The connoisseurs in pipe-music affect to discover in a well-composed pibroch, the imitative sounds of march, conflict, fight,
ursuit, and all the ‘current of a heady jo
o this opinion Dr. Beattie has given his suffrage, in the following elegant passage:– “A pibroch is a species of tune, peculiar, I think, to the Highlands and Western Isles of Scotland. It is performed on a bagpipe, and differs totally from all other music. o
rhythm is so irregular, and its notes, espe: cially in the quick movement, so mixed and huddled together, that a stranger finds it impossible to reconcile his ear to it, so as to perceive its modulation. Some of these Fo being intended to represent a attle, begin with a grave motion resembling a march; then ośī, quicken into the onset; run off with noisy confusion, and turbulent rapidity, to imitate the conflict and pursuit; then swell into a few flourishes of triumphant joy; and perhaps close with the wild and slow wailings of a funeral procession.”—Essayon Laughter and Ludicrous Composition, chap. iii. Note.
Besides his ordinary name and surname, which were chiefly used in the intercourse with the Lowlands, every Highland chief had an epithet expressive of his patriarchal dignity as head of the clan, and which was common to all his predecessors and successors, as Pharaoh to the kings of Egypt, or Arsaces to those of Parthia. This name was usually a patronymic, expressive of his descent from the founder of the family. Thus the Duke of Argyle is called MacCallum More, or the son of Colin the Great. Sometimes, however, it is derived from armorial distinctions, or the memory of some great feat; thus Lord Seaforth, as chief of the Mackenzies, or Clan Kennet, bears the epithet of Caber-fae, or Buck's Head, as representative of Colin Fitzgerald, founder of the family, who saved the Scottish king when endangered by a stag. But besides this title, which belonged to his office and dignity, the chieftain had usually another peculiar to himself, which distinguished him from the chieftains of the same race. This was sometimes derived from complexion, as dhu or roy; sometimes from size, as beg or more; at other times from some peculiar exploit, or from some peculi
arity of habit or appearance. The line of
the text therefore signifies,
7 Ae best of Loch Lomond lie dead on her side. —P. 223.
The Lennox, as the district is called, which encircles the lowerextremity of Loch Lomond, was peculiarly exposed to the incursions of the mountaineers, who inhabited the inaccessible fastnesses at the upper end of the lake, and the neighbouring district of Loch Katrine. These were often marked by circumstances of great ferocity, of which the noted conflict of Glen-fruin is a celebrated instance. This was a clan-battle, in which the Macgregors, headed by Allaster Macgregor, chief of the clan, encountered the sept of Colquhouns, commanded by Sir Humphry Colquhoun of Luss. It is on all hands allowed that the action was desperately fought, and that the Colquhouns were defeated with great slaughter, leaving, two hundred of their name dead upon the field. But popular tradition has .. other horrors to the tale. It is said, that Sir Humphry Colquhoun, who was on horseback, escaped to the castle of Benechra, or Banochar, and was next day dragged out and murdered by the victorious Macgregors in cold blood. Buchanan of Auchmar, however, speaks of his slaughter as a i. event, and as perpetrated by the Macfarlanes. Again, it is reported that the Macgregors murdered a number of youths, whom report of the intended battle had brought to be spectators, and whom the Colquhouns, anxious for their safety, had shut up in a barn to be out of danger. One account of the Macgregors denies, this circumstance entirely: another ascribes it to the savage and bloodthirsty disposition of a single individual, the bastard brother of the Laird of Macgregor, who amused himself with this second massacre of the innocents, in express disobedience to the chief, by whom he was left their guardian during the pursuit of the Colquhouns. It is added, that Mac§. bitterly lamented this atrocious action, and prophesied the ruin which it must bring upon their ancient clan. The followin account of the conflict, which is ...i drawn up by a friend of the Clan-Gregor, is altogether, silent on the murder of the youths. ‘In the spring, of the year 1602, there happened great dissensions and troubles between the laird of Luss, chief of the Colquhouns, and Alexander, laird of Macgregor. The original of these quarrels proceeded from injuries and provocations mutually given and received, not long before. Macgregor, however, wanting to have them ended in friendly conferences, marched at the head of two hundred of his clan to Leven, which borders on Luss, his country, with a view of settling matters by the mediation of friends: but Luss had no such intentions, and projected his measures with a different view, for he privately drew together a body of 300 horse and 5C0 foot, composed partly
of his own clan and their followers, and partly of the Buchanans, his neighbours, and resolved to cut off Macgregor and his party to a man, in case the issue of the conference did not answer his inclination. But matters fell otherwise than he expected; and though Macgregor had previous information of his insidious design, yet dissembling his resent; ment, he kept the appointment, and parted good friends in appearance. No sooner was, he gone, than Luss, thinking to surprise him and his party in full security, and without any dread or apprehension of his treachery, followed with all speed, and came up with him at a place called Glenfroon. acgregor, upon the alarm, divided his men into two parties, the greatest part whereof he commanded himself, and the other he committed to the care of his brother John, who, by his orders, led them about another way, and attacked the Colquhouns in flank. Here it was fought, with great bravery on both sides for a considerable time; and, notwithstanding the vast disproportion of numbers, Macgregor, in the of o an absolute victory. So great was the rout, that 290 of the Colquhouns were left dead upon the spot, most of the leading men were killed, and a multitude of prisoners taken. But what seemed most surprising and incredible in this defeat, was, that none of the Mac. É. were missing, except John, the laird's rother, and one common fellow, though indeed many of them were wounded."- Professor Ross's History of the Aamily of Sutherland, 1631. The consequences of the battle of Glenfruin were very calamitous to the family of Macgregor, who had already been considered as an unruly clan. The widows of the slain Colquhouns, sixty, it is said, in number, appeared in doleful procession before the ; at Stirling, each riding upon a white palfrey, and bearing in her hand the bloody shirt of her husband displayed upon a pike. James VI was so much moved by the complaints of this 'choir of mourning dames," that he let loose his vengeance against the Macgregors, without either bounds or moderation. The very name of the clan was |...} and those by whom it had been orne were given up to sword and fire, and absolutely hunted down by bloodhounds like wild beasts. Argyle and the Campbells, on the one hand, Montrose, with the Grahames and Buchanans, on the other, are said to have been the chief instruments in supressing this devoted clan. The Laird of Macgregor, surrendered to the former, on condition that he would take him out of Scottish ground. But, to use Birrel's expression, he #. ‘a Highlandman's promise'; and, although he fulfilled his word to the letter, by carrying him as far as Berwick, he afterwards brought him back to Edinburgh, where he was executed with eighteen of his clan.—BIRREL's Z);ary, Oct. 2, 1603. The Clan-Gregor being thus driven to utter despair, seem to have renounced the laws from the benefit of which they were excluded, and their depredations produced new acts of council, confirming the severity of their proscription, which had only the effect of rendering them still more united and des. perate. ‘it is a most extraordinary proof of the ardent and invincible spirit of clanship, that, notwithstanding the repeated proscriptions providently §. by the legislature “for the timeosts preventing the . and oppression that may fall out by the said name and clan of Macgregors, and their followers,” they were in 1715 and 1745 a potent clan, and continue to subsist as a distinct and numerous race.
In 1529, James V made a convention at Edinburgh for the purpose of considering the best mode of quelling the Border robbers who, during the license of his minority, and the troubles which followed, had committed many exorbitances. Accordingly, he assembled a flying army of ten thousand men, consisting of his principal nobility and their followers, who were directed to bring their hawks and o with them, that the monarch might refresh himself with sport during the intervals of military execution. With this array he swept through Ettrick Forest, where he hanged over the gate of his own castl Piers Cockburn of Henderland, who ha o according to tradition, a feast for his reception. He caused Adam Scott of Tushielaw also to be executed, who was distinguished by the title of King of the Border. . But the most noted victim of justice, during that expedition, was John Armstrong of Gilnockie, famous in Scottish song, who, confiding in his own supposed innocence, met the King, with a retinue of thirty-six persons, all of whom were hanged at Carlenrig, near the source of the Teviot. The effect of this severity was such, that, as the vulgar exressed it, “the rush-bush kept the cow,’ and thereafter was great peace and rest a long time, wherethrough the King had great profit; for he had ten #. sheep going in the Ettrick Forest in keeping by Andrew Bell, who made the King as good count of them as they had gone in the bounds of Fife."— PiTscoTTIE’s History, p. 153.
What grace for Highland Chiefs, judge ye Ay /ate of Border chivalry.-P. 226.
James was in fact equally attentive to restrain rapine and feudal †. in every part of his dominions. “The king past to the
Isles, and there held justice courts, and punished both thief and traitor according to their demerit. And also he caused great men to show their holdings, wherethrough he found many of the said lands in non-entry; the which he confiscate and brought home to his own use, and afterwards annexed them to the crown, as yeshall hear. Syne brought many of the great men of the Isles captive with him, such as Mudyart, M’Connel, M'Loyd of the Lewes, M'Neil, M'Lane, M'Intosh, John Mudyart, M'Kay, M'Kenzie, with many other that I cannot rehearse at this time. Some of them he put in ward and some in court, and some he took pledges for
ood rule in time coming. So, he brought the Isles, both north and south, in good rule and peace; wherefore he had great profit, service, and obedience of people a long time thereafter; and as long as he had the heads of the country in subjection, they lived in great peace and rest, and there was great riches and policy by the king's justice."— PITscotti E, p. 152.
Hardihood was in every respect so essential to the character of a #: that the reproach of effeminacy was the most bitter which could be thrown, upon him. Yet it was sometimes hazarded on what we might presume to think slight grounds. . It is reported of Old Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, when "Ryo, of seventy, that he was surprised by night on a hunting, or militar
expedition. He loss. him in his plaid, and lay contentedly down upon the snow, with which the ground happened to be covered. Among his attendants, who were preparing to take their rest in the same manner, he observed that one of his ndsons, for his better accommodation, had rolled a large snowball, and placed it below his head. The wrath of the ancient chief was awakened by a symptom of whathe conceived to be degenerate luxury. "Out upon thee,’ said he, kicking the frozen bolster from the head which it supported; “art thou so effeminate as to need a pillow? The officer of engineers, whose curious letters from the Highlands have been more than once quoted, tells a similar story of Macdonald of Keppoch, and subjoins the following remarks :- This and many other stories are romantick; but there is one thing, that at first thought might seem very romantick, of which I have been credibly assured, that when the Highlanders are constrained to lie among the hills, in cold dry windy weather, they sometimes soak the plaid in some river or burn (i.e. brook), and then, holding up a corner of it a little above their heads, they turn themselves round and round, till they are enveloped by the wholemantle. They then lay themselves down on the heath, upon the leeward side of some hill, where the wet and the warmth of their bodies make a steam like that of a boiling kettle. . The wet, they say, keeps them warm by thickening the stuff, and keeping the wind from penetrating. I must confess I should have been apt to question thisfact, had I not frequently seen them wet from morning to night, and even at the beginning of the rain, not so much as stir a few yards to shelter, but continue in it without necessity, till they were as we say, wet through and through. And that is soon effected by the looseness and spunginess of the plaiding; but the bonnet is frequently taken off and wrung like a dishclout, and then put on again. They have been accustomed from their infancy to be often wet, and to take the water i: spaniels and this is become a second nature, and can scarcely be called a hardship to them, insomuch that I used to say, they seemed to be of the duck kind, and to love water as well. Though I never saw this preparation for sleep in windy weather, yet, setting out early in a morning from one of the huts, I havé seen the marks of their lodging, where the ground has been free from rime or snow, W.; remained all round the spot where the had lain."—Letters from Scotland, Lon 1754, 8vo, ii. p. 108.
NOTE XXVII. —his henchman came—P. 228.
‘This officer is a sort of secretary, and is to be ready, u all occasions, to venture his life in defence of his master; and at drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at his haunch, from whence his title is derived, andwatchesthe conversation, to see if anyone offendshis patron. An English officer being in company with a certain chieftain, and several other Highland gentlemen, near Killichumen had an argument with the great man ; an both being well warmed with usky, at last the dispute grew very hot. A youth who was henchman, not understanding one word of English, imagined his chief was insulted, and thereupon drew his pistol from his side, and snapped it at the officer's head: but the pistol missed fire, otherwise it is more than probable he might have suffered death from the hand of that little vermin. But it is very disagreeable to an Englishman over a bottle, with the Highlanders, to see every one of them have his gilly, that is, his servant, standing behind him all the while, let what will be the subject of conversation.”—Letters from ScotMand, ii. 159.
And while the Fiery Cross glanced, like a meteor, round.—P. 229.
When a chieftain designed to summon his clan upon any sudden or important emergency, he slew a goat, and making a cross of any sight wood, seared its extremities in the fire, and extinguished them in the blood of the animal. This was called the Fiery Cross, also Cream Targh, or the Cross of Shame, because disobedience to what the symbol implied, inferred infamy. It was delivered to a swift and trusty messenger, who ran full speed with it to the next hamlet, where he presented it to the principal person, with a single word, implying the place of rendezvous. He who received the symbol was bound to send it forward, with equal despatch, to the next village; and thus it passed with incredible celerity through all the district which owed allegiance to the chief, and also among his allies and neighbours, if the danger was common to them. At sight of the Fiery Cross, every, man, from sixteen years old to sixty, capable of bearing arms, was obliged instantly to repair, in his best arms and accoutrements, to the place of rendezvous. He who failed to appear suffered the extremities of fire and sword, which were emblematically denounced to the disobedient by the bloody and burnt marks upon this warlike signal. During the civil war of 1745–6, the Fiery Cross often made its circuit; and upon one occasion it passed through the whole district of Breadalbane, a tract cf thirty-two miles, in three hours. The late Alexander Stewart, Esq., of Invernahyle, described to me, his having sent round the Fiery Cross through the district of Appine, during the same commotion. The coast was threatened by , a descent from two English frigates, and the flower of the young men were with the army of Princé Charles Edward, then in England ; yet the summons was so effectual that even old age and childhood obeye it; and a force was collected in a few hours, so numerous and so enthusiastic, that all attempt at the , intended diversion upon the country, of the absent warriors was in prudence abandoned, as desperate.
This practice, like some others, is common to the Highlanders with the ancient Scandinavians, as will appear by the following extract from Olaus Magnus:—
“When the enemy is upon the sea-coast, or within the limits of northern kingdomes, then presently, by the command of the principal Fo". with the counsel and consent of the old soldiers, who are notably skilled in such like business, a staff of three hands length, in the common sight of them all, is carried, by the speedy running of some active young man, unto that village or city, with this command,--that on the third, fourth, or eighth day, one, two, or three, or else every man in particular, from fifteen years old, shals come with his arms, and expenses for ten or twenty days, upon pain that his or their houses shall }. burnt (which is intimated by the burning of the staff) or else, the master to be hanged (which is signified by the cord tied to it,) to appear speedily on such a bank, or field, or valley, to hear the cause he is called, and to hear orders from the said provincial governours what he shall do. Wherefore that messenger, swifter than any post or waggon, having done his commission, comes slowly back again, bringin a token with him that he hath done a legally, and every moment one or another runs to every village and tells those places what they must do. . . . . The messengers, therefore, of the footmen, that are to
ive warning to the people to meet for the
jattail, run fiercely and swiftly ; for no snow, no rain, nor heat can stop them, nor night hold them ; but they will soon run the race they undertake. The first messenger tells it to the next village, and that to the next; and so the hubbub runs all over till they all know it in that stift or territory, where, when and wherefore they must meet."— OLAUS MAGNUs' History of the Goths, englished by J. S. Lond. 1658, book iv. chap. 3, 4.
That monk, of savage form and face. —P. 230.
The state of religion in the middle ages afforded considerable facilities for those whose mode of life excluded them from regular worship, to secure, nevertheless, the ghostly assistance of confessors, perfectly willing to adapt the nature of their doctrine to the necessities and peculiar circumstances of their flock. Robin Hood, it is well known, had his celebrated domestic chaplain, Friar Tuck. And that same curtal friar was probably matched in manners and appearance by the ghostly fathers of the Tynedale robbers, who are thus de; scribed in an excommunication fulminated against their patrons by Richard Fox, Bishop of Durham, tempore Henrici VIII. ‘We have further understood, that there are many chaplains in the said territories of Tynedale and Redesdale, who are public and open maintainers of o irregular, suspended, excommunicated, and interdicted persons, and withal so utterly ignorant of letters, that it has been found by those who objected this to them, that there were somé who, having celebrated mass for ten years, were still unable to read the sacramental service. We have
also understood there are persons among them who, although not ordained, do take upon them the offices of priesthood; and, in contempt of God, celebrate the divine and sacred rites, and administer the sacraments, not only in sacred and dedicated laces, but in those which are profane and interdicted, and most wretchedly ruinous ; they themselves being attired in ragged, torn, and most filthy vestments, altogether unfit to be used in divine, or even in temporal offices. The which said chaplains do administer sacraments and sacramental rights to the aforesaid manifestand infamous thieves, robbers, depredators, receivers of stolen goods, and plunderers, and that without restitution, or intention to restore, as evinced by the act; and do also openly admit them to the rites of ecclesiastical sepulchre, without exacting security for restitution, although they are prohibited from doing so by the sacred canons, as well as by the institutes of the saints and fathers. All which infers the heavy peril of their own souls, and is a pernicious example to the other believers in Christ, as well as no slight, but an aggravated injury, to the numbers despoiled and plundered of their goods, gear, herds, and chattels 1." To this lively and picturesque description of the confessors and churchmen of predatory tribes, there may be added some curious particulars respecting the priests attached to the several septs of native Irish, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. These friars had indeed to plead, that the incursions, which they not only pardoned, but even encouraged, were made upon those hostile to them, as well in religion as from national antipathy; but by Protestant writers they are uniformly alleged to be the chief instruments of Irish insurrection, the very well-spring of all rebellion towards the English government, Lithgow, the Scottish traveller, declares the Irish wood-kerne, or predatory tribes, to be , but the hounds of their hunting priests, who directed their incursions by their pleasure, partly for sustenance, partly to §§ animosity, partly to foment general division, and always for the better security and easier domination of the friars 2, Ijerrick, the liveliness and minuteness of whose descriptions may frequently apologize for his doggerel verses, after describing an Irish feast, and the encouragement given, by the songs of the bards, to its termination in an incursion upon the parts of the country more immediately under the dominion of the Eng