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jntroëuction and Qīotes to the gore of the Jefes.
INTRODUCTION TO THE EDITION OF 1833.
I could hardly have chosen a subject more popular in Scotland than anything connected with the Bruce's history, unless I had attempted that of Wallace. But I am decidedly of opinion that a popular, or what is called a faking title, though well qualified to ensure the publishers against loss, and clear their shelves of the original impression, is rather apt to be hazardous than otherwise to the reputation of the author. He who attempts a subject of distinguished popularity, has not the privilege of awakening the enthusiasm of his audience; on the contrary, it is already awakened, and glows, it may be, more ardently than that of the author himself. In this case, the warmth of the author is inferior to that of the party whom he addresses, who has, therefore, |. chance of being, in Bayes's
hrase, “elevated and surprised by what he has thought of with more &nthusiasm than the writer. The sense of this risk, joined to the consciousness of striving against wind and tide, made the task of composing the proposed poem somewhat i. hopeless; but, like the prize-fighter in "As You Like It, I was to wrestle for my reputation, and not neglect any advantage. In a most agreeable pleasurewoyage, which I have tried to commemorate in the Introduction to the new edition of ‘The Pirate,' I visited, in social and friendly company, the coasts and islands of Scotland, and made myself acquainted with the localities of §§ I meant to treat. But this voyage, which was in every other, effect so delightful, was in its conclusion saddened by one of those strokes of fate which so often mingle themselves with our pleasures. The accomplished and excellent person who had recommended to me the subject for 'The Lay of the Last Minstrel,' and to whom I proposed to inscribe what I already suspected might be the close of my poetical labours, was unexpectedly removed from the world, which she seemed only to have visited for purposes of kindness and benevolence. It is needless to say how the author's feelings, or the com
osition of his trifling work, were affected y a circumstance which occasioned so many tears and so much sorrow. True it is, that ‘The Lord of the Isles' was concluded, unwillingly and in haste, under the painful feeling of one who has a task which must be finished, rather than with the ardour of one who endeavours to perform, that task well. Although the poem cannot be said to have made a favourable impression on the public, the sale of fifteen thousand copies enabled the author to retreat from the field with the honours of war. In the meantime, what was necessarily to be considered as a failure was much reconciled to my feelings by the success attending my attempt in another species of composition. "Waverley' had, under strict incognito, taken its flight from the press, just before I set out upon the voyage already mentioned; it had now made its way to ularity, and the success of that work ..o. volumes which followed, was sufficient to have satisfied a greater appetite for applause than I have at any time possessed. may as well add in this place, that, being much urged by my intimate friend, now un: happily no more, Wi. Erskine (a Scottish judge, by the title of Lord Kinedder), I âgood to write the little romantic tale called 'The Bridal of Triermain '; but it was on the condition that he should make no serious effort to disown the composition, if report should lay it at his door. As he was more than suspected of a taste for poetry, and as I took care, in several places, to mix something which might resemble (as far as was in my power) my friend's feeling and manner, the train easily caught, and two large editions were sold. A third being called for, Lord Kinedder became unwilling to aid any longer a deception which was going farther than he expected or desired, and the real author's name was given. Upon another occasion, I sent up another of these trifles, which, like schoolboys' kites, served to show how the wind of popular taste was setting. The manner, was supposed to be that of a rude minstrel or .. in opposition to The Bridal of Triermain, which was designed to belong rather to the Italian school. This new fugitive piece was called 'Harold the Dauntless'; and I am still astonished at my having committed the gross error of selecting the very nanne ...ho. Byron had made so famous. It encountered rather an odd fate. My in#. friend, Mr. James Hogg, had pubished, about the same time, a work called *The Poetic Mirror,” containing imitations of the principal living poets. There was in it
a very good imitation of my own style, which bore such a resemblance to ‘Harold the Dauntless,” that there was no discovering the original from the imitation; and I believe that many who took the trouble of thinking upon the subject, were rather of opinion that my ingenious friend was the true, and not the fictitious Simon Pure. Since this period, which was in the year 1817, the author has not been an intrudër on the publio” by any poetical, work of importance.
WALTER SCOTT. ABBOTSFORD, April 1830.
THE ruins of the Castle of Artornish are situated upon a promontory, on the Morven, or mainland side of the Sound of Mull, a name given to the deep arm of the sea, which divides that island from the continent. The situation is wild and romantic in the highest degree, having on the one hand a high and precipitous chain of rocks overhanging the sea, and on the other the narrow entrance to the beautiful salt-water lake, called Loch Alline, which is in many places finely fringed with copsewood. The ruins of Artornish are not now very considerable, and consist chiefly of the remains of an old keep, or tower, with fragments of outward defences. But informer days it was a place of great consequence, being one of the principal strongholds which the Lords of the Isles, during the period of their stormy independence, possessed upon the mainland of Argyleshire. Here they assembled what popular tradition calls, their parliaments, ...; I suppoze, their cour?/emière, or assembly of feudal and patriarchal vassals and dependents. From this Castle of Artornish, upon the 19th day of Qctober, 1461, John de
le, designing himself Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, granted, in the style of an independent, sovereign, a commission to his trusty and well-beloved cousins, Ronald of the Isles, and Duncan, Arch-Dean of the Isles, for empowering them to enter into a treaty with the most excellent Prince Edward, by the grace of God, King of France and England and”f ord of Ireland." Edward IV, on his part, named Laurence, Bishop of Durham, the Earl of Worcester, the Prior of St. John's, Lord Wenlock, and Mr. Robert Stillington keeper of the privy seal, his deputies and commissioners, to confer with those named by
the Lord of the Isles. The conference terminated in a treaty, by which the Lord of the Isles agreed to to: a vassal to the crown of England, and to assist Edward IV and James Earl of Douglas, then in banishment, in subduing the realm of Scotland. The first article provides, that John de Isle, Earl of Ross, with his son Donald Balloch, and his grandson John de Isle, with all their subjects, men, people, and inhabitants, be: come vassals and liegemen to Edward IV of England, and assist him in his wars in Scotland or Ireland; and then follow the allowances to be made to the Lord of the
Isles, in recompense of his military service,
and the provisions for dividing such conquests as their united arms should make upon the mainland of Scotland among the confederates. These appear such curious islustrations of the period, that they are here subjoined: “Item, The seid John Erle of Rosse shall, from the seid fest of Whittesontyde next comyng, yerely, duryng his lyf, have and take, for fees and wages in tyme of peas, of the seid most high and Christien prince c. marc sterlyng .# Englysh money; and in tyme of wérre, as long as he shall entende with his myght and power in the said werres, in männer and fourme abovesaid, he shall have wages of cc. lb. sterlyng of English money 'o. and after the rate of the tyme that he shall be occupied in the seid werres. 'Isem, The seid Donald shall, from the seid feste of Whittesontyde, have and take, during his lyf yerly, in tyme of peas, for his fees and wages, xx 1. sterlyng of Englysh money, and, when he shall be occupied and intend to the werre, with his myght and ower, and in manner and fourme aboveseid, he shall have and take, for his wages yearly, xl 1. sterlynge of Englysh money; or for the rate of the tyme of werre—
' Item, The seid John, sonn and heire apparant of the said Donald, shall have and take, yerely, from the seid fest, for his fees and wages, in the tyme of peas, x 1. sterlynge of Englysh money; and for tyme of werre and his intendyng thereto, in manner and fourme aboveseid, he shall have, for his fees and wages, yearly xx 1. sterlynge of Englysh money; or after the rate of the tyme that he shall be occupied in the werre: And the seid John, th' Erle Donald and John, and eche of them, shall have good and sufficiaunt painment of the seid fees and wages, as wel ior tyme of peas as of werre, accordyng to thees articules and appoyntements. . Item It is appointed, accorded, concluded, and finally determined, that, if it so be that here. aster the said reaume of Scotlande, or the more part, thereof, be, conquered, subdued, and brought to the obeissance of the seid most high and Christien, prince, and his heires, or successoures, of the seid Lionell, in fourme aboveseid descendyng, be the assistance, helpe, and aide of à. said John Erle of Rosse, and Donald, and of James Erle of Douglas, then, the said fees and wages for the tyme of peas cessyng, the same erles and Donald shall have, by the graunte of the same most Christien prince, all the possessions of the said reaume beyonde Scottishe see, they to be departed equally betwix them : eche of them, his heires and successours, to holde his parte of the seid most Christien prince, his heires and successours, for evermore, in right, of his croune of England, by homage and feaute to be done therefore. “I/em, If so be that, by th' aide and assistence of the seid James Erle of Douglas, the said reaume of Scotlande be conquered and subdued as above, then he shall have, enjoie, and inherite all his own possessions, landes, and inheritaunce, on this syde the Scottishe see; that is to saye, betwixt the seid Scot: tishe see and Englände, such he hath rejoiced and be possessed of before this; there to holde them .. said most high and Christien prince, his heires, and successours, as is abovesaid, for evermore, in right of the coroune of Englonde, as weel the § Erle of Douglas, as his heires and successours, by homage and feaute to be done therefore."—RYMER's Faedera Conventiones Liferae et cujuscumque Aeneris Acta Publica, fol. vol. v. 1741. Such was the treaty of Artornish; but it does not appear that the allies ever made any very active effort to realize their ambitious designs. It will serve to show both the power of these reguli, and their independence upon the crown of Scotland. It is only farther necessary, to say of the Castle of Artornish that it is almost opposite to the Bay of Aros, in the Island of the Mull, where there was another castle, occasional residence of the Lords of the Isles.
Rude Heiskar's seal, through surges dark,
The seal displays a taste for music, which could scarcely be expected from his habits and local predilections. They will long fol. low a boat in which any musical instrument is played, and even a tune joy whistled has attractions for them. The Dean of the Isles says of Heiskar, a small uninhabited rock, about twelve (Scottish) miles from the isle of Uist, that an infinite slaughter of seals takes place there.
— a turref's airy head, Slender and sleep, and battled round, O'erlook'd , dark Mul// thy mighty Sound.—P. 414. The Sound of Mull, which divides that island from the continent of Scotland, is one of the most striking scenes which the Hebrides afford to the traveller. Sailing from Oban to Aros, or Tobermory, through a narrow channel, yet deep enough to bear vessels of the largest burden, he has on his left the bold and mountainous shores of Muji ; on the right those of that district of Argyleshire, called Morven, or Morvern, successively indented by deep salt-water lochs, running up many miles inland. To the south-eastward arise a prodigious range of mountains, among which Cruachan-Ben is pre-eminent; and to the north-east is the no less huge and picturesque range of the Ardnamurchan hills. Many ruinous castles, situated generally upon cliffs overhanging the ocean, add interest to the scene. §. of . Donolly and Lunstaffnage are first passed, then that of Duart, o; belonging to the chief of the warlike and powerful sept of Macleans, and the scene of Miss Baillie's beautiful tragedy, entitled ‘The Family Legend.' Still passing on to the northward, Artornish and Aros become visible upon the opposite shores; and, lastly Min: garry, and other ruins of less distinguished note. In fine weather, a grander and more impressive scene, both from its natural beauties and associations with ancient history and tradition, can hardly be imagined. When the weather, is rough, the passage is both difficult and dangerous, from the narrowness of the channel, and in part from the number of inland lakes, out of which sally forth a number of conflicting and thwarting tides, making the navigation perilous to open boats. The sudden flaws and gusts of wind which issue without a moment's warning from , the mountain glens, are equally formidable. So that in unsettled weather, a stranger, if not much accustomed to the sea, may sometimes add to the other sublime sensations excited by the scene, that feeling of dignity which arises from a sense of danger.
The number of the western isles of Scotland exceeds two hundred, of which St. Kilda is the most northerly, anciently called Hirth, or Hirt, probably from ‘earth,’ being in fact the whole globe to its inhabitants. Ilay, which now belongs almost entirely to Walter Campbell, Esq. of Shawfield, is by far, the most fertile of the Hebrides, and has been greatly improved under the spirited and sagacious management of the present proprietor. This was in ancient times the Foo! abode of the Lords of the Isles,
eing, if not the largest, the most important island of their archipelago. In Martin's time, some relics of their grandeur were yet extant. • Loch-Finlagan, about three miles in circumference, affords salmon, trouts, and eels: this lake lies in the centre of the isle. The Isle Finlagan, from which this lake hath its name, is in it. It's famous for being once the court in which the great Mac-Donald, King of the Isles, had his residence; his houses, chapel, &c. are now ruinous. His guards de corps, called Luchttach, kept §§ on the lake side nearest to the isle; the walls of their houses are still to be seen there. The high court of judicature, consisting of fourteen, sat always here; and there was an appeal to them from all the courts in the isles: the eleventh share of the sum in debate was due to the principal judge. There was a big stone of seven foot square, in which there was a i.o.o.o. made to receive the feet of Mac-Donald; for he was crowned King of the Isles standing in this stone, and swore that he would continue his vassals in the possession of their lands, and do exact justice to all his subjects; and then his father's sword was put intô his hand. . The Bishop of Argyle and seven priests anointed him king, in presence of all the heads of the tribes in the isles and continent, and were his vassals; at which time the orator rehearsed a catalogue of his ancestors,' &c.—MARTIN'S Account of the Western Isles, 8vo, London,
from Ian, or John, a grandson of Angus Qg, Lord of the Isles. The last time that Mingarry was of military importance, occurs in the celebrated Leabhar dearg, or Red-book of Clanronald, a MS. renowned in the Ossianic controversy. Allaster Mac-Donald, commonly called Colquitto, who commanded the Irish auxiliaries sent over by the Earl of Antrim during the great civil war to the assistance of Montrose, began his enterprise in 1644 by taking the castles of §. Alline and Mingarry, the last of which made considerable resistance, as might, from the strength of the situation, be expected. In the meanwhile, Allaster Mac-Donald's ships, which had brought him over, were attacked in Loch Eisord, in Skye, by an armament sent round by the covenanting parliament, and his own vessel was taken. This circumstance is said chiefly to have induced him to continue in Scotland, where there seemed little prospect of raising an army in behalf of the King. He had no sooner moved eastward to join Montrose, a junction which he effected in the braes ... than the Marquis of Argyle besieged the castle of Mingarry, but without success. Among other warriors and chiefs whom Argyle summoned to his camp to assist upon this occasion was John of Moidart, the Captain of Clanronald. Clanronald appeared; but, farfrom yielding effectual assistance to Argyle, he took the opportunity of being in arms to lay waste the district of Sunart, then belonging to the adherents of Argyle, and sent part of the spoil to relieve the Castle of Mingarry. Thus the castle was maintained until relieved by Allaster Mac-Donald (Colquitto), who had been detached for the purpose b Montrose. These particulars are hardsyworth mentioning, were they not connected with the memorable successes of Montrose, related by an eyewitness, and hitherto unknown to Scottish historians.
NOTE WI. The heir of mighty Somerled.—P. 414.
Somerled was thane of Argyle and Lord of the Isles, about the middle of the twelfth century. He seems to have exercised his authority in both capacities, independent of the crown of Scotland, against which he often stoodin hostility. He made various incursions upon the western lowlands during the reign of Malcolm IV, and seems to §a. Inacle peace with him upon the terms of an inde
nient prince, about theyear 1157. In 1164, e resumed the war against Malcolm, and invaded Scotland with a large, but probably a tumultuary army, collected in the isles, in the mainland of Argyleshire, and in the neighbouring provinces of Ireland. He was defeated and slain in an engagement with a very inferior force, near Renfrew. His son Gillicolane fell in the same battle. This mighty chieftain married a daughter of Olaus, King of Man. From him our genealogists deduce
two dynasties, distinguished in the stormy history of the imiddle ages; the Lords of the Isles descended from his elder son Ronald,— and the Lords of Lorn, who took their surname of M'Dougal, as descended of his second son Dougal. That Somerled's territories upon the mainland, and upon the islands, should have been thus divided between his two sons, instead of passing to the elder exclusively, may illustrate the uncertainty of descent among the great Highland families, which we shall presently notice.
NOTE VII. Lord of the Isles.—-P. 414.
The representative of this independent principality, for such it seems to have been, though acknowledging occasionally the pre-eminence of the Scottish crown, was, at the period of the poem, Angus, called Angus Og; but the name has been, euphozoae grazia, exchanged for that of Ronald, which frequently occurs in the genealogy. Angus was a protector of Robert Bruce, whom he received in his Castle of Dunnaverty, during the time of his greatest distress. As I shall be equally liable to censure for attempting to décide a controversy which has long existed between three distinguished chieftains of this family, who have long disputed the representation of the Lord of the Isles, or for leaving a question of such importance altogether untouched, I choose, in the first place, to give such information as I have been able to derive from Highland genealogists, and which, for those who have patience to investigate such subjects, really contains some curious information concerning the history of the Isles. In the second place, I shall offer a few remarks upon the rules of succession at that period, without pretending to decide their bearing upon the question at issue, which must depend upon evidence which I have had no opportunity to examine.
‘Angus Og," says an ancient manuscript translated from the Gaelic, 'son of Angús Mor, son of Donald, son of Ronald, son of Somerled, high chief and superior Lord of Innisgall, (or the Isles of the Gael, the general name given to the Hebrides,) he married a daughter of Cunbui, namely, Cathan ; she was nother to John, son of Angus, and with her came an unusual portion from Ireland, viz. twenty-four clans, of whom twenty-four families in Scotland are descended. Å. had anotherson, namely, young John Fraoch, whose descendants are called Clan-Ean of Glencoe, and the M’Donalds of Fraoch. This
sons of John were Ronald, Godfrey, and Angus. . . . . He gave Ronald a great inheritance. These were the lands which he gave him, viz., from Kiicumin in Abertarf to the river Seil, and from thence to Beilli, north of Eig and Rum, and the two Uists, and from thence to the foot of the river Glaichan, and threescore long ships. John married afterwards Margaret Stewart, daughter to Robert Stewart, King of Scotland, called John Fernyear; she bore him three good sons, Donald of the Isles, the heir, John the Tainister (i. e. Thane), the second son, and Alexander Carrach. John had another son called Marcus, of whom the clan Macdonald of Cnoc, in Tirowen, are descended. This John lived long, and made donations to Icolumkill; he covered the chapel of Eorsay-Elan, the chapel of Finlagam, and the chapel of the Isle of Tsuibhne, and gave the proper furniture for the service of God, upholding the clergy and monks; he built or repaired the church of the Holy Cross inmediately before his death. He died at his own castle of Arctorinish, many priests and monks took the sacrament at his funeral, and they embalmed the body of this dear man, and brought it to jī: the abbot, monks, and vicar, came as they ought to ineet the King of Fiongal, and out of great respect to his memory mourned eight days and nights over it, and laid it in the same grave with his father, in the church of Oran, 1380. ‘Ronald, son of John, was chief ruler of the Isles in his father's lifetime, and was old in the government at his father's death. “He assembled the gentry of the Isles, brought the sceptre from Kildonan in Eig. and (felivered it to his brother Donald, who was thereupon called M’Donald, and Donald Lord of the Isles, contrary to the opinion of the men of the Isles. Ronald, son of John, son of Angus Og, was a great supporter of the church and clergy; his descendants are called Clanronald. He gave the lands of Tiruma, in Uist, to the minister of it for ever, for the honour of God and Columkill; he was proprietor of all the lands of the north along the coast and the isles; he died in the year of Christ 1386, in his own mansion of Castle Tirim, leaving five children. Donald of the Isles, son of John, son of Angus Og, the
brother of Ronald, took possession of Inisgall
by the consent of his brother and the gentry thereof; they were all obedient to him : he married Mary Lesley, daughter to the Earl of Ross, and by her came the earldom of Ross to the M’Donalds. After his succession to that earldom, he was called M’Donald, Lord. of the Isles and Earl of Ross. There are many things written of him in other places. ‘He fought the battle of Garioch (i.e. Harlaw) against Duke Murdoch, the governor: the Earl of Marcommanded the army, in support, of his claim to the earldom of Ross, which was ceded to him by King James the First, after