An geamheadh, 1906

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Guth na Bliadhna

leabhar iii.) AN GEAMHEADH, 1906. [aireamh i.

a' chrois-tara

Tha Eachdraidh Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba cosmhuil ri aon de na h-innleachdan diomhair sin ris an abrar kaleidoscope's a' Bheurla. Tha i, mar gu'm b'ann, air a dheanamh suas air fad le mòran de chriomagan beaga dhathan anns nach 'eil runsuidhichte, no riaghailteachd, r'a faicinn. Tha cogadh no fead a' leantainn air muin fead ann, mar tha tonn a' tighinn air muin tuinne air tràigh na fairge, gus mu dheireadh, is èiginn do'n fhear-amhairc a shùilean a thoirt air ais, air dha 'bhi ceannsaichte agus imcheisteach, 's air a dheanamh dall ach beag leis.

'S e so a' chùis a thaobh luchd-leughaidh, aig nach 'eil an t-àm no an toil a dhol a stigh innte. Cha 'n 'eil iad a' faicinn ann ar n-Eachdraidh dad 'sam bith ach trioblaid agus còmhstri. Tha ar cùisean pràbach fèin 'gan cur fo dhoilleireachd ro-mhòr; agus o'n a tha iad 'gan tuigsinn an rathad cumhann, 's ann mar sin tha iad a' leugh­adh Eachdraidh. Is iomadh neach a tha mar so 's an t-saoghal air fad. An ni sin nach 'eil soilleir dhoibh an toiseach, cha 'n 'eil iad a' ghabhail ris air chòir air bith. Is toil leo a mhàin nithean ro-fhaicsinneach, so-thuigsinn. Mur 'eil Eachdraidh, no dad 'sam bith eile, a dh'ainmeachadh sinn, rèidh,


soirbh, aon-fhillte, agus direach mar is àill leo a bhith, air ball fàsaidh iad seachd sgith; agus ann an ùine ghoirid, seargaidh iad gu tur. Tha an fheadhainn so cosmhuil ris an t-siol a chuireadh anns na h-àitean creagach. Chual iad am Facal Naomh le gairdeachas; ach cha robh freumh aca annta fèin. Mhairidh iad car tamuill, mar an ceudna; ach an uair a thig àmhgar, no duilgheadas 'sam bith, seargaidh iad air falbh gu grad.


Ach, saor o choghaidhean agus fheadaibh, cha 'n 'eil ar n-Eachdraidh fèin cho duilich a thuigsinn, dubharach, agus air a chur thar a' chèile, mar a tha mòran a' cur oirre. Gun teagamh, tha iomadh ni innte a tha fuaighte ris a' Ghàidhealtachd, 's an dòigh, agus 's an tomhas a tha dualach d'ar dùthaich; ach is e so seòrsa de dh'aodainn-fuadain a mhàin, agus's an taobh a stigh dhith, tha gach ni rèidh, soileir, agus so-thuigsinn gu lèir. Tha ar n-Eachdraidh fèin mar shealladh air dùthaich fad air astar, anns am bheil, air tùs, beanntan agus bailtean, sruthan agus coilltean, gleanntan agus machraichean air an cur thàr a' chèile air dòigh nach 'eil gu tur soilleir. Ach, ann an ùine bhig, 's air do'n t-sùil a' fàs gnathaichte ris, thig gach ni ann rèidh, riaghailteach, agus mar is còir da 'bhi.

Tha Eachdraidh Gaidhealtachd na h-Alba air a roinn gu lèir an tri earrannan. Tha a' chiad earrann o theachd Eigh Fhearghais gu ruig blàr Srath Chathruaidh (1130). Tha an dara earrainn a' tighinn a nuas o'n bhliadhna sin gu ruig adhar­tachadh Mhic Dhòmhnuill nan Eilean, 's a' bhliadhna 1476; agus tha an treas earrann a' tighinn a nuas o'n àm sin gu ruig "Bliadhna Thearlaich," agus blàr Chuil-fhodair (1746).

Cha 'n 'eil e duilich Eachdraidh Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba a thuigsinn gu ruig bliadhna arbhar­tachadh Mhic Dhòmhnuill nan Eilean, a chionn gu'm bheil i air a sgriobhadh gu soilleir an Each­draidh choitchionn na h-Alba. Ach an deigh do Eigh Seumas Mac Dhòmhnull nan Eilean a chur fo smachd, agus an tiodal uaibhreach, cumhachdach, sin a thoirt air falbh uaith, cha 'n 'eil e cho soirbh a leigeadh ris dhith; a chionn gu'n robh an tubaist ud 'n a ceann-aobhar dhuinn chum gach ànraidh agus diobraidh a thachair oirnn an deigh sin; agus o'n a tha e 'n a ceann-aobhar dhuinn chum gach " ceannairc" agus còmhstri a thachair anns a' Ghàidhealtachd an deigh bàis Mhic Dhòmhnuill nan Eilean.


Ach, roimh an àm ud, cha 'n eil e duilich Eachdraidh na h-Alba a thuigsinn, mar a thubhairt sinn mu thrath; do bhrigh roimhe 'n tubaist sin, cha robh 's an duthaich air fad ach dithis chumh­achdan —'s e sin ri ràdh, a'chumhachd Ghàidheal­ach, agus a'chumhachd nach robh Gàidhealach idir. Ach air do Mhac Dhòmhnuill nan Eilean a bhith air a chur fo smachd, agus a thiodal uaibhnach a bhith air a thoirt air falbh uaith leis an Eigh, thuit Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba fo aimhreit anabarr ro mhòr, a chionn nach robh neach 'sam bith's an dùthaich gu lèir aig an robh ughdarras cho mòr, 's cho farsuinn r'ar cuisean fèin a chuir air adhart, agus Gàidheal na h-Alba a dheanamh 'n an aon.

Tha Eachdraidh na h-Alba a' leigeil ris duinn gu soilleir ciod e an t-aobhar a bh'ann chum gach cogadh agus fead a bh'ann eadar Gàidheal na dùthcha agus na coigrich a bha 'n taobh a stigh dhith, an deigh bàis an dara Eigh Calum (1034). Thug esan oidhirp an leantuinn-rioghail a chur gu taobh, agus a chinneadh fèin a shocrachadh air cathair rioghail na h-Alba, ni nach bu choir dha­san a dheanamh; oir a rèir cleachdainnean agus laghanna na dùthcha, b'e Lulaig Mhic Ghillecom-gain (Righ Mhoiridh) a bha 'n a fhior-oighre do'n chrùn aig an àm ud. Thoisich, leis a sin, gach trioblaid, culaidh-fharmaid, agus còmhstri a thachair oirnn an deigh sin, an lorg a' ghlacaidh eucoraich ud. Lean Gàidheil na dùthcha taobh teaghlaich Mhoiridh, agus chath na Sasunnaich agus coigrich eile 'n an aghaidh. Sheas ar dùthaich fèin anns an staid chunnartach mhi-fhiosraich aimhreitich ud gu ruig rioghachadh a' chiad Righ Dhaibhidh, an uair, 's a bhliadhna 1130, mar a thubhairt sinn mu thrath, thug an righ sin buaidh air teaghlaich Mhoiridh air blàr Srath Chathruaidh, agus aig a' cheart àm, dh'aonaich e an dùthaich sin ris fèin.


Thoisich a' chòmhstri sgriosail so, mar a thug sinn fainear a cheana, le connsachadh mu chòir-sheilbh air cathair-rioghail na h-Alba. Cha robh i air tùs 'n a spàirn eadar Gàidheal is Gall idir. Bha fir teaghlaich Athuil agus fir teaghlaich Mhoiridh 'n an Gàidheil araon; agus o'n a bha e mar sin, b'e droch-còrdadh a mhàin a bha eadar an dà theagh­laich Ghàidhealach. Ach, is ann mar a chaidh an spàirn so air a h-adhart, is ann mar sin a tha e 'toirt a mach ceum air cheum gu soilleir co dhiù gach ni a bha fillte ann, gu h-àraidh gur h-e cath eadar Gàidheal agus Gall a bh'ann. B'e teaghlach Athuil a thoisich a' chluich chunnartach, fhuilteach ud; agus is ann do bhrigh nach urrainn doibh an cùisean fèin a chuir air adhart gun chobhair, gu'n do ghuidh iad air Sasunnaich na h-Alba 'thighinn 'gan cuideachadh. Aig an àm cheudna, thoisich righrean teaghlaich Athuil gu bhith 'n an riagh­ladairean Sasunnach. Dh'atharraich iad àrd-bhaile na dùthcha o Sgàin gu Dùn Eideann : b'e Righ Daibhidh a thug a steach do'n dùthaich so na cleachdainnean riaghailteach sin ris an abrar am

Feudal System's a' Bheurla; agus air iomadh dòigh eile thug iad oidhirp air Gàidheal na h-Alba a chuir fo aimheal.

Ach, cha robh so, mar bu dualach duinn, tait­neach do mhuinntir na Gàidhealtachd. Dh'èirich muinntir Mhoiridh fo armachd a rìs agus a rìs, agus muinntir Ghàidhealach eile maille riu, an aghaidh righrean na h-Alba, agus an aghaidh an cleachdaidhean coigreachail cèin. Anns a' bhli­adhna 1093 dh'èirich Gàidheil na h-Alba air fad fo armachd, agus le Dòmhnull Bàn, Mac dara Righ Calum, air an ceann, thilg iad a mach na Sasunnaich agus coigrich eile as an rioghachd. Anns a' bhliadhna 1130, dh'èirich muinntir na Gàidhealtachd fo armachd air taobh Aonghais Righ, no Morair, Mhoiridh, agus ann an ùine ghoirid an deigh sin, dh'èirich iad a rìs chum "Calum Mac Aoidh" a chur air cathair riaghail na dùthcha. Anns a' bhliadhna 1153, bha "ceann­airc" Ghàidhealach ann air son Shomhairle Righ nan Eilean. Anns a' bhliadhna 1164, bhris Somh-airle a rìs a stigh do dh'Alba, le armailt mòr de mhuinntir nan Eilean agus de mhòr-thir na dùthcha comhla ris chum an riaghladh Sasunnach a chur air falbh, agus crùn na h-Alba a ghlacadh mar a chuid fèin. Anns a' bhliadhna 1174, bha "ceann­airc " Ghàidhealach eile ann air taobh iar-dheas na dùthcha. B'e Dòmhnull Bàn a thog a' " cheannairc " Ghàidhealach sin a thachair an Alba anns a' bhli­adhna 1181, agus ann an ùine bhig an deigh sin, dh'èirich Guthred Mac Uilleim fo armachd, agus mòran de mhuinntir Ghàidhealach comhla ris.


A nis, ciod is ciall do'n chogadh so uile ? An e a mhàin, gu'n do chuir muinntir Mhoiridh, agus Gàidheil eile, an teaghlach Mhoiridh air cathair rioghail na dùthcha? Gun teagamh, is ann mar sin a bha e an tomhas mòr; ach cha'n ann buileach. Is cinnteach gu'n do chog ar sinnsirean-ne air son na chis sin, ach cha'n ann air son sin a mhàin; oir am bitheantas bha an shilean-ne ri chisean agus còirean mòran ni 's mò na sin. Dh'èirich iad fo armachd air an son fèin, 's an dùthcha, an cainnt, air son an cleachdainnean fèin agus Alba, agus an rioghachd air fad. Is ann mar sin a bha, mar tha Eachdraidh 'ga dearbhadh gu soilleir dhuinn, agus is ann mar sin a bhitheas a rìs, ma bhitheas sinn fèin fireannach, dileas, seasmhach a thaobh cainnt is dùthcha.

A nis, ciod a thachair an Alba an deigh do mhuinntir Mhoiridh a bhith air an cur fo smachd le ard-righrean na dùthcha a bhuineadh do theagh­laich Athuil ? Gu grad, chaidh a' chumhachd agus an seasamh uasal is euchdail a bha aca mar riochdairean Gàidhealach thairis gu righrean nan Eilean. Chuir iad umpa fèin an fhalluing bhoidheach Ghàidheal­ach, agus sheas iad a mach fad re iomadh bliadhna mar diuraidhean nan Gàidheal. B'e Somhairle a spion a' bhratach Gàidhealach a mach a' làmhan fàilinneach Mhorairean Mhoiridh, agus a thog i an àird ann am measg nan Eilean. B'e Somhairle a chuir sios mar dhileab a' bhratach so d'a luchd-leanmhuinn fèin, agus a shuidhich a rìs, agus a shin-a-mach an t-seann Bheul-Aithris Ghàidhealach. B'e a' bhratach so, air an robh " Cainnt is Dùthaich " sgriobhta (theagamh ged nach robh e soilleir air tùs) a thug Dòmhnull nan Eilean an àird 's a' bhliadhna 1411, oir 's gann a ruigear a leas a dhearbhadh gur e crùn na h-Alba air an robh e 'cumail sùla, 'nuair a shiubhail e le armailt mòr o na h-Eileanaibh chum catha a chur 'an aghaidh nan Sasunnach. Tharruingeadh an rùn ceudna a stigh ionnsuidh inntinnean an luchd-leanmhuinn


a bha aige. Dh'innis iad gu follaiseach gu'n robh iad 'n an riaghlaidearan air leith, agus air am bonn fèin. Dhealbh iad airgiod air an son fèin, agus rinn iad còrdadh ri rioghachd chèin eile. Tha cuid ag ràdh, an lorg so, gu'n robh iad 'n am fir-bhrathaidh, fir-cheannairc a thaobh righ is dùthcha; ach cha b'ann mar so idir a bha iad. Bha iad a' glèidheadh Beul-Aithris nan Gàidheal. A' bhrat­ach Ghàidhealach air an robh iad air an cuir an seilbh, bha iad mar so a' cumail suas, le dubhlan, agus gu buannachdail. Thubhairt iad-fèin gu foll­aiseach, agus ann an litir a sgriobh fear dhuibh a dh'ionnsuidh an righ Shasunnaich, gu'n robh iad 'n an riaghlaidearan air leith, air am bonn fèin, agus gu'n robh iad, mar a bha an sinnsirean 'n an nàimh­dean do righ na h-Alba, agus do'n dùthaich sin a bhuineas da.

Ach, air do'n tiodal so a bhi air a thoirt air falbh leis an righ, thuit dùthaich nan Gàidheal air fior droch làithean. Is ann mar dhuine gun cheann, gun ghàirdeanan, gun chridhe, gun ghuth a dh'fhàs ar dùthaich-ne gu grad an lorg na tubaiste sin. Tha cuid ag ràdh gu'n robh e 'n a ni maith air son Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba gu'n robh Tigh­earnan nan Eilean air an cuir as leis an righ, a chionn gu'n robh iadsan 'n an ain-tighearnan os cionn mòran fhineachan eile ; agus air do Dhòmh-null a bhi air a chur fo smachd, leigeadh fa sgaoil na fineachan eile so. Ar leinn, gu'm bheil iadsan gu tur air am mealladh a thaobh a' bheachd so. An lorg ceannsachaidh nan Eilean, chaill a' Ghàidh­ealtachd gu grad, agus an tomhas mòr a' chumh­achd a bha aice anns na linntean a dh'fhalbh chum leanailteachd, chum fèin-ceangaltas. Fhad's a bha Tighearnan nan Eilean air an ceann, bha Gàidheil na h-Alba làidir, neartmhor, agus aonnichte ri

chèile gu h-iomlan. Ach cha b'ann mar sin a bha 'nuair a thug righrean na h-Alba buaidh orra. Thugadh a' chumhachd a bha aca uatha, agus Bratach nan Gàidheal maille rithe; ach cha d' thàinig ni air bith eile an àite na bha air a thilgeadh sios. Bha Dòmhnuill nan Eilean air a sgrios ; ach cha robh e comasach do righrean na h-Alba dùth­aich nan Gàidheal a chuir air a bonn fèin. Dh' èirich fine 'an aghaidh fine, agus teaghlach an aghaidh teaghlaich. Cha robh neach 'sam bith ann aig an robh ùghdarras na's leòir chum a' chòmstri sgriosail fhuilteach ud a chumail fodha. Gun cheann-feadhna, gun bhratach, gun chumh-achd-teis-meadhonach, chaidh a' Ghàidhealtachd uile am miosad gu grad. Uidh air uidh, thàinig a steach do dhùthaich nan Gàidheal droch chle-achdainnean gun àireamh, aimhreit, eas-aonachd, creachan, mortadh, agus gach seòrsa uilc eile. Cha n-aobhar foghnaidh dhuinn gu'n robh na Gàidheal 'n am muinntir aineolach, allmharach, aimhreiteach aig an àm mhuladach sin. Ach, fa dheoidh, thàinig an àrd-righ gu Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba, agus 'n a chois, aineolas, buirbe, cleachdainnean is luchd-comhairle Sasunnach, a' Bheurla, agus mòran ni eile nach 'eil a' cordadh dhuinn idir.

Agus a nis, 's ged a thàinig an àrd-righ ionn-suidh dùthcha nan Gaidheal, thuit Gàidhealtachd na h-Alba da-rireadh air droch làithean ; agus is ann mar so a bha i air fad mhòran bhliadhnaichean a bha fathast ri tighinn oirre. Gu grad, chuir an Crùn a chùl ris a Ghàidheal's ris a' Ghaidhlig, agus thug e air falbh leis gu dranndanach, fèin-chùiseach gach cothrom agus tachartas a thàinig's a rathad chum dùthaich nan Gàidheal a chuir am feabhas. Mhair an rian so fad iomadh bliadhna ; ach fa dheòidh rinneadh agus chuireadh a mach innleach­dan-riaghlaidh eile. Fhuair a' chiad Eigh Tearlach a. mach agus a chuid-cùairtearan —'s e sin ri ràdh iadsan a bha 'cumail taobh ris 'an aghaidh luchd-leanmhuinne Chrombheill—gu'n robh na Gàidheil 'n an gaisgich threuna, agus, gun teagamh {foillseachadh na 's mò na sin dha'n taobh fèin), gu'm bitheadh iad ro fheumail dhoibh mar chom­panaich an àm doibh a' dol a chogadh an aghaidh an nàimhdean-ne. So, a nis, am bann a chaidh a dheanamh eadar righ na h-Alba agus muinntir na Gàidhealtachd. Thubhairt a' Chùirt nach buineadh iadsan ri cùisean is gnothaichean na Gàidhealtachd ; agus cheadaich cinn-fheadhna dùthcha nan Gàidh­eal, air an dara làimh, a' bhratach rioghail a chumail suas, mar a b'fheàrr a dh'fhaodadh iad. Gu dearbh ■chàraich am bann so buil neònach, bhreisleachal, air muinntir na Gàidhealtachd; do bhrigh gu'n d'thug e orra a' bhi 'n an luchd-cumail suas agus 'n an luchd-dionaidh nan Stiubhairteach —an t-aon teagh­lach an Alba air fad leis an robh Gàidheil na dùthcha am bitheantas air an cumail fodha's air an docharaicheadh air dòigh a bu mhutha. Gun teagamh, dh'fheudadh mòran a bhith air a chur an cèill mu na nithibh so; ach cha'n 'eil àite againn air an son aig an àm so. Dh'fheuch sinn r'a leigeil ris •da'r luchd-Ieughaidh cia mar a thachair do Ghàid­healtachd na h-Alba a' bhith 'n a cùil-taic, agus 'n a dionadair do na Stiubhairtich, leis an robh i am bitheantas air a cur am mi-shuim, agus cho mòr air a dearmad leo fad mòran bhliadhnaichean. Ach, ged nach robh an co-aontachadh so gu h-iomlan maith air son dùthcha nan Gàidheal, oir thug e a steach do'n Ghàidhealtachd droch spiorad cogaidh is aineolais, agus a tha maireann gus an latha an diugh ; gidheadh, tha sinn ag aideachadh gu'n robh i ni maith a thaobh aoin nithe co dhiù—is e sin ri



io

A' Chrois-Tara

Gaelic Confederation

ii


ràdh, gu'n do chum e suas a' bhratach Ghàidhealach,, agus gu'n do ghlèidh e a' Bheul-Aithris Ghàidheal­ach air dhòigh nach robh comasach, theagamh, do rud 'sam bith eile a dheanamh. Bha roimhe so daoine cealgach, fèin-chùiseach ann am measg nan Gàidheal, mar a tha, 's mar a bhitheas, gun teag­amh, gu crich an t-saoghail so; ach a dh'aindeoin sin, cha robh a' chuid bu mhò de mhuinntir na Gàidhealtachd 'n an daoine cealgach, faoine, fèin-chùiseach aig an àm ud, ni 's mò na tha iad an diugh. Chog ar Sinnsirean an aghaidh Chrom-bheill, 's an aghaidh Righ Uilleim, s an aghaidh na h-Aonachd, agus air taobh an 8mh Righ Seumas agus a mhic Prionnsa Tearlach, cha'n ann a chionn gu'n deachaidh am bribeadh le òr is airgiod a chum sin a dheanamh, ach a chionn gu'n d'thug iad gràdh do'n Gàidhealtachd; gu'n d'thug iad gràdh do'n bhrataich againn, agus a chionn gu'n d'thug iad, mar an ceudna, gràdh 's onoir da'r Beul-Aithris Ghàidhealach.

Agus tha so 'gar 'toirt air ar n-aghaidh gus ar ceann-teagaisg a rìs. Agus is e sin ri ràdh ann an aon fhocal a' Chrois-Tara, no, "is ann mar so a bha, agus is ann mar so a bhitheas," mur bi sinne lag, faoin, mi-chreidmheach agus mi-dhileas a thaobh nan daoine o'n d'thàinig sinn. Is fior, gu labhairt an cainnt chumanta, gu bheil ar làithean-cogaidh mar o shean. Chuir sinn seachad gach claidheamh agus dag, biodag agus sleagh. Ach a' bratach bhoidheach Ghàidhealach air am bheil na focail misneachail, brosnachail, beothachail, a leanas air an sgriobhadh gu soilleir, gu comharraichte, agus, ar leinn, gu bràth " Cainnt agus Dùthaich" ; is e sin gu dearbh fathast ann ar measg. Is leinn fèin a' bhratach bhoidheach sin : is leinn fèin an t-sean Bheul-Aithris Ghàidhealach. Togaibh suas a' bhratach gu h-àrd! Togaibh an sean iolach ris na speuraibh 1 " Albainn ! Albainn ! "—an t-sean chath-gairm Ghàidhealach. An diugh an t-àm taitneach ! An diugh an uair iomchuidh!

gaelic confederation

The drawing together of the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland is a natural consequence of the language movement in both countries, and that that move­ment should have awakened a general desire for more intimate international relations is an en­couraging and gratifying feature of our common agitation. We have already drawn attention in these pages to the antiquity of that correspondence, and to the desirability of re-establishing it upon a firm and enduring basis. That the Gaels of Ireland and of Scotland should unite to advance objects and aspirations held in common by them is at once a measure of the simplest precaution, and the most obvious expediency. As we have already remarked more than once, we are of the same race with the Irish, we enjoy a common literature, much of our history is a common possession, our aims and ob­jects are identical, and our languages are nearly the same. Under these circumstances, it is obvious that not to unite for purposes of offence and defence would be to expose ourselves to the charge of neglecting to utilise means and resources which Providence has placed in our way; and inasmuch as neglect of this kind is justly universally derided as the unfailing characteristic of weak statesmen and feeble, indecisive measures, we venture to express the hope that men and conduct of this sort will on no account be suffered to play havoc with the interests of the Gael.

There is no need to insist at this particular conjuncture of our affairs on the purely historical and antiquarian aspect of that Union and corre­spondence which used to subsist between the Gaels of Ireland and those of Scotland. We have already dealt with that topic ; and in view of the words of abounding and imperishable wisdom which one immeasurably greater, wiser and better than our­selves uttered concerning it many centuries ago, we hold that it would be almost an impertinence to re-open the question. Said Naomh Colum Cille at the famous Convention of Drumcat, which was organised for the purpose of establishing the rela­tions which should subsist between the two great branches of the Gaelic brotherhood, namely the Gael of Ireland and the Gael of Scotland, " 11 have, O High King and Princes of the Gael, one word more to say in this business. It is plain to every person who has been looking for any length of time upon the Gael of Alba and on the way they have succeeded against every foe who attempted to interfere in any way with them, that the hand of God is with them and against their foes. Hence I say it is not a very wise thing for the Gael of Ire­land to accept any advice, or to adopt any purpose of action which would be in danger of dragging them into hatred for the Gael of Alba, and perhaps into a war with them. It is friendship and affection and love that ought to be between the Gael of Ireland and the Gael of Scotland, and not hatred or war. If the hand of God is with the Gael of Alba, against their foes, the hand of God will be with the Gael of Ireland as long as the friendship which ought to be is between them and the Gael of Alba.'


" Colum Cille sat down. The Ardrigh stood up.

" ' Kings and nobles of the Irish,' said he,

' both clergy and laity, I think it is as well for us all to leave this business to the arbitration and settlement of Colum Cille himself. It must be that the Ardrigh of Ireland has some dominion or power or authority over the Gael of Alba. All I want is to find out what that dominion is, and to put a name on it, and to enforce it. When that is done we shall all understand each other. I now, in the presence of this Convention, ask Colum Cille himself to take that matter in hand and to settle it, and we shall all be satisfied with whatever settlement he makes.' " The Ardrigh sat down. Colum Cille stood up. " 'High King of Erin,' said he, 'and ye princes and nobles of the Gael, the whole question has been already settled, generously settled. There is henceforward no danger that hatred or war shall arise between those two tribes of the Gael. There is a disciple of mine here, and he has an exact knowledge of every sort of relation that has taken place between the Gael of Ireland and the Gael of Alba, from the first day an Irish person went east­wards until the day we now have. He has an exact knowledge also of the nations of Europe and of their history, and of every occasion on which matters stood between two races of people as they now stand between the Gael of Ireland and the Gael of Alba. From the knowledge which he possesses he will find out for us what sort of bond it is that exists now between the Gael of Ireland and the Gael of Alba. He will, as the Ardrigh has said, put a name on the bond. The settlement of the question was put upon me. I now put the settlement of the question upon my pupil, Colman, the son of Comgellan.'

" Colman, the son of Comgellan, then made the settlement, and here is how he made it:—


"' That the hosting of the Gael of Alba shall be always with the men of Erin, because the hosting belongs to the original stock; but that their spoils and their ships shall belong to the men of Alba.'

"It is in those words we find the settlement which Colman made, but historians are not very well agreed among themselves as to the force and significance of the words. Some of them say that the settlement left the Gael of Alba under the dominion of the Ardrigh of Ireland. Others of them say it did not, but that it is how the Gael of Alba were bound to help the Gael of Ireland in time of need, and the Gael of Ireland to help the Gael of Alba in the same way; that no do­minion was given to any side of them over the other side.

"When the settlement was made Aodh, the Ardrigh, ordered an enactment to be written, and that the will of the Convention should approve the enactment, so that it should have the strongest force of law. He asked Colum Cille to draw up the enactment. Colum Cille did so. The enactment was composed and written. Then it was read for the Convention, and the Convention sanctioned it. That made firm law of it. According to that en­actment the Gael of Alba were free for ever from any claim of tribute from the Ardrigh of Ireland, and from any other sort of dominion. It was not how Aodh, the Ardrigh, relished that, but it was how he saw plainly that the mind of the Conven­tion was determined on it, and that it was no use for him to be trying to resist it. But for the in­fluence Colum Cille possessed in the Convention and the reverence all the people had for him, and but for the dread which the Ardrigh had of him, there was no fear that that settlement or that enactment would have been made. War would have arisen between the Gael of Ireland and the Gael of Scotland, and there was no knowing what would have been the end of it."


Now, the character of the relations which should subsist between the Gael of Scotland and the Gael of Ireland being as above described by Colum Cille, it becomes our bounden duty, no less than our interest, to fall on all available means and measures whereby that ancient and honourable compact may be revived and strengthened, in order that both contracting parties may derive the greatest amount of satisfaction and profit from this natural and necessary union.

It will doubtless be observed that, according to the terms of the compact submitted by the Saint and subsequently endorsed by the Convention, the contracting parties were left free to work out their respective social and political destinies; and to this arrangement we heartily subscribe. The alli­ance is to be not an incorporating Union—a phrase which for obvious reasons stinks in the nostrils of every patriotic Gael in Scotland—but an easy, flexible and statesmanlike arrangement whereby, whilst national independence is, in each case, jeal­ously preserved, a kind of Gaelic confederacy is established for the furtherance of common ends and for the purpose of offering a united resistance to the designs and attacks of ambitious and un­scrupulous enemies. This is the ideal form of Union, and the only thing of the kind, unless we are greatly mistaken, which the political conscience in every civilised country will tolerate in the future. This is the true Union of Hearts—an alliance based not on force and the abnegation, if not the positive destruction, of all national political rights, but on mutual affection and love; on the most powerful of all political motives, namely, the consciousness of possessing and sharing interests and aspirations in common; and lastly, on an identity of fact and tradition in respect of language, history and race. Such a Union as this we strongly advocate in the interests of the Gaels of Scotland and Ireland. We advocate it, too, in the interests of the British Empire itself which, if it is to be maintained here at home, must adapt itself to the altered condi­tions of which we speak by cancelling the present anomalous Unions, and by erecting in their place arrangements which shall be honourable and satis­factory to all the contracting parties. Unionism, as presently constituted, stands condemned. It is repugnant to the feelings of the three Celtic nations inhabiting the British Isles, whose political bond­age is now an affair of the past, and whose re­awakened national aspirations must inevitably travel in the direction of complete separation if English statesmen, who have so much to gain and so little to lose by the kind of friendly accommo­dation we suggest, are not wise enough to profit by their opportunities whilst yet there is time, and, by seasonable concessions (which can leave neither sting nor bitter taste behind them), grant us that which, whether they like it or not, we are every day growing more and more determined to possess, if necessary, at all costs and at all hazards imagin­able. And although in many respects we neces­sarily have not, nor ever can have, the slightest sympathy with Socialism, yet he must needs be a very trifling and shallow political observer indeed who does not or will not perceive that the current of political thought in Europe is now setting strongly, perhaps irresistibly, in that direction, and that the triumph of Socialism will involve the undoing of those means by which powerful nations keep those which are less numerous, less rich and less well-armed than themselves in political sub­jection to them. Indeed, so far is the tendency of the times from going in the direction of Imperialism as some vainly and ignorantly pretend, we hold, on the contrary, that it is progressing in precisely the opposite direction, owing to the spread of socialistic ideas in all the civilised countries of Europe. The days of " big battalions," overgrown fleets and costly and extravagant armaments of all kinds, whereby alone the sacred rights of individuals as well as nations have been ruthlessly violated and trampled on in the past, are fortunately drawing to a close, owing to the spread of the gospel of Socialism; and so far as it makes for peace, dis­armament and the universal recognition of the rights of oppressed nationalities, that otherwise predatory political creed has our unbounded ad­miration, and will always command our unqualified approval and support. We are coming to a time when nation will no more rise against nation, or country against country, at the bidding of a single individual however crooked in his measures or arbitrary in his rule, or at the instigation of a group of selfish and intriguing politicians or financiers. The " Rights of Man" is no empty, high-sounding phrase of doubtful utility, dubious political moral­ity, and, practically, impossible, but is, humanly speaking, an eternal verity, which the nations of the world are rapidly coming to regard as some­thing more than a mere revolutionary shibboleth— as something nobler and better and grander, and, last but by no means least, something infinitely more Christian than the mere party catch-word whereby and wherewith men, not a whit less self-seeking and corrupt than those they designed to supplant, managed in too many cases to gratify their lust of power at the expense of the people, whose spokesmen and agents they impudently and falsely pretended to be.

The subject of Union naturally inclines us to devote a few words at this conjuncture to the dis­cussion of that alliance which makes the greatest figure in our history—we allude, of course, to the compact with France. That connexion was the necessary consequence of the introduction of the feudal system into Scotland, and of that series of disastrous political arrangements which resulted in the gradual transference of the centre of political gravity from the west—its true home—to the east of Scotland. St. Columba's alliance with Ireland was the one which this country ought to have cultivated* and maintained at all costs, and at all hazards. It was not only the safest and soundest one in the interests of both countries, but, being founded on a natural sentiment, being the logical consequence of pre-existing historical facts, it was the only one capable of preserving the kingdom intact, and of saving the common nationality of both parties. The sovereigns of the House of Atholl, however, thought otherwise ; and on what slender and unsatisfactory grounds we too well know. They deliberately set to work to destroy the Gaelic power in Scotland, and having effectually accomplished that unpatriotic object, their suc­cessors on the throne of Alba found themselves face to face with the necessity of finding a work­able substitute for that alliance (in order to balance the power and pretensions of England) elsewhere. Even after the suppression of the Gaelic polity, and the virtual triumph of the feudal system, Scotland might yet have been drawn back, had there been statesmen and a party strong and far-seeing enough to grasp the full meaning of the situation, and to act on the knowledge which that consciousness brought them, to her original principles. But, apparently, the die of the political destinies of our country was cast for at least several hundreds of years ; and by the later feudal sovereigns (of the House of Stuart) the fatal alliance with France was made and maintained. Now, it is obvious that that disastrous policy could have but one of two results, either of which must inevitably, sooner or later, spell ruin (that is absorption) to the lesser of the two powers con­cerned. Either the alliance must endure for all time, in the which case, in obedience to the irre­sistible law of political majorities the lesser must become swallowed up by the greater, and Scotland so become a mere province of France; or the other alternative must no less certainly happen, namely, the connexion must sooner or later be­come incapable of bearing the political strain imposed on it, and, the law of political majorities again taking effect, Scotland, as being the lesser, must inevitably be absorbed by her more power­ful neighbour of England. As a matter of fact the first of these two eventualities was within an ace of coming to pass in the reign of Queen Mary, who, whilst in France, actually signed away the inde­pendence of her country to the French ; and there can be no doubt that had not the so-called Re­formation introduced another and equally hostile influence into Scotland, the Franco-Scottish alliance would soon have degenerated into the one-sided affair in which, sooner or later, it was bound to end.

That pestiferous upheaval—the " Reformation " —saved us, indeed, for a time; but the frying pan is, proverbially, but an indifferent exchange for the fire. Indeed, it is questionable whether of these two unblushing evils, absorption by France is not to be considered as an eventuality preferable to ex­tinction by England. At all events, when two evils which will noways be denied are clamorously striving for precedence, the wise man, and he that is cunning withal, will endeavour to make a shift with that which hails from the greater distance. Besides, absorption by France would at least have temporarily preserved the faith in Scotland— the loss of which, considered entirely from the political point of view, has wrought so great havoc amongst us, and is the cause of existing weaknesses and follies too numerous and perhaps too painful to mention. But, again, in the troubled history of our country, the die was cast adversely to the Gaelic tradition, and in violent and open opposi­tion to the wishes and inclinations, religious as well as political, of the Gaelic people. The " Re­formation " triumphed in the seat of Government, and in the East of Scotland, then more than now (owing to the growth of the great city of Glasgow) the home of political influence and power in Scot­land. The English cause, which was closely associated with it, triumphed also; and the two succeeding centuries witnessed the subjugation of the Gàidhealtachd by the English, and the complete absorption of the Lowland tradition by the national measures of the Saxon power- the two principal events which the policy of the "Reformers" in respect of Church and State, the destruction of the French alliance, and the feudal system with its inevitable tendency towards Anglicisation, was bound, in the natural course of political events, sooner or later to bring about. The seeds of national extinction, and, we are inclined to believe, of religious disruption, were sown far back in our history. The fatal policy pursued by our feudal sovereigns, from the reign of David I. downwards, of exploiting the anti-Celtic fringe at the expense of the Gaelic inhabitants of Scotland, the rightful and natural repositories of political power in the country, culminated at last, as all men of wisdom and foresight must have perceived that those un­patriotic measures if unwisely persisted in were obliged, by reason of their very character and tendencies, to terminate, namely in the destruction of the independence of the Scottish crown and people, through the agency either of absorption by England or annexation by France. Nor are these two consequences, dismal and melancholy though they must necessarily be regarded by every indi­vidual who has a spark of national pride or a particle of patriotism within him, to be considered as by any means exhausting the capacity for destruction and mischief which seems to have been inherent in that mischievous policy. The turbu­lence and barbarity of the Scottish nobles, of which the historian justly complains, the corruption and ignorance of the Church, and the lawlessness and ferocity of the common people under the feudal system, were but reflexes of the bitter struggle waged for so many years between the rival races inhabiting Scotland. The feudal sovereigns them­selves, thanks entirely to their obstinate devotion to that ruinous and tyrannical system, were for the most part either contemptible puppets in the hands of a few unscrupulous and designing men—mere phantoms in the mist of their ridiculous regal pretensions—or ultimately fell victims to their own unprincipled endeavours to yet further enslave the nation, and to drag their country, whether it wished it or not, still deeper into the mire of that feudalism whose goal and object here, as else­where in Europe, were government by " divine right," and the abolition of all constitutional checks and safeguards in favour of tyranny and absolute power. The Gaelic system of Government, imper­fect though it was in many ways, and to which Socialism owes all that is best and sanest in it to-day, was the very antithesis of feudalism ; and it is to the efforts of our feudal sovereigns, and to those of the Normans and others imported or invited into this country by them for the purpose of supporting their pretensions to unconstitutional Government and absolute power, that no small part of the evils and miseries which have inflicted, and continue to inflict, our country must be ascribed. The elective principle was the dominating keynote of the Gaelic system; and when that safeguard was removed by the introduction of slavery and feudalism by David, not only was our political development checked and indefinitely postponed, not only were we, the Gaels of Scotland, whose proud name this country bears, and whose whole soil, mountain and river, loch and forest, town and city, is justly and rightfully ours, robbed of our birthright, oppressed, insulted and despoiled, but the whole country was rudely and roughly torn up by the roots, as it were, and forced into a soil which being uncongenial, even repugnant to it, not only arrested its development and prematurely stunted its growth, but produced so luxuriant a crop of disasters, mischiefs and ills as finally choked our unhappy country altogether. Hence no doubt,


the stained and sordid page of Scottish story. Hence treasons innumerable and tyranny unspeak­able. Hence turbulence, rapine, murder, leagues and bands, covenants, plots and counter-plots. Hence Church corruption and State immorality; hence wars and tumults, risings and feuds, private assassinations and judicial murders ; hence foreign influences, and their attendant evils, partial counsels and unjust laws and ordinances ; and hence, coming more towards our own times, those successive changes and revolutions in Church and State which have robbed us of our independence ; which intro­duced the English influence, and which find us to­day little better, when all is said and done, than a conquered province—the English tripper's Mecca or the Saxon sportsman's Paradise !

We have said above that the understanding with Ireland is the measure which every patriotic Gael, whatever his religion or politics, should en­deavour to promote ; and we venture to repeat our advice. Would that our feudal sovereigns had seen the matter in the same light, and had acted on the counsel so wisely tendered by Saint Columba who, in the light of the Treaty of Drumcat, must surely be regarded as the Gael's great law-giver. But, with the solitary exception of that rousing patriot and far-seeing statesman King Robert the Bruce, the alliance we advocate was entirely neg­lected by them. Instead, the Gael of Scotland was treated as an intruder and an enemy within his own gates; and a policy which might have brought prosperity and contentment to both Scotland and Ireland, and confusion and disappointment to our common enemies, was recklessly cast aside for the glitter and tinsel of feudalism and the French alliance. The natural political affections and




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