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As to the worthy and learned Professor Geddes, whose researches into Celtic literature are so great and so creditable to himself, and whose philological acumen is so worthy of his high talents, my helief is, that lie lays no claim to the possession of Celtic blood. The same may be said of our own accomplished Inspector of Schools, Mr "William Jolly, than whom no one can be more persevering or can take a greater delight in prying into the arcana of science, or in digging up the radical characteristics of Celtic literature, and of every description of Highland folk-lore.-—I remain, Azc,
LNVEBSB88. ALEX. MACGREGOK.
TO THE ED1T0H OP THE CELTIC MAGAZINE.
London, 15th February 1881.
Sir,—The papers have lately been full of bitter complaints, owing to the proposals of the Government to abolish regimental tartans. But what at first moved Lord Archibald Campbell to the fray has now degenerated into a squabble as to whether the 42d breacan is, or is not, the Campbell tartan. I have my own views on the subject, but I do not desire to ventilate them now: suffice it to say that many of the statements are, to say the least, rash; as for instance, that in the letter of Mr Campbell of Dunsta linage, quoted b}r Lord Archibald in the Scotsman of yesterday, to the effect that ho had heard the tartan of the 71st called the Hunting Campbell. I am aware that the Macleods and Mackenzie^ claim the same plaid, but 1 did nut know before that Lord Macleod, son of the attainted Earl of Cromarty, was one of the Siol Diarmaid 1
But let us endeavour to lift the subject out of the Slough of Despond into which it has fallen in the columns of the daily press, and in doing so, impress upon every Highlander, at home or abroad, the absolute necessity of protesting against one of the most gratuitous outrages ever practised upon the feelings of a high-spirited people.
The other night, at a meeting held in the Hall of the Scottish Corporation of London, I called the attention of the reporter of the Daily Telegraph to the following passage in the celebrated Disarming Act:—
"And be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the First Day of August, One thousand seven hundred and fortyseven, no Man or Boy, within that part of Great Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers or Soldiers in His Majesty's Forces, shall, on any pretence whatsoever, wear or put on the clothes, commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say^, the Plaid, Philebeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder Belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no Tartan, or party coloured Plaid or Stuff shall be used for Great Coats, or for Upper Coats, &c."
We have heard of the coercion of the lairds when they drove the Highland cotters from their homes; and we hear the Irish complaining that a Liberal Government is forging the chains of a Coercion Bill, to enable their landlords to bind them hand and foot: these matters are beyond the scope of this letter. But this I do say, that Mr Cliilders, closely following his leader's steps iu the coercive path, wishes to put an indignity upon Highland officers and soldiers, from which they were specially exempted under the penal Act of 1747, an Act which rendered its infringers liable to the punishment of death, or transportation beyond the seas.
How was it that a greater statesman, Pitt, Earl of Chatham, thought of the Highlanders? He says :—"I sought for merit wherever it was to he found; it is my boast that I was tlto, first Minister who looked for it awl found it in the mountains of the north. I called it forth and drew into your service a hardy and intrepid race of men, who, when left by your jealousy, became a prey to the artifice of your enemies, and had gone nigh to have overturned the State in the war before the last. These men in the last war were brought to combat on your side; they served with fidelity, as they fought with valour, and conquered for you in every pait of the world." These noble words were spoken in ths reign of George III., but the times are surely retrograding, when, during the reign of Queen Victoria, a responsible Minister of tho Crown dares to sweep away bodily one of the most cherished traditional emblems of a race, with the cynical sneer of "foolish sentiment."
The War Office is said to be preparing to abolish tho regimental tartans, and to substitute one general pattern. What is this to bo? Not the Koyal Stuart, worn by the 72d, for that is universally declared to be too glaring for the red coat, and the Government are not prepared to habit the Highlanders in bull' or green. Humour has been abroad with her thousand tongues, whispering that a certain august personage, and a celebrated purveyor of Celtic fabrics, have been laying their heads together with a view to the concoction of a new tartan. This I do not believe. But I more readily credit a report that an abomination called the Hunting Stuart is to be foisted upon tho army, a tartan, heaven save the mark, which had no existence some forty years ago. Spurious tartans havo been palmed off upon the credulous by the late John Sobieski and Charles Edward Stuart, and atrocities, such as tho "Victoria" and the "Prince Charlie," have been perpetrated by the manufacturers of spectacle cases and blotting books. "W ho wear the so-called Hunting tartans? Only tho clans whose tartans are red! Certain chiefs, either ashamed of, or careless about their heraldic plaid, permitted such things to be evolved liom the inner consciousness of the tailors. Who ever heard of a hunting Gordon, Mackenzie, Forbes, or Farquharson? No doubt after the '45 the sets of certain historical tartans were lost, and notably the Mackeuzies and the Macleods claim the same. But even supposing the regimental tartans to be not older than the dates on which the regiments were respectively raised, will any hair-splitter contend that the breacau which waved from the shoulders of the 42d in Egypt—of the 78th under Havelock—of the 79th at Waterloo—of the 92d and 72d with Roberts—of the 93d in " tho thin red line" at Balaclava—of the 71st at Vittoria—of the 74th at Assaye—of the 91st at Vimiera—is not as historical as the victories of the British army I If the authorities are determined to Prussianize the Highland soldier, let them lose no time in denationalizing them—throw the bonnet and claymore on tho midden—cram the pickelhaube on his head, and thrust the zundnadelgetcehr into his hand.
Mr Childers' statement in the House, that an identity of tartan was necessary to the linked battalion system, will hardly hold water, as the kilt is adaptable to any soldier, other than a dwarf or giant, by the simple alteration of tho position of two buckles. There is an old proverb to tbo effect that it is "ill to take the breaks aff a Hielan'man," but if they rob us of our tartan, they will leave us "poor indeed," not to say "naked." If the authorities sacrifice the regimental tartans, their iconoclastic nigo will soon reach the colours and the numbers, and it is not difficult to prophesy that the glorious record of the services of the Highland regiments ■will, by a dash of Mr Childors' pen, be blotted out for ever from the page of history.—I am, &c,
A HIGHLAND OFFICER.
The, Town Council of Inverness, on Friday, 18th Feb., petitioned unanimously against the Abolition of the distinctive Tartans in our Highland Eegiments, Dean of Guild Mackenzie, Editor of the Celtic Magazine, introduced the resolution in the following terms :—
Provost and Gentlemen,—In moving in terms of notice that we petition Hit Majesty, the House of Commons, and the Minister for War, against the narrowminded, short-sighted, and impolitic proposal to abolish the distinctive tartans now worn by our Highland regiments, I feci a sense of humiliation in having to call upon you as representatives, not only of the feelings of the people of Inverness but of the whole Highlands—of every Highlander, civil and military—and I may say with perfect safety, every patriotic Scotchman throughout the world. (Hear, hear.) This is no political or party question, but one which has roused the indignation of every man in the country. On this it need only be pointed out that the loading spirit in the social rebellion which is already up against it is Lord Archibald Campbell, a son of the great Duke of Argyll, one of the most distinguished members of the present Government. He at least among the Whigs has placed Highlanders under a deep debt of gratitude for taking the patriotic position which has for the present nominally placed him in an antagonistic position to the Government of which his father is such a prominent member. (Cheers.) For my own part, in a case where the interest, honour, and patriotic aspirations of my brother Highlanders are involved, I care not a straw for Whig or Tory. (Cheers.) I am a Highlander first, and a politician next. I cannot, however, shut my eyes to the fact that it is the same party who stripped the Highlanders of their national dress in 1747, and made it a crime to wear a bit of tartan in any form subject to six months imprisonment without the option of a fine, without being admitted to bail, and, for a second conviction, to be transported for seven years, is the same political party who, in the year of grace 1881, propose again to rob my countrymen of their ancient dress so goon as they decide upon serving Her Majesty against the common enemy. (Hear, hear.) What even Dr Johnson, by no means a friend of the Highlanders, in 1747 described rather as "an ignorant wantonness of power than the proceedings of a wise and beneficent legislature," must be held to be infinitely more so in the present day. No excuse can be pleaded now. The same spirit which framed the horrid oath administered at Fort-William in 1747 and 1748 is responsible for the present proposal to unclothe and denationalise the Highlanders. In 1747 the Whigs compelled my countrymen to swear as follows : —" I, A. B., do swear, as I shall answer to God at the Great Day of Judgment, I have not, nor shall have, in my possession any gun, sword, pistol, or arm whatsoever, and never ute tartan, plaid, or any part of the Highlani garb ; and if I do to may I be cursed in my undertaking), family, and property—may I never see my wife and children, father, mother, or relatione; may J be killed in battle a* a coward, and lie without Christian burial in a strange land far from the graves of my fortfothers and kindred; may all this come across me if I break my oath," ("Shameful.") That is if he wore a bit of tartan, all this was to happen to him. Can any language describe the atrocious spirit which invented and administered that horrid and blasphemous oath I (Cheers.) Yet the spirit is not yet extinct, in so far as the Highlands are concerned, but is largely shared by the present Government, if we may judge from the conduct and opinions of the War Minister. How different from the far-seeing policy of the great Pitt, who discovered among our barren hills the men to fight the battles of our common country, and carry victory to all parts of the world—wherever they went! (Applause.) The levelling tendenciesof the present day must be checked. It is thought that if you abolish the Highland dress that you will at the same time abolish the Highlander as a being having aspirations and a hislory of his own, as the representative of an ancient and heroic race. If you can alio snuff out his language the design of the enemy will be complete. We have been told that Gaelic-speaking people are so few that it would be a false policy to teach their language. We asked for a Gaelic census to disprove this unfounded assertion, but that is refused until questions regarding it become awkward in the attempts to secure a seat for the Lord Advocate, who advised the Government that it should not be granted. The Highlanders threaten to become troublesome in a small way, and then the Government gives way, but only so far as Scotland is concerned, though there are a great many Gaelic-speaking Highlanders throughout the centres of English population. We must persevere in our determination not to be snuffe<d out—(cheers)—and I trust that we in the Highland Capital will give forth such a certain sound as will convince the Government that we are not to be abolished altogether as Highlanders, stripped of our dress and robbed of our language to suit the convenience of blundering War Ministers and Cockney officials in London. (Applause.) Mr Childers Bays that the change is necessary in consequence of the previous blunder of making officers and men liable to serve in more than one regiment. My opinion is that he should go back and rectify the original blunder, and not to commit one still more gross in order to fit in with the first one. (Hear, hear.) No doubt a few prosaic, utilitarian souls—(laughter)—for whom I have the most supreme pity—(laughter)—but not an atom of respect—(cheers)—will tell us that it is all sentiment. I admit it; but is not the world—even the few men who cry down sentiment governed by it. Is it not the very essence of sentiment to see men—every man in the British Army—prepared to lay down their lives to guard and protect their regimental colours or to recapture them from the enemy? (Loud cheers.) Banish sentiment and what have you remaining, but a piece of coloured cloth, stuck on the top of a pole. (Hear.) Every Highland soldier dressed in his own distinctive tartan is a set of colours to himself, as it were, and to each of his comrades. A Highland regiment in kilts is a moving forest of living regimental colours—(cheers)—and hence the glorious results wherever the Highlanders are engaged. (Loud cheers.) I have said enough. We cannot permit to have our regiments stripped and ourselves insulted. I care not whether the proposal comes from Whig, from Radical, or from Tory. The present agitation throughout the country—from Land's End to John O'Groat's—will prove irresistible. It is a splendid movement. The Highlanders— the whole nation—are aroused. Lord Archibald Campbell, kissing the dirk, last night in Stafford House, in good old Highland fashion (cheers) and the company present, composed of the leaders of society—the first in the land—passing it round and following his example—(applause)—unmistakably indicate a determination that the Highlander is not yet to be snuffed out. (Hear, hear.) So far as we can, as representatives of the Highland Capital, we should plant our feet firmly and answer "Never." (Loud cheers.) We shall swear on the dirk too if need be. (Cheers.) It would be unjust not to acknowledge the deep obligations we as Highlanders are under to Mr Charles Fraser-Mackintosh, our Burgh ilember, for his efforts not only in this but in all other matters of interest to the Gaelic race, especially the Gaelic Census. (Cheers.) But there is another gentleman who has done more in this latter movement than is generally known, namely. Sir Kenneth S. Mackenzie of Gairloch—(loud cheers)—who, I understand, personally approached the Home Secretary in London, and for the last three weeks was indefatigable in pressing upon him the claims of the Highlanders. (Cheers.) I beg to move that we petition Her Majesty the Queen in the following terms, as also in proper form, the House of Commons, and the Minister for War; and that the Provost be requested to sign the petitions on behalf and in name of the Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the Capital of the Highlands :— •'NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT. "To The Queen's Most Excellent Majesty: "May it please your Majesty,—We, the Provost, Magistrates, and Town Council of the Ancient and Royal Burgh of Inverness, believing that we represent the national feeling of Scotland, humbly petition that the Tartan dress hitherto worn by the various Highland Regiments as distinctive of the districts in which they were raised, and in which dress they have fought with honour and glory in every part of the globe, be not changed, believing that such distinctive Tartans add to the espirit de corps, and that such changes as are contemplated are contrary to the instincts of all true Highlanders."
(genealogical $oUs atrti tyntxits.
Maominn Or Macklemin.—Is this name known to any of the readers of the Celtic Magazine? The latter I find to have been the early form of spelling the name. This is proved by receipts which have come into my possession. Tradition relates that the first of the name emigrated from the South-West Highlands of Scotland, via Ireland, in 1746, he having to leave the country for the part ho took in the Rebellion of that year. Any one who can throw any light on the origin of the name will confer a great favour upon Macminn.
[The original name of "Macklemin," may possibly have been the equivalent for "MacClymont." We have met with several names in Canada last year, which were spelt phonetically, the parties when they arrived being, in many cases, quite unable to spell their own names, and those who had occasion to take down their names on their arrival on the other side of the Atlantic made the best they could of them. Macklemin is almost identical in sound with the Gaelic form of MacClymont; or perhaps of MacLamond.—Ed. CM.]
Leabhab Comunn Nam Fior Ghaidheal.—We are glad to learn from Mr Maclntyre North that he is progressing with this valuable work. Sending him a third list of subscribers, the other day, which reached us in consequence of the advertisement of the work in the Celtic. Magazine, he writes—"I wish the others sent me as many orders as you, but they seem all to come through you, I suppose from all the better classes reading your Magazine .... half the plates are printed, but the type being special, it will take longer than I expected; and the printer will not promise the work until the end of April. So that the subscription list will be continued open until the end of March, unless the number printed is subscribed for before that time. The work has grown vastly upon me. I received many suggestions for additional plates which I have been obliged to decline, but even then, instead of the fiftynine plates promised in my prospectus, I cannot do with less than seventy, and instead of eight chapters of letterpress in one volume, I shall have seventeen or eighteen in two volumes—without reckoning the Introduction and Appendix." Those wishing to secure copies should send us their names without delay, as it will be almost impossible to procure a copy of the work at a reasonable price after the subscription list is closed. It is quite clear Mr North intends to keep more than good faith with his patrons, by so very much extending the work beyond what he originally promised. The issue is to Ik; strictly limited, and the plates are to be rubbed out so Hoon as the subscribed number is thrown off. Among the names sent through us are Lachlan Macdonald of Skaebost; John H. Dixon, Inveran; Rev. T. Grant, Rosslvn ; The Chisholm; Evan C. Sutherland-Walker of Skibo; Bailie Kenneth Macdonald; ExBailie Noble; H. Munro Mackenzie, Whitehaven •, Mrs Drummond, Palace Gate, Kensington: Geo. C. J. Tomlinson, London; B. Homer-Dixon, Toronto; Kenneth Mackenzie, Bristol; Principal Grant, Kingston University; Kenneth Gollan, New Zealand: Kenneth D. Macrae, South Australia: Frederick D. Macrae, do.; Messrs Truhner & Co., London; John Menzies & Co., Edinburgh; D. Wyllie & Son, Aberdeen; Colin Chisholm; R. Mackenzie, London; Alex. M. M. Macrae, Glenoze; John Fraser, Ceylon; James Munro, J.P., Australia; Kenneth R. Mackenzie, Cape Breton; N. Macdonald of Dunach; Duncan Cameron. Kinloch-Rannoch; N. B. Mackenzie. Fort-William; Donald A. Cameron, J.P., New Zealand; Alex. Joseph Macrae, X. S. Wales; Duncan Macrae, J.P., do.; Colonel Ross of Cromarty; Lientenant Craigie Halkett, 78th Highlanders; the late Councillor James H. Mackenzie, Ac. &c. A few of these gentlemen, as also ourselves, have ordered as many as four copies. We shall he glad to receive additional names up to the 31st of March when the list will be closed.
REGIMENTAL TARTANS.—A large and influental committee of the Gaelic Society is organising a public meeting to bo held in Inverness on Fridav, 4th March, toJprotesVagainst the abolition of Regimental Tartans—Wm. Mackay, hon. secretary, Convener."