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slain, and sixty horse lost.” And such scenes, it would appear, might have passed unnoticed at a distance, and unrecorded, but for the making up of the inventory.
In the year 1608, Lord Dunfermline, the Chancellor, reports to the king, chiefly in reference to the services of the Earl of Dunbar : “He has had special care to repress, both in the in-country and on the Borders, the insolence of all the proud bangsters, oppressors, and Nimrods; but regard or respect to any of them has purged the Borders of all the chiefest malefactors, robbers, and brigands as were wont to reign and triumph there, as clean, and by as great wisdom and policy, as Hercules sometime is written to have purged Augeas, the King of Elide, his escuries; and by the cutting off by the sword of justice and your majesty's authority and laws, the Laird of Tynwell, Maxwell, sindry Douglases, Johnstones, Jardines, Armstrongs, Betisons, and such other magni nominis luces, in that broken parts, has rendered all these ways and passages betwixt your majesty's kingdom of Scotland and England as free and peaceable as is recorded Phoebus in auld times made free and open the ways to his own oracle in Delphos, and to his Pythic
l'A Booke of the Losses in the Middle Marches of England by the Scots Theefs ;' Newcastle Reprints of Rare Tracts and Imprints of Ancient Manuscripts. Though the southern Scots and the Northumbrians were of old under one government, and retain strong marks of common origin, yet it was natural that while such things were, the English near the Borders should hate the Scots. Newcastle, the capital of the district, excluded them from the capacity to acquire municipal privileges : “ The years of every such Scot, touching his apprenticeship, so taken, to be utterly void and 'of none effect; and likewise that no man or Scot born in Scotland shall be admitted to be made free by composition or agreement in the fellowship in any manner of wise.” In the place where this is preserved it is said that after the accession “we trace many names of Scottish origin.” Still the prejudice against the Scot lived for several years; and it is told how Henry Crawlington, a worthy glover of Newcastle, when he quarrelled with his brother freeman, Mungo Douglas, who was apprenticed in 1625, taxed him with“ having run out of Scotland and denied his name to.get the freedom of the town.”—Relation of a Short Survey of Twenty-six Counties; Newcastle Reprints, 25, n.
plays and ceremonies by the destruction of Phorbas and his Phlegiens—all thieves, voleurs, bandstirs, and throatcutters. These parts are now, I may assure your majesty, as lawful, as peaceable, and as quiet as any part in any civil kingdom in Christianity. All this is done quietly, suddenly, and in short space-but any harm, trouble, hazard, or grief to any good subject. All is done in your sacred majesty's name and authority-all by your princely commandment and instruction.”i
Perhaps this golden age was not so absolutely pure and unalloyed as the obsequious courtier described it. In a document that might be an answer to his eulogy, we are told how “the little intermission of justice courts whilk hath been since his lordship's departure, and appearance of lenity, has made them so insolent that there is nothing whilk they dare not attempt. The dishonour of God His Word and ministry both practised; disobedience to your highness' laws no fault, for the Earl of Dunbar, they say, and his depute-commissioners will not intermeddle with any matters but only new thefts. He that can raise fire secretly and unknown shall not leave it undone. Wild incests, adulteries, convocation of the lieges, shooting and wearing of hacbuts, pistols, and lances, daily bloodsheds, oppression, and disobedience in civil matters, neither are nor has been punished.” 2 Yet the two papers are not quite inconsistent. A great system may be broken ; but its ministers are what it has made them, and their habits will break loose during relaxations of the restraint that is gradually binding them to order. At the end of the Thirty Years' War, then begun, there was much turbulence and ruffianism ; but they were a trifle in the balance with the horrors of the war itself. Naturally it took a generation to cure the Borderers of their habits, however little opportunity was left for their practice on a great scale. There were ruffians there when the two great antiquaries Camden
1 Letters and State Papers of the Reign of James VI., 172.
? Ibid., 179; document called “ The Inhabitants of the late Bor. ders of Scotland to King James the Sixth.”
and Cotton were examining the Roman Wall-probably near the end of the first quarter of the seventeenth century. They feared to visit Busygap, on the English side of the Border, “for the rank robbers thereabouts.” 1
The condition of the Highlanders, and their relation to the other inhabitants of Scotland, was the largest social anomaly of the day, and was the object of the most comprehensive of the attempts to ameliorate social evils. The destiny of this peculiar people, as it has come up from time to time in the course of our narrative, is surely one of the strangest and most eventful in all history. We find them migrating over from Ireland to plant civilisation and religion among the barbarous people of the country to which they were to give a name. They are brought to ruin by the devastations of the northern marauders. The representative of their line of kings moves eastward and becomes the sovereign of Lowland Scotland, while the Scandinavian leaders endeavour to found a State of their own in the Lordship of the Isles. After a long contest, the Crown of Scotland asserts a supremacy; but it is enforced through the power of great territorial houses, whose heads are the real local kings. Coming from Ireland as Celts, there fell to be mixed with them some of the blood of the invading Scandinavians. It would appear that such inixture of a stronger element with the Celtic races tends to bring the strength and determination of the stronger to the aggravation of the wayward, turbulent, and mischievous propensities of the weaker, as in the English of the Pale, who were said to have become more Irish than the Irish themselves.
The longer such a people lived beside the busy progressive Lowlander, the more emphatic became the contrast between the two. There was an old element of similarity between the Highlander and the Borderer in this, that both of them indulged in theft. The Borderer, however, was by nature a utilitarian and a tradesman. He drove the beeves of the English because it was the most profitable business he could engage in ; when the
1 Bruce's Roman Wall, 178.
profession ceased to pay he dropped it. But it was the nature of the Highlanders to be idle, and feed on the produce of other men's labours. It was the necessities of this nature that withdrew them from the Lowland districts, as those whose nature it was to cultivate the ground pressed in on them. The physical geography of the Highlands shows features valuable in assisting the instincts of those who thus occupied the country. The mountains, especially in the south-west, rise steeply and abruptly from the plains. The surface of the interior seems to have formed successions of basins; and when the waters of these pressed for an outlet, they found it in breaking through the side of the basin and tumbling into the Lowlands. Hence it happens that the rockiest and most inaccessible parts of the Highlands are the gates opening on the Lowlands, familiarly known as Passes. The Highlanders, perched on the crags grouping round Loch Lomond, could look down on the Lennox farmers rearing the herds and flocks which they hoped to make their own.
The Borderers, as we have seen, had for some years reaped the most abundant harvests ever known to them, through the rapidly - succeeding convulsions of the country, when the Union brought a sudden check to their occupation. It could not change the nature of the men at once, and draft them into the ranks of the peaceful productive classes. The debateable land, and the other Border districts, continued, as we have seen, to have an evil reputation for a generation, and perhaps longer. But for a century after marauding had ceased there, large “creachs” of prey were driven by the Highlanders; and the practice was only suppressed by sheer force after the last Jacobite insurrection.
Thus interest as well as nature widened the severance between the two races. The Lowlander was industrious, turning all things surrounding him to such profitable account as they were available for. The land was then, of course, the chief source of wealth. Though impeded by cumbrous feudal conditions, he subjected it in some measure to the law of commerce, turning it to account as tenant when he was not so fortunate as to deal with it as landlord. Possession in the ground was a condition which the Celt was too little of a man of business to realise ; still less could he understand the arrangement by which one man was its owner, while another occupied and tilled it-and this is a peculiarity of the Celtic nature, such as, after having for centuries given trouble to the rest of the empire, has reserved a share for those who have to deal with such difficulties at the present day. The Lowlander, self-relying, gave as little effect as he could to the feudal restraints that bound him to a leader. The Highlander could not do without one. He naturally clung to any man whom nature placed in a position to command him; and if he could not find a strong-handed warrior to take the lead, he would follow a priest or a Presbyterian minister.
The law was so adjusted to this necessity in the Celt's character, that it was through his leader only that he received the law's protection and service. The clan that had not some chief, who was also in a secured social position as a man of rank or a gentleman, to be “ cautioner" or surety for their conduct, was “a broken clan,” liable to be hunted and killed. The chief robber clansthe cateran-were of this class, and continual bloodshed was a necessity of their existence. For ferocious acts, retaliated by a parallel ferocity, the MacGregors became conspicuous above all other tribes. Their territories were in that mountain district referred to as closely bordering the south-western Lowlands. The place that was at once their stronghold and their larder was Island Varnach, in Loch Katrine, now known to all the tourist tribe as Ellen's Isle. With a small navy of boats on the loch, and the ability to protect it from the encroachment of hostile vessels, they here found security for themselves and their plunder. 1
1 It is difficult, however, to believe in the number of animals detained at one time in this island, in terms of an indictment against those “ assisting and taking part with the rebels and fugitives that took to the isle called Ilan Varnach, and taking into the said isle of eight score kine and oxen, eighteen score sheep and goats, stolen,