Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 59

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Notwithstanding the solitude that prevails among these mountains, there is no want of people in the Highlands. I am credibly informed that the duke of Argyle can assemble five thousand men in arms, of his own clan and surname, which is Campbell; and there is besides a tribe of the same appellation, whose chief' is the Earl of Breadalbine. The Macdonalds are as numerous, and remarkably warlike: the Camerons, M'Leods, Frasers, Grants, M'Kenzies, M'Kays, M'Phersons, M'Intoshes, are powerful clans; so that if all the Highlanders, including the inhabitants of the Isles, were united, they could bring into the field an army of forty thousand fighting men, capable of undertaking the most dangerous enterprize. We have lived to see four thousand of them, without discipline, throw the whole kingdom of Great Britain into confusion. They attacked and defeated two armies of regular troops accustomed to service. They penetrated into the centre of England; and afterwards marched back with deliberation, in the face of two other armies, through an enemy's country, where every precaution was taken to cut off their retreat. I know not any other people in Europe, who, without the use or knowledge of arms, will attack regular forces sword in hand, if their chief will head them in battle. When disciplined, they cannot fail of being excellent soldiers. They do not walk like the generality of mankind, but trot and bounce like deer, as if they moved upon springs. They greatly excel the Lowlanders in all the exercises that require agility; they are incredibly abstemious, and patient of hunger and fatigue, — so steeled against the weather, that in travelling, even when the ground is covered with snow, they never look for a house, or any other shelter but their plaid, in which they wrap themselves up, and go to sleep under the cope of heaven. Such people, in quality of soldiers, must be invincible, when the business is to perform quick marches in a difficult country, to strike sudden strokes, beat up the enemy's quarters, harrass their cavalry, and perform expeditions without the formality of magazines, baggage, forage, and artillery. The chieftainship of the Highlanders is a very dangerous influence operating at the extremity of the island, where the eyes and hands of government cannot be supposed to see [and] act with precision and vigour. In order to break the force of clanship, administration has always practised the political maxim, Divide et impera. The legislature hath not only disarmed these mountaineers, but also deprived them of their antient garb, which contributed in a great measure to keep up their military spirit; and their slavish tenures are all dissolved by act of parliament; so that they are at present as free and independent of their chiefs, as the law can make them: but the original attachment still remains, and is founded on something prior to the feudal system, about which the writers of this age have made such a pother, as if it was a new discovery, like the Copernican system. Every peculiarity of policy, custom, and even temperament, is affectedly traced to this origin, as if the feudal constitution had not been common to almost all the natives of Europe. For my part, I expect to see the use of trunk-hose and buttered ale ascribed to the influence of the feudal system. The connection between the clans and their chiefs is, without all doubt, patriarchal. It is founded on hereditary regard and affection, cherished through a long succession of ages. The clan consider the chief as their father, they bear his name, they believe themselves descended from his family, and they obey him as their lord, with all the ardour of filial love and veneration; while he, on his part, exerts a paternal authority, commanding, chastising, rewarding, protecting, and maintaining them as his own children. If the legislature would entirely destroy this connection, it must compel the Highlanders to change their habitation and their names. Even this experiment has been formerly tried without success — In the reign of James VI a battle was fought within a few short miles of this place, between two clans, the M'Gregors and the Colquhouns, in which the latter were defeated: the Laird of M'Gregor made such a barbarous use of his victory, that he was forfeited and outlawed by act of parliament: his lands were given to the family of Montrose, and his clan were obliged to change their name. They obeyed so far, as to call themselves severally Campbell, Graham, or Drummond, the surnames of the families of Argyle, Montrose, and Perth, that they might enjoy the protection of those houses; but they still added M'Gregor to their new appellation; and as their chief was deprived of his estate, they robbed and plundered for his subsistence. — Mr Cameron of Lochiel, the chief of that clan, whose father was attainted for having been concerned in the last rebellion, returning from France in obedience to a proclamation and act of parliament, passed at the beginning of the late war, payed a visit to his own country, and hired a farm in the neighbourhood of his father's house, which had been burnt to the ground. The clan, though ruined and scattered, no sooner heard of his arrival than they flocked to him from all quarters, to welcome his return, and in a few days stocked his farm with seven hundred black cattle, which they had saved in the general wreck of their affairs: but their beloved chief, who was a promising youth, did not live to enjoy the fruits of their fidelity and attachment.