The Acts which relate to the Highland dress are – 1 George I., stat. 2, c. 54. 11 George I., c. 26. 19 George II. c. 39; Enforced 21 George I., c. 34; Explained, Amended, and Continued, 26 George II., c. 39. So far as relates to dress, repealed by 21 George III., c. 63.
The arms forbidden by the first of these Acts, and therefore commonly worn at that time, are “broadsword or target, poignard, whinger or durk, side pistol, gun, or other warlike weapon.”
Section 17 of the 19th George II. provides for the dress. After the 1st of August 1747 it was unlawful for civilians, “on any pretence whatsoever, to wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland Clothes, that is to say, the plaid, philibeg or little kilt, trowse, shoulder belts, or any part whatsoever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no Tartan or party-coloured Plaid, or Stuff, shall be used for Greatcoats or for upper Coats.” The penalty was, for a first offence, six months’ imprisonment; and seven years’ transportation for a second offence.
As no provision was made for clothing those whom the legislature thus stripped, as the climate is severe and unfit for the cultivation of figs, and the people were poor; and as loyal districts were included, this might be called, “the Act for the un-civilization of the Highlands, and the profit of cloth workers.”
A collection of Gaelic poetry was made some years ago in Skye for Mrs. Ferguson, sister of MacLeod of MacLeod. There are 795 lines of the usual traditional poetry, with stanzas and lines which I had not previously got, and with many variations. The collection comprises –
- Laoidh Chuinn, lines 128
- “ “ Dhiarmaid, “ 84
- “ “ na Inghean, “ 65
- “ “ an Amadain Mhòr, “ 222
- “ “ an Dearg, “ 116
- “ “ Phadric na Salm, “ 180
Several Ossianic pieces were printed in a book published 1814 at Edinburgh, “Thoughts on the Origin and Descent of the Gael, etc. etc.” By James Grant, advocate, These include versions of –
- Bas Dhiarmaid.
- Address to the Sun.
- Comhrag Fhinn agus Ghairbh Mac Starnn.
- Cuchullin in his Car, and some fragments.
Those which were orally collected for the author in Ross and Skye are of the usual traditional character, but he condemns the first as wanting in poetical merit. He was a firm believer in the published Ossian, and the book is worthy of attention.