Page:Robert the Bruce and the struggle for Scottish independence - 1909.djvu/58

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28
[844 A.D.
Robert the Bruce.

all except Caithness and the Isles. Many, if not most of his barons, owed homage to the English king for their lands south of the Border.

If this want of solidarity in the monarchy and government delayed, as it must have done, the birth of a national spirit and the expansion of the narrow bonds of sept into intelligent patriotism, much more must the piebald ethnology of David's dominion have stood in the way. Considerable fusion, no doubt, had already taken place, in certain districts, between Celtic, Saxon, and Norse people. Members of the same family sometimes bore, one a Gaelic, another a Saxon name.[1] But the four separate kingdoms of ancient Alban of the eighth century were still peopled by widely different races. The Scots of Argyll and the Isles had become pretty well fused with the Picts of the Highlands ; but they had looked upon the Welshmen of Strathclyde, not as brother Celts, but as hereditary foes, ever since the Roman occupation. The Saxon population of Lothian, Tweeddale and Strathannan were equally severed from the Highlands by the barrier of different speech. Even at the present day may be traced some of the ancient contempt of the Gael for the Saisneach or Saxon, a feeling which, in the reign of David I., had been tempered by none of the enlightening influence of education. As for the people of Caithness and the Isles, it must have seemed an idle

  1. It is recorded in 1166 how Richard de Morville, Constable of Scotland, sold Edmund, the son of Bonda, and Gillemichel, his brother, to Henry St. Clair. Here Edmund and Bonda are Saxon names, but Gillemichel is Gaelic.