From on holiday in Strathpeffer, where
the water is ferry goot, but ferry tangerous for all teetotallers, or such as take too much of the dram, and too much of the water itself is not ferry goot neither,
we hear -
The Rev. Maister Whatefers
- recorded by DC MacDonald -
edited from the 1891 Edition of Birthright in Land
by Peter Gibb
And as this antiquated Free Kirk divine humorously speaks his mind, he seems to have some agitating surprises in store even for himself. But, as for myself he asserts, I am ferry moderate in eferything - except religion . . . .
"And it was these pad landlords who refused to kive a stance to puild a Free Church - themselves and the Teffil together - that kindled the Highland Crofters to so much wicket 'agitation' in recent years, until, like the foolish Galatians, they were pewitched by ungodly Land Leaguers apout more land, fair rents, and other worldly affairs, instead of always minding the salvation of their souls.
And instead of attending prayer meetings and sermons - where the servants of the Lord had to preach in poats, and on the sea shore - they follow after false prophets like Henry George, going to Land League meetings, and packsliding ferry fast to the old wickedness of the pagpipes, and worldly songs of many ungodly poets like Purns, who was a ferry pad man when he was alive, and more so after he was tead. For his sinful song-book is still read out of sight in many places, which has a ferry 'unsettling tendency' for putting the poor against the gentry and the clergy, and making them forsake the Confession of Faith whatefer. The poor Free Church Ministers have had to keep up the panner of the Lord in the Highlands on ferry little pay, and ferry great hardships, since 1843.
"And, in some places, with ferry sore temptations; for, where the tyrants were like Pharaoh, it was ferry tifficult not to rise like Moses against them. Putt the gospel according to the Apostle Paul, as laid town in the Confession of Faith, must be obeyed whatefer. And people who came into this world to suffer, must suffer whatefer. And pad landlords, and unfair rents, and evictions, and even slafery, are all ferry useful, in their own way, for illustrating the doctrines of the Pible and for making the poor gif up all the joys of this world, and for putting their affections on things apove so as to withstand all sorts of trials on their faith.
"But Oich! Hoich! where will the Land Leaguers, and 'Agitators', and Purns, and Henry George, and Parnell, and poor Gladstone if he toes not repent, go to? There will be plenty of primstone, and weeping and wailing, and knashing of teeth in that place whatefer, and they will get more than plenty of Home Rule from the Teffil, for all eternity, and for efer and efer Amen! For the Teffil was the first Home Ruler, and the first rebel, when he rebelled against God. And it is the Teffil that is now stirring up the people in Ireland and in the Highlands against the 'Powers that pe', which 'are ordained of God', as laid down ferry clearly in the Confession of Faith, which efery godly man is pound to sign.
"The Providence of God is ferry strange, for the rich are not always ferry happy in this world. King David and King Solomon were not ferry happy whatefer. And all this shows ferry clearly what pig fools the Crofters and the Irish are, when they pelieve what these ungodly Agitators tell them about fixity of tenure, fair rents, and free sale, for when kings and the gentry cannot he happy in this world with all their lands and money, how can the poor he happy, supposing they got all the land tivided among themselves tomorrow? And who is to rule over them, if the gentry was apolished? They would just pegin at once to kill each other as they tid in America apout slafery when they apolished it, which was also against the Confession of Faith whatefer.
"And there is no use saying more apout it whatefer, for there were always gentry and landlords and rulers and masters in this world, all by God's authority, and that must continue to pe to the end of time, for what was, must pe is, and the is of to-day will surely pecome the was of tomorrow, and so on, from was to is, and from is to was, to the last tay, when the Revelation of John comes to pass; and there shall pe no other future but that in this world whatefer. Putt there pe some infidels and radicals and other unpelievers, who tont pelieve in nothing - not even in the Teffil, or in Providence, not to speak of witches.
"There was only one agitator minister in the Isle of Skye, and he was a pachelor; and although he was a Moderate, the Free Church people got ferry fond of him, for he preached nothing but Land League toctrines in the pulpit, as well as at Land League meetings. And although he was very smartly tealt with, and also put in prison in Portree, still that pachelor minister went on, and tid a kreat teal of harm. He carried with him the agitation wherefer he went, and policemen and marines were sent to Tiree and Lewis, as well as to Skye, where the mischief at first pegan. And these marines tid no good against the agitation whatefer; but they encouraged it ferry much, and they were ferry friendly with the people, and they tanced and had singing concerts with the taughters of the crofters, and they proke the sabbath in many ways, which was a ferry bad example to the Highland people, and a tisgrace to Scotland as well. And it was not ferry goot Law and Order to preak the Law of God whatefer.
"These are only a few of the evils of the agitation, for I have said nothing apout the sufferings of Lord MacTonal in Skye, for want of his rents; or Lady Matheson in Lewis, for want of her rents; and many others, over and apove the Tuke of Argyll himself, who is a ferry godly man whatefer, for he is the President of the Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge in all Scotland, and the pooks that he circulates in the Highlands are not like Purns, or Shakespeare, or Carlyle, or Henry George, but they are all ferry safe pooks for the people to read. The Pible itself peing the only one which requires to be explained away in some tifficult passages py the ministers who are aple to do so: it peing impossible for priests and pachelor clergy to under-stand these passages whatefer. And a minister, with a wife and may pe twelve or more children, is always struggling like a poat in a storm, running for the shore. And when God sends help to him py the landlords, or other gentry, he thanks God for that, putt he must not rise in agitation against the hands or stewards of Providence that do him goot whatefer.
"A little steepend will do ferry well for a single man, and that's the reason that priests and pachelor ministers can afford to join the Land Leaguers, for they are all right if they ket a little cream for their tea from a neighbour, which is quite easy whatefer. Putt, as I was saying, what can these pachelors understand apout keeping a wife, and ketting food, and clothes, and shoes, and pooks, and education, for a houseful of children? It is not at all easy for a married minister who has a large family, and only a small steepend, to pe a Land Leaguer, for you see the competition for situations is now so ferry fearful, that, unless one has a letter of recommendation from a landlord, or one of the gentry, it is impossible to get into any post of any kind whatefer, or into a shop or office in Glasgow or Edinburgh or London, or any goot post aproad.
"In the olden time, when wars were always plentiful, and fighting men much required by the landlords, the assistance of the clergy for enlisting was necessary whatefer; and it was then that they could ferry easily get posts for their sons, in return for such assistance. And when the recruiting officers came round, there was always a Shance of Ketting one of the taughters enlisted too ! for the kirls are ferry fond of joining the army whatefer! And the minister whose taughter got puckled with a red-coat officer was sure to procure plenty of recruits, so as to earn promotion for his son-in-law! and he would then pray more fervently for our King and country whatefer, and against our enemies.
"Plenty of enemies were always made in those tays, to keep the wars koing, in order to maintain the price of krain at a shenteel figure, so that there would pe no risk of the rents of land falling whatefer! For you see the ministers' steepends would fall too, if the price of krain came down, and thus the gentry and clergy peing in the same poat, you see, would sink together. And the poor, who are always poor, would not pe a pit the petter whatefer, put on the contrary, much worser, pecause the gentry and the clergy would pe less able to kive them the usual charity! And it is here one can see ferry clearly, the wickedness of the repeal of the Corn Laws, which kave a kreat plow to charity, and other forms of holiness!
"This innovation apout the Corn Laws led to Poor Rates and Poor Houses, which is no charity whatefer. We are now koing on to Free Education all round, with, no toubt, the Universities thrown open to the Public; and all the Professors made to teach, not only the sons, but also the taughters of the people at large, which will testroy ferry much the educational status of the gentry whatefer.
"Indeed if the Radicals get much more of their own way they will pass an Act of Parliament for having efery pody porn into the world with equal rights to eferything, and even the most sacred rights which the landlords hafe to the land will be controverted! and all rents, and, may pe, all tithes too, confiscated - among the community at large.
"There is no toubt these things are coming fast, for the young clergy are peginning to pe ferry radical whatefer, and they now lay kreat stress on the words: That God is no respecter of persons, and such like Piple texts, without modifying them in any way py the Confession of Faith. And, in like manner, they fix upon the words Thy Kingdom come: Thy Will be done ON THE EARTH, as it is in heaven. For, you see, there will pe no landlords there whatefer! Now this is a kreat innovation! So, who can tell what may come to pass within a few years? Perhaps, even the Free Church minister of Strathconon may pe seen joining in a teer raid before long!
"It is the wicked Land Leaguers that are to plame for kiving such tangerous knowledge to the people, for the 'agitation' has stirred them up to make inquiry apout all their rights; and the Free Church which stood up for the apolition of Church-lordisrn in 1843, is put into a strange fix as to the apolition of land-lordism now. The Free Church is in kreat tanger whatefer - all caused py that radical Patronage Act of 1874.
"The changes that are now taking place are ferry extraordinary, when we consider how the landed gentry and the clergy worked hand in hand in times of old. Things were not so hard on the clergy even in more recent times, as they are now. And I'll tell you apout that. My wife is a Minister's taughter, and my wife's mother happened to pe a natural taughter of the Laird himself. How strange Providence is ! especially when there's a woman mixed up with it, which is ferry often the case.
"Well, my wife's father's family was ferry little trouple to him whatefer, for they kot education and situations ferry easily in those tays. And one of them, named Angus, who did not care apout college education, went to Australia, and kot on ferry well, and has thirty thousand sheep - he and another who was only a Crofter's son here. And they hafe more land between them there than the Tuke of Sutherland has here. He was home the other year, and he is a terrible Land Leaguer. He said that the Crofters and the people were kreat fools to leave the land with the Tuke of Sutherland or any other landlord whatefer. This is what Angus used to say! Pefore the Crofters' Act was passed he said that, and nopody pelieved him then whatefer, except the agitators, who took for Kospel efery word he said. Angus was a kreat Radical, although he was a minister's son.
"There was another curious thing: there was the woman who was the mother of my wife's mother, you know. Well, you understand, the laird was a ferry kind-hearted man, and tid not put her away empty whatefer. And with the money he kave her she married a shepherd, who was a sort of an Englishman, prought here to set agoing the sheep-farming, for they were just evicting the Highlanders on account of the sheep craze at the time. Well, she and this shepherd kot a whole desolated klen as a tack to themselves. And some of their tescendants are the piggest tacksmen today in the whole Highlands, and hafe plenty of money yet, although they lost a lot of it on sheep not long ago. And the tescendants of the laird who kave the first money to their kreat-krandmother are now quite empty. Putt still money is not everything.
"And here we see how ferry strange the Providence of God works. For, there was so much cruelty and oppression tone at that time to thousands, who were evicted; and God - who is always a ferry just God, howefer difficult He is sometimes to understand - saw it just, and - as it were - more expedient, and even more merciful, to distripute the punishment among the tescendants of the men who tid, or helped to do, that mischief. Providence is a ferry strange thing in visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the sons and more generations pesides, and that is often ferry clearly to pe seen with regard to evictions. For how could God make full justice to the thousands who were oppressed, and whose tescendants also suffered, if he wasn't to extend the punishment to the tescendants of the oppressors whatefer? And this is the way God paffles all the philosophers, who try to understand things which they cannot understand !
"Now, although I hafe, as a minister, to keep town all agitation, I must show a sort of sympathy with it: and notwithstanding it is the Kospel of peace I always preach, still I must sympathise in reality with those who come to look at the land, and at the ruins of the old twellings, from which their ancestors, or maybe their parents, or themselves when children were evicted. It would be a kreat wonder if these were not Land Leaguers whatefer. Even my own poys are krowing up on the side of the agitation in spite of me - especially since that visit of their uncle from Australia. And what do you think of more than one of my taughters turning Land Leaguers too? They nefer kot over the 'prisoning of the Skye and Clashmore women, and the poinding py Lord MacTonal of that papy at a sixpence whatefer! For they tell me to my face that that papy had a soul as valuable as a papy born to Lord MacTonal himself, and perhaps a body as goot, if not petter, too. After that, the whole country pecame Land Leaguers, and I myself had to attend their meetings, otherwise my congregation would not come near my church whatefer.
"And the agitation grew so strong in the Lewis, with police, soldiers, marines, and teer raiders, that Lady Matheson at last ran away and left the island there! But she was no ferry wise whatefer; for when the crofters and cottars came to her with some grievance, she stamped her foot, and said this, in the face of the people: "The land is mine, and I can do with it as I like!" And the police, and soldiers, and marines were of ferry little use whatefer, except for helping on the agitation.
"By the way, it was at King's College, Aberdeen, that my wife's father studied, and he had many stories apout all the Professors there, although I forget their names. If my wife's prother, William, who tied only a year ago, was alive, I am sure he could tell something apout such a man as Professor Ogilvie, for he knew all his father's old stories. I remember hearing apout a ferry radical Aberdeen Professor of that time, who had to do with the innovation which spoilt the Universities. Now, that unjust and wicked innovation was fully as pad as the Crofters Act of 1886.
"Look on England - there is no land agitation there whatefer! For they have still conserved all the privileges of Oxford and Cambridge for the nobility and gentry, and that's the reason why so many of the English, who ton't pelong to the privileged classes, have to send their poys to the Scottish Universities; while at the same time the sons of the Scottish nobility and gentry are enjoying all the endowments and privileges of Oxford and Cambridge. Putt things in England may go ferry wrong soon too, for they took in Professor Robertson Smith there, after he was put out of the Free Church College of Aberdeen. For you see, that innovation about colleges and education is the first step of the mischief, and it will pe a wonder if Professor Robertson Smith refrains from writing a Land League pook too. That indeed would be a kreat tanger not only to England and Ireland but to Scotland as well, pecause the Scots, except ferry few, tid not pelieve in his new toctrines apout Moses, putt if he turned a Land Leaguer, like Moses himself, all the highlanders would then pelieve in him whatefer. You see clearly how that old radical Professor Ogilvie who pegan the innovations of the Aberdeen Colleges was also the author of a Land League pook.
"Putt he tid a much wickeder thing than that, when he wrote a jubilee treatise on the Land Laws of Moses. And it is a ferry tangerous argument to say that Jesus came to fulfil those Laws, and that efery landlord must "return efery man into his possession" of the land, all in accordance with chapter xxv. of Leviticus. The parable of the Tuke of Argyll - who is a Campbell ! - having to go through the eye of a needle, is also a ferry wicked argument whatefer. And, moreofer, it is ferry much against the Confession of Faith to say that the clergy, after the example of Jesus, should try to save the souls of the rich py advising them to kive up all their lands to the industrious poor, whose labour earned the wrongly-called 'un-earned increment' of the value of such lands. For this is the Kospel Notice to quit! And to the clergy who fail to deliver this Notice, and to the landlords who fail to obey it, the Lord says: - "If ye will not be reformed by me by these things, but will walk contrary unto me; then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. And I will make your cities waste, and bring your sanctuaries into desolation" - all as foretold in chapter xxvi. of Leviticus, which raises a ferry difficult point in the minds of all those who pelieve in the Scottish Confession of Faith, and in the English and Irish Faiths too, more especially on account of the French Revolution fulfilment of that ferry old law :.
I have seen some nations like o'erloaded asses
Lord Macaulay, speaking in the British House of Commons, on Parliamentary Reform in 1831, appealed to the English Aristocracy, to take warning by the fate of the noblesse of France. "And why", asked Macaulay, "were those haughty nobles destroyed with that utter destruction? Why were they scattered over the face of the earth, their titles abolished, their escutcheons defaced, their parks wasted, their palaces dismantled. their heritage given to strangers? Because they had no sympathy with the people, no discernment of the signs of the times; because, in the pride and narrowness of their hearts, they called those whose warning might have saved them, theorists and speculators; because they refused all concession till the time had arrived when no concession would avail."
off their burthens - meaning the high classes. "
"Putt, as I was going to say, the story of Professor Ogilvie's Essay on the Land Question, written in Scotland apout the year 1781, is ferry strange, and prings to my mind a difficulty my wife and myself always had apout Purns and his Twa Dogs. Where tid Purns get all his information apout the outs and ins of the private life of the shentry, and how they lived aproad too? My wife always pelieved that Caesar was a real man, and, moreofer, a real shentleman too, who knew from his own observation all apout the ways of the shentry. She thinks he was a confidential friend of Purns -
Nae doubt but they were fain o' ither,that Purns disguised him as well as he could py saying that:
unco pack and thick thegither " -
" he was nane o' Scotland's dogs,
whalpet some place far abroad,
sailors gang to fish for cod. "
"After that arch Land Leaguer, Henry George, came ofer to this country, I used to say to my wife: 'There's your Caesar now!'. And I myself looked upon his coming from America to Caesarize us à la Purns, as a sort of prophecy fulfilled, putt the answer I always kot from my wife was 'Fiddlesticks!' Now if I tell her that Professor Ogilvie was a Land Leaguer and a contemporary of Purns, she will at once say that he was Caesar whatefer. You know how strange women are for shumping at conclusions!
"Well, shust to try her, I'll not tell her a word, at first, apout what sort of a man Professor Ogilvie was. I'll not say that he was of the real landed shentry or that he was the 'shentleman and scholar' who acted as travelling tutor to the Tuke of Gordon on a grand tour of Europe, which tour is so vividly pictured in the Twa Dogs as to suggest the pencil of an eye-witness - a philosophical Land-law-reforming eye!
"Of course I'll tell her all these things quietly and py degrees. Putt there is one thing I'll tell her ferry cautiously whatefer, namely this - that it was in the same year (1786) Purns wrote and published his Twa Dogs, and Professor Ogilvie wrote and published his plan of campaign against the Highland shentry and klergy, for the apolition and confiscation of their own College at Aberdeen, which, pefore his innovations, was generally known as The Highland University.
"Were I to tell her that Professor Ogilvie had a kreat affection for pastoral poets like Virgil, and that he was ferry fond of Horace and Ovid, and that he was 'tinctured with the sublime melancholy of Ossian', she would at once conclude that he, when maturing his plan, in that year, 1786, must have visited his academic friends in Glasgow, for it was the Glasgow University he took as his model for the proposed united University of Aberdeen. She could ferry easily put me in a corner by asking me, whether I thought any reasonable person could imagine that a Land Leaguer and a lover of pastoral poetry like Professor Ogilvie could refrain from going the length of Ayrshire to visit another Land Leaguer, and a maker, as well as a lover, of pastoral poetry? You see I could not say 'Fiddlesticks' to that whatefer. Professor Ogilvie had his knife ready for the 'Highland Gentry' at that time, as shown by his Plan of Campaign, which came out in print on the 20th of July, 1786. And it was 'upon a bonie day in June', 1786, that the Twa Dogs:
" began a lang digression
About the LORDS O' THE CREATION. "
"I'll pe ferry careful in discussing dates with her whatefer. For Purns also had his knife in the Highland gentry at that time; which comes out ferry clearly in the Address of Beelzebub on the 1st of June, 1786, putt kept from being published until 1818; and the true story of it is still expunged from all editions for the people! You see the Glengarry men revolted against their Chief in 1786 pecause he took all their lands from them. Eviction was the reward they received for fighting under the false colours of British Liberty in the American War of Independence. They fought for the liberty of landlordism - the liberty to evict - and they got it !
"Other chiefs, on hearing that the Glengarry men resolved to emigrate to America, "agreed to co-operate with Government" to prevent by force these landless Highlanders from emigrating "in search of their natural rights!" It was this that moved Purns to write: -
' To the Right Honourable the Earl of Breadalbane, President of the Right Honourable and Honourable the Highland Society, which met on the 23rd of May last (1786) at the Shakespeare, Covent Garden, to concert ways and means to frustrate the design of five hundred Highlanders, who, as the Society were informed by Mr Mackenzie of Applecross, were so audacious as to attempt an escape from their lawful lords and masters, whose property they were, by emigrating from the lands of Mr McDonald of Glengarry to the wilds of Canada, in search of that fantastic thing - LIBERTY. ' _
"In the following year, 1787, when addressing the water-fowl of Loch Turrit, the poet's eye was evidently still fixed on the Glengarry exodus: -
"Were it not that my wife was always ferry fond of Purns, I would pe as ignorant of him as any other Free Church Minister in the Highlands whatefer. For it is always our recognised duty to put in the fire efery copy of Purns, or such pooks, we get hold of in the hands of our people. Putt this copy of Purns my wife has is a ferry old one that has pelonged to her mother, which was always kept locked up;
Swiftly seek, on clanging wings,
lakes and other springs,
the foe you cannot brave,
at least to be his slave. "
** Compare these words with Professor Ogilvie's phrase - 'in search of their natural rights'.
See "Address to Beelzebub", as cited.
and my wife got a hold of it when her mother tied. She also keeps it locked up. And we must not read it, except on the sly, so that nopody discovers there is a Purns in the Free Manse whatefer. The people are so treadfully prejudiced, ever since the old moderate ministers taught them that prejudice.
"And there is no agitation in our district except on the part of some radical Protestant crofters and two or three Catholics, who assert and maintain that the land was originally appropriated by spoliation and robbery, and that the landlords have no right to it whatefer; and they say it is the Teffil, and not Providence, that worked all the mischief; and they call the priest and myself the Teffil's agents too, and they look upon the Crofters' Act as real Providence from God in their favour. And they say that the doctrine preached in favour of landlordism is ferry much opposed to the Law of Moses, and, moreover, that it is quite contrary to the letter, as well as the spirit, of the Gospel of Jesus. They also say that all those who pray, "Thy kingdom come: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven", but who nevertheless stand by, and do nothing to disapprove of rack rents, evictions, and other oppressions on the earth, are not much petter than Judas Iscariot; and moreover, that Christianity has been abused as a pretext for war, slavery, and landlordism for a ferry long time. "
The State assumes the right of eminent domain over its territorial basis, whereby every landholder becomes in theory a tenant of the State. In its capacity as ultimate landlord, the State confers two distinct monopolies, entirely different in their nature. The one is a monopoly of the use-value of land; and the other, a monopoly of the economic rent of land. The first gives the right to keep other persons from using the land in question and the right to exclusive possession of values accruing from the application of labour to it; values, that is, which are produced by exercise of the economic means upon the particular property in question. Monopoly of economic rent, on the other hand, gives the exclusive right to values accruing from the desire of other persons to possess that property; values which take their rise irrespective of any exercise of the economic means on the part of the holder. Economic rent arises when, for whatever reason, two or more persons compete for the possession of a piece of land, and it increases directly according to the number of persons competing.
The first postulate of fundamental economics is that man is a land-animal, deriving his subsistence wholly from the land (as a technical term in economics, land includes all natural resources, earth, air, water, sunshine, timber and minerals in situ, etc.). His entire wealth is produced by the application of labour and capital to land; no form of wealth known to man can be produced in any other way. Hence, if his free access to land be shut off by legal preemption, he can apply his labour and capital only with the landholders consent, and on the landholders terms; in other words, it is at this point, and at this point only, that exploitation becomes practicable. Hence there is actually no such thing as a labour-problem, for no encroachment on the rights of either labour or capital can possibly take place until all natural resources within reach have been preempted. What we call the problem of the unemployed is in no sense a problem, but a direct consequence of State-created monopoly. Therefore the first concern of the State must be invariably, as we find it invariably is, with its policy of land-tenure.
AJ Nock Our Enemy the State