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Converting the Uncouth Savage

  • Peter Womack
Part of the Language, Discourse, Society book series (LDS)

Abstract

As soon as the Forty-five was over, the Scottish Highlands became the target of a legislative programme designed to efface their historical distinctiveness. The military challenge had been destroyed at Culloden; now the aim was to pre-empt any possible revival by making the area as much as possible like the rest of Britain. In 1746 the Disarming Act outlawed not only the carrying of weapons but also, no less severely, the wearing of Highland dress. In 1747 heritable jurisdictions were abolished, thus ‘rendering the Union more complete’ by imposing on Scotland the state monopoly in the administration of justice which already obtained in England. The estates of the rebels were forfeited to the Crown, and in 1752 the Annexing Act arranged for the management of these lands on enlightened capitalist principles which would, it was hoped, diffuse an ethos of rational self-interest in place of what the House of Lords agreed in calling an ‘enthusiastical clannish spirit’.2 Education was to be centralised too: the Disarming Act tried to license Highland schools in such a way as to place children everywhere under the influence of the established Kirk, whose presbyterianism made it solidly anti-Jacobite, and whose language of instruction was English.3 The whole thrust of the legislation was neatly summarised in the brief of the Commissioners appointed under the 1752 Act: revenues from the annexed estates were to be devoted

Keywords

Hunting Stage Philosophical History Pecuniary Interest Rent Arrear Legislative Programme 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes and References

  1. 2.
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    In practice, the dominant force in Highland and Island education was the SSPCK, whose directors were consistently opposed to Gaelic from the Society’s incorporation in 1709 until a change of policy in 1766. See V. E. Durkacz, The Decline of the Celtic Languages (Edinburgh, 1983), pp. 47–69.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    This paragraph is abstracted from Duncan Forbes, ‘Some Thoughts Concerning the State of the Highlands of Scotland’, (1746), Culloden Papers (1815), pp. 297–301; Andrew Fletcher, ‘Proposals for Civilising the Highlands’, (1747), C.S. Terry (ed.), Albermarle Papers, 2 vols. (Aberdeen, 1902), vol. II, pp. 480–91; ‘Extracts from a MS in the possession of the Gartmore Family’, (1747), in Edward Burt, Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland, 5th edn, ed. R. Jamieson, 2 vols. (1818), vol.II, pp. 338–70; A Second Letter to a Noble Lord, Containing a Plan for effectually uniting and sincerely attaching the Highlanders to the British Constitution (1748); Andrew Lang (ed.), The Highlands of Scotland in 1750 (1898); speeches in support of the Annexing Act, Parliamentary History, vol. XIV, pp. 1249ff.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Peter Womack 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Womack
    • 1
  1. 1.University of East AngliaUK

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