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Metadata for text 108
No. words in text327816
Title Caraid nan Gaidheal
Author MacLeod, Rev. Dr Norman
Editor Clerk, Archibald
Date Of Edition 1867
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher William MacKenzie
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National, academic, and local (Highland) libraries.
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Argyll
Register Literature, Prose
Alternative Author Name Tormod MacLeoid
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 19.5cm x 14cm
Short Title Caraid nan Gaidheal
Reference Details NLS: Bm.8/1
Number Of Pages xlviii, 792
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Norman MacLeod was born on 2nd December 1783 in the Manse at Morven, in Argyllshire. His father ministered to around 2000 people in his parish, which was spread out over around 130 square miles. Although his father’s income was low, the glebe and farm were good and were given at a low rate of rent by the Duke of Argyll. MacLeod’s family was close, and his son records that ‘The family in Morven manse thus breathed an atmosphere of constant affection, and of genial, cheerful piety. While prayer and praise were never forgotten, the dance and the song were not uncommon; for the minister was a fair performer on the violin, and delighted in the innocent amusement of his children’ (p. xii). MacLeod, in turn, created a good home atmosphere for his own family. As a youth, MacLeod was ‘an ardent sportsman and also an enthusiastic boatman’ (p. xiii), and his son reports that when he was old enough to volunteer, ‘he entered the ranks, and rose, I believe, to be a corporal!’ (p. xii). His father was also ‘an admirable classical scholar, and, along with such tutors as he could command, prepared his sons for college’ (p. xiii).

MacLeod studied at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh, and in 1806, at the age of 23, ‘he was licensed by the Presbytery of Mull to preach the gospel, and delivered his first sermon in the church of Kilmore, in Mull. In the same year he was appointed assistant in the parish of Kilbrandon’ (p. ix). While serving in Kilbrandon he lodged with his cousin, Dr. Campbell of Kilninver. In 1808, MacLeod was offered the position of minister of Campbeltown in Kintyre. MacLeod refused, not believing himself capable of following in the footsteps of Dr. Smith. His refusal was not accepted, however, and he eventually took up the position. All was well, however, as he himself reported: ‘I knew that I had all the people upon my side, and from none of them did I meet with greater sympathy than from the dissenters, the members of the Relief congregation. With the ministers, elders, and members of this most numerous and respectable body, I lived on terms of the greatest intimacy and friendship until the time of my removal from the parish’ (pp. xvi-xvii). MacLeod remained in Campbeltown for 17 years. In 1811, MacLeod married Agnes Maxwell, the eldest daughter of the chamberlain of the Duke of Argyll. Together they had four daughters and five sons, two of whom became ministers.

In 1824, MacLeod was awarded the degree of D.D. from Edinburgh University, and in 1825 he was offered the position of minister in Campsie, Stirlingshire, where he was very well received. Although sad to leave Campbeltown, his son indicates that ‘a rising family with increasing expenses and a miserable living’ (p. xxvii) encouraged the move. Although Campsie was a Lowland parish, there were a number of Highlanders living there, and MacLeod held Gaelic services for them as often as he could. While in Campsie, however, one of MacLeod’s sons died at the age of seventeen, and MacLeod’s mother also died suddenly at the house. The first cholera outbreak in the area also occurred during this time, which greatly unsettled the people.

Regarding his writing, the memoir continues: ‘It was also during this period of his ministry that he engaged in those literary labours on behalf of his countrymen, some of which are published in this volume. The first which he undertook was the Gaelic “Collection,” for the use of Highland schools. … Then followed the “Mountain Sketch-book,” and those Gaelic monthly periodicals, which mark a new and important era in modern Celtic literature. There was “The Gaelic Messenger” (Teachdaire Gaelach), begun in 1830, which was continued for two years; followed in 1840 by “The Traveller of the Glens” (Cuairtear nan Gleann), which lasted three years. A third, “The Mountain Visitor,” was undertaken in 1848 by his son-in-law, the Rev. Archd. Clerk, now minister of Kilmallie, to which my father contributed several articles’ (p. xxix). These publications included not only original Gaelic writings, but also works translated from English, such as ‘John Gilpin’ and ‘Ode to the Cuckoo’.

MacLeod was assisted by many friends during these ventures, including his own brother, who was the minister of Morven at the time. As to the content of MacLeod’s writings, his son quotes from a letter which reads: ‘The matter given in the ‘Messenger’ may be arranged under three heads viz., the Serious, the Instructive, and the Amusing. Under the head of Amusing, I include those inimitable dialogues on popular subjects, which convulsed with laughter so many fireside circles, and which are so truly characteristic of Highland customs and manners, and through which so much useful information has been conveyed. … Dr. Macleod may also be looked upon as the connecting link between the oral and the written literature of the Celt. … But while Dr. Macleod has used his pen to preserve what was really worth preserving, yet no one has done more by his teaching—witness, for example, his tale of Coire-na-sithe—to explode the belief in witchcraft and ghost stories’ (p. xxxii-xxxiii). In 1831, in collaboration with Rev. Dr Daniel Stewart, MacLeod published a Gaelic dictionary, ‘his object being to afford facilities to the Highland youths when leaving school to acquire a better knowledge of the English language’ (p. xxxiii). MacLeod had a keen interest in education, and while in Campbeltown had secured a sum of £3300 towards the education of Highlanders. He also published a metrical version of the Psalms of David, after a trip to Ireland, for the use of the Irish Established Church.

In 1836, MacLeod was ‘elected to the Gaelic congregation in Glasgow, formerly called the Ingram Street Church, from its place of meeting, and latterly St. Columba’s Church’ (p. x). He had previously assisted the minister there, Mr. Maclaren, at Communions, and on Maclaren’s death, was called upon to take his place. In that same year, he became Moderator of the General Assembly. His time in Glasgow was eventful, as it saw the beginning and end of the Disruption. According to his son, ‘While holding decided and consistent views in State and Church politics, being from his very nature a conservative in both, yet he was essentially “moderate,” in the best sense of the word. He never was bitter in his opposition—never personal in his animosities—never advocated extreme measures, but such as might reconcile rather than divide parties. He was too sympathetic to be a violent partizan’ (p. xxxvi). During this time, MacLeod was also involved in filling the positions in a large number of vacant parishes in the Highlands. Also around this time, he published ‘a most effective dialogue in Gaelic on the Church question, which, to say the least of it, must have convinced even opponents, who were able and willing to read it, that there was another side of the question’ (p. xxxviii). The dialogue (entitled Comhradh mu Chor na h-Eaglaise) is not published in this volume.

When the potato crops failed in the Highlands, in 1836-37 and 1846-47, MacLeod was involved in raising money to aid those in need. In 1847, he and two others were sent to the Islands ‘with regard to the spiritual state of these districts, consequent on the secession of 1843’ (p. xl). A report was prepared, but no action was taken by the Assembly. As minister of St. Columba’s, MacLeod oversaw the erection of a new church, and he obtained ‘a special clause in an Act of Parliament, giving churches in cities, erected for the benefit of Highlanders, legal jurisdiction, not over any district, but over the hearers in every district who demanded the services of the Gaelic minister’ (p. xli). His own congregation stayed with him through the Disruption. Not only did he serve his own congregation, however, but ‘the whole of the Highlands seemed to claim him as their own’ (p. xlii), and he was frequently inundated with requests for help of many different sorts (examples are listed on pp. xlii-xlviii) from Gaels all over the Highlands. In addition, MacLeod was a dean of the Chapel Royal, and he preached before the Queen and her Consort at Blair Athol, acting as one of her chaplains in Scotland.

MacLeod’s fiftieth year in the ministry was marked in Glasgow by a celebratory meeting in the City Hall. After his retirement, MacLeod preached occasionally at St. Columba’s, while his assistant and successor took on the greater part of the work. MacLeod died in Glasgow on 25th November 1862 at the age of 79, having been a minister for 57 years. He was buried in Glasgow and a marble bust of him was erected in the lobby of St. Columba’s Church.

See Text 130 (Leabhar nan Cnoc), Text 133 (An Teachdaire Gaelach), and Text 135 (Co’Chruinneachadh), also by MacLeod.
Contents This volume begins with a Clar-Innsidh (pp. v-viii), followed by a Biographical Sketch of the Author (pp. ix-xlviii) by his son, the Rev. Dr. Norman MacLeod (see Social Context above). The main body of the text is presented in three sections as follows:

A’ Cheud Earrann (pp. 1-262): containing an introduction to An Teachdaire Gaidhealach (pp. 1-6) entitled Fàilte do’r Luchd-dùthcha, and MacLeod’s ‘conversations’. This section also contains a number of short humorous anecdotes entitled Focal ’s an Dealachadh.

An Dara h-Earrann (pp. 263-460): containing various stories, letters, poems, and articles.

An Treas Earrann (pp. 461-792): containing stories and articles mu nithean crabhaidh.
Sources The contents of Part I of this volume were originally published in An Teachdaire Gaelach (Text 133), published between 1829 and 1831, in Cuairtear nan Gleann, published between 1840 and 1843 and in Fear-Tathaich nam Beann, published by MacLeod’s nephew, Rev. Archibald Clerk, between 1848 and 1850. Because the texts in these earlier sources have been revised in orthography and to some extent in word-forms and phraseology for their re-publication in Caraid nan Gaidheal, editors should excerpt from the earlier sources where possible. Nevertheless, it will sometimes be expedient to consult the present volume even for these texts, where its Rating is ‘D’, e.g. to clear up unclarities and misprints in the earlier sources.
Language A’ Cheud Earrann (pp. 1-262) is is formally and linguistically the most important of the three sections in this book. In it we find MacLeod’s ‘conversations’, which take place between various people, and contain a wealth of language reflecting direct speech situations. The topics covered include social issues, contemporary and historic events, and way of life.

As all of the works in this section are in dialogue form, they are a rich repository of direct speech. They are also vividly expressive, in keeping with MacLeod’s writing in general. The conversations deal with local, national, and international issues. The first Comhradh nan Cnoc (pp. 6-13), which follows the Editor’s introduction speaking as the Teachdaire Gàidhealach, opens as follows: ‘EOGHAN.—Tha thusa ’an sin a Lachainn, mar bu mhiann leis na seann daoine, a’ leigeadh do sgìos, air chùl gaoithe ’s ri aodann gréine, a’ leughadh mar a b’ àbhaist. LACHANN.—An tu so ’Eòghain, le d’ thoulair breac ’us le d’ abhagan beaga, ruadha, a’ feadaireachd ’s a’ gabhail an rathaid le crònan dhuanag a’d’ bheul? Dean suidhe, ’s mur ’eil naidheachd agad dhomh theagamh gu-n toir mi naidheachd dhuit’ (p. 6). Other examples of direct speech include Air d’athais a Lachainn (p. 14), An do thòisich thu, ’Mhàiri? ’S e ’m fogharadh so fhéin a chaidh eadar thu ’s cadal na h-oidhche (p. 27), Tha mi ’n eatorras, ’Ailean, cha-n fhaod mi bhi ’talach (p. 33), gun dol a nunn no nall o’n chùis (p. 136), and Tubaist oirre! (p. 175).

The conversations also contain extremely interesting social commentaries. For example, in Comhradh nan Cnoc, Lachann nan Ceist agus Donnachadh Mor (pp. 13-21), we find ‘Roimhe so rachadh mnathan còire, tlachdmhor do’n eaglais le tonnag bhreacain, caisbheirt dùthcha, agus currachd ciallach, grunndail m’an ceann; ach a nis o’n a thàinig an goireas mòr so, soitheach-na-smùide, ’s ann a tha ’h-uile bean a’ strì cò a’s mò a chuireas suas de spleadhraich rìomhach air là na Sàbaid, air chor ’s gu-m bheil nàir’ air mnathan còire eile suidhe làmh riu; agus ’an àm dol dachaidh cha chluinn thu uatha, ach am faca tu so, ’an àite ’bhi ’cnuasachadh mu’n teagasg a chual’ iad’ (pp. 14-15). In Comhradh nan Cnoc, Fionnladh Piobaire agus a Bhean, am Brocair, agus am Maighstir-sgoile (pp. 40-51) we find ‘MAIGH.—Ciod so am fuath a th’ agad do na Gàidseirean, a Bhrocair? BROC.—Cha-n’eil a’ bheag; ach gu-n leiginn leis a’ cheart seòrs’ an rathad-mòr fhaotainn mar a b’ fhèarr a dh’fhaodadh iad. Cha-n’eil dìth fradhairc orra, neo ’ar thaing mur ’eil sròn aca. Na-m biodh boladh na bracha de na sionnaich is iad a dheanadh na deagh bhrocairean. A h-uile fear dhiubh ’s a shròn ri athar, a’ deothal fàile na bracha, mar tha na h-abhagan agam-sa ’togail ri luirg an fheòcallain. MAIGH.—Am bheil na daoine còir’ ach a’ deanamh an dleasnais a’ togail cìs na rìoghachd, màl an righ?’ (p. 43).

In Comhradh eadar Cuairtear nan Gleann agus Eachann Tirisdeach (pp. 136-47) Eachann sets the scene as follows: ‘Chuala sibh gu-n robh muinntir na Gàidhealtachd fo thogail mhòir air an àm so mu'n imrich air am bheil àireamh mhòr dhiubh a’ smaointeachadh dol do rìoghachdan fad as. Tha feadhainn a nis a’ falbh o àite gu h-àite, air tòir dhaoine gu dol thairis, mar gu-m bitheadh na dròbhairean air tòir dhamh agus aighean air son margaidh; a h-uile fear a’ moladh na dùthcha gus am bheil e fhéin ag iarraidh an tabhairt, agus a’ di-moladh gach àit’ eile. Tha daoine bochda ’n am breislich leis na tha iad a’ cluinntinn, agus gun fhios ciod is còir dhoibh a dheanamh, no c’ àit a b’ fhèarr dhoibh dol’ (p. 136). In Comhradh eadar Eachann Tirisdeach agus Cuairtear nan Gleann (pp. 182-94) Eachann deplores the influence of the big cities: ‘Cò as a tha na fasain ùra ’tighinn oirnn, a tha ’tarruing ana-caitheimh ’n an lorg? Nach ann as a’ bhaile-mhòr fhéin? Tha Glascho a’ milleadh na Gàidhealtachd—a’ slaodadh leis gach ni air an dearg fhiacail—a’ cur faiteis ’us faoineis air an ais. Gach muc ’us uircean—gach ubh ’us cnò—gach iasg ’us maorach, ma's e ’m balg-losguinn fhéin—seadh, a h-uile ni a chì sùil, no ’bhlaiseas beul, air an cruinneachadh, ’s air an cur air falbh ann am mùrlagan nan cailleacha Gallda, ’s a mach air soithichean na smùide; agus ’n an àite, nithean a dh’fhaodamaid a sheachnadh—nithean air nach cuala ar n-athraichean iomradh—Tea, Tea, ’us siùcar, ’us tombaca—calico ’us cuidealas, stràic ’us sìoda, ribeinean ’us boineidean, Beurl’ ’us baigearachd—’us iomadh cleachdadh, ’us galar, ’us tinneas, air nach tig mi thairis’ (pp. 184-85).

Many of the conversations touch on the way of life of the people, and include such specialised vocabulary as àtha-cheilpe a’ cur na smùid’ (p. 13), builinn chruithneachd (p. 15), ged bhiodh am fogharadh gu maith tràthail am bliadhna (p. 27), gàradh-droma (p. 28), a’d’ Cheilpeir (p. 28), las an crùisgein (p. 40), Gheibh thu e ’s a’ bhòsdan ùr aig ceann adhart na leapa (p. 41), and gùn drogaid, ’s am bréid (p. 241).

A number of the conversations focus on contemporary and historical world events. For example, in Comhradh eadar Cuairtear nan Gleann agus Eachann Tirisdeach (pp. 164-74), the Cuairtear tells us the story of Mount Etna: ‘Tha Beinn Etna deich mìle agus ochd ceud troidh (10,800) air àirde. … ’Nis tha a’ bheinn mhòr so gu léir, eadar a bun ’s a bàrr, air a dheanamh suas de lava, mar their iad ris anns a’ Bheurla; ’s e sin stuth a thilg a’ bheinn os a ceann de ’n stuth a bha aon uair loisgeach, teinteach, agus a thilg i an uachdar anns an staid sinn, a dh’fhuaraich ’s a chruadhaich m’a timchioll, agus a tha ’sìor fhàs na’s mò mar tha i ’tilgeadh a mach brat ùr thairis air an t-seann rúsg’ (p. 165). In Comhradh eadar Lachann Og agus An Caiptin (pp. 238-52), the Captain comments on recent events in France: ‘Tha smachd air a chumail orra le dlùth air sè fichead mìle saighdear, fo’n airm, a tha ’g am faire an là agus a dh’oidhche. Tha fhios agaibh gu-n do roghnaich iad Ceann-suidhe thairis air Ard-chomhairle na rìoghachd, agus a réir coltais cha deachaidh iad ’am mearachd. Thug còrr ’us da thrian de shluagh na Frainge an guth air son Louis Bonaparte, mac bràthar do Bhoni mòr, Napoleon’ (p. 242).

An Dara h-Earrann (pp. 263-460) contains a number of stories and essays written by MacLeod. The stories include Long Mhor nan Eilthireach (pp. 263-73), Spiorad na h-Aoise, Seann Sgeulachd Ghaidhealach (p. 273-87), Sgeul air Mairi a’ Ghlinne (pp. 288-307), and Sgeul mu Choire-na-Sithe (pp. 307-14). There are also a number of essays, including Saobh-chrabhadh nan Gaidheal anns na Linntibh a chaidh seachad (pp. 338-42), I Chaluim Chille (pp. 359-66), Clann ’Ic-Cruimein (pp. 378-82), and a long essay on Eachdraidh mu Bhliadhna Thearlaich (pp. 406-51). Other items include a traditional protective charm – Seun (p. 343) – and three poems translated from English: Seun (p. 343), Torradh Shir Iain Moore (p. 452), Labhinia (p. 453), and Iain Gilpin (pp. 454-60). There are also several ‘letters’, including Thogainn fonn air Lorg an Fheidh (pp. 344-59) and Litir O Fhionnladh Piobaire G’A Mhnaoi (pp. 384-94), each of which was published in two instalments. There is also an obituary for Deorsa H. Baird, D.D. (pp. 382-84).

The stories in this volume are generally written in a lively, conversational style. For example, Sgeul air Mairi A’ Ghlinne (pp. 288-307) begins ‘B’ ann air feasgar ceud latha na bliadhn’ ùire, mar a bha mi air mo cheum a’ teachd a mach á Tigh-eiridinn ann am baile-mor àraidh nach ’eil fad’ o’n àit’ am bheil mi ’chòmhnuidh a fhuair mi a’ cheud sealladh de Mhàiri a’ Ghlinne’ (p. 288). Equally typical is: ‘Bha gnùis fhlathail aig an t-seana mhnaoi so, ged ’bha preasadh na h-aois’ agus cùram an t-saoghail ’an déigh iomadh clais dhomhain a dheargadh oirre’ (p. 289). In Sgeul Mu Choire-na-Sithe (pp. 307-14) similar passages occur, e.g.: ‘Re mòran ùine, bha ’n amaideachd a b’ fhaoine air a chreidsinn, feadh Galldachd agus Gàidhealtachd, mu thimchioll nan Daoine Sìthe. Do réir na h-eachdraidh a thàinig a nuas d’ ar n-ionnsuidh, anns na sgeulachdan spleadhach a bha air an aithris umpa air feadh na dùthcha, bha iad ’n an creutairean neo-shaoghalta, guanach, eutrom, do-léirsinn do shùilibh dhaoine, ach an uair bu toil leo fhéin e; a’ sìor ghluasad air an ais agus air an aghaidh: a làthair anns gach cuideachd, agus a mach air gach còmhnuidh’ (p. 307).

The essays in this volume, although written in a fairly informal style, are very informative. For example, Clann ’Ic-Cruimein (pp. 378-82) begins ‘Cha robh Pìobairean ann an Albainn cho ainmeil ri Cloinn ’ic Cruimein an Dùin. Fad iomadh linn bha iad ’n am pìobairean aig cinn-fheadhna nan Leòdach. Tha iad ag ràdh gu’n d’thàinig a’ cheud fhear de ’n ainm so maille ri Mac Leòid o bhaile anns an Eadailt d’ am b’ ainm Cremona’ (p. 378). In Eachdraidh mu Bhliadhna Thearlaich (pp. 406-51) the same qualities are apparent: ‘Air an treas-là-deug de mhìos meadhoin an fhogharaidh thainig e gu Peairt. Chuir e suas air an là so deise rìomhach do bhreacan, air a h-uidheamachadh le h-òr, a chomharraich a mach am flath rìoghail sin am measg nam mìltean. Dh’ fhàiltich sluagh a’ bhaile mhòir so e, le mòr dhealas, agus chaidh iad leis mar aon duine le h-iolach ghàirdeachais a chum an tighe ’s an robh e gu tàmh a ghabhail’ (p. 413).

An Treas Earrann (pp. 461-792) contains a number of sermons on biblical passages, e.g. An Diol-Deirce Spioradail, based on Buailibh agus fosglar dhuibh, Lucas xi.9. (pp. 565-71); A’ Tilgeadh an Arain air Aghaidh nan Uisgeachan based on the passage ‘Tilg d’ aran air aghaidh nan uisgeachan, oir an déigh mhòran de làithibh gheibh thu e’, Ecles. xi.1 (pp. 670-82); Gleac Iacoib. Mineachadh air Genesis, XXXII, 24-29 (pp. 718- 29); and Ceann-fath agus Leigheas na Plaighe based on 2 Eachd. vii. 13-14 (pp. 729-64). The final piece is An Cath Spioradail, a sermon given in St. Columba’s Church in Glasgow around 1841 (pp. 764-92). There is also a series of sermons based on the yearly cycle: Earail Dhurachdach do na Gaidheil mu Latha na Bliadhn’ Uire (pp. 501-09), Mu Theachd a Stigh an t-Samhraidh (pp. 516-19), Tha ’n Geamhradh air Toiseachadh (pp. 525-29), Thainig an t-Earrach (pp. 535-40), Latha Deireannach na Bliadhna (pp. 571-77), and Failte na Bliadhn’ Uire (pp. 618-27). There is a group of stories for young people, entitled Sgeula air son na h-Oigridh (pp. 588-610), a group of sermons for young people (pp. 627-62), and a number of religious stories, including La a’ Chomanachaidh (pp. 487-97), a group of pieces entitled Cuairt a’ Mhinisteir Ghallda (pp. 511-16, 519-25, 529-34 and 540-64), and Aithreachan Neo-chealgach air Leaba-bais (pp. 611-18). There are also two religious poems: An Gaidheal ann an Tir Chein air Oidhche Choinnle (pp. 509-10) and Dan Spioradail (pp. 534-35). A number of the items in Part III, including the stories and sermons for young people, are translations from English.

The subject-matter of Part III is religious, and it is mostly written in a preaching style. For example, Sgaile na Creige Moire ann an Tir Airsnealaich (pp. 461-75), based on Isaiah xxxii.2, begins ‘Is àrd buadhar a’ chainnt anns am bheil na fàidhean a’ labhairt mu theachd a’ Mhesiah. Air an soilleireachadh le Dia do thaobh nan nithean a bha ri tachairt linntean ’n a dhéigh sin, dh’ fhairich iad an anaman air an àrdachadh os ceann an t-saoghail. Cha deanadh cainnt chumanta feum: chleachd iad, uime sin, gach cosamhlachd agus samhladh a bu bhrìoghmhoire agus a bu dreachmhoire na ’chéile, chum an teachdaireachd àrd a dh’ earbadh riu a chur ’an céill’ (p. 461). An Cath Spioradail (pp. 764-91) begins ‘Ged bu bheag agus lag a’ bhuidheann clann Israeil an uair a chaidh iad a sìos do’n Eiphit, cha b’fhada gus an do mheudaich iad gu mòr. Chaidh a sìos trì fichead pearsa ’s a còig deug; ach ceithir cheud bliadhna ’n a dhéigh sin, an uair a chunnaic Dia iomchuidh an toirt air an ais, bha iad ’n an sluagh mòr, ’n an cinneach cumhachdach, mu thimchioll sè ceud mìle fear, comasach air iomairt arm, a bharrachd air mnathan, air cloinn, agus air seann daoine’ (p. 765).

As in the first two Parts, MacLeod’s style in this Part is measured and sonorous. For example, Earail Dhurachdach do na Gaidheil mu Latha na Bliadhn’ Uire (pp. 501-09) addresses the audience as follows: ‘Mo luchd-dùthcha ionmhuinn, chaidh earrann àraidh d’ ar n-aimsir a nis seachad, agus tha sinn a tòiseachadh air earrainn ùir. De na bliadhnachan ainneamh agus neo-chinnteach a tha air an luthasachadh dhuinn, tha aon eile ’an déigh dol seachad, leis gach cùram agus iomaguin—leis gach aoibhneas agus toileachas-inntinn a bha ’n a lorg. Dh’fhalbh i—agus cha phill i tuilleadh’ (p. 501).
Orthography MacLeod’s Gaelic is polished and flowing, self-consciously correct, sententious and expressive. He set out to create a literary standard for Gaelic writing on a wide variety of topics, and became a pioneering exponent of what was essentially a new medium. As a minister’s son and a practising minister he was adept at dealing with abstract concepts and complex matters. North Argyllshire Gaelic in his day was pure and idiomatic, and richly endowed with the language of poetry and traditional tales. His experience of all these flowed into his Gaelic writing. He was an educator as well as a pastor, who set out to engage his audience’s attention and show them how truly versatile written Gaelic could become, while encouraging them to open their minds to the practical and spiritual guidance he provided.
 
The challenge of making Gaelic into a viable written language, with a greatly enlarged spectrum of subject-matter, an adequate stylistic range and a consistent and effective orthographic system, was one that we can see being elaborated throughout MacLeod’s career, from the Teachdaire Gaelach and his other journalistic ventures from the late 1820s onwards, to the polish of the revised versions published in the present volume in 1867. The former belong to the early nineteenth century, when the whole Gaelic Bible had at last become available, and Stewart’s Gaelic Grammar had laid the foundation and ground rules for modern Gaelic orthography. The latter belongs to the mid to late nineteenth century, when these early labours had borne fruit.
Edition First edition. Subsequent editions were published in 1899 and in 1910. These editions appear to be reprints of the first edition.

As noted above, the contents of this volume were originally published in various magazines. Although these earlier publications contain misprints and orthographic practices that were later abandoned by MacLeod, they should be used by editors where applicable.
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