Reference Number135
TitleCo’Chruinneachadh, air a Chur r’a chéile air Iarrtas Comuinn Ard-Sheanadh Eagluis na h-Alba; arson an Sgoilean, air feadh Tìr-mòr agus Eileana na Gaeltachd
AuthorN/A (Edited work)
EditorMacLeod, Rev. Dr Norman
Date Of Edition1828
Date Of Languageearly 19c
Date Of Language Ed1800-1849
DateMacroEarly 19th c.
Date Of Language Notes
PublisherA. Young
Place PublishedGlasgow
LocationNational and academic libraries
Geographical OriginsVarious
Geographical Origins EdVarious
Geographical Origins Notes
RegisterLiterature, Prose (mainly) and Verse
Register EdLiterature, Prose and Verse
MediumProse & Verse
A collection of stories, articles, and verse, mostly on religious or moralistic themes, intended for use in schools.
The style of MacLeod’s writing is highly descriptive.
Some of the articles touch on education.
A few of the stories and articles discuss the Otherworld and Pagan religions.
There are some articles on local and international history and geography.
There are three articles on astronomy.
A number of the stories have religious overtones.
There are also some hymns and poems (mainly religious, a few are secular).
Many of the articles in this text were not original Gaelic compositions.
Alternative Author NameAn t-Urr. Tormod MacLeòid
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition17.7cm x 10.5cm
Short TitleCo’Chruinneachadh
Reference DetailsEUL, Sp. Coll.: S.B. .377852(41)Macl
Number Of Pagesxi, 300 pages
Gaelic Text ByN/A
Social ContextNorman 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.

NB The presence of material shared by the present volume and Text 108 (Caraid nan Gaidheal), Text 130 (Leabhar nan Cnoc), and Text 133 (An Teachdaire Gaelach) will require editors sometimes to reject material in this volume in favour of versions of the same items contained in one of these other volumes; hence the B/D rating of this volume. See further below.
ContentsThis volume begins with An Clar-Innseadh (pp. iii-vi), which lists the contents by Gaelic title. There follows a table of Contents (pp. vii-x) in English, listing the title, author, and where appropriate, the translator. Many of the articles in this text were not original Gaelic compositions. A number of authors and translators contributed texts to this volume, though Dr MacLeod himself was responsible for the majority. Mearachdan a Chlò’-bhualaidh (p. xi) notes 6 printing errors.

The main body of this text contains Co’-chruinneachadh airson Sgoilean Ard-Sheanadh Eaglais na h-Alba (pp. 1-296). Most of the items in this volume are religious in nature, although some are on such miscellaneous topics as education, fairies and druids, local and international history and geography, and astronomy. This volume contains mostly prose items, but also some verse.

A glossary is provided at the end of this volume, entitled Foclair Gearr, a Mhinicheas na Focail is Deacaire san Leabhar so (pp. 297-300). Examples of words explained include ‘Caisil-chro, ancient name of a coffin’, ‘Fada-spuinge, tinder’, and ‘Oigheam, a book’.
LanguageThe majority of the items in this text are religious in nature or focus. These include Criosd na Dhia agus na Dhuine (p. 11-12), Dleasnas Cloinne d’am Parantaibh (pp. 37-40), Mu Bhreugan, Earail do Oigridh (pp. 61-64), and Mu’n t-Suidheachadh Inntinn a tha Freagarrach do Urnuigh (pp. 185-89). The following sentence in Mu Dhiadhachd Chriost (pp. 6-7) is typical of MacLeod’s style as a translator: ‘Thoir uam mo chreidimh ann an Diadhachd mo Shlan[u]ighear, agus an sin faodai mi gu dearbh mo chlarsach a chrochadh air na geugaibh seilich, ’s a bhi fo bhron, oir tha mi fhathast ann am pheacaibh,—faodai mi mo dheoir a shileadh, agus a radh, le barrachd aobhair na thuirt Muire …’ (p. 7). A few of the articles are also concerned with education, e.g. Mu Chuideachda nan Sgoilean Gaidhealach (pp. 163-65) and Mu Sgaoilean Ard-Sheanadh Eagluis na h-Alba (pp. 174-78).

This text also contains a number of religious hymns and poems, e.g. Maduinn na Sàbaide (pp. 14-15), An Cuan Ùmhal do Dhia (pp. 217-18), Mu Mhòrdhachd Dhe (pp. 172-74), and Comhairlean Easbuig Carswell da Mhac, 1560 (pp. 228-30). There are also a number of stories with religious overtones, such as Long Mhor nan Eilthireach (pp. 79-88), and Leabaidh Bhàis an Fhoirbhich (pp. 22-26).

A few of the stories and articles in this text deal with the Otherworld and Pagan religions. Examples include Mu na Siothaichean (pp. 241-44), Sgeula mu Choire na Sìth (pp. 244-49), and Mu na Drùidhean (pp. 70-75). The following passage exemplifies the language of articles of this sort: ‘Bha na Drùidhean fòghluimte ann an Feallsanachd nàduir, mu ghluasad na gréin is na gealaich, agus mu imeachd nan réultan. Bha’n t-eòlas so ro-fheumail ’s na lìnnibh sin, an uair nach robh riaghailt-sdiùraidh eil’ aca: ’sa b’éiginn doibh an gabhail a dheanamh air reul, mar tha’m focal reül (no ruith-iuil) a cialluchadh’ (pp. 73-74). In most instances, the foolishness of such beliefs is made clear, e.g.: ‘Rè mòran ùine, bha’n amaideachd a b’ fhaoine air a chreidsinn, feadh Galltachd agus Gaeltachd, mu thimchioll nan daoine Sìthe’ (p. 241).

A number of articles deal with local and international history and geography, and some of these also touch on religion and belief. For example, there are articles on Mu Chalum Cille (pp. 94-104) and I Chalum Chille (pp. 104-10), Beinn Vesuvius (pp. 19-22), Mar Fhuaradh a mach America (pp. 144-49), Mun Chuan (pp. 215-17), Mu Chall a Bhata da’m b’ Ainm Mairi o Iona (pp. 254-59) followed by Gliocas air a Tharruing o Chall Mairi o Iona (pp. 256-59), Mar Bhàs Iarla Earra’ghàidheal sa Bhliadhna, 1685 (pp. 282-84), Mu na Laplannaich (pp. 265-66), and Mu Fhiadh nan Laplannach (pp. 267-68). These articles hence contain passages describing foreign parts of the world, e.g.: ‘Tha’n Dùthaich sa bheil iad so a chòmhnuidh fo shneachda agus reodha an earrann is mò de’n bhliadhna, agus cha’n fhaodar a ràdh gu bheil iad as eug’ais fad an t-samhruidh’ (p. 296); ‘Fhad sa fhuaradh a mach e, tha aigean na fairge cosmhuil ri tìr-mòr, le bheanntaibh, le ghlinn, le chreagan corrach agus uadhan dorcha. Tha tobraichean fior-uisg, agus uillt is aibhnichean, ag éiridh sa chuan an iomad àite’ (p. 215). We also find names of people and places, e.g. Diùc òg Bhurgundy (p. 250) and Julius Chesair (p. 74).

Three articles touch on the Universe, Mu Reull-iùil na h-Àirde-Tuath (pp. 218-19), M’an Ghréin (pp. 115-17), and Eirigh na Gréine (pp. 119-20). Their standpoint is that of natural history rather than science, and they are composed within a Christian framework. The following passages are representative: ‘Smuainichidh sluagh neo-fhoghluimte gu bheil a’ ghrian ag éiridh san àird an ear agus a’ dol fodha san àird an iar, do bhrìgh nach ’eil iad a’ tuigsinn gu bheil an talamh a’ tionndadh mu’n cuairt, no a’ cur car dheth air a roth aon uair sna ceithir uaire fichead’ (p. 116); ‘Tha so gu nàdurra gar tarruing gu smaointeachadh air maitheas De, a tha mar so le suidheachadh agus gluasad nan reull, a’ toirt fiosrachadh do dhaoinibh air amannaibh agus air ionadaibh’ (p. 218). The author’s interest in the Universe surfaces in some of the other articles. For example, Mu na Laplannaich (pp. 265-66), contains the following observation: ‘Tha solus na gréine rè ioma mìos a dh’ easbhuidh air, ach tha a ghealach agus na fir-chlis a’ soilleireacha na h-iarmailt, agus cha’n urrainear smaointeachadh air aon ni is àillidh na lannair nam fir-clis sin a’ dol roi ’n gluasad siubhlach, aidhearach le mire-chatha, air aghaidh nan speur’ (p. 266).

This text also contains poetry, which is mostly religious or moralistic in tone, e.g.: An Gaedheal a’ Fàgail a dhùthchadh (pp. 88-93), Mo Mhàthair (pp. 40-42), Oisian do’n Ghréin ’an am Luidhe (p. 273), Lavinia (pp. 149-50), An Claigeann (pp. 111-15). There is also a translation of William Cowper’s John Gilpin (pp. 288-96). Also of interest is the wedding verse, Failte do Mhnaoi Oig le ’Ceud Bhreid (p. 240), which begins ‘Mile failte dhuit le d’ bhréid, \ Fad an ré gun robh thu slàn; \ Moran laithean dhuit a’s sìth, \ Le d’ mhaitheas a’s le d’ ni bhi fàs’ (p. 240).

The writing in a number of the articles is highly descriptive, e.g. in Sealladh o Mhullach Beinne an Earra-Ghael mu Dhol Fodha na Gréine (pp. 269-72) and in Taisbean Mhirsah (pp. 29-35). The first of these begins: ‘O’n is cuimhne leam beathach na duine, b’e mo thlachd a bhi siubhal nam beann; agus is minic a ghabh mi sealgaireachd mar leith-sgeul, chum an srath fhàgail, agus farsuingeachd a mhonaidh a ghabhail fo m’ cheann. Tha toileachas-inntinn ri fhaotainn air mullach beinne àird, leis an t-sealladh fharsuing a tha uaithe air muir agus air tìr-mòr; nach faod gun àrdachadh inntinn a dhùsgadh a tha air dòigh àraidh taitneach agus tarbhach’ (p. 269). The second begins: ‘Air a’ chùigeadh là de’n ghealaich, a choimhead mi naomh, a réir gnà mo shinnsir, an déigh dhomh m’ ionnlad, agus m’ urnuigh mhaidne a chur suas, dhìrich mi ri beanntaibh àrda Bhagdat, chum a chuid eile de’n là a bhuileachadh ann an co’-chainnt ri m’ chridhe féin, agus ann an ùrnuigh dhiomhair’ (p. 29).
OrthographyThe orthography is typical of the early nineteenth century. Although MacLeod makes no mention in this volume of his editorial practices, the prefatory note to the 1898 and 1905 editions of Leabhar nan Cnoc (i.e. Text 130) explains that, in the first edition (1834), ‘Dr Macleod retained the localisms of the different contributors, both in idioms and spellings. They are reproduced in this new edition just as he passed them. For example, “ceill” is used by some of the writers for “geill,” and in many instances “tearnadh” serves both for “preserving” and “descending.” Local pronunciation determined those variations, and as for peculiarities of idiomatic construction, and particular use of words and phrases, they are, in most instances, full of interest to philologists.’ It may be presumed that, if MacLeod ‘retained the localisms of the different contributors’ in the first edition of Leabhar nan Cnoc, he had done likewise in this volume.

By comparing passages that are common to this volume and to the first edition of Leabhar nan Cnoc, it can be seen that the orthography has been revised significantly in the latter. For example, leith-sgeul becomes leisgeul, smaointeachadh becomes smuaineachadh, roi becomes troimh, reodha becomes reothadh. The revision includes an element of normalisation towards emergent mid-nineteenth-century standards, in addition to the elimination of inconsistencies. Revision is most evident in those articles which he himself had written or translated. His policy of retaining the ‘localisms’ of other contributors to the volume did not prevent him from making minor orthographic alterations in the interests of clarity and consistency. See text 130 for a fuller discussion of these matters, including specimen passages for comparison. It is stated there that ‘the general tendency of these changes is to render the text less austere and “biblical”, and more accessible to contemporary readers. But some changes introduce more conservative and “correct” forms; and others appear more a matter of choice than of rule.’
EditionFirst edition. As indicated above, many of the articles in this volume were re-printed (with corrections, etc.) in later publications of MacLeod’s. Further research is needed before one can write the publishing history of the essays and articles which appear in Dr MacLeod’s various publications. In general, editors should prefer the earliest form of a given article; but in some cases the reading of a later source may need to be compared or preferred.
Other Sources
Further ReadingMacLeoid, Tormod (ed.), Leabhar nan Cnoc, (Greenock, 1834: Neill & Fraser).
MacLeod, Norman, Caraid nan Gaidheal (Glasgow, 1867: W. Mackenzie).
Link LabelDigital version created by National Library of Scotland
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