The disorganization of the ancient Celtic constitution has already been sufficiently described. The rise of the great families, and their struggles for supremacy, have also been briefly sketched. The substitution of the clan for the race, of pedigree for patriotism, has been exhibited to the reader.
In himself he was much beloved, and in love the blessed rule, blessed where understood, holds, that to him that hath shall be given, he only who has being fit to receive. The love the people bore to his father, both pastor and chief, crowned head and heart of Alister. Scarce man or woman of the poor remnant of the clan did not love the young Macruadh. On his side was true response.
Yet, it would seem that the social and domestic habits of a people are decided largely by the degree of dominance held either by women or men; and almost everything else depends on the accurate adjustment of the rights of the two sexes. The social clan organised around the mothers carried mankind a long way a way the length of which we are only beginning to realise.
Devoid of that power of organization which was the strength of the Roman Church, the Celtic Church in its own Irish home took the clan system of the country as the basis of its government. Tribal quarrels and ecclesiastical controversies became inextricably confounded; and the clergy, robbed of all really spiritual influence, contributed no element save that of disorder to the state.
The most powerful character was elected as chief, while the land was the property of the clan. That social order indicates the true political character of the Irish. Races which last for thousands of years do not change in essentials. They change in circumstance. They may grow better or worse, but throughout their history the same fundamentals appear and reassert themselves.
The immense antiquity, of the clan organization, as shown by investigations into early marriage, points to the latter conclusion. Travellers among Bushmen, Hottentots, Fuegians, Esquimaux, Papuans and other peoples peoples who have been pushed aside into unfavorable areas by the invasion of more warlike and better-equipped races, and who have suffered physically in consequence confirm this.
And when they got there they found they had had the pleasure of a run, which is aye good for a Campbell. I'm thinking it was a judgment on the clan that the brig went down in the lump and didna break. But it was a very unlucky thing for you, that same; for if any wreck had come ashore they would have hunted high and low, and would soon have found ye." Bag.
If there were no agnati, the goods were given to the gentiles, male relatives of the clan bearing the same name. In fact, under this régime we may say that of the female line the daughter alone was sure of inheriting something. In the days of the Empire some attempts were made to be more just.
Since it was the custom for women to raise the walls of buildings, and to finish the house inside and outside, they owned it also. The man was only tolerated. His home was properly with his clan, whither he must return in case his spouse departed this life before him. It was different in regard to the fields.
Steve vanished, and, sooner than the boys imagined Dandy could get himself up, the skirl of the bag-pipe was heard in the hall, and the bonny piper came to lead Clan Campbell to the revel.