Finest Hour 189, Third Quarter 2020
By Winston S. Churchill
In the first volume of A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, Winston Churchill surveys the final two centuries of medieval Scottish history, when internal strife and periodic battles with England afflicted the lives of many generations, and identifies the true foundation of Scotland’s emergent power.
The disunity of the [Scottish] kingdom, fostered by English policy and perpetuated by the tragedies that befell Scottish sovereigns, was not the only source of Scotland’s weakness. The land was divided, in race, in speech, and in culture. The rift between Highlands and Lowlands was more than a geographical distinction. The Lowlands formed part of the feudal world, and, except in the SouthWest, in Galloway, English was spoken. The Highlands preserved a social order much older than feudalism. In the Lowlands the King of Scots was a feudal magnate; in the Highlands he was the chief of a loose federation of clans. He had, it is true, the notable advantage of blood kinship both with the new Anglo-Norman nobility and with the ancient Celtic kings. The Bruces were undoubted descendants of the first King of Scots in the ninth century, Kenneth MacAlpin, as well as of Alfred the Great; the Stuarts, claimed with some plausibility, to be the descendants of MacBeth’s contemporary, Banquo. The lustre of a divine antiquity illumined princes whose pedigree ran back into the Celtic twilight of Irish heroic legend. For all Scots, Lowland and Highland alike, the royal house had a sanctity which commanded reverence through periods when obedience and even loyalty were lacking, and much was excused those in whom royal blood ran. Read More >