Page:The Ancestor Number 1.djvu/278

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tionable taste; the second, although it may be classed with the many other slipshod statements of his prefaces, is so far from being a fact that it is difficult to save it from a more severe qualification.




The formation of Scottish clan societies is a pleasing feature of the times, and is likely to lead, as in the case of family societies in America, to an increase in the study of genealogy and in the production of works dealing with family history. The work before us,[1] of which the author does not reveal his name, has its origin, he frankly confesses, in 'the pride of name and race,' and, as he tells us with equal candour, makes 'no pretence either to literary merit or original research.' This story of the Stewarts from the origin of the race to the time when one of its sons mounted the Scottish throne is in fact a compilation from printed books familiar enough to the antiquary. It is calculated however to serve its purpose in fostering what we may term esprit de famille, and the author's exhortations in the preface are conceived in the right spirit, though the Stewarts, one imagines, would hardly be 'content to rest on the laurels of our ancestors'—if a more convenient seat than a laurel wreath were at hand.

To the old problem of the origin of the Stewarts the author devotes much attention, but it is disappointing to find him, even at the present day, hesitating between their Breton descent and their legendary derivation from 'Banquo, thane of Lochaber.' The reader is left, we read, to 'form his own conclusion' as to 'the rival theories and documents.' Yet the author himself sees clearly that 'there is sufficient indication in the history of Alan's descendants to prove his and their Breton origin and descent,' which makes his hesitation to reject the old 'Banquo' legend the more regrettable. Moreover he has fallen a victim, as others also have done, to that most dangerous book The Norman People which by reckless admixture of guesses with facts endeavours to trace the Stewarts' ancestors to the time of Julius Cæsar. We observe also some strange errors such as ought not to find a place in the work of a modern genealogist.

  1. The Story of the Stewarts. Printed for the Stewart Society (Edinburgh: Stewart & Co.), 1901.