3 SEPTEMBER 1898, Page 15


[To THE EDITOR OP THE " Brscr■Tos."] SIR,—I may be permitted to return to this question because our modern historical and literary ideas are so much affected by theories of race and heredity. You observe, " Our point was that the Celtic strain in the Royal house of Scotland came to the front in the Stuarts, or, to put it in another way, that Charles I. and his descendants reverted to the Celtic type." Now, undeniably, the Stuart character and the Stuart luck were much the same from, say, 1400 to 178S. Robert III. and the Duke of Rothesay, at the former date, answer to James VIII. and Prince Charles, before the later. This continuity may be due to heredity, to circumstances, to for- tuitous coincidence, or to all three. But, as to "the Celtic type," I doubt if there is a Celtic type of character. If there is, it ought to be strong in proportion to the amount of Celtic blood. Now, Malcolm Ceanmor, the last Scottish King of full Celtic blood, was not in the least like a Stuart. Not in the least like Stuarts were the half-Celtic David I., or his son Henry, or the Alexanders, or Robert Bruce, all of them, in various degrees, much nearer the Celtic strain, than Charles I. and his descendants. Thus, when we have Celtic Kings, or Kings relatively near the Celtic source, they do not show what you regard as " the Celtic type," which only appears when the Celtic blood is diluted to an invisible particle. David I. of Scotland was half a Celt, his great-granddaughter Isabel was hardly even a Celtic octoroon, and the Stuarts descend from her great-great- granddaughter, beginning to show the regular Stuart or " Celtic type," two generations later yet. However diluted from the one drop of Celtic blood, from Robert III. to Prince Charles, they keep the " type," the so-called " Celtic type," which is not that of the full-blooded Celts of the Royal house. In fact, the less Celtic the blood, the more "Celtic" the " type." Can that hypothesis be scientific P Once more, the English Royal house was at least as Celtic, in blood, as the Royal house of Scotland. Henry II. was the grandson of Malcolm Ceanmor. Now one King of England, at least, is exactly like a Stuart. I mean, of course, Richard II., brave, beautiful, obstinate, fickle, a friend of art, a child of misfortune. Yet nobody, perhaps, regards Richard II. as a reversal, or Edward II. as a reversal to the "Celtic type" of his remote great-grandmother, the daughter of Malcolm Ceanmor. Again, neither Malcolm Ceanmor, nor his Celtic ancestors, nor his immediate descendants, were at all of the supposed "Celtic type," at all like the Stuarts, who, in blood, were infinitely less Celtic than they. It seems to me that we have invented a " Celtic type " (which we do not find in the really Celtic Royal house or in its immediate descendants). Then, when we meet people resembling our imaginary Celtic type, as the Stuarts do, we explain it by their single remote drop of Celtic blood, though the persons who were of that blood (full, or half, or quarter, or an eighth, or a sixteenth) were not of that type. When we find the Celtic blood, we do not find "the Celtic type ; " when we find "the Celtic type," we must go back ten or twelve generations to look for the Celtic blood. These facts seem inconsistent with the Celtic theory of the Stuarts, and the Celtic blood of the Tudors does not produce in them " the Celtic type."—I am, Sir, &c., Danesfort, Killarney, August 27th. A. LANG.