Medieval MacLeran - McLaurin Genealogy based on the MS:1467
Here is a description of the Tiree document MS:1467 that was in Colin MacLaurin’s possession in 1743.
Adv. MS72.1.1 (Gaelic MS I). ‘13467 MS’ and ‘Broad Book’
“It should be noted that many of Beaton’s vellum manuscripts were in Tiree in 1700 (ibid., p. 37) and that Mackinnon (Cat., p. 309) identified a Gaelic genealogy of the MacDonalds seen in Professor Colin MacLaurin’s possession in 1743, having been brought from Tiree by one of the latter’s forebears (GUL ms MacLagan 122), as Adv. ms 72.1.1, f. 1. However, the transcript made by Beaton into TCD ms 1363 argues against this identification, and although of a family not unconnected with Gaelic literary tradition (see Campbell and Thomson, op. cit., p. 11), MacLaurin’s interest in the subject appears to have been a growing consciousness of his background rather than as possessor of a cultural inheritance. As the Rev. David Malcolm of Duddingston expressed it, MacLaurin seems to be taken with the Love of Antiquity, to that Degree, that if he goes on as he has begun, he will be one of the foremost Antiquaries of the Age, as he is already, by some of the best Judges I know, reputed the first Mathematician. He is now more and more sensible of an Advantage he had by his Birth that Way, and, without Doubt, he will go on to cultivate and improve it’ (An Essay on the Antiquities of Great Britain and Ireland (1738, repr. Los Angeles 1970), p. 11 of section beg. ‘ A LETTER to Archimedes the old Caledonian’)
A founding figure of the Edinburgh Enlightenment, MacLaurin had reconstituted the Edinburgh Medical Society into the ‘Society for Improving Arts and Sciences’, better known as the Philosophical Society, for which see Steven Shapin, ‘Property, Patronage, and the Politics of Science: The Founding of the Royal Society of Edinburgh’, in The British Journal for the History of Science 7 (London 1974), pp. 1–41: 7–11. Its minutes are not extant, but at p. 3 of the section of his book entitled ‘Some more PAPERS, And some more Testimonies of the Learned’, Malcolm prints the following extract under the title ‘Edinburgh, 7th March 1738. No. 2. About an ancient Manuscript containing a most ancient Genealogy of our Kings’.
Mr. MacLaurin presented to the Society from the Reverend Mr. Malcolme an old Irish Manuscript, which seems to have been writ in the Time of David, Son of Malcom Kanmore, that is, about 1140. The first Column contains the Genealogy of King David upwards till three Generations before Fergus I. It appears to be two Generations older than the Colbertine Manuscript that formerly belonged to Lord Burleigh, and begins from David’s Grandson, which is commonly held to be the oldest extant. This Manuscript agrees better with the Colbertine, than the latter Accounts given by Boetius, and others, but differs from it in the Order of some of the Kings; sometimes it wants Kings mentioned in that Manuscript, and it has some the other wants. According to this Manuscript there were 51 Generations from David to Fergus I. and 33 from Fergus I. to Fergus II.
After the Genealogy of our Kings, are the Genealogies of some noted Clans, or Families, of which some seem to be Irish, as Macguaire, who was King of Connaught.
Towards the latter End of the Manuscript are some Discourses, De Oratione, Confessione, Compunctione, Timore, &c.
This is a clear description of the 1467 ms, noting as it does the pedigrees of David I ( 1 r a1) and MacQuarrie ( 1 va1) and the extracts from the ‘Liber Scintillarum’ ( 7 r a8). The ‘Broad Book’ is plainly not included. It seems likely, however, that Adv. ms 72.1.1 as a whole had been obtained by Malcolm from some such source as Freebairn, the Edinburgh bookseller who sold Adv. ms 18.2.11 and other manuscripts to the Advocates’ Library in March 1736. The gift was part of a concerted effort by Malcolm to gain public recognition for his philological studies. It was presumably followed by the ‘Broad Book’. The Philosophical Society fell into temporary abeyance due to the ’45 and MacLaurin’s death the following year, and it is doubtless at this point, if not earlier, that the manuscript entered the safe-keeping of the Advocates’ Library. The Keeper, Ruddiman, was a member of the Society, and it is worthy of note that in any case when it was eventually subsumed into the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1782–83, it was proposed that ‘any Collections relative to the Class of Antiquities . . . be deposited & preserved in the Advocates Library’ (Shapin, ‘Property’, p. 41). Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts in the National Library of Scotland, © Ronald Black, 2011
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