J. Morrison (John Morrison) Davidson.

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From this it will be noted that celibacy was net
necessary to " salvation " on the part of clerics iu
the Church which imparted the Christian Faith to
St. Patrick ; but where it will be asked lay the
mysterious " town of Bonavem Taberniae ? " Many
wild guesses have been hazarded — Boulogne chief
among them ; but there is every reason to believe
that by the Taberniae in question was indicated the
encampment at the western end of the Roman Wall
on the Solway, where the Ninth Legion is known
for long to have had its head-quarters, and 10,000
foot and 1,500 horse were usually stationed. St.
Patrick's father, he tells us, was a Decurio or Roman
Magistrate — "come of dacent people" — and there
doubtless he would find sufficient scope for the
exercise of his office, before the withdrawal of the
Roman troops from Britain by order of the Emperor
Honorius, a.d., 412.

Where the Apostle of the Irish was born can
hardly be said to be any longer a matter of con-
troversy. His disciple Fiech (Fiech's Hymn) tells
us it was at Nempthor and an almost cotit- mporary
scholiast or commentator explains that Nemptiior is
Alcluaid, the modern Dumbarton, for more than two
hundred years the extreme outpost of Roman civilisa-


tion in Caledonia. There is, moreover, it will
generally be conceded — by Scotsmen, at least —
strong a priori ground for believing that so creditable
a specimen of humanity as St. Patrick must have
been born in Scotland.

Furthermore, in a fit of longing to revisit the home
of his youth, the venerable man of God uses
language which almost excludes the possibility of his
being other than a irue-born Briton, in spite of all
that Irish antiquarian ingenuity has done to give him
a foreign parentage and a Roman mission.

Whence also, though I should wish to leave them (the Irish)'
and go into the Britains (in Britannias) though I should readily
go as to my own country and parents, and not only so, but even
as far as the Gauls, should visit my brethren that I might see
the face of the saints of my Lord.

By " the Britains " and " the Gauls " he, of course)
meant the different provinces. Prima, Secunda, etc.»
into which Rome divided her British and Gaulish
conquests. Indeed, I think it may be fairly doubted
if St. Patrick's knowledge of the world at all
extended beyond the confines of Caledonia and
Hibernia ; for his Latin — none of the best — was
learned late in life, and his theology was not the
theology of the Roman Pontiff and Curia by any

The youthful Patrick was carried by his captors
to Antrim, and there for six years he tended the
flocks oi his master, Milcho, on Slemish Mountain.
Then he contrived to escape from his sore bondage
and to return to the scenes of his jocund boyhood,
where his relatives received him with open arms and
begged " that, after enduring so many tribulations,
he should not depart anywhere."

But that might not be. The " holy youth " had
visions in the night which banished sleep from his
eyes and roused him to Apostolic action.

In the dead of the night, I saw a vision coming to me, as from


Hibero, whose name was Victorious, bearing innumerable
Epistles. And he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning
of it, which contained the words, " The voice of the Irish." And
while I was repeating the beginning of the Epistle, I imagined
that 1 heard in my mind the voice of those who were near the
wood F< Icut, which is hard by the Western Sea, and this they
cried: " We pray thee, O holy youth, to come and henceforth
walk among us." And I was greatly pricked in my hear:, and
could read no more, so I awoke

Where did St. Patrick qualify for his great life
work, the conversion of the Irish ? Doubtless in the
famous monastery of Gandida Casa, the Whithern or
White House, built by St. Ninian [circa 380 a. d.)
where now stands the town of Whithorn in Wigton-
shire. It is not easy to say when Christianity first
reached the shores of far-off Britain, but that it had
very early missionaries who did not take their creden-
tials irom Rome is certain.

In 209 A.D., TertuUian declares that Christ had
subjects in Britain where Ca;sar had none, and he
might have added, where the Bishop of Rome had
none. Indeed St. Patrick, who began his Irish
Apostolate circa 435 a.d., succeeded where an emissary
of Pope Celcstine, St. Palladius, Archdeacon of
Rome, had conspicuously failed, and much of the
obscurity surroundmg the name of the Saint of
Ne mphor is owing to the fact that the Ives of the
two men have seemingly been purposely cimbined or
confused in order to make a good Romaonout of a
teachwi who had almost nothing in comm on with
Romanism either administratively or doctrinally.
St. Patrick had either never heard of the ironclad
dogmas fornuiiated by the ^Ecumenic (meaning
Imperial) Coimcils of Nicaea, 325 a.d., ; Sardica, 347 ;
and Ephesus, 431, or he disregarded them without

The eminently tolerant Church of Patrick and
Columba knew nothing of the unholy passions that
actuated the furious assembly of fanatics who at


Nicaea tore to pieces creed after creed, and actually
came to blows in their efforts to determine whether
the Son was homooitsiait — i.e., of the same substance
as the Father ; or homoiousian, of like substance. In
his creed, or Confession of Faith, the founder of the
Irish Church makes no mention of the resurrection
of the body nor the descent into Hell. By the Son
are all things created, and from Him proceeds the
Holy Spirit that is infused into men.

Between the Irish and Caledonian Churches the
links of union were close and strong. If Erin owed
Caledonia her Patrick, Caledonia owed Erin the
hardly less commanding figure of Columba, who
founded the Rome of the West in the far-famed
Abbacy of lona, a.d. 563. This church differed from
that on the Seven Hills in sundry respects. Its
Cross was dissimilar in form. So was its tonsure.
It kept a differently dated Easter, and its Sabbath
was on the Jewish Saturday, not Sunday. Its Pri-
mate was always a simple Presbyter or Elder, and
never a Bishop. Bishops in the Church of SS.
Patrick, Bridget, and Columba were very numerous
and of small account. St. Patrick is re-
ported to have consecrated as many as three
hundred and fifty Episcopi Vagantes or Stroll-
ing Bishops. They had no dioceses, and merely
possessed a sort of spiritual degree. In the primitive
Church of Ireland the monastic element dominated
everything. It was not till far on in the twelfth
century that the Christian Church in Ireland and
Scotland was finally Romanized, the former by the
English Pope Adrian IV. (Breakspeare) in con-
spiracy with the English King Henry 11. ; the latter
by St. Margaret, the English wife of Malcolm

Ireland enjoys the rare distinction of being the only
country in Christendom bloodlessly converted to the
Faith. St. Patrick's progress throughout Connaught,


Ulster, Munster and Leinster was one long triumph,
and even on " the Plain of Prostration," in Leitrim
the Sacred Monolith of Pagan worship was over-
throwr. without a protest. And the reason was this
— St. Patrick was altogether an exceptionally wise
and enlightened ecclesiastic, conserving everything
that was worth conserving, and innovating only in
matters essential. He converted the heathen holi-
days into Church festivals, and with eight others he
helped to purge and codify (438 — 441 a.d. the famous
body of " Brehon Laws " or Senchus Mor, in the
preface to which it is stated :

How the judgment of true Nature, which the Holy Ghost had
spoken through the mouths of the Brehons and just poets of
the men of Erin, from the first occupation of the island down to
the recepiion of the faith (440), were all exhibited by Dubhtach
(Chief Brehon) to Patrick. What did not clash with the Word
of God in the Written Law and in the New Testament, and
with the consciences of the believers, was confirmed in the Law
of the Brehons by Patrick, and by the Ecclesiastics and
Chieftains of Erin. For the Law of Nature had been quite
right, except the Faith and its obligations and the harmony of
the Church and the People."

The names of the Codihers have happily been
embalmed : —

Laeghaire, Core, Dairi the Hardy,

Patric, Bennen, Cairnech the Just,

Rossa, Dubhtach, Ferghus with Science :

These were the Nine Pillars of the Senchus Mor.

St. Patrick, otherwise Succat, is believed to have
entered on his great mission in his forty-fifth year,
and he lived to witness its completion. Then gave he

His body to that pleasant country's earth
And his pure soul unto his Captain Christ[
Under whose colours he has fought so long.

He was indeed a rare Paladin of the Cross, and
though I believe it is quite a delusion to suppose
that he was a Roman Catholic, yet neither was he a
Protestant. Peradventure he was something better
than either — a Christian.

Crown Sfo., cloth, 3$. 64.








" Mr. Davidson is almost an unique writer of history. He masses up his
freat literary indictment of tyranny to perfectly appalling dimensions.
A.S for the book itself, it is, on che whole, we think, the best short history
of the Irish tragedy that we have ever read. No more remarkable collec-
tion of authorities, and no wiser or more judicious selection from them
has ever appeared in print and only so vigorous and picturesque a writer
Jis Mr. Davidson could have given life and movement to such a prodigious
rattling of the dry bones of history. In a book of nearly 300 pages, it is
Bot too much to say that there is not a dull or an uninstructive paragraph,
and that the work fulfils the double purpose of a kind of Democrat's
Companion to Irish History and of a lively epigrammatic sketch." —
The Star.

" In this compendious History of Ireland, Mr. Davidson's heart has given
his pen full scope. The book, carefully compiled and admirably edited,
is brimful of facts and will prove a valuable adjunct to the library of any
student interested in the affairs of the sister kingdom. Mr. Davidson is a
Scotsman, but a more concise and eloquent plea for Home Rule has
n«yer been placed before the British nation even by Ireland's own sons.
His exposition of the latter phases of the revolutionary raovemer^i is mas-
terly to a degree

" We experience a certain relief in coming to Mr. Morrison Davidson's

Book of Erin.' Mr. Bryce and Mr. Shaw Lefevre pretend to be impartial

and are not ; there is none ol this nonsense about Mr Davidson. It is a

•ad thing, however, that we cannot quite recommend him to Gladslonians.

' The parliamentary death-bed repentance of Mr. Gladstone' is an awful

£hrase which we meet on the threshold of his book. At the o;her end
[r. Morrison Davidson blasphemes worse still. It is dreadful ; and we,
a foreign and unfriendly folk, sympathise with the sufferings of the true
Cladstonian as he reads Mr. I^avidson. He thinks the cowardly ferocity
of '98 'heroic' He thinks that 'landlords and usurers are worse than
highwaymen.' This is the kind of man that we like. There is no mistake
about him," — Sahtrdny Rov.mi.

Price 6d., cloth, la. 6d.




pkilss opinions.

'•The little book makes out its case. It should be circulated bj tb«
hundred thousand throughout the United Kingdom to stir the people
to a stern determination to put an end to an unmitigated curse.' —
Northamp shire Guardian

'• The ' New Book of Kings * and the ' Book of Lords.' Oh I that
the children in the schools of Great Britain and Ireland could ba
favoured with copies of each of these valuable books. What an
awakening would soon arise ! Two millions of school children in
England, "Wales and Scotland ; half a million of children attending
regularly in Ireland. Could we plant copies of Davidson's two book»
in each cottage home of these children — when we shall do that, then
farewell to kings, lords, ladies, i^entry and idle thieves in this part of the
earth." — TRANb - ATLANTic in the Irish World.

"I have just been reading Mr. Morrison Davidson's two writings, the
'New Book of Kings' and the 'Book of Lords.' I close them both
with a shudder. They contain stern and awful truths. With pitiless
logic, with a grandly-simple eloquence, with a straightforward earnestness
he tells his tale. From DeFoe to Junius and from Juniustill now Britain
has had no such able pamphleteer " — Greenock Herald.

Crown ai/o., 138 pp.. Prices— paper, 6d., cloth, is. bii.





" There are many valuable truths in the ' New Book of Kings ' justly
and forcibly expressed. The remarks on the existing monarchy should
be laid to heart by all thoughtful and candid readers." — Algernon C.

' It really ought to be circulated as a tract by hundreds of thousands.
If this were done, it would have a tremendous political effect, and
would quickly and greatly strengthen the hands of the Radical section of
the Liberal party." — Flenry George.

" I doubt whether Mr. George's ' Progress and Poverty ' has made a
deeper impression than the ' New Book of Kings ' by Mr. Morrison
Davidson, a well-known controversialist and original thinker." — London,
Cor. Brooklyn Ea^le.

" If Mr. Davidson had not fortified all his assertions by unquestionable
historical authority, one would be very much inclined to set down his
book as the nightmare of a man with a very powerful and a very morbid
imagination." — T. P. O'Connor, in The Freeman's Journal.

" Mr. Davidson handles the Kings and Queens as a skilful surgeoo
would describe a skeleton to a class of students. There is an immeni*
mischief-making power in this little paper-covered publication."—.
Philadelphia Tinns.

Tht Bellamy Edition, No. 3, price is cloth, m.


Sdvagedom, Slavedom, Serfdom, Wagedom, Freedom.

J. Morrison'' DAVIDSON.


"1 hope, within the next few days, to examine it with care." — W. E.


•' The book I shall read with great interest. Next toFaith no subject is
nearer to my heart than the lot and state of the People." — Henry E. Cari.

" I have just finished reading ' The Old Order and the New ' with great
interest and have no doubt it will help to open people's eyes to the
fundamental errors of our present social system." — Alfred Russell Wallace.

"You will do a capital service to our movement by the ' Old Order and
the New.' There is so much in it. I know no popular history of
Socialism to compare with it." — Rev . John Glasse, Greyfriars, (PMinburgh.)

" I had already skimmed a little here and there and tasted the strong
flavour of it. Be sure I will read it with delight and that I will speak of
it whenever I have the chance." — Rev. Alex. Webster (Kilmarnock.)

"The book is interesting, instructive and suggestive as I expected that
H would be. It has pleased and puzzled me."— Si> Wilfrid Lawson.

" If Mr. Morrison Davidson possessed the power of One who lived
nearly two thousand years before him, he would assuredly clear the Stock
Exchange of usurers, and of all profitmongers who live upon what they
can squeeze out of the people." — Reynolds' Newspaper.

" This little book should be in the hands of every one who wants to ge
a clear grasp of the great movement of our time. Mr. Morrison Davidson
is one of the very few Democratic journalists who have refused to sell
their talents, and he should be rewarded by the regard of all men who
have not fallen tcj low to respect manliness of character." — Labour

" The sketch of the history of labour is very interesting. The epitome
of the Socialist position is terse and forcible ; the short memoirs of emi-
nent Socialists are vivid and good, and the ideal Socialist Republic, con-
structed in the last two chapters is a fairly definiie object for sympathy
or criticism." — Manchester Guardian.

" The case for Socialism is put with great verve. Mr. Davidson ran-
sacks the most brilliant writers of all time for passages which will give
additional point to his own vigorously put contentions and his selections
are alwH/s admirable. 'The Old Order and the New' is one of the
liveliest books that can be read." — Dundee Advertiser.

" Workmanlike thoroughness in dealing with his theme, together with
skill and eloquence in its presentation, make this one of the best and
most useful books that have yet appeared in English." — The Commonweal.

" With the hereditary instinct of the Covenanter he (the author) curses
even more vigorously than Hebrew prophets can curse the wretched
system of capitalism. The volume is well worthy of perusal by our
frUnds. It is clearly printed and well worth a shilling." — Justice.

Billamy Librttry, No. 6, frice One Shilling










" In this little brochure (Scotia Rediviva), Mr. Morrison Davidson makes
a characteristically vigorous and outspoken assault on the present legisla-
tive relations between Scotland and England. Mr. Davidson contends
for a Federal in place of an Incorporating Union. . . Spiritedly written
fcnd full of patriotic fervour." — North British Daily Mail.

" Mr. Davidson is a Democratic, hard-hitting, cultivated and fearless
jonrnalist. He here tries to make vividly clear the ills Scotland has
•uffered in her struggle for independence." — Literary World.

" Mr. Morrison Davidson, who is not unknown in the North of England,
has just issued another of those trenchant manuals (Scotia Rediviva), which
have done so much to promote democratic principles amongst the
artiians of the metropolis." — Newcastle Chronicle.

" A new book by Morrison Davidson, is sure to meet with a wide and
warm welcome. His latest work is Scotia Rediviva which is an eloquent
plea for Plome Rule for Scotland, with biographical sketches of four
typical Scotsmen; to wit. Sir William Wallace, George Buchanan,
Fletcher of Saltonn and Thomas Spence, the Father of latter-day Land
Restorationists. — Northern Ensign.



Editor of the Workman's Times.

I am going to devote the major part of my space this week to a brief
biography of my friend John Morrison Davidson, who was one of the first
to take me iu hand when I came np to London just a year ago, a raw
country lad. I met him at the United Democratic Club in the old cellar
in Chancery-lane before I had been in London a week, and was much
•tnick by his picturesque appearance— he wore a Scotch cap in those
days — and was proud to make his acquaintance, and I hope to secure his
•steem. He has been kind enough to give me a few notes of his career,

which I think will be found interesting reading. Anyhow, lifre they
•re: —


was born in a roadside house in the parish of Old Deer. Aberdeenshire,
50 years ago. He was sickly as a child and unable to walk to school, a
distance of three miles, till his ninth year, when his education began.
Luckily the school was an excellent one, and he made very rapid progress.
At 14 years of age he became absistant master.

In his i6th year he went to the University of Aberdeen, Ijaving obtained
a scholarship (" bursary ") by public competition. He studied little or
none there, and soon came into collision with two of the leading pro-
fessors, whom he publicly defied. The place generally got too " hot " for
Morrison, and he made an abortive attempt to join the Polish insurrec-
tion of 1863.

About the same time he married Rose Fowlie, an old schoolmate — the
devoted mother of his eleven children — and the very young couple betook
themselves to Glasgow.

There Davidson taught in several schools with indifferent success.
Aft;.r a time he was appointed master of the Burgh School of North
Berwick — the Brighton of Edinburgh. Thence he went to Edinburgh as
one of the Masters of the Circus Place School, then a very famous school

But his heart was nevar in teaching, and he resolved to qualify for the
Scottish Bar. He was a very distinguished law student, and obtained a
complete mastery of legal principles under such famous professors at
Cosmo Innes, Lorimer, and Muirhead.

But Davidson all the while had led a double sort of life He was a bom
journalist and politician. At 14 years of age he was a confirmed Re-
publican and Democrat, and fairly astonished his accomplished elder
Drother, Professor Thomas Davidson (of New York, then Rector of the
Old Aberdeen Grammar School), by the "altra" character of his self-
acquired views.

" Morrison's " first public speech was characteristic. It was delivered
in the Aberdeen University Debating Society in i860, when he contended
that Milton must be regarded as a greater poet than Shakespeare, inas-
much as the one was a Republican and the other a benighted Monarchist.
His next utterance was at the opening of the terrible drama of the
American civil war. when he led in debate for the North, against a future
aenior wrangler, and scored a majority of five, an achievement of which
he is to-day inordinately proud.

At the same period he began to " write for the newspapers," his first
contributions appearing as "leaders" in the Ptterhtad Stntintl. In
Glasgow, in North Berwick, and in Edinburgh his pen was never allowed
long to rust, but the directness of his style was most alarming to " able
editors." To secure insertion of his ideas be early acquired the knack of
apt quotation from acknowledged authorities, and thus often succeeded
where he would otherwise have found a closed door.

This was curiously illustrated in the case of the Edinburgh Datty Rivi$w
(the organ of the "unco" guid " Free Kirk of Scotland) to which Davidson
was for years regularly attached, first as leader writer, and latterly ai
London editor. As in politics so in religion. Brought up a Preabyteriao
' Morrison " at a very early age became a Christian of the school of Ariu*
and has never altered his opinions. Yet the '• unco guid " could and did
trust him, and had no cause to regret their confidence. He has occa-
sionally occupied Unitarian pulpits.

In Edinburgh Davidson founded and wai boo. secretary for several


years of the Advanced Liberal Association, which t.'^cted much good in
municipal as in Parliamentary politics. The School Board election
unfortunately shattered it, Davidson seceding with a small minority who
were opposed to all religious teaching in the public schooh. The seceders
were unjustly stigmatised as " Secularists," but Lxjrd Rosebery cour-
ageously accepted the post of president, and Davidson as hon. sec, and a
ttif! but unavailing fight ensued.

Two working class organs, the Scottish Re/oirner and the Craftsynan, both
BOW extinct, bore ample evidence of " Morrison's " zeal in "the cause."

In 1870 the Edinburgh Republican Club was formed. It comprised
the choicest spirits in the ranks of Labour, and Davidson became its
corresponding secretary. Hence the Scotsman's favourite term of oppro-
brium, " Citizen Davidson."

On coming to London Davidson entered at the Middle Temple, and
was called to the English Bar in 1877, passing with credit all the examina-
tions as the result of six week's study, during which period he worked
regularly 18 hours per day. The strain, he admits, *' was terrible," and
could not be repeated with impunity.

While acting as London editor of the Edinburgh Daily Review
" Morrison" became attached to the staffs of the Weekly Despatch and the
Examiner, in both of which he did a great deal of the pioneer work of the
London Municipal Reform League of the Lambeth branch, of which he
was the first chairman.

Latterly he became London correspondent of the Bradford Observer,
gallery correspondent of the Leeds Mercury, and contributed to the Echo, in
its Radical days, many leaders and an exceedingly popular series of
Parliamentary sketches, entitled " Senators in Harness." He also wrote
a daily letter for a syndicate of provincial evening papers.

In the fall of 1880 Davidson represented in the Far West of America

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Online LibraryJ. Morrison (John Morrison) DavidsonNew politics for the people. Let there be light! 1.-Religion. 2.-Politics. 3.-The family. 4.-Economics. 5.-Miscellanea .. → online text (page 12 of 13)