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Scottish Fiery Cross

When a chieftain designed to summon his clan upon any sudden or important emergency, he slew a goat, and
making a cross of any light wood, seared its extremities in the fire, and extinguished them in the blood of the
animal. This was called the Fiery Cross, or the Cross of Shame, because disobedience to what the symbol implied inferred infamy.

It was delivered to a swift and trusty messenger, who ran full speed with it to the next hamlet, where he presented it to the principal person, with a single word, implying the place of rendezvous. He who received the symbol, was bound to send it forwards, with equal
dispatch, to the next village; and thus it passed, with incredible celerity, through all of the district which owed allegiance to the chief, and also among his allies and neighbours, if the danger was common to them.

At sight of the fiery cross, every man, from sixteen
years old to sixty, capable of bearing arms, was obliged instantly to repair, in his best arms and accoutrements, to the place of rendezvous. He who failed to appear suffered the extremities of fire and sword, which were emblematically denounced to the disobedient, by the
bloody and burned marks upon this warlike signal.

During the civil ware of 1745-6 the Fiery Cross often mad its circuit; and, upun one occasion, it passed through the whole district of Breadalbane, a tract of thirty-two miles,
in three hours. Stuart of Invernahyle often related that he sent round the Fiery Cross, through the district of
Appin, during the same commotion. The coast was threatened by a descent from two English frigates, and the flower of the young men were with the army of Prince Charles Edward, then in England; yet the summons was so effectual that even old age and child-hood obeyed it; and a force was collected in a few hours, so numerous and so enthusiastic, that all attempt at the
intended diversion upun the country of the absent warriors was prudently abandoned as desperate.



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