« ZurückWeiter »
death for the king's murder, cleared Mary with their last words.
The letters were first declared to be subscribed, and were then produced without sub-lations, and, perhaps, French translations of a scription.
They were shown during the conferences at York privately to the English commissioners, but were concealed from the commissioners of Mary,
Mary always solicited the perusal of these letters, and was always denied it.
She demanded to be heard in person by Elizabeth, before the nobles of England, and the ambassadors of other princes, and was refused. When Mary persisted in demanding copies of the letters, her commissioners were dismissed with their box to Scotland, and the letters were
seen no more.
The French letters, which for almost two cen
turies have been considered as originals, by the enemies of Mary's memory, are now discovered to be forgeries, and acknowledged to be transLatin translation. And the modern accusers of Mary are forced to infer from these letters, which now exist, that other letters existed formerly, which have been lost in spite of curiosity, malice, and interest.
The rest of this treatise is employed in an endeavour to prove, that Mary's accusers were the murderers of Darnley: through this inquiry it is not necessary to follow him; only let it be observed, that, if these letters were forged by them, they may easily be thought capable of other crimes. That the letters were forged, is now made so probable, that perhaps they will never more be cited as testimonies.
WESTERN ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND
I HAD desired to visit the Hebrides, or West- [affords a southern stranger a new kind of plea ern Islands of Scotland, so long, that I scarcely sure to travel so commodiously without interremember how the wish was originally excited; ruption of tollgates. Where the bottom is rocky, and was in the Autumn of the year 1773 in- as it seems commonly to be in Scotland, a duced to undertake the journey, by finding in smooth way is made indeed with great labour, Mr. Boswell a companion, whose acuteness but it never wants repairs; and in those parts would help my inquiry, and whose gayety of con- where adventitious materials are necessary, the versation and civility of manners are sufficient ground once consolidated is rarely broken: for to counteract the inconveniences of travel, in the inland commerce is not great, nor are heavy countries less hospitable than we have passed. commodities often transported otherwise than by On the eighteenth of August we left Edin-water. The carriages in comrion use are small burgh, a city too well known to admit description, and directed our course northward, along the eastern coast of Scotland, accompanied the first day by another gentleman, who could stay with us only long enough to show us how much we lost at separation.
As we crossed the Frith of Forth, our curiosity was attracted by Inch Keith, a small island, which neither of my companions had ever visited, though, lying within their view, it had all their lives solicited their notice. Here by climbing with some difficulty over shattered crags, we made the first experiment of unfrequented coasts. Inch Keith is nothing more than a rock covered with a thin layer of earth, not wholly bare of grass, and very fertile of thistles. A small herd of cows grazes annually upon it in the summer. It seems never to have afforded to man or beast a permanent habitation.
We found only the ruins of a small fort, not so injured by time but that it might be easily restored to its former state. It seems never to have been intended as a place of strength, nor was it built to endure a siege, but merely to afford cover to a few soldiers, who perhaps had the charge of a battery, or were stationed to give signals of approaching danger. There is therefore no provision of water within the walls, though the spring is so near, that it might have been easily enclosed. One of the stones had this inscription: "Maria Reg. 1564." It has probably been neglected from the time that the whole island had the same king.
We left this little island with our thoughts employed a while on the different appearance that it would have made, if it had been placed at the same distance from London, with the same facility of approach; with what emulation of price a few rocky acres would have been purchased, and with what expensive industry they would
have been cultivated and adorned.
When we landed, we found our chaise ready, passed through Kinghorn, Kirkaldy, and Cowpar, places not unlike the small or strag. gling market-towns in those parts of England where commerce and manufactures have not yet produceu opulence.
Though we were yet in the most populous part of Scotland, and at so small a distance from the capital, we met few passengers.
The roads are neither rough nor dirty: and it
carts, drawn each by one little horse; and a man seems to derive some degree of dignity and importance from the reputation of possessing a two-horse cart.
At an hour somewhat late we came to St. Andrews, a city once archiepiscopal; where that university still subsists in which philosophy was formerly taught by Buchanan, whose name has as fair a claim to immortality as can be conferred by modern latinity, and perhaps a fairer than the instability of vernacular languages admits.
We found, that by the interposition of some invisible friend, lodgings had been provided for us at the house of one of the professors, whose easy civility quickly made us forget that we were strangers; and in the whole time of our stay we were gratified by every mode of kindness, and entertained with all the elegance of lettered hospitality.
In the morning we arose to perambulate a city, which only history shows to have once flourished, and surveyed the ruins of ancient magnificence, of which even the ruins cannot long be visible, unless some care be taken to preserve them; and where is the pleasure of preserving such mournful memorials? They have been till very lately so much neglected, that every man carried away the stones who fancied that he wanted them.
The cathedral, of which the foundations may be still traced, and a small part of the wall is standing, appears to have been a spacious and majestic building, not unsuitable to the primacy of the kingdom. Of the architecture, the poor remains can hardly exhibit, even to an artist, a sufficient specimen. It was demolished, as is well known, in the tumult and violence, of Knox's reformation.
Not far from the cathedral, on the margin of the water, stands a fragment of the castle, in which the archbishop anciently resided. It was never very large, and was built with more attention to security than pleasure. Cardinal Beatoun is said to have had workmen employed in improving its fortifications, at the time when he was murdered by the ruffians of reformation, in the manner of which Knox has given what he himself calls a merry narrative.
The change of religion in Scotland, eager and
his annual session, or as the English call it, his term, which lasts seven months, for about fifteen pounds, and one of lower rank for less than ten; in which board, lodging, and instruction are all included.
vchement as it was, raised an epidemical enthu- | present professors; nor can the expense of an siasm, compounded of sullen scrupulousness and academical education be very reasonably objectwarlike ferocity, which in a people whom idle-ed. A student of the highest class may keep ness resigned to their own thoughts, and who, conversing only with each other, suffered no dilution of their zeal from the gradual influx of new opinions, was long transmitted in its full strength from the old to the young, but by trade and intercourse with England, is now visibly The chief magistrate resident in the univerabating, and giving way too fast to that laxity sity, answering to our vice-chancellor, and to of practice, and indifference of opinion, in which the rector magnificus on the continent, had commen, not sufficiently instructed to find the mid-monly the title of Lord Rector; but being addle point, too easily shelter themselves from dressed, only as Mr. Rector in an inauguratory ngour and constraint. speech by the present chancellor, he has fallen from his former dignity of style. Lordship was very liberally annexed by our ancestors to any station or character of dignity: they said, the Lord General, and Lord Ambassador; so we still say, my Lord, to the judge upon the circuit, and yet retain in our Liturgy, the Lords of the Council.
The city of St. Andrews, when it had lost its archiepiscopal pre-eminence, gradually decayed: one if its streets is now lost; and in those that remain, there is the silence and solitude of inactive indigence and gloomy depopulation.
The university, within a few years, consisted of three colleges, but is now reduced to two; the college of St. Leonard being lately dissolved by the sale of its buildings, and the appropriation of its revenues to the professors of the two others. The chapel of the alienated college is yet standing, a fabric not inelegant of external structure: but I was always, by some civil excuse, hindered from entering it. A decent attempt, as I was since told, has been made to convert it into a kind of greenhouse, by planting its area with shrubs. This new method of gardening is unsuccessful; the plants do not hitherto prosper. To what use it will next be put, I have no pleasure in conjecturing. It is something, that its present state is at least not ostentatiously displayed. Where there is yet shame, there may in time be virtue.
The dissolution of St. Leonard's College was doubtless necessary; but of that necessity there is reason to complain. It is surely not without just reproach that a nation, of which the commerce is hourly extending, and the wealth creasing, denies any participation of its prosperity to its literary societies; and while its merchants or its nobles are raising palaces, suffers its universities to moulder into dust.
In walking among the ruins of religious buildings, we came to two vaults over which had formerly stood the house of the sub-prior. One of the vaults was inhabited by an old woman, who claimed the right of abode there, as the widow of a man whose ancestors had possessed the same gloomy mansion for no less than four generations. The right, however it began, was considered as established by legal prescription, and the old woman lives undisturbed. thinks however that she has a claim to something more than sufferance; for as her husband's name was Bruce, she is allied to royalty, and told Mr. Boswell, that when there were persons of quality in the place, she was distinguished by some notice; that indeed she is now neglected, but she spins a thread, has the company of a cat, and is troublesome to nobody.
Having now seen whatever this ancient city offered to our curiosity, we left it with good in-wishes, having reason to be highly pleased with the attention that was paid us. But whoever surveys the world, must see many things that give him pain. The kindness of the professors did not contribute to abate the uncasy remembrance of a university declining, a college alienated, and a church profaned and hastening to the ground.
Of the two colleges yet standing, one is by the institution of its founder appropriated to divinity. It is said to be capable of containing fifty students; but more than one must occupy St. Andrews indeed has formerly suffered a chamber. The library, which is of late erec- more atrocious ravages, and more extensive detion, is not very spacious, but elegant and lumi-struction; but recent evils affect with greater
The doctor, by whom it was shown, hoped to irritate or subdue my English vanity, by telling me, that we had no such repository of books in England.
St. Andrews seems to be a place eminently adapted to study and education, being situated in a populous, yet a cheap country, and exposing the minds and manners of young men neither to the levity and dissoluteness of a capital city, nor to the gross luxury of a town of commerce, places naturally unpropitious to learning; in one the desire of knowledge easily gives way to the love of pleasure, and in the other, is in danger of yielding to the love of money.
The students however are represented as at this time not exceeding a hundred. Perhaps it may be some obstruction to their increase that there is no episcopal chapel in the place. I saw no reason for imputing their pauc the
force. We were reconciled to the sight of archiepiscopal ruins. The distance of a calamity from the present time seems to preclude the mind from contact or sympathy. Events long past are barely known; they are not considered. We read with as little emotion the violence of Knox and his followers, as the irruptions of Alaric and the Goths. Had the university been destroyed two centuries ago, we should not have regretted it; but to see it pining in decay, and struggling for life, fills the mind with mournful images and ineffectual wishes.
As we knew sorrow and wishes to be vain, It was now our business to mind our way. The roads of Scotland afford little diversion to the traveller, who seldom sees himself either en countered or overtaken, and who has nothing to contemplate but grounds that have no visib
boundaries, or are separated by walls of loose | found by following the walls among the grass stone. From the bank of the Tweed to St. Andrews, I had never seen a single tree, which I did not believe to have grown up far within the present century. Now and then about a gentleman's house stands a small plantation, which in Scotch is called a policy, but of these there are few, and those few all very young. The variety of sun and shade is here utterly unknown. There is no tree for either shelter or timber. The oak and the thorn is equally a stranger, and the whole country is extended in uniform nakedness, except that in the road between Kirkaldy and Cowpar, I passed for a few yards between two hedges. A tree might be a show in Scotland, as a horse in Venice. At St. Andrews, Mr. Boswell found only one, and recommended it to my notice; I told him that it was rough and low, or looked as if I thought so. This, said he, is nothing to another a few miles off. I was still less delighted to hear that another tree was not to be seen nearer. Nay, said a gentleman that stood by, I know but of this and that tree in the county.
and weeds, and its height is known by some parts yet standing. The arch of one of the gates is entire, and of another only so far dilapidated as to diversify the appearance. A square apartment of great loftiness is yet standing; its use I could not conjecture, as its elevation was very disproportionate to its area. Two corner towers particularly attracted our attention. Mr. Bos well, whose inquisitiveness is seconded by great activity, scrambled in at a high window, but found the stairs within broken, and could not reach the top. Of the other tower we were told that the inhabitants sometimes climbed it, but we did not immediately discern the entrance, and as the night was gathering upon us, though proper to desist. Men skilled in architectur might do what we did not attempt; they migh probably form an exact ground-plot of this vene rable edifice. They may, from some parts ye standing, conjecture its general form, and perhaps by comparing it with other buildings of the same kind and the same age, attain an idea very near to truth. I should scarcely have regretted my The Lowlands of Scotland had once undoubt-journey, had it afforded nothing more than the edly an equal portion of woods with other coun- sight of Aberbrothick. tries. Forests are every where gradually diminished, as architecture and cultivation prevail, by the increase of people, and the introduction of arts. But I believe few regions have been denuded like this, where many centuries must have passed in waste, without the least thought of future supply. Davies observes in his account of Ireland, that no Irishman had ever planted an orchard. For that negligence some excuse might be drawn from an unsettled state of life, and the instability of property; but in Scotland possession has long been secure, and inheritance regular, yet it may be doubted whether before the Union any man between Edinburgh and England had ever set a tree.
Of this improvidence no other account can be given than that it probably began in times of tumult, and continued because it had begun. Established custom is not easily broken, till some great event shakes the whole system of things, and life seems to recommence upon new principles. That before the Union the Scots had little trade and little money, is no valid apology; for plantation is the least expensive of all methods of improvement. To drop a seed into the ground can cost nothing, and the trouble is not great of protecting the young plant, till it is out of danger; though it must be allowed to have some difficulty in places like these, where they have neither wood for palisades, nor thorns for hedges.
Our way was over the Firth of Tay, where, though the water was not wide, we paid four shillings for ferrying the chaise. In Scotland the necessaries of life are easily procured, but superfluities and elegances are of the same price at least as in England, and therefore may be considered as much dearer.
We stopped a while at Dundee, where I remember nothing remarkable, and mounting our chaise again, came about the close of the day to Aberbrothick.
Leaving these fragments of magnificence, we travelled on to Montrose, which we surveyed in the morning, and found it well built, airy, and clean. The townhouse is a handsome fabric with a portico. We then went to view the English chapel, and found a small church, clean to a degree unknown in any other part of Scotland, with commodious galleries, and, what was yet less expected, with an organ.
At our inn we did not find a reception such as we thought proportionate to the commercial up lence of the place; but Mr. Boswell desired me to observe that the inkeeper was an Englishman, and I then defended him as well as I could.
When I had proceeded thus far, I had oppor tunities of observing what I had never heard, that there were many beggars in Scotland. In Edinburgh the proportion is, I think, not less than in London, and in the smaller places it is far greater than in English towns of the same extent. It must, however, be allowed, that they are not importunate, nor clamorous. They solicit silently, or very modestly, and, therefore, though their behaviour may strike with more force the heart of a stranger, they are certainly in danger of missing the attention of their countryma Novelty has always some power; an unaccustomed mode of begging, excites an unaccustomed degree of pity. But the force of novelty is by its own nature soon at an end; the efficacy of outcry and perseverance is permanent and certain.
The road from Montrose exhibited a continuation of the same appearances. The country is still naked, the hedges are of stone, and the fields so generally ploughed, that it is hard to imagine where grass is found for the horses that till them. The harvest, which was almost ripe, appeared very plentiful.
Early in the afternoon Mr. Boswell observed, The monastery of Aberbrothick is of great that we were at no great distance from the house renown in the history of Scotland. Its ruins of Lord Monboddo. The magnetism of his conafford ample testimony of its ancient magnifi-versation easily drew us out of our way, and the cence: its extent might, I suppose, easily be entertainment which we received would have
been a sufficient recompense for a much greater | grees separately, with total independence of one deviation. on the other.
The roads beyond Edinburgh, as they are less frequented, must be expected to grow gradually rougher; but they were hitherto by no means incommodious. We travelled on with the gentle pace of a Scotch driver, who, having no rivals in expedition, neither gives himself nor his horses unnecessary trouble. We did not affect the impatience we did not feel, but were satisfied with the company of each other, as well riding in the chaise, as sitting at an inn. The night and the day are equally solitary and equally safe; for where there are so few travellers, why should there be robbers?
In Old Aberdeen stands the King's College, of which the first president was Hector Boece, or Boethius, who may be justly reverenced as one of the revivers of elegant learning. When he studied at Paris, he was acquainted with Erasmus, who afterwards gave him a public testimony of his esteem, by inscribing to him a catalogue of his works. The style of Boethius, though, perhaps, not always rigorously pure, is formed with great diligence upon ancient models, and wholly uninfected with monastic barbarity. His history is written with elegance and vigour, but his fabulousness and credulity are justly blamed. His fabulousness, if he was the author of the fictions, is a fault for which no apology can be made; but his credulity may be excused in an age when all men were credulous. Learning was then rising on the world; but ages so long accustomed to darkness, were too much dazzled with its light to see any thing distinctly. The first race of scholars in the fifteenth century, I received the next day a very kind letter from and some time after, were, for the most part, Sir Alexander Gordon, whom I had formerly learning to speak, rather than to think, and were known in London, and after a cessation of all therefore more studious of elegance than of truth. intercourse for near twenty years, met here pro- The contemporaries of Boethius thought it suffifessor or physic in the King's College. Such un-cient to know what the ancients had delivered. expected renewals of acquaintance may be num- The examination of tenets and of facts was rebered among the most pleasing incidents of life. served for another generation. The knowledge of one professor soon procured Boethius, as president of the university, en me the notice of the rest, and I did not want anyjoyed a revenue of forty Scottish marks, about token of regard, being conducted wherever there two pounds, four shillings, and sixpence, of sterwas any thing which I desired to see, and enter-ling money. In the present age of trade and tained at once with the novelty of the place, and the kindness of communication.
We came somewhat late to Aberdeen, and found the inn so full, that we had some difficulty in obtaining admission, till Mr. Boswell made himself known: his name overpowered all objection, and we found a very good house, and civil treatment.
To write of the cities of our own island with the solemnity of geographical description, as if we had been cast upon a newly-discovered coast, has the appearance of a very frivolous ostentation; yet as Scotland is little known to the greater part of those who may read these observations, it is not superfluous to relate, that under the name of Aberdeen are comprised two towns, standing about a mile distant from each other, but governed, I think, by the same magis
Old Aberdeen is the ancient episcopal city, in which are still to be seen the remains of the cathedral. It has the appearance of a town in decay, having been situated, in times when commerce was yet unstudied, with very little attention to the commodiousness of the harbour.
taxes, it is difficult even for the imagination so to raise the value of money, or so to diminish the demands of life, as to suppose four and forty shillings a year an honourable stipend; yet it was probably equal, not only to the needs, but to the rank of Boethius. The wealth of England was undoubtedly to that of Scotland more than five to one, and it is known that Henry the Eighth, among whose faults avarice was never reckoned, granted to Roger Ascham, as a reward of his learning, a pension of ten pounds a year.
The other, called the Marischal College, is in the new town. The hall is large and well lighted. One of its ornaments is the picture of Arthur Johnston, who was principal of the college, and who holds among the Latin poets of Scotland, the next place to the elegant Buchanan.
In the library I was shown some curiosities; a Hebrew manuscript of exquisite penmanship, New Aberdeen has all the bustle of prosperous and a Latin translation of Aristotle's Politics, by trade, and all the show of increasing opulence. Leonardus Aretinus, written in the Roman chaIt is built by the water-side. The houses are racter, with nicety and beauty, which, as the art large and lofty, and the streets spacious and of printing has made them no longer necessary, clean. They build almost wholly with the gra- are not now to be found. This was one of the nite used in the new pavement of the streets of latest performances of the transcribers, for AretiLondon, which is well known not to want hard-nus died but about twenty years before typograness, yet they shape it easily. It is beautiful, and must be very lasting.
phy was invented. This version has been printed, and may be found in libraries, but is little read; What particular parts of commerce are chiefly for the same books have been since translated exercised by the merchants of Aberdeen, I have both by Victorious and Lambinus, who lived in not inquired. The manufacture which forces an age more cultivated, but perhaps owed in part itself upon a stranger's eye, is that of knit stock-to Aretinus that they were able to excel him. ings, on which the women of the lower class are visibly employed.
Much is due to those who first broke the way to knowledge, and left only to their successors the task of smoothing it.
In each of these towns there is a college, or in stricter language, a university; for in both there In both these colleges the methods of instrucare professors of the same parts of learning, and tion are nearly the same; the lectures differing the colleges hold their sessions, and confer de-only by the accidental difference of diligence, or