Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ney.

Of their gardens I can judge only from their Of their black cattle some are without horns, tables. I did not observe that the common called hy the Scots, humble cows, as we call a greens were wanting, and suppose, that by bee an humble bee, that wants a sting. Whether choosing an advantageous exposition, they can this difference be specific, or accidental, though raise all the more hardy esculent plants. Of we inquired with great diligence, we could not vegetable fragrance or beauty they are not yet be informed. We are not very sure that the studious. Few vows are made to Flora in the bull is ever without horns, though we have been Hebrides.

told that such bulls there are. What is proThey gather a little hay, but the grass is duced by putting a horned and unhorned male mown late ; and is so often almost dry, and again and female together, no man has ever tried that very wet, before it is housed, that it becomes a thought the result worthy of observation. collection of withered stalks without taste or Their horses are, like their cows, of a modefragrance; it must be eaten by cattle that have rate size. I had no difficulty to mount myself nothing else, but by most English farmers would commodiously by the favour of the gentlemen. be thrown away:

I heard of very little cows in Barra, and very In the islands I have not heard that any subter- little horses in Rum, where perhaps no care is raneous treasures have been discovered, though taken to prevent that diminution of size, which where there are mountains, there are commonly must always happen, where the greater and the minerals. One of the rock in Col has a black less copulate promiscuously, and the young anivein, imagined to consist of the ore of lead; but mal is restrained from growth by penury of sus. it was never yet opened or essayed. In Skytenance. a black mass was accidentally picked up, and The goat is the general inhabitant of the earth, brought into the house of the owner of the land, complying with every difference of climate and who found himself strongly inclined to think it a of soil. The goats of the Hebrides are like coul, but unhappily it did not burn in the chim- others : nor did I hear any thing of their sheep

Common ores would be here of no great to be particulary remarked. value; for what requires to be separated by fire, In the penury of these malignant regions, nomust, if it were found, be carried away in its thing is left that can be converted to food. The mineral state, here being no fuel for the smelting-goats and the sheep are milked like the cows. house or forge. Perhaps by diligent search in A single meal of a goat is a quart, and of a this world of stone, some valuable species of sheep a pint. Such at least was the account marble might be discovered. But neither philo- which I could extract from those of whom I an sophical curiosity, nor commercial industry, have not sure that they ever had inquired. yet fixed their abode here, where the importu- The milk of goats is much thinner than that nity of immediate want, supplied but for the of cows, and that of sheep is much thicker, day, and craving on the morrow, has left little Sheep's milk is never eaten before it is boiled; room for excursive knowledge, or the pleasing as it is thick, it must be very liberal of curd, fancies of distant profit.

and the people of St. Kilda form it into small They have lately found a inanufacture con- cheeses. siderably lucrative. Their rocks abound with The stags of the mountains are less than those kelp, a sea-plant, of which the ashes are melted of our parks or forests, perhaps not bigger than into glass. They burn kelp in great quantities, our fallow deer. Their flesh has no rankness, and then send it away in ships, which come nor is inferior in favour to our common reci. regularly to purchase it. This new source of son. The roebuck I neither saw nor tasted. riches has raised the rents of many maritime These are not countries for a regular chase farms; but the tenants pay, like all other te The deer are not driven with horns and hounds. nants, the additional rent with great unwilling. A sportsman, with his gun in his hand, watches ness; because they consider the profits of the the animal, and when he has wounded him, kelp as the mere product of personal labour, to traces him by the blood. which the landlord contributes nothing. How- They have a race of brinded greyhounds, ever, as any man may be said to give what he larger and stronger than those with which we gives the power of gaining, he has certainly as course hares, and those are the only dogs used much right to profit from the price of kelp as of by them for the chase. any thing else found or raised upon his ground. Man is by the use of firearms made so much

This new trade has excited a long and eager an overmatch for other animals, that in all counlitigation between Macdonald and Macleod, for tries, where they are in use, the wild part of the a ledge of rocks, which, till the value of kelp creation sensibly diminishes. There will prowas known, neither of them desired the reputa- bably not be long either stags or roebucks in the tion of possessing.

islands. All the beasts of chase would have The cattle of Sky are not so small as is com- been lost long ago in countries well inhabited, monly believed. Since they have sent their had they not been preserved by laws for the beeves in great numbers to southern marts, they pleasure of the rich. have probably taken more care of their breed. There are in Sky neither rats nor mice, but the At stated times the annual growth of cattle is weasel is so frequent, that he is heard in houses driven to a fair, by a general drover, and with rattling behind chests or beds, as rats in Eng. the money which he returns to the farmer, the land. "They probably owe to his predominance rents are paid.

that they have no other vermin; for since the The price regularly expected, is from two to great rat took possession of this part of the three pounds a head ; there was once one sold world, scarce a ship can touch at any port, but for five pounds. They go from the islands very some of his race are left behind. They have lean, and are not offered to the butcher till they within these few years begun to infest the isle of have been long fatted in English pastures. Col where being left by some trading vessel.

they have increased for want of weasels to op- presided at her table with the full exercise of all pose them.

her powers; and the other has attained her The inhabitants of Sky, and of the other eighty-fourth, without any diminution of her islands, which I have seen, are commonly of the vivacity, and with little reason to accuse time of middle stature, with fewer among them very tall depredations on her beauty. or very short, than are seen in England; or In the islands, as in most other places, the in. perhaps, as their numbers are small, the chances habitants are of different rank, and one does of any deviation from the common measure are not encroach here upon another. Where there necessarily few. The tallest men that I saw are is no commerce nor manufacture, he that is among those of higher rank. In regions of bar- born poor can scarcely become rich ; and if renness and scarcity, the human race is hindered none are able to buy estates, he that is born to in its growth by the same causes as other ani- land cannot annihilate his family by selling it. mals.

This was once the state of these countries. The ladies have as much beauty here as in Perhaps there is no example, till within a cen. other places, but bloom and softness are not to tury and half

, of any family whose estate was be expected among the lower classes, whose alienated otherwise than by violence or forfei. faces are exposed to the rudeness of the climate, ture. Since money has been brought among and whose features are sometimes contracted by them, they liave found, like others, the art of want, and sometimes hardened by the blasts. spending more than they receive; and I saw Supreme beauty is seldom found in cottages or with grief the chief of a very ancient clan, whose workshops, even where no real hardships are island was condemned by law to be sold for the suffered.' To expand the human face to its full satisfaction of his credi:ors. perfection, it seems necessary that the mind The name of the highest dignity is Laird, of should co-operate by placidness of content, or which there are in the extensive isle of Sky only consciousness of superiority:

three, Macdonald, Macleod, and Mackinnon. Their strength is proportionate to their size, The laird is the original owner of the lond, but they are accustomed to run upon rough whose natural power must be very great, where ground, and therefore can with great agility skip no man lives but by agriculture; and where over the bog, or clamber the mountain. For a the produce of the land is not conveyed through campaign in the wastes of America, soldiers the labyrinths of traffic, but passes directly from better qualified could not have been found. the hand that gathers it, to the mouth that eats Having little work to do, they are not willing, it. The laird has all those in his power that nor perhaps able, to endure a long continuance live upon his farms. Kings can, for the most of manual labour, and are therefore considered part, only exalt or degrade. The laird at pleaas habitually idle.

sure can feed or starve, can give bread, or withHaving never been supplied with those accom- hold it. This inherent power was yet strengthmodations which life extensively diversified with ened by the kindness of consanguinity, and the trades affords, they supply their wants by very reverence of patriarchal authority. The laird insufficient shifts, and endure many inconveni- was the father of the clan, and his tenants comences, which a little attention would easily re-monly bore his name. And to these principles lieve. I have seen a horse carrying home the of original command was added, for many ages, harvest on a crate. Under his tail was a stick an exclusive right of legal jurisdiction. for a crupper, held at the two ends by twists This multifarious and extensive obligation of straw." Hemp will grow in their islands, and operated with force scarcely credible. Every therefore ropes may be had. If they wanted duty, moral or political, was absorbed in affechemp, they might make better cordage of rushes, tion and adherence to the chief. Not many or perhaps of nettles, than of straw.

years have passed since the clans knew no law Their method of life neither secures them but the laird's will. He told them to whoin perpetual health, nor exposes them to any parti- they should be friends or enemies, what king cular diseases. There are physicians in the they should obey, and what religion they should islands, who, I believe, all practise chirurgery, profess. and all compound their own medicines,

When the Scots first rose in arms against the It is generally supposed, that life is longer in succession of the House of Hanover, Lorat, the places where there are few opportunities of chief of the Frasers, was in exile for a rape. luxury; but I found no instance here of extra- The Frasers were very numerous, and very ordinary longevity. A cottager grows old over zealous against the government. A pardon was his oaten cakes, like a citizen at a turtle feast. sent to Lovat. He came to the English camp, He is indeed seldom incommoded by corpulence. and the clan immediately deserted to him. Poverty preserves him from sinking under the Next in dignity to the laird is the Tacksman; burden of himself, but he escapes no other in a large taker or leaseholder of land, of which jury of time. Instances of long life are often he keeps part as a domain in his own hand, and related, which those who hear them are more lets part to undertenants. The tacksman is willing to credir than examine. To be told that necessarily a man capable of securing to the any man has attained a hundred years, gives laird the whole rent, and is commonly a colla. hupe and comfort to him who stands trembling teral relation. Thesc tacks, or subordinate poson the brink of his own climacteric.

sessions, were long considered as hereditary, Length of life is distributed impartially to and the occupant was distinguished by the name scry different modes of life in very different of the place at which he resided. He held a climates; and the mountains have no greater middle station, by which the highest and the examples of age and health than the low lands, lowest orders were connected. He paid rent where I was introduced 10 two ladies of high and reverence to the laird, and received them quality, one of whom, in her nincty-fourth year, ) from the tenants.

This tenure still subsists,

with its original operation, but not with the the manners, to the advantages and th... TT primitive stability. Since the islanders, no longer of the people, whose life they would model, and content to live, have learned the desire of grow- whose evils they would remedy. ing rich, an ancient dependent is in danger of Nothing is less difficult than to procure cne giving way to a higher bidder, at the expense convenience by the forfeiture of another. of domestic dignity and hereditary power. The soldier may expedite his march by "hrowing stranger, whose money buys him preference, away his arms. "To banish the tacksman is easy, considers himself as paying for all that he has, to make a country plentiful by diminishing the and is indifferent about the laird's honour or people, is an expeditious mode of husbandry; safely. The commodiousness of money is in- but that abundance, which there is nobody to deed great; but there are some advantages enjoy, contributes little to human happiness. which money cannot buy, and which therefore As the mind must govern the hands, so in no wise man will, by the love of money, be every society the man of intelligence must die tempted to forego.

rect the man of labour. If the tacksman be taken I have found in the hither parts of Scotland, away, the Hebrides must in their present stale men, not defective in judgment or general ex- be given up to grossness and ignorance; the perience, who consider the tacksman as a useless tenant, for want of instruction, will be unskilful, burden of the ground, as a drone who lives upon and for want of admonition, will be negligent

. the product of an estate, without the righi of The laird, in these wide estates, which often con property, or the merit of labour, and who im- sist of islands remote from one another, cannot poverishes at once the landlord and the tenant. extend his personal influence to all his tenants; The land, say they, is let to the tacksman at six-and the steward having no dignity annexed to pence an acre, and by him to the tenant at ten- his character, can have little authority, among pence. Let the owner be the immediate land- men taught to pay reverence only to birth, and lord to all the tenants ; if he sets the ground at who regard the lacksman as their hereditary cightpence, he will increase his revenue by a superior; nor can the steward have equal zeal fourth part, and the tenant's burden will be di- for the prosperity of an estate profitable only to minished by a fifth.

the laird, with the tacksman, who has the laird's Those who pursue this train of reasoning, income involved in his own. seen not sufficiently to inquire whither it will The only gentlemen in the islands are the lead them, nor to know that it will equally show lairds, the lacksmen, and the ministers, who frethe propriety of suppressing all wholesale trade, quently improve their livings by becoming firmof shutting up the shops of every man who sells ers. If the tacksmen be banished, who will he what he does not make, and of extruding all left to impart knowledge, or impress civility? whose agency and profit intervene between the The laird must always be at a distance from the manufacturer and the consumer. They may, greater part of his lands; and if he resides at all by stretching their understandings a little wider, upon them, must drag his days in solitude, hav comprehend, that all those who, by undertaking ing no longer either a friend or a companion; he large quantities of manufacture, and affording will therefore depart to some more comfortable employment to many labourers, make them- residence, and leave the tenants to the wisdom selves considered as benefactors to the public, and mercy of a factor. have only been robbing their workmen with one Of tenants there are different orders, as they hand, and their customers with the other. If have greater or less stock. Land is sometimes Crowley ba: sold only what he could make, and leased to a small fellowship, who live in a cluster if his smiths had wrought their own iron with of huts, called a Tenant's Town, and are bound their own hammers, he would have lived on less, jointly and separately for the payment of their and they would have sold their work for more. rent. These, I believe, employ in the care of The salaries of superintendents and clerks would their cattle, and the labour of ullage, a kind of have been partly saved, and partly shared, and tenants yet lower; who having a hut, with grass nails been sometimes cheaper by a farthing in a for a certain number of cows and sheep, pay their hundred. But then if the smithi

' could not have rent by a stipulated quantity of labour. found an immediate purchaser, he must have de- The condition of domestic servants or the serted his anvil; if there had by accident at any price of occasional labour, I do not know with time been more sellers than buyers, the work- | certainty. I was told that the maids have sheep, men must have reduced their profit to nothing, and are allowed to spin for their own clothing; by underselling one another; and as no great perhaps they have no pecuniary wages, or bone stock could have been in any band, no sudden but in very wealthy families. The state of life demand of large quantities could have been an- which has hitherto' been purely pastoral, b: 115 swered, and the builder must have siood still till now to be a little variegated with commerci the nailer could supply him.

but novelties enter by degrees, and till on? mode According to these scheines, universal plenty has fully prevailed over the other, no settled in is to begin and end in universal misery. Hope tion can be formed. and emulation will be utterly extinguished ; and Such is the system of insular subordination, as all must obey the call of immediate necessity, which having little variety, cannot afford much nothing that requires extensive views, or pro- delight in the view, nor long detain the mind in vides for distant consequences, will cver be per- contemplation. The inhabitants were for a long formed.

time perhaps not unhappy; but their contant To the southern inhabitants of Scotland, the was a inuduly mixture of pride and ignorance, an state of the mountains and the islands is equally indifference for pleasures which they did et unknown with that of Borneo or Sumatra; of know, a blinu veneration for their chiens, and a boil they have only heari a liitle, and guess the strong conviction of their own inprance esi. Thy are stras ers to ile linn age and! Their prid: las been crushed by the heavy hand of a vindictive conqueror, whose severities of the islands, and riot without control in cruelty have been followed by lairs, which, though they and waste. It was observed by one of the chiefs cannot be cailed crucl

, have produced much dis- of Sky, that fitty armed men might, without recontent, because they operate upon the surface sistance, ravage the country. Laws that place of life, and make every eye bear witness to sub- the subjects in such a state, contravene the first jection. To be compelled to a new dress, has principles of the compact of authority; they exalways been found painful.

act obedience, and yield no protection. Their chiefs being now deprived of their juris- It affords a generous and manly pleasure to diction, have already lost much of their influence; conceive a little nation gathering its fruits and and as they gradually degenerate from patriar- tending its herds with fearless confidence, though chal rulers to rapacious landlords, they will di- it lies open on every side to invasion, where, in vest themselves of the little that remains. contempt of walls and trenches, every man sleeps

That dignity which they derived from an opi- securely with his sword beside him: where all nion of their military importance, the law, which on the first approach of hostility, came together disarmed them, has abaied. An old gentleman, at the call to battle, as at a summons to a festal deliylesing himself with the recollection of better show; and committing their cattle to the care of days, related, that forty years ago, a chieftain those whom age or nature has disabled, engaged walked out attended by ten or twelve followers the enemy with that competition for hazard and with their arms rattling. That animating rab- for glory, which operate in men that fight under ble has now ceased. The chief has lost his for the eye of those whose dislike or kindness they midable retinue; and the Highlander walks his lave always considered as the greatest evil or henti unarmed and defenceless, with the peace- the greatest good. ful submission of a French peasant, or English This was, in the beginning of the present cottager.

century, the state of the liighlands. Every man Their ignorance grows cvery day less, but was a soldier, who partook of national confidence, their knowledge is yet of little other use than to and interested himself in national honour. Tó show tbem their wants. They are now in the lose this spirit, is to lose what no small advanperiod of education, and feel the uneasiness of tage will compensate. discipline, without yet perceiving the benefit of It may likewise deserve to be inquired, whether instruction.

a great nation ought to be totally commercial ? The last law, by which ihe Highlanders are whether amidst the uncertainty of human affairs, deprived of their arins, lias opcrated with efficacy too much attention to one mode of happiness beyond expectation. Of former statutes made may not endanger others ? whether the pride of with the same design, the execution had been riches must not sometimes have recourse to the feeble, and the effect inconsiderable. Conceal-protection of courage ? and whether, if it be nenient was undoubiedly practised, and perhaps cessary to preserve in some part of the empire often with connivance. There was tenderness the military spirit, it can subsist more commoor partiality on one side, and obstinacy on the diously in any place than in remote and unprofintier. But the law, which followed the victory table provinces, where it can commonly do little of Culloden, found the whole nation dejecred and harm, and whence it may be called forth at any intimidated; informations were given without sudden exigence ? danger and without fear, and the arms were col- It must however be confessed, that a man who lected with such rigour, that every house was places honour only in successful violence, is a despoiled of its defence.

very troublesome and pernicious animal in time To disarm part of the Highlands, could give of peace ; and that the martial character cannot no reasonable occasion of complaint. Every prevail in a whole people, but by the diminution government must be allowed the power of tak- of all other virtues. lle that is accustomed to ing away the weapon that is lifted against it. resolve all right into conquest, will have very But the loyal clans muriaired with some appear- little tenderness or equity. All the friendship in ance of justice, that, afier having defended the such a lite can be only a confederacy of invasion, king, they were forbidden for the future to de- or alliance of defence. The strong must fiourish fend themselves; and that the sword should be by force, and the weak subsist lay stratarem. Corfeited, which' had been legally employed. Till the Highlanders lost their ferocity with Their case is undoubtedly hard, but in political their arms, they sufiered from each other all regulations, good cannot be complete, it can only that malignity could dictate, or precipitance be predominant.

could act. Every provocation was revenged Whether by disarmins a people thus broken with blood, and no man thai veniured into a nuiato several tribes, and thus remoic from the seat merous company, by whatever occasion brought of power, more good than evil has been produced, together, was sure of returning without a wound. unay deserve inquiry. The supreme power in If they are now exposed to foreign hostilities, crery community has the right of debarring every they may talk of the danger, but can seldom feel individual, and every subordinate society, from it

. If they are no longer martial, they are no sell-defence, only becanse the supreme power is longer quarrelsome. wlisery is caused, for the able to defend them; and therefore where the most part, not by a beavy crush of disaster, bul governor cannot act, he must trust the subject to by the corrosion of less visible evils, which can. act for himself. These islands wight he wasted ker enjoyment, and undermine security. The with dicitud sword before their sovereign would visit of an invader is necessarily rare, but do. know their distritos, A gany of robiers, such mestic animosites allow no c'e: cation. aj hai bien latey found confederating them- The abolition of the leal jurisdictions, which selves in the ligulunds, might lay a wide region had for so many ages been exercised by the per contribution. The crew ol a petiy priva- chiets, has likewise its evil and its cod. The Los might land on the largest and most wenithyl teudal constitution naturully dinused itself into long ramifications of subordinate authority.- to obtain the consent of others to our gratifica. To this general temper of the government was tion. Power, simply considered, whatever it added the peculiar form of the country, broken confers on one, must take from another. Wealth by mountains into many subdivisions scarcely enables its owner to give to others, by taking accessible but to the natives, and guarded by only from himself. Power pleases the violent passes, or perplexed with intricacies, through and proud: wealth delights the placid and the which national justice could not find its way. timorous. Youth therefore flies at power, and

The power of deciding controversies, and of age grovels after riches. punishing offences, as some such power there The chiefs, divested of their prerogatives, ne. must always be, was intrusted to the lairds of cessarily turn their thoughts to the improve. the country, to those whom the people consi- ment of their revenues, and expect more rent, dered as their natural judges. It cannot be as they have less homage. The tenant, who is supposed that a rugged proprietor of the rocks, far from perceiving that his condition is made unprincipled and unenlightened, was a nice re- better in the same proportion as that of his landsolver of entangled claims, or very exact in pro-lord is made worse, does not immediately see portioning punishment to offences. But the why his industry is to be taxed more heavily more he indulged his own will, the more he held than before. He refuses to pay the demand, his vassals in dependence. Prudence and inno- and is ejected; the ground is then let to a stran. cence, without the favour of the chief, conferred ger, who perhaps brings a larger stock, but who no security; and crimes involved no danger, taking the land at its full price, treats with the when the judge was resolute to acquit. laird upon equal terms, and considers him not

When the chiefs were men of knowledge and as a chief, but as a trafficker in land. Thus virtue, the convenience of a domestic judica- the estate perhaps is improved, but the clan is ture was great. No long journeys were neces- broken. sary, nor artificial delays could be practised; It seems to be the general opinion, that the the character, the alliances, and interests of the rents have been raised with too much eagerness. litigants were known to the court, and all false Some regard must be paid to prejudice. Those pretences were easily detected. The sentence, who have hitherto paid but little, will not sudwhen it was past, could not be evaded; the denly be persuaded to pay much, though they can power of the laird superseded formalities, and afford it." As ground is gradually improved, and justice could not be defeated by interest or stra- the value of money decreases, the rent may be tagem.

raised without any diminution of the farmer's I doubt not but that since the regular judges profits; yet it is necessary in these countries, have made their circuits through the whole where the ejection of a tenant is a greater evil country, right has been every where more wisely than in more populous places, to consider noi and more equally distributed; the complaint is, merely what the land will produce, but with that litigation is grown troublesome, and that what ability the inhabitant can cultivate it. A the magistrates are too few, and therefore often certain stock can allow but a certain payment; too remote for general convenience.

for if the land be doubled, and the stock remains Many of the smaller islands have no legal the same, the tenant becomes no richer. Th. officer within them. I once asked, if a crime proprietors of the Highlands might perhaps should be committed, by what authority the of- often increase their income, by subdividing the fender could be seized ? and was told, that the farms, and allotting to every occupier only so laird would exert his right; a right which he many acres as he can profitably employ, but that must now usurp, but which surely necessity they want people. must vindicate, and which is therefore yet exer- There seems now, whatever be the cause, to cised in lower degrees, hy some of the proprie- be through a great part of the Highlands a genetors, when legal processes cannot be obtained. ral discontent. That adherence which was latly

In all greater questions, however, there is now professed by every man to the chief of his name, happily an end to all fear or hope from malice has now little prevalence; and he that cannoi or from favour. The roads are secure in those live as he desires at home, listens to the tale of places, through which, forty years ago, no tra- fortunate islands, and happy regions, where veller could pass without a convoy. All trials every man may have land of his own, and cat of right by the sword are forgotten, and the mean the product of his labour without a superior. are in as little danger from the powerful as in Those who have obtained grants of American other places. No scheme of policy has, in any lands, have, as is well known, invited settles country, yet brought the rich and poor on equal from all quarters of the globe; and among other terms into courts of judicature. "Perhaps ex- places, where oppression might produce a wish perience, improving on experience, may in time for new habitations, their emissaries would not effect it.

fail to try their persuasions in the isles of Scot Those who have long enjoyed dignity and land, where at the time when the clans were power, ought not to lose it without some equiva- newly disunited from their chiefs, and eras. lent. There was paid to the chiefs by the pub- perated by unprecedented exactions, it is no lic, in exchange for their privileges, perhaps wonder that they prevailed. a sum greater than most of ihem had ever pos- Whether the mischiefs of emigration were im. sessed, which excited a thirst for riches, of which mediately perceived, may be justly questioned. it showed them the use. When the power of They who went first, were probably such as birth and station ceases, no hope remains but could best be spared; but the accounts sent by from the prevalence of money. Power and the earliest adventurers, whether true or false, wealth supply the place of each other. Power inclined many to follow them; and whole neigh. confers the ability of gratifying our desire with-bourhoods formed parties for removal; so that out the consent of others. Wealth enables us departure from their native country is no longer

« ZurückWeiter »