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exile. He that goes thus accompanied, carries | the restitution of their arms will reconcile them with him all that makes life pleasant. He sits to their country, let them have again those down in a better climate, surrounded by his weapons, which will not be more mischievous at kindred and his friends: they carry with them home than in the colonies. That they may not their language, their opinions, their popular fly from the increase of rent, I know not whe songs, and hereditary merriment; they change ther the general good does not require that the nothing but the place of their abode; and of that landlords be, for a time, restrained in their de change they perceive the benefit. mands, and kept quiet by pensions proportionate to their loss.
This is the real effect of emigration, if those that go away together settle on the same spot, and preserve their ancient union. Put some relate that these adventurous visitants of unknown regions, after a voyage passed in dreams of plenty and felicity, are dispersed at last upon a sylvan wilderness, where their first years must be spent in toil to clear the ground which is afterwards to be tilled, and that the whole effect of their undertaking is only more fatigue and equal scarcity.
Both accounts may be suspected. Those who are gone, will endeavour by every art to draw others after them; for as their numbers are greater, thay will provide better for themselves. When Nova Scotia was first peopled, I remember a letter, published under the character of a New Planter, who related how much the climate put him in mind of Italy. Such intelligence the Hebridians probably receive from their transmarine correspondents. But with equal temptations of interest, and perhaps with no greater niceness of veracity, the owners of the islands spread stories of American hardships to keep their people content at home.
Some method to stop this epidemic desire of wandering, which spreads its contagion from valley to valley, deserves to be sought with great diligence. In more fruitful countries, the removal of one only makes room for the succession of another; but in the Hebrides, the loss of an inhabitant leaves a lasting vacuity; for nobody born in any other part of the world will choose this country for his residence; and an island once depopulated will remain a desert, as long as the present facility of travel gives every one, who is discontented and unsettled, the choice of his abode.
Let it be inquired, whether the first intention of those who are fluttering on the wing, and collecting a flock that they may take their flight, be to attain good or avoid evil? If they are dissatisfied with that part of the globe which their birth has allotted them, and resolve not to live without the pleasures of happier climates; if they long for bright suns, and calm skies, and flowery fields, and fragrant gardens, I know not by what eloquence they can be persuaded, or by what offers they can be hired to stay.
But if they are driven from their native country by positive evils, and disgusted by ill treatment, real or imaginary, it were fit to remove their grievances, and quiet their resentment; since, if they have been hitherto undutiful subjects, they will not much mend their principles by American conversation.
To hinder insurrection by driving away the people, and to govern peaceably by having no subjects, is an expedient that argues no great profundity of politics. To soften the obdurate, to convince the mistaken, to mollify the resentful, are worthy of a statesman; but it affords a legislator little self-applause to consider, that where there was formerly an insurrection, there is now a wilderness.
It has been a question often agitated, without solution, why those northern regions are now so thinly peopled, which formerly overwhelmed with their armies the Roman empire? The question supposes what I believe is not true, that they had once more inhabitants than they could maintain, and overflowed only because they were full.
This is to estimate the manners of all countries and ages by our own. Migration, while the state of life was unsettled, and there was little communication of intelligence between distant places, was among the wilder nations of Europe capricious and casual. An adventurous projector heard of a fertile coast unoccupied, and led out a colony; a chief of renown for bravery called the young men together, and led them out to try what fortune would present. When Cæsar was in Gaul, he found the Helvetians preparing to go they knew not whither, and put a stop to their motions. They settled again in their own country, where they were so far from wanting room, that they had accumulated three years' provision for their march.
The religion of the north was military; it they could not find enemies, it was their duty to make them: they travelled in quest of danger, and willingly took the chance of empire or death. If their troops were numerous, the countries from which they were collected are of vast extent, and without much exuberance of people, great armies may be raised where every man is a soldier. But their true numbers were never known. Those who were conquered by them are their historians, and shame may have excited them to say, that they were overwhelmed with multitudes. To count is a modern practice, the ancient method was to guess; and when numbers are guessed, they are always magnified.
Thus England has for several years been filled with the achievements of seventy thou sand Highlanders employed in America. 1 have heard from an English officer, not much inclined to favour them, that their behaviour deserved a very high degree of military praise; but their number has been much exaggerated. To allure them into the army, it was thought One of the ministers told me, that seventy thouproper to indulge them in the continuance of sand men could not have been found in all the their national dress. If this concession could Highlands, and that more than twelve thousand have any effect, it might easily be made. That never took the field. Those that went to the dissimilitude of appearance, which was supposed American war, went to destruction. Of the old to keep them distinct from the rest of the nation, Highland regiment, consisting of twelve hun. might disincline them from coalescing with the dred, only seventy-six survived to see their Pennsylvanians, or people of Connecticut. If country again.
filled. With want of cleanliness it were ingratitude to reproach them. The servants having been bred upon the naked earth, think every floor clean, and the quick succession of guests, perhaps not always over-elegant, does not allow much time for adjusting their apartments.
The Gothic swarms have at least been mul- purchase, the rooms are very heterogeneously tiplied with equal liberality. That they bore no great proportion to the inhabitants in whose countries they settled, is plain from the paucity of northern words now found in the provincial languages. Their country was not deserted for want of room, because it was covered with forests of vast extent; and the first effect of plenitude of inhabitants is the destruction of wood. As the Europeans spread over America, the lands are gradually laid naked.
I would not be understood to say, that necessity had never any part in their expeditions. A nation whose agriculture is scanty or unskilful, may be driven out by famine. A nation of hunters may have exhausted their game. I only affirm that the northern regions were not, when their irruptions subdued the Romans, overpeopled with regard to their real extent of territory, and power of fertility. In a country fully inhabited, however afterwards laid waste, evident marks will remain of its former populousness. But of Scandinavia and Germany, nothing is known but that as we trace their state upwards into antiquity, their woods were greater, and their cultivated ground was less.
Huts are of many gradations; from murky dens to commodious dwellings.
The wall of a common hut is always built without mortar, by a skilful adaption of loose stones. Sometimes perhaps a double wall of stones is raised, and an intermediate space filled with earth. The air is thus completely excluded. Some walls are, I think, formed of turfs, held together by a wattle, or texture of twigs. Of the meanest huts the first room is lighted by the entrance, and the second by the smoke hole. The fire is usually made in the middle. there are huts or dwellings of only one story inhabited by gentlemen, which have walls cemented with mortar, glass windows, and boarded floors. Of these all have chimneys, and some chimneys have grates.
The house and the furniture are not always nicely suited. We were driven once by missing a passage, to the hut of a gentleman, where, after a very liberal supper, when I was conducted to my chamber, I found an elegant bed of Indian cotton, spread with fine sheets. The accommodation was flattering; I undressed myself, and felt my feet in the mire. The bed stood upon the bare earth, which a long course of rain had softened to a puddle.
That causes very different from want of room may produce a general disposition to seek another country is apparent from the present conduct of the Highlanders, who are in some places ready to threaten a total secession. The numbers which have already gone, though like other numbers they may be magnified, are very great, and such as if they had gone together and agreed upon any certain settlement, might have founded In pastoral countries, the condition of the an independent government in the depths of the lowest rank of people is sufficiently wretched. western continent. Nor are they only the low- Among manufacturers, men that have no proest and most indigent; many men of consider-perty may have art and industry, which make able wealth have taken with them their train of labourers and dependants: and if they continue the feudal scheme of polity, may establish new clans in the other hemisphere.
That the immediate motives of their desertion must be imputed to their landlords, may be reasonably concluded, because some lairds of more prudence and less rapacity have kept their vassals undiminished. From Raasay only one man had been seduced, and at Col, there was no wish to go away.
The traveller who comes hither from more opulent countries, to speculate upon the remains of pastoral life, will not much wonder that a common Highlander has no strong adherence to his native soil; for of animal enjoyments, or of physical good, he leaves nothing that he may not find again wheresoever he may be thrown.
them necessary, and therefore valuable. But where flocks and corn are the only wealth, there are always more hands than work, and of that work there is little in which skill and dexterity can be much distinguished. He therefore who is born poor, never can be rich. The son merely occupies the place of the father, and life knows nothing of progression or advancement.
The petty tenants, and labouring peasants, live in miserable cabins, which afford them little more than shelter from the storms. The boor of Norway is said to make all his own utensils. In the Hebrides, whatever might be their ingenuity, the want of wood leaves them no materials. They are probably content with such ac commodations as stones of different forms and sizes can afford them.
Their food is not better than their lodging. The habitations of men in the Hebrides may They seldom taste the flesh of land-animals; be distinguished into huts and houses. By a for here are no markets. What each man eats house, I mean a building with one story over is from his own stock. The great effect of another by a hut a dwelling with only one money is to break property into small parts. In floor. The laird who formerly lived in a castle, towns, he that has a shilling may have a piece now lives in a house; sometimes sufficiently of meat; but where there is no commerce, no neat, but seldom very spacious or splendid. The man can eat mutton but by killing a sheep. tacksmen and the ministers have commonly Fish in fair weather they need not want; but, houses. Wherever there is a house, the stranger I believe, man never lives long on fish, but by finds a welcome, and to the other evils of exter-constraint: he will rather feed upon roots and minating tacksmen, may be added the unavoid-berries. able cessation of hospitality, or the devolution The only fuel of the islands is peat. Their of too heavy a burden on the ministers.
Of the houses little can be said. They are snall, and by the necessity of accumulating stores, where there are so few opportunities of
wood is all consumed, and coal they have not yet found. Peat is dug out of the marshes, from the depth of one foot to that of six. That is accounted the best which is nearest the sur
face. It appears to be a mass of black earth held together by vegetable fibres. I know not whether the earth be bituminous, or whether the fibres be not the only combustible part; which, by heating the interposed earth red-hot, make a burning mass. The heat is not very strong or lasting. The ashes are yellowish, and in a large quantity. When they dig peat, they cut it into square pieces, and pile it up to dry beside the house. In some places it has an offensive smell. It is like wood charred for the smith. The common method of making peat fires is by heaping it on the hearth; but it burns well in grates, and in the best houses is so used.
The common opinion is, that peat grows again where it has been cut; which, as it seems to be chiefly a vegetable substance, is not unlikely to be true, whether known or not to those who relate it.
There are watermills in Sky and Raasay: but where they are too far distant, the housewives grind their oats with a quern, or handrail, which consists of two stones, about a foot and a half in diameter; the lower is a little convex, to which the concavity of the upper must be fitted. In the middle of the upper stone is a round hole, and on one side is a long handle. The grinder sheds the corn gradually into the hole with one hand, and works the handle round with the other. The corn slides down the convexity of the lower stone, and by the motion of the upper is ground in its passage. These stones are found in Lochabar.
The islands afford few pleasures, except to the hardy sportsman, who can tread the moor and climb the mountain. The distance of one family from another, in a country where travelling has so much difficulty, makes frequent intercourse impracticable. Visits last several days, and are commonly paid by water; yet I never saw a boat furnished with benches, or made commodious by any addition to the first fabric. Conveniences are not missed where they never were enjoyed.
The solace which the bagpipe can give, they have long enjoyed; but among other changes, which the last revolution introduced, the use of the bagpipe begins to be forgotten. Some of the chief families still entertain a piper, whose office was anciently hereditary. Macrimmon was piper to Macleod, and Rankin to Maclean of Col.
The tunes of the bagpipe are traditional. There has been in Sky, beyond all time of memory, a college of pipers, under the direction of Macrimmon, which is not quite extinct. There was another in Mull, superintended by Rankin, which expired about sixteen years ago. To these colleges, while the pipe retained its honour, the students of music repaired for education. I have had my dinner exhilarated by the bagpipe, at Armidale, at Dunvegan, and in Col.
of another world, and then thinks it peculiar that they take their turn to inquire whence he comes, and whither he is going.
The islands were long unfurnished with instruction for youth, and none but the sons of gentlemen could have any literature. There are now parochial schools, to which the lord of every manor pays a certain stipend. Here the children are taught to read; but by the rule of their institution they teach only English, so that the natives read a language which they may never use or understand. If a parish, which often happens, contains several islands, the school being but in one, cannot assist the rest. This is the state of Col, which, however, is more enlightened than some other places; for the deficiency is supplied by a young gentleman, who, for his own improvement, travels every year on foot over the Highlands to the session of Aberdeen: and at his return, during the vacation, teaches to read and write in his native island.
In Sky there are two grammar-schools, where boarders are taken to be regularly educated. The price of board is from three pounds to four pounds ten shillings a year, and that of instruction is half-a-crown a quarter. But the scholars are birds of passage, who live at school only in the summer; for in winter provisions cannot be made for any considerable number in one place. This periodical dispersion impresses strongly the scarcity of these countries.
Having heard of no boarding-school for ladies nearer than Inverness, I suppose their education is generally domestic. The elder daughters of the higher families are sent into the world, and may contribute by their acquisitions to the im provement of the rest.
Women must here study to be either pleasing or useful. Their deficiencies are seldom suppli ed by very liberal fortunes. A hundred pounds is a portion beyond the hope of any but the laird's daughter. They do not indeed often give money with their daughters; the question is, How many cows a young lady will bring her husband? Ă rich maiden has from ten to forty; but two cows are a decent fortune for one who pretends to no distinction.
The religion of the islands is that of the kirk of Scotland. The gentlemen with whom I conversed are all inclined to the English liturgy but they are obliged to maintain the established minister, and the country is too poor to afford payment to another, who must live wholly on the contribution of his audience.
They therefore all attend the worship of the kirk, as often as a visit from their minister, or the practicability of travelling, gives them opportunity; nor have they any reason to complain of insufficient pastors; for I saw not one in the islands, whom I had reason to think either deficient in learning, or irregular in life; but found several with whom I could not converse without wishing, as my respect increased, that they had
The general conversation of the islanders has nothing particular. I did not meet with the inquisitiveness of which I have read, and sus-not been presbyterians. pect the judgment to have been rashly made. A stranger of curiosity comes into a place where a stranger is seldom seen: he importunes the people with questions, of which they cannot guess the motive, and gazes with surprise on things which they, having had them always before their eyes, do not suspect of any thing wonderful He appears to them like some being
The ancient rigour of puritanism is now very much relaxed, though all are not yet equally enlightened. I sometimes met with prejudices sufficiently malignant, but they were prejudices of ignorance. The ministers in the islands had attained such knowledge as may justly be admired in men who have no motive to study but generous curiosity, or what is still better, desire
of usefulness; with such politeness as so narrow
work. They now pay him no wages, and are content to labour for themselves.
In Troda, within these three-and-thirty years, milk was put every Saturday for Greogach, or the Old Man with the Long Beard. Whether Greogach was courted as kind, or dreaded as terrible, whether they meant, by giving him the milk, to obtain good or avert evil, I was not informed. The minister is now living by whom the practice was abolished.
They have still among them a great number of charms for the cure of different diseases; they are all invocations, perhaps transmitted to them from the times of popery, which increasing knowledge will bring into disuse.
The principle upon which extemporary prayer was originally introduced, is no longer admitted. The minister formerly, in the effusion of his prayer, expected immediate, and perhaps per- They have opinions which cannot be ranked ceptible inspiration, and therefore thought it his with superstition, because they regard only naduty not to think before what he should say. It tural effects. They expect better crops of grain is now universally confessed, that men pray as by sowing their seed in the moon's increase they speak on other occasions, according to the The moon has great influence in vulgar philosogeneral measure of their abilities and attain-phy. In my memory it was a precept annually ments. Whatever each may think of a form prescribed by another, he cannot but believe that he can himself compose by study and meditation, a better prayer than will rise in his mind at a sudden call; and if he has any hope of supernatural help, why may he not as well receive it when he writes as when he speaks?
In the variety of mental powers, some must perform extemporary prayer with much imperfection; and in the eagerness and rashness of contradictory opinions, if public liturgy be left to the private judgment of every minister, the congregation may often be offended or misled.
There is in Scotland, as among ourselves, a restless suspicion of popish machinations, and a clamour of numerous converts to the Romish religion. The report is, I believe, in both parts of the island equally false. The Romish religion is professed only in Egg and Canna, two small islands, into which the reformation never made its way. If any missionaries are busy in the Highlands, their zeal entitles them to respect, even from those who cannot think favourably of their doctrine.
given in one of the English almanacs, "to kill hogs when the moon was increasing, and the bacon would prove the better in boiling."
We should have had little claim to the praise of curiosity, if we had not endeavoured with particular attention to examine the question of the Second Sight. Of an opinion received for centuries by a whole nation, and supposed to be confirmed through its whole descent by a series of successive facts, it is desirable that the truth should be established or the fallacy detected.
The Second Sight is an impression made either by the mind upon the eye, or by the eye upon the mind, by which things distant or future are perceived, and seen as if they were present. A man on a journey far from home falls from his horse; another, who is perhaps at work about the house, sees him bleeding on the ground, commonly with a landscape of the place where the accident befalls him. Another scer driving home his cattle, or wandering in idleness, or musing in the sunshine, is suddenly surprised by the appearance of a bridal ceremony, or funeral procession, and counts the mourners or attendants, The political tenets of the islanders I was not of whom, if he knows them, he relates the names, curious to investigate, and they were not eager if he knows them not, he can describe the dresses. to obtrude. Their conversation is decent and Things distant are seen at the instant when they inoffensive. They disdain to drink for their prin-happen. Of things future I know not that there ciples, and there is no disaffection at their tables. I never heard a health offered by a Highlander that might not have circulated with propriety within the precincts of the king's palace.
Legal government has yet something of novelty to which they cannot perfectly conform. The ancient spirit that appealed only to the sword, is yet among them. The tenant of Scalpa, an island belonging to Macdonald, took no care to bring his rent; when the landlord talked of exacting payment, he declared his resolution to keep his ground, and drive all intruders from the island, and continued to feed his cattle as on his own land, till it became necessary for the sheriff to dislodge him by violence.
is any rule for determining the time between the sight and the event.
This receptive faculty, for power it cannot be called, is neither voluntary nor constant. The appearances have no dependence upon choice: they cannot be summoned, detained, or recalled. The impression is sudden, and the effect often painfnl.
By the term Second Sight, seems to be meant a mode of seeing, superadded to that which na ture generally bestows. In the Erse it is called Taish; which signifies likewise a spectre, or a vision. I know not, nor is it likely that the Highlanders ever examined, whether by Taish used for Second Sight, they mean the power of
The various kinds of superstition which pre-seeing, or the thing seen. vailed here, as in all other regions of ignorance, I do not find it to be true, as it is reported, are by the diligence of the ministers almost exterminated.
Of Browny, mentioned by Martin, nothing has been heard for many years. Browny was a sturdy fairy; who, if he was fed, and kindly treated, would, as they said, do a great deal of
that to the Second Sight nothing is presented but phantoms of evil. Good seems to have the same proportion in those visionary scenes as it obtains in real life: almost all remarkable events have evil for their basis; and are either miseries incurred, or miseries escaped. Our sense is so
much stronger of what we suffer than of what | to have any part. Those who profess to feel it, we enjoy, that the ideas of pain predominate in do not boast of it as a privilege, nor are consialmost every mind. What is recollection but a dered by others as advantageously distinguished. revival of vexations, or history but a record of They have no temptation to feign; and their wars, treasons, and calamities? Death, which hearers have no motive to encourage their imis considered as the greatest evil, happens to all. posture. The greatest good, be it what it will, is the lot but of a part.
That they should often see death, is to be expected; because death is an event frequent and important. But they see likewise more pleasing incidents. A gentleman told me, that when he had once gone far from his own island, one of his labouring servants predicted his return, and described the livery of his attendant, which he had never worn at home; and which had been, without any previous design, occasionally given him.
Our desire of information was keen, and our inquiry frequent. Mr. Boswell's frankness and gayety made every body communicative, and we heard many tales of these airy shows, with more or less evidence and distinctness.
It is the common talk of the Lowland Scots, that the notion of the Second Sight is wearing away with other superstitions: and that its reality is no longer supposed but by the grossest people. How far its prevalence ever extended, or what ground it has lost, I know not. The islanders of all degrees, whether of rank or understanding, universally admit it, except the ministers, who universally deny it, and are suspected to deny it, in consequence of a system, against conviction. One of them honestly told me, that he came to Sky with the resolution not to believe it.
Strong reasons for incredulity will readily occur. This faculty of seeing things out of sight is local, and commonly useless. It is a breach of the common order of things, without any visible reason or perceptible benefit. It is ascribed only to a people very little enlightened; and among them, for the most part, to the mean and ignorant.
To talk with any of these seers is not easy. There is one living in Sky, with whom we would have gladly conversed; but he was very gross and ignorant, and knew no English. The proportion in these countries of the poor to the rich is such, that if we suppose the quality to be accidental, it can very rarely happen to a man of education; and yet on such men it has sometimes fallen. There is now a second-sighted gentleman in the Highlands, who complains of the terrors to which he is exposed.
The foresight of the seers is not always prescience: they are impressed with images, of which the event only shows them the meaning. They tell what they have seen to others, who are at that time not more known than themselves, but may become at last very adequate witnesses by comparing the narrative with its verification.
To collect sufficient testimonies for the satisfaction of the public, or of ourselves, would have required more time than we could bestow. There is, against it, the seeming analogy of things confusedly seen, and little understood; and for it, the indistinct cry of national persuasion, which may be perhaps resolved at last into prejudice and tradition. I never could advance my curio sity to conviction; but came away at last only willing to believe.
As there subsists no longer in the islands much of that peculiar and discriminative form of life, of which the idea had delighted our imagination, we were willing to listen to such accounts of past times as would be given us. But we soon found what memorials were to be expected from an illiterate people, whose whole time is a series of distress; where every morning is labouring with expedients for the evening: and where all mental pains or pleasures arose from the dread of winter, the expectation of spring, the caprices of their chiefs, and the motions of the neighbour ing clans; where there was neither shame from ignorance, nor pride in knowledge; neither cu riosity to inquire, nor vanity to communicate.
To the confidence of these objections it may be replied, that by presuming to determine what is fit, and what is beneficial, they presuppose more knowledge of the universal system than man has attained; and therefore depend upon principles too complicated and extensive for our The chiefs indeed were exempt from urgent comprehension; and there can be no security in penury and daily difficulties; and in their houses the consequence, when the premises are not un- were preserved what accounts remained of past derstood; that the Second Sight is only wonder- ages. But the chiefs were sometimes ignorant ful because it is rare, for, considered in itself, it and careless, and sometimes kept busy by turbuinvolves no more difficulty than dreams, or per- lence and contention; and one generation of ighaps than the regular exercise of the cogitative norance effaces the whole series of unwritten faculty; that a general opinion of communica-history. Books are faithful repositories, which tive impulses, or visionary representations, has may be for a while neglected or forgotten; but prevailed in all ages and all nations; that particular instances have been given with such evidence as neither Bacon nor Boyle has been able to resist; that sudden impressions, which the event has verified, have been felt by more than own or publish them; that the Second Sight of the Hebrides implies only the local frequency of a power which is no where totally unknown; and that where we are unable to decide by antecedent reason we must be content to yield to the force of testimony.
By pretension to Second Sight, no profit was ever sought or gained. It is an involuntary affection, in which neither hope nor fear are known
when they are opened again, will again impart their instruction: memory, once interrupted, is not to be recalled. Written learning is a fixed luminary, which, after the cloud that had hidden it has passed away, is again bright in its proper station. Tradition is but a meteor, which, if once it falls, cannot be rekindled.
It seems to be universally supposed, that much of the local history was preserved by the bards, of whom one is said to have been retained by every great family. After these bards were some of my first inquiries; and I received such answers as, for a while, made me please myself with my increase of knowledge; for I had not