« ElőzőTovább »
lord to all the tenants; if he sets the ground at rect the man of iabour. If the tacksman be eightpence, he will increase his revenue by a taken away, the Hebrides must in their present fourth part, and the tenant's burden will be di- state be given up to grossness and ignorafice; minished by a fifth.
the tenant, for want of instruction, will be unThose who pursue this train of reasoning, skilful, and for want of admonition, will be peseem not sufficiently to inquire whither it will gligent. The laird, in these wide estates, which lead them, nor to know that it will equally show often consist of islands remote from one another, the propriety of suppressing all wholesale trade, cannot extend his personal influence to all his of shutting up the shops of every man who sells tenants; and the steward having no dignity anwhat he does not make, and of extruding all nexed to bis character, can have little authority whose agency and profit intervene between the among men taught to pay reverence only to manufacturer and the consumer. They may, birth, and who regard the tacksman as their by stretching their understandings a little wider, hereditary superior; nor can the steward have comprehend, that all those who, by undertaking equal zeal for the prosperity of an estate profitlarge quantities of manufacture, and affording able only to the laird, with the tacksman, who employment to many labourers, make themselves has the laird's income involved in bis own. considered as benefactors to the public, have
The only gentlemen in the islands are the only been robbing their workmen with one hand, lairds, the tacksmen, and the ministers, who freand their customers with the other. If Crowley quently improve their livings by becoming had sold only what he could make, and all his farmers. If the tacksmen be banished, who smiths had wrought their own iron with their will be left to impart knowledge, or impress civiown hammers, he would have lived on less, and lity? The laird must always be at a distance they would have sold their work for more. The from the greater part of his lands; and if he salaries of superintendents and clerks would resides at all upon them, must drag his days in have been partly saved, and partly shared, and solitude, having no longer either a friend or a nails been sometimes cheaper by a farthing in a companion; he will therefore depart to some hundred. But then if the smith could not have
more comfortable residence, and leave the tenfound an immediate purchaser, he must have ants to the wisdom and mercy of a factor. deserted bis anvil ; if there hadd by accident at
Of tenants there are different orders, as they any time been more sellers than buyers, the have greater or less stock. Land is sometimes workmen must have reduced their profit to no
leased to a small fellowship, who live in a clusthing, by underselling one another ; and as no
ter of huts, called a Tenant's Town, and are great stock could have been in any band, no bound jointly and separately for the payment of a sudden demand of large quantities could have their rent. These, I believe, employ in the care
been answered, and the builder must have stood of their cattle, and the labour of tillage, a kind still till the nailer could supply him.
of tenants yet lower; who having a but, with According to these schemes, universal plenty grass for a certain number of cows and sheep, is to begin and end in universal misery. Hope pay their rent by a stipulated quantity of laand emulation will be utterly extinguished ; and bour. as all must obey the call of immediate necessity,
The condition of domestic servants or the nothing that requires extensive viows, or pro- price of occasional labour, I do not know with vides for distant consequences, will ever be per
certainty. I was told that the maids have go formed.
sheep, and are allowed to spin for their own To the southern inhabitants of Scotland, the clothing ; perbaps they have no pecuniary wages, state of the mountains and the islands is equally or none but in very wealthy families. The state rad unknown with that of Borneo or Sumatra ; of of life which has hitherto been purely pastoral,
both they have only heard a little, and guess the begins now to be a little variegated with comSpintrest. They are strangers to the language and merce; but novelties enter by degrees, and till
the manners, to the advantages and the wants one mode has fully prevailed over the other, no of the people, whose life they would model, and settled notion can be formed. whose evils they would remedy.
Such is the system of insular subordination, Nothing is less difficult than to procure one
wbich having little variety, cannot afford uiuch of convenience by the forfeiture of another, A delight in the view, nor long detain the mind in r soldier may expedite his march by throwing contemplation.
The inbabitants were for a away his arms. To banish the tacksman is long time perbaps not unhappy; but their concasy, to make a country plentiful by diminishing tent was a muddy mixture of pride and ignore the people, is an expeditious mode of husban- ance, an indifference for pleasures which they
dry; but that abundance, which there is no did not know, a blind veneration for their chiefs, 1 body to enjoy, contributes little to human hap- and a strong conviction of their own importpiness.
As the mind must govern the hands, so in Their pride has been crushed by the heavy every society the man of intelligence must di- hand of a vindictive conqueror, whose severitics
bave been followed by laws, which, though they | soclety, from self-defence, only because the sucannot be called cruel, have produced much dis-preme power is able to defend them; and therecontent, because they operate upon the surface fore where the governor cannot act, he must of life, and make every eye bear witness to sub- trust the subject to act for himself. These jection. To be compelled to a new dress, has islands might be wasted with fire and sword bealways been found painful.
fore their sovereign would know their distress. Their chiefs being now deprived of their ju- A gang of robbers, such as has been lately found risdiction, have already lost much of their in- confederating themselves in the Highlands, Auence; and as they gradually degenerate from might lay a wide region under contribution. patriarchal rulers to rapacious landlords, they The crew of a petty privateer might land on will divest themselves of the little that remains. the largest and most wealthy of the islands, and
That dignity which they derived from an opi- riot without control in cruelty and waste. It nion of their military importance, the law, was observed by one of the chiefs of Sky, that which disarmed them, has abated. An old gen-fifty armed men might, without resistance, ravtleman, delighting himself with the recollection age the country. Laws that place the subjecte of better days, related, that forty years ago, a in such a state, contravene the first principles of chieftain walked out attended by ten or twelve the compact of authority; they exact obedience, followers with their arms rattling. That ani- and yield no protection. mating rabble has now ceased. The chief has It affords a generous and manly pleasure to lost his formidable retinue ; and the Highlander conceive a little nation gathering its fruits and walks his heath unarmed and defenceless, with tending its berds with fearless confidence, the peaceful submission of a French peasant, or though it lies open on every side to invasion, English cottager.
where, in contempt of walls and trenches, every Their ignorance grows every day less, but man sleeps securely with his sword beside him : their knowledge is yet of little other use than where all on the first approach of hostility, came to show them their wants. They are now in together at the call to battle, as at a summons the period of education, and feel the uneasiness to a festal show; and committing their cattle to of discipline, without yet perceiving the benefit the care of those whom age or nature has disof instruction.
abled, engaged the enemy with that competition The last law, by which the Highlanders are for hazard and for glory, which operate in men deprived of their arms, has operated with effi- that fight under the eye of those whose dislike cacy beyond expectation. Of former statutes or kindness they have always considered as the made with the same design, the execution had greatest evil or the greatest good. been feeble, and the effect inconsiderable. Con. This was, in the beginning of the present cealment was undoubtedly practised, and per- century, the state of the Highlands. Every haps often with connivance. There was tender- man was a soldier, who partook of national conness or partiality on one side, and obstinacy on fidence, and interested himself in national hothe other. But the law, which followed the nour. To lose this spirit, is to lose what no victory of Culloden, found the whole nation small advantage will compensate. dejected and intimidated; informations were It may likewise deserve to be inquired, whegiven without danger and without fear, and the ther a great nation ought to be totally commerarms were collected with such rigour, that eve- cial? whether amidst the uncertainty of human ry house was despoiled of its defence.
affairs, too much attention to one mode of dupe To disarm part of the Highlands, could give piness may not endanger others? whether the no reasonable occasion of complaint. Every pride of riches must not sometimes have regovernment must be allowed the power of taking course to the protection of courage ? and wheaway the weapon that is lifted against it. But ther, if it be necessary to preserve in some part the loyal clans murmured with some appearance of the empire the military spirit, it can subsist of justice, that, after baving defended the king, more commodiously in any place, than in remoto they were forbidden for the future to defend and unprofitable provinces, where it can comthemselves; and that the sword should be for- monly do little harm, and whence it may be feited, which had been legally employed. Their called forth at any sudden exigence ? case is undoubtedly hard, but in political regu- It must however be confessed, that a man lations, good cannot be complete, it can only be who places honour only in successful violence, predominant.
is a very troublesome and pernicious animal in Whether by disarming a people thus broken time of peace; and that the martial character into several tribes, and thus remote from the cannot prevail in a whole people, but by the discat of power, more good than evil has been minution of all other virtues. He that is acproduced, may deserve inquiry. The supreme customed to resolve all right into conquest, will power in every community has the right of de- bave very little tenderness or equity. All the barring every individual, and every subordinate friendship in such a life can be only a confede
racy of invasion, or alliance of defence. The the magistrates are too few, and therefore often strong must flourish by force, and the weak sub- too remote for general convenience. sist by stratagem.
Many of the smaller islands have no legal ofTill the Highlanders lost their ferocity with ficer within them. I once asked, if a crime their arms, they suffered from each other all should be committed, by what authority the of. that malignity could dictate, or precipitance fender could be seized ? and was told, that the could act. Every provocation was revenged laird would exert his right; a right which he with blood, and no man that ventured into a must now usurp, but which surely necessity numerous company, by whatever occasion must vindicate, and which is therefore yet exerbrought together, was sure of returning without cised in lower degrees, by some of the propriea wound. If they are now exposed to foreign tors, when legal processes cannot be obtained. hostilities, they may talk of the danger, but can In all greater questions, however, there is now seldom feel it. If they are no longer martial, happily an end to all fear or hope from malice they are no longer quarrelsome. Misery is or from favour. The roads are secure in those caused, for the most part, not by a heavy crush places, through which, forty years ago, no traof disaster, but by the corrosion of less visible veller could pass without a convoy. All trials evils, which canker enjoyment, and undermine of right by the sword are forgotten, and the security. The visit of an invader is necessarily mean are in as little danger from the powerful rare, but domestic animosities allow no cessa- as in other places. No scheme of policy has, tion.
in any country, yet brought the rich and poor The abolition of the local jurisdictions, which on equal terms into courts of judicature. Perhad for so many ages been exercised by the haps experience, improving on experience, may chiefs, has likewise its evils and its good. The in time effect it. feudal constitution naturally diffused itself into Those who have long enjoyed dignity and long ramifications of subordinate authority. power, onght not to lose it without some equiva
To this general temper of the government was lent. There was paid to the chiefs by the pubadded the peculiar form of the country, broken lic, in exchange for their privileges, perhaps by mountains into many subdivisions scarcely a sum greater than most of them had ever posaccessible but to the natives, and guarded by sessed, which excited a thirst for riches, of which passes, or perplexed with intricacies, through it showed them the use. When the power of which national justice could not find its way. birth and station ceases, no hope remains but
The power of deciding controversies, and of from the prevalence of money. Power and punishing offences, as some such power there wealth supply the place of each other. Power must always be, was intrusted to the lairds of confers the ability of gratifying our desire withthe country, to those whom the people consi- out the consent of others. Wealth enables us dered as their natural judges. It cannot be to obtain the consent of others to our gratificasupposed that a rugged proprietor of the rocks, tion. Power, simply considered, whatever it unprincipled and upenlightened, was a nice re. confers on one, must take from another. Wealth solver of entangled claims, or very exact in enables its owner to give to others, by taking proportioning punishment to offences. But the only from himself. Power pleases the violent more be indulged his own will, the more he held and proud: wealth delights the placid and the his vassals in dependence. Prudence and inno- timorous. Youth therefore flies at power, and rence, without the favour of the chief, conferred age grovels after riches. no security; and crimes involved no danger, The chiefs, divested of their prerogatives, newhen the judge was resolute to acquit.
cessarily turned their thoughts to the improveWhen the chiefs were men of knowledge and ment of their revenues, and expect more rent, virtue, the convenience of a domestic judica- as they have less homage. The tenant, who is ture was great. No long journeys were neces- far from perceiving that his condition is made sary, nor artificial delays could be practised ; better in the same proportion as that of his the character, the alliances, and interests of the landlord is made worse, does not immediately litigants were known to the court, and all false see why bis industry is to be taxed more heavily pretences were easily detected. The sentence, than before. He refuses to pay the demands when it was past, could not be evaded; the and is ejected; the ground is then let to a power of the laird superseded formalities, and stranger, who perhaps brings a larger stock, justice could not be defeated by interest or stra- but who taking the land at its full price, treats tagem.
with the laird upon equal terms, and considers I doubt not but that since the regular judges him not as a chief, but as a trafficker in land. bave made their circuits through the whole Thus the estate perhaps is improved, but the sountry, right bas been every where more wisely clan is broken. and more equally distributed; the complaint is, It seems to be the general opinion, that the that litigation is grown troublesome, and that rents have been raised with too much eagerness Some regard must be paid to prejudice. Those to be tilled, and that the whole effect of their who have hitherto paid but little, will not sud- undertaking is ouly more fatigue and equal denly be persuaded to pay much, though they can scarcity. afford it. As ground is gradually improved, Both accounts may be suspected. Those who and the value of money decreases, the rept may are gone, will endeavour by every art to draw be raised without any diminution of the farmer's others after them; for as their numbers are profits; yet it is necessary in these countries, greater, they will provide better for themselves. where the ejection of a tenant is a greater evil When Nova Scotia was first peopled, I remember than in more populous places, to consider not a letter, published under the character of a New merely what the land will produce, but with Planter, who related bow much the climate put what ability the inhabitant can cultivate it. A him in mind of Italy. Such intelligence the certain stock can allow but a certain payment; Hebridians probably receive from their trans. for if the land be doubled, and the stock re- marine correspondents. But with equal tempmains the same, the tenant becomes no richer. tations of interest, and perbaps with no greater The proprietors of the Highlands might perhaps niceness of veracity, the owners of the islands often increase their income, by subdividing the spread stories of American barships to keep farms, and allotting to every occupier only so their people content at home. many acres as he can profitably employ, but that Some method to stop this epidemic desire of they want people.
wandering, which spreads its contagion from There seems now, whatever be the cause, to valley to valley, deserves to be sought with great be through a great part of the Highlands a gene- diligence. In more fruitful countries, the reral discontent. That adherence which was lately moval of one only makes room for the succesprofessed by every man to the chief of his name, sion of another; but in the Hebrides, the loss of has now little prevalence; and he that cannot an inhabitant leaves a lasting vacuity; for nolive as he desires at home, listens to the tale of body born in any other parts of the world will fortunate islands, and happy regions, where choose this country for his residence ; and an isevery man may have land of his own, and eat land once depopulated will remain a desert, as the product of his labour without a superior. long as the present facility of travel gives every
Those who have obtained grants of American one, who is discontented and unsettled, the choice lands, have, as is well known, invited settlers of his abode. from all quarters of the globe; and among Let it be inquired, whether the first intention other places, where oppression might produce a of those who are Auttering on the wing, and colwish for new habitations, their emissaries would lecting a flock that they may take their flight, not fail to try their persuasions in the isles of be to attain goud or avoid evil? If they are Scotland, where at the time when the clans were dissatisfied with that part of the globe wbieh newly disunited from their chiefs, and exas- their birth has allotted them, and resolve not to perated by unprecedented exactions, it is no live without the pleasures of happier climates; wonder that they prevailed.
if they long for bright suns, and calm skies, and Whether the mischiefs of emigration were im- flowery fields, and fragrant gardens, I know not mediately perceived, may be justly questioned. by what eloquence they can be persuaded, or by They who went first, were probably such as what offers they can be hired to stay. could best be spared; but the accounts sent by But if they are driven from their native cougthe earliest adventurers, whether true or false, try by positive evils, and disgusted by ill-treatinclined many to follow them ; and whole neigh-ment, real or imaginary, it were fit to remove bourhoods formed parties for removal ; so that their grievances, and quiet their resentment; departure from their native country is no longer since, if they have been hitherto undutiful subexlle. He that goes thus accompanied, carries jects, they will not much mend their principles with him all that makes life pleasant. He sits by American conversation. down in a better climate, surrounded by his To allure them into the army, it was thought kindred and his friends: they carry with them proper to indulge them in the continuance of their language, their opinions, their popular their national dress. If this concession could songs, and hereditary merriment; they change have any effect, it might easily be made. That nothing but the place of their abode; and of dissimilitude of appearance, which was supposed that change they perceive the benefit.
to keep them distinct from the rest of the nation, This is the real effect of emigration, if those might disincline them from coalescing with the that go away together settle on the same spot, Pennsylvanians, or people of Connecticut. Ii and preserve their ancient union. But some re- the restitution of their arms will reconcile them late that these adventurous visitants of unknown to their country, let them have again those regions, after a voyage passed in dreams of plenty weapons, which will not be more mischievous at and felicity, are dispersed at last upon a sylvan home than in the colonies. That they may not wilderness, where their first years must be spent Ay from the increase of rent, I know not whein toil to clear the ground which is afterwards ther the general good does not require that the
landlords be, for a time, restrained in their de-thousand never took the field. Those that ** mands, and kept quiet by pensions proportionate went to the American war, went to destruction. to their loss.
Of the old Highland regiment, consisting of To hinder insurrection by driving away the twelve hundred, only seventy-six survived to
people, anu to govern peaceably, by having no see their country again. 2 subjects, is an expedient that argues no great The Gothic swarms have at least been mul. Er profundity of politics. To soften the obdurate, tiplied with equal liberality. That they bore
to convince the mistaken, to mollify the resent- no great proportion to the inhabitants in whose ful, are worthy of a statesman ; but it affords countries they settled, is plain from the paucity a legislator little self-applause to consider, that of northern words now found in the provincial where there was formerly an insurrection, there languages. Their country was not deserted for is now a wilderness.
want of room, because it was covered with It has been a question often agitated, with forests of vast extent; and the first effect of out solution, why those northern regions are plenitude of inhabitants is the destruction of now so thinly peopled, which formerly over- wood. As the Europeans spread over America, whelmed with their armies the Roman empire? the lands are gradually laid naked. The question supposes what I believe is not I would not be understood to say, that necestrue, that they had once more inhabitants than sity had never any part in their expeditions. they could maintain, and overflowed only be- A nation whose agriculture is scanty or unskilcause they were full.
ful, may be driven out by famine. A nation of This is to estimate the manners of all countries hunters may have exhausted their game.
I and ages by our own. Migration, while the only affirm that the northern regions were not, state of life was unsettled, and there was little when their irruptions subdued the Romans, communication of intelligence between distant overpeopled with regard to their real extent of places, was among the wilder nations of Europe territory, and power of fertility. In a country capricious and casual. An adventurous pro- fully inhabited, however afterwards laid waste, jector heard of a fertile coast unoccupied, and evident marks will remain of its former populed out a colony; a chief of renown for bravery lousness. But of Scandinavia and Germany, called the young men together, and led them out nothing is known but that as we trace their to try what fortune would present. When state upwards into antiquity, their woods were Cæsar was in Gaul, he found the Helvetians greater, and their cultivated ground was less. preparing to go they knew not wbither, and put That causes very different from want of room a stop to their motions. They settled again in may produce a general disposition to seek anotheir own country, where they were so far ther country is apparent from the present confrom wanting room, that they had accumulated duct of the Highlanders, who are in some places three years' provision for their march.
ready to threaten a total secession. The numThe religion of the north was military; if bers which have already gone, though like other they could not find enemies, it was their duty numbers they may be magnified, are very great, to make them : they travelled in quest of dan- and such as if they had gone together and agreed ger, and willingly took the chance of empire or upon any certain settlement, might have founded death. If their troops were numerous, the an independent government in the depths of the countries from which they were collected are of western continent. Nor are they only the lowvast extent, and without much exuberance of est and most indigent ; many men of considerapeople, great armies may be raised where every ble wealth have taken with them their train of man is a soldier. But their true numbers were labourers and dependants; and if they continue never known. Those who were conquered by the feudal scheme of polity, may establish new them are their historians, and shame may have clans in the other hemisphere. excited them to say, that they were overwhelm- That the immediate motives of their desertion ed with multitudes. To count is a modern must be imputed to their landlords, may be practice, the ancient method was to guess; and reasonably concluded, because some lairds of when numbers are guessed, they are always more prudence and less rapacity have kept their magnified.
vassals undiminished. From Raasay only one Thus England has for several years been man had been seduced, and at Col, there was no filled with the achievements of seventy thou- wish to go away. sand Highlanders employed in America. I The traveller who comes hither from more bave heard from an English officer, not much opulent countries, to speculate upon the remains inclined to favour them, that their behaviour of pastoral life, will not much wonder that a deserved a very high degree of military praise ; common Highlander has no strong adherence but their number has been much exaggerated. to his native soil ; for of animal enjoyments, or One of the ministers told me, that seventy of physical good, he leaves nothing that he may thousand men could not have been found in all not find again wheresoever he may be thrown. the Highlands, and that more than twelve The habitations of men in the Hebrides may