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The only popish islands are Egg and Canna. goats, and reap a third part of the harvest. Egg is the principal island of a parish, in which, Thus, by less than the tillage of two acres, they though he has no congregation, the protestant pay the rent of one. minister resides. I have heard of nothing cu- There are tenants below the rank of tacksmen, rious in it, but the cave in which a former ge- that have got smaller tenants ander them; for neration of the islanders were smothered by in every place, where money is not the general Macleod.
equivalent, there must be some whose labour is If we bad travelled with more leisure, it had immediately paid by daily food. not been fit to have neglected the popish islands. A country that has no money, is by no means Popery is favourable to ceremony; and among convenient for beggars, both because such counignorant nations ceremony is the only preser- tries are commonly poor, and because charity vative of tradition. Since protestantism was requires some trouble and some thought. A extended to the savage parts of Scotland, it has penny is easily given upon the first impulse of perhaps been one of the chief labours of the compassion, or impatience of importunity ; but ministers to abolish stated observances, because few will deliberately search their cupboards or they continued the remembrance of the former their granaries to find out something to give. religion. We, therefore, who came to see old A penny is likewise easily spent ; but victuals, if traditions, and see antiquated manners, should they are unprepared, require house room, and probably have found them among the papists. fire, and utensils, which the beggar knows not
Canna, the other popish island, belongs to where to find. Clanronald. It is said not to comprise more Yet beggars there sometimes are, who wander than twelve miles of land, and yet maintains as from island to island. We had in our passage to many inhabitants as Rum.
Mull the company of a woman and her child, We were at Col under the protection of the who had exhausted the charity of Col. The young laird, without any of the distresses which arrival of a beggar on an island is accounted a Mr. Pennant, in a fit of simple credulity, seems sinistrous erent. Every body considers that he to think almost worthy of an elegy by Ossian. shall have the less for what he gives away. Wherever we roved, we were pleased to see the Their alms, I believe, is generally oatmeal. reverence with which bis subjects regarded him. Near to Col is another island called T'ir-eye, He did not endeavour to dazzle them by any eminent for its fertility. Though it has but half magnificence of dress : his only distinction was the extent of Rum, it is so well peopled, that a feather in his bonnet : but as soon as he ap- there have appeared, not long ago, nine hunpeared, they forsook their work and clustered dred and fourteen at a funeral. The plenty of about him: he took them by the hand, and they this island enticed beggars to it, who seemed so seemed mutually delighted. He has the proper burthensome to the inhabitants, that a formal disposition of a chieftain, and seems desirous to compact was drawn up, by which they obliged continue the customs of his house. The bag- themselves to grant no more relief to casual piper played regularly, when dinner was served, wanderers, because they had among them an whose person and dress made a good appear- indigent woman of high birth, whom they conance; and he brought no disgrace upon the fa- sidered as entitled to all that they could spare. mily of Rankin, which has long supplied the I have read the stipulation, which was indited lairds of Col with hereditary music.
with juridical formality, but was never made The tacksmen of Col seem to live with less valid by regular subscription. dignity and convenience than those of Sky; If the inhabitants of Col have nothing to where they had good houses, and tables not give, it is not that they are oppressed by their only plentiful, but delicate. In Col only two landlord ; their leases seem to be very profitable. houses pay the window tax; for only two have One farmer, who pays only seven pounds a-year six windows, which, I suppose, are the laird's has maintained seven daughters and three sons, and Mr. Macsweyn's.
of whom the eldest is educated at Aberdeen for The rents have, till within seven years, been the ministry; and now, at every vacation, opens paid in kind, but the tenants finding that cattle a school in Col. and corn varied in their price, desired for the Life is here, in some respects, improved beyond future to give their landlord money ; which, not the condition of some other islands. In Sky, having yet arrived at the philosophy of com- what is wanted can only be bought, as the arrival merce, they consider as being every year of the of some wandering pedlar may afford an opporsame value.
tunity; but in Col there is a standing shop, and We were told of a particular mode of under in Mull there are two. A sbop in the islands,
The tacksman admits some of his in- as in other places of little frequentation, is a reserior neighbours to the cultivation of his pository of every thing requisite for common grounds, on condition that, performing all the use. Mr. Boswell's journal was filled, and he work, and giving a third part of the seed, they bought some paper in Col. To a man that shall keep a certain number of cows, sheep, and ranges the streets of London, where he is tempted to contrive wants for the pleasure of supplying but the heat is gone. Their power consisted in them, a shop affords no image worthy of attention, their concentration; when they are dispersed, but in an island it turns the balance of existence they have no effect. between good and evil. To live in perpetual want It may be thought that they are happier by of little things, is a state not indeed of torture, the change; but they are not happy as a nation, but of constant vexation. I have in Sky had for they are a nation no longer. As they consome difficulty to find ink for a letter ; and if a tribute not to the prosperity of any community, woman breaks her needle, the work is at a stop. they must want that security, that dignity, that
As it is, the islanders are obliged to coutent happiness, whatever it be, which a prosperous themselves with succedaneous means for many community throws back upon individuals. common purposes. I have seen the chief man of The inhabitants of Col have not yet learned a very wide district riding with a haiter for a to be weary of their heath and rocks, but attend bridle, and governing his hobby with a wooden their agriculture and their dairies, without liscurb.
tening to American seducements. The people of Col, however, do not want dex- There are some bowever who think that this terity to supply some of their necessities. Seve- emigration has raised terror disproportionate to ral arts which make trades, and demand ap- its real evil; and that it is only a new mode of prenticeships in great cities, are here the prac- doing what was always done. The Highlands, tices of daily economy. In every house candles they say, dever maintained their natural inare made, both moulded and dipped. Their habitants : but the people, when they found wicks are small shreds of linen cloth. They all themselves too numerous, instead of extending know how to extract from the cuddy oil for cultivation, provided for themselves by a more their lamps. They all tan skins and make compendious method; and sought better fortune brogues.
in other countries. They did not indeed go As we travelled through Sky, we saw many away in collective bodies, but withdrew incottages, but they very frequently stood single visibly, a few at a time; but the whole number on the naked ground. In Col, where the hills of fugitives was not less, and the difference beopened a place convenient for habitation, we tween other times and tbis, is only the same as found a petty village, of which every hut had a between evaporation and effusion. little garden adjoining; thus they made an ap- This is plausible, but I am afraid it is not pearance of social commerce and mutual offices, true. Those who went before, if they were not and of some attention to convenience and future sensibly raissed, as the argument supposes, must supply. There is not in the Western Islands have gone either in less number, or in a manner any collection of buildings that can make pre- less detrimental, than at present; because fortensions to be called a town, except in the isle merly there was no complaint. Those who of Lewis, which I have not seen.
then left the country, were generally the idle If Lewis is distinguished by a town, Col has dependants on overburdened families, or men also something peculiar. The young laird has who had no property, and therefore carried attempted what no islander perhaps ever thought away only themselves. In the present eager
He has begun a road capable of a wheel- ness of emigration, families, and almost comcarriage. He has carried it about a mile, and munities, go away together. Those who were will continue it by annual elongation from his considered as prosperous and wealthy, sell their house to the harbour.
stock and carry away the money. Once none Of taxes here is no reason for complaining; went away but the useless and poor ; in some they are paid by a very easy composition. The parts there is now reason to fear, that none will malt-tax for Col is twenty shillings. Whisky stay but those who are too poor to remove themis very plentiful : there are several stills in the selves, and too useless to be removed at the cost island, and more is made than the inhabitants of others.
Of antiquity there is not more knowledge in The great business of insular policy is now to Col than in other places; but every where keep the people in their own country. As the something may be gleaned. world bas been let in upon them, they have How ladies were portioned, when there was heard of happier climates and less arbitrary no money, it would be difficult for an Englishgovernment; and if they are disgusted, have man to guess. In 1649, Maclean of Dronart in emissaries among them ready to offer them land | Mull married his sister Fingala to Maclean of and houses, as a reward for deserting their chief Col, with a hundred and eighty kine; and stiand clan. Many have departed both from the pulated, that if she became a widow, her joinmain of Scotland and from the islands ; and all ture should be three hundred and sixty. I supthat go may be considered as subjects lost to the pose some proportionate tract of land was apBritish crown; for a natiou scattered in the propriated to their pasturage. boundless regions of America, resembles rays The disposition to pompous and expensive diverging from a focus. All the rays remain, funerals, which has at one time or other pre
valled in the most parts of the civilized world, Maclonich's wife, who was with child like is not yet suppressed in the islands, though some wise, bad a girl about the same time at which of the ancient solemnities are worn away, and lady Maclean brought a boy; and Maclonich, singers are no longer hired to attend the pro- with more generosity to his captive, than fidelity cession. Nineteen years ago, at the burial of to his trust, contrived that the children should the laird of Col, were killed thirty cows, and be changed. about fifty sheep. The number of the cows is Maclean being thus preserved from death, in positively told, and we must suppose other victime recovered his original patrimony; and in tuals in like proportion.
gratitude to his friend, made his castle a place Mr. Maclean informed us of an old game, of of refuge to any of the clan that should think which he did not tell the original, but which himself in danger; and as a proof of reciprocal may perhaps be used in other places, where the confidence, Maclean took upon himself and his reason of it is not yet forgot. At New-year's posterity the care of educating the heir of Naseve, in the hall or castle of the laird, where, at lonich. festal seasons, there may be supposed a very nu- This story, like all other traditions of the merous company, one man dresses himself in a Highlands, is variously related; but though cow's bide, upon which other men beat with some circumstances are uncertain, the principal sticks. He runs with all this noise round the fact is true. Maclean undoubtedly owed bis house, which all the company quits in a coun- preservation to Maclonich ; for the treaty be terfeited fright; the door is then shut. At tween the two families has been strictly obsert. New-year's eve there is no great pleasure to be ed : it did not sink into disuse and oblivion, but had out of doors in the Hebrides. They are continued in its full force while the cbieftains sure soon to recover from their terror enough to retained their power. I have read a demand of solicit for re-admission ; which, for the honour protection, made not more than thirty-seven of poetry, is not to be obtained but by repeating years ago, for one of the Maclonichs, named a verse, with which those that are knowing and Ewen Cameron, who had been accessory to the provident take care to be furnished.
death of Macmartin, and had been banished by Very near the house of Maclean stands the Lochiel, his lord, for a certain term; at the excastle of Col, which was the mansion of the piration of which he returned married from laird, till the house was built. It is built upon France; but the Macmartins, not satisfied with a rock, as Mr. Boswell remarked, that it might the punishment, when he attempted to settle
, not be mined. It is very strong, and having still threatened him with vengeance. He there been not long uninhabited, is yet in repair. On fore asked, and obtained, shelter in the isle of the wall was, not long ago, a stone with an in- Col. scription, importing, that if any man of the clan The power of protection subsists no longer; of Maclonich shall appear before this castle, but what the law permits is yet continued, and though he come at midnight, with a man's head Maclean of Col now educates the heir of Macin his hand, he shall there find safety and pro- lonich. tection against all but the king.
There still remains in the islands, though it is This is an old Highland treaty, made upon a passing fast away, the custom of fosterage. A very memorable occasion. Maclean, the son of laird, a man of wealth and eminence, sends bis John Gerves, who recovered Col, and conquer-child, either male or female, to a tacksman, or ed Barra, had obtained, it is said, from James tenant, to be fostered. It is not always his own the Second, a grant of the lands of Lochiel, for-tenant, but some distant friend, that obtains feited, I suppose, by some offence against the this honour; for an honour such a trust is very state.
reasonably thought. The terms of fosterage Forfeited estates were not in those days quiet- seem to vary in different islands. In Mull, the ly resigned; Maclean, therefore, went with an father sends with his child a certain number of armed force to seize his new possessions, and I cows, to which the same number is added by the know not for what reason, took his wife with fosterer. The father appropriates a proportionhim. The Camerons rose in defence of their able extent of ground, without rent, for their chief, and a battle was fought at the head of pasturage. If every cow brings a calf, half be Loch Ness, near the place where Fort Augus-longs to the fosterer, and half to the child; but tus now stands, in which Lochiel obtained the if there be only one calf between two cows, it is victory, and Maclean, with his followers, was the child's, and when the child returns to the defeated and destroyed.
parents, it is accompanied by all the cows given, The lady fell into the hands of the conquer- both by the father and by the fosterer, with ors, and being found pregnant, was placed in the half of the increase of the stock by propagation. custody of Maclonich, one of a tribe or family These beasts are considered as a portion, and Ir inched from Cameron, with orders, if she called Macalive cattle, of which the father bas brought a boy, to destroy him, if a girl, to spare the produce, but is supposed not to have the full her
property, but to owe the same number to the
child, as a portion to the daughter, or a stock for curiosity was satisfied, we began to think about
our departure. To leave Col in October was Children continue with the fosterer perhaps six not very easy. We however found a sloop years, and cannot, where this is the practice, be which lay on the coast to carry kelp; and for considered as burdensome. The fosterer, if he a price which we thought levied upon our negives four cows, receives likewise four, and has, cessities, the master agreed to carry us to Mull,
while the child continues with him, grass for whence we might readily pass back to Scot• eight without rent, with half the calves, and all land.
the milk, for which he pays only four cows when he dismisses his dalt, for that is the name for a fostered child.
Fosterage is, I believe, sometimes performed As we were to catch the first favourable breath, upon more liberal terms. Our friend, the young we spent the night not very elegantly nor plea
laird of Col, was fostered by Macsweyn of Gris- santly in the vessel, and were landed next day 1 sipol. Macsweyn then lived a tenant of Sir at Tabor Morar, a port in Mull, which appears
James Macdonald in the isle of Sky; and there to an unexperienced eye formed for the security fore Col, whether he sent him cattle or not, of ships; for its mouth is closed by a small could grant him no land. The dalt, however, island, which admits them through narrow chanat his return, brought back a considerable num- nels into a bason sufficiently capacious. They ber of Macalive cattle, and of the friendship so
are indeed safe from the sea, but there is a hol. formed there have been good effects. When low between the mountains, through which the Macdonald raised his rents, Macsweyn was, wind issues from the land with very mischievous like other tenants, discontented, and resigning
violence. bis farm, removed from Sky to Col, and was es
There was no danger while we were there, tablished at Grissipol.
and we found several other vessels at anchor ; These observations we made by favour of the so that the port had a very commercial appearcontrary wind that drove us to Col, an island ance. not often visited; for there is not much to The young laird of Col, who had determined amuse curiosity, or to attract avarice.
not to let us lose his company, while there was The ground has been hitherto, I believe, used any difficulty remaining, came over with us. chiefly for pasturage. In a district, such as His influence soon appeared ; for he procured the eye can command, there is a general herds- us horses, and conducted us to the house of Dr. man, who knows all the cattle of the neighbour- Maclean, where we found very kind entertain. hood, and whose station is upon a hill from ment, and very pleasing conversation. Miss which he surveys the lower grounds; and if Maclean, who was born, and had been bred, at one man's cattle invade another’s grass, drives Glasgow, having removed with her father to them back to their own borders. But other means Mull, added to other qualifications, a great of profit begin to be found; kelp is gathered knowledge of the Erse language, which she had and burnt, and sloops are loaded with the con- not learned in her childhood, but gained by creted ashes. Cultivation is likely to be im- study, and was the only interpreter of Erse proved by the skill and encouragement of the poetry that I could ever find. present heir, and the inhabitants of those ob- The isle of Mull is perhaps in extent the third scure valleys will partake of the general pro- of the Hebrides. It is not broken by waters, gress of life.
nor shot into promontories, but is a solid and The rents of the parts which belong to the compact mass, of breadth nearly equal to its duke of Argyle, have been raised from fifty-five length. Of the dimensions of the larger islands, to one hundred and five pounds, whether from there is no knowledge approaching to exact. the land or the sea I cannot tell. The bounties ness. I am willing to estimate it as containing of the sea have lately been so great, that a farm about three hundred square miles. in Southuist has risen in ten years from a rent Mull had suffered like Sky by the black winof thirty pounds to one hundred and eighty. ter of seventy-one, in which, contrary to all ex
He who lives in Col, and finds himself con. perience, a continued frost detained the snow demned to solitary meals, and incommunicable eight weeks upon the ground. Against a calareflection, will find the usefulness of that middle mity never known, no provision had been made, order of tacksmen, which some who applaud and the people could only pine in helpless mia their own wisdom are wishing to destroy. With- sery. One tenant was mentioned, whose cattle out intelligence, man is not social, he is only perished to the value of three hundred pounds ; gregarious ; and little intelligence will there be, a loss which probably more than the life of man where all are constrained to daily labour, and is necessary to repair. In countries like these, every mind must wait upon the hand.
the descriptions of famine become intelligible. After having listened for some days to the Where by vigorous and artful cultivation of a tempest, and wandered about the island till our soil naturally fertile, there is commonly a super
luous growth both of grain and grass ; where that negligence and laziness that has oniitted for he fields are crowded with cattle ; and where so long a time so easy an improvement. every hand is able to attract wealth from a dis- To drop seeds into the ground, and attend dince, by making something that promotes ease, their growth, requires little labour and no skil. Ir gratifies vanity, a dear year produces only a , He who remembers that all the woods, by comparative want, which is rather seen than felt, which the wants of man have been supplied and wbich terminates commonly in no worse ef- from the Deluge till now, were self-sown, will fert, than that of condemning the lower orders not easily be persuaded to think all the art and of the community to sacrifice a littlo luxury to preparation necessary, which the georgie writconvenience, or at most a little convenience to ers prescribe to planters. Trees certainly have necessity.
covered the earth with very little culture. They But where the climate is unkind, and the wave their tops among the rocks of Norway, ground penurious, so that the most fruitful and might thrive as well in the Highlands and years produce only enough to maintain them- Hebrides. selves; where life, unimproved and unadorned, But there is a frightful interval between the fades into something little more than naked ex- seed and timber. He that calculates the growth istence, and every one is busy for himself, with of trees, has the unwelcome remembrance of the out any arts by which the pleasure of others may shortness of life driven hard upon him. He be increased ; if to the daily burden of distress knows that he is doing what will never benefit any additional weight be added, nothing re- himself'; and when he rejoices to see the stem mains but to despair and die. In Mull the dis- rise, is disposed to repine that another shall cut appointment of a harvest, or a murrain among it down. the cattle, cuts off the regular provision ; and Plantation is naturally the employment of a they who have no manufactures, can purchase mind unburdened with care, and vacant to fono part of the superfluities of other countries. turity, saturated with present good, and at leiThe consequence of a bad season is here not sure to derive gratification from the prospect of scarcity, but emptiness ; and they whose plenty posterity. He that pines with hunger, is in was barely a supply of natural and present need, little care how others shall be fed. The poep when that slender stalk fails, must perish with man is seldom studious to make his grandsen hunger.
rich. It may be soon discovered, why in : All travel has its advantages. If the passen- place, which hardly supplies the cravings at ger visits better countries, he may learn to im- necessity, there has been little attention to the prove his own, and if fortune carries him to delights of fancy, and why distant conveniener worse, he may learn to enjoy it.
is unregarded, where the thoughts are turned Mr. Boswell's curiosity strongly impelled him with incessant solicitude upon every possibility to survey Iona, or Icolmkill, which was to the of immediate advantage. early ages the great school of theology, and is Neither is it quite so easy to raise large woods supposed to have been the place of sepulture for as may be conceived. Trees intended to prothe ancient kings. I, though less eager, did not duce timber must be sown where they are to oppose him,
grow; and ground sown with trees must be That we might perform this expedition, it kept useless for a long time, inclosed at an er. was necessary to traverse a great part of Mull. pense from which many will be discouraged by We passed a day at Dr. Maclean's, and could the remoteness of the profit, and watched with have been well contented to stay longer. But that attention, which, in places where it is met Col provided us horses, and we pursued our needed, will neither be given nor bought. That journey. This was a day of inconvenience, for it cannot be ploughed, is evident: and if cattle the country is very rough, and my horse was but be suffered to graze upon it, they will devour little. We travelled many hours through a the plants as fast as they rise. Even in coarser tract, black and barten, in which, however, countries, where herds and flocks are not fed, there were the reliques of humanity; for we not only the deer and the wild goats will browse found a ruined chapel in our way.
upon them, but the bare and rabbit will nibble It is natural, in traversing this gloom of deso- them. It is therefore reasonable to believe, dation, to inquire, whether something may not what I do not remember any naturalist to have be done to give nature a more cheerful face ; and remarked, that there was a time wben the whether those hills and moors that afford heath, world was very thinly inhabited by beasts, as cannot, with a little care and labour, bear some well as men, and that the woods had leisure to thing better? The first thought that occurs is rise high before animals had bred numbers suffito cover them with trees, for that in many of cient to intercept them. these naked regions trees will grow, is evident, Sir James Macdonald, in part of the wastes because stumps and roots are yet remaining; of his territory, set or sowed trees to the numand the speculatist hastily proceeds to censure ber, as I have been told, of several millions, eso