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pecting, doubtless, that they would grow up When the islanders were reproached with into future navies and cities; but for want of their ignorance or insensibility of the wonders inclosure, and of that care which is always ne- of Staffa, they had not much to reply. They cessary, and will hardly ever be taken, all his had indeed considered it little, because they had cost and labour have been lost, and the ground always seen it; and none but philosophers, nor is likely to continue an useless heath.
they always, are struck with wonder, otherwise Having not any experience of a journey in than by novelty. How would it surprise an Mull, we had no doubt of reaching the sea by unenlightened ploughman, to hear a company of daylight, and therefore had not left Dr. Mac- sober men inquiring by what power the hand lean's very early. We travelled diligently tosses a stone, or why the stone, when it is tosenough, but found the country, for road there sed, falls to the ground ! was none, very difficult to pass. We were al- Of the ancestors of Macquarry, who thus lie ways struggling with some obstruction or other, hid in this unfrequented island, I have found and our vexation was not balanced by any gra- memorials in all places where they could be extification of the eye or mind. We were now pected. long enough acquainted with hills and heath to Inquiring after the reliques of former manhave lost the emotion that they once raised, ners, I found that in Ulva, and, I think, no whether pleasing or painful, and had our mind where else, is continued the payment of the employed only on our own fatigue. We were mercheta mulierum; a fine in old times due to however sure, under Col's protection, of escap- the laird at the marriage of a virgin. The oriing all real evils. There was no house in Mull ginal of this claim, as of our tenure of borough to which he could not introduce us. He had English, is variously delivered. It is pleasant intended to lodge us, for that night, with a gen- to find ancient customs in old families. This tleman that lived upon the coast, but discovered payment like others, was, for want of money, on the way, that he then lay in bed without made anciently in the produce of the land. hope of life.
Macquarry was used to demand a sheep, for We resolved not to embarrass a family, in a which he now takes a crown, by that inattention time of so much sorrow, if any other expedient to the uncertain proportion between the value could be found ; and as the island of Ulva was and the denomination of money, which has over-against us, it was determined that we brought much disorder into Europe. A sheep should pass the strait and have recourse to the has always the same power of supplying human laird, who, like the other gentlemen of the wants, but a crown will bring at one time islands, was known to Col. We expected to more, at another less. find a ferry-boat, but when at last we came to Ulva was not neglected by the piety of anthe water the boat was gone.
cient times; it has still to show what was once We were now again at a stop. It was the a church. sixteenth of October, a time when it is not convenient to sleep in the Hebrides without a cover, and there was no house within our reach, but that which we had already declined.
In the morning we went again into the boat, and were landed on Inch Kenneth, an island
about a mile long, and perhaps balf a mile broad, While we stood deliberating, we were happily remarkable for pleasantness and fertility. It is espied from an Irish ship, that lay at anchor in verdant and grassy, and fit both for pasture and the strait. The master saw that we wanted a tillage ; but it has no trees. Its only inhabitants passage, and with great civility sent us his boat, were Sir Allan Maclean and two young ladies, which quickly conveyed us to Ulva, where we bis daughters, with their servants. were very liberally entertained by Mr. Mac- Romance does not often exhibit a scene that quarry.
strikes the imagination more than this little To Ulva we came in the dark, and left it be- desert in these depths of western obscurity, ocfore noon the next day. A very exact descrip-cupied not by a gross herdsman, or amphibious tion therefore will not be expected. We were fisherman, but by a gentleman and two ladies, told, that it is an island of no great extent, of high birth, polished manners, and elegant rough and barren, inhabited by the Macquarrys; conversation, who, in a habitation raised not a clan not powerful nor numerous, but of anti- very far above the ground, but furnished with quity, which most other families are content to unexpected neatness and convenience, practised
The name is supposed to be a de- all the kindress of hospitality, and refinement pravation of some other; for the Erse language of courtesy. does not afford it any etymology. Macquarry Sir Allan is the chieftain of the great clan of is proprietor both of Ulva and some adjacent Maclean, which is said to claim the second islands, among which is Staffa, so lately raised place among the Highland families, yielding so renown by Mr Banks.
ebeugit el ponerert
to raise the
intende where that ith truss
only to Macdonald. Though by the misconduct
f the sea
of his ancestors, most of the extensive territory, | acres, of which one is naked stone, another which would have descended to him, has been sprend with sand and shells, some of which 1 alienated, he still retains much of the dignity picked up for their glossy beauty, and twe and authority of his birth. When soldiers were covered with a little earth and grass, on which lately wanting for the American war, applica- Sir Allan has a few sheep. I doubt not bas tion was made to Sir Allan, and be nominated when there was a college at Inch Kenneth
, a hundred men for the service, who obeyed the there was a hermitable upon Sandiland. summons, and bore arms under his command. Having wandered over those extensive plains,
He had then, for some time, resided with the we committed ourselves again to the winds and young ladies in Inch Kenneth, where he lives waters : and after a voyage of about ten minutes
, not only with plenty, but with elegance, having in which we met with nothing very observable, conveyed to his cottage a collection of books, were again safe upon dry ground. and what else is necessary to make his hours We told Sir Allan our desire of visiting Icolmpleasant.
kill, and entreated him to give us his protection, When we landed, we were met by Sir Allan and his company. He thought proper to hesi. and the ladies, accompanied by Miss Macquarry, tate a little; but the ladies hinted, that as they who had passed some time with them, and now knew he would not finally refuse, he would do returned to Ulva with her father.
better if he preserved the grace of ready comWe all walked together to the mansion, where pliance. He took their advice, and promised to we found one cottage for Sir Allan, and, I think, carry us on the morrow in his boat. two more for the domestics and the offices. We We passed the remaining part of the day in entered, and wanted little that palaces afford. such amusements as were in our power. Sir Our room was neatly floored, and well lighted; Allan related the American campaign, and at and our dinner, which was dressed in one of the evening one of the ladies played on her harpsiother huts, was plentiful and delicate.
chord, while Col and Mr. Boswell danced a In the afternoon Sir Allan reminded us, that Scottish reel with the other. the day was Sunday, which he never suffered to We could have been easily persuaded to a pass without some religious distinction, and in- longer stay upon Inch Kenneth, but life will vited us to partake in his acts of domestic wor- not be all passed in delight. The session at ship; which I hope neither Mr. Boswell nor Edinburgh was approaching, from which Mr. myself will be suspected of a disposition to re- Boswell could not be absent. fuse. The elder of the ladies read the English In the morning our boat was ready; it was service.
high and strong. Sir Allan victualled it for the Inch Kenneth was once a seminary of eccle- day, and provided able rowers. We now parted siastics, subordinate, I suppose, to Icolmkill. from the young laird of Col, who had treated us Sir Allan had a mind to trace the foundations with so much kindness, and concluded his faof the college, but neither I nor Mr. Boswell, vours by consigning us to Sir Allan. Here we who bends a keener eye on vacancy, were able had the last embrace of this amiable man, who, to perceive them.
while these pages were preparing to attest his Our attention, however, was sufficiently en virtues, perished in the passage between Ulva gaged by a venerable chapel, which stands yet and Inch Kenneth. entire, except that the roof is gone. It is about Sir Allan, to whom the whole region was well sixty feet in length and thirty in breadth. On known, told us of a very remarkable cave, to one side of the altar is a bas-relief of the Blessed which he would show us the way. We had Virgin, and by it lies a little bell; which, been disappointed already by one cave, and were though cracked, and without a clapper, has re- not much elevated by the expectation of anmained there for ages guarded only by the other. venerableness of the place. The ground round It was yet better to see it, and we stopped at the chapel is covered with grave-stones of chiefs some rocks on the coast of Mull. The mouth and ladies; and still continues to be a place of is fortified by vast fragments of stone, over sepulture.
which we made our way, neither very nimbly, Inch Kenneth is a proper prelude to Icolm- nor very securely. The place, however, well kill. It was not without some mournful emo- repaid our trouble. The bottom, as far as the tion that we contemplated the ruins of religious flood rusbes in, was encumbered with large structures, and the monuments of the dead. pebbles; but as we advanced, was spread over
On the next day we took a more distinct view with smooth sand. The breadth is about fortyof the place, and went with the boat to see oys. five feet; the roof rises in an arch, almost reters in the bed, out of which the boatmen forced gular, to a height which we could not measure ; up as many as were wanted. Even Inch Ken- but I think it about thirty feet. neth has a subordinate island, named Sandiland, This part of our curiosity was nearly frusI suppose in contempt, where we landed, and trated; for though we went to see a cave, and found a rock, with a surface of perhaps four I knew that caves are dark, we forgot to carry
capers, and did not discover our omission till we surveyed together, and which both undoubtedly.
cave, so far as our penury of light permitted us, thus enabled to go forward, but could not ven- we clambered again to our boats, and proceeded ture far. Having passed inward from the sea along the coast of Mull to a headland, called to a great depth, we found on the right hand a Atun, remarkable for the columnar form of the narrow passage, perhaps not more than six feet rocks, which rise in a series of pilasters, with wide, obstructed by great stones, over which we a degree of regularity which Sir Allan thinks climbed, and came into a second cave in breadth not less worthy of curiosity than the shore of twenty-five feet. The air in this apartment Staffa. was very warm, but not oppressive, nor loaded Not long after we came to another range of
Our light showed no tokens of black rocks, which had the appearance of a feculent or corrupted atmosphere. Here was broken pilasters, set one behind another to a a square stone, called, as we are told, Fingal's great depth. This place was chosen by Sir table.
Allan for our dinner. We were easily accomIf we had been provided with torches, we modated with seats, for the stones were of all should have proceeded in our search, though heights, and refreshed ourselves and our boatwe had already gone as far as any former ad- men, who could have no other rest till we were venturer except some who are reported never at Icolmkill. to have returned ; and measuring our way back, The evening was now approaching, and we we found it more than a hundred and sixty were yet at a considerable distance from the end yards, the eleventh part of a mile.
of our expedition. We could therefore stop no Our measures were not critically exact, more to make remarks in the way, but set forbaving been made with a walking pole, such as ward with some degree of eagerness. The day it is convenient to carry in these rocky coun
soon failed us, and the moon presented a very tries, of which I guessed the length by standing solemn and pleasing scene. The sky was clear, against it. In this there could be no great so that the eye commanded a wide circle; the error, nor do I much doubt but the Highlander, sea was neither still nor turbulent; the wind whom we employed, reported the number right. neither silent nor loud. We were never far More nicety, however, is better, and no man from one coast or another, on which, if the should travel unprovided with instruments for weather had become violent, we could have taking heights and distances.
found shelter, and therefore contemplated at There is yet another cause of error not al- ease the region through which we glided in the ways easily surmounted, though more dan- tranquillity of the night, and saw now, a rock gerous to the veracity of itinerary narratives, and now an island grow gradually conspicuous tkan imperfect mensuration. An observer and gradually obscure. I committed the fault deeply impressed by any remarkable spectacle, which I have just been censuring, in neglecting, does not suppose, that the traces will soon as we passed, to note the series of this placid vanish from his mind, and having commonly no navigation. great convenience for writing, defers the de- We were very near an island, called Nun's scription to a time of more liesure and better Island, perhaps from an ancient convent. Here accommodation.
is said to have been dug the stone which was He who has not made the experiment, or who used in the buildings of Icolmkill. Whether it is not accustomed to require rigorous accuracy
is now inhabited we could not stay to inquire. from himself, will scarcely believe how much a At last we came to Icolmkill, but found no few hours take from certainty of knowledge, convenience for landing. Our boat could not be and distinctness of imagery; how the succes- forced very near the dry ground, and our Highsion of objects will be broken, how separate landers carried us over the water. parts will be confused, and how many particu- We were now treading that illustrious island, lar features and discriminations will be com- which was once the luminary of the Caledonian pressed and conglobated into one gross and regions, whence savage clang and roving barba general idea.
rians derived the benefits of knowledge, and To this dilatory notation must be imputed the the blessings of religion. To abstract the mind false relations of travellers, where there is no from all local emotion would be impossible, if it imaginable motive to deceive. They trusted to were endeavoured, and would be foolish, if it memory what cannot be trusted safely but to were possible. Whatever withdraws as from the eye, and told by guess what a few hours the power of our senses ; whatever makes the before they had known with certainty. Thus past, the distant, or the future predominate it was that Wheeler and Spon described with over the present, advances us in the dignity of irreconcileable contrariety things which they thinking beings. Far from me and from my
friends be such frigid philosophy, as may con- ; on small or common occasions, and when tsry duet us indifferent and unmoved over any ground had established their faith by this trewendes which has been dignified by wisdom, bravery, or sanction, inconstaney and treachery were se virtue. That man is little to be envied, whose longer feared. patriotism would not gain force upon the plain The chapel of the nunnery is now used by of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow the inbabitants as a kind of general cowhez, warmer among the ruins of Iona.
and the bottom is consequently too miry fer eWe came too late to visit monuments; some amination. Some of the stones which cover care was necessary for ourselves. Whatever was the later abbesses have inscriptions, which zieht in the island, Sir Allan could demand, for the yet be read, if the chapel were cleansed. The inhabitants were Macleans; but having little, roof of this, as of all the other buildings, is to they could not give us much. He went to the tally destroyed, not only because timber quick headman of the island, whom fame, but fame decays when it is neglected, but because in a delights in amplifying, represents as worth no island utterly destitute of wood, it was wanted less than fifty pounds. He was perhaps proud for use, and was consequently the first plander enough of his guests, but ill prepared for our of needy rapacity. entertainment; however, he soon produced more The chancel of the nuns' chapel is covered provision than men not luxurious require. Our with an arch of stone, to which time has dase lodging was next to be provided. We found a no injury; and a small apartment communica barn well stocked with hay, and made our beds ing with the choir, on the north side, like the as soft as we could.
chapter-bouse in cathedrals, roofed with stere In the morning we rose and surveyed the in the same manner, is likewise entire. place. The churches of the two convents are In one of the churches was a marble alta, both standing, though unroofed. They were which the superstition of the inhabitants les built of unhewn stone, but solid, and not inele destroyed. Their opinion was, that a fragment gant. I brought away rude measures of the of this stone was a defence against shipwrecks, buildings, such as I cannot much trust myself, fire, and miscarriages. In one corner of the i inaccurately taken, and obscurely noted. Mr. church the basin for holy water is yet unbroken. Pennant's delineations, which are doubtless ex- The cemetery of the nunnery was, till very act, have made my unskilful description less ne- lately, regarded with such reverence, that only cessary.
women were buried in it. These reliques of The episcopal church consists of two parts, veneration always produce some mournfal pleaseparated by the belfry, and built at different sure. I could have forgiven a great injury mare times. The original church had, like others, easily than the violation of this imaginary sancthe altar at one end, and the tower at the other; tity. but as it grew too small, another building of South of the chapel stands the walls of a large equal dimension was added, and the tower then room, which was probably the ball, or refectory, was necessarily in the middle.
of the nunnery. This apartment is capable of That these edifices are of different ages, seems repair. Of the rest of the convent there are evident. The arch of the first church is Ro- only fragments. man, being part of a circle ; that of the addi- Besides the two principal churches, there are, tional building is pointed, and therefore Gothic I think, five chapels yet standing, and three or Saracenical; the tower is firm, and wants more remembered. There are also crosses, of only to be floored and covered.
which two bear the names of St. John and St. Of the chambers or cells belonging to the Matthew. monks, there are some walls remaining, but no- A large space of ground about these consecratthing approaching to a complete apartment. ed edifices is covered with grave-stones, few of
The bottom of the church is so encumbered which have any inscription. He that surveys with mud and rubbish, that we could make no it, attended by an insular antiquary, may be told discoveries of curious inscriptions, and what where the kings of many nations are buried, there are have been already published. The and if he loves to soothe his imagination with place is said to be known where the black stones the thoughts that naturally rise in places where lie concealed, on which the old Highland chiefs, the great and the powerful lie mingled with the when they made contracts and alliances, used dust, let him listen in submissive silence; for if to take the oath, which was considered as more he asks any questions, his delight is at an end. sacred than any other obligation, and which Iona has long enjoyed, without any very crecould not be violated without the blackest infa-dible attestation, the honour of being reputed my. In those days of violence and rapine, it the cemetry of the Scottish kings. It is not was of great importance to impress upon savage unlikely, that, when the opinion of local sanominds the sanctity of an oath, by some particu- tity was prevalent, the chieftains of the isles, lar and extraordinary circumstances. They and perhaps some of the Norwegian or Irish would not have recourse to the black stones up-princes, were reposited in this venerable inela
sure. But by whom the subterraneous vaults who could contribute his help, seemned to think
Mr. Boswell was much affected; nor would I Not far from this awful ground may be traced willingly be thought to have looked upon them the garden of the monastery; the fish-ponds are without some emotion. Perhaps, in the revoluyet discernible, and the aqueduct which sup- tions of the world, Iona may be some time again plied therp is still in use.
the instructress of the western regions. There romains a brokon building, which is It was no long voyage to Mul), where, under called the Bishop's House, I know not by what Sir Allan's protection, we landed in the evening, authority. It was once the residence of somo and were entertained for the night by Mr. Macman above the common rank, for it has two lean, a minister that lives upon the coast, whose storios and a chimney. We were shown a chim- elegance of conversation, and strength of judgney at the other end, which was only a niche, ment, would make him conspicuous in places of without perforation ; but so much does antiqua- greater celebrity. Next day we dined with Dr. rian credulity, or patriotic vanity, prevail, that Maclean, another physician, and then travelled it was not much more safe to trust the eye of on to the house of a very powerful laird, Macour instructor than the memory.
lean of Lochbuy; for in this country every There is in the island one house more, and man's name is Maclean. only one, that has a chimney; we entered it; Where races are thus numerous, and thus and found it neither wanting repair nor inhabi- combined, none but the chief of a clan is adtants; but to the farmers who now possess it, dressed by his name. The laird of Dunvegan is the chimney is of no great value; for their fire called Macleod, but other gentlemen of the same was made on the floor, in the middle of the family are denominated by the places where room, and notwithstanding the dignity of their they reside, as Raasay or Talisker. The dismansion, they rejoiced, like their neighbours, in tinction of the meaner people is made by their the comforts of smoke.
christian names. In consequence of this pracIt is observed, that ecclesiastical colleges are tice, the late laird of Macfarlane, an eminent always in the most pleasant and fruitful places. genealogist, considered himself as disrespectfully While the world allowed the monks their treated, if the common addition was applied to choice, it is surely no dishonour that they chose him." Mr. Macfarlane, said he, may with equal well. This island is remarkably fruitful. The propriety be said to many; but I, and I only, village near the churches is said to contain am Macfarlane. seventy families, which, at five in a family, is Our afternoon journey was through a country more than a hundred inhabitants to a mile. of such gloomy desolation, that Mr. Boswell There are perhaps other villages ; yet both corn thought no part of the Highlands equally terriand cattle are annually exported.
fic, yet we came without any difficulty, at evenBut the fruitfulness of lona is now its whole ing to Lochbuy, where we found a true Highprosperity. The inhabitants are remarkably land laird, rough and haughty, and tenacious gross, and remarkably neglected : I know not if of his dignity: who, hearing my name, inquired they are visited by any minister. The island, whether I was of the Johnstons of Glencoe, or which was once the metropolis of learning and of Ardnamurchan? piety, has now no school for education, nor tem- Lochbuy has, like the other insular chieftains ple for worship, only two inhabitants that can quitted the castle that sheltered his ancestors, speak English, and not one that can write or and lives near it, in a mansion not very spacious read.
or splendid. I have seen no houses the islands The people are of the clan of Maclean; and much to be envied for convenience or magnifithough Sir Allan had not been in the place for cence, yet they bear testimony to the progress of many years, he was received with all the reve- arts and civility, as they show that rapine and rence due to their chieftain. One of them being surprise are no longer dreaded, and are much sharply reprehended by him, for not sending more commodious than the ancient fortresses. him some runn, declared after his departure, in The castles of the Hebrides, many of which Mr. Boswell's presence, that he had no design of are standing, and many ruined, were always disappointing him; "for (said he) I would cut built upon points of land, on the margin of the my bones for him; and if he had sent his dog sea. For the choice of this situation there must for it, he should have had it."
have been some general reason, which the change When we were to depart, our boat was left by of manners has left in obscurity. They were of the ebb at a great distance from the water; but no use in the days of piracy, as defences of the no sooner did we wish it afloat, than the island-coast; for it was equally accessible in other ers gathered round it, and, by the union of many places. Had they been sea-marks or lightbands, pushed it down the beacb ; every man houses, they would have been of more use to the