Page images

ability in the professors. The students wear scarlet gowns, and the professors black, which is, I believe, the academical dress in all the Scottish universities, except that of Edinburgh, where the scholars, are not distinguished by any particular habit. In the King's College there is kept a public table, but the scholars of the Marischal College are boarded in the town. The expense of living is here, according to the information that I could obtain, somewhat more than at St. Andrews.

By a lady who saw us at the chapel, the Ear! of Errol was informed of our arrival, and we had the honour of an invitation to his seat, called Slanes Castle, as I am told, improperly, from the castle of that name, which once stood at a place not far distant.

The road beyond Aberdeen grew more stony, and continued equally naked of all vegetable decoration. We travelled over a tract of ground near the sea, which not long ago suffered a very uncommon and unexpected calamity. The sand The course of education is extended to four of the shore was raised by a tempest in such years, at the end of which those who take a de- quantities, and carried to such a distance, that gree, who are not many, become masters of arts; an estate was overwhelmed and lost. Such and and whoever is a master may, if he pleases, im- so hopeless was the barrenness superinduced, mediately commence doctor. The title of doctor, that the owner, when he was required to pay the however, was for a considerable time bestowed the usual tax, desired rather to resign the ground. only on physicians. The advocates are examined and approved by their own body; the SLANES CASTLE. THE BULLER OF BUCHAN, ministers were not ambitious of titles, or were We came in the afternoon to Slanes Castle, afraid of being censured for ambition; and the built upon the margin of the sea, so that the doctorate in every faculty was commonly given walls of one of the towers seem only a continuor sold into other countries. The ministers are ation of a perpendicular rock, the foot of which now reconciled to distinction, and as it must is beaten by the waves. To walk round the always happen that some will excel others, have house seemed impracticable. From the winthought graduation a proper testimony of uncom-dows the eye wanders over the sea that sepamon abilities or acquisitions. rates Scotland from Norway, and when the winds The indiscriminate collation of degrees has beat with violence, must enjoy all the terrific justly taken away that respect which they ori- grandeur of the tempestuous ocean. I would ginally claimed, as stamps by which the literary not for my amusement wish for a storm; but as value of men so distinguished was authoritative-storms, whether wished or not, will sometimes ly denoted. That academical honours, or any happen, I may say, without violence of humanity, others, should be conferred with exact propor- that I should willingly look out upon them from tion to merit, is more than human judgment or Slanes Castle. human integrity have given reason to expect. Perhaps degrees in universities cannot be better adjusted by any general rule, than by the length of time passed in the public profession of learning. An English or Irish doctorate cannot be obtained by a very young man, and it is reasonable to suppose, what is likewise by experience commonly found true, that he who is by age qualified to be a doctor, has in so much time gained learning sufficient not to disgrace the title, or wit sufficient not to desire it.

When we were about to take our leave, our departure was prohibited by the countess, till we should have seen two places upon the coast, which she rightly considered as worthy of curi osity, Don Buy, and the Buller of Buchan, to which Mr. Boyd very kindly conducted us.

The Scotch universities hold but one term or session in the year. That of St. Andrew's continues eight months, that of Aberdeen only five, from the first of November to the first of April.

Don Buy, which in Erse is said to signify the Yellow Rock, is a double protuberance of stone, open to the main sea on one side, and parted from the land by a very narrow channel on the other. It has its name and its colour from the dung of innumerable sea-fowls, which in the spring choose this place as convenient for incubation, and have their eggs and their young taken in great abundance. One of the birds that frequent this rock has, as we were told, its body not larger than a duck's, and yet lays eggs as large as those of a goose. This bird is by the inhabitants named a Coot. That which is called Coot in England, is here a Cooter.

In Aberdeen there is an English chapel, in which the congregation was numerous and splendid. The form of public worship used by the church of England, is in Scotland legally practised in licensed chapels served by clergy- Upon these rocks there was nothing that men of English or Irish ordination, and by tacit could long detain attention, and we soon turned connivance quietly permitted in separate congre- our eyes to the Buller, or Bouilloir of Buchan, gations, supplied with ministers by the succes-which no man can see with indifference, who sors of the bishops, who were deprived at the has either sense of danger, or delight in rarity. Revolution. It is a rock perpendicularly tubulated, united on one side with a high shore, and on the other rising steep to a great height above the main sea. The top is open, from which may be seen a dark gulf of water which flows into the cavity, through a breach made in the lower part of the enclosing rock. It has the appearance of a vast well, bordered with a wall. The edge of the Buller is not wide, and to those that walk round, appears very narrow. He that ventures to look downward, sees that if his foot should slip, he must fall from his dreadful elevation upon stones on one side, or into the water on the other. We

We came to Aberdeen on Saturday, August 21st. On Monday we were invited into the town-hall, where I had the freedom of the city given me by the Lord Provost. The honour conferred had all the decorations that politeness could add, and, what I am afraid I should not have had to say of any city south of the Tweed, I found no petty officer bowing for a fee.

The parchment contai the record of admission is, with the seal appending, fastened to a riband, and worn for one day by the new citiun in his hat.

however went round, and were glad when the circuit was completed.

When we came down to the sea, we saw some boats, and rowers, and resolved to explore the Buller, at the bottom. We entered the arch, which the water had made, and found ourselves in a place, which, though we could not think ourselves in danger, we could scarcely survey without some recoil of the mind. The basin in which we floated was nearly circular, perhaps thirty yards in diameter. We were enclosed by a natural wall, rising steep on every side to a height which produced the idea of insurmountable confinement. The interception of all lateral light caused a dismal gloom. Round us was a perpendicular rock, above us the distant sky, and below an unknown profundity of water. If I had any malice against a walking spirit, instead of laying him in the Red Sea, I would condemn him to reside in the Buller of Buchan. But terror without danger is only one of the sports of fancy, a voluntary agitation of the mind that is permitted no longer than it pleases. We were soon at leisure to examine the place with minute inspection, and found many caviThese diminutive observations seem to take ties which, as the watermen told us, went back-away something from the dignity of writing, ward to a depth which they had never explored. and therefore are never communicated but with Their extent we had not time to try; they are hesitation, and a little fear of abasement and said to serve different purposes. Ladies come contempt. But it must be remembered, that hither sometimes in summer with collations, life consists not of a series of illustrious actions, and smugglers make them storehouses for clan- or elegant enjoyments; the greater part of our destine merchandise. It is hardly to be doubted time passes in compliance with necessities, in but the pirates of ancient times often used them the performance of daily duties, in the removal as magazines of arms, or repositories of plunder. of small inconveniences, in the procurement of To the little vessels used by the northern petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, rowers, the Buller may have served as a shelter as the main stream of life glides on smoothly, from storms, and perhaps as a retreat from ene- or is ruffled by small obstacles and frequent inmies; the entrance might have been stopped, terruption. The true state of every nation is or guarded with little difficulty, and though the the state of common life. The manners of a vessels that were stationed within would have people are not to be found in the schools of been battered with stones showered on them learning, or the palaces of greatness, where the from above, yet the crews would have lain safe national character is obscured or obliterated by in the caverns. travel or instruction, by philosophy or vanity: nor public happiness to be estimated by the assemblies of the gay, or the banquets of the rich. The great mass of nations is neither rich nor gay; they whose aggregate constitutes the people, are found in the streets and the villages, in the shops and farms; and from them, collectively considered, must the measure of general prosperity be taken. As they appproach to delicacy, a nation is refined; as their conveniences are multiplied, a nation, at least a commercial nation, must be denominated wealthy.

Next morning we continued our journey,pleased with our reception at Slanes Castle, of which we had now leisure to recount the grandeur and the elegance; for our way afforded us few topics of conversation. The ground was neither uncultivated nor unfruitful; but it was still all arable. Of flocks or herds there was no appearance. I had now travelled two hundred miles in Scotland, and seen only one tree not younger than myself.


We dined this day at the house of Mr. Frazer, of Streichton, who showed us in his grounds some stones yet standing of a Druidical circle, and what I began to think more worthy of notice, some forest-trees of full growth.

At night we came to Bamff, where I remember nothing that particularly claimed my attention. The ancient towns of Scotland have generally an appearance unusual to Englishmen. The houses, whether great or small, are for the most part built of stones. Their ends are now and then next the streets, and the entrance into them is very often by a flight of steps, which reaches up to the second story; the floor which is level with the ground being entered only by stairs descending within the house.

totally forgotten. The frames of their windows are all of wood. They are more frugal of their glass than the English, and will often, in houses not otherwise mean, compose a square of two pieces, not joining like cracked glass, but with one edge laid perhaps half an inch over the other. Their windows do not move upon hinges, but are pushed up and drawn down in groves, yet they are seldom accommodated with weights and pulleys. He that would have his window open, must hold it with his hand, unless what may be sometimes found among good contrivers, there be a nail which he may stick into a hole, to keep it from falling.

What cannot be done without some uncommon trouble or particular expedient, will not often be done at all. The incommodiousness of the Scotch windows keeps them very closely shut. The necessity of ventilating human habitations has not yet been found by our northern neighbours; and even in houses well built, and elegantly furnished, a stranger may be sometimes forgiven, if he allows himself to wish for fresher air.

The art of joining squares of glass with lead is little used in Scotland, and in some places is


Finding nothing to detain us at Bamff, we set out in the morning, and having breakfasted at Cullen, about noon came to Elgin, where, in the inn that we supposed the best, a dinner was set before us which we could not eat. This was the first time, and, except one, the last, that I found any reason to complain of a Scottish table; and such disappointments, I suppose, must be expected in every country, where there is no great frequency of travellers.

The ruin of the cathedral of Elgin afforded us another proof of the waste of reformation. There is enough yet remaining to show that it was once magnificent. Its whole plot is easily traced. On the north side of the choir, the chapter-house, which is roofed with an arch of stone, remains

entire; and on the south side, another mass of building, which we could not enter, is preserved by the care of the family of Gordon; but the body of the church is a mass of fragments.

A paper was here put into our hands, which deduced from sufficient authorities the history of this venerable ruin. The church of Elgin had, in the intestine tumults of the barbarous ages, been laid waste by the irruption of a Highland chief, whom the bishop had offended; but it was gradually restored to the state of which the traces may be now discerned, and was at last not destroyed by the tumultuous violence of Knox, but more shamefully suffered to dilapidate by deliberate robbery and frigid indifference. There is still extant, in the books of the council, an order, of which I cannot remember the date, but which was doubtless issued after the reformation, directing that the lead, which covers the two cathedrals of Elgin and Aberdeen, shall be taken away, and converted into money for the support of the army. A Scotch army was in those times very cheaply kept; yet the lead of two churches must have borne so small a proportion to any military expense, that it is hard not to believe the reason alleged to be merely popular, and the money intended for some private purse. The order, however, was obeyed; the two churches were stripped, and the lead was shipped to be sold in Holland. I hope every reader will rejoice that this cargo of sacrilege was lost at sea.

Let us not, however, make too much haste to despise our neighbours. Our own cathedrals are mouldering by unregarded dilapidation. It seems to be part of the despicable philosophy of the time to despise monuments of sacred magnificence, and we are in danger of doing that deliberately, which the Scotch did not do but in the unsettled state of an imperfect constitution.

Those who had once uncovered the cathedrals, never wished to cover them again; and being thus made useless, they were first neglected, and perhaps, as the stone was wanted, afterwards demolished.

Elgin seems a place of little trade, and thinly inhabited. The episcopal cities of Scotland, I believe, generally fell with their churches, though some of them have since recovered by a situation convenient for commerce. Thus Glasgow, though it has no longer an archbishop, has risen beyond its original state by the opulence of its traders; and Aberdeen, though its ancient stock had decayed, flourishes by a new shoot in another place.

In the chief street of Elgin, the houses jut over the lowest story, like the old buildings of timber in London, but with greater prominence; so that there is sometimes a walk for a considerable length under a cloister, or portico, which is now indeed frequently broken, because the new houses have another form, but seems to have been uniformly continued to the old city.


We went forwards the same day to Fores, the town to which Macbeth was travelling when he met the weird sisters in his way. This to an Englishman is classic ground. Our imaginations were heated, and our thoughts recalled to their old amusements.

We had now a prelude to the Highlands. We

began to leave fertility and culture behind us, and saw for a great length of road nothing but heath; yet at Fochabars, a seat belonging to the duke of Gordon, there is an orchard, which in Scotland I had never seen before, with some timber-trees, and a plantation of oaks.

At Fores we found good accommodation, but nothing worthy of particular remark, and next morning entered upon the road on which Macbeth heard the fatal prediction; but we travelled on, not interrupted by promises of kingdoms, and came to Nairn, a royal burgh, which, if once it flourished, is now in a state of miserable decay; but I know not whether its chief annual magistrate has not still the title of Lord Provost.

At Nairn we may fix the verge of the Highlands; for here I first saw peat fires, and first heard the Erse language. We had no motive to stay longer than to breakfast, and went for ward to the house of Mr. Macaulay, the minister, who published an account of St. Kilda, and by his direction visited Calder Castle, from which Macbeth drew his second title. It has been formerly a place of strength. The drawbridge is still to be seen, but the moat is now dry. The tower is very ancient. Its walls are of great thickness, arched on the top with stone, and surrounded with battlements. The rest of the house is later, though far from modern.

We were favoured by a gentleman, who lives in the castle, with a letter to one of the officers at Fort George, which being the most regular fortification in the island, well deserves the notice of a traveller, who has never travelled before. We went thither next day, found a very kind reception, were led round the works by a gentleman, who explained the use of every part, and entertained by Sir Eyre Coote, the Governor, with such elegance of conversation, as left us no attention to the delicacies of his table.

Of Fort George I shall not attempt to give any account. I cannot delineate it scientifically, and a loose and popular description is of use only when the imagination is to be amused. There was every where an appearance of the utmost neatness and regularity. But my suffrage is of little value, because this and Fort Augustus are the only garrisons that I ever saw.

We did not regret the time spent at the fort, though in consequence of our delay we came somewhat late to Inverness, the town which may properly be called the capital of the Highlands. Hither the inhabitants of the inland parts come to be supplied with what they cannot make for themselves: hither the young nymphs of the mountains and vallies are sent for education, and, as far as my observation has reached, are not sent in vain.

INVERNESS. Inverness was the last place which had a regular communication by high roads with the southern counties. All the ways beyond it have, I believe, been made by the soldiers in this century. At Inverness therefore Cromwell, when he subdued Scotland, stationed a garrison, as at the boundary of the Highlands. The soldiers seera to have incorporated afterwards with the inhabitants, and to have peopled the place with an English race; for the language of this town has been long considered as peculiarly elegant.

could have hired no horses beyond Inverness, and we were not so sparing of ourselves as to lead them, merely that we might have one day longer the indulgence of a carriage.

At Inverness, therefore, we procured three horses for ourselves and a servant, and one more for our baggage, which was no very heavy load. We found in the course of our journey the convenience of having disencumbered ourselves by laying aside whatever we could spare; for it is not to be imagined without experience, how in climbing crags, and treading bogs, and winding through narrow and obstructed passages, a litItle bulk will hinder, and a little weight will burden; or how often a man that has pleased himself at home with his own resolution, will, in the hour of darkness and fatigue, be content to leave behind him every thing but himself.


Here is a castle, called the castle of Macbeth, the walls of which are yet standing. It was no very capacious edifice, but stands upon a rock so high and steep, that I think it was once not accessible, but by the help of ladders, or a bridge. Over against it, on another hill, was a fort built by Cromwell, now totally demolished; for no faction of Scotland loved the name of Cromwell, or had any desire to continue his memory.

Yet what the Romans did to other nations, was in a great degree done by Cromwell to the Scots; he civilized them by conquest, and introduced by useful violence the arts of peace. was told at Aberdeen, that the people learned from Cromwell's soldiers to make shoes and to plant kail.

How they lived without kail, it is not easy to guess; they cultivate hardly any other plant for common tables, and when they had not kail, they probably had nothing. The numbers that go barefoot are still sufficient to show that shoes may be spared; they are not yet considered as necessaries of life; for tall boys, not otherwise meanly dressed, run without them in the streets; and in the islands the sons of gentlemen pass several of their first years with naked feet.

We took two Highlanders to run beside us, partly to show us the way, and partly to take back from the sea-side the horses, of which they were the owners. One of them was a man of great liveliness and activity, of whom his companion said, that he would tire any horse in Inverness. Both of them were civil and readyhanded. Civility seems part of the national character of Highlanders. Every chieftain is a monarch, and politeness, the natural product of royal government, is diffused from the laird through the whole clan. But they are not commonly dexterous: their narrowness of life confines them to a few operations, and they are accustomed to endure little wants more than to remove them.

We mounted our steeds on the twenty-eighth of August, and directed our guides to conduct us to Fort Augustus. It is built at the head of Lough Ness, of which Inverness stands at the outlet. The way between them has been cut by the soldiers, and the greater part of it runs along a rock, levelled with great labour and exactness, near the water-side.

I know not whether it be not peculiar to the Scots to have attained the liberal, without the manual arts, to have excelled in ornamental knowledge, and to have wanted not only the elegances, but the conveniences of common life. Literature, soon after its revival, found its way to Scotland, and from the middle of the sixteenth century, almost to the middle of the seventeenth, the politer studies were very diligently pursued. The Latin poetry of Delicia Poetarum Scotorum would have done honour to any nation; at least till the publication of May's Supplement, the English had very little to oppose.

Yet men thus ingenious and inquisitive were content to live in total ignorance of the trades by which human wants are supplied, and to supply them by the grossest means. Till the Union made them acquainted with English manners, the culture of their lands was unskilful, and their domestic life unformed; their tables were coarse as the feasts of Eskimeaux, and their houses filthy as the cottages of Hottentots.

Since they have known that their condition was capable of improvement, their progress in useful knowledge has been rapid and uniform. What remains to be done they will quickly do, and then wonder, like me, why that which was so necessary and so easy was so long delayed. But they must be for ever content to owe to the English that elegance and culture, which, if they had been vigilant and active, perhaps the English might have owed to them.

Here the appearance of life began to alter. I had seen a few women with plaids at Aberdeen; but at Inverness the Highland manners are common. There is, I think, a kirk in which only the Erse language is used. There is wise an English chapel, but meanly built, where on Sunday we saw a very decent congregation. We were now to bid farewell to the luxury of travelling, and to enter a country upon which perhaps no wheel has ever rolled. We could indeed have used our postchaise one day longer,

Lough Ness is about twenty-four miles long, and from one mile to two miles broad. It is relike-markable that Boethius, in his description of Scotland, gives it twelve miles of breadth. When historians or geographers exhibit false accounts of places far distant, they may be forgiven, because they can tell but what they are fold; and that their accounts exceed the truth, may be justly supposed, because most men exaggerate to others, if not to themselves: but Boethius lived along the military road to Fort Augustus, but wel at no great distance; if he never saw the lake,

Most of this day's journey was very pleasant. The day, though bright, was not hot; and the appearance of the country, if I had not seen the Peak, would have been wholly new. We went upon a surface so hard and level, that we had little care to hold the bridle, and were therefore at full leisure for contemplation. On the left were high and steep rocks shaded with birch, the hardy native of the north, and covered with fern or heath. On the right the limpid waters of Lough Ness were beating their bank, and waving their surface by a gentle agitation. Beyond them were rocks sometimes covered with verdure, and sometimes towering in horrid nakedness. Now and then we espied a little cornfield, which served to impress more strongly the general barrenness.

A hut is constructed with loose stones, ranged for the most part with some tendency to circularity. It must be placed where the wind canLough Ness, though not twelve miles broad, not act upon it with violence, because it has no is a very remarkable diffusion of water without cement; and where the water will run easily islands. It fills a large hollow between two away, because it has no floor but the naked ridges of high rocks, being supplied partly by ground. The wall, which is commonly about the torrents which fall into it on either side, and six feet high, declines from the perpendicular a partly, as is supposed, by springs at the bottom.little inward. Such rafters as can be procured Its water is remarkably clear and pleasant, and are then raised for a roof, and covered with is imagined by the natives to be medicinal. We heath, which makes a strong and warm thatch, were told, that it is in some places a hundred kept from flying off by ropes of twisted heath, and forty fathoms deep, a profundity scarcely of which the ends, reaching from the centre of credible, and which probably those that relate it the thatch to the top of the wall, are held firm have never sounded. Its fish are salmon, trout, by the weight of a large stone. No light is adand pike. mitted but at the entrance, and through a hole in the thatch, which gives vent to the smoke.This hole is not directly over the fire, lest the rain should extinguish it; and the smoke therefore naturally fills the place before it escapes. Such is the general structure of the houses in which one of the nations of this opulent and powerful island has been hitherto content to live. Huts however are not more uniform than palaces; and this which we were inspecting was very far from one of the meanest, for it was divided into several apartments; and its inhabitants possessed such property as a pastoral poet might exalt into riches.

It was said at Fort Augustus, that Lough Ness is open in the hardest winters, though a lake not far from it is covered with ice. In discussing these exceptions from the course of nature, the first question is whether the fact be justly stated. That which is strange is delightful, and a pleasing error is not willingly detected. Accuracy of narration is not very common, and there are so few rigidly philosophical, as not to represent as perpetual, what is only frequent, or as constant, what is really casual. If it be true that Lough Ness never freezes, it is either sheltered by its high banks from the cold blasts, and exposed only to those winds which have more power to When we entered, we found an old woman agitate than congeal, or it is kept in perpetual boiling goat's flesh in a kettle. She spoke little motion by the rush of streams from the rocks English, but we had interpreters at hand, and that enclose it. Its profundity, though it should she was willing enough to display her whole be such as is represented, can have little part in system of economy. She has five children, of this exemption; for though deep wells are not which none are yet gone from her. The eldest, frozen, because their water is secluded from the a boy of thirteen, and her husband, who is eighty external air, yet, where a wide surface is exposed years old, were at work in the wood. Her two to the full influence of a freezing atmosphere, I next sons were gone to Inverness to buy meal, know not why the depth should keep it open.-by which oatmeal is always meant. Meal she Natural philosophy is now one of the favourite considered as expensive food, and told us, that studies of the Scottish nation, and Lough Ness in spring, when the goats gave milk, the children well deserves to be diligently examined. could live without it. She is mistress of sixty goats, and I saw many kids in an enclosure at the end of her house. She had also some poul try. By the lake we saw a potato-garden, and a small spot of ground on which stood four shocks, containing each twelve sheaves of barley. She has all this from the labour of their own hands, and for what is necessary to be bought, her kids and her chickens are sent to market.

he must have been very incurious, and if he had seen it, his veracity yielded to very slight temptations.

The road on which we travelled, and which was itself a source of entertainment, is made along the rock, in the direction of the lough, sometimes by breaking off protuberances, and sometimes by cutting the great mass of stone to a considerable depth. The fragments are piled in a loose wall on either side, with apertures left at very short spaces, to give a passage to the wintry currents. Part of it is bordered with low trees, from which our guides gathered nuts, and would have had the appearance of an English lane, except that an English lane is almost always dirty. It has been made with great bour, but has this advantage, that it cannot, without equal labour, be broken up.

With the true pastoral hospitality, she asked us to sit down and drink whisky. She is religious, and though the kirk is four miles off, prola-bably eight English miles, she goes thither every Sunday. We gave her a shilling, and she beg ged snuff; for snuff is the luxury of a Highland cottage.

Within our sight there were goats feeding or playing. The mountains have red deer, but Soon afterwards we came to the General's Hut, they came not within view; and if what is said so called because it was the temporary abode of of their vigilance and subtilty be true, they have Wade while he superintended the works upon some claim to that palm of wisdom, which the the road. It is now a house of entertainment for eastern philosopher, whom Alexander interro-passengers, and we found it not ill stocked with gated, gave to those beasts which live farthest provisions. from men.


Near the way, by the water-side, we espied a cottage. This was the first Highland hut that I had seen; and as our business was with life and manners, we were willing to visit it. To enter a habitation without leave, seems to be not consi-tion with all the gloom and grandeur of Siberian dered here as rudeness or intrusion. The old laws solitude. The way makes a flexture, and the of hospitality still give this license to a stranger Imountains, covered with trees, rise at once on

Towards evening we crossed, by a bridge, the river which makes the celebrated Fall of Fiers. The country at the bridge strikes the imagina

« EelmineJätka »