« EelmineJätka »
ministers to abolish stated observances, because arrival of a beggar on an island is accounted a they continued the remembrance of the former sinistrous event. Every body considers that he religion. We, therefore, who came to see old shall have the less for what he gives away. Their traditions, and see antiquated manners, should alms, I believe, is generally oatmeal. probably have found them among the papists. Near to Col is another island called Tir-eye,
Canna, the other popish island, belongs to eminent for its fertility. Though it has but half Clanronald. It is said not to comprise more the extent of Rum, it is so well peopled, that than twelve miles of land, and yet maintains as there have appeared, not long ago, nine hunmany inhabitants as Rum.
dred and fourteen at a funeral. The plenty of We were at Col under the protection of the this island enticed beggars to it, who seemed so young laird, without any of the distresses which burdensome to the inhabitants, that a formal Mr. Pennant, in a fit of simple credulity, seems compact was drawn up, by which they obliged to think almost worthy of an elegy by Ossian. themselves to grant no more relief to casual Wherever we roved, we were pleased to see the wanderers, because they had among them an reverence with which his subjects regarded him. indigent woman of high birth, whom they conHe did not endeavour to dazzle them by any sidered as entitled to all that they could spare. magnificence of dress : his only distinction was I have read the stipulation, which was indited a feather in his bonnet: but as soon as he ap- with juridical formality, but was never made peared, they forsook their work and clustered valid by regular subscription. about him ; he took them by the hand, and they If the inhabitants of Col have nothing to give, seemed mutually delighted.' He has the proper it is not that they are oppressed by their landdisposition of a chieftain, and seems desirous to lord; their leases seem to be very profitable. continue the customs of his house. The bag- One farmer, who pays only seven pounds a year, piper played regularly, when dinner was served, has maintained seven daughters and three sons, whose person and dress made a good appear- of whom the eldest is educated at Aberdeen for ance; and he brought no disgrace upon the fa- the ministry; and now, at every vacation, opens mily of Rankin, which has long supplied the a school in Col. lairds of Col with hereditary music.
Life is here, in some respects, improved beThe tacksmen of Col seem to live with less yond the condition of some other islands. In dignity and convenience than those of Sky; Sky, what is wanted can only be bought, as the where they had good houses, and tables not only arrival of some wandering pedlar may afford an plentiful, but delicate. In Čol only two houses opportunity; but in Col there is a standing shop, pay the window-tax ; for only two have six and in Mull there are two. A shop in the islands, windows, which, 1 suppose, are the laird's and as in other places, of little frequentation, is a reMr. Macsweyn's.
pository of every thing requisite for common use. The rents have, till within seven years, been Mr. Boswell's journal was filled, and he bought paid in kind, but the tenants finding that cattle some paper in Col. To a man that ranges the and corn varied in their price, desired for the streets of London, where he is tempted to confuture to give their landlord money; which, not trive wants for the pleasure of supplying them, having yet arrived at the philosophy of com- a shop affords no image worthy of attention, but merce, they consider as being every year of the in an island it turns the balance of existence besame value.
tween good and evil. To live in perpetual want We were told of a particular mode of under- of little things, is a state not indeed of torture, tenure. The tacksman admits some of his infe- but of constant vexation. I have in Sky had rior neighbours to the cultivation of his grounds, some difficulty to find ink for a letter; and if a on condition that, performing all the work, and woman break's her needle, the work is at a stop. giving a third part of the seed, they shall keep As it is, the islanders are obliged to content a certain number of cows, sheep, and goats, themselves with succedaneous means for many and reap a third part of the harvest. Thus, by common purposes. I have seen the chief man of less than the tillage of two acres, they pay the a very wide district riding with a halter for a rent of one.
bridle, and governing. his hobby with a wooden There are tenants below the rank of tacks. curb. men, that have got smaller tenants under them; The people of Col, however, do not want for in every place, where money is not the gene | dexterity to supply some of their necessities. ral equivalent, there must be some whose labour Several arts which make trades, and demand is immediately paid by daily food.
apprenticeships in great cities, are here the pracA country that has no money, is by no means tices of daily economy. In every house candles convenient for beggars, both because such coun are made, both moulded and dipped. Their tries are commonly poor, and because charity wicks are small shreds of linen cloth. They requires some trouble and some thought. A all know how to extract from the cuddy oil for penny is easily given upon the first impulse of their lamps. They all tan skins and make compassion, or impatience of importunity ; but brogucs. few will deliberately search their cupboards or
As we travelled through Sky, we saw many their granaries to find out something to give. A cottages, but they very frequently stood single penny is likewise easily spent ; but victuals, if on the naked ground. In Col, where the hills they are unprepared, require house-room, and opened a place convenient for habitation, we fire, and utensils, which the beggar knows not found a petty village, of which every hut had a where to find.
little garden adjoining; thas they made an apYet beggars there sometimes are, who wander pearance of social commerce and mutual offices, from island to island. We had in our passage and of some attention to convenience and future to Mull the company of a woman and her child, supply. There is not in the Western Islands who had exhausted the charity of Col. Thel any collection of buildings that can make pre
tensions to be called a town, except in the isle parts there is now reason to fear, that none will of Lewis, which I have not seen.
stay but those who are too poor to remove theme If Lewis is distinguished by a town, Col has selves, and too useless to be removed at the cost also something peculiar. The young laird has of others. attempted what no islander perhaps ever thought Of antiquity there is not more knowledge in
He has begun a road capable of a wheel Col than in other places; but every where carriage. He has carried it about a mile, and something may be gleaned. will continue it by annual elongation from his How ladies were portioned, when there was house to the harbour.
no money, it would be difficult for an EnglishOf taxes here is no reason for complaining; man to guess. In 1649, Maclean of Dronart in they are paid by a very easy composition. The Mull, married his sister Fingala to Maclean of malt tax for Col is twenty shillings. Whiskey Col, with a hundred and eighty kine; and stie is very plentiful; there are several stills in the pulated, that if she became a widow, her jointure island, and more is made than the inhabitants should be three hundred and sixty. I suppose
some proportionate tract of land was appropriThe great business of insular policy is now to ated to their pasturage. keep the people in their own country. As the The disposition to pompous and expensive world has been let in upon them, they have funerals, which has at one time or other prevailed heard of happier climates and less arbitrary go- in the most parts of the civilized world, is not yet vernments; and if they are disgusted, have suppressed in the islands, though some of the emissaries among them ready to offer them land ancient solemnities are worn away, and singers and houses, as a reward for deserting their chief are no longer hired to attend the procession. and clan. Many have departed both from the Nineteen years ago, at the burial of the laird of main of Scotland and from the islands; and all Col, were killed thirty cows, and about fifty that go may be considered as subjects lost to the sheep. The number of the cows is positively British
crown; for a nation scaltered in the told, and we must suppose other victuals in like boundless regions of America, resembles rays proportion. diverging from a focus. All the rays remain, Mr. Maclean informed us of an old game, of but the heat is gone. Their power consisted in which he did not tell the original, but which their concentration; when they are dispersed, may perhaps be used in other places, where the they have no effect.
reason of it is not yet forgot. At New-year's It may be thought that they are happier by eve, in the hall or castle of the laird, where, at the change ; but they are not happy as a nation, festal seasons, there may be supposed a very nu for they are a nation no longer. As they contri- merous company, one man dresses himself in a bute not to the prosperity of any community, cow's hide, upon which other men beat with they must want that security, that dignity, that sticks. He runs with all this noise round the happiness, whatever it be, which a prosperous house, which all the company quits in a councommunity throws back upon individuals. terfeited fright; the door is then shut. At
The inhabitants of Col have not yet learned to New-year's eve there is no great pleasure to be be weary of their heath and rocks, but attend had out of doors in the Hebrides. They are their agriculture and their dairies, without lis- sure soon to recover from their terror enough to tening to American seducements.
solicit for readmission; which for the honour There are some however who think that this of poetry, is not to be obtained but by repeating emigration has raised terror disproportionate to a verse, with which those that are knowing and its real evil: and that it is only a new mode of provident take care to be furnished. doing what was always done. The Highlands, Very near the house of Maclean stands the they say, never maintained their natural in- castle of Col, which was the mansion of the habitants: but the people when they found laird, till the house was built.
It is built upon themselves too numerous, instead of extending a rock, as Mr. Boswell remarked, that it might cultivation, provided for themselves by a more not hé mined. It is very strong, and having compendious method, and sought better fortune been not long uninhabited, is yet in repair. On in other countries. They did not indeed go the wall was, not long ago, a stone with an inaway in collective bodies, but withdrew invi- scription, importing, that if any man of the clan sıbly, a few at a time; but the whole number of of Maclonich shall appear before this castle, fugitives was not less, and the difference between though he come at midnight, with a man's head other times and this, is only the same as between in his hand, he shall there find safety and protecevaporation and effusion.
tion against all but the king. This is plausible, but I am afraid it is not true. This is an old Highland treaty, made upon a Those who went before, if they were not sen- very memorable occasion. Maclean, the son of sibly missed, as the argument supposes, must John Gerves, who recovered Col, and conquered have gone either in less number, or in a manner Barra, had obtained, it is said, from James the less detrimental, than at present; because for- Second, a grant of the lands of Lochiel, formerly there was no complaint. Those who feited, I suppose, by some offence against the then' left the country, were generally the idle state. dependants on overburdened families, or men Forfeited estates were not in those days quiwho had no property, and therefore carried etly resigned ; Maclean, therefore, went with away only themselves. In the present eager- an armed force to seize his new possessions, and ness of emigration, families, and almost com- I know not for what reason, took his wife with munities, go away together. Those who were him. The Camerons rose in defence of their considered as prosperous and wealthy, sell their chief, and a battle was fought at the head of stock and carry away the money. Once none Loch Ness, near the place where Fort Augustus went away but the useless and poor; in some I now stands in which Lochiel obtained the vic
tory, and Maclean, with his followers, was de Children continue with the fosterer perhaps six feated and destroyed.
years, and cannot, where this is the practice, be The lady fell into the hands of the conquerors, considered as burdensome. The fosterer, if he and being found pregnant, was placed in the gives four cows, receives likewise four, and has, custody of Maclonich, one of a tribe or family while the child continues with him, grass for branched from Cameron, with orders, if she eight without rent, with half the calves, and all brought a boy, to destroy him, if a girl, to spare the milk, for which he pays only four cows her.
when he dismisses his dalt, for that is the namo Maclonich's wife, who was with child like- for a fostered child. wise, had a girl about the same time at which Fosterage is, I believe, sometimes performed lady Maclean brought a boy; and Maclonich, upon more liberal terms. Our friend, the young with more generosity w his captive, than fidelity laird of Col, was fostered by Macsweyn of Gristo his trust, contrived that the children should be sipol. Macsweyn then lived a tenant of Sir Changed.
James Macdonald in the isle of Sky; and thereMaclean being thus preserved from death, in fore Col, whether he sent him cattle or not, time recovered his original patrimony; and in could grant him no land. The dalt, however, gratitude to his friend, made his castle a place at his return, brought back a considerable numof refuge to any of the clan that should think ber of Macalive cattle, and of the friendship so himself in danger; and as a proof of reciprocal formed there have been good effects. When confidence, Maclean took upon himself and his Macdonald raised his rents, Macsweyn was, posterity the care of educating the heir of Mac- like other tenants, discontented, and resigning lonich.
his farm, removed from Sky to Col, and was esThis story, like all other traditions of the tablished at Grissipol. Highlands, is variously related; but though These observations we made by favour of some circumstances are uncertain, the principal the contrary wind that drove us to Col, an island fact is true. Maclean undoubtedly owed his not often visited; for there is not much to amuse preservation to Maclonich; for the treaty be- curiosity, or to attract avarice. tween the two families has been strictly observed: The ground has been hitherto, I believe, used it did not sink into disuse and oblivion, but con chiefly for pasturage. In a district, such as the tinued in its full force while the chieftains re- eye can command, there is a general herdsman, tained their power. I have read a demand of who knows all the cattle of the neighbourhood, protection, made not more than thirty-seven and whose station is upon a hill from which he years ago, for one of the Maclonichs, named surveys the lower grounds; and if one man's Ewen Cameron, who had been accessary to the cattle invade another's
grass, drives them back death of Macmartin, and had been banished by to their own borders. But other means of profit Lochiel, his lord, for a certain term; at the ex. begin to be found; kelp is gathered and burnt, piration of which he returned married from and sloops are loaded with the concreted ashes. France; but the Macmartins, not satisfied with Cultivation is likely to be improved by the skill the punishment, when he attempted to settle, and encouragement of the present heir, and the still ihreatened him with vengeance. He there- inhabitants of those obscure valleys will partake fore asked, and obtained, shelter in the isle of of the general progress of life. Col.
The rents of the parts which belong to the The power of protection subsists no longer; duke of Argyle, have been raised from fifty-five but what the law permits is yet continued, and to one hundred and five pounds, whether from Maclean of Col now educates the heir of Mac- the land or the sea I cannot tell. The bounties lonich.
of the sea have lately been so great, that a farm There still remains in the islands, though it is in Southuist has risen in ten years from a rent passing fast away, the custom of fosterage. A of thirty pounds to one hundred and eighty. laird, a man of wealth and eminence, sends his He who lives in Col, and finds himself conchild, either male or female, to a tacksman, ordemned to solitary meals, and incommunicable tenant, to be fostered. It is not always his own reflection, will find the usefulness of that middle tenant, but some distant friend, that obtains this order of tack smen, which some who applaud honour; for an honour such a trust is very rea- their own wisdom are wishing to destroy. Withsonably thought. The terms of fosterage seem out intelligence, man is not social, he is only to vary in different islands. In Mull, the father gregarious; and little intelligence will there be, sends with his child a certain number of cows, where all are constrained to daily labour, and to which the same number is added by the every mind must wait upon the hand. fosterer. The father appropriates a proportion. After having listened for some days to the able extent of ground, without rent, for their tempest, and wandered about the island till our pasturage. If every cow brings a calf, half be- curiosity was satisfied, we began to think about longs to the fosterer, and half to the child; but our departure. To leave Col in October was if there be only one calf between two cows, it is not very easy.
We however found a sloop the child's, and when the child returns to the which lay on the coast to carry kelp; and for parents, it is accompanied by all the cows given, a price which we thought levicd upon our neboth by the father and by the fosterer, with cessities, the master agreed to carry us to Mull, half of the increase of the stock by propagation. whence we might readily pass back to Scotland. These beasts are considered as a portion, and called Macalive castle, of which the father has
MULL. the produce, but is supposed not to have the full property, but to owe the same number to the As we were to catch the first favourable breath, child, as a portion to the daughter, or a stock for we spent the night not very elegantly nor pleathe son.
santly in the vessel, and were landed next day
at Tabor Morar, a port in Mull, which appears | The consequence of a bad season is here not
worse, he may learn to enjoy it.
The young laird of Col, who had determined supposed to have been the place of sepulture for not to let us lose his company, while there was the ancient kings. I, though less eager, did not any difficulty remaining, came over with us. oppose him. His influence soon appeared; for he procured That we might perform this expedition, it us horses, and conducted us to the house of Dr. was necessary to traverse a great part of Mull. Maclean, where we found very kind entertain- We passed a day at Dr. Maclean's, and could ment, and very pleasing conversation. Miss have been well contented to stay longer. But Maclean, who was born, and had been bred, at Col provided us horses, and we pursued our Glasgow, having removed with her father to journey. This was a day of inconvenience, for Mull, added to other qualifications a great the country is very rough, and my horse was but knowledge of the Erse language, which she had little. We travelled many hours through a tract, not learned in her childhood, but gained by black and barren, in which, however, there were study, and was the only interpreter of Erse the reliques of humanity; for we found a ruined poetry that I could ever find.
chapel in our way.
these naked regions trees will grow, is evident,
Plantation is naturally the employment of a But where the climate is unkind, and the mind unburdened with care, and vacant to futuground penurious, so that the most fruitful rity, saturated with present good, and at leiyears produce only enough to maintain them- sure to derive gratification from the prospect of selves; where life, unimproved and unadorned, posterity. He that pines with hunger, is in fades into something little more than naked ex- little care how others shall be fed. The poor istence, and every one is busy for himself, with- man is seldom studious to make his grandson out any arts by which the pleasure of others may rich, It may be soon discovered why, in a be increased ; if to the daily burden of distress place which hardly supplies the cravings of any additional weight be added, nothing re- necessity, there has been little attention to the mains but to despair and die. In Mull the dis- delights of fancy; and why distant convenience appointment of a harvest, or a murrain among is unregarded, where the thoughts are turned the cattle, cuts off the regular provision; and with incessant solicitude upon every possibility they who have no manufactures, can purchase of immediate advantage. no part of the superfluities of other countries. Neither is it quite so easy to raise large woods
us may be conceived. Trees intended to pro- were very liberally entertained by Mr. Mac duce timber must be sown where they are to quarry. grow; and ground sown with trees must be kept To Ulva we came in the dark, and left it beuseless for å long time, inclosed at an expense fore noon the next day. A very exact descripfrom which many will be discouraged by the re- tion therefore will not be expected. We were moteness of the profit, and watched with that told, that it is an island of' no great extent, attention, which in places where it is most rough and barren, inhabited by the Macquarrys; needed, will neither be given nor bought. That a clan not powerful nor numerous, but of antiit cannot be ploughed is evident: and if cattle quity, which most other families are content to be suffered to graze upon it, they will devour reverence. The name is supposed to be a dethe plants as fast as they rise. Even in coarser pravation of some other; for the Erse language countries, where herds and flocks are not fed, does not afford it any etymology. Macquarry not only the deer and the wild goats will browse is proprietor both of Ulva and some adjacent upon them, but the hare and rabbit will nibble islands, among which is Staffa, so lately raised them. It is therefore reasonable to believe, to renown by Mr. Banks. what I do not remember any naturalist to have When the islanders were reproached with remarked, that there was a time when the their ignorance or insensibility of the wonders world was very thinly inhabited by beasts, as of Staffa, they had not much to reply. They well as men, and that the woods had leisure to had indeed considered it little, because they bad rise high before animals had bred numbers suffi- always seen it; and none but philosophers, nor cient to intercept them.
they always, are struck with wonder, otherwise Sir James Macdonald, in part of the wastes than by novelty. How would it surprise an of his territory, set or sowed trees to the num- unenlightened ploughman, to hear a company of ber, as I have been told, of several millions, ex- sober men inquiring by what power the hand pecting, doubtless, that they would grow up into tosses a stone, or why the stone, when it is future navies and cities; but for want of inclo- tossed, falls to the ground ! sure, and of that care which is always necessary, Of the ancestors of Macquarry, who thus lie and will hardly ever be taken, all his cost and hid in this unfrequented island, I have found labour have been lost, and the ground is likely memorials in all places where they could be exto continue an useless heath.
pected. Having not any experience of a journey in Inquiring after the reliques of former manMull, we had no doubt of reaching the sea by ners, I found that in Ulva, and, I think, no daylight, and therefore had not left Dr. Mac- where else, is continued the payment of the lean's very early: We travelled diligently mercheta mulierum; a fine in old times due to enough, but found the country, for road there the laird at the marriage of a virgin. The oriwas none, very difficult to pass. We were al- ginal of this claim, as of our tenure of borough ways struggling with some obstruction or other, English, is variously delivered. It is pleasant and our vexation was not balanced by any gra- to find ancient cusioms in old families. This tification of the eye or mind. We were now payment, like others, was, for want of money, long enough acquainted with hills and heath to made anciently in the produce of the land.have lost the emotion that they once raised, Macquarry was used to demand a sheep, for whether pleasing or painful, and had our mind which he now takes a crown, by that inattention employed only on our own fatigue. We were to the uncertain proportion between the value however sure, under Col's protection, of escap- and the denomination of money, which has ing all real evils. There was no house in Mull brought much disorder into Europe. A sheep to which he could not introduce us. He had has always the same power of supplying human intended to lodge us, for that night, with a gen- wants, but a crown will bring at one time more, tleman that lived upon the coast, but discovered at another less. on the way, that he then lay in bed without hope Ulva was not neglected by the piety of anof life.
cient times; it has still to show what was once We resolved not to embarrass a family, in a a church. time of so much sorrow, if any other expedient could be found; and as the island of Ulva was
INCH KENNETH. over against us, it was determined that we In the morning we went again into the boat, should pass the strait and have recourse to the and were landed on Inch Kenneth, an island laird, who, like the other gentlemen of the about a mile long, and perhaps half a mile broad, islands, was known to Col. We expected to remarkable for pleasantness and fertility. It is find a ferry-boat, but when at last we came to verdant and grassy, and fit both for pasture and the water, the boat was gone.
tillage; but it has no trees. Its only inhabitants We were now again at a stop. It was the were Sir Allan Maclean and two young ladies, sixteenth of October, a time when it is not con- his
daughters, with their servants. venient to sleep in the Hebrides without a cover,
Romance does not often exhibit a scene that and there was no house within our reach, but strikes the imagination more than this little that which we had already declined.
desert in these depths of western obscurity, oc
cupied not by a gross herdsman, or amphibious ULVA.
fisherman, but by a gentleman and two ladies,
of high birth, polished manners, and elegant While we stood deliberating, we were happily conversation, who, in a habitation raised not espied from an Irish ship, that lay at anchor in very far above the ground, but furnished with the strait. The master saw that we wanted a unexpected neatness and convenience, practised passage, and with great civility sent us his boat, all the kindness of hospitality, and refinement of which quickly conveyed us to Ulva, where we courtesy.