A tour through the whole island of Great Britain, by Daniel Defoe

Letter XIII

Containing a Description of the North of Scotland

Fife and Perth

SIR,-I am now to enter the true and real Caledonia, for the country on the north of the firth is alone call’d by that name, and was antiently known by no other. As I shall give an account of it as it is, and not as it was; so I shall describe it as I view’d it, not as other people have view’d it; nor shall I confine myself to the division of the country, as the geographers have divided it, or to the shires and counties, as the civil authority has divided it, or into presbyteries and synodical provinces, as the Church has divided it: But noting the shires where I find them needful, I shall give an account of things in the order of my own progress, and as I pass’d thro’, or visited them.

I went over the firth at the Queens-Ferry, a place mention’d before, seven miles west of Edinburgh; and, as he that gives an account of the country of Fife, must necessarily go round the coast, the most considerable places being to be seen on the seaside, or near it; so I took that method, and began at the Queens-Ferry. A mile from hence, or something more, is the burrough of Innerkeithin, an antient wall’d town, with a spacious harbour, opening from the east part of the town into the Firth of Forth; the mouth of the harbour has a good depth of water, and ships of burthen may ride there with safety; but as there is not any great trade here, and consequently no use for shipping of burthen, the harbour has been much neglected: However, small vessels may come up to the key, such as are sufficient for their business.

The town is large, and is still populous, but decay’d, as to what it has formerly been; yet the market for linnen not only remains, but is rather more considerable than formerly, by reason of the increase of that manufacture since the Union. The market for provisions is also very considerable here, the country round being very fruitful, and the families of gentlemen being also numerous in the neighbourhood.

There was a tragical story happen’d in this town, which made it more talk’d of in England, at that time, than it had been before. The Lord Burleigh (a young nobleman, but not then come to his estate, his father being living) had, it seems, had some love affair with a young woman in his father’s family, but could not prevail with her to sacrifice her virtue to him; upon which the affair being made publick she was remov’d out of the family, and he was persuaded to travel, or whether he went into the army, I do not remember; he had declar’d it seems, before he went abroad, that he would marry her at his return; which, however, it seems the young woman declin’d too, as being too much below his quality, and that she would not be a dishonour to the family: But he not only declar’d he would marry her, but, upon that answer of hers, added, that if any one else marry’d her, he would murther them as soon as he came back: This pass’d without much notice, and the young woman was marry’d, before his return, to a schoolmaster in this town of Innerkeithen.

After some time the Young Master (so they call the eldest son of a lord, while his father is living) of Burleigh, returns from his travels, and enquiring for the young woman, and being told she was marry’d, and to whom, retaining his hellish resolution he rides away to the town, and up to the school door, and calling for the schoolmaster, the innocent man came out to him unarm’d in a gown and slippers; when, after asking if he was such a one, and flying out in some hard words upon him, he drew his pistol, and shot the poor man dead upon the spot, riding away in the open day, and no body daring to meddle with him.

But justice pursuing him, and a proclamation being issued, with a reward of 200l . for apprehending him, he was at last taken, and was tried at Edinburgh by the Lords of the Justitiary, and condemned to have his head cut off, and the day of execution appointed. Nor could all the intercession of his family and friends prevail with the queen, after Her Majesty had a true account of the fact laid before her, to pardon or reprieve him: But the day before the execution his friends found means for him to make his escape out of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, disguis’d in his sister’s clothes.

In return for this deliverance he appear’d in the late rebellion, and was in the battle of Dumblain or Sheriffmuir, but got off again; and his estate, which, however, was but small, was forfeited among the rest. But the murtherer is not yet brought to justice.

This tragedy, and its circumstances, I think, merits to be recorded, and the rather, because most of the circumstances came within the verge of my knowledge, and I was upon the spot when it was done; there are many other circumstances in it, but too long to be repeated.

Near Innerkeithin, a little within the land, stands the antient town of Dumfermling, as I may say, in my Lord Rochester’s words, in its full perfection of decay; nay, the decay is threefold.

  1. Here is a decay’d monastery; for before the Reformation here was a very large and famous abbey, but demolish’d at the Revolution; and saving, that part of the church was turn’d into a parochial church, the rest, and greatest part of that also lyes in ruins, and with it the monuments of several kings and queens of Scotland, particularly that of Malcolm III. who founded the monastery, as does also the cloister and apartments for the religious people of the house, great part of which are yet so plain to be seen, as to be distinguish’d one from another.

  2. Here is a decay’d court or royal palace of the kings of Scotland. They do not tell us who built this palace, but we may tell them who suffers it to fall down; for it is now (as it was observ’d before all the royal houses are) sinking into its own ruins; the windows are gone, the roof fallen in, and part of the very walls moulder’d away by the injury of time, and of the times. In this palace almost all King James the VIth’s children were born; as particularly King Charles I. and the Princess Elizabeth, afterwards Queen of Bohemia; and their mother, which was Queen Ann daughter of the Queen of Denmark, made this place her particular residence, which was also settled upon her as her dower or jointure; here she built herself an apartment, consisting of eight rooms over the arch of the great gate, which were her particular retirement, having a gallery reaching from that apartment to the Royal Lodgings.

    The figure of the house remains, but as for the lodgings they are all, as I have said, in their decay, and we may now call it the monument of a court.

  3. Here is a decay’d town, and we need go no farther for that part than the decay of the palace, which is irrecoverable; there might be something said here of what was done at this town, upon receiving and crowning King Charles II., by the Covenanters, &c. and which might, perhaps, contribute to entail a disgust upon the house, and even upon the place; and if it did so, I see no reason to blame the king on that account, for the memory of the place could not be pleasant to his majesty for many reasons: But this is matter of history, and besides, it seems to have something in it that is not, perhaps so well to be remember’d as to be forgot.

The church has still a venerable face, and at a distance seems a mighty pile; the building being once vastly large, what is left appears too gross for the present dimensions; the church itself, they tell us, was as long as the cathedral of Carlisle, design’d by the model of that of Glasgow, though, I rather think, that at Glasgow, was design’d by the model of that at Dumfermling, for the last was, by far, the most antient.

The people hereabout are poor, but would be much poorer, if they had not the manufacture of linnen for their support, which is here, and in most of the towns about, carry’d on with more hands than ordinary, especially for diaper, and the better sort of linnen: The Marquess of Tweedale has a good estate in these parts, and is hereditary House-keeper, or Porter of the Royal House, and, in effect, Lord Chamberlain.

From hence, turning east, we see many seats of private gentlemen, and some of noblemen, as particularly one belonging to the said Marquess of Tweedale at Aberdour. It was formerly one of the many noble mansion houses of the great Earl Mortoun, regent; but with his fall the estates found new masters as that of Dalkeith has in the house of Bucclugh, and this of Aberdour in the house of Yester, or Tweedale. The house is old, but magnificent, and the lands about it, as all must do, that come into the managing hands of the family of Tweedale, have been infinitely improv’d by planting and enclosing.

This house of Aberdour fronts the firth to the south, and the grounds belonging to it reach down to the shores of it. From this part of the firth, to the mouth of Innerkeithen harbour, is a very good road for ships, the water being deep and the ground good; but the western part, which they call St. Margaret’s Bay, is a steep shore, and rocky, there being twenty fathom water within a ship’s length of the rocks: So that in case of a south east wind, and if it blow hard, it may be dangerous riding too near. But a south east wind blows so seldom, that the ships often venture it; and I have seen large ships ride there.

He that will view the country of Fife must, as I said before, go round the coast; and yet there are four or five places of note in the middle of the country which are superiour to all the rest, and must not be omitted; I’ll take them as I go, though I did not travel to them in a direct line, the names are as follow. Kinross the house of Sir William Bruce, Lessly, Falkland, Melvil, Balgony, and Cowper; the last a town, the other great houses, and one a royal palace, and once the most in request of all the royal houses in Scotland: And here, since I am upon generals, it may not be improper to mention, as a remark only, that however mean our thoughts in England have been of the Scots Court in those times, the kings of Scotland had more fine palaces than most princes in Europe, and, in particular, many more than the Crown of England has now; for example, we see nothing in England now of any notice but Hampton-Court, Windsor, Kensington, and St James’s .

Greenwich and Nonsuch are demolished.

Richmond quite out of use, and not able to receive a Court.

Winchester never inhabited, or half finished.

Whitehall burnt, and lying in ruins, or, as we may say let out into tenements.

Westminster, long since abandon’d: So that I say nothing remains but, as above, St. James’s, Kensington, Windsor, and Hampton-Court.

Whereas the kings of Scotland had in King James the VIth’s time all in good repair, and in use, the several Royal palaces of

Haly-Rood House, } at Edinburgh.
The castle,
The royal palace in the castle at Sterling.
Linlithgow.
Dumfermling.
Falkland.
Scoon.

Besides lesser seats and hunting-houses, of which King James V. had several; and besides the several palaces of the Earl Mortoun and others, which were forfeited into the king’s hands, and which afterwards became royal.

Having seen Aberdour, I took a turn, at a friend’s invitation, to Lessly; but by the way stopp’d at Kinross, where we had a view of two things worth noting. I. The famous lake or lough, call’d Lough Leven, where, in an island, stands the old castle where Queen Mary, commonly known in England by the name of Queen of Scots, was confin’d by the first reformers, after she had quitted, or been forc’d to quit her favourite Bothwel, and put herself into the hands of her subjects. One would have thought this castle, standing as it were in the middle of the sea, for so it is in its kind, should have been sufficient to have held her, but she made shift to get out of their hands, whether by a silver key, or without a key, I believe is not fully known to this day.

The lough itself is worth seeing; ’tis very large, being above ten miles about, and in some places deep, famous for fish. Formerly it had good salmon, but now chiefly trouts, and other small fish; out of it flows the River Leven, which runs from thence to Lessly.

At the west end of the lake, and the gardens reaching down to the very water’s edge, stands the most beautiful and regular piece of architecture, (for a private gentleman’s seat) in all Scotland, perhaps, in all Britain, I mean the house of Kinross. The town lies at a little distance from it, so as not to annoy the house, and yet so as to make it the more sociable; and at the town is a very good market, and the street tolerably well built. The house is a picture, ’tis all beauty; the stone is white and fine, the order regular, the contrivance elegant, the workmanship exquisite. Dryden’s lines, intended for a compliment on his friend’s poetry, and quoted before, are literally of the house of Kinross.

Strong dorick columns form the base,

Corinthian fills the upper space;

So all below is strength, and all above is grace.

Sir William Bruce, the skilful builder, was the Surveyor-General of the works, as we call it in England, or the Royal Architect, as in Scotland. In a word, he was the Kit Wren of North Britain; and his skill in the perfect decoration of building, has many testimonials left upon record for it; such as the palace of Haly-Rood at Edinburgh; the house of Rothess, and this at Kinross, besides several others.

The situation of this house of Kinross would be disliked by some for its being so very near the water, and that sometimes when the lake is swelled by winter rains and melted snows, the water comes into, or at least unto the very gardens; but as the country round is dry, free from stagnated boggs, and unhealthy marshes; this little mediterranean sea gives them very little inconvenience, if any. Sir William, according to the new and laudable method of all the Scots gentlemen, has planted innumerable numbers of firr-trees upon the estate round his house, and the present possessor Mr. Bruce, is as careful to improve as his predecessor: Posterity will find the sweet of this passion for planting, which is so happily spread among the people of the south-parts of Scotland, and which, if it goes on, will in time make Scotland a second Norway for firr; for the Lowlands, as well as the Highlands, will be overspread with timber.

Nor may it require so many ages as some people imagine, for many of the largest and most considerable improvements are already of fifty to seventy and eighty years standing as at Melvil, Lessly, Yester, Pinkey, Newbattle, and several other places; and others follow apace; so that in forty or fifty years more, as slow a growing wood as firr is, yet there may be a quantity of large grown trees to be found to begin upon, so as to cutt out deal-boards in great numbers, besides sparrs, bauks, poles, oars &c. which the branches will supply.

From Kinross, I came to Lessley, where I had a full view of the palace of Rothess, both inside and outside, as I had before of that of Bruce. The magnificence of the inside at Lessly is unusually great; but what is very particular, is the long gallery, which is the full length of one side of the building, and is fill’d with paintings, but especially (as at Drumlanrig) of the great ancestors of the house of Rothes or Lessly at full lengths, and in their robes of office or habits of ceremony; particularly the late Duke of Rothess, who built the house, and who was Lord High Chancellor of Scotland.

I do not forget that the rooms of state at Kinross are well supply’d with pictures and some very fine and valuable pieces, as particularly those of King Charles I. and Henrietta Maria his queen daughter of France. But almost if not all the full lengths in this gallery of Rothess, are of the family, and the immediate ancestors from whom in a direct line the present earl is descended, having been peers, and in some or other of the greatest offices of trust in Scotland, from the year 1320 to 1725; so that there may well be enough to cloath a gallery, and they are there to be distinguished by their robes and different habits down to the great founder of the house, who was Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament, Lord High Treasurer, and Lord Chancellor; and was created a duke for his own life only, so that his successors are now but earls: But the family are still in the highest esteem, and have gone thro’ divers posts of honour and trust. The house indeed is magnificent, I cannot say the situation is so much to advantage as some other seats; nor is there any large avenue or prospect from the entrance, but it is a prospect in it self; it is situated on the banks of the Leven just where another smaller river joins it, and the park on the south side of the house is very beautiful, six miles in circumference, walled about, and in several parts, little woods of firr-trees planted with vistas reaching to them from the house, which gives a very beautiful prospect. The gardens are at the E. end of the house well planted, and well designed, extending to the angle or point, where the two rivers meet; so that the gardens are as it were watered on the north and on the east side, and on the south side are parted from the park with a wall; the west end of them beginning from the house.

This house was built for the duke mentioned above, in the reign of King Charles II. by that man of art and master of building Sir William Bruce mentioned there also, so that the building is wholly modern. It is a square, and the fronts every way are plain, that is, without wings, and make a square court within: Here it was King James II. lodged, most part of the time,, when he was oblig’d by his brother, King Charles II. to retire into Scotland while he was Duke of York; and his apartments are marked in the house and call’d the Duke of York’s Lodgings to this day. They had a communication with the long gallery, and with the great staircase at the other end.

The town of Lessly is at a small distance west from the house or a little north-west. There is a good market, but otherwise it is not considerable. The house is the glory of the place, and indeed of the whole province of Fife.

From Lessly, we turn’d away south to the coast, and came to Bruntisland; this is a port upon the Firth of Forth, and lies opposite to Leith, so that there is a fair prospect as well of the road of Leith, and the ships riding there, as of the city and castle or Edinburgh. There is a very good harbour which enters as if it had been made by hand into the center of the town; for the town is as it were built round it, and the ships lay their broad sides to the very houses. There is water enough at spring-tides, for ships of good burthen to come into the basin; but at low-water some of the ships lye a-ground: But want of trade renders all this useless; for what is the best harbour in the world without ships? And whence should ships be expected without a commerce to employ them; it is true, the ships of several other towns on the coast frequently put into this harbour, to lay up, as we call it, and to lye by in the winter: But this does not so much better the town as to make it be call’d a trading town; so that, indeed, the place is unhappy, and must decay yet farther, unless the trade revive, which, I confess, I do not yet foresee.

Here is, however, a manufacture of linnen, as there is upon all the coast of Fife, and especially for that they call green-cloth, which is now in great demand in England for the printing-trade, in the room of callicoes, which were lately prohibited.

Next to this is Kinghorn upon the same coast, where, not the sea, but the manufacture upon the land may be said to maintain the place; for here is a thread manufacture, which they make very good, and bleach or whiten it themselves. The women, indeed, chiefly carry on this trade, and the men are generally seamen upon all this coast, as high as the Queens-Ferry. Where I observ’d the men carry’d on an odd kind of trade, or sport rather (viz.) of shooting of porpoises, of which very great numbers are seen almost constantly in the firth; when they catch them thus, they bring them on shore, and boil the fat of them as they do of whales, into train-oil, and the like they do with several other great fish, which sometimes they find in the sea there; and sometimes they have grampusses, finn fish, and several species of the small whale kind which come up there, and which they always make the best of, if they can take them. One year in particular there came several such fish on shore, which they could find no name for; there was eight or nine of them, which I saw lying on the shore of Fife, from Kinghorn to the Easter Weems, some of which were twenty foot long and upward.

But this sort of fishing is but by accident, and the profit’s not certain; the firth affords a much more certain and profitable fishery lower down, of which in its place. The ferry, from Leith to the shore of Fife, is fix’d in this town, though sometimes the boats in distress, and by force of wind and weather, are driven to run into Borunt Island: This constant going and coming of the ferry-boat, and passengers, is also a considerable benefit to the town of Kinghorn, and is a very great article in its commerce.

East of this town is Kirkcaldy, a larger, more populous, and better built town than the other, and indeed than any on this coast. Its situation is in length, in one street running along the shore, from east to west, for a long mile, and very well built, the streets clean and well pav’d; there are some small by streets or lanes, and it has some considerable merchants in it, I mean in the true sense of the word merchant. There are also several good ships belonging to the town: Also as Fife is a good corn country, here are some that deal very largely in corn, and export great quantities both to England and Holland. Here are great quantities of linnen shipp’d off for England; and as these ships return freighted either from England or Holland, they bring all needful supplies of foreign goods; so that the traders in Kirkcaldy have really a very considerable traffick, both at home and abroad.

There are several coal-pits here, not only in the neighbourhood, but even close to the very sea, at the west end of the town, and where, one would think, the tide should make it impossible to work them. At the east end of the town is a convenient yard for building and repairing of ships, and farther east than that several salt-pans for the boyling and making of salt.

Kirkcaldy is a member of the royal burroughs, as are also Bruntisland, Kinghorn, and Dysert, tho’ almost all of them together are not equal to this town: So that here are no less than four royal burroughs in the riding of five miles.

Dysert is next, a town that gives the title of noble or baron to the Lord Dysert, who resides in England, tho’ the property both of the town and the lands adjoining, belong to the Lord Sinclare or St. Clare: but be the estate whose it will, the town, though a royal burgh, is, as I said before of Dumfermling, in the full perfection of decay, and is, indeed, a most lamentable object of a miserable, dying Corporation; the only support which, I think, preserves the name of a town to it, is, that here is, in the lands adjoining, an excellent vein of Scots coal, and the Lord Dysert, the landlord, has a good salt-work in the town; close to the sea there is a small peer or wharf for ships, to come and load both the salt and the coal: And this, I think, may be said to be the whole trade of the town, except some nailers and hardware workers, and they are but few.

I take the decay of all these sea-port towns, which ’tis evident have made a much better figure in former times, to be owing to the removing of the court and nobility of Scotland to England; for it is most certain, when the court was at home, they had a confluence of strangers, residence of foreign ministers, being of armies, &c. and consequently the nobility dwelt at home, spent the income of their estates, and the product of their country among their neighbours. The return of their coal and salt, and corn and fish, brought them in goods from abroad and, perhaps, money; they sent their linnen and other goods to England, and receiv’d the returns in money; they made their own manufactures, and though not so good and cheap as from England, yet they were cheaper to the publick stock, because their own poor were employ’d. Their wool, which they had over and above, went to France, and return’d ready money. Their lead went to Holland, and their cattle and sheep to England, and brought back in that one article above 100,000l. sterling per Ann.

Then it was the sea-port towns had a trade, their Court was magnificent, their nobility built fine houses and palaces which were richly furnish’d, and nobly finish’d within and without. They had infinitely more value went out than came back in goods, and therefore the balance was evidently on their side; whereas, now their Court is gone, their nobility and gentry spend their time, and consequently their estates in England; the Union opens the door to all English manufactures, and suppresses their own, prohibits their wool going abroad, and yet scarcely takes it off at home; if the cattle goes to England, the money is spent there too. The troops rais’d there are in English service, and Scotland receives no premio for the levies, as she might have done abroad, and as the Swiss and other nations do at this time.

This I take to be the true state of the case; and as this is not foreign to the design of this work, I am the longer upon it. I gave a particular account in my description of Glasgow, Irwin, and Dumfries, to shew you how those places were enrich’d by the increase of their commerce, and how the commerce was encreas’d by the Union of the two kingdoms. I must likewise, in justice, demonstrate how and why these sea-ports, on the east coast, decline and decay by the same occasion, and from the same cause.

It is true, Scotland would have an advantagious trade with England, and not the worst for the Union, were not the Court remov’d, and did not their nobility dwell abroad, and spend their estates abroad: Scotland has a plentiful product for exportation, and were the issue of that product return’d and consum’d at home, Scotland would flourish and grow rich, but as it is, I may venture to say, it is not to be expected. For example; The product of Scotland, I say, is very considerable, I mean that part of it which is exported to foreign parts, for what. is consum’d at home is nothing, that is to say adds nothing to the publick stock of the nation, speaking of Scotland as a nation by herself.

All the product of Scotland which is sent abroad, and exported to foreign countries, and consum’d there, is so much clear gain to the publick stock, excepting only the cost of its manufacturing at home, or curing and sending out; and except so much as is brought back in goods of the growth, and manufacture of foreign countries, and is consum’d in Scotland, which is not reckon’d as gain, because consum’d; if it is exported again, the article goes to the account of publick gain again. Now to state the case briefly between the exportation and importation of goods in Scotland, that the difference, which is the balance of the trade, may appear.

The product of Scotland, which it exports into foreign countries, England included, for I am now considering Scotland as if not united, is as follows.

Corn
Black Cattle
Sheep
Wool,
Linnen of several sorts
Some woollen manufactures, stockings in particular.
} All these carry’d to England and that in great quantities.
Corn
Lead
Salt
Coal
Barrell’d pork
Salmon.
} To Holland, Bremen, and Hambrough.

N.B. The Dutch buy the barrell’d pork from Aberdeen for victualling their East-India ships, it being much better cur’d than from any other country.

Salt
Oatmeal
Salmon
Lead
Stockings
Linnen.
} To Norway.
Salt
Woollen manufactures of Sterling and Aberdeen.
} To Sweden, Dantzick, and to Riga, &c.
Herrings pickl’d.
Barrell’d and dry’d salmon.
Herring and white fish.
} To Spain and the Straits.
Coal
Salt
Lead
Herrings
White fish
Wool.
} To France.

For all these exportations the returns are, or at least were before the Union:

Pewter
Block-tin
Wrought iron
Glass ware
Sugars
Tobacco
Drugs and dyers’ stuffs.
} From England.

N.B. All the English woollen and silk manufactures were prohibited upon the several penalties; so that the returns from England, in goods, were very small; the grand return from thence was in specie: And ’tis known, that above an hundred thousand pounds a year was paid into Scotland every year; for cattle only.

Fine linnens, not much,
because of their own
Lace and fine threads,
gimp, incle, &c.
East-India goods
Linseed, and lint or flax
Linseed-oil, train-oil,
and whalebone.
} From Holland.
Pitch and tar
Deals and firr-timber
} From Norway.
Iron in bars and copper
Deals and timber.
} From Sweden.
Plank, call’d east country Clap-board, or wainscot
Oak timber, and in quarters.
Hemp
Pitch
Tar
Turpentine
Sturgeon
Flax.
} From Dantzick, Koningsberg, Riga, Narva, and Petersburg.
Wine Brandy
Apples (rennets)
Rosin
Cork
Paper
Wrought silks
Raw silk
Toys
Perfumes, &c.
} From France
Oil and Italian pickles from Leghorn,
way of
} The Royal Canal thro’ France.
Staves for casks
Clap-board
Rhenish wine
Old hoch.
} From Hamburgh.

All these goods, indeed, come to Scotland, but then the quantities are very small: ’Tis evident, the chief articles are, to sum up all in a little,

Sugar and tobacco
Wine and brandy
Naval stores
Swedes iron and copper
Deals and timber
Lint and linseed
} From { England,
France,
The east country,
Sweden,
Norway,
Holland.

And all these put together, if I am rightly inform’d, do not balance the lead, coal, and salt, which they export every year: So that the balance of trade must stand greatly to the credit of the account in the Scots commerce.

And what then, would not such an annual wealth in specie do for Scotland in a year, if there was not a gulph, into which it all runs as into a sink?

I know this is abundantly answer’d, by saying that Scotland is now establish’d in a lasting tranquillity; the wars between the nations are at an end, the wastings and plunderings, the ravages and blood are all over; the lands in Scotland will now be improv’d, their estates doubled, the charges of defending her abroad and at home lies upon England; the taxes are easy and ascertain’d, and the West-India trade abundantly pours in wealth upon her; and this is all true; and, in the end, I am still of opinion Scotland will be gainer: But I must add, that her own nobility, would they be true patriots, should then put their helping hand to the rising advantages of their own country, and spend some of the large sums they get in England in applying to the improvement of their country, erecting manufactures, employing the poor, and propagating the trade at home, which they may see plainly has made their united neighbours of England so rich.

Why might not the wool, which they send to England, be manufactur’d in Scotland? If they say they know not how to make the goods, or how to dispose of them when made, my answer is short; I know ’tis not the work of gentlemen to turn manufacturers and merchants: And I know also a number of projectors, that is to say, thieves and cheats, have teas’d and hang’d about them, to draw them into manufacturing, only to bubble them of their wool and money.

But here is a plain scheme, let the Scots gentlemen set but their stewards to work to employ the poor people to spin the wool into yarn, and send the yarn into England; ’tis an easy manufacture, and what the Scots are very handy at, and this could never be difficult. They may have patterns of the yarn given them here, a price agreed on, and good security for payment: This can have no difficulty; the Irish are fallen into this way, to such a degree, that 40,000 packs of wool and worsted yarn are brought into England now every year, and sold here, where, about thirty years ago, not a pound of it was imported ready spun.

This, and many such advantages in trade, Scotland might find in her own bounds, her gentlemen assisting the poor only with their stocks of wool; by which means the poverty and sloth of the meaner people would be remov’d, and Scotland enrich’d: But I have done my part, and have not room to enlarge; nature will dictate enough to the gentlemen to go to work upon it, if they have any design to do their country good, and if a narrow and selfish spirit does not continue to prevail among them.

The decay’d burghs being pass’d, we came to a village call’d the Weems, or by way of distinction, the Wester Weems, or Wemys. This is a small town, and no burrough, belonging to the Earl of Weemys, whose house stands a little farther east, on the top of a high cliff, looking down upon the sea, as Dover Castle looks down upon the strait, between it and Calais, tho’ not so high.

The account given lately of this noble castle of the Weemys is very romantick, and must necessarily be laugh’d at by the family itself who know the house. It is a very good house, and has one large front to the sea, but without any Windsor-like terrass between the house and it, as is represented. At the west end, upon the same cliff, is a small plain, where had been a bowling-green, and where the late earl, being admiral, had some small field-pieces planted to answer salutes. Behind the house is a small and irregular court-yard, with two wings of building, being offices to the house on one side, and stables on the other. Nor is there any gardens, or room for any, much less a spacious park, on the north side of the house; but the road from the Wester Weemys to the Easter passing between, there is a large, well planted orchard, and it is no other, nor otherwise intended; and as to a spacious park, there is nothing like it. There is a piece of wast ground planted with firr-trees, at the east end of the house, but they do not thrive; nor would any man call it a park, especially for a nobleman too, that had seen what a park means in England; but, indeed, in Scotland they call all enclos’d grounds parks, whether for grass or corn: And so they call all gardens yards; as St. Ann’s Yards, at the palace of Haly-Rood House, and the like in other places.

From hence you pass through the East Weemys to another village, call’d Buckhaven, inhabited chiefly, if not only, by fishermen, whose business is wholly to catch fresh fish every day in the firth, and carry them to Leith and Edinburgh markets. And though this town be a miserable row of cottage-like buildings, and people altogether meer fishermen, as I have said, yet there is scarce a poor man in the town, and in general the town is rich.

Here we saw the shore of the sea cover’d with shrimps, like the ground cover’d with a thin snow; and as you rode among them they would rise like a kind of dust, being scar’d by the footing of the horse, and hopping like grasshoppers.

The fishermen of this town have a great many boats of all sorts and sizes, and some larger, which lye upon the beach unrigg’d, which every year they fit out for the herring season, in which they have a very great share.

Beyond this is the Methuel, a little town, but a very safe and good harbour, firmly built of stone, almost like the Cobb at Lime, though not wholly projecting into the sea, but standing within the land, and built out with two heads, and walls of thick strong stone: It stands a little on the west side of the mouth of the River Leven; the salmon of this river are esteem’d the best in this part of Scotland.

Here my Lord Weemys brings his coal, which he digs above two miles off, on the banks of the River Leven, and here it is sold or shipp’d off; as also what salt he can make, which is not a great deal. Nor is the estate his lordship makes from the said coal-works equal to what it has been, the water having, after an immense charge to throw it off, broken in upon the works, and hinder’d their going on, at least to any considerable advantage. The people who work in the coal mines in this country, what with the dejected countenances of the men, occasion’d by their poverty and hard labour, and what with the colour or discolouring, which comes from the coal, both to their clothes and complexions, are well describ’d by their own countryman Samuel Colvil, in his famous macaronick poem, call’d, Polemo Midinia; thus,

Cole-hewersNigri, Girnantes more Divelli. Pol. Mid.

They are, indeed, frightful fellows at first sight: But I return to my progress from the Methuel; we have several small towns on the coast, as Criel or Crail, Pitten-Ween, Anstruther, or Anster, as ’tis usually call’d: these are all Royal Burghs, and send members to parliament, even still upon the new establishment, in consequence only that now they join three or four towns together to choose one or two members, whereas they chose every town for itself.

Over against this shore, and in the mouth of the Forth, opposite to the Isle of the Bass, lyes the Isle of May, known to mariners by having a light-house upon it; the only constant inhabitant; is said to be the man maintain’d there by the Government, to take care of the fire in the light-house.

Here (you may observe) the French fleet lay with some assurance, when the Pretender was on board: And here the English four-a-clock-gun, on board their approaching squadron, unhappily gave them the alarm; so that they immediately weigh’d, got under sail, and made the best of their way, the English pursuing them in vain, except only that they took the Salisbury, which was a considerable way behind the fleet, and could not come up with the rest; the story is well known, so I need not repeat it.

The shore of the firth or frith ends here, and the aestuarium or mouth opening, the land of Fife falls off to the north, making a promontory of land, which the seamen call Fife-Ness, looking east to the German ocean, after which the coast trends away north, and the first town we saw there was St Andrew’s, an antient city, the seat of an archbishop, and an university.

As you must expect a great deal of antiquity in this country of Fife, so you must expect to find all those antient pieces mourning their own decay, and drooping and sinking in ashes. Here it was, that old limb of St. Lucifer, Cardinal Beaton, massacred and murther’d that famous sufferer and martyr of the Scots Church, Mr. William Wishart, whom he caus’d to be burnt in the parade of the castle, he himself sitting in his balcony to feed and glut his eyes with the sight of it.

The old church here was a noble structure; it was longer than St. Paul’s in London, by a considerable deal, I think, by six yards, or by twenty-five foot. This building is now sunk into a simple parish church, though there are many plain discoveries of what it has been, and a great deal of project and fancy may be employ’d to find out the antient shape of it.

The city is not large, nor is it contemptibly small; there are some very good buildings in it, and the remains of many more: The colleges are handsome buildings, and well supply’d with men of learning in all sciences, and who govern the youth they instruct with reputation; the students wear gowns here of a scarlet-like colour, but not in grain, and are very numerous: The university is very ancient as well as the city; the foundation was settled, and the publick buildings appointed in the beginning of the fifteenth century by King James I. ’Tis true, they tell us here were private schools set up many ages before that, even as far back as 937; but I see no evidence of the fact, and so do not propose it for your belief, though ’tis very likely there was some beginnings made before the king came to encourage them, so far as to form an university.

There are three colleges in all; the most antient, and which, they say, was the publick school so long before, is call’d St. Salvadore. How it was made to speak Portuguese, I know not, unless it might be that some Portuguese clergymen came over hither as the first professors or teachers; in English it is St. Saviour’s, in Spanish it would be call’d Nostra Seigniora, or Our Lord; and so St. Mary’s would be call’d Nostra Dame de St. Andrew, or Our Lady of St. Andrew’s. This college of St. Mary’s is call’d the New College, and the middle-most (for age) is call’d St. Leonard’s College.

The old college, as I have said, though it was a school, as they affirm, above 200 years before, was turn’d into a college, or founded as such by James Kennedy, the son of the Lord Kennedy by Mary, daughter of King Robert III. This James Kennedy was a clergyman of great fame in those days, and rose by the reputation of his wisdom, prudence, and beneficence to all mankind, to the highest posts of honour in the state and dignity in the Church; for he was Lord Chancellor of Scotland under James II. and archbishop of this See of St. Andrew’s . He was a great lover of learning, and of learned men; and was the first who encourag’d men of learning from abroad, to come there and take upon them the governing and instructing the youth in the great school, which, as I say above, had been there so long, as that it was then call’d the antient school of St. Andrew. These learned men put him upon founding and endowing a college, or rather turning the school into a college or academy, which he did.

The building is antient, but appears to have been very magnificent considering the times it was erected in, which was 1456. The gate is large, and has a handsome spire over it all of stone. In the first court, on the right side as you go in, is the chapel of the college, not extraordinary large, but sufficient. There is an antient monument of the archbishop the founder, who lyes buried in the church of his own building. Beyond the chapel is the cloister, after the antient manner, not unlike that in Canterbury, but not so large. Opposite to this are offices, and proper buildings for the necessary use of the colleges. In the second court are the schools of the college, on the same spot where stood the antient grammar school, mention’d above, if that part is to be depended upon. Over these schools is a very large hall for the publick exercises, as is usual in other universities; but this is a most spacious building, and far larger than there is any occasion for.

In the same court are the apartments for the masters, professors, and regents, which (as our fellows) are in sallary, and are tutors and governors to the several students; were this college supported by additional bounties and donations, as has been the case in England; and were sufficient funds appointed to repair and keep up the buildings, there would few colleges in England go beyond it for magnificence: But want of this, and other encouragements, causes the whole building to seem as if it was in its declining state, and looking into its grave: The truth is, the college wants nothing but a good fund to be honestly apply’d for the repair of the building, finishing the first design, and encouraging the scholars. Dr. Skeen, principal of this college, shew’d the way to posterity to do this, and laid out great sums in repairs, especially of the churches, and founded a library for the use of the house.

They tell you a story here of nine maces found under the archbishop’s tomb, after the restoration of King Charles II. But to me the story does not tell well at all. First, it does not appear of what use, or to what purpose so many maces were made and kept there, the like not being known to be us’d in any cathedral or college in other countries: And in the next place how came they to rummage the good founder’s grave, and that in King Charles the IId’s time too; if it had been in Oliver Cromwell’s domination, it would have seem’d rational to expect it; but after the Restoration to ravage the monuments of the dead, is something extraordinary: But be that as it will, there are three maces kept in the college; whether they were found in the king’s tomb or not, that I leave to tradition, as I find it. One of these maces is of very fine workmanship, all of silver, gilt, and very heavy, of fine imagery, and curious workmanship, made at Paris by the archbishop’s special directions, as appears by an inscription on a plate, fasten’d to the mace by a little chain, and preserv’d with it.

The story of St. Andrew and of his bones being buried here; of the first stone of the cathedral church being laid upon one of St. Andrew’s legs or thigh-bone, and of those bones being brought from Patras in the Morea, near the Gulph of Lepanto; these things are too antient, and sound too much of the legend for me to meddle with.

In the second college, which is call’d St. Leonard’s, is a principal, who must be a Doctor of Divinity by the foundation; but the present Church Government insisting upon the parity of the clergy, are pleas’d to dispense with that part: There are also four Professors of Philosophy, to whom the late Sir John Scot, a bountiful benefactor to this college, has added a Professor of Philology, and has settled a very handsome stipend upon the professor: Also the same gentleman augmented the college library with several valuable books to a very considerable sum. And since that Sir John Wedderburn, a gentleman of a very antient family, and a great lover of learning, has given a whole library, being a great and choice collection of books, to be added to the library of this college.

The revenue of this college is larger than that of the old college; it has also more students. It was founded and endow’d by the Earl of Lenox, being before that a religious house, of the Order of St. Benedict, as appears by the register and Charter of the Foundation.

It is not so large and magnificent as St. Salvador originally was; but ’tis kept in much better repair. It has but one court or square, but it is very large. The old building of the monastery remains entire, and makes the south side, and the old cells of the monks make now the chambers for the students: The chapel takes up the north side, and a large side of more modern apartments on the west, which are nevertheless old enough to be falling down; but they are now repairing them, and adding a great pile of building to compleat the square, and join that side to the north where the chapel stands.

This college has large yards, as they call them, that is to say gardens, or rather orchards, well planted, and good walks in them as well as good fruit.

This college has many benefactors, which makes it flourish much behond the first; and they talk of a large gift yet to come from a noble family, which, if it falls, will enable them to put the whole house in compleat repair.

The new college, call’d St. Mary’s, was founded by Cardinal Beaton Archbishop of St. Andrew’s, and is very singular in its reserv’d and limited laws. Here are no scholars at all; but all those scholars who have pass’d their first studies, and gone through a course of philosophy in any of the other colleges, may enter themselves here to study Hebrew and the mathematicks, history, or other parts of science.

It was in this college King Charles I. held a parliament; the place is call’d the Parliament Room to this day, and is a very large, spacious room, able to receive 400 people, plac’d on seats to sit down; the form is reserv’d very plain, and the place, where the tables for the clarks and other officers were set, is to be seen. There is a library also to this college, but not very valuable, or so well furnish’d as that of St. Leonard’s . Here are, however, two Professors of Divinity; one is call’d the Principal Professor of Theology, and the other barely the Professor of Theology: To these was afterwards added a Professor of the Mathematicks; and he that was the first who enjoy’d the place, viz. Dr. Gregory, obtain’d an observatory to be erected, and gave them abundance of mathematical and astronomical instruments: But it is not now made use of, for what reason I know not.

In the new church in this city lyes the body of the late Archbishop Sharp, who was assassinated upon a moor or heath, as he was coming in his coach home to this city from the Court. There is a fine monument of marble over his grave, with his statue kneeling on the upper part, and the manner of his murther is cut in bass relief below. This murther is matter of history, but is so foolishly, or so partially, or so imperfectly related by all that have yet written of it, that posterity will lose both the fact and the cause of it in a few years more. It would require too large a space in this work to give a fresh and impartial account of it, and for that reason I cannot enter upon it, though I have the most exact account that, I believe, is left in the world, which I had from the mouth of one of the actors, and have since had it confirm’d from several others, thoroughly acquainted with the particulars of it.

I shall only say here, that the archbishop had been a furious and merciless persecutor, and, indeed, murtherer of many of the innocent people, merely for their keeping up their field-meetings, and was charg’d in particular with two actions; which, if true will, though not justify, yet take off much of the black part, which the very murther itself leaves on the memory of the actors.

  1. The keeping back the reprieve, which was sent down by King Charles IId’s express order, and which was actually receiv’d for stopping the execution of twelve persons, under sentence of death; I say keeping it back in his pocket till they were executed. I know Bishop Burnet charges this upon another hand; but these men were assur’d the archbishop was the man, perhaps, the other might be consenting.

  2. The shipping 200 poor men on board a vessel, on pretence of transportation to the English colonies in the West-Indies; but ordering the ship to be run on shore and lost. I say it is said to be order’d, and generally so believ’d, because, when the ship was bulg’d upon the rocks, the master and seamen, and the officers, appointed to confine the banish’d people, all got on shore, but lock’d all the rest down under the hatches, and would not suffer one of them to come out, by which means they every one perish’d.

These two things they charg’d directly on the archbishop, besides many other cruelties, which they call’d murthers; and if they were acted, as is related by others as well as they, I must acknowledge they could be no other.

Now ’tis as certain that these men knew nothing of meeting with the archbishop at that time; but being themselves outlaw’d men, whom any man that met might kill, and who (if taken) would have been put to death: They always went arm’d, and were, at that time, looking for another man, when unexpectedly they saw the bishop coming towards them in his coach, when one of them says to the other, we have not found the person we look’d for; but lo, God has deliver’d our enemy, and the murtherer of our brethren into our hands, against whom we cannot obtain justice by the law, which is perverted: But remember the words of the text, If ye let him go, thy life shall be required for his life.

In a word, they immediately resolv’d to fall upon him, and cut him in pieces; I say they resolv’d, all but one (viz.) Hackston of Rathellet, who was not willing to have his hand in the blood, though he acknowledg’d he deserv’d to die: So that when they attack’d the bishop, Hackston went off, and stood at a distance: nor did he hold their horses, as one has ignorantly publish’d; for they attack’d him all mounted; nor could they well have stopp’d a coach and six horses, if they had been on foot. I mention this part, because, however providence order’d it, so it was, that none of the murtherers ever fell into the hands of justice, but this Hackston of Rathellet, who was most cruelly tortur’d, and afterwards had his hands cut off, and was then executed at Edinburgh.

I have not time to give the rest of this story, though the particulars are very well worth relating, but it is remote from my purpose, and I must proceed. The city of St. Andrew’s is, notwithstanding its many disasters; such as the ruin of the great church, the demolishing its castle, and the archbishop’s palace, and Oliver Cromwell’s citadel; yet, I say, it is still a handsome city, and well built, the streets straight and large, being three streets parallel to one another, all opening to the sea.

They shew among other remains of antiquity the apartments of the palace where Cardinal Beaton stood, or sat in state to see the martyrdom of Mr. Wishart, who, at the stake, call’d aloud to him, and cited him to appear at the bar of God’s justice within such a certain time, within which time he was murther’d by the famous Norman Lessley, thrown into the square of the court, and his body dragged to the very spot where the good man was burn’d at the stake, and also they shew us the window where they threw him out; which particular part of the building seems to have been spar’d, as if on purpose to commemorate the fact, of which, no doubt, divine justice had the principal direction.

The truth is, Cardinal Beaton was another Sharp, and A. B. Sharp was a second Beaton, alike persecutors for religion, alike merciless in their prosperity, and alike miserable in their fall, for they were both murther’d, or kill’d by assassination.

From St. Andrew’s we came to Cowper, the shire town, (as it would be call’d in England) where the publick business of the country is all done. Here are two very agreeable seats belonging to the present Earl of Leven; one is call’d Melvile, and the other Balgony. Melvil is a regular and beautiful building, after the model of Sir William Bruce’s house at Kinross, describ’d before. Balgony is an antient seat, formerly belong’d to the family of Lessly, and if not built, was enlarg’d and repair’d by the great General Lessly, who was so fam’d in Germany, serving under the glorious king of soldiers Gustavus Adolphus.

The River Leven runs just under the walls, as I may say, of the house, and makes the situation very pleasant; the park is large, but not well planted, nor do the avenues that are planted thrive, for the very reason which I have mention’d already.

From hence we went north to Cowper above-nam’d, and where, as I said, the Sheriff keeps his Court. The Earl of Rothess is hereditary sheriff of the shire of Fife, and the Duke of Athol was chancellor of the university of St. Andrew’s, in the times of the Episcopal Government; but that dignity seems now to be laid aside.

We now went away to the north east part of the county, to see the ruins of the famous monastery of Balmerinoch, of which Mr. Cambden takes notice; but we saw nothing worth our trouble, the very ruins being almost eaten up by time: the Lord Balmerinoch, of the family of Elphingston, takes his title from the place, the land being also in his possession; the monastery was founded by Queen Ermengred, wife of King William of Scotland.

Hence we came to the bank of another firth or frith, call’d the Firth of Tay, which, opening to a large breadth at its entrance, as the Firth of Edinburgh does, draws in afterwards as that does at the Queens-Ferry, and makes a ferry over at the breadth of two miles to the town of Dundee; and then the firth widening again just as that of the Forth does also, continues its breadth as four to six miles, till it comes almost to Perth, as the other does to Sterling.

This River Tay is, without exception, the greatest river in Scotland, and of the longest course, for its rises out of the mountains, on the edge of Argyle Shire; and running first north into the shire of Bradalbin, there receiving many other rivers, it spreads itself into a large lake, which is call’d Lough Tay, extending for forty miles in length, and traversing the very heart of Scotland, comes into the sea near this place: Now, as I design to keep in this part of my work to the east coast of the country, I must for the present quit the Tay itself, keeping a little on the hither side of it, and go back to that part of the country which lies to the south, and yet east of Dunbarton and Lenox shires; so drawing an imaginary line from Sterling Bridge, due north, through the heart of the country to Inverness, which I take to lye almost due north and south.

In this course then I mov’d from the ferry, mention’d above, to Perth, lying upon the same River Tay, but on the hither bank. It was formerly call’d St. Johnston, or St. Johns Town, from an old church, dedicated to the evangelist, St. John, part of which is still remaining, and is yet big enough to make two parochial churches, and serve the whole town for their publick worship.

The chief business of this town is the linnen manufacture; and it is so considerable here, all the neighbouring country being employ’d in it, that it is a wealth to the whole place. The Tay is navigable up to the town for ships of good burthen; and they ship off here so great a quantity of linnen, (all for England) that all the rest of Scotland is said not to ship off so much more.

This town was unhappily for some time, the seat of the late rebellion; but I cannot say it was unhappy for the town: For the townsmen got so much money by both parties, that they are evidently enrich’d by it; and it appears not only by the particular families and persons in the town, but by their publick and private buildings which they have rais’d since that; as particularly a new Tolbooth or Town-hall.

The salmon taken here, and all over the Tay, is extremely good, and the quantity prodigious. They carry it to Edinburgh, and to all the towns where they have no salmon, and they barrel up a great quantity for exportation: The merchants of this town have also a considerable trade to the Baltick, to Norway, and especially, since as above, they were enrich’d by the late rebellion.

It seems a little enigmatick to us in the south, how a rebellion should enrich any place; but a few words will explain it. First, I must premise, that the Pretender and his troops lay near, or in this place a considerable time; now the bare consumption of victuals and drink, is a very considerable advantage in Scotland, and therefore ’tis frequent in Scotland for towns to petition the government to have regiments of soldiers quarter’d upon them, which in England would look monstrous, nothing being more terrible and uneasy to our towns in England.

Again, as the Pretender and his troops lay in the neighbourhood, namely at Scone, so a very great confluence of the nobility, clergy, and gentry, however fatally, as to themselves, gather’d about him, and appear’d here also; making their court to him in person, and waiting the issue of his fortunes, till they found the storm gathering from the south, and no probable means to resist it, all relief from abroad being every where disappointed, and then they shifted off as they could.

While they resided here, their expence of money was exceeding great; lodgings in the town of Perth let for such a rate, as was never known in the place before; trade was in a kind of a hurry, provision dear: In a word, the people, not of the town only, but of all the country round, were enrich’d; and had it lasted two or three months longer, it would have made all the towns rich.

When this cloud was dispers’d, and all the party fled and gone, the victors enter’d, the general officers and the loyal gentlemen succeeded the abdicated and routed party; but here was still the head quarters, and afterwards the Dutch troops continued here most part of the winter; all this while the money flow’d in, and the town made their market on both sides; for they gain’d, by the Royal Army’s being on that side of the country, and by the foreigners being quarter’d there, almost as much, tho’ not in so little time as by the other.

The town was well built before, but now has almost a new face; (for as I said) here are abundance of new houses, and more of old houses new fitted and repair’d, which look like new. The linnen trade too, which is their main business, has mightily increas’d since the late Act of Parliament in England, for the suppressing the use and wearing of printed callicoes; so that the manufacture is greatly increased here, especially of that kind of cloth which they buy here and send to England to be printed, and which is so much us’d in England in the room of the callicoes, that the worsted and silk weavers in London seem to have very little benefit by the Bill, but that the linnen of Scotland and Ireland are, as it were, constituted in the room of the callicoes.

From Perth I went south to that part of the province of Fife, which they call Clackmanan, lying west from Dumfermling, and extending itself towards Sterling and Dumblain, all which part I had not gone over before, and which was antiently accounted to be part of Fife.

From Perth to Sterling there lyes a vale which they call Strathmore, and which is a fine level country, though surrounded with hills, and is esteem’d the most fruitful in corn of all that part of the country: It lies extended on both sides the Tay, and is said to reach to Brechin north east, and almost to Sterling south west. Here are, as in all such pleasant soils you will find, a great many gentlemen’s seats; though on the north side of the Tay, and here in particular is the noble palace of Glames, the hereditary seat of the family of Lyon, Earls of Strathmore; and as the heir in reversion now enjoys the title and estate, so it very narrowly escap’d being forfeited; for the eider brother, Earl of Strathmore, having entertain’d the Pretender magnificently in this fine palace, and join’d his forces in person, and with all his interest, lost his life in that service, being kill’d at the battle of Sheriff-Moor; by his fall, the estate being entail’d, descended to the second son, or younger brother, who is now Earl of Strathmore.

Glames is, indeed, one of the finest old built palaces in Scotland, and by far the largest; and this makes me speak of it here, because I am naming the Pretender and his affairs, though a little out of place; when you see it at a distance it is so full of turrets and lofty buildings, spires and towers, some plain, others shining with gilded tops, that it looks not like a town, but a city; and the noble appearance seen through the long vistas of the park are so differing, that it does not appear like the same place any two ways together.

The great avenue is a full half mile, planted on either side with several rows of trees; when you come to the outer gate you are surpriz’d with the beauty and the variety of the statues, busts, some of stone, some of brass, some gilded, some plain. The statues in brass are four, one of King James VI. one of King Charles I. booted and spurr’d, as if going to take horse at the head of his army; one of Charles II. habited ? la hEro, which the world knows he had nothing of about him; and one of King James VIL after the pattern of that at Whitehall.

When the Pretender lodg’d here, for the Earl of Strathmore entertain’d him in his first passage to Perth with great magnificence: There were told three and forty furnish’d rooms on the first floor of the house; some beds, perhaps, were put up for the occasion, for they made eighty beds for them, and the whole retinue of the Pretender was receiv’d, the house being able to receive the court of a real reigning prince.

It would be endless to go about to describe the magnificent furniture, the family pictures, the gallery, the fine collection of original paintings, and the nobly painted ceilings of the chapel, where is an organ for the service after the manner of the Church of England. In a word, the house is as nobly furnish’d as most palaces in Scotland; but, as I said, it was at the brink of destruction; for had the earl not been kill’d, ’tis odds but it had been gutted by the army, which presently spread all the country; but it was enough, the earl lost his life, and the present earl enjoys it peaceably.

From hence I came away south west, and crossing the Tay below Perth, but above Dundee, came to Dumblain, a name made famous by the late battle fought between the army of King George, under the command of the Duke of Argyle, and the Pretender’s forces under the Earl of Marr, which was fought on Sheriff-Moor, between Sterling and Dumblain: The town is pleasantly situated, and tolerably well built, but out of all manner of trade; so that there is neither present prosperity upon it, or prospect of future.

Going from hence we took a full view of the field of battle, call’d Sheriff-Muir, and had time to contemplate how it was possible, that a rabble of Highlanders arm’d in haste, appearing in rebellion, and headed by a person never in arms before, nor of the least experience, should come so near to the overthrowing an army of regular, disciplin’d troops, and led on by experienc’d officers, and so great a general: But when the mistake appear’d also, we bless’d the good Protector of Great Britain, who, under a piece of the most mistaken conduct in the world, to say no worse of it, gave that important victory to King George’s troops, and prevented the ruin of Scotland from an army of Highlanders.

From this place of reflection I came forward in sight of Sterling bridge, but leaving it on the right hand, turn’d away east to Alloway, where the Earl of Marr has a noble seat, I should have said had a noble seat, and where the navigation of the Firth of Forth begins. This is, as I hinted before, within four miles of Sterling by land, and scarcely within twenty by water, occasion’d by those uncommon meanders and reaches in the river, which gives so beautiful a prospect from the castle of Sterling.

This fine seat was formerly call’d the castle of Alloway, but is now so beautify’d, the buildings, and especially the gardens, so compleat and compleatly modern, that no appearance of a castle can be said to remain. There is a harbour for shipping, and ships of burthen may come safely up to it: And this is the place where the Glasgow merchants are, as I am told, erecting magazines or warehouses, to which they propose to bring their tobacco and sugars by land, and then to ship them for Holland or Hamburgh, or the Baltick, or England, as they find opportunity, or a market; and I doubt not but they will find their advantage in it.

The gardens of Alloway House, indeed, well deserve a description; they are, by much, the finest in Scotland, and not outdone by many in England; the gardens, singly describ’d, take up above forty acres of ground, and the adjoining wood, which is adapted to the house in avenues and vistas, above three times as much.

It would be lessening the place to attempt the description, unless I had room to do it compleatly; ’tis enough to say it requires a book, not a page or two: There is, in a word, every thing that nature and art can do, brought to perfection.

The town is pleasant, well built, and full of trade; for the whole country has some business or other with them, and they have a better navigation than most of the towns on the Firth, for a ship of 300 ton may lye also at the very wharf; so that at Alloway a merchant may trade to all parts of the world, as well as at Leith or at Glasgow.

The High Street of Alloway reaches down to this harbour, and is a very spacious, well built street, with rows of trees finely planted all the way. Here are several testimonies of the goodness of their trade, as particularly a large deal-yard, or place for laying up all sorts of Norway goods, which shews they have a commerce thither. They have large warehouses of naval stores; such as pitch, tar, hemp, flax, two saw milis for cutting or slitting of deals, and a rope-walk for making all sorts of ropes and cables for rigging and fitting of ships, with several other things, which convinces us they are no strangers to other trades, as well by sea as by land.

It is a strange testimony of the power of envy and ambition, that mankind, bless’d with such advantages, for an easy and happy retreat in the world, should hazard it all in faction and party, and throw it all away in view, and even without a view of getting more: But I must not phylosophize, any more than launch out into other excesses; my business is with the present state of the place, and to that I confine myself as near as I can.

From Alloway, east, the country is call’d the Shire of Clackmannan, and is known for yielding the best of coal, and the greatest quantity of it of any country in Scotland; so that it is carry’d, not to Edinburgh only, but to England, to Holland, and to France; and they tell us of new pits, or mines of coal now discover’d, which will yield such quantities, and to easy to come at, as are never to be exhausted; tho’ such great quantities should be sent to England, as the York-Buildings company boast of, namely, twenty thousand ton a year; which, however, I take it as it is, for a boast, or rather a pretence to persuade the world they have a demand for such a quantity; whereas, while the freight from Scotland is, as we know, so dear, and the tax in England continues so heavy, the price of these coals will always be so high at London, as will not fail to restrain the consumption; nor is it the interest of Scotland to send away so great a quantity of coal as shall either make a scarcity, or raise the price of them at home.

On this shore of the firth, farther down, stands the town of Culross, a neat and agreeable town, lying in length by the water side, like Kirkcaldy, and being likewise a trading town, as trade must be understood in Scotland. Here is a pretty market, a plentiful country behind it, and the navigable firth before it; the coal and the linnen manufacture, and plenty of corn, such exportations will always keep something of trade alive upon this whole coast.

Here is a very noble seat belonging to the Bruces, Earls of Kincairn, and is worth description; but that I have nam’d so many fine houses, and have yet so many to go over before I go through the whole tour of Scotland, that it is impossible to give every fine house a place here, nor would it do any thing but tire the reader, rather than inform him; as I have done therefore in England I must be content to name them, unless I should make my journey a meer visit to great houses, as if Scotland had nothing else worth notice.

This calling at Culross, call’d vulgarly Cooris, finishes my observations upon the province of Fife. They told me of mines of copper, and of lead, lately discover’d in Fife, and of silver also: But I could not learn that any of them were actually wrought, or, as they call it in Darbyshire, at work. It is, however, not improbable, but that there are such mines, the country seeming very likely for it by many particular tokens.

The two Lomons in this province are two remarkable mountains, which particularly seem to promise metal in their bowels, if they were thoroughly search’d. They rise up like two sugar-loaves in the middle of a plain country, not far from Falkland, and give a view of the Firth of Edinburgh South, and the Firth of Tay North, and are seen from Edinburgh very plain.

Having made this little excursion to the south from Perth, you may suppose me now return’d northward again; and having give you my account of Perth, and its present circumstances, I now proceed that way, taking things as well in their ordinary situation as I can; we could not be at Perth and not have a desire to see that antient seat of royal ceremony, for the Scots kings, I mean of Scone, where all the kings of Scotland were crown’d.

Scone lyes on the other side of the Tay, about a mile north west from Perth; it was famous for the old chair in which the kings of Scotland were crown’d, and which Edward I. King of England, having pierc’d through the whole kingdom, and nothing being able to withstand him, brought away with him. It is now deposited in Westminster, and the kings of Scotland are still crown’d in it, according to an old Scots prophecy, which they say, (mark it, I do but tell you they say so) was cut in the stone, which is enclos’d in the lower part of the wooden chair in which the kings are crown’d.

Ni fallat fatum, Scoti quocunque locatum

Inveniunt Lapidem, regnare tenentur ibidem.

Englished thus;

Or Fates deceived, and Heaven decrees in vain,

Or where this Stone is found, the Scots shall reign.

This palace was in those days a great monastery, and famous on occasion of this stone in the chair; the monks appropriating to themselves not the custom only, but the right of having all the kings crown’d on it, as if it had been a sacred right, and instituted in heaven; and that the kings would not prosper if they were crown’d any where else.

Process of time rais’d it from a monastery to a royal palace, in honour of the ceremony, and of King Kenneth, who, having fought a bloody battle there with the Picts, and given them a great overthrow, sat down to rest him upon this stone, after he had been tir’d with the slaughter of the enemy, upon which his nobles came round about him to congratulate his success, and, in honour to his valour, crown’d him with a garland of victory; after which he dedicated the stone to the ceremony, and appointed, that all the kings of Scotland should be crown’d sitting upon it as he had done, and that then they should be victorious over all their enemies.

But enough of fable, for this, I suppose, to be no other; yet, be it how it will, this is no fable, that here all the kings of Scotland were crown’d, and all the kings of Great Britain have been since crown’d on it, or in the chair, or near it ever since.

The palace of Scoon, though antient, is not so much decay’d as those I have already spoken of; and the Pretender found it very well in repair for his use: Here he liv’d and kept his court, a fatal court to the nobility and gentry of Scotland, who were deluded to appear for him; here I say, he kept his court in all the state and appearance of a sovereign, and receiv’d honours as such; so that he might say he reign’d in Scotland, though not over Scotland, for a few days: But it was but a few (about twenty) till he and all his adherents were oblig’d to quit, not the place only, but the island, and that without fighting, though the royal army was not above ten thousand men.

The building is very large, the front above 200 foot in breadth, and has two extraordinary fine square courts, besides others, which contain the offices, out-houses, &c. The royal apartments are spacious and large, but the building, the wainscotting, the chimney-pieces, &c. all after the old fashion.

Among the pictures there, the Pretender had the satisfaction to see his mother’s picture, an original, done in Italy, when she was Princess of Modena only, and was marry’d by proxy, in the name of King James VII. then Duke of York, represented by the Earl of Peterborough. Here is the longest gallery in Scotland, and the ceiling painted, but the painting exceeding old.

From Scoon to Dunkel is so little a way we desir’d to see it, being the place where the first skirmish was fought between the forces of King William, after the Revolution, and the Laird of Claverhouse, after call’d Viscount Dundee, and where the brave Lieutenant-Colonel Cleeland was kill’d: but Dundee’s men, tho’ 5,000, were gallantly repuls’d by a handful, even of new rais’d men.

The Duke of Athol has an old house here, and it was in one of the courts of that house that part of the action was; and the gentleman above-nam’d was shot from out of a window, as he was ordering and encouraging his men; we were almost tempted to go on this way, to see the field of battle, between the same Dundee and the great Leiutenant-General Mac-Kay, wherein the latter, though with regular troops, was really defeated by the Highlanders: But Dundee being kill’d by an accidental shot after the fight, they could not improve the victory, and the resistance ended soon after; whereas, indeed, had not that accident happen’d, Dundee, who was a bold enterprising man, had certainly march’d southward, and bid fair to have given King William a journey into the north, instead of a voyage to Ireland; but providence had better things in store for Great Britain.

But our determin’d rout lay up the eastern shore, and through the shires, adjacent on that side, as particularly Angus, Mearns, Marr, Aberdeen, Buchan or Bucquhan, &c. So as I laid it out before to Inverness.

Mr Cambden tells us, that the Firth of Tay was the utmost bounds of the Roman Empire in Britain. That Julius Agricola, the best of generals under the worst of emperors, Domitian, though he pierc’d farther, and travers’d by land into the heart of the Highlands, yet seeing no end of the barbarous country, and no advantage by the conquest of a few Barbarian mountaineers, withdrew and fix’d the Roman eagles here; and that he frequently harass’d the Picts by excursions and inroads, and destroy’d the country, laying it waste, to starve them out of the fertilest part of it, but always return’d to his post, making the Tay his frontier.

But our English Caesars have outgone the Romans; for Edward I. as is said, pass’d the Tay, for he rifled the Abbey at Scoon; and, if we may believe history, penetrated into the remotest parts, which, however, I take to be only the remotest parts of what was then known to the English; for as to the Highlands, the mountains of Loquhaber, Ross, Murray, Sutherland, and Caithness, we read nothing of them: And from these retreats the Scots always return’d, Antæus like, with double strength after every defeat, till in the next reign they overthrew his successor Edward II. at Bannockbourn, and drove the English out of the whole country; nay, and follow’d them over Tweed into England, ravaging the countries of Northumberland and Cumberland, and paying them in their own kind of interest.

Oliver Cromwell, indeed (according to the motto of a noble house in Scotland, viz. Ride through), rode through; he penetrated to the remotest part of the island, and that he might rule them with a rod of iron in the very letter of it, he built citadels and forts in all the angles and extremes, where he found it needful to place his stationary legions, just as the Romans did; as at Leith, at St. Andrew’s, at Inverness, Irwin, Innerlochy, and several other places: and just now we find King George’s forces marching to the remotest corners, nay, ferrying over into the western, and north-western islands; but then this is not as a foreigner and conqueror, but as a sovereign, a lawful governor and father of the country, to deliver from, not entangle her in the chains of tyranny and usurpation.

But where armies have march’d, private travellers may certainly pass; and with that assurance we chearfully pass’d the Tay, trusting very much to that natural, known civility, which the Scots, in the remotest parts, always shew to strangers.

Dundee, Aberdeen and the Highlands

We left Strathern therefore, with the little country of Menteith, for our return, and went down into Angus, on the northern banks of Tay to Dundee, a pleasant, large, populous city, and well deserves the title of Bonny Dundee, so often given it in discourse, as well as in song (bonny, in Scots, signifying beautiful).

As it stands well for trade, so it is one of the best trading towns in Scotland, and that as well as foreign business as in manufacture and home trade. It has but an indifferent harbour, but the Tay is a large, safe, and good road, and there is deep water and very good anchor-hold almost all over it.

It is exceedingly populous, full of stately houses, and large handsome streets; particularly it has four very good streets, with a large market-place in the middle, the largest and fairest in Scotland, except only that of Aberdeen. The Tolbooth, or Town-Hall is an old, but large and convenient building.

The inhabitants here appear like gentlemen, as well as men of business, and yet are real merchants too, and make good what we see so eminently in England, that true bred merchants are the best of gentlemen. They have a very good and large correspondence here with England, and ship off a great deal of linnen thither, also a great quantity of corn is sent from hence, as well to England as to Holland. They have likewise a good share of the Norway trade; and as they are concern’d in the herring-fishery, they consequently have some east country trade, viz. to Dantzick, Koningsberg, Riga, and the neighbouring parts. They send ships also to Sweden, and import iron, copper, tar, pitch, deals, &c. from the several trading ports of that kingdom.

These several trades occasion a concourse of shipping at the port; and there are not a few ships belonging to the place. The country behind them call’d the Carse, or the Carse of Gowry, with the vale mention’d above of Strathmoor; for Strath, in their dialect, signifies a vale, or level country; I say, all that country abounds in corn, and the port of Dundee ships off great quantities, when a plentiful crop allows it, to the great advantage of the gentlemen as well as farmers; for as the gentlemen receive all their rents in kind, they would find a great difficulty sometimes to dispose of it, if the merchant here did not ship it off, either for London or Amsterdam.

The town of Dundee stands at a little distance from the Tay, but they are join’d by a causeway or walk, well pav’d with flat freestone, such as the side-ways in Cheapside and Cornhil, and rows of trees are planted on either side the walk, which makes it very agreeable. On one part of this walk are very good warehouses for merchandises, especially for heavy goods; and also granaries for corn, of which sometimes they have a vast quantity laid up here; and these being near the harbour are convenient, as well for the housing of goods, when landed, as for the easy shipping off what lies for exportation.

The great church was formerly collegiate, being the cathedral of the place, and was a very large building; but part of it was demolish’d in the Civil War; the remainder is divided, like as others are at Edinburgh, Glasgow, &c. into three churches for the present use of the citizens.

They have also a meeting-house or two for the episcopal worship; for you are to take it once for all, that north by Tay, there are far more of the episcopal perswasion than are to be found in the south; and the farther north, the more so, as we shall see in its order.

The tower upon the great church here is a handsome square building, large, and antient, but very high, and is a good ornament to the city; it resembles the great tower upon the cathedral of Canterbury, but not quite so high. There is a fine and well endow’d hospital for decay’d townsmen of Dundee, where they are well taken care of, and provided for. The Pretender was in this city soon after his landing, and staid here some time before he advanc’d to Scoon; the Laird of Claverhouse of the name of Graham, who was kill’d, as has been said, at the Battle of Gillecranky, was made Viscount of Dundee by King James VII; but enjoy’d it not long. His seat of Claverhouse is not far off, and he had the estate annex’d to the Constabulary of Dundee, given him with the title, but ’tis now in the Duke of Douglass.

It is twenty Scots miles from Dundee to Montrose, the way pleasant, the country fruitful and bespangl’d, as the sky in a clear night with stars of the biggest magnitude, with gentlemen’s houses, thick as they can be suppos’d to stand with pleasure and conveniency. Among these is the noble palace of Penmure, forfeited in the late rebellion by the unfortunate Earl of Penmure, who was himself wounded in the fight near Dumblain, and with that action ruin’d a noble and antient family, and a fine estate. The surname of the family is Maul, and Maulsburgh, a small port near Montrose, bears the name still to posterity.

The town and port of Montrose, vulgarly, but ignorantly, call’d Montross, was our next stage, standing upon the eastmost shore of Angus, open to the German, or, if you please now, the Caledonian ocean, and at the mouth of the little River South Esk, which makes the harbour.

We did not find so kind a reception among the common people of Angus, and the other shires on this side the country, as the Scots usually give to strangers: But we found it was because we were English men; and we found that their aversion did not lye so much against us on account of the late successes at, and after the rebellion, and the forfeiture of the many noblemen’s and gentlemen’s estates among them as fell on that occasion, though that might add to the disgust: But it was on account of the Union, which they almost universally exclaim’d against tho’ sometimes against all manner of just reasoning.

This town of Montrose is a sea-port, and, in proportion to its number of inhabitants, has a considerable trade, and is tolerably well built, and capable of being made strong, only that it extends too far in length.

The French fleet made land at this port, when they had the Pretender on board, in the reign of Queen Ann, having overshot the mouth of the firth so far, whither they had first design’d: But this mistake, which some thought a misfortune, was certainly a deliverance to them; for as this mistake gave time to the English fleet to come up with them, before they could enter the firth, so it left them time and room also to make their escape, which, if they had been gone up the firth, they could never have done, but must inevitably have been all burnt and destroy’d, or taken by the British fleet under Sir George Bing, which was superior to them in force.

From Montrose the shore lies due north to Aberdeen: by the way is the castle of Dunnoter, a strong fortification, upon a high precipice of a rock, looking down on the sea, as on a thing infinitely below it. The castle is wall’d about with invincible walls, said the honest Scots man that shew’d us the road to it, having towers at proper distances, after the old way of fortifying towns.

This was chiefly made use of as a prison for State-prisoners; and I have seen a black account of the cruel usage the unhappy prisoners have met with there; but those times are over with Scotland. The Earl Marshal, of the name of Keith, was the lord of this castle, as also of a good house near it, but not a great estate, and what he had is now gone; for being in the late rebellion his estate is forfeited; and we are told his Lordship, making his escape, is now in the service of Spain, where he commands an Irish regiment of foot.

From hence there is nothing remarkable till we come to Aberdeen, a place so eminent, that it commands some stay upon it; yet, I shall contract its description as much as possible, the compass of my work being so great, and the room I have for it so small.

Aberdeen is divided into two towns or cities, and stands at the mouth of two rivers; the towns are the new and the old Aberdeen, about a mile distant from one another, one situate on the River Don or Dune, the other on the River Dee, from whence it is suppos’d to take its name; for Aber, in the old British language, signifies a mouth, or opening of a river, the same which in Scotland is understood by a frith or firth: So that both these towns are describ’d in the name, (viz.) Aberdee, the mouth of the River Dee, and Aberdeen, the mouth of the River Don. So in the south-west part of the shores of Britain, and in Wales, we have Aberconway, the mouth of the River Conway, Aberistwith, and several others.

The old Aberdeen, on the bank of the Don, must, without doubt, be very antient; for they tell us the new Aberdeen is suppos’d to be upwards of 1200 years old. Nor do any of their registers tell us the particular time of its being built, or by whom. The cities are equally situated for trade, being upon the very edge of the sea; and ’tis the common opinion, that part of the old city was wash’d down by the sea; so that it obliged the citizens to build farther off: This part was that they call’d the monastery, and this may give rise to that opinion, that thereupon they went and built the New Aberdeen upon the bank of the other river, and which, ’tis evident, is built upon a piece of hilly ground, or upon three hills: But this is all conjecture, and has only probability to support it, not any thing of history.

Old Aberdeen is also on one side the county, and new Aberdeen on another, though both in that which is call’d in general the county of Marr. The extraordinaries of Aberdeen, take both the cities together, are

  1. The cathedral.
  2. The two colleges.
  3. The great market-place.
  4. The bridges, particularly that of one arch.
  5. The commerce.
  6. The fishery.
  1. The cathedral dedicated to St. Machar, tho’ none knows who that Saint was, is a large and antient building; the building majestick, rather than curious, and yet not without its beauty in architecture; it appears to have been built at several times, and, perhaps, at the distance of many years, one part from another. The columns on which the great steeple stands are very artful, and the contrivance shews great judgement in the builder or director of the work. This church has been divided into several parts since the abolishing of episcopacy, as a government in the Church; (for it is not abolished in Aberdeen, as a principle, to this day) abundance of the people are still episcopal in their opinion; and they have, by the gentle government they live under, so much liberty still, as that they have a chapel for the publick exercise of their worship, after the manner of the Church of England, besides several meetings for the episcopal dissenters, which are not so publick.

  2. The two colleges; one of these are in the old city, and the other in the new.

    1. That in the old city is also the oldest college, being founded Anno 1500. by the famous bishop Elphingstone, who lies buried in the chapel or college church, under a very magnificent and curious monument. The steeple of this church was the most artificial that I have seen in Scotland, and very beautiful, according to the draught of its old building: But it is much more so now, having been injur’d, if not quite broken down by a furious tempest Anno 1361; but rebuilt after the first model by the care, and at the expence of the bishop Dr. Forbes, as also of Dr. Gordon, M.D. and several considerable benefactors. I have not room to go through the particular account of this foundation, take it in short in its original, that it consists of A Principal or master, or head, call it as you please, with a Sub-Principal, which is not usual, who is also a Professor of Philosophy.

      A Professor of Divinity.
      Three Professors of the Civil Law, now reduced to but one.
      Three Professors of Philosophy, who are call’d Regents, besides the Sub-Principal.
      One Professor of the Oriental Tongues.
      One Professor of the Mathematicks.
      One Professor of Physick.

      There were formerly an organist, five choristers, and ten other fellows, as we may call them, but who were call’d also professors. In those days also they had a chancellor, who was always the bishop, and they conferr’d the degrees of Doctor of Divinity, which they do not now, except on extraordinary occasions. King James IV. was the patron of this college, but its settlement was from Pope Alexander VI. with large privileges, equal to that of Paris and of Bononia, the Bull for which is still extant; and from this, that king thus espousing the house, it obtain’d the name of King’s College, though the bishop was the founder, as is said above.

      The founder also gave a library, and many other costly things; but they, it seems, suffer’d in the change of times very much.

    2. The new college, which is in the new city of Aberdeen, and is call’d the Marshallian or Marshal’s College, because founded by Keith Earl Marshal, in the year 1593. And though it was a magnificent building at first, and well endow’d, yet the citizens have much beautify’d and enlarg’d it, and adjoin’d to it a noble library well stock’d with books, as well by the citizens as by the benefactions of gentlemen, and lovers of learning; as also with the finest and best mathematical instruments.

      This college likewise consists of

      A Principal.
      A Professor of Divinity.
      Four Professors of Philosophy, call’d Regents.
      A Professor of the Mathematicks.
      A Professor of Physick.

      Also a Humanity School with a Master and three Ushers, and a Musick School; the Humanity School was founded by Dr Dune.

    Those two colleges form the university, and are so call’d, but they are independent on one another; they are fam’d for having bred many men of learning; but that is not to my purpose here.
  3. The third article is the great market-place, which, indeed, is very beautiful and spacious; and the streets adjoining are very handsome and well built, the houses lofty and high; but not so as to be inconvenient, as in Edinburgh; or low, to be contemptible as in most other places. But the generality of the citizens’ houses are built of stone four story high, handsome sash-windows, and are very well furnish’d within, the citizens here being as gay, as genteel, and, perhaps, as rich, as in any city in Scotland.

  4. The bridges; particularly that at Old Aberdeen, over the Don: It consists of one immense arch of stone, sprung from two rocks, one on each side, which serve as a buttment to the arch, so that it may be said to have no foundation, nor to need any. The workmanship is artful, and so firm, that it may possibly end with the conflagration only. The other bridge is upon the River Dee, about a mile west above New Aberdeen, and has seven very stately fine arches. There are several other buildings which should be describ’d, if our work was to dwell here, as the almshouses, hospitals, the great church of St. Nicholas, divided into three, with the steeple, and the two vast bells in it; the custom-house, the wharf, the port; all which, considering what part of the world they are in, are really extraordinary, and that brings me to the fifth and sixth articles, which are, indeed, of the same kind, viz.

5. and 6. The commerce and the fishery.

The fishery is very particular; the salmon is a surprising thing, the quantity that is taken in both rivers, but especially in the Dee, is a kind of prodigy; the fishing, or property, is erected into a company, and divided into shares, and no person can enjoy above one share at a time; the profits are very considerable, for the quantity of fish taken is exceeding great, and they are sent abroad into several parts of the world, particularly into France, England, the Baltick, and several other parts.

The herring-fishing is a common blessing to all this shore of Scotland, and is like the Indies at their door; the merchants of Aberdeen cannot omit the benefit, and with this they are able to carry on their trade to Dantzick and Koningsberg, Riga and Narva, Wybourgh and Stockholm, to the more advantage.

They have a very good manufacture of linnen, and also of worsted stockings, which they send to England in great quantities, and of which they make some so fine, that I have seen them sold for fourteen, and twenty shillings a pair. They alsa send them over to Holland, and into the north and east seas in large quantities.

They have also a particular export here of pork, pickl’d and pack’d up in barrels, which they chiefly sell to the Dutch for the victualling their East-India ships and their men of war, the Aberdeen pork having the reputation of being the best cur’d, for keeping on very long voyages, of any in Europe.

They export also corn and meal, but they generally bring it from the Firth of Murray, or Cromarty, the corn coming from about Inverness where they have great quantities.

In a word, the people of Aberdeen are universal merchants, so far as the trade of the northern part of the world will extend. They drive a very great trade to Holland, to France, to Hambrough, to Norway, to Gottenburgh, and to the Baltick; and it may, in a word, be esteem’d as the third city in Scotland, that is to say, next after Edinburgh and Glasgow.

From Aberdeen the coast goes on to a point of land, which is the farthest north-east part of Britain, and is call’d by the sailors Buchanness, being in the shire or county of Buchan. It was to this point the French squadron, with the Pretender on board, in the reign of Queen Ann, kept their flight in sight of the shore, being thus far pursued by Sir George Bing with the English fleet: But from hence steering away north-east, as if for the Norway coast, and the English admiral seeing no probability of coming up with them, gave over the chase, when they, altering their course in the night, stood away south, and came back to Dunkirk where they set out.

Upon this part are several good towns; as particularly Peter-Head; a good market-town, and a port with a small harbour for fishing vessels, but no considerable trade, Aberdeen being so near.

This country, however remote, is full of nobility and gentry, and their seats are seen even to the extremest shores: The family of Frazer carrys its name to Fraserburgh, on the very norther-most point of the county. Ereskines, Earls of Marr, have their family seat at Kildrummy, in the county of Marr, a little south of this part of the country, where the late unhappy earl first set up his standard of the Pretender. The Hayes, Earls of Errol, are in Buchan; and the family of Forbes, Lord Forbes, and Forbes Lord Pitsligo, are still farther, and the latter on the very shore of the Caledonian Ocean.

Nor does the remote situation hinder, but these gentlemen have the politest and brightest education and genius of any people so far north, perhaps, in the world, being always bred in travel abroad, and in the universities at home. The Lord Pitsligo, just mention’d, though unhappily drawn into the snare of the late insurrection, and forfeiting his estate with the rest, yet carries abroad with him, where-ever he goes, a bright genius, a head as full of learning and sound judgment, and a behaviour as polite, courtly, and full of all the good qualities that adorn a noble birth, as most persons of quality I ever saw.

Mr. Cambden relates, that on the coast of this country a great piece of amber was driven on shore by the force of the sea, as big, to use his own words, as a horse. I shall add nothing to the story, because ’tis hard to give credit to it; it is enough that I name my author, for I could not learn from the inhabitants that they ever saw any more of it.

From hence, the east shore of Scotland being at an end, the land trends away due west; and the shire of Bamf beginning, you see the towns of Bamf, Elgin, and the famous monastery of Kinloss, where the murther’d body of King Duff was, after many years, dug up, and discovered to be the same by some tokens, which, it seems, were undoubted.

From this point of the land, I mean Buchan-Ness, the ships take their distances, or accounts, for their several voyages; and what they call their departure: As in England, they do from Winterton-Ness, on the north-east part of Norfolk, or in the Downs for the voyages to the Southward.

From Fifeness, which is the northermost point, or head land on the mouth of Edinburgh Firth, being the southermost land of Fife, to this point of Buchan-Ness, the land lyes due north and south, and the shore is the eastermost land of Scotland; the distance between them is thirty-three leagues one mile, that is just 100 miles; though the mariners say that measuring by the sea it is but twenty-eight; and from Winterton-Ness, near Yarmouth, to this point call’d Buchan-Ness, is just 300 miles.

The river, or Firth of Tay, opens into the sea, about four leagues north from Fife-Ness; and as there is a light-house on the Isle of May, in the mouth of the Firth of Forth of Edinburgh, a little south of this point call’d Fife-Ness; so there are two light-houses at the entrance of the Firth of Tay, being for the directions of the sailors, when they are bound into that river; and particularly for their avoiding and sailing between two sands or shoals, which lye off from the south side of the entrance.

This point of land, call’d Buchan-Ness, is generally the first land of Great Britain, which the ships make in their voyages home from Arch-Angel in Russia, or from their whale-fishing-voyages to Greenland and Spits-Berghen in the north seas; and near this point, namely, at Pitsligo, a great ship was cast away in Queen Elizabeth’s time, bound home from Arch-Angel, in which was the first ambassador, which the great Duke of Muscovy sent to any of the Christian princes of Europe, and who was commission’d to treat with Queen Elizabeth for a league of peace and commerce; and on board which was a most valuable present to the queen of rich and costly furrs; such as sables, errnine, black fox skins, and such like, being in those days esteem’d inestimable. The ambassadors, it seems, were sav’d and brought on shore by the help of the people of Pitsligo; but the ship and all the goods, and among them the rich furrs, intended for the queen, were all lost, to her Majesty’s great disappointment; for the queen valued such fine things exceedingly.

At the town of Peter-Head there is a small harbour with two small piers; but it is all dry at low-water: So that the smallest ships lye a-ground, and can only go in and out at high-water, and then only small vessels.

From this point of easterly land all that great bay, or inlet of the sea, reaching quite to the north of Scotland, is call’d Murray Firth; and the northermost point is Dungsby Head, which is the east point of Caithness, and opens to Pentland Firth. By Pentland Firth you are to understand the passage of the sea beyond Caithness, that is to say between Scotland and the Isles of Orkney. This bay, call’d Murray-Firth, is not in the nature of a firth, as that of Edinburgh or Tay, being the mouths of rivers; as the Humber, or the mouth of Thames in England: but it is an open gulph or bay in the sea; as the Bay of Biscay, or the Gulph of Mexico are, and such-like: and though it may receive several rivers into it, as indeed it does, and as those bays do; yet itself is an open sea, and reaches from, as I have said, Peter-Head to Dungsby Head, opposite to the Orkneys; the distance upon the sea twenty-six leagues one mile, or seventy-nine miles; but it is almost twice as far by land, because of the depth of that bay, which obliges us to travel from Pitsligo, west, near seventy miles, till we come to Inverness.

This country of Buchan, is, indeed, more to be taken notice of from what is to be seen on the sea-shore than in the land; for the country is mountainous, poor, and more barren than its neighbours; but as we coasted along west, we came into a much better country, particularly the shires of Bamff, Elgin, and the country of Murray, from whence the bay, I just now mention’d, is called Murray Firth.

Murray is, indeed, a pleasant country, the soil fruitful, water’d with fine rivers, and full of good towns, but especially of gentlemen’s seats, more and more remarkable than could, indeed, be expected by a stranger in so remote a part of the country. The River Spey, which even Mr. Cambden himself calls a noble river, passes through the middle of the country. Upon the bank of this river the Duke of Gordon has a noble seat call’d after his name, Castle-Gordon. It is, indeed, a noble, large, and antient seat; as a castle much is not to be said of it, for old fortifications are of a small import, as the world goes now: But as a dwelling or palace for a nobleman, it is a very noble, spacious, and royal building; ’tis only too large, and appears rather as a great town than as a house.

The present duke has been embroil’d a little in the late unhappy affair of the Pretender; but he got off without a forfeiture, having prudently kept himself at a distance from them til he might see the effect of things. The duke has several other seats in this part of the country; and, which is still better, has a very great estate.

All the country, on the west side of the Spey, is surprisingly agreeable, being a flat, level country, the land rich and fruitful, well peopled, and full of gentlemen’s seats. This country is a testimony how much the situation of the land is concern’d in the goodness of the climate; for here the land being level and plain, for between twenty and thirty miles together, the soil is not only fruitful and rich, but the temperature of the air is soften’d, and made mild and suitable to the fruitfulness of the earth; for the harvest in this country, and in the vale of Strath-Bogy, and all the country to Inverness, is not only forward and early, as well as rich and strong; but ’tis more early than in Northumberland, nay, than it is in Darbyshire, and even than in some parts of the most southerly counties in England; as particularly in the east of Kent.

As a confirmation of this, I affirm that I have seen the new wheat of this country and Innerness brought to market to Edinburgh, before the wheat at Edinburgh has been fit to reap; and yet the harvest about Edinburgh is thought to be as forward as in most parts, even of England itself. In a word, it is usual for them to begin their harvest, in Murray and the country about it, in the month of July, and it is not very unusual to have new corn fully ripe and thresh’d out, shipp’d off, and brought to Edinburgh to sale, within the month of August.

Nor is the forwardness of the season the only testimony of the goodness of the soil here; but the crops are large, the straw strong and tall, and the ear full; and that which is still more the grain, and that particularly of the wheat, is as full, and the kind as fine, as any I have seen in England.

In this rich country is the city, or town rather, of Elgin; I say city, because in antient time the monks claim’d it for a city; and the cathedral shews, by its ruins, that it was a place of great magnificence. Nor must it be wonder’d at, if in so pleasant, so rich, and so agreeable a part of the country, all the rest being so differing from it, the clergy should seat themselves in a proportion’d number, seeing we must do them the justice to say, that if there is any place richer and more fruitful, and pleasant than another, they seldom fail to find it out.

As the country is rich and pleasant, so here are a great many rich inhabitants, and in the town of Elgin in particular; for the gentlemen, as if this was the Edinburgh, or the court, for this part of the island, leave their Highland habitations in the winter and come and live here for the diversion of the place and plenty of provisions; and there is, on this account, a great variety of gentlemen for society, and that of all parties and of all opinions. This makes Elgin a very agreeable place to live in, notwithstanding its distance, being above 450 measur’d miles from London, and more, if we must go by Edinburgh.

This rich country continues with very little intermission, till we come to Strath-Nairn, that is the valley of Nairn, where it extends a little farther in breadth towards the mountains. Nor is Strath-Nairn behind any of the other in fruitfulness: From the western part of this country you may observe that the land goes away again to the north; and, as if you were to enter into another island beyond Britain, you find a large lake or inlet from the Sea of Murray, mention’d above, going on west, as if it were to cut through the island, for we could see no end of it; nor could some of the country people tell us how far it went, but that it reach’d to Loquabre: so that we thought, till our maps and farther inquiries inform’d us, it had join’d to the western ocean.

After we had travell’d about twelve miles, and descended from a rising ground, which we were then upon, we perceived the lake contracted in one particular place to the ordinary size of a river, as if design’d by nature to give passage to the inhabitants to converse with the northern part; and then, as if that part had been sufficiently perform’d, it open’d again to its former breadth, and continued in the form of a large lake, as before, for many more miles than we could see; being in the whole, according to Mr. Cambden, twenty-three miles long; but if it be taken on both sides the pass, ’tis above thirty-five miles in length.

This situation must necessarily make the narrow part be a most important pass, from the south part of Scotland to the northern countries, which are beyond it. We have been told the Romans never conquer’d thus far; and those that magnify the conquests of Oliver Cromwell in Scotland to a height beyond what was done by the Romans, insist much upon it, that the Romans never came into this part of the country: But, if what Mr. Cambden records, and what is confirm’d by other accounts from the men of learning and of observation, this must be a mistake; for Mr. Cambden says, that near Bean-Castle in the county of Nairn, there was found, in the year 1460, a fine marble vessel finely carv’d, which was full of Roman coins of several sorts; also several old forts or mounts have been seen here, which, by their remains, evidently shew’d themselves to be Roman: But that enquiry is none of my work.

In the narrow pass (mention’d above over the lake) stands the town and fortress of Inner-Ness, that is a town on the inner bank of the River Ness. The situation of it, as I have said before, intimates that it is a place of strength; and accordingly it has a castle, founded in antient times to command the pass: And some authors write that it was antiently a royal house for the kings of Scotland. Be that as it will, Oliver Cromwell thought it a place of such importance, that he built a strong citadel here, and kept a stated garrison always in it, and sometimes more than a garrison, finding it needful to have a large body of his old veteran troops posted here to preserve the peace of the country, and keep the Highlands in awe, which they did effectually ail his time.

Here it is observ’d, that at the end of those troublesome days, when the troops on all sides came to be disbanded, and the men dispers’d, abundance of the English soldiers settled in this fruitful and cheap part of the country, and two things are observ’d from it as the consequence.

  1. That the English falling to husbandry, and cultivation of the earth after their own manner, were instrumental, with the help of a rich and fruitful soil, to bring all that part of the country into so good a method and management, as is observ’d to outdo all the rest of Scotland to this day; and this not a little contributes to the harvest being so early, and the corn so good, as is said above; for as they reap early, so they sow early, and manure and help the soil by all the regular arts of husbandry, as is practis’d in England, and which, as they learnt it from England, and by English men, so they preserve the knowledge of it, and also the industry attending it, and requir’d for it to this day.

  2. As Cromwell’s soldiers initiated them thus into the arts and industry of the husbandman, so they left them the English accent upon their tongues, and they preserve it also to this day; for they speak perfect English, even much better than in the most southerly provinces of Scotland; nay, some will say that they speak it as well as at London; though I do not grant that neither. It is certain they keep the southern accent very well, and speak very good English.

They have also much of the English way of living among them, as well in their manner of dress and customs, as also of their eating and drinking, and even of their dressing and cookery, which we found here much more agreeable to English stomachs than in other parts of Scotland; all which, and several other usages and customs, they retain from the settling of three regiments of English soldiers here, after they were disbanded, and who had, at least many of them, their wives and children with them.

The fort, which was then built, and since demolish’d, has been restor’d since the revolution; and a garrison was always kept here by King William, for the better regulating the Highlands; and this post was of singular importance in the time of the late insurrection of the Lord Marr for the Pretender; when, though his party took it, they were driven out again by the country, with the assistance of the Earl of Sutherland, and several other of the nobility and gentry, who stood fast to the king’s interest.

Here is a stately stone bridge of seven large arches over the River Ness, where, as I said above, it grows narrow between the sea and the lake; small vessels may come up to the town, but larger ships, when such come thither, as they often do for corn, lye at some distance east from the town.

When you are over this bridge you enter that which we truly call the north of Scotland, and others the north Highlands; in which are several distinct shires, but cannot call for a distinct description, because it is all one undistinguish’d range of mountains and woods, overspread with vast, and almost uninhabited rocks and steeps fill’d with deer innumerable, and of a great many kinds; among which are some of those the antients call’d harts and roebucks, with vast overgrown stags and hinds of the red deer kind, and with fallow-deer also.

And here, before I describe this frightful country, it is needful to observe that Scotland may be thus divided into four districts, or distinct quarters, which, however, I have not seen any of our geographers do before me, yet, I believe, may not be an improper measurement for such as would form a due idea of the whole in their minds, as follows:

  1. The South Land, or that part of Scotland south of the River Tay, drawing a line from the Tay, about Perth, to Loch-Lomond, and down again to Dumbarton, and the bank of Clyde.

  2. The Middle, or Midland, being all the country from the Tay and the Lough-Lomon, north to the Lake of Ness and the Aber, including a long slope to the south, taking in the western Highlands of Argyle and Lorn, and the isles of Isla and Jura.

  3. The North Land, being all the country beyond Innerness and the Lough, or River Ness, north, drawing the line over the narrow space of Glengary, between the Ness and the Aber, and bounded by them both from the eastern to the western sea.

  4. The islands, being all the western and northern islands (viz.) the Hebrides, the Skye, the Orkneys, and the Isles of Shetland.

Upon the foot of this division I am now, having pass’d the bridge over the Ness, enter’d upon the third division of Scotland. call’d the North Land; and it is of this country that, as I am saying, the mountains are so full of deer, harts, roe-bucks, &c.

Here are also a great number of eagles which breed in the woods, and which prey upon the young fawns when they first fall. Some of these eagles are of a mighty large kind, such as are not to be seen again in those parts of the world.

Here are also the best hawks of all the kinds for sport which are in the kingdom, and which the nobility and gentry of Scotland make great use of; for not this part of Scotland only, but all the rest of the country abounds with wild-fowl.

The rivers and lakes also in all this country are prodigiously full of salmon; it is hardly credible what the people relate of the quantity of salmon taken in these rivers, especially in the Spey, the Nairn, the Ness, and other rivers thereabout. The several countries beyond the Ness are:

Ross; Sutherland; Caithness; Strathnaver;

And beyond those the islands of Orkney and Shetland.

The Earl of Sutherland has a castle beyond Innerness, call’d Dunrobin, situate on the eastern shore, which his lordship was sent down by sea to take an early possession of in the late rebellion; and which, if he had not done, would soon have fallen into the hands of the late Earl of Marr’s party; but by his coming timely thither it was prevented, and the country on that side kept from joining the troops of the Pretender, at least for that time.

Innerness is a pleasant, clean, and well built town: There are some merchants in it, and some good share of trade. It consists of two parishes, and two large, handsome streets, but no publick buildings of any note, except as above, the old castle and the bridge.

North of the mouth of this river is the famous Cromarty Bay, or Cromarty Firth, noted for being the finest harbour, with the least business, of, perhaps, any in Britain; ’tis, doubtless, a harbour or port, able to receive the Royal Navy of Great Britain, and, like Milford-Haven in Wales, both the going in and out safe and secure: But as there is very little shipping employ’d in these parts, and little or no trade, except for corn, and in the season of it some fishing, so this noble harbour is left intirely useless in the world.

Our geographers seem to be almost as much at a loss in the description of this north part of Scotland, as the Romans were to conquer it; and they are oblig’d to fill it up with hills and mountains, as they do the inner parts of Africa, with lyons and elephants, for want of knowing what else to place there. Yet this country is not of such difficult access, as to be pass’d undescrib’d, as if it were impenetrable; here being on the coast Dornoch a Royal Burgh, situate upon the sea, opposite to that which they call Tarbat Bay, eminent for the prodigious quantity of herrings taken, or, which rather might be taken here in their season. There is a castle here belonging also to the Earl of Sutherland, and it was the seat of a bishop; but the cathedral, which is but mean, is now otherwise employ’d.

All the country beyond this river, and the Loch flowing into it, is call’d Caithness, and extends to the northermost land in Scotland.

Some people tell us they have both lead, copper, and iron in this part of Scotland, and I am very much inclin’d to believe it: but it seems reserv’d for a future, and more industrious age to search into; which, if it should happen to appear, especially the iron, they would no more have occasion to say, that nature furnish’d them with so much timber, and woods of such vast extent to no purpose, seeing it may be all little enough to supply the forges for working up the iron stone, and improving that useful product: And should a time come when these hidden treasures of the earth should be discover’d and improv’d, this part of Scotland may no longer be call’d poor, for such a production would soon change the face of things, bring wealth and people, and commerce to it; fill their harbours full of ships, their towns full of people; and, by consuming the provisions, bring the soil to be cultivated, its fish cur’d, and its cattle consum’d at home, and so a visible prosperity would shew itself among them.

Nor are the inhabitants so wild and barbarous as, perhaps, they were in those times, or as our writers have pretended. We see every day the gentlemen born here; such as the Mackenzies, McLeans, Dundonalds, Gordons, McKays, and others, who are nam’d among the clans as if they were barbarians, appear at court, and in our camps and armies, as polite, and as finish’d gentlemen as any from other countries, or even among our own; and, if I should say, outdoing our own in many things, especially in arms and gallantry, as well abroad as at home. But I am not writing panegyricks or satyrs here, my business is with the country. There is no room to doubt, but in this remote part of the island the country is more wild and uncultivated, as it is mountainous, and (in some parts) thinner of inhabitants, than in the more southern parts of the island.

Here are few towns, but the people live dispers’d, the gentry leading the commons or vassals, as they are call’d, to dwell within the respective bounds of their several clans, where they are, as we may say, little monarchs, reigning in their own dominions; nor do the people know any other sovereign, at least many of them do not.

This occasions the people to live dispers’d among the hills without any settled towns. Their employment is chiefly hunting, which is, as we may say, for their food; though they do also breed large quantities of black cattle, with which they pay their lairds or leaders the rent of the lands: And these are the cattle which, even from the remotest parts, as well as from other in the west and south, are driven annually to England to be sold, and are brought up even to London, especially into the countries of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Essex.

Having thus, as I say, few or no towns to describe north of Innerness, it must suffice that I thus give a just description of the country in general: For example, it is surrounded with the sea, and those two great inlets of water, mention’d above, call’d the Ness and the Abre: So that except a small part, or neck of land, reaching from one to the other, and which is not above six miles, I mean that country which Mr. Cambden calls the Garrow, or Glengarrough, others Glengary; I say, this neck of land excepted, the whole division, as form’d above under the head of the North Land, would be a distinct island, separated from all the rest of Great Britain, as effectually as the Orkneys or the Isle of Skey is separated from this.

In a word, the great Northern Ocean surrounds this whole part of Scotland; that part of it to the east, mention’d just now, lyes open to the sea without any cover; the west and north parts are, as it were, surround-ed with out-works as defences, to break off the raging ocean from the north; for the western islands on one side, and the Orkneys on the other, lye as so many advanc’d fortifications or redoubts, to combat that enemy at a distance. I shall view them in their course.

From Dunrobin Castle, which, I mention’d before, you have nothing of note offers itself, either by sea or land; but an extended shore lying north and south without towns and without harbours, and indeed, as there are none of the first, so there are wanting none of the last; for, as I said Cromarty Bay, there is a noble harbour without ships or trade; so here nature, as if providentially foreseeing there was no room for trade, forbore giving herself the trouble to form harbours and creeks where they should be useless, and without people.

The land thus extended as above, lyes north and south to Dungsby-Head, which is the utmost extent of the land on the east side of Britain, north, and is distant from Cromarty eighteen leagues north. This point of Dingsby, or Dungsby-Head, is in the north part, as I observ’d of Buchan and Winterton before; ’tis the place from whence the sailors take their distances, and keep their accounts in their going farther north; as for example; From this point of Dingsby-Head to the Fair Isle, which is the first of Shetland, or the last of the Orkneys, call it which we will, for it lyes between both, is 25 leagues, 75 miles.

From the same Dingsby-Head to Sumburgh-Head, that is to Shetland, is 32 leagues, 96 miles, and to Lerwick Fort in Shetland no miles.

Thus from Buchan-Ness to Sumburgh-Head in Shetland, is 47 leagues.

And from Winterton Ness near Yarmouth, on the coast of Norfolk, to Buchan Ness, on the coast of Aberdeen, is just 100 leagues. So from Winterton to Shetland is 147 leagues, 441 miles.

But this is the proper business of the mariners. I am now to observe that we are here at the extreme end or point of the island of Great Britain; and that here the land bears away west, leaving a large strait or sea, which they call Pentland Firth, and which divides, between the island of Great Britain, and the isles of the Orkneys; a passage broad and fair, for ’tis not less than five leagues over, and with a great depth of water; so that any ships, or fleets of ships may go thro’ it: But the tides are so fierce, so uncertain, and the gusts and suddain squalls of wind so frequent, that very few merchants-ships care to venture thro’ it; and the Dutch East-India ships, which come north about, (as ’tis call’d) in their return from India, keep all farther off, and choose to come by Fair Isle, that is to say, in the passage between the islands of Orkney and Shetland. And here the Dutch send their squadron of men of war generally to meet them, because, as if it were in a narrow lane, they are sure to meet with them there.

Here the passage is not only broader; for it is at least nine leagues from north Ranalsha, the farthest island of the Orkneys, to Fair Isle, and five more from Fair Isle to Shetland: So that they have a passage of fourteen leagues between the Orkneys and Shetland, with only a small island in the way, which has nothing dangerous about it; also the mountainous country being now all out of reach; the sea is open and calm, as in other places; nor is there any dangerous current or shoals to disturb them.

In the passage, between the lands end of Britain and the Orkneys, is a small island, which our mariners call Stroma, Mr. Cambden and others Sowna; ’tis spoken much of as dangerous for ships: But I see no room to record any thing of that kind any more than that there are witches and spirits haunting it, which draw ships on shore to their misfortunes. Such things I leave to the people who are of the opinion the Devil has such retreats for doing mischief; for my own part I believe him employ’d in business of more moment.

As Dingsby-Head is the most northerly land of Great Britain, ’tis worth observing to you that here, in the month of June, we had so clear an uninterrupted day, that, though indeed the sun does set, that is to say, the horizon covers its whole body for some hours, yet you might see to read the smallest print, and to write distinctly, without the help of a candle, or any other light, and that all night long.

No wonder the antient mariners, be they Phœnician or Carthaginian, or what else you please, who in those days knew nothing of the motion of the heavenly bodies, when they were driven thus far, were surpris’d at finding they had lost the steady rotation of day and night, which they thought had spread over the whole globe.

No wonder they talked much of their Ultima Thule, and that the Elysian fields must lye this way; when they found that they were already come to everlasting day, they could no longer doubt but heaven lay that way, or at least that this was the high way to it; and accordingly, when they came home, and were to give an account of these things among their neighbours, they fill’d them with astonishment; and ’twas wonderful they did not really fit out ships for the disco very; for who would ever have gone so near heaven, and not ventur’d a little farther to see whether they could find it or no?

From hence west we go along the shore of the firth or passage, which they call Pentland; and here is the house so famous, call’d John a Grot’s house, where we set our horses’ feet into the sea, on the most northerly land, as the people say, of Britain, though, I think, Dungsby-Head is as far north. Tis certain, however, the difference is but very small, being either of them in the latitude of 591/6 north, and Shetland reaching above two degrees farther. The dominions of Great Britain are extended from the Isle of Wight, in the latitude of 50 degrees, to the Isles of Unsta in Shetland, in the latitude of 61 degrees, 30 minutes, being ten degrees, or full 600 miles in length; which island of Unsta being the most remote of the Isles of Shetland to the north east, lyes 167 leagues from Winterton Ness in Norfolk.

Here we found, however mountainous and wild the country appear’d, the people were extremely well furnish’d with provisions; and especially they had four sorts of provisions in great plenty; and with a supply of which ’tis reasonable to say they could suffer no dangerous want.

  1. Very good bread, as well oat bread as wheat, though the last not so cheap as the first.

  2. Venison exceeding plentiful, and at all seasons, young or old, which they kill with their guns wherever they find it; for there is no restraint, but ’tis every man’s own that can kill it. By which means the Highlanders not only have all of them fire-arms, but they are all excellent marksmen.

  3. Salmon in such plenty as is scarce credible, and so cheap, that to those who have any substance to buy with, it is not worth their while to catch it themselves. This they eat fresh in the season, and for other times they cure it by drying it in the sun, by which they preserve it all the year.

They have no want of cows and sheep, but the latter are so wild, that sometimes were they not, by their own disposition, used to flock together, they would be much harder to kill than the deer.

From hence to the west point of the passage to Orkney is near twenty miles, being what may be call’d the end of the island of Britain; and this part faces directly to the North Pole; the land, as it were, looking forward just against the Pole Star, and the Pole so elevated, that the tail of the Ursa Major, or the Great Bear, is seen just in the zenith, or over your head; and the day is said to be eighteen hours long, that is to say, the sun is so long above the horizon: But the rest of the light is so far beyond a twilight, by reason of the smallness of the arch of that circle, which the sun makes beneath the horizon, that it is clear and perfect day almost all the time; not forgetting withal, that the dark nights take their turn with them in their season, and it is just as long night in the winter.

Yet it is observable here, that they have more temperate winters here generally speaking, than we have to the most southerly part of the island, and particularly the water in some of the rivers as in the Ness, for example, never freezes, nor are their frosts ordinarily so lasting as they are in the most southerly climates, which is accounted for from the nearness of the sea, which filling the air with moist vapours, thickens the fluids and causes that they are not so easily penetrated by the severity of the cold.

On this account the snows also are not so deep, neither do they lie so long upon the ground, as in other places, except it be on some of the high hills, in the upper and innermost part of the country, where the tops, or summits of the hills are continually cover’d with snow, and perhaps have been so for many ages, so that here if in any place of the world they may justly add to the description of their country,

— vast wat’ry lakes, which spread below,

And mountains cover’d with eternal snow.

On the most inland parts of this country, especially in the shire of Ross, they have vast woods of firr trees, not planted and set by men’s hands, as I have described in the southern part of Scotland, but growing wild and undirected, otherwise than as nature planted and nourished them up, by the additional help of time, nay of ages. Here are woods reaching from ten, to fifteen, and twenty miles in length, and proportioned in breadth, in which there are firrs, if we may believe the inhabitants, large enough to make masts for the biggest ships in the Navy Royal, and which are rendered of no use, meerly for want of convenience of water carriage to bring them away; also they assure us there are a sufficient quantity of other timber for a supply to all Britain.

How far this may be true, that is to say, as to the quantity, that I do not undertake to determine: But I must add a needful memorandum to the Scots noblemen, &c. in whose estates these woods grow, that if they can not be made useful one way, they may be made so another, and if they cannot fell the timber, and cut it into masts and deals, and other useful things for bringing away, having no navigation; they may yet burn it, and draw from it vast quantities of pitch, tar, rosin, turpentine, &c. which is of easier carriage, and may be carried on horses to the water’s edge, and then ship’d for the use of the merchant, and this way their woods may be made profitable, whatever they might be before.

We find no manufactures among the people here, except it be that the women call their thrift, namely, spinning of woollen, or linnen for their own uses, and indeed not much of that; perhaps, the time may come, when they may be better and more profitably employ’d that way; for if as I have observ’d, they should once come to work the mines, which there is reason to believe are to be found there, and to search the bowels of the earth, for iron and copper, the people would soon learn to stay at home, and the women would find work as well as the men; but this must be left to time and posterity.

We were now in the particular county called Strathnaver, or the Vale on the Naver, the remotest part of all the island, though not the most barren or unfruitful; for here as well as on the eastern shore is good corn produced, and sufficient of it at least for the inhabitants; perhaps they do not send much abroad, though sometimes also they send it over to the Orkneys, and also to Shetland. This county belongs to the Earl of Sutherland whose eldest son bears the title of Lord Strathnaver.

And now leaving the northern prospect we pass the opposite point west from Dingsby-head, and which the people call Farro-head, tho’ Mr. Camden (by what authority, or from what originals I know not) gives it a long account of, and calls these two points by two opposite names:

The east point, or Dingsby-head, he calls Virvedrum Promontorium .

The west point, or Farro-head, he calls Saruedrum Promontorium .

From hence the vast western ocean appears, what name to give it the geographers themselves do not seem to agree, but it certainly makes a part of the great Atlantick Sea, and is to be called by no other name, for it has no land or country to derive from.

And now we were to turn our faces S. for the islands of this sea, which make the fourth division of Scotland as mentioned before. I may if I have room give as just a description of them as I can from authentick relations; for being on horse-back and no convenience of shipping presenting itself here, I am to own that we did not go over to those islands personally, neither was it likely any person whose business was meer curiosity and diversion, should either be at the expence, or run the risque of such a hazardous passage where there was so little worth observation to be found.

We therefore turned our faces to the south, and with great satisfaction after so long and fateaguing a journey; and unless we had been assisted by the gentlemen of the country, and with very good guides, it had been next to an impossibility to have pass’d over this part of the country. I do confess if I was to recommend to any men whose curiosity tempted them to travel over this country, the best method for their journeying, it should be neither to seek towns, for it would be impossible to find such in proper stages for their journey; nor to make themselves always burthensome to the Highland chiefs, tho’ there I can assure them they would always meet with good treatment, and great hospitality.

But I would propose travelling with some company, and carrying tents with them, and so encamping every night as if they were an army.

It is true they would do well to have the countenance of the gentlemen, and chiefs as above, and to be recommended to them from their friends from one to another, as well for guides as for safety, otherwise I would not answer for what might happen: But if they are first well recommended as strangers, and have letters from one gentleman to another, they would want neither guides nor guards, nor indeed would any man touch them; but rather protect them if there was occasion in all places; and by this method they might in the summer time lodge, when, and wherever they pleased, with safety and pleasure; travelling no farther at a time, than they thought fit; and as for their provisions, they might supply themselves by their guns, with very great plenty of wild fowl, and their attendants and guides would find convenient places to furnish other things sufficient to carry with them.

It would be no unpleasant account to relate a journey which five, two Scots and three English gentlemen, took in this manner for their diversion, in order to visit the late Duke of Gordon, but it would be too long for this place: It would be very diverting to shew how they lodg’d every night. How two Highlanders who attended them, and who had been in the army, went before every evening and pitch’d their little camp. How they furnish’d themselves with provisions, carry’d some with them, and dress’d and prepared what they kill’d with their guns; and how very easily they travelled over all the mountains and wasts, without troubling themselves with houses or lodgings; but as I say the particulars are too long for this place.

Indeed in our attempt to come down to the southward by the coast of Tain, and the shire of Ross, we should have been extreamly disappointed, and perhaps have been obliged to get a ship or bark, to have carry’d us round the Isle of Skye into Loquhaber, had it not been for the extraordinary courtesie of some of the gentlemen of the country.

On the other hand we unexpectedly met here some English men, who were employ’d by merchants in the S. (whether at London or Edinburgh I do not now remember) to take and cure a large quantity of white fish, and afterwards herrings, on account of trade. Here we had not only the civility of their assistance and accommodation in our journey, but we had the pleasure of seeing what progress they made in their undertaking. As for herrings indeed the quantity was prodigious, and we had the pleasure of seeing something of the prodigy, for I can call it no other; the shoal was as I might say beginning to come, or had sent their vant-couriers before them, when we first came to the head of Pentland Firth, and in a fortnight’s time more, the body of their numberless armies began to appear; but before we left the coast you would have ventur’d to say of the sea, as they do of the River Tibiscus, or Theisse in Hungary, that it was one third water, and two thirds fish; the operation of taking them, could hardly be call’d fishing, for they did little more than dip for them into the water and take them up.

As to the quantity, I make no scruple to say, that if there had been ten thousand ships there to have loaded with them, they might all have been filled and none of them mist; nor did the fish seem to stay, but pass’d on to the south, that they might supply other parts, and make way also for those innumerable shoals which were to come after.

Had the quantity of white fish been any way proportion’d to the undertaking as the herring was, there would no doubt have been such encouragement to the merchant, that they would never have given it over, but they found it would not fully answer: Not but there were great quantities of cod, and the fish very sizeable and good, but not so great a quantity as to make that dispatch in taking them (as they are taken with hook and line) sufficient for loading of ships, or laying up a large quantity in the season; and this I doubt discouraged the undertaking, the merchants finding the expence to exceed the return.

Here we found the town of Tain, and some other villages tollerably well inhabited, and some trade also, occasioned principally by the communication with the western islands, and also by the herring fishing, the fishing boats from other parts often putting into these ports; for all their coast is full of loughs and rivers, and other openings which make very good harbours of shipping; and that which is remarkable, some of those loughs, are infinitely full of herrings, even where, as they tell us, they have no communication with the sea, so that they must have in all probability been put into them alive by some particular hands, and have multiplied there as we find at this time.

We could understand nothing on this side of what the people said, any more than if we had been in Morocco; and all the remedy we had was, that we found most of the gentlemen spoke Frenen, and some few spoke broad Scots; we found it also much for our convenience to make the common people believe we were French.

Should we go about here to give you an account of the religion of the people in this country, it would be an unpleasant work, and perhaps scarce seem to deserve credit; you would hardly believe that in a Christian island, as this is said to be, there should be people found who know so little of religion, or of the custom of Christians, as not to know a Sunday, or Sabbath, from a working day, or the worship of God from an ordinary meeting, for conversation: I do not affirm that it is so, and I shall say no more of it here, because I would not publish what it is to be hoped may in time find redress; but I cannot but say that his Majesty’s gift of 1,000l . annually to the Assembly of Scotland, for sending ministers and missionaries for the propagating Christian knowledge in the Highlands, is certainly one of the most needful charities that could have been thought of, worthy of a king, and well suited to that occasion; and if prudently apply’d, as there is reason to believe it will be, may in time break in upon this horrible ignorance, that has so far spread over this unhappy part of the country.

On the other hand, what shall we say to the neglect, which for so many years past has been the occasion of this surprizing darkness among the people, when the poor abandon’d creatures have not so much as had the common instruction of Christianity, so much as to know whether there was any such thing as a God or no, much less how to worship him; and if at any time any glympse of light had been infus’d into them, and they had been taught any knowledge of superior things, it has been by the diligence of the Popish clergy, who to do them justice, have shewn more charity, and taken more pains that way, than some whose work it had been, and who it might much more have been expected from?

But the state of religion is not my present subject; ’tis certain the people have the Bible in their own language, the Irs, and the missionaries now are oblig’d to preach to them, and examine or catechise their children in the Irs language, so that we are not to despair of having this county as well instructed in time, as other parts of Britain; the rest must be left to his hand, that over rules the minds of men, and causes them to know, even in spite of the defects of common teaching.

On this coast is the Isle of Skye, lying from the west north west, to the east south east, and bearing upon the main island, only separated by a narrow strait of water; something like as the Isle of Weight is separated from the county of Southampton. We left this on our right, and crossing the mountains, came with as little stay as we could to the lough of Abre, that is, the water which as I said above, assists with Lough Ness, or Loch Ness, to separate the north land of Scotland from the middle part.

This is a long and narrow inlet of the sea, which opening from the Irish Sea S. west, meets the River Abre, or as the Scots much more properly express it, the Water of Abre, for it is rather a large lake or loch, than a river, and receives innumerable small rivers into it; it begins or rises in the mountains of Ross, or of Glengary, within five or six miles from the shore of the Loch Ness, or the Water of Ness, which is a long and narrow lake like itself, and as the Ness runs away east to Innerness, and so into the great gulph called Murray Firth, so the Abre becoming presently a loch or lake, also goes away more to the southward, and sloping south west, runs into the Irish Sea as above.

From this river or water of Abre, all that mountainous barren and frightful country, which lies south of the water of Abre is call’d Loquabre, or the country bordering on Loch Abre. It is indeed a frightful country full of hidious desart mountains and unpassable, except to the Highlanders who possess the precipices. Here in spight of the most vigorous pursuit, the Highland robbers, such as the famous Rob Roy in the late disturbances, find such retreats as none can pretend to follow them into, nor could he be ever taken.

On this water of Abre, just at the entrance of the loch, was anciently a fort built, to curb the Highlanders, on either side; it was so situated, that tho’ it might indeed be block’d up by land and be distress’d by a siege, the troops besieging being masters of the field, yet as it was open to the sea, it might always receive supplies by shipping, the government being supposed to be always master of the sea, or at least ’tis very probable they will be so.

this fort the late King William caused to be rebuilt, or rather a new fort to be erected; where there was always a good garrison kept for curbing the Highlanders, which fort was for several years commanded by Lieutenant General Maitland, an old experienc’d general, who had signalized himself upon many occasions abroad, particularly at the great battle of Treves, where he serv’d under the French, and where he lost one of his hands.

I name this gentleman, not to pay any compliment to him, for he is long ago in his grave, but to intimate that this wise commander did more to gain the Highlanders and keep them in peace, and in a due subjection to the British Government, by his winning and obliging behaviour, and yet by strict observance of his orders, and the duty of a governour, than any other before him had been able to do by force, and the sword; and this particularly appear’d in the time of the Union, when endeavours were every where made use of, to bring those hot people to break out into rebellion, if possible to prevent the carrying on the treaty.

At this place we take our leave of the third division, which I call the north land of Scotland, for this fort being on the south side of the Loch Abre is therefore called inner Lochy, as the other for the like reason was called inner Ness.

We have nothing now remaining for a full survey of Scotland, but the western part, of the middle part, or division of Scotland, and this though a large country, yet affords not an equal variety with the eastern part of the same division.

To traverse the remaining part of this country, I must begin upon the upper Tay, as we may justly call it, where I left off when I turn’d away east; and here we have in especial manner the country of Brechin, the Blair as ’tis called of Athol, and the country of Bradalbin: This is a hilly country indeed, but as it is water’d by the Tay, and many other pleasant rivers which fall into it, there are also several fruitful valleys, intersperst among the hills; nor are even the Highlands themselves, or the Highlanders the inhabitants any thing so wild, untaught, or untractable, as those whom I have been a describing in the north-land division, that is to say, in Strath-Naver, Ross, Tain, &c.

The Duke of Athol is lord, I was almost going to say king of this country, and has the greatest interest, or if you please, the greatest share of vassalage of any nobleman in this part of Scotland; if I had said in all Scotland, I believe I should have been supported by others that know both his person and his interest as well as most people do.

His Grace was always an opposer of the Union in the Parliament holden at Edinburgh, for passing it into an Act; but he did not carry his opposition to the height of tumult and rebellion; if he had, as some were forward to have had done, he would have possibly bid fair, to have prevented the conclusion of it, at least at that time: But the hour was come, when the calamities of war, which had for so many hundred years vext the two nations, were to have an end; and tho’ the government was never weaker in power than at that time, I mean in Scotland, yet the affair was carry’d thro’ with a high hand, all the little tumults and disorders of the rabble as well at Edinburgh as at Glasgow, and other places, being timely supprest, and others by prudent management prevented.

The duke has several fine seats in this country; as first at Dunkeld, upon the Tay which I mentioned before, and where there was a fight, between the regular troops and the Highlanders, in the reign of King William, another at Huntingtour, in the Strathearn, or Valley of Earn, where the duke has a fine park, and great store of deer; and it may indeed be called his hunting seat, whither he sometimes retires meerly for sport. But his ordinary residence, and where I say he keeps his court like a prince, is at the castle of Blair, farther N. and beyond the Tay, on the edge of Bradalbin upon the banks of a clear and fine river which falls into the Tay, a few miles lower.

As I have said something of this country of Bradalbin, it will be needfull to say something more, seeing some other authors have said so much: It is seated as near the center of Scotland, as any part of it can be well fixt, and that which is particular, is, that it is alledg’d, it is the highest ground of all Scotland, for that the rivers which rise here, are said to run every way from this part, some into the eastern, and some into the western seas.

The Grampian mountains, which are here said to cut through Scotland, as the Muscovites say of their Riphæan hills, that they are the girdle of the world. As is the country, so are the inhabitants, a fierce fighting and furious kind of men; but I must add that they are much chang’d, and civiliz’d from what they were formerly, if Mr. Cambden’s account of them is just. I mean of the Highlanders of Bradalbin only; tho’ I include the country of Loquhabre, and Athol, as adjoyning to it.

It is indeed a very bitter character, and possibly they might deserve it in those days; but I must insist that they are quite another people now: And tho’ the country is the same, and the mountains as wild and desolate as ever, yet the people, by the good conduct of their chiefs and heads of clans, are much more civilized than they were in former times.

As the men have the same vigour and spirit; but are under a better regulation of their manners, and more under government; so they make excellent soldiers, when they come abroad, or are listed in regular and disciplin’d troops.

The Duke of Athol, though he has not an estate equal to some of the nobility, yet he is master of more of these superiorities, as they are called there, than many of those who have twice his estate; and I have been told, that he can bring a body of above 6,000 men together in arms at very little warning.

The pomp and state in which this noble person lives, is not to be imitated in Great Britain; for he is served like a prince, and maintains a greater equipage and retinue than five times his estate would support in another country.

The duke has also another seat in Strathearn, which is called Tullibardin, and which gives title at this time to the eldest son of the House of Athol, for the time being. At the lower part of this country, the River Earn falls into Tay, and greatly increases its waters. This river rises far west, on the frontiers of the western Highlands near Glengyl, and running through that pleasant country called Strathearn, falls into Tay, below St. Johnstons.

Soon after its first coming out from the mountains, the Earn spreads itselfe into a loch, as most of those rivers do; this is called Loch Earn, soon after which it runs by Duplin Castle, the seat of the Earl of Kinnowl, whose eldest son is known in England, by the title of Lord Duplin, taking it from the name of this castle. The late Earl of Kinnowl’s son, the Lord Duplin, was marry’d to the daughter of the late Earl of Oxford, then Lord High Treasurer of England, and who was on that occasion made a peer of Great Britain.

This castle of Duplin, is a very beautiful seat, and the heads of the families having been pretty much used to live at home, the house has been adorned at several times, according to the genius, and particular inclination of the persons, who then lived there; the present earl is not much in Scotland; being created a peer of Great Britain, in the reign of the late Queen Anne, and marry’d, as above, into the family of Oxford.

This ancient seat is situated in a good soil, and a pleasant country, near the banks of the River Earn, and the earl has a very good estate; but not loaded with vassals, and highland superiorities, as the Duke of Athol is said to be.

The house is now under a new decoration, two new wings being lately added for offices as well as ornament.

The old building is spacious, the rooms are large, and the ceilings lofty, and which is more than all the appearance of the buildings, ’tis all magnificently finished, and furnished within; there are also abundance of very fine paintings, and some of great value, especially court pieces, and family pieces, of which it would take up a book to write the particulars; but I must not omit the fine picture of King Charles the First, with a letter in his hand, which he holds out to his son the Duke of York, afterwards King James the Second, which they say he was to carry to France; also a statue in brass of the same King Charles the First on horse-back; there are also two pictures of a contrary sort, namely, one of Oliver Cromwell, and one of the then General Monk, both from the life.

Also there is a whole length of that Earl of Kinnoul, who was Lord Chancellor of Scotland, in the reign of King James the Sixth, with several other peices of Italian masters of great value.

From this place we went to Brechin, an ancient town with a castle finely situate; but the ancient grandour of it not supported; the family of Penmure, to whom it belong’d, having been in no extraordinary circumstances for some time past, and now their misfortunes being finished, it is under forfeiture, and sold among the spoils of the late rebellion.

We were now as it were landed again, being after a long mountain-ramble, come down to the low lands, and into a pleasant and agreeable country; but as we had yet another journey to take west, we had a like prospect of a rude and wild part of Scotland to go through.

The Highlands of Scotland are divided into two parts, and known so as two separate countries, (viz.) the West Highlands, and the North Highlands; the last, of which I have spoken at large, contain the countries or provinces of:

Bradalbin,
Athol,
Lochaber,
Buchan,
Mar,
Sutherland,
Ross,
Strathnaver,
Caithness,
together with the Isle of Skye.

The West Highlands contain the shires or counties of:

Dunbritton or
Lenox,
Bute,
Dunbarton,
Argyle,
Lorn and Cantyre.

On the bank of this River Earn lies a very pleasant vale, which continues from the Tay, where it receives the river quite up to the Highlands; this is called according to the usage of Scotland Strath Earn, or the Strath or Vale of Earn, ’tis an agreeable country, and has many gentlemen’s seats on both sides the river; but it is near the Highlands, and has often suffered by the depredations of those wild folk in former times.

The family of Montrose, whose chief was sacrificed for the interest of King Charles the First, had a strong castle here called Kincardin; but it was ruin’d and demolished in those wars, and is not rebuilt. The castle of Drummond is almost in the same condition, or at least is like soon to be so, the Earl of Perth, to whom it belongs, being in exile, as his father was before him, by their adhering to the late King James the Seventh, and to the present Pretender. King James the Seventh made the father a duke, and Knight of the Garter, and governor to his son the Pretender. His eldest son who should have succeeded to the honours and titles dy’d in France, and three other sons still remaining are all abroad, either following the ruin’d fortunes of the Pretender, or in other service in foreign courts; where, we know not, nor is it material to our present purpose.

The Western Highlands are the only remaining part of Scotland, which as yet I have not toucht upon. This is that particular country, which a late great man in King James the Second’s time, called the kingdom of Argyle; and upon which occasion it was a compliment upon King James, that he had conquer’d two kings, when he suppress’d the rebellion of the Whigs; namely, the Duke of Monmouth, whom in derision they called the little king of Lime, and the Earl of Argyle whom they called with much more propriety, the great king of the Highlands.

It is true that the greatest part of these Western Highlands, may be said to be subject, or in some respect to belong to the House of Argyle, or to speak more properly, to the family or clan of the Campbells, of whom the Duke of Argyle is the chief; but then it should be noted too, that those western gentlemen are not so blindly to be led, or guided by their chiefs as those in the north; nor when led on, are they so apt for mischief and violence. But as many of them are toucht with the Cameronian Whig, or at least the English Whig principles, they would venture to enquire what they were to do, and whom to fight against, at least before they dipt far in any hazardous undertaking.

Though the people of these countries are something more civilized than those of their bretheren mountaineers in the north, yet the countries seem to be so near a kin that no strangers could know them asunder, nor is there any breach in the similitude that I could observe, except it be that in the north Highlands, there are such great woods of fir-trees, which I have taken notice of there, and which we do not see the like of here: Nor did we see so many or so large eagles in these western mountains as in the north, tho’ the people assure us there are such too.

The quantity of deer are much the same, and the kinds too, and the black cattle are of the same kind, and rather more numerous; the people also dress after the same manner, in the Plaid and the Trouse, go naked from below the knee to the mid thighs, wear the durk and the pistol at their girdle, and the targ or target at their shoulder.

Some reckon the shire of Braidalbin to belong to these Western Highlands, not that it is west in its situation, for it is rather north, and as I have mention’d, is said to be the center of Scotland; and the highest land, being in the very body of those they call the Grampian mountains; all the reason that I could find they give for reckoning this country among the Western Highlands, is because they say one part of it is inhabited by the Campbells, whose clan, as I have observed, generally possesses all the West Highlands.

But if they will claim the country, they must claim the people too, who are, if I may give my opinion, some of the worst, most barbarous, and ill governed of all the Highlands of Scotland; they are desperate in fight, cruel in victory, fierce even in conversation, apt to quarrel, mischievous, and even murderers in their passion.

At the fight which happen’d at Gillekranky, in this part of Scotland, they tell us a story of a combate between an English soldier press’d hard by a Highlander, the regiment being in disorder, for the English had the worst of it; the English soldier was singl’d out in the pursuit by one particular Highlander, and found himself in great danger, he defended himself with the club of his musquet as long as he was able, his shot being spent before, after which they came to their swords, the English man understood the backsword very well, but the Scots man receiv’d all the blows upon his targe; so that the English man could not come in with him, and at the same time he lay’d hard at the English man with his broadsword, and had cut him in two or three places, at which the English man enrag’d, rather than discourag’d, cry’d out to him, you dog says he; come out from behind the door and fight like a man, meaning from behind his great target; but the Scots man tho’ as brave as the other, knew better things than that, and laying hard at him had cut him down, and was just going to kill him, when some of the regiment that saw him distrest, came up to him and rescu’d him, and took the Highlander prisoner.

It is hard to distinguish too among those Highland men, who are the best soldiers. Foreigners give it to the northern men as the more hardy and the larger bodies; but I will not undertake to decide this controversie, either of them make very good soldiers, and all the world are fond of them; nor are they equall’d in any part of the world that I have met with, if they are regimented by themselves, unmixt with other nations.

And here I must take an opportunity to rectify a mistake which has grown up to a vulgar error, and is an injury to the Scots, in some respect, at least it is robbing them of part of that honour, which is their due. The case is this;

We have frequent occasions to hear of the fame of the Irish batallions abroad, how well they behave, and what good troops they are, how they acted in such a battle, and such; how in particular they beat the Germans out of Cremona, after they had got possession of the town, and had taken the French general, the Mareshall Villeroy prisoner: How the Irish batallions in the Scots service behav’d in Sicily, and so on many extraordinary occasions. Now though it is true that these are called Irish, because they were originally such; yet ’tis as true the men are all or most of them Scots Highlanders, who upon all occasions getting over into France, always list in the Irish troops; nay in the late wars it was frequent to raise whole regiments of Highlanders for the service, but when they came over, they would take the first occasion to desert, and go over to the French, so to list in the Irish batallions, for they all speak Irish, and some have affirm’d, that they have first listed with that resolution, being generally adicted to the interest of King James the Seventh; but be that so or not, this I am well assur’d of (viz.) that most of those they call Irish in the armies of France and Spain, and to whom so many glorious actions have been justly ascrib’d, are to this day Scots Highlanders, or at least most of them are so, but this by the way.

I am now to return to our progress. Leaving the country of Brechin, and the low lands of Strathearn, we went away west; but were presently interrupted by a vast inland sea, rather than a lake called Loch Lomond. It is indeed a sea, and look’d like it from the hills from whence we first descry’d it; and its being a tempestuous day, I assure you it appear’d all in a breach, rough and raging, like the sea in a storm. There are several islands in it, which from the hills we could plainly perceive were islands, but that they are a-drift, and float about the lake, that I take as I find it, for a story, namely, a story call’d a F— as I do also that of the water of this loch, turning wood into stone.

This lake or loch is, without comparison, the greatest in Scotland, no other can be call’d half so big; for it is more than twenty miles long, and generally eight miles in breadth, though at the north end of it, ’tis not so broad by far. It receives many rivers into it, but empties itself into the Firth of Clyde, at one mouth;;near the entrance of it into Clyde, stands the famous Dunbarton Castle, the most antient, as well as the most important castle in .‘Scotland; and the gate, as ’tis call’d, of the Highlands. It is now not much regarded, the whole country being, as it were, buried in peace, yet there is a garrison maintain’d in it; and the pass would be still of great import, were there any occasion of arms in time to come; ’tis exceeding strong by situation, being secur’d by the river on one side, the Firth of Clyde on the other, by an unpassable morass on the third side, and the fourth is a precipice.

Passing from Dunbarton castle, we enter the territory of Argyle. As to the county of Lenox, the paternal estate and property of the Stuarts, it lyes extended from both sides the Levin, that is, the river, which (as I said before) empties the Loch-Lomon into the Clyde. On this side, or eastward, Lenox joins the Monteith, and runs up for some length on the east side of the loch, and on the west side it extends to the edge of the Loch-Loing, and a great way north, almost to the mountains of Loquhabre.

All our writers of the description of Lenox enlarge upon the family of Stuarts, who proceeded, as by the mother, from the Royal line of Scotland: So by the father, from Henry Lord Darnley, marry’d to Mary Queen of Scots, and afterwards basely murther’d by her, or by her order and direction.

By this Lord Darnley, who was son and heir apparent to Matthew, Earl of Lenox, this whole estate, with the title, devolv’d at last upon King Charles II., who gave the title to one of his natural sons, with the addition of duke.

Beyond this Loch-Loing begins the large extended country of Argyle, or the Western Highlands, whose extent takes in the shire or county of Lorn to the north, and Cantyre to the south, all possess’d by the Campbells, and vulgarly understood by the country of Argyle; for as for Cantyre, which is a chersonese, or peninsula, it belongs mostly, if not wholly to the Campbells; and as to Lorn, ’tis the title of the eldest son of the House of Argyle to this day.

The west side of this country lyes extended along the Irish Sea for a very great length, at least eighty miles (viz.) from the Mull of Cantyre to Dunstaffnage, and the Isle of Stackar and Listnoc, in the water of Loquhaber. On all this shore there is no town eminent for trade, no port or harbour, at least none made use of for shipping; nor are there any ships to require them, except fishing-barks and boats, which are in the season employ’d for catching herrings, of which the shoals that are found upon this coast in the season are incredible, especially in the Clyde, in Loch-Finn, and about the Isle of Arran, which lyes in the mouth of Clyde.

From the Mull of Cantyre they see Ireland very plain, it being not above fifteen or sixteen miles from the point of land, which they call the Mull to the Fair Foreland, on the coast of Colrain, on the north of Ireland. In the mouth of this sea of Clyde lyes a rock, somewhat like the Bass in the Firth of Forth, or of Edinburgh, not for shape, but for this particular, that here, as at the Bass, the Soland geese are pleas’d to come in the season of the fishery, and to breed and inhabit as they do at the Bass, and to go away and come again just at the same seasons, as at the Bass; this island is call’d the Ailze. Here are also the islands of Arran and of Bute; the first giving title of earl to the family of Hamilton, and the other the title of Duke of Rothsay to the eldest son of the Crown of Scotland, who is call’d Duke of Rothsay, from the castle of Rothsay in this island; nor is there any thing else considerable to be said of either of the islands; for as for their present condition, which is what is my particular business in this book, they have nothing considerable in or about them, except it be a tumultuous and dangerous sea for sailors, especially when a south-west wind blows hard, which brings the sea rowling in upon them in a frightful manner. However, there is one good harbour on the north side of the island, call’d Lamlach, which is their safety in such cases.

Off of the western shore of Argyle and Lorn there are abundance of islands, which all belong to the family of Argyle, or at least to its jurisdiction; as Isla, Jura, Tyrry, Mull, Lysmore, Coll, and several others of less note.

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 11:43