Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

82

SKETCHES OF THE HIGIILANDS AND ISLANDS OF SCOTLAND.

LARI THE SECOND.

1

IONA; INSULAR CHURCHES.

spiritual instruction. Dr. Macculloch calculates, on the Early on the 25th, (A.D. 1827,) we started for Staffa and collective authority of old writers, that the Western Isles Iona. Partial gleams of sunshine illuminated the bold, alone contained no less than 300 churches and chapels in rugged head-land of Ardnamurchan, and were reflected the Romish age. Of these, many were merely cells, or dimly from the distant, lofty, and conical summits of the occasional stations for divine service, and to many of them, isle of Rum. The point of Calliach, in Mull, was sheathed probably, no priest was appointed. Their erection must in foam, by the waves of a wild sea, mingling their hoarse be attributed to the piety or the superstition of the chiefs uproar with the shrill cries of innumerable sea-fowl, and people, no less than to the influence of the priesthood. hovering around its summit. It is said that the poct

These remnants of Romish zeal occupy the site of more Campbell, who resided for some time in the vicinity of ancient monuments of the apostolic piety and zeal of their this promontory, often selected it as the scene of his lofty founder St. Columba, who came to Britain, to preach the

This musings, as he listened to the roar of the distant Corry- Gospel 'to the northern Picts, in the year 565. vreckan, that it was the birth-place of the Erile of Erin, eminent missionary held Christianity, uncorrupted by many and of much of the Pleasures of Hope. The grouping errors which subsequently infected it, and instituted the of the numerous islands, of Mall

, is extremely pictu- order of the Culdees, who maintained their ground in resque: Staffa, amongst them, rearing its basaltic pillars, Romish See till the fourteenth century, when they were

various parts of Scotland, against the usurpations of the forming a long causeway, gradually terminating in a majestic colonnade, crowned by green and overhanging suppressed. St. Columba was superseded by St. Andrew, brow. The southern front encloses the caves within its as patron saint of Scotland, on the transfer of the primacy triple buttresses.

from Dunkeld to St. Andrew's. Before us, Iona reared its lonely tower from the bosom

Stripped of all that is fabulous or uncertain, the real of the stormy deep. The island contains 350 inhabitants, history of Jona, a sanctuary erected in a dark age, on the part of whom are congregated in a village near the church lonely beach of a remote island, amid tribes of pirates and The celebrated ruins consist of a cathedral

, á nunnery, and freebooters, must inspire a solemn and grateful recognition St. Oran's chapel, The cathedral is small and cruciforia: of the peacefal triumphs of the Gospel, and of the overruling the height of the tower is only 70 feet; its architecture is influence of Divine Providence, in employing even the rude and inelegant. On the north side of the altar is the superstition of mankind in protecting and perpetuating its tomb of Abbot Mackinnon, who died in A. D. 1500, and ascendancy, till purified by reformation, ît shines forth, is represented in a recumbent position. Of the nunnery,

amid surrounding gloom, in its pristine light and lustre. the remains are scanty. St. Oran's chapel contains some

In Johnson's powerful and acute understanding, the tombs, and is surrounded by the principal remaining monu- caustic shrewdness of the critic too often prevailed over ments, unfortunately, much defaced by weather and the his poetical feelings; yet of his susceptibility to the poetry, footsteps of visiters. In this hallowed cemetery, this conven

no less than to the charity of that religion which he loved tional asylum of the dead, which religion or superstition and venerated, as essential to the peace, the dignity, and happily respected, even amid the fury of perpetual warfure, happiness of mankind, the immortal passage which records repose, according to dubious tradition, the bones of upwards the emotions excited in his breast, by the prospect of Iona, of forty Scottish, besides French, Irish, and Norwegian

affords unquestionable proof. kinys; and of many lords of the isles, bishops, abbots, and

“We were now treading that illustrious island, which was clicftains; some of whom are represented in full armour,

once the luminary of the Caledonian regions, whence cross-legged, with their hunting-Cloys at their feet; and savage clans and roving barbarians derived the benefits of some, the Macdonalds, à clan of Norwegian origin, indi- mind from all local emotion would be impossible, if it were

knowledge, and the blessings of religion. To abstract the cated by their appropriate armorial bearing, the warlike endeavoured, and would be foolish, if it were possible. galley:

An instance of the verification of tradition, no less than Whatever withdraws us from the power of our senses; of this practice of buying their favourite animals, the com- whatever makes the past, the distant, or the future, predopanions of their sports, with the dead, was mentioned minate over the present, advances us in the dignity of to me by the minister of Glenelg, who was present at the thinking beings. Far from me, and from my friends, be opening of one of two mounds, in that parish, on the such frigid philosophy, as may conduct us, indifferent and shure of the Sound, opposite to Sky, supposed to contain unmoved, over any ground which has been dignified by the remains of tho giants who could leap across the wisdom, bravery, or virtue. That man is liitle to be Sound, buried together with those of their hunting dogs. envied, whose patriotism would not gain force upon the At some depth was found a large flat stone, covering plains of Marathon, or whose piety would not grow warm many small bones, which proved," on examination, to be among the ruins of Iona." those of dogs, deposited on a bedding consisting of several of Tona fully enjoyed the benefits of the Gospel. When a

Yet it was not till the present day, that the inhabitants stratum of the finest gravel, resembling gold-dust, four modern missionary, Legh Richmond, visited the island, inches in thickness; and 'undemeathi, emerged two large Divine service was performed in it only four times in tho bones, one of the jaw, the teeth of which were perfect, and year., Mr. Richmond repeatedly addressed these islanders: the other of the arm. A boy, struck with the size of the and his account of his visit to them, is one of the most jaw-bone, clapped it forthwith on the chaps of the fattest interesting productions of his well-known pen. A parliaman in the parish, which it fairly encased. Awe had mentary church has been since erected, and a minister mingled much with the curiosity which had tempted these appointed to the island. people to violate the sanctuary of the dead; and a thunder- The people of lona, almost unprovided with religious

Religion and civilization usually keep pace together. storm happening, as is invariably stated to be the case on such occasions, at the moment of the sacrilegious joke, pointed out as in the lowest stage of improvement. It is

instruction since the period of the Reformation, were preserve the other tomb, from similar profanation* The present ruined structures of Tona were crected by called the quern, was last used; a pair of stones, rubbed by

one of the islands in which the old-fashioned hand-mil!, their Roinish possessors, whó held them till the Reformation, at which period they did not escape the destroying countries, according to the Scriptural description : "Two

two persons, identical with that employed in Eastern edicts of the Presbyterian synods. The destruction of churches, and the spoliation of church derived by the Hebrideans from their Eastern ancestors.

women shall be grinding at the mill," and, doubtless, property, at the period of the Reformation in Scotland, were carried to a great extent; and the Highlands and Islands children of the school with a public entertainment, that

Legh Richmond says, when desirous of rewarding the nave been, consequently, very inadequately supplied with

the best sheep to be found in the island, was purchased The practice alluded to reminds 'v: of the superstition of the for the vast sum of six-shillings. But a difficulty arose on American Indian, described by the poet :

the occasion ; there was fuel to roast the creature, but the " Who thinks, admitted to an equal sky,

whole domain could not supply the necessary apparatus His faithful dog shall bear him company."

for its dissection. The children assembled on the shore,

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

and picked up shells, to answer the purpose of knives, when she visits her distant friends, is conveyed by eight and forks."

Highlanders, on a litter. Of the want of surgical assistance, we witnessed a Bailachroy affords a pleasing specimen of a Highland melancholy proof. The schoolmaster, our guide, anxiously village: it consists of a single street, composed of neat inquired of us when we landed, whether a professional but small houses: a good school-house, a public-house, man was of our party, and soon conducted us to a cottage, and the church rising on an adjacent eminence. To each where a poor fisherman displayed an arm dreadfully swollen, house is attached a small piece of ground, called a croft in consequence of the prick of the fin of a gurnet; the on which vegetables are raised for the use of the family. scrofulous and inflammatory state of the blood of the and hence the tenant is called a crofter. The numerous Hebrideans produced by their scanty or fish diet, not little patches in the neighbourhood of the village, belongunfrequently occasioning death upon the slightest injuries. ing to these people, and the herd of cows, each keeping This poor fellow suffered subsequently amputation of the one or two, ranging the adjoining hill under the charge of finger, but whether his life was preserved, we did not hear. a single lad, awaken the pleasing conviction of independThe party from the steam-vessel furnished medicines, and ence and comfort. Happily for England, its landed prosubscribed to procure the assistance of a surgeon from prietors are now gradually adopting the excellent plan of Tobermory.

allowing small allotments of land to their cottagers, the Nor has learning lagged behind, in investigating the benefits of which will prove incalculable. antiquities and preserving the ruins of lona. An Iona On the desolate brow of a steep ridge beyond Ballachroy, Club has since (1833) held its first meeting on the island, we passed a small hamlet, consisting of a dozen cottages, under the auspices of the Duke of Argyle, the proprietor, called Siberia. On asking one of the inhabitants wbereand the principal of the University of Edinburgh, who fore they chose so dreary a situation for their abode, he himself attended the meeting.

replied, looking archly, "Coll knows the reason very well.”

This was, in fact, the place to which the Laird of Coll STAFFA.

banished his people from that Island, when guilty of On returning from Iona, we landed at a small cave on the smuggling, and other crimes deserving exile. They had eastern shore of Staffa, where the basaltic causeway com- no alternative but to accept this punishment, or to fly the mences. It is very broad, of unequal height, sloping like country: a proof of the practical continuance, under the a glacis from the water to the base of the higher columns. control of law, of the heritable jurisdictions of the chiefs, The dimensions of the caves it will be unnecessary to which were abolished by Act of Parliament in 1748. Dr. detail. The largest can be explored in fine weather by a Johnson adverts to it. • Many of the smaller islands boat. The sea was now boisterous, and we could penetrate have no leg officers within them. I once asked, if a into its recesses only by means of a narrow and broken crime should be committed, by what authority the offender ledge, which raised us above the water. And in the could be seized, and was told that the Laird would exert interval of the waves which burst in, rushing to the his right; a right which he must now usurp, but which farthest extremity, deafening us with their uproar, and merely necessity must vindicate, and which is, therefore, hurling aloft a volume of spray, and flakes of foam, we yet exercised in lower degrees by some of the proprietors, could admire, in mute astonishment, the beautiful sym- when legal process cannot be obtained." metry of this wondrous pile, resembling, yet surpassing The present criminal jurisdiction of Scotland (1827), is the imitative efforts of man: the regular arrangement of exercised in the first instance by the sheriff-depute*, or its massy columns; the richness and variety of the tints deputy-sheriff, in each county, a salaried officer, holding of which adorn them, more brilliant than the hues which the the king as sheriff of the kingdom, and by his delegates, painted panes of the window of a Gothic church shower the sheriff's-substitutes; some of whom, usually tacksmen, on its clustered pillars; the dark shadows afforded by or persons holding farms on leaze, are appointed in the the intermediate recesses; the sombre grandeur of the islands. In some of the islands, as for instance in Jura ponderous roof, and the smooth pavement which the sea and Colonsay, the proprietor of the island acts, in virtue of supplies, when tranquil, to the stately temple. To borrow a commission from the lord lieutenant, as magistrate. the language of the poet:

Dr. Johnson remarks, that " where the chiefs were men Here as to shame the temples deck'd

of knowledge and virtue, the convenience of a domestic By skill of earthly architect,

judicature was great.” That the present Laird of Coli Nature herself, it seem'd, would raise

has exemplified, in his administration of local justice, the A minster to her Maker's praise !

truth of this observation, may be fully inferred from the Not for a meaner use ascend Her columns, or her arches bend;

testimony still borne to his conduct, by the numbers who Nor of a theme less solemn tells

still resort to him to submit their differences to his arbitraThat mighty surge that ebbs and swells,

tion. He is younger brother of the amiable companion of And still, between each awful pause,

Dr. Johnson, who was drowned on the coast of Mull ere the From the high vault an answer draws,

pages commemorating his virtues were committed to the In varied tone prolong'd on high,

press. That mocks the organ's melody.

The influence of a resident landlord in these Nor docs its entrance front in vain

regions, when steadily and beneficially exerted, is unTo old Iona's holy fane,

bounded. Independently of the power which he enjoys as That Nature's voice might seem to say

lord of the soil, without rivalry or counteraction, he is "Well hast thou done, frail child of clay!

regarded with a portion of that homage which the chiefs, Thy humble powers that stately shrine, Task'd high and hard-but witness mine!"

in times not beyond the memory of living man, received Lord of the Isles.

from their clansmen. And most fully did the different emotions evinced by the

We passed the head of Loch Frisa, and viewed from its visiters at the prospect of the one and of the other of these exception of some patches of arable land, a vast moor.

shore the lofty summit of Ben More. Mull is, with the kindred structures justify this vaunt, poetically im puted to

Near Tobermory is a sequestered scene, of much beauty, Nature. The party who had run riot over the ruins of Iona exulting in loud mirth over the credulity of the cice- recalling to the Italian traveller the recollection of Terni.

Sacheverel, 150 years ago, was struck with its resenıblance rone, were now fairly awed into silent wonder by indications of the presence of superior power which no scepticism could hills, covered with oak, interspersed with torrents, forming

to Italian scenery. A lake is enclosed by an amphitheatre of dispute. One aged man of our number, of clerical appear picturesque cascades. On its bank stands Coll castle, a ance, having doffed his hat, stood resting against a pillar, commodious mansion, erected by the son of Mr. Maclean, whilst his uplifted eyes and the motion of his lips indicated

on land once confiscated, but repurchased. The Macleans the feelings which, more or less, actuated all present.

have suffered by every quarrel since the conquest of MULL.

Cromwell.

On Sunday we attended Divine service, in the parish On our return from Staffa, a boat pushed out from the Bay church of Ballachroy. The dress and general appearance of Quinish, in Mull, and soon introduced us to the hos- of the congregation were highly respectable. The minister pitality of a neighbouring mansion. The road hence to ofliciated in the Gaelic language ; but another, who was of Tobermory, was said to be the only one in this large our party, supplied afterwards a service in the English; island; some difference among the proprietors preventing and the congregation, though the greater part understood the formation of the Parliamentary roads, which have not the language, remained till its conclusion. English extended to the farthest limit of the remoter island of Sky. A lady living on the south-east side of the island,

* He is now called sheriff.

[graphic][merged small]
[ocr errors]

travellers are frequently indebted to the courtesy and kind- | islands; and in some parts the Catholics predominate. But
ness of the ministers of the Scottish kirk, in performing an of these different sects hereafter. It is sufficient to ob-
additional service almost exclusively for their benefit. serve, that the visionary, unphilosophical, and erroneous

The large parish in which Ballachroy is situated, contains notion of those who imagine that the ordinances of religion
four preaching stations, one of which is the above-mentioned can be generally maintained in a country without a Church
kirk. A preaching station by no means implies a church Establishment, may be brought to the test even within the
or chapel : at the head of Loch Lomond, the only structure precincts of the British Isles. This dangerous opinion is
for the celebration of Divine service is an enormous stone. an inference from the success of ministers depending on
At Tobermory a barn is employed for the purpose ; but a the contributions of their tlocks, in wealthy towns or dis-
parliamentary church will be erected here. This parish is tricts; and is overthrown by an extension of the view to
far better_supplied with ministers than many in these those rural and poor parts of the country, which, whilst
regions. Besides the incumbent there are two missionaries. dwelling in the hot-beds of spiritual instruction, we are
The office, and even the designation of curate, is offensive apt to overlook.
to the Scottish church; and in order to combine the Inadequate as the Church Establishment is, in these
adequate provision of spiritual superintendence with eccle- regions, it has preserved a large portion of the population
siastical discipline, when the extent of a parish requires from the darkness of ignorance, or the false light of super-
more than one pastor, a portion of it is detached and con- stition.
fided to the care of a missionary, who is wholly independent
of the parochial minister, but enjoys no corporate jurisdic-

ARISAIG.-HOSPITALITY.-KELP-ROMAN tion, being inadmissible to the presbytery, or other ecclesi

CATHOLICS.-EDUCATION. astic courts, though subject to its authority of the On the 30th, we made an excursion in a yacht; an missionaries thus employed, twenty-eight depend on the commissioners of the General Assembly for managing the excellent cutter of thirty tons, built in Coll, of materials Royal Bounty, and eight on the Society for propagating shoal of whales, and a wreck, contribute no little to the

furnished by the island, i.e. by the wrecks of vessels. A Christian Knowledge in Edinburgh. The number still Slender stock of insular wealth. It is not insinuated that falls far short of that which the country requires. And the islanders are, in the ordinary sense of the word, there is scarcely a parish in the Highlands or Western wreckers: they invariably resist the imputation, and Islands of Scotland, part of which, and, in many instances, transfer it to their more northern neighbours:- Orkney and the greater part

, is not virtually extra-parochial. The Shetland serving as scapegoats to the Western Ísles. combined efforts of societies and of government; the legislative augmentation of the incomes of the clergy of the Excepting some rare instances of criminal neglect towards Scottish church, to £150 per annum, when not amounting

those whom misfortune has cast upon their coasts, the natives to that sum; and the parliamentary grant for the erection of all these islands have treated them with hospitality; and of the forty churches and manses, have very imperfectly the charge would be more satisfactorily repelled by a supplied the great deficiency in the provision of the Church general denial, than by a vindication of themselves at the Establishment, impoverished at the Reformation. Previously

expense of their neighbours. to this period, Mull was divided into seven parishes: their the ruined castle, Tirim, a strong-hold of the Macdonalds,

We passed the formidable front of Ardnamurchan, and number is now reduced to three. Nor has the unoccupied in the Bay of Moidart, shaping our course to Arisaig. On ground been cultivated by Dissenting Sects: the people

our left lay the small isles, Muck, low and flat; Egg, are too poor to support their ministers. The Seceders, whose numbers amount to a third of the population in the rearing its Scuir, a lofty, porphyritic tower; Rum and Lowlands, and wealthier parts of Scotland, furnish only the horizon. Two whales gratified us by their gambols :

Canna in perspective; and the Coolin hills of Sky bounding three ministers who preach Gaelic, and have not a single place of worship in the large shire of Sutherland." There one closely chasing a shoal of fish, heaving his back above are some Baptists, Independents, and Haldanites in the of brine, around which swarmed flocks of sea-fow), em

the water, and pouring forth from his nostrils a fountain * The ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Scotland is vested in the pres-ployed in the pursuit of the same game. bytery, composed of the ministers and some of the elders of a few adjoining parishes : in a synod, which comprises several presbyte-bition of sea-fowl which the northern coasts of Scotland

The proper season for witnessing the splendid exhi byteries: and of the General Assmbly, similarly constituted, in afford, is June, when rock, air, and water, teem with which the ultimate appellative jurisdiction is vested.

myriads of those delighted beings, glittering in sun-shine,

or gemming the clouds; and the ear is deafened by the Macdonell of Glengarry, the isles of Egg, Muck, and loud and discordant chorus in which they celebrate, uncon- Canna, together with South Uist and Benbecula, in the sciously but unequivocally, the beneficence of their Creator. Long Island; but much of it was now on sale.

The Bay of Arisaig is deep, but its entrance is narrow, The maritime proprietors in Scotland have suffered and obstructed by rocks and islets. We landed for a legal material loss from the diminution of the price of kelp. purpose. One of our party was a writer to the signet and This alkaline sea-weed, the use of which in the manu. notary public, and proceeded to institute two infeoffments, facture of plate-glass and soap, was unknown till the i.e. to take possession virtually of the fee simple of the commencement of the last century, has proved, till within estate of a laird. The ceremony was simple, indicating 1 a few years, a fertile source of wealth. Some proprietors its origin in ruder times, and partaking, in this respect, of have raised as much as 1300 tons in a single year. The the general character of the laws of Scotland relating to price of the ton, formerly amounting to 151. and 201., has property, which are strictly feudal. The officer in question declined to 41. and 51.: and, except in some few instances took his station on a small knoll: one of the crew of the the manufacture of kelp is unprofitable. The reduction of cutter represented the attorney of the person infeoft, and the duty on Spanish barilla, and the subsequent discovery received from the hands of the other, who acted as baillie of an artificial salt, have provided the market with a for the proprietor, a tuft of grass and a shilling, repeating cheaper substitute. Of the tenures in the remote island of after the notary public the words of the usual formulary. Scotland adverted to, of the produce of the kelp, and of The transaction required two witnesses, whom our party the burden which the support of the population employed furnished, and who signed their names to each page of the in it has entailed on the proprietor, the following extract instrument, which narrated what had taken place.

from the evidence of Mr. Hunter, published in the Third Rum was our next point; and we had rounded Egg, Report of the Emigration Committee, presents a brief and already beheld the magnificent precipices of that account. “ The islands of South Uist and Benbecula, mountainous island, overhanging us in sombre majesty, contain a population of about 6000. There are 489 small when the wind, which had been gathering, burst from all tenants or crofters, who pay rents from Il. to 211., averaging its peaks and gullies, and, damaging our rigging, drove us 61. 178. 4d.; fourteen large tenants, who pay rents from back on Egg, and restored us, about dusk, to our anchoring- 321. to 4001.: there is one more who pays 4001.: these place in the Bay of Arisaig. We soon espied a boat pushing average 861. 15s. Under these fourteen large tenants, there forth gallantly towards us; and one of the rowers, evidently are 207 sub-tenants. There are annually manufactured above the rank of a fisherman, invited us to come ashore, about 1200 tons of kelp on Clanronald's estate at Uist. promising us hearty hospitality; and, on landing, we per- The kelp does not belong to the tenants, as in the Duke of ceived, indistinctly, the form of a person wrapped in a Argyle's case, for the manufacturing of which, they receive Highland plaid, who acknowledged our approach by a from 50s. to 60s. per ton, which as nearly as possible disslight inclination of the head, and led us through a ravine charges their rent. On this estate, about one-third of tho to a house about a mile distant, where we were introduced, population possess no lands. To keep these people alive, dripping with wet, into a room, illuminated by a blazing Clanronald expended, in 1812, 33531. 78. in purchasing fire, containing a large table covered with tea and divers meal for their consumption; in 1815, 1111. 11s. 3d.; in viands, and surrounded by a family who welcomed us with 1816, 2421. 85. 3d.; in 1817, 45671.; in 1818, 11361. 195. 8d. genuine hospitality, as expected guests to bed and board. The kelp belonged to him as proprietor, but there was a The sudden and unexpected transition from a stormy sea deficiency of rental to the extent of these grants." to comfort, good cheer, and cordial welcome, enabled us to It must be observed, that the small tenants, or crofters, are realize, in some degree, the truth of Dr. Johnson's obser- usually tenants at will: but the large farmers in general vations on the origin of_romantic feelings suggested by hold leases of nineteen years. The farms in this neighsimilar circumstances. The proprietor had notice of our bourhood, have been much transmitted in hereditary visit to the coast in the morning, and, from the promontory descent: the business of the country and of the police is above his house, traced our vessel till the necessity of its conducted by the higher tacksmen and farmers. return became obvious; when he immediately made ready

The numbers stated to be thrown out of employment by for our reception. He and his ancestors had occupied the failure of the kelp-manufacture, in a memorial prethis house during 200 years. Wind-bound, we enjoyed his pared at Edinburgh, in the beginning of 1828, by the kindness during three tempestuous days.

proprietors of the western maritime estates, amounted to The Bay of Arisaig is a favorite resort of seals: they are 50,000. The disposal of the superfluous population will constantly seen basking on the island, and scuttle into the be considered, when the question of emigration from these sea when alarmed. The seal often follows a boat, rearing regions engages more particularly our attention. its head, resembling that of a bull-dog, but more hideous, Near the hamlet of Arisaig, stands a neat church above the water. The Highlanders attribute this habit of between two well-huilt houses, which might be fairly prethe animal to its love of music.

sumed to be the manse and the school-house. And such

they are: the former occupied by a Protestant missionary. Rude Hciskar's seal, thro' surges dark,

The church, however, proved to be a Roman Catholic
Will long pursue the minstrel's bark.
Lord of the Islon

chapel. The proprietor, who erected it, offered the lease to

the kirk in the first instance, and, on its being declined, to But we had no music for the entertainment of our pursuers the present occupant. On a neighbouring hill remain the but that of a rifle, which was successful in one instance. four walls of the ruined parish-church. A Catholic genThe animal shot sunk, and floated afterwards ashore. The tleman of our party referred its demolition to the era natives attribute their frequent disappointment, in not “when John Knox set about harrying the rooks." This securing the wounded seal, to his determination to deprive act, contrasted with the immense predominance of the his destroyer of his prize; securing himself to the bottom Catholics, who compose 19-20ths of the entire population of the sea by a network of sea-weed. The price of the skin in this neighbourhood, brings to mind the well-known story varies from twelve to twenty-four shillings. The public of the old woman, who set fire to her house for the purpose house, at the head of the bay, contains a large assortment, of destroying the rats: the house was burned; but the for sale, of the skins of seals, wild-cats, pole-cats, and rats escaped. It must be recollected, in justification of otters. The wild-cats are very numerous and destructive in Knox, that the destruction of churches, though attributable Scotland; sometimes growing to double the size of the in part to the violence of his discourses, was contrary to common cat, and invariably of grey colour.

his wishes, and that he struggled perpetually to secure the The cottage of Arisaig, the residence of Clanronald, adequate endowment of the church, in opposition to the chief of one of the clans of Macdonald, is situated about a cupidity of the lay reformers. mile from the head of the bay, commanding a pleasing The state of the Roman Catholics in the Highlands and prospect of a broad valley, laid out in plantations or pasture; Islands of Scotland, is a subject of much interest. surrounding a small and picturesque loch, enclosed by a The natives of these regions were swayed by other imrange of copse-covered hills, embracing the bay in its semi- pulses than those which affected the kingdom of Scotland circular sweep. Lord Macdonald is chief of another branch in general, in which, at the period of the Reformation, the of the Macdonalds; and the precedence of these two repre- Catholic clergy were simultaneously deserted by their sentatives of potentates, onco exercising almost regal sway, flocks. And the Romish religion is still professed by a is matter of dispute among genealogists. Sir Walter Scott considerable portion of them, intermingled with the assigns it to Clanronald.

Protestants, in a singularly chequered manner. They Clanronald succeeded to an estate comprehending a abound principally in Inverness-shire: constituting in territory on the mainland, bordering on the country of Arisaig, which may be considered the central station of

[ocr errors]

their" faith, in Moidart, Knoydart, and the neighbouring | ferred much benefit on the more neglected parts of the island of Egg, 5-6ths of the population; in Glenelg, country, were restricted by a similar limitation. beyond Knoydart, about one-half: diminishing in the In proof of the ignorance necessarily resulting from the districts of Kintail, Loch Alsh, and Applecross, in Ross- education being exclusively in a language which the people shire, till they disappear on the borders of Cromarty and did not understand, the recent returns published by the Sutherlandshire. They abound in Glengarry, in the Inverness-shire Society, exhibited a ratio of thirty to twelve country of Lovat; and further eastward, are still numerous in the hundred, uneducated in the Orkneys, and Shetland on the property of the Duke of Gordon, which lies in Isles, and in those parts of the North of Scotland, where the shires of Murray and Banff.

English is spoken generally, and as seventy to the hundred, In the islands of Rum and Muck, on either side of Egg, in the western Islands and Highlands. To remedy this Protestantism is universal; in Canna, popery predominates; great deficiency, various societies were formed at Edinin the large island of Sky, Protestantismi exclusively. In burgh, Glasgow, and Inverness. The Gaelic School Society the Long Island, popery prevails in Barra, Benbecula, and of Edinburgh, instituted in 1811, adopted the opposite South Uist, and has extended partially into North Vist; system of teaching only the Gaelic language, formed on whilst in Harris and Lewis, the northern islands of this the obvious principle which, so long the subject of debate chain, the people are all Protestants. The Southern and apprehension, may be now considered an axiom of Hebrides and Highlands contain very few Catholics. education as of common sense, that a person can receive

The Catholics have, hitherto, maintained two establish- religious instruction, only in a language which he underments, one in Aberdeenshire, and one in the island of stands. It had been previously applied successfully to the Lismore, at the entrance of the Caledonian canal. But the education of the Welsh and Irish. The object of the want of funds has rendered consolidation necessary, in- | institution is, the formation of circulating schools, or volving the discontinuance of that at Lismore.

schools, which after having been fixed in one district for a This remarkable distribution of the two sects may be attri- period, varying according to local exigencies, are removed buted to the original imperfect progress of the Reformation to another, and thus diffuse the benefits of the society, as in these regions; to the inadequacy of the Protestant esta generally and impartially as possible. The scholars pay blishment and of education, and to the prompt submission of no fees, and are liable to no expense, but that of contributing the people to the authority of their chiefs. Dr. Macculloch in turn, a portion of the fuel consumed in the school. The considers the influence of their religious feelings on the house is built by subscription of the neighbouring gentry, minds of the Highlanders, too powerful to admit of the farmers and others. The schoolmasters are examined as operation of the last mentioned of these causes; and Mr. to their piety and general qualifications, by the Edinburgh Glassford, in his letter to Lord Roden on Irish education, Commitiee, and are precluded from transgressing the naturally enough attributes the effect to the insufficient limits of their prescribed duty, by an express regulation, supply of Protestant instruction. But the ascertained which prohibits the teachers being preachers, or public facts warrant the supposition of the influence of more exhorters, stated or occasional, of any denomination whatthan one cause.

ever. The Holy Scriptures are exclusively the subject of The vast estates of Clanronald and Lord Macdonald, instruction. continental or insular, are contiguous. Yet the former are The Society directed its first efforts to the supply of the peopled almost exclusively by Catholics; the latter by religious wants of the people, of whom by far the greatest Protestants. The grandfather of the present Clanronald part of those of the Highlands and Islands can seldom, was a Catholic. Lewis and Harris, and part of Sky, and some never

hear sermon: to use the expression by which were, and are still, partly the property of the Mac- which attendance at public worship is commonly designated, leods, contain only Protestants. May it not be inferred notwithstanding the appointment of Missionaries in some that the authority of the chiefs, as well as the spirit of parishes; and with this view confined itself to teaching clanship, contributed to this result? The insulated Gaelic as the only general vehicle of instruction, and to existence of the Catholic religion upon the property of the the use of the Scriptures, common both to Catholies and Duke of Gordon, notoriously resulted from the long-con- Protestants. They justly considered a more compretinued adherence of that family to the Romish faith. hensive system of education of secondary importance, The equally anomalous fact, that the religion of Rum while tens of thousands were ignorant of the simple rudi.should be Protestant, whilst that of the adjacent islands ments of Christianity, Each report of this society affords of Egg and Canna should be chiefly Catholic, may be a list, not only of the schools, and number of scholars explained by direct reference to the exercise of authority. actually in attendance, but also, all the places at which

That the long neglect of the spiritual instruction of the schoolmasters were formerly stationed; thus presenting a natives of these remote regions, has contributed also, much complete view of its operations, since the formation of the to the preservation, and indeed, the extension of popery, is Society. doubtless true. It accounts for the conversion of the The number of children which received instruction from people of Barra to that religion, who were all Protestants the Society in 1827, amounted to between 4 and 5000. till after the Restoration ; when upon the establishment of But still, the efforts of this and other similar Societies, the Church of England in Ireland, some Irish priests fled left a great void unoccupied; and the General Assembly from that kingdom to this island : and as Harris and of the Kirk of Scotland had become so sensible of the Barra formed one parish, and the minister resided in the deficiency, that they appointed, in 1824, at the proposition former, at too great a distance from the latter, availed of Dr. Baird, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, a themselves of the ignorance of the natives to effect their committee for the purpose of ascertaining its actual extent, entire conversion. The more recent progress of popery in and of devising a plan for remedying it. Queries were North Uist, there being only four Catholics in that island sent to the ministers of the different parishes, and answers, at the period of the survey, may be traced to the same the result of personal investigation, elicited; and the mass

of valuable information thus collected is comprised in a The supposition of the universal diffusion of education series of voluminous Reports, containing probably the most in Scotland is a common mistake, and affords a striking accurate and complete representation of the deficiency of proof of the ignorance of the real state of the highlands schools throughout Scotland. and islands of Scotland, prevalent in England, and, The following brief statement, extracted from the indeed, till within few years, in the Scottish capital and Society's first Report, and confirmed by subsequent inLowlands.

quiries, presents a summary view of the state of education The parochial system of instruction which has obtained in different synods, pointing out clearly where the defiweil-merited celebrity, and has been found so efficacious in ciencies principally exist. the Lowland parishes, was of little avail in those vast “The whole population of Scotland amounts to 2,093,856, regions, in which the parishes often extend from thirty and the Church is divided into sixteen synods. In the ten to sixty miles, and consequently the parish schools are synods of Lothian and Tweeddale, Merse and Tiviotdale, inaccessible to the greater part of the inhabitants, and, Dumfries, Galloway, Glasgow and Ayr, Perth and Stirling, if within their reach, useless to a population acquainted Fife, Angus and Mearns, Aberdeen, and Moray, there are only with the Gaelic language, which is not taught in those 764 parishes, and 1,716,126 persons; and so abundant is seminaries. The schools established by the Society for the number of schools in these districts, that with a few Promoting Christian Knowledge in Scotland, which con- exceptions, they may be said to be well supplied with the (Sinclair's Survey:). Martin mentiong, at the beginning of last

means of education, and that there is scarcely an individual century, that Macneill of Barra, and his followers, were catholics,

who has not been taught to read. and that he exercised considerable influence.

The remaining six synods, however, namely, Argyle,

cause.

« AnteriorContinuar »