Skip to main content

Full text of "Letters from a gentleman in the North of Scotland to his friend in London ... likewise an account of the Highlands with the customs and manners of the Highlanders .."

See other formats





Presented to the 

LIBRARY of the 




JS.F.Bvrn^y del* 

> - 

~ar t 

7.t<ntit'n.n,bKj?ir<l bi PgJe. Tkmean t: C?Jan."i f 











Customs an* planners of tfje 3^t<$lanters. 




WITH . . 








Corresponding Member of the Scandinavian Literary Society of Copenhagen, <|-c. 



From an Authentic Account of the Family of Invernahyle; a MS. communicated by 












HIGHLANDS Distinction between Chief and Chieftain 
Love of chief Love of clan Friendship Plun- 
derAn instance of Authority of Chiefs Their 
taxes Hereditary power Protect their followers, 
and lead in battle Condescension Arcadian offer- 
ing Highland gentleman His dwelling Dress 
Conversation English complaisance Ladies Per- 
sonal dislikes and hereditary feuds Their extent 
Reproach Monuments of battles They cause 
others Chief answerable for his clan Letters of 
fire and sword Battle of Glenshiels Heroic at- 
tachment Compared with the slave of Caius 
Gracchus A romantic story Natives sleep in wet 
plaid A custom from infancy Distinctions of name 
How regulated Patronymicat names High- 
landers not generally indolent Complaint of a chief 
Genealogy Soldiers Military pride , , . 1 25 

VOL. II. b 




Gentry Disposition of natives Highland town 
Manner of life A singular practice Fish Dis- 
tresses of the poor Sufferings of cattle Pasturage 
Butter and cheese Poverty Miserable appear- 
ance of cattle Drovers Mode of crossing rivers 
Misery of natives in winter Drifts of snow Method 
of penetrating Ruin of Swedish army Horses 
wild Mode of catching Small, and mostly white 
Diverting method of taming Corn lands Imple- 
ments of husbandry Articles in wood Ploughing 
Inquiries A barbarous custom Creels Harvest 
late Poor grain Women's labour Ridiculous 
pride Anecdote Odd notion respecting the moon 
Singing Boast of country Manners Singular 
mowing Hay Enclosures Rent paid in kind 
Mode of tenure Sheriff's rate King's tax. ..26 54 


Income Species of rent A curious rent-roll Right 
of landlords Poverty of tenants Laird's income 
Fosterage Description of Hanchman Alarm- 
ing incident List of a chief's officers Pride of 
chiefs A pompous declaration Customs The 
bard Entertainment of A song of Extravagant 
admiration The piper His service Stately step 
His gilly, or servant Question of precedence be- 
tween a drummer and a piper Roes Red deer 
Hounds Solemn hunting Description Different 
in different hills Game-keeper Foxes Wild cats 
Birds of the mountains Jealousy of clans In- 
stances of - The dirk Evils of Cruelty Conduct 
of chiefs towards each other... ...55 80 



Military Cruelty towards Highland language 
Fondness for Called Erst Alphabet Defective 
orthography Highland dress Full-dress graceful 
Common not so Quarrants The quelt Clothing 
offensive Advantages and disadvantages of 
Highlanders dislike change Their indignation at 
Laird's lady travels barefooted Shyness before the 
English Curious hut Stockings A singular va- 
nity A baronet Highland inn Complaisance 
Unwelcome visitors Poor children- Those of a 
chief Author's mode of illustration Living of 
chiefs Anecdote Affectation of cleanliness Evil 
of this vanity Hospitality A particular instance 
Houses of chiefs A burlesque story Winding 
hollows 81105 


Marriage Winding sheet Setting up in life Customs 
at a death Dancing Hired mourners Funeral 
piles Veneration of Second sight An instance of 
Witches and goblins A commercial prophecy 
Curious superstition Notion on removing dead 
bodies Marriage confined to natives Inconveni- 
ences of this Inquiry answered Irregular marriage 
of a Highland chief Its consequences Reproach 
of clan -Binding a bargain Highland arms - Pledge 
of peace Highland firing Choice of ground in 
battle Battle of Killicranky Fiery cross Black 
mail Uplifting Lifting cattle Mode of Michael- 
mas moon Robbers exchange booty A Highland 
woman's notion of honour Recovery of stolen cat- 


tie Robbers seldom prosecuted Chiefs prefer com 
pounding This crime considered a trifling offence 
No reflection on the country at large Gross igno- 
rance of a criminal Personal robberies rare Tri 
fling robberies more frequent A laird's dishonesty 
Unwelcome travelling companion Good effect 
of personal courage 106 141 


Tascal money Oath taken on a drawn dirk Varieties 
of Specimens of Highland oaths Clans which 
were notorious for robbers Gypsies Their unwel- 
come visits Intrusions Highlanders think little of 
some oaths Remarkable instances Pride of power 
Example Pit and gallows Baily of regality 
Gross instance of judicial prejudice Danger of 
lawless power Homage Despotic power of chiefs 
Curious instances Hired murderers Horrid oc- 
currences Revenge taken on cattle Execution of 
criminals Hire of an assassin Inclination of re- 
venge A dispute decided Revenge of a chieftain 
The criminal secured Attempts at bribery An 
offer of assassination Highlander's excessive drink- 
ing Their excuse Dangers from Quantity of 
spirits consumed Air salubrious Honey. ..141- -166 


Mankind alike English fox-hunter and Highland laird 
Their conversation Western islands Drying 
oats Grinding The quarn Customs in Argyle- 
shire Meat boiled in the hide, &c. The guidwife 
and her cookery Anecdote A laird in the western 
isles Honours of a musician Punishment of pre- 


sumption ' Martin's Western Islands' His account 
of second sight Remarks on that work A motive 
explained Conclusion of this part of the corre- 
spondence Genius of a people Pleasure of national 
speculations ,. 166 182 


Concerning the New Roads, ffc, 

M. Fontenelle Apology New roads begun 1726 
Situation on the map Roman works Glen Almond 
Ancient funeral pile Urn claimed by the High- 
landers Superstition respecting a dead body Num- 
ber of soldiers employed Their wages Officers^ 
Breadth of roads Their singular appearance Stony 
moors Repetitions excused Large stones are set 
up Excellence of the roads Bogs An adventure 
in passing Mosses Fords Declivities Their 
roughness Woods Steep ascents Coriarack moun- 
tain Road over Precipices Frequency of snow 
Murray Frith A comparison Loch Ness Rocks 
Highland galley Loch Oich Loch Lochy 
Proposed communication Garrisons Breaking up 
rocks Anecdote New houses erected on roads 
Pillars Bridges Inscription Objection to the 
roads By the chiefs By the middling order Of 
the lowest class Lochart's accusation Fort Augus- 
tus A proposal Its origin Injustice Highlands 
not suited for manufactories Not inviting Healthy 
air Its effects on an officer Mountebank Rain 
nine or ten weeks Troublesome kind of small fly 
Retrospect Comparisons Apology for Latin 
Conclusion ..183 234 



No. I. 

State of the Highlands in the beginning of the seven- 
teenth century 237247 

Instructions for the commissioners for settling the 
peace of the West and North Isles 248253 

No. II. 

Memorial, addressed to his Majesty George I. con- 
cerning the state of the Highlands, by Simon Lord 
Lovat, in 1724 ., 254267 

No. III. 

An authentic narrative of Marshal Wade's proceedings 
in the Highlands of Scotland. [M.S. communicated 
by George Chalmers, Esq. author of " Caledonia," 
&c.] 268284 

Clans who were engaged in the late rebellion, forming 
part of the same communication 285289 

Report to his Majesty concerning the Highlands of 
Scotland, in 1725; also forming part of the same 
communication 289 316 

Instructions to the officers commanding the Highland 
companies ; likewise forming part of same commu- 
nication , 317321 

The form of a summons, as prefixed to the several 
parish churches and head-boroughs 322 323 


Form of a licence for carrying arms, by G. Wade, 
Esq. &c 323 

Letters of submission to his Majesty, from persons 
attainted of high treason, directed to Major General 
Wade 323337 

TN T O. IV. 

Extracts from " An Inquiry into the Causes which 
facilitate the Rise and Progress of Rebellions and 
Insurrections in the Highlands of Scotland, &c." 
written in 1747. [From a MS. in the possession of 
the Gartmore Family, communicated by Walter 
Scott, Esq.]., 338370 

Introduction 33-8347 

Rob Roy, Barasdale, &c. [From the same MS.] 


Causes of the present disorderly state of the Highlands 
of Scotland. [From the same MS.] 355370. 



THE Highlanders are divided into tribes, or 
clans, under chiefs,* or chieftains, as they are 
called in the laws of Scotland ; and each clan 
again divided into branches from the main 
stock, who have chieftains over them. These 

* Long after the art of government had been so far improved, 
that tranquillity was maintained and justice administered over all 
England and the Low-country of Scotland, the Highlands continued 
to afford a lively representation of the state of England before 
the Norman Conquest, and of all Europe at the date of the 
Crusades. As to this day the effects remain of that state of society 
out of which the Highlands have so recently emerged, or rather 
as they are at present only in a state of transition, or passage into 
that situation in which the rest of the island has so long been 
placed, it becomes a subject of rational curiosity to attend cor- 
rectly to the past and present state of that portion of territory. 
Beauties of Scotland, vol. v. 181. 

VOL. II. 13 


are subdivided into smaller branches of fifty or 
sixty men, who deduce their original from their 
particular chieftains, and rely upon them as 
their more immediate protectors and defenders. 
But for better distinction I shall use the word 
chief for the head of a whole clan, and the 
principal of a tribe derived from him I shall 
call a chieftain. 

The ordinary Highlanders esteem it the most 
sublime degree of virtue to love their chief,* 
and pay him a blind obedience, although it be 
in opposition to the government, the laws of 

* The laird is the original owner of the land, whose natural 
power must be very great, where no man lives but by agriculture, 
and where the produce of the land is not conveyed through the 
labyrinths of traffic, but passes directly from the hand that gathers 
to the mouth that eats it. The laird has all those in his power 
that live upon his farms. Kings can, for the most part, only exalt 
or degrade the laird, at pleasure, can feed or starve, can give 
bread or withhold it. This inherent power was yet strengthened 
by the kindness of consanguinity and the reverence of patriarchal 
authority. The laird was the father of the clan, and his tenants 
commonly bore his name ; and to these principles of original 
command was added, for many ages, an exclusive right of legal 
jurisdiction. This multifarious and extensive obligation operated 
with a force scarcely credible : every duty, moral or political, was 
absorbed in affection and adherence to the chief. Not many 
years have passed since the clans knew no law but the laird's 
will; he told them to whom they should be friends or enemies: 
what kings they should obey, and what religion they should pro- 
fess. Johnsons Journey ^ Works, vol. viii. 310. 


the kingdom, or even to the law of God. He 
is their idol ; and as they profess to know no 
king but him (I was going further), so will they 
say they ought to do whatever he commands 
without inquiry, 

Next to this love of their chief is that of the 
particular branch from whence they sprang ; 
and, in a third degree, to those of the whole 
clan or name, whom they will assist, right or 
wrong, against those of any other tribe with 
which they are at variance, to whom their 
enmity, like that of exasperated brothers, is 
most outrageous. 

They likewise owe good will to such clans as 
they esteem to be their particular well-wishers ; 
and lastly, they have an adherence one to 
another as Highlanders, in opposition to the 
people of the Low-country, whom they despise 
as inferior to them in courage, and believe they 
have a right to plunder them whenever it is in 
their power. This last arises from a tradition, 
that the Lowlands, in old times, were the pos- 
session of their ancestors. 

If the truth of this opinion of theirs stood in 
need of any evidence, it might, in good mea- 
sure, be confirmed by what I had from a High- 
land gentleman of my acquaintance. He told 
me that a certain chief of a considerable clan, 
in rummaging lately an old charter-chest, found 

B 2 


a letter directed by another chief to his grand- 
father, who is therein assured of the immediate 
restitution of his lifted, that is, stolen, cows ; 
for that he (the writer of the letter) had thought 
they belonged to the Lowland lairds of Murray, 
whose goods and effects ought to be a prey to 
them all. 

When I mentioned this tradition, I had only 
in view the middling and ordinary Highlanders, 
who are very tenacious of old customs and 
opinions ; and, by the example I have given of 
a fact that happened almost a century ago, I 
would be understood that it is very probable 
such a notion was formerly entertained by 
some, at least, among those of the highest 

The chief* exercises an arbitrary authority 
over his vassals, determines all differences and 
disputes that happen among them, and levies 
taxes upon extraordinary occasions, such as the 
marriage of a daughter, building a house, or 
some pretence for his support and the honour 
of the name. And if any one should refuse to 
contribute to the best of his ability he is sure 

* The chief usually attempted to divide his lands in such a 
way as to accommodate all his followers ; at the same time, by the 
power which he possessed of expelling a refractory individual, 
his authority over them was complete-. Beauties of Scotland, 
vol. v. 182. 


of severe treatment, and if he persisted in his 
obstinacy he would be cast out of his tribe by 
general consent ; but instances of this kind 
have very rarely happened. 

This power of the chiefs is not supported by 
interest, as they are landlords, but as lineally 
descended from the old patriarchs, or fathers 
of the families ; for they hold the same autho- 
rity when they have lost their estates, as may 
appear from several, and particularly one who 
commands in his clan, though, a.t the same 
time, they maintain him, having nothing left 
of his own. 

On the other hand, the chief,* even against 
the laws, is to protect his followers, as they 
are sometimes called, be they never so criminal. 
He is their leader in clan quarrels, must free 
the necessitous from their arrears of rent, and 
maintain such who, by accidents, are fallen to 
total decay. \ 

If, by increase of the tribe, any small farms 
are wanting for the support of such addition, 

* Formerly the chieftain of a clan was an officer of the first 
importance ; before he entered on his patriarchal government, and 
ere his followers owned him as fit for enterprize, proofs of his 
valour were required, to satisfy them of his prowess in the field 
and, as he likewise was sole umpire in all domestic disputes, it 
seldom happened that an opportunity was wanting for the display 
of his judicial talents. Campbell's -Journey, vol. i. 184. 


he splits others into lesser portions, because all 
must be somehow provided for ; and as the 
meanest among them pretend to be his retor- 
tions* by consanguinity, they insist upon the 
privilege of taking him by the hand wherever 
they meet him, 

Concerning this last, I once saw a number of 
very discontented countenances when a certain 
lord, one of the chiefs, endeavoured to evade 
this ceremony. It was in presence of an Eng- 
lish gentleman in high station, from whom he 
would willingly have concealed the knowledge 
of such seeming familiarity with slaves of so 
wretched appearance, and thinking it, I sup- 
pose, as a kind of contradiction to what he had 
often boasted at other times, viz. his despotic 
power in his clan. 

The unlimited love and obedience of the 
Highlanders to their chiefs are not confined to 
the lower order of their followers, but are the 
same with those who are near them in rank. 

* The chiefs had it not in their power to act as despots, or 
with barbarity towards their own people ; on the contrary, the 
connection was maintained by mutual benefits and kind offices : the 
most condescending manners were employed; his house was the 
general resort of his clan, and his revenue was spent in entertain- 
ing them. The highest and the lowest were the companions in 
arms, and even the kindred of each other, who depended for theiv 
safety upon their mutual fidelity and courage. Beauties of Scott 
land, vol. v. 184. 


As for instance : As I was travelling in a very 
wild part of the country, and approaching the 
house of one of those gentlemen, who had notice 
of my coming, he met me at some distance from 
his dwelling, with his Arcadian offering of milk 
and cream, as usual, carried before him by his 
servants. He afterwards invited me to his hut, 
which was built like the others, only very long, 
but without any partition, where the family was 
at one end, and some cattle at the other. By 
the way (although the weather was not warm), 
he was without shoes, stockings, or breeches, in 
a short coat, with a shirt not much longer, 
which hung between his thighs, and just hid his 
nakedness from two daughters, about seventeen 
or eighteen years old, who sat over against him. 
After some compliments on either side, and his 
wishing me good weather, we entered into con- 
versation, in which he seemed to be a man of 
as good sense as he was well-proportioned. In 
speaking of the country, he told me he knew I 
wondered how any body would undergo the 
inconveniences of a Highland life. 

You may be sure I was not wanting in an 
agreeable contradiction, by saying I doubted 
not they had their satisfactions and pleasures 
to countervail any inconveniences they might 
sustain, though, perhaps, those advantages could 
not be well known to such as are en passant. 


But he very modestly interrupted me as I was 
going on, and said he knew that what I said 
was the effect of complaisance, and could not 
be the real sentiment of one who knew a good 
deal of the country : " But," says he, " the 
truth is, we are insensibly inured to it by de- 
grees ; for, when very young, we know no 
better; being grown up, we are inclined, or 
persuaded by our near relations, to marry 
thence come children, and fondness for them : 
but above all," says he, " is the love oj our chief, 
so strongly is it inculcated to us in our infancy ; 
and, if it were not for that, I think the Highlands 
would be much thinner of people than they now 
are." By this, and many other instances, I am 
fully persuaded, that the Highlanders are at 
least as fond of the race of their chiefs as a 
Frenchman is of the house of Bourbon. 

Several reasons have just now offered them- 
selves to me, in persuasion to conceal one cir- 
cumstance of this visit, but your interest with 
me has prevailed against them all. 

The two young ladies, in my saluting them 
at parting, did me a favour which with you 
would be thought the utmost invitation ; but it 
is purely innocent with them, and a mark of the 
highest esteem for their guesf. This was no 
great surprise to me, having received the same 
compliment several times before in the High- 


lands, and even from married women, who I 
may be sure had no further design in it; and, 
like the two above-mentioned young women, 
could never expect to see me again ; but t am 
not singular, for several officers in the army 
have told me they had received the same cour- 
tesy from other females in the hills. 

Some of the chiefs have not only personal 
dislikes and enmity to each other, but there are 
also hereditary feuds between clan and clan, 
which have been handed down from one genera- 
tion to another for several ages. 

These quarrels descend to the meanest vassal; 
and thus, sometimes, an innocent person suffers 
for crimes committed by his tribe at a vast dis- 
tance of time before his being began. 

When a quarrel begins in words between two 
Highlanders of different clans, it is esteemed the 
very height of malice and rancour, and the 
greatest of all provocations, to reproach one 
another with the vices or personal defects of 
their chief, which, for the most part, ends in 
wounds or death. 

Often the monuments of a clan battle, or some 
particular murder, are the incitements to great 
mischiefs. The first-mentioned are small heaps 
of stones, thrown together on the place where 
every particular man fell in battle ; the other is 
from such a heap first cast upon the spot where 


the fact was committed, and afterwards by de- 
grees increased to a high pyramid, by those of 
the clan that was wronged, in still throwing 
more stones upon it as they pass by. The for- 
mer I have seen overgrown with moss, upon 
wide moors, which showed the number of men 
that were killed in the action. And several of 
the latter I have observed in my journeys, that 
could not be less than fourteen or fifteen feet 
high, with a base proportionable. Thus, if seve- 
ral men of ckns at variance, happen to meet in 
view of one of these memorials, 'tis odds but 
one party reproaches the other with all the aggra- 
vating circumstances that tradition (which is 
mostly a liar, either in the whole or a part) has 
added to the original truth ; and then some great 
mischief ensues. But if a single Highlander of 
the clan that offended, should be met by two 
or three more of the others, he is sure to be in- 
sulted, and receive some cruel treatment from 

* Here the author has certainly been misinformed, at least it 
is inconsistent with what we know to be the general character of 
the Highlanders. Nearly thirty years ago (while the present 
writer, then a lad, was living in the neighbourhood), at the annual 
fair, held at Portnacraish, in Appin, a Low-country shepherd, in 
the service of a gentleman near Glenco, was drinking whiskey 
with four or five Highland shepherds in the inn. Getting intoxi- 
cated, he had been very abusive, and struck several of the party. 
A tall handsome manly-looking Highlander, with black curly 


Thus these heaps of stones, as I have heard 
an old Highlander complain, continue to occasion 
the revival of animosities that had their begin- 
ning perhaps hundreds of years before any of 
the parties accused were born: and therefore I 
think they ought, by authority, to be scattered, 
and effectually defaced. But some of these 
monuments have been raised in memory of such 
as have lost their lives in a journey, by snow, 
rivers, or other accidents; as was the practice 
of the eastern nations. 

By an old Scotish law, the chief was made 

hair, took him by the shoulders, and turned him out of the house. 
The moment he was at liberty, he turned round, and struck the 
Highlander violently with his long hazel staff. The Highlander 
took it from him, snapped it, and threw it away. At that instant, 
a pitiful-looking little fellow, rushed out of the house wit! a great 
deal of clamorous swagge. ing, to beat the Lowlander, who, he said, 
had struck him. " Be gone, beggar!" said the tall young man, 
pushing him back ; " he struck me too, and I think / could beat 
him as well as you. He has behaved ill, and I turned him out ; 
he made a bad use of his staff, and I broke it ; but no man shall 
beat him here, and he that lifts h s hand to him had as well lift 
PART." The only stranger that was present, could have almost 
worshipped the young man ; but nobody else took the least notice 
of a circumstance so natural and comm n among them. Yet, 
had a Stewart or a M'Coll quarrelled with a Campbell over 
his whiskey, and a general row taken place, as was liKely to hap- 
pen, this very young man would have been the most forward in 
jhe fray, and played one of the best cudgels in the fair. 


accountable for any depredations or other vio- 
lences committed by his clan upon the borders 
of the Lowlands; and in extraordinary cases he 
was obliged to give up his son, or some other 
nearest relation, as a hostage, for the peaceable 
behaviour of his followers in that respect. 

By this law (for I never saw the act), he must 
surely have had an entire command over them, 
at least tacitly, or by inference understood.* For 
how unreasonable, not to say unjust, must such 
a restriction have been to him, if by sanction of 
the same law he had cot had a coercive and 
judicial authority over those, in whose choice 
and power it always lay to bring punishment 
upon him? And if he had such an absolute 
command over them, was it not to make of every 
chief a petty prince in his own territory, and 
his followers a people distinct and separate from 
all others ? 

For atrocious crimes, such as rebellion, 
murder, rapes, or opposing the execution of the 
laws, which is also called rebellion, when, by pro- 
cess, the chief or laird was condemned in ab- 
sence, and inter communed, as they call it, or 
outlawed, the civil power, by law and custom, 
gave letters of fire and sword against him; and 
the officer of justice might call for military 

* See the extracts from the Records of the Privy Council in the 


force to assist in the execution. But, it is cer- 
tain, some few of the chiefs in former times, 
were, upon occasions, too powerful to be brought 
to account by the government. 

I have heard many instances of the faithful- 
ness of particular Highlanders to their masters, 
but shall relate only one, which is to me very 
well known. 

At the battle of Glenshiels,* in the rebellion 
of the year 1719, a gentleman (George Munro 
of Culcairne), for whom 1 have a great esteem, 
commanded a company of Highlandmen, raised 
out of his father's clan, and entertained at his 
own expence. There he was dangerously 
wounded in the thigh, from a party of the rebel 
Highlanders posted upon the declivity of a 
mountain, who kept on firing at him after he was 
down, according to their want of discipline, in 

* The battle of Glenshiels, which took place on the 10th of 
June, 1719. was occasioned by a petty rebellion projected by 
cardinal Alberoni, and which was to have been supported by the 
Spaniards. A tempest dispersed the hostile squadron, and only 
about three hundred forces arrived. The Highlanders made a 
poor stand at Strachell ; but were quickly put to flight, when 
they had opportunity of destroying the king's forces, by rolling 
down stones from the heights. Among the clans that appeared 
in arms, was a large body lent by a neighbouring chieftain, mere- 
ly for the battle of that one day, and, win or lose, was to return 
home at night. Pennant's Scotland, vol. ii. 389. 

See note on Graham of Gartmores M.S. in the Appendix. 


spending much fire upon one single officer, which, 
distributed among the body, might thin the ranks 
of their enemy. 

When, after he fell, and found by their be- 
haviour they were resolved to dispatch him 
outright, he bid his servant, who was by, get out 
of the danger, for he might lose his life, but could 
be of no manner of succour or service to him ; 
and only desired him, that when he returned 
home, he would let his father and his family 
, know that he had not misbehaved. Hereupon 
the Highlander burst out into tears ; and asking 
him how he thought he could leave him in that 
condition, and what they would think of him at 
home, set himself down on his hands and knees 
over his master, and received several wounds 
to shield him from further hurt ; till one of the 
clan, who acted as a serjeant, with a small party, 
dislodged the enemy, after having taken an oath 
upon his dirk that he would do it. For my own 
part, I do not see how this act of fidelity is in 
any way inferior to the so-celebrated one of 
Philocratus, slave to Caius Gracchus, who like- 
wise covered his master with his body, when 
he was found by his enemies in a wood, in 
such manner that Caius could not be killed 
by them, till they had first dispatched bis 

This man has often waited at table when. 


his master and I dined together, but other- fj 
wise is treated more like a friend than a ser- 

The Highlanders, in order to persuade a belief 
of their hardiness, have several rhodomontades 
on that head ; for, as the French proverb says, 
Tons ks Gascons ne sont pas en France " There 
are vain boasters in other countries besides Gas- 
cony." It is true, they are liable to great hard- 
ships, and they often suffer by them in their 
health and limbs, as I have often observed in a 
former letter. 

One of these gasconades is, that the laird of 
Keppoch, chieftain of a branch of the M'Donalds, 
in a winter campaign against a neighbouring 
laird, with whom he was at war about a pos- 
session, gave orders for rolling a snow-ball to 
lay under his head in the night; whereupon his 
followers murmured, saying, " Now we despair 
of victory, since our leader is become so effemi- 
nate he can't sleep without a pillow."* This 
and many other like stories are romantic ; but 
there is one thing that at first thought might 

* This story is told of twenty lairds and others, and almost every 
glen has its hard-headed old hero, who upbraided his own son 
with this alarming symptom of degeneracy.' Our campaigns in 
Spain, and particularly among the Pyrenees, showed that the 
English also could bear this kind of bivouacking much better 
than their friends at home could have expected. 


eem very extraordinary, of which I have been 
credibly assured, that when the Highlanders are 
constrained to lie among the hills in cold, dry, 
windy weather, they sometimes soak the plaid 
in some river or bourn ; and then holding up a 
corner of it a little above their heads, they turn 
themselves round and round, till they are en- 
veloped by the whole mantle. Then they lay 
themselves down on the heath, -upon "the leeward 
side of some hill, where the wet and the warmth 
of their bodies make a steam like that of a boil- 
ing kettle. The wet, they say, keeps them warm 
by thickening the stuff, and keeping the wind 
from penetrating. I must confess I should my- 
self have been apt to question this fact, had I 
not frequently seen them wet from morning to 
night ; and even at the beginning of the rain, not 
so much as stir a few yards to shelter, but con- 
tinue in it, without necessity, till they were, as 
we say, wet through and through. And that is 
soon effected by the looseness and sponginess 
of the plaiding; but the bonnet is frequently 
taken off, and wrung like a dish-clout, and then 
put on again. They have been accustomed from 
their infancy to be often wet, and to take the 
water like spaniels ; and this is become a second 
nature, and can scarcely be called a hardship to 
them, insomuch that I used to say, they seemed 
to be of the duck kind, and to love the water as 


well.* Though I never saw this preparation for 
sleep in windy weather, yet, setting out early 
in a morning from one of the huts, I have seen 
the marks of their lodging, where the ground 
has been free from rime or snow, which remained 
all round the spots where they had lain. 

The different surnames of the Highlanders in 
general are but few, in regard they are divided 
into large families, and hardly any male strangers 
have intermarried with or settled among them ; 
and with respect to particular tribes, they com- 
monly make that alliance among themselves, who 
are all of one name, except some few, who 
may have affected to annex themselves to the 

* About twenty-five years ago, a worthy old friend of ours, A 
true Highlander of the old school (Lieut. Patrick Campbell), in- 
dignant at the raanHer in which he saw the peasantry around him 
treated by their landlords, took a voyage to North America, with 
the patriotic view of ascertaining, upon the spot, what was the 
actual situation of those who had emigrated to that quarter. His 
journal was printed, and contains much good sense and pertinent 
remark; but it was not sold, and is not new to be had. Among 
other old acquaintance whom he met with in Canada, was one 
Cameron, who, some thirty years before, had been his servant and 
fellow deer-stalker, when he was ranger of the forest of Mam 
More ; consequently they had spent many an hour together, wet 
and dry, by night and by day, on the bare hill-sides. Cameron, 
notwithstanding his early habits, was now become an industrious, 
well-doing, respectable planter, and possessed of considerable 
property. When he was out of the way, Mr. Campbell asked 
his wife and daughters whether he ever talked of the Highlands, 


clan, and those, for the most part, assume the 
name [without giving up their oum.~\ 

Thus the surnames, being useless for distinc- 
tion of persons, are suppressed, and there remain 
only the Christian names ; of which there are 
everywhere a great number of Duncans, Do- 
nalds, Alexanders, Patricks, c. who, therefore, 
must be some other way distinguished one from 
another. This is done by some additional 
names and descriptions taken from their fore- 
fathers; for when their own Christian name, 
with their father's name and description (which 
is for the most part the colour of the hair), is not 

and how far he was contented in his present situation? They said 
he frequently talked of the Highlands, but seemed, upon the 
whole, contented enough where he was, only he often complained 
that there VMS not rain enough ; and when a good, plump, sousing 
shower came, he would go out and stand in it till he was quite 
drenched ; then come, all dripping, into the house, and, with an 
expression of uncommon satisfaction, observe, " what a comfort- 
able thing rain is ! " Had this man become sultan of Egypt* 
how unhappy, beyond the common misery of princes, must he 
have been.! On taking leave of a woman whom he had known 
in the Highlands, Mr. Campbell asked her what he could do to 
oblige her? " Nothing," she said, "that she could at present 
think of, unless he could send her a few stalks of heather, which 
she longed exceedingly for it would do her heart so much good 
to see it once more ! There was a bit of poor ground behind her 
house, where she had always thought it would grow, if properly 
taken care of; and she had often heard that there was some to be 
luund on aa island which he intended to visit." 


sufficient, they add the grandfather's, and so 
upwards, till they are perfectly distinguished 
from all others of the same clan-name. As, for 
example, a man whose name is Donald Grant, 
has for patronymic (as they call it) the name 
following, viz. 

Donald Bane, i. e. White-haired Donald. 
Mac oil Vane, Son of Grey-haired Donald. 
Vic oil roi, Grandson of red-haired Donald. 

Vic ean, Great-grandson to John. 

Thus, you see, the name of Grant is not used, 
because all of that clan are either so called, or 
assume that name. 

Another thingis, that if this man had descended 
in a direct line, as eldest, from John, the remotest 
ancestor, and John had been a chief, he would 
only be called Mac Ean, leaving out all the in- 
termediate successions by way of eminence. 

These pytronymical names, at length, are 
made use of chiefly in writings, receipts, rentals, 
&c. and, in ordinary matters, the Highlanders 
have sometimes other distinctions, which also 
to some are pretty long. 

When numbers of them, composed from dif- 
ferent tribes, have been jointly employed in a 
work, they have had arbitrary and temporary 
denominations added to their Christian names 
by their overseers, for the more ready distinc- 
tion ; such as the place they came from, the 

c 2 


person who recommended them, some particular 
vice, or from something remarkable in their 
persons, &c. by which fictitious names they 
have also been set down in the books of their 

It is a received notion (but nothing can be 
more unjust) that the ordinary Highlanders are 
an indolent, lazy people : I know the contrary by 
troublesome experience ; I say troublesome', be- 
cause in a certain affair wherein I had occasion 
to employ great numbers of them, and gave them 
good wages, the solicitations of others for em- 
ployment were very earnest, and would hardly 
admit of a denial : they are as willing as other 
people to mend their way of living ; and, when 
they have gained strength from substantial food,* 
they work as well as others ; but why should a 
people be branded with the name of idlers, in a 
country where there is generally no profitable 
business for them to do ? 

* The common people in Scotland, who are fed with oatmeal, 
are, in general, neither so strong nor so handsome as the same rank 
of people in England who are fed with wheaten bread. They 
neither work so well, nor look so well ; and as there is not the 
same difference between the people of fashion in the two coun- 
tries, experience would seein to show that the food of the com- 
mon people in Scotland is not so suitable to the human constitu- 
tion, as that of their neighbours of the same rank in England. But 
it seems to be otherwise with potatoes. The chairmen, porters, 
and coal-heavers in London, and those unfortunate women who 


Hence I have concluded, that if any expedient 
could be found for their employment, to their 
reasonable advantage, there would be little else 
wanting to reform the minds of the most savage 
amongst them. For my own part, I do assure 
you, that I never had the least reason to com- 
plain of the behaviour towards me of any of the 
ordinary Highlanders, or the Irish ; but it wants 
a great deal that I could truly say as much of 
the Englishmen and Lowland Scots that were 
employed in the same business. 

One of the chiefs, at his own house, com- 
plained to me, but in a friendly manner, as 
though I had seduced some of his subjects from 
their allegiance : he had occasion for three or four 
of those of his clan, whom I employed about a 
piece of work at home, which they only could do; 
and, when he was about to pay them for their 
labour, he offered them six-pence a-day each 
(being great wages, even if they had not been 
his vassals), in consideration he had taken them 
from other employment ; upon which they re- 
live by prostitution (the strongest men and the most beautiful 
women perhaps in the British dominions), are said to be the 
greater part of them from the lowest rank of people in Ireland, 
who are generally fed with this root. No food can afford a more 
decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly 
suitable to the health of the human constitution. Smith's 
,</ Nations, vol. i, 25 J. 


monstrated, and said he injured them, in calling 
them from sixteen-pence a-day to six-pence ; 
and I very well remember he then told me that 
if any of those people had formerly said as 
much to their chief, they would have been car- 
ried to the next rock and precipitated. 

The Highlanders walk nimbly and upright, 
so that you will never see, among the meanest 
of them, in the most remote parts, the clumsy, 
stooping gait of the French paisans, or our own 
country- fellows, but, on the contrary, a kind of 
stateliness in the midst of their poverty : and 
this I think may be accounted for without much 

They have a pride in their family, f as almost 

* All savages, and men who are not accustomed to stoop to 
labour, shepherds, herdsmen, hunters, &c. are, cceteris paribus t 
straight in the shoulders, and free and graceful in their motions : 
the light dress of the Highlander also is in his favour, and the 
keen, elastic mountain-air gives a vivacity and vigour to all his 
motions; and, above all, he was then a bold, high-spirited, and 
independent character. 

t The members of every tribe were tied one to another, not 
only by the feudal, but by the patriarchal bond ; for while the 
individuals which composed it were vassals, or tenants of their 
own hereditary chieftain, they were also descended from his family, 
and could count exactly the degree of their descent; and the 
right of promigeniture, together with the weakness of the laws 
to reach inaccessible countries and more inaccessible men, had, in 
the revolution of centuries, converted these natural principles of 
connection between tne chieftain and his people, into the most 


every one is a genealogist: they wear light 
brogues, or pumps, and are accustomed to skip 
over rocks and bogs : whereas our country la- 
bourers have no such pride, wear heavy, clouted 
shoes, and are continually dragging their feet 
out of ploughed land or clays ; but those very 
men, in a short time after they are enlisted into 
the army, erect their bodies, change their clown- 
ish gait, and become smart fellows ; and, indeed, 
the soldiers in general, after being a little ac- 
customed to the toils and difficulties of the 
country, can, and do, to my knowledge, acquit 
themselves, in their winter-marches and other 
hardships, as well as the Highlanders. On the 
other hand, it is observed that the private men 
of the independent Highland companies are be- 
come less hardy than others, from their great 
pay (as it is to them), the best lodging the 
country affords, and warm clothing.* 

sacred ties of human life. The castle of the chieftain was a 
kind of palace, to which every man of his tribe was made wel- 
come, and where he was entertained, according to his station, in 
time of peace, and to which all flocked at the sound of war. Thus 
the meanest of the clan, believing himself to be as well-born as 
the head of it, revered his chieftain and respected himself. 
Dalrymple's Memoirs of Great Britain. 

* This offers a practical justification of the aversion of the 
Highland chiefs to the introduction of many improvements of 
convenience into their country. Perpetual wants, that can seldom 
be gratified, are very inconvenient and uncomfortable. 


I cannot forbear to tell you, before I con- 
clude, that many of those private gentlemen have 
gillysy or servants to attend them in quarters, 
and upon a march to carry their provisions and 
firelocks;* but, as I have happened to touch 
upon those companies, it may not be amiss to 
go a little further, for I think I have just room 
enough for it in this sheet. 

There are six of them, viz. three of one hun- 
dred men, and three of sixty each, in all, four 
hundred and eighty men. These are chiefly 
tenants to the captains ; and one of the cen- 
turions, or captains of a hundred, is said to 
strip his other tenants of their best plaids 
wherewith to clothe his soldiers against a re- 
view, and to commit many other abuses of his 
trust. These captains are all of them vying 
with each other whose company shall best 
perform the manual exercise ; so that four 
hundred and eighty men, besides the changes 
made among them, are sufficient to teach that 
part of the military discipline throughout the 
whole Highlands. 

I am not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, 
or even second-sighted, yet I forsee that a time 
may come when the institution of these corps 

* It was not pride, but kindness, that led these poor fellows 
to share their pittance with such of their clansmen as had no other 
honest means of subsistence. 


may be thought not to have been the best of 
policy. I am not unaware it may be said, they 
are raised in order to facilitate the disarming, 
and they are useful to prevent the stealing of 
cattle ; but both those reasons are not sufficient 
to alter my opinion of their continuance. 


THE gentry may be said to be a handsome peo- 
ple, but the commonalty much otherwise ; one 
would hardly think, by their faces, they were of 
the same species, at least of the same country, 
which plainly proceeds from their bad food, 
smoke at home, and sun, wind, and rain abroad; 
because the young children have as good fea- 
tures as any I have seen in other parts of the 

I have mentioned the sun in this northern 
climate as partly the cause of their disguise, 
for that, as I said before, in summer, the heat, 
by reflection from the rocks, is excessive ; at 
the same time, the cold on the tops of the hills 
is so vast an extreme as cannot be conceived 
by any but those who have felt the difference, 
and know the danger of so sudden a tradition 
from one to the other ; and this likewise has its 
effect upon them. 

The ordinary natives are, for the most part, 
civil when they are kindly used, but most mis- 
chievous when much offended, and will hardly 


ever forgive a provocation, but seek some open 
or secret revenge, and, generally speaking, the 
latter of the two. 

A Highland town, as before mentioned, is 
composed of a few huts* for dwellings, with 
barns and stables, and both the latter are of a 
more diminutive size than the former, all irre- 
gularly placed, some one way, some another, 
and, at any distance, look like so many heaps of 
dirt; these are built in glens and straths, which 
are the corn-countries, near rivers and rivulets, 
and also on the sides of lakes, where there is 
some arable land for the support of the inhabit- 
ants : but I am now to speak of the manner in 

* Their cottages are in general miserable habitations; they 
are built of round stones without any cement, thatched with sods, 
and sometimes heath ; they are generally, though not always, 
divided by a wicker partition into two apartments, in the larger 
of which the family reside : it serves likewise as a sleeping- 
room for them all. In the middle of this rcom is the fire, 
made of peat placed on the floor, and over it, by means of a 
hook, hangs the pot for dressing the victuals. There is fre- 
quently a hole in the roof to allow exit to the smoke ; but this is 
not directly over the fire, on account of the rain ; and very little 
of the smoke finds its way out of it, the greatest part, after hav- 
ing filled every corner of the room, coming out of the door, so 
that it is almost impossible for any one unaccustomed to it to 
breathe in the hut. The other apartment, to which you enter by 
the same door, is reserved for cattle and poultry, when these do 
not choose to mess and lodge with the family. Garnetfs Tour, 
vol. i. 121. 


which the lower order of the Highlanders live, 
and shall begin with the spring of the year. 

This is a bad season with them, for then their 
provision of oatmeal begins to fail, and, for a 
supply, they bleed their cattle,* and boil the 
blood into cakes, which, together with a little 
milk and a short allowance of oatmeal, is their 
food. It is true, there are small trouts, or some- 
thing like them, in some of the little rivers, 
which continue in holes among the rocks, which 
are always full of water, when the stream has 
quite ceased for want of rain ; these might be 
a help to them in this starving f season; but I 

* In winter, when the grounds are covered with snow, and 
when the naked wilds afford them neither shelter nor subsistence, 
the few cows, small, lean, and ready to drop down through want 
of pasture, are brought into the hut where the family resides, and 
frequently share with them their little stock of meal, which had 
been purchased or raised for the family only, while the cattle thus 
sustained are bled occasionally to afford nourishment for the chil- 
dren, after it has been boiled or made into cakes. Knox's View 
of the British Empire, vol. i. 124. 

f To the distressing circumstances at home, new difficulties 
and toils await the devoted farmer when abroad. In hopes of 
gaining a little money to pay his rent, or a little fish to support his 
family, he leaves his wife and infants, at the commencement of 
the fishery, in October, accompanied by his sons, brothers, and 
frequently an aged parent, and embarks in a small, open boat, in 
quest of herrings, with no other provisions than oatmeal, pota- 
toes, and fresh water no other bedding than heath or brushwood, 
one end of the boat being covered with an old sail, to defend 


have had so little notion in all my journeys that 
they made those fish a part of their diet, that I 
never once thought of them as such till this 
moment. It is likely they cannot catch them 
for want of proper tackle, but I am sure they 
cannot be without them for want of leisure. 
What may seem strange is, that they do not in- 
troduce roots among them (as potatoes,* for the 

them from the inclemencies of the seas and skies. Thus provided, 
he searches, from bay to bay, through turbulent seas, frequently 
for several weeks together, before the shoals of herrings are dis- 
covered. The glad tidings seem to vary, but not to diminish, his 
fatigues ; unremitting nightly labour, pinching cold winds, heavy 
seas, uninhabited shores, covered with snow, or deluged with 
rain, contribute towards filling up the measure of his distresses, 
while, to men of such exquisite feelings as the Highlanders gene- 
rally possess, -the scene which awaits him at home does it most 
effectually. Knot's View of the British Empire, vol. i. 126. 

* In many parts of the Highlands, at present, the poor op- 
pressed and rack-rented peasants live for nine months of the year 
upon potatoes and salt, and upon meal of oats and barley during 
the other three. Those who live in the inland glens cannot pro- 
cure fish : milk and butter also are seldom within their reach, 
and there is no beer in the country. Butcher's meat they never 
taste, except at Christmas, when a sheep, perhaps, is killed, and, 
while the other parts are eaten fresh to celebrate that season of 
festivity, the legs are cured and made into hams, to entertain any 
more respected friend who may pay them a visit; yet, under 
these circumstances, when the- small collections made in the 
churches, &c. for the poor (and to which these very people have 
been the principal contributors), are to be distributed, such is their 
spirit of independence, and abhorrence of pauperism, that the 


purpose); but the land they occupy is so very 
little, they think they cannot spare any part of 
it from their corn, and the landlord's demand ot 
rent in kind is another objection. You will per- 
ceive I am speaking only of the poor people in 
the interior parts of the mountains; for near 
the coast, all around them, there are few con- 
fined to such diminutive farms, and the most 
necessitous of all may share, upon occasion, the 
benefit of various kinds of shell-fish, only for 
seeking and fetching. 

Their cattle are much weakened by want of 
sufficient food in the preceding winter, and this 
immoderate bleeding reduces them to so low a 
plight that in the morning they cannot rise from 


clergymen and elders are often obliged to employ as much ad- 
dress in discovering objects of charity, as is required in England, 
on similar occasions, to avoid imposition, and get rid of unworthy 
and insolent claimants. It is also not uncommon for several such 
poor families, who themselves know the advantages of education 
only by the want of them, to unite in procuring some poor lad, who 
can read and write, to teach their children, with whom he re- 
moves by turns from one cottage to another. It is painful to us 
to add, that this is not done in the cheering hope of seeing their 
offspring grow up to be the support, blessing, and ornament, of 
their declining years with the bitter certainty of seeing them 
driven into perpetual exile (the punishment of felons!) by their 
landlords and tacksmen, they subject themselves to every possible 
privation, in order that, when forced to quit all that is dearest to 
them, and seek for shelter among strangers, they may be upon 


the ground, and several of the inhabitants join 
together to help up each other's cows, &c. 

In summer the people remove to the hills, 
and dwell in much worse huts than those they 
leave below; these are near the spots of grazing, 
and are called shealings, scattered from one 
another as occasion requires. Every one has 
his particular space of pasture, for which, if it 
be not a part of his farm, he pays, as I shall 
mention hereafter. Here they make their but- 
ter and cheese. By the way, I have seen some 
of the former with blueish veins, made, as I 
thought, by the mixture of smoke, not much 
unlike to Castile soap ; but some have said it 
was a mixture of sheep's milk which gave a 
part of it that tincture of blue. 

some footing of equality with those among whom it may be their 
fate to live : their infatuated landlords will soon find in the waste 
wildernesses, which their injddicious and unfeeling policy is spread- 
ing around them, how miserably they have miscalculated as to 
their own profit as well as honour. But they are become stran- 
gers to their tenants, and no wonder if their tenants are estranged 
from them. What is most distressing to the more wise and hu- 
mane landlords is, that smuggling is everywhere practised from 
necessity, by the oppressed people who have no other means of 
paying their rents ; and the vices and deterioration of character, 
which always accompany illicit practices and exasperated feelings, 
are spreading rapidly, by the contagion of intercourse and ex- 
ample, from them to those, who, being more kindly and ra- 
tionally treated, might otherwise retain such virtues as they once 
had, and acquire others which belong to a more cultivated age. 


When the grazing fails, the Highlanders re- 
turn to their former habitations, and the cattle 
to pick up their sustenance among the heath,* 
as before. 

At other times the children share the milk 
with the calves, lambs, and kids; for they 
milk the dams of them all, which keeps their 
young so lean that when sold in the Low-country 
they are chiefly used, as they tell me, to make 
soups withal ; and when a side of any one of 
these kinds hangs up in our market the least dis- 
agreeable part of the sight is the transparency 
of the ribs. 

About the latter end of August, or the be- 
ginning of September, the cattle are brought 
into good order by their summer feed, and the 
beef is extremely sweet and succulent, which, 
I suppose, is owing, in good part, to their being 

* There is a vegetable common in Britain, that grows in 
very great abundance among the heaths and woods of the High- 
lands, which formerly was much esteemed, and is still resorted 
to occasionally by the inhabitants ; it is the orobus tuberosus, or 
heath-peasling ; it has purple papilionaceous flowers, succeeded 
by a pod containing about twelve dark-coloured seeds resembling 
small shot. The roots of this plant, when boiled, are very sa- 
voury and nutritious, and, when dried and ground into powder, 
may be made into bread. A great quantity of this plant grows 
among the woods of Glenmore, and the Highlanders frequently 
chew the root like tobacco, asserting that a small quantity pre- 
vents the uneasy sensation of hunger. Garnctfs Tour, vol. i. 337, 


reduced to such poverty in the spring, and 
made up again with new flesh. 

Now, the drovers collect their herds, and 
drive them to fairs and markets on the borders 
of the Lowlands, and sometimes to the north of 
England ; and in their passage they pay a cer- 
tain tribute, proportionable to the number of 
cattle, to the owner of the territory they pass 
through, which is in lieu of all reckonings for 

I have several times seen them driving great 
numbers of cattle along the sides of the moun- 
tains at a great distance, but never, except 
once, was near them. This was in a time of 
rain, by a wide river, where there was a boat 
to ferry over the drovers.* The cows were 
about fifty in number, and took the water like 

* Vast numbers of cattle are supplied annually from the Isle of 
Skye ; they pass from that island to the main-land by the ferry of 
Caol-rea : they are made to swim across this rapid current : for 
this purpose the drovers purchase ropes, which are cut at the 
length of three feet, having a noose at one end ; this noose is put 
round the under-jaw of every cow, taking care to leave the tongue 
free, that the animal may be able to keep the salt water from 
going down its throat ; they are then led into the water until they 
are afloat, which puts an end to their resistance. One cow is 
then tied to the tail of another, and a man in the stern of the boat 
having hold of the foremost, the boat is rowed over. From this 
constant practice the ferrymen are so dexterous that very few 
beasts are lost. Robertson's Inverness, xxxviii. 


spaniels ; and when they were in, their drivers 
made a hideous cry to urge them forwards : 
this, they told me, they did to keep the fore- 
most of them from turning about ; for, in that 
case, the rest would do the like, and then they 
would be in danger, especially the weakest of 
them, to be driven away and drowned by the 
torrent. I thought it a very odd sight to see 
so many noses and eyes just above water, and 
nothing of them more to be seen, for they had 
no horns, and upon the land they appeared like 
so many large Lincolnshire calves. 

I shall speak of the Highland harvest, that 
is, the autumn, when I come to the article of 
their husbandry. But nothing is more de- 
plorable than the state of these people in time 
of winter. They are in that season often con- 
fined to their glens by swollen rivers, snow, or 
ice in the paths on the sides of the hills, which 
is accumulated by drippings from the springs 
above, and so, byjittle and little, formed into 
knobs like a stick of sugar-candy, only the 
parts are not angular like those, but so uneven 
and slippery no foot can pass. 

They have no diversions to amuse them, but 
sit brooding in the smoke over the fire till their 
legs and thighs are scorched to an extraordinary 
degree, and many have sore eyes, and some 
are quite blind. This long continuance in the 


smoke makes them almost as black as chimney- 
sweepers ; and when the huts are not water- 
tight, which is often the case, the rain that 
comes through the roof and mixes with the 
sootiness of the inside, where all the sticks 
look like charcoal, falls in drops like ink. But, 
in this circumstance, the Highlanders are not 
very solicitous about their outward appearance. 

To supply the want of candles, when they 
have occasion for more light than is given by 
the fire, they provide themselves with a quan- 
tity of sticks of fir, the most resinous that can 
be procured : some of these are lighted and 
laid upon a stone ; and as the light decays they 
revive it with fresh fuel.* But when they hap- 
pen to be destitute of fire, and none is to be 
got in the neighbourhood, they produce it by 
rubbing sticks together ; but I do not recollect 
what kind of wood is fittest for that purpose. 

If a drift of snow from the mountains hap- 
pens, and the same should be of any continu- 
ance, they are thereby rendered completely 
prisoners. In this case, the snow, being whirled 

* Resinous splinters of fir, dug out of bogs, are used as can- 
dles by very poor people in the north of Europe, and indeed in 
most countries where such things are found. In England, where 
the lower classes are not remarkable for economical ingenuity, 
this is seldom met with, although we have seen it both in Cheshire 
and Lancashire. 

D 2 


from the mountains and hills, lodges in the 
plains below, till sometimes it increases to a 
height almost equal with the tops of their huts ; 
but then it is soon dissolved for a little space 
round them, which is caused by the warmth of 
the fire, smoke, family, and cattle within. 

Thus are they confined to a very narrow 
compass ; and, in the mean time, if they have 
any out-lying cattle in the hills, they are leav- 
ing the heights and returning home ; for by the 
same means that the snow is accumulated in 
the glen, the hills are cleared of the incum- 
brance, but the cattle are sometimes intercepted 
by the depth of snow in the plain, or deep 
hollows, in their way. In such case, when the 
wind's drift begins to cease, from the wind 
having a little spent its fury, the people take the 
following method to open a communication : 
if the huts are at any distance asunder, one of 
them begins at the edge of the snow next to 
his dwelling, and, waving his body from side to 
side, presses forward and squeezes it from him 
on either hand ; and if it be higher than his 
head he breaks down that part with his hands. 
Thus he proceeds till he comes to another hut, 
and when some of them are got together they 
go on in the same manner to open a way for the 
cattle ; and in thus doing they relieve one 
another, when too wet and weary to proceed 


further, till the whole is completed. Yet, not- 
withstanding all their endeavours, their cattle 
ore sometimes lost. 

As this may seem to you a little too extra- 
ordinary, and you will believe I never saw it, I 
shall assure you I had it from a gentleman, 
who, being nearly related to a chief, has there- 
fore a considerable farm in the inner Highlands, 
and would not deceive me in a fact that does 
not recommend his country, of which he is 
as jealous as any one I have known on this side 
the Tweed. 

A drift of snow, like that above described, 
was said to have been the ruin of the Swedish 
army, in the last expedition of Charles XII. 

Before I proceed to their husbandry, I shall 
give you some account of an animal necessary 
to it ; that is, their horses, or rather (as they 
are called) garrons. These horses in miniature 
run wild among the mountains; some of them 
till they are eight or ten years old, which ren- 
ders them exceedingly restive and stubborn. 
There are various ways of catching them, ac- 
cording to the nature of the spot of country 
where they chiefly keep their haunts. Some- 
times they are hunted by numbers of Highland- 
men into a bog ; in other places they are driven 
up a steep hill, where the nearest of the pur- 
suers endeavours to catch them by the hind- 


leg ; and I have been told, that sometimes both 
horse and man have come tumbling down toge- 
ther. In another place they have been hunted 
from one to another, among the heath and rocks, 
till they have laid themselves down through 
weariness and want of breath. 

They are so small that a middle-sized man 
must keep his legs almost in lines parallel to their 
sides when carried over the stony ways; and it is 
almost incredible to those who have not seen it, 
how nimbly they skip with a heavy rider among 
the rocks and large moor-stones, turning zig- 
zag to such places as are passable. I think 
verily they all follow one another in the same 
irregular steps, because in those ways there 
appears some little smoothness, worn by their 
naked hoofs, which is not anywhere else to be 
seen. When I have been riding, or rather 
creeping along at the foot of a mountain, I have 
discovered them by their colour, which is mostly 
white, and, by their motion, which readily 
catches the eye, when, at the same time, they 
were so high above me, they seemed to be no 
bigger than a lap-dog, and almost hanging over 
my head. But what has appeared to me very 
extraordinary is, that when, at other times, I have 
passed near to them, I have perceived them to 
be (like some of our common beggars in Lon- 
don) in ragged and tattered coats, but full in 


flesh; and that, even toward the latter end of 
winter, when I think they could have nothing 
to feed upon but heath and rotten leaves of 
trees, if any of the latter were to be found. 
The Highlanders have a tradition that they 
came originally from Spain, by breeders left 
there by the Spaniards in former times; and 
they say, they have been a great number of 
years dwindling to their present diminutive size. 
I was one day greatly diverted with the method 
of taming these wild hobbies. 

In passing along a narrow path, on the side 
of a high hill among the mountains, at length it 
brought me to a part looking down into a little 
plain, there I was at once presented with the 
scene of a Highlandman beating one of these 
garrons, most unmercifully, with a great stick.; 
and, upon a stricter view, I perceived the man 
had tied a rope, or something like it, about one 
of his hind-legs, as you may have seen a single 
hog driven in England ; and, indeed, in my si- 
tuation, he did not seem so big. At the same 
time the horse was kicking and violently strug- 
gling, and sometimes the garron was down and 
sometimes the Highlander, and not seldom 
both of them together, but still the man kept 
his hold. 

After waiting a considerable time to see the 
event, though not so well pleased with the pre- 


cipice I stood upon, I found the garron gave it 
up ; and, being perfectly conquered for that 
time, patiently suffered himself to be driven to 
a hut not far from the field of battle. 

I was desirous to ask the Highlander a 
question or two by the help of my guide, but 
there were no means for me to get down but by 
falling ; and when I came to a part of the hill 
where I could descend to the glen, I had but 
little inclination to go back again, for I never, 
by choice, made one retrograde step when I 
was leaving the mountains : but what is pretty 
strange, though very true (by what charm I 
know not), I have been well enough pleased to 
see them again, at my first entrance to them in 
my returns from England ; and this has made 
my wonder cease that a native should be so 
fond of such a country. 

The soil of the corn-lands is, in some places, 
so shallow, with rocky ground beneath it, that 
a plough is of no manner of use.* This they 

* The corn-grounds often lie in such intricacies among the 
crags, that there is no room for the action of a team and plough. 
The soil is then turned up by manual labour, with an instrument 
called a crooked spade, of a form and weight which to me ap- 
peared very incommodious, and would perhaps be soon improved 
in a country where workmen could be easily found and easily 
paid : it has a narrow blade of iron fixed to a long and heavy 
piece of wood, which must have, about a foot and a half above 
the iron, a knee, or flexure, with the angle downwards. When 



dig up with a wooden spade ; for almost all 
their implements for husbandry, which in other 
countries are made of iron, or partly of that 
metal, are, in some parts of the Highlands, 
entirely made of wood, such as the spade, 
plough-share, harrow, harness, and bolts ; and 
even locks for doors are made of wood. By 
the way, these locks are contrived so artfully, 
by notches made at unequal distances within- 
side, that it is impossible to open them with 
any thing but the wooden keys that belong to 
them. But there would be no great difficulty 
in opening the wall of the hut, as the High- 
lander did by the portmanteau that he saw 
lying upon a table, and nobody near it but his 
companion. "Out!" says he; " what fool was 
this that put a lock upon leather?"* and imme- 
diately ripped it open with his dirk. 

Where the soil is deeper they plough with 
four of their little horses abreast. f The man- 

the farmer encounters a stone, which is the great impediment of 
his operations, he drives the blade under it, and, bringing the 
knee, or angle, to the ground, has, in the long handle, a very 
forcible lever. Johnsons Journey, Works, vol. viii. 301. 

* In England, this story is told of an Irishman : and in every 
nation in Europe of those of whom they are accustomed to tell 
such stories. 

t In the north of Europe (Russia) it is not unusual to sec 
four horses a-breast even in a gentleman's travelling-carriage. 
Men of rank, among the ancient Persians, drove e'ght a-breast 
in their scythed war-chariots. 


ner this : Being thus ranked they are divided 
by a small space into pairs, and the driver, 
or rather leader, of the plough having placed 
himself before them, holding the two inner- 
most by their heads to keep the couples 
asunder, he with his face toward the plough, 
goes backward, observing, through the space 
between the horses, the way of the plough- 

When I first saw this awkward method, 
as I then thought it, I rode up to the person who 
guided the machine, to ask him some questions 
concerning it : he spoke pretty good English, 
which made me conclude he was a gentleman ; 
and yet, in quality of a proprietor and conductor, 
might, without dishonour, employ himself in 
such a work. My first question was, whether 
that method was common to the Highlands, or 
peculiar to that part of the country? and, by 
way of answer, he asked me, if they ploughed 
otherwise anywhere else? Upon my further 
inquiry why the man went backwards ? he 
stopped, and very civilly informed me that 
there were several small rocks, which I did not 
see, that had a little part of them just peeping 
on the surface, and therefore it was necessary 
his servant should see and avoid them, by 
guiding the horses accordingly, or otherwise 
his plough might be spoiled by the shock. The 
answer was satisfactory and convincing, and 


I must here take notice that many other of their 
methods are too well suited to their own cir- 
cumstances, and those of the country, to be 
easily amended by such as undertake to deride 

In the western Highlands they still retain 
that barbarous custom (which I have not seen 
anywhere else) of drawing the harrow by the 
horse's dock, without any manner of harness 
whatever. And when the tail becomes too 
short for the purpose, they lengthen it out with 
twisted sticks. This unnatural practice was 
formerly forbidden in Ireland by act of par- 
liament, as my memory informs me, from 
accounts I have formerly read of that country ; 
for being almost without books I can have little 
other help wherefrom to make quotations. 

When a burden is to be carried on horse- 
back they use two baskets, called creels, one on 
each side of the horse; and if the load be such as 
cannot be divided, they put it into one of them, 
and counterbalance it with stones in the other, 
so that one half of the horse's burden is I 
cannot say unnecessary, because I do not see 
how they could do otherwise in the mountains. 

Their harvest is late in the year, and therefore 
seldom got in dry, as the great rains* usually 

* The latter part of the season is often very wet ; and the corn, 
particularly oats, suffer very much. June and August are the 


come ou about the latter end of August: nor is 
the corn well preserved afterwards in those 
miserable hovels they call barns, which are 
mostly not fit to keep out the bad weather from 
above ; and were it not for the high winds that 
pass through the openings of the sides in dry 
weather, it would of necessity be quite spoiled. 
But as it is, the grain is often grown in the 
sheaves, as I have observed in a former letter. 

To the lightness of the oats, one might think 
they contributed themselves ; for if there be one 
part of their ground that produces worse grain 
than another, they reserve that, or part of it, for 
seed, believing it will produce again as well, in 
quantity and quality, as the best ; but, whether 
in this they are right or wrong, I cannot deter- 

Another thing, besides the bad weather, that 
retards their harvest, is, they make it chiefly the 
work of the women of the family. Near the 
Lowlands I have known a field of corn to employ 
a woman and a girl for a fortnight, which, with 

months which have least rain : September and October are fre- 
quently very wet: during these months, not only a greater quan- 
tity of rain falls, but it is more constant, accompanied by a cold 
and cloudy atmosphere, which is very unfavourable either to the 
ripening of grain, Or drying it after it is cut. In July and August 
a good deal of rain falls ; but it is in heavy showers, and the in- 
tervals are fine, the sun shining clear and bright often for several 
days together. GarnetCs Tour, vol. i. 24, 


proper help, might have been done in two days. 
And, although the owner might not well afford 
to employ many hands, yet his own labour* 
would have prevented half the risk of bad wea- 
ther at that uncertain season. 

An English lady, who found herself something 
decaying in her health, and was advised to go 
among the Hills, and drink goat's milk or whey, 
told me lately, that seeing a Highlander bask- 
ing at the foot of a hill in his full dress, while his 
wife and her mother were hard at work in reap- 
ing the oats, she asked the old woman how she 
could be contented to see her daughter labour 
in that manner, while her husband was only an 
idle spectator? And to this the woman answer- 
ed, that her son-in-law was a gentleman, and it 
would be a disparagement to him to do any such 
work ; and that both she and her daughter too 
were sufficiently honoured by the alliance. 

This instance, I own, has something particular 
in it, as such; but the thing is very common, a 
la Palatine, among the middling sort of people. 

* The Highlander at home is indolent. It is with impatience 
that he allows himself to be diverted from his favourite occupa- 
tion of traversing the mountains and moors in looking after his 
flocks, a few days in spring and autumn, for the purposes of his 
narrow scheme of agriculture. It is remarked, however, that the 
Highlander, when removed beyond his native bounds, is found 
capable of abundant exertion and industry. Graham's Perth- 
shire. 235. 


Not long ago, a French officer, who was coming 
hither the Hill way, to raise some recruits for 
the Dutch service, met a Highlandman with a 
good pair of brogues on his feet, and his wife 
inarching bare-foot after him. This indignity 
to the sex raised the Frenchman's anger to such 
a degree, that he leaped from his horse, and 
obliged the fellow to take off the shoes, and the 
woman to put them on.* 

By this last instance (not to trouble you with 
others) you may see it is not in their harvest^ 
work alone they are something in the Palatine 
way with respect to their women. 

The Highlanders have a notion that the moon, 
in a clear night, ripens their corn much more 
than a sun-shiny day : for this they plead ex- 

* This Frenchman was certainly a Gascon. Had he dared to 
attempt such an extraordinary insolence, and had a Highlander 
been found who was base enough to submit to be so cowed in the 
presence of his wife, the good dame would assuredly have resented 
and resisted such an indignity offered to her husband and herself, 
and put the Frenchman's gallantry to a severe test. The real 
state of the sex in France and in the Highlands of Scotland, is as 
opposite to what it appears to be, as these people are to each 
other, or as any two extremes can well be. There is no country in 
Europe where women are less esteemed than in France, or more 
than in the Highlands. In France, they are adored and despised, 
as relics are by the priest who has manufactured them to impose 
upon others ; in the Highlands, an unfaithful, unkind, or even 
careless husband, is so rare as to be looked upon as a monster. 


perience ; yet they cannot say by what rule they 
make the comparison. But, by this opinion of 
theirs, I think they have little knowledge of the 
nature of those two planets.* 

In larger farms, belonging to gentlemen of 
the clan, where there are any number of women 
employed in harvest-work, they all keep time 
together, by several barbarous tones of the voice; 

The present writer has seen a stout old fellow, of the very low- 
est class, in Ardgour, take his wife and daughter, with wicker 
baskets on their backs, to a dunghill, fill their baskets with ma- 
nure, and send them to spread it with their hands on the croft; 
then, with his great coat on, lay himself down on the lee side of 
the heap, to bask and chew tobacco till they returned for another 
load ! A stranger, who merely looked at the outside of things, 
would hardly believe that this man was a kind and tender husband 
and father, as he really was. Tire maxim that such work (which 
must be done by some one) spoils the men, has been so long re- 
ceived as unquestionable by the women, that it makes a part of 
their nature ; and a wife would despise her husband, and expect 
the contempt of her neighbours on her husband's account, if he 
were so forgetful of himself, as to attempt to do such a thing, 
unless her situation at the time did not admit of her doing it. 

* This vulgar error is not peculiar to the Highlands. The 
reasoning upon the subject seems to be pretty much of a piece 
with that of the old man in Latimer's sermons, who imputed the 
accumulation of Godwin Sands to the building of Salisbury steeple, 
" because there were no sands there till after the steeple wai 
built." The state of the atmosphere, that shows a broad, bright 
harvest-moon to advantage, is always favourable to the ripening 
of corn ; and the Moon, like many other beauties, is, perhaps, 
admired for a virtue she has little claim to. 


and stoop and rise together as regularly as a 
rank of soldiers when they ground their arms. 
Sometimes they are incited to their work by the 
sound of a bagpipe ; and by either of these they 
proceed with great alacrity, it being disgraceful 
for any one to be out of time with the sickle. 
They use the same tone, or a piper, when they 
thicken the newly-woven plaiding, instead of a 

This is done by six or eight women sitting' 
upon the ground, near some river or rivulet, in 
two opposite ranks, with the wet cloth between 
them ; their coats are tucked up, and with their 
naked feet they strike one against another's, 
keeping exact time as above-mentioned. And 
among numbers of men, employed in any work 
that requires strength and joint labour (as the 
launching a large boat, or the like), they must 
have the piper to regulate their time, as well as 
usky to keep up their spirits in the performance; 
for pay they often have little, or none at all. 

Nothing is more common than to hear the 
Highlanders boast how much their country 
might be improved, and that it would produce 
double what it does at present if better hus- 
bandry were introduced among them. For my 
own part, it was always the only amusement 1 
had in the hills, to observe every minute thing 
in my way; and I do assure you, I do not re- 


member to have seen the least spot that would 
bear corn uncultivated, not even upon the sides 
of the hills, where it could be no otherwise broke 
up than with a spade. And as for manure to 
supply the salts and enrich the grpund they 
have hardly any. In summer their cattle are 
dispersed about the sheetings, and almost all the 
rest of the year in other parts of the hills ; and, 
therefore, all the dung they can have must be from 
the trifling quantity made by the cattle while 
they are in the house. I never knew or heard 
of any limestone,^ chalk, or marl, they have in 
the country ; and, if some of their rocks might 
serve for limestone, in that case their kilns, car- 
riage, and fuel would render it so expensive, it 
would be the same thing to them as if there were 
none. Their great dependence is upon the nitre 
of the snow ; and they lament the disappoint- 
ment if it does not fall early in the season. Yet 
I have known, in some, a great inclination to 
improvement ; and shall only instance a very 
small matter, which, perhaps, may be thought 
too inconsiderable to mention. 

Not far from Fort William, I have seen women 
with a little horse-dung brought upon their 

* In many parts they have hardly any thing else. The whole 
islands of Lismore, Shuna, &c. are lime-stone rock, covered with 
a very thin surface of earth. Chalk they have none, and no marl 
worth speaking of, so far as we know. 


backs, in creels, or baskets, from that garrison ; 
and, on their knees, spreading it with their hands 
upon the land, and even breaking the balls, that 
every part of the little spot might have its due 

These women have several times brought me 
hay to the fort, which was made from grass cut 
with a knife by the way-side ; and from one I 
have bought two or three pennyworth ; from 
another, the purchase has been a groat ; but six- 
pennyworth was a most considerable bargain. 

At their return from the hay-market, they car- 
ried away the dung of my stable (which was 
one end of a dwelling-hut) in the manner above- 

Speaking of grass and hay, it comes to my 
remembrance, that, in passing through a space 
between the mountains, not far from Keppoch, 
in Lochaber, I observed, in the hollow, though 
too narrow to admit much of the sun, a greater 
quantity of grass than I remembered to have 
seen in any such spot in the inner parts of the 
Highlands ; it was in the month of August, when 
it was grown rank, and flagged pretty much, 
and therefore I was induced to ask why the 
owner did not cut it. To this I was answered, 
it never had been mowed, but was left every 
year as natural hay for the cattle in winter, that 
is, to lie upon the ground like litter, and, ac- 


cording to their description, the cows routed for 
it in the snow, like hogs in a dunghill. But the 
people have no barns fit to contain a quantity 
of hay, and it would be impossible to secure it 
in mows from the tempestuous eddy-winds, 
which would soon carry it over the mountains : 
besides, it could not well be made, by reason of 
rains and want of sun, and therefore they think 
it best to let it lie as it does, with the roots in 
the ground. 

The advantage of enclosures is a mighty topic 
with the Highlanders, though they cannot spare 
for grass one inch of land that will bear corn ; 
if they could, it would be a much more expen- 
sive way of grazing their cattle than letting 
them run as they do in the hills; but enclosures, 
simply as such, do not better the soil, or, if they 
might be supposed to be an advantage to it, 
where is the Highland tenant that can lay out ten 
shillings for that purpose? and what would he 
be the gainer by it in the end, but to have his 
rent raised, or his farm divided with some 
other? or, lastly, where are the number of High- 
landers that would patiently suffer such an in- 
convenient innovation ? For my part, I think 
nature has sufficiently inclosed their lands by 
the feet of the surrounding mountains. Now, 
after what has been said, where can this im- 
provement be ? Yet, it seems, they had rather 



you should think them ignorant, lazy, or anything 
else, than entertain a bad opinion of their coun- 
try. But I have dwelt too long upon this head. 

Their rent is chiefly paid in kind, that is to 
say, great part of it in several species arising 
from the product of the farm ; such as barley, 
oatmeal, and what they call customs, as sheep, 
lambs, poultry, butter, &c* and the remainder, 
if any, is paid in money, or an addition of some 
one of the before-mentioned species, if money be 

The gentlemen, who are near relations of the 
chief, hold pretty large farms, if the estate will 
allow it, perhaps twenty or thirty pounds 
a-year, and they again, generally, parcel them 
out to under-tenants in small portions : hence it 
comes, that, by such a division of an old farm 
(part of an upper-tenant's holding), suppose 
among eight persons, each of them pays an 
eighth part of every thing, even to the fraction 
of a capon, which cannot in the nature of it be 
paid in kind, but the value of it is cast in with 
the rest of the rent, and, notwithstanding the 
above-mentioned customs are placed in an up- 
per-tenant's rental, yet they properly belong to 
the chief, for the maintenance of the family in 

* A large taker, or leaseholder, of land is denominated a tacks- 
man ; he keeps part of the land in his own hand, and lets part to 


Every year, after the harvest, the sheriff of 
the county, or his deputy, together with a jury 
of landed men, set a rate upon corn-provisions, 
and the custom of the country regulates the 
rest. The sheriff's regulation for the year is 
called the feers-price, and serves for a stand- 
ard whereby to determine everything relating 
to rents and bargains ; so that if the tenant is 
not provided with all the species he is to pay, 
then that which is wanting may be converted 
into money, or something else with certainty. 

Before I conclude this letter, I shall take no- 
tice of one thing, which, at first, I thought pretty 

under-tenants. The tacksman is necessarily a person capable of 
securing to the laird the whole rent, and is commonly a collateral 
relation. These tacks, or subordinate possessions, were long con- 
sidered as hereditary, and the occupant was distinguished by the 
name of the place at which he resided : he held a middle station, 
by which the highest and the lowest orders were connected: he 
paid rent and reverence to the laird, and received them from the 
tenants. This tenure still subsists with its original operation, but 
not with the primitive stability; since the islanders, no longer 
content to live, have learned the desire of growing rich, an an- 
cient dependent is in danger of giving way to a higher bidder, at 
the expence of domestic dignity and hereditary power. The 
stranger, whose money buys him preference, considers himself as 
paying for all that he has, and is indifferent about the laird's honour 
or safety. Tha commodiousness of money is, indeed, great ; but 
there are some advantage which money cannot buy, and which 
therefore no wise man will, by the love of money, be tempted to 
forego. Johnsons Journey, Works, vol. viii. 3J1.. 


extraordinary, and that is, if any landed man 
refuses, or fails to pay the king's tax, then, by 
a warrant from the civil magistrate, a propor- 
tionable number of soldiers are quartered upon 
him, with sometimes a commissioned officer to 
command them, all of whom he must maintain 
till the cess is fully discharged.* This is a 
penalty for his default, even though he had not 
the means to raise money in all that time ; and, 
let it be ever so long, the tax in the end is still 
the same. You will not doubt that the men, 
thus living upon free-quarters, use the best in- 
terests with their officers to be sent on such 

* This oppressive measure was first adopted during the trou- 
bles and miseries of Scotland in the latter part of the reign of 
Charles I., and afterwards continued as an engine to be employed 
against Malignants and disaffected persons. 


You will, it is likely, think it strange that many 
of the Highland tenants are to maintain a fa- 
mily upon a farm of twelve merks Scots per 
annum, which is thirteen shillings and four- 
pence sterling, with perhaps a cow or two, or a 
very few sheep or goats ; but often the rent is 
less, and the cattle are wanting. 

In some rentals you may see seven or eight 
columns of various species of rent, or more, 
viz. money, barley, oatmeal, sheep, lambs, but- 
ter, cheese, capons, &c. ; but every tenant does 
not pay all these kinds, though many of them 
the greatest part. What follows is a specimen 
taken out of a Highland rent-roll, and I do 
assure you it is genuine, and not the least by 
many : 


a- -* = -'~ 


! CO CO O 

* rt CO 05 


O . 

g(J* 00 

fc . 

5 s co co t* 

|o o o 










O ^ 



d d 
o i> 

s s 

s" s 

^ j 



*O F^ vW Q 

p o o o 




S co 

A, 1 

a - _3 33 

o co 

P - -Ss 

1 r 1 

o rt .3 

p , o> 

s -s 

<u -S ^_ 

I S -d T 





5 ! S 


il i 

* o S 
3 -9 S 

^ a .s 

"^ d CU 




The landlord has, by law, an hypothic, or right 
of pledge, with respect to the corn, for so much 
as the current year's rent, and may, and often 
does, by himself or his bailiff, see it reaped to his 
own use ; or, if that is not done, he may seize 
it in the marketer anywhere else : but this last 
privilege of the landlord does not extend to the 
crop or rent of any former year. 

The poverty of the tenants has rendered it 
customary for the chief, or laird, to free some 
of them, every year, from all arrears of rent ; 
this is supposed, upon an average, to be about 
one year in five of the whole estate. 

If the tenant is to hire his grazing in the hills, 
he takes it by soumes ; a soume is as much grass 
as will maintain four sheep; eight sheep are 
equal to a cow and a calf, or forty goats ; but I 
do not remember how much is paid for every 
soume. The reason of this disproportion be- 
tween the goats and sheep is, that, after the 
sheep have eaten the pasture bare, the herbs, 
as thyme, &c. that are left behind, are of little 
or no value, except for the browsing of goats. 

The laird's income is computed by chalders of 
victuals, as they are called ; achalderis sixteen 
bolls of corn, each boll containing about six of 
our bushels, and therefore, when any one speaks 
of the yearly value of such a laird's estate, he 
tells you it is so many chalders ; but the mea- 


sure varies something in different parts of the 

When a son is born to the chief of a family, 
there generally arises a contention among the 
vassals which of them shall have the fostering* 
of the child when it is taken from the nurse ; 
and by this means such differences are some- 

* By this singular custom, which equally prevailed among the 
Scoto-Irish, till recent times, children were mutually given from 
different families to be, by strangers, nursed and bred. The 
lower orders considered this trust as an honour rather than a ser- 
vice, for which an adequate reward was either given or expected. 
The attachment of those who were thus educated is said to have 
been indissoluble, " for there is no love in the world comparable," 
saith Camden, " by many degrees to that of foster-brethren m 
Ireland." From this practice arose connection of family and 
union of tribes, which often prompted and sometimes prevented 
civil feuds. Chalmers's Caledonia, vol. i. 311. 

The terms of fosterage vary in different islands: in Mull, the 
lather sends with his child a certain number of cows, to which the 
same number is added by the fosterer ; the father appropriates a 
proportionate extent of country, without rent, for their pasturage. 
If every cow bring a calf, half belongs to the fosterer and half to 
the child ; but, if there be only one calf between two cows, it is 
the child's ; and, when the child returns to the parents, it is ac- 
companied by all the cows given both by the father and by the fos- 
terer, with half of the increase of the stock by propagation. These 
beasts are considered as a portion, and called Macalive cattle, of 
which the father has the produce, but is supposed not to have the 
full property, but to owe the same number to the child, as a por- 
tion to the daughter or a stock for the son. Johnson's Journey^ 
Works, vol. viii. 374. 


times fomented as are hardly ever after tho- 
roughly reconciled . The happy man who succeeds 
in his suit is ever after called the foster-father, 
and his children the foster-brothers and sisters, 
of the young laird. This, they reckon, not only en- 
dears them to their chief, and greatly strengthens 
their interest with him, but gives them a great 
deal of consideration among their fellow- vassals; 
and the foster-brother, having the same educa- 
tion as the young chief,* may, besides that, in 
time become his hanchman, or perhaps be pro- 
moted to that office under the old patriarch 
himself, if a vacancy should happen ; or other- 
wise, by their interest, obtain orders and a 

* The first specimen of manhood expected in a young chieftain 
was dexterity in hunting : the next was, to make an incursion, at- 
tended with extreme hazard, on some neighbour, with whom he 
was at open variance, and to carry off, by force of arms, whatever 
cattle he and his followers fell in with. In this manner conflicts 
and feuds were nourished, and kept constantly in existence, among 
our Scotish Highlanders; but these conflicts ceased almost en- 
tirely about the middle of the seventeenth century ; and heredi- 
tary jurisdiction was abolished, in 1748. by an act of i he British 
legislature, when Highland emancipation was in part accom- 
plished. The solemnities at the inautrurat'on of a chief are na 
more ! The voice of the bard is silent in the hall ! The deeds of 
other times are no longer recounted as incentives to emulate their 
forefathers ! The system is altogether changed, and the manners 
of civilized Europe are rapidly prevailing in the remotest corners 
of the Highlands and Western Isles. Campbell's Journey, vol. i. 


benefice. This officer is a sort of secretary, 
and is to be ready, upon all occasions, to ven- 
ture his life in defence of his master; and at 
drinking-bouts he stands behind his seat, at 
his haunch (from whence his title is derived), 
and watches the conversation, to see if any one 
offend his patron. 

An English officer, being in company with a 
certain chieftain and several other Highland 
gentlemen, near Killichumen, had an argument 
with the great man; and, both being well 
warmed with usky, at last the dispute grew 
very hot. A youth, who was kanchman, not 
understanding a word of English, imagined his 
chief was insulted, and thereupon drew his 
pistol from his side, and snapped it at the 
officer's head ; but the pistol missed fire, other- 
wise it is more than probable he might have 
suffered death from the hand of that little 
vermin.* But it is very disagreeable to an Eng- 
lishman, over a bottle with the Highlanders, 
to see every one of them have his gilly, that is, 
his servant, standing behind him all the while, 
let what will be the subject of conversation. 

When a chief goes a journey in the Hills, or 

* This duty of a hanchman, at a drinking-bout, is altogether 
imaginary, and the youth here mentioned certainly went beyond 
his orders. The chief always took the liberty of judging for him- 
self in such cases. 


makes a formal visit to an equal, he is said to 
be attended by all, or most part of the officers 
following, viz. 

The Hanchmcm, Before described. 

Bare?, His poet. 

Bladier, His spokesman. 

Gilli-more, Carries his broad-sword. 

( Carries him, when on foot r 
GiUi-casflue-, I 

I over the fords. 
Leads his horse in rough 


and dangerous ways. 

Gilly-trushanarnishj The baggage-man. 

f Who, being a gentleman, 
The Piper, < I should have named 

v- sooner. 

And lastly, 

The Piper's Gilly, Who carries the bagpipe. 

There are likewise some gentlemen near of 
kin who bear him company; and besides a 
number of the common sort, who have no par- 
ticular employment, but follow him only to 
partake of the cheer. 

I must own that all these attendants, and the 
profound respect they pay, must be flattering 
enough, though the equipage has none of the 
best appearance. But this state may appear to 
soothe the pride of the chief to a vast degree, 
if the declaration of one of them was sincere, 
who, at dinner, before a good deal of company, 
English as well as Scots, myself being one of 
the number, affirmed that if his estate was free 


from incumbrances, and was none of his own, 
and he was then put to choose between that 
and the estate of the duke of Newcastle, sup- 
posing it to be thirty thousand pounds a-year 
(as somebody said it was), he would make 
choice of the former, with the following belong- 
ing to it before the other without it. Now his 
estate might be about five hundred pounds 
a-year. But this pride is pretty costly ; for as 
his friend is to feed all these attendants, so it 
comes to his own turn to be at a like, or, 
perhaps, greater expence when the visit is re- 
paid ; for they are generally attended in pro- 
portion to the strength of the clan ; and by this 
intercourse they very much hurt one another 
in their circumstances. 

By what has been said, you may know, in 
part, how necessary the rent called customs is to 
the family of a Highland chief. 

Here I must ask a space for those two sons of 
Apollo, the bard and the piper. 

The bard is skilled in the genealogy of all the 
Highland families ; sometimes preceptor to the 
young laird; celebrates, in Irish verse, the ori- 
ginal* of the tribe, the famous warlike ac- 

* Dr. Johnson observes : " As there subsists no longer in the 
Islands much of that peculiar and discriminative form of life, of 
which the idea had delighted our imagination, we were willing to 
liaten to such accounts of past times as would be given us ; but 


tions of the successive heads, and sings his 
own lyrics as an opiate to the chief when in- 
disposed for sleep ; but poets are not equally 
esteemed and honoured in all countries. I 
happened to be a witness of the dishonour done 
to the muse at the house of one of the chiefs, 
where two of these bards were set at a good 
distance, at the lower end of a long table, 
with a parcel of Highlanders of no extraor- 
dinary appearance, over a cup of ale. Poor 
inspiration! They were not asked to drink a- 
glass of wine at our table, though the whole 
company at it consisted only of the great man, 
one of his near relations, and myself. 

After some little time, the chief ordered one 
of them to sing me a Highland song. The bard* 

we soon found what memorials were to be expected from an illi- 
terate people, whose whole time is a series of distress, where 
every morning is labouring with expedients for the evening; and 
where all mental pains or pleasure arose from the dread of winter, 
the expectation of spring, the caprices of their chiefs, and the mo- 
tion of the neighbouring clans; where there was neither shame 
from ignorance, nor pride in knowledge ; neither curiosity to in- 
quire, nor vanity to communicate. The chiefs, indeed, were ex- 
.empt from urgent penury and daily difficulties, and in their houses 
were preserved what accounts remained of past ages. But the 
chiefs were sometimes ignorant and careless, and sometimes kept 
busy by turbulence and contention, and one generation of igno- 
rance effaces the whole series of unwritten history. Johnsons 
Journey, Works, vol. viii. 344. 

* That the bards could not read more than the rest of their 


readily obeyed ; and with a hoarse voice, and in 
a tune of few various notes, began, as I was 
told, one of his own lyrics ; and when he had 
proceeded to the fourth or fifth stanza, I per- 
ceived, by the names of several persons, glens, 
and mountains, which I had known or heard of 
before, that it was an account of some clan bat- 
tle. But, in his going on, the chief (who piques 
himself upon his school-learning), at some par- 
ticular passage, bid him cease, and cried out to 
me " There's nothing like that in Virgil or 
Homer !" I bowed, and told him I believed so. 
This, you may believe, was very edifying and 

I have had occasion before to say something 

countrymen, it is reasonable to suppose ; because if they had read, 
they could probably have written ; and how high their composi- 
tions may reasonably be rated, an inquirer may best judge by 
considering what stores of imagery, what principles of ratioci- 
nation, what comprehension of knowledge, and what delicacy of 
elocution, he has known any man attain who cannot read. The 
state of the Bards was yet more hopeless. He that cannot read 
may now converse with those that can ; but the bard was a bar- 
barian among barbarians, who, knowing nothing himself, lived 
with others that knew no more. Johnson's Journey, Works, 
vol. viii. 350. 

This is the theory of a learned academic, writing about a thing 
entirely out of his way. and with which he had no means of be- 
coming acquainted, because he neither had the language nor the 
confidence of the lower class of Highlanders ; and, without these, 
their mental character can neither be known nor appreciated. 


of the piper, but not as an officer of the house- 

In a morning, while the chief is dressing, 
he walks backward and forward, close under the 
window, without doors, playing on his bagpipe,* 
with a most upright attitude and majestic stride. 

It is a proverb in Scotland, viz. The stately 
step of a piper. When required, he plays at 
meals, and in an evening is to divert the guests 
with his music, when the chief has company 
with him : his attendance in a journey, or at a 
visit, 1 have mentioned before. 

His gilly holds the pipe till he begins ; and the 

* The solace which the bagpipe can give, they have long en- 
joyed ; but, among other changes which the last revolution intro- 
duced, the use of the bagpipe begins to be forgotten. Some of the 
chief families still entertain a piper, whose office was anciently 
hereditary. Macrimmon was piper to Macleod, and Rankin to 
Maclean of Col. The tunes of the bagpipe are traditional. There 
has been in Skye, beyond all time of memory, a college of pipers, 
under the direction of Macrimmon, which is not quite extinct. 
There was another in Mull, superintended by Rankin, which ex- 
pired about sixteen years ago. To' these colleges, while the pipe 
retained its honour, the students of music repaired for education. 
I have had my dinner exhilirated by the bagpipe at Armidale, at 
Dunvegan, and in Col. Johnsons Journey , Works, vol. iii. 333. 

Till within the memory of persons still living, the school for 
Highland poetry and music was Ireland, and thither professional 
men were sent to be accomplished in these arts. The emit, 
clarsach, or harp, was the proper instrument of the Celts. The 
bagpipe was introduced by the Goths, from Scandinavia. 



moment he has done with the instrument, he 
disdainfully throws it down upon the ground, as 
being only the passive means of conveying his 
skill to the ear, and not a proper weight for him 
to carry or bear at other times. But, for a con- 
trary reason, his gilly snatches it up which is, 
that the pipe may not suffer indignity from its 

The captain of one of the Highland compa- 
nies entertained me some time ago at Stirling, 
with an account of a dispute that happened in 
his corps about precedency. This officer, among 
the rest, had received orders to add a drum to 
his bagpipe, as a more military instrument ; for 
the pipe was to be retained, because the High- 
landmen could hardly be brought to march 
without it. Now, the contest between the 
drummer and the piper arose about the post of 
honour, and at length the contention grew ex- 
ceedingly hot, which the captain having notice 
of, he called them both before him, and, in the 
end, decided the matter in favour of the drum ; 
whereupon the piper remonstrated very warmly. 
" Ads wuds, sir," says he " and shall a little 
rascal that beats upon a sheep-skin, tak the 
right haund of me, that am a musician ? " 

There are in the mountains both red-deer and 
roes, but neither of them in very great numbers, 
that ever I could find. The red-deer are large, 


and keep their haunts in the highest mountains ; 
but the roe is less than our fallow-deer, and par- 
takes, in some measure, of the nature of the 
hare, having no fat about the flesh, and hiding 
in the clefts of rocks, and other hollows, from 
the sight of pursuers. These keep chiefly in 
the woods. 

A pack of hounds, like that of Actseon, in the 
same metaphorical sense, would soon devour 
their master. But, supposing they could easily 
be maintained, they would be of no use, it being 
impossible for them to hunt over such rocks and 
rugged steep declivities ; or if they could do 
this, their cry in those open hills would soon 
fright all the deer out of that part of the coun- 
try. This was the effect of one single hound, 
whose voice I have often heard in the dead of 
the night (as I lay in bed) echoing among the 
mountains ; he was kept by an English gentle- 
man at one of the barracks, and it was loudly 
complained of by some of the lairds, as being 
prejudicial to their estates. 

When a solemn hunting * is resolved on, for 

* Mr. Pennant gives the following interesting account of a 
royal hunt, from William Barclay's Contra Monarchomackos. 
" I once had a sight of a very extraordinary sort. In the year 
1 563, the earl of Athol, a prince of the blood royal, had with 
much trouble and vast expense a hunting-match, for the enter- 
tainment of our most illustrious and most gracious queen. Our 



the entertainment of relations and friends, the 
haunt of the deer being known, a number of the 
vassals are summoned, who readily obey by 
inclination; and are, besides, obliged by the 
tenure of their lands, of which one article is, 
that they shall attend the master &i his huntings. 
This, I think, was part of the ancient vassalage 
in England. 

The chief convenes what numbers he thinks 
fit, according to the strength of his clan : per- 
haps three or four hundred. With these he 
surrounds the hill, and as they advance up wards, 
the deer flies at the sight of them, first of one 

people call this a royal hunting. I was then a young man, and 
was present on that occasion : two thousand Highlanders (or wild 
Scotch as you call them here) were employed to drive to the 
hunting-ground all the deer from the woods and hills of Atholl, 
Badenoch, Marr, Murray, and the countries abou^ As these 
Highlanders use a light dress, and are very swift of foot, they 
went up and down so nimbly, that in less than two months time 
they brought together two thousand red-deer, besides roes and 
fallow-deer. The queen, the great men, and a number of others, 
were in a glen when all these deer were brought before them. 
Believe me, the whole body of them moved forward in something 
like battle order. This sight still strikes me, and ever will, for 
they had a leader whom they followed close wherever he moved. 
This leader was a very fine stag, with a very high head. The 
sight delighted the queen very much ; but she soon had cause for 
fear ; upon the earl's (who had been accustomed to such sights) 
addressing her thus : ' Do you observe that stag, who is foremost 
of the herd? There is danger from that stag; for if either fear or 


side, then of another; and they still, as they 
mount, get into closer order, till, in the end, he 
is enclosed by them in a small circle, and there 
they hack him down with their broad-swords. 
And they generally do it so dexterously, as to 
preserve the hide entire. 

If the chace be in a wood, which is mostly upon 
the declivity of a rocky hill, the tenants spread 
themselves as much as they can, in a rank ex- 
tending upwards ; and march, or rather crawl 
forward, with a hideous yell. Thus they drive 
every thing before them, while the laird and his 

rage should force him from the ridge of that hill, let every one look 
to himself, for none of us will be out of the way of harm ; for the 
rest will follow this one, and having thrown us under foot, they 
will open a passage to this hill behind us.' What happened a 
moment after confirmed this opinion: for the queen ordered one 
of the best dogs to be let loose on one of the deer : this the dog 
pursues, the leading stag was frighted, he flies by the same way 
he had come there, the rest rush after him, and break out where 
the thickest body of the Highlanders was. They had nothing for 
it but to throw themselves flat on the heath, and to allow the deer 
to pass over them. It was told the queen that several of the 
Highlanders had been wounded, and that two or three had been 
killed outright ; and the whole body had got off, had not the 
Highlanders by their skill in hunting fallen upon a strata- 
gem to cut off the rear from the main body. It was of those 
that had been separated that the queen's dogs and those of the 
nobility made slaughter. There were killed that day 360 
deer, with 5 wolves, and some roes. 1 ' Pennant's Scotland, 
vol. iii. 64. 65. 


friends are waiting at the farther end with their 
guns to shoot the deer. But it is difficult to 
force the roes out of their cover ; insomuch that 
when they come into the open light, they some- 
times turn back upon the huntsmen, and are 
taken alive. 

What I have been saying on this head is only 
to give you some taste of the Highland hunting ; 
for the hills, as they are various in their form, 
require different dispositions of the men that 
compose the pack. The first of the two para- 
graphs next above, relates only to such a hill as 
rises something in the figure of a cone ; and the 
other,you see, is the side of a hill which is clothed 
with a wood ; and this last is more particularly 
the shelter of the roe. A further detail I think 
would become tedious. 

When the chief would have a deer only for 
his household, the game-keeper and one or two 
more are sent into the hills with guns, and oat- 
meal for their provision, where they often lie, 
night after night, to wait an opportunity of pro- 
viding venison for the family. This has been 
done several times for me, but always without 

The foxes and wild cats (or cat-o'-mountain) 
are both very large in their kind, and always 
appear to have fed plentifully; they do the 
Highlanders much more hurt in their poultry, 


&c. than they yield them profit by their furs ; 
and the eagles do them more mischief than both 
the others together. It was one of their chief 
complaints, when they were disarmed, in the 
year 1725, that they were deprived of the 
means to destroy those noxious animals, and 
that a great increase of them must necessarily 
follow the want of their fire-arms. 

Of the* eatable part of the feathered kind 
peculiar to the mountains is, first, the cobber- 
kdy* which is sometimes called a wild turkey, 
but not like it, otherwise than in size. This is 
very seldom to be met with, being an inhabit- 
ant of very high and unfrequented hills, and is 

* The capercaillie, capulcoillie, avercailye, or great cock of the 
wood, became extinct in Great Britain about this time, or shortly 
after ; but the inhabitants, for a time, believed them still to exist in 
unfrequented places which they had not explored. This valuable 
bird (the largest of the grouse kind, properly so called), it is hoped, 
will once more be introduced into the Highlands by some land- 
proprietor, who has sufficient range of forest and copse-wood such 
as they delight in, and sufficient influence to protect the breed 
during the first ten years, which will be impossible without the 
love and esteem of his tenants. The capercaillie is not " an 
inhabitant of very high hills, but of any place where he finds 
proper food and shelter, being common in Russia, Poland, Livo- 
nia, Courland, Esthonia, &c. where there are no high hills." 
Being a very lascivious bird, like the turkey, during the breeding 
season, he is so regardless of his own safety as to be an easy 
prey to the sportsman. They are becoming scarcer in the North 
than they once were, and no wonder ; for we have eaten them there 
before they arrived at the size of a partridge. 


therefore esteemed a great rarity for the table. 
Next is the black cock* which resembles, in 
size and shape, a pheasant, but is black and 
shining, like a raven; but the hen is not, in 
shape or colour, much unlike to a hen-pheasant: 
and, lastly, the tormican, near about the size 
of the moor-fowl (or grouse), but of a lighter 
colour, which turns almost white in winter. 
These, I am told, feed chiefly upon the tender 
tops of the fir-branches, which I am apt to be- 
lieve, because the taste of them has something 
tending to turpentine, though not disagreeable. 
It is said, if you throw a stone so as to fall beyond 
it,* the bird is thereby so much amused or 
daunted, that it will not rise till you are very 
near; but I have suspected this to be a sort of 
conundrum, signifying they are too shy to suffer 
an approach near enough for that purpose, like 
what they tell the children about the salt and 
the bird. 

The tribes will not suffer strangers to settle 
within their precinct, f or even those of another 
clan to njoy any possession among them ; but 
will soon constrain them to quit their preten- 
sions, by cruelty to their persons, or mischief 

* The black cock is still found in parts of Derbyshire, Cheshire, 
Lancashire, and other parts of England. Our author has forgot 
the common grouse. 

t Their precinct was always too narrow for themselves, and 
strangers have uniformly brought them ultimate evil. 


to their cattle or other property. Of this there 
happened two flagrant instances, within a few 
years past. 

The first was as follows : Gordon laird of 
Glenbucket, had been invested by the D. of G. 
in some lands in Badenoch, by virtue, I think, 
of a wadset, or mortgage. These lands lay 
among the Macphersons; but the tenants of 
that name refused to pay the rent to the new 
landlord, or to acknowledge him as such. 

This refusal put him upon the means to eject 
them by law ; whereupon the tenants came to a 
resolution to put an end to his suit and new 
settlement in the manner following : Five or 
six of them, young fellows, the sons of gentle- 
men, entered 'the door of his hut, and, in 
fawning words, told him they were sorry any 
dispute had happened ; that they were then 
resolved to acknowledge him as their immediate 
landlord, and would regularly pay him their 
rent ; at the same time they begged he would 
withdraw his process, and they hoped they 
should be agreeable to him for the future. All this 
while they were almost imperceptibly drawing 
nearer and nearer to his bed-side, on which he 
was sitting, in order to prevent his defending 
himself (as they knew him to be a man of dis- 
tinguished courage), and then fell suddenly on 
him, some cutting him with their dirks, and 


others plunging them into his body. This was 
perpetrated within sight of the banack of 

I cannot forbear to tell you how this butchery 
ended, with respect both to him and those 
treacherous villains. He, with a multitude of 
wounds upon him, made a shift, in the bustle, 
to reach down his broad-sword from the tester 
of his bed, which was very low, and with it he 
drove all the assassins before him ; and after- 
wards, from the duke's abhorrence of so vile a 
fact, and with the assistance of the troops, 
they were driven out of the country, and forced 
to fly to foreign parts.* 

By the way, the duke claims the right of 
chief to the Macphersons, as he is, in fact, of 
the Gordons. 

* Till the Highlanders lost their ferocity with their arms, they 
suffered from each other all that malignity could dictate or preci- 
pitance could act ; every provocation was revenged with blood, 
and no man, that ventured into a numerous company, by whatever 
occasion brought together, was sure of returning without a 
wound. If they are now exposed to foreign hostilities, they may 
talk of the danger, but can seldom feel it ; if they are no longer 
martial, they are no longer quarrelsome. Misery is caused, for 
the most part, not by a heavy crush of disaster, but by the corrosion 
of less visible evils, which canker enjoyment and undermine se- 
curity. The visit of an invader is necessarily rare, but domestic 
animosities allow no cessation. Johnson's Journey, Works, 
vol. viii. 319. 


The other example is of a minister, who had 
a small farm assigned him; and, upon his en- 
trance to it, some of the clan, in the dead of 
the night, fired five balls through his hut, which 
all lodged in his bed ; but he, happening to be 
absent that night, escaped their barbarity, but 
was forced to quit the country. Of this he 
made to me an affecting complaint. 

This kind of cruelty, I think, arises from 
their dread of innovations, and the notion they 
entertain, that they have a kind of hereditary 
right to their farms ; and that none of them are 
to be dispossessed, unless for some great trans- 
gression against their chief, in which case every 
individual would consent to their expulsion.* 

* The history of trials for houghing of cattle and wilful fire- 
raising, in England, will show that the Highlands is not the only 
country where ejected or discontented tenants know how to re- 
venge themselves on those against whom they have conceived a 
grudge. In the records of their criminal courts, there will not be 
found one such instance for a hundred that have occurred among 
their neighbours. In the Highlands, the tenants do not burn the 
houses of their landlords and tacksmen, although many shocking 
instances have occurred, within these few years, of the landlords 
setting fire to the cottages of their tenants, in order to drive 
them out, when they had nowhere else to go for shelter. This 
is a species of arson against which our legislature has provided 
no remedy ; but the crime will soon bring its own punishmermt, 

a bold peasantry, their country's pride, 

When once destroyed, can never be supplied, Goldsmith. 


Having lately mentioned the dirk,* I think it 
may not be unseasonable here to give you a 
short description of that dangerous weapon; 
and the rather, as I may have occasion to speak 
of it hereafter. The blade is straight, and ge- 
nerally above a foot long ; the back near [one- 
eighth of] an inch thick ; the point goes off like 
a tuck, and the handle is something like that of 
a sickle. They pretend they cannot do well 
without it, as being useful to them in cutting 
wood, and upon many other occasions ; but it 
is a concealed mischief, hid under the plaid, 
ready for secret stabbing ; and, in a close en- 
counter, there is no defence against it. 

I am far from thinking there is anything in 
the nature of a Highlander, as such, that should 
make him cruel and remorseless ; on the con- 
trary, I cannot but be of opinion that nature 
in general is originally the same in all mankind, 
and that the difference between country and 

* The dirk was a sort of dagger, stuck in the belt. I fre- 
quently saw this weapon, in the shambles of Inverness, converted 
iato a butcher's knife, being, like Hudibras's dagger, 

a serviceable dudgeon, 

Either for fighting or for drudging. 

The dirk was a weapon used by the ancient Caledonians: for 
Dio Cassius, in his account of the expedition of Severus, men- 
tions it under the name of Ej/xept&oi', pugio, or little dagger. 
Pennant's Scotland, vol. i. 212. 


country arises from education and example. 
And from this principle I conclude, that even a 
Hottentot child, being brought into England 
before he had any knowledge, might, by a 
virtuous education and generous example, be- 
come as much an Englishman in his heart as 
any native whatever. But that the Highlanders, 
for the most part, are cruel, is beyond dispute, 
though all clans are not alike merciless. In 
general they have not generosity enough to give 
quarter to an enemy that falls in their power ; 
nor do they seem to have any remorse at shed- 
ding blood without necessity. 

This appeared a few years ago, with respect 
to a party of soldiers, consisting of a serjeant 
and twelve men, who were sent into Lochaber 
after some cows that were said to be stolen. 
The soldiers, with their arms slung, were care- 
lessly marching along by the side of a lake, 
where only one man could pass in front; and, 
in this circumstance, fell into an ambuscade of 
a great number of Highlandmen, vassals of an 
attainted chief, who was in exile when his 
clan was accused of the theft. 

These were lodged in a hollow on the side of 
a rocky hill; and though they were themselves 
out of all danger, or might have descended and 
disarmed so small a party, yet they chose ra- 
ther, with their fire-arms, as it were wantonly 


to pick them off, almost one by one, till they 
had destroyed them all, except two, who took 
to their heels, and waded a small river into the 
territory of another chief, where they were safe 
from further pursuit ; for the chiefs, like princes 
upon the continent whose dominions lie conti- 
guous, do not invade each other's boundaries 
while they are in peace and friendship with one 
another, but demand redress of wrongs ; and 
whosoever should do otherwise, would commit 
an offence in which every tribe is interested, 
besides the lasting feud it might create between 
the two neighbouring clans. 

P. S. One of these soldiers, who, in his flight, 
had fixed his bayonet, turned about at the edge 
of the water upon a Highlandman, who, for 
greater speed, had no other arms than his broad- 
sword, and, at the same time, it is said, the 
soldier at once sent his bayonet and a ball 
through his body.* 

* The general and heavy accusations, with which this story is 
prefaced, are utterly unwarranted, even by the partial instance 
here given. These very Highlanders had been pursued by the 
soldiers with fire and sword plundered and ruined and their 
chief was then stripped of everything and banished, a martyr to 
political opinion, and what he conceived to be patriotism and 
loyalty. Stealing or starving was their only alternative. Under 
such circumstances, we cannot see the cowardice of firing upon re- 
gular soldiers, their enemies, who were armed with loaded muskets 
and bayonets for their destruction. The two soldiers, who runaway, 


naturally accused them of cowardice ; and he who sent a ball through 
a Highlander, who had no fire-arms, was accounted a gallant fel- 
low as all his companions would have been, had they acted as 
the Highlanders did. To have disarmed them would have been 
cruelty to themselves, as they had learned, from harsh experience, 
as their persons must have been recognized, and every man of 
them, upon the evidence of those very soldiers, hunted out, and 
hanged for felony and rebellion, in resisting the king's troops. 

Perhaps it was well for the soldier who shot the Highlander 
that his musket was loaded, otherwise he might have come off no 
better than the Frenchman did at Quebec : A Highlander, 
whose regiment, having been surrounded, had cut their way out 
with the broad-sword, with the loss of half their number, being 
the last in retreating, and highly chafed, was stopped by a forward 
Frenchman returning from the pursuit, who charged him with his 
bayonet, but soon finding the disadvantage of his weapon, cried 
out " quarter!" " Quarter ye," said Donald, " te muckle 
teefil may quarter ye for me ! Py my soul, I'fe nae time to 
quarter ye ; ye maun e'en pe contentit to pe cuttit in twa .'" 
making his head fly from his shoulders. 


BUT the rancour of some of those people, in 
another case, was yet more extraordinary than 
the instance in my last letter, as the objects of 
their malice could not seem, even to the utmost 
cowardice, to be in any manner of condition to 
annoy them. This was after the battle of Glen- 
shiels, in the rebellion of 1719, before-men- 
tioned. As the troops were marching from the 
field of action to a place of encampment, some 
of the men who were dangerously wounded, 
after their being carried some little way on 
horseback, complained they could no longer 
bear that uneasy carriage, and begged they 
might be left behind till some more gentle con- 
veyance could be provided. 

In about three or four hours (the little army 
being encamped) parties were sent to them with 
hurdles, that had been made to serve as a kind 
of litters; but, when they arrived, they found 
to their astonishment that those poor, miserable 
creatures had been stabbed with dirks in twenty 
places of their legs and arms, as well as their 


bodies, and even those that were dead had been 
used in the same savage manner. This I have 
been assured of by several officers who were in 
the battle, Scots as well as English. 

I make no manner of doubt you will take 
what is to follow to be an odd transition, i. e. 
from the cruelty of the ordinary Highlanders, 
to dialect and orthography, although you have 
met with some others not more consistent; but 
then you will recollect what I said in my first 
epistle, that I should not confine myself to me- 
thod, but give you my account just as the se- 
veral parts of the subject should occur from my 
memorandums and memory. 

Strange encomiums I have heard from the 
natives upon the language of their country, 
although it be but a corruption of the Irish 
tongue;* and, if you could believe some of them, 
it is so expressive, that it wants only to be 
better known to become universal. But as for 
myself, who can only judge of it by the ear, it 
seems to me to be very harsh in sound, like 
the Welsh, and altogether as gutteral, which 
last, you know, is a quality long since banished 
all the polite languages in Europe. 

It likewise seems to me, as if the natives 

* The Irish is as corrupted as the Gaelic, but neither of them 
has corrupted the other, as botli have been equally affected hy the 
settlement of Nor-men and Saxons among them. 



affected to call it Erst,* as tttough it were a 
language peculiar to their country ; but an Irish 
gentleman who never before was in Scotland, 
and made with me a Highland tour, was per- 
fectly understood even by the common people ; 
and several of the lairds took me aside to ask 
me who he was, for that they never heard their 
language spoken in such purity before. This 
gentleman told me that he found the dialect to 
vary as much in different parts of the country 
as in any two counties of England. There are 
very few who can write the character, of which 
the alphabet is as follows : 

* The natives call it Gaelic (the language of the white men), 
and the Lowlanders call it Erse^ which is only their manner of 
pronouncing Irish. 





& Ailim. 



& Beith. 



c Coll. 



b Duir. 



G Eadha. 



jfi Fearn. 



5 Gort. 



ly Uath. 

j i 


j i Jogha. 



1 Luis. 



^ Muin. 



/M Nuin. 


o Oun. 



P Peithboc. 



f* Rui's.' 



^* S'uil. 



t Thine. 



U Uir.* 

* There is no Irish character ; but the Irish and Highlanders 
retained the bastard Roman character (which was in use all over 
the west of Europe six or seven centuries ago) longer than any 
of the other nations, except the Icelanders. 

G 2 


In writing English, they seem to have no rule 
of orthography, and they profess they think 
good spelling of no great use ; but if they read 
English authors, I wonder their memory does 
not retain the figures, or forms of common 
words, especially monosyllables ; but it may, 
for aught I know, be affectation. 

I have frequently received letters from mi- 
nisters and lay gentlemen, both esteemed for 
their learning in dead languages, that have 
been so ill spelt, I thought I might have ex- 
pected better from an ordinary woman in Eng- 
land. As for one single example, for heirs 
(of Latin derivation), airs repeated several 
times in the same letter ; and, further, one word 
was often variously spelt in the same page.* 

The Highland dress consists of a bonnet 
made of thrum without a brim, a short coat, 
a waistcoat, longer by five or six inches, short 
stockings, and brogues, or pumps without heels. 
By the way, they cut holes in their brogues, 
though new made, to let out the water, when 
they have far to go and rivers to pass: this 
they do to preserve their feet from galling. 

Fewbesides gentlemen wear the trowze, that 
is, the breeches and stockings all of one piece,, 
and drawn on together ; over this habit they 

* Shakespeare spelt his own name three different ways in his 
last will. 


wear a plaid, which is usually three yards long 
and two breadths wide, and the whole garb is 
made of chequered tartan, or plaiding : this, 
with the sword and pistol, is called a full dress, 
and, to a well-proportioned man, with any to- 
lerable air, it makes an agreeable figure ; but 
this you have seen in London, and it is chiefly 
their mode of dressing when they are in the 
Lowlands, or when they make a neighbouring 
visit, or go anywhere on horseback ; but when 
those among them who travel on foot, and have 
not attendants to carry them over the waters, 
they vary it into the quelt, which is a manner I 
am about to describe. 

The common habit of the ordinary High- 
landers is far from being acceptable to the eye : 
with them a small part of the plaid, which is 
not so large as the former, is set in folds and 
girt round the waist, to make of it a short 
petticoat that reaches half way down the thigh, 
and the rest is brought over the shoulders, and 
then fastened before, below the neck, often 
with a fork, and sometimes with a bodkin or 
sharpened piece of stick, so that they make 
pretty nearly the appearance of the poor women 
in London when they bring their gowns over 
their heads to shelter them from the rain. In 
this way of wearing the plaid, they have some- 
times nothing else to cover them, and are often 


barefoot ; but some I have seen shod with a 
kind of pumps, made out of a raw cow-hide, 
with the hair turned outward, which being ill 
made, the wearer's foot looked something like 
those of a rough-footed hen or pigeon : these 
are called quarrants, and are not only offensive 
to the sight, but intolerable to the smell of 
those who are near them. The stocking rises 
no higher than the thick of the calf, and from 
the middle of the thigh to the middle of the 
leg is a naked space, which, being exposed to 
all weathers, becomes tanned and freckled, 
and the joint being mostly infected with the 
country distemper, the whole is very disagree- 
able to the eye. This dress is called the quelt ; 
and, for the most part, they wear the petticoat 
so very short, that in a windy day, going up a 
hill, or stooping, the indecency of it is plainly 

A Highland gentleman told me one day mer- 
rily, as we were speaking of a dangerous pre- 
cipice we had passed over together, that a 
lady of a noble family had complained to him 
very seriously, that as she was going over the 
same place with &gilly, who was upon an upper 
path, leading her horse with a long string, she 
was so terrified with the sight of the abyss, 
that, to avoid it, she was forced to look up 
towards the bare Highlander all the way long. 


I have observed before, that the plaid serves 
the ordinary people for a cloak by day and 
and bedding at night : by the latter it imbibes 
so much perspiration, that no one day can free 
it from the filthy smell; and even some of bet- 
ter than ordinary appearance, when the plaid 
falls from the shoulder, or otherwise requires 
to be re-adjusted, while you are talking with 
them, toss it over again, as some people do the 
knots of their wigs, which conveys the offence 
in whiffs that are intolerable; of this they 
seem not to be sensible, for it is often done 
only to give themselves airs. 

Various reasons are given both for and against 
the Highland dress.* It is urged against it, 
that it distinguishes the natives as a body of 
people distinct and separate from the rest of 
the subjects of Great Britain, and thereby is 

* Dr. Johnson remarks " There was, perhaps, never any 
change of national manners so quick, so great, and so general, as 
that which has operated in the Highlands, by the last conquest 
and the subsequent laws. We came hither too late to see what 
we expected a people of peculiar appearance, and a system of 
antiquated life. The clans retain little now of their original cha- 
racter ; their ferocity of temper is softened, their military ardour 
is extinguished ['?], their dignity of independence is depressed, 
their contempt of government subdued, and their reverence for 
their chiefs abated. Of what they had before the late conquest 
of their country, there remain only their language and their po- 
verty. Johnson's Journey ', Works, vol. viii. 334. 



one cause of their narrow adherence among 
themselves, to the exclusion of all the rest of 
the kingdom ; but the part of the habit chiefly 
objected to is the plaid* (or mantle), which, 
they say, is calculated for the encouragement of 
an idle life, in lying about upon the heath, in 
the day-time, instead of following some lawful 
employment ; that it serves to cover them in 
the night when they lie in wait amo'ng the 
mountains, to commit their robberies and de- 
predations ; and is composed of such colours 
as altogether, in the mass, so nearly resemble 
the heath on which they lie, that it is hardly to 
be distinguished from it until one is so near 
them as to be within their power, if they have 
any evil intention; that it renders them ready, 
at a moment's warning, to join in any rebellion, 
as they carry continually their tents about them : 
and, lastly, it was thought necessary, in Ire- 
land, to suppress that habit by act of parliament, 
for the above reasons, and no complaint for the 

* Their predecessors used short mantles, or playds, of divers 
colours, sundry ways divided : and, amongst some, the same cus- 
tome is observed to this day ; but, for the most part, they are 
browne now, most near to the colour of the hadder, to the effect 
when they lie amongst the hadder, the bright colour of their 
playds shall not bewray them, with the which, rather coloured 
than clad, they suffer the most cruell tempests that blowe in the 
open field, in such sort that under a wrythe of snow they sleepe 
sound. Lord Somers's Tracts, vol. iii. 388. 


want of it now remains among the mountaineers 
of that country. 

On the other hand, it is alleged, the dress is 
most convenient to those who, with no ill de- 
sign, are obliged to travel from one part to 
another upon their lawful occasions, viz. That 
they would not be so free to skip over the rocks 
and bogs with breeches as they are in the short 
petticoat ; that it would be greatly incommodious 
to those who are frequently to wade through 
waters, to wear breeches, which must be taken 
off upon every such occurrence, or would not 
only gall the we'arer, but render it very un- 
healthful and dangerous to their limbs, to be 
constantly wet in that part of the body, espe- 
cially in winter-time, when they might be fro- 
zen : and with respect to the plaid in particular, 
the distance between one place of shelter and 
another, is often too great to be reached before 
night comes on ; and, being intercepted by sud- 
den floods, or hindered by other impediments, 
they are frequently obliged to lie all night 
in the hills, in which case they must perish, 
were it not for the covering they carry with 
them. That even if they should be so fortunate 
as to reach some hospitable hut, they must 
lie upon the ground* uncovered, there being 

* When they were obliged to lie abroad in the hills, in their 
hunting-parties, or tending their cattle, or in war, the plaid served 


nothing to be spared from the family for that 

And to conclude, a few shillings will buy this 
dress for an ordinary Highlander, who, very 
probably, might hardly ever be in condition to 
purchase a Lowland suit, though of the coarsest 
cloth or stuff, fit to keep him warm in that cold 

I shall determine nothing in this dispute, but 
leave you to judge which of these two reason- 
ings is the most cogent. 

The whole people* are fond and tenacious of 

them both for bed and for covering : for when three men slept 
together, they could spread three folds of cloth below and six 
above them. The garters of their stockings were tied under 
their knees, with a view to give more freedom to the limb, and 
climb the mountains with greater ease. The lightness and loose- 
ness of their dress; the custom they had of going always on foot, 
never on horseback ; their love of long journeys ; but, above all, 
that patience of hunger and every kind of hardship, which car- 
ried their bodies forward, even after their spirits were exhausted, 
made them exceed all other European nations in speed and per- 
severance of march. Montrose's marches were sometimes sixty 
miles in a day Dalrymples Memoirs of Great Britain. 

* In contrasting the former customs, occupations, and manners 
of the Highlanders, we are struck with a wide difference in mo*-? 
respects. We no longer behold them that high independent race 
of people which they were even a century ago, Much more, 
then, must the inhabitants of these mountains, two or more cen- 
turies since, have differed from the present race, their descen- 
dants. Campbell's Journey. 


the Highland clothing-, as you may believe by 
what is here to follow. 

Being, in a wet season, upon one of my pere- 
grinations, accompanied by a Highland gentle- 
man, who was one of the clan through which I 
was passing, I observed the women to be in 
great anger with him about something that I did 
not understand : at length, I asked him wherein 
he had offended them ? Upon this question he 
laughed, and told me his great-coat was the 
cause of their wrath ; and that their reproach 
was, that he could not be contented with the 
garb of his ancestors, but was degenerated into 
a Lowlander, and condescended to follow their 
unmanly fashions.* 

The wretched appearance of the poor High- 
land women that come to this town, has been 
mentioned; and here I shall step out of the way 
to give you a notable instance of frugality in 
one of a higher rank. 

There is a laird's lady, about a mile from one 
of the Highland garrisons, who is often seen 
from the ramparts, on Sunday mornings, coming 
barefoot to the kirk, with her maid carrying the 
stockings and shoes after her. She stops at the 
foot of a certain rock, that serves her for a seat, 
not far from the hovel they call a church, and 
there she puts them on ; and, in her return to 
* See at the end of this letter. 


the same place, she prepares to go home bare- 
foot as she came ; thus, reversing the old Mosaic 
precept. What English squire was ever blessed 
with such a housewife ! 

But this instance, though true to my know- 
ledge, I have thought something extraordinary, 
because the Highlanders are shy of exposing 
their condition to strangers, especially the Eng- 
lish, and more particularly to a number of 
officers, to whom they are generally desirous to 
make their best appearance. But, in my jour- 
neys, when they did not expect to be observed 
by any but their own country people, I have 
twice surprised the laird and his lady without 
shoes or stockings, a good way from home, in 
cold weather. The kirk above-mentioned brings 
to my memory a curiosity of the same kind. 

At a place in Badenoch, called Ilan Don, as I 
passed by a hut of turf something larger than 
ordinary, but taking little notice of it, I was 
called upon by one of the company to stop and 
observe its figure, which proved to be the form 
of a cross : this occasioned several jokes from a 
libertine and a presbyterian upon the Highland 
cathedral and the non-jurors, in all which they 
perfectly agreed. 

The ordinary girls wear nothing upon their 
heads until they are married or have a child, 
except sometimes a fillet of red or blue coarse 


cloth, of which they are very proud ; but often 
their hair hangs down overthe forehead like that 
of a wild colt. 

If they wear stockings, which is, very rare, 
they lay them in plaits one above another, from 
the ancle up to the calf, to make their legs ap- 
pear as near as they can in the form of a cylin- 
der; * but I think I have seen something like this 
among the poor German refugee women and the 
Moorish men in London. By the way, these 
girls, if they have no pretensions to family (as 
many of them have, though in rags), they are 
vain of being with child by a gentleman ; and 
when he makes love to one of them, she will 
plead her excuse, in saying he undervalues him- 
self, and that she is a poor girl not worth his 
trouble, or something to that purpose. 

This easy compliance proceeds chiefly from a 
kind of ambition established by opinion and cus- 
tom ; for as gentility is of all things esteemed 
the most valuable in the notion of those people, 
so this kind of commerce renders the, poor 
plebeian girl, in some measure, superior to her 
former equals. 

From thenceforward she becomes proud, and 
they grow envious of her being singled out from 
among them, to receive the honour of a gentle- 

* They wore wrappers (as is still the case in many parts of the 
continent), before knit stockings were in general use. 


man's particular notice : * but otherwise they 
are generally far from being immodest ; and as 
modesty is the capital feminine virtue, in that 
they may be a reproach to some in higher cir- 
cumstances, who have lost that decent and 
endearing quality. 

You know I should not venture to talk in 

this manner at , where modesty would be 

decried as impolite and troublesome, and I and 
my slender party ridiculed and borne down by 
avast majority. I shall here give you a sample 
of the wretchedness of some of them. 

In one of my northern journeys, where I 
travelled in a good deal of company, there was, 
among the rest, a Scots baronet, who is a cap- 
tain in the army, and does not seem (at least to 
me) to affect concealment of his country's dis- 
advantage. This gentleman, at our inn, when 
none but he and 1 were together, examined the 
maid-servant about her way of living ; and she 
told him (as he interpreted it to me) that she 
never was in a bed in her life, or ever took off 
her clothes while they would hang together: 
but in this last, I think, she was too general; for 
I am pretty sure she was forced to pull them off 
now and then for her own quiet. But I must 
go a little further. 

* This applies to all the countries of which \\c have any 


One half of the hut, by partition, was taken 
up with the field-bed of the principal person 
amonsf us, and therefore the man and his wife 

O . * 

very courteously offere'd to sit up and leave 
their bed to the baronet and me (for the rest of 
the company were dispersed about in barns); 
but we could not resolve to accept the favour, 
for certain reasons, but chose rather to lie upon 
the benches with our saddles for pillows. 

Being in a high part of the country, the night 
was excessive cold, with some snow upon the 
mountains, though in August, and the next day 
was the hottest that I think I ever felt in my 

The violent heat of the sun among the rocks, 
made my new companions (natives of the hovel) 
such voracious cannibals that I was obliged to 
lag behind, and set my servant to take vengeance 
on them for the plentiful repast they were 
making at my expence, and without my consent, 
and by which I was told they were become as 
red as blood. But I should have let you know, 
that when the table over-night was spread with 
such provisions as were carried with us, our 
chief man would needs have the lady of the 
house to grace the board ; and it fell to my lot 
to sit next to her till I had loaded her plate, and 
bid her go and sup with her husband, for I fore- 
saw the consequence of our conjunction. 


The young children of the ordinary High- 
landers are miserable objects indeed, and are 
mostly over-run with that distemper which some 
of the old men are hardly ever freed of from 
their infancy. I have often seen them come out 
from the huts early in a cold morning stark 
naked, and squat themselves down (if I might 
decently use the comparison) like dogs on a 
dunghill, upon a certain occasion after confine- 
ment. And at other times they have but little 
to defend them from the inclemencies of the 
weather in so cold a climate : nor are the chil- 
dren of some gentlemen in much better con- 4 
dition, being strangely neglected till they are 
six or seven years old : this one might know 
by a saying I have often heard, viz. " That a 
gentleman's beams, are to be distinguished by 
their speaking-English." 

I was invited one day to dine with a laird, not 
very far within the hills ; and, observing about the 
house, an English soldier, whom I had often seen 
before in this town, I took an opportunity to ask 
him several questions. This man was a bird- 
catcher, and employed by the laird to provide 
him with small birds, for the exercise of his 
hawks. Among other things, he told me that 
for three or four days after his first coming, he 
had observed in the kitchen (an out-house hovel) 
a parcel of dirty children half naked, whom he 


took to belong to some poor tenant, till at last 
he found they were a part of the family ; but, 
although these were so little regarded, the young 
laird, about the age of fourteen, was going to 
the university; and the eldest daughter, about 
sixteen, sat with us at table, clean and genteely 

But, perhaps, it may seem, that in this and 
other observations of the like kind, whenever I 
have met with one particular fact, I would make 
it thought to be general. I do assure you it is 
not so: but when I have known any thing to be 
common, I have endeavoured to illustrate it by 
some particular example. Indeed, there is 
hardly any thing of this sort that I have men- 
tioned, can be so general as to be free from all 
exception ; it is justification enough to me if the 
matter be generally known to answer my de- 
scription, or what I have related of it. But I 
think an apology of this nature to you is need- 
less. It is impossible for me, from my own, 
knowledge, to give you an account of the ordi- 
nary way of living of those gentlemen ; because, 
when any of us (the English) are invited to their 
houses, there is always an appearance of plenty 
to excess ; and it has been often said they will 
ransack all their tenants rather than we should 
think meanly of their housekeeping: but I have 
heard it from many whom they have employed, 



and perhaps had little regard to their observa- 
tions as inferior people, that, although they have 
been attended at dinner by five or six servants, 
yet,\vith all that state, they have often dined upon 
oatmeal varied several ways, pickled herrings, 
or other such cheap and indifferent diet : but 
though I could not personally know their ordi- 
nary bill of fare, yet I have had occasion to ob- 
serve they do not live in the cleanest manner, 
though some of them, when in England, affect 
the utmost nicety in that particular. 

A friend of mine told me, some time ago, 
that, in his journey hither, he stopped to bait 
at the Bull inn, at Stamford, which, I think, 
is one among the best in England. He soon 
received a message by the landlord, from two 
gentlemen in the next room, who were going 
from these parts to London, proposing they 
might all dine together: this he readily con- 
sented to, as being more agreeable to him than 
dining alone. 

As they sat at table, waiting for dinner, one 
of them found fault with the table-cloth, and said 
it was not clean ; there was, it seems, a spot 
or two upon it, which he told them was only 
the stain of claret, that could not at once be 
perfectly washed out ; then they wiped their 
knives, forks, and plates with the napkins ; and, 
in short, nothing was clean enough for them ; 


and this to a gentleman who is himself ex- 
tremely nice in every thing of that nature. At 
last, says my friend, vexed at the impertinent 
farce, as he called it, " Gentlemen, I am vastly 
pleased at your dislikes, as I am now upon my 
journey to Scotland (where I have never yet 
been), because I must infer I shall there find 
these things in better condition." " Troth," 
says one of them, " ye canno want it."* 

I am sorry for such instances, whereby a fop, 
conscious of the fallacy, exposes his country, 
and brings a ridicule upon other gentlemen of 
modesty and good sense, to serve a momentary 
vanity, if not to give affronts by such gross 

I know very well what my friend thinks of 
them now, and, perhaps, by their means, of 
many others who do not deserve it. 

There is one gasconade of the people here- 
abouts, which is extraordinary : they are often 
boasting of the great hospitality of the High- 
landers to strangers ; for my own part, I do not 
remember to have received one invitation from 
them, but when it was with an apparent view 
to their own interest : on the contrary, I have 
several times been unasked to eat, though there 

* He must have said, " You canno miss it." 
H 2 

100 LETTER XXil. 

was nothing to be purchased within many miles 
of the place.* But one particular instance was 
most inhospitable. Being benighted, soon after 
it was dark, 1 made up to the house of one to 
whom I was well known; and, though I had 
five 01* six miles to travel over a dangerous 
rugged way, wherein there was no other shel- 
ter to be expected ; yet, upon the trampling of 
my horses before the house, the lights went out 
in the twinkling of an eye, and deafness at 
once seized the whole family. 

The latter part of what I have written of this 
letter relates chiefly to gentlemen who inha- 
bit the Hills not far from the borders of the 
Lowlands, or not very far from the sea, or 
communication with it by lakes ; as, indeed, 
most part of the houses of the chiefs of clans 
are in one or other of these situations. These 
are sometimes built with stone and lime, and 
though not large, except some few, are pretty 
commodious, at least with comparison to these 

* The. hospitality of the Highlanders is too well known to re- 
quire any encomium here; and those who read M. Wade's Re- 
port, in the Appendix, will be satisfied, that the relative situations 
of English military men, and commissioners of all sorts, and the 
gentry of the greater part of Inverness-shire, were then such, 
that particular instances of cold distrust, and even rudeness, are not 
much to be wondered at. 


that are built in the manner of the huts, of 
which, if any one has a room above, it is, by 
way of eminence, called a lofted house ;* but 
in the inner part of the mountains there are no 
stone buildings that I know of, except the bar- 
racks ; and one may go a hundred miles an- 
end without seeing any other dwellings than 
the common huts of turf. 

I have, indeed, heard of one that was in- 
tended to be built with stone in a remote part 
of the Highlands, from whence the laird sent a 
number of Highlanders, with horses, to fetch a 
quantity of lime from the borders ; but, in their 
way home, there happened to fall a good deal 
of rain, and the lime began to crackle and 
smoke. The Highlanders not thinking, of all 
things, water would occasion fire, threw it all 
into a shallow rivulet, in order to quench it, 
before they proceeded further homeward ; and 
this, they say, put an end to the project. But 
I take this to be a Lowland sneer upon the. 
Highlanders, though not improbable. 

I have mentioned above, among other situa- 
tions of stone-built houses, some that are near 
to lakes which have a communication with the 

There are, in several parts of the Highlands, 

* The term loft is of general application in Scotland; in 
England it is confined to a hay -loft, organ-loft, &c. 


winding hollows between the feet of the moun- 
tains whereinto the sea flows, of which hollows 
some are navigable for ships of burden, for ten 
or twenty miles together inland : those the natives 
call lochs, or lakes, although they are salt, and 
have a flux and reflux, and therefore, more pro- 
perly, should be called arms of the sea. I 
could not but think this explanation necessary, 
to distinguish those waters from the standing 
fresh-water lakes, which I have endeavoured 
to describe in a former letter. 


ON this subject we shall neither tire the reader with our own 
learning, nor put that which others have wasted upon it in requi- 
sition. The chequered stuff, commonly worn by the Highlanders, 
by them called breacan (particoloured), and by the Lowlanders 
tartan (Fr. tiretaine), is neither peculiar to Celts nor Goths, and 
is to be found, at this day, although not in such general use, among 
many of the Sclavonic tribes, who have no connection with either. 
The wife of every Russian boor, in the north-western provinces 
at least, who can make her such a present at her marriage (and 
it is often a sine qua non), has a tartan plaid, which she wears 
just as the Scotish women, in our author's time, did theirs : it is 
of massy silk, richly varied, with broad cross-bars of gold and 
silver tissue, and makes a very splendid appearance. 

That the Lowlanders had their tartan from the French, at a 
time when it was fashionable in other countries, may be pre- 



sumed from the name; and to imagine that the manufacture 
began amnog the Highlanders would be ridiculous. 

The Highland field-dress of the men was of a coarser texture, 
and thickened by fulling ; it was called cadda (catk da\ the war 
colour), and was a tartan of such colours as were least likely to 
betray the wearer, among the woods and heaths, either to the 
game he was in quest of, or to his enemies. The dyes were mostly 
extracted from woad, when it could be got, and from heath-tops, 
the bark and tender twigs of the alder, and other vegetable sub- 
stances. As to the ancient form of the dress, nothing could be 
more simple : the gentlemen, having less frequent occasion to use 
their full suit as a blanket, wore a yellow shirt, a vest, trowsers, 
and mantle, of the same fashion as their neighbours. In Ireland, 
a few centuries ago, the lower class seldom encumbered them- 
selves with dress of any kind within doors ; and there is every 
reason to suppose that this was also the case among their bre- 
thren in Scotland. When they went out, they threw a light 
blanket round their shoulders, the upper part made tight with 
skewers, and the lower gathered up into folds, which they se- 
cured under the girdle, from which the sword, dagger, purse, fec. 
were suspended ; this they called feile, a word of the same origin 
with the Scotishfell; English, peel ; Old English, pilche ; Ger- 
man and northern, peltz, pels, &c. ; and the Latin, pellis ; all 
which signified an external surface, skin, or covering of any 
kind. Skins, in the modern acceptation of the term, were, no 
doubt, the first covering; and the name was afterwards properly 
enough applied to a covering of cloth. At night they took out 
the skewers, unbuckled the girdle, and reduced the feile to its 
primary form of a blanket, to sleep in. The women wore a 
petticoat, or trowsers, of skin, cloth, or what they could get, and 
a cloth thrown round their bodies when they went out. As civi- 
lization advanced, a shirt, with a tunic, or short jacket, was in- 
troduced ; the plaits of the feile were rendered permanent by 
sewing, and the plaid, to be used either as a mantle or blanket, 

l/\/ ' 


was added. The kilt, feile-beg (little feile), or petticoat, now 
worn, has succeeded to the folded-up ends of the original blanket; 
it is all that remains of the ancient costume, and was reduced 
to its present form some time in the beginning of the last century. 
The bonnet, or flat, blue thrum cap, is of a very modern date, 
and was introduced from the Lowlands. The gentlemen of 
the Highlands wore such hats and caps as were worn by gen- 
tlemen of their times in neighbouring countries ; and, in the days 
of our grandfathers, the lower class of Highlanders were, by their 
Lowland neighbours (in the north-east Lowlands, at least), deno- 
minated families, from their wearing no covering on their head 
but their hair, which, at a more early period, they probably 
matted and felted, for horror and defence, as the Irish did in 
Queen Elizabeth's time. The helmet-looking bonnet, now worn, 
was introduced within the memory of persons still living. 

From this simple account of the Highland dress, it will be seen 
that it has in itself nothing peculiar to one country more than ano- 
ther ; as the different improvements upon the manner of girding 
the loins, and trussing up a blanket, can hardly be called a national 
costume. The dress of the Romans began in the same manner, 
and went through nearly the same varieties of form ; but, for a 
long time after the Romans left Britain, it can hardly be imagined, 
that the inhabitants of the more remote Highlands had either 
wool or cloth of their own produce. Scattered as their sheep, if 
they had any, must have been upon the mountains, they had no 
means of protecting them from the wolves; and they had not 
then patient industry enough to look after tame animals that could 
not take care of themselves. 

The names oi the different parts of this dress are all conform- 
able to.what has been said above. Thefeile-beg is, by the Low- 
ianders, called a kilt, from its having been kilted, quilted, or 
trussed up under the girdle. The meaning of the Latin toga is 
found in the Gaelic toga 1 , in English, to tuck up, from the 
i*ame circumstance ; and a square body-cloth, still worn round the 


shoulders by the Highland women, is called a tunic, or tonnac. 
Plaid (which is always misapplied in England), in its primary 
sense, means simply any thing broad and flat, and thence, a broad, 
unformed piece of cloth ; and, in its its secondary and modern ac- 
ceptation, a blanket ; in which last import alone it is now used 
by the Highlanders. The trews, or trowsers, formerly worn only 
by the gentry, and by the lower classes, after the philibeg was 
proscribed by act of parliament, are so denominated, from the 
Gaelic trusa, to truss up, as they supplied the place of the end 
of thefeile which was trussed under the girdle. 


WHEN a young couple are married, for the first 
night the company keep possession of the dwell- 
ing-house or hut, and send the bridegroom and 
bride to a barn or out-house, giving them straw, 
heath, or fern, for a bed, with blankets for their 
covering ; and then they make merry, and dance 
to the piper all the night long. 

Soon after the wedding-day, the new-married 
woman sets herself about spinning her winding- 
sheet, and a husband that should sell or pawn 
it, is esteemed, among all men, one of the most 

At a young Highlander's first setting up for 
himself, if he be of any consideration, he goes 
about among his near relations and friends ; and 
from one he begs a cow, from another a sheep ; a 

* When a woman of the lower class in Scotland, however 
poor, and whether married or single, commences housekeeping, 
her first care, after what is absolutely necessary for the time, is 
to provide death-linen for herself, and those who look to her for 
that office; and her next, to earn, save, and lay tip (not put out 
to interest), as much money as may decently serve for funeral ex- 
pences; and many keep sacred those honourable deposits and 


third gives him seed to sow his land, and so on, 
till he has procured for himself a tolerable stock 
for a beginner. This they call thigging. 

After the death of any one, not in the lowest 
circumstances, the friends and acquaintance of 
the deceased assemble to keep the near rela- 
tions company the first night ; and they dance,* 
as if it were at a wedding, till the next morning, 
though all the time the corpse lies before them 
in the same room. If the deceased be a woman, 
the widower leads up the first dance; if a man, 
the widow. But this Highland custom I knew, 
to my disturbance, within less than a quarter of 
a mile of Edinburgh, before I had been among 

salutary mementos for two or three score years, or longer. 
This gives a very favourable and edifying picture of the state of 
mind and sentiment among the Scotish peasantry, on which many 
excellent remarks will be found in Mrs. Grant's Essays on the 
superstitions of the Highlanders. Strangers have suspected 
that lady of partiality ; but it is a partiality very honourably 
earned by those who are the objects of it. 

* In some parts of the country the funeral dances are still kept 
up. They commence on the evening of the death; all the 
neighbours attend the summons ; and the dance, accompanied by 
a solemn, melancholy strain called a lament, is begun by the 
nearest relatives, who are joined by most of those present ; and 
this is repeated every evening until the interment. These dances 
may, perhaps, be intended as an expression of joy that their friend 
is removed from this vale of tears to a better state of existence : 
and though the practice does not commend itself to the refined 
mind, yet it conveys no absolute impropriety. I cannot say so 

108 LETTER XXIir. 

the Mountains. It was upon the death of a 
smith, next door to my lodgings, who was a 

The upper class hire women to moan and la- 
ment at the funeral of their nearest relations. 
These women cover their heads with a small 
piece of cloth, mostly green, and every now and 
then break out into a hideous howl and Ho-bo- 
bo-bo-boo, as I have often heard is done in 
some parts of Ireland. 

This part of the ceremony is called a coronoch, 
and, generally speaking, is the cause of much 
drunkenness, attended with its concomitants, 
mischievous rencounters and bloody broils ; for 

much with respect to another prevailing custom in the High- 
lands. I allude to their habit of drinking at funerals. A neigh- 
bourhood scarcely ever, I believe, assemble upon these occasions 
without raising their drooping spirits above the ordinary pitch 
by whiskey, the favourite liquor of the country. The following 
circumstance was related to us by an eye-witness. A person, 
originally from Oban, had spent some time in the neighbourhood 
of Inverary in the exercise of some mechanic art, and dying 
there, his corpse, at his own request, was carried by his friends 
towards Oban for interment. On a hill between Inverary and 
Loch Awe, just above Port Sonachan, they were met by the 
relations of the deceased from Oban, who came to convey the 
corpse the remainder of the way. The parting could not take 
place without a glass of spirits, that had been plentifully provided 
by the Oban party. The drinking commenced, and continued 
until upwards of forty persons were rendered incapable of motion 
from its disgusting effects. Garnet s Tour, vol. i. 119, 120, 


all that have arms in their possession, accoutre 
themselves with them upon those occasions. 

I have made mention of their funeral piles in 
a former letter ; but I had once occasion to take 
particular notice of a heap of stones, near 
the middle of a small piece of arable land. 
The plough was carefully guided as near to it 
as possible; and the pile, being "like others I 
had seen upon the moors, I asked, by an inter- 
preter, whether there was a rock beneath it; 
but, being answered in the negative, I further 
inquired the reasons why they .lost so much 
ground, and did not remove the heap. To this 
I had for answer, it was a burial place, and they 
deemed it a kind of sacrilege to remove a sin- 
gle stone ; and that the children, from their in- 
fancy, were taught the same veneration for it. 
Thus a parcel of loose stones are more reli- 
giously preserved among them than, with us, 
the costly monuments in Westminster- Abbey ; 
and thence I could not but conclude that the 
inclination to preserve the remains and memory 
of the dead is greater with those people than 
it is among us. The Highlanders, even here in 
this town, cannot forego the practice of the 
Hills, in raising heaps of stones over such as 
have lost their lives by some misfortune ; for, 
in Oliver's Fort, no sooner was the body of an 
officer removed from the place where he fell in 
a duel, than they set about the raising such a 


heap of stones upon the spot where he had 
lain. So much for mountain-monuments. 
Those who are said to have the second sight* 


deal chiefly in deaths, and it is often said to be 

* Of an opinion received for centuries by a whole nation, and 
supposed to be confirmed, through its whole descent, by a series 
of successive facts, it is desirable that the truth should be esta- 
blished or the fallacy detected. The second sight is an impres- 
sion made either by the mind upon the eye, or by the eye upon 
the mind ; by which things distant or future are perceived, and 
seen as if they were present. A man, on a journey far from 
home, falls from his horse ; another, who is perhaps at work about 
the house, sees him bleeding on the ground, commonly with a 
landscape of the place where the accident befals him ; another 
seer, driving home his cattle, or wandering in idleness, or musing 
in the sunshine, is suddenly surprised by the appearance of a 
bridal ceremony, or funeral procession, and counts the mourners 
or attendants, of whom, if he knows them, he relates the names; 
if he knows them not, he can describe their dresses. Things 
distant are seen at the instant when they happen : of things future, 
I know not that there is any rule for determining the time be- 
tween the sight and the event. The receptive faculty, for power 
it cannot be called, is neither voluntary nor constant. The ap- 
pearances have no dependence upon choice ; they cannot be 
summoned, detained, or recalled the impression is sudden, and 
the effect often painful. 

To collect sufficient testimonies, for the satisfaction of the pub- 
lic, or of ourselves, would have required more time than we 
could bestow. There is against it, the seeming analogy of things 
confusedly seen and little understood ; and for it, the indistinct 
cry of national persuasion, which may be, perhaps, at last resolved 
into prejudice and tradition. I never could advance my curiosiiy 
to conviction, but came away at last only wHling to believe. 
Johnsons Journey, Works, vol. viii. 343. 


a gift peculiar to some families ; that is, the 
cheat has, with some, been handed down from 
father to son :* yet I must confess they seldom 
fail to be right when they reveal their pre- 
dictions, for they take the surest method 
to prophetise, which is to divulge the oracle 
after the fact. Of this I had once an opportu- 
nity to convince a Highland gentleman, from 
whom I thought might have been expected 
more reason and less prejudice, than to be 
gulled by such impostors. 

The matter was this : A poor Highlander 
was drowned in wading a ford, and his body 
afterwards put into a small barn ; not many 
days after, the laird, endeavouring to pass the 
same water, which was hard by his own house, 

* In mountainous regions, deceptions of sight, fata morgana, 
&c. are more common ; and these, with the effects of dreary so- 
litude and awful vastness upon the imagination, give rise to super- 
stitions to which the enthusiasm of the Highlanders, and the 
warmth of affection with which they cherish the living and the 
dead, has given some peculiar features. Their superstitions are, 
in general, vecy poetical, reduced to a more regular system than 
elsewhere, and all of a moral tendency, as well as favourable to 
religion. An illiterate Highlander loses much more than he 
gains by getting rid of them. But this subject has fallen into 
much better hands ; and Mrs. Grant's admirable Essays on the 
Superstitions of the Highlanders are, or ought to be, read by all 
who are curious in the history of the human mind in general, or 
of the Highlanders in particular. 

112 LETTER XX11I. 

his horse gave way, and he was likewise drowned, 
and carried into the same hut. Soon after, a 
story began to pass for current, that such-a-one, 
the second-sighted, foretold, when the body of 
the poor man lay exposed to view, that it would 
not be long before a greater man than he should 
lie in the same place. This was all that was 
pretended, and that too was afterwards found 
to be an invention, arising from the circumstance 
of two persons, at a little distance of time, be- 
ing drowned in the same ford, and both their 
bodies carried to one hovel, which, indeed, 
stood singly, near the place where they were 
both stopped by the rocks. 

Witches and goblins are likewise pretty com- 
mon among the Highlanders, and they have 
several old prophecies handed down to them 
by tradition ; among which, this is one, That 
the time shall come when they shall measure 
out the cloth of London with a long pole.* 

As the little manufacture they had was cloth, 
so, at the time when this pretended prophecy 
was broached, they esteemed that the only 
riches, and did not know of the treasure of 
Lombard-Street ; like the country boy, that fed 

* This had some sense it, as well as the following : " The 
time shall come when every river shall have a bridge where it 
has a boat, and a white cairn (stone and-Iime edifice) on every 
green slope on its banks." 


poorly and worked hard, who said, if he were a 
gentleman, he would eat fat bacon, and swing 
all day long upon Gaffer such-a-one's yate. 

A certain laird, whom I have mentioned se- 
veral times before, though not by name, is fre- 
quently heard to affirm, that, at the instant he 
was born, a number of swords, that hung up in 
the hall of the mansion-house, leaped of them- 
selves out of the scabbards, in token, I suppose, 
that he was to be a mighty man in arms ; and 
this vain romance seems to be believed by the 
lower order of his followers ; and I believe 
there are many that laugh at it in secret, who 
dare not publicly declare their disbelief. But, 
because the miracle has hitherto only por- 
tended the command of his clan and an inde- 
pendent company, he has endeavoured to supply 
the defeat of the presage by his own epitaph, 
altogether as romantic, in his own kirk, which 
he still lives to read, whenever he pleases to 
gratify his vanity with the sight of it. 

They have an odd notion relating to dead 
bodies that are to be transported over rivers, 
lakes, or arms of the sea : before it is put on 
board they appraise and ascertain the value of 
the boat or vessel, believing, if that be neg- 
lected, some accident will happen to endanger 
the lives of those who are embarked in it ; but, 
upon recollection, I think some of our seamen 

VOL. ir. i 


entertain this idle fancy in some measure ; for, 
I have heard, they do not care for a voyage 
with a corpse on board, as though it would be 
the occasion of tempestuous weather : and, 
lastly (for I shall not trouble you longer with 
things of this kind, which are without number), 
the Highlanders are of opinion, that it is in the 
power of certain enchantresses to prevent the 
act of procreation; but I am rather inclined to 
believe it was originally a male artifice among 
them to serve as an excuse in case of imbe- 

The marriages of the chiefs and chieftains 
are, for the most part, confined to the circuit of 
the Highlands ; and they generally endeavour to 
strengthen their clan by what they call power- 
ful alliances : but I must not be understood to 
include any of the prime nobility of Scotland, 
of whom there are some chiefs of clans : their 
dignity places them quite out of the reach of 
any thing I have said, or have to say, in rela- 
tion to the heads of Highland families, who re- 
side constantly with them, and govern them in 
person. As to the lower class of gentry and 
the ordinary people, they generally marry in 
the clan whereto they appertain. 

All this may be political enough, i. e. the 
chief to have regard to the Highlands in gene- 
* See Burns'* " Address to the Deil." , 


ral, and his followers to their own particular 
tribe or family, in order to preserve themselves 
a distinct people ; but this continues them in a 
narrow way of thinking with respect to the rest 
of mankind, and also prevents that addition to 
the circumstances of the whole, or part of the 
Highlands, which might be made by marriages 
of women of fortune in the Lowlands. This, 
in time, might have a good effect, by producing 
an union, instead of that coldness, to say -no 
more, which subsists, at present, between the 
natives of those two parts of Scotland, as if 
they bore no relation one to another, considered 
as men and subjects of the same kingdom, and 
even the same part of it. Yet I must here 
(and by the bye) take notice of one thing, 
wherein they perfectly agree, which experience 
has taught me to know perfectly well ; and that 
is, to grudge and envy those of the south part 
of the island any profitable employment among 
them, although they themselves are well re- 
ceived and equally encouraged and employed 
with the natives in that part of the king- 
dom ; and I think further, they have sometimes 
more than their share, if they must needs 
keep up such a partial and invidious distinc- 

But to return to the marriages of the High- 
landers. Perhaps, after what has been said of 

i 2 


the country, it may be asked, what Lowland 
woman would care to lead a life attended with 
so many inconveniencies ? Doubtless there are 
those who would be as fond of sharing the clan- 
nish state and power with a husband, as some 
others are of a name, when they sell themselves 
for a title ; for each of these kinds of vanity is 
very flattering : besides, there are many of the 
Lowland women who seem to have a great 
liking to the Highlandmen, which they cannot 
forbear to insinuate in their ordinary conversa- 
tion. But such marriages are very rare ; and I 
know but one instance of them, which, I must 
confess, will not much recommend the union of 
which I have been speaking ; but then it is but 
one, and cannot be the cause of any general in- 

A certain chieftain took to wife the daughter 
of an Edinburgh goldsmith; but this Lowland 
match was the cause of much discontent in the 
tribe, as being not only a diminution of the ho- 
nour of the house, but, in their opinion, an ill 
precedent besides ; and nothing was more com- 
mon among the people of that branch of the 
clan, than to ask among themselves " Were 
there not smiths enough in the clan that had 
daughters ? How comes our chief then to have 
married the daughter of a Lowland smith?" 
Making no distinction between an Edinburgh 


goldsmith and a Highland blacksmith. They 
thought it was a disgrace, of which every one 
partook, that he should match himself with a 
tradesman's daughter, a Lowland woman, and 
no way derived from the tribe. 

This proved in the end to be a fatal mar- 
riage ; but as it is uncertain, and therefore 
would be unjust for me to determine, in a matter 
whereof I have not a perfect knowledge, I can- 
not conclude which of the two, the husband or 
the wife, was the occasion of the sad catas- 
trophe. I shall only say what I know, viz. that 
an old rough Highlander, of sixty at least, was 
imprisoned at one of the barracks, while I was 
there, for accepting favours from the lady. She 
was to be sent to Edinburgh to answer the ac- 
cusation ; and, while she was preparing to go, 
and the messenger waiting without doors, to 
conduct her thither she died. 

The clan whereto the above-mentioned tribe 
belongs, is the only one I have heard of which 
is without a chief; that is, being divided into 
families under several chieftains, without any 
particular patriarch of the whole name : and 
this is a great reproach, as may appear from an 
affair that fell out at my table in the Highlands, 
between one of that name and a Cameron. 
The provocation given by the latter was Name 
your chief. The return to it at once was, You 

118 LETTER XXlll. 

are a fool. They went out the next morning ; 
but, having early notice of it, I sent a small 
party of soldiers after them, which, in all pro- 
bability, prevented some barbarous mischief 
that might have ensued ; for the chiefless High- 
lander, who is himself a petty chieftain, was 
going to the place appointed with a small-sword 
and pistol ;* whereas the Cameron (an old man) 
took with him only his broad-sword, according 
to agreement. 

When all was over, and I had at least seem- 
ingly reconciled them, I was told the words (of 
which I seemed to think but slightly), were to 
one of that clan the greatest of all provocations. 

In a bargain between two Highlanders, each 
of them wets the ball of his thumb with his 
mouth, and, then joining them together, it is 
esteemed a very binding act;t but, in more 
solemn engagements, they take an oath in a 
manner which I shall describe in some succeed- 
ing letter. 

When any one of them is armed at all points, 

* The Highlanders had just been disarmed, otherwise no 
Highlander would have carried a small sword that could have 
procured a broad one ; and the pistol was as much a part of 
dress as the philibeg, and had nothing to do with the duel. He 
that took unfair advantages in single combat was renounced by his 
own clan, and no other would receive or protect him. 

t This, in the Lowlands, is called palming thumbs, and is 
still in use, but chiefly among children. 


he is loaded with a target, a firelock, a heavy 
broad-sword, a pistol, stock and lock of iron, a 
dirk ; and, besides all these, some of them carry 
a sort of knife, which they call a skeen-ockles, 
from its being concealed in the sleeve near the 

This last is more peculiar to the robbers, who 
have done mischief with it, when they were 
thought to have been effectually disarmed. 

To see a Highlander thus furnished out might 
put one in mind of Merry Andrew, when he 
comes from behind the curtain, in a warlike 
manner, to dispute the doctor's right to his 
stage. He is then, in his own individual person, 
a whole company of foot, being loaded with 
one of every species of the arms and trophies 
of a regiment, viz. a pike, halbert, firelock, 
sword, bayonet, colours, and drum. 

Sometimes, when a company of them have 
previously resolved and agreed to be peaceable 
and friendly over their usky, they have drawn 
their dirks and stuck them all into the [cheese] 
table before them, as who should say, " No- 
thing but peace at this meeting no private 
stabbing to-night." But, in promiscuous com- 
panies, at great assemblies, such as fairs, bu- 
rials, &c. where much drunkenness prevails, 
there scarcely ever fails to be great riots and 
much mischief done among them. 


To shoot at a mark, they lay themselves all 
along behind some stone or hillock, on which 
they rest their piece, and are along while taking 
their aim; by which means they can destroy 
any one unseen, on whom they would wreak 
their malice or revenge. 

When in sight of the enemy, they endeavour 
to possess themselves of the higher ground, as 
knowing they give their fire more effectually by 
their situation one above another, being without 
discipline; and also that they afterwards de- 
scend on the enemy with greater force, having, 
in some measure, put it out of their power to 
recede in the first onset. 

After their first fire (I need not have said their 
first, for they rarely stand a second), they throw 
away their fire-arms and plaids, which encumber 
them, and make their attack with their swords ; 
but if repulsed, they seldom or never rally, but 
return to their habitations. If they happen to 
engage in a plain, when they expect the enemy's 
fire, they throw themselves down on the ground. 
They had ever a dread of the cavalry, and did 
not care to engage them, though but few in 

* At Killicrankie they certainly showed no such fear; but, in 
general, the author's remark is just; and it was not easy to per- 
suade many of them, who had never encountered cavalry, that the 
horses were not trained to bite, and strike with their fore-feet. 


I chanced to be in company one time with an 
old Highlander, as I passed over the plain of 
Killicranky, where the battle was fought be- 
tween king William's troops, commanded by 
general Mackay, and the rebel Highlanders 
under the earl [viscount] of Dundee. 

When he came to the great stone that is raised 
about the middle of the flat, upon the spot where 
Dundee fell, we stopped; and there he de- 
scribed to me, in his manner, the order and end 
of the battle, of which I shall now give you the 
substance only, for he was long in telling his 

He told me that Mackay extended his line, 
which was only two deep, the whole length of 
the plain; designing, as he supposed, to sur- 
round the Highlanders, if they should descend 
from the side of an opposite hill, where they 
were posted. That after the first firing, the 
rebels came down, six or seven deep, to attack 
the king's troops; and, their rear pushing on 
their front, they by their weight charged through 
and through those feeble files; and, having 
broke them, made with their broad-swords a 
most cruel carnage ; and many others who ex- 
pected no quarter, in order to escape the High- 
land fury, threw themselves into that rapid 
river (the Tay), and were drowned. But he 
said there was an English regiment who kept 


themselves entire (the only one that was there), 
whom the Highlanders did not care to attack; 
and, after the slaughter was over and the enemy 
retired, that single corps marched from the field 
in good order. He further told me, there were 
some few horse badly mounted, who, by the 
strength and weight of the Highland files were 
pushed into the river, which was close in their 

On any sudden alarm and danger of distress 
to the chief, he gives notice of it throughout his 
own clan, and to such others as are in alliance 
with him. This is done by sending a signal, 
which they call t\\z fiery-cross, -\ being two sticks 
tied together transversely, and burnt at the 
ends; with this, he sends directions in writing, 
to signify the place of rendezvous. And, when 
the principal person of any place has received 
this token, he dismisses the messenger, and 
sends it forward to another; and so on, till all 
have received the intelligence. Upon the re- 

* See note at the end of this letter. 

t Mr. Pennant thus describes the sending of t\\c fiery-cross. 
" In every clan there is a known place of rendezvous, styled 
Carn-a-whin, to which they must resort on this signal. A person 
is sent out full-speed with a pole burnt at one end and bloody at 
the othor, and with a cross at the top, which is called crosh-tarie 
(the cross of shame, or the fiery-cross): the first, from the disgrace 
they would undergo if they declined appearing; the second, from 
the penalty of having fire and sword carried through their country 


ceipt of this signal, all that are near immediately 
leave their habitations, and repair to the place 
appointed, with their arms, and oatmeal for their 
provision. This they mingle with the water of 
the next river or bourn they come to, when hun- 
ger calls for a supply; and often, for want of a 
proper vessel, sup the raw mixture out of the 
palms of their hands. 

They have been used to impose a tax upon 
the inhabitants of the Low-country, near the 
borders of the Highlands, called black mail* (or 

in case of refusal. The first bearer delivers it to the next person 
he meets, he running full-speed to the third, and so on. In every 
clan the bearer had a peculiar cry of war: that of the Macdonalds 
was Freich, or heath; that of the Grants, Craig-elachie ; of the 
Mackenzies, Tulliekard. In the late rebellion, it was sent by 
some unknown, disaffected hand through the country of Breadal- 
bane, and passed through a tract of thirty-two miles in three ho,urs, 
but without effect." Pennant's Scotland, vol. i. 212, 213. 

The cran-tarra was used among the ancient Scandinavians, 
who, it is probable, introduced it into the Highlands. 

* The celebrated Barisdale carried the art of plunder to the 
highest pitch of perfection. Besides exerting all the common 
practices, he imposed that article of commerce called the black- 
meal to a degree beyond what was ever known to his prede- 
cessors. This was a forced levy, so called from its being com- 
monly paid in meal, which was raised far and wide on the estate 
of every nobleman and gentleman, in order that their cattle 
might be secured from the lesser thieves, over whom he secretly 
presided, and whom he protected. He raised an income of five 
hundred a-year by these taxes, and behaved with genuine honour 
in restoring, on proper consideration, the stolen cattle of his 


rent), and levy it upon them by force; and 
sometimes upon the weaker clans among them- 
selves. But as it was made equally criminal, 
by several acts of parliament, to comply with 
this exaction and to extort it, the people, to 
avoid the penalty, came to agreement with the 
robbers, or some of their correspondents in the 
Lowlands, to protect their houses and cattle. 
And, as long as this payment was punctually 
made, the depredations ceased, or otherwise the 
collector of this imposition was by contract 

friends. He observed a strict fidelity towards his own gang, and 
yet was indefatigible in bringing to justice any rogues that inter- 
fered with his own. He was a man of a polished behaviour, fine 
address, and fine person. He considered himself in a very high 
b'ght, as a benefactor to the public, and preserver of general tran- 
quillity ; for on the silver plates, the ornaments of his baldrick, he 
thus addresses his broad-sword 

Hae tibi erunt artes, pacis componere mores ; 

Parcere subjectis et debellare superbos. 

Pennant's Scotland, vol. ii. 405. 

Barisdale, as described here and elsewhere, is presumed to have 
furnished the original for the character of M'lver, in" Waverly.'' 
Mr. Pemiant is wrong in his derivation of black-mail, of which a 
good account will be found in the Glossaries of Schilter and 
Wachter. It is compounded of black, from blacken, to plunder, 
and mal, a mark; land-mark; term; tribute, the payment of 
which marked a certain term ; rent. When a Scotsman says he 
has paid his mail, (i. e. rent), it is as if he said " he has paid his 
term," which is commonly martinmas. The word mail has crept 
into the Gaelic from the Saxon. 


obliged to make good the loss, which he seldom 
failed to do. 

These collectors gave regular receipts, as for 
safeguard money ; and those who refused to pay 
it, were sure to be plundered, except they kept 
a continual guard of their own, well armed, which 
would have been a yet more expensive way of 
securing their property. And, notwithstanding 
the guard of the independant Highland compa- 
nies, which were raised chiefly to prevent thefts 
and impositions of this nature, yet I have been 
certainly informed, that this black mail, or eva- 
sive safeguard-money, has been very lately paid 
in a disarmed part of the northern Highlands; 
and, I make no doubt, in other places besides, 
though it has not yet come to my knowledge.* 

The gathering-in of rents is called uplifting 

* In 1341, a Monroe of Foulis having met with some affront 
from the inhabitants of Strathardalc, between Perth and Athol, 
determined on revenge, collected his clan, made his inroad, and 
returned with a large booty of cattle. As he passed by Moy-hall, 
this threshold of the Highlands, the Macintosh of 1454 sent to 
demand the strike creich, or road collop, being a certain part of 
the booty, challenged according to an ancient custom by the chief- 
tains, for liberty of passing with it through their territories. Mon- 
roe acquiesced in the demand, and offered a reasonable share : but 
not less than half would content the chieftain of Clan Chatten. 
This was refused, and a battle ensued, 'in which Macintosh 
was killed, and Munroe lost his hand.- Pennant's Scotland^ 
vol. i. 209. 


them, and the stealing of cows they call lifting, a 
softening word for theft ; as if it were only col- 
lecting their dues. This I have often heard ; 
but it has so often occurred to me, that we have 
the word shop-lifting, in the sense of stealing, 
which I take to be an old English compound 
word. But, as to the etymology of it, I leave 
that to those who are fond of such unprofitable 
disquisitions, though I think this is pretty evi- 

When a design is formed for this purpose, they 
go out in parties from ten to thirty men, and 
traverse large tracts of mountains, till they ar- 
rive at the place where they intend to commit 
their depredations ; and that they choose to do 
as distant as they can from their own dwellings. 
The principal time for this wicked practice is 
the Michaelmas moon,* when the cattle are in 
condition fit for markets, held on the borders of 
the Lowlands. They drive the stolen cows in 

* Theft and plundering, instead of being infamous, were 
reckoned the most wholesome exercises of youth, when they were 
without the limits of their own community, and were not taken 
in the fact. From this source the chiefs derived rewards for their 
numerous followers, and dowries sometimes for their daughters. 
It is known that one of them engaged, in a contract of marriage, 
to give his son-in-law the purchase of three Michaelmas moons, 
at a season of the year when the nights were long, and the cattle 
strong eaough to bear hard driving. This transaction happened 


the night-time, and by day they lie concealed 
with them in bye-places among the mountains, 
where hardly any others come ; or in woods, if 
any such are to be found in their way. 

I must here ask leave to digress a little, and 
take notice, that I have several times used the 
word cows for a drove of cattle. This is accord- 
ing to the Highland style ;* for they say A drove 
of cows, when there are bulls and oxen among 
them, as we say A flock of geese, though there 
be in it many ganders. And having just now 
mentioned the time of lifting, it revived in my 
memory a malicious saying of the Lowlanders, 
viz. that the Highland lairds tell out their daugh- 
ters' tochers by the light of the Michaelmas 
moon.f But to return : 

on the main land, where dark woods, extensive wastes, high 
forked mountains, and a coast indented with long winding branches 
of the sea, favoured the trade. Those were strong holds, little 
frequented by strangers, where the ancient practices and preju- 
dices might be preserved to the last period of time, without some 
such violent shock as that of the year 1745. -Pennant's Scotland, 
vol. iii. 427. 

* He should have said " the Lowland style.' 1 '' 

f These peculiarities of speech, &c. belong to the Scotish and 
English borderers, by whom, in speaking English to the author, 
they have been appropriated to the Highlanders. Lifting means 
raising ; and they talk of lifting cattle, as an Englishman does 
of raising rents, taxes, contributions, &c. 

128 LETTER XXI 1 1. 

Sometimes one band of these robbers* has 
agreed with another to exchange the stolen cat- 
tle; and, in this case, they used to commit their 
robberies nearer home; and by appointing a 
place of rendezvous, those that lifted in the north- 
east (for the purpose) have exchanged with 
others toward the west, and each have sold them 
not many miles from home, which was com- 
monly at a very great distance from the place 
where they were stolen. Nay, further, as I 
have been well informed, in making this con- 
tract of exchange, they have, by correspon- 
dence, long before they went out, described to 
each other the colour and marks of the cows 
destined to be stolen and exchanged. 

I remember a story concerning a Highland- 

* The greatest robbers were used to preserve hospitality to 
those that come to their houses; and, like the wild Arabs, ob- 
served the strictest honour towards their guests, or those that put 
implicit confidence in them. The Kennedies, two common 
thieves, took the young pretender under protection, and kept him 
with faith inviolate, notwithstanding they knew an immense re- 
ward was offered for his head. They often robbed for his support ; 
and, to supply him with linen, they once surprised the baggage- 
horses of one of our general officers. They often went in disgusc 
to Inverness, to buy provisions for him. At length, a very con- 
siderable time after, one of these poor fellows, who had virtue 
sufficient to resist the temptation of thirty thousand pounds, was 
hanged for stealing a cow, value thirty shillings. Penna/it's 
Scotland, vol. ii. 401. 

LETTER XXiri. 129 

woman, who, begging a charity of a Lowland 
laird's lady, was asked several questions ; and, 
among the rest, how many husbands she had 
had? To which she answered, three. And 
being further questioned, if her husbands had 
been kind to her, she said the two .first were 
honest men, and very careful of their family, for 
they both died for the law, that is, were hanged 
for theft . " Well, but as to the last ? " " Hout ! " 
says she, " a fulthy peast ! he dy'd at hame, lik 
an auld dug, on a pucklc o' strae."* 

Those that have lost their cattle sometimes 
pursue them by the tract, and recover them from 
the thieves. Or if in the pursuit they are 
hounded (as they phrase it) into the bounds of 
any other chief, whose followers were not con- 
cerned in the robbery, and the track is there lost, 
he is obliged by law to trace them out of his 
territory, or make them good to the owner. 

By the way, the heath, or heather, being 
pressed by the foot, retains the impression, or 
at least some remains of it, for a long while, 
before it rises again effectually; and besides, 
you know, there are other visible marks left 
behind by the cattle. But even a single High- 

* This woman was a worthless vagrant, such as may be found 
in any country, and had naturally connected herself with persons 
of her own sort ; but neither she nor they were fair specimens of 
Highland character. 



lander has been found by the track of his foot, 
when he took to hills out of the common ways, 
for his greater safety in his flight, as thinking 
he could not so well be discovered from hill to 
hill, every now and then, as he often might be 
in the road (as they call it) between the moun- 

If the pursuers overtake the robbers, and find 
them inferior in number, and happen to seize 
any of them, they are seldom prosecuted,* there 
being but few who are in circumstances fit to 
support the expence of a prosecution ; or, if 
they were, they would be liable to have their 
houses burnt, their cattle hocked, and their 
lives put in danger, from some of the clan to 
which the banditti belonged. 

But, with the richer sort, the chief, or chief- 
tain, generally makes a composition, when it 
comes to be well known the thieves belonged to 
his tribe, which he willingly pays, to save the 

* And it ought to be added here, for the consideration of our 
legislature, that this forbearance tended to diminish, instead of 
increasing the number of offenders and offences. We know no 
people who are so averse to taking away life, except in fair fight- 
ing in the field, as the Highlanders : even their most adventurous 
and irreclaimable freebooters contemplated with horror the mis- 
fortune (regarded as fatal) of having the curse of blood upon their 
heads. It would ruin ROB ROY, as a fashionable hero, to in- 
sinuate that he never committed a murder in his life ; and yet we 
think it most probable that he never did ! 

il .11 .J07 


lives of some of his clan ; and this is repaid him 
by a contribution among the robbers, who never 
refuse to do their utmost to save those of their 
fraternity. But it has been said this payment 
has been sometimes made in cows, stolen from 
the opposite side of the country, or paid out of 
the produce of them when sold at the market. 

It is certain some of the Highlanders* think 
of this kind of depredation as our deer-stealers 
do of their park and forest enterprizes; 
that is, to be a small crime, or none at all. 
And, as the latter would think it a scandalous 
reproach to be charged with robbing a hen- 
roost, so the Highlander thinks it less shameful 
to steal a hundred cows than one single sheep ; 
for a sheep-stealer is infamous even among 

If I am mistaken in that part of my account 

* There is not an instance of any country having made so sud- 
den a change in its morals as that of the Highlands : security and 
civilization now possess every part; yet thirty years have not 
elapsed since the whole was a den of thieves of the most extraor- 
dinary kind. They conducted their plundering excursions with 
the utmost policy, and reduced the whole art of theft into a re- 
gular system. From habit it lost all appearance of criminality : 
they considered it as labouring in their vocation ; and, when a 
party was formed for an expedition against another's property, 
they and their friends prayed as earnestly for success, as if they 
were engaged in the most laudable design. Pennant's Scotland, 
vol. ii. 400. 

K 2 


of the lifting of cattle, which is beyond my own 
knowledge, you may lay the blame to those 
gentlemen who gave me the information. 

But there is no more wonder that men of ho- 
nesty and probity should disclose, with abhor- 
rence, the evil practices of the vile part of their 
countrymen, than that I should confess to them 
we have, among us, a number of villains that 
cannot plead the least shadow of an excuse for 
their thievings and highway-robberies, unless 
they could make a pretence of their idleness and 

When I first came into these parts, a High- 
land gentleman, in order to give me a notion of 
the ignorance of some of the ordinary High- 
landers, and their contempt of the Lowland 
laws (as they call them), gave me an account, 
as we were walking together, of the behaviour 
of a common Highlandman at his trial before 
the lords of justiciary in the Low-country. By 
the way, the appearance of those gentlemen 
upon the bench is not unlike that of our judges 
in England. 

I shall repeat the fellow's words, as near as I 
can, by writing in the same broken accent as 
my Highland friend used in mimicking the cri- 

This man was accused of stealing, with others, 
his accomplices, a good number of cattle ; and, 


while his indictment was in reading, setting 
forth that he, as a common thief, had lain in wait, 
&c. the Highlander lost all patience, and, inter- 
rupting, cried out, " Common tief ! common 
tief ! steal ane cow, twa cow, dat be common 
tief: lift hundred cow, dat be shentilman's tro- 
vers." After the court was again silent, and 
some little progress had been made in the par- 
ticulars of the accusation, he again cried out, 
" Ah, hone ! dat such fine shentilmans should 
sit dere wid der fine cowns on, te mak a parshel 
o' lees on a peur honesht mon." 

But, in conclusion, when he was told what 
was to be his fate, he roared out most outra- 
geously, and, fiercely pointing at the judges, 
he cried out, " Ah, for a proad- sword an a tirk, 
to rid de hoose o' tose foul peastes !" 

Personal robberies are seldom heard of 
among them : for my own part, I have several 
times, with a single servant, passed the moun- 
tain-way from hence to Edinburgh, with four or 
five hundred guineas in my portmanteau, with- 
out any apprehension of robbers by the way, or 
danger in my lodgings by night ; though, in my 
sleep, any one, with ease, might have thrust a 
sword, from the outside, through the wall of the 
hut and my body together. I wish we could 
say as much of our own country, civilized as it 


is said to be, though one cannot be safe in going 
from London to Highgate. 

Indeed, in trifling matters, as a knife, or some 
such thing, which they have occasion for, and 
think it will cause no very strict inquiry, they 
are, some of them, apt to pilfer ; while a silver 
spoon, or a watch, might lie in safety, because 
they have no means to dispose of either, and to 
make use of them would soon discover their 
theft. But I cannot approve the Lowland say- 
ing, viz. " Show me a Highlander, and I will 
show you a thief." 

Yet, after all, I cannot forbear doing justice 
upon a certain laird, whose lady keeps a change 
far in the Highlands, west of this town. 

This gentleman, one day, opportunity tempt- 
ing, took a fancy to the lock of an officer's 
pistol ; another time he fell in love (like many 
other men) with a fair but deceitful outside, in 
taking the boss of a bridle, silvered over, to be 
all of that valuable metal.* It is true, I never 
lost any thing at his hut ; but the proverb made 
me watchful I need not repeat it. 

* Such things might have been injured, and afterwards put 
out of the way, by some over-curious and mischievous boy, but 
certainly never were stolen by a man. The accusation was pro- 
bably an invention of the officer's servant to save himself from 


But let this account of him be of no conse- 
quence ; for, I do assure you, I never knew any 
one of his rank do any thing like it in all the 

And, for my own part, I do not remember 
that ever I lost any thing among them but a pair 
of new doe-skin gloves; and, at another time, 
a horse-cloth, made of plaiding, which was 
taken away while my horses were swimming 
across a river ; and that was sent me the next 
day to Fort William, to which place I was 
going when it was taken from the rest of my 
baggage, as it lay upon the ground. I say no- 
thing in this place of another robbery, because 
I know the motive to it was purely revenge. 

I thought I had done with this part of my 
subject; but there is just now come to my 
remembrance a passage between an ordinary 
Highlandman and an officer on half-pay, who 
lives in this town, and is himself of Highland 

He told me, a long while ago, that, on a cer- 
tain time, he was going on foot, and unattended, 
upon a visit to a laird, about seven or eight 
miles among the Hills; and, being clad in a 
new glossy summer-suit (instead of his High- 
land dress, which he usually wore upon such 
occasions), there overtook him in his way an 


ordinary fellow, who forced himself upon him 
as a companion. 

When they had gone together about a mile, 
his new fellow-traveller said to him " Troth, 
ye ha getten bra clais;" of which the officer 
took little notice ; but, some time after, the fel- 
low began to look sour, and to snort, as they 
do when they are angry : " Ah, 'tis ponny geer I 
what an I sho'd tak 'em frae ye noo?" Upon 
this, the officer drew a pistol from his breast, 
and said, " What do you think of this ?" 

But, at sight of the pistol, the fellow fell on 
his knees, and squalled out, " Ah, hone ! ah, 
hone! she was but shokin." 

It is true, this dialogue passed in Irish, but this 
is the language in which I was told the story. 

But I have known several instances of com- 
mon Highlanders, who, finding themselves like 
to be worsted, have crouched and howled like a 
beaten spaniel, so suddenly has their insolence 
been turned into fawning. But, you know, 
we have both of us seen, in our own country, a 
change in higher life not less unmanly. 

You may see, by this additional article, that 
I can conceal nothing from you, even though it 
may seem, in some measure, to call in question 
what I had been saying before. 






THE favourable light in which the VISCOUNT DUNDEE appears in 
the admirable " TALES OF MY LANDLORD," having lately occa- 
sioned a good deal of discussion in England, and more particularly 
in Scotland ; and the supposed partiality of the author to this 
hero, having given rise to much heavy complaint, and many 
severe animadversions from the more rigid Presbyterians of the 
old school ; we have thought proper to subjoin here, characters of 
him and his rival, as they are drawn by a cool, sensible, impar- 
tial and conscientious man, who had the advantage of easy and 
confidential intercourse with the best-informed people of his time, 
who were able to speak from their own personal knowledge. 
They are taken from " A short Account of Scotland; being a 
Description of the Nature of that Kingdom, and what the Con- 
stitution of it is in Church and State, fyc. written by the late 
Reverend Mr. Thomas Morer, Minister of St. Anns, within 
Aldersgate, when he was Chaplain to a Scotch Regiment." This 
tract was first published, as we have been informed, about the 
beginning of last century ; and the edition now before us is dated 
1715. It is extremely rare ; and we have no reason to believe 
that the wonderful author of the " Tales" knew of its existence, 
till after the publication of that popular work. 

" DUNDEE was by name Graham, and by title Clavers, edu- 
cated at St. Andrew's ; where, in his minority, he was admired 
for his parts, and respects to Church-men, which made him dear to 
the Arch-Bishop, of that See, who ever after honour'd and lov'd 
him. Grown to maturity, he goes to Holland, where he was in the 


service of the Prince of Orange, but continued in it not very long, 
upon some disgust there given him. At his return, however, the 
Prince gave him a letter of recommendation, directed to the 
Duke of York, with a request to provide for him ; which accord- 
ingly the Duke did, by interceding with his brother King Charles 
the Second, for an Horse-Captain 's Commission in Scotland, where 
forces were then raising : and 'twas a particular testimony of the 
King's favour ; for though he allowed Duke Lauderdale to dispose 
of the other commissions as he thought good, yet he excepted Mr. 
Grahams, and 'twas the only exception on that occasion. He 
behaved himself so well in this post, that afterwards some scatter'd 
1 and independent troops being formed into a regiment, Capt. Gra- 
hame was made their Colonel, and, in progress of time, Major- 
General of all the Scotch forces, with which character he came to 
England, at the landing of the Prince 1 688. Being found very 
capable to serve the crown, he was admitted into the Privy Coun- 
ct7, who inlarged his commission, and gave him power to reduce 
the West, and make the Dissenters comply with the constitution of 
the Church as it then was ; which he happily then compassed by 
many struggles, and by laying great fines on 'em, but seldom ex- 
acting 'em with rigour. By King James the 7th. he was made 
discount of Dundee, his seat being near that Burrough. And 
upon the news of the Prince's coming, he was order'd to march 
with his regiment into England; where he was like to have 
commanded as eldest Major-General, but the English officers with 
the same commissions would not bear it. He advised K. James 
to three things ; One, to fight the Prince of Orange ; Ano- 
ther, to go personally td the Prince, aad demand his business ; the 
Last, to make his way into Scotland, upon the coldness, he ob- 
served, in the English army and nation. This advice the King 
was inclined to take, but that the news of some Scotch Peers and 
Gentlemen's hastening to London, dishearten'd him, who were sus- 
pected to favour the Prince's design. On the King's departure, 
he apply'd himself to the Prince, with whom he was too free iu 


declaring his thoughts, and therefore could expect no kind recep- 
tion. Upon this he retired ; and hearing of the Scotch Convention, 
he began his journey to Edinburgh, to be present at it. A while 
he sat at this Convention, but discovering a design in hand to 
assassinate him, he first complain'd; and the complaint not 
taking effect, he absented from that meeting ; and, at last, with 
40 Horse (which a little before he commanded, and were resolved 
to run his fortune) rid home, having had first some communica- 
tion with the Duke of Gourdon, who, in behalf of King James, 
commanded the Castle, and would not deliver it up for any pro- 
posals made by the Convention. This treating with the Duke of 
Gourdon, gave his enemies advantage, who thereupon obtain'd 
a vote to make him an intercommond Person, and sent an officer 
to require him to appear before 'em at Edinburgh. But he ex- 
cused himself by two reasons; 1st, his own danger; 2dly, the in- 
disposition of his Lady, who lay in, and was also in some danger on 
account of labour. Whereupon the Convention proceeds, orders 
him to be apprehended, and by that means forces him with his 
little guard into the Mountains ; where the Highlanders flocked 
to him in such numbers, that at last they became a formidable 
army : with these he came to Gilli-cranky ; and had he not been 
there killed, he had been at Edinburgh a few days after. 

"He was a gentleman fix'dinhis/Ze/igion, so that King James 
could not charm him into any dislike of it; but the more he found it 
opposed, the more he loved it. He was a great admirer of the 
Church-of -England-Worship; and often wished Scotland so happy, 
that where God is served, the service might be done in some happy, 
visible instances of Reverence, such as are Order and Decency. 
He was of deep thought and indefatigable industry, ready to exe- 
cute what he design'd, and quick in the contrivance, as well as 
the execution of it. He was a man of bravery and courage, and 
therefore led up all his regiments, which indeed were unwilling 
to advance without him ; yet used the care of a General, to ex- 
pose himself no farther than necessity requires, as being the guide 
and head of his army. And because he was forced to appear 


often at the head of each regiment, to advice and inspirit 'era, 
just before the battel, he put on a sad-colour'd coat over his 
armour, tho' he appeared in Red all the morning before. He seem'd 
to have no base ends in resisting the present government, but (as 
he said), for Conscience and Loyalty-sake. And by virtue of this 
principle it was, that when he surprised Perth, he suffered not 
the least violence or damage to be done the Town; and finding 
500 /. in the Collector of the Revenue 's Room, besides what be- 
longed to the King, he did not touch it, but said, he intended to 
rob no man ; tho' what was the Crown's, he thought he might make 
bold with, seeing what he was then doing was purely to serve his 
Master. He was so great a patron to the Clergy, that they could 
hardly mention him without a tear. His death he took with 
patience, and had at it a sufficient confidence of the Divine Favour. 
For when his favourite Pitcor asked him how he did? and told 
him withal how things went, and that all was well if he were so: 
Then / am well, said he ; and so immediately died. What they 
thought of him in Scotland is partly seen by several copies of 
Verses upon his death. This was one of them : 

" Ultime Scotorum, potuit, quo sospite solo, 
Libertas Patriae salva fuisse tuae, 

Te moriente, novos accepit Scotia cives, 
Accepitque novos, te moriente, Deos. 

Ilia nequit superesse tibi, Tu non potes illi ; 
Ergo, Caledonia? nomen inane, vale ! 

Tuque vale, Gentis prisca? fortissime Ductor 
Ultime Scotorum, ac ultime Grame, vale!" 

" MACKAY was a High-Lander, tho' Commander in Chief 
against 'em. Arrived at Manhood, he sails for Holland, to make 
his fortune ; where, gradually rising, he was at last made a Colonel, 
and with that commis-ion returns into Scotland, when the three 
Regiments were recalled upon Argyle's attempt in that kingdom. 
But Colonel Douglass being a Brigadier at that time, and some 
feuds depending between the two families of Melfort and Doug- 


lass, Melfort (who by religion and zeal for the Popish Interest, 
had the ascendant over King James), to spight the other family, 
obtains a commission from the King to make Col. Mackay a 
Major-General, that so he might command Brigadier Douglass, 
who was certainly the better officer, as well as the better gentle- 
man. And this is the reason he was chief Commander when 
Sir John Lanier was in Scotland : because Sir John was not a 
Major-General till the landing of the Prince of Orange, whereas 
Mackay had his commission when Monmouth appeared in the 
West some years before. 

" He was certainly an Honest Gentleman, a zealous Presby- 
terian, and brave enough, as appear'd at Gilli-cranky, where, 
tho' his conduct was blamed, his courage was not, tho' the flight 
of his men forc'd him to give way. He was a good soldier, 
with sufficient qualifications for a Colonel ; but for a General 
office, it seem'd to be a preferment above his capacity. His ill 
conduct show'd itself divers ways ; First, his neglect of ammu- 
nition when he marched in the Blair of Athol, the soldiers having 
a very slender provision of powder and ball. Then, his going 
with so weak a force against a formidable enemy, who had many 
advantages in that place, and not only the mountains, but the 
people to favour 'em. His often marching the Horse till it was 
dark night, when they were to incamp and forage, appeared very 
strange, when no reason could be offer'd for it : but, on the con- 
trary, 'twas extremely dangerous as well as inconvenient, to be 
moving at such an hour. His travelling up and down the country 
with great bodies of Horse without doing any thing, and for ought 
we could discover, without design to do; this look'd as if he af- 
fected a Cavalcade, or Progress, more than a War, and had a 
mind to ruine the troops, instead of subduing the country. Which, 
and the like instances, tho' frequently remonstrated by the English 
officers, yet made no impression; but he went on in his way, 
that it might not be said he wanted those helps in the Art of War, 
or that they knew 'em better than he." 


BESIDES tracking the cows, as mentioned in my 
last letter, there was another means whereby 
to recover them ; which was by sending persons 
into the country suspected, and by them offer- 
ing a reward (which they call tascal-money ) to 
any who should discover the cattle and those 
who stole them. This, you may be sure, was 
done as secretly as possible. The temptation 
sometimes, though seldom, proved too strong 
to be resisted ; and the cattle being thereby 
discovered, a restitution, or other satisfaction, 
was obtained. But, to put a stop to a practice 
so detrimental to their interest and dangerous 
to their persons, the thievish part of the Ca- 
merons, and others afterwards, by their exam- 
ple, bound themselves by oath never to receive 
any such reward, or inform one against ano- 

This oath they take upon a drawn dirk, which 
they kiss in a solemn manner, consenting, if 
ever they prove perjured, to be stabbed with 
the same weapon, or any other of the like sort. 


Hence they think no wickedness so great as 
the breach of this oath, since they hope for im- 
punity in committing almost every other crime, 
and are so certainly and severely punished for 
this transgression. 

An instance of their severity in this point 
happened in December, 1723, when one of the 
said Camerons, suspected of having taken tas- 
calrmoney, was, in the dead of the night, called 
out of his hut from his wife and children, and, 
under pretence of some new enterprize, allured 
to some distance, out of hearing, and there 
murdered : and another, for the same crime, as 
they call it, was either thrown down some pre- 
cipice, or otherwise made away with, for he 
was never heard of afterwards. 

Having mentioned above the manner of ta- 
king their oath, relating to tascal-money, \ 
shall here give you a specimen of a Highland 
oath upon other occasions ; in taking whereof 
they do not kiss the book, as in England, but 
hold up their right hand, saying thus, or to this 
purpose : 

" By God himself, and as I shall answer to 
God at the great day, I shall speak the truth : 
if I do not, may I never thrive while I live ; 
may I go to hell and be damned when I die. 
May my land bear neither grass nor corn : 
may my wife and bairns never prosper ; may 


my cows, calves, sheep, and lambs, all perish,'" 

I say to this purpose, for I never heard they 
had any established form of an oath* among 
them. Besides, you perceive it must necessa- 
rily be varied according to the circumstances of 
the person who swears, at the discretion of 
him who administers the oath. 

When the chief was an encourager of this 
kind of theft, which I have the charity to be- 
lieve was uncommon, and the robbers suc- 
ceeded in their attempt, he received two-thirds 
of the spoil, or the produce of it ; and the 
remaining third part was divided among the 

The clans that had among them the most of 
villains addicted to these robberies are said, by 
the people bordering on the Highlands, to be 

* They paid a sacred regard to their oath ; but, as superstition 
must, among a set of banditti, infallibly supersede piety, each, like 
the distinct casts of Indians, had his particular object of venera- 
tion: one would swear upon his dirk, and dread the penalty of 
perjury, yet make no scruple of forswearing himself upon the Bi- 
ble ; a second would pay the same respect to the name of his 
chieftain ; a third again would be most religiously bound by the 
sacred book ; and a fourth regard none of the three, and be cre- 
dited only if he swore by his crucifix. It was always necessarj 
to discover the inclination of the person before you put him to the 
test; if the object of his veneration was mistaken, the oath was of 
no avail. Pennant's Scotland, vol. ii. 401. / 


the Gamerons, Mackenzies, the Broadalbin- 
men, the M'Gregors, and the M'Donalds of 
Keppoch and Glenco.* The chieftain of these 
last is said, by his near neighbours, to have 
little besides those depredations for his sup- 
port; and the chief of the first, whose clan has 
been particularly stigmatized for those vio- 
lences, has, as I am very well informed, strictly 
forbidden any such vile practices, which has 
not at all recommended him to some of his fol- 

Besides these ill-minded people among the 
clans, there are some stragglers in the Hills, 
who, like our gypsies, have no certain habita- 
tion, only they do not stroll about in numbers 
like them. These go singly, and, though per- 
fectly unknown, do not beg at the door, but, 
without invitation or formal leave, go into a 
hut, and sit themselves down by the fire, ex- 
pecting to be supplied with oatmeal for their 
present food. When bed-time comes, they wrap 
themselves up in their plaids, or beg the use of 
a blanket, if any to be spared, for their cover- 

* These had the misfortune to be all Jacobites, and our au- 
thor associated only with the favourers of the house of Hanover, 
from whom he obtained his information, which sufficiently accounts 
for so injurious a distinction. If, when outlawed, they took some- 
thing from those who had taken every thing from them, they 
deemed it no robbery. 



ing, and then lay themselves down upon the 
ground in some corner of the hut. Thus the 
man and his wife are often deprived of the free- 
dom of their own habitation, and cannot be 
alone together. But the inhabitants are in little 
danger of being pilfered by these guests nor, 
indeed, do they seem to be apprehensive of it ; 
for not only there is generally little to be stolen, 
but, if they took some small matter, it would be 
of no use to the thief for want of a receiver ; 
and, besides, they would be pursued and easily 
taken. The people say themselves, if it were 
not for this connivance of theirs, by a kind of 
customary hospitality, these wanderers would 
soon be starved, having no money wherewith to 
purchase sustenance.* 

But I have heard great ccmplaint of this 
custom from a Highland farmer of more than 
ordinary substance, at whose dwelling I hap- 
pened to see an instance of this intrusion, it 
being very near to the place where I resided 
for a time ; and he told me he should think him- 
self happy if he was taxed at any kind of rea- 
sonable rate, to be freed from this great incon- 

Above I have given you a sketch of the 
Highland oath, and here I shall observe to you 

* See the extracts from the Gartmore MS. in the Appendix. 



how slightly a certain Highlander thought of 
the Lowland form. 

This man was brought as a witness against 
another in a supposed criminal case : the ma- 
gistrate tendered him the Low-country oath, 
and, seeing the fellow addressing himself confi- 
dently to take it, though he greatly suspected, 
by several circumstances, the man was su- 
borned, changed his method, and offered him 
the Highland oath " No," says the Highlander, 
" I cannot do that, for I will not forswear my- 
self to please anybody !" 

This single example might be sufficient to 
show how necessary it is to swear the common 
people in the method of their own country; yet, 
by way of chat, I shall give you another, though 
it be less different in the fact than in the ex- 

At Carlisle assizes, a Highlandman, who had 
meditated the ruin of another, prosecuted him 
for horse-stealing, and swore positively to the 

This being done, the supposed criminal de- 
sired his prosecutor might be sworn in the 
Highland manner; and, the oath being tendered 
him accordingly, he refused it, saying, " Thar 
is a hantle o' difference betwixt blawing on a 
buke and dam'ing one's saul." 



But I have heard of several other examples 
of the same kind, notwithstanding the oath 
taken in the Low-country has the same intro- 
duction, viz. " By God, and as I shall answer, 
&c." but then the land, wife, children and cat- 
tle, are not concerned ; for there is no impre- 
cation in it either upon them or him that takes 
the oath. 

As most people, when they begin to grow in 
years, are unwilling to think themselves inca- 
pable of their former pleasures, so some of the 
Highland gentlemen seem to imagine they still 
retain that exorbitant power* which they for- 
merly exercised over the lives of their vassals 
and followers, even without legal trial and exa- 
mination. Of this power I have heard several 

* The chiefs being now deprived of their jurisdiction, have al- 
ready lost much of their influence; and as they gradually dege- 
nerate from patriarchal rulers to rapacious landlords, they will 
divest themselves of the little that remains. That dignity which 
they derived from an opinion of their military importance, the 
law which disarmed them has abated. An old gentleman, that 
delighted himself with the recollection of better days, related that, 
forty years ago, a chieftain walked out attended by ten or twelve, 
followers, with their arms rattling. That animating rabble has 
now ceased. The chief has lost his formidable retinue, and the 
Highlander walks his heath, unarmed and defenceless, with the 
peaceable submission of a French peasant or an English cottager. 
Johnsons Journey, Works, vol. viii. 315. 


of them vaunt ; but it might be ostentation : 
however, 1 shall mention one in particular. 

1 happened to be at the house of a certain 
chief, when the chieftain of a tribe belonging to 
another clan came to make a visit ; after talk- 
ing of indifferent matters, I told him I thought 
some of his people had not behaved toward me, 
in a particular affair, with that civility I might 
have expected from the clan. He started ; and 
immediately, with an air of fierceness, clapped 
his hand on his broad-sword, and told me, if I 
required it, he would send me two or three of 
their heads. 

But I, really thinking he had been in jest, and 
had acted it well (as jesting is not their talent), 
laughed out, by way of approbation of his capa- 
city for a joke ; upon which he assumed, if 
possible, a yet more serious look, and told me 
peremptorily he was a man of his word; and the 
chief who sat by made no manner of objec* 
tion to what he said. 

The heritable power of pit and gallows, as 
they call it, which still is exercised by some 
within their proper districts, is, I think, too 
much for any particular subject to be entrusted 
withal. But it is said that any partiality or 
revenge of the chief, in his own cause, is ob- 
viated by the law, which does not allow himself 
to sit judicially, but obliges him to appoint a 

150 LE'lTER XXIV. 

substitute as judge in his courts, who is called 
the bally of regality.* 

I fear this is but a shadow of safety to the 
accused, if it may not appear to increase the 
danger of injustice and oppression ; for to the 
orders and instructions of the chief may be 
added the private resentment of the baily, which 
may make up a double weight against the sup- 
posed criminal. 

I have not, I must own, been accustomed to 
hear trials in these courts, but have been often* 
told, that one of these bailies, in particular, 
seldom examines any but with raging words and 
rancour; and, if the answers made are not to 
his mind, he contradicts them by blows ; and, 
one time, even to the knocking down of the 
poor wretch who was examined. Nay, further, 
I have heard say of him, by a very credible per- 
son, that a Highlander of a neighbouring clan, 
with whom his own had been long at variance, 
being to be brought before him, he declared 
upon the accusation, before he had seen the 

* There were formerly courts of regality, where, by virtue of 
a royal jurisdiction invested in the lord of the regality, they had 
many immunities and privileges : these anciently belonged to the 
ecclesiastics, and were appropriated to such lands as they were 
possessed of in property and superiority. But, by a late art of 
parliament, all such regalities are abrogated, taken away, and to- 
tally dissolved and extinguished, Ckamberlayne' l s History, 1755. 


party accused, that the very name should hang 

I have not mentioned this violent and arbi- 
trary proceeding as though I knew or thought 
it usual in those courts, but to show how little 
mankind in general are to be trusted with a 
lawless power, to which there is no other check 
or control but good sense and humanity, which 
are not common enough to restrain every one 
who is invested with such power, as appears by 
this example. 

The baily of regality, in many cases, takes 
upon him the same state as the chief himself 
would do; as for one single instance : 

When he travels, in time of snow, the inha- 
bitants of one village must walk before him to 
make a path to the next ; and so on to the end 
of his progress : and, in a dark night, they 
light him from one inhabited place to another, 
which are mostly far distant, by carrying blaz- 
ing sticks of fir. 

Formerly the power assumed by the chief in 
remote parts was perfectly despotic, of which I 
shall only mention what was told me by a near 
relation of a certain attainted lord, whose estate 
(that was) lies in the northern Highlands : but 
hold this moment, upon recollection, I have 
resolved to add to it an example of the arbi- 
trary proceeding of one much less powerful 


than the chief, who nevertheless thought he 
might dispose of the lives of foreigners at his 
pleasure. As to the first, the father of the late 
earl above mentioned having a great desire to 
get a fellow apprehended, who was said to have 
been guilty of many atrocious crimes, set a price 
upon his head of one hundred and twenty 
crowns (a species of Scot's coin in those days), 
I suppose about five-pence or six-pence, and, 
of his own authority, gave orders for taking him 
alive or dead ; that the pursuers, thinking it 
dangerous to themselves to attempt the securing 
him alive, shot him, and brought his head and 
one of his hands to the chief, and immediately 
received the promised reward. The other is 
as follows : 

I remember to have heard, a good while ago, 
that in the time when Prince George of Den- 
mark was lord-high-admiral of England, some 
Scots gentlemen represented to him, that Scot- 
land could furnish the navy with as good timber 
for masts and other uses as either Sweden or 
Norway could do, and at a much more reason- 
able rate. 

This succeeded so far that two surveyors 
were sent to examine into the allegations of 
their memorial. 

Those gentlemen came first to Edinburgh, 
where they staid some time to concert the rest 


of their journey, and to learn from the inhabi- 
tants their opinion concerning the execution of 
their commission, among whom there was one 
gentleman that had some acquaintance with a 
certain chieftain in a very remote part of the 
Highlands, and he gave them a letter to him. 

They arrived at the laird's house, declared 
the cause of their coming, and produced their 
credentials, which were a warrant and instruc- 
tions from the prince ; but the chieftain, after 
perusing them, told them he knew nothing 
of any such person. They then told him he 
was husband to Queen Anne ; and he an- 
swered, he knew nothing of either of them: 
" But," says he, " there came hither, some 
time ago, such as you from Ireland, as spies 
upon the country, and we hear they have made 
their jests upon us among the Irish. 

te Now," says he, " you shall have one hour ; 
and if in that time you can give me no better 
account of yourselves than you have hitherto 
done, I'll hang you both upon that tree." Upon 
which his attendants showed great readiness to 
execute his orders: and, in this perplexity, he 
abruptly left them, without seeing the Edin- 
burgh letter; for of that they made but little 
account, since the authority of the prince, and 
even the queen, were to him of no consequence : 
but afterwards, as they were walking backwards 


and forwards in the garden counting the minutes, 
one of them resolved to try what the letter might 
do : this was agreed to by the other, as the last 
resort ; but, in the hurry and confusion they 
were in, it was not for some time to be found, 
being worked into a corner of the bearer's 
usual pocket, and so he passed to another, &c. 

Now the hour is expired, and the haughty 
chieftain enters the garden; and one of them 
gave him the letter: this he read, and then turn- 
ing to them, said, " Why did not you produce 
this at first ? If you had not had it, I should 
most certainly have hanged you both imme- 

The scene being thus changed, he took them 
into his house, gave them refreshment, and told 
them they might take a survey of his woods the 
next morning, or when they thought fit. 

There is one chief who sticks at nothing to 
gratify his avarice or revenge. 

This oppressor, upon the least offence or pro- 
vocation, makes no conscience of hiring villains 
out of another clan, as he has done several times, 
to execute his diabolical purposes by hocking of 
cattle, burning of houses, and even to commit 
murder itself. Out of many enormities, I shall 
only mention two. 

The first was, that being offended, though 
very unreasonably, with a gentleman, even of 


his own name and clan, he, by horrid commerce 
with one who governed another tribe in the ab- 
sence of his chief, agreed with him for a parcel 
of assassins to murder his vassal, and bring him, 
his head, I suppose, as a voucher. The person 
devoted to death, happened to be absent the 
night the murderers came to his house, and 
therefore the villains resolved not to go away 
empty-handed, but to take his daugher's head 
in lieu of his own ; which the poor creature per- 
ceiving, was frighted to such a degree, that she 
has not recovered her understanding to this 

The servant-maid they abused with a dirk in 
a butcherly manner, too shameful to be de- 
scribed : to be short, the neighbours, though at 
some distance, hearing the cries and shrieks of 
the females, took the alarm, and the inhuman 
monsters made their escape. 

The other violence related to a gentleman who 
lives near this town, and was appointed umpire 
in a litigated affair by the chief and. the other 
party ; and, because this laird thought he could 
not, with any colour of justice, decide in favour 
of the chief, his cattle, that were not far from 
his house, were some hocked and the rest of 
them killed; but the owner of them, as the other, 
was absent that night, in all probability sus- 
pecting (or have some private intelligence of) his 


danger; and, when this horrid butchery was 
finished, the ruffians went to his house, and 
wantonly diverted themselves in telling the ser- 
vants they had done their master a good piece 
of service, for they had saved him the expence 
of a butcher to kill his cattle: and I have been 
told, that the next morning there were seen a 
number of calves sucking at the dugs of the 
dead cows. But two of them were afterwards 
apprehended and executed. 

These men (as is said of Coleman) were al- 
lured to secrecy while under condemnation, 
though sometimes inclined to confess their em- 
ployer; and thus they continued to depend upon 
promises till the knot was tied; and then it was 
too late: but all manner of circumstances were 
too flagrant to admit a doubt concerning the first 
instigator of their wickedness ; yet few of the 
neighbouring inhabitants dare to trust one ano- 
ther with their sentiments of it. 

But here comes the finishing stroke to the 
first of these execrable pieces of workmanship. 

Not long after the vile attempt, he who had 
furnished the murderers made a demand on the 
chief of a certain quantity of oatmeal, which 
was to be the price of the assassination ; but, in 
answer, he was told, if he would send money, 
it might be had of a merchant with whom he 
(the chief) had frequent dealings; and as for 


himself, he had but just enough for his own 
family till the next crop. 

This shuffling refusal occasioned the threats 
of a law-suit; but the demander was told, the 
business had not been effectually performed; 
and besides, as he knew the consideration, he 
might commence his process, and declare it in a 
court as soon as ever he thought fit. 

This last circumstance I did not, or perhaps 
could not, know till lately, when I was in that 
part of the Highlands from whence the villains 
were hired.* 

I must again apologize, and say, I make no 
doubt you will take this account (as it is in- 
tended) to be a piece of historical justice done 
upon one who is lawless, and deserves much 
more, and not as a sample of a Highland chief, 
or the least imputation on any other of those 

Yet truth obliges me to confess, that in some 
parts there remains among the natives a kind 
of Spanish or Italian inclination to revenge them- 
selves, as it were, by proxy, of those who they 
think have injured them, or interfered with their 
interest. This I could not but infer, soon after 
my ^coming to the western parts of the High- 

* These two stories seem but indifferently supported by evi- 
dence. Had they been true, how could the truth have been 
known? who would have told it ? 


lands, from the saying of a youth, son of a laird 
in the neighbourhood. Uij 

He was telling me his father's estate had been 
much embarrassed, but, by a lucky hit, a part 
of it was redeemed. I was desirous to know by 
what means, and he proceeded to tell me there 
were two wadsets upon it, and both of the 
mortgagees had been in possession, each claim- 
ing a right to about half; but one of them being 
a native, and the other a stranger, that is, not 
of the clan, the former had taken the latter aside, 
and told him if he did not immediately quit the 
country, he would hang him upon the next tree. 
"What!" says a Highlander who was born in 
the east, and went with me into those parts, 
" that would be the way to be hanged himself." 
" Out!" says the youth, " you talk as if you did 
not know your own country: that would have 
been done, and nobody knew who did it." This 
he spoke with an air as if he had been talking of 
ordinary business, and was angry with the other 
for being ignorant of it, who afterwards owned 
that my presence was the cause of his objection. 
Besides what I have recounted in this letter, 
which might serve as an indication that some, 
at least, of the ordinary Highlanders are not 
averse to the price of blood, I shall here take 
notice of a proposal of that kind which was made 
to myself. 


Having given the preference to a certain clan 
in a profitable business, it brought upon me the 
resentment of the chieftain of a small neigh- 
bouring tribe, part of a clan at enmity with the 

This gentleman thought his people had as 
much right to my favour in that particular as the 
others: the first instance of his revenge was 
a robbery committed by one of his tribe, whom 
I ordered to be hounded out, and he was taken. 
This fellow I resolved to prosecute to the ut- 
most, which brought the chieftain to solicit me 
in his behalf. 

He told me, for introduction, that it was not 
usual in the Hills for gentlemen to carry such 
matters to extremity, but rather to accept of a 
composition: and, finding their custom of com- 
pounding had no weight with me, he offered a 
restitution ; but I was firmly resolved, in terro- 
rem, to punish the thief.* Seeing this proposal 
was likewise ineffectual, he told me the man's 
wife was one of the prettiest young women in 
the Highlands, and if I would pardon the hus- 
band I should have her. 

* In a simple state of society, a compo ition for theft, and even 
murder, has generally been thought sufficient satisfaction; an eye 
for an eye a tooth for a tooth life for life but not the life 
of a man for that of a sheep or a hen. To hang a man for steal- 
ing a pewter pot worth eight-pence, from the door of a pot-house, 


I told him that was an agreeable bribe, yet it 
could not prevail over the reasons I had to refer 
the affair to justice. 

Some time after, a Highlander came privately 
to me, and, by my own interpreter, told me he 

heard 1 had a quarrel with the laird of , 

and if ihat was true, he thought he had lived long 
enough; but not readily apprehending his in- 
tention, I asked the meaning of that dubious 
expression, and was answered, he would kill 
him for me if I would encourage it. The pro- 
posal really surprised me; but soon recovering 
myself, I ordered him to be told, that I believed 
he was a trusty honest man, and if I had occasion 
for such service, I should employ him before 
any other, but it was the custom in my country, 
when two gentlemen had a quarrel, to go into 
the field and decide it between themselves. 

At the interpretation of this last part of my 
speech, he shook his head and said, " What a 
foolish custom is that ! "* 

is what could never enter into the calculations of a Highlander, 
nor would he wonder that crimes abounded where such laws ex- 
isted. The clan, whose honour was concerned in their relative 
not being hanged, paid the composition ; but the offender was 
under their surveillance, and the fear of again dishonouring or 
offending them, was sure to prevent him from transgressing in the 
same way a second time. 

* Foolish as the custom was, it was but too common among 
the Highlanders. Whether the drift of this wretch was to lay a 


Perhaps this narration, as well as some others 
that have preceded, may be thought to consist 
of too many circumstances, and, consequently 
to be of an unnecessary length; but I hope there 
are none that do not, by that means, convey the 
knowledge of some custom or inclination of the 
people, which otherwise might have been omit- 
ted ; besides, I am myself, as you know very 
well, an enemy to long stories. 

Some of the Highland gentlemen are immode- 
rate drinkers of usky, even three orfour quarts 
at a sitting; and, in general, the people that can 
pay the purchase, drink it without moderation. 

Not long ago, four English officers took a 
fancy to try their strength in this bow of Ulysses, 
against the like number of the country cham- 
pions, but the enemy came off victorious; and 
one of the officers was thrown into a fit of the 
gout, without hopes; another had a most dan- 
gerous fever, a third lost his skin and hair by 
the surfeit ; and the last confessed to me, that 
when drunkenness and debate ran high, he took 
several opportunities to sham it. 

They say, for excuse, the country requires a 
great deal; but I think they mistake a habit and 

trap for our author, it is not easy to say: the only thing to be 
gathered from the story with any certainty is, that if he had not 
considered an Englishman as necessarily a very great miscreant, 
he never would have made such an overture to one. 


custom for necessity. They likewise pretend 
it does not intoxicate in the Hills as it would 
do in the Low-country; but this I also doubt, 
by their own practice ; for those among them 
who have any consideration, will hardly care so 
much as to refresh themselves with it, when they 
pass near the tops of the mountains ; for, in that 
circumstance, they say it renders them careless, 
listless of the fatigue, and inclined to sit down, 
which might invite to sleep, and then they would 
be in danger to perish with the cold. I have 
been tempted to think this spirit has in it, by 
infusion, tne seeds of anger, revenge, and mur- 
der (this I confess is a little too poetical); but 
those who drink of it to any degree of excess 
behave, for the most part, like true barbarians, 
I think much beyond the effect of other liquors. 
The collector of the customs at Stornway, in the 
isle of Lewis, told me, that about one hundred 
and twenty families drink yearly four thousand 
English gallons of this spirit and brandy together, 
although many of them are so poor they cannot 
afford to pay for much of either, which, you 
know, must increase the quantity drank by the 
rest; and that they frequently give to children 
of six or seven years old as much at a time as 
an ordinary wine glass would hold. 

When they choose to qualify it for punch, they 
sometimes mix it with water and honey, or with 


milk and honey; at other times the mixture 
is only the aqua vitcs, sugar, and butter ; this 
they burn till the butter and sugar are dis- 

The air of the Highlands is pure, and conse- 
quently healthy ; insomuch that I have known 
such cures done by it as might be thought next 
to miracles ; I mean in distempers of the lungs, 
as coughs, consumptions, &c. 

And as I have mentioned the honey above, I 
shall here give that its due commendation: I 
think, then, it is in every respect as good as 
that of Minorca so much esteemed, and both, I 
suppose, are in a great measure produced from 
the bloom of the heath; for which reason, too, 
our Hampshire honey is more valued than any 
from other parts near London, because that 
county is mostly covered with heath.f 

* See at the end of this letter. 

f Welsh honey is, for the same reason, held in great estimation 
in England; but what is here said of Scotish honey, can hardly 
be applied to the Highlands, which are wet and stormy, and 
therefore unfavourable to the bee, who cannot venture out to 
forage, without the danger of being overtaken by such sudden 
gusts of wind, accompanied with heavy rain, as it can neither 
foresee nor withstand. It is not known how far the bee will go 
to find its favourite pasture, the heath blossom; but a gentleman 
in Aberdeenshire laid a wager that the bees of one of his neigh- 
bours, who lived nearly four miles off, came (as he knew by the 

M 2 


As the Lowlanders call their part of the coun- 
try the land of cakes, so the natives of the Hills 
say they inhabit a laud of milk and honey. 

P. S. In the Low-country the cakes are 
called cookies ; and the several species of them, 
of which there are many, though not much 
differing in quality one from another, are digni- 
fied and distinguished by the names of the 
reigning toasts, or the good housewife who was 
the inventor, as for example, Lady CulleiVs 
cookies, &c. 

flavour of the honey) to feed on his moors, there being none 
nearer. To ascertain this, on a certain dry sunny day, he sent 
one to watch the hives, while he went to the heath with an elastic 
bellows puff-full of very fine hair-powder, with which he as- 
sailed every bee he saw feeding, and in the evening they re- 
turned white and mealy to the hive. 

WHAT opinion their friends in the south had of their drinking, 
two hundred years ago, will appear from the following curious 
document, which will somewhat surprise our lovers of claret of 
the present day, and dispose them to think that the old times were 
not so bad as they are called : 

26 July, 1616. 

4i Forsamekle as the grite and extraordinar excesse in drinking 
of wyne commonlie vsit amangis the commonis and tennantis of 
the yllis is not onlie occasioun of the beastlie and barbarous cru- 


elteis ami inhumanitcis that fallis oute amangis thame to the 
offens and displesour of God, and contempt of law and justice ; 
bot with that it drawis nomberis of thame to miserable necessitie 
and powertie, sua that thay ar constraynit quhen thay want of 
thair awne, to tak from thair nichtbouris ; For remeid quhairof, 
the Lordis of Secreite Counsell Statutis and ordanis, That nane of 
the tennentis and commonis of the Yllis sail at ony tyme heirefter 
buy or drink ony wynes in the Ylles or continent nixt adjacent 
vnder the pane of tuenty pundis to be incurrit be every contra- 
venare, toties quoties, <fec." 

The privy council, however, in their great wisdom, at last dis- 
covered, that it was of little use to command those descendants of 
Odin to refrain from drinking wine, as long- as they could get 
any wine to drink; and, accordingly, on the 23d of July, 1622, 
they enacted as follows : 

" Forsamekle as it is vnderstand to the Lordis of Secreit 
Counsell, That one the cheif causis whilk procuris the conti- 
newance of the inhabitants of the His in thair barbarous and 
incivile forme of living, Is the grite quantitie of wynes yeirlie 
caryed to the Isles, with the vnsatiable desire quhairof the saidis 
inhabitantis ar sofer possesst, That quhen thair arryvis ony ship 
or other veshell thair with wynes, thay spend bothe dayis and 
nightis in thair excesse of drinking, and seldome do thay leave 
thair drinking so lang as thair is ony of the wyne restande; sua 
that, being overcome with drink, Thair fallis oute mony inconve- 
nientis amangis thame, to the brek of his Majesties peace ; And 
quhairas the Chiftanes and principals of the clannis in the His 
are actit to tak suche ordour with thair tennentis, as nane of 
thame be sufFerrit to drink wynes; yitt so lang as thair is ony 
wynes caryed to the His, thay will hardlie be withdrawne from 
thair evill custome of drinking, bot will follow the same and con- 
tinew thairin, whensoevir they may find the occasioun ; For re- 
meid quhairof in tyme comeing, The Lordis of Secreit Counsell 
Ordanis letters to be direct to command charge and inhibite all 


and sundrie mercheantis, skipparis and awnaris of shinpis and 
veshellis be oppin proclamatioun at all places neidfull; That 
nane of thame presoome nor tak vpoun hand to carrye and trans- 
porte ony wynes to the His, nor to sell the same to the inhabit- 
antis of the His, except somekle as is allowed to the principall 
chiftanes and gentlemen of the lies, vnder the pane of confisca- 
tioun of the whole wynes so tobe caryed and sauld in the His, 
aganis the tenour of this proclamatioun ; or els of the availl and 
pryceis of the same to His Majesties vse." 


IN a former letter, I ventured to give it you as 
my opinion, that mankind in different countries 
are naturally the same. I shall now send you 
a short sketch of what I have observed in the 
conversation of an English fox-hunter and that 
of a Highland laird, supposing neither of them 
to have had a liberal and polite education, or to 
have been far out of their own countries. 

The first of these characters is, I own, too 
trite to be given you but this by way of com- 
parison : 

The squire is proud of his estate and afflu- 
ence of fortune, loud and positive over his Oc- 
tober, impatient of contradiction, or rather will 
give no opportunity for it, but whoops and 
halloos at every interval of his own talk, as if 
the company were to supply the absence of his 

The particular characters of the pack, the 
various occurrences in a chase, where Jowler is 
the eternal hero, make the constant topic of his 
discourse, though, perhaps, none others are in- 


terested in it ; and his favourites, the trencher- 
hounds, if they please, may lie undisturbed 
upon chairs and counterpanes of silk; and, 
upon the least cry, though not hurt, his pity is 
excited more for them than if one of his chil- 
dren had broken a limb ; and to that pity his 
anger succeeds, to the terror of the whole 

The laird is national, vain of the number of 
his followers and his absolute command over 
them. In case of contradiction, he is loud and 
imperious, and even dangerous, being always 
attended by those who are bound to support 
his arbitrary sentiments. 

The great antiquity of his family, and the 
heroic actions of his ancestors, in their con- 
quest of enemy clans, is the inexhaustible 
theme of his conversation ; and, being accus- 
tomed to dominion, he imagines himself, in his 
usky, to be a sovereign prince ; and, as I said 
before, fancies he may dispose of heads at his 

Thus one of them places his vanity in his 
fortune, and his pleasure in his hounds; the 
other's pride is in his lineage, and his delight is 
command both arbitrary in their way ; and 
this the excess of liquor discovers in both ; so 
that what little difference there is between 
them seems to arise from the accident of their 


birth; and, if the exchange of countries had 
been made in their infancy, I make no doubt 
but each might have had the other's place, as 
they stand separately described in this letter. 

On the contrary, in like manner, as we have 
many country gentlemen, merely such, of great 
humanity and agreeable (if not general) conver- 
sation; so in the Highlands I have met with 
some lairds, who surprised me with their good 
sense and polite behaviour, being so far removed 
from the more civilized part of the world, and 
considering the wildness of the country, which 
one would think was sufficient of itself to give a 
savage turn to a mind the most humane. 

The isles to the north-west and to the north of 
the main land (if I may so speak of this our 
island) may not improperly be called Highlands; 
for they are mountainous, and the natives speak 
the language, follow the customs, and wear the 
habit of the Highlanders. 

In some of the Western Islands (as well as in 
part of the Highlands), the people never rub out 
a greater quantity of oats than what is just 
necessary for seed against the following year; 
the rest they reserve in the sheaves, for their 
food; and, as they have occasion, set fire to 
some of them, not only to dry the oats, which, 
for the most part, are wet, but to burn off the 
husk. Then, by winnowing, they separate, as 


well as they can, the sooty part from the grain ; 
but as this cannot be done effectually, the ban- 
nack, or cake they make of it, is very black. 
Thus they deprive themselves of the use of 
straw, leaving none to thatch their huts, make 
their beds, or feed their cattle in the winter 

They seldom burn and grind a greater quan- 
tity of these oats than serves for a day, except 
on a Saturday; when some will prepare a double 
portion, that they may have nothing to do on 
the Sunday following. This oatmeal is called 
graydon meal. 

For grinding the oats, they have a machine 
they call a quarn* This is composed of two 

* This simple mill seems to have been used by many rude na- 
tions. Some of them have been found in Yorkshire ; and in the 
course of the southern Roman wall, between Solway Frith and 
the eastern sea, several have been dug up. The quarn is com- 
posed generally of grit, or granite, about twenty inches diameter. 
In the lower stone is a wooden peg, rounded at the top : on this 
the upper stone is so nicely balanced, that, though there is some 
friction from the contact of the two stones, yet a very small mo- 
mentum will make it revolve several times when it has no corn in 
it. The corn being dried, two women sit down on the ground, 
having the quarn between them ; the one feeds it, while the 
other turns it round, singing some Celtic song all the time. It 
would seem that the prophecy of Christ concerning the fate of 
two women grinding at a mill, refers to the quarn, which, it is 
probable, was the mill then in use. Garnetfs Towr, vol. i. 1 55. 

This method of grinding is very tedious; for it employs two 


stones; the undermost is about a foot and a half 
or two feet diameter. It is round, and five or 
six inches deep in the hollow, like an earthen 
pan. Within this they place another stone, 
pretty equal at the edge to that hollow. This 
last is flat, like a wooden pot-lid, about three or 
four inches thick, and in the centre of it is a 
pretty large round hole, which goes quite 

pair of hands four hours, to grind only a single bushel of corn. 
Pennant's Scotland, vol. iii. 324. 

The quern is still used all over the north of Europe, where the 
women " sing as they grind their parched corn." just as they for- 
merly did in Greece, and, indeed, every where else; and as they 
did in Rome in the days of Virgil, if Virgil was the author of 
the "Moretum." 

Fusus erat terra frumenti pauper acervus : 
Hinc sibi depromit quantum mensura petebat, 
Quae bis in octonas excurrit pondere libras. 
Inde abit, assistitque molae, parvaque tabella, 
Quam fixam paries illos servabat in usus, 
Lumina fida locat : geminos tune veste acertos 
Liberat, etcinctus villosae tergore caprae, 
Percurrit cauda silices, gremiumque molarum. 
Admovet inde manus operi, partitus utramque: 

Laeva ministerio, dextra est intenta labori. 

Haec rotat assiduis gyris, et concitat orbem. 

Tunsa Ceres silicum rapido decurrit ab ictu. 
Interdum fessae succeedit laava sorori, 
Alternatque vices : modo rustica carmina cantat, 
Agrestique suum solatur voce laborem. 

Virg. Moretum. 
Were the above lines a description of what the author had seen 


through, whereby to convey the oats between 
the stones: there are also two or three holes in 
different places, near the extreme part of the 
surface, that go about half-way through the 
thickness, which is just deep enough to keep a 
stick in its place, by which, with the hand, they 
turn it round and round, till they have finished 
the operation. But in a wild part of Argyle- 
shire, there was no bread of any kind till the 
discovery of some lead-mines, which brought 
strangers among the inhabitants; who before 
fed upon the milk of their cows, goats, and 
sheep. In summer they used to shake their 
milk in a vessel, till it was very frothy, which 
puffed them up, and satisfied them for the pre- 
sent ; and their cheese served them instead of 
bread. The reason why they had no bread 
was, that there is hardly any arable land for a 
great space, all round about that part of the 

I have been assured, that in some of the 
islands the meaner sort of people still retain 

in the Highlands of Scotland, it could not be more exact. The 
term graddan, (pronounced grattan), as well as the art of grind- 
ing, probably came to the Highlands from the north, at a very 
early period. In old Norse, a quern was called gratti^ from the 
grey gritstone of which it was made; hence the Scotish grouts ; 
Eng grits; Germ, grout; Dan. grytte, to grind; and the 
Swedish grout , in Seotish, crowdy. 


the custom of boiling their beef in the hide ;* 
or otherwise (being destitute of vessels of metal 
or earth) they put water into a block of wood, 
made hollow by the help of the dirk and burning; 
and then with pretty large stones heated red- 
hot, and successively quenched in that vessel, 
they keep the water boiling till they have 
dressed their food. It is said, likewise, that 
they roast a fowl in the embers, with the guts 
and feathers; and when they think it done 
enough, they strip off the skin, and then think 
it fit for the table. 

A gentleman of my acquaintance told me, 
that, in coming from Ireland to the Western 

* In Monnipenny's Chronicle, 1 597, we have the following 

passage : " Their bankets are hunting and fishing. They seethe 

their flesh in the tripe, or else in the skin of the beast, filling the 

same full of water. Now and then, in hunting, they strayne out 

the blood, and eate the flesh raw. , Their drinke is the broth of 

sodden flesh. They love very well the drinke made of whey, 

and kept certayne yeares, drinking the same at feasts: it is named 

by them blaudium \blathach\. The most part of them drinke 

water. Their custome is to make their bread of oates and barly 

(which are the onely kindes of grayne that grow in those parts) : 

experience (with time) hath taught them to make it in such sort 

that it is not unpleasant to eate They take a little of it in the 

morning ;- and so, passing to the hunting or any other businesse,' 

content themselves therewith, without any other kind of meat, 

till even. Lord Somers's Tracts, vol. iii. 388. 

They made only two meals in the day. the little meal about 
noon, and the great meal towards evening. 


Highlands, he was reduced, by an ague, to the 
necessity of landing upon the island Macor- 
mach ; and, arriving at the public change, he 
observed three quarters of a cow to lie in a 
shallow part of the salt water, and the other 
quarter hanging up against the end of the hut ; 
that, asking the reason of it, he was told 
they had no salt ; and it was their way of pre- 
serving their beef.* 

Some time after, the woman of the hut (or 
the guid wife) took a side of a calf that had 
been taken out of the cow, and, holding it by the 
legs, waved it backward and forward over the 
fire till part of it was roasted, as she thought, 
and then tore off one of the limbs, and offered 
it to him to eat. A tempting dish ! especially 
for a sick stomach ! 

It is often said, that some of the lairds of 
those islands take upon them the state of mo- 
narchs ; and thence their vassals have a great 
opinion of their power. 

Among other stories told of them, there is 
one pretty well known in the north of Scotland, 
but whether true, or feigned as a ridicule upon 
them, I do not know. For, notwithstanding 
the Lowland Scots complain of the English for 
ridiculing other nations, yet they themselves 

* We have seen the same thing done at sea, for preserving 
fresh meat. 


have a great number of standing jokes upon the 

They say a Spanish ship being stranded upon 
the coast of Barra (a very small island to the 
south of Lewes), the chief (M'Neil) called a 
council of his followers, which, I think, they say 
were about fifty in number, in order to deter- 
mine what was to be done with her ; that, in 
the course of the consultation, one of the 
members proposed, " If she was laden with 
wine and brandy, she should be confiscated as 
an illicit trader upon the coast, but if she was 
freighted with other merchandise, they should 
plunder her as a wreck." 

Upon this, one of the council, more cautious 
than the rest, objected that the king of Spain 
might resent such treatment of his subjects ; 
but the other replied, " We have nothing to do 
with that ; M'Neil and the king of Spain will 
adjust that matter between themselves."* 

As this is a cold country, the people endea- 
vour to avail themselves of the condition of 
those who live in a more northern climate. 

They tell you that some of the lairds in the 
islands of Shetland, which are far north of 

* The M'Niels are from Norway, and their affectation of 
state lias been a common subject of ridicule in the Highlands for 
some centuries back. All we have seen of th'-m were remark- 
ably well-grown, handsome-looking men. 


the Orkneys, hire a domestic by the half-year, 
or by the quarter, just as they can agree, whose 
business it is to put an instrument in order 
when the laird has an inclination to play upon 
it ; but if he attempts to play a time himself, he 
is sure to be discarded. 

Of this they give you an instance in a certain 
laird, who, observing his servant went farther 
toward an air than he ought to have done by 
agreement (perhaps vainly imagining he could 
play better than his master), he had warning 
to provide himself with another service against 
the next Martinmas, which was then about two 
months to come. And, although the man was not 
suspended, in the mean time, from the exercise 
of his function (because he was to be paid for the 
whole time), yet in all that interval no manner 
of intercession could prevail with the laird to 
continue him in his service beyond that quarter : 
no, notwithstanding his own lady strongly 
solicited him in behalf of the poor unhappy 
offender; nor could she obtain so much as a 
certificate in his favour.* 

Here you will say, all this must be a riddle ; 

* We do not think it probable, that ever there was a Celtic 
race of men settled in these islands. The inhabitants of Shet- 
land and Orkney came, at different periods, from Norway. As 
in Iceland, each seized as mucli territory as he could stock and 
defend; but as these tenements were equally divided among the 


and, indeed, so it is. But your friend Sir 
Alexander, or any other of your Scots ac- 
quaintance, can explain it to you much better 
over a bottle, or walking in St. James's Park, 
than I can do upon paper. They can likewise 
give you the title of the Hireling, which I have 
forgot; and, when all that is done, I dare 
venture to say, you will conclude there 
is no occasion for such an officer in any English 
family. And, for my own part, I really think 
there is as little need of him anywhere on this 
side the Tweed within the compass of the ocean. 

We had the other day, in our coffee-room, 
an auction of books, if such trash, and so small 
a number of them, may go by that name. 

One of them I purchased, which I do not 
remember to have ever heard of before, al- 
though it was published so long ago as the year 

It is a description of the Western Islands of 
Scotland, and came extremely a propos, to pre- 
vent my saying any thing further concerning 

I have nothing to object against the author's 
(Mr. Martin's) account of those isles, with 

children of each possessor, from generation to generation, they 
at last became very insignificant, and were gradually bought up 
by settlers from the mainland of Scotland ; so that there are now 
hardly any proprietors of land of the old stock to be found, 


respect to their situation, mountains, lakes, 
rivers, caves, &c. For I confess I never was 
in any one of them, though I have seen several 
of them from the main land. But I must ob- 
serve, that to furnish out his book with much 
of the wonderful (a quality necessary to all 
books of travels, and it would be happy if 
history were less tainted with it), he recounts 
a great variety of strange customs used by the 
natives (if ever in use) in days of yore, with 
many other wonders ; among all which the 
second sight is the superlative. 

This, he says, is a faculty, gift, or misfor- 
tune (for he mentions it under those three pre- 
dicaments), whereby all those who are pos- 
sessed of it, or by it, see the perfect images of 
absent objects, either human, brute, vegetable, 
artificial, &c. And if there be fifty other per- 
sons in the same place, those sights are invisible 
to them all: nor even are they seen by any 
one who has himself, at other times, the second 
sight, unless the person who has the faculty, at 
that instant, should touch him with design to 
communicate it to him. 

It is not peculiar to adult persons, but is 
sometimes given to young children. Women 
have this supernatural sight, and even horses 
and cows. It is pity he does not tell us how 
those two kinds of cattle distinguish between 


natural and preternatural appearances, so as to 
be fearless of the one and affrighted at the 
other, though seemingly the same ; and how 
all this came to be known. 

Upon this subject he employs six and thirty 
pages, L e. a small part of them in recounting 
what kind of appearances forebode death, 
which of them are presages of marriage, &c. 
as though it were a settled system. 

The remaining leaves are taken up in ex- 
amples of such prophetic apparitions and the 
certainty of their events. 

But I shall trouble you no further with so 
contemptible a subject, or myself with point- 
ing out the marks of imposture, except to add 
one remark, which is, that this ridiculous no- 
tion has almost excluded another, altogether as 
weak and frivolous ; for he mentions only two 
or three slight suspicions of witchcraft, but not 
one fact of that nature throughout his whole 
book. Yet both this and second sight are 
sprung from one and the same stock, which I 
suppose to be very ancient, as they are chil- 
dren of credulity, who was begotten by su- 
perstition, who was the offspring of craft ; but 
you must make out the next ancestor yourself, 
for his name is torn off from the pedigree, but 
I believe he was the founder of the family. 

N 2 


In looking upwards to what I have been 
writing, I have paused awhile to consider what 
it was that could induce me to detain you so 
long about this trifling matter ; and at last I 
have resolved it into a love of truth, which is 
naturally communicative, and makes it painful 
to conceal the impositions of falsehood. But 
these islands are so remote and unfrequented, 
they are a very proper subject for invention ; 
and few, I think, would have the curiosity to 
visit them, in order to disprove any account of 
them, however romantic. 

I can make no other apology for the length 
of this detail, because I might have gone a 
much shorter way, by only mentioning the 
book, and hinting its character ; and so leaving 
it to your choice, whether to take notice of it 
or reject it. 

This letter will bring you the conclusion of 
our correspondence, so far as it relates to this 
part of our island ; yet if any thing should hap- 
pen hereafter that may be thought qualified to 
go upon its travels five hundred miles south- 
ward, it will be a pleasure to me to give it the 
necessary dispatch. 

I have called it correspondence, from the re- 
marks I have received from you upon such 
passages in my letters as gave you the occa- 


sion : and I wish my subject would have ena- 
bled me to give you opportunities to increase 
their number. 

Writers, you know, for the most part, have 
not been contented with any thing less than the 
characters and actions of those whom birth or 
fortune had set up to public view, or the policy 
or weakness of public councils ; the order and 
event of battles, sieges, and such like, in great 
measure dressed up in habits cut out by them- 
selves; but the genius of a people has been 
thought beneath their notice. 

This, forsooth, is called supporting the dig- 
nity of history. Now, in this case, who shall 
condescend to give a detail of circumstances 
generally esteemed to be low, and therefore of 
little consequence, and at the same time escape 
the character of a trifler ? 

But I am unwarily fallen into an apology to 
you, and not as if I was writing en confidence 
to a friend, but openly to the whole kingdom. 

For my own part (who have already lived too 
long to be dazzled with glittering appearances), 
I should be as well pleased to see a shepherd of 
Arcadia, free from poetical fiction, in his rustic 
behaviour and little economy, or a burgher of 
ancient Rome in his shop, as to know the cha- 
racter of a consul ; for, in either case, it is the 
comparison of past ages, and foreign countries 


opposed to our own, that excites my curiosity 
and gives me satisfaction. 

As we are now about to settle our accounts 
to this time, I shall acknowledge (as every 
honest man would do) the value of an article 
-which, it is likely, you make little account of, as 
the Indians are said to have done of their gold 
when they gave it away for baubles, and that 
is, the agreeable amusement you have furnished 
me with, from time to time, concerning such 
passages as could not, for good reasons, be 
admitted to the public papers. This to one 
almost excluded the world may, in some mea- 
sure, be said to restore him to his native home. 

Upon the whole, when all the articles in 
your favour are brought to account, I think the 
balance will be on your side ; and yet I make 
no doubt you would cheerfully go on to in- 
crease the debt, though I should become a 
bankrupt, and there did not remain to you the 
least expectation of payment from, &c. 

J0iiC[ lo ffogrjr! 


Concerning the New Roads, 8$c. 173 

IT is now about eight years since I sent you the 
conclusion of my rambling account of the 
Highlands ; and, perhaps, you would not have 
complained if, in this long interval, you had 
been perfectly free of so barren a subject. 

Monsieur Fontenelle, I remember, in one of 
his pastoral dialogues, makes a shepherd object 
to another Quoi ! toujours de t amour ? And I 
think you may as well ask What! always 
Highlands ? But, in my situation, without them, 
I should be in the sorrowful condition of an old 


woman in her country cottage, by a winter 
fire, and nobody would hearken to her tales of 
witches and spirits; that is, to have little or 
nothing to say. But now I am a perfect volun- 
teer, and cannot plead my former excuses, and 
really am without any apprehensions of being 
thought officious in giving you some account 
of the roads, which, within these few weeks, 
have been completely finished. 


These new roads were begun in the year 
1726, and have continued about eleven years in 
the prosecution ; yet, long as it may be thought, 
if you were to pass over the whole work (for 
the borders of it would show you what it was), 
I make no doubt but that number of years 
would dimmish in your imagination to a much 
shorter tract of time, by comparison with the 
difficulties that attended the execution. 

But, before I proceed to any particular de- 
scriptions of them, I shall inform you how they lie, 
to the end that you may trace them out upon a 
map of Scotland ; and first I shall take them as 
they are made, to enter the mountains, viz. 

One of them begins from Grief, which is 
about fourteen miles from Stirling : here the 
Romans left off their works, of which some 
parts are visible to this day, particularly the 
camp at Ardoch, where the vestiges of the 
fortifications are on a moor so barren, that its 
whole form has been safe from culture, or other 
alteration besides weather and time. 

The other road enters the hills at Dimheld, 
in Athol, which is about ten miles from Perth. 

The first of them, according to my account, 
though the last in execution, proceeds through 
Glenalmond (which, for its narrowness, and the 
height of the mountains, I remember to have 
mentioned formerly), and thence it goes to 


Aberfaldy; there it crosses the river Tay by a 
bridge of free-stone, consisting of five spacious 
arches (by the way, this military bridge is the 
only passage over that wild and dangerous 
river), and from thence the road goes on to 

The other road from Dunkeld proceeds by 
the Blair of Athol to the said Dalnachardoch. 

Here the two roads join in one, and, as a 
single road, it leads on to Dalwhinny, where it 
branches out again into two ; of which one 
proceeds toward the north-west, through Garva- 
Moor, and over the Coriarach mountain to Fort 
Augustus, at Killichumen, and the other branch 
goes due-north to the barrack of Ruthven, in 
Badenoch, and thence, by Delmagary, to In- 
verness. From thence it proceeds something to 
the southward of the west, across the island, to 
the aforesaid Fort- Augustus, and so on to Fort- 
William, in Lochaber. 

The length of all these roads put together is 
about two hundred and fifty miles. 

1 have so lately mentioned Glenalmond, in 
the road from Grief, northward, that I cannot 
forbear a digression, though at my first setting 
ort, in relation to a piece of antiquity which 
happened to be discovered in that vale not 
many hours before I passed through it in one 
of my journeys southward. 


A small part of the way through this glen 
having been marked out by two rows of camp- 
colours, placed at a good distance one from 
another, whereby to describe the line of the in- 
tended breadth and regularity of the road by 
the eye, there happened to lie directly in the way 
an exceedingly large stone, and, as it had been 
made a rule from the beginning, to carry on the 
roads in straight lines, as far as the way would 
permit, not only to give them a better air, but 
to shorten the passenger's journey, it was re- 
solved the stone should be removed, if possible, 
though otherwise the work might have been 
carried along on either side of it. 

The soldiers, by vast labour, with their levers 
and jacks, or hand-screws, tumbled it over and 
over till they got it quite out of the way, 
although it was of such an enormous size that 
it might be matter of great wonder how it 
could ever be removed by human strength and 
art, especially to such who had never seen 
an operation of that kind : and, upon their dig- 
ing a little way into that part of the ground 
where the centre of the base had stood, there 
was found a small cavity, about two feet square, 
which was guarded from the outward earth at 
the bottom, top, and sides, by square flat stones. 

This hollow contained some ashes, scraps of 
bones, and half-burnt ends of stalks of heath ; 


which last we concluded to be a small remnant 
of a funeral pile. Upon the whole, I think 
there is no room to doubt but it was the urn of 
some considerable Roman officer, and the best 
of the kind that could be provided in their mili- 
tary circumstances ; and that it was so seems 
plainly to appear from its vicinity to the Roman 
camp, the engines that must have been employed 
to remove that vast piece of a rock, and the un- 
likeliness it should, or could, have ever been 
done by the natives of the country. But cer- 
tainly the design was, to preserve those remains 
from the injuries of rains and melting snows, and 
to prevent their being profaned by the sacri- 
legious hands of those they call Barbarians, for 
that reproachful name, you know, they gave to 
the people of almost all nations but their own. 

Give me leave to finish this digression, which 
is grown already longer than I foresaw or in- 

As I returned the same way from the Low- 
lands, I found the officer, with his party of work- 
ing soldiers, not far from the stone, and asked 
him what was become of the urn?* 

* Many burying places, so designated and protected, have been 
discovered in other parts of Scotland, particularly one near Mort- 
lach. There was here no urn, nor any thing else characteristic 
of Roman sepulture. When Stonehenge (the hanging stones), 
was raised in England, and the other stupendous stones and cir- 


To this he answered, that he had intended to 
preserve it in the condition I left it, till the com- 
mander-in-chief had seen it, as a curiosity, but 
that it was not in his power so to do ; for soon 
after the discovery was known to the High- 
landers, they assembled from distant parts, and 
having formed themselves into a body, they 
carefully gathered up the relics, and marched 
with them, in solemn procession, to a new place 
of burial, and there discharged their fire-arms 
over the grave, as supposing the deceased had 
been a military officer. 

You will believe the recital of all this cere- 
mony led me to ask the reason of such homage 
done to the ashes of a person supposed to have 
been dead almost two thousand years. I did 


so; and the officer, who was himself a native of 
the Hills, told me that they (the Highlanders) 
firmly believe that if a dead body should be 
known to lie above ground, or be disinterred by 
malice, or the accidents of torrents of water, &c. 
and care was not immediately taken to perform 
to it the proper rites, then there would arise such 
storms and tempests as would destroy their corn, 

clea in Wiltshire, &c. set up, one great stone might have been 
turned over by Highlanders. In a church-yard in Scotland, 
human bonrs are never seen thrown about, all are carefully buried, 
not from any superstitious impression, but, from a general senti- 
ment, highly creditable to a serious, rational, and thinking people. 


blow away their huts, and all sorts of other mis- 
fortunes would follow till that duty was per- 
formed. You may here recollect what I told 
you so long ago, of the great regard the High- 
landers have for the remains of their dead; but 
this notion is entirely Roman. 

But to return to my main purpose. In the 
summer seasons, five hundred of the soldiers from 
the barracks, and other quarters about the High- 
lands, were employed in those works in different 
stations, by detachments from the regiments 
and Highland companies. 

The private men were allowed sixpence a day, 
over and above their pay as soldiers : a corporal 
had eight-pence, and a serjeant a shilling; but 
this extra pay was only for working-days, which 
were often interrupted by violent storms of 
wind and rain, from the heights and hollows of 
the mountains. 

These parties of men were under the com- 
mand and direction of proper officers, who were 
all subalterns, and received two shillings and 
sixpence per diem, to defray their extraordi- 
nary expence in building huts; making ne- 
cessary provision for their tables from distant 
parts; unavoidable though unwelcome visits, 
and other incidents arising from their wild situ- 

I should have told vou before, that the non- 


commissioned officers were constant and im- 
mediate overseers of the works. 

The standard breadth of these roads, as laid 
down at the first projection, is sixteen feet; but 
in some parts, where there were no very ex- 
pensive difficulties, they are wider. 

In those places (as I have said before), they 
are carried on in straight lines till some great 
necessity has turned them out of the way ; the 
rest, which run along upon the declivities of 
hills, you know, must have their circuits, risings, 
and descents accordingly. 

To stop and take a general view of the hills 
before you from an eminence, in some part where 
the eye penetrates far within the void spaces, 
the roads would appear to you in a kind of 
whimsical disorder; and as those parts of them 
that appear to you are of a very different colour 
from the heath that chiefly clothes the country, 
they may, by that contrast, be traced out to a 
considerable distance. 

Now, let us suppose that where you are, the 
road is visible to you for a short space, and is then 
broken off to the sight by a hollow or winding 
among the hills; beyond that interruption, the 
eye catches a small part on the side of another 
hill, and some again on the ridge of it ; in another 
place, further off, the road appears to run zigzag, 
in angles, up a steep declivity ; in one place, a 


short horizontal line shows itself below, in ano- 
ther, the marks of the road seem to be almost 
even with the clouds, &c. 

It may here be objected, How can you see 
any part of the flat roof of a building^ when you 
are below ? The question would be just ; but 
the edges of the roads on a precipice, and the 
broken parts of the face of the mountain behind, 
that has been wrought into to make room for 
the road, these appear, and discover to them 
who are below the line of which I have been 

Thus the eye catches one part of the road 
here, another there, in different lengths and 
positions ; and, according to their distance, they 
are diminished and rendered fainter and fainter, 
by the lineal and aerial perspective, till they are 
entirely lost to sight. And I need not tell you, 
that, as you pursue your progress, the scene 
changes to new appearances. 

The old ways (for roads I shall not call them) 
consisted chiefly of stony moors, bogs, rugged, 
rapid fords, declivities of hills, entangling woods, 
and giddy precipices. You will say this is a 
dreadful catalogue to be read to him that is 
about to take a Highland journey. 

I have not mentioned the valleys, for they are 
few in number, far divided asunder, and gene- 
rally the roads through them were easily made. 


My purpose now is to give you some account 
of the nature of the particular parts above-men- 
tioned, and the manner how this extraordinary 
\vork has been executed; and this I shall do in 
the order I have ranged them as above. 

And first, the stony moors. These are mostly 
tracts of ground of several miles in length, and 
often very high, with frequent lesser risings and. 
descents, and having for surface a mixture of 
stones and heath. The stones are fixed in the 
earth, being very large and unequal, and gene- 
rally are as deep in the ground as they appear 
above it; and where there are any spaces be- 
tween the stones, there is a loose spongy sward, 
perhaps not above five or six inches deep, and 
incapable to produce any thing but heath, and 
all beneath it is hard gravel or rock. 

I now begin to be apprehensive of your me- 
mory, lest it should point out some repetitions 
of descriptions contained in my former letters; 
but I have been thus particular, because I know 
the extent of your journeys, and that with you 
a morass is called a moor ; yet hills that are 
something of this nature are called moors in the 
north of England. 

Here the workmen first made room to fix 
their instruments, and then, by strength, and the 
help of those two mechanic powers, the screw 
and the lever, they raised out of their ancient 


beds those massive bodies, and then filling up 
the cavities with gravel, set them up, mostly 
end-ways, along the sides of the road, as direc- 
tions in time of deep snows, being some of them, 
as they now stand, eight or nine feet high. They 
serve, likewise, as memorials of the skill and 
labour requisite to the performance of so diffi- 
cult a work, 

In some particular spots, where there was a 
proper space beside the stones, the workmen 
dug hollows, and, by undermining, dropped them 
in, where they lie buried so securely, as never 
more to retard the traveller's journey ; but it 
was thought a moot point, even where it was 
successful, whether any time or labour was 
saved by this practice; for those pits, for the 
most part, required to be made very deep and 
wide, and it could not be foreseen, without con- 
tinual boring, whether there might not be rock 
above the necessary depth, which might be a 
disappointment after great labour. 

The roads on these moors are now as smooth 
as Constitution-Hill, and I have gallopped on 
some of them for miles together in great tran- 
quility; which was heightened by reflection on 
my former fatigue, when, for a great part of the 
way, I had been obliged to quit my horse, it being 
too dangerous or impracticable to ride, and even 
hazardous to pass on foot. 



There are two species of them, viz. bogs, and 
those the natives call peat-mosses, which yield 
them their firing ; many of the former are very 
large, and sometimes fill up the whole space 
between the feet of the mountains. They are 
. mostly not much, if any thing, above the level 
of the sea; but I do not know that any part of 
the road is carried through them, or think it 
practicable; yet, as any description of them may 
be new to you, I shall stop awhile to give you 
some account of my trotting one of them, which 
is reckoned about a mile over. 

My affairs engaging me to reside for some 
time among the hills, I resolved, and was pre- 
paring to make a distant visit; but was told that 
a hill, at the foot of which I lived, was, in the 
descent from it, exceeding steep and stony ; I 
was therefore prevailed with to have my horses 
led a round-about way, and to meet me on the 
other side. 

In lieu of that difficult way, 1 was to be fer- 
ried over a lake, and to traverse the bog above- 
mentioned, over which a Highlander undertook 
to conduct me; him I followed close at the 
heels, because I soon observed he used a step 
unlike to what he did upon firm ground, and 
which I could not presently imitate ; and also 


that he chose his way, here and there, as if he 
knew where was the least danger, although, 
at the same time, the surface of the part we 
were going over, seemed to me to be equal- 
ly indifferent in respect to safety and dan- 

Our weight and the spring of motion, in many 
parts, caused a shaking all round about us, and 
the compression made the water rise through 
the sward, which was, in some parts, a kind 
of short flaggy grass, and in others a sort of 
mossy heath ; but wherever any rushes grew, I 
knew, by experience of the peat-mosses I had 
gone over before, that it was not far to the 

This rising of water made me conclude (for 
my guide was not intelligible to me) that we had 
nothing but a liquid under us or, at most, some- 
thing like a quicksand, and that the sward was 
only a little toughened by the entwining of the 
roots, and was supported, like ice, only by 
water, or something nearly as fluid. 

I shall give you no particulars of my visit, 
further than that the laird treated me in a very 
handsome and plentiful manner, and, indeed, it 
was his interest so to do ; but poor poke-pudding 
was so fatigued, and so apprehensive of danger 
on the bog, that he could not be persuaded to 
go back again the same way. 

o 2 



Of these I formerly gave you some superfi 
cial account ; but now that I am about to let 
you know how the roads were made through 
them, I shall examine them to the bottom. 
When I first saw them, I imagined they were 
formerly made when woods were common in 
the Hills ; but, since, by several repeated laws, 
destroyed, to take away that shelter which as- 
sisted the Highlanders in their depredations ; I 
say, I have supposed the leaves of trees were 
driven by winds and lodged in their passage, 
from time to time, in those cavities till they 
were filled up. One thing, among others, that 
induced me to this belief is, that the muddy 
substance of them is much like the rotted 
leaves in our woods; but, since that time, I 
have been told, that, when one of them has been 
quite exhausted for fuel, it has grown again, 
and, in the course of twenty years, has been 
as fit to be dug for firing as before. This 
I can believe, because T have seen many small 
ones, far from any inhabitants, swelled above 
the surface of the ground that lies all round 
about them, and chiefly in the middle, so as to 
become a protuberance, and therefore by stran- 
gers the less suspected, though the deeper and 
more dangerous. 


All beneath the turf is a spongy earth inter- 
woven with a slender, fibrous vegetable, some- 
thing like the smallest roots of a shrub, and 
these a little toughen it, and contribute to the 
making it good fuel ; but, when they are quite, 
or near dug out, the pit is generally almost filled 
with -water. This, I suppose, arises from 
springs, which may, for aught I know, have 
been the first occasion of these mosses, which 
are very deceitful, especially to those who are 
not accustomed to them, being mostly covered 
with heath, like the the rest of the country, 
and, in time of rains, become soft, and some- 
times impassable on foot. 

Now that I have no further occasion for any 
distinction, I shall call every soft place a bog, 
except there be occasion sometimes to vary the 

When one of these bogs has crossed the way 
on a stony moor, there the loose ground has 
been dug out down to the gravel, or rock, and 
the hollow filled up in the manner following, viz. 

First with a layer of large stones, then a 
smaller size, to fill up the gaps and raise the 
causeway higher; and, lastly, two, three, or 
more feet of gravel, to fill up the interstices of 
the small stones, and form a smooth and binding 
surface. This part of the road has a bank on 
each side, to separate it from a ditch, which is 


made withoutside to receive the water from the 
bog, and, if the ground will allow it, to convey 
it by a trench to a slope, and thereby in some 
measure drain it. 

In a rocky way, where no loose stones were 
to be found, if a bog intervened, and trees could 
be had at any portable distance, the road has 
been made solid by timber and fascines, crowned 
with gravel, dug out of the side of some hill. 

This is durable ; for the faggots and trees, 
lying continually in the moisture of the bog, will, 
instead of decaying, become extremely hard, 
as has been observed of trees that have been 
plunged into those sloughs, and lain there, in all 
probability, for many ages. This causeway 
has likewise a bank and a ditch for the purpose 

There is one bog I passed through (literally 
speaking), which is upon the declivity of a hill; 
there the mud has been dug away for a proper 
space, and thrown upon the bog on either side, 
and a passage made at the foot of a hill for the 
water to run down into a large cavity, insomuch, 
that, by continual draining, I rode, as it were, in a 
very shallow rivulet running down the hill upon 
a rock (which was made smooth by the work- 
men), with the sides of the bog high above me 
on both sides, like one of the hollow ways in 


I must desire you will consider, that the fore- 
going descriptions, as well as these that are to 
follow, are, and will be, only specimens of the 
work ; for it would be almost without end to 
give you all the particulars of so various and 
extensive a performance. 


No remedy but bridges has been found for 
the inconveniencies and hazards of these rugged 
and rapid passages ; for, when some of them, in 
the beginning, were cleared from the large, loose 
stones, the next inundation brought down others 
in their room, which else would have been 
stopped by the way, and some of those were 
of a much larger size than the stones that had 
been removed. 

This was the case (among others) of a small 
river, which, however, was exceedingly dan- 
gerous to ford, and for that reason the first 
bridge was ordered to be built over it ; but it 
gave me a lively idea how short is human fore- 
sight, especially in new projects and untried 

The spring of the arch was founded upon 
rocks, and it was elevated much above the 
highest water that had ever been known by the 
country-people; yet, some time after it was 
finished, there happened a sudden torrent from 


the mountains, which brought down trees and 
pieces of rocks ; and, by its being placed too 
near the issue of water from between two hills, 
though firmly built with stone, it was cropt off, 
not far beneath the crown of the arch, as if it 
had neither weight nor solidity. 


By these I mean the sloping sides of the 
hills whereon the new roads are made. 

The former ways along those slopes were 
only paths worn by the feet of the Highlanders 
and their little garrons. They ran along up- 
wards and downwards, one above another, in 
such a manner as was found most convenient 
at the first tracing them out : this, I think, I 
have observed to you formerly. 

To these narrow paths the passenger was 
confined (for there is seldom any choice of the 
way you would take in the Highlands) by the 
impassability of the hollows at the feet of the 
mountains; because those spaces, in some 
parts, are filled up with deep bogs, or fallen 
rocks, of which last I have seen many as big 
as a middling-house; and, looking up, have 
observed others, at an exceeding height, in 
some measure parted from the main rock, and 
threatening the crush of some of those below. 
In other parts there are lakes beneath, ancj 


sometimes, where there are none, it was only 
by these paths you could ascend the hills, still 
proceeding round the sides of them from one 
to another. 

There the new roads have been carried on in 
more regular curves than the old paths, and 
are dug into the hills, which are sloped away 
above them ; and where any rocks have oc- 
curred in the performance, they have been 
bored and blown away with gunpowder. 

Above the road are trenches made to receive 
rains, melting snows, and springs, which last 
are in many places continually issuing out of 
the sides of the hills, being drained away 
from large waters collected in lakes, and other 
cavities, above in the mountains. 

From the above-mentioned trenches are pro- 
per channels made to convey the water down 
the hills ; these are secured, by firm pave- 
ment, from being gulled by the stream : and in 
places that required it, there are stone walls 
built behind the road, to prevent the fall of earth 
or stones from the broken part of the declivity. 


These are not only rare in the way of the 
new roads, but I have formerly given you some 
description of the inconvenience and danger of 
one of them, and therefore I shall only add, in 


this place, that the trees, for the necessary 
space, have been cut down and grubbed up ; 
their fibrous roots, that ran about upon the sur- 
face, destroyed ; the boggy part removed ; the 
rock smoothed, and the crannies firmly filled 
up ; and all this in such a manner as to make of 
it a very commodious road. 


As the heights, for the most part, are attained, 
as I have been saying, by going round the sides 
of the hills from one to another, the exceeding 
steep ascents are not very common in the 
ordinary passages; but where they are, the 
inconvenience and difficulties of them have 
been removed. 

I shall only instance in one, which, indeed, 
is confessed to be the worst of them all. This 
is the Coriarack Mountain, before mentioned, 
which rises in the way that leads from Dai- 
whinny to Fort-Augustus. It is above a quar- 
ter of a mile of perpendicular height, and was 
passed by few besides the soldiery when the 
garrisons were changed, as being the nearest 
way from one of the barracks to another ; and 
had it not been for the conveniency of that com- 
munication, this part of the new roads had 
never been thought of. 

This mountain is so near the perpendicular 


iii some parts, that it was doubtful whether the 
passenger, after great labour, should get up- 
wards, or return much quicker than he ad- 

The road over it, not to mention much rough- 
ness (which, I believe, you have had enough of 
by this time, and are likely to have more), is 
carried on upon the south declivity of the hill, 
by seventeen traverses, like the course of a 
ship when she is turning to windward, by an- 
gles still advancing higher and higher ; yet 
little of it is to be seen below, by reason of 
flats, hollows, and windings that intercept the 
sight; and nothing could give you a general 
view of it, unless one could be supposed to be 
placed high above the mountain in the air. 
This is much unlike your hills in the south, that, 
in some convenient situation of the eye, are 
seen in one continued smooth slope from the bot- 
tom to the top. ' 

Each of the above-mentioned angles is about 
seventy or eighty yards in length, except in a 
few places where the hill would not admit of all 
that extent. 

These traverses upward, and the turnings of 
their extremities, are supported on the outside 
of the road by stone walls, from ten to fifteen 
feet in height. 

Thus that steep ascent, which was so diffi- 


cult to be attained, even by the foot-passenger, 
is rendered everywhere more easy for wheel- 
carriages than Highgate-Hill. 

On the north side of this mountain, at a place 
named Snugburgh from its situation, there is a 
narrow pass between two exceeding high and 
steep hills. These are joined together by two 
arches, supported by walls, to take off the 
sharpness of the short descent, which other- 
wise could not have been practicable for the 
lightest wheel-carriage whatever, for it was 
difficult even for horse or man. 


I shall say nothing in this place of such of 
them as are any thing tolerable to the mind, in 
passing them over, though a false step might 
render them fatal, as there would be no stop- 
ping till dashed against the rocks. I shall only 
mention two that are the most terrible, which 
I have gone over several times, but always 
occasionally, not as the shortest way, or by 
choice, but to avoid extensive bogs, or swelling 
waters in time of rain, which I thought more 
dangerous in the other way. 

One of these precipices is on the north side 
of the Murray Frith, where no roads have been 
made ; the other is on a mountain southward of 
this town. 


Both these, as I have said above, were use- 
ful upon occasion ; but the latter is now ren- 
dered unnecessary, as the old round-about way 
is made smooth, and bridges built over the 
dangerous waters, and therefore nothing has 
been done to this precipice ; nor, indeed, was 
it thought practicable to widen the path, by 
reason of the steepness of the side of the hill 
that rises above it. 

I think the ordinary proverb was never more 
manifestly verified than it now is, in these two 
several ways : viz. " That the farthest way 
about," &c. Yet, I make no doubt, the gene- 
rality of the Highlanders will prefer the pre- 
cipice to the gravel of the road and a greater 
number of steps. 

Not far from this steep place I once baited 
my horses with oats, carried with me, and laid 
upon the snow in the month of July ; and, in- 
deed, it is there (instead of rain) snow or sleet 
all the year round. 

Thus far I have, chiefly in general terms, 
described the difficulties that attended the 
making new roads, and the methods taken to 
surmount them, which was all I at first in- 
tended ; but as some of the greatest obstacles, 
which yet remain imdescribed, were met with 
in the way between this town and Fort- Wil- 
liam, I shall, previous to any account of them, 


endeavour to give you some idea of this pas- 
sage between the mountains, wherein lies no 
small part of the roads ; and this I shall the 
rather do, because that hollow, for length and 
figure, is unlike any thing of the kind I have 
seen in other parts of the Highlands ; and I 
hope to accomplish all I have to say of it 
before I leave this town, being very shortly to 
make a northern progress among the hills, 
wherein I shall find none of those conveniences 
we now have on this side the Murray Frith. 

This opening would be a surprising prospect 
to such as never have seen a high country, being 
a mixture of mountains, waters, heath, rocks, 
precipices, and scattered trees ; and that for 
so long an extent, in which the eye is confined 
within the space ; and, therefore, if I should 
pretend to give you a full idea of it, I should 
put myself in the place of one that has had a 
strange preposterous dream, and, because it 
has made a strong impression on him, he fondly 
thinks he can convey it to others in the same 
likeness as it remains painted on his memory ; 
and, in the end, wonders at the coldness with 
which it was received. 

This chasm begins about four miles west of 
Inverness, and, running across the island, di- 
vides the northern from the southern Highlands. 
It is chiefly taken up by lakes, bounded on 


both sides by high mountains, which almost 
everywhere (being very steep at the feet) run 
down exceedingly deep into the water. The first 
of the lakes, beginning from the east, is Loch- 
Ness, which I have formerly mentioned. It 
lies in a line along the middle of it, as direct as 
an artificial canal. This I have observed my- 
self, from a rising ground at the east end, by 
directing a small telescope to Fort-Augustus, 
at the other extreme. 

I have said it is straight by the middle only, 
because the sides are irregular, being so made 
by the jutting of the feet of the hills into the 
water on either side, as well as by the spaces 
between them ; and the various breadths of 
different parts of the lake. 

The depth, the nature of the water, and the 
remarkable cataracts on the south side, have 
been occasionally mentioned in former letters; 
and I think I have told you, it is one-and-twenty 
Scots miles in length, and from one to near 
two miles in breadth. 

It has hardly any perceptible current, not- 
withstanding it receives a vast conflux of waters 
from the bordering mountains, by rivers and 
rivulets that discharge themselves into it; yet 
all the water that visibly runs from it, in the 
greatest rains, is limited in its course by the 
river Ness, by which it has its issue into the 


sea, and that river is not, in some places, above 
twenty yards wide ; and therefore I think the 
greatest part of the superfluity must be drained 
away by subterraneous passages. 

I have told you long ago, that it never freezes 
in the calmest and severest frost ; and by its 
depth (being in some parts 360 yards), and by 
its breadth, and the violent winds that pass 
through the opening, it often has a swell not 
much inferior to the ocean. 

In several parts on the sides of the lake, you 
see rocks of a kind of coarse black marble, 
and 1 think as hard as the best ; these rise to a 
considerable height, which never, till lately, 
were trod by human foot ; for the old way 
made a considerable circuit from this lake, and 
did not come to it but at the west end. In 
other places are woods upon the steep decli- 
vities, which serve to abate the deformitiy of 
those parts ; I say abate, Tor the trees being, 
as I said above, confusedly scattered one above 
another, they do not hide them. All the rest is 
heath and rock. 

Some time ago there was a vessel, of about 
five-and-twenty or thirty tons burden, built at 
the east end of this lake, and called the High- 
land Galley. 

She carries six or eight pattereroes, and is 
employed to transport men, provision, and 



baggage to Fort-Augustus, at the other end of 
the lake. 

The master has an appointment from the go- 
vernment, to navigate this vessel, and to keep 
her in repair* 

"When she made her first trip she was mightily 
adorned with colours, and fired her guns seve- 
ral times, which was a strange sight to the 
Highlanders, who had never seen the like be- 
fore ; at least, on that inland lake. 

For my own part, I was not less amused with 
the sight of a good number of Highland-men 
and women upon the highest part of a mountain 
over-against us ; I mean the highest that ap- 
peared to our view* 

These people, I suppose* were brought t o 
the precipice, from some flat behind, by the 
report of the guns (for even a single voice is 
understood at an incredible height) ; and, as 
they stood, they appeared to the naked eye not 
to be a foot high in stature; but, by the 
assistance of a pretty long glass, I could plainly 
see their surprise and admiration. And I must 
confess I wondered not much less to see so 
many people on such a monstrous height, who 
could not inhabit there in winter, till I reflected 
it was the time of the year for them to go up to 
their sheelings. And I was told that they, like 

VOL. n. p 



us, were not far from a spacious lake, though 
in that elevated situation. 

I need not trouble you with a description of 
the other two waters and their boundaries, 
there being but Uttle difference between them 
and the former ; only here the old ways, such 
as they were, ran along upon the sides of the 
hills, which were in a great measure rocky 
precipices, and that these lakes are not quite so 
wide, and incline a little more to the southward 
of the west than the other. 

The next lake to Loch-Ness (which, as I have 
said, is twenty-one miles in length) is Loch 
Oich ; this is four miles long ; and Loch Lochy, 
the last of the three, is nine, in all thirty-four 
miles, part of the forty-eight, which is the 
whole length of the opening, and at the end 
thereof is Fort- William, on the west coast, to 
which the sea flows, as it does likewise to In- 
verness on the east. Thus the whole extent of 
ground, between sea and sea, is fourteen miles. 

Here I must stop a little to acquaint you with 
a spot of ground which I take to be something 
remarkable. This I had passed over several 
times without observing any thing extraordinary 
in it, and, perhaps, should never have taken no- 
tice of it, if it had not been pointed out to me 
by one of the natives. 


About the middle of the neck of land that 
divides the lakes Oich and Lochy (which is but 
one mile), not far from the centre of the open- 
ing, there descends from the hills, on the south 
side, a bourn, or rivulet, which, as it falls upon 
the plain, divides into two streams without any 
visible ridge to part them ; and one of them 
runs through the lakes Oich and Ness into the 
east sea, and the other takes the quite contrary 
course, and passes through Loch Lochy into the 
western ocean. 

This, and the short space of land above-men- 
tioned, have given birth to several projects for 
making a navigable communication across the 
island, not only to divide effectually the High- 
lands by the middle, but to save the tedious, 
costly, and hazardous voyages through St. 
George's Channel, or otherwise round by the 
Isles of Orkney. 

This spot, the projectors say, is a level be- 
tween the two seas, pointed out as it were by 
the hand of nature, and they pretend the space 
of land to be cut through is practicable. 

But it would be an incredible expence to cut 
fourteen navigable miles in so rocky a country, 
and there is yet a stronger objection, which is, 
that the whole opening lies in so direct a line, 
and the mountains that bound it are so high, the 
wind is confined in its passage, as it were, in 

p 2 


the no^le of a pair of bellows; so that, let it blow 
from what quarter it will without the opening, 
it never varies much from east or west within. 

This would render the navigation so preca- 
rious that hardly anybody would venture on it, 
not to mention the violent flurries of wind that 
rush upon the lakes by squalls from the spaces 
between the hills, and also the rocky shores, 
want of harbour .and anchorage ; and, perhaps, 
there might appear other unforeseen inconve- 
niencies and dangers, if it were possible the 
work could be completed. 1 * 

There are three garrisons in this line, which 
reaches from east to west, viz. Fort-George, at 
Inverness, Fort-Augustus, at Killichumen, and 
Fort-William, in Lochaber, and every one of 
them pretty equally distant from one another ; 
and the line might be made yet more effectual 
by redoubts, at proper distances between them, 
to prevent the sudden joining of numbers ill 
affected to the government. 

Having given you some account of this chasm, 
I shall, in the next place, say something of the 
road that lies quite through it, together with 
some difficulties that attended the work, of 
which all that part which runs along near the 

* The work will soon be completed, but it is to be feared that 
our author's observations will be found to be too just, as to the 
precariousness of the navigation. 


edges of the lakes is on the south side; but, as 
I have already bestowed so many words upon 
subjects partly like this, I shall confine myself 
to very few particulars ; and of the rest, which 
may come under those former descriptions, I 
need say no more, if I have been intelligible. 

I shall begin with that road which goes along 
above Loch-Ness. 

This is entirely new, as I have hinted before ; 
and, indeed, I might say the same of every 
part ; but 1 mean there was no way at all along 
the edge of this lake till this part of the road 
was made. 

It is, good part of it, made out of rocks; but, 
among them all, I shall mention but one, which 
is of a great length, and, as I have said before, 
as hard as marble. 

There the miners hung by ropes from the 
precipice over the water (like Shakespear's ga- 
therers of samphire from Dover Cliffs) to bore 
the stone, in order to blow away a necessary 
part from the face of it, and the rest likewise 
was chiefly done by gunpowder; but, when 
any part was fit to be left as it was, being flat 
and smooth, it was brought to a roughness pro- 
per for a stay to the feet; and, in this part, and 
all the rest of the road, where the precipices 
were like to give horror or uneasiness to such 
as might pass over them in carriages, though at 


a good distance from them, they are secured to 
the lake-side by walls, either left in the work- 
ing, or built up with stone, to a height propor- 
tioned to the occasion. 

Now, for the space of twelve miles, it is an 
even terrace in every part, from whence the 
lake may be seen from end to end, and from 
whence the romantic prospect of the rugged 
mountains would, I dare say, for its novelty, be 
more entertaining to you than it is to me ; I 
say, it might be agreeable to you, who, not 
having these hideous productions of nature near 
you, wantonly procure even bad imitations of 
them, in little artificial rocks and diminutive 
cataracts of water. But as some painters tra- 
vel to Italy, in order to study or copy the most 
admirable performances of the great masters, 
for their own instruction, so I would advise 
your artisans, in that way, to visit this country 
for their better information. 

The next part of this road which I am about 
to speak of, is that which lies along the side of 
the hills, arising from the edge of Loch-Oich. 

The dangers of this part of the old way be- 
gan at the top of a steep ascent, of about fifty 
or sixty yards from the little plain that parts 
this lake and Loch-Ness; and, not far from the 
summit, is a part they call the Maidens-Leap, of 
which they tell a strange romantic story, not 


orth the remembrance. There the rocks pro- 
ject over the lake, and the path was so rugged 
and narrow that the Highlanders were obliged, 
for their safety, to hold by the rocks and shrubs 
as they passed, with the prospect of death be- 
neath them. 

This was not the only dangerous part; but 
for three miles together, part of the four (which 
I have said is the length of this lake), it was no- 
where safe, and in many places more difficult, 
and as dangerous, as at the entrance ; for the 
rocks were so steep and uneven, that the pas- 
senger was obliged to creep on his hands and 

These precipices were so formidable to some 
that they chose rather to cross the plain above- 
mentioned, and wade a river on the opposite 
side of the opening, which by others was thought 
more hazardous in its kind than the way which 
their fear excited them to avoid ; and when they 
had passed that water, they had a wide circuit to 
make among steep and rugged hills, before they 
could get again into the way they were to go. 

The last part of the road along the lakes (as 
I have divided it into three) runs along on the 
declivities of Loch Lochy, and reaches the whole 
length of that lake, which, as I have said before, 
is nine miles. 

This was much of the same nature as the last, 


exceeding steep, with rocks in several places 
hanging over the water, and required a great 
quantity of gunpowder; but, both this and the 
other two are now as commodious as any other 
of the roads in the Highlands, which everywhere 
(bating ups and downs) are equal in goodness 
to the best in England. 

I shall say nothing of the way from the end 
of this lake to Fort- William, any more thun I 
have done of the road from Inverness to Lochr 
Ness, or the spaces between the lakes, because 
they may be comprehended in the ordinary 
difficulties already described. 

But I might acquaint you with many other 
obstacles which were thought, at first, to be in- 
surmountable; such as Slock- Moach, between 
Ruthven and Inverness, the rocky pass of Killi- 
cranky, in Athol, between Dunkeld and the 
Blair, &c. 

I shall only say, that I have formerly given 
you some description of the first, but without a 
name, in the account of an incursion 1 made to 
the Hills from Inverness; but, both this and the 
other, which were very bad, are now made 
easily passable. 

The name of Slock-Moach is interpreted by 
the natives, a den of hogs, having been, as they 
say it was formerly, a noted harbour for thieves; 
\vho, in numbers, lay in wait within that narrow 


and deep cavity, to commit their depredations 
upon cattle and passengers. I suppose this 
name was given to it when swine were held in 
abomination among the Highlanders. 

The first design of removing a vast fallen 
piece of a rock was entertained by the country 
people with great derision, of which I saw one 
instance myself. 

A very old wrinkled Highland woman, upon 
such an occasion, standing over-against me, 
when the soldiers were fixing their engines, 
seemed to sneer at it, and said something to an 
officer of one of the Highland companies. I 
imagined she was making a jest of the under- 
taking, and asked the officer what she said. " I 
will tell you her words," said he : 

" What are the fools a-doing ? That stone 
will lie there for ever, for all them." But when 
she saw that vast bulk begin to rise, though by 
slow degrees, she set up a hideous Irish yell, 
took to her heels, ran up the side of a hill just 
by, like a young girl, and never looked behind 
her while she was within our sight. I make no 
doubt she thought it was magic, and the work- 
men warlocks. 

This, indeed, was the effect of an old woman's 
ignorance and superstition ; but a gentleman, 
esteemed for his good understanding, when he 


had seen the experiment of the first rock above 
Loch-Ness, said to the officer that directed the 
work, " When first I heard of this undertaking, 
I was strangely scandalised to think how shame- 
fully you would come off; but now I am con- 
vinced there is nothing can stand before you 
and gunpowder." 

Notwithstanding there may be no remains of 
my former letters, I believe your memory may 
help you to reflect what wretched lodging there 
was in the Highlands when those epistles were 
written. This evil is now remedied, as far as 
could be done ; and in that road, where there 
were none but huts of turf for a hundred miles 
together, there now are houses with chimneys, 
built with stone and lime, and ten or twelve 
miles distance one from another; and though 
they are not large, yet are they well enough 
adapted to the occasion of travellers, who are 
seldom many at a time in that country. But I 
would not be understood that there is any better 
accommodation than before, besides warm lodg- 
ing. Another thing is, there are pillars set up 
at the end of every five miles, mostly upon emi- 
nences, which may not only amuse the passen- 
ger and lessen the tediousness of the way, but 
prevent his being deceived in point of time, in 
rain, snow, drift, or approaching night. 


But the last, and I think the greatest con- 
veniency, is the bridges, which prevent the dan- 
gers of the terrible fords. 

Of these I shall say but little, because to 
you they are no novelty. They are forty in 
number; some of them single arches, of forty 
or fifty feet diameter, mostly founded upon 
rocks ; others are composed of two ; one of 
three, and one of five, arches. This last is 
over the Tay, and is the only bridge upon that 
wild river, as has been said before. It is built 
with Astler-stone, and is 370 feet in length. 
The middle arch is sixty feet diameter, and it 
bears the following inscription, made Latin from 
English, as I have been told, by Dr. Friend, 
master of Westminster school : 


Fiam hanc Militarem 

Ultra Romanos Terminos 

M. Passuum GCL. hac iliac extensam 

Tesquis et Paludibus insultantem 

Per Rupes Montesque patefactam 

Et indignanti Tavo 

Ut cernis instratam 

Opus hoc arduum sud solertid 

Et decennali Militum Operd 

Anno Mr. Christa 1733, perfecit G. Wade.* 

Copiarum in Scotia Prtzfectus. 

Ecce quantum valeant 
Regia Georgii Secundi Auspicia. 

* To perpetuate the memory of the Marshal's chief exploit, 


The objections made to these new roads and 
bridges, by some in the several degrees of con- 
dition among the Highlanders, are in part as 
follow: viz. 

I. Those chiefs and other gentlemen com- 
plain, that thereby an easy passage is opened 
into their country for strangers, who, in time, 
by their suggestions of liberty, will destroy or 
weaken that attachment of their vassals which 
it is so necessary for them to support and 

That their fastnesses being laid open, they are 
deprived of that security from invasion which 
they formerly enjoyed. 

That the bridges, in particular, will render 
the ordinary people effeminate, and less fit to 
pass the waters in other places where there are 

And there is a pecuniary reason concealed, 
relating to some foreign courts, which to you I 
need not explain. 

II. The middling order say the roads are to 
them an inconvenience, instead of being useful, 
as they have turned them out of their old ways ; 

in making the road from Inverness to Inveraray, an obelisk is 
erected near Fort-William, on which the traveller is reminded 
of his merits by the following naive couplet : 

" Had you seen these roads before they were mafic. 

" You would hold up your hands, and bless General Wade !!!" 


for their horses being never shod, the gravel 
would soon whet away their hoofs, so as to 
render them unserviceable : whereas the rocks 
and moor-stones, though together they make a 
rough way, yet, considered separately, they 
are generally pretty smooth on the surface where 
t'ley tread, and the heath is always easy to 
their feet. To this I have been inconsiderately 
asked, "Why then do they not shoe their 
horses ?" 

This question is easily put, and costs nothing 
but a few various sounds. But where is the 
iron, the forge, the farrier, the people within 
a reasonable distance to maintain him? And 
lastly, where is the principal requisite 
money ? * 

III. The lowest class, who, many of them, 
at some times cannot compass a pair of shoes 
for themselves, they ailed ge, that the gravel is 
intolerable to their naked feet ; and the com- 
plaint has extended to their thin brogues. 

It is true they do sometimes, for these rea- 

*. The difficulties here enumerated are sufficiently appalling ; 
yet there is still one trifling one which has been omitted. Work- 
horses were only occasionally wanted, and the shoes which saved 
their feet on the roads must have been taken off every night, 
before they were turned out to grass on the mountains, unless the 
owners wished to find them, in the morning, either bogged or 
with their bones broken ! 

222 LETTER XxVl. 

sons, go without the road, and ride or walk in 
very incommodious ways. This has induced 
some of our countrymen, especially such as 
have been at Minorca (where roads of this kind 
have likewise been made), to accuse the High- 
landers of Spanish obstinacy, in refusing to 
make use of so great a conveniency, purely 
because it is a novelty introduced by the Eng- 
lish. But why do the black cattle do the same 
thing ? Certainly for the ease of their feet. 

Nor can I believe that either Highlanders or 
Spaniards are such fools as to deprive them- 
selves of any considerable benefit upon a prin- 
ciple so ridiculous. But I fear it is our own 
pride that suggests such contemptuous thoughts 
of strangers. I have seen a great deal of it, 
and have often thought of Lochart's accusation, 
in a book that goes under the name of his 
Memoirs, where he says " The English de- 
spise all nations but their own, for which 
all the world hates them :" or to that purpose. 
But whether his observation be just or not, it 
is in the breast of every one to determine for 
himself. For my own part, ever since I have 
known the Highlands, I never doubted but the 
natives had their share of natural understand- 
ing with the rest of mankind. 

Notwithstanding I have finished my account 
of the roads, which was all I at first intended, 


and although this letter is almost grown into a 
a volume, yet, like other great talkers, I cannot 
conclude it with satisfaction to myself till I 
have told my tale quite out. 

Fort-Augustus, at Killichumen, is not only 
near the middle of the opening of which I 
have said so much, but is likewise reckoned to be 
the most centrical point of the habitable part 
of the Highlands. 

The old barrack was built in the year 1716 ; 
I need not tell you upon what occasion. It 
stands upon a rising ground, at about two or 
three hundred yards distance from the head of 
Loch-Ness, and the new fort is just upon the 
border of that water. Before there was any 
great progress made in building that fortress^ 
it was proposed to make a covered way of com- 
munication between both, and that it should 
be the principal garrison of the Highlands, and 
the residence of a governor, who was likewise 
to command the other two in that line, viz. 
Fort-George, at Inverness, and Fort- William, 
in Lochabar, which two last were to be under the 
command of lieutenant-governors ; this was 
the military scheme. But, besides, there was 
a civil project on foot, which was to build a 
town after the English manner, and procure 
for it all the privileges and immunities of a 
royal borough in Scotland. 


These advantages, it was said, would invite 
inhabitants to settle there, not only from the 
Lowlands, but even from England, and make it 
the principal mart of the Highlands, by which 
means the natives would be drawn thither as to 
the centre; and by accustoming themselves to 
strangers, grow desirous of a more commodious 
way of living than their own, and be enabled 
by traffic to maintain it. And thus (it was said) 
they would be weaned from their barbarous cus- 
toms. But surely this scheme was as wild as the 
Highlanders whom it was proposed to tame by 
it; yet it was entertained for some months with 
fondness. But anger blinds and deceives the 
judgment by the promised sweets of revenge, as 
avarice does by the pleasing thoughts of gain, 
though unlawful. And I think I may premise 
to what I am about to say, that successful re- 
venge is wicked ; but an impotent desire of it is 
not only wicked, but ridiculous. Perhaps you 
will say I moralize, and you do not yet see the 
application; but you will hardly believe that 
this Utopian town had no other foundation than 
a pique against two or three of the magistrates 
of Inverness, for whose transgression their town 
was to be humbled by this contrivance. 

I shall wave all considerations of the intent to 
punish a whole community upon a prejudice 
taken against two or three of them, and only 


show you how improbable the success of such 
an undertaking would have been : and if it had 
been likely, how distant the prospect of the 
pleasure proposed by it. 

A town of any manner of consideration would 
take up all, or most part of the country (for so 
the Highlanders call every little arable flat that 
lies between the mountains); and the place is 
not above five-and-twenty miles (including the 
lake) from Inverness, which is a sea-port town, 
and well situated for improvement of foreign 
trade and home manufactures. But the inner 
parts of the Highlands will not admit even of 
manufactories ; for the inhabitants are few that 
can be spared from their farms, which, though 
they are but small, are absolutely necessary to 
life; and they are scattered among the hills at 
great distances, and the habitable spaces are 
generally not large enough to contain any con- 
siderable number of people, or the whole coun- 
try within reach all round about, sufficient to 
furnish them with necessary provisions. And 
lastly, strangers will not be admitted among the 

By the way, I have been told the Welsh are 
not much less averse than the Highlanders to 
any settlement of strangers among them, though 
extremely hospitable to visitants, and such 



as have some temporary ^business to transact 
in their country. But to return to my pur- 

As to the corn received by the lairds from 
their tenants, as rent in kind, and the cattle, 
when marketable, the first has always been sold 
by contract to Lowland merchants, and the cattle 
are driven to such fairs and markets of the Low- 
country as are nearest, or otherwise commodious 
or beneficial to the drovers and their employers. 
And therefore there is no manner of likelihood 
that either the one or the other should be brought 
to any Highland market. 

I have told you in a former letter, what kinds 
and quantities of merchandise were usually 
brought by the Highlanders, to the fairs at In- 

It was a supposition very extraordinary to 
suppose, that any Lowlanders who could sub- 
sist in another place, would shut themselves up 
in such a prison, without any reasonable pro- 
spect of advantage; and I verily believe there is 
not an Englishman, when he knew the country, 
but would think of a settlement there with more 
horror than any Russian would do of banish- 
ment to Siberia. 

But lastly, if it were possible to suppose there 
were none of these obstacles, how long a time 


must have been required to people this new 
colony, and to render it capable to rival an old 
established town like Inverness : I need not re- 
cite the proverb of the growing grass; it is too 

Yet if the inhabitants of the new settlement 
proposed, could have lived upon air, I verily be- 
lieve they would have been fed with better diet 
than at Montpelier. 

Thus am I providing work for myself, but am 
not so sure it will be entertainment to you; for 
now I have happened to speak of the healthful- 
ness of the spotj I must tell you whereupon 1 
found my opinion. 

The officers and soldiers garrisoned in that 
barrack, for many successions have found it to 
be so; and several of them who were fallen into 
a valetudinary state in other parts, have there 
recovered their health in a short time. Among 
other instances, I shall give you only one, which 
I thought almost a miracle. 

A certain officer of the army, when in London, 
was advised by his physicians to go into the 
country for better air, as you know is customary 
with them, when mere shame deters them from 
taking further fees; and likewise that the patient 
may be hid under ground, out of the reach of 
all reflecting observation within the circuit of 
their practice. But the corps he belonged to 



being then quartered in the Highlands, he re- 
solved, by gentle journeys, to endeavour to reach 
it, but expected (as he told me) nothing but 
death by the way; however he came to that 
place one evening, unknown to me, though I was 
then in the barrack, and the next morning early 
I saw upon the parade, a stranger, which is there 
an unusual sight. He was in a deep consump- 
tion, sadly emaciated, and with despair in his 
countenance, surveying the tops of the moun- 
tains. I went to him ; and after a few words of 
welcome, &c. his uppermost thoughts became 
audible in a moment. " Lord ! " says he, " to 
what a place am I come ? There can nothing but 
death be expected here ! " I own I had con- 
ceived a good opinion of that part of the country, 
and, therefore, as well as in common complai- 
sance, should in course have given him some 
encouragement : but I do not know how it was ; 
I happened at that instant to be, as it were, in- 
spired with a confidence not ordinary with me, 
and told him peremptorily and positively the 
country would cure him; and repeated it seve- 
ral times, as if I knew it would be so. How 
ready is hope with her asistance! Immediately 
I observed his features to clear up, like the day, 
when the sun begins to peep over the edge of 
a cloud. 

To be short: he mended daily in his health, 


grew perfectly well in a little time, obtained 
leave to return to England, and soon after mar- 
ried a woman with a considerable fortune. 

I know so well your opinion of the doctor's 
skill, that, if I should tell you there was not a 
physician in the country, you would say it was 
that very want which made the air so healthy, 
and was the cause of that wonderful cure. 

This poor but wholesome spot reminds me of 
a quack that mounted a stage in Westminster, 
but was there very unsuccessful in the sale of 
his packets. At the end of his harangue he told 
his mob-audience (among whom, being but a 
boy, myself was one), that he should immedi- 
ately truss up his baggage and be gone, because 
he found they had no occasion for physic; 
" For," says he, you live in an air so healthy, 
that where one of you dies, there are twenty 
that run away." 

But to proceed to a conclusion, which I fore- 
see is not far off. 

At Fort- William, which is not above three or 
four and twenty miles westward of Fort-Au- 
gustus, I have heard the people talk as fami- 
liarly of a shower (as they call it) of nine or 
ten weeks, as they would do of any thing else 
that was not out of the ordinary course ; but 
the clouds that are brought over-sea by the 
westerly winds are there attracted and broke 


by the exceedingly high mountains, and mostly 
exhausted before they reach the middle of the 
Highlands at Fort- Augustus ; and nothing has 
been more common with us about Inverness, on 
the east coast, than to ride or walk to recreate 
ourselves in sunshine, when we could clearly see 
through the opening, for weeks together, the 
west side of the island involved in thick clouds. 
This was often the occasion of a good-natured tri- 
umph with us to observe what a pickle our op- 
posite neighbours were in ; but I am told the 
difference in that particular, between the east 
and western part of England, near the coast, is 
much the same in proportion to the height of 
the hills. 

I have but one thing more to take notice of 
in relation to the spot of which I have been so 
long speaking, and that is, I have been some- 
times vexed with a little plague (if I may use 
the expression), but do not you think I am too 
grave upon the subject; there are great swarms 
of little flies which the natives call malhoulaklns : 
houlack, they tell me, signifies, in the country 
language, a^j/, and houlakin is the diminutive 
of that name.* These are so very small, that, 
separately, they are but just perceptible and 
that is all ; and, being of a blackish colour, 

* Ctiileag, in Gaelic, means a fly, and is itself a diminutive ; 
cuileagin is the plural of cuileag. 


when a number of them settle upon the skin, 
they make it look as if it was dirty ; there they 
soon bore with their little augers into the pores, 
and change the face from black to red. 

They are only troublesome (I should say in- 
tolerable) in summer, when there is a profound 
calm ; for the least breath of wind immediately 
disperses them ; and the only refuge from them 
is the house, into which I never knew them to 
enter. Sometimes, when I have been talking 
to any one, I have (though with the utmost self- 
denial) endured their stings to watch his face, 
and see how long they would suffer him to be 
quiet; but, in three or four seconds, he has 
slapped his hand upon his face, and in great 
wrath cursed the little vermin: but I have 
found the same torment in some other parts of 
the Highlands where woods were at no great 

Here I might say, if it did not something sa- 
vour of a pun, that I have related to you the 
most minute circumstances of this long and 
straight opening of the mountains. 

As my former letters relating to this country 
were the effect of your choice, I could then apo- 
logize for them with a tolerable grace; but now 
that I have obtruded myself upon you, without 
so much as asking your consent, or giving you 
the least notice, I have divested myself of that 


advantage, and therefore I shall take the quite 
contrary course, and boldly justify myself 
in what I have done. You know there is no 
other rule to judge of the quality of many 
things but by comparison; and this being of 
that nature, I do affirm with the last confidence 
(for I have not been here so long for nothing), 
that the following subjects are inferior to mine 
either for information or entertainment, viz. 

1st. The genealogy of a particular family, in 
which but very few others are interested ; and, 
by the bye, for you know I am apt to digress, it 
must be great good-nature and Christian cha- 
rity to suppose it impossible that any one of the 
auxiliary sex should step out of the way to the 
aid of some other in the many successions of 
five hundred years ; and, if that should happen, 
I would know what relation there then is be- 
tween him that boasts of his ancestry and the 
founder of the family ; certainly none but the 
estate ; and, if that which is the main prop 
Should fail, the high family would soon tumble 
from it eminence ; but this is but very little of 
that just ridicule that attends this kind of va- 

We are told that none are gentlemen among 
the Chinese, but such as have rendered them- 
selves worthy of the title. 

2dly. Tedious collections of the sentiments 


of great numbers of authors upon subjects that, 
in all likelihood, had never any being but this 
is a parade of reading. 

3dly. Trifling antiquities, hunted out of their 
mouldy recesses, which serve to no other pur- 
pose but to expose the injudicious searcher. 

4thly. Tiresome criticisms upon a single 
word, when it is not of the least consequence 
whether there is, or ever was, any such sound. 

5thly. Dissertations upon butterflies, which 
would take up almost as much time in the read- 
ing as the whole life of that insect cum multis 

This small scrap of Latin has escaped me, 
and I think it is the only air of learning, as 
they call it, that I have given to any of my 
letters, from the begining to this time, and even 
now I might have expressed the sense of it 
in homely English with as few words, and a 
sound as agreeable to the ear : but some are as 
fond of larding with Latin as a French cook is 
with bacon, and each of them makes of his 
performance a kind of linsey-woolsey composi- 

As this letter is grown too bulky for the post, 
it will come to your hands by the favour of a 

gentleman, Major , who is to set out for 

London to-morrow morning upon an affair that 
requires his expedition. 


I can justly recommend him to your ac- 
quaintance, as I have already referred him to 
yours; and I do assure you, that, by his ingenious 
and cheerful conversation, he has not a little 
contributed, for a twelvemonth past, to render 
my exile more tolerable ; it is true I might have 
sent the sheets in parcels, but I have chosen 
rather to surprise you with them all at once; 
and I dare say, bating accidents, you will have 
the last of them sooner by his means than by 
the ordinary conveyance. 


No. I. 


In the beginning of the Seventeenth Century. 


As the measures taken by James the Sixth, after his 
accession to the crown of England (and somewhat more 
than a century before our author's visit to Scotland), 
for civilizing the Highlanders, form the commence- 
ment of an era the most interesting in their history, 
because we have no authentic details of an earlier 
period from which any satisfactory conclusions can be 
drawn as to their real character and condition,' and 
as those measures, however injudiciously and ineffec- 
tually executed, produced, in the end, an acquaintance, 
interest, and connection, between the house of Stuart 
and the clans, which brought the latter forward to the 
notice of all Europe, and had a material influence 
upon their spirit, habits, and fortunes, it is presumed 
that the following extracts from the records of the 
privy council of Scotland, commencing with March 
10th, 1608, and ending with September, 12th, 1623, 
will be read with considerable interest by those who 
have perused the foregoing work. In these extracts, 
it will be seen what the purpose of the government 
was. That every thing was well meant, so far as 
they knew, and had the means of effecting, cannot be 


questioned ; but want of money is want of power ; and 
no hearty co-operation of the subjects, serving at their 
own expence, was to be expected where there was no 
immediate advantage in view. There was little to be 
admired in the political state either of England or of 
Scotland, when the whole array of the latter country, 
from sixteen to sixty, must be called out to raise the 
king's dues in the Hebrides. That the service was par- 
ticularly disagreeable to the Lowlanders appears from 
the difficulty of setting the first expedition in motion. 
In order to raise money, a commutation of five per 
cent, upon all rents was admitted in lieu of personal 
service; the consequence of which was, that few of 
those who were likely to have been most serviceable 
took the field : they marched as far as Dunivaig, every 
man taking with him forty days' provision ; but the 
army was obliged to quit the country for want of food, 
and the ships for want of security. A garrison was 
placed in Dunivaig, and most of the denounced chiefs 
brought to Edinburgh ; but Dunivaig was shortly after 
surprised and furnished against the king. 

Tn this whole expedition, not more than thirty or 
forty lives were lost, except such as died of hunger, 
fatigue, and the various hardships connected with a 
campaign of Lowlanders in the Highlands. In the 
report of his proceedings, dated Edinburgh, 5th Octo- 
ber, 1608, Andrew Lord Steuart, of Uchiltrie, the 
king's lieutenant, declares, that, among other important 
services, he has, in pursuance of the orders he had re- 
ceived, " brokin and distroyit the haill (whole) gallayis, 
lumfaddis (long war-barges'), and birlingis that he 
could find in ony pairt of the yllis he resortit vnto." 
It appears that at that time these descendants of the 


Scandinavian sea-kings had a very considerable naval 
apparatus, of pretty much the same kind as were used 
by their adventurous forefathers ; and the lieutenant 
very sensibly represents to the council, that, after hav- 
ing destroyed all the galleys and row-boats in the isles, 
which were very numerous, it would be not only fair 
but necessary, to destroy also all that belonged to the 
good and loyal subjects on the mainland, opposite to the 
isles, in order, that if the islanders were deprived of 
the means of defence, their good neighbours might be 
deprived, at the same time, of the means of annoying 
them. The drift of all this indiscriminate destruction 
of vessels of every description (except as much as 
might be necessary for conveying his majesty's rents), 
was to encourage the " trade of fischeing, whiche the 
peaceable subjects of the incuntrey wald interteny in 
the saidis yllis, to the honnour and benefeit of the haill 
kingdome !" 

Eight years after these great triumphs and wise 
precautions, we find the king infefting Rorye M'Kan- 
yee of Coygache, in the lands and isles of Mull, 
Morverne, and Terey, which had formerly belonged to 
Hector M'Clayne of Dowart, whereupon Rorye pro- 
fesses himself heartily willing, with the assistance of 
the king's troops, to reduce his new tenants to " civi- 
litie, ordour, and obedience." 

What remained, long after this, to be done in that, 
way, may be gathered from the following proclama- 
tion : 

" Apud Edinburgh, xviij die mensis Junij', 1622. 

" FORSAMEKLE as the Kingis Majestic haveing be- 
stowit greit panes and chairges and expensis to ward is 


the reducing 1 of the His and heighlandis of this king- 
dome to obedience, whilkis now by the pouer and force 
of his Majesteis auctoritie, and by his prudent and 
wyse governement, ar satled in quietnes and peace, 
and justice establisched within the same, to the con- 
forte of all his Majesteis good subiectis in the His and 
contenent nixt adjacent ; Thair is one Lymmer, to 
wit, Allane Camron of Lochyell, that lyis out, and re- 
fnisis to gif his obedience ; who, haveing maid schip- 
wrak of his faith and promeist obedience, and schaking 
of all feir of god, reverence of law, and regaird of 
Justice, and being diuerse tyines denuncit rebell, and 
put to the home, for cruell and detestable murthouris 
and otheris insolenceis committit be him, he not onlie 
continowis in his rebellioun, as if he war nather subiect 
to king, law, nor justice ; bot hes associat to himselfe 
ane number of otheris Lymmaris, by whome, and with 
whose assistance he intendis so far as in him lyis, to 
intertenye ane oppin rebellioun, and to disturb the 
pace and quiet of the helandis and His ; for repressing 
of whose insolencies, and reduceing of him to obe- 
dience, his Majestic, with advyse of the Lordis of his 
Counsaill hes past and exped ane commissioun to 
Coline Lord Kintaill, Sir Lauchlane M'Intosche of 
Dunnauchtane, Sir Rorie M'Claud of Herreis, Sir 
Donnald Gorme," &c. See. 

Here the whole array of the Highlands, with the late 
thieves and limmers of the isles at their head, is called 
forth to subdue " the limmer Lochiel, with only a 
handful of limmers like himself, who issued from 
their starting -holes" &c. 

Allan Cameron had been for many years denounced, 
as " delyting in no thing els bot in cruell and detesta- 


ble murthouris, fyre-raisings, SORCERYIS," &c. and 
his eldest son, John, was then in ward in the tolbuith 
of Edinburgh, as a hostage for his father's good beha- 
viour; but his neighbours were his friends; and Allan 
was in no great danger from the king's wrath for the 
loss of his rents. It is impossible to judge of a cha- 
racter from the terms in which a denunciation of fire 
and sword is couched; but we will venture to say, that 
had these accusations been just to their full extent, a 
proclamation of the King against him would not have 
been necessary. Had he been guilty of detestable 
murthouris, his neighbours would of their own accord 
have punished him, in spite of his sorceryis; and both 
charges rest upon the same authority. 

*In the court 'holden at Icolmkill,on the 23d of August, 
1609, by Andrew Bishop of the Isles, (who had the 
king's commission for that purpose), at which most 
of the gentry of the neighbouring isles were present, 
"and understanding and considering the great igno- 
rance, unto the which not only they, for the most part, 
themselves, but also the whole commonalty inhabit- 
ants of the Islands has been and are subject to, which 
is the cause of the neglect of all duty to God, and of 
his true worship, to the great growth of all kind of 
vice, proceeding partly of the lack of pastors planted, 
and partly of the contempt of these who are already 
planted; For remead whereof, they have agreed in one 
voice, like as it is presently concluded and enacted, that 
the ministry, as well planted as to be planted, within 
the parishes of the said Islands, shalbe reverently obey- 

* In this and the following extracts, the language of the Record has been 
verbally adhered to, though the orthography is modernised for the con- 
venience of English readers. 



ed, their stipends dutifully paid them, the ruinous kirks 
with reasonable diligence repaired, the sabbath solemnly 
keeped, adulteries, fornications, incest, and such other 
vile slanders severely punished, MARRIAGES CON- 
CHARGED, and the committers thereof holden repute 
and punished as fornicators; and that conform to the 
louable (laudable) Acts of Parliament of this realme, 
and discipline of the reformed kirk; the which the 
forenamed persons and every one of them, within their 
own bounds, faithfully promises to see put to due exe- 

" The which day the foresaid persons, considering 
and having found by experience the great burden and 
charges that their whole countrymen, and specially their 
tenents and labourers of the ground has sustained, by 
furnishing of meat, drink, and entertainment to stran- 
gers, passengers, and others idle men, without any 
calling or vocation to win their living ; has, for relief 
of passengers and strangers, ordained certain oistlaris 
(inn-keepers) to be sat down in the most convenient 
places within every Isle, and that by every one of the 
forenamed special men within their own bounds, as they 
shall best devise ; which oistlaris shall have furniture 
sufficient of meat and drink to be sold for reasonable 

" And also they consent and assent, for the relief of 
their said intolerable burden, that no man be suffered 
to remain or have residence within any of their bounds 
of the saids Isles, without a special revenue and rent 
to live upon; or, at the least, a sufficient calling and 
craft whereby to be sustained. And to the intent that 
no man be chargeable to the country, by holding in 


household of more gentlemen nor (than) his proper 
rent may sustain; it is therefore decreed and enacted 
with uniform consent of the foresaid persons, barons 
and gentlemen within-named, that they and each one of 
them shall sustain and entertain the particular number 
of gentlemen in household underwritten, to wit, An- 
gus M'Donald of Dunneveg, six gentlemen ; Hector 
M'Cleane of Dowart, eight gentlemen; Donald Gorm 
M 'Donald, Rorie M'Cloyde, and Donnald M'Callum 
Vic Eane, each one of them, six gentlemen; Lauchlane 
M'Cleane of Coill, and Rorie M'Kynnoun, each one 
of them, three gentlemen; Lauchlane M'Cleane, 
brother to the said Hector, three servants; and the said 
gentlemen to be sustained and entertained by the fore- 
named persons, each one for their own parts, as is above 
rehearsed, upon their own expences and charges, with- 
out any supply of their country's. 

" And finally, to the intent that the inhabitants of the 
said Islands have no cause to complain of any oppression; 
or that the fruit of the labours of the poor tenents and 
labourers of the ground within the same (as they have 
been heretofore), by eating up by sorners (sturdy beg- 
gers) and idle bellies; they have agreed in one voice, 
like as it is enacted, that whatsoever person or persons, 
strangers or inborne, within the bounds of the said 
Isles, shall happen to be found sorning, craving meat, 
drink, or any other geir from the tenents and inhabit- 
ants thaireof, by way of congie, as they term it, except 
for reasonable and sufficient payment from the oistlaires 
to be appointed as is foresaid, they shall be repute and 
holden as thieves and intolerable oppressors, called and 
pursued therefore before the Judge competent as for 
thift and oppression. And to the intent that they may 

R 2 


be made answerable to the laws ; the foresaid gentle- 
men and barons binds and obleissis them with their 
friends and defendars (till His Majesty take farther 
order thereanent) by force to resist them, take and ap- 
prehend them, and make them answer to the laws. 

" The which day, it being found and tried by appear- 
ance, that one of the special causes of the great poverty 
of the said Isles, and of the great cruelty and inhumane 
barbarity which has been practised by sundry of the in- 
habitants of the same upon others their natural friends 
and neighbours has, by their extraordinar drinking of 
strong wines and acquavitie brought in amongst them, 
partly by merchants of the mainland, and partly by some 
traffiquers indwellers amongst themselves ; for remead 
whereof it is inacted by common consent of the fore- 
named persons, that no person nor persons indwellers 
within the bounds of the said whole Isles bring in to 
sell for money either wine or acquavitie under the pain 
of tinsale (loss) of the same, with power to whatsoever 
person or persons may apprehend the said wine or ac- 
quavitie to be brought in as said is, to dispone there- 
upon at their pleasure, without any payment or satis- 
faction to be made therefore. And farther, if it shall 
happen any merchant in the mainland to bring either 
wine or acquavitie to the said Isles, or any of them. 
It is likewise enacted that whatsoever person or per- 
sonis indwellers thereof, that shall happen to buy any 
of the same from the said merchant, shall pay for the 
first fault forty pounds money, the second fault an 
hundred pounds ; and the third fault the tinsale (loss) 
of his whole rooms, possessions, and moveable goods, 
and the same to be 

without prejudice always to any per- 


sou within the said Isles to brew acquavitie and other 
drink to serve their own houses ; and to the said special 
barons and substantious gentlemen to send to the Low- 
land, and there to buy wine and acquavitie to serve 
their own houses. 

" The which day, It being understand that the igno- 
rance and incivility of the said Isles has dayly increased 
by the negligence of good education and instruction of 
the youth in the knowledge of God and good letters ; 
for remead whereof it is enacted that every gentleman 
or yeoman within the said Islands, or any of them, 
having children, male or female, and being in goods 
worth three score ky (cows), shall put at the least their 
eldest son, or, having no children male, their eldest 
daughter, to the schools in the Lowland, and entertain 
and bring them up there while (till) they mety be found 
able sufficiently to speak, read, and write English. 

" The which day the said reverend father, with the 
foresaid barons and gentlemen, considering ane lauable 
(laudable) Act of Parliament of this realme, by the 
which, for diverse good and reasonable causes contained 
thereintill, It is expressly inhibite forbidden and dis- 
charged that any subject within this his Majesty's king- 
dom bear hagbuts or pistollets out of their own houses 
and dwelling-places, or shoot therewith at deers, hares, 
or fowls, or any other manner of way, under certain 
great pains therein specified; which Act of Parliament, 
in respect of the monstrous deadly feuds heretofore 
entertained within the said Isles, has noways been ob- 
served and keeped amongst them as yet, to the great 
hurt of the most part of the inhabitants thereof; for 
remead whereof, It is enacted by common consent fore- 
said, that no person or persons within the bounds of 


the said isles bear hagbuts nor pistollets forth of their 
own houses and dwelling-places ; neither shoot there- 
with at deer, hares, fowls, nor no other manner of way 
in time coming, under the pains contained in the said 
Act. And if it shall happen any man to contravene 
the same, that the special man under whom the con- 
travener dwells, execute the said act and pains con- 
tained thereintill upon him, the contravention always 
being sufficiently tried, or at the least produce him 
before the Judge Ordinar. 

" The which day, it being considered, that amongst 
the rernanent abuses which, without reformation, has 
defiled the whole Isles has been the entertainment and 
bearing with idle bellies, special vagabonds, BARDS, 
idle and sturdy beggars, express contrare the laws and 
lauable Acts of Parliament ; for remead whereof, It is 
likeways enacted of common consent, that no vaga- 
bond, BARD nor profest pleisant (fool by profession}^ 
pretending liberty to BARD and flatter, be received 
within the bounds of the said Isles by any of the said 
special barons and gentlemen, or any others inhabitants 
thereof, or entertained by them, or any of them, in any 
sort : but, incace any vagabonds, bards, juglers, or such 
like, be apprehended by them, or any of them, he to be 
taken and put in sure seizement and keeping in the 
stocks, and thereafter to be debarred forth of the coun- 
try with all goodly expedition. 

" And for the better observeing keeping and fulfill- 
ing of the whole acts, laws, and constitutions within- 
written, and each one of them; It is agreed unto, con- 
cluded, and enacted, seing the principal of every clan 
man (must) be answerable for the remanent of the 
samen, his kin, friends, and defenders, That if any per- 


son or persons, of whatsoever clan, degree, or rank, 
within the bounds of the said isles, shall happen to con- 
travene the acts, laws, and constitutions within-written, 
or any of them, or disobey their chief or superiour fore- 
said ; That then, and in that cace, these presents shall 
be a sufficient warrand to the baron and special man 
within whose bounds the contravener makes his special 
residence, to command him to ward ; and incace of dis- 
obedience, to take and apprehend the person or per- 
sons disobeyers ; and after due trial of their contraven- 
tion in manner foresaid, to seize upon their moveable 
goods and geir, and to be answerable for the samen to 
be brought in to his Majesty's use; and to produce like- 
ways the malefactors before the Judge competent, 
while (till) his Majesty take farther order thereanent, 
like as it is specially provided, that no chief of any clan, 
superiour of any lands, or principal of any family recept 
or maintain any malefactour, fugitive, or disobedient 
to his own natural and kindly chief and superiour. In 
witness whereof the foresaids barons and special gentle- 
men above- written has subscry ved thir (these) presents 
with our hands as follows, in token of thir presents 

" Sic subscribitur : Angus M'Coneill of Dwnivaig, 
M'Clane of Dowart, Donald Gorme of Slait, M'Cleud, 
M'Kynnoun, M'Clane of Coill, Donald M'Donald of 
Hentyram, M'Clane of Lochbuy, M'Quene. 


Instructions for the Commissioners for settling the 
Peace of the West and North Isles. 

The noblemen and landed gentlemen on the main 
land adjacent to the Isles, are to give bond each to 
keep his own bounds quiet, and admit no fugitives 
from the Isles. 

" And to the effect none may pretend ignorance of 
our aim and drift herein, you are to consider the mo- 
tives induceing us to so great a desire of the obedience 
and civilitie of these bounds. First, in the care we 
have of the planting of the gospel among these rude 
barbarous and uncivil people, the want whereof these 
years past no doubt has been the great hazard of many 
poor souls, being ignorant of their own salvation ; 
next our desire to remove all such scandalous re- 
proaches against that state in suffering a part of it to 
be possessed with such wild savages, void of God's 
feare and our obedience ; and herewith the loss we 
have in not receiving the due rents addebted to us 
forth of those Isles, being of the patrimony of that our 

" But as the last is the meanest of all the motives, 
so the naked assurance of that yearly rent wilbe unto 
us small satisfaction, there being just cause of better 
hopes both of gain and contentment for these bounds 
being fertile for corns and pasturage of cattle, and 
the seas very rich of fishing, if towns were builded in 
these bounds, without question, not only thereby civi- 
lity would be planted, but our rents in the customes and 
other casualities increased in a great sort ; for which 
cause we would have it advised by you in what parts 


any good towns with commodities of good harbours and 
sea-ports might be placed; that so we might further 
and advance the peopling of the same, by endowing 
them with liberties priviledges and immunities, the 
causes of the increase of many other great towns here- 
tofore. And we will reserve some certain portion of 
ground about the same to be distributed amongst the 
inhabitants thereof, thereby to encourage people to 
dwell and make their residence there. 

" And as we have ever wished from our heart that 
our good subjects of that kingdom (Scotland) should 
not hereafter be any farther troubled with taxes, sub- 
sidies, or obeying of proclamations made for reducing 
of these Isles to obedience ; So we will you to consi- 
der, That seeing almost the chief and principal of these 
Islesmen (the Clandonald excepted, for whose obe- 
dience and entry when they shall be required, The lord 
Uchiltree our Lieutenant in these bounds, and the 
Bishop of the Isles, do freely undertake) are now en- 
tered there in sure ward, and that there cannot be of- 
fered any better occasion of capitulation with that sort 
of people ; and we, having considered their petition, 
preferred unto us, offering all security possible, or 
then (else) pledges for performance of their duty ; we 
expect, after you have heard either themselves or some 
in their names make offers both of payment of our rent, 
and for their obedience; to be then by you certified, 
what course is fittest to be taken, and by what means 
this so endless a work heretofore may be out put to 
that point as both our desire attayned vnto, and our 
good subjects there no farther troubled for this cause. 

" And herein we think the present opportunity is 
very remarkable, That at the same time when we do 


commit unto you the deliberation and execution of this 
matter concerning our Isles and Highlands within our 
continent in that kingdom ; That our Council here are 
also advising in like manner for distributing of the 
whole north part almost of our kingdom of Ireland to 
such of our good subjects as will plant colonies therein ; 
and the winter season being a most proper fitt time for 
deliberating and preparing, we hope it shall kythe 
(appear} against the spring, whether you be more care- 
ful for recovery of one member of your own body al- 
most rotten and decayed, or they here to restore a par- 
cel of that which, however pertaining to this estate, 
yet is no part of this kingdom. 

*' We will be sparing to dispose upon any part of 
these Isles, and unwilling to extermine, yea, scarce 
to transplant the inhabitants of the same, but upon a 
just cause ; and we think the people remaining there 
may be divided into three sorts : The first is, these 
chieftains and leaders of clans, (men who never re- 
garded what surety or right they had of any land, ac- 
counting their power to oppress warrand sufficient for 
them to possess ; and using that tyrannical form over 
ther tenents as it made the country to be almost un- 
habited ; at least, caused many of them that were wil- 
ling to have remained labourers, turn to idleness, as 
being out of hope, (or at least unwilling to live by the 
sweat of their brows,) did thereupon make choice to 
follow their chieftanes' example, to live upon other 
men's labour ; and of them is the second sort com- 
posed. The third is of them who are, and do still re- 
main labourers, which sort, without some known cause 
to the contrary, might be well permitted to remain. 
The second sort might be enforced, either to take them 


selfs to industry or then transported or else banished ; 
and the first sort, of which there be some of the prin- 
cipals now in ward, may be either contented with a 
reasonable mean portion of that same lands which they 
had before, or then (else) transported to such a place 
where their far distance may remove all fear of breach 
on their part. But we noway hold it fit that any of 
these great chieftains should be continued in their pos- 
sessions in that quantity as they have formerly ac- 
claymed them ; because it doeth nothing at all but 
gives them the greater scope to extend their tyranny, 
and maketh their reducing to obedience the more diffi- 
cult and hard. 

" And therefore it is to be advised by you what is 
fittest to be done with these in ward ; and what shall 
be done with any such Islesmen as lyes out; and how 
that service in any point thereof which is yet unfinished 
may be once ended ; and what shall be the course 
both of planting of civility, obedience, and religion 
in these parts, and for preserving of the same here- 
after : of all which, and every point thereof, after the 
same has been reasoned, debated, and consulted upon 
amongst you, we do expect your advice and counsel 
what shall be farther prosecuted in that matter ; upon 
return whereof, we will then send unto you the signifi- 
cation of our farther pleasure and will." 

The weakness and poverty of the government obliged 
them to play off one clan against another, by which the 
tumults of the country were increased instead of being 
suppressed ; and rebellions were excited and fomented 
by those guardians of the public peace, with a view to 
obtain the lands of the insurgents, as a reward for 
quelling them. 


The Earl of Argyle was bound to assure the whole 
continent foiranent (overagainst) the West Isles, be- 
twixt the Mull of Kintyre and Lochaber, that none of 
the fugitives and rebellious Islesmen *' shall be ressett 
there ;" and Allane M'Eanduy, M'Intoshe, and M'Ra- 
nald, were bound for Lochaber, &c. yet, notwithstand- 
ing the confidence and favour in which Argyle then 
stood, we find the privy council (28th Sept. 1609) dis- 
charging an oppressive and insolent proclamation of 
his, " That no merchantis nor vtheris sail by (buy) 
ony mairtis (black cattle), horsis or vtheris goodis 
within the boundis of Mule, or ony vttheris of the 

West Yllis." " The saidis Yllismen having no 

vtheris meanis nor possibilitie to pay his Majesties 
decotyeis, bot by the scale of thair mairtis and horses, 
and the buying of such commodities being in all tymes 
bigane a free constant and peaceable trade to the mer- 
chantis, alsueill of Ergyll, as of the incuntrey (mid- 
land country)," &c. 

Under what circumstances and auspices the fishing 
on the west coast was proposed to be carried on, will 
appear from the following document : 

" 30 July, 1622. 

" The quhilk day, in presence of the Lord is of Se- 
creit Counsell compeirit personalie Sir Donald Gorme 
of Slait, Sir Rory M'Cleud of Hereis, Johnne M'Do- 
nald M'Allane Vic Eane of Ilantyrum, Capitane of 
Clanrannald, Ronnald M'Allane Vic Eane his uncle, 
Sir Lauchlaue M'Kynnoun of Strathurdill, and actit, 
band and oblist thame That thay, nor naue of thame, 
nor nane of thair men tennentis and servandis, nor na 
otheris whome thay may stop or latt (hinder), sail on 



na wayes invade, molest, harme, nor oppres his Majes- 
teis goode subjectis banting the trade of fisbeing in the 
His; and that thay sail not onlie protect tbame fra 
all violence within thair boundis, bot lykewayes that 
thay salbe ansuerable for thair awne men, and for all 
otheris personis quhatsomeuir quho salhappin to repair 
within thair boundis respective, and committ ony inso- 
lence oppressioun vpoun his Majesteis saidis subjectis ; 
and for the whole wrong-is and oppressionis that salbe 
committit vpoun thame heirefter; and that every one 
of thame within thair awne boundis sail appoint some 
sufficient honnest man to haif a cair, and to attend 
vpoun the saidis fishearis to protect and manteine 
thame in thair fisheing, and to withstand all insolence 
that salbe attempted aganis thame ; quhilkis personis 
sua to be nominat and appointit be thame salbe autho- 
rized with power to apprehend ony heyland men that 
come within thair boundis respective, and committ 
ony disordour, violence or insolence vpoun the saidis 
fishearis, and to putt thame in warde, thair to re- 
mayne quhill (till) thay be presentit befoir the Justice 
to thair tryall. And thay oblist thame to observe the 
premissis vnder the panes contenit in the actis respec- 
tiv%, whairby thay ar bonnden to thair good behaviour to 
His Majestie and his lawis to witt, Sir Donald Gorme, 
and Sir Rory M'Cleud, ather of thame, under the pane 
of acht thousand pundis ; The Cap tan e of Clanran- 
nald, vnder the pane of ten thousand merkis; Sir 
Lauchlane M'Kynnoun and Ronnald M'Eane, ather of 
thame, vnder the pane of flfyve thousand merkis." 

No. II. 


Addressed to Ms Majesty George I. concerning the State of 
tie Highlands, by Simon Lord Lor at, 1724. 

[This is tlie Memorial referred to as authority, by Marshal Wade, in the 
next article.] 

" THE Highlands of Scotland, being a country very 
mountainous, and almost inaccessible to any but the 
inhabitants thereof, whose language and dress are en- 
tirely different from those of the Low-country, do re- 
main to this day much less civilized than the other 
parts of Scotland, from whence many inconveniencies 
arise to his Majesty's subjects, and even to the govern- 
ment itself. 

" That part of Scotland is very barren and unim- 
proven, has little or no trade, and not much intercourse 
with the Low-country ; the product is almost confined 
to the cattle which feed in the mountains. The peo- 
ple wear their ancient habit, convenient for their wan- 
dering up and down and peculiar way of living, which 
inures them to all sorts of fatigue. Their language, 
being a dialect of the Irish, is understood by none but 
themselves ; they are very ignorant, illiterate, and in 
constant use of wearing arms, which are well suited to 
their method of using them, and very expeditious in 
marching from place to place. 

" These circumstances have, in all times, produced 


many evils, which have been frequently considered, and 
many remedies attempted, as it appears from the Scots 
acts of parliament. Their living among themselves, 
unmixt with the other part of the country, has been one 
of the causes that many of their families have continued 
in the same possessions during many ages, and very 
little alterations happen in the property of land ; there 
are few purchases, and securities for debts are very 
uncertain, where power happens to be wanting to sup- 
port the legal right. 

"The names of the inhabitants are confined to a small 
number, partly from the little intercourse they have had 
with other people, and partly from the affectation that 
reigns among them, to annex themselves to some tribe 
or family, and thereby to put themselves under the pro- 
tection of the head or chief thereof. 

" These several names of families are respectively as- 
sociated together in friendship and interest, each name 
under such person as is, or is reputed to be, the head 
of the family, who has very great authority over them, 
quite independent of any legal power, and has, in seve- 
ral instances, continued great numbers of years after 
that the lands where they live have been alienated from 
the chiefs whom they serve. There happened two sur- 
prising instances of this at the late rebellion ; the one 
was concerning the Frasers, who, upon the Lord Lovat's 
arrival in Scotland, though he had been ane exile for 
many years, another family, viz. Alexander Mackenzie 
of Fraserdale, in possession of the estate, who had 
marched a number of them, formed into a regiment, to 
Perth, where the rebel army then lay ; yet notwith- 
standing all this, the moment they heard that their chief 
was assembling the rest of his friends and name in the 


Highlands, they got together, and made their retreat 
good, till they joined Lord Lovat, and others, who were 
in arms for his Majesty. 

" The other example was that of the Macleans, whose 
lands had been vested for debt in the family of Argyle, 
above forty years before ; their chief had not ane inch 
of ground ; bat, after living and serving in France most 
part of his lifetime, had come over to London, where 
he had been maintained by the charity of Queen Anne. 
Yet, under all these circumstances, Sir John Maclean 
got together 400 of these men, out of a remote island 
in the west seas of Scotland, who fought under him at 
Dumblain, against his Majesty's troops, though com- 
manded by their own landlord. 

" This extraordinary state of the country has, in all 
times, produced many mutual quarrels and jealousies 
among the chiefs, which formerly amounted to a con- 
tinual scene of civil warre; and to this day there re- 
mains both personal and hereditary feuds and animosi- 
ties among them, which have a great influence over all 
their actions. The law has never had its due course 
and authority in many parts of the Highlands, neither 
in criminal nor civil matters; no remedy having proved 
entirely effectual, and one of the most useful having 
been disapproved. Schemes of this nature have been 
often framed, but with too little knowledge of the coun- 
try, or the true rise of the abuses to be reformed, and 
very often with too much partiality, and views of re- 
sentment or private interest ; all which tend only to 
create disorders and discontents, to exasperate some, 
and too much encourage others, and to make all more 
proper and reasonable expedients the more difficult to 


" The families in the Highlands arc divided (besides 
the disputes arising among themselves) in principles 
between the Whigs and the Jacobites; and that so near 
an equality, that the authority of the government, by 
giving countenance or discouraging, and by rewards 
and punishments properly applied, and all centering in 
the advancement of the Whig interest, united together, 
might easily produce a vast superiority on the side of 
those who are well affected, there being in the country 
a great party who, ever since the names of Whig and 
Tory have been known, have been always ready to ven- 
ture their lives in the protestant cause. But such has 
been the melancolly circumstances of affairs in Scot- 
land for some years past, that allmost all the consider- 
able gentlemen who took up arms for his Majesty in the 
time of the late unnatural rebellion, have felt the dis- 
pleasure of those in power in Scotland. But as this 
memorialist is humbly of opinion, that it is the duty of 
all good subjects to seal rather than widen breaches 
among the well affected, to contend only in zeal for his 
Majesty's service; and in consequence thereof, to look 
forward only in observations of this nature, he will open 
this scene no farther, than with all humble gratitude to 
acknowledge the great goodness of his Majesty towards 
him, in so often protecting and preserving him from im- 
pending ruin, which the resentment of his enemies had 

" It would, without doubt, be very happy for the go- 
vernment, for the inhabitants of the low country, and, 
above all, for the Highlanders themselves, that all Scot- 
land was equally civilized, and that the Highlanders 
could be governed with the same ease and quiet as the 
rest of Scotland. But as that must be the work of 



great time, every remedy that can be suggested, though 
but particular and incomplete, yet may be worthy of the 
consideration of those in the administration; for what- 
ever tends in any degree to the civilizing those people, 
and enforcing the authority of the law in those parts, 
does in so far really strengthen the present government. 
The use of arms in the Highlands will hardly ever be 
laid aside, till, by degrees, they begin to find they have 
nothing to do with them. And it is no wonder, that 
the laws establishing the succession of the crown, should 
be too little regarded by those who have not hitherto 
been used to a due compliance with any law whatsoever. 

" One of the evils which furnishes the most matter of 
complaint at present is the continual robberies and de- 
predations in. the Highlands, and the country adjacent. 
The great difficulty in this matter arises from the moun- 
tainous situation of those parts, the remoteness from 
towns, and part thereof consisting of islands, dispersed 
up and down- In the western seas, the criminals cannot, 
by any methods now practised, be pursued, much less 
seized and brought to justice, being able to outrun those 
whom they cannot resist. 

" The bad consequences of those robberies are not 
the only oppression which the people suffer in the loss 
of their cattle and other goods/ but by the habitual 
practices of violences and illegal exactions. The High- 
landers disuse all their country business, they grow 
averse to all notions of peace and tranquillity, they 
constantly practise their use of arms, they increase 
their numbers, by drawing many into their gang who 
would otherwise be good subjects, and they remain 
ready and proper materials for disturbing the govern- 
ment upon the first occasion. 

.11 .. 


" These interruptions of the public peacein the High- 
lands were frequently under the consideration of the 
Parliament of Scotland, who, out of just resentment of 
such intolerable abuses, did, during the course of seve- 
ral reigns, pass many laws, but without success. They 
were very severe, drawn with more zeal than skill, and 
almost impracticable in the execution. In some few 
examples, these extraordinary severities took place; 
but that tended more to prevent than establish the quiet 
of the country, being sufficient to provok and exas- 
perat, and too little to subdue the disturbers of the 
public peace. 

"These evils thus remaining without a remedy, and 
the protection of the law being too weak to defend the 
people against such powerful criminals, those who saw 
they must inevitably suffer by such robberies, found it 
necessar to purchase their security by paying ane 
annual tribute to the chieftains of those who plundered. 
This illegal exaction was called Black Meall, and was 
levied upon the several parishes much in the same man- 
ner as the land-tax now is. 

" The insolence of those lawless people became more 
intolerable than ever, about the time of the late happy 
revolution, when many of the chiefs of the same families 
were then in arms against our deliverer, King William, 
who were lately in rebellion against his Majestic. Ane 
army of regular troops marched into the Highlands, but 
with little success, even meeting with a defeat by my 
Lord Dundee, who commanded the rebells. Other 
methods were taken, which putt an end to the civil 
war. The well-affected Highlanders were made use of 
to assist the regular troops. Some of the rebell chiefs 
were privately gained over to the Government, so that 

s 2 


partly by force, and partly by severall other artfull 
manadgements, the quiet of the country was restored, 
excepting that many of the rebells who had ceased to 
oppose the government, began to punder their neigh- 
bours, and sometimes one another. 

" The continual feuds and animosities that has always 
raged among the chiefs of many Highland families, are 
skilfully and wisely made use of, both to prevent their 
uniting in the disturbance of the public peace, or their 
taking any joint measures against the government. 
There is almost allways good service to be done this 
way; and in time of the lasj rebellion, it retarded very 
much the proceeding of the rebells, and made their 
army much less than otherways it would have been. 

" The parliament of Scotland impowered King Wil- 
liam to establish particular commissions to proceed 
against criminalls in those parts, which were ishued 
with very extraordinary powers, and were executed in 
a-ne unlimited arbitrary manner, without any effect for 
the purposes they were established, so as to creat in all 
people ane aversion against such courts and judicature, 
which, even in matters of life and death, were confined 
by no rules of law whatsoever they made malcontents 
against the government, and at last were prudently laid 

" After many fruitless experiments for bringing the 
Highlands to a state of more quiet, it was at last ac- 
complished by the establishing independent companies, 
composed of Highlanders, and commanded by gentle- 
men of good affection and of credit in that county. 
This took its rise from ane address of the Parliament 
to the King. 

" The advantages that arose from this measure were 


many. These companies having otiicers at their head, 
who were gentlemen of interest in the Highlands, and 
well affected, were a great countenance and support, 
on all occasions, to the friends, and a terror to the 
enemies, of the government. 

" The men being Highlanders, and well chosen for 
the purpose intended, the whole difficulties which 
arose in all former projects for preserving the peace of 
the Highlands, became even so many advantages and 
inconveniencies attending this measure. The men were 
cloathed in the best manner, after the fashion of the 
Highlanders, both for the unaccountable marches these 
people perform, and for their covering at night in the 
open air. They spoke the same language, and got in- 
telligence of every thing that was doing in the country. 
They carried the same sort of arms, convenient for 
the Highlanders in their ways of acting. Being picked 
out for this service, they were the most known, and 
capable of following criminalls over the wild moun- 
tains a thing impracticable but for natives to perform. 

" The captains procured their men, in all their pro- 
ceedings, the assistance of the inhabitants they had 
under their influence, and of all their friends in the 
country ; and the inferior officers, and even the private 
men, wherever they came, found always some of their 
tribe or family who were ready to assist them in 
doeing their duty, when any part of these companies 
were upon command, either upon pursuit of criminalls, 
the getting intelligence, or otherways acting in the 
service. It gave no allarm, nor discovered what they 
were doeing ; for when it was necessary that they 
should not be known, it was impossible to distinguish 
them from other natives. 


" So that, by this scheme, the very barbarity, the un- 
civilised customs of the Highlanders, and all the seve- 
rall causes of the want of peace, came in aid to pre- 
serve it till time and more expedients should further 
civilise the country. 

" As the private men of the companies were chosen 
from among such of the Highlanders who were best 
acquainted with all parts of that country, who knew 
those clans who were most guilty of plunder, with 
their manner of thieving, and with their haunts, it 
was almost impossible for the robbers to drive away 
the cattle, or hide them any where, without being dis- 
covered ; nor could they conceal themselves so, but 
that they were sooner or latter found out and seized ; 
and in a short time there was such ane end putt to 
these illegal violences, that all the gangs were taken 1 
the most notorious offenders were convicted and exe- 
cuted and great nnmbers of others, whose guilt was 
less, were sent beyond sea into the service, as recruits 
during the war. 

*' Thus it was that this remedy was so successful ; 
in so much, that about sixteen years agoe these dis- 
turbances, even before and at this time so frequent 
and grievous to the people, did intyrely cease." 

" After the late unnatural rebellion, the Highlanders, 
who had been in arms against the government, fell 
into their old unsettled way of liveing, laying aside 
any little industry they had formerly followed, and re- 
turned to their usual violencies and robberies. 

" About this time it was thought expedient to pass 
an act of parliament for dissarming the Highlanders, 
which was, without doubt, in theory, a measure very 
useful and desireable ; but experience has shewed that 


it has produced this bad consequence, that those who 
had appeared in arms, and fought for the government, 
finding- it their duty to obey the law, did accordingly 
deliver up their arms, but those lawless Highlanders, 
who had been well provided with arms for the service 
of the Pretender, knowing but too well the insuperable 
difficulty for the government, to putt that act into exe- 
cution, instead of really complying with the law, they 
retained all their arms that were useful, and delivered 
up only such as were spoiled, and unfitt for service ; 
so that, while his Majestie's enemies remained as well 
provided and prepared for all sorts of mischief as they 
were before the rebellion, his faithful subjects, who 
were well affected, and ventured their lives in his ser- 
vice, by doing- their duty, and submitting to the law, 
rendered themselves naked and defenceless, and at the 
mercy of their own and the government's avowed 

" Upon this the plunders and robberies increased ; 
but, upon the breaking of the independent companies in 
the year 1717, these robberies went on without any 
manner of fear or restraint, and have ever since con- 
tinued to infest the country in a publick and open man- 
ner.* The regular troops not being able to discover 
or follow them, and all the innocent people are without 
arms to defend themselves. Thus, then, violences are 
now more notorious and universal than ever, in so 
much, that a great part of the country lias, by neces- 
sity, been brought under the scandalous contributions 
before mentioned ; and the rogues have very near 
undone many people, out of mere resentment, for their 
distinguishing themselves in his Majestie's service; 

* Lovut was very sore for the loss of hit company. 


and others are ruined who dare refuse to comply with 
such illegal insolent demands. 

" The method by which the country is brought under 
this tax is this : That when the people are almost 
ruined by continual robberies and plunders, the leader 
of the band of thieves, or some friend of his, proposes, 
that for a sum of money to be annually paid, he will 
press a number of men in arms to protect such a tract 
of ground, or as many parishes as submitt to pay the 
contribution. When the terms are agreed upon, he 
ceases to steal, and thereby the contributors are saffe. 
If any refuse to pay, be is immediately plundered. 
To colour all this villany, those concerned in the rob- 
beries pay the tax with the rest, and all the neighbour- 
hood must comply, or be undone. This is the case 
(among others) of the whole low country of the shyre 
of Ross. 

" After the disarming act was passed, and those com- 
panies were broke, there were some other measures 
laid down for preserving the peace of the Highlands. 
Barracks were built at a very great expence, and de- 
tachments were made from the regiments in the neigh- 
bourhood to garrison them, and to take post in those 
places which were thought most proper for the repress- 
ing these disorders ; but all this had no effect. The 
regular troops were never used to such marches, with 
their usual arms and accutrements ; were not able to 
pursue the Highlanders ; their very dress was a signal 
to the robbers to avoid them ; and the troops, who 
were strangers to the language, and often relieved by 
others, could never get any useful intelligence, nor 
even be sufficiently acquainted with the situation of 
the several parts of the country, so as to take the ne- 


cessary measures for pursuing the robbers when any 
violence was committed. 

" The effect of all which has been, that the govern- 
ment has been put to a great expence, and the troops 
fatigued to no purpose. 

" The officers of the law, for the peace, are the She- 
riffs and Justices of the Peace ; and, in time of com- 
motions, the Lieutenants and their deputies; which 
office, long disused, was revived and re-established at 
the time of the late rebellion. 

" It would seem to be highly necessary to the govern- 
ment, that the Sheriffs and Lord Lieutenants should 
be persons having credit and interest in the shyre they 
are to govern, they cannot otherwise have the know- 
ledge necessary, of the gentlemen and inhabitants, for 
performing the duty of their office, and making it use- 
ful for the advancing of his Majestie's interest. On 
the contrary, such ignorance creats many mistakes in 
the execution of their charge, tending to the interrup- 
tion of justice, and rendering the people under them 
discontented and unwilling to act in the service of the 
government. In these cases, it has happened that, 
throw misrepresentations of the characters of the per- 
sons employed under them, deputy sheriffs have been 
made every way unfit for their office, ignorant, of bad 
reputation, and notoriously ill-affected to his Majesty. 

" There are two deputies of the shyre of Inverness, 
both of which were actually in the late rebellion, Ro- 
bert Gordon of Haughs, and John Bailie, a late ser- 
vant to the Duke of Gordon during the rebellion ; and 
both these deputies were prisoners in the hands of 
Lord Lovat upon that account, who has now the mor- 


tification to see and feel them triumphant over him, 
loading him with marks of their displeasure. 

" In the shyre of Ross the deputy-sheriff is Colin 
Mackenzie of Kincraig, who was likewise in arms 
with the late Earl of Seaforth against the government. 
The memorialist would not mention the encouragement 
the gentlemen of the name of M'Rewin met with in 
prosecuting his Majestie's faithful subjects, least it 
should have the appearance of any personall resent- 
ment, were it not the publick debate and judgement 
of the House of Lords this last session, have pub- 
lished to the world, by relieving Mr. George Munro 
from the oppression he lay under. 

" It cannot but be a very melancholy scene for all the 
well-affected gentlemen and inhabitants in those parts, 
to find the very criminalls whom, a few years ago, they 
saw in arms and open rebellion in the Pretender's 
cause, vested with authority over them, and now 
acting in his Majestie's name, whom they endeavoured 
to destroy, and to whom alone they owe their lives. 

" The constituting one person Sheriff or Lord Lieute- 
nant over many shyres, has several bad consequences 
to his Majestie's service. There is one instance where 
eight lieutenancies are all joined in one person. The 
memorialist mentions this only as ane observation in 
general, without in the least detracting from the merit 
of any person whatsoever. 

" From some of those causes it likeways happens, 
that when several persons are recommended by the 
Sheriffs or Lieutenants, to be made Justices of the 
Peace, not at all qualified for that office, without 
knowledge, mean, and of no estate nor character in 


the country j or ill-affected to government, and when 
most or all the well-affected gentlemen are left out of 
the commission, it naturally produces such confusions 
and discontents as to frustrat the institution and design 
of the office, to the disturbance of the peace of the 
country to the lessening of his Majestie's authority, 
and particularly in all matters of excise, and a sur- 
cease of justice, and a vast detriment to the revenue. 

" The revival of the Justices of the Peace of Scot- 
land, immediately after the Union, was then esteemed 
a matter of the greatest importance to the government, 
and interest of the protestant succession. It is, there- 
fore, the more to be lamented, that throwout the whole 
north of Scotland, there is hardly any regular acting 
Commission of the Justice of the Peace, whereas, if 
the considerable gentlemen were appointed, who have 
estates in their own county, and were all affected to 
his Majesty, there is no doubt but that office would be 
execute so as to be very useful to the government, 
and possibly pave the way for great improvements in 
the political state of the country; The memorialist, 
with all humility, submits these observations to his 
Majestie's consideration. 

(Signed) " LOVAT." 

NO. in. 




MARSHAL WADE'S Proceedings in the Highlands of Scotland. 

[MS. Communicated by GEORGE CHALMERS, Esq. Author of 
Caledonia, &c.J 

v{ May it please ypur Majesty, 

" IN Obedience to your Majesty's commands and in- 
structions under your Royal Sign Manual, bearing date 
the third of July 1724, commanding me to go in to the 
Highlands of Scotland, and narrowly to inspect the 
present situation of the Highlanders, their customs, 
manners, and the state of the country, in regard to the 
depredations said to be committed in that part of your 
Majesty's dominions ; as also to make strict and par- 
ticular enquiry into the effect of the last law for dis- 
arming the Highlanders, and for securing your Ma- 
jesty's loyal and faithful subjects, represented to be 
left naked and defenceless, by paying due obedience 
thereto ; and to inform your Majesty of all other par- 
ticulars contained in the said instructions ; and how far 
the Memorial delivered to your Majesty by Simon Lord 
Lovat, and his remarks thereupon are founded on Facts 
and the present practices of those people, and whether 
the remedies mentioned therein may properly be applyed 


for preventing the several grievances, abuses, and vio- 
lences complained of in the said memorial. Your 
Majesty has further been pleased to command me to 
make such inquiries, and endeavour to get such infor- 
mations, relating to the several particulars above-men- 
tioned, as may enable me to suggest to your Majesty 
such other remedies as may conduce to the quiet of 
your faithful subjects, and the good settlement of that 
part of the Kingdom. 

"The day after I received your Majesty's Instructions, 
I proceeded on my journey, and have travelled through 
the greatest and most uncivilized parts of the High- 
lands of Scotland, and humbly beg leave to lay before 
your Majesty, the following report, which I have col- 
lected, as well from my own observations, with all faith- 
fulness and impartiality, as from the best informations 
I could procure during my continuance in that part of 
the Country. 

" The Highlands are the mountainous parts of Scot- 
land, not defined or described by any precise limits or 
boundaries of counties or shires ; but are tracts of 
mountains, in extent of land more than one half of the 
kingdom of Scotland, and are for the most part on the 
Western Ocean, extending fromDunbarton to the north 
end of the Island of Great Britain, near two hundred 
miles in lenth, and from about forty to fourscore miles 
in breadth. All the Islands on the West and North 
West Seas, are called Highlands, as well from their 
mountainous situation, as from the habits, customes, 
manners and language of their inhabitants. The Low- 
lands, are all that part of Scotland bn the south of the 
Firth and Clyde ; and on the east side of the kingdom 
from the Firth of Edinburgh to Caithness near the 


Orkneys, is a tract of low country, from four to twenty 
miles in breadth. 

" The number of men able to bear arms in the High- 
lands (including the inhabitants of the Isles) are by 
the nearest computation about 22,000 men, of which 
number, about 10,000 are vassals to Superiors, well- 
affected to your Majesty's Government; most of the 
remaining 12,000 have been engaged in rebellions 
against your Majesty, and are ready, when ever en- 
couraged by their Superiors, or Heads of Clans, to 
create new troubles, and rise in arms to favour the 

" Their notions of virtue and vice, are very different 
from the more civilized part of mankind. They think 
it the most sublime virtue, to pay a servile and abject 
obedience to the commands of their Chieftains, although 
in opposition to their Sovereign and the laws of the 
Kingdom; and to encourage this their fidelity, they are 
treated by their chiefs, with great familiarity: they 
partake with them in their diversions, and shake them 
by the hand wherever they meet them. 

" The virtue next to this in esteem amongst them is 
the love they bear to that particular branch of which 
they are a part; and, in a second degree, to the whole 
Clan or name, by assisting each other (right or wrong) 
against any other Clan with whom they are at variance; 
and great barbarities are often committed by one, to 
revenge the quarrels of others. They have a still more 
extensive adherence one to another as Highlanders, in 
opposition to the people who inhabit the Low Countries, 
whom they hold in the utmost contempt, imagining 
them inferiour to themselves in courage, resolution, and 
the use of arms ; and accuse them of being proud, ava- 


litlous, and breakers of their word. They have also a 
tradition among them, that the Lowlands were in 
ancient times the inheritance of their ancestors, and 
therefore believe they have a right to committ depre- 
dations, whenever it is in their power to put them in 

" The Highlanders are divided into tribes or clans, 
under lairds or chieftains, (as they are called in the 
laws of Scotland ;) each Tribe or Clan is subdivided 
i'nto little branches springing from tlie main stock, who 
have also Chieftains over them; and, from these are 
still smaller branches of 50 or 60 men, who deduce 
their original from them, and on whom they rely as their 
protectors and defenders. 

" The arms they make use of in war are a musket, a 
broad sword and target, a pistol, and a durk or dagger 
hangingby their side, with a powder horn, and pouch for 
their ammunition. They form themselves into bodies of 
unequal numbers, according to the strength of their 
Clan, which is commanded by their respective Superior 
or Chieftain. AVhen in sight of the enemy, they en- 
deavour to possess themselves of the highest ground, 
believing they descend on them with greater force; 
They generally give their fire at a distance, then lay 
down their arms on the ground, and make a vigor- 
ous attack with their broad swords ; but if repulsed, 
seldom or never rally again. They dread engaging 
with the cavalry, and seldom venture to descend from 
the mountains, when apprehensive of being charged by 

" On sudden alarms, or when any chieftain is in dis- 
tress, they give notice to their clans, or those in alliance 
with them, by sending a man with what, they call the 


fiery cross, which is a stick iii the form a cross, burnt 
at the end ; who send it forward to the next Tribe or 
Clan. They carry with it a written paper directing 
them where to assemble; upon sight of which they 
leave their habitation, and with great expedition re- 
pair to the place of rendezvous with arms, ammunition, 
and meal for their provision. 

"I presume also to represent to your Majesty, that the 
manners and customs of the Highlanders, their way of 
living, their strong friendship to those of their own 
Name, Tribe, and Family, their blind and servile sub- 
mission to the Commands of their Superiors and Chief- 
tains, and the little regard they ever paid to the Laws of 
the Kingdom, both before and since the Union, are 
truly set forth in the Lord Lovat's Memorial, and other 
matters contained in the said paper, which your Ma- 
jesty was pleased to direct should be put in my hands 
to peruse and examine. 

"The Imposition mentioned in that Memorial, com- 
monly called Black meal, is levied by the Highlanders 
on almost all the Low Country bordering there on ; but 
as it is equally criminal, by the laws of Scotland, to 
pay this exaction, as to extort it, the inhabitants, to 
avoid the penalty of the laws, agree with the robbers 
or some of their correspondents in the Low Lands, to 
protect their houses and cattle ; who are in effect their 
Stewards or Factors ; and as long as this payment con- 
tinues, the depredations cease upon their lands ; other- 
wise the collector of this illegal imposition is obliged to 
make good the loss they have sustained. They give 
regular receipts for the same, as safeguard money ; and 
those who refuse to submitt to this imposition, are sure 
of being plundered, there being no other way to avoid 



tt, but by keeping a constant guard of armed men, 
which, although it is sometimes done, is not only 
illegal but a more expensive way of securing their 

" The clans, in the Highlands, the most addicted to 
rapine and plunder, are the Camerons, on the west of 
the shire of Inverness ; the M'Ken2ies and others, in 
the shire of Ross, who were vassals to the late Earl of 
Seaforth ; the M'Donalds of Keppoch ; the Broadal- 
bin Men and the M'Gregors, on the borders of Ar- 
gileshire. They go out in parties from ten to thirty 
men, traverse large tracks of mountains, till they arrive 
at the Low Lands, where they design to commit their 
depredations, which they choose to do in places distant 
from the Glens which they inhabit. They drive the 
stolen cattle in the night time, and in the day remain 
on the tops of the mountains or in the woods, (with 
which the Highlands abound), and take the first occa- 
sion to sell them at the fairs or markets, that are an- 
nually held in many parts of the Countr}'. 

" Those who are robbed of their cattle (or persons 
employed by them), follow them by the tract, and often 
recover them from the robbers, by compounding for a 
certain sum of money agreed on ; but if the pursuers 
are in numbers superiour to the thieves, and happen to 
seize any of them, they are seldom or never prosecuted, 
the poorer sort being unable to support the charges of 
a prosecution* They are likewise under the appre- 
hension of becoming the object of their revenge, by 
having their houses and stacks burnt, their cattle stolen, 
or hocked, and their lives at the mercy of the Tribe or 
Clan to whom the banditti belongs. The richer sort, 
to keep, as they call it, good neighbourhood, generally 


compound with the chieftain of the Tribe or Clan for 
double restitution, which he willingly pays to save one 
of his clan from prosecution ; and this is repaid him 
by a contribution from the thieves of his clan, who 
never refuse the payment of their proportion to save 
one of their own fraternity. This composition is seldom 
paid in money, but in cattle stolen from the opposite 
side of the Country, to make reparation to the person 

" The Chiefs of some of these tribes never fail to 
give countenance and protection to those of their own 
clan ; and tho' they are taken and committed to prison, 
by the composition above-named, the prosecution is 
dropped, and the plaintif better satisfied than if the 
criminal was executed, since he must be at the 
charge and trouble of a tedious, dilatory, and expen- 
sive prosecution ; and I was assured by one who an- 
nually attended the assizes at Inverness for four years 
past, that there had been in that time but one person 
executed there by the Lords of the Justiciary, and that 
(as I remember) for murder, tho' that place is the Ju- 
dicature in criminal cases for the greatest part of the 
Highlands of Scotland. 

" There is another practice used in the Highlands 
by which the cattle stolen are often discovered, which 
is by sending persons to that part of the country most 
suspected, and making an offer of a reward (which the 
Highlanders call Tascall money) to any who will disco- 
ver their cattle, and the persons who stole them. By 
the temptation of reward, and promise of secrecy, 
discoveries were often made, and restitution obtained. 

" But to put a stop to a practice they thought an 
injury to the tribe, the whole Clan of the Carnerous 


(and others since by their example) bound themselves 
by oath never to take Tascall money, nor to inform one 
against the other. This oath they take upon a drawn 
dagger, which they kiss in a solemn manner, and the 
penalty declared to be due to the breach of the said 
oath is, to be stabbed with the same dagger. This 
manner of swearing is much in practice on all other 
occasions, to bind themselves one to another, that they 
may with more seurity exercise their villainies, which 
they imagine less sinful than the breaking of that oath; 
since they commit all sorts of crimes with impunity, 
and are so severely punished if forsworn. An in- 
stance of this happened in December 1723, when one 
of the Clan of the Camerons, suspected to have taken 
Tascall money, was in the night time called out of his 
hut from his wife and children, and hanged up near his 
own door. Another of that tribe was for the same 
crime (as they term it) kept a month in the stocks, 
and afterwards privately made away with. 

" The encouragement and protection given by some 
of the Chiefs of Clans, is reciprocally rewarded, by 
allowing them a share in the plunder, which is some- 
times one half, or two thirds of what is stolen. They 
exercise an arbitrary and tyrannical power over them ; 
they determine all disputes and differences that happen 
among their vassalls ; and, on extraordinary occasions, 
as the marriage of a daughter, the building of an 
house, or any other pretence for the support of their 
chief, or honour of the Name, he levies a tax on the 
tribe ; to which imposition if any refuse to contribute, 
he is sure of the severest treatment, or, at best to be 
cast out of the tribe ; and it is not to be wondered at, 
that those who submit to this servile slavery, will, 

T 2 


when summoned by their superiors, follow them into 

" To remedy these inconveniences, there was an act 
of Parliament passed in the year 1716, for the more 
effectual securing the peace of the Highlands in Scot- 
land, by disarming the Highlanders ; which has been 
so ill executed, that the Clans the most disaffected to 
your Majesty's government remain better armed than 
ever, and consequently more in a capacity, not only of 
committing robberies and depredations, but to be used 
as tools or instruments to any foreign power or do- 
mestic incendiaries, who may attempt to disturb the 
peace of Your Majesty's reign. 

" By this Act the Collectors of Taxes were em- 
powered to pay for the armes delivered in, as they 
were valued by persons appointed for that purpose in 
the respective counties ; but as the Government was to 
support the charge, they did not scruple to apraise 
them at a much higher rate than their real worth, few 
or none being delivered up, except such as were broken 
and unfit for service ; and I have been informed that 
from the time of passing that Act, to the time it was 
put in execution, great quantities of broken and useless 
arms were brought from Holland and other foreign 
countries, and delivered up to the persons appointed 
to receive the same at exorbitant prices. 

" The Spaniards, who landed near the Castle Don- 
nan in the year 1719, brought with them a great num- 
ber of arms. They delivered to the rebellious High- 
landers, who are still possessed of them ; many of which 
I have seen in my passage thro' that country, and I 
judge them to be the same from their peculiar make, 
and the fashion of their locks. These, and others now 


in their possession, by a moderate computation, are 
supposed to amount to five or six thousand, besides 
those in the possesion of the clans who are in your 
Majesty's interest, provided, as they alledge, for their 
own defence. 

" The Legislature in Scotland, before the Union of 
the Kingdomes, has ever considered the Highlands in 
a different state from the rest of the nation, and made 
peculiar laws for their government, under the severest 
penalties. The Chieftains of Clans were obliged to 
send their children or nearest relations, as hostages to 
Edinburgh, for the good behaviour of their respective 
Clans, and in default, they might be put to death by the 
Law. The Clans and Tribes, who lived in a state of 
anarchy and confusion (as they seem to be at this time), 
were by the very words of the Acts of Parliament to 
be pursued by fire and sword ; but, as the execution of 
the Laws relating to the Highlands, were under the 
care of the Privy Council of Scotland (now no longer 
subsisting), and by Act of Parliament were obliged 
to sit the first day in every month for that purpose ; it 
often happened that men of great power in the High- 
lands were of the said Council, who had no other way 
of rendering themselves considerable, than from their 
number of armed men, and consequently were less 
zealous in putting the laws in execution against them. 

" The Independent Companies, raised by King 
"VVilliame not long after the Revolution, reduced the 
Highlanders to better order than at any time they had 
been in since the Restoration. They were composed 
of the natives of the Country, inured to the fatigue of 
travelling the mountains, lying on the Hills, wore the 


same habit, and spoke the same langaage ; but for 
want of being put under proper regulations, corrup- 
tions were introduced, and some, who commanded 
them, instead of bringing criminals to justice, (as I 
am informed) often compounded for the theft, and, 
for a sum of money set them at liberty. They are said 
also to have defrauded the Government by keeping not 
above half their numbers in constant pay, which (as I 
humbly conceive) might be the- reason your Majesty 
paused them to be disbanded. 

" Four barracks were afterwards built in different 
parts of the Highlands, and parties of regular troops, 
under the command of Highland officers, with a com- 
pany of 30, established to conduct them through 
the mountains, was thought an effectual scheme, as 
well to prevent the rising of the Highlanders dis- 
affected to Your Majesty's Government, as to hinder 
depredations on your faithful subjects. It is to be 
wished that, during the reign of your Majesty and your 
successors, no insurrection may ever happen to expe- 
rience whether the barracks will effectually answer the 
end proposed ; yet I am humbly of opinion, that if the 
number of troops they are built to contain, were con- 
stantly quartered in them (whereas there is now in some 
but thirty men, and proper provisions laid in for their 
support during the winter season) they might be of 
some use to prevent the insurrections of the High- 
landers ? tho', as I humbly conceive (having seen 
them all), that two of the four are not built in as proper 
situations as they might have been. As to the High- 
land Parties, I have already presumed to represent to 
your Majesty the little use they were of in hindering 


depredations, and the great sufferings of the soldiers 
employed in that service, upon which your Majesty was 
graciously pleased to countermand them. 

" I must farther beg leave to report to your Majesty, 
that another great cause of Disorders in the Highlands 
is the want of proper persons to execute the several 
offices of civil Magistrates, especially in the shires^ of 
Inverness, Ross, and some other parts of the High- 

"The party quarrels and violent animosities among 
the Gentlemen equally well affected to your Majesty's 
Government, I humbly conceive to be one great cause of 
this defect. Those here in arms for your Majesty, who 
raised a spirit in the shire of Inverness, and recovered 
the Town of that name from the rebels (their main body 
being then at Perth), complain that the persons em- 
ployed as magistrates over them have little interest in 
the country, and that three of the Deputy Sheriffs in 
those parts were persons actually in arms against your 
Majesty at the time of the Rebellion, which (as I am 
credibly informed) is true. They likewise complain that 
many are left out of the commissions of Lord Lieute- 
nents, Deputy Lieutenents, Sheriffs, &c. and I take the 
liberty to observe, that the want of acting Justices of the 
Peace is a great encouragement to the disorders so fre- 
quently committed in that part of the country, there 
being but one now residing as an acting Justice for the 
space of .;above an hundred miles in compass. Your 
Majesty's commands, requiring me to examine into the 
state and condition of the late Earl of Seaforth's 
Estate, engaged me to go to the castle of Brahan, his 
principal seat, and other parts of the said Estate, 
which, for the most part, is Highland country, and 


extends from Brahan to Kintail on the yestern coast, 
being thirty six miles in length, and the most mountain- 
ous and impassable part of the Highlands. The whole 
Isle of Lewis was also a part of the said Earl's Estate. 

" TheTenents before the late rebellion were reputed 
the richest of any in the Highlands, but now are be- 
come poor, by neglecting their business, and applying 
themselves wholly to the use of arms. The rents con" 
tinue to be levied by one Donald Murchieson, as ser- 
vant of the late Earl's, who annually remits, or car- 
ries, the same to his master into France. The tenents, 
when in a condition, are also said to have sent him free 
gifts in proportion to their several circumstances, but 
are now a year and a half in arrear of rent. 

" The receipts he gives to the Tenents are as deputy 
Factor to the Commissioners of the forfeited estates, 
which pretended power in the year 1721 he extorted 
from the Factor (appointed by the said commissioners 
to collect those rents for the use of the Publick), wkom 
he attacked with above four hundred armed men, as he 
was going to enter upon the said Estate, having with 
him a party of thirty of your Majesty's troops. The 
last year this Murchieson marched in a publick manner 
to Edinburgh, to remit eight hundred pounds to 
France for his master's use, and remained there four- 
teen days unmolested. I cannot omit observing to 
your Majesty, that this national tenderness the subjects 
of North Britain have one for the other is a great en- 
couragement for rebels and attainted persons to return 
home from their banishment. 

" Before I conclude this report, I presume to observe 
to your Majesty, the great disadvantages which regu- 
lar troops are under when they engage with those who 


inhabit mountainous situations. The Savennes in 
France, the Catalans in Spain, have in all times been 
instances of this truth. The Highlands in Scotland 
are still more impracticable, from the want of Roads 
and Bridges, and from the excessive rains that almost 
continually fall in those parts ; which, by nature and 
constant use, becomes habitual to the Natives, but very 
difficultly supported by the regular troops. They are 
unacquainted with the passages by which the mountains 
are traversed ; exposed to frequent ambuscades, and 
shot from the tops of the hills, which they return with- 
out effect as it happened at the affair of Glensheals, 
where the rebels lost but one man in the action, tho* 
a considerable number of your Majesty's troops were 
killed and wounded. 

" I have endeavoured to report to your Majesty as 
true and impartial an account of the several particulars 
required by my Instructions, as far as I have been able 
to collect them during my short continuance in the 
Highlands, as your Majesty is pleased to command me. 
I presume to offer my humble opinion of what I con- 
ceive necessary to be done towards establishing order 
in those parts, and reducing the Highlands to a more 
due submission to your Majesty's Government." 


*' That companies of such Highlanders as are well 
affected to his Majesty's Government be established 
under proper regulations, and commanded by officers 
speaking the Language of the Country, subject to mar- 
tial law, and under the inspection and orders of the 
Governors of Fort William, Inverness, and the officer 
commanding his Majesty's forces in those parts. The 


expence of these companies, which may in the whole 
consist of two hundred and fifty, or, at mosi, three 
hundred men, may be answered by reducing one man 
per troop and company, of the regular forces. 

" 2. That the said companies be employed in dis- 
arming the Highlanders, preventing depredations, 
bringing criminals to justice and to hinder rebels and 
attainted persons from inhabiting that part of the 

" 3d. That a redoubt or barrack be erected at In- 
verness, as well for preventing the Highlanders de- 
scending into the Low Country in time of rebellion, as 
for the better quartering his Majesty's troops, and 
keeping them in a body sufficient to prevent or subdue 

" 4. That, in order to render the Barrack at Kil- 
lyhuimen of more use than I conceive it to be at pre- 
sent (from its being situated at too great a distance 
from the Lake Ness) a Redoubt to be built at the west 
end adjoining to it, which, with the said Barrack, may 
be able to contain a Battalion of foot, and a commu- 
nication made for their mutual support, the space of 
ground between the one and the other being less than 
500 yards. This appears to be more necessary from 
the situation of the place, which is the most centrical 
part of the Highlands a considerable pass, equally 
distant from Fort William and Inverness, and where a 
body of a thousand men may be drawn together from 
those garrisons in twenty four hours, to suppress any 
insurrection of the Highlanders. 

5. That a small vessel with oars and sails be built 
on the Lake Ness, sufficient to carry a party of sixty 
or eighty soldiers, and provisions for the garrison, 


which will be a means to keep the communication open 
between that place and Inverness, and be a safe and 
ready way of sending parties to the country bordering 
on the said lake, which is navigable for the largest 
vessels. It is twenty four miles in length, and a mile, 
or more, in breadth, the country being mountainous 
on both sides. 

" 6. That the Governors, or such as His Majesty is 
pleased to appoint to command at Fort William, In- 
verness, or Killyhuimen, till the peace of the High- 
lands is better established, be required to reside at 
their respective stations, and to give an account of 
what passes in that country to the Commander in Chief 
of the Forces in Scotland, and to such others, whom 
His Majesty is pleased to appoint. 

" 7. That Inspection be made into the present con- 
dition of the garrisons and castles in North Britain, 
and necessary repairs made to secure them from the 
danger of a sudden surprize, and more especially the 
Castle of Edinburgh, which remains exposed to the 
same attempt as was made on it in the year 1715; 
there being nothing effectually done since that time for 
the security of that important place on which depend 
not only the safety of the city, but of all that part of 
the Kingdom. 

" 8. That a regiment of dragoons be ordered to 
quarter in the Low Country between Perth and Inver- 
ness (when forage can be provided for their support) 
which will not only hinder the Highlanders from de- 
scending into that part of the Country, from the ap- 
prehensions they are under of engaging with Horse ; 
but may be a means to prevent the landing of small 
bodies of troops, that may be sent from foreign parts 


to invade that part of the Kingdom, and encourage the 
Highlanders to rebellion. 

9. " That, for the support of the Civil Government 
proper persons be nominated for Sheriffs and Deputy 
Sheriffs in the Highland Counties, and that Justices of 
the Peace and Constables be established in proper 
places with small salaries allowed them for the charge 
they say they are of necessity at, in seizing and send- 
ing criminals to distant prisons; and that Quarter 
Sessions be punctually kept at Killyhuimen, Ruthwen 
in Badenock, and Fort William, and if occasion re- 
quire, at Bernera near the coast of the Isle of Skey. 

10. "That an Act of Parliament be procured effec- 
tually to punish the Highlanders inhabiting the most 
uncivilized parts of the country, who carry, or conceal 
in their dwellings, or other places, arms, contrary to 
the Law; and as the penalty of a fine in the late Act 
has never been, or from their poverty never can be, 
levied, it is hoped the Parliament will not scruple to 
make it felony, or transportation, for the first offence. 

11. " That an Act of Parliament be procured, em- 
powering the heretors and freeholders of every county 
to assess themselves yearly, not exceeding a definite 
sum, to be applied by the Commissioners of the Land 
Tax, and the Justices of the Peace, for defraying the 
charges of apprehending, prosecuting and maintaining 
criminals while in Jail; for as the prosecutor is now to 
defray those charges, it is not to be wondered at, that 
so few of them have been brought to Justice, and so 
many malefactors escaped with impunity. 

"All which is most humbly represented and subr 
mitted to your Majesty's consideration. 

(Signed) GEORGE 


" The underwritten Clans or Tribes were engaged in 
the late Rebellion : most of them are armed, and 
commit depredations. 

"The M'Kenzies, and the small Clans, viz. The 
M'Ra's, the M'Lennans, Murchiesons, and the M'Leods 
of North Assint, and the M'Leys inhabiting the Coun- 
tries belonging to the late Lord Seaforth; and all the 
Gentlemen and others of the name of M'Kenzie in the 
Main Land, and Isle of Lewis, in Ross, and Suther- 
land, shires ; the M'Leods and others of Glenelg 
in the Isle of Skey, and the Harries in the shire of 
Inverness; the M'Donalds and others of Slate or Skey 
and North Vist in the shire of Inverness. The 
M' Donalds and others of Glengary, Obertaff, or 
Knoidart, in Inverness shire; the M'Donalds and 
others of Muidart, Arrisack, Muick, Canna, South 
Vist, in Inverness and Argyle shires. The Camerons 
of Lochiel in Inverness shire; the Camerons of Ardna- 
murchan, Swynard, and Morvine, in Argyle shire ; and 
the other small -tribes in these countries ; the M'Do- 
nalds of Keppoch, and others in that part of Lochaber 
belonging to M'Kintosh of Borlum [Mackintosh] in 
Inverness shire; the Stewarts of Appin and others in 
that Country in Argyle shire; the M'Leans in Mull, 
Rum, Coll, Morvine, Ardnamurchan and Swinard, in 
Argyle shire. 

" The several Clans in that part of Lochaber belong- 
ing . to the Duke of Gordon in Inverness shire ; and 
those in Murray and Bamf shires. 

"The M'Neils of Barray in Argyle shire; the 
M'Kintosh es and other tribes of that name in Inver- 


ness shire; the Robertsons belonging to Strowan in 

" The underwritten Clans belong to Superiors well 
affected to His Majesty. 

The Duke of Argyle 4000 

Lord Sutherland and Strathnaver 1000 

Lord Lovat, (Erasers) 800 

The Grants 800 

The Rosses and Monroes 700 

Forbes of Cullodin 200 

Rose of Kilraick 300 

Sir Archibald Campbell of Clunes 200 


"The two Clans underwritten for the most part went 
in the Rebellion in 1715, without their Superiors : 

TheAtholMen 2000 

The Braidalbin Men... ..1000 


"The Clans underwritten were in the late Rebellion, 
and supposed still to be disaffected to His Majesty's 

The Islands and Clans of the late Lord ) 

c f 1 3000 

Seaforth ) 

Carried over 3000 

* In the subsequent enumeration, be seems to have considered the 
Robertsons of Athol also as retainers of Robertson of Stnwan, which they 
wert not, although they took the same side in politics. 


Brought over 3000 

M'Donalds of Slate 1000 

M'Donalds of Glengary 800 

M'Donalds of Moudairt 800 

M'Donalds of Keppoch 220 

Locbiel Camerons 800 

The M'Leods in all 1000 

Duke of Gordon's followers 1000 

Stewarts of Appin 400 

Robertsons of Strowan 800 

M'Kintoshes and Farquharsons 800 

M'Euens in the Isle of Skey , 150 

The Chisholuis of Strathglass 150 

The M'Farsons... . 220 

In all 11140 

" Roman Catholicks in the Highlands. 

"THE late Earl of Seaforth; but none of his fol- 
lowers, except the Lairds of M'Kenzie of Killewn and 
M'Kenzie of Ardloch. The first has power over the 
inhabitants of the Isle of Lewis, and the latter over those 
who inhabit near Coigbach and Loch Broom, which is 
in the north part of Seaforth's Country. 

" Chisholm of Strathglass and his Clan. Most of 
Glengary's Tribe are Roman Cathoiicks; but he him- 
self is not. 

" M'Donald of Moudairt and many of his Clan are 
Roman Catholicks. M'Leod [M'Niel] of Barra and 
his Tribe. The Duke of Gordon* and the most con- 
siderable of his followers are Roman Catholioks. 

* The Duke's family had changed their religion before this time, as well 
a* the Laird of Clanrannakl. 


" At present, the Earl of Sutherland is Lord Lieu- 
tenent of the Counties of Murray, Nairn, Inverness, 
Ross, Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithnes, and Orkney. 

" In Inverness-shire, and Ross-shire, the King has 
the nomination of the Sheriffs. 

" Lord Sutherland is Sheriff of Inverness-shire, and 
Sir William Gordon of Ross-shire; having for their 
Deputies Robert Gordon of Haugh, John Baillie of 
Torbreck, who were in the Rebellion; Colin M'Kenzie 
of Kincraig, who was in the Rebellion, and Bain of 
Knock Bain. 

"List of the most considerable Gentlemen who are 
well-affected to His Majesty's Government, who in- 
habit and have estates in the Counties under-men- 



'Alexander Brody, Member of Parliament, 
^Alexander Rose of Kilraick, 
Laird of Grant, Member of Parliament 
'Sir Harry Inness, 
-Alexander Duff of Brachan, 

Alexander Ross Junior, 
Mr Brody of Brody, 

Mr Forbes of Cullodin, Member of Parlia- 

fThe Laird of Grant, 
Inverness < The Lord Lovat, 

(^Mr Forbes of Cullodin. 


'Mr Rose of Kilraick, 

I Col Monro, Member of Parliament, 

[General Ross, 

,Mr Monro of Culkarn. 


f"Mr Rose of Kilraick, 

Cromarty < Sir William Gordon, Member of Parlia- 
(. ment. 

Sutherland, The Earl of Sutherland. 

_ c The Earl of Caithness, 

I Alexander Sinclair of Ulbster. 

[Orkney] The Earle of Morton. 

" Gentlemen inhabiting the shire of Inverness, said to 
be proper persons for executing the Office of Jus- 
tices of the Peace* 

" Grant of Rothimurchies, formerly an officer in 

the Army. 

John M'Pherson of Inverishie. 
Hugh Frazer of Stray, 
James Frazer of Toyer, 
Hugh Frazer of Erragie, 
Donald M'Leod of Talaskef, 
Alexander M'Leod of Drynoch, 
William M'Leod of Hamber, 
Alexander Frazer of Culduthill is at present in the 

Commission for the Peace." 

" Report to His Majesty concerning the Highlands, of 
Scotland, in 1725. 

" May it please your Majesty, 

" IN Obedience to your Majesty's Commands, and 
pursuant to a Warrant under your Royal Sign Manual, 
bearing date the first of June, 1725, signifying to me 
Your Majesty's pleasure that I should return to the 
Highlands of Scotland, and empowering me in piirsu- 


ance of an act of the last Session of Parliament, (in- 
tituled " An Act for more effectual disarming the 
Highlands in that part of Great Britain called Scot- 
land)" to summon the several Clans and persons within 
the description of the said Act, thereby commanding 
and requiring them in Your Majesty's name to deliver 
up all and singular their arms and warlike weapons for 
the use of Your Majesty, your heirs and Successors ; 
and, in obedience to Your Majesty's Instructions under 
Your Royal Sign Manual of the same date, authorizing 
me to grant licences to such of your Majesty's subjects, 
in that part of Your Kingdom, who might have occa- 
sion to travel with Merchandize to Markets or Fairs, 
and on other their lawful occasions, to bear and carry 
with them arms for their security and defence ; and 
also to employ the companies of Highlanders lately 
raised, pursuant to Your Majesty's orders, for securing 
the peace and quiet of the Country, together with the 
Regular Troops to assist the civil magistrate as occa- 
sion might require. 

*' Your Majesty by the said Instructions was pleased 
to command me, that as soon as the troops were as- 
sembled and encamped in the mountains, the first sum- 
mons should be sent ta the several Clans, vassals, and 
tenents of the late Earl of Seaforth who, since his at- 
tainder had continued in a state of disobedience to 
the laws and government, and refused to pay in their 
rents for the use of the Pnblick ; that I should march 
body of Your Majesty's troops to the Castle of Brahan, 
the principal seat of the late Earl ; and, in order to 
induce the said Clans, vassals, and tenents to a dutiful 
submission for the time to come, Your Majesty was 
graciously pleased to empower me by the said instruc- 


tious to give hopes to the said teuents, that it they 
peaceably delivered up their arms, and would tor the 
future pay in their rents for the use of the Publick, 
pursuant to Your Majesty's gracious intentions, Your 
Majesty should by such behaviour and submission T)e 
induced to recommend them to your Parliament, in 
order to procure them an indemnity for the rents that 
have been misapplied since the attainder of the said 
late Earl. 

" Your Majesty was likeways pleased to command 
me, that when this service was performed, I should pro- 
ceed to summon the rest of the Highland Clans one 
after another, who were reputed disaffected to Your 
Majesty's Government, or most addicted to commit 
robberies and depredations ; to cause the Castle of In- 
verness to be repaired, and Barracks to be built there 
and at Killyhtrimen, for the quartering a sufficient num- 
ber of Your Majesty's troops in those places, in order 
to prevent or subdue insurrections, and for hindering 
the Highlanders from passing into the Low Country, 
in time of rebellion, as well as to prevent for the future 
their returning to the use of arms, or committing de- 
predations on the adjacent countries ; To cause a ves- 
sel with oars and sails to be built on the Lake Ness, 
sufficient to carry a party of Soldiers with provisions 
and amunitiou for the support of the forces quartered 
at Killylmimen ; and to secure the communication be- 
tween that place and Inverness. Your Majesty was 
also pleased to command me, not to suffer persons who 
were attainted of High Treason for the late unnatural 
rebellion, to presume any longer to reside in the High- 
lands, unless it should happen that any of the Said 
attainted persons, by being convinced of their past 

u 2 


folly and rashness, were willing and desirous to submit 
to your Majesty, and for the future to live peaceably 
and dutifully under Your Government : Your Majesty 
in such case was graciously pleased to empower me to 
receive their offers of submission, and to transmit the 
same to your Majesty's principal Secretary of State, in 
order to their being laid before Your Majesty for your 
Royal Consideration. 

" These and other Your Majestj/% commands I have 
endeavoured to the utmost of my power to put in exe- 
cution, rather by a mild and moderate treatment of your 
Majesty's misled subjects, than by acts of rigour and se- 
verity, as a method of proceeding in my humble opinion 
the most agreeable to Your Majesty's gracious intentions. 
Your Majesty was likewise pleased to command me 
from time to time to correspond with his Grace the 
Duke of Newcastle, Your Majesty's principal Secre- 
tary of State, to give his Grace an account of the pro- 
gress I should make, and of any difficulty that might 
arise in relation to the same; and to represent to Your 
Majesty at the end of the Campaign how far I had suc- 
ceeded in the performance of these services, and others 
Your Majesty's commands, which is humbly set forth in 
the following Report : 

" The Act of Parliament for disarming the High- 
landers being one of the last in the Session which re- 
ceived your Royal assent, and some time being requisite 
to prepare the proper powers conformable to the said 
Act; it was the middle of June before I could arrive at 
Edinburgh to give the necessary orders for assembling 
the troops, which were to form the camp at Inverness 
by the first of July. The six companies of Highlanders 
that had been ordered to be raised, were compleat, in 


good order, and in readiness to take the field, with the 
four Battalions of Foot appointed for that service. The 
ship with amunition and ordinance stores was daily ex- 
pected from London; ovens were building at Inverness 
to bake amunition bread for the Soldiers ; and 40,000 
weight of biscuit was provided for the support of the 
troops in their marches into the mountains. I presume 
it was in a great measure owing to these preparations, 
that several of the Chiefs of the Highland Clans, sent 
to me, even before my departure from Edinburgh, as- 
suring me they would peaceably surrender their arms, 
pay a dutiful obedience to your Majesty's commands, 
and a punctual compliance to the Disarming Act. 

" At this time the inhabitants of Edinburgh, and other 
towns in the Low Country were loudly exclaiming 
against the Malt Tax, which was to take place in a few 
days. Seditious Pamphlets were printed and dispersed 
through the country, comparing their slavery to that of 
the Israelites under the Egyptian Bondage; that Eng- 
land had loaded them with burdens too heavy for them 
to bear ; and that they were betrayed by the treacherous 
actings of their own Representatives. The Magis- 
trates of Edinburgh were exclaimed against, and in- 
sulted for the zeal they had shewn in suppressing and 
discouraging tumultuous proceedings, and requiring a 
due obedience to the law. 

" The inhabitants of Glasgow were still more out- 
rageous, declaring publickly in the streets, that they 
would not submit to a Malt Tax, insulting the Officers 
of Excise, and threatening to stone them if they at- 
tempted to enter their Malt Houses ; for which pur- 
pose they had piled up heaps of stones at the doors, to 
shew them what they might expect if they proceeded 


ill the execution of that law. Messengers and letters 
were sent from Glasgow to most of the considerable 
towns in the Low Country, exciting them not to submit 
to this new imposition ; but to follow the example of 
Glasgow, who were determined to suffer all extremities 
rather than comply with the payment of this insupport- 
able Tax, as they were pleased to term it ; and it was 
reported publickly at that time in Sterling, Perth, and 
Edinburgh, that the house of Daniel Campbell, Esq. 
Member of Parliament for Glasgow (who was repre- 
sented to have been one of the Chief promoters of this 
Law) was to be plundered on the day the Malt Tax 
was to take place. 

"I was at this time at Edinburgh, preparing to set 
out for the Highlands, to proceed in the executing of 
Your Majesty's commands, when the Commissioners of 
Excise represented to me, that several of their officers 
had been insulted at Glasgow, and threatened with their 
lives, some of them forced to quit the town in disguise, 
and others to hide themselves in obscure places, desir- 
ing I would immediately order some of Your Majesty's 
troops to march thither to protect them against the rage 
and fury of the populace. 

" I had the honour to represent to your Majesty, 
before I went to Scotland the necessity there was of 
having troops quartered at Glasgow, to prevent the 
disorders that might probably happen in that town on 
occasion of the malt duty, and your Majesty was 
pleased to order that 5 Companies should be sent 
thither from Berwick, as soon as the Regiment arrived 
to relieve that garrison ; but they being retarded in 
their march by the floods, occasioned by great rains 
that fell about that time, I gave the directions for the 


speedy march of two of the five companies of Dele- 
rain's Regiment then quartered at Edinburgh, with 
orders to be aiding and assisting to the Civil Ma- 
gistrate, and to protect the officers of your Majesty's 
custom and excise, in the execution of their duty. 
These companies were commanded by Capt. Bushell a 
careful and diligent officer, who marched with great 
expedition, and arrived at Glasgow the day following 
at six in the evening, being the 24-th of June, the day 
in which, by Act of Parliament, the Malt Tax was to 
take place in Scotland. 

" At their entrance into the town, the mo-b assem-r 
bled in the streets, throwing stones and dirt at the 
soldiers, giving them reproachful language, and 
seemed to shew great contempt for the smallness of 
their numbers, (which was oely an hundred and ten 
men,) saying they were but a breakfast to them, and that 
they should soon repent coming thither. The Guard- 
room was locked up, and the key taken away by the 
populace. The Captain bore these insults with pa- 
tience, and sent for a Civil Magistrate; but none 
could be found to assist in dispersing the rabble, and 
tho' the Provost had sent billets for quartering the 
soldiers, the inhabitants for the most part refused to 
receive them into their houses. They increasing in 
their number, went to the house of Mr. Daniel Camp- 
bell, Member of Parliament, broke it open, and be- 
gan to plunder it with great rage and fury. The Cap- 
tain, as soon as he had notice of it, sent to the chief 
magistrate, offering him his assistance in dispersing 
them. He answered, that he thanked him for his 
offer, but thought his number insufficient ; so that the 
mob continued their outrages all that night and part of 


the day following: plundering and destroying the 
house and gardens without molestation. 

" The next morning, the Provost ordered the guard 
to be broke open, and gave the Captain possession of 
it, who posted a guard there of an officer and thirty 

" About three in the afternoon, drums were beat 
about the streets by women, or men in women's cloaths, 
as a signal to assemble the mob, who got together in 
greater numbers than before. The Captain, not 
knowing what mischief they intended, ordered all his 
men to repair to the guard ; but the mob did not long 
keep their secret, for they advanced thro' the several 
streets that led to the guard-house, saying, Their next 
business was the soldiers, and crying : ' Drive the 
dogs out of the town; we will cut them to pieces.' 
The Captain, apprehensive that their first intention 
was to disarm him, drew out his men, and posted 
them in four divisions, facing the streets thro' which 
the mob advanced ; who, as soon as they approached, 
without the least provocation, threw stones at the 
soldiers in such quantities, and of so large a size, that 
they wounded and bruised several of the men. The 
Captain spoke to them very calmly, telling them he was 
not come there to do them any harm, or hurt a hair of 
their heads, desiring them earnestly to retire, lest it 
should not be in his power to hinder the soldiers from 
firing on them. To which some of them answered, 
* Return your men to the guard, and then we will 
retire.' The Captain in hopes to appease them, or- 
dered his men to face about, and return to the guard 
house. Their backs were no sooner turned, but the 
stones showered in upon them in greater quantities than 


before, wounded and bruised many of them, broke seve- 
ral of their bayonets and locks of their musquets, and 
put them into such disorder, that they retired into the 
guard-room for shelter. The Captain, fearing they 
would disarm him, ordered the soldiers to advance again 
into the streets ; and being attacked as they come out, 
the soldiers then fired and killed and wounded several of 
them. They dispersed for some smalltime, but returned 
in greater rage and fury, and brought with them all the 
fire arms they could find in the town, and distributed to 
their men a barrel of powder belonging to the two com- 
panies, which they had seized on their first coming to 
attack the guard. The Provost, apprehending the rage 
the populace were in might occasion greater mischiefs 
than what had already happened, sent to Captain 
Bushel, desiring him, for his safety, and to avoid fur- 
ther bloodshed, to retire out of the town ; otherways, he 
and all his men would probably be murdered. The 
Captain took his advice, and retreated to Dumbarton 
Castle, ten miles distant, being followed part of the 
way by some hundreds of the mob, which obliged him 
to fire some shot in the rear, to secure his retreat. 
There were of the town's people eight killed on the spot, 
besides nineteen who were wounded, two or three of 
which are since dead. 

" Of the soldiers, there were six missing, who, being 
disabled by the wounds and bruises they received in the 
riot, could not march with the companies to Dumbar- 
ton. Two of them, who fell into the hands of the mob, 
were inhumanly treated and left for dead ; but, in some 
time after, they all recovered and returned to the regi- 
ment. The shoes, stockings and linnen belonging to 
the two companies, which were left in the town when 


they retreated, were plundered by the people; and, tho' 
application has since been made to the Magistrates, 
they never could obtain any reparation. 

" As soon as the account of this riot came to my 
knowledge, 1 held it absolutely necessary to take such 
measures as might hinder the infection's spreading to 
Edinburgh and the other towns, who had been excited 
to follow the example of Glasgow. Orders were in> 
mediately sent to the Earl of Stair's and Colonell Camp- 
bell's dragoons, to take up their horses from grass; the 
first to march to the neighbourhood of Glasgow, and 
the latter to Edinburgh. I likewise took the liberty to 
order five companies of Colonel Clayton's Regiment 
from the garrison of Berwick, to march and join the five 
companies of Delorain's Regiment, who were then ad- 
vanced as far as Edinburgh on their way to Glasgow, 
pursuant to Your Majesty's former orders. Two of the 
four Regiments who had received orders to march to 
the camp at Inverness, were countermanded, and 
quartered at Aberdeen, Dundee, and other populous 
towns, who had openly declared against paying the Malt 
Duty. Stabling was fitted up for 100 dragoons to 
patrole in the suburbs of Edinburgh, and forage was 
with great difficulty provided for them, the farmers and 
others in that neighbourhood (as it were by a common 
consent) refusing to sell their hay to the officers of the 
dragoons. Several disorders were committed in other 
parts of the country; the officers of Your Majesty's 
Customs and Excise were often insulted in the execu- 
tion of their duty ; confiscated goods rescued out of 
their hands; and the soldiers who assisted them, if their 
numbers were small, were overpowered and disarmed 
by the populace ; and it was reported that the people 


of Glasgow threatened to oppose any troops that should 
be sent thither to reduce them to obedience. 

" These disturbances in the Low Country deter- 
mined me to defer the execution of Your Majesty's 
commands in the Highlands, till I should receive di- 
rections from their Excellencies the Lords Justices, to 
whom I had transmitted a particular account of the 
Glasgow riot, and of the disorders that were likely to 
happen at Edinburgh and other towns, in opposition to 
the Malt Duty. The remissness of the Magistrates of 
Glasgow and other considerable towns (that of Edin- 
burgh excepted) by; discountenancing or endeavouring 
to suppress these tumultuous proceedings, gave too 
much reason to suspect their adhering to the sentiments 
of the populace ; and the military had no legal power 
of acting but under their authority, either for the sup- 
port of the revenue, or to prevent a general commotion 
which threatened that part of Your Majesty's do- 

" About this time, I received information from Briga- 
dier Grove, who was encamped with two Battalions in 
the Highlands, that three Russian Men of War, and 
some other ships, supposed to be transports, appeared 
on the North West coast, between the Isle of Lewis and 
the land, and came to an anchor at a port in that island, 
two leagues south of Stornoway. Some of the officers 
that commanded them were of the British or Irish Na- 
tion, and had formerly served in the English Navy; 
but, by their conversation appeared to be disaffected to 
Your Majesty's Government. Their lading was naval 
stores, iron guns, and small arms: the mariners were 
for the most part Russians. They continued there ten 
days; and, on the twenty fifth of June, proceeded on 


their voyage to Spain. I have never heard that they 
landed either arms or amunition, during their continu- 
ance on that coast; tho' I have sent several times to 
procure information in that particular. 

" Having transmitted to Your Majesty's Principal 
Secretary of State an account of these transactions, 
their excellencies the Lords Justices immediately order- 
ed the Lord Carpenter's Regiment to march to Scot- 
land ; and highly resenting the riotous and tumultuous 
proceedings at Glasgow, sent me their commands to 
inarch thither with a body of Your Majesty's troops 
sufficient to assist the civil power in bringing the rioters 
to justice. Your Majesty's Advocate also received 
their excellencies orders to go thither in person, whose 
vigilance and activity might be depended on to supply 
the misbehaviour or want of resolution in the magis- 
trates of that town, to enquire into their past conduct, 
and the reason of their absenting themselves from their 
duty, at a time when their presence was most necessary 
to preserve the peace of the city. The troops assem- 
bled for this purpose were the Earl of Stair's regiment 
of dragoons, four troops of Colonel Campbell's dra- 
goons, the Earl of Deloraine's regiment of foot, and the 
new-raised Highland company commanded by Sir Dun- 
can Campbell, with four field pieces, and eight cohorn 
mortars. Colonel Clayton with five companies of his 
regiment, two troops of Campbell's dragoons, with two 
of the Highland companies, remained at Edinburgh, 
and it was thought necessary for the peace of the city, 
that Your Majesty's sollicitor should remain there dur- 
ing the absence of the Lord Advocate. The troops, 
being assembled in the neighbourhood of Glasgow, 
marched into the town on the ninth of July, without 


the least disturbance or opposition, the soldiers punc- 
tually observing the orders I had given them, not to 
exasperate the inhabitants by reproaching them for 
having attacked and insulted the two companies who 
remained still at Dunbarton, lest their presence might 
excite the people to revenge. Quarters were provided 
by the magistrates, and the excise officers re-established, 
and admitted to survey the malt-houses without cla- 
mour or complaint, but, on the contrary, treated with 
great civility. 

*' As soon as the Advocate had procured information 
of such of the Rioters who had not absconded from the 
town, he issued out warrants for apprehending them. 
They were seized by small parties of the regular 
troops, and committed prisoners to the town gaol, and 
no disorders happened thereupon. 

" The Advocate proceeded afterwards to examine 
into the conduct of the magistrates ; and, finding they 
had notoriously neglected their duty, thought fit like- 
wise to commilt them prisoners, and parties were or- 
dered to guard both them and the rioters to Edin- 

" The peace of the town being thus established, a 
sufficient garrison was left there in order to preserve 
it ; and the rest of the troops sent to quarter in towns, 
where there might be occasion for their presence to 
support and protect the officers of Your Majesty's 

" At my return to Edinburgh I found there had been 
a combination carried on by the brewers and maltsters 
of that town to leave off brewing, and thereby distress 
and enrage the people, by the scarcity of bread and 
beer, which such a practice would occasion ; pretend- 


ing that the malt tax was so heavy on them, that they 
could not continue their trade, but to their own loss 
and disadvantage ; and the Magistrates of Glasgow 
were admitted to bail soon after their arrival. At their 
return to that town, they were met by great numbers 
of the Kirk, riding on each side their coach, and the 
bells ringing, with other demonstrations of joy. 

" All endeavours were used at Edinburgh to spirit 
up the people, by giving countenance to those who 
had opposed the Tax. The Magistrates of Glasgow, 
and even the Rioters, were looked on as sufferers for 
the liberty of their country ; but the guards being 
doubled, and constant patroles of dragoons kept in the 
streets, the populace thought it unsafe to have re- 
course to their old practice of riots and tumults ; and 
the Brewers and Maltsters chose rather to refuse the 
payment of the Tax, and to commit the defence of 
their cause to Advocates, who, they had reason to be- 
lieve, were of their own sentiments. 

" The troops being disposed of in all the consider- 
able towns in the Low Country, and the Justice Gene- 
ral on his way to Edinburgh, to be present to carry on 
the prosecutions against those who had acted in oppo- 
sition to the law, I determined no longer to defer my 
journey to the Highlands, but to proceed with all pos- 
sible expedition to the camp at Inverness, in order to 
execute Your Majesty's commands in those parts. 

" Colonel Kirk's regiment, and the Highland com- 
panies, were ordered to join the camp, which, with 
Grove's, and Whetham's regiment, made a body of 
three battalions, six Highland companies, and fifty 

" The regiment of Macartney, which was likewise 


intended for the camp, remained in quarters at Aber- 
deen, and other considerable towns on the East Coast, 
who had refused the payment of the malt duty ; but 
continued in a readiness to march and join the forces, if 
occasion required. The troops at Edinbugh, and other 
parts of the Low Country being left under the command 
of Colonel Campbell, I set out from Edinburgh the first 
day of August, and, for the greater expedition, em- 
barked on board Your Majesty's ship the Rose, the 
wind being then favourable ; but, soon after proving 
contrary, and continuing so for four days, I was 
obliged to land on the coast of Angus, and proceed by 
land to the camp at Inverness, where I arrived the 
tenth of August. 

" I was glad to find the disturbances in the Low 
Country had not influenced the Highlanders to depart 
from the promises they had made me, peaceably to 
surrender their arms. The Laird of the M'Kenzies, 
and other Chiefs of the Clans and Tribes, tenents to 
the late Earl of Seaforth, came to me in a body, to 
the number of about fifty, and assured me that both 
they and their followers were ready to pay a dutiful 
obedience to Your Majesty's commands, by a peace- 
able surrender of their arms ; that if Your Majesty 
would be graciously pleased to procure them an indem- 
nity for the rents that had been misapplied for the time 
past, they would for the future become faithful subjects 
to Your Majesty, and pay them to Your Majesty's 
Receiver for the use of the publick. I assured them 
of Your Majesty's gracious intentions towards them, 
and that they might rely on Your Majesty's bounty afffl 
clemency, provided they would merit it by their future 
good conduct and peaceable behaviour ; that I had 


Your Majesty's commands to send the first summons 
to tbe country they inhabited ; which would soon give 
them an opportunity of shewing- the sincerity of their 
promises, and of having the merit to set example to 
the rest of the Highlands, who in their turns were to 
be summoned to deliver up their arms, pursuant to 
the Disarming Act ; that they might choose the place 
they themselves thought most convenient to surrender 
their arms ; and that I would answer, that neither their 
persons nor their property should be molested by Your 
Majesty's troops. They desired they might be per- 
mitted to deliver up their arms at the Castle of Bra- 
han, the principal seat of their late Superior, who, 
they said, had promoted and encouraged them to this 
their submission ; but begged that none of the High- 
land Companies might be present; for, as they had 
always been reputed the bravest, as well as the most 
numerous of the Northern Clans, they thought it more 
consistent with their honour to resign their arms to 
Your Majesty's veteran troops ; to which I readily 

" Summonses were accordingly sent to the several 
Clans and Tribes, the inhabitants of eighteen parishes, 
who were vassals or tenents of the late Earl of Sea- 
ibrth, to bring or send in all their arms and warlike 
weapons to the Castle of Brahan, on or before the 
twenty eight of August. 

" About this time menacing letters were sent me 
by the post from Edinburgh, to intimidate me from 
proceeding in the execution of the Disarming Act ; 
papers were printed there by the Jacobites, and mes- 
sengers sent to disperse them through the Highlands, 
in hopes to excite them to resistance, denying the 


power of Parliament, telling them the Act was in its 
own nature against the laws of God and Man, and not 
fit to be executed upon Barbarians ; and that, when 
they had surrendered their arms, they were to be ex- 
tirpated, or at best be sent into Captivity. 

These artifices had no influence on the Chiefs of 
Clans, who depended on the assurances I had given 
them, that no severity should be used in the execution, 
of the powers granted by the Disarming Act ; that it 
was Your Majesty's intention they should be treated 
with kindness and humanity, provided the peace of the 
country was secured by preventing the frequent dis- 
orders occasioned by the practice of wearing arms. 

On the twenty fifth of August I went to the Castle 
of Brahan, with a detachment of two hundred of th6 
Regular Troops, and was met there by the Chiefs of 
the several Clans and Tribes, who assured me they had 
used their utmost diligence in collecting all the arms 
they were possessed of, which should be brought thither 
on the Saturday following, pursuant to the summons 
they had received ; and telling me they were apprehen- 
sive of insults or depredations from the neighbouring 
Clans of the Camerons> and others who still continued 
in possession of their arms. Parties of the Highland 
Companies were ordered to guard the passes leading to 
their country ; which parties continued there for their 
protection, till the Clans in that neighbourhood were 
summoned, and had surrendered their arms. 

" On the day appointed) the several Clans and Tribes 
assembled in the adjacent villages, and marched in good 
order through the great avenue that leads to the Castle ; 
and one after another laid down their arms in the 
Court Yard, in great quiet and decency, amounting to 



784 of the several species mentioned in the Act of 

" The solemnity with which this was performed, had 
undoubtedly a great influence over the rest of the 
Highland Clans ; and disposed them to pay that obe- 
dience to Your Majesty's commands, by a peaceable 
surrender of their arms, which they had never done to 
any of your Royal Predecessors, or in compliance 
with any law either before or since the Union. 

" The next summons were sent to the Clans and 
countries in the neighbourhood of Killyhuimen and 
Fort William. The arms of the several Clans of the 
M'Donalds of Glengary, M'Leods of Glenelg, Chis- 
holms of Strathglass, and Grants of Glenmoriston, 
were surrendered to me at the Barrack of Killyhuimen, 
the fifteenth of September ; and those of the M'Do- 
nalds of Keppoch, Moidart, Aresaig, and Glenco ; as 
also the Camerons, and Stewarts of Appin, were de- 
livered to the Governor of Fort William. The M'ln- 
toshes were summoned, and brought in their arms to 
Inverness ; and the followers of the Duke of Gordon, 
with the Clan of M'Phersons, to the Barrack of Ruth- 
ven in Badenooh. 

" The inhabitants of the isles of Skye and Mull 
were also summoned; the M'Donalds, M'Kinnons, and 
M'Leods delivered their arms at the Barrack of Ber- 
nera ; and those of the Isle of Mull, to the officer 
commanding at Castle Duart, both on the first day of 

" The regiments remained till that tjme encamped at 
Inverness ; and this service was performed by sending 
detachments from the Camp to the several parts of the 
Highlands appointed for the surrender of arms. Amu- 


nition bread was regularly delivered to the soldiers, 
and biscuits to the detachments that were sent into the 
mountains. The camp was plentifully supplied with 
provisions, and an Hospital in the town provided for 
the sick men. This contributed to preserve the sol- 
diers in health ; so that notwithstanding the excessive 
bad weather and continued rains that fell during 
the campaign, there died of the three regiments no 
more than ten soldiers : but the weather growing cold, 
and the snow falling ift the mountains, obliged me to 
break up the Camp, and send the troops into winter 

The new-raised companies of Highlanders were for 
some time encamped with the Regular Troops, per- 
forming the duty of the camp with the rest of the sol- 
diers. They mounted guard, went out upon parties, 
had the Articles of War read and explained to them, 
and were regularly paid with the rest of the troops. 
When they had made some progress in their exercise 
and discipline, they were sent to their respective sta- 
tions with proper orders ; as well to prevent the High- 
landers from returning to the use of arms, as to hinder 
their committing depredations on the Low Country. 

" The Lord Lovat's Company was posted to guard 
all the passes in the mountains, from the Isle of Skye 
eastward, as far as Inverness ; the company of Colonel 
Grant in the several passes from Inverness southward 
to Dunkeld ; Sir Duncan Campbell's company, from 
Dunkeld westward, as far as the Country of Lorn. 
The three companies commanded by Lieutenants were 
posted, the first at Fort William ; the second at Killy- 
huimen ; and the third at Ruthven in Badenoch ; and 


may in a short time be assembled in a body, to march 
to any part of the Highlands as occasion may require. 

" The orders given to the officers commanding the 
Highland Companies relating to their future conduct, 
Your Majesty will find annexed to this report. 

" The Clans of the Northern Highlands having 
peaceably surrendered their arms, pursuant to the 
several summonses sent them in Your Majesty's name, 
and consequently exposed to the inroads of their 
neighbours, to prevent this inconvenience, (tho' the 
season of the year was far advanced) I thought it both 
just and necessary to proceed to disarm the Southern 
Clans, who had also joined in the Rebellion, and 
thereby to finish the campaign by summoning all the 
Clans and countries who had taken up arms against 
Your Majesty in the year 1716. 

" Summonses were accordingly sent to the inha- 
bitants of the Brea of Mar, Perth, Athol, Braidalbin, 
Menteith, and those parts of the shire of Stirling and 
Dumbarton included in the Disarming Act. Parties of 
the Regular Troops were ordered to march from the 
nearest garrisons to several places appointed for the 
surrender of their arms, and circular letters were sent 
to the principal gentlemen in those parts, exciting them 
to follow the example of the northern Highlands. The 
Clans of these countries brought in their arms on the 
days and at the places appointed by their respective sum- 
monses, but not in so great a quantity as the Northern 
Clans had done. The Gentlemen assured me they had 
given strict orders to their Tenants to bring in all the 
arms they had in their possession ; but that many of 
them, knowing they were not to be paid for them, as 


stipulated by the former act, several had been carried 
to the forges, and turned into working tools and other 
peaceable instruments ; there being no prohibition by 
the Act of Parliament to hinder them from disposing 
of them in any manner they thought most to their ad- 
vantage provided they had no arms in their possession, 
after the day mentioned in the summons ; and if the 
informations I have received are true, the same thing 
has been practised, more or less, by all the Clans that 
have been summoned pursuant to the present Act of 
Parliament, which makes no allowance for arms deli- 
vered up, in order to prevent the notorious frauds and 
abuses committed by those who had the execution of 
the former act, whereby Your Majesty paid near 
1 3,000 /. for broken and useless arms, that were hardly 
worth the expence of carriage. 

" The number of arms collected this year in the 
Highlands, of the several species mentioned in the 
Disarming Act, amount in the whole to 2685. The 
greatest part of them are deposited in the Castle of 
Edinburgh, and the rest at Fort William, and the Bar- 
rack of Bernera. At the time they were brought in 
by the Clans, there was a mixture of good and bad ; 
but the damage they received in the carriage, and 
growing rusty by being exposed to rain, they are of 
little more worth than the value of the iron. 

" In the execution of the power given me by Your 
Majesty, to grant licences to such persons whose busi- 
ness or occupation required the use of arms for their 
safety and defence, I have given out in the whole 230 
licences to the Forresters, Drovers, and Dealers in 
Cattle, and other merchandize, belonging to the several 
clans who have surrendered their arms, which are to 


remain in force for two years, provided they behave 
themselves daring that time as faithful subjects to 
Your Majesty, and peaceably towards their neighbours. 
The names of the persons empowered to wear arms by 
these licences are entered in a book, as also the names 
of the Gentlemen by whom they were recommended, 
and who have promised to be answerable for their 
good behaviour. 

" The several summonses for the surrender of arms 
have been affixed to the doors of 129 parish churches, 
on the market crosses of the county towns ; and copies 
of the same regularly entered in the Sheriff's books in 
the method prescribed by the Disarming Act, by 
which these Highlanders who shall presume to wear 
arms without a legal Qualification, are subject to the 
penalties of that Law which has already had so good 
an effect, that, instead of guns, swords, durks, and 
pistols, they now travel to their Churches, Markets, 
and Fairs with only a staff in their hands. Since the 
Highland Companies have been posted at their respec- 
tive stations, several of the most notorious thieves have 
been seized on and committed to prison, some of which 
are now under prosecution, but others, either by the 
corruption or negligence of the Jailers, have been set 
at liberty, or suffered to make their escape. 

" The imposition commonly called black-meal is 
now no longer paid by the inhabitants bordering on the 
Highlands; and robberies and depredations, formerly 
complained of, are less frequently attempted than has 
been known for many years past, there having been but 
one single instance where cattle have been stolen, 
without being recovered and returned to their proper 


" At my first coming to the Highlands, I caused an 
exact survey to be taken of the Lakes, and that part of 
the country lying between Inverness and Fort William, 
which extends from the East to the West Sea, in order 
to render the communication more practicable ; and 
materials were provided for the vessel which, by Your 
Majesty's commands was to be built on the Lake Ness; 
which is now finished and launched into the Lake. It 
is made in the form of a Gaily, either for rowing or 
sailing; is capable of carrying a party of 50 or 60 
soldiers to any part of the country bordering on the 
said Lake ; and will be of great use for transporting 
provisions and ammunition from Inverness to the bar- 
rack of Killyhuimen, where four companies of foot have 
been quartered since the beginning of last October. 

" I presume also to acquaint Your Majesty, that 
parties of regular troops have been constantly employed 
in making the roads of communication between Killy- 
huimen and Fort William, who have already made so 
good a progress in that work, that I hope, before the 
end of next summer, they will be rendered both prac- 
ticable and convenient for the march of Your Majesty's 
forces between those garrisons, and facilitate their as- 
sembling in one body, if occasion should require. 

" The fortifications and additional barracks, which, 
by Your Majesty's commands were to be erected at 
Inverness and Killyhuimen, are the only part of Your 
Majesty's Instructions which I have not been able to 
put in execution. There were no persons in that part 
of the Highlands of sufficient credit or knowledge to 
contract for a work of so extensive a nature. The 
stone must be cut out of the quarries ; nor could the 
timber be provided sooner than by sending to Norway 


to purchase it; and, although the materials had been 
ready and at hand, the excessive rains, that fell during 
the whole summer season, must have rendered it im- 
possible to have carried on the work. T have, how- 
ever, contracted for the necessary repairs of the old 
Castle at Inverness, which I am promised will be 
finished before next Winter. 

" I humbly beg leave to observe to Your Majesty, 
that nothing has contributed more to the success of my 
endeavours in disarming the Highlands, and in re- 
ducing the vassals of the late Earl of Seaforth to Your 
Obedience, than the pewer Your Majesty was pleased 
to grant me of receiving the submissions of persons; 
attainted of High Treason. They were dispersed in 
different part of the Highlands, without the least ap- 
prehension of being betrayed or molested by their 
countrymen, and, for their safety and protection, must 
have contributed all they were able to encourage the 
use of arms, and to infect the minds of those people on 
whose protection they depended. In this situation, 
they were proper instruments, and always ready to be 
employed in promoting the interest of the Pretender, 
or any other foreign power they thought capable of 
contributing to a change in that Government to which 
they had forfeited their lives, and from whom they exr 
pected no favour. The greatest part of them were 
drawn into the rebellion at the instigation of their 
Superiors, end, in my humble opinion, have continued 
their diaffection, rather from despair than any real dis- 
like to Your Majesty's Government; for it was no 
sooner known, that Your Majesty had empowered me 
to receive the Submissions of those who repented of 
their crimes, and were willing and desirous for the 


future to live peaceably under Your mild and moderate 
government, but applications were to me from seve- 
ral of them to intercede with Yotir Majesty on therf 
behalf declaring their readiness to abandon the Pre- 
tender's party, and to pay a dutiful obedience to Your 
Majesty ; to which I answered, that I should be ready 
to intercede in their favour, when I was farther con- 
vinced of the sincerity of their promises ; that it would 
soon come to their turn to be summoned to bring in 
their arms ; and, when they had paid that first mark of 
their obedience, by peaceably surrendering them, I 
should thereby be better justified in receiving their 
submissions, and in recommending them to Your 
Majesty's mercy and clemency. 

" As soon as their respective clans had delivered up 
their arms, several of these attainted persons came to 
me at different times and places to render their sub- 
missions to Your Majesty. They laid down their 
swords on the ground, expressed their sorrow and con- 
cern for having made use of them in opposition to Your 
Majesty; and promised a peaceful and dutiful obe- 
dience for the remaining part of their lives. They 
afterwards sent me their several letters of submission, 
copies of which I transmitted to Your Majesty's Prin- 
cipal Secretary of State. 

" I made use of the proper arguments to convince 
them of their past folly and rashness, and gave them 
hopes of obtaining pardon from Your Majesty's gra- 
cious and merciful disposition ; but, being a stranger 
both to their persons and character, I required they 
would procure Gentlemen of unquestioned zeal to 
Your Majesty's Government, who would write to me in 


their favour, and in some measure be answerable for 
their future conduct which was accordingly done. 

" When the news came that Your Majesty was gra- 
ciously pleased to accept their submission, and had 
given the proper orders for preparing their pardons, it 
was received with great joy and satisfaction throughout 
the Highlands, which occasioned the Jacobites at 
Edinburgh to say, (by way of reproach), that I had not 
only defrauded the Highlanders of their arms, but had 
also debauched them from their loyalty and allegiance. 

" I humbly beg leave to assure Your Majesty, that in 
the execution of these Your commands, I have acted 
with the utmost application, diligence and frugality. 
The extraordinary expence of encamping the Troops, 
carriage of arms, ammunition and provisions, building 
the vessel on the Lake Ness, carrying on the road of 
communication, sending 148 summonses to the several 
parishes and county towns, gratuities, intelligence, and 
other contingent charges, expended this year, does not 
exceed in the whole the sum of 20001. But as the 
Highlanders are a people subject to change, and return 
to their former practices, a further expence will be re- 
quisite to retain them in their duty and obedience. 

" That a Barrack for five companies of foot be built 
at Inverness on the ground where the old Castle now 
stands, with convenient lodgings for the Governour and 
other officers ; and that the fortifications there be put 
in a posture of defence. 

" That a Fort be erected at Killyhuimen, near the 
End of the Lake Ness, and a Barrack built there for 
quartering four companies, with a line of communica- 
tion extending to the Old Barrack, which is able to 


contain six companies more, and, if it is His Majesty's 
pleasure, that the officer commanding the troops in the 
Highlands should reside there as Governour, A house 
must be built for his quarters, as also a store-room, 
capable of holding provisions for a regiment of foot t 
and a prison for securing malefactors, or persons found 
in possession of arms, in contempt of the Act of Par- 

" That small Towers of stone work, such as are 
usually built in the middle of a redoubt, be erected at 
each end of the Lake Lochie, capable of quartering an 
officer and twenty soldiers, and a small boat for trans- 
porting provisions or ammunition by way of the Lake. 

** That a Tower of the same kind be built at each end 
of the Lake Ness ; andjhat a Kay or Harbour be built 
at each end of the Lake, for the security of the High- 
land Galley. 

" That a salary be provided for the subsistance of a 
Master and two sailors to serve on board the said 

" That a sum be provided annually for making the 
roads of communication ; and a salary for the person 
employed as Inspector for carrying on so necessary a 

" When these works are finished, if it is His Ma- 
jesty's pleasure to create a Governor at Killyhuimen, 
the garrisons of Fort William and Inverness might be 
commanded by deputy Governors subject to his orders. 

" For the better quartering of His Majesty's Infantry 
in the Low Country of Scotland, as well as to secure 
them against the Insults of the Populace in times of a 
general dissatisfaction, (as happened the last year, on 
occasion of the malt duty), I presume humbly to pro- 


pose, that Barracks be provided for such companies 
who may be quartered in large and populous towns, for 
example, the Regiment whose station is in the S. West 
part of Scotland, may have their head quarters at Glas- 
gow, in a Barrack capable of containing five compa- 
nies; and the other five may be sent severally to Air, 
Irwin, Hammiltoun, Dunbarton, or any other adjacent 
towns, for the protection and support of the officers of 
His Majesty's Revenue ; and may be able in a short 
time, as occasion shall require, to join the regiment at 
the Head-quarters. The same thing may be done at 
Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee. This will secure them 
against the danger, (which tho' very unlikely to happen, 
may probably succeed if attemptedX viz. That if the 
matter is concerted, his Majesty's troops, when scatter- 
ed in separate quarters, are in the power of the People, 
and liable, in times of universal discontent, to be all 
disarmed by the inhabitants in one night's time. 

" It is likewise absolutely necessary that a Frigate, 
or Sloop of some force, should be ordered to cruize on 
the North West coast, to prevent as much as possible, 
the correspondence that has been for many years past 
carried on between the emissaries of the Pretender and 
the Highlanders ; to get intelligence of any Russian or 
other foreign ships that may appear on the coast, or 
take harbour in the Islands; and to procure informa- 
tion of arms or ammunition that may be brought thither 
from foreign parts, to be employed against the Govern- 

" All which is most humbly represented and sub- 
mitted to Your Majesty's Royal Consideration. 

(Signed) "GEORGE WADE.' 

"London, 31 January, 1725." 


" Instructions to the Officers commanding the High- 
land Companies. 

" George Wade Esquire, Major General and Com- 
mander in Chief of all His Majesty's forces, 
castles, forts and barracks in North Britain, 

" His Majesty having been graciously pleased to take 
into his Royal Consideration the sufferings of his good 
subjects inhabiting the Highlands of Scotland, and 
countries bordering thereon, and to grant them pro- 
tection from the too frequent oppressions of outlaws 
and robberies, who, by carrying arms contrary to Law, 
are enabled to commit robberies and depredations, to 
raise illegal exactions, on his people, and to disturb 
the peace and quiet of the country ; to put a stop to 
such disorders for the future, His Majesty has thought 
fit to cause Companies of Highlanders to be established 
for the safety and protection of his peaceable and faith- 
ful subjects ; and as he has been pleased to give you the 
command of one of the said Companies, you are care- 
fully to observe and follow the Orders and Directions 
hereunder mentioned : 


" You are to march the Company under your com- 
mand from the camp at Inverness, and take under your 
protection all the country to the North of Loehaber 
and the Lake Ness, taking care to guard the passes of 
of Strathlony, Gleniffen, Gusichan, Vlenstrath, Farrar, 
and the Brays of Urquhart, and also the Brays of 


Stratherick and Strathnairn, on the south of Inverness fr- 
aud you are to keep a correspondence with any other 
of the Highland Companies nearest to your districts, 
in order to assist each other as occasion may require. 


" You are from time to time to send parties to such 
places within your District, as may secure that part of 
the country which you shall judge to be most exposed; 
and in this you are to act impartially, and equally to 
give assistance and protection to all His Majesty's 
good and faithful subjects, without regard to private 
animosities or party quarrels. 


" You are to use your endeavour to procure the 
earliest information of all robberies and depredations 
that may be committed within the District above-men- 
tioned ; to cause the cattle or other effects you can re- 
cover to be returned to their proper owners, and to 
seize the Criminals in order to their being prosecuted 
according to Law. 


" You are to be careful in procuring informations 
of the names, haunts, and retreats of all robbers, out- 
laws, and any who have been accustomed to commit 
depredations in the Countries or Districts committed 
to your care, whom you are to pursue and endeavour 
to seize, and cause them to be brought before one of 
his Majesty's Justices of the Peace, in order to their 
commitment and prosecution 



" You are to endeavour to get information of any 
arms or warlike weapons that may have been concealed 
by any persons belonging to the Clans who have been 
summoned to deliver up their arms according to Law ; 
and if any person or persons shall be found carrying 
arms who are not qualified^ or authorized by licence to 
keep such arms in their possession ; you are to proceed 
against such person or persons in the manner prescribed 
by the Act of Parliament in thai behalf of the llth 
year of His Majesty's reign, taking care to avoid par- 
tiality or acting with too much rigour and severity ; 
that way of proceeding being most conformable to His 
Majesty's gracious intentions. 


" You are to endeavour to detect all popish priests 
who may have been sent from foreign parts, or others 
who are employed to infect the minds of the people with 
the pernicious principles of Popery and Disaffection, 
or to seduce His Majesty's subjects from their alle- 
giance ; and, when you have found any such danger- 
ous persons, you are to cause them to be brought be- 
fore one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace, in 
order to their being prosecuted as the Law directs. 


" You are to give strict orders to the officers and sol- 
diers belonging to your company to seize and appre- 
hend all deserters from any of the Regiments quartered 
in or near the Highlands, or whom they have just 
reason to suspect to have deserted His Majesty's ser- 


vice ; and the officer commanding such Regiment or 
Company from whom such soldier or soldiers did 
desert, is hereby required on delivery of such deserter 
or deserters, to give two guineas per man as a gratuity 
for their trouble and charge. 


" You are to take no soldiers into your Company 
who are known to have been guilty of notorious Crimes, 
or are suspected of disaffection to His Majesty's Go- 


" You are to keep your company compleat, to pre- 
serve good order and discipline, to make regular pay- 
ments to the non-commissioned officers and soldiers, 
as the Act of Parliament directs ; and you are to pro- 
vide them with such clothing, and at such times, as is 
mentioned in my former orders of the 15th of May, 


" You are to send lists of the Company every four 
months to the officer commanding the troops quartered 
in the Highlands, viz. on the first of January, the first 
of May, and the first of September, the Number of 
their Badges to be put before each man's name ; and, 
when you have cause to change any of your Men, or 
to fill up vacancies, you are to give the badge to the 
man who succeeds, and remark on the back of the 
List the changes that have been made in your com* 
pany since the date of the preceding return, with the 
reason of such alteration* 



" Yon are to cause your men punctually to pay their 
quarters, and use your best endeavours to prevent their 
committing disorders, and injuring or insulting 1 the 
people of the country ; and to be particularly careful 
in assisting such Who have peaceably delivered up their 
arms, and are thereby intitled to protection. 


te You are strictly to observe these, as well as my 
former orders of the 1 5th of May last ; and also all such 
orders and directions as you shall from time to time re- 
ceive from the officer commanding the troops in the 
Highlands, or from the Governors of Inverness or 
Fort- William. 

" And all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, Con- 
stables, and others whom they may concern, are hereby 
required to be aiding and assisting in providing quar- 
ters, pressing of carriages, and otherwise, as there 
shall be occasion. 

" Given in the Camp at Inverness, this 22d of Sept. 

(Signed) '< GEORGE WADE." 
" To the Right Hon. the Lord Lovat, 
or the Officer commanding his 
Company of Highlanders." 

The Officers commanding the rest of the Highland 
Companies have the same instructions, excepting that 
the names of their different posts and stations are 
therein specified. 



The Form of a Summons, as affixed to the several 
Parish Churches and Head- Boroughs. 

[The uutler-writtea was sent to the Estate of the late Earl of Seaforth.] 

"To all and every the lans of the M'Kenzies, 
M'Ras, Murchiessons, M'Lays, M'Lemians, Ma- 
thewsons, M'Aulays, Morrisons, M'Leods, and all 
other Clans and persons liable by Act of Parliament to 
be disarmed within the limits of that part of the Estate 
formerly belonging- to the late Earl of Seaforth, in the 
parishes of Dingwell, Urquhart, Collyrndden, Rose- 
mark}% Avoch, Suddy, Kilmure Wester, Killurnon, 
Luggy Wester, Urray, Contan, Totterery, Kintail, 
Loch Caron, Garloch, Loch Breyn r and Assint, and to 
all other persons inhabiting or being within the parishes, 
lands, limits, and boundings above-mentioned : 

" By GEORGE WADE, Esq. &c 

.- (5f In His Majesty's Name, and in pursuance of the 
power and authority to me given by his Majesty, under 
his Royal Sign Manual, by virtue of an Act of Par- 
liament intitled ' An Act for more effectually disarming 
the Highlanders in that part of Great Britain called 
Scotland, and for the better securing the peace and 
quiet of that part of the Kingdom,' I do hereby strictly 
require and command you and every of you, on (or 
before) Saturday the 28th day of August, to bring or 
send to the Castle of Brahan all your Broad Swords, 
Targets, Poynards, Whingars, or Durks, Side-pistol, 
or Pistols, Guns, or any other warlike weapons, and 
then and there to deliver up to me or the officer com- 
manding at the said castle of Brahan, as is above- 
mentioned, ajl and singular your arms and warlike 

.11 .JO 7 


Weapons, for the use of His Majesty, bis heirs and 
successors, and to be disposed of in such manner aa 
His Majesty, his heirs and successors shall appoint ; 
and by so doing, you will avoid the pains and penal- 
ties by the said act directed to be inflicted on all per- 
sons who shall presume to refuse, or neglect to pay a 
due obedience to the same. 

" Given under my hand and seal, at Inverness, 
this 16th day of August, 1725. 

(Signed) " GEORGE WADE." 

The Form of a Licence for carrying Arms, by 

G. WADE, Esq. $c. 

" In virtue of the power and authority to me given 
by His Majesty, I do hereby permit and authorize you 
[A. B.] Drover, or Dealer in Cattle, or other Merchan- 
dize, to keep wear and carry with you, upon any your 
lawful occasions, from the date hereof, to the first o'f 
August, 1737, the following weapons: viz. a gun, 
sword, and pistol ; ye behaving in all that time as 
a faithful subject of his Majesty, and carrying your- 
self peaceably and quietly towards the people of the 
country. Dated at Inverness, 18 August, 1725. 

(Signed) GEORGE WADE." 

Letters of Submission to his Majesty, from Persons 
attainted of High Treason, directed to Major- 
General Wade. 

From Mr. Alexander M'Kenzie of Datchmaluach. 
" SIR, 

" Partly from my own inclination at that time,, as 
well as by the attachment I had to my Superior, I was 
unfortunately engaged in the late unnatural rebellion, 
for which I now stand attainted, and my estate some 

Y 2 


time ago confiscated, and sold, according to Lav, 
having nothing left but my life : and as the Clan to 
which I belong has peaceably delivered up their arms, 
and, I hope, will become as faithful subjects to His 
Majesty King George, as they have been faithful ser- 
vants to their late master Seaforth, I humbly beg you 
will be so good to lay this my submission before His 
Majesty, and assure him he shall not have a more 
faithful subject in all his dominions, if he is graciously 
pleased to pardon me for what is past. We have all 
sufficiently seen through our follies; and for my own 
part, I both heartily and willingly renounce the Pre- 
tender's interest. 

*" Sir, the goodness you shew to all mankind, which 
certainly is the best method can be taken to make 
Friends for so good a prince as you serve, has embolden- 
ed me to send you this, and rely on your easy censure 
for begging this troublesome favour from you, and as- 
suring you, if admitted to live the remaining part of my 
days in peace (which cannot be many, being in ad- 
vanced age), that I will not only be a faithful subject 
to His Majesty King George, but also, whilst living, 

" Sir, 
" Your most faithful 

" and obedient Servant, 


" Lochcarn, 

"31st August, 1725." 

From Mr. George M'Kenzie of Ballamukie. 
" SIR, 

" I am so sensible of my own error in joining in 
the late unnatural Rebellion against our gracious Sove- 


reign, that if I did not resolve for the future to renounce 
such bad practices, I would not presume to address one 
of your character and merit to intercede for me, by 
laying my unhappy state before His Majesty, in hopes 
of sharing in that clemency and mercy so inherent to 
him. Sir, I own there is none less worthy of it; and 
that the Government acted very justly in denying me 
their protection ; but, if I may be allowed to say (not 
with any view to lessen or extenuate my fault) that I 
have undergone it patiently, and lived quietly, tho' 
very retired from the world all this time, in the country, 
I hope it will plead for some little consideration; and 
as I do with the greatest submission and sincerity ac- 
knowledge my guilt ; so I pray leave to beg with the 
greatest earnestness, and in the most humble manner, 
that you will be pleased to believe me sincere ; and that 
I heartily repent my behaviour in former times towards 
His Majesty King George, whose gracious clemency 
in pardoning my life (the only thing I have to plead 
for), I request in the most earnest and submissive man- 
ner, and I do faithfully promise, that my conduct for 
the future shall in all respects be as a loyal and dutiful 
subject to him, and to you, as one who owns himself 
by the greatest ties of gratitude to be, 

" Sir, 
" Your most obliged 

" and most obedient 
" humble Servant, 

" Strathpeffer, 
" 31st August, 1725." 


From Mr. Roderick M'Kenzie of Fairburn. 

" SIR, 

" With a true sense of my past miscarriages, I 
pray leave to address myself to you, and to request your 
favour towards me in representing my unhappy condi- 
tion to His Majesty. You know very well, Sir, by 
my name, that I have the misfortune to be of the 
number of those persons who have forfeited their pro- 
tection of the Government, by taking up arms against 
the best of Kings. It would be presumption in me, 
rather than a submission, to attempt the lessening my 
guilt, unless it be some small extenuation of my crime, 
that we who have the unhappiness to live at so remote 
a distance from the Court, are most liable to be se- 
duced by the artifices and insinuations of designing 
men; therefore I shall pray leave to beg with the 
greatest earnestness, that you would believe me sincere 
in this, as I truly am; that I heartily repent of my 
past behaviour towards His Majesty King George ; 
and most humbly and earnestly request to pardon my 
life ; and I do with the greatest sincerity promise to 
devote the remainder of it to His said Majesty's ser- 
vice, and to endeavour to approve myself to the utmost 
of my power, as long as I live, 

" Sir, 

** Your most obliged 
" and most obedient 

" humble Servant 

" Monar, 
" 30th August, 1725." 


From Mr. Roderick Chisholm of Strathglass. 

" The success your undertakings have always 
had, has been owing more to your courteous and affable 
behaviour, than to the terror of arms : I presume to 
throw myself under your protection, fully confident 
that so much goodness cannot decline representing my 
unhappy case to the best of Kings, I mean Rebellion, 
which I now detest ; and, Sir, I hope that my re- 
pentance will be judged the more solid, that I am now 
in a mature age ; whereas I had not attained to the 
years of manhood, when unnaturally I allowed myself 
to be led to bear arms against His Majesty King 
George. I have disposed my Clan to disarm, and, for 
myself and them, I promise faithfully henceforward to 
behave ourselves as becomes dutiful subjects to His 
Majesty King George, begging in the most profound 
manner, his most gracious pardon, for my life, (my 
estate having been sold), which I dare assure myself 
of from former instances of His Majesty's clemency to 
those of equal guilt with myself, tho' of the highest 
nature. Pardon, Sir, this trouble, which your great 
and universal good character draws upon you ; and 
alter not from yourself in neglecting the distress of 
one who is proud of being, 

" Sir, 
" Your most obliged 

" and most obedient, &c. 

" Strathglass, 
"30th August, 1725." 


From Mr. Robert Stewart of Appin. 

" SIR, 

" The repeated accounts 1 have had froms ome 
of my best friends, that the King has been graciously 
pleased to entrust you with powers of accepting the 
Submissions of such of his subjects in the Highlands as 
have been attainted of High Treason, in consequence 
of the late unnatural Rebellion, together with the cha- 
racter you so justly possess, of taking pleasure in acts 
of humanity to persons in distress, oblige and encou* 
rage me to acquaint you that I am one of those unlucky 
Gentlemen who stand so much in need of His Majesty's 
clemency, and the generous good offices of friends 
towards sharing in it. And as the offer of mercy now 
made must appear to every body, as a most distinguish-^ 
ing proof of His Majesty's Royal compassion for re- 
claiming his misled subjects ; so I beg leave to assure 
your Excellency, that if 1 am so happy as by any means 
to share in it, I shall, from a dutiful sense of so much 
Royal goodness, ever study the most sincere and 
grateful acknowledgements. I know not whether you 
will demand any additional security for my peaceable 
and dutiful behaviour in time coming to the promise I 
hereby make ; and indeed it may be very difficult for 
one in my situation to give satisfaction that way ; 
however, if His Majesty's most gracious intentions 
cannot otherwise take effect, and that Your ExceK 
lency will not upon other terms be prevailed upon to 
grant protection ; I hope I shall be able to satisfy you 
even in that point. The person who does me the ho- 
npur to deliver you this will forward your commands 


for me ; and if the Submission I hereby make be not 
in such terms as may prove acceptable, I beg yon will 
be so good as give directions in what manner I am to 
make it, consistent with my personal liberty ; and obe- 
dience shall be given by, 

" Sir, 
" Your most faithful, &c. 

" 27 August, 1725." 

From Mr. Alexander M'Donald-f- of Glenco. 
" SIR, 

" Being one of those unfortunate Gentlemen 
whom the folly of youth, and ignorance, seduced to carry 
arms in the late unnatural Rebellion against His present 
Majesty King George ; I account myself happy in 
having the opportunity of begging your Excellency's 

* Stewart of Appin did not take the field in 1745 ; but the clan, who 
could not be kept at home, was headed by Stewart of Ardsheill. 

t The following Supplication of the son of M'Doiiald of Glenco, who 
escaped the massacre of his family and kindred, in 1692, must be interest- 
ing, on account of the mention made of what took place after that horrible 
blood-bath, which must ever remain an indelible blot in the annals of our 
country. It was presented in 1695, three years after that detestable 
transaction : 

" Supplication of John Mac Donald of Glencoe, for himself, and in 
name of Alexander Mac Donald of Achatriechatan, and the poor 
remanent that is left of that family : 
" Sheweth, 

" That, it being now evident to the conviction of the nation how inhu- 
mainly, als weil as unchristianly, the deceist Alexander Macdonald of 
Glencoe, the deceist John Macdonald of Achatriechatan, and too many 
more of the petitioner's unfortunat family were murdered and butchered in 
February 1692, against the laws of Nature and Nations, the laws of Hospi- 
tality, and the publick faith, by a band of men quartered amongst them, and 


compassionate intercession for my life, which I justly 
forfeit ; and, tho' I detest my former behaviour, and 
promise henceforward the strictest obedience to His 
Majesty in the most profound and sincere manner ; I 
plead no merit, but rely wholely on His Majesty's most 
gracious clemency, which so oft acquitted others equally 
guilty with myself. Your conduct, Sir, having upon all 
occasions been equally acceptable to the Sovereign, 
and engaging to the subjects, I cannot mistrust suc- 
cess when you take my cause in hand. That the best 
of Kings may pardon a subject unworthy of his Royal 
resentment, is the huumble petition of, 

" Sir, 
" Your most faithful, &c. 


pretending peace, tho' they perpetrated the grossest crueltie under the 
colour of his Majestie's authority ; And seing the evidence taken be the 
right honorahle the Lords and uther members of the commission, which his 
Majestic was most graciouslie pleased to grant for inquyreing into that affair, 
hath cleared to the parliament, that after committing of the forsaid massacre, 
the poor petitioners were most rarenously plundered of all that was necessary 
fbr the sustentation of their lives, and besydes, all ther cloaths, money, 
bouses and plenishing (furniture), all burned, destroyed or taken away -, 
that the souldieris did drive no fewer than five hundred horses, fourtein or 
fyfteiu hundred coues and many more sheep and goats ; and that it is a 
proper occasion for his Majestic and the Estates assembled in Parliament, 
to give a full vindication of there justice, and freeing the publick from the 
kist imputatoon which may be cast thereon by forraigne enemies on the 
account of so unexampled ane action ; and that it is worthie of that honour 
and justice which his Majestic and the Estats have been pleased to shew to 
the world, with relation to that affair, to releive the necessity of the poor 
petitioners, and to save them and their exposed widdous and orphans from, and all the misery of the extreamest poverty, to which they are 
inevitably lyable, unless his Majestic and the Estats provide them a 
remedv " 



From Mr. John Grant, Laird of Glenmorison. 
" SIR, 

" The great and good character which your Ex- 
cellency has justly obtained in the world, makes me pre- 
sume to throw myself into your arms, humbly begging 
a share of that goodness towards me that has publickly 
appeared in your temper, and in all your actions, since 
you came into Scotland; and which has gained more 
hearts to His Majesty of those who were deluded into 
the Rebellion, than all the force of arms has done since 
the King's accession to the Throne ; as none of those 
who were unhappily engaged in that unaccountable 
Rebellion was more innocently seduced by others to go 
into it, than myself; so I do sincerely assure Your 
Excellency that no man is more sorry for his foolish 
error than I am: and if His Majesty will be so good as 
to give me his gracious pardon, I shall, while I live, 
behave myself as a dutiful and grateful subject to His 
Majesty King George, and his Royal Family. I do 
therefore most humbly throw myself at His Majesty's 
feet imploring his mercy ; and humbly intreat of your 
Excellency (who seem resolved to do good to all that 
will serve the King faithfully) to obtain my pardon of 
His Majesty ; and I do sincerely promise to your Ex- 
cellency, that I shall pass the remainder of my days in 
peace and fidelity towards His Majesty and the Govern- 
ment. And I hope there are Gentlemen in His Ma- 
jesty's service under your Excellency's command, who 
will be bail for my peaceable behaviour, if you please 
to desire it. I humbly ask your Excellency's pardon 
for this trouble, and beg the honour of your good offices 
with the King and his Ministers, for my poor distressed 


person and family ; and am with great submission and 
respect, Honoured Sir, 

" Your Excellencies most humble, &c. 

" Glenmorison, 
"24 Septr. 1725." 

, - 

From Mr. John M'Kinnon, Laird of M'Kinnon. 

" I beg leave to approach your Excellency on 
this occasion, being one of those poor unfortunate Gen- 
tlemen who was in arms against the Government, and am 
now desirous to have my peace. I must own to your 
Excellency, I am heartily sorry for being ever engaged 
in Rebellion against so good and gracious a Prince ; 
and I wish for nothing now more than an opportunity 
to repair that slip by a constant and dutiful behaviour 
towards His Majesty and the Government in time 
coming; therefore humbly desire your Excellency would 
be pleased out of your goodness and generosity to use 
your interest to procure my pardon ; and, on the word 
of a Gentleman, I shall never enter into any measures 
that may give offence to His Majesty, or tend in the 
least to disquiet the Government ; and as I am resolved, 
as far as I know, or can ever learn, to act the part of a 
good and dutiful Subject to his Majesty; so I shall en- 
deavour in a particular manner, to make the most 
obliging returns to "your Excellency, which the favour 
of getting life and liberty deserve, and my capacity can 
give, while I am, 

" Right Hon. 

" Your Excellency's most faithful, &c. 
26 Septr. 1725." " JO. M'KINNON." 


From Mr. John M'Dougal of Lome. 

" Being one of those unhappy persons who have 
for want of knowing better, had the misfortune to be led 
into Rebellion, against His Majesty King George, 
whose goodness and clemency had long before this 
convinced the most obstinate of their mistake as well 
as crime ; and having the opportunity of your being in 
the country, who have shewn so great humanity in it; 
I beg leave to address myself to you, to testify my re- 
pentance for having opposed so good a king ; and to 
promise, as I sincerely do, to direct the remainder of 
my life to His Majesty's service, and that I may be in 
a capacity to shew my sincerity in the country where I 
committed the crime, I humbly pray His Majesty will 
be graciously pleased to pardon my life ; and my words 
and actions for the future shall be such as that you will 
have no reason to repent of the good office done to, 

" Sir, 
" Your most obliged, &c. 

" 15 Sept. 1725." 

From Robert Campbell, alias M'Gregor, commonly 

calledHob Roy. 

" The great humanity with which you have con- 
stantly acted in the discharge of the trust reposed in you, 
and your having ever made use of the great powers with 
which you are vested, as the means of doing good and 
charitable offices, to such as ye found proper objects of 
compassion, will, I hope, excuse my importunity in en- 


deavouring to approve myself not absolutely unworthy 
of that mercy and favour your Excellency has so gene- 
rously procured from His Majesty for others in my un- 
fortunate circumstances. I am very sensible nothing- 
can be alledged sufficient to excuse so great a crime as 
I have been guilty of, that of Rebellion; but I humbly 
beg leave to lay before your Excellency some particu- 
lars in the circumstances of my guilt, which I hope will 
extenuate it in some measure. It was my misfortune, 
at the time the Rebellion broke out, to be lyable to 
legal diligence and caption, at the Duke of Montrose's 
instance, for debt alledged due to him. To avoid being 
flung into prison, as I must certainly have been, had I 
followed my real inclinations in joining the King's 
Troops at Stirling, I was forced to take party with the 
adherents of the Pretender; for, the country being all 
in arms, it was neither safe, nor indeed possible, foi 4 me 
to stand neuter. I should not, however, plead my being 
forced into that unnatural Rebellion against His Ma- 
jesty King George, if I could not at the same time 
assure your Excellency, that I not only avoided acting 
offensively against his Majesty's forces upon all occa- 
sions, but on the contrary, sent his Grace the Duke of 
Argyle all the intelligence I could from time to time, of 
the strength and situation of the Rebels ; which 1 hope 
his Grace will do me the justice to acknowledge.* 

* Tliis whole letter is a great curiosity ; but it would have bee_n well for 
Rob's reputation that he had left this part of his vindication to his Grace of 
Argyle. All the dements ascribed to him by his enemies, are less to his dis- 
credit, than this one merit which he assumes to himself. Rob had all his 
life been constrained to live by his wits, and was so used to policy and strata- 
gem, that he could do nothing without them. His situation in 1715 was also 
peculiar. He was opposed to his patron Argyle, whom he liked ill, and to 
Montrose, whom he liked still worse; and he followed the same stiwidard 

APP&NDTX. 335 

As to the debt to the Duke of Montrose, I have dis- 
charged it to the utmost farthing. I beg your Excel- 
lency would be pursuaded, that, had it been in ray 
power, as it was in my inclination, I should always have 
acted for the service of His Majesty King George ; and 
that one reason of my begging the favour of yoiu inter- 
cession with His Majesty for the pardon of my life is, 
the earnest desire 1 have to employ it in his service, 
whose goodness, justice, and humanity are so conspicu- 
ous to all mankind. I am, with all duty and respect, 
" Your Excellency's most, &c. 


From Mr. James Ogilvy, commonly called Lord 

" SIR, 

" Tho' I have not the honour to be personally known 
to your Excellency, yet, having got a favourable character 
of your generosity, and inclination to mercy ; and hear- 
ing you have instructions from His Majesty, concern- 
ing some of those in my circumstances, I have taken 
the liberty to offer you, in a few words, a just repre- 
sentation of my case and resolutions, hoping you will 
be so good ,as to set them in a true light before His 
Majesty and the Go-vernment, in order to obtain my 

with the Men of Athol, whose chief was his bitterest enemy. A man like 
Rob, so he*mmed in on all sides, had need to look abort him. As to the 
cavse in which he took arms; it was to decide the claims of the rival 
Houses of Stewart and Hanover : and verily, Rob Roy had been so little 
obliged to the one, and had so little to expect from the other, that he 
might well have said with Mercutio, " a plague of bath your Houses!" One 
cannot help smiling at the naicete with which he speaks of it as a thing of 
course,' that when there was disturbance in the country, it vas not to be ex- 
pected thaWie should remain <jukt. 


pardon. Be pleased, then, to know, that at the age of 
sixteen, I had the misfortune to be misled into the late 
Rebellion by the insinuations of those who began it, and 
the example of numbers of the neighbourhood where I 
lived; which I only mention to shew how difficult it was 
for one of little experience to resist so strong an influ- 
ence as that of almost all with whom I had any relation. 
How soon I could form just notions of things, I have 
not been wanting to shew my hearty sorrow and repent- 
ance for my former folly, by an early application to his 
Majesty's clemency, which I have long implored by re- 
peated addresses to such of the Ministry as either I or 
my friends could have access to; and I hope many of 
them, after examination, do think my case may deserve 
His Majesty's and the Government's compassion. As 
I most earnestly desire to be reconciled to the King's 
favour, if His Majesty, out of his bounty, shall be 
pleased to grant me pardon, I do heartily renounce and 
abandon the Pretender's party, and its abettors, and do 
promise henceforth to live and act as a good and peace- 
able subject, giving all manner of evidence of my firm 
resolutions of adhering to my allegiance to His Majesty 
King George ; and upon inquiry into my conduct, ever 
since I went out of my country, it will appear I have 
avoided all correspondence with the enemies of the 
Government; nor did I ever enter into any of their 
projects, since my first misfortune. 

" Tho' at present I lye under the just sentence and 
attainder of Parliament, I never was in possession of 
any title to the heritage of the family of which I am 
descended, my father having conveyed his estate to a 
second brother; so that my forfeiture is of no advantage 
to the Government. But, not to trouble you with a 


tedious detail of the particulars of my case, I intreat 
you may be pleased to inform yourself of the truth of 
what I advance, and the bearer shall communicate to 
you the way to be ascertained of it ; so that, how soon 
an opportunity shall offer, you may give such a repre- 
sentation of it to His Majesty and the Government, as 
you think it deserves; and I hope, by my future be- 
haviour, to testify the grateful sense I shall always re- 
tain of my duty and obligations to His Majesty for my 
restoration to his gracious protection; and shall be 
proud to owe my all to the success of your friendly 
intercession and endeavours ; for I am, with great 

" Sir, 
" Your Excellencies, &c. 

" Stirling, 
"23 Oct. 1725. 

VOL, ii. 

No. IV. 



11 An Inquiry into the Causes which facilitate the 
Rise and Progress of Rebellions and Insurrections 
in the Highlands of Scotland, ^c." written in 

[From a MS. in the possession of the GARTMORE FAMILY, communicated 


BY the HIGHLANDS OF SCOTLAND are understood, not 
only these mountainous grounds which run from both 
sides of Lochlomond, in Stirling and Dumbarton shires, 
to the north of Sutherland ; but likeways the Western 
Islands, and these grounds that lye upon the heads of 
Angus, Mearns, and Aberdeen shires, and fall in, upon 
the westward, with that other tract of land. The 
country is exceedingly mountainous, but full of salt 
water loches upon the coasts, and of fresh water ones 
in the heart of the country. Upon the coast, the sides 
of these loches, and of the rivulets that run through the 
valleys, and which separate the mountains, there are 
great quantities of arrable land, cappable by right cul- 
ture to produce most grains. It is in these valleys and 


dens that the people live in little hutts, and the exten- 
sive moors and mountains about them afford pasture for 
vast quantitys of cattle. In most places of the coun- 
try there are woods of oak, birtch, firr, and a great 
deal of brush and long heath. There is no easie com- 
munication from one place to another, by reason of the 
ruggedness of the ground, excepting by the sides of 
these rivulets and lochs, which are situate in valleys 
that run from different parts of the Low countrys for a 
long way in through the mountains ; so that most of 
these valleys are in a manner shut up from one another, 
and the rest of the world, except by passages which 
are commonly both narrow and difficult. The whole 
is very improveable, and capable of employing great 
numbers of the people in the ways of agriculture, 
breeding of cattle, fisherys, and manufactures of differ-' 
ent kinds. It consists of about 230 paroches, if we" 
include the Orkneys ; and the number of souls residing 
within these limits will amount to 230,000. 

The commonalty are of a smaller size than the peo- 
ple of the low country ; and, as they are not accus- 
tomed to any hard labour, and are in the constant 
nse of hunting, fowling, and following their cattle 
through the mountains, they are of wonderfull agility 
of body, and capable to travel with ease at a great 
rate. Their dwellings and dress expose them so much to 
the weather, that by custom they can bear the severities 
of it without prejudice. Their diet is neither delicate 
noroppulent; nay, they'll feast upon a meal that would 
starve most other people. In some places, they are 
so extremely poor, that they frequently let blood of 
their cattle, through the summer, to supply their want 
of bread* These lowest sort of people are very ig- 


norant; and, by whatever name they distinguish their 
religion, their state principles make a considerable 
part of it, and enthusiasm is the principal ingredient in 
both. They know no more of the improvements in 
common life than the breeding of cattle, the making of 
hay, butter, and cheese. Notwithstanding of this, 
they are masters of a wonderful sagacity and cunning, 
and. which is scarcely to be found in any other com- 
mon sort of people. But as the estate of every con- 
siderable heritor there is look't upon as a kind of prin- 
cipality ; so hence arise so many separate interests ; and 
from thence, jealousies, feuds, depredations, and thefts ; 
all which affect the common sort, and in so far open their 
understandings, and sharpen their judgements. The 
tacksmen, or good-men, -as well as the gentry, are gene- 
rally larger bodied men than the inferior sort. These 
are a kind of ministry to the first, and patrons or 
councillors to the last ; and, as they squeeze from the 
one by address, and from the other by a kind of friendly 
oppression, so their private interest requires a delicate 
management in relation to both. Constant experience 
in these circumstances, gives them judiciousness and 
subtilty, much above what could be expected from any 
in their situation. The whole of the people are capa- 
ble of any improvement ; and " to deny them courage 
and valour, would be doing them great injustice ; for 
in that they are inferior to none, and few equaH them." 
Gentlemen of estates, and the better sort, who have 
had the advantages of education, make as good a 
figure in their station of life, as any other people who 
move in the same sphere ; only they affect a statelyness 
much above their rank in the world, and much above 
what their small estates can alfoord. The great, nay 


absolute, submission paid them by their dependents, 
the want of the frequent society of people, either of a 
superior or equall quality to themselves, and their re- 
moteness from places where the authority and strength 
of the civil government is vigorously preserved, by its 
various subordinate powers, may occasion some singu- 

The property of these Highlands belongs to a great 
many different persons, who are more or less consider- 
able in proportion to the extent of their estates, and 
to the command of men that live upon them, or follow 
them on account of their clanship, out of the estates of 
others. These lands are set by the landlord during 
pleasure, or a short tack, to people whom they call 
good-men, and who are of a superiour station to the 
commonality. These are generally the sons, brothers, 
cousins, or nearest relations of the landlord. The 
younger sons of famillys are not bred to any business 
or employments, but are sent to the French or Spanish 
armies, or marry as soon as they are of age. Those are 
left to their own good fortune and conduct abroad, and 
these are preferred to some advantageous farm at home. 
This, by the means of a small portion, and the libera- 
lity of their relations, they are able to stock, and which 
they, their children, and grandchildren, possess at an 
easy rent, till a nearer descendant be again preferred 
to it. As the propinquity removes, they become less 
considered, till at last they degenerate to be of the 
common people ; unless some accidental acquisition of 
wealth supports them above their station. As this hath 
been an ancient custom, most of the farmers and cot- 
tars are of the name and clan of the proprietor ; and, 
if they are not really so, the proprietor either obliges 


them to assume it, or they are glaid to do so, to pro- 
pure his protection and favour. 

Some of these tacksmen or good-men possess these 
farms themselves ; but in that case they keep in them a 
great number of cottars, to each of whom they give a 
house, grass for a cow or two, and as much ground as 
will sow about a boll of oats, in places which their 
own plough cannot labour, by reason of brush or rock, 
and which they are obliged in many places to delve 
with spades. This is the only visible subject which 
Jhese poor people possess for supporting themselves 
and their famillys, and the only wages of their whole 
labour and service. 

Others of them lett out parts of their farms to many 
of these cottars or subtennants ; and as they are gene- 
rally poor, and not allways in a capacity to stock these 
small tenements, the tacksmen frequently enter them 
on the ground laboured and sown, and sometimes too 
stocks it with cattle ; all which he is obliged to re-de- 
liver in the same condition at his removal, Avhich is at 
the goodman's pleasure, as he is usually himself ten- 
nent at pleasure, and for which during his possession 
b.e pays an extravagantly high rent to the tacksman.* 

By this practice, farms, which one family and four 

* " From these circumstances, the first (landlords) do naturally affect 
ptate, and get an itch to independency ; the second (tacksmen, or goodmen) 
do acquire a habit of chicanery in the transactions of common life, and a 
plausible address to collour them ; and the common people are abandoned 
to all licentiousness. These manners are destructive to Society ; laws are 
necessary to reform them ; and government to execute these laws. But 
people accustomed to this state of life, think these laws, this government, 
the greatest of hardships. It is not then to be wondered at, if they spurn 
at those who endeavour to put them under the thraldome of laws and 
order." From the same MS. 


horses are sufficient to labour, will have from four to 
sixteen famillys living upon them. Nay, in the head 
of the paroch of Buchanan in Stirlingshire, about the 
barracks of Innersnait, as well as in several other 
places, there are to be found 150 familys living upon 
grounds which do not pay above 90 . sterling of yearly 
rent ; that is, each family at a medium rents lands at 
twelve shillings of yearly rent.* 

As, by these means, the greatest part of the inha- 
bitants have neither half meat nor cloaths ; they are 
driven by the necessitys of their circumstances, and 
induced by the conveniency of their situation for con- 
cealments, to steal cattle, both for supporting their 
familys and plenishing (stocking) their little farms; 
and, as the cause is general!, this practice is become 
so too. Fewds and differences among familys in that 
country do not a little contribute to promote this mis- 
chief; stealling and robbing by means of villains kept 
thus in dependance, and under absolute command, 
being the common way of resenting quarrells against 
one another. That a gentleman is either affected to, 
or in favour with, the government, is ground of dis- 
content, and' his estate soon feels the effects of the 
malice that arises from thence. People of station 
above the vulgar, and even some of the established 
clergy, are so overawed, that they speak a language 
different from what they think, and come by degrees 

* This requires explanation. Twelve shillings, at that time, wai a fair 
rent for three acres of the best land, and was equal to at least 15 L at the 
present rate ; a consideration which takes off mucji of the wonder. It is 
also to be observed, that he who paid I2t. in money, often paid as much 
more in the form of service, and various articles of produce, juch as 
poultry, lambs, kids, &c. 


to think in the way that is most convenient for people 
that live in their situation ; and as cattle is the only 
wealth or subject these inhabitants do possess, all pro- 
perly in that country is rendered precarious. On these 
accounts, there. is no culture of grounds, no improve- 
ment of pastures, and, from the same reasons, no 
manufactures, no trade ; in short, no industry. The 
people are extremely prolific, and therefore so nume- 
rous, that there is not busieness in that country, ac- 
cording to its present order and osconomy, for above 
the one half of them. Every place is full of idle 
people, accustomed to arms, and lazy in every thing 
but rapines and depredations. As Buddelov Aquivitcs 
houses are to be found every where through the coun- 
try, so in these they santer away their time, and fre- 
quently consume there the returns of their illegal pur- 
chases. Here the laws have never been executed, 
nor the authority of the magistrate ever established. 
Here the officer of the law neither dare nor can exe- 
cute his duty, and several places are above thirty miles 
from lawfull persons. In short, here is no order, no 
authority, no government ! 

The confusions and disorders of that country were 
sa great, and the government so absolutely neglected 
it, that the sober people there were obliged to purchase 
some security to their effects by shamefull and igno- 
minious contracts of black mailL A person who had 
the greatest correspondence with the thieves was 
agreed with to preserve the lands contracted for from 
thefts, for certain sums to be paid yearly out of these 
lands. Upon this fund he employed one half of the 
thieves to recover stolen cattle, and the other half of 
them to steall, in order to make this agreement and 


blackmaill contract necessary. The estates of these 
gentlemen who refused to contract, or give counte- 
nance to that pernicious practice, are plundered by the 
thieving part of the watch, in order to force them to 
purchase their protection. He calls himself the Cap- 
tain of the Watch, and his banditti go by that name. 
And as this gives them a kind of authority to traverse 
the country, so it makes them cappable of doing 
much mischief. These different odd kinds of corps 
through the Highlands make altogether a very consi- 
derable body of men inured from their infancy to the 
greatest fatigues, and so are capable to act in a mili- 
tary way when occasion offers. 

People who are ignorant and enthusiastick, who are 
in absolute dependance upon their Chief or landlord, 
who are directed in their consciences by Roman Ca- 
tholick Priests, or non-juring Clergymen, and who are 
not masters of any property, may easily be formed 
into any mould. They fear no dangers, as they have 
nothing to lose, and so can with ease be induced to 
attempt any thing. Nothing can make their condition 
worse ; confusions and troubles do commonly indulge 
them in such licentiousnesses as by these they better it. 
It is extremely strange, that so far down as this 
year 1747, any part of Great Britain should be found 
"in this situation ; but the truth is, the Scots Govern- 
ment never was able to civilize that country, and 
establish order in it; and the new-modelled British 
Government hath continued matters as it found them. 
I don't pretend to understand how this last hath hap- 
pened ; the first can easily be accounted for. 

As the Scottish Nation was allways jealous of the 
designs, and had r.eason to dread the power of Eng- 


land; so it all ways struck in with France, which 
courted its alliance, that, by means of the Scotts, 
there might be a diversion given to the English arms, 
in the wars betwixt these two nations. To counter- 
ballance this, the kings of England keept up a cor- 
respondence and friendship, nay, entered into treaties 
with the familys of greatest interest in the Highlands, 
in order to give a diversion to the arms of Scotland, 
when their own kings made war against England. 
"This countenance and assistance once given by the 
Kings of England to these families of the Highlands, 
their own greatness and independence, and their aver- 
sion to be restrained by laws, or subjected to the go- 
vernment of their own kings, engaged them in constant 
rebellions against the government, not only during the 
reigns of the two Bruces, but likewayes during those 
of the kings of the House of Stewart, and of these 
who succeeded them. Severall of the Princes of this 
House made steps to reduce these familys to good 
order, and civilize the country, particularly James 3d, 
5th, and the 6th ; but since the time that this last 
prince came to the crown of England, the state of that 
country hath neither been much known, nor regarded 
by those in the administration, excepting during the go- 
vernment of Oliver Cromwell.* The state of that 
country daring that whole period of time, near 450 

* " Oliver Cromwell entrusted the government of Scotland to Generall 
Monk, who by his authority, diligence and severity, reduced the High- 
lands to great peace and tranquillity. Forts were built, and garrisons 
established in all places where disturbance was mostly apprehended ; alt 
other places of security and strength were burnt down. All woods that were 
cover to those that did not submit to the government were cutt. Party s con- 
stantly patrolled through the mountains, and became acquainted with-eyery 


years, the steps taken to reduce it, and the truth of 
these facts * * * will appear * * * * from the Scots 
Historys and Acts of Parliament * * *." 

Rob Hoy, Barasdale, &c. 

[From the same MS.] 

It is exceedingly strange that the rebellion in the 
year 1715 did not awaken those in the administration, 
to make more steps towards civilizing the Highlands, 
for their own future security. The unhappy state of 
that country from the 1715, till the 1745, was the con- 
sequence of that neglect ; and the unhappy state of the 
country was productive of those troubles in 1745. 

The short time that the Highlanders were in a mili- 
tary way under the Lord Marr, and afterwards at Glen- 
shiell, made the lower sort, after they were dispersed, 
abandon themselves to all manner of licentiousness.* 

retired den and cave. The people, being thus deprived of every place of se- 
curity, or retirement, and constantly hunted by party s, those who had interest 
and inclination to give disturbance were soon apprehended and incarcerate ; 
and those who lived by rapine and plunder were without mercy brought to 
justice. But Monk's government was military ; so its highly probable that 
all the delicacy and nice regard to the laws which a free civil government 
requires was not observed." From the same MS. 

* Their cattle had been shot or carried off, their cottages, and every thing 
they possessed, burnt and destroyed, and they, if they escaped with life, 
driven with their wives and children to seek refuge, and wait for a more 
quiet death, from hunger and cold, in the woods and holes of the rocks. 
It were injustice to the Clans to impute to them the delinquencies of the 
rabble concerned in the skirmish at Glenshiel. That rabble consisted of the 
refuse of our population, highland, lowland, and Irish, offenders, who had 
taken shelter from the laws of their country under the standard of the earl 
of Mar, and after his defeat, sought refuge and sympathy among the jaco- 
bites in the mountains, and had joined the three hundred Spaniards who 
were landed among them in 1719. The story of a Ghief tending his men 
to them far a day, deserves no credit. 


Thefts, robbery.*, rapines and depredations became so 
common, that they began to be looked upon as neither 
shameful nor dishonourable; and people of a station 
somewhat above the vulgar, did sometimes countenance, 
encourage, nay head gangs of bandittsin those detesta- 
ble villanys. It now only remains to fill up that time 
betwixt these two last grand rebellions, with as many 
instances as will shew the miserable state of that coun- 
try in that interval which we call peace. 

There was in that time one Robert M'Greiger, who 
assumed the name of Campbell, but was commonly 
known by that of Rob Roy, who was descended of a 
little family* of that clan, which held a small ferm of 
and in Balquhidder in few of the familly of Athole, 
and who commonly resided in the parish of Buchanan, 
Balquhidder, or on the confines of Argyleshire. This 
man, who was a person of sagacity, and neither 
wanted stratagem nor address, having abandoned him- 
self to all licentiousness, sett himself att the head 
of all the loose vagrant and desperate people of that 
clan in the west end of Perth and Stirling shires, 
and infested those whole countrys with theifts, rob- 
Lerys, and depredations.f Very few who lived within 

* Of a little family, in the then state of the Clan Gregor,he cannot be said 
to have been, as he was the second son of M'Gregor of Glengyle, who, in 
the beginning of the eighteenth century, had been formally declared to be 
their chief by the Clan. 

t " About the year 1603, there was an insurrection raised by the M'Gri- 
gors in the west end of the shires of Perth and Stirling. They did not only 
vex all their neighbours by committing continual theifts and depredations, 
but were also guilty of prodigious crueltys and barbaritys. When the Col- 
quhouns of Luss with their clan of that name, endeavoured to restrain their 
plundering of their grounds, they had a sharp encounter at Glenstroou, 
(Gfen/Vum) where the most part of the name of Colquhoun were masacred. 
Sir Humphrey, their Chief, escaped, but was soon after shot dead in his own 
house of Beunachra by the M'Farlands, who were employed, by a neigh- 


lis reach (that is, within the distance of a nocturnal 
expedition), could promise to themselves security, 
either to their persons or effects, without subjecting 
themselves to pay him both a heavy and shamefull tax 
of blackmaill. He at last proceeded to such a degree 
of audaciousness, that he committed robberys, raised 
depredations, and resented quarrels at the head of a 
very considerable body of armed men, in open day, and 
iu the face of the government. Mr. Graham of Kil- 
learn was then factor for the Duke of Montrose, and 
was in use to collect his rents at a place upon the bor- 
ders of those Highlands at Buchanan, not above four 
miles from the house of that name, and no more from 
the town of Drymond. Being there upon that occa- 
sion, Rob Roy, with about 20 of his corps, came full- 
armed from the hills of Buchanan, apprehended his 
person in that place, robbed him of 3002. sterling of 
that Duke's rents, amidst his whole farmers, and car- 
ried that gentleman prisoner up amongst the hills, where 
he detained him a considerable time. The Girnels 
where the farmers delivered their victuall rent are near 
the same place ; and whenever Rob and his followers 
were pressed with want, a party was detatched to exe- 
cute an order of their commander's, for taking as mucli 
victualls out of these Girnells, as was necessary for them 
at the time. Disorders increased there to such an 

hour in fewd vith him, to committ that execrable murder ! !" From the 
same MS. 

The M'Gregors were no worse than their neighbours till bad treatment 
made them so. Their local situation, surrounded by Campbells, Grahaanes, 
&c. was their chief misfortune ; and a century and a half of outlawry and 
annoyance, may easily account for the character which they at last ac- 
quired. The tricks of a bear that is constantly baited, can m-ithcr be ex- 
pected to be innocent nor entertaining. 


height, that some years, the value of the thiefts and de- 
predations committed upon some lands there were 
equall to the yearly rents of the lands, and the persons 
of small heritors were taken, carried off, and detained 
prisoners till they redeemed themselves for a sum of 
money, especially if they had at elections for Parlia- 
ment voted for the government man. The then Duke 
of Montrose, in order to secure his estate from such 
insults, armed all his farmers who had suffered, think- 
ing thereby they would be able to protect themselves ; 
but Greiger M'Greiger of Glengyle, who took to him- 
self the name of James Graham, a nephew of Robb's, 
eager to display his military talents, did, with a party 
of these Buchanan M'Greigers, disarm the whole, by 
surprizeing them separately,* and so left them again 
naked to the rapaciousness of their plunderers. This 
was monstrously ingratefull, both in the one and other; 
as Rob Roy, some years before, had obtained from that 
Duke, by his own interest only, the farm of land called 
Glengyle, to this same man, his nephew, in few, where 
his forefathers had lived farmers to the Lairds of Bu- 
chanan, for a little sum, not one tenth of its real value . 
and besides, in the year 1745, he drew, or rather forced 
his Grace's farmers in the neighbourhood of that place, 
into that insurrection which brought upon his lands there 
the resentment of the military.f 

The lands in the head of the parish of Buchanan, 

* This was an agreeable surprise of their own inviting ; as they were de- 
sirous of being relieved from the incumbrance of arms which they had no 
mind to make use of. The understanding between the duke's farmers and 
the M'Gregors was too good for them to hurt each other. 

t This is certainly not telling the story in M'Gregor's favour. Those who 
know the history, politics, and spirit of the retainers of the duke in that 
quarter, will not suppose that any force, or even much persuasion, was 


lying betwixt Loch Loinond and Loch Katerin, are, o 
all these in that country, the best adapted for conceal- 
ments, and the most conveniently situate for bad pur- 
poses, and they had formerly been possessed by those 
of that clan.* Theifts and depredations were pushed 
successfully in these places, with an intention, either 
to turn these lands waste, or oblige that lord, the pro- 
prietor of them then, by a purchase from the family of 
Buchanan, to grant laces (leases) to those ancient 
possessors. The scheme proported answered ; the sons 
of Rob Roy gott one half of those lands in lace, and 
Glengyle, the nephew, the other half. When those 
people got possession of these places so well fitted for 
their designs, they found they were able to carry mat- 
ters still one point furder ; in order to which, it was 
necessary that theifts and depredations should be car- 
ried on incessantly through their whole neighbourhood. 
Things being thus prepaired, that this M'Gregor of 
Glengyle should keep a Highland Watch for protecting 
that country from these mischiefs, for supporting of 
which he demanded 47. Scots out of each 100/, Scots 
of valued rent. As they had now got possession of 
these high grounds in a legall way, from whence they 
could vex the whole neighbourhood, the thing was 
agreed, and a formall black-maill contract entered into 
betwixt M'Greiger and a great many heretors, whose 
lands lay chiefly exposed to these depredations, and 
which enabled him, when the troubles of 1745 began, 
to raise about 40 men for that service, with which this 

necessary, to induce them to join the standard of a spirited young prince 
such as Charles Stewart, when he appealed to them in a cause in which 
the courage and loyalty of their fathers had been so conspicuous. 

* This serves to account for a great deal of what is here complained of. 


same man put the country upon the water of Enrick, 
DundafT, Strabhiin, and other places, under contribu- 
tions, and opened the first scene in that fatall tragedy, 
by surprizeing the barracks of lunersnait, and a part of 
Generall Campbell's regiment, which was working at 
the Inverary roads.* 

The history of Mr. M'Donald of Barasdale would 
give a lively representation of the disordered state of 
the north Highlands ; but, as the detaill of the conduct, 
stratagems, and schemes followed by Mr. M'Donald, to 
procure to himself an extensive and profitable High- 
land Watch, would be too tedious, I shall only say, 
that this gentleman, descended of the Glengary family, 
by the indolence and negligence of the head of that 
tribe, procured to himself such advantages and such 
interest with that branch of that clan, that he was able 
to force an extensive Highland neighbourhood, where 
are people of no small interest, to contribute to him a 
very considerable sum yearly for their protection. 

Sir Alexander Murray of Stenhope had acquired a 
knowledge in mineralls, and travelled all over the 
Highlands in order to make discoverys in that way. 
Great appearances of lead-mines cast up to him in 
severall places, but particularly in the lands of Ard- 
namurchan and Sweenard, which belonged to Campbell 
of Lochneill. He made a purchase of these lands from 
that gentleman, and of some other small interests in 
that neighbourhood. He laid open vastly rich lead- 
mines at Strontian, and made very great improvements 
in the land estate. The mines turned out to very 

* It should have been added, that the soldiers were snug in their bar- 
racks, and were made prisoners, to the number (as ii said) of 89, by Glen- 
gjje, with only 12 M'Gregors. 


great advantage, and would have increased to infinitely 
more, if matters had not fallen into very great disor- 
ders. Sir Alexander was a stranger in the country, 
the people upon his estate were all of them Camrons 
(Campbells), or of other clans in these places, who had 
a stronger attachment to their own respective chiefs 
than to their new landlord, a stranger, and the whole of 
the neighbourhood was possessed by these and other 
clans. Sir Alexander's cattle and effects were stollen, 
and robbed, his houses Were burnt, and kis own per- 
son and family threatened. He attempted to prosecute 
the criminalls before the ordinary courts of Justice ; 
but he complained loudly, that either justice was de- 
layed, or refused him, and the criminalls protected* It 
must surely have been the height of oppression that 
made the poor gentleman abandon all these promiseing 
prospects, for security to himself and his family, 
and complain of these hardships he met with to the 
British Parliament and Ministry ; and we must now 
acknowledge, by what hath since happened, that his 
complaints have not been groundless, nor he a bad 
prophet. The Lordship of Morvern lys in the ex- 
tremity of Argyleshire ; it belongs in property to the 
family of Argyle, and is mostly possessed by these of the 
Clan Cameron,* who enjoyed there very advantageous 
farms. Some years ago there was, I believe, some 
improvement made in the rents, and Mr. Campbell of 

* On the attainder of Argyle, a large portion of his forfeited estates had 
been given to Cameron of Lochiel, but resumed and restored to the family 
of Argyle, on the accession of William to the throne. It was then thought 
necessary to build Fort-William, as a check upon the Camerons. These 
circumstances account for the impatience of the Camerons, as well as for the 
threats which were bandied between them and the Campbells of Argyle, 
in 1745. 

VOL. II. 2 A 


Craignish was appointed a new bailly and factor for 
that place. Neither of these alterations were agree- 
able to these people; a proper occasion was taken 
to seize the factor and rob him of 300 /. sterling of 
that lord's rents. If a thing so audacious was at- 
tempted against the Duke of Argyle, a man so great 
and powerfull in these parts, what could Sir Alexander 
Murray or any other private gentleman expect ? 

Where there is no government, no order, what will 
not people dare to do ?* No farther back than some 
moneths ago, as I am informed, a Regality Court was 
held by one Graham, successor in office to that Gen- 
tleman, who was made prisoner by Rob Roy, at that 
very place where he was apprehended. There hap- 
pened a controversy there betwixt people of the name 
of Stewart, and others of that of M* Parian d, about stollen 
cattle t The M'Farlands were charged of being guilty, art 
and part, of stealing the Stewarts' cattle ; and, for vouch- 
ing the truth of this allegation, hides of cattle were 
produced in court, found in the custody of the M'Far- 
lands which were affirmed to be those of the cattle in 
question, and a proof thereof offered. The bailly se- 
cured the hides with the rest of this process till the 
next diet of court, and adjourned in order to take his 
ordinary refreshment. A few days thereafter a strong 
party of men in arms came to the court-house and car- 
ried off the whole. If these things be permitted, how 

* Strange things, no doubt, as they do every day where these are in full 
vigour and activity. The heir-apparent to the throne of England has been 
robbed in broad day-light, within a few yards of his father's palace-gate ^ 
and it was but a few years ago, that an attempt was made to rob liis Royal 
Highness the Prince-Regent of the hilt of his dress-sword by wrenching it 
off, while jostling him in the drawing-room at St. James's oa a birth-day ! 


can justice be administrate? And, if there is a stop in 
that, there is an end of government. 

It is plain, from what is said, the reigns preceeding 
that of King Charles the First made a great progress 
in reducing that country into good order ; but that the 
politicks of the four reigns that succeeded Cromwell's 
usurpation had a direct tendency to the contrary. 

Causes of the present disorderly State of the 
Highlands of Scotland. 

[From the same MS.] , 

l su The first and principal cause of the many disor- 
ders in that country is to be imputed to the great num- 
ber of poor people there. The Highlands comprehends 
about 230 parodies, including the Western Islands 
and Orkneys. There are not fewer in every paroch, at 
a medium, than 800 examinable persons, that is, per- 
sons above 9 years of age. Those pf nine, and under 
that age, will amount to 200, that is, about of the 
whole number. Thus in every paroch, at a medium, 
there will be 1,000 souls, and in the country, 230,000; 
and the whole force and power of this country, was 
every man betwixt the age of 18 and 56 to be put under 
arms, would be equal to an army of 5J,500 men. 

But, according to the present ceconomy of the High- 
lauds, there is not business for more than one half that 
number of people ; that is, the agriculture, the pastur- 
age, the fishery, and all the manufactures in that 
country, can be sufficiently managed by one half of that 
number. The other half, then, must be idle, and beg- 
gars, while in tJbe country ; that is, there are in the 
Highlands no fewer than 115,000 poor people, and of 



these, there are 28,750 able-bodied men betwixt the 
ages of 18 and 66 fitt to bear arms. 

The reall rent yearly paid to the landlords of each 
paroch, is probably, at a medium, 750 pounds sterling, 
and each of them, at a medium, comprehends about 
fifty ploughs of land ; that is, as much arrable as four 
horses will labour ; and as much pasture as will feed 
these horses and about 40 or 50 cows. Allowing 25 
famillys for 25 of these farms, and two famillys for 
each of the other 25, this will be 75 famillys for every 
paroch, at a medium which, at six soulls in the family, 
will be 450 souls in each parocb. Fifty more persons 
make one half of the paroch, amongst whom there will be 
J2 able-bodied men, who will mannage any manufac- 
tory, as they are at present. And thus there is no 
busieness for the other 500 ; and if each of these 
ploughs pays of yearly rent to the landlord, 151. ster- 
ling, each paroch at a medium will be of yearly rent 
1501. sterling. 

The expence of 115,000 souls, who at present can 
have no busieness or employment in the country, can- 
not be less than one penny sterling a day, that is, 
about 1Z. 10s. sterling a year, each person: That is, 
their whole expence per annum will be 1 72,500 1. ster- 
ling. A great number of these persons do probably 
gain equall to their expence, in the Low-countrys, 
during the season of herding [tending cattle in open- 
field pastures}, of harvest, of hay, and by other 
labbour during the spring and summer ; but then the 
rest of these people must be supported in the High- 
lands, where they constantly reside, as they gain 
nothing. These we cannot suppose under one half of 
the whole number, so that there are in that country 


57,500 souls who live, so many of them upon charity, 
and who are vagrant beggars through the Highlands 
and the borders of it. Many of them live an idle 
sauntering life among their acquaintance and relations, 
and are supported by their bounty ; others gette a liveli- 
hood by blackmaill contracts, by which they receive 
certain sums of money from people of substance in 
the country, to abstain from stealing their cattle ; and 
the last class of them gain their expence by stealing, 
robbing, and committing depredations. 

The poverty of these people makes them intirely 
depend on their landlords, from whom they have a 
residence; and their indulging of some in their idle- 
ness, and their protecting of others in their illegal 
practices, gives such an influence over them, that with 
ease they can prevail with them to undertake any 
thing ; besides, their condition may possibly be better, 
but scarcely worse. 

2 do ' The poverty of the people is occasioned and 
continued by a custom that is presently in use, and 
hath long obtained in that country ; viz c . The practice 
of letting of many farms to one man, who, again, 
subsetts them to a much greater number than those can 
maintain, and at a much higher rent than they can 
afford to pay. This obliges these poor people to pur- 
chase their rents and expences by theifts and robberys, 
in which they are indulged and protected by their 
landlords, as these are the principall means of provid- 
ing both. There are many instances of 16 familys 
living upon one plough of land ; and in the head of 
the paroch of Buchanan, and many other places, there 
are about 150 familys who live upon lands that don't 
pay of yearly rent above 901. sterling ; none of them 


have any employment ; most of them possess a cott- 
house, a little yeard [kitchen garden], an acre or two 
of ground full of rocks, and a cow's grass or two.- 
Thus the people are allways poor, and allways de- 

gtio. The frequent depredations, robberys, and theifts 
through the Highlands produce effects of great conse- 
quence ; for, as a great many persons are employed in 
this way, so a number of people are bred up and con- 
stantly accustomed to all the hardships, hazards, and 
fatigues of that busieness ; by which means, from the 
time they can drive cattle, they have a kind of military 
education, by their night expeditions, their fatiguing 
marches, and by their useing themselves to all the 
severitys of the weather. And thus we find, that 
when they are formed into military bodys, they have 
in this respect the advantage of any regular troops. 

Although the poverty of the people principally pro- 
duces these practices so ruinous to society ; yet the 
nature of the country, which is thinnely inhabitate, by 
reason of the extensive moors and mountains, and 
which is so well fitted for conceallments by the many 
glens, dens, and cavitys in it, does not a little contri- 
bute. In such a country cattle are privately trans- 
ported from one place to another, and securely hid, 
and in such a country it is not easy to get informations, 
nor to apprehend the crimi nails. People lye so open 
to their resentment, either for giving intelligence, or 
prosecuting them, that they decline either, rather than 
risk their cattle being stoln, or their houses burnt. 
And then, in the pursuit of a rogue, though he was 
almost in hands, the grounds are so hilly and unequal!, 
and so much covered with wood or brush, and so full 


of dens and hollows, that the sight of him is almost as 
soon lost as he is discovered. 

It is not easy to determine the number of persons 
employed in this way ; but it may be safely affirmed 
that the horses, cows, sheep, and goats yearly stoln 
in that country are in value equall to 5000 1. ; that the 
expences lost in the fruitless endeavours to recover 
them, will not be less than 2000 1. ; that the extraor- 
dinary expences of keeping 1 herds and servants to look 
more narrowly after cattle on account of stealling, 
otherways not necessary, is 10,000. There is paid in 
blackmaill or watch-money, openly and privately, 
5000 . ; and there is a yearly loss by understocking the 
grounds, by reason of theifts, of at least 1 5,000 . ; 
which is altogether a loss to landlords and farmers, in 
the Highlands of 37,000 . sterling a year. But be- 
sides, if we consider, that at least one half of these 
stollen effects quite perish, by reason that a part of 
them is buried under, ground, the rest is rather de- 
voured than eat, and so, what would serve ten men 
in the ordinary way of living, swallowed up by two or 
three, to put it soon out of the way, and that some 
part of it is destroyed in concealed parts, when a dis- 
covery is suspected; we must allow that there is 
2,500 1. as the value of the half of the stollen cattle, 
and 1 5,000 L for the article of understock quite lost of 
the stock of the kingdom. 

4 tot These last mischiefs occasions another, which i* 
still worse, although intended as a remedy for them. 
That is, the engaging companys of men, and keeping 
them in pay to prevent these thiefts and depredations. 
As the government neglect the country, and don't pro- 
tect the subjects in the possession of their property, 


they have been forced into this method for their own 
security, tho' at a charge little less than the land-tax. 
The person chosen to command this watch, as it is 
called, is commonly one deeply concerned in the theifts 
himself, or at least that hath been in correspondence 
with the thieves, and frequently who hath occasioned 
thiefts, in order to make this watch, by which he gains 
considerably, necessary. The people employed travell 
through the country armed, night and day, under pre- 
tence of enquiring after stollen cattle, . and by this 
means know the situation and circumstances of the 
whole country. And as the people thus employed are 
the very rogues that do these mischiefs ; so one half of 
them are continued in their former bussiness of stealling 
that the busieness of the other half may be necessary 
in recovering : And thus these watches make another 
nursery for military men. This practice is taken up 
out of meer necessity, by the Government's neglecting 
the polity of that country ; is of very great conse- 
quence, and whoever considers the shamefull way these 
watches were managed, particularly by Barrisdale, 
and the M'Greigors, in the west ends of Perth and 
Stirling shires, will easily see into the spirit, nature, 
and consequences of them. 

5 10 ' The dress and habit of that country is of great 
advantage, wherever agility or expedition is necessary. 
By its looseness, the people are allways exposed to 
cold and weetness, and so by custom can bear both 
without any inconveniency. 

This habit conduces, too, to give them an aversion 
for any constant hard labour ; for, as it is slight and 
thinn, so it is not sufficient to cover and save the body 
in the pressures upon it necessary in hard work. It 


fitts them out for activity, gives them an aversion to 
labour, and by a kind of uniform unites them in a body 
distinguished from the rest of their fellow- subjects. 

6 to> Their present way of life, which mostly passes 
in the moors and mountains, either in hunting after 
game for their support, or in the defence or pursuit of 
their cattle, accustoms them from their infancy with 
the use of the gun, sword, pistoll and durk, and this, 
again, gives them hardieness and resolution, and like- 
wayes a dexterity in handling arms, much superiour 
to these constantly employed in agriculture or ma- 

7 mo - Their poor mean smoaky cold hutts, without any 
door or window-shutter, and without any furniture or 
utenseills, and which a man may build in three or four 
days, accustom the people to bear any accommodations 
that are sufficient for cows or hoggs. They are not of 
such a value as to be a pledge for their paying regaird 
to the law, and are not proper, by reason of their 
dirtyness and smoakyness, for manufacturing in them 
butter and cheese, the principall product of their 
country ; to say nothing of their unfittness for any 
other kind of busieness. 

gvo. ji ne f am jiy s j n that country have hitherto had so 
little interest with those concerned in the government 
of publick affaires, and therefore so small encourage- 
ment for any employment under them, that many 
younger sons of small familys are obliged, either to 
turn farmers at home under their eldest brother, or to 
go abroad to serve in the French or Spanish armies. 
The first tends exceedingly to keep up the clanship, 
and the last produces still worse effects. These young 
gentlemen, when they are preferred to commissions, 


come privately every other year to the country, and 
contract with some of the able-bodied young men of 
their neighbourhood or clann, with whom they can 
Lave influence, for so many years service ; and when 
that term expires, many of these choise to return 
Home. And thus new levys are allways made, and 
some of the bred soldiers are allways returning. By 
this means, many are to be found amongst the inha- 
bitants of the country, that have been disciplined in 
the French and Spanish armys. Many of the masters 
of little French vessells upon the coast of Normandy 
know all that highland coast fully as well as any British 
sailor, and some of them speak the highland language 
toller ably well. 

9 no - It hath been for some time a custom through the 
Highlands, amongst those who pretend to be chiefs or 
leaders of clans, to oblige all the farmers or cottars 
that gett possessions in their grounds to take their 
names. In a generation or two it is believed that they 
really are of that name ; and this not only holds to the 
number of the clan, and keeps it up, but superinduces 
the tye of kindred to the obligation and interest of the 

jQth. ]\j os t o f the baillies, factors, or Stewarts upon 
the considerable estates thro' the Highlands, are dis- 
affected to this present government, (by what accident 
this happens, I know not) ; and whoever holds these 
offices, can with ease influence the people what way 
they please. Every one of them either is, or may be, 
so much at their mercy, that they court their favour 
by takeing up their sentiments. And as several days 
are usually spent in holding courts, and levying the 
master's rent ; so a good part of that time passes in 


jollity and carousing; where the tennents and sub- 
tennents are spirited up to a distaste of the adminis- 
tration, by such conversation and news, as are unfa- 
vourable to it ; and where the healths of persons are 
warmly remembered who have made it their busieness 
to subvert the constitution. 

ll tht The speaking in the Irish tongue through most 
of the country, which is a different language from that 
spoken by the rest of the kingdom, hath a great ten- 
dency to unite them in a body together ; and separate 
them from the rest of the subjects by trifling animo- 
titys, ariseing from their different manners, the natu- 
ral consequence of their different language, and their 
want of our language evidently prevents their making 
improvements in the affairs of common life, and in 
other knowledge, as it is the means to acquire them. 

12 th - It might be expected that the schools established 
by the Christian Society in that country had done 
much, for introducing the language there ;* but these 
schools are not so well conducted and overseen as ne- 

* This insane policy of utterly denaturalizing the Highlanders, in order 
to civilize them, has been hitherto pursued by all the reformers who have 
attempted to interfere with them, and has already gone a great way towards 
taking from them all the virtues they once had, and giving them all the 
vices they were strangers to. On July 12th, 1695, an Act of Parliament 
was passed beginning thus : " Our Sovereign Lord, considering that seve- 
ral of the inhabitants of the Highlands and Isles are very refractory in 
paying to the Chamberlands and Factors, the rents of the Bishoprick of 
Argyle and Isles, which now his Majesty has been graciously pleased to 
bestow upon erecting of English schools for rooting out of the Irish Lan- 
guage, and other uses, &c." Had his Majesty informed them that the rents 
were to be applied for making the word of God accessible to them in the 
Language of their fathers, and other pious uses, the rents would have been 
cheerfully paid, and the government endeared to the people. 


cessary. The clergy, who have the charge, are too 
negligent, both in visiting and making just report of 
them. There is nothing more ordinary in these 
schools, than to see the boys read the English Bible 
with distinctness enough, and yet not able to speak one 
word of English ; and in this condition they leave the 

jgth. rpj ie Difficulty of access into most places of that 
country, and from one place to another, by reason of the 
badness of the roads, immures them up among themselves, 
and prevents their having correspondence and commerce 
with the civilized part of the kingdom; this keeps them 
in a state of ignorance and barbarity. 

14 th - As most of these places are at a great distance 
from trading towns, where the common sort have no 
correspondence, small heretors, and some of the sub- 
stantiall tacksmen play the merchant, and supply the 
common people with such things as are necessary to 
them, either for labouring their grounds, supporting 
their familys, or comforting and relieving them in sick- 
ness; as iron, victuall [corn], little quantitys of wine and 
spirits, sugar and tobaco. As the poor ignorant peo- 
ple have neither knowledge of the value of their pur- 
chase, nor money to pay for it, they deliver to these 
dealers cattle in the beginning of May for the goods 
they have received; by which traffick the poor wretched 
people are cheated out of their effects for one half of 
their value; and so are kept in eternal poverty. 

15*- It is alledged, that much of the Highlands lye 
at a great distance from publick Fairs, mercates, and 
places of commerce, and that the access to these places 
is both difficult and dangerous; by reason of all which, 
trading people decline to go into the country in order 


to traffick and deal with the people. It is on this ac* 
count that the farmers, having no way to turn the pro-* 
duce of their farms, which is mostly cattle, into money 
are obliged to pay their rents in cattle, which the land- 
lord takes at his own price, in regaird that he must 
either grase them himself, send them to distant mar- 
kets, or credite some person with them, to be againe at 
a certain profite disposed of by him. This introduced 
the busieness of that sort of people commonly known by 
the name of Drovers. These men have little or no 
substance, they must know the language, the different 
places, and consequently be of that country. The far- 
mers, then, do either sell their cattle to these drovers 
upon credite, at the drover's price (for ready money 
they seldom have), or to the landlord at his price, for 
payment of his rent. If this last is the case, the land- 
lord does again dispose of them to the drover upon cre- 
dite, and these drovers make what profites they can by 
selling them to grasiers, or at markets. These drovers 
make payments, and keep credite for a few years, and 
then they either in reality become bankrupts, or pre- 
tend to be so. The last is most frequently the case, and 
then the subject of which they have cheated is privately 
transferred to a confident person in whose name, upon 
that reall stock, a trade is sometimes carried on for their 
behoof, till this trustee gett into credite, and prepaire his 
affairs for a bankruptcy. Thus the farmers are still keept 
poor; they first sell at an under rate, and then they often 
loose altogether. The landlords, too, must either turn 
traders, and take their cattle to markets, or give these 
people credite, and by the same means suffer. 

16 th - The buddiell* or aquavitce houses, that is, houses 

* A buideul is a small keg, or cask, in which sprrits arc conveyed on pack- 

366 . APPENDIX. 

where they distill and retaill aquavity, are the bane and 
mine of that country. These house* are every where, 
and when the price of barley is low, all of them malt 
and distill in great quantitys. As they never pay malt 
duty nor excise,they can sell their spirits at a small price. 
It is in these that the farmer does slothfully idle away 
his time, and consume his substance ; that the loose va- 
grants who follow no business but that of thieving and 
committing depredations, pass most of the day in spend- 
ing the price of their plunder, and in making their ille- 
gal contracts ; and those houses do commonly occasion 
the breach of the publick peace. 

17 thl The episcopall nonjuring clergy are not nume- 
rous through the Highlands ; but are exceedingly active. 
They so much blend the principles of government with 
those of religion, that they don't think they can make a 
good Christian, without at the same time teaching him 
principles not only inconsistent with a free and happy 
constitution of Government, but subversive of the na- 
tural rights and priviledges of mankind. Indefeasable 
hereditary right, and absolute uncontroulable power 
in the chief magistrate, is looked upon allways as an 
essential! article in their creed, 

18 th - There is a considerable number of the Roman 
Catholick clergy, some of them settled, others mission- 
arys, who intirely direct the consciencies of those of 
that church, and greatly influence some who profess to 
be of ane other, in matters relateing to government 

saddles from one place to another. It is no other than the French bouteiltt, 
which originally meant any flask or keg. 

* In one respect, the Highlands differed from every other country in 
Europe. They knew hardly any thing of the abuses of the Roman Catholic 


19 th ' The established clergy thro' the Highlands and 
borders of it are, generally speaking, exceedingly neg- 
ligent in their duty, and persons of no great reputation 
nor esteem; * many of them are not only frighted, 
from the circumstances of their situation, from doing 
their duty with resolution ; but are even ready to fall 
in with the sentiments of those they were intended to 
reform, and to cover from the civil magistrate, as muck 
as they can, both the crime and the criminal, 

20*' The remottness of courts of justice from most 
places in that country occasions great mischiefs ; there- 
by the landlords or their baillies are generally the 
judges both in civill and criminall matters, by virtue of 
their jurisdictions, and on this account are regairded by 
the people as the only persons of power to whom their 
submission is due. And as the landlords and chieftains 
ttro' that country are exceedingly fond of secureing in 
their interest, and haveing at their command as many 
of the people, especially of the loose vagrants, as pos- 
sibly they can, people who dare any thing, and have 
nothing to loose: so these jurisdictions are but too 

religion, till after the introduction of the Reformation among them. In 
their small communities, there was no scope for two ruling powers, and the 
clergy were kept in their proper place. 

* Dr. Johnson had a dislike to Presbyterians as such every where ; yet, 
when in the Highlands, he met with some of the very men here spoken of 
who were still alive, and found them devout, learned, manly and libera). 
Almost all the Clergy then, were the sons of gentlemen, and well educated in 
every sense of the word. With respect to school learning, which is of the 
first importance, and which they did not receive in their own country, they 
had many advantages over those who are now bred up to trie ministry there. 
What these still are, however, appears much to their honour, in their reports 
in Sir John Sinclair's " Satistkal account of Scotland.'' 


frequently made use of to protect these criminalls, by 
which they gain their affection ; or to resent quarrels, 
by which they make themselves formidable. 

21 st - The great difficulty and expence of apprehending 
criminalls in that country, gives great encouragement 
to rogues in their bad practices. Whoever considers 
the nature of these grounds, the extensive moors and 
mountains, the woods and brush, with which in most 
places they are covered, the sudden swells and hollows 
on the surface of the grounds, and the many dens and 
glens thro' the whole, will easily perceive that two men 
will with more ease apprehend a rogue in a plain open 
populous country, than what twenty will do in such a 
one as I have described. Besides, considering the ex- 
tent of ground, the inhabitants are few, and fearing 
mischievous resentments, not only refuse informations, 
but are fain to curry favour by giving protection. And 
if so, the difficulty and expence of apprehending a 
criminal is ten times greater than that of apprehending 
one in the Low countrys ; which is what private persons 
cannot affoord. 

22 dt When criminalls are apprehended, it is frequently 
so great an expence to take them to a lawfull prison, 
that private people have great reason to grudge the 
charges. This is occasioned by the distances of the 
prisons. There are not as many in that country as are 
necessary; in many places it being thirty miles to a 
lawfull gaol. 

23 d> After a criminal is apprehended and incarcerate, 
the expence of the tryall or prosecution is so excessively 
great, that most people rather choise to suffer, than 
to expend 60 or 70 1. sterling in bringing one of these 



rogues to justice before a circuit, sheriff, or stewart 
court. And, if the prosecution be before the justiciary 
of Edinburgh, the charge will be much greater. 

24 th - These hardships that the subjects lye under, in- 
duces them to compound with the thieves for the injuries 
done them. By this composition, the person injured 
does not recover above one half of his effects, which 
comes out a very heavy tax payed by the peaceable 
subjects to these thieves and robbers ; and by this im~ 
punity they are encouraged to continue in these villain- 
ous practices. 

25 th< So long as the Highlands continues in its pre- 
sent state, so long will there be insurrections, thiefts, 
and depredations, and so long will the people be in 
poverty and ignorance, and tools, not only to every 
every foreign power at warr with Great Britain, but to 
every discontented subject, who hath the interestt aud 
address to play them to answer to his designs. If the 
people of estates and interest in the Highlands, who 
are disaffected to the present government, would allow 
themselves to think impartially, they would soon ob- 
serve how inhumanly they have been used in all these 
state struggles, and that it is their greatest interest to 
have the Highlands civilized, and brought under a re_ 
gular government. They would be no longer the dupes 
of designing people, nor undergo any longer the severitys 
and hardships thai these intrigues have drawn upon them 
in preceding times ; and their estates must improve with 
peace and tranquillity. But it may be a question whe- 
ther those in that country who are really attached, and 
have testifyed their zeall and affection to the govern- 
ment, may not justly think that their greatest interest 
is founded in the present disorderly state of that coun- 

VOL. II. 2 B 


try; for if at present they are necessary to the go- 
vernment on account of the force they can command, 
and if that makes them considerable, the civilizing of 
that country not only annihilates that force, but removes 
these disorders which made them necessary ; and,-thus 
they are left of no more consequence than any other 
persons in Great Britain of the same extent of estate ; 
which is another unhappy circumstance that attends the 
present state of the country. 

26 th - It was reasonable to expect, after the union of 
the two kingdoms, that every step in the administra- 
tion of the publick affairs of Great Britain would all- 
ways have a tendency to render that union more and 
more compleat and that no furder difference in the 
management of publick matters in the united king- 
dom would ever afterwards take place, than in so 
far as was necessary by the articles stipulate in that 
union ; but in place of one uniform administration over 
the whole, there hath allways been a separate appear- 
ance, a face of government in Scotland, from that of 
England ; which hath a. tendency to hinder the two 
different people's incorporateing into one, and to conti- 
nue nationall differences. 


S. Curtis, CamberweLi Press. 

/Cy L^f 


^ /,