« 前へ次へ »
seem highly to merit the attention of the inquisitive.
All the territories hilong'ng to the commonwealth of St. Kilda, are no more than three small islands and five nak.d rocks. The principal island, together with the rest, lies in the ocean, of old called the Deucaledonian. Its latitude I take to be about 58 degrees and 30 minutes. The length of the whole ifland is at least three English miles, from east to west; and its breadth from south
to north, not less than two. Its
whole circumference is faced with an inaccessible barrier of rocks, two places only excep'ed; one to the north- west, of which afterwards, and the other to the south east.
The hand of nature has divided St. Kilda into four distinct parts. These are separated from one another by five hills, which are to the sea-side faced with frightful precipices; the smallest of which would deeply engage the attention of a spectator any where else. The three that lye towards the south and west carry names, which, like those of almost every place in the Highlands, very justly express their situation, or the appearance they make to the eye. That at the greatest distance from these is called Ostrivaill, a compound word, partly Gothic and partly Galic; which signifies the Eastern mount. But the .fifth, which rises gradually fiom the head of the bay, is without the smallest exaggeration, a real prodigy in its kind, and may perhaps not unjustly be stiled the Teneriffe of Britain. The name of it ii Conagra.
The top of thi<r enormous mass of matter commands a very extensive prospect. In a clear day, if the weather be settled, all the Long Island, that is to fay, a tract of land
and sea, more than a hundred and forty miles in length, may be seen from it. But the most striking circumstance about this great 3nd wonderful object, is the figure it makes on the north-fide; there it hangs over the deep in a most frightful manner. A view of it from the se* fills a man with astonishment, and a look over it from above strikes him with horrpr. Most of the crew were so terrified that they would not venture to gratify their curiosity in this respect, till the natives took hold of their heels as they lay flat to look over it ; yet a St. Kildian will stand or fit on the very biink of this stupendous precipice, with the most careless indifference, t made a (hist to take its height with som^ degree of exactness, and found it no less than nine hundred fathoms.—Had I never seen this immense mass, I should very probably riispijte the credibility of the account now given, just as much as any one else may do, after perusing this account.
The hills of St. Kilda are, near their tops, mostly naked.being either covered with loose mouldering (tones, or poorly clad with some small scattered tufts of. a short kind of heath. It is far from being matter of wonder, that the tops of high moantains, and more especially in the Highlands of Scotland, should be destitute"of grass. Great tempests of wind and rain, to fay nothing of thunder and earthquakes, must very naturally, in a course of ages, carry away immense quantities us earth from them, and the accession of new matter which they receive, cannot be very considerable.—The lower grounds, at the foot of the mountains, will be rising up from year to year; and in fact we see that these top undergo very remarkable changes. Mag, "ExtraSls from Mr. Macai
In the turf-pits dug there, a prodigious number of trees, almost entire, are frequently found, which must have been buried in these places, after having been killed or plucked a*ay from their roots, by the vast quantities of earth which had been washed away from off the faces of the hills above. This, and other accidental circumstances, considered, it is possible enough that many of those mountains in different places, which now make so dreary an appearance, may have been once some ot the roost beautiful objects in the countries where they stand ; that is, rich in grafs, and clad with a variety of trees.—Certain it is, that men who have attained to a great age, have in this, and many other countries, seen extraordinary changes wrought on some hills, and on the grounds adjoining to them.
The ground of St. Kilda, like much the greatest part of that over all the Highlands, is much better calculated for pasture than tillage. —Restrained by idleness, a fault or ">ice much more pardonable here than in any other part of Great Britain, or discouraged by the form of government under which they live, the people of this island study to rear up sheep, and to kill wildsoul, much more than to engage deeply in tbe more toilsome business of husbandry.
In the lower grounds are many excellent plots of grafs, which tho' generally short, is very close. That in the valley on the north-west side of the island is peculiarly fine. This delightful valley is called, from an Amazon very famous in the traditions of the island, and whose house, or diary of stone, is still extant, The Female Warrior's Glen. A rivulet runs through the middle of it, and
lay'j History of St. Kilda. 319
discharges itself into the sea, near the small creek they call Camper, oc the Crooked Landing-place, where the people make a sliift to put in, if under an unavoidable necessity of making ib desperate an experiment, or if the sea be quite smooth. Above this winding fort of creek, in the delightful valley just now mentioned, are some choice spots of ground, where one may fee intermixed with the more common kinds of grafs, a great and beautiful variety of the richest plants, clover, white and red; daisies, crowfoot, dandelion, and plantains of every fort. As some things are peculiar to almost every place, as well as clime, it is probable there may be plants in this, every way strange, land, which are not the growth of any other soil.
Near the Camper is a most remarkable beautified spot, covered all over with a most exquisitely sine kind of sorrel. It is by far the most delicious I ever tasted; having a most agreeable sort of poignancy, tempered with mildness enough to correct its acrimony.
The cattle of St. Kilda feed most luxuriously during the summer season, on the plots of grafs now described ; and here they yield, it may be naturally expected, more than ordinary quantities of milk. I had occasion to know the quality of it. The cream it gives is lo luscious, or rather so strong, that some of my people sickened upon drinking it.
All the ground hitherto cultivated in St. Kilda lies round the village. The foil is thin, full of gravel, aud of consequence very sliaip.—Originally it was covered and lined with a vast number of stones, which have been all cleared away by the inhabitants in some former period. All the arable land is divided out into a one of these is in a manner inclosed and kept invariably within the fame bounds, by the help of the stones just now mentioned. These serve for boundaries, and are not to be removed or any how violated, any more than those were by the antient Romans, which their ancestors had dedicated to their god, Terminus. Hence it is, that a St. Kildian will find it impossible, however avaricious Or cunning he may be, to hurt his neighbour, by encroaching on his form in this way. And as the several plots, though very numerous, have every one of them, the smallest as well as the largest, a diiliiiction by which it is discriminated from all the felt; the whole body of the people may in a stormy day assemble together in one place, and without any difficulty divide all their ground at a fire-side, without perambulating or taking a survey of it; and this in fact they frequently do.
$20 Extrailssrm Mr. Macaulay'j Hijldry of St. Kilda: British
great many unequal plots, and every of barley; and with that of the or
The foil around the village, tho' naturally poor, is rendered extremely fertile, by the singular industry of very judicious husbandmen; these prepare and manure every inch of their ground, so as to convert it into a kind of garden. All the instruments of agriculture they use, or indeed require, according to their system, are a spade, a mall, and a rake or harrow. After turning up the ground with the spade, they rake or harrow it very carefully, removing every small stone, every noxious root or growing weed that falls in their way, and pound down every stiff clod into dust. As soon as this operation is over, they sow their little fields, strewing them over with a valuable kind ot manure, of which afterwards. I fay with this choice fort of manure, if they intend to raise a crop
dinary kind, if a crop of oats. This done, they harrow them over again, and leave them in the hands of Providence, to speak in their own stile, with a settled persuasion that thtir honest industry will be amply rewarded, unless God shall curse the land for the punishment of their sins.
It is certain that a small number of acres well-prepared in St. Kilda, in this manner, will yield more pro. fit to the husbandman than a much greater number when roughly handled in a hurry, as is the cafe in the other Western Isles. The people of St. Kilda sow and reap very early, I mean, earlier than any of their neighbours on the Western coast of Scotland. The soil, I hate already remarked, is naturally sharp and not spungy. The heat of the sun reflected from the hills and rotil into a low valley facing the SouthEast, must in the summer lime be quite intense; and however rains the climate is, the corn must, W these reasons, grow very fast and ripen early.
The harvest is commonly o«r id this place before the brginning fft September; and should it fall ot* otherwise, the whole crop "ill be almost destroyed by the equinoctia storms.—All the islanders on tlr western coast, have great reason t dread the fury of automnil tetf pests. These, together with the ei cessive quantities of rain they ha<i generally, throughout seven or months of the year, are undou' the most disadvantageous and bappy circumstances of their I The St. Kildians have more th«ni equal portion of this sore evil.
Barley and oats are the only fbt of grain known at Sr. Kilda, nor'' it seem calculated for any **