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worn, satisfied themselves with having in their possession this article of legal and loyal dress, which, either as the signal of their submission, or more probably to suit their own convenience when on journeys, they often suspended over their shoulders upon their sticks; others, who were either more wary, or less submissive, sewed up the centre of the kilt, with a few stitches between the thighs, which gave it something of the form of the trowsers worn by Dutch skippers. At first these evasions of the act were visited with considerable severity, but at length the officers of the law seem to have acquiesced in the interpretation put by the Highlanders upon the prohibition of the act. This appears from the trial of a man of the name of M'Alpin, or Drummond Macgregor, from Breadalbane, who was acquitted, on his proving that the kilt had been stitched up in the middle. * This trial took place in 1757, and was the first instance of relaxation in enforcing the law of 1747. f
The change produced in the Highlands, by the disarming and proscribing acts, was accelerated by the measures of government for the abolition of hereditary jurisdictions, and the consequent overthrow of the authority of the chiefs. This was the last act of government, which had any influence upon the Highland character. Subsequent changes are to be traced to causes, which owe their existence chiefly to the views and speculations of private individuals. Into the order of these causes, and their practical operations and effects, I shall now proceed to inquire.
* This very strong attachment to a habit which they thought graceful and convenient, is not singular among an ancient race, proud of their independence, long unbroken descent, manners, and customs. It is in every one's memory, that a dangerous mutiny was produced at Vellore, in the East Indies, by insisting on an alteration in the dress of the native troops, in the adjustment of their turbans, and in the cut of their whiskers. There was, perhaps, a religious feeling mixed with this opposition, yet whiskers and turbans seem of less importance than a whole garb, such as that the use of which the Highlanders were prohibited.
f Although the severity of this " ignorant wantonness of power" began to be relaxed in 1757, it was not till the year 1782 that this act, so ungenerous in itself, so unnecessary, and so galling, was repealed. In the session of that year, the present Duke of Montrose, then a member of the House of Commons, brought in a bill to repeal all penalties and restrictions on the Celtic garb. It passed without a dissenting voice
PRESENT STATE, AND CHANGES OK CHARACTER AND MANNERS.
Influence of political and economical arrangements—Change in the character of the dam—Introduction of fanaticism in religion.
It will be perceived that the preceding Sketch of the customs, manners, and character of the inhabitants of the Highlands of Scotland refers rather to past than present times. A great, and, in some respects, a lamentable change has been produced; and the original of the picture which I have attempted to draw is suffering daily obliterations, and is, in fact, rapidly disappearing. Much of the romance and chivalry of the Highland character is gone. The voice of the bard has long been silent, and poetry, tradition, and song, are vanishing away. To adopt the words of Mrs Grant, '' The generous and characteristic spirit, the warm affection to his family, the fond attachment to his clan, the love of story and song, the contempt of danger and luxury, the mystic superstition equally awful and tender, the inviolable fidelity to every engagement, the ardent love of his native heaths and mountains," will soon be no longer found to exist among the Highlanders, unless the change of character which is now in rapid progress be effectually checked.
Of this change there was no symptom previous to the year 1745, and scarcely a faint indication till towards the year 1770. The Union, which has had the happiest effect in contributing to the prosperity of both kingdoms, seemed, indeed, at first, and for many years afterwards, to paralyze the energies, and break the spirit of Scotchmen. The people in general imagined, that, by the removal of their court and parliament, they had lost their independence. Nor did the subsequent decrease of trade contribute to reconcile them to that measure. From this period, the country seems to have remained stationary, if not to have retrograded, till about the commencement of the late reign, when a spirit of improvement, both in agriculture and in commerce, and a more extensive intercourse with the world, infused new life and vigour into the general mass of the population.
While this was the effect of the Union in the southern and lowland parts of Scotland, its operation upon the north was much slower and more imperceptible. There the inhabitants retained their ancient pursuits, prejudices, language, and dress, with all the distinguishing peculiarities of their original character. But a new era was soon to commence. The primary cause, both in time and importance, which contributed to produce a remarkable change in the Highlands, was the legislative measures adopted subsequent to the year 1745. This cause, however, had so little influence, that, as I have already noticed, its operation was for many years imperceptible; yet an impulse was given which, in the progress of events, and through the co-operation of many collateral and subordinate causes, has effected a revolution, which could not be fully anticipated, or indeed thought possible in so short a period of time. This change appears in the character and condition of the Highlanders, and is indicated, not only in their manners and persons, but in the very aspect of their country. It has reduced to a State of nature, lands that had long been subjected to the plough, and which had afforded the means of support to a moral, happy, and contented population; it has converted whole glens and districts, once the abode of a brave, vigorous and independent race of men, into scenes of desolation; it has torn up families which seemed rooted, like Alpine plants, in the soil of their elevated region, and which, from their habits and principles, appeared to be its original possessors, as well as its natural occupiers; and forced them thence, pennyless and unskilful, to seek a refuge in manufacturing towns, or, in a state of helpless despair, to betake themselves to the wilds of a far distant land. The spirit of speculation has invaded those mountains which no foreign enemy could penetrate, and expelled a brave people whom no warlike intruder could subdue.
I shall now briefly advert to the circumstances which have led to the system of managing Highland estates, recently adopted by many proprietors, adding a few observations on the manner in which it has been carried into effect, and on its certain or probable consequences, as these affect the permanent prosperity of the landlord, improve or deteriorate the character and condition of the people, and influence their loyalty to the king, respect for the laws, and attachment to the higher orders.
A striking feature in the revolutionized Highland character is, the comparative indifference of the people towards chiefs and landlords. Formerly, their respect and attachment to their chiefs formed one of the most remarkable traits in their character; and such, indeed, were their reverence and affection for their patriarchal superiors, that, to swear by the hand of their chief, was a confirmation of an averment; and "May my chief have the ascendant," was a common expression of surprise. * It is remarkable how
* Martin says," The islanders have a great respect for their chiefs and heads of tribes, and they conclude grace after every meal, with a petition to God for their welfare and prosperity. Neither will they, as far as io