ページの画像
PDF
ePub

lecting new followers, in three years came again with fifty men. In his way he stopped at Artorinish in Morvern, where his uncle was prisoner to Macleod, and was then with his enemies in a tent. Maclean took with him only one servant, whom he ordered to stay at the outside ; and where he should see the tent pressed outwards, to strike with his dirk, it being the intention of Maclean, as any man provoked him, to lay hands upon him, and push him back, He entered the tent alone, with his Lochaber-axe in his hand, and struck such terror into the whole assembly, that they dismissed his uncle,

When he landed at Col, he saw the cen. tinel, who kept watch towards the sea, running off to Grissipol, to give Macneil, who was there with a hundred and twenty men, an account of the invasion. He told Macgil, one of his followers, that if he in: tercepted that dangerous intelligence, by catching the courier, he would give him certain lands in Mull. Upon this promise, Macgil pursued the messenger, and either killed, or stopped him; and his posterity, till very lately, held the lands in Mull.

The alarm being thus prevented; he came unexpectedly upon Macneil, Chiefs

were in those days never wholly unprovided for an enemy. A fight ensued, in which one of their followers is said to have given an extraordinary proof of activity, by bounding backwards over the brook of Grissipol. Macneil being killed, and ma. ny of his clan destroyed, Maclean took possession of the island, which the Macneils attempted to conquer by another in. vasion, but were defeated and repulsed.

Maclean, in his turn, invaded the estate of the Macneils, took the castle of Brecacig, and conquered the isle of Barra, which he held for seven years, and then restored it to the heirs.

CASTLE OF COL.

FROM Grissipol, Mr Maclean conducted us to his father's seat; a neat new house, erected near the old castle, I think, by the last proprietor. Here we were al, lowed to take our station, and lived very commodiously, while we waited for moderate weather and a fair wind, which we did not so soon obtain, but we had time to get some information of the present state of Col, partly by inquiry, and partly by occasional excursions,

· Col is computed to be thirteen miles, in length, and three in breadth. Both the ends are the property of the Duke of Argyle, but the middle belongs to Maclean, who is called Col, as the only Laird,

Col is not properly. rocky; it is rather one continued rock, of a surface much die versified with protuberances, and covered with a thin layer of earth, which is often broken, and discovers the stone, Such a soil is not for plants that strike deep roots; and perhaps in the whole island, nothing has ever yet grown to the height of a ta. ble. The uncultivated parts are clothed with heath, among which industry has in: terspersed spots of grass and corn ; but no attempt has yet been made to raise a tree. Young Col, who has a very laud. able desire of improving his patrimony, purposes some time to plant an orchard; which, if it be sheltered by a wall, may perhaps succeed. He has introdued the culture of turnips, of which he has a field where the whole work was performed by his own hand. His intention is to provide food for his cattle in the winter. This innovation was considered by Mr Macsweyn as the idle projóct of a young head, heated with English fancies; but he has now

found that turnips will really grow, and that hungry sheep and cows will really eat them.

By such acquisitions as these, the Heb. rides may in time rise above their annual distress. Wherever heath will grow, there is reason to think something better may draw nourishment; and by trying the production of other places, plants will be found suitable to every soil.

Col has many lochs, some of which have trouts and eels, and others have never yet been stocked: another proof of the negligence of the Islanders, who might take fish in the inland waters, when they cannot go to sea.

· Their quadrupeds are horses, cows, sheep, and goats. They have neither deer, hares, nor rabbits. They have no vermin, except rats, which have been lately brought thither by sea, as to other places; and are free from serpents, frogs, and toads.

The harvest in Col, and ini Lewis, is ripe sooner than in Sky, and the winter in Col is never cold, but very tempestuous, I know not that I ever heard the wind so loud in any other place; and Mr Boswell observed, that its noise was all its own, for there were no trees to increase it.

Noise is not the worst effect of the tempests ; for they have thrown the sand from the shore over a considerable part of the land; and it is said still to encroach and destroy more and more pasture; but I am not of opinion, that by any surveys or land marks, its limits have been ever fixed, or its progression ascertained. If one man has confidence enough to say, that it advances, nobody can bring any proof to support him in denying it. The reason why it is not spread to a greater extent, seems to be, that the wind and rain come almost together, and that it is made close and heavy by the wet before the storms čan put it in motion. So thick is the bed, and so small the particles, that if a tra. veller should be caught by a sudden gust in dry weather, he would find it very difficult to escape with lite.

For natural curiosities, I was shown only two great masses of stone, which lie loose upou the ground; one on the top of a hill, and the other at a small distance from the bottom. They certainly were never put into their present places by human strength or skill; and though an

« 前へ次へ »