ページの画像
PDF
ePub

the production of other places, plants will be found suitable to every

foil. 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 tficy lanuus go to fea..

Their quadrupeds are horses, cows, sheep, and goats. They have neither deer, hares, nor rab. bits. They liave no vermin, except rats, which have been lately brought thither by fea, as to other places; and are free from ferpents, frogs, and toads.

The harvest in Col, and in Lewis, is ripe fooner. than in Sky, and the winter ir. 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 vere no trees to increase it.

Noife is not the worst effect of the tempefts; for they have thrown the sand from the shore over a considerable part of the land ; and it is faid ftill to encroach and destroy more and more pasture; but I am not of opinion, that by any furveys or landmarks, 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 reafon why it is not spread to a greater extent, seems to be, that the wind and rain come almost toge

ther,

[ocr errors]

ther, and that it is made close and heavy by tlie wet before the storms can put it in motion. So thick is the bed, and to small the particles, that if a traveller should be caught by a sudden gust in dry weather, he would find it very difficult to efcape with life..

For natural curiofities, I was thown only two great mafies of Itone, which lie loose upon the ground; one on the top of a hill, and the other at a fmali diance from the bottom. They certainly were never put into their prefent places by human ftrength or skill; and though an earthquake might have broken off the lower stone, and rolled it into the valley, no account can be given of the other, which lies on the hill, unless, which I forgot to examine, there be still near it some higher rock, from which it might be torn. All nations have a tradition, that their earliest ancestors were giants, and these stones are said to have been thrown up and down by a giant and his mistrefs. There are so many more important things, of which human knowledge can give no account, that it may be forgiven us, if we speculate no longer on two stones in Col.

This Ifland is very populous. About nine-andtwenty years ago the fencible men of Col were reckoned one hundred and forty, which is the fixth of eight hundred and farty; and probably some contrived to be left out of the list. The Minister told us, that a few years ago the inhabitants were

eight hundred, between the ages of feven and of seventy. Round numbers are seldom exact. But in this case the authority is good, and the error likely to be little. If to the eight hundred be added what the laws of computation require, they will be in rcased to at least a thousand; and if the dimenfi is of the country have been accurately re'ated, every mile maintains more than twentyfive.

This proportion of habitation is greater than the - appearance of the country feens to admit; for wherever the eye wanders, it fees much vaste and little cultivation. I am vore inclined to extend the land, of which no measure has ever been taken, than to dininish the peop..., who have been really numbered. Let it be fupposed, that a computed mile con ins a mile and a half, as was commonly found true in the menfuration of the Englifh roads, and we shall then alot nearly twelve to a mile, which agrees much better with ocular obfervation,

Here, as in Sky and other Hiands, are the Laird, the Tacksmen, and the under tenants.

Mr Maclean the Laird, has very extensive por sessions, being

proprietor, not only of far the greater part of Col, but of the extensive Island of Rum, and a very considerable territory in Mull.

Rum is one of the larger islands, almost square, and therefore of great capacity in proportion to its fides. By the usual method of estimating compu

ted

ted extent, it may contain more than a hundred and twenty square miles.

It originally belonged to Clanronald, and was purchased by Col; who, in some difpute about the bargain, made Clanronald prisoner, and kept him nine months in confinement. Its owner reprefents it as mountainous, rugged, and barren. In the hills there are red deer. The horses are very small but of a breed eminent for beauty. Col, not long ago, bought one of them from a tenant; who told him, that as he was of a shape uncommonly elegant, he could not sell him but at a high price; and that whoever had him should pay a guinea and

a half.

There are said to be in Barra, à race of horses yet smaller, of which the highest is not above thirty-six inches.

The rent of Rum is not great. Mr Maclean des clared, that he should be very rich, if he could set his land at twopence halfpenny an acre. The inhabitants are fifty-eight families, who continued Papists for some time after the Laird became a Protestant. Their adherence to their old religion was strengthened by the countenance of the Laird's fifter, a zealous Romanist, till one Sunday, as they were going to mass under the conduct of their paa troness, Maclean met them on the way, gave one of them a blow on the head with a yellow stick, I suppose a cane, for which the Earse had no name, and drove them to the kirk, from which they have

never departed. Since the use of this method of conversion, the inhabitants of Egg and Canna, who continue Papists, call the Proteltantism of Rum, the religion of the Yellow Stick.

The only Popith Ifands are Egg and Canna. Egg is the principal liland of a parish, in which, though he has no congregation, the Protestant Minifter refides. I have heard of nothing curious in its but the cave in which a former generation of the Illanders were fmothered by Macleodi

If we had travelled with more leisure, it had not been fit to have neglected the Popish Jflands. Popery is favourable to ceremony; and among ignorant nations, ceremony is the only preservative of tradition. Since protestantism was extended to the favage parts of Scotland, it has perhaps been one of the chief labours of the Ministers to abolish 'ftated cbservances, because they continued the remembrance of the former religion. We therefore who came to hear old traditions, and see antiquated manners, should probably have found 'them amongst the papists.

Canna, the other Popish Tfland, belongs to Glanronald. It is faid to comprise more than twelve miles of land, and yet maintains as many inhabi. tants as Rum.

We were at Col under the protection of the young Laird, without any of the distresses, which Mr Pennant, in a fit of simple credulity, feems to think almoft worthy of an elegy by Ofian. Where

« 前へ次へ »